- - Monday, July 27, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Your July 15, 2015, article about AmazonWatch’s ongoing campaign to hold Chevron accountable for its 18-billion-gallon toxic mess in Ecuador omits critical facts and propagates falsehoods (“AmazonWatch still backs Steven Donziger’s discredited Chevron lawsuit after others bail,” Web). Eight appellate judges who reviewed the case, including five justices on Ecuador’s highest court, affirmed the judgment against Chevron. Chevron’s claims of fraud were considered by three layers of courts in Ecuador and rejected. Further, a recent forensic analysis of the trial judge’s computer definitively demonstrates that the company’s claim that the judgment was “ghostwritten” is the product of false testimony by a Chevron witness paid huge fees by the company. Despite that, nothing in Judge Kaplan’s decision, nor any other proceeding, has questioned Chevron’s responsibility for the contamination in Ecuador.

Your article also fails to mention that a separate U.S. federal trial court affirmed that AmazonWatch acted appropriately at all times in criticizing Chevron’s misconduct in Ecuador. That court stated that “there is nothing to suggest that AmazonWatch’s campaigns and speech were more than mere advocacy” and that “[a]ll that Chevron has shown this Court is that AmazonWatch has been very critical of Chevron’s operations in Ecuador.”

Chevron’s strategy of demonizing its critics and the lawyers who obtained the judgment has been criticized by 43 different civil society groups and dozens of international law scholars. AmazonWatch is an independent organization that stands by the Ecuadoran communities and their lawyers. The real issue is Chevron’s shocking refusal to abide by the judgment in Ecuador after insisting for years the case be heard there.

PAUL PAZ Y MIO

Director, Outreach and Online Strategy

AmazonWatch

San Francisco

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