The most baseless of cases — especially if they involve the words ‘Indigenous’ and ‘environment’ — can tie up business for years
After clogging up the Canadian court system for seven years, an utterly corrupt multibillion-dollar lawsuit against California-based oil company Chevron on behalf of “poor Ecuadorean villagers” was finally dismissed by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice last Friday.
The suit, dubbed “the fraud of the century” by The Wall Street Journal, related to pollution caused by Texaco — a company that Chevron acquired in 2001 — when Texaco had been operating in Ecuador before 1992.
In fact, Texaco had paid for — and the Ecuadorean government had agreed to — remediation payments, but then a buccaneering American lawyer named Steve Donziger got into the act. A classmate of Barack Obama, Donziger engineered a US$9.5-billion judgment against Chevron in Ecuador. He had no trouble recruiting then-Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa to the cause.
Correa, a typical leftist caudillo, was already well acquainted with environmental blackmail. In 2010, his government, with the backing of the United Nations, suggested that unless the international community paid Ecuador US$3.6 billion, it would have no alternative but to bulldoze its own rainforest. The international community demurred.
Donziger recruited a raft of B-list celebrities — including Danny Glover, Mia Farrow and Trudie Styler (Mrs. Sting) — to be escorted to the alleged “Chernobyl of the Amazon” and express requisite outrage.