From Alternet in the USA:
By Han Shan, AlterNet. Posted August 26, 2009.
The new film exposes an environmental tragedy experts call the “Amazon Chernobyl,” and believe is the worst case of oil-related contamination ever.
American oil giant Chevron is now the 5th largest company on the planet. But I doubt Chevron executives have had much time to savor their ‘Masters of the Universe’ status lately. Instead, I imagine them working overtime with their internal public relations team and mercenary army of PR spinmasters, lobbyists, and sponsored bloggers they’ve brought on to fight what looks more and more like a losing battle. What’s got them burning the midnight oil?
Two weeks from today, a powerful new documentary film is opening in New York, and then playing in select theaters across the country. Called CRUDE, the film tells a shocking story that Chevron does not want the world to know.
Three years in the making by acclaimed filmmaker Joe Berlinger (Brother’s Keeper, Paradise Lost, and Metallica: Some Kind of Monster), CRUDE chronicles the epic legal battle to hold Chevron accountable for its systematic contamination of the Ecuadorian Amazon — an environmental tragedy experts call the “Amazon Chernobyl“, and believe is the worst case of oil-related contamination on Earth.
While drilling in the Ecuadorian Amazon from 1964 to 1990, Texaco, now Chevron, deliberately dumped more than 18 billion gallons of toxic wastewater, spilled roughly 17 million gallons of crude oil, and left hazardous waste in hundreds of open pits dug out of the forest floor. The company operated using substandard practices that were obsolete in order to increase its profit margin by $3 per barrel of crude. Of course, the local people and ecosystems paid the price instead, but they’re fighting back.
Centering on a landmark lawsuit filed by the indigenous people and campesinos who continue to suffer a severe public health crisis caused by Chevron’s contamination, CRUDE is a high-stakes David vs. Goliath legal drama with 30,000 Amazon rainforest dwellers facing down the San Ramon, California-based oil behemoth.
Amazon Watch‘s Clean Up Ecuador Campaign – featured in the film – is leading grassroots efforts to promote the theatrical release, enlisting human rights and environmental allies across the U.S. in an outreach and word-of-mouth marketing campaign. Numerous organizations have pledged support and committed to concrete efforts to build the profile of this must-see film, including Rainforest Action Network, Oxfam USA, WITNESS, EarthRights International, Human Rights Watch, and Global Green, to name just a few.
CRUDE is not a simplistic piece of agit-prop. Filmmaker Joe Berlinger shows all sides of this monumental case and the stories and people behind it. Chevron is given plenty of opportunity to share its perspective. Unfortunately for them, in the end, truth does appear to pick a side and it’s not Chevron’s. …
Ultimately, the film gives us a glimpse of the beauty and mystery of the Amazon and its indigenous cultures, and puts a human face on the devastation left there by three decades of oil operations. But it does a lot more. Among other things, it also tells the story of what it takes to go up against one of the most powerful companies on the planet.
See also here.
Court Orders Documentary Filmmaker to Hand Ecuador Footage to Chevron: here.
Michael Winship, Truthout: “Joe Berlinger’s back is against the wall. Last week the independent filmmaker, already facing crushing debt from legal bills, was dealt a major blow in his continuing fight against the third-largest company in America: Chevron. It’s a battle that epitomizes the hardship individuals face trying to challenge corporate giants that punch back with a knockout force of high-powered lawyers and unlimited cash. What’s more, Berlinger’s struggle continues to raise serious First Amendment issues and – as we approach the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision – throws yet another spotlight on the increasingly pro-business stance of the nation’s legal system”: here.
How a new forest road can destroy wildlife: here.
Hundreds of demonstrators blocked Ecuador‘s Pan American highway on Monday in protest at a new mining law they claimed would lead to the privatisation of natural resources.
Will Ecuador’s plan to raise money for not drilling oil in the Amazon succeed? Here.
QUITO, Apr 10, 2010 (IPS) – Representatives of Ecuador’s ombudsman’s office and environmental groups are visiting the Yasuni National Park on Saturday, home to some of the world’s last indigenous people still living in voluntary isolation, in order to verify reports of illegal activity by oil companies: here.
Ecuador’s President seeks a global boycott of Chevron over its refusal to pay up on a £11.8 billion judgement against it: here.
Bolivia: Morales Annuls Forest Exploitation Concessions, Turns Land Over to Indians: here.
Environmental activists expose Chevron’s crimes: here.
- Panel rules for Chevron in Ecuador Amazon case (boston.com)
- Richmond Mayor to Tour Ecuadorian Region Devastated by Chevron (eastbayexpress.com)