Thursday, September 10, 2020

The Collapse of the American Empire?

 The Collapse of the American Empire?
(The Agenda with Steve Paikin)
 
"The Agenda welcomes Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges, who over the past decade and a half has made his name as a columnist, activist and author. He's been a vociferous public critic of presidents on both sides of the American political spectrum, and his latest book, 'America, the Farewell Tour,' is nothing short of a full-throated throttling of the political, social, and cultural state of his country."

Recorded a year ago, worth watching today.

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 (ScheerPost.com)

"Those, like environmental lawyer Steven Donziger, who fight the corporate control of our society on behalf of the vulnerable find the institutions of power unite to crucify them."
 
"...Donziger, who has been fighting polluting American oil companies for nearly three decades on behalf of indigenous communities and peasant farmers in Ecuador, has been under house arrest in Manhattan for a year. He will go to trial in federal court in New York on September 9 on contempt of court charges, which could see him jailed for six months. Ever since he won a multibillion-dollar judgment in 2011 against the oil giant Chevron, the multinational has come after him personally through litigation that threatens to destroy him economically, professionally and personally...
 
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"...It started when Texaco went into Ecuador in the Amazon in the 1960s and cut a sweetheart deal with the military government then ruling Ecuador,” Donziger told me. “Over the next 25 years, Texaco was the exclusive operator of a very large area of the Amazon that had several oil fields within this area, 1500 square miles. They drilled hundreds of wells. They created thousands of open-air, unlined toxic waste pits where they dumped the heavy metals and toxins that came up from the ground when they drilled. They ran pipes from the pits into rivers and streams that local people relied on for their drinking water, their fishing and their sustenance. They poisoned this pristine ecosystem, in which lived five indigenous peoples, as well as a lot of other nonindigenous rural communities. There was a mass industrial poisoning.”

“By the time I went down there in the early 1990s, many people had died, cancer rates were skyrocketing according to several independent health evaluations, people were really hurting. There was zero regard for the lives of the local people by Texaco. I was a very young lawyer back in 1993 when I first went to Ecuador. It was like looking at an apocalyptic scene. There was oil on the roads. People were living in abject poverty. They had no shoes. They would get oil on their feet when they walked along the roads. The oil pollution had permeated every aspect of daily life. It was in the food supply. It was in the water supply. It was in the air. The average person there would get exposed multiple times a day to very harmful, cancer-causing toxins, with foreseeable results.”

 “I, with other lawyers, filed a lawsuit in New York against Texaco. The reason we filed in New York was because Texaco’s headquarters were in New York in 1993. The decisions to pollute in Ecuador, to play God to the people of Ecuador, were made in New York. We sued in New York. Texaco tried to get the case back to Ecuador where they had never been held accountable, where they knew the indigenous peoples had no money or resources to find lawyers.”

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BONUS VIDEO INTERVIEW

On Contact: Chevron vs. Donziger 

(On Contact with Chris Hedges - includes transcript)

"On the show this week, Chris Hedges talks to Steven Donziger about the reach of corporate power. Donziger battled corporate oil giant Chevron over environmental pollution and destruction in Ecuador and won a settlement of $9.5 billion for indigenous communities. Since then, Chevron has waged a campaign against Donziger to try and destroy him economically, professionally and personally. He is on trial in federal court in New York on September 9 for contempt charges, which could send him to jail for six months."



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