During our years reporting for the Berkeley Daily Planet, we wrote any number of stories about the Chevron refinery in nearby Richmond on the shores of San Francisco Bay.
As the dominant economic power in a city on of the region’s poorest city, one with a large minority population and in a state of economic implosion, the company was the target of considerable community concerns about fires [they had ‘em] and pollution.
The firm was represented by Willie Brown, the former powerful speaker of the lower house of the legislature of the richest and most populous state in the country, the same Willie Brown casino developers hired to sell the black population of Atlantic City on the ballot measure that legalized casinos there. Willie promised them jobs and good housing; they got neither.
Sophisticated at public relations and press-spinning, Chevron played a dominant role in funding city council elections and turning out supporters, sometimes financed by contributions to churches and other organizations, to ensure their messages got across at city council meetings.
But Richmond’s concerns pale compared to those experienced by thousands of Ecuadorians, the subject of former Bay Area journalist Abby Martin’s latest episode of her series for teleSUR English:
The Empire Files: Chevron vs. the Amazon – Inside the Killzone
A U.S. court just handed another victory to the oil giant Chevron Texaco, in its decades-long battle to avoid paying damages it owes in one of the worst environmental disasters in history. In the Ecuadorean Amazon, the most biodiverse area of the world, the energy titan deliberately poisoned 5 million acres of pristine habitat and subjected tens of thousands of indigenous peoples to destruction of their health and culture. In Part 1 of ‘Chevron vs. the Amazon,’ Abby Martin takes The Empire Files inside Chevron Texaco’s Amazon killzone to see the areas deemed “remediated” by Chevron, and spoke with the people living in the aftermath.