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CRUDE - The Real Price of Oil

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posted on Oct, 22 2009 @ 05:35 PM
The story:

Three years in the making, this cinéma-vérité feature from acclaimed filmmaker Joe Berlinger (Brother’s Keeper, Paradise Lost, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster) is the epic story of one of the largest and most controversial environmental lawsuits on the planet. The inside story of the infamous “Amazon Chernobyl” case, Crude is a real-life high stakes legal drama, set against a backdrop of the environmental movement, global politics, celebrity activism, human rights advocacy, the media, multinational corporate power, and rapidly-disappearing indigenous cultures. Presenting a complex situation from multiple viewpoints, the film subverts the conventions of advocacy filmmaking, exploring a complicated situation from all angles while bringing an important story of environmental peril and human suffering into focus.

The landmark case takes place in the Amazon jungle of Ecuador, pitting 30,000 indigenous and colonial rainforest dwellers against the U.S. oil giant Chevron. The plaintiffs claim that Texaco – which merged with Chevron in 2001 – spent three decades systematically contaminating one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth, poisoning the water, air and land. The plaintiffs allege that the pollution has created a “death zone” in an area the size of the Rhode Island, resulting in increased rates of cancer, leukemia, birth defects, and a multiplicity of other health ailments. They further allege that the oil operations in the region contributed to the destruction of indigenous peoples and irrevocably impacted their traditional way of life. Chevron vociferously fights the claims, charging that the case is a complete fabrication, perpetrated by “environmental con men” who are seeking to line their pockets with the company’s billions.

The case takes place not just in a courtroom, but in a series of field inspections at the alleged contamination sites, with the judge and attorneys for both sides trudging through the jungle to litigate. And the battleground has expanded far beyond the legal process. The cameras rolled as the conflict raged in and out of court, and the case drew attention from an array of celebrities, politicians and journalists, and landed on the cover of Vanity Fair. Some of the film’s subjects sparked further controversy as they won a CNN “Hero” award and the Goldman Award, the environmental equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

Shooting in dozens of locations on three continents and in multiple languages, Berlinger and his crew gained extraordinary access to players on all sides of the legal fight and beyond, capturing the drama as it unfolded while the case grew from a little-known legal story to an international cause célèbre. Crude is a ground-level view of one of the most extraordinary legal dramas of our time, one that has the potential of forever changing the way international business is conducted. While the environmental impact of the consumption of fossil fuels has been increasingly documented in recent years, Crude focuses on the human cost of our addiction to oil and the increasingly difficult task of holding a major corporation accountable for its past deeds.

The trailer:

Related websites and info:

And just as the indigenous people were about to receive justice, this latest development:

The lawsuit, the largest of its kind, has lasted 16 years, pitting U.S. oil giant Chevron against residents in the Amazon jungle of Ecuador. They accuse the company of massive petro-contamination of their communities in the late 20th century and seek $27 billion in damages, an amount that has turned nervous corporate heads worldwide.

But now, three months before a verdict is expected to be handed down, Chevron is doing the accusing, filing its own action with Ecuador's prosecutor general. It charges that the Ecuadorian judge in the case should be removed because, it claims, secretly recorded videos captured him admitting that he has already decided that Chevron is guilty — and they allegedly implicate him in a scheme to snag $3 million in bribes from firms hoping to win oil-cleanup contracts after his ruling. Also implicated are high-ranking officials in the government of leftist Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, an outspoken critic of the U.S.

The videos, recorded in June, show Judge Juan Nuñez in meetings with two men, an American and an Ecuadorian, who are allegedly soliciting cleanup deals. Nuñez appears to be merely explaining to them the judicial process involved in the Chevron suit. But at one point he is asked by the American, businessman Wayne Hansen, if Chevron is el culpable — the guilty party. Nuñez, off camera, answers, "Sí, señor" — "Yes, sir." Says Charles James, executive vice president of Chevron, which posted the videos on the Internet on Aug. 31: "No judge who has participated in meetings of the type shown on these tapes could possibly deliver a legitimate decision.",8599,1920104,00.html

So now Chevron is suing to stop the ruling because of the very same corruption they benefited from.

I encourage you to investigate this story for yourself or at least watch CRUDE if you get a chance. This is a story that deserves all the publicity it can get ... multinational corporations making billions on the backs of third world nations is nothing new, it is precisely part of the reasons why these nations remain impoverished.

I get so frustrated on this site when folks make so much effort to "debunk" climate change and fail to see the greater problems with our dependence on fossil fuels and non-renewable energy.

The above notwithstanding, this story is a perfect example of the sordid dealings and practices of Big Oil, corrupt governments, and their conspiracies, all literally "fueled" by consumerism and overconsumption.

[edit on 22 Oct 2009 by schrodingers dog]

posted on Oct, 22 2009 @ 06:01 PM
reply to post by schrodingers dog

Thanks for highlighting this.

When one watches this, there is the conundrum, we all drive, yet we dont want people to die and get sick. No one will stop driving as a result, as the images are "too distant" from our everyday life. Indigenous people have been exploited everywhere, and we can see that companies do it still, like colonialsim, the traditional land ownerl doesnt matter, just the resource.

I will be watching the case

EDIT to add, The extraordinary eco system is just as exploited and destroyed, but they cant take Texaco to court

[edit on 22-10-2009 by zazzafrazz]

posted on Oct, 22 2009 @ 07:05 PM
Just a few days ago I saw the media release from the UK energy research centre that says that oil peak will happen alot earlier than 2030. The Ecuador scenario is a relfection of the rabid exploitation of this resource, This over consumption means we need to find a Saudi sized reserve every three years to maintain consumption, or finally promote a viable renewable alternative. It says we are basically completely unprepared for the peak of oil before 2020.

I may be wrong, But I cant find another independant study reviewing all aspects of the ‘peak oil’ debate like this report.

Rising oil prices will will force people to alternate sources, that are also carbon-intensive which will make it difficult or impossible to prevent dangerous climate change. When this change affects us, Im sure people will pay more attention to this thread, when its no longer just about some indigenous people in a forrest far far away.

08.10.09: a significant risk of a peak before 2020. The report concludes that the UK Government is not alone in being unprepared for such an event - despite oil supplying a third of the world’s energy. The report finds that we are entering an era of slow and expensive oil as resources get harder to find, extract and produce. Major new discoveries, such as those announced recently in the Gulf of Mexico, will only delay the peak by a matter of days or weeks. Simply maintaining global production at today’s level would need the equivalent of a new Saudi Arabia every three years.

According to the report’s chief author, Steve Sorrell, senior researcher at UKERC, “In our view, forecasts which delay a peak in conventional oil production until after 2030 are at best optimistic and at worst implausible. "And given the world's overwhelming dependence upon oil and the time required to develop alternatives, 2030 isn't far away.
The concern is that rising oil prices will encourage the rapid development of carbon-intensive alternatives which will make it difficult or impossible to prevent dangerous climate change.”

The report defends more optimistic estimates of the size of oil resources but notes that much of this is in smaller less accessible fields which may only be produced relatively slowly and at high cost. It also highlights the accelerating decline in production from existing fields; more than two thirds of current crude oil production capacity

[edit on 22-10-2009 by zazzafrazz]

posted on Oct, 23 2009 @ 07:37 AM
The REAL shame to all of this is that for decades the oil companies and our own government have been actively repressing technology that would free us of dependence on oil.

Every time anyone has independently come up with techniques to make a real difference on our dependence on oil, it has either been bought and shelved or the inventor has met with an untimely end.

It is the reason we will not see real disclosure because that will let the cat out of the bag on energy.

posted on Oct, 23 2009 @ 08:12 AM
Interesting , Ecuador and Panama were two of the countries that
the main character is first deployed to in "Confessions of an Economic Hitman".
His job was to negotiate infrastructure projects building hydroelectric dams, power grids , Telecomm networks all financed and secured by the country's natural resources.

The CIA installed puppet government officials accepted the payoffs from the oil companies living like kings while the majority of the population live in squalor.

Because these are less developed countries as far a ecological standards and/or laws are concerned, these oil corporations have little if any regard for the welfare of the citizens. Its all about pumping those oil profits.

We're partly to blame for this, in our demand for gasoline for our big V8 trucks and SUVs. How often do Americans walk anyplace ?

posted on Oct, 23 2009 @ 09:54 AM
They had a representative from Chevron on CNN yesterday saying it's all the Chilean govt's fault and Chevron is completely innocent, in a response to a scathing interview by Kerry Kennedy.

Here's the transcript from that interview. (Scroll down a bit)

posted on Oct, 23 2009 @ 10:34 AM
A non political emotional point to be made...though this does move me emotionally.

I received my degree in economics and one of the most insightful lectures I attended was the economics of polluting.

Taxpayers literally subsidize directly through medical costs and indirectly through government clean-up programs those companies that pollute. They recieve an economic advantage by emitting pollutants into streams, waterways and the air and not carrying the appropriate expense of clean-up.

Those companies virtually never pay for the actual medical costs associated with that pollution or the clean-up required.

If those costs were returned directly to the refinery, manufacturer etc. then free market capitalism would move them toward cleaner technologies.

You can run the numbers and graphs on any given corporate polluter and come up with very close estimates of the disparity in expense between actual cost and the reduced costs they benefit from by polluting.

They are not operating under capitalism, but rather corruption at the expense of the taxpayer. We...through lack of envirornmental regulations and enforcement of the their profits.

posted on May, 14 2010 @ 05:19 PM

posted on Jun, 4 2010 @ 07:37 PM

posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 07:45 PM
Just wanted to post some results to this debacle.


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