Against impossible odds: Ecuadoreans’ Legal Fight Against Chevron Continues in Canada.
Texaco/Chevron vs Ecuador. Photo: La Hora.
On South America’s teleSur, journalist Joe Emersberger interviews lawyer Stephen Donziger on a crucial case with huge implications for us all.
Donziger: “The fact top law firms around the world are helping the Ecuadorean villagers is terrifying to Chevron and the fossil fuel industry and completely changes the risk calculus of oil drilling in delicate ecosystems. These firms normally represent the oil industry; now they are representing groups fighting that industry. That’s never happened before.”
True, this couldn’t happen without the lawyers. But before, during and after the courts have their say, again and again it’s people who live on the land and water under siege that have to hold the front line. Against Dakota Access, Enbridge, Line 9, Kinder Morgan, Energy East and all the other petro-invaders.
If our planet is to remain livable, these are the first people we should thank, and support.
DNB, the largest bank in Norway, has just sold its assets in the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Reports are unclear on the extent and nature of these assets (or maybe I just don’t know how to translate financialese). However, by all accounts the assets dumped by the bank are substantial.
Further, DNB is now considering the withdrawal of its loans to the project as well, which would leave a major gap in the project’s financing.
A first crack in the banking wall, DNB’s move is a direct result of steadfast resistance to the invading pipeline by the besieged Standing Rock Sioux and their allies, and escalating public pressure on the banks to divest from it.
subsidizing fossil fuels at our expense and the earth’s
displacing/killing people and other beings (some slowly, some in a flash) to get at fossil fuels
making war after war to control fossil fuels, and to continue fueling the war machine
burning fossil fuels as if there was no tomorrow, and no alternative.
It can’t be said often enough, or loud enough. We have to stop. And start…
Start points are everywhere – personal, local, regional, national, global, online, on the ground. Like this one: Justice and Equity in a 100% Renewable World: a live online conversation. November 10, 2016, 10:00am Pacific/ 1:00pm Eastern. Details here.
Or this: Corporate and government response to the west coast diesel spill off Heiltsuk First Nation (see above, ‘moving crude oil by ship’) has been shamefully slow and lax. The Heiltsuk people are fund-raising online to do research on the extent of damage to their coast and fishing grounds, essential for their survival. Details here.
Or this: Haven’t got around to accosting the big banks that finance the Dakota Access Pipeline? The online grassroots organization SumOfUs has just made it a lot easier. They also include a list of other practical ways to support the resistance to DAPL. Details here.
As early winter chills the Dakota plains, a brutal war continues to escalate against Indigenous people defending land, water and life from the invading Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The pipeline is meant to carry 500,000 barrels of toxic crude oil per day from North Dakota to Illinois. From years of bitter experience, catastrophic spills should be expected.
The project has faced determined resistance for months from the Standing Rock Sioux and members of nearly 100 indigenous peoples from across the U.S. and Canada. They carry on a centuries’ long struggle against colonial invasion and violence throughout the Americas.
By now 100s of defenders have been arrested, clubbed, pepper-sprayed, and maced. Updates here, and here.
Solidarity protests are being held and planned across the US and in Canada. For those of us who care but are unable to participate, action is still possible:
Behind the uniformed bullies with their military and chemical weapons, attack dogs, sound-cannons, assault vehicles and helicopters, lurk corporate oil/gas plunderers (in this case aka “Energy Transfer Partners”), and behind them hired governments, and behind them all, the international banking mafia safe in their glittering towers.
As well as raking in massive subsidies from governments, the pipeline builders also need major financing from banks. According to researchers at the US nonprofit Food & Water Watch, the $3.8 billion DAPL is financed by 17 banks in the US, Canada, Japan, Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Holland, Switzerland and Norway. All of them have the power to determine who gets financing and for what.
Contact information for the CEOs of DAPL-complicit banks is here.
Among them are three Canadian banks. One of them, TD (indicated by *), is directly complicit in the Dakota pipeline, and all three of them provide financial backing to the vast Bakken pipeline network, of which DAPL is one piece.
CEO contact information:
* TD Securities. Chairman, CEO, and President Bob Dorrance.
Corporate Office: P.O. Box 1, TD Bank Tower, 66 Wellington Street West, Toronto, Ontario M5K 1A2.
Shining moments happen now and then. While the big ones demand attention, small ones often escape notice. Some are in the eye of the beholder.
The Parthenon, Athens, Greece
For this beholder, a few of the big shining moments that come to mind: When years of massive popular uprising finally brought down the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines. When Iceland defied the European bankers. When indigenous Bolivians forced US corporate giant Bechtel to drop its plan to make them pay for their own water, even for rain that fell from the Andean sky. And then, just a week ago:
Despite a deluge of propaganda and threats, 61%of Greeks said Όχι, No! to financial-political strangulation by Euro-banks, Greek corporate gangsters and their wholly owned media.
That was a shining moment. It followed the January 2015 election of the Syriza movement to govern Greece, primarily on a promise to end imposed ‘austerity,’ a toxic mix of impoverishment and grand theft that had already devastated the country.
I am hungry for these shining moments, as I imagine many of us are. The big ones don’t come very often. Our grasping at straws can make us naive, trip us up on our own illusions.
A week later, the Όχι moment is over.
Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras overrode democracy and the clear wishes of his own people to accept, behind closed doors, a set of conditions guaranteed to be even more viciously destructive to his country than the ones a strong majority of Greeks had just refused in their historic referendum.
In their castles today, the international bankers and politicians who serve them are surely celebrating. They have made an example of the Greek people, as kings used to do with heads on pikes: See what we do to those who defy us.
How Greeks who invested their hopes in the new government and its promises feel today, I can hardly imagine. The grief and rage of two other observers is eloquently expressed here, and here.
And in a rapidly growing international protest on Twitter, #ThisIsACoup, here.
But the story doesn’t end there. It continues where it always does, in Greece and everywhere else, often out of sight on streets, in markets, cafés and tavernas, in offices, schools and barracks. People talk, they learn, they unravel the lies, patch the disappointments, share, organize, resist. And so it goes.
The story also continues in the turmoil and the quiet of our minds, where many small shining moments are born. Often they grow, and sometimes they bear fruit.