Thursday, September 10, 2009

Chevron: Lights, Camera, Uh Oh!

As "Crude" premieres in New York City, Chevron's film is getting attention too, But not the attention it may want... Seems that Chevron’s filmmakers who made their directorial debut trying to bribe a judge by initiating a $3 million bribery scheme to secure water projects in Ecuador are being rewarded, even protected, by Chevron. Chevron is surely scrambling around as new evidence shows mystery businessman Wayne Hansen’s ties to Chevron emerge, and as Ecuador’s Attorney General calls for an investigation into Chevron's actions. Yesterday Chevron was busted for denying any connection to Wayne Hansen. Evidence emerged that, in fact, Wayne Hansen may have worked for a consulting firm that lists Chevron as a client - evidence that Chevron refused to disclose when they released their media fireworks campaign around the gifted Sky Mall spy videos.

As suspicious as that all seems, it isn’t the news that really caught my eye. News that Chevron continues to hide Diego Borja, or that it paid for his relocation, or the fact he recently worked for Chevron, as did another family member, isn't what caught my eye either.

The news that was most interesting was that Chevron’s lead spokesperson, Kent Robertson, said in an interview with Bloomberg yesterday that if Wayne Hansen “incurs future legal costs related to this matter, it would only be fair that we consider assisting him".

Hmm. One, this implies Hansen and Borjave may have broke the law and that charges may be brought against Chevron’s filmmakers (presumably for bribery, fraud, who knows what - I don’t have my legal crystal ball).

Two, Chevron is supporting, financially and otherwise, men who may be charged in an international bribery scheme that they recorded themselves. A scheme that highlights the continued efforts to further delay Chevron’s $27 billion lawsuit.

Chevron did a nice job creating a public relations blitz (well they ought to considering the army of PR firms they have, but regardless…credit where credit’s due).

However, unfortunately you can spin a media story, but you can’t spin an investigation.

– Nick

Nick Magel is Communications Manager at Amazon Watch. Prior to joining Amazon Watch, Nick was Director of the Freedom From Oil campaign at Global Exchange. Nick’s critiques of the US oil addiction have run in The New York Times, USA Today, and San Francisco Chronicle. Previously, Nick had worked on campaigns to stop new liquefied natural gas infrastructure on the west coast and developed climate based curricula for classrooms across the country. He received his MA in education from Lesley University.

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