Chevron Going after a Political Cartoonist for Satirical Video He Made with Amazon Watch


Lindsay Abrams posted an interesting article about the Chevron Corporation at Salon yesterday. According to Abrams, one of the world’s largest oil companies is “desperate” to avoid paying billions of dollars in damages for the contamination in Ecuador’s rain forest caused by Texaco—which was absorbed by California-based Chevron in 2001. She said Chevron is SO desperate, in fact, that it is even going after a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist named Mark Fiore. Fiore claims that the oil company “has filed court documents over a satirical video he made in conjunction with the environmental nonprofit Amazon Watch.”

A little background on what Chevron is up to from Chevron Toxico (The Campaign for Justice in Ecuador) in 2011:

Victims of Chevron’s contamination from the region around oil boom-town Coca learn the news that the oil giant is suing them, accusing them of racketeering and extortion for their efforts to hold the company accountable for its abuses.

On February 2nd, Chevron filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York against the 47 “named plaintiffs” in the monumental environmental lawsuit against the company demanding cleanup of its contamination of their land in Ecuador’s Amazon region.

On a blog post dated February 4, 2014, Fiore wrote that Chevron had added “’web videos’ and ‘cartoons’ to the list of ways they have been injured by the evil conspiracy of people extorting them…” On the same day, Fiore also wrote the following:

Chevron was sued by villagers in Ecuador for leaving toxic waste all over the jungle.  Chevron lost the case and was hit with a multi-billion dollar judgment.  Chevron appealed and lost that, too.  Then, Chevron filed RICO charges against the villagers and the lead attorney on the case.  You know, accusing them of racketeering and being involved in a huge conspiracy to clean up the jungle extort money from Chevron.  No WONDER the Chevron lawyers make the big bucks!  Very creative guys.  

Here is the video Fiore made in conjunction with Amazon Watch that Chevron has claimed has “injured’ the company:

Donny Rico & Chevron make it a crime to defend the environment.


Chevron’s now going after political cartoonists: The oil conglomerate is claiming injuries from a satirical video VIDEO (Salon)

Chevron Countersues In Ecuador Pollution Case, Accused Of ‘Corporate Bullying’ (Huffington Post)

An Oil Company Just Spilled the First Amendment (Jonathan Turley)

Chevron pays for poisoning Ecuador (Salon)

Victims of Chevron’s Contamination React to Being Sued by Company (Chevron Toxico)

Cartoon “injures” Chevron: Update (Mark Fiore)

Chevron Files Fraud and RICO Case Against Lawyers and Consultants Behind Ecuador Litigation (The Amazon Post)

This entry was posted in Animation, Big Oil, Civil Liberties, Ecuador, Energy Policy, Fascists/Corporatists, Free Speech, Oligarchy, United Kingdom. Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to Chevron Going after a Political Cartoonist for Satirical Video He Made with Amazon Watch

  1. michael beaton says:

    Maybe one of the lawyers here could explain how this is even possible. Why does the legal system allow this level of attack? Or, to ask a different way, how is it that judges are unable to make basic judgements/assessments about seemingly obvious wrongs? Are judges that that inept? Or corrupt?
    And if this is allowed then why not “Rico Chevron’s ass?” ….

    If the answer ultimately comes in as some version of ‘they have the money”, then can the next statement be a clear statement that justice is no longer possible in America?

  2. Anonymously Yours says:

    One way and try and silence dissent…. Wow….

  3. From International Rights Advocates:

    SLAPP suits are rarely initiated with the expectation of winning. The primary purpose of these suits is to create further hurdles for the petitioners of the original suit. The additional litigation necessary for defending against a SLAPP suit can ramp up costs such that the plaintiffs in the original litigation can not maintain the suit. Intimidation is another purpose, with the ultimate goal of pressuring the original plaintiffs to drop the suit or retract their claims. Overall this can have a drastic chilling effect on public speech if individuals know they can be targeted for legal action when engaging in their constitutionally protected right to free speech.

    – See more at:

  4. RTC says:

    Beaton makes a couple of good points: There’s a blatant quality to this RICO suit that would seem to cry out for dismissal.
    “RICO Chevron’s ass”: After all, they are part of a cartel. Start pulling in other oil producers, attempt to show that Chevron’s environmental damages resulted from industry standards, practices that were imposed on the company due to the financial constraints of world wide price fixing.

  5. Mike Spindell says:

    As the old Jewish joke goes:

    “The definition of “Chutzpah” is the boy who murders his parents and asks the Judge for mercy since he is an orphan.”

  6. Elaine M. says:

    Chevron Cries: “Please Your Honor, Make the Cartoons Stop!”
    February 5, 2014
    Paul Paz y Miño

    Cartoons are dangerous. Did you know that? In fact, Chevon wants a US Federal Court to believe cartoons are even more dangerous than dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste into the Ecuadorian Amazon and then suing the very people it poisoned. Suppressing free speech, crushing critics with legal attacks, and violating the 1st Amendment – also less scary than cartoons, according to Chevron.

    Pulitzer Prize winning animator Mark Fiore discovered this when we pointed out that Chevron’s latest legal filing in their bogus RICO action against the Ecuadorians and their supporters included these lines:

    Chevron Has Suffered, and Will Continue to Suffer, Ongoing Injuries
    …Chevron continues to be threatened with a variety of “real, immediate, and direct” injuries.
    …they have already unleashed a barrage of near-daily press releases, letters to government officials and shareholders, web videos, and cartoons in an effort to extort a payoff from Chevron.

  7. Dredd says:

    Their desperation is on the upswing worldwide, except for the U.S., where most judges in some federal circuits did legal work for Oil-Qaeda at one point or another.

    They are in cahoots with the military NSA which has helped them spy on both competitors and their lawyers.

  8. Blouise says:

    Thanks, Elaine. This has been a real education as I was unaware of the shenanigans.

  9. Tony C. says:

    Here’s a little Daily Kos cartoon… Nothing to do with Exxon, but political and fun anyway. Suitable for Work, too.

  10. Mike Spindell says:


    Great cartoon! You beat me to the punch. I was trying to figure out if I could use it as a post. Beyond my WordPress skills.

  11. Byron says:

    tony c:

    Interesting cartoon. Why has public university tuition risen so high? Arent the private ones like DeVry and Univ. of Phoenix a response to rising public university tuitions? When I went in the early 80’s it was $1000 per semester now it is $8,000 per semester.

    I was talking to an economist friend of mine today and she said that people in racially homogeneous societies are more willing to increase taxes for education than are racially diverse societies. I was surprised by that fact[?].

  12. gbk says:


    “Why has public university tuition risen so high? Arent the private ones like DeVry and Univ. of Phoenix a response to rising public university tuitions?

    And you expect answers to your rhetorical questions?

  13. RTC says:

    How long before they accuse the Ecuadorians of terrorist activity?

  14. RTC says:

    That was rhetorical.

  15. Blouise says:

    I attended a dinner tonight with old friends from my high school days. One of the men had been cleaning out his attic as he and his wife prepare to down-size. He came upon his first 3 receipts for college tuition from the Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters of his freshman year at University. He was registered for 18 hours each quarter, lived with his parents and commuted so had no dorm or meal costs. He brought the 3 receipts with him along with a copy of the 2013-2014 Itemized Annual Fees he’d printed out from the same University’s web site. Fifty years ago, back in 1963 the tuition cost for 3 quarters was $225 and the number of credit hours was unlimited. The university has since gone to semesters and the tuition cost for 2 semesters is $9,816 with $447 per credit-hour fee for all enrolled semester hours over 16. If he were attending today he would have to add $1,788 for the additional 2 credit hours each semester bringing his tuition costs today to $11,604. $225 — 50 years — $11,604. We were a party of 18 and ordered 4 bottles of champagne to celebrate being on the leading edge of the baby-boomers. After toasting our parents sexual wisdom, the husband of one of our female friends smiled and told us that he had left our happy State in 1960 to travel cross country to California, establish residency, and attend the University of California for 7 years earning his bachelor, master, and phd degrees with no tuition costs at all. What the heck, we ordered another 2 bottles and toasted his parents.

  16. gbk says:


    My tuition cost has increased by 580% (rounding down) in only three years.

  17. Blouise says:

    I went to university on full paid scholarships so never really saw a class registration that included costs. Am I right when I say that the cost for tuition alone has increased by over 5000% in 50 years based on the figures I quoted above? I have little confidence in my math skills so look at that figure and think I must be wrong.

  18. gbk says:

    4,263% increase given what you stated — ignoring the change from a quarter system to a semester — but seen annually, you are not far off from 5,000%.

  19. gbk says:


    I used the $9,816 figure, not the $11,604 figure in my above post. Using the $11,604 figure the increase would be 5,057%. You’re right, again. 😉

  20. gbk says:

    A very underrated song:

  21. gbk says:

    Especially considering that the drum track was recorded, in mono, on a cassette — remember cassettes?

    One of those instances where performance trumps technical concerns. The shuffle of the pre-production recordings were never duplicated in the studio; despite, I’m sure, their best efforts.

    What’s my point? I have no idea.

  22. Blouise says:


    Who is doing the harmony? I have heard this somewhere … I want to say ‘country genre’ but that can’t be right … the line “Standing there
    with broken wings” is firmly planted in my head. I like the spiritual quality of the lyrics on top of the jump of the instruments. I’d love to do it with a bass fiddle, swooshing snares, bass guitar, and soft lead guitar.

    Hell yes, I have a million cassettes from (and for) practice sessions and performances.

  23. gbk says:


    Aaron Neville singing harmony; with one brother playing the drums and the other brother on bass. The song is one of my favorites for its simplicity, and yet it astounds me every time I hear it — honesty pervades.

    The gospel influence hangs like low fruit, but the looseness of the performance is beautiful.

  24. gbk says:

    It’s from Daniel Lanios’ 1989 “Acadie.”

  25. gbk says:


    Yeah, the swing of the drums along with the bass totally avoiding any tonic makes it very interesting.

  26. Tony C. says:

    Byron: Sorry for the late reply.

    I cannot speak for all universities, but in the few I know the problem is the same as the problem with politics and charities. Greed at the top. My university is (IMO) increasing tuition and getting grants from the state and pushing for donations just because they can, they acquire land, build new buildings, they want prestige and status in the community and state and country and money can buy that. It buys an arms-race for “name” professors and researchers that will give prestige to the university, which makes the leadership look good.

    Like any large organization I have had the displeasure of coming to know (government, non-profit, charity, hospital, military, corporation) there is a tendency for the greedy and ruthless to rise to the top and skim the cream, if they don’t start corrupt then the corrupt find their way to the top pretty quick, on average.

    One of the reasons I post anonymously here is simply that. I think the leadership of my university is politicized and corrupt, I have seen several tenured professors marginalized and forced to leave for not going along with the top management in their schemes to get more money for pointless or counter-productive boondoggles, and among those are several tenured Department heads that should have been safe. (As well as several tenured professors.)

    But nobody is safe. The sociopaths win, because they have no morals, stop at nothing in their greedy quests to get their way, and those that hesitate out of principle or sympathy or an avoidance of confrontation with authority or just because they are inexperienced in the ways of the sociopath are quickly lost. They inexperienced don’t know how to fight, and even the few that do don’t have the leverage of the Dean, Provost, Vice President or President. As in most organizations, once the ruthless gain power they try and systematically strip all others of power, to prevent any fair challenge. They want dictatorial powers. That isn’t always successful, some would-be dictators are successfully opposed, but that really doesn’t matter in the long run: Sooner or later, be it this decade or next, some would-be dictator finds the right combination of weak competition, or a fellow unprincipled sociopath willing to cooperate for their own personal gain, and the would-be dictator takes another step toward full dictatorship.

    So, yes, tuition is going up. At first to make up for inflated costs, but now just because it can. University President’s enjoy spending money, frankly. Every individual in the quite prestigious chain of command above me that is just a PhD administrator (no longer personally engaged in any research) I consider ethically impaired; they are chasing the money without regard to students or what is good for the colleges or for the research or professors engaged in research.

    It is the same as everywhere. Get the federal reports of any supposed charity or non-profit group; check out the pay of the officers. It is routinely in the $200K to $250K range or even higher. Not because that is what it would take to hire somebody to do those jobs. The average PR and Fund-raising Manager earns $110K, the average Marketing Manager about $130K, the average Financial Manager about $125K. That is all these charities are really doing, raising money and distributing it.

    The average CEO earns $177K, the average lawyer earns $135K, the average professor earns about $110K, the average General Practitioner MD earns $185K. But these people, many of whom have no post-graduate academic qualifications or experience whatsoever, will frequently pay themselves better than the average surgeon ($230K). Something like 15% of non-profits pay their executives over $1M a year.

    Why? If this is a non-profit and a good cause, why isn’t it managed and operated by people that believe in the cause, and are willing to take average pay for their occupation in order to make a difference in the world? I am not even suggesting they have to sacrifice, but it seems to me working at a job you love to make a difference you believe in should be worth some job value in itself. Why are non-profits managed and operated by people that require effective bribery, that need to be paid much more (often $100K a year more) than the average commercial pay for their profession?

    What exactly is the hardship for which they are being compensated?

    There isn’t one. Give me a charity, and I can find senior management that will work at the average salary for their position or less, with tons of experience and credentials. Chances are, I will cut the senior payroll in half and produce a better aid or research organization in the bargain.

    Because it isn’t about the charity, the senior management of charities and non-profits are parasites skimming donations and living well by squeezing dollars on the empathy and sympathy of others. They betray the trust of the public, hypocritically exhorting them to dig deep and sacrifice while they sacrifice nothing, and in fact happily pay themselves two or three times the average pay for their actual work, and $25K or $50K per month to do their job. Or, if you have the chance to look any deeper, to NOT do their job; because they are in charge: So they hire a spurious layer of the pyramid beneath them, people that do their job so they can spend a few hours a week “reviewing” the work they in fact are being paid to do.

    It is the same everywhere, Byron. Tuition is rising because University Presidents want to be in charge of larger universities that carry more prestige and pay better. We have been conditioned (by sociopaths) to mistakenly correlate large effects with complex explanations, but that is a false correlation. Some large effects are really simple. One of those simple rules is that sociopaths are attracted to power and money, the more the better, and larger organizations have more of it, so that is where they will be found.

    And as long as we humans continue to subscribe to the hierarchical management model (which may be forever), that pyramidal org-chart that is effectively a dictatorial scheme, so the power gradient becomes increasingly concentrated as we travel up the pyramid to the top (whether that is a single person or a small committee like a Board), the sociopaths attracted to the scent of power and money will learn to climb that pyramid. For them, merit may be a job requirement (you do still have to be a PhD to be a Dean or Provost or College President), but among such peers ruthlessness and unethical behavior can tilt the playing field in your favor. So in the balance of probability, sooner or later, the sociopaths win.

  27. Tony C. says:

    Byron says: Arent the private ones like DeVry and Univ. of Phoenix a response to rising public university tuitions?

    Maybe. I am truly not sure. To me they appear to be an artifact of economic distress. Enrollment does increase in bad economic times, the response of some people is to learn something new, or get a bigger degree in order to compete for a scarcity of jobs. The for-profit diploma mills can seem like a shortcut to that competitive edge; and (although I have no idea how University of Phoenix or DeVry graduates compare to their public university peers) I can see the appeal of an online, self-paced, and comprehensive off-hour schedule of classes (by which I mean every course necessary for a degree can be taken in the evening, weekend, or excluding the 7 am to 6 pm block M-F, so the students can graduate while holding a full-time job).

    Trade school training is a good way to step up from a low skill job to a higher skill job; I am paying the full ride for two of my nephews to attend trade schools right now (all tuition, books and living expenses).

    I don’t like for-profit education at all, for the same reason I don’t like for-profit medicine or medical insurance at all. I think it corrupts the product with inherent conflicts of interest that promote corner-cutting in order to increase the bottom line for personal greed.

    And I fail to see how an online course can possibly curtail cheating. Students cheat! I know for certain University of Phoenix students can cheat on both homework and tests. I am not clear on why this is different than a diploma mill (just pay enough money and they hand you a diploma). Not to denigrate the efforts of the honest UP graduates that did not cheat, but their accomplishment is certainly diminished due to their choice of venue; which affords them less certainty that they were honest and did the work just because the venue makes it extremely easy to cheat.

  28. Elaine M. says:

    Sen. Harkin’s Report: For-Profit Colleges Leave Students With Debt But No Degree
    By David Halperin

    Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and his Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee staff released Sunday a report based on a comprehensive investigation of 30 of the biggest for-profit college companies. It’s full of stark revelations about this controversial, troubled industry.

    I’ve been saying for a couple of years that, no matter how cynical one’s view of Washington is, it cannot encompass the perpetuation of the terrible impunity of America’s for-profit colleges. For over a decade, these corporations have taken billions from taxpayers — now about $33 billion a year — for a toxic mix of high-priced, low-quality programs that leave many students — veterans, students of color, low-income students, immigrants, and others — deep in debt, their hopes crushed, their lives ruined.

    For-profit colleges now account for about 10 percent of U.S. students but 25 percent for federal financial aid and nearly half of all student loan defaults. Many schools get 85-90 percent or more of their revenues from federal taxpayers, and they spend most of it on items like marketing, recruiting, and big executive salaries, rather than education and job placement. Not all for-profit colleges are that bad, but many, including most of the big ones, are.

    There is stalemate in Washington on holding this industry accountable, because the big money that it spends on lobbying, lawyering, and campaign contributions has bought the allegiance of many congressional Republicans and Democrats and has thwarted federal regulations. Thus determined reform efforts by the Obama Administration, and principled leaders like Senators Harkin, Dick Durbin(D-IL), and Kay Hagan (D-NC), and Representatives Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Maxine Waters (D-CA), and Keith Ellison (D-MN), have largely been blocked.

  29. Elaine M. says:

    Charlie Pierce refers to Ron Paul as “Crazy Uncle Liberty!”

    In Which Ron Paul Teaches Us About Secession
    By Charles P. Pierce
    November 20, 2012

    I was ever amused by liberal goobers who signed on with Crazy Uncle Liberty because he made some gobbling noises about drones and war and the useless efforts to battle pot to a standing draw. It was for them that the blog enacted its Five Minute Rule.

    If you listen to a Ron Paul fan, or to the man himself, for five minutes, you will agree with everything he says. However, at precisely the 5:00.01 mark of the conversation, they, or he, will say something so completely drawn from the archives of the Planet Zontar that you will find yourself sidling towards the door at an alarming rate.

    Herewith today’s example.

    Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said Monday that secession was a “deeply American principle,” amid a growing number of people petitioning the White House to let their states secede from the U.S. “Secession is a deeply American principle. This country was born through secession. Some felt it was treasonous to secede from England, but those ‘traitors’ became our country’s greatest patriots,” the former presidential candidate wrote in a post on his House website. “There is nothing treasonous or unpatriotic about wanting a federal government that is more responsive to the people it represents.”

    First of all, no. The country was not born through “secession” as anyone understands the word. The determination of the American colonies to leave the British Empire was not “secession.” Secession implies that both sides entered into an voluntary arrangement that one side now chooses to leave. I would have liked to see Crazy Uncle Liberty wander into the Second Continental Congress and explain to delegate Jefferson how the relationship between Great Britain and its American holdings was merely a voluntary association that the Americans wanted to abandon.

  30. Blouise says:

    Just because.

    (I used to go watch this ‘singer’ in the early ’90’s whenever I was in New York … got to know him pretty well but not as Jeff 😉 )

  31. Blouise,
    He died way too young. I used to live in Memphis and am familiar with the Wolf River Harbor where he drowned. That is the old Wolf River channel before the Corps of Engineers rerouted the Wolf River away from the north end of Mud Island and its airport. Treacherous water.

  32. Tony C. says:

    Elaine: And Pierce is making a straw man argument, too. True, the country was not founded by “secession,” it was founded by violent revolt. Is that something Pierce advocates instead?

    Is Pierce incapable of anything but literalism? Isn’t “secession” a less violent form of separation than rebellion? Here is how the DOI starts:

    When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them,…

    I think it is fair to say that Ron Paul was thinking of “secession” and “rebellion” as similar forms of “dissolving the political bands that bind them.”

    And if this is his best example, I think Pierce is the “liberal goober” that prefers to guffaw instead of trying to understand what somebody like Paul is trying to say, which is that the idea of “Independence” is in the American DNA. And while I disagree with Paul on this point, I at least understood the point he was trying to make.

    Pierce is just another tribalist incapable of seeing reality without first picking an ad hominem filter to view it through.

  33. Dredd says:

    Oil-Qaeda members are cut from the same cloth:

  34. Elaine M. says:

    Tony C.,

    You should read Pierce’s politics blog at Esquire. He coins names for all manner of people–and he has a funny sense of humor. I happen to think Pierce is right about Ron Paul. Paul makes a lot of sense on a number of issues…but one needs to listen to all the stuff he says in order to get a full measure of the man.

  35. Elaine M. says:

    The Christian fundamentalism behind Ron Paul’s home-schooling curriculum
    Do supporters of the small-government libertarian realise how wedded Paul is to a rigidly dogmatic religious conservatism?
    Sarah Posner
    Friday 12 April 2013

  36. Blouise says:


    His death was a real tragedy on all sorts of levels.

  37. Blouise,
    The older I get, it seems those I care about are leaving earlier and earlier. It is sad that when you start looking for old classmates, the first place to look is Find A Grave. If they are listed, you know to stop looking for an address.

  38. RTC says:

    Yo g(bk),

    Interesting link. I recall a South American neocon dictator was besieged by protesters, most of them indigenous, back in 2002 or 2003. The neocon called them terrorists, a foretelling, I thought, when all opposition will be termed a form of terrorism.

    Also, interjecting into this conversation about college tuition, Thom Hartman likes to point out that tuition for medical schools was very low in California before Reagan took office. As a result, doctors didn’t need to charge an arm and a leg for medical care, but when they started coming out of medical school saddled with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, they needed to raise fees to pay off the debt. Once the medical providers got accustomed to commanding higher fees and the lifestyle that came along with it, like a heroin addict, they wanted more and more. So that’s why, according to Hartman, health care costs have risen so dramatically.

    So yeah, blame it on Reagan. Or more accurately, his backers and handlers.

    Enjoy the Olympics, everybody!

  39. Blouise says:


    This month I attended 2 funerals for good friends. Both a couple years younger than I and both in perfectly good health. Both died in their sleep. Last Sept another good friend died in her sleep. Last month a dear, dear friend caught the flu. She started coughing and couldn’t stop. Her husband insisted she go to the emergency room and drove her there. She died in the parking lot from cardiac arrest from coughing!

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