Chevron, quickly becoming one of my least favorite companies on the planet.

Big oil is responsible for a lot of heinous crimes. They fund death squads cloaked as “private security” and help install brutal dictatorships that are friendly to their business.

Being from Texas, I’ve had my share of run-ins with nasty members of the oilagarchy like Exxonmobil and Halliburton.  But living in the Bay Area, I thought I’d no longer be living in the shadow of Big Oil.

Not so. Actually San Francisco is home to one of nastiest members of that clique-Chevron.

They pollute, poison, maim and kill all over the world. Burma, Nigeria, Iraq, Ecuador, Richmond CA and the Tar Sands.

At 7am, 100 of us met the company’s shareholders as they went into their annual meeting. Outside we donned Tyvek suits, grabbed our brooms and set out to”Clean Up” Chevron.

Inside a number of activists sparred with CEO Dave O’Reilly about their horrible human rights and environmental record. During the meeting he called Nigerian activists attacked by Chevron armed militias for protesting drinking water poisoned by Chevron “criminals” and told victims of environmental injustice in Ecuador that Chevron was no longer responsible for toxic waste left in their communities by the oil giant.

O’Reilly and his company make record profits from poisoning and killing people in their homes and he has the nerve to be offended when they confront him in public. The only word that comes to mind is “scumbag.”

And if that’s not enough :

  • Chevron is lobbying hard to privatize Iraqi state owned oil
  • Poisoning local refinery communities like Richmond.
  • Hiring thugs to oppress dissent and protest (here and abroad).
  • Doing business with the Burmese junta (Yes, the fucking Burmese junta!).
  • Making billions in revenues from high gas prices while the world slips into an economic recession.
  • Spending countless dollars on greenwashing advertising to paint themselves a friendly face.

Like I said quickly becoming my least favorite company.

Action pics

jodie chevron

Here are some news reports from inside and outside the meeting.

3 Responses to “Chevron, quickly becoming one of my least favorite companies on the planet.”

  1. 1 Nick Magel May 28th, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    Thanks Scott, here is a response from Sowore, one of the Nigerian men that addressed Chevron today.

    Chevron adds insult to injury

    Yesterday Chevron held their annual shareholder meeting.
    Chevron’s celebration over record-breaking profits was met by groups who spoke out against the human and environmental costs of those profits.

    Community members from Richmond to Nigeria, Ecuador to Burma, highlighted Chevron’s human rights violations and environmentally destructive business practices behind our nearly $5 gas prices

    Their stories are ones of global and local consequence. They illustrate Chevron’s legacy. Chevron’s legacy that is highlighted in my native Nigeria, where some of Chevron’s worst crimes have been unearthed. And it was this legacy that I shared with Chevron executives and shareholders.

    In late 1998, I traveled with a team of American reporters deep into the Niger Delta region to visit a village 30 miles from my home. There, an entire community of Ilaje villagers lay in shock from an attack on unarmed protesters seeking economic and environmental compensation from Chevron Oil Company. The notorious “kill and go” mobile police and soldiers working with Chevron’s cooperation carried out these attacks. Chevron has since admitted that their own helicopters flew in these soldiers, who killed two protesters and injured several others .

    Larry Bowoto, survived this attack with multiple gunshot wounds that left him with eternal reminders of that day.

    Larry and I attended Chevron’s stockholders meeting at Chevron’s San Ramon Valley campus earlier today. While in the meeting we were allotted face to face time with top Chevron management staff, and we asked them to take responsibility for their operations in Nigeria. But the response from Chevron’s Chairman, David O’Reilly, was bullish and dismissive. After Larry made his presentation, Mr. O’Reilly referred to Larry as a “criminal” who held Chevron workers hostage alongside other villagers he falsely claimed were armed.

    Chevron has become an active collaborator with brutal government regimes. People around the world, such as Larry, who live near Chevron’s oil drilling and refining facilities have been left without drinking water, electricity, health care facilities, and schools.

    Rather than taking steps to stop additional atrocities, Chevron has instead worked closely with (and paid??) corrupt police and military personnel. And we continue to hear reports of attacks on Nigerian villagers, pollution of Ecuadorian Amazon forests and the repression of those who have protested against Chevron over the years.

    Despite nine years of lawsuits and the court rulings that Chevron need stand trial for company operations in Nigeria, Mr. O’Reilly’s personal attack on Larry at the stockholder’s meeting is emblematic of the legal games Chevron’s lawyers will play in the Bay Area Federal and State courts this fall.

    The good news is that the lawsuit brought against Chevron before a federal and state high court in California will proceed to trial this September. A jury trial in the federal case will enable Americans to see and hear firsthand carefully documented records of Chevron’s involvement in the murder of two peaceful protesters. Chevron officials have already given confessions and left paper trails that provide the background information about how Chevron tried to conceal its involvement. It is the only hope of the Ilaje villagers, twenty of whom are scheduled to give testimony at the trial, to get justice.

    While we expected our voices to fall on deaf eyes in the shareholders’ meeting, we did not expect to be called criminals by Chevron’s CEO. The meeting was the first step towards building awareness around Chevrons operations in Nigeria and this fall’s court proceedings, where Chevron will need more than mere insults to escape the truth.

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Scott Parkin is a Senior Campaigner with Rainforest Action Network and organizes with Rising Tide North America. He has worked on a variety of campaigns around climate change, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, mountaintop removal, labor issues and anti-corporate globalization. Originally from Texas, he now lives in San Francisco.

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