Spring is here and, true to form, paid protesters are gearing up for another season of state-sponsored activism and judicial intimidation.
The few remaining supporters of the “legal fraud of the century” have already begun a year of manufactured campaigns against Chevron, paid for by the government of Ecuador.
Just last month, Ecuador’s government bussed hundreds of expats and others to Washington DC from nine cities – from as far south as Miami and as far north as Toronto – to protest outside of a hearing held by the International Arbitration Tribunal at the World Bank, centered around denial of justice claims by Chevron against the Republic of Ecuador.
Ecuador’s government seems to be exporting judicial intimidation tactics employed by Steven Donziger and exposed in outtakes from the movie Crude, when he was caught on film saying, “You can say whatever you want, and at the end of the day, there’s a thousand people around the courthouse. You’re going to get what you want.”
Last year it was revealed that many of the protests and demonstrations against Chevron featured paid actors hired to carry signs, be disruptive and chant anti-Chevron slogans.
In May 2014, Businessweek reported that the protesters at Chevron’s 2014 Annual Stockholder Meeting in Midland, Texas, were extras who were paid $85 each. The actors were recruited and paid by a U.S. PR firm contracted by the government of Ecuador for an unprecedented $6.4 million.
A month later, more evidence of a fake campaign against Chevron emerged with more proof that actors were hired to participate in another anti-Chevron protest. The protest was in conjunction with International Anti-Chevron Day, an event sponsored by the government of Ecuador and supported by fringe activist groups like Amazon Watch. The event’s supporters and sponsors attempted to portray International Anti-Chevron Day as a global grassroots initiative against the company. But details emerged that exposed the events as nothing more than paid stunts. In June 2014, it was revealed that a New York City-based casting company, NYCastings, was retained to offer $80 for “extras” and $200 for “principle talent” to play anti-Chevron protesters for purposes of creating this propaganda video in support of International Anti-Chevron Day.
But aspiring actors weren’t the only ones recruited to star in the production. The Washington Free Beacon revealed last year that Ecuadorian authorities were footing the bill for celebrities like Sharon Stone, Mia Farrow, Danny Glover and Alexandra Cousteau to travel to Ecuador to join in their anti-Chevron campaign. Ecuador paid over $500,000 to the celebrity’s talent agencies, agreeing to put them up at first class hotels. The government of Ecuador has also paid for international journalists, activists and foreign politicians to travel to Ecuador to take part in the propaganda campaign.
The Republic of Ecuador and their state-sponsored anti-Chevron groups (Apoya al Ecuador/Support Ecuador, La Mano Sucia/The Dirty Hand, Justicia Para Ecuador/Justice for Ecuador, Chevroff, Toxic Effect, Crudo Juicio) are once again joining forces with the lawyers behind the fraudulent lawsuit against Chevron (Steven Donziger, Pablo Fajardo and Juan Pablo Saenz) and fringe activist groups (Amazon Watch) to hold anti-Chevron events. Last year, the Republic of Ecuador sponsored anti-Chevron events in 27 countries on May 21, and despite the fact that the events were exposed as complete frauds, their consulates and embassies are busily promoting this year’s events.
As another season of phony, state-sponsored activism begins, perhaps the only question that remains is “How much are they paying protesters this year?”