Thank you Steven Donziger
You could find 1oo articles and then a hundred more about the human rights activist who became victim of the United States first corporate prosecution.
Judge Kaplan charged Steven with contempt of court.
He then took the charge to the US attorney’s office to a federal prosecutor who refused to prosecute Steven because he concluded that the charges were baseless or not worth the effort after which Judge Kaplan appointed a private law firm to prosecute Steven in the name of the government and hid the fact that the law firm had Chevron as a client.
Ergo – the first corporate prosecution in American history. “I’m the victim of the country’s first corporate prosecution. I’m charged with criminal contempt of court for refusing - appropriately I believe – to turn over my computer and cell phone to Chevron. Devices that, of course, have a tremendous amount of confidential attorney-client protected information.” ~ Steven Donziger
Steven has served nine times longer in house arrest than the longest sentence EVER imposed on a lawyer convicted of his level of offense.
On October 1st 2021 he was sentenced to 6 months in jail by Judge Loretta Preska.
Steven has been sentenced way beyond anything that has ever been seen before for his level of offense in the United States.
Prosecuted by a private law firm that has Chevron as a client.
“For more than 27 years Steven has represented the Indigenous peoples and rural farmers of Ecuador against Texaco—since acquired by Chevron—which was accused of dumping at least 16 billion gallons of toxic waste into the area of the Amazon rainforest in which they live. Cancer is now highly prevalent in the local population. Some have called it the "Amazon Chernobyl." They first filed suit in New York in 1993, but Texaco lobbied, successfully, to move the proceedings to Ecuador. In 2011, the team of Ecuadorian lawyers Donziger worked with won the case, and Chevron was ultimately ordered to pay $9.8 billion.” (source: https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a35812573/steven-donziger-chevron-house-arrest/)
Chevron did not seem to appreciate being held accountable for poisoning people and land – which seems to be a common theme amongst the richest, most powerful corporations and companies in the world.
Now that you have a bit of an insight on what is going on here I did not write this with the purpose of being another person to reiterate headlines, technicalities and quotes from different articles.
I want to thank Steven Donziger.
I want to acknowledge that he is not just a human rights lawyer who helped win a monumental case and is being treated unfairly.
He is not just a guy you see on social media once in a while accompanied by a hashtag that reads #freedonziger.
And neither is he mere entertainment on TV.
To appear on the Trevor Noah show and forgotten by the middle of the next commercial.
I know that we CANNOT care about every single thing and person that is facing injustice in this world.
We cannot donate to every cause, sign every petition and join every protest or march.
It is impossible. And I do know that Steven has so much support from so many people who are doing everything in their power to help and support him and that he is not just a phenomenon being reported on.
The purpose of this is to think of Steven the person.
Steven who is a father, a cousin, a husband, a guy who goes grocery shopping and watches TV with his son.
A man who was once a boy who learned to ride a bike and sat with his parents at his High School graduation.
He could be your neighbor who is sitting one apartment over eating cereal and reading the newspaper.
He is your fellow human who decided to dedicate himself to a cause that is of importance to all of us.
Keeping indigenous communities and knowledge safe and protecting this planet from more greed, pollution and injustice is important to all of us.
The first time I watched the video on YouTube from the “Yale Global Justice Program” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAE-bQbByW4 )
When I dialed into Stevens sentencing on the 1st of October 2021 and Judge Preska ignored even Amnesty International’s call for his immediate release – I was frustrated, sad and even surprised by the verdict although Steven had already said that this was a realistic possibility.
Steven has described the pollution he saw in the Ecuadorian Amazon as an “apocalyptic nightmare”.
Please go watch the video on the YouTube Channel of the “Yale Global Justice Program”- it speaks for itself.
Sometimes it looks to me like Steven is handling this better than many of his supporters or allies and seeing himself less as a victim but more as a symbol to make the general public realize what sort of system we live in.
That these fantastic stories we hear do not just take place in motion pictures.
That something needs to change and that his case might rattle the system, rattle the people, that it might be a wake-up call and expose once again that even the law in a country like the U.S. is not free of being compromised by the companies and corporations that hold too much power.
So thank you Steven, for fighting. For being brave and giving hope to others.
Thank you for your strength in the face of uncertainty.
Thank you for helping protect the rights and voice of indigenous people and communities.
Thank you for being a person who stepped up.
You are a fighter who had no more of an obligation than any other person to step up for what is right – yet you did it anyway at a personal cost.
Thank you Steven Donziger for helping to hopefully change these systems into ones that protect people and planet – not corporations.
Find out more on https://www.freedonziger.com/
Thank you for reading