Well, we didn't see this coming. TreeHugger has been covering the lawsuit by Ecuadorian citizens against the oil giant Chevron for years; the New Yorker summarized the issue:
When the company ceased operations in Ecuador, in 1992, it allegedly left behind hundreds of open pits full of malignant black sludge. The harm done by Texaco, the plaintiffs contended, could be measured in cancer deaths, miscarriages, birth defects, dead livestock, sick fish, and the near-extinction of several tribes; Texaco’s legacy in the region amounted to a “rain-forest Chernobyl.”
A few years back, an Ecuadorian court fined Chevron $ 18 billion, and it has been appealing ever since. Now they have won a big one; according to the Wall Street Journal,
Judge Lewis Kaplan found that Laywer Steven Donziger and his litigation team engaged in coercion, bribery, money laundering and other misconduct aimed at securing a 2011 verdict against the company in Ecuador.
According to the New York Times,
The ruling accepted Chevron’s arguments that Mr. Donziger and his associates had ghostwritten a crucial environmental report by an independent expert to the Ecuadorean court deciding the case and even participated in the bribing of the deciding judge.
Nobody disputes that the pollution happened, but this is a sad turn for the indigenous peoples who are the pawns in this whole game of oil, money and politics.