Chris Hedges Video

Chris Hedges on the Ongoing Persecution of Steven Donziger (Video)

On this week’s “On Contact,” Chris Hedges discusses the ongoing persecution of human right lawyer, Steven Donziger. Judge Loretta Preska, an advisor to the conservative Federalist Society, to which Chevron is a major donor, sentenced the human rights attorney and Chevron nemesis Stephen Donziger to six months in prison on October 1st for misdemeanor contempt of court after he had spent 787 days under house arrest in New York. Preska’s caustic outbursts—she said at the sentencing, “It seems that only the proverbial two-by-four between the eyes will instill in him any respect for the law”—capped a judicial farce worthy of the antics of the presiding judges at the major show trials of the Great Purges in the Soviet Union or the Nazi judge Roland Freisler who once shouted at a defendant “You really are a lousy piece of trash!” Donziger, a graduate of Harvard Law School, has been fighting polluting American oil companies for nearly three decades on behalf of indigenous communities and peasant farmers in Ecuador. His only “crime” was winning a $9.5 billion judgment in 2011 against Chevron for thousands of plaintiffs. The oil giant had bought Texaco oil company holdings in Ecuador, inheriting a lawsuit alleging it deliberately discharged 16 billion gallons of toxic waste from its oil sites into rivers, groundwater, and farmland. Since the verdict, Chevron has come after him, weaponizing litigation to destroy him economically, professionally, and personally. The sentencing came a day after Donziger petitioned the court to consider an opinion by the United Nations Human Rights Council that found his house arrest a violation of international human rights law. The U.N. Human Rights Council said his house arrest counted as detention under international law and it was therefore illegal for Judge Preska to demand an additional six months in jail. Amnesty International also called for Donziger’s immediate release. Donziger and his lawyers have two weeks to appeal the judge’s order that Donziger be sent immediately to jail. Preska denied Donziger bail claiming he is a “flight risk.” If the Federal Court of Appeals turns down Donziger’s appeal he will go to jail for six months. The irony, not lost on Donziger and his lawyers, is that the higher court may overturn Preska’s ruling against him, but by the time that decision is made he will potentially have already spent six months in jail.


  1. Today, I emailed the below message to Attorney General Merrick Garland, and a similar message to President Joe Biden. If millions more of you would send a similar message, perhaps it might help.

    Dear Attorney General Garland:

    I am an attorney. I voted for Joe Biden and support your appointment as attorney general. I am writing to strongly request that the US Dept. of Justice take over the case involving STEVEN DONZIGER, a private prosecution of a civil rights lawyer. Below please see a video which sets forth the relevant abuses of power outrageously evident in Chevron’s vendetta against STEVEN DONZIGER.

    STEVEN DONZIGER should not be forced into prison while his appeal is pending, and the case against him should be dismissed with prejudice.


    Stanley M. Ziegler, J.D.

    1. > If millions more of you would send a similar message,
      > perhaps it might help.

      Nope. You fail to understand. They. Don’t. Give. A. Fuck.

      1. It’s not that Johny Hellfire. How many petitions can you sign that have zero influence on policy. I think it was Pickety’s Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century who demonstrated that the ordinary person has zero influence on policy, while the oligarchs have nothing but.

    2. Thank you again, Mr. Hedges, for your consistently courageous reporting. Even if Mr. Donziger is forced to serve the six month jail sentence during the pendency of his appeal, perhaps (though highly unlikely) Judge Preska’s ruling will be reversed or vacated on appeal, thereby setting a precedent for future contempt cases. If the six month sentence is reversed or vacated, maybe Preska and Kaplan will be disciplined by the appropriate state and/or federal agencies or governmental bodies. I am not naive. I am 78 years of age, have practiced law for over 40 years, and I clearly and sadly understand the outrageous power of the fossil fuel oligarchs. I know the likelihood of judicial censure or removal of Preska or Kaplan in the Steven Donziger litigation is beyond remote. But, nowadays, I look for whatever ray of hope I can find. Live and be well.

  2. Anyone who still votes for either Republicans and Democrats are nothing but traitors and enablers to the USA’s corporate/political corruption. The USA is dead and gone. What happened to Steven Donziger is all the proof you need. The silence of Biden and his justice system is criminal regarding Donziger. The USA is a full blown corporate oligarchy and the fact that they now run the so-called justice department is the final nail in the coffin. Actually the coffin was completed the day the USA declared its independence from a monarchy to an oligarchy, founded by a few wealthy land and slave owners for their benefit alone. From now on it will be an ongoing descent into complete dystopia followed by the extinction of most life on earth, including humans.

  3. We keep hearing that there will be “civil war” in our country, but what we are seeing is end game actions by the rich and powerful that is worldwide that will have to be dealt with worldwide.

    1. “Dealt with”? How? By whom?
      Maybe a sit-in might help. Or an angry letter to your representative. Or an online petition.
      Also, monkeys might fly out of my butt!

      1. I think we are seeing it right now. No unions, no oganization, no marches, no appointed time and place (so paid goons can know where to go to crack heads) —- there is an organically grown work stoppage happening. APPARENTLY the haves just hate it when the underpaid (caught in a job where they have to endure being subservient and disrespected by everyone) are not there to serve them their coffee. It’s a first step — an actual ACTION. The ONLY time that attention is brought to ANY matter in our country is when the money stops flowing.

      1. Andrew. I read your Substack link and it sounds like you have had some interesting adventures. Nevertheless, you failed to make a coherent point on why you hate Donziger. From your ramblings you appear to be fighting the same injustices he is. All of this might boil down to methods in madness, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Everyone has their own point of view and their own reasons for doing what they do. Donziger thought it a good idea to go to war with a multi-national behemoth that also appears to own the status quo. I betcha even the lawyers for Chevron admired his balls. Maybe you should provide him the same courtesy. 🙂

  4. A friend, a retired judge, said it clearly: “If we lose the courts, we’ve lost everything”.

  5. Good that Hedges is putting this on his RT show. But according to Donziger himself, this is what happens when you are too successful. Winning a multi-billion $$ settlement (which sets a precedent for further action against all the oil companies) forces Chevron to act. The only question that Hedges didn’t ask Donziger is “Did you actually believe you would get away with this?”

  6. Joe Biden could have fixed this travesty nine months ago with the stroke of his pardon pen. Yet, we have heard nothing from this White House, and that silence speaks volumes.
    So Donziger will go to jail, Assange will rot in a British gulag, and all the other whistleblowers that brought forth embarrassing information on the Obama administration will continue to be marginalized by Biden’s democrats.
    We now know whose side Joe is on. I guess we’ve always known

    1. And Biden will look the other way as Trump appointed Post Master General Louis DeJoy destroys the Postal Service.

  7. PLUS, is this for real?!!! 3 comments?? The same three people who drifted over to my site from here??? Wow! But like I said Chris the coverage sucks. Especially the graphics and the subject himself.

  8. As well, how long does moderation take? Or is that up to his highness, the holy MODERATOR. Fuck it man, let any comment on. Who cares? We are not children.

    1. Thank you for publishing my comments. I really appreciate being able to be part of the group who actually is following the fucking pathetic descent into the abyss….

  9. When you take on $ATAN’$ $UITED $ERVANT$ in the form of Big Oil, Big Pharma or the MIC, you are up against some of the most ruthless human beings who have ever walked on this Earth.
    It’s one hell of a battle.
    Good luck Folks.

  10. As an Attorney in Hartford, Connecticut involved in litigation of injury claims etc., I can see how easy it is to engage in abuse of the litigation process itself to drag out cases, and to try to take an unfair advantage of the opponent. In Connecticut however, we have a law
    whereby one can sue one’s opponent for: “Vexatious Litigation” and thereby obtain double and treble damages if proven. It drags out the case but is the only means in which to raise the issue of fairness etc.

  11. Unbelievable integrity. Chris is more a national treasure than Noam Chomsky. Donziger oozes integrity. Ayn Rand had one thing right: a man is better punished for his virtues.

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