Brazil arrests 17 Chevron Oil Executives for "Environmental Crimes"

Brazil is going to great lengths to protect its commons. Seventeen executives, including American citizens, working with Chevron and oil rig contractor Transocean have been charged with crimes against the environment in Brazil after an oil spill off the coast poured about three thousand barrels of oil into Brazilian waters last November. If found guilty – the corporate executives could face up to 31 years in prison. The lead prosecutor in the case told Reuters he was tired of big oil corporations escaping accountability for ruining the environment saying, “We need to change the parameters. If companies don't listen to millions, we have to ask for billions."

After the spill – Brazilian authorities immediately suspended all of Chevron’s drilling operations and banned the corporation from further oil explorations off the coast. Transocean is a familiar name – it was the corporation operating the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded in the Gulf back in 2010 – leading to the death of 11 workers and the worst ecological disaster in American history.

But that’s where the similarities between Brazil and the United States end. Because unlike Brazil - where corporate oil-industry criminals are actually arrested and held to account – not one corporate executive in the U.S. has yet been charged for their role in the death of 11 people in the Gulf and the permanent destruction of coastal ecosystems. And even worse, BP continues to expand its drilling operations in the the deep waters of the United States like nothing ever happened.


Gene Savory's picture
Gene Savory 12 years 13 weeks ago

Stand what ground? It should be pretty obvious that "standing your ground" doesn't include chasing somebody down (someone who is trying to avoid a confrontation) and then choosing the ground to "defend"?

Isn't there something in the law that clarifies that? Isn't it obvious that George Zimmerman chose to create an altercation with Trayvon Martin?

He should be prosecuted on those arguments - they prove motive.

But I'm just a jailhouse lawyer who's been able to avoid the jail part.

DrRichard 12 years 13 weeks ago

As of 2 years ago BP was the third largest suplier of fuel to the US military ( Why would this government risk disturbing such a relationship?

TruthAddict's picture
TruthAddict 12 years 13 weeks ago

Just as George Zimmerman has not been charged for killing Trayvon Martin, oil executives have not been charged for killing 11 workers and contaminating the ecosystem in the Gulf disaster. Apparently justice does not apply to blacks, workers or the Mother Earth in the good ol’ US of A. Thankfully people are waking up to this fact.

Audrey B. 12 years 13 weeks ago

Our government's response to the oil spill and the banking/Wall St. disaster are the same - no willingness to hold the big guys accountable. It's time for all of us to be outraged by this circumstance - just as we are over the murder of Treyvon Martin. Social media can be very powerful, supplementing the efforts of the liberal media. Let's use it to scream for accountability!

Oldcrone's picture
Oldcrone 12 years 13 weeks ago

So who you gonna call?

Which party has done anything to help We The People they are supposed to represent?

If I recall, Obamas' response was to issue many many many more permits to drill baby drill, and made absolutely NO changes in the process, using the same "emergency" plans that did not work on the BP Spill.

Oldcrone's picture
Oldcrone 12 years 13 weeks ago

Okay, I've BEEN outraged for some time now. My question is, who exactly are you going to scream TO? Obama just okayed Keystone for fracking oil, so like I'm asking myself, "who are we supposed to call?".

klentz's picture
klentz 12 years 13 weeks ago


Members of congress don't indict their bosses.

You want to keep your job, you look the other way.

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 12 years 13 weeks ago

Isn't it obvious by now???

All the big corporations - the banks, the insurance compaines, the oil companies - they own the Justice department, lock, stock, and barrel. Until that changes, the "BIGGIES" will get away with mass murder, theft, fraud, and all manner of criminal activity. We are SSSOOOO screwed!!!

leighmf's picture
leighmf 12 years 13 weeks ago

I blame the Queen and Prescott Bush, mostly.'s picture 12 years 13 weeks ago

Dear Dr. Richard,

Your analogy is akin to not prosecuting a child molester because he owns the town's only gas station.

America has been held hostage by big oil long enough. In fact, the oil companies are the ONLY winners of the Iraq War. They should reimburse the American taxpayers for the entire cost of the war. We paid for the take over of the oil fields and handed them to the oil companies at no charge. It's a disgrace.

America's lack of ethics--not taking the moral highground--not standing up to the power elites out OF FEAR is what's wrong with this country. We used to stand for courage, bravery and integrity but your mind set is the new America. If Shell wants to cut off gasoline to our military--let's deal wiht it. If Shell Oil is more powerful that the entire nation of America--let's put it on the table and figure out what to do.

JimFun71's picture
JimFun71 12 years 13 weeks ago

Everybody here has brought up great points. I'm just so tired of tring to fight the good fight. Everywhere I turn big business is stealing America as well as most of the rest of the world. The fact is that most Americans are lazy, stupid and really don't care as long as there moderatly comfortable "Hey it's all good." "I got my $600.00 from Bush while the billionares got trillions from Social Security." " But who cares I'm going to Wal-mart to spend my $600.00 so it can go directly to the Chineese so they can reloan it to us so we can keep the tax breaks for the ultra rich." Free Ted Kaczynski with instructions target oil company execs. Maybe then they'll get the message. I talk and talk and talk to people but it just falls on deaf ears. What does it take to wake people up??????

Sorry for the rant,


Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 12 years 13 weeks ago

Fantastic! Glad to hear that Brazil's leaders have balls...unlike American leaders. I hope they do put these criminals in jail and set a very good example. But, I am afraid that Obama might decide these Brazilian leaders are getting too uppity and may target them for assassination by our missiles.

bobbler's picture
bobbler 12 years 13 weeks ago

I agree, big business own American politicians (apparently democrats like Obama too).. Look at obamas performance with monsanto.. Who but a hard core conservative would do that?

Someone said what will it take to wake people up.. We had bush2 who started an illegal was with nearly a million dead (apparently for profit motivation; since nothing else makes sense).. Unfortunately, since a million dead didnt wake people up, maybe if something like the nazi party arose in America (actually the republicans have uncanny similarities to the nazis)..

No Fraud's picture
No Fraud 12 years 13 weeks ago


I do support the "idea" of being able to use lethal force to protect & defend oneself from harm by another.
That being said...B.P. has "attacked" ALL of us, and our ellected officials have failed to enforce laws that would hold them (B.P.) accountable...Time We the People stand our ground and enforce justice.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 13 weeks ago

Basically we could attack those oil corporations. We have the Federal Police, we have the Department of Justice. These democratic government institutions are OURS and they will do what we want them to do, if we vote accordingly in the first place.

If you people want to end the insanity in this country and take on banksters and oil corporations: Just vote for progressive/liberal candidates for Congress. Don't appoint blue-dogs, appoint liberals. President Obama is okay, he just needs a decent Congress to cooperate with.

As long as our "American common sense" will be pretty much evil, it'll be difficult do drive out the evil in bank and oil industry.

MaryMary's picture
MaryMary 12 years 13 weeks ago


What country do you live in? I live in the USA, and the DOJ ain't doing squat. We have a President named Obama as well, he is in charge of the Attorney General who heads up the DOJ. In the USA, the President does not need the permission of the Congress to run the Executive branch of government. Tell me more about your country.

skitraindance's picture
skitraindance 12 years 13 weeks ago

The United States Government for the last 30 years has been for the multinational Corporations and by the multinational corprations and the American People be damned. The Republicans are talking about preventing voter fraud by eliminating old people, poor people, and young people from voting. Nobody says anything about the electronic voting machines with no paper audit trail that hackers can logon to and change the vote to whatever they want it to be leaving no trace of tampering. Don't be surprised if the Republicans win everything in 2012 despite exit polls predicting a Democratic win.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 13 weeks ago

The president cannot govern against Congress -- not on the long run. If that was really so easy, it wouldn't be a democracy. It would be plain dictatorship. President Bush wouldn't have been able to start those wars, if this country and Congress weren't ready for war. But America was ready to go to war. And Congress gave him the money. They can easily stop the president by cutting down his budget.

Maybe you like the citizen united stuff, but we progressives feel like dumping that. Because this makes politics, Congresspeople, government dependent on money. President Obama very much depends on corporate money. And this makes him powerless. To change that, we need a decent majority in Senate and House. We also need to change Supreme Court. Even if President Obama didn't want that progressive change -- a progressive dominated Congress could force him, for they make the laws. And they really should take away his ability to start wars. This had been a emergency measure (if I remember right during WW2) and not meant forever.

If President Obama really was so independent as you say, he could have arrested the gridlocking Teapartiers last year. But that much power would be extremely dangerous, as much as I hate those teabaggers!


P.S.: Thanks for provocating me, because these things have to be said. People have to understand, that the low approval rate of Congress is extremely anti-democratic!! Although those Congress people drive us mad, nuts or to tears at times : after voting them in, we have to take those guys. And this is Democracy -- not a president who lonesomely can decide over war and peace.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 13 weeks ago

By the way, also Congress can have someone arrested! It's not just the president!

Congress is the heart of this democracy. If you people question Congress and overemphasize the part and power of the president, this finally aims at dictatorship, monarchy..... whatever, it's not Democracy.

I do it on purpose, if I always spell Congress, Senate, House uppercase and the president lowercase. Lately I tend to write "President Obama", but maybe I shouldn't do that either, just to make it clearer.....

Whatsoever, all this Obama, Obama, Obama -- bashing, loving, bashing, loving is all overdo. We have very nice Congresspeople, they're not all idiots. Who appoints and votes in the idiots anyway?

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 13 weeks ago

I'm not just killing time here. LOL

If I wasn't concerned and this wasn't important to me, I wouldn't invest so much time here. Actually I always tend to tweet what I commentated here. So after all the impact is quite a bit wider which helps my motivation.


Congress is the heart of democracy. Questioning Congress & overemphasizing the president's power aims at dictatorship…

— Clarissa Smith (@ClarissaSmith2) March 25, 2012

Although Congress drives us mad, nuts or to tears at times, this is Democracy, not a president deciding over war&peace…

— Clarissa Smith (@ClarissaSmith2) March 25, 2012

Victortango's picture
Victortango 12 years 13 weeks ago

The blog post is notably deficient in facts.... but abundantly supplies hearsay and conjecture.

Also, we need not assume that because this case is happening it is any cause to believe that other states will follow suit or even that they should.

For those of you upset at the Gulf spill with BP... look at the facts. The US government was partially to blame for the spill and required oil companies to employ techniques (designed to protect the environment) which were ultimately flawed.

The USG instead should have required the most technically capable processes that offered the least risk of catostrophic failure... then they could have won a lot more damages out of pursuing BP.

Typical foolish gov.


MaryMary's picture
MaryMary 12 years 13 weeks ago


You can't possibly be so nieve. Blaming Obama's incompetence on a bad congress, is like saying a bad musician is bad because of bad song writers. Another way of saying what you're saying is Obama is not good because the Congress is better. I know congress controls the purse strings, but the President has the hammer. A good president knows how and when to use it. In the scenario you paint, The country would be better if we replace a few hundred congress people, because the are keeping Obama from being great. I believe the country would be better if we replaced Obama. What is more likely to happen? I hope you are a good musician and don't blame any lack of ability on bad song writers.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 12 weeks ago

What you call "facts" is nothing but verbal right-wing destruction. For example calling our government "foolish" and at the same time speaking for an international corporation, shows you're NOT really a patriot. Maybe you're not even an American....

Whatsoever, Republicans often don't really speak like Americans. Many of them have quite a bit of a British accent. Righties often loooove the royal gossip from England. Because they have no sense for Democracy.

You're despising democratic elected institutions, but speak for international intruders who are buying off America. If you're an American, you're harming your country, my friend!

bewildered1's picture
bewildered1 12 years 12 weeks ago

since Petrabras, the national oil company has had three oil spills since, with little said, I suspect this has more to do with getting the foreign oil companies out after they provided the technology to do the job.Petrabras owns 30% stake in what Chevron is doing, but I'll bet Petrobras didn't have the expertise to set it up. It is like in Ecuador, Chevron had cleaned it up and left 20 years before, while the national oil company stayed and worked the field for 20 years. But it was chevron's fault, no fault of the national oil company.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 12 weeks ago

Frankly, I don't know everything. There's still a lot to learn.... At least I've learned a lot over the last month -- more than the average American knows about our Democracy.

President Obama is alright to win an election. He is very powerful, intelligent and convincing. And he would do anything to make his presidency turn out successfully in the end. Sadly he can't right now, but I hope conditions in Congress will be better from 2013 on. Right now I have no other dream I would wish as much to come true. For I love this country.

Congress is the heart of our Democracy and we've been overemphasizing the part of the President. I started as one of those Obama-campaigners last year. But I learned better. I have great respect for the President as democratic elected office, but Congress is the actual institution where Democracy is being celebrated. Every American should get involved, in order to influence political parties and vote for their Congressional candidates. If the average American understood, that a progressive dominated Congress would really be able to decapitate the corporate hydra, they'd vote accordingly.


Gimme just a scale : I add chords that make it sound lively and more interesting, I play and sing it and make something out of it. If you play the greatest composition in the world with very bad musicians, it's nothing but terrible. Whereas skilled musicians are able to arrange and play even trivial stuff in a way that would make me happy.

MaryMary's picture
MaryMary 12 years 12 weeks ago

Hi Clarissa,

"Gimme just a scale : I add chords that make it sound lively and more interesting, I play and sing it and make something out of it. If you play the greatest composition in the world with very bad musicians, it's nothing but terrible. Whereas skilled musicians are able to arrange and play even trivial stuff in a way that would make me happy."

Spoken like a true Jazz musician. I have no doubt you are able to accomplish what you say. Change the word "musicians" in your statement, to "President" and you have an idea what a competent president can do.

Blue Skies

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 12 weeks ago

Well, the orchestra is still Congress -- and we ought to orchestrate it better in November.... ;o)

SteveS's picture
SteveS 12 years 12 weeks ago

We will not prosecute because President Obama is receiving too much money from Wall Street and because Eric Holder is next to useless.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 12 years 12 weeks ago

You're just gossiping. Where're your figures? What did the President get from whom, how much, what for? Where did you get that pointless 'information'?

If you cannot tell, we can't take you seriously here. So you better give more information, not to make yourself a fool.

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