Who is Steven Donziger and why is he in prison?

Steven Donziger, a human-rights lawyer, was recently sentenced in the US to six months for contempt of court for refusing to reveal confidential sources in a successful lawsuit in Ecuador from 2011. That lawsuit resulted in a $9.5 billion dollar judgment against Chevron for environmental damage and injuries suffered by native people in the Amazon.

Donziger had spent over two years under house arrest before the recent conviction. The Justice Department under President Trump had refused to prosecute Donziger. Instead a judge appointed Chevron’s lawyers as prosecutors and refused Donzinger’s request for a jury trial.

See video starting at 4:30 for background in the case.

I will not let them put Steven Donziger behind bars without raising hell - Greg Palast

Again and again we see powerful, corrupt corporate and government officials going free while whistle blowers, journalists, and their attorneys are facing prosecution and imprisonment.

Has the US passed Putin’s Russia in its level of fascist corruption?

You would think that American media would be all over a story about an activist judge imprisoning an environmentalist attorney for years at the demand of a huge oil company. The reality is the media have have ignored it almost completely.

Is this another example of corrupt corporate media censoring the news?

Are big corporations now free to prosecute Americans who oppose them without even it making the news?



Yes, now. While the wealthy and powerful have always had advantages in the justice system, this case takes blatant bias to a new level.

Can you point to any other case where a federal judge has locked up the defendant in a civil case for over two years without trial for contempt of court?

Can you point to any other case where a federal judge has appointed the plaintiff’s lawyers as prosecutors for a criminal case involving contempt of court?

The lack of a jury trial and apparent bias of the judges are the icing on cake.

If a Russian dissident lawyer was subjected to this treatment, the State Department would be imposing sanctions and the media would be running regular updates on the story. For comparison in news coverage, here are results for some news sources when I searched for “Donziger”.

For Fox News, the newest is from 4 years ago.
Fox News

The search on CNN returned nothing at all:
Search CNN - Videos, Pictures, and News - CNN.com

The independent news, Democracy Now, has several recent stories:
Search | Democracy Now!

The Russian news, RT, gives several recent hits; most of them appear to be related to the Steven Donziger story.
Search results (rt.com)

If we had a functioning free press, the story would not be relegated to a few independent sites and foreign news services.

It looks like Chevron not only prosecuted the case, they were able to impose a gag order as well.

I shall assume in light of this post, that the irony of your linking The Nation in your OP entirely escapes you.

Also, a functioning free press is not limited to your half-assed Google search of CNN and Fox.

I can find articles in Bloomberg, New Republic, WSJ, Reuters, The Guardian, AL Jazeera, The Intercept…

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Please provide links to recent articles. From what I see, corporate media has been ignoring the story for several years.

The US intelligence agencies have viewed Julian Assange as an enemy for many years, and Ecuador gave him asylum in their London embassy until 2019.

Is just a coincidence that the lawyer involved in a multibillion dollar judgement in Ecuador appears to have been singled out for such extraordinary treatment?

I have a dream…

Yes. The mainstream media is basically an infomercial for the DNC and powerful corporate interests.

I see parallels between Donziger’s case and other cases. Here are a few examples:

  1. Lengthy imprisonment without trail: Julian Assange, January 6 protestors

  2. Court-appointed prosecutor when the Justice Department refuses to prosecute: General Flynn

  3. Media blackout: Biden laptop and related disinformation campaign lead by former US intel officials

A common thread appears to be that perceived enemies of the surveillance state are singled-out for exceptionally harsh treatment. Any pretense of fairness and due process is abandoned.

An additional parallel is that Donziger was suspended and later disbarred in New York. That came even after a bar-appointed referee had cleared him. Similar actions have been used against lawyers who have represented President Trump.

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Doesn’t the UK have the legal principle of habeas corpus?

I note that there was no mention of what happened at Guantanamo Bay.

Yes, I believe that the UK as a similar principle, but there ways to skirt the rule for foreigners. In the UK, an act of parliament could end habeas corpus, and I believe that was done in Northern Ireland in the 1970s.
End Indefinite Detention - Detention Action

From what I see, the UK and US governments will never let Assange walk as free man, and they will never allow him to have a fair trial. If the UK extradites him to the US, he could be sent for indefinite detention without trial at Guantanamo or some other site.

If even if a court were to release him, I expect that he would die under mysterious circumstances as was the case with Epstein and McAfee.

A key witness against Assange recanted back in July. The corporate media in the US ignored it, and most have been hostile against Assange in spite of the clear free-speech issues. The US is still pursuing extradition in UK courts.

This goes way above individual governments. Solzhenitsyn would have been a huge target now with the ability to get information quickly disseminated.

Yes, surveillance technology has increased the risks of being a dissident. Technology also has increased the ability to communicate to the rest of the world. That is why we see the push for censorship of WikiLeaks, social media, and the internet.

The Donziger case is just one more example of domination of the media and judicial system. Any pretense of the US being a shining example of freedom to the rest of the world has faded.

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It always cracks me up in the movies when whistleblowers say things like “I’ll go straight to the New York Times!” The masses still believe in this type of fantasy for some reason.

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Yes, the Times is likely to ignore the whistleblowers if the story does not fit with the narrative.

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Wikileaks volunteer turned FBI informant for $5,000, has admitted to Icelandic newspaper Stundin that he fabricated important parts of the accusations in the indictment.

Hmmmmmmmm…and once again the FBI pops up under a corrupt light.

Yes. Why hasn’t the DOJ dropped charges for Assange?

It is as if they plan to keep him in prison even though he has not committed any crime.

I looks like similar shenanigans could be going in the Donziger case.

“So, I’m being prosecuted by a Chevron law firm that has locked me up, deprived me of my liberty,” Donziger says. “I later found out that a prosecutor from the law firm who’s benefiting from her relationship to Chevron, Rita Glavin . . .was using the FBI for various meetings with other Chevron lawyers who supposedly were the witnesses against me,” he says. “It’s totally unheard of.”
How Chevron Used the Legal System and the FBI to Target Whistle-Blowing Lawyer Steven Donziger – scheerpost.com

I know it sounds totally crazy, but hear me out. It’s almost as if they are using these people as examples to deter any future corporate whistleblowers. I know that sounds crazy right?

Crazy like a fox

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The Donzinger story is crazy…big oil getting its way once again.