Monday, June 8, 2015

On The Origin of "Conspiracy Theory" - 6

In this series I have been detailing the robust life of official conspiracy theories found in serious government business.

It is interesting that denial of conspiracy theory in the pop culture's knowledge base, created by the media, is not shared with the one place that most requires proof.

That place is a good trial court.

Yes, in one of the three branches of government, the judicial branch (the courts),  you have to be able to give legal evidence for what you say took place in reality.

The other two branches of government (administrative and legislative) not so much so.

For example, if you allege the following:
"Every month, Occidental and Chevron directly pump 2.63 times more toxic waste water into the San Joaquin Aquifer than oil released into the Gulf during the entire BP spill. The California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) plans to allow them to continue for another 21 months. This lawsuit is brought to stop the poisoning of the San Joaquin aquifer and to remediate the damage already done to the farmland of Kern County."
(CPOAW vs Occidental Oil & Gas, p. 1, emphasis added). To win the case that averment must be supported with evidence necessary for a court or jury to be convinced of its veracity.

That allegation in a real complaint in a real federal court in California seems unbelievable (because of our psychological proclivities), but the next one attempts to top it:
"Defendants Brown [Gov. of California], Nechodom, Kustic, Oviatt, DOGGR, WSPA, CIPA, OCCIDENTAL OIL AND GAS CORPORATION, CHEVRON U.S.A. INC., and others known and unknown, being persons employed by and associated with the Enterprise did unlawfully, knowingly, and intentionally conduct and participate, directly and directly in the conduct, management, and operation of the affairs of the Enterprise, which was engaged in and affected interstate and foreign commerce through racketeering activity that included numerous acts indictable under 18 U.S.C. § 371 (conspiracy to defraud the United States); 18 U.S.C. §§ 241 (intimidation of any person engaged in free exercise of speech or any Constitutional right); 1341 (mail fraud) , 1343 (wire fraud), 1346.43 (honest services), 1512 (b) (intimidating and threatening witnesses), and 1513(b) (intimidating and threatening witnesses)."
(ibid, Complaint, pp. 43-44, emphasis added). You may be wondering what this has to do with conspiracy theories.

The official conspiracy theory alleged in the complaint is as follows:
"G. The Conspiracy

Beginning in 2011, the Oil Companies kept close attention to the EPA audit.

The Oil Companies knew that they ignored the regulations to protect underground water, and if the public knew of the risks, the Oil Companies would face massive liability for potential contamination of groundwater (historical and future). The Oil Companies also knew that they needed government approvals to engage in hydraulic fracturing. If the public knew of their failure to comply with underground injection control (UIC) requirements for waste water, the Oil Companies would be subject to greater scrutiny for hydraulic fracturing – waste water from fracking includes added chemicals.

The Oil Companies also knew that they needed landowners to approve the hydraulic fracturing, and if these landowners knew of these problems, landowners would not allow the Oil Companies to proceed with actions that would damage the farms and water supplies. By at least October 27, 2011, the Oil Companies agreed that no company would provide DOGGR with the documents to show protection of fresh water including (1) geological studies; (2) engineering studies; or (3) casing diagrams. This continues to the present day.

In early October of 2011, Occidental also directly contacted Governor Brown and told him to fire Miller and Chernow. Brown’s office then requested records about the permitting process as it related to Occidental. On October 14, 2011, Chernow sent documents regarding Occidental’s California operations to the senior officials handling the inquiry from Governor Brown. Chernow emailed that he was “willing to follow any direction as required. If direction is different than what the Department is currently pursuing, I would appreciate as explicit direction as possible.”

Less than a week later, on October 19, 2011, Occidental started reporting that “it cannot get the permits it needs for new drilling projects in California.” This was a misrepresentation of the problems arising from Occidental’s own decision not to follow the law.

On October 27, 2011, Occidental’s environmental engineer admitted to Chernow it had “the necessary information . . . However, he’s been told to stand down (by a lawyer is all I know) and not give us anything. There is apparently a meeting in Bakersfield at Oxy’s offices this afternoon to discuss whether they give us what we need or continue to give us nothing.”

Governor Brown’s office and his senior advisor, Cliff Rechtschaffen, scheduled a meeting with Miller and Chernow held the next day. Rechtschaffen notified them that DOGGR must immediately fast track permit approval. His team presented a document entitled the Temporary Assistance Program or TAP. Miller sought guidance from the United States Environmental Protection Agency about the list of demands.

The EPA representative reviewed and commented on it, and Miller responding by writing ... “I agree with your point that this has similarities to what was prepared by [Western States Petroleum Association ] WSPA.”

On November 2, 2011, Miller and Chernow went to another meeting which Rechtschaffen joined over the phone. Miller told Rechtschaffen the proposal violated the Safe Drinking Water Act. Rechtschaffen told her this was an order from Governor Brown."
(ibid, Complaint, pp. 43-44, emphasis added). Earlier in this series I explained that a conspiracy theory of the case is a very common type of case in the courts:
In fact, you might be surprised how many conspiracy theories are handled by the federal and state governments on a daily basis:
Over one-quarter of all federal criminal prosecutions and a large number of state cases involve prosecutions for conspiracy.
(Conspiracy Theory, 112 Yale L.J. 1307 (2003), Preface,  emphasis added). That is a lot of real, serious as a heart attack, beyond a reasonable doubt, and well documented occurrences of "conspiracy theories" going on in reality before the eyes of anyone who wants to see them.
(On The Origin of "Conspiracy Theory"). The injection of toxins into the aquifer that is drinking water, as well as water for agriculture that feeds millions of people, is difficult for our minds to understand.

Some reality is perplexing enough to bring denying minds into existence every day now.

The previous post in this series is here.

Conspiracy Theory, by Nick Jonas & The Administration, lyrics here.

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