Third Party & Independents Archives

The Slippery Slope Of Globalism

From a WaPo article we learn that a dozen or so Nigerians are bringing suit against the parent company of Shell Oil for aiding and abetting torture and killing of people protesting mining operations in the Ogoni region during the 1990’s.

A majority of the Supreme Court (SC) seemed disinclined to allow human rights advocates to sue corporations in US courts over allegations that companies might be complicit in atrocities committed overseas.

The applicable law, the Alien Tort Statue, first invoked in 1980 was put into place in 1789 to protect ambassadors to the US. According to the US CofC more than 150 lawsuits have been filed against US and foreign companies doing business in 60 countries. The law allows that 'aliens' have recourse to civil suits for acts that violate the 'law of nations'. Shell is arguing that international law does not recognize corporate liability for such offenses. Lawyer Paul Hoffman noted that under Shells argument "even if these corporations had jointly operated torture centers with the military dictatorship in Nigeria to detain torture and kill all opponents of Shell's operations in Ogoni, the victims would have no claim."

The US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York had earlier dismissed the suit as it said international law did not recognize corporate liability for such abuses.

In a separate argument the SC heard a case that asks whether torture victims could pursue civil suits against the individuals involved, or against corporations and organizations. This case stems from a 20 year old law, the torture Victims Protection Act, that uses the word "individual" to describe who may sue and be sued. This case involves a person bringing suit against the Palestinian National Authority. Even left leaning justices were skeptical that Congress would use the word 'individual' but mean organizations.

Several briefs attempted to link court rulings on free speech rights with the assertion that corporations could be sued as individuals might.

The first case is Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum. The second case is Mohamad v. Palestinian Authority.

Corporations, having many of the same rights as humans, will continue to be protected in law above and beyond that of the ordinary citizen. Globalism serves to compound the problem of trying to rein in multinationals. If corporations are 'persons' let them be tried as 'persons', IMO.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by Roy Ellis at March 1, 2012 3:21 PM
Comment #337512

Dole, Chiquita, Del Monte, these kinds of activities have been going on for a long long time.

The East India Company, colonialism, been going on for centuries.

Do you want cheap bananas or do you want to pay third world peasants 5 bucks an hour to pick bananas.

When peasants fight back, they become commie rebel terrorists and everyone knows how you deal with those sorts. You send in the Marines, send the bill to the taxpayers and they are happy because bananas are cheap.

We all signed the agreement and we have decided that ignorance is the best policy.

‘The Earth is our Mother! How do you own the land? How do you own your mother?’

The heathen Red man?

What do you think the Trail Of Tears was about?

Posted by: jlw at March 1, 2012 4:11 PM
Comment #337537

Corporations get the rights of personhood without the responsibilities. Conservatism at it’s best.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 2, 2012 10:36 AM
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