U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Kiobel v. $hell Emboldens Corporate Torture
By Ben Ikari
In Kiobel et al v. $hell, America has shown that oil is thicker than blood, as was also represented in ’95. This was when former Pres. Bill Clinton chose the so-called diplomatic sanctions, yet buying Niger delta oil misnamed Nigeria’s instead of insisting with economic sanctions and other serious measures that Nigeria/Abacha shouldn’t kill the Ogoni Nine. This decision declares America as a safe-heaven for corporate torturers/criminals who shall take advantage of weak people and corporately bought over judiciary in their host countries that are mostly developing sovereigns.
Having said the above, I thank the US Supreme Court for entertaining the Ogoni case. It’s been interesting to see the court open its door to listen to arguments and address the fabric of the case. The outcome though, shows a betrayal of the original intent of the ATS, International Covenants or proceedings, other US legal precedents, including Sosa, that was set by the Supreme Court. The deal is simple: corporate influence used by mostly so-called American conservatives to protect their interests. It’s such influence that made Pres. Obama’s government pretend its foreign interest or policy will be in jeopardy should $hell, which is a US company by adoption face trial in America.
The same American government crying over foreign policies claims human rights is a serious component of its foreign policies, and it supports and fights with brave groups standing up for freedom and justice, and also supports victims of these rights. Obama also reiterated this human rights policy position in his October 25, 2012 reply to my protest letter of August 31, 2012 when he and administration supported $hell at the Supreme Court. This foreign interest reverberated severally in the court’s decision as a huge premise for corporate protection.
Meanwhile, the Justices are respectfully entitled to their opinions, but the intense disagreement on “reasoning” shown by the minority (liberal) justices and written by Breyer exposes the legal inconsistency or selective justice and hypocrisy brought about by such corporate, commerce/so-called conservative influence. Therefore, this decision is a device to protect $hell, USA and other Western corporations and empowering them to further torture and kill in developing countries. This is one of the saddest days for the world in respect to peoples and human rights, which are the crux of human existence!
As with the conservative Justices who are in majority, what the Republican Party is doing in Congress currently as they struggle to protect corporations and the rich points to why this decision isn’t new to me. In short, though had little hope, I saw the flimsy or frivolous national interest/commerce dimension from the outset and refused to vote for Obama in Nov. 2012, despite how ardent I’d supported him in 2008 and before August 2012. Therefore my protest letter cited above.
Additionally, in the decision, the overall argument that $hell has little presence in New York and being a public trading company on the New York Stock Exchange is inconsequential in terms of reasoning. No matter how small its presence or location, $hell is $hell and it’s been doing billions of dollar business in US and with the government (the failed Arctic Mission, for instance) for years. It’s investing in the communities and floating educational and social incentives. It’s also created jobs for many Americans despite its so-called small presence in New York, which the minority view said even though such presence were huge wouldn’t have helped. This, it’s reasoned that the plaintiffs and defendant are foreigners or alien, the very reason the ATS was enacted. Indeed America is benefiting huge from $hell like it also benefited from Ogoni oil and still benefiting from Niger delta oil. The company has huge presence in USA, making it a local company by adoption, even though originally foreign in the books.
The argument presented also in the decision that the plaintiffs’ case against the defendant is primarily about aiding and abetting and not that $hell actually committed alleged crimes is frivolous, thus lacks merit. Plaintiffs showed in their arguments/briefs that it’s because of $hell’s business interest of oil which Ogonis were protesting that the company planned and lured (ran to the brutal military regime for protection, same thing America just did, though not with force) the Nigerian government into these crimes. In some instances $hell police participated in these crimes. There is evidence showing $hell held meetings in London and planned the monitoring and stopping of Ken Saro-Wiwa, late leader of the Ogoni (MOSOP) nonviolent movement.
This was before he’s trumped up, illegally arrested, detained, unfairly tried alongside others-some of whom were captured from $hell’s engineered roadblocks in Ogoni and had nothing to do with MOSOP/Ogoni leadership. As such aiding and abetting, especially when the abettor, $hell engineered the crimes to protect its interests should be enough to hold the company, which already settled similar case (Wiwa et al V. $hell) out of court.
Finally, in any case Ogonis will have to cheer up for making this bold statement of fact regarding natural, human rights or justice and exposing American hypocrisy on its commitments to internationally protected rights such as rights against torture, other crimes against humanity and genocide, which this case was/is about. There is hope to explore other legal options to seeking justice against $hell, and making oil exploitation in Ogoni harder. Ogonis will not give up despite the fact that the court and US government have approved and protected corporate torture instead of denouncing such and providing remedies for victims and punishing the torturer (s) as their books orders.