Law and Disorder Radio – Peter Weiss on Royal Dutch Shell Settlement – Torture and the Need for Justice (Part 2) – Hosts: Dalia Hashad, Heidi Boghosian, Michael Steven Smith & Michael Ratner – Produced by Geoff Brady

Law and Disorder Radio

Host Updates:

Jose Padilla Sues John Yoo

Four Uighurs Released To Bermuda

State Secrets – ACLU’s National Security Project

State Secrets – Torture Photos – Release them, so the US can see what their government did

State Secrets – CIA Fights Full Report on Tortured Detainees

Obama Refuses to Show Visitor’s List to the Whitehouse / Coal Company?

Segments this week:

Peter Weiss: International Human Rights Law and the Royal Dutch Shell Settlement

A Revolution Books Town Hall Meeting: TORTURE AND THE NEED FOR JUSTICE – Chris Hedges / Laura Flanders






Europe’s largest oil company Royal Dutch Shell settled a landmark lawsuit last week, agreeing to pay $15.5 million to avoid a trial over its alleged involvement in human rights violations in the Niger Delta. The case was brought by relatives of human rights and environmental activists killed in Nigeria who accused Shell of complicity in the 1995 executions of Nigerian writer and environmentalist Ken Saro Wiwa and eight others. Charges in the case include summary execution, crimes against humanity, torture, inhumane treatment, arbitrary arrest, wrongful death, assault and battery, and infliction of emotional distress. Attorney Peter Weiss explains how historic laws such as the Alien Tort Claim are used to hold multinational corporations accountable for human rights crimes.

Peter Weiss:

  • They (Royal Dutch Shell) knew all along that they were complicit. Decades ago I was involved in the struggle against colonialism in Africa. What that settlement represented was a victory against neo-colonialism.
  • I think we all hope at the Center for Constitutional Rights that this will send a signal to other companies.
  • Peter Weiss and Rhonda Copeland were instrumental in beginning the first cases in which human rights violations taking place in other countries could actually be litigated in the United States.
  • Alien Tort Statute Claim: We first discovered that during the My Lai massacre. It’s a one-sentence law that goes back to the first judiciary act in the United States in 1789.
  • It simply says, an alien shall have a right of action in district court for a violation of the law of nations (as international law was called in the 18th century).
  • Ten years later Amnesty International got in touch with CCR, saying we have this torturer in Paraguay. Which became known as Filartiga – 1978 / 1980 was the decision. It set the stage for hundreds of cases.
  • About 15 years ago, CCR applied that statute to the human rights crimes of corporations in foreign countries.
  • We’ve had a few victories and one of them was the UNOCAL case, where UNOCAL was using slave labor. That case was settled. Now, the Wiwa case was settled.
  • If you’re familiar with what corporations are doing around the world, you can imagine how many such cases can be brought.
  • Royal Dutch Shell was actually paying these Nigerian soldiers that were committing these atrocities.
  • The worst thing that they did was go to the Nigerian government and say we have to get rid of these trouble makers.
  • Nigeria was under a corrupt dictatorship at the time.
  • We’re not the only ones; the Center for Justice and Accountability out in California have victories against Salvadorian torturers
  • Jerry Nadler had a hearing on the state secrets act and on the opening statement, he says people bring these suits and the government comes in and says state secrets, the suit can’t go forward. But there’s an international law says Nadler, that has to be a remedy for every right.

Guest – Peter Weiss, former Vice President, Center for Constitutional Rights and Vice President, of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms.


A Revolution Books Town Hall Meeting: TORTURE AND THE NEED FOR JUSTICE

We hear from Laura Flanders, journalist and host of GRITtv, and Chris Hedges, former New York Times Mideast bureau chief, author of many books specializing in American and Middle Eastern politics and society. He spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. Chris Hedges’ new book, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, will be out in July and can be preordered at your local bookstore.






  • Michael Ratner is the president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and an international human rights lawyer
  • Laura Flanders, journalist and host of GRITtv
  • Jeremy Scahill, investigative reporter and author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army
  • Sister Dianna Ortiz –founder and director of Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC)
  • Gitanjali Gutierrez, attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights representing prisoners held at Guantanamo
  • Chris Hedges, former New York Times Mideast bureau chief, author “American Fascists”
  • Andy Zee, spokesperson for Revolution Books and author of The Collapse of ‘The Movement’; the Resistance and the Revolutionary Movement We Need

Organized by Revolution Books / Libros Revolucion