Federal Judge Rules U.S. Companies Can Be Sued for Aiding South African Apartheid Regime

Federal Judge Rules U.S. Companies Can Be Sued for Aiding South African Apartheid Regime

Glen Ford: Federal judge says non-US citizens can bring lawsuits against companies like Ford and IBM for collaborating with the South African apartheid regime -   April 18, 2014
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter

I support The Real News Network because I am tired of lies and biased journalism. Long live TRNN! - Roberto
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


Glen Ford is a distinguished radio-show host and commentator. In 1977, Ford co-launched, produced and hosted America's Black Forum, the first nationally syndicated Black news interview program on commercial television. In 1987, Ford launched Rap It Up, the first nationally syndicated Hip Hop music show, broadcast on 65 radio stations. Ford co-founded the Black Commentator in 2002 and in 2006 he launched the Black Agenda Report. Ford is also the author of The Big Lie: An Analysis of U.S. Media Coverage of the Grenada Invasion.


Federal Judge Rules U.S. Companies Can Be Sued for Aiding South
African Apartheid RegimeJESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica in Baltimore. And welcome to this edition of The Ford Report.

Now joining us is Glen Ford. He is the cofounder and executive editor of the Black Agenda Report.

Thanks for joining us, Glen.

GLEN FORD, EXEC. EDITOR, BLACK AGENDA REPORT: Hi. Thank you for inviting me.

DESVARIEUX: So, Glen, let's talk about a recent ruling by a U.S. district court judge in Manhattan. She said that IBM and Ford can be sued for collaborating with the South African apartheid regime. In fact, the ruling says that noncitizens of the U.S. can bring lawsuits involving corporate violations of international law.

So, Glen, just give us some background here. What did corporations like IBM and Ford actually do to support the apartheid South African regime?

FORD: Well, this case, this judge's action appears to be opening a door that it seemed had been closed in earlier rulings. In a Supreme Court ruling, the high court said that Royal Dutch Shell couldn't be sued for its collaboration with the government in Nigeria and the crimes that had been perpetrated in Nigeria. This judge--who's the judge, by the way, who was part of the massive stop-and-frisk ruling about a year and a half ago--this judge said that IBM and Ford can be charged under this act and that she sees no distinction between corporations being liable for taking part in acts of genocide and crimes against humanity and torture and such, no distinction between corporations and people. And that's an interesting element of law. And she said that she sees on the face of it that the plaintiffs do have the right to charge that IBM and Ford knowingly assisted the apartheid regime, IBM by supplying the computers that were used to keep track of dissidents who were later tortured and jailed and disappeared and executed, and Ford by making the vehicles that the South African security forces used to suppress the rebellions in South Africa. So this is a potentially wide door.

However, we have to remind your viewers that this same judge, Judge Scheindlin, who handed down the far-reaching stop-and-frisk decision in New York, was also upbraided by her colleagues later on. So we'll see how this fares in the U.S. judicial system.

DESVARIEUX: How did the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa deal with collaboration and corporate abuses committed by U.S. multinational corporations like Ford and IBM?

FORD: None of them were punished. And this is a very important part of the story. The plaintiffs in this case are the Khulumani Group. The Khulumani Group believes that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission process that was put in motion after the first black government assumed office in South Africa didn't go far enough, that much more was needed [incompr.] than some kind of vague psychological cloture, that those who were guilty were not punished, that those who suffered under the apartheid regime were not repaired, and that moreover the society was not repaired, that the great differences in wealth and power in South African society need to be resolved as well, in terms of who controls the means of production and who controls the land, and also that those outside parties who helped sustain apartheid during all those years also must be held accountable. So the Khulumani Group is directly related to questions about truth and reconciliation and that the truth has not been told and people have not been reconciled.

DESVARIEUX: Alright. Glen Ford, cofounder and executive director of Black Agenda Report, thank you so much for joining us.

FORD: Thank you.

DESVARIEUX: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.


DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com


Latest Stories

Behind the Music with TRNN's Stephen Janis
The Blind Spots in Alberta's Climate Change Plan
Vulture Capitalists Are the Real Winners of Argentina's Elections
Why Didn't Bush/Cheney Prevent 9/11? - John Kiriakou on Reality Asserts Itself (5/10)
Eddie Conway Talks Indigenous People's Day and Political Prisoners
Indigenous Peoples' History is More Complicated Than a Holiday Myth
The Iraqi Pissing Match - John Kiriakou on RAI (4/10)
Turkey's Intentions Behind the Downing of a Russian Jet
Policing on Trial as Freddie Gray Case Set to Begin
Is America Powerless to Stop Pfizer Merger?
The Unbreakable Spirit of Gilmor Homes
My Reports on 1995 Human Rights Abuses in Bahrain Ignored by State Department - John Kiriakou on Reality Asserts Itself (3/10)
Wilkerson: The Hypocrisy of U.S. Syria Policy (1/2)
"Being a Founding White Father Ain't What It Used To Be:" Student Protests on College Campuses
Days of Revolt: Militarizing Education
Historic Win for the Right in Argentina's National Election
How I Joined the CIA - John Kiriakou on Reality Asserts Itself (2/10)
Sanders Defines his Social Democracy
MD Among Lowest Number of Hate Crimes in the Nation
Report: The Population of Women in Prison Has Tripled Since the '90s
Native American Genocide & Survival with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
History Will Judge America on Syrian Refugee Crisis As "Shameful"
I Believed America Could Do No Wrong - John Kiriakou, Former CIA Official, on Reality Asserts Itself (1/10)
N Don't Stop - Brook Park + TBB on Rooftop Live
The Black Panthers: A Revolution In Review
What's Fueling Boko Haram Attacks in Nigeria?
Is Obama Walking Into COP21 With An Empty Hand?
Back to Square One, Obama Says Assad Must Go
Towson President Agrees to Students' Demands After Eight-Hour Occupation
The Pentagon and Bernie Sanders Agree: Terrorism Linked to Climate Change

RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting