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This fall, the Supreme Court will likely decide whether overseas oil companies can be sued for alleged human rights abuses after Nigerian plaintiffs, victims most similar to Gulf of Mexico region oil survivors, filed a petition (pdf) with the Supreme Court according to The New York Times Friday. The petition follows news that Shell faces a hundreds of millions of dollars bill after accepting full liability for two massive oil spills devastating a Nigerian community of 69,000 people, expecting 20 years to clean.

"Oil companies Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Exxon Mobil Corp. have been battling allegations that they played a role in human rights abuses in Nigeria and Indonesia, respectively," reported The New York Times.

Those allegations are profoundly similar to those alleged in the Gulf of Mexico region, particularly in Louisiana. This week, the non-government organization (NGO) Louisiana Bucket Brigade released its Pipeline Newletter referencing the similarities, "Nigeria, as it happens, has much in common with Louisiana."

Alleged human rights violations by oil companies abound in both Nigeria and Louisiana communities where elites are profiteering from human suffering according to the Pipeline.

In the Louisiana Bucket Brigade (LABB) newsletter issued Thursday about Nigeria and Gulf of Mexico commonalities, it stated, "We are both resource rich but lag far behind in indices of human development, including education, health and income."

"A small number of elites benefit from the oil industry profits while the rest of us pay the external costs of pollution, including poor health.

While thousands of Gulf of Mexico region survivors still await assistance after more than a year since BP's oil catastrophe, when Shell oil accepted liability for the Nigerian rights abuses, Patrick Naagbartonm, coordinator for the Centre of Environment and Human Rights in Port Harcourt told the Guardian on August 3, "The news that Shell has accepted liability in Britain will be greeted with joy in the delta. The British courts may now be inundated with legitimate complaints."

New York Times reports the likelihood is high that the Supreme Court will take the oil related human rights case, stating, "Although it is notoriously tough to predict whether the high court will take a case, the chances appear reasonably high in large part because there is a split within the federal appeals court on the issue."

As for Louisiana and other Gulf state survivors of the April 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil catastrophe, carcinogenic tar balls continuing to wash ashore are daily reminders of suffering, such as miscarriages, abnormal bleeding in children, youth and women, and impending, if not already diagnosed, cancer as 13-year old Jennifer Hagan eloquently explained in a World Vision interview. (See: "Couple to open home to Gulf Plague survivors," Examiner)

Near where President Obama declared the Gulf of Mexico clean a year ago, encouraging Americans to swim in it, tar balls still cover the beach just as heavily as back in June 2010. Bacteria at Grand Isle beach in Louisiana caused the State Health Department to issue an advisory on Wednesday.

Early this week, among emails from people consistently reporting Gulf of Mexico illness and tarballs since the April 2011 "spill," was one from an 80-year old Florida woman who prefers anonymity:

"I live on Siesta Key, a barrier island off of Sarasota, Florida. Crescent Beach, on Siesta has just been named the most beautiful beach in the world along with claims of its healing powers - quartz crystal - and purity. For the past week oil balls have been floating up on our beautiful aqua watered shores.
"I am devastated. I am an active eighty years old and plan to spend my days here.

"I have been grieving and praying for the people exposed to the Oil spill and the illness' that have been suffered by them as a result of their humanitarian efforts. Now it seems the toxicity is coming our way. Can you tell me, the papers are not, what the risk of poisonous fumes are for reaching this area of Florida? I will do what I can to help inform residents of the dangers."
As oil related human rights abuses continue to cripple people of the Gulf region, last week, a demonstration at BP's Incident Command Center in downtown New Orleans (see photos here) by Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and Louisiana residents protested with chants like, "The oil is still here .... And so are we!" and "BP don't be peeing on me!"

One protester, LABB's Community Liaison Iris Brown Carter (seen at left), a former resident of Norco, Louisiana, spoke to the crowd.
"I was encouraged and brave enough to say a few words. I spoke on how we had put up with Shell and all their lies when residents of Norco were trying to get bought out. I said that all oil companies are cut from the same mold. To me they are all liars. I believe that is a proven point that people who have dealt with them can agree on.

"I know the crowd cheered me on as I spoke and I felt that I should share what I had been through. I also wanted to let the people know I could empathize with them. The situations were a little different but the players were the same - a Big Oil Company and the little everyday people."
The Government Accountability Project (GAP) has stepped in to help. Until August 16, the GAP is taking affidavits (statements of fact) from oil spill clean-up personnel (former or current, public or private-sector), and residents with health concerns believed to be related to chemical exposure, to document: occupational safety violations; public health and safety threats; subsequent health affects; retaliation that you have experienced for reporting workplace or citizen concerns, acording to Louisiana Bucket Brigade.

Statements are being taken until Aug. 16 in Louisiana, Mississippi and potentially other Gulf states by Shanna Devine, Investigator with the Government Accountability Project. Devine can be contacted to schedule a time to take statements or to answer questions about this investigation according to Louisiana Bucket Brigade.

In Josh Tickell's award-winning film "Fuel," documentation about oil related tragedies in Nigeria and the Gulf of Mexico is provided. Tickell says the same human rights abuses are happening "everywhere oil is drilled."

Oil companies are backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that has intervened in a number of the cases according to The New York Times. A Chamber spokesman that declined to comment to the Times did point to an amicus brief filed before the 7th Circuit in which the Chamber's lawyers outlined the organization's position.
"The brief states that, in the past 20 years, there have been 150 lawsuits filed against corporations over their activities in about 60 countries."

In the movie, "Fuel," after showing fossil fuel oil destruction, particularly its violence against women in the Gulf of Mexico, Tickell depicts a Nigerian mother with her sick child and states, "Everywhere oil is processed, this happens."

"Those people suffer just as much." (See: "Documents prove BP involved in secret plans to exploit Iraq oil pre-invasion," Dupré, D.)

"Make the companies pay for that!" urges Tickell. "See how much a gallon of fuel costs."

Tickell and his wife Rebecca Harrell embark this weekend on a national tour with their new non-partisan renewable energy film, "Freedom." Thursday, in a written statement, the couple guaranteed "Freedom" movie goers of the film that seeing it will help Americans get off non-renewable oil and use a renewable energy source that fosters human rights.