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August 28, 2002

Corporate Shenanigans of Shame

For those who might have forgot, this year will be the 18th anniversary of Union Carbide's infamous chemical spill in Bhopal.

For those who haven't been following the news on this one (and it doesn't get much USofA press, does it?), corpwatchindia.org tells us:

"Dow-Carbide claims that all liabilities arising from the Bhopal gas disaster of 1984 were extinguished by the settlement it reached with the Indian government. Eighteen years after the disaster, the survivors and their children continue to suffer for lack of compensation, and medical and economic rehabilitation. About 95 percent of the victims have received a measly Rs. 25,000 ($500) as "lifetime compensation." Dow-Carbide's public affairs officer Kathy Hunt has declared that "$500 is plenty good for an Indian." Taken over the 18 years, the value of the survivors "lifetime compensation" works out at the price of one cup of tea per day. In fact, Dow-Carbide's liabilities in Bhopal are mounting with every passing day more than 30 people continue to succumb to gas-related health problems every month, and serious birth defects have begun appearing in a new generation of Bhopals children."

$500 is plenty good for an Indian and apparently an uneducated racist is also good enough to be in public relations at Dow-Carbide. If those are their standards, no wonder they had a little accident.

I've been watching the progress of Diane Wilson's hunger strike as it's been journaled at alternet.org and I see that things have been moving a bit recently.

After 30 days on her hunger strike at the gates of the company in Seadrift, Texas, home of another infamous Union Carbide (now Dow-Carbide) "accident" in l991 when an explosion killed 1 worker and injured 34 others, she climbed the fence, chained herself to a tower and hung out a sign demanding justice for Bhopal, India.

Not surprisingly, she was subsequently arrested.

Also not surprisingly in the Bushleaguer's kingdom of Texas, a reporter trying to take pictures of Diane was also arrested because…wait for it…the top of the 70-foot tower, clearly visible from everywhere outside of the fence, was considered a "top-secret" installation.

If you check Bhopal.net from time-to-time, you'll see their running commentary of their attempt to find former Carbide CEO Warren Anderson who has been a fugitive from justice for the past 11 years or so.

Diane's hunger strike isn't entirely altruistic, of course. There's something in it for her. Namely, the health of the San Antonio bay where, before the birds and sealife started washing up dead on the beach, she was a fourth generation shrimp fisherman.

Yep, you guessed it. Dow-Carbide's Seadrift plant dumps its waste (as well as, allegedly, another 12,000 gallon chemical spill this past summer) into that very bay.

Posted by AnneZook at 03:38 PM