Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Destroyers (I)

Presenting, for all truth-seeking readers many of the world’s foremost groups of destroyers, of industrial companies and corporations.

The first one out is powerful Union Carbide and their even more powerful owners, Dow Chemicals.

24 years after the disaster in Bhopal, India Union Carbide is still refusing to pay up, to pay for the clean up after the enormous poison spills December 3. 1984 from a factory producing pesticides near a larger slum area in the central parts of town. A large, yellow cloud descended on the city and 10 000 people died instantly and between 20 000 and 30 000 after the accident. Close to a million have developed cancer, damages to the central neurological system, the spleen and other organs. All disease has increased dramatically in Bhopal since 1984.

The disastrously lousy security was an issue before the accident and has certainly been one afterwards. The Indian government is now taking it all to court again, in an effort to force Dow Chemicals, the company owning Union Carbide to foot the bill for the clean up of the «accident», the clean up only. Dow refuses, saying they no longer have any legal responsibility for the factory. Dow bought Union Carbide in 2001. Union Carbide sold its Indian subsidiary to Indian Everready Industry India Limited in 1994…

With such and similar reasoning yet another chemical production company is escaping its obvious liability.

170 tons of poisonous waste remains on the plant and the surrounding area, in addition to everything released to the air, water and the ground. 57 of 120 children entering into medical treatment had serious brain diseases. Average age is significantly lower compared to comparable areas in India.

There is a lot of heavy leaning on the Indian government to drop the suit, both from the US AND India. Ratan Tata, a local «wealthy entrepreneur» with strong US-ties says he will pay parts of the clean up if it is dropped. Nobody believes him, since he is notorious for working with foreign interests, at the high cost of local populations, but it is part of the accumulating pressure, just like those holding his chain wants. This is also a propaganda battle, like so much today. The chemical industry has a long, sordid history in that regard. They have a lot on their plate and many similar cases, where their public relation associates are working overtime to distort reality in their favor.

Like industry in general is doing they do what they like everywhere, but they encounter a bit more resistance in the so called developed countries, both in terms of economics and regulations. That’s why they move their factories to Bhopal and countless other places all over the so called third world, where they hardly need to take precautions at all, compared to in the western world, where they have to take a few here and there.

Dow Chemicals is also denying, of course the obvious harm the spill has caused and cause to the people of Bhopal. They are doing it, even though, with the usual delaying tactics and legal poppycock in place they don’t need to do it in this case, since this particular case isn’t about compensation. As stated, Dow Chemicals has a lot on their plate and fights their war on many fronts. The amount they have paid out so far, in what they call aid can hardly be called a trifle. It’s a mere fraction of what was and is necessary, and compared to their high earnings, mainly because of the lousy security, and the constant spills long before the «accident». They are a typical industrial venture and even a more typical multinational corporation.

The Wikipedia article, as it stands today is actually fairly good and accurate. Union Carbide has, naturally its version of the truth at the top of the Google search, and also owns the legal rights to the bhopaldotcom address, where they, in their generosity give us their usual heavily distorted view on reality.

Of course they do.

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