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Bhopal.Net's front page has a new design, which should be faster to download and easier to navigate. Our page of press coverage has had a revamp, with newest stories now appearing at the top. The Eye on Dirty Dow page is regularly updated, so please keep checking.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Coincidence, serendipity or has Bhopal.Net started a trend in inflammable undies? Today's Guardian carries a cartoon by the excellent Steve Bell featuring heroic "Toto" Blair in combusting panties. Was this inspired by our treatment of 'Burnt Willy' Stavropoulos four stories below? Only Steve knows, but why not email him and plead with him very nicely to do a cartoon specially for Bhopal.Net? Meanwhile, to misquote Ionesco:

Le caleçon prit feu
La slip prit feu
Les culottes prirent feu
Les Y-fronts prirent feu

Click to see Steve's cartoon on the Guardian site

     
 


Yet more coverage of Mike "Fall Guy" Parker's move from the Dow frying pan to the BNFL fire. This time it's the UK's Independent, reporting that "Mr Parker takes with him from Dow memories of the Union Carbide debacle, a bitter campaign which criticised Dow's £4bn acquisition of the company responsible for more than 14,000 deaths."

Now then, which campaign? Could it be the International Campaign for Justice in _______?What was the Union Carbide debacle? It can only be the _______ Gas Disaster, surely. But with only 14,000 alleged deaths, it can't be _______ can it, because the official death toll there has already climbed past 22,000.

Hmm, very mysterious. If ______.net readers can work out what the crucial missing word should be, perhaps they would inform The Independent by emailing the editor at letters@independent.co.uk (PS: Please be polite and kind, the Indy is doing a fine job of hanging Tony Blair out to dry for warmongering)

     
 

Just in from Steve Tvedten, a letter he received recently from Doctor John S Blye, who has some new ideas on treating people who have been poisoned by pesticides. Instead of concentrating on finding a genetic link, Blye suggests, we should also be looking for a more common and "much more damning" effect: brain swelling or encephalitis that can cause massive problems up to and including death. Reading his letter, Bhopal.Net remembered a young girl, the victim of multiple brain seizures, who lives just across the railway track from the Union Carbide factory where thousands of tons of pesticides lie abandoned by the company with no thought of the harm they can do to sweet children like Nusrat Jehan who has never harmed a soul in her life. When Dow bosses - who refuse to clear up their subsidiary's mess – blather about responsibility (see foot of this page) and corporate accountability, it should make all of us sick. Dow may yet die of that sickness.

     
 

Union members from several local unions in Southeast Michigan including PACE, the key chemical workers union, gathered at the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Local 22 hall in Southfield, Michigan to discuss the visit of Bhopal survivors and trade unionists Rasheeda Bi and Champa Devi Shukla.

Nityanand Jayaraman of the ICJB proposed that unions and social justice groups around the world declare December 3, the anniversary of the
Union Carbide disaster, International Day of Action Against Corporate Crime, and asked those present to encourage their unions to join the declaration.

The upcoming Labor Notes Conference will include a strategy meeting to plan for this worldwide day of action against Dow and other corporations who ignore
their responsibility to the workers and communities they affect.

Read full story here.

NB: Bhopal.Net booboo. Apologies to readers who clicked this link earlier and found themselves directed to a story about domain name fraud. It seems that unscrupulous companies are creating domains that sound like genuine ones and directing people to these dodgy sites. Bhopal.Com springs to mind, hein? However Bhopal.Net is not blaming Dow for this cock-up which was entirely our own. :)

     
 


Michael Parker, the luckless Dow CEO ousted in last December's putsch by William 'Pants on Fire' Stavropoulos [see Bhopal.Net news archive], has been tipped for the post of Chief Executive of BNFL, or British Nuclear Fuels (as it these days prefers not to be known). Today's report in the Financial Times points out that Parker's demise at Dow followed a two-year period in which the company's profits slumped.

The FT correctly ascribes this to "the decision to buy its former rival [Union Carbide in 1999] - whose reputation was tarnished by a mixture of devastating toxic leaks in India in 1984 [Bhopal, in case you hadn't guessed], its lower-margin chemical business and asbestos liabilities" and, also correctly, points out that the decision to acquire Carbide was made not by Parker but by his wily predecessor 'Pants on Fire' Stavropoulos. Parker seems to have been the fall guy. He was allowed to carry the can for the disaster that befell Dow once it had inherited the thrice-cursed Carbide. After being sufficiently discredited, he was sacked. Guess who then reappeared as Saviour of Dow to replace him? -- Why, he of the flaming pantaloons, 'Burnt Willy'.

A little bird tells us that knives in the Dow boardroom are now out for Willy (that's life at the top for you), but this will be small comfort to Parker, who at BNFL is assured of yet more torrid politics. The company (which reprocesses or, comme on dit, recycles nuclear waste and whose sole shareholder is the British government) has for years been itching to float itself on the stock market. Its last attempt was well and truly buggered by revelations that it had falsified safety data about its reprocessed MOX [Mixed Oxide] fuel, and angry customers in Japan, Switzerland and Germany suspending and threatening to cancel their contracts.

Public memory being short and occupied with more important matters (dammit there's a new Big Brother on and David Beckham has gone to Real Madrid), the would-be privateers are once more going for it and yet again it's old Mike who'll be in the hot seat when the inevitable almighty bloody row breaks out.

Data falsification aside, BNFL is a scandal-rich environment, so Mike should feel at home. He presumably already knows about the dodgy deals involving BNFL and radioactive waste left behind at Oak Ridge, Tennessee and Paducah, Kentucky by that famous polluter Union Carbide. These deals were being done in 1999, even as the BNFL fuel inspectors were carefully falsifying their MOX safety data and 'Pants on Fire' was finalising his takeover of Carbide.

Perhaps Mike Parker can hone his CEOmanship by emulating the man who stitched him up at Dow.

Bhopal.Net readers will recall that 'Pants on Fire' recently lied to shareholders at the Dow AGM by stating there was no ongoing criminal case against Union Carbide in India (there is of course, it has only been going on for 11 years). Bhopal.Net suggests that when potential investors quiz Mike about the embarrassing and potentially costly lawsuit being brought against BNFL by the Irish government for filling the Irish Sea with plutonium, Parker should give a light laugh and reply "Lawsuit? What lawsuit?"

Good luck with the job, Mike!

Additional reporting by Sarvadarshi inside Dow HQ, Michigan

BNFL doing BNFL type stuff
(Click to find Mike Parker)

'Pants on Fire'
(Touch him and see his bloomers blaze)

 

     
 

The Iraqi Women's League has issued a dramatic appeal to women's groups everywhere to support its call for justice, democracy, free elections and the right to live without fear in Iraq. The IWL, which had struggled for years against the Ba'athist dictatorship of Saddam Hussein - many of its members were imprisoned or "disappeared" by the regime - says the US-UK promise of "freedom" for the people of Iraq was a cynical excuse for an invasion designed to subjugate them to the wills of greedy US corporations. Bhopali women, who vehemently opposed the war, offer their fullest support and solidarity.
Read the IWL statement and contact them here.

Anti war demo in Bhopal protesting
against those who play Holi, the festival of colours, in blood (click to enlarge)

   
 


Duane "Dog" Chapman has been in the news recently, as the man who recaptured absconding multiple-rapist and Max Factor heir Andrew Luster, the man who gives new meaning to the scurrilous old rhyme "Max Factor Knacker Lacquer adds Luster to your Cluster" (which this journal discovered some years ago chalked in the urinal of a Cambridge College).

The 39 year old "Dog" who describes himself as "the greatest bounty hunter in the world", makes his living tracking down fugitives from justice. As he says on his website, "Anyone with a warrant becomes Dog's prey . . . From 18 to 80 Blind crippled or Crazy If they can’t walk or crawl we’ll Drag Em Back”.

All of which bodes ill for Warren Anderson, long time bail-jumper and absconder from justice for eleven long years, who has a warrant for his arrest out from a court in Bhopal where he is accused of "culpable homicide" involving the deaths of more than 20,000 people.

Bhopal.Net has approached "Dog" to ascertain his willingness to pursue the fugitive Anderson. We await his response with eager anticipation and will keep you, our readers, informed of developments.

Meanwhile please do visit the man's site at www.dogthebountyhunter.com

Alternatively sign our online petition demanding that the Indian government obey forthwith the court's order to extradite Warren Anderson from the United States and produce him for trial in Bhopal.

Duane "Dog" Chapman

     
 

What has kept the survivors going, through eighteen years of struggle against giant, ruthless and immoral powers? Hope, where there is no cause for hope. Courage, when all that's left is struggle. Songs like 'Hillele jagjor duniya'. Hear this enthusiastic impromptu performance recorded during the survivor's May 2003 tour of the United States. Come on, let's all sing along . . .

English translation here. Listen here, (NB, enormous MP3 file 5.7mb)

Hillele'ing in Bhopal

     
 

An Aussie who is clearly not a fan of the USA has published a list of 76 reasons why people around the world hate America.
    His reason #59 is the Bhopal disaster and the US multinational's chief concern being not with its victims but with how to get away with paying as little compensation as possible.
    That of course remains the case today, with Carbide now hiding like a toxic Jonah inside the belly of Dow Chemical. However we in the ICJB and Bhopalis in general do not hate America or Americans. Many of our most active campaigners and greatest friends are Americans: Ward Morehouse, who campaigned almost single-handed on this issue for years, Diane Wilson, who launched last year's global hunger strike, all those who supported us during the survivors' tour in April-May this year.
    We do despise those who put profit before human lives and health, who lie to evade their responsibilities, who use their financial and political power to obstruct, delay and pervert justice. These people, who richly deserve our contempt and loathing include Indians as well as Americans. Warren Anderson, the Carbide Chairman who has been absconding from a Bhopal court for eleven years is American, the politicians in New Delhi who have made no move to extradite him are Indians.
    Regardless of nationality, religion or politics there are basically three sorts of people. There are the uninvolved who either do not know or do not want to know about the injustice in the world. Then there are the bastards who commit, collude in, and cover-up injustices. The people of the third sort are those who discover that they care passionately about what happens to others and who take it upon themselves to do something about it.

    Which are you?

Click here to join the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal

     
 


NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A 13-year-old Indian boy has begun producing winged beetles in his urine after hatching the eggs in his body, according to a senior medical official.

Read the whole ghastly tale here.

We were sent this story by the redoubtable Steve Tvedten, who tirelessly campaigns to expose the damage done by pesticides and to promote safer, non-toxic alternatives. Try as we may we cannot find a pesticide angle to this story and assume that it was so weird that Steve just couldn't resist circulating it. If that excuse is good enough for him it's good enough for us.

Click here to visit Steve's website and sign up for his bulletins.

Staphylinidae rove beetle

     
 

UK writer Lynn Truss has launched an all-out no-holds-barred war against misused apostrophes. Her targets not only include the nation's grocers – famous for handlettered signs such as "Mango's £1.59 each" – but those who might, for instance, write "The company lied about it's responsibilities".     People who abuse the little tadpole-shaped bits of punctuation arouse her ire to such a degree that on a recent BBC Radio 4 programme she cried, "Why does the Apostrophe Protection Society not have a militant wing? Can I start one? Where do you get balaclavas?"
    You can join her campaign by emailing punctuation@profilebooks.co.uk or, if you'd rather spend your time and energy on something rather more important, click here instead and join the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal.

 
     
 

INDIANA June 5 2003 The Herald Tribune, or the "Horrible Terrible" as it is apparently known, has just performed a major act of bowel suction in respect of ageing Dow ex-supremo Frank Popoff. Writing in the Bloomington Free Press, journalist Jason Vest exposes the cynicism of this act of worship, comparing recent performances of the US media to those of Pravda in Soviet Union days. While Popoff is allowed to get away with the usual pious statements about corporate responsibility and express horror over the misdeeds over corporate outlaws like Enron, the Herald Tribune's obsequious reporter never bothered to challenge him on Dow's many blatant irresponsibilities, nor ask him about the Enron-type scandal in which he, Popoff, is himself thoroughly implicated. If US newspapers surrender their much trumpeted freedom, their main value will be to be torn into small squares, hung on a nail and used as toilet paper. Although in this case that is not needed, because the H-T has already been there done that, taken care of that little job. Read Jason Vert's article here.

Popoff

   
 

 

William "Pants-on-fire" Stavropoulos

You said it, William,
and you will be held to it.
Every last jot and tittle of it.
People like you and
corporations like yours will
have to learn the hard way
that you cannot keep lying
and getting away with it.

Juat for a change, how about
living up to your responsibilities
to the people of Bhopal,
and cleaning up your factory
that after eighteen years
is still manufacturing corpses?

How about turning up
to the court from which Union Carbide
your wholly owned subsidiary
has been absconding for 11 years,
and facing those criminal charges
whose existence you denied
to your stockholders last month?

     
 

Survivors' US tour notches up a string of successes

5 June 2003. Champa Devi Shukla and Rasheeda Bee have returned to India declaring their month long tour of the US a great success and calling on all Bhopal supporters to observe December 3rd as a Global Day of Action Against Corporate Crime. Read their press statement here.

 

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