Saturday, May 29, 2010

Corporate Criminals - Union Carbide

Corporations want to be treated like people. They want the same, actually superior, rights as people. But they want none of the responsibilities that people are burdened with. British Petroleum has got me thinking about what corporations get away with that individual people, even whole countries, would be severely punished for.

The Crimes of Union Carbide
Manufacture of WMDs, Mass Murder
Some of the Bhopal dead (Source).

In 1984 Union Carbide was producing WMDs at their chemical plant in Bhopal, India. On the night of December 2 of that year Union Carbide released a toxic gas soup including phosgene and methyl isocyanate on the sleeping town. In all, Over 2,000 died in agony that night. Totally, 20,000 people have died and an additional 120,000 have chronic medical conditions caused by the exposure (Source). Even today, 25 years later, the now abandoned Union Carbide plant is poisoning the citizens of Bhopal. There are 390 tons of toxic chemicals in rusting barrels leaking their contents into the Bhopal water supply. Hundreds of new victims are born every year with birth defects because of Union Carbide.

Union Carbide, without proof, blames sabotage. They also blame the Indian government. Only reluctantly, usually responding to court orders, have they paid out settlements. And they whine on their website that the settlements are too large.

If Union Carbide were a country they would have been bombed by the US Air Force. The Bhopal gas attack was more deadly than Saddam's attack on the Kurds in Halabja. If Union Carbide were an individual it would be in an Indian jail on multiple counts of homicide. But Union Carbide is a company and it continues to thrive.

Union Carbide is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical (more on their crimes later). UC has $5 billion in net sales in 2009. Their total assets near $9 billion. Their 10-K report says that UC spent $105 million just for corporate restructuring in 2008-9. There is no mention of spending a single dollar for either Bhopal or India in the entire document. Former CEO Warren Anderson has been indicted in India and an arrest warrant has been issued, but he resides comfortably in one of his three mansions in Long Island, Connecticut, and Florida protected by the United States government.


Colin said...

Great post. Sadly it's all too easy to agree with you...

Anonymous said...

This whole article is utter nonsense