Archive for December 3rd, 2004

David Byrne is blogging and is a pleasure to read. I met him briefly at the Wired Magzine Creative Commons benefit concert he did with Gilberto Gil. He spoke to me. He said, “Can I get by, please.” It was a deep moment of personal interaction.
He did do a good report on the Wired Rose Planetarium party that I had to pass on. Too old to pop up to NYC for one night every month. Me not Byrne. He don’t used permalinks so you have to scroll down looking for a meteor.

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I’m delighted how our seminar in Virtual Communities turned out. We had good presentations and good papers that showed an understanding of the readings, discussions and of the talks by visitors (Searls, Dauber, Muller and Hood). Thanks folks for visiting and to the class for being energetic and smart and resourceful.
We ended the week with a presentation to Center for Research and Development of Digital Libraries (CRADLE), on three ibiblio projects: Osprey, Lyceum, and folkstreams.net. Fred, John, and Max did fine presentations on the projects.
I’ve turned in my judgements on the Framed contest put on by Duke Law’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain. No I can’t tell you which movies I picked as winners. You’ll have to wait and watch their web site for the results. I’m one of three judges so there may be discussion yet to come.
Got a lovely alert from the Yes Men disguised as Dow Ethics clarifying the Dow/Union Carbide reaction/retraction of the BBC report in which a spokesman for Dow (actually a Yes Man posing as Jude Finisterra) admitted that Union Carbide was completely responsible for the Bhopal disaster (20 years on) and announced a plan for atonement. All fake of course.

Date: Fri, 3 Dec 2004 20:37:48 +0100
From: Dow Chemical Corporation retractions @dowethics.com
To: pjones
Subject: DOW “HELP” FOR BHOPAL A HOAX

December 3, 2004
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“DOW” STATEMENT A HOAX
“Historic aid package for Bhopal victims” a lie

Contact: Marina Ashanin, Corp. Media Relations, +41-1-728-2347
Related information: http://dowethics.com/bhopal/

Today on BBC World Television, a fake Dow spokesperson announced fake
plans to take full responsibility for the very real Bhopal tragedy of
December 3, 1984. (1) Dow Chemical emphatically denies this
announcement. Although seemingly humanistic in nature, the fake plans
were invented by irresponsible hucksters with no regard for the
truth.

As Dow has repeatedly noted, Dow cannot and will not take
responsibility for the accident. (“What we cannot and will not do…
is accept responsibility for the Bhopal accident.” – CEO Michael
Parker, 2002.) The Dow position has not changed, despite public
pressure.

Dow also notes the great injustice that these pranksters have caused
by giving Bhopalis false hope for a better future assisted by Dow.
The survivors of Bhopal have already suffered 20 years of false hope,
neglect, and abdication of responsibility by all parties. Is that not
enough?

To be perfectly clear:

* The Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) will NOT be liquidated. (The
fake “Dow plan” called for the dissolution and sale of Dow’s fully
owned subsidiary, estimated at US$12 billion, to fund compensation
and remediation in Bhopal.)

* Dow will NOT commit ANY funds to compensate and treat 120,000
Bhopal residents who require lifelong care. The Bhopal victims have
ALREADY been compensated; many received about US$500 several years
ago, which in India can cover a full year of medical care. (2)

* Dow will NOT remediate (clean up) the Bhopal plant site. We do
understand that UCC abandoned thousands of tons of toxic chemicals on
the site, and that these still contaminate the groundwater which area
residents drink. Dow estimates that the Indian government’s recent
proposal to commission a study to consider the possibility of proper
remediation at some point in the future is fully sufficient.

* Dow does NOT urge the US to extradite former Union Carbide CEO
Warren Anderson to India, where he has been wanted for 20 years on
multiple homicide charges. (3)

* Dow will NOT release proprietary information on the leaked gases,
nor the results of studies commissioned by UCC and never released.

* Dow will NOT fund research on the safety of Dow endocrine
disruptors (ECDs) considered to have long-term negative effects.

* Dow DOES agree that “One can’t assign a dollar value to doing
what’s morally right,” as hoaxter Finisterra said. That is why Dow
acknowledged and resolved many of Union Carbide’s liabilities in the
US immediately after acquiring the company in 2001. (4)

Again, most importantly of all:

* Dow shareholders will see NO losses, because Dow’s policy towards
Bhopal HAS NOT CHANGED. Much as we at Dow may care, as human beings,
about the victims of the Bhopal catastrophe, we must reiterate that
Dow’s sole and unique responsibility is to its shareholders, and Dow
CANNOT do anything that goes against its bottom line unless forced to
by law.

For more information please contact Marina Ashanin, Corporate Media
Relations, +41-1-728-2347, or reply to this email.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

(1) On December 3, 1984, Union Carbide – now part of Dow -
accidentally killed thousands of residents of Bhopal, India, when its
pesticide plant leaked a vast cloud of lethal gas over the city.
Since that date, at least 12,000 more people have died from
complications, and 120,000 remain chronically ill. The Dow Chemical
Corporation hereby expresses its condolences to the victims.

(2) Union Carbide was originally forced to pay US$470 million in
compensation to survivors, which amounts to about US$500 per victim.
(Note: Dow hereby wishes to retract the 2002 statement of Dow PR Head
compensation to survivors, which amounts to about US$500 per victim.
(Note: Dow hereby wishes to retract the 2002 statement of Dow PR Head
Kathy Hunt as to US$500 being “plenty good for an Indian.” The poor
phrasing of this statement has often come back to haunt us.)

(3) Arrested in India following the accident, Andersen posted
US$2000 bail and successfully escaped India.

(4) Dow settled Union Carbide’s asbestos liabilities in the US, and
paid US$10 million to one family poisoned by a Dow pesticide. This
is a mark of Dow’s corporate responsibility.

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UPDATE: The Yes Men’s own blow by blow of the Dow hijinks including the BBC news spotis now posted on their site. A great read indeed!

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