Note: Because Dow Chemical reacted to our BBC hoax with a single disappointing paragraph (basically, "nope"), we decided to write Dow a much better denial, detailing all the things they just wouldn't do for the people of Bhopal. (See this for the full story of the day's action.) This sort of "fake denial" became for us a staple of future projects, that we employed again and again, petulantly attacking ourselves in the name of Chevron, Shell, Canada, and other targets. The only difference, later, was that these denials became part of the whole "reveal" strategy, and would be described in the reveal releases (as well as, when we were lucky, in the media, as in the Canadian coverage of our COP-15 action). To this day, because it makes a good story, people continue to believe that Dow once lashed out at us. Fake news!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 3, 2004
Dow "Help" Announcement Is Elaborate Hoax
On December 3, 2004, a fake Dow spokesperson announced on BBC World Television 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)
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 write to us. Please also see these news articles.
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 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.