How Dow too transparently explained their indifference to Bhopalis

One of a long chain of events that led to our biggest success. In retrospect it seems smart, but we actually had no clue what we were doing.

This is a big part of the meandering path that led straight (yes, it's a contradiction) to our biggest success.

We'll recount how, back in the late 1990s, we first had the idea to make fake websites, like one impersonating Shell and one impersonating McDonalds... which led eventually to our first WTO impersonation, but also—through a parallel chain of events—to meeting the Greenpeace campaigner who, seeing our "success" against the WTO, suggested we try our luck against the Dow Chemical Corporation.

Dow had just then bought Union Carbide, responsible for the biggest industrial disaster to date, the 1984 Bhopal catastrophe—but was refusing to take responsibility for it or to compensate the survivors.

More specifically, the Greenpeace campaigner thought a fake-website action could link "Dow" and "Bhopal" in the public imagination; Union Carbide was widely remembered as guilty, but Dow's purchase of Carbide was still relatively unknown.

The approach we came up with: set up a fake Dow website and then speak out on their behalf, much as we had with the WTO.

But speak out about what? We chose the satirical approach that we were at the time most familiar with, and blasted a fake Dow press release that spoke a little too honestly, and said, essentially, that since Bhopalis can't afford lawyers, Dow didn't care.

And boy was that accurate. While Dow compensated the victims of Union Carbide's Virginia malfunctions, they felt no urge to do squat for the people of Bhopal.

There's a lot left to tell—and we will!—but in short, the press from this led to the mistake made two years later by a young BBC intern, and thus to our biggest success... which firmly cemented Dow's reputation as the culprit for the worst industrial disaster in history. Stay tuned!