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Dow Shalt Not Kill!

Press Statement by the CPI/ML, 12 December 2011



Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)

Central Office: C – 141, Sainik Nagar, New Delhi – 110059 Phone: 011-25332343

Email : info@cpiml.in; Website: www.cpiml.in

 “Dow Shalt Not Kill!”

It is unfortunate that the London Olympics organizers insist on retaining Dow Chemicals as a sponsor. Dow Chemicals is, of course, the notorious successor of Union Carbide Corporation, which it brought over in 1999 and which was responsible for the Bhopal Gas disaster in 1984. That the people are languishing with health effects which will last for many generations and were sold out by their own Government for a measly settlement of $ 470 million as against a the Government’s own claim of $ 3.3 billion. Many people are even today trying to get justice from UCC (now a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Chemicals) and the Government.

But this is not the only mass murderous episode in the history of Dow Chemicals. Dow Chemicals has flourished on war and mass destruction. In World War I Dow Chemicals produced magnesium for incendiary flares, monochlorobenzene and phenol for explosives and bromine for tear gas. It has been reported that by 1918, 90% of the company’s production was for war.

During the 2nd World War, Dow Chemicals is known to have transferred technology to I. G. Farben, one of the largest industrial houses supporting Hitler, thereby profiting from armament related sales to both sides.

After the 2nd World War, when the US Government decided to produce Hydrogen Bombs, the AEC (Atomic Energy Commission) chose Dow Chemicals Company to manage the bomb production facility at Rocky Flats. This plant produced plutonium triggers for the bombs. There were numerous incidents of radioactive contamination, due to fires and leakage of plutonium into the surrounding areas. Upto 1975, numerous investigations found high levels of radioactivity in the vicinity of the site. Finally, Dow Chemical Company was removed as the contractor.

During the Vietnam war, Dow Chemicals produced napalm and “Agent Orange” for bombing the Vietnamese. After protests all other manufacturers of napalm pulled out and Dow Chemicals remained the sole producer of napalm for the US army. During the anti-Vietnam protests by students in 1967 slogans such as “Dow makes Napalm – Napalm kills babies” and “Dow shalt not kill!” were common among the protestors.

Until the late 1970s, Dow produced DBCP (1,2-dibromo,3-chloropropane) which was proved to cause sterility among its male workers. Even after banning it in the US, Dow continued to sell it in Latin America. The Latin American Courts awarded the workers there $ 600 million in damages, but they have been unable to collect on this award. Some workers then sued in the US and in 2007 a Los Angeles jury awarded them $ 3.2 million in damages.

Dow, in association with Corning formed Dow Corning which was one of the makers of silicone breast implants. They were repeatedly sued for ruptured implants which ultimately led to their settling a huge class action suit in 1998. As a result Dow Corning was in bankruptcy protection till end 2004.

Dow marketed the household and garden insecticide, chloropyrifos, under the brand name of Dursban till 2000 in the US. The ill effects of chloropyrifos have been proved and were known to Dow even before they became public knowledge. In 1995, they were fined $ 732000 for not sending the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency of US) its findings on 249 incidents of Dursban poisoning. Further, in 2003, Dow agreed to pay $2 million - the largest penalty ever in a pesticide case - to the state of New York, in response to a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General to end Dow's illegal advertising of Dursban as "safe". Dursban was subsequently banned in the US. However, in India, even today, Dow continues to sell Dursban and its website says, “It has sufficient margins of safety to mammals.”

These are only a few of the disasters that Dow has perpetrated. It has been associated with the release of dioxins in rivers. Besides it has been associated with numerous accidents resulting in toxic waste being released. The number of such “accidents” makes it clear that they are not accidents but merely express the discount that Dow puts on human life as against profits. Dow has been known to indulge in viral marketing, that is, manipulating information on the internet to blank out references to their negative points. There have been many report about Dow Chemicals bribing Indian ministers. (As in the Hindu or 1st April 2011). In 2007, Dow Chemical was fined $325,000 by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over Indian bribery charges.

The Chairman of the Olympics Organising Committee, Sebastian Coe, has stated that Dow Chemicals cannot be held responsible for the Bhopal disaster since they bought UCC only 17 years after the disaster. However, he cannot deny that Dow Chemicals is responsible for Rocky Flats, or for Dursban or for dioxins. The point is not they were responsible for Bhopal but that they are responsible for not giving a decent settlement to the people of Bhopal.

The motto of the Olympic movement is “Citius, Altius, Fortius” which means “faster, higher, stronger”. The only way in which Dow Chemicals can be associated with this motto is they have the possibly the fastest, highest and strongest history as concerns the release of chemicals of mass destruction.

We call upon all the democratic people in India and the world over to boycott the Olympic games as long as they are sponsored by Dow Chemicals.

Workers of the World Unite

The true Olympic Spirit lies in encouraging sport – not profit

Yours sincerely,

 

KN Ramachandran

General Secretary, CPI (ML)

Dated 8 December, 2011

 

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