Generations of Victims: Bhopal’s Unending Catrastrophe – part 1

Published on Spiegel Online International, by Anne Backhaus and Simone Salden in Bhopal, India, Dec 9, 2014.

Thirty years after the worst chemical accident in history, the disaster is hitting a new generation. The victims have received little help, professional clean-up has not happened and there are no signs the ongoing environmental catastrophe will end.

When the monsoon washes away the dust of the Indian summer from the landscape, huts and people of Bhopal, the dry basin behind the slum of J.P. Nagar turns into a lake. Laughing children swim in it, fishermen wait for the telltale tug on their lines to signal a catch, and buffalos greedily devour the succulent stems of water lilies … //

… Horrible Reminders: … //
… Toxic Ghost Town: … //
… The Unlucky Ones Survived: … //
… Only the Gods Can Help Us: … //

… Guinea Pigs:

Bee estimates “that close to 3,000 disabled children from the surrounding neighborhoods urgently need help.” But facilities like the Chingari Trust are rare or unaffordable for the poor. And local residents have distrusted the Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Center, established in 1984 for the free treatment of victims of the gas leak, ever since it was revealed in 2011 that Western pharmaceutical companies like AstraZeneca and Pfizer were conducting drug tests on patients. The gas victims were being misused as test subjects for new heart drugs and antibiotics.

“Bhopal holds up a mirror to India,” says Vinuta Gopal of Greenpeace India. The environmentalist deplores the lack of a sense of responsibility for human beings and nature among large corporations. “Companies have the certainty that not much can happen to them here,” she says, noting that Bhopal is still the blueprint for the way companies handle such disasters in the country.

In 1989, US-based Union Carbide and its Indian subsidiary paid about $470 million to the Indian government, effectively buying their way out of any further criminal prosecution. Only a fraction of the money reached the victims. It was a cheap decision in every respect.

By comparison, in 2011 a US court ordered the giant corporation that now owns Union Carbide to pay $3 million to an asbestos victim with cancer. In Bhopal, the families were paid about $1,600 for each dead relative, while those with injuries were palmed off with $500 — only enough to pay for a few months of their medications, in many cases. Today the widows of gas victims receive a monthly pension of 150 rupees, or about €1.50.

To this day, Union Carbide denies any responsibility for the long-term damage to human beings and the environment in Bhopal. Its representatives claim, for example, that the company “secured” the evaporation basin with a plastic tarp. They insist that the fact that pollutants still entered the groundwater was purely the fault of local residents, who had “damaged” the material. “The question of toxic waste cleanup on the factory grounds should not be taken up with us, but with the local authorities,” says a company spokesman.

(full long text).

Part 2: People Are at the Mercy of these Poisons.


The REAL Reason Guantanamo Is Being Kept Open, on WashingtonsBlog, by blog owner, Dec 10, 2014: “We Can Never Let The World Know What I Have Done To You” – Most of the prisoners at Guantanamo have been found innocent and found innocent and cleared for release …; (see also: Kafka at Gitmo: Why 86 prisoners are cleared for release but might never get it, on The Washington Post, by Max Fisher, April 25, 2013);

Hush money: CIA paid Poland to host its secret prisons and detainees, on Russia Today RT, Dec 10, 2014;

Barack Obama: Progressive Americans’ pyrite-politician, on Intrepid Report, by Ben Tanosborn, Dec 10, 2014: Much of conservative America, led by the business community and Wall Street as its parakletos, has from day one after Obama’s election to the presidency granted him a series of political pejoratives that only America’s puritan-capitalism can assign with a straight face, and total ignorance: calling him a socialist, or a communist, or many of the other anti-capitalist denominations in between …;

Former Gitmo detainee David Hicks heckles Australian attorney-general at awards ceremony, on Russia Today RT, Dec 10, 2014;

America’s children: The trials of growing up in a police state, on Intrepid Report, by John W. Whitehead, Dec 10, 2014;

Torture: An Executive Summary, on Global, by Washington’s Blog/it’s blog ownder, Dec 9, 2014;

Why Sharing is a Common Cause that Unites Us All, on Dissident Voice, by Adam Parsons and Rajesh Makwana, December 9, 2014;

Facing justice: UN, HRW, Amnesty call for prosecuting US officials for torture, on Russia Today RT, Dec 10, 2014;

What could Ukraine learn from South Africa? on Russia Today RT, by Neil Clark, Dec 9, 2014; (Neil’s blog);

A veteran photo project that shows what can’t always be spoken, on The Washington Post, by Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Dec 5, 2014.

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