Sucheta Dalal :US intelligence’s interest in ‘Bhopal updates’ grows as London Olympics nears
Sucheta Dalal

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US intelligence’s interest in ‘Bhopal updates’ grows as London Olympics nears  

February 27, 2012

WikiLeaks’ latest expose shows a diligent follow up on Bhopal tragedy/Dow Chemicals issue in the Indian media. The files evoke interest as Dow is one of the sponsor of the London Olympics

Shukti Sarma

Today WikiLeaks has started publishing ‘The Global Intelligence Files’—more than five million emails—from the Texas-headquartered “global intelligence” company Stratfor. The emails date between July 2004 and late December 2011. A quick study reveals that the Bhopal issue is of major interest for the USA.

WikiLeaks says, “Stratfor monitored and analysed the online activities of Bhopal activists, including the “Yes Men” for the US chemical giant Dow Chemicals. The activists seek redress for the 1984 Dow Chemical/Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal, India. The disaster led to thousands of deaths, injuries in more than half a million people, and lasting environmental damage.” About Stratfor, it says ‘They reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal’s Dow Chemical Company, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defense Intelligence Agency.”

Among the files released today, there are almost 40 files that are related to Bhopal and Dow Chemicals—including media updates: Both Indian and international, activists’ reactions, confidential investigative reports and other material. The earliest file dates to 2010. Most of the files are about media coverage to issues related to the Bhopal gas tragedy and Dow Chemicals. They also include media reports on the Indian Olympics Association’s remarks on London Olympics, which is being sponsored by Dow Chemicals. The list can be viewed at
http://wikileaks.org/gifiles/releasedate/2012-02-27.html

In a file dated 3 December 2011, which was the 27th anniversary of Bhopal gas tragedy, there is a detailed report on every activist activity on ground, including strikes, hartal, rail-roko and media coverage. The file also mentions acts/demonstrations and government discussions that happened that day in other countries (for e.g. Scotland) which sternly criticised Dow Chemicals.

Another file dated 15 November 2011 also quotes a report in the The Independent of UK, about drug trials in India in which writer Nina Lakhani had slammed western pharmaceutical companies for funding trials that were carried on in hospitals set up for Bhopal victims that “violated international ethical standards and could have put patients at risk.”

Stratfor also thoroughly tracked activities of international organisations fighting for Bhopal victims like Students for Bhopal and International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal and kept tabs on their members and prominent campaigners.

 


-- Sucheta Dalal



 



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