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Wikileaks have done it again. Together with Anonymous hackers, they've revealed the inner workings of STRATFOR – the corporate intelligence agency that hire out their services to the likes of Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Dow Chemical, to name but a few. Over 5 million emails have been released – including highly sensitive documents that reveal the company's international (and completely unaccountable) network of informants and spies.
Dow Chemical are one of their larger clients. US based Dow, for those who don't already know, have had something of an image problem ever since they bought out Union Carbide- the US company responsible for the largest industrial accident ever, in Bhopal, India. The scale of the Bhopal disaster is almost unimaginable. It has been described as the Indian Chenobyl, but in reality Bhopal was much, much worse. Three thousand people were killed shortly after deadly toxic chemicals leaked from the plant on December 2nd, 1984. Thousands more died over the following weeks. The total death toll is estimated at around 25,000, with more than 500,000 injured or disabled.
Dow Chemical, just like Union Carbide before them, have refused to take responsibility for the disaster, and the global campaign for justice for the victims of Bhopal is still active and vibrant, with several successes under its belt. Dow is afraid of the Bhopal campaigners, and, as revealed in Wikileaks' information haul, used (and almost definitely continues to use) STRATFOR to spy on Bhopal activists and sabotage their campaign. Under the heading 'Dow Confidential: Bhopal Monitoring Report', STRATFOR have gathered highly detailed information on the Bhopal campaigns and campaigners.
SchNEWS caught up with Brighton based and Bhopal born activist Farah Edwards. She and her husband Tim have been active in the Bhopal campaign for more than ten years. They are directly named in the Wikileaks documents – STRATFOR has been spying on them for years.
Tell us about Bhopal activism in light of the revelations that Stratfor was spying on you
I was born in Bhopal and I was there when the accident happened in 1984. Me and my husband have been campaigning for more than 10 years. He cycled to India from Britain to raise awareness of Bhopal.
Dow says it has nothing to to with Bhopal but if that is the case then why is it doing surveillance on us. We are just raising awareness on the whole issue that surrounds Bhopal, and I'm just surprised that we were being monitored. The 5 million emails were hacked by Anonymous from Stratfor- a private intelligence agency. They monitored everything about us- including Facebook comments.
They are monitoring every little thing. I've made to promote the change.org” petition so people would sign it, I sent it to a lot of people- that's how in your own little way you you promote your campaign. They had the names of everybody I sent it to.
Do you believe that Dow Chemical used Stratfor's organisation to sabotage your campaign?
Several things happened. One time we had this water, water from Bhopal, in glass bottles. We decided to take it to Dow's CEOs, but when we got there they were shut down [for the day]. They had been warned. They are petrified of us.
What are the latest developments in the Bhopal campaign?
We found out that the 2012 Olympics had a wrap [a plastic cover for the entire stadium]. It is sponsored sponsored by Dow Chemical. There is a website called “Athletes Against Dow” with 126 athletes. Meredith Alexander (Commissioner for Sustainable London) resigned on Newsnight because she wasn’t happy with the way things have gone. The Indians [Olympic team] have done a partial boycott of the Olympics. They are boycotting the opening and closing ceremonies. It's small but it shows they are making some effort. This is because of the Bhopal campaign.
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SchNEWS interview's one of the ZAD crew
UPDATE: The sh*t's well and truly hit the fan since we published this interview last week... Stay tuned for more SchNEWS from the front...
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