When Barack Obama was running for President he promised that if he won the White House, corporate lobbying, backroom deals, shielding corporate criminals – these would be things of the corrupt and unjust past. We in Bhopal hoped for his election, we wished fervently for it, we rejoiced when he won. But now that Obama is President, far from calling powerful corporations to account, he is encouraging and promoting them.
India’s Ministry of Law has held Dow Chemical liable for cleaning up the contamination caused by its subsidiary Union Carbide in Bhopal. But as Bhopal’s medical holocaust entered its 26th year, Obama chose Dow’s CEO Liveris to advise him on corporate matters.
For 18 years, the criminal case against Union Carbide’s American and Indian managers was hamstrung by the refusal of the American defendants to appear in court and the refusal of the US government to extradite them. In June 2010, a verdict was finally reached. Against the Indians. The charges against the Americans remain unanswered, but Obama’s spokesman ignored this and declared the Bhopal matter closed.
When public outrage forced Obama to kick BP’s arse for polluting the Gulf, he said that a foreign corporation could not expect to get away with commiting environmental crimes in America. But it’s evidently okay for an American corporation to kill more than 20,000 citizens of a foreign country, injure half a million more, and for 26 years poison the soil and water of some of the poorest people on earth.