Wikileaks Bhopal emails link US Dow to intelligence firms

27 February 2012 19:06  [Source: ICIS news]

(recast with direct quotes from Dow Chemical, paragraphs 5-6)

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A group of purported emails published on Monday by Wikileaks linked US-based Dow Chemicals to intelligence firms, which allegedly summarised news reports mentioning the Bhopal accident in India.

The two US-based firms, Allis Information Management (AIM) and Stratfor, allegedly sent emails to Dow summarising news reports, press releases, blogs and other published reports about the Bhopal accident and the Yes Men, a group that has criticised Dow about Bhopal.

The Bhopal accident happened in 1984, when more than 40 tonnes of methyl isocyanate leaked from a Union Carbide plant, killing thousands and exposing many more to the gas. Union Carbide was subsequently acquired by Dow.

Stratfor and Allis did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In a statement, Dow said, "Major companies are often required to take appropriate action to protect their people and safeguard their facilities around the world from those who would threaten, disrupt and misrepresent the company and its employees. Dow takes the obligations to ensure the safety of its people and facilities seriously and will continue to do so within the bounds of the law."

It added, "We are strong proponents of free speech and encourage public debate on important issues. However, while we have not yet seen the specific documents in question, the theft of any private documents cannot be condoned."

Stratfor, based in Austin, Texas, sells subscriptions to corporations and others that give summaries of geopolitics.

Allis, based in Midland, Michigan, provides business research and analysis.

In 1989, Union Carbide paid $470m (€348m) to the Indian government as compensation for the leak, which Union Carbide claimed was caused by sabotage.

In 1994, Union Carbide sold its stake in its Indian subsidiary.

Dow Chemical acquired Union Carbide in 2001. It has said that the $470m settlement had resolved all existing and future claims against the company.

Dow has faced renewed criticism about the Bhopal accident following its sponsorship of the upcoming Olympic games in London.

($1 = €0.74)

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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