MP House ignores WikiLeaks' story on US watch | bhopal | Hindustan Times
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MP House ignores WikiLeaks' story on US watch

bhopal Updated: Feb 28, 2012 19:52 IST
Ashutosh Shukla

The e-mails published by WikiLeaks show the anxiety of the US multinational Dow Chemical to keep abreast of the movements of activists' groups in Bhopal but the disclosure of spying on Bhopal's activists' groups by an American intelligence firm Stratfor was completely ignored by the state assembly when it met on Tuesday for presentation of the annual budget.

On the other hand, NGOs working among survivors of the gas disaster said they had a hunch that Dow was doing it but they did not know that they could be doing it so rigorously.

"Many of the Bhopal-related emails, addressed from Stratfor to Dow and Union Carbide public relations directors, reveal concern that, in the lead-up to the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster, the Bhopal issue might be expanded into an effective systemic critique of corporate rule, and speculate at length about why this hasn't yet happened- providing a fascinating window onto what at least some corporate types fear most from activists," said WikiLeaks website on Monday.

Referring to some more emails dispatched by Stratfor spies and analysts, WikiLeaks suggests that Dow feared that 25th anniversary of the disaster could be an occasion when ublic opinion could be mobilised against the corporates like them but it did not happen. The reasons for it were also analysed by the intelligence firm.

"(Bhopal activists) have made a slight nod towards expanded activity, but never followed through on it- the idea of "other Bhopals" that were the fault of Dow or others," wrote Joseph de Feo, who is listed in one online source as a 'briefer' for Stratfor.

"Maybe the Yes Men were the pinnacles. They made argument in their way on their terms- that this is a corporate problem and a part of the a (sic) larger whole," wrote Kathleen Morson, Strtfor's director of policy analysis.

"With less than a month to go (until the 25th anniversary), you'd think that the major players- specially Amnesty- would have branched out from Bhopal to make a broader set of issues. I don't see any evidence of it," wrote Mongoven, Stratfor's vice president, in November 2004.

"If they can't manage to use the 25th aniversary to broaden the issue, they probably won't be able to."

While Dow was not only monitoring the activities of NGOs and analysing its impact or lack of it, disclosure of spying by WikiLeaks has had no impact on the legislators of the state. None from either the Congress or the ruling BJP raised the issue on the floor of the House when the House met on Tuesday for presentation of state budget for the financial year 2012-13.

Deputy leader of Opposition in the House Chaudhary Rakesh Singh, however, said that assembly was run according to rules and there was no room for raising the issue on Tuesday.

"There was no zero hour nor adjournment motion could have been taken up since it was the day reserved exclusively for presentation of budget. Let me study the matter a little bit before deciding on whether to raise the issue and if yes, how," said Rakesh Singh.

We knew they are spying on us: NGOs
Represenatives of major NGOs working among survivors of the gas disaster said that they knew Dow was spying on them but didn't know that they could be so deep into it.

"Spying is no surprise. Even the government spies on us. But what is remarkable is the fact that a company, which has always sought to wash its hands off Bhopal (Dow) is so anxious to know what the NGOs are doing in Bhopal. There are two cases against the company- one civil curative petition for greater compensation in Supreme Court and cleaning up of Union Carbide site in MP high court. Their business interests in India are immense. They are concerned about it all but sufferers of gas disaster," said Abdul Jabbar, convener, Bhopal Gas Peeedit Mahila Udyog Sagthan (BGPMUS).

"We always had a hunch that they were spying on us but they could be so deep into it, we didn't know. But the kind of "dirty" company Dow is, there is no surprise. And the spying form Stratfor is no less evil, it has spied on India for ISI and they are spying on Indian government too. Government of India, International Olympics Committee (IOC), Britain government should all open their eyes to the reality of Dow. It's just the beginning, let more emails be published. Dirty games of Dow and so-called intelligence firm would be completely exposed," said Rachna Dhingra of Bhopal Group of Information & Action, who was returning from Delhi after submitting a memorandum to the British High Commission opposing Dow"s sponsorship of London Olympic.