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Dow Chemicals almost kicked out of London 2012 Olympics. More pain to come.

17 Apr

Dow Chemicals, that lovable corporate giant who didn’t  bring you the 1984 Bhopal Disaster and who aren’t responsible in any way for injuring up to half a million Indian citizens in one of the worst industrial catastrophes in world history, are not happy bunnies.

Just sixteen weeks before the 2012 Olympic Games begin to deliver them “marketing gold”, they are being asked to get out of town. Just when the winning line for their social media campaign is in sight, they run across a problem. Nobody likes them.

Last week, the prestigious London Assembly decided by only one solitary vote not to kick Dow out of the 2012 Olympic games and cancel them as a sponsor. As close shaves go, that was very close.

Dow are not the kind of giant international corporation who take kindly to criticism. Dow takes the view that people who say that they are a classic example of a “corporation gone bad” are misinformed.

So that nobody is misinformed ever again, Dow have made the real truth abundantly clear on their website:

“Dow’s policy is to be lawful, highly principled and socially responsible in all of its business practices.”

“At Dow, diversity and inclusion are inherent in our work environment”.

“In 2011, Dow had annual sales of $60 Billion and employed 52,000 people worldwide”

“For over two decades we have embraced and advocated Responsible Care – a voluntary industry-wide commitment to safely handle our chemicals from inception in the laboratory to ultimate disposal”.

Well, so that nobody is misinformed ever again, here is some more real truth:

After persistently ignoring warnings from both American experts and local officials, a badly maintained Union Carbide plant, operating with knowing disregard to safety procedures, leaked toxic gas across a vast area of housing during the night.

Within days, all the local trees lost all their leaves.  Two thousand dead farm animals were discovered and disposed of. 170,000 injured people were received by medical staff. They were all suffering from the same effects you would get if you inhaled cyanide. Thousands died and more than a million people were physically damaged, it is now widely believed.

Union Carbide offered $350 million -only the sum they were insured for – as compensation. The Indian Government estimated compensation to be one thousand times higher than that figure. The discredited and financially ruined Union Carbide Corporation sold its Bhopal plant for peanuts in 1994 and in 2001 both Union Carbide and that plant were bought up by Dow Chemicals…purely for reasons of profit.

To this day, hundreds of thousands of injured victims have been denied either proper justice or reasonable compensation. Dow has said “No” and Dow means “No”.

The massive organisational project that is the 2012 London Olympics has always had an ‘unreal’ air about it. Whereas few would wish to knock the hard work of those athletes who pursue world excellence, many people have always maintained that not only are the Games themselves already seriously tainted by allegations of corruption but that London simply isn’t the right venue for them.

The list of key sponsors looks increasingly like a roll-call of corporate and athletic pariahs. Neither Coca-Cola nor McDonalds can make any claim to having raised the health standards of anyone in the world. But…Dow Chemicals…?

How on earth Lord Sebastian Coe and his Organising Committee were stupid enough to allow Dow to become a major sponsor of their event is to remain a mystery for now. Perhaps it was the large wad of money.

There is a huge elephant in the corner of the living room again. Lord Coe and his very important friends cannot see it.

Everybody else can.

Dow Chemicals have a slogan for their range of paints:

“A Smarter Way To Hide”.

Dow Chemicals also have a Corporate slogan:

“We believe that taking the extra step to be socially responsible does not hold us back – it sets us apart”.

Absolutely, Dow.

Absolutely…

Facebook: The wheels start falling off and the screaming begins…

10 Apr

My name is...

When Phillip Markoff, the ‘Craigslist Killer’ committed suicide while awaiting trial for murder, he unwittingly set in motion a chain of events that has blown the lid off Facebook’s Privacy Policy.

Facebook has always gone to great lengths to encourage users to upload as much personal data as possible. However, when the Boston Police Department issued a subpoena, demanding access to Markoff’s Facebook account, two things happened:

1) Facebook handed over the full, unredacted account history, including the account details of all Markoff’s friends and their ID information and their interaction.

2) The Boston Police Department then released this document into the public domain, without redacting the names and account details of his friends.

If Facebook users ever worried what information Facebook might pass on to the police and other government agencies about them, they need  fret no more. Facebook hands over the whole lot. You can read the excellent Boston Phoenix article here, including a copy of the document that Facebook handed over to the BPD.

The British government is currently seeking to pass a law allowing it to ‘monitor’ all UK citizens’ website conversations in “real time” – as they actually happen, without any limitation, nor requesting permission from a judge to prove any need or justification. You can read a simple BBC synopsis of this law here.

Now, add the following facts to your understanding of the above story:

Tens of millions of UK citizens’ private records held by Government Agencies have been lost or released. (1)

One in three British men has a criminal record by the time that they are 30. (Home Office Statistic, JRF)

Thousands of losses of our personal data occur at Local Council level through hacking and weak security. (2)

It is estimated that 27% of friend requests on Facebook are fake – around two in every ten. (3)

Let us take all these facts and try to create a ‘conservative’ mathematical algorithm:

For each hundred ‘friends’ you have on Facebook, ten are actually fake.

For each further hundred ‘friends’ you add, twelve are fake. The risk figure rises exponentially as you add more ‘friends’ whose real identity you do not know – for example, they are someone you met in a club, bar or online.

If you have 300 ‘friends’ on Facebook, in excess of 30 are ‘fake’-  the person is not who they say they are.

If 33% of UK males under thirty have a criminal record, and 50% of convicted criminals re-offend, (4) then any Facebook profile containing 300 ‘friends’ includes profiles of least 10 convicted criminals, hiding under fake IDs.

If 100 of your Facebook ‘friends’ also have 300 ‘friends’ themselves, you are connected by an evidence trail to 300 convicted criminals. Let’s be even more conservative still. Let’s say 200.

Ask yourself:

“If Facebook provide the authorities with full details of all ‘friend’ data and links that an active criminal has, and government agencies are allowed to monitor my Facebook page in “real time”…how long will it take before my identity will become PERMANENTLY and wrongly associated with a criminal whom I do not know and have never met?”

And if you know of a single instance of somebody who has successfully removed themselves from an Interpol database of criminals (onto which their name was wrongfully and unreasonably added) will you please provide me with the link?

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