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INDIA: Dow with those 'Yes Men'

The BBC Bhopal interview hoax last week was perpetrated by "The Yes Men," a group that claims they are "in the business of identity correction" by impersonating those who they see as big-time criminals

The Times of India
Monday, December 6, 2004

By Samiran Chakrawertti

This wasn't the first time that Dow Chemicals was had by the notorious, well-meaning 'The Yes Men'.

Exactly two years before Friday's hoax, December 3, 2002 saw an email press release sent out by Dow-Chemical.com, explaining why, despite legal investigations consistently pinpointing Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) as the culprit, Dow and UCC had always refused responsibility for the Bhopal disaster.

The release received shocked responses before a legal notice shut them down two days later, along with all the other websites on the ISP that hosted them.

The release said Dow could not acknowledge responsibility because, "if we did, not only would we be required to expend many billions of dollars on cleanup and compensation much worse, the public could then point to Dow as a precedent in other big cases.

"They took responsibility; why can't you?' Amoco, BP, Shell, and Exxon all have ongoing problems that would just get much worse. We are unable to set this precedent for ourselves and the industry, much as we would like to see the issue resolved in a humane and satisfying way."

'The Yes Men' claim they are in the business of identity correction. They see themselves as a group of honest people who impersonate their idea of big-time criminals leaders and big corporations who put profits in front of everything else in order to publicly humiliate them. All for public good.

In 1999, just before the Seattle protests, they set up a parody of the WTO website at gatt.org.

Soon, they found themselves invited to various conferences as representatives of the WTO. That was all they needed. They extended the concepts of free trade to ridiculous lengths.

At a trade conference in Austria, they proposed a free-market solution to democracy auctioning votes to the highest bidder. On CNBC Europe, they declared there should to be a market in human rights abuses. At a New York University they proposed that to solve global hunger, the poor should have to eat hamburgers-and then recycle them up to 10 times.

Finally, at an accounting conference in Sydney they announced that in light of all its mistakes, the WTO had decided to shut itself down, refounding as an organisation whose goals were not to help corporations, but rather the poor and the environment.

That year, they also managed to launch www.gwbush.com, a parody of Bush's real campaign website, www.georgewbush.com, which tried to explain in 'more honest terms' the real reasons that Bush wanted to be president, essentially to help the rich.

A livid Bush had his lawyers send them a letter and later complained to the Federal Election Commission. When asked about the website, he said, "There ought to be limits to freedom."

They have also (mis)represented the Bush Campaign in Cleveland, urging people to accelerate global warming by causing more pollution because it would give the United States a tactical military and economic edge over China and Japan.

Not only that, it drew the conclusion that more pollution would actually solve the global warming problem, since global warming would eventually lead to an ice age, as in the movie The Day After Tomorrow, and what better way to combat the ice age than to throw more heat into the environment?

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See 'The Yes Men' account of the BBC Bhopal interview on on their website.

Date Posted: 12/6/2004

 

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