New Internationalist

Are they sorry?

Issue 358

Few people doubt the devastation giant corporations leave in their wake. But are they sorry? Here is what some of them have to say. Judge for yourself…

Photos: Hartmut Schwarzbach / Still Pictures
Photos: Hartmut Schwarzbach / Still Pictures

'What used to be conflict of interest is now synergy.'

High-tech stock analyst Jack Grubman on whether he was too close to some of the companies he was recommending to investors.

'When Dow completed its stock acquisition in February 2001, Union Carbide retained no responsibility whatsoever in relation to the tragedy... stockholders are not responsible for the liabilities, if any, of the companies in which they have invested.'

From a Dow Chemical statement on the acquisition of Union Carbide, who ran the Bhopal facility in India where 8,000 people died following a gas leak. Dow brought a $10,000 lawsuit against women activists from Bhopal who demonstrated in front of their Mumbai headquarters demanding help to clean up the toxic pollution that still covers their community.

'This rule gave government agents blanket discretion to blacklist federal contractors based on subjective and arbitrary notions of satisfactory compliance with any federal, state or even foreign law.'

Randy Johnson, Vice-President of the US Chamber of Commerce, on US regulations to take crooked dealing into account when deciding on government contracts.

'You know what the difference is between the state of California and the Titanic? At least when the Titanic went down the lights were on.'

Enron CEO Gordon Skilling on the manipulated electricity shortages in California.

Marc Helie, a partner of Gramercy Advisors, refused to agree to a one month extension of the pay-out on the Ecuadorean bonds his firm held. He sparked a collapse in the country’s economy. According to Helie,‘it doesn’t help you service your dollar obligations which is where your biggest problem is right now… if it’s Argentina or Brazil or Venezuela the same principles should apply to them.’ His firm has been described by the Toronto Globe and Mail as ‘… specializing in making money from economies on the brink of disaster…’

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