Corporate News Round-up: Bailouts, nationalizations, poisoning the populace and more

The 10 Worst Corporations of 2008 – Alternet 11/24/08

Woolworths: everything must go – Guardian, UK 11/22/08

For 30,000 Woolworths staff it may be a bleak Christmas as it became clear yesterday that the veteran high-street retailer could go under this week if management cannot clinch a fire sale

Nike, Starbucks, others form clean-energy coalition BICEP – USA Today 11/19/08

The coalition called BICEP, or Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy, includes consumer-product companies involved for years in business and environmental issues.

Greenwash: BP and the myth of a world ‘Beyond Petroleum’ – Guardian, UK 11/20/08

BP is keen to play up its investment in alternative energy with images of wind turbines and plants. But no amount of clever advertising can hide the fact that its billions of pounds of profit and investment is still all about fossil fuels

General Motors to Invest $1 Billion in Brazil Operations — Money to Come from U.S. Rescue Program – Latin America Herald 11/21/08

How Industry and EPA Collaborated to Hide the Truth about Natural Gas Drillings’ Effect on Water Supplies  – Alternet 11/20/08

$5 Billion in Corn Ethanol Subsidies Should Be Eliminated, Food Before Fuel Urges – Treehugger 11/20/08

A new book by the award-winning photojournalist Nina Berman probes how the U.S. homeland security apparatus stokes fantasies about war.

Colossal Financial Collapse: The Truth behind the Citigroup Bank “Nationalization”  – Global Research 11/24/08

Bank Eat Bank: Bailout Encourages Mergers, and Paulson Decides who Lives and Who Dies – Alternet 11/24/08

DARPA enlists IBM to build computer brain as smart as a cat – EnGadget 11/21/08

Citigroup, recent ‘bailout’ recipient, now selling more risky derivatives – George Washington blog 11/25/08

Corporate Water Abusers Should Not Be Trusted As Stewards of the World’s Water – Alternet 12/3/08

Large corporations have convened to talk about reducing their “water footprint” but the real stakeholders have been left out.

Bayer settles bribe claim for $97.5M – CNN 11/25/08

Justice Department officials said Bayer paid Liberty Medical Supply Inc., one of the largest diabetic suppliers, about $2.5 million to convert patients to Bayer supplies between 1998 and 2002. The kickbacks, disguised as payments for advertising, were based on how many patients Liberty successfully converted to Bayer supplies.

Wal-Mart Settles Mispricing Suit – Business Week 11/25/08

Top Wal-Mart lobbyist to be charged in Abramoff case – Raw Story 11/24/08

AIG execs say they’ll skip bonuses, then take year end ‘cash awards’ instead – OpEd News 11/28/08

AIG chief slashes salary to $1 – CNN 11/25/08

Pilgrim’s Pride, #1 US chicken producer, files for bankruptcy – USA Today 12/1/08

3 Former UBS Executives Forfeit Pay – NYTimes 11/25/08

Wachovia execs could get $98 million severance – USA Today 11/25/08 

Chevron Cleared of Charges in Nigerian Human Rights Case – Treehugger 12/4/08

Cisco to close shop for 4 days to save money – CNet 11/25/08

Dow will cut production, contract jobs at Freeport complex – Houston Chronicle 12/4/08

The largest U.S. chemical maker will cut output at the complex to less than 40 percent of capacity from Dec. 15 to Jan. 5. None of its 4,500 full-time employees will be laid off.

GM, Chrysler say they need $11B by year’s end  – USA Today 12/2/08

Big 3 want $34 billion in aid – Raw Story 12/2/08

Tranquilizer Detox Withdrawal Can Last Years – ABC 12/1/08

FDA, Patients Say Quitting ‘Benzos’ Abruptly Can Lead to Horrific Side Effects

Research Shows Gastrointestinal Bleeding Linked to SSRI Drugs – Natural News 11/24/08

Pfizer Implicated in Human Drug Experimentation on Critically Ill Children in Nigeria  – PrisonPlanet 11/26/08

Did Pfizer recruit critical ill Nigerian children for illegal drug experiments? That’s what the Nigerian government is charging in an $8.5 billion lawsuit against the drug maker. To avoid a court battle, Pfizer is offering to pay off the Nigerian government with $150 million in drug money, hoping it will drop the case and end what could potentially be a public relations nightmare for the drug maker.

Anyone familiar with the true history of drug companies knows that many of them have a long, dark history of experimentation on human beings. Read the shocking timeline of human medical experimentation here.

Texas Attorney General Sues Pharmaceutical Companies for Overcharging State Medicaid – Natural News 11/24/08

Radio Host Has Drug Company Ties  – NYTimes 11/21/08

An influential psychiatrist who was the host of the popular public radio program “The Infinite Mind” earned at least $1.3 million from 2000 to 2007 giving marketing lectures for drugmakers, income not mentioned on the program.

Sources: Pentagon faults KBR after electrocutions – CNN 11/24/08

Blackwater Worldwide Navy? – Raw Story 12/4/08

Private security firm in meetings for new venture — protection from pirates.

Shell secures 25-year access to Iraq’s oil, gas – Global Research 11/16/08

Blackwater Admits Probes Of Weapons Shipments – TPMuckraker 11/18/08

KBR Subcontractor Keeping 1,000 Asian Workers In a Warehouse – Mother Jones 12/3/08

Halliburton, KBR sickened largest base in Iraq, likely others – Army Times 12/4/08

Worth reading in its’ entirety

A Georgia man has filed a lawsuit against contractor KBR and its former parent company, Halliburton, saying the companies exposed everyone at Joint Base Balad in Iraq to unsafe water, food and hazardous fumes from the burn pit there….Joshua Eller, who worked as a civilian computer-aided drafting technician with the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, said military personnel, contractors and third-country nationals may have been sickened by contamination at the largest U.S. installation in Iraq, home to more than 30,000 service members, Defense Department civilians and contractors….
Eller filed his claim after he deployed in February 2006 for 10 months. The lawsuit claims he developed skin lesions that subsequently spread, filled with fluid and burst. He said they went away, then reappeared, followed by blisters on his feet that made it painful for him to walk. He said they healed, but continue to return every three to four months.  Then, Eller said he experienced vomiting, cramping and diarrhea, and continues to suffer severe abdominal pain.
“Plaintiff witnessed the open air burn pit in operation at Balad Air Force Base,” the lawsuit states. “On one occasion, he witnessed a wild dog running around base with a human arm in its mouth. The human arm had been dumped on the open air burn pit by KBR.”…A report from Wil Granger, KBR’s water quality manager for Iraq, states that non-potable water used for showering was not disinfected. “This caused an unknown population to be exposed to potentially harmful water for an undetermined amount of time,”…The suit notes that former KBR employees Ben Carter and Ken May testified at a congressional hearing in January 2006 that KBR used contaminated water from the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. Carter testified that he found the water polluted with sewage and that KBR did not chlorinate it.  The lawsuit states the swimming pools at Balad were also filled with unsafe water.
Eller also accused KBR of serving spoiled, expired and rotten food to the troops, as well as dishes that may have been contaminated with shrapnel.  “Defendants knowingly and intentionally supplied and served food that was well past its expiration date, in some cases over a year past its expiration date,” the lawsuit states. “Even when it was called to the attention of the KBR food service managers that the food was expired, KBR still served the food to U.S. forces.”  The food included chicken, beef, fish, eggs and dairy products, which caused cases of salmonella poisoning, according to the lawsuit.
“KBR prevented their employees from speaking with government auditors and hid employees from auditors by moving them from bases when an audit was scheduled,” the lawsuit states. “Any employees that spoke with auditors were sent to more dangerous locations in Iraq as punishment.”
The lawsuit also accuses KBR of shipping ice in mortuary trucks that “still had traces of body fluids and putrefied remains in them when they were loaded with ice. This ice was served to U.S. forces.”…
Eller also accuses KBR of failing to maintain a medical incinerator at Joint Base Balad, which has been confirmed by two surgeons in interviews with Military Times about the Balad burn pit. Instead, according to the lawsuit and the physicians, medical waste, such as needles, amputated body parts and bloody bandages were burned in the open-air pit.
“Wild dogs in the area raided the burn pit and carried off human remains,” the lawsuit states. “The wild dogs could be seen roaming the base with body parts in their mouths, to the great distress of the U.S. forces.”  According to military regulations, medical waste must be burned in an incinerator to prevent anyone from breathing hazardous fumes.
“On at least one occasion, defendants were attempting to improperly dispose of medical waste at an open-air burn pit by backing a truck full of medical waste up to the pit and emptying the contents onto the fire,” the lawsuit states. “The truck caught fire. Defendants’ fraudulent actions were thereby discovered by the military.”  The lawsuit also states that the contractors burned old lithium batteries in the pits, “causing noxious and unsafe blue smoke to drift over the base.”
Military Times has received more than 100 letters from troops saying they were sickened by fumes from the burn pits, which burned plastics, petroleum products, rubber, dining-facility waste and batteries.
The lawsuit asks that the plaintiffs receive monetary compensation for physical injuries, emotional distress, fear of future disease, and need for continued medical treatment and involvement, and that KBR and Halliburton be stripped of all revenue and profits earned “from their pattern of constant misconduct and callous disregard to the welfare of Americans serving and working in Iraq.”





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