LINGERING UNCERTAINTY

by Professor Revilo P. Oliver

June 1986

An article in the "Wall Street Journal," 13 January 1986, leaves us uncertain which of the two possible explanations of an incident in India that occurred in December 1984 is correct. Given our racial desire for ascertained facts, that is somewhat vexing, although the incident itself was of no great importance.

The Union Carbide Corporation was one of the few remaining American corporations that were at once old, financially as sound as is possible under present conditions, and relatively conservative, but it had yielded to strong pressure from the anti-American government in Washington and become what is called "multinational," an euphemism that partly disguises the ruling power's determination to liquidate the United States.(1) It had constructed a large chemical plant near Bhopal, the capital of a small state of the same name in north central India.(2) The plant was certainly built for the benefit of India as much as (probably more than) for profit to the corporation, which was still owned by Americans. That was economic folly, such as would have been prohibited by an American government, if we still had one, but the company cannot properly be held responsible for the suicidal mania that has been induced in the American boobs.

In December 1984 a great cloud of the deadly fumes of methyl isocyanate from the Union Carbide's plant in Bhopal inflicted a somewhat painful death on some two thousand low-grade Hindus who dwelt in typically Indian squalor in a district adjacent to the plant, and caused illness and distress to an uncertain number of other inhabitants of the overcrowded city. The number of casualties was, of course, wildly exaggerated by the reporters for the press, who instinctively magnify events that they have not invented, even when they are not under orders to create excitement for politically subversive purposes. The "New York Times" and the many other enemy publications tried to make the incident a sensational event, and, as everyone knows, our flocks of "intellectuals," like chickens in a chicken-yard, are always ready to set up a clamorous squawking to call attention to themselves.(3)

What had happened in Bhopal was obvious to anyone who had some knowledge of organic chemistry. The lethal fumes spouted from the escape valve of a storage tank that contained liquid methyl isocyanate, which is used in the manufacture of insecticides and herbicides.(4) The heavy gas was ejected upward from the tank by a very high pressure within it.

It was certain that a fairly large quantity of water had been introduced into the tank, producing methyl amine and carbon dioxide with an intensely exothermic reaction which made the rest of the methyl isocyanate boil and become vapor that was expelled from the safety valve with which the tank was necessarily equipped as a precaution against a disastrous explosion in the event of a malfunction.

At first sight, there were two – and only two – ways in which the water could have been introduced into the tank, videlicet:

1. Sabotage.

2. Negligence by Hindus whom the company had been forced to employ in more than janitorial capacities. This was the solution favored by Americans who had spent years in India, trying to teach the natives the elements of our technology. No one doubts but that, thanks to the rigid caste system that has prevailed in India for centuries, there are highly intelligent Hindus, usually identified by their fair or comparatively light complexion, who normally hold secure social positions, and some of whom have evinced scientific ability worthy of their Aryan ancestors; but Americans who have tried to instruct the "common man" in India, that is to say, the great majority of the mongrel population, agree that the average Hindu is slothful and indolent, not exactly lazy, if that word is limited to avoidance of physical exertion, but feckless and intent on reducing mental exertion to a bare minimum. Such beings can be trained to perform fairly exacting tasks and will work in the way they have been taught so long as they are strictly supervised, but will immediately revert to their natural indolence as soon as they are no longer watched, and will thoughtlessly do whatever seems easiest to them. It was therefore an a priori possibility that some native had turned the wrong valve from sheer fecklessness.

It was soon seen that the latter alternative was excluded by the design of the tank and the magnitude of the chemical reaction, thus leaving an act of sabotage as the only reasonable explanation. And for all practical purposes, the rule of cui bono? left us again with only a choice between simple alternatives.

1. From the standpoint of Indian politics, the incident was perfectly timed. Indira Gandhi had just died. That astute female, although not related to the wizened crackpot whom the British culpably permitted to become a pestilential focus of sedition, had exploited the name and attained such political power that she was able to work, within the limits of what was feasible, to carry out by easy stages her father Nehru's plan to destroy the cultural bonds that have restrained the teeming and frighteningly prolific masses of India and thus to loose on the world a filthy and verminous horde of the kind that is so well described in Jean Raspail's "Camp of the Saints." Her son, Rajiv, evidently with the sanction of the sinister power that dominates the world today, grabbed the office his mother had vacated – grabbed it in open defiance of the Constitution of "republican" India. Constitutions in India mean no more than they do in the United States, but the normal procedure is to have the provisions of such a document nullified by courts, a procedure that always contents boobs, but even in the United States today the populace might become discontented, if Reagan died and a son took his place without preliminary approval from the Revolutionary Tribunal in Washington, thereby kicking many ambitious scoundrels in the nose. There could have been quite serious trouble in India, if the incident in Bhopal had not provided an ideal opportunity to distract and unite the populace by exercising its passionate hatred of Western civilization and of the United States, which the ignorant majority in India think a bulwark of the culture and race they detest. If the young Gandhi and his gang did not arrange the sabotage at the Union Carbide's plant, they were certainly served and perhaps saved by a fantastic coincidence.

2. There was, however, an alternative to be considered. Encouraged by the squawking of "intellectuals," India sued Union Carbide in American courts for absurdly enormous sums as compensation for the deaths of the Hindus who were killed or harmed by the lethal fumes. The suits were obviously fraudulent, for the most or all of the victims belonged to the dregs of the populace, and their squalid heirs would never have thought of going to law, but would have been delighted with a payment of a few rupees and have considered themselves fortunate. The wildly inflated claims for damages were a threat to and attack on the American corporation, but, so far as was generally known when the incident took place, there was no specific reason for such an attack at that particular time. It was known, of course, that Union Carbide was greatly disliked by our rulers because it was a conservative corporation, was not hopelessly in debt, and so paid inadequate tribute to the international usurers who batten on our people, a population that has become so slavish and imbecile that it is very hard to retain a hope that Americans may have a future. At the time, therefore, although this second alternative could not be categorically excluded, the first seemed by far the more probable.

One had to revise his estimate when he learned that Union Carbide's naturally depressed stock was being purchased on the market by a financial gang that planned to take over the corporation and, of course, loot it, as is normal in the American economy today. That is the piracy that is described in detail in the " Wall Street Journal. " The raid failed because the directors of the Union Carbide, excluding the management from their councils, were able to avert, by heroic and drastic expedients, the attempted seizure and thus to protect the stockholders' investment and, of course, their own. They neutralized the effect of the incident in Bhopal and achieved what the "Journal" calls a "landmark victory," unprecedented in American finance, but at the cost of reducing Union Carbide to "a smaller, weaker company," stripped of some of its most profitable operations and perhaps less able to resist the pirates of international finance in the future.

From the " Journal's " article, it is clear that the sabotage in Bhopal was almost as perfectly timed for the pirates' attack on the corporation as it was for the usurpation of the late Indira Ghandi's power by her son. We are thus confronted by alternatives between which the choice is not certain.

In the meantime, the event in December 1984 has been fully elucidated. The Union Carbide's plant in Bhopal was managed and staffed entirely by Hindus, and is operated by an Indian company that is a subsidiary of the American corporation, which holds only slightly more than half of the stock, so that legally, in terms of Anglo-Saxon law, the American corporation is not liable for any damage for which the Indian company may be responsible. Humanitarian rather than legal considerations, therefore, prompted the American corporation's offer of $300,000,000 in compensation immediately after the incident – an offer which India refused, hoping to extract much more from the corporation with the complicity of American courts.

There was evidence of slipshod procedures and negligence by the Hindus, both workmen and management, since the latter must be deemed responsible for strict supervision of the former. But no conceivable negligence could have caused the disaster. For an explanation of what happened, see " Chemical and Engineering News " for the week of 2 December 1985, pp.18-32.(5)

The storage tank contained almost forty tons of methyl isocyanate, supposedly protected by refrigeration, a blanket of nitrogen, and an elaborate device to neutralize any emission that might come through the escape valves, it being naturally assumed that such emissions would be small, since no malfunction could produce any very high pressure within the tank, and a failure of the refrigeration, which seems to have occurred, could not possibly raise the temperature within the tank to a critical level. The boiling point of methyl isocyanate is 102.4^F. The intensely exothermic reaction with water, shown by the formula transcribed above, produced a temperature of about 400^F, and the furiously boiling methyl isocyanate produced vapor at such high pressure that it not only blew out the safety valVe and the device for controlling emissions from it, but so distorted the steel tank that it cracked the concrete casing around it. That reaction can have been produced only by the intentional injection of about 240 gallons of water into the tank, i.e., by an act of deliberate sabotage designed to produce the results which did occur and perhaps also an explosion of the tank itself.

Honest Hindu scientists admit that only a deliberate act of sabotage could have caused the disaster, but lackeys of the government are trying to invent fantastic explanations that would place the blame on the American corporation and so enable Rajiv Gandhi's government to squeeze large sums of money out of Union Carbide. Since the vapor of methyl isocyanate is a gas much heavier than air, most or all of the deaths, which cannot have numbered more than 2000 and may not have exceeded 1800, occurred in the area near the plant. Several thousand persons, including some in the better parts of the city, suffered some ill effects, but, naturally, the appetite for unearned income has produced an enormous number of "victims" in addition to those inevitably caused by psychosomatic reactions. As one Indian official cynically admitted, "These days, everyone is a gas victim." And the word 'isocyanate' made many persons ignorant of chemistry think of the cyanides, especially potassium cyanide and sodium cyanide, the poisons so deservedly popular with the authors of detective fiction. So, by psychosomatic reaction or malingering, there are thousands in Bhopal who claim to be suffering from poisoning by cyanide, which is chemically impossible, except insofar as some ingenious chemists in both India and the United States have devised formulae by which hydrogen cyanide could be produced " within " the body of an individual who had inhaled methyl isocyanate, by combination and reaction with activated haemoglobin under certain conditions. (See p. 29 of the article cited above.) But, as a courageous Hindu physician says, "The question of cyanide poisoning is more sociopolitical than medical." And what is most interesting is that some investigators for the Indian government claim to have found cyanide at the base of the tank; if they did, it was obviously planted.

If the sabotage was not arranged to facilitate Rajiv Gandhi's seizure of power, it would have been only natural for his government not only to exploit politically what must have seemed a god-sent coincidence, but also to indulge both greed and hatred of Americans by trying to capitalize on it. That does not prove guilt, but when Warren M. Anderson, Chairman of the Board of Union Carbide, accompanied by a team of chemical, engineering, and medical experts, flew to India to give all assistance within the corporation's power, Gandhi's government arrested them as they landed and imprisoned them until they were able to obtain their release by posting enormous bonds. A desire to exacerbate the population's hatred of Americans is not an adequate explanation of the government's actions, which can have been motivated only by a determination to prevent Union Carbide from ascertaining what had actually happened at the plant of its Indian subsidiary in Bhopal. Even the " New York Times " , which has worked so hard to excite indignation and animosity against the American corporation, had to admit, in a dispatch from New Delhi on 28 January 1986, that "the Indian authorities have denied corporate representatives [of Union Carbide] access to some documents, equipment, and personnel."

The strenuous efforts of Gandhi's government to conceal the facts very strongly inclines the balance of probability to the view that it was that government that contrived the sabotage to cover his usurpation of power, but we still cannot be quite certain which of the two beneficiaries, Gandhi's gang and the pirates of international finance, took advantage of an opportunity created by the other. Historically, therefore, the event has not yet been definitively explained. One wonders, of course, whether it ever will be, given the irredeemable corruption of government in both India and the United States.

================================NOTES=====================

(1) The policy was officially proclaimed by the late Jackanapes Kennedy, who called it "interdependence" and made dim-witted Americans, their little minds stuffed with Christian drivel, coo with delight that their country was no longer even theoretically independent. (They had, of course, ceased to be an independent "nation" when they made that country a garbage-dump for the world's anthropoid refuse.) Some years ago, the head of one of the corporations that had grown huge and wealthy in the United States, Dow Chemical, as I recall, loftily declared that since it had become "multinational," it could show no favor to the country that had made it great. If Americans ever recapture the territory of the United States, they will, I hope, know better than to show favor or even mercy to such ingrates.

(2) Under the present government of India, Bhopal has been absorbed into the administrative district called Madhya Pradesh, but it has its own history as an independent principality. Founded by a military leader from Afghanistan, it became in 1818 a British dependency under its native rulers, who, after 1844, were a line of queens, so that until the state was taken over by the "democratic" government following the independence of India, Bhopal had the distinction of being the only state in India ruled by a woman. It was founded as a Moslem state and still has, I believe, the largest mosque in India, but when India was abandoned by the British, intensive massacres of Moslems and the flight of survivors to Pakistan made the territory predominantly Hindu.

(3) I must not be thought to intend a complete analogy. Chickens are entitled to our gratitude every time we eat breakfast and at most of our other meals, whereas the "intellectuals" programmed in our diploma-factories are an unmitigated nuisance.

(4) What happened in Bhopal has nothing whatever to do with the question of the advisability of using insecticides and herbicides and their known or supposed effect on human beings. The "progressive" government of India zealously promotes the use of such chemicals in agriculture, hoping thus to increase the total production of foodstuffs, and was eager to have established chemical plants to produce them in India. India is, of course, terribly overpopulated and becoming more so every day. Russia under the Czars persistently hoped to establish a land-bridge to India through Afghanistan – most of my readers will remember Kipling's brilliant story, "The Man Who Was," an unforgettable story that we now read with a nostalgic regret for a lost civilization. One wonders what will happen, now that the Soviets are about to succeed in doing what the Czars never dared to attempt.

(5) For a continuing account of the aftermath of the incident in Bhopal, see the issues of this periodical for 10 December and 24 December 1984 and 21 January, 28 January, 25 March, 1 April, 27 May, and 22 July 1985.