just deserts

Some corporate whores finally might get what's coming.

I'm not holding my breath, of course, but the case is being handled outside the United States, so it stands more a chance than the usual comical theatrics of "charging" U.S. corporations for their crimes.

The Associated Press reported today that U.S. mining company Newmont Mining Corp. admitted that it released tons of mercury in Indonesia. That's 17 tons of mercury into the air and 16 tons into the water over a period of five years.

Internal reports obtained by the New York Times indicated that the company didn't abide by public claims that it was adhering to U.S. environmental standards. But the company still denies that its toxic dumping had any effect on the health of the people.

Five corporate whores face trial next month in Indonesia for the pollution - an American, an Australian and three Indonesians. A guilty charge carries up to 15 years in jail.

Meanwhile, villagers filed a $543 million lawsuit against the company. I hope they get their money, but money really is no compensation for the destruction of their health and their land.

It's interesting, too, because recently there has been coverage of a study on herbal remedies imported from South Asia (full study published in JAMA). The study found toxic levels of lead and mercury in the medicines. I wonder what this Indonesian village does to survive in the international capitalist market. It really wouldn't be surprising at all if traditional medicines were becoming toxic because of the polluting U.S. corporations that moved in next door...

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