Thursday, May 24, 2007

Quote of the...era

He's right, you know. Kai, that is. Not the judge:

"This is the kind of offence that cannot be tolerated in our society," District Judge J Owen Forrester said when sentencing Williams

The offense?

Joya Williams, 42, was sentenced in Atlanta - Coca Cola's home - after being found guilty in February.

Then the court heard she stole confidential documents and samples of new products, passing them to two men to sell to Pepsi for at least $1.5m.

The sentence: Eight years in prison.

(By the way: do we know whatever happened to the Pepsi higher-up who commissioned this? --Oh, maybe there wasn't any; maybe she and one other dude concocted this all by themselves. The way you do).

In other Co-Cola news (yeah, I drink shitloads of the stuff),

Indian MPs have upheld the findings of an environment group which reported that Coca-Cola and Pepsi drinks contained pesticide residues.

Activists of the Indian Democratic Party protest in Delhi
The report sparked protests in India
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said last August that its investigations revealed the drinks contained harmful residues and posed a health risk.

The report led to a massive row with both Pepsico and Coca-Cola strenuously rejecting the allegations.

A public outcry led the government to form a parliamentary committee to examine the report.


Activists in India have held nationwide protests against multinational soft drink companies Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

Reports said thousands of protesters had gathered near manufacturing plants of the two firms and demanded that they stop production.

Activists want the firms to leave India because they say their plants deplete ground water - claims the soft drinks giants both strenuously deny.


Villagers, campaigners and a BBC radio programme have alleged that the plant in the state of Kerala is drying up local ground water and emitting toxic sludge.

For its part, the soft drinks giant strenuously denies the allegations.

The case is pitting the village council of Perumatti against perhaps the world's biggest brand name.

Hindustan Coca Cola opened its bottling factory there four years ago.

Since then local people have been reported as saying the company has soaked up excessive water and that water has turned foul and impossible to drink, cook with or bathe in.

Pesticide claims

In July BBC Radio's Face the Facts programme said there were high levels of toxic metals in the sludge generated by the plant when bottles are cleaned.

Coca Cola insists all its plants are safe and any toxins are within legal limits.

With this notice the council is giving the company 15 days to say why its plants should not be shut down.

If Coca Cola fails to convince, it will face a closure notice. The Kerala High Court will then decide on the legal weight of that notice.

In non-co-Cola related news:

The Jena case in brief

On the morning of September 1, 2006, three nooses dangled from a tree in the High School square in Jena, Louisiana. The day before, at a school assembly, black students had asked the vice principal if they could sit under that tree.

Characterizing the noose incident as an innocent prank, a discipline committee meted out a few days of in-school suspension and declared the matter settled.

At the end of November, the central academic wing of Jena High School was destroyed by fire (the smoke damage is evident in the picture above). Over the weekend, a stream of white-initiated racial violence swept over the tiny community, adding to the trauma and tension. The following Monday, a white student was punched and kicked following a lunch-hour taunting match. Six black athletes were arrested and charged with conspiracy to attempt second-degree murder. If convicted, some defendants are facing sentences of between twenty-five and 100 years in prison without parole.

...Throughout the following weekend, Jena was engulfed by a wave of racially tinged violence.
· In one incident, a black student was assaulted by a white adult as he entered a predominantly white partly held at the Fair Barn (a large metal building reserved for social events). After being struck in the face without warning, the young black student was assaulted by white students wielding beer bottles and was punched and kicked before adults broke up the fight. It has been reported that the white assailant who threw the first punch was subsequently charged with simple battery (a misdemeanor), but there is no documentary evidence that anyone was charged.

Meanwhile, apparently, on the way to meet me for a drink in our neighborhood last night, my friend passed a homeless guy who'd died in the street, being taken up by the police and so forth.

On the way home, we passed two more homeless folks in sleeping bags, parked in front of the (locked) church.

Just par for the course, really; or getting to be, I don't recall that being so true in -this- neighborhood, but what the hell, it's not like there was an invisible Barrier separating this neighborhood from all the other ones.

But yeah, "what can you do." Of course.


[Selling the Seekrits of one possibly toxic-sludge producing corporate mega giant to another for personal profit] is the kind of offence that cannot be tolerated in our society.

Well, I always did wonder what sort of thing we -didn't- tolerate in this society.

Now I know.


Chuckie K said...

That's your "free" and "open" markets at work, alright.

Alon Levy said...

Yet another story in the "India today is like the US in the robber baron era" category.

KH said...

The judge may be a legal positivist, not saying that society shouldn't tolerate it - that cola syrup is more precious than the blood of innocents - but that, as an empirical matter, it can't, as presently consituted, tolerate it. And if so, he might be right.

Or maybe I'm being too charitable.

Nanette said...

I remember reading about farmers in some part of India using coke (or pepsi) *as* a pesticide of some sort. Quite successfully, too.

Dunno, I've never much liked soda, but especially not since I learned of the car battery cleaning properties of some of them.

cuckoo judge.

Alon Levy said...

Didn't Snopes rebut the part about cleaning batteries? Or am I thinking about cleaning blood off the highway?

Deoridhe said...


Yeah. Racism? Fine. Dying on the street? The American Way. Selling Secrets? OMG YEARS IN JAIL OMG OMG OMG OMG.

There is something profoundly fucked in a system where damages against a corporation are more important than people.

Deoridhe said...

OMG, I heard this morning that the NFL HAS trademarked "Superbowl" (and threatens to sue - no lie - people who use it "too much") and they're trying to trademark "the big game".

This is SUCH bullshit.

belledame222 said...

deoridhe: corporations ARE people, legally speaking.

Lo said...

This almost made me cry. Not because it's the most horrific thing I've read today, but because it's like, mundane. It just made me think of how wrongwrongwrong things are in this country. For SO many reasons. When the magnitude of those problems started worming into my head...well, yeah. Misty eyes.

Oh, and P.S.-I've been a lurker for a while now. Trying to stop being lame and actually speak up once in a while. Cheers.

belledame222 said...

hey, welcome, lo, and thanks.

Cassandra Says said...

"By the way: do we know whatever happened to the Pepsi higher-up who commissioned this? "

That is quite the relevant question, isn't it? I'm thinking nothing, BUT if the scheme had been a success a bonus and a promotion would probably have been on the agenda.

Lo's right. This is just business as usual, as depressing a thought as that is.

Donna said...

It's been all downhill since the courts declared corporations to be equivalent to persons with all the rights of persons, but hmmmm they seem to avoid all the responsibilities of persons. I'd like to see the officers of the company take responsibility as the "brains" of this "person" and when they kill or injure other persons they get the same jail sentence as those who commit murder, manslaughter, battery, etc.