various articles by the Coaltion against BAYER-dangers
COMPENSATION WITH A MUZZLE
After years of confrontation the Federal Republic of Germany has settled the compensation for the US-American Nazi victim Hugo Princz, who had instituted legal proceedings running into millions in the USA against the FRG and German companies, among them the Bayer group.
The Federal Government puts a fund to the amount of three million US $ at Princz's and ten other US-citizens' disposal, which will be distributed by the US-Government. After negotiations lasting for months a contract was signed by the two countries on September 19, 1995. The fund is meant for people who were US-citizens at the time of their Nazi persecution and have received no compensation until now.
The Coordination Against BAYER-Dangers has criticized the contract in a press release: "The combines which were the actual beneficiaries of forced labour in the Third Reich conclude secret agreements in the USA, whereas ten thousands of people in Poland and Russia have come away empty-handed until today. It is to be feared that the taxpayers will bear large part of the necessary payments - as it was the case with the fund for haemophiliacs who became AIDS-infected by blood conserves - whereas the combines shirk their appropriate share. The Coordination Against BAYER-Dangers states that once again it has become obvious that there are many surviving forced labourers who are still waiting for compensation.
WOMEN HAVE NO SAY AT BAYER
Since its formation more than one-hundred years ago BAYER's Managing Board and Supervisory Board have firmly remained a male domain. Even in the middle management women can hardly be found. During the last decade the rate of women rose from 2.8% to a ridclous 5.5%. Even the establishment of a study group rather ironically named "Equal Opportunities" cannot distract from the embarrassing facts. By the way: At the same time the spokeswoman of "Equal Opportunities", Helga Bausch-Weirauch, sets the tone at the "Forum for Women in the Economy".
WORKERS LOSE JOBS AT ITALIAN PLANT FOR ASPIRIN
The production of ASPIRIN has started at the new BAYER plant in the East German sity of Bitterfeld. It seems that due to massive subsidies Bitterfeld offers advantages compared with the previous production plant in Garbagnate/ Italy. Apart from that the new high-tech plant can produce ASPIRIN with a fraction of the usually needed personnel. BAYER states that due to the shut-down of the Italian ASPIRIN production to the amount of 20 million packages 50 of the 400 workers will lose their jobs. Representatives of the personnel expressed fears that this would be only a beginning because a cutback in the production of synthetic resins and veterinary technology was also planned.
TURMOIL AT THE IG FARBEN GENERAL MEETING
On August 9th, 1995, the IG Farben General Meeting took place in Frankfurt/ Main. Lower middle class shareholders ensured the survival of a fatal relic from the Third Reich , while elsewhere 50 years of liberation were being celebrated. 50 critics held banners out to the 400 shareholders saying "There's blood on these shares" and demanding "Immediate liquidation of the IG FARBEN, compensation of the forced labourers". Rather reluctantly the old Nazis and the young speculators took the leaflets, because they had not come to Frankfurt to grapple with the IG FARBEN history. What was more important to them was the real estate in the East, the return of which the IG FARBEN has been demanding persistently since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The General Meeting began with an éclat, because shortly after the official opening, Eduard Bernhard, critical shareholder and committee member of the BBU (Bundesverband Bürgerintiativen Umweltschutz, an association of citizens' initiatives for environment protection), demanded the admittance of radio and TV transmissions since there was an "international, public interest" in this meeting. The critic was shouted down by outraged shareholders. One, e.g., shouted:" Shut up, I'm a former officer, I know how people like you have to be treated!" The crowd howled affirmatively.
At present, lawyers of the IG FARBEN have instituted legal proceedings at several German courts for the return of the Eastern real estate, which altogether has the size of the Saarland. Should the IG Farben indeed get this real estate or the equivalent value, then the prices for their shares would soar suddenly - which is exactly what many shareholders are out for.
Marc Pletzer, spokesman of the Coordination against BAYER-Dangers, had to break off his speech early because of protests from the chairman and the audience. Pletzer had focused on the shareholders' moral obligations, saying that if the management did not feel obliged to pay compensation to the former forced labourers, then each holder should give away his shares directly to a victim of the IG FARBEN."
Several associations of IG FARBEN victims and critical shareholders of the follow-up companies have joined together under the demand "Nie wieder" ("Never again"). Together they demand the compensation of the former forced labourers.
LOBBYISTS INFLUENCE CHEMICAL THRESHOLD VALUES
As in other countries the big chemical companies exert their influence on the legislation also in the USA, e.g. concerning the allowable chemical threshold values at working places. The Committee that passes resolutions, the ACGIH, rates 30 substances per meeting and usually has to rely on individual expert opinions. But often these reports are written by toxicologists who are on the payroll of the big industry. That is why, e.g., 40 products of DOW CHEMICALS were rated only by DOW-toxicologists and - surprise, surprise - were classified "safe". Similar cases concerning BAYER, EXXON and DUPONT have been heard of.
In addition, the Committee members are influenced directly: They do not have to disclose their sources of income and thus the combines often provide Committee members with generous consultative contracts. The few independent experts complain that information is kept from them and that thorough examination is impossible because the Commission is understaffed.
ARL-DUISBERG-SOCIETY: INTERNATIONAL INTERFERENCE
The Carl-Duisberg-Society - named after BAYER's former Managing Director who initiated the foundation of the murderous IG-Farben trust - organizes the exchange of managers and managers-to-be. The resources for this come from the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, the Governments of the Federal Lands and financial support from the European Community. In 1994 more than 24.000 people from more than 120 countries participated in the training, exchange and foreign language programmes offered by the CDS. 184 million DM were spent on these activities (in 1993: 180 million DM).
The CDS is internationally organized and has branches in all important countries.
The policy of the CDS, which resides in Cologne, is dominated by the BAYER group. Its Presiding Committee consists of three members: Dr. Ludolf von Wartenburg (Federal Association of Industry), Anton Zahn (Undersecretary at the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development) and Dr. Manfred Schneider (Chairman of the Board at BAYER). Traditionally, BAYER's respective president is in the chair of the Board of Curators.
The Coordination Against BAYER-Dangers critizises the international interference of the Carl-Duisberg-Society and demands the suspension of public financial support, because the pretended public benefit of an exchange of managers is above all beneficial to BAYER, other combines and the industrial head associations.
BRUSSELS: GENE FOOD PUSHED THROUGH
On October 23, 1995, the EC Council of Ministers decided that food modified by means of genetic engineering does not have to be labelled if there is no change in comparison with normal, natural food. That means that the combines, including BAYER, have pushed through their interests against the resistance of large parts of the population.
Even the German Federal Government thinks that the plan resolved in Brussels goes to far. Federal Minister of research Rüttgers (CDU) stated that the EC was wrong in voting against a comprehensive duty to label food modified by means of genetic engineering: "Either this kind of food is harmless, then it can be labelled, or it is dangerous, and then we have to keep our fingers off", he said.
Foods modified by means of genetic engineering are on the advance. If the European Parliament does not stop the resolved non-labelling plan at the very last minute, then only few products produced without means of genetic engineering will be offered in future. In its pesticide centre in Monheim the BAYER group has been experimenting for years on genetically manipulated field products. In addition, BAYER's subsidiary Haarmann & Reimer, which produces odiferous agents and aromatic essences, offers innumerable artificial additives that are increasingly produced by means of genetic engineering. In this field the Haarmann & Reimer company leads the world market.
WAR GASES IN THE IRAQ
After the Gulf War the UN imposed far-reaching sanctions against the Iraq, especially concerning the destruction of weapons of mass extermination. Controlling these measures it became obvious that 17 tons of a preparation for the production of biological weapons and 200 tons of a basic chemical substance for the neurotoxin VX have disappeared, presumably on dubious ways. The patent for the chemical warfare agent VX, which was ordered by NATO, comes from the laboratories of the BAYER group.
The COORDINATION AGAINST BAYER-DANGERS has critizised again and again that the chemical multinational never has left out any development in the field of neurotoxins. What happended in the Iraqu makes it clear how easily inhuman inventions can fall into any dictator's or president's hands.
TOXINS AT NUCLEAR FACTORY SITE
(1) Dubious Recycling In Kazakhstan
The metallurgical plant H.C. Starck GmbH (Ltd.), a hundred percent subsidiary of the BAYER group located in the East German city of Goslar, exports waste and scrap metal containing molybdenum to Kazakhstan, ostensibly for recycling. The firm alleges that conditions there are excellent and even "better than in Germany". But environmentalists found an atomic ruin with dumped heaps of waste in Kazakhstan. By Jan Rispens, GREENPEACE
(2) A lot of the buildings on the factory area are in a very bad condition and especially the waste management of the factory looks dramatically neglected. Scattered on and around the actual factory site, big heaps of different coloured wastes can be seen. Most of it are dusts that are spread around by the wind.
(3) Here the uranium and other rare metals are being leached from the ore with the help of sulphuric acid. The uranium output is very high.
(4) The COORDINATION AGAINST BAYER-DANGERS demands an immediate export freeze for toxic waste to Kazakhstan, an extensive ecological stock-taking and a non-polluting disposal at the expense of the BAYER group.
TRAGEDY FOR THE VICTIMS
BAYER's Critics Demand Reversal Of Burden Of Proof
On August 3rd, 1995, the Federal Supreme Court quashed the conviction of two managers of the former BAYER DESOWAG MATERIALSCHUTZ because of procedural mistakes. Now thousands of victims of chemical toxins remain without much hope of compensation.
In May 1993 each of the two DESOWAG managers, Fritz Hagedorn and Kurt Steinberg, had been condemned to a suspended sentence of one year and a penalty of 120.000 DM. They had been found guilty of having agreed to market so-called "wood preservatives", although they knew from expert opinions and affected consumers that the ingredients PCP and Lindan can cause serious health defects.
As early as 1985 the COORDINATION AGAINST BAYER-DANGERS informed the BAYER Managing Board about the serious health hazards of "wood preservatives". Since then the critical speakers have been demanding at almost every official General Meeting an immediate freeze of production and sale of the dangerous neurotoxins. The respective Chairman of the Board always reacted similarly with a statement amounting to "No danger if used properly."
TORTURE IN THE LAB - NO SAFETY FOR CONSUMERS
The fable of "consumer protection through animal experiments" has nearly assumed the dimensions of a folktale, also thanks to the modern storytellers working at BAYER's fabulous public relations headquarters. But the alleged "safety tests" in the form of "toxicological routine tests" do not live up to what publicity slogans promise.
ASPIRIN: Toxic For Cats
"Toxicological routine tests" mean that the animals are being poisoned over days, weeks and months. They do not receive any painkillers at all, allegedly because this could falsify the results. But the results of animal experiments are not applicable to human beings anyway, because often animals react very differently. BAYER's "drug of the century" ASPIRIN, e.g., is toxic for cats if given in dosages that are common in human medicine. The much-praised penicillin is lethal to guinea pigs, but not to man and mice. Morphine produces a stimulating effect on cats, which can even lead to symptoms similar to rabies; on man it has a soohing and painkilling effect.
In a dermatological test at a BAYER lab guinea pigs were shaved and rubbed with AUTAN, a BAYER drug against mosquito bites. Afterwards the rodents were exposed to a whole swarm of the biting insects to study the effect of the drug. Despite all dermatological testing on animals the number of allergies has risen dramatically, which is all right with the drug manufacturers. Against allergies they offer tinctures and ointments, all having been tested on animals, of course. NB: Even with side-effects it is possible to do business and open new fields of research.