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The Nation
Issue: July 11, 2005

Boston — Alexander Cockburn reports ["Beat the Devil," May 2] that soon after Coke began bottling operations in Plachimada, India, water levels dropped dramatically and water quality declined so much that it created health problems and gave people rashes. On the brink of a global water crisis, corporations like Coca-Cola are turning a human right into a commodity. As wells run dry and water tables drop, people's health and lives are threatened.

Members of Corporate Accountability International (formerly Infact) have been exposing the truth behind the corporate PR, challenging irresponsible and dangerous corporate actions for more than twenty-five years. When we first confronted General Electric's top leadership, they denied their role in the deadly nuclear weapons buildup. When we first challenged Philip Morris, the corporation was still denying that its products are addictive, or even harmful.

At the Coca-Cola annual shareholders' meeting, which I attended on April 19, CEO E. Neville Isdell denied Coke's responsibility for the problems facing the people of Plachimada and claimed that "we have a good story to tell about water."

Activists took control of that shareholders' meeting, delivering a resounding message that the worldwide movement challenging the corporation's abuses is growing. Isdell failed to address people's concerns, but mounting pressure is forcing Coke's leadership to respond.

KATHRYN MULVEY, executive director
Corporate Accountability International

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