Category Archives: The LowDOWn Newsletter

The Bhopal LowDOWn is our monthly newsletter. It includes media coverage, past events, ongoing events, and upcoming events.

The LowDOWn is your way to stay connected to the campaign! If you have something to submit, please contact us by the end of the month.

The LowDOWn – March 2014

 

This Newsletter is brought to you by
The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, 
North America

Newsletter Contents:

1.  A message of solidarity from hacktivist, Jeremy Hammond

2.  ICJB NA – Our Actions

3. Meet the 2014 Advisory Board

4. Take Action!

5. Join ICJB NA – Dow Chemical Coordinator & Volunteers needed

1.  A message of solidarity from hacktivist, Jeremy Hammond!

On February 27th, 2012 WikiLeaks began to publish hundreds of e-mails that exposed DOW’s involvement with the global intelligence agency Stratfor. It became clear that DOW was spying on the Bhopal Campaign, but this came with a price, including the freedom of one brave man named Jeremy Hammond. 

Jeremy was at the forefront of using the information from Stratfor to expose DOW, and has since been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Hammond recently released a statement of solidarity to ICJB.

“Two years ago I hacked the intelligence company Stratfor and handed over all of their private email correspondence to WikiLeaks for publishing. Amongst the revelations was proof that Dow hired Stratfor to monitor the activities of Bhopal survivor activist groups.” Read full article here

              

2. ICJB NA – Our Actions

February 10th Day of Action

On February 10th, ICJB activists in India were required to appear in a Mumbai court to face chargesfrom the Dow Chemical Company! Imagine, the company that gave us Napalm and Agent Orange is suing activists who have non-violently struggled for a clean environment, clean water, healthcare, social and economic rehabilitation, proper compensation and other basic rights. We asked all those who are outraged by this to question Dow on why it is suing these activists, why it has not taken responsibility for the Bhopal gas disaster, and why Dow won’t accept the summons issued by the Indian courts.

Please continue to take action!

ICJB Launches Year-long United Nations Campaign

United Nations Social Justice Day occurred on February 20th, where Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered his message of justice and the post-2015 agenda for equality around the world (see full message here)

On the occasion of the United Nations Social Justice Day, ICJB launched our year-long United Nations campaign. The Bhopal gas disaster has reached its 30th year, and has gotten significantly worse for the affected communities. We ask:

(1) Why the United Nations has been silent on the ongoing plight of the victims of the Bhopal gas disaster, and;

(2) Why it has chosen to partner with the Dow Chemical Company, which in purchasing the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), has inherited the legal liabilities of the Bhopal gas disaster.

Finally, we ask that UN agencies be involved in easing the plight of survivors, and specifically for technical assistance from UNEP for the scientific assessment of the contamination of soil and groundwater in and around Union Carbide’s abandoned factory in Bhopal, India.

International Women’s Day – March 8th, 2014

We continued our year-long UN campaign on International Women’s Day. Our letter calls for an expansion of the definition of violence against women to include the impact of toxic environments on women’s reproductive health, urges UN Women and The World Health Organization (WHO) to commission studies on the effects of toxic exposure on Bhopali women’s reproductive health, and calls on the Government of India and The Dow Chemical Company to commit to Bhopal’s SHE imperative. Please click here for the full letter.

3.  Meet the 2014 Advisory Board

ICJB – North America welcomes a new Advisory Board for 2013. Click hereto meet the members!

4. Take Action!

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster. A worldwide relay fast has been put into action for 365 days to show our solidarity for the survivors and activists in the ongoing disaster in Bhopal.

Fast today!

Please sign this petition, which expresses our disappointment at Trailblazers’ collaboration with The Dow Chemical Company on the ‘Multiply the Message’ campaign. Don’t let Dow get away with greenwashing their image. Watch the video here!

You can also help through a financial donation. Click here to donate or here to donate by cheque.

Please visit our websiteand like us on Facebook

5. Join ICJB NA

As the 30th anniversary approaches, we need your time and effort to put pressure on DOW.

We are seeking support in the following voluntary, work-from-home positions:

Advisory Board Position – Dow Action Coordinator (4 hours a week)

Media Relations Assistant (3 hours a week)

Campaigns Assistant (3 hours a week)

Education Assistant (3 hours a week)

Apply for any of the intern positions by e-mailing icjb.us.ab@gmail.com with your resume and cover letter.

Apply for the DOW action coordinator by e-mailingicjb.us.ab@gmail.com with a response to the following questions.

A) Why do you want to be a member of the Advisory Board?

B) What will you bring to the Advisory Board and the campaign?

With Solidarity,

The ICJB North American Advisory Board   

 

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The LowDOWn – August 2013

The Bhopal LowDOWn – August  2013

Brought to you by the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, North America


In this issue:

1. Upcoming Screening Tour of the Documentary Bhopali

2. Opportunities to Donate to the Campaign

3. Hot Off the Press!

4. On the Ground

5. Take Action


1. Screening Tour of Documentary Bhopali

This Fall, Van Maximilian Carlson’s critically acclaimed documentary Bhopali will be screened throughout the US & Canada in a city near you!  Please join us!  Sanjay Verma, survivor-activist, whose story of profound loss & hope is told in the film, will be present. He is traveling all the way from India to be at each screening to share his perspective and to answer questions. 

The tour will take place October – November 2013. There will be stops in: New York City NY, Buffalo NY, Toronto ON, Montreal QC, Chapel Hill NC, Yellow Springs OH, Boston MA, Iowa City IA, Chicago IL, Lafayette LA, Baton Rouge or New Orleans LA, Austin TX, Los Angeles & San Francisco, CA, Seattle WA and Vancouver BC.  

Up to date information about the tour and campaign will be posted on our Facebook Page. If you live near any of these cities, please come out and support the screening! If you or your organization would like to help in some capacity (co-sponsoring, fundraising, connecting us with local groups, etc.) we would love to hear from you. Please email us at reena.shadaan@icjb.org 

2. Opportunities to Donate

December 3, 2014, will mark the 30th anniversary of the 1984 Bhopal Gas Disaster. We at ICJB are planning various events over the next sixteen months that will bring communities throughout North America together to learn about Bhopal, build solidarity with Survivors, and witness the approach of this somber date. The screening tour mentioned above will kick off this 16 month approach, and we need your support.

There are two upcoming opportunities for you to contribute, and we are grateful for whatever you can offer to the campaign!

  • Firstby snail mail in the next few weeks, many of you will receive an Appeal Letter written by activist/volunteer Wendy Crumrine, providing a campaign update and asking for support, so please keep a lookout! The mailing is also available online here. If you would like to receive future Donor Mailings, please email us your mailing address! 
  • Second, by email you will receive an Online Appeal in September to raise funds for the upcoming 2013 Fall Screening Tour of Bhopali. Our goal is to cover all expenses, and we believe we can do it. If you wish to donate for the tour now, click here and write “screening tour” in the special comments box.

3. Hot Off the Press!

4. On The Ground

In December 2011, in response to long and sustained pressure by survivors, the State Government made 3 promises to Bhopal Gas Victims.

  1. To accurately count the number of Bhopal disaster survivors in the Supreme Court’s Curative Petition to ensure proper compensation.
  2. To meet with the Indian Prime Minister in the company of survivors in order to ensure #1.
  3. To create an independent investigation into the violence used against activists during Rail Roko, a protest held in Bhopal in 2011.

These promises were all made in writing and not a single one has been implemented to date. On August 30th at 11:45 AM gas survivors will walk from Neelam Park to the Chief Minister’s residence to remind him of this two year old promise. Follow the story on our Facebook Page and express your support.

4. Take Action

  • Email us with your ideas about campaign building. We would love to make connections and collaborate with other groups on these issues that affect us all.

  • Make a donationto ICJB. Your support is crucial to the campaign.

This LowDOWn is brought to you by Advisory Board members of ICJB North America.

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The LowDOWn – July 2013

The Bhopal LowDOWn – July  2013           

 Brought to you by the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, North America


In this issue:

1. EXTRADITE WARREN ANDERSON PETITION

2. A Sad Day for Bhopalis and The World

3. DOW Shareholder Meeting Update and Moving Forward

4. Annual Conference

5. Take Action!


1. EXTRADITE WARREN ANDERSON!

Please sign (and share!) this petition to extradite Warren Anderson (former CEO of the Union Carbide Corporation) for his role in the Bhopal Gas Disaster and aftermath. If we reach 100,000 signatures, the Obama administration must respond to the petition. For more information on the corporate crimes of Warren Anderson, please visit: http://studentsforbhopal.org/WarrenAndersonPetition.  Continue reading The LowDOWn – July 2013

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The LowDOWn – Spring 2012

The spring edition of ICJB's newsletter, the LowDOWn. Get the news on recent actions against Dow, the latest on the Olympics and stories from the ground.                  

 

In this issue:
1. Meet the new Advisory Board!
2. ICJB-NA writes an Open Letter to Dow Chemical
3. DOW caught spying on Bhopal Activists
4. The Battle to Uphold Olympic Spirit Continues
5. The Fight for Breath Continues
6. Bhopal at JAMnesty
7. TAKE ACTION!
8. Careers at ICJB


1. ICJB North America has a new Advisory Board for the year 2012! Meet our team

2. ICJB North America writes an open letter to Dow Chemical condemning its actions and demanding immediate remediation of the issue.

3. Dow caught spying on Bhopal Activists

Documents released by WikiLeaks on February 27th expose Dow for hiring a Texas based private intelligence firm, Stratfor, to monitor activities of Bhopal activists. This series of files called “The Global Intelligence Files” contains over sixty emails marked “Bhopal updates” that were sent to Dow representatives from Stratfor during 2010 and 2011. These briefs reveal how Dow closely monitored the online activities of Bhopal activists worldwide.

 

 

 

4. The Battle to Uphold Olympic Spirit Continues

Despite the organized efforts of activists and athletes from around the world, the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) continues to defend Dow’s sponsorship of the 2012 Olympics.

However, the sponsorship deal suffered a major blow in January when Meredith Alexander resigned from her post as a member of the “Commission for a Sustainable London 2012”, the official watchdog to ensure London’s goal of creating “the most sustainable games to date”. Ms. Alexander criticized LOCOG for backing Dow’s denial of responsibility for its liabilities in Bhopal. In The Guardian’s article “Why I resigned over Bhopal” she states "I would like to see Dow take responsibility for the Bhopal tragedy and finally ensure that real justice is achieved for the victims and the families of those who died. This would be a true Olympic legacy."

Our movement found another champion in Labor MP Barry Gardiner when he stated in Parliament on February 21, Dow Chemical “has failed to live up to the high corporate social responsibility standards that are supposed to characterize the Olympic Movement across the globe.” In December of 2011, Dow Chemical dropped its logo from the planned stadium wrap. However, the eleven million dollar wrap itself has not been dropped, nor has the partnership with the International Olympic Committee that is planned for the coming decade. To add your voice to the battle to uphold the Olympic spirit, please sign the petition to Drop DOW chemicals from 2012 Olympics.

 

5. The Fight for Breath Continues

A study conducted over the past ten years at the Bhopal Memorial Hospital & Research Center has found that half of those exposed to gas during the night of the disaster have abnormal lung function and are 30% more likely to contract lung disease than unexposed populations. Read more here.

 

6. Amnesty, Austin demands Dow Chemical’s Olympics Sponsorship be dropped

On April 4th, the UT chapter of Amnesty International (AI) hosted its first ever JAMNESTY event supporting AI's Demand Dignity campaign. The focus of the campaign was on the Dow Chemical disaster in Bhopal and the Shell Oil spill in the Niger Delta. The event featured musical performances by Robot Williams, Luis Soberon and The Abstract. Keynote speakers Robert Jensen and Snehal Shingavi expressed their views on Corporate (un)Accountability and shared personal anecdotes. Over 100 people signed the petitions that urged the U.S. Olympic Committee to raise the issue of Dow Chemical’s sponsorship of the Olympics. Read more here.

 

7. Take Action!!

– Upcoming Event: Flashmob for Bhopal, May 2012

Calling all human rights activists! Calling all dancers!

Protest Dow’s sponsorship of the Olympics by organizing a flashmob in your city.

Contact Pooja at icjb.us.ab@gmail.com to receive your easy online kit!

Sign the petition to Drop DOW chemicals from 2012 Olympics.

 

8. Careers at ICJB

ICJB North America is actively seeking an Administration and Government Relations Officer. Click here for more details.

 

This campaign LowDOWn is brought to you by members of ICJB AB: icjb.us.ab@gmail.com

 

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The LowDOWn – Spring 2011

In this issue:

  1. Supreme Court decision: ‘another black day for justice’ in Bhopal
  2. In Bhopal, environmental contamination clean-up committee marred by Dow insiders’ presence
  3. Survivor’s U.S. tour in early spring a success
  4. Divine Strings: Boston’s soulful benefit concert for Bhopal
  5. Annual conference of Association for India’s Development: celebration and reflection on 20 years of AID
  6. A new chapter for ICJB-North America

1. Supreme Court Decision: ‘Another Black Day for Justice’ in BhopalBhopalis protest the Court's decision
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of India dismissed the Indian Government’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) appeal for heightened punishment of eight Union Carbide employees charged with causing death due to negligence as part of the 1984 disaster. The eight men were convicted last year by a Bhopal court, which handed down a sentence with a maximum of 2 years in jail. The Supreme Court gave their original decision in 1996, diluting charges that were left in limbo until they were addressed by last year’s Bhopal court conviction. The CBI petition sought to elevate the charges to culpable homicide (not amounting to murder), which carries a jail term of up to 10 years.  Pointing to the well-documented use of untested technologies at the factory and implementation of cost-cutting measures that compromised safety as solid evidence of the accused putting profits over people, the survivors’ organizations called this judgment ‘another black day for justice’ and said they will be weighing their options for further legal examination of this decision. For more information on the judgment, read the survivors’ press statement or activist Shalini Sharma’s blog on the courtroom developments.

2. Survivor's U.S. Tour in Early Spring a Success

Sanjay Verma, survivor, activist, and documentary star, toured the United States from March 17-April 9, battling forCarlson and Verma pictured with Janet and Martin Sheen public safety in a community vulnerable to a Bhopal-like disaster, and educating a U.S. audience on his personal experience in Bhopal.  Originally scheduled to testify against Bayer producing MIC at Bhopal's sister plant in Institute, WV, Sanjay began his journey in West Virginia.  In a surprise victory for public safety Friday, March 18, Bayer caved to community demands to halt manufacturing of the deadly chemical, before the hearing was scheduled to begin.  Following the West Virgina victory, Sanjay went on a five-city screening tour of Bhopali, Max Carlson's award-winning documentary on the disaster, in which he stars. Highlights of the tour included meeting Martin Sheen and his wife, Janet Sheen, supporters of  Carlson’s outstanding work and of the Bhopal campaign.  On May 8th, Bhopali won “Best Documentary” at the New York Indian Film Festival.

3.  In Bhopal, Environmental Contamination Clean-up Committee Marred by Dow Insiders’ Presence
On May 25, leaders of five Bhopal survivor organizations condemned the recommendations of the government-appointed, seven-member Peer Review Committee (PRC) on remediation of the toxic contamination in and around the abandoned Union Carbide factory.  In a letter submitted to the Chairman of the Oversight Committee on Bhopal Environmental Rehabilitation, Jairam Ramesh, the organizations charged that the recommendations of the PRC were unscientific, unilaterally decided and were designed to help Dow avoid its Bhopal liabilities by paying a pittance for environmental remediation. Notably, two members of the PRC, Doctor Rama Rao and Professor G.D. Yadav, have significant ties with Dow. Additionally, the majority of PRC members have longstanding ties with the Indian Government’s National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), which produced an internationally-criticized report on Bhopal’s environmental contamination. The PRC disregarded independent experts' criticism of the report. The survivor groups’ press release emphasized that survivors would not tolerate the implementation of the PRC’s faulty proposal.

4. Divine Strings: Boston’s Soulful Benefit Concert for Bhopal
Divine Strings, a benefit concert featuring Carnatic and Jazz music, was held on May 7 at Northeastern University’sAishu Fenway Auditorium in Boston. Aishwarya Venkataraman, an ever-smiling 18-year-old violinist took center-stage to enthrall a crowd of well over 200 with brilliant artistry. Aishu was accompanied on the Mridangam by her father, Professor Vinod R. Venkataraman; Marc Rossi on the piano; Bob Tamagni on the drums; and Bill Urmson on the electric bass. The concert was divided into two parts: Carnatic – a form of traditional music that originated in the temples of Southern India – as well as a blend of Jazz and Carnatic arrangements, thus combining soulful and complex tones from the East with melodic and groovy musical arrangements from the West. The Boston chapter of ICJB organized this moving event, which helped raise money for the Bhopal survivors.

5. Annual Conference of Association for India’s Development (AID): Celebration and Reflection on 20 Years of AID
AIDA close partner of ICJB, the Association for India’s Development (AID) will be hosting its annual conference at the MIT campus in Cambridge, Mass., during the 2011 Memorial Day Weekend (May 28 -May 30). AID is a volunteer movement promoting sustainable, equitable and just development through supporting grassroots organizations in India, with over 1000 volunteers spanning 36 chapters in the U.S. Keynote speakers at the conference are senior staff members from two of AID’s grassroots partners in India: Praful Chandel, Senior Village Coordinator of Jan Swasthya Sahyog (JSS) in Chhattisgarh, a premier rural healthcare organization operating in 50+ villages in central India, and Himanshu Kumar, a Gandhian human rights activist and founder of Vanavasi Chetana Ashram in Chhattisgarh.  With special significance to the Bhopal campaign, Rachna Dhingra, a longtime activist, a Jeevansaathi (full-time AID volunteer), and a leader of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action, will be coming from Bhopal to join the conference.  For additional conference information and online registration, please visit http://conference.aidindia.org/.

6.  A New Chapter for ICJB-North America
Beginning May 1, ICJB in North America will transition to a fully volunteer-led organization. The reason for this transition boils down to resources. To be clear, staffing and structure of ICJB-India will not change. Previous U.S. staff Shana Ortman and Claire Rosenfeld, along with six other dedicated Advisory Board members, will continue their involvement as volunteer leadership.  Each Advisory Board member will now take on specific roles to ensure that the North American-arm of the campaign continues to work effectively. There are two ways you can support this transition in North America:

  • Donate: support from our donors and activists will allow us to remain a vibrant organization that will continue to advocate for the Bhopal survivors in their struggle for justice, as well as the international movement for “No More Bhopals.”
  • Volunteer: we have lots of exciting projects which require a range of skills.  Use our new email address, icjb.us.ab@gmail.com, to let us know how you’d like to get involved.

While this transition won’t always be easy, we look forward to continuing an open dialogue with our supporters to keep our organization strong. Bhopalis and their supporters have created a global community of activists, which has remained persistent and effective over the past 26 years. 

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