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BHOPAL , India - India will seek extradition of former Union Carbide Corp. Chairman Warren Anderson over the Bhopal gas disaster, a government prosecutor said Friday. Read the original story from the Houston Chronicle, 7th January 1989 - only fourteen years ago.

Bhopal.Net's media coverage and archives contain dozens of other such gems. Journalists will find our search facility invaluable. Meanwhile check the text of Warren's broken bail bond, and the warrant for his arrest. (Facsimiles)

Anil Thakraney's famous Mid-Day headline
is the icon for our media coverage section

     
 

When we revealed that Bhopal.Net had approached bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman about delivering Warren Anderson to court in Bhopal, you probably thought we were joking. Well, you were absolutely right. We were joking. Wouldn't such a move – kidnapping a wanted person – be highly illegal?

Amazingly, it seems not. At least not in the United States, a country where fact routinely leaves fiction for dead.

Consider this opinion by one of America's most eminent lawyers, Professor Ruth Wedgwood of Yale Law School, writing in the National Law Journal (6 July 1992):
"On June 15. In U.S. v. Alvarez-Machain, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that a person could be taken from his office at gunpoint, stuffed into a car and flown over the international border to the embrace of waiting foreign police, and yet have no legal cause to complain about the method of his delivery when he was finally brought to court. . ."

The case in point was a snatch very like that recently carried out by "Dog" Chapman against Andrew Luster, the Max Factor heir wanted for multiple rapes in California, but the snatchers on that occasion were mid-level U.S. drug enforcement agents and the snatchee was Humberto Alvarez-Machain, who had been indicted two years earlier for taking part in the murder and torture of their colleague Enrique Camerena.

Although the Supreme Court did not mince words, and called the thing what it was, a "kidnapping", Solicitor General Kenneth Starr – he who famously found the stain on Monica Lewinsky's dress – talked of "extraterritorial arrest" and "apprehensions that are conducted outside the extradition context."

Sauce for the goose being sauce for the gander and all that, this should surely mean that if the U.S. government fails to accede to the Indian request to extradite Warren Anderson, they will not be in a position to object if he is heisted. Extradition it seems is only one option.

Professor Wedgwood even foresaw a possible Anderson/"Dog" scenario: "Extradition treaties with their safeguards concerning probable cause, double jeopardy, statutes of limitations, political offenses and the right of national citizens to be tried in their own country rather than be extradited do not restrict the hunting rights of any country that may wish to police beyond its borders, according to a divided Supreme Court. Extradition treaties, said the Court, merely provide one optional method of taking a person across foreign borders. . . Business executives may well be dismayed by the Alvarez decision. Chief executive Warren Anderson of Union Carbide Corporation, for example, was charged by an Indian court in connection with the 1984 Bhopal chemical accident . . ."

Anderson had been charged shortly before Professor Wedgwood wrote her article and has been refusing to answer that court's summons for 11 years since, during which time 10,000 more of his company's victims have died.

"Sometimes fugitives will hide behind a nation's sovereignty to avoid coming to justice for their crimes. If extradition were the only means of reaching these people, then they could thwart justice forever. There will be times when a nation will feel compelled to use force to bring these fugitives to justice. Thus, Israel kidnapped Adolf Eichmann from Argentina . . ."

Anderson, Eichmann – both named almost in a breath.

Think of Auschwitz or Treblinka or Buchenwald and one can understand why the survivors of the Shoah so badly wanted Eichmann tried.

Now consider how Union Carbide's victims died on that night of terror beyond imagination when the poison gas was in their eyes, their noses, their mouths, their lungs – more than 20,000 dead – and all because, it is alleged, a company wanted to save money and did not care how it did it.

Almost twenty years after the world's worst industrial disaster, isn't it time the evidence was heard in court? Shouldn't the man responsible for those decisions be brought – by extradition or by Dog – to account?

 

Professor Ruth Wedgwood

 

 

Monica Lewinsky

 

 

Adolf Eichmann

 

     
 


Survivors of Union Carbide's gas disaster in Bhopal are celebrating what they see as a major victory in forcing the Indian government to do its duty and apply to the United States for the extradition of Warren Anderson, ex Chairman of Union Carbide.

People in this city have wanted Anderson for so long they can hardly believe that 11 years after being asked by a judge to procure Anderson's extradition, the Indian government has finally made the request. They believe that the politicians have finally bowed to the pressure of their unrelenting protests.

"This long-awaited move is a major step towards in our struggle for justice." said Rashida Bee, president of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh (Bhopal Gas-Affected Women Stationery Workers Association). "We will ensure that this is not just a token gesture. We will continue to pressure the Government till Anderson and others responsible for the world's worst disaster face trial in the ongoing criminal case." she added.

Survivors press statement here Join the ICJB
Background to Anderson case Bhopal chronology
(download Word docs)

An effigy of Warren Anderson burns
in the streets of Bhopal

     
 


WASHINGTON DC 1 JULY 2003 Yes, the report in The Statesman is true. We just got a breathless phone call to say that the Minister of Community Affairs at the Indian Embassy in Washington D.C. has verbally confirmed that Warren Anderson's long overdue extradition papers have indeed arrived.

This Indian government has finally and reluctantly done what it and its predecessors ought to have done long ago. This time last year, it was applying to dilute the charges against Anderson. It has taken huge pressure from survivors and their supporters around the world, plus two global hunger-strikes, and angry condemnation by an all-party committee of Indian MPs to force the government's hand. Yet no one should rush to reserve Anderson a suite at Bhopal's Jehan Numa Hotel.

The real battle to bring Union Carbide and its ex-Chairman to justice will now begin. Incredible though it seems, in nearly nineteen years, not a single US executive of Union Carbide has had to face hostile cross questioning in a court of law about the decisions which led to the world's worst industrial disaster. For all the celebration there'll be in the slums of Bhopal, it is in the highest degree unlikely that the Bush administration will agree to hand Anderson over without a bitter fight. The world's attention must refocus on the company (now Dow Chemical) and those freedom- and justice-lovers in the White House.

Likely objections will be that a) that the charges are "trumped-up" b) that Anderson will not receive a fair trial c) that he is an old and sick man who should not be put through this ordeal d) that he is being persecuted

Journalists working on this story may be interested in the following:

Re objection A: Hitherto secret Carbide documents show that Anderson was part of the core team which approved plans for the manufacture of MIC (the poison gas that leaked, killing thousands in a night) and which okayed the use of "unproven technology" in the Bhopal plant. He was the ultimate buck-stopper for safety matters, yet he and his board failed to respond when warned by Carbide safety auditors from the U.S. that the potential existed at Bhopal for a major toxic release. Despite its later claims, Anderson's board kept a tight rein on its Indian subsidiary - and instituted a cost-cutting spree, one result of which was that all of the Bhopal plant's safety systems were out of action on the night of the disaster. The info is here on this website. Please use the search engine. Check dates of info. If in doubt, contact people listed below.

Re objection B: It was an American judge who, against the wishes of the Indian government, referred the original case for trial in India, claiming that the Indian judicial system was perfectly competent, and binding Union Carbide to abide by the decisions and rulings of Indian courts. The Indian Supreme Court in 1991 re-instituted criminal charges against Warren Anderson and Union Carbide. Anderson and Union Carbide Corporation have been ignoring those proceedings since 1992. Anderson was declared and remains a "fugitive from justice" in India, with a non-bailable warrant out for his arrest. All UCC's Indian assets were attached. The case is ongoing without its two main defendants, but the existence of these criminal proceedings was not declared to the Securities Exchange Commission when Dow Chemical applied to merge with (actually take over) Union Carbide. This must raise questions about the legality of that merger. Six weeks ago at Dow's AGM, Chairman and CEO William Stavropoulos when asked about potential Bhopal liabilities denied the existence of the criminal case. Later, his PR chief Musser had to retract this blatant lie, saying that Stavropoulos, who was the architect of the Dow-Carbide merger, had inexpicably "misspoken".

Re objection C: Warren Anderson was 69 years old when he was summoned to appear before the court in Bhopal to answer criminal charges of "culpable homicide" relating to a death toll that was already well into five figures. In the eleven years that he has been thumbing his nose at the court, a further ten thousand people have died from their injuries. One person a day continue to die in Bhopal from causes directly related to the 1984 gas leak. Many survivors who are as old or older than Anderson, and considerably sicker, struggle along on compensation amounting to some 7¢ a day, without access to the first class medical care which would be his were he to suffer a turn at the golf course. Under Indian law a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. If Anderson and Union Carbide are as free from blame as they have always claimed, they have nothing to fear from appearing in court. The continued absence not only of the ex-Chairman but crucially of the U.S. corporation itself sends a different message to the world. Now that Union Carbide is 100% owned by Dow Chemical, we believe it is only a matter of time before Dow is named in the proceedings to answer for its absconding subsidiary.

Objection D sinks under the weight of its own irony.

The Indian government's move will increase the moral and legal pressure on Dow Chemical to redress the wrongs done to the people of Bhopal. Not covered by the criminal proceedings involving Anderson, but of the greatest urgency, is the need to clean-up Carbide's abandoned factory, which is poisoning the drinking water of local communities. This is the subject of a separate class action currently under appeal in New York.

Our thanks to everyone who signed the petition to extradite Anderson.

For more information, please contact:

In the U.S: Krishnaveni Gundu, Cellphone +1 832 444 1731
Email: krishnaveni_g@sbcglobal.net


In the U.K: Tim Edwards, Mobile: +44 781 5172148
Email: tim@lifecycle.demon.co.uk

Check out also:

Our account of the finding of Warren Anderson
Media coverage of the judge's upholding of criminal charges against him
Diane Wilson meets the Andersons at their Long Island home
Bhopal.Net reconstructs a dinner party chez the Andersons


Can it be a coincidence that the Indian government's move comes so soon after Bhopal.Net announced that it had lost patience with the politicians in Delhi and was seeking the aid of the world's foremost bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman to bring the fugitive Anderson to justice? See story below.



Warren Anderson in 1984

 



 



Warren Anderson in 2002

 

 





Diane Wilson outside Warren's house

 




Duane "Dog" Chapman

 

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