23 OCTOBER 2002
CAMPAIGN FOR JUSTICE IN BHOPAL STRIKES AGAIN!
& Co ruin poor Michael Parker's award lunch, and present Dow's
bewildered CEO with two genuine Bhopali jhadoos
few minutes ago we had a call from an excited Kinnu (G. Krishnaveni)
who at the instant of writing is sitting dressed in sari, bindu
and sundry finery in a downtown Houston photo-shop waiting for
pictures of the coup she and friends mounted against Dow Chemical
CEO Michael Parker.
who had gone to a $75 a head luncheon in the city's upmarket Hyatt
Hotel to receive an award for - if you can believe it - Dow's
contribution to the environment, was stunned when a camera-woman
taking pictures of him at the foot of the stage turned out to
be none other than long term adversary Diane Wilson, famed shrimp-boat-captain-turned-activist
and merciless scourge of Dow.
Diane interrupted Parker's remarks about Dow's commitment to the
environment and said she had an important announcement to make.
At this point local Dow staffers (including their Seadrift plant's
foot-in-mouth specialist Kathy Hunt) recognised Diane and began
gesturing frantically at their hapless chief, but Diane, utilising
the power of lungs fortified by years at sea, told Parker that
he had no business accepting an environmental award when his company
had yet to clean up its toxic mess in Bhopal. "We have a
better award for you," she told him in front of 500 bemused
Dow contingent at a table near the stage began booing, but fell
silent when Kinnu appeared in her Indian costume bearing two genuine
Bhopali jhaadoos, specially flown out for the purpose. Kinnu made
her way to the stage and held out the brooms to Parker who, at
this point, was as much at sea as ever Diane had been. Kinnu told
Parker that he was a liar to say that Dow had no liabilities in
Bhopal. She told him that women living near the abandoned factory
have mercury and other toxins in their breast milk and demanded
that Dow take immediate action to clean up its mess.
other friends displayed banners and distributed material that
echoed Kinnu-ji's remarks. We await Kinnu's own account. Here
is part of the material created for the event, and the official
on the pictures for high res jpegs. Please feel free to print
the postcard and send it to everyone you know.
Activists Confront Dow Chemical CEO Michael Parker
Disrupt Houston Luncheon with Demands that Dow
Clean Up their Liabilities in Bhopal
23 October, 1.30pm Activists today interrupted a planned
speech by Dow Chemical CEO Michael Parker, presenting him with
authentic Indian brooms and a request that he take the symbolic
gifts to show he will responsibly clean up his companys
liabilities in Bhopal, India.
Parker, a guest speaker at the Tenth Annual
Houston Conservation Leadership Awards luncheon at the Hyatt Regency
Hotel downtown, appeared shocked when approached by Bhopal activist,
Houston resident and India native G Krishnaveni, who appeared
at the luncheon in traditional Indian dress to offer Mr. Parker
the brooms. Mr. Parker did not take the brooms and attempted to
repeatedly interrupt Ms. Krishnaveni, while other activists passed
out literature and held signs and banners inside the hotel.
"Dow must stop their stalling and take responsibility for
the Bhopal tragedy," Ms. Krishnaveni stated. The Bhopal
disaster is far from over. With contaminated soil and ground water
siting atop a still uncontained factory site, today babies are
poisoned through a 'slow-motion Bhopal' by the toxins in their
mothers breast milk. Court cases in India and the United
States are pending against Dow; while Dow drags their feet in
court, Bhopalis are dying," she added.
Dow, who spent nearly 10 billion dollars (US) to purchase Union
Carbide Corporation in February of 2001, has yet to deal with
the toxic legacy of Carbides Bhopal pesticide plant, the
site of the worlds largest industrial disaster. The infamous
December 2, 1984 methyl isocyanate and hydrogen cyanide gas leak
killed an estimated 8,000 within a few days; in total over 20,000
people have perished.
Joining Ms. Krishnaveni today was Seadrift, Texas, shrimper-turned-activist
Diane Wilson. Ms. Wilson, whose nearly month-long hunger strike
and civil disobedience at Dows Seadrift facility this summer,
pressed Dow on their double standards. "When Dow bought Union
Carbide last year, they settled outstanding asbestos litigation
here in Texas. Instead of also constructively dealing with Bhopal,
they attempt to greenwash their public image by sponsoring a conservation
awards luncheon to the tune of $40,000. Where is the justice here?"
Greenpeace Campaigner Rob Fish, also present at todays event,
took note with the form letter reply that Mr. Parker and Dow have
sent to the over 30,000 people who have requested that Dow take
responsibility in Bhopal.
Mr. Parker tells concerned citizens that Dow is engaged
in meaningful dialogue with groups in Bhopal to discuss their
concerns. This is simply not true. This international coalition
has made their aims quite clear to Mr. Parker, expressing them
to him directly during a meeting at this Mays Dow shareholder
meeting in Midland, Michigan. Until we receive a meaningful and
substantive reply from Dow that reflects our demands, our pressure
will continue, Fish said.
The International Coalition for Justice in Bhopal is calling on
Dow Chemical to face trial in Indian and American courts, to clean
up the Bhopal factory site at its expense as would be required
in the U.S., to secure long-term medical treatment facilities
and medical rehabilitation for the survivors of the poisonous
gas leak, to ensure economic compensation for the gas-affected
people and their families, and to provide clean drinking water.
To hear the story from the horse's mouth, contact:
G. Krishnaveni, International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal on
Rob Fish, Greenpeace on (202) 415-0813
Photos and videography of event available upon request
You are of course already visiting www.bhopal.net,
favourite haunt of the U.S. armed forces, please also visit www.greenpeaceusa.org/bhopal
If you want to be kept up to date with the campaign, please join
the remember-Bhopal mailing list by going to:
21 OCTOBER 2002
SWISS BOSS FLEES CHAMPA DEVI'S JHAADOO -
"JHAADOO MARO DOW KO!"
SWITZERLAND, 21 OCTOBER
JUST HAD A CALL from Champa Devi and Pranay (second and
third from left) who are in sunny Switzerland. The pair,
both gas-survivors from Bhopal, have been staging a sit-in
outside Dow's European Headquarters along with Greenpeace
Europe's CEO Respini grudgingly agreed to see the delegation
and said he could find only five minutes to spare for them.
Champa Devi used those minutes to reject Dow's offer to
make a "humanitarian gesture" in Bhopal and reminded
Respini that the survivors are asking for their legal rights,
not for alms. She enumerated the campaign's four demands.
Champa Devi then ceremonially presented a "jhadoo"
[broom] to Respini. "This, for some reason made him
scared and run away from the room", reported Pranay.
await Pranay's full report on the campaign so far in Switzerland.
"Jhadoo Maro Dow Ko!" (or "Beat Dow with
a broom") is an initiative of the women survivors.
Jhadoo actions in which Dow management are presented with
brooms and told to clear up their death factory in Bhopal
have so far happened in Bhopal, Switzerland and the US.
If you would like to carry out a "Jhaadoo" action,
and would like some Bhopali brooms, please contact us on
WILL MOVE FOR DOW TO STAND TRIAL AS ACCUSED NUMBER #10
heard today from C. Sahay, prosecuting counsel for the CBI (Criminal
Bureau of Investigation) that his client wants Dow Chemical Corporation
to join its wholly owned subsidiary Union Carbide in the dock
at the Central Criminal Court, Bhopal. Carbide, along with its
ex-CEO Warren Anderson is accused of "culpable homicide"
for its part in events leading to the leak of toxic gas which
killed thousands on the night of 3rd December 1984 in Bhopal.
Both Carbide (Accused #10) and Anderson (Accused #1) have been
ignoring the summonses of the Court since 1992 and have been declared
official "absconders from justice".
Chemical, said Mr Sahay, is the 100% owner of Union Carbide Corporation
and on this basis the CBI will seek permission from the Union
government to name Dow alongside its criminally absconding subsidiary.
Once permission is granted, Dow Chemicals will also be an accused
in the case.
Indian law, as under US, UK and European law, a company which
buys another company acquires not only its assets, but also its
oustanding debts, liabilities and legal obligations. Dow Chemical
has already accepted Carbide's asbestos liabilities in the United
States. It has so far refused to accept Carbide's Bhopal liabilities
on the grounds that all civil and criminal liabilities were extinguished
by the 1989 settlement between Union Carbide and the then Indian
Government of Rajiv Gandhi. Dow seems unable to remember or perhaps
to grasp that the settlement was modified by the Indian Supreme
Court's decision of 1991, specifically reviving the criminal charges
- the same criminal charges from which Union Carbide and Anderson
have been hiding ever since.
move to name Dow as accused in the case came in response to the
plea of Jai Prakash of Bhopal Gas Peedit Sangharsh Sahayoga Samiti,
a survivor's organisation. Dow management in the United States
should reflect that they were warned, both by survivors' groups
and by their own shareholders, that buying Carbide would inevitably
mean assuming liability for Bhopal and that Dow's assets in India
would then come under threat. (Carbide's assets have long since
been attached by the Court.)
Devi spoke for all the survivor's organisations when she emphatically
rejected Dow's disingenuous offer of a "humanitarian gesture"
and told Dow Europe's CEO Respini in Switzerland yesterday that
the corporation had no option but to accept its legal liabilities.
18 OCTOBER 2002
MAARO DOW KO! CHILDREN OUTSIDE BHOPAL COURT CALL FOR JUSTICE
the Bhopal Magistrates Court, which reconvened yesterday
for the first time since dramatically rejecting
a bid to reduce charges against chief accused Warren Anderson,
schoolchildren from the gas-affected areas of Bhopal came
out to leave the CBI's lawyers in no doubt of what the city's
"Jhaadoo Maaro Dow Ko!",
they shouted. "Beat Dow with brooms!"
A CBI official informed the
Judge, Chief Magistrate Rameshwar Kothe, that the Court's
arrest warrant against Warren Anderson, former CEO of Union
Carbide, who is Accused No 1, had been translated from Hindi
into English and handed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
so that extradition proceedings could begin.
children were not impressed by vague promises. "We
have heard from our mothers and grandmothers what happened
here. Many people are sick. We think the people who were
responsible should be punished," said Bharati, 11.
"If this happened in
America," said Shekhar, 12, "the big boss Anderson
would be in prison."
Inside, the Court was hearing from
Rajendra Singh Pundheer [RSP], Former Production Assistant
at the Sevin Unit of the Union Carbide plant.
Singh (Prosecuting Counsel): When did you work in UCIL,
RSP: From 1972 to 1984.
TPS: Did UCIL, Bhopal provide you with any technical training?
TPS: At which post did you work?
RSP: I was Production Assistant in the Sevin Unit
What were your responsibilities?
RSP: To look after production and meet targets.
TPS: In the Sevin Unit who was in charge of plant equipment?
RSP: Maintenance department used to look after that.
TPS: Who was in charge of personnel safety?
RSP: The shift in-charge.
TPS: On the night of the disaster which shift were you
RSP: B Shift. 3 PM to 11 PM.
TPS: [shows the witness a paper] What document is this?
RSP: It is a log sheet for December 2, 1984 of Sevin Unit
and it has my signature at the bottom.
TPS: According to the log sheet, on December 2, 1984 how
much MIC did you receive from MIC Unit?
RSP: 1110 litres of MIC in liquid form.
TSP: According to the log sheet, what was the temperature
of the liquid MIC?
RSP: It was 20 degrees centigrade.
TPS: According to the log sheet how much MIC was there
in the tank?
RSP: There was 65 litres already in the tank and 1110
litres was further received so there were 1175 litres
in the tank. The entry in the log sheet has been made
by the operator and has been supervised by me.
plain language, an untrained person was left to supervise
a transfer of MIC (methyl isocyanate), well known
to be a volatile and deadly chemical, that was stored
and moved around on site in quantities that far exceeded
all safety rules. (Tank 610, which exploded, was 70%
full, against a safety maximum of 40%).
liquid MIC was at a temperature of 20 degrees C. It
was meant to be kept at 0 degrees C, but other former-workers
at the Union Carbide plant have testified that the
MIC storage tanks were no longer being refrigerated,
by order of the management, in order to save a trivial
sum on freon gas.
case, without Anderson (Accused #1) or Carbide (Accused
Carbide's fatal Tank 610