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SUNDAY 29 SEPTEMBER
CHEMICAL SUED IN "DEAD PEASANT" SCANDAL
law firm McClanahan & Clearman has sued Dow Chemical after
discovering that the company took out life insurance policies
on their lower-level employees. Sounds like a caring thing to
do until you realise that if the worker died, their widows and
families got nothing, the company kept the lot. Would the company
claim even if the worker were killed by a leak of poison gas,
or an explosion, as has happened at its Seadrift plant in recent
years? Just thinking what a double killing Dow-Carbide could have
made by insuring the peasants its gases massacred in Bhopal...McClanahan
& Clearman has asked the courts to certify the case as a class
25 SEPTEMBER 2002
LID BLOWS OFF 30 YEAR COVER-UP OF DOW DIOXIN SCANDAL IN NEW ZEALAND...
drenched us in the most toxic chemical known to mankind."Check
story in our media coverage.
URGENTLY APPEAL TO DOW CHEMICAL EMPLOYEES:
DON'T KEEP SILENT IF YOU'RE WORRIED ABOUT TOXICS, POLLUTION AND
TO AN EMPLOYER is a fine thing, but loyalty to one's family and
one's community should come first. What happened in Bhopal could
happen elsewhere. No one knows this better than you. Put your
own health, your family and your neighbours first. If you are
worried, or have information about toxic leaks, spills or inadequate
or careless waste disposal, don't keep it to yourself. Email
us in complete confidence
22 SEPTEMBER 2002
NEWS FROM TODAYS'S BHOPAL CENTRAL CHRONICLE
FOR DOW INVESTORS AS STATE GOVERNMENT MOVES TO FORCE DOW-CARBIDE
TO PAY FOR CLEAN-UP OF ITS CONTAMINATED DEATH-FACTORY IN BHOPAL
Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh announced last night that
his Government will petition the Indian Supreme Court to remove
deadly chemicals that still lie in Union Carbide's abandoned factory
site in Bhopal, nearly 18 years after the gas disaster that has
so far claimed 20,000 lives. Union Carbide (now wholly owned by
the Dow Chemical Corporation) will be required to foot the bill
for the clean-up. Read the Central Chronicle's story here.
Just yesterday, the UK's Guardian newspaper reported that
"The state of the Union Carbide plant is a disgrace. When
the company finally left the city in 1999, it left behind around
5,000 tonnes of process and waste chemicals - toxins that have
leached into the soil and water in and around the factory."
Guardian story here.
20,000 AFFECTED BY TOXINS FROM ABANDONED PLANT
Piles of toxic chemicals lie piled like brown rocks where
they have spilled from a rotting tank. Globules of mercury
glisten on the ground. Mercury has been found in the ground
and local water in quantities up to 6 million times higher
than would have been expected, according to a Greenpeace report.
Monsoon rains wash the toxins into the soil and contaminating
ground water and drinking wells used by approximately 20,000
people -- by cruel irony, the very same neighbourhoods worst
hit by the gas leak. For a summary of contamination at the
site, please see our report.
lying in the open air at Union Carbide's rotting factory
in Bhopal, which the company abandoned without cleaning
Snow of Channel 4 News sent this report live from the factory.(Needs
PR STRATEGY ON POINT OF COLLAPSE
Dow Chemical meanwhile persists with its disingenuous PR statements
that it has nothing to do with liabilities incurred in India by
Union Carbide -- a claim which according to US lawyers has no
Dow-Carbide has tried to reassure its
stockholders and analysts that all liabilities arising out the
1984 poison gas leak were resolved by Carbide's infamous 1989
settlement with the Indian government which was ratified by the
Indian Supreme Court. However, there are two fatal flaws in this
First, the Supreme Court, in a 1991 ruling
which modified its earlier judgement, re-instituted criminal proceedings
against Union Carbide. The corporation and its ex-CEO Warren Anderson
have been absconding from these criminal charges since 1992 and
failed to declare them before the Dow-Carbide merger to the U.S.
Federal Trade Commission, the European Commission and other regulatory
Second, the civil liabilies covered by
the 1989 settlement only cover claims arising out of the gas leak
itself and do not extend to costs arising out of Carbide's environmental
rape of the site over nearly two decades. This point is also the
focus of a separate class action suit brought against the company
by survivors which is currently being heard in New York.
Survivor's groups are demanding
that the company not only pay for the clean up of the site, but
make restitution for deaths and damage to health and loss of earnings
caused by drinking water polluted by chemicals that have been
proven to cause cancers and birth defects.
On 28 August the Bhopal court reiterated
the criminal charges agsinst Carbide executives and Anderson and
demanded that they be extradited to India to face trial without
further delay. On 6 September the Indian government, in the form
of the Director of the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) announced
that it would move for Anderson's and Carbide's extradition.
Dow stockholders could soon facing themselves
a bill that will make the $470 million paid in 1989 look like
+++ NOW SLIGHTLY SHRIVELLED ON THE GRAPEVINE +++ :)
14 SEPTEMBER 2002
RESPONSE OF AMERICA'S RICH: "GET THE F@#% OUT OF HERE...UNION
CARBIDE TOOK CARE OF THOSE PEOPLE"
OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT KINNU DARLING
the f*@#% out of here!" has been the general reaction
Don Hewitt Executive Producer of 60 Minutes was one of Anderson's
many extremely hostile neighbours who stopped on the Main
Street market to confront Diane today. (He was spotted y'day
also, driving past Andy's house and checking out Diane and
"You people are ideologically disgusting. You know
nothing. If it was me, I wouldn't go to India either....you're
A lady who said she used to work with Unicef, drove past
Diane in her luxury car and then came right back to say,
"I've been to Bhopal with Unicef. What have the Indians
done for Bhopal? What have YOU people ever done for Bhopal?"
"I've been supporting their struggle ma'am."
Another neighbour, "He was good to those people. Union
Carbide took care of them."
I ask, "How do you feel about this Diane? What are
you saying to them?"
Diane says, "They just scream and drive away. Kinnu,
these people don't know nothing about the truth. Carbide's
PR has been sooo slick. They don't realise how disgusting
they're being....I've never seen anything like this. At
least the workers understood what we were trying to do."
Another lady confronted Nina, "Someone threatened my
children. You people have been here for 3 weeks....it must've
been one of you."
Nina goes,"Whaaaaaaaaat?! We've been here only since
Before she can ask her what the threats were about, the
lady's driven away.
The sheriff came by and said he had two complaints of harassment
and trespassing Anderson's property without his permission.
He said he would let them be today until 5pm but if they
were going to come back tomorrow his Suptdt. would make
him arrest them.
"It's my right to be here. To protest. You can jail
me all you want." was Diane's response to him.
There were some supportive passersby who had no idea that
they had the dubious distinction of sharing THE Warren Anderson's
neighbourhood. They were surprised and told Diane that she
should tell the world about the kind of reaction she has
been getting here.
There's hope then, I guess
Anderson lives at 929 Ocean Road, Bridgehampton, NY. Write
him a polite letter and tell him that he he has held up
justice for the gas victims of Bhopal for long enough. Many
of them are as just old as he is, and still suffer terrible
chronic and debilitating illnesses as a result of the poison
gases released from his factory eighteen years ago, and
from having to drink water that is still being poisoned
by chemicals from the site that Carbide never cleaned up.
Unlike Warren Anderson these people cannot afford the best
surgeons and medical specialists. Many of them do not have
enough to eat. The average compensation for eighteen years
of suffering has been less than $500. It did not even cover
the cost of medicines in the first year. Over eighteen years
it works out at about 7 cents a day. Until the criminal
case is resolved, the question of proper compensation for
these people cannot be addressed. By stalling the case for
11 years, Warren Anderson has dragged out and prolonged
their suffering. Eleven years, during every day of which
in Bhopal a person has died of gas-related illness or injuries.
The deaths are mounting. And Bhopal will not got away. The
rich of the Hamptons may not like it, but this is the future,
knocking at their door.
can write to Don Hewitt at 60 Minutes, CBS, 524 West 57th
Street New York, NY 10019. Do ask him if his news organisation
has heard that on 28 August an Indian court affirmed a criminal
charge of "culpable homicide" against Warren Anderson
and called for his immediate extradition from the United
States. If CBS News is unaware of this story (they failed
to report it) they might like to consult our
own media coverage page to see how the story was covered
by CNN, Reuters, the BBC and other first class news organisations.
Ask Mr Hewitt if he and his organisation believe in and
uphold the rule of law? Do they believe that the law should
apply to all equally, without fear or favour? Do they believe
that Indians are entitled to justice and the right to live
in freedom from terror? Or this is the right only of rich
Americans? When the poor world asks for justice, and Mr
Hewitt says it is "ideologically disgusting",
is he speaking for himself, or CBS, or the US establishment?
please point out that in India as in the US, a defendant
is innocent until proven guilty. If Warren Anderson and
Union Carbide are as blameless as they claim, they have
nothing to fear from appearing before the Bhopal Court.
Urge Mr Hewitt and his news organisation to check the facts
of the case, of which they clearly, in his own words "know
reporting by Sarvadarshi in Bridgehampton and NYC.
FRIDAY 13 SEPTEMBER 2002 - EVENING
CAMPAIGNERS MEET THE ANDERSONS AND THIS TIME IT AIN'T NO DINNER
OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT KINNU DARLING
vigil in New York outside the UN building, the action moved to outside
Warren and Lillian Anderson's house in Ocean Road. Bridgehampton,
in the exclusive northern end of Long Island. Diane Wilson, Nina
Resnez and others were there, with banners and accompanied by an
Indymedia reporter armed with a videocam.
hedge all the way around, very clipped. Bunch of flowers. Pretty.
Very nice place. We're standing here and there's someone coming
up right now..."
via mobile phone broke off at that point. An hour later, she was
back on the air:
"Kins honey, 30 days I baked outside the Carbide factory in
that bloody hot Texas sun but I never got a reaction close to like
this. Nothing like this. We had ourselves a ball today!"
1/3rd of Anderson's neighbours who saw Diane and Nina standing outside
his house with a poster that said "ANDERSON SHOULDN'T YOU BE
IN INDIA?", gave them a thumbs up.
The rest of the passersby tried their best to trash them.
"Go back to India, you piece of trash."
Diane: "I am from Texas, honey!"
"Ok. Go back to Texas then. Give that man a break. He's real
nice. And he's 80 yrs. old now."
Supportive passerby: "Yeah, they've nice 80 yr. old Nazi war
criminals living in Argentina also. So should we let them be?"
"He went to India 10 yrs. ago but they told him to go back
home. Leave him alone now."
Mike Ruggiero turns up. He's a reporter from Southampton Independent,
the local newspaper that ran a front page poster soon after Greenpeace
found Anderson, with screaming headline: WANTED FOR HOMICIDE BY
INDIA FOR HIS ROLE IN THE BHOPAL DISASTER THAT POISONED THOUSANDS.
Neil, another young reporter from Indymedia's also there. With a
Meanwhile Andy and his wife come out. "Go do your homework.
You don't know your facts. They kicked us out." "Do your
homework. The Indian govt. kicked him out. We put money in a clinic.
They bulldozed it." "Go away. Go do your homework."
"What about you Mr.Anderson? Do you know YOUR facts?"
Meanwhile, Andy realises Mike has a recorder. He tries to grab it.
Mike refuses to let go. Andy runs after Mike. It almost turns into
a scuffle. Neil gets everything on his camera.
Diane: "Kinnu, I tell you I've seen some funny things but I've
never seen anything like this. We were so surprised."
"Go away. Just go away you all."
Andy and his wife are frustrated and furious. "They got into
their car and zoom....tires screeching and all...just drove away."
who's just 3 weeks old at the newspaper jokes that his editor will
fire him for having bothered poor Mr.Anderson. . . . His editor
says "Holy *@$%. You nail that story right now."
up all the footage he can on indymedia tonight. And we'll get pictures
from Diane's digital camera in hopefully just a few hours. Tomorrow
Diane and Nina are going to be back in the Hamptoms. This time in
the center of town on Main Street. To catch the Saturday market
rush hour. Distributing leaflets. Spreading the word.
reporting by Sarvadarshi in Bridgehampton, NY
WATCH THIS SPACE
BHOPAL.NET SPECIAL FEATURE
Lillian Anderson, caught by Channel 4's reporter as she drove her
silver Cadillac into the couple's $1,150,000 home -which stands
on a white sand beach on the Atlantic ocrean - did not want to talk.
She said huffily, "My husband flew to India and they put him
in jail". In fact, Warren Anderson spent three hours under
nominal 'house arrest' at Carbide's luxury guest house. He was freed
on a surety of $1,500 and left for America, promising "I will
come back to India whenever the law requires it."
But when the law required it, he said he
did not recognise the court's jurisdiction. He never returned.
inconvenient of Bhopal's dead and injured -"We've got people
coming to dinner"
Anderson have anything to say about the 20,000 people who have died
in Bhopal as a result of Carbide's gas leak? He did not. Instead
his wife testily told Channel 4's reporter, Zoe Conway, "This
is most inconvenient. We've got people coming to dinner." Pressed
to ask her husband to say what his current feelings were on the
continuing suffering of more than 130,000 people in Bhopal, Mrs
Anderson snapped, "I told you, we are giving a dinner party,
and it isn't even catered"
comments were not shown on last week's broadcast - we learned
of them in a telephone call from a friend - they prompted
us to do a bit of finding out about the Andersons' lifestyle.
Island's Hamptons are an expensive part of the world. Steven
Spielberg has a house there. "Meg Ryan was at Sunset
Beach on Shelter Island on Saturday night having dinner,'
gushed a recent issue of New York Metro magazine. "Helena
Christensen is always there, Liv Tyler is always there, and
socialites like Lulu de Kwiatkowski always turn up. The locals
have nicknamed some of the customers the boat people, because
they all come over on their incredible boats, and they leave
So what is a dinner party in
the Hampton's like? What sort of shopping might Mrs Anderson's
Cadillac have been carrying home?
Bridgehampton Polo Club is just down
from the Andersons. Membership costs upwards
of $7,500 a year.
part of the real world.
"I have to tell you, we're not part of the real world,"
said Bridgehampton's society caterer Brent Newsom, when we put
these questions to him. "It costs to live here."
It would seem that Lillian
Anderson is used to having her dinner parties catered. A Newsom
dinner for eight people could easily cost over $1,000. At a
recent seven-person lunch attended by the Governor of New York,
the food cost $800. There were two staff at $350 and flowers
at around $250.
The client generally
provides the wine, because New York licensing laws mean a caterer
would have to charge restaurant prices, say $100 for a bottle
of wine that cost $30 in the shops.
had been over to the Amagansett Wine Store, where they do a
decent Latour Pouilly Fuisse for $22 a bottle, and a Paumanok
2000 Sauvignon Blanc, a local version of a Sauterne for a mere
What would she
be cooking? Well, beef would be a usual choice for a smart dinner
party, but of course it's red meat. Although Warren appears
fit for his age, he has to take care of his health.
Island lobster will be off the menu. The lobsters have been
poisoned, probably by pesticides.
in this area of stunning seascapes is a favourite food. It's
delicious, low in fats and not particularly high in cholesterol.
"I call ahead
and have Southampton's Clamman cook my lobsters," says
local resident Jamee Gregory, adding, "I don't like to
hear them scream."
In Vero Beach,
Florida, where the Andersons have their other holiday
home, P.V.Martin's Oceanside restaurant, famous for its "champagne
brunch" does giant Florida lobster tails at $30, but in
the exclusive Hamptons, a local told us, "Places that serve
lobster do not have the prices on the menu." Eight
jumbo-sized lobsters for a dinner party would cost about $240.
But fishermen report a "widespread lobster die off".
The suspected cause: pesticides like those made by Union Carbide.
Many Long Islanders
are partial to tomalley, the pale green stuff found in the lobster's
body, but local Lobster Promotion Councils advise against eating
it, warning that as tomalley is the liver and pancrea, dioxins
might have entered the system from the environment. Ironically,
the dioxins enter the environment courtesy of Dow Chemical,
which bought Warren's old company, Union Carbide.
thoughts, Warren and Lillian wouldn't eat those lobsters anyway.
Pesticides can do awful things to your health.
Organic produce, untouched
by herbicides and pesticides
can find fruit and vegetables at the Scuttle Hole farm shop,
just a quick dash from her house up to the top of Ocean Road
and a jink across the Montauk Highway.
Brent Newsom thinks its worth
going further afield."If I want really good field-ripened
tomatoes, I go to to Round Swamp in East Hampton. They grow
almost everything they sell, and their corn is fabulous. It's
fresh organic produce untouched by herbicides or pesticides,"
Sounds wonderful. "But", he admits, "it is
too, are the butchers, but of course the meat is simply the
"Dreesen's in East Hampton is
good, and the shop delivers - it's a fabulous if you don't
mind paying $18 for veal scallopini."
how much at minimum must Lillian Anderson's dinner party have
Perhaps $40 on nibbles from
somewhere inexpensive like Gemelli's of Babylon - you wouldn't
want to be fussed with them yourself. $160 for the meat, because
you want the best, and another $40 for the très
cher vegetables. Four bottles of Latour Pouilly Fuisse,
$88 and the Paumanok at $80.
can only afford Sagaponack's Loaves & Fishes once a month,"
one local complains. "It seems like it's $20 for a quarter-pound
of anything." $80. Dessert? Fresh fruit, enough for eight,
Flowers? $0 from
the garden - after all why else keep three gardeners? And
the total is $528.
world away from Lillian's $500 bash: Leela Bai's dinner
party in Bhopal.
her shack, lit by a single dim bulb, Leela Bai prepares
dinner for her family. She is the same age as Warren Anderson
and like him, has to watch her health. It'll be rice again
tonight, the same as last night, seasoned with a little
salt. Rice costs 9¢
a pound in Bhopal.
There is nothing else
in the house. Occasionally there will be a some daal (lentils),
and perhaps some spinach (4¢
a pound). When hunger becomes unbearable,
they tie scarves tightly round their bellies to give the
illusion of fullness.
was one of those caught by Union Carbide's cloud of poison
gas nearly eighteen years ago. She recalls the terror of
"that night", waking with eyes and mouth burning,
every breath like inhaling acid. The panic in the narrow
lanes, when people were trampled. People choking and dropping
dead, with bloody foam bubbling from their lips.
family of six survived, but ever since they have suffered
from breathlessness and spells of vomiting. One of her sons
has gone blind. All
six family members suffer from breathlessness and spells
Burdened by injury they cannot
earn well. The family's joint income is $30 a month.
rains wash toxins from the factory into the groundwater.
Drinking wells are polluted by carcinogens and heavy metals,
including 20,000 to 6 million times the expected levels
Organophosphates don't taste as nice as organics.
their meal, Leela and her family will be drinking not wine
but water. Mind you this is no ordinary water.
Chateau Carbide, laced with chemicals leaching into the ground
water and wells from the toxins dumped by Carbide for years
before and after the gas leak. Piles of dangerous chemicals
are still lying in the abandoned factory. Each monsoon's rains
washes them into the soil and groundwater.
Greenpeace analaysed the drinking
water of communities like Leela's who live the near the factory.
They found chemicals capable of causing cancers, leukemia,
damage to vital organs and birth defects. People who drink
the water report symptoms like those who were gassed in the
French writer Dominique Lapierre, whose
book Five Past Midnight in Bhopal demonstrates how
Union Carbide's neglect led inexorably to the disaster, drank
a half glass of the water and reported:
"My mouth, my throat, my tongue instantly
got on fire, while my arms and legs suffered an immediate
skin rash. This was the simple manifestation of what men,
women and children have to endure daily, eighteen years after
Warren Anderson probably spent more in one night than his
victims got 'in compensation' for a lifetime of torture.
the gas victims of Bhopal every day of the past eighteen years
has been a struggle against breathlessness, nausea, brain
damage, cancers, fevers, numbness, panic attacks, menstrual
chaos, monstrous births. Yet of
those who have received any compensation, ninety percent got
less than $500.
Leela got just $208. "No
one in my family received more than that", she told us.
"The money went on medicines as soon as it came to our
Over eighteen years $208 works
out at just 3 cents a day and with each day that passes, its
value dwindles. - which is why the case must not be stalled
any longer. The
survivors demand that Anderson and Union Carbide (now a wholly
owned subsidiary of Dow Chemicals) must no longer be allowed
to obstruct justice.
The poor and the hungry
of Bhopal live in the real world. Mr Anderson does not
Last week, he was annoyed when
Bhopal came knocking at his door in the idyllic Hamptons and
held up his smart dinner party. How ironic is that from a
man who has been holding up justice for thousands of poor,
sick and hungry people for eleven years?
Three days ago the Indian Government
finally announced that it will seek Warren Anderson's extradition
from the US.
He and his wife must have been
hoping Bhopal had gone away. But Bhopal will never go away.
Not until there is justice.
DAY OF DECISION - PICTURES FROM BHOPAL
ROAD LEADS TO HELL, MUMBAI PROTESTS
1 SEPTEMBER 2002
THE STRANGE DISAPPEARANCE OF WWW.BHOPAL.COM.
OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.
the propaganda website owned by Union Carbide (Dow) has vanished.
Until yesterday, the site, which has been live since the late nineties,
had been pumping out a bland mixture of regret and mendacity, its
mission, obviously, to sucker people searching for Bhopal information
into thinking that it was the "official" website on the
Bhopal disaster. The
strategy, dreamed up by Carbide's soulless PR advisors, has occasionally
for five minutes.
the recent flurry of newscasts over the court decision and the "outing"
of Warren Anderson, the BBC mistakenly gave a link to bhopal.com
as a "source of Bhopal information", an error that was instantly
changed when it was pointed out to them.
Shortly after this bhopal.com went off the
So what's happening? Have Dow-Carbide's management,
hit by a barrage of media flak, finally realised that bhopal.com,
like so many of their PR efforts, was an unholy embarrassment?
The site has been looking increasingly forlorn lately.
At one time it used to trumpet Carbide's (tired and endlessly disproven)
"sabotage" theory as established fact, but when last sighted
the "sabotage" theory had been demoted and was lurking on
an inside page.
At no time did bhopal.com ever contain any reference
to the real causes of the disaster: drastic cost cutting, reduction
of safety staff and time spent on safety training, a state of neglect
that horrified visiting engineers from Carbide US - their anxious
report was ignored by Warren Anderson and his fellow directors at
never mentioned the fact that criminal charges are still outstanding
against Union Carbide Corporation as well as Warren Anderson in India
and that both are official "fugitives from justice".
Carbide's propaganda site -
fooled no one
had no information on the issue that most frightens Dow: that of Carbide's
outstanding liabilities in Bhopal.
official line from Dow-Carbide is that all liabilities arising out
of the 1984 gas leak
by the 1989 "settlement". Unfortunately
for them, the settlement did not and does not cover
liabilities arising out of Carbide's savage environmental rape of
the site before and
information is that Dow, privately, is a great deal less assured about
its position regarding Bhopal liability than it has admitted to its
stockholders and analysts.
So -- will bhopal.com be back with
new and shinier lies? While we wait, there arises the question of
whether Union Carbide, which sold off its Bhopal factory in 1994,
had any right to register the bhopal.com domain in 1997. We
think not. bhopal.com properly belongs to Bhopal's chamber
The proper place for Carbide to put its version
of the Bhopal disaster was on its own website - and since Carbide
is now wholly owned by Dow, that website is dow.com. But if
you search dow.com, as I have just done, guess how many documents
come up that deal directly with the Bhopal disaster? (ANSWER:
WHAT'S THE SECOND LETTER OF "ROTTEN")