On the 24th March Halifax M.P. Alice Mahon filed Early Day Motion 933 in the UK parliament in support of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal’s efforts to make Dow and Union Carbide face up to their moral and legal responsibilities in Bhopal. The motion also applauds the ICJB’s efforts on the extradition of Warren Anderson, mentioning the work of the Sambhavna clinic. To date, 53 M.P.s have signed onto it. See the full list of signatories and text of the EDM here.
Dow Chairman and CEO Stavropoulos lied to shareholders when he said that Union Carbide face no criminal charges in India
As reported earlier this week by bhopal.net, Dow Chairman and CEO Stavropoulos lied to shareholders when he said that Union Carbide faced no criminal charges in India.
“Our chairman did misspeak,” sighs Dow doublespeak supremo John Musser. For “misspeak” read “put his foot so far down his throat that it came out the other end and doofed him up the arris”.
Sorry, Musserji, it’s more serious than that. “Pants on fire” used the misspeaking to obscure a crucial point, of great significance for Dow shareholders. He had been asked why Dow had accepted Carbide’s US asbestos liabilities and not its Indian Bhopal liabilities. He replied that the reason was because Carbide was being litigated against in the US whereas in India Carbide faced no on-going litigation.
Now that he knows different, Dow presumably can have no further problem in accepting Union Carbide’s Indian liabilities.
Dow shareholders will of course quickly reach the same conclusion, which is no doubt why “Pants on Fire” has not yet bothered to tell them that he “misspoke”.
Dow shareholders need to know that Union Carbide, whose asbestos liabilities have already cost them something like half a billion, is a criminal fugitive from justice in India, where Dow has substantial assets and is likely to be named soon as an accused in place of its absconding subsidiary. The potential liabilities arising out of what the London Independent called “Union Carbide’s rape of Bhopal” will make the asbestos money seem like a fleabite.
As one Dow employee earlier this week said (see story below) “Oh yes, Union Carbide: I still don’t understand why we bought them out, it was a big mistake. We have enough trouble with Agent Orange in our history. We do try to be a responsible company, but this sort of thing really doesn’t help.”
Guess which idiot masterminded the Dow takeover of Union Carbide. Guess who ignored the worried protests of Dow shareholders who even took out a lawsuit to stop him?
According to John Musser, “We are fully aware that Union Carbide and Anderson were both named in the criminal charges in India.” Well, John, you can’t have it both ways. Either Stavropoulous knew the facts, or he didn’t. He certainly should have known. If he aggressively pushed through the takeover in ignorance of Carbide’s criminal record, he deserves to be fired.
If he pushed through the deal in full knowledge, then he has deliberately lied to shareholders about a matter which could cost them their company. He deserves to be fired.
KINGS LYNN 13 MAY 2003. Two mysterious beings appeared this morning at the Dow Chemicals factory in the tiny, remote English town of Kings Lynn, Norfolk. “We are from the UK branch of the ICJB and we come bringing a gift” they told plant managers who stared at them in wonder and said, “We have heard of you. You delivered soil and water.” Yea verily. The long arm of the ICJB reacheth out even unto the furthest ends of Dow’s realm of chemical despair.
Bapuji, if you could see the terrible things that are being done to the poor, we know that you would be fasting beside us.
WASHINGTON DC, 12 MAY. Watched by the statue of Mahatma Gandhi outside the Indian Embassy in Washington DC, the three hunger strikers today marked the end of their personal fast by calling on supporters and justice campaigners around the world to take over and fast in relays from now until the 19th anniversary of the Bhopal gas disaster. STATEMENT AND APPEAL HERE • JOIN THE GLOBAL FAST FOR JUSTICE HERE
BHOPAL ACTIVISTS END HUNGER STRIKE ON 12TH DAY, LAUNCH GLOBAL RELAY FAST
Washington, D.C. 12 May, 2003 — Two women survivors and a long-time Bhopal activist today ended their 12-day hunger strike for justice in Bhopal at the Gandhi Statue in front of the Indian Embassy today in Washington, D.C. They called upon supporters worldwide to sign on to the Worldwide Relay Hunger Strike for Justice in Bhopal and keep it alive until the 19th Bhopal anniversary on December 3, 2003.
More than 40 people, including representatives from PACE International Union, Greenpeace, Health Care Without Harm, D.C. Collective, Code Pink Women for Peace and Association for India’s Development attended the gathering, and issued statements in solidarity.
Mr. Anil Chowdhry, Minister for Personal and Community Affairs, met the Bhopal delegation and assured them that he would communicate to the Government of India their demands, extradition of Anderson and inclusion of Dow Chemical as an accused in the Bhopal criminal case.
The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, a global coalition led by survivors, declared December 3 as the Global Day of Action Against Corporate Crime and has appealed to trade unions, public interest organizations and those protesting the abuses of globalization to observe the day by organizing activities to fight for justice against corporate crimes in their localities.
“Justice delayed is justice denied. The Indian Government should expedite the extradition of Warren Anderson and move rapidly to include Dow in the criminal case against Union Carbide in Bhopal,” said Rashida Bee, president of the Bhopal Gas-affected Women Stationery Workers Association, a trade union that is a member of the global coalition. Despite repeated orders by the Bhopal district court to expedite the trial, the Indian Government has been reluctant to bring UCC and Anderson to justice fueling speculation that it has succumbed to pressure from the US multinational.
On May 8, the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal confronted Dow Chemical, the new owners of Union Carbide, outside its annual shareholders meeting in Midland, Michigan. Addressing shareholders, Dow chairman William Stavropoulos stated that Union Carbide – a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical – does not face criminal charges in the Bhopal court. However, as recently as April 9, 2003, the Central Bureau of Investigation had indicated to the court that it will submit a report on including Dow as an accused in addition to Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) in the ongoing criminal case. In 1986, UCC, its former chairman Warren Anderson and ten others were charged with manslaughter among other crimes. Neither Anderson nor UCC have appeared in court to face trial.
“In merging with UCC, Dow has acquired a fugitive from justice. By failing to subject itself to the Indian legal system, Dow is trying to evade its responsibilities and has exposed its callous disregard for the law of the land,” said Satinath Sarangi of ICJB. Sarangi, along with Bee and her colleague Champa Devi, began an indefinite fast from New York’s financial district on May 1.
Having handed over the hunger strike to supporters around the world, the Bhopal delegation will travel around the United States raising awareness about Dow’s crimes in Bhopal and build resistance against
the company. More than 200 people from 19 countries have already joined the global fast.
The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal is a global coalition led by the survivors of the 1984 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal. Billed as the world’s worst industrial disaster, the Union Carbide gas leak killed 8000 within three days of the disaster and exposed more than 500,000. ICJB calls upon Dow, the new owners of Union Carbide, to face longstanding criminal charges against Carbide in India, release toxicological information regarding the poison gases, arrange for long-term medical rehabilitation and monitoring, provide economic rehabilitation and social support for survivors’ children, and clean up the toxic wastes and contaminated groundwater in and around Carbide’s old factory site. The demand to the Government of India is to ensure that Dow is held accountable.