We have to take this very seriously because after a 1992 action against Formosa Plastics, shots were fired from a helicopter at her house, narrowly missing a relative and killing her dog.
We have to take this very seriously because after a 1992 action against Formosa Plastics, shots were fired from a helicopter at her house, narrowly missing a relative and killing her dog.
I am happy to say that a few weeks ago I was able, with help from my Greenpeace Colleagues, to track down #1 Corporate Criminal Warren Anderson at his house in New York. Needless to say Warren was not happy to see me, be videotaped or served a warrant for his arrest. But he was.
In the wake of yesterday’s gigantic victory in the Bhopal Courts, Greenpeace is using this recent Anderson sighting to push both the Indian Government and the US State Department to find this man (who I have on tape), arrest him and send him to trial in India.Action alerts pressuring both governments will appear on the Greenpeace Website soon. www.greenpeaceusa.org/bhopal
I’ve attached our US press release and our International release is below! Help spread the word — let’s get this crook! Call me with questions!
Greenpeace USA — Toxics Campaigner
702 H Street NW Suite 300 Wash DC 20001
1 202 319 2497 phone 1 202 462 4607 fax
INTERNATIONAL FUGITIVE AND BHOPAL CORPORATE CRIMINAL TRACKED DOWN IN THE UNITED STATES: GREENPEACE CALLS FOR HIS ARREST
Washington/Amsterdam 29 August 2002 – Greenpeace today called on the U.S. State Department to arrest and extradite international fugitive And Bhopal corporate criminal (1), Warren Anderson, who has been found by a UK newspaper (2) and Greenpeace living a life of luxury in New York State. Anderson, the former Chief Executive Officer of Union Carbide, has been hiding in the United States since an explosion at his company’s plant in Bhopal, India, caused the worst industrial disaster in history in December 1984.
Greenpeace paid Anderson a visit at his U.S. home and handed him an arrest warrant. He has been facing charges of culpable homicide and an extradition order from the government of India for the past eleven years. He has never appeared in court to face charges for crimes in Bhopal or even to explain why his company did not apply the same safety standards at its plant in India that it operated at a sister plant in South Charleston, the U.S. State of West Virginia.
“If a team of journalists and Greenpeace managed to track down India’s most wanted man in a matter of days, how seriously have the U.S. authorities tried to find him all these years? The U.S. has reacted swiftly on curbing the financial corporate crimes of Enron and WorldCom, but has clearly not made much of an effort to find Anderson, responsible for the deaths of 20,000 people in India, said Greenpeace campaigner, Casey Harrell, in the U.S.
On the night of the disaster, when an explosion at Union Carbide’s pesticide plant caused 40 tonnes of lethal gas to seep into the city of Bhopal, six safety measures designed to prevent a gas leak had either malfunctioned, were turned off or were otherwise inadequate. In addition, the safety siren, intended to alert the community should an incident occur at the plant, was turned off.
Union Carbide responded to the disaster by paying survivors inadequate compensation and abandoning the plant, leaving tonnes of dangerous toxic chemicals strewn around the site and the people of Bhopal with a toxic legacy that is still causing injury today. In 2001, the company shed its name by merging with Dow Chemical.
In May this year, the government of India unexpectedly started proceedings to dilute charges against Anderson from culpable homicide to negligent homicide. But yesterday, the judgement of a Bhopal Court rejected the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation’s plea to dilute charges against Anderson. The ruling has been welcomed by those representing the victims in their fight for justice.
Calling on both governments to act swiftly, Mr. Ganesh Nochur, Campaigns Director of Greenpeace India stated, “Now that Anderson’s address is known, India must immediately and formally push for his arrest and extradition on charges of culpable homicide. In return, Greenpeace demands that the U.S. honour this request, per the two nations’ extradition agreement. Anderson and the rest of Union Carbide, now Dow Chemical, should take responsibility for their crimes in Bhopal.”
Bhopal is an ongoing disaster. One hundred twenty thousand people still face serious health problems and children born to survivors are also affected. The toxic chemicals abandoned in Bhopal by the chemical company have contaminated the groundwater that is used by thousands of people who live around the abandoned factory. (3) Greenpeace and Bhopal survivors (4) are calling on Dow Chemical to clean up the 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 communities that are forced to consume contaminated groundwater.
“As delegates gather at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg, we fully expect corporate crimes such as this to be high on their agenda. International legislation must be established to make sure corporations and their officials are held criminally and financially liable for environmental terrorism. There must be no more Bhopals,” concluded Ganesh.
Notes to editors
In 1992, a warrant was issued for Mr. Anderson’s arrest. He was charged with culpable homicide in connection with the chemical disaster at Union Carbide’s Bhopal plant in 1984. This is an extraditable offence under the extradition treaty between the United States and India. Mr. Anderson has also evaded a summons to appear in a U.S. court for a civil trial relating to the Bhopal disaster.
The Daily Mirror, 29-08-2002. See http://www.mirror.co.uk In 1999, Greenpeace and Bhopal community groups visited the abandoned factory to assess the environmental condition of the site and its surroundings. The team documented the presence of stockpiles of toxic pesticides as well as hazardous wastes and contaminated material scattered throughout the factory site. The survey found substantial and, in some locations, severe contamination of land and water supplies with heavy metals and chlorinated chemicals.
Greenpeaceis campaigning in Bhopal as part of an international NGO coalition AaCcTt including the Bhopal Gas Affected Women Stationery Workers Association, Bhopal Gas Affected Pensioners Association, Bhopal Group for Information and Action, National Campaign For Justice in Bhopal, The Other Media and CorpWatch.
Greenpeace U.S. Casey Harrell
+1 202 319 2497 and +1 202 213 7810
Greenpeace India Ganesh Nochur
+91 11 65 36717 / +91 98 2004 2897
Cecilia Goin, Media Officer
+31 (0) 6 212 96 908
Photographs and video are available on request. Contact John Novis on +31 6 53819121 for photographs, and Thomas McCable Greenpeace U.S. on + 1 202 413 8517
Photos of the Bhopal disaster (from 1984 and the present day) taken by
Magnum photographer Raghu Rai, are available on request from
For more information see www.greenpeace.org
We have just had a phone call from Bhopal to tell us that the criminal charges against former Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson are not to be diluted. “The women are literally dancing in the streets,” said our caller.
Speaking from Johannesburg where Bhopal supporters have been protesting against the presence of Dow Chemicals at the Earth Summit, Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action, which opposed the application to dilute, said “The Indian Government must now pursue extradition proceedings against Warren Anderson without delay.”
Meanwhile we have had a report that Mr Anderson has been sighted and photographed in the USA, where the law enforcement agencies have apparently been unable to trace him. Anyone who knows anything about this please contact us with more information.(But please, no Elvis-type sightings and no need to spy on your neighbours.)
At 0545 am this morning Central Time, Diane Wilson, a shrimp boat captain and environmentalist from Seadrift, Texas, scaled a 90 foot tower at Dow Chemical’s Seadrift plant, unfurled a 12 foot banner stating DOW – RESPONSIBLE FOR BHOPAL and chained herself to the tower. An eyewitness reported, “Dawn is breaking. she’s hanging the banner. Will be spotted any minute now. It’s windy and bloody loud up there next to all the compressors. She can’t hear a word on her phone, she says. Flames shooting up around her.”
KPFT 90.1 HOUSTON reporter Jackson Allers has been arrested by the Sheriff’s office for “criminal trespass” after taking pictures of Diane on the tower. He was outside Dow at the time. Kathy Hunt, Dow-Carbide’s PR Leader at Seadrift explained to KPFT News that it was necessary to arrest Jackson because he was taking pictures of Dow-Carbide plant, which is “proprietory technology” and that Dow-Carbide needed to protect its “trade secrets”. This is the same reason the company has given for 18 years for not releasing medical information about the lethal gases that leaked from its plant in Bhopal, killing thousands of innocent men, women and children as they lay sleeping in their beds. (Jackson has now been released.)
Full press release here.
Listen to KPFT Radio live on the web.
This is the same tower that was implicated in a l991 explosion that killed 1 worker, injured 34 others, including 6 citizens after the plant had been declared the safest one in the state by the Texas Chemical Council. Shrapnel the size of cars flew into the countryside.
UPDATE: Well, Diane has been arrested. Dow employees sent a basket up the tower asking her to come down. When she refused, law officers of Brazoria County mounted the tower and presumably cut the chain. We expect her to be out on bond tonight.
The Houston Chronicle covered the story but got the number of Union Carbide’s victims seriously wrong. They quote 3,849 dead. Where did you get this figure, guys? The Madhya Pradesh Government’s own figures put the death toll to date at over 20,000 and it is still mounting. Here’s our letter explaining the figures we use.
Dow-Carbide’s PR supremo at Seadrift, Kathy Hunt, was not answering her phone to us today. Call her and say hello on + 1 361 553 3058 and politely reiterate the demands of the Bhopal survivors that Dow Chemical assume full liability for the actions of its subsidiary Union Carbide in Bhopal, and that it act speedily to clean up the toxic mess left by Carbide. See here for details, figures and facts about the toxic chemicals involved.
UPDATE: Diane is out. Lots to tell but her cell phone has been confiscated and handed over to the FBI. All our numbers are now presumably being analysed by the same hot shot agents who just cannot trace Warren Anderson anywhere. He is the ex-Carbide CEO wanted on criminal charges in India and by Interpol. The Indian government’s recent move to reduce criminal charges against him sparked the present wave of hunger strikes. Read all about it inside the site.
Anyway, if you were planning to call Diane and congratulate on her bravery, and a gruff voice asks who the hell you are, you will know it’s not her dear old mom taking messages.
UPDATE: Read Diane’s own account of her adventure on the tower and how the men in black brought her down.
Please call Jim Smith, the Calhoun County Jail Administrator and thank him for treating Diane so well when she was in custody. His number is +1 361 553 4646.
UPDATE, 28 AUG: Union Carbide officials are considering a federal charge against Diane which carries a maximum sentence of a year in prison, says Kathy Hunt, Dow-Carbide’s PR leader at Seadrift. Richly ironic, considering that Diane caused no damage by her action whereas Union Carbide, which has caused 20,000 deaths to date in Bhopal, is still refusing to appear in court in India to answer criminal charges against it and has been declared an official “absconder from justice”.
The luckless Kathy Hunt, who seems to put her foot in her mouth every time she opens it, told the Victoria Advocate newspaper today that the Indian courts have ruled that Union Carbide’s actions after the accident were morally and financially satisfactory. “That chapter is closed,” Hunt said.
Er, not quite, Kath.
Union Carbide still faces criminal charges in the Bhopal court as a result of which its ex-Chairman Warren Anderson has an Interpol warrant out for his arrest. This morning the Bhopal Court rejected an application to reduce outstanding criminal charges against Mr Anderson and called on the Indian Government in the sternest language to move immediately for the extradition of Anderson from the USA, where he is in hiding. Please call Kathy on + 1 361 553 3058 and politely explain this to her. You might suggest she reads this rather better informed article on the legal issues before committing further gaffes.
WHEN YOU CALL KATHY HUNT, ASK: “IF DIANE STANDS TRIAL, WILL MR WARREN ANDERSON AND UNION CARBIDE ALSO TURN UP TO STAND TRIAL IN BHOPAL? OR WILL IT BE YET ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF DOW’S DOUBLE STANDARDS?”
UPDATE, AUG 28, 2200GMT+1: Diane reports that her house has just been buzzed by a helicopter, which circled it at tree top level twice before disappearing. We are taking this very seriously because after a 1992 action against Formosa Plastics, shots were fired from a helicopter at her house, narrowly missing a relative and killing her dog.
We are publishing Diane’s email to us in order to focus international attention on these attempts to silence her.
Wed, 28 Aug 2002 17:53:57 EDT
“just a few minutes ago a helicopter came out of the north from nowhere and circled my house very low, almost on a level with the trees. it was a green and white helicopter. it did it twice and i thought it was going to land.
“back in l992 when i was on a hungerstrike against formosa, i had a helicopter land in my front yard. a sniper from the helicopter shot at my mother-in- law and killed my dog. i still have the bullets, cops didn’t want to do anything. said if i ever got locked up, they were sending me to the looney bin. also my shrimp boat was sabastoged twice and i nearly drowned on the bay. in this mornings paper of Port Lavaca Wave, the article said there was a plane that circled the tower i was on and the plane was in carbide’s air space. they suspected it was friends of mine.
“i think someone or somebodies is trying to harrass and frighten me.”
Diane doesn’t frighten easily. Check the following for background about her extraordinary life as an activist, including the 1992 helicopter attack and how the US Coastguard prevented her from sinking her own shrimp trawler over a source of pollution.
“Clean Water, What’s It Worth?” An overview of Diane’s environmental campaigning
Diane’s struggle against Formosa Plastics
Lifetime TV’s Heroes
The War Against The Greens – Book Review
The small town of Seadrift is almost entirely dependent for employment on the giant chemical plants that dominate the countryside nearby. Calhoun County politics and infrastructure is so tied in to the companies that a perceived threat to one is considered a threat to all. Diane has protested against the toxic discharges of most of these companies. Economic papers have been presented to the local commissioners court about the real danger on the horizon – environmental activism. Congressman Ron Paul even presented a paper to Congress saying pretty much the same thing.
We ask Bhopal supporters and friends of Diane from all around the world to contact John Musser in Dow’s Corporate Public Affairs Department on (+1) 989 636-5663 (or e-mail: email@example.com) and demand that the Dow Chemical Corporation publicly disown and condemn these attempts to intimidate Diane Wilson. Please copy emails to Kathy Hunt at Seadrift. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
LETTER FROM ARUNDHATI ROY TO DIGVIJAY SINGH, CHIEF MINISTER OF MADHYA PRADESH
Fax Number: 0755 – 540501
The Chief Minister
Government of Madhya Pradesh
June 15th 2002
Dear Mr Digvijay Singh
Thank you for your letter.
I am a little puzzled and embarrassed that you chose to write to me and not to those who have been petitioning you for your attention for the past 25 days. Today is the 26th day of the hunger fast of the four NBA activists demanding rehabilitation for those who are being displaced by the Maan dam. Two days ago you tried to arrest them. They escaped and are now underground. This correspondence takes place in the shadow of their death or permanent debilitation.
First, I would like to clarify in no uncertain terms that I am not a member of the NBA. I do not represent the Andolan, I cannot and do not wish to negotiate on its behalf. I am merely someone who has taken the trouble to find out what is actually happening on the ground (as opposed to on paper) in the Narmada Valley. And frankly, the more I learn, the more appalled I am.
The facts in your letter are incorrect and misleading. I have passed your letter on to Dr Nandini Sundar who was a member of the Tribunal headed by Justice G.G. Loney which published a report on the Maan project. I’m enclosing her point by point reply. Further to what I have already written, I have only a few general points to make.
You say it is not government policy to buy land and “allot” it to adivasi people. But this is not true. Under Section 3.2 (a) and (b) in the MP rehabilitation Policy for the Narmada valley, it is exactly what the government is supposed to do.
Your letter suggests that everything is as it should be – that the government has dealt fairly and generously with the people who are to be displaced. This is not the case. I have traveled to the Maan villages. I have spoken to people. I was told about the outrageous manner in which cash compensation was distributed. It is illegal even according to your own policy to distribute cash compensation like this.
It is simply not true that people were given the choice between land for land and cash. Most people said they were made to feel that they could take cash (I wouldn’t go so far as to call it ‘compensation’) or get nothing at all. Many said they took cash because they were threatened with legal action and forced eviction. Many others did so for the simple reason that they were not aware of their rights – the Narmada Bachao Andolan was not active in the area at the time.
The stark fact is that displaced people cannot buy land with the special rehabilitation grant given by the government because land is too expensive. It is the government’s responsibility to make up the difference between the value of the land to be purchased and the cash that was illegally distributed. The people, now aware of their entitlement, have offered to return every paisa they have received from the government, in return for land.
Their demands, like the demands of the hundreds of thousands of others, have been ignored. Paltry cash ‘compensation’ to subsistence farmers, most of whom are already neck deep in debt to money lenders, is only a short detour on the road to destitution and penury. We all know that.
Now your government has bulldozed buildings, destroyed hand-pumps in an effort to forcibly evict people from their homes. This was the immediate provocation for the NBA’s indefinite hunger fast. Even now there appears to be no accurate account of how many families will be affected.
In the light of all this, your government’s much-publicized Dalit Agenda – like its rehabilitation policy for displaced people- is just a meaningless piece of paper. Hundreds of thousands of Dalits and Adivasis have been and will continue to be displaced without rehabilitation by the 29 dams (in various stages of completion) that you have planned on the Narmada.
To respect the human rights of the ‘oustees’ of one dam would put your government in the untenable position of having set a precedent for respecting human rights for the rest. And this, I can imagine is not a moral problem so much as a logistical one.
Your government has to choose between implementing its policies and protecting human rights. Obviously, it has chosen to proceed with its elaborate project of social engineering, banking on the fact that public opinion will, as it always does, sink into the bewildering swamp that stretches between what governments say and what they do.
In effect, the fragile communities of Dalits and adivasis which your ‘Bhopal Document’ claims to protect, are being systematically, mercilessly crushed. Unfortunately, we are driven to have this public conversation under terrifying circumstances, when every hour and every day pushes those on fast into a more critical stage.
And lest you misunderstand, let me say that while I do not support or encourage the idea of a 22year old adivasi girl starving herself to death to make her voice heard, I completely understand the urgency of her situation and am at a loss for words when she says to me “What else can I do?” I’d like to point her question to you – what else can she do? What else can she do when she and her community stand to lose everything they ever had?
When I spoke to Ram Kuar, I thought I should tell her that even if she didn’t die, to go so long without food might make her an invalid for life.
She replied ,”the government is stealing all our future meals away from all of us. If I stop eating now, perhaps we will be heard. Perhaps the rest of us will be saved.”
The simple fact is that if there was no problem, why would the people be so agitated? Why on earth would young Ram Kuar be risking her life to demand justice? There can be no greater insult to someone who is doing that than suggesting they are doing it for some base motive or for no real reason.
In your letter you say that ‘government buildings’ are being demolished so that door and window frames are re-cycled and used elsewhere. You say nothing about forcibly sealing hand-pumps and destroying water sources, exposing people and cattle to unbearable thirst at the height of summer. Unfortunately, people cannot be re-cycled like door and window frames.
Finally, in what is perhaps the most disturbing part of your letter, you suggest that adivasi people on a fast unto death, demanding their rights to life, to livelihood, to water are “harming the interests of the tribal community”. What could you possibly mean by that?
It really saddens me to have to write this letter to you. Truly. Because you’re a good Chief Minister on paper – can you not match that with some real re-thinking, some real action on the ground?