[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

E-M:/ Dow-911-Bhopal Connection: How the U.S. (and MSU) Look the other way

Enviro-Mich message from MCKENNA193@aol.com

Dear MSU Sustainers,

Thought I'd share this posting that was forwarded to me from a colleague. . .

Brian McKenna


(posted by Scott Heinzman, Alliance for Democracy, 1/26)

I've been thinking a lot lately about Warren Anderson

Around midnight on the night of 2-3 December 1984, two tanks
of chemicals at a Union Carbide pesticide factory in Bhopal, India
ruptured, releasing 40-45 tons of poison gases over the next hour.

In accordance with company policy ("to avoid causing panic"), no
alarm was sounded and no evacuation was ordered, although the
factory was surrounded by residential areas of the city of more
than a million people. Although the gas cloud lingered and continued
to cause permanent injuries for days, Union Carbide told neighbors
of the factory that the danger was past.

**Between 3,000 and 6,000 people died within days, and perhaps
another 10,000 have died since from the effects of the poison gas.
Between 100,000 and 500,000 people suffered permanent injuries.

Evidence was presented to the Indian courts -- which operate under
procedures largely inherited from the British, and which are generally
considered fair and independent -- sufficient to warrant charges of
criminal negligence against Union Carbide and its corporate officers.

When Warren Anderson, president of Union Carbide, arrived in Bhopal
to express his condolences to those who had "accidentally" been
killed and crippled, he was duly arrested on charges of culpable

He posted bail, and promised to appear in court for trial.  He
jumped bail, and snuck out of India (and back to the USA).  When
representatives of the victims sued for damages in the USA, Anderson
and Union Carbide got the lawsuits dismissed by arguing that the
proper venue for lawsuits was in India.  They (again) promised --
this time to courts in the USA -- that they would appear in court
to face charges in India.  But they didn't.

The Indian courts ordered Anderson's bail forfeited, declared him
a fugitive, and sent a warrant for his arrest to the USA through

Anderson -- now a fugitive from international justice, wanted for
mass murder and under indictment by the courts of a friendly country
with which the USA maintains diplomatic relations - - has since
retired as CEO of Union Carbide, and has never returned to India.

When attorneys for the Bhopal victims attempted to serve Union
Carbide with a summons for Anderson, Union Carbide claimed they
didn't know where he is (although they continue to pay him his

The USA has, of course, neither arrested nor extradited Anderson
on the basis of the Interpol warrants.

Union Carbide has since been acquired by Dow Chemical as a wholly-
owned subsidiary of Dow.

But Union Carbide's headquarters remains in the same place: an
isolated complex outside Danbury, Connecticut, in the middle of
over 100 acres of company-owned private forest.  No trace of the
outside world or human presence (not even the entrance road itself)
can be seen from the office windows, and no trace of the building
-- nothing but the guardhouse on the road -- can be seen from any
publicly-accessible land.

So what if a team of Indian commandos were to descend on Anderson's
last reported address in Florida, kidnap him, and take him back to
India to stand trial?

Or what if India's aircraft carrier (yes, they have one) were to
be positioned in Long Island Sound, and some Indian bombers were
sent to suitable locations in neighboring countries:

Toronto and the Bahamas, say.  And what if an ultimatum were to
be given: "You are harboring a criminal, and you know where he is.

No innocent people will be harmed if we destroy your Union Carbide
compound -- no one but your employees and contractors is allowed
within sight.  Hand him over in three days, or else."

Of course, these are purely hypothetical questions.  Nothing like
that would ever happen, would it?

ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at

Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"