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Bhopal corporate greed carelessness.

Protest rallies have been held in Bhopal central India each year since 1984 - 2010 to mark 25 years since the city witnessed the world's worst industrial disaster, a leak of deadly poisonous gas around midnight on December 2–3, 1984

Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 was arrested a few days after the Bhopal tragedy, but was freed on bail a couple of days after the chemical plant had spewed its deadly gas over the city.

Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 jumped bail and fled to the U.S., his neat getaway having been facilitated, if reports are to be believed, by the India Government of Madhya Pradesh, whose capital city is Bhopal, which even gave him a private aircraft.

An American citizen, he remains free and is reportedly living in New York.

On the night of the disaster, when an explosion at Union Carbide 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 or 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 550 US dollars for each dead person and abandoning the plant, leaving tonnes of dangerous toxic chemicals strewn around the site.

Union Carbide and Dow Chemical leaving the people of Bhopal with a toxic legacy that is still causing injury today.

In 2001, the company changed its name by merging with Dow Chemical.

Photo Internet
Protest rallies have been held in Bhopal central India each year since 1984 - 2010 to mark 25 years since the city witnessed the world's worst industrial disaster, a leak of deadly poisonous gas around midnight on December 2–3, 1984
Sunday, June 20, 2010

By Gautaman Bhaskaran
South Asia Correspondent
       Photos inserted by TheWE.cc
Over 25 years ago on a cold winter's night, thousands of sleeping people died after inhaling toxic gas escaping from a Union Carbide pesticide plant in the central Indian city of Bhopal.
A train full of passengers at the nearby Bhopal station never moved.
Nobody on it woke up.
More than 10,000 men, women and children went in the first three days of the gas leak, and in the following years, another 15,000 died of complications.
Deaths and debilitating physical and mental impairments still continue, for water and ground remain contaminated by the deadly methyl isocyanate gas, 40 tonnes of which seeped out into a still, windless night.
Warren Anderson given bail in India
Jumped bail, fled to the United States
Even today, about 120,000 people lead a life of suffering.
Bhopal is the worst industrial tragedy in the history of mankind.
Yet, those guilty of being responsible for this have not been punished, not really.
On June 7, after 25 years, a court found eight men accountable and sentenced them to two years in jail.
But they walked out of prison within a few hours, having paid paltry bail money.
All these men were senior officers of the Union Carbide when the disaster struck.
Gave Warren Anderson a private aircraft
But a far greater mockery pertains to the company's then chief executive officer in India, Warren Anderson.
An American citizen, he remains free and is reportedly living in New York.
Admittedly, he was arrested a few days after that fateful December night, but was freed on bail a couple of days later.
He jumped it and fled to the U.S., his neat getaway having been facilitated, if reports are to be believed, by the Government of Madhya Pradesh, (whose capital city is Bhopal), which even gave him a private aircraft.
Anderson never appeared in any court after that.
He never bothered to answer why his company never applied the same safety standards in India that it did in a sister plant in West Virginia, USA.
A Greenpeace International report states:
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 or 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 (some USD 550 for each) 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.
Money must have changed hands
Obviously, money must have changed hands, thought unfortunately it must have gone to the wrong hands.
Six months before the night of lethal horror, the Madhya Pradesh Government had given a clean cheat to the Union Carbide's safety net.
The inquiry, if all there was a real one, was prompted by reports of the company's inadequate or non-existent safety measures.
Some papers had headlined to say that there was a catastrophe waiting to happen.
The Union Carbide's cost-cutting steps had disabled safety procedures, and there were minor leaks between 1981 and 1984 when employees had to be rushed to hospital.
Some even died.
An elderly victim holds a poster and waits for the verdict in the premises of Bhopal court in Bhopal, India, Monday, June 7, 2010. 

Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 was arrested a few days after the Bhopal tragedy, but was freed on bail a couple of days after the chemical plant had spewed its deadly gas over the city.

Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 jumped bail and fled to the U.S., his neat getaway having been facilitated, if reports are to be believed, by the India Government of Madhya Pradesh, whose capital city is Bhopal, which even gave him a private aircraft.

An American citizen, he remains free and is reportedly living in New York.

On the night of the disaster, when an explosion at Union Carbide 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 or 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 550 US dollars for each dead person and abandoning the plant, leaving tonnes of dangerous toxic chemicals strewn around the site.

Union Carbide and Dow Chemical leaving the people of Bhopal with a toxic legacy that is still causing injury today.

In 2001, the company changed its name by merging with Dow Chemical.

AP/Prakash Hatvalne
An elderly victim holds a poster and waits for the verdict in the premises of Bhopal court in Bhopal, India, Monday, June 7, 2010.
Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 was arrested a few days after the Bhopal tragedy, but was freed on bail a couple of days after the chemical plant had spewed its deadly gas over the city.
He jumped bail and fled to the U.S., his neat getaway having been facilitated, if reports are to be believed, by the India Government of Madhya Pradesh, whose capital city is Bhopal, which even gave him a private aircraft.
An American citizen, he remains free and is reportedly living in New York.
On the night of the disaster, when an explosion at Union Carbide 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 or 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 550 US dollars for each dead person and abandoning the plant, leaving tonnes of dangerous toxic chemicals strewn around the site.
Union Carbide and Dow Chemical leaving the people of Bhopal with a toxic legacy that is still causing injury today.
In 2001, the company changed its name by merging with Dow Chemical.
And those who died or were maimed for life in December 1984 were mostly poor people, for the pesticide plant was located in a crowded, lowly area, mostly inhabited by workers and their families.
Obviously, their voices were weak, otherwise, how does one explain India's Supreme Court ruling in 1996 that:
...diluted charges against the guilty from culpable homicide to criminal negligence, which carries a maximum jail sentence of two years¡
Anxious not to displease American giant corporations
In India, death by negligence is slapped against those responsible for causing road accidents.
Shockingly, the world's most devastating industrial calamity has been reduced to a traffic mishap!
It is clear that a political will was lacking then, is lacking now.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement, delivered last December to mark the 25th anniversary of Bhopal, that:
"the tragedy continues to gnaw at our collective conscience"
sounds as hollow as empty rhetoric.
Apparently New Delhi is anxious not to displease American giant corporations.
Just days after the horrifying incident, India's Ambassador to the U.S. quickly made a declaration to say that it would not affect his country's policy on foreign investments.
In the meantime, there are growing fears that Bhopal will repeat, given that India is opening up its nuclear energy industry to foreign corporates.
Washington has been pressing New Delhi to pass a law that will keep the liability of American nuclear firms in India to a bare minimum.
The brunt of the financial burden would be borne by the Indian State operator!
Indemnify American companies
A Minister, not named, was quoted as having said that the nuclear bill would:
"indemnify American companies so that they don't have to go through another Union Carbide in Bhopal".
However, under widespread criticism by the media (still largely independent and thankfully so) and Opposition parties, the Bill is now being reworked.
Bear-hugged by corporate America, New Delhi's recklessness is indeed appalling.
Seoul Times Articles
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Light candle for Bhopal victims

Protest rallies have been held in Bhopal central India each year since 1984 - 2010 to mark 25 years since the city witnessed the world's worst industrial disaster, a leak of deadly poisonous gas around midnight on December 2–3, 1984

Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 was arrested a few days after the Bhopal tragedy, but was freed on bail a couple of days after the chemical plant had spewed its deadly gas over the city.

Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 jumped bail and fled to the U.S., his neat getaway having been facilitated, if reports are to be believed, by the India Government of Madhya Pradesh, whose capital city is Bhopal, which even gave him a private aircraft.

An American citizen, he remains free and is reportedly living in New York.

On the night of the disaster, when an explosion at Union Carbide 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 or 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 550 US dollars for each dead person and abandoning the plant, leaving tonnes of dangerous toxic chemicals strewn around the site.

Union Carbide and Dow Chemical leaving the people of Bhopal with a toxic legacy that is still causing injury today.

In 2001, the company changed its name by merging with Dow Chemical.

Photo Internet
Light candle for Bhopal victims
   
Silent Night, Deadly Night
By Mark Hertsgaard, Posted December 1, 2004.        Additional photos inserted by TheWE.cc
Twenty years later, the Dow/Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal continues to wreak havoc on the lives of thousands. And yet corporate officials have never answered for their actions.
Child in Bhopal Union Carbide gas disaster.

US firm Union Carbide plant in Bhopal

Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 was arrested a few days after the Bhopal tragedy, but was freed on bail a couple of days after the chemical plant had spewed its deadly gas over the city.

Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 jumped bail and fled to the U.S., his neat getaway having been facilitated, if reports are to be believed, by the India Government of Madhya Pradesh, whose capital city is Bhopal, which even gave him a private aircraft.

An American citizen, he remains free and is reportedly living in New York.

On the night of the disaster, when an explosion at Union Carbide 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 or 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 550 US dollars for each dead person and abandoning the plant, leaving tonnes of dangerous toxic chemicals strewn around the site.

Union Carbide and Dow Chemical leaving the people of Bhopal with a toxic legacy that is still causing injury today.

In 2001, the company changed its name by merging with Dow Chemical.
On the night her world changed forever, Rashida Bee was 28 years old and had already been married for more than half her life.
Her parents, traditional Muslims, had selected her husband for her when she was 13.
He worked as a tailor, and they lived together in her parents' modest home in the industrial city of Bhopal, in central India.
Bee didn't learn to read or write, and she ventured out of the house only when escorted by a male relative.
It was nevertheless a full life; her extended family of siblings, nieces and nephews numbered 37 in all.
The fateful night came on a Sunday.   Bee and her family had gone to bed after sharing a simple supper.
But shortly after midnight, in the early hours of Dec. 3, 1984, Bee was awakened by the sound of violent coughing.
It was coming from the children's room.
"They said they felt like they were being choked," Bee later told the online environmental magazine Grist, "and we [adults] felt that way too.   One of the children opened the door and a cloud came inside.   We all started coughing violently, as if our lungs were on fire."
From out on the street came the sound of shouting.   In the light of a streetlamp, Bee saw crowds of shadowy figures running past the house.   "Run," they yelled.   "A warehouse of red chiles is on fire.   Run!"
A few blocks away, a woman who would later become a dear friend of Bee's was also running for her life.   Champa Devi Shukla, a 32-year-old Hindu, lived down the street from the pesticide factory owned by Union Carbide.   She knew better than to believe the rumors about a warehouse fire.
"We knew this smell, because Union Carbide often used to release these gases from the factory late at night," Shukla later told me.   "But this time it went on longer and stronger."
Shukla was right.
An explosion inside the Union Carbide factory had sent 27 tons of methyl isocyanate gas wafting over the shantytowns of Bhopal.
"The panic was so great," said Shukla, "that as people ran, mothers were leaving their children behind to escape the gas."
In the pandemonium, Bee too was separated from most of her family.   She found herself running with her husband and father, but they didn't get far.
"Our eyes were so swollen that we could not open them," she recalled.   "After running half a kilometer we had to rest.   We were too breathless to run, and my father had started vomiting blood, so we sat down."
The scene around them was apocalyptic.
There were corpses everywhere, many of them children.
Those people still alive were bent over double or splayed on the ground, retching uncontrollably or frothing at the mouth.
Some had lost control of their bowels, feces streamed down their legs.
Exactly how many people died that night will never be known; many corpses were disposed of in emergency mass burials or cremations without documentation.
Bee remembers that as she searched for family members in the following days, "I had to look at thousands of dead bodies to find out if they were among the dead."
***
Perhaps the most extraordinary fact about Bhopal is that no one has faced trial for what happened that night.
Even though Union Carbide's own safety experts had warned two years before of a "serious potential for sizable releases of toxic materials," the managers of the Bhopal factory had no system in place to warn and evacuate residents in the event of emergency.
Indian government officials likewise failed to insist upon such basic precautions.
And as thousands of survivors streamed into local hospitals that night, Union Carbide spokesmen actively denied that methyl isocyanate was poisonous, calling it "nothing more than a potent tear gas."
Despite all this, corporate officials have never answered in a court of law for their actions.
Such an evasion of legal accountability would be inconceivable if the disaster had occurred in the United States or Europe.
Had the victims been affluent westerners rather than impoverished Indians, they would have had their day in court long ago.
India's courts have tried to pursue justice for Bhopal, but they have been thwarted.
In 1991, an Indian court ordered Union Carbide officials, including Warren Anderson, the CEO at the time of the disaster, to face criminal charges.
After Anderson and the other defendants failed to appear, India's Supreme Court named them "proclaimed absconders" — that is, fugitives from justice — and pressed for their extradition.
After sitting on the extradition request for years, the U.S. State Department refused it without explanation in September 2004.
Bhopal survivors, however, have never stopped pressing their demands for a proper trial, appropriate compensation for victims, and sufficient medical, economic and environmental rehabilitation for survivors.
And in this 20th anniversary year of their struggle, they have gained new allies.
In April, Bee and Shukla won the Goldman Prize, the biggest environmental award given in the United States.
This week, Amnesty International has endorsed Bhopal activists' demands in a report launching Amnesty's first major campaign targeting a corporation for allegedly violating the human right to a healthy environment.
Amnesty's report, "Clouds of Injustice," estimates that 7,000 to 10,000 people died in the first three days of the Bhopal disaster and 15,000 more have died in the years since.
Another 100,000 continue to suffer chronic, largely untreatable diseases of the lungs, eyes and blood.
Meanwhile, a new generation in Bhopal endures an epidemic of infertility and grotesque birth defects, including missing palates and fingers growing out of shoulders, in part because of continuing contamination of the groundwater.
Bhopal thus ranks as the single deadliest industrial disaster of the modern environmental era.
With a death toll of 22,000, it has killed more people than the Chernobyl nuclear disaster did.
And its victims are still dying today, 20 years later.
Son stopped growing at age three
***
Each Dec. 3, on the anniversary of the disaster, Bee and Shukla join other marchers who parade an effigy of Warren Anderson through the streets of Bhopal and burn it.
Bee and Shukla continue to hold Anderson, now 83 and retired, personally responsible for the Bhopal disaster, which they insist on labeling "a crime" rather than "an accident."
"It was Anderson's criminal negligence and insistence on cost-cutting that led to the disaster," Shukla says.
Internal Union Carbide documents, released in the 1990s during the discovery phase of a civil lawsuit against the company, seem to support Shukla's contention.
A 1973 document, signed by Anderson himself, notes that the technology that would be used in the Bhopal factory was "unproven."
A safety review conducted by Union Carbide experts in 1982 warned of a "serious potential for sizable releases of toxic materials" at the factory.
John Musser, a company spokesman, confirmed the existence of the 1982 study but asserted, "None of the issues [it] raised would have had an impact on the fatal gas leak and all of the issues had been addressed by the plant well before the December 1984 disaster."
The real culprit, the company insists, was sabotage.
Warren Anderson now appears to be living the life of a wealthy recluse, with luxury homes in Bridgehampton, Manhattan and Vero Beach, Florida. Company officials declined to provide contact information for him for the purposes of this article.
But when Bee and Shukla were touring the United States last spring after winning the Goldman Prize, they considered trying to find Anderson and confront him face to face.
"We don't want him hanged or anything," said Champa.   "But he has to understand what it means to be cut off from one's family, what it is to suffer alone."
"If we see him," added Rashida, "we will ask: 'If you are innocent, why are you hiding and not answering questions about what happened in Bhopal?"
***
Both Bee and Shukla lost loved ones in the disaster.
Seven members of Bee's extended family have died, and her husband was left too ill to continue his work as a tailor.
Shukla lost her husband and two sons.
A daughter later suffered three miscarriages, a grandson died and a granddaughter was born with a cleft lip and a missing palate.
"The gas disaster was sudden, one night, but the last 20 years have also been miserable," Shukla says.   "People still have pain and breathlessness, and now we are seeing cancers too.
There is mental and physical retardation among children.
Many women are sterile or never begin menstruating, so men don't want to marry them."
A 2002 study commissioned by Greenpeace International but conducted by independent scientists concluded that Bhopal's groundwater contains heavy metals and levels of mercury millions of times higher than recommended.
(Spokesman Musser disputes these conclusions, citing studies in the late 1990s by government agencies in India.)
One bright spot has been the founding of the Sambhavna Trust Clinic to treat survivors of the disaster.
Its name translates from the Hindi as The Compassion Trust Clinic, for it was founded in the belief that compassion can create hope from despair.
Since opening its doors half a kilometer from the blast site in 1996, the clinic has treated thousands of Bhopal victims by combining the best of both eastern and western health care.
1984 Dead
The staff biochemist, for example, doubles as a yoga teacher.
Yoga is central to the clinic's approach, as is Ayurvedic herbal medicine.
Patients pay nothing for treatment, even though they get far more care than at the crowded public hospitals India's poor usually visit.
First-time patients at Sambhavna have broken down in tears, the clinic's Web site reports, because "in 15 years no doctor had ever listened to their chests ... or taken their pulse ... during examination."
Yoga therapies have produced some of the most remarkable results.
Chronic respiratory disorders are Bhopal gas victims' most prevalent complaint.
But a two-year study Sambhavna conducted indicates that regular yoga produces significant improvement in lung function; more than half of all yoga patients were able to stop taking pharmaceutical drugs against breathlessness.
The clinic's staff includes community health workers who go door to door to monitor public health in Bhopal — a key task since official monitoring stopped in 1994.
These surveys aid doctors by showing which diseases are increasing.
More broadly, the surveys prove that, 20 years later, locals continue to fall sick and die in large numbers.
Sambhavna's holistic approach sees both illness and healing in social context.
The clinic thus insists that the long-term solution to disasters like Bhopal is to eliminate hazardous chemicals from the environment altogether.
Until then, "exemplary punishment" of corporate polluters is essential — not only to achieving justice for Bhopal but to preventing future Bhopals elsewhere.
***
Along with activists from around the world, Bee and Shukla are seizing upon the 20th anniversary of the disaster this week to launch a renewed campaign for justice in Bhopal and, more broadly, to demand meaningful international regulation of toxic substances and the corporations that produce them.
The Web site of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, lists numerous planned actions and media events.
The most important development is the addition of Amnesty International to the campaign for justice in Bhopal.
The human rights group's reputation for fearless evenhandedness lends extra weight to the conclusions its "Clouds of Injustice" report.
The report charges Union Carbide with "serious failures" at Bhopal, including ignoring "overwhelming evidence" of safety problems before the disaster, withholding information from doctors and investigators, and trying to avoid its legal and financial responsibilities for the disaster by shifting corporate ownership and dodging court dates.
Bags of poisonous pesticide that remain in the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India.

Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 was arrested a few days after the Bhopal tragedy, but was freed on bail a couple of days after the chemical plant had spewed its deadly gas over the city.

Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 jumped bail and fled to the U.S., his neat getaway having been facilitated, if reports are to be believed, by the India Government of Madhya Pradesh, whose capital city is Bhopal, which even gave him a private aircraft.

An American citizen, he remains free and is reportedly living in New York.

On the night of the disaster, when an explosion at Union Carbide 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 or 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 550 US dollars for each dead person and abandoning the plant, leaving tonnes of dangerous toxic chemicals strewn around the site.

Union Carbide and Dow Chemical leaving the people of Bhopal with a toxic legacy that is still causing injury today.

In 2001, the company changed its name by merging with Dow Chemical.

Photo: AFP/Emmanuel Dunand
Bags of poisonous pesticide that remain in the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal
The legal case against Union Carbide is complicated by the fact that Dow Chemical purchased all shares of Union Carbide in 2001.
Dow, however, denies any legal responsibility for Carbide's past actions.
"Dow remains firm in its position that in acquiring the shares of Union Carbide it acquired no new liability," says spokesman John Musser.
Novel legal theory
This novel legal theory — since when can one company buy another company's assets but not its liabilities? — may soon be tested.
Nitynand Jayaraman of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal says that activists plan to press the Indian government to include Dow Chemical in the outstanding criminal case against Union Carbide; the government could then attach Dow's assets if it refuses to appear in court.
Gary Cohen, the director of the Environmental Health Fund in Washington, says, "Dow wants to expand in India, and we're going to make that very difficult," by raising questions about the trustworthiness of a corporation that refuses to heed a court summons.
Amnesty International urges that Dow Chemical, as Union Carbide's new corporate parent, take a series of actions to make amends.
Those actions include: paying for a full clean up of the Bhopal site and its contaminated groundwater, standing trial as requested in India and paying full economic, medical and environmental reparations to the victims.
More broadly, Amnesty echoes the activists' call for tougher regulation of chemical production, especially within impoverished communities and countries.
"Clouds of Injustice" proposes that the United Nations adopt an "international human rights framework that can be applied to companies directly" to ensure "transparency and public participation in... the operation of industries using hazardous materials."
Sign warns in Hindi:          
This water is not fit to drink
A handpump near Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal displaying a sign in Hindi warning 'This water is not fit to drink'

Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 was arrested a few days after the Bhopal tragedy, but was freed on bail a couple of days after the chemical plant had spewed its deadly gas over the city.

Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 jumped bail and fled to the U.S., his neat getaway having been facilitated, if reports are to be believed, by the India Government of Madhya Pradesh, whose capital city is Bhopal, which even gave him a private aircraft.

An American citizen, he remains free and is reportedly living in New York.

On the night of the disaster, when an explosion at Union Carbide 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 or 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 550 US dollars for each dead person and abandoning the plant, leaving tonnes of dangerous toxic chemicals strewn around the site.

Union Carbide and Dow Chemical leaving the people of Bhopal with a toxic legacy that is still causing injury today.

In 2001, the company changed its name by merging with Dow Chemical.

Photo: AFP/Emmanuel Dunand
A handpump near Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal displaying a sign in Hindi warning 'This water is not fit to drink'
A further complication to this case is that Union Carbide did pay $470 million to the government of India in 1989 to settle all claims related to Bhopal.
But there is much less to that settlement than meets the eye.
The $470 million figure was based on now-discredited estimates that only 3,000 people died at Bhopal; the actual death toll is at least seven times that many.
What's more, says Bee, "Carbide made that settlement with the government, not with the people affected. We don't accept it."
And $330 million of the settlement money has been tied up in legal wrangling instead of reaching victims.
When India's Supreme Court ordered in July that the $330 million be distributed forthwith, activists appealed the ruling, arguing that victims deserve four times that much.
Independent experts, including authors Arun Subramaniam and Ward Morehouse in their book "The Bhopal Tragedy," have estimated the total damages of the disaster — including health care for survivors, compensation for families left without breadwinners and restoration of local ecosystems — at anywhere from $1.3 billion to $4 billion.
Activists have filed a civil suit in the United States in an effort to force Dow Chemical to pay that compensation.
Whatever the exact amount that is owed, it's clear that the people of Bhopal have been terribly mistreated.
First they were left defenseless against a horrific but predictable disaster; then they were given a legal run-around for 20 years instead of just compensation for their suffering.
There are many shades of gray in life, but sometimes the truth is black and white: it is shameful for Dow/Union Carbide to keep ducking its obligations in Bhopal and shameful for the U.S. State Department to help it do so.
Doing the right thing — standing trial and facing a court's judgment — may cost Dow/Union Carbide financially, but continuing to stonewall could blacken the company's reputation forever.
Mark Hertsgaard, the author of "Earth Odyssey: Around the World in Search of Our Environmental Future" and many other books, has written on Bhopal for Dragonfly Media and The Nation. Image copyright Raghu Rai/Greenpeace.

© 2004 Independent Media Institute.   All rights reserved.
 
 
Monday, 29 November, 2004
World 'failed' Bhopal gas victims
Bhopal protesters

Bhopal disaster survivors have been waiting for help for years
Bhopal protesters
Survivors have been waiting for help for years
The world has failed to help survivors of the Bhopal gas leak in India 20 years ago or to punish the guilty, Amnesty International says.
The human rights group says India's government has not distributed most of the nearly $500m compensation paid by US firm Union Carbide, the plant owner.
Nearly 3,000 people died on the night of the leak in 1984.
There have been at least 15,000 related deaths since.
Survivors are still suffering chronic respiratory and other illnesses.
The report from London-based Amnesty International said "new research" revealed that more than 7,000 people had died immediately after the gas leak, while a further 15,000 people had died of related diseases since 1984.
"More than 100,000 people are suffering from chronic or debilitating illnesses," the report said.
The leak of tonnes of methyl isocyanate gas at the plant in the central Indian city of Bhopal owned by Union Carbide, now a subsidiary of Dow Chemical, led to one of the world's worst environmental disasters.
Bhopal activists said they hoped Dow Chemicals would now respond and help end people's suffering.
An industrial disaster can involve a complexity of violations of civil, political, economic and social rights for generation after generation
Amnesty International

"This report comes as a morale boost to those of us who have been saying all this for a long time.   Such a report will give weight to our voice," Abdul Jabbar, who runs a support group for gas victims, told the BBC.
Satinath Sarangi of the Sambhavna Trust, which provides health care to survivors, said: "The report shows the importance of documenting and fighting against human rights violations by corporations."
'Toxic site'
Amnesty said victims of the leak were yet to receive adequate compensation two decades after the incident.
"Despite the determined efforts of survivors to secure justice, the large numbers affected have received inadequate compensation and medical assistance," the group's 82-page report said.
Site of Union Carbide plant at Bhopal

More than 570,000 victims of the gas disaster have begun receiving a second instalment of compensation after Union Carbide, agreed a settlement in 1989.
Nearly $350m is being distributed from 15 November to individuals whose claims have been accepted.   Money will be set aside for outstanding cases.
Amnesty said overall, efforts by survivors to get proper justice through both US and Indian courts had so far been unsuccessful.
"The transnational corporations involved... have publicly stated that they have no responsibility for the leak and its consequences or for the pollution from the plant."
The group also blamed the Indian government for not tackling safety problems at the plant, and negotiating a settlement "without the participation of the victims".
And its report said toxic material continued to contaminate water supplies around the plant site.
"The site has not been cleaned up so toxic wastes continue to pollute the water which the surrounding communities rely on."
Denial
Amnesty wants better compensation and treatment for the victims and the plant site to be decontaminated.
Dow Chemical denies any continuing liability either for the state of the Bhopal site or for the victims' health.
An eight-word statement on its website reads: "Dow never owned or operated the Bhopal plant."
A New York court has yet to rule whether the company should still be responsible for clean-up costs and victims' compensation, while a criminal case is also pending in Bhopal itself.
Amnesty International is demanding that Dow Chemical agrees to participate in the Indian-based case despite its 1989 settlement.
Bhopal

STORIES



How a dream turned into a nightmare
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Bhopal victims of Union Carbide
Bhopal victims of Union Carbide.

People who died in the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster at the forensic department of Gandhi Medical college in Bhopal, India, Tuesday, June 8, 2010.

A worker cleans the dust as he displays a panel of photographs of people who died in the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster.

Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 was arrested a few days after the Bhopal tragedy, but was freed on bail a couple of days after the chemical plant had spewed its deadly gas over the city.

Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 jumped bail and fled to the U.S., his neat getaway having been facilitated, if reports are to be believed, by the India Government of Madhya Pradesh, whose capital city is Bhopal, which even gave him a private aircraft.

An American citizen, he remains free and is reportedly living in New York.

On the night of the disaster, when an explosion at Union Carbide 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 or 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 550 US dollars for each dead person and abandoning the plant, leaving tonnes of dangerous toxic chemicals strewn around the site.

Union Carbide and Dow Chemical leaving the people of Bhopal with a toxic legacy that is still causing injury today.

In 2001, the company changed its name by merging with Dow Chemical.

Photo: AP/Prakash Hatvalne 

People who died in the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster.
A worker cleans the dust as he displays a panel of photographs at the forensic department of Gandhi Medical college in Bhopal, India, Tuesday, June 8, 2010.
Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 was arrested a few days after the Bhopal tragedy, but was freed on bail a couple of days after the chemical plant had spewed its deadly gas over the city.
Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 jumped bail and fled to the U.S., his neat getaway having been facilitated, if reports are to be believed, by the India Government of Madhya Pradesh, whose capital city is Bhopal, which even gave him a private aircraft.
An American citizen, he remains free and is reportedly living in New York.
On the night of the disaster, when an explosion at Union Carbide 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 or 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 550 US dollars for each dead person and abandoning the plant, leaving tonnes of dangerous toxic chemicals strewn around the site.
Union Carbide and Dow Chemical leaving the people of Bhopal with a toxic legacy that is still causing injury today.
In 2001, the company changed its name by merging with Dow Chemical.
Photo: AP/Prakash Hatvalne
 
A partially blind gas victim waits with other victims of the poisonous gas leak of Union Carbide pesticide factory in the premises of the Bhopal court in Bhopal, India, Monday, June 7, 2010. 

Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 was arrested a few days after the Bhopal tragedy, but was freed on bail a couple of days after the chemical plant had spewed its deadly gas over the city.

Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 jumped bail and fled to the U.S., his neat getaway having been facilitated, if reports are to be believed, by the India Government of Madhya Pradesh, whose capital city is Bhopal, which even gave him a private aircraft.

An American citizen, he remains free and is reportedly living in New York.

On the night of the disaster, when an explosion at Union Carbide 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 or 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 550 US dollars for each dead person and abandoning the plant, leaving tonnes of dangerous toxic chemicals strewn around the site.

Union Carbide and Dow Chemical leaving the people of Bhopal with a toxic legacy that is still causing injury today.

In 2001, the company changed its name by merging with Dow Chemical.

Photo: AP/Prakash Hatvalne 

A partially blind gas victim waits with other victims of the poisonous gas leak of Union Carbide pesticide factory in the premises of the Bhopal court in Bhopal, India, Monday, June 7, 2010.
Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 was arrested a few days after the Bhopal tragedy, but was freed on bail a couple of days after the chemical plant had spewed its deadly gas over the city.
Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 jumped bail and fled to the U.S., his neat getaway having been facilitated, if reports are to be believed, by the India Government of Madhya Pradesh, whose capital city is Bhopal, which even gave him a private aircraft.
An American citizen, he remains free and is reportedly living in New York.
On the night of the disaster, when an explosion at Union Carbide 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 or 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 550 US dollars for each dead person and abandoning the plant, leaving tonnes of dangerous toxic chemicals strewn around the site.
Union Carbide and Dow Chemical leaving the people of Bhopal with a toxic legacy that is still causing injury today.
In 2001, the company changed its name by merging with Dow Chemical.
Photo: AP/Prakash Hatvalne
 
Memorial statue of poisoned gas victims outside abandoned Union Carbide pesticide factory Bhopal India. 

Bhopal corporate greed carelessness.

Protest rallies have been held in Bhopal central India each year since 1984 - 2010 to mark 25 years since the city witnessed the world's worst industrial disaster, a leak of deadly poisonous gas around midnight on December 2–3, 1984

Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 was arrested a few days after the Bhopal tragedy, but was freed on bail a couple of days after the chemical plant had spewed its deadly gas over the city.

Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 jumped bail and fled to the U.S., his neat getaway having been facilitated, if reports are to be believed, by the India Government of Madhya Pradesh, whose capital city is Bhopal, which even gave him a private aircraft.

An American citizen, he remains free and is reportedly living in New York.

On the night of the disaster, when an explosion at Union Carbide 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 or 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 550 US dollars for each dead person and abandoning the plant, leaving tonnes of dangerous toxic chemicals strewn around the site.

Union Carbide and Dow Chemical leaving the people of Bhopal with a toxic legacy that is still causing injury today.

In 2001, the company changed its name by merging with Dow Chemical.

Photo AFP/Internet
Memorial statue of poisoned gas victims outside abandoned Union Carbide pesticide factory Bhopal India
    
Thursday December 2, 2004
US accused of 'environmental racism' for evading Bhopal liability
Survivors and children of the 1984 gas leak in Bhopal, India that, as the sign states, killed more than 20,000 people with people still dying from related illnesses.

The site of a gas leak at the pesticide plant in the Indian city of Bhopal is still badly polluted, the BBC has reported, 

The plant is owned by parent US company Dow Chemical who wholly owns Union Carbide the owner when the extremely toxic chemical leak occurred.

Photo: AFP/Raveendran
Survivors and children of the 1984 gas leak in Bhopal, India that, as the sign states, killed more than 20,000 people with people still dying from related illnesses.
The site of a gas leak at the pesticide plant in the Indian city of Bhopal is still badly polluted, the BBC has reported,
The plant is owned by parent US company Dow Chemical who wholly owns Union Carbide the owner when the extremely toxic chemical leak occurred.
Greenpeace accused the United States of "environmental racism" for evading liability from the world's worst industrial accident in India that may have killed more than 20,000 people.
Ahead of the 20th anniversary on Friday of the Bhopal poison gas tragedy, the global environmental group called on US authorities to ensure swift justice and adequate compensation for victims.
The tragedy occurred on December 3, 1984 after about 40 tonnes of killer methyl isocyanate gas leaked out of a pesticide plant operated by American firm Union Carbide, now owned by US giant Dow Chemical.
"Had this happened in the US, there is no doubt that Dow Chemical would now be paying for the clean-up that would be ordered by the EPA through litigation by local community groups," said Greenpeace legal director Rick Hind.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the US environment watchdog.
"What's happening here is nothing less than taking advantage of the differences in countries but also an example of environmental racism," Hind charged at a media teleconference on the Bhopal tragedy.
He said the United States was already recognising responsibility for cleaning up contamination at military bases outside the country.
Dow Chemical, which faces several legal suits from Bhopal victims but maintains it had no liability in the industrial disaster, should adhere to the "polluter-pay principle," Hind said.
"Dow at their own peril are resisting this liability, and responsible stockholders should remind them that we don't want to pay for the extensive contamination that will occur five, ten years from now as this litigation drags out," he said.
"Every day, it is delayed, the contamination and the suffering of the people becomes worse. It's better to pay up now and settle than to put it off to another generation or another set of stockholders."
Activists claim Union Carbide decided against including key safety features in its Bhopal plant to save money. Union Carbide, however, says the gas leak was likely due to sabotage.
Union Carbide and Dow "have still not cleaned up the site of the disaster or stopped pollution that started when the plant opened in the 1970s, meaning local residents are continuing to fall ill from drinking contaminated water," Amnesty International said.
An Amnesty report, "Clouds of Injustice," estimates that 7,000 to 10,000 people died in the first three days of the Bhopal disaster and 15,000 more have died in the years since.
Another 100,000 continue to suffer chronic, largely untreatable diseases of the lungs, eyes and blood.
The Indian government's total death toll stands at about 15,000.
"There is a need for a universal set of legally enforceable norms to hold corporations to account to ensure their activities do not violate human rights," said Vijay Nagaraj, the author of the Amnesty report.
Gary Cohen, executive director of the Boston-based Environmental Health Fund, charged that Dow Chemical was a major source of many of the world's most toxic compounds, including the lethal Vietnam War defoliant, Agent Orange.
A class action suit is pending against Dow, Monsanto and the other Agent Orange manufacturers for massive related health damages, he said.
"Dow's story is one of corporate power brokering and lack of public accountability," said Cohen, whose group launched a book Wednesday "Trespass Against Us" detailing dozens of alleged violations by Dow Chemical.
Rajan Sharman, a lead lawyer for Bhopal survivors, said the US and Indian governments should take steps necessary to make Union Carbide face criminal charges in India for the disaster.
Federal detectives in India said this week they had decided to renew a request -- rejected last year -- to the United States to extradite Warren Anderson, then chairman of the Connecticut-based Union Carbide.
Anderson, now 82, was declared a fugitive by an Indian court for ignoring a summons after being accused of culpable homicide. He was allowed to leave India after paying bail of 2,000 dollars.
"If the government of India has chosen to resubmit the extradition request, then it suggests that the original request was denied probably due to a technicality or procedural difficulty," Sharman said.

Copyright © 2004 Agence France Presse
Copyright © 2004 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.
Warren Anderson corporate killer.

More than eight thousand people die in the hours immediately after tonnes of deadly gas leak from Union Carbide pesticide factory Bhopal India, a US-owned factory.

Corporate greed carelessness.

Protest rallies have been held in Bhopal central India each year since 1984 - 2010 to mark 25 years since the city witnessed the world's worst industrial disaster, a leak of deadly poisonous gas around midnight on December 2–3, 1984.

Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 was arrested a few days after the Bhopal tragedy, but was freed on bail a couple of days after the chemical plant had spewed its deadly gas over the city.

Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 jumped bail and fled to the U.S., his neat getaway having been facilitated, if reports are to be believed, by the India Government of Madhya Pradesh, whose capital city is Bhopal, which even gave him a private aircraft.

An American citizen, he remains free and is reportedly living in New York.

On the night of the disaster, when an explosion at Union Carbide 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 or 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 550 US dollars for each dead person and abandoning the plant, leaving tonnes of dangerous toxic chemicals strewn around the site.

Union Carbide and Dow Chemical leaving the people of Bhopal with a toxic legacy that is still causing injury today.

In 2001, the company changed its name by merging with Dow Chemical.

Photo AFP/Internet
Protest rallies have been held each year in Bhopal, central India
The 2010 protest marks 25 years since the city witnessed the poisoning by Union Carbide, a US-owned factory, a leak of deadly gas around midnight on December 2–3, 1984
More than eight thousand people die in the hours immediately after tonnes of deadly gas leak from the Union Carbide pesticide factory
 
Clinic near Union Carbide abandoned chemical pesticide factory, Bhopal
Clinic near Union Carbide abandoned chemical pesticide factory, Bhopal November 22, 2009.

An Indian court on Monday, June 7, 2010 convicted seven former senior employees of Union Carbide's Indian subsidiary of 'death by negligence' for their roles in the Bhopal gas tragedy that left an estimated 15,000 fifteen thousand people dead more than a quarter century ago.

Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 was arrested a few days after the Bhopal tragedy, but was freed on bail a couple of days after the chemical plant had spewed its deadly gas over the city.

Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 jumped bail and fled to the U.S., his neat getaway having been facilitated, if reports are to be believed, by the India Government of Madhya Pradesh, whose capital city is Bhopal, which even gave him a private aircraft.

An American citizen, he remains free and is reportedly living in New York.

On the night of the disaster, when an explosion at Union Carbide 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 or 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 550 US dollars for each dead person and abandoning the plant, leaving tonnes of dangerous toxic chemicals strewn around the site.

Union Carbide and Dow Chemical leaving the people of Bhopal with a toxic legacy that is still causing injury today.

In 2001, the company changed its name by merging with Dow Chemical.

Photo: AP/Prakash Hatvalne 

Clinic near Union Carbide abandoned chemical pesticide factory, Bhopal November 22, 2009.
An Indian court on Monday, June 7, 2010 convicted seven former senior employees of Union Carbide Indian subsidiary of 'death by negligence' for their roles in the Bhopal gas tragedy that left an estimated 15,000 people dead more than a quarter century ago.
Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 was arrested a few days after the Bhopal tragedy, but was freed on bail a couple of days after the chemical plant had spewed its deadly gas over the city.
Warren Anderson head of Union Carbide 1984 jumped bail and fled to the U.S., his neat getaway having been facilitated, if reports are to be believed, by the India Government of Madhya Pradesh, whose capital city is Bhopal, which even gave him a private aircraft.
An American citizen, he remains free and is reportedly living in New York.
On the night of the disaster, when an explosion at Union Carbide 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 or 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 550 US dollars for each dead person and abandoning the plant, leaving tonnes of dangerous toxic chemicals strewn around the site.
Union Carbide and Dow Chemical leaving the people of Bhopal with a toxic legacy that is still causing injury today.
In 2001, the company changed its name by merging with Dow Chemical.
Photo: AP/Prakash Hatvalne
India 2014 — Corporate — State corruption
Withdrawing support from the poor to subsidizing elite
A staggering USD 123 billion was lost in the last decade which is 30 times the amount New Delhi spent on social services like health care and education last year
Forced into criminality by a system of governance built on dishonesty, exploitation and greed
Over 75 per cent of slum dwellers report having paid a bribe to secure basic necessities such as kerosene or medical care.
While India’s billionaires wallow in complacent luxury, two-thirds of the population live in dire poverty, almost half the nation’s children suffer from malnutrition and tens of millions, mainly Adivasi and Dalit people have been displaced by mining and infrastructure projects
India 2011
Antibodies from women with infertility used in creation of GMO food
IMF through their implementation of austerity policies defacto exploit and loot the wealth of Third World nations and facilitate the long term asset stripping and resourcing stealing of such unfortunate countries
Quite a lot if you look at the whole Capitalist Western system which is rigged to exploit the masses and especially vulnerable Third Word nations in favor of the few, again in the West.
Globalization, Monetarism and Deregulation all sounded so great when they are expounded enthusiastically from the early 1980's, by the USA and their well funded fronts in academia and the global media as a globalist International Banker policy.
Anglicised elite of India lording it up in London, NY and heaven knows where with looted assets.
       Illuminati manipulation of oil energy resources      
       World rich elite taking advantage of middle class and poor      
     India and corporations 2011 — Deregulation, oil price, elite accumulation of wealth      
     In India a bill was introduced to make it a crime to question the safety of GMOs      
Vandana Shiva — Globalization project is creation of corporate states
Rural India — The Deadly Gambles of Farming
 
 
 
 
 
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