S.O.S – eVoice For Justice – e-news weekly
Spreading the light of humanity & freedom
Editor: Nagaraj.M.R.. vol.6.issue.43. …23/10/2010
EDITORIAL : 9/11 , 26/11 – SIGN TO LEGALLY PROSECUTE SPONSORERS OF TERRORISM USA , PAKISTAN & INDIA
Visit , read the petition & support by signing the petition demanding
LEGAL PROSECUTION OF SPONSORERS OF TERRORISM
Visit , read the petition & support by signing the petition demanding
ACCOUNTABILITY OF INDIAN JUDGES & POLICE.
India, U.S.A , U.K , Pakistan and various other countries
have given birth to & supported various terror outfits, all with the
objective of widening their area of influence, to get hold of
governance of other countries, to loot resources of other countries.
At no time they were bothered about the welfare of innocent people
in those victim countries.
Now, when the Frankenstein monster they fathered TERRORISM
is haunting them , came home to roost in their own backyards , all
these countries are crying foul.
Take for instance Pakistan , it has got enough problems on hand , poverty , unemployment , malnutrition , hunger , illiteracy is rampant in Pakistan. Ordinary Pakistanis are suffering, ordinary Pakistanis does not need neither war nor jihad , what they need is food , healthcare , education for their children.
Take for instance india, it has lot of problems on hand
like starvation, lack of education , health care, etc. The GOI says
it doesn’t have enough funds to solve these problems. These problems
are of pre-independece vintage, increasing multifold after
independence of india. Still the government of india spent crores of
rupees on training , arming of tamil terrorists in srilanka ,
unnecessarily poked it’s nose in east pakistan creating bangladesh,
created terrorist outfits in punjab & northeast to counter the
influence of other terrorist outfits. ALL THE WHILE PREACHING
PANCHASHEEL PRINCIPLES – peaceful co-existance , respect for
neighbour’s boundaries, etc, in the same breath. What ordinary Indians , commonfolk need is food , shelter , healthcare & education.
Take the case of USA , from the beginning since decades , it is the habit of US administrators, britishers to sow the seeds of discontent between two countries , make them to go to war with each other ( simultaneously selling military hardware worth billions of dollars to those same countries by the way making profit in billions ) & to finally play the role of a truce maker thereby getting a foothold in the newly formed government plus getting reconstruction projects worth billions of dollars leading to profit of billions. Just remember the US invasion of iraq , citing presence of WMDs, finally nothing was found. However USA made billions of profit by business.
The common folk of whichever country , whichever religion you take , does not want war , everybody wants peace. The common folk need food , shelter , healthcare & education. It is the scheming politicians who go on the path of violence. POOJYA BAPUJI’s , MAHATMA GANDHIJI’s principles of non violence , non interference in the affairs of other individuals / other countries , love / compassion for fellow human beings is much relevant today.
Hereby, e-Voice urges the international war crimes tribunal , to
order the respective governments who aided terrorism ,to pay damages
to victim countries. Jai hind. Vande mataram
CRIMES OF U.S PRESIDENT
From the day one the government of USA is selfish & violating the rights of other countrymen. During cold war days , to expand it’s influence & to give more business for u.s arms manufacturers , the u.s.a sowed the seeds of terrorism in various countries & nurtured them through arms & finance supply , training. The AL-QUEDA & TALIBAN are it’s own babies.
The president bush of U.S.A was sufferring from low image ratings , the domestic economy was facing a slump , so to improve his own rating & bring more business to u.s industries , he schemed an inhuman ruthless plan. He wanted to take control of afghanisthan & iraq. He needed a ruse to invade them & concocted one murdering his very own countrymen.
human rights watch has doubted the authenticity of 9/11 in it’s articles months ago. it is just a ploy of the bush to divert attention of public from his dipping ratings , domestic problems like unemployment , economic lows and more importantly to find rather fabricate a reason for attacking the arab world , iraq. finally , to help it’s MNCs mint millions in reconstuction , oil contracts, etc. it is a savage act of bush for green bucks.
SEPTEMBER 9/11 WAS PLANNED !!!! VISIT : http://www.neiu.edu/~ayjamess/hmmm.htm#Main
The government of U.S.A thrown all international conventions into wind , lied about weapons of destruction in iraq & invaded a sovereign country iraq. Still , it was unabale to find any weapons of mass destruction in iraq. In it’s greed for power , green bucks , it inhumanly tortured prisoners , took them to 3rd countries for torture , bugged phones of u.s citizens & violated human rights of u.s citizens. In his ego , greed mr.bush has violated all human rights of not only u.s citizens but also human rights of innocent iraqis , afghans , etc & thrown all international laws into winds.
Now, the president himself has acknowledged the intelligence failure in iraq but defended his iraqi invasion. Mr. Bush will be remebered in the history books as a GREATEST LIAR , INHUMAN SCHEMING MEGALAMONIAC & GREEDY OLDMAN.
AN APPEAL TO THE HONOURABLE CHIEF JUSTICE OF SUPREME COURT OF USA , CHIEF JUSTICE OF INDIA & CHIEF JUSTICE OF PAKISTAN
– By American Citizens
Our country was known as ” Heaven On Earth” , “Land of Equality & Equal Oppurtunity” & the “Statue of Liberty” rightly symbolized the spirit of our country. Now USA is known as a “Terror State”.
In the last 3 – 4 decades , the persons who occupied the office of President USA ,in their individual capacity took wrong , inhuman decisions , meddled in the internal affairs of other sovereign nations , spent our resources to create terrorist outfits like al-queda , Taliban in those countries.
In turn these terrorist outfits terrorized , murdered millions of innocents & this Frankenstein monster came home to roost on September 9 / 11 . After September 9 / 11 , each terror suspect is severely tortured in hell like Abu Garibh prison , elsewhere by our authorities. For argument sake let us accept
that these terrorists who murder innocents don’t deserve kid glove treatment & rightly deserve 3rd degree torture. When a single terrorist deserve such inhuman 3rd degree torture , what quantum of punishment , torture – previous presidents of USA deserve – who created , aided & abetted thousands of such terrorists , terrorist outfits ?
Herby, we appeal to the honourable Supreme Court of USA to order the federal government to to make public :
1. how much US resources were spent from US TREASURY , to finance terrorist outfits , military juntas in other sovereign nations ?
2. is not Al-queda , Taliban creations of USA ?
3. did September 9 / 11 WTC attack truly happened by hijacked airplane or was it planned by US authorities ? see
4 . is racial profiling , profiling a particular community & suspecting all the muslims as terror suspects , right?
5. if it is right , the cretors of such terrorist outfits – past presidents of USA – who were Christians makes it logical to assume whole of our Christian community as terror suspect ?
6. is not use of 3rd degree torture on all type of suspects in US prisons & in the prisons of US allied countries at the behest of US authorities , right ? is it not violation of human rights & US laws ?
7. did US find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq , which was the main reason for US attacking Iraq ?
8. why not US authorities use scientific interrogation techniques like polygraph , lie detector tests instead of inhuman 3rd degree torture on terror suspects & suspects in other criminal cases ?
9 . what legal right our President of USA have , to illegally spend billions of our dollars on inhuman , llegal acts of terrorism , military coup , creation , aiding & abetting of terrorists , etc , in other sovereign nations ? while we are suffering from loss of jobs ,loss of home due to natural calamities , etc ?
Crux , Foundation of all religions is humanity , kindness & universal brotherhood. It is the preachers who misrepresent it. Terrorism created , aided , abetted by anybody is inhuman & wrong . Terrorism is creation of power hungry , selfish people & they must be legally punished .
Hereby , we appeal to the honorable supreme court of USA to legally prosecute Previous PRESIDENTS OF USA in the last 4 decades , for crimes of terror , as per the present US anti-terror laws.
Recently , in the issue of weekly publication “The Week” , cabinet minister of government of srilanka (previously a deadly terrorist & right hand man of LTTE chief Prabhakaran ) Mr. Karuna , Himself has stated in an interview that LTTE received arms training in Tamilnadu State of India , to wage war against Government of Srilanka. The Justice Jain Commission Of Enquiry , which probed late PM Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination case , also stated that Tamil Terrorist outfits in Srilanka Received monetary , financial , arms training support from government of India. GOI has even setup a radio station for tamil terrorists of srilanka , within Indian territory. GOI spent billions of dollars of Indian taxpayer’s money for aiding & abetting terrorism , while billions of Indians were half starving & going without a single meal , without proper health care.
Recently , in a media interview the president of Government of Pakistan Mr. Jardari himself has confessed that in the previous years the government of Pakistan has aided & abetted Terrorism for tactical gains of Pakistan , spending billions of dollars of Pakistani taxpayer’s money. While ordinary Pakistanis were suffering from starvation , lack of health care , etc.
All the above proves that Previous Presidents of Government of USA , previous Presidents of Government of Pakistan & Previous Prime Ministers of Government of India were the real master minds of TERRORISM , founded , aided , abetted TERRORISM FOR THEIR OWN SELFISH GAINS. In turn Murdering lakhs of innocent human beings. These guilty previous presidents & prime ministers are deadly than OSAMA BIN LADEN.
Hereby , we appeal to the Honorable Chief Justices of supreme courts of USA , INDIA , PAKISTAN , BANGLADESH , SRILANKA & INTERNATIONAL WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL , to legally prosecute the previous Prime Ministers of INDIA , the previous presidents of USA & PAKISTAN , on charges of master minding TERRORISM & murdering innocent people in their respective countries .
An appeal to honourable supreme court of USA & HE Honourable president of USA Mr.Obama
Your government protects all Americans, all American companies both inside America & abroad. If an American tourist is murdered in a third country , American investigators fly over to that country to conduct investigation in total disregard to local laws. In the same way , if the interests of an American company is threatened in a third country American government goes to it’s rescue.
However , when an American company butchers , causes mass man slaughter in a third country , as an American company did in Bhopal India , no action by American government. Still the said American company has not removed , cleared the accident site of poisonous debris at Bhopal India since decades and still causing mass man slaughter , no action by American government why ?
Some US based companies are selling soft drinks , food products , medicines , drugs in third world countries , which are causing grave health damages to the public. The quality standards of these products are fit cases of rejections by US FDA. Some US companies are selling drugs ( which are banned in the USA ) to third world countries , still us companies are exporting such dangerous medicines , foods to third countries . no action by US government , why ? is it because you think that the lives of non Americans are cheaper than Americans ?
Hereby, I do request your kindself ,
1 . to initiate criminal prosecution against US based key management personnel responsible for Bhopal gas tragedy .
2 . to make either the respective company management or US government to pay compensation to victims of Bhopal gas tragedy on par with American lives , as if the same tragedy happened in the USA itself.
3 . to order the management of the said company to clean up Bhopal off poisonous debris , from the accident site at their own expense.
4 . To legally prosecute US exporters & US based companies selling products ( which violates US FDA regulations or banned in the USA for domestic consumption ) to third countries.
CHIEF JUSTICE OF INDIA & CORRUPT PUBLIC SERVANTS Silencing The Voices Seeking Justice VOICE OF HUMAN RIGHT ACTIVIST
In India, it is nothing new to silence voices seeking justice. Only on paper , in the book called “Constitution of India” , every citizen is treated as equal . In practice , public servants behave as public masters & treat commoners worse . In Their crimes & actions our public servants even outsmart British occupiers. The criminal nexus of politician – police – public servant goes to any length to silence the voices seeking justice , to threaten them , to cut-off their sources of livelihood , to falsely implicate them fix them in criminal cases , to assault them & finally to finish them. Indian judiciary has failed to uphold the “The Constitution of India” in letter & spirit. NOW, ONE MORE VOICE SEEKING JUSTICE IS ON THE FIRING LINES OF CRIMINAL NEXUS – the voice of Mr. Nagaraj . M . R . editor , S.O.S-e – Voice For Justice. Nagaraj will sooner or later will be added along with satyendra dubey & shanmughan Manjunath , by the criminal nexus.
In india , Law is one & same for all , however in it’s implementation & enforcement , the public servants are practicing double standards. Poor Innocents are harassed , tortured all in the name of law , rules , technicalities .
Whereas , Rich Criminals are manipulating the evidences , records & are going scot free. The Public Servants treat Rich Criminals Favourably with kid gloves ofcourse for a price.
Now , take for instance , public servants of the rank of supreme court chief justice & President of india are hiding information relating to crime , covering-up crimes , violating commoner’s human rights , fundamental rights , obstructing citizen from performing their Constitutionally prescribed Fundamental Duties as Citizens of India , no action by police , they are not even registering the complaint.
Whereas , if a commoner cover-ups a crime or evidence , he also becomes a criminal , if a commoner violates the fundamental / human right of a rich person , if a commoner obstructs a public servant from performing his public duties , all those become crimes & he is legally booked for each counts.
Why not police registering complaint against the corrupt public servants for their crimes & it’s cover up. IS IT NOT DOUBLE STANDARD.
Will you lend your support for this democratic , non-violent struggle for peace , justice , along with Mr.Nagaraj.M.R. All humane persons are welcome.
Truth Behind 9 / 11 WTC Attack
SEPTEMBER 9/11 WAS PLANNED !!!! VISIT : http://www.neiu.edu/~ayjamess/hmmm.htm#Main
Double Standard : BP And Bhopal
By Bill Quigley & Alex Tuscano
When President Barak Obama went after BP and demanded a $20 billion dollar fund be set up for victims of the Gulf oil spill, the people of India were furious. They saw a US double standard. The US demonstrated it values human life within the US more than the lives of the people of India.
BP should pay $20 billion in compensation, probably even more. The people of India agree with that.
But people are angry because the US is treating the oil spill, called the worst environmental disaster in US history, in a radically different way than the US treated the explosion of a US-owned pesticide plant in Bhopal India, which some call the worst industrial disaster in history.
The 1984 Bhopal explosion released tons of toxic chemicals into the air, claimed the lives of between 15,000 and 20,000 people within two weeks, and disabled hundreds of thousands of others – many still suffering from physical damage and genetic defects.
The plant that exploded was operated by Union Carbide India Limited, a corporation owned by Union Carbide of the United States.
The disaster occurred in a thickly populated area close to the central railway station in Bhopal, an urban area of 1.5 million in the heart of India. Most people in the area lived in shanty huts.
Thousands of dead humans and animals filled the streets of Bhopal. Survivors complain of genetic damage which has caused widespread birth defects in children and even grandchildren of those exposed.
The soil and water of Bhopal remain toxic with heavy pesticide residue and toxic metals like lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium and chromium.
While President Obama displayed outrage at BP officials over the 11 deaths from the US oil spill, the US has refused to extradite Warren Anderson, the chair of Union Carbide, to face charges for his role in the Bhopal disaster.
Recall too that Obama advisor Larry Summers, then chief economist at the World Bank, stated in an infamous 1971 memo. “Just between you and me, shouldn’t the world Bank be encouraging MORE migration of the dirty industries to the Less Developed Countries?… I’ve always thought that under-populated countries in Africa are vastly UNDER-polluted…”
Obsolete and hazardous industries have been systematically transferred to the third world countries to not only exploit the cheap labor but also to avoid disastrous impact of these industries on the advanced countries.
Union Carbide put profit for the corporation above the lives and health of millions of people. Dow Chemical, which took over Union Carbide, is attempting to distance itself from all responsibility.
In India there were two Bhopal developments this month. The Indian government announced a compensation package of $280 million for Bhopal victims, about $22,000 for each of the families of the deceased according to the BBC, and seven former Indian managers of the Bhopal plant were given two year jail sentences for their part in the explosion. These legal developments are a mockery of justice for one of the world’s greatest disasters.
We call on the people of the US and the people of India to join together to demand our governments respect the human rights of all people, no matter where they live.
Together we must bring about change in corporate development. We have to emphasize social production for the needs of people and improved social relations.
If we continue to value some lives more than others, and to allow corporations to spoil some areas with impunity, our world will not last.
Unless we respect the human rights of all people and demand corporations do that as well, we will be damned to live out the Cree Indian prophecy “Only when the last tree from this earth has been cut down, only when the last river has been poisoned, only when the last fish has been caught, only then will humankind learn that money cannot be eaten.”
Saving Democracy From The Corporate Veil
By Gopal Krishna
Five things the US should do to quell the global outrage after the recent verdict in the Bhopal gas leak case and provide some justice to the victims
The labour pains for giving birth to an understanding of a trans-national corporation, the scope of its civil and criminal liability, its corporate veil and the chemical disaster of Bhopal is still far from over. By now it is clear that unless US government decides to act no one else can get to the bottom of the most complex industrial catastrophe known to mankind in the 20th century. Without the helpful intervention by the US President Barack Obama, the litigation process will never be able to provide justice to the victims and penalise the natural and artificial culprits.
As democracies, like Indian government, is it time for US government too to act as parens patriae (guardian) for the past, present and future victims of Bhopal in particular and for justice seeking people of the world. The parens patriae doctrine which was deemed as a pioneering innovation in jurisprudence was invoked for the protection of all victims of disaster but was sabotaged.
While government of India enacted itself as parens patriae, Dow Chemicals Company (after Union Carbide’s merger in 2001) and its agent in the government have enacted for themselves a similar role for the global community of the trans-national corporations against justice seeking victims.
The global outrage against such sabotage stage-managed under the guidance of US government that has become evident in the aftermath of the June 7 verdict merits President Obama’s intervention to set matters right. Taking recourse to judicial escapism instead of acting to evolve a jurisprudence of liability for corporations gravely endangers people’s trust in democracy everywhere.
The deafening silence of the US president and legislature to ensure justice to the victims of corporation engineered mass disaster if not broken would constitute “yet another instance of American imperialism” in the words of US Judge Keenan who heard the Bhopal case in New York district court.
Unaccountable and ungovernable corporations are a threat to all the democracies. If democracy in US and India is indeed non-negotiable, it merits global efforts to Dow Chemicals and Warren Anderson accountable. This is required to fix the liability of a trans-national corporation. In a historic and touching “extraordinary act a foreign sovereign government seeking justice in an American court”, India had appealed to the democratic judicial system of US for relief in the matter of industrial disaster of Bhopal caused by a US multinational corporation. How democratic governments of US and India respond to provide legal remedy sets a precedent that either legitimises or delegitamises its very existence.
The government of India filed a suit on September 5, 1986 for damages in the court of district judge, Bhopal (Regular Civil Suit N. 113/86) against the US company, Union Carbide Corporation, Connecticut, USA on behalf of all the persons, who have suffered damages due to Bhopal gas leak disaster praying for “a decree for punitive damages in an amount sufficient to deter the defendant Union Carbide and other multinational corporations involved in similar business activities from willful, malicious and wanton disregard of the rights and safety of citizens of India.” The Indian government noted in its reply in the court that Union Carbide’s management policies, states that “it is the general policy of the corporation to secure and maintain effective management control of an affiliate.”
If the US is indeed a democratic state, its constitution is still alive then it must make corporations like Dow Chemicals and British Petroleum liable and accountable for their acts of omission and commission. The following steps are required in US towards that end:
1. The US government should accept the above submission of the government of India that “the corporation and its subsidiaries are treated as a unit, without regard to the location of responsibility within that unit”. Consequently, an illegal act by it be deemed as the act of the corporation, without consideration to its location of responsibility. The customary alibi of corporations like Dow Chemicals is an act in sophistry designed to conceal fact of crime and criminals of the upper-world. The US government should disclose all the trade secrets of the Union Carbide Corporation and its research and development centre that Union Carbide operated in Bhopal since 1976 that was suspected to be experimenting with wartime use of chemicals. This suspicion regarding the disaster being a consequence of experimenting with war time chemicals is yet to be probed. US government should undertake and facilitate such probe.
2. The US government must take note of the verdict by the chief judicial magistrate, Bhopal, wherein it is stated, “Warren Anderson, UCC USA and UCC Kowlnn Hong Kong are still absconding and therefore, every part of this case (criminal file) is kept intact along with the exhibited and un-exhibited documents and the property related to this case, in safe custody, till their appearance”. In the interest of justice for the Bhopal victims, the US government should expedite the process of extraditing Anderson at the earliest.
3. Dow Chemicals Company has set aside $2.2 billion to address future asbestos-related liabilities arising out of the Union Carbide acquisition. How is that Dow Chemicals can take the asbestos liability of Union Carbide and not the liability for the industrial catastrophe in Bhopal? The US government should volunteer its assistance in ascertaining the Bhopal disaster’s inherited liability of Dow Chemicals Company.
4. The US government should promote acceptance of the resolution of UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights that approved the ‘UN norms on the responsibilities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises with regard to human rights’ as a step towards ensuring corporate accountability. Article 18 of the norms called on trans-national corporations and other business enterprises to make reparations for damage done through their failure to meet the standards spelled out: “Transnational corporations and other business enterprises shall provide prompt, effective and adequate reparation to those persons, entities and communities that have been adversely affected by failures to comply with these norms through, inter alia, reparations, restitution, compensation and rehabilitation for any damage done or property taken. In connection with determining damages, in regard to criminal sanctions, and in all other respects, these norms shall be applied by national courts and/or international tribunals, pursuant to national and international law.”
5. In memory of victims of Bhopal, the US and Indian governments should call for a mandatory regime for regulating trans-national corporations unlike UN’s voluntary global compact and reject the report of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Business and Human Rights wherein it underlined the need for voluntary regulation and self compliance by the companies saying, “While corporations may be considered organs of society, they are specialised economic organs, not democratic public interest institutions.
If there is one lesson that democracies across the world have clearly not learnt from industrial disasters, it is to ascertain the nature of all the genocidal acts of corporations and the very legal design of the corporation so as to make it genuinely governable by democratic legislatures. A befitting tribute to victims of Bhopal lies in learning this lesson in order to prevent future industrial warfare that irreparably undermines intergenerational equity.
The Cost Of An Indian Life
By Dr. Vispi Jokhi
Twenty-six years ago the people of Bhopal were exposed to a lethal gas in one of the world’s worst industrial accident. But, was it an accident? The answer is contrary to popular perception a resounding “No”. Because we as a nation have rulers who have devalued our lives to such an extent that we have not one but many Bhopals which have occurred in the past, which occur daily and will continue to do so in the future and we will not even notice or see and raise even a whimper of protest any of these events.
To just list a few examples I would like to mention more than a lakh suicides by farmers all over the country, sub-saharan levels of hunger poverty and destitution, high infant and maternal mortality due to lack of sanitation and clean drinking water and primary health care facilities, callous displacement of tribals and the poor in the name of large dams, factories, mines, SEZ’s, factories, ports. I can go on and on. But is it only the Government who needs to be blamed? Are we all not guilty with our apathy and complicit acceptance of these policies of successive governments? Our obsession with GDP, sensex driven growth has led to wanton destruction of the environment and massive unrest among the poor and dispossessed masses of India. Besides the above issues, India loses so many human lives to natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, drought and such other phenomenon. All this was accepted as our karma when we were ruled by the Englishmen, but in 1947 our rulers gave us a constitution which pronounced that we became a sovereign socialistic secular republic where all citizens are equal before the law.
Our “chalta hain ” attitude and disregard for rule of law and poor civic sense are responsible for state of our nation today. We need to turn the mirror to our own faces and correct ourselves. Our non-caring so long as the issue is not directly related to us is completely wrong as we must realize that in the welfare of all lies our own welfare. Discipline, civic sense, compassion for our poor unseen brethren, moderation in all aspects of life are the stepping stones to reversing the reasons for the Bhopals. We must put a value to the life of every Indian and not allow people to become mere statistics. Accountability, rule of law and equality before law must be the corner stones of the future path of our nation.
Bhopal is a mere symptom of a deep rooted disease which needs to be tackled by systemic change and course correction in favor of a sustainable economic growth pattern based on human happiness sound ecological principles. I do not see any attempt to do this in all the sound and fury of the outrage which the Bhopal verdict has elicited among the middle class.
NUCLEAR LIABILITY IN INDIA
Before enacting the law on “Nuclear Accident Liability Bill” , Government of India should consider the following issues
1. The term Nuclear Accident must include the damages caused due to radiation leak affecting the employees in the nuclear facility , the people living near the facility & people affected by the effluents , scraps generated by the nuclear facility.
2. The government of India does not have any right to fix a price tag for the lives of Indians , that too cheaper than US public.
3. The Nuclear power generating companies must incorporate safety infrastructure & procedures as they do in US market , not any obsolete technology.
4. In USA & other developing countries , they have very huge , efficient social security network , vast pool of resources put in by nuclear power generating companies themselves , to take care of the affected in case of a nuclear accident . In India we don’t have that type of social security network nor matching resources , therefore ideally India must fix a nuclear liability cap much higher than US market in dollar terms.
5. Also the company must be made liable for the complete clean up of the facility & surrounding towns , villages , health care to all the affected victims on par with US market , in case a nuclear accident happens.
6. The Nuclear Equipment Suppliers , Nuclear Plant Operators together with their respective governments like USA , UK must stand as guarantors .
7. The Life Insurance Companies in India Must pay insured amount to nominees of insured in case of nuclear accidents / radiation affects in addition to compensation by the nuclear power companies . as of now many life insurance companies are not covering nuclear accidents / radiation affects.
Neither our MPs , Cabinet ministers nor IAS babus have the right to decide the fate of common people & fix a rate for lives of Indians. They are not experts in this field , they should not conclude any deals , decisions in a hush hush manner . Many scams have come out of hush hush deals . Nobody , no MP , no minister , no IAS officer has paid from his personal pocket to the victims of industrial disasters , etc. After all MPs , Ministers , IAS babus are public servants , they must just represent the voices of people , we people don’t want their personal expertise & opinions. Our Policy makers must heed to the public advice of senior scientists , experts in the field of nuclear power generation .
Ofcourse , as a result unit price of electricity will get front loaded , we may not get cheap electricity . but the lives of Indians are much valuable than Electricty. The person who benefits from cheap electricity – Industrialists does not pay from his pocket to the victims of disasters . Development not at the cost of safety & lives. This must dawn on our ill informed policy makers at the earliest .
What if a nuclear accident happens
– BILL LIMITS LIABILITY OF OPERATOR TO RS 5OO CRORE, ANYTHING ABOVE WILL BE GOVT RESPONSIBILITY
What is the bill’s purpose?
The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill seeks to set down mechanisms and rules for liability claims and payments that might arise because of a nuclear incident and to pave the way for India to join an international liability regime.
What kind of nuclear liability regime does India have at present?
All of India’s nuclear power reactors and nuclear facilities are owned by the central government, or by the Nuclear Power Corporation and Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam (Bhavini) — both public sector enterprises. Any liability issues that emerge from incidents become the responsibility of the central government. The inter-government agreements between India and Russia under which Russia has supplied two nuclear reactors at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu do not clarify liability issues. This has meant uncertainty over trans-boundary liability issues.
Why has the bill become necessary now?
The Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement allows US suppliers to sell nuclear power reactors to India. But the companies have been concerned about the absence of a well-defined nuclear liability regime in India. Environmental groups believe foreign companies will be reluctant to invest without a liability regime in place because they do not want to run the risk of having to compensate without a cap for a nuclear incident. Without the bill, under the existing legal regime, a company may have to encounter absolute, unlimited and non-delegable liability.
What does the bill propose?
A leaked version of the proposed bill circulated by environmental groups indicates that the government plans to cap the maximum liability for each nuclear incident to 300 million Special Drawing Rights ($460 million or Rs 2,100 crore). This is lower than the $470 million settlement in the Bhopal gas disaster.
If the claims for compensation for nuclear damage exceed SDR 300 million, an additional 300 million SDR may be available through an international convention.
The liability of a nuclear power operator (so far only the NPC and Bhavini) for each nuclear incident will be Rs 500 crore. The limit will also apply to private companies if they are allowed entry into the sector.
The central government will be liable for nuclear damage if the liability exceeds the operator’s limit.
Why has this generated controversy?
The bill has generated the widespread perception that it will allow US companies to go scot-free in the event of a nuclear accident and saddle the Indian government with the liability — in other words, Indian taxpayers will have to pay for damages. Some environmental activists are contrasting the proposed Indian cap of $460 million with the much larger $10 billion pool of funds available in the US to cover liability and provide compensation to the public in the event of a nuclear accident. Some legal experts are arguing that there is no place for a cap on liability under Indian law. Any such legislation would be vulnerable and open to challenge and could be easily struck down as a violation of the environmental jurisprudence established by India’s Supreme Court.
Will the bill really allow foreign companies to go scot-free?
A clause in the bill appears to allow the nuclear operator to have “a right to recourse” —which would mean the operator could seek assistance — when the nuclear incident has resulted from negligence on the part of a foreign supplier of a material, equipment or service. However, this would have to be reflected in written contracts between the Indian operator (the NPC, for now) and the foreign suppliers. Environmental groups are sceptical, and fear that this will not emerge in actual contracts.
How is the bill linked to the international nuclear liability regime?
The Convention on Supplementary Compensation under the International Atomic Energy Agency provides for an international fund to compensate for nuclear damage in the event of an accident. The convention envisages a two-tier system — the state will ensure availability of at least 300 million SDR, and an international fund for which all participating nations are obliged to contribute. Any country that plans to join will have to ensure its national legislation is consistent with the convention’s provisions. By enacting domestic legislation, India could join the convention and — should the event arise — also seek money from the much larger international fund, which could help India access an additional 300 million SDR.
How is nuclear liability covered in the US?
The Price-Anderson Act enacted in 1957 ensures the availability of a large pool of funds — about $10 billion — to provide compensation to people who incur damages from a nuclear accident — no matter who is liable.
Have nuclear liability claims been paid in the US?
The American Nuclear Society estimates that the nuclear insurance pools have paid a total of $151 million in the past 43 years. The US energy department has paid $65 million.
What kind of liability regimes do other countries have?
They vary from country to country. Belgium has set a liability amount of 300 million Euros, and the France 91.5 million Euros, and the UK £40 million. Germany has set unlimited liability though a financial security limit is set at about 2,500 million Euros. Japan also has unlimited liability, but a maximum financial security limit of 60 billion yen.
Shame! India sold its dead cheap
Around 22,000 dead. More than 1,20,000 injured. Rs 1 lakh for each
body. Rs 25,000 for every poisoned lung and damaged heart and blinded
eyes. 26 years of long wait. And just 2 years in jail for the men who
committed the worst crime against the people of this country. And this
mockery of justice after such a long wait. Twenty six years after 40
tonnes of lethal gas seeped into the lungs of Bhopal, families of some
17,000 men, women and children are still waiting for the so-called
compensation. Thousands more are still waiting to be accepted as
victims. People of Bhopal are still drinking toxic water poisoned by
Union Carbide in December 1984. And the main culprit is living life
kingsize in a mansion in New York.
No country sells its people so cheap.
No country sells its poor so cheap.
No country sells its dead so cheap.
Today – on the day of Bhopal disaster judgment — if there is a failed
state in the world, it’s India. It’s not Iraq. It’s not Somalia. It’s
not Sudan. It’s India.
India – its government, judiciary and corporates – accepted the
ridiculous amount of $450 million dollars for the people killed and
maimed by methyl isocyanate leaked from the Union Carbide factory in
the heart of Bhopal three decades ago. In all these years, the poor
victims have done everything they could to get justice and
compensation. They have cried and died on streets, sat hungry and
faced police lathis on roads and filed court cases in the hope that
one day they will get justice.
Today, they were denied justice. Today, they were told that they
should be happy with the peanuts thrown at them by Union Carbide.
Today, India proved once again that it doesn’t care for its poor.
Today, it was proved all over again that those who do politics in the
name of poor in this country, always rule for the rich.
What justification does CBI have for not being able to produce Warren
Anderson in court. The chairman of UC at the time of the gas attack
(it was not an accident, the gas leak was caused because of cost-
cutting steps taken by him) on the people of Bhopal, Anderson was
arrested and later released on bail. He ran off to US in 1986 and we
have not been able to find him or ask the US to extradite Anderson to
India. Why? The government says it doesn’t know where Anderson is.
What a lie. What a shame.
Last year, on a balmy July day, a bunch of victims danced on the
streets after hearing news that the Chief Judicial Magistrate of
Bhopal had ordered the CBI to arrest Anderson and produce him before
the court without delay. The court also asked the CBI to explain what
steps it had taken since 2002 to enforce the warrant and extradition
of Anderson, who was declared an absconder in 1992. Though the CBI and
US government failed to track Anderson, supporters of Bhopal victims
traced him to the elite New York neighbourhood of the Hamptons. In
2003, Greenpeace activists paid Anderson a visit at his home and
handed him an arrest warrant.
Today’s ridiculous judgment in Bhopal didn’t say anything on Anderson
as he is a “proclaimed offender”. This status suits him fine because
he doesn’t have to bother about coming to India and answer some very
*Why did Union Carbide not apply the same safety standards at its
plant in India as it operated at a sister plant in West Virginia, US?
*On the night of the disaster, why did the six safety measures
designed to prevent a gas leak fail to function?
*Why was the safety siren, intended to alert the people living close
to the factory, turned off?
The victims have always alleged that Bhopal happened because of
negligence by the Union Carbide and that was caused by cost-cutting
measures taken by Anderson. Is it because of this reason that Anderson
has been ‘hiding’ in the US?
A criminal has a reason to hide, but what reason does our government
have to let a mass murderer like Anderson go scot-free. Is it because
he is an American? Can an American come to India kill people in this
country and run away with no consequences? That seems to be the case.
We are still struggling to get a chance to question David Headley
Coleman, an American citizen responsible for the worst terror attack
on an Indian city in 2008. Will we succeed in getting Headley
extradited to India? No way. Never.
Today, India proved that it doesn’t really care for its people,
particularly if they have been slaughtered by powerful people from the
most powerful nation in the world. Instead of taking on America and
fighting for justice for its poor, India is more than happy to sell
its dead cheap.
Rs 1 lakh for every body. Rs 25,000 for every blinded eye. This is the
cost of poor life in a failed state.
BHOPAL GAS TRAGEDY 1984 -Bhopal, India
At the first instance the Government of India failed to ensure that Union carbide India Limited (U.C.I.L) has installed proper safety measures and fully implemented it in practice, at it’s plant in Bhopal. The Government of Madhyapradesh through it’s labour
department, factory inspectorate & pollution control board failed to enforce safety practices & environmental protection. In turn, the U.C.I.L didn’t install in full, the safety measures being followed by it’s parent company union carbide corporation (U.C.C) at it’s
Various plants in the U.S.A. The U.C.I.L. didn’t give community training to residents of nearby localities, to cope up with emergencies ie. Industrial accidents. U.C.I.L gave a go – by to safety practices, as it treated Indian lives as cheap. The government of Madhya pradesh instead of shifting slum dwellers around U.C.I.L, to other safe place, gave them legal title deeds just months before the tragedy in 1984.
Now, refer the following:-
1. After the accident at it’s U.C.I.L. plant at Bhopal, India in 1984, when the U.C.C. Chairman/C.E.O. came over to Bhopal from U.S.A to visit the accident site, local police arrested him on the charges of manslaughter. However, the Government of India got him released.
2. In 1985, Government of India enacted “Bhopal claims Act” took- away the right of appeal of all the Gas tragedy victims & declared itself as the sole representative of all victims. This said act itself is violative of victim’s fundamental & human rights. The
victims didn’t choose Government of India as it’s representative under will, agreement, trust or pleasure.
3. The paradox of this “Bhopal claims Act” is that, Government of India which is also a party to the crime, tragedy, itself is the appellant. The appellant (Petitioner),defendant are Government of India, Prosecution by Government of India & Judged by Government of
4. In 1989, when an appeal about interim compensation to be paid by the U.C.I.L to all the victims was being heard in the apex court, the supreme court of India without giving a chance to the victims to make their point, without consulting them, without making a proper assessment of damages/losses, gave an arbitrary figure as verdict & dropped all civil, criminal proceedings against U.C.C.&U.C.I.L
5. In the same year 1989, the Government of India without consulting the victims of disaster, without making proper assessment of damages/ losses, negotiated a settlement with the U.C.C. and in turn gave full legal immunity to U.C.C.& U.C.I.L from civil &
6. Even the Government of India didn’t present the case of victim’s-gas tragedy victims, properly before the U.S.courts, where the U.C.C is based. All these premeditated acts only benefited the criminals- U.C.C&UCIL. Are not the supreme court of India & Government of India, here to safeguard Indians and to safeguard Justice?
After all these crimes, the Government of India failed to distribute compensation in time to victims. It has failed even to provide safe drinking water to the residents near the accident site, It has failed to provide comprehensive medical care to the victims, till
date . It has even failed to get the accident site cleared off toxic wastes either by the culprit management or by it self, that too after 20 years. The very presence of these toxic wastes since 20 years is further contaminating, polluting the environment and taking toll of more victims.
Particularly in the case of “Bhopal Gas Tragedy” the supreme court of India & Government of India are deadlier criminals than U.C.I.L&U.C.C.
Just consider a case here, Just a few years back an U.S.based M.N.C ENRON set-up a power project in Maharashtra, India through it’s subsidiary. WhenMaharashtra state Electricity Board failed to lift power from Enron& pay them monthly guaranteed revenue, Enron threatened to invoke, open the “Eschrew Clause” with the Government
of India & to approach international arbiter U.K. Government of India has stood as conter-guarantee in this case. Finally the Government paid, of course subsequently the parent ENRON collapsed due to other reasons. If in this case if Government of India failed to pay-up as a counter guarantee & refused to comply with the award of International arbiter, definitely Government of U.S.A. would have stepped into the scene to protect it’s MNC. Hypothetically, In the same vein if Enron has caused damages to Indians either through negligence of safe practices or industrial accidents or bank frauds
amounting over and above it’s Capital base & insurance cover, then it would have been the duty of parent Enron & Government of U.S.A. to step in & pay-up.
In the same way, the U.C.I.L has caused massive damages to Indians & refusing to pay commensurate to damages. Dow chemicals which took- over U.C.C. is also refusing to pay. DOW chemicals which is the new owner of U.C.C. naturally inherits both profits, credits lent & liabilities to pay of U.C.C. Still it is refusing to pay. Now it is the turn of Government of U.S.A. to cough-up the sum.
Nowadays, it has become routine for central & State ministers to go- on foreign jaunts, to globe -trott inviting F.D.I/ M.N.Cs to India. They do sign numerous agreements, only favouring MNC. When tragedies occur or when they cheat Indian banks/ investors, it is Indians who suffer. The ministers & bureaucrats thinks themselves as wizards and enters into agreements with MNCs, industrialists in a hush-hush manner, with vast scope for possible corruption. Is it not the duty of government to be transparent ?
INDIA: Obama administration official supports corporate interests over victims of world’s worst industrial disaster
Deputy National Security Advisor Froman reveals administration’s double standards on corporate accountability for victims of Bhopal Gas Disaster
At a time when the world is focused on corporate accountability in the wake of the BP’s Gulf Oil Spill, a leaked email from the Obama administration shows that it values profit over people, when the profit benefits American corporations. The victims of the world’s worst industrial disaster were disappointed to see today that the White House is not pursuing the same levels of accountability from American Dow Chemical as it has from BP. When Dow purchased Union Carbide in 2001, the corporation acquired outstanding liability for the ongoing disaster in Bhopal, which has led to the deaths of an estimated 25,000 people in Bhopal, India following the 1984 Gas Disaster.
Today, Mumbai-based Times Now published an email chain between White House Deputy National Security Advisor Michael Froman, and Indian Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia. In response to an Ahluwalia’s email requesting assistance as India faces a sharp restriction in the World Bank’s lending, Froman replied:
“We are aware of this issue and we will look into it. We are hearing a lot of noise about the Dow Chemical issue. I trust that you are monitoring it carefully. I am not familiar with all the details, but I think we want to avoid developments which put a chilling effect on our investment relationship.”
Here Obama’s Deputy NSA apparently tied potential development aid to India with Dow Chemical’s liability in Bhopal. The White House denies any linkage between the IBRD lending and Dow’s ongoing lack of responsibility. Forman’s statement shows callous disregard for ongoing injustice and lack of accountability 26 years after the disaster. The survivor organizations in India, 5 of which have been protesting in Delhi this past month, have faced infringements on their basic rights, especially through discriminatory police abuse. A threatening statement from the Obama office could further repressive action from Indian Central Government of India.
Following months of safety cuts, on Dec 3, 1984 the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal leaked deadly gas containing Methyl isocyanate (MIC) over the city ofBhopal. In the immediate aftermath 8-12,000 people died. Currently the death toll has risen to approximately 25,000 people. Over 100,000 people are still too sick to work because of long-term health disability.
The Indian Government has been forced to address the Bhopal issue in the recent months following a June 7 verdict convicting the officials of Union Carbide’s former Indian subsidiary on charges of criminal negligence. The charges and sentence, equivalent to a traffic violation, enraged the Indian public, as did the fact the Union Carbide and its former CEO Warren Anderson have refused to appear in court to face charges of culpable homicide. Bhopal survivors say that Dow Chemical should not be allowed to continue doing business in India until its subsidiary appears in court and cleans up the site of the disaster.
The International Campaign for Justice for Bhopal (ICJB) is a coalition led by four survivor organizations along with environmental, social justice, progressive Indian, and human rights groups around the world. ICJB works to hold the Indian Government and Dow Chemical Corporation (the current owner of Union Carbide) accountable for the ongoing chemical disaster in Bhopal, India. It was set up to address the grave injustices suffered by the half million Bhopal Gas Disaster survivors.
Bhopal and the BP Oil Spill: A Tale of Two Disasters
By Madhur Singh
As BP struggles to contain the damage the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has caused to the Gulf of Mexico and to the people whose livelihoods depend on its waters, a legal judgment in the worst industrial catastrophe in history highlights how wrong the aftermath of such disasters can go — not just in terms of a cleanup but in the matter of justice. It is a terrifying lesson in how a corporation can evade full responsibility for one of the most heinous accidents in human history.
On Monday, more than 25 years after 40 tons of highly toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) was released from a Union Carbide plant in the central Indian city of Bhopal — killing thousands in a matter of hours and over years, rendering hundreds of thousands seriously ill and causing genetic defects in yet-to-be-born generations — a local court announced its verdict. It held eight former employees of Union Carbide India Ltd guilty of criminal negligence and sentenced seven of them to two years in prison and a fine of $2,100. (The eighth defendant died during the course of the 23-year trial.) The convicted former employees were out on bail — of just $500 each — in less than two hours. Union Carbide India, which no longer exists, was fined less than $11,000. (See the legacy of the Bhopal disaster.)
The judgments are likely to be appealed. Given the speed of the wheels of justice in India, the case is likely to outlast most of the Bhopal survivors and the accused. The most prominent name in the latter category is Warren Anderson, the American CEO of Union Carbide, the U.S. parent company. He is now 89 years old. Arrested by Indian police when he visited the disaster site, he was released on bail and flew out of the country. He continues to be a fugitive from Indian law and hence has not been tried. (He is believed to be living somewhere in New York state.) At the same time, no one has been assigned responsibility for cleaning upBhopal’s ground zero, which researchers and activists say continues to leach toxic chemicals into the groundwater, used by thousands of families. (See TIME’s 1984 cover story on the Bhopal disaster.)
The outcome of the case has ignited outrage and disbelief across India. No less than the Law Minister and a former Chief Justice have said justice has been delayed and denied. The Economic Times newspaper led its front page with the headline “After 25 Years, Another Tragedy Strikes Bhopal.” “We are used to being let down,” says Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action, her voice catching as she spoke to TIME by phone, “by our government … now even the judiciary.”
The letdowns have been serious and repeated — and apparently preordained because of decisions that facilitated the disaster itself. Investigations over the years have shown that the Bhopal plant design was faulty and that there was next to no emergency preparedness — issues that the parent company in the U.S.apparently knew about, according to the groups that conducted the studies. The company was operating in India with standards unacceptable in the U.S. (See pictures of the Gulf oil spill.)
The Indian government seemed to go out of its way to cushion the experience for Union Carbide. After first suing the company for $3.3 billion in 1985, New Delhiannounced an out-of-court settlement of $470 million in February 1989. Then a 1996 ruling by another Supreme Court judge watered down the charges against the accused from culpable homicide (with maximum punishment of 10 years’ jail term) to criminal negligence (maximum sentence two years).
The various governments that have ruled India in the meantime have not taken on Union Carbide, which is now owned by Dow Chemical. Meanwhile, Keshub Mahindra, chairman of Union Carbide India Ltd at the time of the Bhopal disaster and now chairman of India’s automobile giant Mahindra & Mahindra, was nominated for a civilian honor, the Padma Bhushan, in 2002. He had to decline in the face of widespread protests.
Although environmental legislation was ramped up in the wake of the Bhopal disaster, companies continue to operate in India in ways that severely — if not as dramatically — pollute the environment and impact people’s health and livelihoods. Britain-based mining major Vedanta, for instance, has faced censure from Amnesty International for violating the human rights of communities in Orissa, where it operates bauxite mines. India continues to be the world’s e-waste dump. Of late, the government, keen to attract foreign investment to its nascent nuclear energy market, has been pushing a bill to limit the liability of a nuclear-plant operator to $111 million. “We’ve learned nothing from Bhopal,” says Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan. “There is a drive to attract foreign investment overwhelming all other considerations.” Opposition parties have already demanded a rethink of the proposed legislation in the face of the Bhopal outcome. (See pictures of people protesting BP.)
There is still outrage that the U.S. refuses to extradite Warren Anderson to face criminal charges in India. New Delhi made the request in 2003, and it was refused the year after. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Robert Blake, reacting to Monday’s Bhopal verdict, said, “I don’t expect this verdict to reopen any new inquiries or anything like that. On the contrary, we hope that this is going to help to bring closure.” The Bhopal activists now plan to file a writ petition in the higher court to admit more charges against Union Carbide and Anderson, seeking an as-yet-unspecified figure for personal and property damages, health monitoring and cleanup of the site, which is likely to run into billions of dollars.
Indians point at the way the U.S. government is now confronting BP — holding it squarely responsible for the oil spill and accountable for all cleanup costs — as a stark contrast to the way their own government has dealt with Union Carbide. The hope in India is that U.S. courts will be more amenable to the requests of Bhopal’s victims now that America has a huge environmental disaster in its own backyard. The Bhopal activists say the Indian government must join the case in the U.S. as a plaintiff (indeed, it owns the land on which the Union Carbide factory was located). “Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should be inspired by President Obama’s recent commitment toward making BP pay every cent for its oil spill,” says Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action. “And the U.S. government must follow the same standards on corporate liability for U.S. corporations operating in India as it expects for corporations operating in the U.S.”
See the world’s top 10 environmental disasters.
See pictures of critters caught in the Gulf oil spill.
BP and Union Carbide:
Corporate Responsibility or Corporate Liability
by Mukesh Williams
Two momentous events separate in time and location have seared our consciousness—the British (Beyond) Petroleum Gulf Coast oil spill on April 20, 2010 and the American Union Carbide Bhopal Gas Tragedy in December 3, 1984. Twenty five years separate these two environmental and human disasters but the greed of big multinational corporations in connivance with state and central agencies still remains insatiable. With a keen eye on profit, big companies compromise safety standards, falsify data, overstate their strength, underestimate their drawbacks, bribe officials, lobby for protection and misinform the public. It is rather difficult to fuse ethical economic standards with ravenous profit-making schemes. Though oil and gas stink most multinational corporations love it.
The neo-classical model of economics has reduced our land and environment to a mere abstraction that can be exploited in terms of supply and demand without compunction. Big companies continue to wreck havoc on our human and natural systems devastating our lives in the name of human progress and development. At such moments we often wonder where is the fashionable concept called social corporate responsibility that is often taught as a philanthropic and ethical tool in business management departments to unsuspecting students. Corporate greed like all other forms of human greed need to be kept under strict check by international pay czars or up-to-date legislation based on global standards with teeth for swift punishment. Also the rhetoric of corporate companies must be separated from what they actually do, how long they do what they do, and what they hide. A constant monitoring system both on the part of governments and private groups must be effectively installed in collaboration with the media to thwart their nefarious activities and ulterior motives.
Union Carbide Bhopal Gas Tragedy 1984
Early this month the Indian Supreme Court passed a verdict indicting the American CEO of Union Carbide Warren Anderson who was allowed to escape to the United States twenty five years ago possibly with the connivance of either the state or central agencies in India. Now both the Congress government and state ministries are trying to escape their involvement in the murky plot. Who wanted the truth then? And who wants the truth now? The declassified CIA report of December 8, 1984 and recent revelations by the principal secretary of Rajiv Gandhi, P. C. Alexander, point to political intrigue involving both state and center in releasing Anderson. Now some leaders claim that the worsening law and order situation in Bhopal in the wake of the accident forced Chief Minister Arjun Singh to provide a safe corridor to Anderson out of the country. Some like Rajinder Puri even see the direct hand of Rajeev Gandhi himself. It seems that US President Ronald Reagan phoned Rajeev Gandhi to release Anderson. The media would like us to believe that even P. Chidambaram and Kamal Nath were campaigning for Dow Chemical to get special concessions so it could invest in India. The chief minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi criticized Sonia Gandhi for the complicity of the Congress Party in the murky affair but it has come to light that he had signed an MOU between state public sector company Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Ltd and Dow Chemicals in April 2008. This is the case of the pot calling the kettle black.
Seemingly neither the American nor the Indian establishments saw the industrial disaster as the responsibility of the MNC Union Carbide. The company was bought by Dow Chemical Company in 1999 further camouflaging accountability. Dow Chemical was the second biggest Texas polluting company in 2009 and paid 1.14 million USD on eight counts of pollution. Now it is investing again in India with the syrupy connivance of people in power.
Even after 25 years the public would like to know if it was Arjun Singh the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh or influential persons in Rajiv Gandhi’s government at the center or the prime minister himself responsible for giving a free passage to Anderson to fly back to the U.S. India has an extradition treaty with the United States and under changed circumstances today when America itself is suffering from another MNC BP, there might be possibility of bringing the fugitive CEO back to justice if India can put together enough evidence. Greenpeace believes that in the 1982 safety audit of the Bhopal factory in the US addressed thirty safety hazards. Anderson knew about them and compromised safety standards causing the death of 20,000 people and affecting 578,000 to date. To make the tragedy reprehensible the out of court settlement made Union Carbide pay a sum of 470 million USD instead of 3.5 billion initially demanded, with each victim getting a measly sum of 550 USD in 1989. In the same year Exxon oil spill in Prince William Sound Alaska forced the company to pay 5 billion USD of which it paid half. Even today there is 425 tons of hazardous waste in Bhopal left by Union Carbide that needs to be cleaned. Who will do it—Dow Chemical or the Indian state government?
Anderson now 90 years lives in a luxury home worth 900,000 USD at 929 Ocean Road, Bridgehampton, Long Island, New York. He is now less of a fugitive and more of a monarch (Sonnenfeld, 1991). It is obvious that in many cases justice delayed is justice denied. Should we stop big companies from doing business? Should we impose heavy penalty on erring foreign companies? Or should we reform the slow and cumbrous judicial system? Jeremy Kahn writing in The Faster Times calls for judicial reform rather than protectionism (Kahn, 2010). The Indian Parliament is debating a law capping liability for foreign nuclear power companies involved in disasters to pay 100 million USD a pittance when compared to the US demand of 100 billion USD from BP. Then Indian law capping liability lacks teeth and may not cover non-nuclear companies. So they can pollute as of before.
British or Beyond Petroleum
The British are desperate to save BP from going down by bringing silly arguments like BP has been a part of America since it merged with American energy Amoco in 1998 and acquired the Gulf of Mexico drilling rights (The Independent, “Cameron Warns Obama over Criticizing BP” 13 June 2010). The new British Prime Minister David Cameron has also chipped in underscoring the sustained “economic importance” of BP to both Britain and America. American President Barrack Obama however is needled by US senators, whose states have been ravaged by oil spills, to push for 100 billion USD compensation, which if realized would force BP to go bankrupt. The British media believes that Obama’s anti-British rhetoric is testing Anglo-American relations. Obama claims that American relation with Britain has not been affected. The environmental disaster caused by a British multinational company should have nothing to do with national identity but corporate liability. Obama has called BP the Swedish Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, who earns a fat cat salary of 3.8 million USD, to the White House for consultations.
The British are cut up with Obama’s off the cuff remark that he would have fired BP’s chief executive Tony Hayward if the latter had worked for him. With US pressure rising BP may not pay its quarterly dividends which are essential to maintain equilibrium for UK pension funds. The 6.7% shares lunge in the FTSE has adversely affected pension funds in the UK. If the status quo is not altered by American pressure groups BP might only have to pay 20 to 37 billion USD provided it can be proved that BP failed to meet safety regulations in the deep sea oil drilling.
Now BP is using two kinds of dispersants manufactured by Nalco—Corexit 9500 and Corexit EC 9527A. Corexit (deodorized kerosene) is banned in the United Kingdom as even 2.61 ppm can kill 50% of fish in 96 hours. The dispersants turn the oil slick into small particulates which settle on the sea bed and make things look clean on the surface, but they destroy marine life below. Corexit however is on the approved list of dispersants by the US Environmental Protection Agency though the EPA has advised BP to use less toxic dispersants. BP however refused citing lack of availability. The toxicity of the present dispersants increase when they get mixed with oil. BP has links with Nalco. BPs has poured 1,621,000 gallons of dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico to contain the oil spill and has ordered for an additional 805,000 gallons. The ill effects of the dispersant on humans can result in various diseases, reduced growth, kidney failure and death.
The British rely on BP as the national icon and savior of British deficit. Last year BP paid 1.4 billion dollars in taxes on its profits. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is too far away for the ordinary Britons but the pension funds and BP dividends are closer home.
It stands to logic that a “large, wealthy company” which is eager to pay 1.8 billion quarterly dividends to its shareholders and whose last year’s sales and operating revenues were 239 billion USD, should pay 100 billion USD in damages. Since the oil spill began on April 22, 2010 till June 15, 2010, 55 days have gone by. And if we estimate the oil spill at 50,000 barrels a day it comes to 27500000 gallons. If each gallon spill is fined 4300 USD as the US is suggesting the actual fine would come to 118,250,000,000 that is about 118 billion USD. These figures may not be exact and are vigorously contested by BP which would like to work with half the numbers. However the end is not in sight. According to BP officials it would not be before August that the spill can be contained. If this is true then the figure could be doubled and BP would have to pay damages amounting to all the revenue it earned through sales last year.
Both the American government and public are hopeful that since earlier erring companies like Texaco was forced into bankruptcy in 1987 after paying 10.53 billion USD claim, BP too would have to cough up huge sums. And BP’s reputation does not help a wee bit whatever they claim to the contrary in those daily briefings on the Internet. BP is known as one of the “ten worst corporations” in the world when evaluated on their environmental pollution and infringement of their human rights record. It also has the dubious distinction of being the most polluting company in the United States vis-à-vis EPA toxic release data of 1991. It has been fined 1.7 million USD for burning polluted gases at its Ohio refinery. It also paid 10 million USD fine to the EPA in July 2000 for mismanaging the US oil refineries. The US Public Interest Research Group or PIRG claims that between Jan 1997 and March 1998, BP was involved in 104 oil spills. Obviously a lot of wealthy shareholders, 37% on the British and 31 % on the American side do not want this to happen.
BP’s propaganda regarding its CSR is highly effective as it tries to highlight only the positive aspects of what it has done. In the past BP has invested some money in alternate fuel and green technologies but it has been criticized for proving private funds to public universities of the California Bay Area and closing down its green technology office in London. Its critics call its green technology projects as green washing projects. BP is also a leading producer of solar panels and holds 20% of the global market in this area and it uses this fact to great advantage for image building. It operates the ampm convenience store chain in the US and other countries and is the leading producer of wind power. It is also involved in funding local and international politics. It gave 5 million USD to democrats and republicans in 1990 and spent 16 million USD in lobbing at the US Congress. The moral of the story is that it is not as clean as it claims, nor concerned with the lives of common people unless it serves its purpose or national interest.
BP in its regional spill plan for the Gulf of Mexico and site plan for the Deepwater Horizon rig understated the dangers and overstated its preparedness in the eventuality of a leak. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal criticized BP for being ‘reactive’ and not ‘proactive’ from the very beginning. Now BP’s report is examined quite critically and it has been discovered that an expert professor listed in its 2009 response plan died in 2005. It lists walruses, sea otters, sea lions and seals as “sensitive biological resources” when none inhabit the Gulf of Mexico. Also names and phone numbers of marine specialists and marine network officers in Louisiana and Florida are not correct. The Justice Department has to find evidence that BP destroyed key documents or lied to the government (The Daily Yomiuri, June 11, 2010).
Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate social responsibility is one of the modern movements like environmental or tribal movements that have become the buzz word in both business and academic circles. Both businessmen and academics are cashing upon the divine benefits of CSR making more money for their companies and jobs for their departments. Middle level managers and professors have extolled about the virtues of CSR with other buzz words such as people friendly, eco friendly and sustainable. We have come to hear about the unselfishly egalitarian aspects of CSR. It is really a wondrous transformation of the greed-driven capitalist economy of which the corporate system is a byproduct.
Most critics of CSR are not against it per se but against the recent hype associated with it as a panacea of all corporate evils. It is hard to believe that companies are out there not to make profit. We are not talking of basket cases but any company worth its salt aggressively markets itself to make real profit. And what’s wrong in it. Companies are floated for this very purpose both by the shareholders and managers. But in a changed climate of political advocacy of human rights against corporate greed, CSR seems to a new combative tool for companies to be both politically correct and make money as usual. The problem however is that if business corporations give an inch they take a mile.
Definitions and Objections to CSR
In the United States CSR is seen as philanthropy while others see it as improving society, workforce and government. There are arguments in favor of CSR where it is believed that it can support the social fabric of society and promote responsible business practices. But CSR is usually presented as a marketing strategy that articulates business performance rather than encompass social and ethical standards. The recent collapse of American business and manufacturing sectors has revealed the gap between CSR and actual self-regulation. Some CSR models take the company beyond the law into providing public benefits, increase sales, market shares, brand position, retain employees, reduce operating costs and increase investments (Baron, 2001 7-45). There are models of CSR that take into account competitive advantage, positioning, commitment, organizational integration, shareholder’s cooperation and self-correction. CSR helps to create a positive image of a company and brings it rich dividends. Though there are many definitions of CSR we must see CSR as the way business companies conduct their core business not the sops they give to society.
A common objection leveled against CSR comes from the advocates of the laissez faire system who complain that CSR infringes upon the human rights of company shareholders as company managers unilaterally divert company resources to society in the name of better management (Sternberg, 1999). Detractors of CSR complain that there should be a stakeholder claim in CSR as to how it is done. A business corporation should be fair and honest to both the shareholders and customers. CSR therefore depends on the model a company chooses and the reasons for its choice. If a company uses CSR for image building through philanthropy it leads to both ethical and human rights problems. You cannot give away money which ultimately belongs to someone else. On the flipside it also follows that if stakeholders possess sole rights they also should bear full responsibility when there are environmental or social disasters. However if a CSR model seeks a consensus of both stakeholders and company managers then it must become more open to the public. CSR must concentrate upon building customer relationships, attracting talented people, conducting risk management and building the company’s reputation.
Corporate Reputation and CSR
Corporate business companies such as BP or Coca Cola cannot ignore their reputation as about 90 to 95 percent of their assets are intangibles and the remainder immovable property. Big companies such as General Electric, IBM or Motorola use the rhetoric of CSR to show public responsibility and environmental concerns but while conducting hard-nosed bullying business practices are not so transparent in their dealings. A few years ago Sir John Browne of BP was praised for his aggressive promotion of BP while providing environmental leadership but now we come to know that all along BP compromised on safety costs in oil drilling. This is happening in a powerful country like the United States where both politics and laws are strong. Had it happened in a developing or a poor country, things would have been quite different. BP would have gotten away cheaply and Union Carbide once did.
CSR invariably works for companies and countries with resources and political clout. It is not for companies which are small and weak. Small companies fight for survival, cut costs to make ends meet and do not possess precious resources to waste on CSR. Nor can they follow up on legal battles if they come under the scanner. They function in a world of poverty, deprivation and loss.
It is no longer tenable to follow neo-classical economics of Smith, Mill and Bacon that the world is made for us and for us alone. We must eschew the economic theories of Pareto and Hayek as we can no longer treat nature as a mere variable and commodity. Depreciation of ecological assets has taken place at an increasing fast rate. Economics should no longer be about inflation, economic value of goods or maximization of income. It should take into account our natural world as property that belongs to every one of us (McNeill, Padua, Rangarajan, 2010 1-3). We must learn new lessons from ecological economics and environmental history and change the way we do business. We must rein in corporate greed by modifying corporate social responsibility (CSR) to corporate legal liability (CLL) and connect it to governmental deterrence, legal action and international treaties to scare the hell out of the merchants of greed and death who have many supporters in different parts of the world.
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