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Ex-Union Carbide CEO enjoys retirement
Why isn't he on trial?

By Nicole Colson | September 6, 2002 | Page 2

WARREN ANDERSON should be on trial for mass murder. Instead, he's enjoying retirement in his multimillion-dollar mansion in the Hamptons on New York's Long Island.

Anderson was Chief Executive Officer of Union Carbide (now part of Dow Chemical) in December 1984 when an explosion at the company's plant in Bhopal, India, released a cloud of lethal gas in the worst industrial disaster in history. Safety equipment that could have prevented the leak wasn't working, and gas storage tanks had been overfilled.

Three thousand people were killed that day, and another 10,000 have died since as a result of the disaster. More than half a million people were seriously injured.

And Union Carbide's response? Pay survivors less than $550 each--then abandon the plant, leaving behind tons of toxic chemicals and contaminated groundwater for anyone living around the site.

Since 1992, Anderson--who retired in 1986--has faced charges of "culpable homicide" in India. But the Indian government has never sought his extradition, claiming that it didn't know his address. Last week, a member of Greenpeace took care of that problem--by showing up on Anderson's doorstep to present a copy of the arrest warrant.

Still, facing pressure from the U.S. government, prosecutors in India don't seem very interested in pursuing the case. They even tried to get a court to reduce the charges against Anderson to causing "hurt by negligence."

According to Satinath Sarangi, a member of activist organization Bhopal Group for Information and Action, lessening the charges would have been the equivalent of "converting the world's worst industrial disaster into a car accident." But Indian judges rejected the motion.

Getting Anderson into court will only happen if the U.S. extradites him to India--something that is unlikely as long as authorities claim that his whereabouts are "unknown."

Yet Greenpeace activists found him easily enough. As activist Casey Harrell said, "If Greenpeace can track down India's most wanted, why haven't the U.S. authorities extradited him?"

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