November 18, 2011 Cited in Media 0 Comments

Wikileaks: The Global Intelligence Files

On Monday February 27th, 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files, over five million e-mails from the Texas headquartered “global intelligence” company Stratfor. The e-mails date between July 2004 and late December 2011. They reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal’s Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defence Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment laundering techniques and psychological methods.

DOW CONFIDENTIAL: Bhopal Monitoring Report Friday, November 18, 2011

Released on 2012-02-27 09:00 GMT

Email-ID 407784
Date 2011-11-19 00:39:50
From [email protected]
To [email protected]

DOW CONFIDENTIAL: Bhopal Monitoring Report Friday, November 18, 2011

Contact AIM for more Information
Significant Activist Activity
11/14 Bhopal, Chennai press events announce ICJB petition to LOCOG signed by 22 Indian ex-Olympians
11/15 BMA/Amnesty/Labour Friends of India press event in London opposed Dow sponsorship
11/16-17 BMA: Heavily tweeted link to Guardian poll “Should Olympic chiefs dump Dow?”
PAN Int’l “people’s tribunal” 12/3-6 to “indict” agrichemical companies for “gross violations of human rights”
Olympics sponsorship media summary
11/14 AP, India media: Bhopal, Chennai press conferences by ex-Olympians opposing Dow sponsorship
11/15-18 Global media: London Olympics – Coe defends LOCOG, Dow; BMA et al press event opposes sponsorship
11/15-18 Local media: MDN, MLive, WNEM; UK local letters and columns
11/14 Saginaw News: Reporter questions whether Bhopal “shadow” affects Dow
11/12 Hindustan Times: GoI cancelled registrations for four Dow Agrosciences products
11/15 Ummid: Pervez Bari article on Olympics and standing activist allegations against Dow
11/18 IANS, Telegraph: Greenpeace, “Bhopal survivors” object to new nuclear civil liabilities rules
11/14 Asian Voice: Keith Vaz interview of Colin Toogood on Bhopal and BMA
11/14-11/17 Independent, Socialist Party UK: BMHRC drug trials commentary
11/17 Hard News: activist RTI requests GoI documents on Anderson extradition
11/18 Derby Evening Telegraph: Animal’s People review
Activist Activity
Bhopali film: Screenings scheduled in Amsterdam, Toronto, London, NYC, Pittsburgh, Boston
ICJB website: new front page layout; Rail Roko information/justification
BMA website: media items on Dow’s Olympic sponsorship; play day for Chingari Trust children
Amnesty: Bhopal presentation slides for Group 133; Annual Write-A-Thon on Dec. 11 petition now over 1,000 signatures
Activist email: Dhingra, Edwards send media items to Remember-Bhopal list
AID: new chapter at George Washington Univ.
Message boards: Games Monitor; Chennai and Delhi enviro groups
Blogs: BMA volunteer Ian Jarvis updates on life at clinic
Social media: BMA Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube; anti-Dow Olympics Facebook
Yes Men: Yes Lab actions at APEC in Hawai’i; Bonanno to conduct Yes Lab in Sweden 12/14-16; Mark Rudd at Yes Lab 11/17

11/14 Bhopal, Chennai press events announce ICJB petition to LOCOG signed by 22 Indian ex-Olympians

The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal and former Indian Olympic hockey players coordinated press conferences in Bhopal and Chennai to announce at least 22 athletes had signed the ICJB’s petition to Olympics
officials and PM Singh calling for Dow’s Olympic sponsorship to be dropped, or for India to boycott the London Games.
The ICJB press statement quoted representatives of the five Bhopal activist groups & NGOs – Safreen Khan, Rachna Dhingra, Rashida Bee, Balkrishna Namdeo and Nawab Khan.
The Olympians statement recommended: “national and international Olympians should oppose the unholy alliance with the poisoner of Bhopal.” The Olympians who participated in the press conferences were:
– In Bhopal: Inam – Ur – Rehman, B P Govinda, Syed Ali and Jalaluddin Rizvi.
– In Chennai: Vasudevan Baskaran and Charles Cornelius
The AP and Indian media reported on the press conferences, as indicated in the media section below.
The ICJB’s press statement, the petition addressed to Olympic officials, and the list of athletes who have signed it are attached.

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11/15 BMA/Amnesty/Labour Friends of India press event in London opposed Dow sponsorship

Bhopal Medical Appeal, Amnesty Int’l and the Labour Friends of India held a press event in London to publicize their opposition to Dow’s Olympic stadium wrap sponsorship.
A preview of the press release was posted on Google Docs and distributed a few days prior via Twitter to several media and activist contacts.
BMA tweeted the link to 11 other Twitter users: NDTV; Olympics watchdog blog Games Monitor and its administrator Julian Cheyne; anti-corporate activists Adbusters; environmental and legal activists EarthRights
International; environmental/anti-pesticide contacts: This Is Ecocide; Shift Soil; No Mo Pesticides; Pesty Pesticides; and AntiDrifters; and the London Olympics Information account (The announcement tweet not displayed
on that page).
The press release was phrased in quite inflammatory terms, including the title of “Growing scandal over Olympic stadium sponsor” and that Dow “having been recently found guilty of SERIOUS MALPRACTICE [emphasis
theirs]…cannot be considered an appropriate sponsor of the London Olympics stadium.”
Representatives of the “cross-party” coalition appearing at the event were MP and Labour Friends of India leader Barry Gardiner, and Tim and Farah Edwards of BMA. The press release promised “the great-great-granddaughter
of the last “Begum of Bhopal (the Bhopal Royal Family) and herself a survivor of the Bhopal disaster.” This is presumably Mrs. Edwards.
Considerable global media coverage of the press conference ensued, much of it folded into reports on Lord Coe’s testimony before Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sports Committee, as indicated in the media reporting
The activist coalition press statement is attached.

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11/16-17 BMA: Heavily tweeted link to Guardian poll “Should Olympic chiefs dump Dow?”

UK media the Guardian posted an online poll in its sports section asking “Should Olympic chiefs dump Dow?”
BMA sent numerous tweets urging recipients to “Vote to dump Dow” on the poll, sending more than 50 messages in a few hours, and several more before the poll closed.
Final poll results: 91.6% thought Dow should be removed as a sponsor.

Three comments were also posted on the poll page, all critical of Dow. One of the comments was from Pesticide Action Network UK (PAN-UK), which named EDF as another Olympic sponsor considered “dodgy.”

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PAN Int’l “people’s tribunal” 12/3-6 to “indict” agrichemical companies for “gross violations of human rights”

11/16 The Ecologist, a member of the UK’s Guardian media network, reported Pesticide Action Network Int’l announced a “Permanent People’s Tribunal” (PPT) session will be held from Dec. 3-6 “to indict Agrochemical
Transnationals for gross violations of human rights.”
The targeted companies and organizations are:
Dow, Monsanto, DuPont, Bayer CropSciences, Syngenta, BASF, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization.
PAN has a website dedicated to the PPT session, with a case summary and a petition to sign with a goal of 10,000 signatures by Dec. 3. The petition currently has about 430 signatures.
This refers visitors to PAN Asia Pacific contact and social media resources. The case summary is attached.

11/17 PAN UK posted similar documents with a few more details, including giving Bangalore, India as the location for the PPT session, and identifying some “legal experts” and scientists who are named to the “jury.”
These are Gurdial Singh Nijjar, Director of the Centre of Excellence for Biodiversity Law at the University Malaya; Pananchand Jain, retired Rajasthan High Court Justice; and Upendra Baxi, former President of the Indian
Society of International Law.[and] scientists and experts such as Dr. Ricarda A. Steinbrecher, a biologist and geneticist with the German Federation of Scientists.”

11/18 PAN North America (PANNA) also posted an announcement and executive summary of the planned PPT. The executive summary is closest in format and content to the PAN UK version, with the main exception of offering
U.S.-based individuals as available for interviews:
– Kathyrn Gilje, PANNA co-director
– Jeannie Economos, Farmworker Association of Florida
– Paige Tomaselli, Center for Food Safety
– Viola Waghiyi, Alaska Community Action on Toxics
– Ana Duncan Pardo, Toxic Free NC

Any or all of the remaining documents are available on request.

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Olympics sponsorship media summary

Global media reporting on Dow’s sponsorship of the London Olympic stadium wrap ran heavily from Monday, 11/14, through Wednesday, 11/16. Reports began with the Indian activist and athletes press events in Bhopal and
Chennai, then moved to London with reports first on Lord Coe’s testimony before Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport committee, and followed by the “cross-party” activist coalition press event.
– Associated Press reports led the rmedia all three days, with global pickups each time. Washington Post, Boston Globe, NBC Sports and FOX Sports were the main U.S. major media outlets to use the piece. Regional leading
media pickups include Detroit News, San Francisco Chronicle, along with numerous U.S. and Canadian broadcast and media websites. The initial report from London contained an error, stating Dow had purchased the Union
Carbide plant in Bhopal in 2001. An updated version of the story corrected the statement.
– UK major media the Independent, Guardian, BBC and Channel 4 reported on the London events, as did wire services UK Press Association, PTI, IANS and ANI, and UK communist media Morning Star.
– Agence France Presse issued a wire story, but received limited pickup.
– The Hindu was the only Indian major media to publish a print report on the London events.
– Several video reports on the London events were broadcast, including Channel 4, Al Jazeera, and NewsXLive. These invariably began with the activist coalition event at the Olympic stadium, and included on-camera
comments from Barry Gardiner, Farah or Tim Edwards.
– IOC news website Around The Rings has published updates on the events, as well.
– Local pickups included Midland Daily News, and WNEM television.

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11/14 AP, India media: Bhopal, Chennai press conferences by ex-Olympians opposing Dow sponsorship

Associated Press reported “at least 21” Indian Olympians called for LOCOG to drop Dow’s sponsorship, calling it “offensive to the spirit of the Olympic Games.” The only person quoted by AP was Safreen Khan of Children
Against Dow-Carbide, who said “hundreds of children are being born disabled” and blamed Dow for the lack of remediation in Bhopal. LOCOG was noted as standing firm on the Dow sponsorship, and Dow’s position on the Bhopal
issue was given. The article noted Dow’s India office referred inquiries to the US headquarters.

IBNS issued the closest iteration of the ICJB press release, as usual. Three Olympians appeared at the press conference in Bhopal: “Inam – Ur – Rehman, B P Govinda, Syed Ali and Jalaluddin Rizvi,” and said, “national and
international Olympians should oppose the unholy alliance with the poisoner of Bhopal. ”
Representatives of the five Bhopal activist groups & NGOs were quoted – Safreen Khan, Rachna Dhingra, Rashida Bee, Balkrishna Namdeo and Nawab Khan. Bee said neither PM Singh’s office nor the Indian Olympic Association
have responded or acted on the ICJB’s request that they contact LOCOG and demand Dow’s sponsorship be dropped.

PTI reported from Chennai that Hockey Olympians Vasudevan Baskaran and Charles Cornelius held a press conference in conjunction with the ICJB’s press event in Bhopal.

UNI quoted Bhopal activist leader Sarangi, saying it is “unfortunate” neither the GoI or “IOC” [mistake for IOA?] were taking any action, while UK MPs are protesting the sponsorship. He also said efforts are being made
to “rope in more Olympians – including from other countries – in the campaign to protest Dow’s sponsorship.”

Yahoo! India News posted a video report by NBS News of the Bhopal press conference. The 1:45 minute clip showed several men sitting at a table in front of microphones while the reporter voice over explained the
situation. Sarangi and “sports person” Syed Ali were interviewed on camera but both spoke in Hindi. The clip is titled “Bhopal tragedy shadow over London Olympics.”

Around the Rings posted a report on the press conferences.

UK communist media Morning Star included the Indian Olympians petition information in a report on Olympics security concerns.

11/15 Four print editions of Indian papers had short articles, mainly sourced from PTI, on the press conferences, all located in the Sports sections and positioned below the fold: Hindustan Times’ New Delhi and
Chandigarh editions, Asian Age New Delhi edition, and the Pioneer New Delhi edition.

11/15 ANI issued similar wire and video reports on the press conferences. Two former Olympic hockey players were interviewed, with English subtitles on their comments in Hindi, including if Dow has enough money for
Olympic sponsorships, they should compensate the Bhopal gas victims. A photo of Warren Anderson and others from the 1984 gas accident were at the end over audio stating Dow purchased UCC in 2001.
The statements from the two men were included in the ANI print report.

11/16 The Hindu and Times of India published reports on Monday’s press conferences. The ToI article inferred the 1984 gas tragedy played a part in Bhopal producing fewer star hockey players than prior to the accident,
and quoted Salim Abassi about not recovering from the gas effects that “may have cut short” his athletic career.

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11/15-18 Global media: London Olympics – Coe defends LOCOG, Dow; BMA et al press event opposes sponsorship

AP reported Lord Coe testified at a Parliament hearing of the Culture, Media and Sport committee and stated LOCOG’s commitment to and confidence in Dow as an Olympic sponsor and its ethics. This report did not mention
the planned activist protest in London. Global pickups trended through mid-day U.S. time to more than 100 pickups.
– An update was issued mid-afternoon to correct the third sentence stating Dow purchased the UCIL factory in Bhopal in 2001.
– A shorter version was also seen:

Several other sources issued reports, including BBC, AFP, the UK Press Association (UKAP), Channel 4, Guardian, the Labour Party and Morning Star UK.
BBC issued two articles, one primarily on Coe’s Parliamentary testimony to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, the other on the activist protest and press release.
– The Coe article included a brief background on Dow, the stadium wrap and Dow’s purchase of UCC. Coe stated his satisfaction that Dow did not have any functional connection to the UCIL facility, and the Indian Supreme
Court “upheld on two previous occasions” the validity of UCC’s settlement for the Bhopal gas accident. Keith Vaz and Tessa Jowell voicing their concerns to Coe was also noted.
– The protest article is longer and quoted Sarangi for the Bhopal Group for Information and Action (BGIA), former Olympic hockey player Aslam Sher Khan, and unidentified Dow and Games 2012 spokespersons. Sarangi called
Dow’s sponsorship “an dance on the graves of Bhopal gas victims” and promised “protest rallies in Bhopal, Delhi and London if necessary.” Khan said India should “lodge a strong protest,” and he had written to the Indian
Olympic Association, PM Singh and the Sports ministry.

Agence France Presse reported Coe “defended” the Dow sponsorship, stated 15,000 as the death toll from the Bhopal gas tragedy, and that “Dow bought Union Carbide in 2001 and has ever since denied responsibility” for the
gas accident. The opposition by “several Indian athletes” and Jowell’s “concern” preface a quote from Coe that he is “the grandson of an Indian so I am not completely unaware” of the Bhopal issue, but stands by the
sponsorship. Times of India is the only known pickup of this article at this time.
– UK Press Association’s version was very similar to the AFP wire report.

Channel 4 UK news provided background on the wrap deal, the Bhopal accident and Dow’s position on Bhopal. It introduced the campaign by a “cross-party coalition of MPs, survivors and Indian Olympians” opposing Dow’s
sponsorship, and mentioned the IOC’s support of the sponsorship. MP Barry Gardiner, Chair of Labour Friends of India, and the leader of the activist coalition admitted LOCOG “had set high environmental, social and
ethical standards,” but called the Dow contract decision “a mistake and it must be set right.” This article tried to name the Dow spokesperson “Scott Walker” as the source of Dow’s position statement.

The Guardian posted a report on the wrap sponsorship issue and an online sports poll asking “Should Olympic chiefs ditch Dow?” .
The article drew mainly from Coe’s hearing testimony and questions from other MPs. Coe told the panel he had met with Vaz and Jowell, but “insisted he had not heard anything” from the Indian Olympic Committee about a
potential boycott by India’s athletes. Conservative MP Louise Mensch called LOCOG’s decision on the Dow sponsorship “very worrying,” to which Coe responded LOCOG had “looked at the issue very carefully” and cited Dow’s
IOC global partner status.
MP Steve Rotheram asked “whether Dow could be replaced if the company did the ‘honourable thing’ and withdrew from sponsoring the wrap, the Locog chief executive, Paul Deighton, said it was ‘getting very late’ to do so
and had no indication that the company would pull out.”

The Labour Party reported just Tessa Jowell’s three points of concern she says “Dow Chemical needs to urgently answer”:
– Is Dow’s conduct since the UCC acquisition “consistent with the Olympics’ sustainability aims?”
– Did LOCOG seek input from other groups than Dow on the Bhopal issue?
– “…even if Dow win their legal battles against Bhopal survivors and the Indian Government, is there a reputational risk to London 2012 in their sponsorship of the Olympic Stadium wrap?””,2011-11-15

UK communist media Morning Star posted a brief report on LOCOG’s commitment to Dow’s sponsorship, the “Indian athletes and rights organizations” letters to LOCOG, and Dow’s position on the Bhopal issue.

11/16 The Guardian published a report on the activist coalition press statement, with a little more detail on the activist groups and the campaign itself. The groups described Coe as “stonewalling” questions about the
sponsorship. Coe’s responses to the questions on the selection process and Dow’s compliance with LOCOG requirements are also included. This article does not appear to be currently available online; full text available on

11/16 Indian media reported on Tuesday’s events in London events.
– IBNS posted a report calling Dow’s sponsorship “tainted” and said “British MPs are up in arms” over the issue, despite Coe’s commitment to the stadium wrap deal. The wire story covered the activist coalition press
statement and quoted from UK media on Coe describing Dow’s selection. Dow’s position statement is given at the end, and is unique in including the sentence regarding the MP state’s control of the site and responsibility
for remediation.
– ANI issued a short wire report on Coe’s statements to the committee.

11/17 The Hindu summarized this week’s media on the Dow Olympic sponsorship, drawing mainly from the activist coalition statements. Dow’s position on Bhopal and Lord Coe’s statements on the matter were included. The
article appeared in the Delhi print edition.

11/17 The Independent published a column by Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington and Shadow Public Health Minister, who complained the Games have “lost touch with reality,” and that corporate
sponsorships have not helped the matter. She called Dow’s sponsorship “distinctly unhealthy.”

11/18 Around the Rings published a Sponsor Spotlight report with a brief report on Lord Coe’s statements defending the Dow sponsorship.

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11/15-18 Local media: MDN, MLive, WNEM; UK local letters and columns

11/15 Local MIchigan media picked up the AP report on events in London regarding Dow’s Olympic sponsorship, including (Saginaw News), WNEM TV-5 websites, and the print edition of the Midland Daily News – p2
across the fold on the left side.

11/17-18 Local UK media columns and letters addressed the Dow sponsorship and the Olympics in general.
– reported on the activist coalition press event.
– Scottish Daily Record columnist Joan Burnie used the Dow sponsorship controversy to complain about the Games overall as “becoming more farcical, as well as expensive, by the day.”
– East End Advertiser published a letter by Agent Orange activist Len Aldis criticizing Dow’s sponsorship and invoking the AO and napalm issues. Bhopal was not mentioned. Full text available on request.
– East End Advertiser also published a comment that Bethnal Green and Bow MP Rushanara Ali “has called upon” LOCOG to “rethink their use of the Dow Chemical Company as a stadium sponsor.” Full text available on request.

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11/14 Saginaw News: Reporter questions whether Bhopal “shadow” affects Dow

Saginaw News posted an article titled “Is the Bhopal disaster still casting a shadow on Dow Chemical?” by business and economic issues reporter Kathryn Lynch-Morin.
The context of the article is Liveris’ possibly being “dropped from” the Indo-US CEO Forum and the company’s connection, or lack thereof, to the Bhopal gas tragedy.
Morin cited Dow statements regarding the CEO Forum, the Bhopal gas tragedy, and Responsible Care.
After mentioning the press statements in India regarding the ICJB’s Olympic athlete petition, Lynch-Morin closed with:
“Is the Bhopal disaster still unfairly casting a shadow on Dow Chemical?”
No comments were posted on this item.

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11/12 Hindustan Times: GoI cancelled registrations for four Dow Agrosciences products

Hindustan Times reported the registrations for the four DAS India pesticides that have been at issue in the De-Nocil cases have been cancelled by the GoI.

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11/15 Ummid: Pervez Bari article on Olympics and standing activist allegations against Dow

Ummid published a long article by Indian Muslim reporter Pervez Bari, who folded together several topics regarding Bhopal.
He started with the information from the Bhopal and Chennai press conferences, listed the 21 former Olympians who signed the ICJB petition, and text from the ICJB press statement. He included expanded comments from
Dhingra saying the UK MPs actions are based on “initiative of the BGIA” (Bhopal Group for Information and Action).
Bari revisited the activist allegations regarding Dow, its relationship to and responsibilities for UCC, the polluter pays principle, UCC’s lease obligation to return the factory site to the MP govt “in its original
condition,” the GoI court petition for Dow to fund the site remediation, and the activist claim of double standards and racist policies regarding UCC business in the US and India.

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11/18 IANS, Telegraph: Greenpeace, “Bhopal survivors” object to new nuclear civil liabilities rules

India’s Telegraph and IANS reported Greenpeace and “Bhopal survivors” reacted angrily at the terms of the GoI’s Rules of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Act that were issued on Thursday. “Campaigners…warned of
‘another Bhopal'” in terms of compensation and environmental contamination, should a nuclear facility accident occur. Greenpeace member Karuna Raina alleged the GoI places “foreign interest…above the wellbeing of its

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11/14 Asian Voice: Keith Vaz interview of Colin Toogood on Bhopal and BMA

Asian Voice, a UK tabloid newspaper, published an interview with BMA’s Toogood done by Keith Vaz. Toogood talked a little about his life before BMA, what he does for BMA, and long term goals. Dow is not
mentioned. Toogood focuses on providing services for the gas victims “and hopefully the justice they deserve.” He cited the “ongoing environmental contamination” and the “second disaster” of water contamination. He
acknowledged BMA is a “tiny charity,” “there is so little awareness” of continuing issues in Bhopal, and people assume “the Bhopal disaster was all resolved many years ago.” Full text available on request.

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11/14-11/17 Independent, Socialist Party UK: BMHRC drug trials commentary

UK Independent posted two articles on the Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Center drug trials:
– The first focused on pharmaceutical companies using impoverished Indian people as “guinea pigs,” with one short paragraph on the drug trials. Full text available on request.
– The second article was specific to the BMHRC. Writer Nina Lakhani said the information sources were “secret reports” showing “drug trials funded by western pharmaceutical firms at the Indian hospital set up for
survivors of the Bhopal disaster violated international ethical standards and could have put patients at risk.”The reports cited are likely documents accessed by ICJB leader Rachna Dhingra via RTI requests that have been
reported here previously. Dow is not mentioned, the article focuses on pharmaceutical companies including Theravance, Pfizer, GSK and Sanofi, and the drug trial practices at the hospital. Dhingra termed the conduct of
the trials “disgusting and appalling,” and the Bhopal gas survivors who were subjected to the trials “doubly victimized.” A case study of Ramadhar Shrivastave is included; he is the same patient highlighted in recent
media items about the drug trial controversy.

– Daily News & Analysis published a commentary on Monday’s broader Independent report on drug trials in India. Full text available on request.

– The Socialist Party UK media also included a brief report on the BMHRC drug trials controversy.

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11/17 Hard News: activist RTI requests GoI documents on Anderson extradition

Indian media Hard News published a report on an activist’s RTI requests to access GoI documents on the Warren Anderson extradition efforts. Afroz Alam Sahil was provided with CBI and Ministry of External Affairs
documents from 1992-94, which he said indicated the agencies did not try to expedite the process.
The lengthy article mentioned the curative petition on Bhopal victims compensation was originally scheduled to begin hearings on Oct. 17, “but it has been postponed.”

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11/18 Derby Evening Telegraph: Animal’s People review

The UK’s Derby Evening Telegraph published a local book group review of Indra Sinha’s novel Animal’s People. Full text available on request.

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Bhopali film: Screenings scheduled in Amsterdam, Toronto, London, NYC, Pittsburgh, Boston

Upcoming screenings scheduled for the Bhopali documentary include:
– 11/18-11/23, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) – four screenings: 11/18, 19, 20, 23. No indication whether either Carlson or Payalan will attend.
– 11/25. Amnesty Int’l Film Festival – Toronto screening with Ellen Shifrin, ICJB North America advisory board member, also AI Toronto Business & Human Rights Team, and Aube Giroux, a Canadian activist filmmaker.
– 11/30 Frontier Club, London. Writer and BMA co-founder Indra Sinha will attend (host/present?)
– 12/1 The Indie Screen in Brooklyn, NY
– 12/1 Pittsburgh University, presented by AID Pittsburgh
– 12/2 Amnesty International Film Festival, Bloor Street United Church of Canada in Toronto
– 12/3 MIT campus at 6:30 p.m. “followed by a Q&A with members of ICJB.

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ICJB website: new front page layout; Rail Roko information/justification

The front page of the ICJB website,, front page has undergone a partial transition, with a new image of a Bhopal torch light rally and a reorganization of the information on the page. The site’s interior pages
do not appear to have changed.

The site was also updated with five pages of information regarding the Rail Roko protest that is planned for Bhopal on Dec. 3.
The posts include:
– An appeal for readers to “change your reservations now” to avoid traveling by train on 12/3. The text includes an apology for the inconvenience, “but stopping the trains is the only effective way we can think of to get
our urgent and important message through to the prime minister & government.”
– The posts are all about compensation for the gas victims – the UCC settlement amount, how it was calculated, the GoI’s “promise to make amends for its betrayal in 1989” with the curative petition on compensation, and
the claimed inaccuracy of data submitted with the curative petition, as compared to ICMR data. Comparisons using charts and tables are made between settlements for the U.S. Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the “Mangalore rail
crash,” and “Uphaar cinema fire.”
– A page on “the first betrayal” claims Warren Anderson met with the Indian ambassador in Washington early in 1985 and was told the GoI “had an open mind” but wanted UCC “to take the first step” in proposing a
settlement. A proposal was reportedly delivered at a subsequent “top secret meeting” between UCC, UCIL and GoI officials, followed by the formal proposal on March 4, 1985.
Full text attached.

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BMA website: media items on Dow’s Olympic sponsorship; play day for Chingari Trust children

BMA posted four new items on its website, including three of the recent media items on Dow’s Olympic sponsorship:
– An excerpt from the Independent’s initial article on Tuesday, 11/15, with the title “Coe shrugs off Bhopal protest.”
– The Guardian’s poll on whether LOCOG should drop Dow’s sponsorship.
– The Channel 4 article on the sponsorship issue.
– Photos and description of a picnic and play day for Chingari Trust children at a park in Bhopal.

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Amnesty: Bhopal presentation slides for Group 133; Annual Write-A-Thon on Dec. 11

The Amnesty Group 133 (Somerville, MA) message board posted the slides from Leonid Chindelevitch’s ICJB presentation Nov. 8. The 28 slides do not contain much new information. The Olympics campaign plan is the same that
was posted on the AID Boston chapter minutes from 10/23. The new items are:
* Dates for local events – 12/3 Bhopali documentary screening at MIT; a workshop on 11/13 “on activism-life balance” – by Hillary Rettig.
* The ‘Plan of Action” reiterated:
* “reach out – US Olympians, Dow victims from all 5 continents, Allies (Amnesty International, AID, Agent Orange, Greenpeace, BMA, etc)
* “Mobilize awareness on Dec 3rd and 10th
* “Hold parallel Olympics for Dow victims
* “Strategy via the Olympic organizing committee” (no further explanation of this)
* A victory over “Dow’s hypocrisy” was claimed because 6 ICJB members “disrupted” the Live Earth Run in 2010 and “It was not held again in 2011!”
* Past events mentioned included the walks from Bhopal to Delhi and the “B’eau Pal Water” Yes Men/BMA prank
Due to the file size, the slides are available on request.

Amnesty Group 133 plans to hold its Annual Global Write-A-Thon on Sunday, Dec. 11 in the Center Court of Boston’s Prudential Building. The ICJB Boston action plan regarding Dow’s Olympics sponsorship includes Dec. 10,
World Human Rights Day, as an action date this year. Given Chindelevitch’s recent presentation, the public event is a candidate for some type of ICJB activity.

Table of Contents petition now over 1,000 signatures

As of Nov. 18, the petition addressed to Lord Coe currently has about 1,030 signatures.

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Activist email: Dhingra, Edwards send media items to Remember-Bhopal list

Rachna Dhingra emailed to the Remember-Bhopal distribution list the full text of Tuesday’s Independent article claiming “secret reports” as the source material for reporting on the BMHRC drug trials.

Dhingra and Tim Edwards each emailed Wednesday’s poll URL to the “Remember-Bhopal” distribution list and encouraged recipients to vote “Yes.”
Edwards also emailed 8 URLs for a “selection of UK coverage” on Tuesday.

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AID: new chapter at George Washington Univ.

There is a new AID chapter at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. No details have been released about the group, other than it was founded “with the help of a few AID JHU (Johns Hopkins Univ) students.”

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Message boards: Games Monitor; Chennai and Delhi enviro groups

The Games Monitor watchdog blog and message board posted Tuesday’s BMA press announcement and Times of India’s report on Coe’s hearing testimony on the Dow sponsorship.

ICJB activist Shweta Nayaran shared the Guardian poll link on the message boards for the Chennai-based environmental group Lets Save Our Oceans and Reclaim Our Beaches, and the IITD4Bhopal IIT Delhi group.

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Blogs: BMA volunteer Ian Jarvis updates on life at clinic

Sambhavna Clinic volunteer therapist Ian Jarvis posted a Week 11 diary update about life at the clinic. His main topics are the Muslim Eid festival, and challenges of electrical power access at the clinic.

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Social media: BMA Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube; anti-Dow Olympics Facebook

BMA’s Facebook page was updated with the same three posts as the website:
– An excerpt from the Independent’s initial article on Tuesday, 11/15, with the title “Coe shrugs off Bhopal protest.
– The Guardian’s poll on whether LOCOG should drop Dow’s sponsorship.
– The Channel 4 article on the sponsorship issue.
The page also included a link to the Hindustan Times article from 11/12 about GoI cancelling registrations for the four DAS India products. Photojournalist Jack Laurenson posted several comments criticizing Dow’s Olympic
sponsorship and remarks made by Lord Coe regarding the issue.

BMA’s Twitter account tweeted the link to the Guardian’s poll, announcing that 91.6% thought Dow should be removed as a sponsor. The account also posted several links to recent media, and a link to the Bhopali Facebook
announcement of the film screening at MIT on Dec. 1.

Al Jazeera’s video report on the anti-Dow UK activists was “liked” by BMA on YouTube.

The anti-Dow Olympic sponsorship Facebook page has many of the same posts as the BMA page, and a few others.
– Rosalind Hardie posted a link to the KIM Foundation, with the comment “Dow were also manufacturers of Agent Orange and Napalm used against civilians in the Vietnam War.”
– Lorraine Close posted the Ecologist article on the PAN people’s tribunal session about the agrichemical companies
– Close also remarked her petition exceeded 1,000 signatures, and asked for continued sharing of the link to it.

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Yes Men: Yes Lab actions at APEC in Hawai’i; Bonanno to conduct Yes Lab in Sweden 12/14-16; Mark Rudd at Yes Lab 11/17

The Yes Men reported a Yes Lab action took place at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in Honolulu, Hawai’i on 11/12, where Occupy Hawai’i activist and “renowned guitarist Makana” was to perform
instrumental music, but instead sang a protest song he called “We Are the Many” and displayed a shirt reading “Occupy With Aloha.” The audience included heads of states from the U.S., China, Canada, Indonesia and
The prank received local media coverage in the Honolulu Star Advertiser, as well as blog posts by the Yes Men. (requires subscription or available on request)

Univ. of Hawai’i Manoa media Ka Leo had reported successively on Yes Man Mike Bonanno’s appearances in the state at the “alterna* APEC’s Forum(to)Festival” event Nov. 9-13. Bonanno encouraged forum participants to
respond creatively to “give APEC the attention it deserves.” There was no mention of Makana as a forum participant.

Bonanno is scheduled to appear on Dec. 14 at Stockholm arts blog Sugarcube Gallery to lecture and “conduct a yeslab [sic] in various sites, including KKH, Sugarcube and Stockholm at large.” Bonanno’s visit is to be Dec.
14-16. The event is “part of the Budget Recalcitrance Program conceived by Amanda Newall at the Royal Institute of Art.”

The Nov. 17 Occupy Wall Street day of action was promoted by the Yes Lab blog, which concurrently announced the week’s “Revolutionaries Live!” speaker was Mark Rudd, who was a “national symbol of student revolt” as part
of the SDS faction the Weathermen in the 1960s..

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Agrochemical TNCs target of upcoming Permanent People’s Tribunal
Saluting the American people who in recent weeks have gathered in New York to collectively condemn corporate power and greed, Pesticide Action Network (PAN) International will spearhead the first-ever Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) Session on Agrochemical Transnational Corporations (TNCs) this December. A public trial of decades of crimes by agrochemical TNCs, the PPT is similar in spirit to the Occupy Wall St. Movement which has brought public attention to the ills of capitalism, which is said to have profited only 1% of society and brought poverty and misery to the remaining 99%. “This disparity and exploitation is mirrored in the unprecedented control of agrochemical TNCs over food and agriculture, which has robbed millions of people, especially small-scale farmers, of their basic human rights such as the right to life and health and right to food sovereignty,” said Sarojeni Rengam, Executive Director of PAN Asia Pacific. Globally, just six corporations—Monsanto Company, Syngenta International AG, Bayer CropSciences AG, Dow Chemical Company, DuPont, and BASF— control 75 percent of the global pesticides market. These TNCs are also among the top ten seed companies who control 67 percent of the global proprietary seed market, including genetically-engineered (GE) seeds. They rake in billions of dollars in profit every year. This handful of TNCs have been allowed to grow in wealth and influence, despite their notorious record of poisoning people and the environment and grossly violating other social, economic, cultural and political rights. For instance, Dow Chemical remains unaccountable for the 1984 Bhopal tragedy in India, which instantly killed 8,000 people and poisoned hundreds of thousands more who continue to suffer to this day. None of the officials of Union Carbide Company (UCC), the parent company of the Indian plant responsible for the deadly pesticide leak, were punished. Since Dow bought UCC in 2001, it has also refused to pay further damages to the victims or clean up the disaster area. December 3 is known as the World No Pesticides Use Day in commemoration of the Bhopal tragedy. This year, it will also be the start of the three-day PPT Session on Agrochemical TNCs, which aims to gather victims and survivors of gross human rights violations by such companies before a distinguished international panel of jurors. “Largely unknown to the public, tragedies happen every day around the globe because of pesticides and other hazardous technologies promoted by agrochemical TNCs,” said Dr. Romeo Quijano, President of PAN Philippines. 1

Dr. Quijano said that 335,000 people are killed every year due to pesticide poisoning, and that up to 41 million people suffer from the adverse effects of pesticide exposure. The PPT is set to take up cases of pesticide poisoning that have been identified over past decades. This includes the paraquat poisoning of women plantation workers in Malaysia, endosulfan poisoning in Kerala in India, contamination of the Arctic with persistent organic pollutants, and dumps of obsolete pesticides in Africa. Many of these cases show the devastating inter-generational effects of toxic pesticides on innocent children. The PPT will also hear cases that relate to the adverse health and environmental impacts of GE, as well as the infringement of farmers’ rights due to the genetic contamination of their crops and patents on seeds. The case of US farmers that have been sued by the biotech giant, Monsanto, will be highlighted, as well as other cases that show how agrochemical TNCs have devastated the livelihoods of farmers. The PPT will also tackle unreported violations of civil and political rights by agrochemical TNCs, such as the shooting of Brazilian activists by Syngenta guards and the harassment of scientists who came up with independent scientific studies that refuted the companies’ falsified data on the safety of pesticides and GE. Systematic crimes “Given the existing state of law that has provided agrochemical TNCs with legal loopholes and safe havens that allow them to commit gross violations of human rights with impunity, it becomes more urgent that the PPT be held so that they will be indicted for their crimes,” said Rengam. The PPT, set up in 1979, is an international opinion tribunal that is independent of any State authority. It aims to raise awareness of situations of massive human rights violations, especially when such situations receive no institutional recognition or response. The PPT’s roots lie in the Bertrand Russell War Crimes Tribunal; it was borne out of people’s struggles against exploitation and oppression. Since then, it has held 35 sessions on various forms of human rights abuses through alternative judgments and legal articulations. The PPT is unique because it perceives a crime “not simply as an ‘acute’ event of violence—with an identifiable deviant perpetrator and an identifiable subject victim—but as a ‘chronic’ condition of systematic, structural violation resulting in communities of suffering,” describes one corporate watchdog. Such description is certainly illustrative of the violations committed by agrochemical TNCs. The death of the 11-year old Paraguayan, Silvino Talavera, due to exposure to glyphosate sprayed over GE soy fields, for instance, is specifically attributed to Monsanto, the producer of Round-up Ready technology. 2

Meanwhile, Dr. Quijano says that a mixture of toxic chemicals produced by different agrochemical TNCs are usually used in aerial spraying, a practice that remains common in many countries and which violates communities’ right to life as well as their right to freedom from interference with the family and the home. Dr. Quijano has extensively documented how Kamukhaan, a village in Davao del Sur, Southern Philippines, was poisoned by the aerial spraying of pesticides by a nearby banana plantation. “Agrochemical TNCs have full knowledge of the hazardous nature of their products, as well as their unsafe conditions of use in farms, plantations, and communities. Yet, they have continued to sell and promote these products,” he says. Many products of agrochemical TNCs are banned in their home states but continue to be used in Third World countries, where regulation is lax and the agrochemical industry is capable of exerting undue influence over governments. For instance, the highly toxic paraquat is banned in Switzerland, the home base of its producer, Syngenta. Yet, it continues to be produced and exported to over 100 countries without restriction. Also accused in the PPT are the governments of the US, Switzerland, and Germany, the home states of the world’s six largest agrochemical TNCs, for their complicity in corporate violations. These governments are unwilling to hold their TNCs accountable, especially when non-nationals seek redress. Such was the case when Indian nationals tried to sue Dow—so far, no US court has agreed to hear their complaints on grounds that it is best heard in the host country where the alleged violation took place. “There is a complete lack of political will by home states to create legal structures and procedures that might be seen to threaten the operations of agrochemical TNCs. This stems from a number of factors. Primary among them, of course, is the fear of the loss of competitive position in the global market,” said Rengam. Recourse to justice Currently, most international human rights laws and conventions only recognise the obligations of states to protect the rights of their own citizens, and do not address violations by private actors such as corporations. However, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states that “every individual and every organ of society” shall strive to promote respect for rights and freedoms, thus imposing a duty on all, including corporations, to comply. The UN Economic and Social Council also adopted in 2003 a set of norms that obliges TNCs to abide by human rights laws. Still, there is also no specific international forum empowered to hear and render judgment on cases of human rights violations brought against TNCs. 3

The International Court of Justice, the judicial arm of the United Nations, only has jurisdiction over UN member states. Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction only over natural persons, and not corporations. Thus, the upcoming PPT Session on Agrochemical TNCs is a valuable—and perhaps the only—recourse to justice for victims and survivors of gross, widespread, and systematic human rights violations by agrochemical TNCs. The charges against these corporations will arise from the testimonies of farmers, agricultural workers, Indigenous Peoples, women, children, youth, scientists, consumers, and activists. Regional centres of PAN International have launched a public awareness campaign on this PPT Session on Agrochemical TNCs, and are now gathering petition signatures and other forms of support from the public. “We will join the global upsurge of voices calling for corporate accountability and justice, in this time of growing social consciousness when crime and impunity by the 1% are met with outrage and action by the 99% of society,” said Rengam.

Support the tribunal. Sign the petition at

For more information, kindly visit our website: Contact us at [email protected]. Be updated via Facebook (Pan Asia Pacific) or Twitter (PANAsiaPacific).


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The Permanent People’s Tribunal Session on Agrochemical Transnational Corporations


The People’s Call for Justice

lmost 30 years ago, the world was brought to a standstill when a pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, exploded. It instantly killed almost 8,000 people and poisoned hundreds of thousands more who are suffering to this day. December 3, 1984 — the day of the Bhopal Tragedy — was a wake-up call on the destructive and unmerciful nature of pesticides. The company responsible for the tragedy should have been punished and rendered powerless to inflict more suffering to humanity. Yet it managed to escape the full extent of its liability for the horrific crime.

Dow Chemical Company remains unaccountable for lives lost in Bhopal almost 30 years ago. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
global network of more than 600 organisations in over 90 countries. For nearly three decades, PAN has been working to eliminate the use of pesticides and other hazardous technologies, based on the principles of food sovereignty, gender justice, and environmental sustainability. In this landmark Tribunal, PAN International will represent those who are without effective recourse to justice. The PPT is an international opinion tribunal that aims to raise public awareness of situations of massive human rights violations when such situations receive no institutional recognition or response. Started in 1979 using a rigorous legal process, the PPT has held 35 sessions exposing various forms of human rights abuses through alternative judgments and legal articulations. The PPT was borne out of people’s struggles against exploitation and oppression and has become a vital part of these struggles. Unlike existing legal mechanisms controlled by the interests of a few, the PPT draws its legitimacy and authority from the people.

Agrochemical corporations have not only escaped accountability for crimes such as the Bhopal Tragedy, but have grown tremendously in wealth and power, profiteering from the hazardous products and technologies that they have pushed into agriculture, the heart of the world’s food system. Exposure to highly poisonous chemicals is a tragedy that happens every single day in almost every part of the globe. A woman plantation worker in Malaysia mixes deadly chemicals with her bare hands, a child in Paraguay inhales the toxic fumes of pesticides used on a field of genetically-engineered crops, a mother in Alaska feeds her infant breast milk contaminated with pollutants. This December 3 to 6, 2011, a Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) will convene to indict agrochemical transnational corporations (TNCs) for cases brought by farmers, agricultural workers, Indigenous Peoples, fisherfolk, women, children and youth, scientists, consumers, and activists. Whether as individuals or as a community, the Complainants are victims and survivors of gross, widespread, and systematic human rights violations by agrochemical TNCs. The indictment will be brought through Pesticide Action Network (PAN) International, a

Institutionalised lies
Worldwide, it people are killed This means that a children die every is estimated that 355,000 by pesticides every year. thousand men, women, and day at the unseen hands of

silent killers: pesticides manufactured and sold by agrochemical TNCs. Agrochemical TNCs have full knowledge of their toxic and irreversible effects on human health and the environment. In fact, they have tried to cover up the harmful effects of these pesticides. For instance, Monsanto Company suppressed studies in the 1960s that showed the toxicity of dioxin, found in its herbicide 2,4,5-T, on its workers. Instead, the herbicide was sold to the U.S. government as one component of Agent Orange, which was sprayed on thousands of innocent civilians during the Vietnam War. The Union Carbide Company (now owned by Dow Chemical Company) also claimed that methyl isocyanate, the deadly chemical which leaked in Bhopal, was merely a “mild throat and ear irritant.” The lies with which agrochemical TNCs promote pesticides and hazardous technologies today are as treacherous as ever. It must be remembered that the pesticide industry started off as producers of noxious gases that were produced for chemical warfare during the First World War. Today, agrochemical TNCs have formed their own corporate empire—an empire that was built solely on lies about “feeding the world.” Under this mantra, the Green Revolution was launched in the 1960s with the aid of governments and international financial institutions. The Green Revolution made farmers around the globe dependent on chemical inputs. It immensely benefited agrochemical TNCs, which wilfully manufactured and sold these products while knowing of the extreme harm that they could inflict upon people and the environment.

discoloration and loss of nails, deterioration of muscles and bone, and blindness. Direct ingestion has been known to cause multiple organ failure and death within hours or days. Latest science shows that paraquat exposure is linked to Parkinson’s disease. Grave cases of paraquat poisoning and deaths throughout the years have been recorded in Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Kingdom, U.S., Brazil, Costa Rica, and South Africa.

Through victims’ eyes: Crimes by agrochemical TNCs
“I used to mix paraquat with my bare hands because I was not aware of what this would do to me,” said Nagama, an oil palm plantation worker in Malaysia. “The nozzle of the spray tank was clogged, so I tried to open and clean it. But the spray mixture splashed into my eyes… The next morning, my eyes were swollen and I could not see,” said Mardiah, another paraquat sprayer. Paraquat is considered as one of the most toxic herbicides introduced in the last 40 years. But it continues to be used in over 100 countries. In Malaysia alone, an estimated 30,000 women are pesticide sprayers, and most have been using paraquat and have been suffering from acute poisoning marked by nosebleeds, skin sores,

Paraquat is manufactured by the Swiss corporation Syngenta International AG, which has actively lobbied against measures to ban the herbicide. Syngenta convinced the Malaysian government to rescind the Ministry of Agriculture’s ban on paraquat through pressure tactics and a media blitz which claimed that the pesticide was “safe”. Ironically, paraquat is banned in Switzerland itself, but continues to be used extensively by sprayers in Malaysia and other Third World countries. Another toxic pesticide that was widely used in past decades is endosulfan, which is linked to congenital and neurological disorders, birth defects, and delayed puberty. Nowhere are these effects more evident than in the village of Kasargod, Kerala, India, where an estimated 4,000 people have died due to the aerial spraying of endosulfan over cashew nut plantations around the village for more than two decades. Endosulfan passes through the placental barrier, resulting in intergenerational health effects. Many children in Kerala have been born with congenital diseases. One of them is the 18-year old Shruthi. Each hand only has four fingers, and her severely deformed right lower limb was recently amputated. Her mother had been exposed to endosulfan while pregnant with Shruthi, and died of cancer six years ago.

(Above) A banana plantation worker in China sprays toxic pesticides without any protective equipment, a common practice in many countries. (Photo courtesy of Pesticide Eco Alternative Center)

(Above, clockwise) A woman paraquat sprayer in Malaysia afflicted with skin disease; a man exposed to pesticides via aerial spraying in Southern Philippines; Shruthi, a survivor of endosulfan poisoning in Kerala, India. (Photos courtesy of PAN Asia Pacific) (Far right) Through aerial spraying, pesticides drift several kilometers beyond the targeted areas, poisoning people, animals and other crops. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

In many countries in South Africa, thousands of cotton farmers have also fallen ill and died due to endosulfan exposure. A survivor, 29year old Tamou Yaro Orou Boko of Kassakou, Benin, recalled how in 2004, he almost drank endosulfan, thinking it was water. He immediately spewed out the pesticide, but it still caused hot flashes, dizziness, and vomiting of blood even a year after the accident. “The after effects are still present. Today, the slightest smell of chemicals makes me fall into a coma-like state,” he said. Endosulfan has also been associated with death of bee populations in India, fish kills in Senegal, and cattle deaths in Uruguay. Despite this, endosulfan was only banned worldwide under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) last April 2011. The original manufacturer, German corporation Bayer CropSciences AG, claims that it discontinued endosulfan production in 2007. Nonetheless, it remains unaccountable for decades of poisoning caused by endosulfan, and its other pesticides. Bayer’s earlier banned pesticide methyl parathion, for instance, caused the poisoning of 50 children, of which 24 died, in Tauccamarca, Peru, in 1999 when it was accidentally mixed into their breakfast cereals. The pesticide was packaged in a plastic bag without any indication of its toxic content—only a label written in Spanish that the Quechuaspeaking farmers could not read. It is clear that agrochemical TNCs have violated the right to health and life, which includes the right to safe working conditions and the right to a healthy environment. They continue to manufacture and distribute pesticides while knowing of their hazards and risky conditions of use, especially in farms and

plantations in the Third World where regulation is most lax. In many countries, chemicals manufactured by agrochemical TNCs ‘trespass’ into homes and communities through aerial spraying and volatilization drift, when pesticides travel through the air as gasses well after applied. Many pesticides drift several kilometers beyond the targeted areas, poisoning people, animals and other crops along the way. In the village of Kamukhaan, Davao del Sur, Philippines, people scurry inside their huts whenever a nearby banana plantation company aerially sprays pesticides—still, they cannot escape the toxic fumes. Many of the villagers have suffered numerous diseases over the years linked to the pesticides sprayed over them on a regular basis. The majority of those killed by pesticides are beneficial organisms and wildlife. Pesticides applied by aerial spraying in New Zealand kill dogs, sheep, cows, horses, deer, wild pigs, bats, and native birds. As a Maori tribe member said, “It is culturally offensive to Maori as the mauri (life force) of wildlife is attacked. Traditional kai (food) also suffers.” Their right to selfdetermination (the right to freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development) has been violated. As agrochemical TNCs know very well, certain pesticides have particularly long-lasting effects. Called Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), they persist in the environment, bioaccumulate through the food web, and can

travel long distances over air and in the oceans. The highest concentrations of POPs pesticides have been found among indigenous peoples of the Arctic, and in particular in the nursing milk of mothers. “Our children’s bodies are being contaminated against their will and knowledge,” said Shawna Larson, a resident of Alaska. Their food source, such as marine mammals, also had the highest concentrations of POPs in their bodies. Meanwhile, in Lake Apopka in Florida, U.S., POPs are still found in soil sediments around the lake, even though these pesticides were used and banned decades ago. The 2008 International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), participated in by 400 experts from all over the world, stated that the old paradigm of pesticide-reliant agriculture was an outdated concept. The IAASTD concluded that small-scale farming and agro-ecological practices are capable of feeding the world population and provide the way forward. Yet agrochemical TNCs continue to peddle “more of the same” hazardous technologies in the guise of wanting to feed the world.

More profits, more crimes
Agrochemical TNCs’ insatiable thirst for profits ushered in the commercialisation of genetically engineered (GE) crops. The socalled Gene Revolution has ushered in a new era of even greater suffering, especially for small food producers and traditional seed keepers. Like pesticides, GE crops were introduced to the market through false claims of safety and solving world hunger. But in reality, even bribery has been used to push these highly controversial products. Monsanto, the world’s top seed and biotechnology company, paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Indonesian government officials from 1997 to 2002 in order to secure the approval of its genetically-engineered Bt cotton. GE crops raise serious safety concerns, as genetic engineering is considered by many scientists as a highly imprecise technology. GE organisms can produce unexpected and unpredictable effects that are potentially harmful or even fatal. Animal studies have shown that the Bt toxins from Bt crops can create “holes” in the intestinal wall, and cause liver damage and reproductive disorders. Among humans, the toxins can adversely affect the immune response, and has been detected in umbilical cord blood. Agrochemical TNCs’ claims that GE crops will reduce pesticide use have been proven to

(Above) Agrochemical TNCs’ insatiable thirst for profits ushered in the commercialisation of genetically engineered crops, which is resisted by communities. (Photo courtesy of PAN AP) (Left) 11-year old Silvino Talavera died due to exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup Ready herbicide being sprayed on GE soy. (Photo courtesy of Altervida)
be untrue. Herbicide use increased by almost 200 million kilograms over the first 13 years of the commercial use of GE crops in the U.S., with Monsanto’s Roundup Ready soybean accounting for most of the increase. RR soybean is resistant to the toxic herbicide glyphosate, which is being sold by Monsanto along with the seeds. In 2003, Silvino Talavera, an 11-year old Paraguayan, died upon exposure to pesticides used on RR soybeans. With the aid of free trade agreements, patents for GE crops are protected under the intellectual property rights of agrochemical TNCs. Globally, corporations have already patented more than 900 rice genes. They use these patents to charge exorbitant fees for GE seeds. Farmers, especially women, used to conserve and freely share traditional seeds. Now, seed biodiversity is under threat of contamination by GE seeds.

And, in a most disturbing incident in 2007, activist Valmir Mota died after being shot by security guards in a protest against the illegal planting of GE crops in a plantation that was owned by Syngenta’s subsidiary in Brazil. Farmer Isabel Nascimento de Souza was also shot in the head and lost an eye. Quest for accountability and justice Agrochemical corporations have committed gross, widespread, and systematic human rights violations. And they have amassed billions of dollars in profits along the way. Through acquisitions and mergers, today only six corporations–Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, Dow, DuPont, and BASF Group–control 75 per cent of the global pesticides market and 67 per cent of the seeds market. They continue to grow in power while innocent people continue to suffer, unheard and unrecognised as victims and survivors of crimes. The PPT is a giant step towards ending the impunity with which agrochemical TNCs commit these crimes. Defendants Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, Dow, DuPont, and BASF will be charged with violations of more than 20 instruments of international human rights law. Before a distinguished panel of international jurors, witnesses will provide valuable testimony against these corporations for violations of the right to health and life; right to safe working conditions; right to a safe environment; right to livelihood; right to food and food sovereignty; right to freedom from interference with the family and home; right to self-determination; right to participation and information; rights of human rights defenders; and rights of women and children. Similarly, the governments of the U.S., Switzerland and Germany, home states of the Defendant TNCs, will be charged for failing to regulate the production and sale of the hazardous pesticides all by the Defendant TNCs and for failing to hold them accountable for their wrongful acts and omissions. Instead, they have aided in the expansion of these TNCs, reflecting their own imperialistic interests for economic and political dominance. The U.S. government, for instance, has pushed GE crops as food aid to Africa, and U.S. diplomats have pressured other governments to suppress resistance to genetically modified organisms. Collusion is rampant between U.S. government and TNCs through the “revolving door” policy and secret meetings between officials, which undermine effective regulation.

The six largest agrochemical TNCs will be tried by the Permanent People’s Tribunal for violations of the right to life, health, and livelihood, among other basic human rights.

Genetic contamination violates farmers’ rights to seed and livelihood. In several states in India, thousands of Bt cotton farmers have committed suicide because of high cultivation costs and low yields. In the U.S., Monsanto has sued hundreds of farmers charged with “seed piracy.” Monsanto has been paid millions of dollars in damages for infringement of patent rights, even if the real damage was borne by the farmers whose fields have been contaminated with GE seeds against their will. Genetic contamination affects innocent consumers as well. In 2007, rice stocks all over the world were reported to be contaminated with Bayer’s genetically-engineered LibertyLink Rice 601, prompting food recalls in Europe and other countries. The centre of maize biodiversity, Mexico, was also contaminated with Monsanto’s Bt corn in 2001, destroying the natural heritage of indigenous farmers in the country. Faced with mounting evidence of the hazards of their products and people’s opposition, agrochemicals TNCs have resorted to harassment and violence against scientists and human rights defenders. Scientists Ignacio Chapela and David Quist were forced to retract their critique of Bt Corn. Syngenta tried to stop the publication of Dr. Tyrone Hayes’ study linking the pesticide atrazine to endocrine disruption in frogs. Filipino scientist Dr. Romeo Quijano was sued for a public statement on the adverse effects of endosulfan, and for exposing aerial spraying in Kamukhaan.

Also charged in the PPT are the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and the World Trade Organization. Through structural adjustment programmes and free trade agreements, these institutions have ensured that governments of Third World countries allow and promote the use of the agricultural inputs supplied by agrochemical TNCs. PAN International adheres to the Precautionary Principle, including full protection of health and the environment over business interests. This principle states that extensive scientific data and exhaustive analysis of risks should not be preconditions to policy formulation and action on toxic chemicals, when long-term impacts of toxic chemicals are difficult to predict and often impossible to prove. Thus, affected communities need not carry the burden of proof of harm. They can push for preventive action and policies, and resist the corporate push for hazardous chemicals. All of the defendants have failed to exercise the Precautionary Principle and exposed millions of people and the environment to unconscionable harm. The existing state of law, both national and international, has provided legal loopholes and safe havens for TNCs. Most international human rights laws and conventions only recognise the obligations of States to protect the rights of their own citizens. They do not address violations by private actors such as corporations. Currently, there is no international forum with the power to enforce international human rights law in relation to violations committed by agrochemical TNCs. The International Court of Justice, the judicial arm of the United Nations, only has jurisdiction over U.N. member States while the International Criminal Court only has jurisdiction over natural persons, and not corporations. As mentioned, home states lack the political will to hold agrochemical TNCs legally accountable even for horrific crimes. When foreign nationals file a case in TNCs’ home states, national courts refuse to hear it on the grounds that it is best heard in the host countries where the violation took place. An example is the Bhopal victims’ tragic quest for justice. Since the dismal outof-court settlement in 1989, cases have been filed in the U.S. against Dow, the new owner of Union Carbide. But U.S. courts refuse to exercise jurisdiction over them. No company official has been punished to this day.

To fill the enforcement gaps in current international human rights laws and mechanisms, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) established a set of criteria to determine corporate liability and complicity in gross human rights abuses. According to the ICJ, in order for liability to arise, there must be both causation and state of mind (actus rea and mens rea). Causation is established if the corporation has enabled, exacerbated or facilitated the gross human rights violation/s. State of mind means that there is actual intent—that the corporation knew or ought to have known that the violation or abuse would take place. A corporation’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach is deemed as the same as actual intent. Complicity between two parties is also established via close proximity. Close proximity can mean geographic closeness and the duration, frequency, intensity and/or nature of the connection. There is also complicity when a company or its officials exercise such authority over the principal perpetrator/s, such that their silent presence is deemed as approval and moral encouragement to commit abuses. Ordinary business transactions where corporations receive economic benefits can also establish liability if the circumstances surrounding the transaction have enabled, exacerbated or facilitated specific human rights abuses. Clearly, the Defendant TNCs are liable, directly and through complicity, for innumerable human rights violations that have been committed with utmost impunity and disregard for humanity. Their lies of “feeding the world” cannot hold sway any longer after the Food Crisis in 2008/2009 when the number of hungry people rose to over a billion, after almost five decades of the Green Revolution and two decades of the Gene Revolution. In this light, the PPT will now rise up to the challenge of hearing the stories and addressing the demands of the many victims and survivors of violations by the Defendants. PAN welcomes the support of any individual, organization, or institution that is willing to be part of this remarkable quest for justice, as part of the continuing people’s struggles against corporate injustice and greed. Please sign on to show your support and solidarity for this people’s tribunal, the PPT, for corporate accountability, and for justice !

Support the tribunal. Sign the petition at

For more information, kindly visit our website: Contact us at [email protected]. Be updated via Facebook (Pan Asia Pacific) or Twitter (PANAsiaPacific).