With an incredible slap to the face for the survivors of the Bhopal Disaster, controversial Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris was appointed, in December of 2016, head of the American Manufacturing Council at a rally in Michigan. Dow has a notorious reputation for running rough-shod over rules and regulations in the countries within which it chooses to do business and, under Livers’ watch, things have surely been no different. A perfect fit for the new US regime then?
In a cringe-inducing speech, Liveris took to the stage and praised Trump, gushing: “I tingle with pride listening to you”. Given Dow’s track record and his own business history he went on, rather tellingly, to exclaim: “You’re paving the way with your administration, with your policies, to make it easier to do business in this country,” he said “Not a red-tape country but a red-carpet country for American businesses.”
For the Bhopal survivors, Liveris’ aversion to ‘red tape’ comes as no surprise since Dow and the US Department of Justice have been contriving to swerve the ‘red tape’ of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, signed by both the US and India, since it was signed in 2005.
The Treaty is designed to enhance the ability of the two countries to pursue their common objective of law enforcement by putting in place a legal mechanism enabling them to provide each other with assistance in connection to the investigation, prosecution, prevention and suppression of crime.
Assistance given under the conditions of the treaty includes: taking the testimony or statements of persons; providing documents, records and items of evidence; locating or identifying persons or items; serving documents, transferring persons in custody for testimony or other purposes; executing requests for searches and seizures, assistance in proceedings related to seizure and forfeiture of asset, restitution, collection of fines.
Dow’s wholly-owned subsidiary, the Union carbide Corporation, remains wanted in India on the criminal charge of ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder’, for its part in the Bhopal Disaster, but Union Carbide has never bothered to answer the charge, nor attend court, and is a ‘proclaimed absconder’ in the eyes of the Indian judicial system.
In January 2005, the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court in Bhopal first ordered that Dow Chemical be summoned to ‘showcause’ as to why it should not produce UCC before the Bhopal court. Immediately, a huge roll of red tape saw a wholly-owned Indian subsidiary of Dow’s block the passage of the summons to Dow’s HQ in Michigan.
The stay was finally lifted by the Madhya Pradesh High Court in October 2012. The Indian government has now forwarded five court summonses, addressed to Dow’s Michigan HQ, to the US Department of Justice (DoJ) which, according to the terms of the MLAT, is required to facilitate their service to Dow. But the DoJ has ignored or obstructed all of them.*
On May 15, 2016, a White House ‘We The People’ petition was launched criticising the US Department of Justice. The petition asked that the White House ensure the DoJ do as it is legally obliged and forward the court notices to Dow. It received over 127,000 signatures. The White House responded to the petition stating that:
“As our Terms of Participation explain, to “avoid the appearance of improper influence, the White House may decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or agencies, federal courts, or state and local government.” That’s why we’re declining to comment on the specific request raised in this petition.”
*Update. After six summons addressed to Dow Chemical HQ in Midland Michigan the Bhopal Chief Magistrate’s Court has now summoned a named individual from Dow Chemical. Summons has been issued to Dow Company Secretary, Ms.Amy Wilson, on two occasions, but Ms.Wilson has not attended the court.
More on Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris, head of the American Manufacturing Council:
Dow’s Improper Influence? Hillary Clinton Arranged Private Meeting with Executive at Heart of Dow Chemical Scandal: http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/09/02/hillary-clinton-arranged-private-meeting-with-executive-at-heart-of-clintons-dow-chemical-scandal/
Dow blacklisted in India for bribery: http://bhopal.org/dow-agro-sciences-india-pvt-ltd-blacklisting-for-bribery/
Dow Chemical illegal activity, fines, civil penalties: http://bhopal.org/dow-chemical-company-illegal-activities-fines-and-civil-penalties/
An ‘interesting’ use of Dow’s funds? Dow’s top auditor alleged Liveris used his position to finance his lifestyle: http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/dow/
A toxic merger between Dow & DuPont: http://bhopal.org/the-toxic-merger-of-dow-and-dupont/
Trump, the ‘marketer of fantasy’: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/11/donald-trump-australian-role-in-administration?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
Corporate abuse? The corporate veil between Dow Chemical and Union Carbide: http://bhopal.org/corporate-veil-between-dow-chemical-and-union-carbide/