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  • Publicado : 24 de novembro de 2012
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Chairman Warren M. Anderson, Union Carbide Corporation, ducked his head as he emerged through the open doorway of the jet plane and stepped purposefully down the slippery metal stairs, one hand clutching the rail. It had been a very long day, and he was determined not to slip in front of the spectators and TV cameras. The last step down was the one onto the solid and seemingly reassuring grayasphalt of the airport tarmac. A slight breeze drifted by .and his attention shifted involuntarily to the horrid stench in the air. It was a putrid mixture of involuntarily fumes, industrial effluent, animal waste, and humanity; the smell of a living nightmare. Yet, there he was, right in the middle of it all.

The flights had taken him from the solace of wintertime Connecticut to this dirty andtroubled city in central India, halfway around the globe. Images were more important now than ever before, but somehow the scene was not unfolding as planned. He flew here to demonstrate Carbide's concern, but it was not coming across well. There stood the wealthy American executive with his entuurage in tow, intent on conveying his empathy to the residents of this sprawling third-world city, mostof whom lived in abject poverty. His tailored clothes, gray hair, and heavy black glasses were just the finishing touches to the picture. He could not have looked more out of place, and he was not fully prepared to face what were to be perhaps the worst moments of his 63 vears of life.

Everywhere, on the other side of the wire fence surrounding the field and through the windows of the buildings,were the small dark faces of people, hundreds and hundreds of people. They all looked alike, and they were all staring straight at him. There were no shouts or signs, but the indignation and infernal hatred of every person in the crowd was more than obvious.

His two foreign associates from the firm's subsidiary, Union Carbide of India Limited, stepped down off the stairs behind and joined himon the ground. Warren Anderson took a slow silent breath, and the three Union Carbide executives began to walk toward the crowd.

They had taken just a few paces when a group of five men emerged from the mob about 100 feet away and began walking toward them. Anderson's eyes turned quickly. This was obviously not a welcoming party of local politicians eager for their business. But something abouttheir appearance suggested that they were not going to hurt them. They were reasonably well dressed, perhaps government officials. They continued walking toward the approaching men.

Their purpose became more dear as the group neared. These people had their own point to make, and they were going to play it out in front of the media and the crowd. There were two agendas on the table - - his andtheirs. But this was their turf, and it gave them an all too obvious advantage.
"Mr. Anderson?"

The group of five men stopped suddenly. The one who spoke was in front. Warren Anderson took two more steps, then stopped as well, face to face.
The accent was characteristically Indian, slightly high in pitch and staccato in its delivery. The man's voice was harsh. There were not going to be anypleasantries.

"Yes."
"We are officers of the Central Bureau of Investigations. Is this all of your party?"

Hearing who and what they were brought little surprise, but the abruptness of the question was disconcerting. This sounded a little more serious than anticipated.

There was a prolonged silence and everyone present absorbed the essence of what was about to be said, including, for thefirst time, Warren Anderson.

"Mr. Anderson, you and your associates are under arrest for conspiracy, criminal negligence, and criminal corporate liability as called for under Indian law. The three of you shall come with us."

Unbelievably, these people were really going to go through with this, and there was no choice but to go along. They were going to hold him personally responsible for...
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