Diane's report from atop
the tower at Dow
Glad this day started.
Ninety percent what you worry about never happens.
Need to remember that. Got to the Dow/UCC parking lot at 5:30AM. Got
dropped off by someone who didn't even know what i was up to. i had a
hat and safety glasses and had my yellow banner slung over my shoulder.
down the fence line inside the parking lot, found a likely looking spot,
threw my banner over the top of the barbwire and climbed over. Then i
across the unit and I found the tallest tower on the oxide unit and started
climbing. I was still having some mental confusion from the hunger strike
the week before, so i had wrote down the phone number of my contact on
hand. Had no problem climbing the tower, although i left my hard hat on
ground. figgered didn't have any more use for it and besides with the
and the pipe and chains that i had brought to lock myself down with, the
climb was a little tiring. when i got to the top, i called my contact
told her that i was at the top of the tower in the oxide unit and that
the sun came up i would drop my Bhopal banner. it would serve no purpose
have it down when nobody could see it. so i sat on a tiny balcony near
top of a 70 foot tower for an hour and a half. no security drove around,
just workers driving into the parking and getting out. nobody looked up
sat unnoticed for quite a while. i watched the sky full of stars and silence
then would glance down at all the pipes and flares and smoke and noise
out of that cement palace. There were a million lights and a million decimal
points of NOISE. only thing i didn't figure on was the noise, so it was
talking over the phone.
Apparently, my contact
who i alerted at 5:30 made other phone calls so by
7:00AM the first arrives. Jackson of radio fame in Houston. he pulls his
vehicle which i cant really tell what it is from the distant im setting,
it looks like a litte station wagon shaped more like a volkswagen bus.
there are two vehicles parked out where the hungerstrike was carried on
week before. I watch Jackson get out of his vehicle and start taking pictures
of the banner which i put over about 6:45. Finally i stand up and wave
he waves back. There down below me and across the parking lot i see a
security truck and it stops a minute and i can tell it is checking out
Jackson taking pictures and the 2 vehicles in the front of the plant.
This is after seven
AM and up until this point, there hasn't been a single
interest of the security truck in anything that is going on . looks like
another perfectly peaceful day at Dow. So the security vehicle goes to
Jackson and i see a lot of antimation and jackson still taking pictures
the security vehicle now hasthe window rolled down. the vehicle leaves
starts driving slowly around with the window down. i wonder just how long
before he notices the yellow bannner hung off the oxide tower and me sitting
out on a tiny platform. That's when it gets interesting.Within about l5
minutes, people are coming out of the administration offices and looking
at the tower and pointing. Then the police cars start arriving. at one
count there are 6 white police cars, a state trooper, dow security, dow
vehicle, EMS truck from memorial hospital. A little later the sheriff
arrives, then sometime later the FBI arrives, then eventually, the 4 manned,
black and booted swat team airlifted to my tiny balcony from a draconian
least it looked like a dragon to me) crane.
By the time all has arrived, Jackson out in front is arrested. I can
tell something is happening when the cops are following him and he has
arms behind his back. Managment and men and sheriffs and cops are roaming
over the oxide unit. Can tell somebody in power is hacked off about the
security blotch and serious looking men walk the fence line around the
looking for the place where i came in. They never give this up. by 2 PM
(8 hours being on the tower) Dow manahment is still prowling the perimeter
the gate looking for the entrance. sometimes when i notice them stopping
obviously looking, i am mentally sayin, "no, not there...a little
on." they look at a drainage ditch that has a space for a cat to
through and obvisouly think this MUST be the spot. "no," im
Even at one point, two important looking hard hats go to the electric
gate that lets vehicles in and out the oxide unit and one is obviously
showing the other the space that a burly man could get through. he kinda
kicks at the spot, acting pretty disgusted. im thinking, yeah, i could've
got through there.
The place im locked down on is getting hot. Well, that's another thing.
hot and loud. the more the sun comes up, the more it reflects off the
and occasssionally a loud hiss of steam roars out of some contraption
me. my head is leaning against the tower and my arms are locked around
metal ladder. I've got my wrists locked in chains, then over the chains
covering the whole mess, my wrists and all, is part of the exhaust pipe
of my old shrimp boat, the SeaBee. The exhaust pipe, made of stainless
steel, is a good cover and it will take some doing to get it off. right
above my head on the tower is a long tube with some kind of valve that
totally rusted to death. there is cobwebs on the ladder as i had went
on a sign was a warning not to climb the ladder when the Oxgen is in service.
looks like nobody had been up there in awhile. The only cool spot on the
whole place is when i turn my head sideways behind a slender bar. I seem
get some shade there.
There is quite a bit of activity below me, people in groups talking,
pointing, gesturing. a hundred binoculars watch me. sometimes they climb
another tower and watch me for several minutes. then too, there is a roaming
hard hat who has a video camera and he shoots me all day long. occasionally
an important looking hard hat gets a group of workers and they locate
below me and i hear the important hat say, "Now, listen up, here!"
some kind of plan that goes nowhere and eventually they all look up at
and i look down and one knda waves and i kinda wave my exhaust pipe at
Around one, after the big draconian crane is brought in, a sheriff with
bullet proof vest is airlifted to me in a cage. can we talk, he says and
say sure. he says what do you want and i look amazed. i point at the banner
that is staring him right in the face. "It's Bhopal,"...the
Bhopal." But what can i do," he says and i say, "make sure
the ceo of dow
goes to johannesburg and announces that dow will negoiate justice with
survivors of Bhopal." That for starters. Well, he says, he will take
message down, but i must really come down and i say i can't come down.
im locked in. and he smiles and says, but what will it take for it to
unlocked. and i say, deliver that message to dow. well, naturally, im
sure he didn't deliver the message, because about ten minutes here come
swat team. and believe me, they were dressed to kill. four men, dressed
black, black boots, black helmets. another man comes up the ladder. they
tie off the basket to my balcony then start jerking on my arms. one's
to cram one arm through the pipe and the other's trying to pull it out
other end like my whole body is gonna fit through that pipe. then they
a pair of surgical scissors and try to cut the stainless steel. i say,
you're not gonna cut stainless stell with scissors. then they get impatient
say let loose of the chain or they are going to hit me with peper spray
say, "Well,have at it, then"
One storm trooper gets impatient and starts cramming my arm agins
the pipe, trying
to make it hurt. it starts bleeding a little and i say, you're cutting
my arm and then is when he presses a little harder and trys to press some
place in my elbow to make it hurt worse. i just grit my teeth and hang
and so the fella gets out a long stick and starts sticking it in the pipe
prying against my chest and my upper arm. guess he feels like crackig
bones. then he gets mad and makes the stick longer and he sticks it in
pipe and gouges at my hands inside. the whole time they are threatening
pepper spray like it is the worst of all evils. finally the one who seems
enjoying the pain, stretches out my leg and puts his full weight down
on my knee.
finally my hands get jerked loose, the one grabs my arm and jerks in behind
my back hard and then they put on the handcuffs. then they pitch me over
the side into the basket and on the floor. then they have a discussion
they are going to get the straight jacket kinda harness on me with the
so one is kinda sitting on me and they're taking off the handcuffs and
putting on the
full torso harness so i won't leap from the basket and jump from tower
Eventually they get their rascal interloper to the bottom and the man
the video is there, taking pictures. Dow is everywhere and so is the cops.
Somebody important was right there as i was herded out of the basket.
know who that fella was. might have been Bush's Homeland Security man.
Might have been the FBI. Might have been the plant manager since i've
seen that man, not even once. always on vacation or back to back meetings.
anyhow, only thing to make up for those ornery little swat team fellas
the very nice jailers in Calhoun Jail. I would trust my children with
Got me a nice jail uniform and got to change wihout people looking. Took
those mean and biting handcuffs and gave me a chair and gave me water.
my sister and my aunt june bug posted bail for me. Saw Jackson getting
just as i was goin in. he said, "Diane, WE HAVE to talk!" I'll
later i talked with the judge who was real nice and said i have to stay
away from Dow. Dow don't want me messing with them anymore. if i go around
them again, well. you know.....So now i've got my own personal bail bondsman
i get to talk to once a week and very probably a restraining order.
Well, this has been a real interesting day, but as somebody like Martin
once said, " Life is not a spectator sport!"