Survivors fast in solidarity with Diane

More than 100 survivors from two organisations today took part in a day long fast at Roshanpura Crossing, Bhopal in support of Diane. They issued the following statement:

“To the owners and managers of Union Carbide Corporation, USA: You are accused in an Indian court of the homicide of 20,000 Indian people, but you won’t appear to face trial. Our American sister stages a symbolic protest at your plant in Texas. She harms no one, but you — the killers of thousands, bail jumpers and absconders from justice — rush to lay criminal charges against her. Your factory in Bhopal poisons our soil and drinking water. People are dying, yet you issue writs to silence our protests, you seek to fine us as if we were the criminals. You bring to our city unimaginable terror, then stage ‘terrorist incidents’ at your plants where we, your victims, are portrayed as terrorists. You make a mockery of justice. You invoke the law when it suits you and ignore it when it doesn’t. You have no decency, no humanity. We utterly reject you and everything you stand for. We want you and your poisons out of our lives, out of our bodies, forever.”

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Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
Bhopal Group for Information and Action

January 29, 2004

Press Statement

Over 100 members from two organizations of survivors of the December ’84 Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal today staged a day long fast at Roshanpura crossing in solidarity with an international supporter facing jail sentence in the USA. The survivors, most of them women, demanded that Dow Chemical the current owner of Union Carbide must stop terrorizing Mrs. Diane Wilson who is an active supporter of the struggle for justice in Bhopal. Yesterday, Diane was found guilty by a Texas court on charges of criminal trespass and resisting arrest and she may be sent to jail for three to six months. Diane has decided to go on an indefinite fast in jail to highlight the injustices meted out to victims of Bhopal.

Following her 29 day fast in support of the leaders of the Bhopal organizations, on August 26, 2002 Diane climbed a 90 feet tower inside a Dow-Union Carbide factory in Seadrift, Texas and unfurled a banner that said “Dow responsible for Bhopal”. Dow Company wields considerable political clout in the town of Port Lavaca where the trial related to this symbolic action is going on. In the course of the criminal proceedings, on January 26, 2004, the judge forbade Diane from “making any direct or indirect reference . . . . to Bhopal, India, the plant explosion in 1984 or any other environmental crimes or claims of environmental pollution by Dow Chemical or Union Carbide”.

“Dow will pay a heavy price for sending Diane to jail, supporters of the Bhopal justice campaign all over the world are rising up in solidarity with her ” said Rashida Bee, President of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh. Syed M Irfan, President of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha said, “Dow- Union Carbide is absconding from Indian courts but on its own territory it manipulates the judicial system to terrorize our supporters”. The demonstrators collected signatures on an angry letter to be sent to the CEO of Dow Chemical.

Mrs. Rashida Bi, Champa Devi Shukla, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh

Syed M Irfan, President Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha

Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra, Member Bhopal Group for Information and Action

Contact :
1. House No. 12, Gali No. 2, Near Naseer Masjid, Bag Umrao Dulha, Bhopal Tel: 3132298, 5259361
2. B-2 / 302, Sheetal Nagar, Berasia Road, Bhopal

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The survivors’ statement to Dow with hand print signatures
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The fast today at Roshanpura crossing, Bhopal
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Women express their solidarity with Diane

29.1.2004

Diane Wilson Denied Fair Trial

# Judge Passes ‘Gagging’ Motion

# First Amendment Rights Knifed

# Dow Workers Offered as Jury

At the trial in Port Lavaca today, Judge Hernandez passed the prosecutor’s Motion In Limine request, thus prohibiting Diane Wilson from “making any direct or indirect reference whatsoever, at trial before the jury… to Bhopal, India, the plant explosion there in l984, or any other environmental crimes or claims of environmental pollution by Dow Chemical Company or Union Carbide Corporation that have been committed in the past or may be committed in the future”.

As Diane’s plea is one of ‘necessity’, she has effectively been stopped from making any substantial statement in her own defence. It’s clear to this writer that Diane is being hung out to dry in a kangaroo court apparently doing the bidding of the Dow Chemical Company. She is almost certainly going to jail.

More details have now emerged…

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Workers from the chemical companies Union Carbide/Dow, Dupont, Formosa Plastics and Alcoa, and their spouses were sifted from the jury prior to the trial. According to Diane at least one of the remaining jurors is a Dow/Carbide plant worker.

Other jurors may have been connected to Carbide also. Dow/Carbide’s influence in local civic, cultural, educational and economic life is widespread. In 1999 right around Calhoun County 124 institutions and organisations (including 14 schools and colleges, several county education districts, many youth organisations and even a public radio station) were the recipients of $318,333 of corporate beneficence from Union Carbide and the Union Carbide Foundation, Inc – some 12% of the latter’s national budget.

Diane emphasises that the Motion In Limine is indeed a ‘gag order’. Diane’s lawyer Greg Gladden was threatened with contempt of court for trying to talk about the reasons for Diane’s action. An exhausted Diane wrote at the end of the yesterday (Jan 27):
“Every time my lawyer, Greg Gladden, tried to get someone to why (and what) I was doing up there, everybody (the company witnesses) would get this paralzyed look on their faces and if they managed to say “B…b.. b.. bhopal”, then the DA and his assistant would automatically jump up and then my lawyer would get a sour look, then the judge would drag them all up to the counter and discuss the motion all over again. On behalf of my honorable attorney, he did manage to get out that Dow was responsible for Bhopal and that a lot of people had died and that Warren Anderson, the CEO had jumped bail and been living the life of luxury ever since and that there was still toxins contaminating the site and in the water. Probably the best time I had was when the DA started to bring out the evidence and exibit 5 was the yellow banner that I had unfurled from the tower I had climbed and the DA had tied that banner in a tight bundle so nobody could read anything about Bhopal. My lawyer took the banner and untied it and he and I held out the banner infront of the court and my lawyer said, “Ms.Wilson, is this the banner?” and I said, “Yes, Mr. Gladden, that is the banner”. Then my lawyer took the banner and laid it out fully on the floor in front of the jury. So the people of bhopal should know the Banner telling Dow to be responsible for Bhopal made its way yet again in front of the people of Dow.”

Diane reports inconsistent testimony from company workers as to the identity of their employer: for the trial, the workers claim to be from Union Carbide, but the Seadrift facility is described by Dow as a Dow plant. Diane said, “I almost got dizzy from all the Carbide/Dow fudging & mesmerizing going on.”

Mr Rodney Hodde or Hobbe of Dow/Carbide filed the original complaint against Diane. He’s the supervisor of the factory unit that Diane’s action breached.

The prohibitions of the ‘Motion In Limine’ passed by Judge Fernandez are here transcribed in full:

“Jan 16, 2004.
State of Texas vs. Diane Wilson…..no. 03-CR-O45……in the County
Court at Law Number One, Calhoun County Texas
Motion in Limine
Now comes the State of Texas in the above styled and numbered cause and moves this Court before trial in limine for an order instructing the Defendant, Diane Wilson, her represntatives and witnesses, to refrain from making any direct or indirect refereence whatsoever, at trial before the jury to any of the following matters:
I
The State of Texas moves to exclude all extraneous evidence concerning a l984 chemical plant explosion in Bhopal, India or that Dow Chemical Company or Union Carbide Corporation perpetrated such conduct, that this evidence is not relevant to a material issue in the case and that its probative value outweights its potential for prejudice. In this case, such evidence includes, but is not limited to the following: any reference to Bhopal, India, the plant explosion there in l984, or any other environmental crimes or claims of environmental pollution by Dow Chemical Company or Union Carbide Corporation have been committed in the past or may be committed in the future.
II
If the Defendant or her attorney is allowed to allude to, comment upon, inquire about, or introduce evidence concerning, any of the above matters, ordinary objections during the course of the trial, even sustained and including proper instructions to the jury, will not remove the harmful effect of same in view of their highly prejuducial content. Wherefore, premises considered, the state of Texas prays that this court order and instruct the county attorney, her representatives and witnesses, not to elicit or give testimony respecting, allude to, cross-examine respecting, mention, or refer to any of the avove matters until a hearing has been held outside the presence of the jury at which time this Court can determine the admissibility of these matters.
Respectfully submitted,
Shannon E. Salyer
Assistant District Attorney
211 S.Ann Street, Room #l03
P.o.Box 1001
Port Lavaca, Tx 77979 ”

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Making a mockery of justice and a fool of the law

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