Tag Archives: Diane Wilson

San Francisco asks Dow to produce Carbide for trial

The City of San Francisco has become the first US city to pass a resolution urging Dow to address its liabilities in Bhopal. “It is unforgivable that survivors of the disaster are being revictimized by the inaction of Union Carbide and its new owner Dow Chemical,” said City of San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin today.

The historic resolution was announced during a reception at which the San Francisco City Board of Supervisors handed Rashida Bee and Champa Devi, newly arrived in the US, a “Certificate of Honor” on behalf of the City. “We urge Dow Chemical to do the right thing by addressing its pending liabilities in India”, said Supervisor Peskin. “More importantly, Dow Chemical should demonstrate its respect for the law by producing its subsidiary Union Carbide to face trial in the criminal proceedings against it in India.” The City resolution observed that “Union Carbide Corporation is currently an offender in the eyes of the Indian Government after the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court in Bhopal proclaimed the company an absconder from justice for its failure to honor the process of law.”

Also present at the reception was relentless scourge of Dow Diane Wilson – on appeal from a 120 day jail sentence for making the same point – for an emotional first meeting with Rashida and Champa.

“After 20 years of disappointment and rejection by the companies and the Indian and US authorities, it is actions such as these that give us the strength to keep fighting till justice is done,” Rashida said. Sadly, Dow were unavailable for comment.

Rashida, Champa and Diane together for the first time!

Press Release

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Recent Bhopal talks at US colleges

Berkeley, April 14, 2004: Rashida Bee and Champa Devi, two survivors of the Bhopal disaster, and Sathyu Sarangi, a longtime activist for justice in Bhopal and managing Director of the Sambhavna Clinic, spoke at the University of California, Berkeley in an event organized by the Association of South Asian Political Activists and the South Asian Development Alternatives Network. Rashida Bee spoke movingly about her personal experiences during the disaster, recounting how she had looked at thousands of the dead, trying to find her seven lost family members, and the subsequent deaths of six of her family members to cancer caused, she says, by their gas exposure. More than 50 students attended the event, during which the survivors also discussed the international campaign for justice in Bhopal, and their hopes for the coming year.

See this page for photos:

Penn State, April 6, 2004:

Diane Wilson, a longtime activist for justice in Bhopal, among other causes, spoke to students at Penn State University. The World Affairs Forum, sponsored by the International Hospitality Council as part of its Community Outreach Program, invited Wilson to share her past 15 years of experience as an activist. About 40 students attended the event.

Wilson, a mother of four, became an activist after she learned that the bay near her hometown of Seadrift, Texas, was threatened by pollution. As a fourth-generation fisherwoman, she and others in the town depended on the bay for their livelihood.

“A fisherman with three kinds of cancer handed me an [Associated Press]article saying that my county was number one in the nation for toxic disposal,” she said. “I had never had that kind of information before.”

Wilson recounted how her activism has taken her throughout the world, including Bhopal. One of her most painful learning experiences came while she was riding a bus in India, she said. “There was a man running after the bus I was in, yelling, ‘Testify! Testify!’ He shoved a white piece of cloth in the bus window,” she said. “The cloth was covered in blood and contained pictures of dead babies. It was my first painful growth.”

One of the students who attended the talk, Simon Lobdell, said Wilson is inspirational. “It is a pretty awesome thing to see people take on pollution through direct action like Diane Wilson,” he said.

To learn more about Diane Wilson and her past activism for Bhopal, click on the links below. To read about her talk in the Collegian, Penn State’s student newspaper, click here.

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Diane Wilson faces jail for Dow protest

Diane Wilson, “famed shrimp-boat-captain-turned-activist and merciless scourge of Dow”, attends a Texan court on Monday, 26 Jan for a jury trial. She’s facing charges of criminal trespass and resisting arrest, stemming from her August, 2002 protest action at the former Carbide plant in Seadrift, Texas. If convicted, Diane will have to serve around three to six months in jail. For climbing over a low fence and up a 90ft tower, damaging nothing and harming no one. During the action, Diane herself was harmed, however, by four members of a SWAT team who gouged at her hands and cut her arm. You can read Diane’s gripping and funny account of the action here.

In July 2002, a month prior to the offending action, Diane explained why she was compelled to protest on behalf Bhopal’s survivors: “Bhopal is a symbol of the unfinished business of justice that lies before all mankind.” Diane knows what she’s talking about, having visited Bhopal in 1992. The experience persuaded her to put her body on the line in the most literal way: she set up camp outside Dow and stopped eating for thirty days. You can read the amazing diary of this time here. Remarkably, it was not the first time Diane had risked her health for a higher value. “You have to follow your vision and maintain your integrity,” Diane told Futurenet of a previous battle with Formosa Plastics, responsible for polluting the bay she and four generations of her family fished in. “Once you cross the commitment boundary, miracles start to happen.” Such a miracle saved a relative – but not Diane’s dog – from bullets fired from a helicopter during the fight with Formosa. “When you can smell your (own) fear, you’re on the right track.”

The only fear we smell in this case is Dow’s; fear that their criminal disregard for human life in Bhopal and elsewhere will be dragged into the light. In bringing the criminal complaint against Diane for a technical infringement of rules of trespass, it would appear that Dow hold an evangelical belief in the letter of the law. Well, it’s either this or that the company responsible for harbouring mass homicidal “fugitive from justice” Carbide is a vicious and brazen hypocrite. Thankfully Dow spokesman Jon Musser settled this quandary for us last month, when he answered a question about pending homicide charges put by the Michigan Daily News: “the Indian government has no jurisdiction over Union Carbide or Mr. Anderson; therefore, they are not appearing in court.” As Diane puts it, “companies like Dow make a mockery of justice. They invoke the law when it suits them and ignore it when it doesn’t.”

If you’d like to tell Dow what you think of their double standards, read on.

If, like Diane, you’ve decided that “there comes a time when you simply have to act”, there are a few things you could do right now.



Send a letter of protest – model DOC1 here – to:

Dan W. Heard
Calhoun County Criminal District Attorney
PO Box 1001
Port Lavaca, Texas 77979
Tel. 351/553-4422
Fax. 361/553-442
Email: dan@cccda.org

Greg Abbott
Attorney General of Texas
Office of the Attorney General
PO Box 12548
Austin, TX 78711-2548
Email: greg.abbott@oag.state.tx.us

Diane’s local newspaper (letters page):

The Port Lavaca Wave
107 East Austin
P.O. Box 88
Tel. 361/552-9788
Fax 361/552-3108
Email: sbales@plwave.com


1. Call Dow HQ in Michigan on 1-800-232-2436 demanding that Dow accept its liabilities and clean up its mess in Bhopal (see full list of demands at the bottom of the page). Gee up on the facts beforehand.

2. Demonstrate outside your nearest Dow facility. Same demands. Give them brooms so they get the point. List of Dow facilities:
North America
Latin America
India and the Middle East
You can find 20 downloadble posters for these actions here. Other resources here.

3. Email strong protests to Dow media contacts listed here. Alternatively, go straight to the horse’s mouth: jmusser@dow.com . Try adapting this style of address for other Dow personnel, such as the Dow board members. You can find a list of them here.

4. Sign an electronic petition. If you are a member of any union, go here. If you are a faculty member, go here.

5. If you’re a student, join Students For Bhopal and get your campus active.

6. If you are a citizen, write to your nearest elected representative and urge them to to write to Dow demanding they accept their responsibilities in Bhopal. Ask them to raise the issue in the appropriate forum.

7.Ask your union to adopt a resolution on Bhopal. Do the same with your city council.

8. Copy this and pass it on to your friends. (We can’t afford advertising.)

9. If you can afford it, contribute money to the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal and/or the Bhopal Medical Appeal.

10. Let us know what you’re doing: tim@bhopal.net

Embargoed Until 12.01am, Monday 26th Jan 2003

Texan Fisherwoman’s Bhopal Protest Ends in Criminal Case
Dow Chemical Making ‘A Mockery of the Law’

Port Lavaca, Texas, 9.00 am, 26 Jan – Local fisherwoman and environmental campaigner Diane Wilson appears in court today for a jury trial relating to a protest action at The Dow Chemical Company’s Seadrift plant.

On 26th August, 2002, Ms Wilson scaled a 90ft tower and unfurled a 12 ft banner that read ‘Dow – Responsible For Bhopal’, referring to the world’s worst industrial disaster, caused when 27 tons of poison gases escaped from a Union Carbide pesticide factory, killing thousands within hours and injuring more than 500,000 other people in the sleeping city.

As a result of the action Ms Wilson faces charges of criminal trespass and resisting arrest that could lead to six months in jail.

Ms Wilson, who had ended a 30-day hunger-strike outside the Seadrift plant before scaling the ethylene oxide tower, was yesterday unrepentant.

“I was protesting that for 12 years Dow’s subsidiary Union Carbide has been refusing to attend a court in India where it stands charged with culpable homicide for the deaths of more than 20,000 people. Carbide killed thousands then jumped bail, I never harmed a soul but it’s me in the dock facing criminal charges. Truly, companies like Dow make a mockery of justice. They invoke the law when it suits them and ignore it when it doesn’t.”

The criminal case against Union Carbide and its former CEO Warren Anderson has been ongoing since October 1991. In 1992, an Indian court published notices in the Washington Post declaring both parties “fugitives from justice” after they avoided service of arrest warrants delivered by Interpol. Dow became the 100% owner of Union Carbide in February 2001, despite widespread warnings about the criminal charges outstanding against the company. Carbide also faces a Class Action in New York regarding massive environmental contamination left at its former factory in Bhopal.

On May 26th 2003, following widespread protests in India and elsewhere, the Indian government asked the US authorities for Warren Anderson’s extradition to face trial in India. Anderson remains at large and Dow refuses to pay for cleaning up the toxic wastes left by Union Carbide at the factory site.

Last year, Congressman Frank Pallone and a dozen of his colleagues in the House wrote a letter to Dow and filed an amicus in the New York action.

“It’s outrageous that we will soon mark the 20th Anniversary of this tragic event and Dow Chemical has still not stepped forward to take full responsibility for the actions of Union Carbide,” Pallone said recently. “It is unacceptable to allow an American company not only the opportunity to exploit international borders and legal jurisdictions but also the ability to evade civil and criminal liability for environmental pollution and abuses committed overseas.”

Health workers in Bhopal say that chemicals leaking from Union Carbide’s abandoned and derelict factory have poisoned local drinking wells with carcinogens that can cause liver damage, cancers and birth defects, creating another health epidemic among communities already exposed to the original disaster. Dow does not dispute that the chemicals come from the factory but has suggested that the clean-up should be paid for by the victims of the disaster out of the fund established for their relief.

Nearly 20 years after the catastrophe that local people still simply call “that night”, Bhopal’s doctors have no proper medical protocols for treating the city’s 150,000 chronically ill. Crucial medical data from more than 15 studies into the long term effects of the poisons, which could save lives, is still being withheld by Union Carbide on the grounds that it is a “trade secret”.

“In such cases,” Ms Wilson said, “good citizens have not just the right but also the duty to protest. We cannot stand by and watch Dow and Union Carbide thumbing their noses at the law while their victims die — it’s a measure of how far they can pervert justice that protesting against their law-breaking is portrayed as a criminal act.”

Ms. Wilson added that, if imprisoned, she would continue her protest and begin an indefinite hungerstrike in jail.


Diane Wilson, 361-785-3907, cell phone- 361-676-0663

Claire from CodePink, 310-827-3046, www.codepinkalert.org

Ms Wilson’s protest focussed on the following demands of Dow:

1) Face Trial : Ensure that Union Carbide ceases to abscond from the
Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court in Bhopal and that authorized
representatives of Dow-Union Carbide face trial in the Bhopal.

2) Provide long term health care: Assume responsibility for the continuing
and long term health consequences among the exposed persons and their
children. This includes medical care, health monitoring and necessary
research studies. The company must provide all information on the health
consequences of the leaked gases.

3) Clean up the poison: Clean up toxic wastes and contaminated
groundwater in and around the Union Carbide factory site. Provide safe
drinking water to the community, and just compensation for those who
have been injured or made ill by this contamination.

4) Provide Economic and social support : The corporation must provide
income opportunities to victims who can not pursue their usual trade as a
result of exposure induced illnesses and income support to families
rendered destitute due to death or incapacitation of the breadwinner of the

Diane Wilson chained to Dow’s ethylene oxide tower & outside Warren Anderson’s house a few weeks later…

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Helicopter buzzes Diane Wilson’s house in attempt to intimidate her into silence

We have to take this very seriously because after a 1992 action against Formosa Plastics, shots were fired from a helicopter at her house, narrowly missing a relative and killing her dog.

PLEASE READ THE FULL STORY BELOW AND CALL KATHY HUNT, DOW PR LEADER AT SEADRIFT Continue reading Helicopter buzzes Diane Wilson’s house in attempt to intimidate her into silence

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Diane Wilson chains herself to 70 foot tower at Dow plant to demand justice for Bhopal victims. (May face federal charge.)

At 0545 am this morning Central Time, Diane Wilson, a shrimp boat captain and environmentalist from Seadrift, Texas, scaled a 90 foot tower at Dow Chemical’s Seadrift plant, unfurled a 12 foot banner stating DOW – RESPONSIBLE FOR BHOPAL and chained herself to the tower. An eyewitness reported, “Dawn is breaking. she’s hanging the banner. Will be spotted any minute now. It’s windy and bloody loud up there next to all the compressors. She can’t hear a word on her phone, she says. Flames shooting up around her.”

KPFT 90.1 HOUSTON reporter Jackson Allers has been arrested by the Sheriff’s office for “criminal trespass” after taking pictures of Diane on the tower. He was outside Dow at the time. Kathy Hunt, Dow-Carbide’s PR Leader at Seadrift explained to KPFT News that it was necessary to arrest Jackson because he was taking pictures of Dow-Carbide plant, which is “proprietory technology” and that Dow-Carbide needed to protect its “trade secrets”. This is the same reason the company has given for 18 years for not releasing medical information about the lethal gases that leaked from its plant in Bhopal, killing thousands of innocent men, women and children as they lay sleeping in their beds. (Jackson has now been released.)

Full press release here.
Listen to KPFT Radio live on the web.

This is the same tower that was implicated in a l991 explosion that killed 1 worker, injured 34 others, including 6 citizens after the plant had been declared the safest one in the state by the Texas Chemical Council. Shrapnel the size of cars flew into the countryside.

UPDATE: Well, Diane has been arrested. Dow employees sent a basket up the tower asking her to come down. When she refused, law officers of Brazoria County mounted the tower and presumably cut the chain. We expect her to be out on bond tonight.

The Houston Chronicle covered the story but got the number of Union Carbide’s victims seriously wrong. They quote 3,849 dead. Where did you get this figure, guys? The Madhya Pradesh Government’s own figures put the death toll to date at over 20,000 and it is still mounting. Here’s our letter explaining the figures we use.

Dow-Carbide’s PR supremo at Seadrift, Kathy Hunt, was not answering her phone to us today. Call her and say hello on + 1 361 553 3058 and politely reiterate the demands of the Bhopal survivors that Dow Chemical assume full liability for the actions of its subsidiary Union Carbide in Bhopal, and that it act speedily to clean up the toxic mess left by Carbide. See here for details, figures and facts about the toxic chemicals involved.

UPDATE: Diane is out. Lots to tell but her cell phone has been confiscated and handed over to the FBI. All our numbers are now presumably being analysed by the same hot shot agents who just cannot trace Warren Anderson anywhere. He is the ex-Carbide CEO wanted on criminal charges in India and by Interpol. The Indian government’s recent move to reduce criminal charges against him sparked the present wave of hunger strikes. Read all about it inside the site.

Anyway, if you were planning to call Diane and congratulate on her bravery, and a gruff voice asks who the hell you are, you will know it’s not her dear old mom taking messages.

By the way, Diane, we are proud of you. Lots of love, and big Bhopali hug.

UPDATE: Read Diane’s own account of her adventure on the tower and how the men in black brought her down.

Please call Jim Smith, the Calhoun County Jail Administrator and thank him for treating Diane so well when she was in custody. His number is +1 361 553 4646.

UPDATE, 28 AUG: Union Carbide officials are considering a federal charge against Diane which carries a maximum sentence of a year in prison, says Kathy Hunt, Dow-Carbide’s PR leader at Seadrift. Richly ironic, considering that Diane caused no damage by her action whereas Union Carbide, which has caused 20,000 deaths to date in Bhopal, is still refusing to appear in court in India to answer criminal charges against it and has been declared an official “absconder from justice”.

The luckless Kathy Hunt, who seems to put her foot in her mouth every time she opens it, told the Victoria Advocate newspaper today that the Indian courts have ruled that Union Carbide’s actions after the accident were morally and financially satisfactory. “That chapter is closed,” Hunt said.

Er, not quite, Kath.

Union Carbide still faces criminal charges in the Bhopal court as a result of which its ex-Chairman Warren Anderson has an Interpol warrant out for his arrest. This morning the Bhopal Court rejected an application to reduce outstanding criminal charges against Mr Anderson and called on the Indian Government in the sternest language to move immediately for the extradition of Anderson from the USA, where he is in hiding. Please call Kathy on + 1 361 553 3058 and politely explain this to her. You might suggest she reads this rather better informed article on the legal issues before committing further gaffes.


UPDATE, AUG 28, 2200GMT+1: Diane reports that her house has just been buzzed by a helicopter, which circled it at tree top level twice before disappearing. We are taking this very seriously because after a 1992 action against Formosa Plastics, shots were fired from a helicopter at her house, narrowly missing a relative and killing her dog.

We are publishing Diane’s email to us in order to focus international attention on these attempts to silence her.

Wed, 28 Aug 2002 17:53:57 EDT

“just a few minutes ago a helicopter came out of the north from nowhere and circled my house very low, almost on a level with the trees. it was a green and white helicopter. it did it twice and i thought it was going to land.

“back in l992 when i was on a hungerstrike against formosa, i had a helicopter land in my front yard. a sniper from the helicopter shot at my mother-in- law and killed my dog. i still have the bullets, cops didn’t want to do anything. said if i ever got locked up, they were sending me to the looney bin. also my shrimp boat was sabastoged twice and i nearly drowned on the bay. in this mornings paper of Port Lavaca Wave, the article said there was a plane that circled the tower i was on and the plane was in carbide’s air space. they suspected it was friends of mine.

“i think someone or somebodies is trying to harrass and frighten me.”

Diane doesn’t frighten easily. Check the following for background about her extraordinary life as an activist, including the 1992 helicopter attack and how the US Coastguard prevented her from sinking her own shrimp trawler over a source of pollution.

“Clean Water, What’s It Worth?” An overview of Diane’s environmental campaigning
Diane’s struggle against Formosa Plastics
Lifetime TV’s Heroes
The War Against The Greens – Book Review

The small town of Seadrift is almost entirely dependent for employment on the giant chemical plants that dominate the countryside nearby. Calhoun County politics and infrastructure is so tied in to the companies that a perceived threat to one is considered a threat to all. Diane has protested against the toxic discharges of most of these companies. Economic papers have been presented to the local commissioners court about the real danger on the horizon – environmental activism. Congressman Ron Paul even presented a paper to Congress saying pretty much the same thing.

We ask Bhopal supporters and friends of Diane from all around the world to contact John Musser in Dow’s Corporate Public Affairs Department on (+1) 989 636-5663 (or e-mail: jmusser@dow.com) and demand that the Dow Chemical Corporation publicly disown and condemn these attempts to intimidate Diane Wilson. Please copy emails to Kathy Hunt at Seadrift. Her email address is huntke@dow.com

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