Archive for September 19th, 2013

5.3-magnitude earthquake hits Japan’s Fukushima

A 5.3-magnitude earthquake has hit the Japanese prefecture that is home to the nuclear power plant crippled in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake struck early Friday at a depth of about 13 miles (22 kilometers) under Fukushima Prefecture and about 110 miles (177 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue an alert.

The Japanese news agency Kyodo News reported that the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., observed no abnormality in radiation or equipment after the quake.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday ordered TEPCO to scrap all six reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant and concentrate on tackling pressing issues like leaks of radioactive water.

The 2011 disaster caused three reactors to melt and damaged a fuel cooling pool at another. Officials have acknowledged that radiation-contaminated groundwater has been seeping into the Pacific Ocean since soon after the meltdowns.

The region lies on the “Ring of Fire” — an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones that stretches around the Pacific Rim. About 90 percent of the world’s quakes occur in the region.


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I am in Syria now with former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, where residents enjoy free education and free healthcare. Visited a Damascus hospital, the Grand Mufti, a school that has been turned into residences for Internally Displaced Persons. Ended the Day with Ogarit Dandash who founded “Over Our Dead Bodies,” a group of young people who climbed atop Mount Qasioun and dared U.S. bombs to target them. They are still there in defiant resistance to any war against Syria. Mount Qasioun should be the site of a peace party not bombing strikes.

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Anti-War Delegation to Syria. Ramsey Clark, Cynthia McKinney, Sara Flounders

The anti-war movement is in a race with the Pentagon to stop the U.S. from its goal — pushed back momentarily — of going to war with Syria.

This urgency is what made the International Action Center (IAC) send a delegation from the United States to Syria.

The IAC’s Sara Flounders gives an audio report (below) on the team’s trip so far, featuring an on-air meeting with members of “Over Our Dead Bodies” — the youth encampment of hundreds of voluntary human shields at Syria’s communications centers. 


Leading the trip is former U.S. attorney general and human rights lawyer Ramsey Clark; former six-term Congressperson from Georgia Cynthia McKinney; Dedon Kamathi of the All African People’s Revolutionary Party and Pacifica Radio; and Johnny Achi of Arab Americans 4 Syria in Los Angeles. The International Action Center, which pulled together the delegation, sent key organizers John Parker from Los Angeles and Sara Flounders from New York.

The corporate media shift in tone on Syria, from warlike to congratulatory — falsely applauding the United States for a diplomatic breakthrough — is covering over Washington’s continued war threats.

On Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry stated that Washington’s goal is to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power even if all of Syria’s chemical weapons are destroyed.

In an interview with Left Voices’ Andrea Sears, Flounders describes the mood in Syria, explaining that “if anything, support for the government is much stronger now.”

“People in Syria know they face what happened in Iraq, in Afghanistan and in Libya,” she said.

  “Democracy will not come with American weapons,” says journalist Oagrit Dandash, organizer of “Over Our Dead Bodies,” whose members have formed a voluntary human-shield encampment of 50 tents in Damascus’s Mount Qassioun.

The IAC delegation will bring back reports after talking with and meeting with some of the more than 4 million people displaced by the U.S.-provoked war, as well as documenting the enormous damage created by this war.

This will include how the Syrian people have mobilized to resist the war and carry out their everyday life, including providing health care.

Before entering Syria, the IAC delegation also attended in Beirut, Lebanon, the Arab International Forum Against US Aggression on Syria organised by the Arab International Centre for Communication and Solidarity. The forum was organized to counter the threat of a U.S. attack against Syria.

Participants at the forum in Beirut, Lebanon, besides the delegation, included anti-war leader and MP George Galloway from Britain, ambassadors of Russia, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Nicaragua and many leading organizations from Europe, North Africa and Western Asia.

Some of the other organizations sending representatives from the U.S. were the International Anti-imperialist Coordinating Committee (IACC), the Answer Coalition and the United National Anti-war Coalition (UNAC) as well as the IAC.



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Al-Qaeda Thanks The Mainstream Media For Its Slanted Coverage of Syria

Below is a statement by Jamal Ahmed al-Tahiri, the spokesman for Al-Qaeda in Damascus (AQD), thanking the Western mainstream media and its Arabic and Jewish partners for its favourable coverage of Al-Qaeda’s holy war against Bashar the dog’s regime, as well as for their heroic service to the cause of Allah.

In the Name of Allah the Merciful, America the Accursed, Aslam O’ Alikum,

It is not often that my colleagues in “Saddam The Martyr” brigade open the pages of the New York Times, may Allah’s wrath be upon it everlastingly, but these days they cannot get enough because of the paper’s brave editorial support for our holy cause against Bashar the dog.

War makes strange bedfellows, as they say. No stranger allies can be found than between us and Jewish and American newspaper editors. It is a positive development for the fate of humankind that they have finally seen the light and ceased to describe our activities as terrorism.

They have blacked out our executions, preventing the sight of savagery from reaching the eyes of Americans, covered up our slaughter of innocent Christians, and blamed Assad for our poisoning of Alawite prisoners of war. What can more can we ask for? Money cannot buy this kind of propaganda.

What we do is not terrorism because it is for the highest cause, the cause of Allah. We are glad that the western mainstream media understands this crucial point.

We are benefiting from favourable media coveage in all sorts of ways. For example, the western mainstream media’s non-stop propaganda war against our shared enemy, Assad, has greatly enhanced our recruiting efforts in the collapsing West among naive Arab and Muslim youth.

They watch television with the eyes of cubs, wholeheartedly believe the propaganda against Assad, and then join our ranks.

With little cost to ourselves, and zero money spent, we have been able to build an army because the western media is making common cause with us.

It is not an overstatement to say that if it was not for the editors of such iconic publications as the Times and the Post then there would be no Al-Qaeda. We will never forget this gift given to us.

We thank The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time Magazine, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, CBC, BBC, Al Jazeera, and other heroic organizations for raising the banner of Allah and helping Al-Qaeda in its holy war against Syria.

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Will Obama the Bomber protect Israel’s WMD?

By Jim W. Dean

If we don’t do this now our children will inherit our government filled with Zionist infiltrators in the mold of Zalman Shapiro and their many gentile helpers. The Syrians have primed the pump for us with the blood of a 100,000 dead., with American, British, French, Turkish, Israeli, Saudi and Qatari fingerprints all over the murder scene. The real battle, the real threat that we all face together is whose security ‘interests’ will win…theirs, or ours.

“Only fools believe what they are told, when it is clear that much else is being hidden.”…Anonymous

Obama put another nail in his presidential coffin with the crocodile tears he shed over concerns of WMD being a threat to innocent people. He has joined a long line of American presidents who have supported the biggest WMD threat in the Mideast for decades…Zionist Israel.

The only thing I agree with him on is that the public should act against those who support using WMD, but that means the world and the UN especially must get off their knees and respond to the Zionist gangsters and their protectors who are a threat to the US and everyone else.

This is another example of the American public’s growing awareness that their own country can be a national security threat to them. And from what I can see from the huge outpouring against Obama’s Syrian gunboat diplomacy with its al-Qaeda oarsmen, the silent majority are waking up to how cruelly we have been manipulated by our own leaders.

From John McCain and Lindsey Graham we expect the knee jerk war mongering. But Obama was thought to know better. His holding the line against the Zionist Lobby pressure to attack Iran based on the trumped up nuclear threat was admirable. Despite his coming out of Chicago mob politics we know that sometimes people transcend shady beginnings.

The Zios had even snagged themselves an attack Iran ringer with Mitt Romney, and tried to take Obama out. We now have calls from Syria that to make the world a safer place Israel should also turn over all of it’s WMD to international supervision, ‘to protect our children’ as Obama would say.

The Zionists were ready and willing to use weapons of mass destruction from day one. Declassified American Intelligence documents it all beginning with the 1948 war. They had agents combing war ravaged Europe to find any chemical weapons they could use on the Arabs. Military Intelligence (OMGUS) was even reporting Zionist raids on arms depots in the US.

Steven Green in his seminal book, Taking Sides (1984), was the first writer to use the new Freedom of Information Act to expose what American administrations had been hiding for years, which if the public had known we could have better protected ourselves against Jewish Lobby treason here.

Incredibly the Reagan administration actually was wanting to prosecute Green for his book but then realized how foolish they would look as they have provided everything that he used. But they did end up reclassifying much of the juicier material. Fortunately Green had stashed away all of his original copies.

In June of 1948, the Belgian Military Attache in Washington requested sample of stocks of toxic ammunition from a captured German chemical ammunition dump in Bavaria. A few days later, the U.S. military attache in Cairo reported that there had been reliable indications in Tel Aviv and elsewhere in the area that the Jewish forces were preparing to use gas to attack Arab population centers…Green p 57

The Neo-Axis of evil, the US, France and Britain, has a long history in assisting Israel’s offensive threat capacity, especially with it’s nuclear weapons. The French were first in line after the 1948 war when Israel’s plans to become a nuclear power were put into actions before the last Palestinian had been buried.

Phosphate deposits containing uranium were found in the Negev and in 1949, which led to the Weizman Institute in Tel Aviv starting its Department of Isotope Research. The bomb was on its way to Israel, one way or another. The French jump start turned into a long running program. From 1955 to 1977 the Zionists spent $600 million on French arms, including their first nuclear reactor, at a tidy $75 million.

All of this material has been public since 1984. Although many people have heard about the Israelis WMD programs they were not aware of how much documentation existed. We did not have the Internet in 1984 to spread the word. But our governments continue to hide the story of how they created a Jewish Frankenstein in the Mideast, and we are still paying for it to this day.

Using WMD offensively was always part of the Zionist plan. By 1957 Israel had unquestionable conventional military superiority over its neighbors. This was even publicly admitted by Israeli Secretary of Defense Shimon Peres. In an interview with the Israeli Daily Davar, he introduced the term “nonconventional compellence.”

Yair Evron, an expert on the Israeli nuclear program described it as… “acquiring a superior weapons system would mean the possibility of using it for compellent purposes…forcing the other side to accept Israeli political demands.

The CIA reported the Israelis were building the Negev reactor which could initially make one bomb a year. This slow process had the Zios out looking for already reprocessed uranium. And where else to go to get it but to the country with the Three Stooges counter Intel. There was no safer place to steal it than America, and they have been helping themselves ever since, with only a few token prosecutions.

The search story moves on to the NUMEC front company in Pennsylvania used to divert uranium to make more bombs in Zioland. Treasonous Jews like NUMEC’s Dr. Zalman Shapiro recruited other treasonous Jews (recorded on FBI phone taps in 1968) to work in the Dimona plant and of course provide espionage services against the American nuclear program.

The Atomic Energy Act provided the death penalty for anyone (but Jews) who violated AEC regulations with the intent to secure advantage to any foreign nation (like Israel). America’s leadership cheated its citizens in what was to become an ongoing process up to this day of allowing an industrial scale espionage operation to be run by Israel against Americans without even the courtesy of a warning to the public.

As I am typing the Zios and India have a joint ICBM program that will produce multiple warhead rockets for both parties. American taxpayers will have subsidized this nuclear threat against themselves and not a single Israeli or American has been executed for it during the entire time.

The leaders we have now stand on the shoulders of those who have failed us for decades, and appear willing to do so indefinitely unless stronger action is taken against them. But such an effort always requires a trigger, good timing with the public aroused and focused on the threat, and then a people with some guts to stand up to the bullies and traitors.

I have not been optimistic, but the public outrage over Obama-the-Bomber has encouraged me. Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad calls on the international community to put pressure on Israel to destroy its weapons of mass destruction, Press TV reported in Tuesday.

We have the best opportunity, probably of our lifetimes, to keep the O’Bomber rage rolling and do some good with it. Let us join hands to pull the traitors in our midst out by the roots, and cut off all financial, military and financial support for this long time rogue nation as long as it remains an offensive threat to the rest of us.

If we don’t do this now our children will inherit our government filled with Zionist infiltrators in the mold of Zalman Shapiro and their many gentile helpers. The Syrians have primed the pump for us with the blood of a 100,000 dead., with American, British, French, Turkish, Israeli, Saudi and Qatari fingerprints all over the murder scene. The real battle, the real threat that we all face together is whose security ‘interests’ will win…theirs, or ours.

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Probe launched over claim that elite Capitol Police unit blocked from Navy Yard massacre

The board that oversees the U.S. Capitol Police has opened an investigation into whether a tactical team of officers that was one of the first on the scene during the Washington Navy Yard shooting was ordered to stand down.

Several sources confirmed the probe to Fox News. The investigation follows reports that a highly trained and specialized Capitol Police team arrived soon after the shooting started, but was told by a supervisor to leave the scene.

The BBC, which first reported on the allegation, quoted a Capitol Police “source” as claiming “lives may have been saved” if the team could have intervened.

Aaron Alexis killed 12 people at the Washington Navy yard before he, too, was killed. The emerging allegations raise questions as to whether the tactical team could have stepped in earlier to stop the violence.

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine said the force “offered and provided mutual support and assistance” on Monday, and that there is a “preliminary investigation into the allegations presented.”

House Administration Committee Chairwoman Candice Miller, R-Mich., also said she’s been advised “there is currently an active investigation into the allegation.”

According to the BBC, the Metropolitan Police Department — the police force for Washington, D.C. — is denying the claims. One MPD officer was also wounded in the shooting.

But an official with the Capitol Police union said the Containment and Emergency Response Team (Cert) — the tactical team in question — trains for active shooter situations.

They reportedly arrived near the scene within minutes of the report of an active shooter going out and were armed with HK-416 assault weapons.

The Capitol Police Board, which is investigating, consists of House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving, Senate Sergeant at Arms Terry Gainer, Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers and Dine. The House and Senate assumed radically different security postures later in the day Monday, with Gainer ordering the Senate on a lockdown in the late afternoon, while the House remained open.

The board has set up a “fact review team” to investigate the Capitol Police response. The results are due no later than Oct. 21.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

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The US military have reportedly proved that sarin gas production is going on among some Sunni salafists in Iraq, and via Turkey, can reach Syrian rebels.

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Group of Engineers Believe Controlled Detonations Took Down World Trade Center

11 Sep 2013 There is a growing movement led by some architects and engineers to take a second look at the collapse of the New York City skyscrapers in the attacks on September 11, 2001. “Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth” focuses primarily on Building 7 of the World Trade Center. Not many people know that a third building fell on 9-11. Tony Szambotti is a mechanical engineer from Blackwood, New Jersey. He says the 47 story skyscraper was not hit by a plane…yet collapsed into its own footprint at 5:20 in the afternoon. Szambotti and some 2,000 other of his colleagues contend that it was not scientifically possible for an office fire to be hot enough to melt steel girders and columns. “We believe there were pre-planted charges in the building.”

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US missed ‘red flags’ about gunman

[Nah, they didn’t ‘miss’ anything. They just brought him on board for the event.]

19 Sep 2013 US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel acknowledged authorities missed some “red flags” that might have averted a deadly shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard, vowing to close any gaps in security. Hagel made the admission in the wake of Monday’s massacre that left 13 dead, including the shooter, as details emerged of the troubled former sailor turned contractor who gunned down civilian workers at a naval installation in the heart of Washington. “Obviously, when you go back in hindsight and look at all this, there were some red flags, of course there were,” Hagel told a news conference. “And should we have picked them up? Why didn’t we? How could we have? All those questions need to be answered.”

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By Paul Rosenberg,

Freeman's Perspective

There was a shooting earlier this week in DC. The details are still sketchy as I write this, but it appears that a deranged man decided to kill other people for some reason. In response, the usual talking heads will be debating whether this is actual TerrorTM or merely something like it. But the T-word will be spoken in the same grave way we speak of cancer – a thing to be dreaded above all else.

Certainly this shooting was a horrible, tragic thing – especially for the families involved. But that said, any talk about an “age of terror” is utter crap.

Terror is NOT worse now than it was before 9/11 – it’s just that we’ve been bombarded with fear for more than a decade, creating a culture-wide residue that poisons every mind it touches. In actual fact, you are eight times more likely to be killed by a cop than a terrorist. Does that mean that we should all have a collective panic attack and beg for anti-police police?

Now here’s the truth they don’t want you to know: You are taught to fear because fear makes you easy to manipulate. If someone is making you afraid, they’re also making you into an easy mark – a sucker.

Think of how many things people have accepted from governments just because they were afraid. Things like complete online surveillance, crotch searches at airports, random searches on the highways, and so on. Do you think those would have been accepted in 1920? Of course they wouldn’t, because people hadn’t been sufficiently frightened at that time.

The Facts About Terrorism

The fact is, there has been terror in every age of human history. Our time is not unusual at all. A small but consistent percentage of people are always crazy enough to kill strangers and blow things up.

Let me give you some proof from a single year:

  • March 6: A bomb being assembled by terrorists explodes, killing 3.
  • April 8: 47 children are killed by (peacetime) bombs from a neighboring country.
  • May 4: Soldiers kill four American college students.
  • May 8: A huge mob of construction workers in New York attacks protestors.
  • May 14: Police fire on a crowd at a college, killing 2 and injuring 12.
  • June 9: A bomb explodes at New York police headquarters.
  • July 12: Two canisters of tear gas are thrown into the British House of Commons.
  • August 7: Terrorists take a judge hostage in California, then kill him.
  • September 1: An assassination attempt on the King of Jordan.
  • September 6: Terrorists hijack four airplanes on flights to New York.
  • October 5: Terrorists kidnap a British diplomat.
  • October 10: Terrorists kidnap a Canadian Minister. He is found dead a week later.
  • November 25: Terrorists seize the headquarters of Japan’s Defense Forces.
  • November 27: An assassination attempt on the Pope.
  • December 3: A major government caves and releases 5 terrorists.
  • December 4: Spain declares martial law.
  • December 7: A Swiss ambassador is kidnapped.
  • December 13: Martial law is declared in Poland.

Can You Guess The Year?

Think it was in some terrible period of history? Maybe one of the worst years during World War Two?

It was 1970.

But you don’t have any horrible, scary feelings about 1970, do you? That’s because you were never taught to have them – unlike the endless fear that has been promoted to you in recent years.

You may not remember 1970, but I do, and I’ll tell you that people weren’t peeing themselves over this stuff. They thought these events were horrible, of course, but they also knew that such things had always happened, and would continue to happen.

Acts of Terrorism in the US

While 9/11 resulted in the single highest loss of life due to terrorism, such events aren’t isolated incidents. We’ve always had them:

  • 1910: A bomb goes off at the Los Angeles Times building, killing 21.
  • 1917: A race riot in East St. Louis kills between 40 and 200.
  • 1919: A race riot in Chicago kills dozens and injures hundreds.
  • 1920: A bomb explodes on Wall Street, killing 38 and injuring 143.
  • 1927: A deranged man blows up a school in Michigan, killing 44 and injuring 58.
  • 1943: A race riot in Detroit kills 34 and injures 433.
  • 1968: Race riots erupt in at least 125 US cities.
  • 1972: Terrorists detonate a bomb inside the Pentagon.
  • 1988: A terrorist poisons bottles of Tylenol in Chicago. 7 people die.

Get the picture? And I can give you examples of terror back to a few thousand years BC, from every corner of the world.

Do you really think that our new Nazi-style police state will stop this? (The Nazis couldn’t even stop assassination attempts on Hitler.)

These events are tragic, of course, but the chorus of fear that accompanies them it is all about manipulation: to keep us quiet and well behaved while we are bled of our money and our freedoms.

And boy, are they good at it.

[Editor’s Note: Paul Rosenberg is the outside-the-Matrix author of FreemansPerspective.com, a site dedicated to economic freedom, personal independence and privacy. He is also the author of The Great Calendar, a report that breaks down our complex world into an easy-to-understand model. Click here to get your free copy.]

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Americans Are 110 Times More Likely to Die from Contaminated Food Than Terrorism

Cantaloupe vs. al-Qaeda: What’s more dangerous?

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/Andrea Danti

September 17, 2013  |

This article first appeared on Truth-Out.org

One of the most important revelations from the international drama over Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks in May is the exposure of a nearly lunatic disproportion in threat assessment and spending by the US government. This disproportion has been spawned by a fear-based politics of terror that mandates unlimited money and media attention for even the mosttendentious terrorism threats, while lethal domestic risks such as contaminated food from our industrialized agribusiness system are all but ignored. A comparison of federal spending on food safety intelligence versus antiterrorism intelligence brings the irrationality of the threat assessment process into stark relief.

In 2011, the year of Osama bin Laden’s death, the State Department reported that 17 Americans were killed in all terrorist incidents worldwide. The same year, a single outbreak of listeriosis from tainted cantaloupe killed 33 people in the United States. Foodborne pathogens also sickened 48.7 million, hospitalized 127,839 and caused a total of 3,037 deaths. This is a typical year, not an aberration.

We have more to fear from contaminated cantaloupe than from al-Qaeda, yet the United States spends $75 billion per year spread across 15 intelligence agencies in a scattershot attempt to prevent terrorism, illegally spying on its own citizens in the process. By comparison, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is struggling to secure $1.1 billion in the 2014 federal budget for its food inspection program, while tougher food processing and inspection regulations passed in 2011 are held up by agribusiness lobbying in Congress. The situation is so dire that Jensen Farms, the company that produced the toxic cantaloupe that killed 33 people in 2011, had never been inspected by the FDA.

In the past 10 years, outbreaks of foodborne illness have affected all 50 states, with hundreds of food recalls annually involving many of America’s leading brands, including Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Taylor Farms Organics, Ralph’s, Kroger, Food 4 Less, Costco, Dole, Kellogg’s and dozens of others. There have been multi-state recalls of contaminated cheese, organic spinach, salad greens, lettuce, milk, ground beef, eggs, organic brown rice, peanut butter, mangoes, cantaloupe and hundreds of other popular foods.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, foodborne pathogens have killed an estimated 36,000 people in the United States. During this same period, terrorism has killed 323 Americans worldwide. Imagine for a minute if food safety threats were marketed to the public in the same lurid fashion as terror threats. Here is a sample press release:

WASHINGTON, DC – Homeland Security announced today that America is under attack by deadly terrorist cells. These terrorists often originate overseas. The threat to our security is credible. They can destroy our way of life and must be stopped. They have no respect for individual life or democratic freedoms. They operate on a cellular basis and hide in darkened spaces. They kill over 3,000 innocent Americans each year and are likely to strike again at any moment. These deadly operatives are masters of disguise, often concealing themselves in peanut butter sandwiches, spinach salads, hamburgers, milkshakes or gourmet cheeses. Their leaders have code names such as E-coli, Salmonella, Listeria, Staph Bacteria and Hepatitis A. We urge all Americans to be alert.

With profound respect for the memory of the 2.997 people who lost their lives as a result of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Americans are 110 times more likely to die from contaminated food than terrorism, with 1 in 6 sickened every year at an annual cost to the economy of nearly $80 billion. Children and the elderly are the most vulnerable because their immune systems are weakest.

The disproportion in risk versus spending when comparing terrorism and food-borne illness makes it clear that US threat assessment with respect to terror is irrational. It distorts the entire federal funding process and needs to be overhauled.

Inflating the Risk of Terrorism is a $14 Trillion Business

With only a few thousand al-Qaeda members worldwide, and an ideological leadership core now reduced to 300 to 400 individuals, few of whom operate outside the Muslim world, it is not far-fetched to suggest that delusional paranoia is driving US policy and budgeting in the “War on Terror.” Excluding September 11, 2001,fewer than 500 Americans have been killed by terrorism in the past 40 years.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Michael Morell, deputy director of the CIA, listed the top three security threats to the US as Syria, Iran and North Korea, in that order.

Michael Cohen, a political and foreign policy fellow at the non-partisan Century Foundation, noted that “What is most striking about Morell’s warnings is, in fact, the stunning hollowness of the threats he describes. If Syria, North Korea and Iran are truly what threaten us, we have little to fear from the world outside our borders.” Cohen adds that “. . . when the US fights a major war these days, it is generally because they’ve started it – with consistently disastrous results.”

Food-borne illnesses have killed tens of thousands of Americans and hospitalized nearly 1.5 million since Sept. 11, 2001.  However, a 24/7 propaganda marketing campaign by America’s extravagantly funded terror-war-surveillance machine ensures that spending on these two threats is in inverse proportion to the comparative risks.

Chris Hellman of the National Priorities Project estimated total 2011 national security spending of $1.22 trillion, with $751 billion in spending on the bloated Department of Homeland Security (DHS) between 2002 and 2013. The NSA budget is secret, although estimates range as high as $52.6 billion per year.

Extrapolating from these figures, we have had an obscene expenditure of at least $12 to $14 trillion on national security in the past 12 years. This spending orgy has produced a massive and illegal surveillance state, two enormously destructive and destabilizing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the large scale militarization of domestic policing, with training courtesy of Israeli special forces. In spite of the obvious erosion of constitutional rights and freedoms that has accompanied the new panopticon terror-war-surveillance state, the entire $14 trillion apparatus failed to prevent two deranged murderers from carrying out the Boston Marathon bombings, in spite of multiple detailed warnings from Soviet intelligence beforehand.

It is time to rethink our priorities. In an age of global corporate agriculture and food distribution, when the ingredients in a single street taco from a San Francisco food truck travel 64,000 miles, twice the circumference of the earth, to arrive on your paper plate, $1.1 billion is not enough money to address the lethal, tangible and ongoing threat from food-borne pathogens. We need to begin diverting money from the NSA and the $14 trillion national security state to the FDA, just for starters.

The Food Safety and Modernization Act Under Siege

Food safety experts both in and out of government agree that the FDA’s food inspection programs are chronically underfunded and understaffed, receiving $1 billion or less per year from 2005 to 2010. Absent adequate funding, the FDA is relying to an ever-increasing degree on voluntary monitoring and reporting by food producers at a time when a few large corporations have begun to consolidate their control of our food supply. Four corporations control 83.5 percent of beef slaughterin the US, with similar figures for poultry and pigs. US food imports have doubled in the past 10 years. Nearly two-thirds of fresh fruits and vegetables sold in the United States are now imported, yet the FDA inspected just 6 percent of domestic food producers and 0.4 percent of food importers in 2011.

The internationalization of the food supply chain makes inspection, tracking and monitoring of food more complex than at any time in US history. Until we find alternatives to the corporate industrial model of agriculture, we need increased spending, and tougher, more proactive standards for food safety and intelligence.

The Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) was passed by both the House and Senate and signed into law by President Obama in 2011 with exactly this intention.

Although it is far from perfect, FSMA is intended to not only increase FDA funding, but to shift US food safety programs from a defensive posture to an aggressive, preventive posture. FSMA was originally supported by large agribusiness lobbyists, but a 2012 amendment that exempted small farmers with annual gross revenue under $500,000 turned the larger agribusiness players against the bill.

FSMA has therefore faced a tough path to implementation because of Republican obstructionism in the House and intense lobbying by agribusiness, which deploys an army of Congressional lobbyists to thwart FDA oversight, spending $133 million in 2009, with an additional $65 million in campaign contributions in the 2008 election cycle.

During the first week of August, for example, as Russia’s grant of asylum to Edward Snowden set off an international media frenzy, Republicans in Congress generated almost no media attention as they quietly derailed funding to implement FSMA. Bowing to pressure from corporate fruit growers, they objected to FSMA’s more stringent standards and inspection requirements.

During FSMA hearings by the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Dan Benishek, (R-MI), who sits on the committee and whose Northern Michigan district includes corporate fruit and produce growers, introduced a new amendment to conduct a “scientific and economic analysis” of the proposed new FSMA food safety requirements. Benishek is a Tea Party favorite who was endorsed in 2012 by AgriPAC, the lobbying arm of the corporate-funded Michigan Farm Bureau. (MFB) The MFB is also one of Benishek’s top donors.

Sandra Eskin, director of the food safety campaign at the Pew Charitable Trusts, says Benishek’s amendment could “significantly delay” the implementation of FSMA. “What this provision does is totally undermine the process we have for regulations in this country,” said Eskin, noting that FDA has already published regulatory impact reports that include analysis on the costs and benefits of each proposed rule.

While FSMA funding and implementation is stalled for the foreseeable future, the NSA budget is so safe, the agency is planning to double the size of its facilities and operations over the next 10 years, surpassing the Pentagon in square footage. At the same time, proposals for minuscule cuts in the bloated Pentagon or DHS budgets consistently draw howls of protest from a bi-partisan chorus of Congressional leaders, most of whom depend on Pentagon and/or DHS spending in their home districts.

Taking Action

A coalition of food advocacy groups is fighting to secure adequate funding and full implementation of FSMA. In August, 2012, the Center for Food Safety (CFC) and theCenter for Environmental Health (CEH) sued the FDA and its commissioner, Dr. Margaret Hamburg, to force implementation of new FSMA regulatory and food inspection programs. U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton ordered the FDA to begin meeting FSMA deadlines immediately.

The FDA has until mid-2015 to comply fully, but the FSMA amendment introduced by Rep. Benishek throws the entire FSMA compliance and implementation process into doubt. Getting to full implementation requires continued political pressure from voters, who can work through organizations such as CFC and CEH to multiply their efforts.

Looking Ahead and Shifting Public Opinion

To focus on domestic quality of life issues such as food safety, the manipulative and irrational hold of the fear-based, terror-war-surveillance complex on our national psyche, politics and economy has to be broken. This may seem like an impossible task, but the terror-war state is not impregnable. It has failed miserably by turning malignantroutinely exaggerating threats, spying on its own citizens, succumbing to bureaucratic bloat and failing to maintain the adroit, flexible intelligence and response mechanisms required to fight terror.

A July 26, 2013, nationwide poll by Pew shows 56 percent of the public believe we need stricter limits on anti-terrorism surveillance, 70 percent think intelligence data is used illegally, and for the first time since Pew began asking the question, a 47 percent to 35 percent majority are more concerned with threats to civil liberties than terrorism. Recent Reuters polling also reveals 53 percent of Americans oppose a US military attack on Syria.

This shift in public opinion may be modest and is certainly overdue, but it is nonetheless an opportunity to begin redefining homeland security and working for a radical change in national priorities. Food safety should just be a start. Tens of thousands of Americans die every year from a long list of preventable or controllable risks. In 2001, the worst year for terrorism deaths in US history, with nearly 3,000 fatalities, diabetes killed 71,372, there were 29,573 gun deaths and 13,290 were killed by drunk drivers.

When working for change, it is worth remembering the example of Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. (UFW) During their massively underfunded, but still successful boycotts of grapes and lettuce in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the UFW mounted a national field and PR campaign, using volunteers to hand out flyers at grocery stores across the nation. By taking their nonviolent campaign directly to the public at street level, they ultimately convinced millions of consumers not only that farm labor wages and conditions were inhumane, but that the same pesticides and chemicals that were sickening farm workers who picked grapes and lettuce were also dangerous to their own families if they consumed these foods.

Said Chavez, “I think one of the great, great problems . . . is confusing people to the point where they become immobile.” We cannot afford to become immobile. Every small victory that contributes to a new narrative beyond the politics of fear and terror is meaningful, whether in improved food safety or reduced gun violence.

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