A new definition of terrorism – one that better addresses the crimes of these times – is required.
A new law is needed in this country, something simple that addresses a critical concern, like the amendment being suggested that states corporations are not people.
Perhaps something like this:
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“Any company or individual that threatens the health and well-being of Americans, or the ‘essentials of life’ (such as water, air, collective financial or physical health), are threats to US national security.
“These entities are terrorists and will be dealt with accordingly with the full force and powers of the federal government, as will any regulators or legislators complicit in these actions.”
The need for this updated definition has presented itself many times over the past six years of economic terrorism, while elected officials and regulators throughout the government collude and protect the very Wall Street terrorists who have destroyed countless American families – and continue to do so.
With the chemical spill in West Virginia by Freedom Industries, the faux-patriotically named company that poisoned the water there, and now, the coal ash contamination in North Carolina by the Koch Brothers’ Duke Energy, the need seems even more urgent.
Freedom Industries is a criminal, cowardly, incompetently run company; one of its founders, Carl Lemley Kennedy, is a two-time convicted felon, sentenced for withholding employee money that was never paid to the IRS. This shining example of modern-day Corporate America has declared bankruptcy, and its executives think they can walk away from their responsibility and leave citizens with the bills for the massive cleanup, increased costs, and current and future healthcare needs.
A Long Line of Corporate Terrorism
How many examples are there now of companies terrorizing citizens in these ways?
Vile, exploitative British Petroleum (BP), which killed the Gulf of Mexico and left the American people with the bill for the long-term consequences, including businesses destroyed and residents who are still reporting symptoms resulting from exposure to the poisonous Corexit, a product dumped in the water to supposedly contain the oil?
Or the rest of the oil industry for that matter which, while taking taxpayer subsidies and paying no taxes, has spilled oil along pipelines throughout the land and left petcoke (a refinery by-product) in piles to blow in the wind, destroying the lungs of residents for miles.
How about the way Walmart threatens the financial and physical health of its employees by refusing to pay workers enough for a 40-hour week to keep them off taxpayer-funded food stamps and Medicaid programs?
And the list would not be complete without mention of the parasitic financial industry, which has waged economic war against Americans for years, bringing our country (and others’) to the brink of collapse.
West Viriginia’s “Freedom Industries” is just another in a long line of terrorist companies.
Iceland, by way of contrast, hired a former police lieutenant and 100-plus researchers to track down individuals who participated in the sinking of the Icelandic banking system, IX even those who left the country, to bring them in (or back) for prosecution.
Now that’s what democracy looks like. It’s nothing like what’s going on here.
The Definition of Real Terrorism
The legal definition of terrorism needs to reflect the times.
The FBI defines terrorism as “violents acts . . . dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law.”
If poisoning the water that 300,000 Americans need to live isn’t “dangerous to human life,” what is?
And it was certainly a violent, destructive act against American environmental resources.
The FBI definition includes any act “calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion.” Does lobbying and threatening elected officials with being ousted from office fit this definition?
Does stuffing money into the so-called election process to guarantee certain outcomes meet this requirement?
It is way past time for the useless Department of Justice, reduced to meter maids handing out tickets and fines to repeat corporate offenders (tax-deductible fines at that!), to step up to the challenge.
But sadly, they’ve demonstrated, along with this administration and Congress, that “The Money” is dictating all terms.
When one thinks back to what drove the first American Revolution, the offenses occurring now, including the collusion of our own government, are enormous by comparison. Compare the magnitude of what Americans are facing now to a Stamp Act or a tax on tea, and it’s clear to see that it’s way past time for another revolution.
Apparently, it’s going to take just that: more protests, more resistance, more calling elected officials (who, thankfully, bow to pressure so easily we can use it in our favor) . . . More organized outrage, more worker strikes – American worker strikes – that will begin to turn the tide that waves of money has done to this country, our environment and our communities.
These companies have committed acts of real terrorism against the American people. They are a threat to national security, and it’s time to deal with, and prosecute them, accordingly.