A local Taos man suffering a heart attack on May 21st could not be saved. According to the Taos News when volunteer fire fighters dialed 911 “The call went unanswered. Dispatchers in Taos heard only a faint rasp. The man died.” We have money for war but when it comes to real National Security issues like 911 emergency services the funds are not there.
This September 11th we woke to news that Obama still claims he may need to bomb Syria if negotiations with Russia and Assad fail. Remember that Saddam complied with every U.S. demand letting inspectors in to seek for weapons of mass destruction taking away every U.S. excuse for war but proving a negative was impossible and America bombed Iraq anyway. That war continued to this day. A limited attack on Syria may ignite a global war and maybe an economic collapse as oil prices sore after the Strait of Hormuz is too dangerous to navigate. The murder and chaos that would follow an Al-Qaeda victory in Syria would be staggering. All Al-Qaeda needs is U.S air support.
This September 11th is also the one year anniversary of an event in Libya that should remind us of just how well Obama’s limited wars can work out. On September 11, 2013 CNN reported that “A car bomb exploded outside a Foreign Ministry building in the Libyan city of Benghazi Wednesday, state media said, on the anniversary of an assault on the U.S. Consulate there that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.” By the time you read this essay news of this reminder may well be eclipsed by an even more dramatic “Pearl Harbor” type event.
Imagine if Obama spent as much energy encouraging America to change our policies to slow climate change or spoke on every network pleading to congress to pass a universal healthcare bill, fund research and development on alternative energy or pass a farm bill that would subsidize organic agriculture. Sadly he would rather go all out for another war while ignoring the real national threats of climate change, hunger, poverty or the student loan crisis.
For most of my life September 11th reminded me of the US backed coup against Salvador Allende in Chili and the public murder of folk musician Víctor Jara who’s hands were cut off before thousands of other prisoners at the Santiago Stadium. But in 2001 nine eleven marked the day I was added to the official U.S. “black list” and banned from official employment in the United States, first being fired from United Way, than Sun Sounds Radio for the Blind where my boss told me naïvely of the Homeland Security “Black List” followed by my last official job at Western National Parks Association.
Banned from employment I headed out on the “Drop Bush Not Bombs Tour” first visiting Food Not Bombs groups in North America followed by a three month tour of Europe and the Middle East funded by friends and the sale of my first book “Food Not Bombs – How to Feed the Hungry and Build Community.”
The tour took me the Balkans where I visited Belgrade Food Not Bombs in October 2003. As we prepared that weekend’s meal at the Rebel Squat local volunteers asked me if Michael Moore’s move “Bowling for Columbine” was based on reality. Did Americans really have guns and used them against one another? They were surprised to learn that civilians are allowed to be armed something I often hear when traveling outside the states. I also shared that I had just read Moore’s book “Hey Dud Where’s my Country?” and mentioned he finished the book calling on the American people to vote for General Wesley Clark for president. Everyone in the room gasped and started to recount Wesley Clark’s 1999 bombing Serbia. One volunteer, Emma, told me how she was an intern at a local hospital that cared for over 750 deformed children some with two heads, others with five arms and others with just one eye. Depleted uranium was America’s choice of “chemical weapon” in that assault. Food Not Bombs activists painted targets on t-shirts daring Clark to kill them. They told of the fear caused when Cruise Missiles slowly floated above the streets of Belgrade seeking targets. Everyone lost friends and family and almost lost hope but they bounced back eager to share the trauma of a US Air War on a modern city. Their toilet was the Cruise Missile crater that had forced the occupants the home they were squatting to flee to France.
Imperialism has a long history of using chemical weapons. Professor Howard Zinn started “The People’s History of the United States” with an account of the first use of weapons of mass destruction in service of imperialism in the “new World” the ever effective blankets of small pox. His history book continues with America’s use of one brutal advance in mass murder after another from simple bombs dropped on Mexican Rebels to the nuclear bombing of Japan.
While the U.S. media seems to have forgotten America’s use of banned chemical weapons the rest of the world remembers. After the last U.S. war on Iraq started the British Parliament ordered a study of the invasion and issued a report on the United States use of Mark 77 – 750 pound fuel gel napalm bombs on civilians during the early days of “Shock and Awe.” Before that invasion American leaders including my neighbor Rumsfield provided Iraq with chemical weapons that were used against Iran and during an internal war against the Kurdish population.
The U.S. also used more fuel gel bombs and white phosphorus on the people of Fallujah in November 2004. The March–April 2005 online Field Artillery magazine has confirmed the use of WP (white phosphorus) in so-called “shake ‘n bake” attacks, so the use of white phosphorus is substantiated by US Army sources only for screening and psychological effects: The Iraqi ministry of health installed by the Bush administration announced that their surveys and studies after the 2004 assault “confirm that US forces used substances that are internationally prohibited – including mustard gas, nerve gas, and other burning chemicals – in the course of its attacks on the city.”
According to a study released by the Switzerland-based International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in July 2010 noted that “the increases in cancer, leukaemia and infant mortality and perturbations of the normal human population birth sex ratio in Fallujah are significantly greater than those reported for the survivors of the A-Bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.” Hundreds of children deformed by the U.S. chemical attacks suffer in Iraqi hospitals as the war America continues to rage across Iraq.
At the same time Obama and Congress are investing so much energy drumming up support for another war it turns out that one in two civilians in the United States are still struggling to survive. The government may close in October. According to a September 9, 2013 Washington Post article “The fiscal year ends Sept. 30, and government agencies will start shutting down if some type of budget bill isn’t enacted by then.” It also says that “The government’s ability to borrow more money will probably end in late October if the debt ceiling isn’t raised.” This real “National Security Threat” seems to be off the agenda as Millions of Americas face delays and reductions in Food Stamps while food prices continue to increase. Two days of bombing Syria could feed all the refugees fleeing the war for months or save one hundred Taos Hospitals from the painful budget cuts our community must make this week laying off healthcare workers, reducing services and increasing fees. Taos isn’t the only hospital forced to make huge budget cuts. The Bend Bulletin’s September 11, 2013 article starts with “A federal budget-cutting proposal threatens to reduce Medicare payments to 15 rural Oregon hospitals, and hospital and state officials said the impact could be devastating. The proposal involves “critical access hospitals” that get higher Medicaid payments under a program started in 1997 amid a wave of hospital closures in rural America.” So calling 911 may not lead to emergency treatment at your local hospital. When you call 911 in my community you have no idea what might happen. A local man suffering a heart attack on May 21st could not be saved. According to the Taos News when volunteer Fire Fighters called 911 “The call went unanswered. Dispatchers in Taos heard only a faint rasp. The man died.”
Congress has not been able to pass a federal budget, not even a budget that would continue to redirect America’s resources to the very corporations that enjoy using our nation’s infrastructure of highways, power grids and surveillance without having to pay one dime in federal taxes.
A desperate man called our hunger hot line today. Like others that call our toll free number he had not eaten in seven days. He told me that the Sheriff’s Department visited his home but told him they were not in the business of feeding people. Food Bank couldn’t help either but 211 was able to give him our number. We still plan to help even though we don’t have the funds necessary to drive to his home in Madrid, New Mexico. Our last dollar was used to transport food to hundred of hungry children in Nairobi Kenya but that is fine, the funds seem to arrive just in time. The people come through even if the state can not.
After the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York Food Not Bombs arrived with hot vegan meals to support the rescue workers. Arby’s Roast beef showed up a couple days latter but the first responders remarked that their sandwiches smelled like Ground Zero so their help was short lived. When the carbon industry Super Storms Katrina and Sandy attacked our communities we joined the citizen rescue squad with our joyously prepared meals, cleaning supplies, fresh water and commission. Every week during the perpetual war of poverty volunteers faithfully arrive on street corners, parks and plazas ready to nourish the local community.
The other emergency call this nine eleven is to the Senate Intelligence Committee and Obama’s web of spy agencies. News revealed on this 9/11 shows that “The National Security Agency openly shares unfiltered intelligence files with the Israeli government, according to a classified document leaked to the Guardian newspaper by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.”
Domestic spying has consequences. For example Food Not Bombs expected to receive the final payment of $500 from a grant provided by World Peace Earth to help secure the water pump at the Free Skool from this winter’s freezing nights. Two other urgently needed donations also failed to arrive. When I went to pick up the mail on August 21st, the day of the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria our post box was empty. It was empty again the next day and every day since. Our mail box was empty for 21 days in a row with at least $1,200 in promised donations lost to the winds or as Senator Tom Udall’s very helpful office suggested it may have been lost to the F.B.I. as had been the case when not one piece of mail arrived from June 1, 2008 to November 1, 2008 the same time the F.B.I. started to infiltrate Minneapolis Food Not Bombs. The informants suggested that bombing the police or Republican delegates might be a great strategy. Even though the Food Not Bombs volunteers declined to support the plot the Food Not Bombs house was raided the morning before the Republican National Convention and eight volunteers were charged under the Minnesota Patriot Act.
Food Not Bombs volunteer Jeremy Hammond was targeted by the FBI for sharing the Stratfor or Strategic Forecasting files with Wikileaks. Like Snowden, the information Hammond made public has been critical in understanding the impossibility of forming a free and democratic America unless we dismantle the Intelligence industry. The freejeremy.net website asks that everyone write Judge Loretta Preska and ask that she give him a sentence of time served. He has been held since March 2012 often in solitary confinement. They suggest you include a statement such as this in your letter. “I am appalled that Jeremy Hammond is facing a decade in prison for exposing corporate spying. Already, he has been incarcerated since March 2012, held in solitary confinement, and at times has been denied the ability to communicate with his family. Jeremy has done enough time already. Please consider granting him a sentence of time served.” Jeremy’s sentencing is to occur on November 15, 2013 in the Southern District of New York.
Food Not Bombs volunteers Eric McDavid, Brandon Baxter and Connor Stevens are in prison today as a result of F.B.I. infiltration, surveillance following the government’s elaborate and expensive creation of phony bombing plots.
The programs revealed by Snowden are more than curiosities or a violation of our Constitutional rights. The principle task of the Intelligence Industry to make sure democracy never comes to America and protect corporate power’s freedom to ravage the environment, exploit labor and guarantee that they can operate not only tax free but absorb as much of the public coffers as they can before there is a revolution in the streets.
The crushing poverty and hunger is our 911 and the people are as always the first responders in the economic and political terrorism attack of corporate greed.
You can respond by joining Food Not Bombs. Start or join a Food Not Bombs group in your community and provide organic vegan meals and inspiring literature under the banner Food Not Bombs. Also consider bringing Food Not Bombs cofounder Keith McHenry to your community this fall. The presentation will bring hope and a realistic strategy to transform our society for the better. Food Not Bombs will respond to your 911 call.
The Smashing Hunger, Squashing Poverty Tour