For Earth Day: Eco-Terrorism & The Double Standard on Terrorism
I assume we’ve all seen the dramatic footage of the fire and then the explosion that rocked West, Texas Weds. April 17, 2013.
I assume this because I saw it right after it happened–I was online and video and reports turned up on facebook, yahoo, and other sources. The LA Times had stories on it in Thursday, Friday, and today’s papers.
But I guess not everyone turned away from the Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent chase for the bombers.
Since we don’t have television and we get our news from the LA Times, NPR, and online sources, I don’t always realize what is presented as “news” for the majority of people who depend on the television networks.
In this guest post, Grant Marcus discusses the explosion in West Texas as act of terrorism that has killed and injured far too many people–with little or no attention from the main stream media which has been swept up in chasing down the terrorists who struck at the Boston Marathon. In taking many Americans with them, what have we lost? What has gone unnoticed this week? A lot, my friends, too much. In this guest post, Grant asks us to consider –who are the real terrorists?
And I ask you to consider–in what ways is corporate terrorism also eco-terrorism?
When will we attend to each other’s needs and to the needs of our planet rather than to the needs of corporate pocketbooks?
A DOUBLE STANDARD ON TERRORISM: ISN’T CORPORATE
TERRORISM AS EVIL AS INDIVIDUAL TERRORISM?
–By Grant Marcus
Going into the third day and some change after the Boston Mara-
thon bombing, an entire town near Waco, West Texas, exploded
two days ago.
But how many Americans realize it?
The explosion in West, Texas devastated half the com-
munity, the other half of the community has been evacuated.
The conflagration, caused by a fertilizer plant, with a poor safety
record, leveled 12 – 16 buildings, including a hospital and ele-
mentary school. Ear drums were ruptured and people were
lifted and thrown several feet by the plant blast. The explosion
registered 2.1 on the richter scale according to a seismograph
25 miles away from the disaster.
At first, it was reported that 15 were dead from the blast.
Today, the death toll has risen to 35, with 10 first responders
losing their lives. The body count could be even higher, as
police authorities are suggesting 70 dead. So far 160 people
are being treated for injuries.
Many survivors said it was like witnessing “an atom bomb.”
A veteran described it as “a war zone.” The nitrous-ammonia
quickly became a mushroom cloud, hovering over Texas.
On DemocracyNow! D.L. Wilson, a state trooper described
the remains of a 50 family apartment building as, “just a skel-
eton…It looked like the Oklahoma City Bombing.” Later, a C.N.N.
reporter, briefly mentioned the blast, and in comparing it, as
well, to the Oklahoma bombing, stated, “It was 15-25 times
more powerful…We’re talking about a blast that traveled 25
miles in circumference, reaching Waco Texas at 6700 miles
Tons of the nitrous ammonium has been released into the
biosphere, forming a toxic gaseous cloud, currently being
evaluated by scientific authorities. How many people will later
die slowly of cancer from this toxic event? And will the plant
owners be held accountable, when that cancer appears years
or decades later?
The explosion was the result of a small fire, allowed to
spread by the absence of supervision or security, to the
massive containers holding the contents of liquified fertilizer.
But as a manhunt is being held by every Homeland agency
in the business, tracing the terrorism in Boston, and while re-
porters used racial stereotyping, calling the perpetrators “dark,”
and continuing to dwell on the “celebration” of the capture of a
young student terrorist, after killing his brother–not one person
from the fertilizer plant is being held, questioned, or considered
a terrorist, never-mind a subject of interest.
In fact, a local reporter, A.J. Hicks referred to the plant owner
as a “gentleman” who cannot be reached, albeit acknowledging
on DemocracyNow! “that in 2006 the plant was cited by the
state’s regulatory agency for not having a safety plan.” Hicks
concluded, “So, beyond that, we really don’t know much about
what was going on inside the factory prior to the explosion.” In
other words, could there have been just as much neglect? At
the bare minimum, in the face of a possible fire, someone should
have been monitoring for such a possibility 24/7.
It leads me to wonder, what is a terrorist? Unidentified
persons, who use a pressure cooker of ballbearings to destroy
the lives of Bostonians? Who happen to be Muslim?
Who speak Russian?
Or a big corporation, that, after possibly
violating safety standards, and hiring no security, and where
caution is thrown to the wind in the careless monitoring of their
plant, without a safety plan for the people around it, and causing
a disaster of this magnitude–Aren’t the owners terrorists as well?
Because of their carelessness, an entire town has been deci-
mated, and people rocked for a 25 mile radius. It clearly seems
like terrorism to me.
This isn’t the first time. Just two weeks ago, a town in
Arkansas was flooded with tarsands oil. Then there was the
oil dumping in rivers in Colorado, ruining the lives of its victims
down stream. The resulting pollution of the environment, and
the cancers it will cause in the future require no accountability
In fact, the people involved demand our reserved respect ap-
parently. They are considered by the media as “ladies” or
“gentlemen,” merely because they are big business owners.
And of course, there was the Mideast oil spill (negligence)
followed by the oil spill in Brazil, destroying the fishing industry
there, and then, the Gulf Oil Spill–all three spills Halliburton-
related, that same company doing gas-fracking in California.
Then there was PG&E, who neglected their gas lines,
and set San Bruno on fire a couple years ago, or the Massey
coal mines…Not one arrest, not one manhunt, in any of these
cases, no CIA, no Homeland Security, no re-evaluation of the
videotapes, etc., no victory celebration for capturing these perp-
etrators. Just a great deal of suffering by much larger groups
of people, and much larger areas or regions effected, and in
some instances, effected for generations.
An environmentalist frees animals being experimented
with by a laboratory, then sets the building on fire, harming no one,
yet he is named an environmental terrorist. But oil companies,
or gas companies, or coal companies, and now fertilizer comp-
anies, can recklessly release toxins into the environment, destroy
ing it for generations, killing victims by the kind of deregulated
carelessness they lobbied for, and be blameless, unaccountable.
and irresponsible for cancer deaths that will result later. And
because they are unaccountable, and slapped on the wrist,
rather than jailed for the rest of their lives, they are allowed to
continue repeating these acts, with reckless abandon, over-
and-over again ad infinitum. And journalists call them, “gentle-
My question today is: When will we, the American people
ask, if a company bribes congress to set rules for itself, then
through carelessness and reckless abandon, creates havoc,
kills victims, does irreversible damage to the environment, and
causes cancers for decades–when will we, the American pub-
lic demand that those people at corporate headquarters, at the
very top of the corporate food chain, be considered terrorists?
Or Corporate terrorists? AND, when will they be treated as such?
Because it seems to me, the perpetrators using backpacks
and crude devices to wreak havoc and destroy lives, and those
corporations, disguised as “American businesses,” who inten-
tionally circumvent laws, or bribe congressmen to rewrite them
and continue to risk far more lives than individual terrorists have–
They are terrorists too.
When will we as a public hold corporations to the same kind
of accountability? After all, there have been so many more in-
stances of corporate eco-terrorism. Shouldn’t this corporate
terrorism, this insidious attack on the American people, and on
American soil, be called what it is, terror?
For me, the uncanny timing of Hurricane Sandy, coming
just before the elections, and clearly showing the indisputable
and powerful impact global warming can make–that timing is
no different than the uncanny timing of these recent two events,
the bombing at the Boston Marathon, called an act of terrorism,
and on its heels, corporate terrorism near Waco, but more or
less ignored by mainstream media, as a gentleman’s agreement.
It clearly shows me the double standard entertained by the cor-
The story is all but ignored. Could it be to protect the owners–
the ladies and “gentlemen”–so as to give them enough time to
get their teams of lawyers together?
I am wondering how, curiously, the news has focused on Boston,
an old event, really by now, and totally omits the much larger
devastation in Texas, as bodies in the war zone are continued to
be sorted out from the rubble. The news media continues to
cover old images and video tape, manhunt celebrations, and a
special presentation at a Red Sox game, while ignoring the ele-
phant terrorists in the living room–or corporate eco-terrorism.
What more can we expect from a corporate media, which
has blacked out the Unknown Town, much like they blacked out
the video of the devastation in Arkansas, and ended their invest-
igative stories on BP, once BP paid millions for commercials
on CNN, becoming a major sponsor. As corporate sponsors
select presidents these days, they select the news as well–and
those they consider terrorists. It is a double standard that dis-
tracts and distorts and certainly does not blame themselves.
They buy off the corporate media serving to protect them.
If the American people cannot see through this double standard,
they can expect to see even more corporate eco-terrorism in
the near future.
Is there a fertilizer plant terrorist near you?
An oil company terrorist?
A gas-fracking terrorist?
Think about it.
“A day after the explosion in West, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report documenting a widespread lack of workplace inspections by state OSHA programs. After surveying 22 state-run programs, it found that the agencies had problems with hiring and retaining inspectors, in part due to low pay.” from the article linked to above
- West Texas Plant Told The EPA It Had ‘No Risk’ For Explosion (crooksandliars.com)
- ‘Red flag’: Excess of chemical eyed at Texas plant (usnews.nbcnews.com)
- The week of terror overload (cnn.com)
- Texas Explosion Seen as Sign of Weak U.S. Oversight (bloomberg.com)
- In Week’s Disasters, Authorities Ponder Links to April 19, a Key Date for Terrorists (atlantablackstar.com)
- ‘Red flag’: Texas plant had 1,350 times amount of chemical that would trigger oversight (usnews.nbcnews.com)