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By Grant Marcus

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Yes, Americans everywhere are in a lather and war whoop because King Assad gassed a few hundred of his own people.  Our jumpy fingers are on the trigger and we’re biting at the bullets of “tomahawks,” “MOABs,” and “Peacekeepers,” as if war were indigenous and nurturing,  and peace was nothing more but warheads waiting in silos, to bomb nations to pieces.

But if the truth were told, King Assad has nothing on the international corporate fracker, Halliburton.  The company has recently moved into satellite offices in Oxnard, and in Ventura County.  HB plans on fracking, then gassing every American from New Jersey to California, from sea to shining sea, and Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties will be its first targets on the west coast.  Some might consider their action is a corporate Holocaust. Don’t get me wrong.  What Assad has done is terrible, disgusting inhumane, and insane, but what this giant global goolag is set to do will end life as we know it.  As fracking is unleashed, Halliburton will jeopardize all of us.  And because of their “exception rule” passed into law by Congress, Halliburton Inc. will be allowed to put as many as 600 unknown chemicals into our drinking water with impunity.  (Assad only used one chemical on his people). In other words, HB is committing no less than chemical warfare on the citizens of the United States, and residents of Ventura and Santa Barbara.

Let’s face it, whether it’s sarin or methane gas,  if either gets into your lungs or your drinking water, they are equally deadly, with the end result being the same:  We’re all deader than doornails–or the people in Syria.

But why should the people of Ventura or Santa Barbara worry?  We have already been distracted enough by 11 years of war on terrorism, not realizing that war, itself, is terror.  After all, we are like most Americans, raised with the bad habit of only believing what we see on television, or read in newspapers, and far too busy to investigate what our own government and their corporate lobbyists of influence (like Halliburton) are doing to We the People.

Case in point: Remember Vietnam?  Americans didn’t even notice how Dow Chemical (now Monsanto) dropped Agent Orange on our own troops, killing over 64,000 (and still counting).  What it means is more soldiers were killed by Dow than by our enemy, the Viet Cong.

And where were the outcries from John Kerry and President Obama when the military industrial complex used depleted uranium and white phosphorous on the civilians of Fallujah, in Iraq, burning thousands alive? Isn’t it a bit hypocritical when our leaders are silent when our own government uses chemical weapons, but become critical and threatening when other countries use the weapons our coalition forces have sold them. (See the British Guardian, and England’s sale of Sarin to Syria.

But why should the people of Ventura or Santa Barbara be remotely concerned about the American company, Halliburton, conducting business here as usual?  Perhaps it should be because H(e)lliburton has paid numerous fines for construction, labor, food, and drilling violations that were so widespread, sinister, and detrimental to fellow Americans that Congress has put their wrong-doing into archives, and made them inaccessible to public scrutiny. (Read: P. Chatterjee’s, Halliburton’s Army).  Meanwhile this community molester has been given the keys to our City, and has moved into our neighborhood—(What a little money and power won’t do).

Helliburton is not here for its love of California.  The only two reasons Halliburton is here are to frack for gas, and to do deep-water drilling off our coastline. (Think Gulf Oil Spill).  In other words, if their fracking doesn’t kill you, their oil spills will.  Or they will at least thwart your livelihood, your appreciation of our beaches, or whether you order fish for dinner, or lay down your blanket in the tarry sands.  Just ask the people in the Gulf how their sprawling disaster looks, and how little compensation they have received.  In other words, Helliburton is planning no less than a genocide on the peoples of Ventura and Santa Barbara.  But how do they get away with it?  Well, it’s not because it’s right.  It is because they have money, and they have  power. And they write the laws.

So King Assad, you have nothing on Helliburton, though it was terrible to see all those bodies strewn and writhing in agony on a hospital floor deep in the heart of Syria.  It makes me want to ask, how could the king be so cruel?  But Assad is over there, and Helliburton is here, so I say to Halliburton, a fortune 500 corporation, who will make $billions, passing gas to you and me, how can you be so cruel? Have you no sense of duty to your fellow Americans, regardless of the money you stand to make?  What will it take for you to stop fracking and gassing your own people?

I also saw how the reporters flocked like penguins to an ice patch, flashing cameras and writing furiously about chemical weapons used in Syria.  But who will report on Ventura and Santa Barbara?  Who will come to OUR rescue, as we slowly die and wither away with agonizingly tortuous deaths from cancer?  And since Helliburton doesn’t have to reveal what chemicals they are using, they will not be held accountable or responsible for the countless deaths they cause, and are causing.  As they pour a cornucopia of 600 insidious, mysterious chemical sludgeglobs into our water table, we  may want to ask ourselves, how will we survive? And just how many newspapers/reporters will dare to stand up to big money and power and get our stories out?  Or will we just die quietly and ignorantly like unknown soldiers of Vietnam?

Yes, I understand how we feel it is our patriotic duty to be itchy ticking time bombs toward leaders from other countries, but isn’t it time we take a good hard look into the mirrors of our own cruel corporations and what they are doing to us here at home?  Doesn’t Helliburton’s chemical experiment make dead guinea pigs of us all?  And doesn’t the “exception rule” imposed by this company only mean that the laws which apply to us do not apply to Helliburton, making the rest of America its separate and unequal victims, while Halliburton is absolved from its responsibili- ty?  Since we now have corporate personhood, is not this perp violating our constitution and the 14th Amendment by not being accountable for its trash, like we all are?

It makes me want to cry out, where are our leaders to protect us? Where are the troops?  Where is our President, our Secretary of State?  Why isn’t Helliburton, like King Assad, required to register with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons—OR ELSE!–so we know exactly what chemicals this company has?  Why aren’t the United Nations inspectors moving into Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties this very minute and evaluating, if not destroying the chemicals Helliburton admits to using, and insists on using against its own people?  Where are the world peacemakers, the human rights watchdog groups, the global outcries and demands?  They have likely been silenced by HB’s money and power backed by our crooked politicians.

I did my own cursory inspection of Helliburton Offices as an Occupyer.  You can too, just go down and see for yourself that their buildings are so toxic that a sign on the door reads, pregnant women  are not allowed inside “beyond this point.”  How can it be safe to work at such a place?  It’s likely why they hire mostly immigrants with green cards from foreign countries, who barely speak English, and who have no idea of the laws in place to protect them (pointing also to the fact that Helliburton not only poisons us, but will not employ us if it doesn’t have to either).  In short, we are the enemy of this abusive rogue corporation, who, like Assad, will not stop their criminality until they are made to.  I wouldn’t be shocked or awed if Halliburton pays no property taxes as well, probably bilking another “exception/tax exemption rule” we have yet to learn about.                                                                                                                                          But don’t mind me.  I’m just a registered nurse and staunch environmentalist, objecting to these sins of commission, and who has nothing to gain like the $illions this company does.  In fact, these genocidal thugs will likely mug me for speaking their name.  That’s how they’ve handled their problems in the past.  So if you’re thinking about believing what they tell you, just remember how much money they stand to make off your foolhardiness and bad health..

But if you’re keeping your mind open, please consider these few facts about fracking: Helliburton will be encasing thousands upon thousands of wells inland and off-shore in our two counties.  These cement “encasements” are only 10 inches thick, and it’s all that divides the wells, gas, trembling earth, and hundreds of chemicals from our drinking water.

And it has been the history of methane gas wells that 6% of encasements fail instantly.  And half of them are failures after 30 years.  Why?  Because the deep vertical and horizontal drilling itself causes ground shifting and man-made earthquakes, which consequently cause the cement barriers to crack.  (See the documentaries, Gasland I and II).

So now think California, fault lines in Ventura and Santa Barbara, and throughout the State.  Think San Andreas.  Now add man-made earthquakes to our fault-riddled geography.  Out of thousands of methane gas wells, how many will likely crack in California, and what will happen to our reservoirs of water?  How safe will it be for our children and their children? What will happen to our pets, the wildlife, our rivers and streams?

You won’t be able to hide behind bottled water any longer, not if our water has been polluted the same all over the country, as HB is planning to do.  As a registered nurse, I know that 80% of the human body is water.  If our water is contaminated, so are we.  And as we get more and more cancers without names and accountability, what kind of quality lives will be left for our future families?  And, who will know who is causing the problem when HB writes the laws, and has been given absolute power, with impunity, and has all the money in the world to influence our knowledge and behavior through faux studies and false advertising?

But hey, don’t worry, be happy.  Just sit back with your remote and enjoy the game.  And while you’re at it, quench your thirst.  But know this:  Every beer or soda you drink, every time you bathe, take a shower, or wash your hands, any time you eat food that is soaked or cleaned, stewed or steamed or boiled, every glass of naked mango or water you gulp, King Aliburton will be gassing you.  And if their cancer doesn’t get you, their exception rule will.  Call it the slogan of money, power, greed, genocide, or mass murder, right here in our quaint little towns of Santa Barbara and Ventura.                                                                                                             (See, King Assad, it’s true, you are just  “Mini”-burton).

*Grant Marcus is a Ventura resident who has a Masters in English, and is a registered nurse and activist.  grantpeacenurse726@gmail.com