The ongoing catastrophe in East Palestine, Ohio, dubbed America’s Chernobyl, isn’t just the result of greedy profiteering. The arrest of News Nation journalist Evan Lambert at the Governor’s press conference following the apocalyptic chemical fireball was not just a mistake. The characterization of celebrity activist Erin Brockovich as a “special interest terrorism threat” following her visit to Ohio’s Ground Zero isn’t an accident. The patrolling of East Palestine by a garrison of private railroad police is no longer considered unusual. The Netflix adaptation of Don DeLillo’s 1985 book White Noise airing three months prior to the event isn’t just predictive programming. The rushed roll out of the biometric My-ID program in the weeks leading up to the disaster isn’t just a coincidence. And that iconic black mushroom cloud of death generated by the million-gallon cocktail of poisonous chemical carcinogens that was visible from space wasn’t just the largest single dioxin plume in history. Since the Department of Defense “Unified Command” decision to burn toxic vinyl chloride into the atmosphere generated a great deal of poisonous gases in the forms of phosgene and acrolein – literal chemical weapons employed during the First World War – this explosion and subsequent cover up represents one of the most heinous acts of state terrorism against a domestic population on record. A single event has rendered the drinking water of 25 million Americans as well as the arability of thousands of farms potentially compromised with bio-accumulative forever chemicals.
Since the event, the residents of East Palestine grow sicker by the day. Some of them are coughing up blood, vomiting blood and even finding blood in their stool. Many continue to experience rashes after showering that appear “like a chemical burn” or “contact dermatitis due to chemical exposure”. Some report their skin peeling or “melting off” in the shower. Hundreds on social media report eye infections, chemical bronchitis, dizziness, migraine headaches, constant nosebleeds, burning skin, blue lips, numb or tingling tongue, numb or tingling fingers, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, itching, rashes, hives, pneumonia, respiratory sinus infections, watering eyes, lightheadedness, insomnia, chest pain, difficulty breathing, chest congestion, persistent dry cough, sore throats, stuffy noses, burning lungs, burning throats and even spontaneous miscarriage.
East Palestine (pronounced “Pal-Ess-Teen”) is a rural town 50 miles west of Pittsburgh. The once thriving community of 4,700+ now feels like an eerie ghost town. Businesses are closed. Many residents never returned following the mandatory evacuation. Delivery drivers refuse to come anywhere near the town out of concern for their health. Surrounding school sports teams that were scheduled to compete in East Palestine are forfeiting games and events for the same reason. Many drivers passing through the area reported the sudden onset of nose bleeds, cloudy eyes and rashes after doing so. Locals say they they now feel drunk and mentally altered after spending short periods of time in their homes and businesses. School children universally report pink eye and upset stomachs. Communities throughout the region are reporting an oily sheen on the water, translating to the thousands of empty plastic bottles of water piling up as locals no longer trust the tap. Norfolk’s trains continue to scream through town, kicking up visible clouds of toxic fallout dust along their way.
Many residents reported their symptoms immediately after the derailment and continue to grow sicker, yet authorities have insisted since day one that the air is safe to breathe and the water is safe to drink. How can this be? EPA officials, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, and US Transportation Secretary “Pothole Pete” Buttigieg universally signaled the “all clear” loudly, emphatically, and repeatedly throughout every phase of this disaster’s first chapter. They’ve drug their feet and made excuses on behalf of the industry in a vane attempt to gaslight the locals into questioning their own sanity. The industry-funded clinic told locals that the skin rashes now affecting more than half of the remaining residents are likely due to stress, not chemicals. They’ve also told locals with a straight face that the symptoms they’ve suffered from since the explosion “could be from a wide variety of causes” including “springtime allergies.” But the locals aren’t buying it because they can smell the toxins and feel the dissonance.
“People wouldn’t be getting sick if it was OK,” said resident Shelby Walker to the Post Gazette.
Resident Wade Lovett told reporters on 25 February that his voice actually changed pitch after the accident to a kind of high-pitched helium-voice: “My voice sounds like Mickey Mouse. My normal voice is low. It’s hard to breathe, especially at night. My chest hurts so much at night I feel like I’m drowning. I cough up phlegm a lot. I lost my job because the doctor won’t release me to go to work.”
Ashley McCollum says her home is so toxic with chemicals that she is vomiting whenever she spends too much time there. She also says her children have all developed a kind of pink eye since the explosion: “I know that I have no home because it is too unsafe. I mean I’m in and out there and it’s too much. You vomit when you’re in there too long. You have numbness, tingling in your mouth. You taste it when you leave. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get that out of my house or make it safe enough. And honestly if I would try to sell my house I have to disclose that to any buyer.”
Jerry Hughes told Democracy Now! “I don’t feel safe taking my kids into town. Especially to the house. My neighbor right across the street from me literally got diagnosed yesterday with chemical pneumonia.”
Toma Rhodes is co-owner of the Enchanted Salon in East Palestine who told News Nation, “We’re closing again because most of my clientele are from Pennsylvania. No one wants to come near us.”
“East Palestine feels like a war-zone,” says Gia Delisio, who describes getting splitting headaches from the chemical smell hanging over the town. “I’m drinking bottled water even though they told us the water is safe. People are having symptoms in town so that doesn’t seem to be the truth.”
PhD chemist Dr. David Manuta told Headline USA that, “The dirty little secret is they probably took static samples, meaning they didn’t do any mixing; they didn’t do any stirring,” he said. “A static sample is only representative of where it was taken, whereas a mixed sample would stir up all the toxins and be captured in the measurement.”
Among the first authentic journalists with boots on the ground was political strategist Nick Sortor who reported a “sweet smelling chemical smell, like burning rubber” hanging over the town. Residents in neighboring Pennsylvania have documented that chemicals began showing up in their rivers and streams, as evidenced by the strong “butane smell” emitting from them. Louis DeAngelis of Status Coup News interviewed a woman named Therese who lives 11 miles northwest of East Palestine and described an “ozone” smell akin to “burning electronics” following the explosion. Others still have describe the smell lingering in their homes as like “living in a gas station” with “constant smell of burning plastics and chemicals in the air”. Another said the air stinks of “nail polish mixed with gasoline.” And instead of dissipating, the asphyxiating stench only continues to grow more intense.
As of this writing, more than 45,000 animals have been found dead from lethal chemical exposure in and around Ohio following the explosion. The carnage thus far includes fish, frogs, crayfish, birds, snakes, foxes, cats, dogs, horses, rabbits, minks, muskrats, skunks, squirrels, raccoon, deer and elk. Many of these animals dropped dead in areas that are several miles from the blast zone.
On the morning of 27 February, Ben Bergquam with Real America’s Voice News found three dead deer within fifty yards of each other whose lifeless bodies were collapsed near the Ohio River yet undisturbed by bugs and absent any indications of physical trauma. Farmers found their chickens dead in the coops and fish dead in the creeks in the immediate aftermath. Residents’ pets began succumbing to seizures, projectile vomiting, and death. Local fox keeper Taylor Holzer reported sick and dead foxes. Surrounding communities experienced similar problems with their pets. Wildlife carcasses began piling up in at least two of Ohio’s National Forests as well as surrounding counties and townships in the weeks following.
Governor DeWine has attempted to block the independent testing of wildlife but legitimate scientists are finding ways around the blockades to reveal these animals indeed perished with postmortem toxicities that are literally off the charts. “These highly toxic levels are the exact chemicals that were released from East Palestine. Wayne National Forest and Shawnee State Forest in Ohio, are downriver from East Palestine and are two parks where samples are from,” one report reads.
Even the rail workers assigned to the cleanup are falling ill. Jonathon Long, general chairman of the American Rail System Federation of the Teamsters union, wrote a letter stating, among other things, that NFS workers “reported that they continue to experience migraines and nausea, days after the derailment, and they all suspect that they were willingly exposed to these chemicals at the directions of [Norfolk Southern].” Long goes on to describe how the company ignores the pleas of their workers, and how none of those working at the spill site were provided with proper personal protective equipment.
Of all the agencies and organizations present at the disaster site, a private police force appears to have supreme authority. The EPA, Governor, Mayor, Sheriff’s Department, local police and Department of Transportation have universally deferred enforcement authority and roadblock jurisdiction to Norfolk Southern Police Department (NSPD). The Grey Zone reports on the company’s private police force, and captured footage of the black, unmarked Dodge Durangos complete with lights and a siren being used to patrol the streets of East Palestine:
“The fact that a billion dollar company’s own private police force is patrolling the streets of a tiny village where the company just committed an act of environmental terrorism is troubling, but true. … The department supports 49 field offices, 5 special investigation units, 3 special operations response teams, 12 K9 units, a police communications center and a headquarters in Atlanta.”
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
How do a million gallons of cancer-causing toxic chemicals spill and burn up into the atmosphere all at once near a populated area and release a gigantic mushroom cloud of death that blankets the region in pollutants that subsequently kills thousands of animals? The Norfolk Southern train that derailed on its way to Conway, Pennsylvania the night of Friday, 03 February 2023 didn’t have to become the single worst land-based environmental disaster in US history. But instead of taking effort to remove the wrecked tankers full of toxins and disposing of the waste properly, the decision was made to empty the remaining tankers and burn off the toxins directly into the local environment.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary report:
“Train 32N comprised 2 head-end locomotives, 149 railcars, and 1 distributed power locomotive located between railcars 109 and 110. The consist included 20 placarded hazardous materials tank cars transporting combustible liquids, flammable liquids, and flammable gas, including vinyl chloride.”
At approximately 8:12 p.m. surveillance video from an equipment manufacturing plant in Salem, Ohio (20 miles prior to and west of the derailment) captured a light show of sparks and flames showering from beneath car #23. NTSB would later describe these sparks as the telltale sign of an overheated wheel bearing that was ultimately responsible for the derailment.
The NTSB’s report goes on to say that the three employees on board, including an engineer, a conductor and a trainee, tried but failed to stop the train after the wheel bearing overheated. The train passed by multiple “wayside defect detectors” that failed to alert the crew of the danger until it was too late. Workers hit the brakes, but the train weighed 18,000 metric tons and needed many miles of track to decelerate.
“8:54 p.m. local time, eastbound Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) general merchandise freight train 32N derailed 38 cars on main track 1 of NS Fort Wayne Line of the Keystone Division in East Palestine, Ohio. The derailed equipment included 11 tank cars carrying hazardous materials that subsequently ignited, fueling fires that damaged an additional 12 non-derailed railcars.”
A standard DOT111 tanker unit has maximum capacity of 30,000 gallons. A total of 1,109,400 gallons of toxic chemicals were mixed together and ignited, including 5 tankers of Vinyl chloride yielding 150,000 gallons along with an additional 4 tankers of petroleum lube oil, one tanker of Diethylene glycol, one tanker of Ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, one tanker of Ethyl hexyl acelate, one tanker of Butyl acrylate, and two hoppers of polyvinyl. The fiery wreck burned for days releasing chemicals into air, soil and water.
At around 10 p.m. local authorities began evacuating locals living within 1 mile of the derailment site.
By 10:53 p.m. Norfolk finally reported the incident to the National Response Center. They’re supposed to report chemicals spills to federal operators immediately, but chose to delay the call for two hours.
The fire raged on into the following afternoon of Saturday, 04 February. East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway declared a state of emergency, the NTSB held their first press conference and the EPA detected contaminated water in streams known as Sulphur Run and Leslie Run. Despite the thick, black clouds of smoke emanating from the fire, the Ohio EPA issued a statement claiming no harmful chemicals had been detected in the air.
By Sunday, 05 February, the NTSB held their second press conference and released their drone footage.
The fires continued burning into the night and at 8:30 p.m. Governor DeWine issued an evacuation order for everyone within 1 mile of the derailment. Norfolk planned to intentionally vent and ignite all 5 of the cars carrying vinyl chloride. Residents received alerts on their phones informing them that the fire continued to burn out of control.
Further complicating matters is the fact that the volatile railcars had already been emptied of their contents, meaning there was no longer any risk of explosion. Concerns allegedly grew among officials behind the scenes as vinyl chloride was likely to cause a massive explosion if it continued to increase in temperature. It would later come out that only one of the five tankers containing vinyl chloride was leaking after the derailment, yet officials used explosives to blow holes in all the others after digging a giant pit for the chemical pond so they could set it ablaze all at once. The “forced depressurization” or “controlled venting” of the railcars was performed to prevent the vinyl chloride from catching fire while under pressure and exploding railcar-sized shrapnel. Once this “forced depressurization” was complete, the tanks were no longer at risk of explosion, and the spilled chemicals could have been properly removed. But officials decided to light a match instead.
On Monday, 06 February, officials made the decision to move forward with the chemical explosion often referred to as the “controlled release.” Governor DeWine announced at a press conference that the event would go off at around 3:30 p.m. to get ahead of a forecasted wind storm, but he was suddenly rushed away by security who thought an explosion imminent. Reporters were told they had five minutes to get as far away as possible. Authorities issued a mandatory evacuation for everyone within 1 mile and a ‘shelter in place’ order for everyone within 2. The great big burn finally began at approximately 4:30 p.m. Norfolk told residents over the weekend that they planned to blow the site up in a “controlled breach,” admitting that, “this will be loud and visible.” Governor Mike DeWine said “officers knocked on doors three times to order residents within the one-mile radius of the incident to evacuate because they were moving forward with the controlled release.”
The massive chemical burn releasing a black mushroom cloud that was visible from space was touted as a “success” by Norkfolk’s CEO Alan Shaw. The cloud emitted fallout over four counties and six states, including Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York. This is in addition to reports of acid rain which were observed “as far away as Durham, Canada, Boston, Massachusetts, Kentucky and Lafayette, Indiana.”
Authorities lifted the evacuation just 48 hours later on Wednesday 08 February, telling residents it was now safe for them to return home. But as residents attempted to return, they found themselves stuck at the tracks waiting for endless freight trains the pass through. Norfolk trains with cargo shipments belated by the shutdown were now double stacking their loads to make up for lost time. As locals waited patiently in their cars for the trains to pass, it became obvious to many that authorities had lifted the evacuation order prematurely to cater to big business. Since Norfolk couldn’t legally run goods on the rail with an evacuation order in place, the only way to keep the gravy train rolling was to signal the “all clear” even though everyone knew it was a lie.
Multiple sampling sites along the Ohio River began detecting butyl acrylate early on, but state and local officials repeated over and over again that there was “no impact to drinking water” in East Palestine. Residents were repeatedly told the water had been tested and was safe to consume.
One of the strangest moments of the entire episode took place in a school gymnasium containing the Governor’s 5:00 p.m. press conference. News Nation correspondent Evan Lambert was accosted by Major General John Harris of the Ohio National Guard and other military personnel who told him to leave the school gym, even though he’d been invited to the press event as a correspondent for a major network. When he refused to leave, Lambert was forced to the floor, handcuffed in full view of fellow reporters and placed under arrest on charges of disorderly conduct, criminal trespassing and resisting arrest.
On Friday, 10 February, the EPA issued a letter reporting the detection of four toxic chemicals in the air, soil and water. The following Monday, 13 February, Norfolk Southern’s CEO Alan Shaw publicized a letter pledging “a $1 million community support fund as a down payment on our commitment to help rebuild”. But two days later neither Shaw nor anyone from his company were present for the 15 February Town Hall meeting to discuss the very disaster their company had caused. And as the excuse for their conspicuous absence from the meeting, Norfolk actually professed themselves as the victim with the following statement: “Unfortunately, after consulting with community leaders, we have become increasingly concerned about the growing physical threat to our employees.” Though there would certainly be justification for it, there is no record of any threats whatsoever to Norfolk employees.
On Thursday, 16 February, both Governor DeWine and the Ohio EPA confirmed the detection of “a chemical plume of butyl acrylate” moving down the Ohio River toward Virginia. The EPA confirmed the plume had entered the Ohio River Basin, which is home to 25 million people. Federal EPA Administrator Michael Regan told residents: “All families need to know that they are safe.” That same day, Ohio senator J.D. Vance visited a local stream affected by the spill called Leslie’s Run, and shot video of the bubbling chemicals popping out of the water in rainbow-vision.
On the morning of Friday, 17 February, Cincinnati officials announced they were shutting off water intake from the Ohio River due to contamination concerns – an action that the Northern Kentucky Water District had preemptively implemented on 10 February.
On Tuesday, 21 February, Administrator Michael Regan went on a door-to-door photo op. On Wednesday, 22 February, Donald Trump arrived with pallets of water for residents and McDonalds lunch for first responders.
Following his strongly worded letter, “Pothole Pete” Buttigieg finally showed up for the first time on Thursday, 23 February. Pausing in the middle of a statement, “Pothole Pete” unironically admitted to the press team that he’d lost his train of thought. That same day, the NTSB chairwoman Jennifer Homendy publicly stated the disaster was “100% preventable” She went on to say, “We call things accidents. There is no accident.”
The week concluded with a spirited Town Hall meeting hosted by Erin Brockovich on the evening of Friday, 24 February. “I can’t tell you how many communities feel that these moments are the biggest gaslight of their life,” she said. “Because you experienced it. You have symptoms. But you’re going to be told it’s safe. You’re going to be told not to worry. Well that’s just rubbish.”
BLATANT CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
EPA officials and the Governor were telling locals that the water was safe to drink when the Ohio Department of Natural Resources had simultaneously reported that an estimated 3,500 fish in nearby creeks and rivers had died instantly from chemical contamination, the total of which has since grown to more than 43,700.
Governor DeWine told Wolf Blitzer with a straight face on CNN, “There’s people who are reporting symptoms and we don’t know what those causes were. Many of them believe that it came about because of the train derailment.”
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoof is the bow-tie wearing Director of the Ohio Department of Health who said at a press conference in East Palestine, “The symptoms that they’re describing have a whole variety of potential sources.” He further patronized the locals by saying, “I wouldn’t be walking around the community if I didn’t think it was safe,” to which he was met with audible ‘booing’. After several moments of vociferous backlash from the crowd, Vanderhoof finally shrugged and said, “I don’t know what more I can do to assure you all,” to which a woman in audience immediately shouted, “Stop lying to us!”
How can authorities declare “the air and water are clean” when everyone is so obviously sick from the chemicals that were spilled and burned? -when the creeks are visibly contaminated? -when the air is obviously toxic? Furthermore, how can authorities declare “all clear” without sufficient data to do so?
Jessica Helpy asked rhetorically, “Why am I having this headache? Why do I feel so lightheaded that I need to sit down when I’m showering? It’s not okay for people to be here right now. I know that the evacuation order has been lifted but the air quality is not okay. … The way this is being handled right now, in my opinion, is unethical. It’s immoral.”
Gaslighting is defined as “a psychological manipulation of a person usually over an extended period of time that causes the victim to question the validity of their own thoughts, perceptions of reality, or memories and typically leads to confusion, loss of confidence and self-esteem, uncertainty of one’s emotional or mental stability, and a dependency on the perpetrator.”
Nick Sortor observed early on that, “People of the town don’t know what to do and feel abandoned by the government.” He went on to describe how the locals fear the disaster will be totally covered up. They’ve been told everything is safe even though they’re vomiting blood. When they call their local officials they’re given the run around and recordings. The clinic set up by Governor DeWine has overwhelmingly minimized their symptoms, with clinicians actually telling residents that their skin rashes were likely due to stress. Additionally, the clinic had absolutely no way of testing for any contaminants, nor any doctors in its employ. It does not prescribe treatments or provide diagnoses.
The damage control response by authorities and officials smacks of Flint, Michigan. In Flint, Obama attempted to assure the locals that their leaded water was safe by pretending to drink a glass of tap at a press conference while making a crack about doing his own stunts. In Ohio, Governor DeWine and EPA Administrator Regan attempted to assure locals their rainbow water was safe by pretending to drink a glass of tap in a resident’s kitchen while making a crack about how “good” it tastes. In Flint EPA officials were caught perverting and falsifying water testing results by telling locals to run their taps for long periods before testing. In Ohio EPA officials continue denying what everyone feels, smells and tastes by abdicating their testing duties to controversial contracting firms that fail to test for relevant toxins. Flint was ultimately denied FEMA support because their emergency wasn’t one of natural causes, and the same thing happened in Ohio.
Attorney Michael Barasch, who advocated on behalf of 9/11 illness victims, told News Nation,
“When I heard the EPA tell everybody, ‘Oh don’t worry, the air in East Palestine is safe to breathe,’ shivers went down my spine. I distinctly remember Christine Todd Whitman using those exact same words 21 years ago… Well I gotta tell ya: it wasn’t safe. We know now from NIOSH [National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health] that 69 cancers have been linked to the World Trade Center toxins. Not a day goes by without two of my clients dying.…They’re treating us like children, like we can’t handle the news.”
Ohio Senator J.D. Vance disputed the declaration as well. “People say that the air is clean,” Vance explained. “I would like to believe that that’s true. I also have been here for all of three hours and it doesn’t smell great to me… I took a stick and I stuck it in the bed of the creek and pulled it along and chemicals bubbled out of the ground.”
The EPA sunk as low as holding a youth town hall meeting where officials told teenage kids the water and air were completely safe, in spite of the glaring fact that the school drinking fountains were all locked up to prevent their use. They sunk the lie even deeper, telling teens to encourage other students to come into town to play sporting events.
In mid February when Federal EPA Administrator Michael Regan was asked if he would allow his children to bathe in the water, he responded, “As a parent, I would.” Regan told residents he would even raise his children in East Palestine. He went on to condescendingly remark, “I trust science.”
Courtney Miller, who lives in a property adjacent to the contaminated creek, told News Nation, “I trust science, too. But you can’t find what you’re not looking for. They’re not looking for the dioxins… So they’re not testing for what they need to be testing for is why they’re saying that it’s fine. And they just don’t want to hear it because they’re trying to save money.”
A few weeks later Administrator Regan had changed his tune completely, saying that as a parent, he definitely would not allow his children to play anywhere near the creeks in East Palestine. Nick Sortor asked Regan, “We’ve seen the rainbow sheen, all these chemicals popping up from the bottom of the streams that these kids used to play in. Would you allow your kids anywhere near these streams right now?”
“I would not,” Regan responded. “I’m the father of a nine year old. I think we have to all agree that we wish this accident didn’t occur. The accident occurred, and as a result two of our creeks and our streams have pollution in them.”
And after a month of repeatedly assuring residents their town was safe, Governor Mike DeWine finally admitted what everyone had already known from the very beginning: “The whole goal here is to make the community safe and it can’t happen overnight. We can’t get all the stuff outta here overnight.”
In spite of his verbal commitments to “make the community safe,” DeWine remains reticent to officially declare a state of emergency. Perhaps because doing so would upset his donors, for whom a disaster declaration would cost the “legal primacy” to call all the shots as they’ve come to expect.
JUST FOLLOWING ORDERS?
We’ve all been told that the railroad company had to light a match to keep the vinyl chloride from exploding, because vinyl chloride is volatile with a boiling point of 7.9 degrees Fahrenheit. So they had to detonate it in a “controlled release” to prevent an explosion. But there was already a huge fire that burned for days. Wouldn’t a deliberate effort to further ignite it all then raise the temperature well above 7.9 degrees, making a subsequent explosion inevitable?
The fact remains that the volatile railcars had already been emptied of their contents, meaning there was no longer any risk of explosion.
Retired Fire Chief Sil Caggiano is considered one of the most knowledgeable experts on hazardous materials in the area. When interviewed he told reporters straightaway, “We basically nuked a town with chemicals so we could get a railroad open.” Caggiano went on to explain that Norfolk Southern “did not have to blow up the chemicals and only did so because it was the cheapest option.” And the trains were not only back on schedule within 48 hours of the disaster, they were also double stacked as the railroad attempted to make up for lost time.
Multiple reports confirm that firefighters had no clue what they were up against because the railroad hadn’t effectively communicated the severity of the situation. Had fire crews been informed they were dealing with a chemical fire involving several volatile compounds, they would have employed foam instead of water and the situation could have been contained.
After realizing they’d made the situation worse, fire crews withdrew and waited for the cavalry to show. Twenty-four hours later, 78 departments had responded, but everyone ultimately deferred to the company’s authority and Norfolk Southern insisted that the vinyl chloride tanks constituted a ticking time bomb – even though they’d already made the decision to empty all five tankers. So they made their choice, and a deadly mushroom cloud formed a nightmare chemical weapons factory in the sky that rained toxins into the environment sending flocks of dead birds plummeting to the earth.
Local resident Kathy Dyke told reporters, “I honestly feel that the police department, the fire department, all the first responders, they don’t have the answers to give us because I don’t think they know.”
Since chemistry knowledge is not exactly common, companies can take advantage of collective ignorance about the subject to present their feeble contradictory arguments. We’ve all heard about the five railcars of vinyl chloride because the volatility associated with that chemical is essential to the official story. Because vinyl chloride boils at 7.9 degrees Fahrenheit, we’re told these railcars were likely to explode. But the premise that the potential cause of a catastrophic explosion would have been heat seems self-contradictory since igniting a burn makes it more likely to explode because it raises the temperature. And again, the inconvenient fact that the tankers were empty when they finally lit the match means there wasn’t actually any danger of an explosion.
Norfolk Southern claim to have detected rising temperature readings in one of the pressurized railcars. If they’re telling the truth, the situation threatened to release a tremendous amount of chemical energy all at once which would have probably wiped East Palestine off the map instantly. But we know that Norfolk Southern sought permission from the feds to depressurize the tanks. Once the tanks were depressurized, the threat of imminent explosion was over because empty tanks cannot explode. So Norfolk are telling a twisted truth, which is another way of saying that they’re lying. It goes without saying that the company had much to gain by burning the evidence, which also allowed them to reopen the track as quickly as possible.
TESTING FOR WHAT?
Norfolk Southern’s CEO Alan Shaw defended his “safety culture” to PBS News Hour, insisting to viewers that the air and water are clean because “the science” says so:
“We’ve stood up a lot of testing. Within an hour of the derailment we had air testing. Within a couple hours of the derailment we had water testing. There is independent testing going on right now at the Ohio EPA and with local health officials. You know, there’s been hundreds of tests and there have been thousands of data points and they’ve all come back with the same result that says the air and the water are clean. … We’re extremely focused on safety. And over the long term we’ve seen reductions in derailments and hazardous material releases and in injuries. This is clearly a situation where our safety culture and our investments in safety did not prevent this accident.”
Peter DeCarlo is an associate professor of environmental health from Johns Hopkins who appeared on ABC This Week to reveal that, “The monitoring equipment they’re using to determine things are safe doesn’t give us chemical specificity – it doesn’t tell us what chemicals are present. It just says they’re below some level. There’s plenty of chemicals that can be created from that fire that can be toxic at much lower levels.” DeCarlo went on to describe how EPA monitoring data is from handheld monitors not designed to measure outside air quality.
Elected officials like Governor DeWine relied on biased and faulty data from industry contractors in making statements assuring residents that water and air were safe for human consumption. In a blatant conflict of interest, said testing was performed by several consulting firms on Norfolk Southern’s payroll – alongside and in impersonation of EPA officials inside residents’ homes – and the samples they utilized to carry out their so-called “testing” were deeply compromised. Probably deliberately so.
Chris DeAngelo of the Huffington Post reported that a company subcontractor called AECOM improperly preserved and mishandled municipal water samples rendering test results utterly useless.
Norfolk also hired the Center of Toxicology and Environmental Health (CTEH) and Tetra Tech. Both of these companies have an awful track record, and have been caught falsifying test information in other major US disasters including the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Tetra Tech specifically is guilty of the biggest Eco Fraud case in US history.
CTEH has a history of minimizing the effects of environmental disasters to protect their corporate clients. According to the New York Times, “They’re paid to say everything’s okay.” Chemical corporations consistently use this company’s “findings” to assure us that there is never any cause for alarm. CTEH was accused of mishandling data related to the hurricane Katrina oil spill, covering up a coal ash spill in Tennessee, mismanaging Florida’s drywall crisis, and whitewashing the 2010 BP oil spill. And the last time Norfolk Southern found themselves in hot water, after a derailment in Graniteville, South Carolina released 90 tons of chlorine gas, killing 9 and injuring 500, guess who was hired to manage the PR nightmare? That’s right. CTEH.
A fox guarding the hen house is a great way to exert control over a crime scene so corporate fat cats can have their cake and eat it too. Numerous reports of children projectile vomiting immediately following the “controlled release” can be instantly nullified by so-called “experts” who use the public relations spin of tobacco science to hypnotize their audience into believing that there’s nothing to see here. Tetra Tech and CTEH are both hatchet-man operations hired by polluters to cover their tracks.
Residents have observed private contractors testing for the wrong chemicals and cleaning with disinfectants rather than neutralizing the chemical agents.
Robert Bowcock is an environmental investigator working with Erin Brockovich. Standing near a creek in East Palestine, Bob described the response as “pathetic” and “out of control”:
“What’s been the response? The railroad sent in a clean up crew who came in with commercial grade organic Lysol to disinfect the homes. That’s about as pathetic as it gets. The response is absolutely out of control. Nothing is going right in any way, shape or form. If you look behind me here they’re actually aerating a creek. Where do you think those chemicals are going in an aeration process? They are literally going back up in to the air and recontaminating these people. This is not something that happened overnight. This is something that’s ongoing. They are literally taking the chemicals from this creek and reintroducing them into the air, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
These contractors also reassured locals by announcing they’ve not detected vinyl chloride in the air. This point is moot, of course, given that vinyl chloride transforms into a whole host of other chemicals when burned. “It’s not just what was in the tanker cars,” explained Eric F. Coppolino of PlanetWaves FM. “It’s what happens when they burn and combine. This may be the largest dioxin plume in world history. I know of no more serious release, ever.”
Dioxins are a group of toxic compounds classified as Persistent Organic Pollutants, meaning they don’t break down the way other things do. They can cause cancer, reproductive harm, birth defects, developmental harm, immune damage and hormonal imbalances. Dioxins also bioaccumulate and remain in the children and grandchildren of those affected because they alter DNA.
Once again, the EPA swooped in to wreck the day, first telling locals that it was “too early to test for dioxins” before imagining up their next great excuse. The EPA now they say they can’t test for dioxins because they don’t have a baseline to compare it to. Even though the EPA have themselves set a threshold for safe dioxin exposure at a toxicity equivalence of .7 pictograms per kilograms of body weight per day. So if the EPA has set an allowable limit, why won’t they simply test for it and see if it’s above their own toxicity threshold?
If officials admitted that the “magic dust” that fell from the sky as far east as Connecticut in the days following Ohio’s chemical nuke was 1) poisonous and 2) related in any way to the East Palestine derailment, the potential liability claims from millions of people in multiple states could cripple their profit engine. Meteorologists have insisted that the white ash that fell from the sky in New England wasn’t from the chemical explosion, but from a dust storm in Oklahoma. Noting that the dust had settled on Philadelphia, AccuWeather reporter Bill Deger chose to find the silver lining by telling his audience that the atmospheric particulates made sunsets “more photogenic.”
After a resident discovered an undetonated blasting cap that fell out of the sky 1.4 miles from the crash site, the EPA visited his house to share their unique brand of unscientific speculation:
“Corbin and his wife returned to their house on Feb. 9, which was his 73rd birthday. During an initial phone conversation, the EPA said the ash on Corbin’s property was not from the derailment.”
Government officials have deferred to Norfolk Southern’s line, telling residents that if they want to front the $4,500 to test for dioxins they will be reimbursed eventually. Once again the industry doesn’t have to prove that it’s safe, but those injured by its pillaging must prove that it’s dangerous. Even if the victims are financially capable of leaping through such prohibitive hoops to prove on their own dime that specific chemical compounds exist in their homes, the industry knows they won’t be able to prove these contaminants weren’t present before the derailment.
The EPA has daily proven itself a participatory accomplice in this crime as it has in many other severe chemical spills. The EPA’s cover up of the Times Beach dioxin contamination event is perhaps the most well known example as it resulted in the permanent evacuation and relocation of an entire town. Similarly, when Exxon’s Silvertip Pipeline leaked into the Yellowstone River in July of 2011, EPA officials told affected farmers that oil is organic so it was safe for livestock to eat, that oil is essentially a fertilizer, and that the grass would come back greener than ever. Perhaps these officials were secretly part of Project Mayhem.
DIOXIN FACTOR SPELLS DOOM FOR NORTH AMERICAN FOOD PRODUCTION
According to the Health Ranger Mike Adams, dioxins eclipse the toxicity of pesticides, glyphosate, lead, arsenic and even mercury. “Nothing comes close to the toxicity of dioxins, other than something like VX nerve gas, or Xyklon B, or Cesium 137 radiation,” he says. “That might be comparable. That’s how dangerous dioxins are…. One quadrillionth of a gram exposure to dioxin can yield negative effects. … It’s toxic at femtograms.”
Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxins (PBT) like dioxin become more concentrated as they move up the food chain causing increasing rates of cancer, spontaneous abortion and deformities. They do not degrade or vanish or dilute over time. Tens of thousands of farms are directly affected by the contaminated waterways and toxic airborne fallout from East Palestine, including the largest Amish farm in North America.
This effectively equates to a bizarre kind of food supply check mate.
Significant percentages of America’s corn, soy, wheat, beef, diary and pork are sourced from Ohio. 80% of world’s livestock grain is irrigated by the watershed that’s now contaminated. Likewise, 25% of America’s fish live in that waterway. Even if the farmers in this area decide to continue working their land, this may prove to be a Silent Spring scenario if insect pollinators fail to survive the contamination. We can see evidence of this in the recent glut of dead wildlife around East Palestine that aren’t being devoured by insects. The largest Amish farm in North America, if not the world, may no longer be viable after the contamination incurred by the chemical nuke. How much of the northern hemisphere was affected remains an open question.
Likewise, the extent of the damage to the regional watersheds continues to unfold. At ground zero the drainage ditches running alongside the railroad tracks flow directly into the nearest creek which then runs through three other towns before entering the Ohio River on its way into the Mississippi River and toward the Gulf of Mexico. The aforementioned drainage ditches were blocked with makeshift dams following the derailment, which have repeatedly overflown into the rivers following heavy rain. Some officials have warned communities along the waterway to cease swimming in it.
PREMONITIONS, PREDICTIVE PROGRAMMING OR PRE-DRILL EXERCISES?
It seems strange enough that on 2/3/’23 train 32N derailed after car #23 sparked off the track igniting and damaging a total of 23 railcars. But this story goes completely off the rails with the combination of coincidental occurrences leading up to the event, including a Netflix movie that seemed to predict the catastrophe, an experimental health identification program introduced specifically to the affected town, and an Orwellian omission of information by the Center for Disease Control and prevention.
A Netflix movie called White Noise released in September of 2022 (just five months prior to the real-world event) just so happens to feature a train crash with chemical tankers that stack up, catch fire, and explode, releasing a “toxic airborne event” that forces locals to evacuate. White Noise was even filmed in the same area, a few miles from ground zero. And some East Palestine residents played as extras in this movie that predicted their own future quagmire. Should it surprise us to learn that the co-founder and original CEO of Netflix is Marc Bernays Randolph, the great nephew of propaganda “godfather” Edward Bernays?
Eleven days prior to the event, the CDC quietly updated their page on vinyl chloride by raising the declared “safe exposure threshold” and removing warnings about adverse effects to children.
And in the days before Ohio’s train disaster, locals were pushed to sign up for “free” biometric trackers touted as “the ultimate ID system” and a great way of keeping track of breathing problems.
Then there was that mysterious plane crash outside of Little Rock, Arkansas that killed everyone on board. And everyone on board, including the pilot, just happened to be employees of CTEH on their way to Ohio, but not East Palestine, Ohio. The CTEH crew were on their way to Oakwood Village, Ohio to assist in the investigation of the “unrelated” metal plant explosion that occurred there just days after the East Palestine chemical nuke. Then there was the “unrelated” Norfolk derailment outside of Detroit that involved hazardous materials. And the 09 March derailment in Alabama that took place during CEO Alan Shaw’s appearance before Congress on the event in East Palestine. The list of “coincidences” goes on and on, in part because the US is averaging a major chemical spill every two days, according to The Guardian.
“WHO IS JOHN GALT?”
This story reads like a parody directly from the pages of Atlas Shrugged. America’s modern freight trains remain outfitted with laughably outdated, Civil War-era air braking systems. It is atop this antiquated technology from 1868 that we’re running longer trains with heavier loads at faster speeds. All of this acceleration hurries along with fewer employees and less maintenance. While train loads got longer and heavier, the railroad work force shrunk by nearly 40% over the last six years. As cutbacks to the railroad labor force intensified, executives chose to fill the void by outsourcing the work to subcontractors.
Rail workers attempted to warn the American people about this very disaster potential and were organizing a strike in the autumn of 2022. Then a legislation came down from the Biden White House on 02 December 2022 preemptively declaring the strike illegal and forcing workers to get back to work in the unsafe conditions they were protesting against.
Locomotive engineer Ron Kaminkow is General Secretary of Rail Workers United, who organized the strike. Appearing on The Jimmy Dore Show, Kaminkow said,
“There was a huge huge pent up anger and frustration that has been building for at least two decades now. Draconian attendance policies, massive furloughs, layoffs, job consolidations, all of us going to work knowing we don’t have the proper tools to do the job, lack of maintenance, lack of inspection. I know signal maintainers and car inspectors that are just furious and very demoralized with the inability to do the job as they were trained to do it and as they understand that the law says they are to do it, to say nothing of rail carrier policy and procedure. But there’s all this pressure from the top to cut corners. Don’t inspect. Don’t maintain. We don’t have enough staff to do the job properly.”
Senior employees charged with preventing derailments have all left and their positions were eliminated by Norfolk Southern. The company also fought against the implementation of their own revolutionary “electronic braking” technology. According to the Upper Echelon youtube channel:
“In a 2007 investor document, Norfolk Southern actually bragged about their electronic braking system. They used it as a method of exciting their shareholders and stated that the technology was so safe it would soon be included in dozens more of their trains. Flash forward, not so much. Even though they admitted that Electronically Controlled Pneutmatic (ECP) brakes could decrease the track needed to stop a train by as much as 60%, they fought the government so this massively superior and safer technology would not be required in trains.”
Democracy Now! featured Matthew Cunningham-Cook of Lever News who stated, “Norfolk Southern has one of the worst safety records on the rails.” He went on to say, “Fines and class actions lawsuits are ultimately a drop in the bucket compared to the extraordinary profit that these railroads collect from their workforce that’s overworked and in large part burnt out.”
According to the Rail Workers Union: “Wall Street backed policies such as ‘precision-scheduled railroading’ have made the US rail system more dangerous … prioritizing profits over safety and health, cutting maintenance, equipment inspection and personnel in all crafts while increasing the average train size to three miles or more.”
The industry’s one-track mind chugging on nothing but dollars and dividends has laid off 33% of their workforce in the last 5 years while increasing shareholder payouts by 4,500%. Their Wall Street owners (Blackrock, Vanguard, JP Morgan and Wells Fargo) want to go completely automated with driverless trains and ditch the remaining employees. The only reason there are still crew members on board is that the industry hasn’t figured out how to automate their jobs away yet. Never mind the fact that the very train that derailed in East Palestine broke down just days prior to the derailment, yet employees concerns about the length and weight of Norfolk’s trains went ignored. Another classic example of a large corporation exploiting weak regulations to transport dangerous chemicals on the cheap until inevitably something broke down and it blew up in their faces. Except it won’t be their faces responsible for the cleanup, because they can just declare bankruptcy and put it all on the taxpayers.
Norfolk Southern can’t seem to keep track of all the chemicals involved in and released from the chemical nuke they unleashed. As reported by the Daily Mail, “Independent testing by Texas A&M and Carnegie Mellon University published last week found that the air in East Palestine contains ‘higher than normal’ concentrations of nine potentially harmful chemicals” including acrolein, benzene, Vinyl chloride, butadiene, naphthalene, o-Xylene, trichloroethylene, trichloroethane and p-Xylene. This is in addition to the Vinyl chloride, Butyl acrylate, Ethylhexyl acrylate, Ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, and Isobutylene that spilled into the ground and contaminated the watershed. It is also in addition to the formaldehyde, phosgene, Hydrogen chloride and dioxins produced as a result of the burn.
At least 6 class action lawsuits are in the works against this company so far, including one that will represent anyone within a 30 mile radius of the crash site. Even the Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost advised Norfolk Southern that his office was considering legal action. At least one federal suit was also filed as early as 16 February.
Independent Journalist Millie Weaver identified how the potential defendants aren’t necessarily who you’d expect. “We’ve had a lot of focus on Norfolk Southern, but according to a source I spoke with that’s an incident commander, they said if it’s a wheel bearing failure, that means this is going to be the fault of the car owner.” Weaver revealed that railcar #23 carrying polypropylene was owned by Aristech Chemical Corporation, and Aristech has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Sunoco since November of 2000 when they purchased it from Mitsubishi for $695 million.
Some liability may fall on those tied up with the circumstances of the derailment, but what about the decision to nuke the region with an unnecessary but cost-saving explosion?
Big business has known since the 1970’s that vinyl chloride causes a rare form of liver cancer known as angiosarcoma as well as lymphoma, leukemia, brain cancer, lung cancer and neurological symptoms like dizziness and lightheadedness. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, “Vinyl chloride in the air breaks down in a few days resulting in the formation of several other chemicals including hydrochloric acid, formaldahyde and carbon dioxide.”
But of the many byproducts created by burning vinyl chloride one is hydrogen chloride which bonded with water in the atmosphere and became the hydrochloric acid that damaged property throughout the region when it came down in the form of acid rain. Another is phosgene, which was employed in the First World War as a chemical weapon that induces vomiting and breathing difficulties. Since Norfolk Southern and its obedient accomplices deliberately released chemical weapons, perhaps they’re liable for action under the Geneva Convention.
And how about hiding evidence in other states under the cover of darkness? Neither Texas nor Michigan officials knew about the shipments of contaminated fire-fighting water to their states via a company called Texas Molecular. And while corporate media could have helped make relevant announcements, they instead got sidetracked with war propaganda and UFO stories. And when they were finally forced to give it some air time, mainstream broadcasts universally minimized the disaster and repeated what the industry told them to say. And the inter-agency cover up didn’t end there. Even the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Air Resources Lab modeled the distribution of particles from the East Palestine train derailment before suddenly taking them down without reason.
When the media are owned by the same companies that own Norfolk Southern, we’re beyond the need to break up the conglomerates who exert control over the politicians through the legalized bribery of campaign contributions. So it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that the Biden Administration is currently siding with Norfolk Southern in a case against a former rail worker now pending before the Supreme Court that could allow corporations to restrict where people can file suit against them, including the victims of the East Palestine disaster.
In 2012 a Norfolk Southern train derailed in Polesburo, New Jersey spilling 23,000 gallons of vinyl chloride that they didn’t set on fire, and it still killed nine people. Even after injuring an additional 500, the company was allowed to continue chugging along. Business as usual.
Emily Wright is the development director for River Valley Organizing and lives near East Palestine. Appearing on Democracy Now! Emily told viewers,
“The most important thing is that this is not a conspiracy theory. This is Standard Operating Procedure for Norfolk Southern. They have $70 million in safety violations since 2000 and $21 million in environmental. 25 million Americans live on an oil train blast zone. … We told them 10 years ago. We told the EPA that bomb trains, this was going to happen. We had several collaborative organizations appeal to the EPA. And it happened.”
There’s little question that the ongoing catastrophe in East Palestine represents a unique humanitarian disaster. With residents left to fend for themselves as their children puke up blood, outrage is growing. This may be the biggest and most obvious government cover up Americans have witnessed yet. The only reason the evacuation was lifted was to get the rail road open and get the money flowing again. And they continue to lie to keep the flow going. Industry makes statements, politicians parrot those lines, and talking heads in the media follow suit.
This is what corporate terrorism looks like. Elected officials are corrupted and compromised and co-opted until they’re powerless to respond to disasters caused by wealthy industry donors, ensuring an inevitable death wave follows – for the plebs. It’s no accident this wreck was minimized by a governor who receives tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Norfolk Southern. The longer they drag their feet and deny the truth the more they maximize the damage to the region. Those affected will continue to suffer because daddy government can’t respond so long as his owners are holding him by the purse strings. That’s why there are no signs posted anywhere in East Palestine indicating to passers by that anything might be askew.
Elected officials can choose to declare a state of emergency to deploy government resources to this disaster. But if no state of emergency is declared, the EPA has no jurisdiction. If no state of emergency is declared, Norfolk Southern enjoys complete legal primacy over the situation. What could be a more obvious “state of emergency” than an act of terrorism that directly impacts millions of Americans? Critical infrastructure was again weaponized against Americans, but whereas New Yorkers were traumatized by commercial aircraft, Ohioans were traumatized by a commercial rail.
Stokely Carmichael has observed that, “In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience.” If the fight is never taken to the owners, nothing will ever change. Instead of blowing off steam in a rigged political system, people could choose to pull back the curtain and meet the wizard for themselves. Alan Shaw is the CEO of Norfolk Southern, but he doesn’t own it.
Larry Fink is the CEO of Blackrock Investment Group, who in-turn own Norfolk Southern and exert a great deal of control over what executives like Alan Shaw are allowed to do. These companies spend millions of dollars bribing politicians to act as their public relations liaisons and millions more to media groups who parrot the bureaucrats. A government complicit to it’s corporate owners cannot respond to the people.
While there are actions we can take to cleanse our bodies (activated charcoal, Bentonite clay, Zeolite powder, matcha powder, broccoli powder, chlorophyll, etc.) and the environment (shelf mushrooms, poplar trees, etc.) of toxic chemicals, stopping the unnecessary introduction of these substances into the environment preempts the need for such efforts. Those interested in getting society back on track would do well to note that seeking political solutions to these problems will result in more of the same, as it always has. Unless there is some kind of concerted effort to outlaw corporations entirely – as was the case for a good deal of America’s history – they will only grow more powerful. There’s been talk of nationalizing the rails in a similar way to how the highway system is nationalized. But without a general strike or similar action that thoroughly inconveniences the captains of industry, all that talk is just blowing off steam. In the first 10 weeks of 2022 several other trains carrying hazardous materials derailed at the same time as a plethora of industrial explosions, including incidents in Detroit, Springfield, Cleveland, Bedford, La Salle, Kissimmee; the list goes on.
Meanwhile, more than 12,000 freight trains screech along America’s rusty rails each and every day carrying hazardous materials. News Nation reports that 770 of Norfolk Southern’s cars carrying hazardous materials were involved in accidents during 2022. It begs the question, what exactly does CEO Alan Shaw mean when he tells Congress, “We’re gonna make our safety culture the best in the industry”? That the US averages a major chemical spill every two days and “Pothole Pete’s” admission that America averages three derailments every day should spark concerns. Because the next bomb train is coming to a neighborhood near you.