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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 1/28/19

Government shutdown to cause the suffering of the public is a violation of federal anti-terrorism law

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Donald Trump's vindictive government shutdown qualifies as a violation of the U.S. criminal code
Donald Trump's vindictive government shutdown qualifies as a violation of the U.S. criminal code
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18 U.S. Code ┬ž 2331 specifically states that a national of the United States who commits an act dangerous to human life to intimidate or coerce a civilian population or influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion is liable to be charged for violating federal domestic terrorism laws.

Donald Trump's vindictive government shutdown qualifies as a violation of the U.S. criminal code on domestic terrorism. He is no different than a terrorist hostage taker who refuses to release his victims unless his demands are met. Trump has stated that the shutdown could last "months, even years" unless he gets his $5.7 billion for a vanity wall on the U.S.-Mexican border.

Due to the furloughing of and non-payment of wages to federal employees involved in aviation safety, including air traffic controllers and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aircraft safety inspectors, Trump and his team of administration internal saboteurs have placed the safety of every airline passenger and crew member in extreme jeopardy.

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In addition, the FAA office responsible for issuing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations exemptions is closed. One need only look at the disruption to air travel caused by reported drones over Gatwick and Heathrow airports in England to realize the impact caused by the lack of oversight by the FAA for UAVs. The FAA is not processing certifications for new aircraft, forcing the airline industry to park new aircraft. One airline, Silver Airways, has been forced to ground its entire new fleet of ATR-42-600 planes. Trump could not be more disruptive to air travel if he personally phoned in a bomb threat to an airline or airport.

Although there are no federal criminal penalties attached to acts of domestic terrorism, federal law does provide criminal sanctions for acts of domestic terrorism associated with the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO).

The welfare, security, and safety of the flying public represents a fraction of the overall impact of Trump's shutdown on the citizens of the United States.

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The following represents how Trump's terroristic acts threaten the lives and livelihoods of all Americans:

Closed:

  • Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service ability to process tax returns and issue refunds severely curtailed.
  • Department of Agriculture - The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is conducting fewer inspections. Rural mortgage loan program suspended, preventing farmers from closing on new homes.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in danger of running out of funds at the end of February, denying basic food assistance to 40 million Americans. $12 billion bailout fund for farmers impacted by Trump's trade tariffs suspended. School Lunch and School Breakfast program for needy children will run out of funds at the end of February.
  • Department of the Interior - U.S. Forest Service firefighter training is suspended, preventing them for being prepared for the upcoming wildfire season. National Parks Service closed, resulting in trash and human waste piling up in national parks across the country. Vandalism at parks on an increase.
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance to low-income Americans suspended, putting renters at risk of eviction from their homes. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families suspended.
  • Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration closed, halting public transit projects across the country. Washington Metro losing $400,000 a day from lost ridership.
  • Department of Commerce Small Business Administration suspended loan processing for small businesses under the SBA 7(a) loan program. Export licensing for U.S. firms suspended.
  • Department of Justice Bureau of Prisons guards are working without pay. Pay for lawyers representing indigent criminal defendants suspended. Federal prosecutors working without pay. Funds to assist survivors of domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault, pursuant to the Violence Against Women Act, suspended. Immigration courts closed. E-Verify, the immigration database used to check on the status of workers, not in service.

WORKING WITHOUT PAY:

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation - FBI agents unpaid.
  • Department of State - U.S. diplomatic personnel abroad and foreign employees of U.S. diplomatic posts unpaid.
  • Drug Enforcement Agency - DEA unable to authorize use of opioids and partial-opioids for opioid-addicted patients across the country. Drugs affected include Naloxone and Suboxone.
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Processing of requests for new licenses, label approval, and manufacture of non-beverage products halted.
  • Department of Homeland Security - U.S. Coast Guard operations, including marine safety, is impacted by civilian work force furloughs and lack of pay. Without the U.S. Coast Guard being able to process required certificates of financial responsibility, cargo vessels are diverting from U.S. ports. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency operating with 43 percent fewer staff.
  • U.S. Customs And Border Protection Agents at points of entry and along the borders not being paid (yet, Trump is keeping the government shut down in the name of enhanced "border security" and "wall" demands).
  • Transportation Security Administration Increased absenteeism among TSA screeners is resulting in long delays at airport security check-ins, closed screening checkpoints at major airports like Miami, Dulles, Baltimore, Houston Bush International, and Atlanta, Screeners are using sick leave to take part-time jobs. Long airport security lines and air safety concerns are resulting in massive cancellations of foreign tourist and business travel to the United States, with the airline and hospitality industries severely affected.

OTHERWISE IMPACTED:

  • Food and Drug Administration - Suspension of clinical trials and drug development programs. Fewer food inspections are being conducted.
  • Administrative Office of the United States Courts - Civil cases postponed. Court reporters, court interpreters, and jurors may lose their pay. Some courts, including the U.S. Court for the Southern District of New York, may be forced to close at the end of February.
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - With several furloughs at the National Weather Service, weather forecasting critical to farmers and fishermen is affected. National Hurricane Center's
  • Global Forecast System inoperable.
  • Environmental Protection Agency - Inspections of chemical factories, power plants, oil refineries, water treatment plants, and Superfund sites halted.
  • Securities and Exchange Commission - Investigations and enforcement of laws and regulations governing publicly-traded corporations suspended.
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)space-based instrumentation platforms, including, the Stratoscopheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, placed into "sleep mode."
  • DC Water - the federal government is in arrears for $5 million of its $16.5 million quarterly water bill.

In 1942, eight men, six Germans and two Americans, arrived by two U-boats in the United States to carry out acts of sabotage. Thanks to two defectors, who turned themselves into the FBI, the plans of the saboteurs were aborted. The mission of the Germans was to cause maximum damage to the U.S. infrastructure.

Six of the saboteurs, not including the defectors, were tried by a U.S. military tribunal, found guilty, and executed by electric chair on the third floor of the District of Columbia jail and buried in the Blue Plains potter's field in Anacostia, which is now a sewage treatment plant.

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The Germans, had they succeeded, could not have caused even a small degree of the damage to the American infrastructure that has been carried out by Trump and his nefarious advisers, including Stephen Miller and Mick Mulvaney.

 

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