The Shofar is the ancient trumpet which called the people of God to prayer, repentance, sacrifice and war.


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By Steve Ransom

"For the King of Babylon has plotted against you. He has devised a plan against you. Rise up against a nation at ease, that dwells securely, says the Lord. A nation that has no gates or bars, that dwells alone. Their camels shall become booty; their herds of cattle a spoil." Jeremiah 49:30-32

History contains many accounts where nations at ease became easy prey for marauding external powers through lack of vigilance. At one time, Babylon was the largest and most powerful city on earth.  In its relentless pursuit for global domination, it swallowed everything and everybody in its path. Nations that fared better were those who posted watchmen on the walls of their cities.

Today, in our globalised, 'take-over here, take-over there' market-place, we are witnessing multi-national corporations amass incredible power, then using the most devious tactics to secure that power, while swallowing everything and everybody in their path.  And were Jeremiah alive today, no doubt he would be discerning the times in which we live. He would be fully comprehending the Machiavellian moves of Big Business and Big Government as they engulf nation after nation, very few with watchmen on the walls. Marauders always come into the camp when the watchmen have fallen asleep. Take Tyson Foods, for example:

Based in Springdale, Arkansas, Tyson Foods is the single largest poultry supplier in the world. Its annual turnover exceeds $7.4 billion, and the company 'processes' 42 million chickens a week. The Tyson corporate webpage describes the company as a 68,000-strong team, with 7,400 contract growers in 100 communities, with operations in 18 US states and 15 countries, and exporting to 73 countries worldwide. 

In their food safety education program literature, we read: "We've always been at the forefront of food safety practices."  And "Consumers around the world have come to depend on the Tyson Brand for trusted quality chicken." [1]Forbes Magazine once described Tyson Foods as one of those “undeniably formidable business juggernauts, whose mind-boggling concentrations of wealth and influence have everything to do with a no-holds-barred unfettered approach to free enterprise." [2]

Tyson Foods are indeed the single largest poultry product supplier in the world, and they have every intention of becoming the largest beef supplier in the world too. At the time of writing, they are vying to buy what is currently the world's largest beef supplier, IBP Corporation. But where does the Tyson Foods ‘no-holds barred' approach to business affairs position them in the 'morality and ethics' league?  Journalist Norman Sullivan describes Tyson Foods in a slightly different manner to the corporate brochure:  "The organisation keeps its farmers in near-indentured servitude... works its underpaid, frequently injured workers at an extraordinary pace... and discharges half a million tons of chicken manure [3] into Arkansas  rivers every year." [4]

In 1997, Tyson Foods expressed interest in buying beef giant Hudson Foods. Hudson declined the Tyson offer. Very soon after the rejection of Tyson's bid, a government inspectorate task force under the control of Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman 'visited' Hudson Foods, where they very conveniently 'found' evidence of e.coli bacteria contamination. By the time Glickman's task force had finished with Hudson Foods, the story had taken on national and international proportions, with the 'beleaguered' company having to recall 25 million pounds of beef, costing the company its largest customer, Burger King.  The resultant fallout devalued Hudson corporate stock by 35%. [5] The Wall Street Journal said at the time: "Hudson's rapid tailspin has stunned some meat industry executives, who blame the record beef recall pushed by the Agriculture Department for breaking the back of Hudson.  "What happened to Hudson Foods doesn't make sense," said Patrick Boyle, president of the American Meat Institute." [6]

The presence of e.coli at the Hudson plant was never proven, but the damage had been done. In 1998, Tyson Foods managed to acquire Hudson Foods at a rock bottom price, in a deal described by Leonard Teitlebaum of Merrill Lynch and Coas "adding beautifully to Tyson's distribution and production system." [7] The Wall Street Journal commented, "Hudson's brush with Glickman's gang meant the Tyson's buyout bid was an offer the company couldn't refuse." [8]   It is not difficult to see that contrary to Patrick Boyle's comment, the E.coli raid made perfect sense.

Tyson Foods' financial records show that they had been funding former US president Bill Clinton in many of his political campaigns, beginning back at the time when Clinton was Governor of Arkansas. Don Tyson was one of Bill Clinton's closest friends and biggest supporters, according to grand jury testimony concerning Tyson's political misconduct. And Don Tyson was Bill Clinton's top fundraiser during his governorship and presidential elections. [9]

Joe Henrickson, a former Tyson airplane pilot, recently admitted to transporting endless envelopes of cash from Tyson corporate offices to Governor Clinton, money that doesn't of course feature in the annual accounting system. [10] And recently, Tyson Foods were fined $6m as a result of confessing their donation of at least $12,000 in cash and gifts to former US Agricultural Secretary, Mike Espy, up until his swift departure in early 1994. [11]

A March 1994 Wall Street Journal article noted that, "Espy had been "feted" by Don Tyson at a football game and had outlined several regulatory decisions that seemed to benefit Tyson Foods." In another instance, inside information supplied by Tyson Foods chief counsellor James Blair to Hilary Clinton on a swine futures market deal enabled the First Lady to make an overnight profit of approximately $100,000. [12]

In return for favours such as these, Clinton's influence at internal affairs level was able successfully to head off various poultry food manufacturer practice investigations. Externally, at a 1995 summit meeting in Egypt, Bill Clinton furthered Tyson business interests in a most extraordinary manner. He agreed to make clear his public support for the re-election of Russian President Boris Yeltsin, who at the time was becoming increasingly unpopular for his war against Chechnya.

In what became known as the 'Chechens for Chickens' affair, leaked notes of the Clinton / Yeltsin  meeting revealed that Clinton's support would be offered in return for Yeltsin  agreeing to lift Russia 's embargo against American chicken. Up until that point, US chicken had been judged too polluted to meet Russia’s environmental laws. Ninety percent of US poultry exported to Russia comes from Tyson Foods.

As City Pages columnist Doug Ireland states, "In other words, Clinton gave Yeltsin a blank cheque to kill as many Chechens as he wanted, provided the Russians bought Don Tyson's dirty chickens." [13] Does this help to bring a fresh perspective to the myriad 'ground-breaking' peace summits beamed out to us almost daily?

(Excerpted by kind permission from the book "What are we swallowing" by Steve Ransom (Website:

[1] University of Arkansas press release, 24th May 2000 

[2] Doug Ireland's City Pages report.

[3] Missouri Department of Natural Resources report, 20th August 1999, "In response to recent concerns raised by local residents and environmental groups, MDNR has increased compliance monitoring of the wastewater treatment system at Tyson Foods in Noelh" Full story at:  

[4] Doug Ireland's City Pages report, ibid.

[5] Limbacher, Carl, Another Rense Report. "Arkansas Tyson Foods To Buy Biggest US Beef Producer For $3.2 Billion". 

[6] Wall Street Journal, 5th September 1997

[7] Limbacher, Carl, ibid.

[8] Wall Street Journal, ibid.

[9] Press Release from Dr Leonard Horowitz: No.01-HMD/1. Tetrahedron Press 20th March 2001

[10] Young, Rick & Jim Mokhiber "Secrets of an Independent Council", Frontline Magazine at: 

[11] "Secrets of an Independent Council", ibid. Mike Espy was indicted on 39 counts of corruption in August 1997. He pleaded guilty to one count, and the District Court judge threw out eight others. On 2nd December 1998, a federal jury acquitted Espy of the remaining 30 charges. Espy himself did not take the stand, and his lawyers presented no witnesses to testify in his defence. In closing, they argued to the jury that the gifts he had received were not illegal, in that they stemmed from longstanding friendships with members of the industries he regulated, and that there was no proof that the gifts influenced him in any official decision-making. In a statement issued by the White House after Espy's acquittal, President Clinton said: "I am heartened that he has, as he said, emerged from this ordeal stronger. I hope that, as he moves forward, he will continue his notable record of service to the country."

[12] Doug Ireland's City Pages report:  

[13] City Pages, ibid.