Via America’s Lawyer: Some of the most popular baby foods in America contain dangerous levels of toxic metals, and these metals are having a massive impact on the developing bodies of children. Attorney Mike Papantonio and Farron Cousins discuss this. Also, in a flagrant violation of privacy, police surveillance equipment was found just outside the home of a union leader and activist in Tennessee. Mike Papantonio is joined by RT correspondent Brigida Santos to explain more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             Some of the most popular baby foods in America contain dangerous levels of toxic metals. And these metals are having a massive impact on developmental bodies of children. Joining me to talk about this is Farron Cousins from the trial lawyer magazine. Farron, you know, this story, first of all, check and see how much television coverage this is getting from corporate media. How about almost zero. Why? Because these baby food manufacturers spend a lot of money on advertising, whether it’s Gerber, whether it’s happy baby, they spend a lot of money on television. So somebody in the, in the big office says, oh, we can’t do a story on this. Same thing we faced with cigarettes. Same thing we faced with dozens and dozens of, of pharmaceuticals that are killing people.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. And Gerber alone spends about $20 million a quarter on advertising, you know, in traditional corporate media. So that alone is enough to keep stories like this silent. But, but Congress earlier this year, just a few months ago, came out with this big massive study that said, essentially, we are poisoning children in the United States with these baby foods. Gerber, Beech-Nut, happy baby, toxic levels of these heavy metals. And oh, by the way, the FDA doesn’t actually regulate the amount of toxic heavy metals in these baby foods. So that’s why they did the report to say, hey, maybe FDA, if you feel like it, do something. And of course the story just dies. It dies immediately.

Mike Papantonio:             It’s self-regulation. They say to the, they say to Gerber. Look, I mean, who are these, who are these freaks? I mean, it’s happy, now think about this, happy baby. Okay. Food called happy baby has 600 times the amount of arsenic. Now follow me on this. In, in, in water, the FDA does take a position if it’s drinkable water. It should be only five parts per billion. Okay. Happy baby is putting six parts per billion of arsenic in the happy baby food. And media doesn’t say a word about it. The, it’s causing developmental problems with these kids. It’s lowering their IQ. It’s, it’s, it’s enabling well, it’s enabling this company to just absolutely hustle these parents and not feel any shame about it. That’s what’s been going on for a decade here.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. And we’re talking about potential yearly economic losses of about $80 billion a year from poisoning these children. We’re talking 10% of children in the United States, having dangerous levels of these toxic heavy metals go into their body every day. And here’s the kicker too. It’s not only in the baby foods, you know, for the people who say, well, I make my own baby food. It turns out this report also found it’s actually systemic all throughout the food in the United States.

Mike Papantonio:             And why? Because farmers don’t want to remove the top soil. Easy solution, you take the top soil out because the top soil is exposed to all types of carbons, all types of pesticides. And so what you do is scrape the top, move it through and then use another layer. It’s too expensive to do that. So the choice is, well, hell, we’ll just poison the baby. The worst thing about it is, I mean, this is so sick. The, the FDA says, we take this seriously. Really? They’ve done nothing about it for a decade. They’ve been told and time and time again. We brought a case against them. We tested the baby food. We saw it way, way out of kilter, a hundred, 200 times what it should be. Look, what we’re talking about is mercury. We’re talking about arsenic. We’re talking about lead. We’re talking about cadmium that a mother is feeding their child without any kind of warning on the label that says, hey, wait a second. You understand it’s heavy metals and heavy metals will call development, cause developmental problems. I don’t know how it gets worse.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, you know, and that’s where the line is really drawn here. It’s one thing if these food companies didn’t understand what was happening with their baby foods, if they didn’t know these poisons and toxins were going in there, but, but from what we can tell right now, it sure seems like they knew. And that’s where the liability comes in. You knew. You did nothing to warn. That’s a failure.

Mike Papantonio:             Bush was asked to get involved and do something, right? Obama was asked to get involved and do something and they didn’t. And now you have the Biden administration. Get involved and do something. What’s your bet?

Mike Papantonio:             An undercover police surveillance camera has been found outside the family home of an outspoken union leader in Memphis, Tennessee. The discovery comes two years after the city lost a lawsuit over it’s illegal surveillance of non-criminals for political reasons. Brigida Santos joins me now to talk about this story. Brigida, really, you know, there’s no surprises here. I think you and I did a story maybe last year sometime where you were talking about the idea that they’re actually infiltrating unions with plants so people could understand, you know, they could get inside, they could make friends and then they can do everything they can to destroy that union. This is no surprise here. Where exactly was the camera found, Brigida?

Brigida Santos:                   Activists found the camera hiding inside a suspicious box on a utility pole that was facing the family home of union organizer, Antonio Cathey, on the street where he and other activists regularly meet. Cathey is often mentioned in local news stories for his activism in the Fight for 15 campaign to raise the minimum wage and for attending black lives matter demonstrations. Memphis PD has yet to respond to questions about this camera, but a spokesperson from Memphis light gas and water tells reporters, quote, the camera in question was an MPD covert camera. They installed it temporarily and did not go through the normal attachment process. MLGW also confirms that MPD has since removed the camera. Now, since the police department hasn’t answered any questions from reporters about this, it’s still unclear whether the camera was deployed as part of a criminal investigation or whether it was installed to conduct illegal surveillance for political reasons. Memphis PD has a long history of illegally spying on political activists, journalists, union leaders and more. So suspicion from these activists is absolutely warranted.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. So here’s, here’s where the rubber meets the road is what kind of activist, activist we’re talking about union leaders. They’re simply trying to get people together to organize so they can make a better living, so they can put more food on the table and maybe pay for a nice house and improve their quality of life. That’s, that’s what unions are about. So that’s different than saying, hey gee whiz, we’re going to, we need these cameras because we think there’s some kind of subversive activity taking place where they’re plotting against the government, they’re plotting against people’s lives and it’s very clear what the distinction is. The Church hearings, before you were even born, there’s hearings called the Frank Church hearings, where they determined that the police, the, back then it was the spook industry that was spying on Americans. They had cameras everywhere. They were following people around. They even tried to have Seymour Hersh assassinated, that’s, who was a very important reporter. So, so this is just, it’s kind of a reemergence. How long has the Memphis police department been spying on citizens for political purposes?

Brigida Santos:                   Memphis PD has been spying on citizens since at least the 1960s, but the issue has been in the headlines in recent years, due to a lawsuit won by the American civil liberties union. Back in 2018, a federal judge ruled that the city’s government violated a 1978 consent decree, prohibiting law enforcement from spying on citizens for exercising constitutionally protected rights to free speech and political dissent. The trial revealed that police officers in the city illegally posed as fictitious characters on social media to conduct political surveillance on nonviolent protestors and journalists who report about important issues in marginalized communities. This is an ongoing problem for the city that it must now fix.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, you know, with a, with a consent decree like that, people can actually be thrown in jail for violations of the consent decree. They can be fined. It’s probably important to take it back to the court. I’m wondering has the 2018 ruling resulted in any changes in the local policing, Brigida, as far as what’s being reported out there?

Brigida Santos:                   Yes it has, but it’s taking some time to implement those changes. Now in 2018, the judge ordered Memphis PD to revise their policy on political intelligence, train officers and establish written guidelines for using social media for police purposes. The police department has objected, but this month a federal judge ordered Memphis PD to give the court a list of all search words used to collect information on social media for official police business, even if that information is sensitive and was collected via a personal social media account. Search terms must be filed with the court every quarter, they’ll be filed under seal, which will prevent the general public from accessing any sensitive information in ongoing police investigations, while also providing some police accountability.

Mike Papantonio:             Brigida Santos, thank you for joining me. I’d like to see how this turns out. I see another big court hearing taking place about this one. Thank you for joining me.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.