Occupy This: US History exposes the 1%’s crimes then and now. 2 of 6

By Carl Herman, National Board Certified Teacher in economics, government, and history, who blogs as the Nonpartisan Examiner at Examiner.com. Carl was one of the leaders who launched the microcredit movement, and is a tireless activist for peace and justice.

Occupy Wall Street (and nationwide) has three emerging objectives:

  1. Public recognition of the 1%’s crimes, centering on war and money.
  1. End war and money crimes that annually kill millions, injure billions, and loot trillions of our dollars.
  2. Build a brighter future for 100% of humanity, centering on full constructive employment and the creation of money that maximizes public good.

My Open proposal for US Revolution: end unlawful wars, parasitic economics explains and documents

  • war and money crimes so they are “emperor has no clothes” obvious,
  • Gandhi and Dr. King’s strategy for victory, with recommendation for a window of Truth and Reconciliation to encourage criminals’ peaceful surrender,
  • Historical consideration and today’s possibility of the US creating money to cause full employment and optimal infrastructure. This replaces the Orwellian “debt supply” the 1% creates and controls as their main weapon of dominance (more on economic solutions here).

This 6-article series documents the history of criminality of the 1%’s Wars of Aggression and War Crimes. The power of this history is to reveal that the 1% lies, kills, and loots as their usual business. We the People, the 99%, have historically been distracted by political and media rhetoric that propagandized the crimes.

For whatever reasons of greed never having “enough,” the 1% overplayed their hand. We the 99% have reached a critical mass stage of engaged attention. The criminals among the 1% have a rapidly closing window of opportunity to reclaim their humanity, have “Scrooge conversions,” and contribute to causing the above objectives.

The facts that the 1%’s war and money policies are massive and obvious crimes is important. The 99%’s recognition is a trigger for those of us with Oaths to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Arrests will follow; the 1%’s houses of cards will collapse in tragic-comedy.

These six articles are taken from an assignment for my high school seniors to understand current events. The 11-part series will be available under the title, Teaching US History of empire/terrorism to recognize it today.

The 1%’s crimes will end because the 99% embrace the political, economic, and spiritual ideals of our Declaration of Independence (my emphasis added):

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.” 

Article series, with links:

  1. A revealing current event of our United States: MCA
  2. Revealing current event: waterboarding and its reporting by corporate media (in two parts, 2a and 2b)
  3. Past “current events”: Native American treaties, Mexican-American War
  4. Past “current events”: US overthrow of Hawaii, Spanish-American War
  5. Past “current events”: World War 1, CIA wars, Vietnam War
  6. King family’s civil trial for the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Revealing current event: waterboarding and its reporting by corporate media

Let’s briefly consider allegations of US torture to detainees/claimed “unlawful enemy combatants.” Remember, a “detainee” hasn’t been charged with a crime; the person’s habeas corpus right has been destroyed, and the US government currently claims authority to imprison the detainee indefinitely or simply assassinate anyone claimed to be a “terrorist.”

The US applies interrogation techniques to “unlawful enemy combatants/terrorists” that previous case law found were torture. For example, President Bush and Vice President Cheney have both admitted to authorizing “waterboarding,” [13] found by courts to be torture in all previous case law in the US and internationally[14]. When previous US courts are unanimous in their findings, [15] that means the legal definition of an act is absolutely certain. In this case, waterboarding, or more accurately “controlled drowning,” is torture.

The US Constitution expressly forbids torture in the 8th Amendment. United States Federal Law forbids torture under Code 18 section 2340. The US is bound by several treaties to never torture: the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (legally defining the meaning of the UN Charter treaty, and the most-translated document in world history), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (an interesting study of the US saying one thing and doing the opposite), the Geneva Conventions, and the UN Convention Against Torture.

Importantly, these laws do not say there are exceptions to allow torture; that is, the torturer cannot use the specious “ticking time bomb” excuse that torture was required to save lives. For example, one US treaty to end torture is the UN Convention Against Torture. It states under Article 2 [16]:

“No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

Convention III of the Geneva Conventions defines torture in Article 3 as, “outrages upon human dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment.”

The US refused the UN’s request to inspect the US prison at Guantanamo Bay to evaluate claims of torture. [17] The US refused to release to the press the International Red Cross’ findings of the treatment of detainees. [18]

The US claims under MCA that the US can remove all protections of persons under interrogation: US Constitution, Geneva Convention, and other applicable treaties. This is in Orwellian contradiction to the US Constitution being the definition of American law (and what it means to “defend America”) and in Article 6 that US treaties are the “Supreme Law of the Land.” The word “supreme” means “highest in rank or authority…greatest, utmost…last or final.”

So let’s pause and digest this. It is as simple, I assert, as our baseball analogy of a batter being out at first base by twenty feet, and an umpire/announcer conspiracy trying to get away with the lie of calling the runner safe. Let’s look:

  1. By any and all understanding of professional legal practice, waterboarding is legally defined in the present as torture because it was determined as torture in all previous cases.
  2. The US has legally bound itself in its Constitution, Federal Law, and four treaties to never torture.
  3. Presidents Bush and Obama, along with corresponding leaders, claim that upon their unquestionable word that someone is a “terrorist,” those laws no longer apply.
  4. When government is no longer limited by law, that form of government is no longer a Constitutional Republic. Government based upon what the leader says at any given time is the very definition of dictatorship.
  5. US corporate media does clearly explain the above legal facts. I mean, this has all been news to you, yes?

Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney are welcome to argue for waterboarding’s reclassification as a legal practice, of course, but the legally-demanded place under a constitutional republic is in a Federal criminal courtroom, not a book tour.

Is this really that clear? Although I’m perfectly free to assert this as a fact, you’re perfectly free to determine the facts, their meaning, and what we should do about it for yourself.

For an expert legal analysis, you might consider Jonathan Turley, voted among the editors of the American Bar Association Journal as having the US’ top legal blog [19]:

“The United States has a clear obligation to prosecute those responsible for our torture program. However, President Obama has promised to block any investigation of torturers and has stopped any investigation of those who ordered the war crime.”

This would be as if the school principal’s son were a student here and would take tests while having notes on his desk with the test’s content and answers. We know that in all previous “case law” that when a student is caught taking a test with notes that contain test content, that is called “cheating.” However, the principal, son, teacher, and local media call it an “enhanced studying technique,” that while controversial, is necessary for school security against terror-tests that might infiltrate the school from people who hate education. They say this with a straight face. You know that if you did what the principal’s son did, it’s cheating and you’re busted.

Let’s consider US corporate media’s “reporting” in more detail. This is essential because if American’s access to accurate information is compromised by government propaganda, then Americans will not have easy access to the facts. This is what the California Framework means when it asks you to guard against propaganda. Doing so requires your real-world critical thinking skills.

Torture at Times: Waterboarding in the Media,” a paper published from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government that studied the US’ four most-read newspapers, found from the 1930s to 2004 that The New York Times reported waterboarding as torture 82% of the time, and The Los Angeles Times did so 96%. After stories broke that the US was waterboarding “detainees” in current US wars, the papers’ reporting of waterboarding as torture dropped to 1% and 5%, respectfully. In addition, after the US admitted to waterboarding, The Wall Street Journal called it torture in just 1 of 63 articles (2%), and USA Today never called it torture.

We have verified history of official government propaganda having infiltrated corporate media. The Church Senate Committee hearings had the cooperation of CIA Director William Colby’s testimony that over 400 CIA operatives were controlling US corporate media [20] reporting on specific issues of national interest in what they called Operation Mockingbird. This stunning testimony was then confirmed by Pulitzer Prize reporter Carl Bernstein’s research [21] and reporting. Of course, corporate media refused to publish Bernstein’s article and it became the cover-story for Rolling Stone. For a 13-minute video that includes the President of CBS admitting that their news agency accepted and communicated CIA-generated and planted stories, the CIA Director admitting to the Senate that this is true, examples of widely-reported “news” stories that were total lies from the CIA to foment war support from the US public, watch here. [22]

So which conclusion seems most plausible to you:

  1. US corporate media stopped calling waterboarding “torture” because leading and professional reporters of law somehow forgot or found basic legal definitions based on case law no longer important. I like to characterize this as the “Homer Simpson” or “SpongeBob defense.”
  2. US corporate media were ordered to change their reporting. Professional writers in law are very aware of looking at case law, and independent legal experts they interview affirm this as basic legal analysis especially when case law is unanimous in verdicts. It’s impossible to explain this removal of reporting waterboarding as legally-defined torture unless the corporate media editors made that conscious decision.

Corporate media won’t report the following polling data, but the American public have noticed something is very wrong with their “news”:

Just as only one in five Americans report trust and satisfaction with their government [23] (and here [24]), Americans also perceive corporate media disinformation and are rejecting their “reporting.” According to a 2007 poll by the Pew Research Center [25], the majority of the American public see the US major media news organizations as politically biased, inaccurate, and uncaring. Among those who use the Internet, two-thirds report that major media news do not care about the people they report on, 59% say the news is inaccurate, 64% see bias, and 53% summarize their view on major media news as, “failing to stand up for America.” In their latest poll [26], “just 29% of Americans say that news organizations generally get the facts straight, while 63% say that news stories are often inaccurate.”

A June 2010 Rasmussen poll [27] found 66% of voters “angry” at the media, with 33% “very angry.” Rasmussen also found 70% “angry” at current federal government policies.

A possible genesis of oligarchic control of American major media was reported in the US Congressional Record in 1917 [28]. US Congressperson Oscar Callaway claimed evidence that J.P. Morgan had purchased editorial control over 25 of the nation’s most influential publications in order to create public support for US entry into World War 1 and his new banking legislative victory: creation of the Federal Reserve system. Mr. Callaway’s colleagues voted down an official investigation.

Related corporate reporting history is summarized and documented in this brief article, “The news media at war” [29].

*****

endnotes:

13. To understand waterboarding, you can watch leading journalist Christopher Hitchens get waterboarded: Watch Christopher Hitchens get waterboarded (Vanity Fair): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LPubUCJv58 .

14. This story was opened by ABC News. Sources: top Bush advisors approved ‘enhanced interrogation.’ Greenburg, J.C., Rosenberg, H.L., deVogue, A. April 9, 2008: http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/LawPolitics/story?id=4583256&page=1 and obvious follow-up analysis calling for prosecution (among many in alternative media) from Common Dreams. Arrest Bush: Bush confesses to Waterboarding. Call D.C. cops! Rall, T. April 30, 2008:  http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/04/30/8611/ . For more current analysis, consider these entries from Washington’s Blog: Cheney admits to being War Criminal. Feb. 16, 2010: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2010/02/cheney-admits-to-being-war-criminal.html , Obama team feared revolt if he prosecuted War Crimes. Sept. 12, 2011: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/09/obama-team-feared-revolt-if-he-prosecuted-war-crimes.html , Everything you need to know about torture. March 7, 2011: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/03/everything-you-need-to-know-about-torture.html

15 the link is a nice visual and list from ProCon.org. For legal discussion: Washington Post. Waterboarding used to be a crime. Wallach, E. Nov. 4, 2007: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/02/AR2007110201170.html , Washington University Law Review. Waterboarding is illegal. Huhn, W. May 10, 2008: http://lawreview.wustl.edu/slip-opinions/waterboarding-is-illegal/

16 For discussion, consider Virginia Law. U.S. may be sidestepping U.N. Convention Against Torture in War on Terror. March 20, 2003: http://www.law.virginia.edu/html/news/2003_spr/torture_ps.htm

17 BBC. US faces prison ship allegations. June 28, 2005:  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4632087.stm

18 BBC. ICRC raises Guantanamo conditions. Feb. 15, 2005: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4267297.stm

19 Jonathan Turley. London mayor tells Bush to stay out of Londontown – will international shunning become prosecution? Nov. 19, 2010: http://jonathanturley.org/2010/11/19/london-mayor-tells-bush-to-stay-out-of-londontown-will-international-shunning-become-prosecution/  Video interview with Keith Olbermann here: Informed comment. Bush could be arrested in Europe: Turley to Olbermann. Nov. 21, 2010: http://www.juancole.com/2010/11/bush-could-be-arrested-in-europe-turley-to-olbermann.html

20 And other documentation of controlled US media: Examiner.com. Protitution “journalism”: Yup, mainstream media is intentional propaganda. Accept the evidence. Herman, C. Nov. 24, 2009.

21 The CIA and the media: How America’s most powerful news media worked hand in glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and why the Church Committee covered it up. Bernstein, C. Oct. 20, 1977.

22 Sibel Edmond’s Boiling Frogs. CIA News: A brief history of media manipulation by U.S. Intelligence. Sept. 30, 2011: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2011/09/30/the-eyeopener-cia-in-the-news-media-2/

23 Pew Research Center. Distrust, Discontent, Anger, and Partisan Rancor. April 18, 2010.

24 Infowars.com. Dissatisfaction with government reaches all time high. Watson, S. Sept. 26, 2011.

25 Pew Research Center Publications. Internet news audience highly critical of news organizations. Aug. 9, 2007.

26 Pew Research Center. Press accuracy rating hits two decade low. Sept. 13, 2009.

27 Rasmussen reports. 66% of voters are angry at the media. June 15, 2010.

28 Examiner.com. Congressional Record: JP Morgan & Co purchased all major media for propaganda: 1917. And now…? Herman, C. June 6, 2010.

29 Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth. The news media at war. Hansen, T. June 22, 2010.

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  • ON #OCCUPY-OUR STREETS

    We’ve been lied to and cheated for too long! Wars built on lies for profit with complete disregard for human life (I believe this is the definition of a psychopath). Banks built on fraudulent fiat currency, selling money they don’t own, taking countries assets as they make slaves of the people and trash the planet (I believe this fits the definition of a gangster). This has to stop-around the world! We are all brothers and sisters. Our voices together can unite us all in the common cause of our dignity and our freedom. We are all involved. The opportunity is here right now to make changes in a peaceful manner because violence will only breed violence, and we have an opportunity to make a more meaningful connection between all people around the world. We have a world that’s hurting and we can heal it with our motivation. Right now our ecosystems are being destroyed by the greed of corporations placing money above all else. Above all that we cherish. Like the cells of the body that work together to create our physical form and functions, we, as members of the human race, can work together around the world to create the world that honors ourselves, honors life and honors earth. You can feel this new vibrancy radiating across the lands. In Egypt, Tunisia, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Britain and now in the US and Canada. It’s quite exciting! Please be involved. And please, don’t be swayed by the bullshit that they’re going to throw in our face to try to distract us. They’ve been playing this same game for too long. There is an opportunity here and the time is now. And, as with music, timing is everything.

    Rob Gordon
    RobGordonMusic.com