Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The 2012 Presidential Election: Fruitcake or War Criminal?

"Sixty-six percent of voters are “angry” at the media, with 33% “very angry...." Americans’ choice in 2012 seems clear: either arrest the current leadership for torture and other crimes or suffer the torture of your neighbors, friends, family, and yourself in 2012."


We were recently taken to task for Facebook and Twitter comments to the effect that the 2012 U.S. election boiled down to a choice of GOP fruitcakes or our war criminal President. We bemoaned the lack of either a viable third party or a courageous challenger within the Democratic machine. Criticism ran along the expected lines of "Yes, Obama was a disappointment to the left, but considering the odds (and the powers he answers to) what could you expect? Would we have been better off with McCain? Would we be better now with Mitt Romney? Ron Paul?"

We have had to take a moment to pause and think about how to explain our grievances in clearer terms. 

Fortunately, Carl Herman has already done it, in fine and orderly detail. Carl is a graduate of UC Berkeley ('83) and Harvard Graduate School of Education ('99). The Executive Director of UNICEF credits his work with microcredit through RESULTS for saving a million children's lives every year. Currently,  he's among California's 30,000 laid-off and unemployed teachers. As we have posted here in the past, the unemployed are dangerous.

NDAA 2012 torture of Americans, or arrest the 1%’s criminals: your choice 

Posted on by Carl Herman 





I appreciate my colleagues at Activist Post posting my friend Billy Vegas’ PuppetGov video, Obama and the War Criminals. The video powerfully shows damning testimony of US government “leadership” admitting they can torture any person they dictate as a “terrorist.”



Art and academic/professional documentation synergize for the 99% to declare the “emperor has no clothes” obvious facts of the 1%’s crimes.


NDAA 2012 (National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2012) explicitly states dictatorial authority of the US executive branch to order US military to seize any person, including US citizens, for unlimited detention and without rights.


This repeats explicit language in the 2006 Military Commissions Act.


Because US government’s 1% “leadership” has tortured, refused to stop or prosecute torture under “new” “leadership” of Obama, now assassinates American citizens upon the dictation of the president, and repeats legislative language in NDAA 2012 again to “disappear” American citizens,  Americans’ choice in 2012 seems clear: either arrest the criminal 1% “leadership” for obvious War Crimes, or suffer the torture of your neighbors, friends, family, and yourself in 2012.


Following is my best attempt to academically and professionally document this obvious crime against the US Constitution; from my 6-part series, Occupy This: US History exposes the 1%’s crimes then and now:


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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