Occupy This: US History exposes the 1%’s crimes then and now. 5 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.
  2. End war and money crimes that annually kill millions, injure billions, and loot trillions of our dollars.
  3. 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.” 

These are the sections of this article series:

  1. A revealing current event of our United States: MCA
  2. Revealing current event: waterboarding and its reporting by corporate media (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.

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

Past “current events”: World War 1, CIA wars, Vietnam War

As mentioned, the US unconstitutionally crushed lawful 1st Amendment dissent from US war in Europe in WW1 through the Espionage Act of 1917 and Sedition Act of 1918. Let’s look for a moment at the “reason” used to promote the US public to embrace war in the “current event” known at the time as the “Great War” and now as World War One.

The British were intercepting telegram communications, including spying on the US government. Among their interceptions was a message from German Foreign Secretary Zimmermann to Germany’s Mexican ambassador, advising that Germany would resume submarine attack of all trading ships approaching Great Britain, their enemy in war, beginning in February 1917. Germany would attempt to keep the US “neutral” in the war with the argument that American shipping companies were not trading with Germany because the British Navy prevented them, and that in wartime American shipping companies also must not trade with Britain. If that failed and the US declared war against Germany, Germany’s ambassador was to ask Mexico to join Germany in the war by attacking the US. Germany would promise money and regained territory they lost in 1848. The Mexican government quickly evaluated that an armed invasion by Mexico of the US was a completely unrealistic military goal that would end in certain defeat, and that Germany’s offer was a ruse for American military to occupy itself by killing Mexicans rather than fighting Germany.

Mexico declined Germany’s offer.

After British government revealed the message to the American government (but not the fact they also spied on all American communications), the US government used this as a reason for war and declared it against Germany and her allies on April 6, 1917.

Let’s apply critical thinking to the facts of the German offer and the American response for war. The Zimmermann telegram’s offer was only active if the US declared war on Germany first, and Mexico rejected the offer. The German submarines were not attacking US territory, only private ships that chose to do business with Britain in a declared war zone, one that was already enforced by the British to prevent trade with Germany. If merchants from any nation wanted to avoid the risk of being attacked by a German submarine, that was as easy as staying away from Great Britain.

Therefore, there was no national security threat from Germany to the US. The actual threat, if any, was from British spying on secret US communications.

US political leadership didn’t present those facts, but instead promised a “war to end all wars,” and “a war to make the world safe for democracy.” The US declared war and a national draft.

US government made war opposition illegal, despite crystal-clear language in the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution to “make no law abridging the freedom of speech.” The US government arrested and indicted Eugene Debs, the Socialist Party presidential candidate, for this speech that questioned US motivation for war (4-minute video reading and full text):

“Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder. In the Middle Ages when the feudal lords who inhabited the castles whose towers may still be seen along the Rhine concluded to enlarge their domains, to increase their power, their prestige and their wealth they declared war upon one another. But they themselves did not go to war any more than the modern feudal lords, the barons of Wall Street go to war… The poor, ignorant serfs had been taught to revere their masters; to believe that when their masters declared war upon one another, it was their patriotic duty to fall upon one another and to cut one another’s throats for the profit and glory of the lords and barons who held them in contempt. And that is war in a nutshell. The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose—especially their lives….

Yours is not to reason why;

Yours is but to do and die.

That is their motto and we object.”

In the trial of Eugene Debs, the transcript of the speech was the evidence against him. [53] The judge read the text of the Sedition Act and instructed the jury to respect the law. Mr. Debs was sentenced to ten years in prison for his speech.

Over 100,000 Americans were killed in WW1, in just over a year of combat. At the war’s conclusion, the British and French empires stole and divided between them Germany’s colonies; making the world safe for expanded British and French empire and not democracy. And as we know, the promise to “end all wars” was empty rhetoric.

So we must ask again: did a US president with complicity of a majority in Congress lie their way into another war, this time violating the US Constitution to silence political dissent?

Is the pattern of US wars beginning with the invasion of Mexico in 1846 to violate treaties, violate the US Constitution,  and lie their way into wars of choice?

There is evidence that US government engaged is similar deception to declare war in WW2. This burden of proof is more complicated than showing the US had no national security threat for WW1, and I have not invested the time to research it sufficiently to have confidence in its comprehensive facts. Relevant facts include that US Naval Intelligence issued the McCollum Memo [54] a year before US entry into war in 1941. This plan was endorsed by two of President Roosevelt’s closest military advisors, and outlined eight actions the US could take to provoke Japan to attack the US. We know that all eight steps were implemented within a year, and that Japanese testimony agreed that those acts provoked their decision to attack the US. The memo was classified as “sensitive” to US national security and only declassified in 1994 after a Freedom of Information Request.

This is an example of the work historians and citizens have to engage in for factual discovery. It’s also a good example of your teacher honestly reporting the existence of interesting material and the limitation of personal academic confidence for its comprehensive factual accuracy. That said, given the US government lie of omission that Germany posed no national security risk in WW1, and illegal covert military operations both before and after WW2, if Pearl Harbor was a provoked attack it would fit the pattern of covert war operations within the US government.

Let’s now consider the CIA’s role in covert US operations.

Most US History texts now include sections of US illegal use of covert military and intelligence for “regime change” that include Iran in 1953. Operation Ajax [55] overthrew Iran’s democracy after their government demanded more than the 15% oil profits they were receiving from US and British oil corporations. Other disclosed unlawful and violent interventions include Guatemala in 1954, Cuba with the Bay of Pigs in 1961, South Vietnam in 1963 [56], Chile in 1970, and Panama in 1989. [57] Many college courses cover this material in depth, as do many history books. [58]

One US policy, Operation Northwoods [59] of 1962 that was approved by the US Military Joint Chiefs of Staff, included provisions for the US military to kill Americans in a false-flag operation to create public support for an invasion of Cuba. “False flag” [60] means a covert operation, usually to organize an attack on one’s own country, and then blame another country in order to sell a “defensive war” to the public. Operation Northwoods was declassified and released from the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Review Board in 1997. [61] Since the Cold War, dozens of so-called “conspiracy theories” have been revealed as conspiracy facts and entered into conservative history, including many covert CIA actions. [62] President Johnson stated in an interview just before his death, “We were running a damned murder incorporated.” [63]

There are examples of virtuous US policy, such as the Marshall Plan after WW2. In 1947, the Marshall Plan replaced the punitive Joint Chiefs of Staff 1067 (JCS 1067) plan that restricted trade to Germany and caused a slow starvation diet of ~1,000 calories a day that deliberately killed German civilians. [64] The Marshall Plan worked for the revitalization of participating European countries’ economies. By the end of the program in 1953, all countries’ economies except for Germany were performing higher than pre-war levels. [65]

As you may know, many US activists in your world of the present request a “New Marshall Plan” for global development rather than expanding “wars on terror.” Many activists, including Dr. King, requested this rather than “wars on communism,” especially with the Vietnam War.

The following is conservatively accepted history of the Vietnam War; that is, information in agreement with admissions from our own government reports and unchallenged (as far as I know) by any professional historian. The understanding of this history by those of us who study it does not guarantee that many Americans will recognize the poignant facts. Please feel free to verify. In one paragraph:

After the “War to make the World Safe for Democracy,” Ho Chi Minh’s petition for a democratic Vietnam was denied by the victors of WW1. Vietnam remained under France’s dictatorship for economic and political colonial domination. The US supported Minh during WW2 in his guerilla warfare against Japan, only to deny his petition for Vietnam’s independence at the end of the war. The US paid for up to 80% of France’s military costs to keep Vietnam enslaved by the French. The US supported the cancellation of an ELECTION in Vietnam when it became clear that Minh’s socialistic economic plan was more popular than a Western-friendly leader. The Vietnam War exploded with SecDef McNamara’s contrived reporting of the Gulf of Tonkin incident; [66] manipulated intelligence at best [67] in first light, but then manipulated into an outright false-flag attack. The war escalated with unlawful invasions and attacks in Laos and Cambodia, dropping more bombs than from all sides of WW2 combined on a country smaller than California that killed perhaps 10% of their civilian population, ~3.5 million. The government’s stated goal at the time was to “defeat terrorism”, excuse me, “defeat communism” by winning the hearts and minds of civilians while we killed over 1,000 civilian children, women and the elderly daily through high-altitude bombing. The war killed 58,000 Americans, and only ended through massive US demonstrations.

Let’s pause a moment and let these facts penetrate: the US government now admits that the Gulf of Tonkin incident that launched the Vietnam War was a contrived false-flag operation to manipulate public opinion for war. This conclusion seems irrefutable from the documentation, released phone conversations of President Johnson making that admission, and multiple public statements from SecDef McNamara, including the 2003 Academy Award-winning Feature Documentary, The Fog of War. [68]

Does this mean exactly what it seems: that US leadership in the office of the president and Congress willfully lied about “self-defense” to begin a war, continued lying as long as they could to continue that war, and now lie by omission to not remind Americans about this history in light of current US wars?

Does the Vietnam War fit a pattern of intentional deceit from US political leadership to propagandize Americans to support wars of choice, and should this explanation be among our first to consider US wars in the present?

Welcome to the critical thinking required for engaged and historically-informed citizenry.

How are you doing with your commitment to intellectual integrity and moral courage?

Again, while this history is non-controversial in that I’m presenting crucial facts that I’m unaware are contested by professional historians, it’s all probably new to you. You might be coming to a similar conclusion to what my colleagues and I had working with US political and corporate media leadership: the usual practice that information for public consumption are lies of omission; that is, a “Disneyfied” version of events.

“Look, if you think any American official is going to tell you the truth, then you’re stupid. Did you hear that? – Stupid.”                                                                                                 – Arthur Sylvester, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, 1965, at a Vietnam press meeting as reported by: Hammond, William M. Reporting Vietnam: Media and Military at War, 1998.

I can also offer this analogy: if you were being tried in a court of law, you would see a prosecuting attorney. This person would wear a nice suit, be well-groomed, and show high levels of education and intelligence. You would, however, fully understand that everything coming out of that person’s mouth and all evidence presented would NOT be for the comprehensive facts to be known, but ONLY those facts and evidence to WIN.

That is, you would know up-front that this well-educated person would engage in a strategy of lies of omission. The attorney would also be tempted to tell lies of commission if the benefits outweighed risks. The reason attorneys work for the win rather than truth is to earn money from clients now and in the future who prefer to win legal decisions. You would understand that the attorney’s motivation to lie was that gaining money for himself was more important than the truth.

And yes, the former occupation of more politicians than any other is, you guessed it: attorney.

Although you understand this in a legal venue, most people do not see it in a political venue (at least not applied to “their” party). That is, politicians are tempted to lie in omission (and commission with managed risk) in order to gain money from large corporations who have a lot to gain or lose with the right laws. This personal gain would be more important than the truth. Under this view, politicians are the attorneys representing corporate interests and the American public are those being “prosecuted” to fund policies favorable to the attorneys’ clients.

I invite you to try this viewpoint on, like a jacket, to see if it fits. If so, keep it. If not, remove it.

Let’s conclude with our most powerful and game-changing current event.


53 The Liberator. The Trial of Eugene Debs. Eastman, M. Nov. 1918 edition: http://www.marxists.org/history/usa/parties/spusa/1918/1100-eastman-debstrial.pdf

54 What Really Happened. The McCollum Memo: The smoking gun of Pearl Harbor.

55 Examiner.com. US overthrew Iran’s democracy 1953-1979, helped Iraq invade 1980-1988, now US lies for more war. Herman, C. Nov. 21, 2009.

56 To hear President Johnson admit the US-sanctioned murder of Vietnam’s head of state: LBJ admits murder of Diem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeNv_62v6WQ&feature=related .

57 These are conservative and US government acknowledged historical facts today. Do some research to verify; one is Wikipedia’s list of Covert United States foreign regime change actions.

58 consider this YaleGlobalOnline review of bestselling author Stephen Kinzer’s Overthrow: America’s century of regime change from Hawaii to Iraq. Froetschel, S.: http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/about/overthrow.jsp

59 Wanttoknow.info. Operation Northwoods Information Center.

60 Among many with explanation and documentation: wanttoknow.info: False Flag Terrorism: http://www.wanttoknow.info/falseflag

61 Alex Jones has a snappy three-minute video to walk you through Operation Northwoods: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rp3P2wDKQK4

62 Again, this is now encyclopedic knowledge: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cia

63 The Atlantic Monthly. The Last Days of the President: LBJ in retirement. Janos, L. July, 1973: http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/73jul/janos.htm , and analysis: Political ReviewNet. Book Review: “No basis for suspicion election may be rigged: the Johnson Administration, the CIA, and the Caribbean, 1964-1968. Rabe, S. Oct. 4, 2008: http://www.politicalreviewnet.com/polrev/reviews/DIPH/R_0145_2096_334_1007832.asp .

64 consider the only book I know of that attempts to document the starvation effects of JCS 1067 over several years, James Bacque’s Crime’s and Mercies and his previous Other Losses. Here for analysis and links:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Bacque

65 For background, consider Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_plan 

66 Voltairenet.org. Robert McNamara deceived LBJ on Gulf of Tonkin, documents show (video). Porter, G. July 11, 2009.

67 Truthdig. McNamara’s Evil Lives On. Scheer, R. Jul 8, 2009.

68 Prison Planet. De-classified Vietnam-era transcripts show Senators knew Gulf of Tonkin was a staged false flag event. Watson, S. July 15, 2010: http://www.infowars.com/de-classified-vietnam-era-transcripts-show-senators-knew-gulf-of-tonkin-was-a-staged-false-flag-event/ . To hear then SecDef McNamara admit the attack never happened, here is his testimony from the film “Fog of War”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HODxnUrFX6k . For a two-minute video clip for Alex Jones to walk you through the declassified information on the Gulf of Tonkin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HODxnUrFX6k

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