2011-11-20 Chemical cops & crimes against the humanity of #OWS protesters

In the last few days, many have seen the shocking video of a police officer, one Police Lt. John Pike, pepper spraying a line of seated, peaceful non-violent students at the University of California (Davis.) ...one female protester was rushed to hospital in an ambulance for treatment of chemical burns. Ten protesters were arrested.

This use of chemical weapons on peaceful students representing no threat to the community such as a breach of the peace, or any other sign of potential violence, riot, affray or public disorder escalates the 'war' against the #OWS movement to frightening new levels.

I use the words "Chemical Cops" noting that pepper spray is banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and that being so, (given also that the Los Angeles Times in 1995 reported 61 deaths attributable to pepper spray since 1990) recklessness in its use may lead to a homicide being made out.

The question is immediately raised that if this substance is banned for war use, how do we allow it to be used on fellow citizens in time of peace? How do we allow its use for what is - obviously in this case - a method of extra-judicially punishing dissent?

The risk of death being ever present in its use; the culpability of its wantonly reckless use on innocent people by officer Pike is palpable.

If and when #OWS protesters are shot and killed - as I predict they will be - we might very well then be entitled to call the responsible law enforcement officers and their leaders sociopaths if not facists.

The justification for this horrendously violent, dangerous and unnecessary conduct?

UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza defended the brutality to KCRA 3, saying that camping on campus is “not safe for multiple reasons.”

UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza said officers used force out of concern for their own safety after they were surrounded by students...."Hindsight is 20-20 and based on the situation we were sitting in, ultimately that was the decision that was made"

Viewers of the video can see for themselves that at no stage was the campus 'not safe', nor that police officers were threatened in any way. Officers turn their backs on the protesters for example and the crowd is quite calm.

In some ways it is surprising that the protesters were not charged with assaulting police, which is a common ambit of law enforcement when trying to cover up outrageous and unlawful behaviour on their part - perhaps all the video was too overwhelming for that.

Pepper spraying appears to be common conduct in the USA in reaction to #OWS protests, being used in Portland, Seattle and Oakland.

What Chief Spicuzza might contemplate in a moment of reflection is that the International Criminal Court and its nation state adherents also has 20/20 hindsight on crimes against humanity. Prosecution for breaches is not by definition limited to nations such as Egypt, Libya or those towards whom US foreign policy could perhaps be best described as-one-size-fits-all-belligerence:

Article 7
Crimes against humanity

1.For the purpose of this Statute, "crime against humanity" means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:

(a) Murder;
(f) Torture;

(h) Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court;

(k) Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.

2. For the purpose of paragraph 1:

(a) "Attack directed against any civilian population" means a course of conduct involving the multiple commission of acts referred to in paragraph 1 against any civilian population, pursuant to or in furtherance of a State or organizational policy to commit such attack;

(e) "Torture" means the intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, upon a person in the custody or under the control of the accused; except that torture shall not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to, lawful sanctions;

(g) "Persecution" means the intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights contrary to international law by reason of the identity of the group or collectivity;

Given that there appears to be some coordination between various law enforcement agencies throughout the USA, the element "directed against a civilian population" becomes stronger in a prosecutorial sense. Any evidence of Federal Agency involvement, such as the FBI, would make the evidentiary burden even less onerous.

Whether pepper spraying and other acts can be legally described as torture, persecution or other inhumane act is not so important at this stage, what is important is that evidence is emerging that "State or organizational policy" is poised in determination to crush the #OWS movement and appears to be escalating the violence in the process.

The #OWS movement is under attack potentially by those like HBGary who want to change the narrative. Washington lobbying firm, Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford according to a leaked memo, have thrust themselves into the arena, wanting:

to build “negative narratives” about the protests and politicians that are leaning towards supporting the movement. The lobbying firm requested $850,000 to conduct the research...

I predict when this or other like minded organisations gets to work that their narrative will not be far removed from:

The #OWS People Are Economic Terrorists.

When that happens I also predict the gloves will come off and the real bullets will fly.

As the clear historical conduct of the "1%" is to 'steal' the narrative (not only just as much of the wealth of a nation as they can), it behooves the #OWS movement I would have thought, to establish the narrative themselves.

One small way of doing this I suggest, in similar circumstances to that at UC Davis, when faced with a line of pepper spraying police is to label it for what it is: A Crime Against Humanity.

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