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General News    H3'ed 3/11/12

Appeal to the UN: Treat The Financial Crisis As A Human Rights Disaster

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Appeal to the UN: Treat The Global Financial Crisis As A Global Human Rights Disaster

By Danny Schechter,  Author of Occupy: Dissecting Occupy Wall Street

Journalists for the most part report what they know and hope that someone pays attention. With so many media outlets, brands, bloggers and sloggers out there, it is rare for challenging ideas to touch a larger nerve or get visibility beyond fragmented followings.

The idea of winning global attention is a far off dream unless you break the biggest exclusive or win the first interview with, say, Jesus on his return to earth. (And that could be ignored if your name isn't Oprah, etc.)

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Yes, sometimes going viral is the way to go--as is the case of a new video exposing the head of the Lords Resistance Army, the Ugandan terror crazies.

But even then, stories are always flashing one minute, gone the next, unless other media outlets pile on and raise their profile as happened here during Watergate and other issues, mostly sex scandals, since.

By and large, you labor on in the media wilderness hoping the time will come when someone outside your world recognizes your value and gives you a bigger platform, usually more than just one TV interview or quote.

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That may--I stress may with a small m-- be happening to me. A few weeks back, The International Institute for Peace, Justice & Human Rights, a human rights NGO in Geneva that lobbies the UN, invited me to present my views on the relationship between the global financial crisis and human rights.

This is an issue I have been working on since 2005 when I started making the film In Debt We Trust: America Before the Bubble Bursts. After it burst, I followed up with a focus on financial times with Plunder the Crime of Our Time and the companion book The Crime of Our Time.

For nearly two years, I tried to raise the visibility of my arguments until better-funded films came along and Occupy Wall Street burst on the scene. I certainly wish it was my doing, but by then, there was something in the air, and who knows, I might have helped seed the clouds. I write about that in my new book Occupy: Dissecting Occupy Wall Street. 

Now a new moment has arrived. I will be in Geneva next week making the case for the financial crisis as a crime against humanity, an international offense that the UN was set up to prevent and now even prosecutes, however sparingly, in the International Criminal Court.

(Needless to say there have so the barest of prosecutions of financial criminals in the US even as the NY Times runs a page one headline saying, ""High-Level Trials Have Been Absent." The story is about Afghanistan, natch, not Wall Street.)

Here's how the speech I have written begins:

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'Leave it to a Harvard Business School Professor, deeply schooled in the nuances of corporate practice, to raise one of the most profound analyses to come out of a devastating financial crisis that has become a seemingly permanent feature of global life.

Back in 2009, Professor Shoshanna Zuboff, argued that "crimes against humanity" had been committed by Wall Street's financial manipulators.

"By refusing to consider the consequences of their actions, those who created the financial crisis exemplify the banality of evil," she wrote.

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News Dissector Danny Schechter is blogger in chief at Mediachannel.Org He is the author of PLUNDER: Investigating Our Economic Calamity (Cosimo Books) available at Amazon.com. See Newsdisssector.org/store.htm.
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