Icelanders Overthrow Government and Rewrite Constitution After Banking Fraud-No Word From US Media

IcelandCan you imagine participating in a protest outside the White House and forcing the entire U.S. government to resign? Can you imagine a group of randomly chosen private citizens rewriting the U.S. constitution to include measures banning corporate fraud? It seems incomprehensible in the U.S., but Icelanders did just that.  Icelanders forced their entire government to resign after a banking fraud scandal, overthrowing the ruling party and creating a citizen’s group tasked with writing a new constitution that offered a solution to prevent corporate greed from destroying the country. The constitution of Iceland was scrapped and is being rewritten by private citizens; using a crowd-sourcing technique via social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. These events have been going on since 2008, yet there’s been no word from the U.S. mainstream media about any of them. In fact, all of the events that unfolded were recorded by international journalists, overseas news bureaus, citizen journalists and bloggers. This has created current accusations of an intentional cover up of the story by mainstream U.S. news sources.

An “iReport” on CNN, written by a private citizen in May 2012, has questioned the reasons why this revolution has not been widely covered in the U.S., suggesting that perhaps the mainstream media is controlled by large corporate interests and thus has been unwilling to report on Iceland’s activities. That report is currently making its way around social media. CNN today placed a statement on its website saying: “We’ve noticed this iReport is being shared widely on Facebook and Twitter. Please note that this article was posted in May 2012. CNN has not yet verified the claims and we’re working to track down the original writer.” It is interesting to note that CNN’s European version, CNN Europe, already covered the story of the protests and the government’s resignation, leading many to question why CNN would now need to “look into” the claims.

Besides CNN Europe’s own coverage of the scandal, the events in Iceland were widely covered by international media and are easily verified by a simple search on Google which leads to a variety of reputable international news sources that ran numerous stories on the Icelandic revolution. A whole documentary has been made on the governmental overthrow called Pots, Pans and Other Solutions, and now, the conversation is focused on whether or not the citizens’ actions actually worked to make Iceland a more equitable nation.

Iceland

To understand the enormity of what happened in Iceland, it’s best to draw parallels between the initial banking fraud that caused Iceland’s economy to collapse and the banking fraud in the U.S. that caused the mortgage crisis six years ago. In Iceland, unscrupulous bankers had inflated the value of Iceland’s banks internationally which in turn caused the “bubble” to eventually burst in 2008 and saw most of Iceland’s banks going bankrupt.

A similar situation happened in the U.S. just one year before the collapse in Iceland, with the mortgage crisis of 2007. Mortgage lenders in the U.S. knowingly lent money to prospective homeowners who could not afford to purchase a home. This, in turn, led to falsely inflated home values and a vicious cycle of too much lending. Just as in Iceland, the bubble burst and many U.S. banks were about to declare bankruptcy. In Iceland, the citizens took to the streets by the thousands, banging pots and pans in what is known as the “pots and pans revolution,” leading to the arrest and prosecution of many unscrupulous bankers responsible for the economic collapse. Icelandic citizens also refused to pay for the sins of the bankers and rejected any measures of taxation to bail them out. In the U.S., the government bailed out the banks and arrested no one.

The pots and pans revolution in Iceland was not covered by mainstream U.S. media. In fact, any information about this revolution is found only on international newspapers, blogs and online documentaries, not on mainstream front-page articles as would be expected from news organizations covering a story of this magnitude. The New York Times published a small handful of piecemeal stories, blogs and opinion pieces, but mostly glossed over the main narrative by saying the 2008 financial collapse in Iceland caused “mayhem far beyond the country’s borders” rather than pointing out that Icelanders took to the streets with pots and pans and forced their entire government to resign.

Iceland

As the saying goes, “there are two sides to every story,” but a more accurate articulation of this phrase would be “in any story, there are multiple sides, viewpoints, opinions and perspectives.” The story in Iceland is no exception. Socialist and Marxist blogs here in the U.S. say that there’s been a massive U.S. news conspiracy and cover up about the revolution in Iceland because the U.S. media is controlled by corporations, including banks, and the “powers that be” don’t want U.S. citizens getting any ideas to stage a revolution of their own. Some conservative Icelandic bloggers claim that while there was, indeed, a revolution, it did not lead to a successful or widely accepted new constitution. They say the situation in Iceland is worse than ever, and that international news reports of an effective democratic uprising leading to a better government are simply myths. Social media commenters are scratching their heads over why they were robbed of the story of Iceland’s pots and pans revolution.

As with most narratives, the truth may lie somewhere in the middle of all of these varying perspectives. One thing is clear, though: it’s nearly impossible to find one mainstream U.S. news report of the pots and pans revolution in Iceland, the resignation of Iceland’s entire government, and the jailing of the bankers responsible for the economic collapse there. Whether or not the revolution led to a more fair government or a workable and effective constitution is irrelevant to the fact that the U.S. media has essentially skipped over this story for the past five years.

Is it possible that mainstream media sources purposely covered up the Iceland story to appease their corporate sponsors? It doesn’t seem likely, and yet, what explanation could be given as to why this news never made it to the front pages of our most trusted media organizations here in the U.S.?

As Iceland struggles to regain its footing with a new government, U.S. citizens may or may not be able to look to Iceland as an example of perfect democracy in action. The real question, though, is why weren’t U.S. citizens given the information about the ousting of the Icelandic government and the jailing of the unscrupulous bankers? Are journalists in control of the mainstream media or is there some truth to accusations that big business may, in fact, be strong-arming reporters to keep quiet about world events that could inspire similar actions here in the U.S.?

By: Rebecca Savastio

Sources:

Reuters UK

Newsnet Scotland

New York Times

Pressenza International Press Agency

Techdirt

New York Times Blog

Youtube

Pot Pans Documentary

Internationalist.org

The Guardian

Collective-Evolution

New York Times

Foreclosure Nation

New York Times

107 Responses to Icelanders Overthrow Government and Rewrite Constitution After Banking Fraud-No Word From US Media

  1. politico1 August 23, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    Oh, yes, Lest us not forget that just this week Bank of America was fined 17, billion dollars for their part in the banking fiasco that left that financial news was blasted all over the globe almost everyday for a long time. The people who committed fraud are actually still being prosecuted and I personally hope it continues until every last person responsible for people losing their homes and business’ are put in jail. Our legal process works a lot slower than we actually want it to from the laypersons point of view.

    Our car companies were bailed out, but most of them have paid back the money that they were afforded to get out of bankruptcy. GM is the only one I can think of at the moment who has come back stronger than they were before, and they are doing much better because they took the bulls by the horns and fired people for not paying attention to faulty parts, and ordering the wrong parts in the first place. The fact that they told the press what was happening on a regular basis adds to their credibility. Many of their problems have come after the crisis because many law suits had been filed from customers who had faulty parts put into their cars and a couple of people died because of their negligence.
    A lot of the changes have come since Mary Bara was brought in as CEO in January of this year. She has a long good standing reputation with Gm for many years in different positions within the company.

    Reply
  2. Kevin August 18, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    This is rather ridiculous outrage for a number of reasons

    1. Iceland is a tiny country of 300,000 people. Which means it has about 150,000 less people than Long Beach, CA or Tulsa, OK. How much daily news do you get about Tulsa or Long Beach?
    2. There is very little trade, immigration, business relations or tourist travel between the US and Iceland, so little reason it would be of interest or have an effect on the average American’s life.
    3. The world has 7 billion people. Every tiny speck of it can’t be covered at all times by every media outlet.
    4. That said, Iceland got plenty of press coverage. People with an interest in world politics and government were well informed about it. The state of the bailout and who was going to foot Iceland’s bills was getting plenty of coverage. The vote in which the people of Iceland decided to screw over every one that wasn’t from Iceland who had suffered from their banking fiasco got press coverage. I don’t particularly care about Iceland, and I was somehow well aware of what was occurring, as were other people educated on basic global news and politics. People that choose not to follow world politics were not. If you are the later, don’t get all outraged 6 years later when you find out about something you didn’t care enough to follow.
    5. Trust me, if this is breaking news to you right now, there were far bigger stories in 2008 that you also have no clue about. I’m guessing most of you probably couldn’t even point out the CAR on a blank map (and that is even with “Central” and “African” right there in the name.)

    Reply
  3. Incredibly Smart July 26, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    The banks in the US were pressured by the government to issue risky loans through the Community Reinvestment Act created by president Carter in the 1970s. That same Act was expanded on in the 1990s by president Clinton to pressure banks to grant even more risky loans. The problems didn’t necessarily start with “bank fraud” in the US, it was pressure from the government to issue loans to people who were a risk.

    Reply
    • Peter Rose (@capemaypete) August 21, 2014 at 9:05 am

      (Not so) Incredibly Smart, these are interesting talking points that are compete lies. CRA default rate prior to the crash was the same as regular banks, because standard loan standards were used. The pressure for risky loans came from the equity side of the deregulated financial institutions who knew they could package bad loans with good loans and sell them as AAAA rated securities. At the ground level, we saw fly by night mortgage companies (who got paid for how many, not the quality of the loans originated) come to LI communities and sell loans to everyone with a pulse. The banks did that, not Carter or Clinton. (though the deregulation was partly Clinton’s fault). And they knew the equities were bad, so they insured them and shorted them. And then when they went belly up as they knew they would, they asked the american people to bail them out with free money ($8 trillion at 0% interest as I recall), which they knew we would because they are SOOOO important. Oh and the rating companies knew it and have paid fines for it and the banks knew it was fraud and have paid huge (though inadequate fines for it). If you can read anything other than Drudge, you can read it for yourself. Just Google “mortgage fraud caused by banks”. It would be a hoot if it didn’t affect you and me and the whole economy so very much. It isn’t a partisan issue, because the fraud was committed by folks who don’t care which party you are from, they only care how much money they can suck out of your wallet. Hence the phrase: The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere. The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money. In fact, the history of the recent financial crisis, which doubles as a history of the rapid decline and fall of the suddenly swindled dry American empire, reads like a Who’s Who of Goldman Sachs graduates.”

      Reply
  4. Andrew Rei June 22, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    The “both parties are the same” argument is better known as “false equivalency”. Clearly, the GOP are in bed with the financial criminals. If both parties were truly the same, as the Firebaggers (Libertarians) and GOP claim, the Koch brothers wouldn’t have spent nearly $400 million to get Republicans elected and Democrats voted out of office in the 2012 cycle. They wouldn’t be planning to spend $250 million for the same causes this year. In addition, the financial firms gave more than 95% of their campaign donations to Republicans in the 2010 and 2012 cycles. So, let’s knock off this “both parties are the same” b*llsh!t….
    The mechanisms for an Icelandic-style revolution here are in place. But, that effort faces two major obstacles: first, the GOP are in bed with the financial criminals, so they must protect them to save their campaign contributions. Second, the Justice Department seems to be completely uninterested in the sad fact that ALL of the GOP across the country are guilty of one or both of two federal crimes, Insurrection and Sedition. In fact, in many cases, GOP politicians are guilty of multiple violations of BOTH. That’s the reason I laugh when the GOP claim that President Obama is “lawless” and a “dictator” or “tyrant”. The GOP should remember the old saying, “be careful what you wish for; you just might get it”.

    Reply

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