By Robert A. Vella
“Vengeance is mine,” saith the state.
One of the hallmarks of authoritarian systems is the retribution it seeks to inflict upon its detractors. This is obviously no laughing matter. The wielding of state power against the individual, when motivated by animus, is by far the greatest threat to a free and democratic nation. Nothing else comes close; no amount of foreign terrorism, no geopolitical rival, no natural or unnatural disaster of any kind is as menacing to a people as the potential peril posed from their own government. Just ask the Jewish survivors of The Holocaust.
Scale is not the issue here, human psychology is. Whenever government officials engage in this kind of behavior, ruthlessly persecuting those who defy them as deterrent-setting examples for other would-be dissidents, the door is opened for the very worst kinds of crimes against humanity. Given sufficient reason or rationale, there is no limit to this abuse of power. As George Bush said:
“You are either with us or against us.”
As a constitutional republic founded on the rule of law, America today is teetering on the edge of authoritarianism. Its government officials, corrupted by pervasive corporatism, perverted by rampant jingoism, are succumbing to the arbitrary rule by decree psychology of the British aristocracy which their country had rebelled against. U.S. law, ostensibly intended to establish social norms based on ethical principles, are increasingly being legislatively written and judicially interpreted as a matter of practical convenience. That which serves the nation’s immediate interests, as prescribed by its current officialdom, becomes paramount – the actual law or spirit of the law be damned.
Let me be clear. When the rule of law is reduced to a tool of manipulation, a constitutional republic no longer exists. In the classic Star Trek episode, The Omega Glory, Captain Kirk explained the vital significance of the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution of which its precepts…
“… must apply to everyone or they mean nothing.”
In the cases of whistle-blowers and journalists such as Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, and Julian Assange, U.S. government officials under the Obama Administration have willingly jumped down this psychological rabbit hole… and, they are taking the rest of America along with them.
From The Hill – EXCLUSIVE Jill Stein op-ed: In praise of WikiLeaks:
George Orwell said, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Thanks to WikiLeaks, we know that powerful institutions have been abusing their power and lying to the public. For example, redacted State Department communications published by WikiLeaks revealed that Secretary Clinton identified Saudi Arabia as a leading funding source for terrorist groups around the time she approved a whopping $29 billion arms deal with the Saudi dictatorship.
The political and economic elite, used to controlling information, see this unprecedented transparency as a tremendous threat. They have mercilessly persecuted a series of heroic whistleblowers. Chelsea Manning, convicted of leaking the Collateral Murder video among other revealing materials, was sentenced to 35 years in federal prison.
Manning, a transgender woman, has been subjected to treatment that the UN described as “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” in violation of the Convention Against Torture. Shockingly, after a recent suicide attempt, Manning faces disciplinary charges that could land her in indefinite solitary confinement.