Edward Snowden's "Safe and Dreary" Global Prison (Will Grigg)
Wednesday July 3rd, 2013
The "empire of the Romans filled the world," recalled Edward Gibbon, with some exaggeration. This meant that the known world became "a safe and dreary prison" for those who had provoked the Emperor's displeasure. There was no place that the "slave of imperial despotism" could find "a happier climate, a secure refuge, a new fortune adequate to his merit, [and] the freedom of complaint...."
"On every side he was encompassed with a vast extent of sea and land, which he could never hope to traverse without being discovered, seized, and restored to his irritated master," observed Gibbon. "`Wherever you are,' said Cicero to the exiled Marcellus, `remember that you are equally within the power of the conqueror.'" (Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, from Great Books of the Western World, vol. 40 pg. 34.)
As Lew points out, Washington is the seat of the first fully realized global Imperium. Writing in latter part of the mid-18th century, Gibbon said that a tyrannical ruler of that age who found "no resistance either in his own breast or in his people," would find his evil ambitions subject to the "gentle restraint from the example of his equals, the dread of present censure, the advice of his allies, and the apprehension of his enemies." No restraints of that kind exist where the world is subject to the will of a global "hyper-power" of the sort that arguably existed, in primitive form, in the Roman Empire -- and that unambiguously exists today under the domination of Washington. Not even Caligula, Commodus, or Diocletian had the ability to kill their enemies by remote control from half-way around the world.
Rome's enemies, Gibbon pointed out, were condemned "to wear out a life of exile on the barren rock of Seriphus, or the frozen banks of the Danube" -- assuming that they managed to elude the Empire's enforcers. As Edward Snowden can testify, Washington's reach is universal, and those who control its apparatus of repression are utterly pitiless. Snowden's sole sanctuary -- his "safe and dreary prison" -- is a small section of an airport in Moscow.