Cruel & Unusual Punishment: All the Rage Again

Glenn Greenwald discusses how the US government’s judiciary-abetted contemporary campaign to reinstate cruel and unusual punishment reflects growing elite apprehension that the American working class needs to be harshly, emphatically repressed and intimidated–because the long beating that the oligarchy has been giving to the working men and women of America is getting much, much more viscous, institutionalized and undeniable. There is no visible light at the end of the tunnel. Elites are anxious that even Americans may use the technology of the age, and begin to resist in critical mass.

“The common thread in the (Aaron) Swartz and (Bradley) Manning persecutions — as well as similar cases such as the two-year prison term for non-violent climate change protester Tim DeChristopher, the FBI’s ongoing investigation of pro-Palestinian peace activists, and even the vindictive harassment of White House/DADT protester Dan Choi — is the growing efforts to punish and criminalize non-violent protests, as a means of creating a climate of fear that will deter similar dissent,” Greenwald points out.

“…(The US government’s growing efforts) to stifle meaningful dissent of any kind — especially civil disobedience — through intimidation and excessive punishment, the cruel and degrading treatment of Bradley Manning, the attempted criminalization of WikiLeaks, the unprecedentedly harsh war on whistleblowers: these are all grounded in the recognition that the technology itself cannot be stopped, but making horrific examples out of those who effectively oppose powerful factions can chill others from doing so.”

Elites are anxious that even stupefied Americans may break out in organized opposition. Greenwald posts a Gallup poll showing that today only 11% of Americans are satisfied at “the way things are going,” and quotes David Bromwich’s analysis of the Bush-Obama regime’s devastating impact on American society: “A redistribution of wealth and power more than three decades in the making has now been carved into the system and given the stamp of permanence. Only a Democratic president, and only one (originally) associated in the public mind (however wrongly) with the fortunes of the poor, could have accomplished such a reversal with such sickening completeness.”

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