Updated: Dec 5, 2020
Being a soldier who has spent a couple tours in Iraq, I have seen first hand how barbaric and grossly inhuman the abuses of human rights can be in the maltreatment, false imprisonment, and torturing of, not just criminals, but any dissenters opposing their nations’ corruption and standing up for the rights of citizens. During a time of war, between countries who were mutual signers of the Geneva Convention, I am not sure if soldiers really expected fair play by the rules from opposing forces, insofar as we are to protect the sick and wounded soldiers, prisoners of war, and civilians. This was the first time that I had witnessed the aftermath of people who were tortured horrifically before the most painful deaths that anyone could imagine, simply for cooperating with or aiding US forces.
In recent events, in our very own country, law enforcement and government agencies have been implicated in gross violations of human rights towards whistleblowers that have exposed corruption in various agencies. Because this abuse of power is happening in even the highest levels of government and able to fly completely below the public radar with fabricated paper trails that destroys the lives and careers of those who seek to protect the public, it is evident that the Rule of Law is needed to protect human rights against abuses of power by the government. In the case of Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, there has been much controversy over the charges being dropped by the Department of Justice.
From the very beginning of Flynn’s situation, I speculate that he had a target on his back long before a case was brought against him. Many details have come to light about actions allegedly taken to unmask Flynn, implicating Presidential candidate Joe Biden, without any due process or concrete justification other than mere suspicions of foul play and collusion with Russia. I would like to discuss how the Rule of Law could serve to minimize the government’s abuse of human rights based on articles eight, nine, and twelve of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In article eight of this declaration, which reads, “Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law” (O’Byrne 2003: 400), there has to be a system of checks and balances to ensure that it is enforced. In the matter of Michael Flynn, if the unmasking allegations implicating members of the Obama administration are true, I would conclude that many of Flynn’s rights were violated. It is strange that federal officials would unmask an American as this tactic is used by intelligence agencies in the surveillance of foreign affairs. Regardless of whether this unmasking happened or not, these events have revealed that there has to be a remedy to stop government agencies from violating a person’s rights, especially in the efforts to create a paper trail on officials for insidious reasons and no justified cause. When it comes to whistleblowers, we have learned about how federal agencies abuse their security clearances and power for the advancement of an agenda, or what the government would call “black ops,” or covert operations against its own team members.
It is difficult to discuss article nine, “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile” (O’Byrne 2003: 400), without being able to provide concrete evidence that arbitrary arrests actually occur. In the absence of verifiable data, I will introduce a theory. When an individual is being targeted by its own organization, it is determined early by the organizations leaders to start a paper trail on someone. If this happens, an individuals actions are being scrutinized and documented in the effort to create enough mounting documentation to justify any action taken against this individual, whether it be termination, or in severe cases, taking legal action against the individual. In reviewing the cases of whistleblowers, some have reported being searched without warrants, arrested arbitrarily, silenced by gag orders, and imprisoned with no official charges held against them. For the government, psychological operations are dispatched without thought to cover up these occurrences with fabricated public records against an individual to completely discredit any of their claims. It is not too far in the realms of unbelievable for federal law enforcement agencies to do this to individuals because this is exactly what these agencies have been trained to do to protect this country against “enemies both foreign and domestic.” Government officials would never abuse their power and security clearances to cover up their own corruption, would they? Objection sustained.
Moving on to article twelve, “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks” (O’Byrne 2003: 401), does this article apply to government officials and civilians alike? Is this right surrendered when you swear in as a member or employee of the federal government? I would say that in many actions taken surrounding the impeachment inquiries and investigations, that the rights of several officials were violated concerning this article. For whatever side you choose in the case of Michael Flynn, he did lie needlessly, and he has no reputation left to defend, especially for his career. What can be a buffer to stop the government from violating this right whenever they choose, with no just cause other than to run interference in the defaming of opposing political candidates? I suppose that we can say at least America is not as corrupt as Haiti and other countries where “disappearances” of political opponents and defectors have been known to happen, or is it? I can think of a few whistleblowers and others who suddenly died, disappeared, or committed suicide, and not able to testify against certain powerful people.
In conclusion, it is evident that human rights need to be protected against government abuse. In the instance of absolute government control, human rights would be ignored and destroyed. If these protections truly exist, then how are these abuses still allowed to happen. Had it not been for whistleblowers who risked their lives to expose corruption, would we even know all the information that we know now? With the mention of charging Michael Flynn on the Logan Act, which was insanely outdated and never used, it is obvious that agencies were reaching to get whatever they could in the mission to get rid of this man. Government corruption has been revealed so many times over the course of history that to even call a politician “corrupt” would be redundant. Laws have been created to protect human rights, and humanity has yet to see these rights actually serve to stop abuses by governments. There is no standard of truthful unbiased news anymore, and anyone who solely relies on the media for information about current events, I speculate that the information they receive is what the government wants them to believe. This leads me to question the disposition and intent of the media in the way they present news that instigates further division in this country. In reading about past tyrannical leaders, they knew that in order to control any group of people, it is best to keep them divided. How far does government corruption and abuse of power actually reach?
O'Byrne, Darren. 2003. Human Rights. Taylor and Francis.