Published on the Online Journal, by Gaither Stewart, Dec 19, 2007.
ROME – The myriad of European Union organizations in Brussels and Strasbourg have become grottos of secrecy. The shadowy EU government is in effect a non-elected ‘commission’ which makes decisions in secret that affect 450 million Europeans.
On December 13, leaders of the 27 nations signed the Treaty of Lisbon designed to substitute for the EU Constitution that citizens of France and Holland soundly rejected last year. Paradoxically the Treaty of Lisbon promises to promote transparency and accountability.
It does the opposite. In contrast to accountability, little is known about the real activities of the EU’s 1,000 super-paid parliamentarians, of which Italy’s is paid the most, a whopping 144,000 euros annually, over US$200,000, plus travel allowances, super pensions and other perquisites. Paid to engage in the showy but inconclusive sessions in Strasbourg, Italy’s deputies are most of the time in Italy somewhere, appearing on Italian TV as paid experts.
It is a truism that power corrupts.
We think of secrecy as the opposite of transparency. Children’s secret places are magic, intimate, positive. Their magic places exist only for themselves, a haven from a threatening world they cannot understand. Secrecy for children is protection and preservation.
But with time those harmless secrets of childhood gradually become occult and clandestine and evil. That which was once secret becomes the evil to be eradicated. Yet the question remains, how can you cancel that which is secret?
In search of the lost magic of infancy, people as they grow older continue to frequent secret places, some still childish and requiring initiation, such as Masonic Lodges. Organized religions too count on secrecy and mystery to conceal their power fantasies from their faithful. The hooded Ku Klux Klan stands like a landmark along the descent into total secrecy …
… The heart of the great American secret:
Paradoxically, while the dollar collapses and darkness descends over the land and the US deficit soars to secret altitudes to which human minds could hardly relate even if they were informed, American lifestyle still staggers along largely unchanged.
As in the famous quote of Winston Churchill speaking of Russia, US military strength, too, is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. American power is cloaked in secrecy at home and abroad, among America?s multiple intelligence agencies and collaborators around the world. Its real power is a mystery because a growing part of its ineffective brute strength is buried in the misty swamps of Blackwater, and mercenaries from Argentina and Paraguay, and now up to 10,000 South Africans, plus those from Iraq itself, scrambled from among the poor of the empire as were Rome?s formidable legions.
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(Gaither Stewart is originally from Asheville, NC. He has lived his adult life in Germany and Italy, alternated with residences in The Netherlands, France, Mexico, Argentina and Russia. After a career in journalism as a correspondent for the Rotterdam newspaper, Algemeen Dagblad, he began writing fiction. His collections of short stories, ‘Icy Current Compulsive Course, To Be A Stranger’ and ‘Once In Berlin’ are published by Wind River Press. His new novel, ‘Asheville’, is published by WastelandRUNES. He lives with his wife, Milena, in Rome, Italy, E-mail).