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Predictions on an Ed Miliband government

posted by Harry J. Bentham

Il me paraît que tout acte porte en lui-même sa justification.

It seems to me that every act carries within itself its justification.

André Breton


The most likely “alternative” to the current Cameron government is an Ed Miliband government.

I don’t entertain this possibility with glee, and I also don’t bother to weigh in on who I think should rule the UK as it is outside my interest in US-led international relations. However, a good word can be said about the character of Ed Miliband and it should, at least, inform people’s thoughts on how they will vote in the general election.

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Comedian Russell Brand interviews Ed Miliband. Brand made no secret that he wanted to hear a mutinous stance against the banks and economic elite from Miliband, but Miliband defended the Labour Party’s more centrist approach to economics.

Seldom is there reason to cheer for any political figure, but many people’s thinking in the UK will be based either on their negative impressions of Cameron or their negative impressions of Miliband. There is no reason to expect that people will cast their ballots based on positive impressions, since all is doom and gloom in the UK. This much was expressed clearly in the way Scots voted against independence based upon scaremongering, and the way that all current media speculation ahead of the general election revolves around talking about who is worse. To a certain degree, they’re right. Britain has voted based on optimism in the past and we created bloodthirsty, dangerous monsters like Tony Blair.

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Less known political parties have grabbed my personal attention. I have little time for the Green Party because of its Luddite affections, which I as a technoprogressive futurist believe to be based upon fallacies. That leaves me to be mostly sympathetic either to the Pirate Party – on account of their pro-WikiLeaks, anti-copyright, pro-Internet platform I find to be very up to date with the Twenty-First Century – or the new Transhumanist Party UK recently created by Amon Twyman.

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Join the fledgling new Transhumanist Party UK for a futuristic alternative politics.

I have thought about getting involved in party politics in the past, and considered applying for membership in the Pirate Party, but due to my continuous involvement in both governmental and charity work, I felt that donor status to any political party might be a no go area professionally. According to the codes and laws on both civil servants and civil society bodies, they have to be impartial. The same can’t be used to tell me to stop blogging, since blogging doesn’t place me in any organization or in the position of donating to any political cause, falls within my right to freedom of speech, and is limited to specific posts and their content that can cease at any moment rather than being some kind of position.

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The sordid backstory of British Labour politics allowing the rise of Tony Blair, however, may be a sign of something good to come from the Labour Party, if for no other reason than to avoid a repeat of history.

Even considering everything Labour say still trying to sanitize Blair, I believe Miliband personally knows how discredited Blair is as a politician and that Miliband knows how to avoid repeating Blair’s unfortunate legacy. The overall impression I have gained of Ed Miliband, from reading his behavior in the media, is that he would not want to be another Tony Blair. The interview he did with Russell Brand wasn’t very informative in its content, but the fact he bothered with it at all gives some insight into Ed Miliband’s character that I had never seen before.

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Ed Miliband is more engaged with the youth and with the consensus existing on the Internet – the blogosphere – than Cameron. This definitely improves my assessment of Miliband and he flattens Cameron in any contest over who would be more responsive to public opinion. The Conservatives would like to use these impressions to say Miliband is a weak figure, but I believe this will backfire on them. People just don’t want a “strong” leader, because that word too often belies arrogance and bellicosity – traits Cameron has in abundance – rather than better ability.

For me, Ed Miliband’s “big mistake” was the following tweet.

A “poof” moment when his credibility disappeared, for many to the political left. but I think he can be forgiven for it. Tony Blair isn’t a “serious figure” but a discredited and broken man. If the current political leadership of Britain, in both major parties, had any sense of justice, Tony Blair would be behind bars. He is the greatest embarrassment to Britain in the eyes of the international community today. His impudence to talk to the public of the “UK national interest”, like he would know anything about after the Iraq debacle, it is basically offensive.

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And yet, I believe this single tweet by Miliband can be forgiven. Miliband may have associated himself with the discredited Blair government here for many, but for me it was only a tweet. I believe there’s a vote to be cast for Miliband for the most unlikely reason imaginable – his weakness. Yes, that very thing the Conservatives want to use against him.

Miliband is very likely to be elastic to the demands of civil society, public opinion, and so forth. Such a leader would inadvertently make the UK a more functional democracy, at least for a while. And if people are disappointed in him, they can always drift further towards the more radical democratic left in the future, because Labour could always be replaced by a left that is more in the Podemos or Syriza category in the future if it ultimately fails the test of standing up for the public interest. The best outcome of the election would be a Labour victory, but a slim one. Miliband should come to office but it should not be made easy for him.

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He should feel as if he is walking a tightrope, with great pressure exerted by the public on him to do the will of the people, even after the day of his election victory. Such ongoing pressure on the shoulders of a politician of questionable popularity and questionable character could make him work like Cincinnatus, devoted solely to his public work and not serving narrow interests or behaving in an arrogant fashion that betrays the trust the public placed in him. That is, at least, a possibility worth considering.

Accepting the End of Nations: a collection of my emphatic political theses on the erosion of the state’s legitimacy, which I believe will inevitably lead to increasing insecurity, incapacity to preserve borders and the law, and eventual replacement of national identity with supranational identity. It is not happily that I predict these things, but through dispassionate recognition of inevitable social and political trends.

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By Harry J. Bentham

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“Assange spreads Russian propaganda”, “Assange is like George W. Bush”, and more gibberish

posted by Harry J. Bentham

L’hypocrisie est un hommage que le vice rend à la vertu.

Hypocrisy is an homage that vice pays to virtue.

François de La Rochefoucauld


I have just finished reviewing Luke Harding’s somewhat disputable 2014 book The Snowden Files, and I hope to tweet a link to the review soon.

Russian propagandists? Oh wait, so am I.

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I won’t surprise you by agreeing with the overall thesis of the book that Edward Snowden can’t be dismissed as a traitor or a spy and that the events surrounding Snowden’s whistleblowing show an emerging crisis of liberal democracy. Perhaps more severely in the United Kingdom than the United States (although I’d argue we British aren’t to blame for the Americans who exploit our “special relationship”, especially the part about us not having a First Amendment). However, I do have disagreements with some of the politics advanced by Harding via the book.

At times the book reads as if Harding begrudges the conclusion that the United States government has behaved wrongly, and tries to insinuate that the problem is not really the US government at all but the Russians and their “propaganda” spread by none other than Julian Assange. I find even insinuating such things to be at least out of context for a book aimed at addressing US wrongdoings. The mission statement of Harding’s book seems to be to pay lip service to concerns about the US government’s cavalier behavior raised by WikiLeaks and later Edward Snowden, and to quickly try to change the subject to how dangerous Assange or Putin are rather than the US government, usually by comparing the latter to the US government.

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Assange is bizarrely likened to George W. Bush (the “with us or against us” quote is juxtaposed with odd readings of Assange’s behavior, almost as if arguing that he was the one who said it), Putin’s repression is bizarrely likened with far worse torture, disappearances and surveillance perpetrated by the US, and Harding then offers warped conclusions that Assange and Putin are somehow bigger problems than the very regime Harding is comparing them with. It is Harding himself who illustrates in the book that US repression is unprecedented and an assault on democracy, so it seems bizarre for him to try to then manipulate the reader to focus on the much lesser dictatorship of Vladimir Putin as the biggest problem in the world. Harding also insists that rather than the US being authoritarian or hypocritical, it is just “similar” to authoritarian countries, and also accused of hypocrisy by nefarious harpies and Assanges who can’t possibly be right. Somehow, Harding finds it too radical to actually conclude what his own analysis was screaming in his face: the US is authoritarian and hypocritical, and his book offers an overwhelmingly good case for both conclusions.

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In Harding’s narrative, the Chinese and Russians, as well as Assange, are not right when they say the US is hypocritical, but pesky and annoying. According to the book’s conclusions, the US hasn’t done a good enough job of defending itself against the charge of hypocrisy – something Harding loyally feels compelled to do for the American defendants in absentia. “The Americans didn’t get anything wrong” – he doesn’t write that exactly,  but it is more or less the conclusion he leans towards. Nah, what they did get wrong was letting the American people listen to the evil Assange’s propaganda supported by Latin American, Chinese and Russian backers. The insinuation is that failing to shut Assange up or take his “Kremlin-funded propaganda” off air caused lots of people to think – wrongly – that the US was hypocritical (America has its own multi-billion dollar propaganda machine. Why is it so weak that it is overpowered by a single network with an alternative point of view!?) Harding is thus blissfully unaware of the very indictment he presented of the US surveillance state in his own book, in the end giving feeble or shy conclusions about the US government that ignore the overwhelming evidence he himself presented: the US government went way too far, and is not only on trial before the whole world but ready for the chopping block.

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Harding pretends, rather unconvincingly, to not understand why someone like Assange would use the Russian state-funded RT network to express his views. The subtext is that it must be some kind of conspiracy, probably including Snowden too because he’s in Russia. The solution to this riddle mystifying Harding is actually obvious: the US and UK don’t allow Assange to express his views, Russia does. But this wouldn’t fit with Harding’s lies about Russia being authoritarian and refusing a platform for dissidents, so pretending to be an idiot is just about the only way Harding can escape such thoughts. It never ceases to astonish me how British and American journalists like Harding would dismiss Press TV or RT giving a platform to dissidents in the UK and US as shallow propaganda stunts. But they see no irony in their own networks giving a platform for so-called dissidents from Iran and Russia, and calling their propaganda “dissent” and “freedom” – even though the fake Russian and Iranian “dissidents” actually fled their countries due to criminal charges or their links to a previous failed dictatorship in their countries. Why are cowering oligarchs and criminals given a platform as “dissidents” in UK and US media, while freedom fighters like Snowden or Assange are dismissed as propaganda spectacles orchestrated by Vladimir Putin?

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If revered western values of “freedom of speech” lead us to deny a platform to dissidents such as Assange living within our own countries, while we celebrate a few shahs, traitors and oligarchs in exile from Iran and Russia as legitimate dissidents, then we don’t understand the first thing about freedom – or speech. The reality is, Russian and Iranian media are doing more for freedom of speech in “the west” right now than the entire British and American media could ever hope to do, no matter how much money their private donors give them.

Let’s admit there is no difference – absolutely no difference – in press freedom between authoritarian “regimes” like Iran or Russia, and authoritarian “democracies” like Britain and America. Each example of regime seeks to discredit the other, and will celebrate the “freedom of speech” of anyone willing to help it. Iran will never encroach on my freedom of speech, simply because I use it to write op-eds on Iranian news outlets and address the wrongdoings of the US government. The US is willing to trample on Assange or Snowden’s freedom of speech, because the United States only recognizes freedom of speech for its own shallow propaganda and corporate-paid BS.

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The British government will probably never encroach on my freedom of speech either, because I basically don’t criticize the British government. It has never been my intention to undermine the British government as I consider that all its wrongdoings were ultimately decided by American slave-masters and not by us. As The Snowden Files tells, the Americans even exploit the fact that we don’t have a constitution or a First Amendment of our own – using Britain as the model surveillance dystopia they ultimately plan to create in their own country.

Also, as I have repeatedly stated, in my theory of press freedom, true press freedom is only found when people are able to speak truth to power. It is not found in the form of sycophants or “courtiers” of the White House, who study all their lives looking for apologies on behalf of a regime, or people who use their freedom of speech to be cheerleaders for government repression and violence – the wars that exist when one country tries to subvert another country’s political system and force it to adhere to a flawed foreign constitutional model (in most cases democracy [sic]).

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Lastly, anticipating that people will call me a hypocrite for using the US-created Internet and US-operated websites to express my views freely, this situation is in no way ideal to either me or the US government. The butter-fingered, greedy desire to control all information has backfired on the US regime, resulting in it failing to thwart freedom of speech for its opponents. It isn’t that US autocrats don’t want to silence an “Iranian/Russian propagandist” like me, or other critics of US authoritarianism – it’s that they can’t. They have all the legal and technical means to shut me up but don’t know where to begin. Power can only grow to a certain extent before it becomes sclerotic and immobile, and has nowhere to go.

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Next, I’ll be authoring a review of Glen Greenwald’s (most likely better) No Place to Hide (2014). And eventually, I hope, I’ll be reviewing Oliver Stone’s much-anticipated thriller Snowden, itself based partially on The Snowden Files.


By Harry J. Bentham

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The war you never saw: the Press versus the Blogosphere

posted by Harry J. Bentham

Il semble que la perfection soit atteinte non quand il n’y a plus rien à ajouter, mais quand il n’y a plus rien à retrancher.

It seems that perfection is attained not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to remove.

Antoine de Saint Exupéry


If blogging is a revolution in media like the printing press, it is sure to frustrate certain “respected” people.

Thanks to ubiquitous technology, many people have gone from voiceless to wielding a disproportionate ability to lobby world opinion. In their inability to accept this change in the media landscape, the formation of what we have come to know as the blogosphere, journalists and governments will seek to demonize alternative sources of information and the organizations sustaining such sources.

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Tragically, people who intended to shed ink can too often shed blood for their commitment to truth and virtue

I recall that I myself have been attacked by mainstream media journalists (despite the fact that Beliefnet is part of the mainstream media), who consider me to be a charlatan simply because I am an authority on the blogosphere rather than old-fashioned news outlets. Due to this experience, I see myself as someone on the frontline of the battle between the blogosphere and the established press. The importance of this battle shouldn’t be underestimated; it is the most significant battle of our time, setting the modernity of technology against the decayed and flawed democracies under which we live. I believe it is part of the crisis of the world-system, defined by the constant deterioration of state legitimacy away from fake democratic mandates to a more arbitrary and “rule”-based form.

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Max Keiser explained in a recent episode of his Keiser Report show at RT, that bloggers’ voices are powerful enough to prevent wars, such as the war threatened against Syria in 2013. This angers the establishment press, who want to consider themselves as authorities on the political facts. The people who once dictated the debate, dictated the parameters of all political and policy choices before the masses, are being dispossessed, loathed and irrelevant.

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Just as the Catholic Church and various monarchs once reacted in fury to the apparent moral arrogance and impudence of the men behind the first printing presses – the men who would become the Protestant Reformation – mainstream media and governments today are irritated by bloggers and Internet trolls, perceiving us as a threat to their pompous moral authority. Our work is never done. Like the iconoclasts and republicans of old, the children of the Internet must show the intelligentsia in the media and government no mercy. Surely, the reality that bloggers are capable of changing the world is something we must act upon now. We should try to cultivate an even greater form of lobbying power through blogs, and this is why teams and alliances of blogs should be encouraged.

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Mont Order shared blog picture

The Mont Order collective blog in its latest draft form

If single bloggers can form a chorus enough to prevent wars or encourage social and political change merely by recognizing a shared truth, it is clear that greater coordination between them would only increase this capability. Thus the idea of collectives, affiliations or clubs of bloggers is a potent idea. I am trying to help exactly such a clan in the form of the Mont Order, for whom I intend to set up and promote a shared blog to popularize as a new kind of dissident society.

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I apologize that this post didn’t have something more substantive on the domain name change that I talked about last week. Today, I was trying to get lordre.net to stop sending people to this blog, instead setting it up as the address of the new Mont Order shared blog. People continue to be forwarded or see a fail screen (www.lordre.net) due to slowness of the domain registration service. I am very unhappy about this simple change producing such a messy, destructive result for people searching for the L’Ordre blog or Mont Order resources. At present, I am left with no options but to wait for the problem to correct itself because I can detect no mistakes in the steps I have taken.

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By Harry J. Bentham

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Venezuela and Russia sanctioned, Cuba and Iran “unsanctioned”?

posted by Harry J. Bentham

Les femmes, les enfants et les vieillards, les individus entraînés par la violence ne méritent pas sans doute le même sort que les monstres qui ont ourdi la révolte

Women, children and old people, people affected by violence probably do not deserve the same fate as the monsters that have precipitated revolt

Lazare Nicolas Marguerite Carnot


I have always maintained that sanctions are an ineffective means of influencing other countries.

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US unilateral sanctions via Wikimedia Commons (not up to date, as Venezuela has since been punished too)

They didn’t work on Cuba or Iran, and expecting them to work against a mightier power like the Russian Federation or China is folly. It is also abundantly clear that the US government and its allies’ ability to apply sanctions is very limited, making sanctions an ineffective punishment mechanism against powers that are perceived to break international law. How frightened would you be of a form of punishment that has a poor record of success and the person applying it finds a new victim before he is even finished with you? This describes how the US has dealt with Cuba and Iran, and how it is now beginning to deal with Venezuela and Russia.

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The Global Tyrant: Collected Foreign Policy Commentaries

Cuba and Iran have done nothing but wait for the US’s sanctions regimes to be abandoned. The Cuban regime is no different now than it was when the US started sanctions against it, but the US has now given up. The same is true of Iran.

There is already talk that Europe will abandon its energy dependence on Russia in exchange for getting energy from Iran. It was the subject of an excellent Counterpunch article aptly titled “Another Idiotic Plan to Hurt Russia”. As argued there, the maneuver to get Europe to access Iran’s vast petrochemical resources via sanctions removal is ultimately aimed at isolating Russia, but first the western countries will have to swallow their arrogant rhetoric against Iran and accept Iran as a legitimate country (more legitimate than Russia). Think about this change of course by them, for a moment. In order for the west, the supposed global policemen, to isolate a country, they have to let another country out of jail unconditionally. It is a sign of weakness, and it was inevitable. To avoid isolating itself, the west (the US in particular) can only afford to bully a few countries at a time (and even these few countries are not under full economic sanctions, but only symbolic sanctions against specific personages). As the US became more and more hostile to the Maduro government in Venezuela and the Putin government in Russia, it abandoned its campaigns to isolate the governments of Cuba and Iran. It surrendered unconditionally to them, because it was too distracted by new enemies.

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What does this confessed inability of the Obama administration to continue sanctioning Cuba and Iran, while moving on to new targets like Russia and Venezuela, mean? It might be wise to point out that whenever the Obama administration seeks sanctions against a country on a particular continent, it seeks the removal of sanctions against a country on the same continent. One explanation could be to avoid damage to America’s trade opportunities. The US can only afford to sanction a limited number of countries at any time, or the damage will become reciprocal and the US will lose trade. The notion that the US plays an omnipotent role, striking or sanctioning countries that violate international law and removing the punishments once they comply, is implausible. Even the theory that a single country could ever be the arbiter of international law, punishing “rogue states”, is doomed to ridicule.

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The US government thinks of itself as a global policeman. However, it hardly behaves like one or has coercive power over other countries that might make it comparable to a policeman. It is determined to “go it alone” rather than serving as part of a police force, and it also breaks the law as frequently as it claims to enforce it.

The handcuffs the US tries to place on other countries are made of Plasticine, the rewards of cooperation unconvincing and often absent. The measures the Obama administration uses to bring countries down and compel them to obey US moral authority are weak, limited and only capable of assaulting a single country at a time. The US is unable to fight all its enemies, because it has too many.

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By Harry J. Bentham

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Previous Posts

Predictions on an Ed Miliband government
Il me paraît que tout acte porte en lui-même sa justification. It seems to me that every act carries within itself its justification. André Breton The most likely "alternative" to the current Cameron government is an Ed Miliband ...

posted 11:00:09pm May. 02, 2015 | read full post »

"Assange spreads Russian propaganda", "Assange is like George W. Bush", and more gibberish
L'hypocrisie est un hommage que le vice rend à la vertu. Hypocrisy is an homage that vice pays to virtue. François de La Rochefoucauld I have just finished reviewing Luke Harding's somewhat disputable 2014 book The Snowden Files, ...

posted 4:00:25pm May. 02, 2015 | read full post »

The war you never saw: the Press versus the Blogosphere
Il semble que la perfection soit atteinte non quand il n'y a plus rien à ajouter, mais quand il n'y a plus rien à retrancher. It seems that perfection is attained not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to ...

posted 11:00:14pm Apr. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Venezuela and Russia sanctioned, Cuba and Iran "unsanctioned"?
Les femmes, les enfants et les vieillards, les individus entraînés par la violence ne méritent pas sans doute le même sort que les monstres qui ont ourdi la révolte Women, children and old people, people affected by violence probably do ...

posted 11:00:53pm Apr. 24, 2015 | read full post »

"Russian propaganda" and "paid trolls"? More like the truth and the blogosphere
J'adore la liberté; j'abhorre la gêne, la peine, l'assujettissement. I love liberty, and I loathe constraint, dependence, and all their kindred annoyances. Jean-Jacques Rousseau Suddenly, everyone is scared of the scale of ...

posted 11:00:35pm Apr. 18, 2015 | read full post »

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