Every country’s authority will weaken, causing formal and informal disintegration

posted by Harry J. Bentham

Les maux de la résistances sont grands, je le sais, mais de la résignation ne sont-ils pas mille pire !

The evils of resistance are great, I know, but of resignation are they not a thousand worse!

Prosper-Olivier Lissagaray

Stratfor recently made a “prediction” about Russia’s future.

The Russian Federation’s authority will weaken. Eventually, it will cease to exist as a polity. This prophecy, or forecast, as Stratfor refers to it (the full name of the intelligence firm itself is Strategic Forecasting) is no surprise to me. For years, I and many others have been predicting that all nation-states will lose cohesion and they will cease to exist as credible authorities. Countries are the great farce of our time.

I’ll admit that many of our countries’ services remain necessities for the sake of serving the people, but their sense of legitimate authority – and the reverence people show towards them – is misplaced. All countries should stop flying their absurd flags and national symbols, and disappear in as much blood and darkness as they were forged in the first place. We will support this transition to happen, in order to update the “political operating system” of our time.

The Hardest Part

I will continue to write op-eds at Press TV, which will be critical of US and British foreign policy. I’m going to arrive at a new op-ed very soon, possibly covering one of the crisis zones addressed in foreign policy.

Let this stand as a comment from me that I’m not on any particular country’s side, especially not my own. I may criticize the US government more than the UK government, but only because it seems to be in charge of more foreign policy decisions concerning the UK than than the UK.

No country should be exempt from our scorn, especially not the countries in which we ourselves reside. The future is the inevitable, but being part of the future means helping it happen. Your country needs you. Help it to be defeated.

By Harry J. Bentham

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Autocracy versus autocracy: our democratic states are superior to nothing

posted by Harry J. Bentham

L’imagination est la reine du vrai, et le possible est une des provinces du vrai.

Imagination is the queen of truth, and the possible is one of the provinces of truth.

Charles Baudelaire

It’s easy to mock dictatorships for being too sensitive and prone to censor information that incriminates them, but are our governments any different?

Indeed, one of the most compelling arguments against autocracy is its inflexibility, its crudeness and its intolerance towards dissent. Our democratic countries, so called, are not prone to such behavior. Or are they?

It occurred to me recently that our governments in the United States and Europe, while professing to be more democratic and politically legitimate than other regimes, are actually very sensitive to information that they find inconvenient. Their tendency to dismiss autocratic countries as paranoid and inflexible, while they themselves live in rampant paranoia about possible subversion and terrorism in their own states and master all the tactics against those threats, is astonishing.

Once we remove all the propaganda about freedom and democracy, the only actual difference between our regimes and the various dictatorships that humanity overcame in history is that ours are sensitive to different kinds of threats. But this difference would be apparent between any two governments, whether alleged dictatorships or alleged democracies.

The events surrounding WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden demonstrated that the US government, far from being in favor of freedom as it claims, is at the forefront of a campaign to stifle access to information (such as the PRISM spying program that Snowden revealed) that would embarrass the US government and others. So what we mean when we say dictators are afraid of freedom of speech is not really to say they are any different from the US government, but to say that they have different, often eccentric priorities. As the people, however, we should be no less offended by the US government’s use of state secrets and censorship than we are offended by the state secrets and censorship witnessed in a totalitarian dictatorship. The only difference between the two is that they react sensitively to different kinds of speech. While the US government by default isn’t too offended by people commentating on the particular administration’s policies, it is very offended and will take action against anyone it sees as promoting violence against the US state or disclosing information that actually weakens its regime.

We should be wary of how ready conservative elements in our societies are to break international law and the internal laws of foreign countries while they are so respectful towards the laws in their own country. Even influential corporations such as Google engender this kind of behavior. When the US government takes undemocratic or autocratic actions in the interests of its so-called security, Google is respectful and honors US law and matters of secrecy, no matter how draconian these are – the corporation is determined to cooperate with the US state, but at the same time Google tries to promote disobedience in other countries, actively helping dissidents to hide their identities and circulate information that the government doesn’t like.

That seems to be the rule guiding the political and corporate elite in our countries – obedience here, disobedience in “authoritarian” countries. In the eyes of our rulers, rival states like Iran, Russia and China are simply parties of outlaws, violating the peace that “we”, the so-called “west” sustained via absolute military and economic power.

Hear me out. My call is simply that we all do the opposite of this vile hypocrisy. I am not arguing that people should be cowed and obedient towards the governments of allegedly authoritarian countries such as Iran, Russia and China (who are actually considerably less authoritarian than the regimes that the US has supported in their place and wants to replace them with). Rather, I am arguing that we use our technology and the media at our disposal to subvert and challenge our own governments, as Snowden did. I argue that as dissidents, we should actively disobey, damage and dismantle the oppressive US-led global establishment that arrogantly presumes to police the world. Seek out the cowering state’s vulnerabilities, the things that it is offended by – and do everything in your power to expose it for the flawed and paranoid regime it actually is.

We need to show people like the US government that they aren’t better than any other autocracy, and that their own regime is equally as fearful, doomed, and utterly undeserving of power as any other regime.

The Global Tyrant: Collected Foreign Policy Commentaries

By Harry J. Bentham

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“Free speech”, featuring elitist lies and censorship of the oppressed

posted by Harry J. Bentham

L’histoire nous libère des entraves

History frees us from the shackles

Henri-Irénée Marrou

In a place of elite commentary and closed exclusive media with no reader engagement, is there freedom of speech?

Image used at my column based with Iran’s Press TV website

With the exception of blogs like this one and certain columns at alternative media websites, it seems that most of the media commentary given to the public is shoved down people’s throats without any regard for common sense or criticizing the social order. However, they do their best to pretend. It puts me in a very unique situation.

Let me give you an example: “Iran’s hypocrisy in condemning U.S. racism”, by Michael Rubin at CNN. In the post, which was made in December 2014, Rubin seizes on Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s Twitter comments in support of #BlackLivesMatter as he reacted to support the protests against police racism in the US. Khamenei infuriated arrogant commentators like Rubin in the US, who usually indulge in criticizing other countries, as they were forced to see their own immoral country being criticized by Iran – which they usually criticize. In a strange and convoluted argument reacting to Khamenei’s tweets, Rubin tries to argue that Iran is actually a more racist society than the US. It comes out as desperate gibberish, and it is obvious that the reason for the brevity of Rubin’s post is that he just couldn’t think up enough lies to tell.

Khamenei was justified in making his tweets, and Rubin should be embarrassed at how wrong he is in trying to represent these Iranian social criticisms of US institutional racism as hypocritical. Iranians were wise to react in disgust at the racism in the US. We can easily know the reality that Rubin tried so hard and failed to hide in his post: the US is obviously the more racist country. Consider that Iran is the world’s oldest modern multicultural society. If we trace its roots back to ancient Persia, it was the first world power to ever truly bring different peoples together under one empire in a harmonious fashion. To this day, its different communities live together in harmony, and have never been faced with internecine conflict or the systematic persecution of minorities. By contrast, the United States began as a country that practiced the wholesale enslavement of a race, and the genocide of the native population. Rubin is no critic of the latter, even throwing in some support of the Israeli Zionist settler-state in his post.

Apparently, for Rubin, Iran is a more racist country than the US, because he uses the facile argument that he thinks its criticism of Israeli racism and apartheid might be antisemitism:

Repeated rhetoric about Israel being a cancer—sometimes without any differentiation between Jews and Israel—takes a toll.

When I look at people like Rubin, I see someone wearing a dunce hat. These are the most stupid and evil people in the world, who make up lies for the world’s most cowardly and racist regimes while hypocritically calling those who rightly point out their stupidity and oppression a “racist”. Although I thank Iranian publications for enhancing my free speech, and I give no thanks to CNN for giving a platform for dunces like Rubin, I myself don’t necessarily believe in free speech. Liars like Rubin, for example, deserve to be deprived of their right to free speech. Not because a society with less free speech is a good thing, but because the world has already heard enough from people like him. The one percent at the top of US and European society, and the liars who legitimize them and popularize their message in the media, have already been given a disproportionate platform for too long and it is simply high time for them to shut up.

It is especially rich for a pundit at CNN to talk about how much more free speech there is in the US, compared to Iran. Rubin is himself clearly disengaged from his readers, making posts that have no comment thread on them, like a lot of columns favored by the corporate media and the state. Is this what “free speech” looks like? Does “free speech” describe pundits of the one percent bellowing lies and blasphemies against humanity into a megaphone, while living a life in ignorance of their audience? For this reason, I find it ironic that Rubin uses his post to argue that there is an abundance of free speech in the US and none in Iran.

I find it especially ironic, personally, because most of my own most public writing has been published not by CNN but by an Iranian news website: Press TV. From my perspective, Iran is more actively giving a voice to oppressed and marginal people than the US. CNN (or any of the US media’s) attempts to represent itself as giving a platform for popular expression or advancing the frontiers of free speech is a farce. CNN represents its corporate sponsors, while Press TV represents the ninety-nine percent of humanity. The fact the channel is funded by the Iranian state is only even more reason to see it as representative of the oppressed, because that ties Press TV’s media mission directly to the Islamic Revolution.

The US represents all the world’s tyrants and impersonal, unaccountable corporations. Iran proudly lends a humanitarian and moral lifeline to impoverished peoples in armed struggle in Palestine, Lebanon and other areas of the Islamic world. It is a role that can bring no shame. Iran’s role in the world inspires millions to defend their rights every day, while the US’s role earns more and more opponents and recruits more violent militants against US aggression and global arrogance every day.

It is a fallacy to keep framing everything in terms of the “Western freedoms” versus Islam or versus “authoritarian regimes”. In the case of the US and its media versus Iran and its media, it is best understood as the battle between the oppressor and the oppressed, between the liar and the one who exposes lies.

The liar deserves no freedom of speech and is no friend of the people, while the one who tells the truth deserves great freedom of speech and is a friend of the people. In their own way, every editor agrees with this principle. If “free speech” were indiscriminate, there would be a constant flow of nonsense and lies from every publication everywhere, all the time. There isn’t.

In the particular instances where they are accused of censorship, Iranians have a well-earned right to censor US lies aiming to destabilize their country and their historic revolution, while the US has no right to censor the truth about its barbarity and hypocrisy. Trying to use “free speech” arguments to create an equivalency between the oppressor media trying to disseminate lies against Iran, and the oppressed media trying to record and demonstrate the truth of oppression – whether in Palestine or the whole Middle East region – should be recognized as obscene.

It is simply a basic editorial principle – not an affront to free speech – that liars need to shut up, and that people who actually have a critical point to make in the interests of the world’s downtrodden masses should have their voice amplified by a just and accurate media. Iran performs that service better than any country in the world, and for an example of it, I dare you to use Press TV. The only propaganda that the oppressed need is the truth, and nothing that the oppressed do or say will change the fact that they are right and deserve to prevail.

By Harry J. Bentham

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The case for Assad: democracy is ideal, but the situation in Syria is far from ideal

posted by Harry J. Bentham

Hélas! tout est abîme, — action, désir, rêve, Parole!

Everything, alas, is an abyss, — actions, desires, dreams, Words!

Charles Baudelaire

Even as the war in Syria (more like the war on Syria, as squabbling foreign powers try to plot the country’s future) rages on, something has changed.

In 2013, John Kerry was predicting that the Syrian secular state was a threat to international norms, while accusing it of war crimes. Now look at him, frightened by the potential conquests by the very same extremists he so desperately wanted to protect and support inside Syria in 2013.

Crude attempts to blame President Bashar al-Assad for everything bad in Syria appear to be losing their appeal. Voices calling on Assad to step down as a prerequisite to peace are going suspiciously quiet, and the idea of European and other Western states resuming normal relations with Syria is even being floated around. I wonder why that is?

It is known that the US policy in Syria was originally to support rebels against Assad and try to help remove his ruling family from power. Since that goal was originally explained as part of the US push for global so-called democratization (a failed policy that oddly seems to create new dictatorships rather than democracies in all cases) the so-called Islamic State has grown beyond all predictions and grabbed everyone’s attention. Opinion on Assad was always divided, but the vast majority of people have made it abundantly clear what they think of the barbaric and medieval pseudo-state of IS.

Everyone who thought that the removal of Assad warranted supporting extremists and cannibals, such as the indecent thug David Cameron, has been proven wrong. The alternative to the Assad regime, which the governments in Britain and America lied about being democratic and pluralistic, is a brutal medieval theocracy spanning not just Syria but a bunch of other states like Iraq, that it has conquered chunks of. If Assad were to be removed from power by the awesome weapons of the US, as they might have been able to do in 2013 if they hadn’t been blocked by Russian diplomatic solutions to destroy the Syrian state chemical arsenal, such a campaign would only serve to strengthen the Islamic State.

One of the interesting features of the war in Syria is the ineffectiveness of US airstrikes to change the balance of power. While many were convinced in 2013, and indeed still now, that US airstrikes would have been able to cripple Assad’s army, the same air-power has proven woefully inadequate in defeating an even weaker opponent, the Islamic State. If I may indulge in a realist analysis, this may be due to the differences in the way the two sides are organized. Conventional armies like Assad’s forces are very fond of their massed artillery, airfields and barracks – all of which can be pinpointed and destroyed by a capable NATO air force. However, guerrilla fighters like IS make use of minimal resources and weaponry, which negates the value of airstrikes massively. Guerrilla and terrorist groups are experts at disguising assets and hiding leadership, and masters of highly decentralized forms of infantry combat and suicide attacks. One might think Assad’s army lacks those guerrilla features, but they should check again.

During the years of the civil war, Assad has not only raised his own irregular militia forces who perform very independently, but he is also gaining support from the most formidable guerrilla army in the world: Hezbollah. Given these factors, it is almost certain that destroying Syrian army headquarters, blowing up Assad’s artillery and crippling his airfields wouldn’t cause the collapse of the Syrian regime at all. It would only shift the burden to his more irregular and broken up formations to continue the fighting, and he would still outnumber his enemies and dominate Damascus in any such contest. At this stage, a US air campaign against the Assad regime would be as useless the air campaign against IS. One other obvious reason for this is that Assad’s forces have been studying US air tactics and IS reactions to them for months now, so they would almost certainly know how to behave in the event that US aircraft began targeting their forces.

Certainly, US airstrikes against Assad’s forces would dampen the Syrian state’s power and make Assad’s sympathizers more or less equivalent to the rebel factions struggling to control swathes of the country. But, like IS, Assad’s forces would be able to scatter and hide their leadership with relative ease. It would never end the way it did in Libya, where Qaddafi’s forces panicked and turned against him. The pro-Assad elements in Syria are just too resourceful, extensive and well-trained to lose control of the country so easily because of a little American intervention.

So, as I recently theorized at a Mont Order club discussion, the “best-before date” for the US and its allies to implement regime-change in Syria is gone. The task of ousting Assad in favor of placing pro-US leadership in his place has become too awkward for the US to get away with, even in the most far-fetched plans. The idea of combating both sides, Assad and IS, in a simultaneous military adventure against the two biggest actors shaping Syria’s future, would be absurd, but it isn’t too ridiculous for some US lawmakers. The usual hardliners in the US seem to be of the view that combating IS doesn’t mean the US has to give up on overthrowing Assad. In fact, they recommend targeting both sides, despite putting the elimination of the Islamic State as a higher priority.

Think about this for a moment. What the hawks are proposing by wanting to attack Assad and IS at the same time is like wanting to bomb the Nazis and the Soviets at the same time, during the Battle of Stalingrad, on the grounds that you dislike both of them for ideological reasons as they both hate democracy. Whether or not we personally like democracy, an epic battle is taking place in Syria, in places like Aleppo, that will decide whether Syria remains a secular state or becomes a violent, medieval caliphate.

Saying both sides are deplorable and should equally be bombed is unfathomable stupidity. One cannot influence this important chapter in a country’s history by recklessly targeting both sides. Obviously, to do so would be an arrogant bid to put a tiny, unpopular, specific pro-US dictator in charge of the country as a steward of “democracy” – a role epitomized by the so-called Free Syrian Army (who are actually no more than minor allies to the hard-line, Islamic State-inspired Islamic Front group). It would also not work, for very hard realist reasons I have already covered. Syria isn’t the case of a maniacal dictator abusing his mighty weaponry to slaughter a disaffected urban population, as the media has tried to portray it. Syria is genuinely divided, in the throes of a historic struggle between modernity and medievalism. There is no right for arrogant outsiders like ourselves to look at Assad and tell the Syrians that he has to stand down. Such idealism would only force Syrians to live in an even greater fog of bloodshed and confusion.

Of course it would be ideal for Syria to become a democracy, but the situation in Syria is far from ideal. Democratization in Syria wasn’t worth even one life, let alone the hundreds of thousands who have perished in the conflict, and it isn’t the real issue this war is being fought over anyway.

Only one thing should matter in Syria: mitigating and ending the sectarian genocide and reign of slavery that has been threatened by IS. One would be wisest to talk about transitioning to democracy, or stateless communism, or any other specific ideal you want to talk about, only once this terrible threat is gone.

By Harry J. Bentham

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Previous Posts

Every country's authority will weaken, causing formal and informal disintegration
Les maux de la résistances sont grands, je le sais, mais de la résignation ne sont-ils pas mille pire ! The evils of resistance are great, I know, but of resignation are they not a thousand worse! Prosper-Olivier Lissagaray Stratfor recently made a "prediction" about Russia's future.

posted 11:00:56pm Feb. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Autocracy versus autocracy: our democratic states are superior to nothing
L'imagination est la reine du vrai, et le possible est une des provinces du vrai. Imagination is the queen of truth, and the possible is one of the provinces of truth. Charles Baudelaire It's easy to mock dictatorships for being too sensitive and prone to censor information that incrimina

posted 11:00:46pm Feb. 27, 2015 | read full post »

"Free speech", featuring elitist lies and censorship of the oppressed
L'histoire nous libère des entraves History frees us from the shackles Henri-Irénée Marrou In a place of elite commentary and closed exclusive media with no reader engagement, is there freedom of speech? Image used at my column based with Iran's Press TV website With the exception

posted 11:00:50pm Feb. 21, 2015 | read full post »

The case for Assad: democracy is ideal, but the situation in Syria is far from ideal
Hélas! tout est abîme, — action, désir, rêve, Parole! Everything, alas, is an abyss, — actions, desires, dreams, Words! Charles Baudelaire Even as the war in Syria (more like the war on Syria, as squabbling foreign powers try to plot the country's future) rages on, something has

posted 11:00:23pm Feb. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Surveillance, paranoia, disinformation and restrictions on speech endanger freedoms: Mont Order advisers
L'information ne se comporte pas du tout comme la matière : contrairement à un caillou, elle n'a pas de position spatiale ni temporelle et on peut à loisir la dupliquer, la partager, la résumer, la supprimer... The information does not behave at all like the matter: unlike a stone, it has no te

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

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