L'Ordre

L'Ordre

Obama’s plan for the sanctions on Russia to fail: America surrenders to Cuba, Iran

posted by Harry J. Bentham

Oui, c’est l’Europe, depuis l’Atlantique jusqu’à l’Oural, c’est toute l’Europe, qui décidera du destin du monde.

Yes, it is Europe, from the Atlantic to the Urals, it is Europe, it is the whole of Europe, that will decide the fate of the world.

Charles de Gaulle


Economic impacts such as the ruble’s slide in Russia have been heralded in some influential media outlets as a sign that economic sanctions led against Russia by the United States of America are achieving their aims. What aims are those, exactly?

Barack Obama: a skilled diplomat and balancing artist who (I would argue) manages to maintain both his progressive credentials and the satisfaction of hawkish foreign policy hardliners in Washington. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

None of the United States’ preferences for a “political” outcome in Ukraine are tenable, and the idea of eliminating Vladimir Putin – presented as an assumed conclusion in the Reuters article linked above – is even dumber. Who would take Putin’s place? Even the US private intelligence firm Stratfor tells us that Medvedev and Shoigu are his most likely successors – and both men favor even more aggressive Russian involvement in Ukraine. Read George Friedman’s analysis under the subheading “Imagining Russia After Putin” to get that perspective. The US will find no good alternatives to the pragmatic Putin, just as Russia will find no good alternatives to the pragmatic Obama. It is a great tragedy that both leaders are incapable of silencing the hardliners in their camps, but that is the nature of politics.

Despite the economic sanctions placed on it, Russia has not altered its policy in any way, and Ukraine’s own misery has only increased as a result of this hostile economic campaign initiated by the US. Exactly who is being saved from Vladimir Putin’s “aggression” by the sanctions?The United States’ Cold War-style anti-Russian propaganda has no answer to that question, just as it has no recommendations on a more pragmatic successor to Vladimir Putin. As Clausewitz consistently warned the students of war, if one has no realistic political outcome in mind, no display of strength – economic or military – can be of any help. You can have all the power in the world, but if you don’t know what you want, you’re going to fail. The US has no vision for a political settlement in Ukraine or a new regime in Russia, so its policies in both countries are doomed to failure. No one, Obama included, can see what the US is trying to accomplish in Ukraine, so the idea that any observer might actually agree with the US course in Ukraine is astonishing.

Sanctions always fail, and Obama knows the long and miserable history of failed US-led sanctions better than anyone else, as is demonstrated by his recent actions. While he was signing new sanctions into effect against Russia to satisfy the Republican war hawks who currently swarm both Congress and the Senate, he was busy pushing to remove the failed sanctions off Cuba and Iran – just as Nixon eventually gave in to the People’s Republic of China and accepted its legitimacy. Obama knew the United States’ sanctions against Cuba and Iran were doomed to failure, and had to be reversed before the United States got carried away on a slippery slope of sanctioning everyone it disagrees with. To effectively maintain sanctions on Russia without damaging its own economy, the United States had to unconditionally end its sanctions against at least two other countries – specifically Cuba (hence the restored diplomatic relations) and Iran (hence the strong commitment to resolving disputes with Iran via the nuclear talks).

The fact America can’t sanction Russia without taking the sanctions off Cuba and Iran with no preconditions proves how sanctions are hopeless and weak, and cannot achieve political aims. Further, Obama’s moves for abandoning sanctions against “rogue states” Cuba and Iran sends the cheeky message to US hardliners that Obama doesn’t believe in the effectiveness of economic sanctions at all. They are simply a way for the President to look tough at home for a short time, but since they are a multi-decade effort (much like the so-called anti-ISIS coalition in Iraq) Obama and his team will never have to shoulder the costs of their eventual failure. Like Bush, Obama will leave his wars to his successor. We’ll no doubt witness Mr Obama ridiculing his successor in future, and blaming his own “multi-year” quagmires on that sorry President-to-be. Eventually, two or three presidents down the road, the sanctions on Russia will be removed without achieving anything, but Obama will probably be reduced to such obscurity by then that no-one will blame him for his failed policy.

The US government’s fears over possible consequences of anti-Russian sanctions on its own economy are the reason Obama has essentially given up his sanctions against Cuba and Iran. Neither Cuba nor Iran had to do anything for the United States’ arrogant position to collapse. Based on this model, the best course of action for Russia to beat the United States’ sanctions is to continue its present policy until the United States backs down – which of course it will. Because the United States is weak, it has backed down on every major foreign policy it has ever pursued, and it will also be the first to back down from its present mistake that the people of Ukraine are paying for with their lives. If the United States could not crush the small, oil-dependent economies of Cuba or Iran with its so-called sanctions, how likely is the United States to succeed against a much larger economy like Russia?

Obama is an intelligent careerist in the midst of all this, who knows the sanctions on Russia will prove as weak and feeble as they were against Cuba and Iran, and the only future for these sanctions is that they will eventually be lifted without achieving any political results within Russia. Obama won’t witness the failure of his policies, so he gets to escape with a reasonably clean record as President.

No regime – not even Saddam Hussein’s Iraq – has ever been toppled via the use of sanctions, and sanctions have only further embittered relations between the United States and the rest of the world. They confirm the analysis that the United States still culturally has an arrogant, colonial mentality with regard to other powers, seeing them as rebellious and non-compliant residents of its own global police-murder state rather than independent powers.

Because it is obsessed with conquest and plunder, the United States will never recognize Russia, Iran or China as independent states, and will always speak arrogantly of those other powers like it is their master. Circling the carcasses of other states to nourish itself, America is just like the nasty, vulturous and shabby bird used on its Presidential Seal.


By Harry J. Bentham HJB Signature and stamp

Mont as a humble club of voices, based on collective support

posted by Harry J. Bentham

Nous sommes tous montagnards, vive la montagne!

We are all Montagnards, vive La Montagne!

Slogan used in an address to the Jacobin Club, 1793


Just a small update, the Mont Order Club has recently added a new member to our small community of writers, as we dedicate efforts to help one another. When working via the online spheres of the Order, we should put nothing else before the Order, i.e. the mutual success of each of our associates.

Our latest associate, J. M. Porup, is a futurologist and dissident interested in me mutually publishing an online discussion thread with him, and also the creation of mutual links to boost our traffic. Such a link and discussion will appear at my web magazine ClubOfINFO, even if I also place a link here on the L’Ordre blog.

In the meantime, I encourage my readers to visit J’s blog, download his books on Amazon as I recently did today, and of course leave reviews for them as you have been generous enough to leave on my own books. J’s work is hugely interesting and quite in agreement with my own, and has focused on criticism of the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) exposed spying practices, as well as analysis of matters of privacy and security. I first encountered J’s ideas via the Lifeboat Foundation think tank and via Twitter, and have found all of his points to be compelling and striking contributions that are worth studying.

It would have been ideal if a longer or more content-rich post could have been created today, so I apologize for the shortness of this one. My only excuse is that I have been busier than usual filling the issues of the ClubOfINFO blogs for release during the week, and meanwhile this post has to go up at the usual weekly time.

I am happy with how the Order has grown as a club, and I hope to brainstorm new ways of making it effective and worth participating in to increase its appeal to current and future participants.

I reiterate that the Mont Order does not hold a specific ideology, nor is it really a “secret society” in the dramatic sense really implied by that term (I myself fell into a trap of using that term when introducing our name to J) although it is a humble club of writers who shall aid each other. Despite not being a party in itself, the Order does not object to its members holding ideologies or leading entire movements of their own, radical or moderate. I feel we should insist only on one criterion for members: that they be proven dissidents, or they will have no real place in our Order which is meant to be a radical niche of social catalysts with highly technical and practical offerings for social change.

In that spirit, the Order and its immediate circles and movements should all aim to be practical and helpful to one another, satisfying each other’s requests for aid and backup on the blogosphere, and I believe our capacity for that can only increase as new writers and new circles of activists are added to the Order as we move forward.

To Jens: welcome to our Order.


By Harry J. Bentham HJB Signature and stamp

United States of Asphyxiation: exceptional torture, or torturous exceptionalism?

posted by Harry J. Bentham

Vous dites que vous êtes mon juge, avisez-vous bien de ce que vous faites, car en vérité, je suis envoyée de par Dieu et vous vous mettez en grand danger.

You say that you are my judge. I do not know if you are! But I tell you that you must take good care not to judge me wrongly, because you will put yourself in great danger.

Joan of Arc


How do we breathe, when a government can stoop no lower in its penchant for hypocrisy, lies and pointless violence against innocent people?

I expect that few of us have had the time to read all the details of the US Senate’s torture report yet, but it confirms what many had already said the CIA were doing to detainees, although now in a lot more horrifying detail. Not simply at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp (Gitmo), but at numerous “black sites” throughout the world.

Of particular concern is the fact that at least one person actually died under the CIA’s supervision as a result of deliberate neglect and mistreatment. Such events do more than upset the constitutional and societal norms mentioned in the report as fundamental parts of the United States that had to be defended if the so-called war on terror (ostensibly a war for the defense of liberal democratic ideals) was to have any merit. They challenge the notion that the United States is “exceptional”, and thoroughly discredit all of its rhetoric of moral superiority over other states or even the terrorist organizations it sought to combat.

I believe that the United States’ belief in “exceptionalism” – something that Barack Obama has himself affirmed that he believes in – is the reason why the United States perpetrated these crimes. A belief that one is exceptional and morally mightier than others leads to a sense of immunity from prosecution, a sense of being above international law and a sense of being entitled to perpetrate the crimes that the US has gotten used to accusing other regimes of. This same delusional sense of exception and immunity is why the United States is giving military assistance to a dangerous dictatorship currently responsible for massacring thousands of civilians in Ukraine and endlessly threatening the security and integrity of Russia.

Just as the torture report cracks the sanitized, friendly neighborhood mask from the face of the world’s most abhorrent and cowardly country, America’s support for the military dictatorship in Ukraine bankrupts its moral standing on the international stage. As I recently explained at Press TV, the supposed academic theories of democratization portrayed by the US as a path to peace are reduced to folly.

The path of the United States is the worst path for any country to follow. It is the path of sordid and blood-splattered hypocrisy, the incarcerated millions, of torture and endless dictatorship. A regime that suffocates its people is a coffin; it will draw its supporters to the grave.

The question the American people need to ask themselves is, how do they breathe? Many of them already chant in street protests that they can’t – a slogan based on the dying cry of Eric Garner – a man suffocated by another member of America’s executioner force like so many others. This is no digression.

The United States’ failure to guarantee the human rights it preached has many facets, foreign and domestic, each of which challenges everything that America imagines itself to be. The sense of immunity that white police officers have in their treatment of African Americans is the same sense of immunity that the torturers and executioners in Guantanamo had – a culmination of institutionally racist thoughts and policies anchored in America’s traditions of racial segregation, super power arrogance and paranoid militarism.

Get the full guide to my theory of politics and technology in Catalyst below:

Catalyst: a Techno-Liberation Thesis (2013)


By Harry J. Bentham HJB Signature and stamp

Snowden’s actions put 007 at risk. Also, who cares?

posted by Harry J. Bentham

Le Mal est dans la chose même et le remède est violent. Il faut porter la cognée à la racine.

The solution to evil is violent. We must take the hatchet to the root.

Jean-Paul Marat


The heads of the National Security Agency, NSA, and our somewhat derivative equivalent in Britain, General Communications HQ or GCHQ, still say NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations of excessive spying by our governments on their own people put “our” much-loved spies and heroes at risk all around the world. These men behind the curtain won’t say how, but they insist the leaks are a threat to our (or rather their) security.

YouTube Preview Image

Above: cryptic trailer of the latest Bond movie. Little can be told about its content yet, other than that it features the return of the villainous SPECTRE criminal organization as the main antagonist.

My first rebuttal to this crazy idea that some kind of James Bond is out there saving the day, and he is now at increased risk because of the “arrogant” whistleblowers revealing state secrets, is simple: Who cares?  They still have their secrecy, so they aren’t going to be missed. It is a bit arbitrary to insist on a curtain of secrecy behind which they can sacrifice lives for freedom and democracy, while they aren’t willing to sacrifice for transparency – something supported by the overwhelming majority of the public. It sounds like they’re afraid of the costs of true freedom and democracy, in which case they aren’t exactly the tough guys they try to look like via these movies like Zero Dark Thirty, Argo or the better-known 007 movies. It would be more accurate to call them manipulators and liars.

The point is, we are led to believe in a fictitious picture of the world of espionage by movies like the 007 movie, Skyfall, which even depicted a leaker with curiously bleached blonde hair *cough* Julian A. *cough* as the latest, high-tech incarnation of the supervillain.  But if GCHQ is full of such tough guys and heroes as Mr Bond, why are they desperately afraid of the truth, or of any engagement with the public? Would heroes really be scared of being tempered or overseen in any way by the public they claim to protect? Would they be willing to thwart democracy in order to save it, or go cloak-and-dagger in the name of the liberal virtues of openness, democracy and justice? What kind of hero would claim to have a mandate from the crowd, but turn their weapons against the same crowd for information-gathering, target practice or human shields as soon as they deem it “necessary”?

We’ve all heard of the “hornet’s nest” analogy, and some people might think Snowden kicked a hornet’s nest – that what he did was irresponsible, even disastrous for the intelligence community and their efforts to “keep us safe”. He did a lot of damage. Or did he?

Well, even if you grant them their entire argument and conclude that Snowden did cause a lot of damage, there’s another way of looking at it. If you found an idiot with his head embedded in the hornet’s nest of the Middle East, like the NSA and GCHQ have done to themselves, wouldn’t you also feel an urge to kick them up the backside like they deserve? What Snowden has done, or has been alleged to have done by his most exaggerated critics, is a lot like that. How can Snowden be blamed for other people maintaining mass spying operations with such elusive and complicated justifications that the public can’t be trusted to know anything about them? Even if Snowden’s actions were to culminate in disaster, thousands of dead spies embedded around the world by the US and UK, it would be their own fault, and they’d deserve what is coming to them. They don’t get to blame the guy who drew attention to their idiocy, as if he somehow made them idiots by pointing out what they’re doing.

In my opinion, it should not be disavowed, but hoped that Snowden’s actions and other whistleblowing such as WikiLeaks’ activity has endangered the lives and complicated the efforts of the guys at GCHQ and NSA. If they won’t take it from us, let every dagger in their backs be a lesson against their attempts to get solace by cloaking themselves from public scrutiny. Why should they get any public sympathy for their trouble, if they aren’t even going to explain themselves? After all, history shows us how the heads who won’t take a message from the public eventually take it from a bullet. That lesson is the sole reason why we uphold democratic ideals at all.

For all the grandiose military and intelligence chiefs, prime ministers and presidents who condemned Edward Snowden or the public -serving actions of journalists through the help of WikiLeaks, I have this question: Who are you, a bunch of idiots who start pointless wars and lead our soldiers to empty deaths in the sands, to lecture Edward Snowden about the sanctity of life or importance of national security?

It is ironic that the rulers who justify wasting the lives of soldiers for “freedom” in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are incapable of understanding the costs of true freedom, insisting that it isn’t worth putting our lives at risk to know the truth about mass surveillance – but the same rulers think it is worth putting our lives at risk for wacky plans to replace the regimes in Iraq, Syria and Iran and slaughter thousands of people. What’s more worth sacrificing for? The freedom to enjoy true democracy and hold our rulers accountable through revelations about their abuses, or some wacky plan to eliminate the leaders of Syria and Iran to plunder those regimes’ oil reserves? It’s quite obvious.

The United States and Britain are apparently governed by charlatans. Their curtain of national security is illegitimate, and must be ripped down at all costs. Even an earthworm would have more discipline to manage our national security in a capable way.

It so happens that Edward Snowden is a hero, and that no-one was better positioned to blow the whistle on the outrageous government abuse of technology against the public than him. But even if the abuse had been exposed by a young child, or if a rat had somehow gnawed the cable and thereby revealed these abuses against the public, the exposure of the truth would still have been both charitable and necessary for the public good, and well-worth any blowback that might be foreseen.

Read my most recent deep political analysis, “The Use of Republican War Hawks”, at ClubOfINFO, and keep a look out for my next major contribution to world opinion at Press TV.

For my more optimistic analysis of technology and my theories on the way technology can be directed and guided for the sake of positive social change, get my book, Unlocked: Emerging Technology Promises.


By Harry J. Bentham HJB Signature and stamp

Previous Posts

Obama's plan for the sanctions on Russia to fail: America surrenders to Cuba, Iran
Oui, c'est l'Europe, depuis l'Atlantique jusqu'à l'Oural, c'est toute l'Europe, qui décidera du destin du monde. Yes, it is Europe, from the Atlantic to the Urals, it is Europe, it is the whole of Europe, that will decide the fate of the world. Charles de Gaulle Economic impacts such as

posted 11:00:55pm Dec. 19, 2014 | read full post »

Mont as a humble club of voices, based on collective support
Nous sommes tous montagnards, vive la montagne! We are all Montagnards, vive La Montagne! Slogan used in an address to the Jacobin Club, 1793 Just a small update, the Mont Order Club has recently added a new member to our small community of writers, as we dedicate efforts to help one

posted 11:00:41pm Dec. 13, 2014 | read full post »

United States of Asphyxiation: exceptional torture, or torturous exceptionalism?
Vous dites que vous êtes mon juge, avisez-vous bien de ce que vous faites, car en vérité, je suis envoyée de par Dieu et vous vous mettez en grand danger. You say that you are my judge. I do not know if you are! But I tell you that you must take good care not to judge me wrongly, because you wi

posted 11:00:44pm Dec. 12, 2014 | read full post »

Snowden's actions put 007 at risk. Also, who cares?
Le Mal est dans la chose même et le remède est violent. Il faut porter la cognée à la racine. The solution to evil is violent. We must take the hatchet to the root. Jean-Paul Marat The heads of the National Security Agency, NSA, and our somewhat derivative equivalent in Britain, Gene

posted 11:00:16pm Dec. 06, 2014 | read full post »

Welfare is the sum of all political and economic health
Toutes les lois seront arrêtées par le peuple, après avoir pris le temps de voir ce qui est en jeu All laws should be decided by the people, after taking the time to see what is at stake Jean-Paul Marat My next opinion piece at my Press TV column will be focused on refuting the so-ca

posted 11:00:57pm Dec. 05, 2014 | read full post »


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