“The Interview” is a terrorist fantasy: might as well be about chopping Obama’s head off

posted by Harry J. Bentham

La beauté sera CONVULSIVE ou ne sera pas.

Beauty will be CONVULSIVE or not at all.

André Breton

Americans, the folks who scream and whine more about “terror” threats to their nation more than any other people in the world, are now slamming North Korea after the state took alleged cyber-protest actions to oppose a Hollywood movie blatantly calling for the assassination of the head of state of North Korea.

For example, in an MTV article called “All The Moments From ‘The Interview’ That The Hackers Didn’t Want You To See”, entertainment blogger Shaunna Murphy ridicules North Korea’s prudish protectiveness of its leader’s image, attempting to shield him from the apparent humiliation (not to mention the movie’s slightly more troubling rabid encouragement for his assassination.)

Obviously, I’m not impressed by Shaunna’s reasoning, or the reasoning of anyone else defending The Interview as a legitimate artistic work faced with extrajudicial censorship. It strikes me as some truly bizarre and hypocritical commentary coming from the US, which is the most paranoid and heavily-policed regime in the world, which would detain and torture anyone who threatened the life or well-being of its own head of state. Note that America itself is quite harsh against what it deems to be “terrorist” literature, and that includes works of art, so the US is in no position to accuse any other society of being too protective of its leaders and national symbols. I think the world’s “greatest” country just needs to take a serious look in the mirror, before it begins to criticize anyone.

Sure, North Korea has reacted disproportionately paranoid and touchy about what could have just been a harmless piece of Hollywood entertainment. But this is a pretty unprecedented movie. No Hollywood movie has ever focused so heavily on encouraging and justifying the assassination of an incumbent head of state before (except maybe one or two featuring Saddam Hussein, but I’m not sure his assassination was actually depicted in or central to those movies.) But are Americans any better than North Koreans in this regard? If Americans believe the United States is some kind of open, liberal society where everything is permitted – including films encouraging the assassination of US presidents and living public figures and iconoclasm against America’s bizarrely sanctified flags and national symbols – they are living in a fantasy world.

It kind of reminds me of the conservatives who burn the Qur’an, as if the violent backlash somehow proves how intolerant the Muslims are, but they themselves incite violence against Muslims who set the star-spangled banner on fire. Tell me, why is your stripey, dirty little pajama trouser of a flag more precious than a holy book that has been praised and nurtured by billions of people who believe its words to be divinely inspired?

Realize that the US is just as paranoid and heavily secured against this kind of literature promoting assassination and treason as North Korea. If you were a radical subversive who made a movie encouraging Obama to be publicly humiliated and killed before the eyes of the American people as The Interview does for Kim Jong-Un, you could be tracked and shot dead by Navy SEALs, or taken away to Guantanamo Bay and tortured. Is this the behavior of a regime that can call North Korea closed and paranoid, or are American justifications for vigilance against “evil” more justified than North Korea’s justifications?

Would Shaunna Murphy, who wrote the MTV op-ed I linked here, be as enthusiastic in insisting that we all watch a terrorist Gif of Obama’s severed head rolling on the broken steps of the White House, or a movie celebrating the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001, just to prove that we can beat state censorship? Of course she wouldn’t. Her fake, limited rejection of censorship is so narrow that it is prudishly restricted to criticizing specific countries such as North Korea, and never her home country. If faced with vitriolic anti-American cinema on par with The Interview, she’d be quick to disavow any violent themes in it and reject such literature as not screen-worthy. In fact, if the situation were thus reversed, she would probably be the one actively calling for state censorship and state paranoia to protect “society”, because she’d get all protective and patriotic for her own country, just like a good North Korean. In the minds of these patriots, the laws and sensibilities of other countries are always dismissed as irrational and paranoid, but these people still tell us that a bunch of equally irrational US laws and sensibilities are sacred and have to be upheld to protect us. For instance, respect for the person of the US President should be maintained to a certain extent in media coverage and he should not be subjected to assassination calls and death threats.

This new low in hypocrisy is even more evident in some of the reactions that followed alleged North Korean threats to America, in which the North Koreans are labelled “terrorists” in comment threads for their threatening words about war and retaliation, but a US movie encouraging the death of Kim Jong-Un is explained as a legitimate artistic venture. How so? Why should one side be accused of terrorism for non-lethal literature such as its threatening words or its cyber-attacks, but the other should be allowed to behave even more menacingly by producing an influential artistic work encouraging terrorism and packaged for circulation among millions of people?

If we compare the two societies, I think the US in no position to even begin to call North Korea closed or paranoid, or overly protective of its head of state. At best, the United States is just as protective of its own president and his family as North Korea is of its dictatorial leader and his family. Don’t accuse others of terror while promoting terror, if you don’t want to be exposed as a hypocrite and a bigot.

US officials have been recently exposed torturing and molesting hundreds of suspects simply because they cooked up fantasies about murdering US leaders and attacking the US regime, but Hollywood producers are such buffoons and political illiterates that they think they have to travel all the way to North Korea to find the nearest paranoid and unstable regime. If they are so open to ridiculing the state and its censorship, why don’t they make a movie encouraging the US President to be beheaded by ISIS radicals in revenge for the events in Iraq, and his family taken hostage and killed? How about a movie about current Hollywood executives being publicly flogged and murdered in a violent revolution against their fat, flabby, overindulgent lifestyles in America? Because those guys wouldn’t get offended or start a lawsuit, would they? In sum, the hypocrisy of these cowards is unbearable, and there’s no kind way to discredit them.

If you found my arguments convoluted or you still don’t get it, here it is in short. The Interview is just equivalent to an ISIS movie about beheading Barack Obama. If you don’t understand the North Korean reaction, try to envisage that and imagine what kind of mind would find comedy in it. Such a production, were it vulnerable to cyber protests, would certainly be hacked, taken down and opposed by the hypersensitive American regime at all costs, but that fact won’t stop American pundits form accusing North Korea of being too touchy after it harshly objected to a movie about the murder of its own head of state.

For the record, I strongly oppose making a movie obsessed with the idea of any head of state being assassinated, whether that is real (as in Saddam Hussein or Qaddafi’s death) or in a fictional form such as this movie The Interview. It’s simply barbaric, and it invalidates whatever political statements people were trying to promote via such media. I criticize US policy, yet I never want to see Barack Obama be humiliated or have his head chopped off, real or fictional. However, I invite people who do find entertainment value in barbaric productions mocking the assassination of state figures to publish and circulate such a video clip to prove they are as unafraid of censorship as they claim to be.

By Harry J. Bentham HJB Signature and stamp

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

Previous Posts

"The Interview" is a terrorist fantasy: might as well be about chopping Obama's head off
La beauté sera CONVULSIVE ou ne sera pas. Beauty will be CONVULSIVE or not at all. André Breton Americans, the folks who scream and whine more about "terror" threats to their nation more than any other people in the world, are now slamming North Korea after the state took allege

posted 11:00:07pm Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

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 »

Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.