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L'Ordre

L'Ordre

Was Edward Snowden betrayed by the Guardian?

posted by Harry J. Bentham

Je prononce à regret cette fatale vérité

It is with regret that I pronounce a fatal truth

Maximilien Robespierre


The Snowden Files (Luke Harding) and No Place to Hide (Glen Greenwald), two leading books on a single subject: Edward Snowden.

Of course, the difference between these two books is that one was written by Glen Greenwald, who is a close confidant of Edward Snowden, and the other was written by a Guardian journalist, Harding, who, apart from working for that publication, had nothing else to do with Snowden. Harding’s book first caught my attention due to it being a significant inspiration for a movie called Snowden, a thriller quite likely to be produced by Oliver Stone. I am quite eager to see Stone’s take on the Snowden drama, and can only hope that it is more accurate than the book it took inspiration from.

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I had suspicions about Harding’s book from the beginning as I studied its arguments, although I tried my best to remain open to Harding’s account and perhaps discover some of the gems of rhetoric and insightful arguments he may have offered. What I found was disappointing, as I expressed in my review at The clubof.info Blog.

Since then, I stumbled upon WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s review of the same book by Luke Harding. He’s beat me to it. However, Assange made an even more relevant point than anything I mentioned in my review, which focused mainly on Harding’s obsession with Vladimir Putin rather than questioning the merits of his Snowden account itself. The Guardian has not behaved as bravely as Harding claims it to have behaved. While Harding spends time in his book attacking Assange, an exiled and persecuted dissident who sacrificed his freedom of movement to expose the secret misdeeds of governments, the Guardian caved in to pressure and consented to censorship. In doing so, it damaged its credibility to talk about the entire controversy surrounding Edward Snowden’s mass surveillance revelations. In essence, the Guardian has betrayed Snowden: something Assange emphatically demonstrates in his review. I myself am critical of the Guardian, although my criticisms focus more on how the publication has since shifted to become more of a cheerleader for the United States and its hostile arrogant foreign policy since the American regime’s incessant pressure for global censorship resulted in the Guardian having to destroy its hard drives. The Guardian‘s Ukraine coverage has also been dreadful and has amounted to cheering on neo-Nazis tearing the country apart and demonizing one side in a civil war.

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Unfortunately for Harding, my final review of The Snowden Files is negative, and concurs with the review offered by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. I intend to submit my review of The Snowden Files to the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, although I am happy for it to stay exclusively available through The clubof.info Blog where it currently resides. Do not think all my writing is negative in orientation. I am very optimistic about the future. The world is undergoing an explosion of change that often results in ugly behavior by the world’s dominant government in Washington, but I believe the tides of liberty are destined to prevail.

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That is the argument of my 2013 Catalyst book of techno-liberation, and the arguments I pronounce in that book are still at the heart of everything I write. Expect more.


By Harry J. Bentham

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The amphitheater of national politics belies hegemony

posted by Harry J. Bentham

On ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye.

Antoine de Saint Exupéry


Even as the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program take place, threats are still issued by American leaders against Iran. Britain, of course, would be expected to stand by these threats and tag along in any such hypothetical war.

Legally, these threats of war against Iran are a form of aggression even without the US acting on them. The threat of force against a country is prohibited by the United Nations Charter. Unfortunately, US and UK policy towards geopolitical rival powers is often marred by arrogance. We deal with regimes as if our own are flawless, when in fact our political systems and societies are in a state of crisis.

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Politicians and journalists talk of “authoritarian” regimes as being paranoid and repressive when our own governments are far more so, exposed by Edward Snowden’s disclosures. As I discovered in my review of The Snowden Files (2014) at The clubof.info Blog, “The Snowden Files and a chopping block”, the media likes to pick on foreign governments and portray them as tyrannical, in spite of all the evidence of our own governments being tyrannical. In The Snowden Files, Luke Harding made an amazing rhetorical display, using the mere similarity of Russian surveillance to US surveillance to boost his case against Vladimir Putin while ignoring the fact that it is the US regime that is supposed to be on trial in his book. Even when the US government is committing the most crimes, anti-Russian journalists prefer to focus on Russia’s mere similarity to the US as the basis for discrediting Russia’s regime and ignoring the faults of America’s regime.

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My conclusion is rather different from Harding. In my view, US foreign policy was already losing all credibility due to the illegitimate war on terror, torture and US-led regime changes around the world. The 2013 discovery that the US has the most excessive machinery of repression and monitoring directed against its own people of all regimes in the world showed that the real picture was even worse. I feel that there is a grave injustice at the heart of US society. The images of torture of foreigners in American military-controlled prisons, and the images of protesters being arrested and beaten by police, are not unrelated disparate incidents but the changing face of the American regime from a flawed democracy to something much uglier. The American people are aware that their government is increasingly militarizing the streets and turning its weapons against them, hence the increased appetite for violent protest. While the US government condemns regimes it accuses of shooting their own people, its armed police regularly fire at unarmed Americans.

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The ageing and deterioration of democracy in Britain also cannot be understood without acknowledging the politics of the US. If we are simply an extension of the US superpower, culturally and socially, then the authoritarian policies afflicting our country are ultimately the result of a trend that began in the US. By extension, political change in Britain must begin in the United States. The United States is today’s Rome, the hub of the governing elite of the world. No challenge can really be made against global politics unless it takes place first in the United States. It is for this reason that British people should be more interested in the outcomes of US politics than the amphitheater of their own national politics.

This general election we just had in the UK is of little meaning, really, and is simply a coronation of vassals who are part of the American-led policy elite of today’s cultural and economic empire.

I may be due to publish a new op-ed with Press TV, and will tweet a link to it once it is up. Follow my Twitter feed to catch it.


By Harry J. Bentham

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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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