Turkey’s targets in Syria and Iraq: Kurdish “terrorists”?

posted by Harry J. Bentham

La foi que j’aime le mieux, dit Dieu, c’est l’espérance.

The faith that I love the best, says God, is hope.

Charles Péguy

First, I would like to alert readers to my full bibliography page at Beliefnet, with a complete list of all my published books. It can be found at http://lordre.net/books.html.

In global politics, one of the most disturbing developments I have heard recently is the decision by Turkish lawmakers to authorize military action in Iraq and Syria – against either country’s wishes or the most basic principles of international law.

Image via Twitter user: @Meyacan: Kurdish PYD forces in Syria

Everyone has strong reasons to be distrustful of this move by Turkey, quite simply because we know from Turkey’s past actions in Iraq, Syria and on its own territory that Turkey’s foremost concern in both countries has been to undermine the Kurdish struggle for self-determination and gain more leverage over them. We can see this obsession apparent in Turkish media sources, which tend to be only marginally committed to pointing out the menace posed by ISIS, while their main concern continues to be Kurdish supposed “terror”.

Additionally, no significant Turkish effort to defeat ISIS is in evidence, while there is in fact more evidence to show that Turkey supports ISIS despite its cynical move to authorize action in Syria and Iraq, supposedly against ISIS. Note that the Turkish move also includes includes full authorization to attack Syrian troops and Kurds as well, which further discredits it. As exposed in a leaked recording earlier this year, which I wrote about during the 2014 political unrest in Turkey, Turkey has been desperately searching for excuses to invade Kurdish lands in Syria and Iraq: a move that would further push the Kurdish people into oppression by Turkey. In their own words, they wanted to “make up a cause of war”.

How can we be sure the Kurds are Turkey’s targets? Well, look at the previous targets Turkey has had in Iraq, if you want a guess about who they are going to be shooting at in Syria: it’s always the Kurdish fighters who fall victim to Turkey’s attacks. Even more strangely, these are the same Kurdish fighters being backed up by by the EU and the US against ISIS. Turkey cannot be considered a valid part of the anti-ISIS coalition, due to its history of targeting the Kurds rather than assisting them. Demonstrated by its previous actions, it has its own megalomaniacal national goals of conquering the Kurds in Syria and Iraq, and cannot be trusted.

Even US Vice President Biden has pointed out that Turkey recklessly supported ISIS in Northern Syria, which makes Turkey already largely to blame for ISIS massacres against Kurds in the country. There should be no doubt Turkey had anti-Kurdish objectives in mind when supporting extremist groups in Syria, and it also has these same goals in mind as it seeks to “make up an excuse” as Hakan Fidan himself called it, for escalating its aggression against the Kurdish people in Syria and Iraq.

My personal hope is that the Kurdish people are able to fend off any aggression by Turkey against them, and prevail against Turkey’s vetted ISIS puppets, as well as any Turkish armies Erdogan makes the mistake of sending into Syria and Iraq.

On a lighter note, for all who expressed interest in my biggest novel The Traveller and Pandemonium this week, it can be downloaded or bought in print easily right here. Any other titles you might be interested in can be found in my full list.

I am also pleased to announce the Kindle edition will be reduced massively in price next weekend, and I will of course alert readers via Twitter and via the blog when that happens. In the meantime, watch out for my upcoming thorough analysis of Google’s 2013 book The New Digital Age, at h+ Magazine.

By Harry J. Bentham

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Destroying the West in under a minute

posted by Harry J. Bentham

Quamvis enim melius sit benefacere quam nosse.

It is better to do good, than to know.


While I have recently had my analysis of Obama’s Iraq and Syria wars published at Press TV, the main material that has been on my mind recently has been Google’s book, The New Digital Age (2013).

I have thoroughly reviewed Google’s well-known book as a follow-up to my review of Julian Assange’s latest book, When Google Met WikiLeaks – which itself responded to Google’s book. This review was authored for h+ Magazine and, if everything goes according to plan, I hope you will have a chance to read it there soon.

I have considered myself part of the anti-imperialist blogosphere for a long time. In particular, I am very attentive to global anti-imperialist discourse from an outside perspective, such as a Lebanese or Iranian perspective, as reflected in Press TV’s excellent broadcasting. In many ways, this external criticism of imperialism is paralleled in the internal criticisms that we are used to hearing from the global Left. For these critics, “the West” is often openly stated as the target of criticism, but I am getting a little tired of this all too lazy term and the way it is hurled around carelessly in everyday reporting.

Increasingly, I have become critical of this term, which is thrown lazily around by people who claim to love the West and people who claim to hate it alike, without ever really looking into whether the West is even a valid or useful concept at all.

We seem to use this term as a blanket label for everything and everyone more or less allied to the United States in world affairs. The problem with it is that it is an illusion, and it is a self-sustaining one for all who apply it: the self-declared enemies and allies of the West both maintain the illusion by taking stances on it, rather than stopping to wonder whether it exists at all.

The truth is that there is no cultural, linguistic or political uniformity between the allies of the United States (except perhaps between the US and UK, and even that is getting more and more culturally strained as the two countries continue their journey apart.) The cultural rift between the US and EU is as significant, if not more significant, than the rift between the EU and Russia.

As an antistatist (more accurately an anti nation-statist, since I am prepared to accept the necessity of limited, consensual forms of authority, social responsibility and law enforcement in any society) I don’t see any real underlying validity to the idea of being part of a nation-state. Saying one is British or American makes about as much sense to me as saying one is associated with an animal or vegetable of choice. I have already written extensively on how the nation-state has become an unsustainable and paradoxical model for representing people’s political interests accurately, and how this leads to the vast majority of conflicts in the world today.

Given my rejection of the “nation”, I find the concept of the “the West” to be even more spurious and worth challenging. Indeed, I see even less validity in the idea that I belong to a monolithic cultural and political bloc of countries described as the “West”, so I reject the claim that this bloc really exists in any form. At least, “the West” certainly doesn’t exist in any form that is consequential to anyone outside the halls of oligarchy, exclusion, wealth and power.

Like many things, including nationality and race, “the West” is just another arbitrary distinction among human beings. It exists solely as a construct in many people’s minds, and survives for as many minutes as people would like to take it seriously. When you tune in to the news, you will hear the usual ignorant drivel about how the “West” is threatened by this group or that, or some country or another, but the truth is that these threats are of no consequence to you personally. The people who do identify with the West are not of the people. The West is not itself a demos or people. We certainly don’t need to worry about the West being destroyed – much less that any act of destruction aimed at the West might have any truly harmful effect on our lives.

Speaking of destruction, I am giving away my apocalyptic End of Places stories for free this weekend. If you support my work, please take a moment to download the collection now, and as always remember to rate any titles you have downloaded at Amazon. Your downloads and ratings are what keep my work afloat.

Also visit my full bibliography here on Beliefnet

My critique of “the West” is likely to crystallize in some more disciplined form other than blabbering and complaining in future, and I am considering writing an essay to a higher academic standard on this subject in future – possibly for the World Left’s favorite, Monthly Review.

For now, my complaining is not wasted. I will continue to direct readers not into blind rage against the system, but to some of the most humane alternatives to nation-states and other arbitrary and cruel geopolitical constructs that have been presented. So many of these alternatives, including VDP States and the Venus Project, have been posited as more modern alternatives to our outdated national model of politics that there is no reason to regard nation-states and geopolitical alliances as our only choice. Our choices are infinite.

By Harry J. Bentham

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Emaciation, intervention, aggression: Syria

posted by Harry J. Bentham

Au bout d’un ou deux siècles d’exploitation se produit une véritable émaciation du panaroma culturel

With one or two centuries of exploitation comes a thorough emaciation of the cultural landscape.

Frantz Fanon

In considering a new opinion piece for my Press TV column at the start of August, the most obvious subject of concern is the campaign of the US to bomb Iraq and, more controversially, Syria.

I have been surprised at the various works of confusion in the media over the legality of foreign intervention in Iraq and Syria. These are two entirely different cases and don’t carry equal weight. One intervention, Iraq, has the full authorization of the international community behind it and meets the criteria set by international law. Countries are allowed to intervene in violent conflicts, if the Security Council agrees with the intervention and it adheres to Article 51 of the United Nations Charter – which articulates self-defense. In Iraq, this case is very robust, but in Syria it’s a different matter.

Syria is an entirely different case. The kind of calls coming out of the US and UK with regard to Syria have not been very benevolent at all, but are about the same objective of regime change pursued in the 2013 calls for US aggression against Syria. No, US policy towards Syria doesn’t mean bringing peace to Syria. It means intensifying and guiding the armed conflict there towards a particular political outcome that Washington decided on more than three years ago, rather than bringing the immense human suffering there to a swift end as all sane people want.

I have already pointed out the flaws in striking a country’s territory without its permission. Namely, it is AGGRESSION. That’s not exactly a wise thing to do, when the US is trying to convince us that its “leadership” is helping to deter aggressors around the world.

If Russia is the aggressor in Ukraine, as the US claims, the US is something way beyond an aggressor, because it is doing far worse in multiple countries just right now – that’s not even taking into account all the war crimes and brute military occupations perpetrated by the US in the preceding decades. Noam Chomsky has authored a very compelling piece on this US hypocrisy in the Ukrainian context.

The Russians are heavily arming rebels in Ukraine. So what? Right now, the US is loudly proclaiming itself to be doing the same thing in Syria. What this means is that Obama is committing all the crimes he is supposedly rallying the world against. The US should take a lesson from its own favorite book: do unto others as you would do unto yourself (Luke 6:31). If other countries were as prone to “intervention”, the United States would be like the surface of the Moon.

If the US wants to live in a peaceful world, it should stop resorting to violence to solve every problem it encounters. The world is getting less stable every day, and the US is only rocking the boat further by dropping bombs on additional countries. Almost all the serious conflicts in the world right now have been directly provoked by wrong-headed US foreign policies of confrontation, ultimatums, sanctions, and fake “legal” doctrines like Responsibility to Protect (R2P) which try to disguise rampant US aggression behind good intentions too fool naive, uninformed spectators.

The idea of avoiding dangerous interference in foreign cultures is a theme in a lot of science fiction, so I’m giving away one of my story collections for free. Exile is focused on that kind of destructive interference in a more profound sense between different worlds, and the genocidal consequences it can have.

I am searching for as many reviews and star ratings as possible for my popularly downloaded science-fiction stories. If you have downloaded any of them, please leave a star rating on Amazon. And if you haven’t yet read my work yet, try downloading this free Kindle title while the price tag is still gone.

Other titles belonging to the Search Beyond space opera series will be made free in time, as I continue to request your reviews and star ratings for these titles to keep them afloat.

By Harry J. Bentham

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Googling Google: bigotry and hypocrisy found

posted by Harry J. Bentham

Soyons fermes, purs et fidèles ; au bout de nos peines, il y a la plus grande gloire du monde, celle des hommes qui n’ont pas cédé.

Let us be firm, pure and faithful; at the end of our sorrow, there is the greatest glory of the world, that of the men who did not give in.

Charles de Gaulle

I regret that it has taken me so long working on my h+ Magazine review of Google Inc’s best-known futurist book The New Digital Age (2013) – a target of Julian Assange’s ire in his most recent book – but I am confident that my review will be as comprehensive and useful to readers as possible.

While I have no complaint about the main thesis of the book, that the internet is liberating and cannot be dominated in the conventional sense by states, I do object to the apparent value system that Google attempts to advocate in the book. I find it scatty, hypocritical, bigoted, and paradoxical. It goes a long way in explaining why Google sided with the US government against personal liberties and privacy in the NSA spying scandal exposed by Edward Snowden, while pretending to oppose repressive regimes around the world.

Google’s value system in the book is inconsistent and poorly argued, and in many ways it appears to be contrary to the book’s own thesis – swimming against the tide, as it were – by arguing that government attempts to control the internet are futile and “information shy”, and then trying to argue that our peace and security also depend on making the internet obey the law. I was particularly surprised by Google’s poor analysis that portrayed censorship in China and censorship in Germany as two entirely different models, one unacceptable and the other acceptable, simply because one is based on Chinese norms and laws (which are socially unacceptable, according to Google), and the other is based on German norms and laws (socially acceptable). In short, Google tries to make Chinese censorship of Falun Gong appear paranoid and unjustified, but tries to depict Germany’s censorship of Neo-Nazis as necessary and justifiable for social stability. This attempt to portray two entirely identical censorship models as different by using buzzwords smacks of propaganda rather than good scholarship, as do all of the culturally biased allegiances that Google demonstrates in its book.

So, although I’m friendly to Google’s depiction of the internet as liberating because it is hard to police, I don’t find any compelling reason to subscribe to Google’s argument that our lives will depend on the internet being rigidly controlled and at the mercy of the law. Google’s favoritism towards liberal democracies and the value systems that inform their censorship laws, while rejecting other value systems as paranoid, is simply not justifiable and tells us more about Google’s own prejudices than those of any regime.

The good thesis that Google touches on but fails to expand on – namely that the internet is an ungovernable space and this is why it is friendly to dissidents – is something I am very friendly towards. It corresponds with the premises of my own 2013 techno-liberation thesis, CATALYST, which goes even further to theorize that modern states are doomed to failure as a result of the spread of technologies that empower individuals.

I believe that in the coming decades, the technologies available to us all will come to encompass a large variety of unprecedented liberating personal enhancement options in the physical world, as well as the virtual. These will include new reaches into synthetic biology, medicine, personal security, and personal manufacturing like 3-d printing. These technologies, and the people using them, will be impossible for states to effectively fight or contain.

I pray that the future of the virtual world – and then the real world – will be at the mercy of high-tech anarchists rather than states.

By Harry J. Bentham

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