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L'Ordre

L'Ordre

Snowden had to act because the government was too slow

posted by Harry J. Bentham

Le vrai Citoyen préfère l’avantage général à son avantage.

The true Citizen prefers everyone’s benefit over his own benefit

Jean-Jacques Rousseau


Oliver Stone may direct a thriller called Snowden, telling the heroic story of the whistleblower. In anticipation of it, I sought to read Luke Harding’s The Snowden Files (2014) – the main source for the film – in hope of producing a good quality review for publication.

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Poster for “Citizenfour”, the award-winning documentary film by Laura Poitras, one of Snowden’s first media contacts

Snowden’s story, and the story of the journalists who took significant risks to aid him, is one that cannot be ignored, especially by the majority of the youth whose formative politics are largely shaped on the Internet. Snowden is recognized to be part of a new political generation fundamentally challenging an unwieldy and rigid state, and possibly the first such challenger to have become a “leader” and a household name. If Snowden’s philosophy and actions reveal anything, it is that modern liberal states have all become too slow and clogged with corruption to make any promises of social change. Barack Obama is an example of that problem. As enlightened as he may be as a man, as a politician he is nothing but a useless, obstructing person to change in America. This was the view of Snowden, and it convinced him that only taking the initiative personally could really shake up the system and force it to reform. This was a stunning success, with Obama only conceding that the debate was “overdue” after the leaks made public the scale of the US government’s indiscriminate surveillance of its citizens.

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Still, the Obama administration continues to do nothing about the crisis facing civil liberties in the US, just as it has continually failed to close Guantanamo Bay as it promised. Obama has also astonishingly gotten the US involved in even more wars than George W. Bush did. America had a chance to move beyond torture, military aggression, and other abuses that its government carried out in the paranoid climate after the 9/11 attacks, yet Obama did nothing. Even the Senate’s torture report was too little too late. Not only was it released after innocent people had already died or been driven basically insane by their treatment at the hands of the US government, but most of the facts about it are still classified to protect US “national security”.

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“National security” has historically been used to defend many horrible things, including war crimes and authoritarianism. However, it is only in recent years that the arguments have been used to justify to censoring the truth on the grounds that truth is harmful in its own right. This is what the argument against revealing the full details of the US government’s torture program amounts to. The idea that the US government should be allowed to shield the public from the truth because it might harm “national security” admits to the fraudulence of the idea of national security itself. National security is supposed to refer to protecting the “nation” – a body of associates usually with a common heritage who have consented together to form a country, but the whole idea can be discredited as Nineteenth Century nonsense. Even if we go by the Nineteenth Century understanding of it, it is clear that hiding the truth from the nation doesn’t create security for the nation at all, but causes the nation to die.

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How can any group of people survive, if information essential to their lives and revealing why their mortal enemies are attacking them is being withheld from them? What the government is doing, by not disclosing the whole truth about torture or surveillance, is blindfolding the nation so its own government can beat it with a stick and whisper lies in its ear about “terrorists”. If a government violates its own constitution and the apparent rights given to the citizens, and then blindfolds the people so they don’t know the scale of the abuse, the government is undermining not just national security but the sovereignty of the people. We must remember that governments are not nations, nor do they have any sovereignty in their own right, so for them to conflate their own security with “national” security is offensive to everyone who elected them.

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By Harry J. Bentham

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The US and NATO are like withering vampires hovering over Europe

posted by Harry J. Bentham

Renoncer à sa liberté, c’est renoncer à sa qualité d’homme.

To renounce liberty is to renounce being a man.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau


A very shrewd analysis at Counterpunch titled “NATO Lies and Provocations” responded to a Der Spiegel article, criticizing NATO top general Breedlove and his assertions of a Russian invasion in Ukraine. I was surprised at how well it confirms the validity of the same argument I made here at the L’Ordre blog, “The US provoked conflict in Europe to restore its “leadership” glory days”.

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Killing people is the only talent that propelled the United States to its “superpower” status, and the US government and military are convinced that they need to kill a lot more people to prevent declining US power and relevance in the world. This is why the US constantly talks about enemies and openly supports the massacre of the people of Ukraine, Yemen and other countries where it sides with savage dictators.

It is also consistent with Immanuel Wallerstein‘s account of US hegemony, which informs my own view on the matter. Wallerstein argues that the United States was the single global superpower – the hegemon – in 1945, being the only power in possession of a nuclear weapon and the premier cultural and ideological master of the world-system. It was also accepted as the guarantor of global security after the Second World War, being the primary power that came out on top of the global conflict. As the traditional European powers were reduced to rubble and rendered unimportant, they became reliant on the American Marshall Plan to reconstruct Europe – be they Germany, France or Britain. They also needed America as a military and economic guarantor against any possible plans of the Soviet Union to turn Western Europe to socialism.

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As stated in the Counterpunch article, Russian government advisers are well aware of the US’s internal problems and its reminiscence about the Second World War, and they know that Russia is only being used as a bogeyman in a US effort to start a new war in Europe with the sole aim to restore the superpower status America enjoyed in 1945 and reverse the rise of the EU.

American power has been in a state of continuous decline since 1945, and it became a “precipitate decline” because of the 2003 Iraq War. The Iraq War divorced the United States from Europe, violating international law, forever damaging the credibility of the international system to prevent aggression, and bypassing the cautions made by European countries against such aggression. The US has been desperately trying to reverse its decline as a world power.

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The US political establishment is in panic about the country’s dwindling “superpower” status. Their armies have failed them in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the experience has rendered them impotent, a sham, an inept parody of the global policemen that the Neoconservatives hoped the country to serve as. America’s supposed destiny to spread democracy throughout the globe has been a sordid, disgusting parade of arrogance and failure that has killed millions of people and only served to inspire revulsion and hatred of the American flag as these false patriots drag it through the soil. As argued in the analysis at Counterpunch, the US’s malevolent and hateful ideology has killed so many people and destroyed so many nations that few regimes other than Nazi Germany can be compared with it.

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Opinions on the “Russian threat” aside, the Europeans are clearly not interested in saving the US status as a superpower, and are ready to accept the US’s resignation as their protector. We don’t want to be cannon fodder so the US can reenact World War 2 and regain its mission as global hegemon. The suggestion of Jean-Claude Juncker to establish a European Army, doing away with the redundant NATO, is a positive move that will allow Europe to aspire to be better than mindless cannon fodder or some nuclear hellscape where America’s vampire imperialists plan to resurrect their power in Europe’s ruins again.

To alert readers, I have published a new feature article at We Are Change, titled “Does the British state fear dissidents more than terrorists?” I encourage my readers to take a look at that feature piece, which goes off my usual script in criticizing the US government and instead looks at some of the disturbing trends in my own country of Britain.

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By Harry J. Bentham

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Saudi Arabia’s trail of foolishness, hypocrisy and mistakes from Syria to Yemen

posted by Harry J. Bentham

Les hommes de guerre sont des fléaux du monde.

Men of war are the scourge of the world.

Guy de Maupassant


The Saudis and their allies are usually a puzzle when it comes to foreign policy. In their reaction to events in Yemen, they just look like bumbling fools.

The cartoon from Sputnik News mocking former Yemeni President Hadi, who is cowering in the Saudi capital Riyadh

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After the Saudis and their allies spent multiple years pushing and pushing earnestly to bring down Bashar al Assad’s regime in Syria, he is still in power and stronger than ever, gaining an increasing advantage over the Saudi-backed insurgents. Even as the Saudis meddled in Syria (and even Iraq and Lebanon, according to some reports on their relationship with ISIS), their own walls have started to fall down on them, with the pro-Saudi government of former president Hadi in Yemen collapsing. In other words, the plan that Saudi Arabia wrote for Iraq, Lebanon and Syria has happened to Yemen and destroyed one of Saudi Arabia’s own friends.

Most amusing is the fact that the Saudis and their ideologues in the Arabic media are convinced that Iran is behind the fall of the Yemeni government and the success of the Houthi Movement’s Ansarullah paramilitary wing, effectively “taking over” Yemen. However, as reported in an analysis at Stratfor, Iran is simply too far away to really have any meaningful involvement in the conflict in Yemen. There is no evidence that Iran has provided any money, training or weapons to any of the parties fighting in Yemen. However, Iran’s alleged disrespect for Yemen’s “sovereignty” (according to Hadi and his Saudi freinds, that is something to be determined by foreign armies and planes rather than the Yemeni people) is argued to be the reason for the violent campaign now being waged against Yemen.

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Saudi Arabia, unlike Iran, has been bombing the factions it disagrees with in Yemen, killing hundreds of civilian bystanders, and has been airdropping weapons to the groups it wants to kill its enemies in the country. In sum, Saudi Arabia wants you to think some kind of invisible, unproven specter of Iranian connections in the sovereign country of Yemen is an “aggression”; lunatics like US Senator John McCain (see his remarks at the Munich Security Conference) and other anti-Iran maniacs also see Iranian influence in Yemen as aggression… but Saudi Arabia’s blatant airstrikes and airdrops of guns into the country are seen as necessary countermeasures to protect Yemen’s “sovereignty” from Iran.

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In reality, Iran has not done anything hostile in Yemen, while Saudi Arabia has committed acts of blatant aggression and is sending weapons to factions in the country.

What is astonishing is that Saudi Arabia and its allies are crazy enough to simultaneously claim to be intervening in countries to keep “legitimate” presidents in power (like Yemen’s Hadi) and intervening in other countries to remove “illegitimate” presidents from power (as in Syria).

Former president Hadi and the so-called Syrian opposition are  not legitimate rulers of anything, but they do have one striking similarity: both are cowering in foreign capitals and suckling on foreign promises, while pretending to rule over their respective countries and denying that their people have rejected them. Cowering in Riyadh is what passes for being a “legitimate” ruler for Yemen in the eyes of Riyadh.

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By Harry J. Bentham

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A pluralistic or secular constitution doesn’t attack a religion, but protects them all

posted by Harry J. Bentham

C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre: c’est de la folie.

It is magnificent, but it is not war; it is madness.

Pierre Bosquet


This blog’s primary focus is religion and politics. Either subject is inherently controversial, but no results are more controversial than when the two are mixed to create their explosive cocktail.

I guess I’m lucky. Few bloggers have such a blatant pretext to professionally stir up controversy.

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Many atheists seek to champion the cause of secularism when they commentate on political matters. While I have no objection to what they do, I find that their actions are a precarious path, given their atheism will be seen as their motive, and so it is easy for those atheists to be accused of hypocrisy in choosing to promote secularism. As I argued in my recent feature article, “Tolerant Christians vis-à-vis Evil Islam?”, individuals motivated by anti-religion are just as religious as individuals motivated by religion. Any position, whether for or against, responding to a religious tradition is a religious position. Any lawmaker who accuses a religious community of being errant or problematic is making a religious value judgment, whether or not the individual is himself a member of a faith tradition.

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US politicians who single out Islam as a threat to America – something certain conservatives like to do – are violating the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution. The purpose of separating religion from politics has never been to keep irrationality or even bloodthirsty fanatics out of politics (indeed, irrational and bloodthirsty nationalism is still the basis of almost all politics, and became even the more so because of the Enlightenment). The only purpose such a separation serves is the protection of religious groups from lawmakers. In other words, the Establishment Clause is all about leaving religious people alone and allowing them to practice peacefully without fear of persecution. This is as it should be. If an atheist lawmaker were to incorporate anti-religion into his political ideology or to propose laws that would outlaw religious activities of any kind, such a move would violate the required separation of church and state.

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In my participation at the Mont Order Club’s discussion panel in February, I stated that I have no religious background, despite the Mont Order’s seemingly religious name and other facets and my premier involvement in publicizing that group. In fact, I have actually written fairly vitriolic “atheist” posts at other publications in my diverse background as a writer on the net. Nevertheless, I also emphasized at the Mont Order that I bear no hostility towards religious groups. If anything, when it comes to religious disagreement and controversy, I bear hostility towards the people who attack and slander religious groups.

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As with the atheists who promote secularism as if it will somehow eradicate religion, there is a similar misunderstanding among religious people – especially the Christian right in the United States – that secularism is about eliminating religion. However, as I have argued, it is about protecting religion.

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The same assessment can be made about terrorism. There is religiously motivated terrorism by religious people, and then there is religiously motivated terrorism by anti-religious people (usually they are against a particular religion, Islam being the usual target of hate and the target of Anders Breivik’s terrorism in Norway). Whether an attack is based on an errant reading of holy scripture or based on a prejudice against a religious community or sect that is believed to be in error, the attack is religiously motivated. Hence, one doesn’t need to be a member of any religion to be a religious fanatic.

Beyond criticizing religious groups and individuals and trying to conflate them with terrorist groups or acts, or misrepresenting secularism as an attack on religion rather than a measure aimed at protecting religion, there is the matter of nationalism. It too, has almost all the dangerous properties of a religious cult. In fact, as I and many antistatists argue, nationalism is the real death cult, and it is right under our noses. Why do people decry the idea of a theocracy, a political system based on one group’s concept of God, but feel it appropriate to obey authority figures who make the prejudiced argument that our geography needs to be defended – – with world-destroying nuclear weapons?

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It is widely accepted now that human beings have inalienable rights and that we are all equal. How is it possible that there could still be cavemen among us who believe that “nations”, based on convoluted arguments about cultural and value differences, are worth dying for? When one looks objectively at all the different kinds of madness and war in the world, it is shortsighted indeed to single out religious extremists as the challenge. We are lied to by terrorist governments, who malign racial and religious minorities and perpetuate the lie of the nation as a way of mobilizing the youth to war. The solution to a false doctrine is the destruction of its idols, hence the destruction of the idols of nationalism is necessary and inevitable. It will become a fact of life as our countries lose the social cohesion they once had and cave in to the forces of social globalization. Furthermore, the major religions in the world aren’t going anywhere, but our false nations are going to go.

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By Harry J. Bentham

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