28 April 2015

France censors kids who are not Charlie

The Blog


The attack on Charlie Hebdo was exploited as an excuse by the French government to crack down on freedom of thought and expression.


In an interview transcript published at Counterpunch, Saïd Bouamama, one of the co-authors of the book Fuck France, described Charlie Hebdo's history of support for US-led aggression in the Middle East. He characterized the publication as being obsessed with justifying imperialism and arrogant ideology responsible for causing wars that have cost the lives of millions of innocent people.

More disturbing, especially to many readers who may have initially favored Charlie Hebdo for apparently expanding the frontiers of freedom of expression, is the extent to which the French government now opposes criticism of Charlie Hebdo. This has led to a staggering form of blatant hypocrisy, in which anyone deviating from an idiotic regime's supposed commitment to "freedom of speech" is going to get censored.

The crackdown on freedom of expression led to police interrogations of children - a moral crime that stoops even lower than attacking journalists or cartoonists. From the interview:
A first consequence was to impose a minute of silence in every school, around the slogan “Je suis Charlie”. Of course, a whole wide range of pupils (not to say too many of them) could not say “Je suis Charlie”, and then they expressed their opinion. They were told that it was a debate and that they could speak up, so they gave their opinion, but when they did then they were summoned to report to the police, some of them are now facing legal proceedings… France considered that not being Charlie implied an apology for terrorism. Eight-year old children were summoned to the police station to be audited for terrorism apology. The first reaction to have if we want to go further in the future, is not to leave these children alone, and to organize solidarity so that this offense against freedom of speech comes to an end, since they say it’s about freedom of speech… These pupils expressed themselves, and instead of getting an educational answer, instead of getting an answer in terms of debate, we get an answer in terms of repression. This is really the first step: when human beings are attacked you have to defend them. In the longer term we have to build popular unity to confront the national unity. Which means that in front of the national unity we could put forward again those who share a same interests. And it is absolutely essential to fight everything that divides the popular classes. What divides them today is an Islamophobia secretely planned and broadcasted from the top.
Such findings indicate that the the vision of nationhood now being adopted by "liberal democratic" regimes like France appears to be about defending constitutional freedom from actual freedom: in essence, defending your freedom to obey government from the anarchy of your own dangerous ideas. One is free under a constitution, but using freedom to subvert that constitution or defy the government and its morals will be demonized as an attack on freedom itself.
Do you have "freedom of speech" only to agree with moral narcissists and dunces lucky enough to own the government and the press - the propaganda machine of "values" - but if you say anything you're not allowed to say, you're called a criminal and taken away to prison?

Is freedom to be cheapened to an idol, the altar upon which the true freedoms of the citizen are sacrificed in defense against the specter of terrorism, and only the freedoms of the rulers and their courtiers in the press (and yes, at Charlie Hebdo) have any value?

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Mont Order takes up new website

The Blog


The Mont Order now has its own website, based at lordre.net, giving the society a new possible means of publishing its members' ideas.

This follows an announcement on 17 April 2015 saying that if the Mont Order approved, the society would obtain this website under its control. The website has now been set up for Mont under the following conditions:
  • The blog will not utilize ads, as this would allow one person to financially benefit from its operation and not be equitable for all involved
  • The blog will not be operated from a specific personal Google account
  • The blog will serve as a hub, with the aim of directing members' traffic to it and then on to other members' blogs
  • Members are encouraged to place a badge indicating membership in the Order and linking to this central website
  • Separately, members should be encouraged to place mutual links to one another's blogs on their own blogs to share traffic
Mont Order members will become "invited contributors" at this shared website.

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24 April 2015

Russian trolls or truth-tellers?

The Blog


Unable to accept that the Internet has given rise to new, alternative media voices, the mainstream media resorts to new lows in smearing bloggers as "trolls" and proponents of "propaganda". Worst of all is the suggestion that everyone criticizing the media's anti-Russian lies is being paid by the Russians.


The Fox-owned (not Kremlin-owned) blog L'Ordre gave the following condemnation of this new narrative designed to salvage the credibility of mainstream media and government statements in the face of challenges emanating on the blogosphere:
Apparently, the solution to the truth and the bloggers who help to convey it against the tide of lies of the mainstream media is some dirty mound of money, and lots of it. Think of that paradox for a moment. On the side of the “dictator” Putin, there are grassroots bloggers all being rejected as “fake” by Western governments and “respected” journalists. Putin is called “plutocratic” by these liars, who came to office powered by corporate donors and who believe their dirty money is the “democratic” way to resist Putin “propaganda” emanating from (what looks like??) genuine, grassroots bloggers telling the truth about Ukraine. I guess that when you have no popular support on the blogosphere, all you can do is fabricate something or use the bullhorns of corporate media, and that’s where the billions of dollars spent on getting America’s message out to the world is going to go – towards countering the “propaganda” of millions of Internet users who are sick and tired of lies being stuffed down their throats and would prefer to examine the facts according to their own interests. 
Read more: http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/lordre/2015/04/russian-propaganda-and-paid-trolls-more-like-the-truth-and-the-blogosphere.html#ixzz3XluZj4N6 
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/lordre/2015/04/russian-propaganda-and-paid-trolls-more-like-the-truth-and-the-blogosphere.html#FTkpIZTYoQ53OYxP.99
The blog makes the observation that a "new McCarthyism" (a logical consequence of the "new Cold War") is motivating politicians and journalists to condemn any blogger opposing their anti-Russian partisanship as somehow paid or manipulated by Vladimir Putin. McCarthyism was a phenomenon during the original Cold War, in which artists and media figures were accused of being the direct agents of Joseph Stalin or later Soviet leaders due to their criticisms of US policy. McCarthyism is viewed by historians as a form of political persecution and censorship at best, and a witch-hunt at worst.

While claims are being made that Russia is winning an "information war", using propaganda, the reality is simply that the Russians are right and the Americans are wrong.

Not only is the US itself supporting foreign rebel groups as it accuses Russia of doing in Ukraine, but it is still waging a war of aggression against five countries. These are listed at the L'Ordre blog as Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, and Iran - the latter being subjected to threats of aggression that are prohibited under international law by the same article outlawing unprovoked military attack on other UN member states.

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The Mont Order's latest evolution

The Blog


The Mont Order, once thought of as a group described only in urban legend, seeks to turn its newest iteration towards a more public and collective form.


The prototype of a new blog that may be collectively controlled by the Mont Order's associates is in the works, on the condition that it obtains some guarantee of participation. Simply titled The Mont Order, a version of the new website is already public via Blogger at lordredelamontagne.blogspot.co.uk. Meanwhile, a recruitment drive to bring a new wave of around fifty new advisers into the Order's lists is ongoing.
If sufficient approval is gained, the new blog may be elevated to be based at the domain name lordre.net (currently the Fox-owned L'Ordre blog of Harry J. Bentham), to serve as the Mont Order's first official website. However, there is also emphasis on a "distributed" form for the Mont Order's online presence.

Such a revision might serve to decrease any potential vulnerabilities such a catastrophic loss of data, hacking, takeover by an authoritarian personality, or other potential threats to the club's dissident purposes. In a post at the L'Ordre blog, the blog's own perceived centrality to the Mont Order is disavowed. Other blogs are encouraged to take up their own role as parts of the Mont Order's online presence or perceived infrastructure, deliberately breaking up the Mont Order's presence to extend its influence:
The similarity between this blog’s name, L’Ordre, and the name of the Mont Order, is purely a coincidence. I had no intention for this blog to be a central part of some kind of “infrastructure” of the Mont Order on the web. If we are to have any online infrastructure, it should be horizontal, distributed in form, with components at all members’ own blogs, social media accounts and websites. I believe control over the fate of this club should not be invested in an individual. The Wave Chronicle‘s own pages express this idea exactly, as Mike created a space dedicated to Mont Order resources at the Wave Chronicle. I am not asking for all our bloggers to make the same commitment (indeed it would look confusing if we all competed to offer the permier resources on the Mont Order), but to at least mention the Mont Order at members’ blogs is useful at contributing to our online infrastructure. 
Read more: http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/lordre/2015/04/lordre-de-la-montagne-a-blogging-societys-ascension.html#ixzz3Xlh7ozV8 
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/lordre/2015/04/lordre-de-la-montagne-a-blogging-societys-ascension.html#4g07Yj9x1vTdIveb.99
One idea advanced by a Mont Order adviser to secure this aim would consist of pinning badges and links at websites and blogs declaring their relationship with the Mont Order, much as other online solidarity networks like "Team Internet" have encouraged.

While much of the group's origins continue to be left a mystery shrouded in urban legend, the Mont Order's most recent form is "an exclusive elite club of writers and networks based in different countries who collaborate to broaden their influence".

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21 April 2015

Yemen War lies exposed

The Blog


Yemen, the Middle East's poorest country, is being reduced to rubble, creating a humanitarian catastrophe as civilians bear the costs of Saudi Arabia's anger after the country's pro-Saudi dictator was chased from the country.


Once again, American money is going towards financing the hideous war crimes of brutal regimes. Writing at his blog Free Association, Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS) analyst Sheldon Richman offered an indictment of US support for Saudi Arabia's illegal war of aggression against the Yemeni people:
The Obama administration is assisting Saudi Arabia in its bombing of Yemen, creating — in concert with the Saudi embargo — a humanitarian catastrophe in the Middle East’s poorest country. Civilians are dying, and what infrastructure the country has is being destroyed.
Calling US Secretary of State John Kerry "a liar and a demagogue", the antistatist slammed the false news reports that have attempted to justify the massacre by cynically vilifying embattled Yemeni tribes and political factions as "agents of Iran".

Iran is used by pro-war politicians in much the same way that the Soviet Union was once used, its name being invoked whenever one needs to justify heavy-handed involvement against nonexistent threats around the world. The Houthis, a popular movement in support of Yemeni sovereignty and stability, are vilified in the media as Iranian agents. However, Richman argues that their only crime in the eyes of the US and Saudis was to drive the pro-American dictatorship from power.

Noting that "U.S. intervention is no innocent mistake", Richman's virtuous assessment of the situation offers a compelling indictment of the US and their Saudi allies as aggressors. The US itself has its own history of aggression in Yemen, which continues to rage on despite the US's cynical rhetoric against alleged Iranian and Russian aggression (in the form of aiding rebels which, strictly, according to international law, is not actually aggression).

Richman's op-ed has also appeared at Counterpunch, while originally being posted to his antistatist blog Free Association and the C4SS website. Richman's anti-war ideas and statements have provoked the indignation of the US conservative blogosphere and professed pro-war "patriots" in the past, much to his enjoyment.

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Global transformation and nostalgia

The Blog


The end of the Cold War didn't bring peace, or the liberal democratic paradise promised by Reagan and Thatcher. Instead it brought ignorance, darkness, and doom. We are living in the "twilight period of democracy itself".


That is the assessment of Tariq Ali, in an op-ed fist published at the London Review of Books and later at Counterpunch. Ali went on to criticize what he termed as "declinism", the idea that America is an empire in terminal decline. This "declinism" has been presented in some depth here in the US coverage at The clubof.info Blog, usually revolving around the theories of hegemony authored by Immanuel Wallerstein about the US rise to nuclear superpower status in Europe in 1945 and its angry decline since those glory days.

Ali sees empires as more "unassailable" than the theorists of US decline will admit, and points out that they are able to take serious setbacks and continue to maintain their disproportionate strength and influence regardless of such developments. Ali argues:
Some of the declinist arguments are simplistic – that, for example, all empires have eventually collapsed. This is of course true, but there are contingent reasons for those collapses, and at the present moment the United States remains unassailable: it exerts its soft power all over the world, including in the heartlands of its economic rivals; its hard power is still dominant, enabling it to occupy countries it sees as its enemies; and its ideological power is still overwhelming in Europe and beyond.
The author, an ardent critic of the 2003 Iraq War, recapped how the US destroyed Iraq, eliminating what was essentially a far more tolerant and progressive society than currently exists in the sectarianism-racked state. He refers to this conduct as the "demodernisation" of Iraq, which aligns with the reality that despite pretending to be committed to the modernity of technology, the US is desperately afraid of any other country harnessing technology and constantly sabotages their efforts. Ali points out that Iran was a necessary ally for the US to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan, and that encroaching on Iran and placing sanctions on Iran made little sense in view of the extent to which the US relied on Iranian political support to create any semblance of stability in the region.

On the art of predicting the future, Ali leans more towards the concept of uncertainty and heightened potential for personal agency by individual activists, much as Immanuel Wallerstein seemed to theorize in Utopistics (1998):
Where are we going to end up at the end of this century? Where is China going to be? Is Western democracy going to flourish? One thing that has become clear over the last decades is that nothing happens unless people want it to happen; and if people want it to happen, they start moving. You would have thought that the Europeans would have learned some lessons from the crash that created this recent recession, and would have acted, but they didn’t: they just put sticking plaster on the wounds and hoped that the blood would be stemmed. So where should we look for a solution? One of the more creative thinkers today is the German sociologist Wolfgang Streeck, who makes it clear that an alternative structure for the European Union is desperately needed and that it will necessitate more democracy at every stage – at a provincial and city level as well as a national and European level. There needs to be a concerted effort to find an alternative to the neoliberal system. We have seen the beginnings of such an attempt in Greece and in Spain, and it could spread.
Ali argues that people in the former East Bloc countries of Europe are nostalgic for the days of the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies, feeling that the sense of community and the effectiveness of social services were both better in that era.

In sum, Ali's analysis is more pessimistic or uncertain than most, concluding "it's a mixed and confused world". However, it deserves to be considered at least as one that stands in contradiction to the views of Immanuel Wallerstein on the decline of US power and the inevitability of a structural transition to an alternative form of world order.

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17 April 2015

The Transhumanist Party in the media

The Blog


The Transhumanist Party is making shockwaves in national media, with a number of headlines directing readers to transhumanism's new platform aiming to influence government policy in the "techno-progressive" direction.


The clubof.info Blog has compiled some favorite tweets and reports in that vein here, to help readers digest the impact of the Transhumanist Party's new platform and encourage you to consider voting the era-changing visionaries of liberty and technology into office.

A poll taken at the Mirror Online resulted in over half the respondents confirming their support for transhumanism and affirming that they consider themselves to be transhumanists, showing that the philosophy has significant potential for popular support among "Netizens".
Alexander Karran is the first UK transhumanist political candidate and will be the candidate for Liverpool Walton. As the UK Transhumanist Party's Amon Twyman said in a blog post on 27 March, "our hope of actually winning this election is – to be frank – infinitesimal". However, the main intention has been to create shockwaves and make people aware of the emergence of political transhumanism in the UK. Given the media reaction from diverse sources catalogued above, that goal certainly seems to be coming to fruition as the conversation on transhumanism and technoprogressive politics grows in the US and the UK.

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Petrodollar system risks US "collapse"

The Blog


The US government's reliance on the petrodollar system for its global superiority risks taking the United States to collapse, a report at Counterpunch details.


Rather than revising this system, the US political elite tends to rely on warmongering and "scapegoating" foreign enemies to blame them for the US currency's own systemic problems, Ben Denby writes in a deep analysis for the independent investigative publication:
The willingness to engage in the politics of scapegoating and blame-shifting in order to maintain positions of economic privilege within an increasingly overt imperial global order has become completely ingrained and normalized in political discourse to the point where the norms of free societies are not only history but so completely neglected in popular discourse as to be almost beyond recollection. In their place is not only a series of propaganda norms that set the meaning of freedom on its head, but also function to facilitate the kind dynamics necessary to maintain the ideological pretexts that what is now really an imperial establishment needs to operate without being revealed as such.
This practice became most apparent after the 9/11 attacks, Denby argued in the article, which appeared recently in Counterpunch's 27-29 March Edition. Arguing that the idea of confronting foreign enemies to fend off economic problems amounts to "hubris" and "hypocrisy", the analysis follows that the aggression of the US government against its own people and foreign powers is likely to become more acute in coming years as it fails to cope with its collapsing position of privilege in the world.

The Counterpunch article continues to reflect on US aggression to conclude that "this endgame or slow-motion downfall of US economic and military power will unfold in ways manifesting this exact same lack of respect for the imperative to maintain a basic harmony between means and outcomes". The result will be that the US government will increasingly curtail freedoms and human rights and attack other countries, continuing these offenses in the very name of spreading freedom and defending countries.

It is worth noting that many establishment journalists and politicians tend to discourage critical assessments of US power on the basis that such assessments amount to "Russian propaganda", even when the critics have no connection to Russia or Vladimir Putin. Such McCarthyism may be a prime example of the "scapegoating" warned of in the Counterpunch report quoted here.

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14 April 2015

NSA claims to end spying are like satire

The Blog


Headlines saying the US National Security Agency (NSA) was going to stop spying on Americans before Snowden's leak sound like something from the Onion satirical paper, a C4SS analyst writes.


In an analysis of the reporting at The Week and the Associated Press, C4SS's Nick Ford wrote:
Most people’s reactions to this is to laugh. The idea that the NSA, an organization all but synonymous with spying on the American people, was going to self-regulate is worth a good chuckle indeed.
Workers lower in the NSA's hierarchy are likely to be more cognizant of the mass surveillance program's ineffectiveness than  higher ranking officials, Ford writes, but are afraid of being punished if they bring their grievances to their superiors. This also matches Edward Snowden's own account of why he chose to disclose the program's details to the public via anti-establishment journalists rather than going via Congressional options or the NSA's own internal system. It also refutes many of the arguments made against Snowden as a traitor by pointing to the "loyalty" of others in the NSA, who are really only held back by fear of punishment rather than sincere support for mass spying abuses.

Ford argues that the NSA's desperate media tactics are laughable and reveal the organization's incompetence and uselessness to the American people:
So here we have an incompetent but incredibly powerful organization saying, “oh yeah we would have stopped spying on everyone if you hadn’t exposed us!” 
Come on NSA, pull the other one.

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Netanyahu's triumph, a vote for war

The Blog


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's election victory on March 17 means a vote for war by the Israeli public, according to US historical social scientist Immanuel Wallerstein.


Netanyahu's election tactics amounted to "pure demagoguery" that reflects badly on Israeli society, Wallerstein wrote in an analysis of the Israeli election on April 1. Specifically, Wallerstein pointed to Netanyahu's immutable opposition to the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and his warnings about a growing Arab turnout in Israeli elections as the tactics used to bring him back into office.

Wallerstein suggests a growing consensus among Israeli security figures that Netanyahu's policies are bad for Israel's security, specifically because Netanyahu has taken US-Israeli relations to historic lows:
Just before the elections, a group of distinguished Israeli security figures issued a statement, saying in effect that Netanyahu’s approach was alienating the United States and that this was desperately bad for Israel’s future as a Jewish state.
A well-deserved comparison is drawn between Israel's current regime and the apartheid regime of South Africa, as Israel is viewed in world opinion as an oppressor:
There has been a worldwide transformation of the perception of Israel as a “victim” to that of Israel as a “persecutor.” This is a nightmare for the Zionist cause in Israel. It can only get worse for Israel. There may even come a point, perhaps still a few years from now, that the United States will no longer be willing to veto resolutions in the U.N. Security Council that are critical of Israel.
Faced with the inevitable collapse of their racist state ideal, Netanyahu and most of the Israeli public who elected him rely on delaying and obstructing the peace process or instigating a new major war with the Palestinians and Israel's neighbors. In Wallerstein's words, "The message from Netanyahu is clear. He prefers the major war, and so do the voters who elected him."

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10 April 2015

Britain's abortive authoritarianism

The Blog


British people are lucky their government is as incompetent and inefficient as it is, because anything less might result in rampant authoritarianism, the dissident website We Are Change explains.


From the article:
In a recent issue that has sparked controversy, civil society group Cage alleged that British security services harass Muslims disproportionately. This practice, the argument goes, contributed to the radicalization of Islamic State terrorist Mohammed Emwazi, more widely known as Jihadi John. Cage’s claims came to many people’s attention in the media when they were condemned by the British government as “reprehensible”. No matter what we may think of the analysis that the jihadist was motivated by state mistreatment of Muslims, the fact the comments provoked such a furious response from the government makes them only more worthy of attention. 
It should be noted that Cage has a history of criticizing indefinite detention, torture and extrajudicial killings, among other state practices in the so-called war on terror. Their profile of Mohammed Emwazi doesn’t defend the jihadist’s actions, or even claim that the security services’ guilt in helping to radicalize him is incontrovertible. Despite this, Cage has been condemned by the government as “apologists” for the Islamic State itself. Coupled with the Charity Commission taking action against Cage, this seems to only confirm that the British government seeks to censor Muslim voices speaking against the security services for the profiling and harassment of Muslims amidst the increasing climate of Islamophobia. 
The most inflammatory words condemning Cage seem to have come from Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, who argued, “We are absolutely clear – the responsibility for acts of terror rests with those who commit them. But a huge burden of responsibility also lies with those who act as apologists for them.” Boris Johnson made similar comments.
The article refuted the idea of national security as archaic and counterproductive and labelled British security forces as illegitimate, asking the scathing questions "What kind of legitimacy can you find in a state that targets all the people it rules over as potential enemies, and cowers behind an iron curtain of secrecy and suspicion against the people? Further, what has the farce of national security become?"

Appealing to readers to consider the Flagless theses, the article rejected national security arguments as lies and argued that geography does not need to be protected, inviting all people to cast off their national identities to embrace the human family.

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Warmongering for US supremacy

The #LOrdre Blog


The US longs to start a world war that will allow it to relive its "glory days" as a superpower, the L'Ordre blog writes at Beliefnet.


The post made reference to Immanuel Wallerstein's theory of US hegemony to explain US actions:
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. 
Read more: http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/lordre/2015/04/the-us-and-nato-are-like-withering-vampires-hovering-over-europe.html#ixzz3WRRvyyGz
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/lordre/2015/04/the-us-and-nato-are-like-withering-vampires-hovering-over-europe.html#7thBY2MDU1ou2A9v.99
The blog was throwing its weight behind another article at Counterpunch, which in turn was quoting at length from a Der Spiegel article to explain the German foreign policy establishment's growing skepticism towards Washington and its NATO alliance (particular scorn being reserved for the NATO military chief General Breedlove) over the Ukraine crisis.

The consensus of all three pieces was that US leaders are beginning to realize that their country's reputation and power have been in continuous decline since 1945, and that their country's role in "rubblizing" and rebuilding Europe was the key to their country becoming a superpower. Realizing that this role is now unacceptable and unjustified because the Second World War is now very old history, the US may be seeking a pretext to destroy Europe again in a new kind of world war, which explains its desperate attempts to lure European countries into conflict with Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

The best strategy to reverse US superpower decline may be to get European countries to sacrifice themselves against Russia, thus destroying their own ability to question American global hegemony again as Germany and France did in the 2003 Iraq War. This would allow the US to return to Europe as a pretentious and arrogant "savior", restoring it to its post-war glory and allowing it to once again declare itself as the arbiter of international law and order and the protector of Europe.

US foreign policy in Europe is based on preventing the emergence of the EU as an independent actor in the international system. Russia is used as a bogeyman to this effect, as the US tries to convince European countries that they are too weak and require American patronage if they are to survive against Russian "aggression".

European countries increasingly demonstrate that they do not share Washington's priorities, as they would prefer a permanent peace in Ukraine rather than a policy of confrontation with Russia. German and EU officials have also made remarks signalling that they are not confident in the NATO alliance and would prefer the establishment of a European army to defend their own interests. Such a move would eject the United States from Europe in disgrace, discrediting it as a military power in Europe and achieving the highest desires of French and German foreign policy thinkers to restore their countries' independence from the US.

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7 April 2015

We are "superempowered individuals"

The Blog


Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS) analyst Kevin Carson argues that the same technologies empowering the modern terrorist to stand up to the US as a superpower are glorious, because they also empower everyday activists and antistatists to transform the world order.


A horizontal and networked alternative society is being formed by personal computing, and the results are fundamentally challenging what it means to organize or govern. As a result, the modern state is in crisis:
So long as the economic and political system are organized around a few concentrated centers of power there’s no getting around their natural tendency to form alliances. But there’s one way to make the “regulatory state” beyond cooptation: make it coextensive with all of us, without any leadership or management claiming to act in our name. And that’s exactly what the horizontal, networked forms of organization enabled by the Internet are doing. 
Several years ago, Tom Coates observed that the combination of networked communications and free, open-source desktop- and browser-based platforms were enabling people to perform informational work (coding, publishing, recording, etc.) of a higher standard at home than they could do at the office with the meetings and interruptions and the unwieldy proprietary firmware they were forced to use. John Robb coined the phrase “superempowered individual” to describe the way that such communications and easily available platforms acted as force multipliers and enabled individuals or small cells to take on enormous, bureaucratic institutions (for example Al Qaeda taking on the United States) in asymmetric warfare). The same general phenomenon is illustrated by what file-sharing “pirates” have done to the music and movie industries, what Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden did to the U.S. security state, and the way the Arab Spring and Syntagma have brought down entire national governments.
Arguably, sinister organizations like al-Qaeda share the same recognition of the emerging stateless media as enlightened organizations such as WikiLeaks, Anonymous or the Mont Order. All recognize an emerging vacuum created by the declining legitimacy of the modern state's sovereignty and the emerging might of transnational consciousness.

The Mont Order, an emerging club of dissident writers who share a passion for technology-powered social change and alternative movements and communities, confirmed in its February 2014 discussion that it sees the examples of whistleblowers and online activists as components in the personal technological empowerment predicted in the transhumanist movement.



This trend towards the "superempowered individuals" whether they choose to manifest as a militant, a whistleblower, an antistatist, or a blogger, is creating significant disorder in the world as politicians struggle to apply their dated models of governance in a bid to maintain the old order of the nation-states. Governments have never been faced with anyone as defiant as the modern citizen, armed with an arsenal of laptops and cellphones, and they are struggling to maintain their image of legitimacy and authority as legions of people emerge to defy them and pursue their visions of alternative community.

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"Iranian nuclear bomb" isn't scary

The Blog


Israeli peace activist and writer Uri Avnery is not afraid of Iran getting its hands on nuclear weapons.


While he acknowledges that his view makes him "abnormal" for an Israeli, Avnery goes into detail on the nature of Iranian society and politics to explain that Iran is not prone to take grave risks in its foreign policy, and a nuclear bomb would not change its behavior. If the Islamic Republic developed atomic weapons comparable to Israel's own, it would never use them to attack Israel because it is aware of Israel's own nuclear weapons.

Iran's grievance against Israel is rooted in the oppression of the Palestinian people, Avnery argues, and is shared by all Muslims. Noting that Iran's grievance with Israel is simply not severe enough for the Islamic Republic to risk its own existence by provoking Israeli nuclear retaliation against its own cities and holy sites, Avnery argued at Counterpunch:
Reality shows us that the leaders of Iran are very sober, very calculating politicians. Cautious merchants in the Iranian bazaar style. They don’t take unnecessary risks. The revolutionary fervor of the early Khomeini days is long past, and even Khomeini would not have dreamt of doing anything so close to national suicide.
Iran is very protective of its own security, and rarely takes risks in its foreign policy. Aside from its rhetoric against Israel's treatment of Palestinians, there are no indications that it feels strongly enough about "annihilating" Israel's Zionist regime that it would endanger itself to achieve such a result. Irradiating Islam's holiest sites in Israel and causing fallout in the Palestinian territories with nuclear weapons would only destroy Palestine's efforts to overcome Israeli oppression, which is the Islamic Revolution's sole aim concerning Israel.

The leadership of Israel is well aware that the specter of a fanatical regime committing "national suicide" to destroy Israel (and Islam's second holiest site which is based in Israel) is absurd. However, the Israeli propaganda campaign against Iran is aimed more at gullible American audiences than Israelis, and has to be viewed in light of the history of Israeli aggression and intolerance towards other countries with any ability to retaliate against its aggression (no matter how rational those countries' leaders are).

Israeli "national security" decisions have traditionally been based less on destroying formative military opponents than limiting other countries' development by sabotaging intellectual and industrial growth, including murdering scientists and moderate politicians. The Israeli leadership cannot separate its legitimate sense of "security" from its sense of impunity when it knows that it is guilty of aggression and horrendous war crimes. Israel's history of aggression and striking first, and Iran's comparatively clean record, make Israel much more likely to attack its neighbors with nuclear weapons or compose its policies illogically and suicidally than Iran. Israel, not Iran, is the country on course to "national suicide", and Netanyahu's paranoid comments and warmongering are the clearest signs of this worrying behavior.

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3 April 2015

The throes of transition to a new world

The Blog


The arena of global “welfare” can include access to food and healthcare. [53] However, it is also possible that this arena could be extended to include energy security, water and other resources. Wallerstein notes that ideologues of the present world order will congratulate themselves on the triumphs of technology derived from global production through the international division of labor, but the only triumphs they can cite are unsustainable for them. Structural collapses, pending as a result on the issues already discussed in the previous three targets, will surely eliminate this sole redeeming attribute of the world order. [54] The move for technology-powered emancipation would focus on finding ways of sustaining and keeping global welfare intact. Aspects of the world order that appear calculated to preserve the production process by keeping industrial secrets in the hands of the few are really aimed at keeping the production process maximally profitable. As technology races forward in terms of medicine, energy and agriculture, it will only become a scandal that it is being developed and used for purposes of profit rather than humanitarian needs. Techno-liberation actions could include a moral need to violate patents and security concerns to make more medical and food supplies available to the world poor.

“Stability of religious institutions” is the fifth arena, specified by Immanuel Wallerstein for its social significance. We can note that there is said to be a religious revival, and even a resurgence of reactionary beliefs interfering in popular scientific literacy because of this. [55] In fact, in all ways, the various religious revivals are minor in comparison with the ultimately secular debates that have been handed down to religious institutions from the political sphere, e.g. debates addressing human rights. This proves that religious institutions are actually turning towards the progressive side as a result of social commentary, accommodating such things as the search for equality for women. [56] Although religious institutions could become fortresses for reactionary attitudes, on the whole the nation-state is a worse such fortress that needs to be overcome. There is nothing inherently bad about religious institutions and sects, when it comes to uniting humans and eliminating disparities. As implied in the discussion of the first target, religious sectarian identity is possibly a more preferable vehicle than national identity when it comes to overcoming disparities, because at least religious identity can be transnational. This allows religious identity to be available as a cultural clothing to criticize some of the worst and most oppressive aspects of the world system. Religious symbolism and argument can be justified, if they lead towards egalitarian ends, and religious rhetoric always addresses the problem of inequality more willingly and more effectively than archaic nation-state rhetoric. Taking religious identities and doctrines forward using modern communication technologies, and encouraging tolerance among religions in the face of global political injustice, is the best objective regarding religious institutions for the interests of techno-liberation.

Of the five arenas discussed, the fourth (“welfare”) is the most relevant to techno-liberation. On the discussion of how techno-liberation can enhance welfare immediately, the possibility of hacking the real world rather than the information world opens up. The most important techno-liberation mission is incumbent on the people who are privileged enough, by accident of birth and education, to be involved in high-tech production processes. Their charity for the impoverished section of the world should be undertaken, much as people who value freedom of information can become whistleblowers and leakers if they have access to secretive material. While this often has involved unlawful actions, it has also been repeatedly pointed out that moral obligations can ultimately take priority over the law in some cases. If one has access to a very definite industrial secret or technology that could easily be circulated to improve living in deprived parts of the world, then some part of the blame for sustaining gross inequality rests with such a worker and it ought to be gnawing at him. Although items of technology may not yet be futuristic enough to be “compact” sufficiently to be leaked and reproduced by people as information can be reproduced on the internet, we can still await a window in which they will be sufficiently “compact.” It is possible that certain machines will be able to replicate themselves, or that synthetic life-forms could replicate on their own and so only be “leaked” once. The high likelihood that such powerful technology will be sufficiently “compact” for democratic circulation in the future makes the act of leaking these technologies to weaker nations for moral and ethical reasons a very real option. Such “hard-leak” actions, no doubt, would be met with criticism from the powerful, but the vast majority of the world would praise those actions as heroic just as they have praised the leaking of controversial government data.

In sum, we can posit that techno-liberators can approach the throes of transition to a new world system optimistically if they consider the kind of technological opportunities that exist, and if they support a variety of radical options to empower the people. A large amount of the structural oppression in the world can be delegitimized and overpowered through a basically technological form of progress and liberation. Chiefly, the exploitative productive relations between “primitive” parts of the world and the “advanced” parts of the world, responsible for sustaining the global inequality, could easily be lanced by a generation of hard-leakers. It merely requires the courage to stand up for an equal world that will not be divided between people with advanced technology and people who must endure severely deprived and encumbered lives merely because of a sad accident of birth.

Excerpt from Bentham, H. J., Catalyst: A Techno-Liberation Thesis (2013)

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Credible: MI5 harasses British Muslims

The #LOrdre Blog


The claim by UK human rights group Cage that British security forces unduly harass Muslims and add to the radicalization of possible recruits to the Islamic State group (also called Daesh in its Arabic abbreviation) is "credible".


Commentating on the controversy surrounding Cage's claim last Friday, that was the analysis advanced by the L'Ordre blog based with the Fox-owned Beliefnet website in a post. Numerous UK politicians including Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and London Mayor Boris Johnson have condemned Cage's criticism of state security forces, calling it "reprehensible" and claiming that the security forces "keep us safe", respectively.

The L'Ordre blog mocked Johnson's idea that the security forces keep British citizens safe, noting their inaction on freeing British hostages held by Islamic State militants, and asked if they were too busy keeping politicians like Johnson and British Prime Minister David Cameron "safe" instead:
I have a question about the determination of the security services to “keep us safe”. Why is it that they are so bad at this? MI5’s attempts to stop terrorism have been pathetic, and the British government has made no effort to save any British citizens from Islamic State. Cameron’s government had a chance to negotiate the release of British hostages David Haines and Alan Henning and didn’t do anything. Perhaps it was too busy protecting cowards like David Cameron and Boris Johnson from the repercussions of their foolish and selfish foreign policy. A duty that I demand security forces take less zeal in, in the future. 
Read more: http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/lordre/2015/03/cages-point-about-mi5-terrorizing-muslims-is-credible.html#ixzz3Vn956N00 
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/lordre/2015/03/cages-point-about-mi5-terrorizing-muslims-is-credible.html#CwgDWM4JutXELJ7P.99
The British government has consistently served a sycophantic and apologist role for US foreign policy, including indiscriminate domestic surveillance. According to its critics, the British government is more defensive of US foreign policy than the US government itself, and often takes the US government's ideas about surveillance and counterterrorism further than the US. This was an argument advanced by Edward Snowden concerning the British counterpart to the NSA, GCHQ, which he described as possessing an even more aggressive arm of the global surveillance program.

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