The World According to Ben

09.04.24 - The UK Tories won’t just loose to Labour, they may even lose to the Nigel Farage Party, Reform UK.

#UK

The next UK election can occur no later than January 2025, but by then the Tories might be so unpopular, they might not even come second place.

Consider the 2019 UK election, almost 5 years ago now. It was Boris Johnson, leading with a “Get Brexit Done” marketing package, and Jeremy Corbyn, a greater Satan to all upper-class Englishmen. It was a resounding Tory victory, gaining a clear parliamentary majority, and 44% of the popular vote:

 2019 election Result

Conservative

 

44%

Labour

32%

Liberal Democrats

7%

SNP

4%

 

Consider this victory, with the latest polling from The Times (2-3 April)

Conservative

20%

Labour

43%

Liberal Democrats

8%

Reform UK

16%

Green

8%

 

Given that Reform UK was only polling at 9% at the beginning of the year, I’d say they have a serious possibility of gaining enough momentum to oust the Tories as the UK’s leading conservative party. Nigel Farage, the ideological founder of Reform UK, and its ancestor UKIP had this to say on the matter:

If reform closed down tomorrow the Tories will still only get 120 seats-they're done…

it's over, they've lied to us they're liars and charlatans. They didn't even believe in Brexit…

Boris didn't believe in Brexit and I've come to realize that sadly over this period of time. They're not worthy of our votes- they're going to lose anyway…  

I think there's a real chance that reform could win a very very significant number of seats...

What is the conservative party? I'm told it's a broad Church, well it's a broad church with no religion, it doesn't actually stand for anything so I would like to see this conservative party replaced.

You can watch the full interview by The Telegram here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPYqLlKDMTM&ab_channel=TheTelegraph


This Rightist infighting will continue until one of them consumes the other, until then, expect a Labour government.

https://ygo-assets-websites-editorial-emea.yougov.net/documents/TheTimes_VI_240403_W.pdf

05.04.24 - Artificial Intelligence & War

#Isreal

We are no longer dealing with hypotheticals or science fiction, Artificial Intelligence is being utilised as a weapon of war to kill people with an apathetic level of oversight.

This week, Yuval Abraham, an Israeli citizen from +972 Magazine, in collaboration with Local Call, has put together a damning article that highlights the brutality and callousness of the IDF’s war against the Palestinian people.

Here are the highlights:

·         The artificial intelligence (AI) system known as Lavender is being used to automatically generate kill lists for the Israeli military.

·         The AI system marks all people suspected of being Palestinian militants and generates a list of bombing targets within Gaza.

·         This system was adopted during the early stages of the war, and 37,000 Palestinians were marked for death, with no process in place to double-check the machine's conclusions.

·         This system was adopted despite acknowledgments that at least 10% of the people placed on these target lists were placed in error by the machine.

·         This AI system was used in concurrence with other systems, such as Where’s Daddy? which was designed to signal to the IDF when their people entered their family residence.

·         Due to the expense of guided missiles, larger and more collateral-inducing dumb bombs are extensively used, with the outcome being that entire buildings and their inhabitants have been marked for death because a machine determined that an enemy operative was in the building.

·         The IDF has internally permitted up to 20 collateral kills per enemy combatant destroyed by these raids, and for enemy commanders, 100 civilian deaths are permitted.

Here is a list of statements from the IDF soldiers the journalist interviewed:

At 5 a.m., [the air force] would come and bomb all the houses that we had marked… We took out thousands of people. We didn’t go through them one by one — we put everything into automated systems, and as soon as one of [the marked individuals] was at home, he immediately became a target. We bombed him and his house…

It was very surprising for me that we were asked to bomb a house to kill a ground soldier, whose importance in the fighting was so low… I nicknamed those targets ‘garbage targets.’ Still, I found them more ethical than the targets that we bombed just for ‘deterrence’ — highrises that are evacuated and toppled just to cause destruction.

A human being had to [verify the target] for just a few seconds… At first, we did checks to ensure that the machine didn’t get confused. But at some point we relied on the automatic system, and we only checked that [the target] was a man — that was enough. It doesn’t take a long time to tell if someone has a male or a female voice.

if the [Hamas] target gave [his phone] to his son, his older brother, or just a random man. That person will be bombed in his house with his family. This happened often. These were most of the mistakes caused by Lavender,

Let’s say you calculate [that there is one] Hamas [operative] plus 10 [civilians in the house],… Usually, these 10 will be women and children. So absurdly, it turns out that most of the people you killed were women and children.

It was like that with all the junior targets… The only question was, is it possible to attack the building in terms of collateral damage? Because we usually carried out the attacks with dumb bombs, and that meant literally destroying the whole house on top of its occupants. But even if an attack is averted, you don’t care — you immediately move on to the next target. Because of the system, the targets never end. You have another 36,000 waiting.

At first we attacked almost without considering collateral damage… In practice, you didn’t really count people [in each house that is bombed], because you couldn’t really tell if they’re at home or not. After a week, restrictions on collateral damage began. The number dropped [from 15] to five, which made it really difficult for us to attack, because if the whole family was home, we couldn’t bomb it. Then they raised the number again.

In the bombing of the commander of the Shuja’iya Battalion, we knew that we would kill over 100 civilians… For me, psychologically, it was unusual. Over 100 civilians — it crosses some red line.

Sometimes [the target] was at home earlier, and then at night he went to sleep somewhere else, say underground, and you didn’t know about it,” one of the sources said. “There are times when you double-check the location, and there are times when you just say, ‘Okay, he was in the house in the last few hours, so you can just bomb.

They are using this new technology in Gaza because the Palestinians can be used as Guinea pigs by the IDF and the American military-industrial complex. This technology is a gross violation of the rules of engagement and helps explain why 33,000+ Gazans have been killed in this war so far,  the highest death toll of any 21st-century conflict to date.

Soon, AI will be utilised by all the military-industrial complexes of the world to generate these assassination-bombing lists. War truly lacks humanity.

02.04.24 - The IDF has again bombed Syria, continuing to live up to its reputation

#Israel

Since its foundation Israel has routinely struck outside its borders to kill its enemies. To get some perspective on this latest strike, here is a brief list of Israeli air raids into Arab states:

·         8th September 1972 Wrath of God air raids against Palestinian refugee camps in Syria & Lebanon- up to 200 PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) killed.

·         7th June 1981 Operation Babylon, where the IDF bombed an Iraqi Nuclear research centre in Baghdad- 10 Iraqi and 1 French man killed.

·         1st October 1985 Operation Wooden Leg, where the IDF struck a PLO base in Tunisia, killing 67.

·         25th July 1993 Operation Accountability, where Israeli hammered southern Lebanon with munitions for a week, killing 159, and temporarily displacing 300,000.

·         6th September 2007 Operation Outside the Box, where Israel bombed a nuclear reactor in eastern Syria, killing 10.

·          31st January 2013 airstrike against a munitions convoy going across southern Syria, killing two.

This strike against Iran’s consulate in Damascus, Syria, has killed 7, including Iranian Brigadier General Zahedi. It is an outstanding event comparable in escalatory repercussions to the other air strikes mentioned above. However, at the same time, this event is hardly out of the ordinary. Since 2022, Israel has killed 95 in total during its 23 air strikes into Syria.

This operation looks to be an opportunistic move by the IDF, to kill a high-ranking enemy of Israel. It will lead to heightened tensions, and a “decisive response” from Iran. What this will be, we will likely see in the coming months.

Most (but not all) of these victims were military. However, this does not excuse Israel routine and blatant disregard of international law.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2024/4/1/several-killed-in-israeli-strike-on-iranian-consulate-in-damascus-reports

https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/israel-bombs-iran-embassy-syria-iranian-commanders-among-dead-2024-04-01/

https://www.nytimes.com/1985/10/03/world/tunisia-s-leader-bitter-at-the-us.html

https://www.hrw.org/legacy/reports/1996/Israel.htm

https://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-xpm-2013-jan-30-la-fg-israel-syria-20130131-story.html

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/4/10/israeli-attacks-on-syria-in-the-past-year-a-timeline

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/9/13/israel-strikes-syrias-west-coast-killing-soldiers-and-wounding-six

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-68691102

01.04.24 - Welcome to Ben's website

#launch

The World According to Ben has launched!
More updates to come very soon...
This is not a April Fools Joke

01.04.24 - Erdogan loses local elections to the party of Ataturk

#Turkey

While he remains president, Erdogan's hold on power in Turkey has been undermined by the Republican People's Party (or the CHP) victories in the ballot box. The Republican People's Party has for a century now stood for the secularisation and westernisation of the Turkish nation in an observably Hegelian manner.  

 

As has always been the case, this liberal political drive has been centred around its cities, and by no means do these local elections indicate a guaranteed return to power for the CHP. It is important to keep in mind that the last presidential election was won by Erdogan with a 5-point lead just last year. 

 

Will the Turkish left be able to ride this wave long enough to win the 2028 presidential elections? it is doubtful. To take Erdogan's words, this "is not an end for us but rather a turning point". I agree with him here, the Turkish right is far from defeated, rather, it is merely threatened, and now that it knows it is threatened, it will undoubtedly prepare for the next political encounter, whether that be with a renewed electoral strategy, or perhaps another coup it can counter. 

 

https://www.ft.com/content/0deeaad7-d98f-46a3-aac9-a4e18086e8b1

31.03.24 - Kamala Harris is campaigning for the youth vote

#USA

The democratic party, a big tent party that relies on youth votes but is unwilling to prioritise them in policy.

 

With the presidential race well under way, and with the polls looking neck and neck, vice president Kamala Harris has made a scene this month campaigning on the issue of drugs.  She invited people who were convicted for marijuana related crimes into the Whitehouse to lead a discussion about drug reform. Such a move shouldn’t be read as a genuine attempt by her to fix the scars left by the War on Drugs, but instead as a strategic manoeuvre engineered by the Democratic party PR and campaigning team to get more young people voting for democrats.

 

Other issues that Kamala has put a spotlight on this month include:

·      the issue of abortion, with her visiting an abortion clinic in Minnesota on the 14th,

·      Gaza, calling for a ceasefire in speech in Alabama on the 4th

·      and school shootings, making a speech in Florida at a scene where one happened on the 23rd

 

All this has occurred because the democratic staffers must have done the math and realised for the democrats to win, they’ll need the youngsters to go out and vote for them. While I cannot speak for the zeitgeist of the older, more moderate majority, I can speak for my generation, who think of Kamala as a cop who laughs awkwardly when put under pressure. The exception to this is my liberal Indian friends, who seemed pleased by her because Kamala is half Indian.

 

If the democratic party wants to win the young over this election, they’ll need to do more than campaign, they’ll need to tangibly change their lives for the better through real policy decisions. However, rather than seeing progress on these young people issues, the Biden administration has over seen a retreat and stagnation on the issues of women’s right, gun rights, drug rights and now, Palestinian rights.

 

Yet, given the democrats rely even more on the swing voting moderates to win elections, taking any radical action on these issues will not happen, as doing so would cost them electability with the moderates.  

 

 

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/polls/generic-ballot/

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/polls/president-general/2024/

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/kamala-harris-pushes-envelope-biden-struggles-with-some-democrats-2024-03-29/

29.03.24 - Philippines response to South China Sea Incident

#South-China-Sea

Yesterday, the President of the Philippines made a speech proclaiming that his nation “will not be cowed into silence, submission, or subservience”. This anti-colonial rhetoric is a diplomatic response to non-lethal attacks by the Chinese navy onto Philippines logistic vessels that were headed for a Pilipino military outpost in the disputed territory.

The reason for this dispute is a historical Republic of China’s claim over the South China sea, that the People’s Republic of China inherited after winning the civil war and has since started enforcing in earnest since 2013.

This conflict is unlikely to escalate beyond low stakes, low personal skirmishes that exist somewhere in the gap between international law and the realpolitik of might makes right. Or in other words, if the Philippines cannot maintain an outpost on an island, there right to that island’s territory ceases to de facto exist.

The president could be drawing attention to this for multiple reasons,

 1.He could be vying for greater US military assistance, in order to combat the actual internal threats the Philippines faces.

 2.The internal political situation of the Philippines should be accounted for, as he could be accused of being weak on foreign policy if he wasn’t diplomatically combative against China over these skirmishes.

Thus, I suggest that these anti-colonial remarks are not a signifier of any change to the ongoing dispute, rather an organic outburst of the Philippines interlocked political-military situation regarding the border disputes.

25.03.24 - Armenian Fascist’s attack police station in Yerevan

#NagornoKarabakh

Three gunmen attacked a police station in Armenia’s capital today, with two of them wounding themselves with their own grenades. Reuters has reported that the group associated with the Gunman, Combat Brotherhood (ԱԶԱՏ ՀԱՅԱՍՏԱՆ/Martakan Yeghbayrutyun), has only 50 members, however from my own research the organisation appears to have a much larger support base, considering it has 8.5K followers on Facebook, and 2.41k subscribers on YouTube. Here is their official response to the incident (https://martakan.am/posts/GPVlx2VC8yLQ7G1iKJum). I call them fascists due to their spiritual-ethnonationalist manifesto which has all the tell tale signs of a fascist political project, espousing aims to cleanse the nation to be religiously and ethnically whole, fight internal and external enemies, lead a revolution etc etc.

This event can be read as an outburst of Armenia’s ongoing political instability that has been caused by the Nagorno-Karabakh war, which Armenia lost in 2023 following Azerbaijan’s drone and tank lead invasion of the disputed region.

Whether Armenian society will be able to psychologically come to terms with their defeat, remains an open question given todays news.

24.03.24 - Russia has deadliest Terror attack since 1999

#russia

The Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISIL-K) is a militant Sunni group whose aims is to oust the status quo and usher in an age of Jihad and Caliphate. Khorasan is a large historic and geographic place that encompassed the northern section of the Persian empire (which encompasses much of contemporary Afghanistan). In July 2023 a UN report estimated ISIL-K was a “serious terrorist threat in Afghanistan and the wider region”, with the group having an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 members. This attack killed 135 in Moscow and presents a serious threat to the stability and moral well being of the Russian state and people. One can expect a response comparable to the response the Russian state had to the Chechen 1999 attacks in Moscow that killed 307.

It is important to mention that their remains’ debate on whether the 1999 attacks were an inside job. True or not though, it had the effect of considerably bolstering Vladimir’s Putin’s electoral success in the 2000 Presidential election and justified to many russians the emergency of a military emergency state. One can find a political comparison to how the Americans published laws like the Patriot Act following 911. Considering this latest attack, one can expect the Russian society to bolster its support for the Russian military-civilian state apparatus and Russia can be expected to respond to this attack by coordinating with its Central Asian allies to launch surgical strikes, assassinations and so on. 

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan will likely take on some heat from Russia for not combating this group thoroughly enough within its borders of, however Russia doesn’t have the capacity to repeat past mistakes like 1979, or 2001…..

 

In an interesting rhetorical move, Putin has decided to impart blame for this attack onto the Ukrainians, this is nonsense but those who support Putin already will buy it.

 

I have my suspicions that the CIA is involved with this somehow, but until proof for things come up I will remain silent on such hunches, but when evidence comes up in 12 years I would appreciate the vindication.

Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999), 1989 (2011) and 2253 (2015).

https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/4016440?ln=en&v=pdf#files

This is a joint collaboration between Ben and Jamie.