Following the attempted blocking of RT News via financial means in Britain by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) subsidiary, NatWest, in October 2016, when the NatWest management informed its customer, Russia Today (RT), of their decision to cease to offer it banking services, the EU has now stepped into the fray. Given that the British state is the major shareholder in RBS, it must be assumed that the October ‘decision’ came from the British government. RBS/NatWest were forced to back down, however, following some hastily but very well organised pickets and leafletting outside various outlets of the bank in question. These highlighted the political nature of the ‘decision’ clearly aimed at blocking a news organisation widely recognised as the fastest growing and most popular independent and objective media source available to the people of Britain! It is the refusal of RT to peddle the lies of Western imperialism that lay at the heart of this banking ‘decision’ – plus the fact that anyone now wishing to know the truth re the conflicts in Syria or the Ukraine, to name but two, are rapidly turning to RT as the only option for daily truthful news reporting in the English language, bypassing the fake journalism of the imperialist mouthpieces such as CNN, BBC, Fox News, ITN, SKY News etc.
Speaking about the actions of the NatWest Bank at the time, an RT spokeswoman said “this decision is incomprehensible, and without warning. It is, however, not at odds with the measures that have been undertaken in Britain and Europe over the last few years to ostracise, shout down, or downright impede the work of RT.” A spokeswoman for Theresa May however said of that ‘decision’ “it’s a matter for the bank and it’s for them to decide who they offer services to, based on their own risk appetite.” The hypocrisy of this bland statement should be obvious to all as Mrs May is the Prime Minister whose government manages the British state (which still owns a very large portion of RBS!) on behalf of the 0.1%.
Against this background we now look at the latest move by the EU to prepare the peoples of Western Europe for a very costly and destructive war against Russia, China and their allies. The European Parliament in Strasbourg has voted on a non-legislative resolution which calls for the EU to “respond to information warfare by Russia.” The resolution alleges that RT, Sputnik news agency, Rossotrudnichestvo federal agency and the Russkiy Mir (Russian World) are among the most dangerous "tools" of "hostile propaganda" and calls for the establishment of measures to tackle the “Russian propaganda threat”, by means of "investing in awareness raising, education, online and local media." It also calls for stronger cooperation between the EU and NATO "on strategic communication." In that vote, on 23 November 2016, 304 MEPs supported the resolution based on the report ‘EU strategic communication to counteract propaganda against it by third parties’, with 179 voting against it and 208 abstaining. The political atmosphere in all Western countries is growing akin to the McCarthyite hysteria of the USA in the 1950s which sought to blame Russia-controlled communists at work for every problem that America had or could possibly have. Nowadays it is Russian capitalists instead of communists who present a problem for Western imperialists! Of course, any state big enough to stand independent of Western imperialism is a problem to Western imperialism, and war is the time-honoured method for monopoly capitalism to ‘deal’ with ‘problems’ and to escape (if only temporarily) from the crises of overproduction that are built into the system. So it is not surprising or strange that the West, which seems to be suffering most from the current crisis, is dashing from war to war, heading full speed towards a third world war. It is not surprising or strange that they wish to present to their workers the idea that Western imperialism is an innocent victim and that Russia and China, along with a host of other targets (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria and the list goes on), are the real aggressors. This is because the workers within the Western imperialist lands will be expected to fight the wars, to kill and die, to see their homes and families targeted by those who are to be attacked and who will fight back.
If the BBC et al are to be believed, it is not just in the area of politics/economics that our ‘future’ enemies are sly, underhand and trying to destroy our wonderful Western democracy: it is in every sport they play, every book or paper that they publish, and every news item that they report. And yet, if the Western media are compared to those of the ‘cheating’ and ‘deceitful’ countries of the East, the clear and inescapable conclusion any fair-minded person must reach is that it is the Western media which are constantly lying, using false reports and visual tricks to try to hide the aggression, hidden aims and lies of Western politicians and their puppets. RT’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan, in answer to the EU attack said, “freedom of speech apparently became an ‘unnecessary luxury’ in the European Union once alternative voices such as RT and Sputnik have gained popularity!” President Putin pointed out that while "everyone tries to lecture Russia on democracy, European lawmakers themselves resort to a policy of restrictions", adding that if there are differences then "The best approach is an open discussion, in which bright and solid arguments to support one’s point of view should be presented." This, however, is not a tactic likely to be taken up any time soon by Western imperialism whose members in general and the US/UK in particular seem to adhere to the Goebbels principle, namely:
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the state can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the state to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
The EU report not only accuses Russia of waging an ‘information war’ against the West but also places Russian media organisations alongside terrorist groups such as Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL).
The report also claims that "social media and internet trolls" from Russia are "challenging the democratic values" of the West! Anyone with a memory can surely remember the proven revelations over the last few years of US departments spying on the world and its own people via phones, internet, texts etc. (See ‘The Edward Snowden affair,’ Lalkar July/August 2013). In fact, very many European leaders’ private texts and emails have now been revealed to have been many times the target of American state espionage services, yet still the accusation is thrown at Russia. Does anyone really believe that the espionage services of the US and UK don’t have operatives placed within the big Western news corporations? As for Russian media sources being placed on a footing with IS/ISIS/ISIL, let us not forget it was Western imperialism who created, funded and trained the monsters that is IS/ISIS/ISIL!
The EU report, written by Polish member of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group Anna Fotyga, suggests that Moscow provides financial support to opposition parties and organisations in EU member states, causing disintegration within the bloc. In her words Moscow aims to "distort the truth, provoke doubt, divide the EU and its North American partners, paralyze the decision-making process, discredit the EU institutions and incite fear and uncertainty among EU citizens." This again reaches the heights of hypocrisy, since from 1945 until the present day massive funding of ‘opposition parties’ and ‘incitement of fear’ etc. have been carried on throughout Eastern Europe and beyond precisely by “the EU and its North American partners!”
Outside of Strasbourg there are many shady and questionably funded groups and organisations already pushing this new anti-Russia ‘McCarthyism’. These include the British influential right-wing think-tank, the Henry Jackson Society (HJS). HJS have published a report by Andrew Foxall mirroring the line of the EU report proposing a radical clampdown on politicians and other prominent figures sympathetic to Russia by “challenging their credibility,” revealing their “insidious means of funding,” and forcing them to reveal if they receive money for appearing on RT! Marcus Papadopoulos, the editor of Politics First, a UK analytical magazine, has answered the HJS report in the following way: “In essence it says that any person who gives an interview to Russian media – including RT – is an ‘idiot’ and a traitor to Britain, and should be publicly named and shamed. It’s a witch hunt, and 21st-century McCarthyism.”
Annie Machon, a former UK intelligence officer, who is now a regular RT contributor, responded to both the EU and HJS reports revealing that she has personally experienced accusations of being a Kremlin "collaborationist." She said; “I appear on all sorts of different channels, including the BBC, which is state-funded. Most countries have their own publicly funded organisations and media, what is the problem?” Adding “I think there is also a knee-jerk reaction by a UK and US-funded think tank against the election of Donald Trump. The establishment in both countries is worried that he might forge a more cordial relationship with Russia.” And it is that worry, that possibility, at a time when the need for war is so great for US/UK imperialism, that Trump, despite everything else, may “forge a more cordial relationship with Russia” and spoil the work carried out so far of preparing the American people for a world war, that is responsible for the US establishment being so anti-Trump and why his election is seen as such a threat by the US ruling 0.1%
The Henry Jackson Society, incidentally, was founded in 2005 at Cambridge University in the UK, with the backing of prominent US ‘neoconservatives’ such as William Kristol and former CIA chief James Woolsey. It was officially involved with two key UK all-party parliamentary groups, but had to withdraw in 2014, after it refused to disclose its funding sources as required by UK parliamentary transparency rules!
Meanwhile, as regards that EU parliament vote, although the report was accepted, nevertheless a majority either abstained or voted against this demonisation of Russia. French MEP Jean-Luc Schaffhaueser went on record as saying “The EU desperately needs an enemy, be it Russia or any other, that it can blame for any of its own failures,” while Spanish MEP Javier Couso Permuy said "it fosters hysteria against Russia"; and even British MEP James Carver has noted that the report is "worryingly reminiscent of the Cold War."
The Russian Federation Council member on international affairs, Igor Morozov, has made it clear that, while Russia has put no restrictions whatever on foreign journalists (with the obvious exception of some sensitive national security matters), the European lawmakers "should be aware that their unfriendly actions" would cause a "very tough response" from Moscow.
We must at every turn challenge the official US/UK/EU narrative that it is Russia, China and other independent countries that are pushing for war. In fact, the more that news channels like RT are viewed by ordinary people within the imperialist homelands, the harder it is to befuddle our brains with the unceasing noise of anti-Russian hysterical chatter and blind the proletariat with the dust of xenophobia and national hatred.
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