Category Archives: TLD Topics

Shut down, but not out: How can Russia Today triumph over NatWest?

“There is an imperialism that deserves all [honour] and respect — an imperialism of service in the discharge of great duties. But with too many it is the sense of domination and aggrandisement, the glorification of power. The price of peace is eternal vigilance”.

— Leonard H. Courtney, President of the British Statistical Society

The ongoing bickering between Russia’s RT news channel and Royal Bank of Scotland subsidy NatWest has polarised into polemics over freedom of speech on one end, and baseless drivel on the other.

Without explaining itself for weeks, then finally citing ’poor ratings’, NatWest officially severed ties with RT, leaving the channel’s employees and supporters reeling in confusion and anger.

“We only wish the UK government and its crony bank would grow a pair, and just admit that they are trying to shut down RT’s operations in the UK because the United States and VP Joe Biden gave then the order to do so,” The Duran’s Alex Christoforou exclaimed.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also expressed condemnation:

“Actions of this sort […] by the UK media regulator, OFCOM, are part of attempts to oust from the British media space an internationally popular broadcaster that offers an alternative point of view on global affairs”.

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RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan

It is certainly questionable that 4 billion viewers—over 65 times the UK population before triggering Article 50—qualifies as ‘poor ratings’ by OFCOM standards. Notwithstanding concerns of a post-Brexit economy, NatWest chose falling on its sword over keeping the British economy afloat.

This was evidenced by a wave of solidarity voiced by British citizens, businessmen, trade unions and fans of RT, prompting ridicule and even threats to close NatWest accounts.

“Dear #NatWest you should stick 2 #banking & not try 2dictate our politics. I’ve just closed my account in view of you blocking,” one commentator tweeted.

The Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB-ML) even initiated protests in front of NatWest and RBS branches across Birmingham and London, and released a full statement in response.

“The BBC and the corporate media are constantly attempting to prepare British people for a military confrontation with Russia, which would be catastrophic for British workers,” the organisation mentioned.

“We must not allow such blatant bias and propaganda to go unchallenged, [and] fight the interference of NatWest in the affairs of Russia Today which operates legally and fairly in Britain.”

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Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB-ML) cadres protest in front of a Birmingham NatWest Branch [Photo: CPGB-ML]

A London CPGB-ML cadre highlighted during a RUPTLY interview:

“RT is a fantastic source of news that gives a different side of the story from most other media outlets. If you say that you have freedom of speech, democracy, and freedom of the press, it’s important to have a variety of sources […] We saw the same thing happen last year when we saw the Cooperative bank shut down the Palestine Solidarity Campaign accounts.”

Continue reading Shut down, but not out: How can Russia Today triumph over NatWest?

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The Clash of the Titans—How Greece became the target of an epic energy struggle

By Haneul Na’avi

Greek-EU relations parallel the epic battle of Hesiod’s Theogony, in which Kronos (Saturn/ restriction) overthrows his father Uranus (innovation) to become ruler of the Cosmos, and then devours his five children save for Zeus (Jupiter/ expansion) to prevent their future uprising.

Similarly, the trade bloc has done the same by devouring Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Portugal, and Greece in order to cement dominion over Europe, using the global financial crisis as an impetus.

1. “[…] the son from his ambush stretched forth his left hand and […] swiftly lopped off his own father’s members…”

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ struggle with the bureaucratic Cerberus known as the European Troika—the European Commission (EC), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—failed after he betrayed former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, who sought radical fiscal options to rescue Greece’s economy.

Tsipras later signed the 2015 Supplemental Memorandum of Understanding, which claimed to “tackle tax evasion, fraud and strategic defaulters”, but in reality, shackles the country to another immovable €85 billion bailout and imposes a neoliberal, graduated privatisation scheme.

Unsurprisingly, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein was the architect of Greece’s calamity, where in 2001 he feloniously hid Greece’s debts using complex credit default swaps in order to meet Eurozone requirements set by the Maastricht Treaty, but the spell did not last long.

“After the 9/11 attacks, bond yields plunged, resulting in a big loss for Greece because of the formula Goldman had used to compute the country’s debt repayments under the swap. By 2005, Greece owed almost double what it had put into the deal, pushing its off-the-books debt from 2.8 billion euros to 5.1 billion,” Salon reports.

“[…] as interest rates plunged and the swaps turned out to cost far more, Goldman and the other banks refused to let the municipalities refinance without paying hefty fees to terminate the deals.”

Since then, Hellenic ministers have desperately sought options to revitalise its economy whilst battling austerity, but even rational measures to save it have come under fire from Brussels.

In 2008, Greek ministers tried to bail out its national industry Hellenic Shipyards before selling it to a German enterprise, which was later declared an “illegal move under Brussels law”.

EU technocrats imposed “a six million euro upfront penalty on Greece’s cash-strapped government, to be followed by a daily levy of 34,974 euros,” the Express highlighted.

“[…] Greece will be required to pay 34,974 euros to Brussels every day until it has recouped all of the 250 million euros it used to bail out Hellenic Shipyards”.

The country continues to battles a Hydra of problems, and despite slow gains, very few options remain within the EU framework. Fortunately, it is not alone and there is still hope. Continue reading The Clash of the Titans—How Greece became the target of an epic energy struggle

Exit, Stage ‘Left’ — How Brazil’s Worker’s Party invited impeachment

On 31st August, the ‘B’ in BRICS finally succumbed to a 14 year-long battle with opportunism. Following Lower House Speaker Jose Eduardo Cardozo’s annullment of its majority vote, head of Senate Renan Calheiros defiantly continued the impeachment process.

“Following a three day debate, a majority of 61 senators voted definitively to remove Rousseff from the presidency. 20 senators voted against; there were no abstentions,” Sputnik reported.

Responding to the impeachment, Rousseff dejectedly addressed her supporters. “The will of 61 senators has replaced that of 54,5 million people who voted for me,” Rousseff stated.

The bitter irony is that these ’54.5 million Brazilians’—many whom depend on former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s Borsa Familia conditional cash transfer (CCT) programmes—could only watch as Brazilian Democratic Party Movement (PMDB) leader, Michel Temer, was officially sworn in on Sept. 1st.

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Shortly after receiving the news, three countries—Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia—recalled their embassies and denounced the new leadership. “Never will we condone these practices, which recall the darkest hours of our America,” Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa exclaimed.

Unsurprisingly, the United States, the godfather of colour revolutions, hurriedly expressed its solidarity with Temer. “[…] the Brazilian Senate in accordance with Brazil’s constitutional framework has voted to remove President Rousseff from office,” US State Department spokesperson John Kirby mentioned. “We’re confident that we will continue the strong bilateral relationship that exists between our two countries as the two largest democracies and economies in the hemisphere,” he continued in well-crafted Duckspeak.

Latin America’s far-right merely parroted the State Department. “[The] Argentine government expresses its respect for the institutional process [and] its willingness to continue on the path of a real and effective integration in the framework of absolute respect for Human rights, democratic institutions and International Law,” stated the Argentine Foreign Ministry in banal political jargon.

Latin America is no stranger to Western contortions of ‘human rights, democratic institutions, and international law’, where in November 2015, acting Argentinian President Mauricio Macri beta-tested Temer’s privatisation scheme after defeating leftist Daniel Scioli in elections, and like a despotic oncologist, followed up with a cocktail of media blackouts, budget cuts, privatisations and deepening ties to the US State Department to remove as many traces of Kirchnerismo as possible.

As expected, Pro-Rousseff demonstrators flooded the streets across the country. “The greatest act of civil disobedience took place in Sao Paulo, where protesters clashed with police on Avenida Paulista, in the downtown area; in Rio de Janeiro, where activists gathered in Cinelandia square; and in Brasilia, where activists rallied in the Praca dos Tres Poderes square,” RT mentioned.

Despite the public’s legitimate concerns, the Worker’s Party has squandered its ‘revolution’. Nevertheless, hindsight is 20-20, but Brazil’s future stands at 50-50, and the chagrin of Rousseff’s adamant supporters may not be enough reinstate her to power due to an uncomfortable truth: the Worker’s Party and its immature understanding of socialism was its primary shortcoming.

Continue reading Exit, Stage ‘Left’ — How Brazil’s Worker’s Party invited impeachment