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BREAKING: Deposed Catalan President Puigdemont intends to stand in new Catalan elections

Spain is perpetually trapped in a morally bankrupt vacuum of ideas in which Rajoy continues to snatch the moral low ground, even while achieving a dirty political victory.

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The fate of Carles Puigdemont continues to become more entangled. The deposed Catalan President has just expressed his desire to participate in the new Catalan elections which Madrid unilaterally scheduled for 21 December, after Spain dissolved the old Catalan Parliament and stripped the autonomous Catalan administration of its powers, including Puigdemont.

Puigdemont stated,

“I am ready to be a candidate… it’s possible to run a campaign from anywhere”.

Carles Puigdemont’s colleagues who led Catalonia in its controversial declaration of independence are currently under arrest on the orders of the Madrid regime. Meanwhile, Puigdemont is currently in Belgium where he plans to fight Spain’s issuing of a European Arrest Warrant against him for the charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement.

Spanish court issues European Arrest Warrant for deposed Catalan President Puigdemont

Because Puigdemont will ostensibly be fighting extradition in Belgian courts during the December elections, it is assumed that he will be standing as a candidate in absentia. Furthermore, this assumes that Spain will allow him to put his name forward on the ballot of elections which will be controlled by Madrid. Chances are that as someone wanted as a traitor by the Spanish regime, he will not be allowed to stand. In this case, voters may have to write in Puigdemont’s name, something that will almost certainly lead Spain to disregard such ballots as “invalid”.

In this sense Puigdemont is correct in saying that if his name is not allowed on the ballot the vote will not be “be neutral, independent, (or) normal”.

Whatever one’s views on Catalan independence or on Puigdemont personally, the fact of the matter is that Spain is facing a crisis of democracy of its own making. While Spain continues to file paperwork in order to officially condemn the 1 October independence referendum in which Catalans voted to form an independent republic, Spain could have just as easily ignored the referendum as one with no legal standing, rather than condemn it as illegal. Such a discrepancy is highly important in this instance.

A referendum without any legal status is essentially a large scale opinion poll. For example, if a majority of Americans took part in a poll asking their opinion on whether Donald Trump should be removed from office and if the majority of those polled said ‘yes’, this would have no official bearing on Trump’s Presidency. However, depending on how transparently the poll was conducted, it would have a great deal of bearing on the collective opinion in Washington.

If Spain was so keen to minimise the results of the referendum, Madrid could have simply minimised the process. Instead, Madrid granted the process a position of extreme attention, one which resulted in an attitude that can be described as state-sanctioned anti-Catalan mania, complete with police brutality against peaceful voters.

This has had the effect of making the vote feel as though it was as important or even more important than even Catalonia’s leaders wanted it to be. Catalonia’s leadership has at all times, been deeply restrained and moderate. They are separatists, but not revolutionaries and have consistently practised and preached pacifism.

Even at this late stage, every time the Catalan independence movement seems to be fizzling out of its own accord, Spain continues to ignite passions with arrests of peaceful Catalan politicians and activists, combined with an official  attitude which is hellbent on adding insult to Catalonia’s injury by treating the independence movement with mockery and explicit legal condemnation, rather than tact and diplomacy.

While some accuse Puigdemont  of being a ‘coward’ for running away from Catalonia and Spain as a whole, it is ultimately Puigdemont who is having the last laugh, morally speaking. Every time Spain is presented with an opportunity to disregard the referendum peacefully, it shoots itself in the foot.

Instead of ignoring the referendum, the regime used police brutality to try and crush it. Instead of passively saying the results have no legal bearing, Madrid took the active step of legally proscribing the vote. Now, instead of quietly dismissing the Catalan government, they seek to arrest and persecute its leaders in what can only be described as an act of political vengeance before deeply politicised courts. According to the World Economic Forum, Spain’s judicial independence ranks lower than Saudi Arabia, India and Kenya.

Carles Puigdemont has been called everything from a coward, to a troublemaker, to an un-inspirational leader, but there is one thing he is importantly not: he is not an extremist. The Rajoy regime in Madrid however, continues to take the most extreme options at its disposal, even when the backing of the wider world meant that Spain had the luxury of taking a passive option.

The fact that Spain seeks vengeance rather than a peaceful restoration of its desired status quo, speaks to the fact that Spain is far more ideologically motivated than the Catalan independence movement. The Catalan independence movement wants democratic discussions and peaceful dialogue. By contrast, Spain wants to ram its power down the collective throat of Catalans in true Francoist fashion.

While some doubted the veracity of Catalan accusations that the Rajoy regime was little more than a “nano-Franco” regime as Pepe Escobar calls it, they are doing everything they can to earn a very repressive, violent and aggressive reputation.

The artist and socio-political philosopher Gilad Atzmon has further developed the theory of Jerusalemite versus Athenian thinking in his book Being In Time. Here, he defines Jerusalemite  thinking as being driven by commandments, blind legalism and a violent belief in revelation. By contrast, Athenian thinking is described as ethical, cognitive and logical. Increasingly, the Spanish regime is crushing the Athenian spirit which is implicit in the peaceful Catalan struggle to first of all voice an opinion and ultimately debate it in a mature and reasoned manner. One can deride the imperfections of the Catalan independence movement, but these are ultimately dwarfed by the rigidity, unjustified violence and blind legalism of a Spanish regime, whose very laws have very little relationship to ethical justice.

While Carles Puigdemont continues to fight for both his personal freedom and his liberty to exercise his democratic opinion, Spain is perpetually trapped in a morally bankrupt vacuum of ideas in which Rajoy continues to snatch the moral low ground, even while achieving a dirty political victory.

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BARR: No collusion by any Americans

Trump never used his powers to interfere with Mueller, and thus had no “corrupt intent” in the matter.

Alex Christoforou

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Attorney General Barr found no one in the Trump campaign colluded with “Russia” to meddle in the 2016 US election.

A devastating blow to Democrats and their mainstream media stenographers.

Trump reacted immediately…

Via RT…

With the full report on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into claims President Donald Trump colluded with Russia about to be released, Attorney General William Barr is giving a press conference about its findings.

Barr maintains the allegation that the Russian government made efforts to interfere in the election through the Internet Research Agency, an alleged Kremlin-control “troll farm”, as well as “hacking efforts” by the Russian intelligence agency GRU.

The bottom line, Barr says, is that Mueller has found Russia tried to interfere in the election, but “no American” helped it.

Barr explained the White House’s interaction with the Mueller report, whether Trump used executive privilege to block any of its contents from release, as well as on how the Justice Department chose which bits of the 400-page paper to redact.

On the matter of obstruction of justice, Barr said he and his deputy Rod Rosenstein have reviewed Mueller’s evidence and “legal theories”, and found that there is no evidence to show Trump tried to disrupt the investigation.

He said Trump never used his powers to interfere with Mueller, and thus had no “corrupt intent” in the matter.

Most of the redactions in the report were made to protect ongoing investigations and personal information of “peripheral third parties”.

Barr said that no-one outside the Justice Department took part in the redacting process or saw the unredacted version, except for the intelligence community, which was given access to parts of it to protect sources.

Trump did not ask to make any changes to Mueller’s report, Barr said.

Trump’s personal counsel was given access to the redacted report before its release.

A number of Trump-affiliated people, as well as Russian nationals, have been indicted, charged or put on trial by Mueller over the course of the past two years, but none for election-related conspiracy. Still, Democrats in Congress as well as numerous establishment media personalities have been insisting that Barr, a Trump pick for AG office, is somehow “spinning” its findings in order to protect and exonerate Trump, and are calling to see the full report as soon as possible.

They have equally condemned Barr’s decision to hold a news conference before the report is release, claiming he is trying to shape the public perception in Trump’s favor.

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Moscow’s Strategy: To Win Everywhere, Every Time

The main feature of Moscow’s approach is to find areas of common interest with its interlocutor and to favor the creation of trade or knowledge exchange.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Important events have occurred in the Middle East and North Africa in recent weeks that underline how the overall political reconfiguration of the region is in full swing. The Shia axis continues its diplomatic relations and, following Rouhani’s meeting in Baghdad, it was the turn of Adil Abdul-Mahdi to be received in Tehran by the highest government and religious authorities. Among the many statements released, two in particular reveal the high level of cooperation between the two countries, as well as demonstrating how the Shia axis is in full bloom, carrying significant prospects for the region. Abdul-Mahdi also reiterated that Iraq will not allow itself to be used as a platform from which to attack Iran: “Iraqi soil will not be allowed to be used by foreign troops to launch any attacks against Iran. The plan is to export electricity and gas for other countries in the region.”

Considering that these two countries were mortal enemies during Saddam Hussein’s time, their rapprochement is quite a (geo)political miracle, owing much of its success to Russia’s involvement in the region. The 4+1 coalition (Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria plus Hezbollah) and the anti-terrorism center in Baghdad came about as a result of Russia’s desire to coordinate all the allied parties in a single front. Russia’s military support of Syria, Iraq and Hezbollah (together with China’s economic support) has allowed Iran to begin to transform the region such that the Shia axis can effectively counteract the destabilizing chaos unleashed by the trio of the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

One of the gaps to be filled in the Shia axis lies in Lebanon, which has long experienced an internal conflict between the many religious and political currents in the country. The decision by Washington to recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel pushed the Lebanese president, Michel Aoun, to make an important symbolic visit to Moscow to meet with President Putin.

Once again, the destabilizing efforts of the Saudis, Israelis and Americans are having the unintended effect of strengthening the Shia axis. It seems that this trio fails to understood how such acts as murdering Khashoggi, using civilian planes to hide behind in order to conduct bombing runs in Syria, recognizing the occupied territories like the Golan Heights – how these produce the opposite effects to the ones desired.

The supply of S-300 systems to Syria after the downing of the Russian reconnaissance plane took place as a result of Tel Aviv failing to think ahead and anticipate how Russia may respond.

What is surprising in Moscow’s actions is the versatility of its diplomacy, from the deployment of the S-300s in Syria, or the bombers in Iran, to the prompt meetings with Netanyahu in Moscow and Mohammad bin Salman at the G20. The ability of the Russian Federation to mediate and be present in almost every conflict on the globe restores to the country the international stature that is indispensable in counterbalancing the belligerence of the United States.

The main feature of Moscow’s approach is to find areas of common interest with its interlocutor and to favor the creation of trade or knowledge exchange. Another military and economic example can be found in a third axis; not the Shia or Saudi-Israeli-US one but the Turkish-Qatari one. In Syria, Erdogan started from positions that were exactly opposite to those of Putin and Assad. But with decisive military action and skilled diplomacy, the creation of the Astana format between Iran, Turkey and Russia made Turkey and Qatar publicly take the defense of Islamist takfiris and criminals in Idlib. Qatar for its part has a two-way connection with Turkey, but it is also in open conflict with the Saudi-Israeli axis, with the prospect of abandoning OPEC within a few weeks. This situation has allowed Moscow to open a series of negotiations with Doha on the topic of LNG, with these two players controlling most of the LNG on the planet. It is evident that also the Turkish-Qatari axis is strongly conditioned by Moscow and by the potential military agreements between Turkey and Russia (sale of S-400) and economic and energy agreements between Moscow and Doha.

America’s actions in the region risks combining the Qatari-Turkish front with the Shia axis, again thanks to Moscow’s skilful diplomatic work. The recent sale of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia, together with the withdrawal from the JCPOA (the Iranian nuclear agreement), has created concern and bewilderment in the region and among Washington’s allies. The act of recognizing the occupied Golan Heights as belonging to Israel has brought together the Arab world as few events have done in recent times. Added to this, Trump’s open complaints about OPEC’s high pricing of oil has forced Riyadh to start wondering out aloud whether to start selling oil in a currency other than the dollar. This rumination was quickly denied, but it had already been aired. Such a decision would have grave implications for the petrodollar and most of the financial and economic power of the United States.

If the Shia axis, with Russian protection, is strengthened throughout the Middle East, the Saudi-Israel-American triad loses momentum and falls apart, as seen in Libya, with Haftar now one step closer in unifying the country thanks to the support of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, France and Russia, with Fayez al-Sarraj now abandoned by the Italians and Americans awaiting his final defeat.

While the globe continues its multipolar transformation, the delicate balancing role played by Russia in the Middle East and North Africa is emphasized. The Venezuelan foreign minister’s recent visit to Syria shows how the front opposed to US imperialist bullying is not confined to the Middle East, with countries in direct or indirect conflict with Washington gathering together under the same protective Sino-Russian umbrella.

Trump’s “America First” policy, coupled with the conviction of American exceptionalism, is driving international relations towards two poles rather than multipolar ones, pushing China, Russia and all other countries opposed to the US to unite in order to collectively resist US diktats.

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Nigel Farage stuns political elite, as Brexit Party and UKIP surge in polls (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 144.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party’s stunning rise in the latest UK polls, which show Tory support splintering and collapsing to new lows. Theresa May’s Brexit debacle has all but destroyed the Conservative party, which is now seeing voters turn to UKIP and The Brexit Party.

Corbyn’s Labour Party is not finding much favor from UK voters either, as anger over how Britain’s two main parties conspired to sell out the country to EU globalists, is now being voiced in various polling data ahead of EU Parliament elections.

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Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk:


The Guardian reports Tories Hit by New Defections and Slump in Opinion Polls as Party Divide Widens.

The bitter fallout from Brexit is threatening to break the Tory party apart, as a Europhile former cabinet minister Stephen Dorrell on Sunday announces he is defecting to the independent MPs’ group Change UK, and a new opinion poll shows Conservative support plummeting to a five-year low as anti-EU parties surge.

The latest defections come as a new Opinium poll for the Observer shows a dramatic fall in Tory support in the past two weeks and a surge for anti-EU parties. The Conservatives have fallen by six percentage points to 29% compared to a fortnight ago. It is their worst position since December 2014. Labour is up one point on 36% while Ukip is up two points on 11%.

Even more alarmingly for the Tories, their prospects for the European elections appear dire. Only 17% of those certain to vote said they would choose the Conservatives in the European poll, while 29% would back Labour, and 25% either Ukip (13%) or Nigel Farage’s new Brexit party (12%).

YouGov Poll

A more recent YouGov Poll looks even worse for the Tories

In the YouGov poll, UKIP and BREX total 29%.

Polls Volatile

Eurointellingence has these thoughts on the polls.

We have noted before that classic opinion polls at a time like this are next to useless. But we found an interesting constituency-level poll, by Electoral Calculus, showing for the first time that Labour would get enough constituency MPs to form a minority government with the support of the SNP. This is a shift from previous such exercises, which predicted a continuation of the status quo with the Tories still in command.

This latest poll, too, is subject to our observation of massively intruding volatility. It says that some of the Tory’s most prominent MPs would be at risk, including Amber Rudd and Iain Duncan-Smith. And we agree with the bottom-line analysis of John Curtice, the pollster, who said the abrupt fall in support for Tories is due entirely to their failure to have delivered Brexit on time.

The Tories are facing two electoral tests in May – local elections on May 2 and European elections on May 23. Early polls are show Nigel Farage’s new Brexit party shooting up, taking votes away from the Tories. If European elections were held, we would expect the Brexit party to come ahead of the Tories. Labour is rock-solid in the polls, but Labour unity is at risk as the pro-referendum supporters want Jeremy Corbyn to put the second referendum on the party’s manifesto.

Tory Labour Talks

The Tory/Labour talks on a compromise have stalled, but are set to continue next week with three working groups: on security, on environmental protection, and on workers’ rights. A separate meeting is scheduled between Philip Hammond and John McDonnell, the chancellor and shadow chancellor. The big outstanding issue is the customs union. Theresa May has not yet moved on this one. We noted David Liddington, the effective deputy prime minister, saying that the minimum outcome of the talks would be an agreed and binding decision-making procedure to flush out all options but one in a series of parliamentary votes.

May’s task is to get at least half of her party on board for a compromise. What makes a deal attractive to the Tories is that May would resign soon afterwards, giving enough time for the Tory conference in October to select a successor before possible elections in early 2020.

This relative alignment of interests is why we would not rule out a deal – either on an agreed joint future relationship, or at least on a method to deliver an outcome.

Customs Union

A customs union, depending on how it is structured, would likely be worse than remaining. The UK would have to abide by all the EU rules and regulations without having any say.

Effectively, it will not be delivering Brexit.

Perhaps May’s deal has a resurrection.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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