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How The British Media Misreported Last Week’s Local Election Results

British media unites to report a Labour electoral defeat which never happened in order to help Blairite plotters overthrow Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Alexander Mercouris

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The level of media bias in Britain now borders on the ridiculous.

Ever since the opposition Labour Party elected the veteran left winger Jeremy Corbyn as its leader last autumn he has faced repeated attempts to oust him organised by a powerful faction inside his party which continues to identify with the policies of the party’s former leader Tony Blair.

The same group plotted against Blair’s successor Gordon Brown and gave only lukewarm support to Brown’s successor Ed Miliband.  Since Corbyn’s election it has however gone into overdrive with no week now passing when there have not been rumours of its plotting to remove him.

Plotting inside a political party is nothing new.  What makes this situation unprecedented is that the British news media is not only openly siding with the plotters but is misreporting electoral outcomes to advance their agenda.

Central to the criticism of Corbyn made by the Blairite plotters is the claim that the Labour party under his leadership is unelectable.  To that end, whenever elections come up the British media now fills up with stories predicting disaster for Labour.  Artificial storms are also conjured up to try to discredit Corbyn in the eyes of the British electorate before those elections in order to make those predictions come true. 

Thus on the eve of a parliamentary bye-election last autumn a furious row was concocted over British bombing in Syria – something Corbyn is known to oppose – whilst in the days leading up to local government elections last week an extraordinary row erupted alleging – falsely – that Corbyn is in sympathy with anti-semites within the Labour party.

In the event actual election results in Britain since Corbyn became Labour’s leader persistently defy the predictions of that his leadership is an electoral disaster for Labour. 

Labour has won the two parliamentary by elections it has fought since Corbyn became leader with increased shares of the vote. In local elections held in England on Thursday Labour defied predictions and held on to nearly all the gains it made when the same elections took place in 2012 at a time when Labour was doing well.  The same day Labour won convincingly three mayoral elections and the assembly elections in Wales.  The most important of the mayoral elections was the one in London, the nation’s capital and by far its biggest city with more than a tenth of its population, where the Labour candidate won a landslide.

Only in Scotland did Labour do badly.  This is because since the 2014 Scottish independence referendum the Scottish left wing vote which used to support Labour has gone over wholesale to the pro-independence SNP.  This is a process that began since before Corbyn became Labour’s leader.  It is universally accepted that Scottish politics have become disconnected from those of the rest of Britain. The fall in the Labour vote is not therefore connected to Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party. 

Over-emphasis on the elections in Scotland draws attention away from the in strictly electoral terms arguably more important mayoral and assembly elections in London – which Labour won convincingly – even though London’s population is bigger than Scotland’s (8 million to 5 million) and even though at the start of the electoral campaign in London in October it was the Conservatives who were widely expected to win.

Having however decided before Thursday’s elections to run the story of Labour’s electoral disaster in Wales and England, the British media including the BBC and the supposedly left of centre Guardian persisted with the story even when it failed to happen. 

In article after article and news report after news report every part of the British mainstream media has hammered away at a story of an electoral disaster for Labour that was universally predicted but which never happened (for a proper and intelligent discussion of what actually happened in Thursday’s English and Welsh elections see here, here and here).

I hold no brief for Jeremy Corbyn.  I make no prediction about the outcome of the next general election in Britain which is not due until 2020.  Under any leader Labour has an electoral mountain to climb.  Quite possibly Corbyn is not the man to climb it.

I would however say that the claim widely made in the British media that Thursday’s elections were mid-term elections in which Labour as the opposition party ought to have won more support than it did is simply not true. 

The elections were not held mid-term.  They were held just a year after a general election in May 2015 which Labour badly lost.  Labour did in fact improve on its bad showing in the general election last year.  It did so by getting itself back to roughly the level it achieved in 2012 when it was considered to be doing well.

What is however clear is that the entire weight of the British establishment including the media has now been brought to bear against Corbyn so that not only is every part of the British media now united against him but is misreporting electoral news in order to help a faction in his party get rid of him.

This same ruthless approach towards someone like Corbyn who challenges the dominant Atlanticist liberal consensus is used of course elsewhere for example against Donald Trump in the US or Marine Le Pen in France.  It is also now used routinely in Britain in foreign news to misreport events in such places as Ukraine, Syria, Libya and Russia. 

It has however never happened in Britain before that the entire media has united to misreport an election outcome so as to influence the outcome of a factional battle within one of Britain’s political parties.

This is an ominous development that crosses an important line.  To the extent that a reliable, truthful and independent media is necessary for a functioning democracy the conclusion has to be that Britain no longer has one.

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BREAKING: Explosion in Crimea, Russia kills many, injuring dozens, terrorism suspected

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

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“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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10 percent of American F-22 fighter jets damaged by Hurricane Michael

Part of the reason the F-22’s were left in the path of the storm is that they were broken and too expensive to fix or fly.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Note to the wise: When a hurricane comes, move your planes out of the way. Especially your really expensive F-22 fighter planes. After all, those babies are $339 mil apiece. Got the message?

Apparently the US Air Force didn’t get this message. Or, did they find themselves unable to follow the message?

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The Washington Times reported Tuesday that between 17 and 20 of these top-of-the-line fighter jets were damaged, some beyond the point of repair, when Hurricane Michael slammed ashore on Mexico Beach, Florida, not far from the Tyndall Air Force Base in the same state. The Times reports that more than a dozen of the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the extremely fierce storm:

President Trump’s tour Monday of devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael took him close to Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base, where more than a dozen F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the powerful storm.

The pricey fighter jets — some possibly damaged beyond repair — were caught in the widespread destruction that took at least 18 lives, flattened homes, downed trees and buckled roads from Florida to Virginia.

The decision to leave roughly $7.5 billion in aircraft in the path of a hurricane raised eyebrows, including among defense analysts who say the Pentagon’s entire high-tech strategy continues to make its fighter jets vulnerable to weather and other mishaps when they are grounded for repairs.

“This becomes sort of a self-defeating cycle where we have $400 million aircraft that can’t fly precisely because they are $400 million aircraft,” said Dan Grazier, a defense fellow at Project on Government Oversight. “If we were buying simpler aircraft then it would be a whole lot easier for the base commander to get these aircraft up and in working order, at least more of them.”

This is quite a statement. The F-22 is held to be the tip of the American air defense sword. A superb airplane (when it works), it can do things no other plane in the world can do. It boasts a radar profile the size of a marble, making it virtually undetectable by enemy radars. It is highly maneuverable with thrust-vectoring built into its engines.

However, to see a report like this is simply stunning. After all, one would expect that the best military equipment ought to be the most reliable as well. 

It appears that Hurricane Michael figuratively and physically blew the lid off any efforts to conceal a problem with these planes, and indeed with the hyper-technological basis for the US air fighting forcesThe Times continues:

Reports on the number of aircraft damaged ranged from 17 to 22 or about 10 percent of the Air Force’s F-22 fleet of 187.

The Air Force stopped buying F-22s, considered the world’s most advanced fighter jets, in 2012. The aircraft is being replaced by the F-35, another high-tech but slightly less-expensive aircraft.

Later in the tour, at an emergency command center in Georgia, Mr. Trump said the damage to the F-22s couldn’t be avoided because the aircraft were grounded and the storm moved quickly.

“We’re going to have a full report. There was some damage, not nearly as bad as we first heard,” he said when asked about the F-22s, which cost about $339 million each.

“I’m always concerned about cost. I don’t like it,” Mr. Trump said.

Still, the president remains a fan of the high-tech fighter jet.

“The F-22 is one of my all-time favorites. It is the most beautiful fighter jet in the world. One of the best,” he said.

The Air Force managed to fly 33 of the F-22s to safety, but maintenance and repair issues kept 22 of the notoriously finicky aircraft on the ground when the powerful storm hit the base.

About 49 percent of the F-22s are out of action at any given time, according to an Air Force report this year.

This is a stunning statistic. This means that of the 187 planes in existence, 90 of them are not working. At their cost, that means that over thirty billion dollars worth of military equipment is sitting around, broken, just in airplanes alone.

As a point of comparison, the entire Russian military budget for 2017 was $61 billion, with that budget producing hypersonic missiles, superb fighter aircraft and tanks. Russian fighter planes are known for being able to take harsh landing and take-off conditions that would cripple the most modern American flying machines.

It would seem that Hurricane Michael exposed a serious problem with the state of readiness of American armed forces. Thankfully that problem did not arise in combat, but it is no less serious.

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Saudi Arabia trying to squirm free of Khashoggi murder (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 2.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at Saudi Arabia’s possible admission to killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi…accidentally, while they were torturing the man inside the consulate in Istanbul.

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Via Zerohedge

Even before the publication of last night’s Saudi trial balloon hinting that the kingdom would soon acknowledge that the extrajudicial killing of Jamal Khashoggi – the insider-turned dissident journalist who walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week and never walked back out – was the result of a “botched” kidnapping attempt carried out by “rogue killers” (despite reports that the US intelligence community knew that Khashoggi was being “targeted”), two realities had become increasingly clear. One: That the Saudis would avoid responsibility for the killing by pinning it on some unfortunate underling, and two: that there would be few, if any, lasting diplomatic repercussions.

And as more media organizations confirmed reports about Saudi’s plans to spin Khashoggi’s murder as a botched interrogation (we can only imagine what was said in that room to justify the use of such extreme violence), CNN calculated the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh for approximately 15 minutes early Tuesday, following his 12-hour-plus flight to the kingdom.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s meeting with King Salman of Saudi Arabia lasted no more than 15 minutes, CNN estimates based on the time the top US diplomat’s motorcade arrived at the royal court and departed.

The motorcade arrived at the royal court at 11:42 a.m. (4:42 a.m. ET) and left 26 minutes later. There is a fair distance to walk from where the motorcade dropped Pompeo off to where he met the king.

While Trump said on Monday that Pompeo would travel to Turkey “if necessary”, the Saudi’s decision to “come clean” about Khashoggi’s death pretty much rendered Pompeo’s fact-finding mission unnecessary.More important are developments in Turkey, where the joint Saudi-Turkish “investigation” is turning its attention toward the home of the Saudi consul, where a black diplomatic van that departed the Saudi consulate just under two hours after Khashoggi entered was captured on camera disappearing into a garage. Some speculate that this is where the killers finished disposing of Khashoggi’s body. This comes after a “nine-hour” search of the Saudi consulate building that, according to leaks published in Al-Jazeera, turned up “evidence of tampering” by the Saudis. On Tuesday, Turkey’s foreign minister clarified that Saudi had yet to admit its role in Khashoggi’s disappearance and probable death.

Turkish investigators will carry out a search of the Saudi Consul General’s residence on Tuesday as the probe into the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi continues, according to a Turkish diplomatic source.

CCTV footage released to the media from the day the Washington Post writer vanished show movement of vehicles from the consulate building to the Consul General’s residence nearby.

As speculation mounts that the incident could unseat the increasingly authoritarian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (who has already marginalized or incapacitated nearly every threat to his rule), it’s looking more likely that neither the US nor the rest of the Western world will do much to punish the world’s most important oil exporter, which can “weaponize” the oil market seemingly on a whim.

Any punishment for this flagrant violation of human rights will need to come, therefore, from the private sector, which, according to Bloomberg, could sabotage MbS’s grand Vision 2030 plan, which aims to remake the Saudi economy via a flood of foreign direct investment:

The economic strategy of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, known as MBS, is to make investment the main engine of economic growth instead of government spending, but the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi could frustrate these ambitions. Foreign direct investment, a key part of the plan to reinvent Saudi Arabia’s economy, declined sharply in 2017 and is unlikely to return to previous levels, leaving the government’s target for 2020 beyond reach, according to analysis by Bloomberg Economics. Increased policy uncertainty and, after the Khashoggi incident, the risk of reputational damage to foreign companies working in Saudi Arabia won’t help.

 

 

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