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Britain caves in on denying banking services to RT

Readers of The Duran may recall that back in October the British bank NatWest announced that it was withdrawing banking services to RT’s London branch.  At the time there was widespread speculation – and in the British media a great deal of gloating – that RT’s London branch might be forced to close.

At the time the withdrawal of banking services was announced I predicted it would fail to close RT’s London branch down

I here express my confidence that RT’s British operation will continue, and that this attempt to close it down will fail

I also said that the attempt to close down RT’s London branch looked to me to be connected to the scandal connected to the publication by Wikileaks of the DNC and Podesta emails.  The 25 page report the US intelligence community eventually published about the publication of these emails – which had little to say about them, but which contained an extraordinary rant against RT – seems to confirm that.

I also said back in October that the attempt to silence RT’s London branch by closing down its banking services was completely outrageous

As for RT, not only has the channel and its British staff been treated with a callous and unconscionable  brutality – with many of its workers made cruelly frightened for their next pay cheque – but this banana republic style behaviour, which would be rightly and roundly condemned if it happened anywhere else, betrays an astonishing loss of nerve on the part of the Western establishment.

The deluge of comments which have flooded the media threads in response to the attack on RT show that many of its viewers in Britain and elsewhere reject the label of “propaganda bullhorn” the West is trying to impose on it, and that they have come instead to value RT’s wide international news coverage and its critical point of view.   

Going after RT not only reeks of fear – not just of the channel but of the news it is broadcasting – but calling it a propaganda channel insults the millions of people in the West, including in Britain, who regularly watch the channel by implying that they are too stupid to realise the fact.  Moreover going after RT in this tawdry way – indirectly through its bank accounts whilst hiding behind NatWest – is an implicit admission that there are no actual grounds to close it, and that the claim that it is a propaganda channel not entitled to a broadcasting licence is untrue and a sham.

In truth it is astonishing that the political, security and media establishment of the West is today so frightened of a single television channel, especially a Russian one. 

Not so long ago such a thing would have been considered inconceivable.  During the Cold War the idea that the mighty Western media and the Western establishment would be running scared of a single Russian television channel would have been thought ridiculous.

That more than anything else shows the extent to which the West is losing the plot, and how the actual balance of power in the world, what some old fashioned Russians still like to refer to – far more accurately – as “the correlation of forces”, is changing and has now shifted decisively against the West

With RT’s London office operating full blast, many no doubt have been wondering what happened to the threat to cut off its banking services?  What has happened is that – just as I predicted – the British have been forced into a humiliating climbdown, with NatWest agreeing to keep RT’s bank account operating and open.  Meanwhile, in order to hide its retreat, NatWest has been forced into an abject and humiliating statement

When issues arise, we will always try to work with our customers to seek the best possible outcome, and are pleased we have been able to do so in this case

This tawdry affair has exposed the British establishment at its most paranoid and feeble.  All one can say in its favour is that at least it had the good sense to back off.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.

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