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Here’s how The Duran got the British election right, and the MSM got it wrong

Duran writers correctly assessed the strengths and weaknesses of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn long before any one else, and correctly assessed the possibility of Jeremy Corbyn achieving a shock result

Alexander Mercouris

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In the aftermath of the British election the British political class and the British mainstream media commentariat are in shock, and are still struggling to come to terms with an election outcome which just a few weeks ago none of them were predicting and which all of them were denying could happen right up to polling day.

Two of our writers – myself and Adam Garrie – however live in Britain, and because we are not blinded by the globalist prejudices and conventional thinking that blinds the British media and political class, we were able to see what was coming.

The conventional political and media wisdom about Prime Minister Theresa May right up to the election was that she was a strong and commanding figure.  One or two commentators, notably the Guardian’s sketch-writer John Crace, began to sense that this conventional wisdom was wrong.   However no-one amongst the British political class or in the British media was making comments as early as this one, which I made about Theresa May on 15th September 2016, just two months after she became Prime Minister on 11th July 2016

……After a strong start, in which her clear out of many members of David Cameron’s cabinet appeared to promise a return to firm government after the weeks of drift that followed the Brexit vote, she has appeared increasingly unsure. 

Importantly she has failed to chart a clear course towards Brexit, hiding behind the vacuous slogan “Brexit means Brexit” to conceal what is starting to look like an absence of ideas. 

This is not in itself surprising or dangerous.  No one else planned for Brexit before the referendum took place, and it would be asking too much to expect Theresa May to be different.  However given the urgency and the importance of the issue for Britain, a proper and thorough policy review within the government – with the civil service, Britain’s still very strong diplomatic corps, and outside experts and stakeholders (including from the opposition Labour party) brought in to give advice – in order to hammer out an agreed British position, ought to be an urgent priority. 

The British used to excel at that sort of thing, and that of course is what the British form of cabinet government was originally designed for.

In the event Theresa May has given no indication that she has any intention of organising such a review, or that she even understands the need for it.  The result is continuing drift.  In the policy vacuum, and lacking any clear direction from Theresa May, different ministers such as David Davis and Liam Fox are publicly taking different positions, leading to increasing public infighting.

The lack of policy regarding Brexit echoes a general lack of policy – and a growing appearance of continuing drift and of policy being made on the hoof – in all other areas. 

Though it has become increasingly clear since she became Prime Minister that Theresa May and her predecessor David Cameron did not get on with each other, and that she is intent on reversing as many of his policies as she can, so far the only distinctive policy Theresa May has been able to come up with is the frankly reactionary policy of bringing back grammar schools, reversing a process of education reform that has been underway in Britain since the 1960s. 

This policy is profoundly unpopular with the education establishment and with much of her own party, and like almost everything else Theresa May has been doing since she became Prime Minister, has clearly not been properly discussed or thought through.  This caused Theresa May to look isolated and exposed in parliament the face of a powerful attack during Prime Minister’s Questions by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (see political assessments of the exchange here and here)…….

……….at a crucial point in its history Britain has in Theresa May Britain an inexperienced Prime Minister, unsure of her own mind and prone to making mistakes.  Her premiership is still in its first weeks and she still has plenty of time to recover.  However for the moment Theresa May does not look like the ‘safe pair of hands’ that many people (myself included) took her for.

If I assessed Theresa May correctly long before anyone else did, I also rejected the conventional wisdom that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was a vote loser.  Here is what I wrote about him on 9th May 2016 in one of the earliest articles The Duran published

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).

In the case of Corbyn’s electoral successes and general popularity I was not the only person making this point, though one needed to go to what is still wrongly called alternative media to find the truth.  It was also the case – as I said in my 9th May 2016 article – that the mainstream media in Britain was deliberately misreporting Jeremy Corbyn’s electoral successes in order to assist the Blairite plotters who were trying to oust him from his leadership of the Labour Party.

However on the subject of Corbyn’s supposed electability, at some point the mainstream media, the Blairite plotters in the Labour Party, and the British political class generally, started to believe their own lies, which more than anything else was what set them up for their horrified astonishment as the results poured in on election day.

To get a sense of this consider the following articles written by certain so-called ‘friends’ of the Labour Party which appeared in the mainstream media and on Blairite websites during the election campaign itself: this article  in the Guardian by Jonathan Freedland written at the beginning of the election campaign personally blaming Jeremy Corbyn for Labour’s coming electoral disaster, this article written just days before election day itself by the Guardian’s leader writer Anne Perkins assuring readers that claims of a narrowing of the Conservative lead were wrong, this extraordinary article predicting a Labour wipe-out on the very eve of the election by the New Statesman’s arch Blairite editor Jason Cowley, and this pseudo-scientific prediction of the same thing supposedly derived from canvass returns also written on the eve of election by Atul Hatwal for the arch Blairite website Labour Uncut.

Contrast these delusional claims of Labour disaster – which could not have been further from the truth – with this calm and accurate assessment of Labour prospects written for The Duran on 30th May 2017 – a week before the election – by my colleague Adam Garrie, which exactly reproduces what actually happened

The polls which got Brexit and Trump totally wrong are still saying that the Conservatives will win, but only by a small margin. The reality could be very different. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour might capture most of middle and northern England, all of Wales and find allies in Scotland. Theresa May’s Conservatives may end up losing some seats in their own affluent backyard, among those who still cherish the EU as much as they did when they voted against Brexit alongside former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron.

We could be looking at the most unlikely political revolution in British history….since last year, anyway.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of a would be Corbyn victory is that he managed to quietly build an unlikely coalition without sacrificing his principles. Perhaps this is the real lesson of the campaign.

Speaking for myself, I did not predict a Labour victory because the swing needed to achieve one was simply too great to appear to me believable.  In the event the 10% swing Corbyn and Labour did achieve is immense, only just short of that achieved by Clement Attlee in 1945 (after 5 years of successful work as Britain’s deputy Prime Minister in Churchill’s wartime coalition), and greater than the one achieved by Tony Blair in 1997.

Swings of 10% are almost unheard of in British politics, and as the examples of Attlee and Blair show, only happen in extraordinary circumstances.  The only reason this swing did not bring Corbyn to Downing Street is because the Conservative vote also increased, though to a smaller degree but from a significantly higher base.  The Conservative share of the vote however looks as if it may have hit its ceiling, whilst Corbyn and Labour still seem to be well short of theirs, with more votes and seats to win in Scotland and elsewhere.

It is likely that despite Theresa May’s desperate attempts to shore up her position by entering into a crypto-coalition arrangement with the Ulster Unionists that another election will follow shortly.  If so then a landslide win by Corbyn and Labour looks on the cards, perhaps on a greater scale than the one achieved by Blair in 1997.

This is a tidal wave, repudiating the British establishment and their globalist agenda, like nothing Britain has ever experienced before, and very different from the 1997 Blair landslide, which was ultimately a vote for continuity.  It is not a repudiation of the result of the Brexit referendum, but its sequel.  Corbyn embodies it, and is riding the wave.

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Foreign Banks Are Embracing Russia’s Alternative To SWIFT, Moscow Says

Given its status as a major energy exporter, Russia has leverage that could help attract partners to its new SWIFT alternative.

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Via Zerohedge


On Friday, one day after Russia and China pledged to reduce their reliance on the dollar by increasing the amount of bilateral trade conducted in rubles and yuan (a goal toward which much progress has already been made over the past three years), Russia’s Central Bank provided the latest update on Moscow’s alternative to US-dominated international payments network SWIFT.

Moscow started working on the project back in 2014, when international sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea inspired fears that the country’s largest banks would soon be cut off from SWIFT which, though it’s based in Belgium and claims to be politically neutral, is effectively controlled by the US Treasury.

Today, the Russian alternative, known as the System for Transfer of Financial Messages, has attracted a modest amount of support within the Russian business community, with 416 Russian companies having joined as of September, including the Russian Federal Treasury and large state corporations likeGazprom Neft and Rosneft.

And now, eight months after a senior Russian official advised that “our banks are ready to turn off SWIFT,” it appears the system has reached another milestone in its development: It’s ready to take on international partners in the quest to de-dollarize and end the US’s leverage over the international financial system. A Russian official advised that non-residents will begin joining the system “this year,” according to RT.

“Non-residents will start connecting to us this year. People are already turning to us,”said First Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Russia Olga Skorobogatova. Earlier, the official said that by using the alternative payment system foreign firms would be able to do business with sanctioned Russian companies.

Turkey, China, India and others are among the countries that might be interested in a SWIFT alternative, as Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed out in a speech earlier this month, the US’s willingness to blithely sanction countries from Iran to Venezuela and beyond will eventually rebound on the US economy by undermining the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency.

To be sure, the Russians aren’t the only ones building a SWIFT alternative to help avoid US sanctions. Russia and China, along with the European Union are launching an interbank payments network known as the Special Purpose Vehicle to help companies pursue “legitimate business with Iran” in defiance of US sanctions.

Given its status as a major energy exporter, Russia has leverage that could help attract partners to its new SWIFT alternative. For one, much of Europe is dependent on Russian natural gas and oil.

And as Russian trade with other US rivals increases, Moscow’s payments network will look increasingly attractive,particularly if buyers of Russian crude have no other alternatives to pay for their goods.

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US leaving INF will put nuclear non-proliferation at risk & may lead to ‘complete chaos’

The US is pulling out of a nuclear missile pact with Russia. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty requires both countries to eliminate their short and medium-range atomic missiles.

The Duran

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Via RT


If the US ditches the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), it could collapse the entire nuclear non-proliferation system, and bring nuclear war even closer, Russian officials warn.

By ending the INF, Washington risks creating a domino effect which could endanger other landmark deals like the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and collapse the existing non-proliferation mechanism as we know it, senior lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev said on Sunday.

The current iteration of the START treaty, which limits the deployment of all types of nuclear weapons, is due to expire in 2021. Kosachev, who chairs the Parliament’s Upper House Foreign Affairs Committee, warned that such an outcome pits mankind against “complete chaos in terms of nuclear weapons.”

“Now the US Western allies face a choice: either embarking on the same path, possibly leading to new war, or siding with common sense, at least for the sake of their self-preservation instinct.”

His remarks came after US President Donald Trump announced his intentions to “terminate” the INF, citing alleged violations of the deal by Russia.

Moscow has repeatedly denied undermining the treaty, pointing out that Trump has failed to produce any evidence of violations. Moreover, Russian officials insist that the deployment of US-made Mk 41 ground-based universal launching systems in Europe actually violates the agreement since the launchers are capable of firing mid-range cruise missiles.

Leonid Slutsky, who leads the Foreign Affairs Committee in parliament’s lower chamber, argued that Trump’s words are akin to placing “a huge mine under the whole disarmament process on the planet.”

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The deal effectively bans the parties from having and developing short- and mid-range missiles of all types. According to the provisions, the US was obliged to destroy Pershing I and II launcher systems and BGM-109G Gryphon ground-launched cruise missiles. Moscow, meanwhile, pledged to remove the SS-20 and several other types of missiles from its nuclear arsenal.

Pershing missiles stationed in the US Army arsenal. © Hulton Archive / Getty Images ©

By scrapping the historic accord, Washington is trying to fulfill its “dream of a unipolar world,” a source within the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“This decision fits into the US policy of ditching the international agreements which impose equal obligations on it and its partners, and render the ‘exceptionalism’ concept vulnerable.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov denounced Trump’s threats as “blackmail” and said that Washington wants to dismantle the INF because it views the deal as a “problem” on its course for “total domination” in the military sphere.

The issue of nuclear arms treaties is too vital for national and global security to rush into hastily-made “emotional” decisions, the official explained. Russia is expecting to hear more on the US’ plans from Trump’s top security adviser, John Bolton, who is set to hold talks in Moscow tomorrow.

President Trump has been open about unilaterally pulling the US out of various international agreements if he deems them to be damaging to national interests. Earlier this year, Washington withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program. All other signatories to the landmark agreement, including Russia, China, and the EU, decided to stick to the deal, while blasting Trump for leaving.

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Converting Khashoggi into Cash

After two weeks of denying any connection to Khashoggi’s disappearance, Riyadh has admitted that he was killed by Saudi operatives but it wasn’t really on purpose.

Jim Jatras

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Authored by James George Jatras via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The hazard of writing about the Saudis’ absurd gyrations as they seek to avoid blame for the murder of the late, not notably great journalist and Muslim Brotherhood activist Jamal Khashoggi is that by the time a sentence is finished, the landscape may have changed again.

As though right on cue, the narrative has just taken another sharp turn.

After two weeks of denying any connection to Khashoggi’s disappearance, Riyadh has ‘fessed up (sorta) and admitted that he was killed by Saudi operatives but it wasn’t really on purpose:

Y’see, it was kinda’f an ‘accident.’

Oops…

Y’see the guys were arguing, and … uh … a fistfight broke out.

Yeah, that’s it … a ‘fistfight.’

And before you know it poor Jamal had gone all to pieces.

Y’see?

Must’ve been a helluva fistfight.

The figurative digital ink wasn’t even dry on that whopper before American politicos in both parties were calling it out:

  • “To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement,” tweeted Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “First we were told Mr. Khashoggi supposedly left the consulate and there was blanket denial of any Saudi involvement. Now, a fight breaks out and he’s killed in the consulate, all without knowledge of Crown Prince. It’s hard to find this latest ‘explanation‘ as credible.”
  • California Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that the new Saudi explanation is “not credible.” “If Khashoggi was fighting inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, he was fighting for his life with people sent to capture or kill him,” Schiff said. “The kingdom and all involved in this brutal murder must be held accountable, and if the Trump administration will not take the lead, Congress must.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan must think he’s already died and gone to his eternal recreation in the amorous embraces of the dark-eyed houris. The acid test for the viability of Riyadh’s newest transparent lie is whether the Turks actually have, as they claim, live recordings of Khashoggi’s interrogation, torture, murder, and dismemberment (not necessarily in that order) – and if they do, when Erdogan decides it’s the right time to release them.

Erdogan has got the Saudis over a barrel and he’ll squeeze everything he can out of them.

From the beginning, the Khashoggi story wasn’t really about the fate of one man. The Saudis have been getting away with bloody murder, literally, for years. They’re daily slaughtering the civilian population of Yemen with American and British help, with barely a ho-hum from the sensitive consciences always ready to invoke the so-called “responsibility to protect” Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya, Syria, Xinjiang, Rakhine, and so forth.

Where’s the responsibility not to help a crazed bunch of Wahhabist head-choppers kill people?

But now, just one guy meets a grisly end and suddenly it’s the most important homicide since the Lindbergh baby.

What gives?

Is it because Khashoggi was part of the MSM aristocracy, on account of his relationship with the Washington Post?

Was it because of his other, darker, connections? As related by Moon of Alabama: “Khashoggi was a rather shady guy. A ‘journalist’ who was also an operator for Saudi and U.S. intelligence services. He was an early recruit of the Muslim Brotherhood.” This relationship, writes MoA, touches on the interests of pretty much everyone in the region:

“The Ottoman empire ruled over much of the Arab world. The neo-Ottoman wannabe-Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan would like to regain that historic position for Turkey. His main competition in this are the al-Sauds. They have much more money and are strategically aligned with Israel and the United States, while Turkey under Erdogan is more or less isolated. The religious-political element of the competition is represented on one side by the Muslim Brotherhood, ‘democratic’ Islamists to which Erdogan belongs, and the Wahhabi absolutists on the other side.”

With the noose tightening around Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS), the risible fistfight cock-and-bull story is likely to be the best they can come up with. US President Donald Trump’s having offered his “rogue killers” opening suggests he’s willing to play along. Nobody will really be fooled, but MbS will hope he can persuade important people to pretend they are fooled.

That will mean spreading around a lot of cash. The new alchemy of converting Khashoggi dead into financial gain for the living is just one part of an obvious scheme to pull off what Libya’s Muammar Kaddafi managed after the 1988 Lockerbie bombing: offer up some underlings as the fall guys and let the top man evade responsibility. (KARMA ALERT: That didn’t do Kaddafi any good in the long run.)

In the Saudi case the Lockerbie dodge will be harder, as there are already pictures of men at the Istanbul Consulate General identified as close associates of MbS. But they’ll give it the old madrasa try anyway since it’s all they’ve got.Firings and arrests have started and one suspect has already died in a suspicious automobile “accident.” Heads will roll!

Saving MbS’s skin and his succession to the throne of his doddering father may depend on how many of the usual recipients of Saudi – let’s be honest – bribery and influence peddling will find sufficient pecuniary reason to go along. Saudi Arabia’s unofficial motto with respect to the US establishment might as well be: “The green poultice heals all wounds.”

Anyway, that’s been their experience up to now, but it also in part reflects the same arrogance that made MbS think he could continue to get away with anything. (It’s not shooting someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, but it’s close.) Whether spreading cash around will continue to have the same salubrious effect it always has had in the past remains to be seen.

To be sure, Trump may succeed in shaking the Saudi date palm for additional billions for arms sales. That won’t necessarily turn around an image problem that may not have a remedy. But still, count on more cash going to high-price lobbying and image-control shops eager to make obscene money working for their obscene client. Some big American names are dropping are dropping Riyadh in a sudden fit of fastidiousness, but you can bet others will be eager to step into their Guccis, both in the US and in the United Kingdom. (It should never be forgotten how closely linked the US and UK establishments are in the Middle East, and to the Saudis in particular.)

It still might not work though. No matter how much expensive PR lipstick the spinmeisters put on this pig, that won’t make it kissable. It’s still a pig.

Others benefitting from hanging Khashoggi’s death around MbS’s neck are:

  • Qatar (after last year’s invasion scare, there’s no doubt a bit of Schadenfreude and (figurative) champagne corks popping in Doha over MbS’s discomfiture. As one source close to the ruling al-Thani family relates, “The Qataris are stunned speechless at Saudi incompetence!” You just can’t get good help these days).

Among the losers one must count Israel and especially Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. MbS, with his contrived image as the reformer, was the Sunni “beard” he needed to get the US to assemble an “Arab NATO” (as though one NATO weren’t bad enough!) and eliminate Iran for him. It remains to be seen how far that agenda has been set back.

Whether or not MbS survives or is removed – perhaps with extreme prejudice – there’s no doubt Saudi Arabia is the big loser. Question are being asked that should have been asked years ago. As Srdja Trifkovic comments in Chronicles magazine:

“The crown prince’s recklessness in ordering the murder of Khashoggi has demonstrated that he is just a standard despot, a Mafia don with oil presiding over an extended cleptocracy of inbred parasites. The KSA will not be reformed because it is structurally not capable of reform. The regime in Riyadh which stops being a playground of great wealth, protected by a large investment in theocratic excess, would not be ‘Saudi’ any longer. Saudia delenda est.”

The first Saudi state, the Emirate of Diriyah, went belly up in 1818, with the death of head of the house of al-Saud, Abdullah bin Saud – actually, literally with his head hung on a gate in Constantinople by Erdogan’s Ottoman predecessor, Sultan Mahmud II.

The second Saudi state, Emirate of Nejd, likewise folded in 1891.

It’s long past time this third and current abomination joined its antecedents on the ash heap of history.

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