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In 2016, Vladimir Putin reaped two of his greatest foreign policy triumphs in quick succession. The United Kingdom voted narrowly to exit the European Union, advancing a longstanding Russian goal of splitting Western allies that have long been united against it. Later that year, the United States voted even more narrowly to elect Donald Trump president.
On Friday evening, the New York Times revealed new detail about Russian involvement in the Brexit vote. The more we learn, the more clearly the pattern of behavior in the two countries becomes similar, and the more suspicious the denials of Putin’s partners grows.
In both countries, the right-wing pro-Russian populists indignantly insist there is no more incriminating information to be found beyond what was known at any given moment, even as the bounds of what is known at any moment continues to expand. In Britain, billionaire businessman Arron Banks financed the Brexit referendum with the largest donation in British history. Initially, he copped to having one meeting with Russian officials. After the Guardian obtained secret documents blowing up this claim, he admitted there were actually three meetings. Now the Times has even more information, and Banks concedes the number of covert meetings has grown to four.
At the secret meetings with Russians, Banks was dangled the prospect of lucrative gold and mining deals. In the course of speaking with the Times, Banks changed his story: “In interviews earlier this week, Mr. Banks initially said he knew nothing about the [mining] project. Then he later said he remembered hearing about it from the investment banker but did not pursue it.”
Well, that sounds innocent.
Banks continues to insist he never actually took up the Russians on the offer of cutting him in on their mining deals at a favorable price. This denial seems extremely hard to credit. For one thing, Banks tweeted at the time that he was buying up gold and mining stocks. For another, the Times adds the crucial detail that his business partner and fellow Brexit supporter, James Mellon, did participate in the sweetheart deal. The mining stocks were sold at a discount, and Mellon’s investment firm, Charlemagne Capital, “was among a restricted number of investors who were allowed to participate.”
Banks’s defense of his behavior to the Times is so absurdly suspicious it almost reads like a winking, dada joke: “The idea that things were dangled as some sort of carrots for me to be involved with the Russians is very far-fetched,” he said. “I wonder what the Russians wanted from me?” What they wanted was perfectly obvious: Banks funded a political referendum in which Russia had a strong interest in passing. Russia could not directly finance the referendum, but Banks could. Therefore, what they would want is for him to use some of the money they were dangling before him to support Brexit, which he did. At this point, it seems virtually certain that Russia did use Banks, perhaps in conjunction with Mellon, as a pass through to covertly finance the Brexit referendum.
Meanwhile, back in the United States, Donald Trump and many members of his inner circle have a long trail of financial ties to Russia. The overt behavior looks remarkably similar. Trump and his cronies refuse to disclose their precise financial connections (by, for instance, following the established norm of a presidential candidate publishing his tax returns.) They continuously lie about the number and nature of their covert contacts with Russian officials, then keep insisting with each new disclosure that there is no more to disclose and the whole question is a witch hunt. Meanwhile, they continue to deliver a policy outcome payoff to Putin.
Yesterday alone, reports have emerged that Trump offered Emmanuel Macron a better deal if France would exit the European Union, refused to rule out accepting Russia’s claim to seized territory from Ukraine, and that his government is studying the possibility of withdrawing troops from Germany. Like Banks’s winking “what could the Russians have wanted from me?” defense, Trump is virtually daring his critics to draw the obvious conclusion.
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With an avg. 1.2M voters per MEP & Britain with 16% of EU GDP and 13% of the EU’s population yet having only 8% (if united) say, whilst holding less than 3% of the various offices within the EU Do note The EUropean Parliament has no ability to make policy and has a Commission of unelected bureaucrats, thus clearly the EU is not even a pretence of being a democracy despite its protestations!Do note that many senior apparatchicks and even elected politicians speak openly of the ‘Post Democratic era’ with no sense of shame or irony and in complete contempt of the so called electorate – yet The EU & many of its vassal States/Regions are all too willing to slaughter people in Sovereign States, to impose The EU’s chosen brand of democracy on them!
Now as President Junker announced in his ‘State of the union’ speech 2017 the aim is to create an EU military force and centralise ever more of the decision making and control!
The imposition of a Government and policies upon its vassal regions such as the peoples of Greece shows just how far from being a democracy the EU is.
Just follow the recent EU display of so called ‘Democracy’:
France and the Netherlands voted against the proposed EU constitution in 2005, only to have those votes ignored.
Ireland voted against ratifying the Lisbon treaty in 2008, but then later under pressure & threats had to change its mind.
Greece for me was the final straw. It became clear in 2015 that it didn’t matter which way the Greek people voted. The birthplace of democracy had become its tomb. That was enough. I was going to vote to leave the EU when the chance came.
No political party of any significance in Britain took active steps to achieve a Referendum – the task was eventually taken by an Indipendent West Midlands MEP Nikki Sinclaire who personally launched and funded the gathering of a petition of 225,000 signatures delivered to Parliament via Downing Street, thus forcing a debate in the House of Commons on an IN/OUT Referendum, which led to David Cameron’s first consequential rebellion.
It was due to winning that debate, officially opposed by every party including Ukip that David Cameron was forced to include a promise of an IN/OUT Referendum in the Tory Manifesto at the next General Election. The rest is history & despite no Parliamentary Party backing the OUT vote & Government spending Millions of Pounds of public money leafletting & promoting ‘Project Fear’ to try to persuade the British people to Remain just as they had at the first Referendum in 1975 – This time their lies and threats were not heeded and in the largest vote in British history Britain voted by a clear majority to Leave.
Nikki Sinclaire’s OUT result left Cameron & his co conspirator Osborne with no option but to resign, sadly some of the other traitors have remained to try to hinder progress to BreXit, aided by their corrupt allies in the EU and \eu funding and bribes!
There will be little or no change in Britain’s economic position, if we leave the EU, using a better negotiated, customised & updated version of the ‘Norway Model’ as a stepping stone to becoming a full member of the Eropean Economic Area, where all will benefit, as we secure trade relations with the EU’s vassal regions, with an EFTA style status and can trade and negotiate independently on the global stage, as members of The Commonwealth and the Anglosphere.
This is of course dependent on a modicum of intelligence on the part of Britain’s politicians and negotiators but it also requires the integrity of Parliament to uphod democracy and the integrity of EU politicuians & apparchicks to act ethically and without their normal vindictive mallice.
I believe Leaving the EU will be turned into something of a rough ride by the ignorant and the corrupt but I have no doubt that in the long run Leaving the EU will prove conclusively to be in the best interests of Britain and our true allies. I also believe that Britain leaving the EU will prove to be the catalyst to great changes within the EU and hopefully its democratisation as without great changes it is indubitably doomed.
Do not overlook the fact that politicians have plotted and schemmed since the 1950s and we have actually been vassals of the EU, when it was still using the aesopian linguistics and calling itself The Common Market in the early 1970s, a name the bureaucrats arbitrarily changed to EUropean Union in the early 1990s as they worked towards their long term goals of an ever closer centrally controlled Political and economic Union with its own anthem, currency, flag and rigid central control by its self appointed bureacrats towards a new Empirate –
It will take many years to rectify the mess our political class got us into and we have no other peacefull means by which to extricate ourselves than to depend on that self same self styled elite, who all too often forget they work for us!
One huge benefit of BreXit will be that we can negotiate with bodies like the WTO, UN, WHO, IMF, CODEX and the like, directly, in our own interest and that of our partners around the world, in both the Commonwealth and the Anglosphere at large; rather than having negotiations and terms imposed by unelected EU bureacrats and their interpretation of the rules handed down, as if they were some great achievement of the EU’s!The greatest change and benefit will be political, as we improve our democracy and self determination, with the ability to deselect and elect our own Government, with an improved Westminster structure, see >Harrogate Agenda<.
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