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20 May, 2019 20:34

EU establishment cries ‘Russia!’ in desperate bid to defeat critics

EU establishment cries ‘Russia!’ in desperate bid to defeat critics

With European Parliament elections looming, the establishment parties and mainstream media are reaching for the playbook of US Democrats and hyping the specter of ‘Russia’ to drive voters away from the rising tide of populism.

One of the most outspoken liberals in the European Parliament, former Belgian PM Guy Verhofstadt, openly accused five populist politicians of being “paid by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin” and plotting to destroy the EU. Challenging Italian Deputy PM Matteo Salvini to a debate on Monday, Verhofstadt also name-checked Hungarian PM Viktor Orban, French opposition politician Marine Le Pen, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage and freshly resigned Austrian Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache.

In another tweet, Verhofstadt framed the coming election in terms of voting for “pro-European” parties or “letting our continent become a playground for Trump & Putin’s puppets,” citing an EuroNews report about former Trump campaign chief Steve Bannon praising Le Pen’s campaign in france.

Actually reading past the clickbait headline, however, quickly makes it apparent that Verhofstadt didn’t bother: namely, the article clearly spells out that Bannon is in no way involved with Le Pen’s campaign, and was commenting as a private person. It even quotes Le Pen’s remarks to the French media complaining about the press “dragging” Bannon into the election.

Furthermore, Bannon may have led Trump’s campaign through the home stretch in 2016, but he left the White House in August 2017 and famously fell out with the president six months later, with Trump branding him “Sloppy Steve.”

As for the Trump-Putin “collusion,” one would think that particular conspiracy theory would have died a quiet and embarrassing death with the release of Mueller report last month, but some people just can’t seem to let it go.

Having learned nothing from almost three years of promoting the ‘Russian collusion’ conspiracy, the New York Times is now amplifying it in Europe. A feature published on Sunday contains all the well-worn tropes about the “far-right” parties threatening the continental utopia, including that Salvini “once wore a Putin T-shirt” and that Le Pen’s party “once received loans from a Russian state bank.”

It also uncritically repeats the claim that Putin has “cultivated ties to extremist parties” in Europe in an effort to fragment the EU, and mentions (anonymous) “investigators, advocacy groups and academics” who are raising alarm about “social media accounts linked to Russia… spreading huge amounts on online disinformation intended to discredit the mainstream parties.”

If all of this sounds familiar, that’s because it is copied word for word from the Russiagate hysteria in the US – the same one that failed to win the 2016 election for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, failed to sway the electors into overruling the vote, failed to get Trump impeached, but succeeded in lining the pockets of various “experts” and think-tank grifters, as well as media figures willing to play fast and loose with facts.

To hear them talk, it was Putin who forced Hillary Clinton never to campaign in Wisconsin, take Michigan for granted, or focus on padding the meaningless popular vote instead of playing the electoral college map. Meanwhile in Europe, the rise of populists and nationalists must have absolutely nothing to do with economic stagnation, unchecked immigration and the accompanying rise of ethnic and religious conflicts, or broken promises of the “Brexit means Brexit” kind – and everything to do with the phantom menace of Putin.

Also on rt.com ‘France does not belong to the French!’ 100s of ‘Black Vest’ migrants occupy Paris airport (VIDEO)

David Axelrod, the long-time Democrat political operative who the Clintons and got Barack Obama elected twice, retweeted the Times story on Monday and raised the alarm about “Pro-Putin, right-wing nationalist, nativist forces” in Europe.

Axelrod’s most recent European-related engagement, by the way, was advising the Labour leader Ed Miliband during the 2015 UK general election. David Cameron’s Tories went on to crush Labour in that vote, setting the stage for Brexit, while Jeremy Corbyn replaced Miliband resigned as party leader.

Nebojsa Malic, RT

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