RT’s Bank Accounts Frozen, Assange’s Internet Cut In Apparent Move to Silence West’s Critics

wikileaks-rt-bankBy Claire Bernish

In a major development being described as a brutal blow to free speech, RT — the Russian outlet formerly known as Russia Today — has now found its bank accounts allegedly blocked by the U.K.

“Our accounts in Britain have been blocked,” tweeted RT’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan Monday morning. “All of them. ‘Decision not to be discussed’. Hail to freedom of speech!”

According to RT, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said London abandoned any obligations to free speech when it moved to exit the European Union, as clearly evidenced in the inexplicable move by The National Westminster Bank.

In a statement from its press office on Twitter, RT announced:

RT has received a letter from Natwest, part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, which has a significant shareholding by the UK government, informing it that its UK banking facilities with the bank will be withdrawn without explanation or redress.

The decision is incomprehensible, and without warning. It is however, not at odds with the countless measures that have been undertaken in the UK and Europe over the last few years to ostracize, shout down, or downright impede the work of RT.

RT UK will continue its operations uninterrupted.

In the letter announcing its decision after reviewing the media outlet’s “banking arrangements,” NatWest indeed provides no explanation for the cancellation of its client relationship with RT, except to say:

We assure you that we have only reached this decision after careful consideration, however our decision is final and we are not prepared to enter into any discussion in relation to it.

Given the secretive nature of the sudden termination, speculation naturally must include RT’s function as a state-run media agency — and the worsening situations between the West and Russia in Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere — particularly, as RT notes, the U.K.’s ‘significant shareholding in NatWest.

Perhaps the baffling move would not be as suspect were it not for another apparent act of extreme censorship which began to unfold yesterday evening.

On Sunday night, WikiLeaks announced via Twitter that Julian Assange’s Internet connection had been purposely cut in his sanctuary-turned-prison home inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London:

Julian Assange’s internet link has been intentionally severed by a state party. We have activated the appropriate contingency plans.

Prior to this accusation, WikiLeaks had tweeted a string of three tweets appearing to reference its ongoing October Surprise document leaks — including cryptic codes naming U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Ecuador, and the U.K.’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office — in turn setting off alarm bells by those concerned the tweets indicated Assange’s ‘dead man’s switch’ had been triggered.

Although neither the cutting of Assange’s Internet access nor that a state agent was responsible have been proven, if factual, speaks to the power wielded in the government transparency WikiLeaks continues to provide when, for instance, President Obama’s administration has failed.

WikiLeaks assumedly already has possession of whatever documents Assange might have obtained and plans to release in the future, but the attempt to silence the controversial and vociferously debated public figure are at least concerning — and at worst disturbingly indicative of the trouble an unknown will go to silence free speech and press.

Attempting to gag RT — no matter its Russian state association — also presents a troubling aspect about increasingly limited and denigrated press freedom.

“We have no idea why it happened,” RT’s Simonyan told RBT, “because neither yesterday nor the day before yesterday, nor a month ago, nothing special happened to us, nobody threatened us in any way. Hypothetically, this may have something to do with new British and American sanctions against Russia, which may be announced soon. It may not. Our legal department is dealing with the issue now.”

Publisher Marcus Papadopoulos echoed that surprise, as well as concern for what amounts to abrupt censure.

“I sincerely hope that there’s no political motive for this, because we know that the British government isn’t happy with RT in Britain,” Papadopoulos asserted to RT.

RT has a lot of viewers in Britain. Many British people now tune in to RT to receive information on major topics around the world, including in Britain. And many British people believe that the alternative accounts that RT puts forward and covers are more truthful than what they’re hearing from, for example, Sky News.

If no bank in Britain would allow RT to be a customer, then that could spell the end of RT broadcasting in Britain, which would be a catastrophic event for freedom of speech in Britain.

Russia, currently home to asylum-seeker and controversial whistleblower Edward Snowden, might indeed face additional sanctions by the United States and U.K. if American politicians infuriated over a false narrative of Russian aggression in Syria and elsewhere have their way.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May responded to outrage over the sudden proxy censure of RT, stating, “It’s a matter for the bank and it’s for them to decide who they offer services to based on their own risk appetite.”

However, as Zero Hedge pointed out, with both RBS and thus NatWest essentially acting as ‘wards of the state,’ such a politically-significant mover surely had prior clearance from the government.

As the already-chilled diplomacy between the West and Russia continues to deteriorate, an announcement from White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama is considering a response proportional to alleged Russian state hacking into the Democratic National Committee servers — despite the lack of unassailable evidence backing that claim.

On Friday, unnamed and unverified CIA officials told NBC News the “Obama administration is contemplating an unprecedented cyber covert action against Russia in retaliation for alleged Russian interference in the American presidential election.”

Whether or not any state agent — of the U.S., the U.K., or Russia — is responsible for any of these events might never be known. But the circumstances and timing are worthy of consideration.

Claire Bernish writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com, where this article first appeared.

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13 Comments on "RT’s Bank Accounts Frozen, Assange’s Internet Cut In Apparent Move to Silence West’s Critics"

  1. First personal clue RT might be a dual intelligence program was eight years ago when my local PBS station begin airing RT broadcasts on a daily basis…one only needs to look at the layers of Illumi-naughty PBS funding to understand why, for instance Democracy Now is laced with limited hangouts.

    Another clue was a few years ago, Abby had a breaking story ‘revealing’ the true perps behind 9/11 were the Saudis – foreshadowing the 28 redacted pages psy op. Two of many red flags.

    “Cyber covert action” is coming for western dissent – why else would the US begin the process of transferring internet protocol control to an international group that is closely tied to Russian elites their version of Silicon Valley??? ICANN founding chairwoman & CFR Trilateral stooge Ester Dyson is a major booster of Skolkovo.

    • Excellent analysis, blue. These limited hangouts are appearing almost everywhere now, any site with a large following, including this one. Pretty soon all we’ll have is our ability to tap into the collective consciousness like the animals do.. or not, and just float along in the pure bliss of knowing absolutely nothing at all about anything. That day is coming.

      • Thank you, Olde Soul, I feel it too short of a miracle consciousness shift. It would be the ultimate 5-D escape velocity jump if a critical mass transcended this spiritual mind-warping quagmire and became hyper aware bypassing all of the tangled wires. I’m always ready and waiting and glad to be in good company. 😉

        • Ha! I think I like your description better. I’ll meet you at the junction box with that microbrew six pack I keep promising you.

          • Awesome! Look for a petite blonde with a pack of cute K9s. lol

          • We must be mirror images of each other then, I’m 5’3″ and blonde too. I’ll be the one holding the Frog Hop Pale Ale. Our farm contributes organic hops to a local brewery, we get finished beer based on the amount of hops we grow, so my beer bank is over-foaming and there is plenty for all of us, beer-drinking hounds included.

            Take care, until then…

          • you too, OS 🙂

  2. Seems the protagonists of the fake global war continue in their trajectory, and Google/YouTube is piling on the propaganda in triplicate, with multiple versions of the same pundits giving the same interviews – all warning of the dire consequences implied by the most recent dance moves. Be afraid, be very afraid, panic, scream, run away run away. That rabbit has a mean streak a mile wide.

    The oligarchs want us to believe world war III is imminent. Therefore war is not really on the agenda.

    • The oligarchs have been at war with the plebs for millennia. It’s all in the long perspective yet one thing is certain a major nation state war reaching the hegemon homelands would devastate their global casino and control grid infrastructure = megalomania control freak anathema. Best to drop their tug-o-war rope baiting and walk away.

  3. Terry Washington | October 18, 2016 at 12:28 pm | Reply

    RT is no more an independent media outlet than Pravda, Izvestia or TASS during the Cold War. it has been repeatedly criticized by OFCOM for tis shamelessly partisan coverage of Ukraine( esp the shootdown of MH-17, which is widely suspected to be the work of pro-Russian rebels). Oh did i foeget to make the point that Julian Assange used to be a host for RT(and not so coincidentally a flack for Putin!)?

    • I think RT is way ahead more independent than British Bull$h1t Corporation. You obviously have never seen the BBC deleted version of MH17 where they interviewed locals that saw fighter jets in the air as the plane was falling apart. The reporter also went looking for the so called BUK smoke trail that turned out to be chimney puffing a bit of smoke and no burn marks etc.

  4. It looks like both the UK and US are placing democracy in a straightjacket. Both countries are intent on controlling the media and whatever the media publishes. That is undemocratic. We all know what Obama has done in the last eight years to stifle truth, but now we have a newcomer, May, who seems to be just as bad as either Blair or Cameron ever was!

  5. deplorableSallyM | October 19, 2016 at 6:55 am | Reply

    I hope Julian is ok. Not sure how they could ‘cut’ his wifi.
    LONG LIVE JULIAN and KUDOS to all men that grow a pair.

    HEY blue and ol sole I will bring some UPSLOPE Lager and my shitzu’s.
    I’m a petite silver haired, used to be blonde.

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