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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The plot to rid the British Government of the man who combined more domestic and foreign policy-making powers than any British official in peacetime was not a clandestine Kremlin operation directed by President Vladimir Putin.

But the sacking of Sir Mark Sedwill, the grammar school head-boy who became Cabinet Secretary and National Security Advisor under Prime Minister Theresa May in 2018, removes the plotter-in-chief of the Skripal affair, the Novichok plot, and the campaign of British info-warfare against Moscow over the past two years.  

The man who defeated Sedwill, Dominic Cummings, chief adviser of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is the only official in the prime ministry to have operated under cover in Russia. What  Cummings’s cover was has never been publicly revealed from his counter-intelligence vetting.  The rise of Cummings has also not been reported by the NATO propaganda unit Bellingcat and the Murdoch press to have been a clandestine Kremlin operation.

Between the two plots, Sedwill’s and Cummings’s, the outcome is now a small space in which the British will reflect on how far Sedwill, and co-conspirator Sir Alex Younger, chief of MI6, took  Anglo-Russian policy past Germany and France to the one promoted in Washington by John Bolton.  Sedwill’s term as supremo has run almost exactly parallel to Bolton’s. Sedwill’s removal would have been as swift as Bolton’s sacking last September if not for the corona virus pandemic. That was not a clandestine Chinese plot.

Younger, Sedwill’s old classmate at St. Andrews University, has now been in the secret intelligence service post for six years; that’s longer than any of his predecessors for the past half-century. If Younger follows Sedwill out the door, the cranny between the plots will be a little wider.  

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Nothing like this has been said before by a leader of the Hellenes, Greek or Cypriot.

“If we consider a solution through militarisation,” Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades (lead image, right) announced last week. “This will be the end of Cypriot Hellenism, which I do not want.”  What Anastasiades meant was that he does not want Cyprus to defend itself, its land, airspace, territorial waters, and sea lanes,  by military means.

A Cypriot president who swears off military defence “of the independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus” is violating his oath of office; he is betraying the Cyprus Constitution.  A veteran of Cypriot presidential politics comments that Anastasiades is making the calculation that his best chance for winning a third term of office is submission to Turkey first, and submission to the US, the European Union, and Israel to limit Turkish military expansion in and around the island.   

This is a strategy of buying time for himself, the source said, and riches for his associates. “He will be very happy to see Cyprus as a satrapy of Turkey provided he and his associates become the sultan’s satraps.” 

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Dutch state prosecutors told the court in the trial of the shooting-down of Malaysia Airlines MH17 that Major-General of the Russian Army Igor Konashenkov should not be allowed as a witness for the defence. To justify this in a hearing last Friday, the prosecutors revealed an illegal trick exposing the evidence in the case as a fit-up by the Ukrainian government’s military and security agencies.

Dismissing almost all the defence applications to the court for new evidence and witnesses, prosecutor Ferdinandusse* (lead image, right) said: “We do not see any reasonable grounds for accusing the prosecution of not being objective” (June 26 hearing,  Min 9:17).

The trick the prosecution has asked the court to accept is that apart from the Ukrainian government’s say-so, there is no chain of custody for the evidence of the weapon alleged to have been fired by the accused to destroy the aircraft and kill its occupants on July 17, 2014. If the Russian government says the Ukrainian government is lying, planting the evidence and   fabricating the chain of custody, the prosecution has told the court to ignore the Russians – believe the Ukrainians. Presented in court last Friday, this chain of custody argument has transformed the trial into a Ukrainian war operation conducted by Dutch proxies, and mercenaries.

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

One of the most prominent generals in the Russian Army is to be called to testify in the Dutch government’s trial of the shooting-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 when district court judge Hendrik Steenhuis rules next week on whether to accept or refuse his evidence as a  witness for the defence.

According to the request filed in court this week, the evidence is of the Ukrainian Army’s fingerprints on the BUK missile which Dutch prosecutors allege was the weapon used to destroy the aircraft on July 17, 2014, killing 298 passengers and crew.

Without proof of the weapon, the Dutch prosecution has no case against the four soldiers  — three Russians, one Ukrainian —  accused of deploying the missile and preparing the attack against the aircraft. If Ukrainian Army fingerprints are verified on the weapon when the crime was committed, the Dutch case, and the worldwide media campaign against Russia, collapse.

Major-General Igor Konashenkov (lead image), the spokesman for the Defence Ministry in Moscow,   has been called to testify. If Judge Steenhuis refuses to allow him,  in a ruling promised for July 3, the trial will cease to follow Dutch law, and become a Dutch Government propaganda show.  

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

For a brief moment in the presentation this week of the defence case against the Dutch government’s indictment of Oleg Pulatov for murder in the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, the Dutch lawyer Boudewijn Van Eijck almost said there was no case to answer, and the indictment should be dismissed immediately for lack of evidence that is legal under Dutch law.

“The indictment is superficial when it comes to actual facts which the defendant is accused of,” Van Eijck (lead image, 2nd from left) said (June 22, Min 21:19). “It is not clear at this stage of this very question whether the actions would actually amount to a crime even if they could be proved.”

Van Eijck also warned the presiding judge Hendrik Steenhuis (right) that he is on trial himself – that he should not continue the trial on the prosecution’s evidence, ignoring the defence requests for fresh investigation and new witnesses,  “in order to make sure that this case never has to be reviewed on appeal” (June 22, Min 42:35).  

The next day, Sabine ten Doessschate (1st left), the junior defence lawyer, summed up the defence case by undercutting her leader. She apologised to the Dutch press and to families of those killed on MH17 for presenting what she called “conspiracy theories”. “All of the topics which we have talked about,” ten Doesschate concluded on June 23, “for all of these we have asked ourselves, on the basis of what we have read, can we really say this is what really happened; and this is not the other thing which happened. And our answer is no. On the basis of the file we have at this moment it is impossible for us to say either one… this means we don’t have all the answers. Investigation of topics like these can give hard facts which can give the answer to the question, how was MH17 brought down. If we were not to ask in detail for investigation, we would not be able to look at ourselves in the mirror. This is the least that can be expected of us” (June 23, Min 2:53:19).

The Dutch defence lawyers have wound up defending themselves. Judge Steenhuis, who looks in a different mirror, has promised to issue his rulings on July 3.

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The Dutch Government has devised an evidence-proof scheme for ensuring the trial of the Russian government for the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 will end in a conviction.

This scheme will work without evidence to prove that the four men accused of the crime of shooting down the aircraft, killing the 298 passengers and crew on board on July 17, 2014, intended to kill; or even intended to fire the missile which allegedly brought MH17 down.

The Dutch scheme is evidence-proof because no evidence will be needed, not from US satellite photographs which are missing; nor NATO airborne tracking which shows no missile; nor Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) evidence which has proved to have been fabricated, and in the case of Ukrainian witnesses for the prosecution, threatened, tortured or bribed.  

The scheme is also evidence-proof because the Dutch Prime Minister has told the Dutch Minister of Justice to order the state prosecutors to tell the state-appointed judge that he must convict the Russians if he finds as proven that MH17 crashed to the ground in eastern Ukraine; that everyone on board was killed; and that the four soldiers accused – three Russians and one Ukrainian – were on the ground fighting.

International war crimes lawyers are calling this a legal travesty. It was presented in court near Amsterdam by Dutch state prosecutor Thijs Berger on June 10. It has gone unnoticed in the mainstream western media. Russian reporters following the trial have missed it. The scheme was first reported in English and Russian by a NATO propaganda unit on June 12.

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

A politician becomes a psychopath when he or she acts without calculating the consequences for approval rating and voter support. The same thing goes for ministers and their advisers who urge military operations abroad which make voters feel unsafe at home. Fear and insecurity aren’t good for incumbents; at least not the ones who can’t rig elections.   

In the case of John Bolton (lead image, left),  he took the National Security Advisor’s post from President Donald Trump in order to make as many wars outside the US as he could. He has now published a book about all the wars he wanted when he got his best chance to make them; and about those who got in the way to stop him, especially Trump.

After seventeen months,  Bolton lost his job on September 10, 2019, because fear and insecurity weren’t good for Trump’s re-election (then). Bolton’s objective, along with his publisher Simon & Schuster and everyone now endorsing the book, is to make war on Trump and defeat him at the election on November 3.

This is as obvious as Bolton’s diagnosis as a psychopath – or to be clinically precise, an adrenal hyperplasiac. He himself is unusually  sensitive to the diagnosis of his symptoms, beginning with his moustache. Displacement of  violence is a classic symptom of moustache wearers —  everybody has understood this since Sigmund Freud’s case study of Little Hans and his father’s moustache,  as  Bolton knows only too well. So he starts his book making sure no one believes, as Bolton purposefully investigated for himself, Trump’s “purported dislike of my moustache. For what it’s worth, he told me it was never a factor, noting that his father also had one. Other than shrinks and those deeply interested in Sigmund Freud, which I assuredly am not, I don’t really believe my looks played a role in Trump’s thinking.”

For a man in Bolton’s condition, everyone everywhere always is a target. As his book reveals, Bolton’s sights include Trump’s counterpart in London, Prime Minister Theresa May, and Bolton’s counterpart on her staff, Sir Mark Sedwill; the latter’s enthusiasm for warmaking was, Bolton explains, even sharper than his own.  Notwithstanding, Bolton couldn’t help himself — the British are his targets in his retelling of the story of the Skripal case.

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

By prime time television standards, the British Broadcasting Corporation’s  (BBC) three-part invention of a Russian-made Novichok attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal, and the death of Dawn Sturgess  two years ago, has been a brilliant success. Twelve million people watched part or all of the series, which ran from Sunday through Tuesday, June 14 to 16. That was roughly one in every three souls watching television in the United Kingdom — 7,204,950 on Sunday evening; 6,242,220 on Monday, 6,165,250 on Tuesday.

Very few of them, it is certain, know the name of Sir Mark Sedwill, who has run the Skripal operation from the beginning until now. Sedwill is Cabinet Secretary, the most senior civil servant in the British Government, and National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister – the first man to hold both posts at the same time. Sedwill’s name doesn’t appear in the film. Instead, he appears in the guise of an official from Whitehall who doesn’t exist.

Between the truth and the fiction, Sedwill’s deception operation has proved to be an even bigger success than Operation Mincemeat. That was the one in 1943 when the British military and intelligence services dressed up a London corpse — dead of organophosphate poisoning (rat-killer) by his own hand — to fool Adolph Hitler and the German High Command into thinking the allies would launch their invasion of Europe in the wrong place.  Sedwill’s success is much greater. Operation Novichok hasn’t fooled the Russian High Command but it has deceived Sedwill’s own people, the British.

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) isn’t likely to have heard the old Australian working-class expression that a man is too crooked to lie straight in bed. It meant that lying and  cheating are in the nature of a deformity, and can’t be operated on or cured.  “The Salisbury Poisonings”, the three-part, three-hour film which concluded its run on Tuesday evening, was composed by individuals like that.

That isn’t news. From the beginning in March 2018, the BBC has been a platform for the British Government’s narrative that Russia, directed by President Vladimir Putin, waged chemical warfare on British soil,  attempting to assassinate Sergei and Yulia Skripal, and then killing  Dawn Sturgess. In May of 2018 – almost three months after the Skripals were attacked on March 4; one month before Sturgess was hospitalised — the corporation broadcast a series of interviews with the medical staff at Salisbury District Hospital attempting to prove that a Russian-made nerve agent called Novichok had been the weapon of the crime.  The BBC broadcaster, Mark Urban —  he admitted later – had been preparing interviews with Skripal by arrangement with the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), and then to have produced his book on the case with the NATO information warfare unit, Bellingcat.  In November 2018, the corporation broadcast a fresh hour claiming to be the “inside story” of the Salisbury nerve agent attack.

The corporation then began negotiations on an even longer version of the story. By mid-May 2019 money was committed and other terms agreed for what was initially planned to be “a two-part factual drama”.  Casting followed; filming began in October of that year. The drama was stretched into three parts. The facts were stretched, too.

Unravelling the facts composed by a crooked man trying to lie straight can be a whodunit of the conventional English type. This time, though, the BBC has revealed the  complicated plot of a true crime hatched in the Cabinet Office in London by a character the new film introduces with an untraceable name.

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

A British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) film, which started its three-part broadcast on Sunday, has exposed the chain of command in the town of Salisbury at the time Sergei Skripal (lead image, left) and Yulia Skripal were poisoned on March 4, 2018. That command was directed by a medical specialist working at the Porton Down compound less than nine miles from the park bench where the Skripals collapsed. He gave the orders to the city’s public health  officials depicted in the film, as well as to the police, paramedics and hospital personnel starring in the film.  He also coordinated the movement of the Skripals’ blood from the hospital’s intensive care ward to the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down.  From there he reported to the officials of the Cabinet Office emergency committee, code-named COBRA, meeting in a bunker in central London. They included the head of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS, MI6), Sir Alex Younger (lead image, right).

The medical commander’s name is Nicolas Gent. His title is Deputy Head of the Emergency Response Department, Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response, Public Health England (PHE).  

Gent’s standing order to the Salisbury Hospital doctors taking blood samples from the Skripals, and to the DSTL analysts receiving the samples, was that “every transfer of a sample must be documented… you will need to complete a new form for each transfer (eg from the person who took the sample to the porter who will take the sample to the laboratory; from porter to scientist; from laboratory to courier service; from courier service to scientist in reference laboratory). All the forms in this chain must be numbered in sequence.”

Gent wrote the blank forms; he reviewed the completed ones after they had arrived at Porton Down and the blood was analysed. He then reported to COBRA (Cabinet Office Briefing Room A).   

But DSTL and the Ministry of Defence have subsequently acknowledged that “our searches have failed to locate any information that provides the exact time that the samples were collected.”  

For Gent to be telling the truth about how the blood samples were documented, and for the Ministry of Defence to be telling the truth that no forms have been found at Porton Down for the Skripal blood samples, leaves only one conclusion. If they aren’t lying, the truth is that no Skripal blood samples were delivered to Porton Down before it was decided that Novichok, made in Russia and used to attack the Skripals, had been found in their bloodstreams.

The discovery of Novichok is the lie. It started in the COBRA bunker in London, and was issued to Gent who coordinated with DSTL, and then with Salisbury Hospital. Gent is the witness who not only knows what was in the Skripals’ blood samples to start with. He also knows when Novichok was added to the Skripals’ blood, and by whom. There is no trace of Gent in the BBC film.

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