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By John Helmer, Moscow, and Liane Theuerkauf, Munich 
  @bears_with

The leading hospital doctors on Novichok poisoning in Britain and Germany are not allowed by their governments to reveal publicly the medical information they have exchanged with each other.

James Haslam, the chief doctor at Salisbury District Hospital treating Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal for Novichok poisoning in March 2018, and Elspeth Hulse, an anaesthetist at Newcastle upon Tyne hospital and co-author with Haslam of a medical research paper on the Skripal case,  refused this week to say if they participated with German doctors in the treatment of Alexei Navalny for Novichok poisoning at Charité Hospital in Berlin in August 2020.   

According to Hulse, she has been ordered to keep silent by the British Ministry of Defence. Asked what communications and consultations on their expertise in the Skripal case they exchanged with the Berlin doctors treating Navalny, Hulse replied: “I have been advised that you should in the first instance go though [sic] the UK MOD press office. Press Office  020  7218 7907 I hope that this helps.”  

Haslam also refused to answer if he had communicated with Navalny’s doctors in Berlin, or when.

Cara Charles-Barks, chief executive of the Salisbury hospital, refused this week to say what collaboration there has been between Salisbury and the Charité — the only two hospitals in the world to claim to have successfully treated cases of Novichok poisoning.  

However, the British and Germans did collaborate in secret.  Last week Philipp Jacoby, the German doctor directing the medical evacuation of Navalny from Omsk Hospital in Russia to Charité in Berlin in August last year, revealed that when he brought Navalny to Charité, there was “a welcome committee (Empfangskomitee) of about 30 people present.” He added he didn’t know who they were except that they were an “international” group.

The lead German doctors treating Navalny, Kai-Uwe Eckardt and David Leindl, published last December a detailed clinical case report on the Navalny case; they reported the psychotropic drugs, lithium and benzodiazepines, in his blood and urine on arrival; his biochemical test scores for each of the days he was in hospital; and their course of treatment with atropine and blood plasma. Jacoby is one of their co-authors. This week Eckardt and Leindl were asked “to confirm the contacts and communications you had with British doctors of Salisbury District Hospital on the August 22 day of [Navalny’s] admission and subsequently?” They refuse to reply.

Since Jacoby’s fresh disclosure of the “welcome committee”, the record of what the British and German doctors did, and when they did it, is evidence of how the two governments planned the public disclosure of the two Novichok attacks and the Anglo-German allegation that the Russian government was behind both of them.

A leading British specialist on organophosphate poisoning commented: “Here is an irony.  Jacoby and the Charité hospital group published in The Lancet every minute detail about Navalny’s diagnostics. Now Dr.Hulse defers to the Ministry of Defence. What is the secret they are concealing — that the British treatment of the Skripals for Novichok exposure was different from the German treatment of Navalny? Or is the secret that there was no Novichok in either case?”

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By John Helmer, Moscow and Liane Theuerkauf, Munich
  @bears_with

Philipp Jacoby, the only German doctor treating Alexei Navalny for alleged poisoning to have testified publicly, has given a new press interview to alter the interpretation of the evidence he gave last week. “People close to Navalny”, he now says, “warned me about John Helmer”.

In two telephone interviews on September 6, Jacoby revealed that the planning of his medical evacuation flight to Russia began in Shannon, Ireland, on August 19, 2020, the day before Navalny fell ill on a flight between Tomsk and Moscow on the morning of August 20, 2020.

Jacoby also testified that Maria Pevchikh, one of Navalny’s staff, had been the first to mention Novichok when they were talking together at the intensive care unit of Omsk Emergency Hospital Number 1, where Navalny was being treated, after his flight had been diverted for an emergency landing at Omsk. Later, Jacoby added, Pevchikh and Yulia Navalnaya, Navalny’s wife, had asked him — and he had agreed with them — to conceal their backpack containing water bottles from Navalny’s hotel room in Tomsk on to the German medevac aircraft, making it appear to be his own luggage and thereby avoid Russian detection at Omsk airport.

In a fresh interview for almost ninety minutes on Thursday evening, September 9, conducted in German, Jacoby did not claim his earlier interviews had been misquoted or misinterpreted. Instead, he revealed how close he has been to Navalnaya, corresponding by email with her after Navalny arrived in Germany for treatment.

Jacoby also issued the first personal attack by a German doctor or German government official on the medical expertise and truthfulness of the Russian doctors treating Navalny at Omsk. “The doctors in Omsk told us a cock and bull story [die Ärzte in Omsk haben mir einen Bären aufgebunden],” Jacoby now says, claiming they didn’t tell him the full truth. He adds that handwritten records of Navalny’s clinical tests he was shown by the Omsk hospital doctors “were unprofessional and could easily have been faked.” Jacoby did not acknowledge the papers he was shown were handwritten in English because the Omsk Hospital doctors believed Jacoby could not understand computer printouts in Russian.

On the evidence of the German clinical test records, published last December by Jacoby with thirteen of the treating doctors at the Charité hospital in Berlin, Jacoby confirms that lithium and several benzodiazepine drugs were found in Navalny’s blood and urine. In his first interview, Jacoby said he “had no idea where the lithium or benzodiazepines came from. Maybe he took it on a daily basis.”

In his new interview Jacoby said “either he took it regularly himself or the doctors in Omsk gave it to him to distract from the poisoning.”

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By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Faster than a speeding bullet — more powerful than a locomotive — able to leap tall lies at a single bound.

More farsighted than Clark Kent (alias Superman), greener than Hal Jordan (Green Lantern), more tenacious than Peter Parker (Spiderman), as sworn to vengeance against lawlessness as Bruce Wayne (Batman).

That’s the first true to life comic book coated in LAUGHTER, the only antidote that’s certain to neutralize Novichok if it gets into your underpants or a BUK rocket if it’s fired at your airplane.

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By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Small peoples deal with their inferiority complex towards larger, more powerful peoples in special ways.

The Greeks remember their ancient victories over the Trojans and Persians, and more recently their defeat of the Italians at the start of World War II. The Galicians of Ukraine remember their killing of Jews, Poles and Russians, and theft of their property under the protection of the German Wehrmacht. The Canadian Ukrainians compensate for their inferiority the same way.

Australians have their special, lawless ways of doing things, usually under British naval protection or US air cover.  For fighting the war in Afghanistan, the Australian Army cut children’s throats and encouraged a culture of war crimes among its special forces. This was documented by soldier whistleblowers and an official Army investigation. Then the Taliban, victor of the war, charged the Australians had “committed some of the worst and the brutal kind of human rights violations, by hacking fingers off dead bodies and killing farmers in Uruzgan and other provinces they were based.  They should be prosecuted as per the law, humanitarian law.” Fat chance —  said the Australian Foreign Minister, declaring the accusation was “repugnant”. She didn’t mean to say it was untrue, but she aimed to ignore it. Australia would keep fighting the Taliban, she also meant — if they could.  

But the reality of being such a small country the Chinese have termed Australia the chewing gum on their shoe, is that the Australians decided they had better flee Kabul before the US Army retreat began. The troops have brought their lawlessness home.

This is being demonstrated in the domestic war against COVID-19. To direct the Australian forces in the officially code-named OPERATION COVID SHIELD, an army lieutenant-general named John Frewen  and a navy commodore called Eric Young are in charge.  

Frewen’s war-fighting promotion was earned defeating a tribal rebellion by 100 men on the Solomon Islands. He then became the head of one of Australia’s spy agencies. Young’s combat experience at sea has been defeating unarmed refugee boats arriving from Indonesia. He was then promoted to command of an entity called United States Force Posture Initiatives – that’s the Australia-based command of US forces targeting China.

In no country in the world have soldiers been put in command of emergency powers administration like this – except juntas of fascist states.

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By John Helmer, Moscow, and Liane Theuerkauf, Munich 
  @bears_with

The planning to fly Alexei Navalny (lead image) from Russia to Germany, and there to accuse the Kremlin of trying to kill him with Novichok, started before Navalny himself knew he was ill.

The new evidence comes from records of the German medical evacuation team based in Nuremberg. This five-man team  —  two pilots, two paramedic nurses, one physician specialist in emergency medicine —  flew from Nuremberg to Omsk; collected Navalny, and with his wife Yulia Navalnaya and assistant Maria Pevchikh, flew to Berlin, where Navalny was revived.

But the evidence reveals their mission began with orders to the aircraft and to the team members when they were at Shannon airport, western Ireland, on the morning of August 20, 2020; those orders were first issued the day before, on August 19. That’s the day before Navalny collapsed on a flight between Tomsk and Moscow, and then following the emergency diversion of the aircraft to Omsk,  before he was taken to Omsk Emergency Hospital Number 1.

The German evidence, newly obtained this week, also discloses that the first allegation that Navalny had been poisoned with the Novichok nerve agent came from Pevchikh. She told the German medevac doctor and paramedics when they were with Navalny in the intensive care unit at the Omsk hospital where Navalny was being treated. “She spoke English perfectly”, Dr Philipp Jacoby remembers.

The evidence of the poisoning was in several water bottles Pevchikh had taken from Navalny’s hotel room in Tomsk, and brought to Omsk after recording a film of herself and others from Navalny’s staff collecting them from the hotel room.  These bottles Navalnaya and Pevchikh asked the German doctor to take through the Omsk airport baggage check and on to the medevac aircraft in a backpack attached to his own luggage. “She didn’t tell us what was inside,” Jacoby said in an interview this week. “You could feel they were half-litre bottles, the hotel-room type, maybe five of them. The backpack was strapped to my bag and it went on board with me.”

When the aircraft reached Berlin, the backpack with the bottles was delivered to the Charité hospital along with Navalny. It had been unloaded from the aircraft and put on a German security lorry which took Navalny’s luggage to the Charité hospital. “I handed the bottles to the intensive care unit,” Jacoby says. “They were happy to get the bottles.” A German investigation followed later. “I got a phone call from the German security service asking how the bottles came to Germany,” Jacoby says. He also remembers an earlier concern about Pevchikh’s bottles at Omsk airport, before takeoff. “The [medevac] co-pilot was upset that we took on board someone’s luggage that wasn’t our own.”

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By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

In November 2001—twenty years ago — I gave a lecture in Moscow entitled: “Stealing the Truth – How to Read, and Not to Read, the Press In Russia”. The text has been lost. I am grateful to Ajay Goyal, the organiser of the Hellevig Lectures, for inviting me to bring the message back to life.  

In the interval, Jon Hellevig lived his productive life in Russia. He and I both wrote for The Russia Journal and he set many examples of disciplined investigation leading to fearless publication of the truth.  I salute him and his memory for what he achieved as an example to those of us who knew him and who live on.

In Soviet days, Russian reporters, editors and readers had shared an understanding of how to write and how to read the real message, the truth, between the lines of the printed text. This was a subtlety western readers have taken time to learn. The invention of the tweet struck with blunt force trauma; its unsubtlety came later. Then the US and the NATO allies opened the Ukraine front of their war against Russia in February 2014; the economic warfare sanctions followed the Ukrainian plot to down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in July 2014; the war on the Syria front escalated from September 2015; and the two Novichok operations were launched — the British one involving Sergei Skripal in March 2018, and the German one involving Alexei Navalny in August 2020.

In wartime, with Russia and the truth about Russia under the gun, you will understand me when I say I shall not allow my remarks to give aid and comfort to the other side. What I have had to say about domestic and internal Russian politics and the features of the Russian oligarchy are in print for all to read. There will be more to say — though not here, not today.

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By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

If ever there was a man who displayed on his face the evil in his mind, it was Zbigniew Brzezinski (lead image, left),  the national security advisor for President Jimmy Carter (right) when the US plot to start the war against the Soviet Union on the Afghan front was hatched in  1979. “Now we can lure the Russians into the Afghan trap,” he wrote Carter in a secret note of February 1979. In July of that year he followed with the directive Carter signed in secret to supply arms to the mujahideen “to induce a Soviet military intervention”. In December 1979 Brzezinski told Carter: “we should not be too sanguine about Afghanistan becoming a Soviet Vietnam”.  Later he used to boast that had been precisely his intention and also his crowning achievement.

Brzezinski’s lips are sealed now because he’s been dead for four years.  

Carter is still alive. In 1979 he kept the evil on his mind secret behind the smile on his face. His lips are sealed now, since the retreat from Afghanistan began by the US Army, and after the rout last month in Kabul. The mainstream American press are not reporting they have asked Carter for comment, or that he has refused. Not even the alt-media investigators have pursued him.

But it’s already clear what Carter thinks. He believes he scored one of the wold’s great strategic victories; he is disgruntled that he has never received the public credit he thinks he deserves. In the words of one of the CIA men in charge of Afghanistan operations in 1979, Carter’s strategy was to wage the “fight [against] the Soviets that went on to win the final and decisive battle of the Cold War.”

A new book by Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, just published, opens the story of what Brzezinski and Carter really did to start the US war in Afghanistan, starting with the assassination of Adolph Dubs, the US Ambassador in Kabul on February 14, 1979; his killing with four pistol shots to head in a Kabul hotel room, the book concludes, was part of the White House plot.

“Some unnamed Americans claimed the Soviets wanted Dubs out of the way so they could set up for their invasion,” Fitzgerald and Gould report. They go on to name the Americans, one an agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Kabul, another a CIA agent.  “But the Soviets got along famously with Dubs because he wasn’t an anti-Soviet Russophobe like Brzezinski. There was also plenty of evidence to show the Soviets didn’t want to invade. They went on record with the U.S. embassy throughout the summer of 1979 trying everything to avoid it. And besides, the rules of the game made ambassadors virtually untouchable. There was no upside to killing one, and a big downside.”

The assassination of Dubs, Fitzgerald and Gould argue, “led to the Soviet invasion nine months later….Who would kill an ambassador? Not a rival superpower trying to get the American Congress to sign a nuclear arms deal they’d desperately needed. And certainly not a third-world backwater desperate for U.S. aid and recognition. Only someone trying to provoke retribution. And who would want that retribution? Zbigniew Brzezinski. Brzezinski blamed the Russians, but then Brzezinski always blamed the Russians… If it hadn’t been for the Dubs murder there would never have been a Soviet invasion.”

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akhromeyev

On August 24, 1991, Marshal Sergei Fyodorovich Akhromeyev committed suicide. He had returned from his holiday at Sochi responding to the attempted removal of Mikhail Gorbachev from power. According to the reports of the time, he hanged himself in his Kremlin office, leaving behind a note. One version of what it said was: “I cannot live when my fatherland is dying and everything that has been the meaning of my life is crumbling. Age and the life that I have lived give me the right to step out of this life. I struggled until the end.”



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By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

It was noticed after the first few years of the French Revolution that the population of goats were gorging themselves and then reproducing out of control. Napoleon tried to cull them to save the forests the goats were taking over, and thereby preserve the timber he needed badly for his navy to go to war with the British.

In the case of the Russian Revolution of 1991, the population of jackals continue to multiply out of control. The Kremlin has not found the method of controlling the domestic ones, not yet.  Russian voters will have something to say about this on September 19, Election Day  – especially by not casting their ballots.

In the meantime, it’s August, the month when goats dance in alpine pastures; jackals sleep through the day; and the sea cucumber goes into his seasonal hypometabolism, also called aestivation.   For August, when our Moscow office closes, these are our three options for spending the month until you will see us again.  

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By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Catherine Belton (lead image, left), a reporter on Russia for the Financial Times and Reuters, was abandoned this week by her publisher, Rupert Murdoch’s (right) HarperCollins, and obliged to sign an out-of-court settlement in London with Mikhail Fridman and Pyotr Aven of Alfa Bank and the LetterOne group.

The publisher has agreed to admit there was “no significant evidence” for Belton’s allegations of KGB connections in the early careers of Fridman and Aven; and that she had failed to check her claims with Fridman and Aven before publishing them. “HarperCollins and [Belton] recognise and regret that comment was not sought earlier from Mr Aven and Mr Fridman… and to apologise that the subject was not discussed with them prior to initial publication.”

HarperCollins will publish this statement within a week of the High Court issuing its order. Three months ago, the publisher had announced it “will robustly defend the claim and the right to report on matters of considerable public interest”.  The publisher has now  agreed to remove Belton’s allegations against Fridman and Aven from new printings of the book, Putin’s People:  How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took on the West.

The hardcover edition was published in April 2020 in the UK; the following June in the US. The American publisher is a subsidiary of the German Holtzbrinck publishing group, which produces the anti-Russia newspaper Die Zeit.  The paperback edition of Belton’s book has not yet been published, delayed indefinitely by the London court action and by the publishers’ loss of confidence in Belton’s veracity. 

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