Big events don’t make small minds any bigger. Words uttered in passion usually produce drivel. So, if you are to understand the meaning of the American events, listen carefully to this old, cold man.

In 1968, when I was an editor on Madison Avenue, New York’s magazine row, I hired a man called Edward Luttwak to write an article on how terrorists could seize control of New York City. His plan of attack focused on showing how vulnerable Manhattan was because it’s an island. Luttwak’s hypothetical terrorists used small amounts of explosive to blow up the bridge and tunnel approaches to the city.

Luttwak himself went on from there to make a career of persuading U.S. governments to do what is in the best interests of Israel’s military establishment. That’s exactly what one of Luttwak’s old friends, Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense, is doing at this moment. If Secretary of State Colin Powell doesn’t stop him, the United States will follow Ariel Sharon, the Butcher of Beirut, into the latter’s bloodthirsty schemes. U.S. governments have been tempted, but none has ever been that foolish.

American war makers

In 1973, when I was an academic at Harvard University, I published a book called “Bringing the War Home.” It was a sociological study of a large group of American infantrymen I interviewed after they returned from combat duty in the Vietnam War. The book uncovered several important reasons, not thought of then and not remembered today, for the collapse of the American army’s will to fight in Vietnam.

Remember that was a conflict that cost about 50,000 American lives, and millions of Vietnamese. At the time, casualties on the scale the United States suffered last week caused an irreversible loss of confidence in the American ability to win. That translated into reluctance to fight on the ground; and support to end the war at home. The refusal to accept that lesson characterizes that era’s war-maker, Henry Kissinger. He started the United States down the track of committing war crimes in pursuit of national interest. His students in Washington have adapted his lessons, thinking they could get away with their crimes with a minimum of American losses. In time, they were bound to hit on reality. Reality struck on Sept. 11.

In 1977, I was a member of President Jimmy Carter’s staff, with the job of analyzing what happens in White House decision-making that can send the country down the wrong path. With a U.S. air force colonel, I did studies of how Carter’s national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski had been conducting his role. But when Brzezinski learned what we had discovered, he applied pressure on our superiors. The colonel and I were told that, if we said a word about our findings when we met Carter, the colonel would be cashiered, and I would be fired. We kept quiet. Brzezinski is another of the band of passionate haters like Kissinger, who believe the United States can extract benefit from the destruction they like to dream up. Wolfowitz is one of them; Sharon is their puppet.

If there is something fundamentally new for Americans in what happened last week in the United States, it is the interpretation, not the fact of violence as state policy. That, of course, depends on who is on the receiving end. It is hardly surprising that retaliation and revenge are now splitting the Bush Administration.

Symbolic responses

It has always been so. Even Franklin Roosevelt, a much wiser man than George Bush Jr., believed symbolic revenge for Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor was necessary, at least for public morale and presidential ratings. Watch the film “Pearl Harbor,” and you will realize that the Jimmy Doolittle raid on Tokyo that followed Pearl Harbor was a suicide mission dressed up as a symbol of resurrection.

Unfortunately, it is as difficult to convince a generation of American-haters in the Middle East that this isn’t so, as it is to convince Americans that the Doolittle raid wasn’t a victory. But an attack on Osama bin Laden can’t succeed, even if bin Laden himself is killed, because those who are attacking the United States don’t need bin Laden’s ideology or his money. A U.S. attack on Saddam Hussein, or Israeli attacks on Palestine and Lebanon, are just as doomed to repeat and intensify the cycle, not terminate it.

If you understand that the United States is now engaged in a war that will last as long as Britain, France, Spain, and many other states understand, then the implications for Russia, and for Russian business especially, become clearer.

Although the United States is heaving itself on to one of the worst waves of anti-Semitism ever seen in the country – Arabs are Semites as well as 3ews – Americans will soon lose patience with ineffectual war-fighting and unsated thirst for blood. They will realize they are being led to the slaughter for reasons they don’t support. In reaction to that, they will get used to terrorism as a calculated risk, like they have understood AIDs, teenage muggers, and cigarette companies. Because there is no alternative, they will get on with their business. If war-making doesn’t achieve prosperity, they will insist it does. This sentiment is already obvious, as the insurance, airline, and construction industries troop to Washington to demand a share in the $20 billion to $40 billion-dollar benefit fund the Bush Administration is promising the economy.

This injection may not revive consumer confidence and corporate capital spending in equal measure throughout the U.S. economy. But for sheer size and speed, the volume of cash that is likely to be pumped into the U.S. economy soon will boost a number of sectors in which the Russian economy has a prime interest. So Russia stands to gain from the new U.S. boom, if not the thinking that is behind it at the moment. Can Russia, can anyone talk the Bush Administration out of thinking the worst, in order to secure the best that is now possible?

Russia the big winner

As a producer of oil and metals, Russia will gain directly from the combination of policies now being assembled in Washington and New York. If oil prices rise on Middle Eastern supply risks, then Russian policy benefits. Who now says a pipeline to carry Caspian Sea oil across Turkey would be more secure for U.S. interests than a pipeline across Russia?

If the U.S. dollar weakens, and foreign risks begin to converge toward the level of Russian risks, Russian capital currently held offshore is likely to accelerate its return home, where investment will pay higher rates of return. A decline in safe havens abroad can initiate more capital inflow into Russia than most Kremlin policies, although annua! 5 percent GDP growth rates can’t hurt. In a world of cheaper dollars, and rising real commodity export prices, repaying the Yeltsin debts should be easier.

If international banks and investors must reassess their global risks, at the same time as Washington starts priming the pump to record levels, then in emerging markets, Russia and perhaps South Africa will stand out. Turkey, Taiwan, Argentina are out of the question. By attacking the World Trade Center last week’s attackers were hoping to start a revolution in the distribution of international capital, and not simply strike at an object of political or ideological hatred. Again, if prudence in the pursuit of national interest prevails, Russia will gain.

There is nothing especially novel about that either; certainly not for Russia, which has been undergoing its own capital revolution for a decade. Wall Street has faced concerted attack before too. There is thus a chance for the two to benefit more equally than was true here since 1991. But if the Wolfowitz gang prevails, Wall Street will be the loser; Russia’s gains will persist.


To groznify – active verb. Maximum firepower concentrated on an elusive target, with severe collateral damage; derived from Grozny, capital of Chechnya until its destruction in 1996-99; colloquial use, as in “we had to destroy the village in order to save it” (Vietnam 1970).

Following President Vlad-imir Putin’s domestic television speech on Monday, and his address to the German Bundestag on Tuesday, it is being suggested that Russia’s foreign and security strategy has undergone a drastic change in the direction of the United States.

This interpretation is mostly to be found in American newspapers whose reporters and editorialists speak of a “huge shift,” “a fundamental break,” and “watershed.” Naturally, if a man speaks for too long about Russia with his eyes tightly closed, the sudden flash of light upon opening his eyes may produce the illusion that it is others who have changed, not himself. (more…)


By John Helmer, Moscow

Agatha Christie’s whodunit entitled And Then There Were None – the concluding words of the children’s counting rhyme — is reputed to be the world’s best-selling mystery story.    

There’s no mystery now about the war of Europe and North America against Russia; it is the continuation of Germany’s war of 1939-45 and the war aims of the General Staff in Washington since 1943. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) and President Vladimir Putin (right) both said it plainly enough this week.

There is also no mystery in the decision-making in Moscow of the President and the Defense Minister, the General Staff, and the others; it is the continuation of the Stavka of 1941-45.  

Just because there is no mystery about this, it doesn’t follow that it should be reported publicly, debated in the State Duma, speculated and advertised by bloggers, podcasters, and twitterers.  In war what should not be said cannot be said. When the war ends, then there will be none.  



By John Helmer, Moscow

Alas and alack for the Berlin Blockade of 1948-49 (Berliner Luftbrücke): those were the days when the Germans waved their salutes against the unification of Germany demilitarised and denazified; and cheered instead for their alliance with the US and British armies to fight another seventy years of war in order to achieve what they and Adolf Hitler hadn’t managed, but which they now hope to achieve under  Olaf Scholtz — the defeat of the Russian Army and the destruction of Russia.

How little the Germans have changed.

But alas and alack — the Blockade now is the one they and the NATO armies aim to enforce against Russia. “We are drawing up a new National Security Strategy,” according to Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. “We are taking even the most severe scenarios seriously.”  By severe Baerbock means nuclear. The new German generation — she has also declared “now these grandparents, mothers, fathers and their children sit at the kitchen table and discuss rearmament.”  

So, for Russia to survive the continuation of this war, the Germans and their army must be fought and defeated again. That’s the toast of Russian people as they salute the intrepid flyers who are beating the Moscow Blockade.  



By John Helmer, Moscow

Last week the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) board of governors voted to go to war with Russia by a vote of 26 member countries against 9.

China, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Senegal and South Africa voted against war with Russia.  

The IAEA Secretary-General Rafael Grossi (lead image, left) has refused to tell the press whether a simple majority of votes (18) or a super-majority of two-thirds (23) was required by the agency charter for the vote; he also wouldn’t say which countries voted for or against. The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres then covered up for what had happened by telling the press: “I believe that [IAEA’s] independence that exists and must be preserved is essential. The IAEA cannot be the instrument of parties against other parties.” The IAEA vote for war made a liar of Guterres.

In the IAEA’s 65-year history, Resolution Number 58, the war vote of September 15, 2022,  is the first time the agency has taken one side in a war between member countries when nuclear reactors have either been attacked or threatened with attack. It is also the first time the IAEA has attacked one of its member states, Russia, when its military were attempting to protect and secure a nuclear reactor from attack by another member state, the Ukraine, and its war allies, the US, NATO and the European Union states. The vote followed the first-ever IAEA inspection of a nuclear reactor while it was under active artillery fire and troop assault.

There is a first time for everything but this is the end of the IAEA. On to the scrap heap of good intentions and international treaties, the IAEA is following the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and the UN Secretary-General himself.  Listen to this discussion of the past history when the IAEA responded quite differently following the Iranian and Israeli air-bombing attacks on the Iraqi nuclear reactor known as Osirak, and later, the attacks on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons sites.



By John Helmer, Moscow

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) decided this week to take the side of Ukraine in the current war; blame Russia for the shelling of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP); and issue a demand for Russia to surrender the plant to the Kiev regime “to regain full control over all nuclear facilities within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders, including the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant.”      

This is the most dramatic shift by the United Nations (UN) nuclear power regulator in the 65-year history of the organisation based in Vienna.

The terms of the IAEA Resolution Number 58, which were proposed early this week by the Polish and Canadian governors on the agency board, were known in advance by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres when he spoke by telephone with President Vladimir Putin in the late afternoon of September 14, before the vote was taken. Guterres did not reveal what he already knew would be the IAEA action the next day.  



By John Helmer, Moscow

Never mind that King Solomon said proverbially three thousand years ago, “a merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”  

With seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, Solomon realized he was the inventor of the situation comedy. If not for the sitcom as his medicine, the bodily and psychological stress Old Solly had to endure in the bedroom would have killed him long before he made it to his death bed at eighty years of age,  after ruling his kingdom for forty of them.

After the British sitcom died in the 1990s, the subsequent stress has not only killed very large numbers of ordinary people. It has culminated today in a system of rule according to which a comic king in Buckingham Palace must now manage the first prime minister in Westminster  history to be her own joke.

Even the Norwegians, the unfunniest people in Europe, have acknowledged that the only way to attract the British as tourists, was to pay John Cleese of Monty Python and Fawlty Towers to make them laugh at Norway itself.   This has been a bigger success for the locals than for the visitors, boosting the fjord boatman’s life expectancy several years ahead of the British tourist’s.  

In fact, Norwegian scientists studying a sample of 54,000 of their countrymen have proved that spending the state budget on public health and social welfare will only work effectively if the population is laughing all the way to the grave. “The cognitive component of the sense of humour is positively associated with survival from mortality related to CVD [cardio-vascular disease] and infections in women and with infection-related mortality in men” – Norwegian doctors reported in 2016. Never mind the Viking English:  the Norwegian point is the same as Solomon’s that “a sense of humour is a health-protecting cognitive coping resource” – especially if you’ve got cancer.  

The Russians understand this better than the Norwegians or the British.  Laughter is an antidote to the war propaganda coming from abroad, as Lexus and Vovan have been demonstrating.   The Russian sitcom is also surviving in its classic form to match the best of the British sitcoms, all now dead – Fawlty Towers (d. 1975), Black Adder (d. 1989), You Rang M’Lord? (d. 1988), Jeeves and Wooster (d. 1990), Oh Dr Beeching! (d.1995), and Thin Blue Line (d. 1996).

The Russian situation comedies, alive and well on TV screens and internet streaming devices across the country, are also increasingly profitable business for their production and broadcast companies – not despite the war but because of it. This has transformed the Russian media industry’s calculation of profitability by removing US and European-made films and television series, as well as advertising revenues from Nestlé, PepsiCo, Mars, and Bayer. In their place powerful  Russian video-on-demand (VOD) streaming platform companies like Yandex (KinoPoisk), MTS (Kion), (VK), and Ivi (Leonid Boguslavsky, ProfMedia, Baring Vostok)  are now intensifying the competition for audience with traditional television channels and film studios for domestic audiences.  The revenue base of the VOD platforms is less vulnerable to advertisers, more dependent on telecommunications subscriptions.

Russian script writers, cameramen, actors, designers, and directors are now in shorter supply than ever before, and earning more money.  “It’s the Russian New Wave,” claims Olga Filipuk, head of media content for Yandex, the powerful leader of the new film production platforms; its  controlling shareholder and chief executive were sanctioned last year.  



By Olga Samofalova, translated and introduced by John Helmer, Moscow

It was the American humourist Mark Twain who didn’t die in 1897 when it was reported that he had. Twain had thirteen more lively years to go.

The death of the Russian aerospace and aviation industry in the present war is proving to be an even greater exaggeration – and the life to come will be much longer. From the Russian point of view, the death which the sanctions have inflicted is that of the US, European and British offensive against the Soviet-era industry which President Boris Yeltsin (lead image, left) and his advisers encouraged from 1991.

Since 2014, when the sanctions war began, the question of what Moscow would do when the supply of original aircraft components was first threatened, then prohibited, has been answered. The answer began at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 1947 when the first  Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) or Parts Manufacturing Approval (PMA) was issued by Washington officials for aircraft parts or components meeting the airworthiness standards but manufactured by sources which were not the original suppliers.   

China has been quicker to implement this practice; Chinese state and commercial enterprises have been producing PMA components for Boeing and Airbus aircraft in the Chinese airline fleets for many years.  The Russian Transport Ministry has followed suit; in its certification process and airworthiness regulations it has used the abbreviation RMA, Cyrillic for PMA. This process has been accelerating as the sanctions war has escalated.

So has the Russian process of replacing foreign imports entirely.



By John Helmer, Moscow

The weakest link in the British government’s four-year long story of Russian Novichok assassination operations in the UK – prelude to the current war – is an English medical expert by the name of Guy Rutty (lead image, standing).

A government-appointed pathologist advising the Home Office, police, and county coroners, Rutty is the head of the East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit in Leicester,  he is the author of a post-mortem report, dated November 29, 2018,  claiming that the only fatality in the history of the Novichok nerve agent (lead image, document), Dawn Sturgess, had died of Novichok poisoning on July 8, 2018. Rutty’s finding was added four months after initial post-mortem results and a coroner’s cremation certificate stopped short of confirming that Novichok had been the cause of her death.

Rutty’s Novichok finding was a state secret for more than two years. It was revealed publicly   by the second government coroner to investigate Sturgess’s death, Dame Heather Hallett, at a public hearing in London on March 30, 2021. In written evidence it was reported that “on 17th July 2018, Professor Guy Rutty MBE, a Home Office Registered Forensic Pathologist conducted an independent post-mortem examination. He was accompanied by Dr Phillip Lumb, also an independent Home Office Registered Forensic Pathologist. Professor Rutty’s Post-Mortem Report of 29th November 2018 records the cause of death as Ia Post cardiac arrest hypoxic brain injury and intracerebral haemorrhage; Ib Novichok toxicity.”  

Hallett, Rutty, Lumb, and others engaged by the government to work on the Novichok case have refused to answer questions about the post-mortem investigations which followed immediately after Sturgess’s death was reported at Salisbury District Hospital; and a cause of death report signed by the Wiltshire Country coroner David Ridley, when Sturgess’s body was released to her family for funeral and cremation on July 30, 2018.  

After another three years, Ridley was replaced as coroner in the case by Hallett in March 2021. Hallett was replaced by Lord Anthony Hughes (lead image, sitting) in March 2022.

The cause-of-death documents remain state secrets. “As you have no formal role in the inquest proceedings,” Hallett’s and Rutty’s spokesman Martin Smith said on May 17, 2021, “it would not be appropriate to provide you with the information that you have requested.” 

Since then official leaks have revealed that Rutty had been despatched by the Home Office in London to take charge of the Sturgess post-mortem, and Lumb ordered not to undertake an autopsy or draw conclusions on the cause of Sturgess’s death until Rutty arrived. Why? The sources are not saying whether the two forensic professors differed in their interpretation of the evidence; and if so, whether the published excerpt of Rutty’s report of Novichok poisoning is the full story.   

New developments in the official investigation of Sturgess’s death, now directed by Hughes, have removed the state secrecy cover for Rutty, Lumb, and other medical specialists who attended the post-mortem on July 17, 2018. The appointment by Hughes of a London lawyer, Adam Chapman, to represent Sergei and Yulia Skripal, opens these post-mortem documents to the Skripals, along with the cremation certificate, and related hospital, ambulance and laboratory records. Chapman’s role is “appropriate” – Smith’s term – for the Skripals to cross-examine Rutty and Lumb and add independent expert evidence.

Hughes’s appointment of another lawyer, Emilie Pottle (lead image, top left), to act on behalf of the three Russian military officers accused of the Novichok attack exposes this evidence to testing at the same forensic standard. According to Hughes,  it is Pottle’s “responsibility for ensuring that the inquiry takes all reasonable steps to test the  evidence connecting those Russian nationals to Ms Sturgess’s death.” Pottle’s responsibility is to  cross-examine Rutty and Lumb.



By John Helmer, Moscow

The US Army’s Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has been firing several hundred million dollars’ worth of cyber warheads at Russian targets from its headquarters at MacDill Airforce Base in Florida. They have all been duds.

The weapons, the source, and their failure to strike effectively have been exposed in a new report, published on August 24, by the Cyber Policy Center of the Stanford Internet Observatory.  The title of the 54-page study is “Unheard Voice: Evaluating Five Years of Pro-Western Covert Influence Operations”.

“We believe”, the report concludes, “this activity represents the most extensive case of covert pro-Western IO [influence operations] on social media to be reviewed and analyzed by open-source researchers to date… the data also shows the limitations of using inauthentic tactics to generate engagement and build influence online. The vast majority of posts and tweets we reviewed received no more than a handful of likes or retweets, and only 19% of the covert assets we identified had more than 1,000 followers. The average tweet received 0.49 likes and 0.02 retweets.”

“Tellingly,” according to the Stanford report, “the two most followed assets in the data provided by Twitter were overt accounts that publicly declared a connection to the U.S. military.”

The report comes from a branch of Stanford University, and is funded by the Stanford Law School and the Spogli Institute for Institutional Studies, headed by Michael McFaul (lead image).   McFaul, once a US ambassador to Moscow, has been a career advocate of war against Russia. The new report exposes many of McFaul’s allegations to be crude fabrications and propaganda which the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has been paying contractors to fire at Russia for a decade.

Strangely, there is no mention in the report of the US Army, Pentagon, the Special Operations Command, or its principal cyberwar contractor, the Rendon Group.



By John Helmer, Moscow

Maria Yudina (lead image) is one of the great Russian pianists. She was not, however, one who appealed to all tastes in her lifetime, 1899 to 1970.

In a new biography of her by Elizabeth Wilson, Yudina’s belief that music represents Orthodox Christian faith is made out to be so heroic, the art of the piano is diminished — and Yudina’s reputation consigned again to minority and obscurity. Russian classical music and its performers, who have not recovered from the Yeltsin period and now from the renewal of the German-American war, deserve better than Wilson’s propaganda tune.


Copyright © 2007-2017 Dances With Bears

Copyright © 2007-2017 Dances With Bears

Education Template