THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF, ER LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS – ZIYAVUDIN MAGOMEDOV TRIES TO FIND A NEW BUSINESS ON GAZPROM’S BACK

boy_gas

By John Helmer, Moscow

Gazprom, the Russian gas producer and exporter, is thinking of reviving an old idea to refine natural gas on the Baltic shore and ship liquefied natural gas (LNG) westward to European markets in competition against Qatar and Nigeria. At least that’s what Ziyavudin Magomedov (image right), chairman of the Summa Group, wants everyone to think. Maybe Alexei Miller, Gazprom’s chief executive, too. Since neither Gazprom nor Magomedov’s spokesman at Summa Group, is willing to put a confirmation where the press leak was, noone is keen to believe either of them.

Alexei Miller, Gazprom’s chief executive, was speaking last week at a conference in the Siberian city of Tomsk where in an aside, he said the company might soon announce a new LNG project. “The key concept of Gazprom’s strategy is diversification,” Miller said in his prepared remarks. “Firstly, it is the diversification of our target markets. The Company’s operating principles are very simple: firstly, gas should be sold, then produced, conveyed and sold to consumers. Secondly, it is the diversification of our production regions, transport and finished products to be sold.”
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RUSAL SHAREHOLDER CRISIS — BARRY CHEUNG FORCED OFF RUSAL BOARD — MIKHAIL PROKHOROV DITHERS OVER REPLACEMENT — STATE BANKS REFUSE TO REVEAL HOW MANY SHARES THEY CAN VOTE AT SHAREHOLDERS’ MEETING

celebrate

By John Helmer, Moscow

The share price of United Company Rusal, the state-controlled Russian aluminium monopoly, lost 3% in value in Hong Kong Stock Exchange trading on Monday on news that Barry Cheung, a prominent Hong Kong businessman, had resigned from the Rusal board as his own business collapsed, and that he was the target of a Hong Kong police investigation for fraud.

When Rusal wanted to promote Cheung’s importance in Hong Kong, it trumpeted the news among the press releases on the company website. Thus, in March of 2012, Rusal announced that the company “congratulates its Chairman Mr Barry Cheung for a successful campaign which helped Mr Leung Chun-ying (“CY Leung”) win the office of Hong Kong’s fourth Chief Executive in yesterday’s election. Mr Leung’s five-year term will begin on July 1, 2012. Mr Leung’s winning was the culmination of a long and active campaign supported by a highly professional campaign office headed by Mr Cheung.” A few weeks later, following voting at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of shareholders, another Rusal press release announced that Cheung had been re-elected to a second term, and that he had convened a meeting of the new board.
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ALISHER USMANOV EMBRACES GULNARA KARIMOVA IN A BAD-NEWS FILM FROM STOCKHOLM

usmanov_karimova

By John Helmer, Moscow

According to Russian-language records and a Tashkent party film published by Stockholm television last week, Alisher Usmanov held the hand of Gulnara Karimova and whispered intimately to her just days after the latter had been making plans to collect millions of dollars in payments from Swedish telephone company, TeliaSonera. Karimova is one of two daughters of the President of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov; she is a leading candidate to replace him if he falls ill, or to succeed him at the presidential election due in March 2015. Karimova is also one of several targets of official investigations underway in Sweden and Switzerland, alleged to have been behind a corrupt payment system through which TeliaSonera obtained and operated its mobile telephone concession in Uzbekistan, and through which the Russian rival, Mobile Telesystems (MTS), owned by Vladimir Yevtushenkov, lost its concession and was forced out of Uzbekistan last year. The tale of that billion-dollar expropriation can be read here.

Usmanov, who is Uzbek by origin, is TeliaSonera’s shareholding partner in Megafon, the London-listed mobile telephone operator and rival of Yevtushenkov in the Russian telecommunication market. Usmanov is also on the top of Rich Lists in Russia and the UK, based on estimates of his asset value in Russian telephony, iron-ore mines, steelmills, print and internet media, not counting his debts and obligations. He has been one of the more nervous of the oligarchs, ready to put up his hand to volunteer, and quick to implement the Kremlin’s marching orders.
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THE BALLOON GOES UP FOR VICTOR PINCHUK, AS HE APPLIES TO THE UK HIGH COURT FOR A BEREZOVSKY AWARD

interpipe_sun

By John Helmer, Moscow

Tethered high above Victor Pinchuk’s newest steel smelter at the Interpipe plant, visible for miles around the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnepropetrovsk, is a large balloon. It’s meant to symbolize what the Interpipe website is calling the smelter’s state-of-the-art technology — “the construction plant has no harmful effect on the atmosphere or social surroundings”; also its historical uniqueness in the steel industry west of the Russian border – “a vital step in the development of the domestic Ukrainian pipe industry.” For the curious and for asthmatics, Interpipe is offering guided tours of the plant to demonstrate how it “marks the beginning of a green era in the metallurgical industry.” The plant’s press office says the balloon construction is called Sun Interpipe. “It’s an art object, and we are not going to remove it.”

Less intentionally, the balloon symbolizes the sky-high cost of building the smelter and supplying it with electricity; Pinchuk’s growing billion-dollar debts; and the collapse of demand for the steel products Pinchuk is offering for sale in Ukraine and Russia, Interpipe’s make-or-break markets.

Although Interpipe remains privately held by Pinchuk, documents the company has prepared with his bankers to cover his debts, together with bank sources, reveal how strapped for cash Pinchuk is. The balloon is also going up for Pinchuk, as he tries to raise at least $143 million, perhaps ten times as much, from a claim filed in the UK High Court against two rival Ukrainian metals magnates, based on recollections of meetings Pinchuk and the others held in the Ukraine, Israel, Sardinia, and Switzerland, starting nine years ago.
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NO MOVEMENT IN EVRAZ SALE OF HIGHVELD STEEL, AS PUTIN LOBBIES FOR REACTOR SALE TO SOUTH AFRICA

art021p4

By John Helmer, Moscow

There has been no movement in Evraz’s proposed sale of its South African unit, Highveld Steel & Vanadium, to Nemascore, a special purpose vehicle created in February by a black empowerment enterprise linked to South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma (right). The deal for $320 million was announced by Evraz in March. At the time, the transaction was reportedly to be financed by Russian state bank VTB at a price which was more than double the market value of Evraz’s 85% stake in the company.

Subsequently, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), the SA Government’s business stakeholder, said it was not involved in providing VTB with repayment guarantees to facilitate financing for Nemascore’s purchase. Neamscore’s directors have refused to discuss the deal, say where the money is coming from, or explain it in light of Highveld’s lossmaking and other troubles last year.
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ROMAN ABRAMOVICH FLIES INTO HONG KONG TO DISCUSS WHAT (RUSAL) BUSINESS WITH WHOM (ELSIE LEUNG)?

hk_scratcher

By John Helmer, Moscow

Roman Abramovich (left) landed in Hong Kong on Tuesday afternoon. Abramovich is an influential shareholder in Norilsk Nickel, Russia’s largest mining and metals company, on whose dividends the loss-making United Company Rusal now depends to stay out of the red. Rusal is the Russian aluminium monopoly, but Hong Kong is home to Rusal’s share listing, and its dwindling share price. According to the latest Rusal financial report, the company ran a $47 million loss in the quarter to March 31. Adding $99 million of its share of Norilsk Nickel’s profit put Rusal’s red line into the black by $52 million. But for the annual general meeting (AGM) of Rusal shareholders to consider such matters, Abramovich is 24 days early. The Rusal AGM is scheduled at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Hong Kong, at 10 in the morning of June 14.

At this meeting, a director on the Rusal board, Elsie Leung Oi-Sie (right), is facing a vote of no-confidence. A parallel motion proposes her replacement by a Russian candidate, Dmitry Vasiliev. The moves have been initiated by the 15.8% shareholder bloc of Victor Vekselberg and Len Blavatnik for reasons reported here. They may be supported by Mikhail Prokhorov with his 17.02% of the Rusal shares; his spokesman said today it’s too early to announce how he will vote. If counted together, the vote against Leung may start with almost 33% of the shareholder votes. Another 10.03% of Rusal’s shares are classified as a public float, according to the company website. The largest part of that, 3.15%, was acquired at the initial public offering (IPO) by the state bailout bank, Vnesheconombank (VEB).
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GET YOUR GUNVOR PROSPECTUS HERE – SPOT THE MISSING LINKS

evolution

By John Helmer, Moscow

If you are looking for Gennady Timchenko (second from right), the dominant Russian in the partnership which created the oil trader Gunvor, you won’t find him in the market prospectus Gunvor has just released to the market. That’s because the document, dated May 10, 2013, spells his name Guennadi Timtchenko.

The prospectus for $500 million in bonds is the first to be issued to the market by the hitherto secretive Timchenko and his partner, Torbjorn Tornqvist. Prepared by Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, ING and Societe Generale, the document says Timchenko and Tornqvist own the group 50/50. But the prospectus isn’t a prospectus in Switzerland because in that country, Gunvor can “not claim to comply with the disclosure standards of the Swiss Federal Code of Obligations and the listing rules of the SIX Swiss Exchange Ltd. and corresponding prospectus schemes annexed to the listing rules of the SIX Swiss Exchange Ltd.” The prospectus can be read in full here.
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REPLIES FROM ELSIE LEUNG

leung_without_monkeys

Hong Kong
May 17, 2013: 0850

Dear Mr. Helmer:

I have no wish to comment on whatever article you wished to write, but since you have put it to me and I have to disagree with you in many of the statements made, in particular:
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FIRING LINE FOR ELSIE LEUNG – INDEPENDENT NON-EXECUTIVE RUSAL DIRECTOR

leung

By John Helmer, Moscow

So far Elsie Leung Oi-Se has been paid $632,000 by United Company Rusal to listen attentively, read carefully, and speak her mind at meetings of the main board of directors, and also the audit committee of the board. Rusal titles her an independent non-executive director. She is one of five of those on the 18-member board; one of the 5-member audit committee. According to her company biography, she is a lawyer by training and career. She has also been a politician in the Hong Kong government, the equivalent of minister of justice.

First appointed to the Rusal board on November 30, 2009, when the company’s application to be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange was running into difficulty, she was paid $16,000 for one month’s work. In 2010 she was paid $199,000; in 2011 $209,000; and in 2012, $208,000. She is the lowest paid of her peers, the other “independent non-executive” Rusal directors.
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LUKOIL AND AGD START 4-MILLION CARAT DIAMOND MINE AT GRIB

grib

By John Helmer, Moscow

Arkhangelskgeoldobycha (AGD), the LUKoil diamond-mining subsidiary, has made its first detailed presentation of the new mine it is building in Arkhangelsk, with confirmation of the new mine’s diamond grades, volume of production, and financial value. The Grib mine, named after the Russian geologist who first found the deposit, is the first major diamond source to start production in Russia in several years, and the first to be developed independently of the state miner, Alrosa. As chief executive Maxim Mescheryakov, AGD’s chief executive, told a Toronto, Canada, audience, the presentation is designed “to show that we exist; that we are big; and that we commence production this year, fourth quarter. We are talking about 4 million carats delivered to the market annually.”
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THE MANGANESE REVOLUTION TO BRING BHP DOWN TO EARTH

By John Helmer, Moscow

It’s not a good time to be a steelmaker — not if you are in Russia, not if you are in China, and certainly not if you are in the US or the European Union. But if mining manganese, the vital steel-hardening alloy, is what you do for a living, the coming three years look likely to transform worldwide control, as Russians reach self-sufficiency in manganese supply for the first time; and as a prominent Ukrainian prepares to share a large corner of the global market with the Chinese.

The reason that manganese can prosper while steel is in the doldrums is because almost all of its application is to steelmaking; and because “manganese has no satisfactory substitute in its major applications”, as periodic US Geological Service reports point out.

The new Russian manganese supply is coming from the little-known Siberian Mining and Metallurgical Company (SGMK), controlled by Alexander Rybkin, a former executive of the Evraz steel group. Rybkin’s influence is provincial, limited to his partners – the Evraz group, which has first call on SGMK’s new manganese supplies for its Kemerovo steelmills at Novokuznetsk; and the governor of Kemerovo region, Aman Tuleyev. Until now they have made SGMK’s manganese a captive of Evraz’s demands.
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NIGERIAN NAVY LIFTS A BIG STICK — JUDGE AND JUSTICE MINISTRY BARRED FROM RELEASING MYRE SEADIVER CREW, TRIAL STOPPED FOR THIRD TIME

By John Helmer, Moscow

“I have always been fond of the West African proverb, ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick; and you will go far.’” That was Theodore Roosevelt in January 1900, when he was thinking of the Caribbean Sea, and when he was US Vice President. No one has ever found the evidence for its proverbial source; Roosevelt probably invented its origin in West Africa.
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BUZZ OFF BUD — FOREIGN BREWS LOSE RUSSIAN MARKET SHARE

By John Helmer, Moscow

The last time Russian beer drinkers did something unusual was in the unseasonably cool summer of 2011, when sales of the big brand beers dropped sharply. Read all about it. It is happening again, on this occasion during winter, only now the drop in consumption is even more dramatic. This time it looks like a combination of government actions and dwindling numbers of susceptible adolescents are driving the big-money big-brand, foreign brewing companies out of the market to the advantage of Russia’s smaller, regional brewers.

The first-quarter report just out from Inbev (Belgium), the Annheuser-Busch conglomerate which makes Budweiser, Stella Artois, Sibirskaya Korona, and Klinskoye acknowledges that “in Russia, beer volumes fell 17.0% driven mostly by a challenging industry impacted by the new sales restrictions, the carryover of the media ban implemented last July, and price increases following the most recent excise tax adjustment. Our estimated market share remains under pressure, and balancing profitability versus share is a major focus.” Just one Inbev beer brand, Bud, “continues to perform well and grew by over 25% in 1Q13.” This downturn follows a 12% decline in volume for last year, as well as a contraction of Russian market share, explained in the annual Inbev report as “driven by the implementation of tax-related and other selective price increases ahead of competitors, and promotional pressure in key account channels.” With higher priced beer, the loss of sales volume was offset for Inbev by a 19% jump in Russian earnings. Inbev currently claims a market share of almost 16%.
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RUSSIAN SHIPYARD COMPANY LAUNCHES ANOTHER CHIEF EXECUTIVE INTO THE WATER — ANDREI DYACHKOV FORCED TO WALK THE PLANK

By John Helmer, Moscow

The Russian government has forced the chief executive of the state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) to resign. Andrei Dyachkov, who was appointed to run the shipyard holding in June of last year, signed a letter of resignation on April 30, and then took sick leave. He is reportedly in hospital for Soviet reasons – he needs to be isolated not from germs, but from his rivals.

The affair has been leaking into the press slowly for weeks, and was accelerated last month when Dmitry Rogozin, the deputy prime minister in charge of the military industrial complex, gave Dyachkov a public dressing-down. But the real power behind the shove into Dyachkov’s back, according to sources close to the shipyards, is Igor Sechin, currently chief executive of Rosneft and formerly chairman of the USC board. Dyachkov is not the first to be ousted by Sechin. Roman Trotsenko was ousted in June 2012. Before him, Sechin got rid of Alexander Buzakov in November 2009, and others before that. Their tale was told here. Indeed, the only continuity in supervision of Russian shipbuilding since 2008, according to an official close to Sechin, has been Sechin himself.
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RUSSIAN INTERVENTION AT ENRC – WHAT ARE THE STATE BANKS AND SULEIMAN KERIMOV DOING FOR THE KAZAKH MINING COMPANY, AND FOR WHOSE BENEFIT?

By John Helmer, Moscow

Righteous indignation is to investigative journalism what Joseph Goebbels was to truth. So what was really going on in the last days of April when the London media celebrated the Russians who this year topped the UK Rich List, but discovered something going badly, maybe criminally wrong at Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC), a London-listed mining company controlled by three Kazakhs and the Kazakh government? If the London newspapers spell the name of one of ENRC’s owners, Alexander Mashkevich, in three different ways — Mahkevitch, according to the Telegraph; Machkevitch to the Guardian; and Mashkevich at the Financial Times and The Times — what to make of the reliability of the anonymous leaks, unseen documents and innuendo from the dismissed or the disgruntled, on which the media campaign against ENRC depends?

This isn’t a question to be answered right now. Instead, it’s what is already happening to take advantage of ENRC’s falling share price and market value that is in focus. For by the time the UK regulators get around to completing their investigations, and deciding what to do about them, the Kremlin will have intervened to coordinate and finance a multi-billion dollar takeover of control at ENRC. By then too, ENRC will no longer be a regulated entity on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
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LAGOS JUDGE DROPS OUT OF RUSSIAN CREW TRIAL FORCING SECOND POSTPONEMENT

By John Helmer, Moscow

The Nigerian judge Okechukwu Okeke has retired from his Lagos court rather than appear for the trial, scheduled in Lagos on April 30, of the Russian crew of the security tender, Myre Seadiver. Sources in Lagos told Fairplay the trial has been postponed for a second time on account of the judge’s absence. Okeke presided at the February 18 hearing at which the 15-man crew was formally charged, four months after they had been arrested and imprisoned. He released the crew from prison and remanded them to the Russian Embassy, setting April 10 for trial on the charges of arms smuggling and illegal entry to the country. When the judge did not appear on April 10, lawyers at court said they were unable to contact Okeke for an explanation. Yesterday the lawyers were told the judge had retired from the case.
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RED HAS TURNED YELLOW – THE GREEK AND CYPRIOT COMMUNISTS ARE FLYING A DIFFERENT FLAG IN THE UKRAINE WAR



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The Ukraine war is splitting the communist parties of Europe between those taking the US side, and those on the Russian side.

In an unusual public criticism of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and of smaller communist parties in Europe which have endorsed the Greek criticism of Russia for waging an “imperialist” war against the Ukraine, the Russian Communist Party (KPRF) has responded this week with a 3,300-word declaration:  “The military conflict in Ukraine,” the party said, “cannot be described as an imperialist war, as our comrades would argue. It is essentially a national liberation war of the people of Donbass. From Russia’s point of view it is a struggle against an external threat to national security and against Fascism.”

By contrast, the Russian communists have not bothered to send advice, or air public criticism of the Cypriot communists and their party, the Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL). On March 2, AKEL issued a communiqué “condemn[ing] Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and calls for an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of the Russian troops from Ukrainian territories….[and] stresses that the Russian Federation’s action in recognising the Donetsk and Luhansk regions constitutes a violation of the principle of the territorial integrity of states.”

 To the KPRF in Moscow the Cypriots are below contempt; the Greeks are a fraction above it.

A Greek-Cypriot veteran of Cypriot politics and unaffiliated academic explains: “The Cypriot communists do not allow themselves to suffer for what they profess to believe. Actually, they are a misnomer. They are the American party of the left in Cyprus, just as [President Nikos] Anastasiades is the American party of the right.” As for the Greek left, Alexis Tsipras of Syriza – with 85 seats of the Greek parliament’s 300, the leading party of the opposition – the KKE (with 15 seats), and Yanis Varoufakis of MeRA25 (9 seats), the source adds: “The communists are irrelevant in Europe and in the US, except in the very narrow context of Greek party politics.”

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IF IT SMELLS ALLURING, IT’S RUSSIAN – IN WARTIME L’ORÉAL (FRANCE) AND ESTÉE LAUDER (US) MAKE A BAD SMELL



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The war plan of the US and the European allies is destroying the Russian market for traditional French perfumes, the profits of the French and American conglomerates which own the best-known brands, the bonuses of their managers, and the dividends of their shareholders. The odour  of these losses is too strong for artificial fresheners.

Givaudan, the Swiss-based world leader in production and supply of fragrances, oils and other beauty product ingredients, has long regarded the Russian market as potentially its largest in Europe; it is one of the fastest growing contributors to Givaudan’s profit worldwide. In the recovery from the pandemic of Givaudan’s Fragrance and Beauty division – it accounts for almost half the company’s total sales — the group reported “excellent double-digit growth in 2021, demonstrating strong consumer demand for these product categories.”    Until this year, Givaudan reveals in its latest financial report, the growth rate for Russian demand was double-digit – much faster than the  6.3% sales growth in Europe overall; faster growth than in Germany, Belgium and Spain.    

Between February 2014, when the coup in Kiev started the US war against Russia, and last December, when the Russian non-aggression treaties with the US and NATO were rejected,   Givaudan’s share price jumped three and a half times – from 1,380 Swiss francs to 4,792 francs; from a company with a market capitalisation of 12.7 billion francs ($12.7 billion) to a value of 44.2 billion francs ($44.2 billion). Since the fighting began in eastern Ukraine this year until now, Givaudan has lost 24% of that value – that’s $10 billion.  

The largest of Givaudan’s shareholders is Bill Gates. With his 14%, plus the 10% controlled by Black Rock of New York and MFS of Boston, the US has effective control over the company.

Now, according to the US war sanctions, trade with Russia and the required payment systems have been closed down, alongside the bans on the importation of the leading European perfumes. So in place of the French perfumers, instead of Givaudan, the Russian industry is reorganizing for its future growth with its own perfume brands manufactured from raw materials produced in Crimea and other regions, or supplied by India and China. Givaudan, L’Oréal (Lancome, Yves Saint Laurent), Kering (Balenciaga, Gucci), LVMH (Dior, Guerlain, Givenchy), Chanel, Estée Lauder, Clarins – they have all cut off their noses to spite the Russian face.

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THE WAR AGAINST FOOD – WHO IS TO BLAME



By Nikolai Storozhenko, introduced and translated by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

This week President Joseph Biden stopped at an Illinois farm to say he’s going to help the  Ukraine ship 20 million tonnes of wheat and corn out of storage into export, thereby relieving  grain shortages in the international markets and lowering bread prices around the world.  Biden was trying to play a hand in which his cards have already been clipped. By Biden.  

The first Washington-Kiev war plan for eastern Ukraine has already lost about 40% of the Ukrainian wheat fields, 50% of the barley, and all of the grain export ports. Their second war plan to hold the western region defence lines with mobile armour, tanks, and artillery  now risks the loss of the corn and rapeseed crop as well as the export route for trucks to Romania and Moldova. What will be saved in western Ukraine will be unable to grow enough to feed its own people. They will be forced to import US wheat, as well as US guns and the money to pay for both.

Biden told his audience that on the Delaware farms he used to represent in the US Senate “there are more chickens than there are Americans.”  Blaming the Russians is the other card Biden has left.  

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EXILE



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The problem with living in exile is the meaning of the word. If you’re in exile, you mean you are forever looking backwards, in geography as well as in time. You’re not only out of place; you’re out of time — yesterday’s man.

Ovid, the Roman poet who was sent into exile from Rome by Caesar Augustus, for offences neither Augustus nor Ovid revealed, never stopped looking back to Rome. His exile, as Ovid described it, was “a barbarous coast, inured to rapine/stalked ever by bloodshed, murder, war.” In such a place or state, he said, “writing a poem you can read to no one is like dancing in the dark.”

The word itself, exsilium in Roman law, was the sentence of loss of citizenship as an alternative to loss of life, capital punishment. It meant being compelled to live outside Rome at a location decided by the emperor. The penalty took several degrees of isolation and severity. In Ovid’s case, he was ordered by Augustus to be shipped to the northeastern limit of the Roman empire,  the Black Sea town called Tomis; it is now Constanta, Romania. Ovid’s last books, Tristia (“Sorrows”) and Epistulae ex Ponto (“Black Sea Letters”), were written from this exile, which began when he was 50 years old, in 8 AD, and ended when he died in Tomis nine years year later, in 17 AD.  

In my case I’ve been driven into exile more than once. The current one is lasting the longest. This is the one from Moscow, which began with my expulsion by the Foreign Ministry on September 28, 2010.  The official sentence is Article 27(1) of the law No. 114-FZ — “necessary for the purposes of defence capability or security of the state, or public order, or protection of health of the population.” The reason, a foreign ministry official told an immigration service official when they didn’t know they were being overheard, was: “Helmer writes bad things about Russia.”

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IN THE FOG OF WAR THERE’S THE GUTERRES CERTAINTY AND THE CADIEU CERTAINTY – GORILLA RADIO SEES THROUGH THE COVER-UP



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Antonio Guterres is the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), who attempted last month  to arrange the escape from Russian capture of Ukrainian soldiers and NATO commanders,  knowing they had committed war crimes. He was asked to explain; he refuses.   

Trevor Cadieu is a Canadian lieutenant-general who was appointed the chief of staff and head of the Canadian Armed Forces last August; was stopped in September; retired from the Army this past April, and went to the Ukraine, where he is in hiding. From whom he is hiding – Canadians or Russians – where he is hiding, and what he will say to explain are questions Cadieu isn’t answering, yet.

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DID UN SECRETARY-GENERAL GUTERRES COMMIT A WAR CRIME AT AZOVSTAL?

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, is refusing this week to answer questions on the role he played in the recent attempt by US, British, Canadian and other foreign combatants to escape the bunkers under the Azovstal plant, using the human shield of civilians trying to evacuate.

In Guterres’s meeting with President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on April 26 (lead image), Putin warned Guterres he had been “misled” in his efforts. “The simplest thing”, Putin told Guterres in the recorded part of their meeting, “for military personnel or members of the nationalist battalions is to release the civilians. It is a crime to keep civilians, if there are any there, as human shields.”  

This war crime has been recognized since 1977 by the UN in Protocol 1 of the Geneva Convention.  In US law for US soldiers and state officials, planning to employ or actually using human shields is a war crime to be prosecuted under 10 US Code Section 950t.  

Instead, Guterres ignored the Kremlin warning and the war crime law, and authorized UN officials, together with Red Cross officials,  to conceal what Guterres himself knew of the foreign military group trying to escape. Overnight from New York, Guterres has refused to say what he knew of the military escape operation, and what he had done to distinguish, or conceal the differences between the civilians and combatants in the evacuation plan over the weekend of April 30-May 1.May.

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THE LAST DITCH IS POLAND – RUSSIA’S PHASE-3 PLAN FOR WESTERN UKRAINE



By Vlad Shlepchenko, introduced & translated by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The more western politicians announce pledges of fresh weapons for the Ukraine, the more Russian military analysts explain what options their official sources are considering to destroy the arms before they reach the eastern front, and to neutralize Poland’s role as the NATO  hub for resupply and reinforcement of the last-ditch holdout of western Ukraine.

“I would like to note,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, repeated yesterday, “that any transport of the North Atlantic Alliance that arrived on the territory of the country with weapons or material means for the needs of the Ukrainian armed forces is considered by us as a legitimate target for destruction”.  He means the Ukraine border is the red line.

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THE MATLIN PLOT, THE BROWDER PLOT AND THE NEW YORK TIMES PLOT



By Lucy Komisar,  New York*
  @bears_with

Here’s a story the New York Times has just missed.

US politicians and media pundits are promoting the targeting of “enablers” of Russian oligarchs who stash their money in offshore accounts. A Times article of March 11   highlighted Michael Matlin, CEO of Concord Management as such an “enabler.” But the newspaper missed serious corruption Matlin was involved in. Maybe that’s because Matlin cheated Russia, and also because the Matlin story exposes the William Browder/Sergei Magnitsky hoax aimed at Russia.

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YELLOW COAL, THE FUEL MADE OUT OF RACE HATRED — MAY DAY MESSAGE FROM SIGIZMUND KRZHIZHANOVSKY, 1939



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

In 1939 a little known writer in Moscow named Sigizmund Khrzhizhanovsky published his idea that the Americans, then the Germans would convert human hatred into a new source of energy powering everything which had been dependent until then on coal, gas, and oil.

Called yellow coal, this invention originated with Professor Leker at Harvard University. It was applied, first to running municipal trams, then to army weapons, and finally to cheap electrification of everything from domestic homes and office buildings to factory production lines. In Russian leker means a quack doctor.

The Harvard professor’s idea was to concentrate the neuro-muscular energy people produce when they hate each other.  Generated as bile (yellow), accumulated and concentrated into kinetic spite in machines called myeloabsorberators, Krzhizhanovsky called this globalization process the bilification of society.

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IS CAESARISM THE PROBLEM, THE SOLUTION, A FANCY DRESS COSTUME, OR A PROPAGANDA CARTOON?



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

In imperial history there is nothing new in cases of dementia in rulers attracting homicidal psychopaths to replace them.  It’s as natural as honey attracts bees.

When US President Woodrow Wilson was incapacitated by a stroke on October 19, 1919, he was partially paralysed and blinded, and was no longer able to feed himself, sign his name, or speak normally; he was not demented.

While his wife and the Navy officer  who was his personal physician concealed his condition, there is no evidence that either Edith Wilson or Admiral Cary Grayson were themselves clinical cases of disability, delusion,  or derangement. They were simply liars driven by the ambition to hold on to the power of the president’s office and deceive everyone who got in their way.  

The White House is always full of people like that. The 25th Amendment to the US Constitution is meant to put a damper on their homicidal tendencies.

What is unusual, probably exceptional in the current case of President Joseph Biden, not to mention the history of the United States,  is the extent of the president’s personal incapacitation; combined with the clinical evidence of psychopathology in his Secretary of State Antony Blinken;  and the delusional condition of the rivals to replace Biden, including Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Like Rome during the first century AD, Washington is now in the ailing emperor-homicidal legionary phase.  But give it another century or two, and the madness, bloodshed, and lies of the characters of the moment won’t matter quite as much as their images on display in the museums of their successors craving legitimacy, or of successor powers celebrating their superiority.  

Exactly this has happened to the original Caesars, as a new book by Mary Beard, a Cambridge University professor of classics, explains. The biggest point of her book, she says, is “dynastic succession” – not only of the original Romans but of those modern rulers who acquired the Roman portraits in marble and later copies in paint, and the copies of those copies, with the idea of communicating “the idea of the direct transfer of power from ancient Romans to Franks and on to later German rulers.”

In the case she narrates of the most famous English owner of a series of the “Twelve Caesars”, King Charles I — instigator of the civil war of 1642-51 and the loser of both the war and his head – the display of his Caesars was intended to demonstrate the king’s self-serving “missing link” between his one-man rule and the ancient Romans who murdered their way to rule, and then apotheosized into immortal gods in what they hoped would be a natural death on a comfortable bed.

With the American and Russian successions due to take place in Washington and Moscow in two years’ time, Beard’s “Twelve Caesars, Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern”,  is just the ticket from now to then.

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Copyright © 2007-2017 Dances With Bears

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