SOCHI SLIPPERY SLOPE, ACCORDING TO NU POGODI — CAN THE WOLF GET AWAY WITH WEARING GAY BOOTS BEFORE THE BEAR ARRESTS HIM? REGIME CHANGE IDEAS FOR THE NEW YEAR

nu_pogodi

By John Helmer, Moscow

Having destroyed Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria, the next big event for the regime-changers of the western media will be the Downhill at Sochi. If our brave reporters can’t find sexual disorientation and repression, they will provoke it during the Pair Skating. The Canadians will discover the Federal Security Service rigged the rocks in the Curling. The Team Luge winners will unveil Pussy Riot balaclavas under their helmets on the medal podium. The Russian ice-hockey team will be proof of President Vladimir Putin’s macho if they win gold; and of the shemasculinity of western democracy if they lose. Russian security police will be captured on a Youtube clip gone viral when they try clubbing to death images of Boris Berezovsky and Alexander Litvinenko projected by laser on to the slope during the Grand Slalom. The Mossad will issue a robust denial that its agents slipped a virus into the event timing and scoring computer programmes. A Ukrainian flag will be dropped by a stealth drone on to the dignatories box during the Closing Ceremony. The London Times and Fox Television will sum up, following proprietor Rupert Murdoch’s tweet, SOCHI – SUCH IGNOMINY!!! Russian journalists who turn a blind eye to these scoops will be disqualified from applying for Harvard University’s Nieman Fellowship.
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IF RUSAL MOVES ONSHORE, AS PRESIDENT PUTIN ORDERED THIS MONTH, IS OLEG DERIPASKA WASHED UP?

so_long_jersey

By John Helmer, Moscow

For as long the Russian tax man can remember, Oleg Deripaska has managed to keep his tax bill far below his Russian peers in the metals business. As national champions go, Deripaska is it for tax minimization. In good years or bad years, whether the London Metal Exchange price for aluminium is high or low, Deripaska’s tax has always gone through the floor. In 2003, a federal Tax Ministry report discovered that Rusal was paying income tax at just 2% of revenues. The percentage rose to 4% in 2006, but it has been diving ever since. In 2007, it was 3.1%; in 2008, 0.4%; 2009, 2.1%; 2010, 1.9%; 2011, 3%. Last year his tax rate was 0.2%. This year, according to Rusal’s interim report for the first nine months, tax is running at 0.97%.

How Deripaska has been able to pull off a trick no other major Russian company has managed has been no secret all these years. Three words do the trick – tolling, transfer pricing, offshorization. On December 12, President Vladimir Putin said enough is enough. His offer – either Deripaska brings Rusal onshore and pays Russian tax on his revenue, or else he loses the state banking credits which have kept Rusal from bankruptcy since November 2008. Either way, Deripaska looks washed up.
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LIBERATION FOR VLADIMIR PUTIN, IGOR SECHIN — WHAT A CAT, WHAT A LOAD OF PIGEONS

khodorkovskiy_putin

By John Helmer, Moscow

So far everything about the metamorphosis of Mikhail Khodorkovsky has gone like the cartoon – surprise launch into the air; flight without turbulence; soft landing among a flock of wellwishers; much cooing.

Just how well those wishers intend towards Khodorkovsky, and he towards them, is now to be tested. That’s a game even more Olympian than the one to be inaugurated in Sochi on February 7; or the one which those who hate President Vladimir Putin have yet to appreciate he’s playing.
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ELENA TIMCHENKO AND KSENIA FRANK SHOW FRIENDSHIP FOR RUSSIA, AND SOMETHING ELSE

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By John Helmer, Moscow

Never let it be said that in Russia deeds done out of the goodness of the heart go unnoticed by the state. Nup. Not even when philanthropies are paid for with cash accumulated in violation of the state’s policy of deoffshorization. Nup, nup. There is even a special award minted by the Kremlin and intended to recognize the good which offshorizers do in friendship for Russia. Called the Order of Friendship, the ribbons are blue and black, colours which appear on no flag of any country in the world, and symbolize thereby the freedom of the blue sky and the black hole in which we are all obliged to dwell beneath.
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PROKHOROV SLIPS THE TORONTO STOCK EXCHANGE A MICKEY FINN, ER, MAKE THAT A MAXIE FINN

maxi_finn

By John Helmer, Moscow

It was a specialty of the Chicago Irish at the turn of the 20th century. A Mickey Finn was a drug that was slipped into your cocktail without your knowing, in order to incapacitate you. When you came to, the only thing you knew was that you were missing your valuables. The eponymous Mickey Finn was a pickpocket who built his capital into a thriving business as the proprietor of the Lone Star Saloon and Palm Garden on the corner of Dearborn and Harrison Streets. (It’s a Starbucks nowadays. The girls Mickey used as lures now drink skinny lattes.)

Maxie Finn, aka Maxim Finsky (left front), is eponymous too. He is a childhood friend of Mikhail Prokhorov (left back), and he has been employed by him to buy assets on the cheap; consolidate them into special purpose vehicles which the two of them then try to resell. They’ve had one signal success. That was when Prokhorov jointly controlled Norilsk Nickel, Russia’s largest mining company, with Vladimir Potanin. Finsky was employed to spend Norilsk Nickel’s money on buying goldmining assets at premium prices before they were spun off and separately listed as Polyus Gold. Finsky spent foolishly, or worse, read this. But no matter. The rise of the price of gold drove the share price of Polyus Gold ten times and more above the amount paid for its assets. For the ups and downs in that decade-long story, read here.
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EVRAZ STILL UNABLE TO SELL HIGHVELD STEEL; DEAL TIMING APPEARS TIED TO SOUTH AFRICAN REACTOR PURCHASE FROM ROSATOM

highveld_stars

By John Helmer, Moscow

Evraz, the steelmaking group owned by Roman Abramovich (third figure from left) and Alexander Abramov (fourth from left), has just issued a notice to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange that it has been unable to complete the proposed sale of its South African unit, Highveld Steel & Vanadium, by a December 31 deadline. First announced on March 27, the heavily indebted Evraz said the terms of sale for its 85% shareholding in Highveld called for the acquiror, a South African company called Nemascore, to pay a purchase price of $320 million. Prior to the deal announcement, the Evraz stake had been valued in the market between $106 million and $135 million. Since March the market value of the stake has failed to reach 50% of the transaction price; it is currently just $138.4 million.

The new announcement acknowledges that closure of the sale has been postponed three times already, and that six cautionary notices have been issued to the Johannesburg market. Neither Evraz nor Nemascore has explained the reasons for the delay, claiming this is prevented by a non-disclosure agreement covering their deal. In its December 19 announcement, Evraz claims that a “due diligence process is still progressing”, and that the “Transaction is expected to be concluded towards the end of Q1 2014.” The story of Nemascore and its ties to the South African President, Jacob Zuma, can be read here.
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OLEG DERIPASKA TRIES SUPER SPY MISSION TO RESCUE IRAN HOSTAGE, PAYS BRIBES FOR FBI, TRADES FOR CIA, BUT IF YOU BELIEVE IT, WINS NO QUANTUM OF SOLACE

deripaska_007

By John Helmer, Moscow

Lights! Camera! Action!
Oleg Deripaska, chief executive of the Russian state aluminium monopoly Rusal (title image), calls his security men to a meeting in a soundproof room he’s decorated with a collection of west African masks on the walls. Clicketty-click the subtitle rolls on to the screen, MOSCOW 2009. “Whaddya know about Levinson?” he barks softly. “Who we know in Tehran? Whad’ll it cost us to spring him? Don’t come back if you’ve got nothing.” Deripaska’s threat fades to inaudibility. That’s the cue for the agents, veterans of the old KGB and GRU, to slip wordlessly away, their faces locked in hatchet grins.

Cut to the bar at the Hilton—clicketty-click: TYSONS CORNER, VIRGINIA, 2009 — suspended glass, flashy steel, gold lighting, cocktail chatter. A woman arrives out of breath, complaining to the man and the woman who are already seated, staring into their short bourbons instead of looking up. “Sorry”, she sputters. “Dolley Madison was backed all the way up.” “What’s this about the Russian?” the man whines. “Awright already”, she says. “We need one to catch one. Deripaska says he can buy Levinson out of Iran. Do we task him?”
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THE PUT-UP PAINT JOB — ANDREI MELNICHENKO SUES FOR ANOTHER COAT ON HIS BOAT

bird_dulux

By John Helmer, Moscow

Andrei Melnichenko has extra reason to be concerned about the sunlight — and we aren’t talking financial transparency. The owner of Eurochem, a large Russian producer of fertilizers, says he has evidence that sunlight on his surfaces reveals rash, blotches, separations, lines, starring and sagging. He says he’s paid to see his face reflected on the surfaces, but because the job has been botched, he can’t. The damage he is estimating at $100 million.

That’s not Melnichenko’s person we are talking about, but the surfaces of his boat, a motor yacht named A, after his wife Alexandra, and owned by the two of them through a succession of offshore companies, starting with Niedes Ltd. of British Virgin Islands, A Yacht Charter Co. of Isle of Man, and currently Bermuda Yachts Ltd of Bermuda.
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INTERPIPE IS IN THE LION’S MOUTH — THAT’S THE RUSSIAN BANKS

interpipe_lion

By John Helmer, Moscow

Interpipe, the heavily indebted Ukrainian pipemaker owned by Victor Pinchuk (centre), owes at least $120 million to Russian banks, led by state-owned Sberbank controlled by former Minister of Economic Development, German Gref (wall picture, left). But the Russian bankers are not represented in any of the loan restructuring negotiations which are currently under way, following Interpipe’s default on $106 million in debts owed to its international lenders on November 1.

The Russian debt and the Russian influence over Interpipe’s financial survival have been disclosed by Interpipe executives at a briefing for Interpipe’s Eurobond holders on December 9. The Russian loan agreements carry standard protective clauses allowing a call for full repayment when Pinchuk and his holding are in default to other lenders, suppliers, or creditors. If the Russians decide to do this, Interpipe’s executives acknowledge they cannot pay. They have less than $90 million in free cash at present, and admit they cannot borrow extra money.
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DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS — ZIYAVUDIN MAGOMEDOV LOSES SHIPYARD TO UNITED SHIPBUILDING CORPORATION

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By John Helmer, Moscow

The Russian Government has decided that state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) may buy control of Novorossiysk Shipyard (NSY) from the Novorossiysk Commercial Seaport Company (NCSP), which is currently in the midst of bitter conflict between state shareholders and Ziyavudin Magomedov (picture, right). The takeover has been promoted by Dmitry Rogozin, deputy prime minister in charge of the military industrial complex, as a solution to the ship repair requirements of the Russian Navy whose operations are growing fast in the Mediterranean, as well as the Black Sea.

The takeover move is also backed by Transneft, the crude oil pipeline company, and Russian Railways, which already control about 41% of NCSP’s shares; and by Rosneft, the state oil exporter, which is bidding to acquire the remaining 20% stake which the state holds in NCSP. A beneficiary of their alliance is Gennady Timchenko; his Gunvor oil trading group controls the new Ust-Luga oil terminal on the Gulf of Finland, to which increasing crude oil volumes have been directed by Transneft, cutting tanker shipments out of Primorsk by more than 20% this year, compared to 2012. Primorsk was merged with Novorossiysk in 2011. Because of the competition from Ust-Luga, Primorsk is now loading tankers at its lowest volume in more than five years.
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LUKOIL WILL SELL THE GRIB DIAMOND PIPE, BUT ALROSA CAN’T AFFORD THE PRICE

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By John Helmer, Moscow

For the first time Alrosa, the state-owned diamond miner, has come out in public and said it wants to buy Grib, the only commercially developed Russian diamond mine owned by LUKoil and its chief executive, Vagit Alekperov. Why it should say so now, when earlier announcements by Alrosa have veiled the target and concealed sale and purchase talks with LUKoil a year ago, isn’t clear.

“If the asset proves to be interesting,” said Igor Kulichik, Alrosa’s chief financial officer, “and if we agree on the price then we are prepared to discuss with Lukoil the purchase of this asset.” Kulichik was briefing sector analysts on Alrosa’s third-quarter financial results on December 5. He was explicitly asked about the Grib sale by a VTB analyst. “We know this asset quite well and we follow it. Yes, Lukoil is targeting to commence production and beneficiation early next year and in the next year they are targeting to already sell from there. We discussed with Lukoil a potential sale of that pipe about a year ago. But our geologists find it difficult to assess exactly what raw material is there in that pipe. So we decided not to rush, basically to let Lukoil start production there, see what comes out of that pipe, see how it develops and then to consider the potential purchase of the asset.” Kulichik made his comment on December 5; Alrosa published the transcript five days later.
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WHAT IS THE REAL GOAL IN THIS GAME? OLEG DERIPASKA ACCUSED OF FRAUD IN KALUGA, ACCUSES GOVERNOR ANATOLY ARTAMONOV OF MORAL DAMAGE

kaluga_deripaska

By John Helmer, Moscow

Russian justice being what is, it is exceptional when the chief executive of a company owned by Oleg Deripaska (right) is arrested and carried off to prison on charges of fraud.

As the days lengthen through which Deripaska’s man must spend behind bars – 16 as of today — interrogated by the Investigative Committee of the General Prosecutor, the likelihood grows that it is Deripaska himself who is the real target. Sources familiar with the matter claim this is the preliminary for an event being planned once the Winter Olympic Games conclude in Sochi on February 23. Not the ski jump, though: the sources claim this time it’s Deripaska for the high jump.
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DANIELI IN THE LION’S DEN — VICTOR PINCHUK CHEWS OVER $1.3 BILLION DEBT

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By John Helmer, Moscow

Victor Pinchuk, the owner of Interpipe, the Ukrainian steelmaker which defaulted on its debts on November 1, has called his first-ever public business meeting. The date is December 9, and the meeting will be telephonic. Deutsche Bank, which is acting as trustee for Interpipe’s $200 million Eurobond issue, is promising to answer questions about the company’s financial collapse, and provide a copy of the debt repayment agreement Pinchuk has with his banks.

Those attending the meeting will not be able to read Interpipe’s presentation until the start of the conference call. They will then have just 60 minutes to read, ask their questions, and listen to the answers. According to Deutsche Bank, the conference call will “last no more than one hour.”
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THE SWEDISH APPROACH TO MONEY-LAUNDERING — SACK THE LAUNDRY MAIDS, KEEP THE LAUNDRY

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By John Helmer, Moscow

Following a fresh investigation of its business practices in the former Soviet Union, TeliaSonera, the Stockholm-based telecommunications company, reported Friday that it has dismissed four senior executives, including the chief financial officer and the head of its mobile telephone division. A company statement claims that the objective of the investigation was “a risk assessment from a business ethics perspective”. The spokesman of the company, Salomon Bekele, says the targets were geographically limited to its “Eurasia division”, and that TeliaSonera’s business in Uzbekistan and Russia were “excepted”.

According to TeliaSonera’s financial report for the first nine months of the year, issued on October 17, Sweden currently accounts for about 36% of the company’s sales, Eurasia about 22%. But the Eurasia division is the group’s main source of growth, generating SEK5.3 billion ($807.6 million), 11.1% more in sales revenues compared to last year counted in local currencies; in Swedish kronor the growth rate was 3.1%. Earnings (Ebitda) from the Eurasian division jumped 9.5% to SEK8 billion ($1.2 billion). By comparison, the company’s consolidated revenues fell by 1.8%, earnings rose by 1.5%.
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WHO SAYS GREENPEACE IS A SACRED COW? THE GLOBAL MEDIA, PRINT AND INTERNET, THAT’S WHO

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By John Helmer, Moscow

According to Colin Russell, an Australian who was the radioman on board the Greenpeace vessel, Arctic Sunrise, he’s “a good man”. Arrested by Russian coast guards after barricading himself in the radio room on September 19, he was imprisoned in Murmansk and St. Petersburg, until he was granted bail and released last Thursday, November 28. Russell claimed on his release: “I don’t understand the reasons why I’m being detained. It’s two months’ hard time for nothing. I’ve done nothing wrong.”

The initial charges considered against Russell by Russian prosecutors were resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and piracy. The legal case for the piracy charge has been spelled out, not in the Russian courts, but in the federal US District Court and US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which covers the northern Pacific coast states and Alaska. If you want to understand why piracy may be charged against unarmed attackers of a vessel at sea, read this US ruling carefully.
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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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