THE MONTENEGRO CRAP-SHOOT — OLEG DERIPASKA, RUSAL, AND THE PODGORICA ALUMINIUM COMBINE

deripaska_montenegro

By John Helmer, Moscow

A decade ago, before the Annie-get-your-gun ladies got control of US policy in Ukraine, their Hopalong Cassidy predecessors were in charge. Back then, the menfolk tried an identical combination of bribery and democracy-funding, the point of which was to make sure Serbians lost their right to go to their own beach – that is to say, Montenegro. If the children reading would go to bed immediately, it would be possible to reveal how the unconventional sexual orientation of Annie and Hoppy usually leads to such jolly, if not gay American combinations – bribery, democracy, and beaches.

The war between Moscow, Washington, and Brussels over Montenegro went to the wire on May 21, 2006, when 55.5% of Montenegrin voters approved their secession from Serbia, and applied for recognition, first as an independent state, then as a candidate member of the European Union (EU). Russian policy opposed the breakaway, backed the union with Serbia – rump of the former Yugoslavia – and offered Montenegrins a Russian cash-and-carry alternative to EU grants and conditions. The validity of the super-majority required for the US-EU option to carry was just 0.5% of the 419,236 votes cast – 2,096. In Podgorica, the country’s capital and site of the Podgorica Aluminium Combine (KAP), the US-EU vote came to 53.2%, not enough for the European option to prevail.
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RUSSIAN MILITARY PULLBACK TO LEAVE UKRAINIAN FEAR IN PLACE — NO NATIONAL MAJORITY FOR PRESIDENT, NO CONFIDENCE IN PARLIAMENT, NO CHOICE

eu_fear

By John Helmer, Moscow

Ukrainian voters are now united in only one thing – their fear. Countrywide, two out of three say they are afraid of military conflict with outside forces. One in two say they are more afraid of internal conflict and civil war. Almost that many say their biggest anxieties are non-payment of pensions, loss of jobs and wages.

The latest poll of Ukrainian voters has been a cooperative, nationwide effort by four polling organizations, led by the Centre for Social and Marketing Research (SOCIS) and the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS). A sample of 6,200 has been gathered in individual face-to-face interviews, covering all regions except Crimea. The statistical error has been reduced from 2% in the smaller telephone polls of January and February to 0.8% in the new results. The polling was undertaken between March 14 and 19, and thus reflects the first reaction of the majority of Ukrainians to the Crimean referendum and its secession. The results were published in Ukrainian on March 26, and can be read here.
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PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA REVEALS A CASE OF COCQ ENVY

obama_cocq

By John Helmer, Moscow

President Barack Obama has done something no president of the US has done in public, outside of wartime, for more than a century. He has attempted to issue a personal insult to another country and its president by belittling both.

At the Rijksmuseum, in Amsterdam on Monday, in front of Rembrandt’s “The Militia Company of District II under the Command of Captain Frans Banninck Cocq”, also known as “The Night Watch”, the White House arranged a photo opportunity. Obama spoke of the painting behind as “the most impressive backdrop I’ve had for a press conference”; claimed he had studied the Dutch Masters in school; thanked the locals for their hospitality, and moved on to a meeting with the Dutch Prime Minister while the media were dispersed. There was no press conference.
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THE FORCE MAJEURE OPTION

force_majeure

By John Helmer, Moscow

A year ago the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) reported that through the statistics collected by its 60 associated central banks, total bank lending to Russia had jumped by $25 billion in the January quarter. That was the largest quarterly increase of Russian lending and borrowing in BIS records. It was also a sign of the growing integration between Russia and the economies of the rest of the world.

This year, the US Government has decided to put a stop to that, and declared war on Russian individuals and Russian corporations. In part, this has been done by issuing transaction ban and asset freeze orders of designated individuals and institutions; in part, by legislating the authority for the US President to attack the economic means of any individual of Russian nationality or association; and in part, by advertising in the Financial Times and The Economist the intention to attack the entire Russian economy until capitulation.
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THE ILLEGALITY OF US SANCTIONS

us_sanctions

By John Helmer, Moscow

In 1487, when Edmund Duke of Edinburgh, aka the Black Adder, wanted to strike fear into the English royal court, and also the Spaniards, he called his valet to dress him in his Russian codpiece.

Do I need to tell the young girls and boys in charge of war in Washington, DC, just how big the Russian codpiece was back then? Are they so mesmerized by its size today they believe the law is on their side when they try to strike back? If so, girls and boys, you have an unsavoury surprise coming – and I’m not referring to what will happen if the codpiece comes off.
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COLOUR PETRO IN, COLOUR PETRO DOWN AND OUT — POROSHENKO’S ASSETS AT RISK

petro_in

By John Helmer, Moscow

The assets of Petro Poroshenko, frontrunner in the Ukrainian presidential election called for May 25, are facing growing pressure in Crimea and mainland Russia.

If US and French Government proposals now in discussion in Brussels expand anti-Russian sanctions to strike at the offshore assets of Russian oligarchs, Poroshenko is likely to be targeted for retaliation, and lose the Bogdan auto assembly and sales outlets in Crimea; the Sevmorverf shipyard in Sevastopol; Roshen confectionery plants in Lipetsk; and roughly half the Roshen group’s trading revenues. The Crimean assets are relatively small in value. The Lipetsk assets have been estimated by Roshen to have cost more than $100 million. About $80 million, half the Roshen group’s annual sale revenues, is accounted for by Poroshenko’s exports to Russia.
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THE GAY SANCTION — PRESIDENT OBAMA TAKES REVENGE ON YELENA MIZULINA FOR LAWS TO BAN HOMOSEXUAL PROPAGANDA AND ADOPTION OF RUSSIAN CHILDREN BY SAME-SEX COUPLES

gay_sanction

By John Helmer, Moscow

President Barack Obama issued an order yesterday imposing sanctions against seven Russians whom he and his government blame for the crisis in Ukraine. At the bottom of the Obama list at Number 7 is State Duma Deputy Yelena Mizulina (left), chairman of the Committee on Family, Women and Children Affairs. She and the other six Russians are accused in the White House declaration of responsibility for “the deployment of Russian military forces in the Crimea region of Ukraine” and for policies which “undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets.”

The sanctions against Mizulina are explicitly identified in the March 17 order as blocking “all property and interests in property that are in the United States”; barring entry to the US; and banning engagement with US citizens in “any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit” of Mizulina.
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IS IT CURTAINS FOR IGOR ZYUZIN? VLADIMIR LISIN AND MIKHAIL FRIDMAN ON THE ATTACK

curtains_mechel

By John Helmer, Moscow

Alfa Bank, owned by Mikhail Fridman, has issued an unexpected loan repayment demand from Mechel, controlled by Igor Zyuzin (left), for $150 million. That’s chicken-feed in Mechel’s debt pile of almost $10 billion. But with dozens of trade creditors in the arbitrazh courts demanding their invoices be paid; a collapsing share price; and nothing of value left to mortgage or to meet margin calls, Zyuzin is on the edge of bankruptcy. So why has Fridman issued his ultimatum? Since two out of every three dollars Zyuzin owes are under state bank control, Fridman’s notice appears to be a call on the banks, and on the government behind, to get rid of Zyuzin altogether and redistribute Mechel’s steelmaking and coal-mining assets. It isn’t likely Fridman, who abandoned the mining and metal lines of business after the 2008 crisis, is acting alone.

The Alfa Bank demand was issued during a meeting last Thursday, March 13, with government ministers and bankers to discuss Mechel’s financial position. Mechel and Alfa sources confirm that the meeting, chaired by Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, was told that Mechel was in violation of its loan covenants and that Alfa demanded pre-payment within 24 hours.
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LEGAL VACUUM AT THE UKRAINIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT — HOW FIVE JUDGES WERE DISMISSED, FOUR JUDGES APPOINTED, AND THE REST OF THE BENCH THREATENED WITH CRIMINAL INDICTMENT 36 HOURS BEFORE THE CRIMEAN REFERENDUM

editorial cartoon: mothersday, moederdag

By John Helmer, Moscow

In most legal codes there is no concept of a legal vacuum, since lawyers, judges and experts on jurisprudence everywhere believe that for every act some law or other must apply. In English and American law, for example, it is inconceivable – to lawyers, judges, politicians and policemen – that the law ceases to have application. It is possible, they admit, that there are situations which are so novel in fact, or so unprecedented, the statutes, regulations, and decided case law haven’t caught up with the realities. But catch up the legislators and judges do. These aren’t vacuums, so much as gaps which are invariably plugged.

What happens if a government or a legislature, acting beyond its authority, gets a court to rule in violation of its constitution? That isn’t a vacuum. It is double-barrelled unlawfulness or illegality. But since the fingers on the trigger didn’t have the authority to pull, the outcome is what the lawyers call a legal nullity. It doesn’t require challenge or appeal. It is void from the start. For examples in international law of what the doctrine of nullity means, read on. For an interpretation of a legal vacuum by the Russian Constitutional Court, click here.
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WHEN MONEY CAN’T TALK — THE POLITICAL PARTITION OF UKRAINE HAS ALREADY SPLIT THE MINDS OF VOTERS

brain_money

By John Helmer, Moscow

Majorities of voters in the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine believe there is no candidate running for the presidential election planned for May 25, whom they trust with a vote to represent their interests. With two months still to go, the outcome of the poll is therefore already decided – it will be regarded by southern and eastern Ukrainians as a forced choice; an illegitimate result; and an outcome which cannot be relied on to protect the interests of the southerners and easterners.

According to voter polling by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, there are still large blocs of undecided voters or refuseniks in the south and east who may be persuaded to vote. The appointments of the steelmill oligarchs, Sergei Taruta and Igor Kolomoisky, as governors of the Donetsk and Dniepropetrovsk regions has been interpreted as an attempt by officials in Kiev to achieve this with cash and promises of job and pension benefits. But new poll evidence suggests that no amount of money can buy votes for the US-approved candidates — Vitali Klitschko, Petro Poroshenko, or Oleg Tyagnibok. The same can be said for the Russian-approved candidacy of Yulia Tymoshenko.
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THE CRIMEA EFFECT — WHOEVER CONTROLS CRIMEA CONTROLS HUGE RESERVES OF OFFSHORE GAS, BUT MAYBE THAT WON’T BE EXXONMOBIL OR NATHANIEL ROTHSCHILD

crimea_effect

By John Helmer, Moscow

Georhii Rudko, the chairman of the Ukrainian State Commission for Natural Resources, had nothing to do with the choice of the old British War Office as the venue; nor the timing of his speech, one day before the President of Ukraine and the constitutional order of the country were toppled. But Rudko’s presentation on the future for the oil and gas resources of Ukraine was anything but a sideshow.

Rudko was scheduled to speak at a meeting entitled “Black Sea & Caspian 2014 Conference – Unlocking Full Potential”. The date was February 20. The address was 89 Pall Mall, where the War Office was located between 1858 and 1906, just missing the Crimean War (1853-56), but managing the second Opium War against China; the three Basotho wars in southern Africa; several rebellions in India; and the Boer War in South Africa. As war offices go, the score was a grand slam for the British.
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GLENCORE TAKES A BATH WITH RUSAL — IS IVAN GLASENBERG INCOMPETENT, OR HAVE ERNST & YOUNG MISSED THE OBVIOUS?

glencore_rusal

By John Helmer, Moscow

Winston Churchill likened his inability to know what happens in Moscow to a case of bulldogs fighting under a rug. Ivan Glasenberg (right), chief executive of GlencoreXstrata, and Oleg Deripaska (left), chief executive of United Company Rusal — secretive though they are — are too fond of each other to fight. What they do under the rug is something else.

So when Glencore announced last week that it is marking its shareholding in United Company Rusal for sale at $394 million, 53% less than the year before, it’s clear that for Glencore the Rusal stake is a pup. Less obvious is it that when Glencore says it is selling Rusal, it means to do what it says.
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MODERN ARTFULNESS — SOUTH AFRICA AGREES TO BUY CHINESE NUCLEAR REACTOR TECHNOLOGY WHICH EITHER BELONGS TO OTHERS OR HASN’T BEEN BUILT & TESTED — WITH FUNDS THE SOUTH AFRICAN FINANCE MINISTRY WON’T ALLOCATE TO THE STATE BUDGET, AND THE GOVERNMENT’S ELECTRICITY PLAN RECOMMENDS AGAINST SPENDING ANY TIME SOON

china_reselling

By John Helmer, Moscow

On March 4 the Chinese and South African governments announced they are preparing an agreement on nuclear cooperation to allow the Chinese to sell $50 billion worth of their nuclear reactor technology for South Africa’s power generation programme.

There are four catches. One is that a South African report from the ministry responsible for energy planning recommends against investing in nuclear reactors for at least two, and possibly ten more years. The second catch is that the South African Ministry of Finance has refused to allow any funds to be put into current or future budgets for nuclear reactors. The third catch is that the Chinese have depended to date on reactor technology they have bought from France, the US, and Russia which cannot be resold in the international market. Nuclear reactor bids from each of these three countries have already been tabled for the South African nuclear programme, and until last month the most likely contender for selection, according to South African President Jacob Zuma and Ben Martins, the Minister of Energy, was Rosatom of Russia.
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THE UKRAINIAN PYRAMID PRESIDENT OBAMA BUILT

ua_pyramid

By John Helmer, Moscow

The White House record claims that on the afternoon of Friday, February 21, President Barack Obama initiated a telephone call to President Vladimir Putin. But the US version of what was said claims Obama committed himself to supporting the agreement which President Victor Yanukovich had signed early on the same day with leaders of the Ukrainian opposition, and with the foreign ministers of Germany, Poland and France. “President Obama called Russian President Vladimir Putin”, the White House reported, and apparently agreed “to implement quickly the political agreement reached today in Kyiv”.

The transcript hasn’t been released, not yet. But the Kremlin version doesn’t report that Obama agreed to anything. Instead, Putin reportedly warned Obama against “working with the radical opposition, which has taken the confrontation in Ukraine to a very dangerous point.”
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ROBBING PYOTR TO PAY PAVEL — THE VULNERABILITY OF RUSSIAN ASSETS IN UKRAINE

ua_assets

By John Helmer, Moscow

A new type of warfare is being tested in Ukraine. The strategem was first publicly disclosed on February 23, when Zbigniew Brzezinski — the wannabe Secretary of State if the Democratic Party wins the 2016 presidential election — proposed a billion-dollar levy on each of ten Ukrainian oligarchs. Brzezinski didn’t identify them by name, but suggested they were “principal beneficiaries of the country’s stunningly widespread corruption”. Another $10 billion, according to Brzezinski’s scheme, should be “matched” by the deposed president, Viktor Yanukovich, and his family.

Swiss sources reveal that the Swiss government and banks are under pressure right now to extend their freeze of the Yanukovich bank accounts to other Ukrainians on a US Government target list. Brzezinski’s proposal used the term “persuade” for his billion-dollar levy. The US Treasury has conveyed to the Swiss, as well as to banks of the European Union (EU), the targeting of as many Ukrainians as the new government in Kiev wants to threaten, especially if their business is concentrated in the eastern half of the country.
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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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