MELCHIOR WATHELET, THE GLADIO – ADVOCATE-GENERAL OF EUROPEAN COURT IN ROSNEFT SANCTIONS CASE WORKED WITH SECRET NATO SPY AND TERROR RING AGAINST RUSSIA; ROSNEFT LAWYERS IN SANCTIONS CASE INCLUDE US SPY

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By John Helmer, Moscow

Melchior Wathelet (lead image, left), the Advocate-General of the European Court in Luxembourg, publicly recommended on May 31 that the court should dismiss a challenge to the legality of European Union sanctions by the Russian state oil company Rosneft. Wathelet has a history of secret operations against Moscow. That history ought to have disqualified Wathelet from participating in the Rosneft case, lawyers at the court say. “He should have done so voluntarily,” one of the lawyers adds. “Instead, Wathelet, along with the Belgian President of the Court, Koen Lenaerts, have kept the past secret, allowing a serious conflict of interest to influence the outcome of the case.”

As the minister of justice in his native Belgium, Wathelet supervised the Belgian state security service, and officially participated himself over several years in NATO spying, military operations and propaganda schemes against Russia and the Soviet Union. Details of Wathelet’s involvement in NATO’s Operation Gladio were not known to Rosneft when Wathelet was assigned to the case. Rosneft’s Anglo-American law firm did not investigate Wathelet’s bacckgournd. Also, the law firm, Hage Joseph Aaronson, has kept from Rosneft the knowledge that one of their own lawyers was a long-serving officer in the US Defence Intelligence Agency.

Lawyers engaged in European Court cases in Luxembourg say they are astonished by the conflict of interest. “This case is hugely important,” said one source engaged in a parallel sanctions proceeding. “If Rosneft were to win, the legality of sanctions would collapse”. A London lawyer adds he is surprised that Rosneft management and its lawyers in Luxembourg failed to challenge Wathelet’s participation in the case.

Wathelet is not denying the information about his past involvement in NATO operations. He won’t explain why he and the presiding judge, Court President Koen Lenaerts, acted together to arrange his assessment of the Rosneft legal papers.
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WHO IS PUTTING THE BOOT INTO THE RUSSIAN SHOE BUSINESS? STEALING DESTROYS MARKET LEADER

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By John Helmer, Moscow

A week ago, Russia’s leading retailer of shoes, TsentrObuv (“Shoe Center”), was taken to the Moscow Arbitrazh Court by 99 plaintiffs, the largest group of creditors ever recorded against an insolvent business of TsentrObuv’s size and national name recognition. This is only the most recent claim to be filed against TsentrObuv and its associated companies. More than a thousand cases are pending in the arbitrazh court system nationwide.

The debts are owed to Chinese and Russian suppliers of the shoes which the TsentrObuv chain of shops has been selling. Some of the debts are owed to owners and agents for the lease of hundreds of shops; to construction companies for their fitting out; to freight delivery companies; to advertisers and employees; and to banks and trade finance houses. The debts have yet to be toted up by the court –appointed trustees; they are estimated in the trade at more than Rb29 billion – that’s $446 million.

Offshore in Cyprus, British Virgin Islands (BVI), Liechtenstein, Hong Kong, and Delaware (US), where a chain of entities has been passing the Russian cashflow of TsentrObuv through to company names and trusts controlled by the shoe group’s shareholders, the debts personally guaranteed to banks have been reported by the company at $143 million in US dollars and Euros, plus almost $270 million equivalent in roubles. That was in 2012. How much of these offshore debts is still owed is not known. Just one of the companies, Kalisto Business Corporation of BVI, was reported as owing $33.5 million about one year ago. Since then the shops have been closing down, the revenues plummeting, the number of creditors multiplying.

Sources at TsentrObuv’s headquarters in Moscow admit the group is in liquidation. But this is not a normal bankruptcy. Criminal investigations now under way in Moscow, Tomsk, Ryazan, and other cities and regions indicate that shareholders and managers of TsentrObuv have been looting the cash takings of the shops, along with loans from banks, and hiding the money offshore. Theirs has been no soft-shoe routine. Altogether, the TsentrObuv stealing scheme appears to have made off with at least half a billion dollars.

When President Vladimir Putin promised last week in St. Petersburg that the Kremlin is committed to “drastically reduce illegal criminal prosecutions”, he might have asked the Russians in the audience to look down at their shoes. If they came from TsentrObuv, the question to be asked of the Kremlin’s new “working group on law enforcement in entrepreneurial activity” is not how much prosecutors have done to protect the shoe market, but why they have done so little for so long. The affair of TsentrObuv puts the Kremlin shoe on the other foot.
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HELLO RAPALLO! THE INEVITABILITY OF THE NEW GERMAN TREATY ON ECONOMIC COOPERATION WITH RUSSIA

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By John Helmer, Moscow

Secret negotiations have been under way for some time between high German and Russian officials, to which Chancellor Angela Merkel has been excluded. Warned by US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, and in a recent coded communication from outgoing President Barack Obama that she must act to save her authority, and enforce European Union sanctions against Russia, Merkel has also received an ultimatum from her cabinet and party. This was delivered in the form of a page torn out of an Old German bible in which a large black spot had been inked. Either she step aside in secret, Merkel understood the signal, or she will be forced to resign in public.
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THE BRITISH VOTE ISN’T AGAINST EUROPE – IT’S AGAINST THE WARS OF BARACK OBAMA, ANGELA MERKEL, AND EVERY SERIOUS NEWSPAPER IN THE WORLD AS WE USED TO KNOW IT

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By John Helmer, Moscow

On November 15, 2015, I told you so.

“Since the US started the regime dominoes falling in Kiev in February 2014, the Polish regime has already toppled, and the French one is doomed – President Francois Hollande will be defeated by every one of the candidates now running to succeed him, including Marine Le Pen of the National Front. The British Prime Minister David Cameron can postpone his day of reckoning, but on the margins of Europe, not inside. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel has less time, fewer supporters. When Merkel topples, she will take the European Union (EU) into the shambles with her.”
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IN THE RUSSIAN SUGAR BUSINESS, WAR IS NOT AN ARTIFICIAL SWEETENER

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By John Helmer, Moscow

In countries where sugar is grown as a consumer staple or for export, the stuff is proverbially blamed for the temptation to exaggerate and to steal. In Madagascar, they say “truth is like sugar cane. Even if you chew it for a long time, it is still sweet.” But in Malawi, they say: “ants die in sugar”. If this means you can chew too much on a good thing, that isn’t so in India. According to the Indian maxim, “stolen sugar is the sweetest.”

In the villages of western Russia – one of the world’s largest producers of beets — the proverbial wisdom doesn’t even recognize the sugar content of the crop. In fact, the villagers warn: “Shut up, you beets! Remember shchi is cooked with cabbage.”

On April 29, Ros Agro (ticker AGRO:LI), one of Russia’s largest sugar producers and one of the London market’s sweetest Russian stocks, suddenly went sour. Almost 5 million shares, a record number for a day’s trading in Ros Agro, were sold, causing a price collapse. Was Vadim Moshkovich, the control shareholder, selling? Moshkovich is not explaining. So which is it – a case of the stolen sugar of the Indian proverb, or a case of the familiar Russian soup?
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US STRATEGY FOR RUSSIA – WAGE WAR BUT NOT DECLARE IT

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By John Helmer, Moscow

Between August 9 and 12, 1941, taking their battleships in turn to meet in a Canadian bay, US President Franklin Roosevelt (centre, left) and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (centre, right) discussed what to do about their adversaries at the time, Germany and Japan. Roosevelt had whispered, and Churchill later reporting him as saying aloud: “I will wage war, but not declare it.”

Until February 21, 2014, President Barack Obama’s (right) whispers were audible; President Vladimir Putin (left) didn’t believe what he was hearing. Now there is armed US war against Russia on the Ukraine and Syria-Turkey fronts; exchanges of armed signals in the Black and Baltic Seas; and an all-fronts war against Russian capital. For the US, no declaration; for Russia, no way back.

Putin said as much at last week’s St. Petersburg meetings: “People feel no danger and that is alarming for me. Why can’t we see that we are dragging the world into an utterly new dimension? This is the problem.” “I am not interested in laying blame now. I simply want to say that if this policy of unilateral actions continues and if steps in the international arena that are very sensitive to the international community are not coordinated then such consequences are inevitable.” By consequences, Putin meant war, undeclared by the US against Russia, compelling Russia to forestall in its defence. “If we continue to act according to this logic, escalating [tensions] and redoubling efforts to scare each other, then one day it will come to a cold war.”

Cold is not the kind of war Putin means. “I don’t know where it [the deployment of the U.S. missile defense system in Europe] might lead to but I know for sure that we will have to respond.”
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THE OBAMA SHOE-BANGING MOMENT ON THE UKRAINE FRONT – DUTCH AND AUSTRALIAN TROOPS WERE PLANNING TO START WAR WITH RUSSIA AFTER MH17 WAS SHOT DOWN

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By John Helmer, Moscow

President Barack Obama (lead image, left) and his advisors (right) spent at least a week, and as much as three weeks, planning to send up to 9,000 combat troops into eastern Ukraine, on the border with Russia, following the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 two years ago. The scheme, which was to have involved Dutch and Australian army units, with German ground and US air support, plus NATO direction, has inadvertently leaked from the publication of a report this week by a former Australian Army captain.

The military plan, according to James Brown, now head of research at the US Studies Centre of the University of Sydney, “would have consumed the bulk of the Australian Army.” Captain Brown also claims “planning for these military options consumed Australia’s intelligence agencies. The National Security Committee of [the Australian ministerial] Cabinet met every day for more than three weeks , and staff and agencies produced a frenzied stream of briefings on Ukraine, Russia and the intentions of [President] Vladimir Putin.”

According to Dutch sources, the military plan of attack was aborted when Germany refused to participate directly, or allow its bases and airspace to be used. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the Dutch were pulling their troops out of the plan on July 27. He said at the time: “Getting the military upper hand for an international mission in this area is, according to our conclusion, not realistic.” That was ten days after the MH17 crash. But Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his cabinet continued, Brown and his sources reveal, to plan the operation with the US for another 10 days.
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THE STRANGE BUSINESS OF FATHER KHOTIN AND HIS SON – BILLION-DOLLAR CASUALTIES OF RUSSIAN BANK CREDIT, MOSCOW REAL ESTATE VALUE, AND WEST SIBERIAN OILWELLS

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By John Helmer, Moscow

The Khotin family are either the cleverest new men on Russia’s billionaires’ row, strutting out with prime commercial real estate and oilfield assets, which will double or triple in value as soon as the war is over and the Russian market for corporate bonds and share listings revives. Or else the Khotins are walking corpses, whose income has plummeted below the level required to meet the interest instalments on their debts; their oilfields cost more to pump than the oil can be sold for, and their bank is going broke on defaulted loans from related parties – that’s themselves. The advantage of being, as one Moscow newspaper calls them, the “most secretive of Russian businessmen”, is that noone is certain whether the Khotins are alive or dead. In the current war, they may have been, or they are about to become, the costliest of casualties.

In the history of the last war the British have excelled in portraying themselves as secretly cleverer than their allies, the Russians and Americans, as well as their enemies, the Germans. In the archive of grand British intelligence deceptions, none was a more effectively kept secret — so the British claim — than Operation Mincemeat. That’s the one where the corpse of a London suicide was dropped by British submarine on to a Spanish beach, dressed in an officer’s uniform and carrying top-secret plans (lead image from the movie). The objective was to fool the Germans into opposing the 1943 allied Mediterranean invasion in Greece when the landings were really intended for Sicily. The way the British tell the story, the corpse was very persuasive.

In their business career so far, the Khotins are like that. Unrepayable debts, loaned by state banks on the personal say-so of high state officials, secured by future revenues enhanced by administrative favours, would be one reason for making the Khotins’ papers look exceptionally valuable, while keeping their existence secret. There’s another reason. No photograph of either Yury or Alexei Khotin is known to exist. The national photo archives of Tass, RIA-Novosti, Kommersant, Interfax, and Moskovsky Komsomolets all say they have no picture of them.
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CYPRUS OFFICIALS IN STEALTH TALKS WITH VICTORIA NULAND ON TURKISH TROOP PLAN

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By John Helmer, Moscow

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades is holding secret negotiations this week with Victoria Nuland (lead image, right), the US State Department official in charge of Turkey, Ukraine and Russia, on a plan to maintain Turkish military forces in Cyprus under the flag of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Anastasiades has sent his aide, Nicos Christodoulides (lead image, left), to negotiate in Washington; he met with Nuland on Monday.

After losing control of the Cyprus Parliament to an increasingly nationalist vote in an election on May 22, Anastasiades has remained behind at the presidential palace in Nicosia, where he met on Tuesday with the NATO official now conducting Cyprus negotiations for the United Nations, Espen Barth Eide. The Cyprus Foreign Minister, Ioannis Kasoulides, is due to met US Secretary of State John Kerry, on June 13.

So sensitive is the US-Turkish plan for Cyprus that American reporters for Associated Press and Reuters at the State Department have refused to ask Nuland about the talks. Gayane Chichakyan, a Washington-based reporter for the Russian government television company Russia Today (RT), has also refused to lift the news blackout.
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THE QUALITY OF EUROPEAN UNION JUSTICE – HOW TO DISMISS ROSNEFT’S CHALLENGE TO THE LEGALITY OF SANCTIONS

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By John Helmer, Moscow

In fifty-nine single-spaced pages, issued on May 31, Melchior Wathelet (lead image) has demonstrated that the European Union (EU) has descended into a lawless dictatorship, in which the executive power of the Union and its member officials have “broad discretion” to attack states, their corporations and citizens without reason. Wathelet is the Advocate-General of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), so he ought to know.
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DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, SANCTIONS ARE SOONER — HOW ALROSA AND THE BELGIANS ARE LEARNING TO FIGHT AND TO FEINT

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The Belgians like to speak of themselves as the victims when the great powers of Europe go to war. They were when the Germans invaded in 1914 and 1940.

But since 2014 when the Belgian government has been repeating it is gung-ho for the war with Russia, there has been no Russian attack, no occupation.  Instead, there has been the amicable Russia-Belgium diamond trade worth more than $30 billion in annual exports and imports, supplied by the Russian state diamond company Alrosa.

If Belgian officials cut that trade off by agreeing to the European Union (EU) sanctions banning Russian diamond imports, as proposed by other EU states, that would  liquidate ten thousand diamond polishing and related jobs concentrated in Antwerp, and destroy the country’s fifth largest export business forever. Alrosa would move its diamonds to Dubai, killing Antwerp as a diamond trading and cutting centre, just as Amsterdam as a diamond centre was killed by the German occupation of 1940.  Antwerp took advantage of Amsterdam’s misfortune in 1946.   Dubai will now do the same.

This is what Belgian government and diamond industry officials mean when they say they favour the toughest possible sanctions on Russian gas exports to Europe  – but no sanctions on Russian diamonds. This is what Prime Minister Alexander De Croo meant when he told an Antwerp conference of diamantaires on September 14: “Sanctions should focus more on the aggressor than ourselves.”   

Earlier, reacting to an attack on the diamond trade with Russia by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky in a speech to the Belgian parliament, the spokesman for the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) said: “Not only are thousands of jobs in Antwerp at stake in the short term, but this decision will inevitably lead to a worldwide shift in the diamond trade in the long term. As long as international policy-makers worldwide do not adopt a unanimous position to sanction Russian diamonds in their entirety, Antwerp will be the only place that will bear the consequences of an EU sanction.”  

By “worldwide shift” he meant Dubai.

De Croo has camouflaged Belgium’s resistance by repeating he will not veto a Russian diamond ban if there is “overwhelming support” for it in the EU. So a majority of the EU states have continued pressing; they are led by Poland. In March of this year, De Croo announced: “I would like to officially state that our country has never hindered any measures regarding diamonds. Our country did not interfere in this issue.”  In private, however, De Croo has been casting Belgium’s veto.  

The Poles have been attacking De Croo,  pressing the case for an EU  ban on Russian diamond imports as payback for De Croo’s insistence on imposing EU budget sanctions against the Warsaw government last year.  De Croo is also refusing to accept Ukraine’s demand for accelerated membership of the EU and of NATO, and for fresh EU funding to pay Kiev’s war-fighting bills.   

Instead, he has just announced €8 million in non-lethal aid to Kiev. “Ukraine can keep on counting on Belgium,” De Croo declared. “More than words, there are actions. Once again, Belgium is responding to concrete needs and will be providing essential equipment to Ukraine in the coming weeks.”  The equipment is first-aid kits and pharmaceuticals produced by Belgian companies.

This week the secret Belgian veto campaign appears to have succeeded. The new draft of the eighth round of EU sanctions includes dental floss and deodorants; it leaves out diamonds.    This omission is expected to be confirmed publicly on Friday of this week at the EU summit meeting in Prague.    

 “At the moment, diamonds are not included on the agenda for the next round of sanctions,” announced Tom Neys, the AWDC spokesman. “But things change quickly. [On] Friday [October 7] they will finalize discussions, and the EU [leaders decide] on October 6 and 7. The fact that sanctions also create other ethical problems, and that these sanctions will have no effect in Russia, are probably important elements in these debates. Now is the time to focus on international solutions.”  

By “international solutions” the Belgians mean keeping Dubai from taking over Antwerp’s diamond business.

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WAITING FOR NUCLEAR WAR IN WASHINGTON, COCKAHOOP IN WARSAW, THE GERMANS RUN FOR THE BUNKER, AGAIN — GORILLA RADIO REVEALS WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Timing is everything when you are telling jokes on stage; summing up for the jury in a murder trial; or when you are a general preparing to send your army over the top. Knock the comedian, lawyer, or general off his timing, and the laugh, the verdict, and the casualties will go against him.

John Mortimer, a London barrister and author of the Rumpole of the Bailey television show,  once told the story of a friend who was coming to the end of his final jury address when he saw the judge writing a note and handing it to the usher. When it was passed to the lawyer as he was speaking, he glanced down to read: “Dear Jim, I thought you’d like to know that your flies are open and I can see your cock.”

Cocks which show or crow – like boys crying wolf – don’t comprehend the risks they create for themselves, and others. This is how it is in Berlin for Olaf Scholz and in Washington for Joseph Biden right now. They can afford to be impervious to the derision they are drawing in Warsaw; not so to the reaction to their antics in Moscow.

In this broadcast by Chris Cook, Gorilla Radio blows the final whistle before we all go over the top (Germans first, then the Poles). Even former Secretary of State John Kerry, career liar that he’s been, is revealed to be blowing on the same whistle this time round.

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THE OCTOBER SURPRISE — ASK NOT WHAT THE KREMLIN WILL DO, BUT WHAT THE US WILL DO NEXT

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The official Russian reaction to the Nord Stream attack is to identify it as a US military operation, and to wait for an investigation to produce the evidence. That means wait, delay. No retaliation.

“How will we respond?”  Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday in the most detailed briefing so far from Moscow.    “We will respond with an investigation. This is a must, and our law-enforcement bodies have already launched it. This [the gas pipelines] is our property, resources, and infrastructure.”

“I would like to believe that the international investigation of what happened on the gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea will be objective… We will seek to conduct an honest and objective investigation… I hope that someone in the United States, or maybe someone in Europe — although, unfortunately, Europe in this case can no longer be counted on — someone from the independent investigators will have the desire to clarify the involvement of the United States, the special services and all other bodies in what happened on 25-27 September of this year in the Baltic Sea.”

This means that the Russian Government is waiting, delaying. There will be no retaliation for the time being.  

The reason is that Russian officials suspect the Biden Administration of preparing an October Surprise just ahead of Election Day, November 8: an attack on domestic US infrastructure – the electricity grids, for example – which will be reported as the Russian retaliation that won’t be.

The Nord Stream attacks were a military operation of the US, Poland, Denmark, and Sweden, with additional NATO air surveillance support from bases in Italy.  Politically, they were an attack on Germany, but the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has yet to say publicly what he knew in advance, what he knows now.

Who then knows what will come next except that there is now war in Europe, outside the Ukraine. Will the October Surprise begin war inside the United States?

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AFTERSHOCK OF NORD STREAM EXPLOSIONS RUMBLES WARSAW — POLISH POLITICIANS GO “NUTTERS”

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The Polish government in Warsaw, facing re-election in less than a year, wants all the credit from Washington for their joint operation to sabotage the Nord Stream gas pipelines on the Baltic seabed.

It also wants to intimidate the German chancellor in Berlin, and deter both American and German officials from plotting a takeover by the Polish opposition party, Civic Platform, next year.

Blaming the Russians for the attack is their cover story. Attacking anyone who doesn’t believe it, including Poles and Germans, Warsaw officials and their supporting media claim they are dupes or agents of Russian disinformation.

Their rivals, Civic Platform (PO) politicians trailing the PiS in the polls by seven percentage points,   want Polish voters to think that no credit for the Nord Stream attack should be earned by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party. They also want to divert  the Russian counter-attack from Warsaw to Washington.

“Thank you USA” was the first Polish political declaration tweeted hours after the blasts by Radoslaw Sikorski (lead image, left), the PO’s former defence and foreign minister, now a European Parliament deputy. In support and justification,  his old friend and PO ministerial colleague, Roman Giertych, warned Sikorski’s critics: “Would you nutters prefer that the Russians find us guilty?”

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THE BORNHOLM BLOW-UP REPEATS THE BORNHOLM BASH — POLAND ATTACKS GERMANY AND BLAMES RUSSIA

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The military operation on Monday night which fired munitions to blow holes in the Nord Stream I and Nord Stream II pipelines on the Baltic Sea floor, near Bornholm Island,  was executed by the Polish Navy and special forces.

It was aided by the Danish and Swedish military; planned and coordinated with US intelligence and technical support; and approved by the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

The operation is a repeat of the Bornholm Bash operation of April 2021, which attempted to sabotage Russian vessels laying the gas pipes, but ended in ignominious retreat by the Polish forces. That was a direct attack on Russia. This time the attack is targeting the Germans, especially the business and union lobby and the East German voters, with a scheme to blame Moscow for the troubles they already have — and their troubles to come with winter.

Morawiecki is bluffing. “It is a very strange coincidence,” he has announced, “that on the same day that the Baltic Gas Pipeline  opens, someone is most likely committing an act of sabotage. This shows what means the Russians can resort to in order to destabilize Europe. They are to blame for the very high gas prices”.   The truth bubbling up from the seabed at Bornholm is the opposite of what Morawiecki says.

But the political value to Morawiecki, already running for the Polish election in eleven months’ time, is his government’s claim to have solved all of Poland’s needs for gas and electricity through the winter — when he knows that won’t come true.  

Inaugurating the 21-year old Baltic Pipe project from the Norwegian and Danish gas networks, Morawiecki announced: “This gas pipeline is the end of the era of dependence on Russian gas. It is also a gas pipeline of security, sovereignty and freedom not only for Polish, but in the future, also for others…[Opposition Civic Platform leader Donald] Tusk’s government preferred Russian gas. They wanted to conclude a deal with the Russians even by 2045…thanks to the Baltic Pipe, extraction from Polish deposits,  LNG supply from the USA and Qatar, as well as interconnection with its neighbours, Poland is now secured in terms of gas supplies.”

Civic Platform’s former defence and foreign minister Radek Sikorski also celebrated the Bornholm Blow-up. “As we say in Polish, a small thing, but so much joy”.  “Thank you USA,” Sikorski added,   diverting the credit for the operation, away from domestic rival Morawiecki to President Joseph Biden; he had publicly threatened to sabotage the line in February.  Biden’s ambassador in Warsaw is also backing Sikorski’s Civic Platform party to replace  Morawiecki next year.  

The attack not only escalates the Polish election campaign. It also continues the Morawiecki government’s plan to attack Germany, first by reviving the reparations claim for the invasion and occupation of 1939-45;  and second, by targeting alleged German complicity, corruption,  and appeasement in the Russian scheme to rule Europe at Poland’s expense. .

“The appeasement policy towards Putin”, announced PISM, the official government think tank in Warsaw in June,  “is part of an American attempt to free itself from its obligations of maintaining peace in Europe. The bargain is that Americans will allow Putin to finish building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in exchange for Putin’s commitment not use it to blackmail Eastern Europe. Sounds convincing? Sounds like something you heard before? It’s not without reason that Winston Churchill commented on the American decision-making process: ‘Americans can always be trusted to do the right thing, once all other possibilities have been exhausted.’ However, by pursuing such a policy now, the Biden administration takes even more responsibility for the security of Europe, including Ukraine, which is the stake for subsequent American mistakes.”

“Where does this place Poland? Almost 18 years ago the Federal Republic of Germany, our European ally, decided to prioritize its own business interests with Putin’s Russia over solidarity and cooperation with allies in Central Europe. It was a wrong decision to make and all Polish governments – regardless of political differences – communicated this clearly and forcefully to Berlin. But since Putin succeeded in corrupting the German elite and already decided to pay the price of infamy, ignoring the Polish objections was the only strategy Germany was left with.”

The explosions at Bornholm are the new Polish strike for war in Europe against Chancellor Olaf Scholz. So far the Chancellery in Berlin is silent, tellingly.

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LEMONS, MIMOSAS, AND STALIN’S SHOVEL

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The only Russian leader in a thousand years who was a genuine gardener and who allowed himself to be recorded with a shovel in his hand was Joseph Stalin (lead image, mid-1930s). Compared to Stalin, the honouring of the new British king Charles III as a gardener pales into imitativeness and pretension.   

Stalin cultivated lemon trees and flowering mimosas at his Gagra dacha  by the Black Sea in Abkhazia.  Growing mimosas (acacias) is tricky. No plantsman serving the monarchs in London or at Versailles has made a go of it in four hundred years. Even in the most favourable climates, mimosas – there are almost six hundred varieties of them — are short-lived. They can revive after bushfires; they can go into sudden death for no apparent reason. Russians know nothing of this – they love them for their blossom and scent, and give bouquets of them to celebrate the arrival of spring.

Stalin didn’t attempt the near-impossible, to grow lemons and other fruit in the Moscow climate. That was the sort of thing which the Kremlin noblemen did to impress the tsar and compete in conspicuous affluence with each other. At Kuskovo, now in the eastern district of Moscow, Count Pyotr Sheremetyev built a heated orangerie between 1761 and 1762, where he protected his lemons, pomegranates, peaches, olives, and almonds, baskets of which he would present in mid-winter to the Empress Catherine the Great and many others. The spade work was done by serfs. Sheremetyev beat the French king Louis XIV to the punch – his first orangerie at Versailles wasn’t built until 1763.

Stalin also had a dacha at Kuskovo. But he cultivated his lemons and mimosas seventeen hundred  kilometres to the south where they reminded him of home in Georgia. Doing his own spade work wasn’t Stalin showing off, as Charles III does in his gardens, like Louis XIV before him. Stalin’s spade work was what he had done in his youth. It also illustrated his message – “I’m showing you how to work”, he would tell visitors surprised to see him with the shovel.  As to his mimosas, Stalin’s Abkhazian confidante, Akaki Mgeladze, claimed in his memoirs that Stalin intended them as another lesson. “How Muscovites love mimosas, they stand in queues for them” he reportedly told him.  “Think how to grow more to make the Muscovites happy!”

In the new war with the US and its allies in Europe, Stalin’s lessons of the shovel and the mimosas are being re-learned in conditions which Stalin never knew – how to fight the war for survival and at the same time keep everyone happy with flowers on the dining table.

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AND THEN THERE WERE NONE

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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RUSSIANS RAISE THEIR GLASSES – THE TOAST IS TO BEATING THE BLOCKADE OF MOSCOW



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

How little the Germans have changed.

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

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

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THE INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY GOES TO WAR — GORILLA RADIO GOES NUCLEAR

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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

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INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY TAKES UKRAINE SIDE IN WAR IN SEPTEMBER 15 VOTE, MAKING UN SECRETARY-GENERAL GUTERRES EITHER A LIAR OR A FOOL

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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