BEST IN SHOW – FINANCIAL TIMES TAKES THE LEAD ON SERGEI PUGACHEV

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By John Helmer, Moscow

The Financial Times of London has replied in defence of its reporting on Sergei Pugachev (lead image, foreground), a Russian businessman on the run from a UK High Court conviction and two-year prison sentence.

In the Moscow evening, following yesterday’s publication on the Pugachev case, two emails were despatched, a long and a short one.
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PUGACHEV’S PUGS – LIONEL BARBER, NEIL BUCKLEY, AND CATHERINE BELTON EXPOSED BY SWISS PROSECUTOR IN COVERUP OF MONEY-LAUNDERING BY FRENCH, SWISS, ISRAELI AND US BANKS

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By John Helmer, Moscow

Pug dogs don’t live long. It’s because they lack proper noses, so they suffer from difficulties breathing in and out. That accounts for what everyone meeting a pug knows – they make a lot of noise trying to breathe.

Less well known is that while pugs hiss, snuffle, and snore, their body temperature is going up. For many pugs this is terminal — their organs are roasting internally. The better off pugs live longer if they sit in their owners’ laps without moving and eat little. Fat pugs suffocate and roast quicker than slim ones.

At the Financial Times there are many lap dogs, but the management has never acknowledged a problem of hissing in print; roasting internally is not a risk. Lionel Barber (lead image, left foreground), the newspaper’s editor, encourages hissing, particularly by reporters who specialize on Russia, Catherine Belton (centre) and Neil Buckley (right). They concentrate their efforts on the misdeeds of the Russian government; they are especially pit-bullish on President Vladimir Putin. They are cat’s paws, however, when it comes to the Russian oligarchs whose defence for stealing fortunes from Russia is that Putin made them do it; or that Putin trumped up criminal charges when he was stealing their fortunes for himself.

Sergei Pugachev (lead image) is a Russian businessman who made most of his fortune borrowing from state banks and bondholders, and not repaying. After ten trials before the UK High and Court of Appeal, eleven British judges have judged that Pugachev is a liar, guilty of deceit and dishonesty. But not Barber, Buckley, Belton and the Financial Times.
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THE NEW BYZANTINE ALLIANCE — THE KREMLIN AND THE PORTE REVOLUTIONIZE THE CENTRE OF THE OLD WORLD

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By John Helmer, Moscow

On August 9, in St. Petersburg, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will meet Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The moment is revolutionary. There has not been a comparable political turning-point in the 67 years since the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); not in the century since the Ottoman Empire sided with Germany against Russia in World War I; nor in the two centuries since Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II and the Russian Tsar Alexander I aligned against Napoleon and the British.

Russian sources say they are sure the Russian secret services did not warn Erdogan or help his forces prevail in the July 15-16 coup against him. After Erdogan began his counter-coup, and in the fight still continuing between Erdogan’s Islamic forces and the regular Turkish military, the sources add, there has been, and there will be, Russian help. It is more for the future, they explain, than for last week’s outcome that Turkish deputy prime minister Mehmet Şimşek told his counterpart Arkady Dvorkovich in Moscow on Tuesday: “I would like to thank you for support regarding recent events in Turkey, for supporting democracy and the Turkish government.”

The Russian sources say it is already agreed the two sides will pay a soon-to-be settled price in two-way trade; gas, nuclear and other energy projects; plus tourism. Much more is at stake, though, one of the sources adds. “Putin and his advisors believe Erdogan is still in danger. They support him now for the opportunity to reorganize the relationship with Turkey. They mean to secure Russia from encirclement on the southern frontier and the Black Sea, dismemberment of the Caucasus, and attack on the Kremlin by its enemies. Right now, as Europe collapses, the enemy is the US with NATO in support. If Turkey breaks with the US, NATO is a paraplegic. We shall see how Putin and Erdogan choose to portray the new Rome*, the new Byzantium* next Tuesday.”
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CHRISTINE LAGARDE’S ANTI-DOPING RULE — MONEY IS A PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING DRUG FOR WHICH THERE IS NO OLYMPIC LIMIT (UNLESS YOU’RE RUSSIAN, AND GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT)

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Statement by IOC Communications Director Gerry Rice on the Managing Director’s Urine Sample

July 22, 2016

In response to press queries, Mr. Gerry Rice, Director of Communications at the International Olympics Committee (IOC), made the following statement today relating to the Managing Director’s urine test in France:

“As we have said before, it would not be appropriate to comment on a case that has been and is currently before the French judiciary. However, the Executive Board has been briefed on recent developments related to this matter, and continues to express its confidence in the Managing Director’s ability to effectively carry out her duties. The Board will continue to be briefed on this matter. ”

Source: http://www.imf.org/en/news/articles/2016/07/22/13/01/pr16353-statement-by-imf-communications-director-gerry-rice-on-the-managing-directors-legal-case

US LIFTS KREMLIN CAPITAL BLOCKADE — SOVCOMFLOT FLOATS $750 MILLION BOND, US BANKS SUBMERGE TIMCHENKO TAKEOVER RISK

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By John Helmer, Moscow

A Russian state bond for $750 million is such an obvious target, European bankers are asking why didn’t US government warfighters against Russia shoot down last month’s Sovcomflot issue. This followed by just four weeks the campaign by the US Treasury to stop US investment banks and the international security clearance companies, Euroclear and Clearstream, from trading the bond issued in May by Russian state bank, VTB.

Sovcomflot, Russia’s state-owned shipping company and one of the world largest oil tanker groups, successfully placed $750 million in 7-year bonds at 5.375% on June 23 . VTB and Sberbank were the Russian underwriters, J P Morgan and Citigroup were the American bank underwriters. Sovcomflot’s prospectus confirms its bond has been cleared to trade with all three global clearance agencies — Depository Trust Company (DTC) of New York, Euroclear of Brussels, and Clearstream of Luxemburg. Says a London bond trader: “The DTC is dominated by Citi, Morgan Stanley and J P Morgan. Euroclear is owned by J P Morgan. These Americans can hardly be sanctions busters unless the US Treasury has all of sudden decided to go soft on the Russian oil and gas business, and on Russians who have been on the sanctions lists for two years. Is the war petering out, like the Obama Administration?”
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GRIGORY AND ALEXANDER KOLOBOV, SIMAN POVARENKIN DISPOSE OF SHOKOLADNITSA, RUSSIA’S LEADING HOT-DRINKS RETAILER

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By John Helmer, Moscow

As war and economic recession eat into their incomes, Russians are making fewer trips to restaurants and cafes. But because the tab is smaller, fast-drinks vendors are taking a larger share of the retail market than fast food. That ought to be good for Shokoladnitsa, Russia’s leading chain of hot-drinks and quick-service cafes. But cost-cutting by the chain has shortened menus and closed cafes, industry sources are now reporting. If Shokoladnitsa’s liabilities are overtaking its assets, the sources warn that Shokoladnitsa may follow the Russian shoe market’s leading retailer, TsentrObuv. In that financial black hole, the question is whether revenues and loan funds for another Russian retail market leader are being diverted to shareholder havens offshore.
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IRISH ARREST WARRANT APPROACHES FOR CYPRUS LEADER, AFTER CYPRUS PRESIDENT ANASTASIADES MEETS US ENVOY NULAND, THEN RUSSIAN PRESIDENT PUTIN

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By John Helmer, Moscow

At the end of this month the Irish High Court in Dublin will consider an application for the arrest of Cyprus President Nikos Anastasiades’s (lead image, left) law partner, Theofanis Philippou, and for an order to disclose company documents produced by them both on behalf of their client, the fugitive Russian businessman and former senator, Leonid Lebedev. An order for attachment and committal, as it is called in Ireland, directed against powerful figures in a neighbouring European Union (EU) country, is almost unprecedented, Dublin court sources say.

If the Dublin court agrees, Cyprus officials say they expect an Irish arrest order will be passed to the Irish police, and from them to the Cyprus Ministry of Justice. From there it will go to Cyprus Attorney-General Costas Clerides (2nd image, right). “We are interested to see,” officials say. “We will be waiting for this request.”
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RUSAL IS FOR SALE AS MIKHAIL PROKHOROV TRIES TO FIND A BUYER — WILL OLEG DERIPASKA LOSE RUSSIAN ALUMINIUM TO VICTOR VEKSELBERG AFTER A DECADE OF VALUE DESTRUCTION?

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By John Helmer, Moscow

In “Any Old Iron”, a popular British music-hall song of a century ago, the cockney comedian Harry Champion made audiences laugh at the vanity of people showing off wealth they don’t have, and at pretentiousness in general. In our century there’s said to be a homosexual come-on in the words of the song, but they still mean the same thing — you aren’t worth what you say you are. This is the punchline: “Any old iron, any old iron, any, any, any old iron? You look neat, talk about a treat… But I wouldn’t give you tuppence for your old watch chain. Old iron, old iron.”

When Mikhail Prokhorov (lead image, right) announced last week that he wants to sell his 17.02% of United Company Rusal, the Russian state aluminium monopoly, he was asking the audience to believe the company controlled by Oleg Deripaska (left) is worth much more than it is. The market didn’t laugh or sing along. It did move more than the usual number of Rusal shares traded daily – 2.5 million – but the price went down by 4%. This means the market isn’t betting on Prokhorov to get his price.

In the Bloomberg version of what had happened, Prokhorov’s Moscow holding “made informal approaches in the past three months to sell its 17 percent stake to two other Rusal partners, Sual, a group led by billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, and Glencore Plc, the people said, asking not be identified because the discussions are private. No official talks were held because the two sides have different views on the value of the stake. While Onexim wants a premium to the current value, the potential buyers aren’t ready to offer it, the people said.”
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RADOSLAW SIKORSKI SEES THE LIGHT IN EASTERN UKRAINE – WHY HE DUMPED KIEV FOR WASHINGTON

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By John Helmer, Moscow

Radosław Sikorski (lead image, left), the ex-foreign minister of Poland, ousted Speaker of the Polish Sejm (parliament), and premature retiree from the Bydgoszcz constituency, doesn’t speak his mind so much as his interest. So why has he announced he is now in favour of leaving Crimea in Russia; a separate peace with the Kremlin for the Lugansk and Donetsk regions in eastern Ukraine, and a strategy for the government in Kiev to “concentrate on creating success for the 90 percent of the country’s territory which it controls”?

Sikorski has also publicly broken with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who has been employing Sikorski as a foreign advisor, by declaring the Ukrainian president must make his own business dealings less illegal. “The fight against corruption must come from the top,” Sikorski has said of Poroshenko. “The people in the top layer must show that their finances are in order, they are open to scrutiny and lead by example.”
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AUSTRALIAN ARMCHAIR GENERAL WEAPONIZES HIMSELF IN WAR AGAINST RUSSIA

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By John Helmer, Moscow

Paul Dibb, the former head of two Australian spy organizations and a deputy defence minister, has just published a call for Australian troops to be ready to fight in Europe against “Russia’s refusal to act in ways consistent with international law and standards of behaviour.” Dibb is known in Australia as “the country’s leading Cold War Russia expert.”

The Dibb report appeared on June 29, on the eve of last week’s Australian parliamentary election, when voters repudiated incumbent prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. He had called the snap poll, confident of expanding his majority in the two houses of parliament. He has now suffered a 3% negative swing by the voters; the loss of at least 23 seats; and months of political uncertainty ahead, including the possibility his party will replace him as leader.

Among Turnbull’s last-minute ploys to attract votes, one was the leak last month of Australian cabinet plans for an Australian Army force to fight in eastern Ukraine, alongside Dutch and other NATO units, to destroy the Donetsk and Lugansk rebellion against the regime in Kiev. Turnbull’s leak had suggested that Tony Abbott, the prime minister Turnbull had pushed aside to take the job, dreamed up the plan of Australian war at the Russian frontier by himself. The new report by Dibb now corroborates the idea of an Australian military expedition against Russia, in exchange for improved American commitments to defend Australia from the Chinese closer to home, in the Pacific. “How things work out in Europe,” Dibb claims, “ will affect Washington’s ability to reassure allies and partners everywhere, including those in our region who must contend with increasing coercion by China.” Unless Australia does more fighting with the Americans on the Russian front, he concludes, “China will take advantage of this, and allies and partners of the US in the region—including Australia—would be subject to further uncertainty about American military commitments to Asia.” Combating “Russia’s aggressive military behaviour “is necessary because, otherwise, “both Moscow and Beijing will be seen as getting away with it.”
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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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