FOUR MH17 QUESTIONS — THE ANSWERS TO WHICH PROVE THE DUTCH POLICE, UKRAINIAN SECRET SERVICE, AND US GOVERNMENT ARE FAKING THE EVIDENCE OF THE MH17 SHOOTDOWN

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By John Helmer, Moscow

You don’t need to be an expert in ground-to-air warfare, radar, missile ordnance, or forensic criminology to understand the three fundamental requirements for prosecuting people for crimes. The first is proof of intention to do what happened. The second is proof of what could not have happened amounts to proof that it didn’t happen. The third is proof beyond reasonable doubt.

These are not, repeat not, the principles of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), a team of police, prosecutors, and spies from The Netherlands, Ukraine, Malaysia, Belgium, and Australia. They have committed themselves to proving that a chain of Russian military command intended to shoot down and was criminally responsible for the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 on July 17, 2014, and for the deaths of all 298 people on board. The JIT case for Russian culpability hinges on five elements occurring in sequence – that a BUK missile was launched to the east of the aircraft, and approached it head-on, before exploding on the port (left) side of the cockpit.

Pause, rewind, then reread slowly in order to identify the elements of intention, causation, and culpability: (1) the BUK missile was aimed with a target acquisition radar by operators inside a BUK vehicle at a target flying in the sky and ordered to fire; (2) they fired from their vehicle parked on the ground facing east towards the aircraft’s approach; (3) the missile flew west and upwards to a height of 10,060 metres; (4) the warhead detonated; (5) the blast and the shrapnel tore the cockpit from the main fuselage; destroyed one of the aircraft engines; and caused the aircraft to catch fire, fall to the ground in pieces, and kill everyone.

On Wednesday afternoon, in the small Dutch town of Nieuwegein, two Dutchmen, one a prosecutor, one a policeman, claimed they have proof that this is what happened. For details of the proof they provided the world’s press, read this. Later the same day, in Moscow, a presentation by two Russians from the Almaz-Antei missile group, one a missile ordnance expert, the other a radar expert, presented their proof of what could not have happened. Click to watch.

The enemies of Russia accept the Dutch proof and ignore the Russian proof. As Wilbert Paulissen, the Dutch policeman, claimed during the JIT briefing, “the absence of evidence does not prove [the BUK missile] was not there.”

Paulissen may be right. To prove he’s right all he has to do is to fill in the gap between the JIT version of what happened and the Russian version of what could not have happened by answering these questions. To convince a court and jury, Paulissen’s answers to these questions must be beyond reasonable doubt.
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FLASHLIGHT FROM MH-17 INVESTIGATION — DUTCH, AUSTRALIAN AND UKRAINIAN POLICE ANNOUNCE END OF TUNNEL; RUSSIAN GENERALS ANNOUNCE TUNNEL VISION

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By John Helmer, Moscow

At a press conference of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in The Netherlands today, police, prosecutors and intelligence agents from The Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine have revealed that they have found evidence from a freshly identified Ukrainian “mobile radar”, from secret Ukrainian air traffic controller tapes, and from secret US satellite imagery on the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.

The conclusion reported by JIT is that a BUK missile caused the destruction of the aircraft; that it was brought into Ukraine from Russia and removed to Russia after launch; that it was fired from a patch of farmland near Snizhne, east of the approaching MH17; and that “one hundred persons can be linked” to the movement and operation of the BUK system. The JIT also announced that no identifications of these people have been made, and that at present there are no “official suspects” .

“We need a clear impression of the chain of command”, declared Fred Westerbeke, the principal Dutch member of the investigation and JIT spokesman. “We appeal for cooperative witnesses”, he said, adding “I can’t tell you how long this investigation will take.” According to the JIT presentation from Westerbeke and a Dutch police officer, Wilbert Paulissen , further investigation is expected to last until at least January 2018.

Westerbeke claimed his group, currently numbering “nearly one hundred”, is continuing to prepare “legal and convincing evidence meeting a very high standard”.

Lawyers and analysts observing the presentation have expressed doubt that the secret Ukrainian and American government evidence can be admissible in court. On questioning by a sceptical Dutch journalist, Westerbeke acknowledged that all the telephone intercepts and wiretaps reported as evidence of Russian involvement in the reported missile operation originated from the Ukrainian secret service. Evidence of the missile movement, ground launch, and smoke trail from social media, photographs and videotapes, and purported witnesses presented at today’s JIT session have all appeared publicly before; much of it already discredited as fakes.
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HOW THE WEST HELPED INVENT RUSSIA’S ELECTION FRAUD: OSCE WHISTLEBLOWER EXPOSES 1996 WHITEWASH

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By Alexander Zaitchik and Mark Ames, Moscow
November 30, 2007

“A Victory for Russian Democracy”
—Title of a New York Times editorial, days after the ODIHR-approved 1996 presidential election

“Exit, Russian Democracy”
—Title of a New York Times editorial, days before the ODIHR-boycotted 2007 Duma elections

When Russia told the OSCE that their election monitoring mission would be severely limited last month, it seemed as though Putin had fired an authoritarian shot out of the blue, baring his inner Stalinist once and for all. The West reacted as if the OSCE was the crucifix of democracy, and Putin’s rejection of that crucifix was evil rejecting good.

Well, that’s one way of looking at it. Another way is that the recent Russia-OSCE door-slamming episode is the inevitable outcome of years of cynical Western manipulation of an organization that once held enormous promise and impeccable credentials, but is now with good reason considered a propaganda tool for the West.

If that last sentence sounds like the paranoid rant of a Putin-era silovik revanchist, then think again. It’s the view held by none other than the man who headed the OSCE’s 1996 election mission in Russia, Michael Meadowcroft.

“The West let Russia down, and it’s a shame,” said Meadowcroft, a former British MP and veteran of 48 election-monitoring missions to 35 countries.

In a recent telephone interview with The eXile, Meadowcroft explained how he was pressured by OSCE and EU authorities to ignore serious irregularities in Boris Yeltsin’s heavily manipulated 1996 election victory, and how EU officials suppressed a report about the Russian media’s near-total subservience to pro-Yeltsin forces.

“Up to the last minute I was being pressured by [the OSCE higher-ups in] Warsaw to change what I wanted to say,” said Meadowcroft. “In terms of what the OSCE was prepared to say publicly about the election, they were very opposed to any suggestion that the election had been manipulated.”

In fact, he says, the OSCE and the West had made its mind up about how wonderfully free and fair Boris Yeltsin’s election was before voting even started.
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IN WARTIME, BETWEEN LENIN ELECTRIFICATION AND CHUBAIS ELECTRIFICATION WILL SOLOMON CUT THE BASKET CASE IN HALF*?

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By John Helmer, Moscow

It was a relatively bright day, November 21, 1920, when Vladimir Lenin, having won the civil war and driven off the American, British, French, Canadian and Australian expeditionary forces, announced: “Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country, since industry cannot be developed without electrification.”

It was a cloudy day in Moscow last Sunday, September 18, when Russian voters, suffering the effects of two and a half years of American, British, French, Canadian and Australian war, demonstrated what they think of Anatoly Chubais’s electrification. Russian politics — those who voted and those who stayed at home indicated, both — is Putin power plus electrification at a state-controlled price, since the country cannot develop if the Chubaisites pocket the profit and leave ruinous debts behind for the taxpayer to cover.
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LEONID LEBEDEV CORRUPTION CASE EXPOSES CYPRUS PRESIDENT ANASTASIADES IN NEW YORK THIS WEEK

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By John Helmer, Moscow

A multi-million dollar case of corruption and money-laundering, involving the fugitive Russian businessman Leonid Lebedev and his lawyer, now the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades (lead image), moved to New York this week, as Anastasiades landed for a week of meetings at United Nations headquarters; followed by Lebedev’s jet a few hours later.

Disclosures in a Manhattan court last week confirmed for the first time Lebedev’s emails to and from Anastasiades and his law partner, Theofanis Philippou. Over Lebedev’s opposition to revealing what these records say, the New York court is now set to request the Attorney-General of Cyprus, Judge Costas Clerides, and the Justice Minister, Ionas Nicolaou, to subpoena documents, bank accounts, and other records, plus communications to and from the businesses Anastasiades and Philippou have been supervising in Cyprus on Lebedev’s behalf since 2012; possibly earlier when Lebedev became a Cyprus citizen secretly, with help from Anastasiades and Philippou. That was in March 2011; they then began moving large amounts of cash from Russia through Cyprus companies and trusts into three New York banks.

Attorney-General Clerides has been investigating Lebedev’s business in Cyprus for months. He had Philippou under investigation earlier for allegedly corrupt involvement in the sale of the state airline, Cyprus Airways. Anastasiades was a defence witness in a criminal court prosecution by Clerides of a former deputy attorney-general on corruption charges. The trial will conclude in Nicosia next week. “I have done my duty towards the justice system in my country,” Anastasiades said when he appeared to testify in June. Philippou has been charged with no wrongdoing. he refuses to answer press questions about the Lebedev case.

Russian prosecutors are also pursuing investigations of Lebedev’s electricity company business in two regional courts, Tver and Yaroslavl. Lebedev was granted protection from Russian prosecution by the US Government in 2014, after he resigned his Russian senate seat and left the country. He now lives in Los Angeles.

What Lebedev is offering to reveal to US Government officials he is refusing to disclose in the New York Supreme Court. There he has been suing for $2 billion in compensation for shares in the Russian oil company TNK which he claims he sold to Victor Vekselberg and Len Blavatnik, but was never paid for. Last December Judge Saliann Scarpulla dismissed Lebedev’s fraud allegations, leaving a single contract claim hanging on a single piece of evidence – did Lebedev control Coral Petroleum, the company which received Vekselbereg’s and Blavatnik’s payment for the oil company shares?

The President of Cyprus knows the answer. He must now try to keep Lebedev’s secret from the Cyprus Attorney-General.
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RUSSIA REFUSES TURKISH TOMATO TRADE

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By John Helmer, Moscow

If you want to understand Russian politics, watch the tomato talk to power.

President Vladimir Putin rolled out the red carpet for Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, last month, and it was announced that the Russian ban on Turkish food imports will soon be dropped. But the Russian tomato trade doesn’t agree. It says Turkish tomatoes will remain excluded from the Russian market.
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SERGEI FRANK AND SOVCOMFLOT SUFFER FINAL DISGRACE – UK HIGH COURT ORDERS MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR COMPENSATION

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By John Helmer, Moscow

The Russian state shipping company Sovcomflot and its chief executive Sergei Frank (lead image, right) have been ordered to pay “tens of millions of dollars” in punitive compensation to exiled shipowner, Yury Nikitin (left). A UK High Court judgement late last month concluded a record 11-year litigation by condemning Frank’s dishonesty in fabricating evidence in the case, and freezing hundreds of millions of dollars of Nikitin’s funds. Frank and his Sovcomflot subordinates were judged to have been more culpable than the court’s findings that Nikitin had been dishonest in paying bribes to win new vessel and tanker charter business.

The High Court judgement, which has gone almost unreported in Moscow, was issued on August 26. The 40-page ruling by Justice Sir Stephen Males flatly contradicts international bond and share sale prospectuses which Sovcomflot has been circulating in international markets. The judgement may blackball Frank as unfit to manage or direct an internationally listed company in future.

“The potentially devastating consequences of a freezing order have often been recognised,” ruled Justice Males. “It is only just that those who obtain such orders to which they are not entitled, a fortiori when they are guilty of serious failures to disclose material facts and have pursued claims described by the trial judge as ‘obviously unsustainable’, should be ordered to provide appropriate compensation for losses suffered.”

“If the Kremlin still hopes to privatize Sovcomflot with the sale of shares to international investors,” commented a London investment banker, “it will have to replace Frank, and purge the company and the board of everyone responsible for the London case.”
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FAVOUR FOR HILLARY CLINTON – DID SHE TAKE MONEY FROM RUSSIAN OLIGARCH OLEG DERIPASKA FOR FAVOUR IN GENERAL MOTORS-OPEL DEAL?

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By John Helmer, Moscow

When Hillary Clinton (lead, left) was US Secretary of State in 2009, she proved she could lie to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel; keep secret her hostility towards Russia even in her secret staff emails; and take money in her back pocket for an $8 billion deal between the US, Germany and Russia recommended by her subordinates. The record, recently revealed in US investigations of Clinton’s emails and donations to the Clinton Foundation, shows why the Kremlin assessment of Clinton is hostile and blunt – Clinton invites and takes bribes, but can’t be relied on to keep her bargains.
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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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