BREAKING TRUST – RUSSIAN CENTRAL BANK SUSPECTS OTKRITIE BANK AND BEN WORSLEY OF HIDING THE BENEFICIARIES OF BILLION-DOLLAR BANK LOAN FRAUD

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By John Helmer, Moscow

Investigators searching for $3 billion in funds missing from Trust Bank of Moscow, the biggest Russian bank fraud in history, have found Benedict Worsley, the Cyprus-based manager of the bank’s offshore operations, at a heavily fortified house in the south of France, where he is guarded by British gunmen formerly employed by the British secret services.

The High Court in London has revealed that in return for cash and a promise of immunity from prosecution, Worsley has agreed to cooperate in the search for the missing money. He is now reported to be employed by Otkritie Bank, which is being financed by the Central Bank of Russia, to operate the old Trust Bank. However, sources close to the Central Bank say that officials at the bank are anxious to see Otkritie start repaying the bailout loans, and  reluctant to soften the terms or extend the repayment dates as Otkritie is reported to be requesting. Suspicion is also rife in Moscow banking circles, according to one source,  that “well-known names in high places were beneficiaries of the Trust Bank loans. They don’t want to be identified or obliged to repay.”  They, according to a Cyprus source  and another in London, who knows Worsley, are “threats to Worsley, and he knows it.” (more…)

FINALE OF THE SOVCOMPLOT – UK JUDGE DISMISSES APPEAL AGAINST $72 MILLION IN PENALTIES AND COSTS; REJECTS RUSSIAN BANK SURETY; ORDERS IMMEDIATE CASH DOWN-PAYMENT

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By John Helmer, Moscow

 It’s the job of the Dorchester doorman to know his hotel guests’ sins; cater to them discreetly; but  keep them under his top-hat, forever secret.

During more than a decade of Sergei Frank’s trips to London to direct High Court litigations against the men he succeeded at Sovcomflot, the Russian state shipping company, he could count on the discretion of the hotel doorman.  After the final ruling came down on Thursday, Frank, chief executive of Sovcomflot (lead image, right), can’t be sure that his humiliation by more than a dozen British judges will not now make him a laughingstock.

In a new 4-page judgement , Frank’s appeal against $72 million in compensation and costs to be paid to Sovcomflot’s ex-shipping partner, Yury Nikitin, has been dismissed, and he has been ordered to start paying immediately, with a down-payment of £1 million.

“There is no doubt,” ruled Sir Stephen Males, the presiding judge, “that, overall, the defendants [Nikitin’s companies] were the successful party. They obtained a judgment for US $59.8 million on the inquiry.” More than that, according to Males, the award of the costs of litigating should be paid to Nikitin, plus interest on further delays the shipping company takes. Not to do so, according to the judgement, “would fail to recognise the overall success which the defendants achieved.” (more…)

THIEVES’ PICNIC AT TRUST BANK – RUSSIA’S BIGGEST BANK HEIST GETS WORSE, AND WORSLEY

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By John Helmer, Moscow

In the first tale of the thieves’ picnic, published by Leslie Charteris in 1937,a gang of robbers, kidnappers, and smugglers starts to fall apart over a $2 million lottery ticket one of the thieves stole from the gang’s pot. The detective who recovers the ticket, and rescues a diamond-cutter who’d been abducted for the gang’s diamond-smuggling operation, rolls up the crimes by pretending to be a gangster himself, and encouraging the others to betray each other.

By the standards of Ilya Yurov and Benedict Worsley, the original thieves’ picnic was a fight over peanuts. Yurov, the control shareholder of Trust Bank, managed the disappearance of $3.3 billion in Trust Bank funds until December 2014, when the Central Bank stopped his operations, and financed Otkritie Bank to take over in his place. Within weeks,  Russian government investigators found the gap between Trust’s assets and liabilities had jumped from Rb67.8 billion to Rb114 billion; in pre-devaluation terms, that’s from $2 billion to $3.3 billion — bigger larcenies than the previous records set by Sergei Pugachev at Mezhprombank  and Andrei Borodin at Bank of Moscow.

Worsley had helped Yurov by operating hundreds of offshore companies and bank accounts through which the money was moved, mostly as sham loans. Yurov is now living in Kent as a guest of the British government. Worsley, who divides his time between Cyprus and Dubai, is now employed by Otkritie Bank, Trust’s new owner. Worsley is being paid $32,500 per month as an informer, with a promise of a bounty of up to 4% of the recovery value of the assets Yurov and he allegedly stole and laundered, plus an indemnity from prosecution. The Worsley arrangement was kept secret by Otkritie Bank until revealed recently in the High Court in London.

The informer reward deal is unprecedented in the history of Russian bank fraud, according to London bankers and lawyers. “In a multi-billion fraud of this size,” said one international bank source, “a deal like this can be justified if the recovery is large enough – that is, if Otkritie Bank and the Russian  Deposit Insurance Agency couldn’t follow the money trail without the informer, and if they manage to recover significantly  more than they pay out to the informer. But why has Otkritie tried to keep the deal secret? The court papers show that $3.3 billion is missing from Trust Bank; Yurov’s bank accounts and assets add up to $830 million. How much is Worsley holding back? Does he stand to get richer with the Otkritie deal than he got with Yurov?” (more…)

SONGS FROM MELNITSA IN COMBAT WITH THE FAT WASHINGTON LADY – HOW RUSSIAN POP SONGS FARE AS THE NOBEL WAR PRIZE GOES TO BOB DYLAN

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By John Helmer, Moscow

In the war against Russia, the award of the Nobel Prize for Literature to Bob Dylan is a sideshow, although the Swedish Academy is doing what it can to elevate his monosyllabic rhyming to a moral high ground whose only precedent is the Norwegian award of the Nobel Prize for Peace to Barack Obama in 2009. Obama’s congratulations to Dylan for “a well-deserved Nobel” was issued before Dylan acknowledged receiving it.

Dylan’s lyrics have been in steady decline among US and NATO audiences for the past 40 years. They had dwindled to invisibility until last week’s Nobel prize announcement. Billboard, the US measure of plays and pays in the pop music market, has failed to record Dylan in its Top-100 artists for decades; Billboard’s 200 “Greatest of All Time” albums doesn’t count Dylan at all. The Nobel publicity for Dylan failed to revive the listening audience or move any of his songs into the Billboard Hot 100. That is currently led by a song by The Chainsmokers of New York City. Their lyrics open with: “Hey, I was doing just fine before I met you”; and close with “no we ain’t ever getting older.”

Russian war songs are more popular than ever, according to Russian audience measurements. But the best of the Russian bards at this genre, Vladimir Vysotsky and Victor Tsoi, can’t qualify for next year’s Nobel prize. That’s not because their verse isn’t superior to Dylan’s, but because they are dead. So next year’s Russian nominee will be Melnitsa.
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DUDLEY DO-RIGHT, DUDLEY MINE-RIGHT – PARTNERSHIP AFRICA CANADA (PAC) IS CANADIAN CAMOUFLAGE FOR WAR AGAINST RUSSIAN DIAMONDS, AFRICAN MINERS, FINANCED BY GEORGE SOROS

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By John Helmer, Moscow

Canadian governments are often portrayed as Dudley Do-Right, a caricature member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the 1960s television cartoon series, who was always trying to do good; never caught the villain, never got satisfaction from the girl. That was because Dudley had less brains than his horse, who did better with the girl. Since Dudley, er Justin Trudeau became prime minister of Canada a year ago, the PR gap between the caricature and the prime minister has widened; the IQ gap has contracted; the distance to the villain and the girl has stayed the same.

The villain in the new Dudley Do-Right cartoon on Canadian policy is Russia. Canadian special forces are fighting Russia on both the Ukraine and Syria war fronts. Canada has given Kiev C$400 million (US$305 million) to pay the Ukrainian army, backed by most Canadian non-government organizations (NGOs) insisting they are on Do-Right’s side. One in particular, Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) of Ottawa, the Canadian capital, leads the charge against diamonds, gold and other mineral developers, many of them Russian, who compete or threaten Canadian mining interests. PAC, it turns out, is a weapon of commercial and economic warfare. Financially, it belongs to the US State Department and US investors, George Soros and Pierre Omidyar.
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RUSSIA DROPS FISH BOMB ON NEW ZEALAND AFTER NZ PRIME MINISTER KEY ATTACKS PRESIDENT PUTIN

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By John Helmer, Moscow

The Kremlin has dropped a fish and meat bomb on New Zealand. The casualties are reported to be women, children and the elderly forced to eat food formerly sold to Russia; together with fishermen and farmers whose annual income of US$100 million from exports to Russia has been lost since the start of the Ukraine war.

After the New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, attacked Russian policy in Syria and on September 26 issued a public insult to President Vladimir Putin, Moscow reacted with the announcement, nine days later, that New Zealand (NZ) exports of meat and fish may be banned from the Russian market. The NZ media have broadcast the prime minister’s attack on Putin; they are not revealing the Russian reaction. NZ government organs, including the NZ Ambassador to Moscow, Ian Hill, refuse to acknowledge the threatened food ban, or to discuss what is happening.
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THE BATTLE OF ALEPPO, THE BATTLE OF DRESDEN, THE BATTLE OF MASADA AND THE BATTLE OF BOSWORTH FIELD — WHO LIES, LIES LONGEST

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By John Helmer, Moscow

In war it’s a commonplace to say it’s the winner who tells the story. It’s less well understood that the story doesn’t win the war. In other words, war is won on the field by force. Info-war decides what people, who don’t fight, don’t vote, and don’t count, think afterwards. Afterwards is always a long time.

What happened at the Battle of Aleppo (lead image, 1) is that Russian and Syrian forces, fighting for the Syrian government in Damascus, defeated the forces of the US and the NATO alliance, fighting with mercenaries they hired to overthrow the government in Damascus. This is the most decisive defeat of US strategy and arms since 1975, when Vietnamese forces won the second Battle of Saigon.

US Government propaganda – whether published in the US or through English, Canadian, Turkish or Dutch paid proxies – is attempting to explain their defeat on the field of battle in Syria by alleging war crimes on the part of the winning forces against women and children. The propaganda ignores the war crimes of those who started the war in Syria and occupation of Aleppo in the first place. Like the rewriting of the history of the US wars which have destroyed, and continue destroying, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Georgia, Ukraine, etc., defeat is one thing on the ground; another thing on the page where it doesn’t count.

In counting like this, the slaughter of innocents isn’t new. By the way, fomenting and broadcasting hatred of Russians as child-murderers, like hatred of Jews as child-sacrificers, or of Afro-Americans as child rapists, is a crime too.
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US BLACKOUT FOR NEW NULAND PUSH ON CYPRUS PRESIDENT ANASTASIADES

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By John Helmer, Moscow

The State Department has switched off the lights for Victoria Nuland’s (lead image, right) planned meeting in Cyprus this week with President Nicos Anastasiades (left).

Cyprus sources confirm that Nuland is expected to arrive in Nicosia on Wednesday. The Greek press was told last Friday the visit is scheduled for this week, and that the State Department is giving “assurances that the American official is not going to make any suggestions or to lobby.”

State Department spokesman Elizabeth Trudeau said Monday “As of today, I have no travel to announce.” After official confirmation from Cyprus was relayed to her, Trudeau said: “as of today, we have no travel to announce. If that changes, we’ll certainly let you know.” Asked to explain the blackout, and to clarify if Nuland is currently in Washington, Trudeau refused to say.

The semi-secret Nuland trip comes after a weekend of hints from senior Cyprus officials that the US has been pressuring Anastasiades to accept Turkish military occupation of northern Cyprus under a NATO flag, and that Anastasiades’s past involvement with a fugitive Russian businessman, Leonid Lebedev, is one of the pressure-points in the meetings Nuland has held with the Cyprus president in April and July
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SOVCOMFLOT TO PAY $70 MILLION PENALTY FOR DISHONESTY — LONDON COURT ENDS 11-YEAR LITIGATION WITH COUP DE GRACE

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By John Helmer, Moscow

Sovcomflot, Russia’s state-owned shipping company and one of the largest oil and gas tanker operators in the world, has today been ordered by a London court to pay compensation of $70 million, plus legal costs, to Russian shipowner and Sovcomflot’s former charter partner, Yury Nikitin.

The penalty, imposed by Justice Sir Stephen Males of the High Court, has been imposed after the judge ruled that Sovcomflot’s chief executive, Sergei Frank (lead image) and his company, had fabricated evidence in the case, given dishonest testimony in court, and improperly frozen hundreds of millions of dollars of Nikitin’s funds for years. Frank and Sovcomflot were judged to have been more culpable than the court’s findings that Nikitin had been dishonest to win new vessel and tanker charter business.

In a judgement released on October 7, Males put an end to a sequence of court actions and appeals which commenced in 2005, and have subsequently gone through the High Court, the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court, and been reviewed by almost a dozen of the most senior judges on the British bench. The penalty puts a stop to eleven years of what one judge called Frank’s “vindictive claim”.
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CANADA’S GORILLA RADIO REVEALS THE BARON BELL TEST – ALL THE MH17 EVIDENCE THAT MONEY CAN BUY

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Chris Cook with John Helmer, Victoria, B.C., Canada
Click to listen

Gorilla Radio is broadcast weekly by Chris Cook on CFUV 101.9 FM from the University of Victoria, British Columbia. The radio station can be heard here. The Gorilla Radio transcripts are also published by the Pacific Free Press. For Chris Cook’s broadcast archive, click to open.

For a fresh review of the technical evidence of radar, shrapnel, and the surviving fragments of the MH18 aircraft, read this.

FOR WHOM THE BELL (BARON TIMOTHY BELL) TOLLS – THE BRITISH GUNSLINGER WHO THOUGHT UP WAR WITH RUSSIA TO SAVE HIMSELF FROM COURT-MARTIAL AND PAY HIS MORTGAGE

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By John Helmer, Moscow

As empires go into terminal decline, their generals go, too. Enroute, they become egomaniacs.

The pensions for retired military madmen are modest, so the generals run short of cash. The source of money which financed General Sir Richard Shirreff (lead image, left) to produce a book claiming Russia is about to launch a war against Europe, sink a British aircraft carrier, shoot down several US Air Force F-16s and kill 300 American troops at a Latvian airbase, is not disclosed by him, nor by his publisher and publicity agent, Hodder & Stoughton.

They confirm that Shirreff’s book was issued in a single hardcover edition and a single paperback five months ago, on May 19. They won’t say what market sales the book has had since then except to claim “it has sold extremely well”. They deny that a large consignment of books was purchased in advance by a NATO-allied entity. “This was an absolutely standard publishing agreement with the author . We never divulge our arrangements with our authors which I am sure you will understand are confidential business arrangements. In this case, I can confirm that there was no sponsorship arrangement and no arrangement with any third party to guarantee or purchase any number of books or indeed to cover any of the costs associated with writing or publishing the book.”

In Shirreff’s 436-page war, the US, UK and NATO defeat Russia by an Anglo-American commando and missile attack on a battery of Iskander nuclear missiles in Kaliningrad. That in turn triggers a Kremlin putsch that ends with the death of President Vladimir Putin in a helicopter crash. His successor, “even more of a hardline nationalist”, according to Shirreff, is forced “to return the Baltics to get Kaliningrad and their missiles back”.

There is also another ending. The British boy commando falls for the Latvian girl commando – “a couple of inches short of six foot, long ash-blonde hair, high cheekbones and radiating fitness”, with “a degree in English Literature at Durham” and a two-year stint at Goldman Sachs. Lovable as she is, she prefers Latvia, so the commando returns home to a British girl from GCHQ, the intelligence centre. Her legs, hair and cheekbones aren’t reported, though they must have been alluring because in the book’s penultimate paragraph, the soldier “realised how much he had been looking forward to seeing [her] again. And how much he was enjoying being with her now.”

“I know he has got a book to sell, and I’ve no doubt that he has got a large mortgage to pay,” said Philip Hammond, the British Defence Secretary who saw Shirreff into early retirement. “He was a senior Nato commander and this is quite irresponsible language…I don’t think there’s anybody serious around who thinks the kind of scenario he is postulating is remotely likely.”

Since the disclosure last week that the Pentagon paid $540 million to the London public relations firm Bell Pottinger to produce fake press materials and propaganda to justify the US military occupation of Iraq, the involvement of the firm controlled by Lord Timothy Bell in propaganda operations against Russian targets is suspected as much in London as in Moscow. Karen Geary, Shirreff’s publicist in London, said that reports suggesting Shirreff was paid to compose propaganda “are completely wrong”.
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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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THE RUSSIAN SITUATION COMEDY IS NO LYING MATTER – THE JOKE IS ON THE OFFICE OF FOREIGN ASSETS CONTROL

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Never mind that King Solomon said proverbially three thousand years ago, “a merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”  

With seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, Solomon realized he was the inventor of the situation comedy. If not for the sitcom as his medicine, the bodily and psychological stress Old Solly had to endure in the bedroom would have killed him long before he made it to his death bed at eighty years of age,  after ruling his kingdom for forty of them.

After the British sitcom died in the 1990s, the subsequent stress has not only killed very large numbers of ordinary people. It has culminated today in a system of rule according to which a comic king in Buckingham Palace must now manage the first prime minister in Westminster  history to be her own joke.

Even the Norwegians, the unfunniest people in Europe, have acknowledged that the only way to attract the British as tourists, was to pay John Cleese of Monty Python and Fawlty Towers to make them laugh at Norway itself.   This has been a bigger success for the locals than for the visitors, boosting the fjord boatman’s life expectancy several years ahead of the British tourist’s.  

In fact, Norwegian scientists studying a sample of 54,000 of their countrymen have proved that spending the state budget on public health and social welfare will only work effectively if the population is laughing all the way to the grave. “The cognitive component of the sense of humour is positively associated with survival from mortality related to CVD [cardio-vascular disease] and infections in women and with infection-related mortality in men” – Norwegian doctors reported in 2016. Never mind the Viking English:  the Norwegian point is the same as Solomon’s that “a sense of humour is a health-protecting cognitive coping resource” – especially if you’ve got cancer.  

The Russians understand this better than the Norwegians or the British.  Laughter is an antidote to the war propaganda coming from abroad, as Lexus and Vovan have been demonstrating.   The Russian sitcom is also surviving in its classic form to match the best of the British sitcoms, all now dead – Fawlty Towers (d. 1975), Black Adder (d. 1989), You Rang M’Lord? (d. 1988), Jeeves and Wooster (d. 1990), Oh Dr Beeching! (d.1995), and Thin Blue Line (d. 1996).

The Russian situation comedies, alive and well on TV screens and internet streaming devices across the country, are also increasingly profitable business for their production and broadcast companies – not despite the war but because of it. This has transformed the Russian media industry’s calculation of profitability by removing US and European-made films and television series, as well as advertising revenues from Nestlé, PepsiCo, Mars, and Bayer. In their place powerful  Russian video-on-demand (VOD) streaming platform companies like Yandex (KinoPoisk), MTS (Kion),  Mail.ru (VK), and Ivi (Leonid Boguslavsky, ProfMedia, Baring Vostok)  are now intensifying the competition for audience with traditional television channels and film studios for domestic audiences.  The revenue base of the VOD platforms is less vulnerable to advertisers, more dependent on telecommunications subscriptions.

Russian script writers, cameramen, actors, designers, and directors are now in shorter supply than ever before, and earning more money.  “It’s the Russian New Wave,” claims Olga Filipuk, head of media content for Yandex, the powerful leader of the new film production platforms; its  controlling shareholder and chief executive were sanctioned last year.  

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RUSSIAN AVIATION INDUSTRY CORRECTS YELTSIN YAW – BOEING, AIRBUS DITCHED



By Olga Samofalova, translated and introduced by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

It was the American humourist Mark Twain who didn’t die in 1897 when it was reported that he had. Twain had thirteen more lively years to go.

The death of the Russian aerospace and aviation industry in the present war is proving to be an even greater exaggeration – and the life to come will be much longer. From the Russian point of view, the death which the sanctions have inflicted is that of the US, European and British offensive against the Soviet-era industry which President Boris Yeltsin (lead image, left) and his advisers encouraged from 1991.

Since 2014, when the sanctions war began, the question of what Moscow would do when the supply of original aircraft components was first threatened, then prohibited, has been answered. The answer began at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 1947 when the first  Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) or Parts Manufacturing Approval (PMA) was issued by Washington officials for aircraft parts or components meeting the airworthiness standards but manufactured by sources which were not the original suppliers.   

China has been quicker to implement this practice; Chinese state and commercial enterprises have been producing PMA components for Boeing and Airbus aircraft in the Chinese airline fleets for many years.  The Russian Transport Ministry has followed suit; in its certification process and airworthiness regulations it has used the abbreviation RMA, Cyrillic for PMA. This process has been accelerating as the sanctions war has escalated.

So has the Russian process of replacing foreign imports entirely.

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FOR WANT OF A NAIL THE KINGDOM WAS LOST – ENGLISH PATHOLOGIST GUY RUTTY FACES CHALLENGE TO THE RELIABILITY OF HIS NOVICHOK EVIDENCE



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The weakest link in the British government’s four-year long story of Russian Novichok assassination operations in the UK – prelude to the current war – is an English medical expert by the name of Guy Rutty (lead image, standing).

A government-appointed pathologist advising the Home Office, police, and county coroners, Rutty is the head of the East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit in Leicester,  he is the author of a post-mortem report, dated November 29, 2018,  claiming that the only fatality in the history of the Novichok nerve agent (lead image, document), Dawn Sturgess, had died of Novichok poisoning on July 8, 2018. Rutty’s finding was added four months after initial post-mortem results and a coroner’s cremation certificate stopped short of confirming that Novichok had been the cause of her death.

Rutty’s Novichok finding was a state secret for more than two years. It was revealed publicly   by the second government coroner to investigate Sturgess’s death, Dame Heather Hallett, at a public hearing in London on March 30, 2021. In written evidence it was reported that “on 17th July 2018, Professor Guy Rutty MBE, a Home Office Registered Forensic Pathologist conducted an independent post-mortem examination. He was accompanied by Dr Phillip Lumb, also an independent Home Office Registered Forensic Pathologist. Professor Rutty’s Post-Mortem Report of 29th November 2018 records the cause of death as Ia Post cardiac arrest hypoxic brain injury and intracerebral haemorrhage; Ib Novichok toxicity.”  

Hallett, Rutty, Lumb, and others engaged by the government to work on the Novichok case have refused to answer questions about the post-mortem investigations which followed immediately after Sturgess’s death was reported at Salisbury District Hospital; and a cause of death report signed by the Wiltshire Country coroner David Ridley, when Sturgess’s body was released to her family for funeral and cremation on July 30, 2018.  

After another three years, Ridley was replaced as coroner in the case by Hallett in March 2021. Hallett was replaced by Lord Anthony Hughes (lead image, sitting) in March 2022.

The cause-of-death documents remain state secrets. “As you have no formal role in the inquest proceedings,” Hallett’s and Rutty’s spokesman Martin Smith said on May 17, 2021, “it would not be appropriate to provide you with the information that you have requested.” 

Since then official leaks have revealed that Rutty had been despatched by the Home Office in London to take charge of the Sturgess post-mortem, and Lumb ordered not to undertake an autopsy or draw conclusions on the cause of Sturgess’s death until Rutty arrived. Why? The sources are not saying whether the two forensic professors differed in their interpretation of the evidence; and if so, whether the published excerpt of Rutty’s report of Novichok poisoning is the full story.   

New developments in the official investigation of Sturgess’s death, now directed by Hughes, have removed the state secrecy cover for Rutty, Lumb, and other medical specialists who attended the post-mortem on July 17, 2018. The appointment by Hughes of a London lawyer, Adam Chapman, to represent Sergei and Yulia Skripal, opens these post-mortem documents to the Skripals, along with the cremation certificate, and related hospital, ambulance and laboratory records. Chapman’s role is “appropriate” – Smith’s term – for the Skripals to cross-examine Rutty and Lumb and add independent expert evidence.

Hughes’s appointment of another lawyer, Emilie Pottle (lead image, top left), to act on behalf of the three Russian military officers accused of the Novichok attack exposes this evidence to testing at the same forensic standard. According to Hughes,  it is Pottle’s “responsibility for ensuring that the inquiry takes all reasonable steps to test the  evidence connecting those Russian nationals to Ms Sturgess’s death.” Pottle’s responsibility is to  cross-examine Rutty and Lumb.

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KILLING IS CHEAPER — THE US ARMY SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND WEAPONIZES TWITTER, FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, WHATSAPP, TELEGRAM

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The US Army’s Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has been firing several hundred million dollars’ worth of cyber warheads at Russian targets from its headquarters at MacDill Airforce Base in Florida. They have all been duds.

The weapons, the source, and their failure to strike effectively have been exposed in a new report, published on August 24, by the Cyber Policy Center of the Stanford Internet Observatory.  The title of the 54-page study is “Unheard Voice: Evaluating Five Years of Pro-Western Covert Influence Operations”.

“We believe”, the report concludes, “this activity represents the most extensive case of covert pro-Western IO [influence operations] on social media to be reviewed and analyzed by open-source researchers to date… the data also shows the limitations of using inauthentic tactics to generate engagement and build influence online. The vast majority of posts and tweets we reviewed received no more than a handful of likes or retweets, and only 19% of the covert assets we identified had more than 1,000 followers. The average tweet received 0.49 likes and 0.02 retweets.”

“Tellingly,” according to the Stanford report, “the two most followed assets in the data provided by Twitter were overt accounts that publicly declared a connection to the U.S. military.”

The report comes from a branch of Stanford University, and is funded by the Stanford Law School and the Spogli Institute for Institutional Studies, headed by Michael McFaul (lead image).   McFaul, once a US ambassador to Moscow, has been a career advocate of war against Russia. The new report exposes many of McFaul’s allegations to be crude fabrications and propaganda which the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has been paying contractors to fire at Russia for a decade.

Strangely, there is no mention in the report of the US Army, Pentagon, the Special Operations Command, or its principal cyberwar contractor, the Rendon Group.

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MARIA YUDINA OUT OF THE DARK – THE RUSSIAN CLASSICAL PIANIST PLAYS AGAIN

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Maria Yudina (lead image) is one of the great Russian pianists. She was not, however, one who appealed to all tastes in her lifetime, 1899 to 1970.

In a new biography of her by Elizabeth Wilson, Yudina’s belief that music represents Orthodox Christian faith is made out to be so heroic, the art of the piano is diminished — and Yudina’s reputation consigned again to minority and obscurity. Russian classical music and its performers, who have not recovered from the Yeltsin period and now from the renewal of the German-American war, deserve better than Wilson’s propaganda tune.

(more…)
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