THE EMPIRE’S LAST GASP – ANGLO-AMERICAN JOURNALISM CHOKES ON ITS OWN DIGITAL MODEL

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By John Helmer, Moscow 

For empires to rule, their agents must hang on to their monopoly of force, fraud and subversion, inside the home country as well as in its far flung dominions. Subversion means persuading people to believe what is true and good, when that’s false and bad for them. Propaganda, in short.

It was a close run thing in Russia during the time of Boris Yeltsin and the Clinton family.    But nowadays on the Ukraine front and the Syria front,   Russian force is prevailing. On all the other US war fronts Washington’s agents are losing; that includes small islands like Cyprus and big ones like the Philippines.

The British voted for Brexit; the French for François Fillon and Marine LePen; and the Americans for Donald Trump because the fraud enriching their ruling elites became too pervasive, too obvious for the subversion of public opinion to explain it away or cover it up.

The US and European sanctions against Russia have been a colossal miscalculation because they give Russians a rationale for the misery that has come, not only with rouble devaluation and the loss of oil and gas export income,  but also from the inequality inflicted by the oligarch system which replaced the communist one.  In cutting the Russian oligarchs and state banks off from the international capital they regularly stole and converted into offshore assets, the sanctions have forced self-sufficiency on a reluctant Kremlin, and neutralized, for the time being, the most powerful Russian lobby in favour of Americanization and — what amounted to the same thing, globalization. What’s left of the fraud and conversion lobby in Moscow  – Anatoly Chubais, Alexei Kudrin, Alexei Ulyukaev – is now under one form of house arrest or another.

Whereas the first assault on Russia by western journalists,  a quarter of a century ago,  was the sign of the collapse of Russian resistance, this time it’s the reverse – the signs of US and Anglo-European collapse,  and Russian revival.  We’re going to have to live a long time to figure out which side turns out to be civilized, which barbarian.  Uncertainty like this used to be called the Dark Ages. (more…)

GOLDFINGER, LIGHT FINGER — ALEXEI MORDASHOV TAKES ANOTHER CANADIAN GOLDMINE ON THE CHEAP

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By John Helmer, Moscow

In the criminal fraternity it’s believed that light fingers are a juvenile condition it’s best for the practicioner to grow out of when more serious property transfers are in contemplation.

Alexei Mordashov (lead image, right), the Russian steelmaker and goldminer, is a quick learner and a grown-up. With a net worth currently estimated at over $15 billion from Severstal, Nordgold, and other Russian businesses, his record of asset buying has more often been one of paying too much, and losing money, especially in the US. Last month, however, in litigation in Ontario, Canada, he was charged by shareholders of the gold prospector Northquest Limited,   with manipulation of the company’s executives and board in order to take over the company’s gold for a steal.

The resisting shareholders who took their case to the Ontario Superior Court, are veteran geologists with three decades of experience of gold deposits in the Nunavut territory of  northeastern Canada,  which are Mordashov’s target.  The resisters claim Mordashov’s goldmine holding Nordgold  has taken over Northquest at a fraction of its real value.  “In our view,” Brian Randa, one of the dissenting shareholders, told the court in October, according to the court records, “the valuation  [of Northquest’s gold prospects] is not worth the paper it is written on. They [Nordgold]  mispresented the true potential of this project by comparing the project to those with much less potential [in gold resources],  and by  excluding from consideration a vast tract of the licence area.  They tricked the shareholders into tendering [their shares at a low price].  The timing of this series of events was deliberately made to happen before the astonishing major Howitzer anomaly was further explored in the summer of 2016.”

Low-balling is a takeover tactic Nordgold has been accused of by Canadian goldmine shareholders at High River Gold and Crew Gold for many years.  Mordashov won those battles; for details, read this and this. In those cases, resisting shareholders claimed the light fingers went into Mordashov’s pockets. The Canadian courts and the Ontario regulator didn’t agree. (more…)

THE WAR AND THE RUSSIAN ROMANCE SONG – YEVGENIA SMOLYANINOVA SINGS, STILL

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By John Helmer, Moscow

Naturally, war is about winning and losing. So there are songs to pick up your courage in advance, and songs of grief for what comes after.  There are also songs to help you forget what is happening.

Since the destruction of Russia which Boris Yeltsin and the Clinton family began, together, in 1991, Yevgenia Smolyaninova has been the songstress of sorrow, and nostalgia. In remembering what has been lost, though, Smolyaninova sings to recover and renew the musical culture. Yeltsin was tone-deaf and  dysrhythmic; his response to music was to stomp his foot in and out of time.   Smolyaninova began her career of singing what she calls the national song in the Yeltsin decade. She continues today. The question is — who now is listening?

For Smolyaninova, “certainly the audience relationship to the national song has changed.  For the worse. But sometimes I think that interest in this genre still exists, except that it lies slightly more deeply than thirty years ago. In the 1980s there was a big number of folklore ensembles, and on television a lot of broadcasts devoted to the national song. I very well remember how the Leningrad streets were filled by the participants of a folklore festival who had come from all over Russia. It was a procession that was as surprising as it was romantic.  That can’t happen now. But today there’s another possibility. Those people who were young then have now matured. Maybe, in these most recent years their understanding of the song has deepened. Perhaps their relationship with the song has changed. The song is a part of the nation, with her images and traditions. Remembering the nation’s roots is very important!” (more…)

FOUR NAILS IN THE COFFIN MEAN VICTORY FOR CYPRIOT SOVEREIGNTY, BACKED BY GREEK PRINCIPLE AND RUSSIAN ARMS

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By John Helmer, Moscow

In the dark of Monday night before light broke on Tuesday, Cyprus, the small Mediterranean island invaded and occupied for 42 years  by Turkish troops with US and UK backing,  began a revolution its president, Nicos Anastasiades (lead image, 4),  doesn’t want.

The collapse of negotiations between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, arranged by United Nations (UN) officials at the Swiss resort of Mont Pèlerin, was confirmed by a UN communique issued at 1:30 in the morning. “They have not been able to achieve the necessary further convergences on criteria for territorial adjustment that would have paved the way for the last phase of the talks,” the bulletin announced.  “The two sides have decided to return to Cyprus and reflect on the way forward.”

“The Americans, the Turks, the European Union, and the British were sure there’s no deal  Anastasiades could not be persuaded to accept,” said a senior Cyprus official,  now retired,  “so long as there’s  a large enough percentage in it for himself. Anastasiades’s weakness is his personal corruption. This time, though, the Turks raised their bid too high. The Americans lost their cards in their election on November 8. The British aren’t players in Europe now. And for the first time there was a display of Greek and Russian power which has changed the game entirely. Greece first, then Russia have cut the legs off the negotiating table – Anastasiades’s legs too.” (more…)

YEVGENY GAVRILIN’S BOOMSTARTER – HOW THE MICROFINANCE MARKET POINTS TO RUSSIAN TAKEOFF, WITH OR WITHOUT THE TRUMP EFFECT

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By John Helmer, Moscow

The Hillary Clinton effect – war with Russia on all fronts – destroyed billions of dollars in the equity value and market capitalization of Russian corporations. The collapse in the international price of crude oil, to which the Russian stock market index is usually tied, accelerated the decline.

But starting a year ago, a novel Russian effect appeared in the market. The trend lines – yellow for the Moscow MICEX index, blue for oil — began to diverge. Russian stock prices started climbing, crossing the downward movement of the oil price (lead image, top right, 1-year chart) and continuing upwards even when oil’s gains were reversed.

That is what professional investors and brokers call the Russia re-rating effect. And it commenced long before Donald Trump was elected US President on November 8 (lead image, lower right, 1-month chart).  Trump’s victory  turns out to have been a one-day wonder, a blip on the chart of the Russian stock market revival. So, if Trump is ready to put a stop to the US war on Russia  – or even if he isn’t —  is there a Russian boom coming?  Yevgeny Gavrilin (lead image) says there is; on the internet he’s calling it Boomstarter.ru. (more…)

TO ALL THE WOMEN, AND TO ALL THE LITTLE GIRLS – GORILLA RADIO EXPLAINS WHERE THE DIAMOND ON HILLARY CLINTON’S FINGER REALLY COMES FROM

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New broadcast by 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 Clinton’s speech conceding her election defeat by men and little boys, but promising victory to women and little girls%d1%81%d0%bd%d0%b8%d0%bc%d0%be%d0%ba3, watch this.

If you are a little girl , and you aim to grow up and grab the ring too, try Chelsea Clinton’s (right).  There are unconfirmed reports that this ring was specially commissioned  and cost about $1 million. There is no telling where the stone and the money came from.

Let’s see if Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey has suspicions which President-elect Donald Trump has already decided  not to put in front of a grand jury. If this sounds like the terms of the succession deal of December 31, 1999, between President Boris Yelstin and his successor,  Vladimir Putin – the Family keeps its fortune, the new man takes power —  it is.

NOT ONE MENTION OF DONALD TRUMP

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By John Helmer, Moscow

Swiss neutrality has as many holes in it as Swiss cheese. No holes in the Bear’s neutrality. From the beginning to the end,   this website has not mentioned the words Donald Trump, not even once. (more…)

NEWS FROM THE DEAD DROP — THE CROOK WHO FOUND HIS FACE, THE SPY WHO LOST HIS SECRETS

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By John Helmer. Moscow

Confidential subscribers to Dances with Bears have been provided with directions and codes required to find, then open, the dead drops for leaving and collecting the sensitive information on which this website’s investigations depend. This month the dead drop is a rat.  Inside the rat there is a moisture-proof container for miniaturized rolls of film, tape-recordings, official documents, and secret messages.

This week the rat has disgorged two film negatives. The first reveals the face of Benedict Worsley, the man behind Russia’s biggest bank robbery who, until now, has kept his face out of the public media and off the internet. The second is Robert Owen-Jones, an Australian government espionage agent.   Next week he will take over as the Russia-hating chairman of the global diamond trade regulator known as the Kimberley Process. (more…)

BARRY PARSNIP FOR THE NOBEL PRIZE – HOW INFO-WARFARE AGAINST RUSSIA WORKED BEFORE, NOT SO WELL THESE DAYS

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By John Helmer, Moscow

 If you were the only person in the world who thought yourself a genius, it would be an embarrassment to be named Barry Parsnip.

Robert Zimmerman solved the nomenclature problem. He became Bob Dylan – and Hey Presto! He won the Nobel Prize for Literature for 2016.

Barry Parsnip (aka Boris Pasternak) didn’t solve the problem. But it was solved for him by a combination of the British, US and Soviet secret services, with an assist from the Dutch and Italians.  He won the Nobel Prize for Literature for 1958 before his novel, Doctor Zhivago, had been read in the original Russian by more than a thousand people, counting government officials. Following the prize-giving until now, about 10 million people have read it, mostly in translation. But time and numbers haven’t improved either on Parsnip or on Zhivago. It is still, as Vladimir Nabokov said at the start, “a sorry thing, clumsy, trite, and melodramatic, with stock situations, voluptuous lawyers, unbelievable girls, romantic robbers, and trite coincidences.”  Kornei  Chukovsky, Pasternak’s neighbour and comrade, thought the novel was “boring, banal.”  Yevgeny Yevtushenko said it was “disappointing”. Anna Akhmatova told Pasternak to his face that Zhivago was a bad novel “except for the landscapes.” She was being ironic – there are no landscapes in the book.

Not to Pasternak’s face, Nabokov went for Pasternak’s jugular – his vanity. Nabokov called Pasternak’s composition “goistrous and goggle-eyed.”  That turned out to be the perfect picture of a victim, and MI6 and the CIA were able to provoke the Soviet authorities into persecution  of Pasternak the victim. That operation, codenamed AEDINOSAUR,  confirmed  what the West wanted the world to believe – that Russians are bad by a standard noone else in the world is held to.

Pasternak’s story, when it happened and still today,  is also confirmation of the readiness of some Russians to believe that however crapulous and despised they are at home, there will always be love for them across the frontier, in the West.   (more…)

ADVERTORIAL — WEEKEND GETAWAYS AT THE HIDEOUT OF A BILLION-DOLLAR BANK ROBBER: LEARN CREATIVE ACCOUNTING WHILE EXERCISING YOUR LEGS FOR LONG-DISTANCE RUNNING AWAY, ALL IN THE CHARMS OF MEDIEVAL PROVENCE FOR JUST £7,101 PER WEEK

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By John Helmer, Moscow

In hot pursuit of the $3 billion fortune embezzled from Trust Bank of Moscow, English lawyers, Russian bankers, Swiss policemen, and Cypriot accountants need rest and recreation. Where better to study the evidence than in the south of France, where Benedict Worsley, son of a famous Old Bailey criminal lawyer, has refurbished an old farmhouse into luxury vacation villa. And for a weekly rental of £7,101, it’s a steal. (more…)

HENRY KISSINGER’S ELECTION TO THE RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES WAS DECIDED BY 6 VOTES OUT OF 11

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By John Helmer, Moscow

Henry Kissinger has been elected a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, according to an announcement last Friday. He is the first American member of the Academy’s Department of Global Problems and International Relations. He is also the first Russian academician to have been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, East Timor, Chile, Bangladesh and Cyprus.  The Academy voted for Kissinger, according to the Academy spokesman Irina Orestova, for “his political and diplomatic scientific works and lectures.”

Alexander Dynkin, the head of the the Academy’s Department of Global Problems and International Relations, said today that he had nominated Kissinger himself. He dismissed Kissinger’s political record, claiming that wasn’t considered in his election. According to Dynkin, there was a majority of  11 votes in support of Kissinger at his Department.  The Academy’s press office said  Kissinger’s nomination had been accepted by a majority of the Academy’s 1,125 voting members. Another academy source said that once Dynkin had won the vote for Kissinger at his Department, the Academy vote was a rubber-stamp exercise. No opposition to Kissinger has surfaced publicly among the Academy’s Russian members. (more…)

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.

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