“GET BETTER” – IN KEMEROVO STATE RULED BY AMAN TULEYEV GETTING BETTER HAS ALWAYS BEEN GETTING WORSE

By John Helmer, Moscow

Aman Tuleyev (second image, centre) was re-appointed by President Vladimir Putin (lead images, left) to his fifth term as governor of Kemerovo region on April 16, 2015.   No governor of a Russian province has served for twenty-one years with such a display of confidence from the President.

For this period Tuleyev has been responsible for the corrupt culture of the region; everyone in Kemorovo knows it. On Tuesday in Kemorovo city Putin was told so by a local resident. For the eleven-year file on Tuleyev’s crimes, stories of those whom he has falsely accused, as well as reports on those he has enriched in consequence, open the archive.   (more…)

THE BUSINESS OF SERGEI SKRIPAL – DID HE SPILL THE BEANS?

By John Helmer, Moscow

Sergei Skripal, the self-employed entrepeneur, former Russian military explosives specialist and British espionage agent, is “in hospital under heavy sedation,” according to a High Court judgement issued last week in London.   He is “unconscious” but appears not to be on life-support machinery. A Salisbury Hospital doctor testifed in court that Skripal and his daughter Yulia are “unable to communicate in any way” and  “in a physically stable condition which is not expected to change in the immediate or near future.” According to the court, “medical tests indicate that their mental capacity might be compromised to an unknown and so far unascertained degree.” The implication is that they are comatose.

The High Court reported evidence from the doctor treating the Skripals that they have suffered  “injury by a nerve agent” The court also accepted evidence from a government chemical and biological analyst at the Porton Down Laboratory that their injury had been caused by  “exposure to a nerve agent or related compound. The samples tested positive for the presence of a Novichok class nerve agent or closely related agent.”

Justice David Williams, who presided in court and issued the March 22 ruling, did not identify a source or origin of this nerve agent. The judge also did not say nor did he rule that what happened to the Skripals was a crime.

The only official Russian explanation of what has happened came from Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov. He said on March 23 there had been an “accident”; for Peskov’s reference to an accident, click to read

Skripal and his daughter were  represented in court last week by a London lawyer named Vikram Sachdeva QC. He  refuses to answer questions about his role or his clients.  His appointment by the British authorities does not establish his independence; according to last week’s court record, he “supported much that Mr [James] Eadie [lawyer representing the British Government]  submitted.” Sachdeva’s case record shows he has been involved in cases of unconscious people in the past, but Sachdeva appears to take the side of the authorities. “A safe pair of hands [for the government]”, a source familiar with Sachdeva’s record says.

The court record also reveals that Sachdeva refuses to have any contact with his client’s family in Russia or their business associates and contacts there. He testified in court that it is “not…practicable or appropriate to seek the views of others who might be interested in the welfare of Mr Skripal.” The judge acknowledged evidence in court that the Skripals “appear to have some relatives in Russia”, but added: “I accept that it is neither practicable nor appropriate in the special context of this case to consult with any relatives of Mr Skripal.”

Sachdeva’s refusal to open contacts with the Russian family and associates of Sergei Skripal to investigate the possibility that his injury was self-inflicted by accident, has triggered questioning by London and Moscow lawyers.  These sources do not doubt that the British and Russian intelligence and security services  have now gathered considerable evidence of Skripal’s activities before the March 4 incident, and of the contacts Yulia Skripal had with her father’s associates in Moscow before she flew to England on March 3. If no crime was committed, if an accident happened, then the sources point out that the evidence of the nerve agent in the Skripals’ blood amounts to only a small fraction of the evidence the British and Russian governments already hold. The lawyers also say this  is circumstantial, not direct and determinative evidence. (more…)

KREMLIN PURGE OR PURGATIVE — DMITRY PESKOV ADVERTISES THE SKRIPAL ACCIDENT

By John Helmer, Moscow

Kremlin insiders report that fear for survival is now sweeping the Kremlin and the ministries of the Russian government, as it is acknowledged by senior officials that President Vladimir Putin (lead image, left)  will make “significant changes” when he announces the new government after his inauguration in six weeks’ time.  

Putin, the sources have disclosed, has been unpleasantly surprised by two results of the Skripal poisoning case, after the intelligence and security services have briefed him on all they now know of the case.   The first surprise for Putin, the sources claim, is the failure of command and control on the part of the civilian arm of government to respond to the British challenges after the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal was announced on March 4. The second is the behaviour of the state media and propaganda arm operated by Dmitry Peskov (centre), the presidential spokesman. “The Foreign Ministry hasn’t known how to act in London, whom to employ, whether to open its mouth, or keep it shut. The state propaganda organs have made this worse. Everything the government now says, truth though it may be, now looks unbelievable cover-up.”

The sources are guarded in their predictions. They believe Dmitry Medvedev will be reappointed prime minister. They expect that senior officials regarded as too fond of the west will go.

Watch and read as Dmitry Peskov explains to his boss why he should not be dismissed, and in the process reveals to the British government how the spokesman makes the president look culpable in the Skripal affair — an affair Peskov calls an “accident” six times over. That’s a dramatic news-breaking term;  Peskov fails to explain it. (more…)

THE SKRIPAL CASE GOES TO COURT FOR THE FIRST TIME – NEW UNCERTAINTIES FOR THE BRITISH AND RUSSIAN GOVERNMENTS

By John Helmer, Moscow

British High Court Justice David Williams has issued the first court adjudication of evidence presented by the British Government of what happened to Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal when they succumbed to poisoning in Salisbury on March 4.  Following three days of closed-door hearings this week in London, the judge issued a ruling for publication yesterday.  

This allows the commencement of a process of evidence-gathering and testing by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) under international treaty procedures and rules for the admissibility of evidence. The new court-ordered safeguards  respond to the criticism issued in an official aide-memoire from the Russian Foreign Ministry on  March 21. In that document, the Russian Government criticized the British Government for failing to secure “the chain of custody [of blood sample and poison evidence] up to all the OPCW requirements when evidence was collected”.  

The process ordered by Justice Williams yesterday will not only assure the independence of OPCW evidence-gathering.  By DNA testing of the fresh blood samples to be taken by the OPCW and matched against the original blood samples taken by British investigators to the Porton Down Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Russian suspicion of evidence tampering will be addressed.

In a dramatic disclosure defying explanation, Williams has now revealed that lawyers representing the Skripals and witnesses from the Salisbury Hospital and the British Government  told the court there has been no approach from any Russian family member, any Russian government agency,  or a lawyer acting for them to seek access to the Skripals or their medical records.

According to the hospital witness, “the hospital has not been approached by anyone known to the patients to enquire of their welfare. The hospital know little about either patient or what they might have wished. Independent Mental Capacity Advocates have been appointed by the Trust to assist with best interests decisions on clinical matters.”

Representing the Skripals, Vikram Sachdeva QC told the judge “that in this case at present it did not appear practicable or appropriate to seek the views of others who might be interested in the welfare of Mr Skripal (his mother perhaps) or Ms Skripal (perhaps a fiancé).” (more…)

SERGEI FRANK’S LOCKJAW CAUSES $113 MILLION IN RECORD LOSSES AT SOVCOMFLOT

By John Helmer, Moscow

Sovcomflot (SCF), the Russian state shipping company, has been obliged by its accountants Ernst & Young to declare $75.5 million in costs and expenses from court orders by British judges over a series of lawsuits initiated by Sovcomflot’s chief executive, Sergei Frank (lead image, left) thirteen years ago.  The money must be paid to Yury Nikitin,  a former chartering partner of Sovcomflot.  

The figure was released last week in Sovcomflot’s financial report for 2017. It does not include between $30 million and $50 million, which London sources estimate to have been Sovcomflot’s legal expenses and costs of compensating two other victims of Frank’s London litigation —  Dmitry Skarga, Sovcomflot’s chief executive before Frank’s takeover in 2004; and Tagir Izmaylov (Izmailov), chief executive of Novorossiysk Shipping Company (Novoship) before Frank forced a merger between Sovcomflot and Novoship. The charges,compensation and penalties which Sovcomflot has been ordered to pay stem from the rulings by High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court  judges that Frank was dishonest and vindictive in his claims against Nikitin, Skarga and Izmaylov.

Maritime analyst for Uralsib Bank in Moscow, Denis Vorchik, reported to clients this week the new financial accounting for the London litigation was the main reason for Sovcomflot to report a loss of  $113 million for 2017. (more…)

DMITRY PUMPYANSKY IS DESPERATE – TMK OFFERS TO SELL US SUBSIDIARY AT FIRE SALE PRICE

By John Helmer, Moscow

Something dark, something blacked out is happening at TMK (Trubnaya Metallurgicheskaya Kompaniya, Metal Pipe Company),  Russia’s leading manufacturer, and one of the world’s leading manufacturers,  of steel pipes for oil, gas, water,  and construction.

In an unprecedented triple change of mind, TMK owned by Dmitry Pumpyansky announced an initial public offering (IPO) of shares in its American subsidiary IPSCO Tubulars Inc. on January 29.  Just ten days later, on February 8, the company announced to the New York Stock Exchange it was withdrawing the share sale. The official reason was that “the continued market and economic volatility are not optimal conditions for an initial public offering.” In four more weeks, on March 9, TMK issued a new prospectus, reopening the sale of the IPSCO shares.

The company will not explain why it changed its mind,  or what has happened in the volatile New York market to justify restarting the IPO. Not a single London or Moscow-based bank  analyst identified by TMK as specializing in its business will give a reason. Moody’s rating agency, which lifted TMK’s outlook from negative to stable on February 28, has also failed to explain what is happening.

The answer, however, can be found in the small print of the two IPO prospectuses issued by TMK and IPSCO. TMK’s debt has been growing, the two prospectuses report, revealing that TMK’s lenders are increasingly anxious to be repaid. Two of the banks are relatively small lenders, but they have been demanding early repayments in recent days, as TMK’s share price fell after the IPO cancellation.

The biggest of TMK’s lenders is the Russian state bank VTB. It is pressure from VTB which has caused the sudden re-issue of the IPO prospectus — with one important change visible in the small print; that’s to say, invisible in the small print. VTB is insisting Pumpyansky drop the share price target of the first prospectus and sell for whatever price he can get now. VTB’s cash call has led to a share price target  in the new prospectus that is blank. (more…)

THE BLOOD LIBEL OF THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT (SIC)

By John Helmer, Moscow

Prime Minister Theresa May committed a blood libel against Russians in the House of Commons last week. This was the allegation that the Russian state and all Russians are murderers.

May has subsequently asked the Foreign Secretary and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to correct the record by charging that only one Russian, President Vladimir Putin, is a murderer.

The Canadian Government was also requested by the British  to urgently correct the record May has been making in refusing to allow the international rules of the Chemical Weapons Convention to decide what happened in the poison attack in Salisbury on March 4.  According to the new Canadian statement, coordinated with the British, the international convention can be suspended by Prime Minister May in order to make her blood libel stick.

If this is reminding you of Adolph Hitler’s blood libel against the Jews, followed by Austrian support after the Anschluss (union) with Germany of 1938, it should. (more…)

TEST OF THERESA MAY’S RULE OF LAW, AN APPLICATION FOR HABEAS CORPUS FOR YULIA SKRIPAL

By John Helmer, Moscow

An application to a British court for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of Yulia Skripal is the last chance, British and international lawyers believe, to preserve for public accountability the evidence of the poison attack against her and her father, Sergei Skripal. The attack occurred on Sunday afternoon, March 4, after the poison  had been prepared at the Skripal home in Salisbury. The Skripals themselves were exposed several hours later at a nearby restaurant.  

Bulletins on their medical condition are being issued by the National Health Service. In addition, Salisbury District Hospital has been publishing daily Twitter feed on the public health risks since the attack, along with a notice: “Salisbury Hospital is open and operating normally. We are advising patients to attend for their scheduled appointments as normal.” When hospital officials were asked today what is the condition of the Skripals, they reported  they are “in a critical, but stable condition in intensive care… The police officer, who was also part of the initial response, is conscious in a serious but stable condition.”

The lawyers say it is already impossible for the evidence collected by the police and military investigators at sites around Salisbury to be admissible in a court of  law. This, they add, is because samples of the poison may have been tampered with before or after Prime Minister Theresa May (lead image) announced to the House of Commons the ongoing forensic investigation on March 12, and then announced the government’s conclusions on March 14.

Securing the chain of custody of the evidence required by British courts has been compromised by the state secrecy surrounding the case, legal sources believe.  It stopped altogether with May’s second statement to parliament yesterday.   In that speech, the prime minister implied that no samples of the poison have been despatched to the international Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OCPW) in The Hague.

The only accessible evidence about the source of the poison, according to the lawyers, is in the bodies and medical records of Yulia Skripal and her father.  Accordingly, the lawyers are now considering an application to a British court for habeas corpus on Yulia Skripal’s behalf, so that the poison and the allegations surrounding the attack on the Skripals can be tested by a judge, according to the British laws of evidence. (more…)

FOURTEEN AND A HALF CERTAINTIES ABOUT THE CASE OF SERGEI SKRIPAL

By John Helmer, Moscow

In cases like the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, the only way to proceed is by identifying the evidence which proves with certainty what happened; or failing that, proves with certainty what did not  happen. Perpetrator, co-conspirators, method, motive, intention – all come later, if they come at all.  

At the moment, according to police and government releases and the British state media, the crime scene in Salisbury is being combed by at least 250 police officers; with another 180 military personnel specializing in chemical warfare. Dozens more electronic surveillance and cyber-warfare agents are also engaged. The crime scene locations include the Skripal house; the cemetery graves of Skripal’s wife and son; the Mill public house where Skripal and his daughter had a drink; the Zizzi restaurant where they ate before collapsing; and the public areas where they walked between house, pub, restaurant, the Maltings shopping precinct, and park bench.

At least 240 pieces of evidence have reportedly been identified as such, not counting the Skripal house, and 200 witnesses interviewed, including Wiltshire Police Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey. He developed symptoms  after being despatched to the Skripal house. That is, after the Skripals had been found and hospitalized.

According to Lord Ian Blair, a former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, “there are some indications that the police officer who was injured had been to the house, whereas there was a doctor who looked after the patients in the open, who hasn’t been affected at all. So there maybe some clues floating around in here.” Blair said this on the BBC.

His disclosure, also confirmed in several newspapers, provides the first certainty in the case: the Skripals came into contact with the poison for the first time inside their own home. They then went out to the pub and the restaurant. Certainty No. 2 – the poison cannot have been fast-acting for them at home. Certainty No. 3 – the poison was faster-acting for Sgt Bailey because he developed symptoms almost immediately at the Skripal house.

Follow the next eleven certainties. (more…)

ANATOMY OF FAILURE – WHY AMERICA WILL LOSE EVERY WAR IT STARTS

By John Helmer, Moscow

It’s novel for a US military institution to publish a report which contradicts its own conclusions, and adds up to evidence instead for the opposite of its proposals. This feat has just been achieved by the Naval Institute Press and Harlan K. Ullman in a book dedicated to the US Naval Academy Class of 1945. The title is Anatomy of Failure, Why America Loses Every War It Starts.

Ullman’s case is that because the US military lacks a “brains-based approach to strategic thinking”, it keeps losing the wars it starts. Ullman isn’t against the US starting wars. What he proposes is that the only brains for winning these wars are his own. Naturally, the London media have clicked their collective heels, saluting Ullman with reviews declaring, among other things, that  “there is not an army in the world that could stand up to the Americans in a fair fight. But winning wars is a different matter”.

In short, the adversaries of the US don’t fight fair. They win by fighting dirty. Americans need to use their brains, er Ullman’s brains, to compensate.

What those brains propose  is a combination of  “extensive knowledge and understanding of the enemy at all levels, brilliance in execution, rapidity, and sufficient control of the environment in all dimensions to impose our will.”

Ullman expands the IMPOSE-OUR-WILL phrase into a warfighting doctrine he claims to have invented himself in 1994. He was sitting, he claims, on a Pentagon committee of retired generals and admirals  he calls by their diminutives – Bud, Fred, Chuck, Tom, Jim and Snuffy.  Ullman says he first called the doctrine “shock and awe”.  But this is Ullman’s selfie, as fake as the photograph on the book’s dust jacket (lead image, left). This is also Ullman’s recapitulation of the old force concentration and mobility doctrines of Julius Caesar, Richard the Lionheart, Napoleon, German blitzkrieg, and Georgy Zhukov

It’s a battlefield idea which,  as the Germans learned on the Soviet Front, doesn’t win wars. The Americans are also learning the same these days on the Syrian,  Ukrainian, Korean and South China Sea fronts where they lack air superiority and on the ground have no better than parity of firepower  with the other side. Ullman and the US Navy have produced this book revealing they still don’t comprehend.   

Ullman is better known in Washington for boots on his own ground, according to the testimony of a local brothel madam who identified him publicly as her client before she was prosecuted and committed suicide. That’s a doctrine of schlock and whore.

(more…)

WHEN YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD, NEPOTISM DOESN’T APPLY – HOW GERMAN GREF USES SBERBANK TO ENRICH HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN

By John Helmer, Moscow

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

That was Jesus Christ (lead image, left) talking, not German Gref (lead image, left), chief executive of Sberbank and the most powerful banker in Russia. The children Gref has been talking about are  paying clients of a new Moscow school established by Yana Gref (image, far right),German’s  second wife,  who is financed by Sberbank. And also Oleg Gref, son by Gref’s first wife, whose asset appraisal and consulting business depends on contracts from Sberbank. The kingdom of heaven belonging to Yana Gref is called Khoroshevskaya progymnasium  – for short,  Khoroshkola (Хорошкола); the one belonging to Oleg Gref is called Brayne Asset and Change Management. 

When money flows from Gref’s bank to these relatives and their businesses, the relationship is understood in international anti-corruption practice to be nepotism. Originally an Italian word meaning nephew, the term referred to the practice of medieval Catholic Church cardinals and popes, purportedly celibate and childless, of promoting and enriching their kin. It means the same in Russian (непотизм).  The Russian language makes doubly sure everybody knows this crime by having a word of local derivation to mean the same; that’s kumovstvo (кумовство).

In 2013, the State Duma proposed to make nepotism unlawful by adding an amendment to the Anti-Corruption Law of 2008.    This provision made it illegal in Russia for money to be paid from state agencies, state corporations or state banks to organisations whose directors, deputy directors and chief accountants are close relatives of the directors, deputy directors or chief accountants of the state agency which is the source of the money. 

But the amendment failed to pass. Nepotism (непотизм, кумовство) is missing from Russian law and current practice. It’s legal; the Gref family proves it.

The Gref family nepotism is not breaking news. It has been more frequently reported by Russian journalists than for any other Russian banker or minister of state. Also, Gref has been more thoroughly exposed in the press than his business friend, the grand larcenist, fraudster, tax felon and money-launderer Suleiman Kerimov; the details of those allegations (repeat allegations) can be read here

The unreported novelty in today’s story is how Russian law and those who enact it have allowed a loophole for Gref to get away with what are serious felonies in other places.

(more…)

DO RUSSIA’S SECRET WEAPONS INCLUDE INVISIBLE SUBMARINES, OR IS THAT A RUSSIAN BLUFF? HERE’S THE STORY OF THE DAY SWEDEN WAS INVADED BY A RUSSIAN WEAPON SO SECRET, IT DIDN’T EXIST

By David O’Brien, Boston

The mainstream media (MSM) lie constantly.

Writers in the alternative media work hard to expose these lies as they appear each day. But there is only so much they can catch in real time. Sometimes, looking back at an old story can give you a better understanding of exactly what happened, especially since you can include events that occurred after the initial story disappeared from the headlines.

I did this for a story that took place in October of 2014, when Sweden’s military conducted a massive search for what they were convinced was a Russian submarine lurking in their territorial waters. The story was headline news for a week straight, and people who follow the news most likely remember it to this day. (more…)

WHEN VLADIMIR PUTIN COUGHS, THE GRIPPE IS INFECTIOUS – KREMLIN SUCCESSION SHOWDOWN STARTS

By John Helmer, Moscow

Still coughing from the effects of the influenza which has infected most of Europe this winter, President Vladimir Putin has declared that for his last term in office, Russia is at war with the United States.

In his Federal Assembly speech on March 1, Putin also made sure that for his succession, he intends  the Russian military-industrial complex to prevail over the oligarchs on whom Kremlin rule has depended since 1996.  Politically, this means the rise  of Dmitry Rogozin, currently deputy prime minister in charge of the defence sector,  and Sergei Shoigu, the defence minister. Putin has signalled he intends the defeat of the pro-American business faction in Moscow, which US sanctions have been attempting to promote since 2014. (more…)

THE TRUST-OTKRITIE BANK FRAUD: ANOTHER DOMINO FALLS, MIKHAIL SUKHOV DISCHARGED AGAIN

By John Helmer, Moscow

One of the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) officials responsible for the state takeover and subsequent collapse of Trust Bank and Otkritie Bank has been removed from office for the second time in fifteen months.  Mikhail Sukhov (lead image, right), a deputy governor of the CBR responsible for regulating Russia’s biggest banks, was ousted from the Central Bank in October 2016. Hired by the state VTB Bank the following month, he was removed by VTB this week. 

A Moscow newspaper reports Sukhov was ousted because he was unable to perform his role at VTB “in strengthening mutual understanding with the regulator [Central Bank], which, in fact, was his key task.” The newspaper, reporting VTB sources, hints that Sukhov’s job was a sinecure to cover up what had happened at the Central Bank. VTB, the bank told reporters, “does not expect his responsibilities will be redistributed between the relevant chairmen.” 

Ilya Yurov, the former chief executive and control shareholder of Trust Bank, commented from London that Sukhov had “played an important role in Otkritie’s conspiracy” to take over Trust Bank’s assets.   Yurov’s version of where the $4 billion in money reportedly missing from the Trust-Otkritie combination since 2014 can be read here.  

Until Sukhov’s ouster, Elvira Nabiullina (lead image, left), who heads the Central Bank, had assigned him to  “coordinate and control the work of the Systemically Important Banks Supervision Department, the Credit Institutions Licensing and Financial Rehabilitation Department and the International Cooperation and Public Communications Department.”  Neither the CBR’s press office nor Sukhov commented at the time  on his ouster.  Sukhov and VTB are not responding to calls for comment on this week’s exit. (more…)

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.”

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.  

(more…)

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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