END OF STRING FOR RUSSIAN YO-YO LOAN FRAUD — ILYA YUROV CONVICTED IN LONDON COURT OF STEALING $1.1 BILLION FROM NATIONAL BANK TRUST

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The English read detective stories for the pleasure of unravelling the crime,  proving that even if there are perfect crimes, in the majority of cases the perpetrators don’t get away with them because the detectives are usually cleverer. That’s fiction.

In real life,  Russian crimes are different. In the majority of cases, including less than perfect crimes involving vast sums of money, the majority of the perps get away with them; live richly  in the UK, Tuscany, or on the Cote d’Azur; and enjoy promotional publicity in the Financial Times. In the cases of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and William Browder they have become so famous for their lying, it’s a devil of a job for the truth to prevail against their fictions.

In the minority of Russian cases, the judgements of the High Court in London are thrillers, though complicated in the reading. In the majority of these judgements, the guilty are convicted, and the innocent vindicated.  But that’s a majority of a minority. A rarity in the library of true Russian crimes.

There have been many Russian yo-yo loan schemes since commercial banking began in Moscow just under thirty years ago. The modus operandi is that the controlling shareholder arranges for his bank to make large loans to offshore companies he invents and controls; passes the money from these fronts on to other fronts,  and then into his pockets. His plan from the start is not to repay the loans; the borrowing fronts have no security for their loans when the bank demands repayment, and there’s no cash. That’s the big crime.

The scheme requires dozens of fake entities, thousands of transactions, more than a handful of banks, and accomplices to manage the operations. Because they are in the know, they have to be paid well. They, too,  grow rich.  They commit the smaller crimes and compound the big one. Even if the big criminal is caught, and his underlings at the Russian end sent to prison until they inculpate their bosses, the offshore managers and fixers – those who keep the yo-yo revolving and the string from breaking – usually get away.

In the case of National Bank Trust versus Ilya Yurov (lead image), his partners and their wives, the High Court published its whodunit last week. The story can be followed from the start in 2015 in this archive;  Khodorkovsky makes several crooked cameo appearances. A British national named Benedict Worsley, the most important of Yurov’s managers,  changed sides when the yo-yo turned into a boomerang. To save himself, he agreed to take more money from the bank to assemble the evidence in the court case against the defendants. In the new court judgement, he reportedly switched sides again before the trial opened on October 1, 2018.  Neither side wanted to call him to testify because they all agreed he was a liar. The Worsley tale can be followed here. In the High Court judgement, Worsley is named 733 times. “It would appear that he was something of a fantasist and prone to exaggerate,” the judge ruled, “and that he was prepared to act dishonestly…”

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THE TRUTH & THE IRONY: CONSORTIUM NEWS AND THE CONTINUING TALE OF CHRYSTIA FREELAND’S GRANDFATHER AND HIS AND HER NAZI SCHEME FOR UKRAINE TODAY

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The truth is that Consortium News trusted a Russian entity named the Strategic Culture Foundation and a Ukrainian reporter called Arina Tsukanova for a story published on February 27, 2017, about Chrystia Freeland’s grandfather Mikhail Chomiak, a propagandist and spy for the German Army who advocated and assisted in the murder of the Jews, Poles and Russians during World War II, and took his reward by stealing Jewish property – publishing company, office, apartment, antique furniture,  and limousine.  

The story about Freeland and the ethnic cleansing of Ukraine on which Freeland agrees, still,  with Chomiak,  was the truth. It’s also a truth she tries to escape by blaming the Russian state or Kremlin propaganda for repeating. Repeating doesn’t turn the truth into a lie, though as Joseph Goebbels advised, repeating the lie helps.

The point isn’t that Freeland is culpable in her grandfather’s sins. Her sin is hiding them, and her reason for doing so.  She agrees with Chomiak on turning Ukraine into the Greater Galicia it was Adolf Hitler’s objective to achieve between 1939 to 1945: that’s to say, cleanse the territory of Jews, Poles and Russians by killing them all. Chomiak succeeded with the first two; he was then employed by the US Army on the third. Freeland is keeping the plan in the family; they now have the Canadian government behind them.  Demonizing Russians is part of the same plan as it was in Chomiak’s day.

The irony is that the Freeland-Chomiak story was plagiarized from an American reporter who first published the details on January 19, 2017. At the time, and still, he was banned from entering Russia by the Kremlin because, according to a senior official in Moscow, “he writes bad things about our country”; no western journalist has been banned for as long – since September 27, 2010. The reporter was me.

There’s another truth wrapped in an irony. Arina Tsukanova, the byline writer of the Strategic Culture Foundation story and the Consortium News story, cannot be found; isn’t known at the media of Kiev and Crimea where her published pieces claim she works; and doesn’t reply to emails and Facebook communications. She is a ghost—a byline invented by the Strategic Culture Foundation in Moscow.

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PRESIDENT TRUMP’S LAWYERS DEFEND AGAINST IMPEACHMENT BY ARGUING HE’S A “RUSSIAN TANK KILLER” AND RUSSIA IS “SCARED” OF HIM

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

President Donald Trump’s lawyers have presented a 171-page legal brief defending him from  impeachment charges in the trial which began this week in Washington. The brief mentions Russia a total of 41 times.

Not counting repetitions, footnotes and references, Trump’s defence accepts as proven that Trump has defended Ukraine against Russian “aggression”; is “stronger in support of Ukraine against Russia than his predecessor [President Barack Obama]; and the Russian military is “scared” of Trump’s weapons.  

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OLIGARCHS PLAY PEEK-A-BOO — KREMLIN HIDES CHRISTMAS DINNER LIST WHILE FINANCIAL TIMES AND DAVOS ADVERTISE RUSSIAN MONEY AS USUAL

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 5-—-копия-2-1-1024x831.png

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

“We have overcome the situation when certain powers in the government were essentially usurped by oligarch clans,” President Vladimir Putin told the Federal Assembly last week. About  the overcoming part, his staff aren’t so sure.

The week before, when asked to identify the guest list at Putin’s annual Christmas reception for the oligarchs on December 25, the president’s spokesman would not acknowledge there was a list, and refused to explain why it hasn’t been published. Publishing the list has been the Kremlin practice since the Christmas-for-oligarch suppers first began five years ago, on December 19, 2014.

In those five years, the President’s efforts to persuade the oligarchs to “de-offshorize” their capital, and repatriate it for reinvestment in Russia, have failed. Follow the details here. The US sanctions against those whom the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)  has judged to be closest to Putin, along with the US Treasury attack on Russian capital throughout the European banking system, have been more effective to that end.  This may be the reason that, not having been overcome, the oligarchs and Putin have agreed that when they keep each other company, it will remain a state secret.

Secret at least from Russians, not from westerners. Between last month’s event and the start this week of the World Economic Forum (WEF) conference in Davos, Switzerland, the oligarchs have been busy advertising themselves in the foreign press. Their message is that they haven’t been overcome, not by the Kremlin and not by OFAC, so it’s back to business as usual.

As usual, the Financial Times is reporting this with the same fervor as has been filling the FT’s coffers and browning the noses of the FT’s Moscow Bureau for almost a quarter of a century. Regime change in the Kremlin, the Japanese-owned London outlet keeps hoping, is still best left to the oligarchs to arrange.

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SKRIPAL SCOOP — BBC PASSED MI6 LIES TO BELLINGCAT AND THEN REPORTED BELLINGCAT CLAIMS AS TRUTH

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

In September of 2018, BBC reporter Mark Urban (lead image, left) ended his book The Skripal Files with a report of the favour MI6 had arranged, so that he could visit Sergei Skripal’s house in Salisbury, and report that a souvenir of British country life which MI6 agent Pablo Miller had presented to Skripal after his recruitment as a double agent, was still on a shelf in the living-room. For a double agent, that was a bad slip – not Skripal’s, Urban’s.

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PRESIDENT PUTIN TRIES GREENING – REDUCES CARBON FOOTPRINT OF PRIME MINISTER MEDVEDEV

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

In law courts, justice must not only be done but be seen to be done. In politics, too.

The problem with what President Vladimir Putin (lead image, right) announced in his Federal Assembly address this week, and what he did immediately after, is that things don’t look the way he says they should.

The difference was written on Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s face. He thinks Putin has destroyed the political forces of the candidate with the best chance of winning the presidential election of 2024 — himself. The businessmen and government officials who have depended on Medvedev are acknowledging this realization on the telephone.

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THE HOUDINI TRICK AND THE SKRIPAL CASE — CORONER RIDLEY’S ESCAPE FROM THE EVIDENCE OF THE ONE WITNESS WHO KNOWS THE TRUTH, SERGEI SKRIPAL

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

In a ruling issued by the Wiltshire county coroner David Ridley (lead image) this week, the  British Government allegations of a Russian assassination plot against Sergei Skripal by the nerve agent Novichok were repeated and accepted — without the qualification that they have not yet been tested and proven in the coroner’s court.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were attacked in the centre of Salisbury on March 4, 2018. Without mentioning them as material witnesses in his investigation, Ridley has decided that the death of Dawn Sturgess in Amesbury, near Salisbury, four months later, was an “unpredictable misfortune”. “On the face of the evidence I have seen,” Ridley said of Sturgess’s death in Salisbury District Hospital on July 8, 2018, “[she] appears to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time and her death may well have arisen as a result of ‘collateral damage’, a phrase that I apologise in using but I am unable to express it any other meaningful way.”

By “collateral damage” Ridley meant he doesn’t doubt Sturgess was killed by the same weapon, Novichok, as was used in the attack on the Skripals. Ridley also reports his conclusion that without the police discoveries of perfume bottle evidence in the Sturgess case, there would be no evidence at all of how the Skripals were attacked.

Ridley’s ruling was directed at the London lawyers for the Sturgess family, barrister Michael Mansfield QC and solicitor Irene Nembhard. They have proposed putting Russia’s military intelligence agents and also the British security services on trial in a scheme for a large payout in compensation to the Sturgess family. The lawyers claim the Russian assassination threat was so well-known to the British services, they were negligent in their duty to prevent it and to protect the people of Salisbury, particularly Sturgess.  

Mansfield and Nembhard have been trying to keep this plan secret. They and their office clerks  have repeatedly refused to disclose the documents which Ridley released in part this week. Ridley has also revealed that the two-year delay in holding the inquest into the cause of Sturgess’s death will continue because he “expect[s] this ruling is challenged by way of Judicial Review.”

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GERMAN PARLIAMENT OFFICE REPORTS NO RUSSIAN INVASION OF DONBASS, REJECTS MEDIA AND GOVERNMENT PROPAGANDA

by John Helmer, Moscow

  @bears_with

A report by a research unit of the German Bundestag, just released in Berlin, has defied the narrative of the European Union, NATO and the US, with the conclusion that since the Ukraine civil war began in early 2014, there has been no reliable evidence of Russian troop invasion or intervention by regular Russian military forces in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.

After a review of the press, official public releases and reports, as well as European court rulings, the Bundestag’s experts have described the outcome with the German phrase, ohne belastbares Faktenmaterial – “without reliable fact material.”

The Bundestag report, which runs to 17 pages and was completed on December 9, has been noted in the German-language media. To date, however, it has been ignored by the Anglo-American press, including the alt-media.

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THE FOG OF WAR – GORILLA RADIO DISCUSSES THE RUSSIAN FOCUS

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Political fog and the fog of war are different. The first is a way of believing first, seeing afterwards. The second is what happens when the weapons of camouflage and deception  combine with confusion and fear to make seeing clearly impossible.

Follow last week’s events as they happened in Damascus, Istanbul and Tehran.

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RED HAS TURNED YELLOW – THE GREEK AND CYPRIOT COMMUNISTS ARE FLYING A DIFFERENT FLAG IN THE UKRAINE WAR



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The Ukraine war is splitting the communist parties of Europe between those taking the US side, and those on the Russian side.

In an unusual public criticism of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and of smaller communist parties in Europe which have endorsed the Greek criticism of Russia for waging an “imperialist” war against the Ukraine, the Russian Communist Party (KPRF) has responded this week with a 3,300-word declaration:  “The military conflict in Ukraine,” the party said, “cannot be described as an imperialist war, as our comrades would argue. It is essentially a national liberation war of the people of Donbass. From Russia’s point of view it is a struggle against an external threat to national security and against Fascism.”

By contrast, the Russian communists have not bothered to send advice, or air public criticism of the Cypriot communists and their party, the Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL). On March 2, AKEL issued a communiqué “condemn[ing] Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and calls for an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of the Russian troops from Ukrainian territories….[and] stresses that the Russian Federation’s action in recognising the Donetsk and Luhansk regions constitutes a violation of the principle of the territorial integrity of states.”

 To the KPRF in Moscow the Cypriots are below contempt; the Greeks are a fraction above it.

A Greek-Cypriot veteran of Cypriot politics and unaffiliated academic explains: “The Cypriot communists do not allow themselves to suffer for what they profess to believe. Actually, they are a misnomer. They are the American party of the left in Cyprus, just as [President Nikos] Anastasiades is the American party of the right.” As for the Greek left, Alexis Tsipras of Syriza – with 85 seats of the Greek parliament’s 300, the leading party of the opposition – the KKE (with 15 seats), and Yanis Varoufakis of MeRA25 (9 seats), the source adds: “The communists are irrelevant in Europe and in the US, except in the very narrow context of Greek party politics.”

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IF IT SMELLS ALLURING, IT’S RUSSIAN – IN WARTIME L’ORÉAL (FRANCE) AND ESTÉE LAUDER (US) MAKE A BAD SMELL



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The war plan of the US and the European allies is destroying the Russian market for traditional French perfumes, the profits of the French and American conglomerates which own the best-known brands, the bonuses of their managers, and the dividends of their shareholders. The odour  of these losses is too strong for artificial fresheners.

Givaudan, the Swiss-based world leader in production and supply of fragrances, oils and other beauty product ingredients, has long regarded the Russian market as potentially its largest in Europe; it is one of the fastest growing contributors to Givaudan’s profit worldwide. In the recovery from the pandemic of Givaudan’s Fragrance and Beauty division – it accounts for almost half the company’s total sales — the group reported “excellent double-digit growth in 2021, demonstrating strong consumer demand for these product categories.”    Until this year, Givaudan reveals in its latest financial report, the growth rate for Russian demand was double-digit – much faster than the  6.3% sales growth in Europe overall; faster growth than in Germany, Belgium and Spain.    

Between February 2014, when the coup in Kiev started the US war against Russia, and last December, when the Russian non-aggression treaties with the US and NATO were rejected,   Givaudan’s share price jumped three and a half times – from 1,380 Swiss francs to 4,792 francs; from a company with a market capitalisation of 12.7 billion francs ($12.7 billion) to a value of 44.2 billion francs ($44.2 billion). Since the fighting began in eastern Ukraine this year until now, Givaudan has lost 24% of that value – that’s $10 billion.  

The largest of Givaudan’s shareholders is Bill Gates. With his 14%, plus the 10% controlled by Black Rock of New York and MFS of Boston, the US has effective control over the company.

Now, according to the US war sanctions, trade with Russia and the required payment systems have been closed down, alongside the bans on the importation of the leading European perfumes. So in place of the French perfumers, instead of Givaudan, the Russian industry is reorganizing for its future growth with its own perfume brands manufactured from raw materials produced in Crimea and other regions, or supplied by India and China. Givaudan, L’Oréal (Lancome, Yves Saint Laurent), Kering (Balenciaga, Gucci), LVMH (Dior, Guerlain, Givenchy), Chanel, Estée Lauder, Clarins – they have all cut off their noses to spite the Russian face.

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THE WAR AGAINST FOOD – WHO IS TO BLAME



By Nikolai Storozhenko, introduced and translated by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

This week President Joseph Biden stopped at an Illinois farm to say he’s going to help the  Ukraine ship 20 million tonnes of wheat and corn out of storage into export, thereby relieving  grain shortages in the international markets and lowering bread prices around the world.  Biden was trying to play a hand in which his cards have already been clipped. By Biden.  

The first Washington-Kiev war plan for eastern Ukraine has already lost about 40% of the Ukrainian wheat fields, 50% of the barley, and all of the grain export ports. Their second war plan to hold the western region defence lines with mobile armour, tanks, and artillery  now risks the loss of the corn and rapeseed crop as well as the export route for trucks to Romania and Moldova. What will be saved in western Ukraine will be unable to grow enough to feed its own people. They will be forced to import US wheat, as well as US guns and the money to pay for both.

Biden told his audience that on the Delaware farms he used to represent in the US Senate “there are more chickens than there are Americans.”  Blaming the Russians is the other card Biden has left.  

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EXILE



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The problem with living in exile is the meaning of the word. If you’re in exile, you mean you are forever looking backwards, in geography as well as in time. You’re not only out of place; you’re out of time — yesterday’s man.

Ovid, the Roman poet who was sent into exile from Rome by Caesar Augustus, for offences neither Augustus nor Ovid revealed, never stopped looking back to Rome. His exile, as Ovid described it, was “a barbarous coast, inured to rapine/stalked ever by bloodshed, murder, war.” In such a place or state, he said, “writing a poem you can read to no one is like dancing in the dark.”

The word itself, exsilium in Roman law, was the sentence of loss of citizenship as an alternative to loss of life, capital punishment. It meant being compelled to live outside Rome at a location decided by the emperor. The penalty took several degrees of isolation and severity. In Ovid’s case, he was ordered by Augustus to be shipped to the northeastern limit of the Roman empire,  the Black Sea town called Tomis; it is now Constanta, Romania. Ovid’s last books, Tristia (“Sorrows”) and Epistulae ex Ponto (“Black Sea Letters”), were written from this exile, which began when he was 50 years old, in 8 AD, and ended when he died in Tomis nine years year later, in 17 AD.  

In my case I’ve been driven into exile more than once. The current one is lasting the longest. This is the one from Moscow, which began with my expulsion by the Foreign Ministry on September 28, 2010.  The official sentence is Article 27(1) of the law No. 114-FZ — “necessary for the purposes of defence capability or security of the state, or public order, or protection of health of the population.” The reason, a foreign ministry official told an immigration service official when they didn’t know they were being overheard, was: “Helmer writes bad things about Russia.”

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IN THE FOG OF WAR THERE’S THE GUTERRES CERTAINTY AND THE CADIEU CERTAINTY – GORILLA RADIO SEES THROUGH THE COVER-UP



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Antonio Guterres is the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), who attempted last month  to arrange the escape from Russian capture of Ukrainian soldiers and NATO commanders,  knowing they had committed war crimes. He was asked to explain; he refuses.   

Trevor Cadieu is a Canadian lieutenant-general who was appointed the chief of staff and head of the Canadian Armed Forces last August; was stopped in September; retired from the Army this past April, and went to the Ukraine, where he is in hiding. From whom he is hiding – Canadians or Russians – where he is hiding, and what he will say to explain are questions Cadieu isn’t answering, yet.

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DID UN SECRETARY-GENERAL GUTERRES COMMIT A WAR CRIME AT AZOVSTAL?

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, is refusing this week to answer questions on the role he played in the recent attempt by US, British, Canadian and other foreign combatants to escape the bunkers under the Azovstal plant, using the human shield of civilians trying to evacuate.

In Guterres’s meeting with President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on April 26 (lead image), Putin warned Guterres he had been “misled” in his efforts. “The simplest thing”, Putin told Guterres in the recorded part of their meeting, “for military personnel or members of the nationalist battalions is to release the civilians. It is a crime to keep civilians, if there are any there, as human shields.”  

This war crime has been recognized since 1977 by the UN in Protocol 1 of the Geneva Convention.  In US law for US soldiers and state officials, planning to employ or actually using human shields is a war crime to be prosecuted under 10 US Code Section 950t.  

Instead, Guterres ignored the Kremlin warning and the war crime law, and authorized UN officials, together with Red Cross officials,  to conceal what Guterres himself knew of the foreign military group trying to escape. Overnight from New York, Guterres has refused to say what he knew of the military escape operation, and what he had done to distinguish, or conceal the differences between the civilians and combatants in the evacuation plan over the weekend of April 30-May 1.May.

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THE LAST DITCH IS POLAND – RUSSIA’S PHASE-3 PLAN FOR WESTERN UKRAINE



By Vlad Shlepchenko, introduced & translated by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The more western politicians announce pledges of fresh weapons for the Ukraine, the more Russian military analysts explain what options their official sources are considering to destroy the arms before they reach the eastern front, and to neutralize Poland’s role as the NATO  hub for resupply and reinforcement of the last-ditch holdout of western Ukraine.

“I would like to note,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, repeated yesterday, “that any transport of the North Atlantic Alliance that arrived on the territory of the country with weapons or material means for the needs of the Ukrainian armed forces is considered by us as a legitimate target for destruction”.  He means the Ukraine border is the red line.

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THE MATLIN PLOT, THE BROWDER PLOT AND THE NEW YORK TIMES PLOT



By Lucy Komisar,  New York*
  @bears_with

Here’s a story the New York Times has just missed.

US politicians and media pundits are promoting the targeting of “enablers” of Russian oligarchs who stash their money in offshore accounts. A Times article of March 11   highlighted Michael Matlin, CEO of Concord Management as such an “enabler.” But the newspaper missed serious corruption Matlin was involved in. Maybe that’s because Matlin cheated Russia, and also because the Matlin story exposes the William Browder/Sergei Magnitsky hoax aimed at Russia.

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YELLOW COAL, THE FUEL MADE OUT OF RACE HATRED — MAY DAY MESSAGE FROM SIGIZMUND KRZHIZHANOVSKY, 1939



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

In 1939 a little known writer in Moscow named Sigizmund Khrzhizhanovsky published his idea that the Americans, then the Germans would convert human hatred into a new source of energy powering everything which had been dependent until then on coal, gas, and oil.

Called yellow coal, this invention originated with Professor Leker at Harvard University. It was applied, first to running municipal trams, then to army weapons, and finally to cheap electrification of everything from domestic homes and office buildings to factory production lines. In Russian leker means a quack doctor.

The Harvard professor’s idea was to concentrate the neuro-muscular energy people produce when they hate each other.  Generated as bile (yellow), accumulated and concentrated into kinetic spite in machines called myeloabsorberators, Krzhizhanovsky called this globalization process the bilification of society.

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IS CAESARISM THE PROBLEM, THE SOLUTION, A FANCY DRESS COSTUME, OR A PROPAGANDA CARTOON?



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

In imperial history there is nothing new in cases of dementia in rulers attracting homicidal psychopaths to replace them.  It’s as natural as honey attracts bees.

When US President Woodrow Wilson was incapacitated by a stroke on October 19, 1919, he was partially paralysed and blinded, and was no longer able to feed himself, sign his name, or speak normally; he was not demented.

While his wife and the Navy officer  who was his personal physician concealed his condition, there is no evidence that either Edith Wilson or Admiral Cary Grayson were themselves clinical cases of disability, delusion,  or derangement. They were simply liars driven by the ambition to hold on to the power of the president’s office and deceive everyone who got in their way.  

The White House is always full of people like that. The 25th Amendment to the US Constitution is meant to put a damper on their homicidal tendencies.

What is unusual, probably exceptional in the current case of President Joseph Biden, not to mention the history of the United States,  is the extent of the president’s personal incapacitation; combined with the clinical evidence of psychopathology in his Secretary of State Antony Blinken;  and the delusional condition of the rivals to replace Biden, including Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Like Rome during the first century AD, Washington is now in the ailing emperor-homicidal legionary phase.  But give it another century or two, and the madness, bloodshed, and lies of the characters of the moment won’t matter quite as much as their images on display in the museums of their successors craving legitimacy, or of successor powers celebrating their superiority.  

Exactly this has happened to the original Caesars, as a new book by Mary Beard, a Cambridge University professor of classics, explains. The biggest point of her book, she says, is “dynastic succession” – not only of the original Romans but of those modern rulers who acquired the Roman portraits in marble and later copies in paint, and the copies of those copies, with the idea of communicating “the idea of the direct transfer of power from ancient Romans to Franks and on to later German rulers.”

In the case she narrates of the most famous English owner of a series of the “Twelve Caesars”, King Charles I — instigator of the civil war of 1642-51 and the loser of both the war and his head – the display of his Caesars was intended to demonstrate the king’s self-serving “missing link” between his one-man rule and the ancient Romans who murdered their way to rule, and then apotheosized into immortal gods in what they hoped would be a natural death on a comfortable bed.

With the American and Russian successions due to take place in Washington and Moscow in two years’ time, Beard’s “Twelve Caesars, Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern”,  is just the ticket from now to then.

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