NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW YOU DON’T – US SATELLITE EVIDENCE AND THE MH17 TRIAL

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The US satellite images proving that a BUK missile brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 on July 17, 2014, have existed for twenty-three days – between July 20 and August 12, 2014. Since then they ceased to exist.  Since then too, for almost six years, no US Government official has claimed in public, nor told Dutch police, prosecutors, or military intelligence officials in secret, that the images can be viewed with the naked eye.

A week ago, on March 23, Hendrik Steenhuis, a judge of The Hague District Court, ordered the production and disclosure of these US satellite images as evidence in the trial of four men accused of transporting the missile to its launch site, participating in the order to fire, and intending to kill all 298 people on board the aircraft.

Steenhuis, the presiding trial judge, gave Dutch prosecutors until June 8 to comply with the order and prove the satellite images exist. If they do not, the foundation of the case against the four accused, and against the Russian military and political command for ordering the BUK launched, will collapse.

Lawyers with experience in comparable international tribunals are sceptical of both Judge Steenhuis’s order, and of the likelihood the US Government and Dutch prosecutors will obey it.  Christopher Black was a Canadian lawyer for the defence in the Yugoslav trials beginning in 1993, and the Rwanda trials commencing in 1994. He says: “In our trial at the ICTR [International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda] we pushed the judges to order the prosecution to produce what they claimed they had. Several times under our browbeating, they did make such orders. But they were never followed up. The prosecution never complied, even when a couple of times they were roasted by the judges for disregarding their orders. They didn’t care and nothing was done. We think it was all window-dressing for the press in order to make the judges appear neutral when they were part of the prosecution.”

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FOLLOW CHINA, FOLLOW RUSSIA, FOLLOW AMERICA — THE POLITICS OF COVID-19 ALTERNATIVES WITHOUT CHOICE

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

“The immediate priority is to prevent the quick spread of this disease”, President Vladimir Putin (lead image, top left) declared in his state speech on the corona virus last week.  

This is the point on which there is no disagreement, not now at least. But how restrictive for the economy the anti-contagion measures should be, and at what cost compared to the cost of the virus impact on life and death, is a point of considerable debate, inside Russia as everywhere else. That is the point which Putin avoided. He is not alone among the heads of state or government in the rest of the world.  What is the difference then between Putin and all of them?

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ANGLO-AMERICAN STANDARD OR DUTCH TREAT – WILL THE MH17 TRIAL STOP FOR LACK OF EVIDENCE OR END IN ACQUITTAL?

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

“Where no case is made out against a man, or such a flimsy one that it cannot stand on its feet, he is entitled to say: ‘I ask the jury to say that I am not guilty without hearing a word from me.’”

That sentence was written almost sixty years ago by one of the most brilliant tellers of courtroom stories in the English language, Henry Cecil. Nom de plume of an English county court judge,  Cecil  put the words in the mouth of the barrister for the defendant, in his summing-up for the jury. The story is a whodunit, with much of Cecil’s characteristic poking of fun and then, at the end — well, a surprise I shan’t reveal.

In the tale of the trial of four defendants accused of murder in the shooting-down of Malaysia Airlines MH17, there are no jokes. But the proceedings which commenced at Schiphol, in The Netherlands, on March 9 and adjourned on March 23 for ten weeks, did have a surprise ending. That is also the point of Cecil’s defence speech. The point is that the Dutch prosecutors have revealed the case they are making out against the defendants, and also,  they insist, against the Russian state, is such a flimsy one, it cannot stand on its own feet. It should therefore be dismissed by the panel of three judges.

Recognizing this in his first ruling, issued on March 23, Hendrik Steenhuis, the presiding judge, gave the prosecution, the Dutch Government behind them,  and the US Government behind them,  one last chance.

This was his order to produce in court the crucial piece of evidence on which the case of murder depends – the US satellite images which US officials have long claimed to prove the firing of a BUK missile at MH17 and to have reported in secret to Dutch intelligence. But since the evidence of the chief of Dutch military intelligence, and also of the investigating police and prosecutors – official secrets now leaked in public – is that the US has not provided the evidence, the judge’s order is an ultimatum.

If the evidence isn’t produced by June 8, when the court resumes, the court will be asked to rule that the defendants have no case to answer.

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RUSSIA’S MEDICAL AID OPERATION TO ITALY AVOIDED, NOT JUST POLISH AIRSPACE, BUT US ATTEMPTS TO STOP IT

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

On Sunday, March 22, Russia’s Defence Ministry sent more than fifteen Ilyushin heavy transport planes to Rome with medical aid to Italy, setting up a special medical headquarters at Bergamo, in the Lombady region of northern Italy.  This is the largest Russian aid operation in Europe since World War II.

To avoid US intervention to stop it, the air convoy flew across Turkish and Greek airspace, avoiding Ukraine and Poland. As military secrets go, the operational plan devised by Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Italian counterpart, Lorenzo Guerini, was a near-perfect success.

Recriminations followed the next day from the Financial Times which accused Moscow of  trying to “exploit EU tensions over medical export bans and delays in financial support.”  The newspaper quoted the director of an Italian think-tank, Nathalie Tocci, as saying “Russia needs a quick win, so it wants to act fast…It does what Russia always does, which is seize low-hanging fruit.” Tocci and her think-tank are employed by NATO, the European Commission, the European External Action Service, and the European Defence Agency.

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JUDGE DROPS A BOMBSHELL IN MH17 TRIAL – DUTCH PROSECUTORS CONCEAL COURT ORDER TO PRODUCE US SATELLITE DATA ALLEGEDLY SHOWING BUK MISSILE FIRING

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The presiding judge in the trial of murder in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 on July 17, 2014, dropped a bombshell at the end of his 45-minute ruling presented in court in The Netherlands yesterday.   

The Dutch prosecutors are now attempting to cover it up. A press spokesman, Monique Buunk, was asked for a copy of the judge’s ruling. She declined and refused to explain. A summary of the ruling issued by the prosecution press office on Monday afternoon said only: “the court also put a number of questions to the prosecution and counsel for the relatives.” The court has now adjourned until June 8.

Reading from a prepared paper, Judge Hendrik Steenhuis (lead image) ordered the Dutch prosecutors and the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team, which has provided the evidence for the murder charges, to report to the court whether US satellite data, allegedly showing the firing of a BUK missile to bring down the aircraft, have been provided to the investigation. The judge’s order also requires the prosecutors to explain whether the American satellite evidence can now be released to the court and to the lawyers representing Oleg Pulatov, one of the four men accused in the firing of the missile.

On January 22, 2016, according to Steenhuis , Dutch members of parliament were briefed by a Dutch satellite expert at a parliamentary discussion of the MH17 case that “the US has satellite images of the missile being fired”, and that these images were “shared with Dutch intelligence.” According to Steenhuis, the MP also announced “the US has no objection to declassification”. “Is this correct?” Steenhuis issued an order to the prosecutors for reply. “Is this satellite data to be released?”

The order for disclosure of the US satellite evidence opens in court for the first time the possibility that the Dutch prosecution may not be able to produce the satellite images because the US has not released them;  because a Dutch military intelligence report of September 21, 2016,  says it had received from the US no satellite imagery of a BUK missile launch at MH17; and because the US claim to have the satellite data is a fabrication. 

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JUDGE DROPS A BOMBSHELL IN MH17 TRIAL – DUTCH PROSECUTORS ORDERED TO PRODUCE US SATELLITE DATA ALLEGEDLY SHOWING BUK MISSILE FIRING

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The presiding judge in the trial of murder in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 on July 17, 2014, has dropped a bombshell at the end of his 45-minute presentation in court in The Netherlands on Monday morning.  

Reading from a prepared script, Judge Hendrik Steenhuis (lead image) ordered the Dutch prosecutors and the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team, which has provided the evidence for the murder charges, to report to the court whether US satellite data, allegedly showing the launch of a BUK missile to bring down the aircraft, have been provided to the investigation. The judge’s order also requires the prosecutors to explain whether the American satellite evidence can now be released to the court and to the lawyers representing Oleg Pulatov, one of the four men accused in the firing of the missile.

On January 22, 2016, according to Hendrick, a Dutch member of parliament claimed in a parliamentary hearing that “the US has satellite images of the missile being fired”, and that these images were “shared with Dutch intelligence.” The Dutch parliamentarian was not named. According to Steenhuis, the MP also announced “the US has no objection to declassification”.

“Is this correct?” Steenhuis issued an order to the prosecutors for answer.  “Is this satellite data to be released?”

The order for disclosure of the US satellite evidence opens in court for the first time the possibility that the Dutch prosecution may not be able to produce the satellite images because the US has not released them;  because a Dutch military intelligence report of September 21, 2016,  says it had received from the US no satellite imagery of a BUK missile launch at MH17; and because the data may not exist at all.

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TURKISH PRESIDENT ERDOGAN CAUGHT PLAYING THE ENDS AGAINST THE MIDDLE IN IDLIB

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

At the end of President Putin’s war talks in Moscow with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (lead image) on March 5, Erdogan refused to shake the hand of Russian Defence Minister, Sergei Shoigu.

Erdogan’s insult, in the presence of Putin, revealed the Turkish president’s anger at the defeat  his ambitions have suffered on the battlefields of northern Syria, at the hands of the Russian military. By snubbing Shoigu at the farewells, Erdogan was revealing that he blamed the Defence Ministry and General Staff for opposing the terms of troop deployment, reinforcement of arms, and rules of engagement which he demanded, and was repeatedly refused, during the five hours of negotiations.   

Shoigu knows Erdogan knows that he expects him to attempt to break out of the new agreement, just as he has done with the two Sochi agreements of September 17, 2018 and October 22, 2019.  Erdogan hates him for that. Shoigu is content to let Erdogan demonstrate to Putin which of them cannot control himself.

On March 19, when Erdogan, his Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and intelligence chief Hakan Fidan, decided on their breakout along the M4 highway, just as the Russians were expecting, they triggered a new test of Kremlin strategy. 

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ATTEMPT TO ARRANGE PRESIDENT PUTIN’S MEETING WITH MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN TO STABILIZE OIL MARKET

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

An attempt is underway to arrange a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) to restore the agreement on oil production cuts which MbS broke at the March 6 meeting of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries with Russia (OPEC+).  The Crown Prince is reportedly now ready to agree on a formula for oil production limits along the lines already discussed with the Russians.

His pre-condition is a domestic Saudi one. He is insisting that he will meet President Putin as the Saudi head of state, no longer as Crown Prince. This means that the full and formal transfer of power from his father King Salman bin Abdullaziz will take place “imminently”. 

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WAR ON THE TOILET PAPER FRONT — RUSSIA’S TISSUE BATTLES SWEDES, TURKS, AMERICANS

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Russian toilet paper is a national secret – not a state secret, but a commercial one.

This is because production, sales and profits have been growing fast – and this has been for the past five years, before the current toilet paper panic.

Secrecy is also in operation because the major foreign companies would like to keep the lion’s share of the Russian  market boom by out-selling or buying up the competing Russian toilet paper companies. They, in their turn, want to push the foreigners out by consolidating among themselves and lobbying for government measures to do that.  Consolidation of assets and market share is what western market analysts call it. In Russia it can be called asset raiding. This is when one toilet paper company takes over a rival at a price for the assets which is below the real asset value.

In the bum boom, on the hot seat at the moment are Essity, a unit of SCA, the Swedish paper and pulp group group, which is currently the Russian market leader with a third of the market; Hayat Kimya, a Turkish group trying to expand from its base in Tatarstan; and Kimberly-Clark, the Kleenex maker of the US, which is losing market share to the Russian brands. SCA and Kimberly-Clark are stock exchange-listed shareholding companies with public reporting and accounting obligations. The Hayat holding is privately held. About their Russian business they are as secretive as each other. Altogether, the Russians produce just over half the toilet paper sold in the market; the Swedes, Turks and Americans,  just under half. That proportion is about to change. 

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THE DEFENCE OPENS ITS CASE IN THE MH17 TRIAL, CHARGING THE DUTCH PROSECUTORS WITH ILLEGAL HOBBLING, SABOTAGE AND EXCESSIVE HASTE

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Defence lawyers for Oleg Pulatov, one of the four men charged by the Dutch government with murder in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, have told the court the prosecutors were acting illegally in the case they have presented so far.

A lawyer for the 298 victims killed on board the aircraft, and their next of kin, also accused the prosecution of unlawfully keeping the evidence in the case file secret. No reporters for the international or Dutch media have published this part of the trial.

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BRITISH CHEMICAL WARFARE LABORATORY ADMITS IT WAS PRODUCING AND TESTING NOVICHOK IN 2014, FOUR YEARS BEFORE SERGEI SKRIPAL “DISCOVERED” IT

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down, the principal chemical warfare testing unit of the British Ministry of Defence, has acknowledged it was producing and testing the organophosphate nerve agent Novichok from 2014.

This is four years before Sergei Skripal, the retired double agent for the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), and his daughter Yulia, were incapacitated by a nerve agent in Salisbury on March 4, 2018. The British Government has called that nerve agent Novichok. According to the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, speaking to the House of Commons on March 12, 2018, “it is now clear that Mr Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia. This is part of a group of nerve agents known as ‘Novichok’…the Government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal.”

The admission of British Government testing of Novichok since 2014 came from DSTL in a letter of last week, dated March 11, 2020. This was the laboratory’s reply to a Freedom of Information Act (2000) request for details of testing of organophosphate chemicals on monkeys.  The reply said the testing programme between 2014 and 2019 was a “Home Office project”. Its purpose was “development of medical countermeasures for nerve agent exposure”. Regarding the testing of Novichok on monkeys in this period, DSTL said “no other organophosphate compounds have been tested.”

The admission appears to contradict the official narrative of the British Government that Novichok was produced in Russia and brought to the UK by Russian military intelligent agents on a mission to kill Sergei Skripal. The Defence Ministry, through DSTL, appears now to be  admitting  its own secret chemical warfare operation in breach of the international Chemical Weapons Convention.   In consequence, this would have been of particular interest to Russian and many other military intelligence agencies.

In Salisbury, which is close to Porton Down and to the headquarters of the British military’s chemical warfare command centre, Skripal had been living among British intelligence officers and Wiltshire police since mid-2010; this followed his release from a Russian prison in a spy exchange. He was subjected to an unusually lengthy period of testing by British security agents to determine whether he was a triple agent still loyal to GRU, the Russian military intelligence agency he had been convicted in Moscow for betraying. If Skripal subsequently obtained information about the top-secret Novichok programme at Porton Down, he may have been judged by the British counter-intelligence service MI5 to represent a serious threat of disclosure.

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THE FACE OF DUTCH JUSTICE LAUNCHES A THOUSAND SLIPS

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Lesions in the frontal lobe of a normal human being will cause deficits in the executive mental capacities; things like organizing data, planning action, archiving for memory, controlling anger, and the ability to make inferences about the intentions of others. Neurological trials have proved this beyond reasonable doubt.

The lead images present the frontal lobes and the faces of the three principal prosecutors in the Dutch trial of murder in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 six years ago. Their names are, from left to right, Thijs Berger, Ward Ferdinandusse, and Dedy Woei-A-Tsoi.

Analysis of every word they have spoken on the second day of the MH17 trial, March 10, reveals so many mistakes in Dutch criminal law and procedure that the medical condition of their frontal lobes is, to independent specialists, suspect. The resulting risk is for the defendants they are prosecuting – three Russians and a Ukrainian; and also the Russian state, which Berger accused of  “a disturbing pattern of active involvement on the part of Russian security services, specifically the GRU and the FSB in murders in other countries.”

The prosecutors did not speak off the cuff. They read scripts which their brains, and also those of their supervisors at the Public Prosecution Service and the Ministry of Justice, had drafted, reviewed, corrected, edited, and authorized in advance.  The pathological evidence presented, therefore, is of more than three individual frontal lobes, but also of the frontal lobe of the Dutch judicial system.

Only if that is tested according to the Dutch Criminal Code and the Dutch Code of Criminal Procedure can this trial commence lawfully for the four accused of intentionally murdering 298 passengers and crew on board MH17 when it was shot down on July 17, 2014. So everything the prosecutors have said has been extracted, weighed, and dissected. Here are the neurological and jurisprudential results of the examination.  

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HOW TO MEASURE PREJUDICE – DUTCH JUDGE HENDRIK STEENHUIS DEMONSTRATES IN THE MH17 SHOW TRIAL

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

In the first two hours of the first day of the Dutch trial of allegations of murder in the shooting-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, Hendrik Steenhuis, the presiding judge, revealed that the judgement for  Dutch court jurisdiction for the case to proceed is inevitable. He did that three months before he has scheduled a hearing on the question. Steenhuis also revealed that a judgement of guilt against the three Russian and one Ukrainian defendants is not less inevitable.

Judgements in a trial scheduled to run for at least twelve months, issued before lunch was served to the judges on their first day, are the makings of a show trial.

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PREMATURE EJACULATION IS A SAUDI PROBLEM, NOT A RUSSIAN ONE

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Russia is not the initiator of the war on the oil front which is now under way. Not Russian Energy Minister, Alexander Novak (lead image, right), but Mohammed Bin Salman (left), the Saudi Crown Prince and chief executive of the sheikhdom.

This is war propaganda from the Financial Times : “ ‘There was a consensus among Opec [to cut production]. Russia objected and has said that from April 1 everyone can produce whatever they like. So the kingdom too is exercising its right,’ said one person familiar with Saudi oil policy.”

This is more lying from the New York Times: “Moscow refused to accept production cuts to offset the effect of the coronavirus outbreak”

What is true is that the war started with the US Government; its spetsnaz, the shale oil producers;  and their offensive to capture  market share from the traditional producers, the member states of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries led by Saudi Arabia, plus Russia (OPEC+). Pressing this attack when oil demand started falling, as the corona virus damaged the global economy, obliged the defenders to agree between themselves on tactics. The Russians argued for holding the current position, and let the virus, the demand dynamic, and the elapse of time damage the Americans. The Saudis argued for a break-out, a counter-offensive. Between lower-risk defence in place, and a higher-risk sally, it’s impossible to do both at the same time. Three things happened next.

They illustrate the lesson the Russian command will now teach Mohammad Bin Salman, as last week’s lesson was taught on the Syrian war front to Tayyip Recep Erdogan, Turkey’s President. Defence in depth will usually defeat offence, even surprise attack, when it runs beyond the lines of supply and reserve.

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DUTCH PROSECUTORS REVEAL FIVE METHODS FOR WITNESS TAMPERING TO FABRICATE MH17 CASE

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Bribes; early release from prison; threats to kill; covert operations inside Russia, including rendition; and intimidation of relatives.

These have been five of the methods planned for obtaining witness testimony for the trial of the criminal destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 on July 17, 2014.  The trial opens on Monday, March 9, in The Netherlands. The Dutch prosecution alleges that three Russians and one Ukrainian intended to murder the 298 passengers and crew on board the aircraft by firing a BUK missile.

Details of the witness tampering plan have been released to reporters in The Hague by Bonanza Media this weekend. In their secret conference police officers and prosecutors from The Netherlands, Australia, Belgium and the Ukraine acknowledged they knew what they were planning was a violation of the law of the states they represented. This was acceptable to the Australian police representative  so long, he said, as it was a “covert operation”. The Ukrainian prosecutor said he “sees no problem if this is done by The Netherlands. It’s like a regular intelligence operation.”

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MI6 & BBC REVEAL OPERATION MINCEPIE – SKRIPAL BLOOD-TESTS AT SALISBURY HOSPITAL FAILED TO SHOW NERVE AGENT UNTIL PORTON DOWN ADDED IT FOR THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT TO ANNOUNCE

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

In Operation MINCEMEAT, the brightest and the best of British secret intelligence available in London between January and March 1943, dressed up a corpse as a high-ranking British Army  courier. He was dropped into the water off the Spanish coast, so that he would wash up for a German Army patrol to find, along with a briefcase of top-secret General Staff letters and plans. They were fakes made to fool Adolph Hitler and his military commanders about where the D-Day invasion would take place.  Deceiving the enemy turned out to be a big success.  The corpse belonged to a 34-year old Welshman, homeless and mentally ill, who had been taken to St. Pancras Hospital in London and treated for acute organo-phosphate poisoning. He died. He had committed suicide with rat poison.

In Operation MINCEPIE, what’s left of British secret intelligence in March 2018 dressed up two  Russians – Sergei and Yulia Skripal, 66 and 33 years old respectively (lead images) – knocked them out on a bench in the middle of Salisbury,  and  took them to Salisbury District Hospital where they were treated for acute organo-phosphate poisoning. But they didn’t die so they have been locked up ever since.  This, too, has proved to be a big success at deceiving the enemy.

No! Whoa! Cut! Roll that sentence back! This, too, was a big success at deceiving the British people. The difference between MINCEMEAT and MINCEPIE isn’t between rat poison and the nerve agent the British call Novichok; nor between the corpse of the Welsh tramp and the live Russians who are now dead to the world. The telling difference is that the secret intelligence boys have given the game away the second time round.  The biggest similarity is that Hitler and the British people didn’t notice until it was too late.

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THE CATHERINE PRINCIPLE FOR NEGOTIATING WITH THE TURKS – LET ARMS DO THE TALKING

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Between 11:30 Moscow time on Thursday and 14:00,  President Vladimir Putin spent two and a half hours talking with the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with interpreters present but no one else, and including lunch and toilet breaks. The two presidents then spent three hours and twenty minutes in talks with delegations of their officials before appearing at 17:22 for another sixteen minutes in front of the press. The Turkish clock for the negotiations counted 5 hours 40 minutes; the Kremlin clock, six hours.

The outcome was a document entitled “Additional Protocol to the Memorandum on Stabilization of the Situation in the Idlib De-escalation Area”. This comprises an agreement of three paragraphs amounting to ten lines, and a preamble of four paragraphs repeating what professionals call boilerplate; that’s to say, points with which everyone agrees in principle, and no one in practice.

The difference between the amount of time and effort expended and the outcome isn’t between the mountain and the molehill. It is the result of the Russian side applying the brief script dictated to Putin by the Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, the Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and the General Staff led by General Valery Gersasimov,  and  confirmed the day before by the Security Council.

The script is dictated by the principle of the tsarina, Empress Catherine II, during the Turkish-Russian wars of 1768 to 1792. The principle is that nothing the Turks say they agree to or sign  can be relied upon; and that everything the Turks can’t achieve with their army will be tested again and again, until and unless they are defeated by the battle of arms and the defence of territory by more force than the Turks can overcome. The corollary of the Catherine principle is that the new agreement between Putin and Erdogan cannot last for long. Because both sides know this, their heads were in the down position, their eyes averted, for longer than has ever been recorded at their summit meetings before.  

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NEW MH17 LEAK – DUTCH PROSECUTORS HAVE RECEIVED NO US SATELLITE EVIDENCE OF THE SHOOT-DOWN BY A BUK MISSILE

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

A new document, leaked from the files of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in The Netherlands,  reveals that Dutch prosecutors told the Australian, Belgian and Ukrainian representatives on the team, that the US Government had not presented any satellite evidence of a BUK missile firing at Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. The aircraft was destroyed above eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people on board.

“We haven’t received anything from them”, one of the Dutch officials told the JIT, according to minutes of a meeting of JIT leaders on December 4, 2015.  There were eight  officials recorded at the meeting, four of them Dutch, two Belgians, one Australian,  and one Ukrainian. The Malaysian Government, which is also a member of the JIT but refuses to endorse the Dutch allegations of Russian culpability in the shootdown, was reported to be absent from the  JIT meeting recorded on February 12, 2016. The leaked document claims the Dutch had made “unsuccessful attempts to connect both with Royal Malaysia Police and Malaysia Attorney-General’s Office.”

The meeting was held at the Dutch National Police Central Crime Unit at Driebergen. The Ukrainian official participated by video link to the Ukrainian Embassy in The Hague.

“We should receive the official report from Dutch Military [Intelligence] on U.S. data by mid-March [2016],” the JIT officials agreed. “Then we can determine future actions.”

The disclosure of their classified meeting record took place at a public briefing in London this week by Max van der Werff and Yana Yerlashova, the Bonanza Media partners in a long-running independent investigation of the MH17 crash.

The document provides evidence directly contradicting US Secretary of State John Kerry. He announced on July 20 and August 12, 2014, that he had seen US satellite imagery of the attack on the MH17 flight – the launch of a ground-based missile, its flight, and then detonation beside the civilian aircraft in flight.  “We picked up the imagery of this launch,” Kerry announced on NBC television just three days after the crash. “We know the trajectory. We know where it came from. We know the timing….And it was exactly at the time that this aircraft [MH17] disappeared from the radar.”  US officials have been unable to substantiate this in public or in the Dutch proceedings.

The leaked document also reveals that by February 12, 2016, no US satellite data had been handed over to the JIT. Seven months later, on September 21, 2016 – another leak from JIT files revealed last week — the head of the Dutch military intelligence agency MIVD, Major-General Onno Eichelsheim,  reported to the Dutch prosecutors that the US and NATO satellite data shown to his agency revealed that no Russian BUK missile radar and launch units had crossed the border into Ukraine before or on July 17, 2014; no BUK missile radar targeting or firing on MH17 had been detected; and no identified Russian units on the Russian side of the border had launched missiles.”

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CYBER SOLDIERS PENETRATE THE SKRIPAL CASE

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Cyber attacks have been launched in England to stop publication of new evidence in the Skripal case from being published this week on the second anniversary of the attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, March 4, 2018.

The targets were The Blogmire produced by Rob Slane from Salisbury, and this website produced from Moscow. The Blogmire was disabled and inaccessible to readers between last Thursday and Saturday.  Then on Monday evening this site was attacked. The evidence left behind by the attackers shows they come from the same source, using the same unusual method of attack and concealment.

Reporters and columnists for the London papers also say they are under pressure from their editors not to report on or review the new book, Skripal in Prison, published on February 13. According to Mary Dejevsky, columnist for The Independent, “the govt’s info people have managed by various stratagems, incl silence, to close the whole thing down.”

The Blogmire publishes essays by Slane (right), a church minister, on a range of religious, political and social topics. The website opened in 2014; Slane’s reports on the Skripal case began on March 12, 2018. Printed out, they currently run to more than three hundred pages. They have also drawn comments, additional data, factual corrections of police, prosecutor, and politician claims, together with speculations about motive, timing and modus operandi. Altogether on the website, attached as threads to Slane’s reports, there are several thousand comments from individuals, some of whom identify themselves, some of whom prefer to stay anonymous; some are very well-informed. MI6 and the BBC have dismissed them as “truthers or pro-Kremlin users”.

The website can be opened here.

The Skripal archive is here.  Peak readership has been running at more than 90,000.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 4-1-1024x410.png

“When I began writing about the Skripal case,” Slane said in August 2018,  “I was moved to do so by three main considerations. Firstly, I really am passionate for the truth, and whatever the truth happens to be in this case, I strongly desire it to be made manifest. It was clear to me fairly early on that this was not happening. Secondly, I am also very passionate about concepts such as the rule of law, innocent until proven guilty, and the apparently quaint notion that investigations should precede verdicts, rather than the other way around. And so when I saw accusations being made before the investigation had hardly begun, verdicts being reached before the facts were established, I was appalled – appalled that this was happening in what we British pride ourselves is the Mother of Parliaments, and equally appalled that this meant the investigation was inevitably prejudiced and – pardon the expression – poisoned from the off. Thirdly, the incident happened to have taken place pretty much on my doorstep, which made it of even more interest to me.”

“I still do not have any clear idea of what happened on that day, but what I am certain of is that the official narrative is not only untrue, but it is manifestly inconceivable that it could be true. There are simply too many inconsistencies, too many holes and far too many unexplained events for it to be true.”

Last week, after the cyber attack began on The Blogmire, the website’s server reported: “A recent review of your account uncovered it has been compromised. We found malicious scripts running in the background that appear to be sending spam emails. In order to prevent further abuse/spam, we have suspended your account.” A server notice posted at the site’s address told readers the site had been suspended, but no details were provided.  After a lengthy damage assessment and repairs, Slane reported:  “Was this the work of Spook Bots, intent on disabling the site because of its investigations and the insightful thoughts from many wonderful commentators? Possibly. Or just the work of Bog Standard Bots with nothing better to do with their time? Possibly.” That was on February 29.

More evidence materialized on Monday, March 2. This was left behind after a cyber attack on this website, Dances with Bears. This was not the usual type of operation.

Attacks of the distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) type are frequent, usually in response to investigations of Russian oligarchs and their London lawyers or of major court cases or stock exchange flotations  involving Russian businesses with big money at stake.  DDoS attacks work by generating very large volumes of near-simultaneous reader clicks on a portal address, server or network, overloading it and forcing it to shut down.

Some of these incidents have been reported, though for our security and defence, the details and the methods developed to identify and repel the attacks have not. If you see the sign of the fighting bears, you know someone powerful enough to employ hackers doesn’t want you to read the new publication.

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

The operation against this site and the Blogmire was not DDoS. The telltale signs indicate a source with cyber warfare expertise which is different from that of commercial hackers and the companies which employ them. The source has been profiled and tracked, and new defences established.

Skripal in Prison, which was the target, can be read here.

To prevent the book from being read, and its evidence of British government faking from being reviewed, methods which are more human,  less electronic, are being used. The main London newspapers, the weeklies, and book reviews have come under pressure not to challenge the official narrative of the Skripal case, and not to allow the book to be reported.

Mary Dejevsky, a Russia specialist and columnist for The Independent, says the British government “has ensured that there’s nothing new to say that they wouldn’t immediately dismiss as speculation or worse.” The Skripal case is a “scandalous saga”, she adds, but “govt info people” are actively deterring a review of the new book because “no outlet would take it.”

LESSONS ON HOW TURKS FIGHT AND HOW RUSSIANS FIGHT THEM UNTIL THEY RUN AWAY, ONLY TO TRY AGAIN

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Everything, including artillery fire, infantry movements, launch of drones, rockets and refugees,  even losses of territory and men, is planned by three Turks – President Tayyip Recep Erdogan (lead images);  Defence Minister and former head of the Turkish General Staff, Hulusi Akar;   and Hakan Fidan, head of the National Intelligence Organization (in Turkish, MIT). Call them the Sultan and the Ugly Viziers (SUV).  

An SUV is never as serious as it would like to appear.  This Turkish SUV also planned the July 2016 coup in Istanbul and Ankara. Nothing they do, including the sacrifice of large numbers of their own people, will result in a military coup to remove them, no matter how costly their mistakes. Those Turks who can calculate their mistakes are in jail or dead.  

The SUV has decided to fight for Syria outside the lines of the Sochi agreement. With artillery firing from the Turkish side of the Syrian border, they decided to fight a new battle for Saraqib, east of Idlib, and succeeded. In the battle they lost up to 60 regulars; the Syrian Army lost more than a thousand. The Syrians have gained in the south of Idlib; they have lost Saraqib.  They must retake it and hold it; they will; they have done so.

Russian forces have now established a cordon around the city. They have restored air cover for the Syrian Army, and just as importantly, extended their electronic counter measure (ECM) defences to the frontier and further. The drones on which the SUV depended for targeting their long-range guns and for attacking Syrian Army units have been neutralized. The Russian resupplies now arriving by sea and air are more than a match for the small force the SUV has committed so far.

Defeat makes the SUV keener than ever to hide their weakness. Akar has retreated from his field headquarters in the south to Ankara, as the SUV prepares to meet Putin and the Stavka on Thursday in Moscow. A Russian military analyst reports the General Staff assessment awaiting him: “General Akar should keep himself in check, because it is one thing to inflate the enemy’s losses somewhat and pass off old videos as fresh ones. It’s quite another to write fiction novels in the context of information war.”

The SUV responds to force of arms more than to the force of money. They calculate President Vladimir Putin and his Kremlin advisors are the opposite. The SUV will continue to operate NATO AWACS aircraft for attempting the same ambush tactics they used against the Russian Air Force in November 2015. The SUV will try to threaten with US weapons the Pentagon will not hazard in a losing fight.  The Turks will push against the cowardice they have come to expect from the Greek Government in Athens and President Nikos Anastasiades in Nicosia. This has been a winning strategy for the SUV until they overreached with force instead of bluff. When the SUV goes through the Spassky Gate on Thursday, for the first time in the four hundred years since the Ottoman siege of Vienna, a single army, Russia’s, is defending all of Europe.  

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SERGEI AND YULIA SKRIPAL “DESPERATE” AND “UNDER HOUSE ARREST” IN ENGLAND — LAST BRITISH CONVICTS FOR TRANSPORTATION TO AUSTRALIA

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

A London newspaper on Sunday, citing “security insiders” as the source, claims Sergei and Yulia Skripal are “desperate to leave the UK”, and are “living under house arrest…[at] a secret location where [they are] guarded by British intelligence agents.” The report also claims they “may have already travelled to Australia and New Zealand to scout possible locations.”

The newspaper report has appeared days before the second anniversary of the incident in Salisbury, England, on March 4, 2018. Then, according to British Government allegations, the Skripals were the targets of a murder attempt by a nerve agent manufactured in Russia and delivered by Russian assassins. The attempt failed.  

In the history of the British criminal law, the Skripals are the only targets of a crime who have not been allowed to testify in public nor communicate with their kin; Sergei Skripal was last heard of in a telephone call to his mother’s house on June 26, 2019; Yulia Skripal on July 18, 2018. The British authorities have yet to produce in court evidence of the crime, the weapon, the crime scene, or even the arrest warrants allegedly issued by the Crown Prosecution Service for the culprits.

The book, Skripal in Prison, just published, provides the full story.

Sources in the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the organisation in charge of witness protection in that country, indicate there is “no verification that the [London] article is correct.” The Australian Minister of Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, to whom the AFP reports, refuses to say whether the Skripals have visited Australia, or whether there has been any discussion with the British Government on relocation to Australia and protection for the Skripals. Nicole Chant, confirming her role as Dutton’s spokesman and agreeing to follow up on the London press report, said by telephone: “I don’t want to be referred to in any article.”

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AND THEN THERE WERE NONE

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Agatha Christie’s whodunit entitled And Then There Were None – the concluding words of the children’s counting rhyme — is reputed to be the world’s best-selling mystery story.    

There’s no mystery now about the war of Europe and North America against Russia; it is the continuation of Germany’s war of 1939-45 and the war aims of the General Staff in Washington since 1943. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) and President Vladimir Putin (right) both said it plainly enough this week.

There is also no mystery in the decision-making in Moscow of the President and the Defense Minister, the General Staff, and the others; it is the continuation of the Stavka of 1941-45.  

Just because there is no mystery about this, it doesn’t follow that it should be reported publicly, debated in the State Duma, speculated and advertised by bloggers, podcasters, and twitterers.  In war what should not be said cannot be said. When the war ends, then there will be none.  

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RUSSIANS RAISE THEIR GLASSES – THE TOAST IS TO BEATING THE BLOCKADE OF MOSCOW



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Alas and alack for the Berlin Blockade of 1948-49 (Berliner Luftbrücke): those were the days when the Germans waved their salutes against the unification of Germany demilitarised and denazified; and cheered instead for their alliance with the US and British armies to fight another seventy years of war in order to achieve what they and Adolf Hitler hadn’t managed, but which they now hope to achieve under  Olaf Scholtz — the defeat of the Russian Army and the destruction of Russia.

How little the Germans have changed.

But alas and alack — the Blockade now is the one they and the NATO armies aim to enforce against Russia. “We are drawing up a new National Security Strategy,” according to Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. “We are taking even the most severe scenarios seriously.”  By severe Baerbock means nuclear. The new German generation — she has also declared “now these grandparents, mothers, fathers and their children sit at the kitchen table and discuss rearmament.”  

So, for Russia to survive the continuation of this war, the Germans and their army must be fought and defeated again. That’s the toast of Russian people as they salute the intrepid flyers who are beating the Moscow Blockade.  

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THE INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY GOES TO WAR — GORILLA RADIO GOES NUCLEAR

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Last week the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) board of governors voted to go to war with Russia by a vote of 26 member countries against 9.

China, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Senegal and South Africa voted against war with Russia.  

The IAEA Secretary-General Rafael Grossi (lead image, left) has refused to tell the press whether a simple majority of votes (18) or a super-majority of two-thirds (23) was required by the agency charter for the vote; he also wouldn’t say which countries voted for or against. The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres then covered up for what had happened by telling the press: “I believe that [IAEA’s] independence that exists and must be preserved is essential. The IAEA cannot be the instrument of parties against other parties.” The IAEA vote for war made a liar of Guterres.

In the IAEA’s 65-year history, Resolution Number 58, the war vote of September 15, 2022,  is the first time the agency has taken one side in a war between member countries when nuclear reactors have either been attacked or threatened with attack. It is also the first time the IAEA has attacked one of its member states, Russia, when its military were attempting to protect and secure a nuclear reactor from attack by another member state, the Ukraine, and its war allies, the US, NATO and the European Union states. The vote followed the first-ever IAEA inspection of a nuclear reactor while it was under active artillery fire and troop assault.

There is a first time for everything but this is the end of the IAEA. On to the scrap heap of good intentions and international treaties, the IAEA is following the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and the UN Secretary-General himself.  Listen to this discussion of the past history when the IAEA responded quite differently following the Iranian and Israeli air-bombing attacks on the Iraqi nuclear reactor known as Osirak, and later, the attacks on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons sites.

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INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY TAKES UKRAINE SIDE IN WAR IN SEPTEMBER 15 VOTE, MAKING UN SECRETARY-GENERAL GUTERRES EITHER A LIAR OR A FOOL

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) decided this week to take the side of Ukraine in the current war; blame Russia for the shelling of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP); and issue a demand for Russia to surrender the plant to the Kiev regime “to regain full control over all nuclear facilities within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders, including the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant.”      

This is the most dramatic shift by the United Nations (UN) nuclear power regulator in the 65-year history of the organisation based in Vienna.

The terms of the IAEA Resolution Number 58, which were proposed early this week by the Polish and Canadian governors on the agency board, were known in advance by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres when he spoke by telephone with President Vladimir Putin in the late afternoon of September 14, before the vote was taken. Guterres did not reveal what he already knew would be the IAEA action the next day.  

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THE RUSSIAN SITUATION COMEDY IS NO LYING MATTER – THE JOKE IS ON THE OFFICE OF FOREIGN ASSETS CONTROL

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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RUSSIAN AVIATION INDUSTRY CORRECTS YELTSIN YAW – BOEING, AIRBUS DITCHED



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

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

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

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

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

So has the Russian process of replacing foreign imports entirely.

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



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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