THE FROG WHO GOT TOO BIG FOR HIS BOOTS AND WAS TURNED INTO A TOADY — SIR MARK SEDWILL SACKED, BRITISH POLICY ON RUSSIA FOR REVIEW

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The plot to rid the British Government of the man who combined more domestic and foreign policy-making powers than any British official in peacetime was not a clandestine Kremlin operation directed by President Vladimir Putin.

But the sacking of Sir Mark Sedwill, the grammar school head-boy who became Cabinet Secretary and National Security Advisor under Prime Minister Theresa May in 2018, removes the plotter-in-chief of the Skripal affair, the Novichok plot, and the campaign of British info-warfare against Moscow over the past two years.  

The man who defeated Sedwill, Dominic Cummings, chief adviser of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is the only official in the prime ministry to have operated under cover in Russia. What  Cummings’s cover was has never been publicly revealed from his counter-intelligence vetting.  The rise of Cummings has also not been reported by the NATO propaganda unit Bellingcat and the Murdoch press to have been a clandestine Kremlin operation.

Between the two plots, Sedwill’s and Cummings’s, the outcome is now a small space in which the British will reflect on how far Sedwill, and co-conspirator Sir Alex Younger, chief of MI6, took  Anglo-Russian policy past Germany and France to the one promoted in Washington by John Bolton.  Sedwill’s term as supremo has run almost exactly parallel to Bolton’s. Sedwill’s removal would have been as swift as Bolton’s sacking last September if not for the corona virus pandemic. That was not a clandestine Chinese plot.

Younger, Sedwill’s old classmate at St. Andrews University, has now been in the secret intelligence service post for six years; that’s longer than any of his predecessors for the past half-century. If Younger follows Sedwill out the door, the cranny between the plots will be a little wider.  

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CYPRUS PRESIDENT NICOS ANASTASIADES ANNOUNCES TREASON AS STATE POLICY

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Nothing like this has been said before by a leader of the Hellenes, Greek or Cypriot.

“If we consider a solution through militarisation,” Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades (lead image, right) announced last week. “This will be the end of Cypriot Hellenism, which I do not want.”  What Anastasiades meant was that he does not want Cyprus to defend itself, its land, airspace, territorial waters, and sea lanes,  by military means.

A Cypriot president who swears off military defence “of the independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus” is violating his oath of office; he is betraying the Cyprus Constitution.  A veteran of Cypriot presidential politics comments that Anastasiades is making the calculation that his best chance for winning a third term of office is submission to Turkey first, and submission to the US, the European Union, and Israel to limit Turkish military expansion in and around the island.   

This is a strategy of buying time for himself, the source said, and riches for his associates. “He will be very happy to see Cyprus as a satrapy of Turkey provided he and his associates become the sultan’s satraps.” 

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MH17 TRIAL PROSECUTORS WARN JUDGES NOT TO UNRAVEL UKRAINIAN COVER-UP, REJECT CALLING RUSSIAN GENERAL KONASHENKOV TO TESTIFY

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Dutch state prosecutors told the court in the trial of the shooting-down of Malaysia Airlines MH17 that Major-General of the Russian Army Igor Konashenkov should not be allowed as a witness for the defence. To justify this in a hearing last Friday, the prosecutors revealed an illegal trick exposing the evidence in the case as a fit-up by the Ukrainian government’s military and security agencies.

Dismissing almost all the defence applications to the court for new evidence and witnesses, prosecutor Ferdinandusse* (lead image, right) said: “We do not see any reasonable grounds for accusing the prosecution of not being objective” (June 26 hearing,  Min 9:17).

The trick the prosecution has asked the court to accept is that apart from the Ukrainian government’s say-so, there is no chain of custody for the evidence of the weapon alleged to have been fired by the accused to destroy the aircraft and kill its occupants on July 17, 2014. If the Russian government says the Ukrainian government is lying, planting the evidence and   fabricating the chain of custody, the prosecution has told the court to ignore the Russians – believe the Ukrainians. Presented in court last Friday, this chain of custody argument has transformed the trial into a Ukrainian war operation conducted by Dutch proxies, and mercenaries.

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MAJOR GENERAL IGOR KONASHENKOV TO BE CALLED TO TESTIFY IN MH17 TRIAL – JUDGE STEENHUIS WILL RULE NEXT WEEK TO ACCEPT OR REFUSE EVIDENCE OF UKRAINIAN FINGERPRINTS ON THE WEAPON OF THE CRIME

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

One of the most prominent generals in the Russian Army is to be called to testify in the Dutch government’s trial of the shooting-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 when district court judge Hendrik Steenhuis rules next week on whether to accept or refuse his evidence as a  witness for the defence.

According to the request filed in court this week, the evidence is of the Ukrainian Army’s fingerprints on the BUK missile which Dutch prosecutors allege was the weapon used to destroy the aircraft on July 17, 2014, killing 298 passengers and crew.

Without proof of the weapon, the Dutch prosecution has no case against the four soldiers  — three Russians, one Ukrainian —  accused of deploying the missile and preparing the attack against the aircraft. If Ukrainian Army fingerprints are verified on the weapon when the crime was committed, the Dutch case, and the worldwide media campaign against Russia, collapse.

Major-General Igor Konashenkov (lead image), the spokesman for the Defence Ministry in Moscow,   has been called to testify. If Judge Steenhuis refuses to allow him,  in a ruling promised for July 3, the trial will cease to follow Dutch law, and become a Dutch Government propaganda show.  

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IN MH17 TRIAL DUTCH LAWYERS PUT UP STRAWMAN DEFENCE – THEY ALLOW PROSECUTORS, JUDGE TO PROCEED TO CONVICTION

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

For a brief moment in the presentation this week of the defence case against the Dutch government’s indictment of Oleg Pulatov for murder in the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, the Dutch lawyer Boudewijn Van Eijck almost said there was no case to answer, and the indictment should be dismissed immediately for lack of evidence that is legal under Dutch law.

“The indictment is superficial when it comes to actual facts which the defendant is accused of,” Van Eijck (lead image, 2nd from left) said (June 22, Min 21:19). “It is not clear at this stage of this very question whether the actions would actually amount to a crime even if they could be proved.”

Van Eijck also warned the presiding judge Hendrik Steenhuis (right) that he is on trial himself – that he should not continue the trial on the prosecution’s evidence, ignoring the defence requests for fresh investigation and new witnesses,  “in order to make sure that this case never has to be reviewed on appeal” (June 22, Min 42:35).  

The next day, Sabine ten Doessschate (1st left), the junior defence lawyer, summed up the defence case by undercutting her leader. She apologised to the Dutch press and to families of those killed on MH17 for presenting what she called “conspiracy theories”. “All of the topics which we have talked about,” ten Doesschate concluded on June 23, “for all of these we have asked ourselves, on the basis of what we have read, can we really say this is what really happened; and this is not the other thing which happened. And our answer is no. On the basis of the file we have at this moment it is impossible for us to say either one… this means we don’t have all the answers. Investigation of topics like these can give hard facts which can give the answer to the question, how was MH17 brought down. If we were not to ask in detail for investigation, we would not be able to look at ourselves in the mirror. This is the least that can be expected of us” (June 23, Min 2:53:19).

The Dutch defence lawyers have wound up defending themselves. Judge Steenhuis, who looks in a different mirror, has promised to issue his rulings on July 3.

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HOW THE DUTCH PROSECUTION AND THE JUDGE HAVE RIGGED THE OUTCOME OF THE MH17 TRIAL ON A CHARGE THAT REQUIRES NO PROOF

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The Dutch Government has devised an evidence-proof scheme for ensuring the trial of the Russian government for the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 will end in a conviction.

This scheme will work without evidence to prove that the four men accused of the crime of shooting down the aircraft, killing the 298 passengers and crew on board on July 17, 2014, intended to kill; or even intended to fire the missile which allegedly brought MH17 down.

The Dutch scheme is evidence-proof because no evidence will be needed, not from US satellite photographs which are missing; nor NATO airborne tracking which shows no missile; nor Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) evidence which has proved to have been fabricated, and in the case of Ukrainian witnesses for the prosecution, threatened, tortured or bribed.  

The scheme is also evidence-proof because the Dutch Prime Minister has told the Dutch Minister of Justice to order the state prosecutors to tell the state-appointed judge that he must convict the Russians if he finds as proven that MH17 crashed to the ground in eastern Ukraine; that everyone on board was killed; and that the four soldiers accused – three Russians and one Ukrainian – were on the ground fighting.

International war crimes lawyers are calling this a legal travesty. It was presented in court near Amsterdam by Dutch state prosecutor Thijs Berger on June 10. It has gone unnoticed in the mainstream western media. Russian reporters following the trial have missed it. The scheme was first reported in English and Russian by a NATO propaganda unit on June 12.

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JOHN BOLTON STRIKES AT THE BRITISH OVER THE SKRIPAL AFFAIR

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

A politician becomes a psychopath when he or she acts without calculating the consequences for approval rating and voter support. The same thing goes for ministers and their advisers who urge military operations abroad which make voters feel unsafe at home. Fear and insecurity aren’t good for incumbents; at least not the ones who can’t rig elections.   

In the case of John Bolton (lead image, left),  he took the National Security Advisor’s post from President Donald Trump in order to make as many wars outside the US as he could. He has now published a book about all the wars he wanted when he got his best chance to make them; and about those who got in the way to stop him, especially Trump.

After seventeen months,  Bolton lost his job on September 10, 2019, because fear and insecurity weren’t good for Trump’s re-election (then). Bolton’s objective, along with his publisher Simon & Schuster and everyone now endorsing the book, is to make war on Trump and defeat him at the election on November 3.

This is as obvious as Bolton’s diagnosis as a psychopath – or to be clinically precise, an adrenal hyperplasiac. He himself is unusually  sensitive to the diagnosis of his symptoms, beginning with his moustache. Displacement of  violence is a classic symptom of moustache wearers —  everybody has understood this since Sigmund Freud’s case study of Little Hans and his father’s moustache,  as  Bolton knows only too well. So he starts his book making sure no one believes, as Bolton purposefully investigated for himself, Trump’s “purported dislike of my moustache. For what it’s worth, he told me it was never a factor, noting that his father also had one. Other than shrinks and those deeply interested in Sigmund Freud, which I assuredly am not, I don’t really believe my looks played a role in Trump’s thinking.”

For a man in Bolton’s condition, everyone everywhere always is a target. As his book reveals, Bolton’s sights include Trump’s counterpart in London, Prime Minister Theresa May, and Bolton’s counterpart on her staff, Sir Mark Sedwill; the latter’s enthusiasm for warmaking was, Bolton explains, even sharper than his own.  Notwithstanding, Bolton couldn’t help himself — the British are his targets in his retelling of the story of the Skripal case.

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THE SEDWILL POISONINGS – CABINET OFFICE, MI6, AND BBC DRAW 12 MILLION VIEWERS; NOVICHOK IS TOP OF THE POPS

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

By prime time television standards, the British Broadcasting Corporation’s  (BBC) three-part invention of a Russian-made Novichok attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal, and the death of Dawn Sturgess  two years ago, has been a brilliant success. Twelve million people watched part or all of the series, which ran from Sunday through Tuesday, June 14 to 16. That was roughly one in every three souls watching television in the United Kingdom — 7,204,950 on Sunday evening; 6,242,220 on Monday, 6,165,250 on Tuesday.

Very few of them, it is certain, know the name of Sir Mark Sedwill, who has run the Skripal operation from the beginning until now. Sedwill is Cabinet Secretary, the most senior civil servant in the British Government, and National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister – the first man to hold both posts at the same time. Sedwill’s name doesn’t appear in the film. Instead, he appears in the guise of an official from Whitehall who doesn’t exist.

Between the truth and the fiction, Sedwill’s deception operation has proved to be an even bigger success than Operation Mincemeat. That was the one in 1943 when the British military and intelligence services dressed up a London corpse — dead of organophosphate poisoning (rat-killer) by his own hand — to fool Adolph Hitler and the German High Command into thinking the allies would launch their invasion of Europe in the wrong place.  Sedwill’s success is much greater. Operation Novichok hasn’t fooled the Russian High Command but it has deceived Sedwill’s own people, the British.

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TOO CROOKED TO LIE STRAIGHT IN BED – BBC TRIES TO RIGHT THE WRONGS OF ITS SKRIPAL STORY

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) isn’t likely to have heard the old Australian working-class expression that a man is too crooked to lie straight in bed. It meant that lying and  cheating are in the nature of a deformity, and can’t be operated on or cured.  “The Salisbury Poisonings”, the three-part, three-hour film which concluded its run on Tuesday evening, was composed by individuals like that.

That isn’t news. From the beginning in March 2018, the BBC has been a platform for the British Government’s narrative that Russia, directed by President Vladimir Putin, waged chemical warfare on British soil,  attempting to assassinate Sergei and Yulia Skripal, and then killing  Dawn Sturgess. In May of 2018 – almost three months after the Skripals were attacked on March 4; one month before Sturgess was hospitalised — the corporation broadcast a series of interviews with the medical staff at Salisbury District Hospital attempting to prove that a Russian-made nerve agent called Novichok had been the weapon of the crime.  The BBC broadcaster, Mark Urban —  he admitted later – had been preparing interviews with Skripal by arrangement with the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), and then to have produced his book on the case with the NATO information warfare unit, Bellingcat.  In November 2018, the corporation broadcast a fresh hour claiming to be the “inside story” of the Salisbury nerve agent attack.

The corporation then began negotiations on an even longer version of the story. By mid-May 2019 money was committed and other terms agreed for what was initially planned to be “a two-part factual drama”.  Casting followed; filming began in October of that year. The drama was stretched into three parts. The facts were stretched, too.

Unravelling the facts composed by a crooked man trying to lie straight can be a whodunit of the conventional English type. This time, though, the BBC has revealed the  complicated plot of a true crime hatched in the Cabinet Office in London by a character the new film introduces with an untraceable name.

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BBC HIDES NEW SKRIPAL WITNESS — NICOLAS GENT REPORTS NO SKRIPAL BLOOD SAMPLES WERE RECEIVED AT PORTON DOWN BEFORE NOVICHOK WAS DISCOVERED AND ANNOUNCED

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

A British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) film, which started its three-part broadcast on Sunday, has exposed the chain of command in the town of Salisbury at the time Sergei Skripal (lead image, left) and Yulia Skripal were poisoned on March 4, 2018. That command was directed by a medical specialist working at the Porton Down compound less than nine miles from the park bench where the Skripals collapsed. He gave the orders to the city’s public health  officials depicted in the film, as well as to the police, paramedics and hospital personnel starring in the film.  He also coordinated the movement of the Skripals’ blood from the hospital’s intensive care ward to the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down.  From there he reported to the officials of the Cabinet Office emergency committee, code-named COBRA, meeting in a bunker in central London. They included the head of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS, MI6), Sir Alex Younger (lead image, right).

The medical commander’s name is Nicolas Gent. His title is Deputy Head of the Emergency Response Department, Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response, Public Health England (PHE).  

Gent’s standing order to the Salisbury Hospital doctors taking blood samples from the Skripals, and to the DSTL analysts receiving the samples, was that “every transfer of a sample must be documented… you will need to complete a new form for each transfer (eg from the person who took the sample to the porter who will take the sample to the laboratory; from porter to scientist; from laboratory to courier service; from courier service to scientist in reference laboratory). All the forms in this chain must be numbered in sequence.”

Gent wrote the blank forms; he reviewed the completed ones after they had arrived at Porton Down and the blood was analysed. He then reported to COBRA (Cabinet Office Briefing Room A).   

But DSTL and the Ministry of Defence have subsequently acknowledged that “our searches have failed to locate any information that provides the exact time that the samples were collected.”  

For Gent to be telling the truth about how the blood samples were documented, and for the Ministry of Defence to be telling the truth that no forms have been found at Porton Down for the Skripal blood samples, leaves only one conclusion. If they aren’t lying, the truth is that no Skripal blood samples were delivered to Porton Down before it was decided that Novichok, made in Russia and used to attack the Skripals, had been found in their bloodstreams.

The discovery of Novichok is the lie. It started in the COBRA bunker in London, and was issued to Gent who coordinated with DSTL, and then with Salisbury Hospital. Gent is the witness who not only knows what was in the Skripals’ blood samples to start with. He also knows when Novichok was added to the Skripals’ blood, and by whom. There is no trace of Gent in the BBC film.

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UKRAINE SECRET SERVICE TELEPHONE TAPES, WITNESS TAMPERING, HATRED FOR RUSSIANS — DUTCH PROSECUTORS WIND UP PRESENTATION OF KIEV’S MH17 SHOW TRIAL

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

“I give you the floor”, Judge Hendrik Steenhuis announced to Prosecutor Thjs Berger, as he opened  the June 10 session of the MH17 murder trial, the sixth day of the hearing at the Schiphol Judicial Complex in The Netherlands.  The judge was referring to a court of law, not a stage show. “Ladies and gentlemen,” Berger began, certain it was a show he was opening. By the conclusion of his and Prosecutor Ward Ferdinandusse’s presentations, it was clear the show the Dutch are putting on in Amsterdam has been scripted entirely in Kiev.  

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JUNE 12 IS RUSSIA DAY BUT YELTSIN ELECTION OF JUNE 12, 1991, IS NO OCCASION FOR RUSSIANS TO CELEBRATE, NOR HIS DECLARATION OF STATE SOVEREIGNTY OF JUNE 12, 1990*

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

June 12 marks the anniversary of Boris Yeltsin’s election as President of Russia.

It is no moment for celebration.

The government which he led successfully over the attempted putsch of last August and through the disintegration of the Soviet Union now lacks credible authority in the Russian federation and among its people.

There is no agreement on a constitution to hold the federation together, or to divide the power granted by Russian votes for
president and parliament.

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RUSSIA DID NOT HAND OVER SATELLITE IMAGES, MH17 COURT TOLD, THE US AND CHINA ALSO

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

A Dutch Government prosecutor has told the court trying charges of murder against the Russian state, three Russian soldiers and a Ukrainian in the shooting-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 that satellite images were requested from the US, Russia and China. The Russian reply, announced yesterday in court by prosecutor Thijs Berger, was that the Russian satellite images were “not stored”. The Chinese reply, he added, was that there had been a Chinese satellite above eastern Ukraine at the time of the MH17 downing, but it was “not operational”. All three governments – the US, Russia, and China – refused to provide satellite images.

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NEW ZEALAND DENIES SERGEI SKRIPAL AND YULIA SKRIPAL ARE IN HIDING THERE

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

High British Government officials, security insiders, and employees of Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers in London  confirmed this week that Sergei (lead image, left) and Yulia Skripal (right) are under tight guard, constant surveillance, cut off from their family without limit of time, in isolation and incommunicado. This is not prison, the British say – it is New Zealand.

The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, says the Skripals are not in New Zealand. Ardern is running for re-election in the poll due in three months’ time on September 19;  according to the current polls, she is the most popular leader of the country in a hundred years.  Doing favours for the British secret services and telling lies about it are risks Ardern doesn’t need to run to secure votes.

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MH17 COURT CARTOON — DUTCH JUDGE PRESENTS BOMBSHELL, THE US DELIVERS DUD – NO SATELLITE EVIDENCE OF RUSSIAN SHOOTDOWN

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The foundation stone of the Dutch prosecution of the Russian state, three Russian soldiers and a Ukrainian from Donbass for shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 is the US satellite imagery of the missile launch, trajectory, and detonation. The US Government publicly laid this foundation within hours of the incident, on July 17, 2014, following the destruction of the 298 people on board.

If the satellite images are not presented in the trial, which began hearings again this week, the prosecution case fails, either because the US refuses to declassify and release the images,  or because they don’t exist. If it can be proved that the US has lied about the satellite evidence, and that Dutch prosecutors are repeating this lie in court, then the defence will have the foundation for summary dismissal of the charges.

On March 23, the presiding judge Hendrik Steenhuis issued an order for the prosecution to produce in court the US satellite images. This week, on June 8, Steenhuis announced the prosecution had responded with a memorandum prepared by another Dutch prosecutor interpreting the satellite images but without revealing them. “The American authorities informed us that they cannot provide any additional information regarding the launch of the missile… and the court understands from this that no further information is to be added to the file as a result.”

The judge did not say this is a violation of his disclosure order. The defence lawyers have not announced the evidence is hearsay, unverifiable, and inadmissible in a court of law. Neither the defence lawyers nor Steenhuis himself have charged the prosecution with contempt of court.  The prosecution lawyers, who are continuing this week with an outline of their case, are preparing to repeat the US lie.

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JAMES HASLAM, SERGEI SKRIPAL’S AND DAWN STURGESS’S DOCTOR, ADMITS HE ISN’T SURE NOVICHOK WAS THEIR POISON

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Dr James Haslam (lead image) was the doctor in charge at Radnor Ward, the intensive care unit of Salisbury District Hospital, when Dawn Sturgess was admitted on June 30, 2018, and died on July 8. She is  the woman whom the British Prime Minister, Metropolian Police, Crown Prosecution Service,  and Wiltshire county coroner David Ridley, have all declared  to have died from poisoning by a Russian-made nerve agenct called Novichok. This, they all say, was  brought to the UK by Russian soldiers who have been named and officially charged, not with killing Sturgess, but with trying to kill Sergei and Yulia Skripal, and leaving behind their weapon, a counterfeit bottle of perfume, where Sturgess and her companion found it several weeks later.

Haslam is so important to the story of this Russian weapon,  which hadn’t existed until Sturgess  used it on her herself and then died from it, that the state British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) assigned Haslam a part in each of the three episodes of the film called “The Salisbury Posionings”. Haslam is the only doctor from the intensive care unit treating the Skripals and Sturgess who is depicted in the BBC drama. The film will be broadcast next week.

Haslam himself claims he “led the team who cared for the critically ill patients during the Salisbury Nerve Agent Incident.”   A committed Christian, Haslam also gives public lectures on “how his faith and interests in challenging medicine and ethics played a role at the centre of this major incident.”

Before the make-believe Haslam does what the BBC scripted him to do in the movie, Haslam prepared a research report for his medical colleagues entitled “Organophosphorus nerve agent poisoning: managing the poisoned patient.” It was published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia,  on April 5, 2019, with three co-authors. These three are military agents – one from the Royal Navy working on a Defence Ministry grant; one from the Ministry’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, the chemical warfare establishment at Porton Down; and one from the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, an armed forces hospital in Birmingham. Discovered by Liane Theuer, the report can be read here.

Haslam was the only civilian; they wrote the report together. It was then reviewed by a Navy surgeon commander before “all authors approved the manuscript”. Together, they wrote that at Salisbury Hospital between the admission of the Skripals on March 4, 2018,  and of Dawn Sturgess and Charles Rowley on June 30, “at least six patients may have had varying degrees of exposure [to Novichok poisonings]”.

“May have had” does not mean what the British Prime Minister, Metropolitan Police, Crown Prosecution Service, Coroner Ridley, and the BBC  had all concluded a year before this was published.

This week Haslam was asked to explain why he wasn’t sure about the Novichok poison a year ago, and whether he still isn’t sure. He was contacted by telephone and by email.  He refuses to answer.

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WHEN THE SIN OF THE FATHER REVISITS THE SCENE OF THE CRIME – BERLIN SENDS ARNDT VON LORINGHOVEN TO WARSAW TO BE GERMANY’S AMBASSADOR TO POLAND

By Stanislas Balcerac, Warsaw, translated from Polish with illustrations by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Arndt Freytag von Loringhoven (lead image, right), a former deputy head of the German intelligence agency BND, and more recently the NATO intelligence chief, a newly created post, is now to take over as the new German ambassador in Poland.

This is a strange nomination, is it not, when ex- intelligence bosses are being despatched to run the German legation in a friendly, allied state?

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FIRM NUMBERS AT RUSSIAN ART WEEK IN LONDON, BUT DEMAND FOR RUSSIAN NUDES IS LIMP

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Russian pictures for which the owners paid millions of pounds or dollars aren’t put up for sale, and buyers won’t pay that much money in the London auction houses if the auction rooms have been closed and are likely to stay that way for the rest of the year. But this week the Russian art market is showing unexpected strength of demand, nonetheless.

Online auctions by Sotheby’s and MacDougall’s have revealed that bidders pushed prices for the best paintings and best-known painters well above their pre-sale estimates. Roughly the same proportion of pictures was sold from the catalogue as the auctioneers managed at Russian Art Week in London last November. Still, the number of lots on offer is down, as is the number of big-ticket paintings.

The auctioneers themselves say the reason for the positive trend is that fresh, young bidders  have come into the market for Russian art. They aren’t investors looking for speculative profit margins or safe haven for money on the run from bank fraud and other stealing schemes. The Russian art market is also becoming more competitive on the selling side, as new online internet platforms are expanding the number of Russian artists, especially those living outside Moscow and St. Petersburg, whose work can now reach an international audience and greater appreciation.

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BRITISH CORONER HIDES BRITISH POLICE EVIDENCE IN THE NOVICHOK CASE, AS BBC PREPARES TO BROADCAST NEW LIES

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The Wiltshire county coroner investigating British Government allegations that Russian military agents using a Russian-made poison called Novichok caused the death of a woman, Dawn Sturgess, on July 8, 2018, has lied in his report of the inquest into her death.  

This has been revealed by evidence gathered by the Wiltshire police two years ago, and recovered this week.

Senior Coroner David Ridley (lead image, right) has also concealed evidence from the coroner’s court inquest file and withheld it from the Russian Government after promising “to assist with the Russian Federation’s investigation of Ms Sturgess’ death…if the Russian Federation were to be supplied with a copy of the coronial investigation file which focuses on Ms Sturgess’ death.”

Asked to respond to the police evidence and to say if he had passed the file to the Russian Government, Ridley refused to say. “You are not an Interested Person as defined by S47 Coroners and Justice Act  2009 [ click for link ], and therefore [Ridley] will not be responding to your e-mails or correspondence.” But last December Ridley published a ruling identifying two Russians – the alleged Novichok assassins – as “Interested Persons”, declaring “the same disclosure material…will be provided to all Interested Persons including Messrs Petrov and Boshirov.”

Ridley did not provide the “disclosure material”, according to the Russian Embassy in London.

The reason for Ridley’s cover-up is that the “disclosure material” in the “coronial investigation file” includes Wiltshire police evidence, together with blood and toxicology tests from Salisbury District Hospital; these show Sturgess had taken illegal drugs, the contamination of which caused her death. The Wiltshire police and hospital medical reports were dated more than a week before the authorities claim to have discovered Novichok on the kitchen table at the apartment where Sturgess fell mortally ill.

The initial police evidence and Coroner Ridley’s later lying about it indicate the British secret services used Sturgess’s corpse to find the weapon missing from their earlier story of the March 4, 2018, attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia Skripal. The Skripals have not been permitted to testify what happened to them; they are being held incommunicado and in secret without access to family, lawyers, the Russian Embassy, or the press.

The police revelations come on the eve of the broadcast by the state British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) of a three-part series called “The Salisbury Poisonings”. This will go to air on June 14, 15, and 16. According to BBC advertising, the film “captures the bravery, resilience and, in some cases, personal tragedy of the unsuspecting locals, who faced a situation of unimaginable horror so close to home.” Coroner Ridley is not shown in the film as playing either an unsuspecting or a brave role.   

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TRANSCRIPT OF TRUMP TELEPHONE-CALL WITH PUTIN LEAKED

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

President Donald Trump telephoned President Vladimir Putin on Monday afternoon, Moscow time, to confirm he is inviting Russia to re-join the G7 summit conference at the next scheduled meeting of the group in the US.

Trump had mentioned his idea of holding a face-to-face meeting of heads of government of Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the UK and Canada on May 20, when he tweeted: “Now that our Country is ‘Transitioning back to Greatness’, I am considering rescheduling the G-7, on the same or similar date, in Washington, D.C., at the legendary Camp David. The other members are also beginning their COMEBACK. It would be a great sign to all – normalization!” Trump then spoke of a date  in late June in a telephone call with French President Emmanuel Macron on May 28. Macron agreed to the face-to-face format and to the tentative time.

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected the idea, announcing through a spokesman, Steffen Seibert, on May 30: “The federal chancellor thanks President Trump for his invitation to the G7 summit in Washington at the end of June in Washington.   As of today, considering the overall pandemic situation, she cannot agree to her personal participation, to a journey to  Washington.” The spokesman added an irony. “She will of course continue to monitor the development of the pandemic.”

Stung by Merkel, Trump told US reporters on May 31 he would postpone the G7 meeting until at least September,  and is considering the inclusion of four additional countries to the summit: Russia, Australia, India and South Korea. “I’m postponing it because I don’t feel as a G7 it probably represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries.”

On Monday Trump telephoned the Kremlin. The text of the conversation of the call has been leaked.

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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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