AUGUST IS THE MONTH FOR PROSPECTING – THAT’S PICK-AXING THROUGH LIES, SLUICING ILLUSIONS

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Truth is the safest lie.

That’s an adage so old the ancient Hebrews have claimed it as one of their own, attributing it to their mythical wise man King Solomon. He was especially keen to condemn lying, especially lying women (they were Solomon’s big problem — 700 wives, 300 concubines, according to the Book of Kings). But the one about truth as the safest lie is Solomon’s most sophisticated, least obvious idea, cynical even.

That’s why it has stood the test of time without Solomon’s heirs having a second thought about applying it on the land, in the press, and to the people they rule. What the adage means is that in situations where lying and deception are common, even performed in the public interest – in wars, parliaments, courts, police and intelligence operations – publication of the truth won’t be believed.  That’s also when the truth-teller will be dismissed as a conspiracy theorist, enemy agent, troll, or madman. Truth then becomes the secret service’s weapon of disinformation.

Take the big lies of the moment – that President Donald Trump colluded with President Vladimir Putin to defeat Hillary Clinton; that Putin ordered the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 and the nerve-agent assassination attempt against Sergei Skripal; that President Xi Jinping ordered, then covered up Chinese manufacture and release of the corona virus — no amount of evidence that these are falsehoods, nor repetition of the truth, can defeat the lies.

But liars can be defeated, a secret British court revealed this week. Well, not exactly defeated so much as interrupted or deterred.

(more…)

AUSTRIA CONFIRMS OPCW REPORT ON SKRIPAL FAKING BY THE BRITISH – VIENNA EXPOSES FINANCIAL TIMES LIES AND COVER-UP

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Austria officially confirmed this week that the British Government’s allegation that Novichok, a Russian chemical warfare agent, was used in England by GRU, the Russian military intelligence service, in March 2018, was a British invention.

Investigations in Vienna by four Austrian government ministries, the BVT intelligence agency, and by Austrian prosecutors have revealed that secret OPCW reports on the blood testing of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, copies of which were transferred to the Austrian government,  did not reveal a Russian-made nerve agent.

Two reports, published in Vienna this week by the OE media group and reporter Isabelle Daniel, reveal that the Financial Times publication of the cover-page of one of the OPCW reports exposed a barcode identifying the source of the leaked documents was the Austrian government. The Austrian Foreign Ministry and the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz und Terrorismusbekämpfung (BVT), the domestic intelligence agency equivalent to MI5 or FBI, have corroborated the authenticity of the documents.

The Austrian disclosures also reveal that in London the Financial Times editor, Roula Khalaf, four of the newspaper’s reporters,  and the management of the Japanese-owned company have fabricated a false and misleading version of the OPCW evidence and  have covered up British government lying on the Skripal blood testing and the Novichok evidence.

(more…)

MI6 CHIEF YOUNGER FOLLOWS CABINET AND NATIONAL SECURITY CHIEF SEDWILL OUT THE DOOR — SECOND SKRIPAL PLOTTER HAS BEEN OUSTED

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Novichok still kills.

The world’s slowest acting nerve agent, sprayed on a front door handle in a dead-end street in Salisbury, England, in the early afternoon of March 4, 2018, has just resulted in the career termination of Sir Alex Younger (lead image, right), chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). The announcement was issued on Wednesday afternoon by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in London.

Younger has been replaced at MI6 by Richard Moore, currently a third-ranking official of the Foreign Office, an ex-Ambassador to Turkey; an ex-MI6 agent; and a Harvard graduate.

That March day in Salisbury, when Sir Mark Sedwill (lead image, left) was in charge at the Cabinet Office and the National Security Advisor’s post, and Younger running MI6, was the greatest day for their faction of British policy towards Russia, Enemy Number One. It might have been their greatest humiliation when Sergei Skripal, one of their double agent recruits from Russian military intelligence, tried to do a runner for Moscow in a GRU exfiltration operation. Had that succeeded, Skripal would have been exposed as a triple agent, escaping with a treasure trove of secrets of British chemical warfare preparations at Porton Down, plus fresh MI6 identities and operations. Instead, Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal, were paralysed by a British nerve agent, and then confined, first in hospital and at a secret location ever since.

It was, as the Duke of Wellington once said of his last battle with Napoleon at Waterloo, “a damned nice thing — the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life.”

The Sedwill-Younger narrative of what happened on the day; the British prosecution case against two GRU agents for the Novichok attack; and the ongoing inquest  into the cause of Dawn Sturgess’s death remain at risk of exposure. To reduce that risk and move on to a new policy towards Russia and other enemies, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his chief advisor Dominic Cummings have now forced Sedwill and Younger into retirement, concealing the purge and their purpose.

(more…)

MOSCOW’S CITIZEN SURVEILLANCE REGIME – EYE OR PIE IN THE SKY

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

In a plan Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin initiated two years ago called “Smart City 2030”, the Russian capital has attempted to catch up with China’s cities and to London in the mobilization of electronic and digital tools for following the city’s inhabitants, enforcing the laws, and catching criminals, tax cheats, speeders —  and political protesters.

Most of these tools can be spotted fixed to lamp posts and other street furniture; some are on board drones flying in the air; some are underground at metro stations and on subway trains. Invisible is the surveillance of telephone calls and messages; social media; and internet communication.  

On the hardware and software, the equivalent of about a billion US dollars has been spent every year for the past five years by the Moscow government’s Department of Information Technology. That doesn’t count parallel spending by the municipal and federal agencies in charge of physical and financial security and public health, and by commercial organisations engaged in transportation, marketing, telecommunications, and banking.   

The introduction of the corona virus quarantine measures has accelerated the spending — and the sensitivity of most Muscovites to their privacy, and their suspicion of government officials’   motives. There have been many press reports in the city detailing the extent of the visual, audio, internet and other surveillance measures which have been installed or are planned. Opposition is growing – and if expressed in public gatherings, carefully recorded. So this month an application was filed by two Moscow political activists to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). They are asking for a ruling that the city’s facial recognition measures when used by police to monitor public meetings and demonstrations are an unlawful infringement of individual human rights under the European Convention.

 “We’ve been sold out already,” headlined Tsargrad.tv. last week.     “The electronic concentration camp is in action.”

Most Russians don’t agree. In the first national opinion poll carried out in mid-April, 75% of the population countrywide said they support the measures taken by their regional or city governments;  13% were opposed; 12% declined to answer. The residents of Moscow and St. Petersburg were almost as compliant and supportive – 73%. Also, more of them are opposed – 19%.  In late May a second poll showed that among Muscovites, 57% approved; 39% disapproved.

(more…)

NOVICHOK NEWS – DOSH FOR DAWN’S DEATH DASHED

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The bid by London lawyer Michael Mansfield (lead image, right) to take a multi-million pound payoff  out of the Wiltshire coroner’s inquest into the death of Dawn Sturgess (left), alleged victim of Russian  poisoning on July 8, 2018,  failed in the High Court on Friday.

A two-judge panel decided that a ruling last December by Senior Coroner David Ridley on the scope of his inquest into Sturgess’s death – allegedly caused by a Russian-made nerve agent called Novichok  — was faulty in law,  but not in fact or evidence. The judges accepted every allegation about the circumstances of Sturgess’s death by the British Government, repeated by Ridley but so far unattested or cross-examined in either the Wiltshire or London court. In sending the case back to Ridley, the High Court did not direct him to correct mistakes of evidence because none was found.

Mansfield had been hoping the court would order the coroner to broaden his investigation into the Russian state role, exposing thereby what Mansfield claims to have been British Government negligence in protecting Sturgess from the Russian danger.

“Investigating the source of the Novichok,”  the court decided, “and whether Messrs Petrov and Boshirov were acting under the direction of others either in London or in Russia, would not be a process designed to lead to a determination of a question which s 10(2)(a) prohibits the inquest from determining… There is acute and obvious public concern not merely at the prima facie evidence that an attempt was made on British soil by Russian agents to assassinate Mr Skripal and that it led to the death of Ms Sturgess, but also at the fact that it involved the use of a prohibited nerve agent exposing the population of Salisbury and Amesbury to lethal risk. There has been, and (to be realistic) there will be, no criminal trial in which the details of how this appalling event came to occur can be publicly examined. We are not saying that the broad discretion given to the Coroner can only be exercised in a way which leads to an inquest or public inquiry as broad and as lengthy as in the Litvinenko case: that is not for a court to say. We can do no more than express our doubts that the remoteness issues raised by the Senior Coroner in paragraph 82 (and referred to in paragraph 85) can properly justify an investigation as narrow as that which he has proposed. Conclusion. We allow the claim on Ground 1 only and dismiss it on Ground 2.”

Contorted by qualifiers and double negatives, the judges — London legal experts believe — have camouflaged their intention in returning the inquest to Ridley to make no practical difference to the outcome, and thereby protect the government from a challenge to the veracity of their Novichok story. Ridley has not been ordered to include in his investigation full disclosure of the CCTV, medical, biochemical and witness evidence;   or to call into the Wiltshire court the two obvious witnesses to the alleged use of Novichok,  Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

Without the threat these witnesses and their evidence pose to the official narrative of what happened to the Skripals and Sturgess, Mansfield has no bargaining power to negotiate compensation for his clients. Mansfield doesn’t speak to the press except to advertise his claims in the case to the Guardian. That newspaper has not reported Mansfield’s reaction to Friday’s verdict, but conceded he has failed to shake Ridley’s decision to restrict the inquest. “It will be up to him,” the newspaper said, “to look again at the scope of the inquest and decide how to proceed.”

(more…)

JOE BIDEN ADVANCE TEAM RECOMMENDS BRITISH APPROACH TO FIGHTING RUSSIA – START THE DISINFORMATION BEFORE THE FACT, THE FAKE BEFORE THE TRUTH — DOUBT IS RUSSIAN MIND CONTROL

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

A junior member of Joe Biden’s team in waiting to take over the Pentagon, the State Department, and the National Security Council has recommended the US employ the British method of fighting Russia with the technique of “getting ahead of adversary tactics to strike either just before or immediately after a major decision, vote, or event.”  

Doubt, she concludes, is a Russian tactic of mind control. Truth by itself isn’t enough to  combat the Kremlin. Propaganda is required in advance to ensure public confidence and to deter Russian skepticism.

Rachel Ellehuus wrote this in a report she released at a Washington think-tank on Monday, July 20.  Entitled “Mind the Gaps: Assessing Russian Influence in the United Kingdom”, Ellehuus said “an analysis of the UK experience offers some indicators as to what deters Russia. In the case of the Skripal poisoning, UK officials’ success was due to several factors. First, there was coordinated messaging. Rather than each department issuing its own response (creating gaps for Russia to exploit), the various stakeholders ultimately coordinated their response through the Cabinet Office…Second, the messaging was followed by the public release of evidence to include the identity of the Russian agents, closed-circuit television footage of them around the crime scene, and records of their hotel and flights. Finally, the international community called out Russia on the international norms it had violated. Their words were then followed by punitive measures.”

Ellehuus presented her report in a webinar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). She was joined by the British Ambassador to the US, Dame Karen Pierce, and Luke Harding, an info-warfare reporter. Ellehuus’s report and Harding’s appearance were paid for by the State Department. “On the funding”, Ellehuus acknowledged by email, “this is a U.S. government grant from State Department’s Global Engagement Center.”

(more…)

THE POINT AT WHICH THERE IS NO LONGER ANY POINT – HOW RUSSIA TALKS TO ITS ENEMIES, FRIENDS

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

There’s an invariable rule of politics the world over.

“It was worthwhile making sure of your potential friends,” the English novelist C.P. Snow put into the mouth of a rising cabinet minister in London a half-century ago. “As a rule you couldn’t win over your enemies, but you could lose your friends.”

In his career, President Vladimir Putin has accepted and followed only half that rule: he always keeps his friends — the Russian ones. Unfortunately, neither Putin nor his friends have understood the other half. That can be judged an improvement, nationally and historically speaking.

Lenin and Stalin understood  they couldn’t win over their enemies; they also shared an ideology explaining  why such conflict was unceasing, permanent. Since Lenin and Stalin had few friends and ended up treating them like enemies, the second half of the rule didn’t apply. Mikhail Gorbachev got both parts of the rule wrong. For different reasons so did Boris Yeltsin. Their mistakes have cost Russia and the Russians mightily, especially those who thought the ideology of permanent conflict wasn’t true.  

The same mistake might have happened to Putin if not for Russian soldiers whose ideology and whose job it is to do nothing but fight enemies. So, nationally speaking, Russians are today as good or better at fighting enemies as ever they have been. Between the Russian military and Russia’s enemies, Putin and his friends have been taught there is no winning by negotiation or persuasion, only by force. It’s less certain Putin’s friends are convinced this is so, especially towards the US and the UK, where the friends have sent their money and their children.

But those Russians have failed to win over the Americans and British. They have nothing to show for the process except for the inflated bills they have paid; a handful of foreign friends they have betrayed; and the limitless contempt of their enemies for having made the effort in the first place. Since the civil war started in the Ukraine in 2014 and sanctions followed, their bank accounts are today unprotected from freeze and unexplained wealth orders.

This is by way of reflection on two attempts this past week of Russian state spokesmen to defend Russia against its enemies by persuasion, not by force. The two are Maria Zakharova,  spokesman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, and Kirill Dmitriev, chairman of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), the state sovereign wealth fund.  They failed with the enemies; this is to be expected and unremarkable.   But what friends they thought they were addressing and how they lost them – that’s the breaking news.  

(more…)

FINANCIAL TIMES EDITOR KHALAF FAKES OPCW REPORTS ON SKRIPAL-STURGESS CASES, HIDES ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The editor of the Financial Times of London, and four of the Japanese-owned newspaper’s employees have been caught out fabricating a new story about a Russian-made and Russian- named nerve agent allegedly used to attack Sergei and Yulia Skripal, Dawn Sturgess and Charles Rowley in England two years ago.

In a report published on July 9, the newspaper claims it has “reviewed” four classified reports from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) which were obtained from an Austrian fraudster named Jan Marsalek.  His source for the documents, the newspaper suggests, was a Russian intelligence agency. Austrian press investigations say Marsalek’s source was the Austrian government.

The names of the fakers are Roula Khalaf, the Financial Times editor; Paul Murphy, investigations editor; Dan McCrum, a reporter; Helen Warrell, NATO correspondent; and Max Seddon of the Moscow bureau.  

They claim that Marsalek “touted secret documents about the use of a Russian chemical weapon in the UK, as he bragged of ties to intelligence services to ingratiate himself with London traders. …Documents shown to traders in 2018 and reviewed by the FT included the precise chemical compound for novichok, used in the poisoning of an ex-spy and his daughter in the UK in March of that year.” They cited a British Army chemical warfare commander as source for claiming the documents had not “come from OPCW member states in western Europe or the US”. They implied Marsalek got them from “Russia’s GRU military intelligence unit”. In a related publication the next day,  the reporters identified “Mr Marsalek’s association with individuals or networks linked to Russia’s military intelligence directorate, the GRU.”

Asked to substantiate the OPCW documents they are holding, correct factual mistakes they  made from the papers themselves, and identify their evidence of Marsalek’s alleged GRU connection, Khalaf and the reporters refuse to answer.  

(more…)

RUTTE’S RUT — DUTCH PRIME MINISTER LOSES CONFIDENCE IN MH17 TRIAL, FILES CLAIM TO EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS DESPITE COURT DECISION DELAYING ALL UKRAINE-RUSSIA CASES

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (lead image) surprised his own country’s lawyers last week with the filing of a Dutch Government claim against Russia at the European Court of Human Rights for the shooting-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. “The Dutch government decided”, declared the official announcement,    “to bring Russia before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for its role in the downing of Flight MH17.”

“By submitting an inter-State application,” Rutte’s statement explained, “the government is sharing all available and relevant information about the downing of Flight MH17 with the ECtHR. The contents of the inter-State application will also be incorporated into The Netherlands’ intervention in the individual applications submitted by the victims’ next of kin against Russia to the ECHR. By taking this course of action the government is offering maximum support to these individual cases.”

In fact, according to international lawyers, the Dutch move contributes nothing to the individual cases now pending from MH17 victims’ families because the court has suspended all of them since December 2018.

The lawyers also point out the contradiction between alleging in the criminal trial in The Hague District Court now under way  that the Russian government and military were not behind the actions of the four men accused of the shoot-down;  and Rutte’s allegation of Russian state guilt to the European court. “This isn’t just parallel litigation, which the ECHR has already refused to allow,” commented a London legal expert. “It’s a vote of no confidence in the Dutch prosecutors to secure convictions in the murder case they are trying to make.”

Rutte’s move has been dismissed in The Netherlands by Dutch lawyers, and also by victims’ families, as cynical electioneering. The prime minister, they believe, is attempting to hold on to power before the general election due next March despite having lost the majority of party votes in both houses of the Dutch parliament.

“For our prime minister Rutte,” commented Dutch lawyer Alfred Vierling, “this entire circus is the crucial test case for his higher political ambitions. He has promised to the victims’ families that the proverbial last stone will be turned over.  Maybe, but I expect that we shall all be crushed under a pile of lies first.”

“The new Dutch move,” responds Canadian war crimes specialist, attorney Christopher Black, “is an attempt to mask the fact that the trial before the Dutch courts is a biassed, one-sided affair, based on unsupported claims of the Kiev regime and the suppression of the evidence provided by Russia and eye-witnesses that support the case that the Kiev regime and its allies are responsible for the shoot-down. Instead of bringing justice to the victims, this is another attempt by NATO to deny them the real justice they are due.”

(more…)

NO ROOM AT THE BOOZER – NEW ST. PETERSBURG LAW BANS SOCIALISM, PROMOTES CAPITALISM IN RUSSIAN DRINKING

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

It’s an old tsarist ploy. When government officials grow fearful of public protests, attacks on the authorities, and rioting, they increase the volume of alcohol for sale but decrease the number of places where drinkers can gather in public.

Vodka is the opium of the people: this has been the Russian adaptation of Karl Marx’s observation about religion; that was in 1843, long before Marx got acquainted with how things worked in Russia. The way things now work, starting in St Petersburg this month, the opium of the people is banned by a new law from being sold in establishments of less than 50 square metres in floor space; the legal space is even smaller in other regions. This control measure may suit police and priests. But the real benefit will be earned by the large retailers of take-away alcohol, and the large bar and restaurant chains.  

“This law will have low influence on the amount of alcohol sales in St. Petersburg, because alcohol sold in bars is only 5% of the total sold,” observes Vadim Drobiz, director of the Centre for Federal and Regional Alcohol Markets (TsIFRRA). “But it will have a great influence on the culture of drinking. In Europe, the US and other Western countries, pubs and bars are usually places for meetings of friends, and the bar culture has a unique history. That’s why the [corona virus] pandemic is a big blow for them there. In Russia the number of pubs and bars is five times less than abroad. But instead of increasing the number of such places, St. Petersburg is now aiming to decrease it.  That’s some kind of retrogression.”

“The United Russia party in St. Petersburg insists on the new restrictions in order to increase  public order. But if people aren’t drinking in pubs, they will move to homes, yards, parks, so the situation with public order will become even worse. The police didn’t want to control the situation with pubs. Now they’ll have to control it in other places, and it will be more difficult.

Who will profit?  “Large business,” responds Drobiz, “especially the retailers who focus on alcohol, and the big bars. St. Petersburg won’t lose much in tax income, because the consumers will shift to other sources of alcohol, but lots of small and medium businesses will be closed.”

Kirill Maistrov, who owns and runs the Docker Pub in St. Petersburg, says: “Everyone is trying to make money out of the pandemic before the controls are lifted. This is nothing more than a market-share grab by the big retailers.”   

(more…)

THE REPUTATION OF MIKHAIL FRIDMAN AND PYOTR AVEN IS WORTH £18,000 EACH, BUT IT COST SIXTEEN TIMES THAT MUCH TO DEFEND — ENOUGH TO BANKRUPT CHRISTOPHER STEELE

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

It was the 412th of Francois de la Rochefoucauld’s maxims that doesn’t stand the test of either time or money. “Whatever degree of disgrace we may have brought upon ourselves,” he said, “it is always within our power to re-establish our reputation.”

For years Mikhail Fridman and Pyotr Aven, the controllers of Alfa Bank of Moscow and  LetterOne Holding in London, have been trying but not succeeding. This week they scored a success, but not quite of the kind they, or La Rochefoucauld, meant.

High Court judge Sir Mark Warby ruled that claims made about their corrupt closeness to President Vladimir Putin, prepared by Christopher Steele for use by the Democratic National Committee against the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, had been “hearsay, some of it opinion, and much of it based on unverifiable information from unidentified sources”; “data [which] are inaccurate or misleading as a matter of fact”. When fabricating his claims Steele  “evidently did not ask for any details of the hearsay information”. Later, when under cross-examination in court, Steele admitted that “a key element of [his] allegation was contradicted by information readily available on the internet.”

Most of Steele’s shoddy fabrications were acceptable in British law. This, Justice Warby ruled, was because they were provided through the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) to an unnamed “senior UK government national security official”, and to the FBI for “the purpose of safeguarding national security”; and because the “US and UK are the world’s leading English-speaking democracies, with a wealth of closely integrated interests… co-operation between the US and UK on matters of security is a vital part of our nation’s security arrangements.”

Complaining that Steele had changed his story from his initial witness statement to his second witness statement, and then in the witness box, Warby concluded that he preferred Fridman for truthfulness. “There is nothing that casts doubt on Mr Fridman’s evidence on this issue.” That  was the allegation the Alfa group had traded favours with President Putin, and that they had bribed him with “large amounts of illicit cash…in the 1990s when he was Deputy Mayor of St Petersburg.” This, the judge ruled, was not only a fabrication but was also unlawful.

In compensation, Warby awarded £18,000 each to Fridman and Aven, for a total of £36,000.

“I accept,” the judge qualified his award, “that the claimants have suffered distress as a result of the disclosures complained of, though the majority of the distress they have been caused will inevitably have flowed from media publications for which Orbis is not responsible in law: the Buzzfeed Article and others. My assessment is that each of the claimants is a robust character, not given to undue self-pity. Mr Tomlinson [barrister for Fridman and Aven] was right to ask for only ‘modest’ damages for distress.”

Modest for Fridman; ruinous for Steele. High Court experts estimate the combination of fees and costs for the barristers and solicitors required for the court claim by the Alfa group would have come to between £500,000 and £600,000; that’s roughly sixteen times the compensation awarded. The penalty is concomitantly higher for Steele and his Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd., the firm he has run since his official espionage employment ended at MI6. According to the company’s last financial account, there isn’t enough money to pay the legal bills. Steele’s business is bust.  

(more…)

NO SECOND-WAVE PANDEMIC IN RUSSIA — PAVEL VOLCHKOV, RUSSIAN LEADER IN GENOMIC ENGINEERING (HE REJECTED HARVARD FOR MOSCOW) EXPLAINS WHY

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Pavel Volchkov is an exceptional voice among the Russian scientists now dealing with the corona virus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The current Covid-19 policy administrators in Moscow are of the same academic generation but they have trained as doctors;  Volchkov is a geneticist. They have spent their formative careers inside Russian institutions;  Volchkov spent more than ten years in the US, at the University of Chicago then at Harvard.  

He has not suffered from the inferiority complex which has been the precondition for success in the US careers of Konstantin (Keith) Gessen and other Russian graduates from Harvard.   Volchkov’s analysis of the US science market and his reasons for returning to  his Russian laboratory are described here.

“There’s always someone in America,” Volchkov says, “who can find better funding than you. There’s always someone better than you. And Russia is only at the stage of the emergence of something more or less wealthy and constructive than the use and trade of natural resources. Even the janitor has already realized, and not just the economists in the government, that it is time to create high-tech companies that can make a product that is not related to natural resources. This was also one of the drivers of my move [back to Russia]. I saw that the situation with science has improved slightly. Of course, when I returned to Russia, everything was different. But ten years in America hardens you. These are difficult years. You break yourself, rebuild yourself, become flexible, purposeful. If you don’t, you are lost. If I hadn’t gone there, I wouldn’t have become what I am now.”

No repatriating Russian is as clear-eyed on what has been left behind in the US – and what lies ahead for Russia.

(more…)

THE DUTCH WRITING ON THE UKRAINIAN WALL – STEENHUIS RULING IN MH17 TRIAL PREJUDGES VERDICT

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The ruling issued on July 3 by Dutch district court judge Hendrik Steenhuis (lead image, right) requires the Russian defendant, Lieutenant-Colonel Oleg Pulatov (centre), to prove his innocence with evidence prepared by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU). By the standard announced a month earlier by the Russian Foreign Ministry, this is a fundamental violation of Pulatov’s legal rights, making a guilty verdict inevitable.   

Russian and international lawyers believe the defence lawyers should walk out. “In the conditions which the Dutch court has set,” comments Canadian Christopher Black, a veteran litigator in international war crimes trials, “this is now nothing more than the Ukrainian civil war fought by the Kiev regime with lawyers instead of soldiers. It’s a show trial. Nothing more than propaganda. No legal right for the accused is served by having his lawyers present. Since the defendants have refused to appear in person – three of them disputing the Dutch jurisdiction — the defence lawyers should withdraw.”

(more…)

MH17 TRIAL HITS UKRAINIAN WALL – JUDGE STEENHUIS REJECTS MAJOR-GENERAL KONASHENKOV FOR EVIDENCE OF THE UKRAINIAN ARMY’S BUK MISSILE WHICH SHOT DOWN MH17

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The presiding judge in the trial of the shooting-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 announced on Friday afternoon that he will not allow the evidence of Major-General Igor Konashenkov and other Russian Defence Ministry officers on the Ukrainian Army’s possession of the BUK missile alleged to be the weapon which shot down the aircraft, killing all 298 people on board.

Judge Hendrik Steenhuis declared that the Russian evidence revealed so far of the parts of the missile is limited to the manufacture of the weapon in Russia in 1986, and delivery of the weapon to a Ukrainian Army unit between December 1986 and early 1987. Steenhuis refused to allow  Russian military intelligence to reveal where the missile was located between 1987 and July 17, 2014, when the Dutch prosecution claims the missile was fired by a Russian military crew at MH17.

“The defence wishes to interview these witnesses in order to establish the evidential value and credibility of the parts of the missile administration supplied by Russia,” Steenhuis announced. He refused to identify Russian Army generals Igor Konashenkov, the Defence Ministry spokesman,  and Nikolai Parshin, head of the Ministry’s Missile and Artillery Directorate, whose detailed briefing on the missile parts, their origin,  and their deployment in the Ukrainian Army was broadcast from the Defence Ministry in Moscow on September 18, 2018. “The court finds that the relevant records relate to the years 1986 and 1987. In that light, the court does not see how interviewing this witness [Gen. Konashenkov]  can contribute to the question of where a specific missile mentioned in that record is located in the year 2014. For that reason alone the court is of the opinion that interviewing this witness cannot be of importance for any decision to be taken in the criminal case of the accused. The request is therefore rejected.”

Steenhuis repeated to the letter the prosecution’s argument,  presented in court on June 23,    that the Russian evidence should not be allowed in the trial. The judge has opted to accept the Ukrainian Government’s claim that the missile was not in the Ukrainian Army’s inventory in 2014.

Steenhuis did not explain why he accepts the Ukrainian Army version; rejects all Russian Army evidence in advance of its presentation to the court; and will allow no further evidence or witnesses to explain how, according to the Dutch prosecution story,  the Ukrainian Army missile found its way from a Ukrainian Army base to a Russian Army base, before being sent back across the border into Ukraine to attack MH17.

(more…)

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



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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

(more…)

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



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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

(more…)

THE WAR AGAINST FOOD – WHO IS TO BLAME



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

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

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

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

(more…)

EXILE



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

(more…)

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



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

(more…)

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

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

(more…)

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



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

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

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

(more…)

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



By Lucy Komisar,  New York*
  @bears_with

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

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

(more…)

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



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

(more…)

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



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(more…)
Categories
Archives

Copyright © 2007-2017 Dances With Bears

Copyright © 2007-2017 Dances With Bears

Education Template