MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF’S ALLEGATION AGAINST RUSSIA IS FALSE

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

At the conclusion of their most recent meeting in Tehran on April 13, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (lead image, right) said of his Iranian counterpart, “we have held good talks with my friend, Foreign Minister of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif [left], in a traditionally trustful and friendly atmosphere”. Lavrov didn’t know that, a few days earlier, Zarif had told an Iranian interviewer in a confidential tape-recording that there was nothing trustful or even friendly about his attitude towards the Russians, especially Lavrov.

According to Zarif, whose remarks leaked to the New York Times and other media on the weekend, “Russia did not want the agreement to succeed and ‘put all its weight’ behind creating obstacles because it was not in Moscow’s interests for Iran to normalize relations with the West.” To that end, Zarif claimed on tape, “General [of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Qassem] Soleimani traveled to Russia to ‘demolish our achievement’, meaning the nuclear deal.” 

If that is what Zarif said, and that was all he said about Russia, and about Soleimani’s trips to Moscow in 2015-2016, Zarif is lying.

(more…)

THE NONDESCRIPT INVESTIGATOR WHO DIDN’T LET VANITY, MONEY OR NATIONALITY GET IN THE WAY OF THE TRUTH OF THE CASE

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

In a few days’ time,  it will the 91st  anniversary of the first appearance in print of Jules Maigret, who began his first case as a detective chief inspector of the Paris Flying Squad, and was later promoted to  Commissaire de Police Judiciaire; in his day that was the senior detective supervising crime investigations throughout the city.

It will also be the anniversary of my reading the 75th and very last of the Maigret books by Georges Simenon.  Between the first, published on May 26, 1930, and the last, published in 1972, forty-two years elapsed; they included World War II; the Korean War; two Vietnam Wars; the Algerian war; three Israel-Arab wars;   three India-Pakistan wars; and the Cold War against the Soviet Union. Simenon ignored every one; Maigret never read, thought, or said a word about them.

If Maigret was politically partisan, it was only slightly in favour of the FBI; slightly against Scotland Yard; the Belgian, Dutch, German, and Italian police he treated as ciphers.  He dealt with only one Russian character, to whom Simenon gave the first name Vladimir but omitted the second. He had been a cadet in the imperial Russian Navy; during the civil war he was on the losing White side, and ended up a nondescript in French exile.

Everybody in the Maigret stories is a nondescript to varying degrees, especially Maigret himself. As a magazine for London intellectuals once reported, Maigret was “one of literature’s most exceptional characters. Or, rather, one of literature’s most unexceptional characters: the most exceptional unexceptional.”  

(more…)

ALDM – AUSTRALIAN LIVES DON’T MATTER

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Black Lives Matter (BLM) is the slogan of a global movement with which we agree;  and with which those who disagree don’t dare to say in public – in many places because it is a crime to say so.

Australian Lives Don’t Matter (ALDM) is a slogan no one dares to say although it is Australian state policy. On the 106th anniversary of ANZAC Day later this week, the country and its officials will celebrate the policy which, beginning over nine months of an attempted invasion of the Gallipoli peninsula of Turkey (then Ottoman Empire) between February 1915 and January 1916,  killed 8,709 and wounded 19,441, for a casualty total of 28,150.

By contrast, over the past year, from February to December 2020, as direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, there were 909 Australian deaths and a total of 24,408 casualty cases.  In addition, approximately 50,000 Australians were liquidated abroad; that’s to say, forbidden by the government in Canberra to return to the country and their homes; they were officially classified as  constitutionally dead. Total casualty rate, 74,408.

The casualty rate per hundred thousand of the national population for the ANZAC campaign in 1915 was 563; the casualty rate per hundred thousand for the COVID-19 campaign in 2020 was 286.   

The national sacrifice for state policy on COVID-19 was three times more numerous in Australian lives than for ANZAC. Converted to the comparable rate per civilian life, it was half as bad. The state policy is the same, unchanged.  What has happened in the interval is that the last line in the Ode to the fallen of 1915, repeated at every annual ANZAC memorial service, turns out to be false:  

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.   

In point of fact we don’t. Not only have we forgotten, but we keep repeating the lie of state policy.

(more…)

WHEN PUSH COMES TO SHOVEKIN – LONDON PRIZE FOR THE BEST BOOK OF RUSSIA-IS-EVIL, RUSSIANS-DESERVE-TO-DIE-IN-HELL-FIRE

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Russia-hating Russians have long made a business of selling their bile to Americans with a  profit that makes Israel-hating Jews, Greece-hating Greeks,  and Cecil Rhodes-hating South Africans quite envious, though not quite as lucratively as Russia-hating Ukrainians have been selling since they lost the last war in Europe.    

Sergei Lebedev (lead image, right) — “arguably the best of Russia’s younger writers” says a British historian with a history of regime-changing opinions – is doing well at this business. With a blurb endorsement by Anne Applebaum as “one of Russia’s most interesting young novelists”, and a translation into English by the former chief executive of the Soros Foundation in the Soviet Union, Lebedev’s place is assured in the market for information warfare against Russia.

His book, released in Russian as Дебютант (synonym Новичок, “Novichok”) by the Eksmo publishing group in 2020, was published in English this past February as “Untraceable”; the publisher is Head of Zeus. Eksmo, the beneficiary of Lebedev’s book sales in Russian,  is owned by Arkady Rotenberg, one of the better known friends of President Vladimir Putin who is sanctioned by the US. Head of Zeus is a branch of IPG, an international book distributor based in Chicago.  The book is the latest reprise of the CIA’s and MI6’s Nobel Prize-winning OPERATION BARRY PARSNIP (Boris Pasternak).   

(more…)

MH17 TRIAL SECRETS — THE DUTCH DEFENCE LAWYERS HAVE BETRAYED THE RUSSIAN CASE

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The release by the Dutch prosecutors of their presentations last week in the MH17 trial before The Hague District Court reveal the extent of the incompetence and negligence of the two Dutch lawyers paid by Moscow for the defence – Sabine ten Doesschate (lead image, centre) and Boudewjin van Eijck (right). The two lawyers, whose previous experience of criminal defence trials has been limited to defending the Dutch police, are keeping secrets which not even the prosecutors are concealing now.

(more…)

DUTCH STATE LEAKS EXPOSE MH17 TRIAL OUTLAWS, STARTING WITH THE INVESTIGATING JUDGE IN HIDING

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The Dutch Government’s  trial of the Russian Government for shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 reached new lows on Thursday when it was revealed in court that the US Government continues to conceal the satellite evidence alleged to show a BUK missile firing at the aircraft; that the release on Dutch television of thousands of telephone taps of one of the  Russian soldiers accused of the shoot-down was the work of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU)  and by a source among the Dutch police and prosecutors;  and, finally, that an investigating judge has decided in secret to prevent any cross-examination of the Dutch government experts responsible for reports allegedly proving the prosecution’s case.

That investigating judge was acknowledged in court yesterday to be playing a more decisive  role than the president of the trial, District Court judge Henrik Steenhuis. Her name is being kept a state secret.

(more…)

WHAT IS THE MELTING POINT OF SWISS CHEESE — SERGEI PUGACHEV’S BANKERS TESTIFY IN SECRET TRIAL

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Two Swiss bankers charged with money-laundering crimes in aid of the fugitive Russian banker Sergei Pugachev went before the Swiss federal criminal court last week. The trial was brief;  no reporters were present; and the lawyers are trying to keep the bankers’ names secret. They refuse to say if the verdict has already been agreed with the court.

(more…)

ROMAN ABRAMOVICH PUTS RUSSIA WARFIGHTERS TO THE TRUTH TEST

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

There have been only two painstaking records that an English journalist named Catherine Belton (lead image, centre) has been the fabricator of Russian oligarch and regime-changing plots when she was a Moscow reporter for the Financial Times, and since she moved to Reuters and published a book called  Putin’s People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took on the West.

The first record was mine, in print. The new one is Roman Abramovich’s – his is in the High Court in London.

The archive of my research started in 2008. Through 29 instalments  it has followed Belton’s associations with the oligarchs Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Oleg Deripaska, Suleiman Kerimov, and most visibly, Sergei Pugachev. In 2009 Belton won the Cat’s PAW (Personal Abasement Award) for publishing material about Kerimov, declining the efforts of the award committee to obtain verification of her claims.   The review of her book, published in April 2020, is the only one in print to identify its fabrications as a religious tract for “people who believe in the work of the devil, and who are paid to persuade other people to believe the same.” President Vladimir Putin is the devil in the Belton-Pugachev story. Casting him out is their mission.

Abramovich has come to the same conclusion. Starting a year ago, his representatives complained at Belton’s claims, and issued warnings to her that they would sue to stop the lying. Belton and her London publisher HarperCollins, owned by Rupert Murdoch (lead image, left), “refused to apologise for, correct or even suspend the continued publication of the words complained of, despite [Abramovich] placing them on notice of the false and defamatory nature of the allegations shortly after the electronic publication of the Book and prior to first publication of the hard copy version of the Book.” That was between April 2 and April 16, 2020, according to Hugh Tomlinson QC, Abramovich’s counsel.  

Almost a year later, on March 22, 2021, Abramovich filed suit in the High Court against Belton and HarperCollins. The text of the initial claim has just been released by the court registry.

“The political climate is one of deep suspicion and mistrust towards President Putin and the Russian State,” Tomlinson for Abramovich has written,  “with the result that allegations that the Claimant [Abramovich] has a close and corrupt relationship with President Putin and covertly acts under his direction will inevitably cause very serious harm to the Claimant’s reputation.” Belton and her publisher, Tomlinson charges, “have gravely injured the reputation of the Claimant and has caused him damage and upset.”

Abramovich is seeking damages, including aggravated or penalty damages; together with a stop to the circulation of the book, and all legal costs.  If Abramovich wins at trial, and depending on how long and expensive the proceedings will be, London lawyers estimate that Belton and Murdoch will face a penalty of up to £1 million. The combined legal costs, however, may reach £50 million.

The political risk for exposure of the Belton-Pugachev plot as a pack of lies is even more expensive. Not before has a British court adjudicated the truthfulness of these claims.  

(more…)

THE STURGESS INQUEST—HOW TO BOLT THE BARN DOOR BEFORE THE NOVICHOK GETS OUT

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The Novichok case, which began in Salisbury, Wiltshire, on March 4, 2018, is so open and shut that no judge, neither a provincial solicitor turned county coroner like David Ridley, nor an ennobled judge of the Court of Appeal like Baroness Heather Hallett (lead image, left), can have a moment’s hesitation in deciding the Russians are guilty. Because of his hesitation and uncertainty, however, Ridley was replaced by Hallett in January. After her first hearing on March 30, Hallett issued her first ruling on April 8. It was released publicly yesterday.

Alternatively, the Novichok case is so uncertain on the evidence, so contradictory in the witness claims, and so risky to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s (right) policy towards Russia, that the case should be closed to public scrutiny, to cross-examination in court, and to other forensic testing.  

In the paper Hallett has just issued she allows the fabrication to run safely away, but bolts  the door on the risk of the truth escaping. Her inquest, she has ruled, is to run for just long enough to convict the Russian military and government of nerve-agent assassination; and then to convert the coroner’s court into a public inquiry, so that the only state secrets which will be allowed in evidence will be those selected by the state – but not enough to convict the British Government of negligence towards the victims, to whom the government may be liable to pay millions of pounds in compensation.  

In a brief acknowledgement of her open-door policy, Hallett announced: “In denying Russian state involvement in the poisonings, the Russian authorities have required answers from the UK government on what it considers important questions.” This is Hallett’s only acknowledgement of the archive of public reporting of contrary evidence in the Novichok case. That not one of the important “Russian” questions has been answered by the UK, Hallett has omitted to reveal.

(more…)

THE WAR FOR CHAOS – ON THE MYANMAR AND DONBASS FRONTS WITH GORILLA RADIO

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

In the annals of warfare, armchair generals, cyber warriors, and media propaganda may speed up the decision to use force. They never decide the outcome.

Today, in Myanmar as in Donbass, eastern Ukraine, we have reached the point where words have stopped; sticks and stones have started. The further away these conflicts are from the armchair generals, the less they risk of their own interests; the more they see the advantages to themselves of chaos as a strategy for war without end. Chaos pays cyber warriors as much big money as shooting wars pay munitions makers and arms dealers.

For readers who are tired out by the long reads required to understand complex situations on battlefields in  unfamiliar, faraway places, and for meda editors and proprietors,  whose financial calculation is as simple and short as a tweet, the analysis which has preceded today’s broadcast is not simple enough. They complain that such analysis demands  a huge amount of concentration to understand and decipher. Time is money — if the truth can’t be boiled down to a tweet, they tell themselves, their fear of failing to understand becomes too costly to bear. This is the way the tweeter turns into a twit, and the twit’s mind turns into substacked twaddle.

Today’s Gorilla Radio broadcast isn’t for twits.

(more…)

REMINDER OF JULY 21, 2019, FOR DEMOCRATS SUFFERING ACUTE MEMORY FAILURE

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

President Joseph Biden (lead image, left) has been showing symptoms of late-stage Parkinson’s Disease, which includes episodic dementia caused by Lewy Bodies (striatal amyloid plaques).  President Volodomyr Zelensky (right) is suffering from memory failure, mood swings, and other neurological disorders after his hospitalisation for Covid-19 five months ago

This report of how Ukrainians voted at their last chance is republished as an aide-memoire.

(more…)

THE BORNHOLM BASH, THE BALTIC BLUFF, THE BLINKEN BLINK – THE RETREAT OF FORCE FROM WAR

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

This is the way it is going.

A veteran German source, whose family comes from Prussia and knows the history of wars on the Eastern Front very well, says that the Poles “are notoriously bad at bluffing. They threaten beyond their capacities. They invite trouble, and when it happens, they fold.” A veteran Polish source from Cracow, in Polish Galicia, says the same of the Ukrainians.

The Americans, both German and Polish sources agree, don’t understand bluffing at all because the proxy forces, Polish and Ukrainian, they are threatening Russia with will be sacrificed to their deaths, not American ones  —  if the Russians call the bluff now on the Donbass line.

At the Chancellery in Berlin these three things are so well understood, the silence of the German response to them has been deafening.  

(more…)

BANKERS’ TRIAL IN BELLINZONA THIS WEEK — SERGEI PUGACHEV, CATHERINE BELTON ALSO ON TRIAL, OR IS IT A US GOVERNMENT FALSE FRONT?

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Two Swiss bankers will go on trial this week in the Swiss Federal Criminal Court charged with money-laundering offences when they supervised and assisted the movement out of Russia, then  through Switzerland,  of at least 700 million Swiss francs. The money was moved by Sergei Pugachev (lead image, left) between 2008 and 2010; at the time it was worth the equivalent of $720 million.

News of the trial was made public for the first time by the Swiss newspaper, Tribune de Genève,  on Saturday. It appeared in German in its sister paper, Zurich’s Tages-Anzeiger at the same time. Both media are owned by the TX Group (aka Tamedia), the largest press group in Switzerland.

The bankers’ names weren’t reported in the newspapers, but will be identified later this week at the courthouse in Bellinzona; they were a former director and chairman of the board of Société Générale in Geneva, and his subordinate, the head of legal compliance at the bank. They were fined by the Swiss financial regulator nine months ago for breaching regulations and failing to report suspicious transactions through their bank by Pugachev. The two bankers have moved on to other employment but deny their guilt. They say Pugachev’s money wasn’t stolen or laundered by the bank on their watch. He was a political victim of the Kremlin, they will argue in court.

This is the case Pugachev has attempted in the UK High Court where it has been dismissed and he has been convicted of lying. It is also the case which Catherine Belton has turned into a book-sized indictment by Pugachev of President Vladimir Putin. The Swiss trial is the first in Europe to test the criminal case against Pugachev, how he came by his money, and what he did with it in hiding.

Belton; HarperCollins, the Rupert Murdoch company which published her book; and Reuters, Belton’s current employer, haven’t mentioned the Swiss government investigations of Pugachev which were running for a decade before last summer’s fines were imposed. They are also facing a direct trial of their veracity in a defamation action initiated by Roman Abramovich in the UK High Court last month.  

“Our structure”, runs the pitch of Société Générale in Geneva, “is localized to human scale, allowing an entrepreneurial approach whose point of departure is always your need.”  The bankers, and their bank, are now on trial for putting Pugachev’s need ahead of the law.  “The Swiss system can take a very long time,” comments a well-known Swiss banker. “This case is a rare one in which the Russian evidence of the crime of a decade ago will be presented in open court now, for such high-ranking private bankers to account for themselves. In Switzerland such a case is almost unheard of.”

(more…)

RUSSIA AND MYANMAR – BALANCING ON A KNIFE’S EDGE

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

“The person attempting to travel two roads at once will get nowhere”. It’s a well-known Chinese maxim, especially in Myanmar (Burma), China’s backdoor to the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean, and the Indian Navy’s forward defence line.    

Russia’s policy towards Myanmar since the military takeover on February 1 is a case of proving the maxim mistaken. Although experts and officials in Moscow won’t say so aloud, it’s possible for Russia to pursue one strategy with two tactics; three more like.

(more…)

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.  

(more…)

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.  

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.  

(more…)

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.  

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)
Categories
Archives

Copyright © 2007-2017 Dances With Bears

Copyright © 2007-2017 Dances With Bears

Education Template