WORD RUNNERS, GUN RUNNERS — WHEN JOURNALISM IS A WEAPON OF WAR, JOURNALISTS ARE BOUND TO GET RICH



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

In the history of journalism in Moscow, before there were Vladimir Pozner,  Valentin Yumashev,  Derk Sauer,  Alexei Venediktov,  Margarita Simonyan,  and Vladimir Soloviev,  there was Victor Louis. He was the best known of Soviet journalists, and the richest of them by a long shot.    

According to a newly published Swiss biography, Louis’s dacha at Bakovka included a heated swimming pool under cover, a tennis court, a wine cave, and a gallery of icons and paintings.  He also had a collection of cars – Peugeot, Bentley, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Ford Mustang, Land Rover, Volvo, Rolls Royce , and a chauffeur to drive them. In photographs he displayed himself at the bar of his apartment in Moscow dressed as an English country squire – houndstooth pattern jacket, paisley pattern cravat. He sent his three sons to Eton and Oxford; his money to an account and safe deposit box at a Zurich branch of the Swiss Bank Corporation, attached to which were his Diners Club and American Express credit cards.

Louis was well known in his time;  after 1991 and the end of the Soviet Union, quite forgotten. He died in July 1992 and is buried in the elite Vagankovskoye cemetery in Moscow.

The new book by Jean-Christophe Emmenegger  reveals for the first time the hustle which Louis operated in order to earn large sums of money from the governments of the US, the UK, and Israel, and their media corporations, in exchange for materials supplied to him by the KGB, GRU, or other Soviet government agencies, with whatever purpose these suppliers were planning at the time.  Word running mostly – Central Committee documents, speeches by officials, intelligence active measures, disinformation, memoirs, book manuscripts.

Louis also ran several side-earners: the most lucrative was taking cash from Israel to buy Soviet exit visas for selected Jews whom the Israelis wanted to emigrate. Next came American media like CBS Television, Look, Time Life, and enterprising American journalists not unlike himself – Murray Gart,  Daniel Schorr – who paid him fees to fix “exclusive” meetings and interviews with senior Soviet officials. Then there was his accreditation as Moscow correspondent for the London Evening News (Evening Standard).  There may also have been a little gun-running in the record of his visits to Mozambique and Angola.

British intelligence reports – opened in this book for the first time — described Louis as a “megalomaniac” and an “egoist extremely fond of money of which he placed considerable quantities abroad.”

Naturally he shared the proceeds with the KGB men who supplied him with the goods he traded. But compared with CIA and MI6 operations like the publication of Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago, and the rigging of his Nobel Prize, the Louis hustles were cost-free to Moscow.  

Louis was nothing if not a patriotic hustler. With that combination, the likes of him have not come again.

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FOUR YEARS LATER: THE SKRIPAL CASE IS WEIRDER THAN EVER

By Matt Ehret, Montreal
https://twitter.com/ehret_matthew

While navigating through today’s propaganda-heavy world of misinformation, spin and outright creative writing which appears to have replaced conventional journalism, it is most important that two qualities are active in the mind of any truth-seeker. The first quality is the adherence to a strong top down perspective, both historic and global. This is vital in order to guide us as a sort of compass or North Star used by sailors navigating across the ocean. The second quality is a strong power of logic, memory and discernment of wheat vs. chaff to process the mountains of data that slap us in the face from all directions like sand in a desert storm.

As the fourth anniversary of the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal has arrived and as accusations of biolabs, and chemical warfare are again on people’s minds with Victoria Nuland’s recent admission of US “bioresearch facilities” spread across Ukraine, it is a useful time to take these qualities and revisit this bizarre moment of modern history which took place on a park bench in Salisbury UK. This fraud played a major role in destroying Russian relations with the west which drove the world into the currently disastrous cataclysm now unfolding.

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SERGEI & YULIA SKRIPAL – LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE APPOINTED IN LONDON IN NEW BRITISH GOVERNMENT DECEPTION OPERATION



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Lord Anthony Hughes (lead image, left), the chairman of the newly appointed inquiry into  allegations of Novichok plots and death in England in 2018, revealed on Friday that a British lawyer has been engaged to represent Sergei (centre) and Yulia Skripal (right) in the investigation he is conducting. This may mean they are alive.  It does not mean the Skripals will be allowed to appear and to answer questions freely in public.

Sergei Skripal has not been seen in public since the day of the alleged Novichok attack, March 4, 2018. He has not been heard on the telephone by family members since June 26, 2019.   Yulia Skripal was last seen in a British and US directed interview at a US bomber base  in May 2018;    her last telephone call was heard on November 20, 2020.   

Hughes’s staff and spokesman refuse to identify the Skripals’ lawyer by name.

At the London court session on March 25, Hughes was told by the counsel to the proceeding that earlier this month a letter had been received “from legal representatives of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, representing their designation as core participants in the inquiry. They had not sought interested person status in the inquest. In any event, since the terms of reference for this inquiry expressly require you to investigate the events surrounding their poisoning, we submit that their significant interest in the matters to which the inquiry relates is self evident and, accordingly, we support the that matter of core participant status, but that is all I was proposing to say about that issue.”

Hughes then read the proposed list of core participants, including the Skripals. “I designate core participant to all those listed in paragraph 14 of your written submissions and outlined to me orally just now,” he said.

An hour later Martin Smith, the solicitor to the inquiry, was asked to name the legal representative of the Skripals; he refused. Hughes, he said, “will need to designate the lawyer concerned as the Core Participants’ recognised legal representative following this hearing. When he has done so, the Inquiry will publish this information.”

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SIMPLETON’S PRIMER ON THE LONG WAR THE US AIMS TO WAGE AGAINST RUSSIA

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

In the history of the world wars, or the last century of wars in Europe, or the wars the US has waged since 1945, it has never happened that what the President of the US says, and what the head of the front-line country which the US is fighting to defend says, have mattered less than what Joseph Biden and Vladimir Zelensky say now.

The reason is that no US president running a war has ever been as incapacitated in command and control as Biden, nor as impotent among his own officials as Zelensky. Rule by crock and rule by stooge aren’t rule at all.

US public opinion polls measuring Biden’s job approval rating demonstrate that most American voters already realize this. The growing spread between American voters’ disapproval and approval of Biden’s performance since the Russian operation began on February 24 indicates also that this understanding is growing.

But this isn’t anti-war sentiment, let alone an American stop-the-war movement. At present US officials headed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken aim to fight the war to the capitulation or destruction of Russia; they will fight to the last Ukrainian to achieve this goal; they will negotiate no end-of-war terms;  they are not influenced or constrained by American public opinion or votes. Not yet.

Zelensky has declared he is in favour of negotiations to end the war; he has declared he is opposed to the terms which President Vladimir Putin and the Russian leadership have made clear, long before the war began and ever since, were the casus belli, the objectives for which they are fighting. The reason Zelensky regularly contradicts himself is that his power – his survival in office – depends on the Galician faction headquartered around Lvov, whose  only occupation is permanent warfighting, and whose only income flows from the US and the NATO alliance. They are as committed as Blinken to operating the Ukraine as a gun platform targeted at Russia; the Galicians will destroy all of eastern Ukraine as they withdraw, in order to keep firing. The Germans thought and did as much on the same battlefields eighty years ago.

Biden, Blinken, Zelensky, and the Galicians also hate Russians with more racial virulence than has ever been shown by Americans towards a European enemy in the history of American wars.

Race hatred towards Russians now far exceeds American public opinion measured towards Germans during World War I or World War II.  It is only matched, according to the US War Department’s surveys of American soldiers, by hatred towards the Japanese. During that war, six times the number of GIs polled said they “would really like to kill” a Japanese soldier as said the same for a German. When combat veterans were asked “what would you like to see happen to the Japanese and the Germans after the war”, almost one in two GIs from the Pacific theatre supported wiping out the entire Japanese nation; one in eight from the European theatre said that of Germany. During the Vietnam War, US race hatred for the Vietnamese was even less

If these lessons are true, or if the commands in Moscow and in Washington believe them, what end to the war can be negotiated short of the destruction of one side or the other?

The simpleton’s conclusion is none – there can be no end to this war unless the Ukraine is destroyed, or Russia, or Europe, or the US. How simple-minded is that?

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NEW YORK COURT REOPENS TRIAL OF LEONID LEBEDEV’S $2.7 BILLION ATTACK ON VICTOR VEKSELBERG AND LEN BLAVATNIK



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

One of the peculiarities of the NATO alliance’s sanctions war against Russian businessmen is that the biggest of Russia’s bank robbers and corporate thieves have not been targeted by the press nor by the US Treasury. Indeed, the more criminal their conduct, and the more money they have stolen from Russia, the more welcome and secure the US, British, French, and Cypriot governments have made them and their bank accounts feel.

This is known as the Lucky Luciano gambit in the current war. Originally, between 1942 and 1946 that was an agreement between the imprisoned New York mafia boss Luciano, his treasurer Meyer Lansky, and his chief mobsters Albert Anastasia and Vito Genovese to assist US military intelligence, Army and Navy operations in their invasion of Sicily; and to go on helping the US prevent the Italian left from winning the postwar elections. In return, Luciano’s imprisonment was made more comfortable, then stopped, and in 1946 he was released to live in Italy (lead image, Luciano at home in Naples in 1948).

In the new Russian deal, the terms are that the runaway robbers must publicly blame President Vladimir Putin for prosecuting them for their crimes; declare themselves in support of regime change; assist MI6 and CIA; and pay for opposition propaganda. The case of Sergei Pugachev, who stole $1 billion from the Central Bank of Russia, is the best known of these deals. Convicted in the British courts of lying and protected by asylum in France, Pugachev has been promoted by the Financial Times of London and the Murdoch media group.  His story has turned into a well-known book, and expensive out-of-court retractions.  

The case of Leonid Lebedev, robber of Russian oilfields and electricity utilities,  has been waged to failure in the London and Cyprus courts. It has just restarted in the New York state Supreme Court. New York is where Lebedev has banked his cash. It’s where he has pursued since 2014 his claim to be paid $2.7 billion for a stake in Russian oilfields for which he was paid, and signed off,  years earlier.

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SLOVENIAN PRIME MINISTER AND POLISH GOVERNMENT REPLY TO ZELENSKY MEETING REPORT WITH NEW CLAIMS – NO EVIDENCE OF KACZYNSKI’S TOOTHBRUSH



By John Helmer, Moscow & Stanislas Balcerac, Warsaw
  @bears_with

In almost a thousand years of military history, the proverb has been a reminder that an apparently tiny omission or detail overlooked on the battlefield can have ruinous consequences for the kingdom. “For want of a nail”, the saying goes, “the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost.” Until the end: “For want of a message the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.”  

The story of the Polish, Czech and Slovenian prime ministers who messaged that they had travelled to Kiev last Tuesday to meet Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is one of these proverbials – it is missing the details which prove the meeting took place in Kiev, where they claim they went, and not in Przemysl, Poland, where the details prove they were.

In response to the first report  revealing this evidence, the Slovenian prime minister Janez Jansa told Slovenian state television RTV he had met with Zelensky on the “first floor of the presidential palace, not in the basement, but under strict security measures.”  He added that Kiev was not surrounded despite the Russian forces attacking from both the west and the east, air raid alarms, and citywide curfew after dark.

Jansa faces a national election on April 24, and over the past month he has lost his lead in the polls.   He had announced he would visit Kiev on February 24, but that visit was cancelled on March 1 because it was judged to be dangerously unsafe.     In the interval, Jansa’s SDS party dropped another two points in the election polls to the rising new opposition party, the Freedom Movement (GS).  According to N1 Info, a Balkan news platform affiliated with CNN, Jansa’s “advisers…had been in the Ukrainian capital city to prepare a meeting of PM Janez Jansa with the Ukrainian top officials, which was due to have been held on 24 February, and was cancelled [on March 1] due to the start of Russia’s invasion.”

Jansa was asked directly on Saturday to “clarify why you judged you must cancel your planned trip to Kiev on March 1 because of the security risks at the time, but judged the security risks to be less in order for you to proceed to Kiev on March 15? What lessened the security risks to you and your delegation in the interval?”  Jansa was also asked to explain “since the Slovenian Embassy in Kiev was closed and evacuated on March 15, where did you spend the evening of March 15, before your return to Poland? With whom did you have dinner that evening?”

Jansa has refused to answer. His spokesman Uros Urbanija has accused journalists asking the questions of working for the political opposition.

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WHAT HAPPENED – MORE EVIDENCE ON THE ZELENSKY SUMMIT MEETING



By John Helmer, Moscow & Stanislas Balcerac, Warsaw
  @bears_with

On Tuesday March 15, the leaders of Poland, Czech Republic, and Slovenia met the Ukrainian President, Vladimir Zelensky (lead image, right), in a room.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (left) and Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, together with Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and their Slovene counterpart Janez Jansa insist in unison that their meeting room was located in Kiev; that they got there by taking a 7-hour train ride from the Polish railway station of Przemysl, and that they returned the same way after 24 hours.

In yesterday’s report  we presented the evidence available at the time to indicate there was no geolocational evidence that the room was in Kiev, and that the summit meeting took place there. This account is being disputed by some sources; corroborated by others. A Warsaw government source who reviewed yesterday’s report comments: “we will probably never know the truth.”

According to another Polish source, “no head of the Polish security detail would allow the PM and the Deputy PM to travel together to a theatre of military operations. Especially after the close encounters in Georgia in 2008 when [President Lech]  Kaczynski blamed the Russian Army for shooting at him.   And if the head of the SOP [Polish State Protection Service, Służba Ochrony Państwa], allowed it, he should be fired.”

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THE ZELENSKY SUMMIT MEETING IN KIEV ON MARCH 15 WITH POLISH, CZECH AND SLOVENIAN PRIME MINISTERS WAS A FAKE DEVISED IN WARSAW – THE MEETING WAS AT PRZEMYSL, POLAND; ZELENSKY ALSO



By John Helmer, Moscow & Stanislas Balcerac, Warsaw
  @bears_with

The summit meeting of East European leaders, hosted in Kiev by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky on March 15 was fabricated by the Polish government, with Polish secret service agents playing the part of journalists, and fake photographs of the meeting, press briefing, and train journey prepared by Zelensky’s press office.

The operation was designed by the Poles to promote their role in support of the Ukraine, the Ukrainian refugees, and in defence of Europe against Russia, and seek new European, American,  and NATO alliance funds and military equipment.

According to the Ukrainian publicity, the operation was designed to promote the appearance that Zelensky’s regime is in control of Kiev, and to accelerate their application for admission to the European Union (EU).

The Anglo-American media have reported the meeting, as announced by Petr Fiala, the Czech  prime minister, with “the aim…to express the European Union’s unequivocal support for Ukraine and its freedom and independence,”    

The result of the summit meeting, according to the Financial Times in London, was “a show of European solidarity even as Russian shelling continued on residential neighbourhoods in the Ukrainian capital. The trip by the prime ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia is the most high-profile visit to Kyiv since Russia invaded the country on February 24.”  

 “It is here, in war-torn Kyiv, that history is being made,” the Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced. “It is here that freedom fights against the world of tyranny. It is here that the future of us all hangs in the balance.”

Morawiecki and the western press were lying – there was no meeting in Kiev. Instead, the meeting was staged at the Polish rail junction town of Przemysl, 95 kilometres west of Lvov (Lviv), and 20 kms inside the Polish frontier with the Ukraine.

In a report published by the Associated Press (AP) bureau in Warsaw, “the long journey over land from Poland to Kyiv by Morawiecki, Poland’s deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski and Prime Ministers Petr Fiala of the Czech Republic and Janez Jansa of Slovenia sent the message that most of Ukraine still remains in Ukrainian hands.”  

The evidence gathered from sources in Warsaw and from analysis of the videos and photographs published on the meeting proves there was no “long journey”; no meeting in Kiev or in Lvov, the Galician region capital, which is the operating headquarters of the Ukrainian government. From the evidence provided by the Poles and also by Zelensky’s publicity staff, it is now clear that only a small part of western Ukraine remains in Ukrainian hands.  Zelensky himself is now in Polish hands.

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CHUMAKOV’S COVIVAC – UPHILL RUN FOR RUSSIA’S THIRD VACCINE



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Nothing is more certain than that wars make fortunes for gunmakers and pandemics make fortunes for vaccine makers.

It’s uncertain whether it’s the market, the politics, or the science which advances some vaccines at the expense of others.  In the 150-year history of medical markets, the Covid-19 vaccines have been fastest from the science to the money – faster and further ahead of the vaccines for measles, hepatitis, cervical cancer, and polio.  At this speed, profit and share price have done most of the talking, followed by the politics of regulator approval. It’s too soon for science to measure and report the long-term benefit versus harm of these Covid-19 vaccines, especially the genetic engineering types known as messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA).  

After two years of the coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports there are 148 vaccines currently under clinical testing.   It’s quite late for most of them to make back their cost, let alone earn super profits.

The US has developed two of the vaccines, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen), and with German science, produced and marketed a third, Pfizer-BioNTech. China has developed and marketed three major vaccines – Sinopharm, CoronaVac, Convidecia – and several minor ones.  India has produced more than three, as have Cuba and Iran. Turkey, Kazakhstan, and the UK have produced one each; the last of them, Oxford-Astra-Zeneca is the runner-up to Pfizer in  reach worldwide.  France’s Sanofi has produced one, but it has yet to reach market.  

Russia has produced three Covid-19 vaccines – Sputnik (Sputnik V and Sputnik Lite), EpiVacCorona, and CoviVac.  

Vaccine market entry decided by national and international regulators is a measure of political and corporate power; global dosage totals are the result. Pfizer has dominated the European Union market with roughly three times the number of doses administered than all its competitors combined. In rank order after Pfizer come Moderna, Astra-Zeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Sputnik, Sinovac and Sinopharm.   In the US market, Pfizer dominates with a 59% share; Moderna with 38%; Johnson & Johnson with just 3%. Non-American vaccines have been kept out of the American market entirely. That isn’t the result of science.   

But in the world as a whole, China and India lead in the aggregate of doses; Cuba, the United Arab Emirates, and Chile lead in the number of doses administered per hundred people.  

By contrast with the global and European standards, Russians have been more resistant to vaccination and more skeptical of the science. With a dosage per hundred people of 111, the Russian vaccination rate has been half the European Union average;  a third the US rate; about equal to Honduras or Pakistan.  

In the Russian market this is the short story of CoviVac —  the vaccine which has tried to make its way against oligarch money, Moscow politics, and the paradoxical contest of one of  the most advanced vaccine science establishments in the world with one of the most coronavirus skeptical  of populations.

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THE NEWCOMER & THE NOVICHOK – NEW ENGLISH JUDGE FOUND TO INVESTIGATE THE CAUSE OF DAWN STURGESS’S DEATH AFTER THE GOVERNMENT HAS ALREADY DECIDED



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

A new judge has been appointed out of retirement by the British Government to run a public inquiry into the cause of death of Dawn Sturgess in July 2018.  He is Anthony Hughes, Lord Hughes of Ombersley, 73, who retired as a judge of the Supreme Court, the highest of the British courts, in 2018. A specialist in criminal law, he was a Court of Appeal judge between 2006 and 2013, and a High Court judge from 1997 to 2003.

The Hughes appointment was announced in the House of Commons on Thursday.  

The cause of Sturgess’s death was declared by British government officials before the medical evidence and witnesses had been examined and tested in court and in public. The government has published its conclusion on the website of the Sturgess inquest. “Dawn Sturgess was pronounced dead at Salisbury District Hospital on 8 July 2018. The post mortem indicated the cause of her death was Novichok poisoning.”  

This allegation has been part of the government’s narrative that the Russian-made nerve agent Novichok was brought to London, and then to Salisbury, by two Russian soldier assassins as part of a plot ordered by the Kremlin to kill double agent, Sergei Skripal. The attack on him on March 4, 2018, failed.

Skripal, as well as his daughter Yulia Skripal, survived, although not to tell the tale.

For four years now they have been held incommunicado by the British secret services; they may be imprisoned; they may be dead.  They have been excluded from giving any evidence in court on what happened to them. They have been prevented from contacting their family in Russia, and speaking in public and to the press.

Hughes’s appointment this week follows the controversial and unexplained replacements of two coroners investigating the chain of Novichok allegations leading to Sturgess’s death. Hughes himself was not picked for the post for several months

With an unusually modest public career record and no media reporting of his judgements over his  21-year career on the bench, Hughes appears to be about as obscure a figure as the government could have found.

However, the archive of his Court of Appeal judgements reveals that Hughes is a stickler for the criminal law rules on the inadmissibility of tainted and hearsay evidence,  and on rejecting faulty directions by judges to juries before their verdicts.  Whether Hughes has been selected for the Novichok job  because officials believe he can be counted on to stick to the official narrative, or whether his record for quashing unsafe convictions will prevail this time round is about to be tested.

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CHAOS, KAPUT OR CAPITULATION – WHO IS TAKING CONTROL OF RUSSIAN COUNTER-SANCTIONS?



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The first Moscow casualties of the US and European plan targeting President Vladimir Putin and  triggering Kremlin regime change have been revealed in the release over the past ten days of three  presidential decrees and a half-dozen implementing orders from the Russian prime ministry.  

The breaking news is that there are no casualties — but one rumour of one casualty circulated by the spokesman of the president, Dmitry Peskov, in order to deny it.

Early on Wednesday afternoon, the state news agency RIA-Novosti published the headline,  “The Kremlin knows nothing about the rumours of Nabiullina’s resignation, Peskov said.”  He was referring to the Governor of the Russian Central Bank (CBR), Elvira Nabiullina, who has been in the job since 2013.

The 10-line report went on: “’No, we don’t know about that. The president has repeatedly assessed [favourably] the work of the Central Bank,’ Peskov said, answering a question from journalists whether the Kremlin is aware of the alleged resignation of Elvira Nabiullina from the post of head of the Central Bank and how the president assesses the work of the Central Bank. Earlier, Peskov said that Putin repeatedly praised the work of the Central Bank in general and its head Elvira Nabiullina in particular.”  

Until Peskov issued this denial, there was no trace of a rumour in the Russian media that Nabiullina was thinking of resigning, or that the Kremlin had decided to remove her.

There has been active public criticism of Nabiullina’s decision to raise the Central Bank lending rate to 20%, and her apparent unpreparedness to combat the US sanctions, which have frozen more than $450 billion in Central Bank currency reserves, and cut Russia’s leading banks from the SWIFT transaction system.   

Leading the attack on Nabiullina has been Sergei Glazyev, the  former Kremlin economic adviser and now the minister in charge of macroeconomic policy at the Eurasian Economic Commission.  Glazyev has been joined by Mikhail Delyagin, an economist and State Duma deputy. They have accused Nabiullina of “aiding the enemy”.

“If our country is a sovereign state,” Delyagin said on television  on March 4, “then why is Ms. Nabiullina still the head of the Bank of Russia, and not under investigation? We have people in jail for economic crimes, and yet a person who has already caused the economy to crash in 2014 and is going to do it for the second time feels just fine at her freedom.”

What can be detected in the series of Putin decrees and orders by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin is that a group of officials led by Mishustin, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Federal Security Service Director (FSB) Mikhail Bortnikov, have taken charge of the new scheme to restrict Russian debt repayments to creditors in countries listed as hostile. This group is known as the Commission for Control of Foreign Investments (CCFI). According to Mishustin’s order No. 431-r of March 6, 2022, Nabiullina is not a member.

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“The majority in Russia supports Putin, for them the war is a form of resistance”



Interview with Andrew Nekrasov  by Florian Rötzer,  translated from German by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Andrei Nekrasov (lead image, left) is a Russian screenwriter and playwright, film and theatre director,  and philosopher who emigrated from Russia in 1980.

Born in St Petersburg in 1958, he studied acting and directing at the Russian State Institute of Performing Arts; literature and philosophy at the University of Paris; and film-making at the film school of Bristol University. He has written and directed plays in German in Bonn and Berlin.  

He conducted this interview in German, and declined to say where he is currently living, except that it is a “neutral country”. Here are his career credits and fifteen films.  

Florian Rötzer (right), 69, was co-founder and editor-in-chief of the online magazine Telepolis published by Heise Verlag between 1996 and 2020. Since January 2022, he has directed the online magazine, Krass & Konkret, published by Buchkomplizen and Westend Verlag.

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THE HUMAN CANNON — UKRAINIAN REFUGEES STRIKE EUROPE



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Yesterday, one hundred and forty-two thousand Ukrainians crossed the border into Poland as war refugees, according to Warsaw state television.  This is the highest daily rate since the military operations in the country escalated on February 24.

A total of 1,027,603 refugees have entered Poland from the Ukraine between February 24 and March 6, according to data of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).   The daily average is just under 103,000.

Before February, the eight-year civil war between the Kiev regime and the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had triggered the UNHCR calculation of 1.8 million people in “need of humanitarian assistance”, almost all of them in the people’s republic territories.    

In Polish terms, the cross-border movement in the past two weeks far exceeds the refugee flow through Turkey into Poland from the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Libya; that number  peaked between 2009 and 2015. In those years, refugee arrivals in Poland averaged 15,111 per annum, 1,300 refugees per month, 42 per day.  By 2021, the refugee number arriving in Poland had dropped to just 2,811 for the full year.  

Yesterday Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki issued an appeal to the European Union (EU) states for their help to take the refugees from Poland as soon as possible, and in the meantime pay the Polish government for the costs of refugee accommodation and assistance.  

“This is the largest migration crisis in Europe since World War II,” Morawiecki said. “We need systemic measures and Poland is taking them…Today, Poland and other Central and Eastern Europe take the greatest burden in organizing humanitarian aid…I appeal to all leaders and citizens of the European Union: this is our common cause and responsibility.”

Over the weekend the Ukrainian refugee movement to all European countries reached 1.7 million. They far exceed the peak flow of Syrian, Iraqi and Libyan refugees which the Turkish Government was sending into Europe at a rate of 150,000 per month during 2015.  Between 2015 and 2021 Turkey has been offered two tranches of €6 billion from the EU to accept and accommodate 3.5 million refugees from the bordering Arab states, and keep them from moving on to the EU.  

In the past week the Anglo-American and European media have been publicizing stories of volunteer efforts at welcoming the Ukrainian refugees. Unpublicized, however, the political and economic resistance on the part of governments, political parties, labour unions, and social media is growing rapidly. The threat of the human cannon which Turkish officials have used to bargain for EU membership and cash is now being deployed, not only by the Poles, but also in bitter recriminations between the French and British.  

Earlier this week the French Interior Minister accused the British Home Secretary of saying one thing, doing another towards the Ukrainians at Calais waiting to cross the Channel to Dover.  The British are stalling the admission of the refugees in a fashion that is “completely unsuitable” and “lacked humanity”, the Paris official said.   

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RUSSIAN OPINION POLLS SHOW SUPPORT FOR KREMLIN WAS SURGING BEFORE THE MILITARY OPERATION BEGAN – AND HAS CONTINUED



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Nationwide polls revealed brimming Russian confidence in the future and also in the political leadership of the country in the month of February, before the announcement by President Vladimir Putin of the military operation against the US plan of attack in Ukraine.  

The single largest jump in confidence in Putin and in Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin was registered in the week of February 20 to 27; that’s between Putin’s speech of February 21 announcing the US plan of attack and Russian recognition of the Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR) people’s republics, and his speech of February 24 initiating the full-scale operation to demilitarize the Ukraine.

The first, and so far the only Russian poll to have been taken on the operation itself and published on March 5, shows  84% public support for the army, the highest level ever recorded; and 71% approval for the operation in the Ukraine. Disapproval was reported by one in five Russians, 21%.  The poll was taken by telephone last week, and was published by the All-Russian Centre for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM) on March 5.  

Roughly one-half of Russians back the demilitarization objective and say they believe the military campaign aims to defend Russia and prevent the deployment of NATO bases on Ukrainian territory.  Support for the de-Nazification objective is less. One in five believes the operation is being carried out to purge the Ukrainian fascists and change the political course of the Kiev government toward Russia (19%); 18% think the goal is to protect the Russian–speaking population of the DPR and LPR.

A Boston newspaper reporter of Canadian extraction has attempted to explain away the poll results as a case of “average Russians experiencing a rally-round-the flag moment”. The reporter said he himself prefers the opinion of “thousands of mainly urban, educated Russians [who] have taken to the streets in recent days and signed petitions to express their dismay over the unprovoked attack”.   

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ON THE ECONOMIC WAR FRONT, THE NEW TRIBUTARY SYSTEM & THE RUSSIAN KOWTOW

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

The ancient difference between the confiscation of your assets and a tax by force was the mandate of Heaven. This was the public announcement from God, transmitted through fellows wearing funny hats and costumes accompanied by drumbeats and whistles. When God wants to stick you up, they said, you’d better hand over your money or your life.

These days the rulers of the US, the European Union (EU) and Canada call this the “Rules Based Order”. That’s to say:  I make the rules, you take my orders. The meaning is still the ancient one – your money or your life.

The Chinese empire has been famous for a dress-up ceremony in which those who made the rules received the agreement of those who took the orders. It was called the kowtow. Nine kowtows were the standard,  plus expensive gifts.   The Roman empire and most of its successors, called it tributum, tribute.  Over the years, other names for it have been tax, protection money, and a gender specific form of kowtow popular in England and France called the ius primae noctis, droit de seigneur, or lord’s right.

The quaintness of the ceremony varies from place to place.  The British empire demanded its colonial peoples wave a small Union Jack in the left-hand corner of their independence flag. They also required their subject children’s pilgrimage at least once in their lives to the fence of Buckingham Palace in London for at least one performance of the Changing of the Guard.

In keeping with the times since 1945, the US empire has been more straightforward. It doesn’t require pilgrimages to the White House fence for children of tender age.  It does require you keep the US dollar in your pocket, or the local currency whose value is fixed in proportion, and whose state surpluses of taxation and pension funds must be stored in US Treasury notes, as well as the dollar.

In Russia, starting in 1991, Boris Yeltsin innovated on these measures by inviting US advisors  to run the Russian economy, which Yeltsin paid for by imposing a 100% tax on ordinary Russians’ salaries. This started the system of oligarchs whom Yeltsin allowed to dispatch and store, tax free, in the US, UK and EU as much state capital and income as they could carry off.  How that system has worked for the past thirty years, oligarch by oligarch, has been the subject of analysis here.    The effort has not gone without recognition.   

At this very moment, the oligarchs are facing a Christian tax, but it’s not the Russian one you might think they have earned.  Instead, the 100% tax is being imposed in the form of  confiscation statutes by the US, UK and EU.   This is  not economic warfare so much as the application of the principle that what the oligarchs have been doing to Russians should now be done to them, according to the Mandate of Heaven as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31. 

The Mandate of Heaven can also be found on the bottom of the US dollar note. That’s the signature line where the Treasurer of the United States and the Secretary of the Treasury promise to pay “all debts public and private”. Like other US treaty signatures, this no longer applies to  Russians, common ones, oligarchs, or the state, according to this novelty in the Rules Based Order. Russians must now sell everything in the country of value for US dollars – oil, gas, coal, uranium, aluminium, titanium, wheat, potash, urea, bank loan debts, airplane leases, etc. But  those dollars cannot be used by Russians to buy anything else. That value has been confiscated.

The response is still being formulated in Moscow. Russian government officials, members of the State Duma, the Central Bank of Russia, the General Staff, the oligarchs and their lobbyists have yet to agree. The terms of the debate are still largely secret; here was an opening shot against the Central Bank by Sergei Glazyev.

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OPERATION BARBAROSSA IN SLOW MOTION — THIS IS THE OFFENSIVE CAPACITY THE US WAS PREPARING IN THE UKRAINE UNTIL LAST WEEK



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

The US has been installing American-directed military bases in the Ukraine for stockpiling advanced weapons to strike Russia by land, sea, and air.

In these plans for attack deep across the Russian frontier, Ukraine was already a platform with the potential for nuclear battlefield operations without formal admission to the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO); without acceptance by the NATO member states; without comprehension or vote of approval by the Ukrainians themselves.  

On December 17, the Russian Foreign Ministry proposed a non-aggression treaty with the US which included explicit provisions to negotiate the withdrawal of this threat. Article 3 proposed “the Parties shall not use the territories of other States with a view to preparing or carrying out an armed attack against the other Party or other actions affecting core security interests of the other Party.” Article 4 of the pact proposed:  “The Russian Federation and all the Parties that were member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as of 27 May 1997, respectively, shall not deploy military forces and weaponry on the territory of any of the other States in Europe in addition to the forces stationed on that territory as of 27 May 1997.” Article 5 said: “The Parties shall refrain from deploying their armed forces and armaments, including in the framework of international organizations, military alliances or coalitions, in the areas where such deployment could be perceived by the other Party as a threat to its national security, with the exception of such deployment within the national territories of the Parties.” Articles 6 and 7 were more explicit on the deployment of nuclear weapons: “The Parties shall undertake not to deploy ground-launched intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles outside their national territories…The Parties shall refrain from deploying nuclear weapons outside their national territories.”  

The State Department reply released on February 2 dismissed each of these proposals. 

On February 19 in Munich, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky made his threat to deploy nuclear weapons on Ukrainian territory;  he expressed this as his unilateral revocation of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum although Ukraine was not a signatory of the agreement.   

“This is not empty bravado,” President Vladimir Putin responded two days later in his Donetsk and Lugansk recognition speech on February 21. The Ukraine threat to attack Russia was “a foregone conclusion, it is a matter of time”, Putin added.

It is Operation BARBAROSSA, the code name of the German invasion of 1941,  in slow-motion.

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



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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

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



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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

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THE WAR AGAINST FOOD – WHO IS TO BLAME



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

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

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

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

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EXILE



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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



By Lucy Komisar,  New York*
  @bears_with

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

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

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



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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