BRITISH PROSECUTORS ARE DELAYING ARREST WARRANTS FOR THE THIRD MAN IN THE NOVICHOK PLOT

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

A stitch in time saves nine. That’s what police and prosecutors used to say when they were in hot pursuit of criminals. Hot pursuit used to mean no waiting.  

However, the Metropolitan Police (lead image, left) took three years before announcing that Denis Sergeyev (alias Sergei Fedotov), a Russian military intelligence officer (right), is the third suspect in the alleged Novichok attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal. That took place on March 4, 2018, allegedly. Six months later, the Met and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) formally announced their indictments of two men, Alexander Petrov (Alexander Mishkin)  and Ruslan Boshirov (Anatoly Chepiga), on September 5,  2018. The police acted simultaneously with the prosecutors; their timing also coincided with the announcement to parliament by Prime Minister Theresa May.

The police evidence, declared May, “has enabled the independent Crown Prosecution Service to conclude they have a sufficient basis on which to bring charges against these two men for the attack in Salisbury.”  

“We have obtained a European Arrest Warrant and will shortly issue an Interpol red notice,” May added in her speech to the House of Commons.

Sue Hemming, head of the CPS, announced at the same time: “A realistic prospect of conviction means the CPS is satisfied on an objective assessment that the evidence can be used in court and that an objective, impartial and reasonable jury hearing the case, properly directed and acting in accordance with the law, is more likely than not to convict these two individuals of the charges… We will not be applying to Russia for the extradition of these men as the Russian constitution does not permit extradition of its own nationals… We have, however, obtained a European Arrest Warrant which means that if either man travels to a country where an EAW is valid, they will be arrested and face extradition on these charges for which there is no statute of limitations.”

Hemming said nothing about an Interpol Red Notice; Interpol confirms none was issued for either Russian.   

Fast forward – no, wait, make that slow-motion forward, until September 21, 2021, when Dean Haydon, a deputy assistant commissioner at the Met, announced he is charging Sergeyev (Fedotov) with the same attempted murder by Novichok.  The police had delayed for three years. The CPS for longer. In fact, as the CPS has now officially admitted, it hasn’t charged the third man with anything, yet.

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WHAT IS THE SECRET OF THE NOVICHOK OPERATION – QUESTIONS CORONER HEATHER HALLETT INVITES ASKING, AND ANSWERING

By Liane Theuerkauf, Munich, with introduction & illustrations by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

On September 22, 2021, Dame Heather Hallett, the coroner appointed by the British government to conduct an inquest into the death of Dawn Sturgess, held a second hearing in court in London.  Sturgess died in Salisbury District Hospital on July 8, 2018, from what Hallett has already announced to be Novichok poisoning from a Russian military attack.

The full transcript of what Hallett said can be read here.  Analysis of the proceedings recommended skepticism towards the veracity and intentions of Hallett and the lawyers testifying in court. Read for more detail.   

Hallett has proposed putting an end to the proceeding under the Coroners and Justice Act of 2009 and the British legal rules which apply to an inquest in a coronial court. These require a jury, in addition to the coroner, when “the death was caused by a notifiable accident, poisoning or disease”. The rules also require that evidence should be presented and witnesses testify in open court for cross-examination by lawyers and for public accountability. Instead of this, Hallett decided last month that a public inquiry will be substituted in which she alone will decide what evidence and witnesses to take in secret, and what secrets to keep out of the public record.

Hallett and the lawyers for the British government and police say this inquiry isn’t likely to open for another two years. In the meantime, the police say they will be assembling the evidence which they believe may be open to public scrutiny, and the evidence which may not. After three years of investigation of the Sturgess case, and also of the cases of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, allegedly poisoned by Novichok fifteen weeks before Sturgess;  and following police announcements of criminal indictments of three Russian military intelligence agents, this new police effort is code-named Operation VERBASCO.

In the meantime, Hallett’s statements and those of Michael Mansfield, Sturgess’s advocate in court, invite a series of questions. Not a single policeman, prosecutor, pathologist, lawyer, member of parliament, or forensic expert in the United Kingdom has thought to ask them, at least not yet and not in public. To anticipate and to assist them, therefore, read Hallett’s statements in italics; the questions follow in bold.

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BREAKING THE MOULD – A LESSON FOR TODAY FROM THE STAFFORDSHIRE POTTER OF TWO CENTURIES AGO

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

When China was an empire in 1792, the emperor Ch’ieng Lung told the British ambassador to take his gifts and bribes back to London, along with this message for the British king: “we have never valued ingenious articles, nor do we have the slightest need of your country’s manufactures. You, O King, ought, looking upwards, to carry out our wishes, and for ever obey our edict, so that we both enjoy the blessings of peace…Do not say you have not been forewarned.”

When Russia was an empire in 1773, the empress Catherine the Great was persuaded by bribes to purchase from Wedgwood & Bentley, the Staffordshire porcelain manufacturer, the largest order of dinner and table plates in the history of British pottery.  After haggling over the price for the 944 pieces, the tsarina paid Wedgwood’s invoice at today’s equivalent of £4 million – the largest price ever charged and paid for such things until that time. Wedgwood lost money on the deal, though. That was because the bribery and costs of production and delivery turned out to be greater than Catherine’s payment. The way the bribes worked, Wedgwood told the British ambassador in St Petersburg and his wife to make gifts of expensive samples he had sent them, keeping some for themselves as commission. The ambassador’s wife wrote back: “Her Imperial Majesty has kept all the Vases and the Dejeuné [sic — luncheon plates] you sent me, as samples, and they were very much liked.”

There are political lessons in this – especially if you read them while eating your dinner off a paper plate or out of a cardboard box.

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BRITISH CONVERT SKRIPAL-STURGESS INQUEST INTO NOVICHOK SHOW & THROW TRIAL

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

It has not been proved that an unlimited number monkeys in a room with typewriters to match and an infinite amount of time would type the complete works of Shakespeare, or even one of the Bard’s lines.

But the improbability of the infinite monkey theorem is nothing compared to the certainty which the British government, its judiciary, the Metropolitan police, and the combined forces of the London Bar proved on Wednesday in a room of the Royal Courts of Justice on The Strand. They proved that a troop of humans are making a monkey out of every principle of British justice and the criminal law — in order to advance the government’s war against Russia.

On September 22,  Dame Heather Hallett, the coroner in the inquest into the cause of death of Dawn Sturgess on July 8, 2018, officially ordered the prosecution of a crime without a defence; in a trial in which the verdict has already been declared by the judge herself and the prosecutors;  in which the surviving victims of the alleged crime, Sergei and Yulia Skripal, are not allowed to testify and forbidden to appear in public at all; when the three Russians accused of the crime are not permitted to be represented in the proceeding; in which there will be no jury; and in which the evidence of the crime, the weapon, the intention and motive of the perpetrators will be presented in secret so that there can be no testing for truth, fabrication,  or lie.

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DETECTIVE SGT NICK BAILEY HAS ANNOUNCED NOT ANOTHER WORD ON NOVICHOK AND THE SKRIPAL CASE

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Wiltshire police detective sergeant (retired) Nicholas Bailey is the only government witness of the alleged Novichok assassination attempt against Sergei Skripal to speak in public describing  what he saw and experienced directly. He is also the only figure to testify from the British government’s published indictment of two Russian military intelligence agents for attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Until last week, that is.

Following a 74-minute podcast published on June 25, and then a 51-minute podcast on June 30, in which Bailey provided surprise evidence that he had not been poisoned by Novichok at all,  he announced last Friday, July 1, that his tongue is tied, lips sealed. Through his press agent Peter Davies, he said he “is making no further comment on this particular ongoing case at this stage.”

The registry at the High Court in London has also confirmed there is a public record that the lawsuit Bailey has threatened against the Wiltshire police has been filed for compensation of the long-term injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder, from his involvement in the Novichok affair. But there is no record the papers have been served, so the case hasn’t begun. 

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NICK BAILEY “DOESN’T WANT TO BE KNOWN AS THE POISONED CUP” – BECAUSE HE WASN’T

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Each time former Wiltshire police sergeant Nicholas Bailey (lead image, right) tries to advertise his availability to tell his story for the Crown and for the money, he adds tiny details contradicting the official British government narrative that he was the victim of a Russian state attempt to use the Novichok nerve agent to kill Sergei Skripal on March 4, 2018.

He also adds volumes to the evidence that it was the fabrication of the Novichok story, and the deceit and camouflage Bailey has been ordered to portray, which caused what Bailey now describes as “grieving for my former self”, “griev[ing] for my job as well”, “everything crumbling around me”, “massive impact on my marriage”, “major setbacks”, and “[being] consumed by this upset and anger”. He is emphatic: “I don’t want to be known as the poisoned cop.”  

Bailey is selling pep talks to managers dealing with disgruntled employees with lines like “give yourself a break… be happy and content with what you’ve got and who you are”.  What his lawyers and PR agents are telling the Wiltshire police and the Home Office in London is that lying requires much more than the medical retirement pension Bailey was paid last year when he was invalided out of the force.  

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EX POLICE DRUGS SQUAD SERGEANT NICHOLAS BAILEY PRESENTS 74 MINUTES OF PROOF THERE WAS NO NOVICHOK ON THE SKRIPAL DOOR-HANDLE — AND HE KNOWS IT

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Nicholas Bailey (lead image) is the detective sergeant of Wiltshire county police whom the British Government says was poisoned by Novichok when he turned the front-door handle of Sergei Skripal’s Salisbury town house on March 4, 2018. Last Friday from London, in a 74-minute interview with Andrew Coulson, former press adviser to former prime minister David Cameron. Bailey gave the longest witness testimony he has given in three years to what happened to Skripal; to himself; and to Dawn Sturgess when, according to British Government statements which began on March 8, 2018, the Kremlin and the Russian military intelligence agency GRU used Novichok in an attempt to kill Skripal.

Bailey’s testimony is evidence, a leading British toxicologist says, that the physiological and cognitive symptoms Bailey describes in detail were not those of a victim of organophosphate poisoning, much less military-grade nerve agent Novichok.  “Basically, every orifice that produces a fluid, or can leak a fluid goes into overdrive,” the source comments. “I think Bailey would remember that.”

Soundtrack and voice analysis by another source indicates that Bailey knows he is lying. “Bailey is a bad actor,” comments a theatre voice coach, “reading from a bad script.” If Bailey is telling the truth now, the sources say, he is talking proof that there was no Novichok then.

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BBC EXPOSES NOVICHOK HALLETT – THE CORONER WHO HAS JUMPED TO JUDGEMENT BUT SAYS SHE HASN’T

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

In an advertisement for herself on British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) Radio 4, the coroner directing the inquest into the death of Dawn Sturgess has revealed that she has already decided that Sturgess’s death on July 8, 2018, was caused by a nerve agent called Novichok fabricated by agents of the Russian state, carried to England, and used as a weapon in a murder plot.

Baroness Heather Hallett spent weeks negotiating with the BBC for this interview, preparing the announcer script, and choosing the music to be played on the long-running celebrity programme, Desert Island Discs. The 35-minute broadcast went to air on June 6; it was repeated on June 11.

Hallett announced towards the end: “There is an increasing tendency these days to jump to judgement. You have to analyse the evidence. It’s only when you analyse the evidence that you can reach a sensible and reasoned and fair judgement”.

This is not what Hallett and the BBC had agreed would be said at the start, when Hallett was introduced as “the coroner of the Salisbury Novichok inquest” who would “examine the part played by the Russian government”.

Not since May of 1992, when Lord Chief Justice Peter Taylor appeared on Desert Island Discs, has a sitting jurist agreed to present himself or herself on the radio show.  In Taylor’s broadcast no mention was made of an active case.

In the radio archive there have been many cooks, actors, Tory politicians, lawyers, and the  Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, all actively talking their book.  The BBC and Hallett decided she should be introduced as presiding in the inquest to determine what caused Sturgess’s death. Hallett has held one preliminary hearing on March 30; promised a new one this month; postponed it to September 22. She has heard no evidence in court.

Her radio show reveals, however, that what makes up Hallett’s mind isn’t forensic at all.  

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THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT HAS TRAPPED ITSELF BETWEEN TWO CORONERS, TWO PATHOLOGISTS AS CREMATION FORM NUMBER 6 EXPOSES THE NOVICHOK LIE

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

In an act of over-confidence and carelessness on March 30, the British coroner appointed in January to investigate the cause of death of Dawn Sturgess, ex-judge and secret service advisor Baroness Heather Hallett has created a truth trap. The truth is Cremation Form Number 6 (lead image). This is the trap into which Hallett and the two lawyers advising her, Andrew O’Connor QC and Martin Smith, have now dropped themselves.

This three-page form permitted and registered the funeral and cremation of Sturgess; according to the British government, she is the only person in the world to have been killed by the Novichok nerve agent. She was released to her family after Form 6 was signed by Wiltshire county coroner David Ridley and copies handed to Chris White Funeral Directors who collected the body for the funeral ceremony on July 30; and to the Salisbury Crematorium for official authorisation to cremate the body later the same day. The signed form was passed from Ridley’s files to Hallett’s files when she replaced him as the coroner in charge of the Sturgess case last January.

Form 6  is the first official record of what caused Sturgess’s death, according to the autopsies which Coroner Ridley authorised between Sturgess’s recorded death on July 8 and July 17; only the autopsy on that date has been recorded by the press, by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and by Hallett.

On March 30, this year, Hallett released publicly for the first time the cause of death record signed by Home Office pathologists, Philip Lumb and Guy Rutty, in what the Hallett hearing was told was a report dated November 29, 2018.  That was four months later than Ridley’s Form 6. Since Ridley had ordered Lumb and Rutty to carry out their post-mortem investigation, what was the difference between the cause of death Ridley signed and the November 29 report which Hallett selected for public release? The question is the truth trap.

Hallett has now exposed the difference between Form 6 and the Lumb-Rutty report. This is the difference between life and death — but not for Sturgess.

On the two papers, revealed for the first time this month, depends the truthfulness of the British government’s story of Novichok and of the Russian state agents whom the British accuse of carrying the nerve agent into England; attacking Sergei and Yulia Skripal with it; and then abandoning it in a leftover bottle which later —  the British charge —   killed Sturgess.

Hallett refuses, however, to say there is no contradiction between Form 6 and the later pathologists’ report; she refuses to release Form 6 for verification in the courtroom or in the press.

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NOVICHOK INQUEST TO BE STOPPED

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The British Government is preparing to halt the coroner’s court inquest into allegations that Novichok caused the death of Dawn Sturgess in Salisbury on July 8, 2018.

After replacing the Salisbury coroner in January of this year, and after a single hearing on March 30 by secret service advisor and ex-judge Baroness Heather Hallett, briefings by the Cabinet Office and the security services have led to the decision that the only way of preserving the government’s narrative of a Russian nerve agent attack, first against Sergei and Yulia Skripal, then against Sturgess, is to introduce Defence Ministry and MI6 evidence in secret session.

Hallett and the lawyers advising her inadvertently allowed secret medical evidence to slip into the public record on March 30. This revealed that two leading English pathologists could not agree to sign their findings on the cause of Sturgess’s death after holding two autopsies in July of 2018; they then delayed signing their final post-mortem report for almost five months. That report, dated November 29, 2018, the medical records of the first and second autopsies, along with ambulance paramedic logs, hospital admission records, and ward medical notes remain top secret. Together with the papers of MI6 agents, Porton Down nerve agent experts, and Sir Mark Sedwill, the Cabinet Office official in charge, this classified evidence is inadmissible in coroner’s court proceedings under English law; they are allowable in closed-door session if a public inquiry is substituted.

The switch from open coroner’s inquest to secret public inquiry, which Hallett and her predecessor Wiltshire county coroner David Ridley have forewarned, is planned to be announced later this month, or in July.

For the time being Hallett’s office declines to say when she will resume hearing the case.

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THE CAUSE OF DAWN STURGESS’S DEATH — FUNERAL AND CREMATION RECORDS CAST FRESH DOUBT ON NOVICHOK

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

New evidence has surfaced from interviews with sources at the Salisbury undertaker and crematorium in charge of the obsequies for Dawn Sturgess, whose death at Salisbury District Hospital on July 8, 2018, is the only death officially recorded from the Novichok nerve agent. Their testimony raises fresh doubts that Novichok was the cause of her death, and suspicion that the two state coroners and two state pathologists responsible for the investigation have been concealing material evidence of timing and records in the case.

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THE LIE THAT KILLED DAWN STURGESS – AND WHY IT TOOK THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT FOUR MONTHS TO PERSUADE TWO DOCTORS, PHILIP LUMB AND GUY RUTTY, TO SIGN THEIR NAMES TO NOVICHOK

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

In the 50-year history of the nerve agent Novichok, no human being has died from it with the exception of Dawn Sturgess in Amesbury, Wiltshire, on July 8, 2018.  Only Sturgess didn’t.

The cause of her death, according to the post-mortem performed the next day, July 9, 2018, by  Philip Lumb (lead image, right), was “post cardiac arrest hypoxic brain injury and intracerebral haemorrhage”, according to the report he signed. This means that Sturgess suffered from a heart attack, which then stopped the flow of oxygen to her brain (hypoxia). An unfortunate, but also very common cause of death, according to the medical research.  Lumb did not report what caused Sturgess’s heart to stop.

Lumb is a career pathologist registered with the Home Office for suspicious death forensic  investigations in the northwest England and Wales,     and a consultant at Sheffield’s Medico-Legal Centre, one of the leading medical forensic centres in the UK. He is also current president of the British Association in Forensic Medicine, the standard-setter for the country. Lumb has a sharp sense of his professional and ethical duty. “If you make a mistake,” he has told a press interview, “somebody could go to prison for 20-odd years.”   

Lumb didn’t make a mistake with the sequence of events which killed Sturgess – heart failure, then loss of oxygen to the brain, then brain death. But this wasn’t what the British government (lead image, left) wanted to hear.  So a second pathologist was called in to conduct a second post-mortem on July 17. His name is Guy Rutty (centre), once a colleague of Lumb’s at Sheffield and also a professor. But Rutty didn’t sign his name to his report on the cause of Sturgess’s death until November 29. The interval was four and a half months.  

That second report, kept secret for another two and a half years, was revealed in the Wiltshire coroner’s court on March 30 of this year. The cause of Sturgess’s death, which Rutty signed and which was sworn to by the counsel for the coroner, was read out in court: “Ia post cardiac arrest hypoxic brain injury and intracerebral haemorrhage; Ib Novichok toxicity”.

Semi-colons are punctuation; they have no medical or logical meaning. British toxicologists and pathologists consulted for the interpretation of Rutty’s cause of death report say it is highly unusual for its lack of precision on sequence, cause and effect; and for the order Ia/Ib which Rutty signed. The toxicologists believe that paralysis of the lungs leading to asphyxiation is the usual trigger for death by nerve agents.

No toxicologist, forensic pathologist or registered Home Office post-mortem investigator can be found who will explain why after the two post-mortems on July 9 and July 18, a delay would be required to produce the November 29 finding. Lumb and Rutty refuse to provide details of their roles in the two post-mortems or to explain the delay between them and the official report.

Rutty referred his questions to Martin Smith, the newly appointed solicitor to the new inquest and a veteran of politically sensitive inquests in the past.  “As you have no formal role in the inquest proceedings,” Smith has responded, “it would not be appropriate to provide you with the information that you have requested.”

These details of the only Novichok fatality in history are the nails in the proverbial horseshoe for loss of which the battle was lost, then the kingdom.

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ANOTHER SHAKE OF THE NOVICHOK MONEY TREE — POLICE SERGEANT NICK BAILEY THREATENS IF HE DOESN’T GET HIS PAYOFF

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Nicholas Bailey (lead image), the Wiltshire county police sergeant who was a support player in the British Government’s first Novichok attack on the Kremlin, has demanded money for himself with the threat that if he doesn’t get it, and soon, he will go to the High Court in London. There, he is threatening to tell everything he knows about the alleged poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal on March 4, 2018. That was one of the makings of the promotion of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and the fattening of the pockets of the MI6 intelligence agency and the Cabinet Office. It was the prequel of the second Novichok attack on the Kremlin, staged by Alexei Navalny last August, in which he demanded to become president of Russia.

OMG!

If Bailey tells the truth about the fabrications in his case, will he trigger the downfall of the British government, the outgoing German government, MI6 , CIA, the German secret service BND,  the German Army laboratory in Munich, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague, everyone else who believes the Novichok story;  and put a stop to the allied war against Russia?

In stakes as mighty as these, how much money can Bailey’s silence be worth?

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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.

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FIRST DAY SHOCK AT THE HER MAJESTY’S GOVERNMENT INQUEST – BELLINGCAT TO BE CALLED TO TESTIFY, BUT NOT SERGEI OR YULIA SKRIPAL

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The first session of the inquest into the death of Dawn Sturgess, held in London on Tuesday, was almost entirely predictable.

The counsel for the coroner,  like the lawyers for the Sturgess family and for the Home Office, repeated without qualification the allegation that a Novichok poison weapon they say was produced in Russia and taken to the UK by Russian assassins, caused the unplanned  death of Sturgess. This followed twelve weeks after an attempt at assassinating Sergei Skripal with the same weapon on March 4, 2018. Sturgess was the unintended victim of leftover poison, they say.

In short, this is an inquiry into evidence everyone in court already agrees can mean only one thing, beyond reasonable doubt — the Russians did it. A court proceeding to demonstrate what has already been announced; aka a show trial.

There were  two surprises, though. These appear to have been as unintended by Her Majesty’s Government as Sturgess’s Novichok death.

The first was the disclosure by the inquest counsel from the pathologists’ post-mortem report on Sturgess, after her death was recorded at Salisbury District Hospital on July 8, 2018. The cause of her death, according to these medical findings, was “Ia Post cardiac arrest hypoxic brain injury and intracerebral haemorrhage; Ib Novichok toxicity”.  This is the first time the post-mortem results and the names of the two doctors who reached them have been disclosed publicly. The Wiltshire county coroner David Ridley, who conducted the case for almost three years, kept this secret.

The disclosure means that Sturgess died first of a heart attack, loss of oxygen to brain, and bleeding in brain, possibly at the apartment of her partner in Amesbury before ambulance men arrived, or on her way to hospital. “She was pronounced dead in hospital,” the lawyer added. Only later was “Novichok toxicity” discovered. But when?

For the first time, it is revealed that the post-mortem examination was done on July 17; the post-mortem report did not follow until November 29. The gaps in time, and also in biochemical and forensic meaning between “1a, cardiac arrest” and “1b, Novichok toxicity”, are so large, it is shocking that the presiding coroner, Lady Heather Hallett, indicated no plan to call the pathologists to testify under cross-examination.

The second surprise is not less of a shock.  It appears in the list of witnesses. “Our current intention,” the counsel to the inquest announced, “is to make disclosure requests to the following individuals and organisations following the PIR [pre-inquest review]”. Eighteen names of witnesses follow whose testimony is planned. They start with Sturgess’s family and her companion, Charles Rowley, allegedly a survivor of the same poisoning which killed her. The local and London police follow on the list; then ambulance crews; hospital staff; the secret intelligence agencies; the Cabinet Office in London; and finally, at No. 18, “Bellingcat”. This is the well-known NATO-funded evidence fabricator and cyber warfare unit.

The Hallett inquest will call Bellingcat to testify. Missing from the list, excluded from testifying in court, are two names – Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

Neither the coroner nor the lawyers in court explained this omission. The reporters attending the hearing for the BBC, Guardian,  and Salisbury Journal failed to notice.

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THIRD MEMBER OF THE NOVICHOK INQUEST RIGGING TEAM APPOINTED FROM UK HOME OFFICE, BBC

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

For more than three centuries the judges of the United Kingdom’s courts have struggled to preserve their independence from the monarch and the government, and thus their power to rule on the truth before them, not the lies presented by the ruling powers.  

When giving public lectures, optimistic, pensioned, and Scottish judges speak of “tensions with the executive [as] an inevitable part of the relationship with the executive”. Some of them claim that since 2003 the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice are constitutionally powerful enough on their own to protect the independence of the judges working below them.  

In the case of who attacked Sergei Skripal in the middle of England on March 4, 2018, they aren’t and they haven’t. The evidence of this will be on display in the Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday.

That is when a retired judge and commercial consultant named Baroness Hallett (lead image) will convene the first hearing of a new inquest into the death of Dawn Sturgess. Sturgess died on July 8, 2018, allegedly after ingesting a lethal dose of the nerve agent Novichok from a false perfume bottle her partner had presented to her after finding it in circumstances he has yet to explain with certainty.  

The British Government alleges that two Russian government agents were responsible for the attack on Skripal; they “are now also the prime suspects in the case of Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley too. There is no other line of inquiry beyond this. And the police have today formally linked the attack on the Skripals and the events in Amesbury – such that it now forms one investigation… Our own analysis, together with yesterday’s report from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, has confirmed that the exact same chemical nerve agent was used in both cases. There is no evidence to suggest that Dawn and Charlie may have been deliberately targeted, but rather were victims of the reckless disposal of this agent.” That was then-Prime Minister Theresa May in a speech to the House of Commons on September 5, 2018.

Eighteen months later, police and prosecutors have issued no formal indictment for Sturgess’s death. The coroner’s court inquest into the cause of her death has been repeatedly postponed; it begins again on March 30.  Hallett has replaced David Ridley, the county coroner in charge of the inquest until now, for reasons which were decided by government officials in secret.  Until the secret becomes public knowledge, the independence of the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice is in doubt. Hallett knows the secret; the way she conducts the inquest will reveal it.    

In the Sturgess case Hallett has appointed Martin Smith as her chief assistant, the official solicitor to the inquest.  When they wish to speak to the public and press, they have appointed Bernadette Caffarey. She says Hallett “does require some help in contacting the press to alert them of the upcoming hearing… A coroner can choose to seek assistance from anyone they feel has the right expertise to assist them.”

Smith has been employed by Hallett in a major political inquest before. Caffarey currently works for Smith; she is paid her salary by the Home Office. In her last two jobs she was paid by the Home Office, the government ministry overseeing the judiciary and police, and by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). She is a state mouthpiece.

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SAFE PAIR OF HANDS FOR BRITISH NOVICHOK CASE – DAWN STURGESS TO GET A NEW CORONER, NEW INQUEST

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The British government has selected a new team trusted with state secrets to run the inquest into the alleged Novichok death of Dawn Sturgess three years ago.  The appointments of former Court of Appeals judge, Lady Heather Hallett,  and Martin Smith as legal advisor will commence at a court hearing in London on March 30.

Hallett and Smith replace the Wiltshire country coroner David Ridley and his police advisor in the ongoing investigation of what caused Sturgess’s death.  

Hallett has been a specialist judge for  sensitive military, intelligence, and police problems under the direction of the Cabinet Office for many years. The Cabinet Office coordinated all security and police operations before, during, and after the alleged Novichok attack on Sergei Skripal in Salisbury on March 4, 2018.

Smith was involved in the state investigation of the alleged Russian assassination by polonium  poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko on November 1, 2006.  Titled “Solicitor to the Inquiry”, he was acknowledged in the January 2016 report by the chief investigator, Sir Robert Owen.  

The move by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to raise the level of the investigation is likely to secure the Home Office and the security agencies from disclosure of evidence casting doubt on the official story that a Russian assassination squad, on mission to kill Skripal, left behind a bottle of Novichok which ended up in the apartment of Sturgess and her companion, Charles Rowley; they were poisoned at their Amesbury home on June 30, 2018; Sturgess died in nearby Salisbury Hospital on July 8.

London experts on inquests and coronial law say it is not uncommon for “complex and controversial cases” to be moved from local coroners to judges in London. The London lawyers will not comment, however, on the recent record of state security service for Hallett and Smith.

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SKRIPAL’S CAT RALLIES RUSSIANS TO LAUGH AT ALEXEI NAVALNY

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Alexei Navalny believes he is throwing down a gauntlet for the Kremlin either to arrest him when he returns to Moscow from Berlin on Sunday, or to allow him to walk freely out of the airport. Either way, from behind bars as a political prisoner or from his Moscow film studio as an opposition candidate for regime change, Navalny and his supporters will announce they have shown strength, the President of Russia weakness. The one outcome Navalny hasn’t counted on is that Russians will be laughing at him.  

This is the strategy of Vzglyad, the Moscow online newspaper which publishes sophisticated and accurate analysis of military, intelligence and security issues unmatched by the English-language media. It is almost unnoticed in the west, except for those services who believe it reflects the thinking of key figures, past and present, in the presidential administration. Because the Russian  figures don’t think the way the western services or their media organs depict them, Vzglyad hasn’t drawn the attention of foreign reporters as do state media like RT, Sputnik,  the Strategic Culture Foundation, and the Valdai Club.  

On October 2, 2018, Vzglyad introduced an author whose pen name was reported as Nesh Van Drake (Нэш Ван Дрейк). These words are meaningless in English except that, spelled in Cyrillic, the first of the words evokes the Russian word Nash (Наш) meaning “our”. This was also the name of the black cat (lead image, 3rd from left) which lived with Sergei Skripal in his Salisbury house, until Skripal was attacked on March 4, 2018, and the cat was then put to death by the British. “To alleviate its suffering” was the reason of state announced at the time.

“Skripal’s cat” (Кот Скрипаля) is also the name on the byline for seventeen articles Vzglyad has published by this creature over the past two years.  The other names are meant to sound both Dutch and English; to some ears they may be a reminder of Rip Van Winkle. He was the Dutch-American character invented by Washington Irving in a story he published in 1819. In that tale, van Winkle drinks a mystery liquor given to him by Dutchmen, causing him to fall asleep. When he wakes up again, it is twenty years later, and the American revolution has passed. Van Winkle’s first name is the abbreviation for Rest in Peace; Irving’s tale makes fun of people who have made themselves obsolete.

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YULIA SKRIPAL GOES HIKING, CALLS RUSSIA SECRETLY

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Yulia Skripal (lead image) has telephoned home to say that she and her father, Sergei Skripal, are alive and well in the UK; living in separate rented accommodations;  paying for them with the pension her father gets from MI6; getting plenty of exercise on a treadmill and nature walks; keeping her diabetic father’s sugar level down; and planning to meet next for a Christmas or New Year dinner together.

Sergei has a minder living with him. Yulia described him as a medic whose job is to  maintain a tracheostomy tube installed in Sergei’s throat. Its function is to compensate for what she said was partial paralysis of his nasopharyngeal muscles, for his lack of air to breathe, and for the danger that Sergei might choke on his own phlegm.  

In an hour-long telephone call at noon, British time, on November 21, Yulia Skripal also said she wanted to set the record straight that her father never wrote a letter to President Vladimir Putin asking for permission to return to Russia,  nor gave an interview to Mark Urban, a BBC reporter who published a book of what he claims Skripal told him.

She also said: “I really want to go to New Zealand, but, unfortunately, not yet.”

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BRAIN POISONING BY RUSSIAN NERVE AGENT – ALEXEI NAVALNY INFECTS GERMAN CHANCELLERY

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

There is only one certainty (zweifelsfreie Nachweis) in the case of Alexei Navalny and the traces (Spuren) which have been found in his skin, urine and blood, and in a water bottle, by the German Army’s chemical warfare laboratory in Munich.

This certainty is that, in order to believe the German and other government interpretations which have been given of the evidence to date, you have to be suffering from a severe case of brain washing. The lighter the spectrometric mass or weight of the reported Novichok spuren, the heavier the measurable wash on the brain required to believe they are evidence of a Russian state crime.

In political weight, however, Navalny in his present condition is now more valuable outside Russia than he was, or ever could have been, inside Russia when he was in full health. In the politics of next year’s German election, when Chancellor Angela Merkel will not be running, the Navalny case weighs more heavily than the Litvinenko, Magnitsky, MH17, and Skripal cases all rolled into one.  

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

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Novichok still kills.

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

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

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

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

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

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NOVICHOK NEWS – DOSH FOR DAWN’S DEATH DASHED

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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

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

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

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

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

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

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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SKRIPAL SHOWDOWN, NOVICHOK PAYDAY — LONDON LAWYER THREAT TO CALL SERGEI AND YULIA SKRIPAL TO TESTIFY IN OPEN COURT FOR THE FIRST TIME

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

A London barrister named Michael Mansfield (lead image, left) and solicitor Irene Nembhard (top right) have moved one step closer to claiming a multi-million pound payment from the British Government on their allegation that the British intelligence and security services had been negligent in protecting Dawn Sturgess from a Russian state assassination attack in 2018. The allegation was dismissed in a coroner’s court ruling last December. But this will now be reviewed by a High Court judge in a hearing planned to start in July.

The calculation of the lawyers is that the evidence of the Novichok nerve agent, of the Russian assassination plot against Sergei and Yulia Skripal (top left and centre), and of the cause of death of Sturgess is so secret, and also so false, the British Government will prefer to pay the lawyers their bounty, rather than let a High Court judge hear the evidence in open court and expose the truth.

There has been no court test to date of the British government’s narrative of what happened to the Skripals in Salisbury town centre on March 4, 2018; and then to Sturgess at a flat in nearby Amesbury on June 30, 2018; Sturgess died in Salisbury Hospital on July 8, allegedly of the same Novichok poisoning from which the Skripals have recovered.  The inquest into the cause of her death has been repeatedly postponed and is unlikely to be held.

The Skripals are being held incommunicado: Yulia Skripal has not been heard from since July 24, 2018; Sergei Skripal not since June 26, 2019.  London lawyers now say the Skripals may be called as witnesses to testify in the High Court.

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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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