RUSSIA-HATING AND RUSSOPHOBIA ARE A THOUSAND YEARS OLD – LONG ENOUGH TO PROVE THERE’S NO CURE, ONLY REMISSION BY FORCE OF ARMS

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Hatred of the Russian race and Russophobia are more than a thousand years old in Europe – long enough for everyone nowadays to realise there’s no cure for them.  At least not by rational persuasion, not by words.  Remission by force of arms is another matter altogether.

A Swiss history of the phenomenon in Europe, starting in France in Charlemagne’s time and ending on the Donbass contact line since 2014, explains why the stakes along that line are so great now. The book is also an aid to comprehending why in this week’s telephone conversation between the chief Russian and American negotiators, Secretary of State Antony Blinken (lead image, 1st right) demonstrated the futility of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s (3rd right) talking with him again.*  

The Swiss history, published by Guy Mettan in 2017 as President Donald Trump was taking office in Washington, reveals a hopefulness that is impossible now. “Will Trump know how”, Mettan asks in his last paragraph, “will he still want to, or will he simply give up on trying to turn the tide and bring back civility in the relations between the West and Russia? Is a respite in what is turning out to be a new Cold War at all possible?” Mettan answered himself: “We certainly wish so. After all, if the task is almost superhuman, as no one will doubt after reading this book, it just may not be altogether impossible.”

Squeezing between that double negative there is in fact no space, no hope.

Mettan has written a primer on this brand of racism, noting that “Russophobia, contrary to French Anglophobia and Germanophobia, is a phenomenon that, though different of course, resembles anti-Semitism or Islamophobia. Like anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, it is not a transitory phenomenon linked to specific historical events; it exists first in the head of the one who looks, not in the victim’s alleged behaviour or characteristics.”

In Mettan’s history, American Russophobia “begins where the French, the English, and the Germans left off. It is a dynamic synthesis of French liberal-democratic Russophobia and English and German imperialist Russoaphobias.”  To Mettan the American phenomenon of today is a millennial climax of sorts. It‘s the apogee and the perigee, the final form of confidence in pursuing genocidal war against the Russians who resist and subjugation of those who remain,  which the German leadership held in June 1941.

According to Mettan, though, the adoption of Russophobia as US state policy since 1945  has reversed the outcome of the last war for the Germans. “This is how, in less than a quarter century, without striking a single blow Germany has just won the First and Second World Wars!”

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CATHERINE BELTON LOSES FIRST TRUTH TEST, RUPERT MURDOCH PUBLISHER TO RETRACT, APOLOGISE — REUTERS PRETENDS IT ISN’T SO

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Catherine Belton (lead image, left), a reporter on Russia for the Financial Times and Reuters, was abandoned this week by her publisher, Rupert Murdoch’s (right) HarperCollins, and obliged to sign an out-of-court settlement in London with Mikhail Fridman and Pyotr Aven of Alfa Bank and the LetterOne group.

The publisher has agreed to admit there was “no significant evidence” for Belton’s allegations of KGB connections in the early careers of Fridman and Aven; and that she had failed to check her claims with Fridman and Aven before publishing them. “HarperCollins and [Belton] recognise and regret that comment was not sought earlier from Mr Aven and Mr Fridman… and to apologise that the subject was not discussed with them prior to initial publication.”

HarperCollins will publish this statement within a week of the High Court issuing its order. Three months ago, the publisher had announced it “will robustly defend the claim and the right to report on matters of considerable public interest”.  The publisher has now  agreed to remove Belton’s allegations against Fridman and Aven from new printings of the book, Putin’s People:  How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took on the West.

The hardcover edition was published in April 2020 in the UK; the following June in the US. The American publisher is a subsidiary of the German Holtzbrinck publishing group, which produces the anti-Russia newspaper Die Zeit.  The paperback edition of Belton’s book has not yet been published, delayed indefinitely by the London court action and by the publishers’ loss of confidence in Belton’s veracity. 

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THE BRITISH NAVY’S CRIMEAN CAPE CAPER ENDS UP LIKE THE BORNHOLM BASH, BALTIC BLUFF, BLINKEN BLINK

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The British Embassy’s Press Office has stopped answering its telephones in Moscow.  It is also refusing to respond to emailed requests like the name of the Embassy defence attaché, a naval officer, who appeared at the Russian Defence Ministry on Wednesday to listen to the official protest of HMS Defender’s 31-minute, 29-kilometre run into Russian territorial waters  that morning.  

It is in the small details that the meaning of the naval engagement off Cape Fiolent, Crimea,  can be found. In not lining up the small details so they corroborate the official interpretations, the British Government in London has demonstrated less competence than the Polish Government in Warsaw three months ago, when it sent fishing boats, a navy mine-layer and an anti-submarine patrol aircraft  against Russia’s Nord Stream-2 pipe-laying vessel, the Fortuna.   

In that episode, Warsaw’s defence ministry tweeted officially that “the Polish Navy does not carry out any provocative activities and carries out its statutory tasks in accordance with international law. M-28B Bryza aircraft regularly carry out patrol and reconnaissance flights in the Baltic Sea area.”

In this week’s episode, London’s Ministry of Defence tweeted:  “No warning shots have been fired at HMS Defender. The Royal Navy ship is conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law. We believe the Russians were undertaking a gunnery exercise in the Black Sea and provided the maritime community with prior warning of their activity. No shots were directed at HMS Defender and we do not recognise the claim that bombs were dropped in her path. As is normal for this route, she entered an internationally recognised traffic separation corridor. She exited that corridor safely at 0945 BST [11:45 Moscow time]. As is routine, Russian vessels shadowed her passage and she was made aware of training exercises in her wider vicinity.”

The wording of both communiqués was a combination of calculated imprecision and state  propaganda. But the words covered retreat under Russian counter-attack. It’s on occasions like these,  when the facts don’t match the words,  that retreat under fire means backfire. Like the Poles, the British lose by gaining nothing.  The Russians win by demonstrating effective defence of a red line.

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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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THE CROOK COMES HOME TO ROOST – VADIM BELYAEV’S NEW YORK HAVEN UNDER COURT ATTACK FOR AT LEAST $1 BILLION



by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Vadim Belyaev (lead image)  is not the first Russian bank robber to take Cyprus citizenship on his way to safe haven in New York City, and then find himself facing a billion-dollar recovery lawsuit from his Russian pursuers in New York Supreme Court.  He is, however, the very first to attempt to slip into New York’s Jewish community by renaming himself Wolfson after his father. The next step will be an interview with Masha and Konstantin  (Keith) Gessen of New Yorker to explain how he’s being persecuted on trumped-up charges by President Vladimir Putin.

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

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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

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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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HIGH COURT DECISIONS ENCOURAGE RUSSIAN RUNAWAY CAPITAL IN LONDON


by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

For catching birds it’s old-fashioned child’s play to put salt on their tails. But fooling the bird in order to get close enough with the salt-shaker, before the bird takes off, is a job for grown-ups.  

When it comes to catching fugitive bankers, money launderers and the families of corrupt state officials in Russia and the former states of the Soviet Union,  the two-year history of the British National Crime Authority’s (NCA) Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs) is faltering because the courts require more than suspicious police and allegations promoted in the press.

Last week, the High Court ruled that  NCA lawyers, prosecutors and investigators had made “unreliable” assumptions; conducted “inadequate investigation of the obvious”;  applied “artificial and flawed reasoning”; were “unfair” in their evaluation of the evidence as well as pursuing targets “without any evidence”. “It is ultimately for the Court, not the NCA, to determine whether there is ‘reasonable cause to believe’,” Justice Dame Beverly Lang decided on April 8, dismissing three Unexplained Wealth Orders, together with three asset freeze orders covering several London residential properties worth about £80 million. Through a network of offshore foundations, trusts, and cut-out companies these belong to Dariga Nazarbayeva and Nurali Aliyev, daughter and grandson of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the ruler of Kazakhstan. Nazarbayeva is currently the speaker of the Kazakh Senate.

The stinging rebuke to the NCA, and a pending appeal of two earlier court judgements against Zamira Hajiyeva, the wife of a jailed Azerbaijani banker, are likely to slow down, or stop altogether, the pursuit by Prime Minister Boris Johnson (lead image, left) of Russian runaways in the UK.

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SKRIPAL IN PRISON – THE FIRST BOOK TO REPORT THE TRUTH

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

It is exactly two years since the case of two Russians, Sergei and Yulia Skripal, began with their collapse on a park bench in the middle of England on the afternoon of March 4, 2018.

On their anniversary it is necessary to tell this story. But it isn’t the story of what happened. This is because the only people who can tell that one, the Skripals, are locked away in isolation, guarded by determined men under secret government orders.

Instead, this is the story of what didn’t happen – provably didn’t happen because it was quite impossible circumstantially; and because the legal papers warranting that it did have not been signed by a judge, tested in a court of law, or released in public.

The facts which you have seen, heard or read about the incident of March 4, 2018, have been falsified. Everything that has flowed from them is false too.  Understanding this is a start to the other story, and so something solid to work from – not missed until now; more like seen but disbelieved. As if the truth were fiction, and the fiction truth.

This is the story of how the largest and longest criminal investigation in modern British history ended in a prosecution without evidence of the crime, the weapon, the crime scene, and even of the crime victims. Allegations there are; evidence admissible in a British court of law there is not. That’s to say, a prosecution which will not be presented in court, before no judge and jury; with no witnesses on oath; and no verdict. That is no prosecution at all.

To say otherwise, as do the British Government, its allies abroad, and every one of its mass circulation media without exception, is a lie. The victims, it turns out, are held in a British prison, at a secret location, incommunicado, without access to lawyers to defend them, without contact with their families, or the consular representatives of the state whose passports they hold. No court has judged them or sentenced them to this punishment.

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END OF STRING FOR RUSSIAN YO-YO LOAN FRAUD — ILYA YUROV CONVICTED IN LONDON COURT OF STEALING $1.1 BILLION FROM NATIONAL BANK TRUST

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The English read detective stories for the pleasure of unravelling the crime,  proving that even if there are perfect crimes, in the majority of cases the perpetrators don’t get away with them because the detectives are usually cleverer. That’s fiction.

In real life,  Russian crimes are different. In the majority of cases, including less than perfect crimes involving vast sums of money, the majority of the perps get away with them; live richly  in the UK, Tuscany, or on the Cote d’Azur; and enjoy promotional publicity in the Financial Times. In the cases of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and William Browder they have become so famous for their lying, it’s a devil of a job for the truth to prevail against their fictions.

In the minority of Russian cases, the judgements of the High Court in London are thrillers, though complicated in the reading. In the majority of these judgements, the guilty are convicted, and the innocent vindicated.  But that’s a majority of a minority. A rarity in the library of true Russian crimes.

There have been many Russian yo-yo loan schemes since commercial banking began in Moscow just under thirty years ago. The modus operandi is that the controlling shareholder arranges for his bank to make large loans to offshore companies he invents and controls; passes the money from these fronts on to other fronts,  and then into his pockets. His plan from the start is not to repay the loans; the borrowing fronts have no security for their loans when the bank demands repayment, and there’s no cash. That’s the big crime.

The scheme requires dozens of fake entities, thousands of transactions, more than a handful of banks, and accomplices to manage the operations. Because they are in the know, they have to be paid well. They, too,  grow rich.  They commit the smaller crimes and compound the big one. Even if the big criminal is caught, and his underlings at the Russian end sent to prison until they inculpate their bosses, the offshore managers and fixers – those who keep the yo-yo revolving and the string from breaking – usually get away.

In the case of National Bank Trust versus Ilya Yurov (lead image), his partners and their wives, the High Court published its whodunit last week. The story can be followed from the start in 2015 in this archive;  Khodorkovsky makes several crooked cameo appearances. A British national named Benedict Worsley, the most important of Yurov’s managers,  changed sides when the yo-yo turned into a boomerang. To save himself, he agreed to take more money from the bank to assemble the evidence in the court case against the defendants. In the new court judgement, he reportedly switched sides again before the trial opened on October 1, 2018.  Neither side wanted to call him to testify because they all agreed he was a liar. The Worsley tale can be followed here. In the High Court judgement, Worsley is named 733 times. “It would appear that he was something of a fantasist and prone to exaggerate,” the judge ruled, “and that he was prepared to act dishonestly…”

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LONDON POLICE COMMISSIONER MAKES NEW CLAIM TO KEEP YULIA SKRIPAL INCOMMUNICADO

By John Helmer, Moscow

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick, has announced that Yulia Skripal is not being held incommunicado, against her will, and in violation of her legal rights “if she consents to any assistance provided”. Last week’s videotape of Skripal signing a paper and making a brief speech was arranged within four days of the Commissioner’s announcement in an attempt by British officials to remove the Commissioner’s “if”, and demonstrate publicly that Skripal “consents to any assistance provided”.

British human rights lawyers challenge the legality of the videotaped “consent”. They say Skripal remains incommunicado, her whereabouts secret, prevented from access to her family and friends in Moscow, unrepresented by a lawyer, and unable to apply to a British court. Such restrictions, the lawyers believe a British judge would rule,  amount to secret incommunicado detention and enforced disappearance in violation of her rights under the British Human Rights Act of 1998. 

Skripal’s brief scripted references last week to “privacy”, “time to recover”, and “all the people who gave me support and help in this difficult period of my life” do not meet Commissioner Dick’s standard of consent, the lawyers believe.

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YULIA SKRIPAL’S POSTSCRIPT – WHAT DID SHE WRITE, AND WHAT DIDN’T SHE SAY IN THE BRITISH GARDEN EVENT, PLUS THE NEUROLOGY EVIDENCE

By John Helmer, Moscow

Yulia Skripal’s appearance in a British garden and her speech for one minute fifty-five seconds provides fresh evidence, less of what is happening to her in British custody, and more of what is not happening.

What is happening is that Skripal gave a memorised speech in front of a camera and teleprompter, but did not say in Russian what the English broadcast transcript, and also the English-language document she signed, claim she said.

Two script pages were visible on a side table during the filming; the one on top Skripal was filmed signing. The two papers appear to be in a different handwriting from Skripal’s signature and in a different pen from the pen she is seen to use. On the top page, apparently the Russian language text, Skripal added words after her signature; these are her first and family names in Russian, but without her patronymic, as Russians usually record their names in official documents. The handwriting of that name and the handwriting of the Russian statement are not the same. Nor the pen and ink used. 

In construction, the Russian version followed after the English; several important English expressions are not repeated in the Russian paper, nor in Skripal’s speech.  The most obvious is the English text in which she purportedly referred to “offers of assistance from the Russian Embassy but at the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services.” Skripal’s Russian text speaks of “help” from the Russian Embassy: “now I don’t want and [I am] not ready to use it.”

“The Russian version of Yulia’s speech is soft, simple, and balanced,” a professional translator comments. “There is no hint or innuendo suggesting hostility towards anything Russian. The English version is sharper and more complicated than the Russian. The meaning is different.”

In the Reuters release,   Skripal made two crossings-out on her script, and two substitutions. Her corrections of the text imply that she has been obliged to change the time period she planned to stay with her father. In the original Russian, Skripal wrote that she intended to “help my father until the time of his discharge from hospital.” That line was changed to extend the period of her stay “until his full recovery”. Yulia Skripal was released from Salisbury Hospital on April 9;   Sergei Skripal, the hospital reported, was discharged on May 18.  If Yulia had been hoping or planning to return to Moscow then, her intention has been altered. The English text and the corrected Russian one mean Yulia Skripal will be staying in the UK indefinitely. (more…)

GORILLA TRIES RADIO-CONVULSIVE THERAPY TO CURE JOHN BOLTON OF HIS PSYCHOPATHOLOGICAL URGES

By John Helmer, Moscow

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

President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Theresa May both made this miscalculation when they launched their April 14 attack on Syria. In the latest political polls they are now worse off than they were before the attack. The military operation, according to US and UK poll compilations, has reversed the positive trend in their standing with voters since the start of this year. (more…)

THE OLIGARCH SANCTIONS – STEVEN MNUCHIN EXPOSES US TREASURY FILES TO COURT CHALLENGE FOR OLIGARCHS WITH LESS TO HIDE THAN OLEG DERIPASKA

By John Helmer, Moscow

US Government economic sanctions have a hundred-year long history in US statutes and court cases, starting in 1917 when the US was at war with Germany. Trading with the Enemy Act was what the first statute was called.   It was clear then who the enemy was, and there was a shooting war in the Atlantic and in Europe to prove it.

Many US wars later, most of them for reasons which turned out to be lies, US Government sanctions have been endorsed by the American courts as a defence against an attacker whose method always included the use of force. But not now.

On Friday April 6, the US Treasury, headed by by Steven Mnuchin (lead image, centre), introduced a new type of economic sanction; read the official announcement.  For the first time, the individuals and companies targeted have no record for using force, and there is no evidence of their intention to use it. Instead, they are accused, and by the new sanctions punished, for things which American citizens have the constitutional right to exercise – the freedom of association and the freedom of expression.

The Russian targets of the new sanctions, announced Mnuchin, are proscribed for the full range of economic sanctions because of their association with the Russian government, and because they are Russians doing business in Russia. “The Russian government operates for the disproportionate benefit of oligarchs and government elites,” Mnuchin said, stamping his foot where Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and C. Wright Mills have famously trod before.  “The Russian government engages in a range of malign activity around the globe”. Ergo, a Russian businessman associating with the Russian government and growing rich is a threat to the equitable distribution of income and capital in Russia; ergo, he is a threat to the security of the United States. Never before has Russian capitalism been declared an enemy of American socialism, and forbidden to borrow, lend, own or trade with Americans or the US dollar. (more…)

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACKWARDS

 

By John Helmer, Moscow

Empires are just like everything else going down the toilet. Bits always stick on the porcelain which require more flushing.  Embarrassing bits.  

Now in its fifth week since the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury on March 4, the bits that cannot be flushed away are producing an odour whose obviousness is embarrassing for  Salisbury Hospital and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The hospital is treating the Skripals for their medical welfare and is required by hospital policy and  UK law to be accountable to their next of kin. Their rights of access to and from the hospital are also required by  European Human Rights Convention.  The evidence now accumulating is that the hospital is detaining and isolating the Skripals against their will, preventing contact with their family. Requested to explain this and identify her legal authority, the response of the hospital’s chief executive, Cara Charles-Barks, is to stonewall.

The OPCW, comprising 192 states which have signed, ratified and enacted the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC),  is governed by a 41-member Executive Council, and administered by a Secretary-General and a staff based in The Hague. They represent the management arm of the Convention to ensure that everyone follows its provisions.  But in acting on the Skripal case, the OPCW is voting in secret and  violating the articles of the Convention itself. The OPCW’s spokesman, an American named Deepti Choubey, refuses to reply to questions claiming the right of confidentiality according to the Convention and the OPCW’s policy. When asked to identify which provisions of the Convention apply, and what is the text of the OPCW policy on confidentiality, Choubey’s response is to stonewall.  (more…)

YULIA SKRIPAL IS NOT ALLOWED TO TELEPHONE HER GRANDMOTHER

By John Helmer, Moscow

The British public telephone is two years short of a century old. The Salisbury Hospital has dismantled the outdoor models because it is now possible for patients  to receive and make telephone calls from their bedside. The hospital has contracted with a company called Hospedia to provide patients with personal access to telephones (television, internet, games too). The patients must pay.

The business of overcharging them for incoming and outgoing calls was such a corrupt scandal, Hospedia’s predecessor company went bankrupt. The Royal Bank of Scotland took over the assets, and then went even more corruptly bankrupt itself.  So the bank sold the hospital telephone business to Marlin Equity Partners. That company presently controls most British hospital patient telephones; it is an American group specializing in investment in signal and cyber operations of every sort. It is based in Los Angeles and London.

If you are Yulia Skripal, you are likely to want to use Salisbury Hospital’s Hospedia telephone system to call home in Moscow. There she has a family consisting of a grandmother and a cousin; an uncle lives in St. Petersburg and another cousin in Primorye.  All of them have been identified by name and address in the Russian press. Yulia Skripal also has a fiancé with whom she was living, and about whom considerable detail of his marital intentions, occupation, mother, father, home address and black Land Rover have also been published. Their 90-second telephone call before Yulia took off on her fateful Aeroflot flight to London on March 3 has been published.  So have details of her father Sergei’s request that she bring him packages of kasha and bay leaf in her luggage.   Even  the address of the pet hotel where Yulia Skripal’s dog Noir is staying at Rb800 per day is reported in the free Russian press.  

Two Moscow reporters have specialized in this investigation – Lev Speransky and Yekaterina Sveshnikova. They have also published excerpts from the Skripal family photo album.   Their evidence is that Yulia Skripal is human enough to want to call home.

However, she cannot do so. Salisbury Hospital officials, who have confirmed her capacity to listen and speak by telephone, will not say why. (more…)

THE SKRIPAL CASE GOES TO COURT FOR THE FIRST TIME – NEW UNCERTAINTIES FOR THE BRITISH AND RUSSIAN GOVERNMENTS

By John Helmer, Moscow

British High Court Justice David Williams has issued the first court adjudication of evidence presented by the British Government of what happened to Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal when they succumbed to poisoning in Salisbury on March 4.  Following three days of closed-door hearings this week in London, the judge issued a ruling for publication yesterday.  

This allows the commencement of a process of evidence-gathering and testing by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) under international treaty procedures and rules for the admissibility of evidence. The new court-ordered safeguards  respond to the criticism issued in an official aide-memoire from the Russian Foreign Ministry on  March 21. In that document, the Russian Government criticized the British Government for failing to secure “the chain of custody [of blood sample and poison evidence] up to all the OPCW requirements when evidence was collected”.  

The process ordered by Justice Williams yesterday will not only assure the independence of OPCW evidence-gathering.  By DNA testing of the fresh blood samples to be taken by the OPCW and matched against the original blood samples taken by British investigators to the Porton Down Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Russian suspicion of evidence tampering will be addressed.

In a dramatic disclosure defying explanation, Williams has now revealed that lawyers representing the Skripals and witnesses from the Salisbury Hospital and the British Government  told the court there has been no approach from any Russian family member, any Russian government agency,  or a lawyer acting for them to seek access to the Skripals or their medical records.

According to the hospital witness, “the hospital has not been approached by anyone known to the patients to enquire of their welfare. The hospital know little about either patient or what they might have wished. Independent Mental Capacity Advocates have been appointed by the Trust to assist with best interests decisions on clinical matters.”

Representing the Skripals, Vikram Sachdeva QC told the judge “that in this case at present it did not appear practicable or appropriate to seek the views of others who might be interested in the welfare of Mr Skripal (his mother perhaps) or Ms Skripal (perhaps a fiancé).” (more…)

TEST OF THERESA MAY’S RULE OF LAW, AN APPLICATION FOR HABEAS CORPUS FOR YULIA SKRIPAL

By John Helmer, Moscow

An application to a British court for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of Yulia Skripal is the last chance, British and international lawyers believe, to preserve for public accountability the evidence of the poison attack against her and her father, Sergei Skripal. The attack occurred on Sunday afternoon, March 4, after the poison  had been prepared at the Skripal home in Salisbury. The Skripals themselves were exposed several hours later at a nearby restaurant.  

Bulletins on their medical condition are being issued by the National Health Service. In addition, Salisbury District Hospital has been publishing daily Twitter feed on the public health risks since the attack, along with a notice: “Salisbury Hospital is open and operating normally. We are advising patients to attend for their scheduled appointments as normal.” When hospital officials were asked today what is the condition of the Skripals, they reported  they are “in a critical, but stable condition in intensive care… The police officer, who was also part of the initial response, is conscious in a serious but stable condition.”

The lawyers say it is already impossible for the evidence collected by the police and military investigators at sites around Salisbury to be admissible in a court of  law. This, they add, is because samples of the poison may have been tampered with before or after Prime Minister Theresa May (lead image) announced to the House of Commons the ongoing forensic investigation on March 12, and then announced the government’s conclusions on March 14.

Securing the chain of custody of the evidence required by British courts has been compromised by the state secrecy surrounding the case, legal sources believe.  It stopped altogether with May’s second statement to parliament yesterday.   In that speech, the prime minister implied that no samples of the poison have been despatched to the international Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OCPW) in The Hague.

The only accessible evidence about the source of the poison, according to the lawyers, is in the bodies and medical records of Yulia Skripal and her father.  Accordingly, the lawyers are now considering an application to a British court for habeas corpus on Yulia Skripal’s behalf, so that the poison and the allegations surrounding the attack on the Skripals can be tested by a judge, according to the British laws of evidence. (more…)

SANCTION FOR SERGEI FRANK – UK APPEALS COURT APPROVES $75 MILLION PENALTY FOR FAILURE OF 12-YEAR VENDETTA LAWSUIT

By John Helmer, Moscow

Sergei Frank, a former federal transport minister and chief executive of the state shipping company Sovcomflot since 2004, is unique among Russian state officials. He is the only one to have been adjudicated by a series of UK judges to have lied, been dishonest in evidence-gathering, and vindictive in his use of the courts against business rivals. 

This week in London, in a unanimous ruling by three judges of the Court of Appeal, Frank has been judged to have foolishly postponed the day of reckoning by unjustified criticism of his judges, and ordered to pay $75 million to a UK-based Russian shipowner. This puts an end to the 12-year vendetta which Frank has waged over allegations which this week’s ruling says were properly “dismissed because the transactions were not dishonest or in breach of trust”.

Frank is also unique among Russian state officials. Despite all the judgements against him, and the millions of dollars of penalties for his misjudgements which Sovcomflot has had to pay, he hasn’t been sacked. Not yet. (more…)

THE CENTRAL BANK’S DOMINOES — OTKRITIE BANK’S COLLAPSE FOLLOWED TRUST BANK ASSET RAID

By John Helmer, Moscow

The collapse of Otkritie Bank last month is the largest Russian bank failure since the collapse of National Bank Trust in December 2014.  The Central Bank rescue of Trust made inevitable the much more costly bailout of Otrkitie, announced a fortnight ago on August 29,   charges Ilya Yurov, the former control shareholder and chief executive of Trust, speaking from exile in the UK.  

The reason, according to Yurov, is “the dishonest and deliberately malicious actions of the management and shareholders of Otkritie Bank, and also, unfortunately, a number of officials of the Central Bank of Russia and the Deposit Insurance Agency.”   The state organizations, Yurov alleges,  “continue to adopt dishonest practices when initiating their processes of ‘financial rehabilitation’ or the prevention of bankruptcy of the Russian banks, which inevitably lead to the violation of the rights of customers and bank lenders,  and significantly worsen the situation of the financial industry as a whole.”

Bank analysts and investors in the Russian banks say the combination of failures reveals grave weaknesses in the Central Bank’s supervision. “The black holes in the Russian banking system are expanding,” believes a London banking source. “The more money the Central Bank lends to stop bankruptcy, the faster the cash disappears. Sooner or later, the falling dominoes will come down on [Central Bank Governor Elvira] Nabiullina [lead image] herself.”

Between December 2014 and May 2015 the Central Bank loaned Rb127 billion ($1.7 billion) to Otkritie for the takeover of Trust in what Russian bankers call a “sanitation” – a state funded bailout, administered by the Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA)  which stops short of bankruptcy, court-ordered administration, or liquidation.

Then late last month,  after Otkritie depositors lost confidence in the bank and withdrew Rb693 billion ($11.6 billion)  from Otkritie accounts in June,  July, and August,   the Central Bank topped the senior management and board, froze transactions, and commenced fresh lending to preserve Otkritie’s solvency. In exchange for the new cash, the Central Bank now owns 75% of the bank’s shares. Over the coming weeks, from Rb250 billion ($4.3 billion) to Rb400 billion ($6.9 billion) will be the Central Bank bailout required, a deputy governor at the bank announced on September 1. 

Yurov has been charged in Russia with defrauding Trust, triggering the bank’s failure after related-party lending to a network of offshore companies, which Yurov controlled, drained the bank of its cash. Up to $1 billion has been reported as unaccounted for, if not exactly lost. Early this year two of Yurov’s subordinates at the bank were tried and convicted of embezzlement from the bank, using fake loan papers.  

In London and New York Yurov is counter-charging the now ousted chief executive and control shareholder of Otkritie, Vadim Belyaev,  and the next most powerful shareholder on the Otkritie board, Ruben Aganbegyan,  with conspiracy to attack Trust, push it into sanitation,  and withdraw Trust’s cash for themselves through Otkritie. Yurov is also accusing three Central Bank officials at the time of being participants in the cash-and-grab conspiracy.

“Yurov is not a credible accuser,” a Central Bank veteran commented in Moscow. “As the old Russian saying has it, Вор у вора дубинку украл – a thief is stealing a bludgeon from another thief.” (more…)

EBRD CORRUPTION – MI5 TRIES TO EXCHANGE BRIBES TO RUSSIAN BANKERS FOR ESPIONAGE AGAINST RUSSIAN OFFICIALS

By John Helmer, Moscow

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the government-owned bank established in London in 1991 to finance market boosting projects in the former Soviet Union, has been secretly aiding UK and US intelligence services in espionage targeted at Russia. The US is a 10% shareholder in the bank, the UK holds an 8.7% stake; Russia, 4%.

The disclosure appears in the records of a trial this month at the Central Criminal Court in London of Andrei Ryjenko (Рыженко, usually Anglicized as Ryzhenko),  a senior banker at the EBRD who is a dual Russian-British citizen.  Early in June, Ryjenko was convicted of taking and then laundering $3.5 million in concealed bribes for helping applications to the EBRD for loans and equity investments from two Russian oil and gas companies win approval for a total of $275 million. MI5, according to testimony in open court, offered Ryjenko the opportunity to keep his money and avoid prosecution if he agreed to spy for the British against Russian foreign intelligence service (SVR) agents who, MI5 told Ryjenko, were under cover in London. Ryjenko refused for several months. He was then arrested and subsequently tried. On June 20, Ryjenko was sentenced to six years in jail.

Treason against Russia was one crime Ryjenko refused to undertake, the Old Bailey testimony reveals.  Also revealed, and for the first time, is EBRD’s role in operating the scheme of lures and inducements MI5 proposed for Ryjenko,  and other Russian nationals at the bank.  “Honey traps,”  comments a London banking veteran, “are generally illegal. Otherwise, the honey wouldn’t be so sweet, or entrapment worth plotting. It looks like Ryjenko trapped himself. It also looks like the bank was happy to make its money baiting the trap for MI5.”   

The EBRD spokesman, Anthony Williams, was asked to clarify the court testimony that the EBRD cooperates with MI5 to permit EBRD executives and EBRD records to be used in espionage operations against EBRD shareholders. “This refers to claims made during the trial”, Williams said on Monday, “that were not deemed credible by the court and which are rejected by the EBRD. EBRD does not cooperate with MI5 and other British and US intelligence agencies.”

Williams was unable to produce statements by the presiding judge, dismissing the MI5 evidence.  “I can only repeat: The EBRD does not cooperate with such intelligence services.” (more…)

FINALE OF THE SOVCOMPLOT – UK JUDGE DISMISSES APPEAL AGAINST $72 MILLION IN PENALTIES AND COSTS; REJECTS RUSSIAN BANK SURETY; ORDERS IMMEDIATE CASH DOWN-PAYMENT

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By John Helmer, Moscow

 It’s the job of the Dorchester doorman to know his hotel guests’ sins; cater to them discreetly; but  keep them under his top-hat, forever secret.

During more than a decade of Sergei Frank’s trips to London to direct High Court litigations against the men he succeeded at Sovcomflot, the Russian state shipping company, he could count on the discretion of the hotel doorman.  After the final ruling came down on Thursday, Frank, chief executive of Sovcomflot (lead image, right), can’t be sure that his humiliation by more than a dozen British judges will not now make him a laughingstock.

In a new 4-page judgement , Frank’s appeal against $72 million in compensation and costs to be paid to Sovcomflot’s ex-shipping partner, Yury Nikitin, has been dismissed, and he has been ordered to start paying immediately, with a down-payment of £1 million.

“There is no doubt,” ruled Sir Stephen Males, the presiding judge, “that, overall, the defendants [Nikitin’s companies] were the successful party. They obtained a judgment for US $59.8 million on the inquiry.” More than that, according to Males, the award of the costs of litigating should be paid to Nikitin, plus interest on further delays the shipping company takes. Not to do so, according to the judgement, “would fail to recognise the overall success which the defendants achieved.” (more…)

MELCHIOR WATHELET, THE GLADIO – ADVOCATE-GENERAL OF EUROPEAN COURT IN ROSNEFT SANCTIONS CASE WORKED WITH SECRET NATO SPY AND TERROR RING AGAINST RUSSIA; ROSNEFT LAWYERS IN SANCTIONS CASE INCLUDE US SPY

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By John Helmer, Moscow

Melchior Wathelet (lead image, left), the Advocate-General of the European Court in Luxembourg, publicly recommended on May 31 that the court should dismiss a challenge to the legality of European Union sanctions by the Russian state oil company Rosneft. Wathelet has a history of secret operations against Moscow. That history ought to have disqualified Wathelet from participating in the Rosneft case, lawyers at the court say. “He should have done so voluntarily,” one of the lawyers adds. “Instead, Wathelet, along with the Belgian President of the Court, Koen Lenaerts, have kept the past secret, allowing a serious conflict of interest to influence the outcome of the case.”

As the minister of justice in his native Belgium, Wathelet supervised the Belgian state security service, and officially participated himself over several years in NATO spying, military operations and propaganda schemes against Russia and the Soviet Union. Details of Wathelet’s involvement in NATO’s Operation Gladio were not known to Rosneft when Wathelet was assigned to the case. Rosneft’s Anglo-American law firm did not investigate Wathelet’s bacckgournd. Also, the law firm, Hage Joseph Aaronson, has kept from Rosneft the knowledge that one of their own lawyers was a long-serving officer in the US Defence Intelligence Agency.

Lawyers engaged in European Court cases in Luxembourg say they are astonished by the conflict of interest. “This case is hugely important,” said one source engaged in a parallel sanctions proceeding. “If Rosneft were to win, the legality of sanctions would collapse”. A London lawyer adds he is surprised that Rosneft management and its lawyers in Luxembourg failed to challenge Wathelet’s participation in the case.

Wathelet is not denying the information about his past involvement in NATO operations. He won’t explain why he and the presiding judge, Court President Koen Lenaerts, acted together to arrange his assessment of the Rosneft legal papers.
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THE BRITISH VOTE ISN’T AGAINST EUROPE – IT’S AGAINST THE WARS OF BARACK OBAMA, ANGELA MERKEL, AND EVERY SERIOUS NEWSPAPER IN THE WORLD AS WE USED TO KNOW IT

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By John Helmer, Moscow

On November 15, 2015, I told you so.

“Since the US started the regime dominoes falling in Kiev in February 2014, the Polish regime has already toppled, and the French one is doomed – President Francois Hollande will be defeated by every one of the candidates now running to succeed him, including Marine Le Pen of the National Front. The British Prime Minister David Cameron can postpone his day of reckoning, but on the margins of Europe, not inside. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel has less time, fewer supporters. When Merkel topples, she will take the European Union (EU) into the shambles with her.”
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MAMELUKES TAKE CHATHAM HOUSE TO FIGHT RUSSIA WAR—SIR RODERIC LYNE’S LINE ENDS INDEPENDENCE

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By John Helmer, Moscow

In the history of warfare there is nothing new in the engagement of mercenaries to do the fighting and run the risks. The mamelukes (mamluks) were the most successful at the game — they started as slaves, became a warfighting caste, and ended as the rulers of the countries they captured, including Egypt and Syria from 1250 to 1517, and Iraq from 1704 to 1831. They defeated the European Crusaders. From then on, the term mameluke, when applied to someone in Europe, meant slavish obedience — the antithesis of independence. Napoleon employed a corps of them, and his long-serving bodyguard was one.

Sir Roderic Lyne (lead image, 3rd from left) is the number-2 executive in charge of the Royal Institute for International affairs (RIIA), known by its residence in London as Chatham House. Insiders say Lyne, a former British ambassador to Russia, has captured the organization, and turned it into a warfighting unit against Russia, though, the sources say, not without a fight. Amongst the organization’s members and financiers, opponents of the Lyne line against Russia accuse him of suppressing independence, and by promoting war against Russia of violating the Chatham House charter.
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AT HEADBUTT MOMENT FOR RUSSIA, ROMAN ABRAMOVICH AND ALISHER USMANOV SHOW THEIR STUFF — WHAT STUFF?

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John Helmer, Moscow

Russia survived the threat of a homosexual boycott of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, handily. But can it survive the threatened boycott of the 2018 World Cup from a wannabe candidate to lead a minority party in the House of Commons; a British prince whose chance of becoming king is, failing accidents, at least 20 years off; and four US senators, one of whom has been indicted for taking bribes himself. The answer is yes – Russia will survive even this; and also what President Vladimir Putin has called a case of the US “illegally persecuting people”.

For the moment, though, no Russian owner of an international football team is willing to go public with a defence of Russia’s World Cup. Nor are they willing to endorse Putin’s claim that the US corruption charges against officials of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) are a political plot for “ulterior purposes”. Against Russia, Putin means.
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AUSTRIAN COURT STARTS LEGAL DOMINOES FALLING – NEXT, POLITICAL SCHEMING TO BE DECLARED ILLEGAL IN EU SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIAN CORPORATIONS

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By John Helmer, Moscow

Last week a Vienna, Austria, court ruled that US government charges against Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash are unsubstantiated and unlawfully motivated by political scheming. Next up for the rule of evidence and of law — the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg must judge whether European Union (EU) sanctions against Russia are unsubstantiated and unlawfully motivated by political scheming.
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HARVARD ACADEMIC TIMOTHY COLTON WASN’T A PENTAGON SPY WHEN HE MET VLADIMIR PUTIN AND DMITRY MEDVEDEV — HE WAS A CONSULTANT TO THE NAVAL WAR COLLEGE

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By John Helmer, Moscow

Timothy Colton, a Russia expert at Harvard University in the US, has admitted he has been engaged in research on Russia’s leaders as part of the Pentagon’s top-secret Operation BODY LEADS. Top-secret, that is, until last week’s disclosure of the operation to investigate President Vladimir Putin’s and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s brains from their body movements and other evidence gathered under cover by academics and journalists. According to Colton, “I was not and never have been in any way a clandestine military contractor. I have never had a security clearance, and I have never conducted classified research for any organization.”

The disclosure sheds new light on the operation of universities, think-tanks and academic researchers engaged in the US Government’s campaign to overthrow the Putin government.
(more…)

THE ILLEGALITY OF SANCTIONS – UK HIGH COURT SENDS ROSNEFT CLAIM TO EUROPEAN COURT

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By John Helmer, Moscow

The UK High Court has rejected a lawsuit by Rosneft challenging the legality of sanctions against its oilfield operations and international financing.

The court has ruled that for testing the legality of the sanctions British law and British courts are subordinate to the European Union, and that Rosneft must try its case in the European Court of Justice (CJEU) in Luxembourg. The ruling, which was issued on Monday, contradicts the judgement of the Supreme Court, the UK’s highest court, which decided last March that sanctions against the Iranian bank, Bank Mellat, had violated British law. The new judgement makes no reference to this or any other case decided recently in London on the illegality of UK Government sanctions.

The ruling by Lord Justice Sir Jack Beatson (lead image) and Justice Sir Nicholas Green also flies in the face of the British Government’s promise to preserve the primacy of the British courts over the EU judiciary, and keep London’s market dominance for global litigation. Acknowledging that the issue will be tested in the parliamentary election due in three months’ time, embattled Prime Minister David Cameron has claimed: “We want to make the Supreme Court supreme”. Cameron has promised to introduce a new Act of Parliament to establish the superior status in law of UK courts over the European Court.” That hasn’t happened.
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LORDS ON BOARDS: WILL THE BRITISH DIRECTORS KEEP THEIR RUSSIAN SEATS? THE AMERICANS TOO?

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By John Helmer, Moscow

The sanctions programme adopted against Russia to date aims, according to this week’s declaration by US President Barack Obama, at curtailing the capabilities of the Russian government to field men and arms on or across Russian borders; and to penalize individuals and corporations for sustaining the Russian economy while the war in eastern Ukraine continues.

For the first time, US officials have declared that every sector of the Russian economy, including investment and financing for industry, urban development, farm production and food supply, are targets.
(more…)

SOVCOMFLOT LOSES ANOTHER UK COURT APPEAL, LOSES COSTS

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By John Helmer, Moscow

The British Court of Appeal has issued a ruling to deny the Sovcomflot group and its Novoship subsidiary the right to appeal a corruption judgement to the Supreme Court, the highest of the British courts. The judgement puts an end to nine years of attempts by Sovcomflot group chief executive Sergei Frank and Russian government officials to have the British courts convict Yury Nikitin, their former chartering partner, of bribery and corrupt profiteering in the business of shipping oil.
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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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