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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THE DONKEY TURD BOMB AND THE US EMPIRE IN EUROPE – HOW IT BEGAN, HOW IT IS ENDING

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

During the US Army invasion of Morocco and Algeria in 1943, enroute to the invasion of Italy, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), as the CIA was called then, came up with the donkey turd bomb for destroying the enemy. Since 2014, the CIA has come up with the modern equivalent – it’s called the Ukrainian bomb.  The first was designed to kill Germans. The second is designed to kill Russians. Both of them,   donkey turds and Ukrainians, are failing to hit their mark.

The donkey turd was the name and brainchild of a Harvard professor called Carleton Coon. In designing an American version of an improvised explosive device, Coon said that because  donkey turds were more common on the ground in Morocco than stones, bombs would be more effectively disguised to look like donkey turds.

The US didn’t fight any Germans in Morocco or Algeria. The US invasion promised the Arabs their national sovereignty and independence — — President Franklin Roosevelt was explicit on the point — but that was a calculated deception. The territories were returned to the French. After the US invasions of Italy, then France, the locals were again promised their national sovereignty and independence, but that too was an American deception. The territories were returned to those who accepted the terms of US occupation. They continue in their capitulation to this day, but the terms have been modified according to the American principle of US-directed and managed collective security. The North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO) is the main organisation for implementing this.

The defeated Germans, half of them to start with, retreated back into the territory from which they had come, the western half of Germany that is, between 1946 and 1990. The Soviet Army had defeated the Germans who had invaded the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, and driven them back to the Berlin checkpoint. Until the Soviet terms were modified by Mikhail Gorbachev to accept Soviet withdrawal from eastern Germany, this is the way collective security operated in Europe — two opposing alliance forces confronting each other but deterring an attack from either side.

Gorbachev retreated on the US promise that NATO wouldn’t move forward. It was a promise Gorbachev was a fool to believe. He only had to ask the Moroccans or Algerians whether the Americans keep their promises, and he would have been told they don’t.  He wanted to believe otherwise. His successor Boris Yeltsin was just as ready to believe American deceptions until NATO invaded and bombed Serbia; both Gorbachev and Yeltsin believed they depended on the Americans to keep their power in Moscow.

Vladimir Putin tried to believe the promises until 2014 when the war to advance US occupation to the Russian frontier began in earnest. At that border, there is nowhere but inside Russia for the Russians to retreat to, just as they had when the Germans invaded in 1941. Putin announced there was no retreat in his speech to the Russian officer corps last month.   This marked the end of his accommodations with the advancing NATO forces and US nuclear warheads.  

In the line of this advance, the Russian Foreign Ministry proposed two treaties on the principle of indivisible security in Europe.  This principle means that one state cannot, and promises it will not,  increase its military capacities in such a way as to threaten the security of a neighbouring state in the same geopolitical space.   The treaties have also proposed there will be no more donkey turd bombs – no more Ukrainian, Romanian, Polish and other nuclear-armed missiles within close range of Russia’s capital, military command control centres, and land-based nuclear missile bases.

The principle of indivisible security, aka Russian self-defence, now confronts the principle of collective security, aka NATO forward defence, along a red line which runs from the Baltic Sea southward down the eastern Ukrainian border to the Black Sea, to Romania and the other littoral states, including Turkey. On Thursday the US rejected indivisible security, and thus the two draft treaties.  On Friday, at a 90-minute radio interview in Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov explained why the conflict of the two security principles cannot result in a Russian retreat.*  

This fight is now the last stand for the American empire in Europe which began with the donkey turd bomb 79 years ago.

Lavrov’s speech reveals that from the history of that period, from the destruction of Arab sovereignty, and through the destruction of European sovereignty, and through the near- destruction of Russian sovereignty by Gorbachev and Yeltsin, the Russians have learned a lesson which they cannot now unlearn and from which they cannot retreat. No retreat – that’s the lesson.

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THE TWO SATANS OF AFGHANISTAN – AND JIMMY CARTER’S LIPS ARE SEALED

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

If ever there was a man who displayed on his face the evil in his mind, it was Zbigniew Brzezinski (lead image, left),  the national security advisor for President Jimmy Carter (right) when the US plot to start the war against the Soviet Union on the Afghan front was hatched in  1979. “Now we can lure the Russians into the Afghan trap,” he wrote Carter in a secret note of February 1979. In July of that year he followed with the directive Carter signed in secret to supply arms to the mujahideen “to induce a Soviet military intervention”. In December 1979 Brzezinski told Carter: “we should not be too sanguine about Afghanistan becoming a Soviet Vietnam”.  Later he used to boast that had been precisely his intention and also his crowning achievement.

Brzezinski’s lips are sealed now because he’s been dead for four years.  

Carter is still alive. In 1979 he kept the evil on his mind secret behind the smile on his face. His lips are sealed now, since the retreat from Afghanistan began by the US Army, and after the rout last month in Kabul. The mainstream American press are not reporting they have asked Carter for comment, or that he has refused. Not even the alt-media investigators have pursued him.

But it’s already clear what Carter thinks. He believes he scored one of the wold’s great strategic victories; he is disgruntled that he has never received the public credit he thinks he deserves. In the words of one of the CIA men in charge of Afghanistan operations in 1979, Carter’s strategy was to wage the “fight [against] the Soviets that went on to win the final and decisive battle of the Cold War.”

A new book by Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, just published, opens the story of what Brzezinski and Carter really did to start the US war in Afghanistan, starting with the assassination of Adolph Dubs, the US Ambassador in Kabul on February 14, 1979; his killing with four pistol shots to head in a Kabul hotel room, the book concludes, was part of the White House plot.

“Some unnamed Americans claimed the Soviets wanted Dubs out of the way so they could set up for their invasion,” Fitzgerald and Gould report. They go on to name the Americans, one an agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Kabul, another a CIA agent.  “But the Soviets got along famously with Dubs because he wasn’t an anti-Soviet Russophobe like Brzezinski. There was also plenty of evidence to show the Soviets didn’t want to invade. They went on record with the U.S. embassy throughout the summer of 1979 trying everything to avoid it. And besides, the rules of the game made ambassadors virtually untouchable. There was no upside to killing one, and a big downside.”

The assassination of Dubs, Fitzgerald and Gould argue, “led to the Soviet invasion nine months later….Who would kill an ambassador? Not a rival superpower trying to get the American Congress to sign a nuclear arms deal they’d desperately needed. And certainly not a third-world backwater desperate for U.S. aid and recognition. Only someone trying to provoke retribution. And who would want that retribution? Zbigniew Brzezinski. Brzezinski blamed the Russians, but then Brzezinski always blamed the Russians… If it hadn’t been for the Dubs murder there would never have been a Soviet invasion.”

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FIVE DEGREES OF IMPROBABILITY — GENERAL GERASIMOV WON THE BATTLE OF GENEVA WITHOUT FIRING A SHOT

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

When General Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the Russian General Staff, sat down at the presidential summit table in Geneva last week, there was nobody on the US side to match him. This has never happened at a head of state meeting between the US and Russian sides.

It was the occasion which armchair generals and Chinese military observers like to attribute to their ancient and most famous general, Sun Tzu. “To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles,” he wrote down, “is not the supreme of excellence. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme of excellence.”

By how many degrees of improbability then,  is the outcome that President Joseph Biden, his national security advisor Jacob Sullivan, and the Blin-Noodle Gang  (Secretary  of State Antony Blinken, Deputy Secretary Victoria Nuland)  failed to put up a fight, and the entire US press corps failed to see?

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WHAT PRESIDENT BIDEN AND HIS MEDIA CHORUS REVEALED ABOUT THEIR WAR-FIGHTING CAPABILITIES

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

President Joseph Biden spent 33 minutes speaking at his press confernce to a group of US reporters pre-selected, coached,  and programmed by name, organisation and text of question. This operation made it impossible to allow Russian reporters to attend.

Biden’s speech to his press was longer than he managed by himself in the restricted-format session with President Vladimir Putin and their two foreign ministers and interpreters, which began the summit on Wednesday, and lasted 108 minutes. The 33-minute performance was also longer than Biden managed at the expanded format of the talks, which included press spokesmen, national security advisers, deputy foreign ministry officials and the two state ambassadors. That session lasted 91 minutes.

Biden demonstrated he can rehearse, recite, repeat.

He added nothing, nor did he subtract anything from  the G7 communiqué of three days ago, in which he accused Russia of “destabilising behaviour and malign activities, including its interference in other countries’ democratic systems, and to fulfil its international human rights obligations and commitments. In particular, we call on Russia to urgently investigate and credibly explain the use of a chemical weapon on its soil, to end its systematic crackdown on independent civil society and media, and to identify, disrupt, and hold to account those within its borders who conduct ransomware attacks, abuse virtual currency to launder ransoms, and other cybercrimes.”  

Biden, together with the American journalists appearing at the two presidential pressers,  also repeated the accusations of the NATO communiqué of two days ago.

Biden’s 33-minute performance demonstrated the clinical motor and cognitive symptoms which remain state secrets in Washington. They are now better understood in Moscow than by US experts on the 25th Amendment.

In the few impromptu remarks Biden recorded there were flashes of hostility. About China’s President Xi Jinping, he said:  “Let’s get something straight. We know each other well. We are not old friends. It’s just pure business”. Asked what he would do if Alexei Navalny dies, Biden said: “That’s not a satisfying answer: ‘Biden said he’d invade Russia.’  You know, it is not — you know.  By the way, that was a joke.  That’s not true. But my generic point is, it is — it is more complicated than that.”

 “I’m not confident he’ll change his behaviour,” Biden rounded on a reporter challenging his capacity to deter Putin, as he tried to leave the press room. “Where the hell — what do you do all the time?  When did I say I was confident?  I said —  I said — what I said was — let’s get it straight.  I said: What will change their behavior is if the rest of world reacts to them and it diminishes their standing in the world.  I’m not confident of anything; I’m just stating a fact.”

When Putin was asked by a Russian reporter if he has “any new illusions as a result of this meeting?”, he replied: “ I didn’t even have the old ones, and you’re talking about the new ones. Where did you get the idea about illusions? There are no illusions and there can be no illusions.”

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WHERE’S THE BEEF, WHERE’S THE WAR? GORILLA RADIO GOES TO THE GENEVA SUMMIT FOR THE ANSWERS

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Since 1984 – that’s 37 years – the difference between a slice of meat between two buns and  truth-telling by the President of the United States has been thin.

That’s why the Wendy’s Company of Dublin, Ohio, became famous with the line that distinguishes between propaganda and truth, between the beef and the buns. The line is “Where’s the beef?” It made its debut in Wendy’s hamburger advertisement (lead image); it was weaponised by Walter Mondale against Gary Hart in the Democratic presidential nomination campaign of 1984; it was revived last year when, on account of the Covid-19 pandemic, supplies of beef patties began to run out at US hamburger outlets.

When President Joe Biden (left) meets President Vladimir Putin (centre) in Geneva next Wednesday, June 16, the White House has promised a tirade of attacks on Russia, including last week’s a cyber hack on meat processor JBS; last month’s Colonial fuel pipeline hack; and last year’s SolarWinds hack on every secret the US government thinks it  is keeping.

Remember that if the SolarWinds allegation is true, there’s only one secret Biden has left – this is that there aren’t any US secrets he can keep from Putin,  including how much beef there is in US hamburgers and petrol in US gas tanks.

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NEW YORK JUDGE AGREES TO PROTECT RUNAWAY RUSSIAN BANK ROBBER VADIM BELYAEV WITH HIS BILLION-DOLLAR LOOT – ON CONDITION HE PRETENDS TO ACCEPT THE RULINGS OF THE RUSSIAN COURTS

By John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Accused Russian bank robber Vadim Belyaev (lead picture) – US alias Vadim Wolfson – has won an order from the New York State Supreme Court dismissing the claims of his pursuers, National Trust Bank (NBT, Trust) and Otkritie Bank of Moscow, on condition he registers himself as a defendant in the same claims the two banks are making against him in a Moscow court. Judge Joel Cohen issued his order ending the eleven-month case on May 4. He has not published his reasons.

On the face of it, Cohen has done no more than conclude that he should concede jurisdiction over Belyaev and the bank claims to a Russian court, where proceedings are already under way. In practice, as the banks’ lawyers have pointed out in New York, whatever the Moscow courts decide, Belyaev, now living in New York, has no intention of complying with its judgements,   calculating that the US courts will not allow bank recovery of Belyaev’s ill-gotten gains so long as they are safely stored in US banks.

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“HELLO BILL, THANK YOU BILL, GOODBYE BILL” – 20 YEARS OF TALKING WITH US PRESIDENTS HAVE BEEN A WASTE OF RUSSIAN BREATH

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Vladimir Putin liked to call the White House officials he met in mid-1999 by their first names,  except for Strobe Talbott of the State Department whom he called Mister Talbott.  

That was when Putin was Secretary of the Security Council, and his direct US counterpart was the White House National Security Advisor, Samuel (Sandy) Berger. In August of that year Putin was promoted to Prime Minister, and he began to take calls from President Bill Clinton. Putin began calling him Bill at their first face-to-face meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, on September 12, 1999, It was there Putin confided that President Boris Yeltsin did things that were “simply mistakes”.

Clinton avoided calling Putin Vladimir when they spoke by telephone on January 1, 2000, after   Putin had replaced Yeltsin the night before as acting President. “Hello Vladimir”, Clinton addressed him for the first time by telephone on March 27, 2001; Putin’s election the day before had been confirmed.

The newly released Clinton-Putin records reveal a string of Putin concessions to ingratiate Clinton which went unreciprocated by the time Clinton left office in January 2001. The Clinton archive also exposes that Clinton patronised Putin, demanded, threatened, extorted, and lied his head off.

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TRANSCRIPT OF TRUMP TELEPHONE-CALL WITH PUTIN LEAKED

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

President Donald Trump telephoned President Vladimir Putin on Monday afternoon, Moscow time, to confirm he is inviting Russia to re-join the G7 summit conference at the next scheduled meeting of the group in the US.

Trump had mentioned his idea of holding a face-to-face meeting of heads of government of Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the UK and Canada on May 20, when he tweeted: “Now that our Country is ‘Transitioning back to Greatness’, I am considering rescheduling the G-7, on the same or similar date, in Washington, D.C., at the legendary Camp David. The other members are also beginning their COMEBACK. It would be a great sign to all – normalization!” Trump then spoke of a date  in late June in a telephone call with French President Emmanuel Macron on May 28. Macron agreed to the face-to-face format and to the tentative time.

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected the idea, announcing through a spokesman, Steffen Seibert, on May 30: “The federal chancellor thanks President Trump for his invitation to the G7 summit in Washington at the end of June in Washington.   As of today, considering the overall pandemic situation, she cannot agree to her personal participation, to a journey to  Washington.” The spokesman added an irony. “She will of course continue to monitor the development of the pandemic.”

Stung by Merkel, Trump told US reporters on May 31 he would postpone the G7 meeting until at least September,  and is considering the inclusion of four additional countries to the summit: Russia, Australia, India and South Korea. “I’m postponing it because I don’t feel as a G7 it probably represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries.”

On Monday Trump telephoned the Kremlin. The text of the conversation of the call has been leaked.

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IN LIBYA, TURKEY HASN’T WON YET; RUSSIA HASN’T LOST YET; THE US AND ITS PROTECTORATE OF GREECE, CYPRUS AND ISRAEL ARE LOSING EVERYTHING

by John Helmer with translation of report by Gevorg Mirzayan, Moscow 
  @bears_with

If the war in Libya continues the way Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan thinks it has gone in recent days, the Eastern Mediterranean will be a Turkish sea for the first time since Napoleon defeated the Ottomans and took Egypt and Syria between 1798 and 1801. But with Russia engaged against the Turks on the ground, in the air and at sea, not yet.

In escalation of the civil war in Libya in April and this month, Turkey has added ground forces from Syria, as well as Navy frigates, Air Force F-16s, and the capture of the Al-Watiya air base west of Tripoli. The Turkish side has now created a reinforced corridor for ship and airborne supplies of men and arms into Libya in support of the Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez al-Sarraj.   

The Greek Air Force has watched the Turks go by with aerial antics and diplomatic protests amounting to a white flag. No Greek or Cypriot military source has issued an appreciation, let alone criticism of this historic rout of the Hellenes in their own territorial waters.

Russia has reinforced the capability of the Libyan National Army of General Khalifa Haftar to deter the Turks and in an operation with MiG-29s early this week attacked a Turkish frigate off the Libyan coast and a Turkish freighter in Tripoli port.  

The US has taken the Turkish side, announcing through Army General Stephen Townsend, commander of the US Africa Command in Frankfurt: “Russia is clearly trying to tip the scales in its favor in Libya. Just like I saw them doing in Syria.”

Detailed Russian situation briefs from the General Staff’s military intelligence agency (GRU) have been appearing in Vzglyad, the internet analytical publication in Moscow. In the translation to follow, a strategic assessment by Gevorg Mirzayan indicates what is now at stake in Libya.

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TRUTH VACCINE KILLS AUSTRALIAN-AMERICAN CAMPAIGN AGAINST CHINA IN WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION DEBATE

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

A coordinated attempt by the Australian and US governments to blame China for the corona virus, and to attack the World Health Organisation (WHO) for covering this up at China’s behest,  failed when the World Health Assembly (WHA) voted on Tuesday afternoon.

The terms of the Covid-19 resolution adopted by the 194 member-state assembly declared it is up to the WHO to “initiate, at the earliest appropriate moment, and in consultation with Member States, a stepwise process of impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation, including using existing mechanisms”.

This language, originally sponsored by the European Union (EU) and Russia, repudiated the Australian demand, issued after talks with President Donald Trump (lead image, centre) on April 22,   that an investigation should be conducted independently of the WHO because “the government does not hold faith in the WHO, or its decision-making body the World Health Assembly, to lead a probe into the pandemic”.

The WHO could not be trusted to investigate itself or the origin of the Covid-19 virus, said Foreign Minister Marise Payne (lead image, centre). She does “not believe the WHO should run the inquiry,” the official told a state media organ. “It will need parties, countries to come to the table with a willingness to be transparent and to engage in that process and to ensure that we have a review mechanism in which the international community can have faith.”   The WHO, she added, “strikes me as somewhat poacher and gamekeeper”.

The terms of the resolution adopted on Tuesday also ignored the claim by Australia’s agriculture minister that the Huanan wild animal market in Wuhan was the starting point for the virus to develop in human beings. “We should be damn proud as a nation,” said David Littleproud, “that we led the world, not only on understanding what the WHO has done, but understanding what wildlife wet markets’ role is in these pandemics.”

Apart from claims broadcast by Australian and US officials to the media, there is no trace of an Australian text circulating among the WHO member states since Canberra and Washington started their campaign in April.  WHO spokesman Margaret Harris, speaking in Geneva just after Tuesday’s vote,  said no Australian draft resolution had been submitted to the WHO secretariat.  Harris also said the US had refused to join the final resolution as a sponsor, but did not publicly object when the vote was called.

David Wroe, spokesman for Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, was asked to substantiate the minister’s claims by releasing the “first Australian proposal for the text of the resolution;  the date of first introduction of the Australian text; and the texts with dates of such subsequent Australian text drafts submitted to the WHA.” He refused.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attacked the Australian-American campaign last week. “This is not a time to be crying ‘stop thief!’ and pointing fingers, it’s a time to cooperate and to develop a vaccine as soon as possible. Institutions in Europe, China, Russia, the US and many other countries are working on this… it is at least inappropriate to say that the Chinese were concealing information from the WHO, or that the WHO did not know some things, or that it knew about the coronavirus but held back information. Needless to say, nobody could imagine the developments that led to this pandemic but it’s an unprecedented situation. Doctors were acting under conditions where the experience gained from other pandemics was not enough. This pandemic proved to be much more serious. I think WHO experts must be supported and encouraged in every way rather than accused without grounds. This is especially true since the overwhelming majority of WHO Secretariat employees come from the countries that are the strongest critics of the WHO.”

On Tuesday, following the WHA vote, the Chinese government issued a statement from its embassy in Canberra. It said the terms of the Covid-19 resolution were “totally different from Australia’s proposal of an independent international review…All those who know the consultation process that led to the resolution understand this.  To claim the WHA’s resolution a vindication of Australia’s call is nothing but a joke.”

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PRESIDENT TRUMP’S LAWYERS DEFEND AGAINST IMPEACHMENT BY ARGUING HE’S A “RUSSIAN TANK KILLER” AND RUSSIA IS “SCARED” OF HIM

by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

President Donald Trump’s lawyers have presented a 171-page legal brief defending him from  impeachment charges in the trial which began this week in Washington. The brief mentions Russia a total of 41 times.

Not counting repetitions, footnotes and references, Trump’s defence accepts as proven that Trump has defended Ukraine against Russian “aggression”; is “stronger in support of Ukraine against Russia than his predecessor [President Barack Obama]; and the Russian military is “scared” of Trump’s weapons.  

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SWARM – THE RAND STRATEGY OF DESPERATE US MEASURES AGAINST RUSSIA

By John Helmer, Moscow

The US Army’s general staff has paid the RAND think-tank in California to devise a brand new plan of attack against Russia. The plan was released a month ago, on April 24.  The new idea is Operation SWARM – that means throwing everything the US can think of at Russia.

SWARM (lead image) isn’t exactly new. He started in 1977 when Spider-Man discovered SWARM was a German scientist who had survived Hitler’s defeat and escaped to South America. He wasn’t doing too well until he was irradiated by a super-collider at RAND. SWARM  moved to the East Coast of the US,  and then to Syria.  He hasn’t been doing too well against Spider-Man anyplace.

One of the reasons for the new plan is that the Pentagon generals don’t take seriously RAND’s public declaration that it’s “a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous.” The US Army, like RAND, has a narrower view of whose prosperity they aim to help, starting with themselves.

Another of the reasons is that retired State Department official James Dobbins, the lead author of the new attack-Russia plan, needs money to replace his past employment at the State Department and White House where he worked on US wars in Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia, and Afghanistan.   Equally in need of cash are his co-authors, several of whom are retirees from the intelligence and armed services. 

And finally the third reason,  as RAND concedes in several charts, is that none of the things the US Government has been throwing at Russia for the past five years has been working as intended, while the risks of BBB have been growing; that’s backfires, boomerangs and bloodshed. (more…)

THE LOVE THAT DARE NOT SPEAK ITS NAME – THE SECRET IN THE CLINTON-YELTSIN PAPERS WHICH THE KREMLIN SPOKESMAN REGRETS TO SEE EXPOSED IS THE LOVE OF SUBMISSION

By John Helmer, Moscow

The records of the relationship between President Boris Yeltsin and President Bill Clinton, declassified for public reading since July, are revolutionary, but not for the reasons the Russian and US state media, journalists and academics on both sides chose to report last week.

That Yeltsin was ingratiating, wheedling, sycophantic towards Clinton is no surprise. In  desperation to survive politically in  the first half of 1996 and cardiologically in the second half of that year  Yeltsin begged Clinton for billions of dollars and the best American heart surgeons   — this too is well-known. It was just as well-known then, and again now, that the two of them schemed for a degree of American intervention in Russian domestic politics much greater, and far more potent, than the Hillary Clinton allegations of Russian intervention in the US since 2016.

It is also no secret that Yeltsin was more fearful of Yevgeny Primakov, foreign minister (1996-98) and then prime minister (September 1998-May 1999)  than any other Russian politician of the time;  and that Yeltsin picked Sergei Kirienko to be prime minister in 1978  and Vladimir Putin prime minister in 1999 because he regarded them as obedient ciphers who would follow his orders without questioning. About Primakov to Clinton, Yeltsin had nothing good to say. By contrast, Kirienko, Yeltsin told Clinton on the telephone on April 6, 1998, was “a very vigorous politician, a very skilful politician, and I think he’ll build good rapport with [Vice President Albert] Gore.”  

Putin, Yeltsin said in a telephone call on September 9, 1999, was dependable. He is “a solid man…thorough and strong, very sociable. And he can easily have good relations and contact with people who are his partners.” In another telephone call on November 9, 1999,  Yeltsin described Putin to Clinton as “a democrat and he knows the west… He’s tough internally, and I will do everything possible for him to win, legally of course. And he will win. You’ll do business together. He will continue the Yeltsin line on democracy and economics and widen Russia’s contacts.”

The revolutionary secret to have tumbled out is that no Russian position of any importance was ever acceptable to the US; that negotiations between the presidents and their subordinates achieved nothing but Russian concessions and the American conviction that reciprocation wasn’t necessary; that this was the decade-long US strategy; and that then — and still today — negotiations between Russia and the US can never be settled except on Russian capitulation to US terms. This is revolutionary because until now the Kremlin refuses to acknowledge it.

That war is the only alternative to capitulation has obvious revolutionary implications — and not only for Russia and the US.

The second revolutionary secret to have been revealed is that these records have been eligible for declassification and public release by the Clinton Presidential Library at the ten-year mark from the record date; this means from 2006 to 2009.  The additional decade of blackout for these records has been accepted by ex-president Clinton himself and the Obama Administration, not because they favoured it, but because they asked the Russians to agree, and the Kremlin  refused. Last week  Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman,  made the point that the president was unhappy at the disclosure.     This time the Americans, according to Peskov, “did not coordinate it or hold any consultations. These [records] are not always liable to declassifying.”

The secret in the Yeltsin-Clinton archive revealed for the first time is the secret President Putin didn’t want anyone to know. Anyone Russian, that is. (more…)

WALDMAN SEQUEL: ASSANGE OFFERED TO HELP THE CIA AND THE CIA OFFERED TO HELP ASSANGE PREVENT RUSSIAN ESPIONAGE

By John Helmer, Moscow

Adam Waldman, a Washington lobbyist, was authorized by Julian Assange in March of 2017 to set up a trip to Washington for Assange, and broad terms of discussion there between Assange and US Government officials of highly sensitive intelligence information, including US offers of assistance to protect Assange from “foreign espionage risks”. By that, Waldman meant Russia.

Waldman refused last week to discuss the details of his meetings with Assange and subsequent negotiations on Assange’s behalf in Washington. Late on Monday afternoon, Washington time, Waldman was reported as telling a US reporter: “Mr. Assange offered to provide technical evidence and discussion regarding who did not engage in the DNC releases. Finally, he offered his technical expertise to the U.S. government to help address what he perceived as clear flaws in security systems that led to the loss of the U.S. cyber weapons program.” By “clear flaws” Assange appears to have meant flaws clear to Russia. (more…)

HOW MANY TURNCOATS MAKE A COVER-UP – ADAM WALDMAN, JULIAN ASSANGE, OLEG DERIPASKA AND LUKE HARDING

By John Helmer, Moscow

Over weeks and months of last year,  Adam Waldman (lead image, left), a Washington lobbyist with ties to the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton, tried to lure Julian Assange (second from left) into making incriminating admissions to benefit the Democrats’ campaign alleging Russian collusion in Clinton’s defeat by President Donald Trump.  Assange tried to use Waldman for a deal with the US Department of Justice, exchanging an offer to withhold disclosure of classified Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) documents and trade other secrets, some Russian, in exchange for a grant of immunity from US prosecution.

At the same time, Oleg Deripaska (third from left), the oligarch in control of the Russian aluminium industry, paid Waldman to offer US prosecutors information about the Trump election campaign manager Paul Manafort and others connected to the Trump campaign, including Russians,  in exchange for a US Government promise not to impose sanctions on Deripaska.  Last week Luke Harding (right), a reporter for the Guardian, a London newspaper, sold the story of Waldman’s meetings with  Assange and Deripaska as a conspiracy to advance a scheme by President Vladimir Putin to control the US Government.

Four plotters; more than four schemes; money in Waldman’s and Harding’s pockets; not a shred of  truth. (more…)

US REPRIEVE FOR RUSAL DOES NOT RELIEVE PRESIDENT PUTIN OF FATAL CHOICE FOR OLEG DERIPASKA

By John Helmer, Moscow

There are two reasons why  the aluminium metal markets are not making long-term bets on the price of the metal, the alumina required to make it, and the share prices of the metal producers, including Russia’s aluminium monopoly United Company Rusal. The first reason is that the US Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin (lead image, right) has decided to eliminate Rusal’s controlling shareholder, Oleg Deripaska (left), but leave Rusal to carry on its business without him.  The second reason is that President Vladimir Putin cannot make up his mind on whether to sacrifice Deripaska for the good of the company and Russia’s metal industry.  If Putin refuses Mnuchin’s deal, the US sanctions to put the company out of business, announced on April 6, will be enforced in full.  Pricing the consequences now of then is next to impossible.

According to Mnuchin’s statement on Monday, “RUSAL has felt the impact of U.S. sanctions because of its entanglement with Oleg Deripaska, but the U.S. government is not targeting the hardworking people who depend on RUSAL and its subsidiaries. RUSAL has approached us to petition for delisting.  Given the impact on our partners and allies, we are issuing a general license extending the maintenance and wind-down period while we consider RUSAL’s petition.”

On Tuesday Putin responded  through his spokesman  Dmitry Peskov. “so far it is difficult to say how consistent our American counterparts are in their approach. We still consider these sanctions to be illegal. We believe that in relation to a single company such actions are akin to asset grabbing.” 

That is Deripaska himself doing the talking. The only man in Russia who thinks that state recovery of a heavily indebted asset from an oligarch is an asset grab is Deripaska. Putin has yet to disagree. Mnuchin has given Putin six months until October 23 to make up his mind. (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 REVOLUTION WHICH THE US RAID ON SYRIA LAUNCHED – NO MORE US AIR SUPERIORITY MEANS EVERYONE IS ON THEIR OWN (PASS THE S-400 PLEASE)

By John Helmer, Moscow

US President Donald Trump didn’t mean to start a revolution. President Vladimir Putin tried persuading him not to. But on April 14 the revolution was launched by American warplanes, surface ships and a submarine.

The outcome is that the US can no longer count on air superiority anywhere in the world where Russian air defences operate, backed by Russian command-and-control systems. Without air superiority, the US has no force multiple on the ground of the magnitude required for the Pentagon to attack; that is, the ratio of American men and firepower the Pentagon calculates for making sure their enemies on their ground can be defeated.  

This is revolutionary, and has spread instantly to every war front — the Russian lines with NATO; the Korea-Japan front; the Taiwan Straits and South China Sea for China; and the Indian Ocean for India and Pakistan.  

The treaties which promise US allies that an attack on them will draw US military support for their collective defence – Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty (NATO), Article 4 of the Australia New Zealand US Treaty (ANZUS), Article 3 of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio), and the Japan, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Pakistan and Israel defence treaties – are dead letters.

So long, shock and awe – that was the American warfighting doctrine against people who lack Russian-standard defences. 

(more…)

UNALLOYED REFORM — SIX-POINT PLAN FOR RUSSIAN ALUMINIUM TO PROSPER, WITHOUT OLEG DERIPASKA

By John Helmer, Moscow

There are many Russian reasons why no Russian, man or woman, has trusted Oleg Deripaska (lead picture, on the wall), control shareholder and chief executive of the state aluminium monopoly Rusal (Russian Aluminium), for more than a few months at a time. The reasons have varied from business to business, contract to contract, individual to individual.  But now that the US Treasury has put Deripaska and Rusal out of business, one week before the Russian General Staff demonstrated that it can put the air forces of the US out of the attack business, the plan for the future of Rusal is simple.

There are six points under discussion in the Kremlin.  President Vladimir Putin must decide and  announce his running orders; appoint a Russian military officer with at least one tour under fire in Syria  to implement the orders;  and retire Deripaska from command of anything of state  importance.  

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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…)

FIRST OLIGARCH SANCTIONS TEST — DMITRY PUMPYANSKY TAKES NEW YORK PLUNGE, HOLDING HANDS WITH ANATOLY CHUBAIS

By John Helmer, Moscow

Dmitry Pumpyansky (lead image, left), the 53-year old oligarch who dominates the Russian steel pipes business, knows how to pay for protection.

Last week the US Treasury listed him as an oligarch whose corruption record and closeness to the Kremlin may qualify him for sanctions, according to Section 241 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). Pumpyansky is vulnerable to US asset freeze and credit cut-off because he owns steelmills, pipemills, bank accounts, and other assets in the US; about one-quarter of his sales revenues, profits and earnings are produced in the US. So why is he proposing to sell shares in his American business on the New York Stock Exchange in a few weeks’ time?

There are three answers. One is that Pumpyansky’s American business is the only loss-maker in his group, so he is selling the Americans a pup.  The second is that the American banks underwriting the initial public offering (IPO) of what is titled IPSCO Tubulars Inc. are also large lenders to the business;  so they are recovering their money, and reducing the risk that sanctions against Pumpyansky would hurt them in future. Finally, Pumpyansky is paying Anatoly Chubais (lead image, right) to influence US Government officials not to penalize Pumpyansky. Chubais, a board director of Pumpyansky’s parent company in Moscow, has been the American candidate for ruling Russia since he ran the state privatization programme from 1992; President Boris Yeltsin’s Kremlin; and then the breakup and selloff of the Russian electricity system. Chubais is the only powerful Russian state company official not to be named on last week’s US Treasury list. (more…)

US GOVERNMENT RIDDLE: WHY ARE SO MANY DOGS NOT BARKING? BECAUSE THE CAATSA GOT THEIR TONGUES

By John Helmer, Moscow

As midnight tolled in Washington, DC, and January 29 slid into January 30, the deadline for the US Government to produce a report to the Congress listing Russian oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin slipped by in the darkness. No dog barked.*

Required by the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), enacted with President Donald Trump’s signature last August, the oligarch report was not produced on time. Nor were three other reports – one on sanctions for Russian sovereign debt issues, one on sanctions for business with the Russian defense sector, and one on the extent to which Russian state banks and state asset holdings have re-nationalized key sectors of the Russian economy, such as banking, insurance, real estate, and ports.     

There was no press release from the White House, the US Treasury, or the State Department. The  House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which are responsible for administering CAATSA, made no announcement of  what had happened, and  not happened. Despite a media blitz in advance of the deadline, anticipating the release of dozens of Russian oligarch names as potential targets for fresh US sanctions, not a single mainstream US newspaper or broadcaster reported the failure of the list to materialize.

(more…)

OLEG DERIPASKA’S DUAL ALIBI — NAÏVE DUPE OF PAUL MANAFORT, FAITHFUL SERVANT OF VLADIMIR PUTIN (AND VICTOR YANUKOVICH)

By John Helmer, Moscow

On January 10, Oleg Deripaska (lead image, front left), the Russian oligarch who controls the state aluminium monopoly Rusal and electricity producer EN+, ordered his personal lawyers, Bryan Cave, into the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan. There, court papers reveal that Deripaska is charging Paul Manafort (rear left) and his associates with “fraud, gross negligence, blatant disloyalty, and rapacious self-dealing”. Deripaska’s allegation is that between April and July of 2008 he was swindled out of $26.3 million.

The court papers represent Deripaska to be a naïve partner in a business in Odessa, Ukraine, for which Deripaska did no due diligence; took no security over assets; kept no records; saw no accounts; and did nothing at all for almost a decade.  In the New York court papers, Deripaska confesses himself to be unable to manage the smallest of businesses, let alone several multi-billion dollar enterprises vital to the economic security of the Russian state.

“Of course, Oleg Vladimirovich doesn’t think that,” responds a Russian business figure who knows Deripaska well. “This is Deripaska’s alibi in case his name is listed as one of the oligarchs liable for the next round of US sanctions. He is saying he hasn’t been buying favour from Americans close to [President Donald] Trump; he says they have cheated him. And if Deripaska’s name turns out not to be on the new US list, it’s also his alibi when the Kremlin asks why.”

“The Russian oligarchs are between the hammer and the anvil,” explains an international banker who has served on a leading Russian corporation board. “It’s bad enough if the coming US sanctions list puts their US business and assets at risk. It’s even worse if they aren’t on the list, and [President Vladimir] Putin suspects them of disloyalty and of cutting a secret deal with the Americans.” (more…)

OLEG DERIPASKA’S NEWEST DISAPPEARING TRICK – EN+ SHARE PRICE DIVES AFTER PROSPECTUS DRAWS NO COMMERCIAL DEMAND; VTB REQUIRED TO FINANCE CHINESE SHARE BUYER

By John Helmer, Moscow

Last week, the first week in the life of Russia’s EN+ Group on the London Stock Exchange, Oleg Deripaska (lead images), control shareholder and chief executive, took $500 million in cash for himself, then triggered a $112 million loss for the other shareholders led by the Russian state bank, VTB.  

This followed an investigation by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) of EN+’s application to list and trade global depositary receipts (GDRs) instead of ordinary shares,  which Deripaska will not be listing at all.  Approval for the listing on the London exchange was given on condition that Deripaska published a series of investment warnings and liability disclaimers at the head of the EN+ prospectus, which was issued on November 3. In capital letters, investors were warned: INVESTMENT IN THE GDRS [of EN+] INVOLVES A HIGH DEGREE OF RISK. PROSPECTIVE INVESTORS SHOULD READ THE ENTIRE PROSPECTUS, PARTICULARLY, THE SECTION HEADED ‘‘RISK FACTORS’’, WHEN CONSIDERING AN INVESTMENT IN THE COMPANY.”

London sources say the market took this warning so seriously, there is almost no investor  demand for the shares. Sold to a group of insiders at $14 before trading commenced last week, the issue of 112.1 million shares fell towards $12.80 before price support was observed. At a current price of $13 per GDR (equals one ordinary share) $112.1 million in market capitalization has already been lost. (more…)

AMERICAN LAWYERS TRY SELLING SBERBANK LAWSUIT TO MH17 VICTIMS

By John Helmer, Moscow

A new group of US lawyers has advertised its services for suing the Russian state bank Sberbank, claiming they will earn large cash settlements for families of those killed when the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. The law firm is known as Motley Rice, headquartered in South Carolina, and the lawyer leading the advertisement to sue is Michael Elsner (lead image, top).

Motley Rice claims to be a specialist in aircraft crash cases and aviation liability, and two other lawyers in the firm, Mary Schiavo and James Brauchle, have advertised their expertise on the MH17 case in the US press. But they are keeping their pitch for a US court attack on Sberbank secret. (more…)

YOU CAN’T TRICK A TRICKSTER IF YOU ARE RUSSIAN — RUSSIAN PROSECUTOR-GENERAL THANKS US ATTORNEY-GENERAL FOR FBI INVESTIGATION OF GEORGE PAPADOPOULOS, PAUL MANAFORT

By John Helmer, Moscow

Russia’s criminal prosecution authorities have expressed their appreciation for the indictments published in Washington on Monday of the alleged US criminals Paul Manafort and Richard Gates, and the admitted criminal, George Papadopoulos.

The Russians have also requested cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and special prosecutor Robert Mueller III to identify three Russian criminals who are suspected, according to the US court papers,  of the crimes of pretending to be a niece of President Vladimir Putin; of inventing their acquaintance with the Russian ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko;  and of fabricating a Foreign Ministry invitation to Donald Trump to make an official visit to Russia during run-up to the presidential election of 2016.

Sources familiar with the thinking of Yury Chaika, Russia’s Prosecutor-General, acknowledge that under Russian law, pretending without obtaining money or other material gain, is more difficult to prosecute in a Russian court than in a US court. “Hustling, as you call it in America,” said one of the sources, “is an immoral practice. In Russian it’s called lying, but we don’t have enough jails for Russians who do it, nor clinics for those who allow themselves to be deceived. But America is a rich country with more jails.  If Mr Papadopoulos is to be imprisoned for inventing stories, we aren’t sure if his Russian accomplices will suffer the same fate under our constitution and criminal code. We request the names from the FBI which collected them, so that our police can follow up.” (more…)

LUNATIC RUSSIA-HATING IN WASHINGTON IS 70 YEARS OLD. IT STARTED WITH JOSEPH ALSOP, GEORGE KENNAN AND THE WASHINGTON POST

By John Helmer, Moscow

Joseph Alsop (lead image, centre) and George Kennan (right) started the kind of Russia-hating in Washington which,  today, President Vladimir Putin, like the businessmen around him,  think of as a novelty that cannot last for long.

Alsop was a fake news fabricator, and such a narcissist as to give the bow-ties he wore a bad name. Kennan was a psychopath who alternated bouts of aggression to prove himself with bouts of depression over his cowardice. For them, Russia was a suitable target. The Washington Post was the newspaper which gave their lunacy public asylum. This, according to a fresh history by a university professor from California, started in 1947, long before the arrival in Washington of the anti-communist phobia known after the name of Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Russia-hating was an American upper-class phenomenon, cultivated in the offices, cocktail parties, clubs, and mansions of the deep state, as it emerged out of World War II. It needed a new enemy to thrive; it fastened on Russia (aka the Soviet Union) as the enemy.

McCarthyism was an American lower-class phenomenon. It focused on the loyalty or disloyalty of the upper-class deep-staters. That wasn’t the same thing as Russia-hating; Wall Street bankers, Boston lawyers, homosexuals, Jews, communists, were all the enemy. As the Senator from Wisconsin characterized it himself in 1952, “McCarthyism is Americanism with its sleeves rolled.” He implied – without a middle-class tie; certainly not an upper-class bow-tie.

Russia was not an enemy which united the two American lunacies, for they hated each other much more than they hated the Russians. The Soviet Politburo understood this better then than the Kremlin does now. (more…)

JARED KUSHNER’S TESTIMONIAL TO STUPIDITY AND UNFITNESS – AMERICAN AND RUSSIAN

By John Helmer, Moscow

Jared Kushner’s title is Director of the Office of American Innovation at the White House, a new function for the old one of overseeing everything in the US Government for the benefit of the incumbent president. He’s also ranked Senior Advisor to the President, and by marriage he is son-in-law to President Donald Trump. 

Stupidity isn’t a crime; it’s a life sentence. Not so for power. Supposing everything Kushner has written in his presentation to the US Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday is true, then one conclusion from a half-dozen bits of evidence he testifies to is obvious – Kushner is unfit to rule, and so are the Russians whom he mentions. (more…)

THE IMPROPER ASSOCIATION (MAYBE CRIME) OF VICTOR PINCHUK WITH HILLARY, BILL AND CHELSEA CLINTON, COVERED UP BY THE US MEDIA, US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, AND THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND

By John Helmer, Moscow

Never in the field of American conflict with Russia has so much wool pulled over the eyes been owed to so few sheep.  That was during the losing presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. Now, in the investigations of President Donald Trump and his family, it’s a case of so many sheep producing so little wool. (more…)

MELANIA TRUMP AND SIGABA ALLOW PUTIN TO DECODE TRUMP = TRUMP TOO DEFECTIVE AND IMPOTENT TO MAKE OR KEEP AGREEMENTS, STATE DEPARTMENT WORKING GROUPS ARE LAST HOPE

By John Helmer, Moscow

Thousands of years after spies were invented, and thirty years before the digital computer, there was SIGABA (lead image), an electric motor-powered mechanical apparatus for ciphering and protecting one’s communications from being intercepted or overheard by one’s enemies.

Invented by two employees of the US National Security Agency, secretly patented in 1944 but not declassified until 2001, its name was assigned by the US Army which used it throughout World War II. The Germans called it the American Big Machine, but they couldn’t break its rotor system for coding . The Germans had their own version of the electric-motor cipher machine called Enigma,  but it was broken by the Poles and British. Whether the Soviets had broken SIGABA or Enigma  isn’t known for sure; probably not. What is certain is that they were more successful at using spies instead of machines.

So it comes as a surprise that last week in Germany, President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump agreed, in front of their respective foreign ministers, to form a working group of their subordinates to devise a scheme for protecting them both from the most modern machines for cracking ciphers. That’s to say, machines operated by their enemies. The working group won’t be allowed to share details of the machines they currently use on each other.

How pointless the working-group agreement will be was revealed unexpectedly for the Russians,  halfway  into their talks, when the president’s wife, Melania Trump, knocked on the meeting-room door, and came in to make sure her husband hadn’t been cracked by Putin. She suggested it was time for Trump to leave.

This break-in is unprecedented in the history of more than two centuries of American-Russian state negotiations.  Unreported by most US media, but corroborated by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Melania Trump cracked her husband’s code in front of America’s enemies.  This is what Putin meant when he told the press that at the meeting with Trump, he had discovered “Mr Trump’s television image is very different from the real person.” (more…)

AFTERSHOCK OF NORD STREAM EXPLOSIONS RUMBLES WARSAW — POLISH POLITICIANS GO “NUTTERS”

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The Polish government in Warsaw, facing re-election in less than a year, wants all the credit from Washington for their joint operation to sabotage the Nord Stream gas pipelines on the Baltic seabed.

It also wants to intimidate the German chancellor in Berlin, and deter both American and German officials from plotting a takeover by the Polish opposition party, Civic Platform, next year.

Blaming the Russians for the attack is their cover story. Attacking anyone who doesn’t believe it, including Poles and Germans, Warsaw officials and their supporting media claim they are dupes or agents of Russian disinformation.

Their rivals, Civic Platform (PO) politicians trailing the PiS in the polls by seven percentage points,   want Polish voters to think that no credit for the Nord Stream attack should be earned by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party. They also want to divert  the Russian counter-attack from Warsaw to Washington.

“Thank you USA” was the first Polish political declaration tweeted hours after the blasts by Radoslaw Sikorski (lead image, left), the PO’s former defence and foreign minister, now a European Parliament deputy. In support and justification,  his old friend and PO ministerial colleague, Roman Giertych, warned Sikorski’s critics: “Would you nutters prefer that the Russians find us guilty?”

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THE BORNHOLM BLOW-UP REPEATS THE BORNHOLM BASH — POLAND ATTACKS GERMANY AND BLAMES RUSSIA

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The military operation on Monday night which fired munitions to blow holes in the Nord Stream I and Nord Stream II pipelines on the Baltic Sea floor, near Bornholm Island,  was executed by the Polish Navy and special forces.

It was aided by the Danish and Swedish military; planned and coordinated with US intelligence and technical support; and approved by the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

The operation is a repeat of the Bornholm Bash operation of April 2021, which attempted to sabotage Russian vessels laying the gas pipes, but ended in ignominious retreat by the Polish forces. That was a direct attack on Russia. This time the attack is targeting the Germans, especially the business and union lobby and the East German voters, with a scheme to blame Moscow for the troubles they already have — and their troubles to come with winter.

Morawiecki is bluffing. “It is a very strange coincidence,” he has announced, “that on the same day that the Baltic Gas Pipeline  opens, someone is most likely committing an act of sabotage. This shows what means the Russians can resort to in order to destabilize Europe. They are to blame for the very high gas prices”.   The truth bubbling up from the seabed at Bornholm is the opposite of what Morawiecki says.

But the political value to Morawiecki, already running for the Polish election in eleven months’ time, is his government’s claim to have solved all of Poland’s needs for gas and electricity through the winter — when he knows that won’t come true.  

Inaugurating the 21-year old Baltic Pipe project from the Norwegian and Danish gas networks, Morawiecki announced: “This gas pipeline is the end of the era of dependence on Russian gas. It is also a gas pipeline of security, sovereignty and freedom not only for Polish, but in the future, also for others…[Opposition Civic Platform leader Donald] Tusk’s government preferred Russian gas. They wanted to conclude a deal with the Russians even by 2045…thanks to the Baltic Pipe, extraction from Polish deposits,  LNG supply from the USA and Qatar, as well as interconnection with its neighbours, Poland is now secured in terms of gas supplies.”

Civic Platform’s former defence and foreign minister Radek Sikorski also celebrated the Bornholm Blow-up. “As we say in Polish, a small thing, but so much joy”.  “Thank you USA,” Sikorski added,   diverting the credit for the operation, away from domestic rival Morawiecki to President Joseph Biden; he had publicly threatened to sabotage the line in February.  Biden’s ambassador in Warsaw is also backing Sikorski’s Civic Platform party to replace  Morawiecki next year.  

The attack not only escalates the Polish election campaign. It also continues the Morawiecki government’s plan to attack Germany, first by reviving the reparations claim for the invasion and occupation of 1939-45;  and second, by targeting alleged German complicity, corruption,  and appeasement in the Russian scheme to rule Europe at Poland’s expense. .

“The appeasement policy towards Putin”, announced PISM, the official government think tank in Warsaw in June,  “is part of an American attempt to free itself from its obligations of maintaining peace in Europe. The bargain is that Americans will allow Putin to finish building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in exchange for Putin’s commitment not use it to blackmail Eastern Europe. Sounds convincing? Sounds like something you heard before? It’s not without reason that Winston Churchill commented on the American decision-making process: ‘Americans can always be trusted to do the right thing, once all other possibilities have been exhausted.’ However, by pursuing such a policy now, the Biden administration takes even more responsibility for the security of Europe, including Ukraine, which is the stake for subsequent American mistakes.”

“Where does this place Poland? Almost 18 years ago the Federal Republic of Germany, our European ally, decided to prioritize its own business interests with Putin’s Russia over solidarity and cooperation with allies in Central Europe. It was a wrong decision to make and all Polish governments – regardless of political differences – communicated this clearly and forcefully to Berlin. But since Putin succeeded in corrupting the German elite and already decided to pay the price of infamy, ignoring the Polish objections was the only strategy Germany was left with.”

The explosions at Bornholm are the new Polish strike for war in Europe against Chancellor Olaf Scholz. So far the Chancellery in Berlin is silent, tellingly.

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LEMONS, MIMOSAS, AND STALIN’S SHOVEL

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The only Russian leader in a thousand years who was a genuine gardener and who allowed himself to be recorded with a shovel in his hand was Joseph Stalin (lead image, mid-1930s). Compared to Stalin, the honouring of the new British king Charles III as a gardener pales into imitativeness and pretension.   

Stalin cultivated lemon trees and flowering mimosas at his Gagra dacha  by the Black Sea in Abkhazia.  Growing mimosas (acacias) is tricky. No plantsman serving the monarchs in London or at Versailles has made a go of it in four hundred years. Even in the most favourable climates, mimosas – there are almost six hundred varieties of them — are short-lived. They can revive after bushfires; they can go into sudden death for no apparent reason. Russians know nothing of this – they love them for their blossom and scent, and give bouquets of them to celebrate the arrival of spring.

Stalin didn’t attempt the near-impossible, to grow lemons and other fruit in the Moscow climate. That was the sort of thing which the Kremlin noblemen did to impress the tsar and compete in conspicuous affluence with each other. At Kuskovo, now in the eastern district of Moscow, Count Pyotr Sheremetyev built a heated orangerie between 1761 and 1762, where he protected his lemons, pomegranates, peaches, olives, and almonds, baskets of which he would present in mid-winter to the Empress Catherine the Great and many others. The spade work was done by serfs. Sheremetyev beat the French king Louis XIV to the punch – his first orangerie at Versailles wasn’t built until 1763.

Stalin also had a dacha at Kuskovo But he cultivated his lemons and mimosas seventeen hundred  kilometres to the south where they reminded him of home in Georgia. Doing his own spade work wasn’t Stalin showing off, as Charles III does in his gardens, like Louis XIV before him. Stalin’s spade work was what he had done in his youth. It also illustrated his message – “I’m showing you how to work”, he would tell visitors surprised to see him with the shovel.  As to his mimosas, Stalin’s Abkhazian confidante, Akaki Mgeladze, claimed in his memoirs that Stalin intended them as another lesson. “How Muscovites love mimosas, they stand in queues for them” he reportedly told him.  “Think how to grow more to make the Muscovites happy!”

In the new war with the US and its allies in Europe, Stalin’s lessons of the shovel and the mimosas are being re-learned in conditions which Stalin never knew – how to fight the war for survival and at the same time keep everyone happy with flowers on the dining table.

(more…)

AND THEN THERE WERE NONE

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Agatha Christie’s whodunit entitled And Then There Were None – the concluding words of the children’s counting rhyme — is reputed to be the world’s best-selling mystery story.    

There’s no mystery now about the war of Europe and North America against Russia; it is the continuation of Germany’s war of 1939-45 and the war aims of the General Staff in Washington since 1943. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) and President Vladimir Putin (right) both said it plainly enough this week.

There is also no mystery in the decision-making in Moscow of the President and the Defense Minister, the General Staff, and the others; it is the continuation of the Stavka of 1941-45.  

Just because there is no mystery about this, it doesn’t follow that it should be reported publicly, debated in the State Duma, speculated and advertised by bloggers, podcasters, and twitterers.  In war what should not be said cannot be said. When the war ends, then there will be none.  

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RUSSIANS RAISE THEIR GLASSES – THE TOAST IS TO BEATING THE BLOCKADE OF MOSCOW



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Alas and alack for the Berlin Blockade of 1948-49 (Berliner Luftbrücke): those were the days when the Germans waved their salutes against the unification of Germany demilitarised and denazified; and cheered instead for their alliance with the US and British armies to fight another seventy years of war in order to achieve what they and Adolf Hitler hadn’t managed, but which they now hope to achieve under  Olaf Scholtz — the defeat of the Russian Army and the destruction of Russia.

How little the Germans have changed.

But alas and alack — the Blockade now is the one they and the NATO armies aim to enforce against Russia. “We are drawing up a new National Security Strategy,” according to Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. “We are taking even the most severe scenarios seriously.”  By severe Baerbock means nuclear. The new German generation — she has also declared “now these grandparents, mothers, fathers and their children sit at the kitchen table and discuss rearmament.”  

So, for Russia to survive the continuation of this war, the Germans and their army must be fought and defeated again. That’s the toast of Russian people as they salute the intrepid flyers who are beating the Moscow Blockade.  

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THE INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY GOES TO WAR — GORILLA RADIO GOES NUCLEAR

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Last week the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) board of governors voted to go to war with Russia by a vote of 26 member countries against 9.

China, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Senegal and South Africa voted against war with Russia.  

The IAEA Secretary-General Rafael Grossi (lead image, left) has refused to tell the press whether a simple majority of votes (18) or a super-majority of two-thirds (23) was required by the agency charter for the vote; he also wouldn’t say which countries voted for or against. The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres then covered up for what had happened by telling the press: “I believe that [IAEA’s] independence that exists and must be preserved is essential. The IAEA cannot be the instrument of parties against other parties.” The IAEA vote for war made a liar of Guterres.

In the IAEA’s 65-year history, Resolution Number 58, the war vote of September 15, 2022,  is the first time the agency has taken one side in a war between member countries when nuclear reactors have either been attacked or threatened with attack. It is also the first time the IAEA has attacked one of its member states, Russia, when its military were attempting to protect and secure a nuclear reactor from attack by another member state, the Ukraine, and its war allies, the US, NATO and the European Union states. The vote followed the first-ever IAEA inspection of a nuclear reactor while it was under active artillery fire and troop assault.

There is a first time for everything but this is the end of the IAEA. On to the scrap heap of good intentions and international treaties, the IAEA is following the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and the UN Secretary-General himself.  Listen to this discussion of the past history when the IAEA responded quite differently following the Iranian and Israeli air-bombing attacks on the Iraqi nuclear reactor known as Osirak, and later, the attacks on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons sites.

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INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY TAKES UKRAINE SIDE IN WAR IN SEPTEMBER 15 VOTE, MAKING UN SECRETARY-GENERAL GUTERRES EITHER A LIAR OR A FOOL

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) decided this week to take the side of Ukraine in the current war; blame Russia for the shelling of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP); and issue a demand for Russia to surrender the plant to the Kiev regime “to regain full control over all nuclear facilities within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders, including the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant.”      

This is the most dramatic shift by the United Nations (UN) nuclear power regulator in the 65-year history of the organisation based in Vienna.

The terms of the IAEA Resolution Number 58, which were proposed early this week by the Polish and Canadian governors on the agency board, were known in advance by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres when he spoke by telephone with President Vladimir Putin in the late afternoon of September 14, before the vote was taken. Guterres did not reveal what he already knew would be the IAEA action the next day.  

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THE RUSSIAN SITUATION COMEDY IS NO LYING MATTER – THE JOKE IS ON THE OFFICE OF FOREIGN ASSETS CONTROL

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Never mind that King Solomon said proverbially three thousand years ago, “a merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”  

With seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, Solomon realized he was the inventor of the situation comedy. If not for the sitcom as his medicine, the bodily and psychological stress Old Solly had to endure in the bedroom would have killed him long before he made it to his death bed at eighty years of age,  after ruling his kingdom for forty of them.

After the British sitcom died in the 1990s, the subsequent stress has not only killed very large numbers of ordinary people. It has culminated today in a system of rule according to which a comic king in Buckingham Palace must now manage the first prime minister in Westminster  history to be her own joke.

Even the Norwegians, the unfunniest people in Europe, have acknowledged that the only way to attract the British as tourists, was to pay John Cleese of Monty Python and Fawlty Towers to make them laugh at Norway itself.   This has been a bigger success for the locals than for the visitors, boosting the fjord boatman’s life expectancy several years ahead of the British tourist’s.  

In fact, Norwegian scientists studying a sample of 54,000 of their countrymen have proved that spending the state budget on public health and social welfare will only work effectively if the population is laughing all the way to the grave. “The cognitive component of the sense of humour is positively associated with survival from mortality related to CVD [cardio-vascular disease] and infections in women and with infection-related mortality in men” – Norwegian doctors reported in 2016. Never mind the Viking English:  the Norwegian point is the same as Solomon’s that “a sense of humour is a health-protecting cognitive coping resource” – especially if you’ve got cancer.  

The Russians understand this better than the Norwegians or the British.  Laughter is an antidote to the war propaganda coming from abroad, as Lexus and Vovan have been demonstrating.   The Russian sitcom is also surviving in its classic form to match the best of the British sitcoms, all now dead – Fawlty Towers (d. 1975), Black Adder (d. 1989), You Rang M’Lord? (d. 1988), Jeeves and Wooster (d. 1990), Oh Dr Beeching! (d.1995), and Thin Blue Line (d. 1996).

The Russian situation comedies, alive and well on TV screens and internet streaming devices across the country, are also increasingly profitable business for their production and broadcast companies – not despite the war but because of it. This has transformed the Russian media industry’s calculation of profitability by removing US and European-made films and television series, as well as advertising revenues from Nestlé, PepsiCo, Mars, and Bayer. In their place powerful  Russian video-on-demand (VOD) streaming platform companies like Yandex (KinoPoisk), MTS (Kion),  Mail.ru (VK), and Ivi (Leonid Boguslavsky, ProfMedia, Baring Vostok)  are now intensifying the competition for audience with traditional television channels and film studios for domestic audiences.  The revenue base of the VOD platforms is less vulnerable to advertisers, more dependent on telecommunications subscriptions.

Russian script writers, cameramen, actors, designers, and directors are now in shorter supply than ever before, and earning more money.  “It’s the Russian New Wave,” claims Olga Filipuk, head of media content for Yandex, the powerful leader of the new film production platforms; its  controlling shareholder and chief executive were sanctioned last year.  

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RUSSIAN AVIATION INDUSTRY CORRECTS YELTSIN YAW – BOEING, AIRBUS DITCHED



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

It was the American humourist Mark Twain who didn’t die in 1897 when it was reported that he had. Twain had thirteen more lively years to go.

The death of the Russian aerospace and aviation industry in the present war is proving to be an even greater exaggeration – and the life to come will be much longer. From the Russian point of view, the death which the sanctions have inflicted is that of the US, European and British offensive against the Soviet-era industry which President Boris Yeltsin (lead image, left) and his advisers encouraged from 1991.

Since 2014, when the sanctions war began, the question of what Moscow would do when the supply of original aircraft components was first threatened, then prohibited, has been answered. The answer began at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 1947 when the first  Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) or Parts Manufacturing Approval (PMA) was issued by Washington officials for aircraft parts or components meeting the airworthiness standards but manufactured by sources which were not the original suppliers.   

China has been quicker to implement this practice; Chinese state and commercial enterprises have been producing PMA components for Boeing and Airbus aircraft in the Chinese airline fleets for many years.  The Russian Transport Ministry has followed suit; in its certification process and airworthiness regulations it has used the abbreviation RMA, Cyrillic for PMA. This process has been accelerating as the sanctions war has escalated.

So has the Russian process of replacing foreign imports entirely.

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FOR WANT OF A NAIL THE KINGDOM WAS LOST – ENGLISH PATHOLOGIST GUY RUTTY FACES CHALLENGE TO THE RELIABILITY OF HIS NOVICHOK EVIDENCE



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The weakest link in the British government’s four-year long story of Russian Novichok assassination operations in the UK – prelude to the current war – is an English medical expert by the name of Guy Rutty (lead image, standing).

A government-appointed pathologist advising the Home Office, police, and county coroners, Rutty is the head of the East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit in Leicester,  he is the author of a post-mortem report, dated November 29, 2018,  claiming that the only fatality in the history of the Novichok nerve agent (lead image, document), Dawn Sturgess, had died of Novichok poisoning on July 8, 2018. Rutty’s finding was added four months after initial post-mortem results and a coroner’s cremation certificate stopped short of confirming that Novichok had been the cause of her death.

Rutty’s Novichok finding was a state secret for more than two years. It was revealed publicly   by the second government coroner to investigate Sturgess’s death, Dame Heather Hallett, at a public hearing in London on March 30, 2021. In written evidence it was reported that “on 17th July 2018, Professor Guy Rutty MBE, a Home Office Registered Forensic Pathologist conducted an independent post-mortem examination. He was accompanied by Dr Phillip Lumb, also an independent Home Office Registered Forensic Pathologist. Professor Rutty’s Post-Mortem Report of 29th November 2018 records the cause of death as Ia Post cardiac arrest hypoxic brain injury and intracerebral haemorrhage; Ib Novichok toxicity.”  

Hallett, Rutty, Lumb, and others engaged by the government to work on the Novichok case have refused to answer questions about the post-mortem investigations which followed immediately after Sturgess’s death was reported at Salisbury District Hospital; and a cause of death report signed by the Wiltshire Country coroner David Ridley, when Sturgess’s body was released to her family for funeral and cremation on July 30, 2018.  

After another three years, Ridley was replaced as coroner in the case by Hallett in March 2021. Hallett was replaced by Lord Anthony Hughes (lead image, sitting) in March 2022.

The cause-of-death documents remain state secrets. “As you have no formal role in the inquest proceedings,” Hallett’s and Rutty’s spokesman Martin Smith said on May 17, 2021, “it would not be appropriate to provide you with the information that you have requested.” 

Since then official leaks have revealed that Rutty had been despatched by the Home Office in London to take charge of the Sturgess post-mortem, and Lumb ordered not to undertake an autopsy or draw conclusions on the cause of Sturgess’s death until Rutty arrived. Why? The sources are not saying whether the two forensic professors differed in their interpretation of the evidence; and if so, whether the published excerpt of Rutty’s report of Novichok poisoning is the full story.   

New developments in the official investigation of Sturgess’s death, now directed by Hughes, have removed the state secrecy cover for Rutty, Lumb, and other medical specialists who attended the post-mortem on July 17, 2018. The appointment by Hughes of a London lawyer, Adam Chapman, to represent Sergei and Yulia Skripal, opens these post-mortem documents to the Skripals, along with the cremation certificate, and related hospital, ambulance and laboratory records. Chapman’s role is “appropriate” – Smith’s term – for the Skripals to cross-examine Rutty and Lumb and add independent expert evidence.

Hughes’s appointment of another lawyer, Emilie Pottle (lead image, top left), to act on behalf of the three Russian military officers accused of the Novichok attack exposes this evidence to testing at the same forensic standard. According to Hughes,  it is Pottle’s “responsibility for ensuring that the inquiry takes all reasonable steps to test the  evidence connecting those Russian nationals to Ms Sturgess’s death.” Pottle’s responsibility is to  cross-examine Rutty and Lumb.

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