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By John Helmer, Moscow

One of the leading war strategists in London, professor to general staff officers and warfighters on both sides of the Atlantic, has lost his brain to an advanced cyber technology designed by the American and British military to win wars by frightening their adversaries into capitulation for fear of being destroyed. The new weapon appears to have backfired because it has destroyed the British strategist’s capability to take seriously what his enemy is thinking. The calculation required for fighting has been lost because the strategist has self-destructed.

Sir Lawrence Freedman (lead images) is the victim of this warp weapon; the evidence is the new book he published a few weeks ago. It’s called The Future of War, A History,  “In his new book,” according to a British intelligence veteran, “Freedman repeated everything we and the Americans, especially the Americans, have given him over the years.  But the outcome is what we might call an overdose of Novischlock.” (more…)

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By Christopher Black, Toronto

“It is clear the US is pushing the battle line to our door … We can completely regard the US arrest of Meng Wanzhou as a declaration of war against China.”

So read an editorial in the Global Times of China on December 6, the day after Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of the Chinese company Huawei was taken hostage by the Canadian and American governments on December 1. The daughter of the founder of China’s largest telecommunications company was arbitrarily arrested and detained by Canadian police in Vancouver in transit between planes on December 1 on the pretext of a US extradition request.

The arrest has shocked and angered China while in Canada the large Chinese population must wonder how safe they are.

The background to the arrest is fairly simple. Huawei has become a global competitor in the global telephone market and their 5G phones are cutting-edge technology and so not welcomed by competing phone companies in the US, Japan, South Korea, France, and Sweden; they are so afraid of the competition that they and their governments have spread stories that the phones are loaded with spyware and are “a danger to national security.” The company has even been threatened by the US and allied governments with criminal charges in America’s increasingly hostile economic war against China,  alongside its increasing military pressure, provocations and insults. It’s one way to control the market. But now, acting as a mafia they have kidnapped, detained, and hold hostage a Chinese woman whose simple crime is going to work every day. The lack of outcry from women’s rights groups in the west is,  not surprisingly, deafening. (more…)

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By John Helmer, Moscow

Please recognize, if not in yourselves then in others, that there is pleasure in hating.

“The pleasure of hating”,  William Hazlitt, an English writer  of two hundred years ago*, compared this to what the British Prime Minister of today calls a novichok – “a poisonous mineral, [which] eats into the heart of religion, and turns it to rankling spleen and bigotry; it makes patriotism an excuse for carrying fire, pestilence, and famine into other lands: it leaves to virtue nothing but the spirit of censoriousness, and a narrow, jealous, inquisitorial watchfulness over the actions and motives of others.”

If not stopped in politics,   this pleasure of hating leads with certainty to violence and war.  The pleasure of hating Russia and Russians is what today is driving the United States to putting all of Europe in war. (more…)

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By John Helmer, Moscow

One side of a well-used coin is the maxim that truth is the first casualty of war. The other side of the coin is that lying is the first weapon of war. According to the ancient Chinese general Sun Tzu, that’s because all warfare is based on deception. He meant that lying – propaganda, camouflage, false flags, disinformation, infowar, cyber war — is a precondition for winning battles at least, if not wars. As the US military learned since Vietnam, lying is no guarantee of winning.

In this valuable compendium of research on how the US war on Ukraine started in 2014, and why, Kees van der Pijl, a Dutch professor who has taught in England since 2000, spells out his case that the destruction of Ukraine, like the shooting-down of MH17, is the means to a bigger strategic end. “Just as Gorbachev was forced to sign the act of capitulation in 1991,” van der Pijl argues, “the current Western campaign against’Putin’ aims at a complete surrender of Russia; that is, pro-Western regime change in Moscow – a process which the Trump presidency has effectively been compelled to continue.”

Even if that’s a war the US can’t win or will lose, van der Pijl’s conclusion is there’s no stopping the war now. Certainly, truth-telling won’t do the trick because “there are no instances of the United States withdrawing from a warlike posture.”

The first remarkable thing about the book is that it has been published at all. (more…)

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By John Helmer, Moscow

The semi-annual sale of Russian art works in London last week produced signs of stable demand without pessimism for the future. Compared to the estimated valuations in the auction house catalogues, unusually high prices were realized in the bidding for objets d’art, such as miniatures of 18th century Russian court notables; porcelain vases, plates and kovshs (ladles); and icons.

London art market experts expressed surprise there was more profit in objects than paintings, but unsure who the buyers were. “The bigger lots were bought on the telephone,” reported one dealer in the auction room.  According to an auction house source, “supply is limited, as many sellers are waiting for higher prices.  And that means auction houses have to take what they are given, rather than trying to build a balanced sale.  It’s also why the total on sale was down.  Still, better works did sell and sell quite well.”

William MacDougall commented for his house: “the Russian art market continues to overcome the difficulties of low oil prices and sanctions.” (more…)

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By John Helmer, Moscow

It will be thirty years later this month since a bomb exploded on board Pan American Flight PA 103 (lead image, left), en route from London to New York. The false narrative of the British and US governments, contrived at the time to blame Libya and warrant the overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, required  falsification of evidence and the conviction in a rigged court proceeding of the wrong man. It has also required spying to disrupt the efforts of the families of those killed to uncover the truth.

The extent of that operation was exposed last week in a partial release of British Government documents from the UK’s National Archives. Among the spy operations revealed were telephone taps, hacking into computers, and interference with emails. 

The archive disclosures also show that the same modus operandi has been under way since 2014 to fabricate blame for the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 (lead image, right) over Ukraine, and justify global sanctions against Russia, plus operations to overthrow President Vladimir Putin.

But thirty years of state secrets to warrant state lying aren’t long enough to hold those responsible for the lies to account, or for the truth to prevail against them. (more…)

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By John Helmer, Moscow

Toward foreign enemies, for the first time in a generation, Russian officials have suspended talk of warnings, serious consequences, gravest consequences, red lines, cross-hairs,  and proportionate response;  they have allowed force to speak instead.    

This supersedes the evidence of position, manoeuvre, prior communication, and international law, details of which are still being debated over the incidents of last Sunday off the Crimean coast between Russian and Ukrainian forces. The message of the Russian armed forces command – Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, the General Staff, the Defence Ministry, the Border Force of the Federal Security Service (FSB); in short, the Stavka – is clear and unequivocal:  anyone approaching Russian territory with hostile intent will be shot. There is an important corollary: the Russian side reserves the right to decide unilaterally what is hostile intent.

President Vladimir Putin kept silent for three days. There had been an “invasion”, Putin told a  Moscow conference on Wednesday,  of “Russian territorial waters”. It had been contrived by Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko to boost his presidential election prospects with domestic voters, and “to sell anti-Russian sentiments” to the US and European Union. “If [the Ukrainians] want babies for breakfast, they’ll probably get babies too.”

Russia’s enemies in the western media have personalized Russian policy in the figure of Putin for so long, the significance of his reticence this time is being missed. “As we’ve seen repeatedly before, from the Crimea incidents of March 2014 to the Il-20 downing in September,” a Moscow source in the position to know comments, “the force of circumstances has overwhelmed Putin’s reluctance. He’s not speaking here of ‘understanding’, as he did recently of the Israeli Air Force. When Russian force talks, it’s no longer Putin.” (more…)

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By John Helmer, Moscow

With a recently reported circulation of almost 300,000, Private Eye of London is the largest-selling serious affairs magazine in the United Kingdom; it is also the last investigative publication in the country in which truth is the standard.  Its editor, Ian Hislop, is paid to clown on British Broadcasting Corporation radio and television; he also pays investigators to bite the hand which feeds him.

He and his predecessor editors have employed a columnist, pen-named Slicker (real name Michael Gillard),  who is the only investigative journalist in the UK publishing regularly and forensically on the frauds, larcenies, and other crimes and lies ignored or covered up by the mainstream financial media, starting with the Financial Times.

There has been just one topic about which Private Eye, Hislop and Slicker have dropped all pretence at investigation, let alone truth.  Private Eye is as Russia-hating as the rest of  its British bedfellows. That explains why it has resurrected the case of Vladimir Chernukhin v. Oleg Deripaska, as if it has only recently discovered the two-year old High Court records, and is ignorant of the Russian media investigations of Chernukhin stretching back for more than a decade.  What Private Eye has failed to investigate is how Chernukhin has been able to import and invest a fortune in the UK, with the imprimatur of the British Government, financial regulators, and banks – a fortune whose origin when he was a state official in Moscow Chernukhin declines to explain.  (more…)

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By John Helmer, Moscow

With a recently reported circulation of almost 300,000, Private Eye of London is the largest-selling serious affairs magazine in the United Kingdom; it is also the last investigative publication in the country in which truth is the standard.  Its editor, Ian Hislop, is paid to clown on British Broadcasting Corporation radio and television; he also pays investigators to bite the hand which feeds him.

He and his predecessor editors have employed a columnist, pen-named Slicker (real name Michael Gillard),  who is the only investigative journalist in the UK publishing regularly and forensically on the frauds, larcenies, and other crimes and lies ignored or covered up by the mainstream financial media, starting with the Financial Times.

There has been just one topic about which Private Eye, Hislop and Slicker have dropped all pretence at investigation, let alone truth.  Private Eye is as Russia-hating as the rest of  its British bedfellows. That explains why it has resurrected the case of Vladimir Chernukhin v. Oleg Deripaska, as if it has only recently discovered the two-year old High Court records, and is ignorant of the Russian media investigations of Chernukhin stretching back for more than a decade.  What Private Eye has failed to investigate is how Chernukhin has been able to import and invest a fortune in the UK, with the imprimatur of the British Government, financial regulators, and banks – a fortune whose origin when he was a state official in Moscow Chernukhin declines to explain.  (more…)

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By John Helmer, Moscow

A British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) film, broadcast on Thursday evening, has presented the first direct evidence of Wiltshire Police Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, the investigating officer who  inspected the home of Sergei and Yulia Skripal about eleven hours after they were exposed, allegedly to the nerve agent Novichok sprayed on their home’s outside door-handle.

Bailey’s testimony corrects some of the British press misreporting and internet speculation about the circumstances of his exposure. But Bailey’s statements, along with other claims broadcast by the BCC, raise new doubts; they settle none of the key forensic questions of who delivered the poison; where Bailey and the Skripals, Sergei and his daughter Yulia, were exposed; what the poison was and where it came from. Importantly, Bailey’s description of his symptoms leading to his hospitalization bears almost no resemblance to the symptoms of the Skripals, and of the Salisbury couple , Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley, who were hospitalized in Salisbury for exposure to Novichok on June 30. Sturgess is the only one of the four victims who died.

The BBC’s interviewing of the chief police officer leading the investigation, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, also exposes two vital pieces of evidence for judging the credibility of  the British Government’s charge that the poisoning was a Russian state operation carried out by agents of Russian military intelligence,  the GRU. Haydon does not claim, and the BBC fails to show, any CCTV evidence that the two alleged GRU assassins, Ruslan Boshirov (Anatoly Chepiga) and Alexander Petrov (Alexander Mishkin), came directly to the Skripals’ home to administer the poison to the door-handle. Instead, Haydon acknowledged there may have been others – one or more – in the poison attack.  

Haydon also fails to say that the traces of the poison police later discovered at the London hotel room occupied by Russian duo  were of the same agent as had been found in the bloodstreams of the four victims in Salisbury. Instead, Haydon equivocated. The London evidence, he told the BBC,  were “traces of Novichok which is the same type of Novichok that linked it to the Salisbury poisoning.”

The 59-minute film bills itself as the “inside story” of the Skripal case, almost ten months after the March 4, 2018, incidents in Salisbury.  The BBC’s print report can be read here.   Watch the film here on BBC I-player by clicking.  

For the most detailed analysis available and for a point-by-point forensic challenge to the British police and media versions of the case, follow Rob Slane’s Blogmire coverage. For additional analysis of what the publicly displayed evidence, including Yulia Skripal’s statements, mean according to British legal standards, read this. 

Det. Sgt. Bailey has not spoken in public since the March 4 incidents. His appearances in the BBC film indicate that about four hours after the Skripals were hospitalized, Bailey discussed the case with fellow officers at their station. Bailey then decided, he now says (min. 03:51) “I will have a wander down there.” He was referring to the park bench in the centre of the town where the Skripals had been found. According to Bailey, “there was nothing around the bench we could see.” Bailey was at the scene at about 8 pm, according to the BBC.

Four hours later, after the police had identified Skripal, Bailey and two other policemen went to the house (min. 06:48). They donned “full forensic suits”, including gloves and face masks. Bailey says he was the first of the three to enter the house; the BBC film reconstruction shows just two men entering the house and shining torches. Bailey reports “the house was in darkness. It just looked normal. There was nothing untoward”. The police trio then left the house, took off their forensic suits, “bagged them up”, and returned to the police station. Bailey describes feeling initial symptoms of sweating and pin-prick pupils. He says he returned home that night, early Monday. He was not hospitalized until the next day – more than 24 hours later.

There are two major questions from Bailey’s testimony. Although two other policemen entered the house, also in forensic gear, the movements of the other two, including their contact with the outer door-handle and with objects in the house, have not been disclosed. The implication is that they have suffered no symptoms.

Whether their kit has subsequently revealed traces of the same poison as attacked Bailey is bound to be known to the police; it has not been revealed by the BBC. Nothing in Bailey’s statements to the BBC indicates that he believes he was contaminated by the door-handle. That is the theory of the policeman heading the investigation in London, Commissioner Haydon.

Left: Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, Wiltshire Police; right, Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Dean Haydon; for more details on Haydon, read this. 

Asked how he believes he could have been exposed, Bailey says (min. 31:21): “I don’t know whether it’s gone through the gloves. I could have adjusted my face mask.” No evidence of the subsequent analysis of the gloves, inside or out, has been disclosed.

Haydon was not asked to explain.  Haydon also presents his account of the poison on the door-handle as his theory of the crime.  At no point in the film does Haydon, other police, the intelligence services spokesman, or “Professor Tim”, the BBC’s expert from Porton Down, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, identify their evidence that the door-handle or another object at the Skripal house was contaminated.

Instead, the Porton Down spokesman says (min. 09:32): “we identified that the material was a nerve agent called Novichok.” The “material” isn’t in any identifiable chain of evidence required by standard British criminal investigation and prosecution. It appears to have been found by Porton Down analysis of the blood samples taken from the Skripals and Bailey at Salisbury Hospital.

The BBC reconstruction now claims the Skripals were at home on the Sunday afternoon, March 4, when the poison was applied to their outside door-handle. The BBC also claims the Skripals left their house at 1:30. Although all published expert evidence about Novichok indicates it is deadly and fast-acting, there is no explanation by the BBC film of the three-hour interval after the Skripals left home,  before they showed symptoms;  nor of the 11-hour interval before Bailey was first exposed.  Also, Bailey confirms it was more than 24 hours before his symptoms deteriorated to the point where he and his wife decided to go to hospital.

There are also serious discrepancies between the symptoms of Novichok reported for the Skripals and the later victims Sturgess and Rowley, and those which Bailey reports for himself. Vil Mirzayanov, the Soviet researcher who claims to have been the developer of Novichok in the 1980s, before he moved to the US, enumerated the symptoms for the BBC. They start, he said (min. 12:00), with sudden blindness, followed by difficulty breathing, then constant vomiting and “uncontrollable convulsions”.

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/ — min. 12:00.

Witnesses in the Salisbury city centre who responded to the Skripals in collapse, confirm most of these symptoms. A friend of Sturgess and Rowley, who witnessed Sturgess being taken from her home by ambulance men and was present when Rowley fell ill, told the BBC both were foaming at the mouth and displaying convulsions. Bailey’s symptoms, according to the account he has given, were none of these.

The BBC has labelled its version of the attack a “reconstruction” using actors, props, and film shot in Salisbury spliced together.  The BBC voice-over claims “it is CCTV that unlocks the mystery of who tries to kill [Sergei Skripal]”. Haydon then tells the BBC the police had combed through more than eleven thousand hours of CCTV.  He also claims this process achieved a “gotcha moment of – we identified the two attackers. We were now on to them” (min. 43:24). The film claims to show the Skripal door-handle being sprayed with Novichok from a dispenser made to appear to be a perfume bottle (Min. 44:54). Haydon for the Metropolitan Police does not claim to have CCTV evidence of the alleged attackers at the Skripal house or on their street.    He says: “these two individuals were around where the two Skripals actually lived” (min. 43:30) – he doesn’t say when; he doesn’t show the pictures.

The BBC displays one CCTV picture of the two Russians “on the way to the Skripals’ home”, according to Haydon’s commentary. The frame’s time identification shows it was then 11:58:49. If Haydon’s evidence is accurate, that is more than 90 minutes before the Skripals suffered the alleged attack. Multiple independent calculations reported from Salisbury place the location of this CCTV image at less than 5 minutes’ walk from the Skripal house. If the BBC reconstruction is accurate, the attackers were arriving at the scene of the crime much too early. At that time, the alleged assassins were risking detection for themselves and discovery of their weapon;  or if they arrived early and got clean away, the dilution and loss of lethal effect for their poison.

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/ — min.44:35.

According to Haydon, “they would have been there for, literally, a matter of seconds” (min. 45:05).  Earlier British press reports have quoted their police sources as claiming that “about an hour after the attack, at 1.05pm, they [Russian attackers] were in the city centre on Fisherton Street, according to the British authorities.”   The BBC version of Haydon’s evidence doesn’t identify when the door-handle was sprayed.  

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/ — min.44:54.

In the BBC reconstruction of the crime, the Skripals were contaminated at 1:30,  as “father and daughter head out for lunch” (min. 45:13).  It is now uncertain whether the poison had been on the handle for an hour or more.

Haydon’s commentary is that “ Sergei came out first of all; he got Novichok on his hands [plural], and then Yulia came out second, and then she also got Novichok on her hands [plural]” (min. 45:00).

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/ — min. 45:15.

In the reconstruction, the Sergei figure is bare-handed when he touches the outside door-handle to close the door. The Yulia figure doesn’t touch the handle and appears to be wearing gloves.