- Print This Post Print This Post



by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

A ruling by the Administrative Court of Appeal in Stockholm last week to keep the biochemical contents of Alexei Navalny’s blood secret has created new evidence for Russian prosecutors in Moscow that Navalny has actively collaborated with foreign governments to fabricate the  allegation that President Vladimir Putin attempted to kill him with a Novichok nerve agent.

Responding to a request by Mats Nilsson, a Stockholm lawyer, the appeal court ruled that a multi-page report on Navalny’s blood sampling and testing by the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) and communications interpreting Navalny’s blood contents between Swedish analysts, the German Defence Ministry,  and other NATO officials, are state secrets. They cannot be released publicly, the court wrote Nilsson on January 14, because declassification and publication “will damage Sweden’s relationships with a foreign power”.

The Stockholm appeal court did not identify the foreign power; it is clear from a public statement by the Swedish laboratory official in charge of the testing, Åsa Scott, that it is definitely not Russia.  Scott is head of FOI’s department for Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) protection and security.  

The Stockholm court also rejected Nilsson’s request for release of all Scott’s emails between August 20, the date of Navalny’s collapse on a flight between Tomsk and Moscow, and September 15.

On September 15, Scott issued a press release announcing:  “FOI confirms German results on Novichok”. According to Scott, “I can confirm that we at FOI in Umeå have conducted an analysis on behalf of our German partners. Our analysis confirms the earlier German results. The blood sample from Mr. Navalny did unequivocally contain a nerve agent from the Novichok group.”

What the Swedish government officials did not anticipate at the time was that on December 22, a group of German doctors who had been treating Navalny at the Charité hospital in Berlin, would release their own biochemical analysis of Navalny’s blood, tested by the Germans on September 5; that was the same day the Swedes have reported taking their blood samples from Navalny in Berlin. The German testing, published in the British medical journal The Lancet, on December 22,  revealed that Navalny’s blood on September 5 showed a level of butyryl cholinesterase so close to normal  it would have been impossible for the Swedish laboratory to substantiate Scott’s press announcement.

The Swedish secret,  which last week’s Stockholm court ruling has attempted to make lawful,   is that there was insufficient evidence of Novichok as the cause of the cholinesterase inhibition effect which Navalny has called a Kremlin assassination attempt.

Independent toxicology and biochemistry experts believe the comparison of Navalny’s blood testing by the Germans on September 5 and by the Swedes on the same day proves there was no discoverable trace of Novichok in his blood that day. They also believe that by the time the Swedes began their analysis of the blood, there would also have been no trace of the lithium, benzodiazepamines and other drugs in Navalny’s blood, which, two weeks earlier,  may have caused the sharp drop in his cholinesterase scores and triggered his collapse.

The Swedish black-out is of a black hole — the state secret is that the Swedish laboratory found  no evidence of Novichok.  

But now, for Navalny to continue making his allegation is exposed by the Swedish court judgement to show he is providing “assistance rendered to a foreign State, a foreign organization, or their representatives in hostile activities to the detriment of the external security of the Russian Federation, committed by a citizen of the Russian Federation”. This is the wording in the Russian Criminal Code Article 275 for the crime of treason.  If convicted, Navalny faces a prison term of 12 to 20 years.

(more…)

- Print This Post Print This Post



by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

How they are hanging is not a question usually asked of the President of the United States in the Oval Office, unless you are an intimate friend of his, or an interior decorator on the make.

There are far fewer of the former than of the latter, so whenever a president changes, the decorators make sure their changes are displayed too.  

Some presidents like their office décor to show they have balls. The gold lamé curtains hung by Donald Trump behind the Resolute desk  mesmerized the editor of the Financial Times and his staff when they were granted their first interview with Trump in April 2017; the president issued a threat to attack North Korea.

(more…)

- Print This Post Print This Post



by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Alexei Navalny would have suffered from dramatic cholinesterase inhibition effects from the combination of drugs he took before his collapse and hospitalisation in Omsk on August 20, and before these drugs were detected in his blood and urine on his admission to the Charité – Universitätsmedizin in Berlin on August 22.

European medical sources report the lithium found by the Berlin doctors in Navalny’s blood is commonly used to treat bipolar disorders. It is known to depress the butyryl cholinesterase which Navalny’s laboratory testing also revealed in the German hospital.

According to a leading medical psychiatrist treating patients for depression and  bipolar disorder,  if Navalny was also being treated to stabilise his insulin level with the well-known Metformin, that drug is known to be a cholinesterase inhibitor.

When Navalny appears in a Moscow court, his full medical records, including the laboratory tests recorded at Omsk Emergency Hospital No. 1 before he left for Germany, are likely to be produced in evidence. His previous medical history, including reported episodes of acute pancreatitis and  diabetes, which Navalny’s spokesmen have denied, is also likely to be revealed.  

At stake is a courtroom test of Navalny’s allegation that he was attacked with a Novichok nerve agent by men of the Federal Security Service (FSB). Also at stake is a forensic test of the  medical evidence of Russian, German and other doctors that Navalny “collapsed because of the drugs he was taking”, as the expert source on the use and abuse of benzodiazepines   says he suspects.

The western government case is that Navalny was the target of the crime of attempted murder,  and that a Russian-made Novichok was the weapon used. The Russian government case is that the medical evidence is of a metabolic crisis caused by the combination of alcohol, lithium,  and benzos taken by Navalny himself.  

If the Russian prosecutors also charge Navalny with assisting the German intelligence agency BND, the CIA,  MI6, and the Bellingcat propaganda unit to fabricate the Novichok story, Navalny will face Article 275 of the Russian Criminal Code. That’s the crime of treason – “assistance rendered to a foreign State, a foreign organization, or their representatives in hostile activities to the detriment of the external security of the Russian Federation, committed by a citizen of the Russian Federation.”

(more…)

- Print This Post Print This Post



by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

“Wherefore, by their fruits”, according to the Gospel writer’s version of the well-known warning, “ye shall know them”. In the attack on the website which occurred over last evening, it is wherefore by their pigeon fruit that we have worked out who the birds were,  and what they intended.



- Print This Post Print This Post



by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

(more…)

- Print This Post Print This Post

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The German laboratory test results for Alexei Navalny, published by a group of doctors at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin last month, reveal a surprising number of medical  symptoms, but they are not those of  Novichok nerve agent poisoning as Navalny and his supporters in western governments  have alleged.

Clinical doctors, toxicologists, and pharmacology experts outside Germany believe the test results which the Charité group released on December 22 reveal symptoms of acute pancreatitis, diabetes, liver failure, severe dehydration, muscular rigidity, as well as a serious bacterial infection, and a possible heart attack associated with his kidney problems.  According to the experts, these are not recognisable symptoms of a nerve agent attack.  

The German medical publication reports Navalny’s “laboratory values on admission”, and toxicology and pharmacology results “in blood and urine samples obtained on arrival of the patient of the patient at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (day 3)”. Accordingly, the newly available data are evidence of the condition Navalny was in during his two-day treatment in Omsk Emergency Hospital No. 1 in Russia; and of the treatment he received there, as well as during his six-hour flight on a German medical evacuation aircraft from Omsk to Berlin.

The German doctors have also released a tabulation of their laboratory test results for Navalny during 33 days of his stay in the Charité hospital, and a subsequent visit to the hospital as an outpatient. The four data tables are described by the Germans as following “the supposed poisoning of the patient”. The doctors don’t wish to sign their names to this “supposing”.

(more…)

- Print This Post Print This Post



by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

In the US war for regime change in Russia, Christmas dinner for the oligarchs was President Vladimir Putin’s idea in 2014 for demonstrating that he was in command of their loyalty for a price the oligarchs were afraid to test. By 2019, the occasion had been turned into an afternoon tea ceremony in which the oligarchs confirmed for Putin the price he must pay if he isn’t to lose them to the other side.  

In 2014 there were 45 guests at the party. In 2017 the invitation list had swelled to 63; a year ago it was 60. As the years have gone by, and the US campaign for regime change escalated, the Kremlin has grown more reluctant to reveal who was invited, who was not.

Because the US Treasury and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)  have rationalised their sanctions on individual Russian businessmen as aiming at those judged to be closest to Putin – to pit them against him —  the oligarchs and the President have agreed that when they raise their glasses at their annual toast for the New Year, they prefer their presence to remain a state secret.

This week the Kremlin spokesman was as coy as ever. “Wait for the announcement on the web site”, he said. Alexander Shokhin, president of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), the oligarchs’ lobby, acknowledged that time for this year’s party was running out, and that he himself “had not shown any initiative, and there had been no information coming from the Kremlin.” 

Putin has not been meeting face-to-face with groups of individuals for months now because of the Covid-19 precautions. This week he made two exceptions; the first for a visit to the National Defence Control Centre where he gave a speech on military priorities to the  Defense Ministry Board;  the second for a visit and speech at the headquarters of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), in celebration of the agency’s 100th anniversary.

The military and the intelligence services have been far more hostile to the oligarchs than Putin himself. The US Treasury has discreetly acknowledged this. Of the Treasury’s 96 “list of oligarchs” first reported to the US Congress on January 30, 2018, only 11 have been sanctioned to date. Another 3 are under Russian indictment for bank fraud and are on the run in Cyprus  or the UK.  One has been charged with cheating the US Internal Revenue Service and is fighting extradition to the US from his home in London

(more…)

- Print This Post Print This Post

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

A clinical report of treatment of Alexei Navalny in the Charité Clinic in Berlin reveals that the  atropine treatment by Russian doctors at the Omsk Emergency Hospital Number 1 was the same as provided to Navalny by the Germans. No evidence was detected by the Germans of a poison attack on Navalny in the Omsk hospital, as Navalny and the western press have recently alleged.

The British medical journal, The Lancet, published a four-page clinical case report on December 22. It is signed by fourteen doctors, including Kai-Uwe Eckardt (lead image, centre), the head of the Charité clinic’s treatment unit who was publicly thanked by Navalny on October 7.  Eckardt and David Steindl (lead image, right) are the principal authors; Eckhardt is a specialist on diabetes and kidney transplants. Steindl is a specialist on musculo-skeletal pathologies.  

Although the German doctors refer in passing to the treatment of the Salisbury incidents involving Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March 2018, there has been no comparable clinical evidence from the British doctors in public. The German doctors do not report communicating  with the British.

The Berlin medical report also reveals that a German doctor was at Navalny’s bedside, making tests and reporting the results back to Berlin, without Russian government interference or control, on the afternoon of August 21, the day after after Navalny’s hospitalisation in Omsk.   

The Berlin doctors now admit they did not detect organo-phosphate poisoning in Navalny’s blood, urine or on his skin; they tested no water bottle or clothing evidence which had been brought to Berlin by Navalny’s staff on the evacuation aircraft.  They also acknowledge they did not know what might have caused “severe poisoning with a cholinesterase inhibitor” until the German armed forces laboratory in Munich reported the Novichok allegation “2 weeks later”.

(more…)

- Print This Post Print This Post



by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

To believe what the US State Department is saying officially, and the Department is doing, the US is now at war with Russia; withdrawing from Russia as many of its personnel as possible; keeping this quiet.

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo made the announcement on Friday evening: “I can’t say much more as we’re still unpacking precisely what it is, and I’m sure some of it will remain classified. This was a very significant effort, and I think it’s the case that now we can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity.” Pompeo is referring to the penetration through SolarWinds software of computer systems of many US Government departments, including the intelligence agencies, the Pentagon and the Treasury, and reportedly thousands of other federal, state, and municipal government entities, as well private corporations.   

Asked if President Donald Trump would be making an announcement Pompeo said that sometimes “the wiser course of action to protect the American people is to calmly go about your business and defend freedom.” Trump attempted to put himself in control a day later: “The Cyber Hack is far greater in the Fake News Media than in actuality. I have been fully briefed and everything is well under control.”  Then Trump hinted at a contradiction, both of Pompeo and of himself. Media fear-mongering for commercial motive was the problem, he added:  “Russia, Russia, Russia is the priority chant when anything happens because Lamestream is, for mostly financial reasons, petrified of… discussing the possibility that it may be China (it may!).” Trump’s personal motive was in his last line: “There could also have been a hit on our ridiculous voting machines during the election, which is now obvious that I won big, making it an even more corrupted embarrassment for the USA.”

At the same time as Pompeo’s declaration, State announced the remaining two US consulates in Russia, at Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg, will be evacuated, leaving nothing more than a skeleton staff at the Embassy in Moscow.  The official statement said:  “the resulting realignment of personnel at U.S. Embassy Moscow will allow us to advance our foreign policy interests in Russia in the most effective and safe manner possible,”  

Pompeo’s declaration means four things. The first is that it no longer matters whether the story of the SolarWinds hack, allegedly commencing nine months ago and revealed publicly on December 13,  is true or false;  whether the evidence to substantiate Russian espionage success will be made public or not. Notwithstanding, it is now US Government policy that Russia has invaded the US Government and acquired code supremacy.

What this means – the second of Pompeo’s concessions — is that the US Government is now in the position of the German Reich of Adolf Hitler and the German military from July 1941; that was after the British had cracked the Enigma machine ciphers, and were reading in almost real time the German war machine’s intentions, plans, and operations.

The third point to understand from Pompeo is that there is now only one secret the US Government is able to keep: this is that the US Government has no secrets from Russia. Fear that the adversary has taken code control is redoubled by Trump’s attempt to say otherwise.  

The fourth point is not one Pompeo acknowledged or can understand himself; it is the consequence in Moscow, in the politics of the Russian leadership. There is now no one left in the Kremlin who does not understand and accept that the US is at war with Russia, perpetual war, and this cannot be negotiated to an armistice, treaty  terms for non-aggression, or capitulation by either side. This is the end of the line for the US faction in domestic Russian politics – Dmitry Medvedev, Alexei Kudrin, Anatoly Chubais, and others. It is the end for the pro-American opposition led by Alexei Navalny, from now on in permanent exile in Berlin. It is also curtains for those Russian oligarchs whose secret collaboration with the US Government can be secret no longer.

(more…)

- Print This Post Print This Post

by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Since the Gulf of Tonkin incident of August 4, 1964, off the coast of Vietnam,  the US Government has believed it has needed a lie, voted by a majority of the US Congress, to launch a war. Not since then has the Congress doubted, or the rest of us accepted, that a war-starting fabrication like that one will always succeed in Washington to start the war.

Nor has the truth of the incident — however delayed in discovery — brought the war to an end;  nor inhibited the war party from starting the next one. Force deters or ends wars; truth does neither.

“This is virtually a declaration of war by Russia on the United States and we should take that seriously,” declared Richard Durbin, the chief whip of the Democratic Party in the US Senate  on December 12, a month after he won election to a fifth term.

Durbin was referring to US government and media reports of the operation allegedly conducted  by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) to penetrate the SolarWinds company software installations in US Government computers.   What is unusual about this alleged attack is that there has been no confirmed damage, no casualty, no loss, reported Reuters “according to three of the people familiar with the matter”.

The New York Times claimed: “the broad Russian espionage attack on the U.S. government and private companies, underway since spring and detected only a few weeks ago, is among the greatest intelligence failures of modern times.” But the newspaper qualified this by adding it didn’t know this for sure. “The sweep of stolen data is still being assessed…Investigators were struggling to determine the extent to which the military, intelligence community and nuclear laboratories were affected by the highly sophisticated attack.”     This followed months of investigation:  “investigators spent Monday [December 14] trying to understand the extent of the damage.”

Durbin — born in 1944 to a Ukrainian mother and Irish father — was just out of short pants when the Gulf of Tonkin incident was staged by the Johnson Administration to commence its full-scale ground, air and naval war against North Vietnam and the Vietcong. There hasn’t been a war since then which Durbin didn’t vote for.

Except for a difference of wording to start the war against Iraq in October 2002.  When the Senate considered the authorising resolution to launch that one and topple Saddam Hussein, Durbin proposed amending the authorisation to limit the use of US force against an “imminent threat” posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction – if they existed – instead of the “continuing threat to the national security of the United States” represented by Iraq. Durbin’s amendment was defeated by 70 votes to 30.

When it comes to war against Russia, Durbin no longer distinguishes between “imminent threat” and “continuing threat”.  Durbin now says: “Russia is relentlessly trying to invade America’s cyberspace, Durbin added, and this latest hack proves they are having at least some success. We must start taking Russia’s ongoing threats to our democracy more seriously.”

In this US war against Russia’s “ongoing threats”, there is no limit to the Russian targets which the US and allies will attack – with Durbin’s approval – and no restriction on the lies required to justify the war.

This is what we have to look forward to in the new year.

(more…)