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DwB_1791v

By John Helmer, Moscow

Victoria Nuland (lead image, right), the US official in charge of regime change in Russia, Ukraine, and Europe, has repeated her tactics, this time to put pressure on the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left).

The opening of a secret US indictment on March 21, after years of inaction, followed the arrest in Florida of Reza Zarrab on March 19. The moves have been interpreted by officials in Moscow, Nicosia and Ankara as a carbon-copy of the law enforcement scheme applied against Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash following the putsch in Kiev which ousted Firtash’s ally, President Victor Yanukovich, in February 2014. US litigation to threaten Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has also been attempted by Nuland for several months.

The arrest of Zarrab in the US, comments a Russian political analyst, Andrei Manoilo, is more pinch than putsch. “It is not so much an attempt by Washington to remove Erdogan through squeezing Zarrab for secret information about the financial relationships Erdogan has had with Iran; as it reflects the desire to put Erdogan on a new leash, and make him better controllable and dependent on the will of the United States.”
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DwB_1792

By John Helmer, Moscow

Mikhail Fridman, the control shareholder of a large Russian banking, telecommunications, grocery, and oil and gas group, has held another lunch with the Financial Times to demonstrate that he doesn’t want to answer questions about the risks to his assets in the Ukraine, where he was born and where he remains the largest individual Russian investor; in the United States, where his Vimpelcom company is listed on the NASDAQ exchange and recently pleaded guilty to corruption charges; in London, where his asset holding LetterOne is now based; or in Russia which has issued his passport. At a London restaurant interview published on April 2, Fridman has also lunched to demonstrate what the Financial Times (FT) reported at its first lunch with him, on March 15, 2003, as “ our newspaper’s reputation for independence…supported by a strict separation of editorial from advertising.”

“The only separation the FT makes is between money and power”, responds a Moscow publisher. “The FT hates Russian power, but loves Russian money. Without inhibition, it advertises both, and calls the product a newspaper.”
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dwB_1790_отредактировано-1

By John Helmer, Moscow

A US Government effort to advance Turkish interests on Cyprus, and block Russia’s relationship with the government in Nicosia, has become the newest campaign of Victoria Nuland (lead image, left), the Assistant Secretary of State in charge of Ukraine and the campaign for regime change in Moscow. The target of the fresh campaign, according to media reporting in Cyprus, is President Nicos Anastasiades. After warning Anastasiades to stay away from Moscow a year ago, Nuland has been back to Nicosia twice – in September, and then again in December – with a combination of threats and rewards to get Anastasiades to submit.

The rewards include new US arms and financing for the Cypriot security forces, ending the 24-year American military embargo on the island. The threats are aimed at terms which Anastasiades and his foreign minister, Ioannis Kasoulides, have been negotiating with President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for an expansion of Russian military supplies, port and airforce facilities in Cyprus; and for increased trade and investment to overcome European Union (EU) sanctions.

According to the Cyprus Mail, a long-time promoter of Anglo-American interests on the island, Anastasiades is being pressured, not by the US, but by the Kremlin. Russia “does not want him to sign a settlement of the Cyprus problem,” the newspaper reported last week. The Cyprus Mail was reacting to growing concern among high-ranking Cyprus officials and members of parliament at evidence of Cyprus corruption spilling out of a New York court case.

This is the case pursued by Leonid Lebedev, a Russian politician and businessman on the run from Russian fraud charges. Lebedev, a Cyprus citizen since 2011, now lives in homes in Limassol and Los Angeles. According to the reported speculation in Cyprus, the evidence in the Lebedev case is “a warning to Nik[os Anastasiades] that more revelations would follow, if he did not hold back on the Cyprus talks.” Whether Lebedev’s “revelations” are a Russian threat, or one of Nuland’s, Cyprus sources say they aren’t sure.
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dwb_1787_отредактировано-1

By John Helmer, Moscow

When empires collapse, it’s the death of the big beasts that is noticed first. In time, it’s the midgets of the empire which tell the longer story of the breaks in evolution. Just so, thirty-five million years before the dinosaurs made their exit, several Mesozoic creatures fell into pine resin, and have been preserved as fossilized amber for us to analyse how they came to their end.

One of them is the microwhip scorpion (Electrokoenenia yaksha). His problem was that his stinger caused a lot of prehistoric pain — until his victims found the antidote for him. Today, petrified in amber, you wonder how such a pinprick of a creature could have caused such mischief.

To make sure that the defeat of the American empire in the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe, will be preserved to tell the tale, the US Senate has proposed a $40 million fund for embalming its warriors. In fossil form, our descendants may decide to pin them to their bosoms as jewellery. For us, Senate Bill No. 2692 is a reassurance that there will be a keepsake of the last remaining lies of the US Government in its warfare against the rest of the world. Introduced a week ago, on March 16, the bill is titled the Countering Information Warfare Act of 2016. But is $40 million enough to obscure the fact that noone in the civilized world believes the United States Government any longer?
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DwB_1786_1

By John Helmer, Moscow

It’s not often that a king of venerable line comes to Moscow to bargain over the price of a tangerine. It’s also unusual that President Vladimir Putin tells his state guest that he doesn’t understand why the trade between their two countries has fallen sharply. That’s a question which should have been answered in his briefing papers, especially since the trade has already begun to recover strongly. So what exactly did King Mohammed VI of Morocco negotiate with President Putin at the Kremlin last week?
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DwB_1784

By John Helmer, Moscow

Rusal announced on March 9 that its earnings for 2015 were up, and its profit too. But Rusal’s share price, listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, shot downwards by one of the largest one-day falls in months.

Hong Kong Exchange sources say the Rusal share is so illiquid, there is no real market demand, and so there is no response to good news – or to bad. Rusal insiders say the reason for this month’s share price collapse is that Moscow took a two-day holiday on March 7 and 8, and the company’s share operators were still asleep when the price in Hong Kong began to fall. They didn’t wake up in time to stop the decline, as they usually do in the Hong Kong afternoon, Moscow morning. If that sounds like stock price manipulation in violation of the exchange rules, the insider says it is.
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DwB_1785

By John Helmer, Moscow

Washington, DC, is not a death penalty state. So the local authorities don’t know how to put someone to death judicially. They also don’t have the knack of knowing when a death has been caused by a crime. That is what the Metropolitan Police Department and the Office of the Medical Examiner were saying when they released last week a 5-line report on the death of Mikhail Lesin (lead image, left), the former Kremlin media official, who died at a Washington hotel four months earlier, on November 5.

The long investigation and the short announcement have been coordinated with the State Department’s official in charge of Russia, Victoria Nuland (right). Her spokesman revealed on Friday that she wants the world to think a crime was committed even if it was not. “I’m not going to speak to an ongoing criminal investigation”, the spokesman announced, before adjusting the remark . “Okay, okay. I used the word ‘criminal investigation’ inappropriately. It is an investigation by the Metropolitan Police Department. Let me correct my transcript right now. That investigation is ongoing and I’m not going to get ahead of it.” Getting ahead of it is exactly what the State Department is doing.

According to a US lawyer active in Russian and American litigation, “if Lesin was murdered, the State Department, if not CIA and NSA, must have been aware of this shortly thereafter. It is inconceivable that the DC police department would be so incompetent not to be aware he was murdered or to have notified the federal government.”

So the death of Lesin has become a case of rounding up the usual suspects to be accused in the press of a murder there is no evidence actually happened. It is now US Government policy not to tell the difference between a fact and a fiction, or in the case of Nuland, a factotum.
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1783

By John Helmer, Moscow

It was a marching song in 1915: “What’s the use of worrying? It never was worthwhile, so Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag, And smile, smile, smile.” Three more years of war in Europe obliterated the smiles, and also the song.

Under pressure from the US campaigns on the Ukraine and Syrian fronts, in the propaganda media, and on the international capital markets, the Russian home front is marching with dwindling income and growing fear. There is no smiling. But the political impact is stable support for President Vladimir Putin; growing support for ministers regarded as fighting effectively against the foreign enemy; and weakening support for ministers seen to be pro-American, like Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. If you invest in the Russian grocery basket, this tune will grow on you.
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DwB_1782

By John Helmer, Moscow

For Women’s Day, Mark Kurtser has a secret present for Russian women. His gynecology, obstetrics and maternal care company, Mother & Child (aka MD Medical Group, MDMG), is offering medical services at a rising price in cities across the country where the local governments have been persuaded to close down the publicly funded alternative. If you want a baby in Russia, Kurtser is saying, the state can’t be trusted to deliver.

What is secret about this is that the international stock market thinks Kurtser’s pitch is such an unlikely sell, it has slashed MDMG’s London share price to one-third in three years. Sales revenues and profits appear to be going up for Kurtser, but market confidence is going down. What is also secret is that Kurtser’s company and its London share broker, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, refuse to answer questions about their financials, and can’t explain why their present for Russian women is being turned down by the men in the market.
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DwB_1778

By John Helmer, Moscow

A fact which nobody can verify is usually a fiction, sometimes a lie. In the business of reporting news for sale, the demand for lies is less than the supply, so profit is bound to turn into loss. The only successful business models for reporting and repeating lies are government propaganda and commercial pornography.

Last July, when the Japanese Nikkei group paid £884 million for the Financial Times – saving Pearson Plc from reporting a loss for the financial year – Nikkei’s chief executive Tsuneo Kita said: “Our motto of providing high-quality reporting on economic and other news, while maintaining fairness and impartiality, is very close to that of the FT. We share the same journalistic values. Together, we will strive to contribute to the development of the global economy.” If Kita was asked how much money he would spend on Sam Jones to sell lies about Russia three times a week, he would do more than ask: “Sam Who?”

There are 558,000 people named Jones in the UK; 1.6 million in the US. Altogether, 2.2 million. Among the Sam Joneses, of whom there are more than a thousand, the majority would never think of repeating, unverified, every word passed in a classified file from US intelligence, British MI6 and NATO. There is just one Sam Jones in the world who does that. At the Financial Times office in London, he is called “defence and security editor”.

In Boolean searches on the internet, the AND operator returns a value of TRUE if both its operands are TRUE, and FALSE otherwise. If you are paying Nikkei for the Jones defence and security stories each week, you are getting double the falsehood for your money.
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