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by John Helmer, Moscow  @bears_with For catching birds it’s old-fashioned child’s play to put salt on their tails. But fooling the bird in order to get close enough with the salt-shaker, before the bird takes off, is a job for grown-ups.   When it comes to catching fugitive bankers, money launderers and the families of corrupt […]

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by John Helmer, Moscow  @bears_with It is exactly two years since the case of two Russians, Sergei and Yulia Skripal, began with their collapse on a park bench in the middle of England on the afternoon of March 4, 2018. On their anniversary it is necessary to tell this story. But it isn’t the story of […]

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by John Helmer, Moscow  @bears_with The English read detective stories for the pleasure of unravelling the crime,  proving that even if there are perfect crimes, in the majority of cases the perpetrators don’t get away with them because the detectives are usually cleverer. That’s fiction. In real life,  Russian crimes are different. In the majority of […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick, has announced that Yulia Skripal is not being held incommunicado, against her will, and in violation of her legal rights “if she consents to any assistance provided”. Last week’s videotape of Skripal signing a paper and making a brief speech was arranged within four days […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Yulia Skripal’s appearance in a British garden and her speech for one minute fifty-five seconds provides fresh evidence, less of what is happening to her in British custody, and more of what is not happening. What is happening is that Skripal gave a memorised speech in front of a camera and […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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  By John Helmer, Moscow Empires are just like everything else going down the toilet. Bits always stick on the porcelain which require more flushing.  Embarrassing bits.   Now in its fifth week since the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury on March 4, the bits that cannot be flushed away are producing […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The British public telephone is two years short of a century old. The Salisbury Hospital has dismantled the outdoor models because it is now possible for patients  to receive and make telephone calls from their bedside. The hospital has contracted with a company called Hospedia to provide patients with personal access […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow British High Court Justice David Williams has issued the first court adjudication of evidence presented by the British Government of what happened to Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal when they succumbed to poisoning in Salisbury on March 4.  Following three days of closed-door hearings this week in London, the judge issued […]