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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

To the French artist Claude Monet goes the credit for inventing the idea of making money by producing series of paintings on the same subject – haystacks, poplar trees, church fronts, and water lilies – adding a premium for buying the series as a single lot; dubbing them with a theory of light refraction and of evanescence in the eye of the beholder; then advertising heavily in the newspapers.

Monet’s first Haystack sold for 2,500 francs ($500) in Paris in April 1891; at the time he advertised falsely that he had received double the price. In May 2019, one of his 25-piece Haystack series fetched $110.7 million in New York.  That represents an annual rate of return per picture of two thousand percent.

One isn’t obliged to appreciate Monet’s haystacks in order to appreciate the investment return which the art market is capable of producing, given the right ratio of short supply to heavy demand, plus a sustained effort at market rigging.

This is now the ambition, the calculation, and the hope of the leading fine art dealers of Moscow and St Petersburg as they devise their plan for marketing Russian painting after the sanctions war has removed Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and MacDougall’s from market competition and price fixing for Russian art and Russian art buyers.

“The word ‘Russia’ is currently unusable in the West,” says Simon Hewitt, an art market analyst in Geneva. “Russians cannot buy or sell in the West at present, period. That will remain the case for as long as Putin remains in power. I suppose a half-decent Aivazovsky will sell OK in Moscow but the more run-of-the-mill 19th century stuff will struggle to get 30% of what it was worth before Covid and will only appeal to optimists who hope that this figure might rise to 60% or so in the next decade.”

Hewitt’s lack of optimism isn’t shared by his counterparts in Moscow. They believe that in removing the “triad”, the three London auction houses from the Russian art market, the opportunity is now growing fast for Russian auction houses to achieve the house profits and rates of return for Russian art buyers which were impossible before the war.

“In the middle of 2023 the activity began picking up in the domestic market,” reports Denis Lukashin, a leading Moscow art expert and co-owner of Art Consulting, which advises Russian buyers on authentication of works and market pricing trends for individual artists. “Because Russian art was blocked in the foreign auction houses, lots of buyers came back to the Russian market. And they buy rather expensive items. Auction houses are presenting new items for public sale, which, before, were usually sold in a closed or private format.  So in the historic and fine art sector the prices are returning to the norm before February 2022. In the other genres, the owners, collectors and sellers won’t lose anything in price. I can say the prices have been rising  despite the new economic situation, and so has the demand for modern art.”

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

This is how the war in the Ukraine doesn’t end, not for the Germans and the Poles.

So long as they can, they plan to steal or destroy Russian assets west of what used to be Kievan  Ukraine; and mobilize the US military bases in both countries to reinforce and defend their larcenies.

The German political party which promises to continue this war for the employment of German workers and the enrichment of German executives and shareholders will win the next election, replacing the Social Democratic Party and the Greens as the party of war.

The post-Ukraine strategy of the Stavka starts here — Ha Берлин! To Berlin! 

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Since a pack of lies about Alexei Navalny (lead image, right) won last year’s Oscar for the best documentary film of the year when he was alive,   there’s no doubt he can win another Oscar when he’s dead.  But alive or dead, the prize-winning propaganda of Navalny’s story bears no resemblance to the truth. This is what happens in wartime, especially when the side which is losing the war on the battlefield – that’s the US, NATO and the Ukraine – claims to be winning the war of words against Russia.

The Navalny story is now in two parts: Part 1, the Novichok in his airport cup of tea, in his hotel water bottle, and then in his underpants which causes Navalny’s collapse, but fails to be detected by Russian doctors in Omsk, by German doctors in Berlin and Munich, and then  by Swedish and French state laboratories. Part 2, Navalny’s sudden death after he had taken a  walk  in the IK-3 penal colony in the village of Kharp, in the Russian Arctic region of Yamalo-Nenets.  The first part took 62 reports in this archive to expose the faking;   the most telling evidence of this came from Navalny himself in the documented tests of his blood, urine and hair. According to these data, Navalny’s collapse was the outcome of an overdose of lithium, benzodiazepines, and other drugs.  

Part 2 of the Navalny story began last Friday, February 16, with the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) announcement, followed by an official telegramme to his mother in Moscow,  that he had died  just after two in the afternoon, Yamalo-Nenets time; that was just after noon Moscow time. Two hours later the Russian media began carrying the official announcement.  The wording of the last line of the announcement is significant. “The causes of death are being established”, the FSIN statement said.  Causes — plural.

In the UK coroner’s court practice, what this means is that there is likely to have been a sequence of causation, medically speaking, with the first or proximate cause of death identified as heart, brain, or lung injury or failure; and the second, intervening or contributory cause of death such as biochemical factors, including prescription drugs in lethal combination; mRNA anti-Covid vaccination triggering fatal blood clots; or homicidal poisons.   For example, in the case of the alleged Russian Novichok death of Dawn Sturgess in England in 2018, the evidence is of British government tampering with the post-mortem reports to add Novichok when it wasn’t identified at first.  

In Navalny’s case, poisoning on the order of President Vladimir Putin has already been announced  as the cause of Navalny’s death without evidence at all. The delay time required for the complicated processes of forensic pathology and toxicology to establish the evidence has been reported in the Anglo-American media to signify cover-up and body snatching.   Meduza, an oppositionist publication in Riga, reports that “a doctor who advised Navalny’s associates” has said that blood clotting was “an unlikely cause of death” – this is medically false.   

In speculation of poisoning as cause of death, there is at least as much likelihood that Navalny, his team,  and their CIA and MI6 handlers devised a repeat of the August 2020 Tomsk operation; decided when Navalny met with his lawyer at the prison on February 14; but implemented two days later without the resuscitation Navalny himself was expecting.

The Anglo-American propaganda warfare army is already pronouncing the contributory Cause 2– Putin did it — as the cause of Navalny’s death. If the Russians announce the proximate Cause 1 as cardiac arrest or brain aneurism, without a Cause 2, they won’t be believed. In the short term, Cause 2 cannot be established with credibility in Russia since it took the British government ten years, 2006-2016, to fabricate their story of Russian polonium  poisoning in the Alexander Litvinenko case. In the Russian Novichok cases in England, it has so far taken six years of court, police and pathologist proceedings, 2018-2024, without outcome, and another two years will follow.

The problem for readers to interpret what has happened is that the Anglo-American propaganda warfare machine is better at what it does than the Russian side. But then when it comes to war with guns, not words, the Russian side is far superior, as can be seen in the Ukraine right now. Accordingly, the Kremlin has decided to concentrate on the main fight. Inside Russia, it has been obvious for a long time that in or out of prison, Navalny alive was politically insignificant; now even less. The new western propaganda is as ineffectual for Russians as Navalny was himself.

And so the purpose of the propaganda is different. President Joseph Biden’s statement on Navalny’s death makes this clear. “This tragedy reminds us of the stakes of this moment.  We have to provide the funding so Ukraine can keep defending itself against Putin’s vicious onslaughts and war crimes. You know, there was a bipartisan Senate vote that passed overwhelmingly in the United States Senate to fund Ukraine. Now, as I’ve said before, and I mean this in the literal sense: History is watching.  History is watching the House of Representatives.  The failure to support Ukraine at this critical moment will never be forgotten.  It’s going to go down in the pages of history.  It really is.  It’s consequential.”    

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

A book by a man announcing himself on page one as an undercover MI6 agent, dedicated on page two to “the people of Ukraine as they continue their fight for freedom”, then endorsed on the dust jacket by the Times newspaper as “first class”, can’t be fiction; it can’t be fact;  and because it declares its audience  restricted to those who already believe and don’t need persuading, it can’t be propaganda.  It’s the fourth gender in the cyber universe — transfiction, transfact, and transpropaganda, a genre created by a combination of covert insertions and circumcisions, reinforced by injections of hallucinatory substances, including money.  

This is what has become of the British these days. The book celebrates it. According to Private Eye, it is “too good to be untrue…Russia and dirty Russian money, out here in the real world, has seeped so deeply into British public life it’s not entirely certain we’ll ever get it out again.”

In this British reality, Charles Beaumont’s book, A Spy Alone,  claims to have uncovered the Kremlin plot to cause the British vote for Brexit and thereby destroy the country’s economy;  allow Russian manipulation of British energy supplies and prices;  destroy the careers of the country’s security chiefs, the  Cabinet Secretary, the National Security Advisor, and the Secret Intelligence Service; ignore and  discredit the intelligence uncovered by MI6 field agents and Bellingcat; and allow Russian assassins to roam across the UK,  killing as they go.

All of this, according to author and hero, amounts to “one of [the Russian government’s] deepest secrets”, “the intelligence coup of the century”, “one of the great revelations in intelligence history”, and “the most important intelligence discovery in Britain since the end of the Cold War”.  In short, this does for Britain what the former MIG agent, Christopher Steele (lead image centre) and his Orbis Business Intelligence Limited, claimed to do, and still does, to US presidential elections and Donald Trump in the fabrications of the Russiagate affair.  

In fact, this new book may be Steele’s attempt to repeat Russiagate in England,  reverse the rulings of the courts against his veracity, and make more money. For Charles Beaumont (lead image, right)  is not the author’s real name; the publisher has published an Artificial Intelligence illustration instead of a real face, and since the book purports to be “Beaumont’s” “first novel”, there is no trace of him in the open sources, not even for Bellingcat to find.  “The blurb says [Beaumont] is ex-MI6, but then it would, or he would,” comments a source in a position to know. “If I were choosing a pseudonym I don’t think I’d pick one that already belonged to an – admittedly very different – writer.” The source believes “Beaumont” is working in the business intelligence business.

Private Eye has told its readers to buy “Beaumont” because he “shows how powerful a book can be when the writer looks the country straight in the face and writes about what they see. Le Carré used to be very good at doing that. Now Charles Beaumont has done it too.”  

Amazon, the world’s largest publisher and bookseller, lacks confidence this is either Russiagate or Le Carré quality. Despite 1,568 ratings as “terrific”, “brilliant”, “stunningly accomplished”, and “scarily plausible”, Amazon is marking the book down to clear at a 50% discount. That’s a steal, not a pun on the real plot in this story.

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The history of Russian sex after the fall of Communist Party rule in 1991 hasn’t been told yet. And it won’t be.

This is because sex between Russians during the Soviet period was a public taboo – its history has been written down as a party and police problem, and buried as a relic of the past.    Then in the period of shock therapy which followed during the US-backed Yeltsin administration, Russian sex became a commercial commodity, like everything else.  Russian women became prostitutes selling sex, and Russian men who lacked the cash to pay for their time missed out. This is known as one of the liberal reforms.

When the heart is excluded from sex, there’s nothing of value to record for posterity, at least nothing of Russian particularity.

It was also during this period that on account of the money value of access to their sexual parts, Russian women began to say, quite clearly, that for their lovers (or clients) they preferred American Jews because, they said, Russian men were reluctant to pay and violent when asked,  whereas American Jews were neither — or so the women said. But the women were just   catching up. Russian men, starting from Mikhail Gorbachev and descending downwards, had long displayed their desire to be loved by Americans, and to be paid in return, handsomely. Wanting to be loved by Americans (and Israelis) is a continuing reflex of Russian men; the posture of bending over to receive the love can’t be reported in the history books by the term  handsome, unless it’s accompanied by gender reversal. About that, Russians of both sexes are emphatically hostile.  

The Russian women’s idea of Jews as non-violent, or at least less violent than Russian men, has been turned  on its head — wrong organ — by Russian politicians who have celebrated their Israeli counterparts for their lack of inhibition in using violence, not only against the Arabs, but against their women.

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Twice already the warning of the obvious has been posted in the money markets — Israel cannot survive a long war with the Arabs and Iran.

In this long war, the gods do not favour the Chosen People, it was reported on October 27, three weeks after the Hamas offensive began.   The decline in Israel’s export earnings from tourism and diamonds; the loss of imported supplies for manufacturing and consumption from the Houthi blockade of the Red Sea; and increasing risk to both imports and exports at the Mediterranean ports within range of Hamas and Hezbollah strikes were identified at that time.

The international ratings agencies, Moody’s, Fitch and Standard and Poors, postponed announcing the obvious for as long as they could.

In attrition war, on the economic front just like the Gaza and other fire fronts, the Axis of Resistance wins by maintaining its offensive capacities and operations for longer than the US and US-backed Israeli forces can defend. Like troops, tanks, and artillery pieces, the operational goal is to grind the enemy slowly but surely into retreat, then capitulation. Last week, Moody’s had already decided in-house to downgrade Israel; for several days senior management fended off a ferocious attack from Israeli officials and their supporters in the US trying to compel postponement of the downgrade and the analytical report  substantiating it.

On February 6, in a review of the shekel, bond, credit default swaps (CDS), budget deficit, and other indicators, the conclusion was there could be no stopping the money markets from moving against Israel.  Negative ratings from the agencies raise the cost of servicing Israel’s state and corporate bonds, and put pressure on the state budget. A ratings downgrade is a signal to the markets to go negative against the issuer – this usually comes after the smart money has changed its mind and direction.  In Israel’s case, however, there has been an exceptional delay between negative outlook and downgrade.  The last Fitch report on Israel was dated October 17; Moody’s followed on October 19; Standard & Poors (S&P) on October 24.  

That Israeli and US tactics had forced postponement of new reports from the troika was obvious. A fresh warning was published on this website: as real estate and other tax collections collapse, Israel will have to make a large cash call on the US.  This is going to come in the near future, just as the government in Kiev has been forced into calling on Congress as the Ukraine war is being lost. The longer both wars are protracted, the more obviously the loss of confidence expresses itself in Washington.  

Moody’s has now caught up.  According to the Israeli press, this is the first credit and currency downgrade in their country’s history.  

In a report dated last Friday but not issued until Saturday, the Jewish sabbath, the agency officially reduced Israel’s rating from A1 to A2, and added pointers of further downgrading to come. The Anglo-American press immediately reacted against Moody’s. “Israel hits back”, the Financial Times headlined.  The newspaper added: “[Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, in a rare statement over the Jewish Sabbath, said: ‘The rating downgrade is not connected to the economy, it is entirely due to the fact that we are in a war. The rating will go back up the moment we win the war — and we will win the war.’” In the Associated Press report, “Israel’s finance minister blasts Moody’s downgrade”.   Rupert Murdoch’s platform Fox claimed: “Israel has a strong, open economy despite Moody’s downgrade”.  “Israel’s creditworthiness remains high,” according to the New York Times, “but the rating agency noted that the outlook for the country was negative… A rating of A2 is still a high rating.”  

The press release version of Moody’s report is republished verbatim so that its meaning can be understood without the propaganda.

Three points have been missed in the Anglo-American counterattack and Israeli government’s bluster. The first is the warning that Israel will soon have to request enormous cash backing from the US, and if there is any sign of weakening on that in Washington, the collapse of the Israeli economy and its capacity to continue its war is inevitable. The Moody’s report camouflaged the point this way: “The related issuances benefit from an irrevocable, on-demand guarantee provided by the Government of the United States of America (Aaa negative) with the government acting through USAID. The notes benefit explicitly from ‘the full faith and credit of the US’ and as per prospectus, USAID is obligated to pay within three business days if the guarantee is called upon.”

The second point strikes at announcements from Israel Defence Forces (IDF) generals and Netanyahu of their plan to expand their operations on the northern front – the Litani River ultimatum they called it in December. According to Moody’s report, “downside risks remain at the A2 rating level. In particular, the risk of an escalation involving Hezbollah in the North of Israel remains, which would have a potentially much more negative impact on the economy than currently assumed under Moody’s baseline scenario. Government finances would also be under more intense pressure in such a scenario.”

The third point is the most explosive. After cutting Israel’s rating to A2, Moody’s warned that further and deeper downgrades may follow, but that there is presently no way the ratings agency can predict what will happen next. “The ongoing military conflict with Hamas, its aftermath and wider consequences materially raise political risk for Israel as well as weaken its executive and legislative institutions and its fiscal strength, for the foreseeable future.”

In flagging those last four words – “for the foreseeable future” — Moody’s has told the markets  that the strategic initiative in this war has now passed to the Axis of Resistance. Of course, the Arabs and Iranians already know.

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

All’s fair in love and war – this  is a 500-year old English proverb but it isn’t in the Geneva conventions on war crimes and genocide, much as the US and US-backed Israel claim it is.   

In the war of US, NATO and their Asian allies against Russia, it is turning out that almost all the major companies on the enemy side love Russia too much to leave.

They also think Russia has won the war, so they are convinced — the executive managers,  boards of directors, control shareholders, and bankers — that there is no point in leaving. So they continue to do business in the Russian market profitably, while they wait for the military defeat of the Ukraine and their own governments to register, and the terms of capitulation allow them to tell their shareholders, “we told you so.”

That notice will be delivered with a dividend paid out of the profits the companies continue to earn from their Russian businesses. The shareholders will be satisfied with both; they will vote their confidence, with a bonus, for the chief executive and board at the next Annual General Meeting.

Two studies on the enemy side, one by the Kiev School of Economy’s (KSE) “Leave Russia”  and “SelfSanctions” projects, and a follow-up by the Russian-language publication Novaya Gazeta Europa have reported results of their surveys of 110 international firms working in Russia. This is fresh evidence of the defeat of the enemy in the economic war — from the foxhole of the enemy.

The survey results demonstrate that after two years of intense pressure and threat campaigns by the US, NATO and the Ukraine for the companies to wind up their Russian businesses and leave  Russia, the outcome is defeat.  

KSE claims this work has been done by “a team of Ukrainian IT volunteers;” the Yale University’s School of Management collaborated with data on the companies. Volunteer doesn’t  mean what it seems in Ukrainian. The funding for the operation has come through KSE’s money suppliers, which include several Ukrainian ministries, whose funding comes in turn from the International Monetary Fund, the US, and the European Union (EU).  “KSE Institute’s clients”, the institution’s website says of its paymasters, “also include the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine, the European Business Association, and a number of large law and development companies. Among the international partner organizations are USAID, UK aid, DFID, the embassies of the United States, Canada and the Netherlands, the EBRD, the World Bank, the EU Commission, IFC, WHO, UNDP, GIZ, UNICEF, Yale School of Management and others.”  

KSE’s “SelfSanctions” project is paid for by another group of “partners” including George Soros, government-backed organizations in Germany, Norway, Taiwan, and Poland, and a Ukrainian entity called “Squeezing Putin”.    This takes US and other intelligence material, feeds it to the Anglo-American media, and then identifies the media reports as corroboration of the process for sanctioning companies which remain in Russia and are attacked in the press as an “international sponsor of war”.  

KS adds a note of self-importance: “Kyiv School of Economics holds the first place among the most powerful economic analytical institutions of Ukraine according to the RePEc rating.”   

The importance, the breaking news, is that, according to the newly published evidence, 82.7% of the international companies surveyed have dismissed KSE, its foreign state financiers, and its economic warfare projects as a failure – and their shareholders concur.

This is how the Maidan cookie crumbles.

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The Axis of Resistance — that’s the Arab militaries with Iran and in the background, Russia – knows how to wage economic warfare against the US and its proxy, Israel. The Houthi sanctions on shipping, for example, are showing more effectiveness in stopping Israel-bound or Israel-linked vessels in the Red Sea than US sanctions have been to block Russian oil shipments.

In attrition war, on the economic front just like the Gaza and other fire fronts, the Axis of Resistance wins by maintaining its offensive capacities and operations for longer than the US and US-backed Israeli forces can defend. Like troops, tanks, and artillery pieces, the operational goal is to grind the enemy slowly but surely into retreat, then capitulation.

How to measure if this is happening now to the Israelis in the international money markets?

An international currency and bond trader answers by providing, first, a primer for each of the market indicators, and how to read them; and then a ready reckoner for the damage being done to Israel’s economic resources as those who operate in the money markets gauge their opportunity.

For making money, you see, the opportunity of capitalizing on Israel’s defeat may soon be more profitable than investing in its success. When the markets see this chance at profit-making, usually long before the politicians and their captive media acknowledge it, there is an inflection point in the flow of money. That does its damage, not by hitting the Israelis and Americans in their bunkers with bullets and bombs, but by moving the money the US-backed Israeli entity needs out of reach, and cutting them off, both the US and Israel,  from market confidence that they can win their war, genocide or not.

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

In a London courtroom on Friday, Lord Anthony Hughes (lead image), the retired judge whom the British government has appointed to run a public inquiry into the alleged Novichok poisonings of March and June 2018, collapsed into a farce of state secrecy.

Not even the open hearings which are now scheduled to start later this year, on October 14, will in fact be open, Hughes told lawyers for the Home Office and for the family of Dawn Sturgess. This is because the police and the security services have told the judge they want a livestream default or broadcasting delay of at least fifteen minutes, possibly longer when “the police will decide if any disclosure at all will be made”, a government lawyer told the judge.

Hughes announced: “I absolutely accept how difficult it is when you are batting in the dark…but it is a situation which has simply got to be coped with.”

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The lifespan of gorillas in captivity is usually over fifty years, while in the wild the average  beast can expect to reach 40, depending on his diet and his success at evading hunters.  Gorillas are omnivores, but by preference they are vegetarians. They don’t eat bananas; they will eat meat if plant food is scarce. They will eat duck if it sits long enough to be caught.  

Gorilla Radio is omnivorous, and for life expectancy it has a way to go. Sitting ducks are easy prey. But that’s enough metaphor.

Never before on Gorilla Radio has there been such a moment for the radio to broadcast this  news – the United States is losing two wars, and the strategic positions it has methodically built up in Europe since 1945, and in the Middle East since the Jewish state was established in 1948.

The proxies, US-backed Ukraine and US-backed Israel, are falling back as the number of fronts is greater than they have the men or materiel to hold, and their US-supplied arms face battlefield defeat.  

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