For End to Hostility Between Religious Partisans

Artist Judy Chicago is known for her feminist work “The Dinner Party” (1974-79), plates depicting women’s lives, on permanent exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. Not as well known, but very pertinent now, a few decades later, she created another dinner, “Rainbow Shabbat,” challenging hostilities between religious partisans.

I visited a Judy Chicago retrospective at the New Museum in New York the other day. Born Judy Cohen in 1939 and raised in a progressive Jewish home, she changed her birth name out of a feminist desire not to carry the male name of the family and chose instead to be called after the city where she grew up.

She was not just an early second-wave feminist, but a supporter of peace and understanding between Jews, Catholics and Muslims.

Looking at how her Jewish identity shaped her life and art was a focus of her Holocaust Project whose goal she saw as “nurturing our humanity, thereby creating a more peaceful, equitable world.”

A part of that is Rainbow Shabbat (1992), a stained-glass work which she created with her husband, Donald Woodman.

Rainbow Shabbat, stained glass by Judy Chicago and Donald Woodman (1992).

The major New Museum exhibit includes works by other women artists Judy Chicago selected.

Bury the Hatchet (2000) is painting, needlepoint, appliqué and embroidery on satin and needlepoint canvas by Lynda Paterson, Jane Thompson and Mary Ewanoski.

The New Museum exhibit opened in October and runs till March 3, 2024.

The New Museum is in Manhattan at 235 Bowery south of Houston Street.

This is the iconic Dinner Party at the Brooklyn Museum.

Lucy Komisar is a well-known investigative journalist. Her website is The Komisar Scoop.

Featured: Bury the Hatchet, painting, needlepoint, appliqué, and embroidery on satin and needlepoint canvas, Linda Paterson, Jane Thompson and Mary Ewanoski (2000).

My Story 40 Years Ago on Israeli Apartheid and Palestinian Resistance

Since this important article is difficult to find, we are republishing it, with the kind permission of the author.

I wrote about Israeli apartheid over 40 years ago. I visited Israel and the West Bank in 1981. Egyptian president Anwar Sadat had just been assassinated, though my visit had been planned before that. This is what I wrote for The Nation (May 29, 1982), prescient in the title, “The West Bank as Bantustan.”

Hebron, West Bank

On the map of Israel put out by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, there is no line separating the West Bank from Israel proper. A small caveat at the bottom of the sheet says, “This map is not an authority on international boundaries,” but what it represents is indeed the policy of the government of Menachem Begin toward the occupied territory. The West Bank, once the ancient Hebrew kingdoms of Judea and Samaria is held to be religiously and historically part of “Eretz Israel,” the land of Israel—or, as Regin has taken to calling it, “Western Eretz Israel.”

As part of its scarcely disguised goal of annexing the West Bank, Israel has recently stepped up its attacks on Palestinian leaders and has attempted either to force out the Arabs living here or to encourage them to leave through restrictive policies on economic activity, education, housing and political life. One example of that campaign can be seen here in the battle for Hebron, twenty-two miles south of Jerusalem.

Mustafa Natshi, acting mayor of Hebron, told me that | Jewish settlers had attacked Arab schoolgirls, that they regularly threw rocks at Arabs’ windows, that they had uprooted 1,000 olive trees belonging to two Arab families and that they had broken into the shop of an Arab quiltmaker and destroyed his machinery. All these have been confirmed. A correspondent from Ha’aretz, the most respected Hebrew daily, arrived at the scene of the settler-student clash and found blood on one girl’s hand and the rest of the children crying hysterically. Shulamit Aloni, a member of the Knesset, reported seeing Jewish settlers throwing rocks at Arab houses. The military governor of the territory ruled that the uprooting of the trees had taken place and was illegal. And the quiltmaker showed to the press the damaged machinery from his shop, which the Israelis had wanted to take over and use as an entrance to an attached communal house.

That house is the center—and Hebron the symbol—of the efforts by the ultra-Orthodox Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful) to establish a Jewish presence throughout the West Bank. Inside the two-story Ottoman-era stone building, where twenty families live, a young woman told me that Hebron was “as much a part of Israel as Haifa,” and that Jews would never leave it. Outside, at a sandbag fortification, two Israeli soldiers and an armed settler stood guard with M-16s and Uzi machine guns, while other soldiers watched from posts atop nearby buildings.

The Gush Emunim also took over part of the great Hebron mosque, the Tomb of the Patriarchs, said to contain the burial places of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, a place holy to both Moslems and Jews. A few rooms have been cleared of Moslem prayer rugs and fitted with wood cabinets that hold the Torah scrolls. Soldiers stand guard there, too. A settler walking to the shrine carried an automatic rifle.

Some 23,000 Jews now live in eighty settlements on the West Bank, along with 800,000 Arabs. The first Jewish settlements, established under Labor Party governments, were located along the border with Jordan and were intended as a defense against attack, but the settlement policy was expanded substantially under Begin, and now the interior is dotted with new Jewish towns. As much as 30 percent of the West Bank land has been taken by Israelis during the fourteen-year occupation. About half the confiscated property had been held by the Jordanian government; the rest had absentee owners, or was used communally for grazing or privately for growing crops.

To drum up Jewish nationalistic support, the Israeli government runs tours of the settlements. I booked one with Yossi Meshulam, a legal adviser in the Ministry of Agriculture. In Ariel, Meshulam stood at the barbed wire fence at the perimeter and pointed to the rolling landscape spotted with rocks. “They don’t have anything here but olive trees,” he said. He turned to the shells of new buildings that will house electronics and manufacturing plants: “This will benefit the Arab villages—they can work here.” The inexorable move toward annexation is a time bomb. Israel does not dare to make West Bank Palestinians citizens because, added to the Arab population in Israel itself, they would number 1.8 million, compared with 3.2 million Jews. With their higher birth rate, they would become a majority in just a few decades, and Israel would cease to be a Jewish state. Nor can it permanently maintain its occupation over the Arabs here, because that would increase international hostility to Israel, prolong Arab terrorist attacks and increase the likelihood of another war. And ultimately, the repressive measures required to maintain the occupation would corrode Israeli democracy.

About 3,000 Palestinians are already in Israeli jails for crimes ranging from throwing explosives and possession of weaponsto membership in banned organizations. Four Arab newspapers are subject to stringent censorship, and three editors are under “town arrest,” unable to go to their East Jerusalem offices. Bir Zeit University has frequently been closed in response to student demonstrations. Although university administrator Gaby Baramki says there has been “no problem in teaching, no direct interference” by authorities, it has been difficult for him to get work permits for some of the foreign professors who are a substantial part of his staff, and several hundred Arab books and journals have been banned at Bir Zeit (although many of these publications are available at Hebrew University in Jerusalem). A new regulation gives Israeli authorities the power to approve student admissions and faculty hiring.

Some expressions of resistance have been allowed. I saw a surprising example one night in Jericho, about six miles from the Allenby Bridge on the Jordanian border. A troupe of young actors from East Jerusalem who call themselves The Storyteller put on an agitprop farce in an old theater. An Israeli soldier searches an Arab cafeand finds a stack of leaflets. He reads one aloud: “To our people who are struggling in all areas of occupied territory.” The theatergoers cheered. Then the title character, Mahjoob Mahjoob, accepts a job in Israel, gets threatening notes denouncing his collaboration and finally quits. Loud applause.

The problem of Arabs having to work in Israel or for Israeli companies is a real one, as the play indicates. Some 50,000 Palestinians from the occupied territories, most of them unskilled, work in restaurant kitchens or on construction gangs or at one or another menial job. There is little work for them on the West Bank, which was deliberately left undeveloped during Jordanian rule. Today, Israel exploits the cheap labor and captured customers for its products. It discourages new indigenous Arab industry while aiding Jewish settlers who want to set up factories. The West Bank and Gaza have been absorbed into the Israeli economy, just a step away from political annexation. The Israeli settlements are already under Israeli law, not West Bank jurisdiction.

Labor Party critics have described the occupied territories as “Little Bantustans.” The comparison is apt. And the lesson should be that such a system won’t work for Israel any more than it does for South Africa.

Lucy Komisar is a well-known investigative journalist. Her website is The Komisar Scoop.

Featured: Mother and Child, by Sliman Mansour; painted in 2009.

Navalny Documentary Disinformation

How do you make a good propaganda film? How do you expose it before it wins a truth-telling award and embarrasses the prize-givers—before they discover it’s a pseudo-documentary that has been nominated for an “Oscar”—before the white envelopes are opened before millions of people on Oscar night, March 12th?

Of course, the film won, as Americans are easy to deceive, by films as well as by governments.

 “Navalny” is a slick production full of easily-documented fabrications, disinformation, with lots of clever visuals to distract and manipulate viewers. It is about Russian political activist Alexei Navalny, who according to the respected Levada Institute has shown 2% support in Russia. But he and the film have a great deal of backing in Washington and London.

The three people credited as the production’s authors are Canadian Daniel Roher; he admits he has never visited Russia nor speaks Russian. Bulgarian Christo Grozev of Bellingcat; this is an organization openly hostile to Russia which acknowledges financing by governments of the U.S, UK and Europe, including by the National Endowment for Democracy, which took up the CIA’s funding role when that was exposed. In this video, U.S. officials admit its role as a NATO asset. And Russian Maria Pevchikh; she has worked for Navalny’s organization but has lived mostly outside Russia since 2006 and in 2019 obtained a British passport. Here’s a video about her curious connections to the UK government, a job in the UK parliament and insider information that Navalny would then [how did he know it] reveal about Russians accused of corruption. Another Navalny connection to the UK is his associate Vladimir Ashurkov’s role as an asset of the Integrity Initiative, an operation of the British MI6. CNN and Der Spiegel, which have put their names on the findings, acknowledge they joined an investigation by the group Bellingcat. This challenges the film’s credibility as an independent production.

The film’s hero, Alexei Navalny, has strong Washington ties. Navalny was a 2009-2010 fellow of the Open Society Foundations financed by George Soros, which supported a network of opposition NGOs in Russia before being banned in 2015. Then in 2010, he graduated from the Yale World Fellows which was called the White House Fellows under Bill Clinton’s presidency and is now the Yale Greenberg World Fellowship, after the donor, who got naming rights. The first program director of the Yale fellowship was Dan Esty, energy and environmental policy adviser for the 2008 Obama campaign.

Navalny’s Racism

When Navalny returned from the U.S. to Russia he continued the “nationalist” ie. racist anti-migrant activities he had started in 2007, when he was a founder of the National Russian Liberation Movement (NAROD). When NAROD was announced in 2008, it included the Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI), a far-right, nationalist and racist organization. In addition to opposing illegal immigration, the DPNI targeted Russians from ethnic, religious, and sexual minority backgrounds. It provided assistance to Nazi skinheads implicated in attacks on foreigners, representatives of sexual minorities, anti-fascists and adherents of “non-traditional religions.” In a speech, the founder said, “We will free Europe! Russia will be white!” And “We are the real power, not those who are hiding in this Torah!”

In this video, Navalny compares ethnic minorities to cockroaches, and says that using a swatter or a shoe against them was no good. Note the faces on the left and the garb of the threatening man on the right. The words under the photo say HOMOSAPIENS. And under that BEZPREDELIUS.

A Russian analyst said: The word is a combination of two words: “bez”, which means without and “predel” which means limit. The ending “ius” is added to the word “bezpredel” (“беспредел”) to make it sound like a Latin word. Google translates it as “lawlessness,” but the use comes from criminal jargon and meant actions that were not allowed by the unwritten criminal code of conduct in correctional institutions. In early days the meaning of this word was “actions that go beyond all written and unwritten laws.”

And that is how Navalny describes the men in the photo. The analyst said, “The three people in the photo look very familiar. They are Chechens,” from the Caucuses. Navalny says, “In such cases [dealing with such insects] I recommend a handgun.” See the video on YouTube.

The “new political nationalism,” Navalny said at the time, “should become the core of Russia’s political system.” Such public activities and statements apparently didn’t prevent invitations by the Open Society and Yale.

Navalny’s NAROD stopped operating in 2011, the year the Supreme Court of Russia declared its partner DPNI an extremist organization and banned it. Navalny said NAROD “organizationally failed” but formulated a “very correct platform.” His education about “democracy” in the U.S. apparently didn’t change his racism.

Director Roher says in the film that, “he was known for having flirted with the extreme right.” “Flirted?” It looked like a pretty solid marriage! Roher says he has to ask Navalny about his “early days” when “he walked side by side with some pretty nasty nationalists and racists. Had he moved beyond that? Had he actually become a reverse dark knight?”

Navalny apparently rejects the proffered knighthood. He responds: “Well, in the normal world, in the normal, political system, of course, I would never be within the same political party with them. But we are creating coalition, broader coalition to fight their regime…And I consider it’s my political superpower, I can talk to everyone. Anyway, well, they are citizen of Russian Federation.” Sounds rather mild compared to the enthusiasm of his public statements for NAROD. Roher ran some other videos of Navalny’s past, but somehow missed the cockroach one. Or any details of what the far right was doing to the people they reviled.

(American “liberals” cheering Navalny and the film should see the video. Would they “cancel” him? Or do virulent racists who attack Putin get a pass?)

When Navalny returned to Russia, he also started an anti-corruption campaign, which admittedly was more on Washington’s agenda than the racism. It was endorsed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Navalny allied with exiled oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky; he had been jailed for ten years for documented tax evasion using offshore shell company transfer pricing to launder profits of oil company Yukos, which he obtained through the infamous corrupt loans for shares deal in the Boris Yeltsin years.

However, a few years earlier, Navalny had had his own criminal fraud problem, along with his brother Oleg.

In 2008, when the state-owned Russian Post decided to end collecting parcels from clients’ distribution centers, Oleg Navalny, persuaded several companies to shift to the privately owned Chief Subscription Agency (GPA), not revealing it was a company he, Alexei and their parents had just set up in tax haven Cyprus. Later, Yves Rocher Vostok, part of the French cosmetics firm, sued that they were deprived of free choice and weren’t told GPA was using subcontractors which charged around half as much as they paid GPA and that the Navalny cutout kept the difference as profit. A court gave Alexei a suspended sentence of 3 ½ years and his brother a prison sentence of the same term.

The European Court on Human Rights found, “By all accounts, GPA was set up for profit-making purposes and the applicants thus pursued the same goal as any other founder of a commercial entity.” So, in spite of questionable insider tricks, the European court deemed it no crime, because that is how business is done. But it was still an ethics problem for the “fighter against corruption,” because some people think that making money off such insider dealing is unethical.

Although the plaintiff Yves Rocher was part of a French company, which sued for damages in France, Western media depicted the trial as a sham instigated by President Vladimir Putin and didn’t report the full details of the case. Navalny’s violation of his conviction parole by failing to return to Russia as soon as he had recovered his health in Germany were the grounds for his arrest on January 17, 2021, and his subsequent court sentence to prison, where he remains. U.S. court rules for parole violations would not be different.

Navalny also became a player in America’s Russiagate operation. He published a video in 2018 claiming that Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska acted as a messenger between President Donald Trump’s ex-campaign chief Paul Manafort and a top Kremlin foreign policy official. The Trump-Russia stories have all been proved false, including this one. However, Navalny has not corrected his anti-Trump video. This confirms not only his standard for truthfulness in documentary work, but also what allies he has made in the U.S.

But Washington’s boy was not so popular in Russia. During the Russian regional election campaign of 2020, Navalny was making regular trips out of Moscow to promote his anti-corruption organization. He claimed popular support, though according to the Levada Poll, he was drawing no more than 2% among Russians countrywide – less in the regions, more among the young in Moscow.

On August 20th, winding up a campaign in southeastern Siberia, Navalny got on the regularly scheduled flight from Tomsk to Moscow and fell ill. On the pilot’s decision, the aircraft made an unscheduled landing in Omsk, and Navalny was taken to a city hospital. The emergency ward staff treated his symptoms and stabilized his condition. A medical evacuation aircraft arrived from Germany the next day after Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, received Kremlin permission for his treatment in Germany, and he was flown from Omsk to Berlin August 22, with his wife accompanying him on the flight.

Navalny has had a history of medical conditions known to reflect the sudden reduction in blood sugar and cholinesterase levels – diabetes and allergies leading to anaphylactic shock. This information, which had been reported in Russia and by Navalny sources well before the Tomsk incident, was not make public after his arrival in Germany. Indeed, Pevchikh told the BCC Navalny did not have diabetes. For someone without diabetes, Navalny’s glucose level would have been dangerous. However, according to IntelliNews, published in Berlin, “Navalny said himself that he suffered from diabetes in 2019.”

The earliest claims that Russian intelligence agents had poisoned Navalny were made by CNN, which said they were based on a Bellingcat investigation. The CNN articles, December 14 and 21, 2020, scripted the essence of what the film produced the following year and released in 2022.

The film starts with Navalny returning to Russia after several months in Germany and then goes to flashbacks.

In one of the flashbacks Navalny makes an admission whose honesty is worth noting. He is complaining that he has gone to Novosibirsk in Siberia to make a movie about local corruption. He says, “I expected a lot of people who’d try to prevent our filming, confiscate our cameras or just break our cameras or try to beat us. I expected that sort of things and I was very surprised, like, “Why is nobody here?” “Why is there kind of…” I even have this strange feeling like, like a lack of respect. Like, seriously? I’m here and where is my police?” This is evidence from Navalny himself that he was far less important than he, the western press, and the filmmakers claim he was. It casts doubt from the beginning of the Navalny film that the president of Russia was out to get him and sent hitmen to Tomsk.

But let’s get to the fabrications at the heart of the film. There’s a long section about how Christo Grozev, identified as working for Bellingcat, buys travel and contact data on the Darknet to find the names and phone numbers of Federal Security Service (FSB) agents who had been traveling on planes to Siberia in August of 2020. There is no way to verify that the charts and faces substantiate what Grozev and Bellingcat say they prove, at least not at any standard required in any prosecution service or court in the U.S. In fact, CNN reported December 14, 2020, “CNN cannot confirm with certainty that it was the unit based at Akademika Vargi Street that poisoned Navalny with Novichok on the night of August 19.”

The Great Phone Call Hoax

The real test of the veracity of the film, the “smoking gun” to which everything is leading, is the great telephone call hoax. 

Those who made the film have understood the psychology of manipulating audiences. Slowly you bring them into a secret scam to be played on the bad guys. In this one, it starts with Navalny putting on a body mike. Why? He is not going somewhere to secretly record someone. Only his own team is in the room. The real recording microphone is off camera, where the film audience can’t see it.

But the body mike is a special effect, it’s a dramatist’s stage trick. Click the arrow. Navalny speaks to the camera: “Now I’m totally feel like I’m an undercover agent, with the wired up.” Does the audience know they are the butt of a theatrical joke?

Navalny calls three “FSB” agents. This is a setup for a veracity diversion, a factoid – that’s a seeming truth disguising a fake. We can be sure of this now, because he says to each of them, “I am Navalny; why do you want to kill me?” And the fake people hang up. What is the point of that? It’s to convince the audience of Navalny’s film production that the FSB was being telephoned. The voices are not real, they sound the same – either computer generated or acted by a professional mimic.

But then there’s his pièce de résistance, the interview with “the scientist” whom Grozev tells Navalny to call, because he will be more likely to talk than the regular FSB agents.

Navalny declares (as translated), “Konstantin Borisovich, hello my name is Ustinov Maxim Sergeyevich. I am Nikolay Platonovich’s assistant.” He says, “I need ten minutes of your time …will probably ask you later for a report …but I am now making a report for Nikolay Platonovich … what went wrong with us in Tomsk…why did the Navalny operation fail?”

According to Bellingcat, (the real) Kudryavtsev worked at the Ministry of Defense biological security research center and is a specialist in chemical and biological weapons. Supposedly not so stupid.

The talkative “Konstantin” says, “I would rate the job as well done. We did it just as planned, the way we rehearsed it many times. But when the flight made an emergency landing the situation changed, not in our favor….The medics on the ground acted right away. They injected him with an antidote of some sort. So it seems the dose was underestimated. Our calculations were good, we even applied extra.”

Navalny was questioned by the Berlin Staatsanwaltschaft (District Attorney) on December 17, 2020. Did he tell them about the phone call to Konstantin Kudryavtsev, which allegedly took place on December 14?

The office confirmed the interrogation, but when I sent a link to Navalny’s claims about the December 14th “call” three days earlier, a spokesman said they could not comment further.

There are key clues to the film’s fabrications. They deal with dates and timing which are not subject to dispute: the dangers of Novichok, the date of “Kudryavstev’s” “cleaning” in Omsk, and the date of the phone calls.


First about the “poisoning.”

Yulia Navalnaya says in the film, “After a week I was unexpectedly called to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.” As the Navalny group arrived August 22, that would have been about August 29th. “They said we have discovered that your husband was poisoned with an agent from the Novichok group.”

It was not the Charité lab that found this. The German Government announced not one week but two weeks after the group’s arrival that a laboratory of the German Armed Forces had identified a nerve agent from the Novichok group in blood samples collected after the patient’s admission to Charité. Link is to the Lancet report.

Unlike the civilian doctors, who had not found Novichok, the military lab would not release details of its tests. There was no toxicology report, no name of the expert in charge of the testing and of the interpretation of the results, no name and formula of the chemical compound of the “Novichok group.” The Germans refused to send any medical or toxicological evidence they claimed to substantiate the attempted homicide to Moscow prosecutors investigating the crime. From then on, by hearsay and without evidence, the story became the West’s “Putin poisoned Navalny.”

Second, Navalny’s underpants. Navalny, his wife Yulia, his assistant Pevchikh, his press spokesman, others in his group, and the reporters publishing what they were told had been claiming until that moment that the instrument of the Novichok, the poison vector, had been a tea cup at the airport café, then a water bottle in the Tomsk hotel room.

Pevchikh, she repeatedly told the press, had filmed the removal of the hotel room water bottles, taken them secretly to Omsk, then loaded them on the medevac flight to Berlin in the luggage of one of the medevac crew, and delivered them from the German ambulance into the Berlin hospital by hand. But then, after four months had elapsed, the story became underpants.

A CNN clip not in the film claims the poison was put on the underpants “across the seams” at the button flap, but in what form – powder, aerosolized spray, or gel? Was the FSB counting on Navalny not to notice or feel moisture as he dressed?  Was the poison then in direct contact with his body?

On the plane, Navalny fell ill, and the pilot diverted to Omsk, where he was transferred to a hospital. The calculated lethality of the dose should have been fatal after symptom onset. However, the first symptoms appeared only after several hours, and they remained non-lethal for at least one more hour between Navalny going to the toilet cabin on his flight and his reaching Omsk hospital.

The Timing of Kudryavtsev’s Trip and “Cleaning”

CNN declares that “Kudryavtsev” flies from Moscow to Omsk on August 25, five days after the event, to take possession of Navalny’s clothes and “clean” them. It displays a visual of a flight from Moscow. But the FSB would have known of the diversion to Omsk August 20th. Would it have waited five days to send an agent there?

Were the underpants still considered dangerous? Did hospital workers who undressed Navalny get sick? Many people were exposed to Navalny and his deadly underpants, but not one has been reported to have fallen ill. The passengers who attended him in the plane and who flew on to Moscow have not reported medical problems. (For how Novichok affects people, see data from a university research scientist and a Food and Chemical Toxicology paper.)

The film “Kudryavtsev” voice says, “When we arrived [in Omsk], they gave [the underpants] to us, the local Omsk guys brought [them] with the police.” Did any police fall ill?

“Kudryavstev” says, “When we finished working on them everything was clean.” He explains that solutions were applied, “so that there were no traces left on the clothes.” CNN, in its video, has “Kudryavtsev” saying that he also cleaned Navalny’s pants, not mentioned in the film. Navalny is shown in Berlin holding the underpants. Did the Omsk police ship the “decontaminated” item to Germany?

There are more Problems with this Story

There is conflicting information about whether Navalny’s underpants remained in Omsk.

Navalny’s press secretary Kira Yarmysh posted a tweet August 20, 2020 with the text: “Julia took Alexei’s things with her. She said that she did not allow them to be confiscated.” However, The Guardian reported September 21 that Navalny “demanded that Moscow return his clothes.” At any rate, the Charité Hospital said it did not test the water bottles or clothing.

Most important is the date of the phone call.

Ronald Thomas West, who identifies as a U.S. Special Forces veteran working in Europe, writes, with irony:

There is conflicting information about whether Navalny’s underpants remained in Omsk.

Navalny’s press secretary Kira Yarmysh posted a tweet August 20, 2020 with the text: “Julia took Alexei’s things with her. She said that she did not allow them to be confiscated.” However, The Guardian reported September 21 that Navalny “demanded that Moscow return his clothes.” At any rate, the Charité Hospital said it did not test the water bottles or clothing.

Most important is the date of the phone call.

Ronald Thomas West, who identifies as a U.S. Special Forces veteran working in Europe, writes, with irony:

West says, “ The poisoning happened on 20 August, the ‘hoax call’ is made on 14 December, and released by Bellingcat on 21 December. Now, wait a minute. The context of the call, a desperate demand for answers of what went wrong (Navalny didn’t die) for a report to higher up authority, is something you would expect within the first 48 hours, not nearly three months later. By the time this call was made, that dust should have settled and been vacuumed up by Russia’s intelligence services, everyone would have been debriefed by this time, including the target of the hoax call.”

The Trojan Horse

Maya Daisy Hawke, the film’s co-editor, makes an unusual admission on her website. She said “It’s the best thing I ever worked on; the highlight of my career,” and adds, “Navalny was a Trojan horse.” I emailed her and asked what she meant, pointing out that Merriam-Webster defines trojan horse as “someone or something intended to defeat or subvert from within usually by deceptive means.” She walked it back and said, “They were hastily chosen words on a personal social media post.” She declined further comment and told me to contact the film’s publicist. I did. Charlie Olsky of Cineticmedia also declined to answer questions.

The film supports an analysis of the Russian public that is fallacious.

An unidentified woman says, “What to do with Navalny presents a conundrum for the Kremlin, let him go and risk looking weak, or lock him up, knowing it could turn him into a political martyr.” A U.S. broadcast reporter says, “Unexpectedly, Vladimir Putin has a genuine challenger. More than any other opposition figure in Russia, Alexei Navalny gets ordinary people out to protest.”

However, Eric Kraus, a French financial strategist working in Moscow since 1997, explains, “Mr. Navalny was always a minor factor in Russia. He had a hard-core supporter base — Western-aspiring young people in Moscow and St. Petersburg — the ‘Facebook Generation.’ He was never much loved out in the sticks and could never have polled beyond 7% nationwide, even before the war. Ordinary Russians now increasingly see the West as the enemy. Navalny is seen as the agent of forces seeking to break or constrain Russia. Now, he would get closer to 2%.” (Kraus has been cited as an expert by western media.)

Kraus said, “He is the supreme political opportunist. In Moscow, speaking in English to an audience of Western fund managers and journalists, it is the squeaky clean, liberal Navalny. Full of free markets, diversity, and social justice. Hearing him a few months later out in Siberia, speaking in Russian, one encounters an entirely different animal – fiercely nationalistic, angry and somewhat racist – there, his slogan is “kick out the thieves” but especially “Russia for the ethnic Russians,” anyone without Slavic blood, especially immigrants from the Caucuses, are second-class citizens.” NAROD may be gone, but it’s still in Navalny’s heart. Unlike what Roher says, his “current days” seem pretty much like the “early days” of his cockroach film.

Another drama!

Finally, if readers can take any more drama, I ended up in the center of one!

As a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, I was invited to a November 9, 2022 “Navalny” screening by CNN at 30 Hudson Yards in Manhattan. The post-film moderator was Timothy Frye, professor of post-Soviet foreign policy at Columbia University; the speakers were the filmmakers. I recorded them. Frye asked about “the one scene where Navalny is talking and getting the fellow to, you know, tricking him into speaking.”

Filmmaker Roher explained the political purpose: “And then the war started and what I understood was that this film became not just a film but we were now on a mission to remind the world that Vladimir Putin is not Russia and Russia is not Vladimir Putin and is Navalny.”

In the talk-back, I asked a question. “My name is Lucy Komisar, and I’m an investigative journalist. I want to delve more into the Kudryavtsev story. Mr. Navalny was questioned by the prosecutor in Berlin on December 17th. And three days earlier was the phone call with Kudryavtsev. Did he tell the prosecutor about the phone call which I assume they would have to check the authenticity of, and what did they determine about him? He claims on the phone call he examined these things on August 25 …. But on August 20….” (In fact,“Kudryavtsev” didn’t give the August 25th date, Bellingcat did.)

Interruption by Prof. Frye: “This is all on the issue and nobody else. Which is that after we stop in 10 minutes. There will be drinks. Okay, that’s….”

LK: “The point is the press secretary said Alexei’s things were taken by Yulia before that, and she didn’t allow them to be seized. So how could they have been examined by this man after they were already taken away? And finally, the Berlin doctor said they didn’t detect any poisoning in Navalny’s blood, but two weeks later it was the German Armed Forces laboratory that said, yes.

So, all these things I think are contradictory and I would like to know the facts of why these contradictions exist.”

Christo Grozev: “Almost none of this was actually correct and including the sequence of events. I mean this was reactive and FSB officer on screen on recording that I made on my phone confessing to all of that.”

LK: “You said it’s him, but we don’t know it’s him.”

Grozev: “Well, I think the rest of the world knows and now okay. Be nice to know who you work for because….”

LK: “Oh, is this gonna be a [Joe] McCarthy question now?”

And at the end, Prof. Frye: “Well, thank you, Tim, Maria, Christo and Daniel. Thanks also to CNN HBO Max Warner Brothers Pictures … .”

He invited us all to drinks at Milos, a trendy restaurant in the complex. I went to the reception and asked Roher if I could interview him. He screamed at me, Noooo! And accused me of working for the Russians.

Then on the 17th I got an email from Nancy Bodurtha, Council on Foreign Relations Meetings and Membership Vice President. She had received complaints about my “conduct” at the screening. She threatened that I could be dropped from membership.

She said: “I have received numerous complaints concerning your conduct at CFR’s November 9 documentary screening and discussion of Navalny. As stated in the member handbook, CFR is committed to maintaining a civil and respectful environment. All members are expected to exhibit the highest levels of courtesy and respect toward speakers, moderators, staff, guests, and one another. As a nonpartisan organization committed to hosting a wide range of viewpoints and perspectives to be debated and discussed freely, it is essential that the Council foster an inclusive and welcoming environment free from verbal, written, or physical harassment of any kind.

Per the Council’s By-Laws, a member may be dropped or suspended from membership for any conduct that is prejudicial to the best interests, reputation, and proper functioning of the Council. 

Please be advised that further misconduct may result in suspension with the possibility of the termination of your membership as determined by the board of directors.”

I replied:

“Dear Ms. Bodurtha

Regarding “numerous complaints concerning your conduct at CFR’s November 9 documentary screening and discussion of Navalny” which you cite, please send me copies of the complaints, including who sent them. I’m sure you agree that a Council member has the right to specifics on such an attack. If a person seeks anonymity, that raises questions about the truthfulness of their charges.

Did you investigate the complaints? If not, why not? If so, what were your findings?

Do you know what I said at the meeting? Like many journalists, when I ask a question of public figures in a public place, I record the interchange to make sure I can quote correctly.

[Here I repeated the recorded Q&A.]

What part of my question do you find objectionable? What as a journalist did I not have a right to ask? How was this harassment? Does courtesy and civility mean one cannot challenge what a film or speaker says?

Does allowing a wide range of viewpoints end when the challenge is to a view a Council staff member may not support? Were my statements deemed so dangerous that you voice a threat to throw me out of the Council? Who signed off on the decision to send me your notice?

After the film, I attended a reception where I encountered the filmmaker Daniel Roher and asked if I could interview him. In the presence of many people, he screamed at me, No! and said I was working for the Russians. Pretty much what Christo Grozev suggested. This persuades me that the “numerous complaints” came from Roher and his collaborators.

I look forward to you telling me who made the complaints, what they said, if you investigated their truthfulness and what in the above citation you find objectionable.

I don’t like attempts at intimidation. Neither should the Council. Nor would the Board. If I was not intimidated by killer racists in the early 60s, when I spent a year as editor of the Mississippi Free Press, I will hardly be intimidated now.

This persuades me I must write an article about the film and mention the “complaints” and your threat, which I dismiss as part of the cancel culture and deeply harmful to our society. Accordingly, let’s be clear that this exchange is on the record.

Lucy Komisar”

Her response was

“Lucy:  I acknowledge receipt of your response to my email and reiterate the Council’s expectation that members exhibit the highest levels of courtesy and respect toward speakers, moderators, staff, guests, and one another.  Best, Nancy”

Navalny, Bellingcat, and the filmmakers have made a documentary about the FSB creating not a professional hit, but a plan for immeasurable chaos, with high odds of failure and exposure to the public. The only professionalism is the filmmakers’ strike against their targets: the western media, the film’s audience, and maybe voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Linked to by Johnson’s Russia List, ACURA (American Committee on US Russia Accord), Naked Capitalism, Occupy the Future / Alternative Bankingand the Member Wall of the Council on Foreign Relations.

And the winner is…..envelope to the deep state and its asset Bellingcat, with a shout out to Victoria Nuland and her acolyte Antony Blinken, plus the mainstream and soi-disant independent media for turning a blind eye to the film’s fabrications.

This film, feeding Russophobia, primes Americans to support Washington’s proxy war against Russia in Ukraine even with the danger of nuclear annihilation. That golden Oscar should be draped in black.

This article has been attacked by Bellingcat, the US-UK deep state asset. That is an endorsement!

Note new book The Navalny Case: Conspiracy to serve foreign policy by Jacques Baud, colonel of Swiss intelligence in charge of intelligence on the Warsaw Pact countries during the Cold War.

Lucy Komisar is a well-known investigative journalist. This article appears through her kind courtesy, from her website.