By John Helmer, Moscow
Until mid-April, almost six months ago, the performances of the British, Dutch, Ukrainian and American intelligence agencies in producing evidence to explain the downing of Malaysian Airlines MH17 and the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury were about equal in fabrication quality and standard of proof; equally poor.
The four services had no need to use espionage tools or hack into the Netherlands-based organs investigating the missile attack and the poisoning. That is because their agents walked through the front doors of the Dutch Safety Board (DSB), the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW); took seats at their internal proceedings; and were given unrestricted access to their files. The agents of the four services also dictated the findings which have been published by the DSB, JIT, and OPCW; they have jointly agreed to withhold release of material evidence.
It has taken much longer for investigations by British, Dutch and other independent researchers to prove their fabrications and disinformation. The Russian contribution to this effort has been positive, though delayed, incomplete and contradictory, in the MH17 case; it has been negative in the Skripal case.
Then on April 13, four Russians were arrested in The Hague, the Dutch capital, in circumstances and on evidence suggesting they and their alleged employer, the Main Directorate of the General Staff (GRU), were attempting to spy on the OPCW by electronic means. Official disclosure of what they were doing was delayed for six months until this Thursday. The exposed Russian operation threatens to compromise the veracity of much of the independent investigations of the MH17 and Skripal cases.
How could the four middle-aged operatives and their superiors at GRU have miscalculated the risks and costs of being caught, as compared to their estimate of the gains of their OPCW operation, if they had got clean away?
One clue to the answer can be found at page 24 of the Dutch military intelligence dossier, titled “operational modus operandi”. In the baggage of the four Russians were two wads of unspent cash — €20,000 and $20,000. (more…)