By John Helmer, Moscow
The Australian Government is sure the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) investigation of the downing of Malaysian Airlines MH17 will fail to identify the precise cause of the crash, and will be inconclusive on who and what were responsible. A report, termed final by the DSB, is scheduled for release on October 13.
So certain of the outcome are Australian officials that since May they have been negotiating with the Dutch Government to extend for another year until August 2016 a treaty agreement for Australian police, intelligence agents and Defence Ministry officers to operate in The Netherlands. Without Australian bodies left to identify or repatriate, and only the debris of the MH17 aircraft in partial reconstruction in a hangar at the Hilversum Army Barracks, Dutch and Malaysian sources are questioning what purpose is served by the treaty extension.
In July the Australian and the Netherlands governments signed a protocol for the extension of the Australian military operation on Dutch territory. The original pact of August 1, 2014, and its protocol also provide that while they in The Netherlands, even inside the Hilversum base, the Australians will carry arms, and employ other weapons, including explosives; the pact also protects them from Dutch law if they hurt locals while using their arms. “Are the Australians armed to guard the evidence in The Netherlands,” asks a Dutch source, “to prevent it from being disclosed publicly? Are the Australians arming themselves against the Dutch?”