Two Dutch nationals, David Petraeus and Sandra Roelofs (lead image, centre), were involved in the US planning of an invasion of the Donbass region, eastern Ukraine, in the days running up to the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 on July 17, 2014, when 193 Dutch and 38 Australians were among the 298 passengers and crew killed.
Roelofs, Dutch by birth in Zeeland, became the wife of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili (left) in 1993, and she has remained his collaborator in open political as well as clandestine operations in Georgia, Ukraine, and the US since then.
In the early days of July 2014, when the Ukrainian forces of then-President Petro Poroshenko were launching their US-directed offensive in the Donbass, Petraeus met Saakashvili at the latter’s home with Roelofs in New York to discuss a military operation which Saakashvili then discussed with Poroshenko. Last week, speaking on Ukrainian television as a member of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government, Saakashvili broke his silence to reveal partial details of the military plan.
Did either or both of them engage Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s (right) government before July 17, 2014, in readiness for Rutte’s promotion of the NATO force invasion plan immediately afterwards? Rutte’s involvement in that plan was first revealed by the Dutch press on July 25, 2014.
The US Director of National Intelligence (DNI) never told Dutch prosecutors and investigating judges in the MH17 investigation that he had seen US satellite pictures of the firing of a BUK missile at the aircraft and the detonation which destroyed it in the air above eastern Ukraine seven years ago, on July 17, 2014.
Instead, he told a junior member of his staff, Army Colonel Kenneth Stolworthy, to give the Dutch a paper “summary” that “reflects the American intelligence community’s considered opinion” that “Russian led separatist fighters and Russian military personnel or a combination of the two” were responsible for the attack which killed all 298 passengers and crew on board. The summary Stolworthy was told to assemble came down to him from the National Intelligence Council (NIC), a committee reporting to the DNI the intelligence it gathered from all US intelligence sources, resolving – if it could – the different measures of opinion each of them expressed.
The NIC reported upward to DNI; DNI issued his order downward to Stolworthy with NIC’s script for the Dutch, minus the details.
Stolworthy was selected because he was not an intelligence officer himself; because he had no expertise in satellite imaging; because he was so junior his name was unknown; and because what he wrote to the Dutch was deniable by his superiors if the Dutch challenged his veracity or if there was a leak. Stolworthy was ordered to speak to no one, especially not the Dutch.
In advance agreement between senior officials of the Obama Administration and Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government in The Hague, the Dutch agreed to accept the DNI script and not to press for the satellite images. Rutte also agreed to keep that more secret than the US evidence itself because he knew there were no US satellite images. Rutte knew this because he had been told so by the head of the Dutch military intelligence agency Major-General Onno Eichelsheim.
The chairman of the US National Intelligence Council (NIC), Greg Treverton, at the time the third-ranking official in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the official in charge of assembling “the American intelligence community’s considered opinion”, now says “we worked on the shoot-down, but I don’t recall any specific request for information from the Dutch.”
According to Treverton, speaking two days ago, “Ken Stolworthy was, I think, a deputy National Intelligence Manager, so he did work for the DNI”. He “could have represented US intelligence to the Dutch though I don’t have any notes or memory of any such contact”.
In a new ruling read out in a Dutch courtroom yesterday, the judge presiding in the trial of allegations against the Russian state, military command and four named soldiers for shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 revealed new details of the US evidence allegedly proving that a Russian missile caused the crash. The judge, Hendrik Steenhuis, then refused to allow the lawyers representing the Russian defence to cross-examine the man from the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) who, Steenhuis now says, signed his name to the evidence and has been sought for questioning. According to Steenhuis, questioning him would be “pointless”.
For the first time since the Dutch Government began its prosecution of the Russian Government for the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, and the killing of the 298 passengers and crew on board, the court has heard what the presiding judge, Hendrik Steenhuis (lead image), has described as autopsy and post-mortem evidence from the bodies recovered from the aircraft crash scene in eastern Ukraine.
For the first time, Steenhuis has read out a scripted version of what he declares to be admissible evidence from the bodies, although the trial of this evidence has only just begun.
And for the first time – without showing he has comprehended what he has revealed — Steenhuis confirms that only one piece of shrapnel identifiable with the alleged murder weapon, a Russian-made BUK missile, was discovered by the Dutch forensic teams, pathologists, policemen, prosecutors, and investigating judges who have been working on this evidence since the crash on July 17, 2014. If Steenhuis is telling the truth about this one bow-tie shaped piece of shrapnel from a missile warhead, another cube-shaped piece of shrapnel has disappeared from the cockpit bodies, plus one additional bow-tie and a cube reportedly found in the cockpit frame and photographed by the Dutch Safety Board in October 2015.
This one piece of metal has been admitted in evidence by Steenhuis without any chain of custody protecting it from the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) since the SBU supervised autopsies of the same bodies in Kharkiv in July 2014, before sending them to The Netherlands. That is one piece of metal out of 2,600 bow-tie shapes and another 2,600 cube shapes in the BUK missile warhead Steenhuis has now ruled to have committed the crime.
For the Dutch judge this is beyond reasonable doubt.
The US Government told the Dutch Government on April 23, 2021, that it does not trust Dutch judges in the trial of Russians accused of shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.
In a letter that has been kept secret until yesterday, the US Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the State Department and the Department of Justice declared that they were happy to tell Dutch prosecutors that US satellite images proved that a Russian-fired BUK missile destroyed the MH17 in flight above eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. However, they would not allow the evidence of the satellite images, or the details of the secret DNI briefing of unnamed Dutch government officials on August 23, 2016, from being repeated, tested and verified by the Dutch judges who have been requesting the evidence for several years.
The US officials also said in their letter they rejected all possible alternatives for the Dutch judges to examine the alleged evidence.
According to a statement of the Dutch investigating judge to the presiding trial judge, read out in court on June 7, taking into account “the clear reaction of the American authorities the investigating judge in all reasonableness sees no possibility to indeed further execute this referred request [for the satellite evidence].”
Russian lawyers following the proceedings in The Hague District Court believe the collapse of US government evidence in the case leaves the only evidence for the prosecution to come from the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) which Dutch judges refuse to allow to be tested by independent experts. International war crimes lawyers have repeatedly said that without the US satellite evidence, the Ukrainian government fabrications leave no case for the Russians to answer, and that the defence lawyers for the indicted Russian Army officer Oleg Pulatov should now walk out.
The release by the Dutch prosecutors of their presentations last week in the MH17 trial before The Hague District Court reveal the extent of the incompetence and negligence of the two Dutch lawyers paid by Moscow for the defence – Sabine ten Doesschate (lead image, centre) and Boudewjin van Eijck (right). The two lawyers, whose previous experience of criminal defence trials has been limited to defending the Dutch police, are keeping secrets which not even the prosecutors are concealing now.
The Dutch Government’s trial of the Russian Government for shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 reached new lows on Thursday when it was revealed in court that the US Government continues to conceal the satellite evidence alleged to show a BUK missile firing at the aircraft; that the release on Dutch television of thousands of telephone taps of one of the Russian soldiers accused of the shoot-down was the work of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) and by a source among the Dutch police and prosecutors; and, finally, that an investigating judge has decided in secret to prevent any cross-examination of the Dutch government experts responsible for reports allegedly proving the prosecution’s case.
That investigating judge was acknowledged in court yesterday to be playing a more decisive role than the president of the trial, District Court judge Henrik Steenhuis. Her name is being kept a state secret.
In the history of how English law evolved towards the individual rights most state constitutions and the UN’s declaration of human rights proclaim today, the Star Chamber was a nasty piece of work. Over the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the Star Chamber was a court in London which received indictments prepared by the king; whose judges were picked and paid for by the king; whose evidence was decided by the king; whose witnesses were tortured by the king; and whose proceedings were held in the king’s meeting-room behind his armed guards. The Star Chamber was abolished by parliament after its army had defeated the king’s army and then executed the king himself.
The Dutch state is still in the fifteenth century stage. It is running the trial of charges against Russian Army officers for shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 as a Star Chamber process. The Dutch lawyers who are paid by the Russian state to defend the accused are also paid agents of the Dutch state; they comply; they don’t protest. The mainstream Dutch press, even the Dutch bloggers and alt-media, refuse to report the Star Chamber’s secrets. When The Hague District Court judge Hendrik Steenhuis revealed on Monday two of these secrets, no one in The Netherlands reported noticing.
It requires unusual degrees of self-confidence, political power, and lawlessness for the generals commanding the winning side in war to hold themselves innocent of the killing which the troops under their command committed against the losing side or suspected sympathisers.
In Washington, in February of 1946, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court Frank Murphy warned that if the law of war requires the most senior commander of soldiers running amok with blood lust to be responsible with his own life for what his men have done – even if the commander didn’t know and had no effective means of controlling the troops – the precedent might one day reach to the US commander-in-chief, the President. “No one in a position of command in an army, from sergeant to general,” said Murphy, “can escape those implications. Indeed, the fate of some future President of the United States and his chiefs of staff and military advisers may well have been sealed by this decision.”
That decision has come to be known as the Yamashita Standard after Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita (lead image, top, 1st left). But when Australian soldiers killed more than 39 Afghan civilians between 2007 and 2016, in a judgement publicly released a few days ago, their commanders – Generals Angus Campbell (2nd left), Paul Kenny (3rd left), Adam Findlay (4th left), and Richard Burr (right) — have been cleared of command duty and personal responsibility.
They have been judged by the Army, the Government in Canberra, and the entire Australian press to be innocent. From their time as special forces’ commanders in Afghanistan, they have been promoted to general rank; appointed to advise the prime minister and his ministers on fresh battlefield operations, including the plan to invade eastern Ukraine after the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 on July 17, 2014.
That was a crime, the guilt for which the Dutch Government aims to convict the Russian chain of command all the way to the President. The Dutch government says it is applying its version of the Yamashita Standard, with evidence of chain of command communications fabricated by the Ukrainian secret service, the SBU; by a NATO propaganda unit; and by a cartoon of Moscow’s command responsibility presented to the press by a Dutch policeman named Wilbert Paulissen (lead image, bottom ).
The American, Australian and Dutch commands have not yet won their war against Russia, so the MH17 war crime trial is premature. It is also contradicted by their own policy for the Afghan war. “Such circumstances,” declared the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman last Friday, “cast doubt on the genuine willingness of the Australian authorities to bring to justice all military personnel responsible for crimes, as well as on the seriousness of the stated intentions of the armed forces command to reform army special forces units. The massive, systemic and grave crimes committed over the years by fighters of Australian elite units against the inhabitants of Afghanistan make a new assessment of the meaning of the relentlessly proclaimed commitment of official Canberra to a ‘rules-based world order.’ What are these rules?”
In the November 25 session of the MH17 trial at Schiphol – the final one for this year — presiding judge Hendrik Steenhuis ruled to accept only those investigations requested by the defence lawyers which are certain to incriminate Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Pulatov. Pulatov is the only one of the four accused to present a defence to the Dutch indictment for destruction of the aircraft and the murder of all 298 passengers and crew on board.
Accepting the state prosecution’s advice to reject the defence lawyers’ attempts to probe evidence for alternative scenarios of the shooting-down of the Malaysian Airlines aircraft on July 17, 2014, Steenhuis said: “if the main scenario cannot be proved” – the prosecution’s case that the Russian military command sent a BUK missile into eastern Ukraine where the four accused fired it – “then that leads automatically to the verdict of not guilty”.
Steenhuis announced he is ready to accept all the self-incrimination Pulatov’s lawyers have already presented from their client. But he insisted that if Pulatov wishes to testify to the court, that must be done in a live interrogation by the court and cross-examination by prosecutors – a condition Steenhuis has disallowed for any other witness in the case.
Steenhuis also ruled to accept the defence lawyers’ request to interview the commander of the Russian Army’s 53rdAnti-Aircraft Missile Brigade on the same terms. Steenhuis has previously refused to allow any evidence or testimony from Russian Army Major General Igor Konashenkov on Ukrainian deployment of BUK missiles, including the one identified by prosecutors as having caused the destruction of the aircraft. The evidence against the 53rd Brigade was fabricated by a NATO propaganda unit; until now it would not have been admissible in the court trial if the defence lawyers had not applied to interview the brigade commander, Colonel Sergei Muchkayev.
Steenhuis also expressed his appreciation for the videotaped interviews the defence lawyers have presented in court with Pulatov, together with a recent film of remarks by Colonel Sergei Dubinsky, the second of the four accused. These films will now be used, Steenhuis ruled, by Dutch government experts and the investigating judge to match Pulatov’s and Dubinsky’s voices with telephone taps prepared by the Ukrainian security service, the SBU. The experts and the investigating judge will remain anonymous, and will not testify directly in court.
In concluding the preliminaries before the trial of Pulatov, Dubinsky, Igor Girkin (Strelkov), and Leonid Kharchenko commences next February 1, Steenhuis’s new ruling anticipates that if the Russian Government decides to dismiss the Dutch defence for incompetence and abandon the show trial, it will appear more guilty than if the Dutch defence had never begun.
Dutch and Russian state officials combined last week to turn the trial of the fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 into a farce.
Two Rotterdam police defenders, Sabine ten Doesschate and Boudewijn van Eijck, engaged by a Russian foundation to represent Lieutenant-Colonel Oleg Pulatov, one of the four accused, pretended to investigate evidence the prosecutors have rejected, and the presiding judge, Hendrik Steenhuis, together with an investigating magistrate whose name is kept secret, have already dismissed.
Pulatov and Colonel Sergei Dubinsky, the second of the four accused by the Dutch of murder in the shooting-down of the aircraft and deaths of 298 people on board on July 17, 2014, pretended to be naïve in asking to be believed; provided videotapes of themselves offering to prove their innocence; and inviting the prosecution and Steenhuis to dismiss their truthfulness. The prosecutors will make their presentation this week. The judge has announced he will rule on the defence requests on November 25.
The Dutch prosecution service pretended to report the three days of proceedings with the summary: “the defence is of the opinion that additional investigation is required to find out more about the reliability and value of the evidence put forward by the PPS [Public Prosecution Service] and about evidence that was not put forward by the PPS but could nevertheless be important”.
The trial is broadcast live in Dutch with simultaneous translation into English. Spokesmen for the prosecution press service said they have no idea how the English voiceover record of each day’s hearing could be purchased, or if it was available at all.
The Russian state media organisation RT pretended to have had “technical capacity” difficulty reproducing the first day’s hearing in the YouTube format it has been broadcasting on the internet since the trial began on March 9. RT management then admitted they have ceased providing this archive record unless a one-time or subscription payment is made. “Ruptly is a B2B agency providing services and materials to the international media across the globe”, said the Moscow manager for RT’s Ruptly subsidiary. “The material in question with translation in English is available for Ruptly subscribers.”
No mainstream western media have paid. They also refused to report the defence presentations as news.
A freelance Australian-Ukrainian reporter named Demjin Doroschenko (lead image), employed by the Australian, British and US press to report from the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in July 2014, has been exposed this week as an agent of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU). Reporting to a figure he calls “my SBU handler”, he had been operating in the Donetsk area before and after the crash, and had been spying on groups fighting the Ukrainian regime in Kiev.
In the record of an interview Doroschenko gave to agents of the Australian Federal Police and Australian foreign ministry in Kiev in March 2015, the man admitted he had been paid by the SBU to pass himself off as a freelance journalist for western media in the Donetsk area before and after the MH17 shoot-down. He had met, he said, with Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Dutch police in July 2014, and then again in November of that year, to give them physical evidence he said he had taken from the crash site, as well as purported witness testimony identifying a Russian missile unit as the cause of the aircraft shoot-down. The evidence appears to have been given to him by the SBU.
Doroschenko also ackowledged that he had been trying to sell his information to Dutch police investigators until the SBU confiscated his computer files, and handed them over to the Dutch directly.
The media which paid Doroschenko to report from the MH17 crash scene included the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), a state broadcaster; the Murdoch press in Sydney and in London; Associated Press; and NBC of New York.
Of the 298 passengers and crew killed on board the aircraft, 189 were Dutch; 44 were Malaysia; 27 Australian; 12 Indonesian; and 9 British.
Reporting to the Sydney Morning Herald on July 18, the day after the shoot-down, Doroschenko categorically denied the Ukrainian government forces were responsible. “They don’t have any weapons like this that could have brought down an airliner at ten thousand meters. No way. So it had to come from the other side and only a very modern weapon system could have done that. I can only think it would have been deliberate, because air defense systems have IFF recognition system so you can tell if it is a military aircraft or a civilian aircraft you are going to shoot down. It could only have come from across the border. It is an act of absolute barbarism and terrorism in my opinion.”
The Dutch police have hired a professor called Maurice Punch to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. He tried; the Dutch police think he succeeded in a report called “Passionate Professionals: The Dutch Police Response to the Shooting Down of Malaysian Airlines’ MH17 in the Ukraine.” Punch concluded that to the Dutch police the MH17 disaster has been worth its weight in guilders, I mean gold.
In the trial of Russian murder alleged in the shooting-down of Malaysia Airlines MH17, Dutch lawyers for the defence announced on Monday for the first time that their client, Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Pulatov (lead image, left) declares himself innocent. The lawyers added their acknowledgement that their client must prove his innocence — not that the Dutch prosecution should prove him guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
In a brief resumption of the MH17 trial in The Netherlands, the presiding judge Hendrik Steenhuis (right) attacked the two lawyers representing Pulatov for delaying their filing of requests for additional investigations of the evidence in the case. Steenhuis also dismissed the defence requests for lifting court orders already issued for the secrecy concealing where and how the alleged parts of the Buk missile were found which Pulatov is charged with firing against the aircraft on July 17, 2014. Steenhuis even ruled that the name of the investigating judge who initiated the orders for secrecy covering the alleged weapon should remain secret. That the investigating judge is a woman was all Steenhuis allowed to be known.
The first book to prove the Dutch Government is running a show trial, with Dutch judges, prosecutors, lawyers, and police serving as soldiers in the Kiev regime’s and the NATO war against Russia.
Every one of them is making more money than they were before MH17 was shot down — €35 million more for the judges; €13 million more for the prosecutors; €221 million for the police.
An encyclopaedic demonstration of Ukrainian evidence tampering, US satellite faking, and witness lying under SBU torture and bribery to demonstrate that the Russians accused have no case to answer; that the judge’s guilty verdict has been rigged, and that the defence lawyers should now walk out of the court.
The trial of the crime of the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 resumed on August 31 with the demand of Amsterdam and Rotterdam lawyers for the Russian Government to pay blood money to the relatives of the 298 passengers and crew killed when the aircraft was shot down on July 17, 2014.
Until this moment, the show trial presided over by Judge Hendrik Steenhuis, a former Dutch state tax collector and political ally of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, had been focused on admitting Ukrainian secret service evidence of the crime and disallowing Russian evidence to the contrary.
The lawyers of the relatives have now joined the prosecution to endorse a guilty verdict in advance for the four defendants – three Russian officers, one Ukrainian – and, in order to pay for the crime, the Russian state behind them. The lawyers are proposing the judge admit into the trial proceeding evidence by relatives, each taking fifteen minutes, ten testimonies per day over at least three weeks, to advertise the compensation claim and run up the judge’s cash register.
There is a problem, though. In almost four hours of speechmaking, the lawyers revealed that less than half the relatives have signed for the money shot – none of them from the families of the Malaysian and Indonesian passengers and crew killed. Counting the 30% lawyers’ commission, plus costs, this is entirely an operation for the Dutch to enrich themselves at the expense, they are figuring, of the Russian treasury.
There was another problem. The two Dutch lawyers engaged to represent the Russians in the trial to argue the defence of their innocence, made no objection to the victim lawyers’ pitch on the two grounds available from the Dutch code of criminal procedure – inadmissibility as to evidence, prejudice as to proof. The defence lawyers are already making money at the Russian treasury’s expense.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (lead image) surprised his own country’s lawyers last week with the filing of a Dutch Government claim against Russia at the European Court of Human Rights for the shooting-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. “The Dutch government decided”, declared the official announcement, “to bring Russia before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for its role in the downing of Flight MH17.”
“By submitting an inter-State application,” Rutte’s statement explained, “the government is sharing all available and relevant information about the downing of Flight MH17 with the ECtHR. The contents of the inter-State application will also be incorporated into The Netherlands’ intervention in the individual applications submitted by the victims’ next of kin against Russia to the ECHR. By taking this course of action the government is offering maximum support to these individual cases.”
In fact, according to international lawyers, the Dutch move contributes nothing to the individual cases now pending from MH17 victims’ families because the court has suspended all of them since December 2018.
The lawyers also point out the contradiction between alleging in the criminal trial in The Hague District Court now under way that the Russian government and military were not behind the actions of the four men accused of the shoot-down; and Rutte’s allegation of Russian state guilt to the European court. “This isn’t just parallel litigation, which the ECHR has already refused to allow,” commented a London legal expert. “It’s a vote of no confidence in the Dutch prosecutors to secure convictions in the murder case they are trying to make.”
Rutte’s move has been dismissed in The Netherlands by Dutch lawyers, and also by victims’ families, as cynical electioneering. The prime minister, they believe, is attempting to hold on to power before the general election due next March despite having lost the majority of party votes in both houses of the Dutch parliament.
“For our prime minister Rutte,” commented Dutch lawyer Alfred Vierling, “this entire circus is the crucial test case for his higher political ambitions. He has promised to the victims’ families that the proverbial last stone will be turned over. Maybe, but I expect that we shall all be crushed under a pile of lies first.”
“The new Dutch move,” responds Canadian war crimes specialist, attorney Christopher Black, “is an attempt to mask the fact that the trial before the Dutch courts is a biassed, one-sided affair, based on unsupported claims of the Kiev regime and the suppression of the evidence provided by Russia and eye-witnesses that support the case that the Kiev regime and its allies are responsible for the shoot-down. Instead of bringing justice to the victims, this is another attempt by NATO to deny them the real justice they are due.”
The ruling issued on July 3 by Dutch district court judge Hendrik Steenhuis (lead image, right) requires the Russian defendant, Lieutenant-Colonel Oleg Pulatov (centre), to prove his innocence with evidence prepared by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU). By the standard announced a month earlier by the Russian Foreign Ministry, this is a fundamental violation of Pulatov’s legal rights, making a guilty verdict inevitable.
Russian and international lawyers believe the defence lawyers should walk out. “In the conditions which the Dutch court has set,” comments Canadian Christopher Black, a veteran litigator in international war crimes trials, “this is now nothing more than the Ukrainian civil war fought by the Kiev regime with lawyers instead of soldiers. It’s a show trial. Nothing more than propaganda. No legal right for the accused is served by having his lawyers present. Since the defendants have refused to appear in person – three of them disputing the Dutch jurisdiction — the defence lawyers should withdraw.”
The presiding judge in the trial of the shooting-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 announced on Friday afternoon that he will not allow the evidence of Major-General Igor Konashenkov and other Russian Defence Ministry officers on the Ukrainian Army’s possession of the BUK missile alleged to be the weapon which shot down the aircraft, killing all 298 people on board.
Judge Hendrik Steenhuis declared that the Russian evidence revealed so far of the parts of the missile is limited to the manufacture of the weapon in Russia in 1986, and delivery of the weapon to a Ukrainian Army unit between December 1986 and early 1987. Steenhuis refused to allow Russian military intelligence to reveal where the missile was located between 1987 and July 17, 2014, when the Dutch prosecution claims the missile was fired by a Russian military crew at MH17.
“The defence wishes to interview these witnesses in order to establish the evidential value and credibility of the parts of the missile administration supplied by Russia,” Steenhuis announced. He refused to identify Russian Army generals Igor Konashenkov, the Defence Ministry spokesman, and Nikolai Parshin, head of the Ministry’s Missile and Artillery Directorate, whose detailed briefing on the missile parts, their origin, and their deployment in the Ukrainian Army was broadcast from the Defence Ministry in Moscow on September 18, 2018. “The court finds that the relevant records relate to the years 1986 and 1987. In that light, the court does not see how interviewing this witness [Gen. Konashenkov] can contribute to the question of where a specific missile mentioned in that record is located in the year 2014. For that reason alone the court is of the opinion that interviewing this witness cannot be of importance for any decision to be taken in the criminal case of the accused. The request is therefore rejected.”
Steenhuis repeated to the letter the prosecution’s argument, presented in court on June 23, that the Russian evidence should not be allowed in the trial. The judge has opted to accept the Ukrainian Government’s claim that the missile was not in the Ukrainian Army’s inventory in 2014.
Steenhuis did not explain why he accepts the Ukrainian Army version; rejects all Russian Army evidence in advance of its presentation to the court; and will allow no further evidence or witnesses to explain how, according to the Dutch prosecution story, the Ukrainian Army missile found its way from a Ukrainian Army base to a Russian Army base, before being sent back across the border into Ukraine to attack MH17.
Dutch state prosecutors told the court in the trial of the shooting-down of Malaysia Airlines MH17 that Major-General of the Russian Army Igor Konashenkov should not be allowed as a witness for the defence. To justify this in a hearing last Friday, the prosecutors revealed an illegal trick exposing the evidence in the case as a fit-up by the Ukrainian government’s military and security agencies.
Dismissing almost all the defence applications to the court for new evidence and witnesses, prosecutor Ferdinandusse* (lead image, right) said: “We do not see any reasonable grounds for accusing the prosecution of not being objective” (June 26 hearing, Min 9:17).
The trick the prosecution has asked the court to accept is that apart from the Ukrainian government’s say-so, there is no chain of custody for the evidence of the weapon alleged to have been fired by the accused to destroy the aircraft and kill its occupants on July 17, 2014. If the Russian government says the Ukrainian government is lying, planting the evidence and fabricating the chain of custody, the prosecution has told the court to ignore the Russians – believe the Ukrainians. Presented in court last Friday, this chain of custody argument has transformed the trial into a Ukrainian war operation conducted by Dutch proxies, and mercenaries.
One of the most prominent generals in the Russian Army is to be called to testify in the Dutch government’s trial of the shooting-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 when district court judge Hendrik Steenhuis rules next week on whether to accept or refuse his evidence as a witness for the defence.
According to the request filed in court this week, the evidence is of the Ukrainian Army’s fingerprints on the BUK missile which Dutch prosecutors allege was the weapon used to destroy the aircraft on July 17, 2014, killing 298 passengers and crew.
Without proof of the weapon, the Dutch prosecution has no case against the four soldiers — three Russians, one Ukrainian — accused of deploying the missile and preparing the attack against the aircraft. If Ukrainian Army fingerprints are verified on the weapon when the crime was committed, the Dutch case, and the worldwide media campaign against Russia, collapse.
Major-General Igor Konashenkov (lead image), the spokesman for the Defence Ministry in Moscow, has been called to testify. If Judge Steenhuis refuses to allow him, in a ruling promised for July 3, the trial will cease to follow Dutch law, and become a Dutch Government propaganda show.
For a brief moment in the presentation this week of the defence case against the Dutch government’s indictment of Oleg Pulatov for murder in the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, the Dutch lawyer Boudewijn Van Eijck almost said there was no case to answer, and the indictment should be dismissed immediately for lack of evidence that is legal under Dutch law.
“The indictment is superficial when it comes to actual facts which the defendant is accused of,” Van Eijck (lead image, 2nd from left) said (June 22, Min 21:19). “It is not clear at this stage of this very question whether the actions would actually amount to a crime even if they could be proved.”
Van Eijck also warned the presiding judge Hendrik Steenhuis (right) that he is on trial himself – that he should not continue the trial on the prosecution’s evidence, ignoring the defence requests for fresh investigation and new witnesses, “in order to make sure that this case never has to be reviewed on appeal” (June 22, Min 42:35).
The next day, Sabine ten Doessschate (1st left), the junior defence lawyer, summed up the defence case by undercutting her leader. She apologised to the Dutch press and to families of those killed on MH17 for presenting what she called “conspiracy theories”. “All of the topics which we have talked about,” ten Doesschate concluded on June 23, “for all of these we have asked ourselves, on the basis of what we have read, can we really say this is what really happened; and this is not the other thing which happened. And our answer is no. On the basis of the file we have at this moment it is impossible for us to say either one… this means we don’t have all the answers. Investigation of topics like these can give hard facts which can give the answer to the question, how was MH17 brought down. If we were not to ask in detail for investigation, we would not be able to look at ourselves in the mirror. This is the least that can be expected of us” (June 23, Min 2:53:19).
The Dutch defence lawyers have wound up defending themselves. Judge Steenhuis, who looks in a different mirror, has promised to issue his rulings on July 3.
The Dutch Government has devised an evidence-proof scheme for ensuring the trial of the Russian government for the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 will end in a conviction.
This scheme will work without evidence to prove that the four men accused of the crime of shooting down the aircraft, killing the 298 passengers and crew on board on July 17, 2014, intended to kill; or even intended to fire the missile which allegedly brought MH17 down.
The Dutch scheme is evidence-proof because no evidence will be needed, not from US satellite photographs which are missing; nor NATO airborne tracking which shows no missile; nor Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) evidence which has proved to have been fabricated, and in the case of Ukrainian witnesses for the prosecution, threatened, tortured or bribed.
The scheme is also evidence-proof because the Dutch Prime Minister has told the Dutch Minister of Justice to order the state prosecutors to tell the state-appointed judge that he must convict the Russians if he finds as proven that MH17 crashed to the ground in eastern Ukraine; that everyone on board was killed; and that the four soldiers accused – three Russians and one Ukrainian – were on the ground fighting.
International war crimes lawyers are calling this a legal travesty. It was presented in court near Amsterdam by Dutch state prosecutor Thijs Berger on June 10. It has gone unnoticed in the mainstream western media. Russian reporters following the trial have missed it. The scheme was first reported in English and Russian by a NATO propaganda unit on June 12.
“I give you the floor”, Judge Hendrik Steenhuis announced to Prosecutor Thjs Berger, as he opened the June 10 session of the MH17 murder trial, the sixth day of the hearing at the Schiphol Judicial Complex in The Netherlands. The judge was referring to a court of law, not a stage show. “Ladies and gentlemen,” Berger began, certain it was a show he was opening. By the conclusion of his and Prosecutor Ward Ferdinandusse’s presentations, it was clear the show the Dutch are putting on in Amsterdam has been scripted entirely in Kiev.
A Dutch Government prosecutor has told the court trying charges of murder against the Russian state, three Russian soldiers and a Ukrainian in the shooting-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 that satellite images were requested from the US, Russia and China. The Russian reply, announced yesterday in court by prosecutor Thijs Berger, was that the Russian satellite images were “not stored”. The Chinese reply, he added, was that there had been a Chinese satellite above eastern Ukraine at the time of the MH17 downing, but it was “not operational”. All three governments – the US, Russia, and China – refused to provide satellite images.
The foundation stone of the Dutch prosecution of the Russian state, three Russian soldiers and a Ukrainian from Donbass for shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 is the US satellite imagery of the missile launch, trajectory, and detonation. The US Government publicly laid this foundation within hours of the incident, on July 17, 2014, following the destruction of the 298 people on board.
If the satellite images are not presented in the trial, which began hearings again this week, the prosecution case fails, either because the US refuses to declassify and release the images, or because they don’t exist. If it can be proved that the US has lied about the satellite evidence, and that Dutch prosecutors are repeating this lie in court, then the defence will have the foundation for summary dismissal of the charges.
On March 23, the presiding judge Hendrik Steenhuis issued an order for the prosecution to produce in court the US satellite images. This week, on June 8, Steenhuis announced the prosecution had responded with a memorandum prepared by another Dutch prosecutor interpreting the satellite images but without revealing them. “The American authorities informed us that they cannot provide any additional information regarding the launch of the missile… and the court understands from this that no further information is to be added to the file as a result.”
The judge did not say this is a violation of his disclosure order. The defence lawyers have not announced the evidence is hearsay, unverifiable, and inadmissible in a court of law. Neither the defence lawyers nor Steenhuis himself have charged the prosecution with contempt of court. The prosecution lawyers, who are continuing this week with an outline of their case, are preparing to repeat the US lie.
A new ruling by three Dutch judges in the trial of Russia for having shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 will allow the Ukrainian secret service, the SBU, to present fabricated witness evidence without investigation or cross-examination by defence lawyers representing one of the four military officers accused of launching a BUK anti-aircraft missile at MH17. On July 17, 2014, the aircraft was destroyed above eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.
The two Dutch defence lawyers, Sabine ten Doesschate (lead image, centre) and Boudewijn van Eijck (right), have attempted to keep the court proceeding secret since mid-March when they were asked to clarify if they had filed a challenge to the use of secret witness statements in the trial, which began hearings in public on March 9.
A secret hearing followed on April 6 when ten Doesschate appeared in person. Two weeks later, a 16-page judgement was signed by three judges of the District Court of The Hague, Alexander Boogers, B.W. Mulder, and Mariette Renckens; an official translation into English was then prepared. Ten Doesschate and van Eijck were asked last Thursday morning, April 23, to confirm that the judgement had been issued.
“Should you fail to respond,” ten Dosschate and van Eijck were told, “you will be reported as conducting yourselves in a manner that is inconsistent with the duties of a lawyer in defence of a client in a serious criminal case, with the intention on your parts, individually and collectively, to dissemble, mislead, falsify, and prejudice the defence you claim to represent and for which you are receiving money in payment.” Ten Doesschate and van Eijck have refused to answer.
International criminal lawyers who have reviewed the detailed summary of the lawyers’ argument in the new court document have condemned ten Doesschate and van Eijck for their failure to make an adequate defence. They are “sweetheart lawyers working for the prosecution”, commented one.
Reviewing the Dutch ruling, Christopher Black, a Canadian attorney who defended in the international war crimes trials for Yugoslavia and for Rwanda, said “the defence in this trial has now been reduced to a fig leaf. From reading this [ruling] and the language [the judges] use, it appears the defence will never have a chance to properly contest the charges. Since they cannot do that, they should walk out, hold a press conference explaining why, and face the consequences.”
lawyers leading the defence against the charge of premeditated murder in the
destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 on July 17, 2014, have no
experience of litigation in cases involving aircraft crashes, war crimes, military
crimes, or homicide – except for cases when they have defended Dutch police
accused of shooting people on the streets of Rotterdam.
The first of the
defence lawyers, Sabine ten Doesschate, has never conducted a defence in a
murder trial; in her short career so far, she has specialized in white collar
fraud. Her leader, Boudewijn van Eijck, has a career record of defending
Rotterdam police in collaboration with Rotterdam police commanders and
prosecutors; at the time they included Fred Westerbeke, lead prosecutor of the
MH17 investigation, and Dedy Woei-A-Tsoi, one of the three prosecutors now in
Asked if his
relationships with them create a conflict for him to defend in this trial, van
Eijck refuses to answer. “Our focus is the MH17 case,” he said through
a spokesman on Friday, “not the professional careers of the lawyers.”
Ten Doeschate and van Eijck have announced they have engaged a Dutch public relations company called Headline Communications and a spokesman named Martin van Putten. The company has no operating record in The Netherlands. Responding to questions emailed over two weeks about the two lawyers, their expertise to mount a professional defence, and their conflicts of interest, Van Putten at first lied; then insisted “we do not comment in the media until after the next [court] session on June 8th.” When asked by telephone to clarify the lawyers’ silence and misleading statements he has made on their behalf, he cut the telephone line.
The third lawyer on the team, Yelena Kutyina, is a Moscow lawyer with trial experience defending media personalities in assault and injury compensation claims and appearing herself as a judge in television courtroom shows. Asked to describe her experience in criminal trials, Kutyina refuses to answer.
“So far as I can tell,” commented veteran war crimes defence lawyer Christopher Black, a Canadian, “so far as I can tell, they are not acting like a real defence.”
The US satellite images proving that a BUK missile brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 on July 17, 2014, have existed for twenty-three days – between July 20 and August 12, 2014. Since then they ceased to exist. Since then too, for almost six years, no US Government official has claimed in public, nor told Dutch police, prosecutors, or military intelligence officials in secret, that the images can be viewed with the naked eye.
A week ago, on March 23, Hendrik Steenhuis, a judge of The Hague District Court, ordered the production and disclosure of these US satellite images as evidence in the trial of four men accused of transporting the missile to its launch site, participating in the order to fire, and intending to kill all 298 people on board the aircraft.
Steenhuis, the presiding trial judge, gave Dutch prosecutors until June 8 to comply with the order and prove the satellite images exist. If they do not, the foundation of the case against the four accused, and against the Russian military and political command for ordering the BUK launched, will collapse.
Lawyers with experience in comparable international tribunals are sceptical of both Judge Steenhuis’s order, and of the likelihood the US Government and Dutch prosecutors will obey it. Christopher Black was a Canadian lawyer for the defence in the Yugoslav trials beginning in 1993, and the Rwanda trials commencing in 1994. He says: “In our trial at the ICTR [International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda] we pushed the judges to order the prosecution to produce what they claimed they had. Several times under our browbeating, they did make such orders. But they were never followed up. The prosecution never complied, even when a couple of times they were roasted by the judges for disregarding their orders. They didn’t care and nothing was done. We think it was all window-dressing for the press in order to make the judges appear neutral when they were part of the prosecution.”
“Where no case is made out against a man, or such a
flimsy one that it cannot stand on its feet, he is entitled to say: ‘I ask the
jury to say that I am not guilty without hearing a word from me.’”
That sentence was written almost sixty years ago by one of the most brilliant tellers of courtroom stories in the English language, Henry Cecil. Nom de plume of an English county court judge, Cecil put the words in the mouth of the barrister for the defendant, in his summing-up for the jury. The story is a whodunit, with much of Cecil’s characteristic poking of fun and then, at the end — well, a surprise I shan’t reveal.
In the tale of the trial of four defendants accused of
murder in the shooting-down of Malaysia Airlines MH17, there are no jokes. But
the proceedings which commenced at Schiphol, in The Netherlands, on March 9 and
adjourned on March 23 for ten weeks, did have a surprise ending. That is also
the point of Cecil’s defence speech. The point is that the Dutch prosecutors have
revealed the case they are making out against the defendants, and also, they insist, against the Russian state, is
such a flimsy one, it cannot stand on its own feet. It should therefore be
dismissed by the panel of three judges.
Recognizing this in his first ruling, issued on March 23, Hendrik Steenhuis, the presiding judge, gave the prosecution, the Dutch Government behind them, and the US Government behind them, one last chance.
This was his order to produce in court the crucial piece of evidence on which the case of murder depends – the US satellite images which US officials have long claimed to prove the firing of a BUK missile at MH17 and to have reported in secret to Dutch intelligence. But since the evidence of the chief of Dutch military intelligence, and also of the investigating police and prosecutors – official secrets now leaked in public – is that the US has not provided the evidence, the judge’s order is an ultimatum.
If the evidence isn’t produced by June 8, when the court resumes, the court will be asked to rule that the defendants have no case to answer.
judge in the trial of murder in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 on
July 17, 2014, dropped a bombshell at the end of his 45-minute ruling presented
in court in The Netherlands yesterday.
The Dutch prosecutors are now attempting to cover it up. A press spokesman, Monique Buunk, was asked for a copy of the judge’s ruling. She declined and refused to explain. A summary of the ruling issued by the prosecution press office on Monday afternoon said only: “the court also put a number of questions to the prosecution and counsel for the relatives.” The court has now adjourned until June 8.
Reading from a
prepared paper, Judge Hendrik Steenhuis (lead image) ordered the Dutch prosecutors
and the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team, which has provided the evidence for
the murder charges, to report to the court whether US satellite data, allegedly
showing the firing of a BUK missile to bring down the aircraft, have been
provided to the investigation. The judge’s order also requires the prosecutors
to explain whether the American satellite evidence can now be released to the
court and to the lawyers representing Oleg Pulatov, one of the four men accused
in the firing of the missile.
On January 22, 2016, according to Steenhuis , Dutch members of parliament were briefed by a Dutch satellite expert at a parliamentary discussion of the MH17 case that “the US has satellite images of the missile being fired”, and that these images were “shared with Dutch intelligence.” According to Steenhuis, the MP also announced “the US has no objection to declassification”. “Is this correct?” Steenhuis issued an order to the prosecutors for reply. “Is this satellite data to be released?”
The order for disclosure of the US satellite evidence opens in court for the first time the possibility that the Dutch prosecution may not be able to produce the satellite images because the US has not released them; because a Dutch military intelligence report of September 21, 2016, says it had received from the US no satellite imagery of a BUK missile launch at MH17; and because the US claim to have the satellite data is a fabrication.
The Belgians like to speak of themselves as the victims when the great powers of Europe go to war. They were when the Germans invaded in 1914 and 1940.
But since 2014 when the Belgian government has been repeating it is gung-ho for the war with Russia, there has been no Russian attack, no occupation. Instead, there has been the amicable Russia-Belgium diamond trade worth more than $30 billion in annual exports and imports, supplied by the Russian state diamond company Alrosa.
If Belgian officials cut that trade off by agreeing to the European Union (EU) sanctions banning Russian diamond imports, as proposed by other EU states, that would liquidate ten thousand diamond polishing and related jobs concentrated in Antwerp, and destroy the country’s fifth largest export business forever. Alrosa would move its diamonds to Dubai, killing Antwerp as a diamond trading and cutting centre, just as Amsterdam as a diamond centre was killed by the German occupation of 1940. Antwerp took advantage of Amsterdam’s misfortune in 1946. Dubai will now do the same.
This is what Belgian government and diamond industry officials mean when they say they favour the toughest possible sanctions on Russian gas exports to Europe – but no sanctions on Russian diamonds. This is what Prime Minister Alexander De Croo meant when he told an Antwerp conference of diamantaires on September 14: “Sanctions should focus more on the aggressor than ourselves.”
Earlier, reacting to an attack on the diamond trade with Russia by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky in a speech to the Belgian parliament, the spokesman for the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) said: “Not only are thousands of jobs in Antwerp at stake in the short term, but this decision will inevitably lead to a worldwide shift in the diamond trade in the long term. As long as international policy-makers worldwide do not adopt a unanimous position to sanction Russian diamonds in their entirety, Antwerp will be the only place that will bear the consequences of an EU sanction.”
By “worldwide shift” he meant Dubai.
De Croo has camouflaged Belgium’s resistance by repeating he will not veto a Russian diamond ban if there is “overwhelming support” for it in the EU. So a majority of the EU states have continued pressing; they are led by Poland. In March of this year, De Croo announced: “I would like to officially state that our country has never hindered any measures regarding diamonds. Our country did not interfere in this issue.” In private, however, De Croo has been casting Belgium’s veto.
The Poles have been attacking De Croo, pressing the case for an EU ban on Russian diamond imports as payback for De Croo’s insistence on imposing EU budget sanctions against the Warsaw government last year. De Croo is also refusing to accept Ukraine’s demand for accelerated membership of the EU and of NATO, and for fresh EU funding to pay Kiev’s war-fighting bills.
Instead, he has just announced €8 million in non-lethal aid to Kiev. “Ukraine can keep on counting on Belgium,” De Croo declared. “More than words, there are actions. Once again, Belgium is responding to concrete needs and will be providing essential equipment to Ukraine in the coming weeks.” The equipment is first-aid kits and pharmaceuticals produced by Belgian companies.
This week the secret Belgian veto campaign appears to have succeeded. The new draft of the eighth round of EU sanctions includes dental floss and deodorants; it leaves out diamonds. This omission is expected to be confirmed publicly on Friday of this week at the EU summit meeting in Prague.
“At the moment, diamonds are not included on the agenda for the next round of sanctions,” announced Tom Neys, the AWDC spokesman. “But things change quickly. [On] Friday [October 7] they will finalize discussions, and the EU [leaders decide] on October 6 and 7. The fact that sanctions also create other ethical problems, and that these sanctions will have no effect in Russia, are probably important elements in these debates. Now is the time to focus on international solutions.”
By “international solutions” the Belgians mean keeping Dubai from taking over Antwerp’s diamond business.
Timing is everything when you are telling jokes on stage; summing up for the jury in a murder trial; or when you are a general preparing to send your army over the top. Knock the comedian, lawyer, or general off his timing, and the laugh, the verdict, and the casualties will go against him.
John Mortimer, a London barrister and author of the Rumpole of the Bailey television show, once told the story of a friend who was coming to the end of his final jury address when he saw the judge writing a note and handing it to the usher. When it was passed to the lawyer as he was speaking, he glanced down to read: “Dear Jim, I thought you’d like to know that your flies are open and I can see your cock.”
Cocks which show or crow – like boys crying wolf – don’t comprehend the risks they create for themselves, and others. This is how it is in Berlin for Olaf Scholz and in Washington for Joseph Biden right now. They can afford to be impervious to the derision they are drawing in Warsaw; not so to the reaction to their antics in Moscow.
In this broadcast by Chris Cook, Gorilla Radio blows the final whistle before we all go over the top (Germans first, then the Poles). Even former Secretary of State John Kerry, career liar that he’s been, is revealed to be blowing on the same whistle this time round.
The official Russian reaction to the Nord Stream attack is to identify it as a US military operation, and to wait for an investigation to produce the evidence. That means wait, delay. No retaliation.
“How will we respond?” Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday in the most detailed briefing so far from Moscow. “We will respond with an investigation. This is a must, and our law-enforcement bodies have already launched it. This [the gas pipelines] is our property, resources, and infrastructure.”
“I would like to believe that the international investigation of what happened on the gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea will be objective… We will seek to conduct an honest and objective investigation… I hope that someone in the United States, or maybe someone in Europe — although, unfortunately, Europe in this case can no longer be counted on — someone from the independent investigators will have the desire to clarify the involvement of the United States, the special services and all other bodies in what happened on 25-27 September of this year in the Baltic Sea.”
This means that the Russian Government is waiting, delaying. There will be no retaliation for the time being.
The reason is that Russian officials suspect the Biden Administration of preparing an October Surprise just ahead of Election Day, November 8: an attack on domestic US infrastructure – the electricity grids, for example – which will be reported as the Russian retaliation that won’t be.
The Nord Stream attacks were a military operation of the US, Poland, Denmark, and Sweden, with additional NATO air surveillance support from bases in Italy. Politically, they were an attack on Germany, but the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has yet to say publicly what he knew in advance, what he knows now.
Who then knows what will come next except that there is now war in Europe, outside the Ukraine. Will the October Surprise begin war inside the United States?
The Polish government in Warsaw, facing re-election in less than a year, wants all the credit from Washington for their joint operation to sabotage the Nord Stream gas pipelines on the Baltic seabed.
It also wants to intimidate the German chancellor in Berlin, and deter both American and German officials from plotting a takeover by the Polish opposition party, Civic Platform, next year.
Blaming the Russians for the attack is their cover story. Attacking anyone who doesn’t believe it, including Poles and Germans, Warsaw officials and their supporting media claim they are dupes or agents of Russian disinformation.
Their rivals, Civic Platform (PO) politicians trailing the PiS in the polls by seven percentage points, want Polish voters to think that no credit for the Nord Stream attack should be earned by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party. They also want to divert the Russian counter-attack from Warsaw to Washington.
“Thank you USA” was the first Polish political declaration tweeted hours after the blasts by Radoslaw Sikorski (lead image, left), the PO’s former defence and foreign minister, now a European Parliament deputy. In support and justification, his old friend and PO ministerial colleague, Roman Giertych, warned Sikorski’s critics: “Would you nutters prefer that the Russians find us guilty?”
The military operation on Monday night which fired munitions to blow holes in the Nord Stream I and Nord Stream II pipelines on the Baltic Sea floor, near Bornholm Island, was executed by the Polish Navy and special forces.
It was aided by the Danish and Swedish military; planned and coordinated with US intelligence and technical support; and approved by the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
The operation is a repeat of the Bornholm Bash operation of April 2021, which attempted to sabotage Russian vessels laying the gas pipes, but ended in ignominious retreat by the Polish forces. That was a direct attack on Russia. This time the attack is targeting the Germans, especially the business and union lobby and the East German voters, with a scheme to blame Moscow for the troubles they already have — and their troubles to come with winter.
Morawiecki is bluffing. “It is a very strange coincidence,” he has announced, “that on the same day that the Baltic Gas Pipeline opens, someone is most likely committing an act of sabotage. This shows what means the Russians can resort to in order to destabilize Europe. They are to blame for the very high gas prices”. The truth bubbling up from the seabed at Bornholm is the opposite of what Morawiecki says.
But the political value to Morawiecki, already running for the Polish election in eleven months’ time, is his government’s claim to have solved all of Poland’s needs for gas and electricity through the winter — when he knows that won’t come true.
Inaugurating the 21-year old Baltic Pipe project from the Norwegian and Danish gas networks, Morawiecki announced: “This gas pipeline is the end of the era of dependence on Russian gas. It is also a gas pipeline of security, sovereignty and freedom not only for Polish, but in the future, also for others…[Opposition Civic Platform leader Donald] Tusk’s government preferred Russian gas. They wanted to conclude a deal with the Russians even by 2045…thanks to the Baltic Pipe, extraction from Polish deposits, LNG supply from the USA and Qatar, as well as interconnection with its neighbours, Poland is now secured in terms of gas supplies.”
Civic Platform’s former defence and foreign minister Radek Sikorski also celebrated the Bornholm Blow-up. “As we say in Polish, a small thing, but so much joy”. “Thank you USA,” Sikorski added, diverting the credit for the operation, away from domestic rival Morawiecki to President Joseph Biden; he had publicly threatened to sabotage the line in February. Biden’s ambassador in Warsaw is also backing Sikorski’s Civic Platform party to replace Morawiecki next year.
The attack not only escalates the Polish election campaign. It also continues the Morawiecki government’s plan to attack Germany, first by reviving the reparations claim for the invasion and occupation of 1939-45; and second, by targeting alleged German complicity, corruption, and appeasement in the Russian scheme to rule Europe at Poland’s expense. .
“The appeasement policy towards Putin”, announced PISM, the official government think tank in Warsaw in June, “is part of an American attempt to free itself from its obligations of maintaining peace in Europe. The bargain is that Americans will allow Putin to finish building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in exchange for Putin’s commitment not use it to blackmail Eastern Europe. Sounds convincing? Sounds like something you heard before? It’s not without reason that Winston Churchill commented on the American decision-making process: ‘Americans can always be trusted to do the right thing, once all other possibilities have been exhausted.’ However, by pursuing such a policy now, the Biden administration takes even more responsibility for the security of Europe, including Ukraine, which is the stake for subsequent American mistakes.”
“Where does this place Poland? Almost 18 years ago the Federal Republic of Germany, our European ally, decided to prioritize its own business interests with Putin’s Russia over solidarity and cooperation with allies in Central Europe. It was a wrong decision to make and all Polish governments – regardless of political differences – communicated this clearly and forcefully to Berlin. But since Putin succeeded in corrupting the German elite and already decided to pay the price of infamy, ignoring the Polish objections was the only strategy Germany was left with.”
The explosions at Bornholm are the new Polish strike for war in Europe against Chancellor Olaf Scholz. So far the Chancellery in Berlin is silent, tellingly.
The only Russian leader in a thousand years who was a genuine gardener and who allowed himself to be recorded with a shovel in his hand was Joseph Stalin (lead image, mid-1930s). Compared to Stalin, the honouring of the new British king Charles III as a gardener pales into imitativeness and pretension.
Stalin cultivated lemon trees and flowering mimosas at his Gagra dacha by the Black Sea in Abkhazia. Growing mimosas (acacias) is tricky. No plantsman serving the monarchs in London or at Versailles has made a go of it in four hundred years. Even in the most favourable climates, mimosas – there are almost six hundred varieties of them — are short-lived. They can revive after bushfires; they can go into sudden death for no apparent reason. Russians know nothing of this – they love them for their blossom and scent, and give bouquets of them to celebrate the arrival of spring.
Stalin didn’t attempt the near-impossible, to grow lemons and other fruit in the Moscow climate. That was the sort of thing which the Kremlin noblemen did to impress the tsar and compete in conspicuous affluence with each other. At Kuskovo, now in the eastern district of Moscow, Count Pyotr Sheremetyev built a heated orangerie between 1761 and 1762, where he protected his lemons, pomegranates, peaches, olives, and almonds, baskets of which he would present in mid-winter to the Empress Catherine the Great and many others. The spade work was done by serfs. Sheremetyev beat the French king Louis XIV to the punch – his first orangerie at Versailles wasn’t built until 1763.
Stalin also had a dacha at Kuskovo. But he cultivated his lemons and mimosas seventeen hundred kilometres to the south where they reminded him of home in Georgia. Doing his own spade work wasn’t Stalin showing off, as Charles III does in his gardens, like Louis XIV before him. Stalin’s spade work was what he had done in his youth. It also illustrated his message – “I’m showing you how to work”, he would tell visitors surprised to see him with the shovel. As to his mimosas, Stalin’s Abkhazian confidante, Akaki Mgeladze, claimed in his memoirs that Stalin intended them as another lesson. “How Muscovites love mimosas, they stand in queues for them” he reportedly told him. “Think how to grow more to make the Muscovites happy!”
In the new war with the US and its allies in Europe, Stalin’s lessons of the shovel and the mimosas are being re-learned in conditions which Stalin never knew – how to fight the war for survival and at the same time keep everyone happy with flowers on the dining table.
Agatha Christie’s whodunit entitled And Then There Were None – the concluding words of the children’s counting rhyme — is reputed to be the world’s best-selling mystery story.
There’s no mystery now about the war of Europe and North America against Russia; it is the continuation of Germany’s war of 1939-45 and the war aims of the General Staff in Washington since 1943. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) and President Vladimir Putin (right) both said it plainly enough this week.
There is also no mystery in the decision-making in Moscow of the President and the Defense Minister, the General Staff, and the others; it is the continuation of the Stavka of 1941-45.
Just because there is no mystery about this, it doesn’t follow that it should be reported publicly, debated in the State Duma, speculated and advertised by bloggers, podcasters, and twitterers. In war what should not be said cannot be said. When the war ends, then there will be none.
Alas and alack for the Berlin Blockade of 1948-49 (Berliner Luftbrücke): those were the days when the Germans waved their salutes against the unification of Germany demilitarised and denazified; and cheered instead for their alliance with the US and British armies to fight another seventy years of war in order to achieve what they and Adolf Hitler hadn’t managed, but which they now hope to achieve under Olaf Scholtz — the defeat of the Russian Army and the destruction of Russia.
How little the Germans have changed.
But alas and alack — the Blockade now is the one they and the NATO armies aim to enforce against Russia. “We are drawing up a new National Security Strategy,” according to Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. “We are taking even the most severe scenarios seriously.” By severe Baerbock means nuclear. The new German generation — she has also declared “now these grandparents, mothers, fathers and their children sit at the kitchen table and discuss rearmament.”
So, for Russia to survive the continuation of this war, the Germans and their army must be fought and defeated again. That’s the toast of Russian people as they salute the intrepid flyers who are beating the Moscow Blockade.
Last week the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) board of governors voted to go to war with Russia by a vote of 26 member countries against 9.
China, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Senegal and South Africa voted against war with Russia.
The IAEA Secretary-General Rafael Grossi (lead image, left) has refused to tell the press whether a simple majority of votes (18) or a super-majority of two-thirds (23) was required by the agency charter for the vote; he also wouldn’t say which countries voted for or against. The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres then covered up for what had happened by telling the press: “I believe that [IAEA’s] independence that exists and must be preserved is essential. The IAEA cannot be the instrument of parties against other parties.” The IAEA vote for war made a liar of Guterres.
In the IAEA’s 65-year history, Resolution Number 58, the war vote of September 15, 2022, is the first time the agency has taken one side in a war between member countries when nuclear reactors have either been attacked or threatened with attack. It is also the first time the IAEA has attacked one of its member states, Russia, when its military were attempting to protect and secure a nuclear reactor from attack by another member state, the Ukraine, and its war allies, the US, NATO and the European Union states. The vote followed the first-ever IAEA inspection of a nuclear reactor while it was under active artillery fire and troop assault.
There is a first time for everything but this is the end of the IAEA. On to the scrap heap of good intentions and international treaties, the IAEA is following the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and the UN Secretary-General himself. Listen to this discussion of the past history when the IAEA responded quite differently following the Iranian and Israeli air-bombing attacks on the Iraqi nuclear reactor known as Osirak, and later, the attacks on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons sites.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) decided this week to take the side of Ukraine in the current war; blame Russia for the shelling of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP); and issue a demand for Russia to surrender the plant to the Kiev regime “to regain full control over all nuclear facilities within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders, including the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant.”
This is the most dramatic shift by the United Nations (UN) nuclear power regulator in the 65-year history of the organisation based in Vienna.
The terms of the IAEA Resolution Number 58, which were proposed early this week by the Polish and Canadian governors on the agency board, were known in advance by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres when he spoke by telephone with President Vladimir Putin in the late afternoon of September 14, before the vote was taken. Guterres did not reveal what he already knew would be the IAEA action the next day.