By John Helmer, Moscow
Next year it will be four hundred years since the Amboyna Massacre of March 9, 1623. The British won’t be memorializing their countrymen’s killings by the Dutch, nor the Dutch celebrating one of the last gasps of their Asian empire. They are now allies in the fabrication of reasons for killing Russians.
Remember the Amboyna Massacre! That was fighting talk in London during a decade of litigation in The Netherlands, and leading to the first Anglo-Dutch War of 1652-54. The British won that one – and also the second war of 1655-57, and the third war of 1672-74.
In the Amboyna massacre the Dutch water-boarded and then executed a group of ten British merchants on the trumped-up charge of plotting to seize the Dutch fortress on the island of Ambon, now part of Indonesia, where today it is called Maluku. They were beheaded, along with nine Japanese mercenaries and a Portuguese they had employed. The head of the senior English officer, Gabriel Towerson, was put on a pike for display by the Dutch . On the fiftieth anniversary, John Dryden gave Towerson the leading role in a play he put on the London stage entitled, “Amboyna, or the Cruelties of the Dutch to the English Merchants, A Tragedy”. That was the time when British political propaganda was written by men of talent.
The real reason for the massacre was that the Dutch were trying to keep their monopoly of the nutmeg harvest on the island, making sure the British didn’t undercut their prices or their influence with the local sultans who controlled the indigenous nutmeg plantations. In those days, nutmeg was more than the sweet spice it’s thought of today. It was a strategic commodity – and a matter of national security in Europe. That was because it was believed to be able to ward off the Black Plague.
Also, the British and Dutch were fighting for sea routes and colonial assets capable of producing much more than nutmeg. Along the way, the Dutch lost New Amsterdam (aka New York) and much more besides. The Amboyna massacre had another unintended outcome – having lost the heads of several of its best men, the British merchant holding, the East India Company, decided to exit Indonesia, and entrench themselves in India instead. India was good for cotton textiles, chintzes, and the blue dye known as indigo. Nutmeg stayed with the Dutch, but the British stole the Ambon nutmeg tree and replanted it in other parts of their empire.
At the litigation stage, before the warring started, the British position was that the Dutch had no jurisdiction to put the Amboyna victims on trial for treason, let alone torture them and cut their heads off. That was judicial murder according to the British reading of the applicable Dutch and English laws and case precedents. The Dutch insisted that on their territory they had the jurisdiction to do what they did. By the time the litigation was over with acquittals of the Dutch judges who had issued the guilty verdicts and the death sentences, it didn’t matter. War did.
Fast forward to March 9, 2020. Dutch jurisdiction was decided by the US and the NATO allies for prosecuting the allegation against retired Russian army officer Oleg Pulatov of murdering the 298 passengers and crew of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 by shooting the aircraft down in the Ukraine on July 17, 2014. The trial which began two years and four months ago has hidden the identities and proceedings of the judges investigating the evidence behind the court room. The Dutch state prosecutors have accepted the trumped-up evidence of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU). The promised smoking-gun evidence of US satellite photographs never materialized. In anticipation, the guilty verdict has been as obvious as Towerson’s head on the Dutch pike.
The Hague District Court judge Hendrik Steenhuis (lead image, right) presiding, held its final hearing in the MH17 case on June 10. It has adjourned until September 22. The court has announced it “may deliver the judgement on one of the three days reserved: 22 September 2022, 17 November 2022 or 15 December 2022.”
At the concluding session on June 10, Judge Hendrik Steenhuis (centre) with auxiliary judges Dagmar Koster on his right, and Heleen Kerstens-Fockens on his left. For the video record, click.
Left, lead prosecutor Manon Ridderbecks making her summation on May 16. Centre, junior defence counsel Sabine ten Doesschate making her final presentation on June 10. Source: https://www.courtmh17.com/
Right, the only book published reporting the forensic evidence of the aircraft crash, the Dutch-led, SBU-controlled investigation, and the trial.
In the trial website summary, “defence counsel noted once again that in their view the trial has not been fair. The Prosecution is believed to have ignored the ‘presumption of innocence’ (a person is innocent until proven guilty) by presenting its suspicions as facts and mentioning ‘perpetrators’ in the media. As a consequence, according to Defence Counsel, the information disclosed to the public was not balanced, and the Prosecution essentially tried via public opinion to influence the court in forming an independent judgment. Defence Counsel also maintained its position that because of the manner of the investigation and the restrictions on accessing the investigation file and interviewing witnesses, the defendant did not have the opportunity to present a genuine defence against the view of the Prosecution.”
The prosecutors published their closing speeches here; and their reply to the defence lawyers’ summary speeches on May 16. The defence lawyers have not published the texts of their presentations; they have given no press conferences; they refuse to answer press questions.
The guilty verdict which has been signalled by Steenhuis, and by the investigating judges in secret, has not been in doubt. But since February 24 it has lost its propaganda value. For Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (lead image, left) and his People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) party, it has also lost its political value in parliament. There Rutte holds a three-vote majority; in the country his poll support has plunged by 13 percentage points since last September; by 4 points since the beginning of the Russian special military operation in the Ukraine. This is despite substantial Dutch public support for accepting Ukrainian war refugees and for sending Dutch weapons to the Ukrainian army.
Rutte’s party vote was just 21.9% in the national election of March 2021 — too little to form a government. He then bargained with three centre-right minority parties for nine months before the four of them were able to agree last December on their coalition of 78 seats out of 150 for the House of Representatives. “We have a great accord on the table, but how it’s put into practice is what really matters,” Rutte told reporters just before Christmas. “As negotiators, we have come to an accord, but it still has to go to the parties, through parliament. So we are not done yet.”
It has been downhill politically for Rutte ever since, but for domestic reasons. The Dutch hatred of Russia, fanned initially by Rutte to blame President Vladimir Putin for the death of 193 Dutch nationals on board MH17, has continued. Alfred Vierling, a well-known Dutch lawyer, comments: “The overwhelming NATO agitprop by the mainstream media still holds a firm grip on the public’s anti-Russian opinion. The Forum for Democracy (FvD) is the only anti-war party, but they don’t score well in the polls. Ukrainian refugees are not held in high esteem. Even the mainstream press denounces their arrogance and abusiveness. Some arrive in expensive cars and refuse to accept the accommodation they are offered in farm houses. They get priority over the Dutch waiting list for the publicly subsidized housing allocations — even over other refugees. Inflation is now 10% — it’s being sold by Rutte as the price to be paid for freedom from Russian aggression, as he calls it. But the collapse of German economy is disastrous for the Dutch exports which overwhelmingly depend on Germany. In the Dutch agricultural sector, there is deep distrust of what the EU would succeed in doing to create a Ukrainian farming colony, if it could; and of what Rutte is doing to convert Dutch farmland in order to build more houses for the annual influx of migrants now running at 300,000 a year.”
“There is a lot of anger, but I don’t see the labour force, university students, public institutions, let alone the army or the police join the farmers’ revolt, like it was in Germany in the Landvolkbewegung of the 1930s.”
Dutch analysts accuse Rutte of a Ukrainian boomerang: the calculation was for Dutch agroindustries to invest in Ukrainian farmland and crops with cheap labour and weak environmental controls, with the dividends to flow back to The Netherlands in cash. The war has killed that plan; instead, the Dutch died in MH17 and Ukrainian migrants are now moving into the country to take up state money and drive the farmers off their land.
THE DUTCH FARMERS’ REVOLT
Dutch farm protesters throw manure at Dutch police last week. Rutte’s “green” legislation to cull livestock in order to reduce nitrogen emissions is understood by the farmers to have a different motive; the farmers have also blockaded the food delivery highways and dumped milk. For background, click to read.
DISTRIBUTION OF UKRAINIAN REFUGEES IN EUROPE PER HEAD OF COUNTRY POPULATION (x 10,000)
As a proportion of the local population, Ukrainian refugees in The Netherlands count for more than France, Italy, and the UK, less than Germany and Switzerland – click for map, For more detail on Ukrainian registration for state welfare payments by country, read this.
Rutte’s initial reaction to the MH17 crash in July 2014 had been to mobilize several thousand Dutch troops to invade eastern Ukraine under NATO air cover, along with an Australian brigade; the pretext was to recover the MH17 black boxes and the bodies of those aboard. The plan was stopped by German Chancellor Angela Merkel who was afraid of triggering a direct military clash with Russia. After the crash Dutch special police worked with the SBU to rig the autopsy evidence to support the allegation of a Russian army missile attack on the aircraft; Dutch military intelligence reports did not support the allegation.
When coverage of the MH17 trial dwindled in the Dutch media, the war in Ukraine has replaced it as Rutte has continued to stoke Russia hating as state policy. In March Rutte ordered the expulsion of 17 alleged Russian spies from the embassy in The Hague; the Russian Foreign Ministry retaliated a month later with 15 Dutch expulsions from Moscow.
Three weeks ago, the Dutch domestic intelligence agency announced it had arrested a Russian military intelligence agent who was accused of attempting to infiltrate the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. The spy hadn’t made it out of a Dutch airport, and was sent back to his origin in Brazil.
The ICC has now overshadowed Steenhuis’s court in the Dutch media campaign of allegations against Moscow. Since 2020 the international court has been investigating allegations against Russia by the Ukrainian government. In March of this year the Kiev regime filed claims of Russian genocide and war crimes through the EU state members of the court and Canada; follow the ICC court docket and papers here.
The chief ICC prosecutor, Karim Khan, a British government trained prosecutor (right), announced on March 16: “I am satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to believe that both alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Ukraine in relation to the events already assessed during the preliminary examination by the Office. Given the expansion of the conflict in recent days, it is my intention that this investigation will also encompass any new alleged crimes falling within the jurisdiction of my Office that are committed by any party to the conflict on any part of the territory of Ukraine.”
Khan and the ICC have now replaced Ridderbecks, Steenhuis, and The Hague District Court in Dutch media propaganda. Khan has a long record of aiding the US and NATO in prosecuting their war crime allegations.
Canadian war crimes tribunal attorney Christopher Black says Khan has also been involved behind the scenes in international cases involving Libyan government officials following the NATO invasion and overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi.