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By John Helmer, Moscow 

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.

Listen to the archive record of Judge Hendrik Steenhuis (lead image) reading the report of the negotiations with the US Government, and the conclusions of investigating Dutch judges who have not been named. The sequence runs from Minute 39:30 to 41:37.    

Source: https://www.youtube.com

Steenhuis acknowledged for the first time that US intelligence agents gave a secret briefing to Dutch government officials accompanied by a classified memorandum from the office of the US Director of National Intelligence (DNI) dated August 23, 2016. At the same time, it is now known from Dutch government sources, the US agents refused to provide the same evidence to their counterparts in the Dutch military intelligence agency MIVD.

Secret records of meetings held by Dutch prosecutors and police with Ukrainian and Australian counterparts have revealed that the Dutch requests for the US satellite evidence began officially in 2015.   The US Government promised informally at the time to provide the satellite imagery they claimed to have recorded and viewed just days after the shootdown of MH17.

Then Secretary of State John Kerry announced on July 20, 2014, and again on August 12, 2014, that he had seen US satellite imagery of the attack on the MH17 flight – the launch of a ground-based missile, its flight, and then detonation beside the civilian aircraft in flight.  “We picked up the imagery of this launch,” Kerry announced on NBC television just three days after the crash. “We know the trajectory. We know where it came from. We know the timing….And it was exactly at the time that this aircraft [MH17] disappeared from the radar.”  For details of Kerry’s allegations, and the subsequent story of his refusal to provide the evidence to representatives of the MH17 passengers killed in the crash, read the book.  

Left: Secretary of State Kerry repeated his allegation of having seen US satellite images of the BUK attack on MH17; he was speaking in Sydney on August 12, 2014, with Australian officials who endorsed his claim. Centre:  the book refuting Kerry’s claim; it was published on October 1, 2020, and is available in Kindle and paperback.  Right: Dutch General Onno Eichelsheim whose military intelligence reports have contradicted Kerry’s allegations. In January of this year Eichelsheim was promoted to become chief of the Dutch Armed Forces.

A leaked Dutch prosecution document has revealed that by February 12, 2016, no US satellite data had been handed over to the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) of Dutch, Ukrainian and other agents. Seven months later, on September 21, 2016 – another leak from JIT files has disclosed — — the then-head of the MIVD, Major-General Onno Eichelsheim,  reported to the Dutch prosecutors that the US and NATO satellite data shown to his agency revealed no Russian BUK missile radar and launch units had crossed the border into Ukraine before or on July 17, 2014; no BUK missile radar targeting or firing on MH17 had been detected; and no identified Russian units on the Russian side of the border had launched missiles.

In the Schiphol court yesterday, Steenhuis revealed that American agents had briefed the Dutch prosecutor assigned to receive and assess the satellite evidence. Steenhuis didn’t name him. However, earlier evidence from the trial reveals he was Simon Minks (right).  He is the state prosecutor in charge of counter-terrorism. A courtroom lawyer and junior judge before becoming a prosecutor, Minks has no technical or military intelligence expertise for assessing satellite imagery. There are no details of his education or activities in the US in his authorised biography, which reports he once prosecuted the Tamil Tigers, Saddam Hussein’s suppliers,
and Somali pirates.

Steenhuis has now revealed that on August 23, 2016, DNI agents convinced Minks their satellite evidence proved the Dutch government allegations against the Russians for firing a BUK at MH17. But one month later, on September 21, 2016,  Eichelsheim of MIVD reported in writing to the Dutch prosecution that his agency believed there was no such evidence. Steenhuis has  admitted Minks’s report in the trial evidence; Eichelsheim’s report has yet to appear in the proceedings. Neither of them has been questioned by the Dutch defence lawyers.

There is a detailed record of these secret and not so secret allegations, contradictions, and fabrications, starting just before the trial opened in March of 2020. Follow each episode:

March 4, 2020:

Source: http://johnhelmer.org/

March 23, 2020:

Source: http://johnhelmer.org/


Source: http://johnhelmer.org/

March 31, 2020:

Source: http://johnhelmer.org/

June 8, 2020:

Source: http://johnhelmer.org/

June 10, 2020: 

Source: http://johnhelmer.org/

According to Steenhuis in court yesterday, he has received a report from the investigating judges on their work to date in preparing evidence they rule to be admissible in the trial. Their report, said Steenhuis, was dated May 28, 2021.

This document referred to recent attempts by an investigating judge advising trial judge Steenhuis on whether the US satellite evidence can be admitted in the trial. The anonymous investigating judge assigned to the US satellite evidence is not prosecutor Minks. The investigating judge’s task was to review this evidence and verify Minks’s decision to add the US briefing to the prosecution case.

According to Steenhuis, the US was asked once again “if there is any possibility to take cognizance of the [satellite] data” and for the court to judge the satellite evidence in its verdict. The Dutch request explicitly asked the Americans “to offer the investigating judge, as a judge, the same opportunity as the public prosecutor [Minks] received in August 2016, which was to have the opportunity during an intelligence briefing by the officer of the Director of National Intelligence to see the [satellite] data that are at the basis of this memorandum and to make an official record” [Min 40:49].

The official US reply, dated April 22, 2021, was: “we have concluded that the circumstances and considerations previously described remain unchanged. Thus, regrettably, we are unable to provide assistance beyond that outlined in the memorandum from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence  dated 23 August 2016” [Min 41:30].

“Can [the satellite data] be brought forward in a different manner?” the Dutch investigating judge pleaded with Washington. “Or if they [DNI] have alternatives for the manner of taking cognizance of the data?” [Min 41:19]  Steenhuis and the investigating judge reported the Americans were adamant in their refusal.

Based then on “the clear reaction of the US authorities”, Steenhuis announced,  “the investigating judge in all reasonableness sees no possibility to indeed further execute this referred request” [Min 41:37].

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