A book by Edwin Giltay


After previous ban, now 3rd    edition:

Dutch book exposes
military intelligence scandal

Indiscreet spies, a malicious general and innocent civilians: The Cover-up General reads like an exciting spy novel. But it also serves as factual testimony how a Dutch cover-up operation spun out of control entirely. At stake: photos depicting Srebrenica war crimes. The book was banned, but this was revoked on appeal. All developments are in this 2022 edition.

cover De doofpotgeneraal
cover De doofpotgeneraal

De doofpotgeneraal  by Edwin Giltay
Third revised Dutch edition
Year of edition: 2022 | 258 pages
Paperback: € 22.90










Book ban lifted


Parliamentary questions


3rd    revised edition


Over 300 articles on  The Cover-up General have been published worldwide. Selected publications and TV clips:

Ombudsman loses in court

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS | 20 JULY 2023 – Dutch National Ombudsman, Reinier van Zutphen, has lost a court case brought by author Edwin Giltay. The writer had requested the Ombudsman to correct a report based on proven inaccuracies. Lees meer


The Cover-up General

20 July 2023


National Ombudsman loses in court

Dutch National Ombudsman, Reinier van Zutphen, has lost a court case brought by writer Edwin Giltay. Mr Giltay, author of the non-fiction thriller The Cover-up General, had requested the Ombudsman to correct a report based on proven inaccuracies. Read less

The ombudsman did not comply. Giltay: ‘The report in question is riddled with falsehoods. It severely hampers further investigations into the scandal described in my book.’

The ombudsman refused to investigate further, but has now been rebuffed by the court. Giltay's request, under the Dutch Freedom of Information Act, was described by the ombudsman as an ‘abuse of rights’. However, this argument was mercilessly rejected by the judge.

Giltay was aided by Foundation De Verbeelding, which also represented three other citizens. The Court of The Hague ruled that Ombudsman Van Zutphen acted manifestly unlawfully in their cases as well.


Edwin Giltay interviewed

TALINN, ESTONIA | 11 APRIL 2021 – The Banned Voices podcast interviewed Edwin Giltay in English, discussing his 2014 book The Cover-up General, which details a scandal in Dutch military intelligence, and the conse­quent banning and un-banning of his book. Read more


11 April 2021

Banned Voices podcast

by the Banned Books museum


Edwin Giltay, Whistleblower, on the Bosnian War and a Dutch Cover-up

The Banned Voices podcast interviewed Edwin Giltay in English, discussing his 2014 book De doofpotgeneraal, which details a scandal in Dutch military intelligence regarding film footage of war crimes that took place in Srebrenica during the Bosnian war, and the consequent banning and un-banning of his book ... Read less


Not giving a hoot

THE HAGUE | 29 AUGUST 2019 – Those who uncover injustices as whistle-blowers, usually cannot count on too much support. And in case one holds a failing government to account, there is only the om­buds­man to turn to. Here in Holland, this counsel is not known for being all that considerate. Read more



First published on 24 September 2019      

By the staff of the
No Cover-up Foundation


The concrete wall of not giving a hoot

The Hague, autumn 2019 — Those who uncover injustices as whistle-blowers, usually cannot count on too much support. And in case one holds a failing government to account, there is only the national ombudsman to turn to. Here in Holland, this counsel is not known for being all that considerate. Read less

‘I will not be answering your questions,’ writes Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen on the year’s longest day. The No Cover-up Foundation had only put forward a couple of question marks – all of them quite legitimate, however: Van Zutphen does not feel like being of service. A rather remarkable attitude. It does not really signify good manners anyhow; Etiquette queen Emily Post no doubt would have administered a verbal whacking.

Once a government bungles, the average citizen has but few avenues of approach to have things sorted. In cases like this, in Great Britain one calls upon one’s MP, who has the interests of his or her constituents at heart. This may not always pan out, on the contrary, but one has at least the idea of being represented.

In the Netherlands it is much less common to turn to MP’s. And indeed, they have to adhere to party policy. Should the matter be considered not too party political (or should it garner not too much media coverage), one may be listened to politely, but that will be an end to that.

Taking things to court is one step further, too far for many. It is a costly business to start with. Apart from that, legal proceedings against a government have a tendency to drag on an on. Last ditch attempt: The national ombudsman. A bastion of righteousness and an intrepid warrior against government wrongdoing. On paper, that is.

Imagine being deemed downright ‘insane’ by an MoD [Ministry of Defence] civil servant, which finds its way into an official ministerial memorandum. The ombudsman investigates ever so feebly and declares no irregularities have surfaced. The results of the investigation are published on the internet, in full. Eventually, during a trial, it turns out – beyond doubt – said civil servant was completely out of line. Which is later confirmed by a Court of Appeal ruling. The government was wrong.

Embarrassing, for government and ombudsman alike. Nevertheless, it is a chapter to learn from. Have things set right and do better in future. Once more unto the breach! Yet nothing happens. The ombudsman report is still available on the internet, unabridged. None of the parties concerned even contemplate apologising.

Far-fetched, you may say. Conjuring up something like this is testament to an overactive imagination. Is Holland not a civilised country, with civilised ministers and civil servants? And a civilised bastion of righteousness? Any film producer worth his salt would laugh at a scenario like this. This is too outlandish. Inconceivable even.

But this is, in fact, reality. Whistle-blower Edwin F. Giltay was subject to this very regimen. Years ago, he witnessed an espionage scandal at the internet company where he was employed. A rift within the Military Intelligence Service was fought out there, for the outside world to see. Giltay wanted to get to the bottom of it and decided to investigate. More likely than not, he lost his job over it.

Despite Giltay’s best efforts, the Ministry of Defence never comes clean. Subsequent ministers feigned ignorance, or had the case dealt with by ill-informed subordinates. The Inspector General of the Netherlands Armed Forces, who ought to look into matters like these, does not take it as seriously as he should. Desks have drawers and this is best put in one of them.

In the fall of 2014, nonfiction thriller De doofpotgeneraal  (The Cover-up General ) is published, Giltay’s account of the espionage affair. The manuscript had been forwarded to the then Minster of Defence, who didn’t deem it fit to respond. The civil servant who had accused Giltay of being ‘insane’ does respond however, one year later though; by taking him to court. The book, which by this time is almost sold out, is banned. Not quite a high for press freedom.

Its author appeals the verdict, which is overturned in the spring of 2016: ‘The Court dismisses the book ban. The accuracy of the book […] is not in doubt.’ Wham, bam, thank you ma’am. So, would the ombudsman be so kind as to retract its report, as it happens to be based on inaccurate data? And how about ministerial apologies for the controversy? For all intents and purposes, it was a civil servant in the MoD’s employ who started it all.

Reinier van Zutphen claims he is not responsible and by the by, he has received one too many letters from Mr Giltay; over and out. Says the latter: The ombudsman lets untruths abound on the internet – which he put there himself. Would it not be prudent to put an end to that? Van Zutphen turns silent and does not intend to spend any more writing-paper on the matter.

The Ministry of Defence tries to hide too: Oh no, we never said anything about Mr Giltay’s mental health – it was a lone civil servant who did that. And this employee is no longer with us, you know. Have a good day. A stunning disregard for the fact it concerned an official MoD memorandum, approved by its erstwhile minister. And what about the ruling of the Court of Appeal? We do not have any views on that, says incumbent Minister Ank Bijleveld.

There you are, good conduct and all. In the meantime, your book has been received well by many dailies and weeklies, at home and abroad. You can boast of commendations by journalists, scientists, MP’s and even a former minister. Interviews left and right. The powers that be ought to be aware by now that mistakes were made and should be put right. These mistakes cannot be deemed peanuts.

After all: Holland is a civilised country, with civilised ministers and civil servants. And a civilised bastion of righteousness. There is, of course, always Parliament. Credit where credit is due: They did ask the Minister of Defence to elucidate. The answer: The matter has been scrutinised, nothing untoward has been discovered. Not to worry, dear people. Parliament accepts the minister’s ruse.

All roads travelled, all possibilities explored. You are persona non grata as far as the ombudsman is concerned and the MoD does not seem enamoured by the sight of you either. Are we all done? Not quite: No Cover-up will keep on asking questions. As will Edwin F. Giltay. The concrete wall of not giving a hoot will crumble one day.

So, Mr Van Zutphen, Mrs Bijleveld – in case you would like to convey some real answers prior; it would be a pleasure.


Defence Ministry keeps bumbling

AMSTERDAM | 25 AUGUST 2018 – Not many ministries in the Netherlands can boast as many blunders as the Ministry of Defence. Even setting things right seems to fail con­stant­ly. The Defence minister’s response to the ban on The Cover-up General  being lifted: ‘I do not have any views on that.’ Read more


Text Jeroen Stam, Translation M.G. Bakker

First published in Dutch on 25 August 2018

Published in English in Forum of EthnoGeoPolitics


Dutch Defence Ministry keeps bumbling

Not many ministries in the Netherlands can boast as many blunders as the Ministry of Defence. The department is under a, seemingly, never ending siege. Even setting things right seems to fail constantly. Read less

Substandard food quality in army canteens, a debatable change of command at Eindhoven Air Base, a navy diver who perished on Curaçao, corrupt fleet managers, two soldiers killed in Mali due to faulty equipment, a sexual harassment case at a military base and a fatal accident on the Ossendrecht shooting range.

It is but a modest enumeration of scandals within the Dutch Armed Forces over the past few years. Minister Jeanine Hennis and Chief of Defence Tom Middendorp were compelled to resign in October last year [2017]. Hennis was re-hired by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) shortly thereafter, as a lieutenant colonel. Middendorp became aide-de-camp to King Willem-Alexander, for ‘services rendered.’

Everybody makes mistakes—making amends however, is key. The MOD even fails there. Having received the pink slip, a regular employee, responsible for a swath of mistakes and unable to set things right, will as a rule not be hired by any comparable company. Let alone be re-hired by his or her former employer.

It’s not quite a recent development, let alone incidental—the inadequate handling of accidents and scandals. The carcinogenic dangers of chromium trioxide were already known in 1973, according to the Institute for Public Health and the Environment. Survivors and surviving relatives of the airplane crash in the Irish Sea in 1981 declared late last year [late 2017] that the Ministry still hadn’t coped with the disaster satisfactorily. And Srebrenica veterans still feel left out in the cold, two decades on.

Fairy tale

The Srebrenica massacre is, beyond doubt, one of the most tragic episodes in the Dutch Armed Forces’ history. The Muslim enclave in former Yugoslavia was supposed to be protected by Dutchbat troops, when, on July 11th, 1995, it was overrun by the Serbian troops of general Mladić. Consequently, the largest war crime on European soil since World War II was perpetrated. The death toll of the genocide amounted to about 8,000 casualties. An ill-defined mandate, flawed preparation and insufficient weaponry—these are but a few of the reasons the mission failed. It became a national trauma in the Netherlands.

Veteran Remko de Bruijne was there, in 1995, serving as a private 1st class: ‘For weeks we had been aware the enclave would fall. Every day we would report troop movements from Serbia to Srebrenica. The Serbian government claimed these were nothing but exercise manoeuvres. I was 20 at the time, just out of training, but in my opinion this fairy tale seemed rather far-fetched. Exercises during wartime? War isn’t exactly an exercise, now is it? The troop movements were referred to our operations room in Potočari and they reported it all to the higher echelons in Zagreb. Unfortunately, nothing was done about it and we all know how it ended.’

Amidst the raging hostilities, operational conditions on the Dutchbat base were far from ideal. ‘Near our compound there were heaps of white asbestos, out in the open,’ recounts De Bruijne. ‘After a shower of rain, it was washed all over the terrain. We were ordered to clean it up, without any protective clothing—I still have pictures of this. Also, there was a barrel with nuclear radiation emanating from it.’ An official document stated the MOD didn’t want personnel and the home front ‘to worry about this particular fact.’


Time and again news emerges regarding the controversial way in which the MOD has handled the aftermath of the tragedy. De Bruijne: ‘Minister Hennis, Prime Minister Rutte and Chief of Defence Middendorp attended a Dutchbat III meeting in 2014. They made all kinds of promises, concerning rehabilitation and psychological assistance. It all amounted to zilch. I am rather sceptical when it comes to the promises made by the MOD and the powers that be, as are countless Dutchbat veterans. For the past 14 years I have been engaged in legal battles with the Ministry. I have encountered obstruction, false promises and all kinds of procedural tricks.’

The MOD says in a statement: ‘Members of Dutchbat have experienced a most difficult time and some among them, sadly, have subsequently suffered afflictions. The Ministry offers care and support: There are services for which they can apply. Also, veterans have been able to make use of the ‘debt of honour’-settlement. Any veteran experiencing residual damage can contact us. We will look into cases individually and as speedily as possible.’

De Bruijne isn’t impressed: ‘Of course one can ask for support, however, in practice all requests will be rejected. You have to undergo several examinations by MOD medical staff and they of course aren’t exactly keen on making way for financial compensation.’ In addition, the ex-soldier noticed the Ministry has lost significant data regarding the fall of the enclave: ‘The Srebrenica work order: Gone. Documentation with reference to graves on the compound: Lost. The infamous film roll: Destroyed.’ Minister Bijleveld denies the latter: ‘The MOD has not withheld any footage. All photographic evidence has been handed over to the Yugoslav Tribunal and the Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, which published the report Srebrenica: a ‘safe’ area  in 2002.’


According to author Edwin F. Giltay, Bijleveld’s response isn’t convincing. ‘The sources mentioned in my book The Cover-up General  have made a credible case to the contrary. They assert footage has actually been withheld.’ His non­fiction thriller was prohibited by the courts in 2015, in a case instigated by a former MOD-employee who claimed the facts were made-up.

When asked, Minister Bijleveld declares: ‘In the book fact and fiction are indeed intertwined.’ Nevertheless: The Court of Appeal in The Hague overturned the book ban, resolutely. It ruled its accuracy is not in doubt. ‘I do not have any views on that,’ says Bij­le­veld. In the past, Mr Giltay has been branded as ‘completely loopy’ in an official report made public by the MOD. The incumbent Minister denies endorsing the report: ‘The MOD has never spoken about Mr Giltay in this fashion.’ The document, however, has never been recounted and is still publicly available.

Having been discredited by the Ministry is one thing—Giltay thinks there are bigger fish to fry: The covering up of the truth about Srebrenica. ‘The Ministry never quite developed admitting mistakes. Unlike certain rolls of film.’ De Bruijne adds: ‘They prefer to keep everything under wraps, lest damages claims will ensue. Neither justice nor truth is relevant to them.’


The Netherlands concealed photos

SARAJEVO | 21 JULY 2018 – The Netherlands shares responsibility for the genocide committed in Sre­brenica in 1995. The fact the Dutch UN-battalion did nothing to prevent the killings, is a trauma that faces Dutch society even today, writes Al Jazeera in this long-form interview. Read more


Text Jasmin AgiĆ

Originally published in Serbo-Croatian on
21 July 2018

Qatari broadcaster
Al Jazeera


The Netherlands concealed photos of dead Bosnians of Srebrenica

Dutch publicist Edwin Giltay has exposed the cover-up affair* because photos taken by officer Johannes Rutten are evidence of the beginning of the Srebrenica genocide. Read less

The Netherlands as a country is [partially] responsible for the genocide committed in Srebrenica in 1995, and the fact the Dutch battalion stationed at the UN-protected enclave did nothing to prevent the killing, is a trauma that faces Dutch society even two decades after the tragic events unfolded.
The inertness of Dutch soldiers was part of the Dutch military strategy, which according to Edwin Giltay, writer of The Cover-up General, ‘rendered the Bosniak population of Srebrenica’ to ‘soldiers of the Bosnian Serb Army’. In these dramatic moments, Dutch officer Johannes Rutten took photos showing nine Bosniak corpses, proving the onset of genocide, since the recordings were made on July 13, that is, just two days after the fall of Srebrenica.

In your book, you write Dutch soldiers took ‘compromising’ photos during the fall of Srebrenica. Were these photos taken on orders of the soldiers’ superiors or on their own initiative? Are there scenes in the photos which testify to the fact soldiers of the Republika Srpska Army (Serbian forces) committed crimes of genocide?

Although Dutchbat soldiers did not protect Srebrenica, they did take their role as United Nations observers quite seriously. Many took photos later used as evidence of wrongdoings, as confirmed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. Ljiljana Piteša of the Office of the Prosecutor e-mailed me on 3 October 2017: ‘I would like to underscore that the cooperation provided by Dutchbat soldiers, including testifying in our cases, was essential to our successful prosecutions of the genocide committed in Srebrenica.’
However, only a limited number of photos ended up at the ICTY. Dutch lawyers Klaas Arjen Krikke and Michael Ruperti — who represented over 200 Dutchbat veterans in a planned lawsuit against their former employer — complained on 28 November 2016 in an article by the Dutch news agency ANP, that a lot of photos taken by their clients were destroyed by their superiors. Other photos were taken from them by military intelligence, upon returning from Bosnia. Lawyer Krikke added ominously: ‘Dutchbat soldiers were pressured to not make this public.’
Note: Whether or not Dutchbat soldiers received orders to take photos in Srebrenica, I do not know for a fact. My book is a personal eyewitness account of an internal espionage scandal in the Netherlands, related to the cover-up of the compromising photos that were taken. Although the press describes The Cover-up General  again and again as a ‘Srebrenica book’, it does not provide first-hand information about the events that took place in 1995.

You write photos were taken by Lieutenant Johannes Rutten together with two other Dutch soldiers. When were these photos taken and under which circumstances? Also, Dutch intelligence claims his photographic film was destroyed, but you think otherwise. Is there a chance these films are in archives of intelligence services today? In your book, you also mention a radio show in which an unnamed officer of the Dutch military testified Dutch soldiers helped the Serbian army to ‘board’ Bosniak men into buses that took them to mass killing locations…

Dutchbat Lieutenant Johannes Rutten took photos of the dramatic events in Srebrenica. According to his testimony at the Hague tribunal, he observed what he believed to be ‘a Dutchbat lieutenant and some Dutchbat soldiers assisting in the deportation of the population by helping the Muslim refugees leave the area.’
Other photos by Lieutenant Rutten would show nine bodies of Bosniaks who were murdered just before he arrived on the scene. Blood was still flowing from the corpses. While still in the area, Rutten and his colleagues were fired at by Serb forces. So, they risked their lives taking these pictures. This all happened on 13 July 1995 in Srebrenica, two days after the fall of the enclave.
What is alarming to Dutch authorities, is that the photos of these nine bodies should have been proof of the impending genocide by the Serbs, for the Dutch military to act upon. Although it was denied later on, Dutch Army top brass was very much aware at the time of the atrocities taking place, as Colonel Rutten had reported to his superiors what he had seen.
‘When the Colonel [Dutchbat veteran Johannes Rutten] ultimately returned to the Netherlands, he turned the film roll over to the Dutch army intelligence branch for developing. He was later informed that an error had occurred during the development process and that the photos were mis-developed,’ re  his ICTY testimony. However, Peter Rutten (no relation) who led an official military police investigation into the photos taken by Johannes Rutten, is convinced there is a conspiracy. According to Peter Rutten, the film roll is stored in an archive somewhere.

You say that the Ministry of Defence, Dutch intelligence and military intelligence put a lot of effort into preventing the publication of these photos. Why did they undertake such complex cover-up operations?

The covered-up photos are not only extremely damaging PR for our country. They would also support the current legal case of the Mothers of Srebrenica against the State of the Netherlands, should they emerge. I remember hearing their lawyer Marco Gerritsen complain during his plea on 6 October 2016 at the Court of Appeal in The Hague, about how essential information withheld by the Dutch State hurt his case. Ergo, enough reason for Dutch military intelligence to initiate cover-up operations and use intimidation measures to suppress these photos.

You also mention it was decided during a meeting at the secret service that all efforts must be taken to ensure the film roll would not be published, with the excuse that soldiers needed to be protected this way. Why was such a decision made?

A military intelligence employee, while trying to recruit me as an analyst in 1998, informed me about an intelligence meeting she attended regarding the infamous film roll of Lieutenant Rutten. According to her, the argument was brought forward that these photos should never be made public in order to protect Dutchbat veterans. Once published in popular magazines, veterans could be recognised by friends who then might raise difficult questions about their role in Srebrenica. This would be bothersome for the veterans…
The truth being suppressed, in a democracy: it is most shocking indeed. Photographic evidence of the start of the genocide was withheld by the Dutch government in order for ‘our boys’ to drink beer with their buddies in their local cafés without being quizzed about their failure in Srebrenica.
While the aforementioned military intelligence employee was unsuccessful in recruiting me, I discovered she herself was secretly monitored by another Dutch spy. This situation got out of hand completely. At the root of this tug-of-war within military intelligence were the infamous photos. One of the factions wanted to make public the footage wasn’t at all lost, the other wanted to keep this information under wraps.

Your book was banned in the Netherlands, yet a year later, a higher court ruled in favour of its publication. Who prevented the publication in the first place and for what reason?

I describe the secret service scandal in The Cover-up General, published in 2014. One year after publication, the intel­ligence recruiter accused me of slander and started a lawsuit against me with the support of her former intelligence boss. Surprisingly, she won. My book was banned, which was a unique setback for the freedom of expression in the Netherlands. The Court of Appeal in The Hague, however, overturned the verdict resolutely. Thankfully, the judges — having studied all evidence — recognised my book is based on facts and ruled ‘its accuracy is not in doubt.’
Hence, The Cover-up General  was relaunched in 2016. I added eight chapters, describing my victory for press freedom.
One consequence of the legal battle, however, is I can no longer reveal the name of the indiscrete recruiter spy. Her name is to be kept secret.
The Cover-up General  received great reviews and over 40 recommendations from Members of Parliament, investigative journalists, military historians, etc. Even the Minister of Defence had to come forward with a reply, once a Parliamentary committee ordered him to clarify the official point of view of the Ministry of Defence.
The Minister replied, saying my book was ‘characterised by the easy-to-read style in which it was written,’ yet he claimed it to be untruthful.
Thus, the Minister fails to recognise the ruling of the Court of Appeal of The Hague and adheres to the earlier verdict which was overturned. This is highly dubious. Unfortunately, the Ministry is unwilling to resolve this scandal which embarrasses the Armed Forces no end.
Srebrenica is the biggest failure of our military, although there are numerous military scandals which have been dealt with inappropriately in the recent past. It seems to be common practise to deal with scandals in a most unpro­fessional manner.

You also write that at the time of the fall of Srebrenica, Dutch soldiers behaved irresponsibly, did not provide any resistance, nor did anything else to prevent the killings. How do you explain their behaviour and lack of empathy? Did the Dutch soldiers in Srebrenica receive an order from the Dutch army command to do nothing and were the Netherlands and the Dutch army to stay out of the conflict?

I cannot find words to describe the behaviour of Dutchbat in Srebrenica: It were Dutchbat soldiers that disarmed the Bosniaks in Srebrenica and promised to protect them. Nevertheless, when the Serbs overran the enclave, my compa­triots threw them to the mercy of their archenemies, without a second thought. The Dutch didn’t fire a single shot. The defence lines, dug by the Bosniaks, were handed over to Serbian troops just like that. The anti-tank weapons in the Dutch arsenal were not used.
Also note that on 10 June 1995, the day before the fall of the enclave, the French offered to support Dutchbat with sections of the Rapid Reaction Force, as well as Tiger attack helicopters and their crews. Each of these helicopters could have easily eliminated the Serbian tanks within minutes. However, the Dutch State refused to accept this offer.
Not getting involved and not doing anything were actual Dutchbat policies. Already during the training for their mission, its soldiers were instructed there were no good guys and no bad guys. They just had to bide their time. Air support was promised, in case something was to happen.

Is Srebrenica the biggest Dutch collective trauma of modern times?

The Srebrenica genocide is indeed the most painful collective trauma of our country. It is particularly hard for the Netherlands to come to terms with the shame of this dramatic episode, as so many lies have already been told by the authorities. Transparency is vital in my opinion, yet Dutch military intelligence seems to think otherwise.
On another note: It is scary that in our supposedly civilised country, it is actually legal for our secret services to intimidate Dutch citizens and disseminate disinformation, all in the interest of the State.

*) This cover-up was actually brought to light by other Dutch media.


Parliament: Minister must answer

THE HAGUE | 14 SEPTEMBER 2017 – The Defence Committee of the House of Representatives decided un­an­imously today that the Minister of Defence should provide clarification to author Giltay. Reported by current af­fairs TV programme Hart van Nederland. See video fragment with MP Sadet Karabulut.


THE HAGUE | 12 JANUARY 2017 – He became entangled in a web of intelligence intrigue. His book was censored, but this was overruled on appeal. ‘Indeed, no, I am not easily gagged’, says Edwin Giltay about the disruption measures now that a new edition has been published. Read more


Text Jeroen Stam

Originally published in Dutch on 12 January 2017

geopolitical magazine Novini.nl


‘The military has a way with intimidation’

He became entangled in a web of intrigue and rivalry within the Dutch military secret service. Putting pen to paper, he documented his experiences in The Cover-up General. The nonfiction thriller was banned by court order, but this was overruled by the Court of Appeal in The Hague. Hence, author Edwin F. Giltay recently published a revised edition of his book. Read less

‘In 1998 — I was in my mid-twenties — I applied for a job with the Royal Netherlands Navy, and made a good impres­sion. Thereupon their counterparts from the military secret service tried to recruit me; one of their operatives asked me to become a military analyst. She had infiltrated the offices of internet service provider Casema where I was working at the time. All the while, however, she herself was secretly monitored by another spy and this situation got out of hand completely. At the root of this tug-of-war within military intelligence was the infamous film roll of Srebrenica depicting war crimes. One of the factions wanted to make public the footage on the film wasn’t at all lost, the other wanted to keep this information under wraps.’

Wasn’t this footage misdeveloped by the Dutch Armed Forces?
‘Working at the internet provider, said recruiter complained about several mishaps within military intelligence. She told us the Srebrenica footage hadn’t been lost at all. In fact, she claimed she had seen the pictures herself. Her anta­gonists kept an eye on her through a spook who, it turned out, was none other than the wife of General Ad van Baal. According to my information, he had employed his spouse as a private spy. Van Baal was the Deputy Commander of the Royal Netherlands Army when the Srebrenica drama unfolded. It would result in an unprecedented fall from grace for him and the armed forces, should those pictures ever surface in the public domain. We are talking about evidence of the start of the genocide by the Serbs, at the time a Dutch battalion was to protect Srebrenica. Although they denied it, Dutch Army top brass was very much aware of the atrocities taking place.’

The Dutch military will not have applauded publication of your book.
‘The former recruiter started legal proceedings against me, claiming I was guilty of slander. Apparently, I had vilified her reputation. Quite remarkable: The Cover-up General  was already available for nearly a year at that stage. While in court, she did not produce any evidence to substantiate her accusa­tions. She didn’t bring forth any proof whatsoever to support her objections. The documentation I provided, proved my story was correct. Still, the book was banned, which was completely incomprehensible. Such a restriction on the freedom of press is rather unique in The Netherlands. The Court of Appeal overturned the verdict resolutely, however. Thankfully, the judges recognised my book is based on facts. Indeed, no, I’m not easily gagged.’

Did the Ministry of Defence ever delve into the intrigue within military intelligence?
‘On the contrary. After I had asked the powers that be to investigate the Casema affair, I was opposed in any way thinkable. I was intimidated actually. This I elaborate on in the new edition of The Cover-up General, and well docu­mented at that. When you consider how various intelligence agencies tried to put me under pressure, how they tried to discredit me: it gives you a pretty good insight into the modus operandi of our spooks. The military has a way with intimidation; many among former service personnel can tell a tale or two about that. Once you air the military’s dirty laundry in public, you’re bound to get into trouble. My story is but one of many.’

What do you hope your book will achieve?
‘I would greatly appreciate it, should the Casema affair be investigated after all. Intelligence personnel has been responsible for illegal infiltration, intimidation, burglary and theft. And I’d like to see the dubious part General van Baal played be unravelled. An appropriate task for the Minister of Defence. Even more important: this shady affair related to Srebrenica ought to be uncovered: after all — we are talking about genocide. The government intimidation I personally encountered, scandalous though it was, is insignificant by comparison. If the military would want to try anything to put me off again, well, all efforts to shut me up have been proven unsuccessful. I’ll take them on any day.’


Book ban overturned

THE HAGUE | 12 APRIL 2016 – The Court of Appeal in The Hague has ruled today non­fiction thriller The Cover-up General   is no lon­ger banned. News outlet ThePostOnline  filmed the court ses­sion, see video fragment with Giltay’s lawyer Ju­ri­an van Groenendaal and the three appeal judges.

Court bans book about Srebrenica

SKOPJE | 28 DECEMBER 2015 – A Dutch court in The Hague has banned author Edwin Giltay from distributing and selling his book The Cover-up General, as well as promoting it. Today, Ma­ce­do­nian daily Dnevnik  dedicated its opening article to this cover-up. Read more


Text Žana Božinovska

Originally published in Macedonian on 28 December 2015

Front-page Macedonian
daily Dnevnik


Dutch court bans book about Srebrenica on request of former spy

21st century, European Union, author Edwin Giltay

The possibility of banning a book in a country proclaiming freedom appalled the Dutch media and comments were made that in the country where marijuana is legal, someone could ban a book. Read less

A Dutch court in The Hague has banned author Edwin Giltay from distributing and selling his book The Cover-up General, but also all possible promotional activities. The book talks about the unpleasant experiences of the Dutch Battalion in Srebrenica, whose member recorded the crimes in the Potočari base in July 1995, but this film later disappeared from a laboratory in The Hague. The book, allegedly in part compromised the official Dutch version of events in Srebrenica.

The author Giltay accuses a former member of Dutch Intelligence (MID) of being responsible for the scandal in the Ministry of Defence. The former MID official, on the other hand, claims that the events imputed to her are made up and that she hasn’t been given the opportunity by author Giltay to tell her side of the story.

Nobody understands the decision

We asked for explanation of the court’s decision to ban the book from author Edwin Giltay, who in an interview for Dnevnik says even he himself doesn’t know why the court made such a decision.

‘My attorney thinks that the decision is bizarre. We’ll make an appeal and hope that in a few months the decision will be changed,’ says Giltay.
He considers the decision even stranger in light of the fact that it was published more than a year ago, present on the market and people could read it. So, nobody understands why it is being banned now.
The Dutch media are appalled by the possibility of banning a book in a country proclaiming freedom, and comments were made that in the country in which marijuana is legal, someone could ban a book.
In the book – that received a good review from the former Dutch Minister of Development Cooperation, later Minister of Environment, Jan Pronk – the central topic is the collision between two groups inside the Dutch Ministry of Defence in the days of the dramatic events after the genocide in Srebrenica. One side wanted the film in which they were spotted, and on which the killing of Muslims in the base called Dutchbat were recorded, to be destroyed at any cost, film that was compromising the Dutch government. While the other side thought that the photos still should be made available to the public. As is written in the book, a former Dutch general wanted to protect the members of Dutchbat by keeping the film away from the public eye.
‘It’s important to say that last year in March [2014], half a year before publishing the book, I took the text to the Ministry of Defence and I asked for feedback. There were no objections to the text, no problems for publishing the book. But now the main character in my book complains about the publication. She started the lawsuit against me,’ Giltay told us.

The former spy with no evidence in court

According to the court’s ruling, the former member of the Dutch Intelligence Service requested a ban on the book because in the text her name and age were incorrect. So the court put under suspicion the accuracy of what is written in the book. But, Giltay adds, it is a fact that he wrote her name as it was written in the official documents of the Ministry and hence, they had no remarks about it.
‘The decision is bizarre. The judge that brought the verdict had not read the book at all, which means she didn’t do her homework. Besides that, the former spy didn’t bring any documents, while my attorney came with 17 documents and proof that my story is truthful, real, based on facts. It’s unique but her only proof in court was my book and nothing else,’ explains Giltay in the interview for Dnevnik.
He asked us not to publish the name of the former spy, because by the court’s decision, he could face punishment. But he is convinced that after the appeal, the court will make another decision.
‘The problem is that I can’t talk a lot about my book because it would mean I promote the book and I could be fined a thousand euro a day if I tell the contents of my book. It all looks so strange. Some people tell me that maybe the book contains something that has been a secret. My webpage is banned also. Many people say that all of this is stupid because now people are even more interested in reading it,’ says Giltay, adding that 60 libraries still hold the book and people can go there and read it.

Note: Contrary to what is written above, author Giltay did not accuse the ex-spy for being responsible for this scandal. She is not the protagonist of this affair that took place in 1998 and concerns photos taken near the Dutchbat base. The main photo of this front-page article depicts investigative journalist Brenno de Winter (left) who received the first copy of the first edition of  De doofpotgeneraal.





The Cover-up General

by Edwin F. Giltay



While working at a help desk of cable operator Casema (Delft, The Netherlands), I could not imagine getting entangled in an espionage scandal. Military Intelligence fighting an internal power struggle at a private company? Such was furthest from my mind. But that was exactly what happened. Only later I realised what was behind it all. I wrote down my experiences in non-fiction thriller The Cover-up General. Read more Read less

From 8 June 1998, I am working through a job agency at Casema, servicing internet clients. My ambition, however, is to serve my country. When I apply for a job as marine officer, military psychologists compliment me on my broad work and life experience but reject me as my character is assessed as ‘too strong to be broken.’

In early July, two temporary employees from a rival job agency enter the department at Casema. Both are linked to the Dutch Armed Forces:

Monica (34) reveals to everyone that besides her temporary job, she works for Dutch military secret service MID. Complaining openly about the MID, she is especially critical of the suppression of a notorious photographic film, which captures the failure of our army’s peacekeeping forces in the Bosnian town Srebrenica, in 1995. Monica urges me to follow this scandal. According to her, some people in the military are determined to prevent the photos from being published. Yet, she and her boss – a brave marine colonel – are opposing this cover-up, an admirable stance.

Ina (middle-aged) is more aloof. After a slip of the tongue about her husband, it terrifies her when I inquire after his name and military job. Ina keeps quiet. Yet chatting one day with Monica about the love of her life, she calls him ‘My Ad.’ Also, I overhear Ina answer the phone once, saying ‘Van Baal’ instead of her maiden name – she then apologises profusely.

On 8 July, my supervisor tells me her staff card is missing. She finds it hard to believe but suspects the card was stolen by Ina.

A few days later, when Monica is not around, her unusual job is brought up. In jest, I remark: ‘She is a spy!’ Although solely intended as a joke, about Monica, Ina freezes as if she is the one being unmasked. Distrusting Ina, I decide to sneak up on her one moment, while she is at her desk. Peering over her shoulder, I see Ina writing notes about Monica’s remarks on the Srebrenica film roll. I am totally perplexed.

Discussing our careers at our first joint break on 14 July, Monica offers me a job at the MID as an analyst. I would be tasked with writing reports for deploying our Armed Forces. Monica is certain I would be quite skilled at describing various conflicts.

The next day, Monica and I are startled by camera flashes. Ina just left for the toilet when an intruder takes photos of us sitting at our desks. The spy then flees in a car driven by a henchman. Everyone is shocked – the police are called in. The intruder must have used a staff card as he entered our building without activating the alarm. But why? No company secrets are kept on our floor. And why is the number plate of the escape car not registered anywhere?

I finish my temporary job – Monica and Ina’s job agency is cheaper – and start dating Jasper (21), a former colleague. He informs me that, while at Casema, Monica cries over the dismissal of her intelligence superior by the MID Director and that she will leave the military as well.

Concerned about the intrigues, I write to the National Ombudsman who in turn asks the Minister of Defence for clarification on what happened. Subsequently, an MID report is released in which Monica confirms instructing me to join the MID, but she also claims I am ‘completely insane’ and that I was fired at Casema for ‘misbehaviour.’ One wonders who is insane here. Fact is both my job agency and Casema send me recommendations regarding my tenure.

Meanwhile, through a mutual friend, a high-ranking official within the Dutch domestic secret service BVD explains the intrigues:

While applying for a job at the Marines, my background was checked, and my past as a male escort surfaced. The psychologists had to reject me because of this and find a legal way out. Nevertheless, my work and life experience was regarded as useful by intelligence circles. Following the BVD, which had asked me in the early nineties to please diplomats nocturnally, now the MID found it expedient to approach me.

Next, Monica was deployed at Casema to recruit me. This was, however, primarily a ruse to entrap her, as it would have been easier to just call me. Ina was hired to infiltrate as well to observe Monica, as grave doubts had arisen concerning the latter’s performance as an undercover agent.

As for Ina, she had no experience as a spy at all. Still, she was assigned to this job by her high-ranking army husband in charge of the set-up. Ina quickly compromised herself by stealing the access card for the break-in and writing notes about Monica’s violations of state secrets. Regardless, the family operation succeeded. Ina’s notes and the intruder’s photos proving Monica’s controversial infiltration were used to pressure Monica and her superior to leave the MID. The internal opposition against the Srebrenica cover-up was neutralised, with Monica guessing I betrayed her.

In June 1999, I report to the Chief Public Prosecutor the false MID report, as issued by the Minister of Defence. The MID Director and Deputy Director are dismissed by the Minister just two weeks later. Nonetheless, the National Ombudsman publishes the ministerial libel in his online assessment of the case, without ever having checked it. He ignores the evidence I provided, making it appear no intrigues took place.

Other disruption measures are also executed to silence me: Earlier, Monica had ordered Jasper to stop seeing me – he wrote testimonies to that effect, embarrassing the MID. An example of a more alarming ploy concerns an invitation to visit Paris. The BVD official warns me that in order to put me behind bars, French military secret service DGSE is plotting against me, at the behest of the MID. The plan is to frame me for drug trafficking on the international train.

None of this is looked into properly, not even after an intervention from Her Majesty Queen Beatrix at my request. The national interest prevails over yours, explains my BVD contact.

As army top brass continues to deceive him, the Minister of Defence decides to leave office in April 2002. Next, the entire Dutch government resigns over the Srebrenica genocide. The Commander of the Royal Netherlands Army, General Ad van Baal, also steps down. Nicknamed ‘The Cover-up General,’ he is depicted on the front page of a national daily. At his side is his loving wife; I recognise her frightened face – it is Ina.

Van Baal is quietly rehabilitated a year later, becoming the Armed Forces’ Inspector General. Pondering what character makes a general, I challenge Van Baal in his new-found job. I request he solve this affair, which started with orders to steal my supervisor’s staff card. And ended with silencing critics of the cover-up of photos, taken by his troops, which proof the impending Srebrenica genocide. In reply, Van Baal evades his responsibility – like he did in Srebrenica. He refers me to the Minister of Defence, to whom I send an advance copy of The Cover-up General in March 2014.

My conclusion: Obscuring evidence of war crimes harms the international legal order and the rule of law of our country. The Armed Forces approached me to write intelligence reports and describe the conflicting parties involved. In the national interest, I hereby comply with this request – at your service!

☆ ☆ ☆

In July 2015, the Mothers of Srebrenica put forward the book as one of many supporting testimonies in their billion-euro lawsuit against the Dutch State, to help back the notion that our army shares liability in the genocide of their husbands and sons, and obscured photos proving this.

A month later, Van Baal claims The Cover-up General is partly based on fantasy, without producing any evidence to substantiate his accusation. No proof whatsoever is brought forward either when Monica sues me for libel. Still, a judge – admitting not having read it entirely – bans the book. And issues a gag order as well. I am prohibited to speak any longer on this state scandal and consequently, part of my own life, risking a fine of up to 100,000 euros.

Undeterred, I appeal the censorship verdict. With dozens of supporting documents, I win the case on all counts. The Court of Appeal of The Hague rules the accuracy of the book is not in doubt and affirms its importance for the public debate on Srebrenica. As extensive publicity is often a safeguard for whistle-blowers, it is also significant that this victory for press freedom is being reported worldwide.

September 2016, The Cover-up General is published again – this time with new chapters on my quest for truth and justice. A third updated edition is issued in April 2022.

☆ ☆ ☆

Note: For legal reasons, the fictitious name Monica is used for the recruiter spy. As for my former lover, I have named him Jasper here, in order to protect him.




‘Meticulously written and well documented.’

— Jan Pronk, former minister (who resigned over the Srebrenica genocide)

‘The Court dismisses the book ban. The accuracy of the book written by Edwin Giltay is not in doubt.’

— Court of Appeal The Hague

‘Mr Giltay wrote an impressive book about his experiences. I think the Minister of Defence ought to provide a real answer.’

— Sadet Karabulut, former Member of Parliament


‘The secret services torn apart, the government unmasked.’

Hebban, Dutch book review site

‘This book makes clear the necessity of solid external scrutiny of intelligence and security services.’

— Bram van Ojik, former Member of Parliament

‘Why did they undertake such complex cover-up operations?’

Al Jazeera

‘Book bans belong in a different era. I read the book and can recommend it to everyone. It’s very thrilling.’

— Harry van Bommel, former Member of Parliament


‘An apt observation of a sad struggle within the army command.’

Nieuwe Revu, Dutch opinion weekly

‘This is an important book about an important affair in which the secret service withheld evidence of war crimes, at the expense of an arbitrarily chosen but surprisingly thoughtful civilian.’

— Roel van Duijn, politician

‘Giltay calls all involved by name. He gives dates, locations, and his narrative never runs amok.’

Leidsch Dagblad, Dutch daily

The Cover-up General  is a shocking eye-opener on how our secret services work.’

— Philip Dröge, investigative journalist


‘It's almost stifling to read how intelligence services crowd around to make the life of innocent civilians miserable.’

Boekje Pienter, Dutch army website

‘Evokes the atmosphere of Graham Greene’s famous Our man in Havana, yet situated in Delft in the offices of an internet provider …’

— Christ Klep, military historian and author of Somalia, Rwanda, Srebrenica

The Cover-up General  reads like a thrilling and very detailed roman à clef  in which the true names are revealed.’

Checkpoint, Dutch veteran’s monthly

‘Reality turns out more bizarre than the greatest conspiracy theory. This book proves really anything is possible, also in the Netherlands – including threats.’

— Willem Middelkoop, bestseller author

‘In a down-to-earth writing style with attention to detail, Edwin Giltay describes in The Cover-up General  the clumsy performance of two spies with poor manners, that he witnessed.’

Haarlems Weekblad, Dutch weekly

‘Holland is a kind of wholesale dealer of cover-ups. I recognize this story fully.’

— Roger Vleugels, freedom of information specialist

‘Edwin Giltay describes how his rights were sacrificed by the Dutch State. Again, the suspicion is fed the State is responsible for letting disappear the infamous film roll.’

— Marco Gerritsen and Simon van der Sluijs, lawyers of the ‘Mothers of Srebrenica’

‘Why can’t the government just be open? It’s important that this riddle is also solved permanently.’

— Brenno de Winter, writer and security expert

‘Book recommendation! The book of the deployment of spies and the film roll of Dutchbat III was first banned by court yet is now released again so everyone can read what actually happened.’

— Veteran’s organisation Dutchbat III

‘I’d like to see the whole Srebrenica book be opened. The moment the government would also give dis­closure of the Giltay story, that’d be a nice bycatch.’

— Hans Laroes, former editor-in-chief Dutch TV news (NOS News)

‘About the failed film roll of Srebrenica, and the muddle of intrigues and smoke screens concerning the disappearance of this possible evidence of war crimes.’

de Volkskrant, Dutch daily

‘Cases of whistle-blowers such as Victor van Wulfen, Fred Spijkers and Edwin Giltay have not been properly investigated. #cover-up’

— Jan Born, investigative journalist

‘A must-read for everybody who wants to know more about government espionage in practice and the dangers entailed for all involved.’

— Dutch library institute Biblion (1st review)

‘That secret services infiltrate people at companies is not news: read Edwin Giltay’s The Cover-up General.’

— Victor van Wulfen, former air force fighter pilot

‘In a compelling way, the author describes the rather transparent activity of a secret agent he got confronted with at the internet service provider where he worked at the time. His report on this affair reads like a thriller.’

— Biblion (2nd review)

‘It’s still a mystery why the lower court ruled as it did. Appar­ent­ly, The Cover-up General  was regarded by some as too explo­sive in nature.’

— Jurian van Groenendaal, media lawyer

‘During the appeal against the book ban, it immediately becomes clear that Edwin Giltay has more evidence: 30 pieces versus one.’

Schrijven Magazine, Dutch writer’s monthly

Commenting on the court case: ‘Spies are used to bending reality. They manipulate the truth.’

— off-duty colonel Charlef Brantz, former acting commander of sector North East Bosnia of UNPROFOR

‘The Cover-up General was banned in Holland by court order. Giltay denied giving false information, and in 2016 the ban was revoked by the Court of Appeal The Hague.’

Koran Sindo, Indonesian daily

‘I would like to see a Bosnian translation of The Cover-up General.’

— Mirsada Čolaković, former Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Netherlands

‘Cover-ups, censorship and the shadow of a genocide that might have been prevented. The ingredients of a thriller are all there, except that the author, Edwin Giltay, didn't have to invent anything.’

+31 Mag, Italian magazine

‘They prefer to keep everything under wraps, lest damages claims will ensue. Neither justice nor truth is relevant to them.’

— Remko de Bruijne, Dutchbat III veteran

‘An exciting documentary thriller about a scandal relating to the disappearance of a photo-roll in a laboratory in The Hague.’

Dnevni Avaz, Bosnian daily

‘The Ministry of Defence sees no need to comment on the contents of the book.’

— Ank Bijleveld, former Minister of Defence

Please note: Despite all the support received and the book ban having been lifted, several authorities in the Netherlands have not yet acknowledged wrong­doing on their part. The last word on this affair has not yet been spoken.


Edwin Giltay

Edwin F. Giltay (The Netherlands, 1970) is a freelance editor of mixed Dutch-Indonesian de­scent. Mr Giltay worked as a technical writer for IBM and as a management assistant for De­loitte. For many years, he has been editing social-critical books and publications.

Would you like to approach Mr Giltay? Simply send an email to:




The once-banned tell-all, blowing the cover of spies and revealing a sinister plot to obscure the Dutch failure in Srebrenica




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Website photo credits: The photo of Edwin Giltay c/o John Melskens. The photo of Jan Pronk c/o Sebastiaan ter Burg, CC BY-SA 2.0. The photos of Sadet Kara­bu­lut and Jasper van Dijk c/o Bas Stoffelsen of the SP, CC BY-SA 3.0. The photo of Bram van Ojik c/o GroenLinks. The photo of Harry van Bommel c/o Govert de Roos of the SP, CC BY-SA 3.0. The photo of Roel van Duijn c/o Rob Mieremet, CC0. The photo of Hans Laroes c/o Carl Koppe­schaar, CC BY-SA 2.5. The photos of Philip Dröge and Brenno de Winter c/o John Melskens. The photo of Willem Middelkoop c/o Govert de Roos of wi­ki­portret, CC BY-SA 3.0. The photo of Roger Vleu­gels and Jehanne van Woer­kom c/o Jay Achterberg. The photo of Arnold Karskens c/o wi­ki­portret, CC BY-SA 3.0. The photo of Chris van der Heijden c/o Sara van der Heijden of Wiki­portret, CC BY-SA 3.0. The photo of Victor van Wulfen c/o Gabriëls foto­grafie and Van Wulfen. The photo of Metje Blaak c/o John Melskens. The photo of Mirsada Čola­ko­vić c/o the Bosnian embassy in The Hague. The photo of National Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen c/o Dutch government, CC BY-SA 3.0. The photo of Ank Bijleveld, c/o Tech Sgt. Vernon Young Jr., CC BY-SA 2.0. The photos are depicted here smaller than their original size and most with removed backgrounds. Some photo backgrounds in the news section are designed by rawpixel.com of Freepik. Video credits: The video pitch ‘Gag order lifted’ c/o Hebban.nl. The video fragment ‘Minister Must Answer’ was taken from the TV news item ‘Klokkenluider Edwin Giltay vecht tegen Defensie voor eerherstel’ by Hart van Nederland of Dutch national TV channel SBS6. The video fragment ‘Book ban overturned’ was taken from the TV news item ‘Het verboden boek, aflevering 3 Censuur’ by ThePostOnline. Icon credits: The flag icons c/o Freepik from www.flaticon.com. The icons in the news and review sections were copied from their websites. The businessman icon c/o Freepik from flaticon.com, CC BY 3.0.