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November 25, 2005

Natalee Holloway: The Politics

Topics: Natalee Holloway

Since we took Thanksgiving holiday off, we failed to get a link up to Dan Riehl's post about word that politics in the Netherlands could be leading toward a reconsideration of their troop deployments in Afghanistan. Dan has information on that issue and much more.

The audio is here.

Owing to the fact that terrorism is such a crucial issue in The Netherlands and also the recent plot against the Dutch intelligence service and politicians, one would think that the Dutch would understand the importance of denying Islamic militancy a base of operations from which to further attack the West, but the Dutch have always taken the issue of trade, seriously, and the misguided and poorly thought out Alabama-called boycott of Aruba has apparently got their attention, although not in the way that the Alabama governor thought it would.

Related (Hat tip - Harry Owens): Afghanistan 'very risky for troops'

The article "practically screams" that the use of another 1,000 or so Dutch troops in Afghanistan or Iraq would be in jeopardy, given the negative actions by the USA with respect to Aruba. The Dutch parliamnet was under seige over the motion to send another 1,000 troops in support of the campaign in the Middle East. Recall, that I've previously questioned if the American troops that would replace these Dutch soldiers would come from reserves in Mountain Brook! - Harry Owens

Posted by Richard at November 25, 2005 6:17 AM

The boycott has nothing to do with it. The Netherlands are concerned that the US is ignoring human rights and the Geneva Convention in its war on terrorism, and don't want to associate themselvs with torture, secret prisons, etc.

Posted by: Daniel at November 25, 2005 8:37 AM

Daniel,

You're assuming that the US is ignoring human rights and the Geneva Convention in its war on terrorism, and that the U.S. conducts torture. Perhaps you find "torture" (http://www.spitting-image.net/archives/004065.html) to mean getting information from an enemy by employing methods that compared to other countries in both the present and previous wars, ranks with comparing a trip to Disney World to being burned at the stake, alive.

In dealing with an enemy that considers the chopping off of heads as an afternoon walk in the park, or blowing up buildings with thousands of people inside, as legitimate acts, and that considers only militant Muslims as "innocent people," reality requires looking at the world and what we are dealing with, and addressing the interogation of terrorists in a somewhat more practical manner than some folks might otherwise wish to do.

This is not to condone excessive techniques other than described in the above link, but one has to admit, they beat the hell out of our wives, children, husbands, fathers, mothers, other family members, and friends getting blown up or having their heads chopped off.

And let's not rule out the Dutch sensitivity to trade matters so hastily, and particularly, the Aruba boycott issue. It would be a bit naive on our parts to do so.

Posted by: Richard at November 25, 2005 10:08 AM

Unfortunately, this topic of Dutch sensitivity to torture crescendos close to home for me. Given my diplomatic experience with former Dutch colonies, I suspect, the United States' involvement, however scant, in alleged human rights abuses, provides the Dutch camouflage for their ultimate aspirations in world trade. Torture is no stranger to the Netherlands. All this chicken cackling about torture sites pales in comparison to what really transpires outside the borders of the United States of America.

Surat jalan (media blackout) insures the world, specifically America, remains oblivious to torture.

Here is a sweet piece about more torture in a former Dutch colony than you can withstand:

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?userid=eM35KWbCYU&isbn=0595283527&itm=13

Sialon!

With Aloha,

Harry

Posted by: harry Author Profile Page at November 25, 2005 1:30 PM

Good point, Harry.

Posted by: Richard at November 25, 2005 1:43 PM

I have often thought the Dutch are hard to understand. Yeah! Sure the boycott has nothing to do with it. Let's see they have 600 troops there in covert operations. Covert to me sounds like secret operations and kind of like secret prisons as said above. I hear the chickens Harry.

Posted by: Allan Author Profile Page at November 25, 2005 7:47 PM

Dear Harry,

I am a bit confused by your support of the statement "Torture is no stranger to the Netherlands" with contemporary account of civil unrest in Indonesia. Indonesia is fully independent since 1949 and not under factual Dutch governance since 1942. I have really no idea how common torture was there beforehand, but certainly since 1942 there were yet decades of racial segregation in USA, probably worse human right violations in numerous British colonies and elsewhere in the World. Can you, based in particular on your diplomatic experience with [former] Dutch colonies, support the above statement with something more directly and recently related to Dutchmen?

Posted by: George at November 25, 2005 8:12 PM

Dear George:

In a short response, the Netherlands handle many international tribunals on atrocities. Most recent that I recall was Colonel Sabatian Nzapali, affectionately referred to as the King of the Beast. He was convicted of torture in Rotterdam in 2005.

Technically, Colonel Nzapali was not a current day Dutchman; however, he hailed from a former colony of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands (Congo). Dutch authorities were involved in his petition for asylum in the, now, Kingdom of the Netherlands.

To the best of my knowledge, the former colonies of the current day Kingdom of the Netherlands consists of Indonesia (Dutch East Indies), Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles (Dutch West Indies). Torture runs rampant in both Indonesia and Suriname.

Minister Bouterse of Suriname caused an outcry to sever diplomatic ties by the US over his potential of becoming president. He was indicted for atrocities (one charge was 15 murders).

Former President Wahid of Indonesia threatened to unleash some 30,000 Muslim suicide bombers onto Java, if the opposition attempted to oust him from office. When admitted murderers (Muslims) of a former minister of parliament, Theys Eluay 2001, were brought to justice, their lawyer praised them as saviors of the republic.

As for current Dutch nationals, none have been specifically charged with the crime of torture; however, I believe, since 2002, George Plieger, Jules Jue, Willem de Zwiger and John Mieremet would qualify as mini-torturers. Unfortunately, they never got the opportunity to be charged.

With Aloha,

Harry

Posted by: harry Author Profile Page at November 25, 2005 10:31 PM

Dear Harry,

Thank you for clarification. With respect to Democratic Republic of the Congo, I would amend that it is former colony of the current Kingdom of Belgium. With respect to Indonesia, I missed in my previous comment the fact in decades of its independence of the Netherlands in USA still existed lynching, often torturous. As to four specific Dutch nationals who could be indicted of torture, I got only to note that much higher numbers of tortures per capita represent many other countries, certainly USA is among those.

Overall, I still don't feel your association of torture with the Netherlands too fair.

Posted by: George at November 25, 2005 11:20 PM

The Kingdom of Belgium was formerly part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Kingdom of Belgium was granted independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands sometime in the 19th Century.

I believe the issue was "Dutchmen related to torture." Obviously, the Dutch no longer maintain Third World extraction colonies, so their involvement as torturers would be scant. However, the Dutch adjudicate persons accused of atrocities. Recall, my original comment was that the Dutch were no strangers to torture. Clearly, the case of Colonel Nzapali, King of the Beasts, should qualify the Dutch as no strangers to torture.

With Aloha,

Harry

Posted by: harry Author Profile Page at November 25, 2005 11:38 PM

Oh! I got it! US Supreme Court justices are habitual to rape and murder - they adjudicate persons accused of those in volume at every session.

I absolutely agree!

Posted by: George at November 26, 2005 2:41 AM

Dear George:

Yes, you got it but not with the Supreme Court justices. The correct justices would be those of the Circuit and/or District courts, either Federal or State. The Supreme Court would seldom hear a murder or rape charge, because the criminal law has been established already.

With Aloha,

Harry

Posted by: harry Author Profile Page at November 26, 2005 3:21 AM

Quote from Harry:
The Kingdom of Belgium was formerly part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Kingdom of Belgium was granted independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands sometime in the 19th Century.

I believe the issue was "Dutchmen related to torture." Obviously, the Dutch no longer maintain Third World extraction colonies, so their involvement as torturers would be scant. However, the Dutch adjudicate persons accused of atrocities. Recall, my original comment was that the Dutch were no strangers to torture. Clearly, the case of Colonel Nzapali, King of the Beasts, should qualify the Dutch as no strangers to torture.


Harry, the Netherlands and allso Belgium have been kolonized through the thousands of years by, french, spaniards, vikings, austrians, germans, italians etc. So, clear borders did not exist a long time. When the Netherlands and Belgium were freed, after the defeat of Napoleon, in 1815, Belgium became territory of the Netherlands. But allready 15 years later, in 1830, Belgium became independend. What Leopold the II (belgian king) did in the Congo, was terrible. Cutting of hands and legs of children and wraping women when the man did not work so hard, feed them to the crocodiles. But this has nothing to do with the Netherlands.

And Indonesia have done much worse after their independence. They have murdered thousands of people on the Molukken, Papoea New Guinee, because they colonized it. Strange that countries like Indonesia do that, with at that time the support of the US, wich suffered themself from colonization and do the same to other nations.

The Neterlands in these days, regret their colony period. It has caused much pain and shame. We have learned about it at school and we are aware of what has happened. Like you in the states had to see the televisionserie "Roots" to become aware of your slaveperiod, we have seen several tv series and movies about that periode in Indonesia. And that was not a pretty side.

Much different than for example in Belgium where they won't come to therms with it and still glorify there past.

And yes, I have seen the dutch politicians on tv. Believe me, they have said nothing on tv about the boycot or the Holloway case. Most of them does not bother with that. We in the Netherlands however, have more respect for humans in captivity and that is the reason that these politicians want to know what the US is doing to them.

Yesterday, I watched the weekly interview, normally with the prime minister Balkenende, but he was in Surinam now, to celebrate the 30 years independence from the Netherlands. Vice-premier Zalm, from the rightwinged VVD party, replaced him. Imagine this, every week, another interviewer from different types of broadcastchannels, like catholic, protestant, liberal, social. They all have the chance to thouroughly interview the prime-minister or his replacer with no holding back. That is certainly not the case in the US, Bush would walk out of such a interview.!!

But, vice-minister Zalm, said that it was quite different if the US held there captives on US soil with disregarding the Geneva convent, or it is true that they have secret prisons somewhere in Europe. That would be quite a difference, because, according to mr. Zalm, Europeans have a far more human approach to these things than the americans. And if true, than they would consider to draw back from Afghanistan. But for now, there is no reason, because there is no evidence that this is now taking place, only rumours.

Louiza

Posted by: Louiza at November 26, 2005 6:35 AM

Harry, Richard, you couldn't be more wrong.

The present day Netherlands have nothing to do with either Indonesia, Suriname or Congo (the latter never was Dutch to begin with). If anything, it's the Dutch absence that has allowed past and current leaders to commit attrocities.

You bring up a number of misspelled names of Dutch people, suggesting they had something to do with torture. You will have to elaborate on that. I don't see how a 16th century statesman is relevant, and whatever the crimes of famous criminal Mieremet may have been, they reflect as little on the Netherlands as Charles Manson does on America.

"You're assuming that the US is ignoring human rights and the Geneva Convention in its war on terrorism, and that the U.S. conducts torture."

That's not an assumption, it is fact. Read up on Abu Graib and Guantanamo. And no, you cannot subject suspected terrorists to torture. That would be a grave violation of the very values you are claiming to defend - after all, these people are not terrorists, they are suspects, and therefor to be assumed innocent until they've been found guilty in a due legal process that is currently being withheld from them.

The US have been instrumental in setting up tribunals to deal with war crimes and torture in e.g. Cambodia, Ruanda and Yugoslavia. It is party to 5 treaties (Neuremberg, 4x Geneva) that seek a universal power of justice to apply to such crimes. And yet when its own military is involved, it wants impunity. That's hypocritical. But then, hypocrisy has been the hallmark of US foreign policy for quite a few years already anyway.

"And let's not rule out the Dutch sensitivity to trade matters so hastily, and particularly, the Aruba boycott issue."

The Alabama boycott of the Aruban tourism industry, which isn't even a boycott to begin with, is of no financial consequence to the Netherlands at all. Very few people in Holland are even aware of it - it's like Northern Ontario boycotting the US Virgin Islands - who cares? At best, a boycott of Aruba could be perceived as an insult to the Kingdom, but it would take a more signifact entity than Alabama to inflict any injury.

Posted by: Daniel at November 26, 2005 1:41 PM

Besides, the Netherlands are acutely aware of the threats of muslim terrorism -this explains our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan- but the gravest concern is with the fundamentalism that is growing amongst young muslims right within our own borders. Like the UK and France, we have large muslim minorities that have become breeding grounds for a type of terrorism that is a uniquely European problem.
Also, European nations have been dealing with terrorism for decades. Think Roter Armee Faktion, Red Brigades, CCC, ETA, IRA, et cetera.
There's little that the US can teach Europe about this subject.

Posted by: Daniel at November 26, 2005 1:53 PM

Dear Daniel:

You need to take some time in order to clear up in your mind what you want to convey. I have no idea what you are posting. I believe Louiza has provided sufficient background on what I was relating to George. Where you comments come from, I have no idea. Daniel, please do not waste my time jerking me around.

Please clear up:
1) misspelled Dutch people,
2) 16th century statesman,
3) Charles Manson's relevance to the discussion,
4) Holland's relationship to our discussion,
5) what you think "Dutch" is,
6) What you consider the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, and lastly
7) what you think we were discussion?

With Aloha,

Harry

Posted by: harry Author Profile Page at November 26, 2005 6:49 PM

1-3) You refered to 4 people as 'mini-torturers': George Plieger, Jules Jue, Willem de Zwiger and John Mieremet. The third was misspelled. Willem de Zwijger, who died 1584, is considered the founder of the modern day Netherlands. I have no idea who else you could be referring to. The other three gentlemen were hardcore criminals. Whatever they may have done was not done in the name of the Netherlands and does not reflect on the Netherlands, as little as Charles Manson's crimes reflect on the US. He was not a US Government official or soldier and neither were these criminals Dutch officials or soldiers. I'm not aware of them torturing anyone, but if they did, it has nothing to do with any Dutch policy.
4) In everyday language, Holland = the Netherlands
5) Dutch: being from the Netherlands
6) There is no such thing as the 'United Kingdom of the Netherlands'. The Kingdom of the Netherlands is comprised of Holland aka the Netherlands, plus the Dutch Antilles (Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten) plus Aruba.
7) We were discussing why the Netherlands are reconsidering its contribution to the global War on Terrorism. The answer, as clearly brought forth by the vice minister president and several parlementarians, is its concern about torture and other human rights violations by the US.
It was speculated that it had something to do with the aruban boycott, which it doesn't, and it was suggested that the Netherlands are involved with torture themselves, which they are not.

Posted by: Daniel at November 26, 2005 11:23 PM

Quote from Harry: I believe Louiza has provided sufficient background on what I was relating to George.

Sorry, Harry, but I don't understand this. I have not written about George, I don't know even who he is, or do you refer to the former Belgian king Leopold the second?

Furter, I much appreciate your articles, but I have to agree a 100% with Daniel. Daniel is from the Netherlands, just like me, and his english is far better than mine, so he expresses it more clearly. I don't think Daniel and I are attacking you, if that was so, why would we allways read your commentary and care to respond when we see you make some mistakes. And mistakes are easily to make, especially when you don't come from the Netherlands yourself and making comments about our history.

So, don't be mad at us, but be happy, that we have enlightened you about some errors in your commentary. And, we all are human, so that is nothing to be ashamed about. I have made errors to in some postings, and I am not ashamed to come forward when it becomes obvious I am wrong.

Greetings, Louiza

Posted by: Louiza at November 27, 2005 8:30 AM

Dear Louiza & Daniel:

If you both agree that you have no knowledge of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, than both of you should enroll in a course on Dutch History. Clearly, this is the root of the problem in this discussion. After all, if you have shortcomings in Dutch history, how would possibly know what would be encompassed by the word "Dutch." Since I am writing to two alleged Dutch people, you should know that Holland does not equate to the Netherlands (history problem again!), now does it?

Willem de Zwiger is spelled correctly. He lived in the 21st Century (your century).

Lastly, the discussion that you interrupted revolved about the phrase: "the Dutch are no strangers to torture." That phrase is not comparison dependent. Accordingly, all side allusion to the United States are not warranted and just waste my time.

I pray you will understand, if I just ignore most of you postings in the future.

With Aloha,

Harry

Posted by: harry Author Profile Page at November 27, 2005 3:40 PM

Harry,

The "United Kingdom of the Netherlands" is an inofficial term that was used briefly, from 1815-1830, to refer to the Netherlands when they temporarily included Belgium.
At that time, most of Congo hadn't even been discovered yet, and Congo didn't become a Belgian colony until 1908, long after the Dutch-Belgian ties were severed. So, the relation that you seek to establish between the Netherlands and Congo does not exist; Congo has never been a Dutch colony.

The word 'Dutch' has several meanings, Americans even mistakenly use it as a variation on Deutsch, as in 'Pennsylvania Dutch' for example, who were from Germany, not Holland. However, take it from this Dutchman that in contemporary English it simply means 'from the Netherlands'. And while it's true that 'Holland' once referred only to the western provinces, it has long become synonymous to The Netherlands.

'De Zwiger' is not a Dutch name - that is, I've never heard of it and there's nobody in any Dutch white pages by that name. If he is a mobster like the other three men you mentioned, he is irrelevent to this discussion anyway.

You suggested that a link existed between the Netherlands and the crime of torture. Seeing that you are unable to establish even the beginnings of such a link, my suggestion to you would be that you withdraw your statement. It was unfounded.

Likewise, you suggested that the Netherlands are only trying to camouflage their 'ultimate aspirations in world trade'. I'm not aware of any such aspirations, and I don't understand how a Dutch decission to withdraw from America's questionable War on Terror would further these aspirations. Quite in contrary, our position in global oil and weapons trade could only suffer from not participating in this lucrative war.

Posted by: Daniel at November 27, 2005 5:10 PM

Quote from Harry:
Dear Louiza & Daniel:

If you both agree that you have no knowledge of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, than both of you should enroll in a course on Dutch History. Clearly, this is the root of the problem in this discussion. After all, if you have shortcomings in Dutch history, how would possibly know what would be encompassed by the word "Dutch." Since I am writing to two alleged Dutch people, you should know that Holland does not equate to the Netherlands (history problem again!), now does it?

Willem de Zwiger is spelled correctly. He lived in the 21st Century (your century).

Lastly, the discussion that you interrupted revolved about the phrase: "the Dutch are no strangers to torture." That phrase is not comparison dependent. Accordingly, all side allusion to the United States are not warranted and just waste my time.

I pray you will understand, if I just ignore most of you postings in the future.

Harry, you just surprise me! Is my english so bad that you write that I don't know that I have any knowledge of the history of my own country? That hurts. Besides, Daniel is correct, the only Willem de ZWIJGER, and not ZWIGER I know, is from the Oranje-Nassau family, the same family that is now our royal family. He lived around 1580.

And who is George? You did not answer me back. And I am the one who pointed out on other weblogs that Holland is normally the two provinces norh and south holland. But that is not the whole of the Netherlands. But for some reason, people in other nations, like the USA for instance, normally say never the Netherlands, but Holland. So, we just go along with it.

What I find allso difficult to understand is that you say you will ignore our postings. We were just kind enough to let you see that your posting had a few flaws, but it seems that you find the suggestion horrible. Instead, you are beginning to become mean to us and spreading again false information. If you don't have a clue about OUR history, than you can do a couple of things:

1. You just ignore us and pretend you know better
2. You go to check your information and let us know who for havens sake Willem de Zwiger is, allso George Plieger, Jules Jue, and John Mieremet. The only one in this list I know is John Mieremet, because he was shot dead last 2 november in Thailand, see allso http://66.249.93.104/search?q=cache:lp0Jo1KTvdAJ:nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Mieremet+john+mieremet&hl=nl


I don't know why you are doing this, Harry, I have allways read your posts about Natalee and found them very informative. I will continue to read them, because I found them interesting, I even suggest them to others to read them. But you disappointed me much with your last posting. I reached out and offered you a hand, but you are not willing to accept it. I find that a pity and not worhty of you.

Allso, your suggestion that the Netherlands wants to quit from Afghanistan because of that socalled boycot, Daniel and I have told you what is true, but you are not willing to listen. Maybe you should go to some dutch sites. There is a babelfishtranslator that can help you.

This is all I could do. If you want to ignore my post, I would be kind of hurt, but that is OK. But I am not going to stop reading your posts, cause again, I find them interesting, I am not that childish. It is just so sad that if two persons, who really know stuff about this story about the dutch and post them, you ridicule them in stead of reaching out and research some more. That is not great behaviour.

Greetings, Louiza

Posted by: Louiza at November 28, 2005 4:46 AM

Just something quick, the reason that you Harry, would think I have made errors in my posting here about this subject, can be because I wrote:
So, don't be mad at us, but be happy, that we have enlightened you about some errors in your commentary. And, we all are human, so that is nothing to be ashamed about. I have made errors to in some postings, and I am not ashamed to come forward when it becomes obvious I am wrong.

I referred to other postings on the Political Teen. For instance, I wrote that in the Netherlands we can drink alcohol from the age of 16 and strong liqeur like whiskey from the age of 18. I thought that allso applied to Aruba, but later I found out that this was not so, the age of drinking in Aruba is 18. So, I said I made a mistake and corrected myself.

There is nothing wrong about that. And if you see any mistake (except my english offcourse, lots of mistakes) in my postings HERE, than come forward with that. If you are right, I am woman enough to admit that. But sofar, you have not proved it.

Greetings, Louiza


Posted by: Louiza at November 28, 2005 4:51 AM

Actually Louiza, there is no 'legal drinking age' in either Holland or Aruba.

We have very extensive laws on alcohol, but they deal with who can sell it, and to whom. They don't say anything about who can drink it.

The ages specified are:
all: beverages containing 0 16+: beverages containing 0.5% 18+: beverages containing 15% and more alcohol

Clubs are free to maintain stricter limits.

Posted by: Daniel at November 28, 2005 5:58 AM

Daniel, thanks again. That was what I tried to explain, but you explained it more clearly.

Posted by: Louiza at November 28, 2005 9:49 AM

Thank you Louiza and Danial for clarifying the status of the Netherlands regarding the false information of pulling out the Dutch troops/re:Alabama boycott, and making sense of an unsensible purported action. Also enjoyed the history lesson.

Posted by: i.perp at November 28, 2005 2:33 PM

Today's newspaper in the Netherlands, allso known to foreigners as Holland:
Twijfels bij Balkenende over missie Afghanistan
Van onze verslaggever

DEN HAAG-De twijfels binnen het kabinet over een nieuwe Nederlandse vredesmissie naar Afghanistan nemen toe. Ook premier Balkenende maakt zich zorgen nu er weinig draagvlak in de Tweede Kamer lijkt te zijn voor de missie, aldus ingewijden dinsdag.

De ministers Kamp (Defensie) en Bot (Buitenlandse Zaken) onderzoeken de mogelijkheden van deelname aan een nieuwe, gevaarlijke NAVO-missie met 1100 mensen in de Afghaanse provincie Uruzgan. Waarschijnlijk spreekt het kabinet er vrijdag weer over.

Balkenende hecht zeer aan voldoende draagvlak voor buitenlandse missies. Vorige week bleek dat er in het parlement grote zorgen zijn over vermeende geheime CIA-gevangenissen in Europa. Coalitiepartij VVD stelde dat als de Verenigde Staten liegen over de mensenrechten dat consequenties moet hebben. Bot zei daarop mogelijk af te zien van nieuwe militaire missies als de Amerikanen ,,verstoppertje gaan spelen''. Hij voegde daar aan toe te verwachten dat de Amerikanen opheldering zullen verschaffen.

Nieuwe missie

Het kabinet worstelt al weken met het besluit over de nieuwe missie. De operatie maakt onderdeel uit van fase drie van het plan van de door de NAVO geleide veiligheidsmacht ISAF om de controle over het land geleidelijk over te nemen van de door de Amerikanen geleide operatie Enduring Freedom (OEF).

De ministers Kamp en Bot onderzoeken momenteel of de missie binnen de randvoorwaarden van Nederland kan doorgaan. Bij die voorwaarden gaat het onder meer over samenwerking met andere landen in het zuiden van Afghanistan en de beschikbaarheid van voldoende transporthelikopters.

Complicerende factor is een rapportage van de Militaire Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst (MIVD) waarin de dienst de grote risico's van de missie in Uruzgan schetst. In de provincie wordt nog altijd gevochten door Taliban-strijders tegen Amerikaanse militairen.

Naast de grote risico's moet het kabinet ook meewegen dat Nederland internationaal inmiddels ,,flink zijn nek'' heeft uitgestoken, aldus ingewijden. Ook secretaris-generaal De Hoop Scheffer van de NAVO benadrukt steeds dat ons land een belangrijke rol kan spelen in Uruzgan. Daarnaast zijn er al veel internationale contacten over samenwerking geweest.

dinsdag 29 november 2005


Translation (with the important assistance of http://babelfish.altavista.com/tr:

Doubts at Balkenende concerning mission afghanistan
By our reporter
THE HAGUE-The doubts of the cabinet concerning a new Dutch peace mission to afghanistan increases. Also premier Balkenende is worried now there seems to be little basis in the House of Commons for the mission, said by initiates Tuesday.

The ministers Kamp (defence) and Bot (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) examines the possibilities of participation to a new, dangerous Nato-mission with 1100 people in the Afghan province Uruzgan. Probably the cabinet will discuss this next Friday.

Balkenende solidly very to sufficient basis for foreign missions. Last week appeared that there is in the parliament great concern about alleged secret CIA prisons in Europe. Coalition party VVD stated that if the United States lie concerning human rights that must have consequences. Bot said then possibly new military missions will be abandoned if the Americans, continue to play "hide and seek". He joined to this that he expects the Americans will provide clarification.

New mission

The cabinet wrestles already weeks with the decision concerning the new mission. The operation determines component of phase three of the plan of the security power conducted by the NATO ISAF to take over Enduring Freedom the control concerning the country gradually of the operation conducted by the Americans (OEF).

The ministers Kamp and Bot researches at present or the mission within the edge conditions of the Netherlands can continue. At those conditions it concerns including cooperation with other countries in the south of afghanistan and the availability of sufficient transport helicopters.

Complicating factor is a report of military information - and security service (MIVD) in which the service outlines that the missioon in Uruzgan is very dangerous. In the province Taliban-fighters are still figthing against American soldiers.

Beside the large dangers, the cabinet also must consider that the Netherlands internationally, "has considerably stuck out their neck", thus initiates. Also Secretary-General De Hoop Scheffer of the NATO emphasises always that our country can play an important role in Uruzgan. Moreover already much international contacts concerning cooperation have been.

Tuesday 29 November 2005

Posted by: Louiza at November 29, 2005 6:22 AM

More info from the website Radio Netherlands, excellent website by the way:
A planned Dutch peacekeeping mission to support US forces in Afghanistan is looking increasingly uncertain. Sources close to the government say even Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende is having doubts about the mission, which involves sending 1100 troops to the Afghan province of Uruzgan.

Parliamentary support for the deployment is waning and many politicians are concerned about reports of secret US prisons in Europe. Last week Foreign Minister Ben Bot also said the issue of CIA prisons could have consequences for future military cooperation with the US.

The Netherlands is only prepared to go ahead with the Uruzgan mission if the US maintains its current presence in Afghanistan and this, too, is looking increasingly unlikely. The Dutch mission will be discussed at Friday's cabinet meeting.

See http://www2.rnw.nl/rnw/en/news/international/#4666809

Posted by: Louiza at November 29, 2005 8:08 AM

Sorry, can not stop! Here allso from http://www2.rnw.nl/rnw/en/currentaffairs/region/netherlands/ned051125a?view=Standard

The Hague talks tough to Washington
by RN Security and Defence editor Hans de Vreij, 25 November


In the 1970s and 1980s, human rights were high on the agenda of consecutive Dutch governments. Indeed, the Netherlands was often referred to as a 'guiding nation' in the field of human rights. Later, the issue slipped down somewhat on the list of priorities of various Dutch cabinets, but this week the subject came back once again into the spotlight.

The Netherlands has asked the United States to clarify reports that the US intelligence service, the CIA, is making use of secret detention centres in Europe. The Dutch government also wants to know how much is true of reports that the CIA has been using planes to transfer people suspected of terrorist activities destinations, which made stopovers in the Netherlands.

Testing the limits
In addition, The Hague is demanding that the US complies at all times with the humanitarian rules of war as laid down in the Geneva Conventions. This also applies to people held in connection with terrorism who currently find themselves in the 'twilight zone' of international law, lacking legal protection: the 'enemy combatants' held without charge at locations such as Guantanamo Bay, Bagram airbase close to the Afghan capital, Kabul, and - if certain reports are correct - various other places across the globe.

Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot has said that Washington is "testing the limits of international law," a comment which was certainly not intended as a compliment.



Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot

Seldom heard
The demands coming from The Hague have been accompanied by concrete 'threats' of a kind which have seldom been heard in diplomatic communications between the Netherlands and the United States. Speaking in the Dutch parliament on Thursday, Minister Ben Bot said that if no clarification was forthcoming regarding the reports of secret CIA detention centres, the Netherlands would not take part in any new military missions or extend its participation in current military operations.
The term "current operations" can only be a reference to the role presently played by Dutch commandos and marines in Afghanistan, where they are operating under US command in the anti-terrorism mission known as 'Enduring Freedom'. It could also relate to the reconstruction activities in that country being organised within the context of NATO.

Decision awaited
The foreign minister's reference to 'new' missions could pertain to the Netherlands' assumption of command over the maritime aspect of 'Enduring Freedom' - due to begin on 12 December - or the planned expansion of NATO's activities into the southern part of Afghanistan. The Netherlands has, in principle, already committed troops for this expansion, but an official decision has yet to be taken.

If the Netherlands does not take part in next year's expansion of NATO's operations into southern Afghanistan, that would be bad news for its ally the United Kingdom, which would probably have to fill the gap left by the Dutch.

Fears
British newspaper The Times suggested earlier this week that the remarkable comments about human rights made in The Hague have less to do with humanitarian considerations and more to do with Dutch fears that the operation in Afghanistan could prove to be extremely dangerous.

Such fears were officially recorded in writing earlier this year by Foreign Minister Ben Bot and his colleague at the Ministry of Defence, Henk Kamp. They are also believed to have been confirmed recently in confidential reports drafted by the Dutch military intelligence service, the MIVD.

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Posted by: Louiza at November 29, 2005 8:11 AM



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