Thursday, January 31, 2008

Government Prepares for Riots after Wilders Movie

The Ministry of Interior is preparing for possible riots which could go on for several days, after the screening of the Quran movie to be produced by Geert Wilders, leader of the right-wing Freedom Party. The Ministry has issued a directive to municipalities, police, the fire department and ambulance services on possible measures to be taken if such disturbances occur. If the situation becomes very serious, the authorities can ask for assistance from the army or the military police.

Lawyers Accuse Dutch Army Leaders of Breaking International Humanitarian Law

Two lawyers have submitted a complaint with the Attorney-General’s office in The Hague accusing the Dutch military leadership of a severe breach of humanitarian law in Afghanistan. They claim that the Dutch kill too many civilians because they are using too heavy guns from great distances in order to hit Taliban fighters. According to the lawyers the law of warfare prohibits such attacks which hit civilians. The Attorney General’s office has announced that it will not follow up on the complaint.

Press Bureau Punished for Breaking into Competitor’s Computer

The court in The Hague has condemned the press bureau Novum for systematic breaking into the computer of their competitor Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau (ANP). The former Novum chief and a member of its management were condemned as well.

Police Strikes Continue

A series of police strikes has taken place this week. For instance, on one day policemen in 12 of the 20 national police precincts signed a letter that they were going on strike and went home. In many regions the number of policemen in their offices was minimal.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Politicians Have Lowest Image

An opinion poll of 11 professions found that politicians are rated lowest with a rating of 5.1 out of 10. Other professions with a low ranking are business managers (5.6) and top sportsmen (6.2). The highest rated professions are nurses and firemen, each with a score of 8.3. The study was carried out by the Blauw Research Company on behalf of the Veterans Institute.

National Data Bank for Stolen Bicycles

A total of 760,000 bicycles were stolen throughout the Netherlands during the year 2006. Only one-third of the owners complained to the police. The chance of a bicycle being stolen is three times higher in the cities than in the countryside. The Ministry of the Interior has now announced the establishment of a national data bank for stolen bicycles.

Deputy Minister: Muslims Must Recognize that they are Feared

Deputy Minister Ahmed Aboutaleb has said that there is major fear of Muslims in the Netherlands. This is the result of some idiots in the world who blow themselves up and do not understand the Quran . He said that it was the task of Dutch Muslims to show that this fear is not justified. He suggested that they should open their mosques and show that behind these buildings there are wash rooms and not facilities for preparing bombs.

Information on Earlier Deaths in Medical Research

The recent news about 24 deaths resulting from the use of an experimental drug for pancreas infections at the Utrecht University Medical Center, has resulted in the renewed publication of information on an earlier failed medical experiment. In 1996, at what was then the Utrecht University Hospital, half of a group of 1,300 patients was given aspirin, while the other half received an anti-coagulant. In the latter group 17 people died and 36 others suffered severe complications. Of those given aspirin one person died.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Liberal Leader: Prime Minister Exaggerates Wilders' Crisis

Mark Rutte, leader of the Liberal Party, has criticized Prime Minister Balkenende for calling the upcoming screening of movie on the Quran by Freedom Party leader, Geert Wilders, a "crisis situation." Rutte accused Balkenende of a lack of leadership because he had remained silent about far more serious situations such as the international credit crisis.

Major Thefts of Copper on New Railway Line

The new Betuwelijn train between Rotterdam harbor and Germany must be guarded round the clock by private security services. Substantial delays are occurring as thieves are stealing expensive parts of the rail system, such as copper cables. In recent months there have been 36 such delays as a result of copper theft.,1

Parliament Wants Action against "Happy Slapping"

"Happy Slapping" movies have recently made headlines in the Netherlands. These show youngsters brutally beating others. There were particularly strong reactions after YouTube showed a movie of a handicapped youngster being beaten up in Arnhem. The Labor Party and the Christian Democrats want to introduce rapid judging for this. However, the Attorney-General's office opposes this as it is considered a violent crime.

Majority of Youngsters against Financing Royal Family

A poll among 1,500 young people under the age of 20 found that 80% are in favor of the Netherlands having a royal family. However, 58% think that taxpayers' money should not be spent on financing their costs. One-third of the youngsters erroneously think that the Prime Minister, Jan-Peter Balkenende, is the head of the Dutch state, rather than the Queen.,2

Monday, January 28, 2008

Senior Government Official: Wilders May Have to Leave Country Temporarily

Tjibbe Joustra, the National Coordinator for Fighting Terrorism, has told Geert Wilders, leader of the right-wing Freedom Party, that he may have to leave the Netherlands temporarily once his movie on the Quran is shown. In the past Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former liberal parliamentarian who is highly critical of Islam, had to leave the country for a while as the authorities were not sure they could ensure her safety.

Major Losses due to Naturalization Law

Minister of Integration Ella Vogelaar (Labor Party) will investigates financial losses due to the failure of the new naturalization law. Some training centers have estimated that 60 million Euro have been lost because very few new immigrants have participated in the courses on Dutch language and culture.

KLM Helped Nazis Flee after Second World War

A new witness has appeared confirming for the BBC World Service that
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines helped Nazis to flee to Argentina after the Second World War. The witness declared that in 1949 he was present at a harsh discussion between Albert Plesman, the then-head of KLM, and the pilot and writer Adriaan Viruly. The latter had been asked to take a group of Nazi criminals on his flight to Argentina. Plesman warned Viruly against making this public. KLM has opened an internal investigation into the matter.

Belgium Afraid of Dutch Soft Drugs Sales

The town of Maastricht intends to move five coffee shops which sell soft drugs close to the Belgian border. The Belgian Ministers of Justice and Interior have told their Dutch counterparts that this unacceptable to them and they are considering appealing to the courts.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Movie on YouTube Shows Wilders being Killed

For a short time a movie in which Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch right wing Freedom Party was seen being shot, was shown on YouTube. This movie, with an Islamic song playing in the background, is considered as incitement to murder Wilders. The movie has since been removed from YouTube, but later another Dutch website showed the movie.

Dutch Firm Distributes Post Card of Anne Frank with Palestinian Shawl

A Dutch firm, Boomerang, which distributes postcards free of charge has put out a card showing Anne Frank wearing a Palestinian shawl. The CIDI Center for Information and Documentation has protested this distortion of history. The company expressed surprise at this criticism.,1

Labor Party Asks Member of Neighborhood Council to Resign

The Labor Party of the Charlois neighborhood council in Rotterdam has asked one of its members, Bouchra Ismaili, to give up her seat on the council. She had signed a petition of the radical Muslim organization Hizb Ut Tahrir and afterwards denied doing so. This organization has said, inter alia, that the Netherlands needs a serious bombing. A few days earlier she had replied to hate mail by e-mailing back to the person that she wished him dead.

Labor Party Leader: Behavior of Former Labor Party Minister Damaging

After earlier condemnations by Labor Parliamentarians, now Labor Party Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Wouter Bos has also condemned the behavior of Former Dutch Minister Eveline Herfkens of the Labor Party. He said that she had caused damage to her own name, the reputation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the United Nations and the Labor Party. Herfkens had received $280,000 in rent subsidies from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while she was employed by the United Nations. Her annual salary there was $160,000, tax free. .

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Twenty-Four People Die after Medical Experiment

A new treatment with so-called probiotics used on people with an infection of the pancreas at the Utrecht University Medical Center has resulted in the death of 24 patients. In contrast, the number of deaths among those given a placebo was far lower.

Twenty Percent of Dutch in Muslim Countries Expect Danger

Twenty percent of Dutch people living in Islamic countries expect problems resulting from the forthcoming screening of the movie on the Quran by Geert Wilders. Less than 10% have been given instruction by the Dutch embassies regarding precautions to be taken to ensure their safety. About half are concerned that the film will have negative effects on them. Over 50% of the 1,000 people polled expect a boycott of Dutch products as soon as the movie appears. The poll was carried out by the Dutch world radio service Wereldomroep. The screening of the Wilders movie is now planned for March.

CDA and VVD: Terror Law Must be More Stringent

The Christian Democrat Party (CDA) and the Liberal Party (VVD) are asking for a more stringent terrorist law in the Netherlands. This comes after The Hague court of appeals decided that the so-called Hofstadgroep – labeled as a terrorist organization – does not exist. One of the main suspects was sentenced to 15 years in prison as in the lower court. The punishment of the second one was reduced from 13 years in jail to 15 months. Five others who had been condemned in the lower court were released.,1

Amsterdam Mosque Leadership: Netherlands Should be a Muslim State

Peter Slort, a former police commissioner now working at the Dutch embassy in the US, has disclosed that the leaders of the Amsterdam El Tawheed mosque want to create a Muslim state in the Netherlands. Slort, speaking at a conference on radical Islam in Washington, said that they had stated this in a closed meeting with the mosque's leaders in 2004 concerning a book which called for "throwing homosexuals from high buildings." The mosque leaders refused to disassociate from the content of the book.,1

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

German Trade Unions Threaten to Boycott Dutch Postal Company

German trade unions are threatening the Dutch postal company TNT with a worldwide boycott. They intend to approach TNT's major clients claiming that TNT does not adhere to minimum salaries for its employees.

More than 50 Girls Circumcised Illegally in the Netherlands Each Year

Although it is illegal, each year more than 50 girls are circumcised in the Netherlands. Lawyer Marieke Simons of Defense for Children bases these findings on random samples taken by the Ministry of Health. She said that the government should prosecute the doctors who carried out these circumcisions.

Hate Rap Group Allowed to Teach in Schools

The municipality of Delft has approved the appearance of the local rap group Scheme015 at schools as part of a teaching program on music and street culture. This is in spite of the fact that the police are investigating the group due to some of its hate music. In one of its numbers PVV leader Wilders is called "the devil in person." Other texts referring to him are "Was Hitler your father?" and "I'll beat you into your grave – that's your punishment." The municipality announced that they will ensure that such lyrics will not be sung in the school program.

Seven Right Wing Extremists Condemned

A judge in Haarlem has condemned seven adherents of the extreme right wing Nationalistische Volksbeweging (NVB). Punishment for their public violence against a group of anti-fascists in the town of Uitgeest in February 2007 ranged from 40 hours of community service to three months in jail.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Netherlands has Poor Record Concerning Children's Rights

The Netherlands falls short in children's rights as defined by the United Nations. This is reflected in policies toward foreigners residing in the country, health care and child care. This is reported in a study about children's rights by UNICEF Nederland and Defence for Children International Nederland (DCI). The report suggests the appointment of a children's ombudsman. It also suggests a study of female circumcision.

Easy to Hack into School Computers

The foundation Kennisnet has confirmed that school pupils regularly succeed in hacking into school computers. They can relatively easily enter the administration system and find test questions and answers, as well as report cards. Kennisnet advises schools on computer matters and, in its investigation, found that the computer system was not totally safe in any of the fourteen schools checked. There is great risk for the schools because hackers can change test results, spread viruses and spam, sabotage the computer system and also abuse e-mail addresses and code words.

Iranian Parliamentarian Warns Netherlands about Quran Film

The Iranian Parliamentarian Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of the Commission for National Security and Foreign Affairs, has warned the Dutch government about the upcoming screening of the anti-Islam movie by Geert Wilders. He said that showing this movie could lead "to extensive negative reactions of Muslims in the whole world." He added that if the Dutch government doesn't prevent the screening the parliament will call upon the Iranian government to reconsider its diplomatic relations with the Netherlands.,1

Dutch-Moroccan Website Defends the Right to Insult

A spokesman for the major Moroccan-Dutch website has expressed his condolences to the families of the two Dutch soldiers killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. At the same time he said that the website consciously does not remove all postings which could be considered insulting because it believes in "freedom of expression and, however unethical, in the right to insult." Among the postings about the soldiers who were killed – against which the PVV party has protested and which could be seen on the site for hours – was "Two criminals, who probably have many rapes and murders of civilians to their names, have been removed." The PVV pointed out that the website has received a subsidy from the Dutch government.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Prime Minister: Quran Film Creating Serious Crisis Situation

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has announced that the proposed Quran movie by Geert Wilders is creating a serious crisis. The fact that the movie is attracting international attention makes the situation even more complicated. He said that the Dutch government will ensure that no religions and ethnic groups will be unnecessarily offended. He also stressed the principle of freedom of religion and expression.

PVV Party Accuses Police of Provoking Complaints against Wilders

Raymond de Roon of the PVV Party stated that the Dutch police are encouraging people who have objections against Geert Wilders to submit complaints about him to the police. Heads of police units received a letter from a senior police officer advising them to accept all complaints even if there is no evidence of a criminal act, in order to help the complainants to “blow off steam”. Hubert Bruis, head of the Limburg Noord police unit, has announced that he will not follow this policy.

1,100 Wounded by Fireworks on New Year’s Eve

A compilation by the Consumer and Safety foundation has found that on New Year’s Eve 1,100 people were wounded by fireworks. This is 150 more than last year.

Farmers Stop Nature Preservation Due to Bureaucracy

In the Netherlands there is a subsidy system which allows farmers to treat part of their land as a nature reserve. Each year 100 million Euro are available for this purpose. However, at the end of the first six-year period, one-third of the farmers had left the program due to the bureaucracy involved. Jan Huizing, a senior official of the Ministry of Agriculture, has admitted that the rules of the program are extremely complicated and often impossible to execute.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Secret Government Memorandum Issues Plans for Possible Evacuation of Dutch Embassies

In anticipation of the upcoming showing of the anti-Quran film by Conservative Party leader Geert Wilders, the government has issued a secret memorandum in which it inter alia sets out plans, in the case of attacks, for the evacuation of Dutch embassies. In this memorandum the government also discusses whether it should accommodate the sensibilities of dictatorial regimes in order to prevent riots, or whether it should protect freedom of opinion. A group of ministers held a special meeting last week to discuss the movie and its possible fallout.

Saudi Arabia Finances Muslim Radicals

During a conference of the American Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, the Dutch intelligence services (AIVD) revealed that Saudi Arabia is financing the radical Islamic movement Hizb ut-Tahrir (HUT) in several European countries. In the Netherlands this movement is active, inter alia, in protesting the upcoming movie on the Quran by Geert Wilders.

Labor Party Deputy Minister Accused of Abuse of Department Funds for his Party

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Timmermans (Labor Party) has been accused of having allocated almost 100,000 Euro from a ministry fund to a series of projects of the Alfred Mozer Stichting, a Labor Party foundation. Earlier last year Bert Koenders, the Minister of Development Cooperation, and also of the Labor Party, had been severely criticized for giving a sizable government assignment to a management company owned by other members of the Labor Party.

Labor Parliamentarians Criticize former Minister from their Party

Various Parliamentarians and other senior officials of the Labor Party have criticized the former Minister of Development Cooperation Eveline Herfkens, who is also from their party, for accepting an illegal rent subsidy from the Dutch government for a number of years while working for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). One Labor Parliamentarian Hans Spekman, said that she has created a bad name for development work, politicians and in particular the Labor Party.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Terror Suspects Released

The three terror suspects arrested on New Year’s Eve have been released by the Rotterdam court, even though the Attorney-General had requested that two of them be held in custody. The Attorney-General’s office spokesman says that all three are still suspects in the matter.

Cabinet Puts Mayors on Alert Regarding Upcoming Quran Film

It has now become known that, at the end of November, the Dutch government sent a letter to all mayors asking them to be especially alert regarding the upcoming Quran film by Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party (PVV). The letter says that the film and the publicity surrounding it might cause unrest and tension among ethnic groups. Mayors can get advice from the Ministry of the Interior on how to prepare for this type of development.

Medals for Srebrenica Veterans Damage Dutch Image Abroad

The media research office Publistat has analyzed 683 articles on Dutch politics on the websites of two English and two Turkish papers for the year starting October 2006. The study found that the medals presented at the end of 2006 to the Dutch Srebrenica veterans drew much more negative publicity than Wilders’ proposal to prohibit the Quran.

Secular Muslim Ehsan Jami again Threatened

Ehsan Jami, Chairman of the Committee of Former Muslims, has submitted a complaint with the police after being insulted by three travelers on a tram in The Hague. His government-provided personal security guard prevented him from being beaten up. In August Jami was beaten by three attackers when leaving a supermarket. One of the three attackers has confessed; the other two claim they were only onlookers. Jami is a member of the municipal council in Leidschendam-Voorburg, where he was initially elected as a member of the Labor Party, a party he was forced to leave.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Syrian Grand Mufti Claims that Wilders will be Held Responsible for Bloodshed

The Grand Mufti of Syria Ahmad Badr al-Din al-Hassoun, during a speech in the European Parliament, said that, if the planned film on the Quran by Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party, results in violence or bloodshed, Wilders will be held responsible. This will be even more serious if the Quran is burned or torn up in the movie. The mufti added that it is the responsibility of the Dutch people to prevent Wilders from doing such things. Wilders’ recent statements have led to major worries in the Dutch cabinet. Police in a number of major cities are already preparing for possible riots once the movie is shown.

Right Wing Radicalism on Streets and in Schools on the Rise

Right wing radicalism on the streets and in the schools is on the rise and the Dutch extreme right is dangerous. This was announced by Jaap van Donselaar, an expert on right wing extremism at the University of Leiden and the Anne Frank Foundation. He added that minor race riots involving extreme right wing youngsters have become a weekly occurrence.

“Smart Card” Ticket doesn’t Increase Public Transportation Safety

In 2002 a plan was developed to increase safety in public transportation. One measure was the introduction of a “smart card” ticket. A report by Price, Waterhouse Coopers has concluded that the planned “smart card” hardly increases safety and possibly even decreases it.

Tax Authorities Threaten Boycott of Critical Media

The tax authorities have threatened to boycott, either partially or entirely, several media which have published articles critical of them. Sources at two leading publishers, PCM and VNU, have confirmed that such threats have been made in recent months. The Deputy Minister of Finance de Jager, speaking in, Parliament denied that this was the case and said that he regrets that such an impression was created.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Increased Authority to Listen in to Mobile Phones

The government is proposing a change in the Telecommunications Law which would give various authorities more possibilities to track the position of mobile phones, to listen in to them and to interrupt conversations. If this law is passed, it will allow use of this procedure not only after a major crime has been committed, but also as a way to prevent such a crime. Nowadays authorities are allowed to listen in only if they have special permission from the Attorney-General’s office.

Freedom Party: Joyous Reactions on Dutch Moroccan Website about Killing of Dutch Soldiers

The Conservative Freedom Party (PVV) has asked the government to take measures against the largest Dutch Moroccan website –, after there were joyous reactions on the site to the killing of two Dutch soldiers by friendly fire in Afghanistan. Already in March 2007 the PVV had raised questions in Parliament about this site when it carried threats against the Dutch Moroccan writer Naima El Bezas. PVV has also mentioned that the website indirectly gets a government subsidy of 135,000 Euro.