Dutch East India Company

Latest developments in the Netherlands

  • we cannot make anymore jokes about Islam,
  • we force a manufacturer in the Netherlands to drop the name of his product, ‘negerzoen’, which he used for 86 years but has been used more than 200 years in Europe,
  • we drop the name jodenkoek for another product with the same kind of history,
  • and now we are simplifying our view on our Dutch history. Sure our prime minister made a silly remark about the Dutch East India Company. But simplifying it by saying that the Dutch East India Company is the same as the Dutch West India Company and the only thing both companies did was trade in slaves is rather insulting.

Remembering the fire at the Schiphol detention center

Last year on the 26th of October a fire broke out in the detention center at Schiphol. Unfortunately 11 people died in that fire. An investigation was started and concluded that the fire had started in of the cells of a detainee. Due to misfortune and inadequate training of the staff present the fire was able to spread out and burn down one of the wing of the complex. Two of the responsible ministers in the Dutch government stepped down as a result of this.

The detention is being used mainly as the last stop over for people who are being send back ‘home’ because of crimes the committed or because their request for stay in the Netherlands has not been granted. The immigration and refugee policy of the Dutch government is an hot issue especially with the left wing of the political spectrum.
Last night the fire was remembered in an number of meetings throughout the country. Nothing wrong with that, I think we should pay respect to the victims of this tragedy. But what I find offensive is that some political figures (e.g van Thijn = PvdA) were using these meeting the put the blame of the tragedy at the immigration and refugee policy and especially the minister responsible for that policy. Offensive because it is clear that these statements are only made because of the elections are coming up on November the 22th.

Polical poster

People it is terrible what happened last year,

but it is the fault of my political colleague,

by the way I need to be reelected in November,

will you remember that I had nothing to do with it,

Transcript: William Jefferson Clinton on ‘FOX News Sunday’

WALLACE: When we announced that you were going to be on “Fox News Sunday,” I got a lot of e-mail from viewers. And I’ve got to say, I was surprised. Most of them wanted me to ask you this question: Why didn’t you do more to put bin Laden and Al Qaeda out of business when you were president?

There’s a new book out, I suspect you’ve already read, called “The Looming Tower.” And it talks about how the fact that when you pulled troops out of Somalia in 1993, bin Laden said, “I have seen the frailty and the weakness and the cowardice of U.S. troops.” Then there was the bombing of the embassies in Africa and the attack on the Cole.

CLINTON: OK, let’s just go through that.

WALLACE: Let me — let me — may I just finish the question, sir?

And after the attack, the book says that bin Laden separated his leaders, spread them around, because he expected an attack, and there was no response.

I understand that hindsight is always 20/20. …

CLINTON: No, let’s talk about it.

WALLACE: … but the question is, why didn’t you do more, connect the dots and put them out of business?

CLINTON: OK, let’s talk about it. Now, I will answer all those things on the merits, but first I want to talk about the context in which this arises.

I’m being asked this on the FOX network. ABC just had a right- wing conservative run in their little “Pathway to 9/11,” falsely claiming it was based on the 9/11 Commission report, with three things asserted against me directly contradicted by the 9/11 Commission report.

And I think it’s very interesting that all the conservative Republicans, who now say I didn’t do enough, claimed that I was too obsessed with bin Laden. All of President Bush’s neo-cons thought I was too obsessed with bin Laden. They had no meetings on bin Laden for nine months after I left office. All the right-wingers who now say I didn’t do enough said I did too much — same people.

They were all trying to get me to withdraw from Somalia in 1993 the next day after we were involved in “Black Hawk down,” and I refused to do it and stayed six months and had an orderly transfer to the United Nations.

OK, now let’s look at all the criticisms: Black Hawk down, Somalia. There is not a living soul in the world who thought that Usama bin Laden had anything to do with Black Hawk down or was paying any attention to it or even knew Al Qaeda was a growing concern in October of ’93.

WALLACE: I understand, and I …

CLINTON: No, wait. No, wait. Don’t tell me this — you asked me why didn’t I do more to bin Laden. There was not a living soul. All the people who now criticize me wanted to leave the next day.

You brought this up, so you’ll get an answer, but you can’t …

WALLACE: I’m perfectly happy to.

CLINTON: All right, secondly …

WALLACE: Bin Laden says …

CLINTON: Bin Laden may have said …

WALLACE: … bin Laden says that it showed the weakness of the United States.

CLINTON: But it would’ve shown the weakness if we’d left right away, but he wasn’t involved in that. That’s just a bunch of bull. That was about Mohammed Adid, a Muslim warlord, murdering 22 Pakistani Muslim troops. We were all there on a humanitarian mission. We had no mission, none, to establish a certain kind of Somali government or to keep anybody out.

He was not a religious fanatic …

WALLACE: But, Mr. President …

CLINTON: … there was no Al Qaeda …

WALLACE: … with respect, if I may, instead of going through ’93 and …

CLINTON: No, no. You asked it. You brought it up. You brought it up.

WALLACE: May I ask a general question and then you can answer?


WALLACE: The 9/11 Commission, which you’ve talk about — and this is what they did say, not what ABC pretended they said …

CLINTON: Yes, what did they say?

WALLACE: … they said about you and President Bush, and I quote, “The U.S. government took the threat seriously, but not in the sense of mustering anything like the kind of effort that would be gathered to confront an enemy of the first, second or even third rank.”

CLINTON: First of all, that’s not true with us and bin Laden.

WALLACE: Well, I’m telling you that’s what the 9/11 Commission says.

CLINTON: All right. Let’s look at what Richard Clarke said. Do you think Richard Clarke has a vigorous attitude about bin Laden?

WALLACE: Yes, I do.

CLINTON: You do, don’t you?

WALLACE: I think he has a variety of opinions and loyalties, but yes, he has a vigorous …

CLINTON: He has a variety of opinion and loyalties now, but let’s look at the facts: He worked for Ronald Reagan; he was loyal to him. He worked for George H. W. Bush; he was loyal to him. He worked for me, and he was loyal to me. He worked for President Bush; he was loyal to him.

They downgraded him and the terrorist operation.

Now, look what he said, read his book and read his factual assertions — not opinions — assertions. He said we took vigorous action after the African embassies. We probably nearly got bin Laden.


CLINTON: No, wait a minute.


WALLACE: … cruise missiles.

CLINTON: No, no. I authorized the CIA to get groups together to try to kill him.

The CIA, which was run by George Tenet, that President Bush gave the Medal of Freedom to, he said, “He did a good job setting up all these counterterrorism things.”

The country never had a comprehensive anti-terror operation until I came there.

Now, if you want to criticize me for one thing, you can criticize me for this: After the Cole, I had battle plans drawn to go into Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban, and launch a full-scale attack search for bin Laden.

But we needed basing rights in Uzbekistan, which we got after 9/11.

The CIA and the FBI refused to certify that bin Laden was responsible while I was there. They refused to certify. So that meant I would’ve had to send a few hundred Special Forces in helicopters and refuel at night.

Even the 9/11 Commission didn’t do that. Now, the 9/11 Commission was a political document, too. All I’m asking is, anybody who wants to say I didn’t do enough, you read Richard Clarke’s book.

WALLACE: Do you think you did enough, sir?

CLINTON: No, because I didn’t get him.


CLINTON: But at least I tried. That’s the difference in me and some, including all the right-wingers who are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try. They did not try. I tried.

So I tried and failed. When I failed, I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy and the best guy in the country, Dick Clarke, who got demoted.

So you did Fox’s bidding on this show. You did your nice little conservative hit job on me. What I want to know is …

WALLACE: Well, wait a minute, sir.

CLINTON: No, wait. No, no …

WALLACE: I want to ask a question. You don’t think that’s a legitimate question?

CLINTON: It was a perfectly legitimate question, but I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked this question of.

I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked, “Why didn’t you do anything about the Cole?”

I want to know how many you asked, “Why did you fire Dick Clarke?”

I want to know how many people you asked …

WALLACE: We asked — we asked …

CLINTON: I don’t …

WALLACE: Do you ever watch “FOX News Sunday,” sir?

CLINTON: I don’t believe you asked them that.

WALLACE: We ask plenty of questions of …

CLINTON: You didn’t ask that, did you? Tell the truth, Chris.

WALLACE: About the USS Cole?

CLINTON: Tell the truth, Chris.

WALLACE: With Iraq and Afghanistan, there’s plenty of stuff to ask.

CLINTON: Did you ever ask that?

You set this meeting up because you were going to get a lot of criticism from your viewers because Rupert Murdoch’s supporting my work on climate change.

And you came here under false pretenses and said that you’d spend half the time talking about — you said you’d spend half the time talking about what we did out there to raise $7-billion-plus in three days from 215 different commitments. And you don’t care.

WALLACE: But, President Clinton, if you look at the questions here, you’ll see half the questions are about that. I didn’t think this was going to set you off on such a tear.

CLINTON: You launched it — it set me off on a tear because you didn’t formulate it in an honest way and because you people ask me questions you don’t ask the other side.

WALLACE: That’s not true. Sir, that is not true.

CLINTON: And Richard Clarke made it clear in his testimony…

WALLACE: Would you like to talk about the Clinton Global Initiative?

CLINTON: No, I want to finish this now.

WALLACE: All right. Well, after you.

CLINTON: All I’m saying is, you falsely accused me of giving aid and comfort to bin Laden because of what happened in Somalia. No one knew Al Qaeda existed then. And …

WALLACE: But did they know in 1996 when he declared war on the U.S.? Did they know in 1998 …

CLINTON: Absolutely, they did.

WALLACE: … when he bombed the two embassies?

CLINTON: And who talked about …

WALLACE: Did they know in 2000 when he hit the Cole?

CLINTON: What did I do? What did I do? I worked hard to try to kill him. I authorized a finding for the CIA to kill him. We contracted with people to kill him. I got closer to killing him than anybody has gotten since. And if I were still president, we’d have more than 20,000 troops there trying to kill him.

Now, I’ve never criticized President Bush, and I don’t think this is useful. But you know we do have a government that thinks Afghanistan is only one-seventh as important as Iraq.

And you ask me about terror and Al Qaeda with that sort of dismissive thing? When all you have to do is read Richard Clarke’s book to look at what we did in a comprehensive, systematic way to try to protect the country against terror.

And you’ve got that little smirk on your face and you think you’re so clever. But I had responsibility for trying to protect this country. I tried and I failed to get bin Laden. I regret it. But I did try. And I did everything I thought I responsibly could.

The entire military was against sending Special Forces in to Afghanistan and refueling by helicopter. And no one thought we could do it otherwise, because we could not get the CIA and the FBI to certify that Al Qaeda was responsible while I was president.

And so, I left office. And yet, I get asked about this all the time. They had three times as much time to deal with it, and nobody ever asks them about it. I think that’s strange.

WALLACE: Can I ask you about the Clinton Global Initiative?

CLINTON: You can.

WALLACE: I always intended to, sir.

CLINTON: No, you intended, though, to move your bones by doing this first, which is perfectly fine. But I don’t mind people asking me — I actually talked to the 9/11 Commission for four hours, Chris, and I told them the mistakes I thought I made. And I urged them to make those mistakes public, because I thought none of us had been perfect.

But instead of anybody talking about those things, I always get these clever little political yields (ph), where they ask me one-sided questions. And the other guys notice that. And it always comes from one source. And so …


CLINTON: And so …

WALLACE: I just want to ask you about the Clinton Global Initiative, but what’s the source? I mean, you seem upset, and I …

CLINTON: I am upset because …

WALLACE: And all I can say is, I’m asking you this in good faith because it’s on people’s minds, sir. And I wasn’t …

CLINTON: Well, there’s a reason it’s on people’s minds. That’s the point I’m trying to make. There’s a reason it’s on people’s minds: Because there’s been a serious disinformation campaign to create that impression.

This country only has one person who’s worked on this terror. From the terrorist incidents under Reagan to the terrorist incidents from 9/11, only one: Richard Clarke.

And all I can say to anybody is, you want to know what we did wrong or right, or anybody else did? Read his book.

The people on my political right who say I didn’t do enough spent the whole time I was president saying, “Why is he so obsessed with bin Laden? That was “wag the dog” when he tried to kill him.”

My Republican secretary of defense — and I think I’m the only president since World War II to have a secretary of defense of the opposite party — Richard Clarke and all the intelligence people said that I ordered a vigorous attempt to get bin Laden and came closer, apparently, than anybody has since.

WALLACE: All right.

CLINTON: And you guys try to create the opposite impression, when all you have to do is read Richard Clarke’s findings and you know it’s not true. It’s just not true.

And all this business about Somalia — the same people who criticized me about Somalia were demanding I leave the next day. The same exact crowd.

WALLACE: One of the …

CLINTON: And so, if you’re going to do this, for God’s sake, follow the same standards for everybody …

WALLACE: I think we do, sir.

CLINTON: … and be flat — and fair.

WALLACE: I think we do. … One of the main parts of the Global Initiative this year is religion and reconciliation. President Bush says that the fight against Islamic extremism is the central conflict of this century. And his answer is promoting democracy and reform.

Do you think he has that right?

CLINTON: Sure. To advance — to advocate democracy and reform in the Muslim world? Absolutely.

I think the question is, what’s the best way to do it? I think also the question is, how do you educate people about democracy?

Democracy is about way more than majority rule. Democracy is about minority rights, individual rights, restraints on power. And there’s more than one way to advance democracy.

But do I think, on balance, that in the end, after several bouts with instability — look how long it took us to build a mature democracy. Do I think, on balance, it would be better if we had more freedom and democracy? Sure I do. And do I think specifically the president has a right to do it? Sure I do.

But I don’t think that’s all we can do in the Muslim world. I think they have to see us as trying to get a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. I think they have to see us as willing to talk to people who see the world differently than we do.


Is the US doing at agian?

Is the US doing it again, are they twisting the truth? Quote from the BBC article:

The UN nuclear watchdog has protested to the US government over a report on Iran’s nuclear programme, calling it “erroneous” and “misleading”.
In a leaked letter, the IAEA said a congressional report contained serious distortions of the agency’s own findings on Iran’s nuclear activity.

Remember the evidence Colin Powell presented in the UN about the material of mass destruction, chemical plants, rockets, etc they had found. I remember that I was more inclinded to believe Colin that Sadam. Partly because I thought Colin Powell was a trustworthty person and because it was obvious that Sadam was ‘a bad person’ after the wars against Iran, Kuweit plus the chemical attacks on its own people.

So what does the US want with this report? Is it gearing itself for another war? I don’t think so, but another stupid move is easily made.

[link to BBC article]

Minister of Justice under fire over remark about introduction of Sharia

The minister of Justice in the Netherlands, Mr. Donner, is under fire over a remark he made about the possibility of introduction the Sharia in the Netherlands. He made his remark, that “if in the Dutch democratic society 2/3 of the population should want to introduce the Sharia than that should be possible because that is the nature of democracy”, during a interview with two journalists of the Dutch newspaper “Vrij Nederland”.

Today the minister is summoned to the House of Commons to explain his remarks. Many politicians regard his remarks inappropriate for a Minister of Justice as they hold the opinion that any party who would like to introduce the Sharia or any other idea which is in contradiction with the fundamentals of democracy should be banned. They expect the Minister of Justice to be of the same believe.

This is again an example of how one line in an interview taken out of context can produce an uproar about nothing. The context within this remark was made was an answer to the question how he thought about the Dutch policy of the acceptance of refuges and other immigrants in Dutch society. While he did not want to make an remark about what he thought of the work of the minister of Immigration he make the remark that the Dutch society should embrace people and groups with other ideas and go into discussion with them. As an example he mentioned that he would have liked to see a person like Abou Jahjah of the Arabic European League (Arabisch-Europese Liga) in Dutch Parlement instead of casting him out. In the same line with that remark he said that “if in the Dutch democratic society 2/3 of the population should want to introduce the Sharia than that should be possible because that is the nature of democracy”.

He did not say he wants to introduce the Sharia and I know he does not want to introduce the Sharia. His remarks only show that Mr. Donner can think in a really straight line and not get confused by emotions and fears.

Bush admits to CIA secret prisons

So, the secret prisons do exist. That means the secret transports must exist also. And that means that the US lied to it is allies in the fight against terror. [link to BBC article]

  • Is this shocking?
    No, I even think there is more which we (the common people) don’t know and will not get to know.
  • Is this something new?
    No, it has been done since the beginning of time. Once somebody is in power, he/she or it will do anything to stay in power. Look at the Roman history, look at the Chinese history.
  • Does this mean we cannot trust the US anymore?
    No, but it means at the least that we have to think twice before stepping into a new adventure with the US or any other partner. How equal are we?
  • Will this do any good for Bush (ratings).
    At the short run no, but in one year time everybody will have forgotten about it.

Every year €200.000.000 down the drain

The European parliament has two seats in Europe; Brussels and Strasbourg.
Since years, every month the parliament picks up its bags and moves from Brussels to Strasbourg. There it stays for a week and goes back to Brussels. This is costing the European taxpayers €200.000.000 a year (direct cost). The indirect cost due to inefficiency is not included.

If you think is ludicrous go to the site http://www.oneseat.eu and support the petition for one seat in Europe.


Hirsi is leaving us

So, now we know; we have a really strict immigration law in the Netherlands and an even stricter immigration minister.
Yes, you may enter the country but you you must tell the truth about your name, place of origin en age. If you don’t, you won’t get access, even we if we find out years later.

Does that sound harsh? Well, how many other countries act the same way; US they are erecting a fence on their south border, Denmark act the same way, Germany ditto, UK ditto, who else?

The attitude of the minister has lead to some controversy in the last couple of years. Nevertheless she is a popular politician simple because she is straightforward and she does was says she will do.
Unfortunately, with taking away the Dutch citizenship from Hirsi she has taken one step to far. Yes she has lied about her age, origin en name, but she has done a lot of good for the Dutch society, asked a lot of critical questions, ruffled a lot of feathers and as a result is under 24 hour protection program.
In this case the minister should have said; Yes, you have lied, on that fact you should be kicked out, but taking in account your role in Dutch society and the fact as a result you need 24 hours protection we will grant you the Dutch Citizenship.

The Dutch parlement has pressed the minister to reconsider her decision or she can leave.

Will they never learn?

Here we go again, I told you so, I new it!
Merkel has said that when Germany takes over the chairmanship of the EU, they will try to get the EU constitution accepted.

No thank you, France en the Netherlands already said NO once. We are not going to do that again.


The fire of your local economy is your Energy producers

Link: BBC News website.

The French government has decided to change the laws that prevent the merger of two major French energy producers; Suez and Gaz de France. The French government will have a large say in this new company. The Italian energy producer Enel has recently expressed interest in a merger with Suez. It is a well known fact that the French hold to opinion that it is in the interest of the French economy if the Energy sector remains in French hands. The fire of your economy is your energy producer. An opinion which is also held by other countries like; USA, China, Russia, Italy, Spain, Germany, …
Conclusion is that this can only be seen as an protectionist move. The question is what the European Union is going to say about this. I think Nellie Smit won’t be pleased!

Recently the Dutch government decided to change the structure of the Dutch energy market. It was decided to split up the current structure in which the producers are also owner of the grid. They decided to put the network in Government hands and flush the energy producers onto the ‘free’ market. A move which is inline with the wish of the European Union to open up the energy market. The Dutch energy producers protested against this move as stripping them of their network would lower their net-value dramatically and make them vulnerable for hostile takeovers.
Experts warned the Government that this would mean that the bigger energy producers in the market would buy the Dutch producers and the Netherlands would loose its independance in that market area. A scary idea if you look how a Russian company like Gasprom is using their monopoly position to pressure their customers.
Other experts said that big takeovers would not happen soon, and if it happened it would be good for the shareholders.

I guess this means that within three years the energy sector of the Netherlands will be sold to France and Russia and the rest of Europe will have implemented protective measures to keep the energy sector in their own hands.

Tagesspiegel versus Iran

Recently a cartoon appeared in the German newspaper ‘Der Tagesspiegel’. Subject of the cartoon was the discussion in Germany whether the German army should take on the task of providing security during the World Football Championships. It depicted the four Iranian football players fitted with explosive belts flanked by four German soldiers. Off course the Iranian reacted on this cartoon and demanded an apology, something I can understand.
More interesting was how the cartoon was published in an Iranian newspaper. Below you can see the original cartoon and below that how it was published in Iran. Spot the difference.



Iranian publication.


This is not Mohammed (2)

© Martin Rowson 2005/Guardian

It is becoming more and more clear that the whole excitement about the cartoons is one big constructed media event.

  1. It is far from true that Mohammed has never been depicted. In the past hundreds of paintings, drawings and other images of Mohammed have been created over the centuries, with nary a word of complaint from the Muslim world. Follow this link to a Mohammed Image Archive.
  2. The cartoons which were send to the middle-east as ‘proof’ of the our blasphamies included some pictures which were never published by the Danish newspaper. Instead they included pictures of a Pig-Squealing Championship (follow this link).