Archive for December 15th, 2010
Het is Nederland-dag vandaag op WikiLeaks. Na een kabel met een geheime briefing van Obama over Nederlandse politiek, één over de angst onder de Amerikanen over Fitna, en één over het belang van Nederland voor de V.S., nu ook een over de Nederlandse deelname aan de JSF.
En deze bevat behoorlijk pikante informatie. De financiering van de F-136 “tweede motor” van de JSF wordt blijkbaar ieder jaar uit het Amerikaanse defensiebudget gehouden, maar er door het Congres weer in gedaan. Oftewel: steun voor het gehele JSF-programma is zelfs in Amerika fragiel.
Buitenlandse Zaken in Den Haag heeft hier, zo blijkt, haar zorg over uitgesproken. Want mocht dit component van de JSF niet langer gefinancieerd worden, dan zal de steun voor het project in de Tweede Kamer geheel afkalven. Ook zijn de Amerikanen bang dat “changing the deal” hun diplomatieke pogingen om de Nederlandse missie in Afghanistan voort te zetten in gevaar zal brengen.
O ja, en vakbonden en gemeentes zetten druk op de PvdA om de steun voor de JSF niet in te trekken.
Lees het zelf:
Monday, 21 September 2009, 07:38
C O N F I D E N T I A L THE HAGUE 000568
EO 12958 DECL: 09/17/2019
TAGS MARR, MOPS, NATO, PINS, PREL, NL
SUBJECT: NETHERLANDS/JSF: CONCERN ABOUT SECOND ENGINE
REF: A. THE HAGUE 271 B. THE HAGUE 264 C. THE HAGUE 543
Classified By: POLECON Counselor Andrew C. Mann for reasons 1.5(b,d)
1. (C) SUMMARY: The Netherlands Minister of Defense (MOD) has expressed concern over the JSF second engine (F-136) being omitted from the U.S. 2010 Defense Budget. Dutch industry has high-value contracts supporting the development of the F-136 engine. The MOD has struggled to retain the necessary support for the JSF program in what has become a politically charged battle. Cancelling the F-136 program could scuttle Dutch participation in JSF and raise doubts about American defense partnerships as we ask the Dutch to stay the course with us in Afghanistan. END SUMMARY.
2. (U) The concept of having two competing engines for the JSF dates back to the “Great Engine War,” when Congress funded the development of a second engine in 1979 for the Air Force’s fighter aircraft. The Air Force and Congress cite the competition as a huge success, yielding both cost savings and a better product. This “standard” of competition drove a two engine solution (F-135 and F-136) for the JSF program. Participating countries in the JSF Program are allowed to choose the F-135, F-136, or both when they issue their procurement request per the JSF Production, Sustainment, and Follow-on Development MOU. The GONL believes based on the MOU they have an engine choice, and are currently in a study with Norway and Italy to compare both engines before a placing their orders to the JSF Program.
Dutch Industry Support on the F-136:
3. (SBU) Two companies in the Netherlands are responsible for the co-design and production of critical components on the F-136. (Netherlands industry is not participating in the development of the F-135, but is seeking maintenance contracts with Pratt & Whitney, the manufacturer.) The F-136 contractors (General Electric/Rolls-Royce) list potential F-136 business with the Netherlands — across the life of the program — at over one billion dollars. Dutch labor unions and local governments are currently applying pressure to the Labor Party (PvdA), which has the pivotal vote to keep the JSF alive in the Netherlands by approving the purchase of the second test jet. The MOD is currently working with Parliament to obtain approval for the purchase the second test aircraft by December 2009. (Note: Post has ensured both the F-135 and F-136 have been equally represented during this process. End Note.)
Comment / Risk of Cancelling JSF in the Netherlands:
4. (C) COMMENT: The JSF debate in the Netherlands remains politically charged, with the Parliament nearly scuttling Dutch participation in JSF (reftels A, B). The Dutch MOD is using the successes of the JSF in Dutch industry as an argument to keep the JSF in the Netherlands. The Dutch are aware that the U.S. defense budget has excluded the F-136 every year since 2006, but to date Congress has overturned that decision and maintained support for the F-136. However, if the second engine does not survive the budget process, significant U.S. effort will be required to keep the Dutch as a partner in the program. Opponents of the JSF, including the Labor Party (in the three-party governing coalition), would likely argue the U.S. had changed the terms of the Qwould likely argue the U.S. had changed the terms of the agreement upon which Dutch participation was based and we are unreliable. Prospects for winning continued Dutch support of the JSF are dim without continuation of the F-136 program (the two engine option). Furthermore, we are engaged in an delicate effort to keep the Dutch in Afghanistan after 2010. The Labor Party has the pivotal role on this issue as well. When we are asking the Dutch Cabinet and Parliament to make a difficult decision to stay with us as partners in Afghanistan, being perceived as an unreliable partner on JSF could prove to be a large hurdle to overcome. END COMMENT. LEVIN
De cables over Nederland beginnen nu binnen te stromen! Deze kwam enkele minuten geleden online te staan op The Guardian. Het is een memo van de vertrekkende ambassadeur in Nederland Cliford Sobel van 2005. Deze geeft hierin een uitgebreide beschrijving van het belang van Nederland voor de VS en hoe de band met Nederland versterkt kan worden. Het is vooral opmerkelijk dat in deze cable openlijk wordt gezegd dat Nederland een belangrijke partner is tegen het Venezuela van Hugo Chavez. De paranoide houding van Chavez ten opzichte van Nederland blijkt dus niet helemaal onterecht te zijn. Een jaar geleden betichtte Chavez Nederland er bijvoorbeeld nog van samenzwering met de VS tegen Venezuela, zie dit artikel. Hier de cable:
SUMMARY: With the EU divided and its direction uncertain, the Dutch serve as a vital transatlantic anchor in Europe. As one of the original six EU members, the Dutch ally with the British to counter Franco-German efforts to steer Europe off a transatlantic course. The Netherlands‘ solid European and international credentials create a powerful “multiplier” effect. In Iraq, Dutch forces provided the physical and political cover for Japan to deploy and the Dutch are using their NATO Training Mission commitment to push others to do more. In Afghanistan, the Dutch drove much of the Phase III planning for ISAF and deployed Dutch troops in combat operations for the first time in more than 30 years. The Dutch have led Europe in launching pilot projects to strengthen international counterterrorism cooperation, and initiated the U.S.-EU dialogue on terrorist financing which laid the groundwork for a proposed major international Terrorism Financing Conference in 2006.
2. (S) (SUMMARY CONTINUED) The Dutch are expanding their leadership beyond Europe. Dutch strategic interests in the Caribbean make them logical partners to counter Venezuelan meddling in the region.
Along with the British, the Dutch form a strong, reliable transatlantic anchor in Europe. As a founding member of NATO, one of the original six members of the EU, and Britain’s strongest ally on continent, the Dutch are an influential voice in Europe despite having a population of just under 16 million. Prime Minister Balkenende states often that the Dutch “take their responsibilities seriously” and therefore expect to be heard.
Venezuela: The Dutch have strategic interests in the Caribbean (i.e., the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba) and are deeply concerned about Chavez’ meddling in the region. As a Caribbean power, the Dutch have good reasons to lead an effort to balance traditional Spanish dominance on Latin American issues in the EU, but the U.S. and others will need to push them to take this role.
The key to maximizing Dutch effectiveness is to involve them early through high-level consultations and exchanges. Dutch pragmatism and our similar world-views make the Netherlands fertile ground for initiatives others in Europe might be reluctant, at least initially, to embrace.
22. (S) As multipliers, the Dutch should be encouraged to play an increasingly prominent role on the global stage. Coaxing the Dutch into the spotlight can take effort, but pays off royally. Dutch credentials, credibility, and capabilities make them effective leaders across a wide range of geographic regions and substantive issues.
23. (S) The Dutch are actively and favorably involved in Afghanistan, Africa, Iraq, the Middle East, the Balkans, the Caribbean, Indonesia, and elsewhere. They are our best partner in developing pilot projects in the counterterrorism area, and are world leaders in development, free trade, international law and human rights. In pursuit of U.S. interests in all these areas of interest and leadership, we should build upon our successes to date to take the Dutch to the “next level.” SOBEL
Klik hier voor de hele kabel.
Nog een interessante cable over Nederland vandaag via WikiLeaks. Deze komt van de ambassade in Den Haag komt en is van 29 januari 2008. En is zover ik weet nog niet opgepikt door de Nederlandse MSM. Hierin wordt gewaarschuwd dat de film Fitna, die toen nog niet was uitgebracht “could generate anti-European/anti-Western protests if it is perceived as part of a worldwide campaign against Islam”. De Amerikanen hielden duidelijk rekening met grote problemen naar aanleiding van de film Fitna:
The following is an information/action cable advising posts of the possibility of anti-Dutch demonstrations and incidents following the potential release of a short film funded by Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders that is anticipated to be inflammatory towards Muslims. There is also the possibility that the film could generate anti-European/anti-Western protests if it is perceived as part of a worldwide campaign against Islam.
In de cable wordt zelfs een instructie gegeven over hoe Amerikanen in Islamitische landen moeten worden ingelicht over eventuele gevaren:
Following the release of the Wilders film, if the need exists to issue a Warden Message or SMS Message to private American citizen communities, please use language in existing consular information program documents, specifically the Worldwide Caution. If posts also wish to alert American citizens to demonstrations in response to the film, they may use the following pre-cleared Warden Message and/or SMS Message below:
Warden Message: The U.S. (Embassy/Consulate) has learned of the release of a short film funded by Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders that is inflammatory towards Muslims. The release of the film has sparked (use if appropriate: anti-European/anti- Western) demonstrations across (city/country/region). (Insert the specifics of known planned demonstrations as fitting)
We remind American citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. American citizens are, therefore, urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations if possible and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations. American citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times. Information regarding demonstrations in (Country) can be found on the U.S. Embassy (Post) website at (website)…..
De volledige cable hier.
Na tweeënhalve week wachten is er dan eindelijk een diplomatieke kabel geheel gewijd aan Nederland! En wederom staat er weinig wereldschokkends in, maar is het smakelijk leesvoer. De geheime briefing, gedateerd op 6 juli 2009, is gericht aan Barack Obama, anticiperend op Balkenende’s bezoek aan de V.S., en beschrijft de toenmalige situatie in de Nederlandse politiek.
Aardig is de beschrijving van Balkenende als een “lichtgewicht Harry Potter”, en van Wilders als “goud-bepruikte, opstandige parlementariër”. De Amerikanen analyseren correct de fragiliteit van Balkenende-IV (de PvdA is “in verval”), voorspellen nog correcter de val van het kabinet na de gemeenteraadsverkiezingen, en schieten wederom raak met de verwachting dat de PVV weleens heel groot kon worden. Wilders wordt overigens gezien als een “bedreiging” voor Amerikaanse belangen.
Of de these dat onze verstoting uit de G20 verband houdt met het beeïndigen van de missie in Afghanistan hierdoor bevestigd wordt weet ik niet. We hebben na juli 2009 toch nog deelgenomen aan de G20?
Bekijk het hele document hierrr, en hieronder:
Monday, 06 July 2009, 12:08
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 000395
STATE PLEASE PASS TO WHITE HOUSE FOR THE PRESIDENT
EO 12958 DECL: 07/06/2019
TAGS PREL, OVIP, ECON, EFIN, PINR, MOPS, NL
SUBJECT: NETHERLANDS: OVERVIEW FOR THE PRESIDENT’S JULY 14
MEETING WITH DUTCH PRIME MINISTER BALKENENDE
Classified By: Charge d’Affaires Michael F. Gallagher for reasons 1.4 ( b) and (d).
1. (C) Your July 14 meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Jan Pieter Balkenende provides an opportunity for us to urge the Dutch to continue as part of NATO in Afghanistan and to enlist PM Balkenende in solving Guantanamo issues. For his part, Balkenende will seek to continue the Dutch role in the G20 and to find a common ground to work with us on climate change and the Middle East.
2. (C) Balkenende, in office through four coalitions since 2002, is a cunning politician who does not impose his vision on coalition partners, but maneuvers effectively to achieve the intended goal. At first, he was dismissed as a lightweight “Harry Potter” look-alike, but he has consistently and skillfully delivered Cabinet support for U.S. policy objectives while balancing fragile parliamentary majorities. Balkenende,s current center-left coalition government (“Balkenende IV”) is held together more by fear of early elections than any unity of vision. The financial crisis has plunged the Netherlands into a recession likely to last through 2010, and the Cabinet must continually defend its three relatively modest stimulus packages against calls to do more to spur recovery. Balkenende is also under pressure from a skeptical public to withdraw the Netherlands, 1,800 troops from Afghanistan in 2010. His main coalition partner, the Labor Party, is in decline, having fared poorly in the 2006 national election and the 2009 European Parliament election, and believes rejecting a continuing role in Afghanistan will please its base and may win back supporters.
3. (S) The Wilders Factor: Golden-pompadoured, maverick parliamentarian Geert Wilders, anti-Islam, nationalist Freedom Party remains a thorn in the coalition’s side, capitalizing on the social stresses resulting from the failure to fully integrate almost a million Dutch Muslims, mostly of Moroccan or Turkish descent. In existence only since 2006, the Freedom Party, tightly controlled by Wilders, has grown to be the Netherlands second largest, and fastest growing, party. Recent polls suggest it could even replace Balkenende,s Christian Democrats as the top party in 2011 parliamentary elections. Wilders is no friend of the U.S.: he opposes Dutch military involvement in Afghanistan; he believes development assistance is money wasted; he opposes NATO missions outside “allied” territory; he is against most EU initiatives; and, most troubling, he forments fear and hatred of immigrants.
4. (C) As a result of these currents, Balkenende,s coalition finds itself in a precarious position and could fall within a year (most likely after municipal elections in March 2010). The Prime Minister is aware we want him to deliver continued Dutch boots on the ground in Afghanistan after 2010 and help with Guantanamo detainees. He knows there are high risks/expectations involved in his meeting with you, but we understand he is coming to offer as much as he thinks he can deliver at this time.
5. (S) Balkenende, a long-time champion of U.S.-Dutch relations, seeks to establish a strong relationship with you and capitalize on your popularity. The Dutch public overwhelmingly supported your election in November, and you remain hugely popular here as a beacon of change. Balkenende Qremain hugely popular here as a beacon of change. Balkenende will encourage you to view the long arc of the U.S.-Dutch relationship, not just current bumps in the road (e.g. the likely drawdown of Dutch forces in Afghanistan after 2010). He wants you to see the Netherlands as America,s friend and partner, with significant Dutch contributions to our shared foreign policy priorities: Dutch military presence in Afghanistan and support for NATO; support for U.S. intervention in Iraq; active participation in the EU, NATO, and other multilateral institutions; substantial and sustained foreign development assistance; and a long-standing commitment to promoting human rights, tolerance, and the rule of law. And, he will ask you for a seat at the G-20 table in Pittsburgh as well as for a meeting at the White House in September for the Crown Prince.
6. (C) Balkenende will use your private, one-on-one session to highlight your shared personal values and experiences. He believes social organizations are more effective in promoting change than government. His philosophy is that we must treat
THE HAGUE 00000395 002 OF 002
one another with dignity and respect as we live and work together. Your Father,s Day call for fathers to accept more responsibility in the rearing of their children resonated with him. Balkenende will also likely use the one-on-one session to pinpoint the political difficulties of the deliverables we are seeking. Rather than cover a laundry list of topics, the Dutch want the larger meeting to focus on 1) Afghanistan/Pakistan, 2) the future of the global economic system (including the role of the G20 and how to help developing countries), 3) the Middle East Peace Process/Iran, and 4) climate change. The Prime Minister is anticipating other key foreign policy issues (e.g. human rights, Russia, NATO, non-proliferation, energy security, 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson,s voyage to Manhattan – NY400) can be covered by staff or only briefly mentioned to stay focused on the major issues. Two cables will follow which will expand on these topics.
… instead of the man who really showed the world the democratic potential of the Internet (rather than its centralizing, mainstreaming demise): Julian Assange. Stupid dead tree media, meh.
With all the fuss about either the WikiLeaks cables or the Anonymous hacks, the fate of Bradley Manning, the 22-year old private in the U.S. Army who allegedly leaked the Apache helicopter video, the Afghan and Iraq war documents and the U.S. embassy cables to WikiLeaks, has received scarce attention.
The indispensable Glenn Greenwald, however, has a large piece about the conditions of Manning’s detention. For seven months straight, Manning has been held in solitary confinement (a treatment normally reserved for the worst convicted criminals) in Kuwait and Quantico, Virginia. He only has one hour of outside time a day, and has even been denied sheets and a pillow. He is not allowed to exercise, and is under constant surveillance to enforce this. Also, he has no access to news and current evens programs. This is based on interviews with friends and relatives, as well as a Quantico brig official.
Conceivably, even though Manning has acted as a model detainee with no disciplinary problems, he is now starting to show signs of psychological stress and exhaustion; and is treated with antidepresssants as a result. As Greenwald notes, the complete isolation of solitary confinement is considered torture by many nations. Moreover, Manning has not even been convicted of anything! Yet, he is receiving the treatment normally reserved for the worst criminals in Supermax prisons.
Please spread word of this injustice far and wide. Manning is the guy thanks to whom we know about the Apache helicopter incident, the higher death tolls in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S.-run United Nations espionage program, Pfizer’s smear tactics in Nigerian drug experiment trials, and so much more.
You can donate to the legal defense fund of Bradley Manning here.
- Update: MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann has a segment on the inhumane conditions of Manning’s detention. Also, Glenn Greenwald appeared on Democracy Now! to discuss this.
Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old U.S. Army Private accused of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, has never been convicted of that crime, nor of any other crime. Despite that, he has been detained at the U.S. Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia for five months — and for two months before that in a military jail in Kuwait — under conditions that constitute cruel and inhumane treatment and, by the standards of many nations, even torture. Interviews with several people directly familiar with the conditions of Manning’s detention, ultimately including a Quantico brig official (Lt. Brian Villiard) who confirmed much of what they conveyed, establishes that the accused leaker is subjected to detention conditions likely to create long-term psychological injuries.
Since his arrest in May, Manning has been a model detainee, without any episodes of violence or disciplinary problems. He nonetheless was declared from the start to be a “Maximum Custody Detainee,” the highest and most repressive level of military detention, which then became the basis for the series of inhumane measures imposed on him.
From the beginning of his detention, Manning has been held in intensive solitary confinement. For 23 out of 24 hours every day — for seven straight months and counting — he sits completely alone in his cell. Even inside his cell, his activities are heavily restricted; he’s barred even from exercising and is under constant surveillance to enforce those restrictions. For reasons that appear completely punitive, he’s being denied many of the most basic attributes of civilized imprisonment, including even a pillow or sheets for his bed (he is not and never has been on suicide watch). For the one hour per day when he is freed from this isolation, he is barred from accessing any news or current events programs. Lt. Villiard protested that the conditions are not “like jail movies where someone gets thrown into the hole,” but confirmed that he is in solitary confinement, isolated entirely alone in his cell except for the one hour per day he is taken out.
In sum, Manning has been subjected for many months without pause to inhumane, personality-erasing, soul-destroying, insanity-inducing conditions of isolation similar to those perfected at America’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado: all without so much as having been convicted of anything. And as is true of many prisoners subjected to warped treatment of this sort, the brig’s medical personnel now administer regular doses of anti-depressants to Manning to prevent his brain from snapping from the effects of this isolation.
Manning is barred from communicating with any reporters, even indirectly, so nothing he has said can be quoted here. But David House, a 23-year-old MIT researcher who befriended Manning after his detention (and then had his laptops, camera and cellphone seized by Homeland Security when entering the U.S.) is one of the few people to have visited Manning several times at Quantico. He describes palpable changes in Manning’s physical appearance and behavior just over the course of the several months that he’s been visiting him. Like most individuals held in severe isolation, Manning sleeps much of the day, is particularly frustrated by the petty, vindictive denial of a pillow or sheets, and suffers from less and less outdoor time as part of his one-hour daily removal from his cage.
That is plainly what is going on here. Anyone remotely affiliated with WikiLeaks, including American citizens (and plenty of other government critics), has their property seized and communications stored at the border without so much as a warrant. Julian Assange — despite never having been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime — has now spent more than a week in solitary confinement with severe restrictions under what his lawyer calls “Dickensian conditions.” But Bradley Manning has suffered much worse, and not for a week, but for seven months, with no end in sight. If you became aware of secret information revealing serious wrongdoing, deceit and/or criminality on the part of the U.S. Government, would you — knowing that you could and likely would be imprisoned under these kinds of repressive, torturous conditions for months on end without so much as a trial: just locked away by yourself 23 hours a day without recourse — be willing to expose it? That’s the climate of fear and intimidation which these inhumane detention conditions are intended to create.
The winner of the rather gruesome Worth1000′s Celebrity Monster Contest.
Aldus NOS Teletekst. PVV-Kamerlid Wim Kortenoeven, overigens, is oud-onderzoeker van het CIDI, directeur van het Netherlands-Israel Public Affairs Committee (NIPAC), en bovenstaand plaatje werd geplukt van de site van het AIPAC – de zogenaamde “joodse lobby” in de Verenigde Staten.
Het Westen moet een preventieve oorlog tegen Iran beginnen, zo zegt PVV Tweede Kamerlid Wim Kortenoeven. De PVV’er gaat er namelijk van uit dat Iran binnen korte tijd over kernwapens zou kunnen beschikken. “Via een aanval moeten we onze eigen vernietiging voorkomen”, zegt hij.
Kortenoeven zegt dat zijn collega’s in de Tweede Kamer ‘het gevaar van de islam’ niet voldoende serieus nemen. “Terroristen zijn geen eenlingen. Hun denkbeelden zijn in de islam geen uitzondering”. Een reactie van minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Rosenthal is er nog niet.
- Edit: Hier de maiden speech van Kortenoeven, waarin hij de bewuste uitspraken deed. Ik vind het een briljant plan: dan hebben we straks van Syrië tot Pakistan één groot permanent conflict in de islamitische wereld. Leve de clash of civilizations.
…or so it seems. Doctors believe that Timothy Ray Brown, the so-called “Berlin-patient”, has been cured of HIV. Through a special stem cell transplantion the HIV infection of the patient has been cleared. Well, the doctors are almost sure that is the case. They say that the result of extensive testing “strongly suggest that cure for HIV has been achieved”. This amazing cure, which may save millions of lives, has been published in an article in the scientific journal Blood.
Andrew Sullivan, the renowned blogger, who has always been open about his HIV infection, has reacted. He mentions the fact that this particular treatment is very intensive:
It is indeed great news on the HIV front. The stem-cell re-boot has long been thought of as the most promising avenue for ridding the body of HIV rather than merely controlling its growth. All I’d say is that this is an extreme and difficult procedure and impractical on any general level – at least right now. But it does suggest that HIV can be gotten rid of entirely if you try hard enough.
I remain in awe of the science and the scientists involved in all of this. Sometimes we really ought to take stock and comprehend the sheer magnitude of the current successes of science. I literally live and breathe because of them.
The Berlin-patient has been tested for several years after he had his procedure in 2007. In 2008 there was were already a lot of speculation about this possible cured HIV-patient, so for people who were following HIV research this is not very new (check this 2008 article). But for the rest of us this is very special news, since the researches seem confident enough to publish the results in a major medical journal. This is the kind of news you want to read about more often.
More on Huffpost.