Servility of Netherlands to the US in the terrorist listing of Prof. Jose Maria Sison

Jos van Dijk
13 September 2011

English translation of Dutch original

The German Tageszeitung asked this question at the commemoration of 9/11 this weekend: who has profited the most now from the attacks in 2001? Beside the weapons and security industry, the neocons and the rightist populists, the newspaper also mentioned the despots in the world who, thanks to the “war on terror”, have used the so called fight against terrorism to suppress their opponents and reinforce their dominant position in their own countries. Unmindful of human rights or democratic rules, 9/11 provided repressive apparatus to countries such as Russia, other former Soviet states and Arab countries the chance to silence, if not entirely eliminating the opposition without having to worry about cumbersome questions from the international community.

The Philippines is one such country which has profited from the favorable climate for brutal abuse of power. In 2002 the Arroyo government requested and persuaded the American Minister for Foreign Affairs to put communist Jose Maria Sison, a Filipino exile living in the Netherlands on its terrorist list. This in turn resulted in the freezing of his bank credit balance and he was not allowed to travel anymore to any other foreign country. The decision of the US was not even a day old when the Netherlands took the initiative to put Sison also on the European terrorist list. In 2007, the Netherlands went still a step further by arresting Sison and confiscating computers and documents even from his friends. That, in turn, to the large satisfaction of the Philippine government, as shown by diplomatic dispatches recently published by Wikileaks.

Newly leaked diplomatic dispatches from the Hague and Manila show how the Netherlands has positioned itself to serve the interests of the US and the Philippine regimes.

In 2009, legal procedures for the removal of the Netherlands-based Filipino communist from the European terrorist list became successful. The European court rejected the grounds by which Sison was placed on the list, as a result of which he could not make use of his bank credit balance since 2002. Panic in The Hague. What now? The Netherlands has put Sison on the list at the request of the US. Through a diplomatic dispatch, additional information was urgently asked to persuade the court not to take Sison off the list. It feverishly sought the Dutch police force, the AIVD and the embassy in Manila for more information for building a better case. But:
“ Despite continued efforts to collect admissible evidence against him, however, these offices have not been able to provide concrete help.”

Meanwhile the support of other countries seemed to dwindle. And as Sison was to be taken off the list, chaos would ensue, the Dutch government (GONL) threatened in May 2009:
“The GONL thinks there is much at stake in the Sison case. Whereas the European courts have until now focused on procedural issues of sanctions designations, the Court of First Instance may rule on the substance of the Sison case. A negative decision would set a dangerous precedent for the entire EU sanctions regime. The GONL feels on thin ice because the original listing was in part at the USG’s request.“

Then a dispatch from Manila - from Kenney, the US ambassador - follows. She also could not offer much than just to say that the NPA (New People Army) gives the the Philippine government a lot of concern and that Sison as former leader of the communist party should also have the control of this group of rebels. But she leaves no doubt on what the US and the Philippines wanted to do: Blackmail Sison to get the rebels on their knees:
“If Sison and the NPA were to reject their past actions and pledge not to engage in such activity again, there might be some grounds for revisiting their designations, but on the contrary they refuse to agree to a ceasefire and continue to carry out kidnappings and killings. Under the circumstances, removal of Sison's terrorist designation is inadvisable.”

The Netherlands cannot prevail over the procedure at the European court. Walking on “thin ice” the Netherlands definitely fell through on 30 September. The European court judged that Sison had been wrongfully put on the list. To appeal against this decision, the Netherlands must acquire support of the other EU countries. That does not seem to succeed, Germany and United Kingdom would not participate anymore. Of course, the government again called on the US: “It was ultimately by your request that he be put on the list.” For this reason, again an urgent request from a Dutch civil servant of Ministry of Foreign Affairs was sent to the US for “any type of or classification related to Sison”.

How servilely can you put yourself to one's disposal?