NewsfeaturesNETHERLANDS SUPPORTS PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT IN ITS INTERNAL POLITICAL CONFLICT

NETHERLANDS SUPPORTS PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT IN ITS INTERNAL POLITICAL CONFLICT

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English translation of article in Dutch

By Jos van Dijk  
Geen Commentaar
28 augustus 2011

After the terror attacks in 9/11, now ten years hence, the US and their allies quickly came up with all kinds of laws facilitating the tracking and prosecution of terrorists. Among these is a law aimed at cutting terrorists from accessing their bank accounts. Both in the US and later in the Europe, a list of persons and organizations whose bank accounts were frozen were released. Likewise, financial aid to those in the list had been prohibited. Because of the profound secrecy behind this war against terrorism, it has never been clear how these lists had been composed. For a long time, too, it was practically impossible to lodge an appeal against any of these measures.

The only Dutch resident who has been on the European black list is Jose Maria Sison, a leader of the Philippine Communist party who had lived in exile since 1987 in Utrecht. After many years of juridical struggles, his name was finally taken out of the list in 2010. Now it can be told, based on documents revealed by Wikileaks, that the Netherlands government has closely cooperated with the Philippine government against Sison. The EU hastily created the terrorist listing in 2002 very much patterned after the US and UN lists. The political climate then was favorable for harsh policies. It also offered a good occasion for certain governments to make their political opponents less harmful to them – such was the case for the Kurdish party in Turkey and the communist rebels in the Philippines.

José Maria Sison have been involved since the 1990s as a consultant in negotiations with the Philippine government. According to his lawyer Jan Fermon, he was first placed as a terrorist on the US black list, directly after a visit of Minister for Foreign Affairs Colin Powell to the Philippines. A day later, the Netherlands followed and Sison’s private bank account was immediately blocked. A short time later, the Netherlands requested that his name be placed, too, in the black list of the EU. A year later, the Philippines Minister for Foreign Affairs openly admitted its hand in all these:

“Once there is a peace agreement, I will request to the EU, the United States and other countries to delist (the rebels) as terrorists. If they sign, they will no longer be terrorists” (AFP 1-2-2003).

The Netherlands has also been clear in its aim for placing Sison under pressure by means of placing him in the terrorist list. At the country information of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it was stated that the trade relations between the Netherlands and the Philippines are hindered by the fact that Sison is currently staying in the Netherlands. The Netherlands itself, in all the legal procedures it has conducted involving Sison, has always referred to his relevance to its international relations.

The close cooperation between the Netherlands and the dictatorial Philippine regime becomes more apparent from the diplomatic dispatches of the US ambassadors recently made public by Wikileaks. The dispatch is from 2007 and concerns a meeting of the Philippine Minister for Foreign Affairs on the embassy of the US in Manila. Shortly thereafter, Sison was arrested in Utrecht on suspicion of complicity to an attack in the Philippines. His house and that of his friends in the Netherlands have been searched, computers and files have been confiscated. The risk that data concerning the political opposition in the Philippines eventually find its way into the hands of the government has not been excluded by the Dutch authorities (chamber questions SP 17-9-2007). The Philippines’ Minister Romulo revealed his delight himself in the Wikileaks released diplomatic dispatches to the US about the news of the arrest:

Romulo was elated by the recent arrest by Dutch authorities of Jose Maria Sison, the longtime self-exiled leader of the Communist New People’s Army, a group on the U.S. list of Foreign Terrorist organizations. He said he and Cabinet colleagues had been working with the Dutch for several years to make sure the case they built was good. They were delighted to finally have Sison behind bars. Romulo said that given the U.S. interest in prosecuting terrorists, he hoped we’d be prepared to assist the Dutch with the case, if the Dutch so requested.”

But his delight was to be cut short because the Dutch Public Prosecution Service could not make a strong case against Sison due to the unreliability of the sources from the Philippines. Sison was released after two weeks and the case was eventually dismissed. Likewise, the government also did not succeed with the cases filed against Sison in Philippine courts. Meanwhile, came also more and more criticisms against the European terrorist list (including a report by the Council of Europe from Dick Marty). And the European court in Luxembourg gave a favorable ruling for the first time to Sison’s complaint concerning his black listing in July 2007. It is striking that in this context, the Dutch government still granted much accommodation to the Philippine government whose several attempts to blackmail Sison have already failed.

There is now another government in Manila. The negotiations with the communist rebels have been resumed in Oslo. Sison is no longer considered in the Netherlands as a terrorist. But the refugee status that he has pursued for almost 25 years already is still refused.###

 

NEDERLAND STEUNDE FILIPPIJNSE REGIME IN INTERN POLITIEK CONFLICT

Auteur Jos, 28 augustus 2011 om 12:00

Na de aanslagen van 9/11, nu tien jaar geleden, vaardigden de VS en hun bondgenoten in rap tempo allerlei wetten uit die het opsporen en veroordelen van terroristen moesten vergemakkelijken. Een van deze wetten had tot doel terroristen af te snijden van hun banktegoeden. In de VS en later in Europa werd een lijst aangelegd van personen en organisaties van wie het banktegoed bevroren werd. Financiële hulp aan hen was verboden. Omdat alles wat met terrorismebestrijding te maken had met grote geheimzinnigheid was omgeven is het nooit bekend geworden hoe deze lijsten zijn samengesteld. Ook was het lange tijd onmogelijk om tegen deze maatregelen in beroep te gaan.

De enige Nederlandse ingezetene die op de Europese zwarte lijst heeft gestaan was José Maria Sison, een sinds 1987 in Utrecht in ballingschap levende leider van de Filippijnse communistische partij. Na een jarenlange juridische strijd is zijn naam in 2010 van de lijst geschrapt. Nu kan uit documenten die onthuld zijn door Wikileaks opgemaakt worden dat Nederland in nauw overleg met de Filippijnse regering Sison vele jaren actief heeft tegengewerkt. De EU voerde de terroristenlijst in 2002 overhaast in na vergelijkbare maatregelen van de VS en de VN. Het politieke klimaat was gunstig voor een harde aanpak. Dat bood regeringen van bepaalde landen ook een goede gelegenheid voor het onschadelijk maken van politieke tegenstanders. Zoals de Koerdische partijen in Turkije. En de communistische rebellen in de Filipijnen.

José Maria Sison is sinds de jaren negentig als adviseur betrokken bij onderhandelingen met de Filippijnse regering. Hij werd volgens zijn advocaat Jan Fermon in 2002 eerst in de VS als terrorist op de zwarte lijst geplaatst, direct na een bezoek van Minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Colin Powell aan de Filipijnen. Een dag later volgde in Nederland en toen werd meteen zijn privé-rekening geblokkeerd. Korte tijd later kwam hij op verzoek van Nederland op de zwarte lijst van de EU. Een jaar later verklaarde de Filipijnse minister van Buitenlandse Zaken openlijk waar het eigenlijk om te doen was.

“Once there is a peace agreement, I will request to the EU, the United States and other countries to delist (the rebels) as terrorists. If they sign, they will no longer be terrorists” (AFP 1-2-2003).

Ook Nederland is duidelijk geweest over de motieven om Sison via de terroristenlijst onder druk te zetten. Bij de landeninformatie van het Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken staat dat de handelsbetrekkingen tussen Nederland en de Filippijnen belast worden door het feit dat Sison in Nederland verblijft. Nederland heeft zich in alle juridische procedures die Sison heeft gevoerd altijd beroepen op het belang van internationale betrekkingen.

Hoe nauw de samenwerking was tussen Nederland en het dictatoriale Filippijnse regime blijkt uit een van de diplomatieke telegrammen van VS ambassadeurs die door Wikileaks openbaar gemaakt. Het telegram is uit 2007 en gaat over een ontmoeting van de Filippijnse minister van buitenlandse zaken op de ambassade van de VS in Manilla. Kort tevoren was Sison in Utrecht gearresteerd op verdenking van medeplichtigheid bij een aanslag in zijn geboorteland. Zijn huis en dat van zijn vrienden in Nederland zijn doorzocht, computers en archieven zijn in beslag genomen. Het risico dat gegevens over de oppositie op deze manier op de Filippijnen terecht zijn gekomen sluiten de Nederlandse autoriteiten niet uit (kamervragen SP 17-9-2007). Minister Romulo toonde zich volgens het nu door Wikileaks onthulde diplomatieke telegram tegenover de Amerikanen verheugd over dit nieuws:

Romulo was elated by the recent arrest by Dutch authorities of Jose Maria Sison, the longtime self-exiled leader of the Communist New People’s Army, a group on the U.S. list of Foreign Terrorist organizations. He said he and Cabinet colleagues had been working with the Dutch for several years to make sure the case they built was good. They were delighted to finally have Sison behind bars. Romulo said that given the U.S. interest in prosecuting terrorists, he hoped we’d be prepared to assist the Dutch with the case, if the Dutch so requested.

Zijn vreugde zal van korte duur geweest zijn want het Nederlandse OM kon er geen zaak van maken, met name vanwege de onbetrouwbaarheid van de bronnen uit de Filippijnen. Sison werd na twee weken vrijgelaten en de zaak werd uiteindelijk geseponeerd. Ook in zaken die voor Filippijnse rechtbanken tegen Sison zijn gevoerd had de regering geen succes. Intussen kwam er ook steeds meer kritiek op de Europese terroristenlijst (o.m. door een rapport van de Raad van Europa van Dick Marty). En het Europese Hof in Luxemburg gaf Sison in juli 2007 voor het eerst gelijk in zijn klacht over de plaatsing op de zwarte lijst. Het is opvallend dat in deze context de Nederlandse regering alsnog hand-en-span-diensten verleende aan de Filippijnse regering, die zijn poging tot chantage van Sison zag mislukken.

Er is nu een andere regering in Manilla. De onderhandelingen met de communistische rebellen zijn hervat in Oslo. Sison wordt in Nederland niet meer beschouwd als terrorist. Maar de vluchtelingenstatus die hij al bijna 25 jaar nastreeft wordt hem nog steeds geweigerd.

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