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[UPDATED]

[Ed.] Q. Posed to me leads ...
by definition to list the shortcomings.

NEXT diary will be on the blessings of the Dutch.

A question was forwarded to me yesterday with the suggestion to put some thoughts in diary form. As most of you know, I am not the most talented writer, I myself prefer the lab setting doing research on the fundamentals before giving a comment. Reading the tips in a diary today: This Place Needs an Editor! by JaneKnowles. I for one could use a copy editor.

Luckily today's request is about the Netherlands, a tiny country called the Low Lands, so I can keep this diary short and concise.

Dutch Justice & Law Enforcement

Involving the deaths of innocent lives.

  • basic fact, rate to solve crime in the Netherlands is at an astonishing LOW of 15-18%, highly dependent on crime category
  • missing persons - especially adults - are of little concern to Dutch law enforcement, too often the missing person was a murder victim.

Recent cases -

Solving crime is a major undertaking and shows responsibility of leadership in a city, state or country. Freedom for its citizens cannot be sustained when criminality is running rampant. That includes white collar crime, which apparently is non-existent in the Netherlands, because their standing as a tax haven seems more important.

Solving crime is more often by chance, and dependent on political color and motivation in government. The more difficult criminal acts are in the end solved through tips on TV, or as last resort, by crime fighter Paul R. de Vries. De Vries does great analysis of facts around the case, decides to check basic statements and does his homework. The latest fad in the Netherlands is the tip line from major to minor offenses, you can end your personal frustration by snitching on your neighbor. As you may suspect in this tiny country, it's a major HIT.

  • Missing couple in Baarn found buried under Children's Animal Farm. Caretaker managed to gain couple's confidence and runs their home, paying the bills for years, until an interview with TV reporter de Vries unmasked him as likely murder suspect.
  • Philipine woman did not return to the Philipines as her husband made the police believe, but was murdered by him and buried at the house of his brother. Police did no investigation, de Vries needed more than a year of investigation to solve the case.
  • Dutch fiction author Klinkhamer writes book telling story of a murder and burying his wife in the garden, a story not believed by police. Pans out to be true, just before or after period to prosecute the murder case elapsed [18 years].
  • Two men prosecuted and convicted for the rape and murder of a young woman, were released after a seven year prison sentence, through the effort undertaken by de Vries. De Vries found evidence of a flawed investigation and evidence tampering, the men were innocent.
  • a Scott Peterson case could never happen in the Netherlands, Lacy with unborn would today be a missing person.

Luckily for Dutch law enforcement, in absolute numbers, the murder rate is low. The majority of murders are in the relational sphere, where the perpetrator him-herself calls police with the message: "something serious has happened".

As for mafia liquidation in Amsterdam, most are never solved. So watch out for flying bullets when visiting the city, the liquidations usually take place by daylight. The Dutch police force, doing by far a hundredfold more phone taps than the US would allow, confines itself to informing opposing mob elements: "a contract has been set on your liquidation".

Civil and Corporate Law

Largest case of corporate fraud, upto a $bn, involving Dutch "Royal" Ahold concern. Case is still pending, and not much headway has been made in the investigation.

[Edited: Royal Ahold fraud was Global, not just US Foodservice but also operations in Argentine, Spain and Scandinavia – see comments for some details and reference.
Stock plummeted from €20 to €11 – ouch for the stockholders incl. me
Bought again at €3 and sold at €8 though to compensate loss]

Delivery of basic, contaminated glycol for medicine to make cough syrup through VOS Chemie in Bodegraven, who had lab tested the glycol but left the labels unchanged. Goods originated from Sinochem, China's largest state owned chemical trading company, who had certified the poison, diethelene glycol, as harmless pharmaceutical glycerin and sold it indiscriminately.  

Vos Chemie shipped to Pharval laboratories on Haiti. Their products, two inexpensive fever syrups Valodon and Afebrile caused the deaths of more than sixty children. Dutch Justice failed to cooperate on an International basis to prosecute the Director and Buyer at VOS Chemie, a Dutch company with German affiliation. I believe in the end, Vos Chemie was probably fined that the paperwork did not meet export standards.

On 60 Minutes last night - Sunday, July 11, 1999 - a story was presented on the poisoning of children in the country of Haiti. Children's cough medicine which contains glycerin was filled with glycerin that was contaminated with ethylene glycol.

[Tough to find solid references on the web from 1996, as this was hardly covered in the MSM - there you go again! This find was through a chemistry exam listed on the web. - Ed]

VOS Chemie in Bodegraven, did lab testing and forged documents to indicate base was safe for medicine use. Pharval relied on this test, perhaps the company had no testing facility of their own available in Haiti.

International Affairs

Well known Dutch political cowardice before, during and after the Srebrenica mass murder by Serbian troops under leadership of Mladic and Karadzic. The Dutch UN forces were placed in an impossible military position to protect the enclave, surrounded by Serbian territory and troops.
In July 1995 under Serbian attack, the main concern of The Hague politicians was to get the Dutch UN forces to leave without casualties and to retreat from enclave of Srebrenica.

Leaving behind the Bosnian civilians without any protection. During period of Dutch retreat, Mladic started the slaughter of 7 to 8000 boys, young men and able men of middle-age. With Dutch UN supervision, women and men were separated, women were bussed to city of Tuzla to the North. The men were marched off to their execution. Reminds me of the lack of backbone of many Dutch during WWII, and the transport of too many Jews from the Amsterdam community to the extermination camps of Hitler.

The Srebrenica period and aftermath, the Dutch "Purple" coalition VVD, PvdA and D'66, was a show of inaptitude, lack of preparation and once again the failure when politicians try to run military affairs, when an armed conflict is at the level of full fledged war, with civilian lives at stake.

Avoiding a parliamentary investigation into the Srebrenica failure, Dutch premier Wim Kok decided the research should be done by NIOD, an institute renowned for historic research of World War II and the German occupation. Just before reaching the end of his second term as PM, six years later, the NIOD came with a devastating judgement of political and military blunders around the Dutch UN forces at Srebrenica. What does PM Wim Kok do, take it up before parliament in a debate?  No, he resigns just a matter of weeks before elections are to be held in 2002. No parliamentary accountability, so we are left with reading the documents.

Moments of Historic Dutch "Glory" at Srebrenica, July 1995

  1. Fleeing from incoming attack of Serbs, a Dutch troop carrier overtook the masses of Muslims heading in same direction: the safety of the UN compound at Potocari. On the crowded roads, the Dutch killed an unknown number of civilians, crushing them to death.
  2. Dutch commander Karremans, receiving orders from Mladic in a meeting on video, toasting with his adversary.
  3. Dutch military colonne leaving Bosnia, crossing into Yugoslavia. Commander Karremans exchanging gifts with Mladic, a hearty handshake and waves him good-bye.
  4. Dutch reception and party for the troops with Prince Alexander, members of Dutch parliament and the armed forces commission members.
  5. Infamous press conference with Karremans, uttering words: "There are no good and bad guys".
 During the same period of days, the mass murder took place of the unprotected, 7-8000 civilians near the evacuated UN compound of Potocari.

The military commanders did receive their promotions and medals. Where did I see that just recently, in Washington DC?

Pim Fortuyn Murder

In this same period leading up to new parliamentary elections, a rising political figure stands up and challenges the Dutch political establishment. In the months after the 9/11 attacks in Europe, new social conflicts and concerns with the Muslim population took hold of daily reports in newspapers and TV broadcasts. A growing sense, the Dutch had been too lenient on crime and avoided the social concerns to integrate large number of immigrants from Turkey and Marocco into Dutch society. Pim Fortuyn met that challenge as newcomer, to point to people's concerns and problems the "Purple" administration had avoided to tackle. Without offering real solutions himself, Pim Fortuyn was seen to gain a major number of new seats in parliament.

Returning to the murder of Pim Fortuyn on May 6th, 2002. During the campaign it became clear, Fortuyn was a controversial political figure, taking a bashing from the left-wingers, animal-rights extremist groups as well as from groups involved with the integration of immigrants into the Netherlands. There were clear indications Fortuyn got death threats. On a number of occasions anger became very vivid. Once on location in his home-town of Rotterdam for street interviews, Muslim activists prevented him from speaking and Fortuyn made a quick get-away. During a press conference, he got a double smear with filthy fillings of a pie, presumably from left-wing activists.

Dutch law enforcement sees no concern to start an investigation and PvdA Minister Klaas de Vries says Pim Fortuyn does not meet the prerequisite for police protection, only provided the Queen, PM and cabinet, foreign dignitaries or a member of parliament.

The result is well known, Pim Fortuyn was assassinated by six shots to the head and chest outside a radio broadcast studio in Hilversum. The murderer was Volkert van der Graaf, a political extremist in the Dutch movement on Animal Rights. Van der Graaf was apprehended within minutes due to the colleague and chauffeur of Fortuyn, who pursued the killer and called in by mobile phone to local police the whereabouts of the killer. Within hours that same evening, law enforcement began their investigation into the murder. The place of work of Van der Graaf was an office in the city of Nijmegen, so the Mayor was informed under strict embargo, that Van der Graaf had been apprehended. The mayor informed his loco-mayor, a left-wing oriented party member, who had the audacity to inform office colleagues of Van de Graaf, and activists members, before the police could do a search of the premises.

In a by government initiated investigation on the decision not to offer Fortuyn police protection, it was discovered the BVD [Dutch Secret Service] had tapped phones in an ongoing unraveling of the left-wing extremist movement. On one occasion, months before the Fortuyn murder, they listened in on a conversation where a discussion started to liquidate Fortuyn. The information did not warrent a follow-up because it was "off topic" of the investigation.

Euthanasia

In preparation for a public debate to change Dutch law on euthanasia, Dutch TV documentary was made about an elderly couple in their preparation to make the step across life's boundary. Dutch GP Dr. Zeilmaker in The Hague was involved to cover any medical concerns may they arise. In the end, the couple decided the wife would take their "medicine" first and the elderly husband was to follow. The end of the tale, when the TV reporter Wibo van der Linden did a follow up, the woman died and the elderly husband was doing well and alive, living with a new lady-friend in Vienna. True story life on Dutch TV.

Crime Statistics

Due to privacy concerns, there are no statistics on cause of death in the Netherlands. Deaths in hospitals and medical facilities do not list the nature and circumstances of deaths. When someone at home passes away, usually a local GP is called to establish the cause of death. A conclusion of "natural cause" probably offers the least red tape and everyone is satisfied. Law enforcement does not need to be involved. Identical are the circumstances of "legal" euthanasia by doctors in the Netherlands, who often fill out forms with the conclusion "natural cause" to avoid embarassment of a routine investigation whether all provisions of euthanasia law were met.

These are some of the concerns that come to mind on the major issues. Underlying are many daily experiences that are mind-bogging in relation to other societies and countries. The minor and petty offences everyone is confronted with on a daily basis. Shoplifting is apparently a scourge that cannot be stopped. The thief, if apprehended, is released within the hour as the shop owner is kept at the police station to fill-out the necessary complaint forms, often upon his return, the shoplifter is back in his shop provoking him. Hold on to your bicycles, don't buy a new one if you are in the city of Amsterdam. The rate of bicycle theft is about three every decade for the individual bicycle owner, the normal life cycle of this modern version velocipede, but these bikes have pede of their own.

Oh yes, don't bother to call in for a burglary in your home outside "office hours" of the local police. The theft of goods is usually covered by insurance, so you can come in at a convenient hour for the paper work, necessary to get the costs recovered from your insurance company. A new rule of operation by Dutch law enforcement trumps all other: "It's not a police priority and we lack the funds and manpower".

A recent paper on research of the Dutch police and investigations compares the efficiency with their German counterparts. For the equivalent work performance, the Germans are 100% more efficient.

CONCLUSION

Asking questions or pointing to concerns of lapses in the Justice system of the Netherlands, offers by itself a starting point to realize it's not all blue under a clear sky of a liberal place to live and work. Still work to be done - the Dutch cannot be satisfied as yet. ENJOY.

Explanation Dutch "Purple" coalition VVD, PvdA and D'66:
VVD - liberals to the right in Dutch political spectrum
D'66 - liberals centrum-left
PvdA - labor party left-socialists
Wim Kok, PvdA as Prime Minister from 1994-2002

Edited: I meant to be kind to the Dutch!
A. Didn’t mention the issue on coke transport through Schiphol airport.
B. Ambiguity with immigrants, asylum seekers and their imprisonment.
C. Nor the “Bouwfraude”, immense cartel with price-fixing in the Construction and Builders Industry, costing the Dutch taxpayer €1bn during a decade.

But other than these issues, the Netherlands belongs to my TOP 6 favorite countries to live and work!

In 2005 - Be liberal: Support our Allies of Democracy on Human Rights, the Environment, Gay and Minority Rights & EU and UN Third World Development Programs & Our Friends

Originally posted to creve coeur on Sat Mar 19, 2005 at 11:27 PM PST.

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