Friday, July 30, 2010

An Open Letter to Queen Beatrix

The following open letter offers a glimpse into the Byzantine intricacies of public corruption in the Netherlands. According to the author, the time-hallowed place of the Christian Democrats at the government gravy trough will prevent the formation of a right-wing cabinet that includes the PVV.

Many thanks to our Flemish correspondent VH for translating this fascinating document and researching all the links.

Open letter to Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands

23 July 2010

Copy to the Fraction leaders:
Maxim Verhagen CDA
Mark Rutte VVD
Geert Wilders PVV
Emile Roemer SP
and the (in)formateur Ruud Lubbers via

Published at Het Vrije Volk:

“The left wing of the CDA [Christian Democrats] depends on subsidies. And that is what they will not let go.”


by Peter Siebelt

Already with the first talks on the formation of a coalition government, the big loser of the recent elections, the CDA, represented by its leader Maxime Verhagen, disavowed any consultations to investigate a possible right-wing government. Initially surprising, but upon closer examination very understandable.

The major obstacle to any contribution to this [a right wing government] by Maxime Verhagen is most likely presented by the left-wing Christian Democrats, who views the party’s extra-parliamentary interests and activities endangered by the announced policy intentions of both the VVD and PVV with regard to budget cuts. Interests and activities that in 2009 alone cost the Dutch government [and thus the taxpayer] billions of euros, not to mention the social burden and aggravating effects to our society.

Activities that essentially take place under the themes of development aid, the environment, climate, and refugee assistance. Activities that take place in close collaboration with the left-wing political elite and its extra-parliamentary networks. Activities that have saddled the Netherlands over the years with a huge and almost irreversible fixed cost which has significantly contributed to the debt of the Netherlands (until 2009 more than 347 billion euros, rising in 2010 by 100 million euros per day).

Given the foregoing, it is not surprising that various attempts to form a government have until now run aground over the way the debt of the state should be reduced, for “budget cuts” is the key word nowadays. How to execute these cuts is the major stumbling block and has caused deep divisions between possible coalition partners. The left-wing politicians do not want to touch the aforementioned themes, but the VVD and PVV, on the contrary, want to do precisely that. And the “leftist” fear of the participation of the PVV in a new government plays a role, because the latter political party, in particular and above all, wants to cut back drastically on the policies that put an irresponsible financial burden to our country.

Now for the second time you have decided to assign a new (in)formateur who, as I see it, will seek ways to prevent a right-wing coalition government from being formed, and in my view it is of the utmost importance to remind you of a few issues, and also inform in detail a broader Dutch audience. Because your new informateur, Ruud Lubbers [former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] is infected and captured by his own interests. He is not only of the left wing of the CDA, but is also deeply involved with the issues that the left-wing political elite wants to leave untouched.

As former prime minister (1982 to 1994), Ruud Lubbers was responsible for the billions of euros that were drawn from our treasury on behalf of the aforementioned themes, and partly because of the consequences thereof have contributed significantly — and still do — to the accumulation of our countries’ debt. Since his resignation as prime minister, Ruud Lubbers holds positions within Non Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) that are subsidized with millions of tax payers money.

The current (in)formateur Ruud Lubbers for example is chairman of the Stichting voor Vluchteling Studenten (UAF, “Foundation for Refugee Students”) and in 2009 alone this association was awarded 2,678,580 euros in government subsidies. He is also involved with the Nationale Commissie voor internationale samenwerking en Duurzame Ontwikkeling (NCDO, “National Committee for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development”), that over the period 2007-2010 collected 128.4 million euros in government grants. In cooperation with the NCDO, Lubbers has taken the initiative to establish “Worldconnectors”, an organization of which he is also chairman. “Worldconnecters” among other things focuses on climate issues, on connecting cultures, global power shifts, and Europe’s position in the world.

And more people in the left wing of the CDA are in similar circumstances, whose collars will fit too tight at the thought of a right-wing government.

Take for instance one of Lubbers’ main godfathers and colleagues, Jos van Gennip. The man who is often described in the media as the party ideologist of the CDA, and who is in large part responsible for the enlargement of the left wing within that party. He managed to interest many prominent Christian Democrats in this. The themes mentioned above have for years been high on his political agenda. According to Jos van Gennip, not the national issues, but the international events, the internationalism, must dominate the political agenda. His dual role is multiple and represents a shining example of the entanglement between politics and the billions-hungry extra-parliamentary action-environment. A few of his many activities:
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From 1967 till 1976, Van Gennip was director of the Centraal Missie Commissariaat (CMC, “Central Mission Commissariat”). An organization that stood at the basis of the left-wing Christians penetrating the churches and was responsible for the interests of 8,000 Dutch missionaries. Missionaries who embraced a Marxist liberation theology and supported bloody revolutions in the Third World. Missionaries who looked the other way when their “clients” horribly violated human rights, or purchased weapons with development aid money. One of those for example, Jan Schrama, who to a large extend supported the opposition in the Philippines and also was part of to the advisory board of the Catholic development organization Cebemo.

Ruud Lubbers was a regular guest speaker at meetings organized by Cebemo. Since the founding of both organizations [CMC and Cebemo], huge amounts of public money have flowed to it. Meanwhile, the CMC changed its name to Mensen met een Missie ([link] “People with a Mission”), and was funded by government and others in 2009 to the amount of 4,466,872 euros. The name Cebemo was changed to “Cordaid”, and it was rewarded with government subsidies for the period 2007 to 2010 amounting to 421,830,126 euros.

These organizations emerged around 1967. The need for public money became ever larger, and to attract more funding, and also to expand their network, they began step by step to set up new organizations. So in 1968 Van Gennip was involved at the inception of the national commission “Justitia et Pax”. The Netherlands thereby was one of the first countries to found its own commission, one year after the international committee had gone to work in Rome. Justitia et Pax at present is being subsidized by among organizations People with a Mission, Solidaridad, religious institutions, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the co-financing organisation (MFO), Cordaid.

But in Cordaid, Van Gennip has also left his traces. Following the MFO, NOVIB (currently the Foundation Oxfam Novib and over the period 2007 to 2010 funded with 509 million euros), which was founded in 1956 by his Christian soulmate Father Simon Jelsma, Van Gennip in 1965 — from out of the CMC — stood at the cradle of the Catholic Cebemo. A year earlier, in 1964, the Protestant ICCO was established. Also there the left wing of the CDA is well represented. The CMC and Cebemo remained closely linked. As director of Cebemo, in 1973 Van Gennip advised his comrade Jan Pronk, the former Labour (PvdA) Minister for Development Cooperation in several coalition governments [and former Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission for the United Nations Mission in Sudan], on how they could pass through money to the [Marxist] opposition in Chile.

Subsequently Jan Pronk reciprocated and appointed Van Gennip to investigate reports of the abuse of development aid by the armed resistance in the Philippines. Given his years of support for this resistance, the result of his research may be guessed beforehand. Van Gennip remained the general director of Cebemo until 1984 (Cebemo is currently merged into “Cebemo Cordaid”). Interestingly, also the daughter of Jos van Gennip, Karien van Gennip, is a CDA politician and currently in the Board of Trustees of Cordaid, and is accompanied there by the prominent CDA members Gerrit. H.O. van Maanen and Arie M. Oostlander.

In 1984, Van Gennip was like a cat tied to the bacon. He left Cebemo to begin as Deputy Director-General of International Cooperation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs until 1990, and supervised Dutch bilateral development aid. Partly because of his involvement and collaboration with Jan Pronk, the relationships of the ministry and its officials became intimately intertwined with the NGOs. In 1986, Van Gennep also became a member of the Board of Trustees of the Rabobank in The Hague. His party associate Herman Wijffels was a member of the Executive Board of the Rabobank Netherlands, and as informateur in 2006 constructed a coalition government of CDA [Christian Democrats], PvdA [Labour party, Socialists] and CU [Christian Union, left-wing Christians]. Wijffels steered the Rabobank into development aid (in 2009 over 14.7 million euros). On the occasion of his departure, the Herman Wijffels Fund was installed.

After his job at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Van Gennip became Director of the Scientific Institute of the CDA (SID; from 1991-1999). And here also he operated with double loyalty. From June 1997 onwards he became chairman of Netherlands International Development Society (SID), and one month later (January 16, 2008) Vice President. As chairman of the SID Van Gennip stressed that this organization is “one of the driving forces” in the promotion of alternative views and actions relating to development aid and plays a unique role “in bridging the gap between policymakers and activists at the base”. Currently the SID counts nearly 6,000 members in 115 countries, and works closely with like-minded international organizations and networks, including parliamentarians and students. SID is also supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. How SID gained this support will by now be obvious.

Beginning in May 2004, Van Gennip became President of the Nationale Commissie voor Internationale Samenwerking en Duurzame Ontwikkeling (NCDO), “National Committee for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development”). For the period 2007-2010 the NCDO received a government grant of 128.4 million euros. From 1991 to 2007, Van Gennip was a member of the Dutch “First Chamber” [Senate or Higher House; Parliament is called “Second Chamber”]. He also there was involved with development aid issues and was CDA spokesman for “Development Aid and Foreign Affairs”. Interestingly, he is also a board member of the “Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy” (NIMD) of which his CDA-colleague [and former foreign minister] Bernard Bot is chairman. The NIMD in 2008 received almost 10 million euros from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs [while the present fraction leader of the CDA, Maxime Verhagen, was Minister of Foreign Affairs].

His CDA colleague Sophie van Bijsterveld is a member of the Senate and is also infected by a double loyalty, and serves on the members’ council of (IKV)PaxChristi, an organization receiving over 15 million euros in government funding in the period 2007-2010.

In his role as chairman of NCDO, Van Gennep subsidized the SID (in 2004 €75,000; 2005 €75,000; 2006 €241,612; 2007 €211,120). And it did not stop with this. Other organizations in which he operates he lavishly enriched with NCDO grants, such as the Eduardo Frei Foundation (EFF; 2004 €100,000; 2007 €90,000 [also present CDA fraction leader Maxime Verhagen has been a board member of the EFF]). Further, as chairman of the NCDO he is active in the “Knowledge and Advisory Centres” in which his CDA colleague [and anti Wilders campaigner] Doekle Terpstra and the very controversial Muslim intellectual Tariq Ramadan also participate.

Furthermore, Van Gennip is also a strong supporter of Gemeentelijke Samenwerking met Ontwikkelingslanden (“Municipal Cooperation with Developing Countries”) and to that end is on the Board of the Vereniging van Nederlandse Gemeenten (VNG, “Association of Dutch Municipalities”). An organization which in this context is partly responsible for the vast sums of taxpayers’ money flowing abroad through municipalities, and works closely with, and is financed by, the NCDO (more than 300,000 euros in 2009; see this).

And then we still have the vice-presidency of Van Gennip with Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland (Refugee Work Netherlands [link]). The organization which not only for many years has sabotaged the curbing of the massive flow of asylum seekers to the Netherlands, but with its activities also has a priming effect. Refugee Work Netherlands is partly responsible for the establishing of the “Generaal Pardon” [“general amnesty”, legalization in 2006-7 of some 27,500 rejected asylum-seekers]. A legalization that was enforced by a powerful lobby called “26.000 Faces”. In this lobby Van Gennip walked hand in hand, so to speak, with the newly appointed informateur Ruud Lubbers and the president of the HBO-Raad (“Higher Education Board”) and ICCO, Doekle Terpstra.

Now ICCO is an inter-church organization, founded in 1964 and also concerned with development aid. During the period 2007-2010, ICCO received 525 million euros of tax payers money. This organization was involved in the Filipino resistance movements and was part of the reprehensible research by Van Gennip, as commissioned by Jan Pronk (see earlier on in his article). In a response in Dutch left wing newspaper De Volkskrant on June 5, 1990, he made clear that: “Support for armed resistance remains possible with ICCO.”

The predecessor of Doekle Terpstra at ICCO was a prominent CDA member Tineke Lodders. She was its Chairperson form January 1996 till January 1, 2006. She is also Chairperson of the Supervisory Board of Samenwerkende Hulporganisaties (“Joint Aid Organizations”) and since September 2007 has also be on the board of the NCDO. Furthermore, Tineke Lodders is chairperson of the Landelijk Beraad Stedenbanden Nederland-Nicaragua (LBSSN, “National Council of City Connections Netherlands-Nicaragua”) which collected for the period 2007 till 2010 government grants to the amount of 2,000,000 euros. As a member of the CDA fraction in the Senate she was mainly involved with development aid, spatial planning and environmental-issues and social affairs.

Other CDA members in this context are also quite worth mentioning:

Gerrit Terpstra and Pieter Kooijmans, both among other things members of the Board of Trustees of the Refugee Foundation (see above), which for 2007 till 2010 was rewarded 6,419,725 in government grants.

But also Jan Schinkelshoek, the former campaign spokesman of then CDA party leader Ruud Lubbers in 1986 and 1989. Schinkelshoek is a member of the board of the Dutch foundation “Press Now”, which received a government grant of 9,966,144 euros for the period 2007-2010.

And then I still have to mention the recently established “Rights Forum”, which focuses on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. A forum in which the CDA members Dries van Agt (former prime minister; notorious anti-Semite]) and Hans van de Broek (former foreign affairs minister, EU politician and member of the Queen’s Council of State; Van de Broek was the first to censor due to possible Muslim sensitivities, in 1987 he prevented the broadcast of a sketch by the comedian Rudi Carrell in which ladies’ underwear was thrown at Ayatollah Khomeini), Frans Andriessen (former finance minister), Pieter Kooijmans (see above), Tinneke Lodders (see above), and Bert de Vries (former fraction leader, Social Affairs minister), Doekle Terpstra (see above), participate. A forum for which the government grants are not yet known, but most likely will receive funding through the previously-mentioned subsidy channels.

Well, I could continue for a dozen pages with similar conflicts of interest that make a negotiation towards a right-wing cabinet virtually impossible.

I will end this letter to you by mentioning the interesting fact that your son [prince] Constantine is Chair of the Board of the foundation “The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration”. A foundation in which both the aforementioned Jos van Gennip as well as your newly-appointed informateur Ruud Lubbers are member via the department of the “Club of the Hague”, a foundation that works closely together with the aforementioned SID and receives subsidies entities that include from the Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs, the municipality of The Hague, Refugee Work, ICCO, Novib and NCDO.


Peter Siebelt


[1] For decades Peter Siebelt has been the Dutch top expert on left wing activism and activists and their networks, a security expert, an author, and a reporter. He has his own blog and publishes among other places at the Het Vrije Volk site.

Links added by the translator.