Search

 

Cablegate: Update On Dutch Contingency Planning for Release

VZCZCXRO7459
OO RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV
DE RUEHTC #0102/01 0321555
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 011555Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1017
INFO RUEHXP/ALL NATO POST COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHTC/AMCONSUL AMSTERDAM IMMEDIATE 3885
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY IA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/FBI WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHMFIUU/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 000102

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/WE, S/CT, INR
DEPARTMENT FOR CA/OCS/EUR
DEPARMENT FOR DS/IP/EUR

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/01/2018
TAGS: PTER KISL KIRF PINR PREL PGOV NL
SUBJECT: UPDATE ON DUTCH CONTINGENCY PLANNING FOR RELEASE
OF WILDERS FILM
REF: A. THE HAGUE 97
B. THE HAGUE 61
C. THE HAGUE 58

Classified By: GLOBAL ISSUES CHIEF SUSAN GARRO FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D)

1. (S) Summary. Dutch government sources continue to
anticipate an early March release of Geert Wilders' film on
the Koran; they are confident that Wilders will give the
government 24 hours notice before the film is released. The
government is actively engaging key figures in the Muslim
world to stress that it does not share Wilders' views on
Islam but that censorship of the film is not an option. The
GONL is particularly concerned about the potential for
violent, extremist reactions to the film in Pakistan, Iran
and Syria. Moderates in the Dutch Muslim community have been
actively engaged in encouraging non-violent responses at home
and in the Middle East. Officials at NCTb and MFA expressed
frustration that leaks about government contingency planning
for the release of the film has had the effect of
exaggerating the potential impact of the film itself. End
Summary.

2. (C) Peter Knoope, the Deputy Director for Policy and
Strategy in the Office of the National Counterterrorism
Coordinator, told emboffs January 30 that the Dutch
government anticipates an early March release of Dutch MP
Geert Wilders' film on the Koran. He noted that numerous
moderate groups and individuals within the Dutch Muslim
community were actively urging Muslims to remain calm in
response to the film, both in the Netherlands and abroad, and
endorsing the value of freedom of expression. In particular,
he said, several civil society groups had taken the
initiative to communicate with government and religious
authorities in Iraq and other countries in the Muslim world
to urge them not to "lash out" against the Dutch in reaction
to the release of the film. Knoope said this response from
moderate Muslims demonstrated growing "resilience" among
Dutch Muslims.

3. (C) Knoope said the government's domestic communication
strategy would build-on, and as appropriate, support, the
Dutch Muslim community's own efforts to discourage violent
reactions to the film. The diplomatic strategy was designed
to stress four key points: 1) the importance of freedom of
expression; 2) the government cannot impose prior censorship,
in particular on a film yet to be completed; 3) Wilders is an
opposition MP, not part of the governing coalition; and 4)
the Dutch government does not share Wilders' views on the
Koran or on Islam. Dutch government officials in The Hague
and at diplomatic posts were actively engaging government and
civil society leaders in key Muslim countries to convey the
four points. Once the film was released, the government
would act quickly to get the same message out to a broader
audience. Knoope noted the government had taken action in
the past year to disassociate itself from Wilders'
anti-Islamic statements -- such as Wilders' early 2007
statement that European Muslims should tear up half the Koran
-- and would do so again. Knoope added that in some
respects, leaks and subsequent extensive press reporting on
the government's contingency planning had become a bigger
issue than the film itself; he said it was perfectly normal
for national and local public safety officials to prepare for
potential adverse reactions, but the massive attention to the
issue had blown its concerns out of proportion.

4. (S) Knoope stated that NCTb remained more concerned about
the potential for violent reactions to the film in the Middle
East than in the Netherlands. They were most seriously
concerned about Pakistan, Iran, and Syria, he said, adding
that they were not sure which elements in these countries had
a political interest in instigating violent reactions to the
film. Knoope stated that NCTb's analysis indicated that
organized reactions to the film in those countries would
focus on the Netherlands as a target for retaliation.

THE HAGUE 00000102 002 OF 002

Extremist groups in these countries had no intention of
expanding the focus of violent protests to include Europe or
the West, as the Netherlands was seen as a small country that
could be "taken on" relatively easily. He said that
extremists in the region considered the violent response to
the Danish cartoons in the Middle East as a "success," and
were now looking at the anticipated release of the Wilders
film as the next issue they could exploit to advance the
extremist cause.

5. (C) Knoope noted that while the government has no
intention of imposing prior censorship, the appropriate
authorities would review its contents once it is released to
determine whether it violates Dutch law on hate speech or
slander. He added that under Dutch law, freedom of
expression does not necessarily extend to a "right to
offend;" the Dutch requirement was that public statements not
"unnecessarily offend." He acknowledged that that could be a
subjective standard.

6. (C) Knoope dismissed the possibility that Wilders would
ultimately decline to release the film; there was "not a
chance" of this happening, he said. He suggested it was
possible that Wilders could modify the content somewhat in
the final stages of editing, but he would definitely release
something. Knoope said he was confident that Wilders would
live up to the commitment he has given NCTb to provide 24
hour notice prior to releasing the film, adding that, "he
knows he needs us to stay alive." (Note. NCTb's
Surveillance and Protection Department is responsible for
determining the level of close protection provided for
Wilders, who has received government security protection
since the 2004 murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh. End
note.)

7. (C) Knoope welcomed the information provided by emboffs
on the USG initial press guidance on the film, which he said
was consistent with the Dutch government's own message. In a
subsequent meeting with emboffs, Andre van Wiggen of the MFA
Terrorism and New Threats Department also expressed
appreciation for the guidance, and for our close coordination
with the Dutch government on this issue. Van Wiggen also
expressed frustration with leaks about the government's
contingency planning, which he said complicated the
implementation of its communication strategy.

Gallagher

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC