Viewing cable 08THEHAGUE102, UPDATE ...
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|08THEHAGUE102||2008-02-01 15:03||2011-01-17 00:12||SECRET||Embassy The Hague|
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 ... 139720,2/1/2008 15:55,08THEHAGUE102,"Embassy The Hague", SECRET,08THEHAGUE97,"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