Archive for 2012/02/04
“My story isn’t one of inspiration but one of caution. It could happen to anyone out there. I know people are thinking ‘nah, not me’, but that’s what I thought too and now here we are.”
Unprecedented Event In The Netherlands: Two Judges Prosecuted For Perjury. Billion Euro Damage Claim At StakePosted: 2012/02/04 in Education / Awareness, Enforcement, Jurisprudence, Litigation, Public Policy
Former judges Hans Westenberg and Pieter Kalbfleisch will be prosecuted for perjury. They lied in the investigation of the Chipshol case, as it is known, the Public Prosecutor’s Office said Friday.
Westenberg is accused of having lied three times (in 2006 and 2010) under oath. Kalbfleisch is being sued for two cases of perjury, both in 2010. He is a prominent lawyer and was until April last year chairman of the Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa).
As far as is known, this is the first time ever in the Netherlands that a judge has been prosecuted for perjury. The case will be heard in the district court in Utrecht in the second half of April.
Kalbfleisch and Westenberg were both vice-presidents of the district court in The Hague. In the 1990s, Kalbfleisch arranged that Westenberg handle a dispute between Chipshol and a minority shareholder in the company. This shareholder, like Westenberg, was a friend of Kalbfleisch. Westenberg found in favour of the minority shareholder, Harry van Andel.
As a result of a court verdict by Westenberg, the company Chipshol, which owned expensive building land around Schiphol airport, had to give up a substantial portion of its control of Chipshol to Harry van Andel. Chipshol director Peter Poot has been alleging since 1993 that the two judges deliberately frustrated his company. Recently, a clerk of the court came out with a statement confirming his story. This woman is an ex-partner of Kalbfleisch.
Chipshol Presses Charges Against the State of the Netherlands at the European Court of Human Rights
SCHIPHOL-RIJK, the Netherlands, July 28, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — The Dutch land development and investment company Chipshol is pressing charges against the State of the Netherlands at the European Court of Human Rights. As the largest private sector party in the region of Schiphol, Chipshol has been unlawfully obstructed by Schiphol and the State of the Netherlands for fifteen years. This has prevented the development of various Chipshol business parks. A construction ban was unlawfully declared for one terrain in 2003. As Schiphol refused to pay compensation, Chipshol started an action for damages. Partly due to the replacement, in 2007, of three Haarlem judges, who had ordered Schiphol to pay for all damages in 2005, there has not been a fair trial.
Chipshol, founded in 1986, is the only large private land development and investment company in the Schiphol region with in 1995 land holdings of almost 600 hectares. Proposals to cooperate were continuously refused by Schiphol, in response the airport started its own real estate company: Schiphol Real Estate. From that time on, Schiphol attempted to obstruct the development of Chipshol business parks with the support of all government organisations involved in project development. As a consequence not only the airport, but also the Air Traffic Control the Netherlands and the province of North Holland have been ordered to pay damages to Chipshol.
The legal action at the European Court of Human Rights focuses on a 30 hectare Chipshol terrain adjacent to the airport. Chipshol wishes to establish a sizeable logistical business park. But the CEO of Schiphol, Mr Cerfontaine, arranged a construction ban with the ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management. This was partly based on a manipulated report of Air Traffic Control the Netherlands [Dutch acronym LVNL]. Air Traffic Control the Netherlands was ordered to pay damages to Chipshol by the Court of Amsterdam on 15 December 2009. Earlier, on 12 January 2005, the court of Haarlem had ordered Schiphol to pay damages to Chipshol because of the unjust construction ban.
Shortly before determining the exact amount of compensation, all three judges were replaced toward the end of the case, in early 2007. The new judges then determined an extremely low level of compensation of 16 million Euro, while Chipshol estimates the actual damages at almost 100 million Euro. The court was advised on this issue by an expert commission which was subsequently revealed to have close ties with Schiphol et al.
According to CEO Peter Poot of Chipshol, there has not been a fair trial since the replacement of the three judges: “Fundamental legal principles have now been violated in the Netherlands. This is why we are going to the European Court of Human Rights.” In a separate procedure, Chipshol wishes to reconstruct why, and by whom, the judges were replaced at the time, through a witness examination of six judges under oath.
The land development and investment company was recently able to enforce a witness examination under oath of six (former) judges in The Hague about the role of a vice-president of the Court of The Hague in the case. A controversial judgement by judge Mr J. Westenberg prevented Chipshol from competing with Schiphol Real Estate, the airport’s Real Estate company, for many years and caused it to lose approximately 450 hectares of land in the Schiphol region. It subsequently transpired that Westenberg was closely related to Chipshol’s opponents, including the airport’s lawyer, Mr T.R.B. de Greve. Westenberg took early retirement and is now suspected of offences including perjury, conflict of interest and corruption. The National Police Internal Investigations Department is investigating his actions. In November, Westenberg will be examined under oath by Chipshol together with other (ex) members of the head of The Hague Court, a unique case by Dutch standards.
Dutch language video:
Marietje Schaake (Leiden, 28 October 1978) is a Dutch politician for the social liberal party Democrats 66. Since July 2009, she has served as a member of the European Parliament. She is a member of the parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET), as well as the Committee on Culture, Media and Education (CULT). She also sits on the Parliament’s Delegation for relations with the United States and the Delegation for relations with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo.
Schaake grew up in Leiden. After High School at the Haags Montessori Lyceum in The Hague she left for the United States to study Liberal Arts at Wittenberg University in Ohio. She went on to study Sociology, American Studies and New Media at the University of Amsterdam. After an internship with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Schaake was granted the Lantos Fellowship of the United States House of Representatives, where she focused on international relations and human rights issues.
Schaake served as an independent advisor to the United States Ambassador to the Netherlands and to the president of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights in Washington, DC. Other assignments have included consulting the State Department of the Netherlands, as well as cultural institutes and companies. Schaake specialized in topics like transatlantic relations, diversity, integration, civil rights and Muslims in the West. In the winter of 2007 she received the Barney Karbank Memorial Award 2007 for outstanding leadership on the issue of human rights. In 2011, The Wall Street Journal called Schaake “Europe’s most wired politician”
The Che Of Our Time Can Be Found In Strassbourg
“She really reads everything” Labour Party’s Arne Mosselman, who did a bit of PR work for her, is stating. “I was flabbergasted when she mentioned an old tweet of mine.” Similarly she keeps in touch with hackers in Finland and Egyptian activists, during the many trips.
Marietje Schaake: Early 2010, Hillary Clinton gave a passionate speech for the US to be a world leader for internet freedom. The responses of US officials to the publications of leaked documents on WikiLeaks however, risk undermining the credibility of the US when it comes to internet freedom. The battle is not over, and so far hackers and citizen movements seem to have a reasonable chance to break open strongholds of power with the help of technology. There is a real risk however, that ever stricter rules will be drafted to regulate internet use. That would be an unwise decision. Precisely by focusing on as much openness and internet freedom as possible, we can amplify the voice of the global young generation. Internet activism in Tunisia and the American responses to the documents published by WikiLeaks underline the need for European leadership. It is high time that the EU takes responsibility and acts as a leader for defending internet freedom.
If you’re feeling a bit geeky, be sure to attend the Hack de Overheid (‘hack the government’) event, which is held prior to the party. You need to register here to attend. This event is all all about using (open) data to get new insights through the ways of hacking. Matt Biddulph, Marius Watz and Marietje Schaake will be attending as speakers, with coffee by Koffie Kees Kraakman, food by Hot Mama Hot and high-, low- and no-tech art.
EUHACKATHON PROGRAMME – Hack 4 transparency
European Parliament – Room PHS 7C050
Short statements from supporting Members of the European Parliament (MEPs):
Petru Luhan, Hosting MEP European People’s Party
Jan Philipp Albrecht, MEP Greens – European Free Alliance
Marietje Schaake, MEP Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
Marietje Schaake, being 31 years of age she’s one of the youngest MEPs in Brussels. Last month she met with Assange and feels that his work must be supported. (video)
When he was arrested Julian Assange looked tired and said little. “He is used to a nomadic existence, but the past few weeks have been something else,” says Dutch democrat party D66 MEP Marietje Schaake. She has known him for some time and invited him to speak at a seminar on press freedom in Brussels last June. The meeting took place just after the publication of a video showing US soldiers shooting Iraqi civilians from an Apache helicopter. The media pressure was huge back then.
“We had dinner together and I was constantly phoned by journalists asking whether I knew where Julian was or if I had his number. Even the New York Times was on the line. As if I were his spokesperson.”
Ms Schaake thinks the current situation gives reason for concern. “We have to make sure we differentiate between the Swedish allegations and the WikiLeaks revelations,” she says. “In the United States in particular, it is very black and white. The reaction of US Defence Secretary Robert Gates was to call the arrest ‘good news’, you just can’t say that.” The Dutch politician and European Parliament member, who has just returned from the United States, was shocked by US reactions: “The tone is similar to just after the 9/11 attacks. Everything goes, even if it means violating human rights.” Ms Schaake thinks Mr Assange should be given protection. “From the authorities in his country of birth, Australia, or from the country he chooses to live in.”
This morning I was involved with working on a report in the European Parliament that deals with the enforcement of intellectual property laws. It’s a very interesting topic. It deals with both counterfeit goods, so fake jeans of brands, handbags, medicine, batteries, et cetera, but it also deals with the infringement of copyrights materials on the internet. Now, some people argue that in today’s digital world it’s no longer possible to enforce on line copyright laws when it comes to music. Others will argue that it’s very attractive for people to use downloaded materials of non copyrighted songs and other files because there simply is not a cheap alternative offered. So then the question is do we think it’s crime if a teenager downloads one illegal song, when does it become crime? How do we fight it? Do we look at it as a crime or lack of an attractive alternative. When I talk about lack of definitions I think we should look at that too. I know of an example in the United Kingdom where one year the legally permitability amount of soft drugs was changed, and the crime rates dropped significantly not necessarily because there was significantly less crimes committed but because behavior that was initially identified as criminal was no longer identified as criminal.
Now, we clearly have a lack of knowledge, but it’s also identified that we do have tools to fight most of the cyber crime and the crime that happens on the internet with the current legal models that we have. So I think we should be careful not to create more bureaucracy or institutions and also be careful not to inflict collateral damage as we try to fight cyber crime because clearly we want to keep the internet an attractive and positive place for people to participate in democracy, to be educated, to enjoy entertainment, to communicate, to have access to information, and we have to be careful not to compromise fundamental freedoms and civil liberties. And this would also lead to a lack of trust and a compromises precisely those values we want to protect against cyber crime. So I think a great public private initiative should be an objective in depth study to get these facts out in the open in a trustworthy way, not just to have a security company do a research in terms of how much crime is committed because that would not be very credible, per se. Currently, I think there already is a lot of public private cooperation, which perhaps is mostly happening in a private matter, not necessarily transparent, and it’s also not always clear which hat someone is wearing.
We see governments hiring expertise in the private sector. We also see corporations hiring former police agents, former lawyers, legal expertise from the government sector. We even see corporations hiring hackers to test their new products so there is a different sense of overlap and different hat wearing in different context.
So when we look at trust, I think it’s very important to look at democratic oversight, accountability, transparency, also very important to include the citizens using the internet, to be vigilant, to be active, to monitor criminal behavior and possibly combat it. So citizens should be made aware of the knowledge that should come out of the objective studies and citizens should certainly not be alienated. So how to find a balance. I was fascinated by the previous speaker about the main leadership of the private sector in fighting cyber crime. I would like to learn how this relates to democratic oversight and who is finally responsible because I think that safety and security are still public responsibilities, and I believe that the government should take the leadership and also the final responsibility, of course, in collaboration, but I think the term self regulation of the industry is often abused to permit all kinds of measures that actually should not be out of democratic oversight.
We have seen this with internet service providers who have been asked to independently enforce measures against behavior such as blogging and filtering of internet behavior and this could lead to extra judicial actions and blurring of the division of powers. So I think law enforcement and measures to fight cyber crime should be defined specifically in terms of responsibility. We should be sure that there is no self censorship happening, which is a risk that we see now, and that companies are not forced to cut off citizens or to filter or block, et cetera. We should really use the positive sides of the internet to offer alternatives. So to sum up, in building trust, I think we have to build a vigilant society, have objective knowledge, provide attractive alternatives to criminal behavior and make sure we have democratic oversight and in the worldwide web, the EU should have leading position on this community of values and when we look at the tackling of cyber crime and protecting of cyber security, let’s not forget civil liberty.
Full interview with Ms Schaake about the freedom of information paradox in the US:
Ms. Schaake has long been, if not a lone voice, certainly one of very few, MEPs who have embraced new media and understood its significance. With admirable brevity, her election manifesto in 2009 was expressed in just 10 tweets. But as an MEP in Brussels, she faces an uphill struggle: “I don’t even have wi-fi in my office,” she says. “But you should see the amount of paper I get. Kilos of it.” Ms. Schaake is championing regulatory reform which she sees as one of the barriers to harmonizing Europe’s digital market. “One of the key things we have to do is intellectual property rights reform. It is one of the most spectacular barriers.
“If you look at the European online content industry, most of our money is going to the United States while we in Europe are stuck discussing 27 different systems of how to enforce IP rights.
“We are completely stuck in the past century. This enforcement agenda is so absurd.”
AUTHOR(S): Marietje Schaake
SUBJECT: Wiki-Leaks case, transparency, press freedom and access to information in the EU
On August 10th the Daily Beast Blog reported that the Obama Administration has asked several of its
allies including some EU Member States to consider filing criminal charges against the founder of
WikiLeaks, Julian Assange.
1) Can the Commission confirm that such a request has been made at EU level? If not, in which other
ways has the US administration reached out to the Commission with regard to either Julian Assange or
the activities of WikiLeaks?
2) If the Commission has indeed been approached by the US Administration, what is its reply?
3) Has the Commission taken any action towards WikiLeaks? Does the Commission agree that the EU
should speak with one voice on this matter, so as to avoid the potential threat to the free movement of
persons? If not why not?
4) Does the Commission agree that the EU should stand by and defend the TEU when it comes to
transparency, accountability, access to information and documents, press freedom, freedom of
expression, and due process? If not why not?
5) Can the Commission guarantee that no censorship, website blocking or other infringement on these
basic freedoms will take place under the auspices of the Commission related to the WikiLeaks incident?
If not why not?
6) Does the Commission agree that technology has an impact on democracy, human rights and
fundamental freedoms? If not, why not?
7) Does the Commission agree that the EU needs a common policy regarding the impact of technology
and the internet on democracy and human rights, both within the EU and in relation to External
Actions? Would active promotion of unfettered access to information and to the internet be part of such
a policy? Is the Commission prepared to make access to internet an integral part of her efforts and
communications in the field of human rights? If not why not?
Signature(s): Marietje Schaake Date: 13/8/2010
So what can we do to stop ACTA?
If you are concerned about ACTA, you can convince the EP to vote against ACTA. In November 2010 we proposed an alternative resolution on ACTA, which intended to take away the main concerns. It was voted down by a very slight majority, please see here (the red section represents MEPs voting against our resolution). As you can see, the difference is only 16 votes, out of 736 (or 754 as it stands now). Another text was then voted in favour, which said the Commission should carry on its negotiations.
If you are concerned about ACTA, contact MEPs (from your country of political party), especially targeting the ones who are in the committees who will vote on ACTA in the coming months. You can find their email addresses on the EP website. Perhaps it won’t have to come to a blackout!
I will organise a hearing in April, where parties that will be affected by ACTA can give their opinion. This meeting will be live streamed. If you wish to be informed about this, please send me an email: email@example.com.
I believe internet offers tremendous opportunities to bring makers of music, film and other cultural content closer to audiences at lower prices. However, while Europe offers the most attractive and diverse content in the world, much of it is locked behind fragmented copyright laws. Instead of focusing on enforcement, we must focus on reform, while keeping in mind that it is not the government’s job to preserve certain business models against the forces of the free market.
The fast development of the information society and all the innovations we have seen in the last 15 or so years have changed the way we live. People can enforce their fundamental rights of access to information, and free speech with the help of the internet. Human rights violations are documented and shared across the world, and the way we access and share information and culture such as news, music and films has changed forever.
Copyright and E-Commerce need to suit the needs of the advanced information society we now live in. To enable a flourishing Digital Single Market in Europe, we need to analyse case-law of the last 12 years regarding the internet, hear from creators, innovators and consumers. If we want to serve consumers, artists and businesses well, we need to find a new balance in copyright. Every aspect of copyright needs to be discussed: the exclusive rights, limitations and exceptions, collective management, enforcement, etc. Only then should we discuss how to enforce the new found balance on the international arena, such as with ACTA.
Google is one of nine main sponsors, alongside the National Rifle Association and the Heritage Foundation, according to the conference’s website. Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are slated to speak at the three-day event, which starts in Washington on Feb. 9. Google is the only business listed among the primary sponsors.
The Dutch complaint center for victims of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church in The Netherlands is allegedly operated by the Catholic Church itself. Complainants experience difficulties when filing complaints or asking for information about potential abusers.
Information distributed by the complaint center, for example in relation to the existence of a database containing complaints from victims and information about the accused, leaves a lot of questions unanswered.
Rather than having the Public Prosecutor’s Office review the abuse complaints independently, the special commission that was established by the Dutch government to investigate various accusations has also been overseen (partially) by representatives of the Catholic Church.
Sometimes complaint centers appear to be used as filtering mechanisms and instruments for damage control, delaying, blocking or perverting the course of justice, while adding additional layers of bureaucracy.
Dutch language news article: