US ambassador at odds with modern Netherlands

Pete Hoekstra, the Trump appointed US ambassador to the Netherlands, is getting some awkward publicity.

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Stuff:  Donald Trump’s new ambassador to the Netherlands caught lying about his own lies

A Dutch journalist has asked new US Ambassador Pete Hoekstra why he said there were “no go” areas in the Netherlands, where radical Muslims are setting cars and politicians on fire.

Hoekstra denied it, and called the claim “fake news”.

A standard Trumpian response.

The report cut to a video clip of Hoekstra at a 2015 conference hosted by the David Horowitz Freedom Center saying:

“The Islamic movement has now gotten to a point where they have put Europe into chaos. Chaos in the Netherlands, there are cars being burned, there are politicians that are being burned.”

“And yes, there are no-go zones in the Netherlands”.

When the reporter pressed, Hoekstra denied using the term “fake news”, which he’d uttered moments before.

“I didn’t call that fake news,” he said. “I didn’t use the words today. I don’t think I did.”

The odds of Hoekstra being controversial were always high.

Though Hoekstra was born in the Netherlands, his family immigrated to Michigan when we was a toddler.

A bit ironic given:

He served as a Republican congressman for a decade-and-a-half, eventually chairing the US House Intelligence Committee.

In that time, he adopted several positions that are at odds with core Dutch values. Hoekstra is opposed to same-sex marriage and gay rights. In the US Congress, he voted repeatedly to limit women’s rights to abortion. He supports the death penalty, and has argued passionately that refugees are a threat to European security.

Hoekstra has given several talks at the anti-Islam American Freedom Alliance, which has also hosted Dutch far right leader Geert Wilders. In 2015, Hoekstra blamed a “secret jihad” for the “chaos” in the Netherlands.

So he was always going to be controversial as an ambassador.

After Trump announced Hoekstra’s appointment, Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant observed that Trump “put a Dutchman in the Netherlands – but it is a Dutchman from the Netherlands of the ’50s”.

Of the appointment, liberal politician Sophie in’t Veld said: “We are looking forward with interest to co-operating with Mr Hoekstra.

We will certainly remind him his roots lie in a country that values tolerance, equality and inclusion … we expect the representative of our friend and ally the United States to fully and wholly respect our values and to show that respect in all his acts and words.”

Hoekstra has apologised, sort of.

He only refers to “remarks in 2015” without qualification, defends being “passionate about confronting the global threat of terrorism”,  and “regret the exchange” shows more concern about being embarrassed, with a very lame apology tacked on.

It’s a Clayton’s ‘I’m sorry I got found out’ sort of non-apology.

The appointment of Hoekstra is another example of jobs for loyal supporters of Trump, which is at odds with the ‘drain the swamp’ goal, unless Trump meant ‘drain the swamp and refill it with my own lackeys.

Detroit Free Press: President Donald Trump nominates U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra to be Dutch ambassador

President Donald Trump on Monday evening nominated former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of west Michigan to be his ambassador to the Netherlands, selecting for the job to a key supporter in a state that helped elect Trump.

During the 2016 campaign, Hoekstra became a key surrogate for Trump and his outsider bid to become president, appearing on cable TV in support of him and introducing him at a large rally at the Freedom Hill Amphitheater in  Sterling Heights the weekend before the election last November.

In announcing Hoekstra’s nomination the White House praised him as “a prominent politician” and said he “continues to be active on public policy issues and in business affairs as a consultant, researcher, and writer.”

Hoekstra has a bit to learn about diplomacy.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph:

“The administration made a wise decision by picking Pete, with his long-established Dutch roots and heritage,” He is exceptionally qualified and will make a tremendous ambassador. Pete’s always had a passion for public service and a way of connecting with people that will continue the fruitful relationship we’ve long-enjoyed with The Netherlands.”

His way of connecting with people in The Netherlands needs a bit of refinement.

Dutch election results

 

Here are what appear to be final interim election results from the Netherlands, along with recent polls.

The green column is the interim election result.

Projected seats (with 93.3% of votes counted):

  • VVD 33 seats
  • PVV 20
  • CDA and D66 19 each
  • GroenLinks, SP 14
  • PvdA 9
  • ChristenUnie and Partij voor de Dieren 5 each
  • 50PLUS 4
  • SGP and DENK 3
  • Forum for Democracy 2

The current Prime Minister Mark Rutte leads the VVD party which has lost seats but is clearly well in front so Rutte is expected to lead a new coalition with three or four other parties (it could take months to organise).

Geert Wilders (PVV) is claiming a victory of sorts and claiming losers will form a coalition. It is expected that he will not be invited to negotiate any role in the Government.

The Dutch Labour Party PvdA has crashed to a disastrous low.

Greens (GroenLinks) have jumped up from 4 to probably 4 seats and are ecstatic.

So no Trump/Brexit type shocks.

An editorial from  Dutch daily NRC :

The Dutch have woken up in a “normal” country, as prime minister Mark Rutte puts it: there was no populist revolt.

Rutte’s VVD lost a quarter of its support but thanks to its substantial lead over the other parties finds itself in an exceptionally comfortable position as leader.

The PvdA, however, one of the pillars of the postwar welfare state, is in existential crisis. Never in parliamentary history has a party lost so many seats.

What is clear is that governing does not pay. The outgoing government presented a dream budget this year: what should have gone up went up, what should have come down came down. The Netherlands is currently one of the best performing countries in the EU. And still voters punished the outgoing coalition severely.

For the voter, apparently, politics is about more than the economy.

 

 

 

 

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More on Turkey versus the Netherlands and other European countries:  Turkey’s Erdogan warns Dutch will pay price for dispute

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned the Netherlands it will “pay the price” for harming ties after two of his ministers were barred.

The two ministers were blocked from addressing Turkish expatriates in Rotterdam on Saturday, with one of them escorted to the German border.

The Dutch government said such rallies would stoke tensions days before the Netherlands’ general election.

Several EU countries have been drawn into the row over the rallies:

  • Mr Cavusoglu called the Netherlands the “capital of fascism” after he was refused entry
  • Mr Erdogan accused Germany of “Nazi practices” after similar rallies were cancelled – words Chancellor Angela Merkel described as “unacceptable”
  • Denmark’s Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen postponed a planned meeting with Turkey’s prime minister, saying he is concerned that “democratic principles are under great pressure” in Turkey
  • Local French officials have allowed a Turkish rally in Metz, saying it does not pose a public order threat – while France’s foreign ministry has urged Turkey to avoid provocations.
  • Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said Mr Erdogan was not welcome to hold rallies as this could increase friction and hinder integration.

Mr Erdogan accused countries in the West of “Islamophobia” and demanded international organisations impose sanctions on the Netherlands.

“I have said that I had thought that Nazism was over, but that I was wrong. Nazism is alive in the West,” he said.

There are 5.5 million Turks living outside the country, with 1.4 million eligible voters in Germany alone – and the Yes campaign is keen to get them on side.

There has been a lot of Trukish immigration into Germany for decades.

So a number of rallies have been planned for countries with large numbers of expat voters, including Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.

It may be working in Erdogan’s favour. It’s certainly drawing attention to his campaign.

 

 

UK & Europe

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Topics about the UK, EU and Europe.


This week President Erdogan of Turkey has accused both Germany and the Netherlands of acting like Nazis as relations between the countries sour.

About a week ago, Telegraph: Erdogan accuses Germany of behaving ‘like Nazis’ after Turks banned from political rallies

Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan accused Germany on Sunday of “fascist actions” reminiscent of Nazi times in a growing row over the cancellation of political rallies aimed at drumming up support for him among 1.5 million Turkish citizens in Germany.

German politicians reacted with shock and anger. German justice minister Heiko Maas told broadcaster ARD that Mr Erdogan’s comments were “absurd, disgraceful and outlandish” and designed to provoke a reaction from Berlin.

Now BBC: Turkey referendum: Dutch are Nazi remnants – Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has described the Dutch as “Nazi remnants and fascists”, as a diplomatic row grows over a cancelled rally.

The Turkish foreign minister was due to speak in the Dutch city of Rotterdam on Saturday in support of a referendum to give Mr Erdogan greater powers.

But the rally was banned for security reasons, and the minister’s plane was then refused permission to land.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the remark was “way out of line”.

“It’s a crazy remark, of course,” Mr Rutte said.

Turkey has summoned the Dutch charge d’affaires to the foreign ministry in Ankara for an explanation.

In a strange twist, Turkey’s family minister will attempt to travel by land to the Dutch city of Rotterdam, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency said.

Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya is in Germany for separate meetings but plans to head to the Netherlands later, despite having her meetings there cancelled.

President Erdogan reacted to the ban on his foreign minister by threatening to block Dutch flights.

He said: “Ban our foreign minister from flying however much you like, but from now on, let’s see how your flights will land in Turkey.”

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also warned Turkey would impose heavy sanctions if his visit were blocked.

Mr Rutte warned in a statement (in Dutch) that the Turkish threat of sanctions made “the search for a reasonable solution impossible”.

Erdogan may be trying to play tough to his domestic audience but his international relations don’t look flash.

[Precautionary delete] and Lauda Finem

Lauda Finem is a website that has mainly New Zealand orientated content and is clearly targeting a New Zealand audience. It has a reputation for personal attacks, lying and defamation, with potentially hundreds of people amongst the targets.

Disclosure: I have been a target of Lauda Finem and have been subject to attacks in several posts that contain a number of blatantly false claims and I believe it sometimes amounts to defamation.

In my opinion they have a long record of making false accusations and making despicable attacks, and theer seems to be a lot  intimidatory and threatening behaviour. And they commonly accuse others of doing exactly what they themselves are doing.

This post plus a more detailed post shows to some degree how closely associated [Precautionary delete] has been with the Lauda Finem website. How close is up to you to judge, from Lauda Finem’s own words.

In August Lauda Finem claimed:

We will say it once more, for the last time! Lauda Finem is a foreign based blog, it is not and never has been based in New Zealand or any of it’s territories.

Everything LF publishes we do so quite legally, no different to any other foreign news source. Moreover LF is NOT a party to any legal proceeding in New Zealand whatsoever, nor is any member of team LF, again all members live outside New Zealand, always have, always will.

I think that is at the very least very misleading. One could quibble over what “member of team LF” means exactly.  ‘Foreign based’ means nothing, this site could claim to be foreign based or hosted (like Lauda Finem is).

But it’s clear that Lauda Finem have had a close interest in New Zealand based issues and have paid close attention to people in New Zealand, and have paid comparatively little attention to anything or anyhone outside New Zealand.

And if as some believe that [Precautionary delete]’s brother Antony is the only significant ‘team LF’ member who resides overseas then the claim that all members of the ‘team’ have never lived in New Zealand is suspect.

I have asked @laudafinem directly if he/she is Antony Nottingham and they have avoided answering, more than once. I don’t recall seeing any specific denial that Antony Nottingham is the overseas ‘owner’.

Denials of New Zealand associations are usually couched in vague language designed to imply no New Zealand connection rather than categorically deny.

My posts will show that a significant part of many of Lauda Finem posts and much of their content is closely related to and involves [Precautionary delete] – who I believe lives in New Zealand.

He has probably featured in more Lauda Finem posts than anyone else. He has frequently been quoted and praised.

He features in something like 90 posts, and sometimes he is virtually the sole focus of the post. His name is repeated sometimes 20, 30, 40 times in a post.

If you read and believed much of Lauda Finem you could easily get the impression that [Precautionary delete] is the most wonderful  and truly great unsung hero in the world (using some of their own words). Nottingham could hardly praise himself any more than the frequent accolades he gets on Lauda Finem.

I have collated quite a bit of information that demonstrates the attention given to [Precautionary delete]by Lauda Finem. It builds a picture of what sort of association Lauda Finem and [Precautionary delete] have.

Lauda Finem have often made it clear that they are located outside New Zealand and [Precautionary delete] doesn’t own the site. That may be so but it leaves open many possibilities that could include co-operation, collusion, co-authorship, exchange of information etc. Some of those at least have taken place.

It  is long but I believe an important record – a record accumulated by what Lauda Finem themselves have collected, in their own words.

There’s a clear pattern of Lauda Finem investigations paralleling [Precautionary delete]’s investigations and court actions.

My take on this? [Precautionary delete]appears to me to have been a significant and possibly integral part of the content at Lauda Finem over the past five years.

Here are some brief examples.

Lauda Finem state they have received information from [Precautionary delete]that they then posted:

We also received, via email,  Justice and consumer rights campaigner [Precautionary delete]s comment, we have however not edited it, after all it is his story and his personal opinion of Milne and has undoubtedly been formed as a result of his own personal experiences of him, Fair Go, TVNZ and its so-called “staffers”

An Open letter suggests that communications have been both ways:

You will note that we have copied in Justice campaigner [Precautionary delete] as it seems to us that he to has been greatly affected by these sham websites and their so called members

Kind Regards

Sharon McBride

The Team @ Lauda Finem

And:

With that outcome in mind LF have emailed [Precautionary delete]and advised him of Blomfield’s email…

There’s a number of similar admissions.

Lauda Finem also claim to be providing safe storage of information of Nottingham’s:

LF has it on good authority that [Precautionary delete], as is his nature, had filmed Mayer on numerous occasions confessing to the criminal frauds, and also filmed Mayer’s sister-in-law offering up her involvement in his orgy of criminal forgery and fraud.

Apparently [Precautionary delete]secured a video statement from the sister-in-law following a visit to the SFO. None of these video’s have been supplied to the Serious fraud Office…as yet. (LF however have the complete set, here in the Netherlands for safe keeping)

This suggests that Nottingham has given “the complete set” of videos to “LF” in the Netherlands for safekeeping.

This also demonstrates typical contortions where they seem to be claiming some vague and distant association but then contradict it – “on good authority that [Precautionary delete]”, “apparently [Precautionary delete]” but then they state they are storing the complete set of [Precautionary delete]videos.

Some more extracts:

“Quite what it was that he’d hoped to achieve we’re unsure of as neither [Precautionary delete]or for that matter Lauda Finem take kindly to threats.”

…”and Butler chose to play games with [Precautionary delete]and the team here at Lauda Finem.”

“We like justice, as does justice campaigner [Precautionary delete]. In fact from what we’ve been able to establish Mr Nottingham likes, as we do, sifting through the chaft and finding facts that support justice…”

“We’ll be sure to pass on your bogus admission to Mr [Precautionary delete]…”

“From what documentation we have been given by the informant victim it would appear to us that [Precautionary delete] clinically assessed Nurse Athol as suffering from narcissistic disorder and as suffering from a psychosis that was being played by Nurse Athol’s masters at ACC.”

“Women are just as susceptible as men to wanting the trappings of power, or to be driven by jealously, and according to New Zealand Justice Campaigner [Precautionary delete]Ms Bowie-Broad is a ravenous plague rat when it comes to spreading her disease of lies, deceit, jealously, incompetence, and intellectual inadequacy.”

” [Precautionary delete]had also found out…”

“A breakthrough for LF came with David “what bomb” Butler rolling over naming names to Justice Campaigner [Precautionary delete]. [Precautionary delete], in his normal style, got significant admissions out of David Butler whilst, unbeknownst to Butler, filmed Butler.”

“Nottingham and LF didn’t disagree with Butlers position.

“On footage that LF holds [Precautionary delete]appears to tear up when Butler gives [Precautionary delete]two examples of his early life…:

“What concerns us is that the people that are being threatened have nothing to do with the ownership or operation of LAUDA FINEM…”

They keep referring to ownership of the website, but ownership is not the issue here, it is the degree of association and collusion between Lauda Finem and [Precautionary delete] that is of critical interest.

We accept your apology and would suggest that you also apologise to Mr [Precautionary delete] for having wrongly assumed his involvement with Lauda Finem. We have made it clear on a number of occasions who owns, runs and contributes to Lauda Finem, on one occasion publishing an email we received from Fairfax Media NZ. Indeed [Precautionary delete] would have the quite extraordinary ability to be omnipresent given that he lives in New Zealand and the team @ Lauda Finem are all in Australia.

That was several years ago when one member and probably the official owner of Lauda Finem was based in Australia – believed to be Antony Nottingham.

Lauda Finem now claim to operate out of the Netherlands and some claim that is where Antony Nottingham has moved. I know there is some Lauda Finem related activity from the Netherlands.

But it is obviously that Lauda Finem have close connections with New Zealand, and it seems with [Precautionary delete].