Dutch counter-terror plans come under fire

23rd September 2004, Comments 0 comments

23 September 2004, AMSTERDAM — MPs have criticised the measures announced by the Dutch government to prevent terrorist attacks.

23 September 2004

AMSTERDAM — MPs have criticised the measures announced by the Dutch government to prevent terrorist attacks.

The parliamentarians called for more information about the new colour-code alert system, which is similar to the one used in the US. They also want to know who exactly would be in charge in times of emergency and when would this person take over.

Ministers have drawn up plans under which Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner would assume overall control of several government departments during an emergency. The Interior Ministry would for instance relinquish control of the police to the Justice Ministry.

The Labour PvdA and the Socialist Party said it would be more logical for the Interior Ministry, rather than Justice, to be given additional powers in an emergency.

MPs also expressed concern during a debate on Thursday about government moves to give the police and the AIVD intelligence service more powers to help combat terrorism.

The populist LPF, Democrat D66 and independent Geert Wilders said it would be better to end the overlap between the Justice and Interior Ministries by creating a single Security Ministry.

The Christian Democrat CDA and Liberal VVD, who make up the coalition government with D66, want to retain the ministries as they are. The small Christian party SGP said it did not care who was in charge as long as one ministry had the final say in an emergency.

The left-wing parties expressed concern about the extra powers granted, saying the security services were being given carte blanche to act as they wished.

Wilders joined the VVD and LPF to call for tougher measures to combat potential terrorists. The VVD called for Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport to be designated a permanent risk area to allow police to carry out stop-and-search operations there whenever they wished.

Wilders asked if imams in the Netherlands could not be compelled to preach in Dutch to make it clear to everyone what they are saying. Some imams have been accused of preaching intolerance and condemning Western values.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news + counter-terrorism plans

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