As it turns out, this was a friendly one-two between the PvdA (Labour) and the Volkskrant (NL) to embarass the government. One of the new MPs for the PvdA, Ton Heerts, assisted the Volkskrant writer on 'how to interpret data' in the worst possible light and gathering information on his own for the 'story'.The report by the committee was leaked to RTL News (NL) and leaves little doubt about this "scandal": Dutch military intelligence did not torture. Mistakes were made, but that was mainly the results of the rules of conduct with regard to prisoners were 'unworkable'. But none of these mistakes were grave enough to initiate criminal prosecution. There most certainly were no gross, Abu Ghraib-style violations or abuses, as some in the media and politics alledged. Back in November, PvdA leader (and current vice-PM) Wouter Bos was quick to condemn the situation:
[Wouter Bos] compared the Dutch abuses with the U.S. abuses of Iraqi prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison.Any bets he will apologize to the Dutch military for that insulting insinuation?
The big question now is: Will this have consequences for the key players in this sad affair: Ton Heerts and the Volkskrant? The Volkskrant seems to have indulged in some extensive 'fictionalization' of facts to further it's own agenda. Thus it would seem they presented themselves as a paper of dubious quality. In some circles the Volkskrant already was suspect, and with good reason. But the difference now is the open and brazen way in which they prosecuted this non-story, leaving no room for any doubt about the aims and character of this supposed "quality paper".
Ton Heerts, PvdA MP, also used this to further his own cause, trying to get away from being a obscure backbencher. Given his pledge to serve the Dutch public, he can be accused of dereliction of duty. Nobody, and I mean nobody, has been served with his backstabbing. Back in the olden days accusations of treason would make his work as MP (not to mention his life) miserable to the point of voluntary resignation. None of that will be forthcoming, of course. But it would not be surprsing of the PvdA decided to silently push Heerts back to the backbenches and, in time, out of the Second Chamber. After the final publication of the investigation tomorrow Heerts will be a continuing embarrasment for the PvdA for as long as he remains MP.
[UPADTE001] The NIS news report is here.