Keep Us Strong WikiLeaks logo

Currently released so far... 5267 / 251,287

Articles

Browse latest releases

Browse by creation date

Browse by origin

A B C D F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z

Browse by tag

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
QA
YE YM YI

Browse by classification

Community resources

courage is contagious

Viewing cable 06THEHAGUE814, ONDCP DIRECTOR'S APRIL 5-6 VISIT TO THE HAGUE

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Understanding cables
Every cable message consists of three parts:
  • The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
  • The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
  • The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.

Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #06THEHAGUE814.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06THEHAGUE814 2006-04-12 13:01 2011-01-19 21:09 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy The Hague
VZCZCXRO0958
RR RUEHAG RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ
RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTC #0814/01 1021336
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 121336Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5388
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 1648
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0151
RUEHPO/AMEMBASSY PARAMARIBO 0277
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 THE HAGUE 000814 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

STATE FOR EUR/UBI, D/HS, EUR/PGI, WHA/AND 
INL FOR MCKECHNIE 

E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: SNAR KCRM PINS PGOV AF NL CO NS
SUBJECT: ONDCP DIRECTOR'S APRIL 5-6 VISIT TO THE HAGUE 


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The Director for the White House Office 
of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), John Walters visited 
The Hague on April 5-6, at the end of a three-nation tour 
that included stops in Afghanistan and Belgium. Walters met 
with Thomas Driessen, Director of the Dutch National Crime 
Squad, the Dutch Ministers of Health and Justice--who share 
responsibility for drug policy in The Netherlands--and the 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director General for Political 
Affairs Hugo Siblesz. Walters provided a readout of his trip 
to Afghanistan, noting that considerable progress had been 
made in poppy eradication. He also commended the Dutch for 
the substantial steps they have taken to curb their Ecstasy 
trade. The Director promised to send an ONDCP staffer to The 
Hague soon to further follow-up on the bilateral statement of 
cooperation that he and Health Minister Hoogervorst signed 
last July. Siblesz updated Walters on the current state of 
play in Dutch international anti-drug cooperation, 
particularly related to the Caribbean and Latin America. 
Walters welcomed the Dutch efforts and expressed his intent 
to continue to engage the Dutch on counter-drug initiatives, 
particularly in the area of research and drug treatment 
efforts. Walters was accompanied by Ambassador Arnall, ONDCP 
Special Assistant to the Director James O'Gara, ONDCP 
Assistant Deputy Director for the Office of Supply Reduction 
Patrick Ward, ONDCP Policy Analyst Charlotte Sisson, DEA 
Country Attache Jeffrey Boobar, and US Embassy Officer Lisa 
Brooks. 

2. (SBU) ONDCP Director Walters' visit to The Hague began 
with a briefing from the Director of the National Crime 
Squad, Tom Driessen. Driessen noted that his organization 
had been operational for only two years, is under the control 
of the Justice Minister, and has responsibility for organized 
crime, including counter-drug, counterterrorism, and illegal 
weapon interdiction operations. He said that the 
establishment of the Crime Squad had significantly enhanced 
the ability of the Dutch police to cooperate effectively with 
international partners; previously investigations of serious 
crimes were decentralized in the 25 regional police forces. 
He stressed that international cooperation was vital. The 
Netherlands is a major transit point for narcotics entering 
the European market -- the Miami of Western Europe -- and 
consequently the Dutch police rely on relationships with 
partners, especially in the area of intelligence sharing, to 
combat criminal organizations that operate in several 
countries. Driessen conceded that insufficient progress had 
been made on efforts to track and interdict illicit money. 
He noted that Dutch privacy laws and limited resources make 
it necessary for police and prosecutors to concentrate on 
stopping the sale, production, and distribution of drugs; 
following the flow of illicit finances is a lower priority; 
this is an area where international assistance is 
particularly valuable. He further noted that while countries 
such as the United States have a easier time stopping illicit 
finances because of more liberal banking laws, in the 
Netherlands it is easier to obtain permission to do 
wiretapping operations: each system has its advantages and 
disadvantages with regards to law enforcement tools at its 
disposal. (Comment: Driessen is extremely pro-US and was 
instrumental in convincing the GONL to allow DEA agents to 
co-locate with the National Crime Squad Cocaine Unit. End 
Comment.) 

3. (SBU) Driessen noted that the Dutch public continues to 
distinguish between soft drugs (marijuana) and hard drugs 
(cocaine and heroin). They tolerate personal consumption of 
soft drugs because there are no definitive studies showing 
that marijuana has serious health consequences for casual 
users. Driessen noted that drug consumption in The 
Netherlands has stabilized, and the DEA Attache added that 
the average age of first-time drug users is going up in 
Holland. The Dutch have the lowest drug addiction rates in 
Europe. These factors make it difficult to convince the 
general public to view cannabis use as anything other than a 
social or public nuisance problem. Driessen added that any 
effort to close down all marijuana coffeehouses would likely 
be strongly resisted because they are widely viewed as a 
unique part of the Dutch character. He did note, however, 
that mayors in border cities and in Amsterdam, The Hague, and 
Rotterdam have been successful in permanently closing 
coffeehouses that have been found to sell cannabis to minors, 
sell more than the allotted amount to a single customer, or 
violate other laws governing the operation of coffeehouses. 

THE HAGUE 00000814 002 OF 004 

As a consequence, the total number of coffeehouses in The 
Netherlands has steadily declined. (Comment: It is likely 
that in a few years, only well-established, law-abiding 
coffeeshops will remain in business. End Comment.) Driessen 
added that the police are also paying more attention to 
combating organized crime groups involved in the production 
and trafficking of cannabis. He said there is now less of a 
tendency for officials to close their eyes to the back 
door problem of coffee houses being supplied from illegal 
indoor marijuana plantations. 

4. (SBU) Driessen noted that Dutch and other nationals have 
formed organized crime groups that control cocaine and heroin 
distribution in The Netherlands. For example, Colombian, 
Surnamese and Eastern European criminal organizations are 
active in the country, particularly in Amsterdam and other 
major cities. Driessen added that organized crime is not of 
the magnitude or scale that is found in the United States or 
other European countries. However, there are large profits 
to be made in cocaine and heroin smuggling and it remains a 
serious problem in The Netherlands with its open borders and 
large seaports. He further explained that the Dutch have had 
considerable success with the 100 percent check of passengers 
coming in from Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles, but 
containerized sea cargoes are a viable alternative for 
traffickers. (Comment: The Dutch currently only have two 
machines to x-ray some 8 million containers per year that 
come into the country; at best only 50,000 containers per 
year could be x-rayed. End Comment.) Driessen attributed 
recent success against Ecstasy production and export to a 
combination of good intelligence, a focus on how drug 
organizations work, and investigations of money and trade 
lines. He added that the Dutch could improve on their use 
and application of certain law enforcement methods. For 
example, Dutch police are currently prohibited from using 
civilian informants in undercover operations. On the other 
hand, they make extensive use of wiretaps. 

5. (SBU) Director Walters met jointly with Justice Minister 
Donner and Health Minister Hoogervorst. Walters provided a 
detailed report on his recent visit to Afghanistan. He noted 
that this was his third trip to the country in two years, and 
he saw marked improvement in Afghan willingness and ability 
to eradicate poppy cultivation. While the opium trade 
continues to represent a serious threat to the flagging 
government of President Karzai, poppy cultivation is down 50 
percent overall and down 90 percent in Nangarhar province 
from 10 years ago. The ministers were accompanied by Arie 
IJzerzman, Director International Criminal Affairs and Drugs 
Policy Department, Ministry of Justice, (MoJ); Paul van 
Voorst, Head, Drug Policy Coordination Bureau, (MoJ); Gert 
Bogers, Senior Policy Advisor, (MoJ); Annemiek van Bolhuis, 
Director Nutrition, Health Protection and Prevention 
Department, Ministry of Health, (MoH); Senior Advisor Marcel 
de Kort, (MoH); and Albert Olthof, Chief, Bureau of 
International Police Cooperation, Ministry of Interior. 

6. (SBU) In response to a query about how the Dutch could 
further assist the United States on drug-related issues, the 
Director noted that the United States was keen to increase 
cooperation on interdicting precursor chemicals used in the 
production of methamphetamines that transit through Dutch 
air- and seaports from India and China, destined for 
laboratories in Mexico and ultimately into the United States. 
Walters added that the United States still considers further 
reductions in the flow of South American cocaine and heroin 
into the United States as a top priority. Because of Dutch 
interests in the region, Director Walters suggested that the 
Dutch and the United States could further cooperate in this 
area. 

7. (SBU) Both Hoogervorst and Donner noted that the Dutch 
are working cooperatively with countries around the world to 
reduce international drug trafficking. Health Minister 
Hoogervorst noted that he had recently returned from a 
four-day visit to Colombia and he was impressed by the 
Colombians commitment to drug eradication, adding that their 
political survival depended on it. He said that domestic 
consumption is a serious problem for the Colombians as well. 
Justice Minister Donner noted that he also had visited 
Colombia last August, and he was favorably impressed with the 
Colombians anti-drug efforts. He noted a disturbing trend in 
the smuggling of cocaine into Europe from Venezuelan ports, 

THE HAGUE 00000814 003 OF 004 

but was optimistic about an agreement -- currently awaiting 
ratification -- with the Venezuelans to boost counter-drug 
cooperation; the Surnamese have also requested closer 
cooperation, especially on controlling transshipment of drugs 
via air travel. Donner was proud that inspections at 
Schiphol Airport of aircraft from the Netherlands Antilles 
and Suriname had virtually eliminated those distribution 
routes. He further noted that The Netherlands, Spain and 
France are working cooperatively on efforts to interdict 
cocaine coming into Europe by sea, especially in the Costa 
del Sol region. 

8. (SBU) Donner conceded that progress in other areas of 
anti-drug efforts has been mixed. For example he mentioned 
that tremendous progress had been made in the GONL 5-year 
program to halt the sale, production, and distribution of 
Ecstasy. However, he explained that public opinion and tight 
resources would make it difficult to mount a systematic 
attack against indoor marijuana plantations. He acknowledged 
that such plantations are particularly prevalent in the 
Rotterdam area; police are employing imagery and heat-seeking 
technologies to unearth illegal marijuana growers. Donner 
added that drug tourism from Belgium, France and elsewhere 
is a serious problem, especially in border towns such as 
Maastricht. He supports the mayor of Maastricht's initiative 
to limit coffeehouses in his city to Dutch residents in an 
effort to curb the drug tourism and concomitant crime. 

9. (SBU) Director Walters reiterated the U.S. commitment to 
the statement he and Hoogervorst signed in July 2005 on 
cooperative steps towards demand reduction and research into 
the causes and prevention of drug use. Walters noted that he 
would soon send an ONDCP staffer to meet with Dutch demand 
reduction experts to re-energize the initiative. He added 
that he hoped to have a new deputy onboard soon who is an 
expert in the field of demand reduction. Hoogervorst was 
pleased to hear that the statement would soon be getting 
greater attention on the U.S. side and welcomed the exchange 
among personnel. Walters indicated that he wanted to explore 
joint research opportunities, especially on the topic of 
long-term drug consumption. Hoogervorst provided the group 
with a readout on a study undertaken last fall on the effects 
of increasing levels of THC (psychoactive compound in 
marijuana) on humans. He noted that the bottom line of the 
study was obvious, if you smoke marijuana that is twice as 
strong, you get twice as stoned. Health Ministry senior 
advisor, Marcel de Kort added that the study found that there 
were no additional side effects from increasing the levels of 
THC in the marijuana that the participants took, simply a 
greater intensity of symptoms such as increased blood 
pressure and drowsiness. Because the sample size only 
included 24 male subjects, it is impossible to draw 
meaningful conclusions from this one study. 

10. (SBU) Walters also met with MFA Director General for 
Political Affairs Hugo Siblesz. Siblesz was accompanied by 
Marion Kappeyne van de Coppello, Director Western Hemisphere, 
(WHA); and senior advisors Walter Lok and Alexandra 
Valkenburg. The foreign ministry was keen to hear Walters' 
readout from his trip to Afghanistan. Walters noted that 
poppy production is not a cash cow for the average Afghan 
farmer and that strides were being made to bring 
infrastructure and utilities to rural areas to make other 
crops viable alternatives. He added that a military presence 
alone will not work and that the Karzai government was 
showing signs that it was expanding its control outside of 
the capital. In most areas, Afghan forces are leading 
counter-drug operations with the United States in back-up or 
support roles. Siblesz noted that Foreign Minister Bot will 
travel to Afghanistan and Pakistan in early May to assess the 
situation first hand. 

11. (SBU) With regard to anti-drug efforts in other parts of 
the world, Siblesz commented that efforts are up, but so are 
the problems. Kappeyne van de Coppello provided Walters 
with a readout of Dutch anti-drug initiatives in the 
Caribbean and South America. She noted that GONL is closely 
cooperating with the UK, France and Spain and wants the 
European Commission to step up its financial commitments to 
counter-drug efforts in the region. (Comment: The Dutch 
hosted a one-day conference on enhancing EU anti-drug 
cooperation in the Caribbean on February 9. End Comment.) 
In particular, the MFA is interested in exploring and 

THE HAGUE 00000814 004 OF 004 

eliminating the alliances between drug traffickers, organized 
crime groups and abusers of human rights. Kappeyne van de 
Coppello added however, that the Dutch respect the fact that 
countries such as Bolivia seek to preserve their traditional 
uses of coca, but La Paz is virtually powerless to do 
anything about overproduction. Director Walters noted that 
because Bolivian cocaine is of such a poor quality, little of 
it makes it to US shores and it is a bigger problem for 
Europe. Kappeyne van de Coppello also noted that the Dutch 
have an ongoing project with the Peruvians to help them 
identify suspect shipping containers that may contain 
contraband. She said that the Surnamese Minister of Justice 
was doing an excellent job at counternarcotics control with 
few resources. She concluded that the Netherlands Antilles, 
particularly Aruba, remain a primary focus for Dutch 
anti-drug efforts. 

12. (SBU) Comment: Walters had wide-ranging and open 
discussions about a variety of drug-related issues with his 
Dutch counterparts. He complimented the Dutch on areas where 
substantial progress had been made, especially in the 
decrease of Ecstasy coming into the United States from The 
Netherlands, and he made commitments to continue the positive 
bilateral efforts currently underway. For their part, the 
Dutch were pleased with the US-Dutch working relations on 
drug policy and law enforcement efforts currently underway. 
ARNALL