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Let's get worried

Started by Jeroen Hoppenbrouwers, Wed, 8 Jul 2009 16:53

Jeroen Hoppenbrouwers

Shiv Mathur

This is astounding.

If it's not a rumour, then surely there must be some very good reason.
Perhaps we can argue that the security of the people at large - and the State - takes priority over individual rights.

I'm assuming that a step like this must have some pretty drastic reasons...
(for example, being certain that there are terrorist cells around).


Jeroen Hoppenbrouwers

Down the discussion thread there are lots of details.

Hardy Heinlin

Whose ridiculous idea was that? Does that come from those new Dutch ultra-right? Do they look for Muslims?

Good night,


Phil Bunch

We have lost so many of our basic rights and freedoms in the USA under W's administration.  Secret offshore prisons, kidnapping people and disappearing them for a year or more without charges.  Guantanamo.  Computer-aided screening apparently all telephone and internet traffic for suspicious content.  I had hoped Obama would quickly stop all this stuff, but so far he seems to be compromising at every turn.  Even Guantanamo's closing was not funded by Congress due to silly fears about having such prisoners in US Supermax federal prisons in their home states.  Yet no one has ever escaped from one of these isolated prisons.

I'm surprised that such "no warrant" searches are happening in the Netherlands - my illiterate impression is that it is easily one of the most tolerant (perhaps the most tolerant) countries on earth.  I thought that in Amsterdam they don't enforce many laws unless the offender is creating a significant amount of trouble or injury for others.  In the USA this happens during college spring break at some beach resort areas and they simply don't enforce many laws unless you hurt someone or damage someone's property.

Preventive, no-warrant searches always have seemed like the beginning of the end for a society to me, and the USA has led the way with Guantanamo, "extraordinary rendition", secret offshore prisons, torture, and the like.  Even with a new President we seem to be unable to provide basic of human rights to the remaining prisoners in Guantanamo even though similar rights are routinely provided for other alleged criminals via our huge US-based prisons.  Obama supports the US legal authorities in their fight to prevent financial compensation to those who have been wrongly imprisoned and so forth through these civil rights violations.

Most of the freedoms and rights the US seems to be advancing these days are related to firearms.  In most states, any adult without a criminal record or hospitalization due to major mental illness can simply buy handguns or long guns or ammo after a quick records check.  At local gun shows there is no requirement to do even a quick records check, and private citizen-to-citizen gun sales are unregulated in most states.  

It is now required by law in most states and cities to automatically issue a concealed carry handgun permit upon request unless a very basic, quick investigation reveals a compelling reason not to do so (e.g., conviction of a major crime).  For about a year, with no end in sight, most ammunition is sold out in all stores, apparently since so many people are so fearful/anxious and perhaps because they believe right-wing propaganda that Obama will soon confiscate guns or highly tax ammunition.  It almost seems like 8 years of Bush's fear-based reign did permanent damage to the population's basic judgment.  The latest fad, not yet implemented, is to legally require that colleges and universities allow the concealed carry of handguns on campus.  This is apparently to encourage classroom shoot-outs if some mentally ill student starts a mass shooting incident.  

A political cartoon I saw recently showed an exit sign on an interstate highway that said something like "Exit XX - food, lodging, ammo".

At times I think about the plot of science fiction movies such as the recent remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" in which superior aliens review the progress of humanity.  They quickly decide to terminate the human population due to its excessive hostility and lack of progress.  Of course the first thing the authorities did when the aliens landed in Central Park in NY city was to shoot the alien leader for no reason.  

Western civilization now depends very heavily on Europe, IMO, and I hope our basic human rights and freedoms can be reestablished.
Best wishes,

Phil Bunch

John Davis PC

I think, although its not widely publicised here but our authorities have the same rigts, probably a european edict.

People dont learn from History .... whats a good neighbourhood ?  one without jews ?   or any other group, race, nationality or sexuality .... world's gone bloody mad !

Peter Lang


as I read something that the letter was from the  
"City Planning Office
Department for Building, Inspection and Service" I first thought this is something similar we have in Germany for a long time:

After a new house is built, normally the people from the "Bauamt" (perhaps equilvalent to the "City Planning Office Department for Building, Inspection and Service") visit this house and check if everything meets the official laws and rules and that the house is built as approved.

Normally this will happen before you move to this house and has nothing to do with terrorism or things like that.  These laws are not the same in each province.

But further down it seems to be very clear that the "Residence Brigade" violates the basic rights of the habitants and therefore is illegal itself...

I'm not sure if the idea to move to berlin is a good one. Just remember the situation of closing tempelhof airport. Comparing the content of our statutes with the actions of our politicans you will find two complete different worlds.



Godnogantoe & Potverdikki! -- The Times, They Are A-changing...

The Netherlands were the very first foreign country I saw (not too long after WW2), and even then, still a kid, I was quite impressed by the much more "open"  atmosphere, esp.  compared to the Federal Republic of the Cold War.

Amazingly, the whole long letter does not mention in a single sentence the actual legal basis for all this. Or is there some additional small print which hasn't been quoted in the blog?

E.g. it is said that that obscure "Brigade" co-operates with the police (among others) which implies that it is not the police, and thus is not part of the Prosecution office(s) [Officier van Justitie, if I remember correctly my v.d.Wetering detective stories].

So, as non-prosecution, how can they get any kind of warrant for forced access, and by whom (which court), and based on which laws?
(I seem to recall that Het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden is a constitutional monarchy.)

And what about that merging of all sorts of databases across "services"? No data protection in their respective charters, explicitly prohibiting just that?

Anyhow, it will be interesting to see how this fares; I find it hard to believe the (formerly?) very individualistic Nederlanders will put up with it.

(And consider that anything is better than Berlin, of all places, as an alternative...  :mrgreen: )


Garry Richards

Well done Hoppie. You've got 'em worried.  ;)


Hardy Heinlin

I'm particularly worried about the word "brigade" in context to "pleasant neighbourhood".

Do they wear helmets and boots?


Jeroen Hoppenbrouwers


(typical Dutch way of reacting, this; also notice the slightly modified PvdA (Dutch Labour) logo)

Jeroen Hoppenbrouwers

Quote from: martinSo, as non-prosecution, how can they get any kind of warrant for forced access, and by whom (which court), and based on which laws?

The details aren't clear yet, but it appears to be an extension of inspection rights of several existing civil service units. For example, the fire brigade has inspection rights to assess the fire safety of a building when something changes (construction, use, etc.). The health authorities have inspection rights when you want to install an industrial kitchen. All these inspection rights are linked to the acquisition, or the extension, of a permit to do something (construct, reconstruct, change, operate).

The problem is that when you have just a house and haven't requested a permit to change something, and don't have any permit except to live there, these authorities have no rights to drop by and inspect your house.

It is true that in many areas in cities, in-house industrial cannabis growing (with associated fire hazards), cheap worker lodging (with no escape exits etc.), excessive lack of maintenance (explosion danger) etc. are a real threat to people's lives. When that plantation catches fire due to illegally tapped power without proper equipment, and sets the neighbouring illegal pension with 50 immigrants ablaze, leading to a gas leak and wiping out the entire block -- who gets the blame? City hall will get the blame, for not having inspected the housing. Which is, indeed, illegal without a warrant and therefore cannot be done without "firm suspicion".

The (labour!) people in power apparently decided that combining all aforementioned civil services in one team to quickly sweep the place for all illegal/dangerous situations, and doing this for whole areas that are known to be statistically rich of this kind of situations, would be legally acceptable due to the urgency to do something.

It is more or less the same type of problem as with the "freedom of speech" issues we've been having lately. Where to draw the line between freedom (to make a mess) and social responsibility (to not bother others with your mess)? In these issues, left wing and right wing often change places, and often find each other shoulder to shoulder about the same problem.

Questions have been asked in Parliament (by both right wing and left wing), but the story hasn't made national news yet. That probably will happen one of these days. I'll keep you informed.


Phil Bunch

As long as they will at the same time take care of the internet troll issues that plague our lives, I would personally go along with reduced freedoms!!!  (attempt to grin inserted here)

Down with internet trolls!!!
Best wishes,

Phil Bunch


Thanks for the additional info.

To me, the problem seems to be mainly the "blanket" approach they try to take:

While all these inspections (structural safety, fire prevention, hygiene where applicable, and possibly even the weed agriculture) individually do make sense, it all suddenly enters a whole new dimension when they are applied all at once, and for every household ("blanketing"), without individual specific reasons (and warrants etc.).

Typical example (negative in this case) of system behaviour including biology: The new total suddenly becomes something quite different from the mere sum of the components...

Similar to the general "merging of databases" issue: all quite "harmless" in themselves, but if combined you get Big Brother.

Quote from: Jeroen HoppenbrouwersI'll keep you informed.
Please do.


Jeroen Hoppenbrouwers

Maybe we now get punished for the blanket approach?


I can see why this is happening, and yet I disagree with it.

In neighborhoods such as the one mentioned, as has been stated before there is significant risk to some of the populace due to their neighbor's activities. Therefore, the city is effectively protecting the rights of the people (life) by making sure others cannot violate those rights. At the same time, however, the state is violating their rights.

It seems that recently many people in many nations have been trading in their rights in the name of security. I believe the real question is this: where does freedom end? Once that line is crossed, will we ever be able to get back? Also, has that line been crossed yet?

Perhaps in a decade we will be able to look back on this and realize that these were only temporary measures; at least I hope so.
-Jon Monreal

Phil Bunch

In the USA, Benjamin Franklin is often cited with respect to the issue of freedom vs safety.  Unfortunately, W showed that his government and many of the American people, decided to ignore this advice, quoted below:

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Best wishes,

Phil Bunch

Hardy Heinlin

Which method is safe?

Is it safe if a small monopolistic group of persons define the safest method and use their method to control all others?

Can we rely on a "safety brigade"? Is their method the best? Are these persons reliable? Do they make less mistakes than others?

Can we rely on a policeman because "police" is written on the jacket?

And so on ...



Quote from: Hardy HeinlinCan we rely on a policeman because "police" is written on the jacket?

Certainly we cannot always rely on police, as there are corrupt police in most countries; I doubt very many people would dispute this. Of course, some countries have it worse than others, where the police have immense power and are, at the same time, easily bribed. At least in the United States and Europe, however, I feel that sometimes you just have to trust them (with exceptions on a case-by-case basis), because with the current state of society, the alternative is not pretty. Plus, you have to respect these people for putting their lives on the line to defend the principles of their society.

QuoteIs it safe if a small monopolistic group of persons define the safest method and use their method to control all others?

Now there's where I start to get worried. Officials may have their own agendas; what protects us against their corruption are our constitutions and basic freedoms. The problem is when people are made to look the other way. The power to choose those who govern is powerful indeed, but sometimes people are herded like sheep.
-Jon Monreal