Retired Bonaire politician Jopie Abraham. (File photo)
THE HAGUE--The Dutch intelligence and security service AIVD acted partially on illegal grounds when it gathered information on the now retired Bonaire politician Jopie Abraham in the period 2005-2010, concluded the Committee of Supervision on the Intelligence and Security Agencies CTIVD recently.
The Dutch newspaper NRC revealed on Friday that Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk sent a letter to Abraham of the Bonaire Democratic Party PDB on Tuesday in which he informed the former Minister of the Netherlands Antilles, and Commissioner and Member of the Island Council of Bonaire, of the results of the investigation by the CTIVD.
Abraham had filed a formal complaint in August and September 2015 against the conduct of the AIVD in the period January 2005 to October 2010. Abraham accused the AIVD of spying on Bonaire politicians during the negotiations with the Dutch Government in the process to dismantle the Netherlands Antilles and to make Bonaire part of the Netherlands.
Plasterk’s letter dated March 29, 2016, a copy of which has been supplied to The Daily Herald, stated that the CTIVD had advised to declare Abraham’s complaint “partially founded” and “partially unfounded.”
However, the Minister couldn’t supply the motivation of the CTIVD because the committee’s report is filed as classified. The law states that data that can give an indication as to the identity of a source, an ongoing investigation or investigation method cannot be made public. As such the CTIVD report will remain classified. “I cannot send you the report,” Plasterk informed Abraham.
The Minister stated that he was unable to divulge whether the AIVD investigation, which he said was based on its legal task description, was carried out in the Netherlands or outside. “I can also not provide information on the way the investigation was carried out.”
Plasterk remained unclear as to the period that the AIVD investigation covered. However, the CTIVD concluded that no investigation by the AIVD during a “short period,” and as such this part of the investigation should be considered “illegal.”
In concluding, Plasterk stated that Abraham’s complaint for the largest part of the period in question was unfounded. This means, explained the Minister, “that in this period no investigation was carried out of your person, be it that this investigation largely took place legally.”
Plasterk stated that “measures” were taken in the meantime. He pointed out to Abraham that the latter had the right to turn to the National Ombudsman regarding the handling of his complaint. When contacted by The Daily Herald for a reaction, Abraham responded that at this moment he had no comment as he was considering what his possible next step would be.
Abraham did supply his March 17, 2016 letter to Plasterk in which he urged the Minister to immediately respond to his complaint. “The handling of my complaint is starting to turn into a comedy,” stated the retired Bonaire politician.
In his letter, Abraham pointed out that in January he was informed by the CTIVD that its advice had been forwarded to the Minister. “It is now nine weeks later, and you repeatedly ask for postponement. In February you again ask for a postponement of four weeks. This was five weeks ago, and still I haven’t received a reaction,” stated an obviously irate Abraham.
Abraham’s struggle to get more information about his suspicions that he had been the subject of investigation dates back to September 2014, when requested to see his AIVD dossier. He received confirmation from Plasterk that there was information on him at the AIVD, but that this could not be supplied to him.
Abraham filed a complaint, and was able to elucidate on his grievances during a hearing with the AIVD in May 2015. In July 2015, Plasterk again refused Abraham to see his AIVD dossier, for “reasons of national security.” Initially, Plasterk refused to take Abraham’s complaint about the working method of the AIVD into consideration. This decision was retracted shortly after. A hearing with the CTIVD took place in October 2015.
In 2013, the NRC newspaper disclosed that the AIVD from 2005 to 2010 had spied on several Bonaire politicians: Ramonsito Booi and Burney El Hage, both of the UPB party, and Abraham.
NRC reported that it concerned an illegal operation which was kept secret from the then Netherlands Antilles Government. It turned out that the AIVD didn’t have the required permission of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Antilles at the time, Emily de Jongh-Elhage.