Dear Director of Legislation and Legal Affairs of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science,
Thank you for your letter of 25 June 2019 regarding the non-processing of my Wob (FOI) request MT-2018-049 and a new deadline to clarify my Wob request ‘War graves’ MT-2018-034, both submitted at the Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency (DCHA) and at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (ECS). It is unfortunate to be informed that you have withdrawn the first-mentioned Wob request and I will consider whether I will prepare a notice of objection.
In your letter you state that I had expressed my dissatisfaction regarding the deadlines set while I was still awaiting various responses. However, with this letter you give me the opportunity to further clarify my Wob request “War Graves” MT-2018-034 dated April 20, 2018 within two weeks. Otherwise the request will not be processed.
In the quotes from e-mails listed below, I have adapted the mentioned names to the position that the person in question holds or ‘blurred’ them with (xxxx).
You also stated the following in your letter:
In your letter of 29 May 2019 you state that you wish to receive a numerical overview with a brief description of the reports that were made per year in the period 2010 to 2019 about diving vessels, divers, salvage vessels etc. concerning wrongdoing with regard to shipwrecks and respecting the then Monuments Act 1988 and the current Heritage Act, including the UNESCO Convention, the type of reports, by whom (citizen/organization/government service/abroad etc.), the steps taken and the result thereof. You report that various people/organizations have made reports about possible wrongdoing. As examples you mention reports about: Bernicia diving team, xxxx (Friendship), Northseadivers diving team, Zeester diving team, foundation Duik de Noordzee Schoon, xxxx (Bela), Lamlash diving team, Ecuador diving team, Texel diving club, WDSR etc.
However, during the meeting with the DCHA on 13 December 2018, you were offered the opportunity to name the specific maritime-archaeological files that you have questions about, what you believe to be the core problem, and to ask closed and open questions for each file of which the answer can lead to a clarification of the problem, its history and the role of the government in general and the DCHA in particular. Mentioning a keyword per file (such as “Mainz”) will often suffice. This offer has been made to assist you in clarifying your request and to reduce the size to a workable proportion, in accordance with article 3, paragraph 4 of the Wob. The offer has been confirmed to you by an MT member by e-mail of 18 December 2018. This e-mail is attached in Appendix 2 to this letter.
So far you have not made use of this offer. You mentioned some examples in your letter of 29 May 2019, but with this non-exhaustive list it is not yet clear to me about which specific maritime archaeological files you have questions and which questions there are. I would therefore like to offer you the possibility to provide an exhaustive specification of this within the stipulated period in accordance with the offer discussed earlier with you, so that the DCHA can process your request for information and proceed to it, whether or not on account of the Wob.
It is unfortunate that you are not fully informed or selectively. You end your letter that I can send my response to the Wob coordinator, I will send him the link to this online response and all links with follow-up responses. You also indicate that I have not yet taken advantage of the offer made by an MT manager. Strange, since I sent the e-mail below to two MT members and the Wob coordinator on 2 May 2019 and have not yet received a response. However, during a telephone contact on 29 May 2019, in connection with another Wob request, the Wob coordinator was able to inform me that he had asked the MT member a week before if he had already responded to my e-mail and had not got a confirmation. The Wob coordinator also told me that he is no longer involved. Or is the Wob coordinator twaddling here?
Dear MT manager,
Thank you for your message. I notice that when the government sets a deadline, it only applies to the applicant and not to the government itself. Yesterday I had to substantiate a written objection to the decision on my Wob request “Pilots”, which I had to send within four weeks. And now you ask me to send in a positive response to your December offer this week because otherwise you assume that I don’t want to use it. More deadlines …
However, as far as I know, the agreements made during the first meeting in September have not yet been completed, for instance the artefacts, about which I have asked various questions to the policy maker of ECS, but was told the following: Returning of the artefacts is a matter between the Dutch and the British government. The discussions are going well and I expect that the objects can be transferred in the foreseeable future.
In addition, you promised me during the December meeting to look into the SMS Mainz file regarding the heavily redacted e-mail conversation with the DCHA that has not surfaced, as also other documents.
In addition, I entered the conversation with fresh courage in December, but when I made it clear at the beginning that I was also in contact with the Ombudsman who advised me to indicate this at the beginning of the conversation, the atmosphere immediately changed. I deeply regret this because I always try to play with open cards as much as possible.
I find it very worrying that attempts have been made (at least in my experience) to close me off in various ways and that I do not receive the same treatment as, for example, the divers, who can count on the unconditional support of the DCHA and ECS. I also experienced it as very unfortunate that you were attacking me personally with regard to the assignment that I carried out for VER, which I think is unjustified. I am always prepared to look into this also, because I do not think it is intended that a proposition must be written first so that a tender can be formulated based on that.
In view of the foregoing, I can tell you that I am quite willing to discuss a number of issues with each other again, I would like to receive clarifying answers sometime. Perhaps it is possible that we look for a neutral environment in my area to plan a meeting?
The coming week I am busy, I will attend the North Sea meeting on May 8 in The Hague to defend the interests of the relatives there. So it may take a while before I can respond if you respond to this e-mail.
Second MT manager: thanks for the book, now I could show it in Germany when we were there in early April! (see also attached photos)
As you will understand, I am still waiting for a response on my e-mail to the MT manager which I sent on May 2, 2019. Your letter with a new term and your opinion that I did not accept the request are, in my opinion, unfounded. I would like to hear your response before Friday evening 12 July 2019, my e-mail address is well known within your organization!