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Netherlands Education

James (Jon) Castle - 7 December 1950 to 12 January 2018

Over four decades Captain Jon Castle navigated Greenpeace ships by the twin stars of ‘right and wrong’, defending the environment and promoting peace. Greenpeace chronicler, Rex Weyler, recounts a few of the stories that made up an extraordinary life.

Captain Jon Castle onboard the MV Sirius, 1 May 1996

James (Jon) Castle first opened his eyes virtually at sea. He was born 7 December 1950 in Cobo Bay on the Channel Island of Guernsey, UK. He grew up in a house known locally as Casa del Mare, the closest house on the island to the sea, the second son of Robert Breedlove Castle and Mary Constance Castle. 

Young Jon Castle loved the sea and boats. He worked on De Ile de Serk, a cargo boat that supplied nearby Sark island, and he studied at the University of Southampton to become an officer in the Merchant Navy. 

Jon became a beloved skipper of Greenpeace ships. He sailed on many campaigns and famously skippered two ships during Greenpeace’s action against Shell’s North Sea oil platform, Brent Spar. During his activist career, Jon spelt his name as "Castel" to avoid unwanted attention on his family.

Right and wrong

Jon had two personal obsessions: he loved books and world knowledge and was extremely well-read.  He also loved sacred sites and spent personal holidays walking to stone circles, standing stones, and holy wells.  

As a young man, Jon became acquainted with the Quaker tradition, drawn by their dedication to peace, civil rights, and direct social action. In 1977, when Greenpeace purchased their first ship - the Aberdeen trawler renamed, the Rainbow Warrior - Jon signed on as first mate, working with skipper Peter Bouquet and activists Susi Newborn, Denise Bell and Pete Wilkinson.

In 1978, Wilkinson and Castle learned of the British government dumping radioactive waste at sea in the deep ocean trench off the coast of Spain in the Sea of Biscay. In July, the Rainbow Warrior followed the British ship, Gem, south from the English coast, carrying a load of toxic, radioactive waste barrels. The now-famous confrontation during which the Gem crew dropped barrels onto a Greenpeace inflatable boat, ultimately changed maritime law and initiated a ban on toxic dumping at sea.

After being arrested by Spanish authorities, Castle and Bouquet staged a dramatic escape from La Coru?a harbour at night, without running lights, and returned the Greenpeace ship to action. Crew member Simone Hollander recalls, as the ship entered Dublin harbour in 1978, Jon cheerfully insisting that the entire crew help clean the ship's bilges before going ashore, an action that not only built camaraderie among the crew, but showed a mariner's respect for the ship itself. In 1979, they brought the ship to Amsterdam and participated in the first Greenpeace International meeting.

In 1980 Castle and the Rainbow Warrior crew confronted Norwegian and Spanish whaling ships, were again arrested by Spanish authorities, and brought into custody in the El Ferrol naval base.

The Rainbow Warrior remained in custody for five months, as the Spanish government demanded 10 million pesetas to compensate the whaling company. On the night of November 8, 1980, the Rainbow Warrior, with Castle at the helm, quietly escaped the naval base, through the North Atlantic, and into port in Jersey.

In 1995, Castle skippered the MV Greenpeace during the campaign against French nuclear testing in the Pacific and led a flotilla into New Zealand to replace the original Rainbow Warrior that French agents bombed in Auckland in 1985.

Over the years, Castle became legendary for his maritime skills, courage, compassion, commitment, and for his incorruptible integrity. "Environmentalism: That does not mean a lot to me," he once said, "I am here because of what is right and wrong. Those words are good enough for me."

Brent Spar   Action at Brent Spar Oil Rig in the North Sea, 16 June 1995

One of the most successful Greenpeace campaigns of all time began in the summer of 1995 when Shell Oil announced a plan to dump a floating oil storage tank, containing toxic petroleum residue, into the North Atlantic. Castle signed on as skipper of the Greenpeace vessel Moby Dick, out of Lerwick, Scotland. A month later, on 30 April 1995, Castle and other activists occupied the Brent Spar and called for a boycott of Shell service stations.

When Shell security and British police sprayed the protesters with water cannons, images flooded across world media, demonstrations broke out across Europe, and on May 15, at the G7 summit, German chancellor Helmut Kohl publicly protested to British Prime Minister John Major. In June, 11 nations, at the Oslo and Paris Commission meetings, called for a moratorium on sea disposal of offshore installations.

After three weeks, British police managed to evict Castle and the other occupiers and held them briefly in an Aberdeen jail. When Shell and the British government defied public sentiment and began towing the Spar to the disposal site, consumers boycotted Shell stations across Europe. Once released, Castle took charge of the chartered Greenpeace vessel Altair and continued to pursue the Brent Spar towards the dumping ground. Castle called on the master of another Greenpeace ship, fitted with a helideck, to alter course and rendezvous with him. Using a helicopter, protesters re-occupied the Spar and cut the wires to the detonators of scuppering charges.

One of the occupiers, young recruit Eric Heijselaar, recalls: "One of the first people I met as I climbed on board was a red-haired giant of a man grinning broadly at us. My first thought was that he was a deckhand, or maybe the bosun. So I asked if he knew whether a cabin had been assigned to me yet. He gave me a lovely warm smile, and reassured me that, yes, a cabin had been arranged. At dinner I found out that he was Jon Castle, not a deckhand, not the bosun, but the captain. And what a captain!"

With activists occupying the Spar once again, Castle and the crew kept up their pursuit when suddenly the Spar altered course, heading towards Norway. Shell had given up. The company announced that Brent Spar would be cleaned out and used as a foundation for a new ferry terminal. Three years later, in 1998, the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) passed a ban on dumping oil installations into the North Sea.

"There was no question among the crew who had made this possible, who had caused this to happen," Heijselaar recalls. "It was Jon Castle. His quiet enthusiasm and the trust he put into people made this crew one of the best I ever saw. He always knew exactly what he wanted out of a campaign, how to gain momentum, and he always found the right words to explain his philosophies. He was that rare combination, both a mechanic and a mystic. And above all he was a very loving, kind human being."


After the Brent Spar campaign, Castle returned to the South Pacific on the Rainbow Warrior II, to obstruct a proposed French nuclear test in the Moruroa atoll. Expecting the French to occupy their ship, Castle and engineer, Luis Manuel Pinto da Costa, rigged the steering mechanism to be controlled from the crow's-nest. When French commandos boarded the ship, Castle stationed himself in the crow's-nest, cut away the access ladder and greased the mast so that the raiders would have difficulty arresting him.

Eventually, the commandos cut a hole into the engine-room and severed cables controlling the engine, radio, and steering mechanism, making Castle's remote control system worthless. They towed the Rainbow Warrior II to the island of Hao, as three other protest vessels arrived. 

Three thousand demonstrators gathered in the French port of Papeete, demanding that France abandon the tests. Oscar Temaru - leader of Tavini Huiraatira, an anti-nuclear, pro-independence party - who had been aboard the Rainbow Warrior II when it was raided, welcomed anti-testing supporters from Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Sweden, Canada, Germany, Brazil, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the Philippines, and American Samoa. Eventually, France ended their tests, and atmospheric nuclear testing in the world's oceans stopped once and for all.

“Moral courage”

Through these extraordinary missions, Jon Castle advocated "self-reflection" not only for individual activists, but for the organisation that he loved. Activists, Castle maintained, required "moral courage." He cautioned, "Don't seek approval. Someone has to be way out in front... illuminating territory in advance of the main body of thought."

He opposed "corporatism" in activist organisations and urged Greenpeace to avoid becoming "over-centralised or compartmentalised."  He felt that activist decisions should emerge from the actions themselves, not in an office. We can't fight industrialism with "money, numbers, and high-tech alone," he once wrote in a personal manifesto. Organisations have to avoid traps of "self-perpetuation" and focus on the job "upsetting powerful forces, taking on multinationals and the military-industrial complex."

He recalled that Greenpeace had become popular "because a gut message came through to the thirsty hearts of poor suffering people ... feeling the destruction around them."  Activists, Castle felt, required "freedom of expression, spontaneity [and] an integrated lifestyle."  An activist organisation should foster a "feeling of community" and exhibit "moral courage." Castle felt that social change activists had to "question the materialistic, consumerist lifestyle that drives energy overuse, the increasingly inequitable world economic tyranny that creates poverty and drives environmental degradation," and must maintain "honour, courage and the creative edge."

Well loved hero

Susi Newborn, who was there to welcome Jon aboard the Rainbow Warrior way back in 1977, and who gave the ship its name, wrote about her friend with whom she felt "welded at the heart: He was a Buddhist and a vegetarian and had an earring in his ear. He liked poetry and classical music and could be very dark, but also very funny. Once, I cut his hair as he downed a bottle or two of rum reciting The Second Coming by Yeats."

Newborn recalls Castle insisting that women steer the ships in and out of port because, "they got it right, were naturals." She recalls a night at sea, Castle "lashed to the wheel facing one of the biggest storms of last century head on. I was flung about my cabin like a rag doll until I passed out. We never talked about the storm, as if too scared to summon up the behemoth we had encountered. A small handwritten note pinned somewhere in the mess, the sole acknowledgment of a skipper to his six-person crew: ‘Thank You.’” Others remember Castle as the Greenpeace captain that could regularly be found in the galley doing kitchen duty.

In 2008, with the small yacht Musichana, Castle and Pete Bouquet staged a two-man invasion of Diego Garcia island to protest the American bomber base there and the UK's refusal to allow evicted Chagos Islanders to return to their homes. They anchored in the lagoon and radioed the British Indian Ocean Territories officials on the island to tell them they and the US Air Force were acting in breach of international law and United Nations resolutions. When arrested, Castle politely lectured his captors on their immoral and illegal conduct.

In one of his final actions, as he battled with his failing health, Castle helped friends in Scotland operate a soup kitchen, quietly prepping food and washing up behind the scenes.  

Upon hearing of his passing, Greenpeace ships around the world - the Arctic Sunrise, the Esperanza, and the Rainbow Warrior - flew their flags at half mast.

Jon is fondly remembered by his brother David, ex-wife Caroline, their son, Morgan Castle, born in 1982, and their daughter, Eowyn Castle, born in 1984. Morgan has a daughter of eight months Flora, and and Eowyn has a daughter, Rose, who is 2.   

They are alleged to have been made to schools in Scotland, England, the USA, Canada and the Netherlands. | 12/3/19

The Paris Peace Forum (PPF), established by the French president Emanual Macron, was picked by the Global Commission for Stability in Cyberspace (GCSC) to launch its final report "Advancing Cyberstability" for good reasons: The Internet isn't just a purely technical issue with some political implications anymore. On the eve of the 2020s, the management of cyberspace is a global problem, a matter of international security, a question of war or peace.

The GCSC was formally launched at the Munich Security Conference in February 2017. The Commission, a multistakeholder group of 28 individuals from around the world and co-chaired by former politicians — as Marina Kaljurand, Ex-Foreign Minister of Estonia, Latha Reddy, former deputy national security adviser to the Indian Primeminister and Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security under US President George W. Bush — concluded its work after 30 months with a clear message to acting politicians and the whole Internet community: The world needs a global framework for cyber stability.

Instability in cyberspace is not only as dangerous as climate change, but it can also undermine international security and peace. Stef Blok, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, said at the launch: "Since stability in cyberspace is directly linked with stability in the 'real world,' such a cyber stability framework is more crucial than ever. The next step in this multilateral process is to collect evidence and hold those who break the rules responsible. Together we must increase accountability and combine all pieces of the puzzle between governments, tech and security firms, and civil society."

The work of the Commission originated out of a desire to address rising social and political instability as a result of malicious actions in cyberspace. The situation has further deteriorated, as evident by the rise in the number and sophistication of cyberattacks by state and non-state actors, increasingly putting considerable benefits of cyberspace at risk. In this increasingly volatile environment, there is an apparent lack of mutual understanding and awareness among communities working on issues related to international cybersecurity.

The fact that more than 30 countries have developed offensive cyber capabilities indicates that the world is moving into troubled waters if nothing is happening.

"Cyberstability and governance are inextricably and naturally linked," said Michael Chertoff, GCSC Co-Chair. "As the digital age evolves so rapidly, governments and societies lack the desired level of exchange, let alone the decision-making processes needed to ensure the stability of cyberspace. The GCSC's effort complements the work of other organizations, and will serve to influence how critical actors can engage with one another and collaborate towards a stable cyberspace." Emphasizing a concerted, multistakeholder approach, the framework reflects technological, product and operational measures, as well as a focus on the behavioral change required among all stakeholders.

The backbone of the proposed "Cyberstability Framework" is a set of eight individual norms. Those norms are based on the 11 norms adopted by the so-called Group of Governmental Experts (UNGGE) in 2015 — but they go one step further. They are aimed not only at states but also at non-state actors. And they are more specific if it comes to details concerning the stability of the Internet itself.

Protect the Public Internet Core

The GGE agreed in 2015 on a norm to protect critical infrastructure. The commission has this specified and proposed a norm to protect the public core of the Internet. The proposed norm reads as follows: "State and non-state actors should neither conduct nor knowingly allow activity that intentionally and substantially damages the general availability or integrity of the public core of the Internet, and therefore the stability of cyberspace." In the eyes of the Commission, the "public Internet core" includes such critical elements of the Internet infrastructure as packet routing and forwarding, naming and numbering systems (the DNS), the cryptographic mechanisms of security and identity, transmission media, software, and data centers.

The mysterious Sea-Turtle attack from Januar 2019 can be seen as a wake-up call to look deeper into the new threats, risks, and vulnerabilities coming with advanced capabilities from actors with bad intentions.

There should be a global consensus that an attack against the technical core elements of the Internet infrastructure in an interconnected world, is very dangerous behavior and should be outlawed by all parties. The whole mankind is now so dependent on the Internet that an attack against the core elements of the Internet should be seen not only as a cybercrime but a crime against humanity.

This norm has a lot of potential for further elaboration and could be the starting point for drafting a new type of international agreement, fixing rights and responsibilities not only for states but also for non-state actors. The New-Mundial Declaration (2014) and the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace (2018) have already demonstrated, that documents with commitments both for state and non-state actors can be successfully negotiated. Such an approach would not undermine existing international law. On the contrary, it would strengthen it and help in understanding that the international treaty system in the 21st century is more and more embedded into a multistakeholder environment. And it would recognize that cyberspace in the "age of digital interdependence" (as it was put by the UN High-Level panel on digital cooperation) is too complex to be managed by governments alone, even if they are united in good will, which is — unfortunately — not the case. To reach sustainable international arrangements, it needs the involvement of the private sector, civil society and the technical community.

Cyber hygiene and Reducing Vulnerabilities

Another norm, proposed by the commission, is "Cyberhygeine." We all know that the highest risk factor in cyberspace is the uninformed and lazy end-user. And we have now more than four billion end-users in cyberspace, many of them uninformed and lazy. The security risk can be minimized dramatically if everybody understands its individual responsibility and if the developer, producer and provider of services have security as its first priority.

One can compare here the situation with the public health sector. It is certainly true that governments have a special responsibility to adopt rules for hygiene and to control hospitals and food production. However, if individuals do not wash their hands and ignore simple rules of daily hygiene, and if hospitals do not follow the hygiene guidelines, the risk for an epidemic is high if a virus is underway. The proposed norm reads: "States should enact appropriate measures, including laws and regulations, to ensure basic cyber hygiene."

Linked to this is another norm which aims at non-state actors: "Developers and producers of products and services on which the stability of cyberspace depends should (1) prioritize security and stability, (2) take reasonable steps to ensure that their products or services are free from significant vulnerabilities, and (3) take measures to timely mitigate vulnerabilities that are later discovered and to be transparent about their process. All actors have a duty to share information on vulnerabilities in order to help prevent or mitigate malicious cyber activity."

Two norms relate to duties for State and non-state actors "not pursue, support or allow cyber operations intended to disrupt the technical infrastructure essential to elections, referenda or plebiscites" and "not tamper with products and services in development and production, nor allow them to be tampered with, if doing so may substantially impair the stability of cyberspace."

The three other norms are related to botnets, dealing with vulnerabilities and offensive cyber operations: "Non-state actors should not engage in offensive cyber operations and state actors should prevent such activities and respond if they occur."

Moving Forward

The Commission has proposed its Cyberstability Framework not only as "food for thought" for further discussions, but also as an input into ongoing intergovernmental or multistakeholder negotiations. The norm to protect the public core of the Internet, put out for public comment in already in September 2018, has meanwhile made its way into recognized international instruments as the legally binding EU Cybersecurity Act (May 2019) or the multistakeholder "Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace" (November 2018). As said above, the norm to protect the public core could be the starting point for the development of a new international cybersecurity architecture, which could include a mix of different instruments: from multistakeholder commitments to legally binding treaties.

Looking ahead, there are numerous opportunities where the ideas and the proposed language of the Global Commission could be used as a source of inspiration: At the forthcoming UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Berlin (November 25-29, 2019) cybersecurity is a priority issue. The Multistakeholder Intersessional Meeting on Cybersecurity in New York (December 2-4, 2019) or the Munich Security Conference (February 13-16, 2020) are other opportunities.

There are two new intergovernmental negotiation platforms under the first Committee of the United Nations General Assembly — the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) and the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) — which could make use of the GCSC´s ideas. And the implementation of the proposal, made by the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, to use the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, October 24, 2020, to adopt something like a "UN Declaration for Cyber peace and Digital Cooperation” will certainly benefit from the commission´s report.

At the eve of the 2020s, time is ripe for a "New Deal" in Cyberspace, based on the existing building blocks which have emerged in the last 20 years as the WSIS Tunis Agenda (2005), the NetMundial Declaration (2014), the GGE Principles (2015), the Paris and Christchurch Calls (2018) and others. But in the "age of cyber-interdependence," one has to move to the next level. The 2020s will be a decade where cyber and digital will be a first priority issue on the world's political agenda. What is needed is a holistic approach that takes into consideration the multidisciplinary nature of the digital age, where security, economic, human rights, and technology issues are interlinked. We have to move forward into the next generation of Internet Governance (NextGenIG). In 2025 there will be the review conference on the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS+20). And in 2030, we have to check how we have implemented the UN Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs).

Written by Wolfgang Kleinwächter, Professor Emeritus at the University of Aarhus | 11/24/19
A radioactive isotope one billion times older than the Universe! An international team of researchers, including six scientists from the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Coimbra (FCTUC), was able to measure for the first time the longest average lifetime of a radioactive isotope recorded by a device of measurement. This extraordinary fact is published (April 25), as the main piece on the cover, in Nature, the most prestigious of all scientific journals. The isotope in question is Xe 124 and its average lifetime is approximately one billion times older than the Universe. The Universe is about 14 billion years old, a period of time inconceivable when compared to the scale of human life. As if that alone did not cause enough amazement, there are radioactive isotopes (unstable elements that change over time emitting radiation) whose average life happens on scales much greater than the existence of the Universe itself. "The fact that we can directly measure such a rare process as this demonstrates the extraordinary scope of our measurement system, even when it was not made to measure these events, but rather dark matter," stresses José Matias, coordinator of the Portuguese team in this effort international and researcher of the Laboratory of Instrumentation, Biomedical Engineering and Radiation Physics (LIBPhys) of FCTUC. In fact, this measurement was only possible thanks to the XENON1T system, the most sensitive instrument ever produced by mankind for the detection of dark matter. It is installed in the National Laboratory of Gran Sasso (Italy), the largest underground laboratory in the world, under 1300 meters of rock to shield the system from cosmic rays existing on the surface. The study published by Nature shows that, after all, "XENON1T was also able to measure other rare physical phenomena, such as double electronic capture. In this case, the nucleus captures two of the electrons that orbit it in the atom, transforming two of the protons that constituted it into neutrons and emitting radiation in the form of two neutrinos. The energy released in this process forms the signal that the system registers, despite the extreme difficulty in being detected by its rarity, and can be generally masked by the omnipresent "normal" radiation ", affirms the also vice president of the Higher Institute of Engineering of Coimbra (ISEC). The average life span of Xe 124 Only with the detailed knowledge of the sources of radiation recorded by the detector was it possible to observe 126 events of double electron capture of the isotope Xe 124 and thus to determine for the first time its average life time of 2.5 x 1022 years (25 thousand millions of billions of years). This is the longest physical process ever measured directly by mankind. In fact, there is a register of phenomena with a longer average life (isotope Te 128) in the Universe, but that was inferred indirectly from another process. For the time being, it is not possible to predict the implications of this discovery that opens new horizons in human knowledge. The XENON consortium consists of 160 scientists from 27 research groups from the US, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Japan, Israel and Abu Dhabi. Portugal has been a partner in this collaboration since its inception in 2005 through the LIBPhys team. Cristina Pinto University of Coimbra • Faculty of Science and Technology Translated from the Portuguese version Ekaterina Santos

Education in the Netherlands is characterized by division: education is orientated toward the needs and background of the pupil. Education is divided over schools for different age groups, some of which are divided in streams for different educational levels. Schools are furthermore divided in public, special (religious), and general-special (neutral) schools, although there are also a few private schools. The Dutch grading scale runs from 1 (very poor) to 10 (outstanding). The Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the OECD, ranks the education in the Netherlands as the 9th best in the world as of 2008, being significantly higher than the OECD average.

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