Monday, December 31, 2007

No New Year's Fireworks For Brussels

The Terror Threat hanging over Belgium since December 21st has cost Belgians their traditional New Year's fireworks celebration in Brussels: it is canceled. No exhilarating light show will now ring in the New Year for Belgium's capital city... a sad symbol of the decline of Western Europe, falling ever deeper into darkness and despair.

A spokesperson for Freddy Thielemans, infamous socialist mayor of Brussels, explained that "The goal is not to create panic or to barricade the entire city, but we do not want to take any unnecessary risks..." Better that the entire nation be deprived of their inspiring New Year's Eve tradition, than 14 suspected islamist terrorists remain behind bars. All this due to "insufficient evidence".

A Belgian news outlet, "La Derniere Heure", did some investigating on the reasons for the arrests and quick release of the suspects, and were able to identify three incredible pieces of the puzzle, offering some important context to the legal rorschach test followed by Belgian authorities on this case... a context that had been missing in most of the coverage of the story to date.
What follows is my loose translation of their report, "The Terrorists' Plan":
It all started, a few months ago, with a plan to free [Nizar] Trabelsi. In the middle of the month of December, however, the deal changed. Investigators learned that the plan had evolved. No longer was it a question of a prison break but of an attack.

"You know, it's always hard to predict if the threats will be carried out or not. If we act too soon, we risk not having enough evidence. If we act too late, we risk having dozens of deaths", confided one investigator.

Therefore Friday December 21st, anti-terror police led a series of searches and arrested 14 people. These were released the following day... because of insufficient evidence and also due no doubt to the suspects' explanations. The telephone conversations and emails.... it was all a joke. And yet...:

One: in one of the conversations, the suspects talked of staking out the subway ["metro"] while making reference to the London bombings (four explosions striking the city's public transportation, leaving 56 dead and 700 wounded). They wanted to test the efficiency of the police by placing small bombs in the trash bins.

Two: Naima, the wife of Nizar Trabelsi, confirmed that her daughter, who is studying chemistry, was ready to make bombs.

Three: Naima's son clearly told his step-father, Trabelsi, that he wished to become a "kamikaze". [Their word; not clear by the report if that is a direct quote or not]

A few days ago, the Belgian news site 7sur7 offered a short biography of Malika el-Aroud, one of the 14 suspects who were arrested and released due to "insufficient evidence".
"Widow of Mahmoud assassin arrested":

Malika el-Aroud is 48 years old, a belgian of afghan origin, widow of Abdessater Dahmane, one of the two assassins who killed anti-taleban Norther Alliance warlord Ahmed Shah Massoud in a suicide bombing on Sept 9 2001.

She was acquitted in 2003 by the Brussels criminal court that was investigating a network channeling jihadi candidates for Afghanistan. She left for Switzerland at the side of her newest husband, she had been judged in June of this year in Geneva for supporting islamic terrorism on internet websites. She had received six months of a suspended sentence "for support of a terrorist organization and complicity in representations of violence."

According to the charges, her husband, Moez Garsallaoui, a 39 year-old Tunisian living in Switzerland, had created and maintained several different websites used by terrorist organizations, al-qaida among them. These sites mostly spread formulas for building explosives, according to the charges. His wife Malika, "thanks to her notoriety within the islamic world, offered a legitimacy to the criminal efforts of her husband", the case maintained.


dag said...

Thew party was over long ago in Europe, but like the usual idiot who doesn't know when to pack it in and go home the thing drags on till the dawn and the realization that the guest is going to pass-out in the corner and not be got rid of easily after-all. Yuk.

But, hey, there's next year. I look forward to it. I can hope that Bruce Bawer and Mark Steyn will be writing books claiming it has all passed into some great recovery, that life has never looked so promising, that people are rolling up their sleeves for an enthusiastic go at the future.

To all of you optimists and those who have a sense of humor, a sense of adventure, a vision of the great good fun to come, I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Best regards, Dag Walker. Vancouver, Canada.

tiberge said...

@ charles

I find myself playing a gruesome game - which city will get their version of 9/11? Paris? Brussels? London? Washington? As 9/11 becomes old news, The Jihad will need to sow new seeds. It's bound to happen. We cannot predict the specifics.

Freddy T. was probably relieved to have the fireworks canceled. Less responsibility for him.

With the hope that somehow Fortune is on our side, have a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Charles Henry said...


Thank You very much, all the best to you and yours as well for the coming New Year.
Thanks for all the support you give our writing throughout the year, it is appreciated.

Dag, Happy New Year to you as well. 2007 was a heck of a year, seeing many stirrings of change. I think your hope is more likely to bear fruit in times to come, than we might have dared imagine a few years ago.