FridayThe Belfast Telegraph: Security stepped up amid terror fears in Belgium
Security has been stepped up across Belgium after the arrest of 14 people accused of planning to break an al-Qa'ida militant out of jail.First of all: the US military personnel stationed in Belgium are there to protect America!
Extra guards have been posted at airports, stations and Christmas markets after police said they couldn't be certain they had captured all those involved.
The group is suspected of trying to free a Tunisian man jailed four years ago for planning to detonate a car bomb at a Belgian air base where US military personnel were stationed.
You may wonder how they could protect America while stationed in Belgium.
It's because Belgium is part of the World, and the "G" in "GWOT" stands for "Global".
In other words, the only way for America to protect itself is to station troops and advisers and such, in or near every country in the world. "G" as in "Global".
You may wonder why other countries do not protect themselves in the same manner, sending troops all over the world in a self-declared (and self-described) "Long War" against something "Global".
From the UK's Telegraph: Fourteen arrested in Belgian terror plot
Belgian police have arrested fourteen Islamic extremists suspected to be planning a raid to free an man imprisoned for planning a terror attack on a US air base, according to officials.If "other acts of violence are not to be excluded", the situation is impossibly grave, isn't it?
The US Embassy has issued a warning to expatriates in the area of a "heightened risk of terrorist attack" in Brussels despite there being no indication of any American targets, while security has been heightened at airports, underground stations and other public places in the capital.
The Prime Minister, Guy Verhofstadt, said that there had been indications suggesting "preparation of an attack".
"Other acts of violence are not to be excluded", he added.
The men were trying to free Nizar Trabelsi, a 37-year-old Tunisian ex-footballer who was given a 10-year sentence after he admitted planning to drive a car bomb into the mess at a Belgian airbase where around 100 US military personnel are posted. The prosecutor's office said that the fourteen intended to free Trabelsi using violence.
The US Embassy issued an alert to its citizens in Belgium to maintain a high level of vigilance, but made it clear that it had "no information to indicate that U.S. citizens or facilities are an intended target."
Here's a hint: They want you to think so!
From the Financial Times: Belgium arrests 14 in terror probe
Belgium said yesterday it had dismantled an Islamic terrorist cell that allegedly planned to free a member of al-Qaeda from jail and potentially carry out attacks in the capital, Brussels, Andrew Bounds reports.Did you catch all that? These reports are not excerpts, by the way, but full news stories. The depth of detail is quite something, isn't it? And that matters! because getting this sequence of events straight is a key, in my opinion, to a clear understanding of the Global War On Terror.
Police made 14 arrests, seized arms and explosives and declared a heightened alert, warning of unspecified threats.
The federal prosecutors' service said the group intended to free al-Qaeda operative Nizar Trabelsi, who was arrested two days after the September 11 attacks in the US. He was jailed for 10 years in 2004 for plotting to blow up a military base on the Belgian/Dutch border.
Those arrested allegedly aimed to blast a hole in the wall to release the Tunisian former professional footballer.
Most of those detained were from north Africa, and police reportedly acted on the instructions of an anti-terrorist magistrate after they had kept the suspects under surveillance for some time.
Officials from Belgium's crisis co-ordination centre said extra police had been deployed at airports, on public transport and in shops and central Brussels.
So: What happened? Belgian police arrested 14 people who they say were plotting to break another person out of jail.
It's not at all obvious why, something like this -- a pre-emptive coup against terror, if you will -- increases the risk to your airports, harbors, bridges and landmarks, as well as public transport, shops in the capital (and other cities as well). You may ask why this is so.
And you may think it strange to act as if these Islamic radicals -- who couldn't do what they were trying to do, given months to prepare, while they were simply under surveillance -- would be able to attack airports and buses and shops and such, on a moment's notice, while in police custody.
Or if they themselves wouldn't attack in "response" to their own arrest, who else would do so? Some other group of radicals who are so sympathetic to the very same cause, no doubt: some other radicals who are so well-prepared and so ready to strike that they are utterly unknown to the Belgian security forces who have been watching these 14 knuckleheads for months? Yeah, sure!
You may think it very strange indeed to instigate a wide-ranging security alert because of having arrested some supposed terrorists, whether they posed a legitimate threat or not...
Which, as it turns out, maybe they didn't!
SaturdayFrom the AP via the New York Times: Belgium Frees 14 Held as Plot Suspects
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- A judge released 14 suspected Islamic extremists Saturday for lack of evidence of their involvement in a plot to break free an al-Qaida prisoner convicted of planning an attack on U.S. air base personnel.So ... the police were so sure an attack was imminent that they simply had to act ... and then?
Prosecutors said the investigation would continue and that heightened security measures imposed across the country after Friday's arrests would remain in place through the New Year. "We think there is still a threat," said Lieve Pellens, spokeswoman for the Federal Prosecutor's office.
She said intelligence that an attack could be imminent meant the security forces had to act without waiting to gather the evidence.
"We could not treat this as we would a normal criminal case," Pellens said. "According to our investigation there were sufficient indications pointing to a terrorist threat. That is why we did not wait to detain the suspects."
The government had said it had information the suspects were plotting to use explosives and other weapons to free Nizar Trabelsi [photo], a 37-year-old Tunisian serving 10 years for planning to a drive a car bomb into the cafeteria of a Belgian air base where about 100 American military personnel were stationed.Surely the explosives that were seized would be considered compelling evidence, no?
Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt warned Friday that the suspects could have other targets and stepped up police patrols in public places, including the Brussels airport, subway stations and the capital's popular downtown Christmas market.
The 14 suspects were arrested Friday in overnight raids. Reports indicated explosives had also been seized ...
Even in Belgium?
No explosives, that is:
[Lieve] Pellens [spokeswoman for the Federal Prosecutor's office] said Saturday that searches of the suspects' homes uncovered no explosives, weapons or other evidence to persuade a magistrate to either charge them with any offense or keep them in jail.So much for the "imminent" threat. They were just about to explode a bomb which we can't find in 24 hours even though we've been watching these guys forever!
The natural reaction in normal times might be to criticize the prosecution, but this is the GWOT, after all, and the G in GWOT is wild: It matches anything; it's here one day, Belgium the next, and could visit your home town tomorrow.
So tremble in fear!
Instead of condemning the prosecutors for arresting all these people without having any evidence against them, the occasion is marked by an assault on the law that says people who are arrested with no evidence must be promptly released:
The release renewed criticism of Belgian laws giving authorities 24 hours to present enough evidence to charge suspects or free them.And of course in the USA there's no limit at all. The president can declare you an illegal enemy combatant, and detain your sorry ass forever, or he can send a hit squad after you. Or if you're lucky they might detail a drone to drop a missile on your car. Talk about a judicial fiasco!! And this is supposedly justified by the seriousness of the charge.
"Twenty-four hours is just not enough to look at the evidence in a terrorist inquiry," said Claude Moniquet, president of the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center, a Brussels think tank.
"The police get the same time to question a terrorist as they would a shoplifter," he said. "It's a judicial fiasco."
Most European nations allow police to hold terror suspects longer without charges. The limit is 48 hours in Germany, five days in Spain, six days in France and 28 days in Britain, according to the human rights group Liberty.
In other words, if the Americans accuse you of a crime as serious as terrorism, that's enough: they don't have to prove it. They don't have to prove anything, and you don't even have to have a hearing.
But that's not the way it is in Belgium ... not yet, anyway.
In Belgium, for some reason, there's at least one judge who still believes the old-fashioned rule of thumb that the more serious the charge the more evidence is needed to substantiate it. How September tenth!
Meanwhile, on the by-now nearly-irrelevant question: "What happened?"
The U.S. Embassy warned Americans on Friday of "a heightened risk of terrorist attack in Brussels," although it said it had no indication of specific targets.No indication of any heightened risk of attack either, truth be told.
You may wonder why, in the absence of any evidence of imminent attack, a terror alert would be thrown upon an entire (albeit small) country. You may have a lot of questions. In fact you may be utterly confused -- even if you're an "analyst".
Some analysts see events such as this one -- and the results of the Miami Mice trial, and the public testimony of William (Jameel) Chrisman -- as losses for the Terror Warriors, but perhaps they don't understand the nature of the bogus war on bogus terror.
It's actually Mission Accomplished in a No-Lose Situation for the Terror Warriors, for a number of reasons, not least because the headlines that flashed around the world on Friday will have made an impact that will last forever, whereas the news that the suspects were released for lack of evidence will be soft-pedaled starting immediately if not sooner:
Belgian officials said police were continuing to investigate documents, computers and other unspecified materials found in the raids on the suspects' homes.Well of course the Belgians don't have sufficient resources to watch all 14, let alone fight the GWOT properly -- Who does?
"The release of the 14 does not mean the investigation is finished. All the material that was found is being examined," Alain Lefevre, a director of the Belgian government's Crisis Center, told a news conference.
The suspects, whose names were not released, were expected to remain under police surveillance and could be detained again if more evidence is uncovered.
But Moniquet, the security expert, said he doubted the Belgian police had the resources to maintain an effective watch on all 14.
And that's the whole point: Now Belgium gets to spend billions more on "security" to monitor a bunch of "Islamic radicals" who will probably turn out to be chumps and knuckleheads, infiltrated, enticed, and/or entrapped into creating so much tangible evidence of a threat ...
... that Belgium may have to change its laws!
And that's the beauty of the GWOT, which stands for "Global Assault on the Rule of Law".
Once the rule of law is gone, it may be gone forever. This is called "advancing democracy".
Now that you understand the purpose and meaning of the GWOT, it's easy to see why air travel restrictions are still in place, even though they were instituted more than a year ago in "response" to a non-existent threat that was portrayed as immense and imminent.
This is the GWOT, my friend / and it might never end...Apologies to Mary Hopkin and all, but really: How can this global madness possibly end?