Live from Brussels

Musings from a bored analyst/project-manager.
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Friday, December 06, 2002
 
Ikea-updates

InstaPundit has already linked to this blog, but for the wrong reasons. Who cares about some woman making anti-semite remarks and getting a prize for it?
Bombs and Swedish furniture, that's the real hot item right now at The Visser View!

 
Fortuyn link

The Belgian media has largely overlooked this story, but CNN has the goods: Fortuyn is EU politician of year

 
Child abuse

What else would it be called if parents gave their kids Hitler action figures, or Stalin, Ceaucescu, Franco, Mao, ... dolls? But in Pakistan, giving your children action figures of a publicly avowed terrorist and mass murderer seems to be quite the hit these days. No further commend needed...

 
Jahjah story dead for the moment...

... but maybe it's just resting. The only related article I still managed to find today was this one in Gazet Van Antwerpen (Dutch link).
It's about a 19-year old immigrant who was under arrest for a short while but had been released by tuesday last week. Apparently he and some of his 'friends' were then waiting at the jail where Jahjah was to be released, and in order to relieve the boredom of the wait (I assume) they pulled a 49-year old woman from her moped and beat her up.
Earlier he already briefly met Jahjah in the courthouse, when he had to appear before a judge in connection with a school-burglary some days ago, and Jahjah happened to be in court in order to look at his file.
The 19-year old punk has been arrested again...

Thursday, December 05, 2002
 
Little Brother watching Big Brother?

Someone at cryptome.org is trying to scare John Poindexter out of going for Total Information Awareness, by Eyeballing Total Information Awareness... Check out the cool pictures at the end of the article.
I think this is a brilliant tactic: if Poindexter publicly makes a fuss about what these guys have done, he discredits his own program. And if he doesn't, they'll make his life miserable.

 
She said yes!

Yesterday evening, I proposed to my girfriend, and she said yes! Woohoo! I'm getting married, how about that?

Wednesday, December 04, 2002
 
Anthrax: false alarm

The suspicious powder in the letters and packages mentioned earlier turned out to be harmless. As they say : "No damage, no harm, just another false alarm..."

 
Small lay-out changes

I have just completed some changes to the sidebar of this site: some more blogs added to my blogroll, some categories as well, and I've put the archives list at the bottom instead of the top. Oh, and I also made the sidebar a bit wider, so the archive links now all fit on single lines on my screen. If you were using a smaller standard fond, you probably didn't have these links running on on the next line, but for me it was pretty annoying, so I changed it. Comments welcome!

 
New English speaking blog

Check out DaghtatorBlog, the English version of a blog that used to be in Danish (I think). Today it has a nice fisking of another 'Al-Guardian' article on why the human-rights abuses in Iraq are no reason to invade.

 
European Politician of the Year

A while back, the European Voice magazine launched a poll to determine who would be the Europeans of the Year. It's not on their site yet, but I just read a press release (link in Dutch) that none other than Pim Fortuyn has been voted politician of the year!

 
Abu Jahjah free!

Despite my expectations, it seems Jahjah was released yesterday after all. He vowed to continue his actions, and said he wanted to go on preparing for the elections, in which he wanted to participate next year. He is also going to sue prime minister Guy Verhofstad for slander and libel. Oh, and the judge also banned him from participating in any public street demonstrations for the coming three months.
My bet is that they're pretty sure they can nab him again when he breaks that condition in the coming three months. But we'll see...

 
Anthrax update

It turns out that the national parliament and the main court of justice also got suspicous packages and letters yesterday. Hmm, terrorism or just another sick joker?

 
Three...

And that's the third time terrorists have come 'close' to harming me:
Bomber targets Dutch Ikea stores, reports the BBC. Nearly all of the furniture in my house comes from a Dutch Ikea store just on the other side of the Belgian border. I wonder what was the motive behind this. It can't be Sweden's strong support for the U.S., can it?
Also, according to the article: Meanwhile, the Amsterdam head office of the Dutch news agency ANP was evacuated on Wednesday, after police warned that a bomb might have been planted in the building.


Tuesday, December 03, 2002
 
Abu Jahjah free?

This just in: the judge decided to let Jahjah go, but he has to stay away from public manifestations for three months and has to keep himself available if the justice people want to interrogate him. Appeals against this decision are still possible until 18.00. Updates to follow.

 
Anthrax is back!

After a few months of quiet, the anthrax-scare is back! This morning, suspicious packages and letters were delivered to NATO headquarters and the Israeli embassy here in Brussels, writes De Standaard (link in Dutch), one of the bigger newspapers in Belgium.
The thing is, NATO headquarters is about 1500 m. from here, and I drive past it every morning. If this turns out to be real, that's the second time in a few weeks I've 'narrowly' escaped chemical or biological terrorism. Previous time was when British intelligence stopped a plot to release nasty stuff in the London underground, and I happened to be there for the weekend.
Faster please!

 
Still no news

It is now past 13.15, and still no news from the court of justice in Antwerp in the Jahjah case. IndyMedia reports about 50 demonstrators, including Roberto d'Orazzio (a union boss who was accused of inciting riots some years ago in which police were attacked with bulldozers, now a figurehead in extreme-left circles).
And Blogger publishing is down... dammit!

 
Antwerp city council decisions

Yesterday the Antwerp city council was called together by the largest oposition party, the far-right Vlaams Blok, to discuss the recent riots. The Vlaams Blok asked for the resignation of the mayor and the councilman for security, but didn't get it. The council decided on a two-way course of action: hard action against any further troublemakers, and more dialogue with the parts of immigrant community that do wish to live in peace.
The video-patrols of the AEL won't be banned outright, but they will be watched very close and 'pestered' (actual quote of one politician) at every opportunity. This means that if they step out of the line for just one second they will get arrested.
Meanwhile, right about now a judge should be deciding if Abu Jahjah remains in jail or not. My bet is that he remains locked away, and that we will hear about more evidence against him very soon. Updates to follow...

Monday, December 02, 2002
 
Antwerp investigation update

Forgot to add this to my latest list: Police in Antwerp are also investigating the business of Abu Jahjah's brother, a Lebanese import-export firm. Reportedly, they are looking for clues into possible foreign financing of the AEL. The home of the treasurer of the AEL has also been searched.
This weekend on national TV, the second man of the AEL denied that they had 'ever' received money from abroad, but two sentences on he admitted to receiving 'two or three' donations after the AEL made international headlines with their attempt to bring Ariƫl Sharon to court in Belgium for human rights abuses in Sabra and Shatilla.

 
Synagogue attack link

Here is a link to a Jerusalem Post article on the Molotov cocktail attack against a synagogue in Antwerp on saturday.

 
Antwerp Update

I was away for the weekend, but here is an update on the Antwerp situation:
  • Unknown persons threw a Molotov-cocktail at the main synagogue friday night, but fortunately no real damage was done and nobody got hurt.
  • Abu Jahjah, leader of the AEL, remains in the cell. Tuesday a judge will decide if further detainment is needed.
  • According to some people, state radio reported that weapons were found in Jahjah's residence, and an illegal police scanner. I didn't hear the report myself, but the people who told me are credible (my brother, some friends).
  • Some immigrant parents have claimed Jahjah gave their children money and cellphones so they would join in riots.
  • The Flemish Green Party, and the Socialists were already questioning on the main sunday political talkshow the evidence on which Jahjah was held. They were also calling for a new 'pact with the immigrants'. The other main government party, VLD, remains more reserved.
  • One of the more stupid things said during the weekend was that if the AEL couldn't be charged under existing laws, new laws would be created. None other than Belgium's interior minister said this.
    Later today I'll update with links as I find them.

 
News from the other side

This almost sounds like IndyMedia 'objective' reporting: an Iraq daily Newspaper report on the latest strike by coalition bombers in Iraq.
Best quote: The aggressive jetfighters started their aggression at 6:15 a.m. in support of E2C and AWACS planes carrying out 62 sorties. Guess they wanted to be really clear on the aggressive nature of the aggression by the aggressors...