Little Green Footballs

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A murder in Nijmegen

Senior European affairs analyst Charles Johnson takes a single alarming anecdote and extrapolates it into a grievous threat to the Anglospheric Way of Life. And his saurian horde obediently extrapolates it further, seeing an insult hurled by a deranged idiot against a lady columnist as an unmistakable sign that Britain is on the verge of banning alcohol, and Norway on the brink of requiring all its women to wear burqas, etc. Featuring a special guest appearance by the piggy-bank story, which was debunked several days ago.

Curiously, no one has seen fit to mention the fact that a prominent political figure was murdered in the Netherlands last week. To the general consternation of absolutely no one in "The Blogosphere" (in the Simon/Blair/Guardia sense of the term), political activist and journalist Louis Sévèke was shot to death near his home in the eastern city of Nijmegen:

The Dutch news agency ANP cited witnesses as saying Seveke had been shot in the head as he walked down a street in the center of Nijmegen, but they added that it was unclear whether he had been specifically targeted.

Now, contrast the total silence of "The Blogosphere" with the pandemonium that erupted when Theo van Gogh was shot a year ago. People who could scarcely locate Europe -- much less the Netherlands -- on a map were suddenly pontificating about "Eurabia" and banned churches and other inanities.

You'd think that the murder of a prominent activist in what was until recently regarded as the tinderbox of Europe would have drawn at least some attention from "The Blogosphere." But neither of the Dutch bloggers on the PJM blogroll has deigned to comment, even though the Sévèke murder has topped the Dutch news for over a week. The IHT offers a possible reason why:
The news agency said Seveke had been a well-known leftist activist for more than 20 years and had founded a group that won a number of lawsuits against a Dutch intelligence agency for assembling dossiers on politically active people.

Consider, too, this article that Sévèke published in NRC Handelsblad (the approximate Dutch equivalent of the Financial Times) that cast some highly critical light on Dutch "anti-terrorist" activities:
Last week, according to published reports in NRC Handelsblad and a Netwerk broadcast, it was revealed that hand grenades were supposedly used by people accused by the Justice Department of belonging to the "Hofstadgroup", and that they had been delivered by an agent of the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD). This man, called B., was said to have participated in various terror investigations, but was never detained. At least not until the reports came out. Now he's in custody. Netwerk began by describing the situation as being too absurd for words: "An AIVD worker who gave hand grenades to a group of man it regards as deadly dangerous."


The use of violence by some terror suspects, combined with fear-mongering by the government -- supported by some in the media -- can lead to a comparable result: the acceptance of unnecessary restrictions on civil rights of citizens and groups.

Now it's apparent that the secret services have possibly played a crucial role (delivering weapons) in the development of violence. In a time when the word "terror" is on everyone's lips, and when there's so much talk of "terror" and "counterterror" in near and faraway countries, at least for now, then we're faced with an era of selective openness.

If the government chooses to stir the pot itself, at the moment when its so-called terror supsects are detained, as it infiltrates its civilian criminals who can handle weapons and explosives, and if the government also expects its citizens to be vigilant, then it should itself provide absolute openness about its affairs, and admit that at least some of the alleged terror comes in fact from its own colleagues, and they should be written about.

Two weeks after that article was published, Sévèke was dead. Shot once from 50 metres away, and again in the head at point-blank range. The man placed his pistol into his gym bag and casually walked away.

On Tuesday Nijmegen paid tribute to Sévèke. The Dutch police still have no leads, but many witnesses have come forth. No suspects have been found, and no motive.

So although we won't come out and call it a political murder, it does at least send a chilling signal to people in the Netherlands -- shut your mouth, or else. Whether you're an Islam-baiting buffoon or a local housing activist with a passion for peace and truth.

But if you fall into that second category, don't expect much of a send-off from "The Blogosphere." Some deaths, after all, matter much more than others.


Arjan said...

First of all, I am not part of Pajamas.

Second of all, I did write about it, on my Dutch blog, I even promoted a website with Mr Seveke's articles, as a form of protest over his murder.

Third of all, if you'd bothered to actually look at, you'd have known I am not part of Pajamas.

Fourth, you also may have seen that postings on are few and far between these days. There's many things other things I didn't get around to write about either.

Winston Smith said...


Thanks for the clarifications. I did see the thread on in which you discussed whether you were going to sign up with Whatever Media, but didn't follow through. The last time I checked the "Top 25 Contributors" list (which now seems to have vanished) you were still on it.

And thanks for pointing me to your Dutch blog.

I still think it's odd that such a murder in the Netherlands should go so thoroughly unnoticed in the English-speaking blogosphere.

Arjan said...

Well, Pajamas is suffering some startup problems, I guess. All I know is I haven't signed anything ;-) But I can see how that could be confusing.

My reluctance to post more about the murder of Sévèke other than here ( is that no news has come out of it. Sévèke's killing comes at a time when the country is rocked by a number of murders, about which I've written hardly anything either, because they were most likely cases of criminals killing each other.

I fear that Sévèke may have been caught up in this, because he didn't just investigate political abuses of power, but also criminal issues. The M.O. points to that too.

Then again, I don't know and no leads have come out of the investigation so far. If this turns out to be a political murder sanctioned by the Dutch intelligence service AIVD, which I really doubt, I'll make the biggest fuss you've ever seen.

Winston Smith said...

The mafia angle has occurred to me to, esp. in light of the fact that one of the "underworld figures" who was recently assassinated in Amsterdam was also a real-estate agent. And of course Sévèke was very active in the kraker (squatter) movement. He's bound to have had many enemies among the real-estate mafia.