Little Green Footballs

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Got 17 in Flanders

Seventeen neo-nazis who were allegedly using Belgian military facilities to conduct paramilitary training and plan terrorist attacks were arrested today in Belgium.

Paul Belien, call your office.


X said...

I'll hazard a guess and say this is one potential terror attack Charles Johnson won't be reporting until there's a chance the alleged perpetrators are Muslim...

Endorendil said...

I live in Belgium and am very concerned about the extreme right-wing political party here. But this particular string of arrests set off my internal alarm bell. It is strange that these arrests would happen just before the elections (in which we fear that racists parties will continue to do well).

The front page article (of course) in the Standaard helpfully explains that the judiciary (who leads this kind of investigations in Belgium) did not find any indication that the conspirators planned a concrete attack. But they did say that there had never been a extreme right-wing group in Belgium that was that well-organzied and that well-armed. The group regularly trained on military grounds (most of them were soldiers, so that's not terribly strange). They frequented the same heavy-metal dive, rumoured to be a right-wing, racist gathering point.

From the description, it seems that this group, like most of these things, was a one-brain operation. And like most of these groups, they were more talk than action. Brawlers for sure, but McVeigh-like white terrorists? Doesn't seem like it. The lack of any kind of concrete attack plans after years of investigation means that there was no apparent reason to arrest these guys now. That makes me worry that the timing, at least, was politically motivated.

I do think that arresting them is justifiable, certainly if the weaponry they constructed is illegal (I'm not sure exactly what they had and exactly what is forbidden). As many of them were in the military, it's fair to assume that they had licenses for guns, and it remains to be seen whether they had licenses for the exact type of guns they had. But regardless of this, they can, and should be convicted of hate speech (screw free speech - I think that Belgium is right to ban this hate-mongering stuff). But hopefully the investigators have a bit more to go on than the website of the organisation that some of them belonged to.

I hope these ruffians really are as bad as they seem to be, which is (barely) enough to warrant their arrest.