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Belgian, Italian Christmas Massacres: Reprise of Norway, Gladio Rides Again

Author bio: 
Richard Cottrell

A confused and probably mindless individual has just been charged by the Belgian authorities with killing five people and injuring another 122 at a traditional Christmas street fair in the city of Liege. The man, purportedly armed with a powerful automatic rifle, first mounted a staging platform that gave him a perfect view of Saint-Lambert square, packed as usual with seasonal gift-buyers.

The police accounts state that he then opened fire and began to throw grenades. Allegedly, splinters from one of these killed him – conveniently outright. He was not, the authorities gushed, shot by the police. Perish the thought.

There is every sign that he carefully and cold-bloodedly selected his victims, aiming slowly and patiently. In fact exactly like Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian recently judged insane and unfit to plead after for killing 69 campers on the holiday camp island Utøya not far from the capital, Oslo, on 22nd July this year.

Breivik was portrayed as a lone gunman possessed by hatred of Islam and other strange thoughts buzzing in an obviously crowded head.

Rinse and repeat. Belgian officials have named the Liege gunman as Nordine Amrani, a 33-year-old born to a Moroccan family living in the country. The charge sheet read impressively; convictions for offences involving possession of illegal weapons, drugs and sexual assaults.

In short, the stereotype patsy the police had under surveillance, exactly like Breivik in Norway before the Utøya island shooting and the car bomb that he supposedly placed in the Oslo government district the same day that killed eight people there.

As if this impressive roll call of offences were not enough, Amrani was then accused posthumously as the lead suspect in the murder of a 45-year old charwoman who cleaned house for one of Armani’s neighbors, on the same day as the attack. She was found shot in the head on the morning of Tuesday 13th December.

A rape investigation is presumably intended to add to his guilt while producing useful supporting DNA evidence.

Just about everything is wrong with this story. A man with a string of offences involving guns, drugs and sex attacks, was clearly the kind of suspect that the police would tail on an automatic basis. But no. Instead, he somehow manages to get hold of a high powered rifle and more to the point, grenades.

Yet this is a petty criminal, by and large. Where and how and why would he acquire access to grenades? The answer is: military stores. What were his motives? Presumably some document will soon be found to explain that, like Breivik’s famous rambling testament in which he weds the right way to grow sugar beet (as a professional market gardener) to his repulsion for Islam and admiration for Israel.

Let’s jump back 30 years. The time leap will help us to the probable answer to these mysteries.

In the early 1980s, a group of heavily armed gunmen terrorized supermarkets and other shops in the Brabant region near Brussels. The gunmen fired at random at bystanders during a series of robberies between 1982 and 1985, killing 28 people and injuring many more. The victims included shoppers mown down in cold blood by machine gunners in busy supermarkets and parking lots.

The official Belgian parliamentary inquiry rudely dismissed the notion that criminals were responsible. The robbery label failed to stick anyway when a sack crammed with stolen cash was found tossed in a stream. Robbers are rarely that generous.

Instead the official parliamentary investigators concluded the perpetrators were Neofascists associated with Belgian secret services. In 2006, the guns and the ammunition used in the Brabant massacres were finally traced to the supposedly defunct branch of the NATO Belgian stay-behind army of secret soldiers called ‘the Special Intervention Squadron’ – the one known within the Gladio command structure as the ‘Diana Organization’ [from Diana the Hunter].

This unit was quietly reformed under a different name in 2008.

As I explain in my forthcoming book on Gladio (see below) the original Diana was a top secret assassination squad, and there is no reason to believe that its successor has any different duties.

The purpose of the Brabant attacks (and others in the city of Nivelles about the same time) was expressly political. Belgium in the Eighties was in a state of continual political ferment. NATO, whose headquarters are close to Brussels, feared a dramatic lurch to the Left in its own back yard.

The attacks were supposed to dramatize the impression of a civil insurgency. The reasoning went that voters would flock for security to the arms of a safe Right wing government. In wider terms, this became known throughout Europe as the Strategy of Tension.

So what are the motives today for a repeat Gladio exercise in Liege? They are two-fold.

First, Belgium is on the edge of breaking apart. The country has just acquired a government after a European record of 547 days since the last election that established a viable coalition. The causes are essentially linguistic friction between the Flemish speaking and French speaking regions.

No one can be sure how long this fragile administration will last. Probably not very long: there just isn’t enough political glue to do the job. The country also suffers severe economic problems, particularly in the areas of gross public debts that challenge the euro currency rules.

The collapse of Belgium as a political entity would be a huge embarrassment to the European Union, which also has its central home in Brussels. The European Council’s president is the Belgian political retread Herman von Rompuy. He is busily, not to say obsessively, involved in trying to push through a fast-track European currency union on the back of the wholly artificial and contrived euro currency crisis.

Liege lies in Wallonia, the French canton of Belgium. Traditionally the French speakers, or Walloons as they are called, are more sympathetic to the unitary Belgian state. The atrocity in Saint-Lambert Square is subliminally intended to cement support for the infant government which has just been formed after such a prolonged nativity.

Secondly, the attack concentrates attention once again on the presence of 450,000 immigrants or long term residents of Islamic origin. They have been accused of plotting the establishment of Shariah law within the country, as a first step to full recognition as an independent linguistic and racial force in the federal state.

The fact that the accused terrorist is of Moroccan descent fits the necessity to scapegoat Belgium’s Islamic minority perfectly. There were huge riots in Antwerp, Belgium’s second largest city, renowned as the diamond capital of Europe, on 29th November 2002. The provocation was the murder of a quiet young Moroccan supposedly by a mentally deficient neighbor.

Again, the retarded patsy has his moment of fame.

The media and the authorities seized on the incident to claim that Abou Jahjah, a Lebanese-born activist heading the Arab-European League, which is based in Belgium, deliberately incited the subsequent violence. The man the newspapers called the Malcolm X of Belgium was never charged, only kept under house arrest for a few days, and then quietly released to do as he pleased.

We are in the same territory after the atrocity in Liege. Propaganda reaped its rewards.

The following days will see the patient construction of the case against Nordine Amrani, the Belgian Anders Breivik.

By no coincidence at all, a similar attack occurred in Italy on exactly the same day, 14th December. The Italian authorities blamed a 'far-right militant' for the death of two Senegalese street vendors in a shooting spree in the historic city of Florence.

Witnesses said they saw the purported assailant, 50-year-old Gianluca Casseri, casually get out of a car and then calmly aim three shots with a pistol, killing two vendors on the spot and seriously wounding a third. Accounts state that he then shot himself, or was shot by the police. (Quite probably the latter).

The sum of similarities between Liege and Florence are too great to be ascribed to sudden rash acts by disturbed people

As everyone knows, Italy has recently come under the rule of an unelected civilian technocrat government which is imposing a stiff austerity program. Resentment of immigrants from Africa particularly is also the source of immense resentment in the country. The linkage is not difficult to make. We are back to the Gladio-style Strategy of Tension, and the need to muster strong support from both left and right flanks of the country behind a Right wing authority pressing unpopular reforms.

My advice is to expect more of the same.

Richard Cottrell

Dec. 15


Residents had earlier told local television that shots were fired across the square by gunmen posted on the rooftop of a bakery and grenades hurled at bus shelters and into the courthouse.

Reports had also said that two to three gunmen armed with either explosive flash grenades or killer defensive grenades were involved.