Le Soir is the voice of Belgium’s establishment. An American friend who used to work for The Wall Street Journal in Brussels and is now a free-lance writer on international terrorism returned to Brussels last week to discover that his furnished apartment, which, while travelling abroad to Iraq, Afghanistan and various other places, he had let for a year to an Irish journalist working for Le Soir, had been almost stripped. His beautiful crockery had disappeared, as well as part of his furniture, posters and drawings, and many of his books. The man from Le Soir had also cashed the money which our friend had sent him on a monthly basis to pay the phone and internet bills, so that telephone and cable connections had been cut off.
For those readers who fail to have the good fortune to be born UK citizens or subjects, the current goings on over the putative introduction of ID cards must seem odd in the extreme. Our government has been trying to force the blasted things upon us for years now. First calling them 'entitlement cards' - suggesting that we are illegitimate if we do not carry one and shouldn't be able to avail ourselves of the ill formed services currently provided. Next owning up in public as to their identity role and threatening to charge us £350 for the privilege of affirming our existence.
You may have got the impression that the European Constitution was dead: that the French had felled it, and the Dutch pounded a stake through its heart. If so, think again. The constitution is being brought in, clause by clause, as if those two countries had voted “Yes”.
The German Constitutional Court, the Bundesverfassungsgericht, decided today that the European Arrest Warrant Act of 2002, which replaced the various national extradition systems by a unified European one, is incompatible with the German Constitution. According to the Bundesverfassungsgericht the German Constitution overrules European Union legislation. Consequently a German citizen cannot be extradited automatically to other EU member states to be taken to court there, but is entitled to a verdict by German courts.
We have already pointed out that on the European continent, and especially in France, people have begun to notice the difference with Anglo-Saxon political culture. Though there are Americans who deem that France is in some respects to be preferred to Britain it is significant that Nicolas Sarkozy, the current French Minister of the Interior and the most likely future President of France, is an admirer of Britain and hopes his country will follow the British example.
XTC or ecstasy (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a popular “party drug” among adolescents and young adults. It reduces inhibitions and promotes euphoria and increased sensuality. However, XTC can interfere with the ability to regulate body temperature. This can lead to a sharp increase in body temperature (hyperthermia) resulting in liver, kidney, and cardiovascular failure. Repeated use of the drug can also cause permanent brain damage.
Belgium and the Netherlands are the world’s major producers of XTC tablets. Though XTC is an illegal drug in both countries, operating clandestine laboratories is a very lucrative business for criminals. Small laboratories can produce large numbers of tablets quickly at low cost. Moreover, the risk of being caught is minimal: the laboratories are inconspicuous and can be easily cleared and moved. Reports estimate that over 2 million tablets produced in Belgium and the Netherlands are smuggled into the U.S. each week.
Some really good news is coming out of the Low Countries this week. Sleep quietly tonight, ye burghers, for a devilish menace has been exorcized. Or rather, has been debunked. For one, the Lonsdale brand name is OK again. On 12 and 13 July 2005, the papers happily announced that according to the findings of the Dutch state security service the vast majority of “Lonsdale youngsters” are not far-right fanatics. The media had created a negative hype about Lonsdale clothes being the secret uniform of xenophobic and even neo-Nazi youngsters. This helped to create a climate of apprehension about an imminent threat from “renascent fascism”. One would think that it is but a step from Lonsdale to committing genocide. As a result, some importers and distributors of Lonsdale gear went out of business.
The four young British suicide terrorists of Pakistani origin who committed last week’s London bombings appear to have become Islamic extremists at a government-funded youth centre in Leeds: the Hamara Youth Access Point. The Canadian Globe and Mail reported yesterday that apart from the British government the European Union, too, funded the centre. People working at the centre described it as a hub of radical Muslim politics and a hotbed of Islamic organizing, routinely hosting mysterious figures to speak about extremist politics. "It had become so radical and so hateful that I asked if I could stop working there," said one of the employees. Considering these testimonies one wonders why the British and EU authorities never inquired about what was going on in the centre. Is it standard policy just to pour European taxpayers’ money into projects without assessing what is being done with the money?
For decades Tintin has been the world’s most famous Belgian reporter. But now it looks like he may have a competitor. Philippe Servaty is the 42-year old chief economics correspondent of Le Soir, Brussels’ most influential newspaper. This modern Tintin’s adventures took him to Morocco several times over the past years. There dozens of women ended up in his bed and naked in front of his camera lens.
One of them is 42-year old Samira, a teacher in Agadir. Servaty told her that he loved her and asked her to pose nude for a souvenir picture. He had her stand on all fours with a leash around her neck while he took her doggy-style. “These sluts are so naive. If you promise to marry them and take them along with you to Brussels they do whatever you ask,” Servaty wrote on a website where he posted Samira’s picture. Another woman, 23-year old Amina, was photographed while Servaty urinated on her. He had promised her that he was going to help her flee the husband of her arranged marriage and use his media connections to make her a movie star.