Category Archives: Belgium

The Scariest Thing About Brussels Is Our Reaction To It

Simon Jenkins writes for The Guardian:

[…] Textbooks on terrorism define its effects in four stages: first the horror, then the publicity, then the political grandstanding, and finally the climactic shift in policy. The initial act is banal. The atrocities in Brussels happen almost daily on the streets of Baghdad, Aleppo and Damascus. Western missiles and Isis bombs kill more innocents in a week than die in Europe in a year. The difference is the media response. A dead Muslim is an unlucky mutt in the wrong place at the wrong time. A dead European is front-page news.

So on Tuesday the TV news channels behaved like Isis recruiting sergeants. Their blanket hyperbole showed not the slightest restraint (nor for that matter did that of most newspapers). The BBC flew Huw Edwards to Brussels. It flashed horror across the airwaves continually for 24 hours, incanting the words “panic”, “threat”, “menace” and “terror”. Vox pops wallowed in blood and guts. One reporter rode a London tube escalator to show possible future targets, to scare the wits out of commuters. It was a terrorist’s wildest dream.

With the ground thus prepared, the politicians entered on cue. France’s President Hollande declared “all of Europe has been hit”, megaphoning Isis’s crime. His approval rating immediately jumped.

David Cameron dived into his Cobra bunker and announced the UK “faces a very real terror threat”. An attack is now “highly likely”, according to the security services. Flags fly at half-mast. The Eiffel Tower is decked in Belgian colours. President Obama interrupts his Cuba visit to stand “in solidarity with Belgium”.Donald Trump declares that “Belgium and France are literally disintegrating”. It is hard to imagine what could more effectively promote the Isis cause.

Osama bin Laden set out on 9/11 to depict western nations as feckless and paranoid, their liberalism a surface charade easily punctured. A few explosions and their pretensions would wither and they would turn as repressive as any Muslim state.

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Brussels Attacks: Our Pain and Rage Are Immense, But We Need Reason and Understanding More Than Ever

Frank Barat writes for Ceasefire Magazine:

Brussels - Getty[…]If you look at what happened in France and Belgium, if you study all the footage and read all the media reports and analyses, you will realise most of them focus on “security”, “militarisation” “hitting back” and “war”. Only a few are concentrating on what the terrorists said or wrote. Why did they do it? What did they say while doing it? If you read these – not something you’ll find easily with a Google search – you will realise that all the attackers are talking the same language. They were politically educated out of the destruction of Iraq, the invasion of Afghanistan, the drones bombing in Pakistan, Yemen, the torture of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib and the colonisation and occupation of Palestine. While most identified themselves as Muslims, they also said they were horrified by the ideological war the West has carried out against what it wrongfully calls “the Muslim world”. This is the main motivator behind them becoming killers. “Your wars, our deaths” became a slogan after the Paris attacks. It might not be totally accurate, and we definitely cannot simplify things, but there is a lot of truth in it.

What is certain is that the people in power, despite telling us that they want to protect us, actually care very little about the safety of their citizens. The response of the Belgian authorities following the Charlie Hebdo and the Paris attacks was to put thousands of soldiers on the streets and raise the security alert. Despite this, and the massive and pretty much unlimited funding that the intelligence services enjoy, two of the most obvious targets for terrorists, an airport and the metro system, were hit. It can only be called what it is, an utter failure on their parts, both in their overall strategy and in the specific response they adopted to “defeat terror”.

We know, for example, that the real people fighting ISIS at the moment are the Kurds in Kobane and other cities. We know that helping and supporting them, while cutting the route of ISIS’s oil to Turkey, would deal a huge blow to the so called Islamic State. Are we doing it? Not at all, quite the opposite in fact, supporting Turkey, a key actor, despite its murderous policies on the ground. We also know the role that Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive states in the world, plays in the region, through its funding of corrupt and dangerous ideologies. Are we doing something against it? For sure we are, France just gave the future Saudi King, Mohammed Ben Nayef, its highest honour, the “Legion d’honneur” a few days ago. These constant double standards, and the lies our governments offer in their defence, need to be challenged. They create rancour and hate.

This time, we are going to need more than demonstrations, we are going to have to do more than putting the Belgian flag as a profile picture on Facebook, we are going to need more that GIFs, tweets and petitions. What we need is a total, radical and deep rethinking of the way we see society, of how we see each other within it, of who makes decisions on our behalf. In short, a spiritual and philosophical revolution is what it required

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Zero-Sum in Brussels: the Savage Vision Driving a Terror-Ridden World

Chris Floyd writes:

shutterstock_342638423The atrocities in Brussels — and they are horrific, criminal atrocities — are not occurring in a vacuum. They are not springing from some unfathomable abyss of motiveless malevolence. They are a response, in kind, to the atrocious violence being committed by Western powers on a regular basis in many countries around the world. And just as there is no justification for the acts of carnage in Brussels (and Paris and Turkey and elsewhere), there is likewise no justification for the much larger and more murderous acts of carnage being carried out by the most powerful and prosperous nations on earth, day after day, year after year.

The Western powers know this. For many years, their own intelligence agencies — in study after study — have confirmed that the leading cause of violent “radicalization” among a small number of Muslims is the violent Western intervention in Muslim lands. These interventions are carried out for the purpose of securing the economic and political domination of Western interests over lands rich with energy resources, as well as their strategic surroundings. That they have not even the slightest connection to “liberating” people from religious or political persecution, or making the world “safer,” is glaringly transparent. They are about domination, pure and simple.

Indeed, this point is scarcely disputed, although champions of domination claim it is a good thing. For decades, one has heard the argument from American exceptionalists that “if we don’t do it” — that is, if we don’t dominate the world militarily and economically — “then somebody else will.” The implication, of course, is that such a “somebody else” will be far worse than our own divinely blessed, goodhearted selves.

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Who Are The Brussels Terror Attack Suspects?

On Tuesday, two bombs exploded at Zaventem airport in Brussels and a third at the Belgian capital’s Maelbeek metro station. Two brothers, Ibrahim and Khalid el-Bakraoui, detonated explosive devices in suicide attacks. A third unidentified attacker also died in the airport attack. A fourth suspect, named in Belgian media as Najim Laachraoui, is still on the run. Laachraoui and the el-Bakraoui brothers have been linked to last November’s attacks in Paris. (The Guardian)

Why Brussels? Interview with Jean Bricmont

Jaisal Noor talks to Jean Bricmont, co-author of Humanitarian Imperialism, who says the Brussels attacks are the latest instance of blowblack against western foreign policy and regime change in the Middle East and North Africa. (The Real News)

Brussels Bombings Destroy Fiction That All Terrorism Deaths Count as Equal

Neil deMause writes for Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR):

New York Times online edition (3/22/16)When a series of bombs went off at the Brussels airport and in a subway station yesterday, killing 31 people and injuring more than 200, the reaction of the US press was immediate and overwhelming. Every major news outlet turned its website over to coverage of the suicide attacks, often accompanied by live tickers and infographics. “Brussels Attacks Shake European Security” reads the banner headline on today’s New York Times’ front page (3/23/16); the Washington Post (3/22/16) worried that the bombings “made clear that European capitals remain perilously vulnerable despite attempts to dismantle the militant network that perpetrated the worst terrorist attack in Paris in generations last November.”

It was a curious statement, given that just nine days earlier, another European nation’s capital had been the site of a remarkably similar suicide bombing. On March 13, a car bomb went off in Ankara, Turkey, killing 34 people and injuring 125. As in Brussels, the Ankara bombing, carried out by a Kurdish group opposed to Turkey’s military actions in Kurdish regions of Syria, targeted a transit hub—there a heavily trafficked bus stop—and the victims were likewise unsuspecting civilians going about their lives, including the father of international soccer star Umut Bulut (Guardian, 3/14/16), who was on his way back from one of his son’s matches.

If terrorists had set out to conduct a controlled experiment on how the US media covers mass deaths overseas, they couldn’t have planned it any better.

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Why Did The Bombers Target Belgium?

Jason Burke writes for The Guardian:

Belgium seems an unlikely location for a hub of European extremist violence. But there are good reasons for the concentration of radical activity in the small state. Many of the problems that lead to militancy are common across the world, developing and developed, and though they may differ in severity, have the same consequences.

These include a sizeable and poorly integrated Muslim minority, high levels of youth unemployment in that community, the availability of arms, a highly developed communications and transport network passing through the country, authorities that have been often complacent and always under-resourced, and domestic political instability.

Like other countries, Belgium has also seen the apparently inexorable spread of a violent ideology through social media and among peers which, if it does not directly encourage violence, certainly promotes a hate-filled, intolerant and deeply conservative worldview.

The historic roots of the current problem are deep. As elsewhere in Europe, Belgium suffered waves of terrorism in the 1980s and 1990s linked to unrest in the Middle East. “There is a very long history of connection between Belgium and France in the realm of terrorism,” said Rik Coolsaet, an expert in terrorism at the University of Ghent.

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Brussels Attacks: Were They Revenge For Salah Abdeslam’s Arrest?

Jason Burke writes for The Guardian:

Revenge strike? Evidence of a tragic combination of a new cell and incompetent security services? A last effort by the battered network of Salah Abdeslam, the logistician for last year’s Paris attacks who was arrested in Brussels on Friday? Or – given that we still have very few details of Tuesday morning’s events – none of the above?

The explosions in Brussels underline various basic and important points.

The first is that, clearly, any threat from Islamic militants to Europe may rise and fall, but does not disappear when a single figure is arrested, however much he was sought. The “major blow” struck on Friday, as senior policymakers called it, now looks less major.

The second is that both terrorists and those trying to stop them seek to keep the initiative. This has a practical and a psychological aspect. For counter-terrorist agencies, the aim is to get information fast enough to mount raids and sweep up suspects before they even have time to work out who among them has been detained and who might have talked, let alone plan a new strike. Networks quickly fall apart under such relentless pressure, as was shown in Iraq in the middle of the last decade.

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As Twin Attacks Hit Brussels, How Should Belgium and Europe Respond? Interview with Peter Bouckaert

Amy Goodman speaks to Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director for Human Rights Watch and a native of Belgium, after twin explosions hit the international airport and a city metro station in Brussels this morning, reportedly killing more than two dozen people and wounding scores. Belgium’s federal prosecutor said the two blasts at the airport were carried out by a suicide bomber. There were also reports of shots fired before the explosions at the airport, which occurred at about 8 a.m. this morning. About an hour later, another explosion hit the Maelbeek metro station. (Democracy Now!)

From Paris to Boston, Terrorists Were Already Known to Authorities

map-3Ryan Gallagher reports for The Intercept:

Whenever a terrorist attack occurs, it never takes long for politicians to begin calling for more surveillance powers. The horrendous attacks in Paris last week, which left more than 120 people dead, are no exception to this rule. In recent days, officials in the United Kingdom and the United States have been among those arguing that more surveillance of Internet communications is necessary to prevent further atrocities.

The case for expanded surveillance of communications, however, is complicated by an analysis of recent terrorist attacks. The Intercept has reviewed 10 high-profile jihadi attacks carried out in Western countries between 2013 and 2015 (see below), and in each case some or all of the perpetrators were already known to the authorities before they executed their plot. In other words, most of the terrorists involved were not ghost operatives who sprang from nowhere to commit their crimes; they were already viewed as a potential threat, yet were not subjected to sufficient scrutiny by authorities under existing counterterrorism powers. Some of those involved in last week’s Paris massacre, for instance, were already known to authorities; at least three of the men appear to have been flagged at different times as having been radicalized, but warning signs were ignored.

In the aftermath of a terrorist atrocity, government officials often seem to talk about surveillance as if it were some sort of panacea, a silver bullet. But what they always fail to explain is how, even with mass surveillance systems already in place in countries like France, the United States, and the United Kingdom, attacks still happen. In reality, it is only possible to watch some of the people some of the time, not all of the people all of the time. Even if you had every single person in the world under constant electronic surveillance, you would still need a human being to analyze the data and assess any threats in a timely fashion. And human resources are limited and fallible.

There is no doubt that we live in a dangerous world and that intelligence agencies and the police have a difficult job to do, particularly in the current geopolitical environment. They know about hundreds or thousands of individuals who sympathize with terrorist groups, any one of whom may be plotting an attack, yet they do not appear to have the means to monitor each of these people closely over sustained periods of time. If any lesson can be learned from studying the perpetrators of recent attacks, it is that there needs to be a greater investment in conducting targeted surveillance of known terror suspects and a move away from the constant knee-jerk expansion of dragnet surveillance, which has simply not proven itself to be effective, regardless of the debate about whether it is legal or ethical in the first place.

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Who are the key suspects and identified gunmen in France’s deadliest terror attacks?

Paris Attacks: Intelligence unit issued a note saying “a group of 6 people was preparing attacks”

Where is Belgian euthanasia headed, asks The New Yorker

Michael Cook writes for BioEdge:

The long-drawn-out case of a woman who asked for euthanasia in 2012 may eventually reach a criminal court in Belgium. The European Court of Human Rights wants a Belgian court to hear allegations that there were serious irregularities in the euthanasis of Godelieva De Troyer by  Dr Wim Distelmans.

Ms De Troyer’s son, Tom Mortier, a university lecturer, claims that her own doctor denied his mother’s request for euthanasia because she was depressed. However, Dr Distelmans, who had no psychiatric expertise, readily agreed. Ms De Troyer made a 2,500 Euro donation to Dr Distelman’s Life End Information Forum, which suggests that there may have been a conflict of interest.

Ms De Troyer’s death was just one of 1,432 registered euthanasia deaths in Belgium in 2012. But a careful examination of the details of the case in America’s foremost literary magazine, The New Yorker, this week raises serious doubts about the wisdom of legalising assisted suicide and euthanasia in the United States and elsewhere. It is essential reading for anyone interested in end-of-life issues.’

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Europe’s ‘Minority Report’ Raids on Future Terrorists

Christopher Dickey reports for The Daily Beast:

[…] Worry hardly begins to describe the concerns behind the arrests over the last two days. But the legal foundation for detaining suspects varies from country to country, and may create loopholes through which potential terrorist attacks similar to the ones in Paris can still be organized.

Alain Bauer, one of France’s leading criminologists and an expert on counterterrorism, tells The Daily Beast that there’s widening recognition that surveillance tactics and strategies will have to change.

“Counterterrorism used to be like counternarcotics,” says Bauer. “You wait and you wait, and then you get another guy, with the idea that you are working your way eventually to the boss. But time, which was the ally of counterterrorism in the past, is now the enemy.” In the old days, suspects were followed from training camp to training camp, from connection to connection, as authorities mapped out whole networks. But the Internet allows connections to be made very quickly, and inspiration for attacks to take effect without any direct connection at all.’

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U.S. and British Intel Agencies Attacked European Union With Malware

Morgan Marquis-Boire, Claudio Guarnieri, and Ryan Gallagher report for The Intercept:

‘Complex malware known as Regin is the suspected technology behind sophisticated cyberattacks conducted by U.S. and British intelligence agencies on the European Union and a Belgian telecommunications company, according to security industry sources and technical analysis conducted by The Intercept.

Regin was found on infected internal computer systems and email servers at Belgacom, a partly state-owned Belgian phone and internet provider, following reports last year that the company was targeted in a top-secret surveillance operation carried out by British spy agency Government Communications Headquarters, industry sources told The Intercept.

The malware, which steals data from infected systems and disguises itself as legitimate Microsoft software, has also been identified on the same European Union computer systems that were targeted for surveillance by the National Security Agency.

The hacking operations against Belgacom and the European Union were first revealed last year through documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The specific malware used in the attacks has never been disclosed, however.’

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Mass protests against austerity in Brussels

SEE ALSO: Nazi row rattles Belgium’s new ‘kamikaze coalition’

Alex Lantier reported for WSWS:

‘Approximately 130,000 people (100,000 according to police and 200,000 according to the marchers) from both Flemish- and French-speaking regions marched in one of Belgium’s largest mass protests since the general strike of 1960-1961. Workers in the chemical, pharmaceutical, transport, public transit, port, steel and aerospace industries struck and joined the protests.

Members of several youth groups and pseudo-left organizations broke into and briefly occupied the headquarters of the Federation of Belgian Corporations (FEB) in Brussels.

Workers were protesting the Michel government’s plans to raise the pension age to 67, carry out a 10 percent cut in the public sector wage bill, force long-term unemployed workers to work for their unemployment benefits, cut health spending, and push through a €3 billion wage cut by delaying the indexation of wages on prices. This last measure would cost the average worker €336 (US$417.27) per year.’

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Flemish nationalists tread cautiously on Scottish independence vote

Philippe Siuberski reports for AFP:

‘Scotland’s independence vote inspires Flemish nationalists with hope but, with negotiations under way on forming a new Belgian government, they also have their reasons to tread carefully, analysts say.

Born in 1830 as an independent state to act as a buffer between France and Germany, Belgium is an uneasy mix of a Flemish-speaking, more conservative north critical of a French and left-leaning south.

Those differences have become even more pronounced in recent years, with Flemish nationalist sentiment more powerful than ever.’

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The Disunited States of Europe

Vivienne Walt writes for Fortune:

‘[…] The intense nervousness over how the Scots might vote extends far beyond the territory’s rugged mountains. Many in Europe fear that Scotland’s independence fervor could ripple across the continent, where a number of separatist campaigns have simmered for years. The hotspots range from the mountainous Basque region at the border of Spain and France to the Mediterranean island of Corsica to the lowlands of Belgium, where many in the Flemish majority want to say tot ziens to their French-speaking countrymen. Some of these movements have a history of violence; several more seem merely rhetorical—and, well, quixotic (independent Venice?). But taken together, the sovereignty pushes are yet another reminder of how tenuous the notion of one cohesive “European Union” truly is.’

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Catalan Vote Seen as Test for Separatists in Europe

Raphael Minder writes for The New York Times:

‘[…] As the Catalan vote nears, analysts are raising alarms that it could set off a separatist spiral that would dismember Spain, as well as have a domino effect among other independence-minded European regions that should make defenders of the 28-nation European Union sit up and take note. A meeting last week between Artur Mas, the leader of the Catalan regional Parliament, and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain did nothing to forestall the independence drive, and Mr. Mas vowed to go ahead with the vote as scheduled on Nov. 9.

If Catalonia does vote on independence, the Basque Country and other regions will quickly want to stage similar votes, potentially paving the way for the eradication of the Spanish state, said Emilio Lamo de Espinosa, the president of the Real Instituto Elcano, a political research group in Madrid. And if Spain splinters, it “would destroy the E.U. project, which is based on union and not division and splitting,” he added. The Catalans are set to vote just weeks after the Scottish hold their own referendum on independence from the United Kingdom on Sept. 18, and the Scottish outcome is being regarded as something of a bellwether here. But if the United Kingdom has something to worry about in Scotland’s referendum, then Spain arguably faces larger trouble.’

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Belgium unable to form government again

From MINA:

‘One month after the national elections in Belgium, the process of forming a new government is going nowhere, EUobserver reports. The lead negotiator and chairman of the Flemish nationalist N-VA party, Bart De Wever, returned his mandate to form a government to the King on Wednesday (June 25).

The move has prompted fears that Belgium is heading for another lengthy round of talks on the shared rule. Less than three years ago, it took almost 550 days to make the deal, being a world record. After the May 25 elections, there was optimism that this time it would be different.’

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Six countries that went left, not right in the European elections

Paula Cocozza writes for The Guardian:

‘The headline gains were for nationalist and Eurosceptic parties – witness all those pictures of “evil” Nigel Farage smiling into his pint glass, or of Marine Le Pen, whose Front National party triumphed in France, throwing back her head and cackling. But some member nations bucked the trend in the Euro elections and registered a surge towards leftwing candidates.’

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Protesters Clash With Police in Major Brussels Protest

Matina Stevis reports for The Wall Street Journal:

An injured demonstrator lies on the ground after being hit by a stone thrown by other demonstrators during a European trade unions protest against austerity measures, in central Brussels April 4, 2014. (Reuters/Francois Lenoir)Some 25,000 protesters from Belgian trade unions staged a march in Brussels Friday, according to police estimates, in one of the largest anti-austerity protests in the capital of the European Union. Protest organizers said as many as 40,000 showed up.

Riot police met the demonstrators at the heart of the so-called European Quarter, on Schuman Square where EU institutions are housed, leading to outbreaks of violence and major traffic disruptions around the city. The protesters were largely peaceful, with members making speeches on platforms as workers drank beer and chanted slogans.

They were protesting austerity in the EU and what they see as a move by governments across the bloc to signigicantly cut workers’ salaries and benefits in an attempt to reduce labor costs and increase competitiveness.

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Secessionism on the March in Europe

Jason Ditz writes for Antiwar:

Several thousand protesters from across the continent turned out today [March 30th] in the European Union capital city of Brussels. Several nations were represented, none of them currently recognized, and all had the same message: secession now.

Officials like to portray secession as a fringe tactic that comes up only in places like Crimea, and then only at the behest of a foreign power hoping to capitalize on it. That’s less and less the case, as secession grows in appeal across Europe.

Scotland aims to separate from Britain, and Catalan hopes to leave Spain. Even Brussels itself is in the midst of a major secession fight, as Flanders hopes to reassert itself as an independent nation, with Brussels as its presumptive capital.

Italy is the king of secessionist movements though, with three distinct major movements going on at once. Venice has already held a referendum on resuming its independence, while Tyrol is mulling a similar division, and Sardinia hopes to go the route of Crimea, ditching Italy in favor of Switzerland.

At the core of all these movements is a single question: is there an inherent right to self-determination, or is secession only acceptable when the major world powers feel it is convenient. It’s an argument that officials are likely to continue to bicker about, but which the secessionist movements see as obvious.

Obama’s first visit to Brussels cost more than €10m

Belgian lower house passes child euthanasia bill

From Bio Edge:

A bill permitting euthanasia for children has passed the lower house of the Belgian Parliament by a vote of 86 to 44, with 12 abstentions. The parties gave their members a free vote on the controversial issue. It will become law when King Philippe gives royal assent. This will make Belgium the only country in the world which allows euthanasia without an age limit. This has come only 12 years after it was first legalised. Neighbouring Netherlands also allows euthanasia for children, but only up to the age of 12.

Supporters of the bill insist that it is safe and that there will only be a handful of cases each year. The child must be suffering from a terminal illness, with  “constant and unbearable suffering”. He or she must demonstrate a “capacity of discernment”. Can an eight-year-old give informed consent to a lethal injection? Yes, they say, because youngsters in this situation often display a maturity beyond their years.

“This is an act of humanity that allows the doctor to make the most humane course of action for his patient,” said Philippe Mahoux, a doctor and Socialist Party senator who sponsored the legislation. “What is scandalous is the suffering of sick children when they are going to die.” Opponents are not convinced that children are capable of making a mature decision on such a momentous matter. British barrister Charles Foster commented late last year: “children could easily think, or be actively or unconsciously persuaded, that they should opt for death because their illness causes trouble for their parents.”

€1m a year? Belgium’s former King Albert struggles to cope with new ‘pay’

From The Independent:

Most of us would be quite content with nearly €1million coming in each year. It appears, however, that such a princely sum is not enough for the former Belgian king, who is reported to be so irked by his post-abdication pay cut that he is seeking solace by travelling between his three holiday homes.

Albert II handed the throne to his son Philippe in July after a tumultuous year in which a British-educated artist took him to court to try and prove he was her father, and his sister-in-law outraged the nation with a plan to shield some her fortune from inheritance tax.

It was the latter scandal that prompted parliament to slash royal stipends and demand the family pay taxes, leading to Albert’s current plight. A report in Le Soir newspaper has cited sources close to the palace who said that his €923,000 annual allowance was not enough to cover the expenses of a lifestyle he became accustomed to on the €11.5m annual salary he received as King.

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Firemen soak cops in foam protesting cuts in Brussels

New King of Belgium, Philippe, member of the Bilderberg Group ~ Daniel Estulin

New King of Belgium, Philippe, member of the Bilderberg Group P1000607 300x225

Daniel Estulin

Belgian monarchy has a new king – King Philippe of Belgium. As Reuters reports in today edition, “Belgium will swear in a new king on Sunday with festivities but also questions over the political influence of the monarch and the acceptance of Philippe as the king of all Belgians. The 183-year-old country is split across the middle, with many Dutch speakers seeking greater independence for Flanders in the north and wary of a monarchy seen rooted in the once powerful, but now poorer French-speaking Wallonia in the south. “One king, two nations” was a headline in French language business daily L’Echo, while Dutch newspaper De Standaard pushed the royals deep inside its weekend issue, leading instead with a story on tax.”

What most people do not know is that the newly crowned King is a full time member of the Bilderberg Group. Bilderberg was founded by like minded thinkers from the United States and Western Europe as a modern version of aristocracy of purpose on managing the planet. One of the front men of the Group was Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, the husband of Queen Juliana. Bernhard’s daughter, former Queen Beatrix is a long time member of the Bilderberg inner circle and is a member of the Group’s steering committee. It should also be remembered that Spain’s King Juan Carlos and his wife, Queen Sophia are both members of the Bilderberg Group, although it must be said in all fairness, Bilderberg doesn’t want Juan Carlos there too much. Bilderberg is a meeting of enlightened individuals.

FULL ARTICLE @ DANIEL ESTULIN

King Of Belgium Abdicates: Albert II Steps Down In Favor Of Son, Prince Philippe ~ IB Times

Albert II of BelgiumIB Times

The king of Belgium, Albert II, annouced his abdication Wednesday [July 3rd]. The 79-year old monarch, who ascended to the throne in 1993, said he will step down on July 21 in favor of his son, 53-year old Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant.

[…] The monarch has been embroiled in a controversy involving a possible lawsuit by a Belgian artist, Delphine Boel, who claims she is the offspring of an affair Albert had while he was crown prince in the 1960s.

Albert II became king of the 11 million Belgians when his childless brother Baudouin died. He is married to Queen Paola, an Italian-born princess born Paola Ruffo di Calabria. A member of the royal house of Belgium, formerly known as the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, he is related to many other members of European royalty, including King Harald V of Norway, who is his first cousin.

FULL ARTICLE @ THE IB TIMES