Doorbakken kan altijd nog
Friday, November 12, 2004
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Been following your excellent blog since I began researching this press review I wrote for Slate yesterday:
A question maybe you can shed some light on: In everything I've read, nowhere is there any indication -- either off the record or on -- that the people picked up on Wednesday (the Hofstadt Group) were connected to Mohammed B. and the van Gogh murder. Of course it's a tangled web, but what's your reading of the situation? You mentioned earlier that Samir A. (who ran in the same circles as Mohammed B.) was a member of the Hofstadt group, but your blog is the only source I've seen that makes the connection.
Scott MacMillan (ip:220.127.116.11) 12 November 2004 - 16:27 uur
@Scott: it's the Hofstadgroep (Hofstad Group). Hofstad is a colloquial name for The Hague. The name was given to it by the AIVD. An ending in 'dt' would make it more German.
It's been reported in lots of papers that Samir A. was a member of the Hofstadgroup, just like the two Dutch-American brothers (one of whom, btw, was arrested in Amersfoort, the other one in The Hague). It's also widely known that Mohammed B. knew Samir A. There has been some speculation - which is why I didn't include it on the frontpage - that all these people have a similar connection in a Syrian 'coordinator'. You can read about it here: http://volkomenkut.com/index.php?/weblog/puzzelstukjes_vallen_op_de_juiste_plaats/ although you might need some help from systransoft.com. I wouldn't use it in a story yet, though. It's not exactly the WSJ that link is referring to.
Anyway, just Google on 'Hofstadgroep', 'Mohammed B.' and 'Samir A.' and you'll get plenty of hits: http://tinyurl.com/5nffx
I figure most other sources that have reported this are Dutch.
PS: I'm real curious, what did you tell your lawyer? :-)
Arjan (ip:18.104.22.168) 12 November 2004 - 17:05 uur
Cees de Rijk (ip:22.214.171.124) 12 November 2004 - 17:34 uur
@Scott: I dug into it a bit deeper. The Syrian connection seems to be pretty strong after all. His name is apparently 'sheikh' Abu Khaled and he's 43 years old, Dutch broadsheet NRC reports: http://www.nrc.nl/binnenland/artikel/1099981669672.html He had meetings with at least some of the suspects at the Maria Philipsstraat 27 in Amsterdam, the house of Mohammed B. He taught a group of young Muslims there. Jason W. is mentioned as a member of this group in the article. He also knew about the botched trip of Samir A. to Chechnya, about which I've written before here: http://www.zachtei.nl/2004/11/06/000433.html During the six o'clock news Dutch PBS tonight said Abu Khaled can be connected to all the major suspects, thus corroborating or at least endorsing the NRC article.
Arjan (ip:126.96.36.199) 12 November 2004 - 18:58 uur
Arjan, thanks a mil for the info. Sorry about the mispelling! Residues of high school German...
So it appears the wanted Syrian, Abu Khaled, is the link holding everyone together. The next question (and about this I suppose you can only speculate) is why the Dutch authorities choose to act now. Was it just a coincidence that things happened to be boiling over following the van Gogh murder? Or did the Dutch police know or suspect that his murder was the first of a series of coordinated attacks? Or did they simply realize that regardless, the political fallout could be enormous if they didn't pick these guys up immediately?
P.S. Don't worry too much about that lawyer thing! It was just a bullshit noise complaint from a neighbor of Tulip Cafe, which has resulted in interminable hassles from the Czech bureaucrats for not having all the proper stamps on all the appropriate papers. (You might think Kafka was a brilliant novelist. Actually he was just a good reporter.) If they shut the restaurant down, at least I'll have time to pursue interesting stories like these.
Scott MacMillan (ip:188.8.131.52) 12 November 2004 - 19:23 uur
In view of all this .. I hope authorities will take custody of that "sheik" pretty soon.. Looks like 2 Syrians were top level coordinators of this barbaric terroist act. If this goes on, President "W." Bush might feel even more inclined to push for "Regime Change" in Syria..
MAXX (from Austria)
MAXX (ip:184.108.40.206) 12 November 2004 - 19:25 uur
@Scott: Remkes (I've written about him, see the frontpage) ) yesterday night defended himself by saying a new attack on a person was prevented. This, according to him, was the reason for the busts in The Hague, Amsterdam and Amersfoort. I'm sceptical, since Remkes was trying to save his skin (we dismiss politicians fairly easily compared to the USA) and may just have been putting a bit of spin on it. NRC has an article here: http://www.nrc.nl/binnenland/artikel/1100240469882.html Systransoft.com offers Dutch translation.
Arjan (ip:220.127.116.11) 12 November 2004 - 19:33 uur
As for Queen B, it's no wonder she feels so comfortable around immigrants... her father is German and her daughter-in-law is from Argentina!
vaara (ip:18.104.22.168) 12 November 2004 - 22:10 uur