Assadollah Assadi, a 48-year-old Iranian diplomat wanted by Belgian authorities for spying and terrorism, apparently stayed at a hotel in Meppel, Drente without any problems.
According to books in the hands of Flemish broadcaster VRT, Assadi stayed at Hotel de Poort, across the street from the Meppel train station. Hotel owner Henk van Duinen has not been able to find any record of the stay from five years ago. The Dutch authorities knew nothing of Assadi’s visit to Meppel either.
Assadi was arrested in Germany, and is facing a 20-year sentence. He’s been held in a Belgian prison awaiting the verdict in his trial next Thursday. It has recently emerged that while in custody he was visited by his superiors from Tehran. Apparently, he also gave other spies and terrorists instructions.
The Iranian frequented public spaces in many smaller European cities such as Meppel where he made appointments at tourist spots. The data reveal a predilection for meetings outside castles and fortresses. The only notable person I know from Meppel is my bookkeeper.
(Links: vrt.be, rtvdrenthe.nl, Image of Flag of Iran, some rights reserved)
Tags: Belgium, chess, Drenthe, hotel, Iran, Meppel, spy, terrorism
Starting last week during a high level threat against Brussels that is sadly ongoing, Belgians journalists and others tweeted pictures of cats to follow instructions from the Belgian federal police of not spreading pictures or information on Twitter that would give terrorists an edge as to what the police were doing.
On November 22 Dutch cameraman from Zwolle Hugo Janssen kicked of what was to be a huge collection of cat tweets. Carrying the hashtag #BrusselsLockDown he posted a picture of his cat Mozart, saying ”Instead of tweeting about the police’s movements in Brussels, here’s a picture of our cat Mozart”. Google ‘#BrusselsLockDown’ and you’ll get Star Wars cats, ordinary cats, wild cats, cats in boxes and the usual fare of Internet felines.
The Federal Belgian Police tweeted “For the cats that helped us yesterday, here you go!” with a picture of cat food, as seen above. The current situation is of course no laughing matter by any means and far from over.
Tags: Brussels, cats, terrorism, Twitter
KoreanDefense writes: “The rebels in eastern Ukraine seemed to have lost the anti-aircraft system they’re using to shoot down planes, so, let’s help them locate it.”
The author uses Twitter, Google Maps and Google Translate to help Russian terrorists, the ones that allegedly shot down civilian flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, locate their missing Buk rocket launcher. A more serious investigation appeared in The Guardian a week ago.
Dutch weblog Nine to Five has been doing its own research into Buk rocket launchers. It appears that Rostec, the company that manufactures these missile systems, is officially headquartered in Amsterdam in a building owned by Renault-Nissan. Rostec and Renault-Nissan work tobether in the car manufacturing business. The reason such a large Russian company has its office in the Netherlands is likely because we are a tax haven.
On Saturday I biked to the Rostec office expecting to find I don’t know what, anything really. A lone protester perhaps or a sign that this is where evil lives. I guess the most dramatic thing about the arms trade is its entirely uninteresting face of respectability. On one end of the planet you have hundreds of innocent people being torn apart in a ball of fire while back home you have marble slabs, sleek halls and a parking lot for visitors that is always empty.
(Link: Martin Wisse, top illustration: KoreanDefense)
Tags: arms trade, rocket launchers, Russia, tax evasion, terrorism, Ukraine, Vladimir Putin, war crimes
As of late, many journalists have turned finding out how badly privacy is protected by government institutions into a kind of sport.
Reinier Vermeer, a journalist from Webwereld, rang up the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) to find out about the data they had on him, and a few days later he got a letter from them with all the details of his neighbours.
The letter contained the complete names, dates of birth and social insurance numbers of his next-door neighbours, all of which is enough to ask for an online ID code, for doing taxes and even request a new passport using your own picture. It’s like Christmas for identity thieves and it goes against everything the Data Protection Law stands for.
And if said journalist was a real baddie, he could run around for a long time posing as his neighbour and commit all kinds of atrocities. The police in the journalist’s area are currently trying out a system where if you lose your passport, you don’t need to file a report with the police anymore, you just show up at some municipal office and file for a new passport. And unless his neighbour recently ordered a new biometric passport, there is no way of checking whether the journalist is who he says he is. And imagine the neighbour’s fun of trying to prove he is who he is.
So you’re a a hardcore baddie (think terrorist), you have a proper though technically illegal European passport, and the Dutch authorities would probably investigate the neighbour’s claim of having had his identity stolen for months before you’d get caught for anything, all because some stupid employee at the Employee Insurance Agency is too stupid/lazy/unmotivated to follow the rules or even learn them.
See also: Man harassed by police for 13 years after identity theft
Tags: biometrics, civil rights, identity theft, passports, police, terrorism
Women in the former USSR used to get a medal for cranking out lots of kids and women in Québec, Canada would finally be left alone by the priest after about 10 for fulfilling their Catholic duty. But in the neighbourhood of Slotervaart in the west of Amsterdam, one woman’s 10 kids have been wreaking havoc for 9 years and counting. The children enjoy breaking and entering, stealing, arson and defecating in entrance halls of other people’s flats. It’s so bad that three families have already moved away. About 10 different help organisations work with the family, but it’s not helping, even though the house was renovated, the mother was taught how to clean her house and make sandwiches for her children.
Mayor Job Cohen was even asked to intervene, but he can’t do much. He says that even if the family were to be moved, the problems would just move as well. The owner of the block of flats has run out of patience and wants the children to be placed in foster homes.
Tags: Amsterdam, neighbourhood, parenting, terrorism