The Massacre of the Innocents
The truth will cause your heart to seize - Anti-Flag
You're a Belgian, and it's 1985. For three years, the province of Brabant has been traumatized by an unexplained wave of exceptionally brutal assaults upon unexceptional targets (supermarkets, restaurants, factories; the common places of ordinary people). Theft is not the motive; only small amounts of money are stolen by the hooded men, seemingly for incident, and often found dumped soon after. The motive is only terror.
From Daniele Ganser's description of the final attack, November 9, on the Delhaize supermarket in Aalst:
A prominent day in the Christmas season, November 9 is St Martin's day in Belgium, the local Santa Claus, and children on the night before leave carrots in front of the house for the horse of St Martin and go to bed with wishes for wonderful Christmas presents. The next morning, a busy Saturday, people hurried to the Delhaize supermarket to make their last minute purchases. What happened thereafter was reconstructed from the testimony of witnesses. A Volkswagon GTI was parked outside the supermarket and three armed men with hoods over their heads came out of the car. The tallest of the three produced a pump-action shotgun, opened fire at point blank range and finished off in cold blood two shoppers instantly. Upon reaching the checkout counter he began to fire randomly at anything that moved. "I saw three masked men coming out at the rear. A man said to his child "Drop down! There they are! ... One bystander who tried to flee was shot at, seven or eight bullets through his car and a shot grazing behind the ear." Total panic reigned. "One woman whose face was covered in blood, was screaming something about her child. I don't know exactly what." There was little cover or shelter for the terrified shoppers in the aisles of the supermarket from the three masked gunmen. In the ensuing massacre eight people, including a whole family, died, and seven more were injured. A husband and wife and their 14-year-old daughter were finished off in cold blood at the supermarket checkout. Another father and his nine-year old daughter were killed in their car trying to flee. The takings from the raid amounted to a meagre couple of thousand pounds, found later in a canal in an unopened sack. The killers escaped without a trace and have not been identified, nor arrested, nor tried ever since. The actors behind the series known as the Brabant massacres remain unidentified until today.
But that's not all we know.
In 1990 a parliamentary report into the massacres concluded that the killers were members or former members of the security forces: "extreme right-wingers who enjoyed high-level protection and were preparing a right-wing coup," wrote Phil Davidson in Britain's The Independent on Sunday. "The Brebant killings were part of a conspiracy to destabilize Belgium's democratic regime, possibly to prepare the ground for a right-wing coup." Just months later, the hidden architecture of fascist terror was revealed when Belgium's secret "stay behind" army - its own Gladio network - was disclosed. (It's from Ganser's NATO's Secret Armies, which tells similar stories from all across Western Europe, that the above excerpt is drawn.)
A militant branch of Belgium's extreme right-wing Front de la Jeunesse, the FJ, was called "Group G," as it was almost entirely composed of members of the Belgian Gendarmerie. The Gendarmes were also members of the military secret service, which was directed by the same branch that ran Belgium's secret army. By 1979 Group G was renamed the Westland New Post, but it remained distinct in its members' roll of military secret police. Its commander during the massacres was a man named Paul Latinus, who had been recruited in 1967 at the age of 17 by the US Defence Intelligence Agency, and until a left-wing magazine exposed him in 1981 had worked as an advisor to the Labour Minister.
In Allan Francovich's 1992 documentary Gladio he interviewed one of Group G's first members, Gendarme Martial Lekeu, who fled to Florida in 1984 after threats against his family. Lekeu testified that in 1983 he had gone to the special branch investigating the massacres with information implicating the secret service. "I was surprised that no arrests had been been made and I know that I did report myself what was going on," he told Francovich, as quoted by Ganser. "We were respecting killing like that - random killing or going into supermarkets and killing people, even kids.... So I told a gentleman I met: 'Do you realize members of the Gendarmerie of the army are involved in that?' His answer was 'Shut up! You know, we know. Take care of your own business. Get out of here!' What they were saying was that democracy was going away, the leftists were in power, the socialists and all this, and they wanted more power."
WNP member Michel Libert explained to Francovich that "One received orders. We can go back to, say, 1982. From 1982 to 1985, there were projects." Sensitive projects. He claimed he had been directed to case supermarkets: "What kind of locks are there? What sort of protection do they have that they could interfere with our operations? Does the store manager lock up? Or do they use an outside security company?" His superior told him that "You, Mr Libert, know nothing about why we're doing this. Nothing at all. All we ask is that your group, with cover from the Gendarmerie, with cover from Security, carry out a job." He adds: "We carried out the orders and sent in our reports."
From Florida, Lekeau said "the guns they were using were coming from far away and that's exactly what we had planned, to organize gangs and groups like that and let them go by themselves, but make sure they will survive and make sure to supply them and you know just to create a climate of terror in the country - [a] so-called 'Left movement" who will do a terrorist attempt just to make-believe, make the population believe that these terrorist attempts were done by the left."
Now, you're an American, and it's 2006.