Bungling Belgians come under scrutiny after fugitive gives authorities the slip... https://t.co/02XfyReQi5— DRUDGE REPORT (@DRUDGE_REPORT) November 23, 2015
Once the dust has cleared, the Belgian police service is likely to face heavy scrutiny over how the Paris gang were allowed to go undetected and how [suspect] Salah [Abdeslam] managed to give them the slip, writes Matthew Holehouse.So here's a thought: What if ISIS isn't really all-powerful? What if it's not an unstoppable band of international terrorists able to strike anywhere in the Western world at will, all because mom-jeans-wearing Obama gave the group the leeway to develop superpowers out of an overabundance of political correctness? What if ISIS has been able to strike several times in France this year not because it's the most terrifying threat ever, but because France is just across the border from Belgium, a country where the authorities are struggling to take the most obvious steps to combat it?
In Brussels, a city of 1.2 million people, policing is divided by six rival forces, while the city is governed by 19 different mayors....
Eddy Lebon, of the police union Sypol, told La Libre that the Belgian forensics service is "anaemic". Laboratories are being cut from 23 to 14, and may go down to 5. "They don't have the white powder to reveal fingerprints at the scene of a crime."
"Last fall, we stopped the recruitment of 600 police officers, 15 days short of their entry to the academy. If this absurd economy had not happened, today they would be entering service..."
"I could tell you about our cars that have 230,000 kilometres on the clock and tremble above 80 kilometres an hour, but I prefer to discuss our IT issues, the obsolete equipment we use for wiretaps and the state of our weapons."
Vincent Gilles, president of the SLFP Police union, said: "In the federal police, there is not enough money to buy new trousers for police officers, and young recruits make do with old overalls. Some teams are armed with 20 year-old rifles, with too few to go around, not to mention the lack of body armour."
An AP story from a couple of days ago tells us more:
Until 2006, Belgium had a very permissive gun law by European standards, and many weapons used in the 1990s Balkan wars easily found their way into the Belgian criminal underworld. At the same time, the Justice Ministry was hurt by austerity measures, rendering it powerless to dig into the root causes of the problem.Oh, and there's this problem across the EU:
"It is relatively easy to get your hands on heavy arms in Brussels," said Brice De Ruyver, a professor of criminology at Ghent University, who was security adviser to the prime minister from 2000 to 2008. "That applies to terror and serious crime. That is because the illegal arms trade has been neglected far too long. ... And once you have a reputation, it is tough to get rid of it."
... The number of police zones has been reduced from 19, but the current six is still considered an anachronism given the need to unify forces in combating extremism....
Extremist ideology has also been allowed to thrive due to police neglect. For years, the leader of Islamic radical group Sharia4Belgium directed one of Europe's more potent recruitment machines for fighters in Syria. Yet it was only this year that he was sentenced to 12 years in prison as the leader of what a court determined was a terror group. "Sharia4Belgium has been able to act with impunity for too long," said De Ruyver.
Add to that a system in which policemen are often blocked from crossing borders -- lacking jurisdiction to work in neighboring countries -- while criminals can take advantage of Europe's open border policy, and it becomes clear why Belgium is attractive for terrorists.The message we're hearing right now, particularly from conservatives, is: ISIS is unstoppable and we're all going to die. Thanks, Obama! But obviously there's are plenty of sensible, non-controversial steps that could be taken to stop the group that haven't being taken yet in Belgium, or in Europe as a whole. It's reasonable to assume that more than just an intervening ocean makes America less vulnerable -- yes, conservatives, under President Obama.