Saturday, March 26, 2016


Yesterday special police units tried to arrest a suspect waiting at a tram station in the borough of Schaarbeek, northern Brussels. The suspect immediately grabbed a woman and a child to use as a human shield. [UPDATE: they might have been his wife and daughter]. Still, police were able to neutralize him with a shot in the leg, whereupon both hostages could apparently wrestle themselves free. A unmanned DOVO (the Belgian Army's Ordnance Disposal service) vehicle checked the man's rucksack and blew it up, but it's not clear whether it indeed contained explosives.

A screenshot from The National dealing with the event:

 photo schaarbeek_shooting_march2016_zpsrrhijrfu.jpg

The world has suddenly discovered Molenbeek, but Schaarbeek is another Parti Socialiste bulwark, and as a result also a hotbed for radicalism.

New info has emerged about Saleh Abdeslam's capture in Molenbeek last week. It's quite shocking:


 photo salah_stroll_molenbeek_zps9t3zofd1.jpg

"When Salah Abdeslam was arrested Friday afternoon in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek, he just got home from a stroll. He was shot in the knee and wrestled to the ground in the house's entrance hall, together with companion Amine Choukri...


... after the house searches in a dwelling in Vorst, where he could escape because a companion opened fire on the police, Abdeslam did not care much to hide anymore. He called his friend Abid Aberkan who gave him shelter in his mother's house in Molenbeek's Vierwindenstraat...

... Police became convinced that he was hiding there, when suddenly a great quantity of pizzas were delivered. Not by the pizzaman himself, but by a neighbor who had ordered them.

... he had just been walking trough the neighborhood, with his hoodie up, but his face bare and only sporting a ringbeard, and was perfectly recognizable from the police photographs..."

But of course, the whole neighborhood is to-tal-ly innocent. Abdeslam's friend had spent the past decade on Antarctica, where he had unsuccessfuly been trying to set up a business as a marital counselor for pinguins, and he really didn't know how his buddy had fared in the meantime. The friend's mother lives in a parallel universe where all the jews are dead and all the infidels are dogs and, there being no need anymore for heroes of Saleh's calibre, she therefore did not recognize him. As for the neighbor who ordered the pizzas, he believed that they were for Snow White and the Seven Smurfs. Also, islam is a Religion of Peace. Take it from moi, I read it in the Fabeltjeskrant:

 photo fabeltjeskrant_zpswmrkunac.jpg



Dymphna said...

OT, but I thought I remembered you mentioning the F-35, that boondoggle loser. Here's a report:

Another mess...

Michael said...

Hi Dymphna, I heard all that and am aware of the problems plaguing the F-35. On the other hand, part of the cost overrun is definitely due to the fact that we are talking here about 2.5 planes, not one, like the F-16 (solely operating from airfields). A USMC F-35 looks the same as an airfield-based F-35 but to-tal-ly different. A carrier version is also different.

Plus, avionics have now become so important that cooling them requires a fuselage large enough to accommodate the cooling systems. You can't stuff nowadays avionics in a Gripen or Hornet or F-16 hull AND provide cooling for them.

I suppose the F-35's capability to dogfight may not differ that much from an F-16, but then again, when's the last time we saw dogfights? To the best of my knowledge, a couple of occasions during the Falklands war, and then the Israelis over Syria in 82 mayhaps. The stealth factor is more important.

I'm no all-out defender of the F-35 but our F-16's NEED to be replaced, the most recent airframes date from the late eighties (though all planes have been constantly upgraded in terms of avionics to the best extent possible). In the absence of suitable candidates, I think there's not much else that remains but the F-35.

Yes, there's serious problems. But our own BAF fielded 132 F-16's in the beginning, and the attrition rate through accidents was just terrible. In the eighties, they seemed to crash like flies. But in time, the F-16 matured to a very decent fighter. I think that, despite all the problems, the F-35 has that potential also.

There's several other weapons programmes in the US that are troublesome - the USN's LCS, the Zumwalt etc. Now THERE's projects that are dead in the water. That's lost money, plain and simple. Whereas the F-35 still stands a chance, imho, to become something of a decent fighter after all.