PM, Nato boss ‘included on suspect’s death list’
28 January 2005
AMSTERDAM — Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm were allegedly on a death list drawn up by suspected terrorist Jason W., who was arrested after a 14-hour stand-off with police in The Hague last November.
The stand-off developed after hand grenades were thrown at a specialist police unit moving in to arrest W. and another man.
Current affairs programme Nova reported on Thursday night that internet chat sessions indicated that W. was thinking about killing Balkenende and several other high-profile politicians. The chat sessions are part of the public prosecutor’s evidence against the 19-year-old convert to Islam.
W., whose father is American and his mother Dutch, became a Muslim at the age of 14.
The names of Nato Secretary-General and former Dutch foreign minister Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (who took over as Nato chief in January 2004), populist LPF MP Mat Herben and Liberal VVD MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali and “all the fake Muslims” on the board of management of Dutch Muslim broadcaster NMO were also allegedly on W.’s death list.
The names appeared in a chat session that W. was involved in on 19 September 2003, in which W. is said to have used the internet name Mujaheed. He chatted with another person identified as Galas. Parts of the chat session were broadcast by Nova on Thursday night.
The chat session files were found on W.’s computer in his home in the central Dutch city of Amersfoort on 17 October 2003 when he was arrested with several others on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack. The computer was seized by police, but the suspects were released eight days later and the case was dismissed.
Robert Maanicus, the lawyer representing W., said the chat sessions should be viewed as boasting, with the participants trying to outdo the other. “This material was not even taken seriously by the prosecutor in 2003. The prosecutor’s summons against my client does not mention a threat against the prime minister either,” he said.
Nevertheless, the name of Imam Abdul-Jabbar van de Ven also appears in the chat sessions, prompting him to submit a written response to Nova on Thursday night. He claims “he was not in a position to pronounce fatwa’s over current events” and denied having ever asserted that he could.
Van de Ven was reacting to the audio chat sessions — the files of which Nova and Planet Internet have in their possession — in which W. claims he has been given permission by the imam to carry out attacks, a Nova statement said. But Van de Ven claims he scarcely knows the suspect.
As a Dutchman who converted to Islam, Van de Ven previously sparked controversy by saying on the television programme The Eleventh Hour (Het Elfde Uur) last November that he wishes anti-immigration MP Geert Wilders would die.
Meanwhile, W. is allegedly a member of the suspected terrorist network Main City Group (Hofstadgroep). He claims to have been at a Pakistani training camp, where he underwent “basic training”. He hopes to return to the camp one day “if Allah wills it”.
He also allegedly wants to recruit as many people as possible to undergo training at the camp, where he acquired detailed weapons experience. W. is said to be able to disassemble a Kalashnikov rifle while blindfolded and can aim and shoot a pistol after doing a summersault, newspaper De Volkskrant reported.
Other alleged members of the Main City Group are Samir A., who is suspected of planning attacks against the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and the Borssele nuclear power plant. He will appear in court on 24 February. The alleged killer of Theo van Gogh, Mohammed B., is also suspected of having links to the group, prosecutors say.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news