Saturday, February 05, 2005

The Hofstad terror trial (2)

Usama says: everything goes very well in The NetherlandsThis Monday is the first trial day of the Hofstad group, a preliminary pro-forma court hearing and information starts again leaking to the press:

New suspect
Police is now also looking for a man named: Hoessein El J. Possibly his name was found on the Hirsi Ali attack plan (See also: Assassination plan Hirsi Ali and The Hofstad terror trial). Although the plan was found at the work place of Jermaine Walters, it now seems not Jermaine his writing. But the sketch seems to resemble a house next to where Hirsi Ali was staying on November 2nd. The prosecutor office wants to take aerial photos of the location

Al-Qaeda connection
Earlier this week the Moroccan Youssef Belhadj (28), the European leader of Al-Qaeda was arrested in Belgium. Spain says he claimed the Madrid terror attacks of March 11, 2004. A year ago the Belgium's had also arrested him, but had to release him due to a lack of evidence. But sources now say that was a fake claim and that he has been closely monitored since.

Belgium police want to investigate the relation between Youssef and the Hofstad terror group. They have found relations between his group and the Dutch Hofstad group. The phone number of Ismail A. has been found in the Belgium investigation. Also they seem to have a mutual contact: Abdelhamid A., alias Naoufel. He was arrested in Spain for his role in the Casablanca 2003 suicide attacks. The Moroccan authorities say he got help from Belgium cell members. After searches in Belgium the police found a bag that belonged to Naoufel.

In October 2003, Naoufel and Ismael A. of the Hofstad group met to plan a terror attack. That was the reason to arrest Ismael and 4 other members of the Hofstad group. But as reported earlier, they where soon released, due to a lack of evidence.

Nightly training's
NRC news paper, who is very well connected with the Dutch prosecutors department, now reports that on January 14, the AIVD (intelligence service) informed the Justice department about the following:

"The members of the so-called Hofstad group, lead by the Syrian Mohamed Bassem al I. [...] have in the whole country followed physical training, mostly at nigh."

The AIVD added that it was "not determined" how "trustworthy" their source was. The information of the source is "not (yet) verified". Until now it was not yet reported that the Hofstad group trained in The Netherlands. There were only indications that some of the members followed training in Pakistan.

AIVD knew more
The Dutch Intelligence service, AIVD, has provided Hofstad members Jason Walters and Ismaël A. housing. The house in the Antheunisstraat in the crowded Laakkwartier in Denhaag was bugged and then by 'Ed', who worked for a front company of the AIVD, rented to Jason Walters.

The initial police raid on the house in the Antheunisstraat, was a big failure, five police officers got wounded. It looks like they where not well prepared and panicked. Only after a daylong siege, with all available anti terror units the arrest finally took place. The also could have known the violent background of Jason (See also: Chatting with terrorist).

The lawyer
Lawyer V. Koppe works for Britta Bohler her law office that also represents the double agent (See also: The Secret Service Mole). He represents Achmed H. (26) and Samir A. (18) both 'suspected' members of the Hofstad group. Koppe also represented other terrorists in earlier court cases, they where each time released because the prosecution could not deliver the evidence. He now says, that this time he expects the same. If he looks at the evidence, he does not think they can proof the Hofstad organization exists.

Koppe: "Most of the 12 suspects where arrested without a police investigation, due to the sentiments after the murder of Van Gogh, every body around Mohammed B. was arrested. They then searched for evidence, but they did not find it".

He says there is no evidence that supports the claim that a terror organization was planning the murder of parliamentary members, burgomaster Cohen or alderman Aboutaleb. He sees it as a sign that Mohammed B. and his client Samir A. are not yet charged for the membership of the Hofstad terror cell. Although the justice file connects Samir A. with the group, the prosecution does not use that information.

Not that he thinks they are totally innocent: "of course some of the 12 suspects did go to far", he means Jasson and Ismael, who had thrown hand grenades to the police during their arrest.

But Koppe says: "There is now clearly a tendency that it does not matter to occasionally detain an innocent person to reduce every risk of terrorism. They are out of control", Koppe says. "I am not alone in this. I know there are judges, prosecutors and police men who share these ideas".

See also:
The Hofstad terror trial (1)
Assassination plan Hirsi Ali
Chatting with terrorist
The Secret Service Mole

Sources: Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Volkskrant, Telegraaf, Telegraaf (2)