sat 14 mar 2009 06:37:03 witte de withstraat
terrorists to bomb ikea not
this past wednesday night, a unidentified woman from brussels phoned the amsterdam police to say three guys in a van were on their way here to execute a terror attack using explosives in the shopping center in amsterdam zuidoost -- namely the big ikea and mediamarkt stores in the arena boulevard. apparently she gave specific addresses where these guys would be sheltering.
early thursday the shopping area was evacuated and cordoned off by police.
in a press conference later in the day, a police guy named bolhaar (?) stated that house searches were being conducted, and that seven people had been arrested, six men and one woman, all of them "dutch people of maroccan background". he and cohen said there was a "serious to take" threat, presumably because the anonymous tipster was so specific.
thursday night we saw video of lots of guys in white forensic-invesigator bunny suits poking around cars and houses.
then on friday all of the "suspects" were set free again, with the authorities' emphatic declaration that there was absolutely no reason to suspect them of planning a terror attack. and ikea was allowed to open its doors again. the tip appeared to them to be utterly groundless.
last night the lady from the "nova" tv show tried to get bolhaar to explain of what public use it might have been to state the ethnic backgrounds of the suspects. he said something about trying to be open about everything -- i had trouble fathoming his explanation, in fact he seemed a little evasive to me. but i'm glad the lady asked the question, because that had been on my mind the whole time. even if they were real suspects, which as it turns out they weren't, what the heck did their nationality have to do with anything?
there was some questioning of why the police called these folks "suspects" so quickly, and then just as quickly called them not suspects. and from the tv coverage it seems like a lot of local maroccan people were kinda upset about it too.
another fact the police had made clear, was that one of the arrested "suspects" was a "family member" of someone involved in the madrid bombings a few years ago. the family member turned out to be an old man whose ex wife apparently had a cousin who was involved in that attack, but the old man had never met the guy. the next-door neighbor of this old man was on tv talking about how weird this all was, cuz she thought he was a real nice guy.
i'm not quite sure what to think of all this. for all i know some nutcase may really be planning a shopping-mall attack, even if the police no longer think so. but because the authorities were so forthcoming with irrelevant (albeit inflammatory) details, and yet so shy with any meaningful info, the appearance now is that they just goofed with the way they handled this.
today we are going to the studio to capture some live action elements for victor's project. i was still rewriting the script till late yesterday afternoon, so the client still has not had a chance to approve or react.