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writing for godot


Written by James (Cem) Ryan   
Tuesday, 29 March 2016 00:52
Striving, Thriving and Dying By the Sword

By James Ryan

March 29, 2016

God did not seem quite so great just before noon on Wednesday, January 7, 2015 after two representatives of Al-Qaeda—Yemen branch paid a visit to the offices of Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine. The world knows the rest. Native-born Parisians of Algerian parents, the brothers, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, burst through Hebdo’s front door their Czech Republic-made Skorpion submachine guns blazing. It didn’t take long—at most seven minutes—eleven killed, eleven more wounded. The boys ran downstairs praising God’s greatness—ALLAHU AKBAR! ALLAHU AKBAR! Outside they murdered a French policeman sprawled wounded on the sidewalk, like his killers, a Muslim. It’s impossible to imagine how murdering and maiming twenty-three human beings would have pleased any god.

The Kouachi brothers had purchased their Czech Republic-made Skorpions from an arms dealer near the Midi train station in Brussels. The Midi station is Brussels’rail hub for inter-European train travel. Given its central location, Midi is also a well known hub for black market weapons dealers. It’s a short nine-minute subway ride to the Maelbeek Station bombed last week. Weapons dealers mean business in Belgium, big business. And the government means business too. The government of Belgium is Europe’s largest exporter of small arms and “light’ automatic weapons.

Besides being the leader in exporting weapons, Belgium is the leader in exporting a much more dangerous commodity, radicalized people. Adjusting for population size, Belgium is the largest provider of foreign fighters to the Syria/Iraq carnage. Accordingly, it has the largest pro-capita return of radicalized “jihadis” along with their hands-on experience with lethal weapons and attitude to match. Can it be? That the government of a small NATO country that leads in providing jihadis to the Middle East also owns the leading weapons provider to the Middle East? It can be. It is. And the world wonders what is causing the refugee problem! In a world where America sponsors terrorist mercenaries, in a world where CIA-backed forces battle against Pentagon-backed forces, in such a world anything seems possible. So meet Belgium’s government-owned lethal weapons proliferator, FN Herstal (FN).

FN is a Liege-based private company wholly-owned by the regional government of Wallonia. It is the largest European exporter of small arms. There is nothing “small” about it. It does business with the militaries of over a hundred nations. Founded in 1889 to make Mauser rifles for the Belgian Army, FN has grown to be one of the world’s largest weapons suppliers. From licensing data gathered by the Flemish Peace Institute, the Middle East is FN’s primary market for its handguns, machine pistols, machine and sub-machine guns, rifles, shotguns and .50 caliber helicopter gun pod systems. Saudi Arabia is FN’s second most important client. Who’s number one? That’s easy, the United States.

Their FN F2000 assault rifles are prolific throughout North Africa and the Middle East. It takes a two-second trigger-squeeze to empty its 30-round clip. The F2000 made its debut at the International Defense Exhibition in 2001, appropriately enough, at Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

Guns are to Belgium as chocolates are to the Belgians and the world. Liege has been the “ground zero” of European weapons production for over 150 years. Historian Jonathan Grant of Florida State University explains in his article Merchants of Death:

The period 1860-1918 witnessed a profound expansion in the volume of arms trafficking. As industrialization picked up speed in Europe, more arms could be produced more quickly than ever before. Mass production and an unending series of technological advancements in weaponry generated obsolete castoffs and war surplus weapons on an increasing scale…. In the global context, the main players in the extra-European arms traffic were the French and Belgians.

The city of Liege, FN’s headquarters, has been making guns since the Middle Ages. In 1897 FN entered a business relationship with American arms designer, John Moses Browning. Browning had earlier developed the Winchester lever-action rifle, Model 1873, famously called “the gun that won the west.” Such “winning” more accurately represented the final slaughter of the genocide of millions of American Indians. The Browning and Winchester companies live on as US-based subsidiaries of FN.
History has been kinder to Belgian weapons manufacturers than to its countless victims. As Professor Grant notes:

The prominence of the Belgian city of Liège as a chief supplier of firearms to Africa also reflected changes in the period. By the late nineteenth century, Liège had taken the African gun trade away from Birmingham, and the Belgian city accounted for some 67 percent of the African arms traffic by 1907.

Africa! The word should shiver the souls and bones of every living Belgian, indeed all of us. Africa!

Ivory. Rubber. Leopold! The horror! 1885 to 1908, not so long ago. Remember! Read!

Under the guise of humanitarianism and philanthropy Leopold II, King of the Belgians grabbed a million square miles of western Africa and ludicrously called it the Congo Free State. It was his personal nation controlled by his own private army (Le Force Publique), fully armed, including machetes and rhinoceros hide whips. Who supplied the weapons? Weapons to kill the elephants. Weapons to kill whoever disobeyed. Millions were forced into servitude. And the rubber…hacking the vines, destroying the ecology. Ten million murdered people for the profit and pleasure of the king. The Congo population fell by half during Leopold’s terror reign. Joseph Conrad went there. He wrote: “The horror! The horror!”

As of 2010, Belgium supplied 32 percent of the small arms exported by the European Union to the Middle East and North Africa. Tens of thousands of the cold war vintage FN FAL automatic rifles went to Libya alone. Muammar el-Qaddafi already had an enormous stockpile of “cold war” weaponry sold to him by other European nations like Bulgaria, Croatia, France, and Rumania. Except for Kalashnikovs, FAL rifles were the weapons most frequently used. After the fall of Qaddafi, they were recycled throughout the region. Between 2011 and 2013 FAL rifles from Libya were found in countries, including Algeria, Lebanon, Niger, Syria, and Tunisia.

The world now knows where all the Libyan arms went. The weapons ratline engineered by David Petraeus’ CIA, a responsibility later assumed by the Turkish government, ran through Jordan and Turkey thence to the Syrian opposition, mostly radical operatives like Al-Nusra and multi-labeled fringe groups of mercenaries. A detailed, documented description of this can be found in my Criminal Complaint given to the International Criminal Court in The Hague in October 2014. This flagrant violation of international law has caused the havoc that engulfs Africa and the Middle East. And politicians dare not speak its horrible name. Nor does the media. Leopold, King of the Belgians, destroyed the Cong for financial profit. America, Turkey and its European and Arab partners-in-crime have destroyed the secular nations of North Africa and the Middle East for political profit.

Brussels seems comfortably unaware of its sordid roots. The Royal Palace still stands majestically on the rue Bréderode. The buildings that administered the rape of the Congo have been long gone. Behind the palace astride the requisite horse sits the Butcher, himself, Leopold II, forever ossified in a statue. The renovation of this palace, its glittering greenhouses, the splendid chȃteau, Laeken, where the royal family lives, the gigantic, heroic Cinquantenaire arch give no hint that all this and much more of Belgium came from stolen lands and severed hands, an ocean of blood, murdered families and hordes of abandoned orphans. Ten million native Africans perished under the monstrous hands of Leopold the butcher, once perhaps the wealthiest man on the planet.

The butchers have returned to Belgium and to Europe. They, like Leopold, show no mercy. They kill, wantonly, randomly, completely. Their profit? Who knows? Some stupid idea. In Liege, the gun factories hum. In Brussels, the camellias and azaleas are blooming in the splendid greenhouses of Laeken. Innocent blood runs in the streets. The political butchers in expensive suits remain safe in their bullet-proof government limousines. The horror! The horror!

James Ryan
March 29, 2016


Belgian Arms Dealer Confesses to Supplying Paris Attackers, Jan 14, 2015

Belgian Arms Dealer Supplied Paris Gunmen With Weapons

Merchants of Death: The International Traffic in Arms, December 2012

FAL Rifles in Libya

Small Arms Big Problems, November 19, 2012


Fabrique Nationale FN FAL Battle Rifle

Tracking Belgian Weapons in Libya, December 28, 2011

Profit and Proliferation: A Special Report on Belgian Arms in the Arab Uprising, Part I
AT WAR New York Times, By DAMIEN SPLEETERS April 5, 2012

Profit and Proliferation, Part 2: Will Belgian Arms End Up in Syria?
AT WAR New York Times, by DAMIEN SPLEETERS, April 6, 2012

Flemish Peace Institute


How Belgium Became a Top Exporter of Jihad, May 29, 2015

Belgian Fighters in Syria and Iraq, December 2015

Criminal Complaint to the International Criminal Court, October 6, 2014

In Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA, Los Angeles Times, March 28, 2016

Hochschild, Adam. King Leopold’s Ghost, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1999. your social media marketing partner
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