“You cannot hope to Understand Belgian politics until you understand blackmail.”
– Belgian politician
In April 2004 an EU centred, satirical and investigative research journal The Sprout raised disturbing questions about Belgian politics suggesting this was much more than a spike of corruption and decadence within its institutions.
In the editorial an unnamed politician described it in the following way: “If Belgium is a thousand layers of shit … then has it rubbed off on the European politicians and officials based in its capital? You cannot hope to understand Belgian politics until you understand blackmail.” The piece went on: “… a senior Belgian government official has confessed to The Sprout that he is embarrassed by one clause that will ensure that any freedom will be limited in the interests of the monarchy, the government or the State.” 
That sounds familiar…
Blackmail or sexpionage has always been an important covert tool for intelligence agencies and the wider geo-political manipulations which follow from such controls. What better way to ensure maximum obedience within the network of the faithful? Within the lower and upper echelons of society, the modus operandi will differ according to hierarchical status and the “quality” of the agent. For those people who will not be bought, intimidated or black-mailed, there is always the option of “death by accident,” “misadventure,” “cause unknown” and the ubiquitous “apparent suicide.” A senior politician involved in the Dutroux case and who could not be named stated: “For those who simply knew and showed signs of being troubled by their knowledge and compliance, they were threatened through anonymous phone calls which said we’ll do the same to your children & others, who perhaps were more involved, were threatened with suicide.” 
Indeed, over twenty unexplained deaths of potential witnesses from suicides and accidents occurred since the trial began, all in suspicious circumstances.
From an extract in the April 2004 edition of The Sprout a partial list of the dead follows:
- Jean Van Peteghem – Died 1986 – Arrested and imprisoned with Dutroux and his wife. He made a full confession of his involvement with the couple in the abduction and torture of girls. After their release he died in a fire in his caravan.
- Jen-Pol Taminiau – Died 02/04/95 – A well known figure in the Charleroi underworld and part of the Charleroi car theft ring. He was the owner of a night club. His mother had been receiving death threats. After his death a key was found in the club the key was for a garage owned by Gerard Pinon; inside the garage was found a car belonging to Demanet. Pinon is accused by Dutroux along with his ex-wife, of murdering Weinstein. Demanet was the State prosecutor in Mons. One of Taminiau’s feet was recovered from a canal.
- José Steppe – Died 15/07/95 – A few weeks after the Dutroux case became public, Steppe an asthmatic – contacted a journalist and told him that he had important information to impart about Dutroux. He was later found dead. The date rape drug Rohypnol was found in his respirator. No autopsy was carried out on his body. Rophynol was used by Dutroux to drug the girls.
- Bruno Tagliafero – Died 05/11/95 – A scrap metal dealer from the southern Belgian town of Kumieé, who, according to his doctor’s report, died of a heart attack at the tender age of 30. He was contracted to demolish the car in which Julie and Melissa are thought to have been abducted and was prepared to talk. His wife campaigned for over a year to exhume his body. Samples were sent to America. The results state that his corpse had enough cyanide to kill over 100 men.
- Belgian authorities since claimed that dead bodies generate cyanide and refused to re-open the case. No scientific evidence was presented to support this fanciful explanation.
- Simon Poncelet – Died 21/02/96 – The police inspector and son of Judge Poncelet, whose removal from the Dutroux case caused 300,000 people to march through Brussels. Poncelet junior worked in the Charleroi car crime division; he was shot 4 times at the police station at Mons. His investigations were concentrated around Gerard Pinon. No arrests have been made.
- Jean-Marc Houdamont – Died 25/02/96 – Houdamont was involved in the disappearance of another girl, Elizabeth Brichet in 1989, (for which Dutroux was found guilty). Unfortunately, he died in a car crash on the way to speak to investigators.
- Michel Piro – Died 06/12/96 – Owner of a brothel and nightclub where Michel Nihoul and Dutroux were regular clients. He contacted Jean- Denis Lejeune, father of Julie, to organise a meal at which he would offer serious revelations into the affair. Two days before the meeting he was beaten to death at a parking lot on the motorway. His wife was later found guilty of the murder but denies the charge.
- Gérard Vanesse – Died 16/11/97 – Police inspector in Dinant, suspected protégé of Nihoul, a sadomasochist who, allegedly died of blood loss.
- Anna Konjevoda – Died 08/04/98 – A 60 year old who had testified about links between organised car theft and child trafficking. Friend of the father of the Rochow brothers (who had been drugged and tortured by Dutroux over stolen cars previously), she was found strangled, beaten and then later dumped in the river Meuse a commercially active river in the south of Belgium infamous for being polluted.
- Gina Pardeans – Died 15/11/98 – Social worker specialising in child victims of paedophilia. She uncovered links between Belgian and Swiss paedophile networks. She also revealed a connection between Houdamont (see above) and these groups. She died in a car accident (her car drove into a bridge) after telling police that she had been receiving death threats only days after telling friends she had also seen a video in which the girls were put to death.
- Fabienne Juapart – Died 18/12/98 – Wife of Bruno Tagliafero, she was a material witness who had described seeing Nihoul … in a Mercedes in 1996. 18 months after the death of her husband, that she repeatedly claimed was caused by poison (see above), she finally succeeding in having his body exhumed. She was found by her 14 year old son, burnt to death in her bedroom; food was on the table and the back door had been broken. There was no autopsy. The magistrate wisely concluded suicide.”
- Hubert Massa – Died 13/07/99 – Chief prosecutor in Liège, in charge of both the Dutroux and André Cools briefs. Committed suicide after a meeting with the then Justice Minister Marc Verwilghen. He apparently returned home to Verviers, went into his office and promptly shot himself. Police officers later reported that no letter or clues were left behind.
- Gregory Antipine – Died 08/99 – Inspector in the Brussels Police. Charged with investigating the various sex parties organised by Nihoul, he was also involved in the investigations of the Elio di Rupo case Di Rupo being the gay leader of Belgian’s socialist party who famously won a case against the state in 1996 which claimed that he had been pursuing affections towards minors. Though just about to receive promotion, the inspector opted to hang himself.
- Brigitte Jenart – A year after the start of the investigation, Nihoul’s dentist, regarded as an important prosecution witness, is found dead at home. The magistrate describes the death as “suicide.”
- Guy Guebels – One of the police investigating team, he foolishly called for the enquiry to be broadened. Two days later he is found dead with his police firearm at his side. The magistrate described his death as suicide.
- Francois Reyskens – Told a friend that he had seen Melissa Russo in Holland, he died falling in front of a train on his way to talk to the police.
- Christian Coenreadts – Detained by police, he knew both Dutroux and [accomplice, Bernard] Weinstein. A month after his release he was murdered in Brussels.
It is surely no coincidence that so many of these prospective witnesses died just before they were willing to testify. In the context of child-sex trafficking, arms supply and underworld/Establishment protectionism, these appear to be little more than assassinations as part of the standard protocol which ensure the core networks remain undisturbed. How much we get to hear about breaches of integrity within the networks depends on the severity of the accident and to what extent media editors are co-opted by their own self-censoring beliefs as well as outside threats.
The deception and cover-up by the authorities was given a proper airing a few years later while the beginning of the trial still seemed as far away as ever. The X-Files: What Belgium Was Not Supposed to Know about the Dutroux Affair  was published in French and Dutch in November of 1999 and refuted the forced consensus that the “X” witnesses were not reliable.
Co-author and journalist Marie-Jeanne Van Heeswyck had the opportunity to see whole police files and to then interview those named in the files to test and correlate their authenticity. They found that some of the policemen within Patrick De Baet’s Gendamerie had rewritten Regina Louf’s original statements. The testimony had been changed and De Baets himself set up as the manipulator. The book cited original police files, transcriptions of the X-witnesses’ evidence and the findings of a parliamentary commission as well as other copious sources. The authors convincingly showed that police and the judiciary were intent on “dumbing down” evidence and destroying the witness’ testimonies from the beginning. They believe the evidence was true, and if known publicly, would destabilise Belgium irrevocably. This was echoed by the politically connected criminal Jean Michel Nihoul in 2002, who never expected to come to court again as the information he claimed he had about important people in Belgium would “bring the Government and the entire state down.”
In May 2003 the Belgian courts overturned the dismissal of the Dutroux-Nihoul case in January of that year. Aarlen Court sentenced Nihoul to five years in jail on June 22, 2004, for drugs crimes, dealing in stolen cars, document forgery and human smuggling. But he was acquitted of all charges relating to the abuse and murder of children due to lack of evidence. In July 2004, Nihoul appealed for clemency regarding his sentence based on his age, poor health, the length of the trail and the fact he had already been found “innocent” of kidnapping charges. The law courts did not wait for the appeal to run its course and Nihoul was sent to jail to serve at least a portion of his sentence. He managed to secure leave in mid-November 2005 and the commission for probationary release approved his parole on 18 April 2006. Nihoul was released from the Saint-Gilles jail and free by the end of that month.
If Jean-Michel Nihoul was not directly implicated in the abduction and murder of children then it is probable that he oversaw the framework by which children could be procured for those above the law. He is a shrewd businessman with a talent for manipulation and easy profits by expending the least possible effort. Persons such as Nihoul would never let morals get in the way of a fast buck. Like Dutroux, perhaps he was in the same pyramid of procurement and, like Dutroux, though a small time entrepreneur, his income reflected the lucrative nature of his Elite dealings.
Dutroux always maintained that it was Nihoul who was the man responsible for children that were “kidnapped to order.” This seems curious however. After all, amid a string of suspicious deaths, Nihoul is still alive. Yet it is also possible that he set aside some insurance policies of his own to ensure his own safety. Otherwise, it is likely that he would now be “suicided” like so many were throughout the duration of this trial. Nihoul is now an open book it seems with his own website dedicated to answering those very questions. Large colour photos of him looking suitably earnest and ponderous adorn each page.
The Marc Dutroux case stands as a testament to the ponerisation of the Justice system in Belgium. It vividly highlights just how deeply infiltrated the institutions have become and what an almost impossible task is set before those who cannot see that psychopaths such as Dutroux reflect influences that exist from the top who, like the development of a disease, encourage and draw out the “infection” in pathological individuals in order to use such people in a pre-designed framework of abuse.
The trial was surrounded by documented and proven incidents of police and judiciary corruption including severe “incompetence” and obstruction of the investigation; intimidation of witnesses and members of the police and judiciary; a proven conflict of interest between a judge and two of the accused with past history of crime; persistent history of police failure to solve child abuse cases; past leniency for paedophilia in the law; key evidence buried or excluded; the biggest demonstrations ever seen in Belgian and related to any crime trial and over twenty unexplained deaths of potential witnesses, including ”suicides” and “accidents” all of which occurred in suspicious circumstances.
Some lesser known facts which were ignored in the MSM suggest not only that a wider network was indeed operating but that that child rape networks exist and communicate with each other to procure children across the globe:
- Regina Louf – witness “X” – claimed she witnessed the murder of eighty children. She also said she could have provided pertinent information regarding approximately forty of them. The Public Prosecutor’s Departments of Brussels, Ghent, and Antwerp halted the inquiry leaving only partial details provided by Louf on only five of the children. However, these details and other information provided by her were verified by the investigating team. She also claimed that Nihoul and Dutroux took part in the murder of Christine Van Hees at the “champignonnière”.
- Marc Verwilghen, chairman of the Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry, asked for a report on the blocked enquiry. He is still waiting.
- Michel Lelièvre is on record as stating that the kidnap of Anne and Eefje was carried out “on commission”. Laetitia, abducted in Bertrix, heard Dutroux calling mysterious interlocutors to tell them “It’s worked!” and that she heard two names mentioned: Michel and Jean-Michel. 
- While a Flemish family recognised Nihoul in Bertix on the eve of Laetitia’s abduction, the alibi Nihoul gave for that day is no longer viable. “The friend who provided the alibi, the former lawyer Michel Vanderelst, who was sentenced for false testimony in the Haemers affair, left Belgium to take refuge in Gambia, a country that does not recognise extradition.” This made no difference to Nihoul’s parole and subsequent release.
- The Morkhoven group discovered documents concerning a network that abducts children in Germany and hands them over to brothels in Holland, with the active involvement of many Belgian citizens. No action was taken.
- The investigating police officer Patriek De Baets had established that after several child disappearances, Marc Dutroux had deposited large sums of money into several bank accounts. After serving a much reduced sentence for rape and kidnapping and walking free in 1992, Mr. Dutroux was worth an estimated 6 million francs. Not bad for a man still officially on welfare.
If this particular psychopath was only a “paid worker” in a network of “handlers” as he had always claimed, then investigations should have continued, though the chance now for the case to be re-opened is slight indeed. The evidence appears to show that Dutroux and his associates’ discovery may have been a glitch in a global operation. This was to be repaired by a very public “trial” and the sentencing and possible murder of lesser “nodes” in the network.
By 2009, it was still business as usual. The same old problems were still in evidence with Belgian judicial police suspecting a “web of corruption” among senior magistrates and a “wall of silence” hampering their enquiries. Economic judicial cases came under the spotlight for being a bastion of back-hands and double dealing compromising the very nature of Belgian justice. Or as one Belgian newspaper commented: “If the full police dossier, which has reportedly been hidden from the public for years, were to appear in the media, ‘the consequences for the credibility of the magistracy are incalculable …’” 
And just two years later, a major study by the Berlin-based NGO, Transparency International (TI), was submitted at a hearing in the European Parliament in Brussels on June 6 2012. It revealed that: “Corruption and lack of transparency are endemic throughout the EU, with direct links to the economic crisis.” Portugal, Greece, Italy and Spain’s severe economic problems were also singled out as stemming from the large-scale institutional corruption which had been operating at all levels of society.
Costas Bakouris, chair of TI Greece said “… the government has undue influence on the judiciary and the media; laws are riddled with loopholes; companies dodge tax on a vast scale; and the ruling elite treats the state like a cash-cow at the cost of the lower classes.” While chief researcher Luis de Sousa, of TI Portugal said: “It is in fact easier to send to jail a retired person who has stolen a packet of rice than a banker who has stolen €3 billion … Portugal is a country of black holes in its public accounts and budget slippages at all government levels.”  In summary, de Sousa said government statements on anti-corruption measures are “bullshit” which is as good a summary as any regarding government pronouncements on these issues.
The famous 2003 trial in Toulouse, France, bore yet more resemblances to the Dutroux case. Sado-masochistic orgies were being enjoyed by Judges, police and politicians, with murder and black-mail threats thrown into the mix courtesy of the notorious serial killer Patrice Alègre – another hired hand for the higher-up’s.
Alègre, a policeman’s son, was known to be the organiser of a thriving prostitution business, providing under-age girls for the orgies at a courthouse in the city and at a chateau owned by the town council. One former prostitute alleged that two other young women were murdered at the orgies organised by Alègre where frequent acts of rape and other forms of extreme sexual violence took place.
Dominique Baudis, the city’s former right-wing mayor and current head of the Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel, an independent broadcasting watchdog was among four people who allegedly ordered Alègre to murder on demand. Baudis claimed he was framed by his outspoken stance on hard core pornography. Allegations then surfaced that Baudis was also Alègre’s lover. Justice Minister Dominique Perben and Toulouse’s sacked prosecutor-general, Jean Volff, were accused of covering up links between senior officials and the exploitation of vulnerable, under-age girls.
The police, judiciary and half of the elite of Toulouse were wringing their hands as they attempted to explain why it was that so many of Alègre’s murder victims had officially been listed as suicides. It did not take long for the evidence to run dry and the scapegoating of a prostitute to ensue, who was said to have made the whole thing up. With this soothing balm provided the media moved on. Alègre was jailed in 2002 for multiple rape and 5 counts of murder. He was of course, made out to be yet another lone psychopath.
Meanwhile however, the disappearance of 115 young women in the Toulouse area between 1986 and 1997, (parallel with the huge disappearances of hundreds of children in Belgium overlapping the same period ) led to a re-opening of all cases linked to earlier claims that Alègre was paid to establish a prostitution network by respected local leaders.
And so it goes on …
 ‘Guardians of the Treaty,’ The Sprout, March 2004.
 Les Dossier “X” Ce que la Belgique ne devait pas savoir sur l’affaire Dutroux. A.Bulté, D.DE Coninck, MJ Van Heeswyck, Les dossiers X, EPO, 1999.
 ‘It’s Time to break the Silence!’ by Dr. Marc Reisinger. X1: Pour la Veritie, Radical Party, 2000.
 ‘Belgian police suspect corruption within judicial system’ http://www.expatica.com, August 14. 2009.