“The truth is that those journalists who tell the story complain that they have been harassed, sacked, threatened and many say they have been forced to stop reporting on this issue to continue working.’ As one senior Belgian said to me citing these examples ‘You must not underestimate how bad Belgian justice is.’”
– BBC Journalist, Olenka Frenkiel
On June 17, 2004, Marc Dutroux, a long-standing criminal and low-level police informant, was given a life sentence for supposedly “leading a gang” that kidnapped and raped six girls in the mid-1990s, resulting in the deaths of four. His links to a sex and crime ring led to other arrests including his wife Michelle Martin an elementary school teacher who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for kidnapping and rape (though she has since been paroled after serving 16 years). Co-accused Michel Lelièvre a petty thief and drug addict received 25 years for kidnapping and drug-dealing. Jean Michel Nihoul however, known for his penchant for organising orgies at a local chateau with high society links and a long history of assorted criminality, was jailed for only five years for drug-dealing and several counts of fraud. His lover, Marleen De Cockere was also arrested and charged with conspiracy.
After an enormous public out-cry over the murders, Belgium’s Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene finally began to make the right noises. All of a sudden, the government professed its dedication to the cause of reform in the justice and police systems, particularly regarding parole criteria for those convicted of child sex offences after decades of denial and disinterest. The Royalty, most notably King Albert, conveniently jumped on the bandwagon and vocally called for further immediate reforms. However, in 2001 the publication of The Paedophile Dossier – the Scandal of the Dutroux Case  gave the Brussels palace virtual apoplexy regarding what they viewed as “grotesque” deformations against the unblemished character of the king. The next Belgian Prime Minister, Guy Verhofstadt, described it as “an unacceptable assault on the dignity of our nation and its people.” 
The book suggested that Albert attended sex parties in the 1970s and 1980s where children were routinely abused. The Luxembourg-based investigative journalist Jean Nicolas, who co-authored the book, said he made no accusations against King Albert, but merely published legal documents written by a Belgian judge. However, the palace grievances were upheld in the Belgian courts and a formal denial was to be included in all future copies. Nevertheless, Albert had a record that was not the cleanest public image for a King, though sadly common place for historical royalty who remain above the law.
In the 1970s, then still the Crown Prince, he was implicated in a sex affair involving the bribery of Saudi officials. The Belgian government also sought to have their own addendum regarding the handling of the affair but the judge reminded them that this was political issue, thus did not come under the court’s jurisdiction (which is bizarre in itself). However, at this late stage it was a case of too little far too late, especially when the rumours of institutionalised sexual abuse and a wider network of child rape had still not been satisfactorily investigated.
The conclusion of Dutroux’s eight year trial was preceeded by numerous postponements, delays and suspicious stone-walling. There was also evidence of extraordinary negligence from the police and government officials involved in the investigation, several police officers having been detained and questioned over the scandal. Resignations and dismissals followed, as well as one of the largest peacetime demonstrations ever seen by the Belgian public, furious at what they considered to be, at best, ineptitude and at worst, a cover-up which extended right to the heart of Belgian royalty.
The reason that the trial was said to have taken so long was due to the persistent rumours that a child sex ring was in operation and the investigations that followed. In fact, the exact opposite was the case. No such investigations took place and the length of the trial was largely due to the obstructions and delays from police and justice officials. In the final month, Dutroux’s lawyer “sensationally called for the suspension of the trial to give investigators time to confirm the existence of such a child sex ring.” 
After a few days, the request was rejected by the judge and the verdict was handed down on the June 17, 2004.
Not one week after the sentencing of Dutroux a French forestry worker, Michel Fourniret, confessed to killing six girls in Belgium and France from 1987 to 2001, suggesting yet more evidence of police ineptitude or purposeful apathy regarding child abduction.  Only several months after the arrest of Dutroux was yet another child molester found after the discovery of the body of Loubna Benaissa, who was 9 when she disappeared in August 1992. She was found in a trunk in the basement of one Patrick Derochette who was charged with murder along with three members of his family. 
Just what was going on in the heart of Belgium?
Marc Dutroux – from petty criminal to procurer of children
Having settled with his family in the Belgian province of Charleroi and unable to obtain work, Marc Dutroux, gradually sank into petty crime making a mediocre living from trading stolen cars in Poland and Slovakia. He graduated to selling young girls into prostitution throughout Europe beginning in the late eighties and early nineties. As he began to explore and exercise his criminal tendencies, Dutroux was arrested in 1989 for the rape and abuse of five young girls. Nevertheless, his luck was in and as a product of Belgium’s curious laws which were more than flexible regarding child abuse at the time, he and many convicted paedophiles were able to walk free by 1992. The law only tightened up when the full scale of the death and abuse came to light upon his arrest in 1996. By then, many girls had gone missing in the vicinity of Dutroux’s two homes.
The magnitude of the “incompetence” of police investigation into the crimes slowly became known over the seven year period from his arrest to his sentence. These included warnings to the police from Dutroux’s own mother regarding possible kidnapping of girls in one of her son’s houses, to overlooking basic police investigative protocol by ignoring informants’ information which later proved accurate and which led to the loss of vital clues. Finally, an eyewitness managed to record the number plate of a suspicious car in the area where the girls went missing and Marc Dutroux was arrested on August 15 1996 and subsequently charged with the murder of four girls.
Julie LeJeune and Melissa Russo on the cover of Time Magazine
Two girls, Laetitia Delhez, aged 12, and Sabine Dardenne, aged 14 were found alive but the others were not so lucky. Tales of torture, rape, pornographic filming and a general litany of sexual abuse took place in a secret dungeon in the basement of one of Dutroux’s houses. Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo were two other eight year old victims who were plucked off the street, in June of 1995 drugged, repeatedly raped and subsequently allowed to starve to death. According to Dutroux, his accomplice in the kidnappings, Bernard Weinstein forgot to feed the children while he was incarcerated for another crime involving car theft. He later confessed to killing Weinstein in a fit of rage by drugging and burying him alive next to the bodies of Russo and Lejeune. The police refused to hunt for the girls at the time even though Dutroux was known as a prime suspect. Nor did they search Dutroux’s house for five months. When a search was finally organized, they found nothing, despite reports of children’s voices in the cellar.
Further known victims were An Marchal, aged 19, and Eefje Lambreks, aged 17, who were found at another house owned by Dutroux, several weeks after the discovery of Russo and Lejeune. Dutroux and accomplice Michel Lelievre admitted kidnapping two other girls who had gone missing at a Belgian resort in Ostend one year earlier.
The general resistance and clear obstruction of the authorities extended over several years until the Belgian public were convinced that a massive operation had been in place to protect politicians and officials in high places who had been connected to the child sexual abuse ring. They also believed that the government, police and courts were all involved in the cover-up.
Dutroux was dubbed a “perfect psychopath.” He revelled in the media circus and the audience attention in court and frequently displayed self-pity ploys and almost comical delusions of grandeur so typical of psychopathy. Dutroux stated he was not a paedophile as commonly believed and experts agreed with him: ‘The age of the victims did not seem to arouse in him any given effect or to play a particular role, beyond allowing him to kidnap them, to manipulate them, to confine them,’ said the report. What Dutroux relished was total power over people … Dutroux himself cited the injustice of being denied ice creams at the beach as evidence of emotional privation …” 
This gave credence to his insistence that he was not in it for reasons of paedophilia but rather as a psychopathic opportunist, seeking power over others and the resulting gratification and kudos that went with it. Rape of his victims and the murder of his partner he admitted to, but was he guilty of the specific accusations levelled at him? According to comments reported by Flemish-language television station VTM, Dutroux had claimed in a secret interview in his cell that he “…was in regular contact with people belonging to that network. But the justice system doesn’t want to investigate this lead.” And further: “People want to believe that I am at the centre of everything. They are mistaken,”… I did things of which I was not the driving force. I was used as an instrument by others, who were themselves used as instruments by others.” 
The official position in most of the Belgian press, police and the government regarding the inordinate length of time to bring Dutroux to trial was due to the “conspiracy theories” which forced investigators to search for child rape networks which they claim, didn’t exist. But parents of the victims and much of the shocked Belgian public who were watching very closely knew this was far from the truth. In fact, a proper investigation was obstructed at every turn.
After the trial revealed unforgivable incompetence from police and the criminal Justice system in general, it begs the question was this “bungling” purposeful? Was it designed to delay and give time to paper over the cracks in the alleged network beyond Charleroi and Belgium as so many believed? Dutroux had even claimed that two police officers had helped Lelievre and himself to kidnap Marchal, and Lambreks who were later raped and murdered. The common knowledge that several government officials, police officers, and a former European Commissioner frequently attended Nihoul’s orgies at Neufchâteau chateau gave further credibility to the idea that the accused was not acting alone.
According to journalist Yves Desmet who later appeared on television with Paul Marchall the father of victim An Marchall, the “… incompetence of the police investigation was staggering. When an associate of Dutroux actually went to them and told them all about this place – the fact there was a dungeon and exactly what Dutroux intended to do there – they did absolutely nothing.”  When the police finally knocked on Dutroux’s door years later and heard the sounds of children calling, still no questions were asked.
The emergence of suspicion and the intense distrust from the Belgian public closely following the trial and arrest continued to boil in the background. What made matters worse was the fact that the presiding Judge Van Espen was found to have had a business relationship with key suspect in the crimes Jean Michel Nihoul and his wife. It was only when this connection was discovered by a Belgian journalist that the Judge reluctantly thought to excuse himself. This serious conflict of interest was apparently no cause for concern. Prior to his resignation he had ordered the police to stay away from the case, as well as presiding over endless delays, blocks and buried evidence.
Judge Jean-Marc Connerotte, 2004
Judge Jean-Marc Connerotte became the replacement. Here was a judge who was highly knowledgeable on Dutroux and his criminal history having personally gathered a great deal of evidence on the accused and his connection to the child rape ring. More importantly for the public confidence, the Judge had also personally rescued two of the girls from the dungeon under Dutroux’s home. Known for his integrity and competence Connerotte appeared to be the perfect candidate for the position. Nonetheless, he was eventually dismissed from the case, the official reason was a perceived conflict in the Judge’s ability to be impartial due to his attendance at a fund raising dinner in aid of missing children. This flimsy reasoning was seen by many as a desperate bid to get rid of a highly capable and dedicated Judge in order that investigations didn’t go too far into a considerable den of crime and corruption and which would further rock the foundations of an already compromised Belgian government.
From the nature of the daily threats he had to endure, it was inevitable that Connerotte would never have completed his time on the case. Prior to his removal, Connerotte said he had become “the object and the victim of a campaign of defamation and misinformation at the hands of certain sectors of the media,” due primarily to the fact that he had handled two files: “Titres” [or stolen goods] and “Cools” [referring to Andre Cools Belgian politician assassinated in 1991]. He had been charged with the task of investigating “certain persons and certain criminal activities that seem[ed] to benefit from high-level protection.”  *
As a formal complaint regarding his treatment, he sent a letter to King Albert II in 1996 detailing the corruption within the Belgium justice system and its institutional subservience to a criminal underworld or mafia. He singled out for particular attention one Detective Superintendent R. Brose in Liège, “the very man responsible for the Cools unit …” for which the Magistrate was working and which therefore, led to the realization that the Liège CID, far from working with him to bring those responsible to justice, were in fact, seeking to undermine his position. His role thus became untenable, where no progress could reasonably be made due to a “Judiciary dysfunction” which turned into a: “… veritable ‘institution’ whose smooth running assures the legitimacy of certain criminal activities and the impunity of those responsible.”
Judge Connerotte continued in his letter:
“This institution seems to acquire its authority and supremacy over sectors of the justice system by relying on a complex and secret modus operandi, that of the appropriation of certain key circuits of our institutions created and regulated by the Law. It is a matter essentially of political, financial, police, and media circuits. This mafia-style criminal phenomenon is evidently not peculiar to Belgium, but it involves particular manifestations that are well suited to this small country. We can imagine the obstacles that a judiciary inquiry will meet when investigating such facts: numerous taboos, problems of mentality, and a lack of cultural reference on the issue in order to be able to become aware of or deal with such criminal phenomena, taking advantage in Belgium of official reticence in terms of their acknowledgement, which favours or supports their occultation.
The function of a criminal system of this sort is obviously to serve its fundamental purpose, the pursuance of particularly profitable illicit activities, such as money-laundering, and to protect the ‘legitimacy’ of its activities and the impunity of its agents. This indispensable function corresponds to the motive of criminal protection that assures the permanency of the incriminated system by means of the infiltration of the certain circuits of our institutions, especially the police force, a veritable ‘knot’ which my whole investigation has come up against.  [Emphasis mine]
King Albert II of Belgium Unjustly maligned or a glimpse behind the curtain?
This description comes as close as you will find as to the nature of much of the European law, judiciary and police which is enmeshed in a criminal underworld. In the letter, Connerotte was particularly scathing of the Belgian media which seemed to be working in concert with Liège CID using “simplistic images verging on caricature, and to present the Neufchâteau investigators and magistrates as incompetent, grotesque and dishonest figures following an improbable trail on the basis of an empty file… the cruder it is, the better it works.” If indeed a child-sex mafia was targeting a respected Judge this more than lent credence to Dutroux’s insistence that the same forces were in control. Connerotte testified that the investigation was seriously hampered by protection of suspects by people in the government. “Rarely … has so much energy been spent opposing an inquiry.”
When the judge was allowed to testify in March 2004 The Telegraph reported that he described: “… the bullet-proof vehicles and armed guards needed to protect him against the shadowy figures determined to stop the full truth coming out. Never before in Belgium has an investigating judge at the service of the kind been subjected to such pressure. We were told by police that [murder] contracts had been taken out against the magistrates.” 
Long before the trial began on March 1st, 2004, in the town of Arlon, Dutroux had told the media that he was just a pawn in a network of paedophiles and Michel Nihoul was the brains behind the network. Even the prosecutor, Michel Bourlet, agreed that it was likely Dutroux was not an “isolated predator” and that both he, Nihoul, Lelievre and Michelle Martin were part of a network. However, he fell short of implying that the network extended beyond the confines of the group itself and into a mafia-controlled child porn network with ties to the European and American Establishment even though the rumours had been circulating since the arrest of Dutroux seven years before.
* In July 18, 1991, Belgian politician André Cools who had been investigating the murder of arms dealer Gerald Bull a year earlier became the next high profile assassination. Two Tunisian men who carried out the murder were thought to have been employed by a Gladio group which in turn led back to the CIA and MOSSAD. André Cools had not only met and interviewed MOSSAD agent and corporate big-wig Shaul Eisenberg as part of his investigations into the case, but the Iraqi banker Abdullah Zilka. Foolishly, he announced that he would shortly be providing evidence on Belgian, Canadian and American corruption in the arms industry, the latter of which extended to some very elevated names within the British arms industry and the Bush Administration including Dick Cheney, Neil Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and certainly the elusive and enigmatic Frank Carlucci. His interviews with the two men were never published. Jean-Marc Connerotte, the Belgian judge presiding over the murder case issued arrest warrants for mafia bosses connected to Toto Riina, the head of the Italian mafia. He soon found himself dismissed from the Cools murder case before he could issue indictments on leading politicians. His removal was to be repeated several years later in the Dutroux case, when another similar list of high-profile names would appear, only to disappear into the night from whence they came. Alain Van der Biest, and a one-time political ally of Andre Cools and a shareholder in Poudrieres Reunies de Belgique, along with several associates, was accused of the murder by an anonymous informer. By March 2002, while waiting to hear if he would go on trial in connection with the murder, Van der Biest was found dead from a “drug overdose” and with a suicide letter to his wife. In October 2003 only five of the nine accused stood trial, the others choosing to remain in various countries in Europe rather than to take the rap. It is not hard to see why.
Finally, by January 2004 two had been acquitted and six men sentenced to 20 years in prison. They included his former aide, Richard Taxquet, chauffeur Giuseppe di Mauro, and two men tried in their absence, Cosimo Solazzo, Domenico Castellino. A “former aide” and his “chauffeur” with Italian mafia connections. Hardly a resounding victory.
André Cool’s murder had thrown the Walloon socialist party into chaos and the subsequent investigation revealed not only several minor league sexual scandals but the payment of more than £2 Billion in bribes made by French aerospace manufacturer Dassault and Italian helicopter firm Agusta to secure equipment orders from the Belgian armed forces, via socialist politicians. This bought down the Belgian Secretary-General to NATO and certainly put the spotlight on Belgian weapons manufacturing and the vested interests involved. But has anything changed? As in the Dutroux case, those on the outer ring of corruption took the rap and those who had a little more pertinent information were taken care of. And thus the world of arms, sexploitation and paedophilia continues to spin.
As we have explored, the manufactured nature of Belgium not dissimilar to Israel (though less bloody) it is obvious that Brussels and all its military agencies enjoys a disproportionate amount of power within the European Union. The 1970s and 1980s was particularly favourable for the development of institutional corruption. After the decision to set up the European headquarters of NATO otherwise known as Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) the CIA – along with the stay behind Gladio network – became concerned by the geo-political “prostitution” of Belgium to all and sundry, including Soviet spies. Gladio has all but been merged into the Zionist mafia consortiums that sub-contract assassins and various brokers within their respective fields. With the collapse of the USSR the underworld is flowing freely into the Balkans; into Belgian’s military-industrial Establishment and fanning out across Europe. It seems that Brussels is a nexus or crossroads in the transferring and brokering of a major number of shadowy deals which extend far beyond the daily abuse of market capitalism. Israel’s MOSSAD and its extensive networks of Zionist sayanim are central to this trade.
 Dossier de Pedophillie Le scandale de d’affaire de Dutroux Jean Nicolas, Frederic Lavachery, published by Flammarion, 2001.
 ‘Belgium defends king against ‘assault’’ BBC News, 18 September, 2001.
 ‘Belgium’s trial of shame’ By Alexandra Fouché, BBC News, 17 June, 2004.
 New Allegations of Murders Of Young Girls’ By Craig S. Smith, New York Times, July 1, 2004: “The Frenchman, Michel Fourniret, was arrested in Belgium a year ago after a girl he is accused of trying to kidnap got away and led the police to him. He has been in custody since and is now believed to be responsible for the deaths of as many as a dozen girls, prosecutors say. Mr. Fourniret, 62, had previously served a prison sentence for raping children, and his confession is likely to reopen a debate over the competence of the Belgian police in pursuing cases of missing children.”
 ‘Belgian Molester Charged In Death of Missing Girl’ The Telegraph, March 8, 1997.
 ‘Accused ‘not a classic paedophile,’ The Irish Examiner, March 02, 2004.
 ‘Media condemns Dutroux senator’ BBC News, Tuesday, 22 January, 2002,
 ‘Dutroux charged with notorious crime’ Australian Broadcasting Corporation TV program transcript: Broadcast: 01/03/2004 Reporter: Philip Williams, with Paul Marchall, Yves Desnet.
 Letter from Magistrate J.M. Connerotte to King Albert II (in André Rogge, les Egoûts du Royaume, Albin Michel, 1996).
 ‘Pedophile case judge breaks down in court’ By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The Telegraph, March 6, 2004.