Belgium has demanded explanations from the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) over allegations that it infiltrated major Belgian national telecom provider Belgacom.
The allegations against GCHQ were made after documents, leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden, pointed to the British agency’s spying activities against Belgium.
According to reports in the German newspaper Der Spiegel, the Cheltenham-based intelligence agency has been accused of hacking the IT system of Belgacom by placing a virus in its network.
“Following the article in Der Spiegel, the government asked Belgian intelligence services to ask their British colleagues for more information,” said a source close to the Belgian government.
Prosecutors in Brussels are now investigating the case against the British spy agency.
A GCHQ spokeswoman declined to comment on the revelation.
Meanwhile, the European Parliament is also examining the activities of the GCHQ. European courts have launched a legal challenge against the agency’s surveillance programs over violating the privacy of millions of people throughout Britain and Europe.
However, London claims the EU does not have the authority to investigate these charges in European courts.
Snowden is currently in Russia, where he has been granted temporary asylum.
- Belgium seeks answers from Britain over telecom spying (dnaindia.com)
- UK intelligence spying on Belgium – Snowden leaks (voiceofrussia.com)
- GCHQ: EU surveillance hearing is told of huge cyber-attack on Belgian firm (theguardian.com)
- Privacy advocates vs. GCHQ: Groups launch EU court case against spy agency (RT)
Originally aired on BBC2 in 1992, Operation Gladio reveals Gladio, the secret state-sponsored terror network operating in Europe. This BBC series is about a far-right secret army, operated by the CIA and MI6 through NATO, which killed hundreds of innocent Europeans and attempted to blame the deaths on Baader Meinhof, Red Brigades and other left wing groups.
Known as stay-behinds these armies were given access to military equipment which was supposed to be used for sabotage after a Soviet invasion. Instead it was used in massacres across mainland Europe as part of a CIA Strategy of Tension. Gladio killing sprees in Belgium and Italy were carried out for the purpose of frightening the national political classes into adopting U.S. policies.
- The Strategy of Tension (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Former Italian President: CIA & Mossad Behind 9/11 Terror Attacks! (socioecohistory.wordpress.com)
foto: Tim Dirven/Vredesactie
As of 7:30 AM peace activists are using non-violent means to try and stop the departure of F16 airplanes from the base in Kleine Brogel. Starting today, Belgian pilots are training for the deployment of nuclear weapons together with their NATO-partners. Small groups of activists are going onto the runway to stop the taking off of the F-16s. Meanwhile, the main gate of the base is being blocked. In this way, Vredesactie and Action pour la Paix hope to prevent the preparation for war crimes.
From 15 to 26 October, Belgian F-16s from the military base of Kleine Brogel are participating in the NATO-exercise “Steadfast Noon” in the German air base of Büchel. This exercise is a way of training for the deployment of nuclear weapons. All NATO-countries that have American nuclear weapons on their territory are participating: Belgium, Germany, Italy, Holland and Turkey. Some other countries are taking on a supportive role.
“The American nuclear weapons stored in Kleine Brogel are not merely relics from the Cold War”, says Roel Stynen from Vredesactie. “This NATO-exercise makes it clear that the deployment of these weapons is being actively prepared. If these nuclear weapons no longer have any military purpose – as we are told – then which scenarios are being practiced?”
Benoit Calvi from Action pour la Paix: “The majority of the population wants these nuclear weapons removed from our country. But our minister dodges any attempt to a debate. Apparently being a member of NATO is more important than having a functioning democracy.”
Preventing the preparation of war crimes
Small groups of activists have entered the base. They head towards the hangars for aeroplanes to stop the departure of combat planes, risking life and limb. Meanwhile a colourful blockade at the main gate stops entry of personnel to the base.
With this action the activists are trying to prevent the preparation of war crimes in a non-violent way. The use of nuclear weapons and the preparation for said use is in violation of international humanitarian law. The International Court has pointed out the fundamental rules of the law of war as applicable to nuclear weapons in its verdict of 8 July 1996.
First of all a distinction must be made between enemy combatants and civilians. It follows that weapons that are incapable of making such a distinction can never be used. Second, it is forbidden to inflict unnecessary suffering to enemy combatants. Therefore, weapons that inflict such suffering can not be used. The consequences of using nuclear weapons cannot be limited in time and space. The nuclear weapons stationed in Kleine Brogel can never be deployed without violating these fundamental rules of the law of war and without committing war crimes.
Belgian criminal law also penalizes these acts of preparation, e.g. in art. 136sexies of the penal code: “the keeping of an object destined for such a crime or which facilitates the perpetration of such a crime”. Participation in this exercise amounts to an active preparation for the use of nuclear weapons and therefore for crimes of war. It also makes it clear that the storage of nuclear weapons in Kleine Brogel is a part of this active preparation.
Belgian peace organizations file a complaint
On October 9 several Belgian peace organizations – Vredesactie, Pax Christi Vlaanderen, Vrede vzw, CNAPD, Action pour la Paix en MIR-IRG – already filed a complaint with the police against this exercise. Tom Sauer (professor of International Politics at the University of Antwerp) participated in filing a complaint: “These weapons are useless and dangerous. It is unacceptable that Belgian pilots are practicing for the deployment of weapons of mass destruction.”
So far neither the department of defence, nor the judicial authorities have indicated that the participation in the nuclear exercise will be suspended.
- Independent Scotland would ban nuclear weapons but join Nato (telegraph.co.uk)
- NAM calls for total nuclear disarmament (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Nuclear weapons should be banned from independent Scotland, says Alex Salmond (scotsman.com)
Police in Belgium have arrested some 483 peace activists from hundreds of protesters, who tried to break into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters in Brussels.
The Sunday demonstration organized by the Belgian Association Action for Peace was called to protest NATO intervention in Afghanistan and Libya, and nuclear arming.
The activists crossed fields and sought to climb over fences leading to the NATO compound but were stopped by the five to six hundred police officers who were deployed to counter the protesters.
“We neither want the anti-missile shield, nor intervention by NATO in Libya or Afghanistan, nor nuclear bombs that are illegal in our country,” a spokesman for Action for Peace, Benoit Calvi said.
Demonstrators most of them in their twenties, came from 10 European countries including Britain, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, and Sweden.
“A military alliance that intervenes all over the world and has nuclear weapons is a threat to world peace,” Action for Peace said.
The protest came ahead of next month’s NATO summit in Chicago.