Belgium: Terrorist Violence Escalates
Belgium is now afflicted with indigenous terrorism to much the same degree as its French and West German neighbors. The Communist Combatant Cells (CCC) and a few other, lesser known, terrorist groups have conducted some 30 attacks in Belgium in little more than a year. The CCC has concentrated its recent attacks against Belgian domestic interests, but US and NATO targets are also at risk. Moreover, CCC operations have become increasingly violent, and the group is employing new and more dangerous tactics. The inability of the Belgian security services to effectively counter the group portends a high level of terrorist activity.
Terrorism emerges in Belgium
Belgium had experienced little of the terrorism endemic to much of contemporary Western Europe until the fall of 1984. It appeared that terrorists - wether of West European or Middle Eastern origin - viewed Belgium as a place of refuge, a safe-haven to which revolutionaries could come, regroup, and rebuild their logistic bases. Terrorists had operated there only sporadically, and, in those few instances, against non-Belgian targets. But in late 1984 an indigenous Belgian terrorist group calling itself Communist Combatant Cells carried out five attacks in the Brussels area between 2 and 17 October. The group - which seemed to be functioning as a part of a loosely coordinated West European "anti-imperialist front" - began its campaign by attacking defense-related targets - including the offices of the American firms Litton and Honeywell - but also bombed Belgian political targets.
From 26 November 1984 until 15 January 1985, the CCC concentrated on defense-related targets. It bombed a communications facility at the Bierset military airfield near Liege, claiming that the attack was in solidarity with a 1981 attack by the Red Army Faction (RAF) against Ramstein Air Force Base in West Germany. On 11 December, in its largest operation, the CCC planted six bombs that exploded in five different locations along NATO fuel pipelines and claimed that "war against NATO has become the principal aim of our movement". The pipeline had extensively described in RAF documents discovered in July 1984, and one of the facilities on the RAF target list was among those bombed in the CCC attack.
In what was to be the close of the group’s "anti-imperialist" campaign, the CCC set off a car bomb (20 kilograms of TNT) outside a NATO support building in Brussels on 15 January 1985. The blast wounded two military guards and caused extensive damage. The size of the bomb and its apparent intent to inflict casualties marked an escalation in CCC violence. The communique dedicated the attack to the Red Army Faction and said the CCC would target US military personnel in the future. Following this incident, however, the CCC called a halt to its actions and decide on its future course of action.
The CCC returns - and kills
The CCC resumed its operations on 1 May when it placed a car bomb outside the Belgian Employers Federation in Brussels. The group also used new tactics in this operation; it set the vehicle on fire, scattered leaflets warning of an impending explosion, and phoned a bomb warning to the police. In spite of these efforts to avoid casualties, two firemen were killed by the blast - the first deaths resulting from a CCC operation.
The deaths of the firemen caused the CCC to take some unusual steps. The group immediately tried to shift responsibility to the police for not keeping the firemen away from the car bomb. It issued a communique expressing regret over the deaths, claiming that it had done everything possible to avoid fatalities and declaring that the CCC did not intend to kill or injure members of the Belgian working class. Then, on 6 May the group bombed a police administrative office, apparently to punish the police for the firemen’s deaths. The 1 May incident may have precipitated dissension and self-criticism within the CCC, because the group entered into another period of inactivity that was to last five months.
On 8 October - the anniversary of its attack on Honeywell - the CCC ended this hiatus by setting off a car bomb outside a Brussels gas company complex. It took elaborate precautions to avoid casualties by broadcasting a tape-recorded message from the vehicle, warning people to stay away from it. The group seemed determined to avoid repetition of the public outcry, which had ensued over the firemen’s deaths. The communique that followed this attack announced the beginning of a "Karl Marx anticapitalist campaign", which implied a concentrated effort against business, industrial, and labor targets. But the CCC also struck other types of targets in rapid succession:
On 12 October it expressed its intention to disrupt national parliamentary elections by setting off two bombs at a private metal company and at a government tax office in Charleroi. Leaflets found at the scene were identical to those found outside the Brussels gas company on 8 October. The elections were held on 13 October without further however.
On 19 October a small bomb exploded outside an armed forces information office.
On 20 October a vehicle belonging to the president of the National Action Committee for Peace and Development - a pacifist organization opposed to the deployment of NATO cruise missiles in Belgium - was the target of an arson attack.
Although the last two attacks did not resemble previous CCC operations - and may be the work of a dissident faction within the CCC - copies of a communique ostensibly prepared by the group were found at both sites. This communique announced the opening of a "second front", to be called the "Pierre Akkerman campaign", against bourgeois militarism and pacifism. The communique termed such acts as a mass public demonstration protesting missile deployment on 20 October as "the usual, useless, ineffective petite bourgeois sterile actions".
If the CCC was responsible for the attack on the pacifist movement, it marks a further broadening of the group’s roster of targets. Its attacks have been mounted against NATO and defense-related targets, domestic political parties and "anticapitalist" symbols. Should the CCC now begin attacking the pacifist movement - which might have provided it with recruits and supporters - it is likely to isolate itself from those leftist segments of Belgian society it sought to attract.
In early November the CCC demonstrated several more new tactics in four attacks against banks:
In one incident, the group placed a car bomb outside a Brussels bank. When a security vehicle happened on the scene, the terrorists sprayed it with automatic weapons fire, slightly wounding a guard. The terrorists, who had never before used firearms during an operation, demonstrated that they were both well armed - a subject of Belgian police speculation heretofore - and willing to resort to lethal force to avoid capture.
In two of the incidents, members of the group entered banks in Charleroi and Leuven during business hours, chained suite case bombs to the premises and distributed leaflets warning of imminent explosions. The buildings were evacuated, and there were no injuries, but damage was extensive. The placing of bombs in occupied buildings suggests the CCC has become less concerned about causing casualties than it previously was, and that the group is growing bolder.
In the last bank attack, the CCC also set off a suitcase bomb outside the Brussels branch of the US-owned Manufacturers Hanover Bank, causing major damage, but no injuries. This was its first attack against a US target in 10 months.
Taken together, the four attacks against banks form part of the group’s Karl Marx anticapitalist campaign announced in October; the communique following these attacks said that the banks had been chosen as symbols of capitalism. Other Belgian, US, and foreign business interests may be targeted if this phase of CCC operations continues.
[De eerste twee zinnen zijn gecensureerd.] On 5 November 1984, the so-called Unknown Anarchist Group (2) placed a bomb under a police van in Brussels. The device malfunctioned, however, and was disarmed. Police initially suspected the CCC, but it was, unlike CCC attacks, a conspicuous failure, and it was not followed by one of the CCC’s usual lengthy communiques. (*) Then on the night of 20-21 April 1985 - during a period of CCC inactivity - a group calling itself the "Revolutionary Front for Proletarion Action" (FRAP) claimed responsibility for attacks upon the North Atlantic Assembly building and the West German electronics firm AEG-Telefunken. In separate communiques, the group said it had attacked the North Atlantic Assembly because of its political connection with NATO and AEG-Telefunken because of its NATO military contracts. The FRAP claimed that it was created "to expand the revolutionary anti-imperialist organization acting against everything that directly or indirectly works at preparing for the imperialist war".
(*) Over die aanslag vind je meer info in het topic over Thingvellir » Forum
Little is known about either the "Unknown Anarchist Group" or the FRAP - which may be one and the same - but they do not appear to be cover names for the CCC. FRAP communiques tend to be anarchistic and less thematically coherent than those of the CCC, which takes a Marxist-Leninist line. In addition, CCC bombs have been professionally constructed of high explosives, more powerful and destructive than the other groups’ devices. It may be significant, however, that the FRAP has used explosives stolen from the Ecaussines quarry in Belgium in June 1984 - material that has also been used by Action Directe in France and the Red Army Faction in West Germany. We do not know for certain that the CCC has used explosives [gecensureerd] but the group has claimed to have done so and has said that the quarry theft was carried out by an "international revolutionary commando".
Terrorist activities in Belgium probably will remain at a high level for the remainder of 1985 and into 1986, with the CCC continuing to pose the major threat. The group has undergone significant changes in its brief existence. Despite its early vow to wage an "anti-imperialist" campaign against NATO, it has not attacked a US military or NATO-related target since mid-January. Over the past 10 months, the CCC has focused on domestic rather than foreign targets and is likely to continue to do so. The group’s activities may come to resemble those of Action Directe, which primarily focuses on French domestic interests, but occasionally attacks a foreign target. As security is tightened around the more important symbolic targets, that is, military installations, government offices, and utilities, the CCC probably will turn to more vulnerable targets.
Additional attacks by the CCC against US or NATO targets are still possible. The group warned of its intention to kill US military personnel after the attack on the NATO support facility, and it may yet carry out its threat. As long as controversy continues over deployment of NATO cruise missiles in Belgium, the potential West European role in the Strategic Defense Initiative program, and lack of succes in arms control negotiations, the CCC and other Belgian terrorist may find it politically expedient to attack symbolic targets relating to these issues.
CCC origins and ideology
Information concerning CCC membership is fragmentary and speculative. Its communiques, issued after several of its attacks, claim the group was organized in 1982, support itself through bank robberies, plans its operations months in advance, and shares explosives with other West European terrorists. Following the 8 October 1984 attack against Honeywell, the CCC communique claimed the group was organized along the lines of the Italian Red Brigades (BR). [gecensureerd] the slogans, themes and ideology were similar. The CCC’s emblem, a five-pointed star, resembles that of the Italian group, and even the name "Communist Combattant Cells" was first used by Italian terrorists.
[gecensureerd] the CCC was either an extension of the French leftwing terrorist group Action Directe (AD), or composed of individuals who had been members of support groups of the West German Red Army Faction (RAF). French and West German terrorists maintain safe houses in Belgium, and that there were previously existed in Belgium, and that there were known contacts between Belgian leftists - suspected of membership in the CCC - and French terrorists. The CCC’s attacks against defense-related targets appeared to be part of the so-called Euroterrorist anti-NATO campaign started by Action Directe in Paris in the summer of 1984 and carried along by the RAF in the following months.
The CCC however, has maintained that it is an indigenous and autonomous Belgian revolutionary group, not politically associated with or subordinate to Action Directe, the Red Army Faction, or any other foreign revolutionary movement. [gecensureerd] the group is composed primarily of Belgian leftists who have decided to emulate their counterparts in terrorism along the lines of Italy, France and West Germany.
(1) Akkerman was a Belgian Communist killed in the Spanish civil war in 1936.
(2) Responsibility for two previous bombings in Brussels in 1984 - of the Palace of Justice on 19 May and the General Bank Association on 29 June - was claimed by the self-proclaimed "Unknown Group", and the "Still Unknown Group", respectively.
Bron: CCC Terrorism Review | 2 December 1985
"Le monde est dangereux à vivre! Non pas tant à cause de ceux qui font le mal, mais à cause de ceux qui regardent et laissent faire." Volg ons via » Facebook