Important note: This review serves as an update of ISGP's Beyond the Dutroux Affair article of 2007.
|Draw attention and divert|
|Extra: the importance of the Mirano in understanding Nihoul|
The book, released March 2010.
Since I don't have to sell anything, it's easy to cut right to the chase. Let's start this article with two simple quotes. The first one:
"Does the Belgian public have the right to know all those names? The public will have to decide for itself. If the public asks me, I'll give them the names. Either on my website, or in the book that I will soon publish."
And the second:
This kind of stuff really gets your attention, now does it? Well, let's see who wrote down those lines.
The first one is from... Michel Nihoul. Yes, the Dutroux associate who had enough connections to get away unscathed. The second quote comes from the book to be discussed here: Tous manipulés? meaning Everyone manipulated? A heavy-sounding title with an even heavier cover. As Rossey is a rock artist, it might well be inspired by the cover of Metallica's Master of Puppets.
What you have above are just simple examples of manipulation. The state, or whatever passes for that, just provides people with different versions of the "truth". If people prefer to believe the official story, great. But in Belgium not too many people do that. So to keep the public from finding out the real facts, one idea is to promote the existence of different kinds of less serious cover ups. It's classic material:
- "Yes, there's a cover up... but it's about failure." (in general)
- "Yes, there's a cover up, but it's not about pedophilia - just about regular prostitution and orgies." (Nihoul)
- "Yes, there's a cover up, but it's about immoral tactics used in the investigation." (Toussaint and Rossey)
And on it goes. Of course, one must always twist the facts and preferably turn the victims into suspects. Do this for a while and the public just doesn't want to find out the truth anymore. It takes too much time to sort out fact from fiction and soon everyone accepts the idea that the facts will never be brought to bare. Works everytime.
"Everyone manipulated! ... We have been manipulated by those who loudly claim that the Dutroux affair is a simple case without tentacles, by those who claim pedophile networks don't exist in Belgium. ...
[Follow up:] "We have also been manipulated by those who tried to make us believe that Dutroux was involved in an enormous network in which the highest personalities of the country were involved, with tentacles right to the royal palace."
I'm somewhat familiar with both authors. Xavier Rossey contacted ISGP about a year ago and spoke about the book he was working on. The only thing he seemed concerned about, however, was that one of the documents on ISGP revealed the name of a witness. They were working with that witness and apparently she was scared to death that her name appeared on the internet. I removed the name, but wondered what good it would do. Rossey didn't seem interested in anything ISGP had written and I never heard of him again.
Marc Toussaint I also remember, although not through personal contact. I had once put his name in Beyond Dutroux's appendix The Investigators, ironically under "good guys". Here's what was written about him:
"Young gendarme officer who was the runner of victim-witness VM1. In the presence of Michel Bourlet, Marc Toussaint and Yves Zimmer (head of the sexual abuse department of the Brussels police from 1982 to 1987; linked to the abuse network), VM1 emotionally testified on February 16, 1997 how he had been a child prostitute for Phillipe Cryns in and around Le Mirano and how he had witnessed child murders and assassinations. Somehow, within two days of this meeting word got out that VM1 was talking to police. VM1 was threatened to shut up and to hand over any evidence he had if he wanted to live longer than a week. Cryns used to be a member of Cercle des Nations, together with Paul Vanden Boeynants, Baron de Bonvoisin and Pinay Circle founder Jean Violet."
Supposedly only Bourlet, Toussaint, and Zimmer knew about the testimony of VM1. I always assumed Zimmer, who has connections to the alleged abuse network, probably played a role in leaking information about VM1. Bourlet was a trustworthy person and Toussaint certainly seemed that way too...
Why? Because I'd read that Toussaint at one point had supplied the authors of the X-Dossiers book with a number of documents, including the ATLAS dossier, and endlessly spoke about Lumumba having been assassinated, about a pedophile lawyer in Brussels, and how his superiors at the gendarmerie had protected a group of robbers on gold transport vehicles (probably the ones in which Bouhouche and Buslik were involved). He seemed a very convincing "good guy".
Before we go on discussing the specific points of Tous manipulés?, let's summarize some of the things explained in great detail in Beyond Dutroux.
- Already in 1993 the gendarmerie had clear evidence that Dutroux, a convicted pedophile, had begun constricting cages in his home and was planning on kidnapping and selling girls.
- In 1995 and 1996 the gendarmerie failed to find Julie, Melissa, and Laetitia, even though they had been given an incredible amount of evidence that Dutroux had kidnapped Julie and Melissa, even though had done a search during which a child's voice was heard, and even though they were staking out Dutroux's house when the girls were moved in and out. Bourlet and Connerotte later began making suggestions that the gendarmerie hadn't really been interested in finding the girls and arresting Dutroux.
- In the following months, Bourlet, Connerotte and De Baets were working hard to get to the bottom of both the Dutroux affair and X-witnesses affair. They were prevented from doing this, however, by superior officers in the gendarmerie, the police, and the lawyers of Dutroux and Nihoul.
- These officers, together with police commissioner Georges Marnette (accused of child abuse), began following a number of false leads, partly in an effort to undermine the credibility of the X-witnesses, as rumors of their testimonies would sooner or later become public knowledge. The false leads were, as quoted from Beyond Dutroux:
- "the digs in Jumet, which were inspired by the bogus claims of convicted pedophile Jean-Paul Raemaekers;
- "the November 1996 Oliver Trusgnach case in which high level politicians Elio Di Rupo and Jean-Pierre Grafe were implicated as pedophiles;
- "the prominent December 12, 1996 search of the Gnostic-Luciferian (Satanic) Abrasax cult."
- It is known that Nihoul was an informant of the gendarmerie's BOB unit, which also headed the investigation into Dutroux. Nihoul apparently was important enough for the BOB that in July 1996, a few weeks before Dutroux (and apparently Nihoul himself) kidnapped Laetitia, they "coded" him.
Now, this is what Toussaint and Rossey claim in their new book:
- The gendarmerie's BOB was already investigating Dutroux in 1993.
- Michel Nihoul was a non-coded informant of the gendarmerie who had infiltrated Dutroux's network and possibly could even have paid for the children with those XTC pills (see Beyond Dutroux).
- The gendarmerie did not arrest Dutroux, even though he held a number of girls in his basement. Instead, they tried to infiltrate deeper into the criminal network Dutroux was part of.
- When hundreds of thousands of people began protest marches against the way the Dutroux investigation was handled, the gendarmerie tried to cover up the tactics they had used with Dutroux. They did this by recruiting a number of reporters of De Morgen newspaper and at the same time recruiting the X-witnesses, with X1 in particular. In this way they began promoting rumors of high level networks which could then be discredited. Connerotte and De Baets were part of this cover up. Toussaint and Rossey point to a December 23, 1997 meeting at the house of the famous Andre Pinon where key reporters, detectives, politicians, and activists held a meeting, "with the approval of the gendarmerie".
- Toussaint and Rossey speculate that the death threats against Connerotte and Bourlet were hyped. They think it's most likely that the gendarmerie was trying to keep an eye on the two magistrates.
Let me say here that this information is not based on reading the book of Toussaint and Rossey. I have no time for that. Georges Timmerman, former editor of De Morgen, wrote an unbiased and lengthy report of the book on April 20, 2010.  And this is more than enough to see the game Toussaint and Rossey are playing.
First of all, they seem to bring absolutely nothing new to the table. They have just decided to interpret the facts differently. In Beyond Dutroux we already discussed:
- that the gendarmerie was on the trail of Dutroux by 1993;
- that even in 1996 they somehow were unable to find the girls in Dutroux's basement;
- that Nihoul was a BOB informant and that he may have paid for a girl of Dutroux in XTC pills;
- that X1 was active in support groups since 1989 and helping other victims of sexual abuse to testify (which didn't work for her);
- that the newspapers of De Morgen were working with De Baets and X1 and that since November 1997 they had really begun to decide to take the story public.
So nothing knew here. The only thing is, all these people began working together, not because the gendarmerie supported them, but because the X-investigation was infiltrated and undermined by superior officers in the gendarmerie, with the cooperation of at least one police commissioner, a number of magistrates, and several politicians (some of whom accused of child abuse). If you want to see the layout again, let's borrow it from Beyond Dutroux:
In this chart you can see how everyone in the investigation was replaced. In the beginning it was Bourlet, Connerotte, De Baets and team, Theo Vandyck and team, who were running the X-investigation. But from late 1996 to mid 1997 everyone was replaced by persons very hostile to the X-witnesses. Langlois replaced Connerotte and refused to work with Bourlet, Duterme was assigned as a superior to the teams of De Baets and Vandyck, Vandyck and his team were replaced after he suffered a stroke, and finally De Baets and his team were replaced in mid 1997. When in the weeks thereafter it was also found out by X1 that the investigation was halted, they began to look at doing things via the media - and only Flemish/Dutch-language De Morgen would listen.
Marc Toussaint was also part of this investigation. As you could read earlier, he was involved in questioning another witness that had come forward in February 1997. With Connerotte out, Duterme in place, and Bourlet with no real influence, the gendarmerie was in control of the investigation when it came to new witnesses coming forward. In hindsight, there's no reason why they would have involved a non-compromised gendarmerie officer to observe VM1. They couldn't get rid of Bourlet, but it's probably not such a surprise now that the other two persons questioning VM1 have either been tied to the abuse network or, in case of Marc Toussaint, now have released another book critical of De Baets, De Morgen, and the X-witnesses.
What makes this whole affair even more ironic is that Marc Toussaint prominently mentions the December 23, 1997 meeting in his book, the one at Pinon's house where De Baets, Bille, the reporters, and several other supporters of X1 were present. A 2001 article in De Morgen about this meeting is largely what got Toussaint on ISGP's "good guys" list. It describes how a young gendarme officer named Marc Toussaint had walked in with a box full of apparently compromising documents. Toussaint had also been talking conspiracy all night, as reported earlier in this article. 
In hindsight, it seems Toussaint was just there as an infiltrant. Besides his recent book, something that also points to his double-role is that a couple of months later he contacted De Morgen and provided the reporters with a bone he claimed was from Elizabeth Brichet, a girl which had been missing since 1989. The reporters soon found out, however, that the bone was from a cow.
So, in my honest opinion, Toussaint's book Tous manipulés? is meant to continue the real cover up: that the X- and other witnesses have implicated the top of Belgian society of involvement in child abuse networks. The X-witnesses, as Tous manipulés? claims, clearly were not used by the gendarmerie to cover up their own immoral infiltration and intelligence gathering techniques. Instead, all evidence points to the fact that the gendarmerie and other officials used Jumet, Abrasax, and Oliver Trusgnach to discredit the X-witnesses before word got out about their testimonies - which eventually happened in early 1998 through the efforts of De Baets, two De Morgen reporters, and X1. The gendarmerie/police actions had also happened more than a year before word of the X-witnesses came out:
"It can also be argued that the mainstream press was anything but discrete in late 1996 when they published the names of the politicians Elio Di Rupo and Jean-Pierre Grafe as alleged child abusers. The evidence these claims were based on was meager to say the least and many times less powerful than the combined testimonies of the X-witnesses. But, of course, the purpose of this event was not to inform the public; it was an effort to discredit the rumors about high level involvement in child abuse networks. It was known that sooner or later the X-witnesses would reach the news and this was one of the "pre-emptive strikes" against these witnesses."
Disinformation is incredibly powerful. I've studied the Dutroux affair for many years now and was able to see through the story in less than 30 minutes. But this will not be so easy for the layperson. If someone has come to accept the possibility of a cover up surrounding the X-Dossiers, they'll probably start to doubt when reading Tous manipulés? - possibly even after rereading Beyond Dutroux. And I really think this is the only purpose of the book.
Guess the only positive thing about this new book release is that it has largely been ignored by the media. Since both authors have known about Beyond Dutroux for at least a year, just as many of the accused, I wouldn't be surprised if it is specifically released at the request of someone high up to counter all the "internet rumors". Remember, among the visitors of Beyond Dutroux have not only been endless justice departments in Belgium, but also the European Commission, the Fortis Bank, the royal palace, and most - if not all - media outlets. They know what's "out there" on the net. And they know it can threaten the very existence of Belgium.
One last thing, basically what Tous manipulés? is doing, is to support the questionable group of "rereaders" within the gendarmerie, of which Toussaint really seems to have been part himself. But the book also protects Nihoul to a large extent by claiming he was just doing dirty work for the gendarmerie's BOB. Well, just last week some new information was added to Beyond Dutroux specifically about Nihoul.
Extra: the importance of the Mirano in understanding Nihoul
Remember how Toussaint was involved in questioning VM1, the witness who claimed to have been an underaged prostitute in the Mirano Club back in the 1980s. Accusations like this had already come out during a drug trial at the time, but the pedophile entrapment aspect was swept under the carpet. The ring was apparently headed by the owner of the Mirano, Philippe Cryns... who just happened to be a friend of Michel Nihoul. The other person involved, Alexis Alewaeters, worked for a while at the law firm of Nihoul and Bouty.
The Mirano was part of the club circuit of the elite Cercle des Nations: Baron de Bonvoisin, Paul Vanden Boeynants, Roger Boas, Michel Relecom, de Merode family, etc., etc. - all the really bad guys, according to various X-witnesses. Apparently members of the Belgian royal family also visited the Mirano on occasion.
Now, true or not, X1 had stated in 1996-1997 that Nihoul did a lot of blackmailing back in the 1980s and in several cases he used X1 for this purpose. Other sources have continually tied Nihoul to the Cercle des Nations/CEPIC/PSC crowd. Nihoul knew CEPIC lawyer Jean-Paul Dumont, he knew Paul Vanden Boeynants, he supposedly was the "right hand" of Baron de Bonvoisin, etc. Nihoul was part of this underground club circuit and although he never was a member of "the establishment", he certainly seems to have been involved in organizing a lot of "upper class" drug and sex-infested parties.
The Mirano seems to be a key aspect here. What we recently added to Beyond Dutroux is a translation of a 2001 interview of Der Spiegel with Nihoul. This was back in the days that Nihoul had been released on parole, but was still awaiting trial. He had plenty of reasons to try and put some pressure on the right people. Nihoul stated:
|"I control the government. ... Everyone has compromising dossiers on one another, to be used as leverage in the right situation. ... This is the Belgian disease. ...
"Give me another 20.000 Marks, and I give you a serving minister who is embroiled in a murder. ... I know the killer and will have him contact the minister by telephone. You can listen along, okay?
"[Voice recorder turned off. For a 6-digit sum] I will give you a picture on which then Prince Albert jumps a 16 year old girl. Naked. Shot at the second floor of the Mirano Club 20 years ago ... Then I do have to leave Belgium." 
Whatever the effects of these threats were, in 2004 Nihoul was found guilty by the jury of involvement in Dutroux's child kidnapping ring. But in an unprecedented move, the three judges overruled the jury on this aspect. After a short prison sentence for related crimes, he was a free man.
Below you can see an oversight of Nihoul's connections, mainly from the 1980s, as reported in various newspaper articles and biographies on him. After a cross reference with the X-Dossier affair a lot of things fall into place.
Amazing, isn't it?
|||April 20, 2010, Apache News Lab, ''Rijkswacht fabriceerde netwerkverhalen over Dutroux en Nihoul'' (''Gendarmerie fabricated network stories about Dutroux and Nihoul'')
|||2001, De Morgen, 'Onthuld: Het X'en complot' (Uncovered: 'The conspiracy of the X's')
|||October 15, 2001, Der Spiegel, 'Im Netz der Dossiers'