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Something Rotten in the State of Denmark

14/09/2010

Last Friday Danes were inconvenienced once again by the specter of incompetent terrorism. Following a “small explosion” in the bathroom of the low-cost Hotel Joergensen near to Copenhagen’s busiest train station, police chased a suspect to a nearby park where they cut off his belt using a set of remote controlled pliers.

At this point the story gets confusing. The man, slightly injured by the blast, is now in custody, but has yet to be officially identified. Charged with attempting to detonate a bomb and firearms possession, his age has been placed at either 20s or 40s and he has been described as being of either European or North African extraction. He has been refusing to cooperate with investigators though he apparently speaks “excellent English,” German and used a French interpreter in court.

According to investigator Svend Foldager, the man “has done everything to hide his identity” and when arrested was found to be in possession of three different ID’s (in the names Raoul Foltz, David Francois de Vicq de Cumptich and Hans Veller) from Luxembourg and two “Central European countries.” One report in the Belgian press claimed one of these was Belgian, a detail which was supposedly supported by the fact that he had purchased a bus ticket to Brussels a few days prior to his bombing. But none of this is corroborated or clear and he had no credit cards, mobile phones or other identifying objects in his possession at arrest. He has further apparently scratched off the serial number on a prosthetic leg he uses and while in custody has asked for a Bible and a Koran and declared himself a vegetarian. All part, no doubt, of an effort to further baffle investigators.

This being Copenhagen, early speculation around the incident suggested he might be attempting a bombing at the offices of Jyllands-Posten, the newspaper which famously published the Muhammad cartoons a few years ago. Tabloid Ekstra Bladet claimed that a source close to the investigation had said that the man was captured in possession of a map of Copenhagen with the Jyllands-Posten address highlighted. Police responded cryptically that “The information Ekstra Bladet has put forward is not correct. We base our work on the thesis that Jyllands-Posten may be a target, but those are two different things.”

All of which merely highlights how little Danish police seem to know about this entire case. They have now published pictures or him, his fake leg and a tool set he bought recently in the hope that someone might be able to help them figure out who he is. One report hinted he might be a “lone wolf” though as we have seen from earlier in the year, “lone wolf” Islamists with connections have been drawn to attempt to avenge the cartoons. Similarly, Colleen LaRose, aka ‘Jihad Jane,’ was planning on going to neighboring Sweden to kill a cartoonist who had offended the prophet.

Whether there are any sort of links is of course speculation at this point. But the fact he has so many fake ID’s and has managed so thoroughly to eradicate his identity seems to suggest that he is not without some capabilities. At the same time, you would have thought that if this was some politically motivated attempt, he might have spoken about it more loudly or some further evidence of his motivations might have been found. Instead he sits mum in his cell in Copenhagen leaving harried local forces with a riddle to puzzle over.