Terror charges

The reaction of officialdom to last week’s terrorist alarm was a question of ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’.

The police had good reason to believe that the tip-off was genuine and was right to seal off the area identified in the anonymous phone call.
The Netherlands has not yet been victim to a mass terrorist attack, but every precaution is still needed and every seemingly serious threat needs to be followed up.
After all, if there had been a bomb and massive loss of life, the newspapers would rightly be demanding answers.
With hindsight of course, it all seems like a terrible over-reaction. Seven innocent people were arrested in full view of their neighbours, their homes searched, their computers and paperwork taken away.
And even though their names were kept secret, being arrested in connection with a terrorist plot will follow them for the rest of their lives. That is unavoidable.
But why did the police decide to state that the seven people they had arrested had Moroccan roots? Because of some spurious connection with the Madrid bombings?
When the announcement was made, the police still did not know if the those arrested were connected to the case at all – as Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen was keen to stress at the time.

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