One of the suspected Brabant Killers

Total Rendition is a work of fiction. However, at the same time, it is quite a serious commentary about the pitfalls of authoritarian beliefs, among other things. The scary yet plausible aspects of the Brabant killers are some examples of sources of inspiration for Total Rendition.

The Brabant killers are known in Dutch as de bende van Nijvel (translating to English as ‘the Nijvel Gang’) and in French as Les Tueurs fous du Brabant (translating to English as ‘the mad killers of Brabant’). The Brabant Killers murdered at least 28 people. The Westland New Post, a Neo-Nazi group are also implicated in the killings. Despite this, media interest outside of Belgium has mostly subsided.

Between 1981 and 1985, the gang committed ostensibly unexplained acts of mass-murder throughout Belgium. Nevertheless, the perpetrators showed an uncanny degree of professionalism in their attacks. The Brabant Killers are therefore likely to be connected to local police, military and internal security. Of course, therein lies the scary part.

A Belgian ex-gendarme confessed on his death-bed that he was ‘the Giant’. Presumably, that ‘Giant’ was one of the members of the Brabant killers. The same person was also an ex-member of Group Diane, a tactical team of the Belgian police. Belgian courts ruled however, that man was probably not ‘the Giant’. Unfortunately, we may therefore never know for sure.

Anni di piombo & Brabant killers connection?

Supposing there was official involvement, it would actually fit into a larger picture that was going on in Europe at the time. From 1968 to 1989, the Ordine Nuovo and other Far-right groups frequently perpetrated the terrorist attacks that characterised these years in Italy, often thought to include Internal security forces such as the SISMI. The possibility that the Brabant killers may be a related to the situation in Italy is not that far-fetched.

Both cases feature consistent yet reasonably well-founded speculation of GLADIO involvement. As a matter of fact, the possibility of GLADIO involvement has prompted parliamentary investigations in both Belgium and Italy in the 1990s. Again, this is certainly not some crazy conspiracy theory, as there exists plenty of evidence for GLADIO cell’s involvement in similar incidents. For instance, GLADIO indeed allowed organised crime in the Netherlands to use its weaponry.

However, as far as known, GLADIO never really became a monolithic organisation. Each GLADIO cell had its own modus operandi. Even more notable was that some GLADIO cells were set-up in Non-NATO countries such as Switzerland and Finland, even though it was effectively a NATO operation. The Belgian, Italian and Turkish branches of GLADIO were arguably the most controversial, given their likely participation in Far-Right terrorism.


The CIA coined the term ‘Blowback’, referring to the causes of the 9/11 attacks. American support of Muslim Fundamentalists during the Cold War, is to date considered a contributing factor to the 9/11, even to the admission of the US intelligence community. Well before that, however, support of GLADIO by several NATO governments was already a thing; Operation GLADIO most definitely caused blowback, yet remains shrouded in mystery.