Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sensationally claimed that one of the Brussels bombers was arrested for terror offences and deported back to Belgium last June.
Erdogan claimed that Turkish authorities informed Belgium that the arrested man – believed to Ibrahim El-Bakraoui – was “a foreign fighter” but investigators allowed him to walk free because they couldn’t establish terror links.
The news raises yet more questions about the embattled Belgian security forces’ ability to prevent acts of terror being plotted and carried out in jihadi hotbeds in the country.
Speaking this afternoon, Erdogan said that Belgian authorities released the suspect despite Turkish warnings that he was “a foreign fighter” who had been captured on the border with Syria.
Erdogan did not identify the individual but NTV television named him as Ibrahim El Bakraoui, one of the two men who blew themselves up at Brussels airport.
He added that Belgian authorities had failed to confirm the suspect’s links to terrorism “despite our warnings” following his deportation.
Erdogan went on to say Belgian consular authorities were formally notified of his deportation on July 14, 2015. He added that he was then released by the Belgian authorities.
“Despite our warnings that this person was a foreign terrorist fighter, the Belgian authorities could not identify a link to terrorism,” he said at a news conference alongside visiting Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.
Erdogan said that the Netherlands were also implicated in the issue as the man had initially been deported to the Netherlands at his own request and the Dutch authorities informed.
He did not specify how he had been transferred from the Netherlands to Belgium where 31 people died in bomb attacks on Tuesday.
“I believe that we can work this out (the fight against terror) if world leaders form an alliance against terror. For that, we need to redefine global terror and terrorists,” Erdogan added.
Turkey has previously complained that Western countries did not heed warnings of the dangers posed by jihadists it had expelled back to Europe after arresting them on the Syrian border.
European officials have also urged Turkey to improve intelligence sharing and praised an increase in cooperation in recent months.
31 people were killed and 270 injured after a series of blasts in Zaventem airport, and an hour later a Metro station in Maalbeek.
One of the airport suicide bombers was named as Ibrahim El-Bakraoui, while his brother Khalid El-Brakraoui has been confirmed as the Metro attacker.
Both brothers were well known to police before the attacks, with Khalid even being hunted by Interpol.
But despite the international manhunt for the pair due to their links with last November’s Paris attacks, the pair appear to have been freely moving around Brussels.
There are also serious concerns over the ease with which Belgium-based jihadis have been able to escape despite huge manhunts.
Paris attacker Salah Abdesalem vanished during one police raid last before being captured.
And there appears to have been no trace of Najim Laachraoui since his suitcase nail failed to explode at Brussels airport yesterday morning.
The Islamic State group has trained at least 400 fighters to target Europe in deadly waves of attacks, deploying interlocking terror cells like the ones that struck Brussels and Paris with orders to choose the time, place and method for maximum chaos, officials have told The Associated Press.
The network of agile and semiautonomous cells shows the reach of the extremist group in Europe even as it loses ground in Syria and Iraq.
The officials, including European and Iraqi intelligence officials and a French lawmaker who follows the jihadi networks, described camps in Syria, Iraq and possibly the former Soviet bloc where attackers are trained to target the West. Before being killed in a police raid, the ringleader of the Nov. 13 Paris attacks claimed he had entered Europe in a multinational group of 90 fighters, who scattered “more or less everywhere.”
But the biggest break yet in the Paris attacks investigation – the arrest on Friday of fugitive Salah Abdeslam – did not thwart the multipronged attack just four days later on the Belgian capital’s airport and subway system that left 31 people dead and an estimated 270 wounded. Three suicide bombers also died.
Just as in Paris, Belgian authorities were searching for at least one fugitive in Tuesday’s attacks – this time for a man wearing a white jacket who was seen on airport security footage with the two suicide attackers. The fear is that the man, whose identity Belgian officials say is not known, will follow Abdeslam’s path.
After fleeing Paris immediately after the November attacks, Abdeslam forged a new network back in his childhood neighborhood of Molenbeek, long known as a haven for jihadis, and renewed plotting, according to Belgian officials.
“Not only did he drop out of sight, but he did so to organize another attack, with accomplices everywhere. With suicide belts. Two attacks organized just like in Paris. And his arrest, since they knew he was going to talk, it was a response: ‘So what if he was arrested? We’ll show you that it doesn’t change a thing,'” said French Senator Nathalie Goulet, co-head of a commission tracking jihadi networks.
Estimates range from 400 to 600 Islamic State fighters trained specifically for external attacks, according to the officials, including Goulet. Some 5,000 Europeans have gone to Syria.
“The reality is that if we knew exactly how many there were, it wouldn’t be happening,” she said.
More than four sources with access to tallies of fighters tasked with Europe attacks independently corroborated the numbers of fighters who trained for specific attacks in Europe, including some who have spoken to fighters directly. Others have cross checked information regarding fighters leaving or returning.
Two of the suicide bombers in Tuesday’s attacks, Belgian-born brothers Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui, were known to authorities as common criminals, not anti-Western radicals until an apartment one of them rented was traced to Abdeslam last week, according to Belgian state broadcaster RTBF. Similarly, an Algerian killed inside that apartment on March 15 had nothing but a petty theft record in Sweden – but he’d signed up as an Islamic State suicide bomber for the group in 2014 and returned to Europe as part of the Nov. 13 plot.
In claiming responsibility for Tuesday’s attack, the Islamic State group described a “secret cell of soldiers” dispatched to Brussels for the purpose. The shadowy cells were confirmed by the EU police agency, Europol, which said in a late January report that intelligence officials believed the group had “developed an external action command trained for special forces-style attacks.”
French speakers with links to North Africa, France and Belgium appear to be leading the units and are responsible for developing attack strategies in Europe, said a European security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss briefing material. He is also familiar with interrogations of former fighters who have returned to Europe. Some were jailed after leaving IS while others were kicked out of the terror group, and they include Muslims and Muslim converts from all across Europe.
Fighters in the units are trained in battleground strategies, explosives, surveillance techniques and counter surveillance, the security official said.
“The difference is that in 2014, some of these IS fighters were only being given a couple weeks of training,” he said. “Now the strategy has changed. Special units have been set up. The training is longer. And the objective appears to no longer be killing as many people as possible but rather to have as many terror operations as possible, so the enemy is forced to spend more money or more in manpower.”
Similar methods had been developed by al-Qaida but IS has taken it to a new level, he said. Another difference is that fighters are being trained to be their own operators – not necessarily to be beholden to orders from the IS stronghold in Raqqa, Syria, or elsewhere.
Several security officials have said there is growing evidence to suggest the bulk of the training is taking place in Syria, Libya and elsewhere in North Africa.
In the case of Tuesday’s attacks, Abdeslam’s arrest may have been a trigger for a plot that was already far along.
“To pull off an attack of this sophistication, you need training, planning, materials and a landscape,” said Shiraz Maher, a senior research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at Kings College in London, which has one of the largest databases of fighters and their networks.
“Even if they worked flat out, the attackers in Brussels would have needed at least four days,” said Maher, who has conducted extensive interviews with foreign fighters.
The question for many intelligence and security officials is now turning to just how many more fighters have been trained and are ready for more attacks.
A senior Iraqi intelligence official who was not authorized to speak publicly said people from the cell that carried out the Paris attacks are scattered across Germany, Britain, Italy, Denmark and Sweden. Recently, a new group crossed in from Turkey, the official said.
On Wednesday, Turkish authorities said one of the Brussels suicide attackers, Ibrahim El Bakraoui, was caught last June near the Syrian border and deported to the Netherlands, with Ankara warning Dutch and Belgian officials that he was a “foreign terrorist fighter.” But he was released from Dutch custody due to lack of evidence of involvement in extremism.
Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens said Wednesday that authorities had no reason to detain El Bakraoui because he was “not known for terrorist acts but as a common law criminal who was on conditional release.”
The latest new name to surface this week, Najim Laachraoui, turned out to be the bombmaker who made the suicide vests used in the Paris attacks, according to French and Belgian officials. Attackers used an explosive known as Triacetone Triperoxide, or TATP, made from common household chemicals. DNA evidence indicates he died on Tuesday in the suicide attack on the airport, two officials briefed on the investigation told AP.
Fifteen kilos of TATP were found in an apartment linked to the Brussels attackers, along with other explosive material.
The unidentified man seen on security footage wearing a white jacket and black hat at the Brussels airport on Tuesday remains at large, a fugitive link in a chain still being forged.
The Brussels terrorists were preparing an attack on a nuclear power plant and had recorded 12 hours of reconnaissance footage, it has been reported.
The ISIS cell were spying on the Belgian’s nuclear power chief, possibly as part of a kidnap plan to force him to let them into an atomic facility, according to newspaper Derniere Heure.
Hours of film of the home of the Research and Development Director of the Belgian Nuclear Programme were discovered in an apartment in Brussels raided by anti-terrorist police following the attack in Paris.
The footage confounded investigators at first – as it showed the entrance to the director’s home in Flanders, an area outside the capital.
But detectives made the chilling deduction that the group was attempting to gain entry to an atomic facility after watching all 12 hours of footage, which included images of a local bus.
Armed troops were sent to defend French and Belgian nuclear facilities following the discovery and both countries nuclear programmes were put on the highest state of alert.
Reports of the plan first emerged as early as February and was at that time linked back to the cell responsible for the Paris attacks.
The footage was discovered ‘as part of seizures made following the Paris attacks,’ a Belgian prosecutor said, refusing to divulge the individual’s identity ‘for obvious security reasons’.
At the time, Belgium’s federal agency for nuclear control stressed the importance of not revealing the name of the person involved so as ‘not to endanger the enquiry or nuclear security’ or indeed the person involved and their family.
The images were captured by a camera hidden in nearby bushes and recovered by two suspects who left the area in a vehicle with the lights off, Derniere Heure reported.
However, reports in February did not publicly name Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui – the brothers we now know are responsible for the Brussels bombings – as the creators of the footage.
The claims give further credence to the links now established, at least publicly, between the Paris and Brussels bombings.
The bombings in the Belgian capital on Tuesday which killed 31 people are now believed to have been carried out because the authorities were closing in on the fugitive members of the terror cell.
Leading lawmakers identified Belgium as a hotspot for terrorism months ago and are warning that many of the radicalized individuals living there are still able to travel to the United States without first obtaining a visa and undergoing thorough security checks.
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Washington Free Beacon Tuesday afternoon that current flaws in the U.S. visa waiver program – which facilities travel to the United States from partner nations including Belgium – have created a loophole that could permit radicalized individuals to legally enter the United States with minimal background checks.
DeSantis is warning of these flaws on the heels of deadly mass terrorist attack in Brussels on Tuesday that has killed at least 30 and wounded hundreds more.
“The visa waiver reform, this is something we have been perusing and the [Obama] administration has brushed us off at every turn,” DeSantis said, explaining that current policy does not mandate more strenuous checks on individuals identified as coming from terrorist hotspots, such as the small Belgian town of Molenbeek, which has emerged as a principal training site for jihadists.
“It’s the case that if those folks are citizens of Belgium they qualify for the visa waiver program and can hop on a plane and get here,” he added. “Clearly, that is not adequate given what happened.”
The Obama administration “even takes the position it’s safer to allow someone to come in on a visa waiver than make them get one, it’s kind of crazy,” DeSantis said. You’re not going to be able to have intelligence on everyone there because there are so many potential recruits. It’s a clear vulnerability.”
What is worse, DeSantis said, is that the Obama administration has been lax about deporting individuals who overstay their visas, meaning that a radicalized person could disappear in America as they plan a potential attack.
“There’s no enforcement once they get here,” DeSantis said. “Hundreds of thousands of people come over and then overstay” their visas. “You are not going to be removed under current policy under this administration.”
DeSantis and other lawmakers first labeled Belgium as a hotspot for ISIS terrorists in the aftermath of the 2015 attacks in Paris. At least five of the Paris attackers were French nationals, two of whom had been living in Belgium. Another one of the terrorists was a Belgian national.
Citizens from both countries are still able to freely travel to the United States under the visa waiver program, which facilitates travel between the American and a host of foreign countries.
“At least six of the Paris attackers could have attempted to enter the country under this program,” DeSantis said in December, during a congressional hearing on the visa waiver program’s flaws.
Molenbeek in particular “is a hellhole that is filled with Belgian national Islamic radicals who qualify to travel to the U.S. without a visa under the visa waiver program,” DeSantis warned during the hearing.
DeSantis said on Tuesday that following the attack in Paris, he realized that the United States is vulnerable from threats in Europe, in addition to those from Syria and other terror strongholds.
“The problem was not just people coming from Syria,” he explained. “There was a major vulnerability from places in Europe and this Molenbeeck neighborhood was one of the most egregious that I had seen.”
The Department of Homeland Security acknowledged on Tuesday that Belgium is still a part of the visa waiver program, and that policy has not shifted in the wake of the attack.
“Though we do not require Belgian citizens to have a visa to travel here for business or tourism purposes, both the Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have procedures in place to identify and prevent travel here from Belgium by individuals of suspicion,” Jeh Johnson, DHS secretary, said in in a statement on Tuesday.
“All travelers arriving in the United States are vetted against the U.S. Terrorist Screening Database, regardless of whether they arrive with a visa or an Electronic System for Travel Authorization,” Johnson said. “We continually evaluate whether more screening is necessary, particularly in light of today’s attacks.”
Asked about these screening methods, DeSantis cast doubt on the United States’ ability to thoroughly vet these individuals, explaining that gaps in U.S. intelligence cannot account for the large number of radicalized Europeans.
A student at Columbia University has authored an editorial saying Belgians deserve to be blamed for Tuesday’s Islamic terrorist attack in Brussels because their society is a front of “Islamophobia.”
“Columbia’s vigils and memorial services allow us to mourn victims and condemn terrorism,” writes student Brian Min in the Columbia Daily Spectator. “Moving forward, however, they should condemn not only terrorism, but also the specific Islamophobic attitudes and policies that facilitated the recent attacks.”
Min, a freshman planning to study French as well as women, gender, and sexuality studies, argues that the Brussels attack and other terrorist attacks, are “usually not arbitrary events without any justification – they often are responses to institutionalized hate and oppression.”
“Belgium remains the only other country in the world besides France to have a national ban of full-face veils,” Min says. “Employers too often get away with discriminating against Muslim employees. It comes as no surprise that the municipality Molenbeek – the site of one of the explosions – has an unemployment rate of more than 25 percent where the majority of Muslim youths are denied equal access to the labor and housing market.”
Despite his remarks, Min claims he is not condoning terrorism, because “hate should never be used to fight against hate.”
Min then argues in favor of repurposing vigils and other mourning events for political purposes, saying they should be used to denounce specific policies he disagrees with.
“[I]t is not enough for vigils and memorial services to broadly condemn Islamophobia and other forms of hatred that helped breed terrorist attacks,” he says. “They should also verbally denounce the specific forms of Islamophobia and hatred in relation to targeted nations and their policies of institutionalized discrimination, such as Belgium’s ban on full-face veils. In order to fight against Islamophobia and hate crimes that dramatically increase after major tragedies like the Brussels attacks, we must localize the specific Islamophobic policies and attitudes that helped to facilitate such attacks.”
Despite Min’s argument, there’s ample reason to believe Belgium is not a strong center of Islamophobia. For instance, in 2013 a Belgian man was sent to jail for hate speech for tearing up a Quran near some Muslims, and the country’s hate speech legislation has been interpreted as generally restricting any rhetoric that is overly hurtful towards Muslims.
Teddy bears, tears, candles, cartoons, murals, mosaics, flowers, flags, projections, hashtags, balloons, wreaths, lights, vigils, scarves, and more. These are the best solutions the Western world seems to come up with every few months when we are slammed by another Islamist terrorist attack. We are our own sickness.
Since the world learned of the dozens dead, hundreds injured, and hundreds of thousands affected by Monday’s attack on the NATO and European Union capital, we have seen an outpouring of what is commonly known as “solidarity”.
This word – most commonly associated with hard-left politics, trades union activism, socialism, and poseur indie rock bands – has come to mean very little in reality. In effect, “standing in solidarity” with someone now means that you have observed the situation, changed your Facebook profile picture accordingly, and patted yourself on the back.
And if like dead bodies Facebook profile pictures lost heat, it would be accurate to say that the Tricolores that adorned the social media profiles of many had hardly become cold before we were all changing the colours of the bands on the flags. From blue to black. From white to yellow. The blood red remains.
Because nowadays, teddy bears are the new resolve. They symbolise everything we have become in response to our way of life being threatened, and our people being slaughtered on our streets: inanimate, squishy, and full of crap.
Our security services and our police, hamstrung by political correctness, are just as interested (or more?) in rounding up Twitter “hate speech” offenders than criminal, rapist, or terrorist migrants. Our borders are as porous as our brains. We refuse to realise that there are now literally millions of people amongst us who hate us. Who hate our way of life, and who will, one day, dominate our public life.
But of course, such statements are dismissed as fear-mongering, alarmist, or “out of touch with reality”. As if the data doesn’t exist, or the demographics aren’t shifting quickly enough to notice.
As if vast parts of our towns and cities haven’t become ghettos, or no-go zones, or hubs of child grooming activity, or terrorism.
As if mosques, schools, prisons, and universities aren’t used as recruiting grounds for radicals.
As if the blood of our countrymen hasn’t even been spilled at all.
Instead, we will now think deeply about how we can “reach out” to these populations. How we can “co-exist” and “be tolerant” of one another. As if toleration – which is actually the permittance of what is not actually approved or desired – is a healthy aspiration for a society.
It is as if we model our countries on the practice of bending over and “taking one for the team”, chastising those who fail to “tolerate” the most barbaric traditions of alien cultures. It is everything this cartoon – obviously branded “racist” – suggests.
“But come on, Raheem, not all immigrants, or Muslims, are criminals, or rapists… you’re not!”
Yeah – and look at me. Excoriated daily by Islamists on Twitter. Why? Because I’ve integrated and I love my country. Because I refuse to believe that an Islamic caliphate is the best thing for Britain, or anywhere, quite frankly. Where is my white (or brown) knight? Where are the voices of the moderate Muslim world defending me?
Not that I need protection, or defence, but some people aren’t as hard headed or resolved as I am.
Thusly, the albeit minority evil amongst British Muslims is thriving because good Muslims are doing nothing. At some point, we have to question why. I’m not sure most people are ready for the answers to that one.
So continue to sit there with your head in your hands. Mourning only to make yourself feel better. Missing people you never knew. Exclaiming, as the most immature of minds does: “Why can’t we all just get along?”
Expressing sympathy is no bad thing. But to be truly sympathetic towards someone under attack, one must be chivalrous, gallant, and unafraid.
Watching someone getting raped, and tweeting your solidarity with them is not enough. Human nature and goodness calls upon us to intervene. To assist. To free someone from their torture, and to save them from their demise.
It is not enough to scrawl “no fear” on a post it note, and stick it onto some £3 flowers.
We must be fearless in electing leaders who we feel will best keep us safe. It is one of the few areas of our lives in which we should be able to feel comfortable. We pay our taxes, you keep us safe.
If not, then we must arm ourselves. If our governments refuse to protect us, or even begin to use the tools with which we empower them against us: surveillance, counter-terror laws, detention, then we will need to take the law back into our own hands. We cannot be afraid of doing so. It is where our societies all sprung from.
The defence of ourselves as individuals. The defence of our families, our properties, our means of production, our communities, and our neighbours.
It is why arms sales to individuals has shot up since the migrant crisis in Europe. Many Germans are losing their faith in their elected leaders to protect them. The same applies in Sweden, and in Austria. Some people refuse to take being wiped out laying down. How quaint.
It is also time to start to make serious, wide-reaching demands of our politicians on the subject of immigration and Islamism.
When U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump said what he said about a temporary ban on Muslim immigration, the tolerance lobby went into overdrive: full condemnations across the board from politicians – including presidents and prime ministers, across the media sphere, and you will recall the House of Commons debating a petition to ban the man from the country.
Now even the most politically correct of Hollywood luvvies is asking: is he really that wrong on this?
Because Mr. Trump has thought in a cycle longer than his potential presidency: what does the Western world look like in 20, 30, 50 years? What kind of societies do we leave to our children?
Do we leave cities with soldiers on patrol. With “peace” signs scrawled onto bomb-struck buildings? Or do we leave them safe places, with real promise for the future. Like our parents, or at least our parents’ parents, left us.
In order to confront this question, we have to get to the root cause of the problem. There is too much immigration, or at least, not enough hand-picked immigration, into the Western world today.
People of my age had no choice that our post-war leaders felt the heavy hand of post-colonial guilt on their shoulders, and decided to open up our countries, and flood us with “diversity”.
But we do have a choice to not make the same mistakes again. And we have a duty to correct the ones that were made.
And yes, that does mean exactly what you think it means. It means ending mass migration. It means smashing apart ghettos and no go zones. It means repealing laws that allow for Sharia councils. It means asserting what it means to be British, or European, or American, without fearing a backlash from the political left, or the media classes who scarcely see a face my colour let alone darker.
Let them riot. Let them cry.
I would far rather be subjected to ceaseless “direct action” by the scourges of my own society than import others.
At least if my fellow countrymen are deplorable, I won’t get called a racist for pointing it out.
So put down the teddy bears, burst the balloons, and let’s start demanding again that our countries are safe and civilised. And if we can’t find people who’ll make that happen for us… let’s do it ourselves.
Chilling Footage Shows Terrified Passengers Cowering Under Desks And Running For Their Lives After Suicide Bomb Blasts Rock Brussels Airport In Series Of Attacks That Killed 34 Across The City – Daily Mail
Cowering under desks and running for their lives, this is the terrifying moment passengers were caught up in a suicide bomb attack at Brussels Airport today in a series of blasts that have killed at least 34 people and injured 170 across the city.
Witnesses described apocalyptic scenes with blood and ‘dismembered bodies everywhere’ after two blasts rocked the terminal at around 8am (7am GMT), killing at least 14 people and injuring dozens of others.
Then 79 minutes later at 9.19am, at least 20 people were killed and scores injured, some critically, when a blast hit a Metro station just 400 metres from the EU headquarters in the city centre.
At the airport, there were reports of a firefight between police and the attackers who shouted in Arabic moments before detonating their bombs, one of which was understood to contain nails.
An unexploded suicide vest was later found in the rubble and a Kalashnikov rifle beside the body of a dead terrorist.
The blasts, which detonated near a Starbucks and several check-in desks, sent shockwaves through the terminal building, shattering windows and knocking roof tiles off the ceiling as terrified passengers ran for their lives.
The explosions, coming just four months after the Paris attacks, have left countries around the world reeling, with security services placed on high alert, flights cancelled, Eurostar services suspended and France’s border with Belgium shut down.
Two suspects were arrested a mile from the Maelbeek metro station at around 11am as hundreds of troops and police flooded the streets of Brussels in the hunt for members of the terror cell.
Soldiers have been also been deployed at the airport and other key locations across the capital.
The Tihange nuclear power plant, around 90km from the capital, is being evacuated of all non-essential staff as Belgium raised security to its maximum level.
The bombings come just a day after the Belgium Interior Minister warned of possible revenge attacks after the arrest of Paris massacre suspect Salah Abdeslam in the city on Friday.
Yesterday, a secret police dossier also revealed there could be up to 90 ‘kamikazes’ waiting to launch suicide bomb attacks in Europe after returning from Syria disguised as migrants.
Speaking today, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said: ‘What we feared has happened.
‘In this time of tragedy, this black moment for our country, I appeal to everyone to remain calm but also to show solidarity.’
Terror gripped the airport at around 7am local time (8am GMT) as passengers checked in their bags and prepared to board flights.
Photographs from inside the arrivals hall showed the floor covered in fallen tiles and dust as bloodied people hobbled out of the airport. Others injured were photographed lying on the floor.
Video showed terrified passengers running for their lives out of the building.
Firefighters who entered the terminal to search for survivors are said to have found a third unexploded device, while armed police in protective clothing combed the building for more wounded travellers and suspicious bags.
The British Foreign Office today confirmed one Briton was injured in the explosions, while three American missionaries from Utah are believed to have been seriously hurt.
A Belgian TV station is reporting that at least one of the bombs at the Brussels airport contained nails.
Broadcaster VTM interviewed Marc Decramer of the Gasthuisberg hospital in Leuven, who says the hospital is treating 11 people with serious injuries, three of them in critical condition.
Decramer says the wounded have fractures and deep cuts caused by flying glass and nails.
Samir Derrouich, who works at a restaurant in the airport, told MailOnline: ‘The two explosions were almost simultaneous.
‘They were both at a check-in desk. One was close to the Starbucks. It was awful. There was just blood. It was like the apocalypse.’
Dries Valaert, 30, was waiting to get his boarding pass from a check in desk when the blast struck.
He said: ‘There was a first blast and then ten seconds later a second explosion. It was a big, big blast, the ceiling went down. It was just 30 metres from where I was.
‘I saw people down on the ground and I just went running. I jumped over the security fences towards the departure gates as I thought it would be safer.
‘My first intuition was to get out in case their were attackers with guns. I saw a woman around 18 years old with a hole in her hand with blood pouring out and a man with an injured ankle and two people down. There was lots of panic. People were running all over the place.’
Mr Valaert, who was flying to a business meeting in Berlin, said he believed the bombs were hidden in suitcases that had just been checked in.
He said: ‘The explosions were just behind the service desks, they were blown towards us. To me it is the most realistic possibility. I don’t think it was someone with a suicide vest.’
Alphonse Youla, who was working on a stand putting security wrapping around suitcases, said: ‘I heard a man shout some Arabic words then an explosion… then a second explosion, a massive explosion, much bigger.’
Speaking with blood on his hands and struggling to hold back tears, he added: ‘It was a horror. I saw at least seven people dead. There was blood. People had lost legs. You could see there bodies but no legs.’
He added: ‘I saw two men face down with blood pouring out of their heads. The injuries were so awful. You cannot imagine. People were so injured.
‘I did not see the man who shouted in Arabic as he was behind me. I just heard the words. I don’t speak Arabic so I don’t know what he said.’
In the aftermath, thousands of people waiting for flights this morning were penned inside the terminal as police sealed off the shattered arrivals hall.
People already checked in were then slowly evacuated through emergency exits – but were told to leave all their hand luggage as police checked bags for more explosives.
Evacuated passengers are being ferried onto buses and are being driven to a ‘crisis centre’ away from the airport, with women and children being moved first.
All flights are being diverted from the airport this morning as it remains on lockdown.
Flights due to land at Brussels-Zaventem, which handles 21million passengers a year, were sent to Antwerp, Liege, and Brussels Charleroi airports.
Europe’s biggest airports are all increasing their security today. Heathrow confirmed it had stepped up its own ‘visible’ security in the wake of the attacks – with large units of armed police patrolling the airport this morning.
American Airlines confirmed that its planned flight from Brussels to Philadelphia in the US, which had been scheduled to depart at 9.40am had been cancelled in the wake of the blasts.
A spokesman said: ‘We are aware of an incident at the Brussels airport departure hall and are taking care of our customers, employees and contractors. At this time, all of our employees and contractors are accounted for with no reported injuries.
‘American Airlines flight 751 has been cancelled for today. When operations at the airport resume, we will re-accommodate our customers.’
Brussels Airport has announced it will be closed until at least Wednesday following two explosions in the departure hall.
Terrorists then blew up a crowded Metro station in the city centre at around 9.19am, killing at least 10 people and seriously injuring dozens more.
Shocking images from Maelbeek station show smoke pouring out of the building and casualties littered on the pavement outside, just 400metres from the EU’s headquarters.
Commuters on the Metro at the time described hearing a loud bang before they were evacuated from trains and forced to walk down smoke-filled tunnels and along the track to the closest safe station.
Emergency services at the scene were carrying the dead and injured out of the station on stretchers.
Alexandre Brans, 32, who was wiping blood from his face, said: ‘The metro was leaving Maelbeek station when there was a really loud explosion. It was panic everywhere. There were a lot of people in the metro.’
Brussels resident Shigeo Sugimoto said he was one stop away from where the metro was hit and heard people shouting.
He wrote on Facebook: ‘I am fine !! But I was in the metro when suddenly some one start shouting explosions!!! Evacuation!!!
‘Ouch!!! I was just one station ahead before when explosion happened!!!!!!!!’
He posted pictures showing cars and people standing in the road and wrote: ‘Maerbeek (sic) now apocalypse!!!’
Mr Sugimoto said he saw a man with blood on his face in the vicinity of Maelbeek station in the EU quarter, near the European Commission’s main building.
He was at Arts-Loi station, one ahead of Maelbeek, and told the Press Association: ‘On the ground, there were already people walking every direction to distance (themselves) from metro and the Belgian army were there trying to make people calm.
‘I saw a guy, blood over his face, dragged by another person. Then police start blocking the street and I could only see ambulances go and come.’
Evan Lamos was among the thousands of commuters on tube trains this morning when the network was attacked.
He was on two stops away from Maelbeek and the passengers on his train were evacuated from the carriages into a smoke-filled tunnel and then walked along the tracks to the exit at the nearest station.
He said: ‘There was a dull thud. We felt a blast of air and my ears popped shortly afterwards. The Metro stopped immediately’.
The Belgian Interior Minister has raised the country’s security level to ‘maximum’ as it prepares itself for more terror attacks in the wake of the airport bombings.
Armed police have already arrested three suspects in the hours after the attacks and already have CCTV of one of the Brussels airport bombers including the moment he detonated his suicide belt, MailOnline can reveal.
Every space in the city’s airport is covered by four CCTV cameras and Maelbeek station’s surveillance network is also being used to pinpoint the moment that 20 people were murdered and 55 were maimed 79 minutes later.
Two men were detained by armed police at the North Station around a miles from the Maelbeek subway.
A third man has been arrested on a train near Amsterdam and a suspect package at Gard du Nord in Paris delayed Eurostar services this afternoon.
But the Belgian Foreign Ministry has confirmed they believe some of the terrorists involved are ‘still at large’.
Police and special forces are looking for known members of any terror cell who may be planning more attacks.
They will also round up anyone who may pose a threat to the public, or acting suspiciously, in an attempt to foil any more attacks.
Special forces are also patrolling the streets in case of more bombings or marauding gunmen used to kill 131 people in at least five Paris attacks in November 13 last year.
Britain and United States will already be playing a key role in trying to help the Belgian authorities work out who was behind the attacks.
Both MI5 and the CIA have stations in Brussels and its teams have ‘unique expertise’ that will help trace those behind the bombings.
The National Crime Agency, Britain’s FBI, will also be in the city already because of the heightened terror threat.
British Prime Minister David Cameron offered his support to victims and called a COBRA emergency committee meeting to address the events in Brussels.
He tweeted: ‘I am shocked and concerned by the events in Brussels. We will do everything we can to help.
‘I will be chairing a COBRA meeting on the events in Brussels later this morning.’
U.S. President Barack Obama said: ‘The thoughts and prayers of the American people are with the people in Belgium.
‘We stand in solidarity with them in condemning these outrageous attacks against innocent people.
‘We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally Belgium to bring to justice those who are responsible.
‘This is just another example that the world must unite; we must be together regardless of nationality, or race or faith in fighting against the scourge of terrorism.
‘We can and we will defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all around the world.’
Tech specialists will be scanning the phone numbers, email addresses, IP addresses, GPS records and forums known to be used by terrorists – and tracing links to Britain and America.
The explosions came as the Belgian capital was on a state of high alert following the arrest of Paris terror attack suspect Salah Abdeslam in the city last week.
Belgium’s Interior Minister, Jan Jambon, said the country was on high alert for a possible revenge attack following the capture of 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam in a flat in Brussels on Friday.
‘We know that stopping one cell can… push others into action. We are aware of it in this case,’ he told public radio.
France is seeking Abdeslam’s extradition so he can stand trial for his alleged role in the November 13 rampage of gunfire and suicide bombings that killed 130 people in Paris.
After the Paris attacks, security forces searched far and wide for Abdeslam, who vanished after returning to Brussels, believing ISIS could have spirited him away to Turkey, Syria or Morocco.
But it appears Europe’s most wanted man never left the Belgian capital.
And it was family, friends and petty criminals who helped him evade a manhunt for four months before he was arrested on Friday in the neighbourhood he grew up in, not far from his family home or the district’s police headquarters.
Abdeslam relied on two friends to drive him back to Brussels after his brother Brahim blew himself up at a Paris cafe. Others drove him around Molenbeek and its environs between safe houses.
Police, who were eventually able to move in to seize him at a house in the rundown North African neighbourhood of Molenbeek, have charged a man and a women whom they suspect of being part of a family who harboured the fugitive.
It is understood that intelligence services located the fugitive’s hideout after listening in on phone conversations at the funeral of his brother, Brahim Abdeslam, who blew himself up in the Paris attacks.
One mourner is thought to have let slip vital information which allowed police to close the net around Abdeslam in Molenbeek.
They finally snared him after they noticed a large number of pizzas being delivered to a flat they had under surveillance – too many for the number of people who should have been in the apartment.
He was interviewed three times on Saturday, the day after his capture – once by prosecutors and twice by an investigating judge – and ‘wasn’t in great shape’ because he had been shot in the leg by police during his capture, Mr Van Leeuw said.
Abdeslam has a court hearing on Wednesday. France has requested his extradition but Abdeslam’s lawyer says his client will fight the request.
Police are also hunting a newly-identified ISIS suspect whose DNA was found on bombs used in the Paris terror attacks.
The accomplice was named today as Najim Laachraoui, a militant previously known by the pseudonym Soufiane Kayal which he used to rent a flat where the massacre was planned.
He left for Syria in 2013 before returning to Europe last year and travelled around the Continent with logistics chief Salah Abdeslam and another senior member of the cell in the days before the attacks.
Prosecutors revealed traces of the 24-year-old’s DNA were found on explosives at the scene of the suicide bomb attacks, suggesting he could be a bomb maker or armourer.
The announcement came as a secret police dossier revealed there could be up to 90 ‘kamikazes’ waiting to launch suicide bomb attacks in Europe after returning from Syria disguised as migrants.
The report also lifted the lid on just how shocked security chiefs were by the scale and complexity of the ISIS operation that killed 130 people in the French capital last November.
Investigators were caught off-guard by how skilled the attackers were in a range of tactics such as using co-ordinated strikes at multiple locations to place the greatest strain on emergency services.
The sophistication of the explosives used by the cell’s suicide bombers also surprised officials.
Experts say that could only have been achieved with the help of an, as yet unidentified, bomb maker in an, as yet undiscovered, bomb factory.
The findings were revealed in a 55-page report compiled in the weeks after the attack by the anti-terrorism police for France’s interior ministry, which has been obtained by the New York Times.
The document, along with hundreds of pages of interrogation and court records, suggests there are still questions about how many others were involved in the attacks.
There are already 20 people being held in six countries on suspicion of assisting the attackers, but officials are identifying other accomplices at large almost on a weekly basis.
The suspected mastermind, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who was killed in a raid days after the attacks, is said to have bragged about how he was one of 90 terrorists who had gone to ground in Europe until called upon to strike.
The police said the friend had told them: ‘Abaaoud clearly presented himself as the commander of these 90 kamikazes-in-waiting and that he had come directly to France to avoid the failures they had experienced in the past.’
Officials also don’t know how many bomb-makers were sent to Europe after being trained in Syria or the exact encryption technology that allowed the ISIS death squad to evade detection for three months leading up to the attacks when they were planned the atrocity.
French police began to understand the level of expertise used when they found traces of the same bomb ingredients at each of the places where the suicide vest went off: three times at the Stade de France Stadium, once at the Comptoir Voltaire bistro and twice inside the Bataclan concert hall.
The peroxide-based explosive, known as triacetone triperoxide or TATP can easily be made with everyday products such as bleach or nail polish remover which is why it has become increasingly become the terror group’s explosive of choice.
However, it is difficult to create a stable bomb and equally as tricky to detonate it, suggesting the group had developed their skills over the last two years, the report said.
Until then, they did not believe ISIS was capable of pulling off such a co-ordinated attack.
Dr Natasha Underhill, an expert on terrorism in the Middle East at Nottingham Trent University, said: ‘This was no doubt a warning strike to European leaders and there may be more to come.
‘The group has time and time again issued statements that it will have no mercy in targeting those who are supporting the US and who are fighting against the group.
‘The likelihood of further attacks in Europe is now in very little doubt. The promotion of fear is one of the strongest assets that Islamic State possesses and it is sadly doing an excellent job in spreading this message across Europe.
‘Strong responses and a unified reaction by European leaders and their allies needs to take place. However, care needs to be taken in terms of not overreacting to these events and responding in the most strategic and effective way against this growing threat.’
FLASHBACK – January, 2016: Donald Trump Says Muslim Immigration Has Turned Brussels Into A Hellhole
Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich tries to sell himself to the American people as “the adult in the room” and as level-headed.
But, video has surfaced of Kasich being anything but reasonable, rational, and adult-like. In fact, it shows him flat-out lying about and denigrating the character of a police officer while speaking at an EPA meeting.
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, known as “The People’s Sheriff” happened upon a video that not only shows Kasich insulting a police officer as “an idiot,” it also shows that he flat out lied about what happened that day when he was pulled over in Columbus, Ohio for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle. (video below)
The stop occurred in 2008, before Kasich was elected governor of the state. Video footage clearly shows other cars following the law by slowing down and getting over into the other lane, but Kasich continues driving at normal speed and doesn’t even attempt to get over.
The officer in question, Officer Robert Barrett, pulled over the former congressman and interacted with him with the utmost respect. Barrett was polite as he explained the violation and as he told Kasich that he would have a mandatory court appearance as required by law.
When Kasich told the officer he didn’t see the police car that he passed improperly, that was pulled over on the side with its lights on, the officer responded, “It happens to everyone on occasion, sir. You kind of have to watch out.” The officer reassured Kasich that it was not that big of a deal, but according to Ohio law he would have to appear in court.
Ten days later, while speaking in front of Ohio EPA workers, John Kasich tells a much different story, making the officer a villain and calling him an idiot numerous times.
Have you ever been stopped by a policeman, who was an idiot?” he asked his audience. “I had this idiot pull me over on 315. Listen to this story. He says to me, you passed this emergency vehicle on the side of the road and you didn’t yield. I didn’t even see, where the heck was it. The last thing I would ever do would be to pass an emergency vehicle. Are you kidding me?”
Kasich continued, the policeman, “tells me if you don’t report to court, we are putting a warrant out for your arrest. He’s an idiot! We just can’t act that way, and what people resent is people who are in the government, who don’t treat the client with respect.”
This unwarranted attack on the character, intelligence, and professionalism of a police officer did not sit too well with Sheriff Clarke. On Wednesday, he tweeted exactly how he felt about what John Kasich did back in 2008.
m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=nTf_qyRXhxk… This rat bastard @JohnKasich lied about this cop’s treatment of him as a lack of respect. Called the cop an idiot.
9:52 PM – 16 Mar 2016
Sheriff Clarke didn’t stop there.
cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2011/02/ohio_gov_john_kasich_calls_pol.html… @JohnKasich lied about this cop, he would make a great spokesperson for Black L-I-E-S Matter http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2011/02/ohio_gov_john_kasich_calls_pol.html…
9:57 PM – 16 Mar 2016
youtu.be/h2LMWQ0W0is @JohnKasich is anti gun and anti cop and people,say Trump is not conservative? Seriously? https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=nTf_qyRXhxk…
11:53 PM – 16 Mar 2016
He then offered a challenge to FOX News and FOX Business.
12:14 AM – 17 Mar 2016
Will they take him up on this challenge or keep Kasich’s treatment of a police officer who was just doing his job hidden?
While Kasich did eventually apologize, the apology came only after the video surfaced during his first term as governor and it went viral. The apology was done in a cowardly fashion, behind closed doors.
The campaign of GOP frontrunner Donald Trump is speaking out to defend American war veteran and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Council President Chris Crane. Over the weekend, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) demeaned Crane, who’s critical of Sen. Rubio’s involvement in the Gang of Eight bill.
“This courageous ICE officer – a man that Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has called ‘an American hero’… has served his country in so many different capacities: in the Marine’s uniform, as an ICE officer, [and] as a representative for all of America’s ICE officers,” said Donald Trump’s Senior Policy Adviser Stephen Miller on Breitbart News Sunday.
Rubio has repeatedly made clear “where his priorities are” on immigration, Miller said – explaining that there are now three lanes dividing the GOP Presidential field: the Governor’s lane, occupied by John Kasich; the frontrunner’s lane, occupied by Donald Trump; and the “amnesty lane,” which is occupied “solely and exclusively” by Sen. Rubio.
Prior to joining the Trump campaign, Miller served as Jeff Sessions’ communications director.
On Friday, Breitbart News published an exclusive interview with Chris Crane, an ICE officer of 13 years and a U.S. Marine, in which Crane said Sen. Rubio treated law enforcement “like absolute trash” during his push to pass his 2013 amnesty bill. On Saturday, Rubio appeared on Fox News and implicitly denounced Crane and his service to the country. “He’s not an ICE official, he’s head of a union,” Rubio said angrily.
Miller, who worked for Sen. Sessions as Rubio sought to push the Gang of Eight amnesty bill through the Senate, explained that: “Chris Crane was a central figure in stopping the Gang of Eight immigration bill from becoming law. He did that in his capacity as the ICE Council President for America’s nearly 6,000 ICE officers and personnel. What that means is that the 6,000 ICE officers and personnel cast a ballot to pick one from among their own ranks to represent them nation-wide… He [Crane] was a central figure in exposing the Gang of Eight bill and stopping it.”
Miller explained that rather than rebutting ICE officer Crane’s specific accusations, Rubio responded by attacking Crane’s integrity:
Chris Crane made specific, material claims [about Sen. Rubio’s amnesty bill]. So Rubio can either say one of two things on substance. He can either say: (1) ‘No, Chris Crane is wrong the bill is fabulous, it should have passed exactly as is.’ Or (2) [Rubio could say,] ‘He’s right we should have listened to him.’ Instead he [Rubio] went for option three, which is to attack the integrity and decency and morality not just… [of] Chris Crane – who again Sen. Sessions has called ‘an American hero’ – but to attack, by extension, all of the ICE officers for whom he speaks.
Miller detailed how Crane has proven himself “over and over” again to be “a man of courage and honor.” Providing listeners with a better understanding of the American veteran Sen. Rubio chose to demean on national television, Miller said:
I want to explain just a little bit more about why Chris Crane is such an exceptional person. Consider the situation he finds himself in: he represents America’s ICE officers, who are in a political environment in this Homeland Security Department under Obama where they are ordered every day to violate their oath; where they face unceasing pressure from the political chain of command to release criminal aliens and violent people back on the streets and have nothing they can do… And Chris Crane in 2012 spoke out, when precious few did, about President Obama’s first executive amnesty. And he and nine other ICE officers courageously filed a lawsuit to stop President Obama’s 2012 executive amnesty. Think about the courage that takes about how it affects your future career, in terms of how it affects possible political reprisal. Again, Chris Crane has proven over and over that he is a man of courage and honor and decency. And for Marco Rubio to lump him in this group of conspiracy theorists, I just find inexplicable… Historically, I don’t think attacking law enforcement has been a path to the Republican nomination.
Miller confirmed Crane’s account of how Sen. Rubio oversaw as Crane was ejected from the Gang of Eight’s press conference for trying to ask a question on behalf of the nation’s law enforcement. Miller explained that this was “a moment in which the character of Marco Rubio was revealed”:
I was there at the press conference, as were others… where Marco Rubio allowed Chris Crane to be ejected for asking a question at the press conference… That’s one of those moments when the measure of a man is determined… All of us in our own lives have a moment when we’re tested – where the world figures out who we are and what we are really made of… That was a moment in which the character of Marco Rubio was revealed. He was standing on the stage [next to] Chuck Schumer. This courageous ICE officer – a man that Sen. Jeff Sessions has called ‘an American hero’ – who has served his country in so many different capacities: in the Marine’s uniform, as an ICE officer, [and] as a representative for all of America’s ICE officers. He tried to ask a question, Marco Rubio locked eyes with him. And when they came to forcibly remove that ICE officer from the press conference, Rubio had a chance – a moment to stand up and do the right thing – and he didn’t do it. And now having had that fact and many other exposed, Rubio is attacking the integrity of a United States Marine and an ICE officer, who everyday keeps this nation safe. And I hope that Sen. Rubio issues an apology to Chris Crane and to Breitbart News.
Rubio’s treatment of law enforcement and his implicit denunciation of Crane “really has become one of the central issues of the 2016 race,” Miller said.
Miller explained that Rubio’s attack of Crane seems to suggest that Rubio wishes the Gang of Eight bill had passed:
Here’s an interesting paradox for everybody. Just think about this for a second… Rubio’s tone suggests that he’s mad at Chris Crane. Ok, well Chris Crane helped stop the Gang of Eight bill. But is Rubio therefore saying that he wishes Crane hadn’t stopped the bill, so it could have become law? That’s the implication, right? What he’s saying by implication is: ‘We would have been better off as a country had Chris Crane not spoken out because then obviously it would have been much easier to pass the Gang of Eight bill.’ So he’s sort of caught in a little paradox here because the more he attacks Chris Crane for speaking out, the more he’s saying that he would really have liked to have happened is for the Gang of Eight bill to pass and become law.
When asked if there was anything Sen. Rubio has done to indicate that he now takes law enforcement seriously, Miller gave a review of Rubio’s record:
The Gang of Eight bill had the following provisions in it: it legalized sex offenders, it legalized gang members, it legalized criminal convicts, it legalized child predators, it legalized people with multiple criminal convictions.
Chris Crane and other ICE officers asked for all those provisions to be removed. Now, again, Rubio had all of the leverage. Rubio could have gone to Chuck Schumer at any point in time, and say to him, “Hey Mr. Schumer, I can’t support this bill unless we change our minds on this whole amnesty for sex offenders thing. Maybe let’s not give amnesty to sex offenders. I can’t support it unless we make sure that no sex offender in the United States can get amnesty…’ Did he do that? No, he didn’t. And he had all the leverage in the world, if he wanted to. By the way, let’s be real here, how much leverage do you need to tell someone not to give amnesty to illegal alien sex offenders? That doesn’t seem like that should be a thing where you really have to think very hard about it.
Miller explained that even after Rubio’s amnesty bill failed, Rubio has still favored special interests over law enforcement.
In 2015, Rubio introduced another immigration bill. So he had a chance to give it a second go. He introduced another immigration bill in 2015. And so having wronged Chris Crane, having wronged law enforcement, he had a chance – if he wanted to to make amends – [to] introduce a bill, sit down with Chris Crane that would have helped America’s ICE officers. But what bill did Sen. Rubio introduce in 2015 [instead]? It was legislation to help large corporations replace American workers with foreign guest workers. Was there any security in the bill? No. Any new screening tools? No. Any new ICE resources? No. Just a massive uncapped increase in the number of foreign nationals who could be employed in the United States in place of U.S. workers. So again that shows where his priorities are.
Miller concluded by noting that, at this point in the presidential race, the GOP field can be viewed in terms of three lanes:
Sen. Rubio is the most pro-amnesty candidate in the race, so he inherits completely and solely and exclusively the mantel of the official amnesty candidate. That is his niche. So you have the Governor’s lane with John Kasich; you have the front-runner [lane] with Donald Trump; and then you have the amnesty lane with Marco Rubio. That’s really a good way of thinking about which candidates are fighting for which votes.
Miller explained that “Sen. Rubio has [also] been an enthusiastic backer of Obama’s sovereignty-crushing trade agenda. Only 11 percent of GOP voters think these trade agreements raise wages. And only seven percent of GOP voters want more foreign workers, so that means that… the two pillars of Sen. Rubio’s agenda: Obamatrade and Obama-immigration – at most – appeal to 7 and 11 percent of the Republican electorate at the high end.”
Thus, in what Senator Sessions has labeled as the two central issue of 2016 – issues which in helped launch the current voter revolt – Rubio is the candidate who firmly represents the minority view embraced by the GOP’s donor base, but rejected by its voters.
As conservative icon, Phyllis Schlafly explained, “Senator Rubio is not Main Street’s Obama, he is Wall Street’s Obama: President Obama was a hardcore leftist running as centrist; Senator Rubio is a Wall Street globalist running as a tea party conservative… Rubio is the candidate of open borders, Obamatrade and mass immigration, making one last attempt to pull off one big con.”
That American democracy would allow even one vote to be decided by a coin toss seems bizarre – but somehow the outcome of six separate Iowa Caucus precinct elections were decided by the flip of a coin Monday. And Hillary Clinton won them all.
The Democrats’ Iowa Caucus appears to be a “virtual tie” between Bernie Sanders and Clinton – or a hairline win for Clinton, depending on whom you ask. But before eking out the narrowest of victories against Sanders, Clinton won a truly bizarre-sounding six coin tosses used to decide which candidate would get the votes of several Iowa precincts that were too tied up to call.
Precincts in Des Moines, Newton, West Branch, Davenport and Ames were decided by coin tosses, according to Reuters, and became crucial parts of Clinton’s Monday night win. Democratic Party counts show Clinton ultimately winning the Iowa Caucus by just four delegates.
If you’re still scratching your head over how this could happen, the Iowa Democratic Party sort of explains: On the night of the caucus, Iowans vote for their favorite candidate. Each precinct receives a set number of delegates, and the number of precinct delegates each candidate gets is proportional to the votes he or she got from the precinct’s population. Votes from those delegates ultimately determine the night’s big winner. When a precinct’s delegates vote and it results in a tie, the precinct leaders can flip a coin to figure out which candidate should win their majority.
You can watch some Democracy in action below:
Apparently Iowa is just one of 35 states to use “chance procedures” – a.k.a. throwing a coin in the air in exasperation and walking away in shame – to determine tied elections, according to the Washington Post.
The Iowa Democratic Party informed the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernard Sanders late Monday night that it has no results for 90 precincts across the state, which could account for as much as 5 percent of the total vote. And the party has asked the campaigns for help in getting a tally for those missing results.
“We are, right now, calling all our precinct captains on precincts where we have knowledge of what’s missing, to report what we think happened there,” a visibly irate Robert Becker, Sanders’ state director told Roll Call after Sanders’ speech at the Holiday Inn near the Des Moines airport.
“They’ve asked the other campaigns to do the same thing. At the end of the day, there’s probably going to be squabbles on it,” he added.
An Iowa Democratic Party official disputed Becker’s characterization.
“We are currently getting results from our small number of outstanding precincts, and results continue to be reported on our public website,” an Iowa Democratic Party official told Roll Call. “The reports of precincts without chairs are inaccurate. These outstanding precincts have chairs who we are in the process of contacting to get their results. It is inaccurate to report that these precincts did not have chairs.”
“We have reached out to the campaigns for help in contacting the chairs for our outstanding precincts. We are not taking results from the campaigns. We are taking them from the chairs who are in these precincts,” the official added.
Clinton and Sanders were locked in a virtual tie for most of the evening, with the state party announcing early Tuesday morning that Clinton achieved a slight edge in delegate counts.
“The party has a responsibility to staff 1,681 individual precincts. And what we’re seeing right now is that they had no-shows. People not showing up with the materials, not showing up with the app to report it. And when they’re telling us an hour ago that they have basically lost 90 precincts, it’s an outrage,” Becker said. “It’s insulting to the people who worked their asses off across this state that they can’t come up with people to cover these things.”
Attempts to reach the Clinton campaign early Tuesday were unsuccessful.
“I’m assuming they’re in the same boat. And they should be just as outraged as we are,” Becker fumed.
Controversial Muslim activist Rose Hamid was escorted from the Trump rally in South Carolina on Friday after putting on a yellow Holocaust star and making a scene.
Hamid believes Muslims in America are treated just like Jews in Nazi Germany.
CNN spoke with Hamid before and after her demonstration at the rally.
Rose Hamid is a well known Sharia activist who made headlines after she refused to remove her hijab as a stewardess at US Airways. The airlines refused to allow Mrs. Hamid to continue working as a flight attendant because, the company said, her head scarf violated the company’s rules on uniforms.
Governor John Kasich today lectured Trump supporters for booing Rose Hamid’s political stunt.
“I saw a crowd booing this woman who was being escorted. That’s not the party of Jack Kemp. I mean, we are people that can tolerate differences.”
And, he wonders why he’s losing?
German Chancellor Angela Merkel opened Germany up to one million new third world Muslim migrants in 2015.
Seventy percent of the migrants entering Europe were men.
German officials admitted they did not able to fingerprint all of the new migrants flooding across the border.
On New Year’s Eve a horde of young Muslim men sexually assaulted and harassed hundreds of German women outside of Cologne’s busy main train station during public celebrations.
Video captured Muslim men shooting off fireworks at the cathedral and police station in the area.
THis week Angela Merkel reminded Germans that the migrants are more violent.
German capital city Berlin has joined the sad parade of cities touched by migrant sex violence on New Year’s Eve, with hundreds of assaults now reported to police in Cologne and other cities.
Although on a smaller scale to the unrestrained and un-policed sex attacks in Cologne, the Berliner Morgenpost has now reported on assaults taking place on the street “in front of the Brandenburg gate”.
The revelation may prove difficult for the German media, which until now has stressed in most reports on the new year’s rapes that Berlin was not caught up in the scandal.
The paper reports four separate incidents around the cite, including a tourist being sexually assaulted by a group of “three to five men”, and two women being “sexually harassed” by men from Pakistan and Iraq.
Another woman came forward to police on Tuesday following national press coverage of the migrant rape scandal to report being “touched” at a music event by “several immoral men”.
More analagous to the Cologne attacks were events in Hamburg, where groups of “southern or Arab appearance” men aged between 20 and 40 sexually assaulted dozens of women.
Police have recieved 53 complaints of harrasment relating to new year’s eve so far, including 39 of sexual harassment. One 19 year old girl identified by the pseudonym of ‘Lotta’ went out to celebrate the new year in a ‘chic’ dress and high heels.
Spiegel reports their comments when they related while walking between two clubs, they were warned by a bouncer not to go down a particular street, to do so “would be your death”. Despite the warning Lotta and her girlfriends walked down the road but became separated by the men. She said: “I was suddenly alone… 20 to 30 men were standing around me… every time a hand went away, already arrived the next… I felt helpless”.
Having been assaulted under her dress, her hair pulled, and finally thrown to the ground, Lotta met up with her friends, who had all been treated similarly by other groups of men. The girl told Spiegel she thought they were “foreign origin”.
In Stuttgart two 18 year old women were assaulted and robbed by a gang of 15 men reports the Stuttgarter Zeitung, as well as an unspecified number of other “mostly young women” victims. The state prosecutor warned against making comparisons between Stuttgart and Cologne, remarkng “The incidents in both cities vary greatly in their dimensions”.
Düsseldorf saw at least eleven sexual assaults in the historic city centre by “North African” men. In contrast to Stuttgart a police source here was less reticent to admit the scale of the problem, admitting “The nature of the offenses with which is comparable in Cologne”.
Breitbart London was the first English language news site to report on the Cologne sex attacks this week, the events having been obscured by German news media until large numbers of women coming forward to report rapes and sexual abuse and on-line discussion forced events.
Back in October, Iran put the Obama administration in a tough spot. Tehran test-fired a next generation, surface-to-surface ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
The new weapon – dubbed “Emad” – is capable of hitting arch nemesis Israel and although the launch didn’t violate the letter of the nuclear accord, it did apparently violate a UN resolution and that, in turn, prompted a number of US lawmakers to call for a fresh set of sanctions on Tehran.
Of course this isn’t the best time to be slapping the Iranians with more sanctions, which is presumably why The White House delayed a decision on the matter last week.
First, the implementation of the nuclear deal is supposed to bring sanctions relief for Tehran. Any new punitive measures will jeopardize the agreement. If the deal falls apart, it would be a severe blow to Obama’s presidential legacy.
Furthermore, heightened tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia in connection with the latter’s decision to execute a prominent Shiite cleric, have plunged the Muslim world into chaos. Were the US to hit Iran with sanctions now, it might very well come across as a kind of backdoor way of supporting the Saudi position in the middle of a worsening diplomatic crisis.
Knowing that Washington is in a bind, the Iranians have pushed ahead with their vaunted ballistic missile program. As we’ve noted on a number of occasions, Iran has one of the largest ballistic missile arsenals in the Middle East. Here’s the breakdown courtesy of the US Institute Of Peace:
* Shahab missiles: Since the late 1980s, Iran has purchased additional short- and medium-range missiles from foreign suppliers and adapted them to its strategic needs. The Shahabs, Persian for “meteors,” were long the core of Iran’s program. They use liquid fuel, which involves a time-consuming launch. They include:
* The Shahab-1 is based on the Scud-B. (The Scud series was originally developed by the Soviet Union). It has a range of about 300 kms or 185 miles
* The Shahab-2 is based on the Scud-C. It has a range of about 500 kms, or 310 miles. In mid-2010, Iran is widely estimated to have between 200 and 300 Shahab-1 and Shahab-2 missiles capable of reaching targets in neighboring countries.
* The Shahab-3 is based on the Nodong, which is a North Korean missile. It has a range of about 900 km or 560 miles. It has a nominal payload of 1,000 kg. A modified version of the Shahab-3, renamed the Ghadr-1, began flight tests in 2004. It theoretically extends Iran’s reach to about 1,600 km or 1,000 miles, which qualifies as a medium-range missile. But it carries a smaller, 750-kg warhead.
* Although the Ghadr-1 was built with key North Korean components, Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani boasted at the time, “Today, by relying on our defense industry capabilities, we have been able to increase our deterrent capacity against the military expansion of our enemies.”
* Sajjil missiles: Sajjil means “baked clay” in Persian. These are a class of medium-range missiles that use solid fuel, which offer many strategic advantages. They are less vulnerable to preemption because the launch requires shorter preparation – minutes rather than hours. Iran is the only country to have developed missiles of this range without first having developed nuclear weapons.
* This family of missiles centers on the Sajjil-2, a domestically produced surface-to-surface missile. It has a medium-range of about 2,000 km or 1,200 miles when carrying a 750-kg warhead. It was test fired in 2008 under the name, Sajjil. The Sajjil-2, which is probably a slightly modified version, began test flights in 2009. This missile would allow Iran to “target any place that threatens Iran,” according to Brig. Gen. Abdollah Araghi, a Revolutionary Guard commander.
* The Sajjil-2, appears to have encountered technical issues and its full development has slowed. No flight tests have been conducted since 2011. IfSajjil-2 flight testing resumes, the missile’s performance and reliability could be proven within a year or two. The missile, which is unlikely to become operational before 2017, is the most likely nuclear delivery vehicle – if Iran decides to develop an atomic bomb. But it would need to build a bomb small enough to fit on the top of this missile, which would be a major challenge.
* The Sajjil program’s success indicates that Iran’s long-term missile acquisition plans are likely to focus on solid-fuel systems. They are more compact and easier to deploy on mobile launchers. They require less time to prepare for launch, making them less vulnerable to preemption by aircraft or other missile defense systems.
* Iran could attempt to use Sajjil technologies to produce a three-stage missile capable of flying 3,700 km or 2,200 miles. But it is unlikely to be developed and actually fielded before 2017.
In fact, Iran’s missile cache is so large, they’re running out of places to “hide” them. “We lack enough space in our stockpiles to house our missiles,” General Hossein Salami said on Friday. “Hundreds of long tunnels are full of missiles ready to fly to protect your integrity, independence and freedom,” he added.
Yes, “hundreds of tunnels”, like those we highlighted in “Caught On Tape: Inside Iran’s Secret Underground Missile Tunnels.”
The video shown above was first shown on the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) channel whose cameras were permitted inside the underground base.
“Those who threaten Iran with their military option on the table would better take a look at Iran’s ‘options under the table,’ namely the missile arsenals. Iran’s known military power is only the tip of the iceberg,” the Commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh told reporters.
On Tuesday, we got a look at yet another Iranian “missile city” when Speaker of the Parliament Ali Larijani inaugurated a new site. Here’s footage from the event:
As Middle East Eye reports, the new “city” will be used to store the Emad: “Iran’s military has revealed a secret underground ‘missile city’ used to store a new generation of ballistic missiles which the US says are ‘nuclear capable’ and whose test-firing last year broke a UN resolution.” Here’s more:
The Revolutionary Guards Corps on Tuesday released pictures and video of the underground bunker after a visit by Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani.
Iran’s Tasnim news agency said the bunker, which it dubbed a ‘missile city’, stores the Emad ballistic missile, which has a range of 2,000km and was first successfully tested on October 10. The US says the missiles are advanced enough to be fitted with nuclear warheads.
It is the second such bunker to be publicised in three months, after the Guards in October revealed a facility dug into an unnamed mountain to store and protect Iran’s advanced weaponry.
Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the Guards’s aerospace division, said the facility was only one of many bases scattered across the country.
The publicising of the existence of the bunker comes at a sensitive time in relations between Iran and world powers, who signed an agreement in July to largely curtail Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
And that, in short, should tell you everything you need to know about the degree to which Tehran is prepared to negotiate with Washington vis-a-vis the country’s ballistic missile program.
Iran has always maintained its missile arsenal is for defensive purposes only and thus represents a completely legitimate effort to protect the country from the myriad hostile states in the region. The events that unfolded over the weekend underscore why Tehran is so keen on bolstering its defenses.
But defensive or no, the video shown above represents yet another slap in the face for the Obama administration and will only serve to infuriate already irate lawmakers in the US who, unlike the administration, aren’t in the mood to make any new “friends” in the Mid-East.
A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING (1973)