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Thread: 2016 Brussels Bombings

  1. #46
    Dirty Kiwi Senior Contributor
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    Blame Belgium not Obama... but it started in Syria and no doubt in retrospect many things could have done better but it takes time to follow one lead let alone a few thousand. Blaming this on Belgium is easy but we all share responsibility.
    It seems ironic to me given the regulation banana size and shape that secret service activities aren't cross border EU policy. Why isn't MI6/DGSE operating in Brussels?
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  2. #47
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    EU IntCen, ECRIS, ISF-P and in particular the ATLAS network really like to stay under the radar.

    The UK (MI6) wouldn't be part of that of course though. Along with Denmark they mostly bowed out of joint EU security systems.

  3. #48
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    emphasis mine.

    ===

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_a...elligence.html

    It’s No Mystery Why ISIS Picked Brussels as a Base

    Belgium’s government is a hodgepodge with dueling, uncooperative intelligence agencies.

    By Fred Kaplan

    Last November, shortly after the terrorist attacks in Paris, the leaders of France and the European Union said they would move quickly to help Belgium build up its intelligence capabilities. The reasons were clear and the task was urgent. Most of the Paris terrorists had lived in Brussels, and all of them had easily crisscrossed the Belgian-French border. The weapons used in the Charlie Hebdo attack the previous January had been funneled through Belgium. One of Europe’s most popular Islamist websites, Sharia4Belgium, was hiding almost in plain sight in the country of its namesake.

    And yet, it was just this past Monday—one day before the suicide bombings in Brussels—that French and Belgian intelligence officials met for the first time to affirm their dedication to work together in the fight against extremism.

    In other words, the mystery that many are struggling to solve—why Brussels has emerged as the locus of jihadist terrorism in Europe—isn’t really a mystery at all. It doesn’t stem entirely from the intense marginalization of the city’s Muslim population, a problem providing fodder for radical proselytizers in several Western cities. What distinguishes Brussels, as a target and a base for terrorists, has more to do with the limits of Belgium as a functioning state, a problem exacerbated by the limits of the EU as a cohesive political body.

    Belgium is a federation of three regions—Brussels-Capital, Flanders, and Wallonia—that are nearly as disparate as the Balkans without the ethnic hatred. Yet they are still imbued with secessionist sentiments, bolstered by differences in language: in Belgium’s case, French, Dutch, and German.

    The country has three separate parliaments and two distinct intelligence services—the civilian State Security Service and the military General Intelligence and Security Service—which meddle in each other’s affairs as little as possible. The federal police force, which also has intelligence functions (though is not considered an intelligence agency), reports to the interior minister, a Flemish nationalist named Jan Jambon, who, as the New York Times reported late last year, “has doubts about whether Belgium … should even exist as a single state.”

    More than this, the State Security Service is unable to collect its own foreign intelligence, “except,” as one analyst of Belgian security politics notes, “where acquired through partner organizations.” One such partner organization could have been French intelligence, which pledged cooperation in the wake of the Paris attacks, but the project crawled much too sluggishly into being, and even then only in the form of lip service.

    Here, then, is another area where the European Union has proved so disappointing. Its member nations share a common currency and wide-open borders—remarkable achievements—but no unified political structure, which means no common defense or data-sharing intelligence apparatus.

    The EU set up a facility nearly a decade ago to share intelligence on terrorism, among other threats, but it can only be as effective as its member nations’ politicians want it to be, and—as the evidence of recent days suggests—they have not gone out of their way to make it so. With few exceptions (and the EU nations are not among them), national intelligence agencies tend not to trust other nations’ intelligence agencies enough to share their nuggets.

    It’s not surprising, then, that ISIS regards Brussels as its Western hub. The mystery is why the city hasn’t been the scene or the planning grounds for still more horrible crimes—and why the Europeans and the United States haven’t banded together much sooner, or now more swiftly, to stop them from happening again.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  4. #49
    Senior Contributor Versus's Avatar
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    It was expected but still...Eternal peace for the victims.

    I am afraid that this is only the beginning.

  5. #50
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    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world...mepage%2Fstory

    [quoteBy Joby Warrick and Greg Miller March 23 at 9:06 PM
    One perpetrator was an automobile thief before he got religion, and served time in a Belgian prison on a carjacking charge. Another was an armed robber who once shot a police officer while fleeing from a crime scene.

    Others had convictions for burglary, drug-dealing, larceny and assault. Nearly to a person, all had been violent men, long before they became foot soldiers for the hyper-violent Islamic State.

    As Belgian police delve into the backgrounds of the men behind Tuesday’s attacks in Brussels, they are encountering a pattern familiar to investigators in Paris and other European cities targeted by the Islamic State: The shock troops used in the terrorist group’s signature attacks are largely men already well known to local law enforcement — not as religious radicals, but as criminals.

    As it has done for years in the Middle East, the Islamic State appears to be finding a fruitful recruiting ground among Europe’s street gangs and petty criminals, drawing to itself legions of troubled young men and women from predominantly poor Muslim neighborhoods, U.S. and European officials and terrorism experts say. Some recruits have scant knowledge of Islam but, attracted by the group’s violent ideology, they become skilled and eager accomplices in carrying out acts of extraordinary cruelty.

    The connections between the Brussels and Paris attacks VIEW GRAPHIC
    “Some of these guys are just looking for an opportunity to justify their violence and criminality,” said Ali Soufan, a former FBI counterterrorism official and a consultant to government agencies on terrorist threats. “Now, with ISIS, it is justified — because they can say they’re doing it for God.” ISIS is another name for the Islamic State.

    Indeed, some European officials say the perpetrators in the most recent attacks appear to be part of a new wave of recruits that are not “radical Islamists” but rather “Islamized radicals” — people from society’s outer margins who feel at home with a terrorist organization noted for beheading hostages and executing unarmed civilians.

    “Their revolt from society manifested itself through petty crime and delinquency,” Belgian counterterrorism official Alain Grignard said in an essay published by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. “Many are essentially part of street gangs. What the Islamic State brought in its wake was a new strain of Islam which legitimized their radical approach.”

    The thuggish pedigree of the most recent Islamic State attackers was in evidence on Wednesday as Belgian officials revealed new details about the men who carried out the attacks on Brussels’ main airport and subway line. Two of the suicide bombers, brothers Ibrahim and Khalid el-Bakraoui, had spent time in Belgian prisons for violent offenses that included armed robbery and carjacking.


    Another member of the Brussels cell, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, leader of the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, also had a lengthy criminal career that included multiple stints in jail, for crimes including burglary and assault. Salah Abdeslam, an alleged accomplice in the Paris attacks who was captured in Belgium last week, had previous convictions for drug-related offenses.

    But even before the attacks in Brussels, security officials said that it had become difficult to distinguish the cells of Islamist militants in that city from its criminal networks. Operatives linked to or inspired by the* *Islamic State have exploited this overlap to acquire weapons in Belgium and use the nation as a transit point for plots including the attacks in Paris last fall.


    “There are so many links” between criminals and Islamist militants, Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said at a security conference in Brussels on Sunday. “They are using the same tools. They are using the same cars, the same apartments, the same locations.”


    Over the past year, counterterrorism officials and experts in Europe have begun to document a profound shift in the typical profile of terrorist recruits, asserting that the latest arrivals are closer in key characteristics to urban street gangs than religious extremists.

    “For them, joining [the Islamic State] is merely a shift to another form of deviant behavior,” said a report released this month by Rik Coolsaet, a professor in Belgium who has studied the foreign fighter flow. Membership in the Islamic State is for many Muslim youths part of a progression that began with “gangs, rioting, drug trafficking and juvenile delinquency,” Coolsaet wrote. “But it adds a thrilling, larger-than-life dimension to their way of life — transforming them from delinquents without a future into mujahideen with a cause.”

    The expanding cohort of terror recruits from criminal backgrounds was described by Coolsaet as the “fourth wave” of jihadist terrorism, following cycles including those who flocked to Afghanistan in the 1980s, their elite Middle East expatriate successors who were drawn to al-Qaeda, and finally homegrown radicals who forged their bonds over the Internet.

    Religion has plunged as a motivational factor among the latest generation of Islamic State recruits, according to an examination of the group’s terror plots by European security authorities this year. As a result, “it may be more accurate to speak of a ‘violent extremist social trend’ rather than using the term ‘radicalization,’ ” the report concluded.

    The prominent criminal element among the networks in Belgium is in contrast to previous generations of terror cells, most notably the roster of al-Qaeda operatives who were based in Hamburg before carrying out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

    Few of those militants had a criminal record or even any notable brushes with law enforcement — résumé flaws that al-Qaeda worried would attract scrutiny from law enforcement and risk exposing the group’s elaborate, multiyear plot.


    Several members of the Hamburg cell came from middle-class or affluent families. Most spent time in Germany pursuing degrees in highly technical fields such as electrical engineering and chemistry. Their principal bond was a deepening commitment to an extreme interpretation of Islam, which they cultivated during parlorlike discussions at an apartment they took to calling “Dar el Ansar,” or “House of the Followers,” according to the report by the U.S. commission that investigated the 9/11 attacks.

    The archetype of this breed was Mohammed Atta, who came from a middle-class family in Egypt, had worked as an urban planner in Cairo and “applied himself fairly seriously” to his studies in Hamburg, according to the report. He went to the trouble of completing his advanced degree before leaving for Afghanistan, where he and others were all but handpicked by Osama bin Laden to lead the plot to hijack airliners and plow them into U.S. landmarks.

    The Islamic State is clearly of a different lineage that dates to the group’s earliest days, when it was called al-Qaeda in Iraq. The group’s founder, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was a tattooed Jordanian with a long history of criminal violence in his home country.

    Zarqawi, a high school dropout with no formal theological training, fashioned the organization in his own image, ignoring Islamic taboos such as the use of suicide bombers when it suited his purposes. His brutality drew harsh rebukes from bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders of the time, recalled Nada Bakos, a former CIA officer involved in tracking Zarqawi.

    “Zarqawi was never fully accepted into the al-Qaeda brand because he was a thug, and because his logistics network was involved with criminal enterprises,” Bakos said. “These [Islamic State] guys are the same.”


    Joby Warrick joined the Post’s national staff in 1996. He has covered national security, intelligence and the Middle East, and currently writes about the environment.

    Greg Miller covers intelligence agencies and terrorism for The Washington Post.[/quote]

  6. #51
    Senior Contributor Versus's Avatar
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    Huh, this report is good read. We have nothing to worry about as people that can do mass murder are not driven by religion yet they are self delusional lazy narcissus whom don't want to get a honest job and in order to find justification for their laziness they turn tothe religion of peace, but their laziness perverts the religion of peace and turns it into radical violent religion.

    Hopeless.

    Been there done that in Kosovo. Bigger problem than ISIS is Joby Warrick and his logic in Washington Post.
    Last edited by Versus; 24 Mar 16, at 09:56.

  7. #52
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    ^ that's not what the report said.

    there's always thugs who want to kill and rape, this gives them a perceived righteous outlet to do it.

    says absolutely nothing about "their laziness perverts the religion of peace and turns it into radical violent religion", in fact it even notes that previously AQ didn't like these types because they didn't want to attract scrutiny from law enforcement.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  8. #53
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parihaka View Post
    Isn't it. The Paris attacks placed Belgium squarely in the crosshairs, yet they all seemed to go to sleep afterward. Yes they caught Abdeslam, but seriously, how many months did that take. It should have been 48 hours. There's something much worse than incompetence there.
    He went underground and was sheltered by associates from his former drug dealing days and family.

    Short of a military occupation how were they to find him. Wonder who turned him in.

    It amazes me that a country of just 11.5 million population has the highest number of fighters per capita in Syria. These figures were there in Neuman's reports earlier and it made no sense. How did these Arabs end up there. Belgium did not have any arab colonies.

    Everybody is picking on Belgium because EU's open borders mean they are vulnerable. But if the perps are french speaking then the francophone countries are more vulnerable as there would be support networks.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 24 Mar 16, at 15:00.

  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    ^ that's not what the report said.

    there's always thugs who want to kill and rape, this gives them a perceived righteous outlet to do it.

    says absolutely nothing about "their laziness perverts the religion of peace and turns it into radical violent religion", in fact it even notes that previously AQ didn't like these types because they didn't want to attract scrutiny from law enforcement.
    I was thinking of things in between lines. This text is so familiar because it is 99% the same as the communist view at the Kosovo issue trough out 60'es and 70'es.

  10. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    He went underground and was sheltered by associates from his former drug dealing days and family.

    Short of a military occupation how were they to find him. Wonder who turned him in.

    It amazes me that a country of just 11.5 million population has the highest number of fighters per capita in Syria. These figures were there in Neuman's reports earlier and it made no sense. How did these Arabs end up there. Belgium did not have any arab colonies.

    Everybody is picking on Belgium because EU's open borders mean they are vulnerable. But if the perps are french speaking then the francophone countries are more vulnerable as there would be support networks.
    The problem is much wider than anyone wants to acknowledge.

  11. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    How did these Arabs end up there. Belgium did not have any arab colonies.
    Same as in Germany. Moroccans and Turks coming in in the early 60s as guest workers - plus their families in the 70s to 90s, and their children, and their grandchildren...
    About 5% of the Belgian population are estimated to ethnically belong to these two, while in Germany it's about 4%.

    The percentage share of muslims in Belgium and the Netherlands (both at 6%) does not really exceed that in Germany (5%), and is considerably less than that of France (nearly 10%). The difference in Belgium and the Netherlands is that unlike in other countries these are mostly clustered in Brussels, Amsterdam and Rotterdam, where each around 25% of the population are muslim, and in Belgium also in Antwerp (the second-largest city; 17%); by comparison in the highest concentrations in Germany it's only 10-12%. The UK comes up somewhere in the middle btw, with London at 14% and Manchester at 16%.

    In France, where the muslim population is around 9.6% share overall due to North African former parts of the countries and former colonies, both Marseilles and the city of Roubaix near Lille on the Belgian border have very significant muslim populations (20-25%), while throughout the rest of the country (including Paris and its infamous suburbs) it barely ever exceeds 10-12% much like in Germany. The Charlie Hebdo attackers came from one of these higher concentrations as well, i.e. the Lille/Roubaix area.
    Last edited by kato; 24 Mar 16, at 20:16.

  12. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Short of a military occupation how were they to find him. Wonder who turned him in.
    .
    Military occupation? It's a suburb of Brussels, not Damascus. Does Brussels not have a police force.
    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    It amazes me that a country of just 11.5 million population has the highest number of fighters per capita in Syria. These figures were there in Neuman's reports earlier and it made no sense. How did these Arabs end up there. Belgium did not have any arab colonies.
    Because Belgium had the most accomodating bureacracy to create an enclave outside control? At a guess....
    Last edited by Parihaka; 24 Mar 16, at 21:27.
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  13. #58
    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    As soon as the powers that be realize this is not a mere police operation,but an insurgency,the more it will delay the disaster that muslim youth of military age will spread.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

  14. #59
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    Kato has given a good explanation of the historical background of where the Muslim population in the Central-Europa comes from.
    I think the difference between the Netherlands and Belgium is that the Netherlands did more for the integration of these guest workers, while in Belgium they mostly kept in their own communities and did not learn the language of the region where they were living.
    The reason these communities were left alone/ignored by the government is, in my opinion, because of the many levels of governance that overlap geographically as well as juridical where all thought the other would do it or felt not enough responsible to have to do it.

  15. #60
    Dirty Kiwi Senior Contributor
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    History gives us the lesson. Europe has through neccessity had ghettos (original meaning, not it's modern wealth related interpretation) since the Roman Imperium. What's missing is the rulers willing to take a severe stand. Everyone thinks Paris is romantic with it's wide boulevards but when I walk the streets, I see the plan for cuirassier deployment.
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