Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will participate in their first joint event as presidential candidates Wednesday night.
NBC News and MSNBC – along with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America – will host the the Commander-in-Chief Forum in New York City. It will be a one-hour forum where Clinton and Trump will answer questions about national security, military affairs and veterans issues in front of an audience mainly made up of 300 or so members of the military.
Matt Lauer – who is listed as a “notable past member” on the Clinton Global Initiative’s website – is moderating the forum. During an interview on MSNBC Wednesday, Lauer said he will not ask Trump and Clinton the same questions.
“I’m not going to be repeating the same questions, though some will overlap,” Lauer said. “The veterans will get a chance to ask these candidates their own questions.”
Lauer said that when he takes questions from the audience, he expects most of them to revolve around the system-wide failure of the Veterans Affairs program.
“Lack of treatment – that’s where I think they will focus their questions.”
Clinton will be asked questions first for approximately 30 minutes, then Trump will go on stage next.
Donald Trump hit back at Hillary Clinton at a rally in San Jose Thursday evening, declaring that the Democratic frontrunner “has to go to jail” and is “guilty as hell.”
“Hillary Clinton has to go to jail. Alright I said it. She has to go to jail,” he said.
“The fact that they even allow her to participate in this race is a disgrace to the United States, is a disgrace to our nation.”
Trump’s shots at Clinton came after a fiery foreign policy speech she gave earlier the same day, during which she denounced Trump’s policy proposals as “as a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds, and outright lies” and declared that electing him would be a “historic mistake.”
While Trump didn’t go into detail about the arguments Clinton made in her speech, he called it “phony” and a “Donald Trump hit job,” and lambasted her for her ongoing email scandal.
He also suggested Clinton only supports President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran because she’s worried about facing jail time.
He said he’s confident the FBI will indict her, and said if he wins the presidency, his attorney general will “take a very good look into it.”
“The only reason she’s behaving like this, and the only reason she’s been dragged so far left, believe me, is she doesn’t want to go to jail over the emails.”…
Anti-Trump Protesters Riot In The Streets Of San Jose – Daily Wire
I’ve never seen anything like that in America before,” said one man who witnessed the violent mob of Donald Trump protesters who assaulted his supporters and San Jose police officers, throwing eggs, bottles, and punches, vandalizing vehicles and lighting stolen property on fire. Following the chaos, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, a Hillary Clinton supporter, excused the rioters, blaming Trump for the violence.
Despite the mainstream media’s desperate hope to somehow spin or downplay the appalling violence carried out by anti-Trump thugs in San Jose Thursday, there’s simply no way to mask the outrageous actions of the Leftist mob, which included protesters burning Americans flags, chanting “Make California Mexico Again,” covering their faces with bandanas to hide their identities, and throwing up gang signs as they terrorized Trump supporters, destroyed private property, and wreaked havoc.
“The protesters chased and taunted Trump’s supporters outside the San Jose Convention Center. They surrounded one woman and threw eggs and bottles at her,” reports NBC Los Angeles. One rally attendee, Steve Tong, described the scene as “unbelievable,” adding that he’d “never seen anything like that in America before.”…
10-Year-Old Raped By Refugee Asks Liberal For Help, Their Response Is Worse – Mad World News
A little girl was lured into a migrant man’s room at an asylum center and brutally raped while her screams for help went ignored. When he was finished, she ran to the liberal worker and told them what had happened. However, instead of calling the police and helping the injured and traumatized child, they had just one concern.
In an effort to expose the sickening leftist agenda behind the Swedish Migration Board, TV4 introduced a segment called Cold Facts, which highlights the levels of depravity leftists will stoop in order to salvage their failed policies. Understanding the corruption and scandal that takes place in the immigration offices and asylum centers, even the investigative reporters were shocked by a little girl’s horrific testimony.
Fria Tider reports that while many women and children have been brutally assaulted during their stay in asylum centers, one brave little girl’s harrowing story gives a much-needed look into the ugly side of the refugee crisis. The child’s words prove not only the inhumanity within the refugee centers but that it’s also being perpetuated by the leftists in charge.
“I was scared. I screamed but no one was there. It felt like he was going to take me again and do the same. I think about it every night. I think of what he did to me,” says the girl in the program.
When the child went to center workers for help, they refused to report the rape and attempted to cover it up instead. Several other women and children came forward with complaints that the Swedish Migration Board has ignored their abuse reports and even worked with asylum centers to hide assault, sexual assault, and child molestation. In fact, one employee was caught waving off an attempted rape in the center as “small stuff.”…
Clinton, Aides Tried To Use Wireless Devices In Secure Areas – Washington Times
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her aides tried to use personal hand-held electronic devices inside areas used to store classified information, according to the just-released State Department inspector general report.
The Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the State Department’s security arm, told the inspector general that in March 2009 Mrs. Clinton rejected an offer from security officials to provide her with a secure government smartphone. “DS was informed that Secretary Clinton’s staff had been asking to use BlackBerry devices inside classified areas,” said the report, released late last month.
Another portion of the inspector general’s report states that Mrs. Clinton sought in late January 2009 to bring her BlackBerry into a secure area. Instead, State Department officials offered to set up a computer near her office desk to check emails, although the report says the stand-alone computer was never installed…
Obama Taps Yet Another Muslim Brotherhood-Linked Official To Prominent WH Role – Truth Revolt
For nearly eight years, President Obama has appointed a range of Muslim officials with terror-links to influential positions within the administration. The latest in a long line is Zaki Barzinji, whom Obama just tapped as the new associate director of public engagement for the White House.
The Clarion Project notes that Barzinji worked for the Islamic Society of North American (ISNA), an organization targeted by the U.S. Justice Department as a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate and was named an unindicted co-conspirator in a major Hamas-funding trial.
Oh, and Barzinji’s grandfather was also a Muslim Brotherhood terror suspect.
Oh, and according to Clarion Project, Barzinji previously served as the deputy director of intergovernmental affairs for Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who is currently under investigation for “possible political corruption.”
Of the Obama appointee’s grandfather, Clarion notes that Jamal Barzinji, deceased as of last year, “was a founder and/or senior official in virtually every group identified as a Muslim Brotherhood front in America.”
Mysteriously, the Obama Justice Department dropped a planned indictment of the elder Barzinji and in 2013, Zaki accepted an award on his grandfather’s behalf at “the Hamas/Brotherhood-linked Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Virginia, which the late Barzinji helped found.”…
UC Irvine College Republicans To Distribute Baby Pacifiers To Campus Liberals Ahead Of Milo Event – Breitbart
Students at the University of California, Irvine, are planning to distribute baby pacifiers to a liberal student group who is planning a “safe space” event ahead of Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos’ upcoming visit to campus.
According to a press release by the UCI College Republicans, the student group has plans to combat political correctness by distributing pacifiers at a safe space event that was organized by the administration in response to Yiannopoulos’ upcoming stop of “The Dangerous Faggot Tour” which is scheduled for Thursday, June 2.
The statement from the UCI College Republicans cited President Obama’s 2015 criticism of campus coddling culture in which he condemned students for rejecting texts and speaker that they find offensive. “I don’t agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of views,” Obama said in a town hall event in Des Moines, Iowa in 2015…
DOJ Defies Federal Judge To Protect White House’s Amnesty – Daily Caller
The U.S. Department of Justice is refusing an order from a federal judge to release details of benefits provided to over 100,000 illegal immigrants under President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration.
U.S. District Court Judge Andrew S. Hanen ordered the Justice Department to produce a list of individuals who received deportation deferrals from the 2014 DHS directive in a decision made May 19. The decision was made after learning DoJ had not disclosed that approximately 100,000 illegal immigrants had received three-year deferrals from deportation between November 20, 2014 and March 3, 2015. The Justice Department urged Hanen to stay his order in a brief released late Tuesday.
The 2014 DHS directive expanded a program that allowed individuals who immigrated illegally to the United States as children to obtain work permits and renewable two-year deferrals from deportation. The 2014 directive expanded this program, allowing the parents of such individuals to obtain work permits. It also increased the deferral period from two years to three.
Judge Hanen says the Justice Department assured him the 2014 program would not be implemented until February 2015, affording him time to evaluate the case. However, the federal government began issuing deferrals months earlier, in November 2014.
“They knowingly continued to hide this conduct for months and only admitted it once they realized the number of violations exceeded 100,000,” Judge Hanen wrote in his order. He also ordered Justice Department attorneys to attend a legal ethics course…
Obama Tries to Trash Trump… Turns Into A Stuttering Mess Instead – Right News
Poor Barack. He wanted to sound more powerful. He really did!
After the White House announced Obama was going to “take down” Trump on the campaign trail, the lame duck president went to Indiana today to hold a rally and trash-talk the GOP nominee.
Unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned… he turned into a stuttering mess.
Barack Obama: If we turn against each other based on division of race or religion. If-if-if-if-if-if-if-if-if-if-if we fall for, you know, a bunch of okie-doke, just because, you know it-it-it. You know, it-it-it-it-it-it sounds funny or the tweets are provocative.
The Teleprompter-in-Chief had a major malfunction…
White House Secretly Squashed IRS Resistance To ObamaCare’s Illegal Subsidies – Breitbart
The New York Times reports on a secret meeting from 2014, exposed thanks to sworn testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee, at which a vanload of IRS officials were told to stifle their complaints about billions of dollars in flagrantly illegal ObamaCare funding.
Upon arrival, the I.R.S. officials, some of whom had expressed doubts that the Obama administration had the proper authority to spend billions of dollars on a crucial element of its [Obamacare] health care law, were ushered into a conference room.
There, they were presented with an Office of Management and Budget memo laying out the administration’s justification for spending $3.9 billion on consumer health insurance subsidies. They were told they could read it but could not take notes or make copies.
The O.M.B. officials left the room to allow their visitors a moment to absorb the document, and then returned to answer a few questions and note that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. had been briefed and signed off on the legal rationale.
“It was not a common practice in my 10 years in government at the three agencies where I worked,” said David Fisher, a former I.R.S. financial risk officer, recounting the odd meeting during a deposition on May 11 conducted by investigators for the House Ways and Means Committee…
Black Lives Matter Leader Charged With Sex Trafficking Is Also An Alleged Charity ‘Scammer’ – Daily Caller
In addition to being an accused child sex trafficker, Black Lives Matter activist Charles Wade is a financial “scammer,” says a lawyer for a St. Louis real estate developer who lost more than $10,000 after Wade skipped town last year without paying rent.
By some estimates, Wade, a former stylist for Beyonce Knowles’ sister Solange, took in hundreds of thousands of dollars in online donations for a group called Operation Help or Hush (OHOH) that he co-founded in the wake of the Aug. 9, 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown. The group’s stated mission was to provide temporary housing for protesters in the St. Louis area.
Wade, 33, drew national attention earlier this month after The Daily Caller reported that he was arrested on April 25 on sex trafficking charges. Police in College Park, Md. say that Wade pimped out a 17-year-old girl using the website backpage.com…
Trump Hatin’ “Mexican Judge” Awarded Scholarships To Illegal Immigrants – GotNews
The Trump hating “Mexican” judge once stressed his Mexican heritage as being essential to relationship he built with Mexican government, saluted his own “immigrant” origins, and repeatedly worked with anti-white activist group La Raza.
Judge Gonzalo Curiel even awarded scholarships to illegal immigrants in San Diego in 2014.
While nearly all of the scholarship winners were born in another country Ricardo Elorza bragged about his accomplishments as an illegal.
Mr. Elorza immigration to the United States when he was 11 years old. In college, he led worships at high schools, non-profit organizations, colleges and parks where he talked about the DREAM ACT… Mr. Elorza wishes to someday tell any student struggling with higher education, “Look, a boy from Oaxaca, who did not know English and is undocumented has now graduated from law school and is an attorney.”
The media attacked Trump for pointing out that the anti-Trump judge who had allowed a class action lawsuit to proceed against him was a Trump hater.
Is he Mexican?
You bet he’s Mexican. The judge’s obsessed with letting you know how Mexican he is.
“We were working without the disconnect of interpreters and barriers of culture,” Curiel told the New York Times in 2002. “When it comes down to it this [drug dealing across the border] involves the country of our parents.” (Tim Weiner, “New Web of Trust Topples a Mighty Mexican Cartel,” New York Times, April 26, 2002)…
Woman Shocked To Find Neighbor’s Frozen Mother In $30 Used Freezer –
A North Carolina woman who bought her neighbor’s used standalone freezer thought she got a steal for only $30. But upon opening it, her delight turned to shock when she discovered her neighbor’s mother dead and frozen solid inside.
When a woman from Goldsboro, North Carolina, discovered her neighbor was preparing to move away, the $30 deal for the freezer was struck. She moved the freezer into her home, plugged it in, but left it for three weeks unopened.
When she was finally ready to use the freezer, she was shocked by what she found inside.
“My heart was in my throat and I ran outside, called 911,” the neighbor said.
The freezer’s new owner said her recently moved neighbor insisted that the unit stay closed for several weeks because inside was a “church project” in the form of a “time capsule” that must stay undisturbed…
I’ve got a lot of #NeverTrump friends. Heck, I bet most of my friends are #NeverTrump. Hell, my wife is #NeverTrump. I like #NeverTrump people, even though I think they’re wrong. We share the same goals. We just have really crappy choices and are making different ones.
I assume they all think I’m wrong too, and I’m not going to argue with them. For one thing, they’re my friends. I don’t want to argue with my friends. I want to mock stupid libs with my friends while consuming red meat and redder wine. The second reason is that I’m not going to change their minds, nor are they going to change mine (although Donald Trump himself still retains that power should he become sufficiently annoying).
So we should just sit down, have some beers, and talk about something else until November because we’re not going to change and fighting each other redirects the fire away from our real enemy.
That’s Hillary Clinton. She’s the real enemy.
So these aren’t arguments. These are reasons. Why am I giving my general election vote to somebody who is often demonstrably unconservative, can be dreadfully immature, and who has a past that’s absolutely bloodcurdling to any conservative? Well, I’ll tell you.
Hillary is worse.
It’s that simple.
Hillary is worse…
Homeowner Fills Yard With Memorial Day Flags, Crosses Honoring Fallen Heroes – Fox News
A Central California homeowner is turning his front yard into a fallen heroes memorial for Memorial Day.
Dan Joseph tells tells Fox40 the display in the front yard of his home in Modesto is dedicated to those from the Central Valley who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. He says it is the least he can do to honor their memory.
“I feel saddened, you know for the loss, but I also feel very grateful because it’s because of their sacrifice that we are free today,” Joseph told Fox40.
There are 55 flags and crosses on display, one for each Central Valley service member who was killed. There’s also a big sign that says “Here We Remember the Cost of Freedom.”…
Vietnamese Communist Leader Says U.S. Anti-War Activists Helped Their Victory – Daily Caller
In the weeks leading up to Memorial Day and President Barack Obama’s scheduled trip to Vietnam, a prominent Vietcong communist leader privately thanked American anti-war activists for helping defeat the U.S.-allied government in Vietnam in the 1970s, saying protest demonstrations throughout the United States were “extremely important in contributing to Vietnam’s victory.”
For Vietnamese guerrilla leader Madam Nguyen Thi Binh, who sent the private letter from Hanoi dated April 20, “victory” meant the communist takeover of South Vietnam. The letter addressed veteran American anti-war activists who gathered in Washington, D.C., at a May 3 reunion of radical “May Day” anti-war leaders.
The Daily Caller News Foundation obtained a copy of the letter at the meeting.
Binh, now age 90, originally served as the highest ranking Vietnamese delegate to the Paris Peace Talks that imposed a ceasefire in the country in 1973.
The “Vietcong” was a ragtag group of communist guerrillas who were allied with the official communist government in North Vietnam. The country was cut in two in 1954, with the south seeking to build a democratic state allied to the West.
Binh’s frank admission highlights a secret side of the communist’s effective lobbying influence in the United States. Rather than live in the southern part of the country, which for decades she represented as a diplomat, it appears after the war Binh was living in Hanoi, the original capital of North Vietnam…
Trump Exposes California Drought As Man-Made, Caused By Over-Protecting A 2-Inch Fish – TruthFeed
Friday, during a rally in Fresno, California Trump asked farmers “Is there a drought?” he then exposed a little known truth “No, we have plenty of water. We shove it out to see.”
You see, radical environmentalists have been starving California farmers of water in order to protect a 2-3 inch fish called the “delta smelt.” The slithery fish is said to smell like cucumbers and is only found in the San Francisco Bay area.
In order to protect this little fish, California officials have been shutting down massive water pumps, depriving farmers of the ability to create food and choosing the fish over humans.
This problem has been ongoing for years. March 2014, the Committee on Natural Resources held an oversight field hearing in Fresno, CA on “California Water Crisis and Its Impacts: The Need for Immediate and Long-Term Solutions.”…
Why The “Scar Tissue” Excuse For Hillary’s Document Destruction Fails – Paul Mirengoff
Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post offers a familiar excuse for Hillary Clinton’s insistence on using a private email server. According to Marcus, “the scar tissue built up over years of politically motivated attacks and endless investigations reinforced Clinton’s instinct for the protective crouch.”
Marcus’ explanation sounds plausible, but it happens to be false (except for the part about “instinct for the protective crouch”).
We know the explanation is false because Clinton engaged in similar behavior before she came to Washington as First Lady. I’m referring to her handling of her law firm’s billing records in the Castle Grande matter, which I discussed at length here,” in a post based mainly on the evidence developed by the Office of Independent Counsel that investigated “Whitewater.”
Clinton stole and/or caused to be destroyed the records that established her role as the attorney for participants in the fraudulent Castle Grande scheme. She did so to avoid the political price she feared would be exacted if, with candidate Bill Clinton decrying the “decade of greed” that had brought on the S&L scandals, she was exposed as having been the lawyer for a crooked S&L.
For this purpose, Clinton, working with Webster Hubbell and Vince Foster, stole hard copies of the billing records of the Rose law firm where they were partners. They erased the electronic version of these records. One set of the documents was later found in the White House, just outside Hillary’s private office, by an employee. Another set was found in Foster’s attic by his widow, some years after he committed suicide. Clinton’s time sheets (handwritten, as was the practice back in the day) were never found…
Louisiana Lawmaker Labels Declaration Of Independence Racist In Debate – Fox News
The Declaration of Independence came under attack from an unlikely quarter – a state legislator.
Louisiana lawmaker Barbara Norton (D-Shreveport), argued that America’s founding document was racist during debate on a bill requiring public school students in the state to recite the Declaration of Independence daily, Fox & Friends reported Saturday.
“For the Declaration of Independence only Caucasians (were) free,” Norton, who is black, said Wednesday during the debate on the floor of the Louisiana House of Representatives. “And for you to bring a bill to require that our children will recite the Declaration of Independence I think it’s a little bit unfair.”
Rep. Valarie Hodges (R-Denham Springs) shelved the bill before lawmakers could vote on the proposal, which she sponsored…
27-Year-Old Thug Arrested For Intentionally Driving Vehicle Over Memorial Day Cross Display – 100PercentFedUp
A Henderson, Ky. man has been arrested after he allegedly damaged more than 150 crosses in the city’s Memorial Day cross display with his vehicle early Saturday, according to officials.
According to Henderson Police Public Information Officer Jennifer Richmond, Anthony Burrus, 27, was arrested in connection with the incident that took place in Central Park at around 6 a.m. Roughly 160 crosses were knocked down and about 20 were destroyed.
The vehicle Burrus was driving, a 1979 Ford Thunderbird, was found with pieces of a cross and ground stake embedded in the tires after he left it at the McDonald’s restaurant on South Green Street. Richmond said Burrus denied causing the damage in the park, but confirmed he was driving the vehicle earlier this morning and left it after it stopped working.
Henderson police officers and deputies from the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office investigated the incident.
Burrus was found and arrested at his sister’s apartment complex on Zion Road, and is being held at the Henderson County Detention Center. He is charged with first degree criminal mischief and leaving the scene of an accident.
Richmond said a large number of tips, Facebook posts, and vehicle searches helped officers make the connection and arrest Burrus…
Trump Vows To Undo Paris Climate Agreement – Daily Insider
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has unveiled his energy policy, calling for stripping back Environmental Protection Agency protections, reigniting the coal industry, increasing fossil fuel drilling and withdrawing from the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
On May 26, Trump delivered a speech outlining his energy plan in Bismarck, North Dakota. The policy proposals seemed to be a complete reversal of President Barack Obama’s energy achievements, The New York Times reports.
“We’re going to deal with real environmental challenges, not the phoney ones we’ve been hearing about,” Trump said.
The business mogul vowed to rescind the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, an ambitious effort to curb U.S. emissions of greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent by 2025…
As Charters Grow, Public Schools See Sharp Enrollment Drop – Associated Press
Standing before the Los Angeles Unified School Board, Susan Zoller delivered a startling assessment: More than 100,000 students in the nation’s second-largest district were now enrolled in charters, draining more than $500 million from the budget in a single academic year.
“The financial future of Los Angeles is difficult,” said Zoller, a consultant hired by the district’s union. Board member Richard Vladovic leaned anxiously toward his mic.
“We are bleeding,” he said.
If current trends continue, the district could be significantly diminished in another 10 years – at least a third smaller than at the start of the century.
In financially struggling urban districts from LA to Philadelphia – and most notoriously, Detroit – the increasing popularity of charter schools, combined with family flight to the suburbs and declining birth rates, have caused enrollment to plummet. The changes have unfolded slowly for years and recently accelerated in some places.
“It’s come to a tipping point for many of these districts like Detroit,” said Ron Zimmer, an education professor at Vanderbilt University…
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.
What happens if you’re that guy who really likes this girl but she keeps dismissing you? Does there come a time when you finally realize this specific girl will never want you? And then comes a girl, maybe not so gorgeous but she’s attracted to you and sees you as a great guy. What do you do? Do you keep hanging around hoping the dream girl finally realizes you do exist – after you’ve spent forever conveying your desire? Or do you find a relationship with someone willing to be with you?
So, imagine how this little scenario plays out in the world of foreign policy.
As reported by the Jerusalem Post, “A delegation of Iraqi Kurds will visit Moscow in April to discuss Russian weapons supplies, the RIA Novosti news agency on Thursday cited the head of an Iraqi Kurd representation office in Russia as saying.
RIA on Wednesday quoted the Russian consulate in Iraq as saying Russia has already supplied weapons to Iraqi Kurds and that the first shipment had arrived on March 14. It said the shipment had included five Zu-23-2 anti-aircraft cannons and 20,000 shells for the cannons.”
Having been in Kurdistan, I can attest that, outside of Israel, you will not find more pro-American, pro-Western people in the Middle East. They wholeheartedly have assisted U.S. forces in Iraq with the defeat of Saddam’s forces as well as Islamic jihadists. They were all in with the new Iraqi government and constitution, yet, with the coming of one Barack Obama, they’ve once again been dismissed.
As a Member of the U.S. Congress I hosted representatives of the Kurdish Regional Government in my office on several occasions and attended many of their sponsored events.
You want an effective ground force to combat ISIS, the spread of Islamic jihadism, and check the hegemonic designs of Iran? There’s no one better than the Kurds. The problem is that while the Kurds were requesting support from the United States, they were rejected. The weapons systems aid was provided to the central Iraq government in Baghdad, and guess what? They were distributed mainly to the Shiite elements, who in turn quickly dropped them as they withdrew, ran away, and then were confiscated by ISIS.
The return on investment for these weapons would have been much higher if they’d been delivered directly to the Kurds. And even worse, after Barack Obama achieved permission from the closet Islamist, his dear friend Turkish President Erdogan, for the use of U.S. military air basing, the Kurds then found themselves being bombed by Turkish forces. These are the same Turkish forces who somehow turned a blind eye as ISIS fighters flowed out of Turkey into northern Iraq and Syria.
So, like the fella who’s been rejected by the girl he wanted, the fella is looking elsewhere to the girl who’s said, “I like you.” Enter Russia and Vladimir Putin…and we all know Putin has some issues with Erdogan and Turkey after they shot down his aircraft.
This week we heard about Russia conducting a partial pullout of forces in Syria. Needless to say it appears Putin is building his coalition in the region. We know Egypt’s President el-Sisi has visited Russia – he’s been rejected by the same girl. Last year, right before the U.N General Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Russia – he has been rejected by the same girl. So one has to ask, when will Jordan’s leader King Abdullah court the new”girl?”
The game of foreign policy is being lost by the United States under the presidency of Barack Obama. And these nations who were staunch allies and supporters are realizing they must court others. We’re watching the impact and influence of America slip away. Sure, progressive socialists will say, we’re more liked now – but I will counter that we’re not respected, by friend or foe.
We were once the desired date, but now we’re turning into something completely undesirable. We’re not the trusted ally we once were. And thanks to a nebulous and failed foreign policy folks are doing following the advice of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles: “You better shop around.”