News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Brussels metro shut down in terror alert. Officials advise cancellation of large events, don't congregate. Brussels is headquarters of European Union and NATO-Reuters

11/21/15, "Brussels metro shut as Belgian capital put on maximum alert," Reuters,

Belgium raised the alert status for its capital Brussels to the highest level on Saturday, shutting the metro and warning the public to avoid crowds because of a "serious and imminent" threat of an attack.

A week after the Paris attacks carried out by Islamic State militants, of whom one suspect from Brussels is at large and said by authorities to be highly dangerous, the city was placed on the top level "four" in the government's threat scale after a meeting of top ministers, police and security services.

"The advice for the population is to avoid places where a lot of people come together like shopping centres, concerts, events or public transport stations wherever possible," a spokesman for the government's crisis centre said.

He declined to say what specifically prompted the new alert.

A statement on the centre's website said it had recommended closing the underground rail network until Sunday and the municipal transport authority tweeted that stations on the four main metro lines were closed "by order of the police". 

The crisis centre website said it was calling on local authorities to cancel large events
, urge people to avoid crowds, postpone soccer matches, close the Brussels metro for the weekend and stepping up the military and police presence. Suspected militant Salah Abdeslam, 26, returned home to Brussels from Paris after the attacks, when his elder brother Brahim blew himself up at a cafe.

Fears of the risk he still poses prompted the cancellation last week of an international friendly soccer match in Brussels against Spain. The crisis centre said weekend games in the top two professional divisions should now be postponed.

The alert level for the whole country was raised following the Paris attacks to level three out of four, implying a "possible or probable" threat. Previously, only certain sites, such as the U.S. embassy, were at level three.

Belgium, and its capital in particular, have been at the centre of investigations into the Paris attacks - which included suicide bombers targeting a France-Germany soccer match - after the links to Brussels emerged. Three people detained in Brussels are facing terrorism charges.

French authorities have said the attacks were planned in Brussels by a local man, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, 28, who fought for Islamic State in Syria and was killed in the siege of an apartment in the Paris suburb of St. Denis on Wednesday.

Salah Abdeslam, who was from the same neighbourhood and is said by officials to have known Abaaoud in prison, was pulled over three times by French police but not arrested as he was driven back to Brussels early last Saturday by two of the men now in custody. As well as Abdeslam's brother, a second man from Brussels, Bilal Hadfi, was also among the Paris suicide bombers.

The crisis centre spokesman declined to say what had led to the status change because investigations were proceeding.

"We cannot give more information...The work of federal prosecutors is still going on," he said, adding the government was assessing what extra security measures to take. Soldiers are already on guard in certain parts of Brussels, including at the institutions of the European Union headquartered in the city.

Brussels is also home to the headquarters of NATO.

The last time any part of the country was put on maximum alert was in May 2014 when a gunman shot dead four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels. At that time, Jewish schools, synagogues and other institutions were put on level four.

The capital as a whole was last at the level four for about a month at the end of 2007 and the start of 2008, when authorities intercepted a plot to free convicted Tunisian Nizar Trabelsi. Brussels' traditional New Year fireworks display was cancelled.

Trabelsi was sentenced in Belgium in 2003 to 10 years for attempting to blow up a Belgian military base that houses U.S. soldiers. He was extradited to the United States in 2013.

The government's four-level alert system has been in place since 2006." via Pamela Geller

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11/17/15, "Is this the end of the E.U.?" CNBC, Jake Novak, commentary
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"It's always the things you don't expect that get you. After banking scandals, currency issues, and a Greek/Portugese/Spanish debt crisis just about every six months, the economic and political partnership that is the European Union seems much more likely to fall apart for an entirely different reason after all. That reason is ISIS. 
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The direct cause is actually an extremely divisive and growing dispute about open borders, immigration, and refugee resettlement. But that conflict just became a lot more serious thanks to the horrific ISIS terrorist attacks in Paris Friday night. Now, this discussion has grown and migrated, (pun intended), from a political debate among E.U. elites to the #1 pressing issue on the streets of Europe. When relatively smaller economic nations like Hungary began closing their borders to migrants and Syrian refugees last month, it could be written off as perhaps an isolated incident.
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But all bets are off now that France is closing its borders in response to the attacks, even if it is just temporarily. That's because in so doing, President Francois Hollande has unambiguously connected the border issue with the effort to fight the spread of terror. 
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It's so obvious that even the most politically uninterested person can see what it means. And just in case the message still isn't entirely clear to everyone, one of the major stories in Europe today is about how the alleged mastermind of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, boasted in videos about how easily he crisscrossed the borders of the E.U. for years
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This is a political nightmare for the statist bureaucrats who have been working for decades to reduce true representative democracy all for the goal of a unified and monolithic economic entity without worrying about being hindered by annoying little things like the will of the people. Before these attacks and the border response, the E.U. simply glossed over dissent and most attempts to challenge its un-elected sovereignty. Its best weapon in that fight has always been using the accusations of racism and xenophobia against those who refused to integrate and obey the E.U. fully and quickly enough in all matters of economics, immigration, and tax law.

With a mostly compliant state-sponsored news media on its side, the "racist" and "xenophobic" label has been used the most against Britain's anti-E.U. UKIP party more and more in recent years. UKIP does keep gaining in popularity in the U.K., but it still has to fight very hard to beat back those scare tactic accusations.
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But what do the people who spread accusations of racism and xenophobia do now that more Europeans than ever believe their governments are sacrificing their safety in favor of remaining compliant with E.U. immigration dogma? The simple answer is that they're in trouble, and no amount of sanctimonious shaming or economic threats will do much good when the majority of the public doesn't feel safe anymore.    

The economic aspect of this discussion is important, because attacks like these should humble those who think better economic opportunities are not only the best answer to anti-E.U. activists but also the best way to beat back the causes of terrorism. Even with the cases of the very wealthy Osama bin Laden and the very upper middle class "Underwear Bomber" at our fingertips, most of us continue to foolishly think that homicidal terrorists are really just angry about bad job prospects and all we have to do is get them some welfare and a spot in a housing project and everything will be okay. The truth is evil people who commit evil acts transcend economic trigger points, which is why you can get mugged by a poor person the same day that a billionaire banker cheats you out of your retirement savings and a rich terrorist tries to blow up an airliner with a bomb in his pants. 
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Meanwhile, the E.U.'s constant refrain of, "only a unified and less democratic Europe can compete in the changing global market," is just as tired and demonstrably false. No one's going to care about that if people don't feel safe in their own homes or at concerts and cafes. Keeping all of Europe in line on restructuring Greek debt every few months is one thing, but maintaining a consensus on border security and immigration laws is starting to become impossible. And without uniform border and immigration laws, a unified E.U. cannot continue. That's something everyone from Angela Merkel to a low level currency trader understands.
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And as this process unfolds overseas, the questions multiply about what the United States is doing for refugees from Syria and immigrants overall. Like the Europeans today, more Americans are wondering why it's racist, selfish, or xenophobic to ask whether a sovereign nation has the right to err on the side of safety when it comes to controlling its borders. And if the federal immigration agencies continue to tell us that they cannot properly vet all incoming refugees, why is it wrong to limit their entrance based on the number of people the federal government can properly screen?  
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The refugee question won't bring down the American federal government, but it could significantly diminish its power to unilaterally dictate where and how refugees and even future immigrants enter the country. 
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Back in Europe, if ISIS and ISIS-like threats and attacks continue the E.U. could end up morphing into a far more useful and manageable multinational counter-terrorism force. Or it may just disintegrate altogether as each nation decides it doesn't want to rely on another nation's security efforts and priorities. The funny thing about all of this is that the most anti-freedom entity in the Islamic world, ISIS, is serving to destroy one of the most anti-freedom entities in the Western World, the E.U. To be fair, no matter how bureaucratic and doctrinaire the E.U. has been even it doesn't deserve to go down in such a horrific and violent manner. But unless ISIS and the other terrorists suddenly decide to leave Europe alone, the E.U. will likely go down just the same."
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"Commentary by Jake Novak, supervising producer of "Power Lunch."" 


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