Though many are still reeling in the wake of the Brussels tragedy – there are key questions surrounding this latest act of terror that should be examined.
Brussels went into full lockdown mode following an apparent double terror attack that occurred at the Brussels airport and Maelbeek metro station earlier this week, not far from the European Union’s headquarters in the downtown city center.
As previously reported here at 21WIRE, the U.S. embassy declared a security emergency following the Brussels terror attacks, instructing all American citizens to “shelter in place,” in what is now said to be an attack carried out by ISIS – orsowe’vebeentold…
‘BRUSSELS BOMBERS’ – Khalid el-Bakraoui and his brother Ibrahim el-Bakraoui (Photo link thedailystar)
In early reports, the apparent ISIS-linked bombers, revealed to be brothers, allegedly blew themselves up in a double-suicide bomb attack in Brussels, Belgium’s capital city, at the main airport and a busy metro station downtown.
However, according to Belgian officials the two brothers were originally stated to have been at the airport together but both “were actually at two different locations and that one huge bomb left by a third terrorist failed to detonate at the airport.”
Brussels issued a notice for an individual seen pushing luggage through the airport, along with the two other suspects now said to be dead. All three were allegedly seen on CCTV footage at the airport, in a highly coordinated attack that the terror linked media organization Amaq agency says was an ISIS attack.
The identity of two terror suspects in connection with the Brussels attack were uncovered by DNA records according to Belgium officials, while a third suspect named Najim Laachraoui, (alleged bomb-maker in the Paris attacks last November) was presumed to be on the loose, also died as a result of his part in the airport attack, with authorities describing his relationship with the Paris attackers:
Laachraoui’s DNA was found on a suicide belt at the Bataclan music venue that was targeted by the terrorists along with an explosive device at the Stade du France.
His DNA was also recovered at several safe houses in Belgium used by the cell.
Laachraoui also used the false name Soufiane Kayal and was with suspected Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam in Hungary in Sept. 2015.
This report added confusion to the already winding Brussels narrative, as it was initially reportedLaachraoui was seen fleeing the airport, “One of the other men, seen wearing a hat, and believed to be Najim Laachraoui, was pushing a cart with a 35-pound bomb that failed to go off. He was seen leaving the airport and is being sought.”
Also according to reports this week, the Maelbeek metro station explosion took place near some very important government buildings, including the EU’s main buildings, the European Parliament and the US embassy in Brussels – all of which, make the attack appear even more suspicious in nature, given the amount of security in the area on a daily basis.
We’re told that the attack at Maelbeek metro, was less than two miles away from the US embassy, as both European Commission Headquarters and the Council of the European Union were around a 1,000 feet from the popular exit, Rue de la Loi. Additionally, the European Parliamentwas just under 2,000 feet from the bombed station.
According to US officials, the Brussel’s attacks displays some of the similar hallmarks reported during the Boston bombing, and London’s 7/7 bombing:
Belgian police were trying to locate a second man seen at the location of the subway bombing. The man was seen buying tickets in the subway with the confirmed suicide bomber, Khalid El Bakraoui, and both men had identical backpacks.
Belgian prosecutors have said at least four people were involved in Tuesday’s attacks on the Brussels airport and a subway train, including El Bakraoui and his brother Ibrahim.
‘PLANTED EXPLOSIVES?’ – Blown-out windows mirror each other after an apparent
suicide-bombing at Brussels airport. (Photo link qz)
According to the Associated Press, hundreds of civilians have been injured at both the Brussel-Zaventem airport and Maelbeek metro station, along with nearly three dozen killed:
A Belgian security official says the death toll has risen to 34 in attacks on the Brussels airport and a subway station.
The official did not specify how many people were killed and wounded at each site. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because precise numbers were expected to be announced early Wednesday.
Earlier, the government had reported 20 dead at the Maelbeek metro station, in the heart of the European Union’s capital, and 11 dead at the airport, and scores of injured.
According to reports, there was a ‘twin blast’ in Brussels airport and one explosion at the metro station, downgraded to 31 killed in total as of March 24th.
Below we’ll examine the shocking situation in Brussels, its links to other attacks, some of the major questions surrounding this case and lay out some of the existing evidence we know to date…
‘TERROR TV REDUX’ – The alleged Brussels bombers caught on CCTV, shades of London 7/7 (Photo link youtube)
Hebdo, Paris and Brussels
Though the Brussels attack appears somewhat different than the Hebdo shootings and Paris attacks of 2015, there are overlapping narratives to consider that tie all three events together.
Perhaps most notably, we saw a similar radicalized brother theme during and after the Charlie Hebdo magazine shooting from January of 2015, as a jihadist duo allegedly carried out a major shooting attack in downtown Paris, only to be killed later in a six-hour standoff by police some 50 miles away from Paris.
Soon after, it was then discovered that the Paris shooters also had a third accomplice following the heavily dramatized magazine shooting attack/siege. In fact, if you remember, it didn’t take long for investigators and media implicate the ‘Kouachi brothers’ (CherifKouachiandSaid Kouachi) as being the two masked individuals seen fleeing the Charlie Hebdo offices, as Said’s identification had been ‘discovered’ laying on the seat of the apparent get-away vehicle, left perfectly intact near the Paris shooting as if by magic.
It was then revealed, coincidentally or not, that there were major terror links discovered following the theatrical Paris shootings at the Charlie Hebdo magazine headquarters, as media outlets declared that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) had taken responsibility for the attacks – as well as helped to finance the apparent perpetrators, the Kouachi brothers.
Then by a twist of fate, there was an allegedly ISIS-inspired attack carried out by the Kouachi brothers accomplice Amedy Coulibaly,who had released audio recordings and terror declarations via YouTube, professing his allegiance to ISIS, while he was supposedly working side by side with the Kouachi brothers, who claimed they were “financed by AQAP”, to carry out their part in the attack.
If the Hebdo/Paris attacks were to be accepted at face value – it would mark a clear connection between AQAP and ISIS. It was no surprise then that this is exactly the narrative we saw formed over a year ago in Yemen.
Then after all of the high-flying media confusion, we learned that authorities already knew the identities of the Kouachi brothers for at least ten years, as at least one brother was placed on a “no fly list” and both had been under police surveillance since Said Kouachi allegedly trained with AQAP in 2011.
Looking at the clues in Paris, leads directly to Brussels…
Following the first orchestrated Paris attack in January of 2015, Belgium was already in the periphery concerning terror networks, as a weapons supply cache was causally revealed by theWall Street Journal, as well as a dark underground network of apparent militants:
An official with the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office said that a man presented himself to the police in Charleroi, a city in southern Belgium, saying he bought a car from Mr. Coulibaly’s wife, Hayat Boumeddiene, who is now believed to be living in Islamic State-controlled territory in Syria. Ms. Boumeddiene left France for Turkey a few days before the Paris attacks occurred.
The police then searched the man’s home and discovered evidence that he was involved in weapons trafficking, the official said. A judge ordered the arrest of the man, who wasn’t identified. But officials say it is unclear whether Mr. Coulibaly bought any weapons from the man.
Said and Cherif Kouachi named in the Charlie Hebdo attack, purchased AK-47 assault rifles and rocket launchers “for less than €5,000 near Gare du Midi, one of the main Brussels railway stations, located in a gritty area of the city.”
Following the second round of Paris attacks, French authorities launched a massive manhunt for “possible” eighth suspect in the terrorist attacks that killed 129 people and wounded more than 350 others.
‘TERRORIST OR INFORMANT? – Salah Abdeslam, the purported mastermind behind
November’s Paris attacks in 2015.(Photo link twitter)
Paris Mastermind or Petty Drug Dealer?
Belgium authorities had been routinely running anti-terror raids since the Charlie Hebdo attacks and double siege that followed back in January of 2015. In fact, Brussels renewed its raids in the aftermath of the Paris attacks from November of last year, while looking for the “most wanted man” in Europe, Paris attacks suspect, Salah Abdeslam.
The Brussels attacks came just days after investigators apprehended Abdeslam, who had been hiding out inside a suburb very familiar to authorities in Brussels.
According to reports, for over four months, Belgium officials had apparently sought Abdeslam, suspecting he was located in a Brussels suburb not far from where he grew up in Molenbeek, and according to reports, “They rounded up his friends and fellow drug dealers and thieves, and interrogated members of his family.”
In December of 2015, Belgium officials had believed they had pinpointed the area where Abdeslam had been holed up – but due to a law prohibiting nighttime raids (between 9pm – 5am) the so-called Paris attacks ‘mastermind’ alluded apprehension.
This begs the question: How did Abdeslam, become mastermind of the Paris attacks, as his pedigree by all accounts, appears to be one linked to a life of petty thievery and drug deals?
While this kind of story makes for an intriguing Hollywood drama, complete with all the cat and mouse hijinks, it’s more likely that Belgium officials were monitoring Abdeslam’s every move for some time over the last year and had already been seeking to change the security protocols about nighttime raids for sometime.
According to VICE, it turns out police had been monitoring their prime suspect in the Paris attacks, after gathering intel from Abdeslam’s brother Brahim Abdeslam’s funeral, who, we’re told, had also participated in the attacks.
Interestingly, Abdeslam’s brother’s funeral was some five months after the Paris attacks, and that authorities became suspicious of Abdeslam’s apartment as they were already watching it because“a large number of pizzas were delivered there,” according to both VICE and Politico.
Problem, Reaction, Solution, Again…
All across Europe ‘terror’ threat levels have been raised for maximum impact, with fear induced talking points led by US and UK leadership promising to put an end to this latest set of terror attacks coming out of Brussels.
While many political leaders and media operatives continue to bang the drums of security over so-called terror ‘sleeper cells’ hiding in a nation near you – none of them will acknowledge the historical fact that they themselves have also helped to harbor, grow, foment and radicalize individuals through counter-terrorism operations for decades.
Allied nations of course will bring up the fact that Western intelligence regularly uses double agents and informants under the banner of security to obfuscate the true intentions of such programs.
The Media is already preempting the next shockwave of terror, even though every security agency across Europe is on high alert. Take a look at the CBS passage below that sets the stage – they way big media wants you to see it:
While investigators believe the deadly Brussels attacks were accelerated by Friday’s arrest of the chief suspect in November’s Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, U.S. investigators are working under the assumption that it’s possible other similar plots may have been rushed into motion as well, CBS News homeland security correspondent Jeff Pegues reports.
Adding even more confusion in the aftermath of the Brussels attacks, we see another passage from the same CBS report that quotes FBI Director James Comey, stating that the attack images will ‘dissuade’ some individuals from joining ISIS, while explaining that there could be copycatattacks inspired by the events this week:
During a press conference, Lynch and FBI Director James Comey acknowledged a concern that the attacks would inspire copycats, Reid reports. However Comey said he believes the pictures of the carnage may dissuade some people from joining ISIS because the pictures show the group isn’t actually building a caliphate, but instead killing innocent people.
According to officials, the Paris attacks were plotted in Brussels and as Mashable tells us, “In the fall, the neighborhood (Molenbeek) first became the focus of attention after it was revealed that the brothers Salah and Ibrahim Abdeslam, at the center of the Paris attack investigation, lived in the neighborhood.
Continuing, Mashable presents the backdrop that allegedly allowed terror to thrive in an area known for drugs and arms trafficking, according to Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister Jan Jambon:
Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Jan Jambon acknowledged in November that the the illegal economy of guns, drugs and petty crime in the neighborhood had been used to fund extremist activities. Despite plans to “clean up” the neighborhood, radical networks had been allowed to thrive in Molenbeek and elsewhere in the city, he admitted.
This presents the biggest question so far in this article: If we are to accept that authorities were monitoring Molenbeek and Abdeslam at least since the November Paris attacks, how is it that they sat on his arrest for five months, days before the double attack in Brussels knowing the danger that was out there?
Additionally, from the beginning, officials presented that the Brussels attacks were a response to Abdeslam’s arrest, when the timing of the attacks could have also been attributed to a deliberate lapse in security, allowing attackers months of planning, uninterrupted by authorities – even when they had prior knowledge of those allegedly involved.
The Belgian security services, as well as other Western intelligence agencies, had advance and precise intelligence warnings regarding the terrorist attacks in Belgium on Tuesday, Haaretz has learned.
The security services knew, with a high degree of certainty, that attacks were planned in the very near future for the airport and, apparently, for the subway as well.
Despite the advance warning, the intelligence and security preparedness in Brussels, where most of the European Union agencies are located, was limited in its scope and insufficient for the severity and immediacy of the alert.
Aanirfan reports that the police had questioned the Brussels bombers just a week before the airport and subway attack:
One of the first videos published by Belgium’s mainstream media, was, according to reports, from the CC security surveillance cameras at Brussels airport. The video report was released at 9.07am, one hour after the first bomb attack at the airport.
The video was fake. What Derniere Heure and La Libre published was footage from a January 2011 terror attack at Moscow International airport.
Journalists and media editors are fully aware that surveillance videos at an airport are under the jurisdiction of the airport’s security authorities. They are not normally released immediately after a terror attack.
There was no way the media could have got hold of the surveillance videos in the immediate wake of the attacks. Moreover, following the attack, the airport was closed down.
In another words, the airport surveillance video would not have been available to the media less than one hour after the terror event.
Chossudovsky, then explains how the media manipulation didn’t end there:
The terror attack in the afternoon of March 22 at Brussels Maelbeek Metro station was reported by mainstream media including CNN.
In these reports, video footage from a 2011 terror attack in Minsk, Belarus was used by network TV and online media to describe what was happening in the metro station at the time of the attacks.
On one hand, authorities and their media counterparts want you to believe the terror attacks of today are some kind of unforeseen black swan event but the reality is, these incidents prove time and again examples of pre-planning and foreknowledge before an incident occurs.
Today the UK’s Telegraph reports, that the Bakraoui brothers named in the Brussels twin terror attacks, were already known to US officials before the Paris attacks, as both had been placed on a watch list:
Brahim El Bakraoui, one of the Brussels suicide bombers, was on a US counterterrorism watch list before the November attacks in Paris and his brother Khalid was put on the list shortly afterward, sources familiar with the matter said, Reuters writes.
Reuters previously reported that both brothers had been known to U.S. authorities before the March 18 arrest of Salah Abdeslam, a French national who prosecutors say had a key role in the Paris attacks.
Many critics of today’s terror events, often cite the uncanny timing of security measures around the time of these incidents. The Brussels attack, appears to be no different, as the EU has been seeking a controversial ‘passenger name record system’ since at least the Paris attacks. The proposal has been met with much opposition, as some law makers are concerned about public privacy.
Earlier this week according to the EUObserver (hat-tip Ger Anono), “EU interior ministers are expected to hold an emergency meeting in the wake of Tuesday’s attacks in Brussels, as European authorities try – again – to find ways to address the terrorism threat.
With the use of existing databases, ministers will discuss “the launch of a new EU-wide air passenger name record (PNR) system.”
The PNR was something we at 21WIRE had brought up after the first wave of Paris attacks.
Perhaps the most bizarre and extremely questionable story to come out since the Brussels attacks, were the reports of Mason Wells, a Mormon missionary, who allegedly survived three separate terror attacks since 2013 – Boston, Paris and Brussels.
On October 21, the largest NATO military exercises in 13 years moved into an active phase testing threat response. The drills involve over 36,000 troops from 30 NATO and partner countries.
The first phase of the Trident Juncture drills began October 3, running for two weeks in Canada, Norway, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. The second part is taking place in southern Europe – Spain, Italy, and Portugal – as well as in the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
Similarly, in February, The Daily Mail published an article reporting “Europe’s largest-ever disaster response training exercise”:
Police, firefighters and paramedics will this week work side-by-side with more than 70 partner agencies including local councils, utility companies and specialist search and rescue teams to respond to the disaster during the four-day drill.
Disaster victim identification teams from all UK police regions are also working alongside other forensic specialists in a mortuary on site.
Teams will also be working alongside firefighters from Italy, Hungary and Cyprus who will also be mobilised to the incident on Wednesday.
Although this scenario is not a terrorist attack, we will be practising procedures and systems that are common to any emergency that results in a large number of fatalities and injuries.
‘CRISIS ACTORS’ – Two actors with fake gory wounds seen here laughing in between
playing their part in the exercise. (Photo link livestream)
That’s not all. Back in 2013, “a full-scale emergency drill at Brussels Airport to test and evaluate the preparedness of our airport emergency services in the event of an incident.”
Here’s a YouTube video depicting the Brussels Airport drill in April of 2013, and then again in April of 2015…
In addition to the French, Belgium and Italian branches of Operation GLADIO, there is also the rarely mentioned British contingent – GLADIO’s key component, which seems to be international in scope – bringing GLADIO into a global context.
In a 2007 article by Nafeez Ahmed, entitled “The Strategy of Tension,” we discover the existence of many stay-behind operations under the Gladio umbrella:
The existence of this secret operation exploded into public controversy when in August 1990 upon the admissions in parliament by Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, the existence of ‘Gladio’ was exposed as a secret sub-section of Italian military-intelligence services, responsible for domestic bombings blamed on Italian Communists.
To provide a background on the existence of state-sponsored terror using proxy agents, here’s a link to a recent 21WIRE post concerning a BBC documentary entitled “Operation Gladio.”It describes how a secret army operated by the CIA and MI6 via NATO was used to carryout worldwide political objectives through a “strategy of tension.”
What will be next for Brussels and other NATO countries moving ahead?
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.