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FTR #910 The ISIS File, Part 2: The Belgian Muslim Brotherhood and The Brussels Bombings (The Killer B’s)

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. [1] The new drive is a 32-gigabyte drive that is current as of the programs and articles posted by early winter of 2016. The new drive (available for a tax-deductible contribution of $65.00 or more.)  (The previous flash drive was current through the end of May of 2012.)

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This program was recorded in one, 60-minute segment [6].

ISISEthiopia [7]

ISIS followers pledging allegiance to the group. [8]

ISIS followers pledging allegiance to the group.

 Introduction: The jihadi attacks in Brussels reminds us of a poem by Robinson Jeffers–“Be Angry at the Sun.”

That public men publish falsehoods
Is nothing new. That America must accept
Like the historical republics corruption and empire
Has been known for years.

Be angry at the sun for setting
If these things anger you. Watch the wheel slope and turn,
They are all bound on the wheel, these people, those warriors.
This republic, Europe, Asia.

Observe them gesticulating,
Observe them going down. The gang serves lies, the passionate
Man plays his part; the cold passion for truth
Hunts in no pack.

You are not Catullus, you know,
To lampoon these crude sketches of Caesar. You are far
From Dante’s feet, but even farther from his dirty
Political hatreds.

Let boys want pleasure, and men
Struggle for power, and women perhaps for fame,
And the servile to serve a Leader and the dupes to be duped.
Yours is not theirs.

In many recent programs, we have highlighted the use of Muslim Brotherhood Islamic fascists as proxy warriors and soldiers for corporatist economics in various parts of The Earth Island. (Among those are: FTR #’s 862 [9]863 [10]878 [11]879 [12]880 [13]884 [14]885 [15]886 [16].) We also presente [17]d a series of programs [18] detailing Fara Mansoor’s landmark research about the George H.W. Bush faction’s installation of the Shiite Islamic fundamentalist government in Iran.)

Once again, the world was “shocked, shocked” at the Brussels attacks, when–once again–the ongoing strategic use of Islamic fascists blows back on the West.  The frustration [19] of Operation Green Quest [19], which revealed the profound links [20] between the Bush/Grover Norquist/Karl Rove [21] milieu and the funding [22] of Muslim Brotherhood-linked terrorists [23] involved in the 9/11 attacks set the stage for other lethal blowback incidents from the use of Brotherhood proxies.  The downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 [24] and the Boston Marathon Bombing [25] appear to be among those blowback incidents.

The Syrian bloodbath stems from the use [26] of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda-linked combatants backed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar by elements of CIA to remove the Assad regime in Syria. ISIS [13] is a direct outgrowth of the so-called Arab Spring and the Syrian covert “op.”

An examination of the Muslim Brotherhood in Belgium highlights the profound presence of that organization there, its infiltration of government and civil society and links between its leadership and the milieu [27] of the Bank al-Taqwa [28] and Youssef Nada [29]. Al-Taqwa cements the Nazi/Islamist [30] relationship that is at the heart of the power group we have analyzed.

Do not fail to note that the milieu of the Brussels bombers [31] may have been targeting nuclear power plants in that country and that ISIS may be looking to go nuclear [32]. ” . . . On Fri­day, the author­i­ties stripped secu­rity badges from sev­eral work­ers at one of two plants where all nonessen­tial employ­ees had been sent home hours after the attacks at the Brus­sels air­port and one of the city’s busiest sub­way sta­tions three days ear­lier. Video footage of a top offi­cial at another Bel­gian nuclear facil­ity was dis­cov­ered last year in the apart­ment of a sus­pected mil­i­tant linked to the extrem­ists who unleashed the hor­ror in Paris in November. . . .”

Again, many listeners may be confused by the dualistic commitment on the part of the U.S. and the West. In addition to the Muslim Brotherhood’s corporatist economic philosophy, jihadis are useful as proxy warriors. Several articles from Consortium News provide depth and clarification to this dynamic.

An insightful article [33] by Daniel Lazare on the Consortium News website notes a significant feature of the U.S. bombing in Syria: ” . . . As the Times put it at the time: ‘Any airstrikes against Islamic State militants in and around Palmyra would probably benefit the forces of President Bashar al-Assad. So far, United States-led airstrikes in Syria have largely focused on areas far outside government control, to avoid the perception of aiding a leader whose ouster President Obama has called for.’ The upshot was a clear message to ISIS to the effect that it had nothing to worry about from U.S. jet bombers as long as it engaged Assad’s troops in close combat. The U.S. thus incentivized ISIS to press forward with the assault [on Palmyra]. Although residents later wondered why the U.S. had not bombed ISIS forces “while they were traversing miles of open desert roads,” the answer, simply, is that Washington had other things on its mind. Rather than defeating ISIS, it preferred to use it to accomplish its primary goal, which was driving out Assad. . . .”

Lazare makes an important summary point: ” . . . Simply that America’s fundamental ambivalence toward ISIS, Al Qaeda, and similar groups — its policy of battling them on one hand and seeking to make use of them on the other — is what allows Sunni terrorism to fester and grow. . . .”

Naumann Sadiq makes another important point [34]–that the ISIS attacks in Europe began after the West began bombing ISIS, an act that constituted a “betrayal” of the organization by the powers that had previously supported it. ” . . . . If we look at the chain of events, the timing of Paris and Brussels attacks is critical: Islamic State overran Mosul in June 2014; the Obama administration started bombing Islamic State’s targets in Iraq and Syria in August 2014; and the first Islamic State incident of terrorism on Western soil took place at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in January 2015, followed by the November 2015 Paris attacks and the March 2016 Brussels bombings. . . .”

Another Daniel Lazare article from Consortium News notes the use of other Sunni jihadist groups [35] as proxy warriors in Syria: ” . . . But it otherwise tilted toward Al Nusra Front, as Al Qaeda is locally known, which it now regarded as less dangerous, or toward groups with which Al Nusra is closely aligned. . . Similarly, the U.S. resisted classifying a Salafist army known as Ahrar al-Sham as terrorist even though it collaborates closely with Al Nusra and its ideology is virtually identical, as Stephen Gowans recently noted at the Global Research website. . . . The same goes for a Free Syrian Army unit known as the 13th Division, which the US has long backed even though it maintains “a tacit collaboration with Nusra” according to The Wall Street Journal “and even shared with the group some of its ammunition supplies. . . . Mohammad Alloush, who enjoys strong US backing as the chief rebel negotiator at the Geneva peace talks, is a leader of yet another Salafist group called Jaysh al-Islam, which issued a blood-curdling call to exterminate Syria’s Alawite community in July 2013. . . . But while one might think this would place Jaysh al-Islam beyond the pale, former Ambassador to Syria Robert S. Ford praised it a year later as one of the “moderate” rebel forces that were making life “particularly painful” for the Damascus government. . . . Secretary of State John Kerry assailed Assad for bombing rebel positions in Aleppo even though it is clear that so-called “moderates” have intermingled with Al Nusra fighters to the degree that it is impossible to attack one without affecting the other. . . . Colonel Steve Warren, spokesman for US military forces in Iraq, conceded in a press briefing that “it’s primarily al-Nusra who holds Aleppo . . . .”

Adding yet another layer of intrigue to the scenario we are delineating, King Abdullah of Jordan has charged that Turkey is deliberately sending ISIS terrorists [36] to Europe. We note that the EU has made a sweetheart deal with Turkey, overlooking its burgeoning Islamic fascism and blatant trampling of civil liberties and freedom of the press in order to win Erdogan’s cooperation in limiting Islamic migration to the continent.

Program Highlights Include: 

1. The program begins with discussion of the Belgian Muslim Brotherhood’s links with the milieu of Youssef Nada and the Bank al-Taqwa. Bassem Hatahet is one of the principal figures in this constellation. ” . . . . Security sources in Belgium describe Mr. Hatahet as the most important Muslim Brotherhood figure in Belgium, and a Bassem Hatahet was listed in a 1999 phonebook belonging to Youssef Nada, a self-described leader of the Muslim Brotherhood who was designated by the U.S. in 2002 as a terrorism financier. . . .”

“The Muslim Brotherhood in Belgium” by Steve Merley; Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch; 4/14/2008. [39]

… A 2002 report by the Intelligence Committee of the Belgian Parliament explained how the Brotherhood operates in Belgium:

“The State Security Service has been following the activities of the International Muslim Brotherhood in Belgium since 1982. The International Muslim Brotherhood has had a clandestine structure for nearly 20 years. The identity of the members is secret; they operate in the greatest discretion. They seek to spread their ideology within the Islamic community of Belgium and they aim in particular at the young people of the second and third generation of immigrants. In Belgium as in other European countries, they try to take control of the religious, social, and sports associations and establish themselves as privileged interlocutors of the national authorities in order to manage Islamic affairs. The Muslim Brotherhood assumes that the national authorities will be pressed more and more to select Muslim leaders for such management and, in this context, they try to insert within the representative bodies, individuals influenced by their ideology. With this purpose, they were very actively involved in the electoral process to carry out the election of the members of the chief body for the management of Islam in Belgium. Another aspect of this strategy is to cause or maintain tensions by positing that a Muslim or Islamic association is a victim of Western values, hence the affair over the Muslim headscarf in public schools. . . . .”

…. A January 2007 article posted on the Internet describes a Bassem Hatahet as a member of the FIOE [a Brotherhood affiliate in Belgium]. He is 43-years old and was born in Damascus, Syria, where he likely still has relatives. Various sources list a residential address for Mr. Hatahet in northwest central Brussels.

Security sources in Belgium describe Mr. Hatahet as the most important Muslim Brotherhood figure in Belgium, and a Bassem Hatahet was listed in a 1999 phonebook belonging to Youssef Nada, a self-described leader of the Muslim Brotherhood who was designated by the U.S. in 2002 as a terrorism financier. . . .

. . . . Far more successful have been the Belgian-based components of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), particularly the Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organizations (FEMYSO), which have managed to achieve official status at the UN, as well as with the Council of Europe and the European Commission. In addition, the location of the FIOE national office in Brussels has resulted in elevating the status of the Belgian branch that recently reported becoming “very active.” Leading the FIOE office in Brussels is Bassem Hatahet, whose name appears on virtually all of the paperwork associated with the Muslim Brotherhood organizations in Belgium.

This would appear to confirm Mr. Hatahet’s role as the most important figure in the Belgian Brotherhood as reported by the Belgian security services. . . .

. . . . 4. The Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organizations (FEMYSO)

Founded in 1996 and headquartered in Brussels, FEMYSO is the youth and student division of FIOE and will be discussed later in this report. . . . .

  • Hadia Himmat is the former FEMYSO Vice President and likely the daughter of Ali Ghaleb Himmat, long-time head of the IGD and Mr. El- Zayat’s predecessor and close associate of Youssef Nada, the “foreign minister” for the International Muslim Brotherhood and also a former member of the IGD. . . .

2. Embodying the dynamic we have covered in connection with the development of ISIS, the Syrian-born Hatahet has been serving with the anti-Assad jihadi forces in Syria. Those forces, of course, have received the support of elements of Western and American intelligence.

“Muslim Brotherhood Affiliation of Belgian Brotherhood Leader Confirmed;” Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch; 9/18/2012.  [40]

…The website of the Syrian National Council, the umbrella group representing the opposition to the regime of Syrian President Assad, confirms the Muslim Brotherhood affiliation of one of its members as first reported [41] by the GMBDW in 2008. The SNC website  identifies [42] Bassem Hatahet as a member if its “Muslim Brotherhood Alliance.” Mr. Hatahet was identified as a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Belgium by a 2008 NEFA Foundation report [43] . . . .

3. Just imag­ine if ISIS, a sui­ci­dal “state”, had hack­ing capa­bil­i­ties and not just for crit­i­cal infra­struc­ture like dams but the kind that can lit­er­ally go “crit­i­cal”: nuclear plants. And beyond hack­ing, just imag­ine if ISIS had the abil­ity to infil­trate nuclear facil­i­ties and either steal radioac­tive mate­r­ial or cause a melt­down. Would fear of a mas­sive, over­whelm­ing retal­ia­tory attack really dis­suade ISIS from attempt­ing to a nuclear facil­i­ties into giant dirty bombs?

The attacks in Brus­sels were basi­cally the rushed Plan B for the terror-network. Plan A was some sort of nuclear attack, and with a secu­rity guard for the national radioac­tive ele­ments insti­tute at Fleu­rus [44] mur­dered after the Brus­sels attack, it’s rather unclear just how aban­doned Plan A really is at this point. It seems ongo­ing. As we see in the first arti­cle, it’s the nuclear research facil­i­ties that hold the highly-enriched ura­nium that could be used to build an actual prim­i­tive nuclear bomb.

“Bel­gium Fears Nuclear Plants Are Vulnerable” by Alissa J. Rubin and Milan Schreuer; The New York Times; 3/25/2016. [45]

As a drag­net aimed at Islamic State oper­a­tives spi­raled across Brus­sels and into at least five Euro­pean coun­tries on Fri­day, the author­i­ties were also focus­ing on a nar­rower but increas­ingly alarm­ing threat: the vul­ner­a­bil­ity of Belgium’s nuclear installations.

The inves­ti­ga­tion into this week’s deadly attacks in Brus­sels has prompted wor­ries that the Islamic State is seek­ing to attack, infil­trate or sab­o­tage nuclear instal­la­tions or obtain nuclear or radioac­tive mate­r­ial. This is espe­cially wor­ry­ing in a coun­try with a his­tory of secu­rity lapses at its nuclear facil­i­ties, a weak intel­li­gence appa­ra­tus and a deeply rooted ter­ror­ist network.

On Fri­day, the author­i­ties stripped secu­rity badges from sev­eral work­ers at one of two plants where all nonessen­tial employ­ees had been sent home hours after the attacks at the Brus­sels air­port and one of the city’s busiest sub­way sta­tions three days ear­lier. Video footage of a top offi­cial [46] at another Bel­gian nuclear facil­ity was dis­cov­ered last year in the apart­ment of a sus­pected mil­i­tant linked to the extrem­ists who unleashed the hor­ror in Paris in November.

Asked on Thurs­day at a Lon­don think tank whether there was a dan­ger of the Islamic State’s obtain­ing a nuclear weapon, the British defense sec­re­tary, Michael Fal­lon, said that “was a new and emerg­ing threat.”

While the prospect that ter­ror­ists can obtain enough highly enriched ura­nium and then turn it into a nuclear fis­sion bomb seems far-fetched to many experts, they say the fab­ri­ca­tion of some kind of dirty bomb from radioac­tive waste or byprod­ucts is more con­ceiv­able. There are a vari­ety of other risks involv­ing Belgium’s facil­i­ties, includ­ing that ter­ror­ists some­how shut down the pri­vately oper­ated plants, which pro­vide nearly half of Belgium’s power.

The fears at the nuclear power plants are of “an acci­dent in which some­one explodes a bomb inside the plant,” said Sébastien Berg, the spokesman for Belgium’s fed­eral agency for nuclear con­trol. “The other dan­ger is that they fly some­thing into the plant from out­side.” That could stop the cool­ing process of the used fuel, Mr. Berg explained, and in turn shut down the plant.

The rev­e­la­tion of the video sur­veil­lance footage was the first evi­dence that the Islamic State has a focused inter­est in nuclear mate­r­ial. But Belgium’s nuclear facil­i­ties have long had a wor­ry­ing track record of breaches, prompt­ing warn­ings from Wash­ing­ton and other for­eign capitals.

Some of these are rel­a­tively minor: The Bel­gian nuclear agency’s com­puter sys­tem was hacked this year and shut down briefly. In 2013, two indi­vid­u­als man­aged to scale the fence at Belgium’s research reac­tor in the city of Mol, break into a lab­o­ra­tory and steal equipment.

Oth­ers are far more dis­con­cert­ing. In 2012, two employ­ees at the nuclear plant in Doel quit to join jihadists in Syria, and even­tu­ally trans­ferred their alle­giances to the Islamic State. Both men fought in a brigade that included dozens of Bel­gians, includ­ing Abdel­hamid Abaaoud, con­sid­ered the on-the-ground leader of the Paris attacks.

One of these men is believed to have died fight­ing in Syria, but the other was con­victed of terror-related offenses in Bel­gium in 2014, and released from prison last year, accord­ing to Pieter Van Oes­taeyen, a researcher who tracks Belgium’s jihadist net­works. It is not known whether they com­mu­ni­cated infor­ma­tion about their for­mer work­place to their Islamic State comrades.

At the same plant where these jihadists once worked, an indi­vid­ual who has yet to be iden­ti­fied walked into the reac­tor No. 4 in 2014, turned a valve and drained 65,000 liters of oil used to lubri­cate the tur­bines. The ensu­ing fric­tion nearly over­heated the machin­ery, forc­ing it to be shut down. The dam­age was so severe that the reac­tor was out of com­mis­sion for five months.

Inves­ti­ga­tors are now look­ing into pos­si­ble links between that case and ter­ror­ist groups, although they cau­tion that it could also have been the work of an insider with a work­place grudge. What is clear is that the act was meant to sow dan­ger­ous havoc — and that the plant’s secu­rity sys­tems can be breached.

“This was a delib­er­ate act to take down the nuclear reac­tor, and a very good way to do it,” Mr. Berg, the nuclear agency spokesman, said of the episode in a recent interview.

These inci­dents are now all being seen in a new light, as infor­ma­tion is mount­ing from inves­ti­ga­tors that the ter­ror­ist net­work that hit Paris and Brus­sels may have been in the plan­ning stages of some kind of oper­a­tion at a Bel­gian nuclear facility.

Three men linked to the sur­veil­lance video were involved in either the Paris or the Brus­sels attacks.

Ibrahim and Khalid el-Bakraoui, the broth­ers who the author­i­ties say were sui­cide bombers at the Brus­sels air­port and sub­way sta­tion, are believed to have dri­ven to the sur­veilled scientist’s home and removed a cam­era that was hid­den in nearby bushes. The author­i­ties believe they then took it to a house con­nected to Mohammed Bakkali, who was arrested by the Bel­gian police after the Paris attacks and is accused of help­ing with logis­tics and plan­ning. The police found the video­cam­era dur­ing a raid on the house.

Bel­gium has both low-enriched ura­nium, which fuels its two power plants, and highly enriched ura­nium, which is used in its research reac­tor pri­mar­ily to make med­ical iso­topes, plus the byprod­ucts of that process. The United States pro­vides Bel­gium with highly enriched ura­nium — mak­ing it par­tic­u­larly con­cerned about radioac­tive mate­ri­als land­ing in ter­ror­ist hands — and then buys isotopes.

Experts say the most remote of the poten­tial nuclear-related risks is that Islamic State oper­a­tives would be able to obtain highly enriched ura­nium. Even the dan­ger of a dirty bomb is lim­ited, they said, because much radioac­tive waste is so toxic it would likely sicken or kill the peo­ple try­ing to steal it.

Cheryl Rofer, a retired nuclear sci­en­tist at the Los Alamos National Lab­o­ra­tory and edi­tor of the blog Nuclear Diner, said Belgium’s Tihange nuclear plant has pres­sur­ized water reac­tors, inside a heavy steel ves­sel, reduc­ing the dan­ger that nuclear fuel could leak or spread. She said that the Brus­sels bombers’ explo­sive of choice, TATP, might be able to dam­age parts of the plant but that the dam­age would shut down the reac­tor, lim­it­ing the radi­a­tion damage.

And if ter­ror­ists did man­age to shut down the reac­tor and reach the fuel rods, they would have to remove them with a crane to get the fuel out of them, Ms. Rofer said. And then the fuel would still be “too radioac­tive to go near — it would kill you quickly.”

While experts are doubt­ful that ter­ror­ists could steal the highly enriched ura­nium at the Mol reac­tor with­out alert­ing law enforce­ment, some nuclear sci­en­tists do believe that if they could obtain it, they could recruit peo­ple who know how to fash­ion a prim­i­tive nuclear device.

Matthew Bunn, a spe­cial­ist in nuclear secu­rity at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Gov­ern­ment, said another worry was the byprod­ucts of the iso­topes made at Mol, such as Cesium-137.

“It’s like tal­cum pow­der,” he said. “If you made a dirty bomb out of it, it’s going to pro­voke fear, you would have to evac­u­ate and you have to spend a lot of money clean­ing it up; the eco­nomic destruc­tion cost could be very high.”

The dis­cov­ery of the sur­veil­lance video in Novem­ber set off alarm bells across the small nuclear-security com­mu­nity, with fresh wor­ries that ter­ror groups could kid­nap, extort or oth­er­wise coerce a nuclear sci­en­tist into help­ing them. The offi­cial whose fam­ily was watched works at Mol, one of five research reac­tors world­wide that pro­duce 90 per­cent of the radio iso­topes used for med­ical diag­no­sis and treatment.

Pro­fes­sor Bunn of Har­vard noted that the Islamic State “has an apoc­a­lyp­tic ide­ol­ogy and believes there is going to be a final war with the United States,” expects to win that war and “would need very pow­er­ful weapons to do so.”

“And if they ever did turn to nuclear weapons,” he added, “they have more peo­ple, more money and more ter­ri­tory under their con­trol and more abil­ity to recruit experts glob­ally than Al Qaeda at its best ever had.”


Oth­ers are far more dis­con­cert­ing. In 2012, two employ­ees at the nuclear plant in Doel quit to join jihadists in Syria, and even­tu­ally trans­ferred their alle­giances to the Islamic State. Both men fought in a brigade that included dozens of Bel­gians, includ­ing Abdel­hamid Abaaoud, con­sid­ered the on-the-ground leader of the Paris attacks.

One of these men is believed to have died fight­ing in Syria, but the other was con­victed of terror-related offenses in Bel­gium in 2014, and released from prison last year, accord­ing to Pieter Van Oes­taeyen, a researcher who tracks Belgium’s jihadist net­works. It is not known whether they com­mu­ni­cated infor­ma­tion about their for­mer work­place to their Islamic State comrades.

At the same plant where these jihadists once worked, an indi­vid­ual who has yet to be iden­ti­fied walked into the reac­tor No. 4 in 2014, turned a valve and drained 65,000 liters of oil used to lubri­cate the tur­bines. The ensu­ing fric­tion nearly over­heated the machin­ery, forc­ing it to be shut down. The dam­age was so severe that the reac­tor was out of com­mis­sion for five months.

4. Didier Prospero, a security guard with G4S security, was assigned to a Belgian nuclear power plant. Whether or not it is relevant, that is the same company [47] for which Omar Mateen–the Orlando killer–worked.

Prospero was shot to death (as was his dog) and his security pass was missing. This incident heightened fears of a terrorist attack on a nuclear plant.

“Secu­rity Guard’s Mur­der Fuels Fears That Nuclear Plants in Bel­gium Could Be Attacked” by Tess Owen; Vice News; 3/26/2016. [32]

With Brus­sels still reel­ing in the after­math of the deadly bomb­ings this week, the mur­der of a nuclear power plant secu­rity guard and the theft of his badge has com­pounded fears that Belgium’s two sprawl­ing nuclear plants could be vul­ner­a­ble to attacks.

The secu­rity guard was found dead in his home in Charleroi, a post-industrial region known for its derelict fac­to­ries and slag heaps. Didier Pros­pero, who worked for U.S.–owned security company G4S [owned by Wackenhut–D.E.], was dis­cov­ered shot dead in his bath­room on Thurs­day night. Bel­gian daily Derniere Heure (DH) reported [48] that Prospero’s chil­dren found him, and that his dog had also been shot. His secu­rity pass was miss­ing but deac­ti­vated after his body was found, DH said.

A police spokesper­son was unable to pro­vide VICE News with fur­ther infor­ma­tion about the case due to the ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion. Bel­gian pros­e­cu­tors told DH that they had not found any cor­re­la­tion between the guard’s mur­der and ter­ror­ism. Nev­er­the­less, the tim­ing of his death days after the bomb­ings in Brus­sels fueled con­cerns that mil­i­tants could be try­ing to get their hands on mate­ri­als to build a radioac­tive dirty bomb. . . .

Hours after sui­cide bomb­ings rocked Brus­sels trans­port hubs on Tues­day, killing 31 peo­ple and injur­ing hun­dreds, Belgium’s Tihange nuclear plant was par­tially evac­u­ated, and all work­ers who were not strictly nec­es­sary were sent home early. The head of Belgium’s nuclear reg­u­la­tory agency said [49] on Tues­day that, while there were no direct threats to the plant, the move to partial-evacuation was “based on new infor­ma­tion and the events of [Tues­day]. Extra secu­rity mea­sures were taken.”

How­ever, the claim that there hadn’t been a direct threat mounted against Belgium’s nuclear infra­struc­ture isn’t entirely accu­rate. In Feb­ru­ary, Bel­gian author­i­ties dis­cov­ered 10-hours worth of secretly recorded video footage show­ing one of the country’s top nuclear sci­en­tists com­ing and going from his home. The mate­r­ial was dis­cov­ered dur­ing a counter-terrorism raid on the home of Mohamed Bakkali, who was arrested and charged with ter­ror­ism and mur­der asso­ci­ated with the Novem­ber 13 Paris attacks. Ibrahim and Khalid el-Bakraoui — broth­ers who author­i­ties believe were the alleged sui­cide bombers at Brus­sels’ air­port and sub­way — are sus­pected to have planted the cam­era, which was hid­den in bushes near the scientist’s house.

Experts and offi­cials have con­tended [50] that sur­veilling the nuclear offi­cial, who had access to secure areas of a nuclear research facil­ity in Mol, was part of a grander scheme to take him hostage and force him to hand over radioac­tive material.

DH reported on Thurs­day that the sui­cide bombers who self-detonated on Tues­day were orig­i­nally plan­ning an attack on nuclear facil­i­ties. How­ever, as Bel­gian police started clos­ing in on their extrem­ist net­work and arrested sus­pected ter­ror­ists such as Salah Abdeslam, DH said, mil­i­tants were under pres­sure to carry out an attack as soon as pos­si­ble, and aban­doned the grander plan of tar­get­ing Belgium’s nuclear infrastructure.

Sébastien Berg, the spokesman for Belgium’s fed­eral agency for nuclear con­trol said a poten­tial attack poses a num­ber of risks. First, that ter­ror­ists infil­trate the plant and shut down their oper­a­tions, which would send about half the coun­try into a blackout.

Another fear, Berg said, was of “an acci­dent in which some­one explodes a bomb inside the plant.” Lastly, Berg said, “the other dan­ger is that they fly some­thing into the plant from out­side,” which would stop the cool­ing process of the fuel and force the plant to shut down.

Until two years ago, secu­rity around the plants was fairly lax [51]. In 2014, Bel­gian offi­cials installed secu­rity cam­eras and devel­oped a plan to com­bat cyber­at­tacks. They also man­dated that all employ­ees move in groups to avoid sab­o­tage by a lone wolf.

Just 11 days before the attacks shook Brus­sels, Belgium’s two nuclear facil­i­ties — which con­tain seven reac­tors — were guarded by unarmed secu­rity per­son­nel. On March 11, the Bel­gian gov­ern­ment deployed 140 troops to beef up secu­rity at the nuclear facil­i­ties, a tem­po­rary solu­tion until a new armed police force is trained to take over. . . .

5. Reports of leaked com­ments made by Jordan’s King Abdul­lah to US Con­gress mem­bers back in Jan­u­ary are going to be par­tic­u­larly con­tro­ver­sial in the wake of Brus­sels attacks: Not only does Turkey have a pol­icy of pro­mot­ing ISIS in Syria, but the flow of ISIS mem­bers into Europe is also part of Turkey’s pol­icy. So says the King.  Yikes [36]:

“Turkey Is Delib­er­ately ‘Unleash­ing’ ISIS Ter­ror­ists into Europe, Says Jordan’s King Abdul­lah” by Matt Broomfield; The Inde­pen­dent [36]; 3/27/2016. [36]

Turkey is export­ing ISIS-linked ter­ror­ists to Europe, accord­ing to King Abdul­lah of Jordan.

The monarch’s remarks came in a meet­ing with mem­bers of the US Con­gress, in which he said that Islamist mil­i­tants were being “man­u­fac­tured in Turkey” and “unleashed” into Europe. 

He also used the debrief­ing, held after a can­celled ren­dezvous with US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, to remind the US politi­cians of Turkey’s alleged com­plic­ity in buy­ing ISIS oil. 

“The fact that ter­ror­ists are going to Europe is part of Turk­ish pol­icy,” said King Abdul­lah. “Turkey keeps on get­ting a slap on the hand, but they are let off the hook.”

Argu­ing that the auto­cratic Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Tayyip Erdo­gan believes in a “rad­i­cal Islamic solu­tion to the region”, King Abdul­lah said.

“Turkey sought a reli­gious solu­tion to Syria, while we are look­ing at mod­er­ate ele­ments in the south and Jor­dan pushed for a third option that would not allow a reli­gious option.”

The meet­ing was held on 11 Jan­u­ary, but details of the King’s opin­ions have only just been leaked by Mid­dle East Eye [38].

Although Turkey and Jor­dan are offi­cially allies, the refugee cri­sis has height­ened ten­sions between the two nations. King Abdul­lah is under­stood to have been angered by the EU’s gen­er­ous offer of cash and diplo­matic ties in return for Turkey lim­it­ing the onward flow of refugees into the continent.

At roughly 75 mil­lion, Turkey’s pop­u­la­tion is over ten times that of Jordan’s, mean­ing the Arab nation is host­ing a pro­por­tion­ately greater num­ber of refugees. . . .

6. Abdullah also accused Turkey of supporting Islamist militias in Libya and Somalia.

“Jordan’s King Accuses Turkey of Sending Terrorists to Europe” by David Hearst; Middle East Eye; 3/25/2016. [38]

. . . . Abdullah said that Erdogan believed in a “radical Islamic solution to the region”.

He repeated: “Turkey sought a religious solution to Syria, while we are looking at moderate elements in the south and Jordan pushed for a third option that would not allow a religious option.”

The king presented Turkey as part of a strategic challenge to the world.

“We keep being forced to tackle tactical problems against ISIL [the Islamic State group] but not the strategic issue. We forget the issue [of] the Turks who are not with us on this strategically.”

He claimed that Turkey had not only supported religious groups in Syria, and was letting foreign fighters in, but had also been helping Islamist militias in Libya and Somalia. . . . 

7. Dur­ing a Skype inter­view in Octo­ber of 2015, Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s intel­i­gence service, railed against Rus­sia try­ing to sup­press Syria’s Islamist rev­o­lu­tion and asserted that “ISIS is a real­ity and we have to accept that we can­not erad­i­cate a well-organized and pop­u­lar estab­lish­ment such as the Islamic State; there­fore I urge my west­ern col­leagues to revise their mind­set about Islamic polit­i­cal cur­rents, put aside their cyn­i­cal men­tal­ité and thwart Vladimir Putin’s plans to crush Syr­ian Islamist rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies.”

 “Turk­ish Intel­li­gence Chief: Putin’s Inter­ven­tion in Syria Is Against Islam and Inter­na­tional Law, ISIS Is a Real­ity and We Are Opti­mistic about the Future”; AWD News [37]; 10/18/2015. [37]

Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s National Intel­li­gence Orga­ni­za­tion, known by the MIT acronym, has drawn a lot of atten­tion and crit­i­cism for his con­tro­ver­sial com­ments about ISIS.

Mr. Hakan Fidan, Turk­ish President’s staunchest ally, con­demned Russ­ian mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion in Syria, accus­ing Moscow of try­ing to ‘smother’ Syria’s Islamist rev­o­lu­tion and seri­ous breach of United Nations law.

“ISIS is a real­ity and we have to accept that we can­not erad­i­cate a well-organized and pop­u­lar estab­lish­ment such as the Islamic State; there­fore I urge my west­ern col­leagues to revise their mind­set about Islamic polit­i­cal cur­rents, put aside their cyn­i­cal men­tal­ité and thwart Vladimir Putin’s plans to crush Syr­ian Islamist rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies,” Anadolu News Agency quoted Mr. Fidan as say­ing on Sunday.

Fidan fur­ther added that in order to deal with the vast num­ber of for­eign Jihadists crav­ing to travel to Syria, it is imper­a­tive that ISIS must set up a con­sulate or at least a polit­i­cal office in Istan­bul. He under­lined that it is Turkey’s firm belief to pro­vide med­ical care for all injured peo­ple flee­ing Russ­ian ruth­less airstrikes regard­less of their polit­i­cal or reli­gious affiliation.

Recently as the fierce clashes between Russ­ian army and ISIS ter­ror­ists rag­ing across the war-torn Syria, count­less num­ber of ISIS injured fight­ers enter the Turk­ish ter­ri­tory and are being admit­ted in the mil­i­tary hos­pi­tals namely those in Hatay Province. Over the last few days, the Syr­ian army with the sup­port of Russ­ian air cover could fend off ISIS forces in strate­gic provinces of Homs and Hama.

Emile Hokayem, a Washington-based Mid­dle East ana­lyst said that Turkey’s Erdo­gan and his oil-rich Arab allies have dual agen­das in the war on ter­ror and as a mat­ter of fact they are sup­ply­ing the Islamist mil­i­tants with weapons and money, thus Russ­ian inter­ven­tion is con­sid­ered a dev­as­tat­ing set­back for their efforts to over­throw Syr­ian sec­u­lar Pres­i­dent Assad.

Hokayem who was speak­ing via Skype from Wash­ing­ton, D.C. high­lighted the dan­ger of Turkish-backed ter­ror­ist groups and added that what is hap­pen­ing in Syria can­not be cat­e­go­rized as a gen­uine and pop­u­lar rev­o­lu­tion against dic­ta­tor­ship but rather it is a chaos orches­trated by Erdo­gan who is dream­ing to revive this ancestor’s infa­mous Ottoman Empire.

8. An insightful article by Daniel Lazare on the Consortium News website notes a significant feature of the U.S. bombing in Syria: ” . . . As the Times put it at the time: ‘Any airstrikes against Islamic State militants in and around Palmyra would probably benefit the forces of President Bashar al-Assad. So far, United States-led airstrikes in Syria have largely focused on areas far outside government control, to avoid the perception of aiding a leader whose ouster President Obama has called for.’ The upshot was a clear message to ISIS to the effect that it had nothing to worry about from U.S. jet bombers as long as it engaged Assad’s troops in close combat. The U.S. thus incentivized ISIS to press forward with the assault [on Palmyra]. Although residents later wondered why the U.S. had not bombed ISIS forces “while they were traversing miles of open desert roads,” the answer, simply, is that Washington had other things on its mind. Rather than defeating ISIS, it preferred to use it to accomplish its primary goal, which was driving out Assad. . . .”

Lazare makes an important summary point: ” . . . Simply that America’s fundamental ambivalence toward ISIS, Al Qaeda, and similar groups — its policy of battling them on one hand and seeking to make use of them on the other — is what allows Sunni terrorism to fester and grow. . . .”

“How US-Backed War on Syria Helped ISIS” by Daniel Lazare; Consortium News; 3/31/2016. [33]

. . . . So the U.S. and its allies helped Islamic State by tying down Assad’s forces in the north so that it could punch through in the center. But that’s not all the U.S. did. It also helped by suspending bombing as the Islamic State neared Palmyra.

As the Times put it at the time [52]: “Any airstrikes against Islamic State militants in and around Palmyra would probably benefit the forces of President Bashar al-Assad. So far, United States-led airstrikes in Syria have largely focused on areas far outside government control, to avoid the perception of aiding a leader whose ouster President Obama has called for.”

The upshot was a clear message to ISIS to the effect that it had nothing to worry about from U.S. jet bombers as long as it engaged Assad’s troops in close combat. The U.S. thus incentivized ISIS to press forward with the assault. Although residents later wondered why the U.S. had not bombed ISIS forces “while they were traversing miles of open desert roads [53],” the answer, simply, is that Washington had other things on its mind. Rather than defeating ISIS, it preferred to use it to accomplish its primary goal, which was driving out Assad.

The Blowback

But what does this have to do with Brussels and Lahore? Simply that America’s fundamental ambivalence toward ISIS, Al Qaeda, and similar groups — its policy of battling them on one hand and seeking to make use of them on the other — is what allows Sunni terrorism to fester and grow. . . .

9. Naumann Sadiq makes another important point–that the ISIS attacks in Europe began after the West began bombing ISIS, an act that constituted a “betrayal” of the organization by the powers that had previously supported it. ” . . . . If we look at the chain of events, the timing of Paris and Brussels attacks is critical: Islamic State overran Mosul in June 2014; the Obama administration started bombing Islamic State’s targets in Iraq and Syria in August 2014; and the first Islamic State incident of terrorism on Western soil took place at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in January 2015, followed by the November 2015 Paris attacks and the March 2016 Brussels bombings. . . .”

“Europe’s Terror Blowback” by Nauman Sadiq; Consortium News; 4/3/2016. [34]

. . . .This arrangement of an informal pact between the Western powers and the Sunni jihadists of the Middle East against the Shi’a-Iranian axis worked well – at least for the Western powers and the Sunni jihadists – up to August 2014, when Obama Administration made an about-face on its previous “regime change” policy in Syria and started conducting air strikes against one group of Sunni jihadists battling against the Assad regime, the Islamic State.

The Islamic State had transgressed the prescribed mission of “regime change” in Syria and overran Mosul and Anbar in Iraq. The Islamic State also threatened the capital of another steadfast American ally: Masoud Barzani’s Erbil in the oil-rich Iraqi Kurdistan — and began decapitating Western hostages.

(However, other Sunni jihadist forces, such as Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and its close ally, Ahrar al-Sham, continued to focus on ousting Assad and thus continued receiving Western weapons, including U.S.-made TOW missiles that were crucial for last year’s successful offensive by the Saudi-backed Army of Conquest in Syria’s Idlib Province.)

After the West’s 2014 shift in the Syrian strategy (bombing Islamic State forces both in Iraq and Syria) and the Russian military intervention in 2015 on the side of Syria’s Alawite-Shi’a regime, the momentum of Sunni jihadists’ expansion in Syria stalled. Many now feel that their Western “allies” betrayed the Sunni jihadist cause, engendering bitterness and a desire for revenge.

If we look at the chain of events, the timing of Paris and Brussels attacks is critical: Islamic State overran Mosul in June 2014; the Obama administration started bombing Islamic State’s targets in Iraq and Syria in August 2014; and the first Islamic State incident of terrorism on Western soil took place at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in January 2015, followed by the November 2015 Paris attacks and the March 2016 Brussels bombings. . . .

10. Yet another useful article by Daniel Lazare from Consortium News notes that the Saudis, with U.S. backing, are utilizing Al-Qaeda as military allies against the Houthis in Yemen. ” . . .By subjecting AQAP to periodic drone strikes, it not only winds up killing civilians – such as the 14 members of a wedding party that the U.S. mistakenly targeted in December 2013 – but fairly encourages AQAP members to intermingle with other anti-Houthi forces by making it clear that is the one place it will not bomb. . . .”

The U.S. continues to back Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front in Syria, as well as allied jihadist groups: ” . . . But it otherwise tilted toward Al Nusra Front, as Al Qaeda is locally known, which it now regarded as less dangerous, or toward groups with which Al Nusra is closely aligned. . . Similarly, the U.S. resisted classifying a Salafist army known as Ahrar al-Sham as terrorist even though it collaborates closely with Al Nusra and its ideology is virtually identical, as Stephen Gowans recently noted at the Global Research website. . . . The same goes for a Free Syrian Army unit known as the 13th Division, which the US has long backed even though it maintains “a tacit collaboration with Nusra” according to The Wall Street Journal “and even shared with the group some of its ammunition supplies. . . . Mohammad Alloush, who enjoys strong US backing as the chief rebel negotiator at the Geneva peace talks, is a leader of yet another Salafist group called Jaysh al-Islam, which issued a blood-curdling call to exterminate Syria’s Alawite community in July 2013. . . . But while one might think this would place Jaysh al-Islam beyond the pale, former Ambassador to Syria Robert S. Ford praised it a year later as one of the “moderate” rebel forces that were making life “particularly painful” for the Damascus government. . . . Secretary of State John Kerry assailed Assad for bombing rebel positions in Aleppo even though it is clear that so-called “moderates” have intermingled with Al Nusra fighters to the degree that it is impossible to attack one without affecting the other. . . . Colonel Steve Warren, spokesman for US military forces in Iraq, conceded in a press briefing that “it’s primarily al-Nusra who holds Aleppo . . . .”

“The Secret Behind the Yemen War” by Daniel Lazare; Consortium News; 5/7/2016. [35]

 . . . .  Rather than rolling Al Qaeda back, it makes clear that, whatever their misgivings, pro-Saudi forces have come to rely on it as a useful asset in the anti-Houthi struggle and that, consequently, they have encouraged its growth. Since the Saudis are backing the anti-Houthi forces, this makes them complicit in AQAP’s expansion. And since the U.S. is backing the Saudis, this makes America complicit, too.

Indeed, America’s role is even worse.  By subjecting AQAP to periodic drone strikes, it not only winds up killing civilians – such as the 14 members of a wedding party that the U.S. mistakenly targeted [54] in December 2013 – but fairly encourages AQAP members to intermingle with other anti-Houthi forces by making it clear that is the one place it will not bomb.

The result, in effect, is a highly effective machine for fueling apocalyptic fervor, spreading Islamic militancy, and encouraging AQAP to extend its tentacles throughout the broader anti-Houthi movement. The only ones who are in the dark as to why AQAP can prosper under such conditions are the foreign-policy experts back in Washington. . . .

. . . . Washington still tilted toward Islamic State when it came to combatting Syrian government forces, which is why it refrained from bombing ISIS fighters as they converged on Palmyra in May 2015 even though they would have been perfect targets as they traversed miles of open desert.

But it otherwise tilted toward Al Nusra Front, as Al Qaeda is locally known, which it now regarded as less dangerous, or toward groups with which Al Nusra is closely aligned.

“Moderate these days is increasingly becoming anyone who’s not affiliated with ISIL,” Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. explained [55] in March 2015 – and indeed the White House made no objection a month later when so-called moderates joined with Al Nusra to launch a major offensive in Syria’s northern Idlib province. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Climbing into Bed with Al-Qaeda [56].”]

Covering for Salafists

Similarly, the U.S. resisted classifying a Salafist army known as Ahrar al-Sham as terrorist even though it collaborates closely with Al Nusra and its ideology is virtually identical, as Stephen Gowans recently noted [57] at the Global Research website.

The same goes for a Free Syrian Army unit known as the 13th Division, which the US has long backed even though it maintains “a tacit collaboration with Nusra” according to The Wall Street Journal [58] “and even shared with the group some of its ammunition supplies.”

Mohammad Alloush, who enjoys strong US backing as the chief rebel negotiator at the Geneva peace talks, is a leader of yet another Salafist group called Jaysh al-Islam, which issued a blood-curdling call [59] to exterminate Syria’s Alawite community in July 2013.  Jaysh al-Islam, it informed the Alawites, “will make you taste the worst torture in life before Allah makes you taste the worst torture on judgment day.”  But while one might think this would place Jaysh al-Islam beyond the pale, former Ambassador to Syria Robert S. Ford praised [60] it a year later as one of the “moderate” rebel forces that were making life “particularly painful” for the Damascus government.

Genocide is permissible, apparently, as long as it’s not too extreme.  More recently, Secretary of State John Kerry assailed Assad for bombing rebel positions in Aleppo even though it is clear that so-called “moderates” have intermingled with Al Nusra fighters to the degree that it is impossible to attack one without affecting the other.  After Colonel Steve Warren, spokesman for US military forces in Iraq, conceded [61] in a press briefing that “it’s primarily al-Nusra who holds Aleppo,” . . .