Tuesday Morning: Été Frappé

[graphic: Map of Belgian attacks 22MAR2016 for Le Monde via Eric Beziat]

[graphic: Map of Belgian attacks 22MAR2016 for Le Monde via Eric Beziat]

Whatever I was going to write today has been beaten into submission by current events.

Woke up to news about alleged terror attacks in Belgium — social media was a mess, a deluge of information with little organization. Best I can tell from French language news outlets including Le Monde, the first attack was at 8:00 a.m. local time at the Zaventem Airport just outside Brussels. The second attack occurred at the metro station Maelbeek at 9:11 a.m. Both attacks appeared use bombs, unlike the Paris attack this past year — two at the airport, one at the metro. Reports indicate 15 deaths and 55 seriously injured so far.

A third explosion reported in the city at a different location in the city of Brussels has been attributed to the controlled detonation of a suspicious package after the second attack.

In the time gap between the two attacks, one might suppose many law enforcement and military would have gone to the airport to respond to the first attack. Was there synchronization by planned schedule, or was there coordination by communication?

However, communications may have been difficult as telecom networks were quickly flooded. How soon were the telecom networks overloaded? Or were the networks throttled for observation? We may not ever know.

It’s worth reexamining what Marcy wrote about the communications found after Paris attack (here and here). It may be relevant if the same practices were used by the attackers in Brussels.

Important to note that Paris terror attack suspect Salah Abdeslam was arrested March 18 in a raid in Brussels. He is believed to have transported several of the attackers to the Stade de France just before the November 13 attack. Abdeslam may have been one of several suspects who fled from another earlier raid during which another suspect was killed.

Still working on the order issued late yesterday vacating today’s planned hearing on #AppleVsFBI. The order is here.

UPDATE — 9:30 a.m. EST — Marcy will be posting in a bit about the #AppleVsFBI hearing that wasn’t.

Another interesting story that broke in France today: French Supreme Court affirmed a previous lower court decision which ruled legal the wiretapping of former president Nicolas Sarkozy. Sarkozy has been under investigation for various forms of influence peddling since 2010, including receipt of campaign funds from Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi in 2007.

UPDATE — 1:00 p.m. EST/5:00 p.m. London/6:00 p.m. Brussels, Paris —

Now into the post-emergency recovery stage — all manner of political functionaries and talking heads have offered their two bits on this morning’s attacks. Three days of mourning have been declared in Belgium. Pictures of the alleged bombers at the airport taken by security video camera have now been published. The airport attackers detonated their weapons in the pre-security check-in area. 34 deaths have now been reported as a result of the attacks for which ISIS has now claimed responsibility. Across the Channel, the UK remains on alert for multiple attacks after last week’s raid in Brussels; UK travelers have been discouraged from traveling to Brussels.

Timeline (via Agence France-Presse)

22 mars Peu après 09h00/22 March Shortly after 9:00 a.m.
Explosion dans la station de métro Maelbeek.
Explosion in the Maelbeek metro station.

22 mars 08h00/22 March 8:00 a.m.
Deux explosions a l’aeroport. Possible kamikaze.
Two explosions at the airport. Possible suicide bomber.

21 mars/21 March
[Suspect] Najim Laachraoui, dont l’ADN a été retrouvé sur des explosifs, identifié et activement recherché.
Najim Laachraoui, whose DNA was found on explosives, identified and actively sought.

18 mars/18 March
Salah Abdeslam arête à Molenbeek.
Abdeslam Salah arrested in Molenbeek.

15 mars/15 March
Fusillade, quartier Forest – Mohammed Belkaid, lié aux auteurs de attentats de Paris du 13 novembre est tué. Empreintes de Salah Abdeslam retrouvées.
Shooting, Forest district – Mohamed Belkaid, linked to Paris attack planners of November 13, killed. Footprints of Salah Abdeslam found.

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original blogs.salon.com, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
31 replies
  1. lefty665 says:

    Are the #$%^&*() neocons happy with their legacy yet? Is Obama pleased with the results of arming and funding terrorists in Syria? Think how different this world would be if Duhbya had finished off Bin Laden and al Qaeda at Tora Bora in December 2001 and come home.

    • bevin says:

      There are no political consequences-no electoral consequences anyway- for politicians who dabble in terrorism.

      I’m not talking about those whose policies are tailored to produce revenge attacks, and generations of resentment and hatred in the future. I’m talking about those who openly and proudly organise, train and arm terrorist militias such as Al Qaeda, the Kossovo Liberation Front, Uighur nationalists, Chechens and, our current favourites the Libyan Fighting whatevers and Al Nusra.

      There is no doubt whatsoever that the current occupant of the White House and the CIA have been employing terrorists in Syria, Libya, Darfur and Iraq for years.

      There is no doubt that Hillary Clinton organised arms shipments to terrorists in Libya and Syria: it is no accident that, as she drooled over images of Ghadaffi’s tortured corpse, she used the first rather than the third person plural ” We came, we saw, he died.” She might have added that tens of thousands of others died too and the (General) death warrants for hundreds of thousands more had already been issued.

      Let us not beat around the bush: what is happening in Yemen, where US tankers re-fuel Saudi bombers en route to carry out missions that can only be directed against civilians and British colonels sit in situation rooms choosing targets for the Saudi paid mercenaries to hit- is international terrorism.

      These are no unexpected consequences, this is not blowback. There is a chain of actions of and reactions. And we are paying for the spectacle and the architects of the display.
      We will continue doing so until the public orders a halt to it, punishes the ‘clever bastards’ who persist in blowing up schools ‘to teach Russia a lesson’, burning buildings full of Trade Unionists and shaking hands with the death squads killing the likes of Berta Caceres.

      The people of Brussels should be angry, extremely angry, not with muslims but with the evil cynics- all of them wrapped in massive security blankets and virtually immune to attack- who play the game of supplying explosives and weapons to anyone who promises to use them. The scoundrels who argue that it is beneficial to enable Arabs to kill each other and clever to re-open the wounds of the wars of the C8th struggle for the Caliphate.

    • Bill Michtom says:

      The coming home part, yes. Has finishing off bin Laden made any difference?

      And what makes you think W would have come home anyway?

      • RUKidding says:

        I don’t want to put words in Lefty’s typing, but I think Lefty meant that maybe things would’ve been different if W had permitted Navy SEAL Team 6 to get Osama bin Laden in the Tora Bora hills in Oct 2001, and then come back to the USA.
        *
        Clearly W didn’t want that to happen. Rather, it appears that W (or his advisors) were itching for a big old war. Killing ObL so quickly would’ve maybe made the war seem not needed. So clearly W did not want to kill ObL then and there and then just stop. That’s the point.
        *
        Would it have made any difference when ObL was killed? Or if he was killed? Hard to say, but possibly if ObL had been definitely either captured or killed – I mean, with irrefutable evidence that it happened – in Oct 2001, it may have made a difference. I’m not really sure. It’s all hindsight now, but we certainly didn’t have an opportunity to find out, did we?
        *
        Was ObL even killed in that alleged raid in Abbotabad? Some say ObL died years before then from renal failure, which is quite likely. IOW, ObL was always used as an excuse for the MIC to make money by fleecing the rubes and telling us that it was making us “safe.”
        *
        Now we witness Brussels. Feel safer now?

        • lefty665 says:

          RUKidding @12 & Bill Mitchom @9 Thank you RUK, very nice. We had the opportunity to get bin Laden and all of al Qaeda. Instead, Duhbya chose to let them scatter to the ends of the earth and proliferate while he pulled troops out of Afghanistan to prepare for the invasion of Iraq.
          .
          Destroying the jerks who attacked us and going home would have solved the problem and left us with goodwill around the globe. Instead the deranged neocons and their Project for a New American Century (PNAC) took us to Iraq and it’s been down hill from there in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Ukraine, Somalia, etc. We’re still in Afghanistan and the terror attacks are spreading through Europe. Bin Laden was right, hurt us and we’ll so over react that we will destroy ourselves.
          .
          Today those same neocons are fulminating for more wars in the middle east and eastern Europe. Neocons like Fred Kagan are lining up behind one of their own, Hillary, in this election. When do we say we’ve had enough neocon “foreign policy experience”? Have we had enough fun yet?

  2. harpie says:

    Hi Rayne, Thanks for following this today.
    [Minor correction? I’m pretty sure Abdeslam was arrested on Friday, March 18.]

  3. Bardi says:

    Well said, all.

    As long as the west supplies arms instead of food, terrorism will always have a just cause, at least in the minds of the people.

  4. Rayne says:

    harpie (9:16) — My bad, I used euronews report which must change date on byline to current (damn it, that’s a crappy practice, write a new article, euronews!). Corrected above w/addtl link to raid-related tweet.

  5. bloopie2 says:

    Takeaway from the FBI/Apple delay: Jim Comey is a coward. Takeaway from Trump’s AIPAC speech (cave-in, actually): Trump is a coward.
    .
    Just getting started. Don’t get in my way.

    • Bill Michtom says:

      If Jim Comey were merely a coward, we’d all be better off. But he’s a lying, ignorant coward, too.

  6. RUKidding says:

    Eh? Trump and Clinton are doing happy dances today! More terrorism!! WOOT! We can scare the voters into voting for us bc we’ll keep everyone “safe.” And our Big Daddy WARBuck$ backers in the MIC will toss some more ca$h our way, while they rob and fleece a credulous, dumbed down US populace with fairy tales about how more money tossed into the gaping Morlock maw of the Pentagon will keep us all “safe” from terrorissssssss….

  7. Don Bacon says:

    A bombing of Muslims with a similar death toll wouldn’t even receive mention, yet the ruling class US/EU has been doing it for years. In fact it’s being stepped up — Lockheed is quadrupling the size of its bomb factory. Lots of money to be made there.

    • RUKidding says:

      Yes, there’s the rub. I just got word from old friends (hadn’t heard from them in decades) that they survived this time. Said that Brussels in now a “hotbed for jihadists.” Direct quote. Well yeah. USA/EU dumping bombs and droning wedding parties and such all across the ME, and golly gee, wonder why these Muslims are so het up & stuff. And no, we hardly ever hear about what’s going down in the ME. Only hear when white people get bombed. Wonder why that is.
      **
      But that sound that you’re hearing is only the sound of the cash registers going CHA-CHING!!! I hope my friends continue to be ok. plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

  8. bloopie2 says:

    I’m through 4 chapters of the recent Barry Eisler novel on spying, and it’s not good writing. Anyone know if it gets better?

    • RUKidding says:

      Funny you should mention Barry Eisler. I just read one of his first books; the first one with Japanese-American spooky type John Rain (Clean Kill in Tokyo). It was pretty stupid, imo, unless you want to learn intimate details about the Tokyo subway system. Eisler essentially plagiarized the entire ending of “Apocalypse Now” and plunked it into one section of his novel. Like, what? Because Eisler wrote the book in the late ’90s, he thinks everyone’s forgotten the movie?? Plus John Rain was presented as some latter day James Bond only stupid and naïve.
      **
      Don’t know about any newer books. Probably won’t. Not impressed with Eisler.

  9. bloopie2 says:

    Why do bombers focus on transportation venues? There are plenty of other congested areas that can be just as easily hit. Which means, of course, that beefing up security at train stations and airports won’t help, in the end.

  10. orionATL says:

    seems like maybe these attacks are intended at least in part to keep up isis morale and push out its chest after a setback.

    nov 12, 2015 – jihadi john killed in drone strike. nov 13 – attack on paris by abdelsalam and the brethren.

    mar 20, 2016 – abdelsalam captured and fellow terrorist killed. mar 22 – attack on brussels.

  11. Don Bacon says:

    Obama purposely allowed ISIS a foothold in Iraq in order to assist Sunni Islamists, backed by US ally Gulf countries, to divide Iraq/Syria and thus weaken Iran. But sometimes the people tat are used are not trustworthy, and they go renegade.

    Aug 8, 2014
    …The reason, the president added, “that we did not just start taking a bunch of airstrikes all across Iraq as soon as ISIL came in was because that would have taken the pressure off of [Prime Minister Nuri Kamal] al-Maliki.” That only would have encouraged, he said, Maliki and other Shiites to think: ” ‘We don’t actually have to make compromises. We don’t have to make any decisions. We don’t have to go through the difficult process of figuring out what we’ve done wrong in the past. All we have to do is let the Americans bail us out again. And we can go about business as usual.’ ”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/09/opinion/president-obama-thomas-l-friedman-iraq-and-world-affairs.html

  12. bloopie2 says:

    “Belgium’s interior minister, Jan Jambon, has told RTL TV that authorities knew that some kind of extremist act was being prepared in Europe but that they were surprised by the scale of the attacks in Brussels. Jambon said on Tuesday that “it was always possible that more attacks could happen but we never could have imagined something of this scale”. Jambon said that “we had no information about this, but we know that things were moving in Europe, in different countries, in France, in Germany, here”.
    .
    Well, golly gee, I’m shocked, just shocked, that at any given time there is some planning going on for attack(a) that “could happen” in Europe. You, sir, are clearly useless at preventing them, if that’s the best you can come up with. Who’s paying your salary?

    • orionATL says:

      if you have time for a little fun with numbers, go the the national weather service page and enter your city or nearest airport. now look to the bottom of thatbpage and you will see an entry in tiny print “sunrise/sunset. from there you can watch how the times of these events change in the coming days. some surprises in store :) :

      http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneDay.php

Comments are closed.