Ben Carson Insists He’s Seen Non-Existent Video Of New Jersey Muslims Celebrating 9/11



A day after Donald Trump made widely debunked claims that crowds of thousands in New Jersey had cheered as the the World Trade Center collapsed on September 11, 2001, Ben Carson reportedly has vouched for him.

ABC’s Katherine Faulders tweeted on Monday that the Republican presidential hopeful Carson had told her that “he saw the film” of American Muslims cheering as the towers fell in New Jersey at the time.

Trump initially made the comments about Jersey City, NJ, at a campaign rally. On Sunday, he defended the claims to This Week host George Stephanopoulos, saying, “There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down. I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering as that building came down — as those buildings came down. And that tells you something.” Trump added that the alleged celebration “was well covered at the time.”

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop forcefully denied the claim, saying Trump “has memory issues or willfully distorts the truth, either of which should be concerning for the Republican Party.”

Carson, whose own advisers have reportedly questioned his grasp of foreign policy, would appear to fall in the same boat.

A Washington Post article in September of 2001 contained a single line referencing celebration: “In Jersey City, within hours of two jetliners’ plowing into the World Trade Center, law enforcement authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river.” Though Carson claims to have seen video footage of these celebrations, even the conservative National Review noted “There are no videos of ‘thousands and thousands of people’ cheering the collapse of the towers from Jersey City, New Jersey,” but rather there was a Fox News video broadcast purportedly showing a handful cheering of Palestinians in East Jerusalem on 9/11.


Donald Trump Defends Racist Retweet: ‘Am I Gonna Check Every Statistic?’


GOP front-runner refuses to back down after citing bogus crime statistics.

Donald Trump on Monday night defended his retweet of fabricated crime statistics that blamed African-Americans for most of the nation’s murders.

“Am I gonna check every statistic?” the Republican presidential front-runner told Bill O’Reilly on Monday night’s “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News.

The phony stats claim African-Americans killed 81 percent of white people. In truth, 82 percent of murders involving white victims were committed by white people, according to the FBI’s 2014 crime data.


“This bothered me,” O’Reilly said of the retweet. “It’s totally wrong.”

Trump was unapologetic.

“I didn’t tweet, I retweeted somebody that was supposedly an expert and it was also a radio show,” Trump said.

“Why do you want to be in that zone?” O’Reilly asked.

“Hey Bill. Bill. Am I gonna check every statistic?” Trump said. “I’ve got millions and millions of people, @realDonaldTrump by the way.”

“You’ve got to, you’re a presidential contender,” O’Reilly said.

“This came out of radio shows and everything else,” Trump repeated.

“Oh c’mon,” said O’Reilly. “Radio shows?”

“All it was is a retweet, it wasn’t from me, and it did,” Trump persisted. “It came out of a radio show and other places because you see all the names.”

Trump was apparently referring to Wayne Dupree, a conservative radio host tagged in the tweet. However, Dupree said on Twitter he had nothing to do with it:

O’Reilly told Trump he was looking out for him and “every honest politician.”

“Don’t do this,” O’Reilly advised. “Don’t put your name on stuff like this, because it makes the other side, it gives them stuff to tell the ill-informed voter that you’re a racist. You just handed them the platter.”

O’Reilly also suggested that Trump give up tweeting.

“Give it up for Lent,” O’Reilly said. “Lent is coming soon.”

Watch the full exchange in the clip above.

That racist Trump tweet about blacks killing whites isn’t just false — it’s neo-Nazi propaganda

German Faith Movement logo (Twitter)

German Faith Movement logo (Twitter)


Donald Trump capped a week that found him flirting with fascism by sharing a blatantly false, racist graphic that apparently originated with a Hitler-admiring neo-Nazi.

The Republican presidential frontrunner tweeted an image Sunday afternoon that claimed 81 percent of white homicide victims are killed by blacks and 97 percent of black homicide victims were killed by other blacks.

The graphic cited the Crime Statistics Bureau in San Francisco as its source — although that does not exist and the statistics are, quite simply, made up.

In reality, the FBI shows that 82 percent of white homicide victims were killed by other white people and 15 percent of white homicide victims were killed by black people, and 91 percent of black homicide victims were killed by other black people.

So where did the image and the bogus statistics come from?

Blogger Charles Johnson, of Little Green Footballs, was unable to determine its source through a Google Image search or — but he was able to find the earliest tweet using the graphic.

The account’s avatar is a modified swastika used as the symbol of the neo-Nazi German Faith Movement, and the account profile expresses admiration for Adolf Hitler: “A detester of any kind of sick perverted dildo waving marxism and liberalism,we Should have listened to the Austrian chap with the little moustache.”

The image was posted on the conservative Sexy Patriot account shortly before Trump shared it.

There’s no indication Trump was aware the graphic seems to have originated with a neo-Nazi, but a quick Google search should have revealed the statistics as inaccurate — and its racist suggestions are plainly obvious.

Trump supporters beat up a Black Lives Matter protester Saturday in Birmingham, Alabama, and the GOP candidate said afterward that the man was “so obnoxious and so loud” that “maybe he should have been roughed up.”

The Republican repeated his call to closely monitor or even close down U.S. mosques to fight terrorism, and he refused to rule out creating a database of American Muslims and expressed openness to the possibility of requiring them to carry special ID.

This isn’t the first time Trump has tweeted Nazi propaganda on his official social media account.

Trump shared a campaign graphic, which he later deleted, that included an image of Nazi soldiers taken from a World War II re-enactment.

10 things you need to know today: November 23, 2015

AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaer


1. Belgium arrests 16 in anti-terror sweep
Belgian police arrested 16 people on Sunday in terror raids aiming to prevent imminent attacks by Islamist extremist terrorists. Salah Abdeslam, the last known surviving suspect in the deadly Nov. 13 Paris attacks, was not among those detained. Some of the raids took place in the Molenbeek neighborhood where some of the suspected Paris attackers lived. “What we fear is an attack similar to the one in Paris,” Prime Minister Charles Michel said. Brussels’ metro, universities, and schools would be closed Monday, Michel said.

Source: ABC News, Reuters

2. Liberia monitors new Ebola cases
Liberia officials on Sunday confirmed three new cases of Ebola, and said they were monitoring 153 people who may have had contact with the patients. The West African nation was declared Ebola-free in May, and then again in September. No neighboring countries currently have any known cases of the deadly virus, so World Health Organization investigators are working to determine how the new cases came about in a suburb of Monrovia, Liberia’s capital. More than 4,800 people in Liberia, the country hardest hit, have died of Ebola in the latest global outbreak.

Source: USA Today

3. Pfizer and Allergan strike $150 billion merger deal
Pfizer has reached a $150 billion merger deal with fellow drug maker Allergan. The boards of both companies reportedly approved the termson Sunday. A formal announcement could come Monday. A Pfizer-Allergan merger, if approved by regulators, would create the world’s largest drug company. It would also be the largest so-called corporate inversion ever. These transactions allow a U.S. company to move its corporate citizenship abroad to lower its tax bill. Allergan’s headquarters are in Dublin.

Source: The New York Times

4. British leader to ask Parliament to approve anti-ISIS airstrikes in Syria
British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande agreed Monday in Paris to increase cooperation on counterterrorism. Cameron said he “firmly” supports Hollande’s decision to strike Islamic State targets in Syria, and that “Britain should do so, too.” He said he would ask Parliament this week to approve British airstrikes in Syria. It already has authorized bombing ISIS targets in Iraq, but in 2013 voted down airstrikes in Syria. Cameron also offered Hollande use of a British airbase in Malta for anti-ISIS operations.

Source: BBC News

5. Trump defends supporters’ rough treatment of Black Lives Matter protester
Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump on Sunday shrugged off the apparent punching and kicking of a Black Lives Matter protester who disrupted a campaign rally, saying the man was “so obnoxious and so loud” that “maybe he should have been roughed up.” The activist, Mercutio Southall Jr., shouted, “Black lives matter” during a Trump appearance in Alabama. Trump said, “Get him the hell out of here, will you, please?” Some of his supporters appeared to hit Southall after he fell to the ground in a scuffle.

Source: The Washington Post

6. Conservative elected president in Argentina
Opposition politician Mauricio Macri was elected president of Argentina on Sunday. Macri, a wealthy Buenos Aires mayor, was propelled to victory by anger over government scandals and a weak economy. Buenos Aires Gov. Daniel Scioli, the hand-picked successor of outgoing President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, conceded Sundayevening. The pro-business Macri declared his election “the changing of an era” after more than a decade of the populist-left rule of Christina Fernandez de Kirchner and her late husband Nestor Kirchner before her.

Source: The Washington Post

7. 100 killed in landslide at Myanmar jade mine
At least 100 people died when a landslide at a Myanmar jade mine buried about 70 miners’ shacks with mud and stones, the Democratic Voice of Burma web site reported on Sunday. The landslide hit in the town of Hpakant in the country’s northeast. Authorities said a huge pile of rubble discarded by mining companies gave way as locals combed through it hoping to find pieces of overlooked jade, sending debris crashing over the shacks.

Source: Voice of America, EFE

8. 16 injured in New Orleans playground shooting
Sixteen people were wounded in New Orleans on Sunday night in a shooting at a city park. About 500 people were gathered at a playground in Bunny Friend Park in the Upper Ninth Ward for the impromptu shooting of a music video when an apparent gun battle broke out. “At the end of the day it’s really hard to police against a bunch of guys who decide to pull out guns and settle disputes with 300 people between them,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. The victims all were hospitalized in stable condition.

Source: USA Today

9. One of last white rhinos dies in San Diego Zoo
One of four northern white rhinos known to remain worldwide diedSunday at San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The animal — a 41-year-old female named Nola — was euthanized after her health began failing. She had arthritis and was being treated for a bacterial infection blamed on an abscess in her hip. Nola had been at the park since 1989. The last three northern white rhinos are elderly. They all are living in a protected preserve in Kenya.

Source: The Associated Press

10. Final Hunger Games film leads box office but sets franchise low
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 handily led the box office in its opening weekend, bringing in $101 million domestically and $247 million worldwide. The figures were less than expected, however.Mockingjay — Part 2 is the last of the Hunger Games films, and its opening-weekend haul set a franchise low for the massively successfulHunger Games films. Mockingjay — Part 1 opened on the same weekend last year and made $121.9 million. Catching Fire debuted at $158 million.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

A brief history of ISIS

REUTERS/FBI/Handout via Reuters


Where we stand today:

ISIS considers itself the “Islamic Caliphate” (a theological empire) and controls vast swathes of land in western Iraq and eastern Syria. They also have “allegiance” from different radical Islamic groups around the world (from Afghanistan to Nigeria) who “govern” self-proclaimed provinces.

Within the areas they control they have established a reign of terror second to none. They have institutionalized slavery and rape (particularly of adherents to the Yazidi religion who they view as devil worshippers) and have carried out genocide and ethnic cleansing of Christians, Alawites, and other Shiites and Yazidis in the territories they control.

They have struck with a vengeance beyond their territories. Suicide attacks in Baghdad, Beirut, and Ankara killed hundreds. In October 2015, they detonated a bomb aboard a Russian airliner leaving from Sharm el-Sheikh airport in Egypt, killing all 224 people on board. In November, they orchestrated a multi-suicide attack in Paris, killing 129 people. They have inspired “lone-wolf” terror attacks by sympathizers in places as far away as Ottawa and Sydney.

A bit of nomenclature:

You may have heard about ISIS referred to as IS, ISIL, or Daesh. All of these acronyms describe the group in question.

ISIS: Islamic State of Iraq and Syria was the name of the group when it captured Mosul in 2014 and became the terrorist juggernaut it is today. They named themselves that to assert their dominance in Syria (more on that later).

ISIL: Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (aka Greater Syria) is the name that Obama uses to describe the group (pretty much only Obama uses it). Superficially speaking, it is just a translation thing.

IS: Islamic State is the name the group gave itself after a “rebranding” effort when they wanted to show off their global strategy (they wouldn’t be limited to Syria and Iraq anymore).

Daesh: You may have heard French President Francois Hollande refer to the group by this name. This is essentially the Arabic acronym of the group. People assume that using this word somehow weakens them… it doesn’t, because unfortunately in this case it is one of those “sticks and stones” things.

Where did they come from?

ISIS was born out of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. When U.S. administrators, under Paul Bremer, decided to “de-Baathify” the Iraqi civil and military services, hundreds of thousands of Sunnis formerly loyal to Saddam Hussein were left without a job — and they were mad. Al Qaeda chose to capitalize on their anger and established al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) to wage an insurgency against U.S. troops in Iraq (Saddam was secular, but his intelligence and military supporters were able to make common cause with the jihadis of al Qaeda).

During this time they were quite active in waging a sectarian war against Iran-backed Shiite militias in central Iraq and bombing hotels in neighboring Jordan. Many of their members were imprisoned in U.S.-run “Camp Bucca,” where they were able to meet up and radicalize.

Fast forward to the U.S. “surge” in 2007: The U.S.-installed, Shiite government in Baghdad began reaching out to Sunni tribes, encouraging them to reject AQI. By this point, AQI was basically defeated and it looked like peace was coming to the Middle East (kinda).

Fast forward again to the Arab Spring and the uprising against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad (more info on that here). During the Iraq War, AQI would frequently go back and forth between Syria and Iraq to resupply, so it had a lot of contacts in the country. When Assad began shooting and gassing his own people, and the peaceful uprising turned into a civil war, AQI saw an opportunity to establish a presence there.

It quickly moved into Syria, renamed itself as The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and merged with its Syrian counterpart. This pissed off al Qaeda’s HQ, because they were already establishing a separate al Qaeda in Syria (aka al-Nusra front) and wanted it to remain separate. The two groups fought another mini-war amongst themselves and officially separated with AQI rebranding itself into the ISIS we hear about today.

It is important to note that this tiff between the two groups was global and concerned some “practical” things (like if al Qaeda should rule territory or kill Sunnis), as well as ego matters (like if Osama Bin Laden’s lieutenants, who have been on the run since 2001, should be the ones calling the shots). The intra-jihadi battle was waged on the battlefields of Syria, Iraq, Somalia, and northwest Africa, as well as in jihadi forums on the darknet.

As the Syrian civil war ground on, ISIS became the first rebel group to capture major cities (Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor). In the summer of 2014, the group had its breakout moment. In a lightning offensive, it captured Mosul in Iraq and drove south until it was on the borders of Baghdad. A few weeks later it rebranded itself as a Caliphate and demanded that all Muslims pledge allegiance (bay’ah). At this point, groups like Boko Haram in Nigeria and Ansar Beit Al Maqdis in Egypt’s Sinai began pledging allegiance and flew the black flag of ISIS. They also established presences in half a dozen other countries.

ISIS grew in notoriety through an aggressive social media and viral video strategy that had it engage with sympathizers and glorify violence. It beheaded many of its victims, including U.S. journalist James Foley. It often filmed executions through drowning, burning alive, and shooting. When it captured the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar, it institutionalized slavery and rape of the Yazidi minority. In short, it installed a reign of barbaric terror.

How did ISIS grow to become so powerful?

There are a number of forces that can explain its strength.

  • Feelings of disenfranchisement: Sunni communities in Iraq and Syria felt alienated by Shiite- and Alawite-led governments. ISIS played on these feelings, pushing forward a sense of victimhood and giving these communities a means to feel in control through violence. They also advanced a twisted interpretation of Islam that found ripe fodder among disenfranchised youth in the area.
  • Unlikely bedfellows: ISIS partnered with the lieutenants of Saddam Hussein’s secular regime (who used to hate jihadis) to perfect their tools of repression along the same lines that Saddam used.
  • Syrian chaos: There is little doubt that as U.S. allies (Saudi Arabia, Qatar ,and Turkey) ploughed money and arms into the Syrian civil war much of it ended up in the hands of ISIS (and other jihadi groups).
  • Iraqi chaos: After the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, the atrophied Iraqi army was over-equipped and underprepared (and very corrupt) to deal with ISIS. Much of the weaponry ended up in ISIS’s hands.
  • Racketeering and extortion: Before ISIS formally controlled Mosul, it would run a racketeering business (similar to that used by the U.S. mafia) under the nose of the Iraqi government. Businesses and individuals had to pay them a “protection fee” to stay safe.
  • Taxation and exploitation: Properties belonging to religious minorities or regime sympathizers were promptly appropriated (e.g. churches, gold, hard currency), and once ISIS controlled territory and people it began taxing them like any state would.
  • Selling oil: It is the Middle East, so oil is always involved. While technically shut out from the international markets, ISIS could and did still find markets for its oil (usually in neighboring Turkey whose government was sympathetic to many of the Syrian jihadis).

So what now?

There are about a dozen countries (some of which hate each other) fighting ISIS. All of them (except for Iran, Syria, and Iraq) are basically doing it by bombing them from the sky. The U.S. has committed a few hundred “advisors” to the fight (and they are most certainly not wearing boots).

Despite a yearlong campaign against ISIS, the group still controls a lot of territory (even capturing new ground like Palmyra in Syria) and has demonstrated that it can strike in the heart of the Western world.

Post-Paris, there seems to be growing momentum for ground troop involvement against ISIS. The Obama administration has remained reluctant, insisting that its strategy is the successful one and that ISIS is weaker now than before. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad feels emboldened with Russia and Iran by his side, knowing that it is less likely for the West to oust him if the alternative will be ISIS.

As the Syrian civil war closes its fifth year, ISIS seems stronger than ever and the refugee exodus does not look like it will end. As Western governments try to grapple with the threat of ISIS terror reaching the Western world, they will feel the pressure to lock out these refugees (who are also fleeing ISIS). By using refugees as a convenient scapegoat, the risk is alienating them, leaving them susceptible to the toxic mix of conspiracy theories and extremism that breeds jihadi violence.

Note: It should go without saying that while ISIS is a radical Islamic group/movement, it does not, by any means, represent the views of the vast majority of Muslims. The majority of its victims have been Muslims and its twisted interpretation of the Koran is not shared by the 1 billion+ adherents of the Muslim faith.

Further reading and supporting sources:

“The rise of Islamic State”

“ISIS: The state of terror”

“The Islamic State”

“ISIS enshrines a theology of rape”

“Is this the end of Christianity in the Middle East?”

“What ISIS really wants”

“Secret files reveal the structure of Islamic State”

Tewfik Cassis – DAILY PNUT

#BrusselsLockdown: Belgians Totally Win Terrorism Lockdown With Cat Tweets


A nation can choose to respond to the threat of terrorism with anger, fear, or hate – or they can follow the lead of Belgium and post hilarious cat photos.

It may not be the most serious and sober response they could have chosen, but it is the funniest, by far.

For the last couple of days, Belgian authorities have been responding to the very real possibility of a terrorist attack after the 11/13 attack on Paris. As a result, Belgian officials posted a Twitter message asking citizen to stop discussing terrorism on social media.

The Netherlands police tweeted “For security, please respect the radio silence on social media regarding the police operations in Brussels”. Presumably, they’re worried that people posting news and pictures of raids in progress could tip suspects off to police movements.

And suspects have been arrested, as another European city has a target painted on its back by the terrorist thugs in ISIS.

But what is a Belgian supposed to do when the hashtag #BrusselsLockdown is just hanging out there begging to be used?

Cat photos. Specifically many funny cat photos, often with the cats in question posed in their best terrorism-fighting memes available.

Belgians began flooding twitter with all manner of cat photos, created to coincide with the #BrusselsLockdown hashtag. It has taken what is an anxious, tense international moment and turned it into a showcase of humor and citizen resilience.

When the going got too tough and the threat of terrorism became real and hit home, the only choices are to cry or laugh, and the Belgians choose wisely.

Here are some of the best tweets chronicling the event. In the hands of these kittens, Belgians are definitely safe and secure:

Oliver Willis

Belgium Police Arrest 16, While Paris Fugitive Still At Large

Belgian police officers arrest a man during a continued high level security situation following the recent deadly Paris attacks, in Brussels

Belgian police officers arrest a man during a continued high level security situation following the recent deadly Paris attacks, in Brussels on Nov. 22, 2015 | Youssef Boudlal—Reuters


The raids capped a tense day with hundreds of troops patrolling for one or more suspected militants

(BRUSSELS) — Belgian prosecutors announced early Monday that police had detained 16 people in 22 raids but that Paris fugitive Salah Abdeslam was not among them. Despite the raids, authorities maintained their highest terror alert in the capital for a third straight day.

Federal prosecutor Eric Van Der Sypt said 19 raids were carried out in Molenbeek and other boroughs of Brussels and three raids were carried out in other cities.

“We have to stress that no firearms or explosives were discovered … during the raids,” Van Der Sypt said.” Certain elements in the investigation made Sunday’s intervention necessary. The investigation will in any case be relentlessly continued.”

One of those detained was injured when a car he was in tried to ram police during an attempted getaway, Van Der Sypt said.

The raids capped a tense day with hundreds of troops patrolling and authorities hunting for one or more suspected militants, the Belgian government chose Sunday to keep the capital on the highest state of alert into the start of the workweek to prevent a Paris-style attack.

Citing a “serious and imminent” threat, Prime Minister Charles Michel announced that schools and universities in Brussels will be closed Monday, with the subway remaining shut down, preventing a return to normal in the city that is also home to the European Union’s main institutions.

“We fear an attack like in Paris, with several individuals, perhaps in several places,” Michel said after chairing a meeting of Belgium’s National Security Council.

While Brussels was kept on the highest of four alert levels, the rest of the country remains on a Level 3 alert, meaning an attack is “possible and likely.”

“Nobody is pleased with such a situation. Neither are we. But we have to take our responsibility,” Michel said.

Western leaders stepped up the rhetoric against the Islamic State group, which has claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris that killed 130 people and wounded hundreds more; the suicide bombings in Beirut that killed 43 people and injured more than 200; and the downing of the Russian jetliner carrying 224 people in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. All happened within the past month.

“We will not accept the idea that terrorist assaults on restaurants and theaters and hotels are the new normal, or that we are powerless to stop them,” President Barack Obama said in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said IS must be destroyed at all costs. “We must annihilate Islamic State worldwide … and we must destroy Islamic State on its own territory,” Le Drian said. “That’s the only possible direction.”

The decision to put Brussels on the highest alert came early Saturday as authorities frantically searched for Abdeslam, who is believed to have played a key role in the Nov. 13 attacks in France. He is known to have crossed into Belgium the day after the attacks.

Interior Minister Jan Jambon warned that the threat wouldn’t necessarily disappear if Abdeslam was found, because they are looking for several people in connection with a possible planned attack in Brussels.

“The terror threat is wider than just that person,” Jambon said. “We are looking at several things. That is why we are making the big show of power and following everything up by the minute. It’s of no use to hide this.”

Several of the Paris attackers had lived in Brussels, including Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the plot’s orchestrator who was killed Wednesday in a standoff with French police.

Abdeslam is known to have crossed into Belgium on Nov. 14. His brother, Mohamed Abdeslam, went on Belgian TV and urged him to surrender, saying he would rather see him “in prison than in a cemetery.”

Authorities in Turkey said Saturday that a 26-year-old Belgian citizen suspected of being linked to Islamic extremists and possibly to the Paris attacks had been detained in the coastal city of Antalya.

France has intensified its aerial bombing in Syria and Le Drian said the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, which has been sent to the Mediterranean to help combat IS militants in Syria, will be “operational” from Monday and “ready to act.”

Also Monday, French President Francois Hollande is scheduled to meet in Paris with British Prime Minister David Cameron and will travel to Washington and Moscow later in the week to push for a stronger international coalition against IS. Cameron is expected to outline his plan for combating the militants as he seeks parliamentary approval to join France, the U.S. and Russia in striking the group’s strongholds in Syria.

Russia also is trumpeting action it’s taking to fight IS. It has intensified its airstrikes in Syria in response to the Oct. 31 downing of its passenger plane in Egypt.

On Sunday, Russian law enforcement officers raided a militant hideout in the North Caucasus, killing 11 in an exchange of fire. The militants were part of a group whose members had pledged allegiance to IS, the National Anti-Terrorist Committee said in a statement.

Attacks like those in Paris are aimed partly at provoking the West, as the Islamic State group hopes that stepped-up military action in the region will reinforce its narrative of a clash of civilizations and attract more Muslims to its ranks. IS and other militant groups seize on harsh Western rhetoric and civilian deaths to portray themselves as defending Muslims from modern “Crusaders.”

In an effort to minimize possible targets, Belgian officials recommended that sports competitions and all activities in public buildings be canceled this weekend, and malls and commercial centers closed.

The security measures left Brussels eerily quiet, with streets deserted and many of the city’s famous beer bars and restaurants largely empty.

Residents were bracing for the impact that the continued clampdown would have on this city of more than 1 million as the workweek began.

“I can’t believe they are closing down the city. It is crazy but they must have a good reason,” said Josephine Lemmens, a physiotherapist.

Lemmens said she didn’t know what she would do with her 11-year-old son now that schools have been ordered closed, but she conceded the measures were justified if they prevented an attack like the one in Paris.

Restaurant worker Raphael Lungo said the decision to keep the subway idle would affect him most.

“This is really going to complicate my life. I take the metro very day and I don’t know what I will do tomorrow,” he said, voicing confidence that the emergency wouldn’t last too long. “Europe succeeded in beating the Nazis,” he said.

The European Union’s executive Commission decided to stay open for business but its vice president, Kristalina Georgieva, warned people to be vigilant and expect increased security checks. NATO also said it would be open Monday, with security measures increased.

In France, police issued a new appeal to identify the third attacker who was killed in the assault at the national stadium. They posted a photo of the man on Twitter, asking the public for information that would help identify him.

France has extended a state of emergency, which allows police raids, searches and house arrest without permission from a judge, for three months. On Saturday, it also extended a ban on demonstrations and other gatherings through Nov. 30, when a U.N. climate conference with more than 100 heads of state is scheduled to start.

In a sign of the nervousness in Paris since the attacks, some travelers at the Gare Du Nord station ran out of their trains Sunday after hearing noises they thought were gunshots but actually were caused by a pigeon being electrocuted on the tracks.


Jordans reported from Paris. Maria Sanminiatelli and Thomas Adamson in Paris, Josh Lederman in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Gregory Katz in London, Joseph Krauss in Cairo, and Lorne Cook and Maria Cheng in Brussels contributed to this story.


Donald Trump: My Fans Were Right To Beat Up Black Protester



After his supporters beat up a Black Lives Matter protester on video, Donald Trump suggested that they may have done the right thing.

The protester, a black man, reportedly started chanting Black Lives Matter at a rally in Birmingham, Alabama on Saturday. In a video captured by CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond, rally attendees swarm around the man, kicking and punching him as he curls up on the ground.

Trump was asked to weigh in on his supporters’ actions on Fox & Friends Sunday morning. “Maybe he should have been roughed up,” he said. “It was disgusting what he was doing.”

The Republican frontrunner compared what happened at his rally to a Black Lives Matter protest at a Bernie Sanders event, which prompted the Democratic candidate to release a detailed racial justice plan. “This is not the way Bernie Sanders handled his problem, I will tell you, but I have a lot of fans and they were not happy about it. And this was a very obnoxious guy, a troublemaker, looking to make trouble,” Trump said.

He gave a similarly winking response when his supporters have turned violent in the past. Two men in Boston said they ambushed and brutally beat a homeless Latino man because they were “inspired” by Trump, who later explained his supporters “are very passionate” and “love this country.”

Reports of Trump supporters launching violent and racist attacks have become fairly commonplace. Another recent rally took a dark turn when attendees shoved and spat on on immigration advocates. The following week, Trump supporters were filmed dragging and kickingan immigration activist while others yelled “U-S-A! U-S-A!”

After a slew of these highly publicized incidents, Trump’s campaign began corralling media this week and refused to allow reporters into the crowd at rallies.


When Fascism Comes To America, It’ll Come Wrapped In Racism And Wearing A Bad Toupee



We’ve seen a lot of hatred from the GOP over the past few months prior to the new resurgence of Islamic extremist terrorism. They’ve talked a lot about America being a “Christian nation,” and candidates like Donald Trump have embraced an ultra-nationalist ideology which is extremely disturbing.

This rhetoric has resounded solidly with the GOP base, and it is indicative of how far to the fringe the Republican Party has drifted over the past few years. Their anti-immigrant, hyper-conservative message makes the days of George W. Bush seem progressive in comparison, and it is continually getting worse.

Combine this with ramping up of conservative talking points, and it is no wonder that the Republican base has become more rabid with their demonization of everyone who isn’t on their side. If you’re not a conservative Christian gun fanatic who believes evolution is a lie and that Christians are being persecuted for not being able to force their beliefs on others, you are the enemy and a traitor to this country.

Donald Trump has managed to court these people while also flirting with ultra-nationalist ideas like creating a national database for Muslim Americans. This isn’t a new phenomenon – the United States has been on this course at least since 9/11. The same folks who claim religious freedom in America is under attack are supporting GOP candidates like Donald Trump who are open to profiling Muslims based on their religion.

Conor Friedersdorf over at The Atlantic points out the following:

This record ought to make Trump anathema to anyone who has concerns about religious liberty in America. Had he aimed his remarks at any Christian denomination, his candidacy would effectively be over because of the backlash. The fact that his positions pose a stark threat to the religious liberty of Muslim Americans ought to be enough to provoke a backlash. Insofar as it leaves some Christians unmoved, they might reflect on how much damage would be done to their religious liberty if a president of the United States successfully set a precedent for a religious registry or empowered the government to shut down places of worship. (Source)

The brash, fascist form of American Christianity represented by Donald Trump and the GOP is in complete contradiction to the Jesus depicted in the New Testament. Christianity in America has always had its radicals, and has often been used by business interests to oppose things such as abolishing slavery, or domestic terrorist organizations like the KKK.

They’ve blamed liberals, intellectuals, minorities or foreigners for what they claim is the deterioration of American values throughout our history. Despite the fact that nearly everyone in our country is a descendant of immigrants, the xenophobic right wants us to believe that taking in the victims of religious persecution and sectarian violence is not our job.

All of this is in direct opposition not only to the teachings of all major religions, especially Christianity, but our nation’s history as a refuge – a light on the hill to those who seek freedom. Setting aside religious beliefs for the time being, we must be better than this as Americans. We have to reject this fascist ultra-nationalism, or we have no moral high ground to stand upon.

Manny Schewitz

H/t: DB