The Cost Of Terror In Brussels

Brussels 5Brussels, the heart of Belgium’s capital in the night

Article originally published in Global Risks Insight: Know Your World

Brussels, the capital of Belgium and the European Union, is experiencing some immediate economic effects resulting from recent terror threats in 2015. This city’s experience may prove to be a blueprint for other cities in 2016.

Following the deadly terrorist attacks that shocked France and the world on November 13th 2015, the global attention turned to Brussels as the majority of the Islamist militants that took part in the French massacre had links to the European capital. In addition, in late November Belgian authorities temporarily raised the terrorist threat level to its highest tier given the presence of a reportedly imminent terrorist threat.

This led to substantial disruptions in the capital in what came to be defined as “Brussels Lockdown”. The terrorist threat again came as an obstacle to the normal life of Brussels’ residents when authorities banned all public New Year’s Eve festivities on December 31st because of a reported plan to carry out an attack in the capital.

This prolonged state of insecurity has had a negative impact on the economic and social life of the capital. Since November 2015, Brussels, along with other European capitals, has been experiencing first-hand the cost of terror. The most overt statistics pertaining to touristic activities, social outings, and public gatherings show a general change in the perception of the city and an overall evolution in the local mood.

Throughout the duration of the “Brussels Lockdown”, thousands of travellers planning to reach the capital cancelled their flights. At the highest point of this trend, more than 2,000 flight cancellations were recorded on November 25th. While this push to avoid Brussels slowly stopped after the terrorist threat level was lowered, there were in average 6,000 flights per day to Brussels in early December 2015, approximately 1,500 less than in the same period of 2014.

A similar trend has been verified for the overall occupation rate of hotels in the capital. In early December, approximately 55% of Brussels’ hotel rooms were occupied against more than 73% during the same period of 2014.

Ubiquitous precautions

This situation had a direct impact on the economic and social life of the European capital throughout the Christmas and New Year’s festivities. The annual Christmas market organised and held in the historical centre of Brussels has experienced a drop in attendance of more than 30%. In addition, New Year’s Eve saw a major drop in demand for restaurant bookings and, as such, at least one out of every two restaurants in the capital closed their doors on the last night of 2015.

The aforementioned statistics are only an initial effect of the impact that the emergence of a new terror threat is having on western European economies. The Belgian example is noteworthy as local security and intelligence agencies have so far been successful in countering the threat posed by Islamist militants, and no major mass-casualty attack has occurred in the country.

However, the enhanced presence of military personnel in the streets of Brussels as well as the ongoing discourse over the current will of terrorist organisations to target the capital led to a mood change among the local population. The fear of potential attacks is playing as a long-term obstacle to private expenditures, tourism and the participation in major public social events.

As such, beyond the immediate security concerns raised by the risk of terrorist attacks, public officials face the need to adapt the ongoing counter-terrorist strategy in order not to hinder the socio-economic life of western European countries.

http://globalriskinsights.com/2016/01/the-cost-of-terror-in-brussels/

More Hatred For Foreigners In Belgium Aftermath The France Attacks

MoroccoNot every Moroccan or Muslim is a terrorist and not every African is a criminal, but whenever terrorists strike or an African commits a crime, all eyes are on foreigners as criminals or  terrorists. 

The recent  events in France; leaving dozens dead in shootings and explosions, have generated pure hatred to foreigners in Belgium. Belgium is a country integration is very poor, compared to other European countries, yet they do their best for foreigners

According to a Moroccan woman who visited the hospital with her daughter, the day terrorists attacked France, she saw the anger on the face of the doctor who was attending her child. At one point her daughter’s head hit an object when the doctor lifts up the child.

At work, she greets but no one responds. It was really a psychological torture for her to find herself in the center of such hatred, when she wasn’t part of France attacks or not a terrorist.

Once listening to a radio debate over Muslims in Brussels, a man suggested that the Muslim community in Brussels needs a swimming pool for Muslims alone.  This Moroccan woman who doesn’t agree to what the man said, called to tell the man “You are in Belgium, go to Morocco and build your swimming pool there.”

Unfortunately, after the France attacks, she is now a victim of hatred, with many others, because she is a Moroccan. It’s completely wrong to hate someone over crime other people commit. I don’t hate any European for all the bad things they did against Africa, thus; I wouldn’t be happy for someone to hate me, because of a crime a foreigner commits.

Ebola: The Japanese Cult Aum Shinrikyo’s Attempt To Use The Virus As A Potential Biological Weapon

Aum Shinrikyo’s leader Shoko Asahara

By Scientist/Micro-Surgeon Johan Van Dongen

The Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo, infamous for setting off sarin gas in a Tokyo subway in 1995, also targeted Ebola as a potential biological weapon. In 1992, they sent a medical group of 40 people ostensibly to provide aid, during an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, their real intention was to collect some Ebola virus, as Amy Smithson, a senior fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, noted in her 2000 report Ataxia.

Even if Aum Shinrikyo had managed to gather samples of the Ebola virus, it would have been extremely difficult to kill large numbers of people in countries with a strong health infrastructure such as Japan. Once the virus had been identified and patients isolated, the pathogen would have been unlikely to spread widely. Still, any terrorist attempting to stoke fears rather than accrue a high body count could have some modicum of success with Ebola. “When talking about bioterror, it’s more about the terror than it is the bio,” said Fauci.

Doctor Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (one of the US National Institutes of Health) stated in an interview that the virus could potentially be used for “small-scale” Ebola attacks, in about three different ways, although each approach would run up against substantial logistical, financial and biological barriers. First, Ebola could be weaponized by taking large quantities of it and inserting them into a small “bomblet” that, once detonated, would spray the virus perhaps 30 feet potentially infecting people as it landed on their faces, on cuts or on hands that they might then touch their eyes with.

In this photo provided by CBS News, the National Institute of Health's Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, speaks on CBS's "Face the Nation" in Washington. Speaking on the Ebola virus, Fauci said it's perfectly normal to feel anxious about a disease that kills so fast and is ravaging parts of West Africa, but predicts there won't be an outbreak in the U.S. (AP Photo/CBS News, Chris Usher)

Doctor Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (one of the US National Institutes of Health)

“That would be like a hundred people simultaneously touching an Ebola-infected person,” says Fauci. Ebola would not need to be altered in any way to make such a plot work. The virus is already so capable of spreading from person to person via contact with bodily fluids that in its natural state it could do some serious damage.

“Ebola is a very lethal pathogenic virus,” says virologist Robert Garry of Tulane University. “It’s basically weaponizing itself.”

The second, and perhaps easiest, small-scale bioterrorism option would be to recruit individuals for Ebola suicide missions. Such a plan would hinge on injecting Ebola virus into a limited number of people, who would then need to leave west Africa (or wherever the outbreak may be) before becoming symptomatic. Then those individuals would have to get into a public space and projectile vomit or bleed onto others to infect them. Obviously, the plot would need to overcome substantial technical challenges including the extreme weakness that arises from Ebola. If it did succeed, this mode of transmission would not kill thousands of people, but it would set off significant fears.

The third bio-terrorism method appears to be the most unlikely: genetically modifying the virus to enable it to spread more readily, perhaps through the air. As Scientific American reported on September 16, transforming the Ebola virus from a pathogen that primarily affects the circulatory system to one well suited for the respiratory system, would be a major research undertaking. While theoretically the microbe could be manipulated to act in that way, it would be a demanding choice for nefarious actors looking to stockpile harmful materials.

Johan van Dongen

But there’s another delivery mechanism that’s more up a suicide bomber’s alley. They get infected and carry the disease incubating in them but still asymptomatic to their target country. As soon as the symptoms just begin manifesting, the person goes to a highly public area and blows themselves up, spraying contaminated and aerosolized body components all over the surrounding populace, as well as killing or injuring others just from the blast.

That can be done during the cold and flu season when everyone is coughing and sneezing already and you have a prime secondary and tertiary infection path already going in your favor, as well as masking the early Ebola symptoms.

Glenn Ogoro

If we consider Ebola as a weapon of terror, then yes; it’s not likely. How about considering Ebola as a means to combat terrorism? After all, Ebola has all the spread characteristics which can be used to eliminate or weaken hostile or terrorist cells.

First, most terrorist cells now are of Muslim origin and maintain religious and cultural practices which include touching, kissing and washing of their dead. Since these cells by their nature are communal, there is a lot of targeted interaction between members of a cell, even when they are sick.

A simple prisoner exchange could be the link to introducing the virus into these extremist groups/cells. A few infected prisoners injected and left to harbor the virus for a few days right before release is an easy way to get the virus in these cells. New prisoners are usually the center of attention for a few days and constantly greeted with hugs, kisses, and other affectionate contact gestures. Spread.

When said prisoner gets ill; until there are the later signs of hemorrhaging, the virus can easily spread to internal and general caretakers, which I can assume will be a few, and from them to others. Multiplied spread.

Further spread will increase when the body is being prepared for burial (washing, kissing). Spread cycle.

Until the signs are noted by members of terrorist groups, the virus can easily spread rapidly and fast; engulfing a network in a matter of weeks. Even though the spread from one prisoner might not be that much, the impact will be major if considered through a group of released prisoners (as usual).

Early containment could be unlikely, due to the general opposition of western doctrines in these cycles. The forcing of extremist groups to change their practices could mean undermining their religious beliefs and accepting a “western” way, which may not be easily accepted.

In the event where the virus is detected early among members, the effects of panic and fear among a typically close-knit operation can still be deleterious, to the point of slowing or shutting down operations due to reduced interaction, and uncertainty among members.

Biowarfare has been going on for a very long time. In the dark ages, plague victims would be thrown into cities by catapult to break sieges. Smallpox infected blankets were given to Indians by British soldiers in the French and Indian Wars. China still has outbreaks from bio-weapons the Japanese used against them in WWII.

It wouldn’t take a Manhattan Project type effort to develop a bio-weapon and Ebola is so nasty to start with, it doesn’t need much in the way of weaponization. If someone is playing games, field testing this bug and getting their act together for a major attack somewhere in the world, it’s time to build a bunker.

Multiple viral agents have been classified by the CDC as potential weapons of mass destruction or agents for biologic terrorism. Agents such as smallpox, viral hemorrhagic fever viruses, agents of viral encephalitis, and others are of concern because they are highly infectious and relatively easy to produce. Although dispersion might be difficult, the risk is magnified by the fact that large populations are susceptible to these agents and only limited treatment and vaccination strategies exist. Although the risk of large-scale bioterrorism using viral agents is small, public health programs and health care providers must be prepared for this potentially devastating impact on public health.

The filoviruses, Marburg and Ebola, are classified as Category A bio-warfare agents by the Centers for Disease Control. Most known human infections with these viruses have been fatal, and no vaccines or effective therapies are currently available. Filoviruses are highly infectious by the airborne route in the laboratory, but investigations of African outbreaks have shown that person-to-person spread requires direct contact with the virus-containing material. To show you that Ebola can be spread by air and other directions we will publish three scientific Abstracts published in well known scientific institutions.

Lethal experimental infections of rhesus monkeys by aerosolized Ebola virus

Johnson E1, Jaax N, White J, Jahrling P, Int J Exp Pathol. 1995 Aug;76(4):227-36.

Abstract

The potential of atherogenic infection by Ebola virus was established by using a head-only exposure aerosol system. Virus-containing droplets of 0.8-1.2 microns were generated and administered into the respiratory tract of rhesus monkeys via inhalation. Inhalation of viral doses as low as 400 plaque-forming units of virus caused a rapidly fatal disease in 4-5 days.

The illness was clinically identical to that reported for parenteral virus inoculation, except for the occurrence of subcutaneous and venipuncture site bleeding and serosanguineous nasal discharge. Immunocytochemistry revealed cell-associated Ebola virus antigens present in airway epithelium, alveolar pneumocytes, and macrophages in the lung and pulmonary lymph nodes; extracellular antigen was present on mucosal surfaces of the nose, oropharynx, and airways.

Aggregates of the characteristic filamentous virus were present of type I pneumocytes, macrophages, and air spaces of the lung by electron microscopy. Demonstration of fatal aerosol transmission of this virus in monkeys reinforces the importance of taking appropriate precautions to prevent its potential aerosol transmission to humans.

Transmission of Ebola virus (Zaire strain) to uninfected control monkeys in a biocontainment laboratory

Jaax N1, Jahrling P, Geisbert T, Geisbert J, Teele K, McKee K, Nagley D, Johnson E, Jaax G, Peters CLancet. 1995 Dec 23-30;346(8991-8992):1669-71.

Abstract

Secondary transmission of Ebola virus infection in humans is known to be caused by direct contact with infected patients or body fluids. We report transmission of Ebola virus (Zaire strain) to two of three control rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) that did not have direct contact with experimentally inoculated monkeys held in the same room.

The two control monkeys died from Ebola virus infections at 10 and 11 days after the last experimentally inoculated monkey had died. The most likely route of infection of the control monkeys was aerosol, oral or conjunctival exposure to virus-laden droplets secreted or excreted from the experimentally inoculated monkeys. These observations suggest approaches to the study of routes of transmission to and among humans.

Lethal experimental infection of rhesus monkeys with Ebola-Zaire (Mayinga) virus by the oral and conjunctival route of exposure.

Davis K.J, Geisbert TJ, Vogel P, Jaax GP, Topper M,J ahrling PB. Lancet 1996 Feb; 120 (2): 140-55.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

The source of infection or mode of transmission of Ebola virus to human index cases of Ebola fever has not been established. Field observations in outbreaks of Ebola fever indicate that secondary transmission of Ebola virus is linked to improper needle hygiene, direct contact with infected tissue or fluid samples, and close contact with infected patients.

While it is presumed that the virus infects through either break in the skin or contact with mucous membranes, the only two routes of exposure that have been experimentally validated are parental inoculation and aerosol inhalation. Epidemiologist evidence suggests that aerosol exposure is not an important means of virus transmission in natural outbreaks of human Ebola fever; this study was designed to verify that Ebola virus could be effectively transmitted by oral or conjunctival exposure in nonhuman primates.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Adult rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) were exposed to Ebola-Zaire (Mayinga) virus orally (N=4), conjunctival (N=4), or by intramuscular inoculation (N=1, virus-positive control).

RESULTS

Four of seven monkeys exposed by the conjunctival route, three of four monkeys exposed by the oral route, and the intramuscularly inoculated positive control monkey were successfully infected with Ebola-Zaire (Mayinga). Seven monkeys died of Ebola fever between days 7 and 8 post-exposure, but one of the monkeys given aggressive supportive therapy and a platelet transfusion; lived until day 12 post-exposure.

Belgian scientist and discoverer of Ebola, Peter Piot, knew everything about the virus but wouldn’t say publicly was a medical crime against Africa, because his country was involved.

CONCLUSIONS

Findings from the experimental study confirm that Ebola virus can be effectively transmitted via the oral or conjunctival route of exposure in nonhuman primates and absolutely can be used as a bio-warfare weapon.

The Brothers: The Road To An American Tragegy

America 1

On April 15, 2013, two homemade bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston marathon, killing three people and wounding more than 264 others. In the ensuing manhunt, Tamerlan Tsarnaev died, and his younger brother, Dzhokhar, was captured and ultimately charged on thirty federal counts.

Yet long after the bombings and the terror they sowed, after all the testimony and debate, what we still haven’t learned is why. Why did the American Dream go so wrong for two immigrants? How did such a nightmare come to pass?

Acclaimed Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen is uniquely endowed with the background, access, and talents to tell the full story. An immigrant herself, who came to the Boston area with her family as a teenager, she returned to the former Soviet Union in her early twenties and covered firsthand the transformations that were wracking her homeland and its neighboring regions.

It is there that the history of the Tsarnaev brothers truly begins, as descendants of ethnic Chechens deported to Central Asia in the Stalin era. Gessen follows the family in their futile attempts to make a life for themselves in one war-torn locale after another and then, as new émigrés, in the looking-glass, utterly disorienting world of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Most crucially, she reconstructs the struggle between assimilation and alienation that ensued for each of the brothers, incubating a deadly sense of mission. And she traces how such a split in identity can fuel the metamorphosis into a new breed of homegrown terrorist, with feet on American soil but sense of self elsewhere.

The Author

Masha

Masha Gessen is a Russian-American journalist who is the author of several books, most recently the national bestseller The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin. Her work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The New York Times, Newsweek, Slate, and many other publications, and has received numerous awards, most recently the 2013 Media for Liberty Award. She has served as the editor of several publications and as director of Radio Liberty’s Russia Service. Marsha currently lives in Moscow.

Son Of Hamas

“I was brought up believing in the conspiracy theory that the United States of America and the west, including Israel, is plotting day and night to destroy Islam and the Muslim world, which is a lie. And this is how terrorist organizations kept pushing the average person to fight on their behalf against the United States of America and against Israel.”- Mosab Hassan Yousef.

Ham 1

Since he was a small boy, Mosab Hassan Yousef has had an inside view of the deadly terrorist group Hamas. The oldest son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a founding member of Hamas and its most popular leader, young Mosab assisted his father for years in his political activities while being groomed to assume his legacy, politics, status and power.

But everything changed when Mosab turned away from terror and violence, and embraced instead the teachings of another famous Middle East leader. In Son of Hamas, Mosab reveals new information about the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization and unveils the truth about his own role, his agonizing separation from family and homeland, the dangerous decision to make his new found faith public, and his belief that the Christian mandate to “love your enemies” is the only way to peace in the Middle East.

Yousef’s family publicly disowned him after he wrote “Son of Hamas,” and he said he lost “everything.” And while he believes everyone is capable of seeing the cruelty of Hamas and radical Islam, he also said “it’s easier for them to listen to the leader who is blaming all the social problems and many other problems on Israel and the United States of America.”

Son of Hamas is now available in softcover with an all-new chapter about events since the book’s release such as the revelation of Mosab’s Israeli intelligence handler’s true identity, and Homeland Security’s effort to deport the author.

The Author

Ham 2
Mosab Hassan Yousef was born in Ramallah, in the Palestinian West Bank in 1978. His father, Sheikh Hassan Yousef, is a founding leader of Hamas, internationally recognized as a terrorist organization and responsible for countless suicide bombings and other deadly attacks against Israel.
      Yousef was an integral part of the movement, for which he was imprisoned several times by the Shin Bet, the Israeli intelligence service. He withstood torture in prison only to discover Hamas was torturing its own people in a relentless search for collaborators. He began to question who his enemies really were–Israel? Hamas? America?
      While in an Israeli prison, Yousef was approached about becoming a spy for the Shin Bet. Initially, Yousef accepted it with the idea that he would betray them and in hopes he could use the role to protect his father and family. Later, as Yousef saw the hypocrisy within Hamas and became a Christian, he used the position to save lives on both sides of the conflict.
       Yousef worked as a double agent within Hamas for nearly 10 years. He became a vital intelligence asset for the Israeli government while Yousef served side-by-side with his father within the upper ranks of Hamas. After a chance encounter with a British tourist, Yousef started a six-year quest that jeopardized Hamas, endangered his family and threatened his life.
      He has since embraced the Christian faith and sought political asylum in America. His story was revealed in the 2008 Fox News documentary “Escape from Hamas.” Yousef ‘s first book Son of Hamas, written with Ron Brackin (SaltRiver), releases March 2, 2010. In Son of Hamas, Yousef reveals new information about this dangerous terrorist organization and unveils the truth behind his own secret role.
       He describes his surreal journey to a new faith that instructed him to love his enemies. And he tells the story of the agonizing decisions that led him to walk away from his family, friends and homeland. For blog updates from Yousef, visit http://www.sonofhamas.com.