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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  November 21, 2015 3:00am-4:01am PST

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let's all shop small. for the neighborhood, the town, the home we love. on november 28th, shop small. tonight, the u.n. security council has just passed a resolution unanimously in response to the paris attacks. this u.n. security council resolution calls on all nations of the world to quote, come back by all means the terrorist threat posed by isis and to deny isis its safe haven in iraq and syria. now, russia in recent years they made a habit of going their own way on issues like this, particularly when the word syria gets mentioned. and indeed, russia initially proposed their own resolution on this subject so there had been some question as to whether or not they might block approval at the u.n. security council of this measure or they might
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insist on getting -- they might insist on getting their open res -- own resolution passed instead, but the russians let this happen. the russians let the french resolution go forward. they did not put forward their on competing -- own competing resolution and it was a unanimous vote. and that is not exactly a best new thing in the world, but that sort of international unanimity. that sort of burying the hatchet between the nations, that solidarity against terrorism is heartening. after this hell of a week that we have just been through. on friday, of course, it was paris, the death toll in paris has now risen from 129 to 130. that was friday. on tuesday, there was another suicide bombing attack. this one on a crowded marketplace in the nigeria city of yola. that attack in nigeria killed at least 34 people in the marketplace. then the following day on wednesday, it was another suicide attack.
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this time it was a pair of suicide bombers who blew themselves up, again in nigeria. this time at a market for cell phones and other small electronics. that double suicide bombing was in a northern nigeria city. you will know which group is credited with that attack, when i say that not only were both thought to be female, but one of them is thought to have been 11 years old. so it will not come as a surprise to you when i tell you that both that double suicide bombing in nigeria and the single suicide bombing the previous day also in nigeria which together those two attacks took nearly 50 lives, these attacks are both attributed to the nigerian terrorist group boko haram. and just as we were getting news of that second nigerian suicide bombing the double bombing and the -- in the cell phone market in what appears as an 11-year-old suicide bomber, this new annual report was released
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from the global terrorism index. so it was an interesting moment, the western world reeling from the attacks on paris. and comparatively speaking there was roughly zero attention paid to the two suicide bombings which killed all of the dozens of civilians in nigeria. it named as the single deadly terrorist group in the world not isis, but boko haram. boko haram this year has killed more civilians than the taliban, more civilians than al qaeda, more civilians than isis. boko haram has more blood on its hands as a terrorist group than any other terrorist group in the world this year. and as long as we're understanding the various allegiances here, the leaders of boko haram they did pledge allegiance to isis. now technically they're considered an african province of the islamic state. but even if you just take them
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on their own, take boko haram alone, they're even more deadly than the rest of isis. their the deadliest terrorist group in the world now. and part of what we're trying to disentangle and sort of figure out is whether we should see boko haram and maybe, therefore, isis if it's part of isis, should we see them as also responsible for the new truly terrible fatal attack that happened today in the capital city of mali. the attack reportedly started at 7:00 a.m. local time. attackers drove a car that was reportedly fitted with what appeared to be diplomatic license plates on to the grounds of the radisson blu hotel in bamako. they were apparently let into the grounds because they had the diplomatic plates and they started a siege that lasted all day long. the police did not consider the scene to be clear until late afternoon and the death toll has
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widely fluctuated as have reports about the number of attackers. but as best we can tell right now, again the details may change, but as best we can tell right now, what happened today in bamako in mali, there were multiple attackers. they were armed with guns and possibly grenades at various points in the siege they held dozens if not upwards of hundreds of hostages from different countries. u.n. workers, all sorts of people. in the end the attackers are all said to have been killed by police and security forces on the scene. the majority were freed, but not all. the death toll for the civilians in the hotel is thought to be approximately 20 people at this point. again, i stress those numbers are subject to change as we get more confirmed reports z out of the capital city of mali after this terrible attack today. mali is a really big country geographically. it's in western africa, most is
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covered by a big swath of the sahara desert. it's known as a massive producer of gold. particularly in historical terms, also now a big gold producer. in terms of mali's cultural reputation it's been known forever as an exporter of incredible music. and world renowned musicians. starting in 2001, mali started hosting an international music festival called festival in the desert. if you have ever been to burning man or heard of burning man, festival in the desert put it to shame. it's one of the most remote international music festivals anywhere in the world. they started in 2001. it got bigger and bigger and bigger in 2002, 2003, 2004, all the way through 2011, 2012. that's when in footage was shot for a documentary called last song before the war. ♪ >> during the day you rest. there are games. it's very mellow. you read.
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you take camel rides in the desert and then in the evening it's like the desert comes to life. all of a sudden, 2,000, 3,000 people come from all over and it is just the most peaceful, happy assembly of people that i have ever experienced in my whole life. the music is incredible. >> that again is footage from the documentary called "last song before the war." about the festival in the desert. that at that point had been happening every year for more then a decade in mali. every year it was getting bigger and bigger and attracting more and more tourists and getting more attention, getting international acclaim, celebrities from around the world. you can see bono from u2 performing at this festival. huge names at the festival. they had one scheduled as normal in 2013, and it turns out that the 2013 got called off.
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2012 is the last one they have held. if you go to the material online now for festival in the desert they call themselves festival in exile. because they can't hold this huge annual gathering in mali anymore despite its success because mali has just become too dangerous. in january 2012, which was the year of the last festival, january, the start of the year, islamic extremist rebel groups started basically a lightning takeover of the whole northern part of mali. the most famous place in northern mali is timbuktu. it's so remote so hard to get to that the word timbuktu has long been an english language metaphor that means a very far away place. but timbuktu is a real specific place on the map. it's a unesco world heritage site and once the islamic rebels in mali took over, northern mali, including timbuktu in 2012, they did what terrorist groups like to do now when they
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get their hands on irreplaceable, priceless global treasures that had been preserved for centuries. when they took over timbuktu, they took pickaxes to those historic sites. just tore them apart. but the islamic radicals held all of northern mali all year long. they took it over in january 2012. held it all of 2012. and then a year into it, january 2013 they got really cocky and decided they were to take over the whole country. they decided to advance on the rest of mali and they started to march south, aiming to take over that nation's capital city of bamako. and the entire government. at this point, the french government with its long colonial history, they decided this was their responsibility and they would intervene to save mali. they would send thousands of french soldiers including both ground troops and take direct
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military action to repel the islamic radical groups and terrorist groups and pushed them back into the desert. and that french military effort really was decisive at the time. they really did reverse what otherwise looked like was going to be a complete takeover of that country. they pushed the radical and terrorist groups out. they took back tim back tu. they took back all the areas. in terms of geographic control in that country, that french assault in january 2013 it worked. but it turns out it's never that simple. while that successful military campaign was under way, one of the islamic militant groups launched a horrific terrorist attack right next door to mali in algeria. you probably remember this because of the scale of the attack. this was also january 2013, so the same month that the french
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military assault is happening, 2013, january, what they attacked was a remote but big international gas facility. gas processing facility. it was apparently way too lightly protected and full of westerners and other international civilians who these terrorist groups were found easy to take hostage. >> now to another big and still developing story tonight, american citizens among perhaps dozens of those taken hostage in algeria in northern africa. right next door to mali with not coincidentally french warplanes have been pounding militant for days. tonight, the u.s. state department has strongly condemned this hostage taking calling it a terrorist attack. nbc has the only network correspondent on the ground. good evening. >> reporter: brian, algerian officials say that the hostages were taken by heavily armed islamic militants linked to al qaeda and they were responding
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to the military operation by the french here in mali. supported by american cargo aircraft, spy planes and drones. the attack took place at dawn as a natural gas facility jointly operated by bp, the nor weeken company. militants reportedly approached the facility in three unmarked vehicles. their attack left at least two dead including a british international. they took at least 20 and perhaps more than 40 people hostage. at least three americans, 13 norwegians and others from britain, ireland, canada, japan and france. reportedly leading the attack former al qaeda commander mokhtar belmokhtar who had
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promised retaliation for the action in the neighboring mali. >> so remarkable to look back at that footage knowing that was not the only report that was going to happen on that siege. that was just the start and it was going to get way bigger. that was just the first night's report of what ended up being a multiday assault on that gas facility out in the middle of the desert in algeria. in the end the attackers would terrorize and kill 40 of their hostages including 39 foreigners and one algerian. they used guns and mortars and heavy weapons and bombs including bomb belts that they strapped to some of their hostages which is part of what i mean they terrorized and killed their hostages. and that assault, that multiday assault, that happened in january 2013. but that actually brings us right up today with -- right up to date with today's attack. because you saw in that initial "nightly news" news package that the person who was believed to be leading that assault was this guy, mokhtar belmokhtar.
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one of the more memorable names and famous international terrorist circles. he's also got a face that's hard to forget. you can tell from looking at him talk what's got one eye. he was wounded while fighting in algeria in the 1990s. he is one of the most notorious international jihadists in the world. he's been based in north africa. he was credited/blamed with that massive attack on that algerian gas plant in january. as the french were mounting this massive military campaign just over the border in mali. that was january 2013. and then two months later in march 2013, mokhtar belmokhtar he was reported to have been killed. >> moving over seas now, still no confirmation that a top al qaeda command has been killed in chad. the military said it killed mokhtar belmokhtar in a base. he claimed responsibility for a deadly attack last month on the algerian oil refinery. >> so the attack in january
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2013, in march 2013, the leader of that attack the one eyed guy, belmokhtar, they said he was dead, they did not kill him in chad. you fast forward two years and this summer, this past june, he was reported to be dead again. this time thanks to a pair of usf-15 fighter jets targeting him in libya. >> libya's interim government says belmokhtar was killed in the attack along with other militants. but the pentagon said it's assessing results of the operation and cannot confirm his death. the pentagon says he's responsible for a series of attacks in algeria in 2013 that killed at least 38 people including three americans. >> so mokhtar belmokhtar, this one eyed guy reported dead in march of 2013, he was not dead. he was reported dead again this summer, june 2015. later reports indicated that it wasn't a libyan strike against him, it wasn't an american drone
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strike, it was two american f-15 fighter jets that targeted him inside of libya. they thought they got him. but he may not have died then either because today in the wake of the hotel attack in bamako in mali, the french defense minister proclaimed the person who led the attack today is the same old guy. mokhtar belmokhtar, the one eyed guy who keeps not dying, despite lots of different pronouncements to the contrary. a group called al mourabitoun claimed responsibility for the attack. belmokhtar is believed to be the leader of the group. the claim of responsibility reportedly said that his group and al qaeda and the islamic mcgref carried off the operation. in terms of what this means for us, there are reports today that suggest that belmokhtar's group should be seen as linked to boko haram, and since boko haram calls itself part of isis, he
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should be linked to isis and that means today's attack issen a isis affiliated attack. and there's a claim of responsibility to al jazeera today that his group is linked directly to al qaeda so maybe it's an al qaeda linked group. well, there are multiple armchair quarterbacking reports particularly in the american media saying that al qaeda and isis are actually desperately at odds, particularly in this part of the world and they would never work together and would never have any overlapping allegiances in that part of the world. either he's affiliated with isis or al qaeda but couldn't -- but it couldn't be both. none of that seems at all clear to me, in terms of who's responsible, who's cooperating and who's competing. but that's why we turn to experts in these matters. ignorance isn't bliss. the reason we turn to experts in moments like this to tell us what we should believe about these various after filliations,
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the reason we turn to experts to tell us how important it is to get it in terms of understanding the international threat posed by groups is because without understanding how they're linked, without understanding who's against who and with who, how could we reasonably expect they could be target and d defeated? you can't divide and conquer unless you know who needs to be defeated. i have just the guy, next. oh... ha ha ha! joanne? is that you? it's me... you don't look a day over 70. am i right? jingle jingle. if you're peter pan, you stay young forever. it's what you do. if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. ♪ you make me feel so young... it's what you do. ♪ you make me feel ♪ so spring has sprung. and this year, look at whate he put in our driveway. the lexus december to remember sales event is here. lease the 2016 es350 for $349 a month for 36 months
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we have breaking news out of belgium, where several of the attackers planned their attack on what may have been a base. belgium tonight as a nation is raising the terror alert to the highest level ever as a country. belgian officials are warning of what they call a quote imminent threat of an attack in the brussels region. so that is news tonight out of belgium tonight. just hours after another terrorist attack was mounted against a hotel in this case, in the african nation of mali.
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at least 20 people were killed there. there has been reportedly one claim of responsibility for that attack, but it's -- even with that claim of responsibility it's still unclear tonight just exactly who is responsible for it and whether we should see the latest attack as linked to isis orling or linked to al qaedaer neither. joining us is a former fbi special agent and an expert in counterterrorism. thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> is it important to know about international affiliations of local west african terrorist groups that are claiming responsibility for this kind of attack? it doesn't matter in the counterterrorism sense? >> absolutely. you have to know who's behind the attack and if it's isis, you know, the situation is very different than al qaeda. >> okay. >> in this situation it's the al mourabitoun brigade.
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it's headed or established by mokhtar belmokhtar. mokhtar belmokhtar had a big ego like all of the characters over there and he wanted to work closely with the head of al qaeda and the islamic, and he decided -- >> he used to be in islamic what gref and he decided to form his own group? >> you know what, i'm not getting along with the leaders of the group and he established his own group. usually the different terrorist groups over there, each one has its own kind of like ethnic mixing. you know, or makeup. so basically he established his own thing. he wanted to be clear he's still a member of al qaeda. so he pledged to ayman al zawahiri. >> there have been reports we
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should see his group as being associated with boko haram. boko haram has -- calls itself an affiliate of isis. are those reports just not truer -- >> that's not true. at one point, at the beginning of the civil war in mali, at the beginning of the al qaeda attack in 2013 i believe after the situation in libya, after libya became a disaster, a lot of fighters went from libya to mali and this was when the war started in mali. during that time period, boko haram appeared to have some working relationships with some of the extremists who are operating in mali. now, boko haram, you know, i think last march i believe if i'm not mistaken they became members of the islamic state. so-called islamic states. however, the other groups over there, those organizations are
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still operating under al qaeda. >> we should see this as an al qaeda affiliated attack, not an isis affiliated attack? >> this is absolutely an al qaeda attack. as for mokhtar belmokhtar and what the french minister said i think it's interesting that mokhtar belmokhtar did it. interestingly enough last month al qaeda said that mokhtar belmokhtar was dead. and they didn't say how he was killed. maybe he was hit in libya. but it took him a while to die, but we don't know. but al qaeda put out a statement, we can't verify that statement. it's an al qaeda statement saying that mokhtar belmokhtar was dead. so that's interesting now. we have to look back and dig into this statement and see was it something that mokhtar belmokhtar put out in order to relieve the pressure on him or was he killed? >> and was this group so -- did it hinge so much on him as a personality and a leader that you would expect his group to fall apart if he was dead? would you expect them not to
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pull off a big attack like this in mali, if they had just been -- had lost their leader? >> i think we have to put that attack in context. i mean, this is not the first time al qaeda and the islamic -- that they conducted an attack like this. they did a similar attack in the capital of mali at a luxury hotel and they killed a lot of people before. but now, a lot of the attention is because of what happened in france. >> yes. >> and the very -- >> people are wondering if it's connected. >> exactly. especially because of the french intervention in mali, you know? is it considered an international attack against the french after the isis attack or series of attacks in the streets of paris? i think this situation, al qaeda and its affiliates did not want to be upstaged by isis and what isis is doing in paris, so they decided to do an attack and focusing on local issues saying,
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look, we went to this hotel. we asked if they're muslims or not muslim, we did not want to kill muslims and we put them in places that muslims are occupying. this is how isis is approaching things. >> ali safin. that's the most clarifying thing all day. i have been reading on it all day, trying to make sense of it for the audience. you just -- you're more clear on anybody writing about this subject in english today. thank you. we'll be right back. when heartburn hits
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what would be the difference, is there a difference between the two? is there a difference -- >> who are you with? >> i'm with nbc news. >> is there a difference between islamic and jews? >> you tell me. >> should muslims be fearful? will there be consequences if they don't register? >> that rolling stones song was playing in the pack ground and that conversation was breaking last night at this time on our show. well, today, this story about mr. trump and this policy proposal didn't go away and in some ways it got weirder. and we've got that next. stay with us. ♪jake reese, "day to feel alive"♪
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so the jaw dropping news in american politics started with a print interview between yahoo! news reporter hunter walker and the leading presidential candidate, donald trump. mr. trump appeared to accept an extraordinary idea put to him by the reporter. to clear up any potential misunderstandings, hunter walker the reporter let us hear the audio. he let us have the audio so we could hear his question and mr. trump's answer. >> france declared this state of emergency where they closed the borders and established a degree of warrantless searches. i know how you feel about the
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borders but do you think there's some kind of state of emergency here and do we need warrantless searches of muslims? >> well, we'll have to do things we never did before. and some people are doing to be upset about it, but i think that now everyone is feeling that security is going to rule. and certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country in terms of information and learning about the enemy. >> absolutely. >> and so we'll have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago. when you look at what's happening. >> in terms of doing this, to pull off the kind of tracking we need, do you think we might need to register muslims in some type of database or note their religion on their i.d.? >> we have to look at a lot of things very closely. we have to look at the mosques. we're going to have to look very, very carefully. >> so in that interview, mr. trump did not take the opportunity to rule out what sounds like an alarming and specific proposal to keep a list of people in this country who me long to a particular region.
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he's asked specifically do you think we might need to register muslims in some sort of type of database or note their religion on their i.d.? well, we're going to have to look at a lot of things very closely. so he doesn't rule out this proposal. that seemed like a big deal. and when a reporter from nbc news followed up with mr. trump later that day, the story got bigger. >> -- tracks the muslims in this country? >> there should be a lot of systems and today you can do it, but right now we have to have a border, strength and a wall and we can't -- >> you would -- >> i would certainly implement that, absolutely. >> what do you think the effect of that would be? >> it would stop people from coming in illegally. we have to stop people from coming in illegally. >> so muslims specifically how do you get them registered in the database? >> it's good management.
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you have to have good management procedures and we can do that. that's nice. >> would you go to mosques and sign the people up? >> different places. you sign them up at -- but it's all about management. our country has no management. whose is that? >> would they have to be legally be in the databasdatabase? >> let me tell you, the key is that people can come to the country, but they have to come in legally. >> should there be a database system to track muslims? there should be a lot of systems beyond databases. how would you do it? good management. where would you sign people up? different places. this is not donald trump saying, no, i would not support a list of keeping all muslims in the country so we can keep an eye on them. right or not? today donald trump addressed the continuing questions about this matter on twitter. he posted this on twitter. i quote directly, i didn't suggest a database, a reporter did. we must defeat islamic terrorism and have surveillance including a watch list to protect america. so wait.
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which is it? look at that again. look, i didn't suggest a database, sounds like he could be against that idea. but then he says we must have surveillance including a watch list. that kind of says he likes the idea, right? we reached out to mr. trump's campaign to find out what his position is on registering muslims in database. we know he likes to be a little woolly about a lot of things but this seems like such a provocative possibility, particularly from the republican presidential front runner that we wanted to be specific about his view. we did not hear from the campaign last night when we put the questions to them. we tried again today. we e-mailed his campaign today seeking crystal clarity. that's all we want. quote, what is mr. trump's specific idea of putting muslims in america into a database? if he's considering that option would he register all muslims or only some, if some, which ones?
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would he support the idea of having muslims in america carry identification? that specifies their religion. we have not heard back from the trump campaign yet. we hold out hope. but mr. trump did call in to our friends at the fox news channel tonight. ostensibly to try to shut the door on this story. >> i was really responding to a totally different reporter. he was responding to that reporter, where basically the suggestion was made and certainly something we should start thinking about, but what i want is a watch list. i want surveillance programs. obviously, there are a lot of problems. i want a database for the syrian refugees that obama is going to let in if we don't stop him as republicans, if we don't stop him. but certainly i'd want to have a database for the refugees for the syrian refugees that are coming in. because nobody knows where they're coming from. i hear some are missing, at least one is missing already. gone. and you looked at what happened in paris, you look at what's happening all over the place.
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look at the tragic event of today and last night in the hotel. and you say to yourself, why shouldn't we have good surveillance? so i want to have watch lists, i want to have surveillance programs. i mean, we're not a bunch of babies. we need protection and we need it now. >> just to be specific, did you hear that one specific part? >> i was really responding to a totally different reporter, he was responding to that reporter where basically the suggestion was made and certainly something we should start thinking about. >> what exactly is the thing we should start thinking about? could you please be clear about that? in the immortal words of justin bieber, what do you mean? until the donald trump for president campaign explains what he means, i think that on a matter this provocative they'll get responses like this one from the anti-defamation league. donald trump's suggestion that we use a database that we track
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muslims is deeply troubling. or this one from the american jewish council. what mr. trump proposes in this case targeting all muslims it's a horror movie that we jews are familiar with. he's deep into blaming the media for the whole scandal. blachling the media -- blaming the media for us reporting he's campaigning on watch lists and databases to register american muslims. i know it's fashionable and politically smart to blame the media, but this is important. and somebody's got to report this out. somebody's got to do something other than standing there agoing, disbelieving this is the top tier of the republican contest to try to be the next president of the united states of america.
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so we're continuing to follow the breaking news out of belgium tonight. they have raised the terror alert to the highest possible level and what we believe is the highest level they have ever raised their terror alert to as a nation. and they have raised that terror alert specifically for the
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nation's capital city of brussels. brussels an important international capital, it's home to the headquarters of both the european union and the headquarters of nato. but brussels is the belgian capital and in brussels tonight, they have raised the terror alert for the city and surrounding areas to its highest level ever and what they're warning now is what they're calling an imminent threat in the brussels area. they're urging people to avoid crowded areas including concert halls and major transportation hubs. of course, the warning on concert halls particularly unnerving after what happened in paris one week ago tonight. but again, belgium's terror threat level is now at the highest level with officials in that country warning of an imminent attack. we'll be right back. culous numb. or there's a fee to use them. i know. it's so frustrating. they'd be a lot happier with the capital one venture card. and you would, too! why? it's so easy with venture.
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so this is very strange story. one of the things that's become well known about the man who's reportedly the orchestrater of the paris attacks and who apparently died in that wednesday morning raid in saint-denis outside of paris, one of the things that's known about him widely, he recruited his own 13-year-old brother to leave belgium and become an isis fighter himself. there's no news on the whereabouts of the younger brother since he would now be 15 if he was still alive. abdelhamid abaaoud's father said he's only happy his son is not alive, he hoped he could be taken alive and he could be interrogated to find out what happened to the younger brother. but he has another brother who is in prison in morocco on
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terrorism charges. and whether or not this is true, morocco police claim part of the reason that the french found out about the alleged ringleader was in paris itself is because his brother from the morocco prison cell who his brother is being called the master mind of the attacks he wasn't in syria like everyone was saying, he was in france. the story the moroccan police are saying is that the brother narced him out from his moroccan jail cell and that's part of how they found abdelhamid abaaoud. that's fascinating. and whether or not it's true turns out the stories of moroccan prisoners are turning out to be a gold mine in terms of what we know not only about the paris attacks but also about isis as a whole. "the washington post" has a new absolutely remarkable story just out, just an incredible piece of reporting about how isis' propaganda operation work, how
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do they do it day to day. and the primary way they got this knowledge was through interviews with isis defectors who are now in prison in morocco. the reporters sat down with men who until recently were members of isis in syria, and what they learned from them about isis' propaganda operation is very unexpected. it's weird, and it's disturbing. quoting from the report. what they described resembles a medieval reality show. cameras fan out across the caliphate every day. and battle scenes in public beheadings are so scripted and staged that fighters and executioners often perform multiple takes and read their lines from cue cards. quote, senior media operatives are treated of emirs as equal ranks to the counterparts and directly involved on strategy and territory and they form a
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privileged, professional staff with status that's the envy of ordinary fighters. so in the west, we're familiar with the threatening material that isis puts out, right, the videos that are meant to highlight the cruelty and the brutality of the group. but there's also propaganda of a different kind that's aimed at potential recruits. including some internal propaganda that's targeted to the syrians and iraqis who are living in isis controlled territory. those videos paint a different picture of life under the islamic state with happy children and bustling markets. so they're producing two types of propaganda. the idyllic stuff and horrific stuff and it's set up on videos for residents to watch. we have long known that optics and media and social media are central to how isis recruits members across the globe, but we never had such an inside look at how that is to how isis operates as an organization and as a
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quasi-government. that tells us how isis sees itself and sees as the most important components. that's brand new to us. it's thanks to the new incredible reporting in "the washington post" today. joining us is greg miller, from "the washington post." he co-authored this article. and mr. miller, congratulations on this reporting. it was really eye opening. thanks for being here tonight. >> thanks for having me, rachel. >> what struck me as most surprising was the degree to which isis privileges, the actual people who do the video production, who do the propaganda for them within their own organization giving them power, status, money, what struck you as most surprising based on sort of how you went into this based on what you learned? >> i think the extent to which how pervasive it and also as you say how tightly sort of choreographed the public events are in the caliphate.
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it's a public beheading that's a punishment, internal punishment in which the camera crews show up with cue cards, as the sentence is read for the condemned dead. then they're asking the executioner to raise and lower his sword over and over again so that they can get the right angle. >> wow. >> just so that the depth and the extent to which things are designed specifically for propaganda purposes. there's why we kind of describe it as this resembling a medieval reality show in some ways. >> you had access to the isis -- i guess you call them defectors. the men who you spoke to in the moroccan prison. how did they end up in this moroccan prison? do you have any concerns about the veracity of what they told you, given the circumstances under which you did the interviews? >> yeah, i mean, we acknowledge that in the story. it's certainly the arrangement in which we were able to
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interview the people would lead you to suspect at least that they were likely to downplay their role in the islamic state. but we didn't find much to indicate that they were -- they were altering their stories and when we were asking questions about media and how it functions and we tried to corroborate a lot of what they told us by getting detail from them and getting -- and checking it with other sources and against the accounts from other defectors that we talked to. >> one of the things that you mentioned and that is highlighted in the story of particular concern some of the defectors some of the former isis fighters describe what sounds like an american or north american or more than one american or north american involved in isis media efforts. >> that's right. it sounds like there could be two or three. we have known for some time there was one who appears and is really in the prominent video they released a year and a half ago called flames of war. that's the fbi who has a photo
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of him on their website asking the public for information. but the defectors that we talked to spoke of at least two others including one who's kind of behind the scenes working in the production facilities. and responsible for doing a lot of the editing. then more recently the islamic state has started to do daily radio broadcasts in multiple languages. one of those is in english. the voice of that broadcast is distinctly american or at least north american. >> greg miller, national security correspondent for "the washington post," again, remarkable reporting. i know something of what it took to get this reporting. i'm really glad the post sprung for it. it's amazing. >> thank you. we have much more ahead. please stay with us.
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so this has been a week in which political news has been overshadowed for good reason, be there's one worth watching tonight. its the louisiana governor's race, the runoff between david vitter and democratic nominee john bell edwards to succeed bobby jindal as governor of louisiana. that's tomorrow. and they do it on saturday, i don't know why. and louisiana is historically a very, very red state. but john bell edwards the democrat has been leading all of the recent polling in this race. this is already a tight and fairly nasty campaign. that was before david vitter decided to make the scary syrian refugees the sole focus of the end of his campaign. but this election is tomorrow in louisiana. despite what ever you have seen
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in the polling, if you get anybody to talk about it honestly, nobody knows how it will turn out. watch this space for real. whatever you're doing, plan well and enjoy life... ♪ or, as we say at unitedhealthcare insurance company, go long. of course, how you plan is up to you. take healthcare. make sure you're covered for more than what just medicare pays... consider an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company... the only medicare supplement plans that carry the aarp name, and the ones that millions of people trust year after year. it's about having the coverage you need... plan well. enjoy life. go long. don't let it conquer you.. with the capability and adaptability
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only glucerna has carbsteady, diabetes, steady is exciting. clinically proven to help minimize blood sugar spikes. so you stay steady ahead. in panama, which is a city of roughly 2 million people, we are having 5,000 new cars being sold every month. this is a very big problem for us with respect to fast and efficient transportation. it's kind of a losing proposition to keep going this way. we are trying to tackle the problem with several different modes. one of them is the brand new metro. we had a modest forecast: 110,000 passengers per day in the first line. we are already over 200,000. our collaboration with citi has been very important from the very beginning. citi was our biggest supporter and our only private bank. we are not only being efficient in the way we are moving people now, we are also more amicable to the environment. people have more time for the family and it's been one of the most rewarding experiences to hear people saying:
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"the metro has really changed my life." hey, look at the images. a few hours ago, right in front of the white house, look. about a hundred people gathered for a candlelight vigil in lafayette square. the banner you see there it reads american muslims against isis. that event was organized by d.c. area muslim groups, although people from different religious faiths joined in the march to the park that preceded the vigil. that was right across the street from the white house. earlier today, also in d.c., muslim leaders held a smaller gathering on the steps of the lincoln memorial. that was an interfaith gathering. again, meant to condemn the attacks by isis in paris. this was also philadelphia tonight. people marching through the streets of philly for what organizers described as a unity
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rally against islamaphobia. these aren't the kind of images that have dominated the news over the last 24 hours or the last week, but this is happening across the country tonight as well. "msnbc live" is next. good morning, everyone. i'm alex witt. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." we begin in the aftermath of the terror attacks in paris. brussels is under the highest terror alert and police and military continue to search for suspects in last week's paris terror attacks. we have last minute information and we'll be joined from brussels in a moment. meantime, police in turkey detained three men in connection with the paris attacks. reuters reports that at least one of the men was scouting

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