FROM Sebastian Rotella
Terror van mows down a crowd in Barcelona Police in Barcelona say at least 13 people have died and the Associated Press reports 80 more were injured today after a speeding van plowed into crowds on Las Ramblas — a tourist avenue reportedly packed with visitors at the height of the season. Two men have reportedly been arrested including a 28-year-old Moroccan immigrant who rented the van. Sebastian Rotella is a senior reporter for ProPublica , who has family in Barcelona.
Terror in Europe Now not all warfare was cyber warfare in 2016. With the battle on to retake Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria from the Islamic State, the so-called Caliphate is shrinking and intelligence officials warned that European extremists will be returning to their home countries. This October, we spoke with ProPublica's senior reporter Sebastian Rotella about his series " Terror in Europe " for PBS' Frontline.
Terror in Europe The battle is on to retake Mosul, capitol of the Islamic State in Iraq. The next major target will be Raqqa, the Syriun capitol of the so-called Caliphate. But ISIS territory already is shrinking, and intelligence officials say that means European extremists will be returning to their home countries—with the likely prospect of more attacks like those in Paris in November of last year and in other countries. Photo: ISIS Fighters. (Day Donaldson)
Brussels on Lockdown All of Europe is on high alert in the aftermath of this morning‘s deadly explosions in Brussels — two at the airport and one at a train station downtown. Belgium’s prime minister says it was feared this might happen as retaliation for last week’s high-profile arrest of a prime suspect in November’s attacks in Paris. ISIS is claiming responsibility, and there’s more doubt than ever about the effectiveness of counter-terrorism. We hear details and update the mood in Brussels, headquarters of the European Union.
Suspect in Paris Attacks Captured Alive A dramatic police raid in Brussels today appears to have captured a suspect in the Paris terror attacks. He is Salah Abdeslam, who reportedly fled France for Belgium after the November 13 attacks that left 130 people dead. Sebastian Rotella, a senior reporter for Pro Publica in Washington, has covered terrorism as a foreign correspondent for many years, and has been following the Paris attacks from the beginning.
Raid Outside Paris Leaves Two Terrorist Suspects Dead A seven hour siege last night outside of Paris left two or three suspected terrorists dead and several others arrested. There have been 414 raids in the past three days. Investigators are testing DNA taken from today's raid to determine if the suspected ring leader of last Friday's terror attacks was one of those killed. Sebastian Rotella, senior reporter for ProPublica , reports on terrorism and joins us from Saint-Denis.
After Paris: Seeking a Strategy Almost 200 raids without search warrants have been conducted amid reports that there were advance warnings of Friday’s attacks — and more are predicted. There’s new urgency to the debate about the fight against ISIS. President François Hollande says, "France is at War." Airstrikes have increased, and there are calls for "boots on the ground" — as well as warnings that military escalation by western countries is just what ISIS is hoping for.
Police Launch Anti-Terror Raids in Europe Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron was at the White House today to talk about international terrorism. At a joint news conference, President Obama addressed the issue of home-grown terrorism in the United States, calling our biggest advantage that "our Muslim populations …feel themselves to be American. He also lauded the "incredible process of immigration and assimilation that‘s part of our tradition and it's probably our greatest strength." Meanwhile, security forces in France, Belgium and Germany have been rounding up suspected terrorists for the past two days. Sebastian Rotella covers terrorism and international crime for ProPublica. He's author of a new novel on those themes, The Convert's Song .
"The Convert's Song," a New Novel by Sebastian Rotella The Convert's Song is the second novel by Sebastian Rotella, whose first was Triple Crossing . An award-winning foreign correspondent who's been Los Angeles Times Bureau Chief in Buenos Aires and Paris, Rotella now covers international security for ProPublica. Rotella says his international thrillers are "not journalism in disguise," but provide insights into the globalization of terrorism and organized crime.
The Drug War Moves to Central America As the drug war continues, the Obama Administration has tried to emphasize prevention and treatment here in the US, to reduce the demand that fuels so much deadly violence south of the border. In the meantime, Mexico's outright warfare against drug cartels has caused the drug dealers to move further South into Central America, where the homicide rate now leads the world. What is the US doing to stop the demand for heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine? Why are Central American leaders calling for legalization?
The Drug War Moves to Central America Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the war on drugs "has not worked." But Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano is going full steam ahead. This week, she travelled from Mexico to Central America, tracking the progress of drug cartels, which have shifted their operations. The UN says Central America's now the main route for drugs bound for the US, and that region has become the murder capital of the world. Some Latin American leaders want the US to decriminalize drug use. Is that a cry of desperation? We hear from President Obama's drug czar and others.
AfPak, after Osama Osama bin Laden is history, but the war in Afghanistan goes on. Meantime, the Obama Administration sounds conflicted when it comes to Pakistan. The White House calls it "a key partner in the fight against al Qaeda and terrorism." But CIA Director and prospective Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told a congressional briefing, "Either they're involved or incompetent."
AfPak, after Osama Osama bin Laden has been killed at last, but America's leaders are not saying "Mission Accomplished" in Afghanistan. Is al Qaeda still a threat in that country or is the Obama Administration's massive military commitment an example of "mission creep?" The White House calls nuclear-armed Pakistan "a key partner in the fight against al Qaeda and terrorism." But CIA Director and prospective Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told a congressional briefing, "Either they're involved or incompetent." Did Pakistan knowingly shelter Osama? Is it a friend, a foe or an ally of necessity? We ask if it's time for the US to reassess strategy in a dangerous part of the world.
Homegrown Muslim Extremism Rising Threat in US Europe has been regarded as the front line for Islamic terrorism, but Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said last week that " home-based terrorism is here ," and it will be part of "the threat picture we must now confront." Yesterday, an American citizen was charged with helping plan last year's attacks that killed 170 people in Mumbai, India. Sebastian Rotella is national security correspondent for the Los Angeles Times .
Italian Judge Convicts 23 Americans in Rendition Case In Milan today, an Italian court convicted 22 CIA agents and a US Air Force Colonel of kidnapping a Muslim cleric in 2003 and flying him to Egypt, where he says he was tortured. It's a case of what's called "extraordinary rendition." Sebastian Rotella has covered the lengthy trial in Italy; he's now in Washington for the Los Angeles Times .
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.