The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 11/17/15
RICHARD ENGEL, MSNBC GUEST HOST: Thank you very much. Thanks,
It is wonderful to be here. Thank you all at home for joining us.
I`m Richard Engel reporting from Paris. Rachel has the night off. She`ll
be back tomorrow.
It is now just after 3:00 a.m. here in Paris. And details continue
to emerge at this hour about the attackers who rampaged through the city
five days ago, who they were, where they were hiding out, even how many may
still be on the run tonight.
So, that is one part of the story we`ll be addressing, the ongoing
investigation who carried out this attack and how, but also, the worldwide
retaliation against ISIS.
Tonight, Russia has stepped up its assault on the group intensifying
its military air campaign against targets in Syria, specifically targeting
the group`s de facto capital, the city of Raqqa. Russian President
Vladimir Putin delivered what he called punishments to ISIS today after
Russian officials confirmed what others have been saying now for weeks.
That a bomb did in fact bring down a Russian commercial airliner over
Egypt`s Sinai Peninsula late last month. We know it was a small bomb, just
two pounds and homemade, but nonetheless deadly.
We`ll have much more on that part of the story tonight about whether
the attack in Egypt and the one here in Paris will finally lead to a
coordinated effort against ISIS.
But first, to the attack here in Paris. It was just five days ago
when suicide bombers detonated their vests outside a football stadium in
the city. Tonight, another football stadium more than 200 miles away in
England – 80,000 fans took part in a remarkable show of defiance at
tonight`s friendly match between France and England before kickoff.
Before kickoff, English fans formed a giant tricolor mosaic in the
stands in tribute to the people of France, and then both teams and 80,000
people inside joined together to sing the French national anthem.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
ENGEL: And what makes this scene so remarkable and all the more
defiant is that those tens of thousands of people crowded into that stadium
soon after learning of another threat playing out at a German football
stadium. Thousands of fans were forced to evacuate a game in Hannover,
Germany, after authorities were informed of a concrete threat to bomb the
game. A game that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was expected to attend.
So far at least, police have found no evidence of a planned attack.
Back here in Paris, the stadium attack in this city is getting much
more attention tonight as French police have learned and issued an
international appeal to help identify one of the suicide bombers who blew
himself up outside the Stade de France on Friday.
It is now believed that the Syrian passport recovered by the
attacker`s body was either fake or stolen and so the true identity of that
attacker remains a mystery tonight.
Additionally, French authorities are trying to learn more about
another man on the hunt for a second fugitive still believed to be on the
Just in at last few hours, we`ve gotten more details how that
attacker may be involved. The “Associated Press” has reportedly obtained
surveillance video of one of the shootings at a Paris cafe on Friday night.
According to the “A.P.”, it shows a team of three attackers at the site,
two black clad gunmen firing automatic weapons at the bar and then
returning to a car where a waiting driver was inside.
Previously, French officials did not specify how many people were
involved in this particular attack. But evidence is leading French
officials to believe that there is an additional assailant still on the
We`re also learning more about the attacker`s whereabouts in the
hours before they launched their attack on Paris. It`s believed that they
used a pair of hotel rooms just outside of Paris. In one of the hotel
rooms, there were oddly discarded syringes and plastic tubing. It`s still
unclear at this point why the attackers left them there, what they were
used for. Empty pizza boxes were also scattered throughout the room.
There is some new information tonight about why this group may have
chosen the Bataclan music hall as a site for Friday`s massacre. It was
believed that ISIS pick this had concert hall you deliberately. It was not
just because as American band was playing inside that night.
The Bataclan was until very recently Jewish owned. It had been
threatened with violence many times in the past for hosting Jewish cultural
events. Back in 2009, before ISIS even existed, a group of men filmed
themselves threatening the owners of the club. “You`ll pay the
consequences”, one of the men is heard saying. “Next time, we won`t just
be here to talk.”
Tonight, authorities remain on the hunt for one fugitive they have
named already, a young man Salah Abdeslam. Belgian authorities who have
charged the man say he could be traveling with Abdeslam. The two men say
they picked Abdeslam up in Paris on Saturday and dropped him off in
Those men deny any involvement in the attack. The Belgian media is
reporting tonight that they were being investigated as possible suppliers
of bombs used in the attacks since ammonium nitrate was discovered in the
search of their residence. Whether their role (ph), tonight, the search
for that man is now a second fugitive continues across this region.
Joining us now from Brussels, Belgium, is NBC`s Claudio Lavanga.
ENGEL: So, Claudio, what`s the latest on the search?
Go ahead, Claudio. What is the latest on the certainly for the
CLAUDIO LAVANGA, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Sorry. There`s a bit of an
audio delay. The police and intelligence officers around Europe are
looking for Salah Abdeslam as you mentioned. They have to start here if
they want to get answers.
Here in Brussels because this is where Salah Abdeslam was born, was
raised and he was radicalized as many of the other terrorists involved in
this particular attack and many other attacks in the past. Well, now, this
is where President Hollande said yesterday that the planned attack was
organized. This is where they found the weapons to carry out the attack.
This is where the investigators believe that the vests, explosive
vests as you said were fabricated and then given to the terrorists to
bringing into France to carry out that particular attack. Well, what we
know as you said is that these twos accomplices may have taken Salah back
to Belgium at some stage on Saturday, perhaps. Well, we don`t know. Of
course, they lost traces of him. They don`t whether he`s still in Brussels
or elsewhere in Europe.
But certainly what we know is that the family of Salah is still here
– the mother, father and Mohamed one of his brothers.
Now, he was arrested, one of the seven people that was arrested since
Friday here in Belgian. He was later released. The police believe he`s
got nothing to do with the attacks and the brother appeared on French
television today, calling out, making an appeal to his brother Salah. He
said turn yourself in. Go to the police.
Well, of course, that hasn`t happened yet. And, of course, he is
still on the run and the police are looking for him everywhere, Richard.
ENGEL: NBC News reporter Claudio Lavanga, thank you very much.
Let`s bring in Valerie Gauriat, an international affairs reporter for
Euronews, which is based in France.
So, there`s been some talk about this investigation. Police now
think they`re looking for two active suspects, two people who were directly
involved. What more do we know what – we`ve heard about the first person
they issued this APB for the other day. Who is the second person?
VALERIE GAURIAT, EURONEWS REPORTER: Well, it`s not yet known who is
the second person. But it`s – the police have confirmed the allegations
by witnesses who saw the third man in the car in which Salah was riding on
Friday night and the car used for the attacks.
ENGEL: The second person was in the car?
GAURIAT: He was in the car.
ENGEL: They saw video and in the video them see a second person
sitting in the driver`s seat?
GAURIAT: The witnesses saw the three people and, yes, it has been
confirmed there were three people.
ENGEL: So, they want to know who that person is in the car.
GAURIAT: And they`re trying to look for DNA traces to try and
identify that person. They still haven`t confirmed who he was.
ENGEL: You`ve lived in Paris most of your life in, France. You work
here. What is this attack doing to this society? How are French people
reacting? We`ve heard about defiance. But in your own opinion, how is the
country holding up?
GAURIAT: Obviously, obviously, it is a great shock. There was the
first very big shock in January but this is unprecedented. This is an
attack according to most people I`ve spoken to which is aimed at not only
targeted aims, but it`s targeted at France as a whole. It`s values, its
society, its way of life. This comes as a real shock to the whole of
ENGEL: Somebody described it to me like this, that after “Charlie
Hebdo,” the attack a year ago, people knew “Charlie Hebdo” could be
attacked. It was so provocative. It had been threatened before.
This time, a theater was attacked maybe because it was Jewish owned.
But it was still a theater and it was an attack on the French people.
GAURIAT: It was. It was a theater. It was cafes. It was young
And this also is a big shock to the – to the society. It`s an
attack on their future. It`s an attack on their innocence or their ideals.
And this is probably one of the most shocking things to the French people.
ENGEL: In small towns, small villages, are people behaving
differently? Are they more nervous or is this something that France in a
few days is going to move on from?
GAURIAT: It might take a little more than a few days. The shock is
very big. The fear might not be so strong in the small towns and the
villages, but you can feel it here.
Although, yes, people have said we have to stand strong. We have to
be united. We must not yield to fear. But you can feel it.
Today, for instance, this morning, there was a record traffic jam in
and around Paris as people were commuting to work because they were afraid
to take – to use public transport. And they`re saying you know, I don`t
want my children to go around to travel on buses and trains too much.
People are cab selling trips to other parts of the country. People from
other parts of the country are postponing plans to come to Paris.
ENGEL: You mentioned people want France to be strong right now. And
the government is responding militarily. We`re going to talk more about
that later. I know you don`t know what he exactly all the French people
But in your estimation, are people behind those strikes? Do they
think it`s an appropriate response, a good response?
GAURIAT: They want a strong response and they are reassured by this
stand been taken by the government. On the other hand, they do worry about
what the impact could be to their values which are always linked to
freedom, to liberty. They`re a bit wary about turning into a securitarian
society, a securitarian state.
ENGEL: A state of emergency in place right now.
GAURIAT: It is. So, it is reassuring to them but on the other hand
ENGEL: They don`t want to go too far.
GUARIAT: – they want to go too far, and to see Europe go too far,
ENGEL: Thank you for coming in the middle of the night here and
sharing all of this with us. We really appreciate it.
That is Valerie Gauriat. Can you tell me how you pronounce?
ENGEL: Gauriat, excuse me, from Euronews. Thank you for being with
GAURIAT: You`re welcome.
ENGEL: Our live coverage from Paris continues in just a minute as
France and the U.S. get a new military ally, not just France, not just the
U.S. anymore, in the fight against ISIS.
Stay with us.
ENGEL: Welcome back. We will have much more of our continuing
coverage from here in Paris tonight.
But first, a major political development back in the United States.
Late tonight, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal officially suspended his
campaign for president. Governor Jindal is now the third Republican
candidate to drop out of the presidential race, following Governor Scott
Walker and Rick Perry.
Bobby Jindal put out a statement tonight saying he is not at the
time, quote, “This is not his time.” He declined to endorse any of the
other Republicans in that race, saying that he will support whoever the
Republican nominee ends up being.
This announcement comes on the heels of his decision yesterday to
issue an executive order blocking Syrian refugees from coming to Louisiana,
citing the attacks here in Paris.
We`ll have much more on the situation now facing those Syrian
refugees coming up. Stay tuned. Much more ahead tonight from Paris.
ENGEL: One of the biggest developments in the war on ISIS did not
come here in Paris today, but rather in Russia. Nearly three weeks after a
Russian jet crashed over Sinai`s – Egypt Sinai peninsula killing all 224
people on board.
Today, Russia announced it now knows unequivocally what caused the
plane to go down. The chief of Russia`s domestic security agency announced
today that shortly after the plane left the popular tourist destination,
Sharm el-Sheikh, a two-pound homemade bomb onboard exploded causing the
plane to disintegrate in mid-air.
ISIS has already claimed responsibility for the attack and today,
President Vladimir Putin went on TV and announced that Russia would
retaliate in response to what the Kremlin calls a terrorist attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We should
not apply any time limits. We should know them all by name. We will
search for them everywhere wherever they are hiding. We will find them in
any spot on the planet and punish them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ENGEL: Russia began that punishment against ISIS today by bombing
its stronghold in Syria, the city of Raqqa. The Kremlin also announced
today that Russia has agreed to coordinate with France on strikes in Syria.
France announced today that President Francois Hollande is going to
Moscow next Thursday but first, he will go to Washington to meet with
President Obama. The White House announced today that the two leaders will
consult and coordinate efforts to help France`s investigation of the
attacks here in Paris last week and discuss further cooperation in the
fight against ISIS.
President Hollande today called on Russia and the United States to
unify their efforts against ISIS. France also sought additional support
from its European partners today. For the first time in its history, all
28 member states of the European Union agreed to invoke the E.U.`s mutual
defense clause, that means the other countries must step up their security
assistance to France.
But when it comes to the task of fighting ISIS, the Syrian city of
Raqqa is now in the crosshairs of three different air forces, the Russians
who stepped up their attacks today, the French who sent in ten aircraft to
strike training and command center in Raqqa today, and the U.S. which has
been bombing Raqqa for months now.
Just last Thursday, it was a U.S. and British drone striking that
killed ISIS executioner nicknamed Jihadi John there.
President Obama yesterday reiterated the U.S. plan for coalition
airstrikes while developing reliable, quote, “allies on the ground.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: On the military front,
we are continuing to accelerate what we do as we find additional partners
on the ground that are effective, we work with them more closely. I`ve
already authorized additional special forces on the ground who are going to
be able to improve that coordination.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ENGEL: President Obama talked about finding new partners on the
ground in Syria as the U.S., France and Russia step up airstrikes in Syria.
But is it all effective and will it be enough to stop ISIS?
Joining us now is retired U.S. army colonel and Medal of Honor
recipient, Colonel Jack Jacobs.
Colonel Jack, one again, it`s always a pleasure to talk to you.
COL. JACK JACOBS (RET), MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT: Ditto.
ENGEL: So, do you think Russia is now bombing Raqqa? Do you think
it`s going to make any difference?
JACOBS: They are bombing and it`s not going to make any difference.
I mean, we were talking in glowing terms about the fact that the French
were putting in 20 air strikes.
I`ve been in fire fights in which I`ve put in 20 airstrikes. At the
end of the day, as you know, air power, artillery is only good to the
extent that it supports troops on ground to seize and hold terrain. If you
just bomb `em at the end of the day, they`re going to come back or somebody
will come back.
You`ve got to be able to control the area. That takes a lot of
troops and unfortunately it also takes a lot of time. I don`t see anybody
who is very much interested in putting in both the time and the troops in
order to take advantage of the airstrikes that are going in, Richard.
ENGEL: So Russia now says it will coordinate with France. France
says it will reach out to Washington. And they all want to coordinate with
each other in theory. Is it going to happen?
JACOBS: Well, I think operationally, they`re going to be able to
coordinate. I think one of the things – the good things that`s going to
come out of this is the sharing of intelligence information.
We`ve got very good overhead intelligence capability. We`ve got
satellites, aircraft drones and all the rest of that stuff. What we don`t
have is intelligence from the ground, human intelligence.
I think among the three of us, we`re going to be able to put together
a good intelligence picture develop good targets and act on them. But
those are tactics. Strategy is something else all together. It`s one
thing to go ahead and bomb the bad guys but at the end of the day, you
really have to be able to control the terrain.
And don`t forget, ISIS is a terrain-based organization. They want to
establish the caliphate and that means that they hold ground. If we want
to destroy them, we are going to have to hold the ground. The coalition
has to hold the ground. I don`t see them doing that.
ENGEL: But this is a pretty big coalition. Let`s keep realistic
terms. Raqqa is the size of Des Moines, Iowa. It is not a giant place.
Now, if Russia and France and the United States are all bombing them,
isn`t that going to at least do something to slow down this group or do you
really need reliable boots on the ground to go and hoist the flag?
JACOBS: I think both are true. It`s going to slow them down, But
at the end of the day, you`re not going to have – you`re not going to get
to the end, the objective is to control that area and not let ISIS control
the area. And that`s going to take people.
The people who are really interested in what`s going on are actually
not participating on the ground.
ENGEL: Here`s a tough – here`s a tough question for you. I see
exactly where you`re going. Here`s the toughest question. Everyone says
it`s just a matter of time before there`s some sort of horrendous ISIS
attack in the United States.
So, what should we be doing now to prevent that from happening?
JACOBS: Well, I mean, we`ve got to have great surveillance
supervision, oversight inside the United States. We`ve got to – I mean,
that`s going to help. It`s not going to prevent anything but it`s going to
make it less likely. We have to really share intelligence with our allies.
That means Russia. We`ve got to share intelligence with Russia.
Russia has got to share it with us and Iran has to share their intelligence
with us. That`s going to be a tougher thing to do but that`s what it`s
going to take to prevent or certainly forestall any attacks on the homeland
of the United States.
ENGEL: Well, and maybe these atrocities, maybe they will lead to
more cooperation. Colonel Jack, army colonel, Medal of Honor recipient, as
always, thank you very much.
JACOBS: Oh, thank you.
ENGEL: Joining us now is Congressman Seth Moulton of Massachusetts,
a member of the armed services committee and former Marine Corps officer
who served four tours in Iraq.
Congressman, thank you very much for your time here tonight.
REP. SETH MOULTON (D-MA), SERVED FOUR TOURS IN IRAQ: I it`s good to
ENGEL: So, you`ve spent some time, four tours in Iraq. You were
talking again about an organization, ISIS that started out by fighting
mostly marines in Iraq. Do marines need to go back and fight this group
again? No one seems to have the stomach for that.
MOULTON: Well, look, no one wants to put troops back into the Middle
East, but I`ve been clear for some time that ISIS is a national security
threat to the United States and we need to have a serious long-term and
comprehensive strategy to defeat ISIS.
And just like the colonel said, this is not just about the tactics,
not about just killing the troops on the ground, the ISIS fighters,
although that is important – dropping bombs and training opposition
fighters. We have to have a long-term political solution to occupy these
political vacuums into which ISIS has grown. Until we have that piece of
the puzzle, then our efforts on the ground today are only short term and
they`re not going to solve the problem and they won`t ultimately defeat
ENGEL: So the same question I asked Colonel Jacobs. People say that
an attack in the United States by ISIS is a matter of time. Let`s hope
that never happens.
But what should the U.S. be doing right now to prevent that so that
we don`t just look back in retrospect and say, ah, this administration,
these intelligence failures – what should we be doing now?
MOULTON: Of course, we have to make sure that our homeland security
is responding to the changes and circumstances and recognizing the threat
that ISIS poses. I think there are a lot of American who thought we could
sort of ignore what`s going on in the Middle East and in Syria. Nobody
wants to get into another ground war in the Middle East and maybe we could
let them sort it out themselves.
But I don`t think that`s right for our national security. I think we
have to have a political plan in the Middle East that whatever troops we
send in or whatever bombs we drop, support – we`ve got to have support for
that political plan.
Back here at home, I think that we`ve got to have responsible
measures to ensure our security, but that doesn`t mean going too far. It
doesn`t mean, for example, refusing to accept Syrian refugees who go
through the tightest vetting process of any traveler to the United States
And shutting the door on the very people whom ISIS is trying to
target is playing right into the enemy`s hands. It`s un-American, it`s
immoral and it`s not going to lead to the defeat of is.
ENGEL: We`re going to talk a lot more just in the next block coming
up about the refugee crisis. I have a guest standing next to me off screen
to talk about that.
But last question. If in fact, the French president is going to
Washington to try and convince the administration to coordinate with Russia
and to bury the hatchet with Moscow and to join in the fight against ISIS
together, would you support that?
MOULTON: Well, I certainly support diplomatic efforts, because
that`s really what`s been missing from this. We don`t have a clear
Russia is clear about their political plan. They want Assad to
remain in power.
Now, I don`t agree with that political outcome, but I don`t think we
in the United States of America have been clear about where we want this to
go. We haven`t been clear to our troops even that we`re sending into Syria
what political outcome we want.
I would say that rather than defeating Assad militarily and defeating
ISIS in the process, we ought to unite and organize insurgent opposition
that are willing to oppose Assad and present a political alternative to his
regime but also oppose ISIS. That`s a reasonable outcome that we can work
towards. It`s not actually that different from what the Russians are
So, maybe there is some common ground here but we`ve got to be
absolutely clear. We`re not going to defeat ISIS if we just drop some
bombs and kill some fighters and don`t have a way to fill the political
vacuum that has allowed them to expand and grow in both Syria and Iraq and
by the way, potentially in Afghanistan.
If we mismanage our withdrawal from that conflict and allow another
political vacuum to grow in Afghanistan where we could have terrorist
training camps, where ISIS could grow and where they could stage attacks on
the United States down the road.
ENGEL: Not to mention ISIS in the Sinai, ISIS which has a huge base
in Libya right now.
ENGEL: Congressman Moulton of Massachusetts, thank you very much for
your time tonight. It`s great of you to join us.
MOULTON: Thank you.
ENGEL: Ahead, how the attacks are defining one governor`s race in
the U.S. We are live from Paris. Please stay with us.
ENGEL: Welcome back to Paris.
As of tonight, back if the U.S., 31 governors, almost all of them
Republicans, now say their states do not want refugees from Syria, 31
governors all saying no.
And then there are the people who want to be governor. The state of
Louisiana is in the thick of an election for governor right now. They will
pick a new governor next weekend.
So, the guy on the left there is a Democratic state lawmaker named
John Bel Edwards. On the right, that is Republican U.S. Senator David
Even though the Republicans were favored to win in the Louisiana
governorship, Vitter has been trailing Edwards by double digits in the
polls and by a mile in fund-raising. But these attacks by ISIS and the
news that one of the attackers came through Greece with Syrian refugees
have given the Republican what he hopes will be a last-minute knock
Vitter is casting himself as a future governor who would block Syrian
refugees. He is casting his opponent as a governor who would open the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AD NARRATOR: One of the Paris ISIS terrorists has entered France
posing as a Syrian refugee. Now, Obama is sending Syrian refugees to
David Vitter warned Obama the dangers of Syrian refugees weeks ago
and promised as governor, no Syrian refugees will enter Louisiana.
John Bel Edwards has pledged to work with Obama to bring Syrian
refugees to Louisiana.
JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D), LOUISIANA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I support
AD NARRATOR: He always does.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ENGEL: Fact checkers will be scrutinizing that campaign ad by
Vitter. Already, “The Washington Post” calls some of it misleading.
But the combination of the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe and the
attacks in Paris have spilled over into U.S. politics, clearly.
Today in Congress, Speaker Paul Ryan said he will bring forward a
bill to pause the U.S. program for resettling Syrian refugees. Other House
Republican leaders are proposing that each individual refugee be approved
by the director of the FBI and national intelligence before being admitted
to the United States.
These are political responses to a humanitarian crisis that is so far
has defied political solutions. I`ll take you up close to that crisis as
it unfolds, in just a moment.
ENGEL: Welcome back to Paris. I`m Richard Engel. Rachel is off
tonight but will be back tomorrow.
According to French officials, we now know that one of the men
involved in the Paris attacks, a man who may have been going by the name
Ahmad el Mohamed and using this passport passed through Greece on his way
We know that because of a fingerprint that were taken from the scene,
match prints taken in Greece last month. It is a discovery that is adding
fuel to an already raging debate how to handle and whether to help the
Syrian refugee crisis.
As European leaders struggle to deal with what to do with their
borders, American politicians are now calling for bans on Syrian refugees
in their home states, even a countrywide ban.
Before coming to Paris, I went to the refugees` main entry point into
the European Union. The Greek islands where the stream of those fleeing
the war in Syria is as constant as it is daunting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ENGEL: Good to go?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please?
ENGEL: There is only one helicopter patrolling around the Greek
island of Lesbos. We joined its Romanian crew, which is part of an ongoing
joint European border control mission in the Mediterranean.
It didn`t take long for them to spot refugees.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can see one, two boats. Two rubber boats
reach the shoreline.
ENGEL: At 12:00, boats are landing on shore?
UNDIENTIFIED MALE: Yes, 12:00, 10:00, 11:00.
ENGEL: At 12:00, 11:00, 10. I see them, yes.
The chopper`s camera focused on one boat in distress. To rescue it,
the chopper crew called in a nearby Greek coast guard cutter, cutter 080.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Zero-eight-zero, radio check with Romanian
ENGEL: Guided by the chopper, it sped over to help.
To get a closer look of how all this works, we boarded 080 before
dawn a couple days later. Captain (INAUDIBLE) runs the ship.
He told us why Lesbos has become the main gateway for refugees and
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are a medium distance from Turkey. This is
ENGEL: It`s a simple matter of proximity. When daylight broke,
Captain Faragolis (ph), a fisherman son, scanned the sea. Soon, we saw
Although these missions are technically for border control, the coast
guard doesn`t turn anyone around. It`s illegal to do that on the high
seas. Instead, Captain Faragolis offers them assistance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, you are OK? You need something?
ENGEL: Most boats decline the captain`s offer. And cruise on
towards the Greek coast. But soon enough, 080 finds a boat in trouble. It
happens all the time. The crew pulls it closer and tells the refugees to
be calm. So they don`t flip over.
The captain follows the old rule of the sea.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen, everybody safe, OK? First, women and
children, OK? After men.
ENGEL: They`re nearly all from Iraq and Syria. Few, if any, can
These refugee boats, rafts really are incredibly unseaworthy.
They`re packed with people, women, children, there must be 60, 70 people on
this one. They were just adrift in the water. Their engine had completely
They passed the children up first. They`re wet, confused and
Then their parents are lifted from the sinking boat. Rana, an Iraqi,
has her children, 10-month-old Sali and her 3-year-old Ayman. Her husband
says he had been getting death threats.
“We left for the children`s sake,” he said. “There`s no future for
them in Iraq.”
The captain explains to the refugees that they will not be deported
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You all are going to be Lesbos island in a few
ENGEL: In fact, their names aren`t even written down on board. Many
have no documents anyway.
But before they go, another coast guard cutter arrives with more
rescued refugees and migrants. They`re off loaded on to 80, soon there`s
little room left on the deck. So, Captain Faragolis` ship heads back with
more than 150 migrants. He says that`s not unusual.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s like this every day. Every day.
ENGEL: Back on shore, life jackets and broken boats everywhere,
piles and piles of them. And these are just from recent arrivals.
Volunteers clean up the beaches every few days and the boats keep coming.
Greek officials say the rafts land every 15 minutes or so. No
checks, Greece asks that the refugees and migrants register and most do.
But there`s almost no capacity to verify their identities or if the
documents that many of them carry are authentic.
ENGEL: My trip with the Greek coast guard just a few days ago, the
first stop for many of those refugees and migrants in Europe.
Joining us now in Paris is Bruno Stagno Ugarte – excuse me for
brutalizing names tonight. He is the deputy executive director for
advocacy of Human Rights Watch.
You deal with human rights issues. How worried are you that the
reputation, the image of all of these people who are leaving war zones has
been tarnished by what happened in Paris by that association with the
BRUNO STAGNO UGARTE, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: As we see it, that`s a
false association. The evidence and the facts points to the fact that the
terrorists that did this ghastly attack here on Friday, this was homegrown
terrorism. It was concocted. It was planned. It was organized. It was
executed by people that were born and raised in Europe.
There`s a strong Belgian connection, and there`s a strong French
The evidence of one passport and nobody really knows whether it`s a
fake, whether it actually belonged to the person that actually did blow
himself up outside of the Stade de France, that basically does not
discredit the hundreds of thousands of refugees who are fleeing violence,
the very violence, the very terror that struck Paris.
These are people that are fleeing terrorism from ISIS, from al-Nusra,
from other terrorist groups. They`re fleeing sectarian violence. They`re
fleeing all types of indiscriminate bombings by Bashar al-Assad. So, these
are people that need our compassion and these are people that need
ENGEL: You`ve been listening to the show standing next to me for the
last few minutes. What did you think about that segment that the governors
say not in our states, we don`t want any Syrians? As a human rights
advocate, what do you think of that?
UGARTE: It`s a shame also for the legacy and the history the U.S.
has as a country that resettles refugees. The U.S. has been a sideling
light on this matter for decades. And the fact that not basing themselves
on any credible evidence, they are fear-mongering, they are scapegoating
does not doing justice to what the U.S. stands for.
And it also sends a terrible message to a good number of European
Union members. There`s a huge discussion here in Europe as to how the
refugee flow should be distributed amongst the various 28 member states.
How to tell Greece that there will be no responsibility, no burden sharing
taken by the U.S. when Greece is a country that`s in dire financial straits
that will continue to see an important flow of refugees, why would Greece
continue to take them on if the U.S. takes such a position that lacks so
ENGEL: It allows other countries to say, hey, the U.S. isn`t doing
it. We`re not going to either.
UGARTE: It sends a terrible message. The U.S. is part of a
globalized world. It has to live up to its obligations and to its duties.
It is part of the protocol to the Convention on Refugees. They`re an
The number we`re talking about is just 10,000. That`s what he
President Obama promised for 2016. This is just a drop in the bucket. And
the U.S. has all the means to screen these people.
Currently, the screening process is not an easy one. It takes
refugees that are to be resettled in the U.S. up to two years. They`re
screened by the FBI, by the Department of Homeland Security, by a number of
So, the screening process will practically ensure that terrorists
will be filtered.
ENGEL: Thank you very much.
And to stress the scale of this issue, on that one small island
alone, the island of Lesbos, sometimes 5,000 to 10,000 people a day
arriving on these boats. So, just taking in a few thousand is a drop in
But thank you very much for joining us with that important message.
I appreciate it.
UGARTE: Thank you, Richard.
ENGEL: Thank you so much for Human Rights Watch.
Still ahead, an the war on ISIS is waving – the war on ISIS waging
on the brave few who are trying to stop what is happening in Raqqa. The
self-proclaimed (ph) capital of ISIS in Syria. Please stay with us.
ENGEL: In the days since Friday`s terrorist attacks here in Paris,
France has launched dozens of airstrikes in Syria, primarily in the city of
Raqqa, the de facto capital of ISIS.
Police have also carried out hundreds of raids on homes in France and
Belgium detaining dozens of people and placing over 100 under house arrest.
So, there is a military air war under way and also an on the ground
house-to-house hunt for accomplices or people who knew something about the
attacks or people who might be planning the next attack.
The hunt is also on for relationships and social networks and human
intelligence and how you can find that kind of hunting on both sides of
ISIS and by ISIS sympathizers.
One of the only ways in which information makes it out of Raqqa,
Syria, and to the rest of the world is through a group called Raqqa is
Being Slaughtered Silently. They are brave activists and journalists
documenting the atrocities being carried out by ISIS and sending the news
to members who are of the press who are outside Syria, often to the media,
often to other activists.
It is an incredibly risky operation. Imagine filming inside Raqqa
and trying to distribute that to others while ISIS is looking for you.
Members of the group have been systematically hunted down and killed.
Some of them even killed when they`re not inside Syria.
I saw the terrifying effect of that firsthand a couple of weeks ago
when I met someone in Raqqa, an activist who was then in Turkey.
ENGEL: By the time the emergency services showed up in an apartment
building in the Turkish city, all they could do was carry out the bodies of
two young Syrian men, Faris Hamadi (ph) and Ibrahim Abdel Qatar (ph). Both
were members of a group of activists who risked their lives to tell the
world what`s going on in their hometown of Raqqa, the ISIS capital in
Syria. Both men were beheaded.
We knew one of the victims, Ibrahim. We interviewed him in Turkey
almost a year ago and asked him about the threats on his life. He didn`t
“Of course, there is danger, but we are the sons of our country”, he
said. “If we don`t show the crimes of ISIS to the whole world, who will?”
Ibrahim was proud of his work with a group of citizen journalists
which calls itself Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently. They secretly
filmed and smuggled out videos designed to embarrass ISIS, like this one
showing bread lines in Raqqa, contrary to the claims that the so-called
Islamic State is prosperous and thriving.
We asked him if he was afraid. “They put a ransom on my head,” he
told us, “for anyone who killed me.”
We told him we hope he stayed safe. “I`m taking precautions,” he
told us. “I rarely leave my apartment.”
So, how did ISIS manage to reach and brutally murder Ibrahim,
stabbing him nearly 50 times?
We learned the answer from Ibrahim`s brother Ahmed, who says it
started about six weeks ago when an old family friend rented an apartment
“He came in a smart way, Ibrahim was a good guy, welcoming. So he
knew he could get to him,” Ahmed says. This is that man who Ahmed said
unexpectedly moved in next door, Tala Sasur (ph), claiming to be an ISIS
defector. He befriended Ibrahim and the other murdered activist Faris.
Here they are together.
Both activists were killed in Tala`s apartment. A Turkish police
source tells NBC News they have other evidence against him. Ahmed Tala
slipped back into Syria to re-join ISIS, but he hasn`t kept quiet.
As we were filming, Ahmed received a text message on his phone. “The
message he just sent me said, `We killed Ibrahim to break your heart`”,
He admits it, he said I did it, we`re coming for you.
“Yes, he said just wait. Your turn is coming in a matter of days,”
Ahmed showed me the window of Tala`s rented apartment across the
alley. He says Tala covered the windows with cardboard and blankets right
before the murder and invited over two suspected accomplices.
“If they think this will stop me, they are wrong. Just the opposite.
I`m more determined, we will keep going until we are finished with ISIS.
This is a promise for Ibrahim and all the victims of Raqqa,” he says.
ENGEL: It is so hard and so dangerous to get information out of
Raqqa. A week from tonight in New York City, that group, Raqqa is Being
Slaughtered Silently, will receive an international press freedom award
from the Committee to Protect Journalists. The most recent video from the
group was posted today as France carried out another day of air strikes.
It`s filmed total darkness, labeled the sounds of war planes over Raqqa.
There`s more to come tonight, live from Paris.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These are the same
folks to suggest they`re so tough that just talking to Putin or staring
them down ISIL or using some additional rhetoric somehow is going to solve
all the problems out there. But apparently, they`re scared of widows and
orphans coming into the United States of America as part of our tradition
At first, they were worried about the press being too tough on them
during debates. Now, they`re worried about 3-year-old orphans.
That doesn`t sound very tough to me. They`ve been playing on fear in
order to try to score political points or to advance their campaigns, and
it`s irresponsible. And it`s contrary to who we are. And it needs to stop
because the world is watching.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ENGEL: That was President Obama speaking in the last hour at a
regional trade summit in the Philippines.
More from Paris, straight ahead. Stay with us.
ENGEL: Four days ago, this beautiful city of Paris suffered the
worst attack in its post-war history, and tonight, standing here at Place
de la Republique, I wonder if this latest atrocity will be enough to push
political and national calculations aside and persuade governments all over
the world to come together and fight a new enemy, so vile it is once again
an enemy for all of us, an enemy that celebrates death over life, an enemy
that`s enshrined slave owning as a religious right.
The question is, has ISIS killed enough to unite Russia and the U.S.,
France and Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran in a battle against it? The
answer, sadly, is probably not. But hey, this is Paris. One can dream.
I`m Richard Engel. Rachel will be back tomorrow.
MSNBC`s coverage of the attacks on Paris continues now with Lawrence
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