The Better Business Bureau, one of the country’s best known consumer watchdog groups, is being accused by business owners of running a “pay for play” scheme in which A plus ratings are awarded to those who pay membership fees, and F ratings used to punish those who don’t.
================== UPDATE: December 2010
Rip-off Report first Reported about the BBB in the original article below back in February 2000. The BBB threatened to sue Rip-off Report because we also use the name
HERE IS THEIR RIP OFF REPORT – YOU CAN’T TRUST ANY COMPANY TODAY
ALTHOUGH AS AN INDIVIDUAL I HIRED “MOSHE’S MOVING COMPANY” WHEN WE MOVED TO NJ AND IT COST 2,200 BUCKS BUT THOSE ISRAELI MOVERS AND THEIR ILLEGAL LATINO SIDE KICKS BROKE SOME VERY VALUABLE THINGS OF MY MOTHER’S THAT I THREW A FIT.
WHEN MOSHE’S REFUSED TO DO ANYTHING – I WROTE TO THE BBB – THEY GOT THEM TO GIVE ME $1000 BUCKS BACK BUT MOSHE’S DOES NOT PAY A MEMBERSHIP TO BBB.
THOSE PEOPLE WHO PAY AN ANNUAL FEE TO BBB – GET ALL THEIR BAD PRESS REMOVED.
Better Business Bureau or Buyer Better Beware? BBB .. Nationwide Alert! .. THE FOX GUARDING THE HEN HOUSE.
*UPDATE: December 2010 ..
The Better Business Bureau current grading system inaccurate, bias, faulty, fraud to consumers, FTC should be investigating. – BBB is a non-profit / Franchise that should be closed down by the Federal Trade Commission for defrauding consumers run by CBBB / Council of Better Business Bureaus containing more than 100 privately owned franchises loosely controlled by the Council of the Better Business Bureau (CBBB). Nationwide Internet Canada *UPDATE: April 2011.. abc 20/20 eposes the BBB, Terror Group Gets ‘A’ Rating From Better Business Bureau, business owners nationwide say BBB is running a “pay for play” scheme in which A plus ratings are awarded to those who pay membership fees, and F ratings used to punish those who don’t. Nationwide Internet Canada
*Consumer Comment: BBB are thieves
*UPDATE Employee: Not So Better Business Bureau of San Antonio!
*Consumer Comment: BBB simply discards consumer complaints without resolving them!
*Consumer Comment: ***NATIONWIDE SCAM ALERT:
*Consumer Comment: 100% true
*Consumer Comment: No investigation of facts or mediation whatsoever
*Consumer Comment: No Surprise there
*General Comment: Records Removal Services
*Consumer Comment: My Complaint Against Illinois AG(Lisa Madigan)/’Consumer Advocate”
*Consumer Comment: BBB Bad for business
*Consumer Comment: ***BBB ALERT: Anyone can ‘Google’ this- BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU 20/20 INVESTIGATION, and watch…….
*General Comment: BIG BAD BUS**T
*General Comment: First Hand Experience
*Consumer Comment: BBB
*Consumer Comment: BBB caught with hand in cookie jar!
*General Comment: BBB Good, Bad, And Sometimes Ugly
*Consumer Comment: Trust Link
*Consumer Comment: Better Busines Bureau or Buy A Better Grade
*Consumer Comment: Laziness has nothing to do with it
*Consumer Comment: BBB Michigan
*Consumer Comment: THANK YOU FOR THE INFORMATION
*Consumer Comment: BBB = Scam
*Consumer Comment: Why Is It the BBB treats us like this the columbus ga Is just as corrupt and deceiving the public in order to protect this crooked builder who Is stealing from new home buyers and treating them wrong
*Consumer Comment: Zombie Economy
*UPDATE Employee: Better, not Best, Business Bureau
*Consumer Comment: Fight back against the BBB scam!
*Consumer Comment: Better business bureau columbus ga
*Consumer Comment: Better Business Bureau Houston
*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Know BEFORE you buy!
*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Will the real BBB please stand up?
*Consumer Comment: The Problems With The BBB
*Consumer Comment: BBB SUCKS
*Consumer Comment: BBB is a SCAM – DO NOT JOIN THE BBB — You’ll be sorry!
*Consumer Comment: BBB is a ripoff
*UPDATE EX-employee responds: The Better Business Bureau is a fraud
*Consumer Suggestion: This is not the first time I have had a bad experience with the BBB, they gave me a thumbsup to a scam company that had been taken over by government.
*Consumer Comment: The better business bureau Is commiting fraud
*Consumer Comment: John you are the lying deadbeat fraud
*Consumer Comment: No, they’re fine actually.
*Consumer Comment: Columbus georgia better business bureau Is a joke
*UPDATE Employee: so you think
*Consumer Comment: Most Fraud Is Done By Consumers
*Consumer Comment: The business only hurts itself when they don’t respond to complaints
*Consumer Comment: I was approached by the BBB
*Consumer Comment: Better business bureau are crooks
*Consumer Comment: Happened To Me Too!
*Consumer Comment: Happened To Me Too!
*Consumer Comment: Happened To Me Too!
*Consumer Comment: Happened To Me Too!
*Consumer Comment: Better business bureau says rip-off report Is unfair to the business
*Consumer Comment: Better business bureau says rip-off report Is unfair to the business
*Consumer Comment: Better business bureau says rip-off report Is unfair to the business
*Consumer Comment: Rip of report doesn’t protect bad businesses
*Consumer Comment: The business always gets there way
*Consumer Comment: You’re right. The BBB just wants its dues.
*UPDATE Employee: The BBB IS a joke!
*Consumer Comment: Better business bureau sides with bad business
*Consumer Comment: Couldn’t Agree More…I have my own story to tell
*Consumer Comment: All better business bureau are jokes
*Consumer Comment: The BBB in Southeast Florida is a Joke
*UPDATE Employee: Know the Facts
*Consumer Comment: Better business bureau makes consumers look bad
*Consumer Comment: To ex-employee
*UPDATE EX-employee responds: ex employee what a scam!!!
*Consumer Comment: Better Business Bureau truth in advertising
*Consumer Comment: BBB’s Impotent – Yet Another Scam Loophole!
*Consumer Comment: BBB’s Impotent – Yet Another Scam Loophole!
*Consumer Comment: BBB’s Impotent – Yet Another Scam Loophole!
*Consumer Comment: BBB’s Impotent – Yet Another Scam Loophole!
*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Slightly off the Mark
*Consumer Comment: Lame BBB excuse damage control, or merely someone out of touch
*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Your Welcome….
*Consumer Comment: Jason, thank you for the Debate!
But what if it didn’t have to be that way? We’re partnering up with the bystander program Green Dot to help you intervene when you see street harassment happen – and to celebrate and document your success using our website and apps. Starting March 22nd, you’ll be able to map your bystander intervention stories in green dots on our site. Your story will inspire others to provide real-time solutions to street harassment. You’ll also find our new “I’ve Got Your Back” button under each story. You can anonymously click the button, and at the person who shared their story will receive an email saying the number of people who have their back! With each click, you will give others in the Hollaback! community the support they need to keep holla’ing back.
What’s a green dot, and how do I make one happen?
A green dot is just a moment in time when you make a choice to be actively and visibly intolerant of street harassment. A green dot is your chance to show that street harassment sucks and isn’t OK with you, to show targets of street harassment that you’ve got their back, and to show everyone in your life that you expect them to do their part to make the community safer.
Two things are necessary for street harassment to happen: 1) a person or group who chooses to harass someone and 2) a community of bystanders willing to let it happen. When we start replacing moments of bystander inaction with moments when we have each other’s backs, we will make our vision of a daily life without street harassment a reality.
Thinking really hard about how awful street harassment is isn’t going to make it go away. Action is the only thing that will. And once you’ve acted, tell your story on ihollaback.org. You’ll inspire others to take action, and give hope to those who experience street harassment regularly that people like you are out there, and ready to have their backs.
Here are three steps to move from bystander inaction to a bystander IN ACTION! (1) Notice what street harassment looks like, (2) Notice what keeps you from acting, (3) Pick a Green Dot that works for you!
What you might notice…uh, is that street harassment?
Comments about someone’s appearance, gender, sexual orientation, etc)
Sexually Explicit Comments (e.g., “Hey baby, I’d like a piece of that”)
Flashing someone or exposing oneself
Blocking someone’s path
Sexual touching or grabbing (e.g., touching someone’s legs, breasts or butt)
Holy crap…that’s awful…I’ve got to do something…but….
I don’t know what to do
I don’t want that dude to touch me
What if no one else has my back?
What if I’m calling it wrong?
I don’t want to get my butt kicked
Maybe I’m the only one who thinks that’s rude, maybe the target is into it
My friends would think I was a freak for saying anything
That super cutie sitting across from me definitely won’t ask me out if I make a scene on the subway
No one else is doing anything
There are a lot of them and only one of me
If I tell the cops, they may not help
I have to walk this way every day – if I call them out I may see them again
Am I over reacting?
That’s my friend saying those lewd things…
It can be really hard to have someone’s back, even when we really want to. The good news is, that doesn’t make you a crappy person – it only makes you human! More good news (that’s right, there’s more) – no matter what makes it hard, there is almost always something you can do that will feel manageable to you!
Badass Bystander Moves
In the moment…..
Direct Green Dots
“Hey knock it off”
Tell the person you will call the cops if they don’t put that thing away.
“Are you ok”
Go stand next to the person being targeted so they know they are not alone.
Ask the target, “Are they bothering you?”
Take a picture with your phone
Look disapprovingly at the person doing the harassing behavior
Offer to get off at the next stop with the target and catch the next train together.
“Get away from her/him”
Don’t join in or laugh.
Loudly say “ugh, that is so gross”
Talk to your friend later about why you thought what they did or said was uncool
Ask the target if there is anything you can do to help
Tell the harasser you saw some cops on the corner and you are worried they will get in
trouble if they don’t stop.
Tell the target that the harassing behavior wasn’t ok and you are sorry it happened.
Delegate Green Dots
Find the Foreman on the construction site
Call the police
Tell a transit authority worker
Yell “Somebody do something!!!!!”
Get a group together to intervene
Text a friend who is on the subway with you and ask them to HELP!
Make eye contact with some other bystanders and ask, “What should we do to help?”
Distract Green Dots
Ask for directions
Offer the target your seat
Start a flash mob
Act like you know the target and say “I’ve been looking everywhere for you – we have to hurry to meet our other friends”
Drop your bags to create a commotion
“Accidentally” spill your coffee
* A note about safety: We don’t ever want you to get hurt trying to help someone out. Always think about safety and consider possibilities that are unlikely to put you in harm’s way (e.g., calling 911, getting a group together, etc.)
In my daily life…
Only got five minutes? Here’s what you can do to help:
Hollaback! and share your story of harassment on ihollaback.org.
Have people’s backs, virtually. Read some of the Hollaback blog posts and let folks know you’ve got their back.
Educate your networks! Tell your facebook friends why you think street harassment is a problem. Give your twitter followers suggestions on how they can intervene.
Share the love on social media. The more people out there that know we exist, the faster we can work to end street harassment. Invite your facebook friends to our facebook page (www.facebook.com/ihollaback), give @ihollaback a shout-out on your twitter feed, or go old-skool and just shoot an email out to all your besties to tell them about Hollaback!
Make a personal pledge to do your part to have people’s back if you ever see street harassment.
Any time you see someone doing a green dot tell them you think they’re AWESOME!
Got a little more time?
Everyday is a HOLLAday. So much of what we do is about getting the word out. Spread the HOLLAlove at your next get-together! Contact holla AT ihollaback.org for details on how you can raise awareness about street harassment at your next party get some cool HOLLAswag in the process!
Read everything you can about bystander dynamics to learn more about the things that can get in your way.
Send us a video of you telling your street harassment story. With your permission, we’ll post it on our site!
Guest blogging. Got a smart, sassy opinion about street harassment? Let it be heard! Email us with your blog post idea.
Got a lot more time?
Launch a Hollaback! in your town. Click here for more details.
Perform research. Part of the problem with street harassment is that it’s invisible. Change the game by pulling together a study of street harassment using an online survey tool, like SurveyMonkey, in your town. We’ll publish the results.
Got skills? We need you. We are entirely volunteer run and need all the help we can get. Event planners, DJs and VJs, grantwriters, songwriters, artists, etc, we need you one and all.
No one has to do everything… but, everyone has to do something. We all can do our part to have each other’s backs.
Background on Green Dot’s Got Your Back campaign
The specific application of Green Dot to street harassment is a collaborative between the awesome folks at Hollaback and the Green Dot, etc. team. To learn more about Green Dot check us out at http://www.livethegreendot.com. If you are interested in applying Green Dot to other forms of violence please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Known as Chrismark Castle, the home has eight bedrooms and comes with 75 acres of land, including its own lake (viaEstately).
It’s owned by Christopher Mark, the great-grandson of Chicago steel tycoon Clayton Mark Senior.
Mark caused a ruckus in the small town of Woodstock when he bought the parcel and began building the 20-room castle back in 2003. According to Connecticut Magazine, it took 7 years and $4.1 million to build, and people from the town would often stop by for a glimpse.
The house has also seen a fair amount of drama. Mark reportedly lived there with his now ex-wife and their two children, until Galt filed for divorce in 2010. Mark later moved his pregnant girlfriend into the castle with her older daughter, according to Connecticut Magazine.
That relationship also ended and that girlfriend took Mark to court in New York City to pay additional child support, according to The New York Post. Mark was rumored to have tried to start multiple business on the property, including a modeling business, a bed and breakfast, and a private zoo.
22,377-square-foot castle that could be described as Disneyesque if not for its overall creepiness, the fact that it sits on a gravel-covered artificial island, and a skeezy and dark history that includes the death of a rescue camel, has been listed for sale in Woodstock, Connecticut, for a ludicrous king’s ransom of $45M.Built by Christopher W. Mark, the great-grandson of Chicago industrialist Clayton Mark Sr., the castle started off as merely an oddity in what a 2013 article in Connecticut Magazine calls “an otherwise normal neighborhood of moderate-sized homes,” with primary construction completed in 2009 at a reported cost of $4.1M. Not too much is known about Mark, although the fact that he would build such a fortress places him squarely among the impulsive, eccentric, and somewhat aimless businessmen behind most of American’s sadsuburbancastles. He describes himself as an importer-exporter who deals in antiques, while one of his employees once characterized him as “colorful.”
This 51-year-old jack of all trades had tried to make a few career changes centered around the home that he and his now ex-wife, Mary Galt, had built. According to a 2008 article in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, a long-since taken down website called http://www.castle-models.com once advertised the home as an international modeling agency, with pictures of young women, listing their “ethnic look,” with measurements including tattoo and piercing counts, along with truly horrifying copy which read, “Just one look at the shapely form of beautiful women brings about physiological changes that our senses will not allow our minds to deceive, nor pretend does not exist. And with the laws of attraction in hand, comes desire, intrigue, and lust, which man has learned to exploit and sell as if it were a commodity.” The site listed a rate of $125 per hour to have one of these models do a photo shoot, with a minimum requirement of two hours.
Doing their due diligence to keep that kind of thing out of Woodstock, townspeople notified planning officials, who told Mark he didn’t have a permit to conduct business in the castle, and later denied his request to be exempted from the town’s height maximum of 35 feet for businesses. After touring the residence, former First Selectman Margaret A. Wholean described the place as“just weird,” noting that there were massage rooms and a large shower room built to accommodate multiple people.
The next time Mark and his castle made headlines was when his and Galt’snasty divorce proceedings came to light. In a sworn affidavit in 2010, Galt said she was “greatly concerned for the emotional health and safety” of the children, and Mark countered with child abuse allegations, after which he was granted temporary full custody. Where things get truly surreal is when both alleged that the other’s neglect led to the death-by-starvation of a camel, in 2010, part of an exotic animal refuge that Mark ran on the property called Wilderness Kingdom, Inc, which once also included an emu and a zebra. After Gate left, Mark’s girlfriend Marina Isakova lived with him in the castle for a time, until he put Isakova and the child they had together out on the street and refused to pay more than the “basic” monthly minimum of $1,000 in child support, for which he was excoriated in a 2011 New York Post article.
Given that his turreted castle is associate with all of this, it’s no surprise that the listing text is mum on the details, describing it simply as a “single family home with 8 bedrooms and 8.5 bathrooms.” What it fails to mention is the 126 acre lot that accompanies the castle—part of a larger 354-acre gated parcel that Mark owned at one time—or the fact that it is accessed by bridge, and surrounded, like the stateliest castles of Old Europe, by an unmanicured expanse of gravel. Inside, there are medallioned floors, ceilings painted with cotton-candy tufts of cloud, and a coat of arms set in the wood floors. Again, the asking price for this stigmatized, egregious blend of McMansion styling and yearningly castle-like features is $45M.
Welcome to Chrismark Castle in Woodstock, Connecticut.
PUBLISHED: 17:45 EST, 25 October 2014 | UPDATED: 22:16 EST, 25 October 2014
School gunman Jaylen Fryberg publicly disowned his cousin for winning the girl he fancied – just weeks before shooting him in the head.
The popular 15-year-old shocked the community when he opened fire in Marysville-Pilchuck High School on Friday, killing one of his friends and critically wounding four more, including two relatives.
But it has since emerged that Jaylen was left heartbroken over a girl who rebuffed him for the cousin he treated like a brother: Andrew Fryberg.
In an ominous indication of the anger that spurred his deadly tirade, Jaylen tweeted last month: ‘Dude. She tells me everything. And now I f***ing HATE you! Your no longer my ‘Brother’!’
Friends say it was a reference to the fact that he was crushing on the girl dating Andrew, 15, who is now fighting for life.
The girl has not been officially named.
the killer/shooter/cousin – ugly ass kid
Andrew, the cousin is cute
Love triangle: Jaylen Fryberg (left) fell out with his cousin Andrew (right) for dating a girl he fancied. Just weeks later, Jaylen opened fire in the school cafeteria, shooting Andrew, another cousin, three friends and himself
Like brothers: Jaylen raged on Twitter weeks ago in an ominous indication of the anger that spurred his attack
Friends say Jaylen was crushing on a girl, who has not been officially named, but she started dating Andrew
The boys grew up together in the Native American Tulalip tribe along with Nate Hatch, 14, another brother-like cousin who is fighting for his life after the attack in Harborview Medical Center.
‘They’re just three complete buddies, and they couldn’t be closer than three brothers,’ according to Don Hatch, Nate’s grandfather and Andrew’s great uncle.
The two other surviving victims who are being treated for severe head wounds in Providence Regional Medical Center have been identified as Jaylen’s friends: Shaylee Chuckulnaskit and Gia Soriano, both 14.
According to KIRO-TV, Andrew is being treated in Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center for a gunshot wound to the head while Shaylee, who posed in the same photo with Fryberg, is in a ‘very critical’ condition in the Providence Regional Center in Everett.
While friends at first could not comprehend why Jaylen, a homecoming prince and football player, unleashed his attack, they all said he had not got over Andrew’s relationship with a girl he fancied.
He had also only recently returned to school after being suspended for a fight on a football field – believed to be caused by another playing directing ‘racist comments’ at him.
The popular schoolboy who was a member of the football and wrestling team shot five people with his ‘father’s gun’, killing one, before turning the gun on himself.
Bella Panjeli, speaking outside a vigil on Friday, said she attended a different school but was friends with one of the female victims, calling her ‘a beautiful girl and so, so sweet.’
Attack: Jaylen Fryberg (back circled) shot his cousins Nate Hatch (left circled) and Andrew Fryberg (right circled) and their friend Shaylee Chuckulnaskit (front circled) at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Washington weeks after they posed for this picture at their homecoming dance. He also shot a further two girls
Victim: Jaylen’s cousin Nate Hatch is also in a ‘very critical condition’ in Providence Regional Medical Center in Washington, after being shot in the jaw. His grandfather says Jaylen, Andrew and Nate were ‘best buddies’
Fighting for life: Jaylen’s two friends Gia Soriano (left) and Shalyee Chuckulnaskit (right) were also shot
Tribe: Nate, Andrew and Jaylen (pictured at the front of the boat) grew up in the Native American Tulalip tribe
Shocked: The tribe’s chairman said the community is in total shock and had no idea Jaylen could do this
She also said Fryberg was in an ongoing dispute with his cousin over the victim’s affections.
‘I heard he asked her out and she rebuffed him and was with his cousin,’ Panjeli said, adding that she learned of the connection after talking to the victim’s family and friends. It was a fight over a girl.’
There were no indications on Fryberg’s social media accounts that he had been planning such a rampage, but on Tuesday he posted his feelings of despondency, apparently over a romantic split, on Twitter.
‘It breaks me… It actually does… I know it seems like I’m sweating it off… But I’m not.. And I never will be able to,’ he wrote.
A friend on Twitter said Jayden was ‘heartbroken’ over a girl and didn’t know what to do. She added that he ‘wasn’t a bad kid’.
A junior has also revealed that he had a brief conversation with Fryberg the morning of the attack.
Junior Nathan Heckendorf told CNN that the shooter had just returned to school after being suspended following a fight during football practice.
He said: ‘His final words that he said to me were about the fight. He said ‘It was an act of anger, and an act of aggression and I should have used words’.’
Students with their hands raised flee the scene of the shootings at Marysville-Pilchuck high school
Police attend the scene of the school shooting yesterday after student Jaylen Fryberg opened fire
Armed officers are pictured patrolling the grounds of Marysville-Pilchuck school after the shooting
Assailant: Jaylen Fryberg, 15, was crowned a homecoming prince at school before shooting five classmates
Ominous: Fryberg’s last tweet posted the night before the shooting read:’ It’s won’t last… It’ll never last….’
Describing the attack, Jordan Luton told the station: ‘He came up from behind and had a gun in his hand and he fired about eight bullets … They were his friends so it wasn’t just random.’
‘Then he turned and looked at me and my girlfriend … and kind of gave us a smirk and turned around and then shot more bullets outside,’
There could have been more victims of the attack, but teacher Megan Silberberger is believed to ran into the room and grabbed Jaylen’s arm before he could fire anymore bullets.
Authorities have also said a cafeteria worker attempted to stop the gunman.
Students dived for cover and others fled but as the popular teenager stopped to reload his gun, witnesses told KIRO-TV, Silberberger walked over and grabbed his arm.
In a two-second struggle, Fryberg is said to have pointed the gun at her before shooting himself dead.
The shocking account suggests Silberger, a first year social services teacher and part-time soccer player, may have prevented a massacre at the Washington school.
She heard the gunshots first and she came in running through the door. She grabbed his arm
Erick Cervantes, the student who called 911, on Megan Silberberger
Nonetheless, hundreds of students, teachers and parents piled into a nearby church tonight for a candlelit vigil as the community reels in shock struggling to cope with the tragic loss of life as four teenagers are treated in hospital.
Erick Cervantes, the first student who called 911 during the attack, told KIRO-TV: ‘I believe [Megan Silberger] is actually the real hero.
‘She’s the one that intercepted him with the gun.
‘He tried either reloading or tried aiming at her. She tried moving his hand away and he tried shooting and shot himself in the neck.
‘It started off with an argument, but then I looked back and there was just gunshots and just people falling down.
‘She heard the gunshots first and she came in running through the door, right next to it.
‘It wasn’t [a] wrestle. She just grabbed his arm, and it lasted like two seconds, and I heard another shot.’
That shot, he says, was the one that killed Fryberg.
The shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School lasted just two minutes between 10.41am and 10.43am on Friday.
The horrific attack has left the entire community reeling as friends described Fryberg, a member of the Tulalip Native-American tribe, as a ‘well-respected, great guy’.
Authorities are now scrambling to determine a possible cause for the shooting as the four survivors fight for their lives in hospital.
Pupils have told news stations Fryberg was suspended from the football team in recent weeks after being involved in a fight over ‘racist’ comments.
Tributes: A rainbow shone over the school today as crowds left flowers in tribute to the murdered victim
In a memorial service at Grove Church students from the high school wrote messages and prayers
A vigil was held tonight in Grove Church, Marysville, following a shooting at the local high school
Students hold a candle-lit vigil for the six students shot at Marysville-Philchuck high school
Marysville Pilchuck High School freshman, Cameron Moody, 14, prays at a vigil following the shooting
Others said he had been rejected by a girl.
Last night, Pastor Nik Baumgart told the hundreds who filled the church and spilled out into the parking lot: ‘I hate this tragedy as much as any of you. I hate what’s going on. I hate what we’ve had to see.
‘And I remember all kinds of times when I’ve had the same thoughts that you’ve had about that city, about that situation, about those schools.
‘Now that’s us. Now that’s my alma mater. Here’s what we’re here to do tonight. It’s simple. It’s honestly overly simple. Love one another. Weep together.’
Fryberg’s tweets had become increasingly ominous in the months leading up to his bloody tirade. Recently he tweeted: ‘Your gonna piss me off… And then some s*** gonna go down and I don’t think you’ll like it…’.
His final tweet on Thursday night ominously stated: ‘It won’t last…It’ll never last…’.
Hero? Megan Silberberger, a teacher and part-time soccer player, grabbed the shooter’s arm as he reloaded
Student opens fire at a Washington state high school
So far one student has been confirmed dead, while four others remain in hospital in critical condition
Hundreds packed inside the small church, as the crowd spilled over into the parking lot outside
Students comfort each other after Jaylen Fryberg opened fire at school, killing one, before shooting himself
Pastor Nik Baumgart told people: ‘Here’s what we’re here to do tonight. Love one another. Weep together.’
Fryberg’s last tweet on Friday night read ‘It won’t last…It’ll never last’ before he attacked fellow students
A young girl stands in front of a candle lit stage during tonight’s vigil in Marysville, Washington
Just hours later he entered the crowded cafeteria during lunch break with ‘a blank stare’ on his face and walked up behind one table clutching a handgun, witnesses described.
According to Cervantes there was an argument before Fryberg launched his attack.
Multiple shots were fired, hitting five students.
One is said to have died at the scene before Fryberg turned the gun and killed himself.
All four of the victims were taken to Providence Regional Hospital in critical condition. Two were admitted to theater for surgery, while the remaining two were transported to nearby Harborview Medical Center.
The school has now been closed until November 3 and counselors have been brought in to speak with traumatized witnesses and friends of the victims.
Friday night’s football match between Marysville-Pilchuck and Oak Harbor High School was canceled and Oak Harbor announced it would take second place as a gesture.
Reeling: The community of Marysville, Washington, is desperately waiting for details as they hear a pupil died
Tearful: Students, parents and teachers wept tonight at a candlelit vigil in The Grove Church nearby
‘We have to love one another deeply': A pastor told the tearful audience to build bridges and stay strong
Distraught: Fryberg’s former teammates sat in their uniform crying as they tried to comprehend the situation
Prayer: The group shared a group prayer and a minute’s silence in honor of the two dead and four wounded
Footage taken of the aftermath showed shaking teenagers being evacuated from the school with their hands in the air so officers could be sure they were not armed.
Officers with rifles rushed across the field to check the students for either injuries or weapons before taking them to a local church, where parents were gathered.
The school was placed on lockdown at 10.43am Pacific time after students and teachers called 911 about multiple shots fired in the cafeteria.
By 11am, a full SWAT team was at the scene.
A male victim being treated at Harborview Medical Center emerged from surgery at 4.30pm Easter time but was still in a serious condition.
Last night, Chief Rik Smith of Marysville Police Department told a press conference FBI agents will work through the night interviewing witnesses to piece together details of the crime.
He refused to say Fryberg’s name, adding: ‘I will not perpetuate this cruel act in a place where kids should feel safe. I will not perpetuate that by spending any time on the shooter.
Students were told to walk on to the field with their hands in the air so officers could see they weren’t armed
Shock: Trauma teams were rushed to the school within minutes to recover the wounded and shaken pupils
Emergency: The school was placed on lockdown by 10.49am on Friday after a student called 911 at 10.43am
Action: Armed officers were accompanied by a SWAT team to scale the school to check for any other gunmen
Marysville Pilchuk is a public secondary school for grades 9-12 and is part of the Marysville School District
Washington State school shooting suspect dead, police say
‘Instead I want to focus on the heroic efforts of teacher who quickly moved students to safety and the students who helped each other.’
Herman Williams Jr, chairman of the Tulalip Tribe, also addressed media.
He said: ‘I am deeply saddened by the terrible tragedy in our local school district. Our prayers go out to the families and the entire community.
‘Our first priority is to support the families and the children of those involved.
‘Our community is reeling from this experience, so we ask that the media and the public honor the families and our children in this time of grief. Sadly, we are now experiencing what has become a national trend, which we, as a society, must address.
‘These are our children. They are suffering, and their lives will be forever changed.
‘The fact that tribal members were involved makes it extremely hard to respond to any inquiries until we are aware of all the circumstances.
‘As chairman, I ask everyone to pray for the children and families of those involved.’
A student who spoke to CNN on the phone from inside the school described a grisly scene inside the cafeteria, telling the news outlet: ‘There was blood everywhere.’
Distraught: Terrified students wept as they waited for news at a church where they were reunited with parents
In tears: A girl at the school pictured sobbing and being embraced by a relative after the school shooting
Devastated: Students and parents embrace in a circle at a church after the school shooting
Location: The tragedy played out Friday morning in Marysville, about 35 miles north of Seattle, Washington
Support: Counselors have been sent to the school, which is closed for a week, to support traumatized pupils
According to the unnamed teen, Fryberg was a popular freshman and a member of the Marysville-Pilchuk football team, but he was recently suspended for fighting.
He was also an avid hunter and gun enthusiast, as evidenced by photos posted on his social media accounts.
A few months ago, he shared a picture online showing off a new rifle he had received for his birthday.
Earlier this month, the freshman was crowned homecoming prince, but a classmate told CNN that may have been subjected to bullying.
Police Commander Robb Lamoureux told reporters authorities believed that the shooter acted alone, but had no immediate word on a motive.
However, Jarron Webb, 15, told the Seattle Times Fryberg was angry at a girl for spurning his advance, and that he shot her dead as payback for her rejection.
On the eve of the shooting, Fryberg wrote an ominous final post on Twitter that read: ‘it won’t last…. It’ll never last…. ‘
While Fryberg’s friends and classmates described him as a nice, well-liked boy, his online history paints a somewhat different picture.
Hunter: Fryberg has been described as an avid hunter and regularly shared pictures of his rifle online
Jaylen Fryberg is made homecoming prince days before shooting
Jock: Fryberg was on the football team, but had been suspended recently for fighting over ‘racist comments’
‘Well-respected': Pupils told media they were shocked as Fryberg was a well-respected classmate
Over the past few months, Fryberg had unleashed a series of foul-mouthed and highly sexualized tweets venting his rage over a breakup. In some messages, the high school freshman expressed a desire to end his life.
‘F*** it!! Might As Well Die Now,’ the 15-year-old tweeted in June.
Earlier this week, just days before the shooting rampage, Fryberg fired off a cryptic message that read: ‘Alright. You f***ing got me…. That broke me.’
A boy who witnessed the attack said at one point during the shooting, the gunman’s handgun jammed, and the boy used that opportunity to flee the cafeteria.
He added that the teenager, whom he described as a ‘nice kid,’ remained silent while squeezing off rounds and had a ‘blank stare’ in his eyes.
Police planned to complete a full investigation in the school by 4am local time.
According to a press conference held at around 3pm Eastern time, officers were still finding groups of students and teachers hiding inside classrooms.
‘I was in my classroom and someone pulled the fire alarm and we thought it was a fire drill and we ran out and they told us to go back in a classroom,; student Cindy Rodriguez, 17, told NBC News. ‘We’re scared.’
Ayn Dietrich, an FBI spokesperson in Seattle, said the agency had personnel on their way to the scene to help authorities with the investigation.
Veiled threat? In August, Fryberg ranted on Twitter at someone who had upset him
Washington High School shooter Jaylen Fryberg chanting
Officials at Marysville-Pilchuk posted a message on the school’s website that read in part: ‘Students who attend MPHS campus are being relocated to the Shoultes Community Church at the corner of 116th and 51st Street. Buses will take students home from there.
‘Those parents in the area wanting to pick up their child will need to go to the church location and sign out their child out with school administrator or law enforcement.
‘All after-school activities across the district are canceled today.’
Parents were being asked to bring their identification cards in order to pick up their children from the church.
The latest school shooting in the region happened at Seattle Pacific University, where a gunman killed one student and wounded two others on June 5 this year.
HIP HOP & RAP HELP SPREAD HATE – JUST LOOK AT KAYNE WEST. ONE DAY KAYNE WEST WILL BE IN JAIL FOR THE MURDER OF HIS WIFE.
OF THAT I HAVE ZERO DOUBT.
Growing Faith: Prisons, Hip-Hop and Islam
Posted: 03/07/2013 12:43 pm EST Updated: 05/07/2013 5:12 am EDT
Islam is described as the fastest growing religion in the U.S. There are various factors that contribute to this phenomenon, including immigrants arriving in recent decades from Muslim countries, including India, Pakistan, and in the Middle East. In addition, many individuals convert to Islam. This is particularly true among African Americans and more recently, Latinos.
Why is conversion so prevalent among these groups? The answer to this question is complicated and involves ideological factors, such as attraction to Islam’s message of peace and social justice. Some are attracted by the cultural links among Islam, Africa, and Moorish Spain. Still others embrace the faith as a way of distancing themselves from Christianity. But what facilitates their conversion, practically?
Two important but often overlooked factors are prisons and hip-hop music, which are deeply interconnected. In fact, hip-hop culture’s very birth in the U.S. coincided with an incarceration explosion in the 1970s. The harsh impacts of imprisonment would become an ever-present menace to the hip hop generation, which felt the first-hand effects of losing friends and family to the “belly of the beast.” Imprisonment would go on to become a multi-billion dollar industry with two million inmates and counting, at roughly the same time hip hop grew into a multi-billion dollar industry of its own.
As African Americans began consuming hip-hop music, prisons began consuming African Americans. This dramatic prison expansion led the U.S. to become home to the largest prison population in the world, with African Americans consisting of nearly half of those imprisoned.
Prisons would also become major centers for Islamic outreach. Today, prison officials, prison chaplains and scholars claim that Islam is the fastest growing religion behind bars. Although there are no reliable statistics, estimates suggest that 35,000-40,000 inmates convert to Islam each year, and nationwide, it is estimated that 15 percent of the U.S. prison population is Muslim, or as much as 350,000 current Muslim inmates.
Islam’s growth in prison is matched only by its influence on hip-hop culture. For many young Americans, hip-hop leads to their first encounter with Islam. Although listeners are not always aware of the religious underpinnings, hip-hop music has brought Islamic artists, themes and symbols to the center of American pop culture. Groups identifying with Islam include classical heavyweights like Afrika Bambaataa, Public Enemy and Rakim, and include more modern acts like WuTang Clan, Erykah Badu, Busta Rhymes and Mos Def.
But this just scratches the surface.
Hip-hop’s influence among prisoners is noteworthy, and for some who turn to Islam in prison, a foundation for conversion was likely set long before they stepped through the prison gates. For decades, musical motifs involving Islam, both doctrinal and heterodox, have been setting the table and providing a cultural context for conversion.
In hip-hop music, the prison has been and remains a focus of resistance. Early on, the horrors of imprisonment were brought to life by Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five’s “The Message,” a song that tells of a young man’s prison experience that leads to rape, sex slavery and his own suicide-hanging. Later, the cover of Public Enemy’s 1988 album, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, would make a critical statement by depicting rappers Chuck D. and Flavor Flav behind bars.
Hip-hop lyrics illustrate a deep consciousness of prisons. In some songs, there are shout-outs to incarcerated Muslims and words of encouragement, as in Brother Ali’s “Shadows on the Sun”: “Tell my man Hasim in prison keep grinnin’ because he’s innocent, and tell him that the tests we get are heaven-sent.” At other times, an entire song or album can revolve around prison themes, as in No More Prisons Volume Iand its sequel, Volume II, which each features a roster of Muslim rappers. Sometimes the lyrics take radical tones like DJ Krush & Company Flow’s Vision of Art: “Unsheathe the jihad blade and become animalistic, authority walks the plank, that’s implicit, the shambles of the gifted, dismantled and imprisoned.”
Prisons and hip-hop music contribute to Islam’s status as the fastest growing religion in the country. In prison, Islam continues to attract a vibrant following and prisons have made the African-American male convert a staple of African Americana, from Malcolm X to H. Rap Brown to Mike Tyson. Likewise, hip hop music has been fertilizer for the greening of America, comparable to reggae music’s role in propagating the Rastafarian faith. Often described as the “official religion” of hip-hop, Islam continues to influence the music, which shows no signs of diminishing anytime soon.
JANET & THE BILLIONAIRE: RUMORS ARE THEY ARE DIVORCING – SHE SAYS NO – THEY ARE BUYING A BIGGER HOME IN NYC? PRO SO SHE CAN DIVORCE HIM THERE – SAFER ON AMERICAN SOIL – I’D SAY
This dude is ugly.
EXCLUSIVE: Janet Jackson Divorce Rumors ‘A Lie’
February 26, 2014
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/ Getty Images
Recent media reports have speculated that Grammy winner Janet Jackson is separating from her husband Wissam Al Mana, but a source close to the couple sets the record straight.
The source tells Entertainment Tonight of Jackson and Mana’s relationship, “The rumors about their marriage are a lie. They are very happy and very much together. In fact, the couple has recently purchased an even larger home in New York.”
“Our wedding gifts to one another were contributions to our respective favorite children’s charities. We would appreciate that our privacy is respected and that we are allowed this time for celebration and joy,” Jackson and Mana said in their wedding announcement.
This coming April, Jackson, 47, will be traveling to Brazil to continue her work for amfAR (American Foundation for AIDS Research).
In addition to immigration, the state, federal and local prisons of the United States may be a contributor to the growth of Islam in the United States. J. Michael Waller claims that Muslim inmates comprise 17-20% of the prison population in New York, or roughly 350,000 inmates in 2003. He also claims that 80% of the prisoners who “find faith” while in prison convert to Islam. These converted inmates are mostly African American, with a small but growing Hispanic minority. Waller also asserts that many converts are radicalized by outside Islamist groups linked to terrorism, but other experts suggest that when radicalization does occur it has little to no connection with these outside interests.
In a 2004 report, the Justice Department faulted the prison system for failing to protect against “infiltration by religious extremists.” However, the report made clear that the problem was not radical chaplains, but, rather extremist inmates running worship services.
Mark S. Hamm, a criminologist at Indiana State University, describes a phenomenon he calls “prison Islam.” This consists of “small gang-like cliques that use cut-and-paste versions of the Koran” to give a religious patina to violent and criminal activities. Hamm has identified five such examples since 2005, notably the 2005 Los Angeles bomb plot.
The hostages were taken out of their cell one by one.
In a private room, their captors asked each of them three intimate questions, a standard technique used to obtain proof that a prisoner is still alive in a kidnapping negotiation.
James Foley returned to the cell he shared with nearly two dozen other Western hostages and collapsed in tears of joy. The questions his kidnappers had asked were so personal (“Who cried at your brother’s wedding?” “Who was the captain of your high school soccer team?”) that he knew they were finally in touch with his family.
It was December 2013, and more than a year had passed since Mr. Foley vanished on a road in northern Syria. Finally, his worried parents would know he was alive, he told his fellow captives. His government, he believed, would soon negotiate his release.
What appeared to be a turning point was in fact the start of a downward spiral for Mr. Foley, a 40-year-old journalist, that ended in August when he was forced to his knees somewhere in the bald hills of Syria and beheaded as a camera rolled.
His videotaped death was a very public end to a hidden ordeal.
The story of what happened in the Islamic State’s underground network of prisons in Syria is one of excruciating suffering. Mr. Foley and his fellow hostages were routinely beaten and subjected to waterboarding. For months, they were starved and threatened with execution by one group of fighters, only to be handed off to another group that brought them sweets and contemplated freeing them. The prisoners banded together, playing games to pass the endless hours, but as conditions grew more desperate, they turned on one another. Some, including Mr. Foley, sought comfort in the faith of their captors, embracing Islam and taking Muslim names.
Their captivity coincided with the rise of the group that came to be known as the Islamic State out of the chaos of the Syrian civil war. It did not exist on the day Mr. Foley was abducted, but it slowly grew to become the most powerful and feared rebel movement in the region. By the second year of Mr. Foley’s imprisonment, the group had amassed close to two dozen hostages and devised a strategy to trade them for cash.
It was at that point that the hostages’ journeys, which had been largely similar up to then, diverged based on actions taken thousands of miles away: in Washington and Paris, in Madrid, Rome and beyond. Mr. Foley was one of at least 23 Western hostages from 12 countries, a majority of them citizens of European nations whose governments have a history of paying ransoms.
Their struggle for survival, which is being told now for the first time, was pieced together through interviews with five former hostages, locals who witnessed their treatment, relatives and colleagues of the captives, and a tight circle of advisers who made trips to the region to try to win their release. Crucial details were confirmed by a former member of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, who was initially stationed in the prison where Mr. Foley was held, and who provided previously unknown details of his captivity.
The ordeal has remained largely secret because the militants warned the hostages’ families not to go to the news media, threatening to kill their loved ones if they did. The New York Times is naming only those already identified publicly by the Islamic State, which began naming them in August.
Officials in the United States say they did everything in their power to save Mr. Foley and the others, including carrying out a failed rescue operation. They argue that the United States’ policy of not paying ransoms saves Americans’ lives in the long run by making them less attractive targets.
Inside their concrete box, the hostages did not know what their families or governments were doing on their behalf. They slowly pieced it together using the only information they had: their interactions with their guards and with one another. Mostly they suffered, waiting for any sign that they might escape with their lives.
It was only a 40-minute drive to the Turkish border, but Mr. Foley decided to make one last stop.
In Binesh, Syria, two years ago, Mr. Foley and his traveling companion, the British photojournalist John Cantlie, pulled into an Internet cafe to file their work. The two were no strangers to the perils of reporting in Syria. Only a few months earlier, Mr. Cantlie had been kidnapped a few dozen miles from Binesh. He had tried to escape, barefoot and handcuffed, running for his life as bullets kicked up the dirt, only to be caught again. He was released a week later after moderate rebels intervened.
They were uploading their images when a man walked in.
“He had a big beard,” said Mustafa Ali, their Syrian translator, who was with them and recounted their final hours together. “He didn’t smile or say anything. And he looked at us with evil eyes.”
The man “went to the computer and sat for one minute only, and then left directly,” Mr. Ali said. “He wasn’t Syrian. He looked like he was from the Gulf.”
Mr. Foley, an American freelance journalist filing for GlobalPost and Agence France-Presse, and Mr. Cantlie, a photographer for British newspapers, continued transmitting their footage, according to Mr. Ali, whose account was confirmed by emails the journalists sent from the cafe to a colleague waiting for them in Turkey.
More than an hour later, they flagged a taxi for the 25-mile drive to Turkey. They never reached the border.
The gunmen who sped up behind their taxi did not call themselves the Islamic State because the group did not yet exist on Nov. 22, 2012, the day the two men were grabbed.
But the danger of Islamic extremism was already palpable in Syria’s rebel-held territories, and some news organizations were starting to pull back. Among the red flags was the growing number of foreign fighters flooding into Syria, dreaming of establishing a “caliphate.” These jihadists, many of them veterans of Al Qaeda’s branch in Iraq, looked and behaved differently from the moderate rebels. They wore their beards long. And they spoke with foreign accents, coming from the Persian Gulf, North Africa, Europe and beyond.
A van sped up on the left side of the taxi and cut it off. Masked fighters jumped out. They screamed in foreign-accented Arabic, telling the journalists to lie on the pavement. They handcuffed them and threw them into the van.
They left Mr. Ali on the side of the road. “If you follow us, we’ll kill you,” they told him.
Over the next 14 months, at least 23 foreigners, most of them freelance journalists and aid workers, would fall into a similar trap. The attackers identified the locals whom journalists hired to help them, like Mr. Ali and Yosef Abobaker, a Syrian translator. It was Mr. Abobaker who drove Steven J. Sotloff, an American freelance journalist, into Syria on Aug. 4, 2013.
“We were driving for only 20 minutes when I saw three cars stopped on the road ahead,” he said. “They must have had a spy on the border that saw my car and told them I was coming.”
The kidnappings, which were carried out by different groups of fighters jousting for influence and territory in Syria, became more frequent. In June 2013, four French journalists were abducted. In September, the militants grabbed three Spanish journalists.
Checkpoints became human nets, and last October, insurgents waited at one for Peter Kassig, 25, an emergency medical technician from Indianapolis who was delivering medical supplies. In December, Alan Henning, a British taxi driver, disappeared at another. Mr. Henning had cashed in his savings to buy a used ambulance, hoping to join an aid caravan to Syria. He was kidnapped 30 minutes after crossing into the country.
The last to vanish were five aid workers from Doctors Without Borders, who were plucked in January from the field hospital in rural Syria where they had been working.
At gunpoint, Mr. Sotloff and Mr. Abobaker were driven to a textile factory in a village outside Aleppo, Syria, where they were placed in separate cells. Mr. Abobaker, who was freed two weeks later, heard their captors take Mr. Sotloff into an adjoining room. Then he heard the Arabic-speaking interrogator say in English: “Password.”
It was a process to be repeated with several other hostages. The kidnappers seized their laptops, cellphones and cameras and demanded the passwords to their accounts. They scanned their Facebook timelines, their Skype chats, their image archives and their emails, looking for evidence of collusion with Western spy agencies and militaries.
“They took me to a building that was specifically for the interrogation,” said Marcin Suder, a 37-year-old Polish photojournalist kidnapped in July 2013 in Saraqib, Syria, where the jihadists were known to be operating. He was passed among several groups before managing to escape four months later.
“They checked my camera,” Mr. Suder said. “They checked my tablet. Then they undressed me completely. I was naked. They looked to see if there was a GPS chip under my skin or in my clothes. Then they started beating me. They Googled ‘Marcin Suder and C.I.A.,’ ‘Marcin Suder and K.G.B.’ They accused me of being a spy.”
Mr. Suder — who was never told the name of the group holding him, and who never met the other hostages because he escaped before they were transferred to the same location — remarked on the typically English vocabulary his interrogators had used.
During one session, they kept telling him he had been “naughty” — a word that hostages who were held with Mr. Foley also recalled their guards’ using during the most brutal torture.
It was in the course of these interrogations that the jihadists found images of American military personnel on Mr. Foley’s laptop, taken during his assignments in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“In the archive of photographs he had personally taken, there were images glorifying the American crusaders,” they wrote in an article published after Mr. Foley’s death. “Alas for James, this archive was with him at the time of his arrest.”
A British hostage, David Cawthorne Haines, was forced to acknowledge his military background: It was listed on his LinkedIn profile.
The militants also discovered that Mr. Kassig, the aid worker from Indiana, was a former Army Ranger and a veteran of the Iraq war. Both facts are easy to find online, because CNN featured Mr. Kassig’s humanitarian work prominently before his capture.
The punishment for any perceived offense was torture.
“You could see the scars on his ankles,” Jejoen Bontinck, 19, of Belgium, a teenage convert to Islam who spent three weeks in the summer of 2013 in the same cell as Mr. Foley, said of him. “He told me how they had chained his feet to a bar and then hung the bar so that he was upside down from the ceiling. Then they left him there.”
Mr. Bontinck, who was released late last year, spoke about his experiences for the first time for this article in his hometown, Antwerp, where he is one of 46 Belgian youths on trial on charges of belonging to a terrorist organization.
At first, the abuse did not appear to have a larger purpose. Nor did the jihadists seem to have a plan for their growing number of hostages.
Mr. Bontinck said Mr. Foley and Mr. Cantlie had first been held by the Nusra Front, a Qaeda affiliate. Their guards, an English-speaking trio whom they nicknamed “the Beatles,” seemed to take pleasure in brutalizing them.
Later, they were handed over to a group called the Mujahedeen Shura Council, led by French speakers.
Mr. Foley and Mr. Cantlie were moved at least three times before being transferred to a prison underneath the Children’s Hospital of Aleppo.
It was in this building that Mr. Bontinck, then only 18, met Mr. Foley. At first, Mr. Bontinck was a fighter, one of thousands of young Europeansdrawn to the promise of jihad. He later ran afoul of the group when he received a text message from his worried father back in Belgium and his commander accused him of being a spy.
The militants dragged him into a basement room with pale brown walls. Inside were two very thin, bearded foreigners: Mr. Foley and Mr. Cantlie.
For the next three weeks, when the call to prayer sounded, all three stood.
An American Named Hamza
Mr. Foley converted to Islam soon after his capture and adopted the name Abu Hamza, Mr. Bontinck said. (His conversion was confirmed by three other recently released hostages, as well as by his former employer.)
“I recited the Quran with him,” Mr. Bontinck said. “Most people would say, ‘Let’s convert so that we can get better treatment.’ But in his case, I think it was sincere.”
Former hostages said that a majority of the Western prisoners had converted during their difficult captivity. Among them was Mr. Kassig, who adopted the name Abdul-Rahman, according to his family, who learned of his conversion in a letter smuggled out of the prison.
Only a handful of the hostages stayed true to their own faiths, including Mr. Sotloff, then 30, a practicing Jew. On Yom Kippur, he told his guards he was not feeling well and refused his food so he could secretly observe the traditional fast, a witness said.
Those recently released said that most of the foreigners had converted under duress, but that Mr. Foley had been captivated by Islam. When the guards brought an English version of the Quran, those who were just pretending to be Muslims paged through it, one former hostage said. Mr. Foley spent hours engrossed in the text.
His first set of guards, from the Nusra Front, viewed his professed Islamic faith with suspicion. But the second group holding him seemed moved by it. For an extended period, the abuse stopped. Unlike the Syrian prisoners, who were chained to radiators, Mr. Foley and Mr. Cantlie were able to move freely inside their cell.
Mr. Bontinck had a chance to ask the prison’s emir, a Dutch citizen, whether the militants had asked for a ransom for the foreigners. He said they had not.
“He explained there was a Plan A and a Plan B,” Mr. Bontinck said. The journalists would be put under house arrest, or they would be conscripted into a jihadist training camp. Both possibilities suggested that the group was planning to release them.
One day, their guards brought them a gift of chocolates.
When Mr. Bontinck was released, he jotted down the phone number of Mr. Foley’s parents and promised to call them. They made plans to meet again.
He left thinking that the journalists, like him, would soon be freed.
A Terrorist State
The Syrian civil war, previously dominated by secular rebels and a handful of rival jihadist groups, was shifting decisively, and the new extremist grouphad taken a dominant position. Sometime last year, the battalion in the Aleppo hospital pledged allegiance to what was then called the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Other factions of fighters joined forces with the group, whose tactics were so extreme that even Al Qaeda expelled it from its terror network. Its ambitions went far beyond toppling Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s president.
Late last year, the jihadists began pooling their prisoners, bringing them to the same location underneath the hospital. By January, there were at least 19 men in one 20-square-meter cell (about 215 square feet) and four women in an adjoining one. All but one of them were European or North American. The relative freedom that Mr. Foley and Mr. Cantlie had enjoyed came to an abrupt end. Each prisoner was now handcuffed to another.
More worrying was the fact that their French-speaking guards were replaced by English-speaking ones. Mr. Foley recognized them with dread.
They were the ones who had called him “naughty” during the worst torture. They were the ones the hostages called the Beatles. They instituted a strict security protocol.
When they approached the cell holding Mr. Suder, the Polish photojournalist, they called out “arba’een”: Arabic for the number 40.
That was his cue to face the wall so that when the guards entered, he would not see their faces. Several hostages were given numbers in Arabic, which appeared to be an effort to catalog them — not unlike the numbers American forces had assigned to prisoners in the detention facilities they ran in Iraq, including Camp Bucca, where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, was briefly held.
“When the Beatles took over, they wanted to bring a certain level of order to the hostages,” said one recently freed European captive.
In areas under their control, they established an intricate bureaucracy, including a tribunal, a police force and even a consumer protection office, which forced kebab stands to close for selling low-quality products.
That focus on order extended to the hostages.
After months of holding them without making any demands, the jihadists suddenly devised a plan to ransom them. Starting last November, each prisoner was told to hand over the email address of a relative. Mr. Foley gave the address of his younger brother.
The group sent a blitz of messages to the families of the hostages.
Those who were able to lay the emails side by side could see they had been cut and pasted from the same template.
By December, the militants had exchanged several emails with Mr. Foley’s family, as well as with the families of other hostages.
After the first proof-of-life questions, Mr. Foley was hopeful that he would be home soon. As his second Christmas away from home approached, he threw himself into organizing a jailhouse version of Secret Santa, a tradition in the Foley household.
Each prisoner gave another a gift fashioned out of trash. Mr. Foley’s Secret Santa gave him a circle made from the wax of a discarded candle to cushion his forehead when he bowed down to pray on the hard floor.
As the weeks passed, Mr. Foley noticed that his European cellmates were invited outside again and again to answer questions. He was not. Nor were the other Americans, or the Britons.
Soon, the prisoners realized that their kidnappers had identified which nations were most likely to pay ransoms, said a former hostage, one of five who spoke about their imprisonment in the Islamic State’s network of jails on the condition that their names be withheld.
“The kidnappers knew which countries would be the most amenable to their demands, and they created an order based on the ease with which they thought they could negotiate,” one said. “They started with the Spanish.”
One day, the guards came in and pointed to the three Spanish captives. They said they knew the Spanish government had paid six million euros for a group of aid workers kidnapped by a Qaeda cell in Mauritania, a figure available online in articles about the episode.
As the negotiations for the Spanish prisoners progressed rapidly — the first was released this March, six months after he had been captured — the militants moved on to the four French journalists.
The European prisoners went from answering additional personal questions to filming videos to be sent to their families or governments. The videos became more and more charged, eventually including death threats and execution deadlines in an effort to force their nations to pay.
At one point, their jailers arrived with a collection of orange jumpsuits.
In a video, they lined up the French hostages in their brightly colored uniforms, mimicking those worn by prisoners at the United States’ facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
They also began waterboarding a select few, just as C.I.A. interrogators had treated Muslim prisoners at so-called black sites during the George W. Bush administration, former hostages and witnesses said.
With time, the 23 prisoners were divided into two groups. The three American men and the three British hostages were singled out for the worst abuse, both because of the militants’ grievances against their countries and because their governments would not negotiate, according to several people with intimate knowledge of the events.
“It’s part of the DNA of this group to hate America,” one said. “But they also realized that the United States and Britain were the least likely to pay.”
Within this subset, the person who suffered the cruelest treatment, the former hostages said, was Mr. Foley. In addition to receiving prolonged beatings, he underwent mock executions and was repeatedly waterboarded.
Meant to simulate drowning, the procedure can cause the victim to pass out. When one of the prisoners was hauled out, the others were relieved if he came back bloodied.
“It was when there was no blood,” a former cellmate said, “that we knew he had suffered something even worse.”
As the negotiations dragged on, conditions became increasingly grim.
During one extended stretch, the hostages received the equivalent of a teacup of food per day.
They spent weeks in darkness. In one basement, their only illumination was the finger of sunlight that stretched under their locked door. After dusk, they could not see anything, spilling food on themselves until their guards eventually gave them a flashlight.
Most of the locations had no mattresses and few blankets. Some of the prisoners took discarded pants, tied one end and filled the trouser legs with rags to create makeshift pillows.
The prisoners turned on one another. Fights broke out.
Mr. Foley shared his meager rations. In the cold of the Syrian winter, he offered another prisoner his only blanket.
He kept the others entertained, proposing games and activities like Risk, a board game that involves moving imaginary armies across a map: another favorite pastime in the Foley family. The hostages made a chess set out of discarded paper. They re-enacted movies, retelling them scene by scene. And they arranged for members of the group to give lectures on topics they knew well.
This spring, the hostages were moved from below the hospital in Aleppo to Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate. They were incarcerated in a building outside an oil installation, where they were again divided by sex.
By March, the militants had concluded the negotiations for the three Spanish journalists.
When the first deliveries of cash arrived, the guards discovered that some of the bills were damaged. They complained to the remaining hostages that their governments did not even have the decency to send crisp notes.
By April, nearly half of the captives had been freed. There had been no progress, however, on the ransom demands the jihadists had made for their American and British hostages.
During the triage phase, the guards identified the single Russian hostage, a man known to the others as Sergey, as the least marketable commodity.
Identified in the Russian news media as Sergey Gorbunov, he was last seen in a video released in October 2013. Stuttering, he said that if Moscow failed to meet the kidnappers’ demands, he would be killed.
Sometime this spring, the masked men came for him.
They dragged the terrified prisoner outside and shot him. They filmed his body. Then they returned to show the footage to the surviving hostages.
“This,” they said, “is what will happen to you if your government doesn’t pay.”
Mr. Foley watched as his cellmates were released in roughly two-week increments.
As the number of people in the 20-square-meter cell in Raqqa grew smaller, it was hard to stay hopeful. Yet Mr. Foley, who had campaigned for President Obama, continued to believe his government would come to his rescue, said his family, who learned this from recently freed hostages.
On May 27, the few remaining hostages were reminded that different passports spelled different fates.
Those who had been taken together were, in most cases, released together. Not so for the Italian and British aid workers for the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development, a small French organization, who were grabbed less than a mile from the Turkish border after returning from a refugee camp where they had gone to deliver tents.
In late May, the Italian, Federico Motka, was told he could go, according to a fellow captive, allegedly after Italy paid a ransom. (The Italian government denied the claim.) But his co-worker, Mr. Haines, was left chained inside. Mr. Haines was beheaded in September after being forced to read a script blaming the British government for his death.
By June, the cellblock that had once held at least 23 people had been reduced to just seven. Four of them were Americans, and three were British — all citizens of countries whose governments had refused to pay ransoms.
In an article recently published in an official Islamic State magazine, the jihadists described the American-led airstrikes that began in August as the nail in those hostages’ coffins.
At the same time, they laid out the role European and American ransom policies had played in their decision to kill Mr. Foley.
“As the American government was dragging its feet, reluctant to save James’s life,” they wrote in the magazine, Dabiq, “negotiations were made by the governments of a number of European prisoners, which resulted in the release of a dozen of their prisoners after the demands of the Islamic State were met.”
Fifteen hostages were freed from March to June for ransoms averaging more than two million euros, the former captives and those close to them said.
Among the last to go was a Danish photojournalist, Daniel Rye Ottosen, 25, released in June after his family cobbled together a multimillion-euro ransom, three people briefed on the negotiation said. He was one of several departing hostages who managed to smuggle out letters from his cellmates.
“I am obviously pretty scared to die,” Mr. Kassig wrote in a letter recently published by his family. “The hardest part is not knowing — hoping, and wondering if I should even hope at all.”
Mr. Foley seemed to sense the end was near. In his letter, amid expressions of love, he slipped in a sentence instructing his family on how to disburse the money in his bank account.
In August, when the militants came for him, they made him slip on a pair of plastic sandals. They drove him to a bare hill outside Raqqa. They made him kneel. He looked straight into the camera, his expression defiant. Then they slit his throat.
Two weeks later, a similar video surfaced on YouTube showing Mr. Sotloff’s death. In September, the militants uploaded Mr. Haines’s execution. In October, they killed Mr. Henning. Only three from the original group of 23 remain: two Americans, Mr. Kassig and a woman who has not been identified, as well as a Briton, Mr. Cantlie.
The militants have announced they will kill Mr. Kassig next.
Across Europe, those who had survived gasped when they saw the footage of their cellmate’s death: The cheap, beige-colored plastic flip-flops splayed next to Mr. Foley’s body were the same pair the prisoners had shared.
They had all worn those sandals to the bathroom.
Those who survived had walked in the same shoes as those who did not.
Correction: October 25, 2014
An earlier version of a picture caption with this article misspelled the given name of a British aid worker who was beheaded. He is David Cawthorne Haines, not Davis Cawthorne Haines.
@mindykaling UR uglier than a raccoon, your writing sucks, Ur show sucks but I’ll stick my dildo up your ass. When can we meet?
Mindy Kaling Defends Controversial Anal Sex Episode
Posted: 10/21/2014 9:47 am EDT Updated: 10/21/2014 9:59 am EDT
Mindy Kaling and the cast of “The Mindy Project” are always keeping it sexy — this season more so than ever, especially now that Mindy and her office crush, Danny Castellano (Chris Messina), are finally in a monogamous relationship.
But with monogamy comes experimentation, at least according to Kaling. The actress, writer and show creator explored that idea during the Oct. 7 episode, titled “I Slipped,” which tackled a possibly-too-sexual, possibly-too-scandalous subject matter for a network sitcom: anal sex.
On set at “The Mindy Project” in Los Angeles on Friday, the 35-year old comedian told The Huffington Post that more than anything, she wants to offer “things that no one is seeing anywhere else [on television].” But what mattered most to Kaling was less about the boundary pushing, and more about whether this was an issue that is relatable.
“There are nine of us in the writers room and if something is making us debate issues or we are scared by it, a lot of times that means we should do it,” she said. “Although it’s taboo, it was so relatable to everybody in the room. We wanted to acknowledge that everybody deals with this but nobody wants to talk about it.”
I think that, we have to, in knowing what their relationship is and knowing that the way it was portrayed, it wasn’t something that made her feel unsafe or degraded … you can love someone and be in a relationship with them when you’re both consenting adults, and people can try things and you can be like … ‘I busted you on that.’
It was not an issue of sexual unsafety. I understand people felt that way, and I disagree … In a larger sense, we have this card — this red card — of stirring fear in men about certain things. I was sad about that because I thought, ‘Is that a situation where we want to use that card for that?’ It bummed me out a little bit. There was no sexual peril in there; it was not a situation where she felt unsafe or was objectified. She just was startled … I was sad about that.
Speaking on-set, Kaling, reiterated that Danny was just trying to see how much he could get away with in the relationship.
“I think a lot of men can relate to that,” she said. “We don’t do taboo things just for the hell of it. But this was also just consistently making us laugh. I think the death of any show is that it’s not relevant anymore.”
“The Mindy Project” airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on Fox.
Complications related to alcohol abuse were listed as the causes of death for actress Elizabeth Peña, who died Oct. 14 at the age of 55.
The Los Angeles County Coroner cited cirrhosis of the liver due to alcohol, as well as cardiopulmonary arrest, cardiogenic shock and acute gastrointestinal bleeding on the actress’s death certificate. She died in a Los Angeles hospital.
Last week, Peña’s manager, Gina Rugolo, said the New Jersey-born actress died of natural causes after a brief illness.
“She was our star. She was my star. We celebrated her triumphs. We sweated through her struggles,” her nephew Mario-Francisco Robles wrote in an Oct. 15 tribute to his aunt onLatino Review.
“My family is heartbroken,” he continued. “There’s now a void that will never be filled. All we can do now is remember your sharp sense of humor, your endless hunger for life, and your never ending pursuit of happiness.”
Peña’s four-decade-long career included roles in La Bamba, Lone Star andRush Hour. Most recently, she played Sofia Vergara‘s mother, Pilar, on ABC’sModern Family.
Peña is survived by her husband, Hans Rolla, and two children.
AND THE MOTHER OF THE STAR AND UPCOMING TRAILER PARK CRAP – THE AFOREMENTIONED REALITY TV PRINCESS – HOG POS
HONEY BOO BOO
YOU MAY THINK ME HARSH SAYING THAT OF A CHILD?
COMING OFF ANOTHER SHOW “TODDLERS & TIARA’S” CABLE TV IS TOTALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR PUTTING THIS KIND OF REALITY
TV TRASH ON YOUR BOOB TUBE
BUT YOU, THE VIEWERS, ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR WATCHING
STOP WATCHING THIS SHIT
Watching this show and this insane pos family does not make your life better – it makes you look like a sick fuck and I’m not talking about the rock group either. (rolling my eyes)
Now, Mama June, the moose from hell, is divorcing her new husband and long time lover (and NO that does not slip off my tongue easily) Sugar Bear (I swear I can’t believe I’m writing this) to fall into step with a new man in her life, a 53 year old sex offender who pedophiled one of the children in her family (extended or otherwise. these a holes aren’t saying who this asshole hurt) and he looks like he’s a mascara wearing weirdo.
This is the best she can do and NOW, after all this, TLC the cable channel that brings HERE COMES THE WHITE TRASH family into your WHITE TRASH HOMES every week is now uncertain how to proceed with this “reality TV show” and is considering yanking it off the air.
PLEASE YANK IT OFF THE AIR – IT’S SHIT
THIS IS HONESTLY WORSE THAN WATCHING THE KARDASHIANS
BY THE WAY, I JUST VOTED THE “PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS” AND THE WORLD HAS TURNED AGAINST “GOD” – YEEZUS WAS NOT EVEN A MENTION – Kayne West is south.
Mama June is seeing someone new, but there’s a big problem … the guy just got out of prison after serving time for molesting one of June’s relatives … TMZ has learned.
The new guy is 53-year-old Mark McDaniel. He was convicted in 2004 for aggravated child molestation. Prosecutors say he molested an 8-year-old child — forcing oral sex. June was dating McDaniel at the same time he molested the child.
We will not identify the child but it’s someone with whom June has contact.
McDaniel served 10 years and was released this past March. He is now a registered sex offender in the state of Georgia.
We’re told Honey Boo Boo’s mom has been seeing McDaniel for the last few months … sneaking away from production of the show and meeting up with him. We’re told she’s also been setting him up by buying him various gifts.
The photo was taken a few weeks ago in a hotel room where June, McDaniel, and other guests were hanging out.
We contacted TLC, which produces “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” The official says, “TLC is not currently in production on HERE COMES HONEY BOO BOO. We are very concerned about this new information and are reassessing the future of the series.”
We reached out to June … so far no word back.
OUR WORLD IS DEAD AND GONE TO THE ZOMBIES IF THIS SHIT IS STAYING ON TV – FAMILY VALUES MY ASS – GET BACK INTO THE WOODS YOU PERVERTS!
It’s Legal To Sing In The Subway, But This Subway Singer Got Arrested Anyway
Posted: 10/20/2014 7:03 pm EDT Updated: 2 hours ago
The New York City transit authority has a rule that expressly allows people to play music beneath the streets.
So why did a cop arrest a busker over the weekend after he refused to stop singing and playing his acoustic guitar on a subway platform?
At the busker’s urging, the officer first read out loud the relevant section of the MTA rulebook, noting that “artistic performances, including the acceptance of donations,” are permitted.
Then he arrested the singer, slamming his guitar into the wall. In a video of the incident captured by a bystander, the musician sings Neil Young’s anti-authoritarian anthem “Ohio” as the officer and several backups handcuff him and drag him away. The crowd on the platform erupts into a chant of “Fuck the police.”
A police spokesperson told HuffPost in an email that the video is “under review,” but didn’t answer questions about the reasons for the arrest. The singer, Andrew Kalleen, 30, told HuffPost the arresting officer charged him with loitering, but only after poring over a law book in the back of the police van.
While state law prohibits people from loitering in the subway “for the purpose of soliciting or engaging in business,” that law seems to contradict the MTA rule, which allows performing for money.
Matthew Christian, a street violinist who co-founded BUSK-NY, a group that advocates for street performers, said the police often charge performers with vague offenses like loitering when they can’t find a more convincing justification for arrest.
“This happens so often,” Christian said. “When police officers don’t precisely know the law, they arrest someone over their own refusal to back down, and once the person is brought to the police station and booked, they can’t find anything else to charge them with, so they go mining.”
The arrest may be the latest example of a broader police crackdown on small-time hustles like panhandling and dancing in subway cars. In March, the police commissioner, Bill Bratton, proudly announced that arrests of subway peddlers and panhandlers had tripled under his watch.
“If you take care of the little things, then you can prevent a lot of the big things,”Bratton said at the time, expressing the conviction at the core of the “broken windows” strategy that he famously embraced during his first stint as New York’s top cop in the ’90s.
Critics of the broken windows theory point out that no one has conclusively proves it works, and they argue that a hard-nosed approach to minor offenses only leads to violent encounters, racially biased policing, and wrongful arrests. In July, the strategy came under heightened scrutiny after Eric Garner, a Staten Island grandfather, died at the hands of police. An officer had grabbed him in a banned chokehold while attempting to arrest him for the sale of loose cigarettes.
Kalleen said police have stopped him at least five times for performing in the subway station, and he has filed a complaint against them with the Civilian Complaint Review Board, an agency that investigates allegations of police abuse. He plans to sue the department over the latest arrest.
He spent Friday night in a police holding cell, but he doesn’t sound bitter about it. At the precinct, he said, he thanked his arresting officer and another cop for risking their lives to protect people, and told them about something that happened to his family a decade ago in Northern California: A masked intruder entered their home with a shotgun and struggled with his father before the police arrived and took the man away.
After he shared that story, he said, the cops warmed up to him.
“From that point on, we were able to have a real conversation. Both cops agreed that the system is very broken. Their bosses tell them it’s their job to go out and write tickets. It’s a revenue system. We all agreed that we want it to change, but they’re doing what they’re told.”
Kalleen said he later asked his arresting officer if he liked music. “It turns out that he plays guitar too, or he used to. We talked about music that we like, and there were some bands that crossed over: Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin. He’d recently gone to see Robert Plant.”
The officer did not tell Kalleen whether he likes Neil Young.