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April 18, 2015 / 29 Nisan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘suicide’

Saudis Hold Body of U.S. Elbit Subcontractor After Mysterious Death in Tabuk

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

Saudi Arabia has yet to release the body of a U.S. defense subcontractor who was working for Israel’s Elbit Systems when he died under mysterious circumstances after being sent to the country to help complete a weapons deal.

Christopher Cramer was working for Kollsman Inc., a firm that subcontracted for the Israeli defense electronics company, when he was found dead last month on the ground outside his third-floor hotel room in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia.

“We received a message from Kollsman Inc., Elbit Systems’ subcontractor in America, saying its employee Chris Cramer passed away during a work trip,” said a spokesperson for Elbit Systems.

“The circumstances of his death are being investigated by the American State Department. We have no further details at this stage and we are waiting for the State Department to update our American subcontractor. Cramer worked for the company for 12 years. We cannot provide details on the project he was working on, but this is a Kollsman product, an American product with no Israeli technologies involved in its production.”

Cramer, 50, provided technical assistance for a demonstration and sale of a TOW anti-armor missile system as an employee of Kollsman Inc., Fox News reported over the weekend. Authorities in Saudi Arabia claim that Cramer committed suicide by jumping to his death from the third floor of a hotel – but the facts just don’t add up. His family does not believe he committed suicide; they say he was murdered because he appeared to be a threat to the lucrative arms deal that was in process.

Noah Mandell, the family attorney and a longtime friend of Cramer’s, told Fox News the problem was with the customer. “The missile system was already sold to the Saudi company and they were complaining that it wasn’t working,” Mandell said.

“He was basically sent to see if he could prove that they were firing it incorrectly.” Mandell added that he believes the company that purchased the equipment wanted the missiles to malfunction. “The point of sabotaging equipment is you get a customer who has to buy a new set, and you’ve still got the old equipment,” Mandell said.

A spokesperson for Kollsman Inc. said Cramer had even posted a video of one of the missile firings, showing that everything was operating and fully functional. Mandell received messages from Cramer on the night that he died, saying his life was in danger and asking his friend to contact the State Department.

“I’m at the Marakim Tabuk Hotel in Saudi,” he texted his roommate back in New Hampshire when he could not reach Mandell. “I think something bad is going to happen to me tonight. Please contact State Dept. ASAP. Bad things were said.”

Mandell missed three calls within eight minutes on his voice mail that night. Cramer may not have trusted his own employers as well; the company rushed to inform his family that his death was a suicide. Now Kollsman says it will wait for the outcome of the Saudi probe.

“The question is… Why was Chris calling his dog sitter and his lawyer in America instead of his own company? They sent him into hell and had no plan to get him back,” Mandell charged. More to the point, the delivery of Cramer’s body to the United States has been delayed and has still not arrived on U.S. soil. His family is waiting to be able to send it for an autopsy.

Under American law, it is up to the FBI to investigate the circumstances when an U.S. citizen dies overseas – but the FBI gets involved only “if they are invited to do so by the local authorities,” according to the State Department. “They don’t have the jurisdiction to go into a country and start an investigation. They have to be invited in,” an FBI official told The Daily Beast. “Our standard practice is to neither confirm nor deny FBI investigations.”

Argentine Journalist Flees for Life, Lands in Israel

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Jewish journalist Damian Pachter has arrived in Israel from Argentina via Uruguay, having fled for his life after having been the first to report the death of Argentine federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman. What was first believed to have been a suicide is now known to have been the murder of the high-ranking official.

The prosecutor was investigating the possible coverup of involvement of Iranian officials in the 1994 bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish community center. Eighty-five people died and more than 200 were wounded in the deadly terror attack.

Pachter, an Israeli citizen,works for the English-language Buenos Aires Herald. He said his phones were being tapped and that he believed he was being followed. “I believe my life is in danger,” he told his colleagues.

His employer said in a statement the newspaper was willing to help him in any way possible and that he had not expressed his concerns at the time.

 

Argentinean President Says Nisman Did not Commit Suicide

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Argentinean president leader Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said Thursday it is clear to her that prosecutor Alberto Nisman did not pull the trigger of the gun that left him dead hours before he was to deliver evidence that would exposed Iran as part of a 20-year-long conspiracy of terror,

Original reports that Nisman committed suicide in his 14th-floor apartment Sunday were immediately dismissed by most of the Western world as well as by many Argentines.

Within hours, enough questions were raised that all but proved that Nisman was murdered. Iran, Hezbollah and their Argentinean agents are the most obvious suspects.

Nisman had prepared documents and testimony to present his case before a congressional committee that the bombing of the Jewish AMIA center in 1994, which killed 85 people and hundreds were wounded, was part of a chain of executions and acts of terror funded and organized by Iran and Hezbollah.

Nisman’s murder was only the latest execution.

Several Argentinean government officials were involved in a cover-up of Iran’s involvement in the AMIA bombing, according to Nisman’s evidence.

Government spokesman Anibal Fernandez was one of the suspects.

Framing a suicide was aimed at getting rid of Nisman neatly and cleanly, leaving Iran pure and innocent.

But whoever staged the apparent suicide  left open too many holes.

If Nisman shot himself, obviously at close range, why didn’t the bullet go through the other side of his head?

Why weren’t there any signs of gunpowder? Perhaps that was because a small-caliber gun was used.

But if the door to his bathroom, where he was found dead, indeed was locked, the perpetrators of the suicide story forget to lock the service door that the murderer or murderers might have used.

A locksmith said that he had no trouble standing outside the bathroom and using a wire to punish the lock inside, which would make it appear that no else could have been in the bathroom.

But besides the fact that the service door was not locked,  investigators noted that entry to the bathroom could have been gained by using a narrow corridor in which the air conditioning unit was mounted.

President Kirschner wrote in a letter posted on Twitter Thursday she is “convinced” the death was not due to suicide. Considering that he worked 10 years on the case and was on the eve of triumphant testimony fingering Iran, why would he put an end to his life?

Regardless of all the theories, Nisman is dead.

But the evidence remains.

 

Former Head of 92nd Street Y Commits Suicide

Monday, May 12th, 2014

The former executive director of the famed 92nd Street Y died last Friday after hanging himself in his home in Seagate, an oceanfront community in Brooklyn, New York.

Sol Adler, 60, was found shortly before 11 a.m. by his wife Debbie, police told reporters on Saturday.

In 2012, Adler had been fired from his position after an anonymous letter sent to the board of directors accused him of a long-term relationship with his personal assistant.

At the time of his dismissal, after 20 years of leading the Y, Adler’s salary was $430,000 per year. His son-in-law, an ex-convict and a director of facilities at the Y, was also fired under suspicion of taking kickbacks from vendors. A number of other employees also were purged as well “for engaging in and failing to report suspected in appropriate behavior,” according to a letter to staff written by the board at the time.

The 92nd Street Y doubled its programs and brought in more than $80 million during Adler’s tenure as executive director. Police said there was no question of homicide in his death.

PLO Faction Spokesman Fails in Suicide Attempt

Monday, March 10th, 2014

The spokesman for a faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) tried to kill himself with a knife on a main street in Ramallah on Sunday, sources told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency.

The man reportedly cut his neck with a knife but passersby saved him. He was reported to be in serious condition in a Ramallah hospital.

No details were released on his identity, the name of the faction and the reasons for his attempted suicide, but Israel has not been blamed – yet.

 

Jihad Tourism

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Originally published at The Investigative Project on Terrorism.

For 20 years I studied and interviewed Islamist mujahedeen (jihad fighters) imprisoned in Israeli jails, examining their inner worlds and discovering the obsessive thoughts leading them to carry out terrorist attacks. They were addicted to fantasizing about an alternative reality, describing their compulsions in metaphors similar to those used by obsessive gamblers and drug addicts. They likened them to “worms” (duda in Arabic) burrowing into their brains and driving them to seek not another game of cards or a fix, but dead Israelis, Americans, Europeans, or anyone else they considered infidels. They did not try to resist their compulsions or consider that their actions might be wrong, because they felt completely controlled and manipulated by the concept of jihad, which dictated their behavior in every sphere of life.

The findings of my research indicated that the jihadists’ obsessions created what are known as “overvalued ideas,” that is, false or exaggerated beliefs sustained beyond reason or logic. One often repeated, was the vision of what awaited the shaheed (a martyr for the sake of Allah) in the Islamic paradise after death. The sensations of the release of tension and relaxation come only after the terrorist act, when the perpetrator looks at the people he murdered. Even suicide bombers whose explosive belts failed to detonate or who were arrested before they could carry out their missions described a transcendent sensation, a smile as they approached their targets.

They spoke of their inability to control their impulsive behavior, harmful to themselves and others.

They described the mujahed‘s [the jihad fighter’s] search for meaning in his life, how he turns his back on civilization and everything it represents. Many of them felt rejected by their immediate surroundings, either because of feelings of inferiority, marginality or guilt for things they had done (or not done) that brought dishonor to their families, or simply because they could not integrate into society as productive, contributing citizens. Those who had been exposed to Western society had strong feelings of inferiority, jealousy and rejection, especially because of differences in life styles, sex roles, confidence and other personal attributes. Some of them noted unbridgeable gaps between culture and science. One dispatcher of suicide bombers spoke of the great differences in capabilities, culture and economic condition between Christian and Muslim Arabs. For the mujahedeen, people are either good or bad, and that conceptual polarity directs their course.

Terrorists are also frustrated and alienated by those who rejected them, leading them to announce that as mujahedeen they “reject the rejecters.” A similar sensation has been noted in criminological studies as a criminal behavioral dynamic, and because the criminal is rejected by a normative society and cannot integrate into it, he declares war on it. Generally speaking, there is no psychopathology among Muslim terrorists. That is, none of them can be diagnosed as having a recognizable mental illness, even those who attempted to carry out suicide bombing attacks. What remains to be examined is whether or not there is a collective pathology, and if it is a question of a society, many of whose members find it difficult to suppress violence and control their urges and anger.

Jihad, a holy war against the infidel, is the personal duty of every Muslim, and if he does not wage it, he will die as a religious hypocrite, someone who only outwardly practices Islam but does not truly believe, and be damned for all eternity. The terrorists I interviewed told me that waging jihad is, for the mujahed, the way to partake of Allah’s mercy for themselves and the members of their families, and to go directly to paradise without the Islamic “tortures of the grave” and without undergoing a painful examination by angels before they are allowed to enter.

Exhilaration and ecstasy accompany jihad fighters in their search for arenas of excitement around the globe. They look for places where they can rape and kill with impunity and fight the infidel in the name of Allah, reaching the pinnacle of masculinity and honor reserved for the shaheed. Superficially, they may seem to be fighting for an ideal, but in reality, even in suicide bombing attacks, there is an element of desire for reward, both in this world and the next. The overwhelming desire of many Muslim adolescent boys, even those educated in the West or who are converts to Islam, especially those living in countries where there is no real governance, is excitement. To that end they stream into confrontation zones like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Chechnya, Libya, Iraq, Africa (such as the recent terrorist attack in Kenya), and Syria to experience the mission, the excitement and promise of being a shaheed as the ultimate in self-realization.

Frustration, alienation and a sense of inferiority accompany the increase in the pace of modern life, and the gap between East and West continually grows. The deprivation, restrictions and solutions imposed by Islamism lead people to seek a group to which they can belong and which will help them channel their negative feelings for the other, the different, the “infidel,” feelings which are common to all. In addition, the need for adventure and excitement has helped create a kind of “jihad tourism” especially but not exclusively relevant for young Muslim men, including those born in the West. Today in Syria there are jihadist fighters from 60 countries, among them converts to Islam, who star in videos and help the jihadists recruit supporters and spread propaganda. Jihad tourism is a subculture of fun and excitement, a festival of violence, similar to the Western criminal and gang subcultures. The jihadist lifestyle allows them to shake off the confines of the disintegrating patriarchal family. As opposed to ordinary criminals, whose social status is lowered when they are classified as felons, the Islamic terrorists feel they are performing good deeds for the sake of Allah, raising their status. They act on violent impulses, are unrestrained in their aggression and try to impress those around them by taking risks, hoping for admiration and praise. They butcher people of all ages, use both sarin gas and hatchets, behead, rape and mutilate their “enemies” with no regard for the fact that until recently the enemy was a neighbor, or at least shared their language and culture.

In their “extreme jihad journeys” they become accustomed to violence and atrocities, or as one of the men I interviewed said, “we find the smell of blood natural; even as young children we saw sheep being slaughtered in our yards.” In addition, they receive religious justification from various fatwas, religious edicts issued by sheikhs such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s religious authority. The jihad tourists live like wandering adventurers, generally finding it difficult to integrate into the mainstream of modern life. Instead they choose a path of murder and violence while embracing simplicity and even primitiveness. Having different aspirations, they do not have to compete with the West, seeking instead to destroy it while hoping to recreate the past in preference to joining the future. Before he was killed by the Americans, the terrorists I interviewed often praised Osama bin Laden and the simple life he lived in the caves of Tora Bora – an illusion, because bin Laden lived a life of relative comfort in Pakistan.

The waves of jihad tourism and terrorism targeting mainly Christians and Jews in the West have spun out of control and are not susceptible to the restraints of family, culture, religion or society. Violent jihad tourists are now overwhelming entire countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and Syria. The atrocities currently being committed in Syria would not embarrass any legendary serial killer, and there are thousands of such jihad tourists there, Sunni and Shi’ite, and even Western converts to Islam, who torture and kill innocent civilians.

It is the high season for jihad tourism, and while the mujahedeen continue their activities in Iraq, the trendy watering hole is currently Syria, where Bashar al-Assad’s friends and foes alike indiscriminately slaughter innocents of all ages and sexes. They surf on waves of blood, and the operatives of the Al-Nusra Front, a group affiliated with Al-Qaeda, slaughter both members of the Assad regime and of secular rebel organizations who fighting the same regime.

The goal of Western educational systems is to provide the tools necessary for functioning in society. In the Islamic countries, however, children are taught from infancy that the family and clan are the foundations of their lives and dictate their behavior. Islamic society binds its members in chains, and the individual has no choice but to submit to group pressure. Drowning in blood and violence, his only justification is seeking the death of a shaheed.

And recent conflicts show that the West provides plenty of jihad tourists despite our education and opportunities. For some, especially converts to Islam, waging jihad in foreign lands can be exciting and revolutionary and a chance to prove the depth of their new devotion.

With all of this in mind, I would like to propose calling murder for the sake of Allah “shahadamania,” which might make it easier for the West to understand and fight the syndrome. It refers to the obsession for istishhad [martyrdom for the sake of Allah] and includes feelings of transcendence and euphoria after killing the infidel, the capitulation to instinct, the inability to function in daily life, and jihad as a good and even altruistic deed in this world to qualify for a hedonistic afterlife.

The Only Commonality Is Mass Killing

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Originally published at The Investigative Project on Terrorism.

Aaron Alexis murdered 12 people and injured at least eight more at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard before he was shot and killed by law enforcement professionals. It is tempting to compare Alexis to a suicide bomber, especially now that we have heard rumors he opened a website under the name “Mohammed Salem.” However, clear thinking demands that temptation be resisted. Let me explain why.

As an Israeli criminologist who has studied suicide bombers for almost two decades—making extensive observations of and conducting numerous interviews with those who failed, as well as with those who dispatch the bombers, with family members of suicide bombers and decision makers and elites in their society— I can say with confidence that the differences between mass killers in the West such as Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris at Columbine, and yes, Aaron Alexis at the D.C. Navy Yard, and suicide bombers are categorical and insurmountable.

After the Sandy Hook tragedy, Eric Lankford, an American criminal justice professor, sought to show that America’s lone shooters have more in common with suicide bombers than is commonly believed. But his op-ed piece, “What Drives Suicidal Mass Killers” (New York Times, 12/19/12), is fundamentally flawed. America has certainly suffered enough with the recent Sandy Hook, Aurora and other tragedies, but clear thinking demands we realize that even if someone is characterized as a “shaheed” (a martyr for the sake of Allah, including suicide bombers), the differences between mass killers in the West and suicide bombers are categorical and insurmountable.

The overriding distinction between the two is their native cultures: the suicide bomber’s education and attack preparations are diametrically opposed to that of mass killers, as is their socialization. Suicide bombers are radical Islam’s celebrated heroes, its darlings, whose acts are viewed by the larger culture as exemplary and heroic; in contrast, the West’s mass killers are aberrant individuals isolated from their resolutely life-affirming culture.

Specifically and most importantly, Western culture in general, and American culture in particular, cherishes life. American children are raised in the belief in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; they are raised to embrace life and respect the lives of others. Clearly there are a disturbed few who kill others, but those are not the heroes of the American people: their murders and subsequent own deaths do not bring honor to their families or elevate them in their society’s collective memory.

But that is exactly what does happen in radical Islamist culture. In Gaza, for example, children collect cards of shaheeds, the same way American children collect baseball cards. It is absurd to think that anyone would propose National Park Stadium be renamed Aaron Alexis Stadium, and the absurdity illustrates and emphasizes the difference between American mass killers and Muslim suicide bombers whose names emblazon schools, sports teams, stadiums and public squares.

The Western mass killer’s acts are motivated by individual pathology rather than by collective ethos. The individual’s aberrant thoughts trigger the plan for a mass killing. The suicide bomber is not driven by psychological pain, although he is selected because others see him as weak or vulnerable. A culture that celebrates death and declares to the West that “we love death as you love life” is the petri dish in which suicide bombers develop.

Another distinction is that suicide bombers are not lone gunmen, instead, they are merely tools in a comprehensive, well-advertised terrorist production, manipulated to achieve political goals. To understand the significance of the difference, try to imagine Dylan Klebold or Eric Harris as inanimate objects whose owner chooses not only the location of the killings, but also the date, the weapons and even the victims. The suicide bombers’ locations are chosen by others to ensure that the greatest possible damage will be inflicted; the bombers usually have little or no advance notice. A suicide bomber, in contrast to Adam Lanza, will never embark on his mission by first killing his own mother—the most significant and beloved person in his life.

The mass killers choose their victims, the locations and the timing of their deeds, usually planning their acts meticulously over a long period of time. For the suicide bomber, his body is the murder weapon. His death is the only way to achieve his true goal: to enter paradise physically, where 72 virgins and the rivers of wine await him, and spiritually, by bringing honor to himself and his family. All this is possible only if his corporeal being merges with the bomb fragments to bring death to others, an ideal far removed from Western moral conceptions of life and afterlife.

A Western mass killer’s death is not a precondition for the mass murder; the deaths of those they have selected is what matters. The suicide bomber, however, is on a mission aimed at propelling himself toward a better future in the afterlife, where he will be able to enjoy everything he was unable to enjoy or achieve while living. America’s mass killers have no future: they will be vilified and not celebrated, and in contrast to radical Islamic culture, their families will suffer ignominy and isolation. We have already heard the anguish suffered by Aaron Alexis’s mother, who, in a public statement, expressed deep sorrow over the pain caused by her son. She also said she was glad her son was in a place now where he can no longer do any harm to anyone.

The West’s mass killers have no recruiters, handlers or dispatchers, all of whom are essential in a world where suicide bombers are the logical means to achieve the collective end. In the United States, anywhere and at any time, the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” does not elicit the answer, “A mass killer (or suicide bomber).” However, the Gazan child for example, will not answer “fireman,” “policeman,” or even “I’m going to work in an office like Daddy.” The virtually guaranteed answer is “shaheed,” and his mother will likely cheer.

Radical Islam’s suicide bomber is the manipulated tool of an aberrant death-glorifying culture, while the West’s mass killer is an aberrant member of a robust, life-affirming culture. There are similarities between the two, but it is a mistake to put them on the same level. To blur the distinction is to insult America.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-only-commonality-is-mass-killing/2013/09/25/

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