Gill Rosenberg, a 31-year-old Israeli-Canadian woman, made headlines last month when she travelled to Iraq and then on to Syria in early November, purportedly to join Kurdish forces in their fight against the Islamic State (IS).
The former member of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) was reported Sunday to have been captured by IS in Syria. The Jerusalem Post, an Israeli newspaper, reported Islamist websites were claiming IS militants had kidnapped Rosenberg. Canada’s CTV News broke the story in Canada and within minutes the USA mainstream media had reported the abduction claims.
Those reports were possibly put to rest Monday afternoon after a post on her Facebook page told friends she was safe. The post was made around 3:30 p.m. ET Monday afternoon.
“Guys, I’m totally safe and secure. I don’t have Internet access or any communication devices with me for my safety and security. I can’t reply regularly and only happened to have a chance to log in and see these buklshit (sic) news stories. Ignore the reports I’ve been captured.”
It is possible the updates could have been made from her mobile phone by someone claiming to be her (captors), but friends are reportedly optimistic and hoping she will send some verifiable proof she is OK soon.
Rosenberg indicated on her Facebook account that her birth date is Nov. 12, 1983. The 31-year-old Canadian-Israeli who is originally from White Rock, B.C., attended King David High School in Vancouver. She studied aviation at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, according to her Facebook page, before going on to work as a civil aviation pilot and emigrating to Israel.
Rosenberg indicated she was a member of the IDF, the search-and-rescue unit of the Israeli army, from 2006 to 2008 and posted several photos of herself in uniform.
In 2009, Rosenberg reportedly was arrested and extradited to the U.S for her role in a lottery telemarketing scheme based in Israel in which 11 members conspired and stole over $8 million from elderly victims in the United States between 2007 and July 2009. FBI files labeled the group con artists who used every trick in the book to swindle elderly victims in the United States out of their hard-earned savings.”
The Jerusalem Post reported Rosenberg helped blow the scheme’s cover, when she contacted an undercover police officer and told the agent she had won $500,000, but had to transfer $4,200 “in fees to Israel.”
Rosenberg consented to extradition and plead guilty to her involvement in the scam. She served four years in a U.S. prison under a plea bargain, according to court documents. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons lists a Gillian Chealsea (sic) Rosenberg as having been released from prison on Nov. 27, 2013.
Israel’s NRG news site reported at the time that Rosenberg turned to crime after running short on money, that she was estranged from her parents and had tried in vain to join the Mossad spy service.
There was little to no activity on her Facebook account between 2009 through 2013. Her Facebook account came back to life in January 2014. Through the late winter and spring, Rosenberg referred to a “new beginning” and often posted inspirational quotes from the likes of Gandhi and Deepak Chopra.
FBI files indicated she was to leave the USA as part of her plea deal in New York.
On July 31, 2014 Rosenberg excitedly announced the time she was spending in New York “just became precious,” because she would be “going home to TLV (Tel Aviv) on Wednesday!!!”
As she prepared to return to Tel Aviv, she started to post political material — touching on the Israeli Defence Forces’ fight with Hamas and the IDF’s increased use of female reservists.
She discussed the downing of Malaysia Airlines MH17 over Ukraine, remarking she would be flying with the Israeli airline El Al because “at least they are equipped with [anti-missile] flares.”
Upon returning to Israel via Moscow on Aug. 7, she posted photos from places such as Jerusalem and the Judean desert, and described — sometimes in coarse language — coming under the rocket attacks launched by militants in Gaza.
She spent most of August through October touring historical sites and describing the rocket attacks that struck Tel Aviv. (Facebook) Her posts became less frequent into the fall.
On November 2, 2014 Rosenberg posted five photos from Amman, Jordan, and gave her location as Queen Alia International Airport. About a half hour after posting the photos, she posted a quote: “You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place, like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and place because you’ll never be this way ever again.”
Late that night, she posts a photo of Erbil International Airport in Iraq with the caption: “Terre ferme in Erbil, Iraq.”
November 5, 2014 Rosenberg posted a photo that appears to be taken from the front passenger seat of a vehicle, with a stretch of highway ahead. The caption says it is from “the drive to Sulaymaniya (sic). Kinda looks like anywhere in middle America.”
Sulaymaniyah is in southern Kurdistan, Iraq.
A photo from later that morning shows a bag of ketchup chips.
“I f****** love Kurdistan. Canada – you are officially no longer relevant in my life. I was just using you for your ketchup chips.”
November 9, 2014 Rosenberg checked in on Facebook in Nusaybin, Turkey.
Later that day, she posted photos of herself from South Kurdistan and Rojava (the Kurdish region of Syria).
She later posted a status update with a quote used by soldiers in the Israeli Defence Forces, partly in Hebrew and partly in English: “After me.”
“Let’s show ISIS what that means,” she says.
Rosenberg’s account is quiet for several days, while about 60 friends wish her a happy birthday on Nov. 12.
November 19, 2014 Rosenberg thanked everyone for their good wishes, and said she would not have Internet access anytime soon.
“Someone will manage the page for me,” she writes. “Remember, life is good.”
November 29, 2014 Rosenberg posted a music video by Somalian-Canadian artist K’Naan, and then posted a “selection of songs I keep on repeat.”
She said it will be her “last post for a while – enjoy!!”
She then says that her Facebook account will be managed “by someone else” until she once again has Internet access, which she says could be on or around the week of Dec. 8.
November 30, 2014 Israel’s Haaretz reported that during an interview with Israel Radio, a woman identified as Rosenberg by Reuters said she joined YPG, the Kurds’ dominant fighting force in northern Syria, after contacting them on the internet.
“They [the Kurds] are our brothers. They are good people. They love life, a lot like us, really,” Rosenberg allegedly said, in Hebrew.
Rosenberg is an Orthodox Jew and fond of musicians including K’naan, Macklemore and Tiesto, according to her postings online. Her taste in movies ranges from military-action films like Top Gun to comedies including Pretty Woman.
A source in the Kurdistan region with knowledge of the issue told Reuters that Rosenberg was the first foreign woman to join YPG and that she had indeed crossed into Syria.
She is one of about 10 Westerners recruited by YPG, the source said.
With files from Reuters, Associated Press, CCTV, The Jerusalem Post, Global News, Vice News, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Walla News, Haaretz, and Facebook
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We will continue to follow the story of Gill Rosenberg: Person of Interest – Fighting the Islamic State?
Roughly 30% of Americans get their news from Facebook according to a recent study from the Pew Research Center. The World Economic Forum said in a 2013 report that “massive digital misinformation” is one of the main risks for modern society — it can influence war, voting and a plethora of other things.
Fake news is “the reason you might have thought Islamic State fighters infected with Ebola were crossing the US border. (They weren’t.) Or that Facebook is going to start charging users a $2.99 monthly fee. (It isn’t.)” said Keegan Hamilton in a recent article on Vice News.
“Those are just a few of the recent stories by Allen Montgomery and Paul Horner, publisher and prankster-in-chief, respectively, of the fake news website National Report,” said Hamilton.
“They have carved out a niche for themselves with a form of satire that borders on disinformation. Like a darker, angrier version of the Onion, National Report skewers mass media coverage of trending stories by dreaming up patently ridiculous news and passing it off as real,” Hamilton continued. “It pisses people off.”
“We’ve been getting bunches and bunches of hate mail on the fear-bola,” Montgomery told Hamilton from his office in California, using a word he coined for coverage of the Ebola outbreak. “Some of these stories on Ebola we kind of bait the crazies out. You write something that will get a response from racists or bigots, these guys that are fearing everything — you write something to pull ’em out of the woodwork and sometimes they come running.”
Does that leave you feeling like we are being played as suckers? It does me. And if that isn’t bad enough sometimes even the most conservative of the main stream media get pulled in. Here is a clip from Fox & Friends criticizing President Obama for offering to personally pay for a “museum of Muslim culture” to remain open during the government shutdown, a claim originated by Horner that was fake news/bull shit.
Hamilton says the hoaxes more frequently target the right wing territory dominated by Glenn Beck and Alex Jones. The site’s design — lifted from the Huffington Post — is clean and professional, with a masthead flanked by pictures of Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin that frame the slogan “America’s #1 Independent News Source.”
In reality National Report is probably America’s #1 fake news source. There is no connection to Ted Cruz or Sarah Palin. Everything about National Report is blatant bull shit.
There are dozens of sites that are generally owned by pranksters that love to think things up to piss people off. They know that pissed off people share their feelings and when one of their stories goes viral and gets millions of shares they feel pride in knowing they have totally duped that 30% of Americans that get their news from Facebook.
So next time you read on Facebook that Dennis Rodman is flying to Iraq to meet with the Islamic State to try and broker a peace deal don’t believe it. It came from National Report. National Report wrote a story that Obama was going to auction off all of the marijuana that had been confiscated in the USA since his election and it went insanely viral on Facebook. A National Report story that stirred up a frenzy recently proclaimed that the Dearborne, Michigan City Commission had passed a proclamation making Sharia Law the new law in Dearborne.
Even look at the small text on the screenshot of the National Report masthead (above and again below) taken November 24, 2014. It says “HEADLINE: Mom Calls 911 on Masturbating Teenage Son. Boy Arrested. Charged with New ‘Self Rape’ State Law.”
Facebook is not a news source. Facebook is media (social, antisocial or both). Facebook is an echo chamber of National Report and every other source of fake news in the world.
- Roughly 30% of Americans get their news from Facebook.
- Massive digital misinformation is one of the main risks for modern society.
- Facebook is the echo chamber of all of the fake news/bull shit in the world.
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I’ll see you back on FB. I must see what conversations I am missing out on. MDW
One of the great honors of my life was presenting online The Pampa Noon Lions Club program on July 24, 2014.
I was a member of this great institution in the nineties, but left Pampa and had not seen many of the remaining members in over 17 years. My program was entitled “My Marvelous Destiny.
I fly that plane called the Angel Flight. Got a hero riding with us tonight . . .
It don’t matter where we touch down. On the Angel Flight it’s sacred ground.
Radney Foster is an American singer-songwriter and music producer from Del Rio, Texas. Foster grew up in two worlds – herding cattle on horseback at his grandfather’s East Texas ranch in the summers and hunkering over a transistor radio in his West Texas hometown listening to border radio.
“My house in Del Rio was a mile from Mexico, so I heard everything growing up – from country to conjunto.” says Foster. “Telling stories is embedded and ingrained in my DNA.”
“My grandfather was a cowboy raconteur and a storyteller. He didn’t sing songs, but he sure told stories around the campfire. There’s a long, long history of yarn spinning in Texas, and I like to think I come from that tradition.” Foster continues.
Another Texas musician, Darden Smith from Austin and Lt. Col. Jim Nugent with the Texas National Guard Family Support Foundation had met up at Amy’s Ice Cream, an Austin Institution. Amy’s has several locations, and one just happened to be around the corner from another Austin landmark, Waterloo Records, where music fan Nugent had just bought Smith’s latest CD.
“Darden begins a relationship (with Nugent) and begins to start thinking about having talks with the Texas National Guard about songwriting. He’s thinking at this point that it’s to help guys cope with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) issues and re-entry issues,” Foster relates.
Smith learned about “Red River 44,” a mission in Iraq in which seven Texas National Guardsmen died when their Chinook helicopter crashed outside Tallil, Iraq. “In the midst of these conversations, the Guard told him about . . . this thing they call ‘Angel Flights.'”
“He tells me the story and says, ‘Are you interested?’ and I said, ‘Oh, my God, are you kidding? Absolutely!’ So we write this song after dinner one night. Immediately I knew I had to record that song.”
The song they wrote together,”Angel Flight”, is named after the designation for the Texas Air National Guard C-130 that transports the bodies of Texas Guardsmen slain in combat.
Smith sent a heavily orchestrated version to Foster, who opted to remove almost all the other instruments. The end result is a bare-bones, gut-wrenching, emotional song with poignant but not syrupy lyrics, the kind of song at which Foster excels.
“That was my hope,” he admitted. “I wanted you to feel that sense of the last verse: ‘The cockpit’s quiet and the stars are bright. / Feels kind of like church in here tonight.’ And I wanted that feeling through the whole song.”
“I had the wonderful and yet hard opportunity to sing ‘Angel Flight’ at the service for the dedication of the memorial for the Red River 44,” Foster recalls. “It’s a lightning rod moment for me. I watched the general bend down to children my own children’s ages and hand them a folded flag for their father’s memory. I still don’t know how I got through that.”
When carrying a fallen hero the C-130 Angel Flight is always number one for takeoff and landing.
“Angel Flight” is one of the most touching stories I have ever had the opportunity to share. I hope you enjoy knowing the story behind it.
Martin Hurkens is a baker by trade. In 2009 he lost his job in Holland. Martin had been a baker for 35 years and had no trade outside of tending an oven and creating food delights in a commercial kitchen.
Martin always dreamed of being an opera singer. When he was a 7-year-old boy he auditioned for the youth choir in his native village Schinveld. The director was very fond of his vocal talent and took him under his wing as a soloist. Martin began singing in churches and became very popular.
At 13, Martin received a scholarship to music school in Brunssum, where he studied singing and piano lessons. Funding problems forced him to leave the music school. His dream of becoming a professional singer ended abruptly.
After processing this disappointment Martin made his career with Erkens Bakeries in Brunssum. Martin continued to sing because he was happy. He sang because it made his day at the bakery a pleasure. He sang because it made him feel good. He sang and baked for 35 years. Then he lost his job.
In order to provide for his family Martin turned to the streets to share his talent with the small crowds that would pass by. He would lay his hat on the cobblestone street and resonate the joy he felt within.
Later that same year he entered a talent competition called “Holland Has Talent”. Could an aged amateur opera singer overcome the advantages youth had in both energy and a sizable majority of the television demographic that voted on the competition?
The competition was tough, but Martin built a following and he made it to the finals where he made the most of his moment in time. He won “Holland Has Talent” in 2010. He began a recording career and has given countless beautiful performances in the Netherlands, Turkey and even New York City. He also began headlining with the Limburg Symphony Orchestra.
Success has never gone to Martin’s head. He remembers the pain of having lost his scholarship and his job. He humbly accepts success, but has never lost his benchmark. Today Martin can still on occasion be seen laying his hat down on the cobblestone streets of Brunssum.
Strangers and tourists do not recognize him and sometimes give him looks of scorn when he first lays down his hat (see above video). When his tenor voice begins to sing in perfect pitch to the small crowd a transformation takes place.
Those watching begin to smile as their hearts are touched by his rendition. Martin is no longer simply a street singer. Martin is an angelic evangelist of the hope we have in life and the love of God.
When he holds the last note for what seems like eternity his hat holds the worth of the value the crowd sends his way. He doesn’t need the money, but he wraps himself in the spirit in which it is given.
Martin’s story is inspiring because he made the most of his moment. Martin reminds us we are raised up so we can stand on mountains. He also reminds us to remember the cobblestone streets from which we came.
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