Business is business: a nation of traders?

1-800-kidnap. Its a new app. The kidnap app: does all the calculations, delivery charges, storage charges, maintenance charges. Any depreciation and product damage, insurance for product liability and any additional warranties on future performance that may fall short of expectations. Also included are supplemental charges for bed and board. VAT and any excise duties, tariffs and brokerage fees extra. Yes it stinks. Maybe someone should send Norman Finkelstein to straighten things out…

These kidnappings :A new twist on an old source of revenue that reinforces all the old Orientalist archetypes of slave trading and harem brothels, making Doug Saunders new book on Muslim culture look like fairy tales of the Omar Kayam. The West, with Saudi Arabia, is ostensibly working to overthrow the Syrian Regime, but by working with the Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight this could be a rather long, and for some, very profitable insurrection. The old Arab tropes were thought to have extended their utility some time ago, but these kidnappings and blood curdling stories of instant savagery seem to add ballast to the once moribund theories of Arab backwardness; their own version of exceptionalism and the kind of moral relativeness that colonialism seems to induce. The book was seemingly out of circulation but there has been a rush re-print of the classic tome,  “Me and my brother against my cousin, and me and my cousin against the stranger”…two guys, forty bucks, a pistol and knife and you have a militia….

—The Nazareth Magistrate’s Court has sentenced Sheikh Nazem Abu Salim Scapa to three years in prison and 18 months probation for incitement to violence and terror and supporting terror organizations.
The court said Scapa’s Friday sermons at the Shihab al-Din mosque in the city inspired two terror cells to attack Jews and Christians. One of the gangs has also been charged with murdering cab driver Efim Weinstein in 2009. —Read More:,7340,L-4279965,00.html

(see link at end)…Kidnappings in Syria are becoming common for rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad and common thugs looking for a quick dollar, The Telegraph reported.

According to the newspaper’s sources, the Free Syrian Army is trying to negotiate the release of kidnapping victims, but also stands accused of the crime itself.

The FSA is going as far as publishing a telephone number that relatives can call to ask for help.

“When they receive a call from relatives of the victim, they track down the kidnappers. Then they either issue threats, or they go in for the rescue using force,” one witness told The Telegraph….

—A 30-foot high bronze sculpture depicting a waving American flag transforming into a flame will be the first memorial outside New York that lists the names of the 2,974 people killed that day, as well as their 92 countries of origin.
The sculpture, located in the capital’s Arazim Valley, in the Ramot neighborhood, rests on a gray granite base, part of which was taken from the original Twin Towers and donated by the New York municipality. —After JNF’s Israel staff had found a location and commissioned an artist – Israeli sculptor Eliezer Weishoff -they had to clear a number of environmental hurdles. They eventually ended up moving the memorial 200 yards to accommodate gazelle migration pathways.
New York resident Ed Blank, whose wife died a few days before the attacks, donated the sculpture. —Read More:http://www.haaretz.


However, others accuse the FSA of abductions to fund the uprising against Assad.

Many of the kidnappings are happening in Syria’s second city and its financial capital, Aleppo.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights confirmed kidnappings are becoming more common.

“The FSA know who the rich families are in Aleppo,” a Catholic clergyman told The Telegraph. “They watch their homes and movements.”

The idea of making money from ransoms to fund the conflict isn’t entirely new. GlobalPost’s Tracey Shelton reported in June that rebel forces and the government have exchanged prisoners for weapons since the beginning of the revolution. …Video footage posted to YouTube purported to show the bodies of Mohammad and Ahmad Al Zakh, who had been kidnapped, AFP said.

The violent acts aren’t restricted to Syrians, however.

Families of 10 Lebanese hostages still inside Syria asked former Prime Minister Saad Hariri to negotiate the victims’ safety, The Daily Star in Lebanon reported.

In May, Syrian rebels abducted Lebanese Shi’ite pilgrims crossing into Syria from Turkey….

Red Hot Chili Peppers in Jerusalem—Last month, Police and Shin Bet forces uncovered weapons in a Jerusalem store and arrested five local Israeli citizens and three illegal aliens. A refrigerator was used to conceal weapons and pipe bombs.

Some of the items were stolen and had originated from the West Bank. A vault in the store was found to contain NIS 250,000 as well as Hamas flags and photos of terrorists.
Prime suspects brothers Nazam and Bilal Masswadle denied the charges claiming the weapons were not intended for terrorist activity but for business purposes. —Read More:,7340,L-4280044,00.html

They were returning home from a pilgrimage to Iran, Reuters reported.

The FSA released some hostages, but 10 remain inside Syria.Read More:


(see link at end)…On the floor inside sat Ahmed Hasseba. A chain stretched from his left leg to the ceiling of the small concrete cell. He sat on a thin mattress and blanket. A jug of water and a plate of untouched french fries lay at his feet. His head hung low, his eyes teary and desperate. Fear hung thick in the room.

While sympathetic Arab states like Saudi Arabia continue to help fund the Free Syrian Army’s purchase of heavy weapons, prisoners like Hasseba are also doing their part. Almost all the prisoners the rebels capture are quickly traded back to the government or families for cash, which is used to buy small arms….

—A Japanese group of survivors of the Atomic bomb on Hiroshima hold signs reading “Nuclear Abolition” in Japanese during a protest at the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray in Jerusalem’s old city, on Sept. 10. (AP Photo)—In light of the rise in nationalistically-motivated hate crimes and price tag incidents initiated by Jews, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said Monday that a special police unit will soon be established to combat the phenomenon.
“We must institute a zero tolerance policy against terror, the desecration of religious institutions, attacks on symbols of governance and attacks commonly known as ‘price tag,’” Aharonovitch said. —Read More:,7340,L-4279447,00.html

As such, the prisoners have proven an important resource, rebels say. For the government, which is battling defections on a daily basis, bringing sympathetic soldiers, or paid militiamen, back into the fold appears to be a priority. Read More:


…(see link at end)…Residents said that all sides in the civil war are using the tactic. Mohammed, a student at Aleppo University, said that the same FSA group that is cracking down on abductions made by gangs of opportunists are also running their own kidnapping operations to raise “funds for the revolution”.

This unit, known as the Abu Bakr al-Siddiq brigade, kidnapped the “son of my uncle’s business partner,” said Mohammed. “The group demanded 5 million Syrian pounds (£47,000) for his release.”…

…A former Catholic clergyman said that he fled Aleppo when fighting reached his home and a number of acquaintances were kidnapped.

“The FSA know who the rich families are in Aleppo. They watch their homes and movements,” he said. “A man I know, whose father is very rich, was on the pavement when a rebel group forced him into a car and drove away. Two weeks later they called the father and demanded a huge sum of money – I think it was 25 million Syrian pounds [£233,700]. They said on the phone that they didn’t want the money for themselves, but for the revolution.”

The money was left in the appointed place and the rebels collected it with their faces covered. “Ten minutes later, he received a call telling him were his son was,” said the former clergyman.

Amid the unfolding anarchy, Syrian rebels have been known to kidnap other rebels by accident, according to Mohammed and other residents of Aleppo. …Read More:

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