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Former teacher accused of kidnapping ‘troubled’ teenager captured at a remote California cabin

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/04/20/a-former-teacher-accused-of-kidnapping-a-troubled-teenager-has-been-arrested-in-california/?utm_term=.02ba413b9030

 

During the nearly six weeks that Tad Cummins and 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas were missing, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation received more than 1,500 tips.

Late Wednesday night, the tip they were desperately hoping for finally arrived.

It came from a caller who told investigators that the 50-year-old Cummins and the teenager he is accused of abducting might be living in a remote cabin near Cecilville, Calif., a onetime mining town about 100 miles from the Oregon border.

Speaking to reporters at a news conference Thursday afternoon, TBI spokesman Josh DeVine said investigators quickly coordinated with the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office, which was able to locate a silver Nissan Rogue belonging to Cummins and keep the vehicle under surveillance for several hours.

“The area where the pair was reported to be is a very remote, isolated area with no or limited cellphone services,” DeVine said. “As daylight broke this morning, they were able to take Tad Cummins into custody and safely recover Elizabeth without incident.”

Authorities said Elizabeth was physically unharmed, but they declined to comment on her emotional well-being or where the pair has been since they vanished last month.

TBI Director Mark Gwyn said Elizabeth will be flown back to Tennessee in a TBI aircraft to be reunited with her family. At the same time, he noted, investigators from TBI, the FBI and the Maury County Sheriff’s Office are on their way to Northern California to continue their investigation.

NEW: Here’s the mug shot of Tad Cummins from California. He’s now facing state and federal charges.

Gwyn said Cummins — who is being held by the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department without bond — faces charges that “could keep him behind bars for many years.”

“What happened in California this morning, however, proves it only takes one person to lead to a successful end,” he added. “We are extremely thankful the hard work of all partners in this search has paid off. We’re also grateful for the public’s support and vigilance throughout this search effort.”

Once Cummins is extradited to Tennessee, he will be charged with sexual contact with a minor and aggravated kidnapping, authorities said.

Acting U.S. attorney Jack Smith said his office had also filed a federal charge of transportation of a minor across state lines for criminal sexual intercourse — a charge that carries a minimum 10 year sentence.

Anthony Thomas, Elizabeth’s father, told NBC affiliate WSMV-TV that he wasn’t surprised that they were in the northwest and said he’d heard the pair were in a commune.

“I’m very happy,” he said. “She’s probably going to be hungry.”

“We’re going to have to figure out what kind of state of mind she’s in, of course, and probably get her some help,” he said. “Maybe a long road, but at least we’ve got her back.”

Maury County Public Schools also issued statement Thursday, calling Elizabeth’s return “wonderful news for our community.”

“Thanks go to all who have kept the message of finding Elizabeth Thomas and working on her safe return as top-of-mind throughout the nation,” it said.

The teen and Cummins — a 50-year-old from Middle Tennessee — had been missing since March 13, when an Amber Alert was issued. Cummins was Elizabeth’s high school teacher at Culleoka Unit School.

“Investigative efforts have revealed a troubling pattern of behavior by Tad Cummins, suggesting the 50-year-old may have been abusing his role as a teacher to groom this vulnerable young girl for some time in an effort to lure and potentially sexually exploit her,” the agency said in a statewide Amber Alert.

“Having now been on the run for more than five days, Cummins may have taken her, frankly, anywhere,” the agency said last month.

On March 13, video surveillance at a Columbia gas station showed Cummins filling up his silver Nissan Rogue. A short time later, investigators say, he drove to a Shoney’s restaurant, where Elizabeth had been dropped off by a friend and was waiting. Investigators said they think he manipulated her into leaving with him, but he wasn’t authorized to take a minor, and she wasn’t old enough to consent. That afternoon, investigators say, they determined Elizabeth was 80 miles away in Decatur, Ala.

 

Then, nothing. After their disappearance, investigators said they had received hundreds of tips from 24 states, but not enough information to tighten the dragnet despite a multi-state manhunt and Cummins’s addition to Tennessee’s most-wanted list.

In a news release, the TBI said Cummins might be keeping Elizabeth out of sight of authorities, possibly sleeping in his car or in a rural community.

Last month, the agency released new images of Cummins in an effort to keep the case in the spotlight. The pictures were from a week before Cummins and Elizabeth disappeared, and they showed him wearing a camouflage cap and pushing a shopping cart at a store.

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Trump praises arrest of ‘troubled’ White House intruder

POTOMAC FALLS, Va. (AP) — US President Donald Trump said Saturday that the US Secret Service did a “phenomenal job” apprehending a “troubled person” who got onto the White House grounds after climbing a fence on the east side of the property while Trump was inside the executive mansion.

It was the first known security breach at the White House since Trump took office nearly two months ago.

The Secret Service said in a statement that the individual, whom it did not identify, was arrested on the south grounds without further incident after climbing an outer perimeter fence near the Treasury Department and East Executive Avenue at about 11:38 p.m. Friday.

No hazardous materials were found during a search of a backpack the individual carried over the fence, the agency said.

“Secret Service did a fantastic job last night,” Trump said Saturday from his golf club in Northern Virginia. Trump described the intruder as a “troubled person” and “very sad.” He was briefed on the matter Friday night.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly also was briefed on the incident, the Secret Service said. Kelly was among several Cabinet secretaries and senior White House staff members who attended a working lunch with the president at the Trump National Golf Club.

President Donald Trump, center, meets Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, right, and Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, left, along with other members of his cabinet and the White House staff, Saturday, March 11, 2017, at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The Secret Service also said a search of the north and south White House grounds found “nothing of concern to security operations.”

The agency didn’t provide an update Saturday on the individual’s status. Standard practice is to turn intruders over to the local police department

In troubled post-Mandela South Africa, a fight or flight dilemma for the 70,000 Jews

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — While Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has been trumpeting his recent visit to sub-Saharan African countries, declaring that Israel is “coming back to Africa” after decades of bumpy relationships, some South African Jews are asking whether they should be heading in the opposite direction.

Citizens are disillusioned with the downward slide under President Jacob Zuma and the ruling African National Congress (ANC) — Nelson Mandela’s former much-admired liberation movement — since the country’s idealistic heyday two decades ago.

And while many Jewish stalwarts are still committed to building the nation, others have serious doubts about its future.

The economy of this country of 55 million — a tiny 0.13 percent of whom are Jewish — is stagnant, and unemployment is at 26 percent. Half the young people are jobless. Government corruption is pervasive. Zuma himself has close to 800 corruption charges against him. Major state-owned entities such as South African Airways are in chronic crisis, which analysts attribute, at least in part, to their being headed by Zuma’s political friends regardless of their competency. A downgrade to junk investment status from Standard & Poor’s, Fitch and Moody’s is seen as a possibility unless the outlook improves.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with African leaders in Uganda on July 4, 2016 (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Although the black middle class has grown to some 5 million — larger than the white middle class — overall black poverty is worse today than under apartheid, with a gigantic gap between haves and have-nots. The World Bank ranks South Africa among the world’s most unequal societies.

There is widespread anger towards the ANC, particularly among the urban middle class who are appalled at what they see as Zuma’s flouting of the Constitution. For example, 246 million rand of public funds went to upgrading the president’s private homestead, for which he was rebuked by the public protector and Constitutional Court.

South African president and African National Congress (ANC)'s president Jacob Zuma delivers a speech during the Party official launch of the Municipal Elections manifesto in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, April 16, 2016. (AFP/Michael Sheehan)

Judge Dennis Davis, a Cape High Court judge and prominent member of the Jewish community, says corruption is nothing new in South Africa, including during apartheid, when the Nationalist government was “endemically corrupt, but it was hidden.” Now, with the country’s free press, it is exposed, he notes. Whether the corruption culture can be eliminated, he says, “depends on how competitive our national politics becomes. A more competitive national politics will likely… reduce corruption.”

Dennis Davis (Courtesy)

Next week, nationwide elections take place for local municipalities, which analysts see as a referendum on ANC rule.

Surveys by polling company Ipsos show that for the first time since gaining power with an overwhelming majority in 1994, the ANC might lose three crucial metro areas — Johannesburg, Tshwane (Pretoria) and Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) — to a multi-party coalition led by the Democratic Alliance (DA), which is widely supported by Jews. The DA won Cape Town in 2006.

An anti-corruption march in Johannesburg, Dec 16, 2015 (Courtesy)

Growing violence countrywide between factions within the ANC and between different parties, particularly in communities suffering from the government’s failure to deliver basic services like clean water, tarred roads, schools and clinics, is extremely worrying.

Twelve ANC-nominated councilors have been killed in the past two months in Kwazulu-Natal province; in Tshwane during the month of June protesters torched buses and other public vehicles, looted shops and killed 5 people; the month of May saw 20 school buildings torched in Vuwani, Limpopo Province.

Political violence has reached university campuses, where buildings, artworks and historic statues have been vandalized and people threatened.

‘What future is there?’

The SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) held a pre-election panel in Johannesburg last month for a mainly Jewish audience with representatives of the ANC, DA, and other parties. The most telling moment was a question from the floor: “I am a white South African with young children. There is a large exodus of white, skilled South Africans from this country. What future is there for my children here in terms of education and jobs?”

Panel chairman, journalist Mandy Wiener elaborated: “If you go to a Shabbat table, everyone is talking about ‘Plan B’… Walking around with the question whether to leave or stay.”

Julius Malema of the Economic Freedom Fighters (Wikimedia commons)

Most of the panel avoided active engagement with the question.

Populist parties like the Economic Freedom Fighters (which failed to attend the panel, hinting at disdain for its audience), led by the charismatic Julius Malema, insist “white monopoly capital” is central to the country’s problems. The party wants to nationalize banks, farmland and other means of production. Mandela has been called a “sell-out” for negotiating with the apartheid regime rather than pushing for its total defeat, even at risk of civil war.

Most Jews live in relative affluence, comparable to during apartheid. But for many young Jews — and whites generally — affirmative action policies, aimed at redressing apartheid’s sins against blacks, deny them jobs. That, combined with concern about the future, makes them emigrate.

Davis has strong views on this topic.

“The future of Jews in this country depends on whether the non-racial project succeeds. Rather than complain, we must acknowledge that corrective action is an essential part of redressing historical injustices and helping the non-racial project succeed,” he says.

‘Rather than complain we must acknowledge that corrective action is essential’

In contrast to the negativity, however, stands a positive view — that declining ANC dominance and strengthening opposition parties indicate the emergence of genuine multiparty democracy. The upsurge in open expressions of anger on social media, such as provocative Facebook posts saying “All whites are racists,” are part of a necessary national debate about race and history, supporters of this view say.

Zev Krengel at pro-Israel rally, Johannesburg August 2014 (Ilan Ossendryver)

Zev Krengel, a past president of the SAJBD who calls himself a “passionate South African,” told a gathering organized by Chabad South Africa this past February that the country faces an economy in distress, a nation in uproar and bitter controversy over social media racism.

But, he said, it has overcome graver challenges, such as in the 1990s, when “political violence threatened to engulf it, yet it succeeded in negotiating a peaceful, democratic solution.”

‘Playing our part’

The challenge is summed up by 40-year old Professor of Fundamental Rights and Constitutional Law at the University of Johannesburg, David Bilchitz, who also chairs Limmud International. He came to adulthood in Johannesburg during Mandela’s era, and says he was inspired by the vision of “a future based upon the values of dignity, equality and freedom for all.”

South Africa’s Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein speaking at Nelson Mandela's memorial ceremony on December 10, 2013. (screen capture: Sky News, YouTube)

After studying at Cambridge University in the UK, he returned to South Africa, feeling a “moral obligation to contribute towards the re-generation of South African society… I wanted to play my part.”

Prof David Bilchitz (Courtesy)

Staying in South Africa remains for Bilchitz a “deeply Jewish act of faith to hold onto the possibility of a better future amidst a deeply troubling present.”

Numerous Jews were politically active during apartheid against the regime. But today Jews are virtually absent from formal politics. Davis believes this is partly because the community is older and smaller. It is also part of a broader withdrawal of the minority white population from national politics.

However, Davis says, “Jews have by no means withdrawn from political activism in NGOs — for example the (AIDS lobby group) TAC, Equal Education and GroundUp.”

Many of these young Jews come from Jewish day schools and youth movements which draw on Jewish teachings about justice.

An attempt at renewal

People still clinging to Mandela’s “rainbow nation” vision are getting more involved in tackling the problems.

Businesswoman Reeva Forman, for example, plans on transforming a historic 80-year-old synagogue, Temple Israel in Hillbrow near Johannesburg’s inner city, into a center of Jewish activism to work with local black immigrant communities in combating a host of social ills.

Temple Israel in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, July 2016 Courtesy)

She launched the project at a gathering earlier this month, with the city’s mayor, Parks Tau, public protector Thuli Madonsela and Israeli ambassador Arthur Lenk as guests.

Tau said its location in cosmopolitan Hillbrow, the “reception area” to Johannesburg, where people begin building new lives in the city and country, is “ideal.”

He promised it would feature in the inner city renewal program.

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky meets with South African Pastor Linda Gobodo and Nigerian Pastor Olusegun Olanipekun and other members of a South African Christian delegation at his office in Jerusalem, July 27, 2016. Reeva Forman is third from right. (Avi Mayer for The Jewish Agency for Israel)

Forman is also the liaison between “Africa stands with Israel,” a coalition of African Christian groups who support Israel, and the Jewish Agency for Israel. She represents SA Friends of Israel, a group affiliated to the SA Zionist Federation. They met on Wednesday with Jewish Agency chief Natan Sharansky in Jerusalem.

Former Chief Rabbi Cyril Harris, Johannesburg 2006 (Courtesy)

Jewish activism in post-apartheid South Africa is exemplified by the organization Afrika Tikkun, co-founded two decades ago by former chief rabbi Cyril Harris, a friend of Mandela who was passionate about the “new South Africa.”

It works in poverty-stricken black communities, drawing on Jewish resources. Its “cradle to career” projects assist children from infancy into adulthood and employment.

Staying versus leaving, or optimism versus pessimism, is an old Jewish dilemma.

During apartheid, fearing a racial bloodbath, many emigrated along with other whites, particularly after the Soweto riots in 1976.

In the community’s heyday in the 1960-70s it numbered 135,000. Today it is half that, at some 70,000, most in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Jews have traditionally left countries because of anti-Semitism — the latest example being France, where large numbers are emigrating. In South Africa, however, emigration is low compared to other Diaspora communities.

Here, Jewish optimism has ebbed and flowed: A 2005 survey by the Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies at Cape Town University found 79 percent of Jews were “very likely to continue living in South Africa” in the next five years, compared to only 44 percent in 1998. If the talk at Shabbat tables mentioned by Mandy Wiener is anything to go by, it is likely Jews are more pessimistic now than in 2005.

Mandela epitomized an optimism that South Africa’s non-racial project would succeed after apartheid’s defeat. Will Afrika Tikkun and Temple Israel be the symbol of Jewish South Africans who won’t give up on it? Next week’s elections will give an indication of which way the wind is blowing.

Troubled White Children: Prisoners for Profit

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Since I had some audio issues while recording my interview with my lovely guest Callwen, and am going to have to re-record with her next week, I figured I would upload this old show that I did with Kyle Hunt of Renegade Broadcasting from about three years ago. I still feel that this topic is just as important as it was three years ago, and this is affecting White children the most. White children and teens are suffering. They know this world is messed up, and many turn to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain. This was what I did as a young teenager. I didn’t know any other way to make the pain go away. Many White parents are so desperate to help their children. While operating in an anti-White system, and trusting the “experts” to fix their children.

Some are so desperate that they will even pay for complete strangers to kidnap their children in the middle of the night, and whisk them away to the middle of the desert. This is what happened in my case, and I want to share my story to raise awareness of the children and teens that are still prisoners for profit in the US, as well as the connections they have to politicians and religious cults. The troubled teen industry is a billion dollar industry. I will also be linking a film that was done by a former program inmate who documents what it was like to be in one of these tortuous institutions that are harming White children and profiting off of it.

Israel troubled by potential conflict with Russian forces in Syria

key element of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming brief visit to Moscow will be to prevent a scenario in which the Israeli army and Russian forces deployed in Syria fire at each other.

Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin next Monday during a trip that will span just a few hours before he returns to Israel.

The prime minister hopes to hear from Putin about the purpose of a recent Russian military buildup in Syria, which borders northeastern Israel, how extensive it will be, and how long it will continue, the Hebrew-language Haaretz newspaper reported Thursday, citing sources in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu will discuss the dangers Israel faces if Lebanese -based Hezbollah and other terror groups obtain Russian advanced weapons shipments, his office said.

Channel 2 reported that Netanyahu is particularly concerned by Russian and Iranian efforts to shore up the embattled regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who is fighting a four-year insurgency that has torn the country into competing militia groups.

There are already hundreds of Iranian military personnel on the Syrian Golan Heights on Israel’s northern border and many more are on their way, Israeli officials say.

Israel is also worried about the kind of weapons that the Russians are bringing with them. In addition to the six tanks and dozens of armored personnel carriers Moscow has already deployed in the area of Latakia, an Assad military stronghold, it is also believed to be sending batteries of advanced SA-22 anti-aircraft systems that could pose a serious threat to ongoing Israeli Air Force activities in the region.

Russian forces are reportedly preparing the ground for a much larger contingent that could also include combat aircraft.

A number of airstrikes inside Syria attributed to Israel over the past several years were apparently aimed at keeping advanced weaponry from being transferred to Hezbollah, but the presence of the Russian forces could hamper such operations or even lead to a clash.

Hezbollah, a powerful Lebanese militia against which Israel fought a devastating war in 2006, is a staunch ally of Assad and Iran and has sent thousands of fighters to support his forces.

Relations between Israel and Russia have been negatively affected by Moscow’s willingness to sell advanced military equipment to Iran, whose leaders often voice a desire to see the State of Israel destroyed.

The shadowy commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ al-Quds force, Major General Qasem Soleimani, was also reported to have made a second visit to Moscow recently to coordinate Russian and Iranian support for Assad.

Israel has also expressed fears that the nuclear deal reached in July between six world powers — among them Russia — and Iran could see money freed up with the removal of sanctions flowing to Hezbollah and other terror groups.

Netanyahu last traveled to Moscow in 2013 to lobby Putin to cancel the sale of advanced S-300 air defense system to Iran. Those missiles are now en route to Tehran, recent reports say.

The US has also expressed its concern to Russia regarding an alleged recent increase in military buildup in Syria, including apparent moves to set up an airbase near Latakia, where Russia once maintained a naval base.

Moscow, however, denied the reports as false and said its aid to the Syrian government was nothing out of the ordinary.

Netanyahu’s entourage for the quick visit, which was announced on Wednesday, was to include just a handful of advisers and Immigration Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who will also act as a translator between the two leaders when they meet, Haaretz reported.

Dylann Roof, Suspected Charleston Church Shooting Gunman Has Troubled Past

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/charleston-church-shooting/dylann-roof-suspected-charleston-church-shooting-gunman-has-troubled-past-n377686?cid=eml_nmn_20150619

The man suspected of killing nine people at a historic African-American church in South Carolina Wednesday recently complained about “blacks taking over the world” a friend of the suspect said Thursday.

Joseph Meek Jr. told The Associated Press in an interview that slaying suspect Dylann Roof recently went on a rant about the Trayvon Martin case and riots in Baltimore over the death of a black man in police custody. The two were childhood friends and recently reconnected over Facebook.

“He said blacks were taking over the world. Someone needed to do something about it for the white race,” Meek told the AP. “He said he wanted segregation between whites and blacks. I said, ‘That’s not the way it should be.’ But he kept talking about it.”

RELATED: Suspect Dylann Roof Captured in North Carolina

Roof, 21, of Lexington, South Carolina, is suspected of opening fire on a Bible study group at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston Wednesday night, killing nine people.

Roof was captured in Shelby, North Carolina, Thursday morning and agreed to be taken back to South Carolina. Police have called the killings a hate crime. A survivor told a relative the gunman said African-Americans are “taking over our country” during the rampage.

Roof was previously jailed in March on a drug charge and then arrested again a month later for trespassing, records show.

Roof was picked up March 2 on the drug charge following a Feb. 28 incident at the Columbiana Centre, a shopping mall in Columbia, according to police records.

Mall security found Roof wearing all black and asking store employees “out of the ordinary” questions, according to an arrest report obtained by NBC News.

The questions included how many people worked at the stores and what time the establishments closed. Roof later told a police officer that his parents wanted him to find a job, according to the report.

Image: Dylann Roof
Dylann Roof booking photo Charleston County Sheriff’s Office

The officer, who said Roof looked nervous, then searched him and found an unlabeled white bottle and orange strips, according to the report . Roof claimed they were Listerine Strips but then admitted that they were unprescribed suboxone, a Schedule 3 narcotic used to treat opiate addictions.

He was arrested and charged with possession of controlled substances. His car, a Hyundai Elantra, was also towed.

Roof was banned from the mall for a year, but on April 26, he was charged with trespassing after he was found in the same mall’s parking lot, Columbia police said. He was banned from the mall for three more years.

The car that was towed in March was the same one used when he the gunman fled Wednesday night’s rampage at Emanuel AME, authorities said. Charleston officials are investigating the shooting as a hate crime. The U.S. Justice Department also announced that it is opening a parallel civil rights investigation.

As the manhunt intensified Thursday morning, Roof’s uncle told Reuters that he recognized the man in the surveillance photo as his nephew.

Carson Cowles, 56, told Reuters that authorities were at Roof’s home and that his nephew had been given a .45-caliber handgun from his father for his birthday in April.

Cowles later told MSNBC that he “hopes [Roof] gets what’s coming to him.”

“We didn’t see this coming,” he said. “We had no clue. And I will say this: I hope he gets what’s coming to him. They got his ass now.”

He added, “Not only has he destroyed nine people’s lives and his own, he’s destroyed his whole family.”

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