HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Thanksgiving

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING
HAPPY THANKSGIVING

 

 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaThanksgiving Day
Thursday, 28 November 2013
This article is about the holiday in several nations. For the holiday in the United States, see Thanksgiving (United States). For the holiday in Canada, see Thanksgiving (Canada). For other uses, see Thanksgiving (disambiguation). 

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Thanksgiving Day
Thanksgiving grace 1942.jpg

Saying grace before carving a turkey at Thanksgiving dinner in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania in 1942.
Observed by  United States
 Canada
 Liberia
 Puerto Rico
 Norfolk Island
 Grenada[1]
Type
National
cultural
Date 2nd Monday in October (Canada) 1st Thursday in November (Liberia)

Last Wednesday in November (Norfolk Island)

Fourth Thursday in November (USA)

2013 date
October 14, 2013 (Canada);

November 7, 2013 (Liberia);
November 27, 2013 (Norfolk Island);November 28, 2013 (USA)

 

2014 date
October 13, 2014 (Canada);

November 6, 2014 (Liberia);
November 26, 2014 (Norfolk Island);November 27, 2014 (USA, Puerto Rico)

 


Thanksgiving Day (Jour de l’Action de grâce in Canadian French) is a national holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Several other places around the world observe similar celebrations. It is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and on the second Monday of October in Canada. Thanksgiving has its historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, and has long been celebrated in a secular manner as well.

 

History

Prayers of thanks and special thanksgiving ceremonies are common among almost all religions after harvests and at other times.[2] The Thanksgiving holiday’s history in North America is rooted in English traditions dating from the Protestant Reformation. It also has aspects of a harvest festival, even though the harvest in New England occurs well before the late-November date on which the modern Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated.[2][3]

In the English tradition, days of thanksgiving and special thanksgiving religious services became important during the English Reformation in the reign of Henry VIII and in reaction to the large number of religious holidays on the Catholic calendar. Before 1536 there were 95 Church holidays, plus 52 Sundays, when people were required to attend church and forego work and sometimes pay for expensive celebrations. The 1536 reforms reduced the number of Church holidays to 27, but some Puritans, the radical reformers of their age, wished to completely eliminate all Church holidays, including Christmas and Easter. The holidays were to be replaced by specially called Days of Fasting or Days of Thanksgiving, in response to events that the Puritans viewed as acts of special providence. Unexpected disasters or threats of judgement from on high called for Days of Fasting. Special blessings, viewed as coming from God, called for Days of Thanksgiving. For example, Days of Fasting were called on account of drought in 1611, floods in 1613, and plagues in 1604 and 1622. Days of Thanksgiving were called following the victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588 and following the deliverance of Queen Anne in 1705. An unusual annual Day of Thanksgiving began in 1606 following the failure of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 and developed into Guy Fawkes Day.[4]

In Canada

Main article: Thanksgiving (Canada)

While some researchers state that “there is no compelling narrative of the origins of the Canadian Thanksgiving day”,[5] the first Canadian Thanksgiving is often traced back to 1578 and the explorer Martin Frobisher. Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Pacific Ocean, held his Thanksgiving celebration not for harvest but in thanks for surviving the long journey from England through the perils of storms and icebergs. On his third and final voyage to the far north, Frobisher held a formal ceremony in Frobisher Bay in Baffin Island (present-day Nunavut) to give thanks to God and in a service ministered by the preacher Robert Wolfall they celebrated Communion.[6]

Oven roasted turkey

The origins of Canadian Thanksgiving are also sometimes traced to the French settlers who came to New France with explorer Samuel de Champlain in the early 17th century, who celebrated their successful harvests. The French settlers in the area typically had feasts at the end of the harvest season and continued throughout the winter season, even sharing food with the indigenous peoples of the area.[7]

As settlers arrived in Canada from New England, late autumn Thanksgiving celebrations became common. New immigrants into the country, such as the Irish, Scottish and Germans, also added their own traditions to the harvest celebrations. Most of the U.S. aspects of Thanksgiving (such as the turkey), were incorporated when United Empire Loyalists began to flee from the United States during the American Revolution and settled in Canada.[7]

Thanksgiving is now a statutory holiday in most jurisdictions of Canada, with the exception of the Atlantic provinces of Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.[8]

In the United States

The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth By Jennie A. Brownscombe (1914)

In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is commonly, but not universally, traced to a poorly documented 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest. Pilgrims and Puritans who began emigrating from England in the 1620s and 1630s carried the tradition of Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving with them to New England. Several days of Thanksgiving were held in early New England history that have been identified as the “First Thanksgiving”, including Pilgrim holidays in Plymouth in 1621 and 1623, and a Puritan holiday in Boston in 1631.[9][10] According to historian Jeremy Bangs, director of the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum, the Pilgrims may have been influenced by watching the annual services of Thanksgiving for the relief of the siege of Leiden in 1574, while they were staying in Leiden.[11] In later years, religious thanksgiving services were declared by civil leaders such as Governor Bradford, who planned a thanksgiving celebration and fast in 1623.[12][13][14] The practice of holding an annual harvest festival did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s.[15]

Thanksgiving proclamations were made mostly by church leaders in New England up until 1682, and then by both state and church leaders until after the American Revolution. During the revolutionary period, political influences affected the issuance of Thanksgiving proclamations. Various proclamations were made by royal governors, John Hancock, General George Washington, and the Continental Congress,[16] each giving thanks to God for events favorable to their causes.[17] As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God”.[18]

In modern times the President of the United States, in addition to issuing a proclamation, will “pardon” a turkey, which spares the bird’s life and ensures that it will spend the duration of its life roaming freely on farmland.[19]

Debate about first celebrations in the United States

The traditional representation of where the first Thanksgiving was held in the United States has often been a subject of boosterism and debate, though the debate is often confused by mixing up the ideas of a Thanksgiving holiday celebration and a Thanksgiving religious service. According to author James Baker, this debate is a “tempest in a beanpot” and “marvelous nonsense”.[9]

Local boosters in Virginia, Florida, and Texas promote their own colonists, who (like many people getting off a boat) gave thanks for setting foot again on dry land.(Jeremy Bangs[11])

These claims include an earlier religious service by Spanish explorers in Texas at San Elizario in 1598, as well as thanksgiving feasts in the Virginia Colony.[20] Robyn Gioia and Michael Gannon of the University of Florida argue that the earliest Thanksgiving service in what is now the United States was celebrated by the Spanish on September 8, 1565, in what is now Saint Augustine, Florida.[21][22] A day for Thanksgiving services was codified in the founding charter of Berkeley Hundred in Charles City County, Virginia in 1619.[23]

According to Baker, “Historically, none of these had any influence over the evolution of the modern United States holiday. The American holiday’s true origin was the New England Calvinist Thanksgiving. Never coupled with a Sabbath meeting, the Puritan observances were special days set aside during the week for thanksgiving and praise in response to God’s providence.”[9]

Fixing the date of the holiday

The reason for the earlier Thanksgiving celebrations in Canada has often been attributed to the earlier onset of winter in the north, thus ending the harvest season earlier.[24] Thanksgiving in Canada did not have a fixed date until the late 19th century. Prior to Canadian Confederation, many of the individual colonial governors of the Canadian provinces had declared their own days of Thanksgiving. The first official Canadian Thanksgiving occurred on April 15, 1872,[25] when the nation was celebrating the Prince of Wales‘ recovery from a serious illness.[24] By the end of the 19th century, Thanksgiving Day was normally celebrated on November 6. However, when World War I ended, the Armistice Day holiday was usually held during the same week. To prevent the two holidays from clashing with one another, in 1957 the Canadian Parliament proclaimed Thanksgiving to be observed on its present date on the second Monday of October.[7] Since 1971, when the American Uniform Monday Holiday Act took effect, the American observance of Columbus Day has coincided with the Canadian observance of Thanksgiving.[26][27]

Much as in Canada, Thanksgiving in the United States was observed on various dates throughout history. From the time of the Founding Fathers until the time of Lincoln, the date Thanksgiving was observed varied from state to state. The final Thursday in November had become the customary date in most U.S. states by the beginning of the 19th century. Thanksgiving was first celebrated on the same date by all states in 1863 by a presidential proclamation of Abraham Lincoln. Influenced by the campaigning of author Sarah Josepha Hale, who wrote letters to politicians for around 40 years trying to make it an official holiday, Lincoln proclaimed the date to be the final Thursday in November in an attempt to foster a sense of American unity between the Northern and Southern states.[28] Because of the ongoing Civil War and the Confederate States of America‘s refusal to recognize Lincoln’s authority, a nationwide Thanksgiving date was not realized until Reconstruction was completed in the 1870s.

On December 26, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a joint resolution of Congress changing the national Thanksgiving Day from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday. Two years earlier, Roosevelt had used a presidential proclamation to try to achieve this change, reasoning that earlier celebration of the holiday would give the country an economic boost.

 

Observance

Canada

Pumpkin pie is commonly served on and around Thanksgiving in North America.

Main article: Thanksgiving (Canada)

Thanksgiving (Canadian French: Jour de l’Action de grâce), occurring on the second Monday in October, is an annual Canadian holiday to give thanks at the close of the harvest season. Although the original act of Parliament references God and the holiday is celebrated in churches, the holiday is mostly celebrated in a secular manner. Thanksgiving is a statutory holiday in all provinces in Canada, except for New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. While businesses may remain open in these provinces, the holiday is nonetheless recognized and celebrated regardless of its status.[29][30][31][32][33]

United States

Thanksgiving, currently celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November by federal legislation in 1941, has been an annual tradition in the United States by presidential proclamation since 1863 and by state legislation since the Founding Fathers of the United States. Historically, Thanksgiving began as a tradition of celebrating the harvest of the year.[34]

Liberia

In the West African country of Liberia, which began in 1820 with the colonization of freed black slaves (Americo-Liberians) from the United States, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the first Thursday of November.[35]

The Netherlands

Many of the Pilgrims who migrated to the Plymouth Plantation had resided in the city of Leiden from 1609–1620, many of whom had recorded their births, marriages and deaths at the Pieterskerk. To commemorate this, a non-denominational Thanksgiving Day service is held each year on the morning of the American Thanksgiving Day in the Pieterskerk, a Gothic church in Leiden, to commemorate the hospitality the Pilgrims received in Leiden on their way to the New World.[36]

Norfolk Island

In the Australian external territory of Norfolk Island, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the last Wednesday of November, similar to the pre-World War II American observance on the last Thursday of the month. This means the Norfolk Island observance is the day before or six days after the United States’ observance. The holiday was brought to the island by visiting American whaling ships.[37]

Grenada

In the West Indian island of Grenada, there is a national holiday known as Thanksgiving Day which is celebrated on October 25. Even though it bears the same name, and is celebrated at roughly the same time as the American and Canadian versions of Thanksgiving, this holiday is unrelated to either of those celebrations. Instead the holiday marks the anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of the island in 1983, in response to the deposition and execution of Grenadian Prime Minister Maurice Bishop.[38]

Similar holidays

Germany

A food decoration for Erntedankfest, a Christian Thanksgiving harvest festival celebrated in Germany

The Harvest Thanksgiving Festival, Erntedankfest, is an early October, German Christian festival. The festival has a significant religious component to it, but also, like its North American counterpart, includes large harvest dinners (consisting mostly of autumn crops) and parades.[39] The Bavarian beer festival Oktoberfest generally takes place within the vicinity of Erntedankfest.

 

Japan

Labor Thanksgiving Day (勤労感謝の日 Kinrō Kansha no Hi?) is a national holiday in Japan. It takes place annually on November 23. The law establishing the holiday, which was adopted during the American occupation after World War II, cites it as an occasion for commemorating labor and production and giving one another thanks. It has roots in an ancient harvest ceremony (Niiname-sai (新嘗祭?)) celebrating hard work.

 

See also

References

  1. Jump up ^ “Grenada celebrates Thanksgiving Day”. AGlobalWorld. Retrieved November 28, 2013.
  2. ^ Jump up to: a b Hodgson, pp. 156-159
  3. Jump up ^ Baker, Chapter 1, especially pp.12-15.
  4. Jump up ^ Baker, James W. (2009). Thanksgiving: the biography of an American holiday. UPNE. pp. 1–14. ISBN 9781584658016.
  5. Jump up ^ Kaufman, Jason Andrew (2009). The Origins of Canadian & American Political Differences. Harvard University Press. p. 29. ISBN 9780674031364.
  6. Jump up ^ The three voyages of Martin Frobisher: in search of a passage to Cathai and India by the northwest AD 1576-1578.
  7. ^ Jump up to: a b c Solski, Ruth “Canada’s Traditions and Celebrations” McGill-Queen’s Press,ISBN 1-55035-694-1 p.12
  8. Jump up ^ “Statutory Holidays in Canada”. Retrieved 2012-10-06.
  9. ^ Jump up to: a b c Baker, Chapter 1.
  10. Jump up ^ Alvin J. Schmidt (2004). How Christianity Changed the World. Zondervan. Retrieved 2012-01-30. “Their leader, Governor William Bradford, issued a formal proclamation commanding the people to give thanks to God for having received divine protection during a terrible winter and for having received their first harvest. It was also new that the Pilgrims celebrated their thanksgiving by eating wild turkey (an indigenous bird) and venison.”
  11. ^ Jump up to: a b Jeremy Bangs. “Influences”. The Pilgrims’ Leiden. Retrieved 2010-09-11.
  12. Jump up ^ Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647, pp. 120-121.
  13. Jump up ^ Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation, pp. 135-142.
  14. Jump up ^ The fast and thanksgiving days of New England by William DeLoss Love, Houghton, Mifflin and Co., Cambridge, 1895
  15. Jump up ^ Kaufman, Jason Andrew (2009). “The origins of Canadian and American political differences. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. p. 28. ISBN 0-674-03136-9.
  16. Jump up ^ Klos, Stanley. “Thanksgiving Day Proclamations”. PRESIDENTIAL THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATIONS. Historic.us. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  17. Jump up ^ Hodgson, pp. 159-166
  18. Jump up ^ Hodgson, p. 167
  19. Jump up ^ Megan Slack. “The Definitive History of the Presidential Turkey Pardon | The White House”. Whitehouse.gov. Retrieved 2012-11-11.
  20. Jump up ^ C.Michael Hogan. 2011. Thanksgiving. Eds. Cutler Cleveland & Peter Saundry. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and the Environment. Washington DC
  21. Jump up ^ Wilson, Craig (Nov 21, 2007). “Florida teacher chips away at Plymouth Rock Thanksgiving myth”. Usatoday.com. Retrieved 2011-09-05.
  22. Jump up ^ Davis, Kenneth C. (Nov 25, 2008). “A French Connection”. Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2011-09-05.
  23. Jump up ^ “The First Thanksgiving Proclamation — 20 June 1676”. The Covenant News. Retrieved 2008-11-27.
  24. ^ Jump up to: a b Kaufman, Jason Andrew “The origins of Canadian and American political differences” Harvard University Press, 2009, ISBN 0-6740-3136-9 p.29
  25. Jump up ^ “History of Thanksgiving”. www.thanksgiving2013.org. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  26. Jump up ^ “LBJ Signs Bill to Set Up Five 3-Day Holidays”. Sarasota Herald-Tribune (via Google News). Associated Press. Jun 29, 1968. Retrieved 2011-12-06.The bill in question became the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.
  27. Jump up ^ “Text of the 1968 Uniform Monday Holiday Act”. US Government Archives (www.archives.gov). Retrieved 2011-12-06.
  28. Jump up ^ Morill, Ann “Thanksgiving and Other Harvest Festivals” Infobase Publishing, ISBN 1-6041-3096-2 p.33
  29. Jump up ^ “Paid public holidays”. WorkRights.ca.
  30. Jump up ^ “Thanksgiving – is it a Statutory Holiday?”. Government of Nova Scotia. Retrieved 2008-10-13.
  31. Jump up ^ “Statutes, Chapter E-6.2” (PDF). Government of Prince Edward Island. Retrieved 2008-10-13.
  32. Jump up ^ “RSNL1990 Chapter L-2 – Labour Standards Act”. Assembly of Newfoundland. Retrieved 2008-10-13.
  33. Jump up ^ “Statutory Holidays” (PDF). Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, Canada. Archived from the original on 2008-02-29.
  34. Jump up ^ “Thanksgiving Day”. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
  35. Jump up ^ “Vice President Boakai Joins Catholic Community in Bomi to Celebrate Thanksgiving Day”. The Executive Mansion. Republic of Liberia. Nov 5, 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
  36. Jump up ^ “Dutch town”. The World (radio program). Retrieved 2008-11-28. “The Pilgrims arrived in Leiden in 1609, after fleeing religious persecution in England. Leiden welcomed them because it needed immigrants to help rebuild its textile industry, which had been devastated by a long revolt against Spain. Here, the Pilgrims were allowed to worship as they wanted, and they even published their arguments calling for the separation of church and state. Jeremy Bangs directs the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum. He says the Pilgrims quickly adopted several Dutch customs, like civil marriage and Thanksgiving.”
  37. Jump up ^ Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department website
  38. Jump up ^ Official website of the government of Grenada
  39. Jump up ^ “Das Erntedankfest”.

Sources

External links

Find more about Thanksgiving at Wikipedia’s sister projects
Definitions and translations from Wiktionary
Media from Commons
Quotations from Wikiquote
Database entry Q13959 on Wikidata

Direct Link:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving

Private Investigator & Retired FBI agent becomes longest held American hostage in history after more than six years in Iran

Retired FBI agent becomes longest held American hostage in history after more than six years in Iran

  • Robert Levison, 65, disappeared from the Iranian isle of Kish in 2007

  • He was privately investigating cigarette smuggling after leaving FBI in 1998

  • He’s been missing for 2,455 days – one more than freed Terry Anderson

  • There have been claims Iran’s government are holding him, despite denials

 

Daily Mail / UK
by Matt Blake
November 26, 2013

This undated handout photo provided by the family of Robert Levinson, shows retired-FBI agent Robert Levinson, 64, dressed as a Guantanamo Bay detainee.
This undated handout photo provided by the family of Robert Levinson, shows retired-FBI agent Robert Levinson, 64, dressed as a Guantanamo Bay detainee.

 

A retired FBI agent has become the longest-held American hostage in history, more than six years after he was kidnapped in Iran.

Robert Levinson, 65, has now been held for exactly 2,455 days – one day more than US journalist Terry Anderson who was released by his Iran-backed Hezbollah captors in 1991, according to the FBI.

 

Hostage Robert Levinson2

Levinson, who left the bureau in 1998, was working as a private investigator looking into cigarette smuggling on the Iranian island of Kish – a hotbed for organised crime – when he vanished in 2007.

The last his family heard of him was in 2011 when they were sent video and photos of him an anonymous email sparking fears the Iranian intelligence services may be behind his abduction.

 

Longest-serving hostage: Levinson has now been held for exactly 2,455 days - one day more than US journalist Terry Anderson (pictured) who was released by his Iran-backed Hezbollah captors in 1991
Longest-serving hostage: Levinson has now been held for exactly 2,455 days – one day more than US journalist Terry Anderson (pictured) who was released by his Iran-backed Hezbollah captors in 1991

 

The photographs were released by the family to renew public interest in the case and come two years after a hostage video and photographs of retired FBI agent Robert Levinson raised the possibility that the missing American was being held by terrorists.

Levinson, a Private Investigator, disappeared in 2007 on the Iranian island of Kish.

The Iranian government has repeatedly denied knowing anything about his disappearance, and the disturbing video and photos that Levinson’s family received in late 2010 and early 2011 seemed to give credence to the idea.

 

Retired FBI agent Robert Levinson (pictured far left) with his family in Coral Springs, Florida
Retired FBI agent Robert Levinson (pictured far left) with his family in Coral Springs, Florida

 

The extraordinary photos — showing Levinson’s hair wild and gray, his beard long and unkempt — are being seen for the first time publicly after the family provided copies to the AP. The video has been previously released.

In response to Iran’s repeated denials, and amid secret conversations with Iran’s government, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement in March 2011 that Levinson was being held somewhere in South Asia.

The implication was that Levinson might be in the hands of terrorist group or criminal organization somewhere in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

The statement was a goodwill gesture to Iran, one that the U.S. hoped would prod Tehran to help bring him home.

But nothing happened.

 

A progression of images released by the FBI which shows the aging and hair growth of retired FBI agent Robert Levinson from before his kidnap in 2007 (1st left) to the first image released of him in 2009 to a more recent CGI 2011 image of the hostage
A progression of images released by the FBI which shows the aging and hair growth of retired FBI agent Robert Levinson from before his kidnap in 2007 (1st left) to the first image released of him in 2009 to a more recent CGI 2011 image of the hostage

 

Levinson retired from the FBI in 1998 and became a private investigator. He was investigating cigarette smuggling in early 2007, and his family has said that took him to the Iranian island of Kish, where he was last seen
Levinson retired from the FBI in 1998 and became a private investigator. He was investigating cigarette smuggling in early 2007, and his family has said that took him to the Iranian island of Kish, where he was last seen

 

Two years later, with the investigation stalled, the consensus now among some U.S. officials involved in the case is that despite years of denials, Iran’s intelligence service was almost certainly behind the 54-second video and five photographs of Levinson that were emailed anonymously to his family.

The level of expertise used to send those items was too good, indicating professional spies were behind them, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk publicly.

While everything dealing with Iran is murky, their conclusion is based on the U.S. government’s best intelligence analysis.

The photos, for example, portray Levinson in an orange jumpsuit like those worn by detainees at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay. The family received them via email in April 2011. In each photo, he held a sign bearing a different message.

 

P.I. & Retired FBI agent Robert Levinson with three of his daughters in Coral Springs in Florida before his disappearance
P.I. & Retired FBI agent Robert Levinson with three of his daughters in Coral Springs in Florida before his disappearance

 

‘I am here in Guantanamo,’ one said. ‘Do you know where it is?’

Another read: ‘This is the result of 30 years serving for USA.’

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has personally and repeatedly criticized the U.S. over its detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

U.S. operatives in Afghanistan managed to trace the cellphone used to send the photographs, officials said. But the owner had nothing to do with the photos, and the trail went cold.

It was that way, too, with the hostage video the family received. It was sent from a cyber cafe in Pakistan in November 2010.

The video depicted a haggard Levinson, who said he was being held by a ‘group.’ In the background, Pashtun wedding music can be heard.

 

Robert Levinson with one of his grandchildren before his disappearance in 2007 on an Iranian resort island investigating cigarette smuggling
Robert Levinson with one of his grandchildren before his disappearance in 2007 on an Iranian resort island investigating cigarette smuggling

 

The Pashtun people live primarily in Pakistan and Afghanistan, just across Iran’s eastern border.

Yet the sender left no clues to his identity and never used that email address again.

Whoever was behind the photos and video was no amateur, U.S. authorities concluded.

They made no mistakes, leading investigators to conclude it had to be a professional intelligence service like Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

Levinson’s wife, Christine, provided the photos to The Associated Press because she felt her husband’s disappearance was not getting the attention it deserves from the government.

‘There isn’t any pressure on Iran to resolve this,’ she said. ‘It’s been much too long.’

Though U.S. diplomats and the FBI have tried behind the scenes to find Levinson, of Coral Springs, Florida, and bring him home, both presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have said little about his case and have applied little public pressure on Iran for more information about Levinson’s whereabouts.

Christine Levinson has watched more public pressure result in Iran’s release of a trio of hikers, a journalist named Roxana Saberi and a team of British sailors captured by the Iranian Navy. Everyone has come home except her husband.

 

US blames Iranian government for photos and video release

 

Washington’s quiet diplomacy, meanwhile, has yielded scant results beyond the Iranian president’s promise to help find Levinson.

‘We assumed there would be some kind of follow-up and we didn’t get any,’ Christine Levinson said.

‘After those pictures came, we received nothing.’

In one meeting between the two countries, the Iranians told the U.S. that they were looking for Levinson and were conducting raids in Baluchistan, a mountainous region that includes parts of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, U.S. officials said.

But the U.S. ultimately concluded that the Iranians made up the story. There were no raids, and officials determined that the episode was a ruse by Iranian counterintelligence to learn how U.S. intelligence agencies work.

An expert on Russian organized crime, Levinson retired from the FBI in 1998 and became a private investigator. He was investigating cigarette smuggling in early 2007, and his family has said that took him to the Iranian island of Kish, where he was last seen.

Kish is a popular resort area and a hotbed of smuggling and organized crime. It is also a free trade zone, meaning U.S. citizens do not need visas to travel there.

 

Direct Link:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2513663/Retired-FBI-agent-longest-held-hostage-years-Iran.html

 

U.S. Private Investigator Arrested In Costa Rica On Immigration And Fraud Charges, Could Be Deported

U.S. Private Investigator Arrested In Costa Rica On Immigration And Fraud Charges, Could Be Deported

FOX News / Latino
November 19, 2013

Arrested P.I., Douglas Smith
Arrested P.I., Douglas Smith

 

A U.S. private investigator is under arrest in Costa Rica on immigration charges and could be deported from the Central American nation.

Douglas Smith, the proprietor of “WillSpy Private Investigation and Security Services,” has apparently been living in Escazú, Costa Rica, since early 2005 and local media reports indicate that he has at least one fraud claim leveled against him for his private investigation business.

Allen Ulloa, an Immigration Administration spokesman, told The Tico Times, an English-language newspaper in Costa Rica, that immigration officials arrested Smith after he failed to renew his 90-day tourist visa, an offense punishable by automatic deportation.  

He was arrested after a former client accused him of fraud, and authorities in Costa Rica are trying to raise money to send him back to the U.S.

But a woman who claims to be his wife alleges he was “set-up” by a man he was probing for insurance fraud.

The woman told a local English-language news website that the private investigator was working on behalf of a U.S. insurance company to look into a man suspected of disability fraud. The woman said the man under investigation ordered to have their home burglarized and Smith’s identification and immigration papers stolen.

The woman – who the website did not name – said that Smith was allegedly lured into a trap with immigration officials.

“[Smith] cannot be thrown out of the country because he is married [to a Costa Rican],” the woman told Inside Costa Rica.

An investigation by the Costa Rican newspaper El Diario Extra claims that Smith’s assertions that he was married in Costa Rica are false.

The previous fraud charges leveled against Smith relate to a client who was purportedly charged between $325 and $400 a day for work that was never completed by the private investigator.

Smith is well-known to the English-language media in Costa Rica and has apparently made multiple attempts to promote his case.

Smith’s company website has been replaced with a blank page and an email address.

 

Direct Link:  http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2013/11/19/american-arrested-in-costa-rica-on-immigration-charges-could-be-deported/

Private Eye Arrested: First Arrest for Unlicensed P.I. Activity in Florida & DOL Report

First Arrest for Unlicensed Activity & DOL Report

 

Florida Man First Individual Arrested Under New Florida Law
Prohibiting Unlicensed Investigative Activity
FALI
Written by John P. Belich
Wednesday, October 16, 2013

 

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

A Florida man, formerly licensed as a private investigator and owner of a private investigative agency, has become the first individual arrested for violating the new Florida statute on providing private investigative services without being properly licensed. The new statute, providing for enhanced penalties, went into effect July 1, 2013.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) , Law Enforcement Division, arrested Fernando J. Rodriguez, 39, on August 28, 2013 in Sanford, FL. Rodriguez was booked into the Seminole County Jail and charged with two felony counts of violation of FS 493.612 for providing unlicensed private investigative activities and one charge of fraud, uttering a forged instrument, in violation of FS 831.02. The fraud charge is due to the fact that Rodriguez is accused of presenting an invoice for his unlicensed private investigative services, containing a false G license number.

Bond was set at $1,050 and Rodriguez was released after the bond was posted by a bondsman. His arraignment is set for October 29, 2013 at 1:30 pm. Records indicate that Rodriguez signed an affidavit of indigency and asked the court to appoint an attorney to represent him.

According to the FDACS investigative report, Rodriguez is the owner of the Global Intelligence Agency, 915 Doyle Road, Suite 303- 228, Deltona, Florida. His license application also lists an Orlando mailing address.

Rodriguez is accused of violating the Florida private investigative statutes by providing “the duties of a Private Investigator for a client”, during the period of March 22, 2013 and April 13, 2013 in Volusia County. In addition, the FDACS investigative report indicates that the state regulatory agency had issued Cease and Desist  Orders on both 05/213/2012 and 04/15/2013 and that Rodriguez “knowingly violated” both.
Records at the FDACS reflect Rodriguez has been investigative by the Division of Licensing at least seventeen times since 2006 and that his agency license was revoked on April 18, 2012. The DOL denied his request to renew his C license on May 23, 2012. Several of the investigations resulted in fines being assessed against Rodriguez as well as regional guidance letters and two cease and desist orders. DOL records indicate many of the fines assessed against Rodriguez have not been paid.

View the 90 page report here below from the DOL and Ag Law arrest.  You will see that several past complaints were filed against Mr. Rodriguez.  However until FALI’s Increased Penalties for Unlicensed Activity law was passed little could be done to enforce the misdemeanor charges at the time. 

Now Mr. Rodriguez was arrested on a third degree felony charge and could face up to a $10,000 civil fine.

 

90 Page Report by DOL and Ag Law Report Fernando Rodriguez

 

 

Google technology catches out man accused of uploading over 3,000 child porn images and he is arrested by the FBI

Google technology catches out man accused of uploading over 3,000 child porn images and he is arrested by the FBI

 

Daily Mail / UK
November 24, 2013

 

Caught: A California man was arrested on child porn charges after he was reported by Google for uploading pictures to their photo sharing site Picasa (pictured in this file photo)
Caught: A California man was arrested on child porn charges after he was reported by Google for uploading pictures to their photo sharing site Picasa (pictured in this file photo)

 

Google’s efforts to block child pornography snared a victim earlier in November when a California man was arrested, accused of uploading over 3,000 pornographic images online.

Raul Gonzales, 40, identified in criminal complaint on November 6, was recently arrested by the FBI in Woodland, as reported by CBS.

Yet the investigation against him started in March, when Google’s ‘hashing’ technology detected images that Gonzales had added to their photo sharing site Picasa.

The web giant then alerted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which discovered more images uploaded by Gonzalez to Tumblr.

The FBI then took over the investigation. Disturbingly, CBS also reported that the agency found pictures of a 9-year-old child who is close to the family.

The station also said that Gonzales had admitted to sexually assaulting this child.

Google’s servers are able to search through images uploaded online. Algorithm technology can detect possible examples of child pornography.

Once such images are found it is examined by a human employee to check that the photo depicts abuse and not something more innocent, like a child at bathtime.

Every offending picture can then be tagged with a particular digital fingerprint, which shows up if the image is reloaded online elsewhere.

 

Scene: Raul Gonzales, 40, was arrested in this street in Woodland, California, accused of uploading over 3,000 images online.
Scene: Raul Gonzales, 40, was arrested in this street in Woodland, California, accused of uploading over 3,000 images online.

 

Following UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent efforts to tackle child pornography, Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt wrote an op-ed in the Daily Mail on the issue.

In that article, Schmidt explained the ways in which his company was using technology to take on the disturbing problem:

Cleaning up search:

We’ve fine tuned Google Search to prevent links to child sexual abuse material from appearing in our results.

While no algorithm is perfect – and Google cannot prevent paedophiles adding new images to the web – these changes have cleaned up the results for over 100,000 queries that might be related to the sexual abuse of kids.

As important, we will soon roll out these changes in more than 150 languages, so the impact will be truly global.

Deterrence:

We’re now showing warnings – from both Google and charities – at the top of our search results for more than 13,000 queries.

These alerts make clear that child sexual abuse is illegal and offer advice on where to get help.

Detection and removal:

There’s no quick technical fix when it comes to detecting child sexual abuse imagery.

This is because computers can’t reliably distinguish between innocent pictures of kids at bathtime and genuine abuse. So we always need to have a person review the images.

 

Technology: Google's servers are able to search through images uploaded online. Algorithm technology can detect possible pornographic images.
Technology: Google’s servers are able to search through images uploaded online. Algorithm technology can detect possible pornographic images.

 

Once that is done – and we know the pictures are illegal – each image is given a unique digital fingerprint.

This enables our computers to identify those pictures whenever they appear on our systems. And Microsoft deserves a lot of credit for developing and sharing its picture detection technology.

But paedophiles are increasingly filming their crimes. So our engineers at YouTube have created a new technology to identify these videos.

We’re already testing it at Google, and in the new year we hope to make it available to other internet companies and child safety organisations.

Technical expertise:

There are many organisations working to fight the sexual exploitation of kids online – and we want to ensure they have the best technical support.

So Google plans to second computer engineers to both the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) here in Britain and the US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). We also plan to fund internships for other engineers at these organisations.

Direct Link:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2512752/Google-technology-catches-man-accused-uploading-3-000-child-porn-images-arrested-FBI.html