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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Iran prepared to attack US

WASHINGTON — Iran is prepared to launch a terror attack inside this country because they feel threatened by possible US action, the country's top spy chief said today.

Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper made the shocking allegation before the Senate Intelligence Committee, saying Iran is "more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived US actions that threaten the regime," according to The Washington Post.

Clapper, CIA chief David Petraeus and others reasserted their stance that Iran is not building nuclear weapons, in contrast to Israeli officials' statements that Iran could have nuclear capability within a year.

Petraeus said he met with the head of Israel's intelligence agency, Mossad, last week to discuss Israel's concerns, but he did not say whether Israel agreed with the US assessment that Iran had not yet decided to make a nuclear weapon.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said last week that Iran is proceeding toward nuclear weapons capability and time is "urgently running out."

Al Qaeda and Iran are part of a mosaic of interconnected enemies the US faces, including terrorists, criminals and foreign powers, who may try to strike via nuclear weapons or cyberspace, Clapper and the others said.

The terror organization still aspires to strike the US, but it will likely have to go for "smaller, simpler attacks" as its ranks are thinned by continued pressure from US drone strikes and special operations raids since Osama bin Laden's death at the hands of Navy SEALs in Pakistan last year, Clapper predicted.

"When you take one, two and three out in a single year," that weakens the force, added Petraeus. The CIA chief pointed out that "four of the top 20 in a single week were captured or killed," last year, leaving the leadership struggling to replace itself.

The intelligence chiefs predicted al Qaeda's regional affiliates will try to pick up the slack for the beleaguered core group in Pakistan — from the Yemeni offshoot al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to Somalia's al-Shabaab. If they can't reach the US homeland, they'll try to attack western targets in their geographic areas, they said, and the Yemeni branch of al Qaeda remains the most likely affiliate to try to attack the US homeland.

The United States continues to put pressure on the Yemeni offshoot, and on Monday mounted airstrikes targeting al Qaeda leaders there, killing at least four suspected militants, according to Yemeni and military officials.

US officials also said there's been no decision on whether to trade five dangerous Taliban prisoners now being held in Guantanamo, as part of nascent peace talks with the Taliban.

Clapper said the White House would first have to determine where they would be held, and how they would be watched after being released to make sure they did not return to militancy.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga) said the five men the Taliban have named are considered too dangerous to release by US counterterrorist authorities, but Petraeus said his agency had run several possible scenarios to figure out how best to free them.

Just below al Qaeda on the list of threats comes the possibility of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, from chemical and biological, to nuclear and radiological. The intelligence community does not believe states that possess them have supplied them to terror groups, but that remains a risk.

Iran has the technical ability to build a nuclear weapon, Clapper said.

If Iran moves to enrich uranium beyond the current level of 20 percent, to a weapons grade level, it would be a sign Iran had decided to move ahead, Petreaus added.

Citing last year's thwarted Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in the US, "some Iranian officials — probably including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei ... are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived US actions that threaten the regime," Clapper said.

The North Korean nuclear weapons program is a continued threat to global security, though the program is intended for self-defense, his assessment states: "We judge that North Korea would consider using nuclear weapons only under narrow circumstances" and "probably would not attempt to use nuclear weapons against US forces or territory, unless it perceived its regime to be on the verge of military defeat and risked an irretrievable loss of control."

China and Russia remain the key threats to the US in cyber-space, with "entities" in both countries "responsible for extensive illicit intrusions into US computer networks and theft of US intellectual property," though Iran is also a player, Clapper said.

He warned of growing cyber-espionage by foreign governments against American government and businesses, and said many such intrusions are not being detected.

"They seem most interested in our technology," he said. "If they can steal it from us, that works to their benefit" so they don't have to spend their own money on research.

Insider threats are another category of risk, in which disgruntled employees like accused Army soldier Bradley Manning allegedly leak information to the public or sell it to competing corporations or nations.

The annual threat assessment looked further afield to places like Afghanistan, where it assessed the Afghan government's progress as fragile, and the Taliban as "resilient."

The group is less able to intimidate the Afghan population that last year, especially in areas where NATO forces are concentrated, but its leaders continue to direct the insurgency from their safe haven in Pakistan, the report said.

Jewish Actress Paula Abdul Fired From 'The X Factor'

Paula Abdul took the high road Tuesday as she broke her silence on her unceremonious exit from "The X-Factor."

"Yes, it's true; I won't be returning to The X Factor next season," Abdul said in a statement. "I've learned through my longevity in this industry that business decisions often times override personal considerations.

Abdul's "American Idol" co-host Simon Cowell had brought her onboard for the first season of the American version of his hit

British reality singing competition series, but showed no favoritism as he cleaned house Monday night. The "Straight Up" singer joined host Steve Jones and fellow judges Nicole Scherzinger on the unemployment line.

The show's ratings had been solid, but disappointing -- leading Cowell to make the changes for "The X-Factor's" next season.

Cowell once boasted that anything less than 20 million weekly for "The X Factor" would be disappointing. The show averaged roughly 12.5 million.

While the moves to jettison Scherzinger and Jones came as little surprise based on their critically canned performances, Abdul's firing surprised observers, especially given her history as Cowell's favorite on-air sparring partner and friend.

"Simon and I, along with Fox and Fremantle, have been communicating about this for a while now, and I have absolute understanding of the situation," Abdul said in her statement. "Simon is, and will remain a dear friend of mine and I've treasured my experience working this past season with my extended family at Fox and Fremantle.

"I want nothing more than for The X Factor to exceed ALL of their wildest dreams. This truly has been a blessing and I am most grateful.

Paula Abdul Exits 'The X Factor':

NYPD Investigates Violent Arrest Caught On Video

A video posted online of a Bronx teen being beaten by police officers last week has led the young man's family members to raise questions about the officers' actions.

Jateik Reed, 19, was arrested on Thursday on charges of robbery, possession of marijuana and crack cocaine and assaulting a police officer on East 168th Street in University Heights.

The video shows Reed being pushed onto the ground and receiving multiple blows from batons, punches and kicks from officers.

According to the criminal complaint, after the arrest an officer needed stitches to close a cut on his nose.

However, family members said Reed received a lot worse.

"They refused to take him back to the hospital and they wouldn't give him no medicine or anything. He is sitting there telling me his head is hurting, he doesn't feel good," said Schuan Reed, Jateik's mother. "He has staples in his head, he has staples in his arm, his eyes were black, his whole entire back is black, blue, purple."

Reed's mother, brother and friend went to the local police precinct to ask about the arrest, and they were arrested as well. A criminal complaint says the family members attacked officers, but they deny that.

Jateik Reed's father, Bernard Walker, said the charges were trumped up by police in order to cover up the severity of the beating.

"This so-called assault on an officer, which we all know never took place. Even... if it had happened and if he hit this officer, no one ever saw that. And it still doesn't call for the abuse that they put on my son," said Walker.

Another friend who recorded Jateik Reed's arrest said he wanted to help but feared he would be beaten as well.

Who deserves to be beat like that? Obviously he was trying to put his hands behind his back," said the friend. "How is he going to put his hands behind his back if you keep beating him? He's trying to block his face."

"A sergeant was there allowing all of this abuse to take place in his presence," said Walker.

The Bronx district attorney and the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating the actions of the police officers.

Jateik Reed's family also hired a civil attorney and plans to sue the city, the New York City Police Department and all the officers involved in the recorded incident.

LAPD Teacher abused students during class,

Mark Berndt, 61, who taught elementary school for 30 years, was charged with molestation after photos surfaced showing bound and gagged children,

An elementary school teacher accused of gagging and blindfolding students allegedly did so in his classroom during school hours, according to a detective on the case.

“He disguised it as a game,” said sheriff’s Sgt. Dan Scott of the special victims unit. “This occurred in his regular classroom with his students,” Scott said. “It wasn’t done in secret. The only secret was what the game was really about.”

Scott said the evidence gathered so far shows 23 students were subjected to lewd acts.

"We know he did this between 2008 and 2010 but it is highly likely he didn't just start it then and that is why we are asking for the public's help," Scott said.

Investigators recovered photos from the film processing store and Mark Berndt's home that allegedly showed the students bound and blindfolded and some with large Madagascar cockroaches crawling on them inside the school setting, Scott said. Scott said girls were allegedly photographed with a blue spoon holding a white substance near their mouths. Investigators said they believe that substance was Berndt's semen and that he had the girls consume it.

Investigators said they have recovered more than 400 images, and so far 10 children in the photos recovered have not been identified. More than 80 children and school staff have been interviewed. Miramonte Elementary is in the Florence Firestone unincorporated area of Los Angeles County and is within the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy offered a swift condemnation Tuesday of the teacher, who is in jail on $2.3-million bail and could not be reached for comment.

"I find it disgusting, I find it reprehensible," Deasy said. "I hope this man spends the rest of his life in prison."

It is "despicable," Deasy said, "when you are entrusted with the lives of our youth, and you violate that."

Deasy said the school district was notified of the allegations on Jan. 7, 2011, and Berndt was removed from the classroom the same day. He was terminated by the district at its next meeting.

Martin Sandoval, who has been the principal at Miramonte for about a year, added: “This is an unfortunate incident that has occurred. I’d like to express my deepest sympathies to the families.”

Sandoval’s description of Berndt: “He was a classroom teacher who taught. He did his work.”

Ramapo cop injured in MVA

A Ramapo police officer suffered minor injuries this morning when his cruiser was involved in a crash with another car on North Airmont Road

MONTEBELLO - A Ramapo police officer suffered minor injuries Tuesday morning when her cruiser was involved in a crash with another car.

Officer Yolanda Tyson was driving a marked patrol vehicle east on North Airmont Road near Par Road at 10:20 a.m. when it collided with a 2008 Toyota Highlander going west.

Zvi Swiatycki, 50, of Monsey, was the only person in the Toyota.

The SUV appeared to hit the side of the cruiser, with the police car ending up off the road in the woods.

The officer was taken by Ramapo Valley Ambulance to Good Samaritan Hospital, where she was treated and released. Swiatycki declined medical attention, according to police.

No tickets were issued. Police are investigating the cause of the crash.

AG Eric Holder Threatened With Contempt charge

The head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is threatening to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress if he fails to comply with congressional subpoenas for documents.

Holder has until Feb. 9 to comply.

In a four-page letter to Holder, Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., claims the Department of Justice has "misrepresented facts and misled Congress," which began its investigation of Operation Fast and Furious one year ago.

Issa claims Holder's "actions lead us to conclude that the department is actively engaged in a cover-up" because it refuses to comply with previous subpoenas.

If the department continues to obstruct the congressional inquiry by not providing documents and information, this committee will have no alternative but to move forward with proceedings to hold you in contempt of Congress," Issa warned in the letter.

Issa claims the the Justice Department has stonewalled the congressional investigation of the gun-running scandal that sent some 2,000 weapons to the Mexican cartels with the assistance of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

He wrote that Holder has only provided Congress with 6,000 pages of documents while providing some 80,000 to the Department's inspector general, which Holder requested investigate last year.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Issa's Senate counterpart in the inquiry, said Tuesday that the documents sent to Congress are not even 10 percent of those received at the inspector general's office but the department has yet to explain why it is "withholding each of those 74,000 pages."

Grassley, responding to a Democratic minority report out of the committee on Tuesday, suggested that nothing coming from the Justice Department should be taken at face value, especially since Holder initially denied "gunwalking" had occurred but has since admitted to the operation.

Documents turned over late Friday night indicate (Criminal Division chief Lanny Breuer) was still discussing plans to let guns cross the border with Mexican officials on the same day the department denied to me in writing that ATF would ever let guns walk," Grassley said.

He stood mute as this administration fought tooth and nail to keep any of this information from coming out for a year. It will take a lot more than a knee-jerk defense from their political allies in Congress to restore public trust in the leadership of the Justice Department. The American people want to see those who failed to act be held accountable," he said.

Mossad chief holds secret U.S. meetings on Iran nuclear threat,

Mossad chief Tamir Pardo

During a broadcasted meeting of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, CIA Director, panel Chairperson indicate they met Tamir Pardo in Washington this week; U.S. official: Iran willing to attack U.S. targets if threatened.

Mossad chief Tamir Pardo held secret talks with top U.S. officials in recent days, cursory comments made during a public Senate hearing indicated on Tuesday.

The clandestine Washington visit was exposed during a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which was participated by CIA Director David Petraeus, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate panel.

During the meeting, Feinstein asked Clapper whether or not Israel intended to strike Iran's nuclear facilities, with the top U.S. intelligence official answering that he would rather discuss the issue behind closed doors.

Feinstein then indicated that she had met Mossad chief Pardo earlier in the week in Washington, with Petraeus adding that he too met Pardo and cited what he called Israel's growing concern over Iran's nuclear ambitions

The CIA chief also said that it was important to note that Israel considered a nuclear Iran as an existential threat.

The entire exchange was broadcasted live on American television.

Referring to the Iran's nuclear progress, Clapper told the Senate panel that "Iran's technical advancement, particularly in uranium enrichment, strengthens our assessment that Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons, making the central issue its political will to do so."

These advancements contribute to our judgment that Iran is technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon, if it so chooses," Clapper added, saying that the U.S. judged "Iran would likely choose missile delivery as its preferred method of delivering a nuclear weapon."

Clapper also indicated that the 2011 Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi envoy to the U.S. indicated that the Iranian leadership "changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime."

We are also concerned about Iranian plotting against U.S. or allied interests overseas. Iran's willingness to sponsor future attacks in the United States or against our interests abroad probably will be shaped by Tehran's evaluation of the costs it bears for the plot against the ambassador as well as Iranian leaders' perceptions of U.S. threats against the regime," Clapper added.

News of the Mossad chief's reported Washington visit came as, also on Sunday, President Shimon Peres said that Iran's "evil" leadership mustn't be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons capability.

Referring to Iran's contentious nuclear program, the president called the issue "ours and the world's central problem at this time, accusing Iran of attempting to achieve regional and "even global hegemony."

Nuclear weapons mustn't be allowed to fall into the hands of Iran's Ayatollah regime," Peres said, calling Iran's religious leadership the "most morally corrupt regime in the world."

Hinting at the possibility of a strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, the president reiterated the Israeli stance, according to which "no option should be ruled out in our dealing with the Iranian danger. This is an existential threat."

It is the duty of the international community to prevent evil and nuclear [weapons] from coming together. That is the obligations of most of the leaders of the free world, one which they must meet," Peres said.

Beit Shemesh victim: Why were my assailants released?

Suspects were released from custody

Aharonovtich and Mashiah in Beit Shemesh

Woman assaulted by haredi extremists demands answers from internal security minister who pledges not to allow any violations of the law. 'This will not be Iran,' he says

Natalie Mashiah, the woman who was assaulted by haredi extremists in Beit Shemesh last week, is demanding some answers. Meeting with Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Jerusalem District Police chief Nisso Shaham, Mashiah demanded to know why her assailants had been released from custody.

Mashiah was assaulted by dozens of haredi extremists last week as she tried to post signs in Beit Shemesh. The assailants hurled stones at her, poured bleach in her car and spat on her. They also punctured her tires, stole her car keys and broke her windshield. "I thought I was going to die," she later said.

Aharonovitch and Shaham met Mashiah during a tour of Beit Shemesh. "I want to know why there isn’t enough manpower," she said. "When I called the police two terrified officers came. I pointed to my assailants and the officers told me not to worry and that by midnight all 15 attackers would be arrested. If we had enough officers who weren't so terrified maybe things would look differently.

She added, "The haredim know that it only takes a day or two before they are released after such an incident."

During the suspects' remand hearing, the court denied the police's request to extend their remand. One suspect was released on bail, another under restrictions and two to house arrest.

Minister Aharonovitch insisted that everything was done according to procedure. "Once an investigation is completed and there is no further need to hold the suspect, the court releases them until an indictment is filed. There is no need to hold various suspects in custody," he stressed.

He nevertheless stated, "I will not allow any violation of the law, any exclusion of women or spitting. This will not be Iran. Every person shall conduct themselves in a manner fitting for a free and democratic country.

The minister further added, "We are talking about very radical people. Not all the haredi public breaks the law, only small parts of it. Those radicals must be handled and the police are already handling some of them.

He then pledged not to allow "one sidewalk for seculars and one for the haredim. This will not happen in the State of Israel. There are no closed neighborhoods for specific groups.

He stressed that the police will back the Beit Shemesh Municipality in preventing women's exclusion signs from being posted.

Orthodox Jew Promoted To Personnel Deputy Commissioner To The NYPD

New York - On Thursday, New York Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly announced the promotion of Arnold S. Wechsler to Deputy Commissioner, Personnel. The appointment marks the first time in 40 years a civilian member of the service will oversee all personnel matters for the Department. Wechsler was sworn in during the Department’s promotion ceremony Friday.

“No one brings more dedication and experience to the field of human resources than the man who joined the Department 38 years ago this week as a management intern and rose through the ranks to become the Employee Management Division’s Assistant Commissioner,” Commissioner Kelly said. ”Commissioner Wechsler has the incomparable expertise to handle the demands and complexities of the NYPD’s 50,000-employee organization.”

Commissioner Wechsler joined the New York City Police Department on January 28, 1974, as a management intern in the Support Services Bureau. In that same year, he was promoted to assistant personnel examiner. In September 1978 he was promoted to Associate Staff Analyst; in July 1981, to Deputy Director of Civilianization; in October 1985, to Deputy Director, Employee Management Division/Employment Section; in January 1995, to Director, Employee Management Division, and in September 2006 to Assistant Commissioner, Employee Management Division.

Besides his many years in the Employee Management Division, Commissioner Wechsler also served in the Support Services Bureau, the Employment Section, the Communications Division, the Office of Civilianization, and the Personnel Bureau. In addition, he served as a member of the Civilian Complaint Review Board from April 1989 until July 1993.

In his new position, Commissioner Wechsler will be responsible for the investigation, assessment, hiring, promotion, assignment, health and well-being of all uniform and civilian personnel in the New York City Police Department, as well as maintenance and safekeeping of all personnel records. He will oversee the Personnel Bureau, which is comprised of uniform and civilian investigative, medical, professional, and administrative support personnel assigned to six major divisions and sections: the Employee Management Division, Applicant Processing Division, Medical Division, Personnel Orders Section, Recruitment Section and Staff Services Section. Commissioner Wechsler will oversee the recruitment, hiring and advancement of all uniform and civilian personnel.

Commissioner Wechsler graduated from Brooklyn College summa cum laude and magna cum laude with bachelors and masters degrees in History. He and his wife, Faye, have been married for 40 years and have three married sons and numerous ainiklach.

Commissioner Wechsler’s predecessor, Chief Thomas V. Dale, was recently named Nassau County police commissioner.

NYPD Cops banned from wearing NYPD logo merchandise

An NYPD logo cap, for civilian use only

NYPD cops may be proud to wear blue, but now they can’t wear any merchandise emblazoned with the NYPD logo, according to a new directive by Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

The interim order, issued Jan. 19 and “effective immediately,” prohibits the city’s 35,000 cops from wearing any hats or T-shirts that sport the department’s insignia that weren’t issued by the NYPD.

“Wearing any item of apparel which contains a Department logo or shield or in any way identifies its wearer with the New York City Police Department unless approved by the Uniform and Equipment Review Committee prior to being worn by a member of the service, uniformed or civilian, on or off duty,” the order states.

The order also “extends to the use of the Department logo or shield in artistic or mural forms, in caricature or cartoon-like representation,” according to the paperwork.

So, if a cop wishes to purchase any NYPD-stamped merchandise — which is sold at hundreds of souvenir shops around the city — the officer must have written permission to do so.

One police source confirmed that the new restrictions came on the heels of Kelly spotting an officer wearing a T-shirt with the NYPD logo and a controversial quote.

Although the order was recently issued, another police source said that the restrictions follow a long history of cops wearing controversial merchandise bearing the NYPD logo.

“This is nothing new,” the source said. “I remember years ago some Brooklyn homicide guys got in trouble doing the same thing.”

The source said the officers donned T-shirts with a picture of NYPD detectives standing over a dead body. Emblazoned on the shirts was the expression: “Brooklyn Homicide — Our Day Begins When Yours Ends.”

Neither the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association nor the NYPD had an immediate comment.

Mayor Bloomberg weighed in, however, saying it was Kelly’s call.

"He should set the standards. You can't have it both ways. PD, we say that they're on 24/7. When they're not officially at work ... they're still police officers and that's one of the things that enhances the safety in our city,” he said. “And so they're not totally independent even when they're not on duty. ... I'll leave it to Ray."

Cops Banned From Wearing NYPD Gear:

private investigator faces gun charge

Scott Bernstein, 53, a private investigator

RAMAPO — A self-proclaimed bounty hunter with a history of arrests has been charged with possessing an unlicensed gun and menacing people he was supposedly interviewing as potential interns at his Wesley Hills office, police said Monday.

Scott Bernstein, 53, a private investigator who posed as a police officer in the Laci Peterson murder case in California and was featured on a CBS’ “60 Minutes” report on bounty hunters, was accused of brandishing a pistol in a menacing manner at two people at his office on Jan. 5, police said.

The two people became scared by his actions and reported the incident to the police, Ramapo Detective Sgt. John Lynch said Monday.

Bernstein was interviewing people at his home-office at 87 Spook Rock Road, Lynch said.

Based on his felony conviction in California and misdemeanor convictions in New York, Bernstein doesn’t have a permit to possess firearms, Lynch said.

“There’s no record of him having a pistol permit,” Lynch said. “We went and obtained an arrest warrant for him and search warrant for his home-office.”

Police charged Bernstein with one count of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and two counts of second-degree menacing

Bernstein’s lawyer, William Reddy, said the charges would be challenged in court. Reddy said the complainants were slow to call the police and the charges fabricated, which would mean the warrants were obtained without legal cause.

“As per documents drafted by the police, it appears that the persons who accused him of menacing waited more than a week before reporting it to the police,” Reddy said. “If they really were threatened with a weapon, they would have reported it immediately. This matter will be defended in court, and the truth will prevail.”

Ramapo officers arrested Bernstein with the assistance of the Rockland Rescue Entry and Counter Terrorism team, the county’s SWAT team.

Lynch said the officers found two semiautomatic pistols and chuka sticks, a martial arts weapon, during the search.

Bernstein has been arrested before in Ramapo and served community service for pulling over a driver and causing $936 worth of damage to her car in 2005.

In 2005, Bernstein, in a plea agreement with prosecutors, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal mischief and two counts of second-degree criminal impersonation, misdemeanors.

Bernstein admitted to pulling over cars — including an off-duty South Nyack-Grand View police officer — while using his black Dodge Intrepid, which was equipped with emergency lights and sirens.

The incidents occurred in January and February.

In California, Bernstein was convicted of posing as a police officer and flashing a badge to get information related to the disappearance of Laci Peterson, whose husband, Scott, was eventually convicted of her murder and the murder of her unborn baby.

Sheldon Adelson denies involvement in special Nevada caucus for orthodox Jews

Major Republican donor and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife did not push for a special Saturday evening Nevada Republican caucus for orthodox Jews, a spokesman for Adelson said in a note to reporters Monday evening.

In short, they had no involvement,” spokesman Ron Reese said in his memo.

Last week, the Clark County Republican Party approved an evening caucus for Jews and Seventh-day Adventists. Speculation soon swirled that Adelson, a high-profile Jew and strong supporter of Newt Gingrich, was involved in pushing for the special caucus.

Reese, however, said the decision came after an orthodox member of the Jewish community brought up the issue at a board meeting of the Adelson Educational Campus, a private school spanning kindergarten through high school.

The voter said he would not be able to participate in the caucuses if they were only held during the day, which is the Jewish Sabbath. Orthodox Jews do not drive on the Sabbath, and the only activities they are supposed to take part in are attending religious services.

While Adelson and his wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson, were at the same board meeting as the voter, Reese noted: “For the record, Mr. and Dr. Adelson are not orthodox, thus they could participate in the caucus regardless of time or location.”

“The venue was selected after the person who originally started this process contacted the head master of the Adelson Educational Campus to ask about possible availability. The head master said it would not be a problem as the Campus hosts a variety of community and civic functions,” Reese said. “At no point did either Mr. Adelson or Dr. Adelson provide any input into the process or intervene in any way. They were informed by the head master of the school after the final decision had been agreed upon by the Clark County GOP.”

Adelson and his wife are major Nevada Republican benefactors and have become key backers of Gingrich’s presidential bid, giving this month a combined $10 million to the Super PAC supporting his candidacy, Winning Our Future.

Austrian Freedom Party leader says far-rightists are ‘the new Jews’

Head of Austrian Freedom Party Heinz-Christian Strache

VIENNA — Far-right Austrian politicians were widely criticized Monday for comparing protests against a fancy ball that attracts extremists to the Nazis’ persecution of Jews.

Vienna’s Jewish community demanded an investigation into the remarks but the Freedom Pary insisted no harm was meant.

The comments by Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache and an associate were first reported Sunday on the website of the daily Der Standard, but they drew little attention until Monday.

The furor extended the controversy over Friday’s far-right ball, which attracts guests who include the neo-Nazi fringe and was held this year on the same day the world pays tribute to victims of the Holocaust.

Police recorded only isolated violent incidents Friday from demonstrators outside the Viennese palace where the ball was being held. But Strache was quoted as saying the violence was “like Kristallnacht,” referring to the 1938 anti-Semitic riots across Germany and parts of Austria that left streets strewn with broken glass from the windows of Jewish-owned property and synagogues. Kristallnacht was an ominous sign of the Holocaust to follow.

We are the new Jews,” Strache declared to other ball guests, according to Austrian media.

Strache associate Klaus Nittmann, meanwhile, was quoted as saying “whoever works for this ball immediately gets a Jew star pinned on him” — a reference to the yellow stars Jews were forced to wear under Nazi rule.

Austria’s Jewish community demanded that the state prosecutor investigate the comments and urged Strache to give up his parliamentary immunity from legal action.

Karl Oelligner of the opposition Green Party suggested that such comments can only come from someone who “has either lost his marbles or is trying to trivialize the horrors of Nazi rule.”

Hannes Rauch, whose centrist People’s Party is in the government coalition, called Strache’s words “an open slap in the face for all those who were victims of the criminal National Socialist regime.”

Freedom Party officials dismissed the criticism. Spokesman Harald Vilimsky spoke of “artificial and ridiculous outrage,” adding that Strache only meant the denunciations of ball supporters and attacks on their property are reminiscent of “the horrible reports about the sinister era of National Socialism.”

Strache, he said, did not intend to play down “the agony that was forced upon the Jews.”

Austria has moved from its postwar portrayal of being Nazi Germany’s first victim to acknowledging that it was Hitler’s willing partner. Most young Austrians reject Nazi ideology and condemn the part their parents might have played in the Holocaust.

At the same time, the rightist-populist Freedom Party — whose supporters range from those disillusioned with more traditional parties to Islamophobes and Holocaust deniers — has become Austria’s second-strongest political force.

Although the annual ball regularly comes under criticism, its overlap this year with worldwide commemorations of the Holocaust had increased the pressure on organizers and attendees.

Because it was listed among other champagne-laced Viennese balls, an Austrian committee reporting to UNESCO, the U.N.’s culture organization, struck all the balls from its list of Austria’s noteworthy traditions earlier this month.

Authorities investigate 'anthrax' and Obama threat aimed at Arizona Sheriff Arpaio

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's

PHOENIX – A bomb squad was called out to the downtown offices of controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Phoenix Monday, after a suspicious envelope was found to contain an unidentified white powdery substance.

Arpaio said the letter, which he found at his home over the weekend, was addressed to the White House with his home address as the return address, The Arizona Republic reported.

The man who bills himself as "America's Toughest Sheriff" said he was immediately suspicious because he had never sent anything to the White House.

When deputies opened the envelope at their offices Monday morning, they found a white powder inside and a note purporting to be from Arpaio to President Barack Obama.

The note said, "Resign or die. Sincerely, Joe Arpaio," and, "Here's some anthrax for you," Arpaio told reporters.

The 19th floor of the Sheriff's Office was temporarily evacuated after the powder was found, but Arpaio said the Phoenix Fire Department was 98 percent sure that the white powder was not toxic.

While the envelope is not believed to ever have been delivered to the White House, the Secret Service told FOX News Channel they were aware of incident and are taking the appropriate investigative steps.

Arpaio is never far from the headlines, especially over his office's handling of immigration matters.

His Maricopa County jail officers were barred last month by the federal government from checking whether inmates were in the county illegally after the release of a scathing Department of Justice report.

The report said Arpaio's office has a pattern of racially profiling Latinos, basing immigration enforcement on racially charged citizen complaints and punishing Hispanic jail inmates for speaking Spanish.

NY Archbishop Timothy Dolan At Western Wall

Archbishop Timothy Dolan, listening to a guided tour, leaves his written prayer in a crack at the Western Wall in Jerusalem yesterday

New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan dropped to one knee and prayed in the rain yesterday at the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism, as the cardinal-designate continued on his spiritual pilgrimage in the Holy Land.

It was very moving. I think every person of faith longs to go to the Western Wall,” Dolan told The Post.

The wall is a special place in the spirituality of Jews, but I think everyone in the Judeo-Christian tradition feels especially close to the Lord here.”

Dolan’s visit to the wall, part of a nine-day trip to the region with 50 priests from New York, comes before his Feb. 18 ordination by Pope Benedict XVI into the College of Cardinals in Rome.

Following tradition, Dolan inscribed a prayer on paper known to Jews as a “kvitel” and placed it within one of the wall’s cracks.

It was a personal note. I promised my Jewish friends in New York to remember them in my prayers, and in my touch and in what I wrote,” Dolan said.

In my note I asked for God’s forgiveness for anything I may have ever done to fracture the unity he intended for his children. I asked for God’s mercy and his blessing for my Jewish friends.”

Caught up in their own prayers, the other worshippers did not seem to notice Dolan, who was wearing the scarlet zucchetto skullcap that signifies a bishop.

Dolan had led a morning Mass at the nearby Church of all Nations, also called the Church of the Agony, an imposing golden-stone structure supported by Corinthian columns.

It contains the bedrock where, according to tradition, Jesus prayed.

Leading the Mass, Dolan stood behind the altar and the priests, dressed in white, prayed around the bedrock in a semicircle.

Afterward, the other priests in Dolan’s entourage defied the rain and headed to the top of the Mount of Olives.

Today, Dolan plans to attend Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and visit Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, before visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

TSA finds devices at airport, waits 6 hours to call the cops

These possible pipe bombs, confiscated from a flier’s bag, were left lying around as hundreds passed by.

Clueless TSA agents found two possible pipe bombs in a passenger’s luggage yesterday at La Guardia Airport — and kept them in a public area for six hours without notifying cops, The Post has learned.

The Transportation Security Administration bozos at one point left the pipes — which eventually turned out to be harmless — resting on a radiator as hundreds of fliers passed through security nearby, sources said.

“Six hours to report a potential bomb? It’s outrageous,” one Port Authority police official fumed.

The stunning security screw-up, a violation of TSA policy of alerting police to all suspicious activity, began at about 11:30 a.m. at the central terminal when the male flier’s bags passed through an X-ray machine, the sources said.

“When I saw the image, I took a step backward and said, ‘What’s that?!’ ” one startled TSA employee said, according to police sources.

Another screener saw the objects, one gold, the other silver, and both 6-inches long with “springs” inside, and thought they could be bombs, the sources said.

The screeners promptly called their supervisor. He questioned the passenger, who claimed the pipes were for homeopathic medicine.

The supervisor bought the story and let the man board his flight without taking down any information, the sources said.

The flier left the pipes behind and it wasn’t until 3 p.m., with the devices still lying around the screening area, when the supervisor finally realized he should notify someone.

He called a TSA bomb specialist — who took another two hours to arrive.

The expert decided the pipes could, indeed, be dangerous and notified the PAPD bomb squad. It shut down the area and hauled the objects away to the police bomb range in the Bronx, where they were found to be not a threat.

A TSA spokesman later insisted the items were “voluntarily surrendered” and the agency notified cops only “out of an abundance of caution.”

Appeals Court Upholds Conviction of Jewish Federation Gunman

Naveed Haq

Seattle, WA - An appeals court has upheld the conviction of Jewish Federation gunman Naveed Haq, who claimed his civil rights were violated during his trial.

On July 27, 2006, Haq walked into the Jewish Federation offices in Belltown with two pistols in a laptop bag, and demanded to see the center’s manager.

When the manager came out to meet Haq, he began shooting, killing one woman and wounding five others. Haq called 911, reported he had hostages, and told a 911 operator he wanted to talk to the media to “make a point” about US foreign policy in Iraq and Israel. He surrendered to police after they told him they couldn’t put him on CNN.

During Haq’s first trial in 2008, Haq’s attorneys claimed he was insane, citing Haq’s previous treatment for bipolar disorder. The case ended in a mistrial, but prosecutors retried the case, and a jury convicted Haq on aggravated murder, attempted murder, unlawful imprisonment, and malicious harassment charges. The judge sentenced Haq to life in prison.

Haq appealed his case, claiming, among other things, that prosecutors improperly used recordings of incriminating jail phone calls during his trial, in which Haq told his mother ”I did the right thing,” “I got the Jews” and “I’m proud of what I did,” throwing some water on his attorneys’ claims that he was legally insane and unable to make the distinction between right and wrong.

Today, a state appeals court rejected Haq’s claim, noting that Haq and his relatives knew their jailhouse conversations were being recorded, and that inmates have a “reduced expectation of privacy.” The appeal decision also includes this awesome quote explaining why the court rejected Haq’s claim that it was up to prosecutors to prove he wasn’t crazy: “The law presumes a man sane and possessed of his reasoning faculties until the contrary is proved.”

Monday, January 30, 2012


Yisrael Chazin גיוואלד! - ישראל חזין

New York - Misaskim and FBI Partner for Cultural Training Session

Misaskim representatives conduct a training session at the FBI New York Field Office.

New York - Over 70 FBI agents from the New York Field Office were present at a cultural sensitivity training session held by Misaskim on January 17th in a continued effort by the bureau to better understand the customs and traditions of various cultural groups that live in New York City.

The seventy five minute training session, which was held at a field office in lower Manhattan, was attended by several senior members of the New York Field Office as well as many newly graduated members of the FBI Academy. Among the items discussed at the session were properly treatment of a deceased body, preventing autopsies whenever possible, the need for speedy burial, handling of a Sefer Torah that is rendered irreparable.

The meeting went very well and we received great feedback from the FBI. “They told us that the meeting was a real eye opener, opening up an entire world for them. They had no idea what many of the requirements were in dealing with terrorist attacks, hate crimes or vandalism against a synagogue from the perspective of Jewish law and tradition.”

Misaskim and the FBI hope to hold another joint training session in the near future in order to educate another group of agents how to better understand the unique needs of the Jewish community.

Pilot Dies From Propeller Strike

Tragic: The accident happened while the victim was trying to hand crank the propeller, witnesses said

Pilot was struck in the head by a moving airplane propeller

San Diego - A pilot died Monday after he was struck in the head by a moving airplane propeller, according to officials.

The single-engine plane pilot got out of his aircraft in the ramp area of Gillespie Field and was then hit in the head by the propeller at around 8:30 a.m.

He was taken to the hospital with critical injuries where he died later, according to airport spokesperson Ian Gregor.

"We believe he got out of the plane to manually start the propeller," said Gregor in a statement. "When the propeller engaged, it struck him in the head."

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate this accident, said Gregor.

The cause of the incident is unknown at this time.

LAPD called to Kim Kardashian's home over job snafu

Los Angeles Police Department officers briefly detained a man outside Kim Kardashian's home Sunday after a misunderstanding over a job the man thought he had with the reality TV star.

LAPD officials said the man flew in from North Carolina, mistakenly believing he had a producing job lined up with Kardashian. When he arrived at her house, those inside said there was no job and called police, according to a law enforcement source.

LAPD officers arrived at the home near Beverly Hills and found the man with his luggage outside Kardashian's home.

The officers determined he was not a threat to anyone and gave him a ride back to the airport, where he planned to go back home to North Carolina.

Officials said they are not sure how the misunderstanding over the job occurred.

California Jewish man gets 6 years for foiled murder plot

LOS ANGELES — If Eugene Temkin had heeded a warning by FBI agents two years ago to not kill a former business partner, he wouldn't have found himself in front of a judge on Monday, being sentenced to six years in prison for hatching a murder-for-hire plot.

The 51-year-old man from Goleta, Calif., tried twice to carry out the hit on Michael Hershman, with the second attempt just four months after the FBI learned about the diabolical plan and warned him to stay away. In both instances, Temkin unwittingly tried to hire an undercover law enforcement officer to carry out the hit.

He was convicted last year of three murder-for-hire-related counts. Federal prosecutors sought a 20-year prison sentence, but U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson noted Temkin had no prior criminal record. He also noted that Temkin contemplated the hit on Hershman for more than six years but never followed through, seeming intent during some instances and in others "just blowing steam."

In the end, however, Temkin "was walking a tightrope, a thin line and he went over that line," Wilson said.

Temkin, shackled in handcuffs, asked for forgiveness during the hearing but never directly mentioned Hershman, who sat only a few feet away.

"I seek forgiveness from those who were adversely affected by my actions," said Temkin, who on several occasions looked in Hershman's direction.

The case was striking because of Temkin's desire to destroy Hershman for a business deal that soured nearly a decade earlier. Court documents showed the fear, helplessness and frustration of Hershman and his family, who said they were terrorized and traumatized while getting little help from authorities.

For Hershman and his family, the last several years have been painful and agonizing. His 20-year-old son died from an accidental drug overdose in late 2010, and he slept with a machete because Temkin hired people to stalk and harass him, Hershman said. His college-age daughter has been placed in a psychiatric clinic in Texas where she has hallucinations and believes she's been kidnapped by Temkin, he said.

"The relentless problems and things Mr. Temkin has inflicted, I wouldn't wish it upon anyone in this room, not even on Mr. Temkin himself," Hershman said.

The men met when they were selling drugs in the 1980s, according to court documents. In 2001, Temkin lent Hershman $500,000 — money from a second mortgage on an apartment building he owned — to invest in a casino in Equatorial Guinea. When Hershman was unable to repay Temkin right away because the casino had not fared well, Temkin sued his then-business partner after losing the apartment complex in foreclosure.

The lawsuit was settled in 2006, but authorities said Temkin wanted about $5 million for unrealized profits he would have received had he sold the apartment building before the real estate market crashed.

Temkin repeatedly threatened and harassed Hershman and his family, investigators said. Pictures and other heirlooms were stolen from Hershman's storage unit. Their emails were hacked, and his children said they were followed by strange men.

Temkin was never charged in connection with those incidents, but Hershman obtained a restraining order against him in 2007, saying Temkin made gun signals at him with his hands, according to an affidavit.

Hershman said he pleaded with law enforcement agencies to investigate Temkin but they did nothing.

The investigation took a turn in late 2009 when one of Temkin's friends approached Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives saying Temkin wanted to extort money from Hershman before killing him. A series of meetings were arranged between an undercover detective posing as a hit man and Temkin, who gave varying scenarios of how Hershman should be killed.

One plot involved a crew kidnapping Hershman and his family in the Dominican Republic and having the undercover officer kill them.

"Hang him from a door, throw him from a fishing boat, all works for me," Temkin said during one of the recorded conversations with the investigator.

In March 2010, FBI agents met with Temkin who told them about the dispute but denied making threats. The agents then told Temkin not to threaten, hurt or kill Hershman, according to court documents. Temkin agreed.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said it's not uncommon for law enforcement agencies to receive cases where death threats are made, but "the government has to prove a legal intent that someone planned to go through with it."

Temkin apparently wasn't dissuaded, because several months later authorities learned he was still interested in killing Hershman. Another undercover officer, acting as a hit man, began meeting with Temkin, who indicated he had another hired hand to kill Hershman but would call the officer if plans fell through.

In July 2010, Temkin gave the officer the green light to kill Hershman, his wife and a business partner, authorities said. Temkin provided the undercover officer with Hershman's passport number, photographs of the would-be victims and 30 $100 bills for the job expected to cost $30,000.

Temkin was arrested six days later at his home outside of Santa Barbara.

In arguing for a sentence no greater than six years, defense attorney Richard Callahan said Temkin called off plans to kill Hershman after the meeting with FBI agents.

"While Mr. Temkin was angry and fixated on Hershman's debt, he never took action on it for almost 10 years despite clear opportunities to do so," Callahan wrote. It wasn't until the FBI intervened that Temkin "crossed the line."

Wilson said he's unsure if Temkin truly wanted to follow through on his plans.

"No one knows exactly what was in his mind," he said.

Did Michelle Obama spend $50,000 on lingerie shopping spree?

The White House shot down rumors that Capitol Hill's leading lady spent about $50K at an upscale lingerie store

The White House is slamming claims that Michelle Obama singlehandedly boosted sales at a British lingerie store with an outrageous shopping spree.

The first lady's director of communications shot down rumors that she ran up a $50,000 bill at Agent Provocateur last year.

This story is 100% false," Kristina Schake told the Daily News.

Britain's The Daily Mail, The Sun and the Telegraph all reported the story, claiming Obama was the reason the risqué shop saw a 12% sales hike last year.

The alleged reports also claim that the first lady was joined by the Queen of Qatar, Sheikha Mozah — and that the pair shut down the store's Madison Ave. location in New York for their shopping extravaganza.

Many political and business insiders suspect the Agent Provocateur floated the rumor of Obama’s shopping spree as a publicity stunt.

If the leading ladies did indeed go on a $50,000 lingerie bender at the high-end shop, their hands would have been full.

According to Agent Provocateur's website, $50,000 would have bought 455 "Birthday Suit" thongs, 135 of the company's classic corsets, or 102 sexy slips.

Joe Biden admits he told Obama not to kill Osama Bin Laden.

Vice-president Joe Biden has admitted that he told Obama not to launch a raid to kill Osama bin Laden.

Speaking to a gathering of Democrats from the House of Representatives in Cambridge, Maryland on Friday, the Mr Biden offered one of the most complete accounts so far of the counsel given to Obama by his closest advisers.

In video obtained by Fox Nation, Mr Biden praised President Barack Obama as having a 'backbone like ramrod'.

He gave an insight into the discussions held about whether or not to carry out the SEAL raid, giving credit to his boss.

During his speech, Biden took the hushed audience through what happened.

The President, he went around the table with all the senior people including the Joint, the Chiefs of Staff.

He said, 'I have to make this decision what is your opinion?'. He started with the National Security adviser, the Secretary of State and he ended with me.

Every single person in that room hedged their bet, except Leon Panetta.

Leon said, 'Go'. Everyone else said 49, 51, this...It got to me.

Joe what do you think? I said, 'You know I didn't know we have so many economists around the table.

We owe the man a direct answer. Mr President, my suggestion is don't go. We have to do two more things to see if he's there'.

Panetta was then CIA director. Bob Gates, Panetta's predecessor as Pentagon chief, has previously

said that he had serious reservations about whether to launch the raid without the certainty bin Laden was in the compound near Abbotobad.

Biden continued: 'He walked out and said, 'I'll give you my decision'. The next morning he came down to the diplomatic entrance getting in the helicopter, I believe to go to Michigan, I'm not positive about that, and he turned to Tom Donilon [the National Security Adviser]and said, 'Go'.

The raid went ahead in May last year and bin Laden was killed after Navy SEALs stormed the compound.

Biden said that 'not just the lives of those brave warriors, but literally the Presidency' was at stake when Obama made the decision.

In addition, Biden said, the judgement of history would have been harsh because 'knowing that as loyal as everyone is around that table' later on books would have been written stating: 'I didn't tell him to do that.'

Pushing back on the Republican critique of Obama based on an ill-advised advisor's description of the President's technique as 'leading from behind'.
Biden said that Obama 'pulled the trigger....he doesn’t lead from behind, he just leads.

That Missing $1.2 Billion in MF Global Money Is Probably Gone for Good

Former chairman and CEO of MF Global Jon Corzine

Nearly three months after MF Global Holdings collapsed, officials hunting for an estimated $1.2 billion in missing customer money increasingly believe that much of it might never be recovered, according to people familiar with the investigation.

As the sprawling probe that includes regulators, criminal and congressional investigators, and court-appointed trustees grinds on, the findings so far suggest that a "significant amount" of the money could have "vaporized" as a result of chaotic trading at MF Global during the week before the company's Oct. 31 bankruptcy filing, a person close to the investigation was cited as saying Monday.

Many officials now believe certain employees at MF Global dipped into the "customer segregated account" that the New York company was supposed to keep separate from its own assets -- and then used the money to meet demands for more collateral or to unfreeze assets at banks and other counterparties as they grew more concerned about their financial exposure to MF Global.

Investigators also are examining other scenarios that have gained traction in recent weeks, such as the possibility that MF Global suffered steep losses on investments made using customer money. Officials investigating the case have looked into whether such investments were appropriate under rules at the time.

As money poured out of MF Global, much of it likely passed through J.P. Morgan Chase and other banks where the securities firm had accounts, as well as trade-clearing partners such as Depository Trust & Clearing and LCH.Clearnet Group, people familiar with the matter said.

Those companies have denied being knowingly in possession of any missing MF Global money, and any efforts to make them fill the hole would face daunting hurdles. And because the firms usually were middlemen between MF Global and other counterparties, the funds they touched were then scattered widely, complicating the search.

Of the $6 billion kept at MF Global by farmers, hedge funds, floor traders and other customers when panic erupted over its exposure to European sovereign debt and shaky financial outlook, about $5.3 billion has been located, according to James Giddens, the bankruptcy trustee for the securities firm's US-based brokerage operation.

But hundreds of millions of customer dollars are potentially snarled in litigation with other parts of MF Global, including its UK arm, and US officials might never be able to recover those funds. As a result, Giddens believes the shortfall is at least $1.2 billion, though regulators at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and CME Group, parent of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and New York Mercantile Exchange, have estimated the total is smaller than that.

Lawmakers have pushed for answers from Jon S. Corzine, the former New Jersey governor and Goldman Sachs Group chairman who led MF Global into its big European bet and was CEO when the company failed.

On Thursday, a House Financial Services subcommittee will zero in on the securities firm's risk-management practices and the role of credit-rating firms in the collapse. Among the people scheduled to testify at the hearing is Michael Roseman, a former chief risk officer at MF Global who raised serious concerns several times in 2010 about the growing bet on European bonds by Corzine.

So far, Giddens' office has returned about 72 percent of the money in customers' US accounts when MF Global filed for bankruptcy at the end of October. Money in accounts outside the US remains frozen, and officials have received few big breaks in the case.

Greg Kelly rape probe expected to wrap up quickly.

The DA's probe into whether TV anchor host Greg Kelly date-raped a woman last year is expected to wrap up quickly.

“It could be over this week — no later than next week,” said one source.

“They don't want this thing to linger at all. It’s the police commissioner’s son: they are going to do everything they can to bring this to an end.”

The politically sensitive case is in the hands of Martha Bashford, the widely respected boss of the Manhattan DA’s sex-crime unit.

Linda Fairstein, who previously held the job, called Bashford the “best sex-crimes prosecutor in the country.”

Fairstein, who is skeptical of the woman’s claims, said “based on my own experience, I don’t think it will take a very long time” to establish whether a crime was committed.

Kelly, a former Marine fighter jet pilot and the anchor of “Good Day New York,” insists he is innocent.

Investigators are still combing through phone records, surveillance tapes and other evidence, including flirty text messages the woman sent Kelly both before and after their Oct. 8 encounter.

The 30-year-old paralegal, who reported last week that she was date-raped by Greg Kelly that day and subsequently had an abortion, was reportedly urged to file charges by her angry boyfriend.

The boyfriend, who confronted the NYPD commissioner about his son at a recent public event, is a larger-than-life character who has sailed around the world, won marathons and swam with sharks.

Not much appears to intimidate him.

The rugged, 48-year-old has made a living as bartender, teacher, photographer and even beekeeper.

He is a rugby player whose amateur team plays hard and parties harder. They proudly take responsibility for single-handedly ending a famous restaurant chain’s all-you-can-drink policy.

The Daily News is not naming him in the context of a sex-assault case.

Along with a circle of athletic buddies that include a hedge fund analyst and a reality show contestant, he set two world records last year.

He was also one of the 200 fastest runners in last year’s New York City Marathon.

According to a 2009 interview, he is an expert sailor who once set off on a two-year solo trip around the world. He ran a beach bar on a remote Pacific island and relishes telling of the time he fought off a shark while diving.

Sources have said that when he learned that his girlfriend had had an abortion after her encounter with Kelly, he was furious.

He went to confront the police commissioner at a recent public event and said to him, “Your son ruined my girlfriend's life.”

According to police spokesman Paul Browne, Kelly asked him what he meant, and when the boyfriend said there were too many people around to talk, Kelly told him to write him a letter.

NYPD detective fatally shoots man during botched mugging

The scene of the shooting on Grove St, this morning

An off-duty police detective fatally shot a mugger in Brooklyn late Sunday night, officials said.

The incident unfolded on Grove St. near Broadway in Bushwick about 11:50 p.m. Two men tried to rob the cop, who was walking to the subway to go to work at Brooklyn North Nightwatch, police said.

The bandits demanded, “Run your pockets,” a source said.

“One strikes him over the head with a cane, knocking him to the ground, and the other simulates a gun,” the source said. “When he's down, he identifies himself as a police officer."

The confrontation escalated, according to the source.

"He fires once at the guy, striking the guy who hit him with a cane, and the guy who simulated the gun flees," the source said.

The mortally wounded man was taken to Woodhull Hospital, where he died at 12:30 a.m. Monday. His name was not immediately released.

The officer was taken to Wyckoff Hospital for treatment of psychological trauma. His identity was unavailable.

The second suspect was being sought.

The scene of the shooting was swarming with detectives early Monday.

The 83rd Precinct incident marked the third time this month that cops have fatally shot someone in Brooklyn.

Police killed gun-toting carjacker Christopher Kissane in Cypress Hills on Jan. 26.

On Jan. 12, police shot and killed Duane Browne behind his East New York home. It was discovered later that he was packing heat to defend his half-brother, a suspected drug dealer who was being robbed at gunpoint.

Off-Duty Cop Involved In Deadly Brooklyn Shooting:

Monsey - moves to shut down yeshiva & Chabad synagogue

Ohr Torah & Chabad synagogue at 360 Route 306

Monsey — After coming under fierce criticism from Hillcrest firefighters, the mayor today will begin the legal process to shut down a Route 306 religious school that continues teaching children amid what firefighters consider unsafe conditions.

Mayor Lawrence Dessau instructed the village attorney last week to take steps to make sure the building is vacated.

The village’s code enforcement officer did not work Friday, but the mayor said he would visit the school today.

Hillcrest Fire Chief Lloyd Hovelmann said the school is operating without any village approvals for the construction of the building or an addition.

It was unacceptable as far as the village letting this go on,” said Hovelmann, who was among the 10 volunteer firefighters to express outrage about village inaction at a New Hempstead Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday night.

While the lawyer for Ohr Torah and the New Hempstead mayor contend the school has installed adequate fire safety equipment since buying the 10-year-old property in March, the Hillcrest fire chief and other officials countered that’s not enough to ensure the safety of students. All of the interested parties are expected to meet Wednesday.

I am concerned about the violations, the lack of certificate of occupancy and no permits for construction,” said Hovelmann, adding the school should be closed until it gets proper inspections and approvals. “I am concerned for the children.”

Dessau had hoped to work out an agreement with school administrators to bring it up to standards, but Trustee Michael Koplen said the village should not make special exemptions because it risked traveling down a slippery slope.

Koplen said the firefighters on Thursday “excoriated” the board, particularly the mayor, for allowing the building to operate without a certificate of occupancy.

It was one of the more intense board meetings that I’ve attended, and I’ve been on the board for more than 10 years,” he said.

Before the meeting, Dessau said he had given the congregation a “little slack” since “they are working on a site plan.”

I am trying to be compassionate about this and make everyone happy,” he said.

By Thursday night, he had changed his mind.

The firefighters took a “very hard stance,” he said, and he was now following their path.

We were in agreement that we would move ahead as soon as possible to avoid litigation and use diplomacy, but that all fell apart,” Dessau said.

The firefighters argued the original owner constructed the building illegally about 10 years ago without village approvals or permits and it has been expanded over the years. There has been no adequate inspection of the plumbing or electrical wiring or an architect review of the plans, they said.

The school is operating in a single-family zone, inside a 5,282-square-foot building that once had four bedrooms and 4½ baths.

Dessau and the school’s lawyer, Ira M. Emanuel, said they were confident the building is safe and plans for the school will be provided to the village planning and zoning board.

Fire Inspector Christopher Kear, also a Hillcrest firefighter, found the building safe, the mayor and the lawyer said. Kear did not return several phone calls Thursday.

As we sit here today my understanding is there are no building or fire safety code violations,” Emanuel said.

I am satisfied that the fire inspector, who is the guy who has the knowledge and training, is satisfied,” he said.

Both Emanuel and Dessau acknowledged the building doesn’t have a certificate of occupancy. The original owner, Mates Cantor, a rabbi from Australia, built the house without any approvals and permits from the village.

Cantor sold the property to Ohr Torah for $995,000 in March 2011, according to a deed of sale filed with the Rockland County Clerk’s Office. The assessed value is $223,700 and the village property tax is $1,073, according figures from the Village Clerk’s Office.

The firefighters learned about the safety issues and violations after going to a boiler room fire in May near the building’s communal bath, called a mikvah.

Emanuel said the congregation needs to get recommendations from Hovelmann and the Fire Department as part of its plans. Emanuel said Hovelmann won’t meet with him and the congregation, something the fire chief countered was false.

The mayor, school officials, Fire Department and others are scheduled for a meeting Wednesday.

I don’t know what will come out of the meeting,” Dessau said.

Hovelmann said the fire district was looking to get the state code commission involved in ensuring compliance in Ramapo. He noted the fire district’s added attention got the village of New Square to clean up violations.

New Hempstead and Wesley Hills incorporated as villages in 1983 to enforce zoning and fire and safety laws because many thought Ramapo was not.

Residents of those two neighboring villages also wanted to maintain the single-family nature of their communities from the migration of ultra-Orthodox Jews from Monsey.

Gordon Wren Jr., a Hillcrest firefighter and former Ramapo building inspector who is the coordinator of the Rockland Office of Fire and Emergency Services, said localities shouldn’t send the message that people can illegally open a school and then make it legal if they get caught.

You can’t just make a house into a school without licensed people reviewing what was done,” Wren said.

How can the village tell if the work has been done properly inside the walls, if there are no building permits, no Planning Board approvals or inspections?” he said.

Baruch Dayan Emmes – HaRav Shimon Gabbai zt”l

Rabbi Shimon Gabbai zt”l

The Netanya community was shocked to learn of the sudden petira of Rabbi Shimon Gabbai zt”l, 63, a known giant in the Netanya bal tshuva movement. The rav was attending a kenos rabbonim at Ginosar Hotel in the north, which was also attended by Israel’s chief rabbis shlita. The rav got up for tikun chatzos, and according to reports, collapsed immediately thereafter. Emergency medical service medics attempted to resuscitate the rav, but were unsuccessful.

Corresponded Dovid Alon of the Netanya Hadera Kol Ha’Ir publication referred to the niftar as the “Admor of Netanya”. It is reported the niftar was a talmid of Rav Bentzion Abba Shaul and Rav Nissim Toledano.

The rav served as rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Tifferes Moshe as well as mosdos Nachlat Shmuel and Ohr Tzion in Netanya.

The levaya is scheduled for Monday afternoon at 1:30pm, 6 Shevat, from Netanya’s Tifferes Moshe Yeshiva located at 40 Ben Eliezer Street and the kvura will be in the Shikun Vatikim cemetery. Shiva will be in the home of the rav zatzal at 4 Ramat Chen Street in Netanya.
אסון כבד: הרב שמעון גבאי ע"ה, מגדולי המחזירים בתשובה בעיר נתניה, הלך לעולמו אמש בפתאומיות.

הרב גבאי השתתף בועידת רבני ישראל הנערכת בימים אלה במלון גינוסר שבצפון, בהשתתפות מאות רבני ערים ושכונות מרחבי הארץ והרבנים הראשיים לישראל רבי משה-שלמה עמאר ורבי יונה מצגר.

מפרטים ראשוניים עולה שהרב ערך "תיקון חצות" בחדרו שבמלון ומיד בסיומו התמוטט. כוחות הצלה הוזעקו למקום וניסו לבצע החייאה ברב. השמועה פשטה בין הרבנים וגרמה לצער רב. הרבנים ליוו בדמעות את גופת הרב ביציאתו מהמלון.

"הרב גבאי היה ללא ספק האדמו"ר של נתניה", אומר דוד אלון, כתב 'קול העיר' חדרה-נתניה, בשיחה עם 'כיכר השבת', "במשך השנים האחרונות הצליח הרב גבאי בפעילות גדולה להפוך את נתניה למגדלור של יהדות ותורה. הוא היה התלמיד המובהק של הרב בן-ציון אבא שאול והרב ניסים טולדינו".

אלון מספר כי "לרב גבאי יש עשרות מוסדות תורה, בהם ישיבות, כוללים, ישיבות לבעלי תשובה, בתי-כנסת, מעונות ועוד. הרב גבאי ניהל ביד רמה את הקהילה הספרדית והאסון הקשה מהווה מכה קשה ביותר על הקהילה".

Former Minister Benizri's Sentence Reduced

Former Shas minister Shlomo Benizri.

Shlomo Benizri, who helped former President Moshe Katsav get accustomed to prison life, will be released this April after his sentence was reduced by a third.

The Israel Prisons Service parole board decided Monday to reduce the sentence of former minister Shlomo Benizri, a member of the Shas party who was recently sentenced to four years in prison for bribery and other offenses.

The parole board decided to cut Benizri's sentence down by a year and four months, so the former minister is due to be released in April.

The board made the decision after seeing his behavior and lifestyle during his imprisonment, ruling that he is not a problematic inmate. Moreover, since former President Moshe Katsav entered prison after being convicted of rape, Benizri mediated between him and the Israel Prisons Service.

Benizri was jailed in 2009 for four years for bribery, fraud, breach of trust, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to commit a crime.

Two years ago Jerusalem District Court sentenced the former health and social welfare minister to 18 months in prison for a number of violations including accepting bribes, breach of trust and obstructing justice, offenses the court found amounted to moral turpitude. Both Benizri and the state appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which extended the former lawmaker's sentence to four years.

Benizri was found to have accepted expensive favors from a contractor in exchange for inside information on foreign workers scheduled to arrive in Israel.

In 2010, Benizri submitted a pardon request to President Shimon Peres and Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman.

When Katsav was sentenced to seven years in prison, Benizri was approached and asked to aid the former president to get accustomed to prison life. When Katsav refused to don his orange prison uniform and thus stripped of privileges such as going to the prison canteen, the prison allowed Benizri to go buy products for Katsav.

Report: Attempt to smuggle Assad's wife out of Syria foiled

Asma Assad - escape attempt foiled?

Syrian opposition sources tell Egyptian daily al-Masri al-Youm that Free Syrian Army rebel forces managed to prevent escape of first lady Asma Assad, relatives

Has Bashar Assad's wife been attempting to follow in the footsteps of the wife of Muammar Gadaffi? Egypt's al-Masri al-Youm newspaper reported Sunday that Syrian rebels thwarted an attempt to smuggle Asma Assad, wife of Syrian President Bashar Assad out of the country.

Sources within the Syrian opposition said that the Free Syrian Army forces managed to prevent the escape of the first lady of Syria and additional relatives through Damascus airport.

According to the Egyptian daily, the sources claimed that Asma Assad, her children, Bashar Assad's mother and his cousin were all in a convoy on the way to the airport when rebel forces under the command of a former senior officer in the Syrian army, blocked the their path.

After heavy exchanges of fire, the presidential security forces managed to get the convoy back to the presidential palace. The opposition sources alleged that Assad's security forces pursued the deserter general, Mahmoud Halouf, former head of the Palestine branch of Syrian intelligence.

Tactical withdrawal?

The general's unit, all former soldiers who deserted with him, 300 in total, said that when they saw the convoy the believed it was an attempt to smuggle senior officials out of the country – which is why they blocked the convoy's path.

Meanwhile, Armored forces loyal to President Assad took control on Sunday of eastern suburbs of Damascus that had fallen into opposition control after two days of bombardment and fighting with rebels, activists said.

The Free Syrian Army has made a tactical withdrawal. Regime forces have re-occupied the suburbs and started making house to house arrests," Kamal, one of the activists, said by phone from the eastern Ghouta area on the edge Damascus.

He was referring to army defectors loosely grouped under the Free Syrian Army.

If the report about Asma Assad's attempted escape is true, it would not be the first time during the Arab Spring that relatives of a failing ruler find a way to escape. Last August Muammar Gaddafi's wife and three of his children managed to escape war-torn Libya and reach Algeria. Gaddafi was killed not long after.

'Guardian' slammed for Jewish security article

'Guardian' article published on Holocaust Memorial Day criticized government support for security at Jewish day schools.

LONDON – The Guardian has apologized for the timing of an article that questioned government funding for security for Jewish schools, but has denied that the story was misleading.

The article on Friday attacked Education Minister Michael Gove for awarding a £2 million grant to the Community Security Trust (CST), a Jewish charity that he used to advise, to help pay for security at Jewish schools across the UK.

“CST is astonished that the Guardian chose to mark Holocaust Memorial Day by attacking the funding provided by the government to pay for security at Jewish state schools in England and Wales.

“This funding is provided to protect Jewish schools against terrorism. This is a real threat: Just this week, authorities in Azerbaijan announced that they had foiled a terrorist plot relating to a Jewish school in Baku,” CST said on Friday.

According to CST, the story was misleading because it suggested the Department for Education pays for CST to provide security at Jewish schools, when in fact the money is only administered by CST and distributed to schools that employ their own security guards.

It added that the Guardian did not come to the charity for comment ahead of the article’s publication.

CST said the overwhelming bulk of its funding comes from voluntary donations from the UK Jewish community, and not from the government. It added that it is grateful for the grant and proud of its role facilitating it.

“There is no allowance made for CST’s staff time in administering the funds to each school. In the end the project actually costs CST money, the exact opposite of the impression given by the Guardian.

“If the Guardian had contacted CST for comment before running the story, we could have explained all of this to them,” CST said.

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post on Friday, the Guardian said that the story was not misleading, as it included “lengthy” comment from the Department of Education. It said CST was not contacted because the story did not claim that the charity had done anything improper.

“The story does not in any way suggest that the funding of security guards for Jewish schools was inappropriate, only that Mr. Gove should have stood aside from the grant giving process given his relationship with CST,” a spokesman said.

The Guardian said it regretted the timing of the article, saying it was entirely inadvertent.

“It was scheduled for publication on Thursday but pushed back because of the volume of news that day. We should have spotted the unfortunate timing and regret any offense caused,” the spokesman said.

After CST contacted the Guardian, the story was amended to say that the money is distributed to the schools, which then employ the security guards themselves.

“As the trust’s role is essentially administrative, none of the money is retained by the trust or pays for any of the trust’s work,” the paper added.

However, CST said the acknowledgment was not reflected in the headline or opening paragraph, “which has not been amended.”

Questions have also been asked about the source of the story, said David Miller, an academic from a pressure group called Spinwatch that calls for transparency in government.

Miller submitted a report against CST at a hearing for Sheikh Raed Salah – head of the Islamic Movement in Israel’s northern branch who is currently in the UK fighting deportation – questioning the charity’s credibility. His report concluded that CST has “a tendency to treat denunciation of Israel or Zionism as evidence of anti- Semitism.”

The Post has asked Miller for a copy of the report.

“The issue here is not really to do with CST but the conduct of the minister, and need for the government to overhaul its transparency rules and regulations,” Miller told the Post.

Popular London-based blog Harry’s Place accused a website run by Miller of lack of transparency after it reproduced material from a well known neo-Nazi in 2009.

Speaking to the Post, Miller said that after this was pointed out, he personally removed the material, acknowledged it was racist, and issued an apology.

However, Harry’s Place said that there has never been any transparency, asking why the author who used the racist material has not been named and if other postings by that author had been removed.

Author and Daily Telegraph blogger Toby Young said on Saturday that nobody was sacked from Miller’s project “for promoting neo-Nazi anti-Semitism.”

Young said the Guardian article “inadvertently highlights the two biggest weaknesses of Guardian journalists: their knee-jerk opposition to public service reform and their willingness to regurgitate anti-Semitic propaganda. Given that Gove is a conspicuous philo-Semite, I daresay he will continue to be targeted. Let’s hope next time the Guardian doesn’t rely on the likes of David Miller,” Young said.

Last year, Miller co-authored a report, titled the “Cold War on British Muslims”, which attacked the funding of two prominent London think tanks. Attending the launch of the report, blogger Richard Millett accused it of inflating the role of Jewish/Zionist funding of those organizations to imply that Zionists are behind Islamophobia in the UK.