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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Monsey Haredi Man Arrested On 40 Counts Of Child Sex Abuse

Dovid Kohn, 59, of Monsey, also known as Avraham Perl, is charged with 40 counts of criminal sex act, second degree, in an incident with a person less than 15 years old. 

RAMAPO — A 59-year-old Monsey man has been charged with 40 counts accusing him of having oral sex with a girl when she was between the ages of 12 and 15, police said Friday.

Dovid Kohn, also known as Avraham Perl, is being held on $1 million cash bail in the county jail in New City on 40 counts of second-degree criminal sex act and first-degree sexual conduct against a child.

The girl is now in her mid-20s, Ramapo Detective Lt. Mark Emma said Friday.

The woman came forward March 19 to file a complaint against Kohn, who runs a video business in Monsey that covers events for businesses.

“This happened over three years when she was between 12 and 15,” Emma said. “I wouldn’t question the motive of any victim who decides to come forward.”

Emma said there is no statute of limitations on sex crimes. The sexual-conduct charge is applied when the alleged abuse lasts at least three months.

Authorities would not say how the suspect and the woman knew each other.

The reason for the high bail from Justice Rhoda Schoenberger was because he uses two names, police said. The judge set bail at $5 million bond or $1 million cash.

His legal name is Avraham Perl and he has lived in the Monsey community for 30 years, said his lawyer, Kenneth Gribetz. He is married with three adult children.

Gribetz said his client will plead not guilty and will provide the court with documentation showing his legal identity.

“We will review the facts and circumstances of the case when the police and District Attorney’s Office provide us with the details,” Gribetz said.

Emma said anyone with information can call the Ramapo Police Department at 845-357-2400 and ask for the detective bureau.

Rina Pakula Klein: LA Police Investigate Gary Klein for Involvement in Wife's Death

                                                                         Rina Klein's 

Gary Klein insists he's innocent and wants to clear his name for his sons. He says he and Rina never discussed divorce and that she tended toward melodrama.

Since his wife died in 2009, Gary Klein, a Beverly Hills father of three, has become the target of an investigation into her death. He wants to clear his name.

Rina Pakula Klein, 41, trim, fit and dancing at a wedding days earlier, lay immobile and hooked up to tubes on a hospital bed.

She had arrived by ambulance at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center a day earlier after feeling "a pop" in her head. Persistent seizures followed, leaving her brain-dead.

Rina had seemed in glowing health. It made no sense. Her sister observed it was "awfully coincidental" that she had collapsed just as she was about to divorce her husband, and their mother agreed, Rina's sister-in-law recalled.

Gary Klein, Rina's husband of nearly eight years, did not hear the whispers. He sobbed and begged God to take him and spare the mother of his three young boys. His sister said she dismissed the dark allusions as symptoms of shock and grief.

But the bewilderment over Rina's death did not go away. It gave way to suspicions that helped fuel a murder investigation by the Beverly Hills Police Department and the L.A. County Sheriff's Department that persists nearly three years later.

Detectives have searched Klein's home in Beverly Hills three times. His wife's body was exhumed for a second autopsy. His two older boys were questioned at their elementary school. Did Daddy ever lock Mommy in a closet? Did Daddy have secret hiding places? Was Mommy ever black and blue?

Klein, 58, and his attorney have gone to court six times to learn the evidence against him. Judges, siding with police, have prevented him from seeing the last autopsy report or records supporting searches of his home, though he has not been charged with a crime.

The criminal probe has paralleled court fights between Klein and Rina's family over her $2.8-million estate and visitation of his children, with a Beverly Hills detective even being called to testify in the estate litigation.

If Klein killed his wife, why hasn't he been arrested? If there is scant evidence, why do police persist? Should detectives remain unfettered as long as they believe a slaying has occurred, even if they cannot prove it? Is an innocent man entitled to have his name cleared? How long should the family of a dead woman have to wait for answers?

Rina's mother and sister, citing advice from police, declined to talk. Their statements came from probate and family court records. The police also refused to comment. Klein spoke without his lawyer in dozens of interviews.

With no end in sight to the investigation, Klein has lashed out. He has hired a truck to drive the streets of Beverly Hills with signs denouncing the police. He has filed a complaint against detectives and created a website,, where he derides them as "Bozos."

"I am just trying to do whatever I can to end this nightmare," Klein said. "I don't want my children to grow up thinking Daddy possibly murdered their mother. I can't let it sit."

Gary Klein met Rina Pakula on a blind date in September 2000. He was 48. She was 33, practiced law and lived near him in Beverly Hills. "She was very pretty and very personable, with smiles from ear to ear," Klein recalled of the petite, brown-eyed brunet. She also was Jewish and Republican, a combination that suited Klein, the son of an Orthodox rabbi.

But Rina struggled with insecurity, a factor in the collapse of a first marriage after only months. Antidepressants and regular visits to a psychologist helped. She had also been diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease, but showed few symptoms.

Klein, who grew up in the San Fernando Valley, had worked in the aerospace industry and opened an import business. By the time he met Rina, he was closing his business and investing in apartment buildings. Both wanted marriage and children. But Klein kept kosher and tried to avoid driving on Saturdays, while she had a more secular outlook. He worried "she wasn't religious enough and we would have conflicts."

Still, the couple soon married and settled in Klein's two-story home. Rina became pregnant and plunged into despair when she stopped taking antidepressants. After the birth of their first son, postpartum depression crippled her. She hired a nanny and did not return to work.

"Rina was on a great deal of medicine for depression," said Helene Klein, Gary's younger sister. "She had medical issues, and if I fault Gary for anything, it is for not being aware of how ill she was."

Rina complained Klein was a "control freak," testified Anita Pakula, her sister. One of Rina's physicians said in probate proceedings that she told him she had met another man. Her former boss testified she was considering divorce but feared Klein would take the kids and money.

Julie Pakula, 71, testified that Klein disparaged her daughter in front of the children, telling them "Mommy's crazy," and used religion and money to control her. "He put her down constantly, called her names," Pakula said. Rina called her husband "Jekyll and Hyde," described him as "evil" and feared he would kill her if he discovered her divorce plans, Pakula testified.

Klein said they never discussed divorce. He faulted himself for withdrawing — "I got tired of always being the cheerleader" — but insisted he was never cruel. Rina tended toward melodrama, he said.
But her sister testified that Rina told her, "Gary said that if he wanted he could kill her and no one would find out how it happened."

Klein came home about 1 p.m. on May 29, 2009, a Friday. Rina was sitting in the kitchen with another mother whose child was there for a play date. They had called 911.

"Gary, I know you don't believe me," he recalled his wife saying. "I have had a stroke. We have to go." Klein said she looked two feet to his side, her focus impaired.

In the emergency room, Klein said, a physician told him tests ruled out a stroke and asked to see Rina's medications. She was taking prescriptions for depression, anxiety, lupus,a thyroid disorder and excessive sleepiness, Klein said. The doctor, he said, told him the drugs should not have been taken together.

Klein left Rina at the hospital with her sister and drove home to get her pill bottles. On the way back, his cellphone rang. "She coded," his sister-in-law told him. When he returned, she still had no heartbeat. He said it took doctors about 35 minutes to revive her.

Offering little hope, one doctor asked about diet pills because a urine test had indicated the presence of amphetamines, Klein said. He recalled telling the doctor that Rina did not take them but had started medication for narcolepsy three months earlier after falling asleep at the wheel.

On Sunday, two days after her collapse, Klein and Rina's family agreed to disconnect her from life support, Klein said. He sat with her after she died, he said, and kissed her goodbye.

Her mother and sister wanted an autopsy, according to court records, but Klein said he begged them not to let anyone "cut up my beautiful Rina." Her doctor refused to sign the death certificate, and Klein agreed to a partial autopsy after meeting with a rabbi, he said.

Julie Pakula wanted to bury her daughter in a family plot, according to records in the grandparent visitation dispute. Klein said he consented but wanted her to sell him the adjoining plot. The day before the funeral, Klein received a letter from Pakula's lawyer. It offered him the plot in exchange for visits with her grandsons. She later testified that Klein's sister had warned that Klein might keep her from the boys, something the sister denied.

Klein continued to see his in-laws after the funeral. They met for Father's Day at the Pakulas' home. Then Pakula went to his house and took Rina's prescription bottles without Klein's knowledge, according to court testimony. Klein said he insisted she return the pills and write an apology if she wanted to set foot in his house or see her grandsons. She gave the pills to police.

On a sunny morning two months after Rina's death, detectives knocked at Klein's door. They had a copy of Rina's first autopsy, which said she died of lupus. Klein recalled the detectives told him they needed "to dot the i's and cross the t's." He took them to the backyard, where he said they asked if he and Rina had extramarital affairs. They did not, Klein told them.

When they returned to the front of the house, he saw a handful of unmarked police cars, three patrol cars and a trailer marked "crime lab." He said a detective told him he had a search warrant. A record showed it was for a "suspicious death." He said the police later asked him to take a polygraph. He called a criminal defense lawyer instead. That lawyer arranged for a private polygraph, which Klein passed.

When he went to visit his wife's grave a week or so later, he noticed the grass had been disturbed.

The Pakulas sued for and won visits with their grandsons and challenged Rina's will, which left her community property to Klein and their sons. The probate litigation revealed that Rina had kept assets secret from Klein and put them in a separate trust for the boys, disinheriting Klein and naming her mother as trustee. She also had safe-deposit boxes that Klein didn't know about.

Klein saw his wife's newly installed headstone months later. It named Rina's survivors — except her husband.

Klein said his oldest boy, then 8, sensed the acrimony and asked questions. Klein recalled telling the boy that his grandmother suspected Klein of harming Rina. "How do I know if you are telling the truth or Grandma?" the boy wanted to know. Klein said he pointed to boxes of legal documents and promised his son he could one day read them.

More raids followed last summer, two years after Rina's death, according to Klein and others subjected to searches. Search warrant records specified "187," the penal code for murder. One of Rina's former boyfriends said police took his DNA, suspecting he might have fathered her youngest son. Klein had his own DNA test. It showed he was the father.

Klein said mothers at his sons' school told him detectives were still questioning them last fall. In late December, while Klein and his boys were on a Disney cruise, detectives went again to his house with a locksmith, Klein said. A search warrant record showed police were looking for evidence of computer hacking.

Klein said he had searched Rina's email — he knew her password — after hearing in court that she wanted a divorce and had a boyfriend. The emails showed no evidence of either, he said.

He said he wants to be cleared to prevent his in-laws from using the probe as ammunition for continued visitation, which he is contesting. He also wants to ensure his sons have no doubts. He "needs to know he is not being hunted for a murder he didn't commit," said Mark J. Werksman, Klein's lawyer.

Results of a second autopsy performed after the exhumation remain sealed, though someone with knowledge of the report said the cause of death was changed from lupus to undetermined.

Lt. Mark Rosen, a Beverly Hills police spokesman, noted there was no legal deadline for investigating slaying cases. "We are not going to do anything that jeopardizes the investigation," Rosen said.

Klein now has a grave marker for Rina in his backyard. "Daddy's Girlfriend For Ever and Always," it says. He continues to wear his wedding ring, and Rina's clothes remain in the closets. Photos of her are everywhere.

By Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times

Ex-Argentina leader to face terror cover-up trial

The former president of Argentina Carlos Menem

Carlos Menem to be tried for allegedly protecting Hezbollah, Iran accomplices thought to be behind 1994 Jewish center bombing.

The former president of Argentina will stand trial for obstruction of justice in the investigation of the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people and left hundreds wounded.

Judge Ariel Lijo on Friday ruled that Carlos Menem, who was president of the South American country between 1989 and 1999, along with several other former officials, will be tried for allegedly protecting accomplices of Hezbollah and its backer Iran, who are believed to have been behind the attack.

According to state prosecution, the former president conspired with former state intelligence head Hugo Anzorreguy, former police chief Jorge Palacios, and others, to hide the involvement Syrian-Argentine businessman Alberto Kanoore Edul in the attack.

To date nobody has been convicted of the 1994 bombing, although Argentina has issued arrest warrants for several Iranians including Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi and former prime minister Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

The 1994 bombing of the AMIA building came two years after a similar attack on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires that killed 29 people and wounded 242.

The Israeli embassy marked the 20th anniversary of the event earlier this month in several ceremonies. “Perhaps the failure to find those who planned the attack on the embassy is what led to the second attack on the AMIA building,” Lea Kovensky, who was wounded at the embassy,

Source: Jerusalem Post

Knicks Likely Lose Jeremy Lin For The Season

Jeremy Lin will miss six weeks with a knee injury. He will likely miss the start of the playffs if the Knicks qualify.

Linsanity is officially over for now. The only question now is whether the player who created it, Jeremy Lin, will resurface again.

Lin’s breakout season ends in cruel fashion, with the second-year point guard headed for surgery to repair a lateral meniscus tear in his left knee.

The Knicks announced Saturday that Lin will be out six weeks. The regular season ends April 26.

“It sucks,” Lin said Saturday night. “Not being able to be out there with the team. It is what it is. So hopefully I can come back as soon as I can and help everybody.”

Lin became a cultural phenomenon when he led the Knicks to seven straight wins after being promoted to the starting lineup on Feb. 6 against Utah. He started 25 straight games, winning 15, before suffering a knee injury last Saturday in a win over Detroit.

“I mean, if this was done very early in the year, obviously, I don’t know where my career would be,” said Lin, who was close to being released before being given a chance to play.

“I would be definitely without a job and probably fighting for a summer-league spot. But having said that, this happening now hurts just as much because all the players, we really put our heart and soul into the team and into the season, and to not be there at the end when it really matters most, is hard.”

With Lin’s knee still sore, an MRI on Monday revealed a tear. Lin was faced with two options — play through the pain and delay surgery until after the season or have surgery now.

Lin sought the advice of several doctors and elected to rest and rehab his knee for seven days. But when he attempted to go through a light workout on Friday in Atlanta and again on Saturday he experienced discomfort.

“I can’t really do much,” Lin said during a press conference before Saturday night’s home game against Cleveland.

“I can’t really cut or jump, so it’s pretty clear that I won’t be able to help the team unless I get this fixed right now. It’s disappointing for me, it’s hard to watch the games. And I think I want to be out there, obviously, more than anything, to help the team."

Lin consulted with the Knicks’ medical staff on Saturday and decided to go ahead with surgery this week in Manhattan.

“I’m always concerned when players get hurt because you just don’t know,” Mike Woodson said. “He’s elected to have the surgery and we got to respect that.

Only he knows the pain he’s feeling. There’s a problem and it’s got to be fixed.”

When asked if he was hoping Lin would postpone surgery for at least another month, Woodson said: “Only he knows his body. I know athletes that have torn theirs and played with it.

I don’t know how severe it is. The doctors looked at it. Obviously it’s severe enough that they’re suggesting or he’s suggesting they go in and have it fixed so he’s ready to go in six weeks.”

Lin is hoping to beat the odds and return for the playoffs, but with Amar’e Stoudemire suffering from a back injury and Lin sidelined for six weeks, there is no guarantee that the Knicks will qualify for the postseason. Baron Davis, who missed two months with a back injury and now has a sore hamstring, will continue to be the starting point guard.

Veteran Mike Bibby will play while Woodson said that Toney Douglas, the innocent victim during Linsanity, will finally get another chance.

Lin’s future is uncertain. He will be a free agent on July 1, and the coach he thrived under, Mike D’Antoni, was replaced by Woodson. In all likelihood, the Knicks, who have made a small fortune from Linsanity will look to retain the Harvard graduate.

However, they may also try to upgrade at the position and potentially look into signing free agent-to-be Steve Nash.

“I’m not even worried about that right now,” Lin said of his pending free agency. “It’s not like a career-ending thing, or it’s not something that will bother me.

Once it’s fixed, it’s fixed. It’s the most simple surgery you can have. I’m more concerned about the season.”

Lin, who was cut by the Warriors and Rockets in December and spent time in the D-League, also made it clear that he wants his future to be in the same place where his career really began.

“Oh yeah, I think New York, the way the city, the fans, writers, the media, everybody, I think, it’s been an unbelievable journey,” Lin said.

 “I would love to keep this team together as long as we can, everybody, top to bottom, I think. we’re growing as a team, we’re finding an identity, we’re getting better.

And we have so much potential, we have so much talent, and I think it’s a process in terms of reaching our potential.”

Sierra Lamar Search continues

Search efforts for missing Morgan Hill teen Sierra LaMar continued Saturday, with sheriff's officials searching with special off-road vehicles and hundreds of volunteers scouring hillsides, vacant lots and residential streets.

Police believe the 15-year-old with the beaming smile and long dark hair was abducted outside her home the morning of March 16. Santa Clara County officers and FBI agents have interviewed dozens of Sierra's friends and family members.

The day after she disappeared, deputies found Sierra's cellphone lying near a road less than a mile from her home. The next day, her black-and-pink Juicy Couture purse turned up — with her underwear and San Jose Sharks jersey folded neatly inside.

The search to find Sierra -- a competitive cheerleader whom friends and family describe as happy and outgoing with a love of hip-hop artist Nicki Minaj -- has brought more than 2,000 volunteers to a makeshift command post in this close-knit community since Tuesday.

A Silicon Valley bedroom community still dotted with farms and framed by rolling hillsides, the town has come together in ways locals say they have never seen before.

The family is seeking help finding Sierra through their Facebook page. (The Times previously linked to the wrong Facebook page and included a flier not authorized by the family.)

Sierra's father, 47-year-old Steve LaMar of Fremont, where Sierra had lived before joining her mom in Morgan Hill in October, said the outpouring has provided some solace.

"The support we're getting from the entire Bay Area, it's been incredible," LaMar said."It helps us cope.... We love her. We're going to find her, and she's going to come home."

Anyone with information about Sierra or her whereabouts is asked to contact Santa Clara County Communications at (408) 299-2311. During business hours, tipsters can call sheriff's investigators at (408) 808-4500 or the anonymous tip line at (408) 808-4431.

Louise Neathway, accused stalker of Yankees GM hit with 52 charges

Louise Neathway was hit with a 52-count indictment Friday, including charges of harassment and stalking, in her alleged shake down of Yankees GM Brian Cashman.

The single mom accused of shaking down Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman was socked with a 52-count indictment stemming from charges she harassed the baseball bigwig and five other men, court records unsealed Friday show.

Louise Neathway, 36, threatened to go public with her affair with the Bombers exec if he didn’t cough up $6,000, prosecutors charge. She allegedly told Cashman she was pregnant with his child and tried to get him to cough up another $15,000 for a “medical procedure.”

Prosecutors claim she took at least $50,000 or more from one of her victims, who a source said was not Cashman. Regardless, the alleged theft — the top charge of the indictment — carries up to 15 years in prison.

Cashman declined comment.

Neathway’s “Fatal Attraction” M.O. is nothing new, her ex-husband and former flames said.

Todd Hawk, 29, a Wall Street trader said that Neathway, who also goes by the surname Meanwell, tormented him for four years after a three-week fling. He said she violated numerous orders of protection and clogged his phone with hundreds of text messages.

“It was four years, nonstop — literally every single day,” he told The News after she was charged. “She used every avenue to get to me that you can think of.”

Neathway spent 40 days in jail last year after pleading guilty to trespassing on his mother’s property.

No fewer than 13 people have filed restraining orders against her since 1998 — including Cashman, his wife, his two kids, former beau Thomas Walsh, Hawk, her psychiatrist, ex-husband Jason Bump and his wife and mother.

Out of the 52 charges, the grand jury hit her with 21 counts of aggravated harassment — 10 of which were over the phone — and five counts of stalking.

Neathway has also been charged with perjury, which a source told The News is related to her grand jury testimony.

Her lawyer did not respond to calls for comment.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Anti-Semites: Take A Ticket and Get In Line

BY Rabbi Yaakov Spivak

Jackie Mason's Allegedly Assaulted

Comedian Jackie Mason at an appearance in Queens.

Comedian Jackie Mason’s girlfriend wasn’t laughing after her arrest in a Friday morning fight with the 75-year-old entertainer.

Kaoru Suzuki-McMullen was led from the Midtown North stationhouse in handcuffs and fishnet stockings after being charged with assaulting the veteran stand-up comic.

Mason’s 48-year-old girlfriend claimed that Mason had attacked her during a 6:30 a.m. argument inside his W. 56th St. apartment — but cops determined her story was bogus.

“He was arguing with her to leave the apartment,” a source told the Daily News. “He called down to the doorman on his phone. She took the phone from him, scratching and bruising his left wrist.”

Mason, star of the the hit Broadway one-man shows “The World According to Me” and “Politically Incorrect,” was not charged with any crime.

“I’m sorry, I can’t talk now,” Mason said after exiting the stationhouse with visible scratches on his arm. “I’m late.”

Suzuki-McMullen, wearing a low-cut black dress and black boots, emerged from the police station about an hour after Mason’s departure.

The 5-foot-7 suspect — who stands two inches taller than her senior citizen boyfriend — said nothing about what happened.

“There were allegations made — a dispute with Mr. Mason and a female companion, a dispute over a phone,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. “We’re going to sort this out.”

Two sources told The News that the woman claimed Mason had struck her during their argument. But she showed no apparent signs of injury, and police were skeptical of her version of events, the sources said.

Mason — a rabbi turned stand-up comic — has won Tony, Emmy and Ace awards for his work. Mason was briefly married to his manager during the 1990s.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS                                                                                      

Sienna Edwards may have been pushed to her death from high-rise

                 Sienna Edwards plunged to her death - possibly while running for her life.   
A 20-year-old woman may have been pushed to her death from an upper balcony at a Bronx hi-rise Thursday night, police said.

The woman, Sienna Edwards appears to have been involved in a confrontation with three other women — including her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend.

Edwards had gone to the 14th floor apartment on E. 179th St. as a favor to her boyfriend.

Under terms of an order of protection, he cannot go near his ex-girlfriend, police said.

But he wanted his current girlfriend to drop off birthday gifts for his three-year-old daughter.

The child was inside the apartment, as was her mom — the ex-girlfriend — plus the ex’s sister and a friend when Edwards arrived at about 9:30 p.m.

After a short time, Edwards called 911 “looking for help,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Friday.

“In the background there are voices that say ‘You’re not going to leave here alive, you’re not going to leave here alive,’’ Kelly said.

The dispatcher, hearing that message up to six times, but not hearing anything from the caller, notified police.

Officers were sent to find the apartment but were unable to trace the cell phone call any closer than a block away from where Edwards died.

About about 10 p.m., the ex-girlfriend called 911 and reported that Edwards had committed suicide by jumping over a five-foot high balcony.

Detectives are skeptical.

“The investigative premise is she may have been pushed from that balcony or fell trying to escape individuals who were trying to kill her,’’ the source said.

It does not appear the child witnessed the incident.

Rabbi from Argentina faces child porn charge in NJ

Rabbi Gabriel Toledo

PASSAIC — Sheriff’s detectives arrested a rabbi at a Moonachie kosher food distribution company and are looking to arrest his roommate and coworker on child pornography charges, authorities said Friday.

Rabbi Gabriel Toledo, 50, of Passaic, was arrested Thursday at the Moonachie business on possession of child pornography in excess of 1,000 images, Sheriff Richard Berdnik said in a statement.

Toledo was arrested after a search warrant was executed at his Passaic home, stemming from a four-month investigation by the sheriff’s Internet Crime Task Force.

Toledo is a rabbi from a clergy in Argentina, where he is from, and does not head a local congregation. He is in the United States on a visa, the sheriff’s office said.

His roommate, Joseph Vasquez, 22, fled from detectives, the sheriff’s office said. He is wanted as a fugitive on possession of child pornography in excess of 1,000 images and distribution of child pornography.

Vasquez, who is from Honduras, is in the United States illegally and also is wanted by immigration officials on a federal deportation warrant, according to the sheriff’s office.

Beirut - Neturai Karta Take Part In Land Day Protest

A delegate of Neturei Karta, Orthodox Jews opposed to Zionism, waves a Palestinian flag at rally in solidarity with Hezbollah and Palestinian factions for a "Global March to Jerusalem" to mark Land Day near Beaufort Castle in Arnoun village in southern Lebanon March 30, 2012. Land Day commemorates the killing of six Arabs in 1976 during protests against the confiscation of their land in Israel’s Galilee region.

Beirut - Among the demonstrators today to mark Land Day, included rabbis from the anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox group Neturei Karta.

“We are here to mark Land Day, and tell the world not to blame Jewish people for the crimes of Zionism,” Rabbi Ahron Cohen told AFP.

“Judaism and Zionism are two different concepts.”

The same group visited Thursday the tomb of terrorist Imed Mughniyeh’s in southern Beirut.

Mughniyeh, who was on the FBI’s most wanted list since the 1980s, was killed in a car bomb in Damascus on February 12, 2008.

He was also accused by Israel of masterminding the 2006 July War.

Oscar-winning screenwriter of Moonstruck hit with $5m lawsuit for violent S&M relationship with actress

'Svengali': Amanda Jencsik claims she thought John Patrick Shanley, was trying to kill her. Rough sex left her needing medical attention, she alleges

The Oscar-winning writer of “Moonstruck” carried on a violent sexual relationship with a young indie-film actress — and choked her to within inches of her life, she charges in a lawsuit filed yesterday.

Amanda Jencsik, 26, claims in the $5 million suit that she had a dangerous, four-month tryst with writer John Patrick Shanley, 61, and that he would slap or “place his hands over the plaintiff’s mouth and neck to restrain her” during sexual intercourse at his East 18th Street apartment.

In another incident, the suit says, Shanley — who also penned the Tony-winning play “Doubt” — looped his belt around her neck during sex “and pulled the belt, preventing [her] from breathing.”

She claims she became dizzy and light-headed and believed Shanley “was trying to kill her while having this type of intercourse.”

She alleges Shanley asked her numerous times throughout their encounters, “Do you feel like I’m raping you?”

The Brooklyn-born bombshell claims she suffered severe psychological distress and physical injuries as a result of the relationship and never called the cops “due to her mental state.”

Her lawyer, Sal Strazzullo, claimed Jencsik was an emotional wreck who spent months in the abusive relationship because Shanley had a “Svengali-like effect on her.”

Reached by phone yesterday, Shanley said he was unaware of the lawsuit.

The relationship began in October 2009, when, the aspiring actress claims, she was contacted by Shanley on Facebook. In their first exchange, he asked about the color of her hair, the suit says.

Although the couple corresponded for many months, they did not meet up until a dinner date in January 2010, she says.

After a second date the same month, Jencsik alleges, Shanley lured her up to his apartment, where they had sex.

The next day, he sent her a text message asking, “Do you want to go out again and do everything we did last time?” and she agreed to meet him at his apartment, the suit says. But when she got there, he was not home.

He turned up late and drunk, Jencsik claims, and when they got to his apartment he “forcibly turned [her] over onto her stomach” and sodomized her.

When Jencsik told Shanley she was in pain, he “began laughing” and then became angry that her “makeup and blood were left on the sheets,” the suit says.

The relationship continued until April 2010, when, during a third sexual encounter, Shanley allegedly sodomized Jencsik again while he “wrapped his belt around [her] neck.”

Though she was in pain, she was afraid to seek medical help. A year later, Jencsik sought medical attention and was diagnosed with a bowel obstruction, the suit says.

Visa MasterCard warns of possible security breach

MasterCard is investigating a possible breach of cardholder account data involving a U.S.-based payment processor, the company said Friday.

"As a result, we have alerted payment card issuers regarding certain MasterCard accounts that are potentially at risk," the Purchase, N.Y., credit-card company said in a statement.

Law enforcement officials have been notified of the matter and an "independent data security organization" is conducting an ongoing forensic review.

The U.S. Secret Service is investigating the breach, a spokesman said Friday.

The company is alerting card-issuing banks regarding "certain MasterCard accounts that are potentially at risk."

"MasterCard's own systems have not been compromised in any manner," the statement continued.

A MasterCard spokesman declined to say how many cards may have been compromised or how many banks it is notifying, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The breach was first reported early Friday by Krebs On Security, a blog by former Washington Post reporter Brian Krebs. The blog also reported that Visa was also notifying banks about a breach involving a third-party payment processor.

Representatives for Visa couldn't immediately be reached for comment Friday morning, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Visa and MasterCard do not lend or issue cards to consumers, but instead process transactions for banks that issue their cards and those that handle transactions for merchants.

Representatives of several banks, including Bank of America Corp. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., either couldn't be reached for comment or declined to comment Friday morning, the newspaper reports.

MasterCard said it will "continue to both monitor this event and take steps to safeguard account information."

Cardholders concerned about their accounts should contact the banks that issued them their cards, MasterCard said.

Sources at two major financial institutions told Krebs on Security that most of the cards they analyzed were apparently used in New York City-area parking garages.

U.S. card issuers' total losses from credit- and debit-card fraud is an estimated $2.4 billion per year, according to a Consumer Reports article in June. Including merchants, credit card fraud costs U.S. establishments $52.6 billion annually, according to March 2011 Federal Reserve statistics.

In 2008, a group of hackers breached the network of Princeton, N.J.-based payment processing giant Heartland Payment Systems, which processed transactions for restaurants, retailers and other merchants.

Data from more than 100 million credit and debit cards were stolen.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Brooklyn DA accused of failing to tackle Orthodox Jews' cover-up of sex abuse

Rabbi Yehuda Kolko was indicted for molesting two boys – but in a plea deal was given a probationary sentence for child endangerment.

A systemic cover-up of child sexual abuse in Brooklyn's ultra-Orthodox Jewish enclaves continues to obstruct justice for young victims, despite claims by religious leaders and the Brooklyn district attorney that the problem is in hand.

A long-standing culture of non-cooperation with secular justice by Brooklyn's ultra-Orthodox Jews keeps many child sex offenders out of the courts and at large in their communities.

Victim advocates say Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes has failed to wrest control from rabbinic leaders, who continue to hamper efforts to uncover abuse.

Hynes' recent claim to have radically increased prosecution rates for these crimes has drawn scorn from critics.

Brooklyn's Jewish communities, home to the largest number of ultra-Orthodox Jews outside Israel, are insular and close-knit. They maintain their own shadow justice system based on religious halachic law, enforced by religious courts known as the beit din. In recent years, they have also established their own community police force, the Shomrim.

Like the Catholic bishops before them, the ultra-Orthodox rabbis who lead these communities are charged with the concealment of crimes stretching back decades, and of fostering a culture where witnesses are silenced through intimidation.

"The rabbis are still, to an unfortunate degree, protecting the system," said victims' advocate Rabbi Yosef Blau, a more moderate Orthodox rabbi than his Brooklyn counterparts and spiritual advisor at Yeshiva University. Blau said the community feels it has to protect its image. "The battle is over the cover-up. That's what we're fighting now."

Until the late 2000s, only a handful of ultra-Orthodox child sex crimes made their way into the criminal courts.

But in April 2009 – as pressure from victims' advocates, whistle-blower blogs and parts of the secular Jewish press intensified – District Attorney Hynes launched Kol Tzedek, a community outreach effort to encourage community leaders to report child sexual abuse.

The DA's Orthodox community liaison Henna White plays a key role in Kol Tzedek, which features a reporting hotline staffed by a culturally sensitive social worker.

Hynes' office says that between April 2009 and November 2011, there were 85 arrests with 47 of those cases pending. Of the 38 closed cases, it said, six had gone to trial, 23 had ended in plea deals and nine with acquittals or dismissals. These figures contrast sharply with the negligible prosecutions in the years between Hynes taking office in 1990 and the start of Kol Tzedek.

But they also represent a mere fraction of the incidents of abuse that advocates say they hear about. Because of scant reporting, there are no statistics for child sexual abuse in these communities. Most, however, believe the numbers are at least consistent with broader society if not higher.

Even the most outspoken advocates acknowledge some positive change – primarily a growing community acceptance of the problem and a slight increase in reports to the authorities.

Nonetheless, they accuse Hynes and the religious leadership of playing a PR game.

Ben Hirsch of victims advocate group Survivors for Justice said, "The DA has been very reluctant to prosecute these cases.

Recently he's become a little more aggressive in response to pressure from advocates and critical stories in the press. But he's still not behaving in a way that's consistent with the way he treats non-Orthodox cases."

Hirsch points to the DA's blanket refusal to release information about recent arrests and convictions, his controversial plea deals and the number of cases that by the DA's own admission have collapsed due to witness intimidation.

The DA's spokesperson, Jerry Schmetterer, said it was policy not to discuss child sex crimes with the media in order to protect the victims' anonymity.

But Dan Schorr, a former sex crimes prosecutor at Queens County and Westchester County, said the policy was surprising.

In Schorr's experience, publicising the names of suspected child molesters, except in cases where that might identify the victim, is one of the best ways to strengthen a prosecution "and prevent the abuse of other children".

All other New York City DAs decide whether to publicise details of arrests and convictions for child sex crimes on a case by case basis. (The identity of the victim, however, will always be protected.)

The Brooklyn DA's office has also broken its own stated rule, for certain cases, in recent years.
The most infamous plea deal, often cited by advocates, was in the case of Rabbi Yehuda Kolko.

In 2007, Kolko, a teacher and summer camp counsellor, was indicted for molesting two boys aged eight and nine. But under a plea deal, Kolko was only convicted on child endangerment charges, given a three year probationary sentence with no requirement to join the sex offender registry.

Kolko's prosecution followed an earlier civil suit against the school by two adult men who claimed they were also abused as children – one in the late 1960s, the other in the mid 1980s. The suit, which was dismissed on statute of limitations grounds, alleged Kolko's principal knew he was a serial molester, but suppressed the allegations.

Stefan Colmer's conviction is also controversial. Colmer was indicted on 37 charges after abusing two teenage boys, but in June 2009 he pled guilty to just eight counts of criminal sexual act in the second degree and was sentenced to two-and-a-third to seven years jail time. Colmer was released last month.

To date, and to the best of our knowledge, only eight Orthodox Jews prosecuted in Brooklyn have been required to join the sex offender registry, established in 1996. Of those eight, only four received custodial sentences, four were given probation.

The Guardian knows of two cases which have closed since the beginning of the year.

Joseph Passof had been facing 12 charges, including six felonies.

The most serious charge was for a criminal sexual act in the first degree – oral or anal sexual conduct with a child under 11 – a class B felony that carries a sentence of five to 25 years imprisonment.

But under a plea deal he was allowed to plead guilty to two counts of sexual abuse in the first degree - a less serious charge for which he would receive 10 years probation with a treatment programme.

While this is a standard sentence for the charges Passof pleaded guilty to, former prosecutor Dan Schorr said he would consider the disparity between the original charges and the eventual sentence a disappointing outcome. Passof's sentencing hearing has been adjourned until May.

The case against David Greenfeld for child molestation collapsed in January after the DA failed to bring a case in the time allowed. The DA's spokesperson said this was because the victim's family was not co-operative.

Child sexual crimes are notoriously hard to prosecute. An apparently strong case at arrest stage can become considerably weaker as the prosecution progresses. DNA evidence may not support the allegations, for example. In ultra-Orthodox abuse cases, witnesses also frequently pull out.

DA spokesperson Jerry Schmetterer admitted cases collapse because victims are pressured by their communities. "If [victims and their families] come to us with an allegation or any concern that they are being intimidated we will take action to help them," he said.

But Mark Meyer Appel of victim support group Voice of Justice said the DA is not doing enough. "They should be going out to the community to find out why these victims are dropping out."

In the face of powerful community non-cooperation, Hynes faces a genuine obstacle. Rabbi Mark Dratch, a modern-Orthodox rabbi who founded JSafe to tackle abuse in the Jewish community, said: "Unless you get the trust of the community, you're not going to get the reporting.

If, however, you're less than responsible about how you get the reports, you're not really solving the problem."

Dratch believes Hynes is being influenced by religious leaders: "The DA's position is an elected position, and the orthodox have a large voting bloc and I'm sure Mr Hynes will deny it but I think that is the nature of the situation.

I know there is a lot of pressure on his office from the organised rabbinic community in Brooklyn either not to deal with the cases or to minimise them."

Rabbi Blau said the cases coming to court reflect the nature of Hynes's arrangement with community leaders. "Yes, Hynes has got a number of cases into the courts, but they're all the nobodies.

They won't get somebody prominent because then the community won't co-operate. But if it's some weird guy, OK, let the police handle it."

Blau's analysis is supported by Joel Engelman, an abuse survivor and spokesperson for the victims, who follows these cases closely. Engelman said that of the handful of defendants currently in the system, most are on the fringes of Brooklyn's ultra-Orthodox communities, rather than their leaders and power brokers.

Both the DA's office and rabbinical leaders deny there is a deal. Both insist they are doing all in their power to solve the problem.

But in recent months, the leaders of Agudath Israel of America, an umbrella body for Brooklyn's ultra-Orthodox Jews, has clarified its position on reporting abuse to the police.

To avoid the ancient prohibition against mesirah – the act of handing over a fellow Jew to secular authorities – Agudath directs its members to consult with a rabbi first, before calling children's services.

The rabbi must establish whether the suspicions are weighty enough to justify a report. "A person can be destroyed if allegations which are baseless are raised against him," said Agudath's executive vice-president, Rabbi David Zwiebel.

While some observers are encouraged that Agudath is now at least recognising secular justice, others are horrified.

"This is the latest outrage from Agudath Israel," said Eliot Pasik, a lawyer who has represented Orthodox abuse victims, including those of Yehuda Kolko. "In the name of maintaining what they think is the best image possible, they've become ideological fanatics."

There are some signs of a growing schism within the rabbinic leadership – including inside Agudath – even if most critics are still afraid to speak up. In a significant move last summer, the Crown Heights Beit Din declared it will no longer handle child sex abuse cases, which it said must be taken to the secular authorities.

But progress, say advocates, is far slower than the official picture suggests.

Last November, the Jewish radio show Talkline held a heated debate on child sexual abuse. Zvi Gluck, a community mediator who helps other ultra-Orthodox Jews in trouble with the law, rang in to say the DA's arrest figure was "not a real number". Gluck said he knew most of those arrests, "and most of those, because of pressure within the community, were dropped and resulted in nothing happening".

Gluck added he knew of at least three abused children who had committed suicide in recent months. "As Frum Yidden [observant Jews] we have an obligation to protect our community and our children. We are making progress but they are small steps and we are nowhere near where we need to be."

Zoë Blackler • The Guardian

Brooklyn DA Condemned For Not Prosecuting More Hasidic, Orthodox Jewish Sex Abusers

NEW YORK — Finding sexual abusers of children and prosecuting their cases is one of law enforcement’s top priorities.

But in Brooklyn, District Attorney Charles Hynes’ office has come under fire what not vigorously pursuing cases in the Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish communities, a charge Hynes vehemently denies.

On Friday afternoons in Williamsburg families prepare for the Sabbath. It is a sheltered community known for its devotion to old world values, but some say its a community with a secret made worse by decades of cover-up and law enforcement that looks the other way.

“We have a wonderful community, a beautiful community, but we have some of the same of the problems the rest of the world have,” Assemblyman Dov Hikind recently told CBS 2’s Chris Wragge.

The problem is the sexual abuse of children and the failure to report it to authorities. In the insular world of Hasidic and Orthodox Jews, it is the accuser who is believed to bring shame on the community, while the abuser is often pitied.

“It’s an environment that protects offenders,” said Ben Hirsch of advocacy group Survivors For Justice. “There are a lot of known perpetrators in the community and they’re not being reported.”

In 2009, the Brooklyn district attorney set up a special unit to deal with the abuse cases in the Orthodox community. Since then, there have been 85 arrests, but the cases are shrouded in secrecy.

 Hynes won’t release names of the alleged abusers, saying it could identify victims.

“It’s a civil rights statute that precludes us from identifying the people,” Hynes said.

But not all district attorneys agree with that interpretation of the civil rights law. Assemblyman Hikind said he finds Hynes’ position inexplicable.

“Why he will not release information that other district attorneys release readily to the public because it is in the public interest, I just don’t get that,” Hikind said.

Hirsch said Hynes is bowing to pressure from politically powerful rabbis.

“I do believe that Charles Hynes is playing politics with children’s lives,” Hirsch said.
A charge Hynes dismisses.

“There is no more forceful partner with advocates whether it’s sex abuse or domestic violence than I have been in the 21 years I have been district attorney in this town,” Hynes said.

Of the 85 arrests, 14 have resulted in prison terms and some are critical of Hynes’ commitment to prosecute cases.

“Justice, that’s all we wanted,” said one abuse victim’s father.

“I wanted something to be done about it,” another added.

Those fathers, who didn’t want to be identified by CBS 2, said their sons were abused by Rabbi Joel Kolko.

They said both boys were willing to testify against him at trial, but they were stunned when the district attorney let Kolko plead to lesser charges of endangering the welfare of a child, and given three years probation.

“He basically walked free and that’s what they wanted,” one of the fathers said.

“It was just shocking … shocking. It was a shock. We waiting for justice and it’s not being done,” the other added.

But some say cases fall apart because families back out because they are afraid of being ostracized.
“I think they throw the towel in.

They might notify the DA after they’ve been to the DA that we’re not pressing the case,” Hikind said.

However, the victims’ fathers and their children were willing to go forward and they said they will never forget the justice denied them by the district attorney.

“They should do what’s right for the families that has been a victim of this guy, and not what’s right for the other side,” one of the fathers said.

Rabbi Kolko was arrested for violating his probation.

A spokesman for the district attorney said there will no plea this time.

His lawyer said evidence needs to come out at trial before anyone makes conclusions.

Warren Buffet Purchases The Rabbi’s Chametz

Warren Buffett & Rabbi Jonathan Gross

It might be his best deal yet.

Warren Buffett got a bottle of Scotch, a loaf of traditional Jewish bread, a bag of Cheetos and the rights to the food in three large drums and a box.

All for free.

For thousands of years, Jewish people have sold their leavened goods — anything containing grain that rises when baked — to non-Jewish friends before the eight-day observance of Passover begins. Any unsold leavened products are donated to charity.

Jewish law forbids eating or having leavened goods during Passover, which celebrates the Exodus of the ancient Israelites from Egypt after being freed from slavery.

Rabbi Jonathan Gross of the Beth Israel Synagogue in west Omaha had an idea. He would ask Omaha investor Buffett — an 81-year-old agnostic and the third-richest man in the world — to take part in the "Sale of Chametz."

Gross typed up a letter.

He included a little background on how the sale would work: Buffett would buy the goods, Gross would buy them back later.

"Price is low before Passover. Price is high afterward," Gross said. "It's a great short-term investment. So who would really appreciate this better than Warren Buffett?"

Gross also included the name of his friend Rabbi Myer Kripke, for whom the Kripke Center for the Study of Religion & Society at Creighton University is named. Kripke has been friends with Buffett for 50 years, since they were neighbors in Dundee.

A few days later, Gross got an email from Debbie Bosanek, Buffett's longtime secretary, saying Buffett liked the idea.

"The beauty of being an agnostic is that you are in no position to make any judgment about anything," Buffett said in an interview. "You can join in on anything."

He said he decided to participate because it's "a ceremony of enormous importance to Jews."

One problem: Passover begins at sunset on April 6, and Jews regularly sell their leavened goods just one day ahead of the observance. Because of his schedule, Buffett wanted to meet Feb. 23 — six weeks before Passover.

Gross decided that he couldn't actually sell Buffett his boxes of goods under Jewish tradition. "The sale is real, not a joke," Gross said.

He called a mentor rabbi. Scratch the official sale, the mentor advised.

Gross decided to keep the meeting with Buffett, because he wanted to raise awareness about the need for donations to the Food Bank for the Heartland.

During the afternoon of Feb. 23, Gross packed up the goods and his meeting script — he didn't want to waste any of Buffett's time. He picked up Yossi Stern, Kripke's son-in-law, and Rabbi Kripke, who at age 98 uses a wheelchair.

At Berkshire Hathaway's offices in the Kiewit Plaza near 36th and Farnam Streets, Buffett showed the men around his 14th-floor office.

They saw his signed Shaquille O'Neal sneakers and shelves of Husker memorabilia.
"It's really very ordinary," Gross said of Buffett's office.

In a nod to the ceremonial sale, Gross gave Buffett four 50-cent pieces to finance the deal.
Gross gave him a bottle of single-malt Scotch, home-baked challah — traditional braided Jewish bread — and Buffett's favorite, a bag of Cheetos.

Gross also handed him two sets of keys — to Beth Israel Synagogue and to Gross' west Omaha home, where the box and drums of food are kept. (Buffett agreed to donate the food to the food bank.)

The Oracle of Omaha and the west Omaha rabbi shook hands, no signed agreement needed.
Buffett returned the 50-cent coins.

He joked that now that he knows the asking price — four coins — he'll bargain down to two coins next year.

"Why didn't anyone tell me about this earlier? This is a great investment," Buffett said. "I could have been doing this for years."

Source: Omaha Herlad Record

‘KillZimmerman’ Twitter advocates violence against Martin’s killer

This image accompanies a "Kill Zimmerman" Twitter account, started on March 24, 2012.

On March 24 a “KillZimmerman” Twitter account began publishing calls for violence against George Zimmerman, the self-appointed neighborhood watch captain who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26.

Five days later, the account is still on its crusade to avenge Martin.

The sender’s initial tweets made his or her aims clear: “No Justice No Peace!!!!!!!!!!


The account’s image is a photo of gun-sight crosshairs superimposed on Zimmerman’s picture.

“This Page Is 4 Da Ppl Who Believe Zimmerman Should Be Shot Dead In The Street,” the Twitter account’s description reads, “The Same Way TRAYVON Was. No Justice No Peace.”

In response to one tweeted complaint on March 24 that the account “is advocating murder,” the account holder replied: “we should just all get up and #killzimmerman ourselves; fuck the system. #AintNoJustice”

“I Think They Should Shoot Zimmerman Dead In His Head Jail Ain’t Enough,” read another message the same day.

Don’t get me wrong I would be happy if he go to jail,” another tweet read, “but I rather see a bitch shoot him in his fuckin face.”

On March 27, the account tweeted: “Leave All The Violence Shit To Us Coz If They Don’t Put Em In Jail We Gone Get His Ass.”

“We don’t comment on specific users or the status of accounts for privacy reasons,” Twitter spokesperson Rachael Horwitz told The Daily Caller. She did not indicate whether Twitter intends to take action to suspend the account, but provided TheDC with a Web address where users can report “an abusive user.”

It’s clear from the account’s tweets on Wednesday that some Twitter users are taking advantage of that option.

“All these racist motherfuckers tryin to get me deleted like I did something wrong,” one tweet read. “Bitch zimmerman killed #TRAYVON he the one wrong.”

Calls for violence directed at Trayvon Martin’s killer are not restricted to Twitter alone.

The New Black Panther Party has issued a “dead or alive” bounty for Zimmerman’s capture. Its value was originally $10,000. On Wednesday that amount was increased dramatically — to $1 million.

On Facebook, groups named “I want George Zimmerman dead,” “Kill George Zimmerman bitch azz,” “Kill Zimmerman” and “Kill George Zimmerman” have appeared, some with approximately 100 members.

The “Kill Zimmerman” Twitter profile had 162 followers at 1 p.m. EDT Thursday, a number likely to increase because The Drudge Report posted a link to the page.

George Zimmerman remains in hiding from vigilante threats. Absent a fringe element calling for retaliatory violence, the vast majority of Martin’s supporters seek only Zimmerman’s arrest and prosecution

(Source: Daily Caller)

John Bolton: White House Leaked Covert Israeli Info

Former U.S. diplomat John Bolton alleged Thursday that the Obama administration leaked a story about covert Israeli activity in order to foil potential plans by the country to attack Iran's nuclear program.

Bolton, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in the George W. Bush administration, was responding to an article in Foreign Policy magazine that quoted government sources claiming Israel had been granted access to airfields in Azerbaijan -- along Iran's northern border.

The article did not state exactly what the Israelis' intentions were, but it suggested it could point to a possible strike on Iran.

"I think this leak today is part of the administration's campaign against an Israeli attack," Bolton claimed on Fox News.

The White House did not respond to Bolton's claims Thursday.

Bolton, a Fox News contributor, noted that a strike launched from Azerbaijan would be much easier for the Israelis than a strike launched from their own country -- jets could stay over their targets longer and worry less about refueling.

But he said tipping the Israelis' hand by revealing "very sensitive, very important information" could frustrate such a plan.

Speaking afterward to, Bolton said he didn't have hard proof that this was an intentional administration leak to halt an Israeli attack.

But he noted widely reported comments from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in February that he thinks the Israelis could strike as early as April. If that's the case, Bolton said, then it would be "entirely consistent" for the administration to try to avoid that impending outcome.

The Foreign Policy article quoted what were identified as "high-level sources ... inside the U.S. government." It specifically mentioned "four senior diplomats and military intelligence officers."

One intelligence officer, who was unnamed, told the magazine that the U.S. was "watching" the activity and was "not happy about it."

The Foreign Policy article did not specify whether any of the information came from the White House, and there is no direct evidence that this was a coordinated leak.

"Clearly, this is an administration-orchestrated leak," Bolton told "This is not a rogue CIA guy saying I think I'll leak this out."

"It's just unprecedented to reveal this kind of information about one of your own allies," Bolton said.

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul BEING WATCHED?

 American Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul suggested Thursday that the Russian government is spying on him.

“Everywhere I go (Russian television station) NTV is there,” he tweeted. “Wonder who gives them my calendar? They wouldn’t tell me. Wonder what the laws are here for such things?”

The unusual tweets come just days after President Obama met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in South Korea.

A State Department spokesman, peppered with questions about a string of similar tweets from the ambassador, said he was "not aware" that the U.S. government has raised these concerns formally with Moscow.

But the administration did not admonish McFaul, either, as the ambassador used one of the world's largest social media platforms to openly hint he was being watched by forces inside the United States' former Cold War foe.

"I respect (the) press’ right to go anywhere and ask any question. But do they have a right to read my email and listen to my phone?” McFaul also posted on his Twitter feed Thursday. “When I asked these ‘reporters’ how they knew my schedule, I got no answer. Heard the same silence when they met me after meeting w/ Chubais.”

Reporters from the Kremlin-friendly station reportedly met him after a meeting with activist Lev Ponomaryov.

Anatoly Chubais is a Russian businessman and was a key member of Boris Yeltsin’s administration.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters he read McFaul’s tweets and thinks “he was simply asking a rhetorical question commenting on the fact that wherever he goes in Moscow he’s finding a … large media presence -- some of it hostile.

“And he’s wondering how they’re getting word about his schedule," Toner said.

Toner also said he doesn’t think McFaul was directing his accusations at the journalists or the media.

“I think he’s asking the question about how details of his personal schedule are getting out to the media,” he said.

An NTV spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal that the station learned of the diplomat's plans through a network of "agencies and private citizens."

‘There is nothing surprising about it,” spokeswoman Maria Bezborodova said. “We are everywhere."

McFaul’s concerns about eavesdropping follow Obama’s recent trip in South Korea for a Nuclear Security summit in which a private conversation between him and Medvedev was caught on a live microphone. The president said he would have “more flexibility” after the 2012 elections to deal with such complex issues as missile defense.

He also said incoming President Vladimir Putin needs to give him some “space” when he takes office in May.

Obama downplayed the incident, saying negotiating arms reductions amid election-year politics would be difficult.

Though Republicans criticized Obama for the exchange, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney reminded them that "I'm pretty sure the Cold War ended when some of the folks in this room were still in elementary school."

"Any suggestion that Russia is America's No. 1 geopolitical foe represents a unique understanding of recent history," Carney said sarcastically during the daily White House briefing, in response to a comment presidential candidate Mitt Romney had made about Russia.

McFaul had tweeted his concerns about Russian media just a few hours earlier.

Obama appointed McFaul in January to the post of U.S.-Russia ambassador after McFaul served several years as the president’s special adviser on Russian affairs.

McFaul, a Stanford University political science professor, was part of the White House foreign policy team that developed the “reset in relations” phrase regarding Washington-Moscow affairs.

Nevada - Kosher Meal Deal Reached with Orthodox Jewish Inmate

After nearly 10 months of litigation, the Nevada Department of Corrections has reached an agreement with an Orthodox Jewish inmate who said prison officials were refusing to serve him kosher meals.

"We're very appreciative that the state is working with us to try to resolve this, as opposed to spending substantial taxpayer dollars to fight prisoners' exercise of their constitutional rights," attorney Jacob Hafter said this week.

Hafter represents inmate Howard Ackerman, who filed a class action lawsuit in June that accused prison officials of violating his First Amendment right to free exercise of religion. The lawsuit alleged officials had decided to stop providing kosher food options, and Ackerman filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order.

At a hearing a few days later, attorneys involved in the case said they had reached an agreement that eliminated the need for a restraining order. But that detente ended in January, when Ackerman filed an amended lawsuit.

The following month, U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro issued an injunction that barred the department from serving its new "common fare" menu to Ackerman. She also ordered the department to ask the 292 other prisoners who were receiving kosher meals whether they wanted to be included in the injunction.

Hafter said 262 people asked to be included.

Prison officials insisted the new menu would be kosher and said it would save the department about $1.5 million in fiscal 2013. Hafter said it would not be kosher because it lacked rabbinic supervision.

The state appealed Navarro's decision on the injunction to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco but later stayed the appeal.

In a stipulation filed Friday in U.S. District Court, parties on both sides of the case agreed to a six-month stay. They also asked Navarro to certify the case as a class action.

Hafter said the stipulation "makes a lot of the arguments in the appeal moot."

The stipulation identifies class members as prisoners "whose religious beliefs command the consumption of a kosher diet."

"Defendants expressly reserved their right to dispute the inclusion of any individual whose religious beliefs do not command the consumption of a kosher diet ... and to challenge the sincerity of the expressed religious beliefs of any individual requesting inclusion in the class," according to the stipulation.

A corrections spokesman said the common fare menu, which would have replaced the kosher menu, was designed to encompass all religious-needs diets.

According to the stipulation, department officials have agreed to obtain rabbinic kosher certification of food prepared for class members "and demonstrate an ability to maintain such certification."

"They're agreeing to obtain certification of the meals, which they were not willing to do before," Hafter said.

According to the stipulation, which awaits Navarro's signature, the parties agreed to the six-month stay to give prison officials sufficient time to accomplish the certification.

"The goal is that the entire common fare menu will be certified kosher," Hafter said. He estimated that 50 to 150 people will be included in the class.

He said the group protected by the injunction included "tag-alongs," or people whose religious beliefs did not require a kosher diet.

Keeping kosher is an "essential tenet" of Orthodox Judaism, according to Ackerman's lawsuit.

Those who adhere to a kosher diet do not eat pork, shellfish or certain birds. Meat and dairy products may not be eaten together.

Although fruits and vegetables are kosher, they may not come into contact with nonkosher food, utensils or dishes.

Ackerman, 51, is serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole in a kidnapping case. He is imprisoned at the Lovelock Correctional Center.

Las Vegas Review - Journal

Report: Israel has access to Azerbaijan airbases

Israeli F-16I fighter jets

Foreign Policy quotes U.S. diplomats as saying that 'Israel is deeply embedded in Azerbaijan' and says intelligence officials worried that Israel's military involvement in Azerbaijan would complicate efforts to reduce Israeli-Iranian tensions.

Israel has been granted access to air bases in Azerbaijan on Iran's northern border, Foreign Policy reports, quoting senior U.S. diplomats and military intelligence officials.

"The Israelis have bought an airfield," a senior U.S. administration official told Foreign Policy's Mark Perry, "and the airfield is called Azerbaijan."

According to the report, U.S. intelligence officials are worried that Israel's military involvement in Azerbaijan would make it more difficult for the U.S. to reduce Israeli-Iranian tensions. Apparently now, military planners must prepare for a war scenario that would also involve the Caucasus.
"We're watching what Iran does closely," said a U.S. intelligence officer involved in assessing the consequences of a potential Israeli strike on Iran. "But we're now watching what Israel is doing in Azerbaijan. And we're not happy about it."

In February, Israel signed a $1.6 billion arms deal with Azerbaijan, committing to sell drones and anti-aircraft missile defense systems to Baku. According to a retired U.S. diplomat, the deal left Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan "sputtering in rage," since Israel had previously canceled a contract to develop drones with the Turkish military.

The report said that the Azeri military has four abandoned, Soviet-era airfields that could be available to Israel and four air bases for their own aircraft, quoting the International Institute for Strategic Studies' Military Balance 2011.

U.S. officials told Foreign Policy that they believe Israel has been granted access to these air bases through a "series of quiet political and military understandings."

"I doubt that there's actually anything in writing," said a former U.S. diplomat who spent his career in the region. "But I don't think there's any doubt - if Israeli jets want to land in Azerbaijan after an attack, they'd probably be allowed to do so. Israel is deeply embedded in Azerbaijan, and has been for the last two decades."

The report states that Israel's embassy in Washington, the IDF, the Mossad, and the Shin Bet were all asked to comment on the story but failed to respond. Also, the Azeri embassy to the U.S. did not respond when asked about Azerbaijan's security agreements with Israel.

Earlier this month, Azerbaijan authorities arrested 22 people suspected of plotting to attack the Israeli and American embassies in the capital Baku. Iran's Revolutionary Guards was reportedly behind the plan to attack Israeli and U.S. targets in the country, according to Azerbaijan's national security ministry.