U.S. Senator’s Personal Driver for 20 Years Was a Chinese Spy

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office was infiltrated by a Chinese spy who worked as her driver and attended official functions on her behalf for 20 years, according to new reports from Politico and The San Francisco Chronicle.

Feinstein reportedly had no idea that her office was being infiltrated by a man who was feeding information to an individual linked to China’s Ministry of State Security. She was “mortified” when the FBI showed up at her Washington DC office five years ago to warn her about the mole.

Feinstein, who was serving as chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time, had access to classified intelligence that would be extremely valuable to the Chinese government. She forced her driver to resign shortly thereafter and did not tell her staff about the incident, according to an unnamed source cited in the Chronicle.

In her capacity as a ranking member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Feinstein unilaterally released testimony from Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson to the public earlier this year, violating committee precedent. When she released these records, she failed to disclose that one of her former staffers, Daniel Jones, had hired Fusion GPS and ex-British spy Christopher Steele to dig up dirt on Donald Trump after the 2016 election. (Read more from “U.S. Senator’s Personal Driver for 20 Years Was a Chinese Spy” HERE)

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Venezuelan Government: Explosions Were Attempted Attack on President

Authorities detained six people suspected of using explosives-laden drones in a failed bid to assassinate Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, officials said Sunday. Interior Minister Nestor Luis Reverol on Sunday described it as a terrorist attack and said more arrests could follow within hours. Investigators have raided hotels and seized vehicles for details into the plot.

Venezuela’s socialist government alleged Sunday that the detained suspects conspired with others in Miami and the capital of neighboring Colombia, though they offered no specific evidence. Opposition leaders criticized Maduro for broadly singling out his political opponents, and they warned that he might use the attack to further suppress his critics.

The thwarted attack comes as Venezuela is reeling from a worsening economic and humanitarian crisis and Maduro has grown increasingly isolated. Foreign nations, including the United States, are slapping economic sanctions against a growing list of high-ranking officials and decrying his government as an autocratic regime.

Maduro and his allies called the attack direct proof that an international plot to overthrow his socialist administration exists, while also saying that the military’s response shows he still has the loyalty of Venezuela’s soldiers.

But analysts said the images broadcast live on television when the attack struck during a Maduro speech Saturday evening made him appear vulnerable. (Read more from “Venezuelan Government: Explosions Were Attempted Attack on President” HERE)

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Trump Receives ‘Nice Letter’ From Kim Jong Un; Is North Korea Deceiving Us?

Is the North Korean regime deceiving us once again?

In a tweet Thursday, President Trump announced that he had received a second letter from North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. The president praised Kim for releasing the supposed remains of American soldiers who were killed during the Korean War.

While top administration figures continue to tout the progress on North Korea talks, there remains great concerns about the viability of the effort in its entirety.

For many months, the Trump administration has remained true to the goal of securing the full denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. However, North Korea experts across the political spectrum are becoming increasingly concerned that the latest moves from Pyongyang are nothing more than a smokescreen to buy time for their nuclear ambitions.

Earlier this week, news reports surfaced claiming that North Korea is continuing to ramp up production on its latest series of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Satellite images reportedly showed that North Korea is building liquid fueled ICBMs right outside of its capital. A regime apparently committed to denuclearization is making moves that achieve the exact opposite of that goal.

Bruce Klingner, a Heritage Foundation foreign policy scholar who served as the CIA’s Deputy Division Chief for Korea, has sounded the alarm about the current progress (or lack thereof) being made on denuclearization efforts. Earlier in the week, Klingner warned that the Trump administration may be moving in the direction of adopting the failed policies of the Obama administration.

There are also worrying signs that the maximum pressure sanctions regime imposed against Pyongyang is starting to show signs of vulnerability.

The Trump administration, aware of the outside criticism over its strategy, is urging analysts to let the diplomatic talks play out. Over the weekend, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the current negotiations with the Kim regime as “patient diplomacy.”

“We’re engaged in patient diplomacy,” Pompeo stated. “But we will not let this drag out to no end. I emphasized this position in the productive discussions I had with Vice Chairman Kim Yong Chol. President Trump remains upbeat about the prospects for North Korean denuclearization. Progress is happening.”

However, it’s only a matter of time before more and more people start to ask what progress has actually been made on denuclearization, and whether North Korea is serious about internal reform.

Since its founding, the North Korean regime has developed a reputation for deception and for breaking the rules. The regime has long used stall tactics in order to buy time to advance its nuclear program, while simultaneously finding a way to receive an economic bailout lifeline to prop up its broken Stalinist economy. Unfortunately, it looks like Pyongyang under Kim Jong Un might be up to its old tricks again. (For more from the author of “Trump Receives ‘Nice Letter’ From Kim Jong Un; Is North Korea Deceiving Us?” please click HERE)

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U.S. Sanctions Turkish Officials Over Pastor’s Detention

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced on Wednesday that the United States will impose sanctions on Turkish officials in response to the imprisonment of American pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey.

“At the president’s direction, the Department of Treasury is sanctioning Turkey’s Minister of Justice and Minister of Interior, both of whom played leading roles in the arrest and detention of pastor Brunson,” Sanders said. “As a result, any property or interest in property of both ministers within U.S. jurisdiction is blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.”

“We’ve seen no evidence that Pastor Brunson has done anything wrong and we believe he is a victim of unfair and unjust detention by the government of Turkey,” Sanders stated.

The sanctions are directed at Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gul and Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu. A U.S. Treasury Department press release said the officials “serve as leaders of Turkish government organizations responsible for implementing Turkey’s serious human rights abuses.” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin called Brunson’s detention “simply unacceptable.”

Brunson is an evangelical pastor from North Carolina who was arrested by Turkish authorities in 2016 after the failed coup attempt. He was accused of having ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party and U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is alleged by the Turkish government to have been behind much of the unrest. (Read more from “U.S. Sanctions Turkish Officials Over Pastor’s Detention” HERE)

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Migrant Who ‘Hero’ Student Stopped From Being Deported Sentenced for Assault

The Swedish student who was branded a “hero” and captured worldwide attention after she stopped the deportation of an Afghan migrant by refusing to sit down on a plane instead prevented the extradition of a man sentenced for assault and whose asylum application was rejected.

Elin Ersson, a student at Gothenburg University, was subjected to fawning media coverage over her stunt earlier this month when she refused to take her seat on the plane until the 52-year-old Afghan deportee was released. She was successful and authorities weren’t able to deport the man.

However, Swedish Police confirmed to Fox News that the man whose deportation Ersson prevented had received a prison sentence in Sweden for assault. The police spokesman declined to go into more details about the crime the migrant has committed. His asylum application was also rejected. . .

One of the largest newspapers in Finland, Helsingin Sanomat, reported last week as well that the man was sentenced for assault. The man will still eventually be deported, though the date remains unknown, the newspaper reported.

Despite lacking information about the man who was being deported, most media organizations jumped on the story, with the Washington Post calling Ersson’s stunt a “dramatic act of civil disobedience” while Newsweek magazine described the student as a “hero”. (Read more from “Migrant Who ‘Hero’ Student Stopped From Being Deported Sentenced for Assault” HERE)

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Report: Iran Increased Persecution of Christians in July

The Iranian government’s persecution of Christians increased over the past month, according to information gathered by the nonprofit International Christian Concern.

Earlier this month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani claimed Christians have the same rights as others do in Iran. Despite the claim, a report from ICC, a Washington-based nonprofit that assists religious minorities from persecution through assistance, advocacy, and awareness, points to evidence from the month of July showing Christians have been targeted by the Iranian regime. Eight believers faced judicial action, “a noteworthy increase of publicized cases of Christian persecution in Iran,” according to ICC.

The report highlighted cases of Christians held by the government. On July 2, intelligence forces arrested and detained Massoumeh Taqinejad and her son. She was charged with proselytizing on the Internet. A couple weeks later, Ramiel Bet Tamraz received a four month prison sentence for allegedly acting against national security. In the following days and weeks, the report includes five others who were arrested, detained, or tried in court.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide, another organization dedicated to supporting Christians suffering persecution, issued a statement that observed, “as the Iranian regime has grown more unpopular and citizens have become more vocal in their criticism of corruption in official circles, the government has become increasingly reliant on the support of hard-line ayatollahs, who favour increased pressure on religious minorities.”

Similarly, ICC’s regional manager, Claire Evans, said “the persecution of Christians in Iran is increasingly building as the regime struggles to maintain its grip over the hearts and minds of its citizenry.” (Read more from “Report: Iran Increased Persecution of Christians in July” HERE)

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Social Worker: Migrants See Child Brides ‘as Their Sons’ Tickets to Europe’

Here’s another entry in the chronicle of Western difficulties assimilating Third World immigrants: Swedish authorities report growing problems with migrants sending young daughters to marry older men abroad, both as a strategy to avoid assimilation and to gain European citizenship. While underage marriage is essentially banned in Sweden, the country recognizes underage marriages conducted abroad.

“People see young girls as their sons’ tickets to Europe,” social worker Zubeyde Demirörs told Politico for a recent article. Demirörs, now 45, was herself forcibly married to a Turkish man 22 years her senior when she was 15. . .

ow she runs a shelter to help girls in similar situations, and hears “similar stories every day,” despite many public campaigns, especially since the height of the European migrant crisis in 2015, to reduce the practice. Last year the Swedish government launched a unit to address honor crimes after a surge accompanying asylum-seekers.

Summer is the busiest time for marrying girls off, because they are on holiday from school: “This time of year my phone just doesn’t stop ringing. May, June, July — that’s when many girls are taken back to their parents’ home countries, mostly to rural parts of the Middle East and Africa,” Demirörs told Politico. Marriage before age 18 is the norm in many poor countries. In Niger, the world’s No. 1 in this regard, 77 percent of marriages occur before the female is 18. . .

In response to seeing an increase in this evil custom and others such as female genital mutilation within their borders, Swedish lawmakers are considering proposals to not recognize foreign marriages involving minors, travel bans for those suspected of bringing daughters abroad for forced marriages or mutilation, and extraditing foreigners involved with honor crimes. Just last month Denmark began implementing stringent new laws to address similar problems. Beginning at one year old, children living in immigrant “ghettos” must now attend 25 hours per week of mandatory assimilation instruction, or their parents may lose welfare payments. (Read more from “Social Worker: Migrants See Child Brides ‘as Their Sons’ Tickets to Europe’” HERE)

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British Army Goes to Standby in Prep for “No Deal” Brexit and Ensuing Domestic Crisis

By The Times. Ministers have drawn up plans to send in the army to deliver food, medicines and fuel in the event of shortages if Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal.

Blueprints for the armed forces to assist the civilian authorities, usually used only in civil emergencies, have been dusted down as part of the “no deal” planning.

Helicopters and army trucks would be used to ferry supplies to vulnerable people outside the southeast who were struggling to obtain the medicines they needed. (Read more from “British Army Goes to Standby in Prep for “No Deal” Brexit and Ensuing Domestic Crisis” HERE)

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Here’s What a No Deal Brexit Would Mean for the British Economy

By Business Insider. . .Writing this week, Vicky Redwood, global economist at Capital Economics, argued that while “more extreme” warnings about the economic hit of no deal are being “overblown,” a significant impact negative impact could still be expected.

“Although the more extreme warnings about the short-term impact of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit on the economy are overdone, there is little doubt that it could deal a reasonable blow to GDP growth next year,” Redwood wrote to clients.

“Whether a no-deal scenario had a good, bad, or little impact on the economy in the long run would depend on many things, including how successful the UK was at striking new trade deals and whether there was an exodus of financial institutions from the UK. But the short-run effect would surely be bad,” she told clients.

Redwood did not go into specific detail in terms of forecasts, but said that a no deal Brexit could “plausibly knock a percentage point or so off growth next year.”

One of the reasons for that, Redwood argued, is that no deal would inevitably have a major negative impact on the price of the pound. (Read more from “Here’s What a No Deal Brexit Would Mean for the British Economy” HERE)

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This Is How Iran Is Attempting to Get Around U.S. Sanctions

In an effort to circumvent U.S. sanctions, Iran is moving forward with plans to develop its own national cryptocurrency. . .

State-run Iranian news outlet PressTV reported Wednesday that the Central Bank of Iran is working with domestic technology firms on the project and expects a new national encryption key using blockchain technology will be introduced into the country’s banking system within the next three months.

According to PressTV, an official from the technological directorate of the Iranian Presidential Office made the announcement to local media.

Alireza Daliri, deputy for management and investment affairs, said in a statement, “We are trying to prepare the grounds to use a domestic digital currency in the country. This currency would facilitate the transfer of money (to and from) anywhere in the world. Besides, it can help us at the time of sanctions. . .

Iran is taking a page out of Venezuela’s playbook with its plan to develop its own digital currency. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro introduced the roll-out of its oil-backed “Petro” cryptocurrency last year — also for the purpose of dodging U.S. sanctions. (Read more from “This Is How Iran Is Attempting to Get Around U.S. Sanctions” HERE)

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Remains of 55 American Soldiers Killed in North Korea Returned on 65th Anniversary of Armistice

Fifty-five wooden cases, draped with white and blue United Nations flags, carrying the remains of U.S. soldiers killed during the Korean War arrived Friday in South Korea on the 65th anniversary of the Korean Armistice Agreement, the White House said in a news release.

A solemn honor guard greeted the fallen soldiers at the Osan Air Base outside Seoul, South Korea. U.S. service members methodically carried each small casket — one by one — to their awaiting vehicles. A formal repatriation ceremony will be held Aug. 1, the White House release said.

Earlier, a crew traveled aboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft to Wonsan, North Korea, where they collected the soldiers’ remains. . .

“Today’s actions represent a significant first step to recommence the repatriation of remains from North Korea and to resume field operations in North Korea to search for the estimated 5,300 Americans who have not yet returned home,” the White House release said.

“The Remains of American Servicemen will soon be leaving North Korea and heading to the United States!” the president tweeted late Thursday about the return of the remains. “After so many years, this will be a great moment for so many families. Thank you to Kim Jong Un.” (Read more from “Remains of 55 American Soldiers Killed in North Korea Returned on 65th Anniversary of Armistice” HERE)

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