Claim: Turkish Forces Immediately Violated Ceasefire Agreement

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) reported on Friday morning that Turkish forces violated the five-day ceasefire agreement announced on Thursday afternoon almost immediately, as Turkish-allied ground forces continued to attack the town of Ras al-Ain with Turkish air and artillery support.

“Despite the agreement to halt the fighting, air and artillery attacks continue to target the positions of fighters, civilian settlements, and the hospital in Serekaniye/Ras al-Ain,” said SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali, using both the Kurdish and Arabic names of the town. . .

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights counted 7 civilians killed plus at least 21 injured by Turkish airstrikes and warned 38 injured people are trapped in an area under siege by Turkish proxies.

Organizers of a civilian relief convoy attempting to reach Ras al-Ain told Kurdistan24 News the attacking forces have cut off access to the town. They reported 30 injuries in the area from artillery fired by either the Turks or their allies from the Free Syrian Army.

Reuters journalists positioned near the Turkey-Syria border said they could hear machine-gun fire and artillery explosions from the vicinity of Ras al-Ain and saw plumes of smoke near the town, although they added the “sounds of fighting had subsided by mid-morning.” (Read more from “Claim: Turkish Forces Immediately Violated Ceasefire Agreement” HERE)

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Chick-Fil-A’s First U.K. Location Forced to Close Down

Just a little over a week after Chick-fil-A opened its first location in the United Kingdom, the restaurant will be closing because the shopping center will not extend the restaurant’s six-month lease in response to the protests of LGBTQ activists. . .

A spokesperson for The Oracle shopping center told the BBC that “the right thing to do” was to prevent the fast-food chain from doing business in response to the LGBTQ outcry.

“We always look to introduce new concepts for our customers, however, we have decided on this occasion that the right thing to do is to only allow Chick-Fil-A to trade with us for the initial six-month pilot period, and not to extend the lease any further,” said the spokesperson.

Reading Pride expressed delight over the “good news,” saying the six-month period was “reasonable request … to allow for re-settlement and notice for employees that have moved from other jobs.” Reading Pride did, however, promise to keep haranguing the restaurant with protests until it officially left the shopping center for good.

Chick-fil-A told the BBC that the organization has donated to Christian groups for youth and education, noting that they serve as home to a diverse number of employees. “There are 145,000 people – black, white; gay, straight; Christian, non-Christian – who represent Chick-fil-A,” said a spokesperson. (Read more from “Chick-Fil-A’s First U.K. Location Forced to Close Down” HERE)

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Hundreds Charged Worldwide in the Takedown of the Largest Darknet Child Pornography Website, Which Was Funded by Bitcoin

Justice Dept. Says It’s Taken down ‘World’s Largest’ Child Exploitation Sites on the Dark Web

By Tech Crunch. The Justice Department says it has dismantled one of the largest child exploitation sites on the dark web.

With the help of international partners in the U.K. and South Korea, U.S. prosecutors have brought charges against a South Korean citizen, Jong Woo Son, for conspiracy to advertise, produce and distribute child abuse imagery.

Son was charged in August 2018 but the indictment was only unsealed Wednesday. NBC News was first to report the indictments.

The site contained more than 250,000 unique videos — some 8 terabytes of data — involving children. (Read more from “Justice Dept. Says It’s Taken down ‘World’s Largest’ Child Exploitation Sites on the Dark Web” HERE)

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South Korean National and Hundreds of Others Charged Worldwide in the Takedown of the Largest Darknet Child Pornography Website, Which Was Funded by Bitcoin

By DOJ Press Release. Jong Woo Son, 23, a South Korean national, was indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia for his operation of Welcome To Video, the largest child sexual exploitation market by volume of content. The nine-count indictment was unsealed today along with a parallel civil forfeiture action. Son has also been charged and convicted in South Korea and is currently in custody serving his sentence in South Korea. An additional 337 site users residing in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington State and Washington, D.C. as well as the United Kingdom, South Korea, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Czech Republic, Canada, Ireland, Spain, Brazil and Australia have been arrested and charged.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu for the District of Columbia, Chief Don Fort of IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and Acting Executive Associate Director Alysa Erichs of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), made the announcement.

“Darknet sites that profit from the sexual exploitation of children are among the most vile and reprehensible forms of criminal behavior,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “This Administration will not allow child predators to use lawless online spaces as a shield. Today’s announcement demonstrates that the Department of Justice remains firmly committed to working closely with our partners in South Korea and around the world to rescue child victims and bring to justice the perpetrators of these abhorrent crimes.”

“Children around the world are safer because of the actions taken by U.S. and foreign law enforcement to prosecute this case and recover funds for victims,” said U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu. “We will continue to pursue such criminals on and off the darknet in the United States and abroad, to ensure they receive the punishment their terrible crimes deserve.”

“Through the sophisticated tracing of bitcoin transactions, IRS-CI special agents were able to determine the location of the Darknet server, identify the administrator of the website and ultimately track down the website server’s physical location in South Korea,” said IRS-CI Chief Don Fort. “This largescale criminal enterprise that endangered the safety of children around the world is no more. Regardless of the illicit scheme, and whether the proceeds are virtual or tangible, we will continue to work with our federal and international partners to track down these disgusting organizations and bring them to justice.”

“Children are our most vulnerable population, and crimes such as these are unthinkable,” said HSI Acting Executive Associate Director Alysa Erichs. “Sadly, advances in technology have enabled child predators to hide behind the dark web and cryptocurrency to further their criminal activity. However, today’s indictment sends a strong message to criminals that no matter how sophisticated the technology or how widespread the network, child exploitation will not be tolerated in the United States. Our entire justice system will stop at nothing to prevent these heinous crimes, safeguard our children, and bring justice to all.”

According to the indictment, on March 5, 2018, agents from the IRS-CI, HSI, National Crime Agency in the United Kingdom, and Korean National Police in South Korea arrested Son and seized the server that he used to operate a Darknet market that exclusively advertised child sexual exploitation videos available for download by members of the site. The operation resulted in the seizure of approximately eight terabytes of child sexual exploitation videos, which is one of the largest seizures of its kind. The images, which are currently being analyzed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), contained over 250,000 unique videos, and 45 percent of the videos currently analyzed contain new images that have not been previously known to exist.

Welcome To Video offered these videos for sale using the cryptocurrency bitcoin. Typically, sites of this kind give users a forum to trade in these depictions. This Darknet website is among the first of its kind to monetize child exploitation videos using bitcoin. In fact, the site itself boasted over one million downloads of child exploitation videos by users. Each user received a unique bitcoin address when the user created an account on the website. An analysis of the server revealed that the website had more than one million bitcoin addresses, signifying that the website had capacity for at least one million users.

The agencies have shared data from the seized server with law enforcement around the world to assist in identifying and prosecuting customers of the site. This has resulted in leads sent to 38 countries and yielded arrests of 337 subjects around the world. The operation has resulted in searches of residences and businesses of approximately 92 individuals in the United States. Notably, the operation is responsible for the rescue of at least 23 minor victims residing in the United States, Spain and the United Kingdom, who were being actively abused by the users of the site.

In the Washington, D.C.-metropolitan area, the operation has led to the execution of five search warrants and eight arrests of individuals who both conspired with the administrator of the site and were themselves, users of the website. Two users of the Darknet market committed suicide subsequent to the execution of search warrants.

Amongst the sites users charged are:

Charles Wunderlich, 34, of Hot Springs, California, was charged in the District of Columbia with conspiracy to distribute child pornography;

Brian James LaPrath, 34, of San Diego, California, was arrested in the District of Columbia, for international money laundering; and was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release;

Ernest Wagner, 70, of Federal Way, Washington, was arrested and charged in the District of Columbia with conspiracy to distribute child pornography;

Vincent Galarzo, 28, of Glendale, New York, was arrested and charged in the District of Columbia with conspiracy to distribute child pornography;

Michael Ezeagbor, 22, of Pflugerville, Texas, was arrested and charged in the District of Columbia with conspiracy to distribute child pornography;

Nicholas Stengel, 45, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty to receipt of child pornography and money laundering and was sentenced to serve 15 years in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release;

Eryk Mark Chamberlin, 25, of Worcester, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and is pending sentencing;

Jairo Flores, 30, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in the District of Massachusetts to receipt and possession of child pornography and was sentenced to serve five years in prison followed by five years of supervised release;

Billy Penaloza, 29, of Dorchester, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in the District of Massachusetts to possession and receipt of child pornography. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 22, 2019;

Michael Armstrong, 35, of Randolph, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in the District of Massachusetts, to receipt and possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to serve five years in prison followed by five years of supervised release. Restitution will be determined at a future date;

Al Ramadhanu Soedomo, 28, of Lynn, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and was sentenced in the District of Massachusetts (Boston), to serve 12 months and one day followed by five years of supervised release;

Phillip Sungmin Hong, 24, of Sharon, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in the District of Massachusetts (Boston), to receipt and possession of child pornography and is pending sentencing;

Eliseo Arteaga Jr., 28, of Mesquite, Texas, pleaded guilty in the Northern District of Texas to possession of prepubescent child pornography. He is pending sentencing;

Richard Nikolai Gratkowski, 40, of San Antonio, Texas, a former HSI special agent, was arrested in the Western District of Texas. Gratkowski pleaded guilty to the indictment charging one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of access with intent to view child pornography. Gratkowski was sentenced to serve 70 months in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $35,000 in restitution to seven victims and a $10,000 assessment;

Paul Casey Whipple, 35, of Hondo, Texas, a U.S. Border Patrol Agent, was arrested in the Western District of Texas, on charges of sexual exploitation of children/minors, production, distribution, and possession of child pornography. Whipple remains in custody awaiting trial in San Antonio;

Michael Lawson, 36, of Midland, Georgia, was arrested in the Middle District of Georgia on charges of attempted sexual exploitation of children and possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to serve 121 months in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release following his plea to a superseding information charging him with one count of receipt of child pornography;

Kevin Christopher Eagan, 39, of Brookhaven, Georgia, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography in the Northern District of Georgia;

Casey Santioius Head, 37, of Griffin, Georgia, was indicted in the Northern District of Georgia for distribution, receipt, and possession of child pornography;

Andrew C. Chu, 28, of Garwood, New Jersey, was arrested and charged with receipt of child pornography. Those charges remain pending;

Nader Hamdi Ahmed, 29 of Jersey City, New Jersey, was arrested in the District of New Jersey, for sexual exploitation or other abuse of children. Ahmed pleaded guilty to an information charging him with one count of distribution of child pornography. He is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 1, 2019;

Jeffrey Lee Harris, 32, of Pickens, South Carolina, pleaded guilty in the District of South Carolina for producing, distributing, and possessing child pornography;

Laine Ormand Clark Jr., 27, of Conway, South Carolina, was arrested and charged in U.S. District Court in South Carolina Division for sexual possession of child pornography;

Jack R. Dove III, 38, of Lakeland, Florida, was arrested in the Middle District of Florida for knowingly receiving and possessing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct;

Michael Matthew White, 39, of Miami Beach, Florida, was arrested in the Southern District of Florida for coercion and enticement;

Nikolas Bennion Bradshaw, 24, of Bountiful, Utah, was arrested in the State of Utah, and charged with five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, and was sentenced to time served with 91 days in jail followed by probation;

Michael Don Gibbs, 37, of Holladay, Utah, was charged in the District of Utah with receipt of child pornography and possession of child pornography;

Ammar Atef H. Alahdali, 22, of Arlington, Virginia, pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Virginia to receipt of child pornography and was sentenced to serve five years in prison and ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution;

Mark Lindsay Rohrer, 38, of West Hartford, Connecticut, pleaded guilty in the District of Connecticut to receipt of child pornography and was sentenced to serve 60 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release;

Eugene Edward Jung, 47, of San Francisco, California, was indicted in the Northern District of California on possession of child pornography and receipt of child pornography;

James Daosaeng, 25, of Springdale, Arkansas, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and was sentenced in the Western District of Arkansas (Fayetteville) to serve 97 months in prison followed by 20 years of supervised release;

Alex Daniel Paxton, 30, of Columbus, Ohio, was arrested and indicted in Franklin County Ohio Court of Common Pleas for pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor;

Don Edward Pannell, 32, of Harvey, Louisiana, pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Louisiana for receipt of child pornography. He is pending sentencing;

Ryan Thomas Carver, 29, of Huntsville, Alabama, was arrested and charged under Alabama State Law. He was charged federally in the Northern District of Alabama with possession of child pornography. His case is pending in Huntsville, Alabama;

Alexander Buckley, 28, of the United Kingdom, pleaded guilty to 10 offences in the UK of possession and distribution of indecent images of children, possession of extreme and prohibited images and possession of a class A drug. He was sentenced to serve 40 months in prison for the distribution of indecent images and possession of class A drugs. Buckley is also subject to an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order;

Kyle Fox, 26, of the United Kingdom, pleaded guilty to 22 counts including rape, sexual assault, and sharing indecent images, and was sentenced to serve 22 years in prison; and

Mohammed Almaker, 26, of Fort Collins, Colorado, was arrested in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), charged with KSA Law involving the endangerment of children. He is awaiting judicial proceedings in furtherance of criminal charges.

A forfeiture complaint was also unsealed today. The complaint alleges that law enforcement was able to trace payments of bitcoin to the Darknet site by following the flow of funds on the blockchain. The virtual currency accounts identified in the complaint were allegedly used by 24 individuals in five countries to fund the website and promote the exploitation of children. The forfeiture complaint seeks to recover these funds and, ultimately through the restoration process, return the illicit funds to victims of the crime.

The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The international investigations were led by the IRS-CI, HSI and the NCA. The Korean National Police of the Republic of Korea, the National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom and the German Federal Criminal Police (the Bundeskriminalamt), provided assistance and coordinated with their parallel investigations. The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs of the Criminal Division provided significant assistance.

The cases are being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zia M. Faruqui, Lindsay Suttenberg, and Youli Lee, Paralegal Specialists Brian Rickers and Diane Brashears, Legal Assistant Jessica McCormick, and Records Examiner Chad Byron of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and Trial Attorney C. Alden Pelker of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section. Additional assistance has been provided by Deputy Chief Keith Becker and Trial Attorney James E. Burke IV of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, and former U.S. Attorney’s Office Paralegal Specialists Toni Anne Donato and Ty Eaton.

(Press release originally posted HERE)

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Here’s How a Massive, Mysterious Pro-China Troll Mob Silenced NBA Exec’s Twitter Account

An enormous pro-China Twitter mob descended on Houston Rocket’s General Manager Daryl Morey after his ill-fated Hong Kong tweet and, in the process, thrust the NBA into the hotspot, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Morey was the victim of what experts say is a massive, coordinated assault after his Oct. 4 tweet supporting Hong Kong protesters, the report noted, citing a review of about 170,000 tweets directed at the NBA executive. Experts are not ruling out the possibility that the full-throated attack was state-sponsored.

“I’m not saying this is a state-affiliated operation,” Clemson University researcher Darren Linvill told TheWSJ on Wednesday. “But I’ve only seen so many brand-new accounts used at one time when it was a state-affiliated operation.” . . .

Morey’s account was inundated with comments from pro–Chinese government accounts in the 12 hours after he posted his tweet, which championed Hong Kong’s fight for freedom. The tweets mentioned him more than 16,000 times, Ben Nimmo, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, noted in a separate analysis of Morey’s tweets.

“It looks like there were humans at the keyboard for many of these posts,” he told reporters. “This wasn’t primarily a bot swarm. It was a troll mob. Which is a lot harder to deal with.” Twitter has not responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment about the campaign. (Read more from “Here’s How a Massive, Mysterious Pro-China Troll Mob Silenced NBA Exec’s Twitter Account” HERE)

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Pence Announces a Deal with Turkey for Cease-Fire in Syria

Quote source: https://www.c-span.org/video/?465417-1/vice-president-pence-announces-us-turkey-reach-ceasefire-agreement-syria

Vice President Mike Pence announced an agreement for a temporary ceasefire in Syria after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Today, I’m proud to report, thanks to the strong leadership of President Donald Trump and the strong relationship between President Erdogan and Turkey and the United States of America, that today the United States and Turkey have agreed to a cease-fire in Syria,” Pence said from the U.S. embassy in Ankara, Turkey.

Last week, the White House announced that the U.S. would pull troops out of an area near the northern Syrian border ahead of an anticipated Turkish offensive into the area. President Trump said it was “time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home.” The move has drawn criticism from both Republicans and Democrats alike, particularly because of Turkey’s attacks on Kurdish forces in the area.

Pence explained Thursday that Turkey’s military would pause its military offensive in northern Syria for 120 hours in order to allow Kurdish militia forces to exit the roughly 20-mile-wide “safe zone” near the border. He also added that Turkey’s operation would be “halted entirely upon completion of the withdrawal.” Pence said that the administration has also begun to facilitate the withdrawal of Syrian forces from the area.

“Also Turkey and the United States agree on the priority of respecting vulnerable human life, human rights, and particularly the protection of religious and ethnic communities in the region,” Pence explained.

The news came just moments after a bipartisan group of U.S. senators in Washington, D.C., led by Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., announced new legislation imposing sanctions on Turkey over its actions in Syria. During his remarks from Ankara, Pence explained that the agreement stipulates that the United States would impose no new sanctions and would lift the sanctions currently imposed on Turkey once a permanent cease-fire takes effect after the “orderly withdrawal” of Kurdish militia forces from the contested area.

Graham told reporters said that while he’s “encouraged” by news of the cease-fire, he still plans to forge ahead on the sanctions legislation for now, in case Turkey doesn’t follow through on its end of the bargain.

President Trump took to Twitter to praise the cease-fire agreement, saying, “This deal could NEVER have been made 3 days ago. There needed to be some ‘tough’ love in order to get it done. Great for everybody. Proud of all!”

“This is a great day for civilization,” Trump added in a subsequent tweet. “I am proud of the United States for sticking by me in following a necessary, but somewhat unconventional, path. People have been trying to make this ‘Deal’ for many years. Millions of lives will be saved.” (For more from the author of “Pence Announces a Deal with Turkey for Cease-Fire in Syria” please click HERE)

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Report: U.S. Bombs Own Headquarters in Syria; Senator Defends Trump’s Decision to Pull U.S. Troops (VIDEO)

By Daily Wire. On Wednesday, after Turkish forces moved toward them, the U.S. launched airstrikes to destroy the headquarters in Syria where the American campaign to destroy ISIS was located, according to U.S. officials who spoke to The Wall Street Journal. The base included warehouses where the Kurdish-led fighters fighting Turkey and ISIS were trained and quipped. The airstrike reputedly was launched to prevent Turkish forces from nearing the base.

The Journal noted that despite the assault on Kurdish forces from Turkey, President Trump on Wednesday would only say that the Turkish attack had “nothing to do with us.”

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence flew to Turkey to meet with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and on Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan resolution opposing the withdrawal of U.S troops from Syria and leaving the Kurds open to an assault. . .

Kurdish fighters reportedly sought aid from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, prompting Trump to aver, “Syria is protecting the Kurds, that’s good. Syria may get help from Russia and that’s fine. … There’s a lot of sand to play with … I wish them all a lot of luck.” (Read more from “Report: U.S. Bombs Own Headquarters in Syria” HERE)

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Rand Paul: Pulling U.S. Troops from Syria ‘May Be the Best Thing That Ever Happened to the Kurds’

By Daily Caller. Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul argued Wednesday that pulling the remaining U.S. troops from northern Syria “may be the best thing that ever happened to the Kurds.”

Paul’s comments came during a Wednesday interview on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” as Vice President Mike Pence travels to Turkey to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss a potential ceasefire to the country’s offensive against U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters.

“This was [President Donald Trump’s] decision. … It was the best thing not only for our troops, but it’s also the best way to adhere to the Constitution,” Paul said. “The Constitution says you don’t declare a war unless Congress votes on it, and who are we going to declare a war against — our ally, Turkey, the Free Syrian Army that used to be our ally, [Syrian President Bashar] Assad?”

(Read more from “Rand Paul: Pulling U.S. Troops from Syria ‘May Be the Best Thing That Ever Happened to the Kurds’” HERE)

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Here’s the Letter That Trump Sent to Turkish President Erdogan

Fox Business’ Trish Regan snagged herself an exclusive copy of the letter that President Donald J. Trump sent Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on October 9, asking the NATO ally to not slaughter the Kurds unless he wanted to face dire economic consequences imposed by the Trump administration.

“Dear Mr. President, Let’s work out a deal! You don’t want to to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don’t want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy — and I will. I’ve already given you a little sample with respect to Pastor Brunson,” the president said. Andrew Brunson was a captured American pastor held by the Turkish government. President Trump used a mixture of diplomacy and economic pressure to get him freed.

“I have worked hard to solve some of your problems. Don’t the world down. You can make a great deal,” the president continued.

“History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way,” President Trump stated. It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don’t happen.”

(Read more from “Here’s the Letter That Trump Sent to Turkish President Erdogan” HERE)

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Venezuelan Assemblyman: I Suggest Bernie Sanders ‘Go to Venezuela Without Bodyguards’ for a Week (VIDEO)

Jose Guerra, a member of the National Assembly legislature in Venezuela, told PJM that Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) should live in Venezuela for an extended period of time without bodyguards to see how bad the humanitarian crisis is in the country under Nicolas Maduro’s dictatorship.

Guerra was asked for his opinion of politicians such as Sanders not referring to Maduro as a dictator.

“Maybe they misunderstand what is going on in Venezuela. It’s a dictatorship. There’s no power separation and more than 400 political prisoners that have been prosecuted like me. It’s a new dictatorship,” Guerra said during a recent video interview. “Those people should go to Venezuela and live in Venezuela for a couple of weeks in order to have a very good picture of what is going on in Venezuela. I suggest that they go to Venezuela.”

To date, more than 50 countries support recognizing Juan Guaido, president of the National Assembly of Venezuela, as the country’s president. According to a report in July, Guerra, a member of the assembly’s finance commission, “left Venezuela in June when the Supreme Court stripped him of his parliamentary immunity from prosecution. The commission is now missing five of its 12 members.” The report also said “intelligence agents” in Venezuela “arrested Guaido’s assembly deputy, Edgar Zambrano, in May and he remains jailed.” . . .

“I don’t know that Jesse Jackson and Bernie Sanders know in a very good way what is going on in Venezuela,” Guerra said. “I suggest Bernie Sanders take a week and go to Venezuela without bodyguards and go to the street and speak with a cell phone and see what is going on with Bernie Sanders, OK?” (Read more from “Venezuelan Assemblyman: I Suggest Bernie Sanders ‘Go to Venezuela Without Bodyguards’ for a Week” HERE)

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Turkey Holding 50 U.S. Nuclear Bombs ‘Hostage’

Officials are reviewing plans to evacuate up to 50 U.S. nuclear bombs that have long been stored at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey in the wake of Ankara’s military offensive in northern Syria, according to a report.

The weapons are now essentially “hostage” to Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a senior official told The New York Times on Monday.

The Cold War-era B61 nuclear bombs are said to be 100-250 miles from the Syrian border, according to The Guardian. A former U.S. official told the outlet that Turkish diplomats responded to suggestions about moving the bombs by saying Turkey would start to develop its own.

“The potential problems have been discussed for over a decade,” the former official said. “And now we’ve finally gotten to a point where this is a problem that we can’t ignore anymore.” . . .

Trump said Monday that U.S. troops in northeastern Syria will be withdrawn from the country as planned and redeployed “in the region to monitor the situation and prevent a repeat of 2014,” when the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS) made major territorial gains.

(Read more from “Turkey Holding 50 U.S. Nuclear Bombs ‘Hostage'” HERE)

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Chinese President Has Chilling, Dire Warning for Hong Kong Protesters (VIDEO)

As street battles between protesters and police continue to escalate in Hong Kong, China’s authoritarian leader warned Sunday any further attempt to divide the country will literally be crushed.

Chinese President Xi Jinping made the comments during a visit to Nepal, where he became the first Chinese president in more than two decades to visit the country.

“Anyone attempting to split China in any part of the country will end in crushed bodies and shattered bones,” he told Nepalese Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, China’s state broadcaster CCTV reported. “And any external forces backing such attempts dividing China will be deemed by the Chinese people as pipe-dreaming!”

Xi made the explicit comments at a meeting where the two signed more than 20 agreements Sunday, including one commissioning a feasibility study of a China-Nepal cross-border railway project. The railway construction is being considered under an ambitious project that’s a component of China’s signature Belt and Road Initiative. . .

China has seen growing international pressure due to the escalating Hong Kong pro-democracy protests during the last four months. The demonstrations began in June over a contested extradition bill and have snowballed into a wide-ranging anti-government, anti-police and anti-China movement. (Read more from “Chinese President Has Chilling, Dire Warning for Hong Kong Protesters” HERE)

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