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Trump Prepares His War Team With Pompeo

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UPDATE: President Trump denies reports that Rex Tillerson is on his way out. Nevertheless, he is making strong moves to project strength in a possible wartime context.

Original report below

WASHINGTON — Rex Tillerson’s likely ouster from the State Department allows President Donald J. Trump to consolidate his war team.

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Former Kansas congressman Mike Pompeo, now the CIA director, is expected to move to take over the State Department in the event of Tillerson’s ouster. Pompeo is already coming under fire from the mainstream press for reportedly being too close to the president. Neoconservative senator Tom Cotton is being hyped in the press as a likely replacement for Pompeo.

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Trump’s strong move for a war team comes amid unprecedented pressure from a coalition of America’s enemies.

Top-level national security sources are revealing new details about the Chinese and Iranian plan to move into North American waters.

For years, the two countries planned to build government installations in the Caribbean and Venezuela. Some of these bases of operation are already built and maintained with full-time employees.

China, which holds a mutual-defense treaty with North Korea, and Iran, which maintains positions in South America, are coming under new scrutiny at the highest levels of the U.S. government. For years, U.S. leaders proved ignorant or apathetic to these advances in the Western Hemisphere. Socialist president Nicolas Maduro holds power in Venezuela, which is ravaged by financial crisis.

China and Iran’s moves are now finally coming to light:

China Launched A Satellite For Venezuela

The Chinese alliance with Venezuela became visible last month, when the Chinese government launched a surveillance satellite from the Gobi desert for use by Venezuela.

CGWIC

Nasaspaceflight.com reported:
China launched the second remote sensing satellite for Venezuela using a Long March-2D (Chang Zheng-2D) launch vehicle on Monday. This was the first use of the CZ-2 rocket after a mishap occurred in December 2016 with the first Gaojing mission. The failure caused major disruption to the Chinese launch schedule.
the VRSS-2 (Venezuela Remote Sensing Satellite-2) is the second remote sensing satellite built by China to Venezuela after the VRSS-1 Francis Miranda (2012-055A) launched on September 29, 2012, using a Long March-2 launch vehicle from Jiuquan. The contract for the launch of VRSS-2 was signed in October 2014″

China, which chairs the U.N. Security Council, also supported Iran’s launch of a rocket carrying a satellite into space.

China has been moving into the Carribean for the past several years.

China built a port on a remote island of The Bahamas 180 miles off the U.S. coast, prompting suspicion from locals who are concerned about China’s potential military ambitions in the area. The port is staffed by Chinese workers but is not operational for trade.

During the construction of the port, a top official with The Bahamas’ then-ruling progressive party vowed that “China will actively provide military assistance to the Bahamas and defense dialogue.”

Bahamian sources say that residents are afraid to talk about the new Chinese installation in Coopers Town, which has a population of 676 on the island of Abaco.

Iranian Warships Move Into The Gulf Of Mexico

Iranian warships are moving into the Gulf of Mexico to interact with Venezuela’s presence in the region.

“Our fleet of warships will be sent to the Atlantic Ocean in the near future and will visit one of the friendly states in South America and the Gulf of Mexico,” said Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi.

Iran and Venezuela have a longstanding relationship.

In 2011, former CIA agent Chet Nagle reported for the Daily Caller on an agreement between Iran and Venezuela to build a joint military base. Nagle reported:

“On November 25th, the respected German journal Die Welt published a report that Iran and Venezuela agreed on October 19th to build a joint military base. That complex will include medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs) like the Shahab-3 (range 1,200 miles) and Scud-B and Scud-C missiles (range 185-340 miles). Those weapons will enable Chavez to make missile strikes on much of South America, the Caribbean Basin and, with the Shahab-3, even American cities…

Iran has already built what it calls a “tractor factory” in Venezuela, the most heavily guarded and secret tractor factory in the world. The fenced compound is so secret that even Venezuelans are not allowed to enter it; only Iranians are allowed inside. (There are reports that Ahmadinejad visited the facility some months ago.) The factory is in a remote area, not far from a uranium deposit former Venezuelan officials estimate holds 50,000 tons of ore.”

Die Welt reported:

“Iran is building intermediate- range missile launch pads on the Paraguaná Peninsula, and engineers from a construction firm – Khatam al-Anbia – owned by the Revolutionary Guards visited Paraguaná in February. Amir al-Hadschisadeh, the head of the Guard’s Air Force, participated in the visit, according to the report. Die Welt cited information from “Western security insiders.””

Hugo Chavez was photographed with Iranian paramilitary leader Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Nadqi, purportedly in 2009, and frequently convened meetings with then-Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.:

Center for a Secure Free Society

The Hill reported last August after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s visit to six Latin American nations:

“Earlier this month, the Brazilian journalist Leonardo Coutinho confirmed the strategic importance of Latin America to Iran’s military program in the magazine La Veja. Coutinho exposed an official document dated Aug. 3, 2009, showing that then-Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez had approved a $1.3-million investment for a joint venture between Venezuela’s state defense contractor, CAVIM, and Iran’s Parchin Chemical Industries. The project involved the establishment and improvement of facilities for producing nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine, both key components of solid rocket fuel. Cooperation between Iran and Venezuela’s military sectors has been well-known for years, but it was the first time an official document has emerged showing Chávez’s approval of joint military industrial projects. The sum is trivial, but the timing and the partnerships are of critical importance.”

Former Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was feted at deceased Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez’s funeral.

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Around The World

Exiled Turkish Journalist Warns: Authoritarian Leaders like Erdogan Use Guise of Populism to Destroy Democracy

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The exiled former Editor-in-Chief of Turkey’s now-defunct daily Zaman newspaper Abdulhamit Bilci explained how Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fooled Turkey and the world as he strategically destroyed the secular model that was put in place by his predecessor and implemented an Islamic form of government which is changing the face of the nation.

Now, Bilci devotes his time to warning other people about the early signs of the destruction of democracy. He is currently living in exile in the United States.

In a stunning tell-all with The Investigative Journal, Bilci detailed Erdogan’s path from local-level politics to his rise as one of the world’s most notorious authoritarian rulers.

Bilci started his career as a reporter in the 1990s covering political rallies and events for then-candidate Erdogan who ran a successful campaign to become the mayor of Istanbul. He said he developed a familiarity with Erodgan through years of his political coverage of him as a reporter and leading up to his time as editor-in-chief of Zaman — a role he held until he fled the county in March 2016, four months before the failed coup attempt.

In the 1990s, before Erdogan was imprisoned for being seen as a threat to Turkey’s secularism – a model that was instated by the late Mustafa Kemal Ataturk – Erdogan had stated “Democracy is like a train: when you reach your destination, you get off.” That quote can be sourced to a newspaper, “Milliyet Gazete Arsivi.”

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“He was jailed in the 1990s, for four months, for reciting a poem because the secular establishment did not like his ideas and they were trying to stop him. But he was a successful mayor with his crazy ideology,” Bilci said. Erdogan was imprisoned between March to July of 199. During his conviction, he was forced to forfeit his mayoral position. “When he was mayor of Istanbul he was from the Islamist Party,” Bilci said.

Bilci said it was unfortunate that the secular establishment by jailing him made him more popular because then he became a victim; a tool of manipulation Erodgan used to his political advantage.

“When Erdogan got out of prison, he told the powers that be that he had changed his mind and that he was no longer an Islamist and had become democratic. And when he founded the AK Party he said we are not Islamists. We are conservative democrats; we are like Christian democrats in Europe. He then pushed for Turkey to become a member of the EU.”

However, prior to this, Erdogan had vehemently been opposed to having Turkey join the European Union. According to Bilci, “Erodgan saw the EU as a Christian club and believed Turkey has no place in that according to his Islamist vision.”

With his cosmetic change away from Islamism, Erdogan began receiving the support of democracies throughout the world. He was seen as the rising example and model of a Muslim leader who was trying to democratize his country. In fact, Turkey became a model for the Muslim world for democracy.

“I believed in him and I supported him in those years. But things started to change in his third term in 2011,” he said. “There were some signals of change and he gradually stopped the policy of Turkey becoming a better democracy and part of the EU. Instead, he turned increasingly to the Middle East. These were the Arab spring years.”

For a period of about 8-9 years, Zaman Daily supported Erdogan. The publication had approximately 1 million daily subscribers at its peak.

“The newspaper was supporting him during his first eight years as prime minister,” Bilci said. “And the whole world was supporting him; the international media, the New York Times.” He continued, “but that was during the Obama years. He was trying to make reforms in democracy and improve the economy and make Turkey a member of the European Union. All of these policies were in line with our newspaper’s interior line as well.”

Bilci said Erodgan played a very clever game.

“He was showing himself as being democratic for 8-9 years during the time we were supporting him in an attempt to control all the power because he needed that support since the secular establishment in Turkey hated him. So, to counterbalance the secular establishment, he needed the support of democrats and to show up as a democrat.”

But around 2012-2013, things started to change and Erdogan took on an authoritarian approach which Bilci says the world is seeing to this day.

“Obama and the Europeans continued to legitimize Erdogan in 2013 and beyond. They were not candid in criticizing him and it is a pity they did not stop him,” he said. “We were telling them that Erdogan is destroying democracy and the rule of law and you should be candid to protest that and not appease the guy because it will be bad for the Turkish people and the entire democratic world.” However, despite these warnings, many western, democratic leaders, including Obama continued to appease Erdogan who continued to get closer to Russia and jail journalists even going so far as attacking America’s allies, the Kurds, and procuring negative policies in Libya and Syria that benefited jihadists.

“Once his authoritarianism and corruption were revealed, we exposed it and that made him the enemy,” Bilci said of Erdogan. He said the Turkish government was providing the crux of the publication’s funding and the newspaper fell on hard times between 2015 and 2016 because Erdogan “was calling companies and telling them not to purchase advertisements from our media and there were financial and legal pressures applied.” Similar attempts to crush opposition media were made against conservative publications like Breitbart News by progressives in the United States.

“Our reporters were not able to attend press conferences. He revoked our press cards. In those three years, there were crazy things occurring but we continued our critical editorial line. We did not fall down,” Bilci said. “Finally, he used the nuclear option. He used appointees that he controlled and sent police forces to come to our offices and fired me.” He said in his place, “Erdogan’s thugs” hired a mouthpiece journalist from the pro-government daily paper (Akit), which he described as “a hardline Islamist newspaper,” to be the new editor. “Within 24 hours, Zaman newspaper became a propaganda mouthpiece for the Erdogan regime.”

The move by Erdogan to strangle press freedom had dire consequences for the publication.

“Our readers did not approve of that change,” Bilci said. “At the time of occupation, our circulation was around 700,000 people a day, which had come down from 1 million people per day due to the government takeover of it.” He continued, “our readers did not approve that change and they protested by stopping to buy it. So, within one week the circulation decreased to 5,000 people per day. This was the total and complete and total destruction of a private media company.”

Once the coup took place, Zaman was shut down altogether. In addition to this, Erdogan’s government shut down around 200 critical media outlets. They raided the homes of journalists and columnists from media outlets critical of Erdogan and arrested them. “Luckily, I was not home. But colleagues of mine who were arrested in July 2016 are still in jail. Some of them received life sentences, others 10 years, and others still 6 years.”

Academics, teachers, lawyers, doctors, are among those who have been locked up unjustly.

“I feel lucky that I got out and I am free but I feel so sad that I left my friends behind,” Bilci said. “The only thing I can do is continue speaking out to tell this story.” Despite having over 200,000 followers on Twitter, Bilci’s message does not reach those inside of Turkey. “A court order in Turkey has blocked my Twitter from being visible to the Turkish people. Unfortunately, Twitter cooperated with the Turkish court’s decision.”

“When he grabbed power, he showed his real identity. He used Islamism but I don’t think that he is a sincere Muslim. I think he is using Islam to fool people; specifically –Turkey’s conservative people which are his constituency — to cover up his authoritarianism and corruption.” Bilci added, “Democracies are fragile and anyone living in democracy today should be careful about the ways and methods that are being used to destroy democracy using democratic mechanisms.”

He concluded, “Turkey should be studied more by the democratic world, by the media, and by academics so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes again. Erdogan is one of the prime examples of populism gone wrong. He should become an example of what not to let happen. So, in that regard, Turkey is a prime example for learning lessons in history.”

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