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Kristina Wong

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), known as “AOC,” openly cheered reports of teenagers and Korean pop music fans using the Chinese-owned app TikTok to sign up for President Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and inflate RSVP numbers.

TikTok, which is popular among teenagers around the world, is considered such a security threat by the U.S. military that soldiers and sailors are banned from using it on government-issued phones. In October, Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) asked the U.S. intelligence community to investigate the app.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) also published a report on Wednesday that suggested that TikTok was boosting the views of certain videos where users flattered Chinese President and Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping.

Nonetheless, Ocasio-Cortez bragged on Twitter Saturday night that “teens” and “KPop allies” used the app to purposely inflate Trump’s rally RSVPs. “KPop” is a reference to South Korean pop music. It is not clear who these alleged music fans or “allies” are.

TikTok is owned by Beijing-based company Bytedance Ltd. National security laws passed in recent years in China allow for the Communist-controlled authoritarian government to access any data that Chinese companies obtain.

WSJ reported that Cotton and Schumer were concerned that the Chinese government was censoring content, and media reports have alleged that the app was removing videos that were “politically sensitive” in China.

Two people interviewed by the WSJ claimed that videos where they praised Xi had an uptick in views.

One, a 23-year-old Texas songwriter named TJ Asaday, said his account skyrocketed from 2,000 fans to over 90,000 after he made a 13-second video in April calling Xi “my president.”

“I’d never seen any type of growth on my page until I made that joking video,” he said.

On Sunday, CNN interviewed a grandmother named Mary Jo Laupp who claimed that she started the campaign for fake RSVPs on TikTok witjh a video late Thursday night, and it was viral by Friday morning. She is a former Pete Buttigieg campaign volunteer.

Author: Kristina Wong

Source: Breitbart: AOC Praises Teens and Korean Pop Fans for Allegedly Using Chinese App to Meddle with Trump Rally

After 18 years, the end of the Afghan War and bringing all American troops home from Afghanistan is finally in sight with the signing of a historic agreement between the United States and the Taliban on Saturday.

President Donald Trump hailed the agreement Saturday in the White House briefing room, congratulating all those who have worked to bring the war to a conclusion.

“We’ve had tremendous success in Afghanistan in the killing of terrorists, but it’s time, after all these years, to go and to bring our people back home. We want to bring our people back home,” he said.

He recognized Americans who have lost their lives in the war — nearly 2,500 — and their families, and the more than 20,000 Americans wounded.

“Most of all, I want to thank all of the people in the United States for having spent so much, in terms of blood, in terms of treasure and treasury — the money that has been spent, the lives that have been lost,” he said.

The agreement signed on Saturday commits the U.S. to drawing down its troop presence in Afghanistan from about 12,000 now to 8,600 within 135 days, or about four-and-a-half months beginning immediately.

In return, the Taliban commits to preventing terrorists from using Afghan soil to plan attacks against the United States, as was done by al-Qaeda with the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York City.

After the signing, the Taliban committed to beginning talks with Afghan national leaders on a “permanent and comprehensive ceasefire,” and conducting a prisoner exchange.

Depending on the success of those intra-Afghan talks, the U.S. and NATO will continue drawing down its forces, as well as non-diplomatic personnel such as private security contractors, trainers, advisers, and those supporting the military presence within 14 months, or nine-and-a-half months after the initial drawdown.

Also depending on the success of those intra-Afghan talks, the U.S. will review its sanctions list against Taliban members with a goal of removing them by August 27, 2020, and will begin an effort to remove them from the United Nations’ sanctions list by May 29, 2020.

Trump said he would personally meet with Taliban leaders in the “not-too-distant future.”

“It’s been a long journey in Afghanistan in particular. It’s been a very long journey. It’s been a hard journey for everybody,” he said.

He warned, however, that if “bad things happen,” the U.S. would “go back.”

“I really believe the Taliban wants to do something to show that we’re not all wasting time. If bad things happen, we’ll go back. I let the people know: We’ll go back and we’ll go back so fast, and we’ll go back with a force like nobody has ever seen. And I don’t think that will be necessary. I hope it’s not necessary,” he said.

Trump campaigned on ending the wars in Syria and Afghanistan and bringing U.S. troops home.

The U.S. has spent more than $750 billion on the war — more than $40 billion per year over 18 years — according to the Associated Press.

There is a mixture of optimism and skepticism in Washington over the agreement.

Republicans who have called for a more restrained U.S. foreign policy hailed the agreement.

“It is long last time to bring our troops home and stop the endless wars. I’m pleased to see this progress and am thankful to @realDonaldTrump for his willingness to put America first and work to finally get our troops out of Afghanistan,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY):

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), another top Republican voice calling for restraint and congressman to the district with the highest concentration of military veterans, said, “President @realDonaldTrump has functionally ended our involvement in the Syrian Civil War. Bringing our bravest patriots home from Afghanistan will continue to deliver on an #AmericaFirst foreign policy.”

Other Republicans in Congress expressed cautious support, calling the agreement a positive step, but cautioned that the Taliban must prove their commitment to the agreement.

Democrats also expressed cautious support for the agreement.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) called the agreement “an encouraging first step towards ending U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan in the most responsible way possible.”

“Afghans and Americans alike are ready to see an end to the violence,” he said.

While he said there is “still much work to be done,” he added, “As a country, we have invested far too much – in blood and treasure – to risk letting this opportunity pass us by.”

National security hawks slammed the agreement, including several former Trump administration officials.

Former Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton called the agreement an “unacceptable risk to America’s civilian population” and an “Obama-style deal”:

Establishment foreign policy figures such as former Bush administration official and Council of Foreign Relations President Richard Haass also criticized the agreement. “As welcome as peace in Afghanistan would be, it is hard to believe it is at hand,” he said:

But despite the skepticism, even the Senate’s leading hawk Rep. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said it was “time to try.”

“I am very suspect of the Taliban ever accepting the Afghan constitution and honoring the rights of religious minorities and women. Time will tell if reconciliation in Afghanistan can be accomplished with honor and security, but after more than 18 years of war, it is time to try,” he said in a statement.

Author: Kristina Wong

Source: Breitbart: Trump’s Peace Agreement with Taliban Brings End of Afghan War in Sight After 18 Years

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)’s campaign press secretary suggested Russia was behind Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) after she landed an effective blow on Harris’ record as a prosecutor during the Democrat debates on Wednesday night.

Her press secretary, Ian Sams, tweeted shortly after the attack an NBC News article from February 2019 claiming the “Russian propaganda machine” was promoting Gabbard:

“Reporters writing their stories with eyes on the modern-day assignment desk of Twitter, read this: ‘The Russian propaganda machine that tried to influence the 2016 election is now promoting the presidential aspirations of a controversial Hawaii Democrat,’” he tweeted. He later retweeted his tweet.

The NBC News article from February 2019 cites, “several experts who track websites and social media linked to the Kremlin” who have seen “what they believe may be the first stirrings of an upcoming Russian campaign of support for Gabbard.” Among the experts are analysts from New Knowledge, which ran a Russian-like disinformation campaign against Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.

Sams’ attacks came after Gabbard pointed out Harris prosecuted more than 1,500 people for marijuana violations after she became California attorney general in 2010, but earlier this year laughed about smoking it during an interview with the Breakfast Club radio show.

“Senator Harris says she’s proud of her record as a prosecutor, and that she’ll be a prosecutor president, but I’m deeply concerned about this record. There are too many examples to cite, but she put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana,” Gabbard said, to loud applause.

“She blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so,” Gabbard continued. “She kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California and she fought to keep the cash-bail system in place. That impacts people in the worst kind of way.”

Instead of addressing those attacks, Sams blasted Gabbard on her meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in 2017 to discuss an end to the civil war in Syria, where U.S. troops were deployed.

“Yo, you love Assad,” he tweeted first.

He continued attacking Gabbard, calling her a “friend” of Assad, and then an “apologist” for Assad.

Harris, in the spin room afterwards, took up the line Gabbard was an Assad “apologist” — also not addressing the substance of Gabbard’s criticism.

“This is going to sound immodest but I’m obviously a top-tier candidate. And so I did expect that I would be on the stage and take hits tonight,” Harris said.

“I think that this coming from someone who has been an apologist for an individual, Assad, who has murdered the people of his country like cockroaches, she who has embraced and been an apologist for him in a way that she refuses to call him a war criminal, I can only take what she says and her opinion so seriously. And so, you know, I’m prepared to move on,” she said.

Author: Kristina Wong

Source: Breitbart: Kamala Harris Campaign Blames Russia for Humiliation by Tulsi Gabbard

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