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US nuclear weapons are now being held as ‘essentially Erdogan’s hostages’ in Turkey: report

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When President Donald Trump pulled American troops out of northern Syria, virtually giving Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the green light to attack the region’s Kurds, he likely didn’t anticipate a key factor that might get caught in the crossfire: control of U.S. nuclear weapons.

Erdogan’s forces have been raining down terror on the Kurds, long considered to be key U.S. allies in the fight against ISIS, exactly the horrifying scenario that critics of Trump’s move predicted. Turkey even fired on an outpost of U.S. special operation forces. It’s a fraught scenario for the United States to find itself in, made all the more dangerous by the fact that Turkey, itself a NATO ally, is home to an estimated 50 American nuclear weapons. The New York Times reported:

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And over the weekend, State and Energy Department officials were quietly reviewing plans for evacuating roughly 50 tactical nuclear weapons that the United States had long stored, under American control, at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, about 250 miles from the Syrian border, according to two American officials.

Those weapons, one senior official said, were now essentially Erdogan’s hostages. To fly them out of Incirlik would be to mark the de facto end of the Turkish-American alliance. To keep them there, though, is to perpetuate a nuclear vulnerability that should have been eliminated years ago.

“I think this is a first — a country with U.S. nuclear weapons stationed in it literally firing artillery at US forces,” Jeffrey Lewis of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies wrote last week.

The fact that American nuclear weapons have been housed in a country with an increasingly authoritarian leader like Erdogan would be concerning enough. The calamity now playing out before the world shows exactly why this state of affairs can suddenly veer toward disaster and should have been ended years ago.

The Times noted, too, that Erdogan recently expressed the desire for his regime to obtain nuclear weapons of its own, despite international rule limiting proliferation.

But the current mess was triggered, in part, by a phone call Trump had with Erdogan just over a week ago, leading to his announcement of the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Trump has claimed that this decision was in line with his promise to avoid and cease the United States’ “endless wars,” but it seems to have triggered a new terrifying conflict of its own. And at the same time, Trump has authorized sending thousands of troops to protect Saudi Arabia, far outnumbering the minimal force that had been held in northern Syria.

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Three judges suspended for drunken 3 AM fight at White Castle — that ended with two shot

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Three judges were suspended after engaging in a drunken shooting outside a White Castle.

"Three Indiana judges involved in a Downtown Indianapolis fight in May that ended with two of the judges shot have been suspended without pay after the Indiana Supreme Court determined they committed judicial misconduct," the Indianapolis Star reports. "In an opinion issued Tuesday, the court said judges Bradley Jacobs, Andrew Adams and Sabrina Bell 'engaged in judicial misconduct by appearing in public in an intoxicated state and behaving in an injudicious manner and by becoming involved in a verbal altercation.'"

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What Zelensky knew: The devastating and darkly ironic impact of Trump’s attempt to bribe Ukraine

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Greta Thunberg says ‘people must finally wake up’ to the fact Trump is ‘so extreme’ on climate change

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Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg said Tuesday that US President Donald Trump's climate change denialism was "so extreme" that it had helped galvanize the movement to halt long term planetary warming.

She spoke in an interview with AFP on the eve of her departure from North America where she has spent almost three months.

"He's so extreme and he says so extreme things, so I think people wake up by that in a way," the 16-year-old said from on board a sailboat preparing to depart from the East Coast town of Hampton, Virginia for Europe early Wednesday.

"I thought when he got elected, now people will finally, now people must finally wake up," she continued.

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