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U.S. pipe bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc’s personality changed radically, co-wokers say – National




FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Thirteen years ago, U.S. mail bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc travelled the country leading a mixed-race troupe of male exotic dancers – he ran scams and had a temper, but a fellow dancer who is African-American said he never expressed racism or homophobia.

Years later, working as a pizza driver, Sayoc would often express hatred for minorities, Jews and gays, his manager said. He drove a van plastered with stickers supporting President Donald Trump, criticizing media outlets and showing rifle crosshairs over liberals like Hillary Clinton and filmmaker Michael Moore. But she kept him around, even though she is a lesbian, because he was honest, dependable and never got into fights.

Cesar Sayoc arrested in U.S. pipe bomb investigation, faces up to 48 years in prison

Why Sayoc changed so radically over the years remains a mystery, but to those who know him, there seems little question that he did.

“We were friends, we were boys, we travelled in the same van, slept in the same room,” said former dancer David Crosby, who is black. “When I think of the guy I knew and the guy I see now on MSNBC, CNN and at Trump rallies, I think, ‘Did he really slip?”‘ He thinks Trump’s sometimes bombastic criticism of liberals may have pushed Sayoc over the edge .

“He really wasn’t a bad guy,” a puzzled Crosby said.

WATCH: Former boss of Cesar Sayoc says he did not talk politics, was a ‘prankster’

But former pizza restaurant manager Debra Gureghian said that while Sayoc originally came across as respectful, articulate and polite, within days a dark side emerged and he told her he was disgusted by her sexuality.

“I was an abomination, I was God’s misfit … I was a mistake,” Gureghian said of her former employee, who quit his job earlier this year. Sayoc thought she “should burn in hell with Ellen DeGeneres and Rachel Maddow… and President Obama and Hillary Clinton.”

Sayoc, 56, was arrested Friday near Fort Lauderdale and is charged federally with mailing at least 13 mail bombs to prominent Democrats and other frequent targets of conservative ire, including former President Barack Obama, former Vice-President Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and the cable network CNN. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance Monday.

That radicalism is a stark contrast to the mid-2000s, when Sayoc managed and performed with two male-dance revues – “Men of Steel” and “American Hunks.” He never expressed political views back then, Crosby said.

WATCH: Former soccer teammate of pipe bombs suspect Cesar Sayoc expresses shock over identification

“I don’t know if he was a Democrat or Republican,” said Crosby, who now runs a gym and is a comedian near Minneapolis.

Along with three or four other chiseled men, Crosby and Sayoc travelled the country by van, stripping to G-strings for screaming women in honkytonks and nightclubs. They would check into a motel, perform, bring women back to party, sleep a few hours and then get up early the next morning to drive several hours to the next gig.

“It’s a hard life,” Crosby said, quite seriously. The partying, bad food and lack of exercise takes a toll, he said.

Sayoc hosted, then danced last. Crosby said he and the other all-but-naked dancers would bring women up on stage, make them and their friends laugh and do some sexual innuendo – except Sayoc, who wasn’t a good performer.

He said Sayoc would have women sit in a chair, get between their legs and drive his pelvis into theirs hard – “bang, bang.”

WATCH: Everything we know so far about pipe bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc

“The chair is bouncing off the wall, their head is bouncing off the wall,” Crosby said. Sometimes, he would bite the women’s exposed skin hard enough to leave teeth marks. Crosby said women would complain to the other dancers that Sayoc was too rough, but no one ever called the police.

He said Sayoc had a “zero to 100” temper and would sometimes use his 6-foot, 250-pound (1.8-meter, 113-kilogram) frame to intimidate other men.

“If he wasn’t happy about something, he would definitely let you know,” Crosby said.

Still, he never saw Sayoc hit anyone and he treated his employees well – though he would sometimes scam the shows’ financial backers.

WATCH: Concerns U.S. pipe bomb incidents my inspire copycats

For example, Crosby said Sayoc would sometimes drive separately in his own older van, though not the now infamous one he was arrested with. He would then take parts from the troupe’s newer van, which was owned by an investor, and swap them with dying parts from his clunker, Crosby said. Sayoc would then ask the investor to pay for the troupe van’s now-needed repairs.

Twelve years later, however, when Sayoc worked for Gureghian at New River Pizza in Fort Lauderdale, honesty and reliability were his job-saving attributes. He never stole and customers never complained, Gureghian said.

But until he quit earlier this year, he regularly subjected co-workers to fiery political rants. Gureghian called his views “pure hatred.”

He detested liberals, blacks, Jews and especially gays, who he called slurs, Gureghian said.

Pipe bomb suspect’s social media reveals flashes of violence

Gureghian said Sayoc used his van for deliveries and one rainy night he offered her a ride home.

“The first thing I did was kind of look to make sure – God forbid – if something happened, can I open that door to get out and how do I tuck and roll?” she said.

Sayoc lived in the van and Gureghian said it was a mess. There were empty containers from fast-food restaurants, men’s fitness supplements and alcoholic beverages. Dirty clothes were everywhere.

And, ominously, there were dolls with their heads cut off.

“He told me he was fixing them for his two nieces,” Gureghian said.


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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali



Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu

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Harris accepts VP nomination



Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself



Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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