Brian Becker

Loud & Clear

Tune in to Loud and Clear with Brian Becker for the latest news, commentary and searing political analysis five days a week.
Loud & Clear

Description

Tune in to Loud and Clear with Brian Becker for the latest news, commentary and searing political analysis. We bring you independent experts, activists and political writers.

Link: www.spreaker.com/show/loud-clears-tracks

Episodes

Trump is Setting the 2020 Political Agenda: Will He Win Again?

Jul 17, 2019 6923

Description:

The House of Representatives last night voted almost completely along party lines to condemn President Trump’s recent comments about four progressive women of color recently elected to the House of Representatives. The final vote was 240-187, with only four Republicans and one independent who caucuses with the Republicans voting in favor. Trump tweeted over the weekend that Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib should “go back to the countries they came from.” Three of the four were born in the United States, and one was naturalized as a citizen even before the First Lady was. New reports have emerged showing that $40 million in humanitarian funds from the US Agency for International Development apparently have been diverted to pay for Venezuelan coup leader’s Juan Guaido’s effort to install himself as president. Meanwhile, the European Union is preparing targeted sanctions against Venezuelan security officials responsible for alleged human rights violations. Arnold August, an author who has written 3 books on US-Latin America issues and a journalist whose articles appear on web sites across the world, joins the show. Former German Defense Minister Ursula Von der Leyen was elected head of the European Commission yesterday and will replace Jean-Claude Junker on November 1. Von der Leyen is a member of the conservative bloc in the European Parliament and was elected with the support of the liberal bloc of which French President Emmanuel Macron’s party is a member. Von der Leyen is facing an ongoing scandal in Germany over concealing huge payments to outside contractors hired by the Defense Ministry. Brian and John speak with Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek. Big tech firms were under fire at a high profile Congressional hearing conducted by the House Judiciary Committee yesterday, raising the spectre of serious anti-trust action against Amazon and other tech giants. Meanwhile, negotiations between the major US automakers and the United Auto Workers Union are breaking down because the companies want concessions in case there is a recession. So are we headed into a recession? Richard Wolff, a professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst and founder of the organization Democracy at Work. Prof. Wolff’s latest book is Capitalism's Crisis Deepens: Essays on the Global Economic Meltdown, joins the show. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective. Sputnik news analysts Nicole Roussell and Walter Smolarek join the show. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show.

Exposing the Lies in CNN Fake Assange “Exclusive”

Jul 16, 2019 6763

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CNN claims in what it calls an “exclusive report” that Russian intelligence officers met with Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange to give him DNC emails they had allegedly hacked. But there is no evidence that Assange met with Russian intelligence, just with a Russian producer...of his own TV show. Almost two years after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and exposed deep problems in the government there, Governor Ricardo Rosello has found himself in trouble. Somebody has leaked 889 pages of chat logs between the governor and eight friends of his, who are also in government, in which he uses highly-charged, misogynistic, and homophobic language when talking about other Puerto Rican politicians, entertainers, and prominent citizens. The Puerto Rican media is calling it Rosello’s deepest crisis as governor. Dr. Adriana Garriga-López, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Anthropology at Kalamazoo College, joins the show. Attorney General Bill Barr said yesterday that he agreed with his Department’s Civil Rights Division to not pursue federal charges against the New York City police officer who killed Eric Garner in 2014. Garner was selling single cigarettes from an untaxed pack when he was approached by police officers, wrestled to the ground, and put in an illegal chokehold. He pleaded with the officers, saying, “I can’t breathe” 11 times before dying. Brian and John speak with Kofi Ademola, an activist and organizer with the Black Lives Matter movement, and Joel Northam, an activist with the Justice Center en El Barrio. The government of North Korea issued a statement today saying that Pyongyang would consider rethinking whether it should abide by its moratorium on missile and other tests if the US goes forward with a joint military exercise with South Korea. The statement, which was issued by the Foreign Ministry, appeared to be aimed at pushing the US back to the negotiating table. Kevin Zeese, co-coordinator of Popular Resistance whose work is at popularresistance.org, joins the show. David Marcus, the head of Calibra--that’s Facebook’s new cryptocurrency Libra--testified before the Senate Banking Committee yesterday. He fended off hostility from some senators and said that Libra would not launch until every senator’s questions had been answered. Meanwhile, the Philippines, a major Asian tech market, has chosen China’s Huawei for its new 5G network. And President Trump yesterday tweeted that he would “take a look” at Google after a billionaire friend, Peter Thiel, said that Google should be charged with treason for working with the Chinese government. Patricia Gorky, a software engineer and technology and security analyst, joins Brian and John. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Brian and John speak with financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey. Today’s regular segment that airs every Tuesday is called Women & Society. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, Karla Reyes, managing editor of the women’s magazine Breaking the Chains, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell join the show.

Following Rift with Pelosi, Trump Jumps into Fray vs. Progressive Reps

Jul 16, 2019 6935

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President Trump tweeted this weekend in reference to Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came...I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!” His racist comments were in the context of a widening rift between moderate Democratic House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the four progressive Congresswomen. Anti-immigrant raids begun by Immigration and Customs Enforcement over the weekend largely failed to materialize, but still spread fear in immigrant communities across the country. Meanwhile, the Trump administration rolled out a new hardline policy making it more difficult to apply for asylum. Jorge Barón, the executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and Juan Carlos Ruiz, cofounder of the New Sanctuary Movement, join the show. European Union Foreign Ministers are currently meeting in Brussels to discuss ways to save the Iran nuclear deal, but Iran is expressing skepticism that the EU powers will deliver on promised sanctions relief. Walter and John speak with Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran. One hundred Amazon employees at a cavernous warehouse in Minnesota are on strike today to protest working conditions, poor benefits, an anti-labor corporate culture, and treatment of employees at the company. The strike falls on what Amazon calls Prime Day, one of the company’s flagship events that generates billions of dollars in profits. Meanwhile, federal authorities have ordered Facebook to pay the largest ever corporate fine--$5 billion-- for mishandling users private data. Dr. Jack Rasmus, a professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California, author of “Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression,” joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Joel Westheimer, University Research Chair in Democracy and Education at the University of Ottawa and education columnist for CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning and Ontario Today shows, joins John and Walter. In this segment, The Week Ahead, the hosts take a look at the most newsworthy stories of the coming week and what it means for the country and the world, including President Trump’s racist attack on four progressive Congresswomen, the administration’s latest attacks on immigrants, and Amazon Prime Day boycotts and strikes. Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at www.rall.com, and Sputnik News analysts and producers of this show Nicole Roussell and Walter Smolarek, join the show. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show.

Epstein In Jail, Acosta Resigns: Will Others Fall?

Jul 13, 2019 6861

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Labor Secretary Alex Acosta abruptly resigned this morning amid a furor over a sweetheart deal that he gave accused billionaire sex trafficker and pedophile Jeffrey Epstein when he was US Attorney in South Florida. Acosta has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, saying that his orders to offer Epstein leniency came from higher up in the Justice Department. A new Belgian news investigation has found what many US privacy activists have long suspected: Not only are smart devices like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa listening to us literally all the time, but thousands of Google employees are listening to us through our devices, even when they’re not activated, ostensibly to help train the algorithm to be more precise. In a statement, the company admitted that the news was true, but tried to downplay it, saying that Google employees listen to only 0.2 percent of all recordings. Patricia Gorky, a software engineer and technology and security analyst, joins the show. A four-year study by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has revealed more about the CIA’s secret torture program than was ever revealed in the heavily redacted Senate Torture Report, including information about the origin of the rendition and secret prison program. Meanwhile, the CIA is pushing a new law that would make it illegal to reveal the name of any CIA officer who has ever been undercover, even if that officer never served overseas. The goal? To protect those CIA officers who have committed war crimes or crimes against humanity. Turkey received its first shipment of the Russian S-400 air defense system today, setting the stage for likely US sanctions, and heightening tensions with its NATO allies. Meanwhile, a series of proposed amendments to the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act--all sponsored by Senate Democrats--could impose crippling sanctions on Russia. Mark Sleboda, an international affairs and security analyst, joins the show. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his site Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell. Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on massive impending ICE raids across the country, the arrest of Jeffrey Epstein and resignation of Labor Secretary Acosta and tensions between Iran and the UK. Jesse Franzblau, a Sanctuary DMV member and organizer, and Sputnik News analysts and producers Walter Smolarek and Nicole Roussell, join the show.

ICE Official Resigns: “I Won’t Lie” For Trump about Immigration Raids

Jul 11, 2019 6950

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Agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement will conduct raids on Sunday to round up thousands of undocumented migrants around the country who have existing deportation orders. According to the New York Times, the raids are expected to take place in 10 major cities, will last for several days, and will likely include collateral deportations, that is, undocumented migrants who are not the targets of the raids, but who happen to be caught up in them. Multiple media outlets are reporting today that Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps speedboats approached a British oil tanker in the Straits of Hormuz yesterday, several days after UK marines boarded and seized an Iranian tanker. Mazda Majidi, an author, journalist and anti-war activist, joins the show. Pacific Gas & Electric Corporation, or PG&E, provides California with its electricity using electrical towers that were almost all built between 1900 and 1960. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company knew for years that its ancient towers could fail and cause massive fires. That’s exactly what happened last year, when a century-old transmission line failed and sparked a wildfire that killed 85 people. Now documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that the company knew that 49 of the towers that failed during the fire should be been replaced entirely. Brian and John speak with Sputnik news analyst Nicole Roussell. A regular Thursday segment deals with the ongoing militarization of space. As the US continues to withdraw from international arms treaties, will the weaponization and militarization of space bring the world closer to catastrophe? Brian and John speak with Prof. Karl Grossman, a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury and the host of a nationally aired television program focused on environmental, energy, and space issues. A new study in the journal Science argues that 900 million hectares of land around the world, roughly the size of the United States, is suitable for reforestation, which could capture two-thirds of man-made carbon emissions. Such reforestation would have no impact on land already used for agriculture and would effectively store 205 billion tons of carbon, two thirds of the 300 billion tons released into the atmosphere as a result of human activity since the Industrial Revolution. Jean-Francois Bastin, the primary author of the study, an ecologist and geographer, and a post-doctoral fellow at The Crowther Lab, joins Brian and John. Venezuela and Honduras are in states of turmoil, thanks in great part to US intervention. In Venezuela, Washington has made no secret that it actively supports a coup against President Nicolas Maduro. And in Honduras, where there is a long history of US meddling, both the Obama and Trump Administrations have opposed democratic elections and reforms and have supported military strongmen. Anya Parampil, a journalist for The Grayzone who just returned from Honduras where she interviewed former President Manuel Zelaya, who was overthrown in the 2009 military coup, joins the show. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show.

The mystery of Epstein’s sweetheart deal

Jul 10, 2019 7012

Description:

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta held a press conference today in which he attempted to defend the outrageously lenient plea deal he negotiated when he was a U.S. attorney in Florida with the ultra-rich, well-connected financier Jeffrey Epstein. The release of Justice Department’s Inspector General report on the Mueller investigation is being pushed back because investigators spent much of June interviewing Christopher Steele. Meanwhile, Yahoo News reporter Mike Isikoff is at it again. After writing an utterly discredited book on how the Steele Dossier was a Russian intelligence operation and doubling down on the equally discredited Russia collusion narrative, Isikoff has published an article saying that reports that former DNC staffer Seth Rich was killed by a hit squad working on behalf of Hillary Clinton was, you guessed it, a Russian propaganda operation. Isikoff makes pointed accusations, but the facts in his piece just don’t add up. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, joins the show. The US is promising to ramp up sanctions on Iran and is seeking to create a military coalition to protect commercial shipping off the coasts of Iran and Yemen. Under the plan, a coalition of nations would patrol the Persian Gulf and the Straits of Hormuz, near Iran, and the narrow Bab al-Mandeb that separates Yemen from Africa. This comes just days after the Pentagon sent an additional 2500 troops to the Middle East. Brian and John speak with Massoud Shadjareh. He is the founder of the Islamic Human Rights Commission. At least ten Syrian soldiers were killed yesterday by an al-Qaeda affiliate supported by the US and Turkey in fighting outside Aleppo. In one case, fighters from the Turkestan Islamic Party captured a Syrian border guard near Lattakia, beheaded him, posted a photo of his severed head on his Facebook page using his cell phone, and then called his mother to mock him. Francis Boyle, a professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law and author of the book “Destroying World Order: US Imperialism in the Middle East Before and After September 11,” joins the show. The governments of the UK and Canada are hosting an event supposedly about press freedom this week, but in a bizarre irony is refusing to allow RT and Sputnik to participate. Neil Clark, a journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Week, and Morning Star, joins Brian and John. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective. Sputnik news analysts Nicole Roussell and Walter Smolarek join the show. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show.

Mueller Report Fails to Prove Russian Govt Interference -- Here's Why

Jul 10, 2019 6806

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The report by special counsel Robert Mueller essentially cleared the Trump 2016 campaign of collusion or conspiracy with Russia but Mueller’s report asserts that Russian interference in the campaign was “sweeping and systematic.” Investigative journalist Aaron Maté has written a major article that carefully and comprehensively analyzes the 448-page Mueller Report and comes to the dramatic conclusion that Mueller’s report clearly fails to prove that Russia carried out a “sweeping and systematic” interference campaign in the 2016 presidential election campaign. Read, listen and assess for yourself. An appeals court is hearing arguments today in a case brought by several conservative state attorneys general that attempts to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile the administration’s new policy on prescription drug pricing transparency was struck down in court. Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, joins the show. After unprecedented talks between Afghan government leaders and the Taliban, the two groups have released a joint declaration emphasizing the need to reduce “civilian casualties to zero.” This comes amid reports of major progress in talks between the United States and the Taliban. Brian speaks with Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Non-Violence. Today’s regular segment that airs every Tuesday is called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, Karla Reyes, managing editor of the women’s magazine Breaking the Chains, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell join the show. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism. Brian speaks with Dr. Jack Rasmus, a professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California, author of “Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression,” and at jackrasmus.com

Billionaire Pedophile Indicted: Will His Elite Friends Also Fall?

Jul 9, 2019 6852

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Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was indicted today on sex trafficking charges for maintaining what the indictment calls a vast network of underage victims for him to sexually exploit in locations including New York, Palm Beach, and his private jet. Epstein has long standing political, business and personal ties to Republican President Donald Trump and former Democratic President Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew, attorney Alan Dershowitz, and many other politicians, businessmen, bankers, and media elites. Some of Epstein’s many underage female victims and their families have been fighting back and demanding justice. Supported by courageous journalists and attorneys and their families, they have exposed how Epstein was shielded by friends in high places who provided him with a sweetheart prosecution deal in 2008. Will true justice be served this time around and will Jeffrey Epstein’s friends and possible collaborators be brought down as the new case proceeds? Iran said yesterday that it would exceed the limit in the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal of enriched uranium. This morning it confirmed that it had started enriching at 4.5%, past the limit of 3.67% level allowed. Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran, joins the show. Two weeks ago, President Trump threatened “millions of deportations” and on Friday said that his administration would start them “fairly soon.” Trump and other officials have denied the reports from Congresspeople and state entities that have shown horrendous conditions in border facilities in past weeks. Brian speaks with Juan Carlos Ruiz, cofounder of the New Sanctuary Movement. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s party Syriza lost the elections in Greece yesterday. The conservative party called New Democracy won, and leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis will become the next prime minister. Loud & Clear co-host John Kiriakou is on the ground there reporting on the elections that just took place yesterday. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Joel Westheimer, University Research Chair in Democracy and Education at the University of Ottawa and education columnist for CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning and Ontario Today shows, joins Brian. In this segment, which we call The Week Ahead, the hosts take a look at the most newsworthy stories of the coming week and what it means for the country and the world, including 2020 politics, the indictment of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein (who is a friend of Trump and Bill Clinton and many others in high places) for running a vast network for the trafficking of young girls who were victims of rape and sexual assault, and Iran’s decision to breach the limits of enriched uranium production. Jim Kavanagh, editor of thepolemicist.net, joins the show. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Filling in for Chris today is Patricia Gorky, a software engineer and technology and security analyst.

The American Exceptionalism Mythology

Jul 5, 2019 6695

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Professor Gerald Horne, a prolific author, who has recently released “Jazz and Justice: Racism and the Political Economy of the Music” and “White Supremacy Confronted: U.S. Imperialism and Anti-Communism vs. the Liberation of Southern Africa from Rhodes to Mandela.” On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass gave a keynote address at an Independence Day celebration and asked, “What to the slave is the Fourth of July?” It was a scathing speech in which Douglass said, “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice. I must mourn.” What do those words mean 167 years later? Yesterday was July 4th. The anniversary of the start of the American Revolution. Since its founding there have been many mythologies created about the United States. The race for the presidency is going strong, and many of the candidates are talking about American Exceptionalism. Most Americans, though, don’t understand the term, and they don’t understand how dangerous American Exceptionalism actually is. American Exceptionalism is the belief that the US follows a path of history different from the laws or norms that govern other countries. It’s the belief that the US is not just a bigger and more powerful country, but an exception. It’s the bearer of freedom and liberty and it’s morally superior to all other countries. Dr. Peter Kuznik, a professor of history and director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University, the co-author with Oliver Stone of the book and the hit Showtime television series “The Untold History of the United States,” joins the show. All across the country politicians, corporations and top Pentagon brass use the July 4 holiday to present themselves as the ultimate patriots and supporters of U.S. service members. But what does this country really do to its soldiers, both abroad and when they return home? And what effect does it have on the world? Brian and John speak with Ryan Endicott, a veteran and mental health counselor working in a clinic that serves low income and Medicaid clients, who writes the weekly series “Taking My Boots Off: A Weekly Story About War, Coming Home, and Healing from Combat Trauma.” Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show.

Iran War or No? Chaos in the White House

Jul 3, 2019 6737

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, John Kiriakou and Nicole Roussell (sitting in for Brian Becker) are joined by Gareth Porter, a historian, investigative journalist, and analyst specializing in U.S. national security policy. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said today that Iran would enrich as much uranium as it wants, beginning on Sunday, because of the Trump Administration’s decision to scrap the JCPOA. Meanwhile, a Defense Department spokesman said that several apparently empty ships have been seen approaching Iranian waters, they’ve dropped off the radar, and they have reappeared days later, apparently full and leaving Iranian waters. Edward Gallagher, a Navy SEAL accused of war crimes in Iraq was found not guilty of first degree murder and myriad other charges in the deaths of civilians and one ISIS fighter in 2017. He was convicted of the crime of posing with a body and sentenced to four months, although he already has served more than that in pretrial detention. Gallagher’s own men turned him in, and his arrest and trial exposed great fissures between those SEALS who followed the rules of engagement and those who saw their primary goal as hunting terrorists while ignoring US and international law. Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter and a columnist for CounterPunch whose writings are also at ThisCantBeHappening.net, joins the show. The British Parliament will soon enter its summer recess, even if it has decided nothing on Brexit. As Conservative Party members choose a new leader and, by extension, a new Prime Minister, will a soft Brexit finally become a reality? Will it be under Prime Minister Boris Johnson? And what will become of Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange? He’s in a British prison fighting extradition to the United States. John speaks with Neil Clark, a journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Week, and Morning Star. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective. Today they discuss President Trump’s flashy and expensive military parade he’s putting on tomorrow, the ongoing reports of criminally inhumane conditions at detention facilities, the NAVY Seal who just escaped conviction of war crimes, and a call to end war published in several national papers by our guest Dan Kovalik. Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer and the author of the book “The Plot to Overthrow Venezuela: How the US is Orchestrating a Coup for Oil” and co-author with award-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone of the op-ed published this week entitled, “We must stop our nation’s push for relentless war,” joins the show. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, joins the show.

Honduran Students Protest Police Assaults 10 Years After US-Backed Coup

Jul 3, 2019 6924

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Yesterday there were protests by students against police repression in Honduras, while Friday marked the 10th anniversary of a US-backed coup against the government of Honduras that ousted President Manuel Zelaya and sent him into exile. Honduran governments since then have been imposed on the Honduran people by the military and the police. Ten years later, dissenting voices are still silenced, the opposition is routinely jailed, and in many cases tortured. And all the while, the American government continues to prop up a government that even the Honduran Supreme Court has ruled is illegitimate. Federal authorities are investigating whether Customs and Border Protection agents participated in a private Facebook group for Border Patrol employees that hosted racist, sexist, and sexually violent memes and conversations about immigrants and members of Congress, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Meanwhile, Ocasio-Cortez and other members of Congress toured the detention camps and condemned conditions there. Juan José Gutiérrez, the executive director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition, joins the show. The baseless campaign of anti-Semitism against the progressive British Labour Party continues with another member of parliament, Chris Williamson. These claims started with the smearing of Jeremy Corbyn, the popular leader of the Labour Party, and have continued. Meanwhile, the European Union cannot decide on its leadership. John speaks with Neil Clark, a journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Week, and Morning Star. Today’s regular segment that airs every Tuesday is called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, and Karla Reyes, managing editor of the women’s magazine Breaking the Chains, join the show. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. John speaks with financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey.

Trump & Kim Walk Into North Korea Together, Raising Hopes For a Deal

Jul 1, 2019 6665

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, John Kiriakou and Nicole Roussell (sitting in for Brian Becker) are joined by Walter Smolarek, a Sputnik News analyst and one of the producers of this show, who is in Seoul, South Korea, covering the meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim. President Trump over the weekend became the first sitting president in history to take a step into North Korea after inviting himself to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone. There, he announced that nuclear talks between the two countries would restart within weeks. The 50-minute meeting was Trump’s third with Kim. Stocks surged today on news that President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping had agreed on a truce on the trade war between the two countries. Trump agreed to ease restrictions on Chinese tech giant Huawei’s US technology purchases and to hold off on extending tariffs on virtually all Chinese goods, while Xi agreed to resume trade talks and to buy an unspecified amount of US farm products. Meanwhile, pro- and anti-government protestors both had marches in Hong Kong today. Jude Woodward, the author of the book “The US vs. China: Asia's new Cold War?”, joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Filling in for Bill Ayers today is Dr. Kevin Kumashiro, an internationally-recognized expert on educational policy, school reform, and educational equity and social justice, and the former dean of the School of Education at the University of San Francisco. In this segment, which we call The Week Ahead, the hosts take a look at the most newsworthy stories of the coming week and what it means for the country and the world, including the G20, the state of the 2020 race, yet another political cartoonist firing, and gerrymandering. Ted Rall, an award winning journalist and editorial cartoonist whose work is at rall.com, joins the show. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Filling in for Chris today is Patricia Gorky, a software engineer and technology and security analyst.

Kamala Harris Takes Down Biden…And Then Affirms Neo-Con Foreign Policy

Jun 28, 2019 7039

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jim Kavanagh, editor of thepolemicist.net, and Sputnik News analyst and producer Nicole Roussell. Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on the democratic debates from last night, where they examine Kamala Harris’s attack against Joe Biden’s ongoing and recent embrace with the most notorious racists and segregationists in the US Senate. They also look at Kamala Harris’s own record as a prosecutor and her neocon political positions. Plus, they talk about the decline of european centrist parties and the announced shift back by European elites and capitalists to democratic socialism, and about US-Iranian tensions, including an Iranian saying today that they’ve examined North Korea’s trajectory as a lesson for their own next move. Donald Trump and South Korean president Moon Jae-in are about to hold a major summit and expectations are running high that major progress will be made towards peace in Korea. The peace process has run into major obstacles as the United States demands that North Korea completely denuclearize before any relief can be given in terms of the suffocating US-imposed sanctions the country is suffering under, but that rigid stance could be shifting. Loud & Clear producer Walter Smolarek traveled to Seoul, South Korea, and interviewed Dr. Moon Chung-in. Dr. Moon is the special advisor to President Moon Jae-in on national security and foreign policy and a well-known scholar advocating for the reunification of Korea. The second tranche of 10 Democrats debated last night in Miami, Florida, and it turned out to be more of a bare-knuckle brawl than the previous night’s debate. The consensus seems to be that California Senator Kamala Harris carried the night, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg held his own, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was able to stay on message and fend of the handful of attacks that came his way. Former Vice President Joe Biden spent most of the night trying to defend himself, and Author Marrianne Williamson and former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper showed early on that they were out of their league. Brian and John speak with Bob Schleuhuber, a Sputnik News analyst and the producer of the Sputnik News show By Any Means Necessary, which you can hear on 105.5 FM and 1390 AM in the Washington DC area from 2:00-4:00 pm every day.

Tulsi Gabbard’s Anti-War Message at Debate Spreads Nationwide

Jun 27, 2019 6701

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Lee Camp, a writer, comedian, activist, journalist, host of the television show “Redacted Tonight” on RT America, and at www.leecamp.com. Did you know that the Trump Administration drops a bomb somewhere in the world every 12 minutes? Last night was the first Democratic Party debate. And this particular fact did not come up, but the issues of war and peace were discussed. Every 12 minutes somebody is being killed, maimed, or made homeless all in our names. And this is despite the fact that we are officially, legally at war with nobody. At the same time, the Pentagon has lost $21 trillion of the taxpayers’ money. Meanwhile, climate change is bringing us closer and closer to disaster. The first half of the first round of Democratic presidential debates took place last night in Miami, Florida, hosted by MSNBC with 10 Democrats facing questions. Although the format was unwieldy--every response from every candidate was limited to 60 seconds--the debate did offer an opportunity to begin the weeding out process, so to speak. Pundits seem to agree that the winners were Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Housing Secretary Julian Castro, and perhaps New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. Washington Governor Jay Inslee was surprisingly substantive. But former Congressmen Beto O’Rourke and John Delaney, and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio didn’t do themselves any favors. Bob Schleuhuber, who is in Miami covering the debates and is a Sputnik News analyst and the producer of the Sputnik News show By Any Means Necessary, which you can hear on 105.5 FM and 1390 AM in the Washington DC area from 2:00-4:00 pm every day, joins the show. Veterans for Peace is Thursday’s regular segment about the contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who has been a peace and solidarity activist for almost 50 years, currently as national president of Veterans for Peace, joins the show. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. A regular Thursday segment deals with the ongoing militarization of space. As the US continues to withdraw from international arms treaties, will the weaponization and militarization of space bring the world closer to catastrophe? Brian and John speak with Prof. Karl Grossman, a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury and the host of a nationally aired television program focused on environmental, energy, and space issues, and with Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus.

NSA Continues Illegal, Mass Spying on American People

Jun 26, 2019 6861

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Bill Binney, a former NSA technical director who became a legendary national security whistleblower. The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that the National Security Agency, or NSA, last year continued to collect records about US calls and text messages that it was not authorized to obtain, renewing privacy concerns about a program that NSA said it had discontinued. The unauthorized collection took place last October, several months after NSA leaders said they had ordered that previously unauthorized material collected since 2015 be purged from NSA databases. The House of Representatives yesterday passed a bill to provide funding for undocumented migrants being held in what are being described as inhumane conditions at ICE facilities along the southwestern border. The bill is unlikely to pass in the senate. In the meantime, the children being held in these facilities are dealing with an outbreak of lice and the flu, are kept apart from relatives, and are not being given soap and toothbrushes. Isabel Garcia, co-founder of Coalición de Derechos Humanos, joins the show. The Acting Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, said yesterday that he will work to unify NATO Ministers of Defense to deter Iran and to force it to return to the negotiating table. But France’s Defense Minister said that there would be no negotiations, not just because the Iranians are refusing to participate, but because quote “even the United States doesn’t know what its Iran policy is.” Meanwhile, Houthis in Yemen are posing an ever-increasing threat to Saudi Arabia, allegedly with the help of Iran. Brian and John speak with Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran. Ten Democratic presidential candidates will debate tonight in Miami, Florida and another 10 will debate tomorrow in the first such events of the 2020 presidential race. More than two dozen Democrats are running for president, so many that they had to be split into two groups. Former Vice President Joe Biden is generally seen as the frontrunner at this early stage, and the rest of the candidates are going to look to gain on him. Bob Schleuhuber, who is in Miami covering the debates and is a Sputnik News analyst and the producer of the Sputnik News show By Any Means Necessary, which you can hear on 105.5 FM and 1390 AM in the Washington DC area from 2:00-4:00 pm every day, joins the show. The G20 heads of state will hold their annual summit later this week in Osaka, Japan, but observers are not expecting much in the way of progress, especially on climate change issues. Indeed, according to The Financial Times, whose reporters have seen a copy of the draft communique, it doesn’t even mention the words “global warming” or “climate change,” apparently as a sop to the Trump Administration. World Trade Organization officials also complain that US tariffs are creating major roadblocks for streamlined international trade. Dr. Jack Rasmus, a professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California and author of “Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression,” whose work is at www.jackrasmus.com, joins Brian and John. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, and Sputnik news analyst Nicole Roussell join the show. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show.

Will the Democratic Debate Topics Include “Imperialist” Foreign Policy?

Jun 25, 2019 6895

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dr. Gerald Horne, a professor of history at the University of Houston and the author of many books, including his most recent “Jazz and Justice: Racism and the Political Economy of the Music,” newly available from Monthly Review Press. More than two dozen Democratic candidates for president will be on the debate stage tomorrow, trying to convince the American people that they should sit in the Oval Office for the next four or eight years. All that diversity should mean diverse opinions. But does it? Where do voters turn when the Democrats and Republicans end up agreeing on most issues of war, peace, and economy? The Trump Administration yesterday announced strong new sanctions on Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and moderate Foreign Minister Muhammad Zarif in response to the Iranian shoot-down of a US Global Hawk drone. The Iranians responded by saying that negotiations with the United States were over forever. Meanwhile, Russian officials say their own investigation shows that the drone was actually flying over Iranian airspace. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, whose latest article “Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back” is on CounterPunch and thepolemicist.net, joins the show. Bahrain today and tomorrow is hosting a so-called “Peace to Prosperity” workshop as part of a plan to bring peace to the Middle East. Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians are participating. Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza as well as the diaspora held protests today to denounce the workshop and the so-called “deal of the century” as a ploy to end their aspirations for self-determination. Brian and John speak with Ali Abunimah, the co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of the book “The Battle for Justice in Palestine.” New documents released as part of a Freedom of Information Act request show that Steele Dossier author Christopher Steele met with State Department officials in October 2016 and gave them sensitive information that should have gone solely to the FBI. The documents reveal that Steele was passing information to Obama Administration officials all the way back in 2014. Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books--“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War,” joins the show. Today’s regular segment that airs every Tuesday is called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell join the show. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Brian and John speak with financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey.

Trump’s War Against Immigrants Rages On

Jun 24, 2019 6776

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Juan Carlos Ruiz, cofounder of the New Sanctuary Movement. President Trump over the weekend abruptly postponed his already announced immigration raids and said he would give Congress two weeks to make changes to the asylum law before sending agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement around the country to seize and deport undocumented migrants. The raids had been set to begin yesterday in 10 major cities around the country. The United States Cyber Command, an adjunct of the National Security Agency, on Thursday initiated a cyber attack against an Iranian intelligence group that US officials say planned the attacks against oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman in recent weeks. The Iranian government announced today that it was aware of the cyber attack but that it failed and there was no damage. Meanwhile, Mike Pompeo is in Saudi Arabia meeting with the King and Crown Prince and the government of Bahrain is going forward with plans to host a “Peace to Prosperity” workshop tomorrow and Wednesday, despite the fact that neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians will attend. Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Non-Violence, joins the show. Yet another Democrat--former Admiral and Representative Joe Sestak--has jumped into the Democratic race for President. That makes 25, maybe 26 Democrats running for President. The lesser-knowns will have a change to make their cases to the American public during debates this week on MSNBC. And Pete Buttigieg, who’s been embraced by the party establishment and much of the corporate media, is facing fierce criticism for his handling of a police killing of a Black resident of South Bend. Brian and John speak with Anoa Changa, the Director of Political Advocacy and a Managing Editor of Progressive Army, and host of the show The Way With Anoa, and Walter Smolarek., a Sputnik News analyst and one of the producers of this show. In March, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan nullified the results of the Istanbul mayoral race, saying that his AKP party’s candidate lost only because of voting irregularities. He forced a re-vote, which took place over the weekend. Instead of Erdogan’s candidate losing by 13,000 votes, as he did in March, he lost by a massive 775,000 votes. The stinging rebuke ended 25 years of AKP rule in Istanbul. Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill usually helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Today, Dr. Kevin Kumashiro, an internationally recognized expert on educational policy, school reform, and educational equity and social justice, and the former dean of the School of Education at the University of San Francisco joins Brian and John. In this segment, which we call The Week Ahead, the hosts take a look at the most newsworthy stories of the coming week and what it means for the country and the world, including the upcoming G20 summit, the Democratic debate, tensions in the Middle East and more. Sputnik News analysts and producers of this show Nicole Roussell and Walter Smolarek join the show. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show.

US War with Iran Will Open the Gates of Hell in the Middle East

Jun 21, 2019 7083

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Sputnik News analysts and producers Walter Smolarek and Nicole Roussell. Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on the narrowly avoided U.S. attack on Iran last night and the ongoing danger of a devastating regional war as well as the visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to North Korea. President Trump tweeted today that US forces were 10 minutes away from launching a missile attack on Iran, but that he canceled the attack after learning that there likely would have been 150 Iranian casualties. The statement, simple on its face, reveals serious splits within the Administration. And the real question mark is what would the Iranian response have been? Kevin Zeese, the co-coordinator of Popular Resistance, whose work is at popularresistance.org, joins the show. Hero pilot Sully Sullenberger’s testimony before the House Transportation Subcommittee said that the design of the Boeing 737 Max-8 jet was flawed and should never have been deemed airworthy. He said later that he participated in a re-creation of an accident flight in a Max-8 simulator, telling members of Congress, “Even knowing what was going to happen, I could see how crews could have run out of time before they could have solved the problems. Prior to these accidents, I think it is unlikely that any US airline pilots were confronted with this scenario in simulator training." Brian and John speak with Lori Bassani, the National President of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, and Dennis Tajer, a spokesperson for the Allied Pilots Association and an American Airlines pilot trained on Boeing 737 planes. Chinese President Xi Jinping is in Pyongyang today, where he reaffirmed his support for negotiations on denuclearization and peace on the Korean peninsula. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he was prepared to work with China to make progress in the talks. Emanuel Pastreich, founder and director of The Asia Institute, a pan-Asian think tank, joins the show. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his site Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

If U.S. Attacks, Iran's Retaliation will be "Relentless"

Jun 20, 2019 6836

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran. Iran announced this morning that it had shot down a US military drone the size of an airliner this morning near the Strait of Hormuz. The US acknowledged the shoot-down, saying that the drone was in international airspace. The Iranians countered that it was in Iranian airspace. Meanwhile, a rocket struck a building housing the headquarters of international oil companies in Basra, Iraq, including ExxonMobil. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which injured two Iraqi workers. Top Trump administration officials are now engaged in high-level international and domestic consultations, raising fears of all-out conflict. Joe Biden says some dumb things. He once told reporters, “I’ve done some dumb things. And I’ll do dumb things again.” Well, earlier this week, Biden felt compelled to defend himself against accusations that he may be too “old fashioned” for today’s Democratic Party. He tried to turn that into a positive, saying that his old traditionalism harkened back to a better era, where gentility reigned in the US Senate. That wasn’t good enough, though. Biden felt compelled to give an example. And so he said, with a completely straight face, that when he was first elected to the Senate in 1972 he became friendly with two of the most rabid segregationists in the body—Senators James O. Eastland (D-MS) and (“the meanest man I ever met”) Herman Tallmadge (D-GA). According to a reporter for the New York Times who heard the words directly from Biden’s mouth, “I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland. He never called me ‘boy.’ He always called me ‘son.’” And Biden told this story with a southern accent. It apparently never occurred to him that Eastland never called him “boy” because he was white. Today, Senator Cory Booker said that Biden’s comments were hurtful. And now Biden has called on Booker to apologize. Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at www.rall.com, joins the show. Chinese President Xi Jinping is in North Korea, the first visit of a Chinese president to the DPRK in 14 years and only the second time a chief of state has met Kim Jong Un on his home turf. According to an op-ed that Xi wrote for the front page of a North Korean newspaper, he is in Pyongyang to strengthen strategic communication and exchanges. The more likely scenario is that he is there to discuss Chinese and North Korean relations with the United States and how to deal with President Trump. Brian and John speak with Jude Woodward is the author of the book “The US vs China: Asia's new Cold War?” Hero pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger testified on Capitol Hill yesterday that an automated flight control system on the Boeing 737 Max-8 jet was “fatally flawed and should never have been approved in the first place.” The House Aviation Subcommittee is investigating the crashes of Boeing 737 Max-8 jets in Indonesia last fall and in Ethiopia in March that killed 346 people. The panel is also examining what role, if any, Boeing's rush to develop the latest version of its popular 737 and the FAA's process of certifying the new model as airworthy may have played in the tragedies. Bijan Vasigh, a professor of air transportation at Embrey-Riddle University, an expert on aviation issues, a consultant to some of the biggest airlines in the world, and the author of dozens of academic papers and books, joins the show. Veterans for Peace is Thursday’s regular segment about the contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who has been a peace and solidarity activist for almost 50 years, currently as national president of Veterans for Peace, joins the show. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. A regular Thursday segment deals with the ongoing militarization of space. As the US continues to withdraw from international arms treaties, will the weaponization and militarization of space bring the world closer to catastrophe? Brian and John speak with Prof. Karl Grossman, a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury and the host of a nationally aired television program focused on environmental, energy, and space issues, and with Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus.

Cyberwar with Russia, War with Iran? US Military Machine in Full Gear

Jun 19, 2019 7097

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Ben Norton, a journalist with the Grayzone Project and co-host of the Moderate Rebels podcast, and Sputnik News analyst and producer Walter Smolarek. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective, including U.S. cyber attacks on the Russian electrical grid and the latest US moves against Iran. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show. Former Vice President Joe Biden caused outrage when he fondly noted what he called the “civility” of the US Senate of the 1970s and 1980s by invoking by name two of the body’s most polarizing segregationists--Senators James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia. Is Biden trying to lose the Democratic nomination for President on purpose? Brian and John speak with Jacqueline Luqman, editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which livestreams every week on Facebook and Youtube, and a journalist with The Real News Network. The White House is actively considering launching airstrikes against Iranian nuclear facilities, according to press reports quoting Pentagon insiders. The plans are at an advanced stage and could be initiated at any time. Dr. Peter Kuznik, a professor of history and director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University and the co-author with Oliver Stone of the book and the hit Showtime television series “The Untold History of the United State,” joins the show. Today is Juneteenth. It is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that Union soldiers, led by MG Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that all enslaved people were free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on Texans due to the miniscule number of Union troops in Texas to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Robert E. Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance. C. R. Gibbs, an author and co-author of six books and a frequent national and international lecturer, joins Brian and John. President Trump kicked off his reelection campaign yesterday with what was supposed to be a campaign rally in Orlando, Florida. In the end, it looked more like a white supremacist rally. Lee Stranahan, co-host of the Sputnik News program Fault Lines, joins the show. The race to succeed Theresa May is entering a crucial stage. In the next two days, Conservative Party members will narrow the field of candidates to two, and party members will choose between them. The winner will become Prime Minister and will serve out the remainder of May’s term or until new elections are called, whichever comes first. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is still the frontrunner. But Rory Stewart, a virtual unknown, as shown the greatest strength and may actually have a chance to defeat the frontrunner. Brian and John speak with Neil Clark, a journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Week, and Morning Star.

Trump Plans to Arrest Tens of Thousands in Mass Deportation Raids

Jun 18, 2019 6804

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Juan José Gutiérrez, the executive director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition. President Trump said yesterday that his administration plans a sweeping immigration enforcement crackdown on undocumented migrants that could see coordinated raids in multiple cities across the country. The move comes ahead of Trump’s official re-election campaign launch, but grassroots activists are vowing to fight back. The Justice Department has admitted that the FBI relied on information provided by the private company Crowdstrike concluding that Russia was to blame for hacking into the Democratic National Committee’s servers, even though that information had been heavily redacted by the company. The FBI never had access to any of the original documents. That news was just made public yesterday in a filing by Roger Stone’s defense attorneys. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, joins the show. The Pentagon announced yesterday that it would send an additional 1000 to the Middle East, a potentially dangerous move that could greatly increase the chances for war between the United States and Iran, even by accident. Brian and John speak with Ann Wright, a retired United States Army colonel and former U.S. State Department official in Afghanistan, who resigned in protest of the invasion of Iraq and became an anti-war activist. Facebook released information today on its new cryptocurrency, called Libra, which is supposed to be less volatile than Bitcoin and the other hundreds of cryptocurrencies already available to the public. Facebook wants Libra to be used as a legitimate way to purchase goods and services, unlike Bitcoin, which is more speculative. Steve Keen, the author of “Debunking Economics” and the world’s first crowdfunded economist, whose work is at patreon.com/ProfSteveKeen, joins the show. A massive embezzlement scandal is threatening the political future of Venezuelan opposition figure Juan Guaido. Media outlets in the region are reporting that two people appointed by Guaido to manage aid meant for Venezuelan soldiers who have defected to Colombia instead have been stealing it. Both the Government of Colombia and the Organization of American States, known for their strong support of Guaido, have called for an investigation. Ricardo Vaz, a writer and editor at Venezuelanalysis, joins Brian and John. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Brian and John speak with financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey. Today’s regular segment that airs every Tuesday is called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell join the show.

Iran Renews the Enrichment of Uranium After Trump Rips Up Nuclear Deal

Jun 17, 2019 6909

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Massoud Shadjareh, the founder of the Islamic Human Rights Commission. The Iranian government has announced that it will break the uranium stockpile limit agreement agreed to as part of the JCPOA nuclear deal in the next 10 days. The move came in response to the Trump administration’s decision to scrap the deal. Iranian President Rouhani said that his country would not withdraw from the JCPOA, but would reduce its commitments to the deal. He also urged European countries to mediate between Iran and the United States as tensions between the two countries continue to flare in the aftermath of explosions that hit two tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week. A federal judge in the Eastern District of Virginia said on Saturday that Chelsea Manning would be fined $500 per day for refusing to testify before a grand jury looking into Wikileaks cofounder Julian Assange. If Manning still does not testify after one month, the fine will be $1000 per day. Manning has been steadfast in her refusal to speak to the grand jury. Kevin Gosztola, a journalist with Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, joins the show. The New York Times reported over the weekend that the United States had deployed computer code inside the Russian electrical grid system that would disrupt it in the event of hostilities. The Times went on to say that the move was done in response to allegations that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election. President Trump tweeted that the article was “a virtual act of treason.” But later in the article, The Times acknowledged that the operation had begun in 2012, at the end of Barack Obama’s first term in office, and during the tenure of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Brian and John speak with Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer who is the author of the book “The Plot to Overthrow Venezuela: How the US is Orchestrating a Coup for Oil.” Boeing executives attending the high-profile Paris Air Show today apologized for the hundreds of deaths caused when two of their 737 MAX-8 jets crashed in separate incidents last October and last March. But no one in the company has been held criminally liable and Boeing is even looking to loosen its safety testing requirements. Dr. Alan Diehl, an award-winning aviation psychologist and safety consultant, 1990s air safety whistleblower, and the author of the book “Air Safety Investigators,” joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto,” joins Brian and John. In this segment, which we call The Week Ahead, the hosts take a look at the most newsworthy stories of the coming week and what it means for the country and the world, including Democrats and Republicans working together to escalate tensions with Iran, the Pentagon deploying cyber weapons against Russia’s electrical grid and Chelsea Manning being subjected to huge fines. Sputnik News analysts and producers of this show Nicole Roussell and Walter Smolarek join the show. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show.

War with Iran? A Closer Look at U.S. Strategy

Jun 14, 2019 7079

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Lee Camp, a writer, actor, activist, journalist, and host of the television show “Redacted Tonight,” which you can see on RT America, and Sputnik News analysts and producers Walter Smolarek and Nicole Roussell. Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on the Middle East oil tanker attack and escalation between the US and Iran, Julian Assange’s extradition hearing today, the leak of documents this week showing the political imprisonment of former Brazilian president lula da silva, and the rebellion in memphis after cops shot a young Black man. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said yesterday that US intelligence showed that Iran was responsible for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. He showed a Pentagon video that he claimed showed Iranian sailors removing an unexploded magnet mine from the side of a Japanese ship. Iran’s Foreign Minister dismissed the accusation as “sabotage diplomacy and warmongering.” Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran, joins the show. A hearing was held in London this morning related to the US request for the extradition of Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange. The British magistrate scheduled a formal five-day extradition hearing to begin on February 24, 2020. That would be 45-and-a-half weeks into his 50-week sentence for bail-jumping. With British politics currently in turmoil, what does this mean for Julian’s chances to regain his freedom? Brian and John speak with Joe Lauria, the editor-in-chief of Consortium News, founded by the late Robert Parry, and the author of the book "How I Lost, By Hillary Clinton." The Defense Department’s Inspector General and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service report that $21 trillion of the taxpayers’ money is unaccounted for. That’s 21 thousand billions of dollars. It’s the amount of the entire national debt. If you spent a million dollars a day starting on the day Jesus was born, you wouldn’t even have spent $1 trillion yet. So how does $21 trillion just disappear and no Pentagon heads roll? Lee Camp, a writer, actor, activist, journalist, and host of the television show “Redacted Tonight,” which you can see on RT America, joins the show. Nearly four years after the City of Flint, Michigan declared a state of emergency over the condition of its drinking water, and three years after the first criminal charges were filed against government officials responsible for the crisis, prosecutors have dropped all charges and said that they’ll start the entire investigation over again from the beginning. Will there ever be justice for Flint’s residents? Julie Hurwitz, a civil rights attorney and partner at the law firm Goodman, Hurwitz and James, joins Brian and John. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his site Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

Who’s Blowing Up Oil Tankers in the Middle East?

Jun 13, 2019 6732

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Ambassador Peter Ford, the former UK Ambassador to Syria. Two oil tankers came under suspected attack in the Gulf of Oman today. Both the US and Iranian navies responded to distress calls, and the vessels’ crews were safely evacuated. The attacks come amid heightened tension because the US and Iran and in the middle of a visit to Tehran by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The Justice Department has asked US Attorney John Durham to investigate the origins of the Russiagate case. Durham said yesterday that he is seeking testimony from two CIA officers--one a counterintelligence expert and the other a senior analyst. CIA director Gina Haspel said that her people will cooperate, but would “protect sources and methods.” Aaron Maté, a journalist for The Grayzone and The Nation and a former host and producer at Democracy Now and The Real News, joins the show. Authorities in Memphis, Tennessee claim that 24 police officers and two journalists were injured in a melee last night that began when US marshals in a Memphis suburb shot a man 20 times and killed him while allegedly trying to serve him with an arrest warrant. It is unclear how many protestors were injured, but the event is yet another example of the volatility of confrontations with the police all across the country. Brian and John speak with Kym Smith, a community organizer involved in struggles against police brutality and mass incarceration. Boris Johnson finished first in today’s first round of voting for a new leader of the UK’s Conservative Party. The field of 10 hopefuls is now winnowed to seven. The second round of voting will be held next week, and then the top two vote-getters will face off on July 22. Meanwhile, British authorities confirmed that the Department of Justice has formally requested the extradition of Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange. Neil Clark, a journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Week, and Morning Star, joins the show. President Trump yesterday said that he will transfer 1,000 US troops from Germany to Poland after Polish President Andrzedj Duda said he would spend $2 billion to build a new US military base in his country. Trump said that he liked the idea, but was not sure if he wanted to commit to a permanent presence in Poland. But he did like Duda’s quip that he would name the facility Fort Trump. Mark Sleboda, an international affairs and security analyst, joins Brian and John. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. A regular Thursday segment deals with the ongoing militarization of space. As the US continues to withdraw from international arms treaties, will the weaponization and militarization of space bring the world closer to catastrophe? Brian and John speak with Prof. Karl Grossman, a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury and the host of a nationally aired television program focused on environmental, energy, and space issues, and with Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus.

Battle Rages Between Attorney General Barr and House Democrats

Jun 12, 2019 7038

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, John Kiriakou and Nicole Roussell (sitting in for Brian Becker) are joined by Coleen Rowley, a former FBI special agent who in 2002 was named Time Magazine person of the year along with two other whistleblowers. The House of Representatives yesterday approved a resolution authorizing the Judiciary Committee to go to court to enforce its subpoena for former White House Counsel Don McGahn’s testimony and to seek grand jury information from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. The resolution also authorized the Committee to take its subpoena of Attorney General William Barr to court, but an agreement struck with the Justice Department on Monday will put that action on hold for now. Scott Warren is an activist with an Arizona group called No Mas Muertes, or No More Deaths. He was arrested last year for providing food, water, and shelter to migrants crossing the Sonoran desert. Supporters call him an apostle of humanitarianism. Prosecutors call him a criminal and asked that he be sent to prison for 20 years. Indeed, in closing arguments, the prosecutor said, “He gave them food. He gave them water. He gave them shelter. He’s a very dangerous man.” But a jury deadlocked and the judge declared a mistrial. Justine Orlovsky-Schnitzler, the media coordinator for No More Deaths, joins the show. Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, visited the demilitarized zone between the two countries today to deliver a condolence message over the death of a former South Korean First Lady who had promoted unity between North and South. Kim Yo Jong is a trusted aide to her brother, and she held talks with the South Korean National Security Advisor. Johns speak with Henri Feron, Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy. A new study says that the world’s oceans will lose one-sixth of their fish and marine life by the end of the century if climate change continues on its current path. The study comes on the heels of an Australian study last week that found that the world faces an existential risk from climate change by 2050. William Cheung, professor at the University of British Columbia and an author of this study, joins the show. Just days before a law protecting renters and tenants was set to expire, New York lawmakers reached a deal to strengthen those protections. The new law keeps more housing units in the rent regulatory system, adding inventory for the poor and middle classes. And it makes the change permanent so that the legislature neve again has to take up the issue. Why is housing so expensive across the country? And why is it central to the entire U.S. economy? Dr. Jack Rasmus, a professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California and author of “Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression,” whose work is at www.jackrasmus.com, joins John. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective. Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek joins the show. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, joins the show.

Secret Recording of Pompeo: US Plots to Stop Jeremy Corbyn

Jun 11, 2019 6814

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jackie Walker, a life-long activist against racism and the former Vice Chair of the pro-Jeremy Corbyn organization Momentum. The Washington Post yesterday reported that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a group of American Jewish leaders in a private meeting that the US would seek to block Jeremy Corbyn from becoming British Prime Minister if the US detected what Pompeo called “antisemitism.” He said the US government would “push back” against Corbyn and that “we won’t wait for him to do those things,” presumably meaning oppose Israel. The Pentagon says that it is canceling Turkey’s involvement in the F-35 Stealth fighter program over Ankara’s plans to buy a Russian S-400 missile defense system. Turkish pilots will no longer be trained on the F-35, and they’ve been asked to leave a US Air Force base in Arizona. Turkish President Erdogan said that he is undeterred by the US action and will complete the purchase and installation of the S-400. Dr. Gönül Tol, the founding director of The Middle East Institute’s Center for Turkish Studies and a former professor, joins the show. The Intercept is reporting that an enormous trove of secret documents reveals that Brazil’s most powerful prosecutors, who have spent years insisting that they are apolitical, instead plotted to prevent the Workers Party from winning the 2018 election by blocking or weakening a pre-election interview given by former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva with the explicit purpose of affecting the outcome of the election. Dubbed Operation Car Wash, the prosecutors’ plot began in 2014. Brian and John speak with Aline Piva, she is a journalist and a member of Brazilians for Democracy and Social Justice. Kim Jong Nam, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, told a Japanese journalist shortly before his assassination in Malaysia in 2017 that he was in contact with the CIA. The Western media is saying that Kim was a “source” for the CIA. The revelation will soon appear in a new book. Emanuel Pastereich, a professor and the founder and director of The Asia Institute, a pan-Asian think tank, joins the show. Jorge Ramos is arguably the best-known Spanish-language journalist in America. The chief anchorman of Univision is known as the Walter Cronkite of Latin America. As such, he interviewed Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in February. But the interview was contentious. Ramos said Maduro walked out after Ramos started playing a video of Venezuelans eating out of trash cans. Univision announced last week that it had recovered the film and would air it soon. But it shows something completely different from what Ramos has said. What will the fallout be? Alex Rubenstein, a journalist for Mint Press News and on Twitter @realalexrubi, joins Brian and John. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Brian and John speak with financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey. Today’s regular segment that airs every Tuesday is called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell join the show.

“Tariffs are a Beautiful Thing” – Deciphering Trump’s Strategy

Jun 10, 2019 6957

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Sputnik News analysts and producers of this show Nicole Roussell and Walter Smolarek. In this segment, which we call The Week Ahead, the hosts take a look at the most newsworthy stories of the coming week and what it means for the country and the world, including the political theater of Donald Trump’s threats of new tariffs against Mexico, the emerging Democratic party strategy of new hearings on Russiagate, a new outrage from Guantanamo, and much more. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. House Democrats are pushing ahead with plans to hold hearings this week that would feature testimony--or a lack of testimony--by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff will hold a rare open session on what he calls the “counterintelligence implications” of the Mueller report. A parallel hearing before the House Judiciary Committee today will feature testimony by famed Watergate whistleblower John Dean. And Democrats also plan a vote tomorrow to hold Attorney General William Barr and former White House Counsel Don McGahn in contempt of Congress. Brian and John speak with Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist. You can check out his work at rall.com. Nearly one million people protested in Hong Kong yesterday against a proposed law that would create an extradition system between semi-autonomous Hong Kong and mainland China. The law would allow for case-by-case fugitive transfers between Hong Kong and the Chinese provinces. Leaders of the protests say Beijing will use the measure to target activists, dissidents, and other political opponents. Hong Kong’s governor, however, says she will continue to push for passage of the bill to guarantee the unity of China rather than deepen the division between the city and the mainland that is a legacy of a century and a half of British colonial rule. Eugene Puryear, the co-host of the Sputnik News radio show By Any Means Necessary, which you can hear every day from 2:00-4:00 and as a podcast, joins the show. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has reopened the border with Colombia after a closure of four months. The situation on the Venezuela-Colombia border has been a central theme promoted by those who favor yet another so-called “humanitarian” regime change operation. Anya Parampil, a Washington-based journalist for The Grayzone, joins Brian and John. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation” takes look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Dr. Kevin Kumashiro, former dean of the School of Education at the University of San Francisco, joins Brian and John. Abdel Baset al-Sarout was arguably the most famous soccer player in Syria. He became something of western media star when he left the game to take up arms against the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Sarout was killed in a battle in Idlib over the weekend and is being hailed as a hero in the western press. What the media don’t want you to know, however, is that Sarout was killed fighting on behalf a group sponsored by al-Qaeda and had pledged allegiance to ISIS. Brian and John speak with Dan Cohen, a journalist and a documentary filmmaker who made the mini-doc “The Syria Deception: Al-Qaeda Goes to Hollywood,” available at The Grayzone.

Russiagate Hoax Unravels: The “Russian” Spy Was Actually a US Asset

Jun 7, 2019 6755

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Aaron Maté, a journalist for The Nation and The Grayzone, and a former host and producer at Democracy Now and The Real News. A new report reveals not only that key Russiagate figure Konstantin Kilimnik was not a so-called Russian government agent, but that he was in fact a US State Department source. And, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team knew about this for more than the past year. US and Russian warships came within 165 feet of each other earlier today, and each country blames the other for the near collision. Accidents happen -- but when tensions between countries are as high as they are now in this new Cold War, even small mishaps can start unnecessary war. Mark Sleboda, an international affairs and security analyst, joins the show. President Trump this week criticized the war in Vietnam, a sentiment that many Americans share. Rather than concentrate on keeping America out of more wars, CNN took him to task about his comments and his not having served in the military, noting that many soldiers don’t want to serve but “it is the call of their country.” Brian and John speak with Jim Kavanagh, editor in chief of thepolemicist.net. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his site Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell. Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Will Trump impose new tariffs on Mexico as Mexico scrambles to meet his demands to stem asylum seekers from reaching the US/Mexico border? We also talk about the newest developments in the US efforts to overthrow the government of Venezuela, the falsification of history on this the 75th anniversary of D-Day (specifically negating the role of the Soviet Union), and Joe Biden’s flip flop on abortion rights and what it means for his campaign. Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer who is the author of the book “The Plot to Overthrow Venezuela: How the US is Orchestrating a Coup for Oil,” and Sputnik News analyst and producer of this show Nicole Roussell, joins Brian and John.

Trump Pushes Global Trade War with One Goal in Mind

Jun 6, 2019 6968

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Richard Wolff, a professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst and founder of the organization Democracy at Work. President Trump said on Twitter yesterday that no agreement has been reached with Mexico on stemming the flow of undocumented migrants and that tariffs would go into effect on Monday. Mexico’s Foreign Minister met yesterday with Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Pompeo hoping to convince them that Mexico is doing all it can to protect the border. But White House officials said nothing would make the president happy short of a complete cessation of illegal border crossings. The President also made threats today about new tariffs on another $300 billion of Chinese goods. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. YouTube announced yesterday that it was removing all videos that promote extremist agendas like white supremacy or that deny events that the company says are “generally known to have happened,” like the Sandy Hook massacre or the Holocaust. The policy sounds like a great idea. But what would it do about events like the Gulf of Tonkin or alleged Syrian government chemical attacks, which were later debunked? And what does the policy say about freedom of speech? Alex Rubenstein, a journalist with Mint Press News, joins the show. Today marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy. A high-profile ceremony involving heads of government was held, but it included some surprising guests -- Germany and Italy. Also notable was Russia’s absence, the country that suffered the highest casualties in the war and took on the bulk of the Nazi army. What’s the true story of D-Day and World War Two as a whole? Peter Kuznick, a professor of history and director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University and the co-author with Oliver Stone of the book and the hit Showtime television series “The Untold History of the United States,” joins the show. Russian President Vladimir Putin met yesterday at the Kremlin with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss the arms race, trade, and what they called “global political stability.” The visit coincides with the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum and the 70th anniversary of relations between the two countries. Relations are warming between the two emerging world powers as hostility from the United States escalates against both. Brian and John speak with Vijay Prashad, the Director of the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and Chief Editor of LeftWord Books and the author - most recently - of “Arab Spring, Libyan Winter.” Veterans for Peace is Thursday’s regular segment about the contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who has been a peace and solidarity activist for almost 50 years, currently as national president of Veterans for Peace, joins the show. A regular Thursday segment deals with the ongoing militarization of space. As the US continues to withdraw from international arms treaties, will the weaponization and militarization of space bring the world closer to catastrophe? Brian and John speak with Prof. Karl Grossman, a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury and the host of a nationally aired television program focused on environmental, energy, and space issues, and with Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus.

Australian Police State? Feds Raid Australian Broadcaster

Jun 5, 2019 7052

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Tim Karr, the senior director of strategy and communications at Free Press and he joins us from Washington. Australian federal police this morning raided the headquarters of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in a move that is meeting with an outcry from journalists, civil libertarians, unions, and human rights groups. The police had warrants naming two reporters and the news director, who had worked on a story using Defense Ministry documents showing that Australian troops had committed war crimes in Afghanistan. Police also raided the home of one of the reporters. Joe Biden is the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for president. Believe it or not, this is the fourth time he’s run for the country’s highest office. And he was Vice President for eight years. Biden’s earlier campaigns were doomed for a variety of reasons. In 1988 he was credibly accused of plagiarism. In 1992 he was accused of embellishment. In 2000, his candidacy didn’t catch on because of his high-profile role in the Clarence Thomas hearing. All these years later, Biden doesn’t seem to have changed. Can he really win the Democratic nomination? And if he does, can he really become president? A controversy over plagiarism in his newly announced environmental policy have people raising these questions more and more. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, joins the show. The US and its allies say that 180 civilians were killed in military operations in Raqqa, Syria between June and October 2018. But a new study by Amnesty International says that the real number of civilian deaths was more than 1600. Meanwhile, Iraq has executed nine French citizens who worked as cooks and mechanics for ISIS and is preparing to execute 11 more. The nine had trials that lasted mere minutes. Brian and John speak with Ben Norton, a journalist with the Grayzone and co-host of the Moderate Rebels podcast. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective. Sputnik news analysts Nicole Roussell and Walter Smolarek join the show. They focus on the Australian police raid of major news outlet Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the major problems and challenges facing Joe Biden’s campaign for the Democratic nomination, and the “deal of the century” where the United States that is attempting to liquidate the national aspirations of the Palestinian people for genuine self-determination. Jazz arose in late nineteenth century North America—most likely in New Orleans—based on the musical traditions of Africans, newly freed from slavery. Grounded in the music known as the “blues,” which expressed the pain, sufferings, and hopes of African-Americans under the thumb of Jim Crow, this new music entered the world via the instruments that had been abandoned by departing military bands after the Civil War. Gerald Horne’s new book Jazz and Justice examines the economic, social, and political forces that shaped this music into a phenomenal US—and Black American—contribution to global arts and culture. They also talk with Dr. Horne about his second new book, “White Supremacy Confronted: U.S. Imperialism and Anti-Communism vs. the Liberation of Southern Africa from Rhodes to Mandela.” Dr. Gerald Horne joins Brian and John and is a professor of history at the University of Houston and the author of many books.

Tiananmen Square 30 Years Later: The State of U.S.-China Relations

Jun 4, 2019 6979

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by John Ross, Senior Fellow at Chongyang Institute, Renmin University of China, and an award-winning resident columnist with several Chinese media organizations. Top U.S. and Chinese officials exchanged sharp criticisms in the run up to today’s 30th anniversary of the 1989 events in Tiananmen Square, with U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo slamming China’s human rights record and a Chinese government spokesman replying that the remarks aim to “patronise and bully the Chinese people.” What happened 30 years ago, and why is it still such an important issue in contemporary U.S.-China relations? President Trump is in the second day of his visit to the UK. He met this morning with outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May and said he was interested in negotiating what he called a “major trade deal” with the country. Queen Elizabeth hosted a state dinner for the president last night, but Trump’s crowds have been small and very large protests have been staged around the country. Neil Clark, a journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Week, and Morning Star, joins the show. Sudan’s Transitional Military Council canceled all agreements with the main opposition coalition today just hours after the military fired live ammunition into unarmed pro-democracy protesters. More than 35 people were killed and hundreds were wounded. The military’s leadership said that it would hold elections in nine months, but without the help and support of the opposition. But protest leaders are now calling for a massive nationwide campaign of civil disobedience. Brian and John speak with Mwiza Munthali, the host of the WPFW Radio show Africa Now and formerly with the advocacy group TransAfrica Forum. A Swedish judge has rejected a request to detain Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange in absentia, complicating hopes to extradite him from the UK. Assange faces what many observers call a politically-motivated sexual assault charge in Sweden, but the court’s decision now prohibits Sweden from asking the UK to hold him if he is released. Meanwhile, the Justice Department has decided that Assange will not face charges related to the “Vault 7” leak of CIA cyberweapons. Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, joins the show. The House of Representatives yesterday finally approved a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill after protests from three Republican House members delayed it for months. The bill has already passed the Senate and has President Trump’s support. The measure would provide aid to states and territories hit by floods, hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural disasters, but is this assistance too little too late? Dr. Adriana Garriga-López, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Anthropology at Kalamazoo College, joins Brian and John. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Brian and John speak with financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey. Today’s regular segment that airs every Tuesday is called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell join the show.

Feds Defy Court Order, Refuse to Make Flynn-Russian Transcripts Public

Jun 3, 2019 7074

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Bruce Fein, a constitutional law scholar and a former assistant deputy Attorney General of the United States, and Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer who is the author of the book “The Plot to Overthrow Venezuela: How the US is Orchestrating a Coup for Oil.” The Justice Department is refusing to comply with a federal judge’s order to release transcripts of recorded conversations between former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak. Federal prosecutors also refused to release an unredacted portion of the Mueller report that focused on Flynn. That puts the Department of Justice in contempt of court. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. President Trump arrived in London this morning on his first official visit to the UK. He met at Buckingham Palace with Queen Elizabeth, but he also took the time to call the mayor of London “a stone cold loser.” Meanwhile, former British parliamentarian George Galloway, a frequent guest of this show, was fired over the weekend from his own radio show in the UK on the Talk Radio network after being accused of anti-semitism. When did even the most vague criticism of Israel become anti-Semitism? Brian and John speak with George Galloway, a legendary anti-war activist and a former parliamentarian. Tensions between former Vice President Joe Biden and progressive Democrats were on full display over the weekend as the party’s presidential front-runner skipped the California Democratic Party Convention and was criticized for his establishment views. Other party moderates like former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper and former Maryland Congressman John Delaney were roundly booed for warning attendees not to move too far to the left. But much of the media has lept to Biden’s defense. Jacqueline Luqman, the editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which livestreams every week on Facebook and Youtube, and a journalist with The Real News Network, joins the show. Newly released documents from the Snowden archives reveals that Israel relied heavily on intelligence from NSA in its 2006 war in Lebanon and made repeated requests for locational information on Hezbollah operatives to target them for assassination. That Israeli pressure led to the creation of a new intelligence-sharing framework between the US and Israel. Bill Binney, a former NSA technical director who became a legendary national security whistleblower, joins Brian and John. In a surprise announcement yesterday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US was prepared to negotiate with Iran with no preconditions. The statement is the second softening of Iran policy in the past week, with President Trump saying that he was ready to talk to Iran’s leaders and was not seeking regime change. This put him in direct conflict with his own National Security Advisor, John Bolton, who has long sought just that. Ambassador Peter Ford, the former UK Ambassador to Syria, joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto,” joins Brian and John.

Assange Hospitalized: He Was Psychologically Tortured, Says UN Official

May 31, 2019 6960

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Joe Lauria, the editor-in-chief of Consortium News, founded by the late Robert Parry. And he’s the author of the book “How I Lost, By Hillary Clinton.” Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange is in a prison hospital in serious condition, according to his attorneys, family members, and Wikileaks. Julian was transferred to the prison hospital yesterday after one of his attorneys found him to be incoherent in advance of a court hearing that he was going to do via video. Meanwhile, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture appealed to the UK government today, saying that Julian was being tortured psychologically. President Trump last night announced onerous new sanctions against Mexico that will take effect on June 10, unless the Mexican government stems the flow of migrants to the United States. Tariffs of 5 percent on all Mexican goods began that day and will rise to 25 percent by October. Stocks and bonds both tumbled with the news, and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said “social problems cannot be solved with taxes or coercive measures,” and he accused the United States of being a “ghetto” for undocumented migrants. Isabel Garcia, co-founder of Coalición de Derechos Humanos, joins the show. Iran today accused Saudi Arabia of rallying regional countries to follow US and Israeli hostility toward it at a summit in Mecca. Saudi King Salman called on countries to contain what he called “an aggressive and hostile Iran.” Saudi Arabia says that Iran is behind recent attacks against oil tankers in the Gulf, as well as Saudi oil installations. Brian and John speak with Ambassador Peter Ford, the former UK Ambassador to Syria. In 1989, five Black and Latino teenagers were arrested and charged with the assault and rape of a white woman in New York’s Central Park. Police pressured them into making false confessions. They all served prison time. But a convicted murderer later confessed to the crime. Now a new four-part mini-series by Ana DuVernay is telling the story of the Central Park 5. Called “When They See Us,” it was released today on Netflix. Gerald Horne, a professor of history at the University of Houston and author of many books, including “The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America,” joins the show. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his site Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell. Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on Julian Assange’s grave health crisis, war tensions in the Middle East as the US tries to back away from an escalating confrontation with Iran, Trump’s new announced tariffs on Mexico, the failure of Netanyahu to form a government in Israel, and the results of the European Parliament election. Brian and John are joined by Sputnik News analysts and producers Walter Smolarek and Nicole Roussell.

Mueller Closes the Case But Politicians, Media are Still Obsessed

May 30, 2019 6745

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Aaron Maté, a journalist for The Nation and a former host and producer at Democracy Now and The Real News. Special Counsel Robert Mueller said in a rare press conference yesterday that his investigation is over and that his written report speaks for itself. He added that he would not answer any questions, even from Congress, beyond what is already in the report. But one thing the mainstream media is overlooking is that careful language Mueller used. What did he really say about the DNC hack, Russia, and collusion? Israelis will go to the polls again in September after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition by yesterday’s deadline. Netanyahu was unable to pull in enough support amid a dispute with former ally Avigdor Lieberman of the ultranationalist Israel Our Home over the conscription of ultra-orthodox Jewish seminary students. Netanyahu will remain in office until the election and, in July, will become the longest serving Israeli prime minister in history. Sputnik news analysts and producers of Loud & Clear Walter Smolarek and Nicole Roussell join the show. Janet Africa and Janine Africa, two members of the Philadelphia-based Black liberation group MOVE, became the third and fourth members to be released from prison last week after serving 40 years. The women were arrested in 1978 after a confrontation with police that left one policeman dead. However, it was proven during trial that no member of MOVE had fired a single shot. Nonetheless, nine MOVE members were convicted. Walter and John speak with Mike Africa Jr., a member of the MOVE organization and son of two of the members of the MOVE 9. Veterans for Peace is Thursday’s regular segment about the contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who has been a peace and solidarity activist for almost 50 years, currently as national president of Veterans for Peace, joins the show. Mexico’s Attorney General today charged Emilio Lozoya, the politically-connected former CEO of the state oil company Pemex, with corruption. His arrest warrant is part of an anti-corruption campaign waged by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Dr. John Ackerman, professor of Constitutional Law at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), researcher at the Legal Research Institute of UNAM, and editorial director of the Mexican Law Review, joins Brian and John. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. A regular Thursday segment deals with the ongoing militarization of space. As the US continues to withdraw from international arms treaties, will the weaponization and militarization of space bring the world closer to catastrophe? Walter and John speak with Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus.

Mueller Resigns But the Russiagate Conspiracy Hoax Lives On

May 29, 2019 7119

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at rall.com. Special Counsel Robert Mueller held a press conference today in which he said that he would not say anything before Congress than he had already written in his report. He cautioned that he had NOT said that the President had not tried to obstruct justice, but that it was unconstitutional to charge a sitting president with a crime and unfair to accuse a person of a crime when he could not defend himself. National Security Advisor John Bolton held a press conference today where he accused Iran of using mines to attack the oil tankers that were damaged in the Persian Gulf on May 12. Bolton also accused Iran of being behind a failed attempt to disrupt Saudi oil infrastructure. No evidence was presented to support these claims, but the Trump administration’s march towards confrontation with Iran continues regardless. Massoud Shadjareh, the founder of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, joins the show. In honor of Memorial Day this weekend, the US Army tweeted a question to its followers, “How has serving impacted you?” along with a video of a young soldier saying he learned to “better himself as a man and a warrior.” But instead of similar responses, the tweet garnered a huge response detailing the suicides, deaths, PTSD, and myriad mental health problems that veterans and family members cope with. Brian and John speak with Mike Prysner, an Army veteran who served for a year in Iraq, a documentary filmmaker, and a co-host of the anti-war podcast Eyes Left. Today marks six months since 7 men were declared responsible for the murder of indigenous Lenca leader Berta Caceres in Honduras. Yet, the court still hasn’t issued a written sentence, leaving the case in a precarious legal situation. The court found that top DESA executives (the company that Berta was trying to stop from building a hydroelectric dam) knew about, and consented to, planning and killing Berta. Today, international members of the Observer Mission in the trial will hold a press conference outside the court. Joe Berra, from the UCLA school of Law, who represented the Promise Institute in the Observer Mission during the trial, joins the show. Chinese telecommunications company Huawei is stepping up its efforts to resist a campaign led by the U.S. government to curtail its operations around the world. In a press conference today, Huawei’s top lawyers said, “The US government has provided no evidence to show that Huawei is a security threat. There is no gun, no smoke. Only speculation.” Sputnik News analyst and producer Walter Smolarek joins Brian and John. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective. Today they discuss Mueller’s comments today, Bolton’s new accusations against Iran, what’s become of the few soldiers who defected from Venezuela to Colombia when Guaido asked, and the assaults on women’s right to abortion nationwide. Sputnik news analysts Nicole Roussell and Walter Smolarek joins the show. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show.

European Parliament Election: Traditional Parties Shattered in UK

May 28, 2019 6969

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Neil Clark, a journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Week, and Morning Star. Elections for the European Parliament are over and the results are not nearly as clear cut as many observers had expected. In the UK, the results held true to public opinion polls, with Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party finishing first with more than 35 percent of the vote. Elsewhere around Europe in the European Parliamentary election, the anticipated right-wing tide never materialized, and although more nationalists were elected to the body, the Greens also finished very strongly. In the end, pro-Europeanists still control the majority. Independent journalist Diani Barreto and Alexander Mercouris, the editor-in-chief of The Duran, join the show. Cybercriminals--extortionists--have terrorized Baltimore over the past three weeks, freezing thousands of city computers, freezing emails, and disrupting everything from real estate transactions to water bills. But the kicker in this computer ransom attack is that the malware being used to do it was developed just down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway at NSA, which lost control of the program in 2017. Brian and John speak with web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa. Fighting in the last rebel-held stronghold in Syria continued today. Syrian government forces have been closing in on Idlib for the past month, and the United Nations estimates that nearly 1,000 civilians have been killed or wounded there in that period. Idlib is controlled by the Tahrir al-Sham group, formerly known as the al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s military wing in Syria. And the group’s leader is calling on Turkish forces for assistance. Meanwhile, the Syrian government and Israel had an especially intense exchange of fire over the weekend. Rick Sterling, an investigative journalist and member of the Syria Solidarity Movement, joins the show. During a trip to Japan over the weekend, President Trump insisted that the peace talks with North Korea are still on and made a series of comments that generated major controversy in the United States. Simone Chun, a fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and a member of the Korean Peace Network, joins Brian and John. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Brian and John speak with financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey. Today’s regular segment that airs every Tuesday is called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell join the show.

Charging Assange with Espionage is a Dagger at Heart of Press Freedom

May 24, 2019 6702

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Joe Lauria, editor-in-chief of Consortium News and author of the book "How I Lost, By Hillary Clinton." The superseding indictment of Julian Assange on violations of the espionage act is sending shockwaves around the world. The panel discusses what this extreme attack on press freedom means for democracy in the United States. President Trump yesterday gave Attorney General William Barr sweeping powers to review and declassify documents related to how the Russia collusion investigation was conducted. He also ordered the CIA and all of the other 15 intelligence agencies to cooperate in the review. Barr also will seek to determine if the Obama Administration authorized a spying operation against the Trump campaign. The hosts are joined by Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer who is the author of the book “The Plot to Overthrow Venezuela: How the US is Orchestrating a Coup for Oil.” British Prime Minister Theresa May announced this morning that she was resigning as Prime Minister and as leader of the Conservative Party. She will remain as a member of parliament. The resignation will be effective June 7. May has lost control of her party’s backbench and has been unable to push a Brexit agreement through parliament. A succession race already has begun. Lee Stranahan. He’s the co-host of Fault Lines and is on the ground in the UK covering the European Parliament election for Sputnik, joins the show. The Trump Administration is preparing to circumvent Congress to allow the export to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of billions of dollars of weapons and munitions that are currently on hold because of the war against Yemen, reportedly by declaring that an emergency exists with regards to alleged Iranian threats. The weapons are worth about $7 billion. The move already has drawn the ire of Republicans and Democrats alike. Brian and John speak with Brian Terrell, a long time peace activist and a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. Our next guest just got back from a conference in Beijing called Dialogue of Asian Civilizations and its conclusions couldn’t have been more different from what has been going on in Washington. A senior State Department officials and former Trump campaign official told a conservative think tank in Washington earlier this month that US competition with China is a result of a “clash of civilizations, cultures, and ideologies.” But our guest today is a scholar who pushes back on this dangerous interpretation that poses a serious threat to peace in the world. Emanuel Pastereich. He is a professor and the founder and director of The Asia Institute, a pan-Asian think tank, joins the show. Again this week we’ll look at the worst, most misleading, funniest, and the just plain wrong headlines of the past week. Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his site Left I on the News, at lefti.blogspot.com, joins Brian and John.

Ex-Darling of the Media: Michael Avenatti Charged Again as a Fraudster

May 23, 2019 6852

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net. Michael Avenatti, the attorney who rocketed to fame by representing adult film star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President Trump, was charged yesterday with defrauding her of $300,000. Avenatti was charged earlier this year in New York on multiple felony counts of trying to extort the Nike shoe company of $25 million. And he faces yet more felony charges in Los Angeles, accusing him of defrauding other clients. However, at the height of his public notoriety last year, he was hailed as a hero by the corporate media and even established an exploratory committee and said he wanted to run for president. A federal judge ruled against President Trump’s request to block Deutsche Bank from complying with Congressional subpoenas seeking his financial records. Meanwhile, the president angrily walked out of a White House meeting with Congressional Democrats yesterday, saying that any infrastructure bill was dead until Democrats stop all investigations of him. Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter, a columnist for CounterPunch, and a contributor to Businessweek, The Nation, Extra! and Salon.com, at ThisCantBeHappening.net, joins the show. Voting began today in the most divisive European parliamentary elections in a generation. The UK and the Netherlands vote today, while the remaining 26 European Union nations vote Sunday to allot the parliament’s 751 seats. All eyes are on the UK election, where the far-right Brexit Party has a commanding lead in the polls. The most recent poll shows the ruling Conservatives winning just seven percent of the vote. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Theresa May abandoned her plan to offer a vote on holding a second referendum after backlash from her party. Brian and John speak with Lee Stranahan, the host of Radio Sputnik’s Fault Lines, which you can hear every day, Monday through Friday from 7:00-10:00 am. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi won a decisive victory in elections yesterday, thumping the opposition Congress Party of Rahul Gandhi, and cruising to another five-year term. Modi is one of the most powerful and divisive figures in modern India, and his Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, is poised to win at least 300 seats, far beyond the 272 seats necessary to govern. Dr. Ania Loomba, a professor of literature at the University of Pennsylvania and an expert in postcolonial studies, joins the show. Veterans for Peace is Thursday’s regular segment about the contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who has been a peace and solidarity activist for almost 50 years, currently as national president of Veterans for Peace, joins the show. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. A regular Thursday segment deals with the ongoing militarization of space. As the US continues to withdraw from international arms treaties, will the weaponization and militarization of space bring the world closer to catastrophe? Brian and John speak with Prof. Karl Grossman, a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury and the host of a nationally-aired television program focused on environmental, energy, and space issues, and with Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus.

US Diverting After “Bombshell” Cover-Up on Chemical Weapons in Syria

May 22, 2019 7004

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Ambassador Peter Ford, the former UK Ambassador to Syria. The Trump Administration announced yesterday that it “sees signs that the Syrian government may again be using chemical weapons” in its offensive to recapture the last remaining rebel-held territory in the country, and warned that the use of chemical weapons would incur retaliatory measures from Washington. The alleged chlorine attack took place weeks ago against a group allied with al-Qaeda. These accusations take place, however, just a few days after a report by Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons experts was leaked which casts doubt on the United States’ version of events with regards to a previous alleged chemical attack. The United States is preparing sanctions and criminal charges against Venezuelan officials whom they accuse of using food aid program to launder money for the Maduro government, as well as companies involved in supplying goods to the program. Millions of Venezuelan families rely on the program for food and other basic necessities because of hyperinflation caused in part by existing US sanctions on the country. Lucas Koerner, an activist and writer for VenezuelAnalysis.com, joins the show. The latest Brexit proposal from British Prime Minister Theresa May is causing major controversy and dissension within her own party. May’s final effort to pas a deal comes ahead of elections for the European Parliament, which begin tomorrow. The new hard-right Brexit Party will likely finish first, if the latest polls are correct, with 35 percent of the vote. It shows the Liberal Democrats in second place with 16 percent, followed by Labour at 15 percent, and the environmentalist Green Party at 10 percent. The ruling Conservative Party is projected to finish fifth, with only nine percent of the vote. And the anti-Brexit Change Party, made up of former Conservative and Labour parliamentarians, is polling only five percent. Brian and John speak with Steve Hedley, the senior assistant general secretary of the the UK’s Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers Union. President Trump is expected to soon name former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli III to a senior White House position dealing with immigration policy. Cuccinelli is known as a hardliner on immigration and is a frequent contributor to Fox News. He is also the former convention delegate coordinator for Senator Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign. Jacqueline Luqman, co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, where she livestreams every week on Facebook and Youtube, and a journalist with The Real News Network, joins the show. The corruption trial of former Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner begins today in Buenos Aires. Kirchner faces 12 separate trials and is accused of accepting bribes from a construction company in exchange for lucrative government contracts. She argues, however, that the charges are meant to keep her from being elected to office again. She is currently running for vice president and is polling strongly, especially among young people. Arnold August, a Canadian author and journalist, currently writing articles on Venezuela and Latin America for web sites in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and Europe, joins Brian and John. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective. Today they discuss the explosive meeting between Trump and Pelosi, US-Iranian relations, and the continued attack on Venezuela. Sputnik news analysts Nicole Rousesll and Walter Smolarek joins the show. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Rose Gardner of Alliance for Environmental Strategies in Eunice, New Mexico, join the show.

Yes There Will Be Blowback: The Folly of the Trump Subpoena Saga

May 21, 2019 6846

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at www.rall.com House Democrats fumed today when former White House Counsel Don McGahn was a no-show for a Judiciary Committee hearing, despite the fact that he was subpoenaed. Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said that McGahn would be held in contempt of Congress, but President Trump said he had ordered McGahn to not testify, and he added that he had done so as a favor to all future presidents. Meanwhile, investigators are seeking a wide range of financial records from President Trump and Donald Trump, Jr. A 16-year-old Guatemalan boy who was being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and was diagnosed with the flu, has died in custody. He is the fifth child to die in ICE custody since December. ICE officials had no response when asked why the boy was not taken to a hospital when he complained of feeling sick. Isabel Garcia, co-founder of Coalición de Derechos Humanos, joins the show. British Prime Minister Theresa May said today that members of parliament have one last chance at a Brexit deal, but only if they back the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill. That bill contains guarantees on workers rights, environmental protections, and the Irish border, as well as a customs compromise. Parliament already has rejected the bill three times. But May said if it is rejected again, Brexit will be “dead in the water.” Brian and John speak with Neil Clark, a journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Week, and Morning Star. The United States is pushing for a Middle East peace conference to be held in the small Persian Gulf country of Bahrain next month, describing the event as the first step in unveiling President Donald Trump’s peace plan. The problem is, nobody bothered to either invite or even inform the Palestinians. Palestinian leaders responded by rejecting the event and saying that any peace agreement must be political in nature and must include definitive borders and the end of Israeli territorial occupation. Miko Peled, the author of "Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five,” joins the show. The Environmental Protection Agency is planning to adopt new modeling to project air pollution health risks, according to a new report. Officials plan to start calculating air pollution effects on humans by assuming "there is little or no health benefit to making the air any cleaner than what the law requires,” going against well documented evidence that says otherwise. Fred Magdoff, professor emeritus of plant and soil science at the University of Vermont and the co-author of “What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism” and “Creating an Ecological Society: Toward a Revolutionary Transformation” from Monthly Review Press, joins Brian and John. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Brian and John speak with financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek. Today’s regular segment that airs every Tuesday is called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell join the show.

American Puppet: Ecuador Hands Assange’s Legal, Medical Records to US

May 20, 2019 6725

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Randy Credico, an activist, a comedian, and the former director of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice. Today, Ecuadorian authorities handed over to US prosecutors Julian Assange’s legal documents and medical records that remain in the Ecuadorian Embassy after Assange’s arrest. Sweden also issued a request for a detention order against Assange. Over the weekend president Trump threatened to “end” Iran if it threatens the United States, prompting an outraged response from the Iranian government. Fears are mounting that the stage is being set for war. Massoud Shadjareh, the founder of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, joins the show. New Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky was inaugurated today following his landslide election victory, and immediately dissolved parliament and called for snap elections. What does Zelensky’s presidency mean for Ukraine and for the geopolitical conflicts the country is embroiled in? Brian and John speak with Mark Sleboda, an international affairs and security analyst. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s coalition is expected to form a majority government after an unexpectedly strong finish in yesterday’s elections. Voters rejected the opposition Labor’s Party’s focus on climate change in favor of Morrison’s push for the use of more coal. Anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment are also thought to have played a key role in the election. Dick Nichols, the correspondent for Spain and Catalonia for Green Left Weekly, joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto,” joins Brian and John. Corporate media came out with a new line of attack on the Democratic presidential candidates most closely identified with the peace movement. The New York Times recently published a magazine article accusing Bernie Sanders of embracing left-wing and liberation movements and involving himself in the Cold War when he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont. And The Daily Beast wrote this weekend that Tulsi Gabbard’s campaign is being “boosted by Putin apologists.” Is this the Democrats’ version of McCarthyism for the 2020 campaign? Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, and Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer who is the author of the book “The Plot to Overthrow Venezuela: How the US is Orchestrating a Coup for Oil,” joins the show. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show.

Trump Tries to Slow Down Bolton & Pompeo’s War Drive Against Iran

May 17, 2019 6833

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker is joined by Sputnik News analysts and producers Walter Smolarek and Nicole Roussell. Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on the U.S. drive for regime change in Iran, the seizure of the Venezuelan embassy in D.C., the U.S.-China trade war, new developments in the fight for justice for Eric Garner, and the draconian anti-abortion law in Alabama. Donald Trump has unveiled a sweeping proposal to fundamentally remake the U.S. immigration system under the so-called “merit based” process long demanded by the far right. Trump’s proposal would crack down on the family reunification process that working people from poor nations frequently rely on. Juan José Gutiérrez, the executive director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition, joins the show. UK Labour Party leader jeremy corbyn has ended negotiations with Prime Minister Theresa May over the future of Brexit. Citing the government's "weakness and instability" as well as its refusal to agree to a customs union with the European Union, Corbyn concluded that there was no point in continuing the talks. Brian speaks with Neil Clark, a journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Week, and Morning Star. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian speaks with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his site Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell. Victor Grossman has lived a remarkable life as one of the few Americans to have defected to the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. He has been a lifelong activist for peace and social justice. Victor’s most recent book is “A Socialist Defector: From Harvard to Karl-Marx-Allee.” He joins Brian to talk about his story.

Police Raid Venezuelan Embassy In DC & Arrest Activists

May 16, 2019 6622

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker is joined by Kei Pritsker, an organizer with the ANSWER Coalition and a member of the Embassy Protection Collective who stayed in the embassy for weeks. This morning, all of the Embassy Protectors at the Venezuelan Embassy in DC were arrested and taken away in police vehicles, despite being legal tenants of the building that is owned by the Venezuelan Government. Over a grueling 36-day struggle the Embassy Protection Collective made headlines worldwide and became a formidable line of defense against the U.S.-backed right wing coup attempt that is still underway. Veterans for Peace is Thursday’s regular segment about the contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who has been a peace and solidarity activist for almost 50 years, currently as national president of Veterans for Peace, joins the show to describe his own experiences in front of the Venezuelan Embassy as a part of the Embassy Protection Collective. The Trump administration issued an executive order yesterday targeting Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei, a move sure to deepen overall economic tensions between the United States and China. The executive order, while not explicitly referencing Huawei, could be used to disrupt the company’s supply chain by prohibiting U.S. companies from selling them components on the basis of supposed national security threats. Brian speaks with Steve Keen, the author of “Debunking Economics” and the world’s first crowdfunded economist, whose work is at patreon.com/ProfSteveKeen. As tensions between the US and Iran escalate, Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen are being bombed by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition. At least six civilians have died today and dozens are wounded after the air raids struck Sanaa, Yemen’s capital. Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran, joins the show. The Sudanese military abruptly cut off talks with protest leaders just a day after a deal on a transitional authority was reported to be imminent. Repression against demonstrators, who are conducting a sit-in in front of army headquarters, has ramped up in recent days. Bayan Abubakr, a PhD candidate studying the history of Sudan at Yale University, joins Brian. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. A regular Thursday segment deals with the ongoing militarization of space. As the US continues to withdraw from international arms treaties, will the weaponization and militarization of space bring the world closer to catastrophe? Brian speaks with Prof. Karl Grossman, a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury and the host of a nationally-aired television program focused on environmental, energy, and space issues, and with Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus.

Alabama: The War Against Women in the US Escalates

May 15, 2019 6715

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker is joined by Amanda Reyes, the executive director of Yellowhammer Fund, an abortion fund in Alabama to help women get abortion procedures. The Alabama State Senate passed a hotly debated bill yesterday banning all abortion except in cases of “serious health risk” for the mother. The bill does ban abortions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. The Senate approved this bill 25 to 6. The U.S. government has ordered the evacuation of all non-emergency personnel from Iraq due to alleged threats by Iranian-aligned militias in the country, a charge Iran rejects as an attempt to create a false pretense for U.S. military aggression. Meanwhile the Iranian government has announced changes in its nuclear policy as a means to express frustration that Western powers are not living up to their side of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Shabbir Razvi, an economist and political analyst, joins the show. Pamela Turner, a 44 year old Black woman who lived in the Baytown suburb of Houston, was shot and killed by a police officer on Monday. The killing, which was captured on video, has caused outrage across the country. Brian speaks with Dr. Gerald Horne, a professor of history at the University of Houston and author of many books, including “The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism: The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy and Capitalism in Seventeenth Century North America and the Caribbean.” Palestinian and their supporters around the world are marking Nakba Day today. 71 years ago, the state of Israel was formally created, launching a mass displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in a brutal campaign of colonization that continues today with renewed intensity. Daoud Kuttab, an award-winning Palestinian journalist, whose latest book is “Sesame Street Palestine: The Ups and Downs of Producing a Children’s Program,” joins the show. San Francisco became the first major city in the country to ban the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement. The measure, passed by an overwhelming margin by the city’s Board of Supervisors, cited the near certainty that the technology would be used to carry out civil rights violations. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins Brian. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective. Sputnik news analysts and producers Walter Smolarek and Nicole Roussell join the show. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show.

A US Seizure of the Venezuelan Embassy in DC: An Act Without Precedent

May 14, 2019 7019

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and Walter Smolarek, sitting in for John Kiriakou, are joined by Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODE PINK and member of the Embassy Protection Collective, and by Ann Wright, a retired United States Army colonel and former U.S. State Department official in Afghanistan, who resigned in protest of the invasion of Iraq and became an anti-war activist. Last night, the police cut the locks on the door of the Venezuelan Embassy in DC and entered. But after about half an hour of tense negotiations with activists still living in the embassy and their lawyer, the cops resealed the door and left in a resounding win for the Embassy Protection Collective. This comes amid Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido public request for a U.S. military invasion to rescue his failed coup attempt. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Brian and Walter speak with financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey. Donald Trump today denied reports that his administration was considering plans to send up to 120,000 U.S. troops to the Middle East in preparation for armed conflict with Iran. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for talks that included Iran and the 2015 nuclear deal that the Trump administration is intent on sabotaging. Brian and Walter speak with Mark Sleboda, an international affairs and security analyst. With 95 percent of the vote counted in the Philippines, it appears that all 12 Senate seats up for a vote will be filled with supporters of far-right President Rodrigo Duterte. With the House of Representatives filled with Duterte’s allies as well, what can the opposition do to combat the increasingly repressive policies of Duterte’s government? Bernadette Ellorin, the spokesperson for BAYAN USA, a progressive organization fighting for justice and democracy in the Philippines, joins the show. A recent opinion poll shows the once-dominant Conservative Party running in fourth place for the upcoming European Parliament election. The new right wing Brexit Party looks almost certain to come in first. Neil Clark, a journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Week, and Morning Star, joins Brian and Walter. Today’s regular segment that airs every Tuesday is called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell join the show.

"Please Invade Our Country!" Juan Guaidó's Message to the Pentagon

May 13, 2019 6761

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer who is the author of the book, “The Plot to Overthrow Venezuela: How the US is Orchestrating a Coup for Oil.” Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, on the heels of his failed coup attempt against President Nicolas Maduro, has formally requested the armed intervention of the US military. Guaido said on Saturday that he had tasked his political envoy in Washington to “open direct communications” with the US military toward what he called “military cooperation.” A week after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo canceled a visit to Berlin, he abruptly canceled a visit to Moscow to meet with President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Pompeo instead flew to Brussels, where he said he had important meetings on Iran, although the European Union’s foreign policy chief said she knew nothing of the meetings. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates announced that several of their tankers were bombed in acts of sabotage. Are US-Iran tensions behind this apparent chaos? Rick Sterling, an investigative journalist and member of the Syria Solidarity Movement, joins the show. The Chinese government announced this morning that it would implement tariffs of as much as 25 percent on $60 billion worth of American-made goods in retaliation for the Trump Administration’s tariffs announced last week. The Chinese tariffs would begin on June 1. In response, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 500 points at the opening bell. Brian and John speak with John Ross, Senior Fellow at Chongyang Institute, Renmin University of China, and an award-winning resident columnist with several Chinese media organizations. Attorneys for Trump confidant Roger Stone asked a federal judge on Friday to dismiss all charges against him because the evidence used in the case relied on unproven assumptions that Russia was behind the hack of Democratic National Committee emails during the 2016 campaign. Stone also is demanding proof that it was the Russians who provided the emails to Wikileaks. Bill Binney, a former NSA technical director who became a legendary national security whistleblower, joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto,” joins Brian and John. Swedish authorities said today that they would reopen an investigation into a rape allegation against Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange. The move could further complicate the US government’s efforts to extradite Assange to the US to face charges of conspiring to hack into a government computer. Assange has long denied the Swedish accusations. Coleen Rowley, a former FBI special agent who in 2002 was named Time Magazine person of the year along with two other whistleblowers, and Suzie Dawson, an activist and the president of the Internet Party of New Zealand, joins the show. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show.

"President" Bolton Drives U.S. Towards War with Iran, Venezuela

May 10, 2019 6850

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Gareth Porter, a historian, investigative journalist, and analyst specializing in U.S. national security policy, and by Sputnik News analyst and producer Walter Smolarek. The panel takes a look at the biggest stories so far this week and put them into historical context, including U.S. aggression against Iran and Venezuela and so-called “great power competition” against China. Chelsea Manning was released yesterday from a federal detention facility in Alexandria, VA. She had refused to testify before a grand jury against Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange. The term of the Assange grand jury had expired. But Manning will likely be arrested again next week when a new grand jury is empaneled. She already has said that she again will refuse to testify. Joe Lauria, editor-in-chief of Consortium News and author of the book "How I Lost, By Hillary Clinton", joins the show. The Justice Department announced yesterday that Daniel Everett Hale was arrested and indicted on espionage charges for providing an Intercept journalist with information about the US’s drone program. The information apparently was the subject of an expose Jeremy Scahill wrote in 2015. The U.S. government’s war on whistleblowers continues at it seeks to shield from public view the abuses it carries out around the world. Brian and John speak with Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and cohost of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure. The Trump Administration has escalated its trade war with China, raising tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese exports. Beijing expressed what it called “deep regret” over the development and said that it would immediately implement countermeasures. Meanwhile, in an early morning tweet storm, President Trump said that there was “no need to rush” into a China trade deal. Steve Keen, an economist and author of “Debunking Economics”, joins the show. A poll released today by The Financial Times shows that the UK’s Conservative Party is facing its worst defeat in the history of European parliamentary elections. The poll of polls shows the Tories winning just 14 percent. That’s compared to 29 percent for Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party and the Labour Party’s 25 percent. Sputnik News analyst and producer Walter Smolarek joins Brian and John. Again this week we’ll look at the worst, most misleading, funniest, and the just plain wrong headlines of the past week. Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his site Left I on the News, at lefti.blogspot.com, joins the show.

John Bolton Huffs and Puffs but Can't Blow Venezuela's House Down

May 9, 2019 6835

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Kevin Zeese, co-coordinator of Popular Resistance and a member of the Embassy Protection Collective; Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODE PINK and a member of the Embassy Protection Collective; and from Caracas by Lucas Koerner, an activist and writer for VenezuelAnalysis.com. DC’s power company shut off the electricity in the Venezuelan Embassy yesterday reportedly on orders from Venezuelan coup leader Juan Guaido’s so-called ambassador Carlos Vecchio. Members of the Embassy Protection Collective are still inside as tenants of the Venezuelan government. Meanwhile, the Venezuelan government arrested the vice president of the national assembly for treason over his role in last week’s military push to overthrow president Maduro. Today we continue our weekly series “Criminal Injustice,” where we talk about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and Executive Director of the Human Rights Defense Center, joins the show. The Senate Intelligence Committee has now subpoenaed Donald Trump, Jr. over the Trump Tower meeting, despite the 400-page Mueller report that investigates that meeting and all contacts with the president’s campaign and finds no evidence of collusion. Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Committee voted yesterday to hold Attorney General Barr in contempt of Congress. The hosts are joined by Jim Kavanagh, founder of thepolemicist.net, whose most recent article on the subject is "Investigation Nation: Mueller, Russiagate, and Fake Politics." As the Trump administration adopts an increasingly hostile attitude towards North Korea, the DPRK has moved in the last week to conduct two new tests of weapons systems in a warning to Washington. Can the negotiations be put back on track? Brian and John speak with Simone Chun, a fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and a member of the Korean Peace Network. The European Union rejected the 60-day deadline announced by Iran in response to the latest round of suffocating U.S. sanctions. The future of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal is in deepening jeopardy. Massoud Shadjareh, founder of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, joins the show. South African voters went to the polls yesterday in an election marked by the rise of new left wing political forces and growing momentum behind land redistribution to address the legacy of apartheid colonial rule. Results are continuing to trickle in. Glen Ford, executive editor of Black Agenda Report, joins Brian and John. Today we continue our weekly segment dealing with the ongoing militarization of space. As the US continues to withdraw from international arms treaties, will the weaponization and militarization of space bring the world closer to catastrophe? Karl Grossman, a professor at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury, joins the show.

US Escalation: On the Road to War with Iran

May 8, 2019 7069

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by international affairs and security analyst Mark Sleboda. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said today that Iran would no longer comply with parts of the landmark nuclear deal, the JCPOA, and will resume uranium enrichment if the other countries that remain in the deal--China, France, Germany, Russia, and the UK--fail to protect Iran’s banking and oil sectors. The move comes as Washington has ramped up military and economic pressure on Iran. Drivers for rideshare services Uber and Lyft are going on strike today in more than a dozen cities across the United States, as well as in the UK, Australia, and around South America. Drivers want a liveable wage, job security, and regulated fares, among other things. After factoring in commissions, fees, and vehicle expenses, the average driver makes $9.21 an hour, but has no health insurance, no retirement, and no job security. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. The House Judiciary Committee voted today to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress, a misdemeanor, for failing to provide it with an unredacted copy of the Mueller report and for failing to appear before the committee to testify. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that Barr should be held in contempt, but she has not yet scheduled a floor vote. Meanwhile, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler says he may also seek to hold former White House Counsel Don McGahn in contempt for refusing to testify. Brian and John speak with Coleen Rowley, a former FBI special agent who in 2002 was named Time Magazine person of the year along with two other whistleblowers. The New York Times has acquired Donald Trump’s tax returns from 1985 to 1994. They show that Trump’s companies lost $1.17 billion during that period, while the man and his family continued to earn hundreds of millions of dollars. Trump’s paper losses were so significant, that he did not pay any income taxes at all for eight years. Not a single dollar. Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at rall.com, joins the show. Millions of South Africans went to the polls today in the first election since Cyril Ramaphosa became president early last year amid promises to rid his African National Congress of corruption and redistribute the country’s land in favor of the Black majority. The ANC is almost certain to retain its status as the largest party, but with newer parties like the Economic Freedom Fighters rising in the polls its majority is in doubt. Eugene Puryear, the host of By Any Means Necessary, which you can hear every day, Monday through Friday, here on Sputnik Radio, joins Brian and John. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective. Sputnik news analysts and producers Nicole Roussell and Walter Smolarek join the show. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show.

US-EU Tension: What's Behind the Cancellation of Pompeo-Merkel Meeting?

May 7, 2019 6640

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Berlin-based independent journalist Diani Barreto. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday abruptly canceled a visit to Germany, where he was scheduled to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel. Pompeo’s office cited “pressing issues” as the reason for the cancelation. The German Foreign Minister said the visit would be quickly rescheduled. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered a speech on the floor of the Senate today decrying ongoing speculation over the Russia probe. He said rumors of a conspiracy between President Trump and Russia had been proven false and that the case was closed. Meanwhile, 500 former prosecutors have signed a letter saying that if President Trump weren’t president, he would have been prosecuted. Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer who is the author of the book “The Plot to Control the World: How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World,” joins the show. National Security Advisor John Bolton made an unusually strong anti-Iran statement this week, while the Pentagon ordered a carrier strike force to the Persian Gulf in response to undisclosed intelligence that there was a threat in the region to US interests. Well, the news outlet Axios has found that that intelligence came from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself, who has a vested interest in a conflict between Iran and the United States. Brian and John speak with Ben Norton, he’s a journalist with the Grayzone Project and co-host of the Moderate Rebels podcast. President Trump yesterday pardoned a former soldier who had been convicted of killing an Iraqi prisoner in cold blood. Michael Behenna served five years in the military prison at Leavenworth, Kansas and was released in 2014. He had originally been sentenced to 25 years. Trump said that Behenna was “entirely deserving” of a pardon. Brian Terrell, a long time peace activist and a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek, join the show. The ceasefire between Israel and Gaza appears to be holding, thanks to intervention by the United Nations and the government of Egypt. Meanwhile, Qatar announced that it would send $480 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza. Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek joins Brian and John. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Brian and John speak with financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey. Today’s regular segment that airs every Tuesday is called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell join the show.

U.S. Sends Carrier to Persian Gulf: Bluff or is War on the Horizon?

May 6, 2019 6935

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Walter Smolarek (sitting in for Brian Becker) and John Kiriakou are joined by Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran. The Trump Administration announced yesterday that it would send an aircraft carrier strike group and Air Force bombers to the Persian Gulf because of what it called “troubling and escalating indications and warnings” related to Iran. National Security Advisor John Bolton said on Sunday that the deployment was meant to send “a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on US interests or those of our allies would be met with unrelenting force.” Military analysts in Washington, however, that they were unaware of any new threat to the US, US interests, or US allies in the region. The pro-Juan Guaido siege against the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington continues. Members of the Embassy Protection Collective remain inside. Kevin Zeese, the co-coordinator of Popular Resistance, whose work is at popularresistance.org, joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto,” joins Walter and John. President Trump issued a series of threats against China via Twitter yesterday, saying that the US would raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent if China doesn’t relent in trade talks. The Chinese rebuffed the president, but said that trade talks would continue. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 471 points at the opening because of the tweets. Jude Woodward, the author of the book “The US vs China: Asia's new Cold War?,” joins the show. A United Nations report released this morning says that one million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction because of human activity. The species range from whales to insects barely detectable by the naked eye. The mass extinction, if it occurs, could seriously disrupt the food chain, and it could adversely affect food and water security and farming. Fred Magdoff, professor emeritus of plant and soil science at the University of Vermont and the co-author of “What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism” and “Creating an Ecological Society: Toward a Revolutionary Transformation” from Monthly Review Press, joins Walter and John. Israel and Gaza agreed to a ceasefire this morning after the worst violence between the two sides since 2014. Four Israelis were killed when Palestinians launched rocket attacks on Friday. Twenty three Palestinians were killed in Israeli strikes, including two pregnant women and two infants. The latest round of fighting began when Israeli forces carried out yet another mass shooting during Friday demonstrations along the border of Gaza. Ali Abunimah, the co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of the book “The Battle for Justice in Palestine,” and Miko Peled, the author of the new book "Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five,” join the show. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show.

Venezuela Quashes Coup Yet Again: Bolivarian Revolution Still Stands

May 3, 2019 6822

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Sputnik News analysts and producers Walter Smolarek and Nicole Roussell. Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on the attempted coup in Venezuela, British local elections where the Conservatives lost hundreds of representatives, and the synagogue shooting earlier in the week. Facebook announced yesterday that it was banning several people whom it called “dangerous.” Is this not a direct attack on free speech? Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. A group of activists who are invited guests of the Venezuelan government have been enduring siege-like conditions to prevent the illegal seizure of the country’s embassy in Washington, D.C. by supporters of coup leader Juan Guaido. And supporters of the right-wing opposition are growing increasingly abusive and violent against the supporters of the embassy protectors gathered outside. Brian and John speak with Kei Pritsker, an activist with the Embassy Protection Collective. The Department of Labor announced this morning that the unemployment rate fell to 3.6 percent, a 49-year low, as the economy added jobs for the 103rd consecutive month. Despite the strong economy, however, the gap between the rich and poor continued to grow. Dr. Jack Rasmus, a professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California and author of “Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression,” whose work is at www.jackrasmus.com, joins Brian and John. Following weeks of calls for her to step down, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh resigned yesterday. Pugh is the subject of a federal investigation into allegations that she made $800,000 from the sale of her self-published children’s book to major healthcare companies that had business with the city. Eddie Conway, a journalist with The Real News Network who was a leading member of the Baltimore branch of the Black Panther Party and a political prisoner for 44 years, joins the show. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his site Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

Will the UK Extradite Assange?

May 2, 2019 6685

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net. Julian Assange today appeared in a London court by videolink for a preliminary hearing to fight his extradition to the United States. A judge asked Assange if he was prepared to surrender himself for extradition. He replied, “I do not wish to surrender myself for extradition for doing journalism that’s won many, many awards and affected many people.” An attorney representing the US government then asked for a formal extradition hearing on June 12. British Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday fired Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson after a British newspaper published classified information from a National Security Council meeting that the UK was planning to give Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei partial access to the country’s 5G network. Williamson has adamantly denied that he was the source of the leak. Neil Clark, a journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Week, and Morning Star, joins the show. The U.S. government continues to make aggressive moves to assert power over international energy markets. Sanctions waivers issued for purchasers of Iranian oil officially expired today, and as a European energy summit kicks off in Brussels the Trump administration is pressuring EU members to replace Russian natural gas supplies with imports from the United States. Brian and John speak with Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek. Today marks five years since 46 people were killed in an arson attack on a trade union headquarters in the Ukrainian city of Odessa carried out by a far right mob. In the years that followed, neo-Nazi sentiment and organizations became increasingly normalized in the country. Jeremy Kuzmarov, a professor of American history whose latest book is “The Russians Are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce,” joins the show. A regular Thursday segment deals with the ongoing militarization of space. As the US continues to withdraw from international arms treaties, will the weaponization and militarization of space bring the world closer to catastrophe? Brian and John speak with Prof. Karl Grossman, a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury and the host of a nationally-aired television program focused on environmental, energy, and space issues. As the latest military putsch by self-proclaimed Venezuelan leader Juan Guaido falls apart, the United States is stepping up threats of a military assault on the country to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro’s government. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday that the Trump administration position is “crystal clear and incredibly consistent. Military action is possible.” Meanwhile, tensions inside the country continue following large demonstrations for and against the government. Paul Dobson, a writer for VenezuelAnalysis.com, Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who has been a peace and solidarity activist for almost 50 years, currently as national president of Veterans for Peace, who recently returned from Venezuela where he was a member of a peace delegation, and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek, join the show. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, joins the show.

Mueller Letter Conspiracy Supposed to Replace Debunked Russiagate

May 1, 2019 6791

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War.” Attorney General William Barr testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee today and answered questions about the Mueller Report. Democrats criticized Barr harshly because he first released his own four-page analysis of the Mueller Report, apparently in an attempt to control news of its release. A redacted version of the report was released later. Julian Assange was sentenced today to 50 weeks in prison by a UK court for skipping bail, close to the maximum allowable sentence. His lawyers, however, argue that he had a well-founded fear of extradition to the United States, where his fundamental human rights would be violated. Karen Kwiatkowski, an activist and former U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who left the armed forces in protest of the invasion of Iraq, joins the show. Last week, the NSA’s mass collection of Americans’ metadata under Section 215 of the Patriot Act was reported as ending. Our guest, Bill Binney said that he would believe it when he saw it. Today, new reports have surfaced that the White House will seek the permanent renewal of Section 215 that would once again allow NSA to collect and analyze the phone records of every American. Brian and John speak with Bill Binney, a former NSA technical director who became a legendary national security whistleblower. May Day demonstrations are taking place across the world, marking International Workers Day. Huge marches, acts of civil disobedience and clashes are taking place in nearly every country. Vijay Prashad, the Director of the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, Chief Editor of LeftWord Books, and the author of several books including most recently “Arab Spring, Libyan Winter,” joins the show. For the first time ever, the US Air Force has used at F-35 fighter jet in a combat mission, using two of the aircraft to bomb an ISIS tunnel network and weapons cache in Iraq yesterday. The F-35 has long been a subject of complaint for its difficult maneuverability and its excessive cost. The Government Accounting Office estimates that the F-35 program will cost more than $1 trillion over its lifetime. Pierre Sprey, a special assistant to the Secretary of Defense, a former defense analyst who is considered to be one of the fathers of the F-16 and A-10 fighter jets. He is also one of the country’s foremost critics of the F-35, joins Brian and John. Juan Guaido’s third coup attempt appears to fail once again. What’s driving the US effort to carry out the overthrow of a democratically elected government in Latin America? Is it oil? Is it regional domination? Is it both? Dr. Gerald Horne, a professor of history at the University of Houston and author of many books, including “Blows Against the Empire: U.S. Imperialism in Crisis,” joins the show. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show.

Venezuela Coup Leader Launches Armed Assault on Gov't with US Support

Apr 30, 2019 6646

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Walter Smolarek (filling in for Brian Becker) and John Kiriakou are joined by Lucas Koerner, an activist and writer for VenezuelAnalysis.com, and Nicole Roussell, Sputnik News analyst and producer. Fierce clashes have taken place across Venezuela today as U.S.-backed self-proclaimed President Juan Guaido launched a military operation he claimed was the “final phase” of ending Nicolas Maduro’s presidency. Armed opposition supporters and a small group of military defectors are attempting to seize a key airbase in the capital, while huge crowds of Maduro supporters have rallied outside the presidential palace. Top Trump administration officials have publicly expressed their support for the coup attempt. We continue our regular segment Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. In this weekly segment we talk about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. Hannah Dickinson, a professor and organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, joins the show. President Trump yesterday ordered new restrictions on asylum seekers at the southern border, including application fees and new restrictions on work permits. He also ordered that all asylum requests be decided within 180 days. Walter and John speak with Juan José Gutiérrez, the executive director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition. The US military and intelligence prison at Guantanamo has been around for 17 years. Many of the prisoners there--almost none of whom have been charged with a crime--arrived when the facility was first opened. The military’s response is to gradually turn the prison into a geriatric care center and even into a hospice. Marjorie Cohn, former president of the National Lawyers Guild and editor of the book “The United States and Torture, Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse”, joins the show. British Prime Minister Theresa May said that cross party talks on a Brexit plan should conclude by the end of the week. But the Labour Party is divided. Some members support Brexit strongly, while others want a second referendum. Neil Clark, journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Week, and Morning Star, joins Brian and John. We continue our weekly series False Profits -- A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Daniel Sankey, financial policy analyst, joins the show.

Wave of Fascist Attacks on Synagogues, Mosques & Black Churches

Apr 29, 2019 6838

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Julie Hurwitz, a civil rights attorney and partner at the law firm Goodman, Hurwitz and James. A 19-year-old gunman opened fire inside a synagogue in Poway, California yesterday killing one woman and wounding at least four other people. The gunman had ranted on the internet against Muslims and Jews and said that he had taken his inspiration from recent attacks on a synagogue in Pittsburgh and on mosques in New Zealand. Are these racist, bigoted, and xenophobic attacks against worshippers the new normal in the United States? The hosts take a look at the latest attempt to demonize and suppress alternative media -- cementing the dominance of big corporations and establishment narratives, a task that takes on special significance ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Sputnik news analyst Nicole Roussell joins the show. Spaniards took to the polls this weekend and delivered a victory for the left of center government. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialist Party was the biggest winner, but will need the help of smaller parties to form a government. The conservative Popular Party won just 66 seats, down from 137. And importantly, the far-right Vox Party won 26 seats and about 10 percent of the popular vote. Brian and John speak with Dick Nichols, the correspondent for Spain and Catalonia for Green Left Weekly. Russian officials held a press conference today revealing a new report about the so-called White Helmets, an organization in Syria presented as a humanitarian group that critics say has ties to terrorist militias and has been party to human rights violations. Lee Stranahan, host of the Radio Sputnik show Faultlines who was at the press conference covering the event for Sputnik News, joins the show. Two American veterans, members of the group Veterans for Peace, were arrested at Shannon Airport in Ireland in March and charged with taking part in a protest against US military flights through Shannon on their way to the Middle East. But the wheels of justice turn slowly in Ireland. The vets’ passports have been confiscated and, even though the charges against them are very minor, they may not leave the country and a trial could be three years away. Tarak Kauff, one of the Veterans for Peace activists trapped in Ireland, joins Brian and John. In a blockbuster story today, the Wall Street Journal reported that Boeing failed to inform Southwest Airlines and other carriers that a safety feature on the Boeing 737 Max-8 aircraft that warns pilots about malfunctioning sensors had been deactivated. FAA inspectors and managers also were unaware of the deactivation. Two 737 Max-8 jets crashed in the past six months, resulting in the deaths of some 500 people. Today, executives faced angry shareholders for the first time since the jets were grounded. Dr. Alan Diehl, an award-winning aviation psychologist and safety consultant, and a major air safety whistleblower in the 1990s, and Steve Keen, the author of “Debunking Economics” and the world’s first crowdfunded economist, whose work is at patreon.com/ProfSteveKeen, join the show. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show.

Maria Butina Given 18 Months in Prison Because “She Is Russian”

Apr 26, 2019 6964

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Sputnik News analyst and producer Nicole Roussell. Maria Butina, the Russian graduate student who pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiring to fail to register as a foreign agent, was sentenced today to 18 months in prison. She already has served nine months in jail awaiting trial. Prosecutors had accused Butina of a wide array of crimes, in addition to using sex to collect information, none of which was true, and they had to withdraw numerous accusations against her. Still, she gets prison time when American co-conspirators will sleep in their own beds tonight. And that’s despite the fact that she cooperated with prosecutors. Sputnik News analyst Nicole Roussell, who attended today’s sentencing hearing, joins the show. Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president Joe Biden yesterday apologized to law professor Anita Hill for his treatment of Hill during the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination hearings that he chaired in 1991. Well, he didn’t really apologize. He said that he “regretted what she had to endure.” Hill responded that she was deeply unsatisfied with the statement and added that she was troubled by recent reports that Biden has repeatedly touched women in a way that made them feel uncomfortable. Brian and John speak with Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, the executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund. Donald Trump took questions from the press today before departing to the NRA convention, giving a series of bizarre answers on a wide range of topics. Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist at www.rall.com, joins the show. NSA has is recommending the cancellation one of it’s most controversial collection program, the wholesale gathering of metadata from American citizens. The program was initially revealed by Edward Snowden and ruled illegal in 2015 unless it conformed with the USA Freedom Act. But does the NSA still retain vast spying operations targeting the public? Bill Binney, a former NSA technical director who became a legendary national security whistleblower, joins Brian and John. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his site Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell. Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on Joe Biden’s presidential campaign announcement, efforts by the Trump white house to illegally seize the Venezuelan embassy in D.C. and efforts by US peace activists to prevent this illegal seizure, the summit between North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin, The U.S. economic growth report and more. Walter Smolarek, Loud & Clear producer and Sputnik News analyst, joins the show.

The Fundamental Weakness of the Mueller Report

Apr 25, 2019 6461

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Gareth Porter, historian and investigative journalist, to discuss his forthcoming article for Truthout where he lays out his analysis of the Mueller report, its impact on U.S. society, and implications for geopolitics. For the past two weeks, a group called the Embassy Protection Collective has been guarding the Venezuelan Embassy here in Washington DC against illegal seizure by representatives of coup leader Juan Guaido. Members of the collective, who are invited tenants of the legitimate government of Venezuela, held a rally today to talk about why they are there protecting it, and producer Nicole Roussell went down to report on the protest. Linda Winter, an activist who flew here from Chicago to protect the Venezuelan Embassy, and producer and Sputnik news analyst Nicole Roussell, join the show. Veterans for Peace is Thursday’s regular segment about the contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who has been a peace and solidarity activist for almost 50 years, currently as national president of Veterans for Peace, joins the show. A regular Thursday segment deals with the ongoing militarization of space. As the US continues to withdraw from international arms treaties, will the weaponization and militarization of space bring the world closer to catastrophe? Brian and John speak with Prof. Karl Grossman, a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury and the host of a nationally-aired television program focused on environmental, energy, and space issues. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show.

US SEALs Chief Accused of War Crimes in Iraq: Was There a Cover-Up?

Apr 24, 2019 6938

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Tarak Kauff and Kenneth Mayers, activists with Veterans for Peace who were unjustly denied permission to return home to the United States pending a trial on charges stemming from an anti-war protest at Shannon air base. Controversy continues to engulf the case of Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, who is awaiting trial in May for stabbing a captive teenager to death in Iraq, spraying civilian neighborhoods wildly with machine gun fire and rockets, and other illegal acts. New reports point to a potential coverup as high-ranking officers discouraged their troops from officially reporting the war crimes. Although the UK has secured a so-called flexible extension to its deadline to leave the European Union, intense political pressure is still mounting on the government of Prime Minister Theresa May. The rise of the new Brexit Party, dissent within her own party, and an upcoming visit by President Trump pose sharp challenges. Neil Clark, a journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Week, and Morning Star, joins the show. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective. Today they discuss Joe Biden’s preparations for his presidential campaign announcement and the escalating campaign by the Trump white House against against Iran. Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek joins the show. Loud & Clear’s regular segment called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson is included in today’s Wednesday show, though it usually airs every Tuesday. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell join the show.

George Papadopoulos: “I Was Targeted by US, UK Intelligence Agencies”

Apr 23, 2019 6876

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by George Papadopoulos. On October 2017, George Papadopoulos plead guilty for making false statements to the FBI in what was the first guilty plea of those charged in the Russia probe. During the past two years, George Papadopoulos has become a household name. A former volunteer foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign, he came to the attention of the FBI regarding his contacts in 2016 related to US-Russian relations. In the end, he took a plea to the throwaway charge of making a false statement. He now has a book out called “Deep State Target: How I Got Caught in the Crosshairs of the Plot to Bring Down President Trump.” Sri Lankan officials today are continuing their investigation into a series of deadly bombings on Easter Sunday that killed at least 321 people, mostly in churches and hotels. A virtually unknown group, the National Tawheed Jamiah, has taken responsibility and 40 people so far have been arrested. The Islamic State this morning also claimed responsibility. The Sri Lankan government, meanwhile, says that the group is loosely affiliated with the Islamic State and carried out the bombings in retaliation for the killing of 50 Muslims last month in New Zealand. Brian and John speak with Bhavani Fonseka, a human rights attorney and senior researcher at the Center for Policy Alternatives, a prominent think tank. Just as the U.S. government was ratcheting up economic sanctions, Google joined in the anti-Iran campaign and blocked the accounts of Iranian media outlets Press TV and HispanTV. This includes the outlets’ YouTube channels, an essential platform to promote their content. Massoud Shadjareh, the founder of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, joins the show. Democratic presidential candidates have begun taking sides on impeachment just as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was taking impeachment off the table. But House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler said that if obstruction of justice is proven during the course of his committee’s investigation, President Trump should be impeached. Will the Democrats’ new aggressiveness hurt the president or rally his supporters? Dennis Bernstein, an author, poet, activist, and co-host of the political news show Flashpoints on Pacifica Radio, joins Brian and John. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Today they address the claim that the costs of Social Security will become higher than the income from it in 2020. Brian and John speak with financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey.

Chelsea Manning, Political Prisoner, Is Denied Freedom

Apr 22, 2019 6897

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure. A federal appeals court ruled this morning that Chelsea Manning must remain in jail for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange. Manning had argued that the Justice Department was trying to weaken her credibility as a defense witness, rather than to punish her for refusing to testify. The U.S. government announced today that it would not be issuing any further waivers on sanctions imposed on the Iranian oil industry. In its effort to isolate Iran economically, the Trump administration may now take action against traditional U.S. allies that do not go along with the sanctions regime. Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran, joins the show. People across the country and world were shocked as video surfaced of a group of far-right vigilantes holding undocumented immigrants at gunpoint along the U.S.-Mexico border. The FBI arrested Larry Hopkins, a leader of the militia, on Sunday and charged him with federal gun violations, which carry a mandatory minimum sentence of eight years in prison. Kidnapping charges are expected to be added soon. But will violent far-right groups continue to grow? Brian and John speak with Daryle Lamont Jenkins, executive director of the anti-fascist organization One People’s Project. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto,” joins Brian and John. Ukraine has a new president. President Petro Poroshenko conceded last night to television comedian Volodymir Zelensky, who won more than 70 percent of the vote in what was seen as a referendum on corruption and poverty. Zelensky has no political experience, but he plays a president on television. Mark Sleboda, an international affairs and security analyst, joins Brian and John. House Democrats lined up over the weekend to announce the start of new investigations into allegations that President Trump obstructed justice during the Russia investigation, while one Fox News contributor complained that the Mueller Report was a “how-to manual for impeachment.” Some Democrats argue against impeachment, however, because the Senate is unlikely to take up the issue and because impeachment proceedings could rally Republicans. And new questions are being raised as journalists dig into the content of the report, including about the role of Joseph Mifsud and western intelligence agencies in the initiation of the FBI’s investigation into alleged Russian interference. Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer who is the author of the book “The Plot to Control the World: How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World,” and Jeremy Kuzmarov, a professor of American history whose latest book is “The Russians Are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce,” joins the show. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show.

Dissecting Mueller’s Report & Media Spin: Russiagate Enters Next Phase

Apr 19, 2019 6882

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Sputnik News analysts and producers Walter Smolarek and Nicole Roussell. Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on the Mueller report that was released yesterday. It was more than 400 pages, and referenced hundreds of people - but what did it really say, and what does it mean? We talk about what evidence is in the report and what is not, the political implications of the report, and the way the corporate owned media is covering the report and its conclusions. Former Vice President Joe Biden will formally announce his candidacy for president next week. Along with Bernie Sanders, Biden has consistently been at the top of early opinion polling, but has also come under harsh criticism for a wide range of positions he has taken over his long career in politics. But after three failed presidential bids and eight years as vice president, can the fourth time be the charm? Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist at www.rall.com, joins the show. CIA Director Gina Haspel made a rare public appearance yesterday at Alabama’s Auburn University yesterday, ostensibly to discuss what she described as the “thrill” of her hiring more than 30 years ago. Instead, she was repeatedly interrupted by hecklers who demanded that she answer questions about her role in the CIA’s torture program. The hecklers were removed and arrested, and Haspel concluded by saying that the Agency had recently turned its focus away from terrorism and toward Russia, Iran, and North Korea. Within hours of the near destruction of Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral on Monday, wealthy French citizens pledged more than $1 billion to reconstruct the landmark. But the backlash was almost immediate. French President Emmanuel Macron already is accused of being the “President of the Rich,” and the country’s yellow vest protestors are in the streets calling for social equality and higher wages and pensions. And at the same time, French police have cracked down on these protestors, causing scores of deaths and injuries. Gilbert Mercier, Editor in Chief of News Junkie Post and the author of “The Orwellian Empire,” joins the show. Sudanese protest leaders today announced plans to unveil a civilian body to take over from the country’s ruling military council, although that council has resisted calls to step aside. The event will go forward on Sunday, however, with foreign diplomats and journalists invited. Producer Walter Smolarek joins Brian and John. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his site Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

Mueller Says “No Collusion” But Affirms Russian Interference Myth

Apr 18, 2019 6657

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Coleen Rowley, a former FBI special agent whistleblower and TIME person of the year, Ben Norton, a journalist with the Grayzone Project and co-host of the Moderate Rebels podcast, and Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer. The long-awaited Mueller investigation report was released today. They dive into the 448-page document and that deals with both allegations of collusion and obstruction of justice, the claim that Russia intervened in the election, and how the media and establishment politicians are reacting to the collapse of the narrative they promoted since the 2016 election. The report states that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and while it does not make a recommendation on charges of obstruction of justice the report appears to leave the door open for those charges to be brought later. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. Veterans for Peace is Thursday’s regular segment about the contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who has been a peace and solidarity activist for almost 50 years, currently as national president of Veterans for Peace, Hector Lopez, the Director of Unified U.S. Deported Veterans, and Ann Wright, a retired United States Army colonel and former U.S. State Department official in Afghanistan, who resigned in protest of the invasion of Iraq and became a prominent anti-war activist, join the show. A regular Thursday segment deals with the ongoing militarization of space. As the US continues to withdraw from international arms treaties, will the weaponization and militarization of space bring the world closer to catastrophe? Brian and John speak with Prof. Karl Grossman, a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury and the host of a nationally-aired television program focused on environmental, energy, and space issues.

Why is Trump So Committed to Supporting the Saudi War in Yemen?

Apr 17, 2019 6915

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Non-Violence. President Trump yesterday vetoed a measure that would have cut aid to Saudi Arabia’s war against Yemen, saying that it was an infringement on his authority as President. The Yemen bill passed with healthy majorities in both houses of Congress, but not by enough to override the veto. A redacted version of the Mueller report will be released tomorrow, but Democrats and their media allies already are downplaying the event. House Democrats announced that they will seek an unredacted version of the report on Friday. Meanwhile, CIA Director Gina Haspel apparently told the President that British intelligence officials told her that two children were injured and several ducks were killed in last year’s Novichok attack against a Russian dissident in the UK. There is no evidence, however, that this ever happened. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, whose latest article on both Counterpunch and The Polemicist is "Investigation Nation: Mueller, Russiagate, and Fake Politics," joins the show. The FBI affidavit used to charge Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange confirms that the US government targeted him for publishing information. Although he has not been charged with espionage, the affidavit, sworn by FBI agent Megan Brown, clearly accuses Assange of violating the Espionage Act and raises fears of a superseding indictment. Brian and John speak with Kevin Gosztola, a journalist for Shadowproof.com and host of the Podcast “Unauthorized Disclosure.” In a major reversal of US immigration and human rights policy, Attorney General Barr yesterday declared that detained asylum seekers who have shown that they have a credible fear of returning to their countries will no longer be able to ask a judge to grant them bail. The move will likely fill the country’s prisons and detention centers for refugees, even though they have been neither convicted of or even accused of a crime. Isabel Garcia, co-founder of Coalición de Derechos Humanos, joins the show. French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday gave a short and solemn speech in the aftermath of the fire that devastated the Cathedral of Notre Dame. He used the speech, however, to draw parallels between the fire and the Yellow Vest protests. Macron had planned the speech for Monday, and it was supposed to be exclusively about the political uprising that has shaken France for five months. Gilbert Mercier, Editor in Chief of News Junkie Post and the author of “The Orwellian Empire,” joins Brian and John. Yesterday, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin tapped current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a governing coalition, after a majority of Knesset members supported him. Netanyahu will now continue talks with the goal of dividing up cabinet ministries among his coalition partners. The new government is expected to be the most right wing in Israeli history, and human rights advocates are sounding the alarm that even more restrictions on Palestinian citizens of Israel are imminent. Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell spent the week in Israel covering the election there. She had the opportunity to speak with Jonathan Kuttab, a leading human rights attorney in Israel and Palestine. He was born in West Jerusalem, but after the Six Day War, his family moved to the United States. After practicing law with a Wall Street firm for several years, he returned home to co-found the Palestinian Center for the Study of Nonviolence, al-Haw (which is a group of lawyers and others who assist with human rights issues), and the Mandela Institute for Political Prisoners. He serves on the board of directors of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show.

Bernie Sanders Makes “Big Impression” at Fox News Town Hall

Apr 16, 2019 6810

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Richard Wolff, a professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, founder of the organization Democracy at Work, and his latest book is “Capitalism's Crisis Deepens: Essays on the Global Economic Meltdown.” The audience at a Fox News Town Hall meeting in Pennsylvania with Bernie Sanders erupted in cheers and applause when the host asked the crowd if it supported Medicare for all, a signature Sanders campaign issue. The raucous response was despite the fact that the White House condemned the bill, with Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders calling it “a socialist takeover of healthcare.” Sanders’ strong showing is being interpreted as evidence that he could win in states where Trump prevailed in 2016. An indictment against Julian Assange in the Eastern District of Virginia was unsealed on Thursday, and the criminal complaint was released today, adding detail to the case against the Wikileaks co-founder. But even with the new detail, the government’s case is weak and limited and still accuses Assange only of a minor charge of conspiracy to access a government computer without authorization. Joe Lauria, the editor-in-chief of Consortium News, founded by the late Robert Parry, and author of the book "How I Lost, By Hillary Clinton," joins the show. London police last night arrested more than 100 climate activists who had blocked Waterloo Bridge in central London to protest the government’s failure to address climate change. As soon as police completed the arrests, more protestors arrived and either chained or glued themselves to the bridge. The protests are part of a global campaign called Extinction Rebellion, with demonstrations taking place in 80 cities across 33 countries. Brian and John speak with Antony Loewenstein, an independent journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times and the Guardian, and the author of many books, including “Disaster Capitalism.” Huge demonstrations demanding “freedom, peace and justice” are continuing as the revolt that toppled Sudan’s long-time leader Omar al-Bashir are continuing. In the aftermath of last week’s military takeover in Sudan, the African Union has given the country’s military leadership 15 days to revert to civilian rule or face expulsion. Military leaders and opposition parties and civil society groups are currently in negotiations. Nisrin Elamin, a Sudanese PhD student at Stanford and an activist in the Sudanese diaspora, joins the show. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo recently wrapped up a tour of countries with right wing governments in Latin America to build support for the U.S.-backed push to overthrow the government of President Nicolas Maduro. Pompeo also prompted a strong response from China when he said that the country’s support for Venezuela is causing the disintegration of that country and chaos in Latin America. Chuck Kaufman, the National Co-Coordinator of the Alliance for Global Justice, joins Brian and John. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Brian and John speak with financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey. Today’s regular segment that airs every Tuesday is called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell join the show.

The Imprisonment of Assange Seeks to “Kill Journalism”

Apr 15, 2019 6966

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and Walter Smolarek (sitting in for John Kiriakou) are joined by Lee Stranahan, co-host of Radio Sputnik’s Fault Lines who traveled to the UK to cover Julian Assange’s arrest. There were protests in London this weekend at the prison where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is being held, having been forced out of the Ecuadorian Embassy late last week despite receiving political asylum seven years ago. Meanwhile, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno signed a $4.2 billion loan with the US-backed International Monetary Fund at the same time. The Justice Department said today that the Mueller report will be released this Thursday, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is one of the officials working on the redactions from the memo. But the corporate media is already preparing to defend its two years of collusion accusations between President Trump and Russia, despite no evidence. Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War,” joins the show. President Trump tweeted a video this weekend attacking Representative Ilhan Omar, ludicrously linking her with the September 11th terrorist attack. She has since received a wave of death threats. Brian and Walter speak with Dr. Nazia Kazi, an activist, professor of Anthropology at Stockton University, and the author of the book “Islamophobia, Race and Global Politics.” It’s tax day in the United States. While working people hand over a big share of their income, many huge corporations are paying hardly anything at all, a situation made even worse by the new Trump tax reform. Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter and founder of This Can’t Be Happening!, joins the show. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said on Saturday that he is open to another summit with President Trump within 2019 if there are mutually agreed upon terms. Will the United States move forward with this offer and be willing to engage in bilateral negotiations? Simone Chun, a fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and a member of the Korean Peace Network, joins Brian and Walter. 11 people were killed in Aleppo by rockets fired by opposition fighters in Idlib last night, an area dominated by the al-Qaeda affiliated HTS terrorist group. A final government offensive to recapture the province may be imminent. Ambassador Peter Ford, the former UK Ambassador to Syria, joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto,” joins Brian and Walter. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show.

What the Arrest of Assange Means for the Future of Press Freedom

Apr 12, 2019 6889

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Sputnik News analyst and producer Walter Smolarek. The panel takes a look at the biggest stories of the week, including the arrest of Julian Assange, the overthrow of Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir, the indictment of Greg Craig, and South Korean president Moon Jae-in’s trip to the White House. After nearly seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Julian Assange has been arrested by British authorities on behalf of the U.S. government. But the fight is just beginning to defend Assange, Wikileaks, and freedom of the press. Lee Stranahan, co-host of Radio Sputnik’s Fault Lines who traveled last night to the UK to cover the story, joins the show. Again this week we’ll look at the worst, most misleading, funniest, and the just plain wrong headlines of the past week. Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his site Left I on the News, joins the show. Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell has been on the ground all week covering the Israeli election. She was able to interview prominent political leader Dr. Yousef Jabareen. He is a member of the Israeli Knesset representing Hadash, a progressive party that draws its support primarily from the country’s Arab community. He discusses the pressing issues facing the Palestinian people as hardline right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears set to yet again lead the coalition coming out of the election.

Attorney General Accuses Govt Agencies of Spying on Trump 2016 Campaign

Apr 10, 2019 6705

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and Walter Smolarek (filling in for John Kiriakou) are joined by Jim Kavanagh, editor of thepolemicist.net and whistleblower and activist Coleen Rowley. The hosts continue our weekly segment In the News, where we look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective. Today we’ll be focusing on Attorney General Barr’s testimony to Congress and his comments on FBI spying on the Trump campaign. The hosts continue our regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, where we look at nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, joins the show. A high stakes summit of European Union leaders is underway in Brussels just two days ahead of the deadline for the UK to exit the bloc. With no agreement in sight, the leaders are considering a so-called flexible extension that would push the deadline back up to one year. Brian and John speak with Neil Clark, a journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Week, and Morning Star. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to be on track to become the longest-serving leader in Israel’s history after the right wing parties won a majority of seats in last night’s election. Negotiations are now under way to form a coalition government that will be led by Netanyahu’s Likud party. Sputnik News analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, who’s been on the ground as the elections unfold, joins the show. Wikileaks revealed today that it’s founder Julian Assange has been subjected to extensive surveillance during his time at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Supporters fear that authorities could be on the verge of expelling Assange, a development that could lead to his extradition to the United States. Joe Lauria, editor-in-chief of Consortium News, joins Brian and John.

William Barr to Release Mueller Report to Congress & Explain Redactions

Apr 9, 2019 6705

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by ed Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist. Attorney General William Barr told a House subcommittee today that the Mueller Report will be released within the week, although portions will be redacted. He added that he would explain the redactions line by line with lawmakers. Meanwhile, Republican Congressman Devin Nunes announced that he will send eight criminal referrals to the Justice Department, accusing unnamed people of lying to Congress, misleading Congress, and leaking classified information. Thousands of people continued to flee war-torn Tripoli, Libya today as forces loyal to rebel General Khalifa Haftar bombed the country’s only functioning airport. There were no casualties, but all flights have been cancelled and all passengers evacuated. Here in Washington, President Trump met with Egyption leader Abd al-Aziz al-Sisi over lunch to discuss Libya, security, and the Egyptian economy. A White House spokesman said the pair also discussed human rights. Massoud Shadjareh, founder of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, joins the show. The hosts continue our weekly segment Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. In this weekly segment we talk about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. Hannah Dickinson, a professor and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, and Gabriela Quintanilla, Western NY Coordinator for Rural & Migrant Ministry and founder and director of Adelante Student Voices, join Brian and John. Israel held national elections for the Knesset, its parliament, today and the vote counting has begun. Polls indicate that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party will lose between three and five seats, while General Benny Gantz’s Blue and White coalition will likely win a plurality. With that said, Netanyahu has a better chance of cobbling together a coalition of right-wing parties and remaining as Prime Minister and has been pulling out all the stops as the campaign draws to a close, including declaring his support for annexing the West Bank, accusing his opponents of planning to cooperate with Arab parties, and intimidating Arab voters with cameras outside polling places. Sputnik News analyst and producers Nicole Roussell and Walter Smolarek join the show The hosts continue our weekly series False Profits -- A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Daniel Sankey. He’s a financial policy analyst, joins the show.

The Big Purge: Trump Sacks Top Homeland Security Officials

Apr 8, 2019 6929

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Pedro Rios, Director of the American Friends Service Committee’s U.S./Mexico Border Program. Kirsten Nielsen, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, resigned yesterday after a meeting with President Trump. The move came amid reports of Trump’s unhappiness over Nielsen’s inability to close ports of entry along the southern border and to stop accepting asylum seekers. Critics of the administration fear that this is a precursor to an intensification of anti-immigrant policies in the run up to the 2020 election Libya sank deeper into chaos over the weekend, with more than 2800 people fleeing fighting in Tripoli, according to the United Nations. Forces under General Khalifa Haftar are approaching the city, and seeking to wrest control of the country from UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj. Libya has been wracked by violence since the US-led NATO attack on the country that resulted in the death of Muammar al-Qaddafi in 2011. Vijay Prashad, Director of the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and Chief Editor of LeftWord Books, joins the show. Israelis will go to the polls tomorrow to elect members of parliament, who in turn will elect a prime minister. The vote will bring to an end a race that has pitted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against Benny Gantz, the leader of a trio of generals who could end his uninterrupted decade as Prime Minister. Brian and John speak with Nicole Roussell, Sputnik News analyst and one of the producers of this show. President Trump today placed the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, on the list of international terrorist groups. Iran warned that the move would destabilize the region and it retaliated by officially declaring the U.S. military a terrorist organization. Kevin Zeese. He’s the co-coordinator of Popular Resistance, joins the show. The hosts continue the regular segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers,” where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Bill Ayers an activist, educator and the author of the new book “about Becoming a Teacher”, joins Brian and John. The new book, “The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert”, has been released to rave reviews. It reports on the propaganda that informed US-Russian relations from the Bolshevik Revolution to the present. He takes us through historical events forgotten by time and shaped by propaganda to explain a history that is largely unknown in the west. Brian and John speak with Ron Ridenhour, the author of the book. The hosts continue the weekly half hour segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa—a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the National Surveillance State are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show.

Attack on Free Press: Expulsion of Assange from Embassy May Be Imminent

Apr 5, 2019 6804

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Sputnik News analysts and producers Walter Smolarek and Nicole Roussell. Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on the possibility of Julian Assange being expelled from his safety in the embassy, the NATO summit this week, Boeing’s acknowledgement that they fully knew about the problems that killed hundreds, and the House vote to end the aid for the war in Yemen. Wikileaks tweeted last night that a high level source in the Ecuadorian government confirmed that Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange would be expelled from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London “within hours or days” and that it already has an agreement with the UK for his arrest. Assange likely would be extradited to the United States. Joe Lauria, the editor-in-chief of Consortium News, founded by the late Robert Parry, the author of the book "How I Lost, By Hillary Clinton," joins the show. British Prime Minister Theresa May has written to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, to ask for an extension of Brexit until June 30, a request that is likely to be rejected. The UK is currently due to leave the EU on April 12, but parliament has not yet approved a Brexit plan. Brian and John speak with Neil Clark, a journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Week, and Morning Star. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his site Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell. Activists from around the world are gathering April 6-8 in Washington, D.C. for the National Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. As the Duterte government steps up its repressive measures, grassroots opposition is growing to resist these attacks on democracy as well as U.S.-funded militarization. Mong Palatino, chair of the BAYAN Metro Manila chapter and former legislator, Ed Cubelo, chairman of the Metro Manila chapter of the trade union federation May 1st Movement Manila, and Rhonda Ramiro, the chairperson of BAYAN USA.

The Latest Desperate Attempt to Keep Debunked "Russiagate" Story Alive

Apr 4, 2019 6851

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Walter Smolarek (filling in for Brian Becker) and John Kiriakou are joined by Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War.” The New York Times and Washington Post had blaring headlines today that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators believed the Mueller report was more damaging than Attorney General William Barr had let on. But that was not supported by the substance of the articles. And there was no additional evidence that President Trump had committed any crime. The family of an American citizen killed in the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max-8 is now suing Boeing in federal court in Chicago. The suit is only one of nearly a dozen against Boeing, in addition to a Justice Department criminal investigation. Dr. Alan Diehl, an award-winning aviation psychologist and safety consultant, a major air safety whistleblower, and the author of the book “Air Safety Investigators,” joins the show. Intense negotiations between the United States and China involving President Trump himself are underway. With a definitive Trump-Xi summit widely expected to be announced in the coming days, is the trade war with China finally coming to an end? Walter and John speak with Richard Wolff, a professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst and founder of the organization Democracy at Work, whose latest book is “Capitalism's Crisis Deepens: Essays on the Global Economic Meltdown.” NATO Foreign Ministers continued today to meet in Washington a day after a rare speech to congress given by the alliance’s Secretary General. Meanwhile, the newly re-named Republic of North Macedonia is being welcomed to the alliance and NATO leaders are threatening Turkey for that country’s purchase of a Russian S-400 missile system. Peter Kuznick, a professor of history and director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University and the co-author with Oliver Stone of the book and the hit Showtime television series “The Untold History of the United States,” joins the show. Veterans for Peace is Thursday’s regular segment about the contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who has been a peace and solidarity activist for almost 50 years, currently as national president of Veterans for Peace, joins the show. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. A regular Thursday segment deals with the ongoing militarization of space. As the US continues to withdraw from international arms treaties, will the weaponization and militarization of space bring the world closer to catastrophe? Walter and John speak with Prof. Karl Grossman, a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury and the host of a nationally-aired television program focused on environmental, energy, and space issues, and with Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus.

NATO Military Alliance an Instrument of the New Colonialism

Apr 3, 2019 7065

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Matthew Hoh, who resigned in 2009 from the State Department over the American escalation of the war in Afghanistan, and was a marine in the US occupation of Iraq prior. He is a winner of the Ridenhour Prize Recipient for Truth Telling. NATO foreign ministers are meeting in Washington this week to mark the 70th anniversary of the alliance’s creation. The agenda also includes NATO relations with Russia, the fight against terrorism, NATO expansion, and military spending. A number of peace groups are planning demonstrations opposing the meeting, and one major event is planned for tomorrow here in Washington. Federal Aviation Administration whistleblowers told the Senate Commerce Committee yesterday that safety inspectors at the FAA, including those involved in approving use of the Boeing 737-Max8, lacked proper training and certifications. The Republican-controlled Senate committee has launched a formal investigation into why two of the jets crashed in the past five months, killing 346 people. Mary Schiavo, the former Inspector General at the Department of Transportation, an aviation attorney, and an aviation professor, joins the show. Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned yesterday after weeks of protests demanding the end of his 20-year rule. He had been expected to resign before the end of his term on April 28, but just a few days ago, the country’s military chief said publicly that Bouteflika was unfit for office. Brian and John speak with Dr. Gerald Horne, a professor of history at the University of Houston and author of many books, including “Blows Against the Empire: U.S. Imperialism in Crisis,” “The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America,” and “The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism: The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy and Capitalism in Seventeenth Century North America and the Caribbean.” Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective. Today they discuss the Judiciary Committee’s vote on subpoenaing the Mueller report, new sanctions on Russia, the homophobic Trump-Putin animation from last summer winning an award, and the resignation of yet another Brexit secretary. Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek joins the show. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. In this episode, they talk about the US secretly giving nuclear information to Saudi Arabia. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show.

Behind the Scenes: Pelosi Moves to Torpedo Medicare for All

Apr 2, 2019 6942

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According to a new report, a top aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked lobbyists in a private meeting to raise public doubts about Medicare For All, saying that the progressive program would detract from Democrats’ agenda. In a 5-4 vote yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that there is no constitutional guarantee that an execution must be painless, saying that a Missouri prisoner may be executed despite having a rare condition that could cause him to suffocate. Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion, which was joined by President Trump’s second Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanagh. Stephen Bright, a professor at Yale Law School and the former Director of the Southern Center for Human Rights, joins the show. UK Prime MInister Theresa May held a marathon cabinet meeting today to discuss the ongoing crisis around the country’s departure from the European Union and announced that she would be seeking an extension to the “Article 50” deadline. This comes one day after UK lawmakers failed again to back any alternatives to Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal. Brian and John speak with Alex Gordon, former president of the National Union of Rail, Maritime, & Transport Workers. NATO foreign ministers are meeting in Washington this week to mark the 70th anniversary of the alliance’s creation. The agenda also includes NATO relations with Russia, the fight against terrorism, and military spending. A myriad of peace groups are planning demonstrations opposing the meeting. One major event is planned for Thursday here in Washington. Ann Wright, a retired United States Army colonel and former U.S. State Department official in Afghanistan, who resigned in protest of the invasion of Iraq and became a prominent anti-war activist, joins the show. Senate Democrats last night killed a bill that would have provided aid to Puerto Rico because it did not go far enough. President Trump, who publicly opposes ANY aid to Puerto Rico lashed out at the island and its elected officials on Twitter overnight, saying that Puerto Rico is “a mess” and that its politicians are “incompetent and corrupt.” The Mayor of San Juan responded by saying, “He can huff & puff all he wants but he cannot escape the death of 3,000 on his watch. SHAME ON YOU!” Dr. Adriana Garriga-López, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Anthropology at Kalamazoo College, joins Brian and John. Today’s regular segment that airs every Tuesday is called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell join the show. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Brian and John speak with financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey.

Russiagate: The Hoax that Keeps on Giving

Apr 1, 2019 6767

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at rall.com. In the week since it was released, politicians and journalists have changed their narrative about the Mueller report, saying that its criminal findings are being suppressed and that Attorney General William Barr is part of a pro-Russia conspiracy. House Democrats will prepare subpoenas this week seeking Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s full, unredacted report. Former Vice President Joe Biden is facing a crisis in his not-yet-launched presidential campaign as Lucy Flores, a Democratic politician from Nevada, says Biden once sniffed her hair and kissed the back of her head. Biden says that he has no memory of the incident, but other senior Democrats are demanding that he explain himself and apologize. Biden said only that he doesn’t believe that he ever acted inappropriately with Flores, but has a long-standing reputation of inappropriate behavior toward women, on top of his widely-criticized handling of the historic Anita Hill hearing when he was head of the Senate judiciary committee. Nicole Roussell, a Sputnik News analyst and a producer of Loud & Clear, joins the show. British parliamentarians considered a series of alternatives to Prime Minister Theresa May’s unpopular Brexit deal today, but none were binding. Less than two weeks away from the already-extended deadline, the UK and the European Union appear to have made no progress towards a deal. Brian and John speak with Alexander Mercouris, the editor-in-chief of The Duran. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto,” joins Brian and John. A comedian with no political experience has won the most votes in the first round of Ukraine’s presidential election. Volodymyr Zelenskyi received 30 percent of the popular vote, while current president Petro Poroshenko received just 16 percent. Former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko was eliminated from the race. Mark Sleboda, an international affairs and security analyst, joins Brian and John. President Trump yesterday threatened to completely close the border with Mexico, saying, “We are closing the border. We’ll close it. And we’ll keep it closed for a long time. I’m not playing games.” This is one of Trump’s boldest threats yet as he escalates his anti-immigrant rhetoric ahead of the 2020 election. The President also is threatening to cut off all aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, saying, “They’re not doing anything for us.” Jorge Barón, the executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter and founder of This Can’t Be Happening!, joins the show. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show.

British Politics Descend Into Chaos As Brexit Deal Fails Again

Mar 29, 2019 6968

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Neil Clark, a journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Week, and Morning Star. UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan was voted down by Parliament today for the third time, bringing the country even closer to a “no deal” departure from the European Union. In response to the 344-286 vote defeat, the European Council has called for an emergency summit to be held just two days before the April 12 Brexit deadline. The US and UK have been adamant that Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei works as a front for Chinese intelligence. The company, of course denies that and appears to be weathering the storm -- Huawei just announced record profits. Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping recently wrapped up a tour of Europe aimed at improving relations in the wake of the EU’s declaration that China was a “strategic competitor” to the bloc. Jude Woodward, the author of the book “The US vs China: Asia's new Cold War?,” joins the show. This week marked the 20th anniversary of the US-led bombing of Yugoslavia, a war that resulted in the further breakup of that country. The 78 days of NATO bombing resulted in the deaths of more than 2,500 people and caused billions of dollars in damage. Brian and John speak with Dr. Gerald Horne, a professor of history at the University of Houston and author of many books, including “Blows Against the Empire: U.S. Imperialism in Crisis.” The Ecuadorean National Assembly has decided to investigate an alleged money laundering scheme hatched by President Lenin Moreno involving a complex network of offshore accounts. Meanwhile, Julian Assange is still trapped in the Ecuadorian Embassy and supporters worry that he may soon be ejected. Arnold August, a lecturer and journalist who most recently wrote “The Trump Trudeau Lima Group Policy and Its Nemesis” for Mint Press, joins the show. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his site Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell. Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on the Mueller report, 2020 elections, Israeli violence in Gaza, and today’s Brexit vote. Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which livestreams every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and Sputnik News analyst and producer Walter Smolarek, join the show.

Trump-Russia Collusion Hoax is Adam Schiff's Gravy Train

Mar 28, 2019 6673

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War.” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff is on the hot seat. Schiff has been one of the leading voices in government pushing the narrative of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. Following completion of the Mueller report, he doubled down, saying that he has seen definitive proof of collusion. Meanwhile, Senator Rand Paul said yesterday that former CIA director John Brennan, who has been repeating Schiff’s talking points, should be subpoenaed to answer for his role in the dissemination of the Steele Dossier. Acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell told Congress today that the FAA will enact major changes in its oversight of US airlines in the aftermath of the crashes of two Boeing 737 Max-8 aircraft in the past five months that resulted in the deaths of nearly 400 people. Still, Elwell defended the FAA’s process by which the 737 Max-8 was declared to be trouble free before the crashes. Dr. Alan Diehl, an award-winning aviation psychologist and safety consultant, and a major air safety whistleblower, joins the show. A federal judge yesterday blocked work requirements for Medicaid in the states of Kentucky and Arkansas, sending both of those states and the US Department of Health and Human Services back to the drawing board. Work requirements are already in effect in Arkansas, although Kentucky’s requirements were on hold pending the judge’s ruling. Brian and John speak with Jane Perkins, the legal director at the National Health Law Program. Today Russian officials pushed back on President Trump’s comments that Russian military in Venezuela was an "unwelcomed provocation.” Meanwhile the country fights to recover from yet another attack on its electrical system. Paul Dobson, a writer for VenezuelAnalysis.com, joins the show. A little known North Korean anti-government exile group called Cheollima Civil Defence has claimed responsibility for a raid on North Korea’s embassy in Spain. Its alleged links to the U.S. government are unclear, but the dramatic events come during a particularly tense diplomatic period as the United States and the DPRK scramble to revive peace talks. Sputnik News analyst Walter Smolarek joins Brian and John. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. A regular Thursday segment deals with the ongoing militarization of space. As the US continues to withdraw from international arms treaties, will the weaponization and militarization of space bring the world closer to catastrophe? Brian and John speak with Prof. Karl Grossman, a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury and the host of a nationally-aired television program focused on environmental, energy, and space issues, and with Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus. They’re also joined by Will Griffin, an Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran, a member of Veterans for Peace, and director of The Peace Report, an online anti-war news source.

Theresa May Offers Resignation in Last-Ditch Effort to Save Brexit Deal

Mar 27, 2019 6966

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by producer Walter Smolarek and Steve Hedley, the senior assistant general secretary of the the UK’s Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers Union. Developments in the UK parliament are moving fast as the government of Prime Minister Theresa May makes a last ditch attempt to save her Brexit deal, and a wide range of alternative plans are considered. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is pushing for a second referendum on Brexit, and May has offered to resign in return for securing the support of skeptical MPs in the much-anticipated “meaningful vote” likely to be held this week. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the American Israel Political Action Committee, or AIPAC, conference by video feed yesterday where he joined in on the attack on Representative Ilhan Omar and the growing sentiment opposing the Israeli government’s policies. Meanwhile, Syria requested an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss US recognition of the Golan as Israeli territory. All five European members of the Security Council called Israel’s annexation of the Golan illegal and US recognition of the move void. Ariel Gold, a peace activist and the national co-director of Code Pink, joins the show. Seven people were killed yesterday, including four children, when Saudi jet fighters bombed a hospital in northwestern Yemen. The attack also injured eight people. Thirty seven children are killed or wounded every month in Saudi attacks in Yemen, despite Saudi protestations that they do not target civilians. Brian and John speak with Professor Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran. Donald Trump demanded today that Russia “get out” of Venezuela, referring to the arrival of Russian military personnel in the country that the Venezuelan government said was a routine part of defense cooperation between the two long-standing allies. The coup attempt in Venezuela is rapidly taking on importance of a global scope. Chuck Kaufman, the National Co-Coordinator of the Alliance for Global Justice, joins the show. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said yesterday that he had asked Spain and the Vatican to apologize for the conquest of the Americas 500 years ago. In a letter to King Felipe VI and Pope Francis, Lopez Obrador said the Spanish conquest was carried out “with the sword and the cross.” The Spanish government quickly refused to make any apology. Pope Francis has not yet commented, but in 2015 he apologized for crimes against the indigenous people of Bolivia. Juan José Gutiérrez, the executive director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition, joins Brian and John. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective. Today they dive into the so-called evidence that was and still is being cited in now-dead Russiagate and the way that the Democrats have been driving this anti-Trump train primarily on an anti-Russian basis. Sputnik News analysts and producers Walter Smolarek and Nicole Roussell join the show. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. They focus on the 40-year anniversary of the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor meltdown in pennsylvania, the coverups associated with it, and the impacts it has had on people’s health and on social justice movements. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show.

Trump-Russia Story Was A Hoax But Hostility to Russia Will Increase

Mar 26, 2019 6950

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Max Blumenthal, a bestselling author and journalist, whose latest film is “Killing Gaza,” the senior editor of Grayzone Project and co-host of the podcast “Moderate Rebels.” Proponents of the Russiagate conspiracy are scrambling to salvage their reputation in the wake of the conclusion of Robert Mueller’s probe that found no evidence of collusion during the 2016 election. Meanwhile, attorney and frequent Trump critic Michael Avenatti was arrested yesterday and charged with multiple felonies related to an alleged attempt to extort at least $20 million from Nike. British Prime Minister Theresa May was dealt yet another blow yesterday as parliament seized control of the decision making process as Brexit goes down to the wire. Will her government fall? Will the much-dreaded “no deal” scenario come to pass? Eugene Puryear, the host of Radio Sputnik’s By Any Means Necessary, which you can listen to Monday through Friday from 2:00-4:00 p.m, joins the show. Most of Venezuela suffered another blackout yesterday, although power was restored in much of the country within several hours. The government said that this was the result of another series of attacks on the country’s electrical system, and also presented evidence tying top opposition leaders to a plot to carry out terrorist attacks throughout the country. Brian and John speak with Ricardo Vaz, a writer and editor at Venezuelanalysis, whose articles have appeared on Mint Press News, Truthout, Counterpunch, and other alternative media. Ecuador on Sunday held elections for local offices and governorships, but the Moreno government was extremely slow to announce results, leading to speculation that the election was not free and fair. Meanwhile, aides to Wikileaks cofounder Julian Assange note that security at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where Assange has sought asylum, has increased significantly, and a US Department of Justice jet used recently to render a Russian hacker landed last week in London, only to return to the US, empty, yesterday. Independent journalist Denis Rogatyuk joins the show. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Today they talk about the federal reserve’s pessimistic forecast about the future of the U.S. economy and much more. Brian and John speak with financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey. Today’s regular segment that airs every Tuesday is called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. Today they focus on the Justice Department’s decision to seek the repeal of the affordable care act in its entirety. How will this affect women and families and what kind of healthcare do we really need? Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell join the show.

Trump-Russia Conspiracy Theory Collapses with Mueller Final Report

Mar 25, 2019 6974

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Coleen Rowley, a former FBI special agent who in 2002 was named Time Magazine person of the year, Gareth Porter, a historian and investigative journalist, and Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at www.rall.com. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has completed his investigation into alleged collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign and has found no evidence of wrongdoing. The final report is with Attorney General William Barr and is on its way to Congress. Mueller’s finding of no collusion and no criminality on the part of the president has Democrats reeling and calling for new Congressional investigations. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Trump in Washington today for a ceremony in which the U.S. formally recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan region of Syria. The visit is being cut short, however, because a rocket fired from Gaza hit an Israeli house in Tel Aviv, injuring seven people. Sensing yet another opportunity to present himself as a hardliner ahead of the April 9 election, Netanyahu ordered the mobilization of ground units and the Israeli air force launched a wave of strikes. Daoud Kuttab, an award-winning Palestinian journalist, whose latest book is “Sesame Street Palestine: The Ups and Downs of Producing a Children’s Program,” joins the show. British members of parliament began debating a series of alternatives today to Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan, with an eye toward holding a third vote on the deal. The Prime Minister met with her cabinet at Number 10 Downing Street this morning, where reports say she was confronted over her inability to unify her party. Meanwhile, a petition calling for a new referendum on Brexit has gathered more than 5 million signatures. Brian and John speak with Alexander Mercouris, the editor-in-chief of The Duran. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto,” joins Brian and John. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show.

"Most Progressive" Biden's Real Record: Segregation, Prisons and War

Mar 22, 2019 6955

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Walter Smolarek (sitting in for Brian Becker) and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which livestreams every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook. Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on the presidential race in 2020 and the Democratic primary, the president weighing in on the Golan region of Syria, and the floods in Southeastern Africa as a result of Cyclone Idai. President Trump yesterday announced that the US would recognize Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, reversing 52 years of US policy and infuriating friends and foes alike in the Middle East. Israel has occupied the Syrian territory since the 1967 war. Ariel Gold, a peace activist and the national co-director of Code Pink, joins the show. Brazil’s former president, Michel Temer, was arrested yesterday in Sao Paulo and charged with multiple crimes in a massive corruption scandal. His former Mining and Energy Minister also was arrested. Brazilian media say that the US Justice Department is helping Brazilian authorities with the case, which has been dubbed Operation Carwash. It is reportedly the largest corruption and money laundering case in Brazil’s history. Walter and John speak with Aline Piva, a journalist and a member of Brazilians for Democracy and Social Justice. European Union leaders yesterday agreed to a short extension of the deadline for Britain’s withdrawal from the EU to give Prime Minister Theresa May and the British parliament more time to pass legislation. If May can persuade parliament to approve that legislation next week, the official Brexit date will be May 22. Co-host Brian Becker, who is in Brussels for the European Union summit, joins the show. North Korea is withdrawing from a joint liaison office near the demilitarized zone with South Korea because the US last week put sanctions on two Chinese firms that had done business with North Korea. The North said in a statement that Pyongyang does not mind if the South Koreans continue to man the office. But North Korean officials have been withdrawn. Simone Chun, a fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and a member of the Korean Peace Network, joins Walter and John. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Walter and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his site Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

Confusion Reigns at Crucial EU Summit on Brexit

Mar 21, 2019 6897

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Walter Smolarek and Nicole Roussell (sitting in for Brian Becker) and John Kiriakou are joined by Loud & Clear co-host UK Prime Minister Theresa May is in Brussels to press European Union leaders to agree to an extension of the Brexit negotiating period. But EU officials appear to be taking a hardline, and have just published a set of planned measures that would be taken in the event of a no-deal scenario. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is wrapping up a tour of the Middle East with a trip to Lebanon, focusing on stepping up pressure on Iran as the Trump administration seeks regime change in that country, and allegedly bolstering support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of a tight election next month. Jana Nakhal, an independent researcher and a member of the central committee of the Lebanese Communist Party, joins the show. Veterans for Peace is Thursday’s regular segment about the contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who has been a peace and solidarity activist for almost 50 years, currently as national president of Veterans for Peace, joins the show. A new report shows that a group of eight American mercenaries who were arrested in Haiti on February 16 were there at the behest of President Jovenel Moise as part of a harebrained scheme to transfer $80 million from the country’s central bank to Moise’s personal account. The Americans were promised $30,000 each. Instead, they were put in shackles and, three days later, expelled from Haiti. Walter and John speak with Kim Ives, an editor of the newspaper Haiti Liberte. Thousands of students, university professors, and healthcare workers continued to rally yesterday in Algiers, calling on President Abdelaziz Boutefliqa to resign. They also warned the military not to interfere in the marches, which have now entered their second month. Boutefliqa, who has been president for 20 years, said last week that he would not seek reelection, but demonstrators want him to resign immediately. The demonstrations are being called The Arab Spring II in the western media. Dr. Gerald Horne, a professor of history at the University of Houston and author of many books, including “Blows Against the Empire: U.S. Imperialism in Crisis,” joins the show. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. A regular Thursday segment deals with the ongoing militarization of space. As the US continues to withdraw from international arms treaties, will the weaponization and militarization of space bring the world closer to catastrophe? Walter and John speak with Prof. Karl Grossman, a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury and the host of a nationally-aired television program focused on environmental, energy, and space issues, and with Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus.

No Deal Brexit Looms as UK PM May Heads to Summit with No Good Options

Mar 20, 2019 6815

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Walter Smolarek (sitting in for Brian Becker) and John Kiriakou are joined by Neil Clark, a journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Week, and Morning Star. British Prime Minister Theresa May is asking the European Union for a delay until June 30 for the UK to complete its withdrawal from the Union. An EU spokesman warned, however, that a delay beyond the May 23 European Parliament elections was probably impossible. Former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer took to Twitter yesterday to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the start of the Iraq war and to try to dispel the common belief that the Bush Administration lied about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction as a cause for the war. Fleischer instead set off a debate about intelligence support for the war, intelligence failures, and the politicization of analysis as the world mourned the deaths of the hundreds of thousands who lost their lives as a consequence of the 2003 U.S. invasion. Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Non-Violence, joins the show. The European Union has hit Google with yet another big antitrust fine. This time it’s $1.7 billion. The European Commission says that Google has “cemented its dominance and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing contractual restrictions on other websites. Since 2017 the company has been fined $9.3 billion by the European Union. That’s against $31 billion in profits just last year. Walter and John speak with Bill Binney, a former NSA technical director who became a legendary national security whistleblower. Former DNC Chair Donna Brazile is joining Fox News as a paid contributor, a move that caused serious political controversy. In addition to her decision to work for an outlet that critics say promotes extreme right-wing views, Brazile has come under fire for her role in the 2016 Democratic Party primary. Tim Karr, the senior director of strategy and communications at Free Press, joins the show. The family of a woman shot in what activists are saying is yet another racist killing by police, this time committed by a Florida state trooper, is asking the Justice Department to investigate. Police say that Latasha Walton was pulled over for driving erratically before she tried to run over the policeman. But video shows that Walton tried to slowly drive around the officer when he pulled out his gun and shot her at least seven times. Ruth Beltran, an organizer with Black Lives Matter Tampa, joins Walter and John. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective. Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek, join the show. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show.

Brazil’s Bolsonaro Heads Straight to CIA HQ Upon Arrival in DC

Mar 19, 2019 6780

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by João Rodríguez, a Brazilian activist who is currently a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro arrived in Washington yesterday in his first foreign visit since being elected and he went almost immediately to CIA headquarters for consultations. He was accompanied by his son and by Brazil’s Minister of Justice, who has long been accused of having ties to the CIA. Today, he went to the White House to meet with President Trump. Special Counsel Robert Mueller revealed today that he had sought search warrants for Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s records in July 2017, far earlier than previously revealed. His investigators went through those records before referring them to prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. Meanwhile, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced that he would be staying in his role longer than expected, and anticipation builds over the final release of the Mueller report. Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War,” joins the show. 74 cities, 65 counties, and four tribal areas in Nebraska declared states of emergency today following massive floods caused by days of heavy rain and snowmelt. Nebraska has seen three deaths so far, but waters are raging in 14 other midwest states, affecting more than eight million people. At least 200 miles of levees have been compromised and thousands of people have been driven from their homes. Brian and John speak with Craig Sterle, the president of the Minnesota Division of the Izaak Walton League of America, which works to conserve, restore, and promote the sustainable use and enjoyment of our natural resources, including soil, air, woods, waters, and wildlife. Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has ruled the country since the fall of the Soviet Union 30 years ago, resigned this morning. He said that the speaker of the upper house of parliament, Kassym Jomart-Tokayev, will serve out the remainder of his term. Nazarbayev sacked the entire government several weeks ago because of the weak economy. Mark Sleboda, an international affairs and security analyst, joins the show. Israel’s Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked, is out with one of the most controversial election commercials we have ever seen. Shaked is a member of a far-right political party called The New Right. The black-and-white commercial shows Shaked putting on a fancy dress and earrings, and then spritzing herself with a perfume called “Fascism.” She then looks at the camera and says, “To me it smells like democracy.” But the Israeli media says the ad may backfire. All Israelis see is their Justice Minister dousing herself in fascism. Miko Peled, the author of the books “The General’s Son - A Journey of an Israeli in Palestine” and "Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five,” joins Brian and John. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Brian and John speak with financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey. Today’s regular segment that airs every Tuesday is called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell join the show.

“Beto” O’Rourke Stands For ??? and Raises $6 Million in 24 Hours

Mar 18, 2019 6775

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at www.rall.com. Despite facing sharp criticism for his lack of specific policy positions, former Texas Congressman Robert “Beto” O’Rourke raised $6.1 million dollars in just 24 hours after announcing his run for the presidency, more than any of the other Democratic 2020 hopefuls. Meanwhile New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced her candidacy for president over the weekend, while former Vice President Joe Biden accidentally did the same thing before backing off and delaying an official announcement. Yellow Vest protesters in France held demonstrations for the 18th consecutive weekend as clashes and police repression intensifies. French President Emmanuel Macron has steadfastly refused to change his economic policies. Gilbert Mercier, Editor in Chief of News Junkie Post and the author of “The Orwellian Empire,” joins the show. Representatives of coup leader Juan Guaido announced new measures today to seize control of Venezuela’s assets based in the United States. Meanwhile, US-led sanctions are having a severe impact on the poorest and neediest Venezuelans. Brian and John speak with Gloria La Riva, the Director of the Cuba and Venezuela Solidarity Committee, who just returned from a month in Venezuela. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto,” joins Brian and John. The Hanoi summit between the United States and North Korea has ended without any agreements, and observers and commentators are speculating about what could happen next. Did the second summit set the cause of peace back or are both sides determined to make progress? Emanuel Pastreich, a professor and the founder and director of The Asia Institute, a pan-Asian think tank, joins Brian and John. New Zealand continues to reel in the aftermath of a mass shooting at a mosque, unprecedented in the country’s history, that resulted in the deaths of at least 50 people. An Australian right-wing extremist was caught and has confessed to the massacre. Authorities are cooperating with law enforcement officials in a dozen countries to determine what motivated the shooter and with whom he may have cooperated. Dennis Maga, the president of First Union, a major national trade union, and Mike Treen, the national director of the Unite union, which represents workers in the fast food, cinema, and casino industries, join the show. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show.

A Well-Planned Fascist Massacre Against Muslims in New Zealand

Mar 15, 2019 6745

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which livestreams every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War.” Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on the Islamophobic white nationalist shooting at two mosques in New Zealand, where at least 49 people were killed, the ongoing coup attempt in Venezuela, and several of the candidates in the 2020 race. A gunman attacked two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand yesterday, killing at least 49 people and wounding dozens. The victims included women and children. The attacker left a 73-page manifesto at the scene of the first mosque identifying himself as a 28-year-old Australian white supremacist. He has been arrested. Daryle Lamont Jenkins, executive director of the anti-fascist organization One People’s Project, joins the show. North Korea threatened today to suspend denuclearization talks with the United States and to resume missile research and production because National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo created an atmosphere of hostility. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said that he would make a decision soon. Addressing a gathering diplomats and journalists in Pyongyang, however, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui said that personal relations between Kim and President Trump were “still good, and the chemistry is mysteriously wonderful.” Brian and John speak with Simone Chun, a fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and a member of the Korean Peace Network. A federal judge in Florida yesterday ordered unsealed a trove of documents that the Washington Post asserts in a bold headline sheds new light on the hacking theft of Democratic Party emails. The documents include a forensic analysis by a former senior official in the FBI’s cybercrime division, and despite media protestations to the contrary, they shed no new light on who was responsible for the hack. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, joins the show. The Trump Administration is pledging an additional $5 million in assistance to the White Helmets, the civil defense group that is often involved in controversies in extremist-held parts of Syria. The Administration gave the group $6.8 million ten months ago, after promising to cut off support. Who are the White Helmets? And why are they so controversial? Rick Sterling, an investigative journalist and member of the Syria Solidarity Movement, joins Brian and John. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his site Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

Is Theresa May Strengthened after Today's Brexit Vote in Parliament?

Mar 14, 2019 6857

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Robert Griffiths, an organizer for the left campaign in support of Brexit during the 2016 referendum and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Britain, and Walter Smolarek, Sputnik News analyst and one of the producers of this show. The British Parliament voted today to support an extension of the Brexit process. Prime Minister Theresa May appears to have further lost control of the situation, as the future of her government remains very much in doubt. The US Senate yesterday voted again to end American military assistance to Saudi Arabia for its war in Yemen, rebuking President Trump and expressing discontent for his refusal to press the Saudis over the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The vote was 54-46, mostly along party lines, not enough to override a presidential veto. Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Non-Violence, joins the show. President Trump yesterday ordered the grounding of all Boeing 737 Max 8 jets in the country following similar actions around the world in the aftermath of two major crashes, reversing his earlier decision to not force the FAA to take the action. Meanwhile, pilots reacted furiously in a meeting with Boeing executives because they had not been informed of airliner’s software problems. Brian and John speak with Mary Schiavo, the former Inspector General at the Department of Transportation, an aviation attorney, and an aviation professor. Veterans for Peace is Thursday’s regular segment about the contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who has been a peace and solidarity activist for almost 50 years, currently as national president of Veterans for Peace. He joins the hosts today from a peace delegation in Caracas, Venezuela. A regular Thursday segment deals with the ongoing militarization of space. As the US continues to withdraw from international arms treaties, will the weaponization and militarization of space bring the world closer to catastrophe? Brian and John speak with Prof. Karl Grossman, a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury and the host of a nationally-aired television program focused on environmental, energy, and space issues. Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke announced early this morning that he was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President. He begins with broad name recognition from his close senate race against Ted Cruz and his ability to raise millions of dollars in small donations. Meanwhile, another candidate, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard appeared on the Stephen Colbert show, where she reiterated her opposition to foreign interventions. And all the candidates are bracing for the possible entry of Joe Biden into the race. Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter and founder of This Can’t Be Happening!, and Coleen Rowley, a former FBI special agent who in 2002 was named Time Magazine person of the year along with two other whistleblowers, join the show. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show.

Why Is the Trump Administration Targeting Chelsea Manning?

Mar 13, 2019 6918

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Daniel Ellsberg, one of the the most important whistleblowers in modern American history and the author of The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning is still sitting in a federal jail in Alexandria, Virginia for refusing to respond to a subpoena to testify before a grand jury, apparently against Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange. Manning invoked her rights under the first, fourth, fifth, and sixth amendments in her refusal to testify. How long can the injustice of her incarceration go on? Donald Trump finally relented and grounded Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets today, following earlier moves by the European Union and countries around the world in the aftermath of the second crash of one of the new jets in the past five months. Why was the U.S. so slow to act? Mary Schiavo, the former Inspector General at the Department of Transportation, an aviation attorney, and an aviation professor, joins the show. The British Parliament voted today against leaving the European Union without some sort of a deal on the Irish border and import tariffs. A vote will be held tomorrow on whether to ask for an extension to try to negotiate the country’s exit, but that must be approved by all 26 EU member states. Prime Minister Theresa May’s options for getting through the crisis are dwindling quickly. Meanwhile, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is calling for a new national election. Brian and John speak with Steve Hedley, the senior assistant general secretary of the the UK’s Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers Union. A federal judge in Washington sentenced former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to an additional three-and-a-half years in prison on two tax and corruption charges. The sentence comes just days after Manafort was sentenced to 47 months in prison by a federal judge in the Eastern District of Virginia. Talk in the mainstream media has now turned to the possibility of a presidential pardon for Manafort. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, joins the show. Outrage is spreading across the country in the wake of dozens of indictments announced by the FBI in a college entrance cheating scandal involving wealthy parents and celebrities. What does this scheme tell us about the state of higher education in America? Rick Ayers, a professor of education at the University of San Francisco, the author of “An Empty Seat in Class: Teaching and Learning after the Death of a Student,” and co-author of the book “You Can’t Fire the Bad Ones: And 18 Other Myths about Teachers, Teachers Unions, and Public Education,” joins Brian and John. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective. Today they discuss the scandal that celebrities and the wealthy are scamming their way into elite colleges in new ways and analyze the deep-rooted inequalities built in to the higher education system. Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek, join the show. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Today, the hosts focus on the 8th anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown disaster. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show.

The end of Brexit or Brexit till the end?

Mar 12, 2019 6908

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Neil Clark, a journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Week, and Morning Star. The British parliament decisively rejected changes to Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, defeating a measure that she said would reduce the risk that a backstop to prevent a hard border with Ireland would become permanent. European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker said this was the UK’s last chance to negotiate a smoother exit from the EU. As Venezuela continues to feel the effects of an alleged cyber attack on its electrical system, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last night that he had ordered all American diplomats to leave the country, saying their presence was “a constraint” on US policy there. Those diplomats will spend the day shredding documents and destroying equipment, and the marine guard will lower the flag. Lucas Koerner, an activist and writer for VenezuelAnalysis.com, joins the show. Marielle Franco was a local politician in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil who fought against police violence against the city’s poorest residents. She was murdered a year ago Thursday. But yesterday, authorities arrested two former policemen in a killing that prosecutors are calling “a meticulously planned assassination.” Brian and John speak with Dr. Francisco Dominguez, a senior lecturer at Middlesex University and the head of the Centre for Brazilian and Latin American Studies. The United States has threatened Germany that if they keep working with Chinese tech company Huawei on 5G technology, then the United States will cease some intelligence sharing with Germany. Will this further fray ties between the United States and Europe? Jude Woodward, the author of the book “The US vs China: Asia's new Cold War?,” joins the show. President Trump yesterday sent his record $4.75 trillion budget to Capitol Hill for congressional consideration. Democrats in the House declared it “Dead on Arrival” because of provisions that would cut $1.9 trillion from Medicare and Medicaid and that would eviscerate federal employee pay and benefits. Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at rall.com, joins Brian and John. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Today they focus on job reports and whether the United States and the globe are on their way to a recession. Brian and John speak with financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey. Today’s regular segment that airs every Tuesday is called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. This week they talk about the strikes and rallies with millions of people worldwide for International Women’s Day. Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell join the show.

Boeing in Trouble after Second Fatal Crash with Nearly 200 Deaths

Mar 11, 2019 6872

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Professor Bijan Vasigh, a professor of air transportation at Embrey-Riddle University, an expert on aviation issues, a consultant to some of the biggest airlines in the world, and the author of dozens of academic papers and books. The Chinese government has ordered all of the country’s airlines to ground their Boeing 737s after one of the jets belonging to Ethiopian Airlines crash after takeoff over the weekend, killing all 157 people on board. A Lion Air 737 crashed five months ago into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff, killing all 189 people on board. Is there something fundamentally wrong with the new 737? Unpublished video footage obtained by the New York Times contradicts claims by the Trump Administration that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was responsible for lighting a convoy of humanitarian aid on fire. Vice President Pence tweeted over the weekend, “The tyrant in Caracas danced as his henchmen burned food and medicine.” The truth, however, is that members of the US-backed opposition accidentally started the fire with a Molotov cocktail. Dan Cohen, a journalist and a documentary filmmaker, most recently of the film Killing Gaza, joins the show. One member of the recent Code Pink peace delegation to Iran, David Hartsough, upon landing in Iran, had what doctors usually call a “cardiac episode.” That required emergency treatment and an angioplasty in an Iranian hospital. The hosts will talk about medical care in Iran and about President Rouhani’s trip to Iraq to try to blunt the effect of sanctions. Brian and John speak with David Hartsough, cofounder of World Beyond War and the Nonviolent Peaceforce, and author of the book “Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist.” A British organization called The Charity Commission this week accused the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission of anti-Semitism and challenged its legal structure, saying that it was designed to support terrorism. The charge, of course, is ridiculous. But it points to a trend whereby people and organizations that support the rights of Palestinians are somehow anti-Semitic and support terrorism. Massoud Shadjareh, founder of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto,” joins Brian and John. Hawaii Congresswoman and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard conducted a nationally-televised town hall meeting on CNN last night in which she answered several tough questions that set her apart from other Democratic candidates. Meanwhile, Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, continued to be the target of attacks because of her comments on foreign influence in American politics and the legacy of President Obama. Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer who is the author of the book “The Plot to Control the World: How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World,” joins the show. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show.

Whistleblower Manning Sent Back to Prison for Standing on Principle

Mar 9, 2019 7137

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which livestreams every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and Sputnik News analyst and producer Walter Smolarek. Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on Chelsea Manning being taken back into custody, the smears against Representative Omar all week, and the Venezuelan power outage. 18 of Venezuela’s 23 states were hit yesterday with a massive power outage, which the Maduro Administration blamed on anti-government saboteurs. Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who has been the Senate’s leading voice against the Maduro government, earlier in the day had called for widespread unrest, and he celebrated the blackout as the beginning of the end of the Venezuelan government. Chuck Kaufman, he is the National Co-Coordinator of the Alliance for Global Justice, joins the show. Our friends and frequent guests Ann Wright and Medea Benjamin over the past two weeks led a peace delegation to Iran, where they met with government officials, peace activists, and regular Iranians. They were public about the trip. They gave interviews and posted their progress on Facebook. But when they returned to Washington last night, they were detained and questioned by the FBI. The hosts also talk about the recent travails of Chelsea Manning in the notorious federal district court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Brian and John speak with Ann Wright, a retired United States Army colonel and former U.S. State Department official in Afghanistan, who resigned in protest of the invasion of Iraq and became a prominent anti-war activist. Yesterday the hosts talked about the five different federal agencies that had created a database to illegally track and harass journalists, activists, and attorneys reporting on or involved with the migrant caravan that made its way to the United States late last year. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said when the story broke that the Mexican government would not cooperate in the scheme with US officials. But, it turns out, that was not true. Juan José Gutiérrez, the executive director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition, joins the show. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort yesterday was sentenced to 47 months in prison for charges of corruption and tax evasion. Federal prosecutors had asked for 17½ to 24 years. Judge T. S. Ellis said that Manafort had committed serious crimes, but not serious enough for him to spend the rest of his life in prison. The public and media outcry was swift, with many commenting that the decision showed that there is one kind of justice for wealthy white men and another kind of justice for people of color. Manafort will be sentenced in a separate case in Washington next week. Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War,” joins Brian and John. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his site Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

Progressives Push Back on Dem Leadership’s Racist Attack on Rep. Omar

Mar 8, 2019 6884

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The fallout from Rep. Ilhan Omar’s recent comments about foreign intervention in US politics, interpreted as a reference to pro-Israel lobbying giant AIPAC, deepened today. Presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris both backed Omar’s right to her political position, and senior Democrats pushed back against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to offer a resolution which at first condemned anti-Semitism and then condemned all religious intolerance. Senior Democrats now are debating whether there is a need for any resolution at all. Leaked documents reveal that five different federal agencies have been maintaining a secret database to target and track journalists, activists, and attorneys working on the recent migrant caravan heading toward the United States. The program, dubbed Operation Secure Line, resulted in the journalists, activists, and attorneys being harassed at the US-Mexico border, detained, and denied entry into Mexico. Ariana Drehsler, a photojournalist who recently completed a series on migrants and asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border and was one of the many journalists and immigration advocates who was tracked, targeted, and interviewed, joins Brian and John. President Trump yesterday issued an executive order revoking an requirement introduced at the end of the Obama administration to publicly report the number of US drone strikes outside of war zones and the number of civilians killed by them. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that up to 1,700 civilians, including as many as 400 children, have been killed by U.S. drone bombings since the program began. Jeremy Kuzmarov, a professor of American history whose latest book is “The Russians Are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce,” joins the show. The Federal Reserve has decided to end some of the public pass-fail grades it gave big banks after their annual stress tests, which came as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act during the Great Recession. A bank will no longer receive a grade if it has taken the test for the past four years and passed in the most recent year, a move critics say raises the risk of another 2008-style financial collapse. Brad Birkenfeld, a famed whistleblower who single handedly brought down international money laundering at banking giant UBS, joins the show. Veterans for Peace is Thursday’s regular segment about the contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who refused orders to deploy to Vietnam and lived in exile in Canada and Sweden for 6 years, organizing with other U.S. military deserters and draft resisters against the Vietnam war, and for amnesty for U.S. war resisters, joins the show. He has been a peace and solidarity activist for almost 50 years and has served on the Board of Veterans For Peace for the last 6 years, currently as national president. A regular Thursday segment deals with the ongoing militarization of space. As the US continues to withdraw from international arms treaties, will the weaponization and militarization of space bring the world closer to catastrophe? Brian and John speak with Prof. Karl Grossman, a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury and the host of a nationally-aired television program focused on environmental, energy, and space issues, and with Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, joins the show.

U.S. Trade Deficit Hits All-Time Record During Trump Presidency

Mar 7, 2019 6934

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Richard Wolff, a professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst and founder of the organization Democracy at Work. Prof. Wolff’s latest book is “Capitalism's Crisis Deepens: Essays on the Global Economic Meltdown.” President Trump has promised repeatedly to bring the trade deficit under control. Instead, it has exploded. The latest figures from the Commerce Department show that the US last year ran a trade deficit of $891.2 billion, the largest in American history. The deficit with China hit a record $419 billion, despite the President’s trade sanctions against that country. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen testified today before the House Homeland Security Committee. The testimony focused on the Trump Administration’s policy of family separation at the border and the deaths of migrant children in federal custody. The testimony is taking place as President Trump prepares to veto a resolution from Congress overturning his border wall state of emergency. Isabel Garcia, co-founder of Coalición de Derechos Humanos, joins the show. Scores were arrested earlier this week in Sacramento, California as police repressed demonstrations demanding justice for Stephon Clark, an unarmed 22-year-old African-American man who police shot and killed in his grandmother’s backyard in Sacramento last year. The Sacramento County district attorney and the California Attorney General announced in the past few days that the two policemen who killed him will not face any charges. Brian and John speak with Jamier Sale, an organizer with the ANSWER Coalition and was one of the activists who was arrested on Monday night. In a ceremony marking the sixth anniversary of the death of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called for demonstrations on Saturday, which he called “a day of anti-imperialism.” Oppositionist and self-described president Juan Guaido is holding rallies the same day. And Guaido called on Venezuela’s public employees to join his efforts to overthrow the government. Arnold August, a lecturer, journalist and author of the book “Cuba-US Relations: Obama and beyond,” joins the show. Last night, Senator Chris Murphy announced new actions were being taken to force to the Senate floor a bipartisan effort to rein in US support for the war in Yemen as early as next week. The resolution, sponsored by Republican Mike Lee, Democrat Chris Murphy, and Independent Bernie Sanders, has broad bipartisan support, but probably not enough to override an expected presidential veto. Kevin Zeese, the co-coordinator of Popular Resistance, at popularresistance.org, who has just returned from a peace delegation organized by CodePink to Iran, joins Brian and John. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective. Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek, join the show. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show.

Will NSA Suspend Massive Spying Program Against the American People?

Mar 6, 2019 6858

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Bill Binney, a former NSA technical director who became a legendary national security whistleblower. The National Security Agency, NSA, has reportedly shut down a system that analyzes logs of Americans’ domestic calls and text messages, halting a program that has been the source of controversy over privacy since the 9/11 attacks. The program apparently ended months ago, and the Trump Administration apparently will not ask Congress to reauthorize it. But the NSA retains vast domestic and international spying capabilities Chinese electronics giant Huawei is preparing to sue the US government for barring federal agencies from using the company’s products. Huawei executives believe the move could force the US to make public whatever evidence it has against it. Meanwhile, Huawei’s CFO, Meng Wanzhou, has filed a suit in Canada for violating her constitutional rights as she continues her fight against extradition to the United States. Jude Woodward, the author of the new book “The US vs China: Asia's new Cold War?,” joins the show. Venezuelan oppositionist Juan Guaido returned to the country yesterday after meeting with the right-wing leaders of Colombia and Brazil in defiance of a Supreme Court order prohibiting him from leaving the country. He breezed through customs and immigration officials without incident and then brazenly called for the overthrow of President Nicolas Maduro at a rally in Caracas. Supporters of both Maduro and Guaido will hold large-scale demonstrations on Saturday. Brian and John speak with Anya Parampil, a Washington-based journalist for The Grayzone Project. The Trump Administration has canceled agreements that give Turkey and India preferential treatment in trade. The US Trade Representative’s office said that India has not allowed more US goods into the country in contravention of the current agreement, and Turkey no longer qualifies for trade concessions. While the U.S.-China trade war might be cooling down, the Trump administration is now moving to ignite conflicts with other major economies. Steve Keen, the author of “Debunking Economics” and the world’s first crowdfunded economist, whose work is at patreon.com/ProfSteveKeen, joins the show. Following statements from top European leaders, including the Irish Prime Minister and the president of the European Council, expectations are mounting that the long-anticipated departure of the UK from the European Union will be delayed. British Prime Minister Theresa May is still holding out for a March 29 Brexit however and is desperately maneuvering to improve her government’s position. Neil Clark, a journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Week, and Morning Star, joins Brian and John. Today’s regular segment that airs every Tuesday is called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society and today they focus on International Women’s Day. Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell join the show. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Brian and John speak with financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey.

Why the Trump-Kim Korea Peace Talks Broke Down and What’s Next

Mar 4, 2019 6841

Description:

On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Tim Shorrock, a Washington-based investigative journalist who grew up in Japan and South Korea and who is the author of “SPIES FOR HIRE: The Secret World of Outsourced Intelligence.” The conventional wisdom is that the US-North Korean summit in Hanoi was a failure that resulted in no deals and no changes to the sanctions regime, but new moves by the United States and South Korea aim to put the peace process back on track. The cancellation of large-scale war exercises and statements by top officials are raising hopes that negotiations can be revived. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. Congressional Democrats announced that they will aggressively pursue an investigation into obstruction of justice and a wide range of other misconduct against President Trump as the Mueller probe appears to be wrapping up, leaving many of the most fervent Russiagate proponents disappointed. Meanwhile, Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, announced over the weekend that he would vote against President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency related to the border. This means a measure rejecting the declaration now has enough votes to pass the Senate despite Trump’s veto threat. Brian and John speak with Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net who has written on this topic in a recent article called "Be Careful What You Ask For: Wasting Time with Manafort, Cohen, and Russiagate." Venezuelan opposition leader and self-declared President Juan Guaido has returned to Venezuela following a trip to meet with the right-wing leaders of Colombia, Brazil and Ecuador carried out in defiance of a court-issued travel ban. The Trump Administration warned the government of President Nicolas Maduro today that Guaido’s arrest would be deemed a hostile provocation. Dan Cohen, a journalist and a documentary filmmaker, most recently of the film Killing Gaza, joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto,” joins Brian and John. Representative Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat who is Muslim, rejected criticism from some of her colleagues after she criticized the influence of pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC. Rep. Jerry Nadler, the Democratic chairman of the House Oversight Committee, called Omar’s comments “a vile, anti-Semitic slur.” Meanwhile, a blatantly Islamophobic display in the West Virginia capitol building that linked Rep. Omar to 9/11 is causing outrage. Ali Abunimah, the co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of the book “The Battle for Justice in Palestine,” joins the show. Hundreds of people, including ISIS fighters, fled their last foothold in eastern Syria this morning after US-backed Kurdish fighters had to slow their own advance because ISIS was using civilians as human shields. Even so, a spokesman for Kurdish forces said the battle to take Baghouz from ISIS would be over quickly. Rick Sterling, an investigative journalist and member of the Syria Solidarity Movement, joins Brian and John.

Cohen Testimony Wraps Up, Trump Returns from Hanoi Summit With No Deal

Mar 1, 2019 6774

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Walter Smolarek (filling in for Brian Becker) and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman and Abdus Luqman, the editors-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which livestreams every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook. Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on Michael Cohen’s testimony this week, the issue of reparations in the 2020 elections, the Kim-Trump summit in Hanoi, and Nigerian elections. South Korean President Moon Jae In struggled to save face today after the collapse of President Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Moon said in a speech that the summit’s failure makes South Korea even more important on the world stage. But polls show that most South Koreans wanted the summit to succeed. Meanwhile, the North Koreans wanted sanctions relief more than anything, and they got none of that. Hyun Lee, a member of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea and writer for Zoominkorea.org, joins the show. Israel’s Attorney General yesterday indicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on three felony counts related to bribery and breach of trust. The announcement, coming just before next month’s general election, is a major blow to Netanyahu as he seeks a fifth term in office. Brian and John speak with Miko Peled, the author of “The General’s Son - A Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.” Miko Peled has a new book "Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning revealed yesterday that she has been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia. Last month the Justice Department accidentally revealed that it had secretly indicted Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange in the Eastern District. Manning said that she will fight the subpoena. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo can’t just let Amazon walk away. So he’s written an open letter to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos begging him to reconsider his decision to not open a second headquarters in Queens. Cuomo also has phoned Bezos and other Amazon executives asking them to come back. Dr. Jack Rasmus, a professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California and author of “Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression,” whose work is at www.jackrasmus.com, joins Walter and John. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Walter and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his site Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

Korea Peace Process Dealt a Blow as Trump Walks from Bargaining Table

Feb 28, 2019 6915

Description:

On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Walter Smolarek and John Kiriakou are joined by Brian Becker, who is in Hanoi covering the US-North Korean summit. Talks between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ended today with no agreement on any issue. Kim said that he would continue a moratorium on missile testing and development, but the fate of future negotiations remain very much in doubt. Can the peace process be put back on track? Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. Michael Cohen, President Trump’s longtime personal attorney and fixer, testified on Capitol Hill, saying that the President was a liar, a conman, and a racist, and that those around the President had traded their own integrity for proximity to power. Expectedly, the President exploded on Twitter, despite being busy with his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Cohen is due to report to prison on a myriad of felony charges in the next few weeks, which his opponents cite as reason to disbelieve his testimony. Walter and John speak with Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer who is the author of the book “The Plot to Control the World: How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World.” President Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is finishing up a visit through the Middle East to publicize an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. Meanwhile, the United Nations released a report saying that “the commission found reasonable grounds to believe that … the use of live ammunition by Israeli security forces against demonstrators was unlawful.” Ariel Gold, a peace activist and the national co-director of Code Pink, joins the show. Veterans for Peace is Thursday’s regular segment about the contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who refused orders to deploy to Vietnam and lived in exile in Canada and Sweden for 6 years, organizing with other U.S. military deserters and draft resisters against the Vietnam war, and for amnesty for U.S. war resisters, joins the show. He has been a peace and solidarity activist for almost 50 years and has served on the Board of Veterans For Peace for the last 6 years, currently as national president. A regular Thursday segment deals with the ongoing militarization of space. As the US continues to withdraw from international arms treaties, will the weaponization and militarization of space bring the world closer to catastrophe? Brian and John speak with Prof. Karl Grossman, a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury, the author of six books, and the host of a nationally-aired television program focused on environmental, energy, and space issues. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif resigned earlier this week just hours after meeting with an American peace delegation, apologizing for what he called his shortcomings. But President Hassan Rouhani refused the resignation, and Zarif was back in the office two days later. What was behind the resignation? Walter and John speak with Massoud Shadjareh, the founder of the Islamic Human Rights Commission.

Historic Kim-Trump Summit Begins: Will the Korean War Finally End?

Feb 27, 2019 6991

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Walter Smolarek and John Kiriakou are joined by Brian Becker, who is in Hanoi covering the US-North Korean summit, and Christine Ahn, a co-founder of the Korea Policy Institute and the International Coordinator of Women Cross DMZ. President Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un held a joint press conference today during which Trump said that he foresees a North Korea that is an economic powerhouse in East Asia. He added that he expects to make progress this week on outstanding issues between the two countries and repeated that he has an excellent personal relationship with Kim. Former attorney for President Trump Michael Cohen testified in open session before the House Oversight Committee today. He submitted documents to the committee including copies of hush money checks that Trump wrote to him, financial documents, and emails. Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist, whose work is at www.rall.com, joins the show. A series of airstrikes have dramatically escalated the conflict between India and Pakistan. Are we headed toward another war in South Asia? Brian and John speak with Dr. Marvin Weinbaum, Scholar-in-Residence and director of the Middle East Institute’s Center for Pakistan and Afghanistan Studies. Venezuela’s self-declared president Juan Guaido said today that he will begin exercising his “presidential duties” as soon as he returns to Venezuela from Colombia, where he met with Vice President Pence and Colombian President Ivan Duque. Meanwhile, the diplomatic tide appears to be turning in favor of President Maduro as several countries vigorously opposed foreign intervention at the UN Security Council and a major pro-government international civil society conference is held in Caracas. Anya Parampil, a Washington-based journalist for The Grayzone Project, joins the show. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective. Today the hosts focus on the Congressional vote of disapproval of the national emergency, the US-Korean summit going on now in Vietnam, and the ongoing debate about letting U.S. citizen Hoda Muthana back in the country after leaving ISIS. Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, joins the show. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Today the hosts talk about Diablo Canyon, where nuclear reactors are scheduled to shut down; the massive proposed Holtec New Mexico radioactive waste dump; and the nuclear weapon state conflicts of India v. Pakistan and US v. Russia. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show.

Labour Declares Support for New Referendum As UK Faces "No Deal" Brexit

Feb 26, 2019 6804

Description:

On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Walter Smolarek, filling in for Brian Becker, and John Kiriakou are joined by Neil Clark, a journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Week, and Morning Star. British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said yesterday that Labour is prepared to back another Brexit referendum if the party’s own Brexit plan is rejected in parliament tomorrow. The UK is still scheduled to withdraw from the European Union on March 29, but any number of scenarios could come to pass before then. President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Hanoi today in advance of their second bilateral summit. Substantive meetings will begin almost immediately, with the media speculating that Trump may offer to formally end the Korean War. Co-host Brian Becker, who is in Hanoi covering the summit, joins the show. For the first time in a half century, Indian fighter jets this morning carried out airstrikes inside Pakistan, killed what the Indians called “a very large number” Jaish e-Muhammad terrorists. The strikes come in response to a suicide bombing last week that killed 40 Indian soldiers in the disputed region of Kashmir. Walter and John speak with Dr. Marvin Weinbaum, the Scholar-in-Residence and director of the Middle East Institute’s Center for Pakistan and Afghanistan Studies. Cubans yesterday overwhelmingly ratified a new constitution that replaces the country’s 1976 charter. 84.4 percent of Cuba’s 8.7 million voters went to the polls, with 87 percent supporting ratification, 9 percent opposing it, and the remainder entering spoiled or blank ballots. Arnold August, a lecturer, journalist and author of the book “Cuba-US Relations: Obama and Beyond,” joins the show. President Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen is scheduled to begin three days of testimony on Capitol Hill today. Two of those sessions will be behind closed doors. The third is in open session. The mainstream media says that Cohen will likely tell lawmakers about illegalities the President, his company, and his children may have been involved in. Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War,” joins Walter and John. Today’s regular segment that airs every Tuesday is called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell join the show. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Walter and John speak with financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister: American People Should Stand Up for Peace

Feb 25, 2019 7054

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On today's episode Loud & Clear has a special and extensive interview with Venezuela’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jorge Arreaza. In addition to his current role of the country’s top diplomat, which he has held since 2017, Minister Arreaza previously served in the cabinet as the Minister in charge of education, science and technology and was Venezuela’s Vice President from 2013 to 2016. Loud & Clear Producer Walter Smolarek traveled to New York on Sunday to conduct the interview at Venezuela’s diplomatic residence in the city. Then, following the dramatic events of last Saturday, where supporters of coup leader Juan Guaidó attempted to storm the Venezuela-Colombia border, the so-called Lima Group of countries supporting Guaidó held a high-profile meeting in Colombia where Mike Pence gave an address. Loud & Clear Producer Walter Smolarek fills John and Nicole in on the latest. Co-host Brian Becker is in Hanoi this week to cover the second summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The President said yesterday that he has high hopes for the meetings this week, that he and Kim are “on the same page,” and that he is confident the two countries can settle their differences. Administration officials are suggesting that Vietnam could be a model for a future North Korea. Brian Becker joins the show from Hanoi, Vietnam. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? The hosts focus on the Oakland teacher strike, in its third day. Today, Rick Ayers, a professor of education at the University of San Francisco and co-author of the book “You Can’t Fire the Bad Ones: And 18 Other Myths about Teachers, Teachers Unions, and Public Education,” joins Walter and John. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show.

Trump & Pentagon Setting the Stage for War against Venezuela

Feb 22, 2019 7015

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jim Kavanagh, founder of thepolemicist.net, whose most recent article is “The Siege of Venezuela and The Travails of Empire,” and Sputnik News analyst and producer Walter Smolarek. Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on the ongoing situation in Venezuela, the power of labor and teachers recent successes, and the new announcement that 200 “peacekeeping” troops will now stay in Syria. As the US effort to overthrow the Venezuelan government has run into obstacles within Venezuela, there appears to be a growing danger of a US orchestrated military intervention in alliance between the Pentagon and the right-wing governments of Colombia and Brazil. US-corporate owned media today were dominated by headlines related to an incident at the Venezuela-Brazil border. The New York Times headline for instance reads, “Deadly Violence Erupts on Brazil Border in Venezuela Aid Showdown: Venezuelan security forces fired on those protesting the government’s determination to block aid.” Meanwhile, competing concerts are still scheduled to take place today and tomorrow on both sides of the Venezuelan-Colombian border. Paul Dobson, a writer for VenezuelAnalysis.com, joins the show. A court in North Carolina has ordered a rerun of the congressional election in the state’s 9th district. A firm hired by Republican candidate Mark Harris was found to have committed egregious election irregularities, invalidating the result. Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist, whose work is at www.rall.com, joins the show. Hoda Muthana is an American woman. She was born in the United States, the daughter of a former Yemeni diplomat and she went to college in Alabama. But in 2014 she told her parents that she was going to attend a university event. Instead, she went to Syria and joined the Islamic State. Now she wants to come home. But President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo won’t allow her. Indeed, Pompeo says she isn’t even really a US citizen. Brian and John speak with Hassan Shibly, the Muthana family attorney and the Executive Director of the Florida Council of American Islamic Relations at Tampa. The Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs acknowledged yesterday that it had issued a passport to Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange in September 2018 as a result of extended negotiations. It is not clear what Assange would be able to do with the passport. He has sought asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and would likely be extradited to the United States if he leaves. Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, joins Brian and John. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his site Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

Mueller Russiagate Probe Ending: What to Expect?

Feb 21, 2019 6822

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker is joined by Coleen Rowley, a former FBI special agent who in 2002 was named Time Magazine person of the year along with two other whistleblowers. It is widely believed that the final report from the Mueller probe report will be submitted next week. The investigation has led to a string of indictments, but mostly relate to lying to the FBI and other crimes not connected to collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. What can we expect, and what impact will it have on U.S. politics and foreign policy? In a rare unanimous decision from the Supreme Court, the practice of civil asset forfeiture was declared unconstitutional in most instances. This is a major victory for advocates who have long argued that civil asset forfeiture was little more than a mechanism for police agencies to steal from the general public. Brad Schlesinger, an appellate attorney licensed to practice in the Supreme Court, joins the show. A new alliance has been formed by the former head of the Israeli military and the leader of a smaller so-called centrist political party to take on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in upcoming elections. In response, Netanyahu has even further embraced the extreme right wing of Israeli politics. Brian speaks with Miko Peled, the author of “The General’s Son - A Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.” Miko Peled also has a new book "Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five. The fight against ISIS in the final piece of territory it controls continues to drag on as hundreds of civilians flee the battlefield. Meanwhile, a major political controversy has erupted over whether or not citizens of countries like the UK and United States who joined ISIS -- including some who were children at the time -- will be allowed to return home. Ambassador Peter Ford, the former UK Ambassador to Syria, joins the show. Veterans for Peace is Thursday’s regular segment about the contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who refused orders to deploy to Vietnam and lived in exile in Canada and Sweden for 6 years, organizing with other U.S. military deserters and draft resisters against the Vietnam war, and for amnesty for U.S. war resisters, joins the show. He has been a peace and solidarity activist for almost 50 years and has served on the Board of Veterans For Peace for the last 6 years, currently as national president. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. A regular Thursday segment deals with the ongoing militarization of space. As the US continues to withdraw from international arms treaties, will the weaponization and militarization of space bring the world closer to catastrophe? Brian speaks with Prof. Karl Grossman, a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury, the author of six books, and the host of a nationally-aired television program focused on environmental, energy, and space issues.

Andrew McCabe: The Politics of an Attempted FBI Coup

Feb 20, 2019 6748

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer who is the author of the book “The Plot to Control the World: How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World.” Former FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe told NBC’s Today Show yesterday that he had briefed senior Congressional leaders--called the Gang of Eight--on the counterintelligence investigation that he had initiated against President Trump and that “no one objected--not on legal grounds, not on constitutional grounds, and not based on the facts.” President Trump said in a speech in Miami on Monday that there is “no going back” in his efforts to oust Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro as fears of a staged provocation along the border with Colombia this Saturday mount. Meanwhile, supporters of U.S.-backed self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido have reportedly seized control of the Venezuelan embassy in Costa Rica. Lucas Koerner, an activist and writer for VenezuelAnalysis.com, joins the show. Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual address to the nation, threatened to use new weapons systems to target countries that host offensive missiles and countries that deploy them, calling out the United States in particular. Putin said that Moscow is not seeking confrontation with Washington, but that it objected to the recent US decisions to withdraw from the INF Treaty and to deploy US missiles to central and eastern Europe. Brian and John speak with Steven Starr, a professor at the University of Missouri in the Peace Studies Program on the environmental, health, and social effects of nuclear weapons, and a senior scientist for Physicians for Social Responsibility. Three British Conservative Party parliamentarians quit the Tories and joined eight former Labour MPs in a new independent political group that looks like it’s becoming a bona fide political party. The conservatives left the party over Brexit, while the Labour members, who are widely to be considered centrist “Blairites”, accused their former party of anti-Semitism. The new Independent Group is now the fourth largest political grouping in parliament, along with the Liberal Democrats. Jess Cobbett, a researcher for a British Labour Party Member of Parliament, joins the show. The US Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to consider the Maryland Attorney General’s bid to revive a state law aimed at preventing price gouging by pharmaceutical companies. The court let stand a Circuit Court ruling that it was a constitutional violation to try to stop big pharma from raising the prices of medication. Dr. Margaret Flowers, a medical doctor and the co-coordinator of Popular Resistance whose work is at www.popularresistance.org, joins Brian and John. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective. Today they talk about Bernie Sanders announcing his bid for the democratic nomination, Trump’s attempted coup in Venezuela, the danger of war against Venezuela, and the effort by the Trump administration to pull the plug on a high speed train linking Southern and northern california. Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek, join the show. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show.

Bernie Sanders Announces 2020 Bid as Trump Crusades against “Socialism”

Feb 19, 2019 6944

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Anoa Changa, the Director of Political Advocacy and a Managing Editor of Progressive Army, and host of the show The Way With Anoa. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders announced his candidacy for president this morning. Recent polls show Sanders narrowly trailing former Vice President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination. But Sanders is expected to face fierce attacks from the Democratic Party establishment. President Trump issued a direct threat against Venezuela in a speech in Miami yesterday, urging the largely loyal Venezuelan military to move to the side of Juan Guaidó. He said that those backing the elected government of Nicolas Maduro were risking their own lives and that, while the US seeks a peaceful transition of power from Maduro to Guaidó, “all options are open.” Paul Dobson, a writer for VenezuelAnalysis.com and Walter Smolarek, Sputnik News analyst, join the show. Facebook has blocked the viral video channel In the Now after CNN accused it of being a Kremlin propaganda outlet aimed at American millennials and of hiding its leadership structure. But it never did any such thing. Brian and John speak with Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, whose most recent article is “The Siege of Venezuela and The Travails of Empire.” Seven members of the British parliament left the Labour Party yesterday, criticizing Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and sending shockwaves through the country’s political system. As Brexit and the possibility of a new election looms, this split could prove to be exactly what conservative Prime Minister Theresa May needs to stay in power. Neil Clark, a journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Week, and Morning Star, and Sputnik News analyst Walter Smolarek, join the show. Investigators in North Carolina have determined that a political operative working on behalf of a Republican congressional candidate oversaw an illegal absentee ballot scheme and went to elaborate lengths to conceal it. The finding could lead to a new election for what is the only still-undecided congressional race in the country. Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter and founder of This Can’t Be Happening!, as well as a columnist for CounterPunch, and a contributor to the London Review of Books, The Nation, Extra! Tarbell, and Salon.com, joins Brian and John. Today’s regular segment that airs every Tuesday is called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society, including the teacher strikes in West Virginia, Chicago, Oakland, and Denver, a new nurses strike, and climate marches here and in Europe. Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell join the show. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Brian and John speak with financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey.

A National Emergency that Isn’t: Trump Says “I Didn’t Need to Do This”

Feb 15, 2019 6755

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which livestreams every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and Sputnik News analyst and producer Walter Smolarek. Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on Trump’s announcement today that he’ll sign the funding bill and a national emergency, the ongoing coup attempt in Venezuela, and Amazon pulling out of putting a headquarters in New York City. Amazon yesterday abruptly announced that it was canceling plans to open a second headquarters site in the Queens borough of New York City. The move came amid what the company said was an unexpected backlash from lawmakers, union leaders, and progressives angry over huge tax breaks and incentives that the state offered the company. Brian and John speak with Gabi Silva, an organizer with Damayan and the Scamazon Coalition as well as a resident of Queens. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has called a snap general election for April, continuing a period of turmoil as the territorial conflict over Catalonian independence continues to weigh on the country’s politics. Sanchez suffered a major defeat earlier this week as opposition parties banded together to defeat his budget. The new election is expected to reveal even further fragmentation of the country’s political landscape. Sputnik news analyst and producer of this show Walter Smolarek joins the show. A Washington DC developer has resorted to intimidation and displacement tactics to force residents from their homes in the city’s Brookland Manor. Developer Mid-City Financial stands to receive $47 million to reduce the affordable housing stock and increase the number of luxury units available in Northeast Washington. And the company is using hardball tactics to do that. Brian and John speak with Yasmina Mrabet, a housing organizer with LinkUp, a community group organizing with tenant associations around the city. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the Chinese government is in talks with Venezuelan opposition leaders to safeguard its investments in the country. The Journal says that Chinese economic officials are worried about the $20 billion that Venezuela owes China, as well as its investments in the Venezuelan oil industry. Chinese officials, however, called the reports “fake news” and said that no such discussions had taken place. This is just one front in the global battle for control of Venezuela’s oil assets following U.S.-backed Juan Guaidó’s appointment of parallel boards of directors for the country’s main petroleum corporations. Andy Brennan, a journalist with Asia Times and CGTN in Beijing, joins the show.

BBC Producer Admits Syrian “Chemical Attack” Was Staged

Feb 14, 2019 6746

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dr. Piers Robinson, the chairman of the politics, society, and political journalism department at the University of Sheffield and the author of “Routledge Handbook of Media, Conflict and Security.” Following an in-depth investigation by James Harkin published in The Intercept about the Douma chemical weapons attack, a BBC reporter has come out publicly to say he can confirm the core claims of the article, which challenge the dominant narrative around that attack that served as a pretext for a U.S. strike on the country. Elliott Abrams is a convicted criminal who played a key role in the Iran-Contra scandal and death squad operations in Latin America in the 1980s. He’s also President Trump’s special envoy for Venezuela, leading the effort to overthrow the government of President Nicolas Maduro and to install a puppet regime led by Juan Guaido. He testified yesterday before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, but faced a hostile crowd leery of his history of lying to Congress and his support for a hawkish, activist, neoconservative foreign policy. Kei Pritsker, an activist who was arrested yesterday during the hearing, joins the show. Our friend and contributor Ted Rall recently had a major court decision go against him in California. This was a case that had very important implications for Americans’ constitutional rights to freedom of speech. In the end, the court decided essentially, that Ted’s right to criticize the Los Angeles Police Department was less important than the Los Angeles Times’s right to block Ted’s right to freedom of speech. It’s a case with very important constitutional implications. Ted is appealing that ruling to the California Supreme Court. Brian and John speak with Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist, whose work is at www.rall.com. Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe confirmed yesterday that FBI officials were so alarmed by President Trump’s decision to fire former FBI director James Comey, that they held talks on recruiting a cabinet official to push Trump out of office using the Constitution’s 25th amendment. Meanwhile, a federal judge yesterday ruled that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort breached the terms of his plea deal by lying to investigators after taking the deal. The ruling virtually ensures that, absent a presidential pardon, Manafort will die in prison. Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer who is the author of the new book “The Plot to Control the World: How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World,” joins the show. Veterans for Peace is Thursday’s regular segment about the contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who refused orders to deploy to Vietnam and lived in exile in Canada and Sweden for 6 years, organizing with other U.S. military deserters and draft resisters against the Vietnam war, and for amnesty for U.S. war resisters, joins the show. He has been a peace and solidarity activist for almost 50 years and has served on the Board of Veterans For Peace for the last 6 years, currently as national president. Congress today will vote on a budget to keep the federal government open beyond midnight tomorrow, even though President Trump has not yet said that he’ll sign the measure. The deal does not include funding for the president’s border wall. Susan Pai, an immigration attorney and a member of a number of civil liberties and immigrant rights organizations, joins the show. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show.

U.S. Anti-Iran Conference Goes off the Rails

Feb 13, 2019 6800

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Mark Sleboda, an international affairs and security analyst. Sixty countries are participating in a two-day US-organized Middle East so-called “peace conference” in Warsaw starting today that was originally billed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as a gathering to put pressure on Iran. The conference comes as some countries, including several in the European Union, are hoping to salvage the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, increasing tensions with Washington. Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Shelby made the rounds of political talk shows over the past two days to say that his committee had found no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. CBS and NBC reported at length on that conclusion. Ranking Democrat Mark Warner, however, said that he “respectfully disagreed” with Shelby, adding that, while there was no evidence of collusion, the Committee still had to interview several key witnesses. Meanwhile, some proponents of the Russiagate campaign are attempting to downplay expectations by arguing that the Mueller probe isn’t expansive enough. Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War,” joins the show. Congress is finally set to help veterans who were exposed to highly toxic burn pits in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Solid waste--everything from abandoned military equipment to plastic, to expired food, to body parts--is doused with jet fuel and set ablaze by the US military overseas. But the smoke and fumes are highly toxic and cause rare brain cancers. Brian and John speak with Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Non-Violence, and Joe Hickman, journalist, professor, and author of “The Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America's Soldiers.” British Prime Minister Theresa May’s top Brexit negotiator is finding himself in hot water. He was reportedly overheard speaking in a Brussels bar and saying that if parliament does not vote to support May’s Brexit deal with the European Union, the prime minister could indefinitely delay leaving the union, keeping the country in economic and political limbo with no end in sight. May spoke before parliament today to address the controversy. Steve Hedley, the senior assistant general secretary of the the UK’s Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers Union, joins the show. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective. Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek, join Brian and John. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show.

Theater of the Absurd: The Politics of Another Gov’t Shutdown

Feb 12, 2019 6845

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Juan Carlos Ruiz, cofounder of the New Sanctuary Movement. President Trump held a rally in El Paso, Texas yesterday that was meant to pressure congressional negotiators into funding his border wall. But things didn’t work out the way he had expected. First, negotiators came to an agreement in principle to fund the government beyond Friday without any input from the president and without money for a wall. And then his rally was dwarfed in size by a competing rally across town held by possibly Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke. Ilhan Omar is a freshman congresswoman from Minnesota. She’s one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress and is the body’s first Somali-American and first refugee. She’s a strong supporter of self-determination for the Palestinian people. And last week she tweeted light-heartedly that much US support for Israel is a result of money injected into politics by AIPAC, the American Israel Political Action Committee. The condemnation was swift and strong. Omar apologized immediately. But what did she say that was wrong? Dan Cohen, a journalist and a documentary filmmaker, most recently of the film “Killing Gaza,” joins the show. The Defense Department announced this morning that US fighter jets attacked a mosque in eastern Syria that was being used as an ISIS control center as American-allied Syrian forces battled the extremists in their last stronghold in the country. Brian and John speak with Ambassador Peter Ford, the former UK Ambassador to Syria. A regular Tuesday segment deals with the ongoing militarization of space. As the US continues to withdraw from international arms treaties, will the weaponization and militarization of space bring the world closer to catastrophe? Prof. Karl Grossman, a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury, the author of six books, and the host of a nationally-aired television program focused on environmental, energy, and space issues, joins the show. A dozen leaders of Catalonia’s failed 2017 independence bid have gone on trial in Madrid on charges that include rebellion and sedition. Several of them face up to 25 years in prison. The semi-autonomous region held an independence referendum on October 1, 2017 and declared its independence from Spain weeks later. Dick Nichols, the correspondent for Spain and Catalonia for Green Left Weekly, and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek, join Brian and John. Today’s regular segment that airs every Tuesday is called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell join the show. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Brian and John speak with financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey.

Trump & Democrats Push “Fake News” About Venezuela

Feb 11, 2019 6814

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Paul Dobson, a writer for VenezuelAnalysis.com, and Lucas Koerner, an activist and writer for VenezuelAnalysis.com. The Trump Administration succeeded last week in advancing its overthrow of the Venezuelan government and in controlling the public relations agenda. A false narrative that President Nicolas Maduro blocked a food and aid convoy was all over the mainstream media. Former Vice President Joe Biden jumped on the bandwagon to endorse puppet figure Juan Guaido, and the US moved to cripple CITGO, the US-based retail branch of the Venezuelan national oil company. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. Negotiators clashed on Sunday over whether to limit the number of migrants whom authorities can detain at the border, creating a new hurdle as the two sides try to strike a compromise before the government shuts down--again--on Friday. Brian and John speak with Juan José Gutiérrez, the executive director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto,” joins the show. What is a stock buyback? It’s a common way for companies to prop up their stock prices and create wealth for shareholders. The company uses cash on hand to buy its own stock on the open market, thus propping up the price regardless of what the economy is doing. But is that necessarily a good thing? Couldn’t the money be put to better use if it’s spent on innovation or on workers? Dr. Jack Rasmus, a professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California and author of “Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression” whose work is at www.jackrasmus.com, joins Brian and John. The US and South Korea struck a last-minute deal over the weekend on the cost of the US military presence there. South Korea will pay $890 million a year for the US military to occupy its country, an 8.2 percent increase over the previous five-year deal. South Korea already was paying 50 percent of the cost of the US military presence, but the US had sought at least $1 billion per year. Author and professor Tim Beal whose most recent book is “Crisis in Korea,” joins the show. President Trump refused to abide by a legal mandate to tell Congress by Friday whether the White House thinks Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman was responsible for the death of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. A senior Administration official said, “The president maintains his discretion to decline to act on congressional committee requests when appropriate.” Brian and John speak with Ariel Gold, a peace activist and the national co-director of Code Pink.

Targeting Immigrants & “Socialism,” Trump Signals 2020 Campaign Themes

Feb 8, 2019 6639

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which livestreams every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and Jodi Dean, a professor of Political Science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges whose latest book is “Crowds and Party.” Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on the implosion of the Democratic Party leadership in Virginia, why Donald Trump has declared the war against socialism inside the United States to be central to his ongoing political campaign effort, new exposees about the Trump-led coup in Venezuela, the war against women’s rights and the block from the Supreme Court on a stringent anti-abortion law in Louisiana, and much more. In an explosive tell-all blog posted yesterday, Amazon founder and world’s richest man Jeff Bezos accused the publisher of the National Enquirer of trying to blackmail him. The post on the blogging platform Medium revealed what Bezos said were the full texts of emails his representatives received from executives at the National Enquirer’s parent company threatening to publish nude photos that Bezos apparently had sent to his girlfriend. In exchange, the Enquirer wanted Bezos to announce that he had no reason to believe that the Enquirer’s reporting was politically motivated or influenced by political forces. Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at www.rall.com, joins the show. A diplomatic row between France and Italy deepened yesterday as France recalled its ambassador to Italy after populist Italian deputy Prime Minister Luigi de Maio met with Yellow Vest leaders in central Paris. The media is calling the development the worst crisis between the two countries since the end of the Second World War. Italy has not been shy in criticizing French President Emmanuel Macron on issues from immigration and trade to the Yellow Vests. Brian and John speak with Gilbert Mercier, Editor in Chief of News Junkie Post and the author of “The Orwellian Empire.” Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York and Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, yesterday sponsored a massive bill that they are calling the Green New Deal. It is a massive policy package that would reshape the entire US economy and, in the end, eliminate all carbon emissions. In doing so, it aims to boost the economy and create millions of jobs. Dr. Margaret Flowers, a medical doctor and the co-coordinator of Popular Resistance at www.popularresistance.org, joins the show. In the midst of the political turmoil in Washington and the changes in trade policy worldwide, more and more american farmers are facing bankruptcies. Kathy Schmitt, Bureau Director, Farm and Agribusiness Services, and Frank Friar, Economic Specialist: Financial Consulting & Farm Succession Planning, both at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, join Brian and John. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his site Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

"Multilateral Coalitions" as a Fig Leaf for U.S. Imperial Intervention

Feb 7, 2019 6879

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Alexander Mercouris, the editor-in-chief of The Duran; Ann Wright, a retired United States Army colonel who resigned in protest of the invasion of Iraq and became an anti-war activist; Kim Ives, an editor of the newspaper Haiti Liberte; and producer Walter Smolarek. The United States makes a practice of touting international coalitions as a means to achieve a military or foreign policy goal. Just think of the coalition to defeat ISIS, the Coalition of the Willing that was the Iraq War, the coalition that overthrew the Libyan government, the Lima Group, and others. But these international coalitions are really just a myth. They serve as a cover for US intervention around the world in the absence of a United Nations Security Council Resolution or other international approval for military action. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. An international conference of neutral countries will be held today in Uruguay to jumpstart a dialogue between Venezuelans seeking a way out of the current crisis sparked by the U.S.-orchestrated effort to install Juan Guiadó as Venezuela’s president. Spokesmen for the governments of Uruguay and Mexico said they expect at least 10 countries to be represented at the talks today in Montevideo. Brian and John speak with Aline Piva, a journalist and a member of Brazilians for Democracy and Social Justice, and Sputnik News analyst Walter Smolarek The Virginia Democratic Party is in a state of collapse. Senior Democrats around the country are calling for Governor Ralph Northam to resign after allegations that he appeared in blackface and with a friend dressed as a Ku Klux Klansman in college. Attorney General Mark Herring also admitted to appearing in blackface while in college. And Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax is being accused of sexually assaulting a woman. If all three are forced to resign, as appears increasingly likely, the Republican House Speaker would become governor. He became speaker after an election was decided by drawing lots from a hat. Rebecca Keel, a Richmond community organizer and a member of Southerners on New Ground, joins the show. Veterans for Peace is Thursday’s regular segment about the contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who refused orders to deploy to Vietnam and lived in exile in Canada and Sweden for 6 years, organizing with other U.S. military deserters and draft resisters against the Vietnam war, and for amnesty for U.S. war resisters, joins the show. He has been a peace and solidarity activist for almost 50 years and has served on the Board of Veterans For Peace for the last 6 years, currently as national president. This week, Sputnik News analyst Walter Smolarek also joins the show. Jill Abramson, the former Executive Editor of the New York Times, is being accused of plagiarising portions of her new book, “Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts,” which purports to be an expose of Vice News. Abramson told Fox News yesterday that she had no comment, other than to deny plagiarism. But Vice News released a carefully-annotated side-by-side comparison of the book along with passages from Time Out and The New Yorker magazines and the Columbia Journalism Review that show uncanny similarities. Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist, whose work is at www.rall.com, joins the show. Israel’s Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked, who now co-chairs a new political party called “The New Right,” recently posted a tweet accusing the Israeli right wing party Likud of being left. That’s a common put-down right now in Israel. But what it really means is the accused is weak and unwilling to kill Palestinians. Brian and John speak with Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek.

Trump Lashes out at Venezuela, Russia and Iran in State of the Union

Feb 6, 2019 6873

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective, including immigrant rights, economic inequality, US military presence around the world, and the Democratic response. The US Senate yesterday voted 77-23 to allow states to penalize businesses that participate in the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement against Israel. The bill, which also includes measures aiming to prolong U.S. troop presence in Syria and Afghanistan, goes to the House of Representatives for consideration today. Even though the bill had broad support in the Senate, several senators, including Vermont’s Bernie Sanders and Kentucky’s Rand Paul, opined that the measure was likely unconstitutional and would be overturned. Ali Abunimah, the co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of the book “The Battle for Justice in Palestine,” and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek, join the show. A report published this morning by the human rights group Amnesty International concludes that the United Arab Emirates is illegally supplying advanced American weaponry to Yemeni militias and other factions there. The report describes how the UAE has become what Amnesty International calls “a major conduit” for armored vehicles, mortar systems, and guns to groups accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. A parallel CNN investigation found that both the UAE and Saudi Arabia were transferring US weapons to al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in Yemen. Brian and John speak with Dr. May Darwich, an assistant professor in International Relations of the Middle East in the School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show.

"Our Rights are Under Attack!": The Real State of the Union for Women

Feb 5, 2019 6850

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell join the show. Today’s regular segment that airs every Tuesday is called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society, and today focuses on the the state of the union for women, including health care, immigration, abortion access, and more. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey joins the show. President Trump this evening will deliver his second State of the Union address. The president is expected to focus on immigration and on his demands for a border wall and his threats to declare a national emergency to build the border wall, as well as the opioid crisis, the economy, and sentencing reform. Will the American people see the so-called presidential Donald Trump of last year’s State of the Union? Or will we see the angry Donald Trump of Twitter? Brian and John speak with Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist. You can check out his work at www.rall.com. The US envoy to the Korean peace talks Stephen Biegun will meet with high-level officials in North Korea tomorrow as preparations for the second Kim-Trump summit go down to the wire. There is also anticipation that crucial new details about the summit will be announced by President Trump during tonight’s state of the union address. Hyun Lee, a member of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea and writer for Zoominkorea.org, joins the show. Senior Afghan officials, including former president Hamid Karzai, met with Taliban representatives in Moscow today weeks after the insurgents met with US representatives to discuss an end to the war. Again, however, no Afghan government officials were present. And President Ashraf Ghani strongly criticized the talks as undermining his government. Dr. Marvin Weinbaum, the Scholar-in-Residence and director of the Middle East Institute’s Center for Pakistan and Afghanistan Studies, joins Brian and John. President Trump announced on Twitter yesterday that he will nominate acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to formally take over the job from former Secretary Ryan Zinke, who resigned two months ago under an ethics cloud. Bernhardt is a former oil and agriculture industry lobbyist, who Congressman Raul Grijalva, the chairman of the House Interior Committee, described as “everything that’s wrong with this administration.” Fred Magdoff, professor emeritus of plant and soil science at the University of Vermont and the co-author of “What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism” and “Creating an Ecological Society: Toward a Revolutionary Transformation” from Monthly Review Press, joins the show. A regular Tuesday segment deals with the ongoing militarization of space. As the US continues to withdraw from international arms treaties, will the weaponization and militarization of space bring the world closer to catastrophe? Brian and John speak with Prof. Karl Grossman, a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury, the author of six books, and the host of a nationally-aired television program focused on environmental, energy, and space issues.

Trump’s Comments Enrage Iraqis: What’s the Real Role of US Troops?

Feb 4, 2019 6838

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran. President Trump caused consternation in Baghdad over the weekend when he said that he may leave US troops in Iraq to “watch” Iran. Those US troops had been in Iraq fighting ISIS. The problem is that the president never asked the Iraqi government’s permission to leave those troops, and now there is legislation in the Iraqi parliament to evict US troops from the country. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. Venezuelans are being forced to consider the possibility of civil war as major European Union countries today recognized Juan Guaidó as president and huge street mobilizations both in favor of and opposed to the government of President Nicolás Maduro took place. Brian and John speak with Paul Dobson, a writer for VenezuelAnalysis.com. Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard formally announced her candidacy for president on Saturday. Her campaign is off to a rough start because of internal dissent, but her problem may be bigger than that. Is there room for an anti-war Democrat in the presidential race? Garland Nixon, the cohost of Sputnik News’s Fault Lines, on air every day between 7:00 and 10:00 a.m. eastern time, who was on the ground covering the campaign announcement this weekend, joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Today Bill discusses education in Venezuela, along with several teacher strikes in the US. Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto,” joins Brian and John. French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to call for a national referendum to reduce the size of government in an effort to stem increasingly large yellow vest protests across the country. That would take place in May, at the same time as elections for the European Parliament. At the same time, however, Macron has authorized police to fire rubber bullets at unarmed protestors, causing serious injuries and inflaming still more would-be protestors. Yellow vest leaders have called an assembly of assemblies, that is, Yellow Vest leaders from around the country, to discuss next steps. Gilbert Mercier, editor in chief of News Junkie Post and the author of “The Orwellian Empire,” joins the show. The truce in the US trade war with China ends on March 2, when additional sanctions will go into effect absent a new trade agreement. President Trump says that a “great deal” is in the works, but he may have to fight anti-China hawks in his own cabinet to come to such an agreement. Brian and John speak with Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek.

While Homeless Freeze in US, Senate Focuses on Keeping Troops Abroad

Feb 1, 2019 6772

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which livestreams every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and Sputnik News analyst and producer Walter Smolarek. Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on the polar vortex’s effect on the homeless and all people (while some fearmonger about Russia instead); the candidates for the 2020 presidential race including recently declared Cory Booker and Tulsi Gabbard, who will declare tomorrow; and a new court decision about Julian Assange. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced this morning that the United States would withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a major arms control treaty with Russia, ending a cornerstone Cold War agreement by claiming that Russia has already violated it. The withdrawal takes effect in six months, and threatens to set off a global arms race. Greg Mello, the Executive Director of the Los Alamos Study Group, joins the show. The Senate voted 68-23 yesterday to approve an amendment expressing strong opposition to President Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria and to draw down the American presence in Afghanistan. The vote is veto-proof and is a direct challenge to the president’s decision to bring the troops home. Brian and John speak with Cindy Sheehan, an anti-war activist and journalist whose son Casey was killed during the Iraq War. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials admitted yesterday that they have been force-feeding six detained immigrants who went on a hunger strike to protest conditions at the Texas detention center where they are being held. A total of 15 immigrants are on hunger strikes, and most complain that they are being brutalized by ICE officers. Juan Carlos Ruiz, cofounder of the New Sanctuary Movement, joins the show. As preparations are underway for a historic second summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un later this month, the United States may be softening its negotiating position in the hopes of reaching a deal. Meanwhile, the country’s top intelligence officials told Congress earlier this week that North Korea likely will not give up its nuclear capabilities in an attempt to undermine these crucial upcoming talks. Tim Shorrock, a Washington-based investigative journalist who grew up in Japan and South Korea and who is the author of “SPIES FOR HIRE: The Secret World of Outsourced Intelligence,” joins Brian and John. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his site Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

US Seeks to Plunder, Loot & Pillage Venezuela’s Vast Oil Wealth

Jan 30, 2019 6770

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective. Today they discuss the Venezuelan coup attempt and Kamala Harris’s near-immediate walkback of Medicare for all. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Walter Smolarek, join the show. Former presidential advisor Roger Stone entered not guilty pleas on seven felony counts in a federal court in Washington, DC yesterday and then immediately took to the airwaves to proclaim his innocence, to repeat that he will not testify against the president, and to warn the president that the Mueller investigation could mean the end of his presidency. Brian and John speak with Dr. Jerome Corsi, an author and political commentator who was close to Roger Stone and who wrote the book, “Silent No More: How I Became a Political Prisoner of Mueller’s Witch Hunt.” Large-scale protests are taking place in Venezuela both for and against the government today after the Supreme Court moved to freeze U.S.-backed self-proclaimed president Juan Guaidó’s bank accounts and to impose a travel ban on him. Guaidó responded by calling on the military to side with him and he asked the United States to send weapons and advisors to help him overthrow the government of President Nicolás Maduro. Lucas Koerner, an activist and writer for VenezuelAnalysis.com, joins the show. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, CIA Director Gina Haspel, and FBI Director Christopher Wray delivered their annual intelligence threat assessment yesterday in an open hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Notably, they contradicted Donald Trump on nearly every major issue: the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, ISIS, and China. Kevin Zeese, the co-coordinator of Popular Resistance, which is at popularresistance.org, joins Brian and John. The US and China met today to try to dig out from a damaging trade war with a new round of high-level talks aimed at bridging deep differences over China’s intellectual property and technology transfer policies. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer represented the United States, while the Chinese delegation was led by Vice Premier Liu He. The deadline for an agreement is March 1. Jude Woodward, the author of the new book “The US vs China: Asia's new Cold War?,” joins the show. The British Parliament yesterday narrowly failed to approve an amendment giving it the power to instruct Prime Minister Theresa May to seek a delay to avoid a disorderly and possibly chaotic exit from the European Union on March 29. May later lost a nonbinding amendment that said the UK should not leave the EU without a Brexit deal. With chaos deepening, Prime Minister May today held a meeting with Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party. Brian and John speak with Steve Hedley, the senior assistant general secretary of the the UK’s Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers Union.

Racism and Islamophobia: The Politics of the U.S. War Machine

Jan 29, 2019 7005

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dr. Nazia Kazi, an activist and professor of Anthropology at Stockton University. Dr. Nazia Kazi has a new book out called “Islamophobia, Race and Global Politics.” It’s published by Rowman & Littlefield and is an introduction to the scope of Islamophobia in the US. Dr. Kazi draws connections between Islamophobia and racism more broadly to US military interventions around the world and to empire-building. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey joins the show. Former Trump advisor and Republican dirty trickster Roger Stone was arraigned in federal court in Washington today. He pled not guilty to seven felonies, including obstruction of a federal proceeding, witness tampering, and five counts of making false statements. He is free on $250,000 bond. Brian and John speak with Daniel Lazare. He is a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War.” President Trump yesterday approved sanctions on Venezuela’s state oil company, the parent company of the US-based Citgo, in an effort to further cripple the economy. Meanwhile, National Security Advisor John Bolton was filmed yesterday holding a notepad on which he had written “5000 troops to Colombia.” It is not known whether exposure of the notepad was an accident or if it was meant to put psychological pressure on the Maduro government. Dan Cohen, a journalist and author of the new article “The Making of Juan Guaidó: How the US Regime Change Laboratory Created Venezuela’s Coup Leader,” at grayzoneproject.com, joins the show. The Justice Department yesterday unsealed a host of criminal charges against Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei and its Chief Operating Officer, Meng Wanzhou. Meng has been held in custody in Canada for more than a month, pending extradition to the United States in a move that has deepened the diplomatic crisis between China and the U.S.. The charges against Meng and Huawei include bank fraud, obstruction of justice, and theft of technology. John Ross, Senior Fellow at Chongyang Institute, Renmin University of China, and an award-winning resident columnist with several Chinese media organizations, joins Brian and John. Today’s regular segment that airs every Tuesday is called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, joins the show. President Trump has promised to be “far worse than anybody, if need be,” by developing space weapons technology faster than any country in the world. This would require withdrawing from existing treaties that forbid the development of space weapons. And will it even make the United States any safer, or do these policies increase the likelihood of a devastating conflict? Brian and John speak with Prof. Karl Grossman, a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury, the host of a nationally aired television program focused on environmental, energy, and space issues, and the author of the new article on CounterPunch, “Darth Trump: From Space Force to Star Wars.”

United States of Dysfunction: Bracing for Next Govt Shutdown in 3 Weeks

Jan 28, 2019 6954

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Anoa Changa, the host of the show The Way With Anoa, and Pedro Rios, the director of the American Friends Service Committee’s U.S./Mexico Border Program. President Trump and congressional leaders agreed on Friday afternoon to reopen the government for three weeks to give all sides time to come up with a workable federal budget. The three-week Continuing Resolution does not include money for the President’s border wall, but it does include money to hire more border patrol agents. The countdown is now on to strike a major deal on immigration policy before the government shuts back down next month. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. The United States and the Taliban agreed on a draft framework for peace in Afghanistan following nearly a week of talks in Qatar. The Afghan government did not participate because the Taliban does see it as illegitimate. But US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad told reporters that the Taliban had agreed to never again allow the country to be a base for terrorists. The Taliban spokesman, meanwhile, said that “all foreign troops must leave Afghanistan.” Brian and John speak with Brian Terrell. The political crisis in Venezuela deepened over the weekend following Juan Guaido’s self-proclamation as Interim President. The main institutions of government remain loyal to President Nicolas Maduro, but the United States, along with allies like the UK, are turning up the economic pressure. What’s next for Venezuela? Chuck Kaufman, the National Co-Coordinator of the Alliance for Global Justice, joins the show. The Integrity Initiative, a UK-based group that purported to be a watchdog for what it called the Russian threat against democracy in the UK, Europe, and the US, was unmasked last year as a British intelligence-funded propaganda front group. Its website was hacked recently and its internal documents were spread. The group has now taken the website down. Investigative journalist Kit Klarenberg joins Brian and John. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto,” joins Brian and John. A new National Intelligence Strategy, a long-term intelligence outlook prepared by the Director of National Intelligence, says that the United States will be challenged in the coming years by nations that exploit “the weakening of the post-WWII international order and dominance of western democratic ideals...and increasingly isolationist tendencies in the west.” What does that mean? It means that the US believes that Russia and China are its most important adversaries for the coming decades. Brian and John speak with Mark Sleboda, an international relations and security analyst.

Gov’t to Reopen: Worker Actions & Rising Discontent Force Trump’s Hand

Jan 25, 2019 6797

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which livestreams every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and Sputnik News analyst and producer Walter Smolarek. Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on the pressure on the US government to reopen, the coup attempt in Venezuela, and the way the mainstream media is downplaying the success of the teacher strike in L.A. Longtime Republican Party operative Roger Stone was arrested during a pre-dawn FBI raid on his Florida home this morning. He was charged with seven felonies, including witness tampering, obstructing a federal investigation, and five counts of making false statements. Stone was arraigned in federal court today at 11:00 and his attorneys said he would fight the charges vigorously. Jim Kavanagh, whose commentary is published on his website, thepolemicist.net, Counterpunch, and other online journals, joins the show. Venezuela’s judicial, political and military leaders backed President Nicolas Maduro yesterday as the U.S.-backed coup attempt continued. Meanwhile Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged member countries of the Organization of American States to back Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as president and refused to accept the decision by Maduro to expel the U.S. embassy staff. Street mobilizations by supporters of the government are continuing in the face of violence by opposition supporters. Brian and John speak with Medea Benjamin, an anti-war and anti-torture activist who is the co-founder of Code Pink. Marzieh Hashemi, the American citizen who is a journalist for Iran’s Press TV, was released from federal custody after testifying before a grand jury. Hashemi had been held without charge as a material witness to force her testimony. She was subject to a variety of degradations while being held. Marzieh Hashemi joins the show. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his site Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

Trump and Pompeo Adopt 19th Century Colonial Language Towards Venezuela

Jan 24, 2019 6945

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Aline Piva, a journalist and a member of Brazilians for Democracy and Social Justice, and Paul Dobson, a writer for VenezuelAnalysis.com. As the attempted coup in Venezuela continues, the United States is upping the pressure by announcing that it will refuse to remove its embassy staff from the country, as ordered by President Nicolás Maduro in retaliation for the U.S. orchestrated plot to replace him with far-right opposition figure Juan Guaido. The U.S. diplomats were given 72 hours to leave the country, and President Maduro also has ordered closed the Venezuelan embassy in the U.S. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. The Senate voted on two competing measures today that would reopen the federal government. Neither bill garnered the required 60 votes, however. And President Trump announced that he will postpone the State of the Union Address; this came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she would not authorize the address so long as the government was closed. The partial government shutdown is now in its 34th day, with federal workers projected to soon miss their second paycheck. Brian and John speak with Julie Hurwitz, a civil rights attorney and partner at the law firm Goodman, Hurwitz and James. Alex Salmond, who served as First Minister of Scotland from 2007 to 2014 and who was leader of the Scottish National Party for more than 20 years, was arrested yesterday and charged with sex crimes. The arrest took place two weeks after Salmond won a lawsuit against Scottish authorities relating to their investigative practices in this case. Mark Hirst, the Editor-In-Chief of Sputnik’s Edinburgh bureau, joins the show. Veterans for Peace is Thursday’s regular segment about the contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who refused orders to deploy to Vietnam and lived in exile in Canada and Sweden for 6 years, organizing with other U.S. military deserters and draft resisters against the Vietnam war, and for amnesty for U.S. war resisters, joins the show. He has been a peace and solidarity activist for almost 50 years and has served on the Board of Veterans For Peace for the last 6 years, currently as national president. A lot of Democrats are running for president. Major media outlets say that as many as two dozen Democrats are considering, or have already announced, campaigns. There are major names like Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren, newcomers like Kamala Harris and Tulsi Gabbard, and unknown like South Bend Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg and Maryland Congressman John Delaney. But are any of these politicians really any different from previous Democratic candidates? And do many of them have a chance to beat Donald Trump? Kevin Zeese, co-coordinator of PopularResistance.org, joins the show. Our friend and contributor Ted Rall recently had a major court decision go against him in California. This was a case that had very important implications for Americans’ constitutional rights to freedom of speech. In the end, the court decided essentially, that Ted’s right to criticize the Los Angeles Police Department was less important than the Los Angeles Times’s right to block Ted’s right to freedom of speech. It’s a case with very important constitutional implications. Brian and John speak with Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at www.rall.com.

Trump & Allies Launch Coup Effort Against Venezuelan Government

Jan 23, 2019 6472

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by from Caracas by Lucas Koerner, an activist and writer for VenezuelAnalysis.com, and from Merida, Venezuela, by Paul Dobson, a writer for VenezuelAnalysis.com, and in studio by Sputnik news analyst and producer Walter Smolarek. Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido has declared himself the country’s president and was immediately recognized as such by the U.S. government. Huge numbers of government supporters have taken to the streets to fight back against this coup effort. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and puts them into perspective, including the ongoing government shutdown, which is in Day 33, the successfully ended LA teacher strike, the indefinite detaining of journalist Marzieh Hashemi, and the news that Julian Assange is now working to have his US charges unsealed. Brian and John speak with Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek. The six-day Los Angeles teachers strike ended yesterday as teachers and staff threw their support behind a new agreement negotiated with the school board. The agreement, which garnered the votes of a super-majority of union members, calls for a six percent pay raise, a gradual decrease in class sizes, and the hiring of more librarians, nurses, and counselors. Cecily Myart-Cruz, a teacher in the LA Unified School District for 23 years and the Vice President of United Teachers Los Angeles/National Education Association, the teachers union, joins the show. Turkish President Erdogan is in Moscow today to meet with Russian President Putin on Syria. The two will discuss coordination in Syria, where they’ve been on opposing sides. Meanwhile, the Syrian government has floated the possibility of a retaliatory strike against Israel if it carries out another attack on the Damascus airport. Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran, and Ambassador Peter Ford, the former UK Ambassador to Syria, joins Brian and John.

Really?? Dr. King Saluted By FBI, CIA, & Northrop Grumman

Jan 22, 2019 6883

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Ariel Gold, a peace activist and the national co-director of Code Pink, and Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist at www.rall.com. A lot happened this weekend, including women’s marches across the country, despite attacks on the leadership, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and federal holiday, which was ironically highlighted by groups like Northrop Grumman and the FBI, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller called foul on a breathless Russiagate report from Buzzfeed late last week. And meanwhile the government shutdown continues. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey joins the show. The government shutdown is now in its second month, and no solution appears in sight. As the Trump administration digs in and refuses to budge from its demand for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, the shutdown is beginning to have serious effects on the overall health of the economy. Brian and John speak with Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter and founder of This Can’t Be Happening!, as well as a columnist for CounterPunch, and a contributor to the London Review of Books, The Nation, Extra! Tarbell, and Salon.com. Reporters Without Borders has condemned the continued detention in the United States of Marzieh Hashemi, an American citizen who is a journalist for Iran’s Press TV. Hashemi was detained on a material witness warrant to force her to testify before a federal grand jury. That testimony is supposed to take place today. Hashemi has been held in St. Louis since January 13. Nargess Moballeghi, an independent journalist and friend and former colleague of Marzieh Hashemi, joins the show. The European Commission confirmed this morning that a “no deal” Brexit would mean a hard border for Ireland; that is, the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland would be like crossing any other international frontier. But the soft border was one of the pillars of the Good Friday Accords that ended the decades-long war in the North of Ireland. Meanwhile, a second referendum that could see Brexit overturned is becoming increasingly possible. Andy Brennan, a journalist with Asia Times and CGTN, joins Brian and John. Today’s regular segment that airs every Tuesday is called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, joins the show. Controversy continues to surround a Buzzfeed article saying that President Trump had specifically ordered his former attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about the Trump Organization’s plans to build a residential tower in Moscow in 2016. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team took the unusual step of denying the piece, in an embarrassing rebuke to the publication and the Russiagate narrative overall. Brian and John speak with Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War.”

Trump Will Meet Kim Jong-un for 2nd Peace Summit in February

Jan 18, 2019 6967

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker is joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which livestreams every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and Sputnik News analyst and producer Walter Smolarek. Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. The White House announced today that the second summit between Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will take place in late February at a yet-to-be-determined location. This dramatic announcement comes after North Korean lead negotiator Kim Yong Chol visited Washington to meet with Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Brian speaks with Simone Chun, a fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and a member of the Korean Peace Network. A new story published by Buzzfeed is being called a bombshell that will lead to Donald Trump either resigning or being impeached. The story is based on anonymous sources. It asserts that Donald Trump directed his then personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress about the nature and timing of negotiations between the Trump Organization and individuals in Moscow who are trying to broker a deal to set up a Trump Tower in Moscow. We’ll take a look at the story and its authors. Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War”, joins the show. Four activists with the humanitarian organization No More Deaths are on trial in Tucson, Arizona, facing charges from an arrest in 2017 related to their efforts to place life-saving supplies like water in a stretch of desert near the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent migrants from dying of thirst and starvation. The outcome of the case will have wide-reaching implications for humanitarians and immigrant rights activists. Justine Schnitzler, a volunteer and staff member with No More Deaths, joins Brian. As Jeremy Corbyn comes closer and closer to becoming the Prime Minister of the UK, attacks against him are ramping up. One line of attack has been the allegation that Corbyn, a long time supporter of Palestinian rights and opponent of intervention in the Middle East, is anti-semitic. Now, a new report shows that bot accounts on social media are being used to provide false evidence for these claims. Asa Winstanley. He is an investigative journalist with The Electronic Intifada and a columnist at Middle East Monitor whose article “Fake Labour accounts fueling ‘anti-Semitism crisis’” broke the story, joins the show. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian speaks with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his site Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

Facebook Bans Sputnik Pages on Advice of NATO-funded Atlantic Council

Jan 17, 2019 6820

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker is joined by Ford Fischer, the founder of the media startup News2Share, and Alex Rubinstein, a writer for MintPress News. Overnight, Facebook deleted hundreds of pages that it said were run by employees at Sputnik. 75 Sputnik employees have been blacklisted for posting on these pages. The reason that Facebook gave is that they promoted anti-NATO views. Is Facebook continuing its war on independent and alternative media? Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. President Trump announced his Missile Defense Review today at the Pentagon. This includes 20 new ground-based interceptors but also a space-based missile defense layer as the Trump administration pushes ahead with its dangerous militarization of outer space. Brian speaks with Prof. Karl Grossman, a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury, the author of six books, and the host of a nationally aired television program focused on environmental, energy, and space issues. American citizen and journalist Marzieh Hashemi has been detained and held by the FBI since Sunday. She is not charged with any crime, but is being held because she is a “material witness.” Hashemi is an anchor for Press TV, an Iranian news outlet, and was detained at the airport when she flew to the US to visit her children and work on a documentary about the Black Lives Matter movement. Glen Ford, the executive editor of Black Agenda Report, joins the show. Veterans for Peace is Thursday’s regular segment about the contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who refused orders to deploy to Vietnam and lived in exile in Canada and Sweden for 6 years, organizing with other U.S. military deserters and draft resisters against the Vietnam war, and for amnesty for U.S. war resisters, joins the show. He has been a peace and solidarity activist for almost 50 years and has served on the Board of Veterans For Peace for the last 6 years, currently as national president. Two Democrats and two Republicans introduced a bill yesterday that would ban sales of US technology like phone chips to Chinese companies ZTE and Huawei. Despite ongoing negotiations between U.S. and Chinese trade officials, the campaign to stop China’s economic rise continues. David Ewing, the chair of the San Francisco chapter of the US-China People’s Friendship Association, joins the show. This week mainstream media exploded over meetings between President Trump and Russian President Putin without a US translator. But this is not without precedent -- the hosts take a look at the history of presidential diplomacy. Brian speaks with Dr. Jeremy Kuzmarov, a professor of history and author of the new book “The Russians Are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce.”

Blast Kills US Troops in Syria: Will it Be Used to Stop Pullout Plans?

Jan 16, 2019 6899

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker is joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and puts them into perspective. Today they talk about the government shutdown, confirmation hearings for Trump’s Attorney General nominee, and more. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show. Several U.S. troops have reportedly been killed in northern Syria in a bomb blast claimed by ISIS. Opponents of a U.S. withdrawal from the country, something long demanded by Syria’s sovereign government, seized on this development to try to derail the pullout. Brian speaks with Rick Sterling, an investigative journalist and member of the Syria Solidarity Movement, and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek. Marzieh Hashemi, an American journalist, was arrested on Sunday and is still being held without charge by the FBI. Hashemi works for the Iranian outlet Press TV, and many are speculating that her detention is yet another move in the Trump administration’s effort to ramp up pressure on Iran and journalists. Massoud Shadjareh, the founder of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, joins the show. Mainstream media outlets across the country are in a frenzy over Donald Trump’s decision to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin without keeping official records; Brian puts this issue into context. Meanwhile, new developments in the ongoing struggle between the FBI and the White House have emerged, involving former FBI general counsel James Baker. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, joins Brian and John. Purdue pharmaceutical corporation play a major role fueling the opioid crisis, an epidemic that has made the Sackler family who owns the company fabulously wealthy. Now, new internal documents reveal the direct involvement of the Sacklers in an ad campaign seeking to shift the blame for the crisis. Dr. Margaret Flowers, the co-coordinator of the news site Popular Resistance, at popularresistance.org, joins the show. A top aid to imprisoned drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman testified in court today that El Chapo paid a $100 million bribe to former Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. While this is yet to be verified, the claim highlights the endemic corruption among the country’s political elites and newly-elected progressive president Obrador’s effort to end it. Brian speaks with Dr. John Ackerman, professor of Constitutional Law at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), researcher at the Legal Research Institute of UNAM, and editorial director of the Mexican Law Review, and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek.

Theresa May Suffers a “Historic Defeat:” What’s Next for Brexit?

Jan 15, 2019 6934

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by legendary anti-war activist and former British parliamentarian George Galloway and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey joins the show. President Trump’s choice to head the Justice Department, William Barr, begins his nomination hearings today before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Barr has pledged not to hamper or end the Mueller investigation, and he spent last week paying calls on Committee members. He was previously Attorney General under President George H. W. Bush. Brian and John speak with criminal defense attorney Brad Schlesinger. The New York Times reported today that a year ago President Trump suggested to aides that the United States should withdraw from NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He made the statement several more times throughout 2018, calling it a financial drain on the US. A US withdrawal would likely signal the end of the alliance. Dr. Peter Kuznik, a professor of history and director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University and co-author with Oliver Stone of the book and the hit Showtime television series “The Untold History of the United States,” joins the show. The Los Angeles Teachers Strike entered its second day today with no immediate end in sight. Why won’t the LA Unified School District reduce class sizes, hire more nurses, counselors, and librarians, and give teachers a raise when the district is sitting on a $1.86 billion surplus? Today, huge pickets are continuing and charter school teachers are joining the strike. Cecily Myart-Cruz, a teacher in the LA Unified School District for 23 years and the Vice President of United Teachers Los Angeles/National Education Association, the teachers union, joins Brian and John. Today’s regular segment that airs every Tuesday is called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, joins the show. Representative Steve King, a Republican of Iowa, will be stripped of his committee assignments because of racist comments he made last week. But King has been making similar comments for years and the Republican leadership never said a word. Senator Chuck Grassley even endorsed him for reelection just last year. Why are the Republicans acting now? And does this mean the end of King’s career? Brian and John speak with Dr. Nazia Kazi, an activist and professor of Anthropology at Stockton University, and author of the new book “Islamophobia, Race and Global Politics,” published by Rowman & Littlefield.

Investigating Trump: Who Holds Power in the US? The FBI or President?

Jan 14, 2019 6949

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Coleen Rowley, a former FBI special agent who in 2002 was named Time Magazine person of the year along with two other whistleblowers, and Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War.” Americans learned over the weekend that the FBI had taken perhaps an unprecedented step by opening a counterintelligence investigation targeting President Trump following his decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey. Shortly after news of the counterintelligence investigation broke, the media began to heavily focus on the availability of the translators’ notes from Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina and strong supporter of President Trump, urged him today to temporarily reopen the government to allow for talks that could satisfy his demand for a border wall. Anger is mounting as hundreds of thousands of federal employees are going without pay, and polls show that most Americans don’t want a border wall and most blame Trump for the longest government shutdown in history. Brian and John speak with Kevin Zeese, the co-coordinator of Popular Resistance, you can check out their work at popularresistance.org. National Security Advisor John Bolton asked the Pentagon last year to draw up plans to attack Iran, and senior Pentagon officials are voicing deepening fear that he could precipitate a conflict with that country at a time when the US presence in the Middle East is declining. And President Trump said he would “devastate Turkey economically” if it attacks the Kurds when the US pulls its troops out of Syria. Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran, joins the show. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat from Hawaii, announced her candidacy for president on Saturday. Gabbard is a decorated veteran of the Iraq War and is a strong proponent of peace issues. She’s also the first American Samoan and the first Hindu to be elected to Congress. Pundits believe she may draw support away from Bernie Sanders, but she has also been subject to intense criticism over her record on LGBTQ rights. Sputnik news analyst and producer Walter Smolarek joins Brian and John. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto,” joins Brian and John. British Prime Minister Theresa May traveled around the country to drum up support ahead of Tuesday critical parliamentary vote on Brexit. She told voters in northern England that if parliament votes down the Brexit deal there will be no alternative and it will paralyze British politics and likely lead to no Brexit. Brian and John speak with Steve Hedley, the senior assistant general secretary of the UK’s Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers Union.

Gov’t to Unpaid Fed. Workers: ‘Hold a Garage Sale’ Or ‘Try Babysitting’

Jan 11, 2019 6765

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker is joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which livestreams every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and Sputnik News analyst and producer Walter Smolarek. Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on the shutdown, which is now tied for the longest in history, the troop withdrawal from Syria, and the New York Times Manafort story retraction this week. The US military today said that the troop withdrawal from Syria has already begun, but refused to give a timetable for the pullout. This move comes despite National Security Advisor Bolton’s announcement of a series of difficult-to-meet conditions that would need to be met before the withdrawal would happen. Ambassador Peter Ford, the former UK Ambassador to Syria, and Rick Sterling, an investigative journalist and member of the Syria Solidarity Movement, joins the show. Today is Day 21 of the government shutdown, tied for the longest in history. Approximately 800,000 federal workers continue to be affected by the shutdown, as well as people on Native reservations, national parks, farmers, and many others. President Trump went to the border yesterday, and there have been increasing signs that he may issue a national emergency to fund the wall. Brian speaks with Juan José Gutiérrez, the executive director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a high-profile address in Cairo yesterday, doubling down on the Trump administration’s hostile posture towards Iran and pushing the regime change agenda. Pompeo purposely chose to give his speech in the same location as former President Obama’s landmark 2009 address. Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran, joins the show. Polish authorities arrested a Huawei sales executive, the second Huawei executive arrested in recent months. Meanwhile, trade talks between the US and China have continued all week, which is being interpreted as a positive sign by financial markets. Will there be resolution from the recent trade war? Jude Woodward, the author of the new book “The US vs China: Asia's new Cold War?,” joins Brian. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian speaks with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his site Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

Chickens Coming Home to Roost: US Empire & Latin American Emigration

Jan 10, 2019 6756

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dr. Gerald Horne, a professor of history at the University of Houston and author of many books, including “The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism: The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy and Capitalism in Seventeenth Century North America and the Caribbean.” President Trump is heading to the border today to speak with Customs and Border Patrol officials about the so-called “crisis” there, even though those same officials aren’t being paid because of the government shutdown. Meanwhile, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was sworn in today for a new term as the U.S.-backed regime change effort targeting his government continues, and Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, moved today to withdraw his country from the UN global migration pact. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. President Trump said today that he will “almost definitely” declare a national emergency soon to secure funding for his border wall. He made the comment as he departed today to Texas to meet with Customs and Border Patrol officials and continue making the case for hardline anti-immigrant policies. Brian and John speak with Isabel Garcia, co-founder of Coalición de Derechos Humanos. The US has accused Russia’s Kaspersky Lab of working with Russian spies on cyberwarfare. But Politico is reporting that Kaspersky actually helped catch an NSA data thief, even though the US had completely missed the theft. Kim Zetter, the author of the book “Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World’s First Digital Weapon,” and a prolific journalist who has contributed to Politico, the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN, NPR, and other outlets, joins the show. The New York Times today issued a correction--a retraction would be more appropriate--to a front-page story yesterday saying that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had shared polling data with a Russian contact for passage to a Russian oligarch. That information was untrue. Manafort had shared the information for passage to two Ukrainian politicians with whom he had had a business relationship. The true story undercuts any accusation of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer who is the author of the new book “The Plot to Control the World: How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World,” joins Brian and John. It’s time again for our regular weekly segment Veterans for Peace, where we’ll discuss contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who has been a peace and solidarity activist for almost 50 years, currently as national president of Veterans for Peace, joins the show. The UK’s departure from the European Union is fast approaching. The British parliament is now conducting the official debate on the Brexit deal ahead of a vote next week. But Prime Minister Theresa May may not have the votes necessary to pass the terms of the deal, and was dealt a blow when members of her own Conservative Party revolted to help pass a motion limiting her options in the event that the deal is rejected. Brian and John speak with Alexander Mercouris, the editor-in-chief of The Duran.

Government Shutdown Appears as Surreal Reality TV in Washington

Jan 9, 2019 6739

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and by Sputnik news analysts Nicole Roussell and Walter Smolarek. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and puts them into perspective. Their conversation includes the televised address about the wall and the shutdown last night, the coup in Gabon, and the outrage over an organization rescinding a civil rights award to Angela Davis. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show. President Trump’s Oval Office speech last night calling for $5 billion to construct a wall along the border with Mexico apparently did nothing to bring politicians on Capitol Hill any closer together. Meanwhile, with no end to the government shutdown in sight, Republicans in both the House and Senate are beginning to break away from the President. Brian and John speak with Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter and founder of This Can’t Be Happening!, as well as a columnist for CounterPunch, and a contributor to the London Review of Books, The Nation, Extra! Tarbell, and Salon.com. Teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District are set to go on strike tomorrow after years of frustration over class sizes, salaries, and a shortage of nurses and school counselors. The district has made several offers, but the teachers union says they don’t go far enough. So barring a last-minute deal, 32,000 teachers will walk off the job tomorrow. Cecily Myart-Cruz, a teacher in the LA Unified School District for 23 years and the Vice President of United Teachers Los Angeles/National Education Association, the teachers union, joins the show. Newly declassified information suggests that CIA Director Gina Haspel was in charge of a secret CIA base at the US military prison at Guantánamo Bay, a site notorious around the world for torture of detainees. If true, the revelation shows a much deeper involvement in CIA torture than Haspel has so far admitted to. Attorneys for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort made a critical error yesterday when they filed motions in federal court and accidentally revealed that Manafort had met in 2016 with Konstantin Kilimnik, and passed him polling data. But once again, crucial details are being left out of the mainstream media narrative. Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War,” joins the show. States and localities across the country are expanding healthcare access to their residents, despite the fact that Republicans at the federal level are still seeking to weaken or do away with the Affordable Care Act. Single-payer healthcare is a widely popular idea, but what is the best way to go about achieving it? Brian and John speak with Dr. Margaret Flowers, a medical doctor and the co-coordinator of Popular Resistance, at PopularResistance.org.

When a “National Emergency” Isn’t a Real Emergency: Trump’s Bogus Claim

Jan 8, 2019 6871

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jorge Barón, the executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer and author of the new book “The Plot to Control the World: How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World.” President Trump is considering declaring a national state of emergency as a way to obtain funding for his border wall. With the partial government shutdown nearing its third week and no end in sight, Trump says he is willing to take the unusual action. Immigrant rights advocates, on the other hand, say that there is absolutely no reasonable argument that the situation on the U.S.-Mexico border constitutes a national crisis. Will the Trump administration get away with this massive expansion of executive authority? Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey joins the show. News broke today that prosecutors in New York charged Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya with obstruction of justice. But a closer look at the indictment reveals that U.S. authorities charger her essentially for corresponding with Russian prosecutors to advocate for her client, the corporation Prevezon. Nevertheless, the indictment is now being cited as evidence that Veselnitskaya is an agent of the Russian government, and was acting as such when she participated in the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting prior to the election. Brian and John speak with Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, and Lee Stranahan, co-host of the Radio Sputnik show Fault Lines. Today is the start of a new regular segment that will air every Tuesday called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, joins the show. US-China trade talks showed signs of progress today with President Trump tweeting optimistically that a deal is likely. Tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports are set to jump from 10 percent to 25 percent on March 2. Meanwhile, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is in Beijing for talks with Chinese premier Xi Jinping for the fourth time since assuming power. Andy Brennan, a journalist with Asia Times and CGTN, and Jude Woodward, the author of the new book “The US vs China: Asia's new Cold War?,” joins Brian and John. Turkish President Erdogan issued a blunt put-down of National Security Advisor John Bolton yesterday over his pledge to ensure Turkish non-aggression against Syrian Kurds, saying, “We cannot accept Bolton’s messages given from Israel,” and adding, “Bolton has made a serious mistake.” Bolton was in Turkey yesterday, but Erdogan refused to meet him. Dr. Gönül Tol, the founding director of The Middle East Institute’s Center for Turkish Studies and former professor who has taught courses on Islamist movements in Western Europe, Turkey, world politics, and the Middle East, joins the show. The French government will take new measures to deter violence against police and damage to property as it seeks to corral the Yellow Vest movement after another weekend of mass protest. More than 50,000 people demonstrated over the weekend, with some of the marches turning violent. The Macron government is taking full advantage of the opportunity to clamp down on dissent. Brian and John speak with Gilbert Mercier, editor in chief of News Junkie Post and the author of “The Orwellian Empire.”

Bolton, Bibi & Neocons Wage a War against Plans to End US War in Syria

Jan 7, 2019 7037

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Rick Sterling, an investigative journalist and member of the Syria Solidarity Movement, and Mark Sleboda, an international affairs and security analyst. National Security Advisor John Bolton backpedaled on President Trump’s promise to withdraw from Syria, saying during a visit to Israel yesterday that the withdrawal would take place only when ISIS was completely destroyed. Then, Bolton traveled to Turkey today to seek assurances from Ankara that, in the event of a US withdrawal from Syria, that country’s Kurds would be safe from an attack by the Turkish military. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. A second pro-Democratic Party false flag operation has been revealed in Alabama. The New York Times reported today that progressive activists set up fake social media pages that appeared to come from Alabama evangelicals, falsely representing that Republican Roy Moore would make Alabama dry. The single-state operation cost another $100,000 over two weeks, the amount that the Internet Research Agency spent nationwide in the 2016 election. Meanwhile, the “sonic attacks” in Cuba that were supposed to be from Russia have now been attributed to crickets. Brian and John speak with Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War.” Four Republican senators led by Marco Rubio of Florida last week sponsored a bill that would seek to criminalize the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, or BDS, movement. It would also impose harsh sanctions on Syria and increase military aid to Israel and Egypt. The bill has broad bipartisan support in the Senate and will be called to an expedited vote as early as today. House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Elliott Engel, a Democrat, said that he will seek to push the bill through the House. Miko Peled, the author of “Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five,” joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Bill, John, and Brian focus on the Los Angeles teachers who plan to strike on Thursday. Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto,” joins Brian and John. Today we enter Day 17 of the partial government shutdown, already the second-longest in American history. President Trump is threatening to upend negotiations with Congress by declaring a national emergency that would allow him to build his border wall while completely bypassing Congress. Negotiations between Republicans and Democrats over the weekend did not yield any results. Juan Carlos Ruiz, cofounder of the New Sanctuary Movement, joins the show. Jim Bridenstine, the NASA Administrator, was forced to rescind an invitation to the head of the Russian space agency to visit the United States after the offer was criticized by key senators. Space historically has been a point on which the US and Russia have cooperated, but is this cancellation yet another sign of a dangerous arms race leading to the militarization of space? Brian and John speak with Prof. Karl Grossman, a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury, the author of six books, and the host of a nationally aired television program focused on environmental, energy, and space issues.

Ready For More Austerity on Workers? Here Comes Pelosi!

Jan 4, 2019 6770

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which livestreams every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at rall.com, and Sputnik News analyst and producer Walter Smolarek. It’s time for our weekly segment The Week in Review. The 116th Congress took office yesterday with Nancy Pelosi as Speaker. This Congress is unlike any other, with a record number of women, including two Muslim women, the first two Latina congresswomen from Texas, the first two African-American Congresswomen from New England, a former refugee from Somalia, and New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who’s still in her 20s. The issues this Congress will face are daunting, beginning with the Democrats’ ideas on PayGo, or pay-as-you-go spending, investigations, leadership challenges, and legislative plans. The road ahead, as one part of a divided government, will not be easy. Job growth ended 2018 on a powerful note, with the economy adding 312,000 new non-farm jobs in December. Unemployment rose to 3.9 percent as more people entered the job market and the labor force participation rate increased to 63.1 percent. A broader measure of unemployment that includes discouraged workers and those holding part-time jobs for economic reasons held steady at 7.6 percent. Is the economy truly booming? What’s going on beneath the surface? Richard Wolff, a professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, founder of the organization Democracy at Work, and author of “Capitalism's Crisis Deepens: Essays on the Global Economic Meltdown,” joins the show. French police have arrested a leader of the Yellow Vest movement for a second time in a clear sign that the government is following through on its threats to crack down on protests that have shaken France for the past six weeks. Eric Drouet, a 33-year-old truck driver was charged with “organizing an undeclared demonstration” for planning to meet six colleagues outside a McDonald’s restaurant. He was earlier charged with “carrying a wooden club,” leading many in the media to speculate that he is being targeted for his political actions. Brian and John speak with Gilbert Mercier, Editor in Chief of News Junkie Post and the author of “The Orwellian Empire.” It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

Is Trump Really Withdrawing U.S. Troops from Syria?

Jan 3, 2019 7006

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Peter Ford, former UK Ambassador to Syria. President Trump held his first cabinet meeting of the new year yesterday and -- after having his secretaries take turns gushing about his wonderful leadership -- cast doubt on his previously-announced withdrawal from Syria, saying that he had not announced a timetable. Will the administration and the Pentagon slow-walk the U.S. withdrawal? Will U.S. troops ever leave at all? The hosts continue the weekly series “Criminal Injustice,” where we talk about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, and Paul Wright, the founder and Executive Director of the Human Rights Defense Center, joins the show. Major technology companies came under heavy pressure on Wall Street today after Apple announced an unprecedented cut in its sales forecast, citing falling iPhone sales and pressure from the trade war with China. It was the first time in more than 15 years that Apple cut its earnings forecast. Shares of Samsung, Microsoft, Intel, and companies that make components for Apple also fell. And this might just be the tip of the iceberg as other companies brace for declining revenues. Brian and John speak with Dr. Jack Rasmus, a professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California and author of “Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression.” The New York Times yesterday published an article saying that sexual harassment and sexual discrimination were serious problems in Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign. The article notes that nearly a dozen former campaign staff members say that Sanders’s failure to address the problem in 2016 could jeopardize a run for president in 2020. Sanders has apologized to any woman who felt mistreated, but many are also questioning the motives of the New York Times, the ultimate elite news outlet that has been consistently hostile to progressive candidates and movements. Julie Hurwitz, a civil rights attorney and partner at the law firm Goodman, Hurwitz and James, and Sputnik News analyst Nicole Roussell join the show. The hosts continue the regular weekly segment Veterans for Peace, where we’ll discuss contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who serves as national president of Veterans for Peace, joins Brian and John. In an historic first, a Chinese lunar rover successfully landed on the far side of the moon yesterday. Chinese scientists say the landing was a bulls-eye. The rover will conduct a number of experiments and will study the interaction between solar winds and the moon’s surface. But the biggest impact of the landing may really be political. Jude Woodward, author of the book “The US vs China: Asia's new Cold War?”, joins the show. President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled the Democratic Republic of the Congo with an iron fist, is stepping down after 17 years following mass protests demanding democracy and an end to the persecution of opposition activists. After repeatedly postponing elections, votes from opposition strongholds are just trickling in, and Kabila has shut down the country’s internet and observers are complaining of widespread electoral irregularities. Brian and John speak with Kambale Musavuli, national spokesman for The Friends of the Congo.

Dysfunctional America: The Politics Behind a Government Shutdown

Jan 2, 2019 6741

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective. Today they look at the government shutdown and moves by possible 2020 presidential contenders. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show. The government shutdown entered its 12th day today, and meanwhile, everything from the Environmental Protection Agency to the IRS to the national parks and the Department of Homeland Security are closed. That didn’t stop border guards from firing tear gas at would-be migrants. Brian and John speak with Juan José Gutiérrez, the executive director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition. The 2020 race for president is heating up--for both parties. Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren effectively announced over the weekend that she was running for president, the first of as many as two dozen Democrats thinking of making the leap. Meanwhile, Utah’s new Republican Senator Mitt Romney harshly criticized President Trump in a New Year’s Day op-ed in the Washington Post. And he’s not the only Republican being talked about as a primary challenger to President Trump. Sputnik News analyst Walter Smolarek joins the show. A new Congress is about to be sworn in, and Democrats will assume control of the House of Representatives, threatening to use their committee chairmanships to escalate the Mueller investigation and other investigations targeting the Trump administration. What does 2019 hold for Russiagate? Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War,” joins Brian and John. In a New Year’s address, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said that he was ready to meet again with President Trump at any time and he reaffirmed his commitment to denuclearization. But Kim also warned that his country might have to pursue what he called a “new way” if the United States insisted on imposing new sanctions. President Trump, meanwhile, said that he welcomes another meeting. Hyun Lee, a member of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea and writer for Zoominkorea.org, joins the show. Yesterday was Jair Bolsonaro’s inauguration, and Brazil’s new president is very much in the mould of Donald Trump, but even more bombastic. He has said that he will “rid Brazil of socialism,” and would open vast portions of the Amazon rainforest to developers. President Trump tweeted to Bolsonaro, “The USA is with you!” Brian and John speak with Aline Piva, a journalist and a member of Brazilians for Democracy and Social Justice.

North & South Korea Push Peace Plan Forward Despite Pentagon Opposition

Dec 31, 2018 6784

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which livestreams every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at rall.com, and Sputnik News analyst and producer Walter Smolarek. 2018 is coming to an end. In this special Year in Review segment, Brian and John discuss the biggest stories of the year, including the immigration crackdown, US relations with North Korea, heightened confrontation with Iran, a trade war with China, the Mueller probe and the non-stop hysteria generated by politicians and the corporate owned media against Russia, intensifying wildfires, and global warming. As the year ends today, Brian and John continue reviewing the year in their regular segment False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey joins the show to cover the big picture economic trends of 2018. Today’s last 2018 Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa segment goes over the year in how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state threaten cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Brian and John go over changes and developments in the world of technology over the past year. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show.

Breakthrough for Mumia Abu-Jamal, Most Famous U.S. Political Prisoner

Dec 28, 2018 6748

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which livestreams every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and with Sputnik News analyst and producer Walter Smolarek. Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on the important new ruling in the case of world-renowned political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, the government shutdown that’s in its seventh day, and new updates in the Russiagate saga. Syrian troops have arrived on the front lines at the flashpoint town of Manbij as Kurdish forces appealed to Damascus for help against Turkey in light of President Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria. Turkish President Erdogan is threatening to send troops across the border to take Manbij and to rout the Kurds. Rick Sterling, an investigative journalist and member of the Syria Solidarity Movement, joins the show. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell. This interview was originally aired in October of 2018. It focuses on the use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War and is one of the best 2018 shows. Paul Cox and Marjorie Cohn joined the show. Paul is a Vietnam veteran and a member of Veterans for Peace. He focuses on advocating for compensation for victims of Agent Orange. Marjorie is a professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and the former president of the National Lawyers Guild.

Trump Visits Iraq, Pledges to Continue US Occupation

Dec 27, 2018 6276

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who has been a peace and solidarity activist for almost 50 years, currently as national president of Veterans for Peace. Veterans for Peace is Thursday’s regular segment about the contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. They start today with President Trump’s surprise visit to Iraq yesterday, his first into a combat zone as president. Instead of telling the troops they might go home soon, following his recent decisions in Syria and Afghanistan, the president continued the presidential legacy of discussing military strategy while keeping troops away from home instead. One of the year’s most important Loud & Clear interviews is being replayed from November. Brian and John talked to investigative journalist and historian Gareth Porter about the Pentagon’s deepening control over U.S. politics, government and the economy in what he calls America’s Permanent-War Complex. Six Israeli F-16s attacked Syria yesterday. But this wasn’t just any attack. The Israelis used civilian flights headed to Damascus and Beirut as cover for the operation, directly endangering the passengers onboard. And this is according to the Israeli press. The Syrian Defense Ministry said that it did not engage the Israelis because it did not want to accidentally hit the passenger jets. Brian and John speak with Ambassador Peter Ford, the former UK Ambassador to Syria. Billionaire Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, has acknowledged that he partially funded New Knowledge, a group that used disinformation tactics and fake news to influence the 2017 Alabama senate race in a successful effort to sink Republican Roy Moore. Last week, Facebook suspended five accounts linked to the operation for “engaging in inauthentic behavior.” One of those accounts belonged to Jonathan Morgan, CEO of New Knowledge. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, joins the show. This May 30 interview is one of Loud & Clear’s best 2018 shows, focusing on Washington’s hundreds of think tanks. These quasi-academic institutions are supposed to be a home for subject matter experts to think the big thoughts, write important papers and books, and, perhaps to influence policy. But the truth isn’t that simple. Most think tanks are financed by special interests like defense contractors, foreign governments, and partisan billionaires. Very few Americans realize the impact these groups have on our government and on our politics. Max Blumenthal, a bestselling author and journalist, whose latest film is “Killing Gaza,” senior editor of Grayzone Project, and co-host of the podcast “Moderate Rebels,” joins Brian and John.

Facebook Suspends Page of Russiagate Accuser for “False Flag Operation”

Dec 26, 2018 6954

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dan Cohen, a journalist and a documentary filmmaker, most recently of the film “Killing Gaza.” Last week we discussed two reports that were made public after being commissioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Those reports purported to document Russian interference in the US electoral process and senators from both parties lauded the research as “proof positive” that social media companies and the government should work more closely together to police and block fake news. But the truth is that the authors of those reports were the ones who engaged in electoral manipulation. They manipulated social media platforms to impact the 2017 special election for an Alabama senate race, utilizing Russian bots and troll farms and then accusing the Russians themselves of interference. Now one of the authors has had his Facebook page suspected and his credibility ruined. False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey is Tuesday’s regular segment that is airing today. Financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey joins the show. An 8-year-old Guatemalan boy died yesterday in the custody of Customs and Border Protection in New Mexico. This is the second death of a child in CBP custody in the past two weeks. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has called on CBP to conduct a probe into what they call “systemic failures” to protect and care for children in custody. Human rights activists say that vulnerable children are kept in overcrowded, unsafe, and cold facilities called “hielaras,” Spanish for “ice boxes.” Brian and John speak with Juan José Gutiérrez, the executive director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition. The partial government shutdown is in its fifth day today with no end in sight--at least not in the near term. President Trump this morning said that he was content to keep the government closed indefinitely, so long as Democrats will not agree to fund his border wall, which he is now calling, “a border wall or border fence or whatever you want to call it.” Senators speaking anonymously told the Washington Post yesterday, however, that negotiations are underway, and there could be an agreement to end the shutdown as soon as next week. Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at www.rall.com, joins the show. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show.

A Sad Christmas Message: Homelessness in America is Growing. But Why?

Dec 24, 2018 6846

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Richard Wolff, a professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; founder of the organization Democracy at Work; and his latest book is “Capitalism's Crisis Deepens: Essays on the Global Economic Meltdown.” On any given night, more than 554,000 people are homeless in America. In New York, authorities report that 114,659 children are either homeless or living in temporary housing. And in the past six years, homelessness in Los Angeles has surged 75 percent to more than 55,000 people. Hunger, disease, and violence are rife in homeless communities. How can something like this happen--how can it keep getting worse--in the richest country in the world? National Security Adviser John Bolton gave a speech last week to the right-wing Heritage Foundation, where he revealed his administration’s new “Africa Strategy.” His understanding of history on the continent has been criticized as lacking understanding of the white supremacy and colonialism that has plagued Africa for centuries. Dr. Gerald Horne, a professor of history at the University of Houston and author of many books, including “Blows Against the Empire: U.S. Imperialism in Crisis,” joins the show. President Trump over the weekend decided to fire Secretary of Defense James Mattis effective a week from today, rather than to allow him to remain in his position until his resignation became effective in February. Mattis’s resignation letter embarrassed the president and was the talk of the right-wing chat shows all weekend. And while Mattis has signed an order to begin withdrawing troops from Syria, no such order has been given for Afghanistan, where the President says he wants to cut the US troop presence in half. Brian and John speak with Ambassador Peter Ford, the former UK Ambassador to Syria. The Times of London is reporting that the British government is considering freezing the assets of Sputnik and RT employees in the UK, whom they accuse of being engaged in “information warfare” to destabilize Britain. Is this a brazen attempt to force RT and Sputnik out of business by attacking their employees? Mark Hirst, editor-in-chief of Sputnik UK, joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto,” joins Brian and John. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show.

Committed to Endless US Occupation of Syria, Mattis Resigns

Dec 21, 2018 7037

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which livestreams every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and with Sputnik News analyst and producer Walter Smolarek. Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’s resignation, the troop drawdown in Afghanistan, new rearrangements in Saudi Arabian intelligence services, and the possible government shutdown. In a series of sharply worded tweets this morning, President Trump promised a “very long” government shutdown if Congress does not approve his border wall. The House approved a temporary funding measure yesterday by a vote of 217-185 and sent the bill to the Senate. But even if it passes there, Trump said he would veto it. Brian and John speak with Abdushahid Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which livestreams every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook. Fears had been growing that authorities could have taken advantage of the holiday weekend to evict Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. But a group of German parliamentarians on Thursday condemned the Trump administration for pursuing the arrest and criminal trial of the Wikileaks co-founder, and the UN made a strong statement of support. Still, activists are on guard to mobilize at a moments notice. Suzie Dawson, an activist, journalist and the president of the Internet Party of New Zealand, joins the show. Earlier this week, the US media was dominated by the news that a report produced for the Senate Intel Committee documented a massive Russian effort to influence the 2016 election campaign with targeted messaging towards the African-American community. This was presented as proof, as a smoking gun, proving that the Russians indeed interfered in the US election in the effort to elect Donald Trump. Less known and not widely reported, is that the same organization that produced the report, called New Knowledge, had itself used the same tactics that were attributed to Russia in what the company admitted was “an elaborate, false-flag operation that planted the idea that [Republican Roy] Moore’s campaign [in Alabama] was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet.” In fact, the same organization spent nearly $100,000 in this false-flag campaign including purchasing Russian bots to intervene in the Alabama election so as to help Democratic candidate Doug Jones. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, whose most recent piece is “For What It’s Worth: The Yellow Vests and the Left,” joins Brian and John. Thousands of Catalonian protesters took to the streets today to oppose a cabinet meeting in Barcelona. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called the meeting, which coincidentally takes place exactly one year after the central government called snap elections in Catalonia, to discuss raising the minimum wage and to rename the airport in an effort to placate supporters of Catalonian independence. But the continued imprisonment of Catalonian political leaders and the repressive tactics of the Civil Guard police force has caused outrage in the region. Dick Nichols, the correspondent for Spain and Catalonia for Green Left Weekly, joins the show. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

Anti-Russia Crusade Revives Cold War Slander Against African Americans

Dec 20, 2018 6968

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dr. Gerald Horne, a professor of history at the University of Houston and author of many books, including “The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America.” The New York Times reported earlier this week that Russia made an extraordinary effort in 2016 to influence the votes of African Americans, using an array of tactics to suppress voter turnout among Democrats and unleashing what it called a “blizzard of activity” on Instagram. But the implication of the article harkens back to the bad old days of segregation. It revives the racist narrative that African-American voters are so gullible to outside agitators that they effectively have no control over their own votes. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. President Trump’s surprise announcement yesterday that he would pull all US troops out of Syria has ignited a firestorm of opposition among the political elite. Democrats, even those who were historically anti-war, have joined Republicans in their outrage that the United States might “lose” Syria. Brian and John speak with Massoud Shadjareh, the founder of the Islamic Human Rights Commission. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced this morning that he would unilaterally tighten work requirements related to food stamps, a move that threatens hundreds of thousands of people’s access to the most basic of necessities. Anoa Changa, the director of political advocacy and a managing editor of Progressive Army, and host of the show The Way With Anoa, joins the show. Despite ongoing negotiations, North Korea continues to suffer under a near total economic blockade imposed by the United States and other world powers. This has had a devastating effect on the North Korean people, and now even their efforts to mitigate the damage through scientific research is being demonized as a nefarious military plot. Author and professor Tim Beal, whose most recent book is “Crisis in Korea,” joins Brian and John. Veterans for Peace is Thursday’s regular segment about the contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who refused orders to deploy to Vietnam and lived in exile in Canada and Sweden for 6 years, organizing with other U.S. military deserters and draft resisters against the Vietnam war, and for amnesty for U.S. war resisters, joins the show. He has been a peace and solidarity activist for almost 50 years and has served on the Board of Veterans For Peace for the last 6 years, currently as national president. A federal jury yesterday found a former Blackwater security contractor guilty of murder in the 2007 shootings of dozens of unarmed Iraqi civilians. This was the second time that former sniper Nicholas Slatten had been found guilty in the case. The first verdict was overturned. This comes as Donald Trump is intervening in the case of Green Beret Major Matthew Golsteyn, who admitted to carrying out a summary execution of an Afghan prisoner. Brian and John speak with Kevin Zeese, the co-coordinator of Popular Resistance, whose work is at popularresistance.org.

Senate Passes "First Step" Act, But Mass Incarceration Still Intact

Dec 19, 2018 6888

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts looks at the most important ongoing developments of the week and puts them into perspective. Today they talk about the First Step Act getting passed through the Senate, Mike Flynn’s hearing yesterday, and the Israeli military crackdown on the West Bank. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show. Newly released internal documents reveal that, for years, Facebook gave some of the world’s largest tech companies more intrusive access to its users private data than it had previously disclosed, effectively exempting those companies from privacy rules. In other words, Facebook sold your private data and then lied to you about it. Brian and John speak with New Haven, Connecticut by web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa. A Defense Department official confirmed President Trump’s tweet this morning that he will order the withdrawal of all US troops from Syria. The president said that the only reason the US was in Syria was to defeat ISIS. That has been accomplished and so the troops will come home. Neither the president nor the Defense Department, however, gave a timeline for the withdrawal. Rick Sterling, an investigative journalist and member of the Syria Solidarity Movement, and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek, join the show. The Federal Reserve announced at 2:00 today that it would increase the prime interest rate by 0.25 percent to ward off inflation. Steve Keen, the author of “Debunking Economics” and the world’s first crowdfunded economist, whose work is at patreon.com/ProfSteveKeen, joins Brian and John. Police in Cleveland confirmed yesterday that an African American man was denied the right to cash his paycheck because bank tellers thought he made too much money for the check to be good. When he demanded that they call his employer to confirm the check’s authenticity, the tellers called 911 and the man was handcuffed and put into a police car. The police and bank officials later apologized. Kofi Ademola, an activist and organizer with the Black Lives Matter movement, and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek, join the show. In a major policy reversal, the Trump Administration is changing the way it reviews sponsors who want to care for migrant children in custody. The change could lead to thousands of children being released to family members already in the US. There are currently nearly 15,000 unaccompanied children being held in government detention centers. Brian and John speak with Isabel Garcia, co-founder of Coalición de Derechos Humanos.

Mike Flynn’s Explosive Sentencing Hearing

Dec 18, 2018 6720

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Coleen Rowley, a former FBI agent who in 2002 was named Time Magazine person of the year, and Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer and author of “The Plot to Control the World: How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World.” A federal judge in Washington today delayed the highly anticipated sentencing of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI as part of the Mueller investigation related to lobbying he conducted on behalf of the Turkish government. Prosecutors had asked for leniency because of the degree to which Flynn cooperated in the Mueller probe, but Judge Emmet Sullivan’s incendiary comments during the hearing led to the sentencing being delayed. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism. Regular “False Profits” guest Daniel Sankey is out sick today, but Loud & Clear is honored to be joined by Dr. Jack Rasmus, a professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California and author of “Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression,” whose work is at www.jackrasmus.com. President Trump has decided to shut down his embattled and much-criticized personal charitable foundation amid allegations that he used it for personal and political gain. New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood said the president had also agreed to give away the remaining money. She added that the president had engaged in what she called “a shocking pattern of illegality.” Brian and John speak with Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at www.rall.com. Headlines in all major US newspapers and news websites today crowed about the firing of former CBS Chief Les Moonves for sexual misconduct. But even in this #MeToo era, nearly every headline mentioned Moonves’s loss of a $120 million severance package, but did NOT mention the accusations against him. Jodi Dean, a professor of Political Science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and her latest book is “Crowds and Party,” joins the show. US negotiators in Abu Dhabi yesterday met with members of the Taliban leadership and representatives of the Afghan government to discuss a possible peace in Afghanistan. It’s possible that the Taliban and government delegations could meet face to face for the first time. The talks were supposed to last one day, but they’ve stretched into a second, raising hopes of substantive advances. Dr. Marvin Weinbaum, the Scholar-in-Residence and director of the Middle East Institute’s Center for Pakistan and Afghanistan Studies, joins Brian and John. In a speech marking the 40th anniversary of China’s economic reform, President Xi Jinping vowed to continue market liberalization, but made no major policy announcements. He asserted the importance of strong Communist Party control of the economy and society and said in a reference to the United States that no master can control the Chinese people. Meanwhile, the intelligence chiefs of the Five Eyes countries met in Nova Scotia to discuss Chinese electronics giant Huawei. John Ross, senior fellow at Chongyang Institute, Renmin University of China, and an award-winning resident columnist with several Chinese media organizations, joins the show. The Trump Administration earlier this year laid out plans to weaken emission controls on vehicles. The changes were so dramatic that even automakers balked at the notion of making and selling dirtier cars and trucks. But it turns out that another group was behind the push. The New York Times reports that it was US oil companies leading the charge to allow cars and trucks to emit more pollution. Brian and John speak with Dr. Fred Magdoff, professor emeritus of plant and soil science at the University of Vermont and the co-author of “What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism” and “Creating an Ecological Society: Toward a Revolutionary Transformation” from Monthly Review Press.

Who Cares about Facts? Reports to Senate Add to Anti-Russia Hysteria

Dec 17, 2018 6829

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War,” and Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net. Two reports prepared for the Senate Intelligence Committee boldly assert that Russians working at the Internet Research Agency clearly sought to influence the 2016 election to the benefit of the Republican Party. But they don’t include anything about the dollar amounts spent (they’re absurdly low), when they were spent (56% after the election), or that when this agency actually showed up in court post-indictment, that the prosecution asked for a continuance -- and hasn’t made any moves since. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. There are only five days to go before a partial government shutdown, but the White House and Congressional Democrats are digging in their heels. As members of Congress left Washington for the Christmas holiday, Presidential Senior Advisor Stephen Miller said the administration will do “anything that is necessary” to build a border wall. But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “the President is not going to get a wall in any form.” Brian and John speak with Jorge Barón, the executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. US airstrikes over the weekend killed 62 purported members of the al-Shabaab fundamentalist armed group affiliated with al-Qaeda in a remote area of southern Somalia. A spokesman for the Pentagon’s Africa Command, or AFRICOM, said the strikes were carried out jointly with the Somali government and were designed to prevent future Shabaab attacks. But what’s behind the stepped-up role of AFRICOM that these strikes reflect? Is the U.S. engaged in a major escalation of its drone war program? Glen Ford, the executive editor of Black Agenda Report, joins the show. A federal judge in Texas on Friday struck down the Affordable Care Act, ruling that because Congress changed the tax law associated with it, the entire system is no longer legal. The decision will be appealed immediately and will likely end up in the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, experts say that the decision will affect literally every American. Dr. Margaret Flowers, a medical doctor and the co-coordinator of Popular Resistance, at PopularResistance.org, joins Brian and John. President Trump on Friday named as acting Chief of Staff OMB Director Mick Mulvaney. Mulvaney also is director of the Consumer Financial Protection Board. Both of these latter positions make him susceptible to Congressional subpoena. Why did Trump finally settle on Mulvaney, someone already with two jobs, after an embarrassingly protracted search for a Chief of Staff? Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter and founder of This Can’t Be Happening! as well as a columnist for CounterPunch and a contributor to The Nation, joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto,” joins Brian and John.

Trump’s Lawyer Off to Jail: What’s Next in Mueller Probe?

Dec 14, 2018 6795

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which livestreams every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and with Sputnik News analyst and producer Walter Smolarek. Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s roll back of anti-labor teaching regulations and making education free, US-China relations through the Huawai arrest, North Carolina election fraud, and Michael Cohen’s week. On Wednesday of this week, federal court judge Emmet Sullivan issued new orders demanding that the Mueller investigation provide to the judge, who’s overseeing the sentencing of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, FBI memoranda and other documentation held by the FBI regarding how and why the FBI initially interviewed Flynn on January 24, 2017. That was the day that Michael Flynn reported to FBI agents about his discussions with the Russian ambassador in Washington, D.C. in December, 2016. Flynn ultimately pled guilty to one count of lying to the FBI about his discussions with the Russian ambassador in that meeting. The hosts talk about what the judge’s order might mean for Michael Flynn and the Mueller probe. Brian and John speak with Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer who is the author of the new book “The Plot to Control the World: How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World.” The FBI has raided the home of a government employee who apparently sent documents to Congressional oversight committees showing fraud committed by the Clinton Foundation. Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican who is a champion of whistleblowers, sent a letter to the FBI asking them to explain why the whistleblower should not be protected under federal statute. So far, Grassley has been ignored. Meanwhile, a Congressional hearing on the Foundation yesterday exploded as Republicans attacked their own witnesses for refusing to answer questions. Brad Birkenfeld, a famed whistleblower who single handedly brought down international money laundering at banking giant UBS, joins the show. A 7-year-old girl has died of shock and dehydration after being detained by the Border Patrol in New Mexico. The girl and her father were taken into custody after crossing the border. She was not given any food or water, and eight hours later, with a temperature of 105.7 degrees, she began having seizures. She died shortly thereafter. Juan José Gutiérrez, the executive director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition, joins Brian and John. The Senate last night, by a margin of 56-41, voted to end US military assistance for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen in the strongest showing yet of bipartisan defiance of President Trump’s defense of the kingdom after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Although dramatic, the vote is likely symbolic because House Speaker Paul Ryan is refusing to permit a similar vote in the House. Meanwhile, an agreement to end fighting in the crucial Yemeni port city of Hodeidah has raised hopes for peace in the country. Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Non-Violence, joins the show. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

"The Spy" Who Wasn't A Spy: US Media's False Coverage of Maria Butina

Dec 13, 2018 6714

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer who is the author of the new book “The Plot to Control the World: How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World.” Russian gun rights activist Maria Butina will plead guilty in federal court today to one count of conspiracy to fail to register as a foreign agent, for which there are no sentencing guidelines. She’s been held without bail behind bars since her arrest in July. The hosts review her case and several other pieces of the Russiagate saga. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. Joshua Schulte is a former CIA computer engineer who has being held in New York’s Metropolitan Detention Center. He was arrested after an FBI raid on his apartment in connection with the “Vault 7” leak of cyberweapons, but the government charged him with possessing child pornography. In a recent letter to US District Court Judge Paul Crotty, Schulte says that he is being tortured in prison, and he’s being denied medication, writing materials, and access to his attorneys. Furthermore, the government is demanding that if Schulte were to meet with his attorneys, he would have to be shackled, chained to a bolt in the floor, and denied access to the classified documents necessary to defend himself. Brian and John speak with Bill Binney, a former NSA technical director who became a legendary national security whistleblower. A Kiev court said yesterday that two Ukrainian lawmakers and top anti-corruption official’s decision to release documents linked to Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in 2016 amounted to interference in the US presidential election. The complaint was initially filed by another lawmaker who alleged that Sergei Leshchenko and Artem Sytnik were trying to influence the election in favor of Hillary Clinton. International affairs expert and security analyst Mark Sleboda joins the show. British Prime Minister Theresa May won a no-confidence vote last night in the House of Commons, making her immune from another leadership challenge for a year. But her loss of 37 percent of her own party’s members could be devastating, according to British political observers. Many of those more conservative members are calling on her to resign. Alex Gordon, former president of the National Union of Rail, Maritime, & Transport Workers, joins Brian and John. Veterans for Peace is Thursday’s regular segment about the contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who refused orders to deploy to Vietnam and lived in exile in Canada and Sweden for 6 years, organizing with other U.S. military deserters and draft resisters against the Vietnam war, and for amnesty for U.S. war resisters, joins the show. He has been a peace and solidarity activist for almost 50 years and has served on the Board of Veterans For Peace for the last 6 years, currently as national president. Mental health workers organized by the National Union of Healthcare Workers at Kaiser Permanente in California are on strike this week to protest the quality of care their patients receive. Strike leaders say that the action is not about money, but instead is about how the company allows them to provide for their patients. Nurses have joined the picket line. Brian and John speak with Doug Kauffman, an activist and a member of the National Union of Healthcare Workers.

Will Trump Shut Down the US Government Over “The Wall”?

Dec 12, 2018 6689

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts looks at the most important ongoing developments of the week and puts them into perspective. Today they talk with Jacquie and Walter about the government shutdown, voter fraud in North Carolina, the protests in France, and the politics of the farm bill. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show. President Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen was sentenced this afternoon to 36 months in a federal prison. He had earlier pleaded guilty to a number of felonies, what the judge called a smorgasbord of fraud. He apparently only partially cooperated with the Mueller investigation, and prosecutors told the judge that Cohen had been truthful. Brian and John speak with Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War.” Meng Wanzhou was arrested on December 1 at the request of the United States because her company allegedly is doing business with Iran, which is subject to US sanctions. But she has now been released on bail by order of a judge in Canada. Jude Woodward, the author of the new book “The US vs China: Asia's new Cold War?” joins the show. Lawmakers from Britain’s Conservative Party called for a no confidence vote today in a bid to oust Prime Minister Theresa May because of the Brexit deal she negotiated with the European Union. However, as of the time of this recording, 2:00 p.m. Eastern time, a majority Tory Party members have said they would support May. That’s enough for her to win. But the future of her government is still in doubt. Sputnik News analyst Walter Smolarek joins Brian and John. Turkish President Erdogan said today that his country would begin a new military offensive within day in northern Syria to “clear the area of Kurdish rebels on both sides of the Euphrates River.” Erdogan added that Turkey would specifically not target Americans in the area, but the move will almost certainly raise tensions with the United States. Ambassador Peter Ford, the former British Ambassador to Syria, joins the show. Israeli soldiers entered Ramallah yesterday, with low-level clashes breaking out only yards from the home of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. The soldiers seized security footage from buildings in the area and they raided the offices of WAFA, the Palestinian news agency. Meanwhile, a Palestinian child was killed in an earlier shooting and a pregnant woman was gravely wounded. Brian and John speak with Jonathan Kuttab, an international human rights lawyer, and Dan Cohen, a journalist and a documentary filmmaker, most recently of the film “Killing Gaza.”

All the King’s Horses & All the King’s Men Won’t Put May Together Again

Dec 11, 2018 6788

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Alexander Mercouris, the editor-in-chief of The Duran. The Brexit crisis is coming to a head. UK Prime Minister Theresa May traveled to Brussels this morning for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European leaders. She has not yet rescheduled the vote on Brexit after postponing it yesterday. Meanwhile, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn told parliament that the country is in chaos. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey joins the show. President Trump said this morning in a series of tweets that he will call out the military to build a border wall if Democrats in Congress fail to provide the necessary funding for the wall’s construction. Democrats, meanwhile, warned that Trump could cause a government shutdown on Friday if the Republican Congress does not approve emergency government funding. Brian and John speak with Pedro Rios, the Director of the American Friends Service Committee’s U.S./Mexico Border Program and chairperson for the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium. Maria Butina, a Russian student and gun rights activist accused of failing to register as a foreign agent, has agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy and to cooperate in ongoing federal, state, and local investigations. Butina is expected to tell a federal court in Washington tomorrow that she was working to establish relationships with American political groups at the direction of an unnamed Russian official. But critics of the Russiagate campaign say that Butina was a victim of strong-arm tactics by the FBI. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, joins the show. Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified before the House Judiciary Committee this morning about his company’s algorithms and whether they are politically biased and about Google’s privacy practices. Employees took advantage of the high-profile meeting to raise concerns about the company’s harassment and discrimination policies. Dr. Robert Epstein, the senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, joins Brian and John. The Supreme Court yesterday declined to review lower court decisions that blocked state efforts to cut off public funding for Planned Parenthood, a move that reveals a split within the court’s conservative bloc. Julie Hurwitz, a civil rights attorney and partner at the law firm Goodman, Hurwitz and James, joins the show. An antitrust lawsuit brought by states over two drugs has exploded into a price-fixing investigation against 16 pharmaceutical companies manufacturing more than 300 drugs. Federal authorities allege that pharma executives fixed prices for generic drugs for years. And the attorney general of Connecticut is calling it “the largest criminal cartel in the history of the United States.” Brian and John speak with Tim Horn, the director of medication access and pricing at the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors.

Loud & Clear Show Targeted By Anti-Russia Witch Hunters

Dec 10, 2018 6871

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com, and Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center. They both regularly join Loud & Clear every Thursday for regular segment Criminal Injustice. Every Thursday, Loud & Clear helps expose the injustices carried out by America’s courts, prisons, and police departments. Regular segment “Criminal Injustice” recently caught the attention of professional Russia-bashers, including a former Undersecretary of Homeland Security, who claim that this specific segment is part of a dastardly foreign plot to undermine confidence in the oh-so-wonderful institutions of the U.S. criminal justice system. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is about the state of education across the country. Today Dr. Monique Redeaux-Smith is sitting in for Bill Ayers, and the hosts talk with her about the Chicago charter school strike that just successfully finished yesterday. Dr. Monique Redeaux-Smith is an organizer with the Illinois Federation of Teachers. British Prime Minister Theresa May called off tomorrow’s critical vote on her Brexit deal so she can go back to Brussels and ask for changes in it. British political observers say that the deal would have been easily defeated and would have plunged the British political scene into chaos. Legendary anti-war activist and former British parliamentarian George Galloway joins the show. In a nationally televised address this afternoon, French President Emmanuel Macron said he would speed up tax relief for struggling workers and to scrap a tax hike for retirees. Macon had earlier promised to raise the minimum wage and to abolish taxes on overtime pay. All of these promises were made to contain four weeks of demonstrations against his policies that have devolved into nationwide rioting. Gilbert Mercier, editor in chief of News Junkie Post and the author of “The Orwellian Empire,” and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek join Brian and John. Venezuelans held municipal elections on Sunday to elect some 2,500 local counsellors. Turnout was relatively low with opposition parties boycotting the polls, but debate is raging as Venezuela attempts to overcome its economic crisis and efforts to isolate it on the world stage. Paul Dobson, a writer for Venezuelanalysis.com, joins the show. Today is the 70th anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The document gives to all humans basic human rights, including the right to work and for equal pay, the right to not be enslaved, the right to health care, the right to amnesty in other countries, and more. But even in the richest economies like the United States, people are still denied these fundamental rights. Brian and John speak with Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek.

Trump's New Attny General Nominee An Architect of US Mass Incarceration

Dec 7, 2018 6873

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman, editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, and Sputnik News analyst and producer Walter Smolarek. Loud & Clear continues its regular segment The Week in Review, where we take a look at the biggest developments in the United States and around the world. The Chinese government reacted yesterday to the arrest in Canada at US request of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on charges of violating US sanctions on Iran. The government-aligned newspaper Global Times called the arrest “despicable” and the US Commerce Department began warning American businessmen about travel to China. Meng will be arraigned in Vancouver today, but any extradition could take years. Brian and John speak with Dr. Jack Rasmus, a professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California and author of “Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression.” The Ecuadorian president, Lenin Moreno, has ramped up pressure on Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange to leave his country’s embassy in London. Moreno said yesterday that the UK government has agreed to not extradite Assange to any country where he might face the death penalty. But that’s a red herring. Assange already has been indicted in the United States, likely for national security crimes which do not call for the death penalty. Suzie Dawson, an activist and the president of the Internet Party of New Zealand, joins the show. Today is the 77th anniversary of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Was the bombing of Pearl Harbor an intelligence failure or a pretext for the US to enter the war? Peter Kuznick, a professor of history and director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University, joins Brian and John. All major tourist sites in Paris will be closed this weekend as authorities expect what they are calling “major violence” from anti-government demonstrations. The so-called “yellow vest” protests have swelled this week, even after the government postponed the tax increase that set them off. 89,000 police will be deployed around the country, along with armored personnel carriers. Gilbert Mercier, Editor in Chief of News Junkie Post and the author of “The Orwellian Empire”, joins the show. This week we’ll continue to look at the worst, most misleading, funniest, and the just plain wrong headlines of the past week. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News

Coup D’état in Wisconsin Aims for Massive Voter Suppression

Dec 7, 2018 6810

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause Wisconsin, David Liners, state director of WISDOM, a statewide organization seeking justice and common good, and Rabbi Bonnie Margulis, the president of Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice. Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin’s lame duck legislature have forced bills into law that will strip the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general of much of their power. New laws also would throw poor people off of Medicaid and shorten voting and voter registration times. And two days ago that same legislature approved 82 of Governor Scott Walker’s political appointees with no debate. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. The chief financial officer of Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications equipment and consumer tech giant, was arrested in Canada at US request yesterday. The Trump Administration wants her to be extradited to face trial on charges of violating sanctions on Iran. But Huawei’s business in Iran is perfectly legal under international law and under the terms of the JCPOA, which the US unilaterally withdrew from. Brian and John speak with Dr. Jack Rasmus, a professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California and author of “Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression,” whose work is at www.jackrasmus.com. The funeral of former President George H. W. Bush was held yesterday in Washington and his body was returned to Texas, where he will be interred today. Every day this week the hosts are talking about the Bush legacy, focusing today on Bush’s response to the AIDS crisis. Mark Harrington, an HIV/AIDS researcher, activist, and the cofounder and policy director of the Treatment Action Group, joins the show. Veterans for Peace is Thursday’s regular segment about the contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who serves as the national president of Veterans for Peace, and Michael McPhearson, a Gulf War veteran and the executive director of Veterans for Peace, join the show. Global carbon emissions rose by 2.7 percent this year, following a 1.6 percent increase last year. Scientists blame strong economies in India and China and say that those countries are burning more coal and the middle classes there are buying more and more cars, but per-capita carbon emissions remain highest by far in Europe and the United States. They also say that we have passed a point of no return on carbon emissions and climate change. Scott Edwards, co-director of the Food & Water Justice project at Food & Water Watch, joins the show. Two independent academics at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies will soon release a report in which they conclude that North Korea is expanding two missile bases that could be used to house long-range ballistic missiles. South Korean military officials said they are monitoring the situation in cooperation with the United States. There have been no formal announcements by any party. Brian and John speak with Simone Chun, a fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and a member of the Korean Peace Network.

Drug War, War Against Iraq: The Legacy of George HW Bush

Dec 5, 2018 6887

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dennis Bernstein., an author, poet, activist, and co-host of the political news show Flashpoints on Pacifica Radio, and Jackie Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, whose livestream is on every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook. The funeral of former president George H. W. Bush was held this morning at Washington’s National Cathedral with three former presidents and three former first ladies in attendance. Brian and John have looked at the legacy of George H. W. Bush every day this week and focus today on the Gulf War, the war on drugs, and mass incarceration. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show. Republicans in Wisconsin and Michigan were wiped out of their states’ top offices in last month’s election. But both legislatures called lame duck sessions to strip incoming Democratic governors of much of their power. The bills also would reduce the time for early voting and throw poor people off of Medicaid. Brian and John speak with Matt Brusky, the deputy director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is asking a federal judge to sentence former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn to probation -- not jail time -- for lying to the FBI, citing Flynn’s exceptional assistance in the Russia collusion investigation. Later this week, former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort will be back in court, where Mueller will have to identify what Manafort has done to break his plea deal. And meanwhile, new information has emerged that Manafort met with Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno in 2017 about a complex deal that would involve Julian Assange’s expulsion from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, joins the show. CIA Director Gina Haspel briefed a bipartisan group of senators on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi yesterday. Many came out of the briefing offering angry accounts of the information Haspel conveyed and said there was no doubt in their minds that Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman ordered the assassination. Ali al-Ahmed, the director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs, joins Brian and John. A Houthi delegation and the UN special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, arrived in Stockholm last night in advance of peace talks with the Yemeni government. A Saudi delegation is expected to arrive today. Mediators from Kuwait, which hosted the last direct talks in 2016, are also in Sweden for the meetings, which should begin today. Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran, joins the show. Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro left for Moscow this morning, where he’ll meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin. No specific reason for the meeting was announced, but Putin said that he is acutely aware of the economic crisis in Venezuela and the media are speculating that oil and gas will be on the agenda. Brian and John speak with Paul Dobson, a writer for VenezuelaAnalysis.com.

Inauguration of Mexico's New President López Obrador: A Historic Shift?

Dec 4, 2018 6871

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dr. John Ackerman, professor of Constitutional Law at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), researcher at the Legal Research Institute of UNAM, and editorial director of the Mexican Law Review. Mexico’s new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador was inaugurated on Saturday and began his six year term with a press conference--something unusual for Mexican presidents. He promised to bring what he called “deep and radical change” in his fight against crime, and he even held a meeting with his national security team at 6:00 am today, something he said would happen daily. López Obrador said that he has a “respectful” relationship with President Trump, but it promises to turn rocky in negotiations over migrants and a border wall. And, Obrador has proposed sweeping changes to the country’s economic policy to break from neoliberalism. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey joins the show. French Prime Minister Edouard Phillippe announced this morning that the fuel tax that set off rioting around the country will be suspended for six months. The yellow vest protests have grown to include other issues, however, reflecting widespread anger at President Macron for his failure to implement reforms. Brian and John speak with Gilbert Mercier, editor in chief of News Junkie Post and the author of “The Orwellian Empire.” Former President George H. W. Bush died over the weekend at the age of 94. His body now lies in state in the US Capitol and a funeral will take place tomorrow. The hosts look at the Bush presidency and the Bush legacy each day this week, focusing on a different issue. Today is about his role in the coup that overthrew Haiti’s democratically elected government in 1991. Kim Ives, an editor of the newspaper Haïti Liberté, joins the show. The European Court of Justice’s Advocate General delivered a non-binding opinion yesterday that the UK could arbitrarily cancel its decision to withdraw from the European Union if it so chose. The decision comes as the House of Commons begins a week of debate on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan, and Parliament found the government in contempt this morning for not issuing Brexit advice. Steve Hedley, the senior assistant general secretary of the the UK’s Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers Union, joins Brian and John. Israel’s military says that it has begun an operation to destroy what it calls “cross border attack tunnels” under its border with Lebanon dug by Hezbollah operatives. An Israeli government spokesman said the tunnels had only recently been detected and they will be destroyed without having to cross the border into Lebanon. But is this in fact motivated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s legal and political problems at home? Miko Peled, the author of “The General’s Son - A Journey of an Israeli in Palestine” and "Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five,” joins the show. Nexstar Media Group announced this morning that it will buy Tribune Corporation’s 42 television stations and cable network in an all-cash $4.1 billion deal. An earlier takeover attempt by Sinclair Media was blocked by the Federal Communications Commission. If approved, the company will own more than 200 television stations covering 39 percent of all American households. Brian and John speak with Tim Karr, the senior director of strategy and communications at Free Press.

Trump Declares Temporary Truce in US-China Trade War: What’s Next?

Dec 3, 2018 6785

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by John Ross, senior fellow at Chongyang Institute, Renmin University of China, and an award-winning resident columnist with several Chinese media organizations. The Group of 20, or G20, summit is over. As summits go, it was uneventful--almost not newsworthy. President Trump and the leaders of Canada and Mexico announced a trade deal to replace NAFTA, though, and more importantly, the US and China agreed to halt new tariffs. Immediately after the summit ended, President Trump announced that he would not boost tariffs on Chinese goods on January 1, and that China would purchase what he called “a very substantial amount” of US agricultural, industrial, and energy products and would reduce or remove tariffs on US automobiles. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. Former President George H. W. Bush died over the weekend at the age of 94. His body will lie in state in the US Capitol and a funeral will take place on Wednesday. We’ll look at the Bush presidency and the Bush legacy each day this week, focusing on a different issue. Today we’ll talk about the invasion of Panama. Brian and John speak with Kim Ives, an editor of the newspaper Haïti Liberté. Clashes across France continued to spread over the weekend, with students blockading more than 100 high schools to protest changes in the country’s university entrance system. Protestors also blockaded 11 fuel depots in northern France, causing severe gas shortages. But polls show that 72 percent of French adults support the protests, and they show no sign of waning. Gilbert Mercier, editor in chief of News Junkie Post and the author of “The Orwellian Empire,” joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto,” joins Brian and John. Three St. Louis police officers who beat an undercover colleague during a protest last year turned themselves in after being indicted on federal charges. A fourth also was indicted for lying to a grand jury about the incident. Rev. Darryl Gray, a long-time civil rights activist and candidate for Alderman in St. Louis’ 18th ward who was arrested in the demonstration where the beating took place, and Kristine Hendrix, an activist and vice president of the University City school district, join the show. The far-right Vox Party stunned Spain this weekend by winning seats in the Andalusian regional parliament. The party won 12 seats and 11 percent of the vote on a platform of expelling all immigrants from Spain and ending Catalonia’s political autonomy. Brian and John speak with Dick Nichols, the correspondent for Spain and Catalonia for Green Left Weekly.

G20 Summit: Is the US Charting a Collision Course with China?

Nov 30, 2018 6652

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which livestreams every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and Sputnik News analyst and producer Walter Smolarek. Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. This week includes the G20 segment, Marc Lamont Hill’s firing, and a domestic workers’ bill of rights being introduced. FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is spending more than $1 billion in Puerto Rico to repair homes damaged by Hurricane Maria. But much of that money is going to contractors charging steep markups and overhead? The New York Times reports that some repairs are indeed being made, but at an astronomical cost. Dr. Adriana Garriga-López, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Anthropology at Kalamazoo College, joins the show. Seven men were found guilty yesterday of the murder of Honduran indigenous environmental activist Berta Caceres, who was shot and killed on March 2, 2016, two days before her 45th birthday. Caceres had waged a long battle to stop construction of an internationally-financed hydroelectric dam on the Gualcarque River, which the Lenca people consider sacred. The judge found that the murder was ordered by the construction company’s executives. Brian and John speak with Jackie McVicar, a member of the Atlantic Region Solidarity Network, working in solidarity with people struggling for social justice and environmental protection in Latin America, the Caribbean and Atlantic Canada, and a former co-coordinator of the Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Solidarity Network. Manor Care was a highly respected nursing home and retirement community company based in Silver Spring, Maryland. Five years ago it was taken over by the Carlyle Group, one of the largest private equity firms in the world. Under Carlyle’s ownership, however, the company went bankrupt. And serious cases of elder abuse are now coming to light. Len Haberman, an attorney with the Senior Justice Law Firm who has specialized in elder law and nursing home abuse cases for more than 20 years, joins the show. The political news website Politico this week published an article about the foreign press and their apparent love affair with Donald Trump. The thrust of the article was that the foreign press doesn’t criticize the president because fawning coverage is a way for countries to ingratiate themselves with him. But the article focuses on, of course, the Russians. It makes no mention of the Israeli press or news outlets in most Arab countries. Joe Lauria, the editor-in-chief of Consortium News, founded by the late Robert Parry, and the author of the book "How I Lost, By Hillary Clinton," joins Brian and John. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

Climate Change: The Fight of Our Lives

Nov 29, 2018 6860

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Fred Magdoff, professor emeritus of plant and soil science at the University of Vermont, and Antony Loewenstein, an independent journalist and author of “Disaster Capitalism: Making a Killing Out of Catastrophe.” Last week, just before Thanksgiving, the White House did everything it could to bury its own report on climate change, which Donald Trump says he doesn’t believe. But the science is in and climate change is here and is already affecting our health, with extreme heat having an effect on productivity, the food supply, and disease transmission. And the last four years have been the hottest in recorded history. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, joins the show. President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty today to a single count of lying to Congress. But does this say anything about the larger investigation into alleged Russian interference into the 2016 election. Brian and John speak with Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer who is the author of the new book “The Plot to Control the World: How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World.” In an article written by a former CIA officer under the pen name Alex Finley, Politico tries to make an argument that an article in The Guardian yesterday saying that Paul Manafort met in Ecuador’s London embassy with Julian Assange, was either planted or that sources duped the authors, Luke Harding and Dan Collins. Politico then points the finger squarely at Russia, including Sputnik, RT, and its so-called partners like Wikileaks and Glenn Greenwald. But isn’t it more likely that Luke Harding is just a lousy journalist? After all, he has already been caught plagiarizing the work of other journalists, and his book, entitled Collusion, takes a conclusion and then tries to find the evidence to support it. Activist and journalist Diani Baretto and Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at www.rall.com, join the show. President Trump is threatening to withdraw subsidies from General Motors after the company announced the closure of five plants and the layoff of 15,000 salaried workers, and he says that he’s on the side of the American worker. But is he serious, especially in light of the massive tax cuts that GM benefited from earlier this year. How can the auto workers union capitalize on the situation and save jobs? Neal Sweeney, the Vice President of UAW Local 5810, joins Brian and John. Veterans for Peace is Thursday’s regular segment about the contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who refused orders to deploy to Vietnam and lived in exile in Canada and Sweden for 6 years, organizing with other U.S. military deserters and draft resisters against the Vietnam war, and for amnesty for U.S. war resisters, joins the show. He has been a peace and solidarity activist for almost 50 years and has served on the Board of Veterans For Peace for the last 6 years, currently as national president. Furious over being denied a briefing by the CIA Director on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Senate last night voted by an overwhelming 63-37 vote to bring to the floor a measure to limit President Trump’s war powers in Yemen. It was the strongest signal yet that the Administration’s insistence that Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman did not order Khashoggi’s killing cannot be believed. Brian and John speak with Ariel Gold, a peace activist and the national co-director of Code Pink.

Mississippi Election: The Struggle to Overcome Racism is Not Over

Nov 28, 2018 6907

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook. Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts looks at the most important ongoing developments of the week and puts them into perspective. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has told the court that he is no longer obliged to maintain the plea agreement with Paul Manafort. Mueller asserts that Manafort has violated it by lying to the Special Counsel. Today, there are headlines proclaiming this to be true, because his legal team spoke with President Trump’s. But the two legal teams have a defense agreement authorizing this -- it’s a common communication tool that the two parties have had in place long term. Brian and John speak with Bruce Fein, a constitutional law scholar and a former assistant deputy Attorney General of the United States. International media outlets are in the crosshairs of Russiagate zealots once again, with a new hit piece in Politico that accuses a variety of outlets of shifting their coverage to become mouthpieces for the Trump administration. What do these outlets really cover? Meanwhile, journalists in mainstream outlets, like The Guardian’s Luke Harding, spread misinformation. Joe Lauria, the editor-in-chief of Consortium News, founded by the late Robert Parry, and the author of the book "How I Lost, By Hillary Clinton," joins the show. President Trump gave an interview to the Washington Post yesterday in which he threatened to cancel a meeting with Vladimir Putin and urged European countries to maintain a hostile posture towards Russia. Trump also railed against Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell and the interest rate policies the Fed has been pursuing. Steve Keen, the author of “Debunking Economics” and the world’s first crowdfunded economist, whose work is at patreon.com/ProfSteveKeen, joins Brian and John. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has named former Wall Street Journal editorial writer Mary Kissel as his new senior advisor for policy and strategic messaging. It’s not unusual that a journalist would enter the State Department. It actually happens all the time. But in 2016, Kissel went on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to call Donald Trump “frighteningly ignorant” and to say that he had “no principles and no policies.” Trump responded by tweeting that Kissel was “a major loser.” Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter and founder of This Can’t Be Happening!, a columnist for CounterPunch, and the author of a major new article in The Nation titled, “The Pentagon’s Massive Accounting Fraud Exposed,” joins the show. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said yesterday that the UK Integrity Initiative is a British government-sponsored front organization aimed at defaming the Russian government. The UK Integrity Initiative purported to be an independent watchdog organization until hackers from the group Anonymous found documents proving that it was created by British intelligence organizations. Brian and John speak with Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net.

Debate Inside Taliban: Peace or More War?

Nov 27, 2018 6851

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Ahmed Rashid, a journalist and the best-selling author of “Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan” and several books on Afghanistan and Central Asia, including “The Resurgence of Central Asia, Islam or Nationalism.” More than 17 years after US troops entered Afghanistan and overthrew the Taliban, that country is still in a state of disarray. In just the past 48 hours, at least 20 Afghan police officers were killed in a Taliban ambush, a US special forces officer was killed, three American soldiers were killed in a bomb blast, and the Afghan government announced that it may delay the upcoming presidential election. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey joins the show. A journalists group, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, has filed a federal motion asking that all documents related to a pending indictment of Julian Assange in the Eastern District of Virginia be unsealed. Federal prosecutors oppose the motion and say that a recent leak that seemed to indicate that a secret indictment already exists, was inadvertent and should not be construed as confirmation. Judge Leonie Brinkema, who reserves all national security cases for herself, will make a decision. Brian and John speak with Suzie Dawson. She is an activist and the president of the Internet Party of New Zealand. The Guardian is reporting today that Paul Manafort held secret meetings with Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2013, 2015, and 2016. Manafort calls the report “100 percent false” and Wikileaks said there is literally nothing true about it. Meanwhile, the Special Counsel’s office says that Manafort has violated the terms of his plea deal by continually lying to investigators and should be sentenced to prison immediately. Coleen Rowley, a former FBI special agent who in 2002 was named Time Magazine person of the year along with two other whistleblowers, and Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War,” joins the show. Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, accused Russia on Monday of taking “outlaw actions” against Ukrainian ships in an incident at sea this weekend and vowed that sanctions punishing Russia’s annexation of Crimea would continue. Haley said, “outlaw actions like this one continue to make an improvement in US-Russia relation impossible... “The United States will maintain its Crimea-related sanctions against Russia. Indeed, further Russian escalation of this kind will only make matters worse.” Donald Trump’s comments however struck a different tone from Haley’s. Mark Sleboda, an international relations and security analyst, joins Brian and John. The Mississippi Senate race will be decided in a runoff election today that pits former Congressman and Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy against incumbent Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith. Hyde-Smith has found herself at the center of controversy recently over her previous support of Confederate symbols and monuments. Espy is the strongest possible Democrat to challenge Hyde-Smith, but polls show that the Republicans will keep the seat. Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at www.rall.com, joins the show.

Ukraine Declares Martial Law Using Russia Crisis as Pretext

Nov 26, 2018 6934

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Alexander Mercouris, the editor-in-chief of The Duran. Two Ukrainian naval ships along with a tow boat navigated into the Kerch Strait yesterday, a narrow waterway that separates the Black Sea from the Sea of Azov, and were fired on and detained by Russian authorities. This set off a major political crisis, with the Ukrainian President vowing to declare martial law and Russia accusing Ukraine of staging a deliberate provocation by ignoring the procedure that had previously allowed safe passage for Ukrainian ships through the strait. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. Migrants held protests at the border yesterday in Tijuana demanding their right to asylum be honored. When several tried to cross the erected barriers, Border Patrol pummeled the migrants, including children and babies, with tear gas. Brian and John speak with Juan José Gutiérrez, the executive director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition. Former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos reported to prison today to begin his two-week sentence for making a false statement to the FBI. Papadopoulos has complained loudly on Twitter in the past few weeks that he had been “set up” and “coerced” by the FBI to take a plea. A judge denied his request to delay his prison sentence. Meanwhile, Jerome Corsi has shed new light onto what he says is a plea deal reached with the Mueller investigation. Alex Rubinstein, a Sputnik news analyst and journalist whose work is on twitter at @RealAlexRubi, joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto,” joins Brian and John. Over the weekend, the European Union formally approved the proposed Brexit plan. As we've covered extensively, it still includes three primary parts: limits on migration, the relationship with the European customs union, and the Irish backstop. The hosts talked with Andy Brennan on Friday and focused on the third element. As Brexit nears, there are fears that the reinstitution of a so-called “hard border” between the Republic of Ireland and the British-controlled north could reignite the long-simmering conflict. Andy Brennan, a journalist with Asia Times and CGTN, joins the show. Syrian news reported that insurgents launched a chlorine attack in Aleppo on Saturday. At least 70 people were injured in the attacks, according to the reports. In response, Russia launched air strikes on Sunday. Brian and John speak with Ambassador Peter Ford, the former British Ambassador to Syria.

Trump Gives Thanks to Trump on Thanksgiving

Nov 23, 2018 6660

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman, co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, and Sputnik News analyst Walter Smolarek to talk about this week’s biggest news stories. Olivia Hooker, the last survivor of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre, died over the weekend at the age of 103. Dr. Hooker described the notorious 48 hours of death and fire at what was known as the Black Wall Street, as a “catastrophe” that began when a white lynch mob descended on the county courthouse where a black teenager was being held. Brian and John speak with Dr. Gerald Horne, an author and professor of history at the University of Houston. An Israeli court has ruled in favor of a settler organization seeking to evict 700 Palestinian residents from the Silwan neighborhood in East Jerusalem. The steady expansion of Israeli settlements -- illegal under international law -- continues. Journalist and filmmaker Dan Cohen joins the show. There’s a new international challenge to the Trump administration’s trade policy that disputes the “national security” justification the U.S. government cites as a pretext for tariffs. David Ewing, chair of the San Francisco chapter of the US-China People’s Friendship Association, joins Brian and John. More than 80 activist, political and labor organizations are signing on to a call to action, organizing demonstrations in cities across the country to show solidarity with the migrant caravan as it begins to arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border. The actions will be held this Sunday. Juliana Musheyev, a member of the Board of Directors of the Peace Education and Action Center who is involved in this weekend’s activities, joins the show. Again this week we’ll look at the worst, most misleading, funniest, and the just plain wrong headlines of the past week. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News.

Reform Bill Proposed, But More Needed to End Mass Incarceration

Nov 21, 2018 6718

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, and Sputnik News analyst and producer Walter Smolarek. It’s the day before Thanksgiving and much of official Washington is closed. New members of Congress have been sworn in and have returned home to their families. But the rest of the world hasn’t come to a stop. The hosts take a look at this week’s major stories. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and producers Nicole Roussell and Walter Smolarek join the show. We all know the story of Thanksgiving. Native Americans welcomed newly arrived pilgrims, showed them how to hunt and forage for food, and the two groups celebrated and gave thanks. But that’s a lie. The first mention of Thanksgiving came in 1627, six years after the Wampanoag tribe helped the pilgrims, and immediately after those same pilgrims massacred an entire Piquot village and celebrated their so-called victory. So what does Thanksgiving mean to Native Americans? Brian and John speak with Andrea Carmen, executive director of the International Indian Treaty Council, which is hosting their annual Indigenous Peoples Thanksgiving Sunrise Gathering on Alcatraz Island tomorrow, broadcast on KPFA Radio at 6am Pacific. President Trump broke with his own Intelligence Community yesterday when he said that the CIA did not have a smoking gun proving that Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman ordered the assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. A CIA analytic report said that MBS did indeed order the hit. The President’s statement exposed a rift in his administration over how to handle the fallout. Professor Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran, joins the show. The EU Commission this morning again rejected Italy’s budget for 2019, paving the way for financial sanctions to be imposed in the coming months. The Commission Vice President said that the budget is in “serious non-compliance with EU rules” and could lead to political instability and as much as $4 billion in fines. Sputnik News analyst Walter Smolarek joins Brian and John. The Ohio House of Representatives has passed a bill — and the State Senate is considering it — that would ban abortions after just six weeks gestation. Another bill being proposed in Ohio would open up the death penalty as a possible sentence for an abortion. Jane Cutter, the editor of LiberationNews.org, joins the show. The United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, Brian Griffiths, arrived in the capital Sana’a today in a renewed push to get the various sides in the war there around a negotiating table. Griffiths has convinced the government and the Houthi rebels to agree in principle to begin talking. Brian and John speak with Brian Terrell, a long-time peace activist and also co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence.

“America’s Permanent-War Complex”

Nov 20, 2018 6979

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Gareth Porter, a historian, investigative journalist, analyst specializing in U.S. national security policy, and a prolific author whose most recent piece, “America’s Permanent-War Complex,” is the subject of today’s interview. Fifty-eight years ago, President Dwight Eisenhower warned us of a growing military-industrial complex. He said, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.” All these years later, his prediction has come true. In a new article in The American Conservative magazine, Gareth Porter argues that the US has transitioned into a “permanent war complex,” where wars are now not meant to be temporary. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey joins the show. A federal judge in California has temporarily blocked the Trump Administration from denying asylum claims made outside of legal checkpoints, dealing a setback to the president’s efforts to halt thousands of migrants making their way from Central America to the US border. Brian and John speak with Juan Carlos Ruiz, cofounder of the New Sanctuary Movement. Airbnb announced yesterday that it would withdraw all listings for homes in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, saying that those settlements were “at the core” of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Israel’s tourism minister said he would sue the company immediately. Also yesterday, an Israeli sniper shot an AP cameraman with a press jacket on. Ariel Gold, a peace activist and the national co-director of Code Pink, joins the show. The White House yesterday reinstated the press credentials of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta, but not until drafting new rules saying that any reporter who asks a follow-up question without permission could then lose his or her press credentials. CNN has dropped its lawsuit against Trump. Meanwhile, the White House Correspondents Association, apparently bowing to Trump, announced that it would not have a comedian at its annual dinner this year, but instead will have a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian speak. Last year’s speaker, comedian Michelle Wolf, called the association “a bunch of cowards.” Tim Karr, the senior director of strategy and communications at Free Press, joins Brian and John. The Trump Administration is preparing to add Venezuela to the list of state sponsors of terrorism in what would be a dramatic escalation of the conflict between the two countries. The list of state sponsors of terrorism is for countries “that repeatedly provide support for acts of international terrorism” and currently includes only Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. Jeanette Charles, a writer, editor, and solidarity liaison with Venezuelanalysis.com, joins the show. President Trump yesterday picked a Twitter fight with Pakistan over what he called that country’s refusal to do “anything” to help the United States. Pakistan summoned the US Ambassador to protest, and Prime Minister Imran Khan took to Twitter to rebut Trump’s allegations. Brian and John speak with Dr. Marvin Weinbaum, the Scholar-in-Residence and director of the Middle East Institute’s Center for Pakistan and Afghanistan Studies.

American White Supremacists Receive Training from Ukrainian Neo-Nazis

Nov 19, 2018 6981

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Max Blumenthal, a journalist, the senior editor of Grayzone Project, co-host of the podcast “Moderate Rebels,” and bestselling author whose latest book is “The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza.” Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. California’s wildfires continued to burn out of control over the weekend with 77 people dead and 997 still missing. President Trump visited Paradise, California, the town that was completely devastated, and called it “Pleasure, California.” He also claimed that the President of Finland told him that raking the forest floor would prevent future fires. Brian and John speak with Fred Magdoff, professor emeritus of plant and soil science at the University of Vermont and the co-author of “What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism” and “Creating an Ecological Society: Toward a Revolutionary Transformation.” Democrats in the Georgia and Florida Governor’s races and the Florida Senate race conceded to their Republican challengers over the weekend amid charges of voter suppression. Meanwhile, all seven of Orange County, California’s House races went to Democrats for the first time ever. Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at rall.com, joins the show. The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum ended in Papua New Guinea this weekend, and for the first time, no end-of-summit communique was issued. The US and China exchanged repeated barbs over trade and, in the end, Papua Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said, “You all know who the two big giants in the room were, so what can I say?” Jude Woodward, the author of the new book “The US vs China: Asia's new Cold War?,” joins Brian and John. At its first meeting since the midterm elections, the House Progressive Caucus, which has increased its membership by 20 thanks to those elections, announced its policy priorities. They include healthcare, jobs, and fighting corruption. And although the caucus chairman said that abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, was still on the table, it was pushed to secondary importance. Juan José Gutiérrez, the executive director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition, joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Brian and John speak with Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto.”

How Government Screw Ups Prove Assange Right

Nov 16, 2018 6669

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman, co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, and Sputnik News analyst and producer Walter Smolarek. Today Loud & Clear begins a new hour-long segment called The Week in Review. We’ll talk about the most important events of the week and offer some analysis to put it all into perspective. A federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of Virginia accidentally revealed yesterday that Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange has been indicted in the district, and the indictment is sealed. Assange’s name was accidentally included in an unrelated terrorism and child pornography case. Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer who is the author of the new book “The Plot to Control the World: How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World”, joins the show. An announcement by the North that they have developed an unspecified new “tactical weapon” is causing controversy. The hawkish CSIS think tank said this week that they had discovered 13 supposedly secret North Korean missile development sites. President Trump, however, said that he’s known about the sites for a long time. Is the Intelligence Community trying to sabotage the Korean peace talks? Brian and John speak with Gregory Elich, a member of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea and the author of, “Strange Liberators: Militarism, Mayhem, and the Pursuit of Profit.” Regional leaders gathered in Singapore this week for the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The intense competition for influence in the region between China and the United States was fully on display at this high-profile gathering. Nile Bowie, a writer and journalist with the Asia Times who was on the ground covering the ASEAN summit, joins the show. 631 people are now missing and 66 are dead in the devastating California wildfires. Thousands of other people are living in tent cities after their homes were destroyed. Meanwhile, President Trump said that he will visit California tomorrow to inspect the damage. This was after he tweeted that the fires were the fault of California’s Democratic elected officials. California-based activist Sheila Xiao joins Brian and John. Finally, the hosts look at the worst, most misleading, funniest, and the just plain wrong headlines of the past week. Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News, and Nicole Roussell, a Sputnik News analyst and producer, join the show.

Crisis in Britain Deepens as Brexit Deal Splits Conservative UK Gov’t

Nov 16, 2018 6977

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Alexander Mercouris, the editor-in-chief of The Duran. UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s hopes of selling a draft Brexit agreement to parliament were dealt a serious blow today, when several senior members of her cabinet, including the Brexit Minister, resigned in protest of the deal. The resignations have May’s government teetering on collapse, with many arguing that the Labour Party’s Jeremy Corbyn poised to become Britain’s next Prime Minister. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. The Saudi-led coalition has ordered a halt in its offensive against the Yemeni port city of Hudaidah in advance of UN-sponsored ceasefire talks, apparently in response to western pressure to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe. Millions of Yemenis rely on the port for food, water, and medicine and are in grave danger of starvation. Brian and John speak with Brian Terrell, a long time peace activist and also co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. The ceasefire in Gaza appears to be holding, even as it may force the Israeli government to collapse. Yesterday’s resignation of Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and his party’s withdrawal from the ruling coalition, may be enough to force new elections. Still, Prime Minister Netanyahu, who also has appointed himself Defense Minister, Foreign Minister, and Communications Minister, will likely win with an even stronger coalition. Ambassador Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian Ambassador to Hungary, joins the show. The global economy has hit a soft patch, putting the US economy’s robust growth at risk if the slowdown persists, according to the Wall Street Journal. Economic output in Germany and Japan slowed in the third quarter, while consumer spending in China hit a five-month low. Daniel Sankey, a financial policy analyst, joins Brian and John. A new study from Brown University’s Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs says that by the end of the 2019 fiscal year, the US will have spent nearly $6 trillion on the so-called War on Terror. This differs wildly from the Pentagon’s $1.5 trillion calculation because the Brown study also takes into account veteran care, interest on debt from the wars, and war-related spending from the State Department. Alexander Rubinstein, a Sputnik news analyst and journalist whose work is on Twitter at @RealAlexRubi, joins the show. New revelations have exposed a key force behind the unrest that rocked Nicaragua this year, leading to hundreds of deaths – the leadership of the Catholic Church. A recently leaked, clandestine recording of Bishop Silvio Báez shows the high-ranking church leader directly coordinating the deadly barricades that were set up across the country. Brian and John speak with Chuck Kaufman, he is the National Co-Coordinator of the Alliance for Global Justice.

Netanyahu's Right-Wing Cabinet Splinters Over Temporary Gaza Ceasefire

Nov 14, 2018 6665

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Ali Abunimah, the co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of the book “The Battle for Justice in Palestine,” and Miko Peled, the author of “The General’s Son - A Journey of an Israeli in Palestine” and “Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.” Israel’s government moved close to collapse yesterday when Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned and withdrew his party’s support for the government to protest the Netanyahu Administration’s cease-fire talks with Hamas. Far-right Education Minister Naftali Bennett threatened to withdraw his own party from the governing coalition unless Netanyahu names him as the new Defense Minister. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, joins the show. In an interview with the Washington Post yesterday Vice President Pence said that if China wants to avoid what he called an all-out Cold War with the United States and its partners, it must fundamentally change its behavior. The comments came in advance of President Trump’s meeting later this month with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Brian and John speak with Jude Woodward, the author of the new book “The US vs China: Asia's new Cold War?” British Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament today that the country is “significantly closer” to delivering on Brexit, saying that the draft agreement reached with the European Union would give the UK control of its borders, laws, and money. She is seeking the backing of her senior-most ministers before putting the agreement to a parliamentary vote. Steve Keen, the author of “Debunking Economics” and the world’s first crowdfunded economist, whose work is at patreon.com/ProfSteveKeen, joins the show. Jemel Roberson was shot by police in a Chicago suburb earlier this week. He was a Black security guard who was on duty the night a shooter came to the bar where he worked. He successfully had the alleged shooter on the ground when cops got there, but instead of taking the shooter into custody, the cops shot and killed Roberson, the security guard. Frank Chapman, a longtime organizer with the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, joins Brian and John. Protesting students in Colombia are preparing for a major demonstration tomorrow as they continue their struggle for adequate funding for the country’s higher education. They are facing massive, violent repression from the new far-right government of Ivan Duque. Christian Polo, the spokesperson for the National Union of Students in Higher Education at the National University of Colombia in Bogota, joins the show. President Trump today named the former Commander of Central Command, General John Abizaid, as the new Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. The appointment came as a surprise, as Abi Zaid has no known direct ties to Trump and the Saudis insist that any US Ambassador be a direct line to the president. Brian and John speak with Ali al-Ahmed, the Director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs.

Angry with Trump, Macron Calls for European Army: Real or Theater?

Nov 13, 2018 6962

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Peter Kuznick, a professor of history and director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University and the co-author with Oliver Stone of the book and TV show “The Untold History of the United States,” and Alexander Mercouris, the editor-in-chief of The Duran. President Trump went to Paris over the weekend to attend a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of the first World War. By the time he left France on Monday, he was being scorned from several quarters. As U.S. relations with its European allies have dramatically shifted during the past two years, French President Emmanuel Macron and other European leaders have introduced the idea of the creation of a “European Army.” Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey joins the show. Midterm elections were held a week ago today, but more than a dozen races are yet to be decided. The most inflammatory fight is in the Florida Senate race, where Governor Rick Scott, who is leading by only 12,500 votes out of more than eight million cast, accused incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson of voter fraud for asking for a recount. Scott is going with a scorched earth strategy to secure the seat, while in Arizona, Republican Senate candidate Martha McSally gracefully conceded to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema after falling behind by 38,000 votes out of more than two million cast. Brian and John speak with Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter and founder of This Can’t Be Happening!, as well as a columnist for CounterPunch, and a contributor to the London Review of Books, The Nation, Extra! Tarbell, and Salon.com. Special Counsel Robert Mueller could issue new indictments in the so-called Russian investigation as early as today. Jerome Corsi, a figure on the right-wing fringe, told his followers in a YouTube video that he expects to be indicted on perjury charges today. Meanwhile, the media is speculating that several people close to President Trump and other friends of Republican consultant Roger Stone also could be indicted. Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War,” joins the show. Wildfires in northern and southern California continued to spread over the holiday weekend, resulting in 44 deaths and becoming the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in the state’s history. More than 200 people are still missing. Meanwhile, President Trump tweeted that the fires are so severe only because of mismanagement by state fire prevention officials. That tweet was roundly condemned on both sides of the political aisle. Fred Magdoff, professor emeritus of plant and soil science at the University of Vermont and the co-author of “What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism” and “Creating an Ecological Society: Toward a Revolutionary Transformation” from Monthly Review Press, joins Brian and John. A botched Israeli commando raid into Gaza late last night brought Israel and the Palestinians to the brink of war before Egyptian mediators convinced both sides to step back from the brink. Israeli forces killed seven Palestinians last night, an action which led to the largest-scale rocket fire into Israel since 2004. An Israeli officer was also killed. Daoud Kuttab, an award-winning Palestinian journalist, joins the show. Last week, John sat in Athens with former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and renowned UBS whistleblower Brad Birkenfeld. They recorded their conversation about whistleblowing in the financial and banking sectors and about Varoufakis’s experience standing up to the Troika of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank, which was then in control of the Greek economy. Additionally, Varoufakis discussed his plans with Senator Bernie Sanders and other international progressive leaders to found a new international progressive movement.

On the Way Out, Sessions Gives Green Light to Unfettered Police Abuse

Nov 9, 2018 6846

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dr. Gerald Horne, a professor of history at the University of Houston and author of “Blows Against the Empire: U.S. Imperialism in Crisis,” and Dr. Alex Vitale, an associate professor of sociology at Brooklyn College and author of “The End of Policing.” Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions took a parting shot at communities affected by police violence and civil libertarians on his way out the door when he severely limited the ability of federal law enforcement officials to use court enforced agreements, or consent decrees, to overhaul local police departments accused of abuses and civil rights violations. Friday is Loud & Clear’s regular segment on the midterms, today taking a look at the just-completed political races around the country and some of the marquee races still yet to be decided. Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, joins the show. President Trump signed a new executive order yesterday denying migrants the right to ask for asylum when they are caught crossing the border without a visa. Immigrant rights organizations say the new executive order targets Central Americans almost exclusively. Meanwhile, a federal appeals court yesterday blocked the Trump Administration from ending DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Brian and John speak with Juan Carlos Ruiz, cofounder of New Sanctuary Coalition. A federal judge late last night blocked construction of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, saying that the Trump Administration had “simply disregarded” the effect that the pipeline will have on climate change. The President said today that he will take the issue to the Supreme Court. Andrea Carmen, executive director of the International Indian Treaty Council, joins the show. Utah, Nebraska and Idaho, three Republican-dominated states, all voted to expand Medicaid in midterm election ballot measures. What will this mean for the residents in those states? And what will it mean for the fight for the right to healthcare across the country? Leo Cuello, an attorney and the director of health policy for the National Health Law Program, joins Brian and John. Four inmates in Tennessee are on death row, and are suing the state to let them choose to be killed via firing squad rather than the electric chair or lethal injection. Both methods have had many legal challenges, and the last lethal injection execution in Tennessee, which took place on August 9, took more than 20 minutes to complete. Deborah Golden, an attorney with Human Rights Defense Center and a national expert in prisoner human rights litigation, joins the show. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producers Nicole Roussell and Walter Smolarek.

Sessions is Gone: What Next in Washington’s Unfolding Political Drama?

Nov 8, 2018 6837

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker is joined by Julie Hurwitz, a civil rights attorney and partner at the law firm Goodman, Hurwitz and James, and Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer and the author of the new book “The Plot to Control the World: How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World.” Jeff Sessions is out as Attorney General after a long period of tension with Donald Trump. Brian reviews the ultra right-wing policies that earned him the ire of so many millions of people across the country, and considers what his replacement by acting Attorney General Whitaker means for the future of the Mueller investigation. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. 12 people were killed in a horrendous mass shooting at a bar in southern California last night. Details are still emerging, but news is now reporting that the shooter was a 28-year old combat veteran of the Marine Corps in Afghanistan. Mike Prysner, a U.S. veteran who served four years in the Army in Iraq, a documentary filmmaker, and co-host of the anti-war podcast Eyes Left, joins the show. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fell and broke three ribs late last night. With conservative Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch in their 50s and Samuel Alito and John Roberts in their 60s, what could the court look like if Trump makes more appointments? Brian speaks with Deborah Golden, an attorney with Human Rights Defense Center and a national expert in prisoner human rights litigation. Dangerous new anti-abortion ballot measures passed in Alabama and West Virginia this week, setting up for an intense and protracted court battle. Is the historic Roe vs. Wade decision in jeopardy? Mia Raven, an advocate for women at the Reproductive Health Services of Montgomery abortion clinic, and the cofounder of the nonprofit next door to the clinic called POWER House – People Organizing for Women’s Empowerment & Rights, joins Brian. Intense fighting took place last night in the province of Takhar, killing 14 Afghan government soldiers. As the government loses ground, is there any hope for a negotiated peace? Dr. Marvin Weinbaum, the Scholar-in-Residence and director of the Middle East Institute’s Center for Pakistan and Afghanistan Studies, joins the show. The second half of this week’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Brian speaks with Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear.

Dissecting the Midterm Election Results: What’s Next for U.S. Politics?

Nov 7, 2018 6838

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker is joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation; Loud & Clear co-host John Kiriakou; Florida activist Juliana Musheyev; and Josh Hovey, communications director of the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. Results from the midterms have been rolling in, and this first hour is what happened at the polls last night. First, the hosts talk about the federal races for Congress. The Democrats won the House and the Republicans strengthened their lead in the Senate. How will this affect the nation when those new congresspeople get into office? What will the 2020 map look like? Then the hosts move into state races, where there were several tight races for governor. Last will be a few of the many important amendments and ballot measures that voters weighed in on last night, including a few states legalizing medical or recreational marijuana and the felony disenfranchisement law in Florida. Less than 24 hours after polls closed in the midterms, Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned at the request of President Trump. The relationship between Trump and Sessions soured early, following Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russiagate investigation. Trump named an acting attorney general, but no one knows yet who will permanently fill the seat. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of ThePolemicist.net, joins the show. Speaking by video link to a conference in Israel, Edward Snowden denounced the use of Israeli software that he says was used to track Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi before he was killed. Snowden also went on to comment on mass surveillance in Israel in general. Brian speaks with Bill Binney, a former NSA technical director who became a legendary national security whistleblower, and journalist and filmmaker Dan Cohen. According to new reports, Amazon will open not one but two new headquarters -- in Long Island City, Queens and in Northern Virginia. As municipal governments competed to offer the company enormous tax breaks and other incentives in the hopes of reaping the economic benefits of hosting the new headquarters, is this a historic instance of bait-and-switch? Dr. Jack Rasmus, a professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California and author of “Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression” whose work is at www.jackrasmus.com, joins the show. The incoming far-right administration of Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro is taking shape, and the military is set to take a huge role in the governance of the country. But inside the country and around the world people are pushing back to defend democracy in Brazil. João Rodríguez, a longtime political activist in Brazil who is currently a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, joins Brian. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, joins the show.

What’s at Stake in U.S. Midterm Elections?

Nov 6, 2018 6886

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker is joined by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, the co-directors of Popular Resistance, and from Philadelphia by Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter, a columnist for CounterPunch, and a contributor to Businessweek, The Nation, Extra! and Salon.com. Today millions of people across the country are lining up to vote in crucial local, state and federal elections, as well as a number of important referendums. What is at stake in the midterm election, and how will it affect the direction of the country? Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey joins the show. On the eve of the midterm election, Facebook announced that it had conducted another round of account deletions. How have social media purges and constant stories about foreign interference impacted the political climate leading up to polling day? Brian speaks with Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books--“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War.” Thousands of migrants from Central America are making the perilous journey north, fleeing violence, poverty and political repression. Donald Trump has made the caravan the top issue in the midterm election, whipping up anti-immigrant sentiment and talking about an “invasion”. But who really are the people who make up the caravan? Gloria La Riva, a journalist and filmmaker who has been reporting on the ground as the caravan makes its way through Mexico, joins the show. The harshest U.S. sanctions yet have been imposed on Iran, targeting the country’s crucial oil sector. World leaders are expressing their frustration with U.S. unilateralism, but the economic pressure on the country continues to mount. Professor Mohammad Marandi, a professor of American Studies at the University of Tehran and an expert in postcolonial literature, joins Brian. Three Venezuelan guards were killed along the border with Colombia this weekend by an armed group. This comes just days after US National Security Adviser John Bolton declared support for far-right Colombian President Ivan Duque while naming Venezuela in the “troika of terror.” Paul Dobson, a writer for VenezuelaAnalysis.com, joins the show. Last week on Loud & Clear, the hosts talked about the Human Rights Watch report that featured North Korean defectors alleging sexual abuse in North Korea. Today, they’re joined again by Dr. Christine Hong to rebut these allegations and discuss how South Korean and other intelligence agencies use defectors to further a narrative aimed at disrupting steps toward peace and reunification. Brian speaks with Dr. Christine Hong, Associate Professor of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at UC Santa Cruz and a member of the Korea Policy Institute.

Trump Tries to Choke Iran, Imposes New Severe Sanctions

Nov 6, 2018 6931

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The US reimposed sanctions on Iranian oil today that had been lifted under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The sanctions have already caused serious inflation and there are fears that products like medicine and food could become scarce. Eight countries have been temporarily exempted from the sanctions so their major oil purchases from Iran can continue, but the U.S. regime change push continues at full speed. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. Tomorrow is Election Day as tens of millions of people prepare to go to the polls to vote in a variety of federal, state and local elections. But if there’s a change of party control in either the House or the Senate, will the politics of this country really shift? Brian and John speak with Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter, a columnist for CounterPunch, and a contributor to Businessweek, The Nation, Extra! and Salon.com, and Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at rall.com. In an interview yesterday Donald Trump shrugged off U.S. responsibility for the horrific airstrike on a school bus in Yemen that killed 51, including 40 children, saying “That was basically people that didn’t know how to use the weapon”. But what is the real role of the United States in this deadly war? Ann Wright, a retired United States Army colonel and former U.S. State Department official in Afghanistan, who resigned in protest of the invasion of Iraq and became an anti-war activist, joins the show. If the Democrats win tomorrow, who will the Republicans blame? And if the Republicans win, who will the Democrats blame? From Russian interference to Chinese interference to much-maligned but extremely rare “voter fraud,” the two major U.S. political parties have a number of scapegoats at the ready to avoid blame. Jim Kavanagh, editor of thepolemicist.net, joins Brian and John. Just days before the midterm election, Donald Trump amped up his anti-immigrant rhetoric and announced that he would send up to 15,000 U.S. soldiers to the U.S.-Mexico border. As rank-and-file soldiers are yet again used as political pawns, U.S. military veterans are calling on their fellow service members to refuse the order to deploy. Mike Prysner, a US veteran who served four years in the Army in Iraq, a documentary filmmaker, and a co-host of the anti-war podcast Eyes Left, joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Brian and John speak with Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto.”

Bolton’s “Troika of Tyranny” Speech Promotes US-Backed Regime Change

Nov 2, 2018 6940

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Max Blumenthal, a journalist and bestselling author whose latest book is “The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza,” the senior editor of Grayzone Project, and co-host of the podcast “Moderate Rebels.” National Security Advisor John Bolton gave a fiery speech in Miami yesterday declaring the existence of a “troika of tyranny” in Latin America — Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. Bolton also pledged support for far-right Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, who made several bold announcements yesterday. Since the election Bolsonaro said that he would move Brazil’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, he would merge the Environment and Agriculture Ministries, threatening the Amazon, and he would name former president Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva’s prosecutor as the new Minister of Justice. Friday is Loud & Clear’s regular segment on the midterms, taking a look at political races around the country in the runup to midterm elections in November. Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, joins the show. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, a Republican of Iowa, announced yesterday that for four years during the Obama Administration, the CIA intercepted the emails of potential Intelligence Community whistleblowers and the emails of the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary Committees. Grassley said that he had known this was happening for four years, but the information was classified. It was finally declassified at his request this week. Grassley blames former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper by name for what appears to be an overtly illegal act. President Trump offered remarks yesterday evening about immigration and the thousands of troops he’s sending to the border. He said he hopes the military doesn’t have to shoot, but he told reporters that he’s told the military that if any migrants seeking asylum throw any rocks, that the military should consider the rock a rifle. Pedro Rios, the director of the American Friends Service Committee’s U.S./Mexico Border Program and chairperson for the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, joins the show. US sanctions against Iran will take effect again on Monday, six months after the Trump Administration withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or the Iran trade deal. The question, though is what other countries will do about the sanctions and whether waivers will make a difference. Professor Hamed Mousavi, a professor of political science with the University of Tehran, joins Brian and John. Just hours after President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping had a positive phone call that pointed to an improvement in diplomatic relations, the Department of Justice issued indictments against two Chinese companies and three individuals yesterday for allegedly stealing trade secrets. What’s behind the mixed signals coming from the U.S. government? David Ewing, he is the chair of the San Francisco chapter of the US-China People’s Friendship Association, joins the show. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

Trump Promises 15,000 Troops to U.S.-Mexican Border

Nov 1, 2018 6908

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Juan José Gutiérrez, the executive director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition, and Isabel Garcia, co-founder of Coalición de Derechos Humanos. With less than a week left before the midterm election, Donald Trump has announced that he would be sending up to 15,000 soldiers to the U.S.-Mexico border. Meanwhile Republicans released an overtly racist campaign ad yesterday showing an undocumented migrant who was convicted of killing two policemen saying with a smile that he would soon escape and kill more people and then blaming Democrats for the deaths. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. More than 1,000 Google employees and contractors briefly walked off the job yesterday in Europe and Asia amid complaints of racism, sexism, and abuse of executive authority in the workplace. More walkouts are scheduled today. Google’s chief executive said in a statement that the company will carefully weigh its employees demands and respond appropriately. Brian and John speak with Patricia Gorky, an activist and a tech worker in San Francisco. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, issued a report yesterday showing that the Afghan government controls less territory than it has at any time since the US invasion. SIGAR said that the government of Ashraf Ghani controls only 55.5 percent of Afghanistan after 17 years of US military aid and support. Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Non-Violence, joins the show. Human Rights Watch, the US-based human rights organization, released a study yesterday based on interviews with more than 100 North Korean defectors now in South Korea, saying that North Korean government officials routinely commit sexual violence against women with impunity. The allegation is shocking, but critics say this is just another smear job to derail steps towards peace in Korea. Dr. Christine Hong, Associate Professor of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at UC Santa Cruz and a member of the Korea Policy Institute, joins Brian and John. The Bank of England this morning warned of an economic catastrophe if the UK leaves the European Union without a Brexit deal. Bank governor Mark Carney said that absent an agreement, the UK should expect gridlock in its ports and airports, inflation, and a collapse in the value of the pound. This comes as police open a criminal probe into pro-Brexit campaign donor Arron Banks, who has been the target of conspiracy theories relating to his business interest in Russia. Steve Hedley, senior assistant general secretary of the the UK’s Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers Union, joins the show. Rep. Steve King, a Republican of Iowa, is one of the most conservative and anti-immigrant members of the House of Representatives. He calls himself a nationalist. Many of his detractors call him a bigot, a racist, and a white nationalist. King made a controversial tweet a few days ago and instantly moved his safe Republican seat to a toss-up. Is there a limit to xenophobia, even for conservative Republicans?

About Face! After Khashoggi Incident, Mattis Announces Shift on Yemen

Oct 31, 2018 6802

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Gareth Porter, a historian, investigative journalist, and analyst specializing in U.S. national security policy, and the author of “Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare.” Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called today for all participants in the Yemen war to begin a ceasefire within 30 days. The two said that within 30 days they wanted all parties to engage in peace talks that would be led by UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths. No venue for talks has yet been announced. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show. President Trump and his advisors are pushing ahead with his theory that he can revoke birthright citizenship by signing an executive order. Most Republican leaders and Constitutional scholars have condemned the president’s position on the basis that it violates the 14th Amendment, but the issue will likely have to be settled in the courts. Brian and John speak with David Gespass, the former President of the National Lawyers Guild. An Israeli airstrike killed three young Palestinian boys on Sunday evening near the fence that separates Israel from Gaza. Israeli authorities say that one of their aircraft rocketed the boys, two aged 13 and one 14, while they were planting explosives. Palestinian authorities, however, said that was nonsense. Dan Cohen, a journalist and a documentary filmmaker with extensive experience in the Middle East, joins the show. The New Zealand government said today that a landmark 11-country trade deal that would slash tariffs and increase trade will come into effect at the end of December after being ratified by New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, and Singapore. The Trump Administration withdrew from the Pacific Rim Trade Pact early last year to, in President Trump’s words, prioritize protecting American jobs. Dr. Jack Rasmus, a professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California, author of “Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression,” and at www.jackrasmus.com, joins Brian and John. Chabahar is an Iranian port on the Indian Ocean, Iran’s only direct access to open ocean. The port was built and developed by Indian companies working with the government of India to expand that country’s ability to trade with the rest of the world, but especially with Afghanistan. The idea was a good one for virtually all the economies of the area. But now US sanctions on Iran threaten the port’s viability. Vijay Prashad, the director of the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and chief editor of LeftWord Books, joins the show. The Cook Political Report, arguably the most highly-respected political analysis outlet in the country, reported today that Democrats may be on the brink of a major sweep of governors’ mansions in every Great Lakes state with an election this year. Democratic gains would have lasting importance because of the upcoming 2020 census and the resultant mandate to draw new congressional district borders. Brian and John speak with Julie Hurwitz, a Detroit civil rights attorney and partner at the law firm Goodman, Hurwitz and James.

Pittsburgh Massacre: A Look Inside the Politics of Polarization

Oct 30, 2018 7063

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dan Kovalik, a Pittsburgh human rights and labor lawyer, and the author of the new book “The Plot to Control the World,” and Eugene Puryear, the host of the Sputnik News show By Any Means Necessary. Funeral services were held today for the victims of the anti-Semitic massacre at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh as the city and the country mourns the loss of life in this brazen terror attack carried out by a white supremacist. Donald Trump is also on his way to the city, as he continues to face criticism over the impact of his rhetoric on the political climate in the country. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey joins the show. President Trump said in an HBO documentary that will be broadcast Sunday that he would seek to end birthright citizenship by executive order, that is automatic American citizenship for any person born in the United States. Apparently he hasn’t bothered to read the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Brian and John speak with Juan Carlos Ruiz, cofounder of New Sanctuary Coalition. A judge in Ecuador has ruled against WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, who had contested new rules imposed on him in the country's embassy in London. The judge said a requirement to pay for internet use and clean up after his cat did not violate his right to asylum. Assange had argued that the conditions violated his "fundamental rights and freedoms", and were intended to force him to leave. His lawyers have appealed against the ruling. Randy Credico, an activist, a comedian, and the former director of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice, joins the show. Maria Butina, a Russian graduate student being held without bail for conspiracy to fail to register as a foreign agent, is now being accused of being involved in cyber warfare, according to the Associated Press. The only problem is that Butina WASN’T involved in cyber warfare. When she was studying at American University in Washington, one of her professors asked her to gather information on the cyberdefenses of US non-profits for a study he was doing. That’s it. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of ThePolemicist.net, joins Brian and John. The New York Times reported yesterday that South Korean President Moon Jae-in is succeeding where all of his predecessors have failed — in engaging North Korea and convincing that country to give up its nuclear weapons program. But the article isn’t complimentary. It quotes a South Korean newspaper as saying that Moon is Kim’s most effective spokesman. And it quotes an American think tank analyst saying Moon is a “Bad moon on the rise,” quoting an old Creedence Clearwater Revival song. Simone Chun, a fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and a member of the Korean Peace Network, joins the show. Midterm elections are one week away, so today the hosts look at how an offhand comment may affect them. Hillary Clinton told an audience in New York a few days ago that she still would like to be president. When asked if she would run again, she said no, paused, said no again, and then said that, well, sure, she’d like to be president. The interviewer says that the public has overreacted to the statement. But Clinton supporters relished the notion of another campaign against Donald Trump. Brian and John speak with Walter Smolarek, Sputnik news analyst and producer of Loud & Clear.

Bolsonaro Victory Opens New Stage in Brazil’s Political Struggle

Oct 29, 2018 6753

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by João Rodrigues, a longtime political activist in Brazil, and Aline Piva, a journalist and a member of Brazilians for Democracy and Social Justice. Far-right populist Jair Bolsonaro won the presidency of Brazil yesterday with 55 percent of valid votes cast. Thirty percent of Brazilians cast blank ballots. Bolsonaro is seen as a populist and has been compared to Donald Trump and to Philippines President Duterte. He also has spoken warmly of Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship and said recently that he would have served in Hitler’s army if he had had the chance. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. Robert Bowers walked into the Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday in Pittsburgh and opened fire with an AR-15 assault rifle. He’s facing 29 felony counts, including 11 counts of murder with a hate crime enhancement and the Assistant U.S. Attorney says that he will seek the federal death penalty. Bowers’ virulently anti-Semitic online posts presaged the attack. Brian and John speak with Mindy Isser, a labor organizer and member of the Jewish community in the Philadelphia area. The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that the number of troops the US is sending to the border in anticipation of a migrant caravan is up from the reported 800 last week to 5,000. They’re joining 2,000 National Guardsmen already there. Meanwhile, Mexican officials say that the size of the caravan has dropped by half as some migrants are electing to remain in Mexico’s southern Chiapas state. Jorge Barón, the executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, joins the show. German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced this morning that she would resign from the leadership of the Christian Democratic Party in December and would not seek re-election as chancellor in 2021. The announcement was unexpected, but comes in light of a resounding defeat for Merkel’s coalition in recent regional elections in Bavaria. Activist and journalist Diani Baretto joins Brian and John. The fight for stronger rent control in California is headed to the ballot box next week. Proposition 10 would repeal the state’s Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which strictly limits rent control in cities across California. It’s blamed for the state having some of the highest rents in the country. Nathalie Hrizi, a public school librarian who ran on the Peace & Freedom Party ticket for state insurance commissioner in California in the last election and received over 5% of the statewide vote, joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Brian and John speak with Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto.”

Prominent Neocon Promises More Censorship of Social Media

Oct 26, 2018 6997

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Max Blumenthal, a journalist, the senior editor of Grayzone Project, co-host of the podcast “Moderate Rebels,” and bestselling author whose latest book is “The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza.” This month, Facebook and Twitter deleted the accounts of hundreds of users, including man alternative media sites. Most of those purged were popular sites that scrutinized police brutality and US interventionism, like The Free Thought Project and Cop Block. Max Blumenthal has written a major article exposing the neoconservative cadres, they are former government officials and now affiliated with DC think tanks, which are playing a dominant role in the new cenersoship of alternative media. Friday is Loud & Clear’s regular segment on the midterms, taking a look at political races around the country in the runup to midterm elections in November. Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, joins the show. Cesar Sayoc was arrested in Florida today in connection with more than a dozen pipe bombs that have been mailed to prominent critics of Donald Trump. Two more bombs were intercepted today after being mailed to Democratic Senator Cory Booker and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Brian and John speak with Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at rall.com. Rep. Mark Meadows, a Republican from North Carolina, said following a seven-hour-long closed-door session with former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos that the FBI’s Russia investigation was on weak footing from the beginning, and that the investigation of Papadopoulos in and of itself was unconstitutional. Papadopoulos told Fox & Friends this morning that the FBI had violated his constitutional rights and that he was considering withdrawing from his plea deal, even though he has already cooperated with the Mueller team and served two weeks in jail. Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War,” joins the show. Sixteen years ago today the US anti-war movement burst onto the scene with a massive protest in Washington DC. The focus of the protest was to stop George W. Bush and Dick Cheney from taking the country to war in Iraq. Within a few weeks, that movement became a global anti-war movement, drawing in more than 10 million people. The NYT in February 2003 called this unprecedented movement “the world’s second superpower.” John interviews co host Brian Becker, the national director of the Answer Coalition, the group that initiated these mass protests 16 years ago today. An oil spill that has been quietly leaking million of barrels into the Gulf of Mexico has gone unplugged for so long that it now verges on becoming one of the worst offshore disasters in American history. Between 300 and 700 barrels of oil per day have been leaking from a site off the coast of Louisiana for the past 14 years, since an offshore oil platform sank during Hurricane Ivan. It has never been capped. Scott Edwards, co-director of the Food & Water Justice project at Food & Water Watch, joins the show. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producers Nicole Roussell and Walter Smolarek.

Instead of “Unity,” Political Polarization Deepens After Pipe Bombs

Oct 25, 2018 6762

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by New York by Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemecist.net, and from Virginia by Joe Lauria, the editor of Consortium News. Even more pipe bombs were found this morning, this time addressed to former Vice President Joe Biden and to actor Robert DeNiro, both critics of Donald Trump. Yesterday, bombs were sent to Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, two members of Congress, former CIA director John Brennan, former Attorney General Eric Holder, and CNN. The bomber is clearly targeting opponents of President Trump. But the president’s only response so far is to blame the media for not treating him fairly and for inciting hatred in the country. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to sign an order sending at least 800 U.S. troops to the U.S.-Mexico border as a caravan of thousands of migrants heads north from Central America. Brian and John speak with Isabel Garcia, co-founder of Coalición de Derechos Humanos. In a stunning prediction, Ben Hodges, the commander of U.S. forces in Europe from 2014 to 2017, told an audience at the Warsaw Security Forum that there is “a very strong likelihood that we will be at war with China” within 15 years. What can the world do to avert such a catastrophic conflict? Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek joins the show. Type the words “Erdogan slams” into Google and you get a long list, including the US, the UN, the EU, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. Compare that to the Turkish president’s latest statement about Saudi Arabia, which is “I have no reason to doubt the king’s honesty.” He’s referring to the Saudi murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia’s “Davos in the Desert” investment summit has just finished, with billions of dollars in new investment being planned for the kingdom. Erdogan understands that. Why let the death of one journalist get in the way of Turkey’s share of the profits? Professor Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran, joins Brian and John. The New York and NASDAQ stock exchanges have experienced extreme volatility over the past week, with daily swings of as much as five percent. Indeed, the markets are down so much this week that the entire year’s gains have been wiped out. What accounts for this volatility? And is it temporary or something we should get used to? Financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey joins the show. There was a debate last night in Florida between the two gubernatorial candidates--Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Congressman Ron DeSantis. Actually, it was less of a debate than it was a bare-knuckle brawl. DeSantis said that Gillum as governor would allow pedophiles to have free reign in Florida. And Gillum said that DeSantis was the candidate of neo-Nazis and white supremacists. In the meantime, news broke that the FBI had earlier tried to set up Gillum on a criminal charge by giving him free tickets to the musical Hamilton. Brian and John speak with Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek.

Bombs Sent to Obama, Clinton, Brennan, Holder, Soros & Other Figures

Oct 24, 2018 7152

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dr. Gerald Horne, a professor of history at the University of Houston and author of many books, including “Blows Against the Empire: U.S. Imperialism in Crisis.” Explosive packages were sent to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and former Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz today and to billionaire Democratic Party donor George Soros over the weekend. None of them detonated and no one was injured. Why are incidents like this so common in the United States? The hosts look at the issue of political polarization, factional struggles among political elites and their impact on the larger population and the history and the role violence has played during periods of political turmoil and indeed within the foundational structures of what became the United States. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, producer of Loud & Clear Nicole Roussell, and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek, join the show. In our continuing daily coverage of the midterm elections, the hosts take a look at Medicaid. Medicaid expansion is on the ballot in some of the unlikeliest places this election, places like Idaho, Utah, Montana, and Nebraska. These are states whose populations were no fans of Obamacare, but many people there have come to the conclusion that the only way to cover gaps in health care is to expand the federal program long attacked by conservatives. Brian and John speak with Leo Cuello, an attorney and the director of health policy for the National Health Law Program. The United Nations Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs said yesterday that as many as 14 million Yemenis--half of the country’s population--is at risk of starvation because of Saudi Arabia’s war on that country. Mark Lowcock said, “There is a clear and present danger of an imminent and great famine” hitting Yemen that would be bigger than anything seen in the lifetime of any UN official. Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Non-Violence, joins the show. Ecuador’s foreign minister said yesterday that the country would no longer intervene with the UK government on behalf of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Jose Valencia departed from previous policy by saying that it is now up to Assange to deal with his own problems with the UK. Randy Credico, an activist, a comedian, and the former director of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice, joins Brian and John. Apple Corporation CEO Tim Cook launched a blistering attack yesterday in Brussels against what he called the data industrial complex. Cook said that the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation could provide an alternative model. Professor Bryan Ford, who leads the Decentralized/Distributed Systems lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), joins the show. Last week, there was an attack in southern Afghanistan against the governor, police chief, and intelligence director of Kandahar Province. They were all killed when the governor’s own bodyguards opened fire. The attack was claimed by the Taliban. But now we’re learning that the primary target was US Army General Scott Miller, the four-star officer in charge of all forces in Afghanistan. And US Army Brigadier General Jeff Smiley was shot and wounded in the attack. Brian and John speak with Brian Terrell, a long time peace activist and also co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence.

Turkey, Saudi Arabia: The Geopolitics of an Assassination

Oct 23, 2018 6924

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Professor Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran. Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan said today that the Turkish government had strong and convincing evidence that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a “premeditated and savage murder” at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. He also called for Saudi Arabia to extradite the 15 Saudis implicated in the case for trial in Turkey. Meanwhile, it is being widely reported that Khashoggi’s body was buried in the garden of the Saudi Consul General’s house. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey joins the show. Americans have caught lottery fever. The multi-state Mega Millions lottery jackpot stands at more than $1.6 billion. But what happens to the money that the states keep? Is it put to good use? And isn’t the lottery really just a kind of tax? Brian and John speak with Richard Wolff, a professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, founder of the organization Democracy at Work, and his latest book is “Capitalism's Crisis Deepens: Essays on the Global Economic Meltdown.” Thousands of migrants attempting to escape poverty and violence have made it into Mexico and are heading north towards the United States. As this human drama plays out, Donald Trump and the Republican Party are seeking to exploit the situation for their electoral advantage. Eduardo Garcia, an activist and photojournalist born in Mexico City who coordinates Alliance For Global Justice’s Prison Imperialism Project and supports the solidarity work in Honduras, joins the show. The US Cyber Command is targeting individual Russian operatives to try to deter them from influencing the US midterm elections, telling them that American operatives have identified them and are tracking their work. But a 2011 investigation by The Guardian newspaper found that the US military was developing software that would allow it to secretly manipulate social media sites by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and to spread pro-American propaganda. Sound familiar? Alexander Mercouris, the editor-in-chief of The Duran, joins Brian and John. Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday opened the world’s longest bridge nine years after construction began. The 34-mile-long span will connect Hong Kong and Macau to the Chinese mainland and is supposed to enhance economic growth in the region. The BBC and other British media are treating the bridge like an act of aggression. But Chinese planners expect great economic progress in the region. John Ross, Senior Fellow at Chongyang Institute, Renmin University of China, and an award-winning resident columnist with several Chinese media organizations, joins the show. We’re 14 short days away from midterm elections and in many states early voting is already breaking records. Most of those states are in the south, where early voting is up from between 100 and 1000 percent. And according to the Cook Political Report, it’s Republicans who seem to be flocking to the polls. Brian and John speak with Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek.

US Cancels Nuclear Treaty with Russia, But is China the Real Target?

Oct 22, 2018 6895

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Mark Sleboda, an international relations and security analyst, and Jude Woodward, author of the new book “The US vs China: Asia's new Cold War?” President Trump announced over the weekend that he would withdraw the United States from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, a decades-old agreement signed in 1987 between President Ronald Reagan and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Trump said that Russia had not honored the agreement, but NATO allies expressed shock at the announcement and said that they were not consulted. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. Thousands of Central American migrants have entered southern Mexico on their way to the United States, despite President Trump’s exhortations that they are “criminals.” The president also threatened to cut off aid to any country associated with the caravan that’s not working hard enough to stop it. It appears that Donald Trump and the Republicans are, in fact, happy about this event and are trying to manipulate the optics for their own political benefit. Brian and John speak with Juan José Gutiérrez, the executive director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition. Today we begin a daily segment on politics that we’ll run until election day on November 6. We’ll tell you about the closest and most important races around the country and the issues that affect those races. The story behind the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi continues to become more and more bizarre every day. Turkish authorities released a photograph yesterday of a man who apparently had been part of the team that killed Khashoggi leaving the Saudi consulate wearing the victim’s clothes. Meanwhile, Turkish President Erdogan says that he will release in the next 48 hours all of the information his government has collected in the case. That is sure to be a major embarrassment to the Saudi government. Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran, joins Brian and John. A Russian woman has been charged in federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia for allegedly trying to influence the upcoming midterm elections by creating fake Facebook accounts and posting articles to “create and amplify divisive social media and political content.” Her alleged crime is that she posted articles related to gay rights, gun control, a recent women’s march, and the NFL’s national anthem controversy. Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War,” joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Brian and John speak with Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto.”

“US War Drive is Big Business”: Women Prepare to March on the Pentagon

Oct 19, 2018 7004

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Cindy Sheehan, an anti-war activist and journalist whose son Casey was killed during the Iraq War, and Bonnie Caracciolo, publisher of the blog “Vietnam: My War Too.” Cindy and Bonnie are the co-organizers of the Women’s March on the Pentagon. The 2018 Women’s March on the Pentagon takes place on Sunday following a day of workshops in response to the continuing course of US military aggression and spending and to put an anti-war agenda back in the political spotlight. Marchers are calling for an end to wars abroad, the closure of foreign bases, and deep cuts to the military budget. Friday is Loud & Clear’s regular segment on the midterms, taking a look at political races around the country in the runup to midterm elections in November. Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, joins the show. A massive caravan of 3,000 Honduran migrants that has drawn the ire of Donald Trump has begun to mass on Guatemala’s border with Mexico, setting up a showdown with Mexican authorities who have vowed to stop it from continuing to the United States. Guatemalan authorities arrested the caravan’s organizer, former Honduran congressman Bartolo Fuentes, and deported him back to Honduras. Brian and John speak with Jackie McVicar, a member of the Atlantic Region Solidarity Network, working in solidarity with people struggling for social justice and environmental protection in Latin America, the Caribbean and Atlantic Canada. Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right candidate in Brazil’s October 28 presidential runoff, is the heavy favorite to win that race. Stirred by government corruption and rising crime, some voters are willing to look past his homophobia, misogyny, racism, and comments in support of dictators, including Adolf Hitler. But a rising movement in Brazil says Bolsonaro is a threat to democracy, and are supporting leftist Fernando Haddad. Now, a scandal related to illegal advertisements through the messaging app WhatsApp is shaking the race. Aline Piva, she is a journalist and a member of Brazilians for Democracy and Social Justice, joins the show. Harvard University is on trial for allegedly discriminating against Asian-American applicants. The group Students for Fair Admissions alleges that Harvard violated the Civil Rights Act because the university’s so-called “holistic” approach to applicants—weighing things like leadership, extracurriculars, and personal factors—harms minorities and is unconstitutional. Dr. Kevin Kumashiro, an internationally recognized expert on educational policy, school reform, and educational equity and social justice, and the former dean of the School of Education at the University of San Francisco, joins Brian and John. Israel’s Supreme Court ruled yesterday that American student Palestinian rights activist Lara Alqasem was permitted to remain in Israel to study human rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The Supreme Court said in its decision that Alqasem’s detention during her appeal was “an extreme and dangerous step which could lead to the crumbling of the pillars upon which democracy stands.” Meanwhile, the U.S. state department caused outrage by announcing that it would be closing its consulate handling relations with the Palestinians and replacing it with a Palestinian Affairs Unit that would operate out of the controversial U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. Daoud Kuttab, an award-winning Palestinian journalist, joins the show. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

American Hit Squad Sent to Massacre Yemeni Elites

Oct 18, 2018 6701

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A private American company hired by the government of the United Arab Emirates has sent former US special forces soldiers to Yemen as mercenaries to carry out assassinations of political and religious figures there, according to a Buzzfeed investigation. The killings began in 2015 and, so far, dozens of people have been assassinated. Brian and John speak with Mark Sleboda, an international relations and security analyst. New video in the police shooting of Ricardo "Ricky" Hayes, an autistic 18 year old in Chicago, was recently released.The footage contradicts the police assertion that Hayes was armed, and is related to a lawsuit filed on behalf of Hayes. Kofi Ademola, an activist and organizer with the Black Lives Matter movement, joins the show. Taliban gunmen this morning assassinated several leaders of the regional government in Kandahar in the country’s south. Press reports indicate that the governor, provincial military leader, and intelligence director of Kandahar Province were killed when their own bodyguards opened fire on them. The target of the attack appears to have been US General Scott Miller, but he escaped unharmed. Two American soldiers were wounded. Jeremy Kuzmarov, a professor of American history at the University of Tulsa whose latest book is “The Russians Are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce,” joins Brian and John. The Jordanian government said today that 300 members of the White Helmets rescue group who fled Syria for Jordan three months ago have now been resettled in Canada, Germany, and the UK. The Israeli and US governments have said that they aided the Jordanians in the resettlement. Meanwhile, the government continues to consolidate its control over the country’s international borders. Ambassador Peter Ford, the former UK Ambassador to Syria, joins the show. Donald Trump issued his strongest threat yet against a caravan of migrants attempting to safely reach the United States. Trump stated that he would deploy the military to close down the Mexican border to stop the caravan’s arrival, and implied that the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement might be in jeopardy. Brian and John speak with Jackie McVicar, a member of the Atlantic Region Solidarity Network, working in solidarity with people struggling for social justice and environmental protection in Latin America, the Caribbean and Atlantic Canada, and a former co-coordinator of the Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Solidarity Network. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the Trump Administration would give the Saudi government more time to explain what happened to journalist Jamal Khashoggi and President Trump expressed reticence in punishing the Saudis in any way. Meanwhile, Code Pink is leading demonstrations at the State Department and the Saudi Embassy in Washington tomorrow to protest Khashoggi’s death. Brian and John are joined by Mansour Alhadj, a journalist, author, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show.

Agent Orange: America’s Use of Chemical Weapons Devastated Vietnam

Oct 17, 2018 6871

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Paul Cox, a Vietnam veteran and a member of Veterans for Peace, who focuses on advocating for compensation for victims of Agent Orange, and Marjorie Cohn, professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and the former president of the National Lawyers Guild. Secretary of Defense James Mattis is in Vietnam to discuss the biggest ever US cleanup of contamination left by the defoliant Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. The project will cost $390 million and will begin early next year. A $110 million cleanup at Danang Airport has already been completed. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to Ankara today to discuss the apparent murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi with President Erdogan. A day earlier, Saudi officials categorically denied that they had anything to do with Khashoggi’s murder, but Turkish investigators said that the journalist was beaten, drugged, killed, and dismembered within minutes of entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The investigators also said that they had found “toxic substances” inside the consulate, and it had been very recently repainted. The Saudi consul general has fled Turkey for Saudi Arabia. Brian and John speak with Thomas Lippman, an award-winning author and journalist who has written about Middle Eastern affairs and US foreign policy for more than 40 years, specializing in Saudi issues, and is a non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington. In a tweet last night, President Trump threatened the governments of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador because of a caravan of Honduran migrants heading north toward the US border. Trump said that if the Honduran government did not stop the caravan and turn it around, the US would cut off all aid. He made the same threat later to Guatemala and El Salvador. Juan José Gutiérrez, the executive director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition, joins the show. Canada has become only the second country in the world, behind Uruguay, to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The country is now grappling with how to maintain enough production to meet demand, and the manpower necessary to deal with impaired drivers. Garland Nixon, the co-host of the Sputnik morning show “Fault Lines with Nixon and Stranahan” and a twenty-year law enforcement veteran, joins Brian and John. A major summit is taking place in Brussels today between UK Prime Minister Theresa May and the 27 leaders of the European Union member states to discuss Brexit. Talks on the British withdrawal from the EU have broken down and there is now a real possibility of a British withdrawal absent a deal. Steve Hedley, the senior assistant general secretary of the the UK’s Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers Union, joins the show. Venezuela’s vice president for economy announced today that the country will cease using the dollar for international transactions and instead will use the euro. Tarrik Al Aissami said that US sanctions have blocked any possibility of using the dollar in international trade.This is part of Venezuela’s Recovery and Economic Growth Program. Brian and John speak with Paul Dobson, a writer for VenezuelaAnalysis.com.

What’s It All About? The 2020 Presidential Election Campaign Begins

Oct 16, 2018 7021

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Anoa Changa, director of political advocacy and a managing editor of Progressive Army, and host of the show The Way With Anoa, and Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at rall.com. New reports from the Federal Election Commission show that Donald Trump has already raised over $100 million for his 2020 re-election campaign, a number unmatched in decades. Meanwhile, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren has all but declared her intention to run for president. More than two years ahead of time, the race for the presidency is already well underway. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey joins the show. Last month a US Border Patrol supervisor in Texas was charged with murdering four women and attempting to murder a fifth. He’ll be tried on capital murder charges. This alleged crime is extreme, but Border Patrol agents are arrested for committing crimes all the time. Just last year, 254 Border Patrol agents were arrested for drug and alcohol related crimes, domestic abuse, abuse of power, and other crimes. Brian and John speak with Isabel Garcia, co-founder of Coalición de Derechos Humanos. The Saudi government is preparing to announce that the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was an interrogation gone wrong. But some of the most powerful people in Washington say that admission isn’t good enough, and they are calling for sanctions on Riyadh. Meanwhile, Saudi watchers say Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman may have gone too far in ordering the killing and may have put his own position in jeopardy. Whitney Webb, a journalist and a staff writer for MintPress News, joins the show. 50 years ago, on October 16, 1968, Black athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their black-gloved fists in the air during the US national anthem while on the medal podium at the Olympics. The third athlete on the podium was Australia’s Peter Norman, who joined them in wearing a human rights badge on his uniform. The international olympic committee president threatened to ban the entire US track team, and as a result, Smith and Carlos were expelled from the games. Eugene Puryear, the host of By Any Means Necessary, which is on 105.5 FM and 1390 AM in the DC area between 2 and 4 p.m. and on iTunes, Spotify, Spreaker, and iHeartRadio, joins Brian and John. The Russian Orthodox Church yesterday cut ties with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the body seen as the spiritual authority of the world’s Orthodox Christians. The row is seen as the greatest split in Christianity since the Orthodox and Catholic churches split in 1054. There is no disagreement whatsoever on dogma. Instead, the fight is over who should have authority over Ukraine’s Orthodox--Russia or Constantinople. But is modern-day geopolitics the true cause of the split? Jim Jatras, a political analyst, a former US diplomat, and a former senior foreign policy advisor to the US Senate Republican leadership, joins the show. North and South Korea agreed on Monday to begin reconnecting rail and road links in another step toward improving bilateral relations, despite US concerns over North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. The two also began demining procedures in the demilitarized zone. Brian and John speak with author and professor Tim Beal, whose most recent book is “Crisis in Korea.”

Who's Worse: CBS or Donald Trump?

Oct 15, 2018 6978

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jim Kavanagh, editor of thepolemicist.net, and Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter and founder of This Can’t Be Happening!, as well as a columnist for CounterPunch, and a contributor to Businessweek, The Nation, Extra! and Salon.com. Donald Trump gave a wide ranging — and at some times shocking — interview that was broadcast on 60 Minutes yesterday. During the course of the interview, the President talked to journalist Leslie Stahl about issues as diverse as climate change, China, North Korea, trade, and Russia. He indirectly threatened the job of Defense Secretary James Mattis and said that the European Union was one of the greatest threats facing the United States. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. The government of Ecuador yesterday reinstated internet connectivity for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has been in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for the past six years. Assange had his internet and visitors cut off in March after he allegedly commented on Spanish elections in violation of an agreement with the Ecuadorians. Brian and John speak with Randy Credico, an activist, a comedian, and the former director of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice. The international investigation into the disappearance and apparent murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi continues. Turkish authorities say they are positive that Khashoggi was tortured, murdered, and dismembered inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and they have the video to prove it. Meanwhile, dozens of major business leaders are withdrawing from an upcoming business conference in Saudi Arabia — it’s being called Davos in the Desert — in protest of Khashoggi’s murder. Mansour Alhadj, a journalist, author, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, joins the show. Political observers are calling this weekend’s elections in the southern German state of Bavaria “A political earthquake,” as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition partners were walloped while the Green Party and the far-right Alternative for Germany increased their share of the vote dramatically. In fact, the Social Democratic Party, one of the coalition partners garnered fewer votes than the neo-Nazis. Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek joins Brian and John. The Trump Administration has ordered an obscure government agency, the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, to guy environmental regulations related to chemical and oil pipeline safety. Instead of mandatory regulations designed to keep workers and the public safe, those regulations will become voluntary suggestions. Scott Edwards, co-director of the Food & Water Justice project at Food & Water Watch, joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Brian and John speak with Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto.”

The Facebook Purge: Corporate America's War on Alternative Media

Oct 12, 2018 6917

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Matt Savoy of The Free Thought Project, one of the pages that was deleted by Facebook, and by Ford Fischer, the founder of the media startup News2Share. Facebook yesterday censored and deleted hundreds of pages from the website that the company deemed to be part of an entirely American effort to influence the public and to possibly swing votes in the upcoming midterm election. The problem is that the company also deleted dozens, perhaps hundreds, of legitimate pages, including many where progressives get their news. The decision calls into question the role that private companies play in a democratic system. We take a look at political races around the country in the runup to midterm elections in November. Jacqueline Luqman and Abdus Luqman, co-editors-in-chief of Luqman Nation, join the show. If the mainstream media is to be believed, Russian intelligence services, hackers, and internet trolls manipulated social media in 2016 while employees of the Trump campaign colluded with Russian spies to give the country Donald Trump as president. But in an exhaustive new article in Consortium News, Gareth Porter says that narrative simply isn’t true. He says that a report done by the New York Times, which is cited as the definitive piece on this issue, is fundamentally flawed and journalistically irresponsible. Brian and John speak with Gareth Porter. He is a historian, investigative journalist, and analyst specializing in U.S. national security policy Andrew Brunson, an American pastor who has been held by Turkish authorities for two years on terrorism charges, which he has steadfastly denied, was convicted in a Turkish court today, but then immediately sentenced to time served. He left Turkey immediately. Meanwhile, Turkish authorities investigating the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi told the Washington Post that they have video and audio evidence of Khashoggi being detained, tortured, murdered, and dismembered inside the Saudi Consulate. Dr. Gönül Tol, the founding director of The Middle East Institute’s Center for Turkish Studies, joins the show. Syrian rebels appear to be complying with an agreement with Turkey and Russia to withdraw heavy weapons from Idlib and the buffer zone along the Turkish border. The Free Syrian Army already has confirmed that it has withdrawn all tanks and heavy guns from Idlib, the last rebel-held bastion in Syria. Rick Sterling an investigative journalist and member of the Syria Solidarity Movement, joins Brian and John. It’s Friday! So we’ll look at the week’s worst, funniest, and most misleading headlines. Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News, joins the show.

"Sorry, You're On Your Own" US govt's message to Americans in Hurricane

Oct 11, 2018 7107

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Shelby Shoup, a student activist at Florida State University who was in the center of the hurricane yesterday, and Gail Walker, the executive director of Pastors for Peace and a Cuba solidarity activist. Hurricane Michael slammed into Panama City, Florida yesterday as a Category 4, with winds of 155 mph before moving inland to Georgia and South Carolina. Two people are dead and more than a 800,000 are without electricity. Hurricanes are getting stronger and more frequent—that’s a fact of climate change—but can governments and citizens keep up? Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. Days after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment, he was drawn into a heated dispute between Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and then-acting FBI director Andrew McCabe over who would ultimately oversee the investigation. McCabe argued that Rosenstein’s memo justifying the firing of former FBI director James Comey implicated him in a potential obstruction of justice case against President Trump. McCabe lost that fight and was later fired. Brian and John speak with Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War.” A senior Chinese intelligence official was arrested in a sting operation and extradited yesterday to the United States to face espionage charges. Yanjun Xu, a deputy division director in the Ministry of State Security is the first Chinese intelligence officer ever to be extradited to face trial in open court. He is accused to trying to procure intelligence related to the design of jet engine fan blades. Meanwhile, a Bloomberg story about Chinese efforts to clandestinely install spy chips in US computers servers appears to be fake news. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. The US military has grounded its entire fleet of F-35 fighter jets in the wake of a crash last month in South Carolina. The F-35 has been dogged by cost overruns, poor performance, and engineering problems virtually since its inception. Pierre Sprey, a special assistant to the Secretary of Defense and a former defense analyst who is considered to be one of the fathers of the F-16 and A-10 fighter jets, and one of the country’s foremost critics of the F-35, joins Brian and John. US intelligence services apparently have intercepts of Saudi government communications indicating that Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman ordered the kidnapping of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who has been missing for more than a week since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish officials believe that Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered inside the consulate. The Saudis are denying any wrongdoing. Massoud Shadjareh, the founder of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, joins the show. Federal court judges are balking at what they call unlawful efforts by US immigration authorities to continue to detain people charged with entering the country unlawfully, even after they had been granted bail. The rulings complicate the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy against defendants charged with crossing the border illegally. Brian and John speak with Jorge Barón, the executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.

On the Eve of Destruction? UN Scientists Sound Alarm

Oct 10, 2018 7020

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An enormous category 4 storm is tearing into the Florida panhandle, and many people have been unable to evacuate. Extreme weather events just keep getting worse, and scientists agree with climate change is the culprit. A new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has an ominous warning for everybody in the world: The anticipated 1.5 degree Celsius temperature rise we should expect to see in the next 12 years will be far worse than the 1 degree rise we have already seen. The report was written by 132 authors drawing on 6000 peer-reviewed studies, and its findings are grim. If we don’t curb the emission of greenhouse cases immediately, people will die, species will become extinct, the food supply will dwindle, and ocean levels will rise precipitously. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show. Major media outlets lined up today to praise the tenure of Nikki Haley as US Ambassador to the United Nations. The Washington Post said she succeeded in promoting multilateralism for a president who opposes multilateralism. The New York Times said Haley “would be missed” and lauded her pragmatism and positive relationships with other diplomats. An Israeli diplomat lamented that “now Israel has only one ambassador at the United Nations.” Brian and John speak with Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist, whose work is at rall.com. Turkish authorities investigating the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi said today that the well-known journalist appears to have entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he was killed on the orders of the Saudi leadership and dismembered by four men who subsequently left from the back of the building, drove to the airport, and flew to Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, condemnation of Khashoggi’s apparent murder is rippling across the globe. Ali al-Ahmed, the director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs, joins the show. Israeli authorities have detained an American graduate student at the airport in Tel Aviv for the past week, solely because she is a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, or BDS, program. Lara al-Qasem, whose grandparents are Palestinian, has a valid Israeli visa, but she will be deported because of her political views. She is being confined while she appeals the decision. Reem Zaitoon, the president of Students for Justice in Palestine at Florida State University, joins Brian and John. Nearly two years ago, Marcus Mitchell and many other indigenous activists stood up to the oil and gas corporations trying to build the Dakota Access pipeline through their land. While protesting to protect his land, Marcus was blinded in one eye and lost partial hearing in one ear due to a lead pellet shot directly at his head by a county sheriff. Yet now he’s facing two years in prison. Kandi Mossett, Indigenous Environmental Network’s Native Energy & Climate Campaign Organizer who took part in the Standing Rock protests of 2017, joins the show. Google announced that it would drop out of a bid for a $10 billion cloud contract with the Defense Department, saying that the project conflicted with its corporate values. In the meantime, the company is appealing a 5 billion euro fine for running a monopoly in Europe. Brian and John speak with Dr. Robert Epstein, the senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology.

Israeli Interference in the U.S. 2016 Election?

Oct 9, 2018 7040

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Max Blumenthal, a journalist and bestselling author whose latest book is “The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza,” the senior editor of Grayzone Project, and co-host of the podcast Moderate Rebels. Indicted Trump Campaign official Rick Gates apparently requested proposals in 2016 from an Israeli company to create fake online identities, to use social media manipulation, and to gather intelligence to help defeat Donald Trump’s Republican primary challengers and, later, Hillary Clinton. The company is staffed by former Israeli intelligence officers and, while the New York Times says there is no evidence the Trump campaign actually engaged the company, an emissary of the United Arab Emirates Crown Prince wrote the firm a check for $2 million. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey joins the show. US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, seen as a rising star in the Republican Party, abruptly resigned this morning. The news website Axios, which broke the story, said that the decision was Haley’s and that the White House foreign policy team was “shocked” when she offered the resignation a week ago. Brian and John speak with Jim Kavanagh, the editor of ThePolemicist.net. Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right candidate in Brazil’s presidential election, nearly scored an outright victory yesterday, falling just short of the 50 percent necessary to avoid a runoff. He will now face Workers Party candidate Fernando Haddad, who finished with 29 percent. Aline Piva, a journalist and a member of Brazilians for Democracy and Social Justice, joins the show. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said yesterday that North Korea is ready to allow international inspectors into a key nuclear testing site, signaling a step forward in efforts to bring peace to the Korean peninsula. Pompeo also said that another Trump-Kim summit was “pretty close.” Professor Simone Chun, a fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and a member of the Korean Peace Network, joins Brian and John. The British online investigative group Bellingcat reported today that it had identified what it calls a second Skripal poisoning suspect. The website says that Dr. Alexander Mishkin, a military doctor alleged to be in the pay of the GRU, the Russian military intelligence organization, had something to do with the Skripal poisoning. And while the circumstantial evidence is convincing that Mishkin was somewhere in the UK at the time Sergei and Yulia Skripal were poisoned, there is no evidence that Mishkin had anything to do with it. Alexander Mercouris, the editor-in-chief of The Duran, joins the show. Renowned Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi went to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul over the weekend to fill out a form to register his upcoming marriage. He never came out of that consulate. And now Turkish officials, who have received permission to enter the building to investigate, are saying that he was murdered by Saudi officials and his body disposed of. Brian and John speak with Medea Benjamin, an anti-war and anti-torture activist who is the co-founder of Code Pink, which has organized a protest tomorrow at noon at the Saudi embassy.

John “Make War Not Peace” Bolton Announces New Military Strategy

Oct 5, 2018 7028

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by international relations and security analyst Mark Sleboda. National Security Advisor John Bolton yesterday announced a new national counterterrorism strategy, saying that it focuses on disrupting “all terrorist groups, which the document defines as including “radical Islamist terrorist groups.” But it also goes further. The document also focused on Iran, which Bolton said has been “the world’s central banker for international terrorism since 1979.” Friday is Loud & Clear’s regular segment on the midterms, taking a look at political races around the country in the runup to midterm elections in November. Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, joins the show. The Senate voted this morning 51-49 to move forward and have the vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination. It’s currently scheduled for tomorrow. Brian and John speak with Jane Cutter, the editor of Liberation News, which you can find at liberationnews.org. Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke has been on trial for allegedly shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald on October 20, 2014. Three other officers have been charged with lying about the investigation and covering up the events. This is the second day of deliberation for the jury on Van Dyke’s charges, and they have reached a verdict of guilty on second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery. Aislinn Pulley, an organizer with the Black Lives Matter movement, joins the show. Brazilians will head to the polls on Sunday to elect a new president. The country’s most popular politician, Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva, has been banned from the race due to highly disputed charges, and the Workers Party is running Fernando Haddad in his place. Jair Bolsonaro is a far-right fascist candidate who is slightly ahead in the polls despite being protested widely in the streets. Aline Piva, a journalist and a member of Brazilians for Democracy and Social Justice, joins Brian and John. This Sunday marks the 17th anniversary of the US and allied invasion of Afghanistan, the longest war in American history. What began as an effort to destroy al-Qaeda in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks became a futile exercise in nation-building and then transformed into a never-ending policy of killing anybody who could someday pose a threat to the United States. Will this war ever end? Brian Terrell, a long time peace activist and also co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, joins the show. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

Yellow Scare is Back: America’s New China Strategy

Oct 4, 2018 6980

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by David Ewing, the chair of the San Francisco chapter of the US-China People’s Friendship Association, and Sputnik News analyst Walter Smolarek. Vice President Mike Pence gave a high profile, hardline speech at the Hudson Institute today that China is the world’s greatest military and economic threat, and he risks inflaming an already delicate relationship. In a speech that set a new tone in bilateral relations and seeks to confront China directly, Pence argued that Beijing is a hostile military power to both the United States and regional countries and that the Chinese government has meddled in US elections and will do so again. Pence also argued that China’s strong economy is a threat to global financial stability. Today the hosts continue Loud & Clear’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice,” where we talk about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, and Alex Friedman, the associate director of the Human Rights Defense Center, join the show. The US, British, and Dutch governments today accused the Russian military intelligence agency, the GRU, of a program of hacking into a variety of international targets. This includes the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, allegedly to interfere with the investigation into the poisoning of the Skripals—a charge Russia denies. The coordinated allegations come only a day after Defense Secretary James Mattis said that the US would share its offensive cyber capabilities with its NATO partners. Meanwhile, the Justice Department this morning indicted seven Russian military officers for hacking computers associated with international sports doping organizations. Why is the west rolling out this new policy right now? Brian and John speak with Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War.” Climate experts are gathering in South Korea this week to urge their governments to work harder and faster to halt global warming. Energy and climate ministers from around the world, joined by UN experts, are trying to conceive of a plan to reverse the effects of carbon emissions and are working to devise target dates for major reductions. Fred Magdoff. He is professor emeritus of plant and soil science at the University of Vermont and the co-author of “What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism” and “Creating an Ecological Society: Toward a Revolutionary Transformation” from Monthly Review Press, joins the show. The FBI investigation that the Senate asked for has wrapped up after 7 days without interviewing many witnesses who volunteered information, or even alleged sexual assault survivor Dr. Christine Blasey Ford or Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh himself. Today, there are actions against his nomination nationwide. Alexander Rubenstein, who we talk to from the rally at the Supreme Court, a Sputnik news analyst and journalist whose work is on twitter @RealAlexRubi, Karla Reyes, managing editor of the magazine Breaking the Chains and an activist for women’s rights who is mobilizing people for the rally today at Trump Tower in New York, and Sputnik News analyst Walter Smolarek, join Brian and John. A federal judge in San Francisco yesterday blocked one of the Trump administration’s most important immigration policies, allowing hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who thought they would soon be deported to remain in the country. The temporary injunction covers immigrants from Sudan, El Salvador, Haiti, and Nicaragua. Juan José Gutiérrez, the executive director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition, joins the show. Amazon announced this week that it would institute a $15 per hour minimum wage after labor and political pressure on the company. Now, Amazon says that it will end performance bonuses for employees in order to recoup the costs of its wage increases. And all the while, Amazon’s founder and primary shareholder, Jeff Bezos, continues to be the richest man in the world, with a net worth of some $165 billion. Brian and John speak with Neal Sweeney, the Vice President of UAW Local 5810, the union representing post-doctoral researchers in the University of California system.

How Trump Amassed His Fortune: An Insight Into American Capitalism

Oct 3, 2018 7095

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter and founder of This Can’t Be Happening!, Ted Rall (rall.com), an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist, and Dr. Jack Rasmus (jackrasmus.com), a professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California. A blockbuster New York Times investigation has found that Donald Trump in the 1990s participated in dubious tax schemes, and committed outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune that he had inherited from his parents. Trump won the presidency in part by proclaiming his status as a self-made billionaire. That, it turns out, was simply not true. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show. Last night Donald Trump went before adoring crowds on the campaign trail to mock and deride the credibility of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who had alleged that Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her and attempted to rape her while he was severely inebriated at a gathering in a home in Bethesda, MD. Dr. Ford was 15 years old at the time and Kavanaugh was a seventeen-year-old football player. Meanwhile, it appears that the FBI is wrapping up its very limited investigation without interviewing Dr. Blasey Ford or Judge Kavanaugh. Brian and John speak with Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer. He’s the author of the book “The Plot to Attack Iran.” More than 1,600 children in recent weeks have been sent in the middle of the night and with no notice or public announcement to a tent city in west Texas where there is no schooling and almost no access to legal representation. The Trump Administration says it has done this because migrant shelters are overflowing. But apparently nobody bothered to consult attorneys or consider human rights. Jorge Barón, the executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, joins the show. The Pentagon is expected today to announce that, if asked, it will offer NATO allies its formidable cyber warfare capabilities. A Pentagon spokesperson said that the Defense Department will offer allies both offensive and defensive capabilities, but the U.S. will maintain control over the program. Meanwhile, controversy continues over comments by U.S. NATO envoy Kay Bailey Hutchinson about preemptively “taking out” Russian missiles. Alexander Mercouris, the editor-in-chief of The Duran, joins Brian and John. After a breakthrough agreement between the political bloc led by Muqtada al-Sadr and the pro-Iran Fatah Alliance, Iraq has a new Prime Minister. It’s Adil Abd al-Mahdi, a Shia Muslim former communist who will now try to create a new government. Abd al-Mahdi is a 76-year-old French-trained economist who has spent much of the past 30 years working at European think tanks. Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran, joins the show. British Prime Minister Theresa May gave a keynote address at the Conservative Party Conference today in which she said that the economic austerity policies of her party are now a thing of the past. On Brexit, her policy was simple: My way or the highway. But most British observers think that May’s policy changes are too little too late. She faces strong challenges now from both the right and the left. Brian and John speak with Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek.

What? US-NATO Envoy Threatens Military Attack Against Russia?!

Oct 2, 2018 6907

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker is joined by Mark Sleboda, an international relations and security analyst. Kay Bailey Hutchison, the U.S. envoy to NATO made highly provocative comments today threatening to “take out” Russian missiles that the U.S. believes to be in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey joins the show. Amazon announced today that it will raise its wages for all US employees to $15 an hour, starting November 1. The company has been under increasing pressure from the labor movement and other progressive activists to improve conditions for workers, and its CEO Jeff Bezos is rumored to have political ambitions. Brian speaks with Neal Sweeney, he is the Vice President of UAW Local 5810, the union representing post-doctoral researchers in the University of California system. As the intense battle over the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh continues, women and survivors across the country are flooding sexual assault headlines, tweeting about their experiences, and publicly outing their assaulters. We’ll talk about the effect the hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have had on sexual assault survivors. Danielle Norwood, a reproductive rights activist and a therapist specializing in treating adult and adolescent survivors of trauma, joins the show. Protests are continuing today in Argentina against the austerity measures imposed by the government of right-wing president Mauricio Macri. Macri’s government has turned to the IMF to deal with the country’s economic crisis, an institution that is deeply unpopular in the country. Ambassador Cecilia Nahón, the former Argentinian ambassador to the US and a professor at American University who served as Argentina’s Secretary of International Economic Relations and has a Ph.D focusing on external financing and economic development, joins Brian. Four white supremacists are facing federal charges from events surrounding the August 12, 2017 Unite the Right rally, where anti-racist protester Heather Heyer was run down and murdered, and the torchlight march held the day before at the University of Virginia. They are being charged with inciting a riot targeting anti-racist protesters. Tiernan Low, an organizer in Charlottesville who is involved in the movement against fascism and white supremacy, joins the show. Huge crowds took to the streets in Catalonia yesterday to mark the one year anniversary of the independence referendum that was brutally repressed by the Spanish central government. Yet again, there was intense repression of civil disobedience actions held by pro-independence activists. Brian speaks with Dick Nichols, the correspondent for Spain and Catalonia for Green Left Weekly.

NAFTA Theatrics and the Coming Recession

Oct 2, 2018 7117

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Richard Wolff, a professor of economics emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst and founder of the organization Democracy at Work. His latest book is “Capitalism's Crisis Deepens: Essays on the Global Economic Meltdown.” Canada and the US have come to an agreement on trade. This agreement, along with the agreement the US and Mexico came to, will collectively be called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, and will be a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. After the extremely dramatic events on capitol hill last week, the FBI investigation into alleged sexual assaults committed by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is underway. Just a few swing votes in the Senate will determine the fate of his confirmation. Brian and John speak with Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer who is the author of the book “The Plot to Attack Iran.” This weekend, Brazilians rallied against presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro in a series of huge demonstrations titled “Not Him”. With just one week left before the first round of the election, could Brazil really elect a far-right, dictatorship-admiring president like Bolsonaro? Or will the candidate of imprisoned ex-President Lula’s Workers Party prevail? Brazilian-British activist Victor Fraga with Democracy for Brazil UK joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto,”, joins Brian and John. Iran fired missiles today at the terrorists who Iran’s Intelligence Ministry has accused of carrying out a deadly attack on a military parade on September 22, killing 25 and injuring many more. Iran’s government has stated that Israel, the United States, and gulf monarchies shared responsibility for the attack. Massoud Shadjareh, the founder of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, joins the show. The Kurdistan region of Iraq held elections yesterday that will determine control of the Kurdistan Regional Government. These elections are the first to be held since the highly controversial and ultimately unsuccessful referendum to secede from Iraq last year, and come during a period of extreme tension in Iraqi politics. Brian and John speak with Yerevan Saeed, a political analyst who researches and writes on security, political, and energy issues in the Middle East, focusing on Iraq, Turkey, Iran, the Gulf, and the Levant and has served as White House correspondent for the Kurdish Rudaw TV.

The World Laughs at, not with, Trump at UN

Sep 28, 2018 7059

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker is joined by Dr. Gerald Horne, a professor of history at the University of Houston and author of many books, including “Blows Against the Empire: U.S. Imperialism in Crisis.” The world is changing fast as the dominant position of the United States in global politics is called into question by emerging powers. As several world leaders sharply criticize the Trump administration from the rostrum of the United States, what does the future hold for geopolitics? Friday is Loud & Clear’s regular segment on the midterms, taking a look at political races around the country in the runup to midterm elections in November. Jacqueline and Abdus Luqman, the co-editors-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and Brent Jabbour, an RT news analyst and host of the podcast Origin Stories, join the show. Less than a day after the powerful testimony of Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh furious response, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along partisan lines to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination with a positive recommendation. All eyes are now on the full Senate as it prepares for a final vote. Brian speaks with Heidi Boghosian, the executive director of the A. J. Muste Memorial Institute and the former executive director of the National Lawyers Guild. Julian Assange stepped down yesterday evening as the editor-in-chief of Wikileaks. He’ll remain the publisher, but Kristinn Hrafnsson will step up to be the new editor-in-chief there. Randy Credico, an activist, a comedian, and the former director of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice, joins the show. Bellingcat, a citizen journalist website, reported this week that they’d found the true identity of Ruslan Boshirov, one of the Russians that Britain has accused of poisoning the Skripals in Salisbury. Bellingcat has existed for a few years, and most of its renown has come from chemical weapons investigations and accusations against Syrian President Assad. Alexander Mercouris, the editor-in-chief of The Duran, joins Brian. The US and Mexico will release the text of their bilateral trade agreement tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern, according to Bloomberg News. The Trump administration was eager to conclude an agreement with Mexico before president-elect Obrador takes office, leaving Canada out in the cold and calling the existence of the NAFTA trade agreement itself into question. Dr. Jack Rasmus, a professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California and author of “Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression,” whose work is at www.jackrasmus.com, joins the show. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian speaks with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

All Eyes on Washington as Dr. Ford, Kavanaugh Testify Before Senate

Sep 27, 2018 6928

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker is joined by Heidi Boghosian, the executive director of the A. J. Muste Memorial Institute and the former executive director of the National Lawyers Guild, and Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, the executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund. It is a historic day on Capitol Hill as the Senate Judiciary Committee hears testimony from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Dr. Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. Donald Trump conducted a wide-ranging and often bizarre press conference yesterday, touching on issues from the Mueller investigation to a two-state solution in Palestine. Brian speaks with Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at rall.com. Despite its rhetoric about the supposed threat of Iranian missiles, the U.S. military is quietly pulling its Patriot missile defense systems out of Jordan, Bahrain and Kuwait. It is widely expected that these advanced weapons systems will be redeployed to target China or Russia. Mark Sleboda, an international relations and security analyst, joins the show. Donald Trump claims that he cancelled a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the future of the NAFTA trade agreement as negotiations between the two countries continue to be mired in deadlock. With the text of the bilateral agreement with Mexico about to be published, will Canada be left out entirely? Daniel Sankey, a financial policy analyst who regularly joins Loud & Clear on Tuesdays for False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism, joins Brian. Donald Trump’s highly anticipated, decisive meeting with Rod Rosenstein was postponed today, but speculation is still swirling about Rosenstein’s future in the administration and the Mueller probe itself. Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War,” joins the show. As Google celebrates the 20th anniversary of its search engine, the company continues to amass enormous influence over many aspects of our lives. How can Google and other tech companies influence the upcoming midterm election? Brian speaks with Dr. Robert Epstein, the senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology.

Trump at the UN: The Changing Place of the U.S. in Global Politics

Sep 26, 2018 6903

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and Walter Smolarek and Nicole Roussell (sitting in for John Kiriakou) are joined by Peter Kuznick, a professor and director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University, and co-author with Oliver Stone of the book and the hit television series “The Untold History of the United States.” Donald Trump used his speech at the United Nations to lay out an aggressive agenda targeting U.S. rivals and declaring his blanket opposition to multilateralism and so-called “globalism”. While some of Trump’s remarks were met with laughter by the assembled diplomats, what does his speech reveal about his administration’s approach to securing U.S. hegemony around the world? Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, joins the show. Speaking at the UN Security Council today, Donald Trump accused China of interfering in the midterm election on behalf of opponents of his administration. This is just the latest in a series of anti-China moves and statements coming from the administration. Brian speaks with David Ewing, the chair of the San Francisco chapter of the US-China People’s Friendship Association. Julie Swetnick is the third person to come forward with allegations of serious sexual harassment, assault, or violence by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and others he associated with. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is slated to testify tomorrow about the sexual assault she suffered from Kavanaugh. This testimony is scheduled despite no investigation yet as requested by Dr. Blasey. Hannah Dickinson, associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and member of the Geneva Women’s Assembly, joins the show. Iran and the EU have come up with a payment system to work around the US’s sanctions against Iran and anyone doing business with Iran. This is yet another fracture of the EU and US’s relationship. Meanwhile, National Security Adviser John Bolton said in a speech that there would be hell to pay if Iran harmed the US. Medea Benjamin, an anti-war and anti-torture activist who is the co-founder of Code Pink, and whose most recent book is “Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”, joins Brian. The US has imposed new sanctions on several high-ranking officials in Venezuela, including Congresswoman Cilia Flores who also is the wife of President Maduro. The New York Times also published an op-ed today called “Time for a Coup?” about overthrowing President Maduro. Chuck Kaufman, the National Co-Coordinator of the Alliance for Global Justice, joins the show. Mexico’s military arrested two police commanders for murder and the highway police chief for carrying unlicensed weapons in Acapulco. The entire police force has been disarmed and is now being investigated. Brian and John speak with Tom Hansen, the international education director of the Mexico Solidarity Network.

Who Attacked Iran and What Happens Now?

Sep 24, 2018 6904

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, John Kiriakou is joined by Massoud Shadjareh, the founder of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, and Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran. Iranian officials this morning vowed “unforgiving revenge” over an attack on a military parade on Saturday that killed 29 people, including the four attackers, and wounded 70. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps blamed “regional supporters of terrorism,” meaning Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, both of which denied involvement. US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, meanwhile, said that Iran’s president should look in the mirror before blaming others. And this as Rudy Giuliani addressed the “Iran Uprising Summit” in Manhattan hosted by the bizarre political cult and terrorist organization MEK, a group that counts National Security Advisor John Bolton as one of its allies. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was summoned to the White House this morning as rumors swirled that he had either resigned or would be fired. Neither happened, but in Rosenstein’s meeting with White House chief of staff John Kelly, he requested a meeting with the President on Thursday. The speculation now is that he will resign then. John speaks with Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at rall.com, and Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—”The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War.” Federal prosecutors in New York are weighing criminal charges against former Obama White House general counsel Greg Craig amid allegations that he failed to register as a foreign agent in a probe that is linked to the Paul Manafort investigation. Prosecutors are also considering charges against Craig’s law firm, international legal powerhouse Skadden Arps. Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, joins the show. Moscow will bolster Syria’s air defense following the downing of a Russian plane last week by sending a modern S-300 air defense system to the Syrian army in the next two weeks, according to the Russian defense minister. The decision was made by Russian president Vladimir Putin because of Israeli involvement in the plane’s shoot-down. Mark Sleboda, an international relations and security analyst, joins John. As Senate Republicans push for a quick vote this week on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Senate Democrats are investigating a new allegation of sexual misconduct against him. Deborah Ramirez, who went to Yale with Kavanaugh, said he exposed himself to her at a party. This is the second allegation against Brett Kavanaugh of sexual harassment or assault. Professor Hannah Dickinson, associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and a women’s advocate, joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? John speaks with Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto.”

Conflicts Heat Up Around the World, but Hope in Korea

Sep 21, 2018 6720

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer who is the author of the book “The Plot to attack Iran.” This week was filled with news, especially big developments in the war in Syria, the Moon-Kim summit in North Korea, and the future of the Iran nuclear deal. The hosts dig in to all three. Friday is Loud & Clear’s regular segment on the midterms, taking a look at political races around the country in the runup to midterm elections in November. Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, joins the show. A diplomatic standoff is heating up between Washington and Beijing over new US sanctions on China. The Trump Administration announced the sanctions because China agreed to purchase Russian jets and S-400 missiles. But China has bought Russian weapons for decades. And even the Trump White House admits that the new sanctions strategy for weapons purchases is unprecedented. Brian and John speak with John Ross, Senior Fellow at Chongyang Institute, Renmin University of China, and an award-winning resident columnist with several Chinese media organizations. Despite at least 16,000 deaths in Yemen, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has decided to continue funding Saudi Arabia with monetary aid—because he doesn’t want to risk a weapons deal, according to a leaked memo. Meanwhile, the day he certified that Saudi Arabia and the UAE were working to reduce casualties in Yemen, the coalition killed 27 civilians, mostly children. Whitney Webb, a journalist and a staff writer for MintPress News, and Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Non-Violence, join the show. President Trump lashed out at Congress yesterday for not approving of his long-promised border wall. But this time it’s not just Democrats opposing it. Many Republicans, including several in the leadership, say that the wall is impractical, unrealistic, and just too expensive. Brent Wilkes, a leading immigrant rights advocate, joins Brian and John. Today British Prime Minister Theresa May made strong comments about the Brexit process, stating about the EU’s suggested alternative plan, “That is unacceptable. We will never agree to it. It would mean breaking up our country.” British and European Union leaders met yesterday in Salzburg to discuss the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the body and things did not go well for May. The sticking point is what to do about the Irish border. May said that no deal on Brexit and the border is better than a bad deal—and that may be where negotiations are going. Steve Hedley, the senior assistant general secretary of the the UK’s Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers Union, joins the show. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

Behind Big Tech's Huge, Unchecked Power & How the People Can Stop Them

Sep 20, 2018 6704

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Walter Smolarek (sitting in for Brian Becker) and John Kiriakou are joined by Dr. Robert Epstein, the senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology. With the midterm elections fast approaching, will big tech companies be able to sway the results by manipulating the information the public sees first? Most Americans have no idea how their private information is used online. Indeed, a recent study shows that internet users would divulge 40 percent less information if they knew what it was being used for. And how do search engines and search results influence our voting habits, and especially the voting habits of independents and undecided voters? Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. South Korean president Moon Jae-in said yesterday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wants to complete denuclearization by 2021. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has since invited North Korean officials to talks next week in New York. Walter and John speak with Gareth Porter, a historian, investigative journalist, and analyst specializing in U.S. national security policy. The Senate on Tuesday passed a new defense spending bill that would increase spending by $17 billion by a vote of 93-7. It was opposed by 6 Republicans and Bernie Sanders—no Democrats. Despite incessant rhetoric against the Trump Administration by Democrats, they just handed him $607 billion to build his military with. Cindy Sheehan, an anti-war activist and journalist whose son Casey was killed during the Iraq War, joins the show. Attorney General Jeff Sessions yesterday placed new limits on the ability of immigration judges to terminate deportation cases, the latest in a series of decisions to facilitate the removal of people in the United States without documentation. Jorge Barón, the executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, joins Walter and John. The State Department has been pushing Iran into entering negotiations for a new nuclear treaty that would include limits on Iran’s ballistic missile program. The Iranian government has responded with a loud “no.” While the State Department’s new special envoy says that Washington is seeking a treaty, rather than a personal agreement, Tehran says the US has already violated the JCPOA (the Iran nuclear deal) by canceling it, and Iran will not enter into negotiations when it can’t trust the other side. Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran, joins the show. In June, Arkansas became the first state to require that able-bodied Medicaid recipients do some combination of work, volunteering, job training, or education to keep their benefits, just like Kentucky and several other states are trying to do. Three months into the new rules, Arkansas has kicked 4,353 people off of Medicaid for noncompliance. Thousands more could be kicked off next month. Walter and John speak with Leo Cuello, an attorney and the director of health policy for the National Health Law Program.

Peace and Reunification? Kim and Moon Sign Major Agreement After Summit

Sep 19, 2018 6918

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Vijay Prashad, the director of the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and Chief Editor of LeftWord Books and the author of “Red Star Over the Third World,” and Dr. Christine Hong, associate professor of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at UC Santa Cruz and a member of the Korea Policy Institute. The leaders of North and South Korea met in Pyongyang yesterday on the second day of their three-day summit. North Korea said it would close a key missile test facility in the presence of international observers if the US took corresponding action, and the two leaders teased an historic possible fourth summit in Seoul in the coming months. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show. Two mental health detainees in South Carolina died yesterday when the van in which they were chained flooded in standing water. The deputies transporting them were rescued. Brian and John speak with Kym Smith, a community organizer who has been involved in mobilizing support for the recent national prison strike. Poland is one of the very few European countries where Donald Trump is not only welcome, but sought after. Poland’s president has even discussed the idea of naming a military base after him. But that may have changed yesterday when Trump insulted Polish President Duda by forcing him to stand to sign a strategic partnership agreement while Trump sat, looking sternly into the camera. Dr. Jeremy Kuzmarov, a professor of American history at the University of Tulsa and author of “The Russians Are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce,” joins the show. In another aggressive move toward China, the US is now requiring two major Chinese media outlets—CGTN and Xinhua—to register as foreign agents. How will this affect US and China’s relationship? And what about U.S. media operating in China? Jude Woodward is the author of the book “The US vs China: Asia's new Cold War?,” joins Brian and John. Yesterday was Day 3 in the murder trial of Chicago police officer Jason van Dyke, who is charged with killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, shooting him 16 times. So far, the blue line of silence appears to be cracking, with two police officers testifying yesterday that they did not believe McDonald posed a threat to their safety. Kofi Ademola, an activist and organizer with the Black Lives Matter movement, and Madi, an organizer with Good Kids Mad City, an group in Chicago calling for more resources in underserved communities, join the show. A few days ago we reported on a story in the Washington Post saying that the Trump Administration was denying passports to American citizens along the border, even when they produced birth certificates indicating that they were born in the US. Some citizens were even asked to produce notes made by the midwives who delivered them. That story was incorrect. Yes, some Americans have been denied passports. But the policy was initiated by the Clinton Administration. And there are actually fewer people being denied passports under Trump. Hostility to immigrants appears to be a permanent policy for the U.S. government—Republican or Democrat. Brian and John speak with Juan José Gutiérrez, the executive director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition.

Syrian War Takes a New Turn

Sep 18, 2018 6852

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Ambassador Peter Ford, the former British Ambassador to Syria, and Mark Sleboda, an international affairs and security analyst. The governments of Russia and Turkey yesterday announced a demilitarized zone in the Syrian province of Idlib, a move that appears to have delayed what was believed to be an imminent assault on the area by the Syrian army. Meanwhile, a Syrian anti-aircraft battery accidentally shot down a Russian transport plane last night, killing all 15 Russians on board. The Russian and Syrian governments blamed interference by the Israeli air force for the accident. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey joins the show. President Trump yesterday ordered the declassification of documents related to the Russia investigation, including supporting material for a FISA warrant targeting former Trump campaign official and advisor Carter Page, and text messages exchanged by former FBI agent Peter Strzok and his girlfriend. Supporters laud the move’s transparency. But detractors are criticizing the president for politicizing intelligence. Brian and John speak with Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, whose latest article is “Be Careful What You Ask For: Wasting Time with Manafort, Cohen, and Russiagate.” Hurricane Florence is now a tropical depression, but she left much of North Carolina underwater and killed at least 17 people. As the state begins to dry off, what happens to those North Carolinians who have no flood insurance, especially the poor? And why is it that for many, flood insurance simply isn’t available? Samuel Gunter, the interim executive director of the North Carolina Housing Coalition, joins the show. South Korean President Moon Jae In and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in Pyongyang today in the hope of making more tangible gains toward a Korean peace treaty and reenergizing faltering denuclearization talks between Pyongyang and Washington. The talks will continue for two more days. Simone Chun, a fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and a member of the Korean Peace Network, joins Brian and John. There is a gubernatorial race taking place on the Japanese island of Okinawa, and the top issue there is the US military base. Most Okinawans want the base to be closed, but residents of other Japanese cities don’t want a US base in their neighborhoods either. All of this comes after years of high-profile crimes committed against Japanese civilians by US servicepeople. The US position is that it isn’t going anywhere because it needs the base to counter China. Peter Kuznick, who just returned from Okinawa and is a professor of history and director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University and the co-author with Oliver Stone of the book and the hit Showtime television series “The Untold History of the United States,” joins the show. The White House announced yesterday that the annual refugee quota for fiscal year 2019 would be cut to only 30,000 people, down from 45,000 last year and down from an average of 95,000 per year over the past two decades. Human rights groups are calling the decision an abandonment of the American promise to the world’s neediest people. Brian and John speak with Jorge Barón, the executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.

The Unnatural, Manmade Disasters: Capitalism & Hurricane Florence

Sep 17, 2018 6963

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined from North Carolina by Jessica Culpepper, the Food Safety & Health Attorney at Public Justice, and Fred Magdoff, professor emeritus of plant and soil science at the University of Vermont and the co-author of “What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism.” Hurricane Florence was downgraded to a tropical depression over the weekend, but not until it killed at least 17 people, stranded thousands, and left millions without power. Many of those stranded are poor people who have bedridden family, no car, or no money to leave. Meanwhile, coal ash ponds are overflowing into neighborhoods and there’s been flooding around the animal excrement disposal ponds known as CAFOs as well. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. In July, California Professor Christine Blasey Ford confidentially accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault via the Washington Post tip line and in a letter to her congressperson. After delays and a series of leaks, the story came out without a name or many details, and Ford decided to speak out despite the consequences that victims of assault often suffer by talking about it publicly. What does this tell us about prep school culture, assault in the highest echelons of power, and whether Kavanaugh’s nomination will be blocked? Brian and John speak with Heidi Boghosian, the executive director of the A. J. Muste Memorial Institute and the former executive director of the National Lawyers Guild. President Trump last week signed an executive order that would allow the intelligence community to determine whether or not there was foreign interference in a US election, and it sets out punishments for that interference. But what does “interference” mean? And there is nothing to indicate that the US will stop interfering in the elections of other countries. Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer who is the author of “The Plot to attack Iran,” joins the show. A Democratic political action committee in California is targeting vulnerable Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher with a parody ad saying that the 15-term incumbent is a Russian hero and is endorsed by Russian president Vladimir Putin. The ad will run in both English and Russian. Rohrabacher and Democratic businessman Harley Rouda are tied at 45 percent in the latest polls. Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist, whose work is at rall.com, joins Brian and John. Berta Caceres was a Honduran environmental activist and indigenous leader. She won the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize for leading a grassroots campaign that successfully forced the world’s largest dam builder to pull out of the massive Agua Zarca dam project. Just a few months later, she was assassinated in her home. Today, eight Hondurans go on trial for her murder amid criticism of the government’s handling of the investigation into her killing. Jackie McVicar, a member of the Atlantic Region Solidarity Network, working in solidarity with people struggling for social justice and environmental protection in Latin America, the Caribbean and Atlantic Canada, joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Brian and John speak with Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto.”

The Great Crash 10 Years Later: No Recovery for Millions of Americans

Sep 15, 2018 6993

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Richard Wolff, a professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst and founder of the organization Democracy at Work, whose latest book is “Capitalism's Crisis Deepens: Essays on the Global Economic Meltdown.” Ten years ago today investment banking giant Lehman Brothers collapsed, turning a smoldering economic slowdown into the worst recession in modern American history. In 2008, Federal Reserve officials gave many reasons why they were unable to save Lehman Brothers—the bank’s collateral was inadequate, they lacked legal authority—but the result wiped out an institution with $619 billion in assets, the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history. Experts estimate the the collapse and its ripples cost the American taxpayer more than $1.4 trillion, a burden that was shouldered mostly by the poor and working classes. Have we learned anything in the past decade? Friday is Loud & Clear’s regular segment on the midterms, taking a look at political races around the country in the runup to midterm elections in November. Jacqueline & Abdus Luqman, the co-editors-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, join the show. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was in federal court in Washington where he pleaded guilty today to felony counts of conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Manafort had been found guilty two weeks ago of eight felony counts in a federal court in Virginia. His earlier jury was deadlocked on 10 other felonies; those too have now been dropped. But most importantly, Manafort has agreed to cooperate with the Mueller investigation, although it is still unclear against whom he will testify. Brian and John speak with Daniel Lazare. He is a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War.” Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina last night at a crawling pace and with overwhelming storm surges. Florence is weaker than many experts expected. There won’t be a lot of wind damage. But there will be flood damage. And many residents of North and South Carolina are simply unable to purchase flood insurance. We’ll look at why. Antony Loewenstein, a journalist who is the author of “Disaster Capitalism: Making A Killing Out Of Catastrophe” and the co-producer/writer of the documentary film, “Disaster Capitalism,” joins the show. Pima County, Arizona, like many border counties, has had a policy of requiring local law enforcement officials to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, in the detention of undocumented immigrants. But that is changing. Pima County has now become the first border county to refuse to cooperate with ICE. Isabel Garcia, co-founder of Coalición de Derechos Humanos, joins Brian and John. Californians in November will vote on Proposition 10, a measure that would allow localities to create or extend rent control in some buildings. It would repeal the current law, called the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act. Critics of the current law say that Costa-Hawkins encourages gentrification and pushes the poor, the working class, and even many in the middle class out of their homes as prices continue to skyrocket. Daniel Sankey, a financial policy analyst, joins the show. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

Strange Skripal Case Becomes Stranger Still

Sep 13, 2018 7105

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Alexander Mercouris, the editor-in-chief of The Duran, and Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net. The two Russians accused by British authorities of being involved in the attempted assassination of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter sat for an interview yesterday with RT. Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov say they were simple tourists who had decided to take a day trip to London and Salisbury when poor weather forced them to change their plans and return to Moscow several hours earlier than they had planned. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Today is the anniversary of the Attica uprising. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show. As of this morning, more than 1.7 million people are under hurricane warnings and 1 million under mandatory evacuation orders as Hurricane Florence takes aim at North and South Carolina. Protecting human life is of primary importance during the storm. But what will happen with the 10 billion pounds of pig excrement that is stored in open lagoons across the Carolinas? The hurricane could lead to a far more significant environmental disaster if the lagoons flood. Brian and John speak with Jessica Culpepper, the Food Safety & Health Attorney at Public Justice, who has worked work for years on CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations), in the US and the Carolinas. The new head of civil rights in Donald Trump’s Education Department has reopened a seven-year-old case brought by a Zionist group against Rutgers University, saying the Obama Administration, in closing the case, ignored evidence that suggested the school allowed a hostile environment for Jewish students. More importantly, the case redefines Judaism as both a religion and an ethnicity. Ariel Gold, a peace activist and the national co-director of Code Pink, joins the show. Even though hundreds of children separated from their families at the border have been released by court order, the overall number of detained migrant children has exploded to the highest ever recorded, a significant counter-narrative to the Trump Administration’s efforts to reduce the number of children being held apart from their families. Juan José Gutiérrez, the executive director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition, joins Brian and John. The French government announced that it will formally recognize its military’s systematic use of torture in the Algerian war of independence in the 1950s and 1960s. French President Emmanuel Macron said that the country must confront its ugly history in Algeria “to exit from denial and to advance into truth.” Dr. Gerald Horne, a professor of history at the University of Houston and author of many books, including “Blows Against the Empire: U.S. Imperialism in Crisis,” joins the show. The United Steelworkers Union says that steel companies are not passing to employees profits gained from President Trump’s tariffs on foreign steel, and the union is threatening to go on strike. The contract with major steel producers expired on September 1. But the two sides are far apart, and a strike may be in the offing. Brian and John speak with Jeff Bigelow, an organizer with AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.

The Story of a Whistleblower's Epic Battle against Banks & U.S. Gov't

Sep 12, 2018 6831

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Brad Birkenfeld, a famed whistleblower who singlehandedly brought down international money laundering at banking giant UBS. Now he’s working to spread the word about what whistleblowing is and about how anybody can report waste, fraud, abuse, or illegality in the workplace or in society at large. It’s Wednesday, so we continue our regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, where we look at nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Brian and John speak with Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear. New evidence has emerged linking New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s official re-election campaign to a controversial mailing accusing challenger Cynthia Nixon of anti-semitism. But the basis for this claim was that she allegedly supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement -- a non-violent international campaign to promote human rights and equality for Palestinians. Ariel Gold, a peace activist and the national co-director of Code Pink, joins the show. Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the most popular politician in that country, announced yesterday that he would not be a candidate for president in the upcoming election. Lula is currently jailed on what many Brazilians believe are trumped up corruption charges. He said that he would instead support the candidacy of Sao Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad. Arnold August, lecturer, journalist and author of the book “Cuba-US Relations: Obama and beyond”, joins the show. The European Parliament voted today to pursue unprecedented disciplinary action against Hungary for what it called a violation of core EU values. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been accused of attacking minorities, the media, and the rule of law. The is the first time that the EU has ever condemned a member state. Steve Hedley, senior assistant general secretary of the the UK’s Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers Union, joins Brian and John. In direct contradiction with its own teaching, the Catholic Church is preparing to evict residents of four buildings it owns in rapidly-gentrifying Washington, D.C. However, tenants are fighting back, and gearing up for a rally outside of the National Basilica this Sunday at 10:00 a.m. Heather Benno, a tenant of the housing targeted for foreclosure as well as an employee of Catholic Charities, the social services arm of the Church, and Yasmina Mrabet, an organizer with the housing rights organization Justice First, join the show. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Congress today that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are doing all they can to reduce harm to civilians in Yemen, averting a move by members of Congress to reduce support for the Gulf countries’ participation in the war there. According to the UN Human Rights Office, 6,660 civilians have been killed and more than 10,500 injured since March 2015. Brian and John speak with Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Non-Violence, and Brian Terrell, also co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence.

Why did the 9/11 Attacks Happen? Filling in the Blanks

Sep 11, 2018 6945

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Ray Nowosielski and John Duffy, authors of the new book “The Watchdogs Didn't Bark: The CIA, NSA, and the Crimes of the War on Terror.” Today we continue our weekly series False Profits -- A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism. Daniel Sankey, a financial policy analyst, joins the show. Turkish president Recep Erdogan said in an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal that Turkey will face a catastrophic refugee crisis if the Syrian government is allowed to attack terrorists and foreign troops currently holed up in the city of Idlib, even as Russian and Syrian fighter jets bombed the city. Erdogan warned that “the entire world will pay a price” if Idlib is attacked. Brian and John speak with Rick Sterling, an investigative journalist and member of the Syria Solidarity Movement. The White House confirmed today that talks are underway with North Korea over setting up a second summit meeting between President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un, as the two sides try to put stalled peace talks back on track. Author and professor Tim Beal, whose most recent book is “Crisis in Korea”, joins the show. Russia today kicked off what it says are its largest war games since the fall of the Soviet Union, as it also hosted a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and Chinese president Xi Jinping in the far eastern city of Vladivostok. The exercises are yet another indication of the warming military and economic relationship between the two countries. Mark Sleboda, an international affairs and security analyst, joins Brian and John. National Security Advisor John Bolton said in a speech yesterday that the US would not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and, indeed, would sanction judges if the ICC moved forward on a war crimes trial against American soldiers in Afghanistan. The ICC said today that it would not be deterred by American threats. Medea Benjamin, an anti-war activist who is the co-founder of Code Pink, joins the show. In a public toilet next to Beijing’s Temple of Heaven, it is reported that a toilet paper dispenser uses surveillance cameras to check on people stealing toilet paper. At Peking University, a lecturer uses surveillance cameras to check whether students are bored. It was street security cameras that identified the 2005 London Underground bomber and the 2013 Boston marathon bomber. It is satellite-based cameras that are tracking typhoons, following IS troops in Syria, watching rhino poachers in African game reserves and tracking the retreat of the Arctic ice cap. The age of surveillance is upon us. What does it mean for our civil liberties? We’ll talk to an expert whose new research explores ways that technology can be tailored to respect civil liberties. Brian and John speak with Prof. Bryan Ford, who leads the Decentralized/Distributed Systems lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.

Bolton: "To Hell With International Law!"

Sep 10, 2018 7058

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Ali Abunimah, the co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of the book “The Battle for Justice in Palestine,” and Miko Peled, most recently the author of “Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.” John Bolton, US national security adviser, threatened the international criminal court (ICC) with sanctions today when he made an excoriating attack on the institution in a speech in Washington. According to drafts of his speech, Bolton will push for sanctions over an ICC investigation into alleged American war crimes in Afghanistan. He also announced the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington because of its calls for an ICC inquiry into Israel. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. Maria Butina, a Russian national accused by the Justice Department of conspiring to represent a foreign government without registering, has a hearing today to determine if she should be allowed bail. Prosecutors had initially accused Butina of being a Russian spy and of using sex to ingratiate herself with her targets. But they withdrew those accusations over the weekend even though this has been the center of defamatory media coverage of the defendant caused by the government’s false claim. Brian and John speak with Alex Rubenstein, a Sputnik news analyst and journalist who was at the hearing today and you can read more of on Twitter @RealAlexRubi. General Joseph Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said over the weekend that the US had drawn up contingency plans in case of a Syrian chemical attack on the city of Idlib. The Western media has reported over the past few days that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would use chemical weapons on Idlib, but the information appear to be coming from the controversial White Helmets, rather than from intelligence sources. Meanwhile, the United States has been accused of using white phosphorus munitions near the eastern Syrian city of Deir Ezzor. Steve Gowans, a journalist and author of “Washington’s Long War on Syria,” joins the show. Les Moonves, the Chief Executive Officer of CBS, Inc. resigned last night in the wake of yet more accusations that he sexually harassed female employees at the network over a period of years. The resignation was not a surprise, as Moonves has been the subject of accusations of inappropriate behavior for more than a year. Eugene Puryear, the host of By Any Means Necessary, which a Radio Sputnik show on 105.5 FM and 1390 AM in the DC area between 2 and 4 p.m. and on iTunes, Spotify, Spreaker, and iHeartRadio, joins Brian and John. Sweden has been plunged into political uncertainty after both centrist coalitions failed to win a majority in Sunday’s election and a far-right anti-immigration party with roots in the neo-Nazi movement gained ground. The two coalitions will have to work together or they will have to renege on promises to not work with the far-right. Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek joins the show. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Brian and John speak with Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto.”

Will the US Clash with Russia Over Syria?

Sep 7, 2018 7026

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Ambassador Peter Ford, the former British Ambassador to Syria, and Mark Sleboda, an international affairs and security analyst. The presidents of Russia, Iran, and Turkey met in Tehran today to discuss next steps in the Syrian province of Idlib, the Syrian rebels’ last stronghold and home to thousands of terrorists. Russia and Iran have provided vital support to the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, but Turkey is fearful that a major assault on Idlib will result in a refugee crisis on its southern border. Friday is Loud & Clear’s regular segment on the midterms, taking a look at political races around the country in the runup to midterm elections in November. Jacqueline and Abdus Luqman, the co-editors-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, join the show. This afternoon at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus, President Obama delivered a speech that he called the "State of our Democracy.” It was a clear beginning to his campaigning for Democrats during the midterms, and it focused on voter turnout. He also pushed back hard against President Trump, calling him a symptom or the country’s problems, not the disease. If Trump as president is a symptom, does Obama include himself as a part the disease? Brian and John speak with Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books--”The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War.” Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right frontrunner in Brazil’s presidential election, was stabbed in the stomach and seriously injured last night during a campaign rally. His assailant was caught. Bolsonaro has courted controversy by equating homosexuality with pedophilia and by saying that a congresswoman with whom he had a conflict was “too ugly to be raped.” Pepe Escobar, a writer and political analyst, joins the show. Senator Bernie Sanders announced a new bill yesterday called the Stop BEZOS Act, which would require companies to pay for any vital social programs that that their employees use because they’re paid so little. This is after Amazon became the world’s second company to be valued at over $1 trillion this week despite paying its workers little and eliminating as many jobs as possible. While Amazon and Jeff Bezos earn more and more, they actually eliminate peoples’ jobs and basic incomes. Dr. Jack Rasmus, a professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California, author of “Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression,” and at jackrasmus.com, joins the show. Apple plans to create an online tool for police to formally request data about its users and to assemble a team to train police about what data can and cannot be obtained from the company. We’ll look at what this means for privacy. Professor Bryan Ford, who leads the Decentralized/Distributed Systems lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), joins the show. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog.

The War Within the Trump White House—Where Does it End?

Sep 6, 2018 6779

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Joe Lauria, the editor-in-chief of Consortium News, founded by the late Robert Parry, and the author of the book "How I Lost, By Hillary Clinton," and Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist. The New York Times took the unusual step last night of publishing an anonymous op-ed. The opinion piece was reportedly written by a senior Trump Administration official, and it talks about chaos in the White House, a president who is unhinged, and the worry that many of the most senior officials in government that the President is a danger to Americans. The fallout—especially that emanating from the White House—has been dramatic. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, and Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), join the show. Victoria Skripal, Sergei Skripal’s niece, said at a press conference in the UK this morning that her attempts to visit her family, Sergei and his daughter Yulia Skripal, in the UK have been stymied by the embassy. Meanwhile, the government of Theresa May has accused the Russian government and two alleged Russian intelligence officers of carrying out the attack. Brian and John speak with Alexander Mercouris, the editor-in-chief of The Duran. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will host his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang on September 18. The scheduling of the meeting was immediately praised by President Trump and heartened observers who are looking for movement on the issue of North Korea’s denuclearization. Author and professor Tim Beal, whose most recent book is “Crisis in Korea,” joins the show. The Jerusalem Post reported yesterday that the Israel Defense Force had been arming Syrian rebels in an effort to keep them engaged in a fight with Iranian troops there. The Post took the article down after a complaint by Israeli military censors. Journalist and filmmaker Dan Cohen, whose work you can see at KillingGaza.com, joins Brian and John. Eight demonstrators have been killed so far this week in protests in southern Iraq against corruption and inadequate basic services. This major unrest comes as the new Iraqi parliament convenes and heated negotiations to form the next government intensify. Massoud Shadjareh, the founder of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, joins the show. North Carolina’s congressional districts have been found to be racially gerrymandered, but that isn’t stopping state authorities from conducting one more election based on that district map anyway. Meanwhile, a federal prosecutor appointed by Donald Trump has issued two broad subpoenas seeking voter registration and other data from 15 million people across North Carolina. Civil rights groups say the move is an attempt to suppress the Latino vote. Brian and John speak with Drew Spencer Penrose, legal and policy director at the election reform advocacy organization FairVote.

Case Closed? Not So Fast: Unanswered Questions in Skripal Poisoning

Sep 5, 2018 7029

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dr. Piers Robinson, the chairman of the politics, society, and political journalism department at the University of Sheffield, and Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net. The British government has charged two Russian nationals, whom it describes as military intelligence assassins, with attempted murder in the poisoning last spring of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Both survived. Scotland Yard investigators claim to have found traces of Novichok, a weapons-grade nerve agent, in a perfume bottle that the two allegedly used on the victims. Both Russians are believed to be in Moscow. Thursday’s weekly segment, Beyond Nuclear, looks at nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show. The intelligence services of the Five Eyes nations—the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand—are quietly warning technology firms that they want access to all encrypted emails, text messages, and voice communications, and they are threatening to compel the companies to give it to them if they don’t do so voluntarily. Meanwhile, big tech CEOs are testifying to Congress. Brian and John speak with web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa. Legendary Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward has a new book coming out. “Fear: Trump in the White House” will be released on Tuesday. But leaked passages are already making the news. They portray the White House as a veritable killing field of political careers and a president who is unhinged, unpredictable, and obsessed with the Mueller investigation. That rings true, but Woodward has a history of embellishing and, in some cases, making things up. Joe Lauria, the editor-in-chief of Consortium News, founded by the late Robert Parry, and the author of the book "How I Lost, By Hillary Clinton," joins the show. Amazon yesterday hit a market valuation of $1 trillion—only the second company in the world to reach that number besides Apple. Founder Jeff Bezos is the world’s wealthiest man at $165 billion. All the while, many of his employees work for minimum wage and qualify for food stamps. Dr. Jack Rasmus, a professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California and author of “Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression,” whose work is at www.jackrasmus.com, joins Brian and John. Capitol Hill is buzzing with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Republicans laud Kavanaugh’s supposed mainstream Republican views, while Democrats complain that the nomination would tilt the court farther to the right, especially on social issues. But what neither side is talking about is Kavanaugh’s well-documented opposition to net neutrality. Tim Karr, the senior director of strategy and communications at Free Press, joins the show. Democratic insurgent Ayanna Pressley, a Boston City Council member, defeated 10-term incumbent Mike Capuano yesterday in a hotly contested Democratic primary. The upset is another indication that the Democratic Party rank-and-file are angry, motivated, and getting out the vote. Brian and John speak with Anoa Changa, the director of political advocacy and a managing editor of Progressive Army, and host of the show The Way With Anoa.

Is the U.S. Preparing a Massive Military Attack Against Syria?

Sep 4, 2018 6927

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by former British Ambassador to Syria Peter Ford and Rick Sterling, an investigative journalist and member of the Syria Solidarity Movement. Russian military leaders said today that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was ready to launch a phased offensive to retake Idlib, which both the Russians and Syrians called “a pocket of terrorism” because of the foreign fighters that are based there. The Trump Administration is sending signals that it is preparing for a possible U.S. military operation inside Syria. The dangers of a wider war are presented just at the moment that the Syrian government seems to be on the verge of winning a final victory against armed forces aligned with Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. The hosts discuss coal prices going up in Europe as China uses more electricity, and the burning of natural gas, a shale drilling byproduct, in Texas in amounts that could fuel whole U.S. states. Financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey joins the show. Amidst protests, the Senate Judiciary Committee today held hearings on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be on the Supreme Court. Democrats objected before the hearing began because they have been denied access to documents they requested, and have been fundraising on preventing Kavanagh from being confirmed—but meanwhile Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has agree to expedited approval for 15 of Trump’s other judge nominees. Brian and John speak with Ariel Gold, a peace activist and the national co-director of Code Pink, and an organizer and participant in today’s protests. General John Nicholson, the outgoing commander of allied forces in Afghanistan, gave a farewell speech in Kabul over the weekend as he prepared to return to the US and retire. Unlike any of his predecessors, Nicholson called for an end to the war, an end to intercommunal violence, and an end to foreign intervention in the country. Dr. Marvin Weinbaum, the scholar-in-residence and director of the Middle East Institute’s Center for Pakistan and Afghanistan Studies, joins the show. The New York Times revealed over the weekend that Oleg Deripaska, a prominent Russian billionaire, was repeatedly approached by the FBI between 2014 and 2016 and pressed to act as an informant. The FBI initially was looking for information on Russian organized crime. Later, they wanted information on Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. But Deripaska declined each approach. Nonetheless, he has been drawn in to the Russia collusion investigation, and he finds himself with powerful enemies in Congress. Peter Lavelle, host of RT’s flagship program CrossTalk, joins Brian and John. Yesterday was Labor Day, the day set aside to honor the social and economic achievements of American workers. It is a national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of the country. But organized labor is facing acute challenges thanks to recent court decisions. What do these decisions mean for the future of organized labor? Peter Knowlton, the president of the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America, joins the show. Brazil’s political crisis has entered a new stage with the country’s top electoral court denying former president Lula—the most popular candidate by far—a spot on the ballot for the country’s upcoming presidential election. Meanwhile, outrage is sweeping the country in the aftermath of a fire that destroyed much of the country’s most prominent museum—an apparent consequence of years of underfunding. Brian and John speak with Vijay Prashad, director of the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, chief editor of LeftWord Books, and the author of “The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution” and “Red Star Over the Third World.”

Labor Solidarity Grows - From Tobacco Farms in N. Carolina to DC Teachers

Aug 31, 2018 6846

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Liz Davis, president of the Washington Teachers Union who has taught in DC public schools for 41 years, and Justin Flores, the vice president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee. Monday is Labor Day, the day set aside to honor the social and economic achievements of American workers. It is a national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of the country. But organized labor is facing acute challenges thanks to recent court decisions. Friday is Loud & Clear’s regular segment on the midterms, taking a look at political races around the country in the runup to midterm elections in November. Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook and Sputnik News analyst Walter Smolarek, joins the show. President Trump on Wednesday reaffirmed his opposition to routine annual joint US-South Korean military drills, a move that has infuriated South Korean conservatives, but which was supported by President Moon Jae-in. Although the move will make the North Koreans happy, it could created a significant political backlash for Moon. Gareth Porter, a historian, investigative journalist, and analyst specializing in U.S. national security policy, and the author of “Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare,” joins Brian and John. Bank of America is facing a backlash after freezing the accounts of people who have not proven their US citizenship or permanent resident status. The bank says that it has always asked its customers about their citizenship. But it’s begun unfreezing accounts after admitting that there are no federal law or regulations that require it to do so. Brian and John speak with Richard Becker, the author of “The Myth of Democracy and the Rule of the Banks.” Over the past decade, New York City made steady reductions in the number of children in public housing who tested positive for lead. But that ended when the city stopped inspecting apartments for lead paint. Lead levels are on the rise not just in New York, but in cities across the country, including Washington. Yasmina Mrabet, a housing organizer with Justice First. Yasmina is also an activist with the organization LinkUp, joins the show. Yesterday, the city of El Paso dissolved an injunction, leaving a neighborhood in El Paso up for demolition to make way for an arena. Barrio Duranguito is now under 24-hour watch by Paso Del Sur, a community group, to protect the buildings. Rodriga, Cynthia, and Selfa, all organizers with Paso Del Sur, joins Brian and John. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

The "War" in Washington Against Peace Deal with North Korea

Aug 30, 2018 6805

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Hyun Lee, a member of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea and writer for Zoominkorea.org. The fate of the peace process in Korea hangs in the balance as the Trump administration takes an increasingly hard line. At the same time, a dispute between the Pentagon and the White House over the suspension of the U.S. military exercises in South Korea spilled into the open, with Trump openly contradicting Defense Secretary Mattis. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” focuses on the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. The hosts continue talking about the huge prison strike going on across the country, as well as the white cop who killed Jordan Edwards, a Black teenager, getting prison time. Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, and Paul Wright, the founder and Executive Director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), join the show. The United Nations is calling on Russia, Iran, and Turkey to not attack the Syrian province of Idlib until humanitarian corridors can be created to evacuate some of the millions of civilians there. But the truth is that an attack on Syria could just as easily come from the United States, Britain, and France. Are we looking at another Suez Crisis? Brian and John speak with Ambassador Peter Ford, the former British Ambassador to Syria. Shocking new reports have emerged that U.S. citizens who were born near the U.S.-Mexico border are being denied U.S. passports — on the basis that they are not in fact U.S. citizens! Isabel Garcia, co-founder of Coalición de Derechos Humanos, joins the show. The Trump Administration is expected to replace a major Obama-era environmental regulation on the emission of mercury, a pollutant linked to damage of the brain, the nervous system, and fetal development, with a much weaker regulation. Fred Magdoff, professor emeritus of plant and soil science at the University of Vermont and the co-author of “What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism” and “Creating an Ecological Society: Toward a Revolutionary Transformation” from Monthly Review Press, joins Brian and John. The New York gubernatorial race between Governor Andrew Cuomo and former actress Cynthia Nixon turned ugly — quickly — in the first debate last night between the two Democrats. Meanwhile, Cuomo received a $25,000 donation from the law firm representing accused sexual predator Harvey Weinstein immediately before suspending an investigation into whether the Weinstein probe was mishandled. Randy Credico, an activist, a comedian, and the former director of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice, joins the show. Environmental groups yesterday argued in a federal appeals court that the Environmental Protection Agency should revoke its approval of a potent weed killer because it evaporates quickly, destroys nearby crops, and kills wildlife. The groups say that Monsanto’s XtendiMax weed killer is a health hazard and should be banned immediately. Brian and John speak with Alexis Baden-Mayer, the political director for Organic Consumers Association.

Under Pressure from Trump, Will Europe Move Closer to Russia?

Aug 29, 2018 6704

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and Walter Smolarek (sitting in for John Kiriakou) are joined by Peter Lavelle, host of RT’s flagship program CrossTalk. French President Emmanuel Macron said this week that the European Union needs to look out for its own security, rather than looking to the US. Germany is moving forward with the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline from Russia, against the US’s demands. What does the strengthening of European-Russian relations and the fraying of US-European relations mean for geopolitics? Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show. Justice Department official Bruce Ohr gave testimony and answered questions for 8 hours behind closed doors yesterday in a hearing held by the House Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform committees. What does Ohr’s role in the investigation into alleged Russian collusion say about the nature of the entire Mueller investigation? Brian and Walter speak with Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at rall.com. Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló commissioned a full study on the death toll from last year’s Hurricane Maria, and the results are in. Up from the original estimate from of 64, this week’s report put the death toll at 2,975, making Maria one of the deadliest hurricanes ever. Dr. Adriana Garriga-López, department chair and associate professor of Anthropology at Kalamazoo College, joins the show. With rumors swirling about President Trump potentially firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham appeared to throw his hat in the ring in an interview last night. Meanwhile, this morning, President Trump announced that White House counsel Don McGahn will be leaving in the fall. Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter, a columnist for CounterPunch, and a contributor to Businessweek, The Nation, Extra! and Salon.com, joins Brian and Walter. Important primaries were held across the country last night. In Florida, progressive Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum won the gubernatorial primary against frontrunner and former Congressperson Gwen Graham, and his competition, conservative Ron DeSantis, was tapped by President Trump. And in Arizona, establishment favorite Martha McSally defeated two far-right challengers. Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, whose livestream is available every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook, and Juliana Musheyev, a Floridian and member of the Board of Directors of the Peace Education and Action Center, join the show. Teachers and faculty voted last night to approve a strike if negotiations with Seattle Public Schools don’t produce a tentative contract by the start of the school year on Tuesday. Brian and Walter speak with Jane Cutter, an educator and the editor of LiberationNews.org.

War On Alternative Media: A Discussion With Abby Martin & Mike Prysner

Aug 28, 2018 6851

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Abby Martin, host of The Empire Files, and Mike Prysner, the producer. You can support their ongoing work at patreon.com/EmpireFiles and GoFundMe.com/keep-empire-files-going. Progressive alternative media in the United States is under attack. Recently, the prominent TeleSur program The Empire Files was shut down as a consequence of U.S. sanctions imposed on Venezuela. Meanwhile Facebook and other social media giants have been censoring and concealing content that doesn’t fit the corporate media narrative. Monday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Daniel Sankey, a financial policy analyst, joins the show. Despite being caught in a lie, CNN is standing behind their reporting. Lanny Davis, lawyer for former President Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, told CNN as an anonymous source (and then other outlets as well) that Cohen had details on the Trump Tower meeting that special counsel Robert Mueller is keen to find out about. Then, in an apparent bid to muddy the waters, in the past few days he’s been saying Cohen doesn’t necessarily have information. Several outlets outed him as their source, embarrassing him in his flip-flopping—but confusingly, CNN is still “confident in our reporting.” Brian and John speak with Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net whose latest is "Be Careful What You Ask For: Wasting Time with Manafort, Cohen, and Russiagate.” Donald Trump tweeted this morning criticizing Google’s manipulation of search results. While his outrage was directed at their reported suppression of right-wing outlets, beneath the surface are huge implications about Google’s power and ability to surveil virtually every part of our lives. Dr. Robert Epstein, the senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, joins the show. Chemnitz, a German city in the state of Saxony, has erupted in racist rioting and violence in the last few days, with crowds yelling anti-immigrant slogans and using the illegal Nazi straight-arm salute facing off with crowds of anti-racist protesters. What does this mean for the rise of the far-right in Germany and in Europe? John Wight, the host of the weekly Sputnik Radio show Hard Facts, joins Brian and John. The Russian defense minister today announced that huge military drills involving hundreds of thousands of soldiers will take place in the country’s east next month. With a sizable contingent of Chinese troops expected to participate, many are taking this as a sign that the two rising powers are moving closer together in response to the U.S. government’s new doctrine of “major power competition.” International affairs and security analyst Mark Sleboda joins the show. After questioning Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s Parliament censured him today and referred him to the judiciary. This comes shortly after the ministers of economy and labor were fired by lawmakers. Is the Iranian leadership changing? Are the US sanctions playing into these changes? Brian and John speak with Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran.

John McCain: “Tireless Advocate” … of War, Empire & Regime Change

Aug 27, 2018 7047

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dr. Nazia Kazi, an activist, professor of Anthropology at Stockton University and the author of the forthcoming book “Islamophobia, Race and Global Politics.” Senator John McCain died on Saturday and the testimonies about his service and character are pouring in from around the country. McCain is being described as a maverick and a moderate who tried to wrest his party from dangerous populism. However, his real legacy is his consistent votes for and encouragement for the country to go to war, and he personally dropped bombs over civilians in Hanoi. Progressive governments across Latin America have been under unprecedented pressure to move to the right, with countries from Brazil to Argentina to Ecuador either pushing liberal leaders aside or changing policy to ally themselves with the United States. What’s behind this push to the right? And are Latin American countries in danger of a return to military or fascist governments with the support of the United States? Arnold August, a lecturer, journalist and author of the book “Cuba-US Relations: Obama and Beyond” and Gloria La Riva, the director of the Cuba and Venezuela Solidarity Committee, joins the show. Monday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the National Surveillance State are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Brian and John speak with web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa. Lanny Davis, the attorney for President Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, is backing off statements he made last week that Cohen has information to share with investigators indicating that Trump knew in 2016 of Russian efforts to undermine the Hillary Clinton campaign. And attorneys for accused Russian spy Maria Butina say that federal allegations that Butina traded sex for information are nonsense. Coleen Rowley, a former FBI special agent who in 2002 was named Time Magazine person of the year along with two other whistleblowers, joins the show. Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami met today with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and pledged Iranian help in the reconstruction of Syria, as well as enhanced defense cooperation. The United Nations estimates that the country will need $388 billion to rebuild from a seven-year-long civil war that has seen the deaths of more than 350,000 people. Massoud Shadjareh, the founder of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, joins Brian and John. The North Korean government reacted angrily today after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo canceled his planned visit to that country. Pompeo cited a lack of progress in bilateral talks as the reason for the decision. But North Korea said that the US was hatching a criminal plot against Pyongyang and that the US was not serious about negotiations. Dr. Christine Hong, associate professor of critical race and ethnic studies at UC Santa Cruz and a member of the Korea Policy Institute, joins the show. In a victory for labor unions, a federal judge on Saturday struck down key provisions of a series of executive orders that would have made it easier to fire federal workers and weaken their unions. The ruling is a major setback for President Trump’s policy of trying to break unions, especially those that represent federal workers. Brian and John speak with Jeff Bigelow, an organizer with AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. Monday’s segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” is where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto,” joins the show.

Behind the Anti-Palestinian "Canary Mission" Blacklisting Operation

Aug 24, 2018 7044

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Max Blumenthal, a journalist, a bestselling author whose latest book is “The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza,” the senior editor of Grayzone Project, and co-host of the podcast “Moderate Rebels.” Facebook is being accused of creating an entirely new level of censorship, deleting posts and whole pages, blocking content, and restricting access to news. The mainstream media has decried Facebook’s censorship of conservative sites like Prager University and InfoWars. But Facebook also has deleted pages associated with Bernie Sanders followers and Black Lives Matter. What the media aren’t talking about, however, is Facebook’s censorship of pages and news advocating for the Palestinian cause or for peace in the Middle East. Friday is Loud & Clear’s regular segment on the midterms, taking a look at political races around the country in the runup to midterm elections in November. Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, which hosts a livestream every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook and Sputnik News analyst Walter Smolarek, joins the show. A new tranche of US sanctions against Russia will take effect on Monday, including prohibitions on loans, weapons, and dual-use items. The sanctions will remain in place for at least one year. Brian and John speak with international affairs and security analyst Mark Sleboda. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has given Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg immunity as part of the investigation into Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen. And Weisselberg isn’t the only person granted immunity. National Enquirer publisher David Pecker has also received a guarantee of immunity. The noose appears to be tightening around the White House. But what is the thrust of the investigation now that it has nothing to do with Russia? Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War,” joins the show. It has been nearly a month since a federal court ordered the Trump Administration to reunite separated immigrant families, but hundreds of children are still waiting for reunification. In fact, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, some 565 children are still being held in detention away from their parents. Juan Carlos Ruiz, cofounder of New Sanctuary Coalition, joins Brian and John. Houthi rebels reported that Saudi warplanes attacked a village outside of Hudaidah in Yemen yesterday, killing at least 30 people, including 22 children. The dead had fled an earlier Saudi bombing that had killed 44 civilians. Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Non-Violence, joins the show. It’s Friday! So it’s time for the week’s worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News and on twitter @leftiblog, and Sputnik producer Nicole Roussell.

Media Frenzy Over New "Hack" of DNC: Oops! It was Just a Security Test

Aug 23, 2018 7141

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at rall.com. Headlines in major news outlets across the country sounded the alarm about what they said was yet another sinister Russian attempt to subvert American democracy—a hack into the Democratic National Committee’s voter database. But, it turns out, this was nothing more than a security test by one of its state affiliates. Adopting another talking point of the extreme right wing, President Trump has asked that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo take a look at “the large scale killing of farmers” in South Africa, referring to the white landowners whose property is subject to a new redistribution program aimed at addressing the legacy of apartheid. This comes after Fox News host Tucker Carlson called South African President Ramaphosa a racist. Dr. Gerald Horne, a professor of history at the University of Houston and author of many books, including “From the Barrel of a Gun: The United States and the War against Zimbabwe,” joins the show. Today the hosts continue Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice,” where they talk about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Today they focus on the massive prison strike taking place in more than a dozen states. Brian and John speak with Paul Wright, the founder and Executive Director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Nicole Roussell, a producer of this show. The United States and China imposed 25 percent tariffs on $16 billion worth of each other's goods today, as the Trump administration’s trade war continues to gather steam. What will the consequences be for the two countries’ economies, and the world? Jude Woodward. She is the author of the book “The US vs China: Asia's new Cold War?,” joins the show. Tonight in 1968, 43 Black GIs who were stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, refused to board a plane to go fight against protestors at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Many of the soldiers had already been to war in Vietnam, and this was a huge act of dissent, foreshadowing much more dissent within the ranks of the military in decades to come. C. R. Gibbs, an author and co-author of six books and a frequent national and international lecturer who appears regularly on television to discuss historical issues, joins Brian and John. NSA contractor Reality Winner was sentenced today to 63 months in prison, or more than 5 years. She was charged under the Espionage Act for leaking to the press a report on alleged Russian election interference. Kevin Gosztola, the managing editor for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure who was at the hearing this morning, joins the show. The British government released 25 guidance documents for people and businesses in the case that no Brexit deal is agreed upon between the EU and the UK, leaving the UK without any agreements on trade, diplomacy, and other relationships with the EU. Brian and John speak with Robert Griffiths, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Britain. The US has had a long and contentious debate about affirmative action, one policy intended to help with centuries of structural oppression of people of color. Most recently, the opposition to affirmative action has shifted to blaming the policy for keeping high-performing Asian-American students out of elite places like Harvard. But what sort of effects on Asian-American students are really at play? Dr. Kevin Kumashiro, an internationally recognized expert on educational policy, school reform, and educational equity, and social justice who is the former dean of the School of Education at the University of San Francisco, joins the show.

Truth and Lies: Media's Misdirection of Manafort Verdict and Cohen Plea

Aug 22, 2018 6955

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer who is the author of the book “The Plot to attack Iran,” and Joe Lauria, the editor-in-chief of Consortium News, founded by the late Robert Parry. Courts in New York and Alexandria, Virginia delivered bombshells for President Trump yesterday, as former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted of eight felony counts of bank fraud, and Trump attorney Michael Cohen turned himself in to the FBI and pleaded guilty to eight counts of campaign finance fraud, bank fraud, and wire fraud. Manafort will now go on trial on additional fraud counts in Washington, DC, and Cohen will go to prison for between three and five years. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear with Kevin Kamps, looks at nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Today they focus on Trump’s plan to cut coal regulations, and the connections between the coal and nuclear industries. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, joins the show. Facebook announced yesterday that it had taken down 652 fake accounts and pages with ties to Iranian and Russian propaganda organs. The company said there were four different campaigns, with three originating in Iran. Is Facebook jumping on the war hysteria bandwagon? Brian and John speak with Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter and founder of This Can’t Be Happening!, as well as a columnist for CounterPunch, and a contributor to Businessweek, The Nation, Extra! and Salon.com. Saudi Arabia is preparing to execute five people, including a woman, for participating in peaceful demonstrations in support of rights for Shia Muslims. The public prosecutor, who reports directly to King Salman, has charged the five with a variety of so-called crimes, including, “participating in protests, incitement to protest, chanting slogans, attempting to inflame public opinion, filming protests, and providing moral support to rioters.” The five could be beheaded as soon as Friday. Ali al-Ahmed, the director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs, joins the show. Russia’s foreign minister said that the Taliban have accepted an invitation to attend talks on the future of Afghanistan to be held in Moscow on September 4. Sergei Lavrov said that the aim of the talks is to encourage the Taliban to abandon hostilities, to engage in a dialogue with the Afghan government, and to protect Russian citizens in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, hopes for a temporary halt in the fighting have broken down following a mass kidnapping and a rocket attack on the presidential palace as President Ashraf Ghani was giving a speech. Brian Terrell, a long time peace activist and a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, joins Brian and John. National Security Advisor John Bolton said yesterday that the United States would respond “very strongly” if forces loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad use chemical weapons in an offensive to retake Idlib Province. But doesn’t that just open the door for US-allied forces to use chemical weapons and blame the Syrian government? Rick Sterling, an investigative journalist and member of the Syria Solidarity Movement, joins the show. Tensions between the United States and Turkey, along with the country’s economic instability, continue to heat up. National Security Advisor John Bolton told reporters yesterday that Turkey could end its lira-battering crisis with Washington “instantly” by freeing a detained American pastor. Bolton added that promises of cash from the Qatari government will not save Turkey’s economy. Brian and John speak with Ambassador Robert Pearson, a former US Ambassador to Turkey and former director general of the US Foreign Service.

What the Manafort Verdict and Cohen Plea Deal Means for Trump & Mueller

Aug 21, 2018 6918

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, the Paul Manafort guilty verdict and the Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s plea deal is the lead story at the top of the second hour. In the first hour, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Joe Lauria, the editor-in-chief of Consortium News, founded by the late Robert Parry and author of the book "How I Lost, By Hillary Clinton," and Alexander Mercouris, the editor-in-chief of The Duran. Key Senate committees held hearings today amid news that Microsoft has seized six websites that it says were registered by Russia’s military intelligence organization, the GRU, and that targeted Republican think tanks and the US Senate. New US sanctions on Russia take effect tomorrow, and two senators are sponsoring what they are calling “the sanctions bill from hell” that they would pass if the US intelligence community confirms that the Russian government was behind the six suspended websites. Meanwhile, British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt today called on all EU member countries to join the US and UK sanctions. Tuesday’s regular segment is Loud & Clear’s weekly series False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Daniel Sankey, a financial policy analyst, joins the show. The jury has reached its verdict in the trial of Paul Manafort, who was for a brief period the chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in the summer of 2016. Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer for more than a decade, was also in court today where he pled guilty to multiple charges. Mumia Abu Jamal has been in prison in Pennsylvania since 1981, after being accused and convicted of killing a policeman. He was on death row until 2011, when his sentence was converted to life without parole. Mumia and his supporters have always maintained his innocence, and he will be in court again next week in Philadelphia. He’ll be in court on August 30 pursuing a new legal strategy that argues that Ronald Castile, a former District Attorney whose office prosecuted his case, was improperly involved in his appeal after he became a state supreme court justice. Dr. Johanna Fernandez, a professor at Baruch College and an activist with Campaign to Bring Mumia Home, and the maker of the film “Justice On Trial,” which you can check it out this Thursday at 7:00 p.m. at the Maysles Cinema in Harlem, joins the show. American prisoners are going on strike today all across the country. The action will continue through September 9, which marks the anniversary of the deadly uprising at the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York. But the strike isn’t necessarily political in nature. Prisoners want to draw attention to prison conditions and exploitative labor practices. And they want their work to be valued by society. Alex Rubinstein, a Sputnik news analyst and journalist whose work is on twitter @RealAlexRubi, joins Brian and John. Today marks the 47th anniversary of the death of George Jackson. The hosts take a look at his legacy and present-day significance. Dr. Gerald Horne, a professor of history at the University of Houston and author of many books, including “Blows Against the Empire: U.S. Imperialism in Crisis,” joins the show. Voting rights activists in Georgia are decrying a state plan to close two thirds of the polling stations in a predominantly Black county. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a formal protest with the county’s electoral board. Even the Republican nominee for governor has urged officials to abandon the plan. Brian and John speak with Anoa Changa, the director of political advocacy and a managing editor of Progressive Army, and host of the show The Way With Anoa.

New Cracks Emerge in "Russiagate": Beneath the Headlines

Aug 20, 2018 6887

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, whose most recent piece is “Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama,” and Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist. President Trump over the weekend revoked the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan and threatened to do the same to a list of other former Obama-era national security officials and a current Justice Department official. Meanwhile, media outlets reported that White House Counsel Don McGahn met at least three times with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. President Trump tweeted early this morning that McGahn is “not a rat, like in the Nixon White House.” Monday’s weekly half hour segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the National Surveillance State are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights, and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. The State Department has created something called the Iran Action Group to coordinate US foreign policy toward that country. Detractors, however, say that the group’s purpose is to create a policy to overthrow the Iranian government. And the group’s membership is apparently classified. Brian and John speak with Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran. Nearly 90 South Korean families crossed into North Korea yesterday to be reunited with elderly relatives they had not seen since being separated in the chaos of the Korean War nearly 70 years ago. The reunification program has been ongoing for decades, was suspended, and was restarted in the recent rapprochement between the two Koreas. Simone Chun, a fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and a member of the Korean Peace Network, joins the show. After eight grueling years of austerity, Greece today emerged from its bailout program. The $330 billion in loans from the European Union, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund saved the country from insolvency, but economic misery is still the norm, with unemployment remaining well over 20 percent. Steve Keen, the author of “Debunking Economics” and the world’s first crowdfunded economist whose work is at patreon.com/ProfSteveKeen, joins Brian and John. Loud & Clear’s regular Monday segment “Education for Liberation” is about the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Rick Ayers, a professor of education at the University of San Francisco, the author of “An Empty Seat in Class: Teaching and Learning after the Death of a Student,” and co-author of the recently released book, “You can’t fire the bad ones: And 18 other myths about teachers, teachers unions, and public education,” joins the show. In a second episode of Loud & Clear’s regular Monday segment “Education for Liberation”, Brian and John speak with Dr. Kevin Kumashiro, an internationally recognized expert on educational policy, school reform, and educational equity and social justice, and the former dean of the School of Education at the University of San Francisco.

1965 Watts Uprising: A Rebellion that Shook America

Aug 10, 2018 6866

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dr. Alice Bonner, a docent at the National Museum of African American History and Culture and a retired professor at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. Ahead of the anniversary of the deadly Charlottesville white supremacist protest, the hosts speak with Dr. Alice Bonner about a pivotal moment in the fight against racism in the United States -- The Watts Uprising. Again today we take a look at political races around the country in the runup to midterm elections in November. Jacqueline Luqman, co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, joins the show. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency in Charlottesville in advance of the one-year anniversary of the violent Unite the Right rally. Last year a right-wing extremist ran over and killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer. Brian and John speak with Kei Pritsker, he’s a D.C.-based activist who is one of the organizers of the counter-protest against the “Unite the Right 2” rally in Washington D.C. President Trump’s new Space Force will be the first new military branch since the creation of the Air Force 70 years ago, if Congress approves it and it can get off the ground. But what exactly is a space force? And do we really need one? We’re joined from Maine by Bruce Gagnon, the coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, joins the show. Fusion GSP founder Glenn Simpson met secretly with one of Barack Obama’s seniormost Justice Department officials, Bruce Ohr, immediately after the 2016 election, according to Ohr’s handwritten notes that were released yesterday. In that meeting, Simpson told Ohr that Trump attorney Michael Cohen was the the secret middleman between the campaign and the Russian government. Simpson admitted in sworn testimony last year to the House Intelligence Committee that he had contact with Ohr after Trump’s election victory. But Ohr’s notes provide the first detailed public account of what the two men actually discussed. We’ll get into the details. Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News, joins Brian and John. The National Security Archive, a private academic organization based at George Washington University that is the repository for declassified government documents, announced today that its Freedom of Information Act suit against the CIA for documents related to CIA director Gina Haspel’s involvement in the torture program was successful. The Archive already has released those documents and they are damning in the information they provide on Haspel and torture. Brian and John speak with Sue Udry, a peace and social justice activist and Executive Director of Defending Rights and Dissent. Code Pink is one of the most active and influential peace organizations in America, tackling issues from Gaza to immigration to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the leading members of that group is our friend and frequent guest Ann Wright. Earlier this week, Ann found herself at the US-Mexico border, where she’s been working to improve the plight of so many immigrants to this country. Ann Wright, a retired United States Army colonel and former U.S. State Department official who resigned in protest of the invasion of Iraq and became an anti-war activist, joins the show.

NATO Warplanes Fire Missiles on Russia's Border During War "Games"

Aug 9, 2018 6891

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by international affairs and security analyst. The latest round of sanctions targeting Russia is already taking a toll, as forces in the U.S. military and foreign policy establishment continue their campaign to ensure that the two countries remain on a collision course. Dozens of people, including many children, were killed in Yemen today by an airstrike launched by the Saudi-led coalition waging war on that country. The bombing, which hit a school bus, is causing outrage around the world. Medea Benjamin, an anti-war activist who is the co-founder of Code Pink, joins the show. Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Brian and John speak with Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, and Paul Wright, the founder and Executive Director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News and Criminal Legal News. Besieged Gazans fired on Israel last night, and received massive rocket fire in return. This happened as a ceasefire was in the works. So what happened? Daoud Kuttab, an award-winning Palestinian journalist, joins the show. Venezuela’s Supreme Court has ordered the arrest of former head of the National Assembly Julio Borges, who currently lives in exile in Colombia. Paul Dobson, a writer for VenezuelaAnalysis.com, joins Brian and John. The initial count of fatalities in Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria was initially assessed at 64. But according to a revised report submitted to Congress today, the number of fatalities is actually 1,427. Dr. Adriana Garriga-López, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Anthropology at Kalamazoo College, joins the show. Brazil’s Workers Party nominated imprisoned former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as its presidential candidate despite the fact that the Supreme Court will likely seek to keep him off the ballot. Meanwhile, far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who is a frontrunner, chose an outspoken general as his running mate. General Hamilton Murao has spoken in favor of a military coup in Brazil. Brian and John speak with Brazilian-British activist Victor Fraga with Democracy Brazil UK. Periodic series Stories from the National Museum of African American History and Culture is where Dr. Alice Bonner highlights some of the most important episodes in Black history. This installation is about Ida B. Wells’ legacy. Dr. Alice Bonner, a volunteer docent at the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture, retired professor at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, and a longtime journalist at the Washington Post who wrote her dissertation on a history of press desegregation, joins the show.

Palestinian-Amer. Progressive Wins in Mich. But Can Dems Really Change?

Aug 9, 2018 7045

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Julie Hurwitz, a civil rights attorney who worked on Rashida Tlaib’s congressional campaign and one of the litigators in the lawsuits against the city of Flint regarding its polluted water, and Aurelia Williams, a student activist and organizer. Yesterday was primary election day in states across the country and the early results indicate that nobody yet has a clear idea of what’s happening. In a hotly contested congressional race in Ohio, the Republican leads the Democrat by less than 0.5 percent, which triggers an immediate recount. Moderate Democrats defeated their more progressive challengers in a half-dozen House races. And firebrand conservative Kris Kobach is leading incumbent Republican Kansas governor Jeff Colyer by fewer than 200 votes. Canadian relations with Saudi Arabia worsened precipitously over the past week after Canada’s Foreign Ministry tweeted concern for Saudi civil rights activists. Saudi leaders jumped on the issue, expelling the Canadian ambassador, withdrawing all Saudi students from Canada, forbidding Saudi nationals from seeking medical treatment there, and ending direct flights between the two countries. How bad is this going to get? Christopher Black, an international criminal lawyer who is on the List of Counsel before the ICC and has worked on high profile cases involving war crimes and human rights, joins the show. Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, looks at nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Today they focusing on two important anniversaries: that of Hiroshima, which was on Monday, and Nagasaki, which is tomorrow. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, joins the show. The Senate Intelligence Committee has invited Julian Assange to meet with its professional staff members behind closed doors to discuss alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. The formal invitation was signed by both Committee chairman Richard Burr and Vice Chairman Mark Warner. There is no indication that the Committee will provide Assange with any guarantees for his safety if he chooses to accept the invitation. Brian and John speak with Kevin Gosztola, the managing editor for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure. There are several new developments in Russiagate. It’s day 7 of the Paul Manafort trial; Rudy Giuliani and Trump’s personal lawyer just announced that they will not have Donald Trump sit for an interview with Robert Mueller; and the Trump administration announced new sanctions against Russia based on a finding that the Russian government is in fact responsible for the poisonings of defecting double agent Skripal. The Chinese Commerce Ministry slapped another 25 percent tariff on $16 billion of US goods, including automobiles and motorcycles. This comes in the wake of the US Trade Representative’s decision to place 25 percent tariffs on $16 billion of Chinese goods. Jude Woodward, the author of the new book “The US vs China: Asia's new Cold War?,” joins Brian and John. The European Union is sending a message to Iran. That message is that the Europeans are serious about salvaging the Iran nuclear deal. An aide to the EU’s foreign policy chief said yesterday that European firms that stop doing business with Iran will in turn be sanctioned by the EU. Massoud Shadjareh, the founder of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, joins the show. National Security Advisor John Bolton said yesterday that the Administration is “still waiting” for North Korea to begin the denuclearization process. He added that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wants a second summit with President Trump, but that is unlikely absent real progress on the North Korean weapons and nuclear programs. Brian and John speak with author and professor Tim Beal, whose most recent book is “Crisis in Korea.”

Gates: Manafort Sought to Move Ukraine Away from Russia (Into EU)

Aug 7, 2018 7049

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist, and Coleen Rowley, a former FBI special agent who in 2002 was named Time Magazine person of the year along with two other whistleblowers. There were bombshell revelations in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort yesterday as his former deputy and friend Rick Gates testified against him. Gates not only said that he and Manafort had hidden millions of dollars offshore to avoid paying taxes, but he also admitted to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort’s accounts in Cyprus. Gates faces Manafort’s attorneys in cross-examination today, where he has talked all about wealthy Ukrainians paying Manafort large sums. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Brian and John speak with Daniel Sankey, a financial policy analyst. Private emails obtained by the publication Foreign Policy show that White House advisor and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner last year tried to abolish the United Nations aid agency that provides humanitarian relief to millions of Palestinian refugees. The magazine adds that Kushner was acting at the behest of the Israeli government. Brian and John speak with Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemecist.net, where you can read his latest article on the subject: “Sacrificing Gaza: The Great March of Zionist Hypocrisy.” The Trump administration will soon release a proposal limiting full citizenship pathways for legal immigrants who have used life-saving health and poverty programs like Obamacare, according to four different sources. Many of these programs have been designed with immigrants in mind. Juan Carlos Ruiz, cofounder of New Sanctuary Coalition, joins the show. 66 people were shot this weekend in Chicago, with 12 dead. But when the police held a press conference yesterday, the primary message was that people in the neighborhoods where the victims were shot need to be held accountable rather than the police. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, “Don't think for a moment people don't know in the neighborhood who was responsible.” , joins Brian and John. A new report from Forbes reveals a pattern of highly questionable business practices on the part of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, resulting in fines, judgements and settlements totaling over $120 million. Is this kind of scandal inevitable in a government, of, by and for the billionaires? Dr. Jack Rasmus, a professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California and author of “Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression” whose work is at www.jackrasmus.com, joins the show. One of Syria’s top rocket scientists was assassinated in a car bomb attack in Damascus on Saturday. Fingers pointed almost immediately to Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad. Mossad has long had a policy of killing scientists from other countries, actions that are taken with impunity. Brian and John speak with Steve Gowans, a journalist and author of “Washington’s Long War on Syria.”

Who Was Behind the Assassination Attempt of Nicolás Maduro?

Aug 7, 2018 6830

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jeanette Charles, a writer, editor, and solidarity liaison with VenezuelaAnalysis.com, and Paul Dobson, a writer in Merida, Venezuela, for VenezuelaAnalysis.com. Six people were arrested Sunday after an apparent assassination attempt against Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro. Maduro was giving a speech at an event in Caracas when two drones, each carrying a kilo of C-4 plastic explosives, flew near his podium. The military knocked one drone off course electronically. The other crashed into a nearby apartment building. The government is blaming right-wing extremists and the Colombian government for the attack. Tuesday’s regular segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. The Trump Administration moved today to reimpose economic sanctions against Iran. The decision raises tensions with that country and deepens the divide between the United States and Europe on Iran policy. Brian and John speak with Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran. An alt-right rally in Portland Oregon on Saturday quickly devolved into violence as fascists clashed with anti-fascist demonstrators and police. Four people were arrested and police say they confiscated dozens of weapons and shields emblazoned with the confederate flag from pro-fascist agitators. Attendees, though, say the police attacked only the counter-protestors, and the American Civil Liberties Union says it may sue the city on their behalf. Daryle Lamont Jenkins, executive director of the One People’s Project, an anti-fascist organization based in Pennsylvania, joins the show. President Trump said on Sunday that a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between top campaign aides, including Donald Trump Jr., and a Russian attorney was designed to “get information on an opponent,” the starkest acknowledgment yet that a statement he dictated last year about the encounter was misleading. Daniel Lazare. He is a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War,” joins Brian and John. The Associated Press said today that the Saudi-Emirati coalition fighting Houthis in Yemen has cut secret deals with al-Qaeda and has recruited hundreds of the group’s fighters. For more than two years the Saudis have bragged that they had crushed al-Qaeda in Yemen. Meanwhile, the Saudis expelled the Canadian Ambassador over the weekend because he criticized Saudi human rights practices. Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Non-Violence, joins the show. Today marks the 73rd anniversary of the nuclear bomb attack on Hiroshima, Japan. Those commemorating the event in a somber ceremony in the city today called for the elimination of all nuclear weapons. An estimated 100,000 people died in the blast and subsequently from radiation poisoning. Brian and John speak with Greg Mello, the executive director of the Los Alamos Study Group.

Pushing Iran to the Brink

Aug 3, 2018 6896

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Mark Sleboda, an international affairs and security analyst, and Mazda Majidi, an Iranian specialist, author, journalist, and educator. Iran has deployed 50 small naval vessels to the Strait of Hormuz, the very narrow and very strategic waterway where the Persian Gulf flows into the Arabian Sea. Twenty percent of the world’s oil flows through the Strait, so any disruption would be highly problematic for the world economy. What happens if Iran closes the Strait? How would Israel respond? What about the US or Saudi Arabia? And what would happen in Syria? The hosts look at the hypotheticals possible in a new conflict in the Middle East. On today’s regular Friday segment covering the upcoming midterm elections, the hosts talk about the Democrats’ strategy going into the midterms as a nationwide party. Jacqueline and Abdus Luqman, the co-editors-in-chief of Luqman Nation, and the co-host of the Facebook livestream “Coffee, Current Events & Politics” Thursdays at 9 p.m., join the show from Netroots Nation, an annual progressive Democratic conference. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said yesterday that Russia is still trying to interfere in US elections. Donald Trump, however, said three times yesterday that the Russia investigation is a “witch hunt.” Tellingly, though, Coats also said that he had no idea why the President didn’t condemn this alleged Russian meddling during his meeting in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, mainstream media is writing hit pieces on Maria Butina’s character, saying she has an “overly flirtatious approach.” Brian and John speak with Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Trump donor Franklin Haney apparently agreed to pay Trump attorney Michael Cohen a $10 million finders fee if Cohen could successfully lobby for the building of an unfinished nuclear power plant in Alabama. The new information is part of a federal investigation into Cohen’s unregistered lobbying activities. And, breaking today, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is considering yet another route though waterways and population centers for highly radioactive waste. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, joins the show. With all ten provinces counted, Zimbabweans have elected Emmerson Mnangagwa president with 50.8 percent of the vote. Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa was second with 44.3 percent. Outside observers say the election was free and fair. But Chamisa is disputing this and refuses to concede. Dr. Gerald Horne, a professor of history at the University of Houston and author of many books, including “Blows Against the Empire: U.S. Imperialism in Crisis,” joins Brian and John. The Chinese government said today that it would impose as much as $60 billion in new tariffs if the US goes forward with its own threatened tariffs against China. The Chinese tariffs would cut across all sectors and would be a 25 percent duty on meat, coffee, nuts, alcohol, minerals, chemicals, leather and wood, machinery, furniture, and auto parts. Steve Keen, the author of “Debunking Economics” and the world’s first crowdfunded economist whose work is at patreon.com/ProfSteveKeen, joins the show. The hosts continue the regular segment of the worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News, where you can find more ridiculous headlines from the week, and his Twitter account @leftiblog, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell.

Russiagate Degenerates Into a War Against Dissent and Free Speech

Aug 2, 2018 7021

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, a constitutional rights lawyer and the executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, and Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemecist.net. The Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday heard testimony from social media and technology experts, who said companies like Facebook, Google, and Twitter must do more to prevent the spread of misinformation and propaganda. But where does one draw the line between that and freedom of speech? Are Americans in danger of losing their civil liberties? Thursday’s “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, Paul Wright, the founder and Executive Director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), joins the show. The Intercept reported today that former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was fired thanks to pressure from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Tillerson had intervened to mediate those countries’ dispute with neighboring Qatar. Saudi Arabia had intended to invade and conquer Qatar with UAE help. Brian and John speak with Ali al-Ahmed, the director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs. The Trump Administration this morning announced that it was freezing fuel efficiency requirements for all cars and trucks through 2026 as part of a dramatic rollback of Obama-era environmental regulations. The announcement comes on the heels of a weakening of air and water quality regulations. Fred Magdoff, professor emeritus of plant and soil science at the University of Vermont and the co-author of “What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism,” joins the show. Israel has blocked the delivery of fuel and gasoline to the besieged Gaza Strip, saying that it was in retaliation for Palestinians setting fire to Israeli land with flaming kites. Only cooking gas, wheat, and flour will be allowed into Gaza until further notice. Dan Cohen, a journalist and filmmaker whose work is at KillingGaza.com, joins Brian and John. Pope Francis announced this morning that the death penalty is inadmissible under any circumstances and that the church will work toward its abolition around the world. The announcement marks an evolution of the Catholic Church’s official view of the death penalty that began under Pope John Paul II in 1978. Gregory Joseph, communications director at the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, joins the show. The Trump Administration has imposed sanctions on the Justice and Interior Ministers of Turkey in retaliation for the continued incarceration of American pastor Andrew Brunson. Brunson was arrested two years ago and charged with espionage for preaching. He has yet to go on trial. Turkish President Erdogan said the move will jeopardize longstanding US-Turkish relations and that Ankara will consider retaliatory sanctions. Brian and John speak with Max Zirngast, an independent writer studying philosophy and political science in Vienna and Ankara.

Facebook, Atlantic Council & FBI Target Progressives as Hysteria Grows

Aug 1, 2018 6938

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Max Blumenthal, a journalist and bestselling author whose latest book is “The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza,” who is also the senior editor of Grayzone Project and co-host of the podcast “Moderate Rebels.” Facebook said it shut down 32 fake pages and accounts yesterday that were part of a “coordinated inauthentic campaign” to spread politically divisive material ahead of US midterm elections in November. The pages had more than 290,000 followers. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company had not yet identified who was behind the operation. Beyond Nuclear with Kevin Kamps is Loud & Clear’s regular Wednesday segment, which looks at nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Today, Kevin walks the hosts through a the process of shutting down a reactor, and despite how much money is given to companies for the shutdown process, how they still put our health at risk. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show. Yesterday was Day 1 in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who has been charged with 18 felonies related to financial crimes. The Washington Post said that the Justice Department prosecutor was using a “scorched earth” policy, making bold, unproven assertions and telling jurors about Manafort’s profligate spending. The prosecutor was twice admonished by Judge T. S. Ellis III to stick to the facts. Meanwhile, Special Counsel Mueller has sent 3 cases to the federal prosecutors, including democrats Tony Podesta and Gregory Craig, who served as counsel to President Obama. Daniel Lazare, he is a journalist and author of three books: ”The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War,” joins the show. Activists around the world are deeply concerned that Julian Assange could be evicted from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Recent comments from Ecuador’s new president Lenin Moreno suggest that a deal with British authorities is in the works. Brian and John speak with activist and journalist Diani Baretto and Randy Credico, an activist, a comedian, and the former director of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice. The Trump administration moved today to promote short-term “junk” insurance plans, further undermining the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, the debate over single payer healthcare has heated up after a controversial new study was released by the libertarian Mercatus Center. Dr. Carol Paris, President of Physicians for a National Health Plan, joins the show. The Trump Administration is considering a second sharp reduction in the number of refugees who can be resettled in the United States, further scaling back a program that is meant to protect the world’s most vulnerable people. And this time there isn’t any notable opposition inside the White House. David Bennion, an immigration lawyer and Executive Director of the Free Migration Project, joins Brian and John. A far-right Brazilian presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, said yesterday that his country should not feel guilty about its past as the world’s most prolific slave importer, adding that Brazil “owes no debt” to its black citizens. The 63-year-old congressman added that, if elected, he would repeal laws implemented during the presidency of Dilma Rousseff that are aimed at reducing inequality in Brazil. Brian and John speak with Dr. Gerald Horne, a professor of history at the University of Houston and author of many books, including “The Deepest South: The United States, Brazil, and the African Slave Trade.”

Marquee Mueller Trial Starts, But Gov’t Promises Russia Won’t Come Up

Jul 31, 2018 7138

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer who is the author of the book “The Plot to Attack Iran.” The trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort begins today in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort is charged with 18 counts of felony bank fraud and tax evasion. The trial is expected to take three weeks and then he will face additional felony charges in a federal court in Washington, DC. President Trump said yesterday that he would meet Iranian leaders without preconditions “whenever they want.” The comments marked an abrupt about-face in Trump’s Iran policy and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo walked the comment back. The Iranian government rejected the notion of a meeting. Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran, joins the show. Tuesday’s weekly series, False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey, covers a proposed tax cut for the wealthy today. Brian and John speak with Daniel Sankey, a financial policy analyst. In a classified leak to the Washington Post, US intelligence officials say that North Korea is constructing new missiles at a factory that produced the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States. Is North Korea rearming or is the intelligence community trying to kill the warming of relations between the two countries? Author and professor Tim Beal, whose most recent book is “Crisis in Korea,” joins the show. British journalist Robert Fisk recently concluded an investigative report on weapons deliveries to belligerents in Syria, including ISIS and al-Qaeda. He found that many of the weapons, including missiles and rockets, were made by US defense contractors and sold to NATO and friendly countries in the region. They were then sent to Syria in violation of end user agreements. Ambassador Peter Ford, the former British Ambassador to Syria, joins Brian and John. Puerto Rico’s government last night reached a deal with a bondholder group to restructure more than a third of the $9 billion debt owed by the island’s electrical utility, Prepa, as it moves toward privatization. Economists say the deal, while helping Puerto Rico in the short term, will likely lead to an overall increase in the rates of interest poor cities, states, and territories must pay on bonds. Dr. Adriana Garriga-López, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Anthropology at Kalamazoo College, joins the show. President Trump yesterday lashed out at the billionaire Koch brothers, two of the Republican Party’s most prolific fundraisers, calling them “a total joke” and saying that he never sought their support because he didn’t need their money or their bad ideas. MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said the outburst points to Trump’s destruction of the Republican Party. Is the president really provoking a fight within his own base or is it a tactic? Brian and John speak with Eugene Puryear, the host of Sputnik Radio’s By Any Means Necessary, which you can hear Monday through Friday from 2:00-4:00 pm. The US military’s Africa Command, or AFRICOM, which is based in Germany, announced yesterday that it had begun deploying armed drones to Niger earlier this year. Niger agreed to the request as part of its joint counterterrorism work with the US. But why did it take so long to release the information? And why is AFRICOM nowhere near Africa? Vijay Prashad, the Director of the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and Chief Editor of LeftWord Books, and the author of “The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution” and “Red Star Over the Third World,” joins the show.

Israel Hijacks Humanitarian Ship, Imprisons Crew of Activists

Jul 30, 2018 6827

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Ann Wright, a retired United States Army colonel and former U.S. State Department official in Afghanistan, who resigned in protest of the invasion of Iraq and became an anti-war activist, and Ariel Gold, a peace activist and the national co-director of Code Pink. The Gaza Flotilla ship al-Awda, carrying 13,000 euros worth of medical supplies to the people of Gaza, and 22 activists from 12 countries, was intercepted by the Israeli navy yesterday and forced to go to the port of Ashdod, where the activists are being detained and questioned. They will likely be expelled from Israel soon. Meanwhile, Ahed Tamimi has been released from prison after being there for 8 months after slapping an IDF soldier. It’s Monday so it’s Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa—a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Today Chris and the hosts discuss the fallout of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube’s manipulation of what we can and do see on social media, and the recent revelations of TSA’s “Quiet Skies” program where air marshals physically monitor specific fliers on commercial planes. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. President Trump said on Sunday that he was willing to push the government into a shutdown in September if Congress does not fund his border wall and change the immigration law. In a tweet, he blamed Democrats for problems in immigration policy and said he wants to end the visa lottery and the “catch and release” police. Brian and John speak with Brent Wilkes, a leading immigrant rights advocate. In a complete reversal of longstanding policy, US diplomats met with Taliban leaders in Qatar a week ago without any Afghan government officials present. The talks reportedly were led by Alice Wells, the Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia. But neither the State Department nor the Taliban would comment. Brian Terrell, a long time peace activist and a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, joins the show. Voters in Zimbabwe go to the polls today to elected a president. This is the first time since the founding of the country in 1980 that Robert Mugabe will not be on the ballot. He was ousted in November by the current president and ZANU-PF party leader, Emmerson Mnangagwa. He and MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa are locked in a close race. Dr. Gerald Horne, a professor of history at the University of Houston and author of many books, including “From the Barrel of a Gun: The United States and the War against Zimbabwe,” joins Brian and John. After locking up his chief rival, Cambodian strongman Hun Sen claimed a landslide victory in Cambodian elections over the weekend. The United States, Australia, and other countries condemned the election as a farce. David Hutt, a southeast Asia columnist for The Diplomat based in Phnom Penh and a regular contributor to international publications, joins the show. Loud & Clear’s regular Monday segment “Education for Liberation” is about the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Today they focus on the school-to-prison pipeline. Brian and John speak with Dr. Crystal Laura, an assistant professor of education at Chicago State University and the author of the book “Being Bad: My Baby Brother and the School-to-Prison Pipeline.”

BRICS Summit: A New Challenge to US Unipolar Domination

Jul 27, 2018 7146

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dr. Gerald Horne, a professor of history at the University of Houston and author of many books, including “Blows Against the Empire: U.S. Imperialism in Crisis.” The so-called BRICS countries—that is, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—are completing their 10th summit today in Johannesburg. All of the countries are represented by their heads of state and they met to discuss international peace and security, global governance, and trade. On today’s regular Friday segment covering the upcoming midterm elections, the hosts talk about Ocasio-Cortez, DeLeon over Feinstein, and the House Democrats’ ridiculous new slogan. Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, and the co-host of the Facebook livestream “Coffee, Current Events & Politics” Thursdays at 9 p.m., joins the show. Today marks the 65th anniversary of the armistice agreement in the Korean War, but the peninsula technically remains in a state of war to this day. To mark the occasion and push forward towards a permanent peace treaty, North Korea today repatriated the remains of 55 US servicemen killed during the Korean war, the result of a promise North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made to President Trump when they met in Singapore last month. More than 7,000 Americans are still listed as missing in action in North Korea. Brian and John speak with Simone Chun, a fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and a member of the Korean Peace Network. President Trump called today’s news that Gross Domestic Product had grown at a very robust 4.1 percent for the second quarter of 2018 “amazing.” He didn’t comment, however, on the fact that much of the growth was due to consumers making major purchases before the effect of tariffs begins. He also promised that GDP “would go a lot higher than this.” Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter and founder of This Can’t Be Happening!, as well as a columnist for CounterPunch, joins the show. National Public Radio, a government funded operation, cited the online news site The Daily Beast which reported unequivocally today that “the Russian intelligence agency behind the 2016 election cyber attacks targeted Senator Claire McCaskill as she began her 2018 reelection campaign.” The Daily Beast cites as proof its own “forensic analysis” and specifically blames the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service. Joe Lauria, the editor-in-chief of Consortium News, founded by the late Robert Parry, and author of the book "How I Lost, By Hillary Clinton," and Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at www.rall.com, join Brian and John. Donald Trump thought he had a deal with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to release a US pastor being held in Turkey on trumped up espionage charges in exchange for Israel releasing a Turkish woman being held on espionage charges there. But that deal fell apart, leading to angry and threatening tweets between the two leaders. The result has been a quick and significant downturn in US/Turkish relations. Gönül Tol, the founding director of The Middle East Institute’s Center for Turkish Studies, joins the show. The hosts continue the regular segment of the worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News, where you can find more ridiculous headlines from the week, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell.

Pompeo Issues Crimea Declaration, Trump Postpones Putin Visit to DC

Jul 26, 2018 6831

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Walter Smolarek and John Kiriakou are joined by Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—”The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War,” and John Wight, the host of the weekly Sputnik Radio show Hard Facts. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday strongly defended the Trump Administration’s policy on Russia and North Korea in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In response to tough questioning from both Democrats and Republicans, Pompeo said that the US “does not and never will recognize the Russian annexation of Crimea.” Pompeo also said that North Korea would begin repatriating the remains of US soldiers tomorrow. Meanwhile, House Republicans are beginning the process of impeaching Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. On the regular Thursday series “Criminal Injustice,” the hosts discuss the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Today they talk about the illnesses that prisoners get from poor environmental conditions in and around jails and prisons, similarly to other marginalized communities, and they address a fight club in a Colorado facility where guards get points and the winner gets a party for the most frequent violence toward prisoners. Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, Alex Friedmann, the Associate Director of the Human Rights Defense Center and managing editor of Prison Legal News, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell, join the show. The European Union and United States have pulled back from the brink of an intensified trade war, with President Trump and EU Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker coming to an accord yesterday. Brian and John speak with Richard Wolff, a professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst and founder of the organization Democracy at Work. Prof. Wolff’s latest book is “Capitalism's Crisis Deepens: Essays on the Global Economic Meltdown.” It appears unlikely that the federal government will meet its court mandated order to reunite migrant families who were separated at the border under the Trump Administration’s Zero Tolerance policy. Of the 2,551 children separated from their parents, only 1,187 have been returned to their families. Isabel Garcia, co-founder of Coalición de Derechos Humanos, joins the show. Imran Kahn and his PTI party appear to have won the Pakistani election, promising an end to corruption, foreign dependency, and joblessness. What does his election mean for the country and the region? Taimur Rahman, general secretary of the Pakistan Mazdoor Kisan Party or the Workers Farmers Party, and Medea Benjamin, an anti-war and anti-torture activist who is the co-founder of Code Pink, join Brian and John. A flotilla of boats carrying peace activists protesting Israel’s occupation and bombing of Gaza has left Palermo, it’s final stop in Europe, to begin the voyage to Gaza. Ann Wright, a retired United States Army colonel and former U.S. State Department official in Afghanistan, who resigned in protest of the invasion of Iraq and became an anti-war activist, and also is one of the participants of the flotilla, joins the show. Mainstream capitalist economic theory has increasingly been called into question since the global economic crisis of 2008 exposed the gaping holes in neoliberal orthodoxy. One new school of thought that’s emerged in recent years is modern monetary theory. The hosts talk with experts on the theory. This is part two of two interviews. Brian and John speak with Stephanie Kelton, a prominent economist who advised Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign, professor of public policy and economics at Stony Brook University, and former chief economist on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, and Jim Kavanagh, editor of thepolemicist.net.

Growing Inequality and Poverty in the US: Economic Theories for Change

Jul 25, 2018 7080

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Stephanie Kelton, a prominent economist who advised Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign, professor of public policy and economics at Stony Brook University, and former chief economist on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, and Jim Kavanagh, editor of thepolemicist.net. Mainstream capitalist economic theory has increasingly been called into question since the global economic crisis of 2008 exposed the gaping holes in neoliberal orthodoxy. One new school of thought that’s emerged in recent years is modern monetary theory. The hosts talk with experts on the theory. This is part one of two interviews. Millions of Pakistanis went to the polls today to elect a new government. And as usually happens there during elections, dozens of people were killed in related violence, including three in a bombing attack on a polling station in Quetta. Opinion polls show that the two frontrunners are former international cricket star Imran Khan and disgraced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. And international observers say they are seeing blatant attempts to manipulate the polls. Marvin Weinbaum, the Scholar-in-Residence and director of the Middle East Institute’s Center for Pakistan and Afghanistan Studies, joins the show. Beyond Nuclear with Kevin Kamps is Loud & Clear’s regular Wednesday segment, which looks at nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Today the hosts go back to basics on nuclear weapons. Brian and John speak with Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell. Markies McGlockton, a father of three, was shot and killed by Michael Drejka in front of a convenience store in Clearwater, Florida last week. Drejka was causing a disturbance—something he has been fined for in the past—and McGlockton had gotten out of his car to confront him when Drejka pulled a gun and began firing. Now the Sheriff of Pinellas County has said his hands are tied because of the state’s stand your ground law, and that he won’t make an arrest. This is part one of this story. , joins the show. Part two finishes the story about Markies McGlockton’s murder and the stand your ground defense in Florida. Markies McGlockton, a father of three, was shot and killed by Michael Drejka in front of a convenience store in Clearwater, Florida last week. Drejka was causing a disturbance—something he has been fined for in the past—and McGlockton had gotten out of his car to confront him when Drejka pulled a gun and began firing. Now the Sheriff of Pinellas County has said his hands are tied because of the state’s stand your ground law, and that he won’t make an arrest. Brad Schlesinger, an appellate attorney licensed to practice in the Supreme Court, and Michele Rayner, the attorney who is representing the family of Markies McGlockton, join Brian and John. ISIS fighters carried out a major suicide bombing and initiated subsequent fighting in the southern Syrian town of Sweida this morning, killed at least 150 people. Sweida is controlled by the Assad government, which only recently dislodged ISIS fighters from it. Meanwhile, Israeli forces went on alert today—and air raid sirens sounded—for fear that the fighting could approach the Golan Heights, Syrian territory occupied by Israel since 1967. Sputnik News analyst and producer Walter Smolarek joins the show. Maria Butina, the Russian graduate student being accused of failing to register as an agent of a foreign government appeared in court in Washington today to schedule a trial date and associated hearings. Brian and John speak with Alex Rubinstein, a Sputnik news analyst and journalist who is on twitter at @RealAlexRubi and attended today’s hearing. The European Union is preparing to impose $20 billion in new tariffs on American cars in response to President Trump’s tariffs on European goods two weeks ago. The EU’s trade chief said in advance of a meeting with Trump that the EU does not want a trade war, but would match US tariffs dollar for dollar. Meanwhile, Trump said the he was willing to provide midwestern farmers hit by the EU tariffs with $12 billion in cash assistance. Dr. Jack Rasmus, a professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California and author of a recent article in the World Review of Political Economy titled “Trump’s Déjà vu China Trade War,” joins the show.

Bill Introduced Mandating Impeachment for Unauthorized "Executive Wars"

Jul 25, 2018 6966

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Bruce Fein, a constitutional law scholar and a former assistant deputy Attorney General of the United States, and Sputnik News analyst Walter Smolarek. Two longtime war critics in the House of Representatives sponsored a bill last week that says any president should face impeachment for waging war without a formal declaration from Congress. Tulsi Gabbard, a Hawaii Democrat, and Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican, say that unauthorized military action should be considered a “high crime and misdemeanor.” Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Today they discuss elder care, the 2.5 billion pounds of meat that are now sitting in a warehouse instead of being eaten because it’s more profitable, and how Portugal’s non-austerity approach has led to a healthy economy compared to the austerity in the rest of Europe. Daniel Sankey, a financial policy analyst, joins the show. Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, yesterday asked President Trump to revoke the security clearances of six former Obama Administration intelligence officials who have been harshly critical of the president. Trump is considering the request. But why do former officials with no governmental responsibility, who are now employed by media outlets, have security clearances in the first place? In the first half of this interview, Brian and John speak with Joe Lauria, the editor-in-chief of Consortium News, founded by the late Robert Parry, and Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst turned political activist and journalist. Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, yesterday asked President Trump to revoke the security clearances of six former Obama Administration intelligence officials who have been harshly critical of the president. Trump is considering the request. But why do former officials with no governmental responsibility, who are now employed by media outlets, have security clearances in the first place? In the second half of this interview, Joe Lauria, the editor-in-chief of Consortium News, founded by the late Robert Parry, and Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst turned political activist and journalist, join the show. As the Senate continues its deliberation on passing the enormous $717 billion defense spending bill for 2019, new details continue to emerge. The bill is likely to include a number of provocative policies aimed at turning up pressure on Russia, including allocating $250 million for lethal military aid to Ukraine. Mark Sleboda, an international affairs and security analyst, joins Brian and John. The Israeli military said today that it had shot down a Syrian fighter jet after it entered Israeli airspace—an allegation the Syrian government denies. The announcement sparked fears of a widening conflict. Ambassador Peter Ford, the former British Ambassador to Syria, joins the show. The Trump Administration said today that 463 immigrant parents may already have been deported without their children, adding yet another stumbling block to the reunification of families in advance of a court-ordered deadline to do so on Thursday. Brian and John speak with Jorge Barón, the executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and Sputnik News analyst Walter Smolarek.

Carter Page FISA: Questioning Foreign Policy Mainstream Makes You a Spy

Jul 24, 2018 6827

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Walter Smolarek and John Kiriakou are joined by Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, Lucy Komisar, a long-time author, editor, and investigative journalist, and our co-host Brian Becker. The secret court application for Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page was released this weekend. These FISA court applications are usually not public and are well known to be rubber stamped. The hosts discuss this, the possible questioning of Bill Browder, and more. It’s Monday so it’s Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa—a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights and civil liberties. Today Chris and the hosts discuss facial recognition software being designed for NYC bridges and tunnels, Walmart’s patent filing for audio surveillance technology in monitoring employees, and today’s tech tip today is about what safe browsing mode actually covers. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. The Intercept reported over the weekend that the Ecuadorian government will imminently withdraw asylum for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Journalist Glenn Greenwald cites the presence in London of Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno, ostensibly to speak at a conference on disabilities, saying the actual purpose of the trip is to finalize an agreement with the British government to expel Assange. While the government asserts that they won’t remove Assange during Moreno’s international trip, activists are in an intense state of mobilization. Walter and John speak with activist and journalist Diani Baretto. President Trump last night issued a furious, all capital letters tweet aimed at the Iranian government, warning that any threats against the United States would be met with dire consequences. The tirade signaled an immediate escalation in tensions between the two countries. Ann Wright, a retired United States Army colonel and former U.S. State Department official in Afghanistan, who resigned in protest of the invasion of Iraq and became an anti-war activist, joins the show. A new report on modern slavery around the world has found that the number of slaves in developed countries, including the United States, is much higher than previously thought. In its new report, the Walk Free Foundation says that there are 403,000 slaves in the US. That’s one in every 800 people and seven times higher than previously thought. Leah Obias, with Damayan Migrant Workers Association, a grassroots organization of low-wage Filipino workers, and Edith Mendoza, a survivor of trafficking and modern-day slavery who is an organizer for Damayan, join Walter and John. Loud & Clear’s regular Monday segment “Education for Liberation” is about the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Dr. Wayne Au, a professor in the School of Educational Studies at the University of Washington Bothell and a longtime author and editor of the social justice teaching magazine “Rethinking Education,” joins the show. ISIS gunmen today stormed a government building in Irbil, the normally peaceful and heavily Kurdish city in northern Iraq, killing one civilian. Kurdish officials said that at least three gunmen were killed by security forces and that the siege is now over. What does this attack say about the stability of the country? Walter and John speak with Kani Xulam, founder of the American-Kurdish Information Network.

Chaos in DC: Full Offensive to Stop Improvement of US-Russia Relations

Jul 21, 2018 6452

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist, and Mark Sleboda, an international affairs and security analyst. Once again, chaos is engulfing Washington over a series of u-turns made by the Trump administration in the wake of the Trump-Putin Helsinki summit. Meanwhile, developments in the Mueller probe are making it clearer than ever that the investigation is deeply connected to the big picture of U.S.-Russia relations. On today’s regular Friday segment covering the upcoming midterm elections, the hosts talk about Ocasio-Cortez, DeLeon over Feinstein, and the House Democrats’ ridiculous new slogan. Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, and the co-host of the Facebook livestream “Coffee, Current Events & Politics” Thursdays at 9 p.m., joins the show. Israeli occupation authorities are facing more protests today in Gaza as at least two Palestinians were killed and three were injured in an Israeli air raid and at the Gaza border during protests. Israel has pledged an even tougher response to Palestinian sending flammable kites and balloons carrying firebombs across the border. Richard Becker, an anti-war organizer and author of the book “Palestine, Israel and the U.S. Empire,” joins the show. A secret letter was just revealed yesterday from Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to then-CIA Director Gina Haspel, asking for support in a competitive election last May. He painted current Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad as a threat to US interests. Najib has since been indicted on several corruption charges, including abuse of power. Brian and John speak with Nile Bowie, a writer and journalist with the Asia Times, covering Singapore and Malaysia. A South Korean court today sentenced former president Park Geun Hye to an additional eight years in prison for abusing state funds and violating election laws. Park is already serving 24 years in prison for a massive corruption scandal. Simone Chun, a fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and a member of the Korean Peace Network, joins Brian and John. Kathy Kraninger, President Trump’s nominee to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, went in front of the Senate Banking Committee yesterday, where she fully dodged many senators’ questions of her. What we did find out is that she has almost no financial experience, having worked most of her career in the Department of Homeland Security. So why is she the nominee for the CFPB? Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, whose most recent piece is “Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama,” joins the show. The hosts continue the regular segment of the worst and most misleading headlines. Walter and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News, where you can find more ridiculous headlines from the week, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell.

Nicaragua Burning

Jul 20, 2018 6959

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined from Managua, Nicaragua, by Max Blumenthal, the senior editor of Grayzone Project, bestselling author whose latest book is “The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza,” and co-host of the podcast “Moderate Rebels,” and Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer who is the author of “The Plot to attack Iran.” Nicaragua is in deep crisis since protests began three months ago as opponents of the government set up barricades and clash with authorities. 280 people have been killed and more than 1,800 injured. The demonstrations began following changes in the country’s social security system and have now become a full-fledged effort to overthrow the Sandinista government. On the regular Thursday series “Criminal Injustice,” the hosts discuss the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Today they talk about the high costs of prison phones and the updates from the coalition working to lower them, a Native nation running an ICE detention facility, and a top North Carolina prison officer hiding shanks in his ceiling. Brian and John speak with Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News and Criminal Legal News. US-Russian relations are on the rocks, not because of President Trump’s foreign policy. It’s because members of both parties on Capitol Hill are demanding that Trump walk back his public statements supporting an easing of tensions with Moscow and say publicly that the Russians interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Brian and John speak with Dr. Jeremy Kuzmarov, an author and historian. The British Press Association reported today that Metropolitan Police detectives have identified the alleged perpetrators of a poison attack against a Russian defector and his daughter. Media reports say that Sergei and Yulia Skripal were poisoned by “several Russians.” UK Security Minister Ben Wallace called the reports “ill-informed and wild speculation.” Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books, “The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War,” and Alexander Mercouris, the editor-in-chief of The Duran, join the show. Israel’s parliament yesterday passed a highly controversial law that defines Israel as the national home of the Jewish people, says that only Jews have the right to self-determination, downgrades Arabic from an official language to a “protected” one, and promotes the establishment of new Jewish settlements in the occupied territories. Israel is virtually alone in the world in not guaranteeing equality for all of its citizens. Ali Abunimah, the co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of the book “The Battle for Justice in Palestine,” joins Brian and John. A Spanish Supreme Court judge on Thursday dropped an extradition request for six politicians on charges of rebellion for their roles in promoting independence for Catalonia, including former president Carles Puigdemont. The decision was a major setback for Spain’s central government, which has sought to crack down on the region’s secessionist movement. Dick Nichols, the correspondent for Spain and Catalonia for Green Left Weekly, joins the show. Consumers should expect to pay higher prices for imported cars if President Trump’s auto tariffs are enacted. Car sellers say they will pass on all new costs to consumers. The prices of top-selling cars could rise between $1,400 and $7,000. Brian and John speak with Dr. Jack Rasmus, a professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California whose most recent article in the World Review of Political Economy is titled “Trump’s Déjà vu China Trade War.”

Helsinki Summit Results in Growing Cold War

Jul 19, 2018 7111

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Gareth Porter, a historian, investigative journalist, analyst specializing in U.S. national security policy, and the author of “Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare.” President Trump today continued to defend his meeting in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin after criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. Trump also continued to walk back his comments that he believed the Russian position that there was no interference in the 2016 presidential election, saying today that he instead sided with the Intelligence Community’s position that there had indeed been interference. Beyond Nuclear with Kevin Kamps is Loud & Clear’s regular Wednesday segment. The hosts and Kevin look at nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Today they focus on the specific oppression of Native nations by the nuclear industry and the Russia-US summit through the nuclear lens. Brian and John speak with Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell. The European Commission yesterday hit technology firm Google with a record $5 billion fine, saying the company had used its mobile operating system to illegally cement its dominant position in searches. Google said it would appeal, even though it’s currently sitting on $103 billion in cash. Brian and John speak with Dr. Robert Epstein, the senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology. Maria Butina, the Russian graduate student who was arrested and charged with failing to register as a foreign agent, was arraigned today in federal court in Washington, where she pleaded not guilty. The US government says that Butina was in touch with Russian intelligence officials, an accusation she has denied through her attorney. Alex Rubenstein, a Sputnik news analyst and journalist who attended today’s arraignment and whose work is on twitter at @RealAlexRubi, joins the show. The president of the European Investment Bank said today that the organization would put its global operations at risk by investing in Iran, calling into question European efforts to salvage the Iran nuclear deal that Washington has walked away from. Meanwhile, the Iranian government announced that it has built a new factory that can produce as rotors for as many as 60 new centrifuges per day. Shabbir Razvi, an economist and political analyst and Sputnik News analyst Walter Smolarek, join Brian and John. British Prime Minister Theresa May said today that any Brexit plan must be “workable” as she was criticized from both the right and the left for the bitter divisions within her own Conservative Party that seem to be preventing forward movement in leaving the European Union. May is particularly stuck on the issues of trade and open borders. Alexander Mercouris, the editor-in-chief of The Duran, joins the show. Israel appears to be preparing more and more for direct hostilities with Syria, as control of Syrian territory in the country’s southwest, near the Golan Heights and the border with Israel, shifts from rebels to the government. Brian and John speak with Rick Sterling, an investigative journalist and member of the Syria Solidarity Movement.

Post-Helsinki Summit Earthquake Shakes Trump Administration

Jul 18, 2018 6765

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Joe Lauria, the editor-in-chief of Consortium News and author of "How I Lost, By Hillary Clinton," and Peter Kuznik, a professor of history and director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University. President Trump returned from his Helsinki meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last night only to face a firestorm of criticism. Trump said publicly after his meeting with Putin that he did not believe Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, though he has now changed course. Tuesday’s weekly series is False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey. Daniel Sankey, a financial policy analyst, join the show. House Speaker Paul Ryan late last night quashed a rank-and-file effort to force a vote sponsored by a progressive Democrat that would abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Ryan concluded that, while the bill had no chance of passing, Republicans could be embarrassed if Democrats opposed it in large numbers. The bill was very unpopular with voters. Brian and John speak with Juan José Gutiérrez, the executive director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition. Maria Butina, a Russian woman who tried to arrange a meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin during the 2016 presidential campaign, was arrested by the FBI on Sunday and charged yesterday with three counts of failing to register as an agent of a foreign government. The Justice Department says that Butina is a Russian intelligence officer--or was acting for one—who was tasked with infiltrating important US institutions. She was apparently successful in ingratiating herself with the National Rifle Association. Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books—“The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War,” joins the show. Israel further tightened its blockade on Gaza yesterday preventing gas and fuel deliveries through its only commercial crossing. When Israel announced the closing on July 9, it promised to allow food, water, medicine, and fuel. That changed yesterday. Miko Peled, the author of “The General’s Son—A Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and Ariel Gold, a peace activist and the national co-director of Code Pink, joins Brian and John. The Iranian Government said today that it is preparing to increase the level of uranium enrichment if negotiations with Europe on sanctions fall through. Meanwhile, Iran has filed a complaint with the International Court of Justice to “hold the US accountable for its unlawful reimposition of unilateral sanctions,” according to Iran’s Foreign Minister. Francis Boyle, a professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law and author of the book “Destroying World Order: US Imperialism in the Middle East Before and After September 11,” joins the show. Elon Musk jumped into a scandal of his own making last week when he called a British cave diver who was instrumental in the rescue of a dozen Thai boy scouts from a flooded cave a “pedophile.” When called to task over the comment, he doubled down and repeated it. Now shares of his company, the automaker Tesla, have fallen 16 percent. And attorneys believe the aggrieved cave diver has a strong defamation case against the billionaire. Brian and John speak with Sam Pizzigati, a veteran journalist and an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, where he specializes in economic inequality issues, and is the author of the new book “The Case for a Maximum Wage.”

Political & Media Elite Explode as Trump, Putin Try to Repair Relations

Jul 17, 2018 7279

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dan Kovalik, a human rights lawyer who is the author of “The Plot to Scapegoat Russia,” Max Blumenthal, journalist and bestselling author, and Lee Stranahan, who’s on the ground in Helsinki covering the summit for Sputnik. President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met today in Helsinki, Finland. The nearly two-hour meeting reportedly covered Syria, trade and military issues, disarmament, and China. Trump said afterward that he wanted only good relations with Russia and that previous bilateral problems were the result of “Washington’s own foolishness and stupidity.” On Monday’s regular weekly half-hour segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa—a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights, and civil liberties, they talk about how GPS can track you even if it’s off, Twitter’s metadata haul, and how to secure your devices. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. President Trump wraps up his European trip today, with the last stop in Helsinki. He called the EU a foe, told British Prime Minister May to sue the EU, he said Boris Johnson would make a great prime minister of the UK, and he weighed in on the Nordstream pipeline that will pipe Russian gas to Germany much more cheaply than any US alternative. Brian and John speak with Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net whose most recent piece is “Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker Serves Up a Doozie.” Police in Chicago shot and killed Harith Augustus on Saturday. Protests across the city became heated by Saturday night. And today the police released two bodycam videos of the incident to try to calm the public. Kofi Ademola, an activist and organizer with the Black Lives Matter movement, joins the show. Series “Stories from the National Museum of African American History and Culture” continues, where Dr. Alice Bonner highlights some of the most important episodes in Black history. Dr. Bonner, a volunteer docent at the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture, retired professor at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, and a longtime journalist at the Washington Post, joins the show. The White House yesterday ordered the State Department to seek direct negotiations with the Taliban in the hope of jumpstarting efforts to end the 17-year war there. The Taliban have said that they will only deal with the United States, but President Trump insists that the Afghan government take part. Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Non-Violence, joins the show. Monday’s regular segment “Education for Liberation” looks at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Today they talk about what patriotism means in the US and civic education in schools. Brian and John speak with Joel Westheimer, a professor and University Research Chair in Democracy and Education at the University of Ottawa, whose latest book is “What Kind of Citizen? Educating Our Children for the Common Good.”

Showing Their True Colors! Dem. Bigwigs Attack Liberal Wing of Party

Jul 14, 2018 6845

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Walter Smolarek and Nicole Roussell (sitting in for Brian Becker) and John Kiriakou are joined by Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of LuqmanNation, which livestreams every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on Facebook. On today’s regular Friday segment covering the upcoming midterm elections, the hosts talk about election turnout, Joe Crowley remaining on the ballot in New York, and races in Missouri and Texas. Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, and the co-host of the Facebook livestream “Coffee, Current Events & Politics” Thursdays at 9 p.m., joins the show. On a new periodic series called Stories from the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Dr. Alice Bonner highlights some of the most important episodes in Black history. Today focuses on convict labor, one of the many extensions of slavery. Dr. Bonner, a volunteer docent at the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture, retired professor at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, and a longtime journalist at the Washington Post, joins the show. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced 12 new indictments targeting alleged Russian intelligence operatives for interference in the 2016 election. This move comes ahead of the highly anticipated summit between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. Walter and John speak with Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net. President Donald Trump continues his working visit to the UK today as tens of thousands of people protested in front of the US Embassy. This morning he met with British Prime Minister Theresa May to discuss a possible post-Brexit trade deal and proceeded to give an interview denouncing her government’s new economic strategy for exiting the European Union. John Wight, the host of the weekly Sputnik Radio show Hard Facts, joins the show. A high-level delegation, including the Secretaries of the Treasury, Homeland Security and State along with senior Trump advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner, has arrived in Mexico to meet with incoming President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Elected in a landslide, Obrador has wasted no time in rolling out major policy proposals, including a possible grand bargain with the United States. Dr. John Ackerman, professor of Constitutional Law at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), researcher at the Legal Research Institute of UNAM, and editorial director of the Mexican Law Review, joins Walter and John. The Trump Administration was only able to reunite fewer than half of the eligible migrant families in its care by a court-ordered deadline on Tuesday as the fates of thousands more remain in limbo. Last night, lawyers for the administration and immigrant advocates clashed over further measures to ensure the timely reunification of immigrant children with their parents. Immigrant rights activist Angie Kim joins the show. The hosts continue the regular segment of the worst and most misleading headlines. Walter and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News, where you can find more ridiculous headlines from the week, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell.

America’s War on Working Poor: “Millions to Lose Medicaid Healthcare”

Jul 13, 2018 7067

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Leo Cuello, an attorney and the director of health policy for the National Health Law Program. In June, Arkansas became the first state to require that able-bodied Medicare recipients do some combination of work, volunteering, job training, or education to keep their benefits. A nearly identical law in Kentucky, however, was just struck down by a federal judge. Now states are considering simply throwing people off the Medicaid roles and denying them health care. On the regular Thursday series “Criminal Injustice,” the hosts discuss the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Brian and John speak with Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News and Criminal Legal News, and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure. President Trump arrived in the UK this morning for trade talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May. He dismissed large-scale protests against his visit and said, “The Brits like me a lot. They agree with me on immigration.” The visit comes two days after Trump said that the UK was “in turmoil.” Brian and John speak with legendary anti-war activist and former British parliamentarian George Galloway. A defiant Peter Strzok told the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees that continued scrutiny of his anti-Trump text messages amounted to “another victory notch in Vladimir Putin’s belt.” The FBI agent said that during the 2016 campaign he had information that would have derailed Donald Trump’s candidacy, but that he never considered releasing it. Alex Rubenstein, a Sputnik news analyst and journalist, whose work is on Twitter at @RealAlexRubi, joins the show. The annual summit of NATO heads of state ended yesterday with President Trump saying that member countries had agreed to increase their defense spending, perhaps even doubling it. But French President Emmanuel Macron was quick to say the President’s statement was untrue. Meanwhile, Trump reiterated as he was boarding Air Force One that he is a “very stable genius.” Alexander Mercouris, the editor-in-chief of The Duran, joins Brian and John. Israel struck three Syrian government targets overnight after an unarmed Syrian drone strayed over Israeli territory. The Syrian media reported that there was material damage, but no casualties. Ambassador Peter Ford, the former British Ambassador to Syria, joins the show. Monsanto is in court this week—because a California landscaper has terminal cancer after using Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer for decades. And Monsanto has been accused of covering up evidence that Roundup is carcinogenic. Brian and John speak with Alexis Baden-Mayer, the political director for Organic Consumers Alliance.

NATO War Machine Roars On, 27 Years after the End of the Cold War

Jul 12, 2018 6919

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by international affairs and security analyst Mark Sleboda. President Trump caused consternation and anger at the NATO summit this morning when he chastised allies for not spending enough on defense, and he opined that Germany was “a captive of Russia” because of a 2015 pipeline deal between those two countries. This kind of contention has never before been seen at a NATO heads of state meeting. Beyond Nuclear with Kevin Kamps is Loud & Clear’s regular Wednesday segment. The hosts and Kevin look at nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Today they focus on huge Obama-era regulation changes to allow far more radioactive waste in the atmosphere and on two anniversaries on July 16, the first atomic bomb blast in history (the Trinity blast of 1945), which was a test for Nagasaki, and the 1979 Uranium Tailings Spill, which primarily affected indigenous communities and was not cleaned up by industry nor was industry held accountable. Brian and John speak with Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell. Chinese government officials have condemned the Trump administration’s move to prepare a new round of tariffs targeting $200 billion of goods, and vowed to respond with measures of their own. How far is Trump willing to take the trade war? Brian and John speak with Pete Dolack, an activist and writer with Trade Justice New York Metro who focuses on human rights, social justice, and environmental and trade issues, and Jude Woodward, the author of the book “The US vs China: Asia's new Cold War?” The Trump Administration is cutting most of the funds previously provided to groups that help people get insurance under Obamacare and will push them to promote plans that lack the law’s benefits and protections. Mary Gerisch, an organizer and member chair of the Rights & Democracy health care justice team, joins the show. Which two companies have more lobbyists than Amazon, Microsoft, and WalMart combined? How about Uber and Lyft. The ride-sharing services have used cold, hard cash and an army of lobbyists to convince 41 state legislatures to pass laws exempting them from regulations that taxi drivers must abide by. Bhairavi Desai, the executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, joins Brian and John. Thousands of nurses, teachers, and government staff members went on strike in New Zealand yesterday for the first time in a generation. The action was taken because workers have not received a raise in nine years. Mike Treen, the national director of the Unite Union, joins the show. Rupert Murdoch, CEO of 21st Century Fox with a net worth of $15.9 billion, has upped his bid to buy Sky News. Comcast is also competing to buy Sky. Either way, we’ll see further media consolidation in an industry already owned by billionaires. Who and how many control the media that we consume? Brian and John speak with Tim Karr, the senior director of strategy and communications at Free Press.

What a Trump Supreme Court Will Mean for Women, Black America & Workers

Jul 11, 2018 6990

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Heidi Boghosian, the executive director of the A. J. Muste Memorial Institute and the former Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild, and Anoa Changa, the director of political advocacy and a managing editor of Progressive Army, and host of the show The Way With Anoa. President Trump yesterday named federal appeals court judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court seat being vacated by retiring justice Anthony Kennedy. Kavanaugh has solid conservative credentials, and Democrats in the Senate say they will be united in their opposition to his appointment. The keys to his elevation will be Democratic senators running for reelection in states that Trump won and Republican senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine. What does this pick mean for those who have used the court as a tool for reform? False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey is L&C’s regular Tuesday segment. Daniel helps us unpack financial news and explain core economic trends, developments, and institutions in an accessible way for the broad public. Today they examine the primary causes of gross income inequality inside the United States. Daniel Sankey, a financial policy analyst, joins the show. The Trump Administration announced last night that it would be unable to comply with a court order directing it to reunify all migrant children who were separated from their families at the border. A Justice Department spokesman said the Administration may be able to unify 54 of the 102 children by today. Also, a court ruled against a Trump policy of long-term detention for immigrants. Brian and John speak with David Bennion, he is an immigration lawyer and Executive Director of the Free Migration Project. President Trump arrives in Brussels today to attend the annual NATO Summit. But instead of unity, European leaders expect Trump to berate them for not spending enough money on defense. And those European allies are afraid that Trump will threaten to withdraw US troops from Europe if they don’t spend more. Dr. Jan Oberg, director of the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, joins the show. US Ambassador to Germany Rick Grenell yesterday urged urged Berlin to block Iran’s request to withdraw $350 million in cash from Germany and send it to Iran before sanctions take effect. Grenell came under fire a month ago after he said that he was seeking to boost anti-establishment parties around Europe. Many German politicians called for him to be expelled from the country. Medea Benjamin, an anti-war and anti-torture activist who is the co-founder of Code Pink, and whose most recent book is “Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” joins Brian and John. President Trump today pardoned two ranchers from southeastern Oregon who were sentenced to serve prison time on two separate occasions for setting brush fires to clear public lands. The return to prison of father and son Dwight and Steve Hammond sparked the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in early 2016 in which a protestor was killed and an FBI agent was charged with lying about that shooting. Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek joins the show. Mark Zuckerberg is one of the wealthiest people on earth, with a net worth of an estimated $74.2 billion. But he and his company have come under increasing fire for gross violations of user privacy. Should he resign as head of Facebook? Brian and John speak with Dr. Robert Epstein, the Senior Research Psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology.

British Tories Imploding—Jeremy Corbyn as the Next Prime Minister?

Jul 10, 2018 6849

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Alex Gordon, former president of the National Union of Rail, Maritime, & Transport Workers. There’s been a major shakeup in the UK government. Yesterday, Brexit Secretary David Davis and his deputy resigned because of Conservative Party anger over his policy of negotiating a “soft landing,” where the UK would still maintain close ties to the EU after Brexit. And this morning, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson abruptly resigned because he opposed the policy, which he likened to “polishing a turd.” This is perhaps an attempt by Johnson to position himself to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister. But this morning, British financial markets fell like a rock and Brexit itself is now in disarray. Mass protests in Haiti erupted and have been ongoing for several days. Protesters rose in the capital of Port au Prince over the government’s attempt to raise fuel prices and impose austerity measures. Tim Schwartz, an anthropologist whose latest book is “The Great Haiti Humanitarian Aid Swindle,” joins the show. On Monday’s regular weekly half-hour segment Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa—a weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights, and civil liberties, they talk about facial recognition software and the best web browser to use. Brian and John speak with web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa. An on-call judge in Brazil yesterday ruled that former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva should be released from prison immediately. But the head of the federal court stepped in and overruled that decision, saying that Lula was duly convicted of corruption and must remain incarcerated. Aline Piva, a journalist and a member of Brazilians for Democracy and Social Justice, joins the show. Charges were dropped on Friday against the last remaining 39 people arrested for participating in the rally against Donald Trump on inauguration day. Most of the 230 people initially arrested were charged with felony rioting. But the government simply could not prove its case. Alex Rubenstein, a Sputnik news analyst and journalist whose work is on Twitter @RealAlexRubi, joins Brian and John. Monday’s regular segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers” looks at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Today they talk about the content and conduct of teaching and learning, that is, not just testing. The hosts speak with Bill Ayers, an activist, educator and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto” and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek. Reports are circulating that the Kurdish YPG and the Syrian government are in talks to improve relations and cooperate over the future of the country. Meanwhile, heavy fighting in the southern province of Deraa has subsided as a ceasefire takes effect. Brian and John speak with Rick Sterling, an investigative journalist and member of the Syria Solidarity Movement. Dawn Sturgess, who was allegedly poisoned in the UK city of Salisbury, has died. The media and many politicians have jumped on the case to revive the “novichok” anti-Russia narrative had been falling apart after Yulia and Sergei Skripal survived their alleged poisoning earlier this year. Eugene Puryear, the host of Radio Sputnik’s By Any Means Necessary, joins the show.

Trump Launches Trade War Against China…and the Rest of the World

Jul 7, 2018 6820

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Jude Woodward, the author of the new book “The US vs China: Asia's new Cold War?” and Steve Keen, the author of “Debunking Economics” and the world’s first crowdfunded economist whose work is at patreon.com/ProfSteveKeen. The United States launched what appears to be the largest trade war ever last night when it imposed a 25 percent tariff on $34 billion in Chinese goods. Beijing announced that it will respond in kind. And economists warn that the only outcome is that American consumers will pay more for everything that comes from that country. On today’s regular Friday segment covering the upcoming midterm elections, the hosts talk about races in Chicago, Maryland, and Arizona. Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, and the co-host of the Facebook livestream “Coffee, Current Events & Politics” Thursdays at 9 p.m., join the show. The remaining signatories to the Iran Nuclear Deal, or JCPOA, have agreed to stay in it with Iran, and will resist the US calls to sanction Iranian oil sales. However, Iran warned its fellow signatories that they would need to work on concrete solutions rather than “lofty and obscure promises.” Brian and John speak with Massoud Shadjareh. He is the founder of the Islamic Human Rights Commission. In the face of international condemnation and on-the-ground resistance, an Israeli high court froze the planned demolition of the West Bank Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar late last night. The hosts take a look at this struggle and the reality of life under the occupation. Ali Abunimah, the co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of the book “The Battle for Justice in Palestine,” joins the show. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Pyongyang this morning for talks with North Korean officials, his third trip in three months. Pompeo was greeted by top-ranking DPRK officials, and is expected to push denuclearization talks forward, and the White House has laid out three scenarios for success, one in six months, one in a year, and one by the end of President Trump’s term. Simone Chun, a fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and a member of the Korean Peace Network, joins Brian and John. Do kids have the right to a decent education? A US district judge in Michigan ruled that they do not, in response to a class action lawsuit alleging that underfunding and racism in Detroit schools have done tremendous harm to the city’s children. Nina Chacker, an activist and a Detroit Public School teacher, joins the show. The hosts continue the regular segment of the worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News, where you can find more ridiculous headlines from the week, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell.

Why is the US Government Hosting Ukrainian Neo-Nazis?

Jul 6, 2018 6926

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Max Blumenthal, senior editor of the Grayzone Project, bestselling author whose latest book is “The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza,” and co-host of the podcast “Moderate Rebels.” Andriy Parubiy is Ukraine’s Speaker of the Parliament. He’s also arguably the country’s leading neo-Nazi figure. Parubiy wears his fascism on his sleeve, but there hasn’t been a word of complaint from western governments. Now Parubiy is visiting Washington and meeting with members of Congress. On the regular Thursday series “Criminal Injustice,” the hosts discuss the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Brian and John speak with Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News and Criminal Legal News, and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure. A British couple in the town of Amesbury was found unconscious and in critical condition yesterday after apparently being exposed to the nerve agent Novichok. Police said there was no evidence that the couple was targeted, but that didn’t stop British politicians from calling the town “a dumping ground for Russian poisons.” Brian and John speak with Alexander Mercouris, the editor in chief of The Duran. The Senate Intelligence Committee released a report late Tuesday afternoon saying that it had determined that Russia had interfered—or had attempted to interfere—in the 2016 presidential election. The finding was consistent with statements made by the FBI, CIA, and NSA, but was exactly the opposite of the findings of the House Intelligence Committee, which found no evidence of interference. Joe Lauria, the editor-in-chief of Consortium News, founded by the late Robert Parry, and the author of the book "How I Lost, By Hillary Clinton," joins the show. An unnamed senior White House official told CNN yesterday that President Trump last year asked several top foreign policy advisors about the possibility of invading Venezuela. Those advisors were reportedly vigorous in their opposition to such an invasion. Paul Dobson, a writer for Venezuelanalysis.com, joins Brian and John. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is on his way to Pyongyang for talks with North Korean officials, his third trip in as many months. Pompeo is under the gun to produce tangible evidence of forward progress in denuclearization talks in the shadow of reports from anonymous US intelligence sources that Pyongyang is not serious. Author and professor Tim Beal, whose most recent book is “Crisis in Korea,” joins the show. A court in Ecuador has ordered the arrest of former President Rafael Correa on charges that he was involved in the 2012 kidnapping of a political opponent. Correa dismissed the arrest warrant as “a government plot.” Correa is currently in self-imposed exile in Brussels. Brian and John speak with Dr. Francisco Dominguez, a senior lecturer at Middlesex University and the head of the Centre for Brazilian and Latin American Studies.

Dr. Gerald Horne: Slavery Was Key in July 4 Declaration of Independence

Jul 4, 2018 6728

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dr. Gerald Horne, a professor of history at the University of Houston and author of many books, including “The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America.” A few years ago, Dr. Gerald Horne wrote a book called “The Counterrevolution of 1776” in which he argues that the American Revolution was a conservative reaction to changes in the British views toward slavery. Abolitionist sentiment was running high in London, and the only way to keep Africans enslaved in the colonies was to revolt. False Profits—A Weekly Look at Wall Street and Corporate Capitalism with Daniel Sankey, L&C’s regular Tuesday economic segment, focuses on big banks getting big breaks and what society could do with extra wealth from automation, versus what companies will do with it—namely, lay off workers. Financial policy analyst Daniel Sankey joins the show. A new study shows that Uber and Lyft drivers are being pushed into poverty by the companies that force them to work long hours with no breaks and no benefits, oftentimes for less than the minimum wage. The National Employment Law Project and the Partnership for Working Families found that Uber and Lyft bullied legislators in the vast majority of states to overrule regulations and strip drivers of their rights. Brian and John speak with Bhairavi Desai, executive director of New York Taxi Workers Alliance. A year ago, big tech company Google said it would stop letting outside parties scan gmail inboxes for data to use for advertising. But according to a Wall Street Journal investigation, it hasn’t. Dr. Robert Epstein, the Senior Research Psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, joins the show. US hospitals have experienced a medicine crisis over the past few years. One of the primary drug manufacturers, Pfizer, has not been producing cheap older drugs like morphine with the regularity that hospitalized people need—but they have been raising their prices on big money-makers like Viagra and blood pressure medication. So why can’t hospitals get what they need? Dr. Margaret Flowers, the co-coordinator of Popular Resistance at PopularResistance.org, joins Brian and John. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has completely reversed course to save her coalition. She’s fully capitulated to Interior Minister Horst Seehofer’s demands to hold in custody migrants who have applied elsewhere for asylum. What does this mean for European migration and for her hobbled government? Berlin activist and journalist Diani Baretto joins the show. As you’ve heard on this show and elsewhere for several days, leftist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador won the Mexican presidential election this past Sunday. Polls showed that he was in the lead by 20 and 30 points, and he has been popular in the country for decades. But some media and political analysts are delivering credit for his win to none other than...Russia. How DID Andres Manuelovich get elected? Brian and John speak with Alex Rubinstein, Sputnik news analyst and journalist whose work is on Twitter at @RealAlexRubi.

Mexico Wants Radical Change: Leftist López Obrador Wins Big

Jul 3, 2018 6936

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Eugene Puryear, host of Sputnik News radio show By Any Means Necessary, who is in Mexico City to cover the presidential election, and Juan José Gutiérrez, the executive director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition. Andrés Manuel López Obrador won a resounding 53% of the vote in yesterday’s presidential election, which was between four people. The second highest vote-getter, Ricardo Anaya, received 22.1%. López Obrador, or AMLO as he is popularly known, is a left candidate who has run twice before for the presidency amidst widespread voter fraud. What does his election mean for Mexico, the Americas, and the world? Technology Rules with Chris Garaffa is Loud & Clear’s weekly guide on how monopoly corporations and the national surveillance state are threatening cherished freedoms, civil rights, and civil liberties. Today, Chris walks Brian and John through the recent revelations that Facebook gave special access to user data to certain companies, what search engines to use, and his technology tip is about keeping your phone secure. Web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa joins the show. All of a sudden, Michael Cohen is speaking to the media, saying “I am not a villain of this story, and I will not allow others to try to depict me that way.” Will he start to talk about his fix-it role and will he turn on Trump? Brian and John speak with Jim Kavanagh, the editor of ThePolemicist.net. The EU’s suggested solution to migration last week was not accepted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition partner, and he has offered to resign as both the interior minister and head of his party, the Christian Social Union, a longtime partner of Merkel’s party, the Christian Democrats. Is this the end of Merkel’s coalition, or even a signal of the falling of the EU. Reiner Braun, co-president of the International Peace Bureau, joins the show. Last night at midnight was the initial deadline for FEMA to kick out Puerto Rican hurricane evacuees from their emergency housing, though a federal judge has now extended the timeline to midnight Tuesday—48 hours longer. While this is an important win, it is not at all sufficient for the needs of the evacuees—and it highlights FEMA's lack of planning for long term. Dr. Adriana Garriga-López, associate professor and chair of the anthropology and sociology department at Kalamazoo College, joins Brian and John. In the weeks after the Singapore summit between the US and North Korea, the media has been sabotaging the positive and peaceful results. Most recently, several outlets have been quoting unnamed intelligence sources about continuing nuclear program advancement. Medea Benjamin, an anti-war and anti-torture activist who is the co-founder of Code Pink, joins the show. Today we continue our segment “Education for Liberation with Bill Ayers,” where Bill helps us look at the state of education across the country. What’s happening in our schools, colleges, and universities, and what impact does it have on the world around us? Brian and John speak with Bill Ayers, an activist, educator, and the author of the book “Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto,” whose work is at www.BillAyers.org.

Big Money Tries to Stop Mexico’s Most Popular Politician

Jun 30, 2018 6951

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Eugene Puryear, the cohost of the Sputnik News program By Any Means Necessary, and Dr. John Ackerman, professor of Constitutional Law at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), researcher at the Legal Research Institute of UNAM, and editorial director of the Mexican Law Review. Mexicans will go to the polls on Sunday to choose their next president and Congress at a time of widespread disillusionment at unchecked corruption, poverty, and violence that has claimed more than 200,000 lives since 2007. Left-wing candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is expected to win a landslide victory, but the political right and billionaire businessmen—including Americans—are doing everything they can to stop him. On today’s regular Friday segment covering the upcoming midterm elections, the hosts talk about the huge upsets that happened in this week’s primaries. Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, and the co-host of the Facebook livestream “Coffee, Current Events & Politics” Thursdays at 9 p.m., join the show. Yesterday, Jarrod Ramos allegedly shot and killed 5 people and injured several more in a newsroom in Annapolis, MD. Commentators jumped on the issue for political gain, with some blaming Trump’s rhetoric about fake news, while others tried to link the shooting to Rep. Maxine Waters’s recent comments about confronting officials over immigrant rights. How is news of mass shootings being manipulated for narrow political purposes, leading the country to hysterical conclusions? Brian and John speak with Kevin Zeese, the co-coordinator of Popular Resistance, at popularresistance.org. Hundreds of thousands of people across the country are expected to rally on Saturday to protest the Trump Administration’s zero-tolerance policy on immigration. While the main rally will be here in Washington, at 11 a.m. at Lafayette Square, there will be another 628 demonstrations in all 50 states. Karla Reyes, an immigration activist and teacher in the NYC public school system, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell, join the show. Italy’s new populist government forced a standoff at an already tense European Union summit yesterday, stalling the release of a list of diplomatic conclusions amid concerns that the bloc is doing too little to help Italy relieve its migration burden. The move prompted EU leaders to cancel an evening news conference and head toward the final day of the summit with growing doubts about Europe’s ability to commit to a unified response on the refugee crisis. John Wight, host of the weekly Sputnik Radio show Hard Facts, joins Brian and John. Turkey’s Economy Minister said yesterday that the country will ignore sanctions on Iran and will continue to buy Iranian oil. Meanwhile, a Senate amendment to the defense budget yesterday froze the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey if Ankara continues with its purchase of a Russian S-400 missile defense system. And Trump confidants Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich will tomorrow address a conference organized by the MEK, which many consider to be a terrorist organization. Mazda Majidi, an author, journalist, and educator, joins the show. The hosts continue the regular segment of the worst and most misleading headlines. Brian and John speak with Steve Patt, an independent journalist whose critiques of the mainstream media have been a feature of his blog Left I on the News, where you can find more ridiculous headlines from the week, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell.

DANGER: Sharp Right Turn Ahead (With Trump’s Supreme Court)

Jun 29, 2018 6995

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Professor Zachary Wolfe, a lawyer and activist who teaches at George Washington University, Chip Gibbons, policy and legislative counsel for Defending Rights & Dissent as well as a journalist, and Julie Hurwitz, a civil rights attorney and partner at the law firm Goodman & Hurwitz, P.C. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced yesterday that he would retire effective immediately. Washington immediately lurched into its next crisis, with Republicans and the right wing gloating about controlling the Supreme Court. On the regular Thursday series “Criminal Injustice,” about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country, the hosts discuss a new bipartisan bill in Congress that would expand the president’s ability to detain American citizens without a trial, and why “police union” is a misnomer. Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, Alex Friedmann, the Associate Director of the Human Rights Defense Center and managing editor of Prison Legal News, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell, join the show. President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet in Helsinki, Finland on July 16. This will be the first meeting between the two leaders. Trump said that Syria, Ukraine, and “many other subjects” would be on the agenda, and he added that “getting along with Russia, China, and everybody else is a good thing.” Brian and John speak with Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net whose most recent piece is “Sacrificing Gaza: The Great March of Zionist Hypocrisy.” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the House Judiciary Committee this morning about the DOJ Inspector General’s report of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server. Republicans demanded access to sensitive documents used in the investigation and Democrats demanded that the Republicans be denied. In the middle of the testimony, they broke to vote on a House Resolution demanding the documents. Ted Rall, an award-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist whose work is at www.rall.com, joins the show. Two new reports by the UK’s parliamentary intelligence and security committees reveal that Britain’s MI-6 foreign intelligence service and MI-5 domestic intelligence service were linked to hundreds of cases of rendition and torture along with the United States in the years following the September 11 attacks. Former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw will likely face tough questions about what he knew and when he knew it. Francis Boyle, a professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law and author of the book “Destroying World Order: US Imperialism in the Middle East Before and After September 11,” joins Brian and John. Angela Merkel is in trouble. The German Chancellor’s coalition partner has threatened to withdraw from the government if she doesn’t solve Germany’s immigration crisis by this weekend, while Italy’s new populist government said it would not accept any refugees back from Germany. Merkel said today that if an immigration agreement isn’t hammered out this weekend, the very future of the European Union is in doubt. Berlin activist and journalist Diani Baretto joins the show. Chinese President Xi Jinping told visiting US Defense Secretary James Mattis that China will “not give even one inch of territory” in the Pacific Ocean. Mattis’s meeting with Xi comes as relations between the two countries have been marred by a trade war and by both militaries viewing each other with suspicion. Brian and John speak with Alfred McCoy, the Harrington Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of the book “In the Shadows of the American Century—The Rise and Decline of US Global Power.”

Supreme Court Declares War on Organized Labor

Jun 28, 2018 6976

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On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Peter Knowlton, the president of the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America, and Jeff Bigelow, an official with AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. The Supreme Court this morning issued a landmark decision in the case of Janus versus AFSCME, ruling 5-4 that labor unions may not collect “agency” or “fair share” fees from workers who do not want to join the union in a union shop. The Court had ruled 41 years ago that unions could charge only for services that non-union members benefited from, such as negotiating, collective bargaining, and grievance procedures. The ruling is a major blow to organized labor. Later this afternoon, Justice Kennedy retired, opening up a supreme court seat for Trump to make a nomination. Beyond Nuclear with Kevin Kamps is Loud & Clear’s regular Wednesday segment. The hosts and Kevin look at nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Today they focus on the safest way to hold nuclear waste, as opposed to the corporate-led schemes currently in place that place nearby residents and residents all along the nuclear waste transport lines under great risk. Brian and John speak with Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell. A 28-year-old political newcomer, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated 10-term Congressman Joe Crowley in a Democratic primary in New York yesterday. Crowley is the fourth-ranking member of the House Democratic leadership and was expected to someday become Speaker. He had run unopposed in his last seven races. And despite spending more than $1.2 million to Ocasio-Cortez’s $128,000, he could garner only 42 percent. Brian and John speak with Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter, a columnist for CounterPunch, and a contributor to Businessweek, The Nation, Extra! and Salon.com. The Trump Administration has reversed its policy on family separations at the border for any family that is willing to be deported immediately. This was after a federal judge in California ruled that the policy was illegal and that the Department of Homeland Security had 30 days to return all separated children to their parents. Matt Adams, the legal director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, joins the show. FBI agent Peter Strzok will testify be