Sun, 16 June 2019
For this week's episode, Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola interview a researcher for Food and Water Watch named Oakley Shelton-Thomas. He worked on the organization's recent report, "Fracking Endgame: Locked Into Plastics, Pollution, and Climate Chaos."
The report describes how fossil fuel companies are building a "wave of new gas-fired power plants" and relying on the proliferation of plastics plants to prop up business. Industry is propping up the fracking industry.
"Our latest research shows that their endgame is a world locked into plastics, pollu-ion and climate chaos. In addition to the buildout of a growing pipeline network, we’ve discovered that more than 700 new facilities have been built or proposed to capitalize off a glut of cheap fracked gas," according to the report.
In the organization's assessment, "These new projects [will] bring dangerous air pollutants associated with heightened cancer risks and respiratory illnesses, and color where they are most commonly located."
"If even a fraction of them come to fruition, they will condemn the planet to a future of climate chaos," the report declares.
Later in the show, the hosts stick with the issue of climate change and discuss a report from Brown University's "Cost Of War" project that details how the Pentagon is the world's largest producer of greenhouse gases.
They conclude the show by highlighting Bernie Sanders' "Democratic Socialism" speech and some of the reactions to the speech among Democratic presidential candidates and establishment media.
Direct download: S6E21.mp3
-- posted at: 10:04am EDT
Sun, 9 June 2019
Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola discuss YouTube's purge of users, which was sparked by several complaints from Vox's Carlos Maza about right-wing vlogger Steven Crowder. They specifically highlight several examples of educational videos on Nazis and right-wing ideology that were taken down as part of the purge and once again share their concerns about encouraging Big Tech companies to make censorship decisions.
They respond to a patron's question about insane conspiracy theories and how seemingly respectable, level-headed, or smart people may come to believe such theories.
And since Rania finally watched all of the last season of "Veep," the show ends with a conversation about this unapologetic political satire, which they both enjoyed greatly and will miss.
Direct download: S6E20.mp3
-- posted at: 11:55am EDT
Sun, 26 May 2019
For this week's episode, Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola begin the show by covering the superseding indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. He became the first publisher in United States history to be charged with violating the Espionage Act, a development that was met with immediate condemnation from news editors and press freedom groups.
The rest of the show is spent responding to questions and comments submitted by patrons of the show.
Rania and Kevin go through many of the reasons why Joe Biden should not be doing so well in Democratic presidential primary polls.
They also talk about the latest cycle of allegations related to the Syrian conflict and their significance, as well as the intensifying efforts on the part of President Trump's administration to provoke war with Iran.
Direct download: S6E19.mp3
-- posted at: 10:23am EDT
Sun, 19 May 2019
For this week's episode, Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola discuss how officials in President Donald Trump's administration are threatening Iran with war. They talk about the raid against the Venezuela embassy in D.C., where four remaining embassy protectors were arrested in flagrant violation of international law.
Later in the show, Kevin comments on the latest prosecution of a drone whistleblower, who allegedly released the "Drone Papers" to The Intercept's Jeremy Scahill.
Direct download: S6E18.mp3
-- posted at: 2:38am EDT
Sun, 12 May 2019
On this week's show, we have a crossover between the "Unauthorized Disclosure" weekly podcast and "Media Roots" radio.
In the first part of the show, we talk with Abby Martin and Robbie Martin of Media Roots about some of the projects they're involved in currently. Abby tells us about "Empire Files." Robbie mentions he is working on another documentary in his "A Very Heavy Agenda" series on neoconservatives.
Both Rania and Kevin talk about some of their recent work. Rania highlights a recent project for "In The Now." Kevin shares some of the work he is doing to cover Julian Assange's case.
Later in the show, they talk about the ongoing efforts by the Trump administration to force regime change in Venezuela, as well as the right-wing attacks backed by law enforcement against the Venezuela embassy in Washington, D.C.
This was a reward show for patrons who helped "Unauthorized Disclosure" reach a 200-patron milestone a few months ago. Rania and Kevin had Abby and Robbie record an additional segment entirely for patrons, where they talked about the threat of censorship and other media issues.
If you would like to hear this segment, become a patron.
If you are already a patron, go here to listen.
Thanks again to all of our wonderful patrons who help make our show a continued success, and thanks to Abby and Robbie for helping us make this week's episode possible. We plan to join forces on a more regular basis.
Direct download: S6E17.mp3
-- posted at: 10:57am EDT
Sun, 5 May 2019
For this week's episode, Mark Weisbrot, economist and co-director of the Center for Economic Policy and Research, joins the show to discuss a paper he co-authored on United States sanctions against Venezuela.
The paper—released in April—showed at least 40,000 people died between 2017 and 2018 from sanctions. That was before Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaido claimed he was Venezuela's true president and mounted a coup that that has persisted for the past months. Tens of thousands of more people in Venezuela will die as a result of recent sanctions.
During the interview, Weisbrot outlines some of the biggest impacts to the Venezuela economy, as well as how imports of essential medicines and medical equipment have been cutoff.
Weisbrot compares the Trump sanctions to sanctions imposed by President Barack Obama.
Later in the show, Weisbrot highlights a chief goal of the sanctions: to inflict pain and suffering and breed discontent among the people that results in the military turning against President Nicolas Maduro.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared on March 11, 2019, "The circle is tightening, the humanitarian crisis is increasing by the hour. I talked with our senior person on the ground there in Venezuela last night, at 7:00 or 8:00 last night. You can see the increasing pain and suffering that the Venezuelan people are suffering from."
The action on April 30 was viewed by many news outlets as a new attempt at a coup. However, it was part of a slow-motion, aggressive, and sometimes erratic push for regime change since January.
The attempt, one of several over the last few months, failed yet again. It by no means will be the last attempt, and every day this continues more Venezuelans will die.
Direct download: S6E16.mp3
-- posted at: 9:40am EDT
Sun, 28 April 2019
Charles Derber is a professor of sociology at Boston College. He is currently collaborating on some work with Noam Chomsky, and he joins the "Unauthorized Disclosure" weekly podcast to discuss a book he co-authored, "Moving Beyond Fear: Upending the Security Tales in Capitalism, Fascism, and Democracy."
The book outlines how elites manufacture security stories and protect their own wealth and power. Derber describes how this method of managing populations goes all the way back to the days of feudalism.
While it is abundantly clear how President Donald Trump names so-called enemies to solidify control over his base, it may be less obvious how establishment Democrats use this method to protect their power as well. Derber assesses how Democrats wield security stories and why they may find them useful.
Later in the show, Derber talks about the role of the "professional managerial class" and the reality that elites ignore particular threats that are real because to acknowledge them would threaten their power.
Direct download: S6E15.mp3
-- posted at: 9:15am EDT
Sun, 21 April 2019
Hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola are joined by Max Ajl, who is a doctoral student in development studies at Cornell University. He speaks to them from Tunisia, where he is conducting research on the environment and agriculture as it relates to decolonization and post-colonial development.
Ajl discusses the Green New Deal, backed by numerous progressives, and offers a constructive critique that takes into account the impact of climate change on the global south.
During the interview, Ajl describes the origins of the Green New Deal and the limits of what Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are proposing. But Ajl notes that many issues like climate debt and developmental aid for countries is missing in this America-focused plan.
Ajl addresses how the Green New Deal fails to deal with the massive pollution from the U.S. military industrial-complex and contends that this represents a larger issue with much of the U.S. left, which can be Eurocentric in their support for global policies.
And Ajl assesses the impact of US policies that have exacted an impact on countries in the global south and then outlines the kind of considerations that need to be made so that a collective response to climate disruption is inclusive and internationalist in its goals.
Overall, Ajl maintains we should not fight the Green New Deal. We should struggle to put issues on the table and seize an opportunity to develop a much stronger plan for dealing with global climate change.
Direct download: S6E14.mp3
-- posted at: 9:55am EDT
Fri, 12 April 2019
Hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola spend the full episode going through parts of the indictment against WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange. They react to his expulsion from the Ecuador embassy in the United Kingdom and how British police entered the embassy to drag him out to a police van.
Kevin, who has covered Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, and WikiLeaks since 2010, addresses how much of the indictment makes the case that Assange "aided" and "abetted" "espionage," even though what was charged is a computer crime. Contrary to what much of the U.S. establishment press contended, the Justice Department is targeting the publication of information. This case has troubling implications for world press freedom.
Later in the show, Rania and Kevin talk about whether the US will succeed in extraditing Assange and Ecuador's betrayal. The country granted Assange asylum, as well as citizenship, and then discarded him to be snatched up by the United States. Clearly, they are no longer an independent state. Their rulers are serving U.S. interests and not the Ecuadorian people or global human rights.
Direct download: S6E13.mp3
-- posted at: 10:18pm EDT
Sun, 7 April 2019
In one of their more free-ranging episodes of the year, hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola discuss censorship against Max Blumenthal by owners of the Politics & Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C.
They talk about the latest developments involving Chelsea Manning, who has now been in jail for nearly a month as she continues her resistance against a grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks. Chelsea was in prolonged solitary confinement but released into general population this past week.
Rania and Kevin also comment on Joe Biden, including commentary from an Atlantic writer who attacked one of the latest people to accuse Biden of inappropriate touching by pointing out she loves Russia.
And during the middle of the show, they read a few comments and questions from patrons.
Note: There will be a break next week, but the show will be back after this short break.
Direct download: S6E12.mp3
-- posted at: 9:38am EDT
Mon, 1 April 2019
Hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola are joined by journalist Aaron Maté to talk about the end of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into President Donald Trump's campaign. Mueller was unable to establish that "members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
Maté, a contributor to The Nation, was one of the few journalists who consistently questioned the Trump-Russia narrative, and he made the rounds this past week to several shows to discuss the death of Russiagate. We're very grateful that he stopped by "Unauthorized Disclosure."
This week he wrote, "RIP, Russiagate," for The Nation.
During the show, Maté talks about what it was like to be one of the few journalists in the United States media to cover the Mueller investigation responsibly. He highlights some of the media reaction to the end of the investigation, particularly among pundits desperate to keep the conspiracy alive.
We discuss how Russiagate will probably never go away entirely and why it was dangerous for Democrats to push it. Maté addresses how Democrats, especially staff from Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, were so invested in pushing the Trump-Russia narrative.
And Maté reminds us that it was not only CNN and MSNBC that fueled this panic. To some degree, various progressive media outlets had journalists who bought into Russiagate as well.
Direct download: S6E11.mp3
-- posted at: 9:16am EDT
Thu, 28 March 2019
Journalist Ben Norton, who helps run The Grayzone, was in Venezuela for nearly 4 weeks from early February to early March. He talks with us about what he saw on the ground and how what he witnessed compares to what is reported in Western establishment news media.
Ben describes some of the enthusiasm among Venezuelans for political engagement in democracy. He also addresses some of the myths surrounding colectivos, which are self-defense organizations in communities in Venezuela.
Later in the show, Ben outlines "Regime Change Inc," which are the forces that are deployed inside and outside Venezuela pushing for the overthrow of President Nicolas Maduro. He discusses what Venezuelans would like the government to do with members of a right-wing opposition that are intent on destabilizing the country.
We wrap the show with some conversation about what may have happened with Venezuela's electric grid and the major power outages that occurred.
Direct download: S6E10.mp3
-- posted at: 5:25pm EDT
Sun, 17 March 2019
In this week's episode, Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola spend the first half of the episode replying to patrons, who suggested topics for discussion, including strikes by teachers unions and the Ethiopian Airlines crash.
Then they talk about CNN and how they spent multiple days attacking Tulsi Gabbard after her town hall—all because she strays from the script provided to them by officials in the US foreign policy establishment, particularly when it comes to what she calls regime change wars.
And in the final part of the episode, they highlight how Chelsea Manning has been in a county jail for a week because she refused to testify before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.
Direct download: S6E9.mp3
-- posted at: 10:21am EDT
Sun, 10 March 2019
In this discussion episode, Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola react to how the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives singled out Ilhan Omar this past week. Many politicians and commentators spent several days attributing words to Omar that she did not say, all so they could attack her for anti-Semitism and discourage her from speaking out against the influence of AIPAC.
Later in the show, Kevin talks about attending Bernie Sanders' kickoff rally in Chicago for his 2020 presidential campaign. Rania asks if the powers that be would ever let someone like Sanders be president.
Direct download: S6E8.mp3
-- posted at: 10:38am EDT
Thu, 7 March 2019
This is the second part our interview with Dan Cohen, a reporter for RT America who recently returned from Colombia, where he covered the forced aid delivery at the Venezuela border.
We talk to Dan about "Killing Gaza," a documentary film that he worked on with journalist Max Blumenthal. It was censored by the Bluestockings Bookstore in New York because a small group of people complained to the bookstore about Max's work on the war in Syria.
Later, we talk about state-funded media, and Dan highlights the report he co-authored for the Grayzone Project, "The Making of Juan Guaido: How The U.S. Regime Change Laboratory Created Venezuela's Coup Leader."
Direct download: S6E7_Part2.mp3
-- posted at: 11:03am EDT
Sun, 3 March 2019
Hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola are joined by Dan Cohen, a reporter for RT America who was at the Colombia-Venezuela border to cover the U.S. government's forced delivery of so-called humanitarian aid on February 23.
Cohen describes what he witnessed. He also talks about Venezuela Aid Live, the concert put on by billionaire Richard Branson the day before the confrontation over aid.
Later in the episode, Cohen recalls his interactions with poor and working class Venezuelans in Cucuta, which spoke to him about why they left their home country. He recounts his attempt to question Elliott Abrams, special envoy to Venezuela, when Abrams walked by him in Washington, D.C.
Cohen specifically outlines why the U.S. government is intent to deliver aid—getting it across the border likely will mean the "political death" of President Nicolas Maduro, since it will show he no longer has sovereignty over the country.
Direct download: E6S7.mp3
-- posted at: 10:04am EDT
Wed, 27 February 2019
As a special presentation from "Unauthorized Disclosure," here is the full interview CNN correspondent Drew Griffin conducted with J. Ray Sparks, the chief operating officer of Maffick Media, and Rania Khalek, a contributor to In The Now, which is owned by Maffick Media.
On February 11, the interview took place in Berlin, where Maffick Media is based. Short clips from the interview were used in a video report, and several quotes were included in a print report that appeared on CNN.com on February 15 under the headline: “Russia backs a viral video aimed at American millennials.”
Maffick Media management became aware that CNN was contacting associates of Maffick. They reached out on February 5 to Curt Devine and Donie O’Sullivan, two reporters that were trying to uncover dirt on Maffick Media.
Sparks indicated they would be willing to make individuals available to CNN and shared facts with CNN that related to their funding from the Russia government and the editorial structure of In The Now.
The interview offers a rare window into the mind of a US establishment journalist, who only is able to see the world through the framework of "Russia must be responsible for pockets of dissent in the country" or "the Kremlin must be behind whatever is wrong with America's current politics."
We expect this to become an important artifact of the "Russiagate" era in US history.
Direct download: CNNInterviewMaffickInTheNow.mp3
-- posted at: 5:51pm EDT
Tue, 19 February 2019
Hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola put together this response to CNN's report on a Russia-backed video company, where Rania works.
A U.S.-funded think tank in Germany, the German Marshall Fund, went to CNN, and together, they convinced Facebook to suspend video channel pages that are owned by Maffick Media—including Soapbox. (You may have seen Soapbox videos from Rania, such as this one on Venezuela.)
Rania recounts how CNN went digging for dirt on Maffick Media. Management eventually reached out to CNN and informed them that they knew what CNN journalists were doing. They granted CNN access and agreed to answer just about any question CNN had about the company.
Kevin describes the German Marshall Fund, who is affiliated it, and why it is significant that the think tank came after In The Now. It is far less transparent in its promotion of a Hamilton 68 "tracker" to uncover alleged Russian influence operations than Maffick Media is with their videos.
Rania and Kevin note that CNN's investigation was pretty poor. They did not turn up much of anyhing, but they achieved censorship, which is what matters. This has real ramifications for Rania and whether she may keep her job.
Even more significantly, CNN keeps churning out reports that fuel panic over all things Russia because it is profitable. Russia and the U.S. control 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons. Instead of contributing to a world that can support peace between these two powerful countries, CNN serves the agenda of U.S. intelligence and military officials.
How CNN Led Facebook To Censor The Pages Of Russia-Backed Video Company And Manufactured A News Story
Sun, 17 February 2019
Hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola are joined by Christina Schiavoni, who is a food sovereignty activist and doctoral researcher at the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague. She has engaged in solidarity work in Venezuela and focuses on food issues, and she lived in a working class community in Caracas from early 2016 to 2018.
Schiavoni describes how she became involved in activism around food sovereignty in Venezuela. She addresses the issues of food shortages and who owns most of the major food companies. She also grapples with the lack of diversification in Venezuela's economy.
Later in the interview, Schiavoni talks about food aid that is handed out to poor and working class Venezuelans by the government. She outlines the impact of sanctions and provides an explanation for why the government may not want to allow the humanitarian aid from President Donald Trump's administration to enter Venezuela.
Direct download: S6E6edit.mp3
-- posted at: 10:47am EDT
Tue, 12 February 2019
Hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola welcome author Barry Eisler to the show. He spent three years in a covert position with the CIA's Directorate of Operations, and he has written several best-selling espionage novels. His most recent book is The Killer Collective.
During the show, Eisler talks about developing the story for Killer Collective. He is an avid reader and supporter of independent news media and describes how news headlines and perspectives from these sources influence his work.
Eisler recently tweeted, "I could spend all day tweeting about Putin hysteria. It’s become that omnipresent. For many liberals, there are no other frameworks for understanding reality anymore. Putin the Puppet Master has eclipsed everything else." He talks about this framework, as well as "information laundering," which establishment news media outlets do constantly.
Direct download: S6E5.mp3
-- posted at: 9:49pm EDT
Sun, 3 February 2019
Hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola are joined this week by educator and journalist Roberto Lovato. In 2015, he wrote the article, "The Making Of Leopoldo Lopez," for Foreign Policy.
Recently, he contributed a piece to Latino Rebels on the appointment of Elliott Abrams to represent the Trump administration as special envoy to Venezuela (particularly, the opposition).
Lovato, who is of Salvadoran descent, describes the dread he experienced when the former State Department official implicated in massacres in El Salvador in the 1980s was given a job by President Donald Trump's administration to help advance their agenda in Venezuela. He recalls bearing witness to a mass grave.
Later in the show, Lovato recalls what happened to him when he went to Venezuela to report on Lopez, the opposition leader who is a folk hero to many international human rights groups and Western media outlets. He highlights when he was threatened by a member of the opposition. When he returned home, a State Department employee gave him a creepy phone call.
Lovato also highlights some of the individuals in the opposition, who have ties to neo-fascists.
*Thank you to our patrons for supporting our show, and thanks for listening to the interview. If you like what you hear, become a patron.
Direct download: S6E4edit.mp3
-- posted at: 9:41am EDT
Tue, 29 January 2019
In a special episode, hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola stand up to a slew of smear attacks against Rania for speaking out on the attempted coup in Venezuela.
Particularly, journalists like Michael Weiss of The Daily Beast, Yashar Ali of Huffington Post, and Casey Michel of Think Progress attacked members of Congress who interacted with her tweets on Venezuela. They labeled her a "Russian propagandist" to further isolate and make them denounce her.
Rania's Wikipedia page was defaced around January 28. It was brought to editors' attention. A slanderous sentence was removed from the top of her page and then re-inserted further down. It was then locked making it difficult for anyone to remove what was added. She had to wait for nearly a half of a day before it was deleted altogether, and her page still going through maintenance so it conforms with Wikipedia's standards and does not attack her reputation.
This has lasted for about a week. In the words of Kevin, this sustained campaign of attacks are an effort to silence a strong and effective woman journalist who is unapologetic in her anti-imperial views. She agitated for members of Congress to come out against President Donald Trump's support for a coup in Venezuela, and it worked because multiple representatives responded to her favorably. That deeply upset those in media who despise her.
We spend nearly an hour going through several of the attacks. Most importantly, we give Rania space to deal with what she has endured. Nobody is going to shut Rania down on "Unauthorized Disclosure."
Direct download: S6_SpecialEpisode.mp3
-- posted at: 9:38pm EDT
Sat, 26 January 2019
Hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola welcome As'ad AbuKhalil to the show. He is a political science professor at California State University and a contributor to Consortium News.
During the interview, AbuKhalil comments on United States government's support for an attempted coup in Venezuela and what this reveals about the state of American empire.
He highlights what is unfolding around Syria, as a conflict that started in 2011 shifts to one with less US troops involved. Particularly, he addresses recent Israeli attacks in Syria against alleged Iranian targets.
Later in the interview, AbuKhalil talks about Israel versus Hezbollah and whether there may be a full-blown war against Hizbullah in Lebanon in the near future.
Further reading: "The Unwritten Rule Between the US and Hizbullah" by As'ad AbuKhalil
Direct download: S6E3.mp3
-- posted at: 7:08pm EDT
Sun, 20 January 2019
Hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola talk about what is unfolding in Venezuela, where Juan Guaido and the right-wing opposition refuse to recognize Nicolas Maduro as president. They have the support of President Donald Trump's administration and aim to overthrow Maduro.
Later in the show, the hosts shift to Tulsi Gabbard's announcement on CNN in the past week, where she said she will run for president in 2020. Both of the hosts challenge the media's reaction, as well as the left's reaction, while breaking down several of her strengths and flaws as a candidate.
Direct download: S6E2.mp3
-- posted at: 9:19am EDT
Sun, 13 January 2019
Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola are glad to be back for another season of the "Unauthorized Disclosure" podcast.
For the first episode of the year, journalist and Nation contributor Aaron Maté joins the show to talk about a recent article he wrote, "New Studies Show Pundits Are Wrong About Russian Social Media Involvement in US Politics."
Maté highlights several aspects of reports on alleged Russian influence in the 2016 election that were co-signed by members of Congress. They show marketing campaigns were small, amateurish, and mostly unrelated to the election.
During the show, Maté addresses a recent story about Paul Manafort that was all but retracted entirely and how this happens frequently with "Russiagate" news reports.
The show opens with Maté and the hosts discussing how incredible it is that there were no sonic weapons attacking U.S. embassies in Cuba. It turns out the sounds supposedly making officials ill were crickets.
Direct download: S6E1.mp3
-- posted at: 1:01am EDT