Unauthorized Disclosure

Hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola welcome Carl Zha, the host of "Silk and Steel," which is a weekly podcast on the history, culture, and current events of China and the Silk Road.

Zha provides a primer on what has unfolded with the protests in Hong Kong. He describes how they started, the role an extradition bill has played, the poverty and inequality fueling protests, and the protesters' demands. He also provides a thumbnail history of the colonial history around China and Hong Kong.

He goes on to recall some of the incidents and flashpoints that have occurred, including violence that has been committed by Hong Kong protesters.

The National Endowment for Democracy and the Oslo Freedom Forum have provided tactical support. Zha addresses the way in which the U.S. government and U.S. groups are aiding Hong Kong protesters and what that means for the protests.

Later in the episode, Zha discusses the nativism inherent in the protests that is directed against mainland Chinese people, and he also highlights the controversy that erupted around the NBA in the past week.

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Rania Khalek is back after a break. She talks about her trip to Damascus and the backlash that ensued.

We name names, and Rania pointedly replies to some of the worst attacks against her. Many of these were spread with the intent to make further toxic to publications and isolate her so she cannot make a living doing journalism.

Rania grapples with what it is like to endure this vitriol from the left. It is much harder when it comes from people who should be on our side. This is highly destructive to building solidarity within progressive or left-wing media.

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Hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola welcome CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou to the podcast. He is a writer and the host of the "Loud and Clear" radio show.

Kiriakou briefly recounts how he blew the  whistle on the Bush administration's use of waterboarding and was the target of a leak prosecution. He was in prison for nearly two years. 

He addresses some of the whistleblower's allegations, as well as whether it actually shows that President Donald Trump wouldn't provide military aid to Ukraine if the government didn't help him investigate Joe Biden's son. 

We get into the issue of impeachment and what led Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to do an about-face and allow an inquiry to begin. 

Later in the episode, Kiriakou responds to the New York Times' decision to publish information that outed the whistleblower as a CIA employee, who worked in the Trump White House. 

We raise the issue of the military aid to Ukraine and how it is aimed at potentially provoking Russia, as well as how Democrats like Adam Schiff  have not been supportive of whistleblowers.

In the final part of the interview, Kiriakou discusses the case of Daniel Hale, an alleged drone whistleblower, and how the government uses his case to ensure whistleblowers cannot put on a defense when they face Espionage Act charges.

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Host Rania Khalek, along with journalists Max Blumenthal and Anya Parampil, were condemned for traveling  to Damascus, Syria, to report on recent developments in the country.

Both Rania and Max have been targeted before by these individuals who have forced or  attempted to force the cancellation of their speaking events. They have rendered them toxic to publishers so their journalism does not reach a wider audience.

Previously, on "Unauthorized Disclosure" we've talked about this relentless unending campaign that Rania must confront.

Rania responded, "All the bullying and intimidation is meant to stifle attempts at  reporting the reality of the government areas where the overwhelming majority of Syrians live. If Americans saw the reality, the regime change narrative would collapse right away.”

This is a 37-minute segment where host Kevin Gosztola leads listeners through what unfolded.

It includes comments from Rania, but she was unable to participate in the production of this segment because she is busy producing videos and interviews that feature what she learned from her recent trip. Oh, and she's working to make sure this faction does not succeed in shutting her down.

Kevin goes through his article that documents who attacked Rania and Max and why their attacks have no merit. It synthesizes various streams from Twitter that reflect the meltdown.

We have to defend Rania and support the critical work she does, especially on conflicts and political developments in the Middle East.

If you want to challenge this faction that obsesses over Rania and diminish the effect of their smear campaign(s), become a patron here.

Direct download: S6-RaniaReturnsToDamascus.mp3
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For this week's episode, Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola spend the episode answering questions and discussing comments from patrons.

The show's hosts begin by talking about books. They share some of their favorites and talk a bit about what they they're reading currently. They get into whether it matters if you get your analysis of issues or politics from books or podcasts.

Later in the show, they discuss how Twitter has impacted their work as radical independent journalists. Rania responds to a question about the similarity between those who attack people for opposing regime change against Iran and those who attack people for opposing regime change against Syria.

The show concludes with further discussion of journalists and what leads them to be driven by narratives over more objective facts. And then there's a few minutes on Stephen King and horror films.

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*The episode was made available early for patrons. Thank you for making this show possible.

The backdrop for this week's episode is especially grim. Forests are burning throughout the global south from the Amazon to the Congo basin.

Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola discuss our burning planet. But the episode is far from depressing.

In the latter part of the episode, they discuss the media plan put out by Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign, which gives them hope because the collapse of journalism should be a political issue during the 2020 primary.

And in the first half of the show, the hosts talk about Dave Chappelle's Netflix special. They both laughed and enjoyed it and push back on much of the outrage while having a larger conversation about politics in comedy. 


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For this week's show, Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola welcome Jamie Kilstein, a stand-up comedian and host of "The Jamie Kilstein Podcast," to the show.

Jamie is a prominent performer and longtime friend of the show's hosts. He recently returned to comedy and podcasting after going through a transformation personally. We talk to him about what led to this dramatic change.

We have a wide-ranging discussion about identity politics and cancel culture, as it manifests itself within left-wing discussions of issues and current events.

Later in the show, Jamie talks about the difference between selling out and wanting to communicate with people who you think can be reached without sacrificing principles, even in the era of Donald Trump.

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Hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola spend the hour with journalist Todd Miller, whose book, Empire of Borders: The Expansion of the U.S. Border Around the World, was released this month.

Miller's book is an exceptional and revealing work of journalism. He traveled to various border zones, particularly where security regimes are influenced by the United States, and he describes what he found over the past several years.

The United States government has developed a multi-layered border strategy that involves recruiting countries to help prevent refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, etc, from ever reaching the U.S. border. Miller outlines how border zones are increasingly internationalized.

There are more than "77 border walls, billions upon billions of dollars' worth of surveillance technology—including biometrics—and tens of thousands of armed agents guarding the dividing lines between the Global North and Global South." It is estimated that there are over 2,250 detention centers throughout the world that are crammed with people.

Miller recounts his trip to the Zacapa military base in Guatemala. He talks about freedom of movement—who is really free to travel—and the U.S. special operations unit, the Border Patrol Tactical Unit or BORTAC.

Later in the interview, Miller addresses how the security states that are developed around these border zones are designed to control poor populations. In fact, the very people who are likely to be oppressed by these systems are also the cheap labor making the tools for these state-of-the-art border zones.

The final part of the interview highlights Israel's role in pushing security technology that can be used against populations and the funding the U.S. has provided to Jordan to control the flow of Syrians fleeing their country.

Note: For those of you who are patrons, there is bonus material with Todd Miller for further listening. Thanks again for all your support.

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For this week's show, Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola discuss the massacres in El Paso and Dayton, and Rania describes how the raids by ICE in Mississippi made her very angry. She also shares the rage she felt when she learned about this terrible story of a man's deportation to Iraq, which resulted in his death.

Rania highlights the seizure of a food shipment in the Panama Canal due to the United States' blockade of Venezuela.

Kevin provides an update on Chelsea Manning. A federal judge refused to reconsider harsh fines against her, and she remains in jail for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.

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For this week, we have a crossover episode with "The Katie Halper Show."

In our main episode, Katie joins Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola to discuss how the centrist Democrats were encouraged to gang up on Bernie Sanders by CNN. We highlight how Sanders and Elizabeth Warren stood their ground.

Katie shares some glaring examples of media bias against Sanders. Kevin highlights parts of his recent article at Medium, "A Guide To Bad Faith Arguments Against Bernie Sanders."

We discuss how questions were addressed to candidates and share some general critiques about how the debate unfolded over the two nights. We also mention how distressed we are that Vice President Joe Biden might be the nominee, given how unsteady and heedless his answers to questions have been in the first two debates.

In a second bonus section for patrons, we get into how Tulsi Gabbard confronted Kamala Harris and discuss Harris' criminal justice record. We also talk about Biden a bit more, as well as some of the candidates polling less than one percent, who were present on the stage. 

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Hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola are joined by author Jeremy Kuzmarov, who discusses his forthcoming book, Obama's Unending Wars: Fronting the Foreign Policy Of The Permanent Warfare State.

Kuzmarov highlights how President Barack Obama developed a brand and came up with a story that could be marketed to the masses to help him rise to prominence in politics.

As Kuzmarov argues, "Obama was especially perfect for an age when diversity was being celebrated as an exemplification of American progress, marginalizing critiques of capitalism and American imperialism."

During the episode, Kuzmarov compares Obama to President Woodrow Wilson, who Obama seemed to be influenced by when it came to foreign policy.

Kuzmarov calls attention to how Obama sold the war in Libya and the way in which he patronized populations throughout the continent of Africa. That helped pave the way for the proliferation of United States military bases and neo-colonialism.

From Somalia to the Congo to Djibouti, Obama presided over military action that further destabilized and ruined impoverished countries. He opened countries up to corporate predators that could exploit people.

The legacy of Obama looms over U.S. politics, with nearly every progressive politician unwilling to critique his foreign policy. But that record must be confronted in order to truly resist President Donald Trump. 

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Hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola interview Charlotte Kates, who is the international coordinator for the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network. She's American and Canadian, and she lives in Germany.

Her husband, Khaled Barakat, was banned by German authorities from giving a speech on President Donald Trump's so-called "deal of the century," as well as the Arab and Palestinian responses to this proposal.

Barakat received an eight-page document that informed him he was not "allowed to give speeches in person or over video, participate in political meetings or events or even attend social gatherings of over 10 people." If he did, he could be put in prison for up to a year.

The attack on freedom of political expression is part of a series of attacks, which Kates describes, as she recounts how police stopped Barakat and her to block them from holding an event.

Kates addresses how the German government sought to tie Barakat to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) to justify repressing him.

Later in the interview, Kates describes how the repression against individuals who support Palestinians or the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israeli apartheid extends beyond activists to include artists and entertainers.

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This week, hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola discuss the new charges brought against Jeffrey Epstein, a former financial manager who socialized with prominent figures, like Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Prince Andrew, Larry Summers, and Woody Allen.

Both address how the U.S. establishment press should have been more diligent in covering this case, especially as the #MeToo movement spread in 2017. Even though the Miami Herald published a major feature on disgraced former labor secretary Alex Acosta's role in shielding Epstein, there was not much interest in the case, even as survivors of his crimes pushed prosecutors to correct the injustice they had done in Florida.

Later in the show, the hosts talk about further evidence of a possible mass extinction event as a result of ocean acidification. They highlight about the casual indifference toward the very real threat of climate disruption.

The show ends with a discussion about past guest and friend Aaron Maté, who appeared on Tucker Carlson's show on Fox News and was shamed for it on Twitter.

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Hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola are joined by Katie Halper of "The Katie Halper Show." She is a writer and contributor to FAIR. Her work has appeared at various outlets like The Nation, New York Magazine, etc.

During the show, Katie, Rania, and Kevin cover many of the highlights from the first 2020 Democratic presidential debate—and then some moments that have gone under-reported and have not been discussed. They critique the . format.

Katie gets into the media bias on display against Bernie Sanders. They talk about John Hickenlooper and John Delaney and how evident it is that Sanders has pulled debates over within the Democratic Party to the left.

Later in the show, they celebrate Kamala Harris using her rhetorical talents to go after Biden over segregation and racism. Other Biden moments are discussed, like how he praised himself for passing a bill with Mitch McConnell that made the Bush tax cuts permanent as well as how he falsely claimed he ended the Iraq War.

Rania shares her view on why U.S. foreign policy was so overlooked in the debate, and they talk about the right-wing politics of Miami residents—particularly those from Latin American countries.  

*Note: This show is typically posted on Sunday. It is published early while what happened in the first debate is still somewhat of a fresh topic of interest. Enjoy!

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Hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola are joined by Gareth Porter, an award-winning journalist whose work has been published at Salon, The Nation, and Consortium News.

He is the author of "Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story Of the Iran Nuclear Scare," which was published in 2014.

Gareth talks with the hosts about what we know about the incident that allegedly occurred against a tanker in the Gulf of Oman, which President Donald Trump's administration says was attacked by Iran. He outlines what the Trump administration has not proven and some of the many questions that should be answered.

He reacts to news of Iran shooting down a U.S. military drone and addresses how Trump seems to be the only prominent official in the White House reluctant to go to war against Iran.

And later in the show, Gareth discusses what a war with Iran would look like and why the U.S. military remains extremely reluctant to commit troops and resources to an open-ended conflict.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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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
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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.

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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."

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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
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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
Category:general -- posted at: 5:51pm EDT

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.

***

Further Reading

How CNN Led Facebook To Censor The Pages Of Russia-Backed Video Company And Manufactured A News Story

Direct download: ResponseToCNNHitPieceOnRania-SpecialEpisode.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:06am EDT

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
Category:general -- posted at: 10:47am EDT

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
Category:general -- posted at: 9:49pm EDT

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
Category:general -- posted at: 9:41am EDT

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
Category:general -- posted at: 9:38pm EDT

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
Category:general -- posted at: 7:08pm EDT

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
Category:general -- posted at: 9:19am EDT

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
Category:general -- posted at: 1:01am EDT

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