Guest: Mohamed Elmaazi. Journalist Mohammed Elmaazi and I had this conversation the week before Christmas just as new exculpatory evidence, audio of conversation between Julian Assange and a State Department official, was released by Project Veritas. We are also now in the final weeks leading up to the court decision on Assange’s extradition from the United Kingdom to the United States and there have been many people, including some pretty influential people, urging Trump to pardon Assange. In our conversation we reviewed some of the events and players and skullduggery over the years since the early days of Wikileaks. Plus there is a bonus episode with our thoughts on whether Assange will be pardoned, who we think are the most influential people lobbying Trump for and against a pardon and how things might play out if Assange is pardoned.
Even The Guardian, whose behavior toward Assange has been contemptible, made an editorial statement opposing extradition. Mohammed commented on it on Twitter: “This editorial statement by The Guardian on Julian Assange is spot on. If only they made this clear years ago rather than 3 weeks before the judge is due to give her decision.” I’d also like to mention a few of the things have happened recently since we recorded this interview. First. there was breaking news about members of the UK parliament now lobbying for an Assange pardon and also German MPs have formed a working group to free Julian Assange.
Mohamed Elmaazi is a journalist with experience in human rights law, with degrees from American University in Cairo and SOAS. He writes for Sputnik News, he publishes The Interregnum blog and he has been a contributor to Open Democracy, The Canary, the Grayzone and The Real News Network.
Guest: Ford Fischer. Ford has been covering the various protests and counterprotests that we have seen since May, 2020. These including the Black Lives Matter and social justice protests, pro and anti police demonstrations, pandemic related things like the anti-lockdown and back to work demonstrations, anti-fascist protests and counter protests, and also the multitude of election related protests during that period of time. Often these protests aren’t easily categorized as Left or Right or pro/anti-Trump or Biden or political party. Ford not only describes the things he has witnessed on the ground at these events but helps analyze what they’re about and what is happening with a more informed and nuanced perspective based on his observations and interactions with the people on the ground. In a bonus question we talk about the recent warnings and predictions that a civil war is brewing.
Ford Fischer is an independent videographer and editor, a computer scientist and web designer. He’s the editor-in-chief and co-founder of News2share.com where citizen journalists and independent videographers and citizen journalists contribute content to the evolving news cycle. His work has been featured on many news networks. He also does freelance work as a videographer/journalist.
Recorded on December 15, 2020. Music by Fluorescent Grey.
Joanne Leon and Kyle Anzalone, hosts of Around the Empire and Conflicts of Interests podcasts, team up for another swapcast. We discuss the 2020 election, upcoming electoral college vote, protests and some of Biden’s potential picks for high level positions, like Mike Morrell as director of the CIA. We also talk about the risk of war with Iran and other issues in the Middle East.
Recorded on December 13, 2020. Music by Fluorescent Grey.
Guest: Gunar Olsen. Gunar recently published a response to an historian’s analysis of the Soviet Afghan invasion and the question of whether or not Zbigniew Brzezinski’s goal (under the Carter administration) in assisting the mujahedin was really about provoking the Soviet military intervention. There is also a bonus question on why there was so much push back and resistance to Trump’s last ditch effort to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and what the real reasons behind it.
Gunar Olsen is an independent scholar, writer and journalist who covers the politics of U.S. imperialism. His articles have been published in The New Republic, The Nation, Jacobin, The Grayzone, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting and other publications. He also provides research for the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.
FOLLOW @GunarOlsen. Find him and his work at his website gunarolsen.com
Music by Fluorescent Grey.
Guest: Elijah Magnier. We talk about the recent assassination of an Iranian top scientist and threats of retaliation proposed by hardline Iranian media, the precarious situation due to Trump likely leaving office soon and Netanyahu’s political troubles. We discuss the failure to withdraw US troops from Iraq and the likely consequences, the prospects for rejoining the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal and the things that could complicate that, the stronger influence of Russia and China in the region and finally a bonus question about the relationship between Trump and Netanyahu near the end of his term.
Recorded on November 29, 2020. Music by Fluorescent Grey.