Danny Haiphong, contributor to Black Agenda Report and host of the Left Lens podcast, joins Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola for this edition of the "Unauthorized Disclosure" podcast. They discuss what the Biden-Harris administration's foreign policy will look like, what kind of corporate consultants and hawks with ties to military contractors are advising him during the transition, and whether progressives have any hope of pulling Biden left on matters of war.
Grayzone editor-in-chief Max Blumenthal joins the "Unauthorized Disclosure" podcast to share his reporting from Bolivia. He was there as an election observer weeks ago, when the coup regime was defeated at the polls. Max offers his assessment of the outcome of the United States elections between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden, who eked out a victory against an incumbent. He describes what he saw in Miami, where Trump support dashed any chance Biden had of winning Florida. A documentary by the Grayzone on the Bolivian military junta was censored. Max describes how it was labeled "inappropriate or offensive." Later in the show, Max highlights he published, which exposed the censorship campaign that was waged against Michael Moore's documentary "Planet of the Humans." (Filmmaker Josh Fox was involved, as listeners may recall, we had Josh on our show right when he launched this campaign.)
1 hr 30 min
The panic over fake news has reached another peak, especially in the run-up to Election Day on November 3. Media scholar Nolan Higdon, who recently authored The Anatomy Of Fake News, joins Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola to discuss the problem of fake news. Nolan has an expansive definition that implicates much of the establishment media. It singles out political propagandists, and it highlights state-funded outfits in and outside of the United States, recognizing there is an information war. In our conversation, Nolan addresses some of the history of fake news and how the government typically responds to fake news when it is a perceived problem. He describes whether the problem of fake news is worse than ever before. Nolan suggests ways in which the public can detect fake news in the mass media. Later in the discussion, we have a conversation about journalist Glenn Greenwald's resignation from The Intercept. And as a kind of case study, Nolan assesses what happened with the New York Post and their stories on the emails from Hunter Biden's laptop.
1 hr 2 min
Hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola talk with Ollie Vargas, a reporter for Radio Kawsachun Coca who was in Bolivia to report on the election. On October 18, Luis Arce of the Movement Toward Socialism Party won 55 percent of the vote against six candidates, avoided a runoff, and claimed victory over leaders of a coup that was backed by the United States. This means Bolivians can begin to reclaim their country from right-wing extremists. They can end the violence that has run rampant against activists opposed to the regime, and eventually President Evo Morales will be able to return to the country. In our interview, Ollie describes how the US-backed regime tried to shut down his outlet in Bolivia. He offers his reaction the election outcome and what lies ahead for Bolivians. Ollie also addresses the neoliberal constraints that could still be imposed via an IMF loan that the coup government took out in April. He recounts how state projects aimed at ensuring Bolivia controlled its own resources (e.g. lithium) were suspended and contracts dissolved, which helped create conditions for a recession. It was uncertain whether the regime would allow an election to take place, since they were going to lose. As Ollie makes clear, only by mobilizing the people were Bolivians able to take back their country.
OPCW whistleblower Ian Henderson and former OPCW director José Bustani, who testified before the UN Security Council, were attacked by the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany during two UN Security Council meetings in which they provided testimony. Bustani was from reading his prepared statement on the OPCW's cover-up of what they uncovered when investigators examined the scene of an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria, in April 2018. Henderson was accused of being part of a "disinformation exercise," even though he was personally involved as an investigator, and physicist Ted Postol and journalist Aaron Maté, host of "Pushback" and a contributor to The Grayzone, faced smears as well as they shared testimony. For this week's episode, Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola talk with Aaron about what he experienced and his reaction to the attacks on Henderson and Bustani. Aaron calls out U.S. media, in particular progressive media, that have totally ignored the OPCW scandal exposed by whistleblowers and WikiLeaks. Later in the show, Kevin asks Rania and Aaron for their thoughts on the at the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which oversees Voice of America and other state media projects. Employees there allege the Trump administration has politicized the organization and turned it into a propaganda outlet (even though that is what it always does—produce propaganda for the U.S. government). We wonder when Facebook or Twitter will finally label VOA "US state-controlled media," given developments.
For this week's show, journalist , who was at the Old Bailey Criminal Courthouse to cover WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition trial, joins Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola. Richard shares his experience reporting on proceedings and why it was so important to him to be there in person to see what unfolded at the courthouse in September. Since Richard and Kevin committed themselves to following the trial for four weeks (unlike numerous establishment and progressive media journalists), Rania asked them both to provide highlights from the extradition trial. The conversation concludes with a conversation about the actions of United States empire that were effectively put on trial by Assange's legal team. They kept the focus on war crimes and torture committed by the U.S. government, which documents WikiLeaks published exposed. And the legal team also detailed abuses of power and cruel conditions in U.S. prisons that should discourage any British court from allowing extradition, if they claim to uphold human rights.
1 hr 4 min
Kevin Gosztola interviewed Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, who testified during the second week of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition trial. In the interview, a parallel is drawn between Dan's case and the mental health evidence that was presented by the defense in the third week. He has Dan comment on the questions he received from lead prosecutor James Lewis. Later, Dan addresses the U.S. Espionage Act, how far the Trump Justice Department thinks they can go in prosecuting Assange, and how the law was deployed against him nearly 50 years ago. Kevin and Dan conclude with some discussion on the political nature of this unprecedented prosecution.
Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola spend this week's episode discussing some of the latest developments in the extradition trial against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange—primarily because Kevin is covering proceedings every weekday from 4 am to 10 am. It is expected to wrap by the end of September, and each week has been fairly intense with witnesses important to Assange's effort to convince a British court not to approve extradition to the United States for trial on charges of violating the Espionage Act. Kevin describes the testimony CIA torture and rendition survivor Khaled El Masri submitted in support of Assange. Also, there has been a lot of discussion lefty independent media about the media silence around Assange's extradition trial. Rania criticized The Young Turks' Ana Kasparian after she said the outlet "would look into" covering the case. Both Rania and Kevin discuss establishment media and progressive media that are ignoring this case, and Kevin has an admittedly biased viewpoint that he shares as a reporter actually covering the trial.
Ricardo Vaz, an editor and writer for , joins Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola to talk about censorship his media organization is dealing with on Twitter. For nearly two weeks, Twitter locked out Ricardo and other Venezuelanalysis staffers from their account, which they use to distribute reporting and analysis of the latest political developments in Venezuela. (Their access was restored on September 6.) Anyone who went to @venanalysis, the organization's Twitter page, saw the following: "Caution: This account is temporarily restricted. You’re seeing this warning because there has been some unusual activity from this account. Do you still want to view it?" What is unusual is that Venezuelanalysis consistently publishes content that challenges the United States government's policy of regime change in Venezuela. During the latter part of the episode, Ricardo discusses the impact of COVID-19 on Venezuela and how U.S. sanctions have worsened the Venezuelan government's ability to deal with the pandemic. He shares some of his thoughts on what would (and would not change) if Democratic nominee Joe Biden becomes President. Ricardo comments on where Venezuelanalysis fits in the media landscape and highlights some of the history of the website, which has a lot to do with why they are now a target of censorship on social media platforms.
For this week's episode of "Unauthorized Disclosure," Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola welcome Lee Camp to the show. Lee is a stand-up comedian who is the host of "Redacted Tonight." He has a new comedy , "Not Allowed on American TV." He also has a book, Bullet Points & Punch Lines. Stand-up comedy has become near impossible or extraordinarily difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic. We ask Lee what the the last months have been like then quickly pivot to a conversation about deterioration of political comedy in the era of President Donald Trump. Lee talks with us about social media platforms that label your content as "dangerous." Rania and Kevin talk about satire being interpreted more and more as fact or truth. And Lee discusses how he covers United States-backed coups and wars through his comedy, unlike the vast majority of stand-up comedians who delve into politics.