On February 20 and 21, the High Court in the United Kingdom heard Julian Assange's case for the right to appeal his extradition to the United States. Clearing the FOG speaks with Chip Gibbons, a lawyer and journalist with Defending Rights and Dissent, who attended the hearing. Gibbons describes the intentional efforts by the UK court to prevent media from covering the hearing, which is ironic as the hearing was fundamentally about the attack on press freedom, and what Julian Assange's options are depending on what the court decides. Gibbons makes the point that the United States has given up all pretense of protecting Assange's health and life if he is extradited, even though that admission would be enough to block his extradition, revealing the lack of regard for the law and Assange's human rights that has been evident throughout this prosecution.
Podcast – Clearing The FOG
The former president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH), is currently being tried in New York City for narco-trafficking during his presidency. Activists from the United States and Canada have launched a new campaign to raise awareness of both the US and Canadian governments' complicity in the crimes committed by the JOH administration. Clearing the FOG speaks with Karen Spring, co-coordinator of HondurasNow.org, which is hosting the campaign, about the US-backed coup in Honduras in 2009, the damage done by subsequent administrations that has driven migration of Hondurans north, the efforts of the current Castro government to reverse those damaging policies and ongoing efforts by the US to undermine the Castro government.
In his new book, ¨Journalists and Their Shadows,¨ Patrick Lawrence describes his experience over decades as an editor and foreign correspondent of watching the media rise and fall in its ability to serve as a force to hold power accountable. Lawrence writes about the shadows, or authentic selves, that most journalists currently sacrifice in order to maintain employment in mainstream media outlets and the detrimental impact this has on public discourse. He also describes the antidote - an independent alternative media - and the current obstacles to creating a much-needed vibrant democratized media system.
Farmers throughout the European Union, from Ireland and France to Poland, Greece and Portugal, are in the streets protesting unsustainable working conditions, namely higher costs of production while the prices for their goods remain stagnant and new environmental regulations are being brutally imposed on them without state support to realize them. Right wing neo-Nazi groups are using the farming crisis to empower themselves, as they were successful in doing in the Netherlands. Clearing the FOG speaks with Morgan Ody, the general coordinator of La Via Campesina - International, about their efforts to resist this rightward turn, struggle to protect small and medium farmers from neoliberal policies, including new corporate trade agreements, and build a just transition to a more resilient, ecological and localized food system.
On January 7, Adolfo Macias, known as "Fito", a leader of an Ecuadorian drug cartel, escaped from prison, which sparked uprisings across the country. In response, President Daniel Noboa declared a national state of emergency and decreed that the country is in a state of internal conflict, listing 20 gangs as terrorist groups. Clearing the FOG spoke with Alex Main of the Center for Economic Policy and Research about the conditions that have led to growing poverty, insecurity and violence in Ecuador. Main explains how the United States is exploiting the current situation to justify sending US weapons and military personnel to to the country, which has raised concerns about violations of Ecuador's sovereignty and human rights abuses. He also discusses the upcoming elections in Venezuela and the devastating impact of US economic blockades.
Beginning on January 11, the International Court of Justice held two days of testimony regarding the case brought by South Africa against the state of Israel calling on The Court to impose provisional measures to stop Israel from committing acts of genocide against Palestinian people. Clearing the FOG speaks with South African lawyer and activist, Azhar Sakoor, about the significance of the case and other legal efforts aiming to hold all who are complicit with genocide in Palestine accountable. Sakoor also describes the current legal efforts as a 'make or break' moment for international institutions such as the United Nations that will determine whether they continue to exist or are replaced by other institutions and methods of upholding international law.
Major economic shifts are occurring in the world, in part driven by a response to Western imperialist nations' long history of attempting to impose their will through economic and military coercive measures. To understand the current state of globalization and where it is headed, Clearing the FOG speaks with Radhika Desai, the director of the Geopolitical Economy Research Group at the University of Manitoba. Desai discusses neoliberalism and how it weakens first world economies as well as alternatives such as the BRICS formation that are starting to have a significant impact in challenging Western hegemony. She also describes the current events in Western Asia as another turning point in the decline of Western power.
On January 11 and 12, the International Court of Justice, also called the World Court, will hear testimony in South Africa's case charging the state of Israel with genocide. Organizations around the world are mobilizing to press their governments to support South Africa publicly and through Declarations of Intervention in the hope that Israel will be held accountable and that effective actions will be taken to protect the rights and lives of people in Palestine. Clearing the FOG speaks with Suzanne Adely, president of the National Lawyers Guild, about the Genocide Convention, the new International Coalition to Stop Genocide in Palestine and the risk of a broader war in Western Asia.
In November, 2023, a delegation from the US Peace Council traveled to China for meetings at the invitation of the Chinese People's Association for Peace and Disarmament. Ajamu Baraka, who participated in that delegation, speaks with Clearing the FOG about what he witnessed and the contrasts between US/Western and Chinese approaches to development, diplomacy and global security. He also discusses the broader conflicts in the world, particularly in Western Asia, the fall of US hegemony, the black radical tradition's definition of peace and the Peoples-Centered Human Rights Framework. Baraka advises us to understand the gravity of the many crises we face and to take action to build a peaceful and dignified society.
We hear about the growing influence of fossil fuel, nuclear and Big Agriculture corporations over the United Nations' Conference of Parties (COP) meetings, but hardly anything about the presence of weapons makers and NATO leaders. Clearing the FOG speaks with Canadian environmental lawyer and peace activist Tamara Lorincz, who reports about the meetings and outcomes of the recently-concluded COP28. She is part of an organizing effort to highlight the carbon footprint of Western militaries and the significant contributions of NATO countries to the climate crisis. Lorincz points out the great discrepancies between what Western countries spend each year on their militaries (hundreds of billions of dollars) and what they are willing to contribute to the climate change fund (tens of millions of dollars) for reparations and relief in impacted nations.
Sunday, December 10, was the International Human Rights Day to mark the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations in 1948. Clearing the FOG spoke with human rights defender Cheri Honkala. A founder of the Poor Peoples Economic and Human Rights Campaign and the Poor People's Army, Honkala talks about the worsening situation for poor people in the United States. She also describes the protests that will be taking place at the Republican and Democratic Party's national conventions this summer, an update on her arrest and conviction at the Office of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, DC and her new book, a guide on how to take over vacant houses.
On December 7, 2022, Peruvian President Pedro Castillo made a poorly-calculated attempt to thwart right-wing plans to remove him from office. This resulted in his immediate imprisonment and the installation of his vice president, Dina Boluarte, as the de facto head of government. Boluarte quickly pivoted to align with the right-wing forces. In response, there were major protests throughout the country. For this anniversary, and also the 200th anniversary of the Monroe Doctrine, Clearing the FOG speaks with Peruvian journalist and activist, Luis Garate, about the current situation, how left-wing forces are organizing and what people in the United States can do to support the social movements' demands for new elections and accountability for those who murdered and injured hundreds of activists over the past year.
Recently, an international delegation traveled to Cairo, Egypt to visit the Rafah border crossing and pressure the United States to allow aid to be brought in to Gaza. Hundreds of trucks carrying aid are lined up at the border waiting for permission to enter. Clearing the FOG spoke with Sara Flounders, one of the members of the delegation, about the current situation in Gaza, the role of the United States in the genocide of Palestinians, how the current conflict is impacting the United States' drive to protect its hegemony and the blow back in Western Asia. Flounders also discusses the incredible solidarity across the world with Palestine and the numerous creative actions in support of the Palestinian liberation struggle.
The Israeli War on Palestine, made possible by US support, is beginning to become a regional conflict. In addition to this, the US is backing conflicts in Ukraine targeting Russia, in the Horn of Africa and in Latin America and increasing its aggression against China. Congress is appropriating hundreds of billions of dollars for the Pentagon while the majority of people in the United States struggle to meet their basic needs each week and the climate crisis worsens. To raise awareness about this, Veterans for Peace is organizing a Peace Walk 2024 from Augusta, Maine to Washington, DC, arriving in July to protest the NATO meetings being planned then. Clearing the FOG speaks with Tarak Kauff and Ellen Davidson, two of the Peace Walk organizers.