The ruling FOG (Forces of Greed) spin news stories in their favor and keep the masses distracted with celebrity gossip and reality shows. Each week on Clearing The Fog, we feature guests who are working to expose the truth and offer real solutions to the current crises faced by our nation and the world. Knowledge is power, and with this knowledge you will be empowered to act to shift power to the people and weaken the corporate stranglehold on our lives. Our podcast is brought to you each week without advertising.

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Portland Protests, The Fire And Organizing Eviction Defense

By Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG. -

Portland, Oregon is one of the epicenters of the rebellion against police violence that broke out after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Portland has a long history of racism and abusive police. David Rovics, a composer, performer, organizer and activist, joins Clearing the FOG to speak about the history of Oregon as a “Whites Only” state, the resistance there, the murder of Michael Reinoehl, the current fires and his work to develop Eviction Defense Squads. Eleanor Goldfield joins Margaret in the first half of the show to discuss current news.

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Guests:

Eleanor Goldfield is the founder and host of the show, Act Out! which aired on Free Speech TV as well as in podcast form. (The podcast is still going and will pick up again April 17, 2020)! I’m also the co-host of the podcast Common Censored along with Lee Camp. Her current work focuses on more long-form and in-depth pieces, the first iteration of these being a film on West Virginia’s coal and fracking country, as well as their radical past that folks are working to uncover – so that it might inform a radical present and radically just future. As a journalist, her articles and photographs cover people and topics which are censored or misrepresented. Artistically, Eleanor works in a variety of mediums and my performances blend music, spoken word and visual projections. Visit ArtKillingApathy.com for more and check out her podcasts, Common Censored and Silver Threads.

David Rovics is a songwriter, blogger and activist who lives in Portland, OR. You can learn more about him and find his blog and music at DavidRovics.com. He is featured in Americans Who Tell the Truth.

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Cutting Through Western Imperialist Propaganda About China, Plus A Tribute To Kevin Zeese

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

As US empire wanes and China’s economy and global reach grow, the United States has entered a Cold War with China that includes economic warfare, military antagonism, and a misinformation campaign. Western imperialist media promote myths designed to build public opposition to China and support for this US aggression. This leaves even those on the left confused. Rarely do we hear from Chinese people who would provide clarity about their country. To fill that gap, the new Qiao Collective, composed of Chinese analysts and scholars, was created this year. We speak with collective member Elias Tchen. This is the last interview recorded before Kevin’s sudden death on September 6. Ralph Nader joins Margaret in the first half of the show to remember the life and work of Kevin Zeese.

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Guests:

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, author and presidential candidate who heads the Center for Responsive Law.

Elias Tchen is an analyst and member of the Qiao Collective based in Washington, DC.

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Chris Hedges: ‘We Are In A Dangerous Time’

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

When we last interviewed Chris Hedges in December, we spoke about the coming uprising and whether the left was ready for it. Now we are in the midst of a nationwide rebellion against police violence and lack of protection for workers, right wing violence is on the rise and an election is nearing. We speak to Hedges about the ways the liberal class protects the status quo, his experiences studying the Christian Right and the times in which we live. Hedges covered wars and revolutions in Latin America, the Middle East and the former Yugoslavia so he has seen what the United States is currently experiencing.

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Guest:

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning NewsThe Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He writes a weekly column for the online magazine Truthdig out of Los Angeles and is host of the Emmy Award­–winning RT America show On Contact. Hedges, who holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard University, is the author of the bestsellers American Fascists, Days of Destruction­, Days of Revolt, and was a National Book Critics Circle finalist for War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University, and the University of Toronto. He currently teaches college credit courses in the New Jersey prison system.

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The Banal Evil Of US Imperialism: A View From Inside The CIA

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

As the US Empire falls, the US government continues its regime change attempts around the world in an effort to hang onto power. We see the same tactics applied over and over again. We speak with John Kiriakou, a former CIA analyst and case officer, about what regime change looks like from inside the CIA, which he describes as similar to the Bansky painting, “The Banality of the Banality of Evil.” He reveals the tension between those who ignore the illegality of what the US is doing and those who believe in the rule of law, how the process of deciding to intervene in a country works, and then how it is carried out. He provides specific examples from his own experience, plus his thoughts on what is happening in Belarus and Hong Kong, and the current state of US politics.

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Guest:

John Kiriakou is a former CIA analyst and case officer, former senior investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and former counterterrorism consultant. While employed by the CIA, he was involved in critical counterterrorism missions following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, but refused to be trained in so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques.” and Kiriakou never authorized or engaged in these techniques:

After leaving the CIA, Kiriakou appeared on ABC News in an interview with Brian Ross, during which he became the first former CIA officer to confirm that the agency waterboarded detainees and label waterboarding as torture. Kiriakou’s interview revealed that this practice was not just the result of a few rogue agents, but was official U.S. policy approved at the highest levels of the government.

The government started investigating Kiriakou immediately after his media appearance. Five years later, the government finally succeeded in piecing together enough information to criminally prosecute him. He became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act – a law designed to punish spies, not whistleblowers.

When Kiriakou came to GAP for help, we began acting as his legal counsel on whistleblower issues and started a public advocacy campaign on his case. Eventually, in order to avoid a trial that could have resulted in separation from his wife and five children for up to 45 years, he opted to plead guilty to one count (not Espionage) in exchange for a 30-month sentence.

Kiriakou is the sole CIA agent to go to jail in connection with the U.S. torture program, despite the fact that he never tortured anyone. Rather, he blew the whistle on this horrific wrongdoing. Read more here. Visit his website here.

 

 

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Beirut Explosion, Western Imperialism And Media Misinformation

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

On August 4, 2020, an explosion of tons of ammonium nitrate being stored at the port of Beirut Lebanon ripped through the city killing 0ver 170 people and injuring 6,000 people. This happened at a time when Beirut was already suffering an economic collapse and the COVID-19 pandemic. We speak with Rania Khalek, a Lebanese-American independent journalist who was in Beirut, about what it was like during and after the explosion, the protests that followed and the complicated political situation in Lebanon. Khalek explains how the United States and other Western and Gulf States are interfering and causing more harm and why much of what we hear in the Western media about Lebanon is false.

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Guest:

Rania Khalek is a Lebanese-American independent journalist. She is the producer and host of Soapbox and the co-host of Unauthorized Disclosure.

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After 300 Years, It’s Time To End Capitalism, Not Reform It

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

The United States is facing multiple crises with no signs of improvement on the horizon – a deep recession, high unemployment, millions of people soon to be displaced from their homes, a failed healthcare system in the midst of a pandemic, the climate crisis and more. We speak with Professor Richard Wolff, an economist and the author of “Democracy at Work”, about the history of capitalism and how it is inherently unstable. Prof. Wolff posits that the United States is now in a situation where capitalism is unlikely to survive. He describes why that is and the lessons we must learn from the fatal mistakes made when the US was in a similar situation one hundred years ago.

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Our Guest:

Professor Richard Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, New York City. Earlier he taught economics at Yale University (1967-1969) and at the City College of the City University of New York (1969-1973). In 1994, he was a Visiting Professor of Economics at the University of Paris (France), I (Sorbonne). Wolff was also regular lecturer at the Brecht Forum in New York City. Read more here. Follow his work at Democracyatwork.info and on Twitter at @profwolff.

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As Mass Evictions Loom, Practical Advice For Housing Takeovers

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

Federal protection against housing evictions has expired and local and state governments are not stepping up to fill in the gap leaving tens of millions of families vulnerable to homelessness during this growing pandemic and deep recession. In Philadelphia and across the country families, out of desperation, are taking over empty publicly-owned housing. It is estimated that there are up to ten vacant homes for every homeless person. We speak with Cheri Honkala of the Poor People’s Economic and Human Rights campaign about the practicalities of housing takeovers from identifying empty houses to how to turn on the utilities and talk to police. Honkala has decades of experience in this and other necessary actions to survive in poverty in the United States.

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Our Guest:

Cheri Honkala is an American anti-poverty advocate, co-founder of the Kensington Welfare Rights Union (KWRU) and co-founder and National Coordinator of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. She has been a noted advocate for human rights in the United States and internationally. She is the mother of actor Mark Webber. She was featured prominently in the 1997 book Myth of the Welfare Queen by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Zucchino. In 2011, Honkala was the Green Party candidate for Sheriff of Philadelphia, running on the promise of refusing to evict families from their homes. She was the Green Party’s nominee for vice-president in the 2012 U.S. presidential election.

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The Militarized Assault On Our Right To Protest

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

The Trump Administration sent federal law enforcement, including the paramilitary squad of Customs and Border Patrol, BORTAC, which has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, to the streets of Portland, OR to stop the ongoing demonstrations against racist police violence. Federal law enforcement, working with local police, is also being sent to other cities where anti-racist protests are going on. We speak with constitutional lawyer Mara Verheyden-Hilliard about the legality of this and how activists can fight back to protect the rights of everyone and end police violence and lawless impunity.

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Our guest:

Mara Verheyden-Hilliard is a constitutional lawyer and the co-founder and co-director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, a public interest legal organization that brings a unique and cutting edge approach dedicated to the defense of human and civil rights secured by law, the protection of free speech and dissent, and the elimination of prejudice and discrimination. Read more about PCJF here.

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Climate Justice Advocates Celebrate Important Victories But Big Oil And Gas Aren’t Giving In

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

Climate justice advocates are justifiably celebrating recent victories such as stopping three major pipelines, a new court decision regarding the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and national discussion of the Green New Deal, but does this mean we are winning? We speak with Steve Horn, a climate reporter and investigative journalist, about the future of the Atlantic Coast, Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, what it means that oil companies are going bankrupt and a proposal to create a North American version of OPEC. Steve describes how fossil fuel companies are working to preserve their future and what we must do to save ours.

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Our guest:

Steve Horn is a former Research Fellow and writer for DeSmog Blog and a freelance investigative journalist based in San Diego, CA. He currently works as a climate reporter and producer for The Real News Network.

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Green Party Nominates Two Workers For The White House

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

The Green Party of the United States held its presidential nominating convention, a virtual convention, this past weekend. The nominees are Howie Hawkins, a co-founder of the party and the first candidate to bring the Green New Deal to the US, for president and Angela Walker for vice president. Both are members of the working class – a retired Teamster and a truckdriver. Both are also lifelong socialists who are working to build the Green Patry and build unity among the Left in the US. We speak with Howie and Angela about the times in which we live, why they are running and what they hope to accomplish through their campaign.

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Guests:

Howie Hawkins is the original Green New Dealer, the first US candidate to campaign for a Green New Deal in 2010. He is also one of the original Greens in the United States, having participated in the first national meeting to organize a US Green Party in St. Paul, Minnesota in August 1984. Howie became active in “The Movement” for civil rights and against the war in Vietnam in the 1960s as a teenager in the San Francisco Bay Area. Repelled by the racism and warmongering he saw in both major parties, he asked, “Where is my party?” From the start, he was committed to independent working-class politics for a democratic, socialist, and ecological society. Read the full bio here.

Angela Walker is an independent socialist who describes herself as “a Fred Hampton, Assata Shakur socialist.” She was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to a working-class Black family. She learned early that though money was necessary to live in this society, it was less important than integrity, cooperation, and dignity. This upbringing shaped the activist and organizer she later became. Angela attended Bay View High School in Milwaukee, graduating in 1992. She and a group of Black students petitioned for and received an African American history class at their predominantly White school. Angela became a member of the Army Reserve in August 1992, and began classes at the Milwaukee Area Technical College in 1993, after the birth of her daughter. In late 1993, Angela and her daughter, Epiphany, relocated to Jacksonville, Florida. Read the full bio here.

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Update On Assange: The Most Important Press Freedom Case Of This Era

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

This past week, just as public sentiment and corporate media attention were shifting in favor of Julian Assange, the United States issued another superseding indictment in his extradition case. The indictment doesn’t add any charges, it merely uses public information to smear Assange’s reputation and attempt to portray him as a hacker instead of the journalist and publisher that he is. This shows that the US government has a weak case against Assange. Joe Lauria, an investigative journalist and senior editor of Consortium News, explains the new indictment and provides an update on Julian Assange. The Assange case is the most important press freedom case of this era. It will determine our right to know what our government and corporations are doing.

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Guest:

Joe Lauria is Consortiumnews.com’s Editor-in-Chief. As a long-time contributor to the website and as someone whose career path followed closely the path taken by Consortium News founder Robert Parry – with an impressive resume in both mainstream and independent journalism. Joe has a long and distinguished career in investigative journalism, writing for publications including the Wall Street JournalBoston Globe, the Sunday Times of LondonLondon Daily Mail, the Montreal Gazette, and Bloomberg News. Joe’s work has also appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Salon.com, New York Magazine and The Guardian, as well as alternative media websites such as Antiwar.com, The Duran, and of course, Consortiumnews.com. His focus has been international affairs and its intersection with domestic policy, particularly regarding the Middle East (where he lived for three years), and U.S.-Russian relations. He is the author of two books, A Political Odyssey, with former U.S. Senator and American presidential candidate Mike Gravel, which is a history of U.S. foreign policy and the defense industry, and How I Lost: By Hillary Clinton, an analysis of the DNC and Podesta emails revealed by WikiLeaks, with a foreword by Julian Assange.

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Black Activists Expose The FBI Targeting Their Movements

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

In 2017, a leak from the FBI revealed they were targeting black activists organizing to end racist policies and practices calling them “Black Identity Extremists.” This is consistent with the FBI’s long history of investigating and harassing black and brown activists. Organizations like Media Justice and the ACLU have been working to get information from the FBI about what they are doing and who they are targeting but the FBI has been putting barriers in their way. We speak with Myaisha Hayes of Media Justice about what they have learned so far and its impact on activists. Hayes also discusses their efforts to urge Congress to stop federal funding for surveillance of people exercising their constitutional rights and to educate activists about ways to protect themselves.

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Guest:

Myaisha Hayes is the Campaign Strategies Director at MediaJustice. She previously spent two years as the organization’s National Organizer on Criminal Justice & Technology, where she oversaw the launch of the #NoDigitalPrisons and #ProtectBlackDissent campaigns. Myaisha also brings several years of organizing experience with her from various national and local campaigns including President Obama’s re-election campaign, Fight for $15, and the CLOSErikers Campaign. As the grandchild of a political prisoner, she is deeply committed to organizing people power that leads to radical transformative change and justice. Myaisha earned her BA in Black Studies at Occidental College and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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To Deal With Police, We Must Understand Why They Even Exist

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

The recent protests across the country following the murder of George Floyd have elevated the demands to defund and abolish the police. This comes on the heels of the nationwide resurgence of a movement for community control of police led by the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. We speak with author and activist Max Rameau of Pan African Community Action about the role of police in the bigger picture of the evolution of human beings as protectors of private property and wealth, the pitfalls of defunding police if this dynamic is not addressed and what community control of police looks like. Max is co-author with Netfa Freeman of an upcoming book, “Community Control over Police.”

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Guest:

Max Rameau is a Haitian born Pan-African theorist, campaign strategist, organizer and author. After moving to Miami, Florida in 1991, Max began organizing around a broad range of human rights issues impacting low-income Black communities, including Immigrant rights (particularly Haitian immigrants), economic justice, LGBTQ rights, voting rights, particularly for ex-felons and police abuse, among others. As a result of the devastating impacts of gentrification taking root during the housing “boom,” in the summer of 2006 Max helped found the organization which eventually became known as Take Back the Land, to address ‘Land’ issues in the Black community. In October 2006, Take Back the Land seized control of a vacant lot in the Liberty City section of Miami and built the Umoja Village, a full urban shantytown, addressing the issues of land, self-determination and homelessness in the Black community. Read more here.

 

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US Veterans, Including Active Duty, Reject Militarization Against Demonstrators

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

The United States is in the midst of a mass uprising against police violence, but also a whole list of grievances such as the lack of jobs, health care, education and more. Sustained protests have been going on for two weeks defying curfews and severe repression by police. The national guard has been deployed to 23 states and President Trump threatened to deploy the military against people expressing their First Amendment rights. We speak with Danny Sjursen, a retired Major and spokesperson for About Face: Veterans Against the War, about how members of the military are responding to current events. Veterans have called for members of the national guard and military to refuse illegal orders and they are receiving an unprecedented number of responses. Danny also provides insight into the police community and why they are doubling down on repression.

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Guest:

Danny Sjursen is a retired US Army officer and contributing editor at Antiwar.com His work has appeared in the NY Times, LA Times, The Nation, Huff Post, The Hill, Salon, Mother Jones, Popular Resistance, and Tom Dispatch, among other publications. He served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge. His forthcoming book, Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War(Heyday Books) is available for pre-order. Follow him on Twitter @SkepticalVet and see his website for speaking/media requests and past publications.

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Steven Donziger Challenged A Corporate Polluter And Won, Now They’re Trying To Ruin Him

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG. -

Texaco was the first oil company to drill in the Amazon. To maximize profits, and because they thought they could get away with it, they did not take any steps to protect local communities or the environment from their toxic waste. For a long time, they did get away with it. Then a group of lawyers and organizations worked with locals to sue Chevron, which bought Texaco, and won a $9.5 billion judgment. Chevron refuses to pay and instead has gone after the lawyer, Steven Donziger, in unprecedented ways with a vengeance. We speak with Donziger and Paul Paz y Miño of Amazon Watch. For more information, visit DonzigerDefense.com, MakeChevronCleanUp.com and AmazonWatch.org.

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Guests:

Steven Donziger is a lawyer, writer, former journalist and environmental advocate currently known for leading an unrelenting (24 years and counting) legal battle against Chevron Corporation related to its contamination of the Ecuadorian rainforest. Steven has led a variety of international human rights fact-finding and advocacy projects, served as a public defender, and edited a leading text on criminal justice reform. In the Chevron/Ecuador case, his “Herculean tenacity” (Business Week) is often credited with keeping the case on track for 18 years until his clients prevailed in a complex environmental trial and won a $9.5 billion damages judgment. That judgment has since been affirmed on appeal and by Ecuador’s Supreme Court, and Donziger is now part of efforts to enforce that judgment against Chevron’s assets in jurisdictions around the world, including Canada, Brazil, and Argentina. After winning the judgment, Steven was the main target of campaign of retaliatory litigation by Chevron that the company admitted was designed to “demonize” him. To combat the efforts of Steven and his colleagues, Chevron has deployed a team of 60 law firms and more than 2,000 lawyers and consultants, at a cost conservatively estimated at $2 billion. Chevron’s defense is considered the largest and most expensive such effort in the history of the fossil fuel industry. Read more here.

Paul Paz y Miño joined Amazon Watch in 2007. He has an MA in International Affairs from George Washington University. Since 1995, he has volunteered as Colombia Country Specialist for Amnesty International USA and was the Guatemala/Chiapas Program Director at the Seva Foundation for seven years. Paul has lived in Chiapas, Mexico and Quito, Ecuador, promoting human rights and community development and working directly with indigenous communities. Paul is also an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and served on the board of Peace Brigades International USA.
Follow Paul on Twitter: @paulpaz

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