Podcast: Right-Wing Attacks on Outspoken Muslims & Anti-Muslim Racism in the UK

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Abdullah al-Andalusi

Telegraph writer Andrew Gilligan has a history of right-wing attacks against radical Muslims in the United Kingdom and smear them in his reporting. Gilligan’s latest attack was against Abdullah al-Andalusi, an Islamic lecturer and writer.

Al-Andalusi was the target of Gilligan’s slimy attack because he has worked for the public sector in the UK. Gilligan questioned whether Muslims should be permitted to work civil service jobs and tried to gin up additional fear by shamefully distorting al-Andalusi’s previous writing to make him seem like an Islamic State sympathizer. He is this week’s guest on the “Unauthorized Disclosure” podcast.

Astonishingly, despite the fact that al-Andalusi has a public persona and six years of lectures, writings, and television appearances, Gilligan still managed to cut-and-paste sentences from an article denouncing the Islamic State in order to argue al-Andalusi supported the Islamic State.

Al-Andalusi had crossed the line in the eyes of reactionaries in the British press when he compared ISIS practices to previous atrocities committed by British or US armies in the Middle East. However, as he points out, he is not the first person to put forward this analysis condemning any entity, including Western governments, which commit crimes against humanity.

He explains during the interview how he is cast as some kind of terrorist sympathizer because he is Muslim, even though others like writer/lecturer Noam Chomsky have also made similar arguments.

“That kind of discrimination is the epitome of the kind of unequal treatment and consideration Muslims are given vis-à-vis non-Muslim citizens,” in the United Kingdom, al-Andalusi adds. He goes on to address programs, such as PREVENT, and other tactics by the British government to address Islamic extremism and describes how these policies fuel and are reinforced by anti-Muslim racism.

During the discussion portion, hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola discuss the Chattanooga shooting, Saudi Arabia rounding up over 400 people suspected of involvement in Islamic State plots, the Iran nuclear deal, Obama’s NAACP speech, and Sandra Bland.

The podcast is available on iTunes for download. For a link (and also to download the episode), go here. Click on “go here” and a page will load with the audio file of the podcast. The file will automatically start playing so you can listen to the episode.

Also, below is a player for listening to the podcast. You can listen to the podcast this way by clicking on the player. And please follow the show on Twitter at @UnauthorizedDis.

Podcast: The Threat of Unspecified Terrorism Attacks by People Who Shall Not Be Named is Very Real

Adam Johnson
Adam Johnson

There were no Islamic State-inspired terrorism attacks on or around the Fourth of July in the United States, but CNN and other major US media organizations expended much energy spreading fear far and wide so Americans would be on edge throughout the holiday weekend. And, when nothing happened, FBI Director James Comey fabricated claims that terrorism suspects arrested in June were at one point prepared to attack on July 4.

At least ten individuals were said to have been arrested with Islamic State ties. These were the people, who the FBI allegedly stopped from attacking Americans on Independence Day, and that justified all the hysteria in the media around potential terrorism. However, the government’s own complaints against them contain no allegations that any of their planned acts were being timed to coincide with the holiday.

Officially, the FBI would not back up its claims with specifics. “We are not providing any information beyond what you’re seeing in media reports. There was no information provided on specific individual[s] or what they hoped to do,” an FBI spokesperson replied to a request for evidence.

On the “Unauthorized Disclosure” podcast this week, Adam Johnson (@adamjohnsonNYC), associate editor at AlterNet.org and contributing writer to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), joins the show. Johnson has been aggressively questioning and exposing all aspects of the bogus terror warnings hyped by the government and media recently. He details what drives media outlets like CNN to hype terror warnings that cannot be backed up by specific threats and talks about the FBI being at least zero for forty when it comes to issuing terror warnings that resulted in attacks.

During the discussion part of the episode, the show’s hosts, Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola, cover a federal judge’s order to prepare the release of videos of a former Guantanamo prisoner being force-fed, a major review showing American Psychological Association officials protected national security psychologists involved in US torture, the one-year anniversary of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, US strikes which killed over 100 people in Afghanistan, and Lindsey Graham saying peace activists make the world dangerous as he bellowed about bombing Iran.

The podcast is available on iTunes for download. For a link (and also to download the episode), go here. Click on “go here” and a page will load with the audio file of the podcast. The file will automatically start playing so you can listen to the episode.

Also, below is a player for listening to the podcast. You can listen to the podcast this way by clicking on the player. And please follow the show on Twitter at @UnauthorizedDis.

Podcast: Recent FBI Sting, White Terrorism Threat, Transgender Activist Interrupts Obama & Marriage Equality

udlogoThis week on the “Unauthorized Disclosure” podcast:

Hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola discuss the major Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in the United States; an undocumented transgender activist who interrupted President Barack Obama’s remarks at the LGBT Pride Reception at the White House and was booed; the threat of white terrorism, which the US government largely ignores; a recent elaborate FBI sting against a poor black felon that shows where the agency is putting its resources; and how the FBI monitored live streams of Ferguson protests.

No guest this week.

The podcast is available on iTunes for download. For a link (and also to download the episode), go here. Click on “go here” and a page will load with the audio file of the podcast. The file will automatically start playing so you can listen to the episode.

Also, below is a player for listening to the podcast. You can listen to the podcast this way by clicking on the player. And please follow the show on Twitter at @UnauthorizedDis.

Podcast: The Dominican Republic’s Plan to Racially Cleanse the Country of Black Haitians

Jemima Pierre (Photo from Twitter)
Jemima Pierre

The Dominican Republic is set to purge its country of hundreds of thousands of black Haitian migrants or black Dominicans of Haitian descent. The government has stripped anyone born in Haiti after 1929 of their citizenship and rendered this entire population stateless. Numerous Haitians have fled or are hiding as they wait to see what the immigration agency will do next.

Army General Ruben Paulino, who leads the immigration agency, said his agency would conduct patrols of neighborhoods with “large numbers of migrants” after June 18. Any “non-citizens,” who were unregistered, would be “repatriated.” The individuals would be loaded on buses, trucks, or ambulances—and then expelled from the country.

On the “Unauthorized Disclosure” podcast this week, Dr. Jemima Pierre, a professor at UCLA of African Diaspora Studies & an editor for Black Agenda Report, joins the show to talk about the Dominican Republic. She describes the history of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, as well as the United States’ role since the US once occupied the island where Haiti and the Dominican Republic are located. She details the anti-black racism that has deep roots in the Dominican Republic.

During the discussion part of the show, the show’s hosts talk about Dylann Roof’s manifesto and share thoughts on the political and media reaction to the church massacre in Charleston. They also talk about a Louisville FOP president and his vitriolic open letter directed toward Black Lives Matter activists. And the show wraps with some quick thoughts about a court ordering US officials to intercept a Guatemalan mother and her child, who were deported, and return them to the United States.

The podcast is available on iTunes for download. For a link (and also to download the episode), go here. Click on “go here” and a page will load with the audio file of the podcast. The file will automatically start playing so you can listen to the episode.

Also, below is a player for listening to the podcast. You can listen to the podcast this way by clicking on the player. And please follow the show on Twitter at @UnauthorizedDis.

Below is a partial transcript of the interview.
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Podcast: The US Surveillance State Now That USA Freedom Act is Law

Marcy Wheeler

The USA Freedom Act was signed into law this past week. It was viewed as both a victory for those concerned with privacy and restricting the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance and also as a law that did not go far enough in restricting spy agencies. In fact, the USA Freedom Act further codified the post-9/11 legal framework for surveillance and resurrected Patriot Act provisions, which expired for a couple days.

The law did do away with the NSA’s control of all Americans’ domestic call records. On the other hand, it left other programs, policies and practices, which NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed to the public, entirely untouched. For example, “backdoor searches” under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act can continue, which means the NSA can collect emails, browsing and chat history of US citizens without a warrant.

On “Unauthorized Disclosure” this week, journalist Marcy Wheeler joins the show to discuss the current state of play now that this law considered to be reform has passed.

Wheeler has written more about the USA Freedom Act than any other journalist. Her work can be found at Emptywheel as well as ExposeFacts.org, where she regularly contributes to the site’s “Right to Know” column.

During the discussion portion of the show, hosts Kevin Gosztola and Rania Khalek highlight how the US government declassified some of the torture memories of a former CIA detainee, Majid Khan. Gosztola talks about journalist Jason Leopold and how he was told to never file another FOIA request with a Pentagon in-house think tank. Khalek discusses a Texas law allowing people to carry firearms on college campuses and how President Barack Obama is trying to get an anti-slavery provision removed from the Trans-Pacific Partnership for Malaysia.

The podcast is available on iTunes for download. For a link (and also to download the episode), go here. Click on “go here” and a page will load with the audio file of the podcast. The file will automatically start playing so you can listen to the episode.

Also, below is a player for listening to the podcast. You can listen to the podcast this way or you can go to iTunes and find the podcast listed there. And follow the show on Twitter at @UnauthorizedDis.

Podcast: The Case of Sharif Mobley, Detained American Possibly Killed in Saudi Attack in Yemen

Kat Craig, legal director for Reprieve
Kat Craig, legal director for Reprieve
Sharif Mobley is a US citizen, who was kidnapped in Yemen and has been in detention for five years. The FBI is known to have interrogated him. His life has been increasingly endangered as war rages in Yemen, and this past week the military compound, where he has been held, was bombed.

His family and lawyers representing him are afraid he has been killed. They have pled for assistance from the United States State Department. Like previous attempts to obtain assistance, the US government has failed the American’s family miserably.

Authorities in Yemen (and presumably the US government as well) claim that Mobley attempted to escape a hospital after he was kidnapped. He has been accused of shooting a guard, who died later, and faces a murder charge. That has been the justification by the Yemen government for his continued detention. It does not, however, justify how he has essentially been held incommunicado.

On the “Unauthorized Disclosure” weekly podcast, Kat Craig is the show’s guest. She is the legal director of the international human rights non-governmental organization, Reprieve. She has worked extensively on Mobley’s case.

Kat Craig, legal director for Reprieve, which is an international human rights non-governmental organization, joins the show to talk about Sharif Mobley’s case.

Later in the episode, hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola talk about the Obama administration being ordered to redact and prepare videos of Guantanamo Bay force-feeding for release. Khalek highlights the $1.9 million in arms being given to Israel by the Obama administration. Khalek and Gosztola also talk about the made-up terrorist group in Syria, “Khorasan Group,” which the US government conjured to build support for war. Finally, Gosztola delves into the importance of the expiration of Patriot Act provisions.

The podcast is available on iTunes for download. For a link (and also to download the episode), go here. Click on “go here” and a page will load with the audio file of the podcast. The file will automatically start playing so you can listen to the episode.

The episode can also be heard by clicking “play” on the below player:


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Podcast: CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling & the Government’s Campaign to Silence Him

Screen shot 2015-05-17 at 10.22.11 AMFormer CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for leaking to a journalist. It was the longest sentenced issued under President Barack Obama’s administration by a federal court as punishment for a leak.

During a trial in January, he was convicted of violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses. The government convinced a jury, with largely circumstantial evidence, that Sterling had leaked information about a top secret CIA operation in Iran called “Operation Merlin” to New York Times reporter James Risen, who later published details on the operation in a chapter of his book, State of War. (“Operation Merlin” involved the passage of flawed nuclear blueprints to Iran in order to get them to work on building a nuclear weapon that would never function.)

The government pushed hard for Sterling to be sentenced to prison as long as 19 to 24 years.

This week on the “Unauthorized Disclosure” podcast Jesselyn Radack is the show’s guest. Radack is the director of the National Security and Human Rights Division of the Government Accountability Project. She has represented a number of prominent whistleblowers, such as Thomas Drake, John Kiriakou, and, currently, Edward Snowden. She is also a Justice Department whistleblower.

During the interview, Radack discusses Sterling’s sentence and compares his case to recent leak prosecutions. She highlights how he is a whistleblower and highlights the personal toll that a prosecution like this can take on a person. She reacts to some notable statements Sterling made in his first interview, which was produced by the advocacy organization, Expose Facts. In the final portion of the interview, Radack reacts to the ridiculous letter to the Times from former CIA directors, including some who leaked the names of covert agents. They lecture the Times on the need to protect the names of CIA officials involved in the drone program.

The podcast is available on iTunes for download. For a link (and also to download the episode), go here. Click on “go here” and a page will load with the audio file of the podcast. The file will automatically start playing so you can listen to the episode.

The episode can also be heard by clicking “play” on the below player:

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Podcast: Omar Khadr’s Newfound Freedom Amidst ‘Sea of Demonization’ in Canada

Janice Williamson
Janice Williamson
Omar Khadr, who was once one of the youngest prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, was released on bail in Canada on Thursday. He said of his newfound freedom that what he was experiencing was “much better” than he had thought it would be.

On this week’s “Unauthorized Disclosure” episode, Janice Williamson, editor of the book, Omar Khadr: Oh Canada, and a professor at the University of Alberta, joins the show to talk about the release of Khadr from Canadian jail. She reflects on his past history, from his experiences as one of the youngest people imprisoned at Guantanamo to his newfound freedom as the man he is now. She also highlights the “sea of demonization” fueled by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has pushed counterterrorism measures in government that are inspired by anti-Muslim racism.

Khadr suffered torture at the hands of the United States military, which captured him on the battlefield in Afghanistan. He was willing to plead guilty to anything in order to get out of Guantanamo and confessed in 2010 that he threw a grenade, which killed an American soldier, so he would be transferred to Canada.

In 2012, Khadr was brought to Canada where he was jailed to serve his sentence for pleading guilty to committing this war crime. It set a dangerous precedent because he was a child on a battlefield and numerous advocates for child soldiers condemned the fact that the US sought to hold Khadr accountable.

Khadr’s lawyers have appealed his conviction in the US. Although Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government intends to fight to put Khadr back in jail, he is expected to remain free during his appeal.

During the discussion portion, the show’s hosts, Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola, talk about a reparations ordinance that passed in Chicago for police torture survivors, Israel’s parliament becoming even more virulently right-wing and openly supportive of violence, and two federal appeals court decisions of significance. One involves three activists having their Sabotage Act convictions reversed, and the other involves the NSA phone records collection surveillance program being ruled unlawful.

The podcast is available on iTunes for download. For a link (and also to download the episode), go here. Click on “go here” and a page will load with the audio file of the podcast. The file will automatically start playing so you can listen to the episode.

The episode can also be heard by clicking “play” on the below player: