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No Laughing Matter: Russiagate Hysteria Deepens Grave Diplomatic Crisis

No Laughing Matter: Russiagate Hysteria Deepens Grave Diplomatic Crisis
On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Walter Smolarek (sitting in for Brian Becker) and John Kiriakou are joined by Alexander Mercouris, the editor in chief of The Duran, and Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of “The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup,” and “America's Undeclared War.”

Russia has closed a US consulate and expelled 60 US diplomats, along with 90 diplomats from other countries, matching the US and EU actions earlier this month over the Sergei Skripal case. Meanwhile, British authorities say they've pinpointed the location where Russian double agent Skripal and his daughter were poisoned. The front door of the family's home shows the highest concentration of an A-234 nerve agent. We'll also look at developments in the Russiagate investigation.

Today, the weekly series "Criminal Injustice" continues, where the hosts discuss the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Today's segment focuses on the school-to-prison pipeline and police killings. Kevin Gosztola, a writer for and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, and Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News, join the show.

A historic meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is set for April 27 on the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone. This is the first time since 2007 that leaders of the two countries have met. No agenda has yet been agreed upon. Brian and John speak with Tim Shorrock, a Washington-based investigative journalist who grew up in Japan and South Korea and who is the author of "SPIES FOR HIRE: The Secret World of Outsourced Intelligence."

President Trump fired Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and replaced him with Admiral Ronny Jackson, the president's personal physician. Jackson has no management experience whatsoever, but will be charged with cleaning up a department in crisis. Shulkin was the only cabinet holdover from the Obama Administration. Ryan Endicott, an anti-war Iraq veteran and a graduate clinical intern mental health counselor for veterans.

A judge in Massachusetts has found a group of 13 pipeline protesters not guilty of crimes related to a protest in which they climbed into holes that had been dug for a high-pressure gas pipeline. The 13 were the first of 198 people set to go on trial, including the daughter of former Vice President Al Gore. The judge said protest against climate change was a legal necessity. Kevin Zeese, the co-coordinator of Popular Resistance whose work is at, joins Walter and John.

The group Health Over Profit for Everyone, in partnership with the Backbone Campaign, is offering the first Single Payer Action Camp to build participants' skills in strategy, messaging, and direct action to win improved Medicare for all. The camp will take place from April 7-10 in Washington. Mike Pappas, an organizer with the Single Payer Action Camp and a Georgetown University medical student, joins the show.

A review of public documents by Politico reveals that the Trump Administration made a conscious decision to focus almost exclusively on Houston after it was hit by Hurricane Harvey last year, and to ignore Puerto Rico, which was harder hit three weeks later by Hurricane Maria. Politico said that disaster recovery experts have expressed shock at the double standard. Brian and John speak with Ruth Beltran, an organizer with Black Lives Matter Tampa.

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