Courts in New York and Alexandria, Virginia delivered bombshells for President Trump yesterday, as former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted of eight felony counts of bank fraud, and Trump attorney Michael Cohen turned himself in to the FBI and pleaded guilty to eight counts of campaign finance fraud, bank fraud, and wire fraud. Manafort will now go on trial on additional fraud counts in Washington, DC, and Cohen will go to prison for between three and five years.
Wednesday's regular segment, Beyond Nuclear with Kevin Kamps, looks at nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Today they focus on Trump's plan to cut coal regulations, and the connections between the coal and nuclear industries. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, joins the show.
Facebook announced yesterday that it had taken down 652 fake accounts and pages with ties to Iranian and Russian propaganda organs. The company said there were four different campaigns, with three originating in Iran. Is Facebook jumping on the war hysteria bandwagon? Brian and John speak with Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter and founder of This Can't Be Happening!, as well as a columnist for CounterPunch, and a contributor to Businessweek, The Nation, Extra! and Salon.com.
Saudi Arabia is preparing to execute five people, including a woman, for participating in peaceful demonstrations in support of rights for Shia Muslims. The public prosecutor, who reports directly to King Salman, has charged the five with a variety of so-called crimes, including, "participating in protests, incitement to protest, chanting slogans, attempting to inflame public opinion, filming protests, and providing moral support to rioters." The five could be beheaded as soon as Friday. Ali al-Ahmed, the director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs, joins the show.
Russia's foreign minister said that the Taliban have accepted an invitation to attend talks on the future of Afghanistan to be held in Moscow on September 4. Sergei Lavrov said that the aim of the talks is to encourage the Taliban to abandon hostilities, to engage in a dialogue with the Afghan government, and to protect Russian citizens in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, hopes for a temporary halt in the fighting have broken down following a mass kidnapping and a rocket attack on the presidential palace as President Ashraf Ghani was giving a speech. Brian Terrell, a long time peace activist and a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, joins Brian and John.
National Security Advisor John Bolton said yesterday that the United States would respond "very strongly" if forces loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad use chemical weapons in an offensive to retake Idlib Province. But doesn't that just open the door for US-allied forces to use chemical weapons and blame the Syrian government? Rick Sterling, an investigative journalist and member of the Syria Solidarity Movement, joins the show.
Tensions between the United States and Turkey, along with the country's economic instability, continue to heat up. National Security Advisor John Bolton told reporters yesterday that Turkey could end its lira-battering crisis with Washington "instantly" by freeing a detained American pastor. Bolton added that promises of cash from the Qatari government will not save Turkey's economy. Brian and John speak with Ambassador Robert Pearson, a former US Ambassador to Turkey and former director general of the US Foreign Service.
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