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    US Changes Course: Israeli Settlements No Longer in Violation of Law - Shocking?

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    On this episode of The Critical Hour, Dr. Wilmer Leon is joined by Miko Peled, Israeli-American activist and author of "The General's Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine."

    The Trump administration has announced the reversal of four decades of American policy, which may doom any efforts at peace between Israel and Palestine. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday that the United States will no longer consider Israeli settlements in the West Bank a violation of international law, clearing what had been an obstacle to Israel annexing Palestinian territory. How significant of a shift is this, and what will be the long-term impact?

    A rape investigation against WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange is being dropped by Swedish officials. The corroborating evidence is not sufficient to prove a criminal act, according to Sweden's deputy chief prosecutor. While speaking to the media, the prosecutor did say the decision could be appealed. A woman claimed that Assange engaged in sexual relations with her while she slept in 2010, and another woman claimed Assange tampered with a condom and engaged in unprotected sex with her without her consent. Assange remains in a London prison, where he is fighting an extradition request to the US. Are Assange's problems over, or is this the beginning of the real fight?

    The public phase of the Democrats’ impeachment probe into US President Donald Trump entered its second week on Tuesday, with both parties expecting witnesses to bolster their respective positions on the president's dealings with Ukraine. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a Ukraine specialist on the National Security Council (NSC); Jennifer Williams, a national security official who worked under Vice President Mike Pence; Tim Morrison, an outgoing NSC staffer; and Kurt Volker, a former ambassador to Ukraine, all testified Tuesday. Williams and Morrison had already offered testimony in the inquiry. Are these hearings moving the needle, or is it still too early to tell? Are the Republican arguments being dismantled?

    Are Democrats ignoring civil liberties and reauthorizing the Patriot Act in the continuing resolution to fund the federal government? "Buried in a stopgap government funding resolution unveiled by House Democrats Monday is a provision that would reauthorize the notoriously abusive Patriot Act for three months, a move privacy advocates warned would ensure President Donald Trump's administration holds on to 'terrifying authoritarian surveillance powers,'" Common Dreams reported Tuesday. Two questions: is this a legitimate concern, and should people be concerned that the Democrats went along with it? Passage of this resolution would temporarily avert a looming government shutdown by funding federal agencies through December 20. A House vote on the measure was expected as early as Tuesday.

    Yemeni Houthi rebels seized a Saudi Arabian tugboat in the southern Red Sea on Sunday, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency. Saudi military spokesman Turki al-Malki said the boat was pulling a South Korean drilling rig when it "fell under hijacking and armed robbery by two boats." Malki did not provide details on how many people were aboard the tugboat.

    Guests:

    Miko Peled — Israeli-American activist and author of "The General's Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine."  

    Daniel Lazare — Journalist and author of three books: "The Frozen Republic," "The Velvet Coup" and "America's Undeclared War."    

    Greg Palast — Award-winning investigative reporter featured in The Guardian, Nation Magazine, Rolling Stone Magazine, BBC and other high profile media outlets. He covered Venezuela for The Guardian and BBC Television's "Newsnight." His BBC reports are the basis of his film "The Assassination of Hugo Chavez."     
    Dave Lindorff — Investigative reporter and founder of the news collective This Can't Be Happening!    

    Elisabeth Myers — Editor-in-chief of Inside Arabia    

    Dr. Aisha O. Jumaan — Public health specialist working as a consultant on health-related projects in Yemen.

    We'd love to get your feedback at radio@sputniknews.com

    Tags:
    Red Sea, Houthis, Houthi, Saudi Arabia, Patriot Act, impeachment, Trump Administration, Israel, West Bank
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