22:14 GMT20 September 2020
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    US Federal Court Rules NSA Metadata Collection Program Illegal

    The Critical Hour
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    On this edition of The Critical Hour, co-hosts Dr. Wilmer Leon and Garland Nixon talk to Ray McGovern about a US federal court ruling that the National Security Agency (NSA) program that collected phone metadata from US citizens violated the law.

    A three-judge panel on the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled on Wednesday that the NSA surveillance program that gathered phone metadata from Americans according to Section 215 of the Patriot Act was illegal. What are we to make of this?

    Back in June, the Washington Post reported, "Forces of Libya's UN-backed government seized control of the last remaining western stronghold of militia commander Khalifa Hifter ... dealing a major setback to his ambitions to wrest control of the country." On Thursday, the Post reported that "infighting within the government now threatens to unravel it and plunge the country into the next chapter of chaos."

    "Human rights advocates the world over condemned the Trump administration on Wednesday for imposing sanctions on two top officials at the International Criminal Court — just the latest act of retaliation for the Hague-based ICC's ongoing investigation into war crimes allegedly committed by US forces and others in Afghanistan during the so-called War on Terror," Common Dreams reported Wednesday. What is the inside story?

    "[Venezuelan] Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said on Twitter that a letter had been sent to UN chief Antonio Guterres and EU top diplomat Joseph Borrell, outlining 'the broad electoral guarantees agreed for the upcoming parliamentary elections,' and inviting them to send observers," AFP reported Thursday. What does this say about Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the US lackey Juan Guaido and the ongoing attempts by the US to overthrow the democratically elected president of a foreign and sovereign country?

    Our next guest Danny Sjursen has a great piece in Antiwar.com entitled "NATO’s ‘Unified Front’ at Breaking Point," wherein he describes "increasingly frequent – and exceedingly awkward – tensions between several of Washington’s core North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies. Indeed, from South America to East Asia, NATO members stand divided over many critical foreign policy issues of the moment." What’s going on here?

    "Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko promoted hardline loyalists to top posts in his security apparatus on Thursday in an effort to strengthen his grip on the former Soviet republic after weeks of mass protests and strikes," Reuters reported Thursday. Is this odd or wrong? 

    "Pressure mounted on German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday to reconsider the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will take gas from Russia to Germany, after she said Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny had been poisoned with a Soviet-style nerve agent," Reuters reported Thursday. What are we to make of this? 

    "It is a felony under North Carolina law to vote more than once or 'induce' others to do so, but that didn't stop President Donald Trump from openly encouraging residents of the state to attempt to cast two ballots in the November election in an interview with a local reporter Wednesday," Common Dreams reported Thursday. What was the pushback?

    Guests:

    Ray McGovern - Former CIA analyst and co-founder Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Peace

    Laith Marouf - Broadcaster and journalist based in Beirut, Lebanon

    Elisabeth Myers - Lawyer, former editor-in-chief of Inside Arabia and democracy lead for Democrats Abroad

    Leo Flores - Latin America Coordinator for Code Pink

    Danny Sjursen - Retired US Army major and author of "Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War"

    Daniel Lazare - Investigative journalist and author of "The Velvet Coup"

    Caleb Maupin - Journalist and political analyst

    Talib Karim - Former aide to members of Congress and CEO of Abe Legal, a platform for helping families and businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic

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

    Tags:
    Voting, Nord Stream 2, Belarus, NATO, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Libya, Surveillance
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