Day: April 14, 2019

Background Briefing: April 14, 2019


It Will Be a Long Time Before Julian Assange is in US Custody

We begin with fate of Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange who is in custody in the U.K. facing extradition to the United States and speak with Mike Harris, the publisher of Little Atoms who writes on human rights, surveillance and free speech. He joins us to discuss his article at the U.K. Independent “Julian Assange should be deported – but not to Trump’s America” and look into whether the case against Assange in Sweden which was dropped could be revived, presumably after the courts in the U.K. have dealt with Assange’s bail-jumping case. Either way it would seem that there will be a protracted legal battle over Assange’s extradition to face charges in the U.S. which the indictment says were “part of the conspiracy that Assange encouraged (Chelsea) Manning to provide information and records from departments and agencies of the United States”. We will assess whether these charges were deliberately constructed to avoid the claim that Assange is a journalist, an issue now at the center of the debate about whether Assange’s journalism is credible any longer, given his close cooperation with the Russians to help tip the scales in Trump’s favor in the 2016 elections. With many in the U.S. diplomatic and intelligence community seething from Wikileaks’ dump of diplomatic cable and the trove of the CIA’s top secrets from the Vault 7 release, we will explore what the real motives are for trying to get Assange into U.S. custody.


 Mayor Pete’s Background and Local Reputation

Then, with today’s announcement by Mayor Pete of South Bend, Indiana that he is entering the presidential race where he is already polling as the third most popular Democratic hopeful after Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, we discuss Pete Buttigieg’s political background and local reputation with David Cortright, Director of Policy Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He joins us to examine the meteoric rise of Mayor Pete and why thousands are braving the terrible weather in South Bend today to attend his presidential launch.


Trump’s Use of Poor, Desperate Immigrants to Distract Us

Then finally we look into why Trump is encouraging lawlessness and promoting vindictive and petty policies to punish his political enemies by using asylum-seekers as weapons demanding sanctuary cities take care of them “at the highest level, especially by the state of California, which is well known for its poor management & high taxes”. Mae Ngai, Professor of History and Asian American Studies at Columbia University and author of “Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America”, joins us to discuss how an increasingly reckless Trump is using poor, desperate immigrants to distract us from his misrule and the damaging and damning evidence about to emerge from the Mueller Report in spite of Barr’s effort to censor it.