Background Briefing: August 4, 2022


Alex Jones on Trial and His Lawyer’s Blunder That Will Prove a Gift to the January 6 Investigation

We begin with the trial of Alex Jones in Austin, Texas where Jones was just hit with a $4 million fine as the jury now decides how much more money Jones should pay to the families of the Sandy Hook victims of a gun massacre at an elementary school in 2012 because of the sick conspiracy theories Jones peddled on his TV show Infowars. Joining us is James Moore, an Emmy Award–winning television news correspondent who has covered Texas politics and has traveled extensively with every presidential campaign since 1976. He is the founder of Big Bend Strategies and publishes regularly a weekly substack newsletter Texas to the World and we discuss the very consequential blunder by Jones’s lawyer who accidentally sent 2 years worth of Jones’s texts to the lawyer for the Sandy Hook family who has been asked by the House Select Committee investigation January 6 to hand them over since they contain texts between Jones and Roger Stone, both of whom pleaded the 5th when interviewed by the committee.  


How the UK Has Become a Haven For Laundering Dirty Money

Then we go to the UK to speak with Oliver Bullough, a journalist and regular contributor to the Guardian, the New York Times and GQ. He has authored two non-fiction books about Russian history and politics: The Last Man in Russia and Let Our Fame Be Great, as well as Moneyland: Why Thieves And Crooks Now Rule The World And How To Take It Back. His latest book is Butler to the World: How Britain Became the Servant of Tycoons, Tax Dodgers, Kleptocrats and Criminals, and we discuss how the UK has become a haven for laundering dirty money, particularly from Russian oligarchs who are still hiding their money behind the English Limited Partnerships, ELP’s.


Many Countries Are Poised to Default as Rising Interest Rates Make Debt Servicing Harder

 Then finally we look into the many countries poised to default on their debts following Sri Lanka’s inability to pay down $54 billion in foreign debts, a burden exacerbated by the rise in interest rates now making it even more difficult for these countries to service debts. Joining us is Jamie Martin, a Professor of History and of Social Studies at Harvard University who, until recently, was a professor in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and Department of History at Georgetown University. His research focuses on the history of international political economy and empire, particularly during the era of the world wars and he is the author of the new book, just out, The Meddlers: Sovereignty, Empire, and the Birth of Global Economic Governance.