Month: March 2024

Background Briefing: March 31, 2024

The State Department Officer With Feds United for Peace Who Resigned to Protest U.S. Complicity in Israel’s War on Gaza

We begin with the resignation of a State Department officer and a member of Feds United for Peace who just resigned to protest U.S. complicity in Israel’s war on Gaza. Joining us is Annelle Sheline, an expert on religious and political authority in the Middle East and North Africa. She has worked as a journalist in Egypt and Yemen, was recently a fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and is currently completing a book on the strategic use of religious authority in the Arab monarchies since 9/11, focusing on the cases of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, and Oman. She served for a year as a foreign affairs officer at the Office of Near Eastern Affairs in the Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor until recently resigning over U.S. policy on the war in Gaza and we discuss her article at CNN “Why I’m resigning from the State Department.”


The Success of Propaganda as a Third of Americans Now Believe Trump’s Big Lie

Then we examine a new poll that finds a third of Americans believe Biden’s election was illegitimate which is a sharp increase from 2021, indicating that propaganda works as Trump’s “big lie” metastasizes into a core Republican belief. Joining us is Peter Pomerantsev, a Senior Fellow at the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University. An author and TV producer, he studies propaganda and media development and has testified on the challenges of information warfare to the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the U.K. Parliament Defense Select Committee. His books include Nothing is True and Everything is Possible and This is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality. His latest book, just out is, How to Win an Information War: The Propagandist Who Outwitted Hitler.

Putin’s Evolution From Democrat to Despot

Then finally we speak with a veteran correspondent with a deep knowledge of Russia who has witnessed the evolution of Putin from someone who said they supported free-market democracy and civil rights into an autocratic nationalist waging war on a neighbor, while turning Russia into a police state. Joining us is Martin Sixsmith, a bestselling author, television and radio presenter and journalist. He was the BBC’s correspondent in Moscow, Washington and Warsaw and a Communications Director for the British government. His work on Russia includes Russia: A 1000-Year Chronicle of the Wild East, Putin’s Oil and the novel An Unquiet Heart. His latest book, co-authored with Daniel Sixsmith, is Putin and the Return of History: How the Kremlin Rekindled the Cold War.