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High Stakes Independence Showdown as Spain Dissolves Catalan Parliament

High Stakes Independence Showdown As Spain Dissolves Catalan Parliament
On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kirakou are joined by Alberto Garcia Watson, former Middle East correspondent for HispanTV.

Catalonia has declared independence, with hundreds of thousands pouring into the streets to celebrate. However, a dramatic showdown looms as the Spanish central government prepares to reassert its control.

The United Nations has thrown its weight behind the narrative that the Syrian government made the decision to deploy chemical weapons while his forces were winning the war through conventional means. Is this really true? Rick Sterling, an investigative journalist and member of the Syria Solidarity Movement, joins the show.

The Trump administration and Jeff Sessions' Justice Department have been closing halfway houses, canceling contracts with 16 since taking office and worsening the mass incarceration crisis in the United States. Brian and John are joined by Alex Friedmann, Associate Director of the Human Rights Defense Center and managing editor for Prison Legal News.

As part of his "Vision 2030" plan to overhaul the Saudi economy, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has announced that the planned $500 billion, 10,000 square-mile NEOM mega-city will be a publicly-traded commodity owned by its shareholders. In his words, "The first capitalist city in the world". Ali Al Ahmad, director of the Institute of Gulf Studies, joins the show.

US-Pakistan relations continued to deteriorate today as the Pakistani Foreign Minister fired back at criticism of his country's support for terrorists by slamming the United States' failure in the war in Afghanistan. Christopher Black, international criminal defence lawyer, discusses the longest war in US history.

The US Congress, through the Government Accountability Office, is moving to counter the Trump administration's so-called Voter Fraud Commission. But are the Democratic Senators who requested the move, and who say they oppose the panel because it "diminishes confidence in our democratic process", missing the point? Daniel Lazare, journalist and author of The Frozen Republic, The Velvet Coup, and America's Undeclared War, joins Brian and John.

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