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Opposition Grows to CIA Nominee Haspel Ahead of Confirmation Battle

Opposition Grows to CIA Nominee Haspel Ahead of Confirmation Battle
On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Walter Smolarek (filling in for Brian Becker) and John Kiriakou are joined by Jeremy Varon, a professor at the New School in New York and an anti-Guantanamo prison activist.

President Trump's nominees for Secretary of State and CIA Director will soon face the Senate Foreign Relations and Senate Intelligence Committees, respectively. Michael Pompeo, a conservative former congressman and the current CIA Director, is likely to be confirmed, despite a filibuster by Kentucky's Republican Senator Rand Paul. But there's a fight over Gina Haspel, the current deputy director of the CIA. She oversaw the Agency's torture program during the Bush Administration. And those chickens may be coming home to roost.

Wednesday is the regular segment looking at nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Today also is the 39th anniversary of the Three Mile Island Unit 2 meltdown. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, joins the show.

Kim Jong Un was in Beijing over the past two days, his first foreign trip since becoming North Korea's leader in 2011. He was in China to consult with President Xi Jinping and other senior officials there in advance of his meeting with President Trump. John speaks with Simone Chun, a fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and a member of the Korean Peace Network.

The Ecuadorian government today cut off Julian Assange's internet access and announced in a press release from the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that Julian will be denied the right to have visitors. Former Greek Finance Minister Yannis Varoufakis, a friend and supporter of Julian's, says that Ecuador has taken steps to silence Julian under pressure from the US and Spanish governments. Diani Baretto, an activist and the director of the Berlin Bureau of, joins the show.

In 2016, police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana responded to a call of a man with a gun at a convenience store. When they arrived, they found Alton Sterling. He had a gun, but he was compliant. He was wrestled to the ground, pinned, and then shot and killed. The police said he was reaching for the gun, but a video of the incident showed no such thing. Yesterday, federal authorities said they would not charge the police officers who killed him. State law enforcement authorities said the same thing months ago. Checo Yancy, the director for the advocacy arm of Voters Organized to Educate who served nearly 20 years in the notorious Angola State Penitentiary before having his sentence commuted by the governor, joins Walter and John.

The United States and South Korea have agreed in principle to revise a trade deal that has been in place since 2012. Trump Administration officials are calling it "visionary" and "innovative." But Democrats are saying that it's no different than the original deal. Dr. Jack Rasmus, a professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California, author of "Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression," and at, joins the show.

An appeals court in Brazil has rejected the final procedural objections by former Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva against his corruption conviction. The decision raises the likelihood that Lula will be incarcerated. Meanwhile, unknown gunmen shot at two buses carrying Lula supporters and journalists in southern Brazil. Walter and John speak with Arnold August, a lecturer, journalist, and author of the book "Cuba-US Relations: Obama and Beyond."

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