Behind the Beirut Explosions

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Aug 05 2020 115 mins   2
On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Rania Khalek, a journalist and political activist whose work has appeared in The Nation, The Intercept, Aljazeera, Salon, VICE, and elsewhere.

Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, experienced a massive explosion yesterday that killed at least 100 people and wounded more than 4,000. The government said that a warehouse containing ammonium nitrate, the same compound that was used in the Oklahoma City bombing, was ignited after a neighboring warehouse containing fireworks or some similar explosives, caught fire. Many countries around the world have offered assistance, but aid will not help with the broken political system and dysfunctional government that allowed the accident to happen.

Races in Missouri and Kansas saw upsets yesterday for both parties, as Rep. Lacy Clay, who replaced his father in a congressional seat in St. Louis, was ousted by progressive activist Cori Bush. Missouri voters also approved a referendum that would implement that toughest anti-abortion rules in the country. In Kansas, former Secretary of State Kris Kobach was defeated in the Republican primary for US Senate, virtually ensuring that the Republicans will retain the seat. Meanwhile, the Trump Administration sued the state of Nevada yesterday over the issue of voting by mail. Ted Rall, an award-winning columnist and political cartoonist whose work is at, joins the show.

The Council on Hemispheric Affairs, of COHA, yesterday published a report saying that a recently leaked document from USAID, the Agency for International Development, provides a glimpse into the breadth and depth of the US government’s policy and plan to interfere in Nicaragua’s internal affairs up to and after its presidential election next year. The Trump Administration’s policy in Nicaragua has been a simple one: to overthrow the government of President Daniel Ortega. Brian and John speak with Jill Clark-Gollub, assistant editor and translator at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs.

There is no national testing plan for the coronavirus and no plans to implement one. As a result, seven states recently banded together to create their own. Maryland’s Republican Governor Larry Hogan negotiated the deal, which includes two other Republicans and four Democrats, when the White House refused to recommend national standards to combat the disease. They’ve already negotiated a deal with a testing company that can conduct a Covid test and provide results in 30 minutes. Dr. Jason Kindrachuk, an assistant professor of viral pathogenesis at the University of Manitoba and Canada Research Chair in molecular pathogenesis of emerging and reemerging viruses, joins the show.

Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective. Sputnik news analysts Nicole Roussell and Walter Smolarek join the show.

Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, and special guest Ian Zabarte, Principal Man of the Western Bands of the Shoshone Indians, the secretary of the Native Community Action Council, at, and a leading voice nationally against the Yucca Mountain dump, join the show.