Explaining Rick Gates' Sweetheart Sentence

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Dec 17 2019 115 mins   1
On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Coleen Rowley, a former FBI special agent who in 2002 was named Time Magazine person of the year along with two other whistleblowers.

Ex-Trump aide Rick Gates, the former right-hand man to former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, is to be sentenced today on multiple felony counts of lying to the FBI and conspiracy to commit tax fraud. When Gates originally pled guilty, he agreed to a sentence of 5-6 years in prison. But prosecutors last week said they would have no objection to Gates getting no prison time, and they cited what they called his “extraordinary assistance” in the Mueller investigation.

Wikileaks on Saturday released a third batch of documents from the United Nations showing that 20 inspectors who investigated the alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria, concluded that the final report “did not reflect the team members who were deployed to Syria.” The documents show further that there was no proof that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ordered any chemical attack on Douma. Ambassador Peter Ford, the former UK Ambassador to Syria, joins the show.

Newly-released court documents reveal that the Sackler family, the founders of opioid maker Purdue Pharma, quietly transferred $10 billion out of the company and into private trusts over the course of the past 10 years and sent $1 billion of it to overseas accounts. The withdrawals came at a time that the company was accused of fueling the country’s opioid epidemic and at the same time the family was being accused of hiding its wealth overseas as their company enters bankruptcy. Brian and John speak with Ted Rall, an award winning journalist and editorial cartoonist, whose work is at www.rall.com

As anti-government demonstrations in France continue to grow, the police are coming under increased scrutiny over their use of tear gas grenades to disperse crowds. France is the only country in Europe to use gas grenades, which explode after being fired and have caused both injuries and deaths. Even the manufacturer, Alsetex, is urging the government to stop using them. Gilbert Mercier, is Editor in Chief of News Junkie Post and the author of “The Orwellian Empire,” joins the show.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told the press that he supports the United States withdrawing troops from Afghanistan “with or without” a “political agreement” with the Taliban. The United States has been struggling to restart peace talks with the insurgent group after a deal was called off at the last minute earlier this year, but public frustration with the nearly two-decade long occupation is mounting ahead of an election year. Brian Terrell, a long time peace activist and a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, joins Brian and John.

Today is our weekly series about the biggest economic news of the week with a special new guest -- Prof. Richard Wolff. Professor Wolff, a professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst and founder of the organization Democracy at Work whose latest book is “Understanding Socialism,” joins the show.

Today’s regular segment that airs every Tuesday is called Women & Society with Dr. Hannah Dickinson. This weekly segment is about the major issues, challenges, and struggles facing women in all aspects of society. Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly; Nathalie Hrizi, an educator, a political activist, and the editor of Breaking the Chains, a women’s magazine; and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell join the show.