Ralph Nader Radio Hour
Ralph Nader Radio Hour
Veterans for Peace/ Freedom of Speech

Veterans for Peace/ Freedom of Speech


Ralph welcomes Mike Ferner from Veterans for Peace to discuss their work pushing for a ceasefire in Gaza and mobilizing their members to obstruct the gears of our military-industrial complex. Then, Ralph speaks with criminal defense attorney Leonard Goodman about a major First Amendment case that he's fighting in Florida as well as the Justice Department's tradition of targeting political dissenters. 

Mike Ferner

Mike Ferner served in the Navy during the Vietnam War, and he is former National Director and current Special Projects Coordinator for Veterans for Peace. He is the author of Inside the Red Zone: A Veteran for Peace Reports from Iraq.

Veterans for Peace, listeners, might provoke you to say—well, why is there another veterans organization needed? Doesn't the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars fit the bill? Well, as other listeners know, those two gigantic groups have been very closely aligned with the Pentagon, they don't seem to ever see a war or an armed incursion that they don't like from the U.S. Empire.

Ralph Nader

Every conflict is going to wind up ending at some point with talks and negotiations. And it's a question of—how many people do you want to kill and wound, and how much suffering do you want to cause, before you say enough and sit down at the table? That happens in every war. 

Mike Ferner

It's not like we've got some kind of democracy, and our national policy reflects what people want to do. It's that the people who are running the show from the arms industries and so forth, they're the ones that make the political contributions, they're the ones that make the money. And those are the ones that we hold up as the mad men arsonists who are running around the world setting fires left and right. And we're running around with a bucket brigade trying to stop them. So unfortunately they've got the upper hand, but Veterans for Peace and other parts of the peace movement are doing everything that we can to change that.

Mike Ferner

Leonard Goodman | Adjunct Faculty | Faculty & Staff | College of Law ...

Leonard Goodman is a Chicago criminal defense lawyer, an adjunct professor of law at DePaul University College of Law, where he teaches Federal Criminal Law, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University College of Law. He also founded the Leonard C. Goodman Institute for Investigative Reporting, which provides editorial and financial support to independent journalists pursuing in-depth investigative projects.

[Penny Hess, Omali Yeshitela, and Jesse Nevel’s] homes were raided, and they're now under federal indictment, facing up to 15 years in prison with absolutely no notice, no letter being sent saying, "Hey, we think because you went to Moscow that you need to register." Nothing. So what you talk about is a two-tiered justice system.

Leonard Goodman

In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis

News 6/19/24

1. Reuters reports that the American Defense Department ran a clandestine anti-vaccine campaign during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the aim of undermining China. Specifically, this program sought to discredit the efficacy of China’s Sinovac vaccine. This operation began under the Trump Administration, but continued until late 2021, well into the Biden Administration. This misinformation campaign targeted Southeast Asia in general and the Philippines in particular, where the virus claimed the lives of nearly 50,000 people by November 2021. A senior military officer involved in the program told Reuters “We weren’t looking at this from a public health perspective…We were looking at how we could drag China through the mud.”

2. In more China news, the Financial Times reports “President Xi Jinping told European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen that Washington was trying to goad Beijing into attacking Taiwan.” President Xi went on to tell von der Leyen that China would not take the bait. If true, it would not be the first time the U.S. has baited a foreign competitor into a proxy war. Jimmy Carter’s former national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski famously gloated that “Drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap...[had been]…an excellent idea.”

3. The Jerusalem Post reports “[The Israeli Defense Forces] knew of Hamas's plan to kidnap 250 [hostages] before [the] October 7 attack.” A recently uncovered document – compiled by the IDF Gaza Division and distributed on September 19th  2023 – “described in detail…exercises conducted by Hamas's elite units…[which] included raiding military posts and kibbutzim…kidnapping soldiers and civilians, and maintaining the hostages once they were in the Gaza Strip.” This bombshell report raises grave questions about what the Israeli military establishment knew and when they knew it, and to what extent they allowed the October 7th attacks to take place.

4. Embattled Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is scheduled to address both Houses of Congress on June 24th. A growing number of Democrats, however, are planning to boycott this speech. While it is unclear exactly how many Democrats will refuse to attend, approximately 60 boycotted Netanyahu’s previous address in 2015 and many of these members have signaled that they will do the same this time. One major addition to the boycotter’s ranks is Representative Jim Clyburn, an extremely powerful and relatively conservative House Democrat. Axios reports that many Democrats are proposing counter-programming proposals including “a press conference, a vigil, or an event with families of those taken hostage by Hamas, many of whom feel Netanyahu hasn't done enough to free their loved ones.” Clyburn “told Politico he was participating in one counter-programming meeting.” One anonymous House Democrat told the paper “These conversations are happening. And it's not just progressives…More moderate Dems are extremely frustrated that this Netanyahu visit undermines the work of the Biden administration and is disrespectful to Israelis who want Netanyahu out.”

5. A letter from Apple employees to the corporation, recently leaked to the Intercept, demands that the company “promptly investigate and cease matching donations to all organizations that further illegal settlements in occupied territories and support the IDF.” According to this piece, a battle has been raging within Apple – led by 133 self-described “shareholders and current and former employees” which has “previously objected to the disciplining and firing of Apple Store employees who ‘dared to express support of the Palestinian people in the form of kaffiyehs, pins, bracelets, or clothing.’” Apple did not respond to the Intercept’s request for comment.

6. The Federal Trade Commission has filed a federal court complaint against software company Adobe and two of its executives for “deceiving consumers by hiding the early termination fee for its most popular subscription plan and making it difficult for consumers to cancel their subscriptions.” Sam Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said “Adobe trapped customers into year-long subscriptions through hidden early termination fees and numerous cancellation hurdles…Americans are tired of companies hiding the ball during subscription signup and then putting up roadblocks when they try to cancel.”

7. In New Jersey, CNBC reports that powerful Democratic political boss George Norcross has been indicted on racketeering charges. New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin’s 13-count indictment “accuse[s] George Norcross of leading a ‘criminal enterprise’ in South Jersey.” Platkin went on to say “On full display in this indictment is how a group of unelected, private businessmen used their power and influence to get government to aid their criminal enterprise and further its interests…The alleged conduct of the Norcross Enterprise has caused great harm to individuals, businesses, non-profits, the people of the State of New Jersey, and especially the City of Camden and its residents…That stops today.”

8. A new Iowa poll by the Des Moines Register shows Donald Trump at 50%, Joe Biden at 32%, and RFK Jr. at 9%. As Dave Weigel of Semafor notes, “No Democrat has gotten under 40% in Iowa since 1980. Biden at 32% would be the worst [Democrat] performance there since 1924.” This is yet another omen that Joe Biden is a historically weak candidate and by running him the Democratic Party is giving Donald Trump the best chance he’s got to return to power.

9. Maryland Governor Wes Moore has issued pardons to 175,000 residents of the state for cannabis-related misdemeanor convictions, NPR reports. Moore calls this “the most sweeping state level pardon…in American history.” Yet, despite the pardons these convictions will not actually be automatically expunged. We urge the Maryland House of Delegates to act on this swiftly so that those pardoned for these minor offenses will finally be free of the stigma that in some cases has impeded their lives and careers for years.

10. Finally, the LA Times is out with a report on dangerous chemicals found in marijuana sold in the state of California, and regulators’ failure to protect cannabis consumers. The Times and WeedWeek purchased dozens of cannabis products from retail stores, then tested them at private labs. According to an investigation by the LA Times and WeedWeek, “Out of 42 products tested, 25 had concentrations of pesticides above either state-allowed levels or current federal standards for tobacco.” As this piece notes, “there are 66 pesticides California requires testing for, but it’s an outdated list…There are many more not included on the state’s list that have been linked to liver cancer, reproductive disorders and more.” According to Mary Gaterud, a longtime pot grower in Humboldt County, “The people who are doing it right get crushed…The bad actors are encouraged and rewarded. And the consumers are poisoned while being told they are safe.”

This has been Francesco DeSantis, with In Case You Haven’t Heard.

Ralph Nader Radio Hour
Ralph Nader Radio Hour
Ralph Nader talks about what’s happening in America, what’s happening around the world, and most importantly what’s happening underneath it all.