The Global Liberty Alliance Podcast with Jason Poblete
By Global Liberty Alliance
The Global Liberty Alliance Podcast with Jason PobleteNov 03, 2023
A Talk With former Iran Hostage, Marine Corps Sgt. Rodney "Rocky" Sickman
On this day 44 years ago, Iranian militants seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took 52 Americans hostage. This event marked the beginning of the Iran hostage crisis, which lasted for 444 days until January 20, 1981.
Dive into a compelling conversation between Jason Poblete, president of the Global Liberty Alliance, and Marine Corps Sgt: Rodney "Rocky" Sickman, a former Iran Hostage. Together, Rocky and Jason revisit the tumultuous events of the 1979 hostage crisis and shed light on its lasting implications. Drawing parallels with current events, this podcast offers a unique blend of historical insights and modern perspectives on global liberty and justice.
Rocky is currently working with Folds of Honor, a non-profit that provides educational scholarships to spouses and children of America’s fallen and disabled service members. The organization was founded by Major Dan Rooney in 2007, following his return from his second tour in Iraq as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force. Please consider supporting this worthwhile cause. Follow this link!
Beware of the Havana Tall Tales on Cuba's "Private Sector"
Last month the Miami Herald published an interesting story by Nora Gámez Torres, "How Miami companies are secretly fueling the dramatic growth of Cuba’s private businesses." A link is posted below. In this podcast, Jason discusses how this is nothing new and how politicians and activists continue to peddle the fiction that Cuba has a private sector.
- How Miami companies are secretly fueling the dramatic growth of Cuba’s private businesses, The Miami Herald (Jun. 23, 2023).
- The Road to Freedom, Grounded in the Rule of Law, Jason Poblete, Global Liberty Alliance and FIU (Nov. 2022).
An Update from Liberty Warriors in Guatemala
Jason Poblete is joined by our friend in Central America, businesswoman, former vice presidential candidate, and fellow liberty warrior Betty Marroquin to discuss a wide range of issues, including Communist China meddling in the region, the upcoming Guatemala elections and the sanctioning of the Guatemala Attorney General by the Biden administration (GLA interviewed Guatemala Attorney Porras on a prior podcast that you can listen to by following this link).
The Great Purge in Nicaragua
Nicaragua remains under the control and authoritarian rule of Daniel Ortega and his party, the Sandinista National Liberation Front. The government has a long and well-documented record of violating fundamental human rights, censoring free speech, and suppressing political opposition. A staunch ally of Russia and Communist China, Nicaragua, with Cuba's assistance, continues to undermine U.S. national and security interests in the region quietly.
Religious freedom is an essential indicator of democracy because it reflects the principles of individual liberty and equality before the law, which are fundamental to democratic societies. When individuals are free to practice their religion or belief system without fear of persecution or discrimination, it is a sign that the government is respecting their fundamental human rights and upholding the rule of law.
In August 2020, we recorded a podcast with a Nicaragua priest about religious persecution in Nicaragua, especially toward Catholics and other Christians. Close to three years later, the situation is not surprisingly any better; it's worse. Biden administration officials recently announced the release of over 200 political prisoners in Nicaragua. A well-known Nicaraguan Catholic Bishop was also released, but he decided to stay in jail. Why?
This podcast explores and discusses these issues with Roberto Bendaña from Texas. A Nicaraguan American, Roberto is persona non grata in Nicaragua and is not allowed to visit his ancestral homeland because of his staunch defense of liberty and fundamental rights. Roberto, a businessman and political activist, seeks solutions to help both nations chart a new way forward without Sandinista rule.
- 2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Nicaragua
- Nicaragua in Political Limbo, America Can Help, Jason Poblete's substack (Apr. 2, 2022)
- "Inestabilidad democrática en Nicaragua no ayuda a nadie en el hemisferio," La Prensa newspaper (Dec. 21, 2017).
An Update on the Fakhoury Family's Hostage Accountability Efforts
In a November 15, 2022, podcast with the Fakhoury Foundation, the Fakhoury family from New Hampshire shared how they set out over two years ago to find out what happened to Amer Fakhoury, who died as a result of injuries that he sustained while in the custody of Lebanon's corrupt security services or Lebanon's equivalent of our CIA and FBI wrapped up in one. Be sure to listen to that show! In this episode, two of Amer's daughters, Guila and Zoya, provide an update and discuss current events with GLA's Jason Poblete beyond the story and how events in Lebanon may be impacting their accountability efforts.
- House Foreign Affairs Committee Charman Mike McCaul (R-Tex.) Demands Answers From USAID on Alarming Failure to Address $110K Grant to Terrorist-Linked Nonprofit (Jan. 27, 2023).
- Amid standoff in Beirut blast probe, US national released, The Washington Post (Jan. 26, 2023).
- Amid Historic Crisis, Has a New Hope Emerged in Lebanon?, US Institute for Peace (Jun. 23, 2022).
How the FBI Helped Nab the Notorious Spy some have called the "Queen of Cuba"
A retired Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) special agent, Mr. Pete Lapp served over two decades in the FBI and is highly experienced in counterintelligence, espionage, economic espionage, and trade secret theft. In this podcast, GLA's Jason Poblete talks with Mr. Lapp about one of his more high-profile cases, the espionage investigation of Ana Belen Montes, who was arrested ten days after 9/11/2001.
Montes was sentenced to 25 years for spying for the Cuban Intelligence Service while she worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency. On January 6, 2023, Montes was in the headlines again because she had been released and had reportedly returned to Puerto Rico to live with her sister. Mr. Lapp has worked on many other national security cases.
In October 2021, Pete founded PJ Lapp Consulting, LLC, where he now focuses his vast knowledge and experience in counterintelligence and insider risk (IR); He is a widely recognized expert and thought leader in the area of IR. You can learn more about his practice by visiting his website.
- Pre-Order Pete's book, "Queen of Cuba: An FBI Agent's Insider Account of the Spy Who Evaded Detection for 17 Years" (Oct. 2023).
- "Just 10 days after the attacks of 9/11, the FBI arrested a 44-year-old woman named Ana Belen Montes," (FBI).
- Review of the Actions Taken to Deter, Detect and Investigate the Espionage Activities of Ana Belen Montes (U) Office of the Inspector General, Department of Defense (Jun. 16, 2005).
A Talk with Michela Wrong About International Criminal Justice and Human Rights
The Biden administration and Congress have discussed accountability efforts in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. But is the international system ready to hold all parties accountable, or will the process set back the course of international justice efforts?
In this episode, Jason Poblete talks with Michela Wrong, an award-winning British journalist and author who has had a rich career that has taken her from the fashion runways of Paris and later as a foreign correspondent in Africa for Reuters, the BBC, and the Financial Times. She was awarded the 2010 James Cameron prize for journalism “that combined moral vision and professional integrity.”
As she details on her website, her fifth book, “Do Not Disturb,” published in 2021, is a damning portrait of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, from its days as a united band of rebel fighters to today’s era, in which killer squads are dispatched across the world to silence exiled former insiders. The book has prompted a vitriolic backlash on Rwanda’s government-controlled social media, and President Paul Kagame has denounced the author on national television as a foreign agent.
Jason and Michela talk about several aspects of international justice. They also discuss the case of eight Rwandan men tried by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda; 4 were acquitted, while the other 4 served their sentences. They are now in legal limbo as they seek to be reunited with loved ones. In addition, they also talk about unfinished accountability efforts related to the Rwandan genocide.
Be sure to check out her latest book on the Rwanda genocide, link below, Do Not Disturb: The Story of a Political Murder and an African Regime Gone Bad." “A withering assault on the murderous Rwandan regime of Paul Kagame, and a melancholy love song to the lost dreams of the nations of Africa’s Great Lakes. Michela Wrong proves once again that she is an intrepid and highly professional researcher of the subject she knows best. It’s a major accomplishment, very driven, very impassioned.” ―JOHN LE CARRÉ, best-selling author of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
- "Where the international justice system fails; As war crimes investigators gather evidence in Ukraine, Michela Wrong looks at how the uncertain fate of eight Rwandan men reveals failures in the international justice system," Prospect (Dec. 8. 2022).
- "Do Not Disturb: The Story of a Political Murder and an African Regime Gone Bad," Michela Wrong (March 30, 2021).
- "I Didn't Do It for You: How the World Betrayed a Small African Nation," Michela Wrong (June 6, 2006).
A Virginia Mom's Quest to Educate Fellow Americans About the Importance of Liberty and the CCP Threat
Virginia mom and liberty warrior Xi Van Fleet grew up in Mao Zedong's Communist China. Raised during the Cultural Revolution, after high school, Xi, along with all the urban youths, was forced to work in the fields for three years to be re-educated by the peasants. She was able to go to college only after Mao’s death. In 1986 she came to America as a student to pursue her graduate studies. For the past 30 years, she has worked in the field of Information Management and stayed out of politics or any civic activity; however, starting in 2020, during the height of the pandemic, she decided she had to speak up. Compelled by her personal experience during the Chinese Cultural Revolution and the realization that what she has experienced is taking place here in America, she has committed herself to warn the American people and help them see what is happening now in America.
- Xi Van Fleet, Education Freedom Ambassador, profile International Women's Forum.
Pushing the Political Envelope in the Cuban-American Community, Talks with Cuba
In this podcast, GLA's Jason Poblete speaks with former Ambassador Martin Palouš. Martin is currently a Senior Fellow at Florida International University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and Director of the Václav Havel Program for Human Rights and Diplomacy. Palouš was part of the movement that helped end the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe during the Cold War. The defense of fundamental individual and human rights has been at the core of his playbook ever since. Born in Prague on October 14, 1950, Palouš studied Natural Science, Philosophy, and International Law, and he has engaged in rich academic praxis for more than 25 years.
He was one of the first signatories of Charter 77 in defense of human rights and served as spokesman for the dissident human rights group. Charter 77 was an informal civic initiative in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic from 1976 to 1992, named after the document Charter 77 from January 1977. Founding members included a wide range of civil society leaders at the time, including Martin and the future President of the Czech Republic, Václav Havel. Their work and that of other civil society leaders supported by the U.S. laid a foundation for President Ronald Reagan's push to end the Cold War.
Palouš went on to have a rewarding career in international law and foreign affairs, including being elected to the Czechoslovakian Federal Assembly and a member of its Foreign Affairs Committee. Later he served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in the newly formed Czech Republic and was then asked by President Václav Havel to travel to Washington, D.C. as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Czech Republic to the United States from September 2002 to November 2005. Dr. Palouš was designated as Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, where he served in New York from 2006 through 2010.
On November 19, 2022, Palouš said in an op-ed that ran in the Miami Herald that he disagreed with the view held by many in the Cuban diaspora that there "cannot be any dialogue with the current Cuban government as long as it pursues policies of systematic violations of human rights and imprisons and persecutes the members of Cuban democratic opposition." He also said, "I’ve always defended human rights and the bravery of those who oppose the Cuban regime, and I’ve had the mettle to act on my convictions as a dissident." What keeps these two communities apart? And why should the American taxpayer care about this?
- Publications and other resources for Martin Palouš
- "The Road to Freedom Grounded in the Rule of Law," a paper published by the FIU School of International and Public Affairs, Václav Havel Program for Human Rights and Diplomacy, prepared in collaboration with the Global Liberty Alliance (2022).
- La Patria es de Todos - The Nation Belongs to All of Us (1997).
- Jason Poblete and Jamie Suchlicki, “When Should the U.S. Change Policy Toward Cuba,” Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, University of Miami, Cuba Brief, August 13, 2007
A Family's Justice Journey - Holding Lebanon to Account for the Death of an American, Amer Fakhoury
At times, we are called to do the most extraordinary things at the most challenging moments in life. That is the story of one American family in New Hampshire, the Fakhoury family. In August 2020, the Fakhoury family said goodbye to their beloved, Amer, who died as a result of injuries that he sustained while in the custody of Lebanon's corrupt security services or Lebanon's equivalent of our CIA and FBI wrapped up in one.
During the course of the last two years, the family has set out to find out what happened to Amer, and start their justice journey to ensure that this never happens again to Americans or US nationals who travel abroad to Lebanon or to other nations. The Fakhoury family started a foundation, filed a lawsuit in the District Court of the District of Columbia, and has engaged in other advocacy efforts including with Congress.
Last week the Global Liberty Alliance co-signed an open letter with the Fakhoury Foundation urging U.S. officials to fully enforce the Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act in the matter of Amer Fakhoury.
- The Fakhoury Foundation
- Link to the Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act
- GLA statement; GLA co-signed a letter with the Fakhoury Foundation (Nov. 10, 2022)
- US Treasury, Guidance on Hostages and Wrongfully Detained U.S. Nationals Sanctions
If you want to help defend the fundamental rights of Americans, free enterprise, and the rule of law, consider donating to the Global Liberty Alliance. GLA is also accepting Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Follow this link to learn more! THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT.
A Political Re-Awakening in Paraguay: Defending Fundamental Rights of Children, Religious Freedom
A nation of about seven million people, Paraguay is slightly smaller than California and an important U.S. ally in South America for trade and national security issues, including terrorism, transnational crime, and related matters.
Since 2019 American taxpayers have sent close to $85 million in foreign assistance to Paraguay. It may seem like a nominal amount, at least when compared to the total U.S. federal budget. And perhaps to folks in Washington, DC, it may seem like nothing when it comes to our money, but these foreign aid programs add up in tough economic times.
Some of that money is invested in worthwhile programs in the US national interest, but some are not. Who is minding the store and doing oversight? It is supposed to be the Congress, yet as we learn on this podcast with a leading lawyer and civil society leader in Paraguay, Valeria Insfran, some of our tax dollars are being used in ways that she thinks to undermine the rule of law, Paraguayan sovereignty, and US interests too.
Valeria has been on the front lines of a fundamental rights battle involving children and families in her country. Jason and Valeria touch on a wide range of issues, including the Sao Paolo Forum, the Inter-American Dialogue, the Princeton Pact (see link below), and more recent events, including sanctioning by the Biden administration of a former Paraguay President and his family (calling into question again, the politicization of U.S. sanctions programs in Latin America – Guatemala was the other).
At the request of listeners, this particular podcast was recorded in Spanish as part of a series to reach liberty warriors in the Americas. We will record an English version of this podcast, hopefully soon. There was a lot to unpack in this program, and we have asked Valeria to return, and she has agreed.
- US foreign assistance to Paraguay (link)
- Paraguay country information (State Department)
- Red Ciudadana por la Niñez y la Adolescencia (foundation link)
- "El pacto de Princeton, una alianza para la miseria y el sometimiento," Valeria Insfran, El Instituto de Investigación Social Solidaridad
- GLA Podcast with Guatemala Attorney General
- GLA Podcast with the President of Guatemala
- Designation of Former Paraguayan President Horacio Manuel Cartes Jara for Involvement in Significant Corruption, State Department (Jul. 22, 2022)
Combating Iranian Religious and Political Extremism Is Essential for Global Liberty and Prosperity
Rebecca Schönenbach is an economist who works as an independent consultant in the field of counter-terrorism.
As a specialist in Sharia, Islamic extremism, and counter-terrorism financing, she gave lectures at universities in Istanbul, Sarajevo, and Budapest, among others, and advises authorities, NGOs, and companies. Schönenbach also writes papers on the topics of Islamism, Islamic finance, and the connection between radicalization and misogyny.
Schönenbach is the chairwoman of two non-profit associations: Veto! For the rule of law e. V. www.veto-rechtsstaat.de and Women for Freedom e. V. www.frauenfuerfreiheit.de and is a columnist for the German Sunday newspaper Welt am Sonntag. Read her bio on LinkedIn.
In addition to the recent uprising in Iran, Jason and Rebecca discuss how the Iranian regime's long-term game plan of religious extremism impacts in the greater Middle East, Europe, and Latin America. With the support of autocratic states such as China and Russia, Iran seeks to destabilize democracies including the United States and Europe in order to create a new global order.
‘Death sentence certain' in Iran, Says Family of Jimmy Sharmahd from California
The Global Liberty Alliance has been advocating to secure the release of Mr. Jamshid "Jimmy" Sharmahd, a human rights activist and journalist from California held hostage in Iran for nearly two years. In this podcast, GLA President Jason Poblete talks with his daughter Gazelle Sharmahd, a registered nurse in California, about the latest developments in Mr. Sharmahd's case.
Last week Gazelle told The Jerusalem Post and other international news outlets that the Iranian regime's lawyer said a "death sentence is certain" in her dad's case. The upcoming session before the regime's kangaroo court system, the Revolutionary Court, makes it the sixth hearing of Jimmy's "sham trial." The death sentence will be announced soon and could be carried out immediately. There is no rule of law in Iran. Iran tried to assassinate Jimmy in California in 2009 in a plot that the FBI foiled.
The Biden administration recently announced an international emergency concerning Iran and hostage-taking; however, no other information was released about the status of efforts to bring US nationals home from Iran. The Biden administration is also seeking to reverse the Trump administration's withdrawal from the Iran deal, a deal that condoned hostage-taking. The GLA and other NGOs, including hostage advocacy groups and former hostages, have recommended that all US nationals be freed before sitting down for any talks with Iran.
Unfortunately US, German, and other stakeholders continue to negotiate with the state sponsors of terrorism in Iran, and there has been no progress on hostages. GLA believes the Iranian regime targeted Mr. Sharmahd in retribution for US policy against Iran. Under the Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act, the US must help secure the release of Jimmy and other US nationals held hostage in Iran.
If you want to do more to support efforts to defend the fundamental rights of Americans, free enterprise, and the rule of law, consider donating to the Global Liberty Alliance. GLA is also accepting Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Follow this link to learn more.
- August 2021 Podcast with Gazelle Sharmahd
- "California man faces execution in Iran for being a journalist," Fox News (July 19, 2022).
- For more details on Jimmy's case, visit the Global Liberty Alliance Jimmy Sharmahd page.
- 'Death sentence certain,' for German-Iranian journalist," Jerusalem Post (July 23, 2022).
- "Iran regime hostage survivor urges ‘do not travel’ to Iran," Jerusalem Post (July 11, 2022).
China Holds American Mark Swidan Hostage for Close to Ten Years
In March, we spoke with Ms. Katherine Swidan, mother of Mr. Mark Swidan, an American unlawfully imprisoned in Communist China for nearly ten years. A lot has happened in Mark's matter since Global Liberty Alliance President Jason Poblete spoke with Ms. Swidan. Katherine lives in Luling, Texas, a town of about 6,000 people along the San Marcos River. Katherine talks about the latest in her son's case and how recent policy updates may or may not impact efforts to bring Mark home. Jason also talks about recent developments related to the Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act of 2020 and the Executive Order released this week.
- GLA Letter to the City of Riverside, California, to sever its Sister City relationships with China (April 28, 2002)
- Text of the Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act of 2020
- March Podcast with Katherine Swidan (Mar. 29, 2022)
From Radical Pagan to Radical for Christ, A Conversation About Religious Freedom with International Christian Concern President Jeff King
During this podcast, GLA President Jason Poblete speaks with Jeff King, President of International Christian Concern (ICC). Jeff grew up in an atheist and agnostic home in Washington, D.C. At age 23, after reading the Bible on his own for 10 years, he came to Christ through the faithful witness of believers he met as he walked from one bar to the next. Jeff refers to himself as a radical pagan who became a radical for Christ. Many years and experiences later, Jeff has turned his many talents and gifts to defend Christians the world over.
- Learn more about the International Christian Concern at persecution.org.
- U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Hearing, Refugees Fleeing Religious Persecution (Feb. 10, 2021).
- Office of International Religious Freedom, U.S. Department of State.
- USCIRF Factsheet on the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA).
SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS EXCLUSIVE: A Conversation with Guatemala's President, Dr. Alejandro Giammattei (SPANISH SHOW)
Guatemala’s President Alejandro Eduardo Giammattei skipped the Summit of the Americas this week, and we wanted to know why. The conversation did not disappoint. Jason and President Giammattei talked about transnational crime, human trafficking, and fending off foreign meddlers such as Communist China. Despite these regional challenges, President Giammattei's bigger problem these days, or nuisance, seems to be our own country and an army of NGOs, many funded by US taxpayers and Europeans, hell-bent on making trouble for the President and his allies in Guatemala. Why?
For starters, President Giammattei is staunchly pro-life and a law-and-order leader. He defends Guatemala's sovereignty fiercely and is not afraid to poke Uncle Sam if necessary. Yet it's clear President Giammattei wants to be a partner, not an adversary, and he continues to work with the US despite the unfounded political attacks by certain Biden administration officials.
In March, in another exclusive GLA podcast, Jason spoke with Guatemala Attorney General Porras about alleged corruption allegations against her by the US government that led to her being sanctioned. If someone was trying to destroy her re-appointment chances, the joke is on them. She was re-appointed by the President. President Giammattei has a clear vision of where he wants to take his nation and, perhaps, become a thoughtful and focused voice for the region. The US and Guatemala need to work closely, not at odds, and it appears certain Biden administration officials are allowing ideological disagreements to get in the way of good policy for America and the Americas.
On this podcast, GLA President and Counsel Jason Poblete continue to unmask the many issues stewing in this important Central American nation. President Giammattei stressed the importance of working with American partners, building markets, defending property rights, and the right to life, combating transnational crime, pushing back on China meddling in the Americas, and even reforming the inter-American system (he's making news on this last point, be sure to listen!).
SPECIAL REPORT: AMERICAN HOSTAGE IN CHINA. The Matter of Mark Swidan, Unjustly Imprisoned in China for Almost 10 Years
American citizen Mark Swidan has been unlawfully imprisoned in Communist China for close to ten years. What started out as a business trip in late 2012, turned into a nightmare for the Swidan family when he was unlawfully detained by police on November 12, 2012. On this podcast, GLA President Jason Poblete speaks with Mr. Swidan's mom, Mr. Katherine Swidan.
Without probable cause, the Chinese police stormed Mark's hotel room in Dongguan Municipality, Guangdong Province. The police claimed that they had found drugs on his driver and translator. All were taken into custody. No drugs were found on Mr. Swidan or in his room, but the driver and translator blamed Mark. The Chinese police also took him into custody on suspicion of trafficking and manufacturing methamphetamine. You can learn more about the case at the California-based Dui Hua foundation website.
Sentenced to death by the Chinese kangaroo court system, on February 5, 2020, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) has concluded that Mr. Swidan has been arbitrarily detained by the Chinese authorities in violation of international law. WGAD has urged his immediate release with compensation and other reparations. Inexplicably, the U.S. government has failed to raise the profile of this case with Chinese officials. There was a unique opportunity to do so before the Beijing Olympics, yet nothing happened. Mark is not the only American unlawfully detained in the Chinese gulag prison system.
- Mark Swidan's Go Fund Me page
- Texas businessman in slave labor in China's 'black box' jail system for past nine years, The Washington Examiner (Feb. 17, 2022).
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Are US Sanctions and Foreign Assistance Laws Being Politically Weaponized in Guatemala?
Last week in an exclusive interview with Guatemala Attorney General María Consuelo Porras, Jason Poblete and the Attorney General discussed why she thought the United States had imposed sanctions earlier this on her and other Guatemalans. You can listen to that podcast by following this link. The first podcast was recorded in Spanish with Attorney General Porras, so we decided to record another podcast with colleagues in Guatemala who are on the frontlines of freedom battles. On this podcast, we dig deeper and speak with two leading conservative thought leaders in Guatemala, Dr. José Luis González Dubón, a constitutional lawyer and practitioner, and former Vice Presidential candidate and business, Ms. Betty Marroquin. Editor at Large Steve Hecht is a businessman, writer, and film producer, born and raised in New York.
- "Derecho, justicia y libertad," a talk by Dr. José Luis González Dubón at the Universidad Francisco Marroquín (Jan. 26, 2010).
- Impunity Observer
- (discussed in the podcast) "International Anti-Impunity Missions in Guatemala and Honduras: What Lessons for El Salvador?," Open Society Foundation-sponsored paper (June 2019).
- (discussed in the podcast) UN Agenda 2030.
EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Guatemala Attorney General, Dra. Consuelo Porras (SPANISH SHOW)
On January 27, 2020, US Attorney General William P. Barr met with Guatemala Attorney General Maria Consuelo Porras Argueta. That meeting was a follow-up dialogue to the May 2019 Third Ministerial of the Northern Triangle Attorneys General in El Salvador. Dr. Porras has been a long-time rule of law defender who has worked closely with various US agencies including the DEA, the Justice Department, and the State Department. How is it that one year and seven months later, Secretary of State Tony Blinken imposes sanctions on Attorney General Porras for allegedly "obstructed investigations into acts of corruption by interfering with criminal investigations"? It makes no sense. We start to unpack this legal issue and a follow-up show is coming in English, next week, to further assess the potentially unlawful use of U.S. economic sanctions.
- Readout of U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr’s Meeting with Guatemala Attorney General Maria Consuelo Porras Argueta, US Department of Justice (Jan. 27, 2020).
- Guatemalan Attorney General Visits Eastern District of Texas, U.S. Department of Justice (Feb. 11, 2020).
- The United States Announces Actions Against Seven Central American Officials for Undermining Democracy and Obstructing Investigations into Acts of Corruption (Sep. 20, 2021).
- Blinken Blindsides an Ally in Guatemala, The Wall Street Journal (Sep. 26, 2021).
Protecting Life and Property, A Discussion with Virginia Gun Rights Advocate Philip Van Cleave
In this episode, Jason speaks with the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) president and gun rights advocate Phillip Van Cleave. A former law enforcement officer from Texas, Phillip has been defending gun owner rights in Virginia since the 1990s. The Virginia Citizens Defense League is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots organization dedicated to advancing the fundamental human right of all Virginians to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I Section 13 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
- Video of the Virginia House of Delegates Member (1/17/2022).
- Virginia self-defense cases.
- Open Carry is legal in Virginia in most places with or without a Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP). Concealed Carry requires, with a few exceptions, a CHP. However, some restrictions may apply. Virginia carry information.
- A primer on gun safety (via HandGunLaws.us).
The Rising Tide of Spain's Conservative Movement
A new generation of center-right conservatism is taking root worldwide, including Spain. On this podcast, Jason talks with an American lawyer with strong Spanish roots, Ms. Marlene Vallés. A practicing attorney Marlene is also active in the international conservative movement and has helped colleagues in Spain raise awareness in the United States about liberty battles underway in her ancestral homeland. This is the first in a series of podcasts that will help highlight the importance of the defense of fundamental rights in other nations and how they impact us right here in the United States and the Americas.
Venezuela's "Opposition," A Deep Dive with Venezuelan Human Rights Activist Alessa Polga
As we wind down 2021, Jason talks with Venezuelan Human Rights Activist Alessa Polga. Alessa is Venezuelan by birth but currently camped out in Ontario, Canada, making Venezuela's liberty her mission. Venezuela is one of the world's leading oil producers; however, Alessa told the Toronto Star in 2017, "our natural disaster is our government." In addition to discussing the plight of the Venezuelan people, Jason and Alessa take a stab at unpacking the ongoing crisis in Venezuela, human rights, and why what the United States calls the opposition is just opposition in name only.
US Government Agencies Working at Odds in Guatemala, Undermining US National and Security Interests
In this podcast, GLA President Jason Poblete talks with a fellow liberty warrior, Stephen Hecht, in Guatemala. An American, Stephen and his organization Impunity Observer have been long-time freedom champions in Central America who help empower Guatemalans to build a more robust and freer nation where individuals, not governments, are change agents in civil society. This is especially true when building a robust civil society where property rights and rule of law are essential.
Jason and Stephen discuss the importance of working together with Guatemalans to combat corruption, illegal immigration, and other issues that, sooner or later, will impact us right here in the United States. This podcast is part of a series that takes a closer look at Central America, particularly Guatemala, and how Guatemalan civil society leaders such as lawyers and business leaders are struggling to reign in foreign meddling from dark forces that are undermining Guatemalan sovereignty and rule of law.
In an exclusive interview with GLA, Stephen talks with us about how Guatemala’s Attorney General Consuelo Porras has had wage two battles in her country: one against bad actors in Guatemala and the other fending off attacks by certain officials at the Department of State. Attorney General Porras has been praised by officials at the US Drug Enforcement Agency and the Department of Justice as a vital partner of the US in cracking down on transnational crime. So why have certain State Department targeted her in the media?
GLA would like to speak with individuals and organizations on the other side of this debate and the invitation is open. Based on what we have researched the past year, there is enough here for the US Congress to take a closer look. Millions of American taxpayer monies are sent to Guatemala every year. The people of Guatemala have elected officials and capable jurists who know what needs to be done to keep building their nation. So why are US officials at different agencies seemingly working at odds? This is untenable. We must do better. What happens in Guatemala, sooner or later, impacts us right here in the states.
- “Guatemalan Attorney General: US State Department Impedes Rule of Law,” Impunity Observer’s exclusive interview with Guatemala’s Attorney General Consuelo Porras (Oct. 26, 2021).
- Consuelo Porras dice que sanciones que recibió no son del Gobierno de EE. UU. sino del Departamento de Estado, y esto le responde Washington, Presna Libre (Oct. 28, 2021).
- "How the U.S. Finances Revolution," Wall Street Journal (Oct. 31, 2021)
- Guatemala’s Justice System Is at a Breaking Point, Americas Quarterly (Apr. 20, 2021).
- “Western Hemisphere, Beyond “Drugs and Thugs,” GLA Podcast with Dr. J Michael Waller (Jun. 15, 2021).
- Why Not to Work with Corrupt People to Fight Corruption in Guatemala, with former Vice Presidential candidate and businesswoman Betty Marroquín (Mar. 23, 2021).
Loudon County Virginia Parents Defending Fundamental Rights and Freedom
Mr. Dimis Christophy is a Loudon County, Virginia parent who, along with hundreds of other families in the region, are locked in what appears to have become a battle of wills with the Loudon County school board. On this podcast, Jason speaks with Dimis to learn why Loudon County has ignited a national movement from parents across the political spectrum to rein in out-of-control school boards and local governments.
Dimis reminds us that elected officials work for the people, not the other way around. Unfortunately, the Loudon County Virginia school board has yet to learn that less but with elections right around the corner, they soon will. Please support Dimis and their efforts; be sure to visit his website, www.realimmigrantcorner.com where two Iranian immigrants to the U.S. share their life experiences and success.
- Loudoun County Superintendent Not Planning to Resign After More Details Emerge in Alleged Rape Coverup, The Virginia Star (Oct. 22, 2021).
- Loudoun County Dad Smeared As ‘Domestic Terrorist’ Says School Covered Up Daughter’s Rape By Boy In Girls’ Bathroom, The Federalist (Oct. 13, 2021).
- Virginia Urges Slavery Lessons for Kindergarteners, Washington Free Beacon (Jul. 19, 2020).
Paul Rusesabagina's Plight for Freedom and Justice in Rwanda
On November 9, 2005, President George W. Bush awarded Paul Rusesabagina the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom for saving the lives of thousands during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. A real-life hero of the acclaimed film Hotel Rwanda and the President and Founder of the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation, Paul served as the Hotel des Mille Collines manager in Kigali. He bravely risked his life to shelter Hutus and Tutsis, seeking refuge from the genocide that killed more than 800,000 people. But, in a bizarre twist of fate, last week, Mr. Rusesabagina was sentenced to 25 years by a Rwandan court that international law experts have repeatedly said was a sham legal proceeding orchestrated by Rwanda's President Paul Kagame, Mr. Rusesabagina's long-time adversary. On this podcast, Jason Poblete speaks with one of Paul's six children, Ms. Anaïse Kanimba, about her father's plight for freedom and justice in Rwanda.
Seeking Justice for Amer Fakhoury, an American kidnapped and held hostage by the Lebanese Security Services
Upon arrival at the Beirut airport, Lebanese officials kept Mr. Amer Fakhoury U.S. passport as part of a routine procedure he was told for former Lebanese nationals who had not been in the country for more than 20 years. Accompanied by his wife and two of his four daughters, Amer, a New Hampshire businessman who was returning to his ancestral homeland for a family vacation, perhaps thought nothing of it at the time. Little did he and his family know at the time what would transpire a few days later.
On this podcast, two of his four daughters, Guila and Zoya, share this remarkable story about their father, a freedom-loving Catholic and soldier. He fought for a democratic Lebanon free of terrorists, such as Hezbollah. Amer's story started decades before, in Southern Lebanon, where Amer defended his homeland from terrorists who have since taken over his ancestral homeland. Forced to leave and start his life in America with his family, they lived the American dream that became a nightmare on September 12, 2019.
Determined to hold the perpetrators to account and help other American families going through similar struggles, the Amer Fakhoury Foundation provides advocacy, emotional, and financial support to the victims and their families. In addition, the Foundation works to ensure anti-torture laws are created and implemented in countries that enforce torture on helpless victims.
Genocide Prevention, A Talk with Dr. Gregory H. Stanton
On this podcast lawyer and GLA President Jason Poblete speaks with Dr. Gregory H. Stanton is the founding president and chairman of Genocide Watch.From 2010 to 2019, he was a research professor in genocide studies and prevention at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, Arlington, Virginia, USA. From 2003 to 2009, he was the James Farmer Professor in Human Rights at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Dr. Stanton founded Genocide Watch in 1999. He was the founder (1981) and director of the Cambodian Genocide Project and is currently the founder (1999) and chair of the Alliance Against Genocide, the world’s first anti-genocide coalition.
From 2007-2009, he was the president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars. Genocide Watch exists to predict, prevent, stop, and punish genocide and other forms of mass murder. In addition, genocide Watch seeks to raise awareness and influence public policy concerning potential and actual genocide. Genocide Watch uses predictive models such as Dr. Gregory Stanton’s “The Ten Stages of Genocide” to analyze high-risk situations for education, policy analysis, and advocacy.
BitcoinCuba wants to introduce Bitcoin in Communist Cuba
The first publicly verifiable Bitcoin transaction involving someone from civil society in Cuba was registered more than five years ago. The person who helped make this possible is a Cuban-American Bitcoiner and liberty maximalist, Fernando Villar. Fernando is the founder of BitcoinCuba. BitcoinCuba's mission is to educate Cuban civil society on using Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. This is the first of what we hope will be several podcasts on Bitcoin and its potential to help unleash the forces of liberty in some of the politically darkest corners of our planet including 90 miles away in socialist Cuba.
PLEASE CONSIDER SUPPORTING GLA PROGRAMS IN PLACES SUCH AS CUBA WITH CRYPTO DONATIONS via The Giving Block: https://thegivingblock.com/donate/global-liberty-alliance/
- Start Here --> Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.
- Government of Cuba Says It Will Recognize, Regulate Cryptocurrencies, Decrypt (Aug. 27, 2021).
- The U.S. settles with BitPay for apparent sanctions breaches, Reuters (Feb. 19, 2021).
- BitcoinCuba Introduces Bitcoin to Cuba, NewsBTC (July 2015).
- Cuba's Historic Ascendance to the Bitcoin World, XB Teller (July 15, 2015).
- US Treasury Department, Office of Foreign Assets Control - Guidance on Cuba
Hostages in Iran: Update on the Jimmy Sharmahd Case
In February, we spoke with Ms. Gazelle Sharmahd, the daughter of Mr. Jamshid Sharmahd. As his friends and family call him, Jimmy is a U.S. Legal Permanent resident based with his family in California. A year ago this month, Jimmy was on his way back home to the United States from a business trip when he was kidnapped in the United Arab Emirates and taken hostage by the Iranian regime. A registered nurse working on the COVID pandemic's frontlines, Gazelle is one of her father's strongest advocates for his release. Gazelle updates listeners about her dad's situation on this show and urges stakeholders to help secure Jimmy's release from Iranian captivity. We also speak with his son, Shayan Sharmahdsaid, who works daily to bring his dad home.
- "German Appeasement Of Khamenei Endangers Iranians And The World," Iran International (Aug. 11, 2021).
- ‘Don’t be kept silent, we have to speak up’: Son of kidnapped dissident calls for Iran to free his father, UK Independent (Jul. 16, 2021).
- "America needs a 21st-century hostage policy - opinion," The Jerusalem Post (Jul. 11, 2021).
- "HRW demands Iran release California resident from prison," The Jerusalem Post (Jul. 4, 2021).
A Report from the Northern Triangle with Businesswoman and Liberty Warrior Betty Marroquin
Last week the center-right President of Guatemala had to contend with what was supposed to have been massive streets protests from opponents on the left. Well, it fizzled, and nothing of any political consequence materialized on the streets of Guatemala. In this podcast, we talk again with businesswoman and fellow liberty warrior Betty Marroquin about this and other issues in the headlines in Guatemala and the Norther Triangle. These topics are important. Matters such as border security, illegal immigration, or human trafficking start, at times, in this region of the Western Hemisphere, so it impacts us here in the United States. It's important to listen to people who actually live in this part of the world. Jason and Betty also discuss rule of law and how to free markets, not government programs or regulations, are some of the best ways to improve economic opportunity and the quality of life for all.
Former Iran Officials Teaching in American Universities, Oberlin College
The road to justice is usually a very long one. Accountability for gross violations of human rights, such as crimes against humanity, can elude victims or family members, sometimes for a lifetime. This podcast is the first of several planned podcasts that will discuss how former Iranian regime officials have been offered lucrative posts at several American universities. In this episode, Jason talks with Ms. Lawdan Bazargan, whose brother was unlawfully imprisoned, tortured, and assassinated by the Iranian regime in 1988 during was has come to be called the 1988 Massacres.
An American and California resident, Lawdan explains how she and her family have sought to hold Iranian regime officials to account in Europe, and more recently, right here in the United States. So when she learned a former Iranian regime official was offered a job at Oberlin College in Ohio, Lawdan and other families whose loved ones had been killed in 1988 sprung into action. Lawdan explains that Americans should work for an education system "free of bigots, murderers, and people accused of crimes against humanity." "Professor Mohammad Jafar Mahallati has no place in our higher education system," Lawdan said, and she hopes Oberlin college will reassess their decision to offer him a job.
Professor Mahallati is a Professor of Religion at the Department of Religion, Nancy Schrom Dye Chair in the Middle East and North African Studies of Oberlin College. In an Open Letter To Amnesty International on Oberlin College’s Appointment of Mahallati families urged Amnesty and other NGOs to "hold Mahallati accountable for his grave misdeeds on behalf of the Iranian regime. Anything less shows an inexplicable indifference to the mass murders and lies detailed in Amnesty’s report" that included Mahallati for his role in covering up the 1988 Massacres while he served at the United Nations.
US Hostage Law and Policy, and Related Matters
In this episode, Jason Poblete talks with Dr. Danielle Gilbert, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor of Military & Strategic Studies at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Dr. Gilbert received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the George Washington University in Washington, DC, where she also served as a Ph.D. candidate-in-residence with the Institute of Security and Conflict Studies.
Her research on the causes and consequences of violence has been supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the United States Institute of Peace, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Cosmos Club Foundation, the Bridging the Gap Project, the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, the Les Aspin ’60 Summer Fellowship, and the Georg W. Leitner Program in International and Comparative Political Economy at Yale. Before beginning her doctoral work, she served four years on Capitol Hill, including as a Senior Legislative Assistant and Appropriations Associate, and worked as a policy advisor on presidential and congressional campaigns.
Jason and Dani talk about a wide range of issues in her field and hone on in recent developments in U.S. hostage policy.
Western Hemisphere, Beyond "Drugs and Thugs," with Dr. J Michael Waller
Dr. J Michael Waller is Senior Analyst for Strategy at the Center for Security Policy. His areas of concentration include propaganda, political warfare, psychological warfare, and subversion. He is the former Walter and Leonore Annenberg Professor of International Communication at the Institute of World Politics, a graduate school in Washington, DC. A former instructor with the Naval Postgraduate School, he is an instructor/lecturer at the John F Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg.
Dr. Waller holds a Ph.D. in international security affairs from the University Professors Program at Boston University. He received his military training as an insurgent with the Nicaraguan contras. He was a co-founder of the Blue Team on China in the 1990s. For 13 years he was the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Professor of International Communication at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, DC, where he designed and taught the world’s only graduate program on public diplomacy and political warfare and was part of the team that developed the first civilian Master’s degree program in Washington DC for US Army officers in lieu of attending the US Army War College.
He is President of Georgetown Research, a political risk and private intelligence company in Washington, DC. He is a frequent guest instructor at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg. His doctoral dissertation, written in 1993 and published as Secret Empire: The KGB In Russia Today (Westview, 1994), foresaw the rise of a KGB officer to seize political control of Russia. He is author or editor of books relating to intelligence, political warfare, public diplomacy, terrorism, and subversion. See his page on Academia.edu.
He has written for the Daily Beast, Daily Caller, The Federalist, Forbes, Insight, Investor’s Business Daily, Kyiv Post, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Post, New York Times, Reader’s Digest, Real Clear Politics, USA Today, the Washington Examiner, the Washington Times, and the Wall Street Journal.
War Brewing in North Africa Over Western Sahara?
In February U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), joined by 25 of their Senate colleagues from both political parties, strongly urged President Joe Biden to reverse the Trump administration's decision to officially recognize the Kingdom of Morocco’s illegitimate claims of sovereignty over Western Sahara. In the letter that was released to the public, the Senators asked the Biden administration to recommit America to its longstanding policy of a referendum on self-determination for the Sahrawi people of Western Sahara.
To discuss this recent development in the Western Sahara matter, Jason will speak with Bill Flecther Jr., a human rights activist and supporter of self-determination for the Sahrawi. This is our second podcast on Western Sahara; the first was with Katlyn Thomas, an attorney, and international law expert who served on the MINURSO mission in the Sahara. In addition to discussing the most recent developments, Jason (on the right) and Bill (on the left) discuss how politically and ideologically diverse coalitions come together every now and then to advance common goals in complex matters.
Fletcher is a long-time human rights activist dating to his teen years. Upon graduating from college he went to work as a welder in a shipyard, thereby entering the labor movement. Over the years he has been active in workplace and community struggles as well as electoral campaigns. He has worked for several labor unions in addition to serving as a senior staff person in the national AFL-CIO. A former president of TransAfrica Forum; a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies; and in the leadership of several other projects. Fletcher is the co-author (with Peter Agard) of “The Indispensable Ally: Black Workers and the Formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1934-1941”; the co-author (with Dr. Fernando Gapasin) of “Solidarity Divided: The crisis in organized labor and a new path toward social justice“; and the author of “‘They’re Bankrupting Us’ – And Twenty other myths about unions.” Fletcher is a syndicated columnist and a regular media commentator on television, radio, and the Web.
- Senator Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Senate Leahy (D-Vermont) joined by 25 of their Senate colleagues from both political parties, urge President Biden to reverse course on Western Sahara (letter).
- How the Western Sahara Became the Key to North Africa; And why Morocco’s apparent victory there will change regional politics, Foreign Policy (Dec. 18, 2020).
- Why the Fight Over Western Sahara is Heating Up Again, Bloomberg (Mar. 17, 2021).
- Trump’s recognition of Western Sahara is a serious blow to diplomacy and international law, former Secretary of State James Baker (Dec. 17, 2020).
- Morocco escalates row with Spain over Western Sahara, Reuters (May 27, 2021).
A Conversation with Diane Foley, President of the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation
Diane Foley is the Founder and President of the James W. Foley Foundation (JWFLF). She founded the JWFLF in September 2014, less than a month after the public execution by ISIS terrorists of her son, James Foley. Since 2014, she has led JWFLF efforts to fund the start of Hostage US and the international A Culture Of Safety Alliance, ACOS.
In 2015, she actively participated in the National Counterterrorism Center hostage review, culminating in the Presidential Policy Directive-30. This directive re-organized US efforts on behalf of Americans taken hostage abroad into an interagency Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell, Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, and a White Hostage Response Group.
Previously, Diane worked first as a community health nurse and then as a family nurse practitioner for 18 years. She received both her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH.
- ISIS Militants Charged With Deaths Of Americans In Syria, including Jim Foley, US Dept. of Justice (Oct. 7, 2020).
- The James W Foley Foundation
- Jamshid Sharmahd, A Dissident Held Hostage in Iran (Global Liberty Alliance).
- Alina Lopez, An American Unlawfully Imprisoned in Cuba (Global Liberty Alliance).
The Next Decade of Advocacy for Global Religious Freedom, with Faith McDonnell
The persecution of Christians worldwide is at an all-time high. In this podcast episode, Jason Poblete addresses the crisis with Faith McDonnell, who has been on the frontlines of religious freedom advocacy since the 1970s. Faith is currently the Director of Advocacy at Katartismos Global, a 501(c)(3) organization that equips the Church for mission and ministry. From 1993 until 2021, Faith served as the Director of Religious Liberty Programs and of the Church Alliance for a New Sudan at the Institute on Religion and Democracy.
Faith writes and speaks on the subject of the persecuted Church and has organized rallies and vigils for Sudan in front of the White House, the State Department, the Canadian Embassy, and the Sudanese Embassy. She has drafted legislation on religious persecution for the Episcopal Church and for the United States Congress. In June 2007, her book, Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope for Northern Uganda’.s Children, was published by Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
- Annual Report, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)
- Religious Liberty Is Under Assault, Even in the United States—Interview with Faith McDonnell, The Epoch Times (Dec. 31, 2020)
- International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA)
- Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act of 2016
Global Religious Freedom, A Conversation with Former Congressman Frank Wolf
Retired Congressman Frank Wolf (R-Va.) has dedicated his life to public service, particularly in defense of fundamental human rights and religious freedom. In this podcast, GLA President Jason Poblete talks with Mr. Wolf on a variety of religious freedom issues such as the persecuted churches in Nigeria, China, and the Middle East.
Working across party lines Congressman Wolf helped lead the effort to enact the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. In 2016, the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act was enacted. It amended the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA) to state in the congressional findings that the freedom of thought and religion is understood to protect theistic and non-theistic beliefs as well as the right not to profess or practice any religion." The 2016 law amended IRFA in several ways including requiring the Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom to report directly to the Secretary of State. This reporting structure was implicit in IRFA (1998) but clarified by the 2016 Amendment as not every Secretary of State had respected this arrangement.
The 2016 amendment also established an "entities of particular concern" list, a companion to the "countries of particular concern" classification for non-government actors, such as the Islamic State (IS), the Nigerian terrorist organization Boko Haram, and Houthis. The amended act institutes a "designated persons list" for individuals who violate religious freedom and authorizes the President to issue sanctions against those who participate in persecution. Both of these provisions were already contained in the IRFA legislation (Section 402(2)) but are further detailed in what has been called the Wolf Amendment to IRFA.
Wolf represented Virginia's 10th Congressional District from 1981 until 2015. Wolf entered politics in 1968, at the age of 29, when he became a legislative assistant to Edward Biester, the Republican congressman from Pennsylvania's 8th congressional district. From 1971 to 1975, Wolf served as an assistant to Secretary of the Interior Rogers Morton. Wolf has traveled extensively to places around the world where people are suffering, including five times to Sudan since 1989. He has advocated for relief from the Darfur genocide and other cases of genocide. He has also convened conferences in his district to address human rights issues around the world. Wolf has vocally criticized the human rights record of China and has championed human rights for religious minorities and other believers the world over. You can read more about Wolf's remarkable career here.
- Prisoner of Conscience: One Man's Crusade for Global Human and Religious Rights, Frank Wolf (Amazon).
- "Fired for Liking a Tweet on Tibet, US Worker Feels China’s Reach," Voice of America (Mar. 31, 2018).
- "Stop the Christian Genocide in Nigeria," Frank Wolf and Toufic Baaklini, National Catholic Register (Feb. 26, 2020).
- Christian Persecution at All-Time High, Say Experts at Alexandria Conference," Arlington Catholic Herald (Sept. 16, 2020).
Hollie McKay, Journalist, Foreign Policy Expert and War Crimes Investigator
In this podcast, Jason speaks with Ms. Hollie McKay, journalist, foreign policy expert, and war crimes investigator. Formerly with Fox News, Hollie is currently a national bureau correspondent covering national and international news from Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, Turkey, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, and Myanmar. Her most recent book, Only Cry for the Living: Memos From Inside the ISIS Battlefield is a chilling yet sobering and inspiring collection of stories that exposes the evil of ISIS and why it sought to wage terror on civilians in a desperate attempt to create an antiquated caliphate. As Jason and Hollie discuss in the podcast, to stare down evil is a reminder of how difficult life can be, but also a lot of good can come from this process, as Hollie captures in her writings.
- Only Cry for the Living: Memos From Inside the ISIS Battlefield, Hollie McKay (Amazon)
- Articles by Hollie McKay
Why Not to Work with Corrupt People to Fight Corruption in Guatemala, with Betty Marroquín
In this episode, former Guatemalan Vice Presidential candidate, diplomat, and conservative liberty warrior Betty Marroquin joins Jason Poblete again to discuss the recent appointments to Guatemala’s constitutional court - the five permanent and five alternative judges that will take office on April 14, 2021 - as well as why the U.S. and Guatemala should be concerned about working with corrupt officials when fighting corruption.
In prior podcasts, Jason and Betty have discussed how rule of law and respect of private property rights are vital to Guatemala's future and how both the United States and Guatemala must find ways to work together to defend individual fundamental rights (including the right to life), free markets, and the rule of law.
This battle has divided, and still does, the people of Guatemala. It remains one of the most perplexing policy challenges not only for Guatemala but the region. The GLA supports jurists committed to the rule of law, however, it opposes imposing solutions on sovereign nations such as untested and United Nations imposed experiments.
The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) did the exact opposite of what it was supposed to do and it undermined Guatemalan sovereignty. We can and must do better. The process starts by trusting our partners in the region, seek out the best jurists committed to improving the situation, and, most importantly, being patient and impartial.
Finally, if you are a conservative in Guatemala and active in politics, you're targeted by the left with impunity. Betty has even had her Twitter account canceled over her work. There is a lot of work to do in Guatemala and the region.
Bulgarians Struggle with Rule of Law, Lawyers Work to Reform the System
Almost 30 years since the end of the Cold War, former Eastern Bloc nations such as Bulgaria are still struggling with Soviet ghosts, including the corruption of the legal system. That is exactly what is going on in Bulgaria, a NATO partner and strong U.S. ally. Rocked by street protests during much of last year, Bulgarians are tired of the corruption and are demanding reform of the legal system.
In this episode, GLA President Jason Poblete speaks with Dr. Radosveta Vassileva, an international lawyer speaking out against corruption in Bulgaria, and other human rights activists working to strengthen the rule of law. Radosveta has raised awareness of the rampant corruption and inadmissible human rights violations in Bulgaria. She describes her opinion that the EU Commission has abdicated its obligations and must do more to advance the rule of law. Radosveta's family has been subjected to unprecedented abuse by Bulgaria’s government.
Last week, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee said in a joint bipartisan statement that if requested, the United States will "[a]ssist Bulgaria in tackling corruption, restoring an independent media, and promoting the rule of law. The steps Bulgaria takes to address these issues will only serve to strengthen our relationship further." Jason and Radosveta discuss how U.S. economic sanctions, such as the Global Magnistsky law, can help support reform efforts in Bulgaria and other countries where the rule of law is under assault. Radosveta has been working on applying Global Magnistsky sanctions against corrupt Bulgarian officials.
- State Department fact sheet on Bulgaria.
- Bulgaria, An Overview, Congressional Research Service (Jan. 13, 2021).
- EU parliament chastises Bulgaria for rule of law deficiencies, Reuters (Oct. 8, 2020).
- Bulgaria Expels Two Russian Diplomats Accused of Spying, The Epoch Times (Sept. 23, 2020).
- Trump Meets With Bulgarian Prime Minister to Expand Strategic Partnership in Defense, Energy, and Trade, The Epoch Times (Nov. 26, 2019).
United Nations Corruption Endangering Human Rights Activists, a Talk with Whistleblower & Lawyer, Emma Reilly
In this podcast, Jason Poblete speaks with international lawyer Ms. Emma Reilly, a United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Human Rights Officer and whistleblower. Since 2013, Emma has been calling attention to a troubling practice at the UNHRC that has endangered the lives of dissidents and other human rights abuse victims who visit or testify at the UN. Despite well-documented evidence of wrongdoing by U.N. personnel, it took seven years for Ms. Reilly to secure whistleblower status. When she did, she was exiled to the U.N. bureaucracy's bowels to work on matters that appear designed to silence her and as retribution for standing up to Communist China and China’s supporters working in the UN system.
The UNHRC, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, is made up of 47 member states, including the United States. Under U.S. law, the United States is supposed to withhold as much as 15% of our tax dollars from U.N. agencies that fail to provide mechanisms to protect whistleblowers and others who ensure the organization's responsible behavior. Emma has written to several U.S. policymakers including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Chris Smith. The Biden administration and Congress should take a close look at Emma's case. Current and former U.N. officials are endangering the lives of human rights victims and other civil society leaders. The practice must stop and those who put dissidents and their families in danger should be to account.
More than 37,000 employees work for the United Nations in offices in 193 nations. According to UN data, these men and women are supposed to "maintain international peace and security, foster sustainable development and promote human rights." Think of it this way, if the UN were a corporation it employs about the same number of employees as Hobby Lobby yet Hobby Lobby has annual revenues of $5 billion a year, the UN, nothing. The UN relies on charity or financial donations provided by taxpayers of the member nations - in other words, you! Corporations are held to account by markets, shareholders, and customers.
If a company delivers a bad product or service or fails to manage the bad employees, companies lose business. The marketplace is a powerful check on the private sector. Meanwhile, the UN operates, at times, with relative impunity, where no one is really held to account until it's too late; it is also so far removed from the people who fund it that, effectively, taxpayers have no way to reign in the bureaucracy.
Emma's efforts at the Human Rights Council is not the first time whistleblowers have been pressured by U.N. leadership and it will not be the last. The United Nations is broken and China is one of the leading manipulators of the system. By supporting whistle-blowers such as Emma or demanding that your Member of Congress vote to withhold your tax dollars from broken UN agencies are some of the ways you can hold the U.N. to account when its employees and management break the rules.
- U.S. Funding to the United Nations System: Overview and Selected Policy Issues, Congressional Research Service (Mar. 10, 2020).
- Leaked Emails Confirm UN Gave Names of Dissidents to CCP, Epoch Times (Feb. 25, 2021).
- Members of Congress Demand Accountability at the United Nations (whistleblower, UN, WIPO), Congressional Record (Feb. 29, 2016).
- The United Nations: Urgent Problems that Need Congressional Action, 112th Cong., hearing transcript (Jan. 25, 2011).
Defending the Marginalized, with FIU Law Professor and Litigator, Juan Gomez
On this podcast, Jason speaks with Juan Carlos Gomez, Associate Clinical Professor at the Florida International University College of Law and Director of the Carlos A. Costa Immigration Human Rights Clinic. They discuss the law as an instrument for good, especially when used to help those at the margins of society, such as the mentally ill.
Prof. Gomez has been defending the rights of individuals in immigration matters for over 30 years including in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, as well as the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. In immigration law, he has helped thousands of individuals in situations including removal and deportation proceedings, family immigration, and the transfer of professionals and executives to the U.S. He works with a wide range of clients: counseling corporations on compliance with immigration laws, as well as defending scores of mentally ill or criminal accused.
He also has coordinated teams of attorneys in multi-forum conflicts to effectively resolve clients’ problems. As an attorney for a Central American Refugee Project, he helped in the representation of thousands of individuals in the Southeastern United States in a national class action. He has represented refugees from every part of the world where there have been conflicts over the last three decades. As director of East Little Havana Legal Services, he led a team of attorneys to resolve the series of problems faced by clients.
Hostages in Iran, Part 2: Dissident Journalist Kidnapped and Held Hostage by Iran
This week on the GLA podcast, GLA President Jason Poblete speaks with Ms. Gazelle Sharmahd, the daughter of Mr. Jamshid Sharmahd. A U.S. Legal Permanent resident based with his family in California, Jamshid was kidnapped and taken hostage by the regime on or about August 1, 2020. A registered nurse working on the pandemic's frontlines, Gazelle is one of her father's strongest advocates for his release.
Jamshid, an Iranian-German national, has witnessed the hardship of an oppressive government, which has been ruling over Iran since 1979. He was forced to flee Iran because he did not share the same ideals as the Islamic Regime. Jamshid has always stood up for justice and basic human rights like freedom of speech. According to Gazelle and her family, America was only the country that wholeheartedly accepted Jamshid and her family.
Jamshid's recent abduction was not the first time the Iranians have intimidated or harassed this family. In 2011, as CNN reported, Iran attempted to assassinate him on U.S. soil, a plot foiled by the FBI. Despite the challenges, Gazelle shares with Jason how their family has persevered and remains singularly focused on liberating Jamshid from Iranian captivity.
Iran has been using hostage-taking and kidnapping as a tool of state since the 1980s. There are currently several Americans held hostage in Iranian prisons, as well as many other foreigners such as Jamshid. What is particularly disturbing about this case is that several foreign governments may have been involved, facilitated, or allowed Iranian agents to kidnap a dissident. Jamshid had not traveled to Iran, he was on his way back to the United States after a business trip and had traveled through Germany and the UAE en route to California.
- Free Jamshid Sharmahd & GoFundMe campaign
- Free our kidnapped father, Jamshid Sharmahd, from the Islamic Regime of Iran (Change.Org Petition).
- Why Is Iran Kidnapping and Executing Dissidents? (New York Times, Jan 12, 2021).
- How to Stop Iran From Terrorizing Dissidents Abroad (Wall Street Journal, Aug. 30. 2020)
US-Cuba Policy at a Crossroads, a talk with Dr. Andy Gomez, former Assistant Provost of the University of Miami, Cuba Expert
On Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration's "Cuba policy is governed by two principles. First, support for democracy and human rights - that will be at the core of our efforts. Second is Americans, especially Cuban-Americans, are the best ambassadors for freedom in Cuba. So we’ll review the Trump administration policies." Dr. Andy Gomez, former Assistant Provost of the University of Miami and Director of the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies (Retired), joins Jason Poblete of the Global Liberty Alliance and takes a deep dive into the history of U.S. Cuba policy and issues that the Biden administration should consider as it develops its Cuba policy.
- Social Challenges Facing Cuba, book by Dr. Andy Gomez (2014)
Defending Fundamental Rights, a talk with Florida attorney Laura Jimenez
In this episode, Jason Poblete talks with South Florida attorney (and former GLA law clerk) Ms. Laura Jiménez about her journey to human rights and international law, especially through advocating for immigrants.
Born in Havana, Cuba, Laura started her legal profession in Mexico, where she obtained her Law Degree. After several years of practice, she moved with her family to Miami, where she studied at Florida International University (FIU) College of Law. Laura is a person sensitive to the dreams, expectations, fears, and specific needs of immigrants. She and her family have lived the experience of immigration to the United States.
Last year Laura and her team in Miami took on a very difficult case involving a Cuban dissident who was expelled from Cuba for his political beliefs. The Global Liberty Alliance supported the effort on behalf of Ramón Arboláez. You can read more about this case here: Cuban dissident, denied entry to the U.S., waits in a Mexican border town as cancer spreads.
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The Fundamental Rights of the Youngest Clients
A Mom's Peace is a mission for mothers of miscarried and stillborn souls. Headquartered in Virginia and run by volunteers, it supports moms, and dads, of all faith and non-faith backgrounds during a very difficult time - the loss of a child. A Mom's Peace also helps provide dignity and respect in death for miscarried or stillborn babies, the youngest of our clients.
This podcast is the first in a series of podcasts on this subject, particularly as it relates to the rights of parents when a baby is stillborn or miscarried. In some states, such as Indiana, healthcare facilities and abortion providers are required to inform pregnant women or parents of their right to determine the final disposition of fetal remains and to document that decision in the woman’s medical record.
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Indiana law requiring healthcare providers to properly dispose of fetal remains and not treat unborn children as medical waste. "This Court has already acknowledged that a State has a "legitimate interest in proper disposal of fetal remains." Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, Inc., 139 S. Ct. 1780, 1782 (2019).
In addition to Indiana, other states with fetal disposition laws include Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Georgia has had a law on the books for several years that regulates the disposal of fetal tissue. Last year, state legislators in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin introduced legislation to amend state laws on fetal remains. Similar efforts are under review in Tennessee, Mississippi, South Carolina, and right here in Virginia.
In 2016, HB 970 was introduced in the Virginia House of Delegates that, had it been enacted, would have required hospitals and health care providers who provide abortion services to dispose of fetal remains by burial or cremation. In a future episode, we will further explore some of these laws and why the laws in a majority of U.S. states treat stillborn or miscarried babies as medical waste. We will also speak with other fundamental rights advocates to change that so that parents know their rights and the rights and dignity of our youngest clients are defended.
The Western Sahara & Self-Determination for the Sahrawi People, with Katlyn Thomas
A 29-year United Nations (UN)-brokered ceasefire in the ongoing conflict for Western Sahara came to an end last week in the Sahara Desert when Moroccan forces clashed with the nationalist Polisario Front. On today's show, Jason talks with Ms. Katlyn Thomas, a New York-based and practicing international attorney who served as the first legal advisor to the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). She is also the former Chair of the United Nations Committee of The Association of the Bar of the City of New York.
Invaded and unlawfully occupied by Morocco in 1975, Western Sahara remains the only colonized African nation. For sixteen years, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and its people, the Sahrawi, have fought the Moroccan invaders. In 1991, when it appeared that the Sahrawi would win their freedom and Western Sahara would finally be free, the King of Morocco brought in the United Nations and pressed for a cease-fire.
In good faith, the Sahrawi laid down their arms and agreed to a cease-fire only because the United Nations promised them the only thing they had ever asked for: the right to vote on self-determination. The Sahrawi have been waiting since 1991 for the vote. A member of the African Union, the SADR has been recognized by over 80 nations. The United States does not recognize Moroccos's claim to Western Sahara.
- Defense Forum Foundation, Free Western Sahara
- Floor speech by Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)
- Stealing the Sahara, Sam T. K. Neel (Amazon)
- The Legal Issues Involved In The Western Sahara Dispute, The Principle of Self-Determination and the Legal Claims of Morocco; New York City Bar (link opens a PDF file, June 2012)
- UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO)
A Reawakening for Liberty in Spain, Latin America, and the U.S., with International Lawyer, María Herrera Mellado
There has been a political reawakening in the United States of a new generation of voters and freedom advocates that has also been happening in other parts of the world, including Latin America and Europe. In this podcast, GLA President Jason Poblete talks with fellow attorney, María Herrera Mellado, about this liberty movement in Latin America and Spain.
Licensed to practice law in several U.S. states and Spain, María is an international business law expert who also is committed to defending and strengthening individual fundamental rights, free markets, and the rule of law. María is currently with the Kivaki Law Firm in South Florida, where she advises foreign investors and entrepreneurs.
María also teaches courses on comparative business law in Spain and Mexico and has written several articles on Financial Consumer Protection and Banking Law in Spain, Portugal, and Brazil. She has worked at the United Nations and is trained to represent matters before the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium.
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International Advocate (and the 'Most Hated Man at the United Nations') Visits with GLA
During this podcast, Jason talks with a fellow international lawyer and human rights advocate, Mr. Hillel C. Neuer. Hillel is the executive director of UN Watch. UN Watch is a human rights NGO and UN watchdog group based in Geneva, Switzerland. Neuer is the founding chairman of the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, a coalition of 25 NGOs from around the world.
Neuer is from Montreal, Canada. He holds a BA in intellectual history and political science from Concordia University, a Bachelor of Civil Law and a Bachelor of Laws from the McGill University Faculty of Law, which he graduated in 1997, and a Master of Laws in comparative constitutional law from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Neuer served as a law clerk to the Supreme Court of Israel and a Graduate Fellow at the Shalem Center think tank.
In 2007, Hillel Neuer’s banned U.N. speech became the most viewed and written-about NGO speech in the history of the United Nations. News reports described it as a “stunning rebuke of the U.N. Human Rights Council” and “a diplomatic moment to remember.” Why was Hillel called the 'most hated man at the United Nations'? Be sure to listen!
- UN Watch, Bio
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The Challenges of International Legal Practice, with Robert Amsterdam
In this interview, renowned international litigator Robert Amsterdam and Jason Poblete discuss topics related to Mr. Amsterdam's sensational international legal experience, including a near-death in a 2010 Bangkok massacre, U.S. foreign policy pitfalls in Africa, views on U.S. sanctions, the challenges of attorney-client confidentiality over Zoom, and the importance of international know-how in an increasingly shrinking world.
According to the former British Ambassador to Russia, Andrew Wood, “The word that best describes Bob is courage, both moral and actual. He raises questions that are not always welcome, and that is often the proper business of a lawyer.” Amsterdam is an international lawyer with 40 years’ experience working on high-profile cases in emerging markets. He is the founding partner of Amsterdam & Partners LLP, a boutique international law firm with offices in London and Washington DC.
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