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Rackets Podcast

Rackets Podcast

By Brian Saady
The Rackets Podcast focuses on news related to organized crime. The subject matter isn't limited to traditional gangsters, such as drug cartels. The show also focuses heavily on white-collar criminals, including corrupt politicians, lobbyists, corporate criminals, crony capitalists, shady government officials, etc.
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Bowe Bergdahl & the U.S. Tragedy in Afghanistan
This episode's guest is Michael Ames. He is an investigative reporter and book author based in Brooklyn, New York. After a decade working in media in southern Idaho, Ames moved east and shifted to national issues, writing mostly for the Daily Beast and Harper's and Newsweek magazines. His first book, American Cipher, which he co-authored with former US Army infantryman Matt Farwell, was published by Penguin Press in March.  In this interview, Michael set the record straight about this former soldier, along with the manner in which his capture was a pretext for many vested interests. Ames also demonstrated a variety of ways in which Bergdahl's exploited public image paralleled the endless war in Afghanistan.  This excellent and critically-acclaimed book, American Cipher: Bowe Bergdahl and the U.S. Tragedy in Afghanistan, is available on Amazon, in Barnes and Noble, and all independent book stores. 
June 10, 2019
Lindsey Graham Doesn't Understand the Constitution
(The audio for this episode isn't great. This issue will be corrected in the following episodes.) The highlights include: Censorship in Arizona's state prisons Backlash against the maker of OxyContin and the heirs to the company's fortune Racketeering by Big Pharma Lindsey Graham's buffoonery Central American Narco-State Wasteful Military Spending Former CIA Director's Ironic Choice of Words on Terrorism Baltimore being held ransom by hackers using former tool of the NSA  (Image - Flickr - Jim Greenhill)
May 31, 2019
Trump's Emoluments and the Government's Corrupt Revolving Door
This episode covers a range of topics including: Robert Kraft's lawsuit Possible Chinese espionage A Federal Lawsuit involving Trump's Emolument Violations Trump's Pay to Play System A Number of Revolving Door Officials Finding High-Paying Work in the Private Sector Boeing Whistleblowers Foreign Lobbying War Crimes Bribery by Shell/ENI of Nigerian officials
May 09, 2019
China's Illegal Organ Harvesting
Leon Lee is the Peabody Award winning director of the documentary film, Human Harvest. Lee explained that the Chinese government began persecuting a group known as Falun Gong in the 1990s. They can best be described as prisoners of conscious. Falun Gong practitioners have been tortured, harassed, falsely imprisoned, etc. And many of them have been executed with the sole purpose of selling their organs within the Chinese medical system. It's a subject that is so sinister that it's difficult to believe, but evidence provided by Lee and a few award-winning journalists demonstrate that this is a vile human catastrophe that needs much more international attention.
April 22, 2019
UN Refugee Bribery Scandal, Foreign & Domestic Kleptocrats
The latest episode covers a bribery scandal involving the UN's refugee agency, UNHCR, corporate drug pushers, Russian election interference in  Madagascar, corrupt foreign and domestic officials, and much more. 
April 12, 2019
A Mob Boss Murdered, CIA Embassy Break-in, Weapons Trafficking, & International Crime
This episode covers a range of topics. That includes the murder of the leader of the Gambino crime family, a break-in at the North Korean embassy in Spain, the international weapons racket, a hip-hop artist / credit card  fraudster,  cartel warfare and much more.  
March 20, 2019
Nathan Smith's Lawsuit Against the President of the United States
Nathan Smith is a former Army Captain and intelligence officer at the command headquarters in Kuwait. Notably, he filed a federal lawsuit in 2016 against the President of the U.S. challenging the legality of the war in Syria and Iraq. This was obviously a difficult decision to make, but it was ultimately a principled decision. Nathan's story illustrates the stunning lack of checks and balances in our government, along with systemic forces that keep our country in a perpetual state of war, and much more.
March 04, 2019
El Chapo Trial Analysis
There were too many fascinating details from the trial of the world's most notorious criminal, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, to list. However, this episode breaks down many aspects of the Sinaloa cartel's structure, allies, foes, corrupt enablers, etc. There was so much to unravel, but here's a concise, yet jammed-packed wrap up of the most important drug trafficking conviction in American history.
February 21, 2019
Richard Bronson - Employment for 70 Million Americans with Criminal Records
   Richard Bronson is the CEO of 70 Million Jobs, which is the first for-profit recruitment company for people with criminal records. He worked at the infamous brokerage, Stratton Oakmont, which was portrayed in Martin Scorsese's “Wolf of Wall Street.” After serving 2 years in prison, Richard has dedicated his life and career to an underserved aspect of criminal justice reform, i.e. helping this massive segment of the population (70 million) gain employment.
February 07, 2019
Dame Catherine Healy - Decriminalized Prostitution in New Zealand
Dame Catherine Healy is the founder of the New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective. This year, she was awarded the title of "Dame" by Queen Elizabeth II due to her advocacy efforts on behalf of sex workers and leading the way to the decriminalization of sex work in New Zealand in 2003. Her organization has contracted by the New Zealand government to do variety of tasks, such as HIV prevention. Dame Catherine Healy offered so much information demonstrating that decriminalization is a better policy for human rights, public health & safety, and much more.
December 13, 2018
Dr. Frederic Whitehurst - FBI Whistleblower
Dr. Frederic Whitehurst was a former Supervisory Agent at the FBI Crime Lab. He exposed several scandals and became the first successful FBI whistleblower. That led to him being pushed out of the FBI in 1998. Dr. Whitehurst now practices law and currently serves as the Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center's Forensic Justice Project. In this fascinating interview, Dr. Whitehurst goes in detail about his experiences with fraud, waste, abuse, perjury by government agents, faulty forensic science, and more.
October 22, 2018
Government-Backed Hackers, Sanctions, & Geopolitics
A number of recent news events involve both crime and geopolitics. The leader of a hacking group connected with the North Korean government is under indictment. A group believed to be connected with the Russian government attempted attacks against two US right-wing think tanks. Also, the US lost its extradition request to bring a Russian national who may have had information on this and other hackings. Those stories along with election rigging, poisonings, corruption, a drone attack, and much is covered in this episode.
September 24, 2018
Rape Laws Are Not Properly Enforced in America
Meaghan Ybos is this episode's guest. She's a contributing writer at The Appeal, which is part of Harvard Law School's Fair Punishment Project. She is also the Co-Founder and Executive Director of People For The Enforcement of Rape Laws. We tend to assume that heinous crimes, such as rape, are highly prioritized and vigorously pursued by the law enforcement community. However, Meaghan's personal story, along with that of numerous other women, illustrates that our assumptions are wrong. Meaghan tackled many important topics in this interview, including the bureaucratic factors that thwart proper enforcement of rape laws. Notably, she also explained why we should no longer refer to the thousands of untested rape kits throughout Americas as a "backlog."
September 10, 2018
The National Prison Strike
Amani Sawari, the official media spokesperson of Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, explained a great deal about the current national prison strike. She detailed the scale of this strike, what prompted it, the prisoners' demands, prison profiteering, which private companies use this exploitative labor, and much more.
August 31, 2018
Trump's Commission on "Electoral Integrity" Was a Sham
Matthew Dunlap is Maine's Secretary of State. He also served on the Trump administration's Presidential Advisory Commission on Electoral Integrity. It was formed in the aftermath of Trump's claim that 3-5 million illegal votes were cast for Hillary Clinton. In this episode, Dunlap details that there was an obvious mandate to manufacture evidence of voter fraud. Independent-minded members, such as Dunlap, were stonewalled by the commission. You'll be alarmed by the details. He eventually sued the government to simply be allowed to participate in the commission. In this interview, he went in-depth about the legal battles, debunked the myth of widespread voter fraud, and called out the political operatives who are creating this false narrative. Also, Dunlap's legal challenge prevailed in the courts. As a result, we can all view the documents from the commission, which prove that it was driven by a clear political agenda, not the truth.
August 13, 2018
Philip Mattera - Corporate Crime & Wage Theft
Philip Mattera is the Research Director and the Director of the Corporate Research Project. He's also the author of the "Dirt Diggers Digest" blog, which focuses on corporate crime. He explained the extent and harm from corporate crime, along with how to properly research this subject via the free online tools of his non-profit organization. He also went into length about the subject of wage theft, which is much more prevalent than most people realize.
August 07, 2018
Toby Muse - The Drug War in Colombia
Toby Muse is a journalist, foreign correspondent, documentary filmmaker, and upcoming author. His work has been featured in The Guardian, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Daily Beast, CNN, Vice, and many more. Toby has reported on a number of issues in Colombia for nearly two decades. In this episode, he covered a range of topics, such as "The Caravan of Death," right-wing death squads, communist rebels, record cocaine production, and much more.
July 12, 2018
Scott Pruitt's Resignation
Brian gives some background on Scott Pruitt's career before his time as the head of the EPA. He also examines several of the ethical scandals committed by Pruitt. They range from bizarre, selfish, extravagant, corrupt, and potentially criminal. Brian also provides insight on whether Pruitt's resignation will improve the integrity of the agency.
July 10, 2018
Raeford Davis - Former Cop Turned Freedom Advocate
Raeford Davis served as a police officer for six years in North Charleston, SC. He's now one of the foremost leaders of the freedom movement. In this episode, he offers a number of critiques for police culture, the drug war, and much more.
July 02, 2018
Government Fraud, Waste, and Abuse
This episode covers a State Supreme Court justice indicted for multiple crimes, a multi-million dollar boondoggle in Afghanistan, the U.S. Supreme Court enabling voter suppression, foreign lobbyists, police misconduct, and more.
June 22, 2018
Legal Sports Betting - What's Next?
Brian answers questions about the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that opened the door to legalized sports gambling. He gives some info on the crony capitalist origins of this law, Donald Trump's hypocrisy, the future of the industry, the NBA's "Integrity Fee," and more.
May 29, 2018
Dave Moore - Candidate for Congress in South Carolina
Dave Moore is an independent-thinking, non-corporate candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 3rd Congressional District of South Carolina. He's representing the American Party of South Carolina. Listen to Dave's strong opinions on several topics including the two-party system, foreign policy, the drug war, corporate crime, prison reform, and more.
May 21, 2018
We hang the petty thieves & appoint the great ones to office
"We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office" Aesop Several are topics covered including a historic mafia trial in Italy, former Philly mob boss "Skinny" Joey Merlino's health care fraud case, 57 white supremacists busted, US corporations profiting from human trafficking, a Congressman behind bars, Democrats rigging a primary, states paying taxes to corporations, and much more.
May 04, 2018
Want a career in organized crime? Gov't or Private Sector?
The first episode of the Rackets covers a number of topics. Mobsters murdering journalists + The drug war's role in the Colombian peace process + A former political aid convicted of corruption + A former Congressman's trial for fraud + A $50 million corporate fraud scheme that ripped off low-wage workers + A cushy government handout by the NSA...and much more.
April 13, 2018