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The Empire Files

Season 1 2015 - 2018

  • 2015-09-04T05:00:00+01:00
  • 30 mins
  • 1 day, 18 hours, 30 mins
  • United States
  • English
  • News, Documentary, War

From inside history's biggest empire:
Reports filed by Abby Martin recording a world shaped by war & inequality.

85 episodes

1x01 The Rise of History's Biggest Empire

  • Series Premiere

    2015-09-04T05:00:00+01:00 — 30 mins

From inside history’s biggest empire, Abby Martin explores the rise of the military industrial complex, investigating how a state of perpetual war has robbed humanity of its livelihood.

1x02 9/11 and the Belligerent Empire

  • 2015-09-11T05:00:00+01:00 — 30 mins

In September 11th's episode of The Empire Files on TeleSUR, Abby Martin examines the two major wars launched under the "Global War on Terror"--their historical development and their aftermath. Featuring former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, this episode digs into the tragedy of a region shaped by Empire.

The Empire holds by far the most prisoners than any other country on earth, in both absolute numbers and per capita. Abby Martin explores the dark reality of conditions in America's prisons, who is warehoused in them, and how things got this way. Featuring interviews with Eddie Conway, former political prisoner unjustly incarcerated for 44 years, and Eugene Puryear, author of "Shackled and Chained, Mass Incarceration in Capitalist America."

Abby Martin interviews Chris Hedges on American myths, war and revolt. Hedges explains the 'folly of Empire,' the dangers posed by right-wing extremism and the urgent need for a new system.

Meet the new head of the United Nations panel on Human Rights: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Abby Martin takes us inside the brutal reality of this police-state monarchy, and tells the untold people's history of resistance to it. With a major, catastrophic war in Yemen and looming high-profile executions of activists, The Empire Files exposes true nature of the U.S.-Saudi love affair.

The Empire has a range of weapons to maintain its power: from it's courts to it's military. But it also has effective ideological weapons. Everyone in the United States knows that "socialist" or "communist" is considered a bad word. How did things get that way?

In this episode of teleSUR's The Empire Files, Abby Martin interviews world-renowned philosopher and linguist Professor Noam Chomsky. Prof. Chomsky comments on the presidential primary "extravaganza," the movement for Bernie Sanders, the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal, the bombing of the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, modern-day libertarianism and the reality of "democracy" under capitalism.

1x08 Who Is To Blame For The Refugee Crisis?

  • 2015-10-30T04:00:00+00:00 — 30 mins

Today 60 million human beings are displaced by war and extreme poverty. Many European countries are responding to the crisis with racist hysteria and polices, backed by police measures.

A crisis in Palestine is again all over the headlines. From stabbings and molotov cocktails, to killing of protesters and anti-Arab lynch mobs--how much of the mass media coverage can we really trust?

Abby Martin interviews journalist and author Max Blumenthal on the current situation in Palestine and the Israeli occupation. This episode covers what is behind today's rebellion, the rising dominance of far-right, ultra-racist ideology in Israel, eye-witness accounts of the aftermath of the Gaza war, and the Israeli government's fear of Palestinian resistance.

Each November, Americans celebrate a mythical version of U.S. history. Thanksgiving Day's portrayal of the experience of Native Americans under the boot of settler-colonialism is one of the Empire's most cherished falsehoods.

On November 22, thousands gathered at the gates of Fort Benning, GA at the 25th annual protest of the School of the Americas to memorialize the tens of thousands of people who lost their lives at the hands of the U.S. Empire’s brutally repressive juntas it used to rule Latin America by force.

Abby Martin interviews retired U.S. Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former national security advisor to the Reagan administration, who spent years as an assistant to Secretary of State Colin Powell during both Bush administrations. Today, he is honest about the unfixable corruption inside the establishment and the corporate interests driving foreign policy.

On this week’s episode of The Empire Files, Abby Martin interviews American political figure Ralph Nader about the 2016 presidential race—from the “Brown Shirt” Trump movement to “corporate criminal” Hillary Clinton—and the reality of who has power in America. Known for his widely-popular presidential run in 2000, he also ran presidential campaigns against corporate power in 1996, 2004 and 2008. A consumer advocate since the 1950’s, his work against auto industry giants forced the creation of mandated safety measures that saved millions of lives from for-profit auto production. His contributions span disability rights to exposing corporate pollution.

Abby Martin interviews Dr. Deepa Kumar, professor of media studies at Rutgers University and author of *Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire*, about the roots of this alarming situation. From confronting right-wing arguments, to examining the reality behind Donald Trump's proposed ban on Muslims, to how Islamophobia is a reinforcement and basis for the structures of Empire, the first Empire Files episode of 2016 gives essential context to the wave of anti-Muslim hate in America and beyond.

1x16 Untouchable Big Oil Threatens All Life On Earth

  • 2016-01-15T05:00:00+00:00 — 30 mins

The oil industry is a powerhouse with control over land, resources, politics and more. In this episode of The Empire Files, Abby Martin uncovers big oil's strong-arm reach--its growth, its crimes, its power and its impunity. Featuring interviews with two investigative journalists who have covered oil disasters on-the-ground--Antonia Juhasz, author of "Black Tide: The Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill", and Greg Palast, author of "Vulture's Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pig, Power Pirates, and High-Finance Carnivores."

1x17 Unraveling the Syria War Chessboard

  • 2016-01-22T05:00:00+00:00 — 30 mins

The war in Syria is an unparalleled crisis. It has gone far beyond an internal political struggle, and is marked by a complex array of forces that the U.S. Empire hopes to command: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kurdistan, Iran, Lebanon, Iraq and more. To simplify this web of enemies and friends, Abby Martin interviews Dr. Vijay Prashad, professor of International Studies at Trinity College and author of several books.

1x18 The Empire's War on the Border Part I

  • 2016-01-31T05:00:00+00:00 — 30 mins

Along the southern border of the United States is a graveyard, where hundreds upon hundreds of human remains are waiting to be found in the sand. They are teenagers, mothers and spouses walking the only path available to them—away from poverty and violence: towards their families, the only place safer and easier to eat. In Part 1 of this two-part series, Abby Martin reveals a catastrophe at the Empire's gates; not only a shockingly high body count, but a humanitarian crisis manufactured by the U.S. government. Sinister tactics, a for-profit prison pipeline, and a court system that looks more like a slave auction than a trial await those who survive. Join The Empire Files on-location to learn how Border Patrol has turned land into a weapon, to take the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors.

1x19 The Empire's Border Part II - A Hidden War

  • 2016-02-05T05:00:00+00:00 — 30 mins

In the second installment of this two-part episode, Abby Martin continues her investigation of the hidden war on the U.S.-Mexico border, looking at the root causes of the epidemic of migrant deaths. The Empire Files documents an inflated, paramilitary Border Patrol, the devastating impacts of NAFTA, how the U.S. Empire benefits from immigrant labor and what can change the equation.

During Black History Month, as the U.S. pays homage to African Americans who have changed the course of history, the establishment shows us a revised version that omits a critical piece: the Black radical political tradition.

On May 13, 1985, one of the most shameful, horrific attacks by U.S. police ever took place in West Philadelphia. 11 people—including five children—were killed in a deliberate massacre. A racist and political attack on a radical community group known as the MOVE Organization, city and police officials were revealed to have intentionally set their home ablaze, let the fire rage, and violently kept escaping men, women and children trapped inside. Featuring a harrowing first-hand account with the only adult survivor of the atrocity, Ramona Africa, Abby Martin documents an indispensable—but largely unheard of—moment in American history. From MOVE's formation, to the arrest of the MOVE 9 political prisoners, to the build-up to the infamous bombing, The Empire Files chronicles an act that cannot be forgotten.

Despite a concerted effort by the U.S. Empire to snuff out the ideology, a 2016 poll found young Americans have a much more favorable view of socialism than capitalism. Though he died 133 years ago, the analysis put forward by one of the world’s most influential thinkers, Karl Marx, remains extremely relevant today. The Empire’s recent rigged presidential election has been disrupted by the support of an avowed socialist, Bernie Sanders, by millions of voters. To find out why Marx’s popularity has stood the test of time, Abby Martin interviews renowned Marxist economist Richard Wolff, Professor Emeritus of Economics at UMass - Amherst, and visiting professor at the New School in New York. Prof. Wolff gives an introduction suited for both beginners and seasoned Marxists, with comprehensive explanations of key tenets of Marxism including dialectical and historical materialism, surplus value, crises of overproduction, capitalism's internal contradictions, and more.

Part of the way the U.S. Empire's elections are rigged is the corporate media's censorship of third-party candidates, despite their nationwide campaign efforts. The Green Party, running Dr. Jill Stein for President—on a platform more progressive than Bernie Sanders—has been totally ignored by the establishment. Abby Martin sits down with Dr. Stein to look at how her career in medicine helped her diagnose America's "multi-organ failure," and why her ideas pose such a threat to Empire.

1x24 How the World Runs on Looting the Congo

  • 2016-04-11T05:00:00+01:00 — 30 mins

Every drone flown by the U.S. military has inside a piece of the Democratic Republic of the Congo--a valuable mineral, of which the DRC has trillions of dollars worth buried underground. For five centuries, the continent of Africa has been ravaged by the world's Empires for its vast untapped treasure. Today, the U.S. Empire is increasing it's military role through their massive command network, AFRICOM, carrying out several missions a day. With the Congo being arguably the biggest prize for imperialist powers, Abby Martin is joined by Kambale Musavuli, spokesperson for Friends of the Congo, to look at Empire's role in their history and current catastrophe.

Digging deep into Hillary's connections to Wall Street, Abby Martin reveals how the Clinton's multi-million-dollar political machine operates. This episode chronicles the Clinton's rise to power in the 90s on a right-wing agenda, the Clinton Foundation's revolving door with Gulf state monarchies, corporations and the world's biggest financial institutions, and the establishment of the hyper-aggressive "Hillary Doctrine" while Secretary of State. Learn the essential facts about the great danger she poses, and why she's the US Empire's choice for its next CEO.

On Memorial Day, politicians will speak at ceremonies all over the country and repeat their favorite mantra: "Support the troops." This pledge is hammered into the American psyche at every turn. But there is a hidden, dark history that shows that the politicians are in fact no friend to service members--but their greatest enemy. An easy way to prove this truth is to look at how they so quickly betray and abandon their soldiers after purposely ruining their lives, and even after using them as literal lab rats. In this disturbing chapter of The Empire Files, Abby Martin documents decades of experimentation on US troops—from nuclear tests to psychotropic drugs—as well as knowingly exposing them to deadly poisons, from sarin gas to Agent Orange. Most damning is that the hundreds of thousands of veterans seeking help from the government for the side-effects are always met with lies and denial.

As the flailing Hillary Clinton camp steps-up its attacks on Bernie Sanders, her poll numbers continue to drop—and for the first time, have her losing to Donald Trump in a general election. On the cusp of the Democratic Party Convention, millions of Sanders' supporters are wondering what to do other than vote for a 'lesser of two evils.' To gain some insight, Abby Martin interviews Kshama Sawant, an open socialist who just won re-election to Seattle's city council—who also ran an insurgent campaign against the party establishment—about her advice to the Sanders' movement, and how struggles like the Fight for 15 can keep advancing regardless of the presidency.

With thousands of advertisements seen by Americans everyday, and a corporate media that reinforces the needs of Empire, propaganda in the U.S. is more pervasive and effective than ever before. The manipulation of public opinion through suggestion can be traced back to the father of modern propaganda, Edward Bernays, who discovered that preying on the subconscious mind was the best way to sell products people don't need, and wars people don't want. To get a deeper understanding of how propaganda functions in today's society, Abby Martin interviews Dr. Mark Crispin Miller, professor of Media Studies at New York University.

1x29 Monsanto, America's Monster

  • 2016-06-10T05:00:00+01:00 — 30 mins

Few corporations in the world are as loathed—and as sinister—as Monsanto. But the threat it poses to people and planet could be reaching new heights, as the World Health Organization has recently upgraded Monsanto's main product as carcinogenic to humans. With protests against the agrochemical giant held in over 40 countries in May, learn why the global movement against Monsanto is of critical importance to our future. In this episode of The Empire Files, Abby Martin issues a scathing expose on the corporate polluter, chronicling it's rise to power, the collusion of its crimes by the US government, and highlighting the serious danger it puts us in today.

Obama’s high-profile trip to Hiroshima was accompanied by a media storm that gave endless justifications for the US use of the atomic bomb on Japanese civilians. The myths are widely accepted in society, and underpin the notion of American exceptionalism. Abby Martin interviews Dr. Peter Kuznick, co-author with Director Oliver Stone of the bestselling book and HBO series "The Untold History of the United States,” about the real story behind the use of the atomic bombs—as well as the untold history of Imperial Japan, its role today for the US Empire, and the danger for new war on the horizon.

1x31 Puerto Rico: Colonial Bondage & Resistance

  • 2016-06-29T05:00:00+01:00 — 30 mins

Puerto Rico’s massive debt has been discussed at length in Congress and the media, all omitting the most important fact: the history of being a colonial subject for over 500 years, still owned and controlled by the United States. Abby Martin talks to two professors of Latin American studies, Luis Barrios and Danny Shaw, about the long struggle of Puerto Rico to break the shackles of US and Spanish colonialism—from indigenous resistance to the Young Lords in Harlem. Learn how the US Empire obscures the island’s colonial status today, who really is responsible for the so-called “debt crisis,” and how it can all be solved.

Few journalists know the cruelty of government censorship as well as James Risen, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist at the New York Times, targeted for several major stories implicating criminality by the US war machine and its national security state.

1x33 Inside the UN Fight Against Corporate Impunity

  • 2016-07-29T05:00:00+01:00 — 30 mins

Abby Martin interviews Ecuador's United Nations representative and Chair of negotiations creating a new international instrument to hold transnational corporations accountable for human rights and environmental crimes. Transnational corporations--many with larger economies than the countries they operate in--have enjoyed immunity from charges for destroying the environment and taking human lives. But Ecuador is leading a fight in the UN to create an international treaty and standards that can change this equation.

As part of the Empire Files investigation into Chevron’s pollution in the Amazon, Abby Martin interviews Guillaume Long, Ecuador’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. Abby Martin and Minister Long discuss the Empire-dominated world that Ecuador must operate in, how it has enacted changes against neoliberalism and corporate hegemony, and the future of the left in Latin America.

Abby Martin sits down with the President of Ecuador to talk about different issues impacting the country and region. One of the more important questions Abby has for the president is finding out how he feels about devastating damage that oil giant Chevron caused in the Amazon rainforest. The president also talks about how tax havens are affecting developing economies and, how giving me the environment legal rights is important.

1x36 Chevron vs. the Amazon - Inside the Killzone

  • 2016-09-13T05:00:00+01:00 — 30 mins

The complete version of Abby Martin's three-part series covering Chevron's disaster in Ecuador, on teleSUR's The Empire Files. Abby launches a deep investigation into Chevron Texaco's intentional spilling of 19 billion gallons of oil and waste in Ecuador's pristine Amazon rainforest--and the 25-year-long legal battle that followed. Featuring interviews with victims, expert and Ecuadorean heads of state, this documentary reveals the full breadth of Chevron's crime, and its outrageous acts against it's victims ever since.

1x37 The Untold History of Palestine & Israel

  • 2016-10-13T05:00:00+01:00 — 30 mins

Previewing Abby Martin’s on-the-ground investigation in Palestine, The Empire Files looks at the long history of Zionist colonization, expansion and expulsion of Palestine’s indigenous inhabitants. Giving critical historical context the occupation today, this timeline explores the creation of the state of Israel and how it came to cover so much land since. From the early settlements, to the Nakba, to it’s conquest of the West Bank, Abby Martin reveals the brutally honest root of what is behind the so-called “Israel-Palestine conflict.”

1x38 Inside Palestine’s Refugee Camps

  • 2016-10-06T05:00:00+01:00 — 30 mins

In her first on-the-ground report from Palestine, Abby Martin gives a first-hand look into two of the most attacked refugee camps in the West Bank: Balata and Aida camps. With millions of displaced Palestinians around the world, hundreds of thousands are refugees in their own country—many have lived packed into these refugee camps after being ethnically cleansed from their villages just miles away.

A historic gathering is taking place against the Dakota Access pipeline at Standing Rock. Thousands of people, and around 300 Native nations, have gathered to stop Big Oil’s pipeline, which threatens sacred Native grounds and the environment. To give an eyewitness account of this growing movement, as well as essential historical context, Abby Martin interviews legendary Native leader Dennis Banks. Banks is a founder of of the American Indian Movement (AIM), a leader in the 1973 Wounded Knee standoff and many other actions over five decades.

1x40 Meet the Socialist Woman Running for President

  • 2016-10-16T05:00:00+01:00 — 30 mins

With just weeks until the U.S. presidential election—and with both mainstream candidates embroiled in unprecedented scandal—Abby Martin interviews one of the progressive alternatives, socialist candidate Gloria La Riva. La Riva is a long-time organizer in the anti-war and social justice movements, a union leader and much more. In this election special, Abby Martin and Gloria La Riva discuss her plan to “seize” all U.S. banks, Hillary’s “feminism,” and why supporting the “lesser evil” out of fear of Trump is a losing strategy.

1x41 Abby Martin Exposes John Podesta

  • 2016-11-05T04:00:00+00:00 — 30 mins

With the Wikileaks release of thousands of emails belonging to John Podesta, very little is known in US society about Podesta himself. While he’s maintained a low profile, John Podesta is actually considered one of Washington’s biggest players, and one of the most powerful corporate lobbyists in the world. In this episode of The Empire Files, Abby Martin explores John Podesta’s political rise, his vast network of corporate connections and his think tank "Center for American Progress." Learn why the Podestas and the Clintons are a match made in ruling class heaven.

1x42 Home Demolitions for Illegal Settlements Surging

  • 2016-10-31T04:00:00+00:00 — 30 mins

The demolition of Palestinian homes for Israeli settlements reached a ten-year high in 2016. While this activity led by the fanatical settler movement is illegal under international law, it is completely aided and abetted by the Israeli government. With hundreds on notice to be evicted and their homes destroyed, Abby Martin goes on-the-ground throughout the West Bank investigating this dire human rights situation. She speaks to residents living under regular settler attacks from encroaching settlements and outposts illegal even under Israeli law, and sees first-hand how this crisis is worsening.

1x43 Inside the Hotbeds of Israeli Settler Terror

  • 2016-12-15T05:00:00+00:00 — 30 mins

Abby Martin goes on-the-ground to the epicenters of state-backed settler terrorism in Palestine’s West Bank, in Part II of her report on illegal Israeli settlements and home demolitions. This installment visits both the rural countryside of Duma—interviewing the surviving members of the Dawabsheh family, victims of a horrific arson attack that left three dead—and the urban center of Hebron, a glaring example of Israeli apartheid under intense military occupation.

1x44 US-Russia Relations in 'Most Dangerous Moment'

  • 2017-01-19T05:00:00+00:00 — 30 mins

Leading scholar on US-Russia relations addresses the claim being trumpeted by politicians and media on both sides of the political spectrum that Russia is now the "number one" threat to the United States. Given the proxy wars in Syria and Ukraine, Dr. Cohen tells host Abby Martin that the real alarming danger today is "a new, multi-front Cuban missile crisis." Dr. Stephen Cohen is Professor Emeritus at Princeton University and New York University where he taught Russian Studies. He has been a noted author and commentator on US-Russia policy for decades.

1x45 Post-Soviet Russia, Made in the U.S.A.

  • 2017-01-23T05:00:00+00:00 — 30 mins

The increased aggression towards Russia from US politicians and media is made more clear when taking into account the real history of the post-Soviet period. The hidden story of Boris Yeltsin’s presidency explains how deeply the US government, along with Western capitalist institutions, cheered, shaped and exploited the country after the fall of the Soviet Union, paving the way for the political system they all condemn today. To uncover just how much the US Empire has interfered in Russia’s political evolution, Abby Martin interviews Mark Ames, an American journalist who spent a decade reporting from Yeltsin’ and Putin’s Russia and witnessed the country’s transformation from an American “colony” to it’s “number one threat.”

1x46 President Correa on His Legacy & Critics

  • 2017-02-17T05:00:00+00:00 — 30 mins

After 10 years and three terms, Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa’s time in office has ended. Under his administration Ecuador made far-reaching economic and social gains, despite having inherited a country on the brink of collapse. In one of his last interviews before leaving office, Abby Martin talks to him about his legacy, his critics, and the struggle ahead for Ecuador and beyond. From commenting on Trump and the global crisis of inequality, to addressing CIA plots and opposition in his own country, hear Correa’s last words as President to the people of Latin America and the United States.

For the first time in modern history, a fringe wing of Christian extremists have obtained the highest seats of power in the US government—from Mike Pence to Betsy DeVos. This new development is coupled with the emergence of the Alt Right, the Trump movement, and the rise of fascist movements abroad. Renowned journalist and author Chris Hedges has embedded himself in what he calls “Christianized Fascism” and warns that this is the biggest danger we face under Trump.

In a rare, candid conversation, Abby Martin interviews a former Israeli Army combat soldier who served as an occupier in Palestine’s Hebron City. Eran Efrati spent years as a sergeant and combat soldier in the Israeli military, but has since become an outspoken critic of the occupation of Palestine and Israeli apartheid. Efrati gives explosive testimony on the reality of his service and explains how war crimes are institutionalized, as well as how systematic the oppression against Palestinians really is in a war of conquest that will no-doubt be accelerated under the Trump Administration.

1x49 Abby Martin Exposes Steve Bannon

  • 2017-03-14T04:00:00+00:00 — 30 mins

Steve Bannon has been propelled over the last year from fringe media outlier to top propagandist of the U.S. Empire as Trump's Chief Strategist. From his Wall Street roots and apocalyptic film career to his cultivation of alt-right bigots at Breitbart News, Abby Martin exposes Bannon's true character in this explosive documentary. Dissection of Bannon's ideology of "economic nationalism" and desire to "Make America Great Again" reveals the danger of his hand in Trump's agenda.

1x50 The Sikh Experience in America

  • 2017-03-22T04:00:00+00:00 — 30 mins

People of the Sikh faith, commonly mistaken for both Muslims and Hindus, are frequent targets of bigoted hate crimes—in fact, the first victim of post-9/11 hate crimes was a Sikh man. In 2016, attacks against Muslims—and people perceived to be Muslims, in particular Sikhs—has reached an all-time high. With 70% of Americans not able to properly identify the Sikh community, Abby Martin visits a place of worship to learn about their experience in the United States and who they are as a people.

1x51 How Black Lives Don't Matter in Israel

  • 2017-04-02T05:00:00+01:00 — 30 mins

While the Israeli state espouses multiculturalism and diversity, it oppresses not just the Palestinian population, but also any Black person within its borders. From warehousing African asylum seekers in giant prison camps, to criminalizing and carrying out eugenics programs against its Ethiopian Jewish citizens, Israel’s treatment of Black people reveals that the Zionist project is not just about Jewish supremacy, but also white supremacy. In this on-the-ground investigation, Abby Martin talks to Osman Ali, a refugee from Darfur, at Holot prison camp about the treatment of refugees by the government, and Tehune Maharat, an Ethiopian Jewish activist whose cousin was killed in an apparent hate crime by Israeli police, about the rampant and institutional racism in the country.

1x52 Silencing Palestine - Prison & Repression

  • 2017-04-11T05:00:00+01:00 — 30 mins

Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is an internationally-recognized human rights crime—but those being impacted are harshly punished for not only acts of resistance, but even mere advocacy for their rights. Getting detailed facts about Israel’s imposition of Military Law in the West Bank, Abby Martin visits the the Ramallah offices of Addameer—the most prominent prisoners’ rights organizations in Palestine—for a shocking investigation into the use of Israeli jails and arbitrary laws as a weapon. Chronicling this history of resistance and repression from the First Intifada through the 2015 uprising, this episode shows what brutal lengths the Israeli occupation will go to silence any and all advocacy for freedom.

1x53 The Hidden Purging of Millions of Voters

  • 2017-05-12T05:00:00+01:00 — 30 mins

With all the discussion of the contentious 2016 election, the most shocking fact is often ignored: that millions of people had their votes stolen through malicious, means. The Republican Party is currently working to purge millions more voters leading up to the 2018 election. To explain this major attack on our supposed democratic process, Abby Martin interviews investigative reporter Greg Palast, who has done the most extensive work uncovering this massive disenfranchisement campaign.

1x54 Privacy, Control & the Darknet

  • 2017-06-19T05:00:00+01:00 — 30 mins

Out of the periphery of most online users, there’s a vast, hidden space used by people who want to remain anonymous, which filmmaker Alex Winter explores in his documentary Deep Web. The film focuses on the Silk Road, a black market hosted on the Darknet using bitcoin cryptocurrency, and the trial of Ross Ulbricht, who was given a double life sentence without the possibility of parole for creating and hosting the site. Abby Martin and Alex Winter discuss more about the Deep Web, the Drug War, and why encryption on things like signal still matter in light of the Wikileaks’ Vault 7 release.

Human trafficking is a hidden industry that brings in $150 billion in illegal profits every year. In the United States, tens of thousands are trafficked annually—the biggest clients being major hotel chains and foreign diplomats. The Philippines is one of the largest labor exporters in the world. 6,000 Filipinos—mostly women—leave the country every single day to work, because of mass unemployment and poverty. Tricked by placement agencies, thousands end up living as virtual slaves. Damayan, a New York-based organization led by Filipina domestic workers, is fighting this underground crisis. Abby Martin speaks to several members of the organization about how this exodus of women has devastated a generation of families, and how they are fighting back.

Today in the corporate media, Venezuela’s economic problems are used to paint the country as a failed state, in need of foreign-backed regime change. To get the Bolivarian government’s side of the crisis, Abby Martin interviews Venezuela’s Minister of Economic Planning, Ricardo Menéndez. They discuss shortages, oil dependency, the role of the US-backed opposition movement and more. The Empire Files joined him in Cojedes, Venezuela, where he was speaking to mass community meetings, organizing the population to fight against what he calls an economic war.

1x57 The Roots of the Philippines Trafficking Epidemic

  • 2017-07-18T05:00:00+01:00 — 30 mins

In this sequel to The Empire Files’ report on trafficked Filipina domestic workers, Damayan’s Linda Oalican provides a deeper context to the epidemic of human trafficking by guiding us through the history of colonialism, resistance and US domination of the islands. From the centuries of Spanish rule and decades of US brutality, through the evisceration of the Philippine economy, this episode is a must-watch primer on why human beings are now the nation’s top export.

1x58 Abby Martin Meets the Venezuelan Opposition

  • 2017-07-30T05:00:00+01:00 — 30 mins

Abby Martin goes on the deadly front lines of the anti government protests in Venezuela and follows the evolution of a typical guarimba—or opposition barricade. She explains what the targets from the opposition reveal about the nature of the movement and breaks down the reality of the death toll that has rocked the nation since the unrest began, and how a lynch mob campaign came after her and the Empire Files team for reporting these facts. Hearing from peaceful opposition marchers, to Chavistas to violent protesters at the guarimbas, this must-watch episode exposes the dark reality on-the-ground that is completely obscured from Western media.

Abby Martin talks to Venezuelans on the streets of Caracas and investigates the main claim that there's no free press, and that there is no food in the supermarkets. Using hidden cameras, she takes you through local grocery stores and the underground black market currency exchange, the main source of inflation in the country. Abby sits down with economist Pasqualina Curzio to learn more about the nature of the black market and chronic shortages of goods. Knowing that world leaders are calling for foreign intervention, Abby finds out if locals agree.

On July 30th, Venezuelans will elect a people's body called the "Constituent Assembly" comprised of hundreds of representatives across the country with the power to redraft the constitution. U.S. politicians, press and opposition in Venezuela are calling the process a "coup" that should be boycotted by all. Abby Martin addresses the criticisms with Head of the Presidential Commission to oversee the Constituent Assembly process, Elias Jaua, speaks to supporters and participants of the Assembly, interviews historian Chris Gilbert and explains what is at stake in Venezuela if the social programs instated under Chavez are terminated by the opposition.

Use of force by Venezuela's Bolivarian National Guard has become a regular sight in corporate media, and those actions are used by foreign powers as justification for intervention. With very real possibilities of another US-backed coup, Abby Martin interviews the head of Venezuela's Armed Forces and Minister of Defense, General Padrino López. They discuss the National Guard's control of food and medicine, condemnations over use of force, and the threat of US military intervention.

Peter Joseph is the founder of the Zeitgeist Movement, a grassroots, worldwide organization that advocates an alternative economic system based on sustainability, cooperation and human need. His most recent book, ‘The New Human Rights Movement,’ delivers a startling exposé about the violent oppression that defines our economic order, while issuing an urgent call for global activism to unite to replace it. Abby Martin sits down with Joseph to talk about the contradictions and crises of capitalism and what he advocates to save the future of the planet from catastrophe.

1x63 Human Rights Hypocrisy - Columbia vs. Venezuela

  • 2017-08-19T05:00:00+01:00 — 30 mins

Colombia and Venezuela: two neighboring countries that receive extremely different treatment by the US Empire and the mass media. While Colombia is known for one of the worst human rights records in the world, it remains a top recipient of US military aid and enjoys uncritical press coverage in Western media--all while Trump threatens military intervention against Venezuela over unsubstantiated allegations. To contrast the human rights realities, Abby Martin interviews human rights attorney Dan Kovalik, who has recently returned from both countries. Kovalik has done extensive work in Latin America and was an observer to the recent Constituent Assembly election in Venezuela. He also serves as Associate General Counsel of the United Steelworkers union, teaches International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and is the author of the new book "The Plot to Scapegoat Russia."

1x64 American Revolution Waged For Slavery

  • 2017-10-25T05:00:00+01:00 — 30 mins

Abby Martin interviews Professor Gerald Horne about the the real story behind the creation of the United States in 1776, providing a new, accurate narrative about defending slavery rather than "freedom and democracy." From the Boston Tea Party, through the Civil War and the history of the KKK, Horne explains the racist roots of today's resurgence of white supremacists. Dr. Gerald Horne is the Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston and is the author of over 20 books on slavery and the Black liberation movement; most recently "The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States".

Trump hit his lowest moment when he blamed "both sides" for the murder of anti-racist protester Heather Heyer in Charlottesville. But understanding how a neo-Nazi sympathizer got into the White House requires breaking apart the myth underneath it all, the glorified story of the creation of the United States in 1776. Dr. Gerald Horne is the Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston and is the author of over 20 books on slavery and the Black liberation movement; most recently "The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States".

More threats against the Maduro government from Trump at the United Nations follows nearly 20 years of the US Empire's insistence that the popular Bolivarian movement should have no voice. Abby Martin sits down with Professor Chris Gilbert in Caracas, Venezuela, to learn about the rise of the Chavez movement, its role in society and the threats it faces from the US-backed opposition. Gilbert is a historian and professor of political science at the Universidad Bolivariana de Venezuela. His articles on the struggle in Venezuela appear on CounterPunch.org and more.

1x67 Voices From The Anti-Trump Resistance

  • 2017-09-23T05:00:00+01:00 — 30 mins

On September 16-17 a major national gathering was held in Washington, D.C. called the People's Congress of Resistance, a broad and diverse coalition of organizers and community leaders formed to build the class-struggle wing of the anti-Trump movement. Abby Martin was there to share the voices that are silenced by both the Democratic Party and the mass media, and to ask participants about fear and resistance in the Trump era.

On the streets of Jerusalem, Abby Martin interviews Jewish Israeli citizens from all walks of life. In several candid interviews, disturbing comments reveal commonly-held views about Palestinians and their future in the region. Israeli-born human rights activist and anti-Zionist, Ronnie Barkan, explains why these attitudes dominate Israeli society.

1x69 Rosa Clemente & Abby Martin - No Savior in 2020

  • 2017-10-11T05:00:00+01:00 — 30 mins

Renowned Afro-Latinx activist and scholar Rosa Clemente sits down with Abby Martin to discuss her experiences running for Vice President, organizing under Obama versus under Trump, advice for new activists, identity politics and more. In the face of a resurgent far-right movement, backed by unleashed reactionary state forces, Clemente gives valuable insight into the challenges, strategies and tactics for a new era of organizing.

After a flurry of media attention, the devastation in Houston, Texas from Hurricane Harvey faded from public view. But after unprecedented floods and widespread destruction, the story is far from over. In Part 1 of her investigation, Abby Martin travels to Houston one month later, and visits one of the most devastated neighborhoods. Victims there give harrowing testimony about nearly drowning and having zero assistance to this day from local or state officials. This first installment reveals the untold stories of how, while abandoned by the state, the community banded together to save lives and rebuild their homes.

1x71 The Sacrifice Zones of Hurricane Harvey

  • 2017-10-18T05:00:00+01:00 — 30 mins

In this second installment of special coverage Hurricane Harvey's aftermath, Abby Martin explores how the petrochemical industry dominates the city and why its low-income, Black and Latino areas are in the highest-risk areas for flooding and pollution, earning them the name "sacrifice zones." Abby explores Houston's unique lack of zoning and regulations that maximized the impact of the storm, the "fence-line communities" deliberately put in harm's way, inhumane treatment of incarcerated people in the disaster, and how the ownership of the city by Big Oil puts thousands of lives in peril. Featuring interviews with Dr. Robert Bullard, professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at Texas Southern University; Azzurra Crispino, co-founder of Prison Abolition Prisoner Support (PAPS); and Yvette Arellano of the Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Series.

1x72 Trump Expands Police-State Crackdown on the Left

  • 2017-11-02T04:00:00+00:00 — 30 mins

At Trump's inauguration, around 200 protesters and journalists were mass arrested and now face up to 70 years in prison on baseless charges. Many other legal assaults on civil liberties are in the works around the country, from treating anti-fascists as "domestic terrorists", to legislation protecting drivers who run over peaceful marchers. To explore what this means for U.S. activists today, Abby Martin sits down with constitutional rights lawyer Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, head of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (JusticeOnline.org), a premiere legal organization defending protest rights. Verheyden-Hilliard has litigated, and won, several cases against the U.S. government for mass arrests and other types of repression.

1x73 Decentralized Disaster Relief Fills Void

  • 2017-11-06T05:00:00+00:00 — 30 mins

After uncovering total failure by the U.S. government to meet the needs of communities suffering in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Abby Martin meets the people who filled the void. Speaking with volunteers who mobilized from out-of-state, to community leaders who organized relief efforts, this final installment of the Empire Files' investigation shows how people came together to replace the failures of the system. Featuring interviews with anarchist Scott Crow of the Common Ground Collective, the Black Women's Defense League, Altruist Relief Kitchen and other autonomous decentralized relief groups.

1x74 What the Russian Revolution Proved Possible

  • 2017-11-07T05:00:00+00:00 — 30 mins

Nov. 7, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the seizure of power by workers and peasants in the Russian Revolution, regarded as the most world-altering event in the history of civilization. To understand the context of this first socialist experiment, how it happened and what caused the many problems it faced, Abby Martin sits down with Brian Becker, long-time socialist organizer and co-author of the new book “Storming the Gates: How the Russian Revolution Changed the World.”

1x75 Death & Biostitutes - The US Opioid Crisis

  • 2017-11-29T05:00:00+00:00 — 30 mins

A new phenomenon has emerged in the United States: 64,000 people died in 2016 of a drug overdose—with 80% from opioids—with levels of addiction nearly 500% higher over the last six years.

On October 5, 2017, police opened fire on unarmed farmers in Tumaco, Colombia. Eight were killed, with dozens more shot. The massacre was part of a crackdown on coca farmers in the "War On Drugs" despite an agreement for crop substitution--and amidst new threats from Trump, ordering the government to use more force or face consequences. The Empire Files goes on-the-ground to investigate the massacre, interviewing witnesses and casualties. Abby Martin visits recently-destroyed farms, uses hidden cameras to confront soldiers about the operations, and explores the context of such a killing less than a year after the historic peace deal ending the country's 53-year civil war.

In 2017, murders of social leaders, union organizers and indigenous activists in Colombia hit a new high since the historic peace agreement. Empire Files' Abby Martin goes to Colombia to document the increasingly deadly situation for human rights activists. Hear from an Afro-Colombian union leader under threat of assassination, and how the US Empire created this epidemic today.

Recently, the struggle for Palestinian human rights gained international attention surrounding a new icon of resistance--16 year old Ahed Tamimi. While in the West Bank in late 2016, Abby Martin interviewed Ahed Tamimi about her hardships and aspirations living under occupation and it becomes clear why her subjugators are trying to silence her voice. Her brother Waad and father Bassem also talk about their experiences with Israeli soldiers harassing their village and targeting their family. In this exclusive episode, Abby outlines the Tamimi family's tragic tale and unending bravery in the fight for justice and equality in Palestine and how the story of their village of Nabi Saleh is emblematic of the Palestinian struggle as a whole.

1x79 War With North Korea - Propaganda vs. Reality

  • 2018-02-17T05:00:00+00:00 — 30 mins

On top of overtly genocidal threats, the Trump Administration has announced new terms: that they "will never accept a nuclear North Korea." But, the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea already has nuclear weapons. Does that mean a war is imminent? While the bipartisan warmongering is receiving no push-back from the mainstream media, Abby Martin interviews Tim Shorrock--journalist and expert on US-Korea relations--to learn what is left out of the debate and the potential cost of a new war.

1x80 How Lobbyists Weaponized Transparency

  • 2018-02-28T05:00:00+00:00 — 30 mins

There are 26 registered lobbyists for every elected representative on the hill, with experts suggesting the true amount is closer to 100,000. Yet transparency laws that people believe help combat this system of pay-to-play politics have been weaponized against them to further cement corporate control. Congressional researcher James D’Angelo argues how the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970, which opened up politicians voting records–has only helped special interests and corporations.

1x81 Life Sentences for Charity Work - Free the 5!

  • 2018-03-24T04:00:00+00:00 — 30 mins

The Holy Land Foundation Five are Palestinian political prisoners sentenced up to upwards of 65 years in US prison for providing aid to refugees. Although no proof exists for the organization providing support for terrorism, it was targeted in the Bush administration's post-9/11 dragnet, setting an alarming precedent for activists in the US. Abby Martin sits down with an expert on the case, Miko Peled, to learn more about this little-known case. Miko Peled is an Israeli-born activist for Palestinian rights, and the son of a famous Israeli general. He is the author of "The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine" and "Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five."

Abby Martin goes on the The Joe Rogan Experience to talk about the Israeli lobby smear campaign for her previous appearance and the Great March of Return massacre of nonviolent protesters on the border, including the deliberate targeting of children, journalists and rescue workers.

1x83 The Hidden War on Trans Rights

  • 2018-05-10T05:00:00+01:00 — 30 mins

In 2016, more than 50 bills were introduced in Congress targeting Trans people. Since Trump took office, dozens of pieces of landmark legislation have been cancelled, severely rolling back Trans rights. To explore this wide-ranging assault, Abby Martin speaks with two leading voices and activists in the Trans community: Chase Strangio, attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, and Jennicet Gutiérrez, founding member of La Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement.

Colombia’s presidential election could determine the fate of the historic peace deal ending their 53-year civil war. While most in the country want to honor the agreement, Colombia’s right wing has been a fervent opponent. In Bogotá, Abby Martin interviews Congressman Edward Rodriguez, a leading member of the far-right Democratic Center Party founded by former President Uribe. She challenges him on his party’s ties to death squads, drug cartels and potential to reignite the war. Martin also visits the government office dedicated to compensating the civilian victims and speaks with Director Ana Maria Almario about their monumental task.

1x85 Leftist Debunks John Oliver's Venezuela Episode

  • 2018-06-07T05:00:00+01:00 — 30 mins

The week of Venezuela's presidential election, John Oliver dedicated an ENTIRE episode of his HBO show "Last Week Tonight" to the country—full of distortions and highly misleading to progressive-minded people. Responding to Oliver's major points, Empire Files producer Mike Prysner walks us through the most glaring omissions and misrepresentations. This video response is an essential guide for progressives to understand the reality in Venezuela, the most common myths used to discredit the Chavez movement, and the role of the US government. [[ Prysner is an Iraq war veteran and journalist. He spent a month in Venezuela during the height of the protest movement in 2017, covering the riots and economic crisis. He has been a Venezuela solidarity activist since 2006. Watch the many documentaries and interviews he produced from Venezuela at TheEmpireFiles.tv ]]

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