Pfizer's COVID-19 Vaccine Reviewed by FDA for Possible Emergency Use Authorisation

Margaret Flowers, pediatrician, health reform activist and co-director at Popular Resistance, joins us to discuss Thursday’s day-long meeting of the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Independent Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, at which officials examined whether Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine should be approved for public use in the US.

Jack Rasmus, professor of economics and politics at St. Mary’s College of California, returns to talk about the US Labor Department numbers that came out Thursday showing that jobless claims jumped to 853,000 last week, up more than 100,000 from the preceding week as COVID-19 continues to hamper the economy.

Chris Garaffa, web developer and Technologist, joins us to discuss the US Federal Trade Commission and more than 40 states suing Facebook in an antitrust case, saying the company had bought out its competition to corner the market. According to the New York Times, the plaintiffs “called for the deals to be unwound, escalating regulators’ battle against the biggest tech companies in a way that could remake the social media industry.” Federal and state regulators “said in separate lawsuits that Facebook’s purchases, especially Instagram for $1 billion in 2012 and WhatsApp for $19 billion two years later, eliminated competition that could have one day challenged the company’s dominance.” This comes as YouTube has moved to ban videos that claim fraud influenced the 2020 US presidential election.

Dave Lindorff, investigative reporter and founder of This Can’t Be Happening!, joins us to discuss the federal investigation into projected US President-elect ’s son Hunter, who said Wednesday that he had been contacted about an investigation into his taxes by the US Attorney’s Office in Delaware. A Wednesday article in Politico says that a person with “firsthand knowledge of the investigation” claims that the probe has been “more extensive” than Hunter’s statement indicates. “The person said that, as of early last year, investigators in Delaware and Washington were also probing potential money laundering and Hunter Biden’s foreign ties,” the outlet noted. A recent report by the Associated Press also found a number of sexual misconduct allegations against senior FBI officials in the last five years, with those individuals being allowed to transfer or resign with full benefits and no criminal charges against them.

Alfred de Zayas, professor of international law at the Geneva School of Diplomacy, former secretary of the UN Human Rights Committee and Former UN independent expert on international order, joins us to discuss the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to drop a probe into actions by British forces in Iraq, despite evidence of war crimes. According to a Wednesday article in Common Dreams, the decision was blasted by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) General Secretary Wolfgang Kaleck, who said it “reinforces longstanding double standards in international justice and shows once again that powerful actors can get away with systematic torture.” Kaleck also noted that the decision “is a severe blow to Iraqi torture survivors.” 

Nick Davies, peace activist and author of “Blood on Our Hands, the American Invasion of Iraq,” joins Dr. Wilmer Leon to discuss a MintPress News story entitled “John Kerry’s Think Tank Calls for War With Russia Over Climate Change.” Kerry, who was recently appointed as the Biden team’s special presidential envoy for climate and who is a founding member of the American Security Project think tank, was quoted as saying, “America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is.” The organization was quoted in the article as saying, “NATO faces a severe military challenge in the European Arctic area of operation. … The US military should actively participate in Arctic joint exercises, and publicize US military deployments to the region, with particular focus on the Russian border – perhaps by returning the US Marine deployment to Norway.”

Marjorie Cohn, professor of law at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, California and a former president of the National Lawyers Guild, joins us to discuss a Consortium News article which said, “The United Nations’ top official on torture Tuesday called on British authorities to release or place under house arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange” during his US extradition trail proceedings. Nils Meizer, UN special rapporteur on torture, cited a report saying that “some 65 of the 165 inmates at Belmarsh, including numerous prisoners in the wing where Assange is jailed, have tested positive for coronavirus.” He called Assange’s imprisonment “arbitrary deprivation of liberty” that has “severely violated” the journalist’s human rights.

Laith Marouf, broadcaster and journalist based in Beirut, Lebanon, joins us to discuss Iranian President ’s remarks that Iran will return to its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal if other countries do the same. According to Al Jazeera, “Following the assassination of nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh outside Tehran last month, the Iranian parliament, dominated by conservatives and hardliners, quickly passed a bill that aims to increase uranium enrichment and expel inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The Rouhani administration has explicitly said it opposes the legislation and was not consulted in its drafting.”

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