Five Minutes Five Issues: Iran Sanctions Workaround, Julian Assange, Venezuela, MeK, Wisconsin Hemp

by | Oct 1, 2018

A new episode of Five Minutes Five Issues is out. You can listen to it, and read a transcript, below. You can also find previous episodes of the show at Stitcher, iTunes, YouTube, and SoundCloud.

Listen to the new episode here:

Read a transcript of the new episode, including links to further information regarding the topics discussed, here:

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity welcomes you to Five Minutes Five Issues.

Starting in five four three two one.

Hello, I am Adam Dick, a Ron Paul Institute senior fellow.

Let’s start.

Issue one.

This week, the governments of Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the European Union (EU) jointly announced their intention to create a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). The SPV is intended to enable people in these governments’ jurisdictions to conduct trade with Iran in circumvention of United States sanctions.

Issue two.

In the June 23 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about how, at Ecuador’s London embassy, Julian Assange of WikiLeaks was being restricted to what seems much like solitary confinement in a prison. In contrast to his previous time of asylum at the embassy during which he could communicate with the world electronically and meet with guests, Assange was being deprived of visits and silenced. The weeks on end of isolation, I suggested, may be torture.

This isolation has now been imposed on Assange for 26 weeks — half a year.

Issue three.

In the September 15 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about President Donald Trump and high-level Trump administration officials commenting favorably about the use of military force against or the overthrowing of the Venezuela government.

On Thursday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley joined protestors outside the UN headquarters where she spoke through a megaphone. Agence France-Presse quotes Haley as saying at the protest, “We are going to fight for Venezuela and we are going to continue doing it until [Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro] is gone!”

In contrast, in a speech the day before at the UN General Assembly, Bolivia President Evo Morales advocated for the US butting out. Morales said:

The sister Bolivarian republic of Venezuela is suffering from outright aggression by the United States and its allies. Latin America strongly rejects attempts to intervene militarily in Venezuela. Venezuelan problems have to be resolved by the Venezuelan people themselves. The United States must immediately withdraw illegal and unilateral steps it has taken, which have been in fact one of the causes of the economic situation in that country.

Issue four.

During Barack Obama’s presidency, Daniel Fried was tasked with ensuring the safe passage of members of the Mojahedin-e Khalq, or MeK, within Iraq and then to Albania.

In a Sunday BBC interview, Fried discussed United States National Security Advisor John Bolton a year ago and President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani last week presenting speeches at MeK-organized events in which they endorsed overthrowing the Iran government. Fried said that the MeK is a “radical group” with “characteristics of a cult organization” that he believes pays “rather well for the public support of various high profile advocates.”

Asked if anyone in Iran supports the MeK, Fried responds:

I don’t think so. I think it is thin support. I think their rather odd cultish qualities mean that more democratically-minded, more pro-Western elements of Iranian society, and there are significant pro-Western elements in Iranian society, would want to have nothing to do with the MeK.

Issue five.

Sixteen years ago this week, Ed Thompson was in the final weeks of his run for Wisconsin governor. The Libertarian candidate, whose campaign I co-managed, would end up winning over ten percent in the November general election.

Thompson promoted major changes in the state’s marijuana laws as key goals in his campaign platform. These changes included legalizing hemp farming and ending state restrictions related to recreational and medical marijuana.

One of those Thompson campaign goals has become reality in the state this year, though with more restrictions than Thompson supported: Hemp is being legally harvested in Wisconsin for the first time since the 1950s.

When will Wisconsinites also be able to possess and consume medical and recreational marijuana without fearing arrest? I expect it will take much less time than 16 more years for those changes to be adopted in Wisconsin and countrywide.


That’s a wrap.

Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.

Five four three two one.


  • Adam Dick

    Adam worked from 2003 through 2013 as a legislative aide for Rep. Ron Paul. Previously, he was a member of the Wisconsin State Board of Elections, a co-manager of Ed Thompson's 2002 Wisconsin governor campaign, and a lawyer in New York and Connecticut.

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