Brazen Presents

Brazen Presents

Original reporting you’ve come to expect from Project Brazen—extraordinary stories from around the world, told without fear or favor Project Brazen is a global journalism studio based in London and Singapore investigating some of the biggest scandals and stories of our time. Stay subscribed. Learn more: https://projectbrazen.com/ ~ Previous Series: “KABUL FALLING” — In August 2021, the Taliban regained control of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. The takeover sent shockwaves throughout the country. It forced thousands of Afghans to leave their old lives behind and embark on a hellish journey for survival. In this eight-episode podcast, Afghans themselves will tell you how it happened. You’ll hear stories about big risks, close calls, and unexpected moments of kindness — or luck — that changed everything. You’ll meet Afghan women and men from different walks of life, and even a young man who chose to fight with the Taliban — in his eyes, to protect the country he loves. This is the story of a home ripped apart — and of a courageous new beginning. For more, visit: http://www.kabulfalling.com/ ~ “RESISTANCE: Stories from Ukraine” — a harrowing and inspirational journey across Ukraine in the first weeks of Russia’s invasion. While the military wages war on the frontlines, everyday citizens are picking up whatever weapons they can, including their smartphones, computers, sewing needles, and guitars. Photojournalist Laurel Chor travels to cities across the country during the Russia-Ukraine war, finding extraordinary stories that go beyond the headlines. For more, visit: http://www.projectbrazen.com/resistance ~ “FAT LEONARD” — Under arrest and battling cancer, Leonard Francis, aka FAT LEONARD, is angry, and he’s talking for the first time. His explosive story will change the way you look at the U.S. Navy forever. For more, visit: http://www.fatleonardpodcast.com

Episodes

September 27, 2021 2 min

​​Leonard Francis, AKA Fat Leonard, is angry, and he’s talking for the first time. His explosive story will change the way you look at the U.S. Navy forever.

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Leonard Francis became the most powerful military contractor in the Pacific, running a mafia organization at the heart of the U.S. Navy. He’s over 300 pounds, and charming. We meet him in jail, and explore why he’s talking exclusively to our host, author and journalist Tom Wright. We explore Leonard’s troubled childhood. It turns out this isn’t his first time in prison.

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October 5, 2021 30 min

Out of jail, aged 21, Leonard begins his career as a defense contractor, just as the U.S. embarks on its Forever Wars. Through skill, bribes and luck, we chart the Wolf of Wall Street-like rise of Leonard, on the back of a product called the Ring of Steel. 

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October 12, 2021 32 min

We look back at the Tailhook sexual assault scandal of 1991 through the voice of Navy whistleblower Paula Coughlin. The Navy’s problem with misogyny is deep seated and it set the stage for Leonard’s rise.

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October 19, 2021 27 min

How Leonard buys his own warship, the Braveheart, complete with a mercenary army, and deploys it to help fight Al Qaeda. He secretly records orgies with Navy officers, causing one of the U.S.’s worst ever national security breaches.

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October 26, 2021 33 min

Michael Misiewicz was a rising star in the Navy before Leonard corrupts him with prostitutes, cash and free travel. We see the descent of one officer into graft and violence through the voice of his wife, Marcy Misiewicz.

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November 2, 2021 28 min

Leonard’s cruel treatment of his Filipina girlfriend, Morena De Jesus, and their children together, exposes his dark side. A fraught relationship with his own father could hold the key to understanding Leonard.

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November 8, 2021 33 min

A cocksure Navy officer called David Schaus takes on Leonard. He’s joined by a principled Navy supply official called Teresa Kelly. Finally, they force Navy admirals, who for years have given him cover, to take Leonard’s fraud seriously.

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November 16, 2021 35 min

Beaten and angry, Marcy Misiewicz makes a decision that will bring down Leonard, and her husband along with him.

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November 23, 2021 38 min

With Leonard in jail, the Navy investigates hundreds of officers. But they spare top admirals. Tom’s relationship with Leonard reaches breaking point. A major trial of U.S. Navy officers is set to start in February. Watch out for bonus episodes. 

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A lot has happened since we wrapped up the first season of the "Fat Leonard" podcast, and host Tom Wright is back with all the updates - the good, the bad and the unexpected. Includes new interviews with whistleblower Marcy Misiewicz, David Loy (Legal Director of the First Amendment Coalition) and Don Christensen (President, Protect Our Defenders). Stay tuned for updates from the trial in the coming weeks.

Thanks for liste...

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Photojournalist Laurel Chor travels to the suburbs of Kyiv to meet ordinary Ukrainians who have joined the war effort by becoming soldiers. Journalist Artem and lawyer Oleksandr guard a military checkpoint. PE teacher and two-time war vet Vladimir finds his farm completely destroyed by Russian forces as payback. Ecologist, beekeeper and drag queen Arthur recalls being stationed in Bucha and witnesses the horrific aftermath of sense...

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Fighting back with the weapons we all carry in our pockets…our smart phones. We begin in Kyiv with Anastasiya at the country’s largest children’s hospital and Andriy Dubchak from @Donbas.Frontliner. Both Anastasiya and Andriy use their phones to capture different aspects of the Russia-Ukraine war. Anastasiya shares images of civilians wounded by the war, while Andriy is on the frontlines capturing the conflict up close and gath...

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Voices of those resisting Russia’s invasion through the very ways they think, speak, and sing. In Kyiv, songwriter and producer Denis Musaev makes music to inspire his country’s victory, and Olga, a linguist and English teacher, has abandoned her first language of Russian to embrace Ukrainian instead. Elsewhere in the capital, we meet with Yarmak, a rapper-turned-soldier who has gone from fighting Russian aggression with his lyrics...

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A new film puts a face to the devastation and resilience of everyday Ukranians finding life in the midst of war.

Announcing “RESISTANCE: Returning Home”, a documentary film that gives a visual connection to the gripping stories we’ve been hearing across this podcast series.

In the film, Laurel Chor travels to the liberated towns outside Kyiv in the days following Russia's withdrawal. It was a raw, difficult time. We witness t...

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War stories from four neighbors who fought the Russian occupation despite being impossibly outnumbered and outgunned. The adrenaline from the explosions of battle has barely worn off and this is the first time they share what they lived through. With the war still raging, most people fighting in Ukraine haven’t had the chance to tell their stories yet. But Russian forces have retreated from the small town of Borodyanka, along with ...

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Underground artists fueling Ukraine’s wartime production in the midst of the Russia-Ukraine war. Laurel meets seamstresses sewing bulletproof vests, artists welding anti-tank obstacles in Kyiv and even advertising executives using online targeted ads to break through Russian propaganda. Some work alone, in their kitchens or home studios. Others are more organized, building production lines in community halls and co-working spaces. ...

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Under devastating Russian shelling in Ukraine's second largest city, a community fights to survive.

Explosions from weapons that could range from Grad rockets and artillery shells to phosphorus and thermobaric bombs have destroyed much of Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine. It’s only 30 miles from the Russian border.

Laurel meets with the locals surviving these attacks. In one apartment complex, a family clears broke...

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Escaping a city so close to the Russian border – and the stories of those who choose to stay. In Ukraine's second largest city, Kharkiv, a community fights to survive devastating Russian shelling.

Laurel continues following the journey of Larisa, a disabled woman being evacuated from her apartment in one of Kharkiv’s most dangerous neighborhoods. Volunteers race Larisa to the train station for her onward journey to Poland, in ...

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Tom Wright sits down with Laurel Chor to hear the backstory on the making of her podcast RESISTANCE: Stories from Ukraine. In this audio interview, Laurel shares the experiences she had on the ground as Russia invaded Ukraine and how the conflict continues. She also talks about the surprising similarities she sees in what’s happening in Ukraine today and in her home in Hong Kong, while giving advice to other journalists heading to ...

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