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  • From White Sheets to Spreadsheets

    By Greg Palast for Truthdig


    I hate to spoil a happy ending.

    The movie “Selma,” like this week’s commemorations of Martin Luther King Jr.’s march from Selma, Ala., 50 years ago, celebrates America’s giant leap from apartheid.

    Half a century ago Alabama state troopers and a mob of racist thugs beat African-Americans and others as they marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, demanding no more than the right to vote. By the time King led 25,000 demonstrators singing “We Shall Overcome” into Montgomery, the state capital, on March 24, the president of the United States had introduced the Voting Rights Act. Free at last—to vote. Roll credits.

    Yet, just a few months ago, Martin Luther King asked me, “How long until African-American citizens of Alabama—and Mississippi and Georgia—get the unimpeded right to vote?”

    Obviously I was not speaking with King Jr.—a bullet stole him from us in 1968. The question was posed by his son, Martin Luther King III. I spent an afternoon at his home in Atlanta, where we pored over the latest evidence that Americans of color were blocked at the doors to the polls in the 2014 midterm elections—by the hundreds of thousands.

    As King’s 6-year-old daughter serenaded us with her toy drum set, we dived into a massive, secretive database used by elections officials—almost all of them Republicans—in 28 states. The scheme, called “Interstate Crosscheck,” threatens to disqualify (Show me more...)

    Trojan Hearse:
    Greek Elections and the Euro Leper Colony

    By Greg Palast for το χωνί (Greece)
    [updated January 26, 2015]

    Europe is stunned, and bankers aghast, that the new party of the Left, Syriza, won Sunday's parliamentary elections in Greece.

    Syriza won on the promise that it will cure Greece of leprosy.

    Oddly, Syriza also promises that it will remain in the leper colony.  That is, Syriza wants to rid Greece of the cruelty of austerity imposed by the European Central Bank but insists on staying in the euro zone.

    The problem is, austerity run wild is merely a symptom of an illness.  The underlying disease is the euro itself.

    For the last five years, Greeks have been told that, if you cure your disease—that is, if you dump the euro—the sky will fall.  I guess Greeks haven’t noticed, the sky has fallen already.  With unemployment at 25%, with doctors and teachers eating out of garbage cans, there is no further to fall.

    In 2010, when unemployment was a terrible 10%, a year into the crisis, the “Troika” (the European Central Bank, European Commission and the International Monetary Fund) told the Greeks that brutal austerity measures would restore their economy by 2012.

    Ask yourself, Was the Troika right?

    There is a saying in America:  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.

    Can Greece survive without the euro?  Greece is already dead, but the Germans won’t even bother to bury (Show me more...)

    Selma, secretly

    By Greg Palast

    In 1930, when my father was an eight-year-old kid in Chicago, he asked his older brother why people were outside in the cold snow waiting in a long line. His brother Harold said, “It’s a bread line. They don’t have anything to eat. They’re hoping for bread.”

    My father ran to his mother’s bedroom and grabbed my grandmother’s diamond brooch, ran downstairs, and gave it to a man in the bread line.

    Later, as the Depression rolled on, my grandfather lost everything. So Gil Palast was a failure early. Stayed a failure.

    He ended up in the furniture business, in a store in the barrio in Los Angeles, selling pure crap on layaway to Mexicans; then later on, he sold fancier crap to fancier people in Beverly Hills and he hated furniture, and hated the undeserving (Show me more...)

    Cartoonist Ted Rall Joins
    Palast Investigations Team

    A note from Greg Palast

    With the blood of cartoonists still fresh on the walls of Charlie Hebdo in France, I thought I’d move up the announcement that poison pen-man Ted Rall has been named a Fellow of the Palast Investigative Fund.

    Now you can sign up to receive Ted’s ‘toons and tales weekly, no charge.

    Why the heck does an investigative reporting team need a guy who draws the funnies?  Ted is, in fact, one of the USA’s top journalists—reporting from Afghanistan (“After We Kill You, We Will Welcome You Back as Honored Guests”) and the other places too scary to go to yourself—and from the belly of the New York beast.

    The fact that Rall’s reports often come out as punch-lines in word balloons just makes his work even more brilliant.

    Download one of Ted’s masterpieces, “To Afghanistan and Back,” for FREE.

    We are honored to give Rall more opportunities to put himself in danger.

    And be honest: How many of you bought my bestseller, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, but only read Ted’s comic book included with it? (Like this brilliant Aliens Attack illustration.)

    Ted, who lived in France, knew and got sloshed with the Charlie Hebdo crew.  He writes,

    "I was thinking about that this morning when I heard NPR’s Eleanor Beardsley call Charlie Hebdo “gross” and “in poor taste.” (I should certainly hope so! If it’s in good taste, it ain’t funny.)”

    Like Rodney Dangerfield, cartoonists, says Rall, “get no respect.”

    Hey, that makes him a perfect candidate for the Palast team.   It’s an unusual fellowship (Show me more...)

    A Tale of Two Cuomos:
    The Tragic End of the Inspired Voice
    and the Duplicitous Pol

    By Greg Palast for Reader Supported News 

    I knew Mario Cuomo well. Too well.

    I helped write talking points for speeches that got him elected Governor and grieved that he did not become President.

    But there was another Cuomo, the one that tried to stop the US publication of my book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy; the Mario Cuomo who went to court to try to put the Palast Investigative team out of business while we worked to expose the Bush Family election heist and the con job leading to war.

    I just read the glowing New York Times obit.  Even in death, Cuomo has pulled off one last con.   The Times lauds his single stellar accomplishment as Governor:  “He closed the Shoreham nuclear plant on Long Island,” New York.

    No, he didn’t.  As usual with Mario, he gave a great speech—and won election by calling for the nuclear plant’s closure.  But behind the scenes, the other Mario, the back-room wheeler-dealer, the toady to the bankers and power industry magnates, moved heaven and earth to stand in the way of the courageous statesmen and activists who actually closed this dangerous, radioactive monstrosity.

    On July 2, 1985, the New York State Legislature was about to pass the historic law authorizing the public takeover of the out-of-control private company that owned Shoreham. Near midnight, one of Cuomo’s stooges (Show me more...)

    Palast wins Sidney Prize for Exposing
    New Threat to Voters of Color

    From the Sidney Hillman Foundation

    NEW YORK – Greg Palast wins the December Sidney Award for “Jim Crow Returns,” and “Challenging Crosscheck,” a two-part Al Jazeera America exposé that shows how millions of innocent people were flagged as suspected vote fraudsters just because they have the same first and last name as someone in another state.

    On the eve of the 2014 elections, officials had begun to purge voters based upon Interstate Crosscheck, voter fraud prevention software. More than 40,000 voters were dropped from the rolls in Virginia alone.

    Read The Backstory, our Q&A with Greg Palast

    The Crosscheck program, used in 28 states, is ostensibly designed to prevent voter fraud by identifying people who voted in different states in the same election. The system is billed as a sophisticated fraud-detection tool, but Crosscheck lists obtained by Palast for three states show that the system matches on first and last name alone. Crosscheck flagged more than 2 million names in those three states, Palast found.

    “It was absolute murder trying to get the Crosscheck lists out of the hands of these highly political agencies,” Palast said. “They knew damn well (Show me more...)

    The Hunt Continues...
    A personal note from Greg Palast

    Three weeks ago, we blew the lid off “Interstate Crosscheck”—the 6.9 million voter purge list put together by 27 wannabe Katherine Harrises.

    It took us six months of detective work to get our hands on these lists of millions of Americans tagged as 'suspected double-voters'  – and the sneaky and sick method used to disenfranchise more voters of color.But the Purge’n Generals are not done.  So far, they’ve only knocked off a few hundred thousand voters.  That was enough to flip the Senate; but they’re in the process of removing nearly a million voters by 2016 to get the White House.

    We’re not done either:  We are still digging, still uncovering more games like Crosscheck—and the billionaires behind the vote swindles.

    We need your support to continue the investigation of these ballot bandits – and expose all their tricks.

    We are halfway through our production of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits - The Movie, based on my New York Times bestseller.

    Let me be blunt:  We’ve depleted our funds—but we can’t stop now.

    I rarely ask – but I have to ask now...

    Help us complete the film by making a tax-deductible donation of $100 or more and you will get an on-screen credit as a Supporter plus the signed DVD once the film has wrapped.

    Or make a tax-deductible donation of $50 –– and, once the film has wrapped, you will receive the signed DVD.

    Or chip in whatever you can to help us get it done.

    For those with deeper pockets, we really need Producers.

    For a tax-deductible donation of $1,000 or more you will get an on-screen Producer credit, or a Co-Producer credit for a donation of $500. (You can, of course, choose to remain anonymous.)

    Or, for a donation or $40 get a signed DVD of my investigations compendium Vultures and Vote Rustlers (Palast Investigates Vol. 2).

    Better yet, get (Show me more...)

    Greg Palast and Brad Friedman
    Expose the Midterm Election Swindle
    on Thom Hartmann’s ‘Big Picture'

    (Show me more...)

    The Secret Lists that Swiped the Senate

    By Greg Palast

    Statistics guru Nate Silver simply can’t understand why every single legitimate poll indicated that Democrats should have gotten 4% more votes in the midterm elections than appeared in the final count.

    The answer, Nate, is “Crosscheck.”No question, Republicans trounced Democrats in the Midterm elections.  But, if not for the boost of this voter-roll purge system used in 23 Republican-controlled states, the GOP could not have taken the US Senate.
    It took the Palast investigations team six months to get our hands on the raw files, fighting against every official trick to keep them hidden.

    Here’s what we found.

    Interstate Crosscheck is computer system that officials claim can identify anyone who commits the crime of voting twice in the same election in two different states.  While the current list of seven million “suspects” did not yield a single conviction for double voting, Crosscheck did provide the grounds for removing the registrations of tens of thousands of voters in battleground states.

    The purge proved decisive in North Carolina, Colorado, Kansas and elsewhere.  Without Crosscheck, the GOP could not have taken control of the US Senate.  [Read my original investigative report.]

    Nate Silver might want to punch these numbers into his laptop:

    • In North Carolina, Republican Thom Tillis upset incumbent Senator Kay Hagan by just 48,511 votes.  North Carolina’s Crosscheck purge list targeted a stunning 589,393 voters.
    • In Colorado, Cory Gardner, the Republican, defeated Mark Udall by just 49,729 votes.  Colorado’s Crosscheck “potential double voter” list totals 300,842.

    The Crosscheck purge list also swamped GOP Senate margins in Alaska and Georgia and likely provided the victory margins for GOP gubernatorial victories in Kansas and Massachusetts.

    No, states do not purge every name on the lists.  Typical is Virginia which proudly purged 64,581 “duplicates” from its voter rolls in 2013, equal to about 19% of its Crosscheck list.  Other states refuse to provide numbers, but their scrub methods are the same, or even more aggressive, than Virginia’s.

    We can conservatively calculate that the purge of 19% of the Crosscheck lists accounted for at least three GOP Senate victories – and thereby, control of the Senate.

    If the Crosscheck lists truly identified fraudulent double voters, then we’d have to concede that the election results are legit.  But the ugly truth is, the lists are nothing more than racially-loaded lists of common names.Click to Enlarge

    And that’s why GOP Secretaries of State, a gaggle of Katherine Harrises, hid the lists until (Show me more...)

    Dispatch from Battleground
    North Carolina

    By Greg Palast

    Jim Crow has risen from the crypt of Segregation.  But now he’s working as Dr. James Crow, database expert.  Read Greg Palast’s Election Day dispatch from Dixie, for Al Jazeera.

    [Greensboro, NC]  Here in Greensboro, Reverend Barber recites local history. It was in this small southern town that, in 1960, the beating of students conducting a sit-in at the local Woolworth’s  launched the wave of non-violent protests that became the Civil Rights Movement. The state has made it an official tourist destination.

    Rev. Barber’s rally also marks the 35th anniversary of the killing of five protesters by the remnants of the Ku Klux Klan, an event without a tourist marker. “We’ve been through too much to go backwards!" his is deep voice rising with the gospel sound of Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come.”

    Greensboro is the residence of an astonishing 3,735 voters who supposedly cast ballots in the presidential election illegally in both North Carolina and Virginia. Or, at least, that is how they are listed in the Interstate Crosscheck files.

    Read today’s complete report for Al Jazeera, Voting-Rights Groups Challenge Electoral Purges, about the swift (Show me more...)

    Look up your Name
    on the Crosscheck Voter Purge-List

    By Greg Palast

    My investigative report, JIM CROW RETURNS: Millions of Minority Voters Threatened by Electoral Purge, is the most-read story ever on Al Jazeera America’s website.

    If you haven’t read it yet – the results of a six-month intensive investigation – read it now.

    On Oct 29 & 30, Al Jazeera America aired Palast's TV 2-Part report on this new voter purge.

    The Palast team has ripped the lid off “Interstate Crosscheck” – a system used by 27 states, almost all under Republican control, which claims to find illegal “double voters,” those who vote in the same election in two different states.

    It took us months, but we got our hands on 2.1 million of the names of the so-called “double voters” accused by Crosscheck.

    Are YOU a criminal double voter?(Apparently, Michael Moore voted 176 times!)

    What we found is that Crosscheck is simply a list of common first and last names.  And the list is a sloppy, absurd mess. Over a million and half of these alleged double voters have mis-matched (Show me more...)

    GOP-led Purge Threat to 3.5 Million Voters

    By Greg Palast for Al Jazeera AmericaElection officials in 27 states, most of them Republicans, have launched a program that threatens a massive purge of voter rolls, especially targeting minority voters.

    Al Jazeera America has obtained 2.1 million names from the target lists,  kept confidential until now.  Experts reviewing the lists conclude it is suspiciously over-weighted with Black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters.

    The targeted voters have been tagged as “potential  duplicate voters,” suspected of voting twice in the same election, in two different states, a felony crime punishable by 2-10 years in prison.

    Until now, state officials conducting the purge have refused to turn over their lists on grounds that these voters are all subjects of a criminal investigation.



    The match lists of suspected double voters, called Interstate Crosscheck, has been compiled for each state by Kansas’ controversial Republican Secretary of State, Kris Kobach.

    The lists are rife with literally millions of obvious mis-matches:
    Al Jazeera found that nearly a fourth (23% ) of the accused voters lack matching middle names.

    For example, Kevin Thomas Hayes of Durham, North Carolina, is allegedly the same man who voted in Alexandria, Virginia, as Kevin Antonio Hayes.

    “Jr.” and “Sr.” are regularly mismatched, potentially disenfranchising two generations in the same family.

    While Kobach, in his public description of Crosscheck, claims that double voters are matched by Social Security number, in fact, internal documents admit that “Social Security numbers might or might not match.”

    So far, no case has been made against a single one of the accused double-voters on the lists, though tens of thousands have already lost their right to vote based on inclusion in the lists.

    North Carolina has hired a full-time former FBI agent to arrest double voters.  However, because the match list of 190,000 suspects in that state is so recklessly compiled, the Board of Elections has admitted to Al Jazeera that not one voter has been charged with the crime of voting twice.  Nevertheless, the Republican-controlled Board of Elections has begun the process of removing the registration of voters on the lists.

    The lists are heavily over-weighted with names such as Jackson, Garcia, Patel and Kim, common to minorities who vote overwhelmingly Democratic. Indeed, one in seven African-Americans in those 27 states are listed as suspected of the crime of voting twice, one in eight Asian-Americans, and one in eight Hispanic votersWhite voters too, one in eleven, are at risk, though not as vulnerable as minorities.

    Georgia Democrats Angered by “Stealthy” Purge

    Georgia’s Democratic leaders say they are shocked that they have been kept in the dark about the state’s use of Crosscheck purge lists — and the racial profile of the targeted voters.

    “It’s biased, I think, both in form and intent,” says Rep. Stacey Abrams, leader of the Democrats in the Georgia state legislature. “But more concerning to me, is the fact this is being done stealthfully. We have never had this information presented to us.”

    “It’s Jim Crow all over again,” says Rev. Joseph Lowery, who succeeded Martin Luther King as chairman of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Lowery, now 93, says he recognizes in the list of threatened voters a sophisticated new form of an old and tired tactic. “I think [the Republicans] would use anything they can find. Their desperation is rising.”

    Read the entire investigative exposé by Greg Palast at Al Jazeera.

    (Show me more...)

    Palast's Biggest Exposé Ever
    3.5 Million Voters Threatened with Purge

    Three million threatened in purge of voter rolls
    The removals, which target minority voters,
    were begun in secret in the battleground state of Georgia

    Atlanta, Georgia – A six-month-long nationwide investigation by Al Jazeera America has discovered that voting officials in 27 states, almost all of them Republicans, have launched what is threatening to become a massive purge of black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters. Already, tens of thousands have been removed from voter rolls in battleground states, and the numbers are set to climb.

    Read the full story on America.AlJazeera.com.

    Also watch the two-part exposé on "America Tonight" on Al Jazeera America
    Oct. 29 & Oct 30 - 9pm ET. (check your local channel guide)

    *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
    Greg Palast, available to media at interviews (at) gregpalast.com, was the reporter who, for BBC TV and  The Guardian, broke the story in 2000 of Katherine Harris' wrongful purge of innocent black voters as "felons".

    (Show me more...)

    BP and the Three Stooges Defense

    By Greg Palast for Truthdig
    Forget Stephen King. If you want scary, read U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier's 150-page Findings of Fact released Thursday in the Deepwater Horizon case.

    Although the judge found BP liable for “gross negligence,” some U.S. media failed to mention that Barbier let BP off the hook on punitive damages. And that stuns me, given that the record seems to identify enough smoking guns to roast a sizable pig.

    Here's a standout example:

    Every rig operator knows that, before a rig can unhook from a drill pipe, the operator has to (Show me more...)

    Lap Dancers, the CIA, Pay-offs, and BP’s Deepwater Horizon

    By Greg Palast | for Truthdig

    Originally published April 17, 2014

    From his investigation for Channel 4 Television in the newly released film, Vultures and Vote Rustlers.

    There was CIA involvement through a company called Mega Oil. They were shipping in arms under the cover of oil tools.


    The BP executive was explaining to me how the CIA, MI6 and British Petroleum engineered a coup d'état, (Show me more...)

    Crime Scene – New Orleans

    By Greg Palast for Reader Supported News

    [Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans]  Nine years ago this week, New Orleans drowned.  Don’t you dare blame Mother Nature.  Miss Katrina killed no one in this town.  But it was a homicide, with nearly 2,000 dead victims.  If not Katrina, who done it?  Read on.


    The Palast Investigative Fund is making our half-hour investigative report available as a free download – Big Easy to Big Empty: The Untold Story of the Drowning of New Orleans, produced for Democracy Now.  In the course of the filming, Palast was charged with violation of anti-terror laws on a complaint from Exxon Corporation. Charges were dropped, and our digging continued.


    It wasn’t an Act of God.  It was an Act of Chevron.  An Act of Exxon. An Act of Big Oil.

    Take a look at these numbers dug out of Louisiana state records: (Show me more...)

    Robin Williams and the Happiness Industry

    By Greg Palast

    I  can't help feeling that Robin Williams was a victim of his industry: the happiness industry.

    Williams was typecast for those parts with manic, unstoppable joy.  Listen up, Aladdin! Williams' genie said, You're not suffering from poverty–what you need is a positive attitude!  You know, put on a happy face! Let a smile be your umbrella!  

    Our culture despises and fears unhappiness. We pathologize unhappiness; we conflate it with a disease, "depression." And it's a disease we insist you can cure–so you don't spread your unhappiness germs to the rest of us.  We stigmatize those who are unhappy, like we stigmatize those who are overweight:  If you're fat, you just don't have any self-control. If you're unhappy, it's your personal failure to just buck up.

    We laud the congenitally happy, like Ronald Reagan, the chipper Gipper, the Grinning Grandpa, who could unleash his death squads and smile all the while.

    We are a nation of salesman, commercially optimistic. We don't like downers; we don't like people who spoil the party.

    And so we push those who find themselves unhappy to medicate themselves–avoid The Deep, get out of the blues and join the Disney.  Williams chose booze, pills and (Show me more...)

    Cómo podría Barack Obama poner fin
    a la crisis de deuda argentina?

    Argentine president cites and posts Palast report on “The Vulture”

    (Show me more...)

    Obama Can End Argentina's Debt Crisis with a Pen

    The President has the Constitutional power to pluck vulture-fund billionaire Paul Singer. Obama hasn't. Why not?

    By Greg Palast for The Guardian

    The "vulture" financier now threatening to devour Argentina can be stopped dead by a simple note to the courts from Barack Obama. But the president, while officially supporting Argentina, has not done this one thing that could save Buenos Aires from default.

    Obama could prevent vulture hedge-fund billionaire Paul Singer from collecting a single penny from Argentina by invoking the long-established authority granted presidents by the US constitution's "Separation of Powers" clause. Under the principle known as "comity", Obama only need inform US federal judge Thomas Griesa that Singer's suit interferes with the president's sole authority to conduct foreign policy. Case dismissed.

    Indeed, President George W Bush invoked this power against the very same hedge fund now threatening Argentina. Bush blocked Singer's seizure of Congo-Brazzaville's US property, despite the fact that the hedge fund chief is one of the largest, and most influential, contributors to Republican candidates.

    Notably, an appeals court warned this very judge, 30 years ago, to heed the directive of a president invoking his foreign policy powers. In the Singer case, the US state department did inform Judge Griesa that the Obama administration agreed with Argentina's legal arguments; but the president never (Show me more...)

    The Vulture:
    Chewing Argentina’s Living Corpse

    Vulture investor Paul Singer has forced the nation of Argentina into default. Here’s the real story, from Billionaires & Ballot Bandits by Greg Palast.

    A call came in from New York to my bosses at BBC Television Centre, London. It was from one of the knuckle- draggers on the payroll of billionaire Paul Singer, Number One funder for the Republican Party in New York, million-dollar donor to the Mitt Romney super-PAC, and top money-giver to the GOP Senate campaign fund. But better known to us as Singer The Vulture.

    “We have a file on Greg Palast.”

    Well, of course they do.

    And I have a file on them.

    I had just returned from traveling up the Congo River for BBC and the Guardian. Singer’s enforcer indicated that Mr. Singer would prefer BBC not run a story about him— especially not with film of his suffering prey: children, cholera victims.

    Like any vulture, Singer feasts when victims die. Literally. For example, Singer made a pile buying asbestos company Owens Corning out of bankruptcy. The company had concealed from its workers they would get asbestosis from handling their product.

    You don’t want to die of asbestosis. Your lungs turn to mush and you drown inside yourself.

    The asbestos company was forced to pay tens of thousands of its workers for their medical care and for their families after their deaths.

    But then Singer used his political muscle to screw down the compensation promised to the workers. He offered them peanuts. And, dying, they took it. Like the Ice Man, Singer The Vulture used the cudgel of “tort reform” to beat the weakened workers into submission. With asbestos workers buried or bought-off cheap, Singer’s asbestos death factories were (Show me more...)

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