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  • My Big Fat Greek Minister

    By Greg Palast for Vice Magazine

    It wasn't too difficult picking out the Fat Bastard in the crowd of Russian models, craven moochers and media mavens. Besides, Fat Bastard and I were both desperate for coffee and heading for the same empty urn.

    (We'd both signed on for Kazakhstan's annual Eurasia Media Forum, a kind of Burning Man festival for Eastern oilgarchs and their media camp followers.)

    Now, it is my policy never to mention an interlocutor's weight, nor question the legitimacy of their birth, given my own vulnerabilities. (A would-be groupie told me, "You could do a few sit-ups, you know." Yes, I know.)

    But this particular Fat Bastard is asking for it. I had tried to put the belly of this beast out of my thoughts, but I still had a New York Times story folded in my pocket that begins:

    ATHENS – As an elementary school principal, Leonidas Nikas is used to seeing children play, laugh and dream about the future. But recently he has seen something altogether different, something he thought was impossible in Greece: children picking through school trash cans for food; needy youngsters asking playmates for leftovers; and an 11-year-old boy, Pantelis Petrakis, bent over with hunger pains.

    Fat Bastard – or Theodoros Pangalos, thinks the little Greek kiddies should (Show me more...)

    "Now that the SOB is Dead..."
    A Novel Idea: Asking an Afghan about Afghanistan

    By Greg Palast for Vice Magazine

    "Now that the sonovabitch is dead, why is the US still angry with us?"

    "Us", in this conversation, are the Taliban. The SOB in question is Osama bin Laden.

    The Taliban's frustration was relayed to me by Yahya Maroofi, Counsellor to Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai – Karzai's Kissinger, if Kissinger had a soul.

    The Silk Road nation of Kazakhstan is an excellent place to encounter the dervishes of the Great Game for control of the camel-and-pipeline routes of the Central Asian steppes. Here we can witness the diplomatic-military idiocies of new empires pathetically attempting to ignore the dried skeletons of the imperial forces that went before them.

    Maroofi was spending the day in Kazakhstan's capital on his way to little-noticed peace negotiations – little noticed because neither Uncle Sam nor Great-Uncle Britain were invited. Attendance is limited to those frontline states that will be left holding the grenade when the US and UK pull out the pin with the removal of their troops in 2014. The lineup includes Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan (birthplace of the Boston Bombers) and the big new swinging dick on the block, Turkey, as well as Iran, the nation most feared and despised by the Taliban. The unannounced guests, of course, are the Taliban themselves.

    I am moved to recount a bit of my lengthy talk with the Afghan minister after reading reams of meretricious bunkum about Afghanistan from the pens of US propaganda repeaters pretending to be reporters. My favourite is, "Hope Seen for Afghanistan After Coalition Leaves," in the New York Times. To give us an expert view, two American reporters used their 20-column inches to take down the words of General Joseph F Dunford Jr, commander of all "international forces" in Afghanistan.

    Dunford just arrived in Afghanistan for the first time about 12 weeks ago. He may not know a Tajik from a camel fart, (Show me more...)

    Palast reports from Kazakhstan
    FBI Spiked Chechen Jihadi Investigation

    By Greg Palast from Vice.com UK

    [Astana, Kazakhstan]  Following the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, I received documents marked "SECRET" from the files of the FBI's Washington field office. The information in those files will make you sick.

    [Click through to get a free download of the film Bush Family Fortunes, which contains the fascinating background to this story.]

    When the bombs went off at the Boston Marathon, I grabbed those FBI files – and a plane for Kazakhstan, bullying cameraman Rocco D into joining me.  [Rocco, no fool, won't let me print his full name.]

    After we landed, word came that two Kazakh teens, friends of the bombers, had been arrested by Boston police and, yesterday, charged with hiding evidence of the bombers' guilt.

    Here in Astana, Kazakhstan's capital, televisions everywhere run endless (Show me more...)

    Billionaire Bankster Penny Pritzker
    Breaks into Obama's Cabinet

    By Greg Palast 

    You made fun of me when I suggested that President Barack Obama would nominate a confessed bank scammer, a loan-sharking mortgage predator, to his cabinet.  But thar she blows!

    Today, Obama has named Penny Pritzker Secretary of Commerce. As the President says, It's a milestone:  the first female fraudster to hold that post. No longer will criminal bankers have to lobby the administration - because now they'll have one of their own in the Cabinet.

    The following is taken from the Chapter, "Penny's from Heaven?" you'll find in my bestseller, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits.  [Get a copy, I'll sign it, and you send it to the President.]

    We never heard of this guy Barack Obama until 2004. Less than three years before taking the presidency, he was in the Illinois state senate, a swamp of scammers, backhanders, and party machine tools - not a stellar launch pad for the White House. And then, one day, state Sen. Barack Obama was visited by his fairy godmother. Her name is Penny Pritzker.

    Pritzker's net worth is listed in Forbes as $1.8 billion, which is one hell of a heavy magic wand in the world of politics. Her wand would have been heavier, and her net worth higher, except that in 2001, the federal government fined her and her family $460 million for the predatory, deceitful, racist tactics and practices of Superior, the bank-and-loan-shark operation she ran on the South Side of Chicago.

    Superior was the first of the deregulated go-go banks to go bust - at the time, the costliest failure ever. US taxpayers lost nearly half a billion dollars. Superior's depositors lost millions and poor folk in Sen. Obama's South Side district lost their homes.

    Penny did not like paying $460 million. No, not one bit. What she needed (Show me more...)

    Did Chavez’ Pick Steal
    the Election in Venezuela?

    By Greg Palast for Vice Magazine - Leer el artículo en español aquí.

    The guy in the cheap brown windbreaker walking up the dirty tenement steps to my New York office looked like a bus driver.

    Nicolas Maduro, elected President of Venezuela last Sunday, did indeed drive a bus, then led the drivers' union, then drove Chávez' laws through the National Assembly as Venezuela's National Assembly chief.

    And this week, the US State Department is refusing to accept the result, suggesting Maduro hijacked the vote count. But did he?Maduro came to me that day in 2004 on a quiet mission, sent by President Hugo Chávez to give me information I needed for my investigation for Rolling Stone – and to get information from me that might save Chávez' life.


    For one more week you can download Palast's short documentary, The Assassination of Hugo Chávez, originally filmed in Venezuela for BBC, without charge.


    The central topic was the "Invisible Ring". Venezuelan intelligence had secretly taped US Embassy contractors in Caracas talking in spook-speak: "That which took shape here is a disguised kind of intelligence... which is annexed to the third security ring, which is the invisible ring."

    ("Invisible Ring"? Someone at the State Department has read too many Alan Furst novels.)

    On the grainy film, they worried that (Show me more...)

    3 Years ago Today
    Deepwater Horizon Explodes

    By Greg Palast

    The Hidden Truth - Watch the Film

    My Apologies to
    the Family of Mrs. Thatcher

    By Greg Palast

    I strenuously object to the dissemination of this scurrilous doggerel, falsely attributed to me, on the passage of an iconic stateswoman:

    Naggie Hatchet dead and gone

    Ruled her Empire State like Queen Kong

    Stomping on us little peeps

    Just to sell our Jewels to creeps.

    And lost the war that Winston won

    By turning back the clocks to

    England’s meanest hour.

    Yet worse to come: as trapped below her terror tower,

    And forced to look up that Iron Skirt

    At the beastly anus as it squirt

    From the crack in the grizzly monkey hair:

    Tony Blair.

    My apologies to Lady Thatcher’s family and sincere condolences.  After all, large simians are people, too.

    Pedicabo si iocum non potest. (Show me more...)

    Bradley Manning &
    The Deepwater Horizon

    By Greg Palast for Vice Magazine

    Three years ago this month, on the 20th of April, 2010, the BP Deepwater Horizondrilling rig blew itself to kingdom come.

    Soon thereafter, a message came in to our office's chief of investigations, Ms Badpenny, from a person (Show me more...)

    How Bush won the war in Iraq - really!

    By Greg Palast for Vice Magazine

    If you thought it was "Blood for Oil"--you're wrong.  It was far, far worse.

    Because it was marked "confidential" on each page, the oil industry stooge couldn't believe the US State Department had given me a complete copy of their secret plans for the oil fields of Iraq. Actually, the State Department had done no such thing. But my line of bullshit had been so well-practiced and the set-up on my mark had so thoroughly established my fake identity, that I almost began to believe my own lies.I closed in. I said I wanted to make sure she and I were working from the same State Department draft. Could she tell me the official name, date and number of pages? She did.

    Bingo! I'd just beaten the Military-Petroleum Complex in a lying contest, so I had a right to be stoked.

    After phoning numbers from California to Kazakhstan (Show me more...)

    Hugo Chavez vs "The Network"

    By Greg Palast for Vice Magazine

    London, February 2002. A tiny, dark and intense woman waited at the end of a lecture until I was alone, brought her face strangely close to mine and whispered, “President Chavez needs you. Right now. To Caracas. Right now. You must come to see him.”
    President Who? All I knew about this Hugo Chavez guy was that he was an Latin-American jefe, led a bungled coup and was filled with a lot of populist bullshit and a lot of oil.

    And I also knew that no one at BBC Newsnight (Show me more...)

    Fukushima: They Knew

    "Completely and Utterly Fail in an Earthquake"
    Two years later, the Fukushima story you didn't hear on CNN

    An excerpt from Vultures' Picnic by Greg Palast

    I've seen a lot of sick stuff in my career, but this was sick on a new level.
    Here was the handwritten log kept by a senior engineer at the nuclear power plant:

    Wiesel was very upset. He seemed very nervous. Very agitated. . . . In fact, the plant was riddled with problems that, no way on earth, could stand an earth- quake. The team of engineers sent in to inspect found that most of these components could "completely and utterly fail" during an earthquake.

    "Utterly fail during an earthquake." And here in Japan was the quake (Show me more...)

    Vaya con Dios, Hugo Chàvez, mi Amigo

    By Greg Palast for Vice Magazine

    For BBC Television, Palast met several times with Hugo Chàvez, who passed away today.

    As a purgative for the crappola fed to Americans about Chavez, my foundation, The Palast Investigative Fund, is offering the film, The Assassination of Hugo Chavez, as a FREE download. Based on my several meetings with Chavez, his kidnappers and his would-be assassins, filmed for BBC Television. DVDs also available.

    Media may contact Palast at interviews (at) gregpalast.com.

    Venezuelan President Chavez once asked me why the US elite wanted to kill him. My dear Hugo: It's the oil. And it's the Koch Brothers – and it's the ketchup.

    Reverend Pat Robertson said,

    "Hugo Chavez thinks we're trying to assassinate him. I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it." (Show me more...)

    How Do You Steal a Dream?
    Supreme Court hears suit to kill Voting Rights Act

    How Do You Steal a Dream?
    Supreme Court hears suit to kill Voting Rights Act

    For Care2.com
    By Greg Palast, author, “Billionaires and Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps

    Sign the petition to Defend Martin Luther King's Dream Act - here.

    Jim Crow is alive and well — and he has mounted a new attack on the law Martin Luther King dreamed of: the Voting Rights Act.

    Today, February 27, the Supreme Court will hear a suit brought by Shelby County, Alabama, which challenges the right of the Department of Justice to review changes in voting procedure. Example: Attempts to cut the number of early voting days, to expunge “illegal alien” voters without any evidence, refusing Spanish-language ballots, have been blocked by the Department of Justice and courts because they have stopped Black and Hispanic citizens casting ballots.

    Sixteen states are subject to this “pre-clearance” law, every one with a history of Jim Crow rules such as “literacy” tests — Blacks had to recite the Constitution, Whites “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” (Show me more...)

    Defend Martin Luther King's Dream Act:
    Protect the Voting Rights Act & Expand It

    by Greg Palast, Journalist, joined by

    Dr. Charles Steele – Chairman, of Southern Christian Leadership Conference
    Dr. Bernard Lafayette Jr - Freedom Rider, co-founder, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Martin Luther King Jr.’s appointee to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
    Mrs. Cathelean C. Steele, First Lady and Director, SCLC Director of Programs (Women's Initiatives)

    …and YOU. Sign NOW at Care2.com

    Dr. King's Dream Act is under attack. On Wednesday February 27, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the law's requirement that states with a history of Jim Crow voting rules let the Justice Department review new voting procedures. This is the only effective method, today as in 1965, to ensure that every American citizen will not lose their vote because of race or language.

    America's heart breaks when we see, a half century after King's Dream speech, African-Americans in Florida standing for six hours to cast their ballot. America's heart breaks when we hear of Latino citizens in Arizona blocked at the polling station door by ID laws and intimidation because of the color of their skin or the language spoken in their homes. (Show me more...)

    Too Fat to Vote
    Will a Supreme Ku Klux Kourt kill
    Dr. King’s Dream Act?

    By Greg Palast for Vice Magazine

    You know why black folk in the south don't vote? According to The New York Times and the experts at the Pew Charitable Trust, they're just too damn fat!

    Normally I wouldn't care what the Times is passing off as fact, except for that, on February the 27th, the US Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether to gut the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

    The Voting Rights Act was the law that Martin Luther King Jr had a dream about a half-century ago: that all citizens will be able to exercise their right to vote. But, like all pleasant dreams, morning means waking up to the ugly reality sleeping next to you.

    The pug-uglies in this case are the four Supreme Court justices hostile to the Act. If one more joins them, you can kiss Martin's dream goodbye.

    The dream-busters are led by Chief Justice John Roberts. In 2009, he wrote, "The historic accomplishments of the Voting Rights Act are undeniable." But – and Roberts' "but" is huge – the Act is out of date and "fails to account for current political conditions".

    According to Roberts, "Jim Crow laws" – the apartheid rules used in the Deep South to keep African-Americans from the polls – have long passed away.

    It's true, black folks now fare better in Dixie. Why, just last week, Mississippi ratified the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery 147 years after Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation (I kid you not).

    So, Roberts is ready to dump (Show me more...)

    Thousands demand Obama to Smoke Pipe

    Rally Against Keystone XL Pipeline
    Photos by Zach D Roberts, photojournalist funded by the Palast Investigative Fund, at Sunday's rally in Washington DC, on assignment for Truth-out.  More photos here.

    (Show me more...)

    "I want my fair share
    –and that's ALL OF IT."
    The Kochs & the XL Pipeline

    By Greg Palast for Vice Magazine

    Activists alert:
    Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his son Connor Kennedy were arrested Wednesday in Washington while protesting against approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
    A rally in Washington, DC, protesting the Pipeline, has been called by Forward on Climate for Sunday, February 17.
    Bobby Kennedy, my partner in these investigations, is a contributor to Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: Greg Palast investigates Karl Rove, the Koch Gang & their Buck Buddies, the book on which this report is based.

    According to the transcript of the secretly recorded tape, Charles Koch was chuckling like a six-year old. Koch was having a hell of a laugh over pilfering a few hundred dollars' worth of oil from a couple of dirt-poor Indians on the Osage Reservation.

    Why did Koch, worth about $3 billion at the time (now $20 billion) need to boost a few bucks from some Indian in a trailer home? Koch answered:

    "I want my fair share – and that's all of it."

    Now "all of it" includes a pipeline, the Keystone XL, which would run the world's filthiest oil, (Show me more...)

    Billionaire Burglar Breaks
    into Obama's Cabinet
    Pinch-Penny Pritzker pockets Commerce post

    By Greg Palast for Truth-out

    A parade of media reports this week name Penny Pritzker as Obama's prime choice for Secretary of Commerce. No longer will criminal bankers have to lobby the administration - because now they'll have one of their own in the Cabinet.

    We never heard of this guy Barack Obama until 2004. Less than three years before taking the presidency, he was in the Illinois state senate, a swamp of scammers, backhanders, and party machine tools - not a stellar launch pad for the White House. And then, one day, state Sen. Barack Obama was visited by his fairy godmother. Her name is Penny Pritzker.

    Penny's from Heaven?

    Pritzger's net worth is listed in Forbes as $1.8 billion, which is one hell of a heavy magic wand in the world of politics. Her wand would have been heavier, and her net worth higher, except that in 2001, the federal government fined her and her family $460 million for the predatory, deceitful, racist tactics and practices of Superior, the bank-and-loan-shark operation she ran on the South Side of Chicago.

    Superior was the first of the deregulated go-go banks to go bust - at the time, the costliest failure ever. US taxpayers lost nearly half a billion dollars. Superior's depositors lost millions (Show me more...)

    The Koch Brothers, Hugo Chavez
    and the XL Pipeline

    By Greg Palast for Vice Magazine and The Other 98%

    I’ve been tracking a tube of black putrid ooze, a toxic viper slowly slithering 2000 miles across the belly of America, swallowing all water aquifers, politicians and reason in its path.

    The XL Keystone Pipeline.

    As Nagini, the murderous snake in the Harry Potter tales, had its master Voldemort, I figured the Keystone XL Pipeline much also have its own dark lords.

    I smelled Koch.

    David and Charles Koch are each worth $20 billion--and they’re quite certain that’s not enough.  And so they need the XL Keystone Pipeline.

    The XL Keystone will take Canadian tar-sands oil, the filthiest crude on the planet and suck it down to Texas Gulf Coast refineries. Alberta’s oil-glop reserve, if it can get to the US market, will warm the planet by nearly .4°C all by itself.

    Why in the world would America pistol-whip Mother Nature to bring oil to Texas? I mean, it’s just plain weird to suck heavy tar oil out of Canada, drag it across the entire middle of the USA to import it into the oil-exporting Lone Star State.

    Here’s where a little lesson in oil chemistry comes in.  (Show me more...)

    Aaron Swartz Died for Piers Morgan's Sins

    By Greg Palast for Vice Magazine

    This is the tale of two geniuses.  One on TV.  One Dead.

    Portrait of a Genius (Not Piers Morgan)

    In 2000, Aaron Swartz, aged 14, had just released his astonishing invention, RSS, liberating news and information, replacing the selection of the tiny minds of editors with your own wide judgment.

    Around the same time, one of Piers Morgan's stringers hacked into the phone of Sir Paul McCartney's wife and stole some highly personal, and highly valuable, information – the type of gossip used to sell Morgan's grotty little scandal sheet, The Daily Mirror, the cornerstone of Morgan's $20 million fortune based on tittle and titties.

    Electronic burglary for profit is a crime in the UK and USA both. But Piers is serving time on prime time, on CNN.

    Aaron Swartz did not get a TV show.  The Robin Hood of the Information Liberation Front faced 35 years in prison for a selfless act of civil disobedience.  Swartz was charged for the crime of attempting to liberate documents from JSTOR computers.  JSTOR is the Goldman Sachs and Politburo of university research papers, a giant information sucker squid that hordes research and discoveries crucial to the public - the public which paid for most of the research.

    (If Oxford joined JSTOR when Isaac Newton published, only a well-heeled elite would have the secret of thermodynamics.  If Newton worked for Microsoft, we'd be paying a royalty for the use of gravity.)

    Aaron, rather than face a life in Obama's dungeon, chose suicide.  And Piers? (Show me more...)

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