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...)
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...)
Download or listen to the full PRN broadcast.
Palast tells tales of undercover investigations, poetry, honey traps and why you stay the hell out of journalism school to Danny Schechter, the News Dissector.
Greg Palast in Sarajevo, near where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot, tracing the trail of rogue financier 'Goldfinger.' (Photo: Richard Rowley for BBC-TV. The first ten readers to find Palast in the photo, will get a free copy of the film of this story, Vultures & Vote Rustlers.)
Happy birthday, World War One! Walking the mortar-cratered streets of Sarajevo, Bosnia, I was reminded that World War I started here, and World War II and World War III, World War V and VI and the current World War IX. Here in the city where the ghosts of Muslim, Catholic, Orthodox and Jewish victims outnumber the living, as I hunted another corpse-chewing financier, it became clear to me that the endless parade of war is not about a clash of civilizations, but the CASH of civilizations.
Before the Panzers rolled into Poland, they rolled into (Show me more...)
I wish my enemies to take note that my quadruple by-pass heart surgery three weeks ago was quite successful. My doctors say I can suit up for dragon-slaying in about six weeks. Bless you all for your thousands of healing notes and thoughts.
The day before going under the knife, I was reminded that, "You can't take it with you” – because the insurance company will take it first. (Bada-bing!) So, I invited my attorney to the cardiac unit (no kidding) to tweak my last will and testament – insuring that royalties to my books and films will continue to go the Palast Investigative Fund.
I truly wish you a long, happy and healthy life. But, alas, one day we all must shuffle off our mortal coils.
So, please, don't leave without saying goodbye. It's easy. Simply include the Palast Investigative Fund in your will. And contact us to let us know.
I am pleased to announce my new association with Al Jazeera for a series of in-depth globe-spanning investigative reports. It is a great honor to join with journalists whose inestimable courage I cannot hope to replicate, but whose high standards we will dignify with our best work.
Al Jazeera: “Journalism is not a crime.”
For those of you who seek more elaborate tax-savvy estate planning, our not-for-profit foundation has retained the services of an expert who can help guide you, please contact us.
But, if you're the impatient type, you can donate RIGHT NOW, and enjoy one of our special thank you gifts. Donate at least $50 dollars and get a signed copy of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits. Donate $1,000 and get a listing as a producer of the film, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: The Movie.
By Greg Palast | for Truthdig
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, overthrowing an elected president of a nation who was “not favorable to BP.” The corporation's former Vice-President, Leslie Abrahams, is pictured here, holding an AK-47 in front of BP headquarters in Baku, Azerbaijan. Like most of the other BP executives I spoke with, he proudly added that while he was working for BP, he was also an operative for MI6, British intelligence.
The conversation was far from the weirdest I had in my four-continent investigation of the real story of the Deepwater Horizon.
The BP oilrig blew out on April 20, 2010, four years ago this Sunday.
By Greg Palast
Venezuelan president Nicholás Maduro wrote on Op Ed published in the New York Times yesterday calling for peace.
As someone who knows president Nicholás Maduro, Hugo Chavez' successor, (and Maduro's opponents), I can say that I’ve never met a head of state (and I’ve met many) who absolutely gives a real shit about the average working person of his nation.
Why not read my reports on Venezuela?
By Greg Palast | first printed in TruthDig as Death Came by Water First, Then Oil
It was Good Friday, 50 years ago on March 27, 1964, that according to seismologists, the snow peaks of Prince William Sound jumped 33 feet into the air and fell back down. Emergency warnings about an earthquake-spurred tsunami went out to towns from Valdez, Alaska, to Malibu, Calif., but no one thought to send a message to the Chugach Natives in Chenega, Alaska.
Chenega chief Nikolas Kompkoff watched the mountains leap and the waters around his island disappear over the horizon.
Knowing the water would return with a vengeance, he ran his four daughters up a hill toward high ground. But the nine-story-tall tsunami was moving too fast for their little legs. Kompkoff made a decision: He grabbed the two girls closest to him, tucked them under his arms and ran up the slope, leaving the other two to be seized by the wave.
Days later, a postal pilot on his weekly mail drop could not find Chenega because every single house – and a third of the residents – had been washed out to sea.
When he circled back to the site he saw the village’s church on the hill with (Show me more...)
By Greg Palast | Read the full story at TruthDig
Two decades ago I was the investigator for the legal team that sold you the bullshit that a drunken captain was the principal cause of the Exxon Valdez disaster, the oil tanker crackup that poisoned over a thousand miles of Alaska's coastline 25 years ago today, on March 24, 1989.The truth is far uglier, and the real culprit—British Petroleum, now BP—got away without a scratch to its reputation or to its pocketbook.
Just this month, the Obama administration authorized BP to return to drilling in the Gulf.
It would be worth the time of our ever-trusting regulators to take a look at my Exxon Valdez files on BP. They would see a decades-long pattern of BP's lies, bribes and (Show me more...)
This month marks the 3rd Anniversary
of the Fukushima Nuclear disaster.
By Greg Palast for FreePress.org
"Completely and Utterly Fail in an Earthquake"
The Fukushima story you didn't hear on CNN
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 and here is the utter failure.
The warning was in what the investigations team called The Notebook, which I'm not supposed to have. Good thing I've kept a copy anyway, because the file cabinets went down with my office building .... (Show me more...)
By Greg Palast
A federal judge in New York today slapped a stern order on attorney Steven Donziger and the Ecuadorean villagers he claims to represent, prohibiting them from capitalizing on a $9 billion judgment the judge said was the product of “egregious fraud.”
The judge is completely, utterly full of shit, here's the real story.
Also watch Palast's report from the Amazon for BBC , War Paint and Lawyers: Rainforest Indians versus Big Oil on the DVD Palast Investigates: From 8-Mile to the Amazon. Get the signed DVD or Download it for FREE.
By the age of fifteen, Rick Rowley was doomed — born in the middle of Nowhere, Michigan, a wasteland of rust and snow so awful we let autoworkers have it.
As a kid, Rick would put his head down on the railroad track and wait for the rare vibration of a train on the move far away. He was fifteen years old on the day he got up and followed the hum down the track. He walked for over two hundred miles, surviving on peanut butter and Wonder Bread all the way to (Show me more...)
By Ted Asregadoo, Truthout | Video Interview
Both conservative and liberal groups have rushed to create these organizations that supposedly exist to work on "social welfare" causes.
However, they are often sham non-profits whose sole purpose is to support or attack (Show me more...)
By Greg Palast
But that's impossible, isn't it?
Like the restless Jewish prophets before you, you are an outcast in your own land. And like the prophets before you, you are trouble, Aaron, a lot of trouble.
Thank you for troubling us, Aaron. You are trouble, but very good trouble.
Socrates' suicide, like yours, was a state-sponsored execution. And like Socrates in death, you've conferred an immortal obligation on the living to resist the temptation to let the rulers attach their strings, the strings that turn us from people with hearts into puppets with property.
Rest in peace, Aaron Swartz. And I promise you, I won't.
(Show me more...)
by Greg Palast
update of story from Truthout
On Thursday, a federal jury found Mathew Martoma guilty of insider trading. Martoma, who's only worth a hundred million or so, is small potatoes. He's taking a fall for his boss–and his boss' mommy–and her monkey.
Martoma's boss is Steven A. Cohen, worth about $9 billion, who directs a criminal enterprise masquerading as a hedge fund called SAC Capital. The description of SAC as a crime scene is drawn from the findings of the jury, Securities and Exchange Commission charges and Cohen's own confessions. While eight of Cohen's partners-in-crime have been convicted and Martoma is about to join them in the Big House, Cohen has performed enough ju-ju on the system to keep charges filed against him personally to civil, not criminal, counts. So far.
Why would a guy who's stuffed billions of dollars of tainted money in his pocket risk SEC charges just to get another billion? The answer: Steve needs to make his mommy's monkey jump.
The story's a lot of fun–and extraordinarily important, as Congress decides (Show me more...)
By Greg Palast for Truthout
Far more insidious, more corrosive and dangerous than the Governor of New Jersey playing traffic warden is the story of Gov. Chris Christie's secret meetings with a gaggle of billionaires ––and the legality of the spending by the front organization set up following these hidden hugger-muggers.In 2012, a tax-exempt “social welfare organization” called Committee for Our Children's Future, CCF, ran a series of TV ads telling America that Governor Christie has performed more miracles in New Jersey than Jesus did with loaves and fish. The New York Times found some old college chums who said they set up the “Children's” crusade for Christie. But the ads cost about $6 million. The Times didn't ask how Christie's buddies, not wealthy guys, found the six big ones.
But CCF was not started in 2012. When I heard “Children's Future,” my nose started twitching. I smelled Koch.
Get the full story of Chris Christie and his Koch addiction in the book, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: Greg Palast investigative Karl Rove, the Koch Gang and their Buck Buddies and the film of the investigation on the DVD Vultures & Vote Rustlers.
The whiff of sulfur took me back to seven thick investigation binders nearly two decades old — each one marked “KOCH.” In Volume 3, I found it: CCF--Campaign for Our Children's Future.
Just days before the 1996 election, “Campaign for our Children's Future,” previously unheard of, paid for some of the most vicious (Show me more...)
....for donations to our foundation, so you can take my word for it when I say, we need it.
The Theft of the 2016 race is under way –– and the vote rustlers expect to grab Congress in 2014 as an appetizer. Plus, the billionaire boys club is sucking our financial blood as if the world economy is their vampire blood bank.
Donate at least $80 right now, and I'll send you, as thanks, the Vultures Combo: our new film on DVD, Vultures and Vote Rustlers AND a hardbound copy of Vultures Picnic, and I'll sign both. Check out the trailer. And it's tax-deductible. (Show me more...)