Year: 2009

Welcome Home Vincent

Greg Palast 

A grateful America welcomes home the troops!

Vincent, 102d Rescue Squadron (Iraq).Vincent
Vincent, 102d Rescue Squadron (Iraq).America hasn’t forgotten you, Vincent … help’s on the way!

Photos by GP (c) PI Fund with Vincent’s permission.

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John Pilger: Tell Me No Lies

Greg Palast 

I was in deep, deep, hot, hot water with my editors at The Guardian in London. The paper was facing a ruinous suit by George Bush Sr.’s business buddies because of one of my stories. Then a tall Aussie of dramatic demeanor walked uninvited in my boss’ offices and said, “Yes, Palast is trouble. But he’s good trouble.”

John Pilger’s intervention helped save my sorry behind.

Now he’s saved my stories, and the stories of Seymour Hersh, Eduardo Galeano, Edward R. Murrow, Robert Fisk, the assassinated investigator of the Chechen War, Anna Politkovskaya, and many others in a big, fat—626 pages!—book of what he says is, “Journalism that changed the world.” It’s called
Tell Me No Lies.

For the holidays, make a donation (minimum $65) and I’ll sign and send you a copy of this astonishing compendium of killer reporting.

“Secretive power loathes journalists who do their job: who push back screens, peer behind façades, lift rocks. Opprobrium from on high is their badge of honour.”

You go, John!

Do you know someone who wants to lift rocks and push back screens of official BS? Get them Tell Me No Lies and I’ll personalize it to them. Your support is my badge of honor.

And there’s another compendium I recommend: The Secret Histories: Hidden Truths That Challenged The Past And Changed The World.

The greats are here: I.F. Stone, Neil Sheehan, Woodward and Bernstein on Watergate and two stories by your humble servant Palast.

Or go whole hog for the truth-hounds: Get both books, No Lies and Secret, signed for a minimum donation of $100.

Did you see our terrific report on Democracy Now this week? That report was made possible by you, our supporters, through your donations to our non-profit Investigative Journalism Fund. Thank you so much for your continued support during these difficult times.

More DVDs, audio CDs and copies of my books, including the story that almost got me fired—actually, several that almost got me fired—are available in time for the holidays at www.gregpalast.com/store

When you donate, Santa will give you a tax-deduction and our crew will send you our thanks.

For the holidays: Peace, good will and the truth.

Greg Palast 

Confronting the Globalcrat

This article appears in the December 21 edition of The Nation

Geneva

You could call him the Generalissimo of Globalization. The World Trade Organization’s director general, Pascal Lamy, was a bit defensive, wanting to assure us that the WTO “wasn’t created as a dark club of multinationals secretly cooking plots against the people. We do things in the open. Look at our website.”

It’s been a year since globalized finance brought the planet to its knees, yet here in Geneva, where in late November the WTO opened its grand “seventh ministerial,” the diplomats are in denial. One confidential document from the files of WTO members–definitely not on the WTO website–tells us that despite financial and environmental crises, the globalizers still want to party like it’s 1999.
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World Trade Organization Risks Financial ‘China Syndrome’

Greg Palast 

on 10th Anniversary of the Battle in Seattle
Bankers’ scheme to re-open finance casino worldwide

 

GENEVA — Apparently, one meltdown isn’t enough for the World Trade Organization. They meet today in Geneva on the tenth anniversary of the “Battle in Seattle,” when tens of thousands of people from around the world protested the organization’s practices.

A special investigation for Air America’s Ring of Fire. Listen to the report here or watch the 9-minute film here.
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Palast busts the WTO

Greg Palast 

From Geneva, a special investigative Report for Air America Radio’s Ring of Fire on the 10th Anniversary of the Battle in Seattle.

Listen here

Greg Palast’s BBC Blockbuster
‘Bush Family Fortunes’
Download It Starting Today

Greg Palast 

Starting today—by making a small donation to our not-for-profit Investigative Journalism Fund—you can download Greg Palast’s classic BBC Television documentary, Bush Family Fortunes.

The BBC broadcast that first exposed how Boy Bush got into the Texas Air Guard and out of Vietnam through a fix from Daddy Bush. We busted the story and got it right—including the $23 million pay-out that Dan Rather missed.

“Great fun,” says the New Yorker. So much fun that it still hurts—from Iraq to Detroit.

Watch Palast chase down Katherine Harris’ ballot-box bender – and Palast then marched out of her office in the custody of Florida State Troopers. The crime: committing acts of journalism.

The Balitmore Chronicle said, “No one has exposed more truth about the Bush Cartel and lived to tell the story.”

On the Bush money trail, Palast discovers the spike of the pre-2001 FBI investigation of the bin Ladens … then shows you the secret oil company plans for the oil fields of Iraq.

Join “America’s best investigative reporter – and the funniest” (Air America) as he hunts down the icons and idiots of the Bush regime before they were even known—from Karl Rove, to General Jay Garner … even an Enron party film.

Bush Family Fortunes weaves together the original reporting behind Fahrenheit 9-11, the BBC report that Michael Moore called, “courageous.”

This is your opportunity to be courageous by making a commitment to support original investigative reporting today.

Download the film here.

Or order a copy of the DVD disc signed by Greg Palast here.

Music by Moby.

While the Bush regime has been banished, the need for investigative reporting remains as important as ever. Your support allows us to continue the hunt and to hold those in power accountable.

We’ve just returned from the other side of the planet and are in the midst of uncovering … well, why spoil it? The hot documents marked “confidential” are leaking from the bankers’ lairs and we are back on the hunt thanks to your generous donations.

Make a tax-deductible contribution and received your choice of books or films, signed by Greg Palast, as our thanks.

100% of your donation goes toward covering the costs of our research team, our cameras, and our concealed microphones. Your commitment keeps us digging, digging, and digging.

*******

Greg Palst is donating all proceeds of the sale of the film, Bush Family Fortunes, expanded from the BBC broadcast, to the Palast Investigative Fund, a not-for-profit foundation supporting investigative reporting. 100% of your donations for the film disc or download go to the fund and are tax-deductible.

TALIBAN = 9/11??
Afghanistan by Hypnosis

Greg Palast 

by Greg Palast for Zeek.net

On September 11, 2001, my office building, the World Trade Center, was attacked by al Qaeda, a murder cult of Saudi Arabians, funded by Saudi Arabians. And so, in response to the Saudis’ attack, America invaded … Afghanistan. Like, HUH?

And here we go again. New York Times headline last Friday: “Pakistani Army, In Its Campaign In Taliban Stronghold, Finds A Hint Of 9/11.”

Google it and you’ll find the Times report repeated and amplified 5,785 times more.

Taliban = 9/11. Taliban = 9/11. Taliban = 9/11.

Your eyelids are getting heavy. Taliban = 9/11. Taliban = 9/11.

It’s the latest hit from the same crew that brought you Saddam = 9/11 and its twin chant, Saddam = WMD, Dick Cheney’s chimerical tropes which the New York Times’ Judith Miller happily channeled to the paper’s front page.

And they’re at it again.

Every war begins with a lie. In addition to Saddam = WMD, I’m old enough to remember the Gulf of Tonkin resolution authorizing the war in Vietnam, based on a fictional Vietnamese gunboat attack on our Navy. (White House recordings have Lyndon Johnson gloating privately, “Hell, those damn stupid [US] sailors were just shooting at flying fish.”)
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The S-Word and Dr. Kevorkian’s Accountant

Health care Rx from my socialist fire department

Greg Palast 

by: Greg Palast, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

Greg Palast interviews Wendell Potter
News flash: Wendell Potter tells Greg Palast why the insurance industry is secretly licking its chops over the Health Care bill.

Tell me where it hurts, Mr. President.

What’s killing you, Barack, is what’s killing us all: an evil germ called “Medical Loss Ratio.”

“Medical Loss Ratio” [MLR] is the fancy term used by health insurance companies for their slice, their take-out, their pound of flesh, their gross – very gross – profit.

The “MLR” is the difference between what you pay an insurance company and what that insurer pays out to doctors, hospitals and pharmacists for your medical care.

I’ve totted it up from the raw stats: The “MLR,” insurance companies’ margins, is about to top – holy mama! – a quarter trillion dollars a year. That’s $2.7 trillion over the next decade.

Until the 1990’s, insurers skimmed only about a nickel on the dollar for their “service,” Wendell Potter told me. Potter is the CIGNA insurance company PR man who came in from the cold to tell us about what goes down inside the health insurance gold mine. Today, Potter notes (and I’ve checked his accuracy), porky operators like AIG have kicked up their Loss Ratio by nearly 500 percent.
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You Have Kept Me Alive

Greg Palast 
Greg PalastClick and hold to enlarge

When Bush’s lawyers came after me, when oil industry lobbyists threatened Harper’s Magazine and me, when Katherine Harris and her allies tried to bully me into withdrawing my reports on election theft, you saved my journalistic life – with your support, your electronic shouts and your funding.

From Florida, from the Amazon, from Caracas, this great experiment in citizen journalism has had an astonishing, outsized impact on public policy.

Now, for the first time this year, I have to ask you to keep my work alive with your financial support.

Our not-for-profit foundation is in serious need of your serious help to feed our skinny staff of investigators and to house our very fat file cabinets.

Please: If you believe my work is worthwhile and should continue, and you can donate $150, I will send you all five of my films on DVD, signed to you—the package includes my newest film, PALAST INVESTIGATES, from 8-Mile to the Amazon. (It’s a big pack – meant to encourage you to pass some on.)

Or donate at least $50 and get the Palast Investigates DVD on its own, signed. This film on DVD includes my latest reports for BBC Television and Democracy Now!

Palast Investigates brings you, literally, into our offices on New York’s Lower East Side, where you can see the tapes, the files marked ‘confidential,’ as I explain how our rare form of old-fashioned gum-shoe reporting is done. [Watch the trailer here.]

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Time to Change Bernanke’s Medication?
Secret White House letter to G-20

Greg Palast 

For The Huffington Post

I still get a thrill whenever I get my hands on a confidential memo with “The White House, Washington” appearing on the letterhead. Even when—like the one I’m looking at now—it’s about a snoozy topic: This week’s G-20 summit.

european council responseBut the letter’s content shook me awake, and may keep me up the rest of the night.

The 6-page letter from the White House, dated September 3, was sent to the 20 heads of state that will meet this Thursday in Pittsburgh. After some initial diplo-blather, our President’s “sherpa” for the summit, Michael Froman, does a little victory dance, announcing that the recession has been defeated. “Global equity markets have risen 35 percent since the end of March,” writes Froman. In other words, the stock market is up and all’s well.
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Where’s Your Homework, Mr. President?

Greg Palast 

Greg Palast gets a lesson from super-teacher Bill Roney. Listen to the podcast on ActionPoint radio.

Click twice to enlarge

The Looney-Tunes Right Wing is all bent up that our President is planning to tell kids to do their homework in a broadcast to schools set for Tuesday. They’re panicked he’s going to “sell socialism,” says one, and apparently, encourage kiddies to join the military to marry someone of their own sex.

But the teacher does have a serious question for the President: Barack, why haven’t you done your homework?

That’s right, Mr. A Student. Where is it?

Teacher wants to know.

And not just any teacher. William (Bill) Roney has been Yonkers’ Teacher of the Year, recipient of a Disney national teaching award, recognizing him as one of America’s top classroom educators; he was even picked for Ronald Reagan’s teacher in space program until that idea, well, blew up.

The latest fad among politicians is to put our schools in the hands of “entrepreneurs” (as if coming up with a bogus derivative to sell to Iceland is preparation for teaching long division to fifth graders). But I’ve decided to commit a heresy by asking advice on fixing our schools from, heavens!, a teacher. And this one knows his stuff.
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Economic Hit Men and the Next Drowning of New Orleans

Hurricane Bush Four Years Later, Part 2

Greg Palast 

For Crooks and Liars

Who put out the hit on van Heerden?

Ivor van Heerden is the professor at Louisiana State University’s Hurricane Center who warned the levees of New Orleans were ready to blow — months and years before Katrina did the job.

For being right, van Heerden was rewarded with … getting fired. [See Katrina, Four Years Later: Expert Fired Who Warned Levees Would Burst]

But I’ve been in this investigating game long enough to know that van Heerden’s job didn’t die of natural causes or academic issues. This was a hit. Some very powerful folks wanted him disappeared and silenced — for good.

So who done it?
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Expert Fired
Who Warned Levees Would Burst

Hurricane George, Four Years Later

Greg Palast 

For Crooks and Liars

There’s another floater. Four years on, there’s another victim face down in the waters of Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Ivor van Heerden.

I don’t get to use the word “heroic” very often. Van Heerden is heroic. The Deputy Director of the Louisiana State University Hurricane Center, it was van Heerden who told me, on camera, something so horrible, so frightening, that, if it weren’t for his international stature, it would have been hard to believe:

“By midnight on Monday the White House knew. Monday night I was at the state Emergency Operations Center and nobody was aware that the levees had breached. Nobody.”

On the night of August 29, 2005, van Heerden was shut in at the state emergency center in Baton Rouge, providing technical advice to the rescue effort. As Hurricane Katrina came ashore, van Heerden and the State Police there were high-fiving it: Katrina missed the city of New Orleans, turning east.

What they did not know was that the levees had cracked. For crucial hours, the White House knew, but withheld the information that the levees of New Orleans had broken and that the city was about to drown. Bush’s boys did not notify the State of the flood to come which would have allowed police to launch an emergency hunt for the thousands that remained stranded.
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The Year The Levees Broke

Greg Palast 

By Greg Palast in New Orleans

New Orleans 1 year after

America went through a terrible year. The levees broke in New Orleans. When bodies floated in the streets, the Republican Congress saw an opportunity for more tax cuts and consolidation of the corporatopia they had created for their moneyed donors. The Democratic Party was clueless, written off, politically at death’s door.

The year was 1927.

Back then, when the levees broke, America awoke. Public anger rose in a floodtide, and in that year, the USA entered its most revolutionary period since 1776. The thirty-four-year-old utility commissioner of Louisiana, Huey P. Long, conceived of a plan to rebuild his state based on a radical program of redistributing wealth and power. The ambitious Governor of New York, Franklin D. Roosevelt, adopted it, and later named it The New Deal. America got rich and licked Hitler. It was our century. …more

Obama on Drugs: 98% Cheney?

Greg Palast 

BarackFor The Huffington Post

Eighty billion dollars of WHAT?

Obama pig copyI searched all over the newspapers and TV transcripts and no one asked the President what is probably the most important question of what passes for debate on the issue of health care reform: $80 billion of WHAT?

On June 22, President Obama said he’d reached agreement with big drug companies to cut the price of medicine by $80 billion. He extended his gratitude to Big Pharma for the deal that would, “reduce the punishing inflation in health care costs.”

Hey, in my neighborhood, people think $80 billion is a lot of money. But is it?

I checked out the government’s health stats (at HHS.gov), put fresh batteries in my calculator and totted up US spending on prescription drugs projected by the government for the next ten years. It added up to $3.6 trillion.

In other words, Obama’s big deal with Big Pharma saves $80 billion out of a total $3.6 trillion. That’s 2%.

Hey thanks, Barack! You really stuck it to the big boys. You saved America from these drug lords robbing us blind. Two percent. Cool! …more

The Day the President Turned Black
(But has he turned back?)

Greg Palast 

For the The Huffington Post

false hope nowHe’s in hot water now. For a moment, on national television, the President of the United States turned black!

Last week, when his buddy “Skip” Gates got busted for being Black in Boston, Barack Obama forgot his official role: to soothe America’s conscience with the happy fairy tale that his election marked the end of racism in the USA.

Instead, Obama, the excruciatingly middle-of-the-road President, was seized by Barack the militant State Senator from the South Side of Chicago, who reminded us that cops bust Black guys for no goddamn good reason all the goddamn time.

I’m reminded that it was not so long ago that we watched the vicious gang-beating by Los Angeles cops of a defenseless, handcuffed, Rodney King, an African-American. King’s beating was unusual only in that it was caught on videotape.
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Grand Theft Auto: How Stevie the Rat bankrupted GM

Greg Palast 

Yesterday, Steven Rattner was forced to resign as Obama’s “Car Czar” – awaiting possible prosecution for bribery.

6 weeks ago, we identified Rattner as the man who designed the GM bankruptcy to benefit his banker buddies at the expense of auto workers.

Good riddance to Stevie the Rat and here’s why…

ant-farm_2Screw the autoworkers.
They may be crying about General Motors’ bankruptcy today. But dumping 40,000 of the last 60,000 union jobs into a mass grave won’t spoil Jamie Dimon’s day.

Dimon is the CEO of JP Morgan Chase bank. While GM workers are losing their retirement health benefits, their jobs, their life savings; while shareholders are getting zilch and many creditors getting hosed, a few privileged GM lenders – led by  Morgan and Citibank – expect to get back 100% of their loans to GM, a stunning $6  billion.

The way these banks are getting their $6 billion bonanza is stone cold illegal.

I smell a rat.

Stevie the Rat, to be precise. Steven Rattner, Barack Obama’s ‘Car Czar’ – the man who essentially ordered GM into bankruptcy this morning.

When a company goes bankrupt, everyone takes a hit: fair or not, workers lose some contract wages, stockholders get wiped out and creditors get fragments of what’s left. That’s the law. What workers don’t lose are their pensions (including old-age health funds) already taken from their wages and held in their name.

But not this time. Stevie the Rat has a different plan for GM: grab the pension funds to pay off Morgan and Citi.

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