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Year: 2009

How McNamara Lost World War II

Greg Palast 

It’s been a good week. Robert McNamara’s dead and my book, Armed Madhouse, was released in translation in Vietnam.

I don’t blame McNamara for losing the war in Vietnam. After all, the good guys won. I do, however, blame him for losing World War II.

In 1995, in Chicago, veterans of Silver Post No. 282 celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of their victory over Japan, marching around a catering hall wearing their old service caps, pins, ribbons and medals. My father sat at his table, silent. He did not wear his medals.

He had given them to me thirty years earlier. I can figure it exactly: March 8, 1965. That day, like every other, we walked to the newsstand near the dime store to get the LA Times. He was a
Times man. Never read the Examiner.

He looked at the headline: U.S. Marines had landed on the beach at Danang, Vietnam.
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Oil and Indians Don’t Mix

Greg Palast 

For Air America Radio’s Ring of Fire

There’s an easy way to find oil.  Go to some remote and gorgeous natural sanctuary, say Alaska or the Amazon, find some Indians, then drill down under them.

If the indigenous folk complain, well, just shoo-them away.  Shoo-ing methods include:  bulldozers, bullets, crooked politicians and fake land sales.

But be aware.  Lately the Natives are shoo-ing back.  Last week, indigenous Peruvians seized an oil pumping station, grabbed the nine policemen guarding it and, say reports, executed them.  This followed the government’s murder of more than a dozen rainforest residents who had protested the seizure of their property for oil drilling.

Again and again I see it in my line of work of investigating fraud.  Here are a few pit-stops on the oily trail of tears:

In the 1980s, Charles Koch was found to have pilfered about $3 worth of crude from Stanlee Ann Mattingly’s oil tank in Oklahoma. …more

The All-Time Greatest Moment in [Film] History

Greg Palast 

by Marta Steele

www.opednews.com

It is possible to eradicate hunger. How can we live and sleep comfortably knowing that millions of our sisters and brothers go to bed hungry?
-Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Having viewed Greg Palast’s set of short films Palast Investigates, I was, as usual, greatly impressed with his dedication to exposing those elements of our “civilization” we try to forget about. I find it miraculous, given these odious realities, that we survive each day and wake up to the next. Reality reeks, in so many ways, and few have the sang froid that Palast does to chase it down and publicize what we need to know.

In The Vultures, we meet a despicable “Goldfinger” who has no trouble robbing the poor–destitute Africans–to feed the rich-a few of them anyway, and mainly himself, through the usual mechanisms taught in Rove 101. Golden Guy intercepts millions in foreign funds targeted toward AIDS medication. The designer wardrobe the president of Zambia gets out of it is a nice boutique aside–shirts, suits, and high heels in quantities Imelda Marcos would envy. The good news is that somehow much of the material in all three films is innocuous enough to have attracted the mainstream media–Sixty Minutes, that is. Now if only they would listen to the rest. The world is crawling with “Rovism.”
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From 8-Mile to the Amazon ”” Palast Investigates ”” The Story Without The Censors

Greg Palast 

Last week, you may have caught the story on “60 Minutes” about Chevron crapping all over the Amazon in Ecuador, poisoning the Indians who live there.

The Palast team is thrilled that a big commercial US Network is picking up our reports from BBC Television and Democracy Now!But if you watched the CBS report, you haven’t seen the WHOLE story.

If you want the real thing, the original reports ”” uncut, uncensored ”” pick up our new film, Palast Investigates: From 8-Mile to the Amazon ”” On the Trail of the Financial Marauders.

Check out the trailer here.

Donate $40 or more to the Palast Investigative Fund (tax deductible) and I’ll send you, with gratitude, a signed copy of the DVD.

The Chicago Tribune says, “these stories bite.”  Here’s what we’ve sunk our teeth into for this DVD ”” our 3 latest, biggest stories, for BBC Newsnight:
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MPs move to outlaw Vulture Funds

Greg Palast 

By Meirion Jones
BBC Newsnight

Former UK ministers and MPs from all UK parties are set to back a bill later on Wednesday outlawing the activities of vulture funds, hedge funds which divert debt relief from the poorest countries into their own pockets.

goldfingersheehanThe bill singles out Donegal International and its boss Michael “Goldfinger” Sheehan who was exposed by Newsnight reporter Greg Palast for making a fortune out of Zambia’s debt.

Vulture funds have been condemned by governments around the world as perverse and immoral for preying on the world’s poor.

Developed countries including Britain and the US have spent billions of pounds trying to relieve the debts of the world’s poorest nations so that they can spend that money on health and education.

The vulture fund speculators effectively divert that debt relief to themselves by buying debt for pennies in the pound just as it is about to be written off, and then suing in British or US courts for the full value plus interest.

US outrage

In 2007, Newsnight exposed the activities of Donegal International which bought a tranche of Zambia’s debt for $3m and then sued for $55m – the size of Zambia’s health budget.

Reporter Greg Palast doorstepped Donegal’s boss Michael “Goldfinger” Sheehan who styles himself after the James Bond villain.

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Palast, Live from Hell

Greg Palast 

 

“The CBS logo isn’t an eyeball, it’s actually just a pimple on the rectum of Viacom Corporation.”

 

Hear Greg Palast live with This is Hell radio host Chuck Mertz. In this 90 minute head-to-head, Greg goes in-depth about some of his run-ins with American Mainstream Media, stories about “getting the story,” and the true value of unbiased investigative journalism.

 

“Talk about hell: I trained with Fox TV News for 2 days… They asked me, ‘So what do I think? and I said, ‘I think I’m leaving the country.’ So I went to England to work for BBC.”

 

Hear it here: full frontal Palast, raw.

Palast Live from Hell – 90 minutes with Chuck Mertz

“A Conversation with Greg Palast” as broadcast on WNUR’s “This is Hell!” (www.wnur.org)

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Chewing the Buddha: Tibet Rising 50 years later

Greg Palast 

Barbie’s not the only thing that’s 50 this year.

This month it will be 50 years Tibetans have been fighting their occupation by China. In May of 1993 I visited the Dalai Lama’s homeland to bring messages from him to his people – he would return.

For Originally for Tricycle: The Buddhist Review

Lhasa, Tibet – China’s secret police are just terrible at keeping themselves secret.

The detective, dressed in her business suit and pumps appropriate to urban Lhasa, did not expect to be trailing my wife and me up the steep hillside to a monastery 15,000 feet up an ice-crusted ridge. Even at 200 yards behind us, I could see her shivering in the thin, frozen air, trying, absurdly, to look like just another hiker on the barren slope.

But then, she really wasn’t trying to hide. Her presence was meant to send a message of fear and intimidation.

I got the point earlier when a photographer we’d helped sneak into Tibet was arrested, her film of protesting Tibetans seized and her camera smashed as she was hustled onto the first plane leaving the country.

When my police shadow looked away, I snapped a photo of the long boxes below me, roofs of the prison complex. It housed more Buddhist monks than any monastery.

At a hermitage carved into the summit rock I found my host sitting cross-legged under an ancient tapestry depicting a monster ready to devour quiet souls.

The holy man had questions for us:

Does Christianity have a god? (Answer: “Sometimes.”)

What is a ”˜President‘?

It was 1993. I told the monk the new President, …more

BARBIE DOLLIE versus DALAI LAMA

Greg Palast 

Barbie’s not the only one celebrating 50 years this month – Tibet’s uprising against their Chinese occupiers began 5o years ago.

I thought I’d share with you one of the weirdest memos I’ve unearthed in my years of investigating corporate maledictions. Passed to me from inside Mattel, the toy company, with an August 12, 1997 time stamp. “TAR” stands for Tibet Autonomous Region.

– Greg Palast

Proprietary Content Confidential – Mktng only

To: Jongyol Rimpoche, JRimp@BarbieMttl.cn.TAR
From: BRab@M.IntlMkt.MttlCrp.com

Barbie Doll v Dalai Lama

Barbie's 50

JR,
Marketing greenlights your conclusion: Barbie can’t play Tibet until she replaces current culture idol. Research Div did tab on competitor; looks like he’s history:

Barbie: Over 2,000 outfits
The Dalai Lama: One outfit (orange bathrobe!)

Barbie: Sixteen hair-dos, including “growing ponytail”
The Dalai Lama: Shaved head (Yuck!)

Barbie: Two dozen pre-programmed and market-tested phrases. Changed annually.
The Dalai Lama: “Om Mane Padme Om” (“Hail the Fire in the Lotus” — whatever that means.) Never changes.

Barbie: Worshiped by 600 million Barbie owners.

The Dalai Lama: Worshipped by only 6 million Tibetans.

Barbie: Creator of cultural revolution.
The Dalai Lama: Victim of cultural revolution.

Barbie: Accessories- Shoes, handbags, battery-operated cars — you name it!
The Dalai Lama: Accessories- ZEE-RO! …more

Damn that Lincoln: Abe’s to blame for Jindal

Greg Palast 

Exclusive to Buzzflash.com

Damn that Abe Lincoln. When Louisiana and Mississippi seceded from the Union, a sensible president would have sent them a box of chocolates with a note, “Goodbye and good riddance.”

Tonight, following Barack Obama’s budget presentation to Congress, effectively the president’s first State of the Union Address, the Republicans chose to give their party’s response, the governor of the state that wanted to leave the Union, Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal.

Jindal told us that Barack Obama is a terrible President who passed a stimulus bill “larded with wasteful spending.”   Where’s the lard?  All week, Jindal has been screeching that Obama wants to require states like Louisiana to extend unemployment insurance to – get this – the unemployed!  (Technically, the federal government would pay 100% of the cost of reforming Louisiana’s and Mississippi’s Scrooge-sized benefit requirements.)A Year After the Flood

Jindal, and some other Republican governors, notably Haley Barbour of Mississippi, are actually turning down millions in federal funds for their own state’s unemployed out of fear that, four years from now, they may have to maintain full unemployment insurance like the rest of America.

Barbour’s excuse, parroted by Jindal, is that the Obama payments to the unemployed of their states would mean, when the economy returns to expansion, that their state would have to increase unemployment insurance taxes and payments to the US average, scaring away new employers. “I mean, we want more jobs,” says Barbour.  Um, this is the Governor of MISSISSIPPI talking.  Exactly what new “jobs” is he talking about? Is Microsoft is based in Gulfport?  Is Genentech opening its new headquarters in Moss Point?

As an economist, I can tell you that the only industry Mississippi leads in is deep-fried chicken-dog manufacturing.  I will admit that Louisiana and Mississippi can boast of growing employment at several …more

Obama is a two-faced liar. Aw-RIGHT!

Greg Palast for SuicideGirls.com

Republicans are right. President Barack Obama treated them like dirt, didn’t give a damn what they thought about his stimulus package, loaded it with a bunch of programs that will last for years and will never leave the budget, is giving away money disguised as “tax refunds,” and is sneaking in huge changes in policy, from schools to health care, using the pretext of an economic emergency.

Way to go, Mr. O! Mr. Down-and-Dirty Chicago pol. Street-fightin’ man. Covering over his break-you-face power play with a “we’re all post-partisan friends” BS.

And it’s about time.

Frankly, I was worried about this guy. Obama’s appointing Clinton-droids to the Cabinet, bloated incompetents like Larry Summers as “Economics Czar,” made me fear for my country, that we’d gotten another Democrat who wished he were a Republican.

Then came Obama’s money bomb. The House bill included $125 billion for schools (TRIPLING federal spending on education – yes!), expanding insurance coverage to the unemployed, making the most progressive change in the tax code in four decades by creating a $500 credit against social security payroll deductions, and so on. …more

Why a–holes are always in charge
Tiny Tim Geithner is the Wrong Choice

Greg Palast 

by Greg Palast

John ThainJohn Thain is the guy that looks like a Clark Kent doll you saw grinning from page one of your paper Friday morning. Thain was just fired by Bank of America because the square-jawed executive demanded a $30 million bonus after losing $5 billion in just three months at the bank’s Merrill Lynch unit. In addition, Thain spent over a million dollars redecorating his office while, at the same time, the U.S. Treasury was bailing out his company with billions in aid. Thain’s office re-do included the installation of a $35,000 toilet bowl.

Thain was robbed. He shouldn’t have been fired; he should have gotten a $60 million bonus — and Obama should immediately hire him as Secretary of the Treasury in place of that tax-dodging lightweight that’s been nominated, Timothy Geithner.

Here’s the facts, ma’am. …

For the remainder of the story on Thain’s toilet and the economic crisis, go to www.SuicideGirls.com. Palast’s investigative reports for BBC TV, Rolling Stone and others can be seen at www.GregPalast.com …more

Bill Richardson – Kissinger-American

Greg Palast 

by Greg Palast

excerpted from Armed Madhouse

Henry Kissinger and Bill RichardsonBill Richardson is out: Caught with his hand, if not exactly in the cookie jar, at least you could say his sticky finger were near it. I’m not surprised.

For years I’ve been investigating the second-most corrupt state in the USA (after Alaska). I like to check in on the enchanted state with my bud Santiago Juárez.

I knew it was not a polite question, but it was really bugging me, so I asked HIM, “Exactly how does a Mexican get the name William Richardson?”

Governor Richardson’s dad, Santiago explained, was a Citibank executive assigned to Mexico City. There …more