I don’t usually watch Today or any American TV because my reports appear on the British Broadcasting Corporation, a network run by highly-educated America-haters.
But there I was, last Friday, in this hotel room in Atlanta, a city pretending there’s no Depression, chewing my complimentary morning donut, and Today is telling us about the “new face of American poverty.” …more
This past Sunday, a deputation from Occupy Wall Street crossed the bridge from Manhattan and brought its protest to the Brooklyn residence of one of New York’s “vultures” This type of vulture doesn’t roost in a tree, but in a swish brownstone.
“So this Bishop, three priests and a comedian are locked up together in this paddy wagon and ….”
“Zach! This is NOT funny, and I do NOT want to hear the punch line.”
Actually, I appreciate the fact that our photo-journalist has a sense of humor about getting busted and jailed at Occupy Wall Street on Saturday.
But it’s not a joke. On Saturday, our man Zach D. Roberts, along with a bishop of the Episcopalian Church and three ministers of various faiths, plus a stand-up comic were pushed face first into the dirt at Duarte Park, hand-cuffed and hauled off in a police van to the lock-up in Lower Manhattan.
I did NOT appreciate that this follows his previous bust at Occupy, the busting of our $600 Tokina 11-16 f2.8 lens by a cop slamming his nightstick down on Zach (reparable) and hitting the lens (not reparable). [Heck of a photo, though, just as the stick is coming down.]
Zach, who is working with the Palast Investigations Team via a Gil Palast Memorial Fund journalism fellowship, has been covering the Occupation since Day One. His astonishing in-the-action photographs from #OWS have been featured in Portfolio Magazine and on the front page of The Guardian. However, credits and press credentials did not impress New York’s Finest.
But hey, they weren’t impressed by Bishop George Packard’s red robes. His Excellency was handcuffed and charged along with Zach and another newsman for trespassing on the property owned by the bishop’s own church, Trinity.
In the holding tank, Zach was put in with an OWS protester who wore a green cap with red blood oozing out from it, the Christmas color-scheme caused by an excess of NYPD holiday zeal.
Zach was there to cover the Occupation’s attempt to re-establish their encampment. OWS asked to use a parcel of empty land owned by Trinity, the oldest and arguably the wealthiest church in America, landlord for much of the real estate called Wall Street.
According to the Bishop (in an interview recorded, I kid you not, while cuffed in the wagon), his Church plans to lease the property to a developer for a skyscraper and is afraid that allowing protesters to move in would devalue their holdings–bring down the neighborhood, so to speak.
Despite the pleas of Bishop Packard, several priests and even fellow Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Trinity’s administrators refused Occupy’s request, choosing, in Tutu’s thinking, Mammon over the church’s moral mission.
The ecclesiastical issues of this Schism, while not exactly on the same order as Luther’s split from The Vatican, were serious enough to be decided by the cops who moved in after Occupation activists (clerics included) used ladders to breach the construction fences.
What concerns me is that the One Percent are clearly using their blue enforcers not just to stop protesters but to stop coverage of the protest. Not every cop went along. One policeman, told to arrest Zach, resisted the command, “This guy’s a journalist! What are we doing!?”
That cut no ice with his bosses. I guess if you can bust a bishop, a journalist is kind of small stuff.
These are Zach’s photos from the demo, including the one at the right he shot while face-down on the ground, before they grabbed our equipment.
The shot you see of Zach under arrest was taken by CS Muncy, a top-rank freelancer whose work appears in The Wall Street Journal. Frighteningly, while trying to cover Wall Street, a cop grabbed his press credential necklace but, in the mayhem, Muncy was able to yank it back. While I’m concerned about Muncy’s neck, I’m more concerned about this new–and increasingly violent–attack on press freedom.
Note: Funeral services will be held for our Tokina 11-16 f2.8 lens this week at our New York offices. Zach has requested that, instead of sending flowers, donations be made to the Palast Investigative Fund.
Zach, who was released early Sunday morning, has a court date set for February. We will keep readers informed via our Facebook page, which will include more of Zach’s photos and his own diary of events.
Greg Palast is the author of Vultures’ Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Carnivores, released in the US and Canada by Penguin.
You can read Vultures’ Picnic, “Chapter 1: Goldfinger,” or download it, at no charge: click here.
All photos by Zach D. Roberts. Permission granted for use with credit.
This holiday season, why not roast a One Percenter’s chestnuts on an open fire?
Donate $60 or more to the Palast Investigative Fund, and I’ll personally sign and send you and yours a gorgeously illustrated hardbound copy of the book Mitt Romney’s favorite billionaire says, “Is full of errors” – Vultures’ Picnic.
Oh yeah? What it’s chocked full of, is the no-soap dope on Paul “The Vulture” Singer, Mitt’s billion-dollar sugar daddy, on the BP petroleum pirates, on Goldman’s sacks of ill-gotten gold and a lot, lot more.
Order by Monday and get it in time for Xmas or Hanukah.
Palast conducted a five-continent investigation of Big Oil for British TV’s premier current affairs program, Dispatches, and for BBC Worldwide. This report is based on the broadcast seen prime-time worldwide – but not yet in the USA.
Whistleblowers have told Britain’s “Dispatches” that the safety software on major US pipelines contains deliberate errors – and so pipelines can – and have – busted, leaked, exploded …and killed.
Congressional Republicans are holding extended unemployment benefits hostage until President Obama agrees to speed up approval to build the XL Keystone Pipeline. XL Keystone will slice down through the entire width of the USA, moving tar-sands oil from Canada to Houston.
The oil industry promises that the Pipeline will be safe. But the pipe is only safe if the PIG inside it can squeal.
Federal law requires the industry to run a diagnostic robot PIG, a Pipeline Inspection Gauge, that will squeal when something is wrong: a crack, dangerous corrosion, anything that might lead to a spill or explosion.
But PIGs are only as good as the software that tracks and analyzes their signals. And the software used by Big Oil has been compromised – deliberately. …more
The two-grand-a-night call girls are wandering lonely and disconsolate through the Wynn casino, victims of the recession. Badpenny, dressed full-on Bond Girl, is losing nickels in the slots and humming Elvis tunes.
Badpenny’s assigned job here is to look good and get information. She’s good at her job. A tipsy plaintiffs’ lawyer is telling her, “A woman as beautiful as you should be told she’s beautiful every five minutes.” His nose dips slowly toward her cleavage…
If you don’t read Greg Palast’s investigative reports, you don’t know what’s going on in America. Palast is the journalist who discovered election thefts in the U.S., the real reason behind Bush II’s invasion of Iraq, and other vital information on the class war that the rich wage every day.
In his new book, Vultures’ Picnic, Palast presents the inside story of how the financial elite loots public treasuries and passes the bill on to you. He also writes about recent and upcoming environmental catastrophes. In this excerpt for Razorcake, the Palast team starts investigating the 2010 British Petroleum disaster …more
Rick Perry’s right when he says, “Something’s wrong when gays can serve openly in the military but kids can’t pray openly in school.”
What’s wrong is that they’re missing their copies of Vultures’ Picnic. In fact, once my twins took a copy of Vultures’ Picnic to school, all the kids began praying openly – for an end to cuts in the school budget!
Want to roast Rick Perry’s chestnuts on an open fire?
“Greg Palast’s Vultures’ Picnic is an eye-opening, heart-pumping, mind-blowing experience that should not, MUST not, be missed.”
– Nomi Prins, author Other People’s Money
We are just a few books short of bumping Bill O’Reilly on the New York Times list.Get it now, this weekend.
We don’t have the Koch-suckers’ ad budget. What we have is an answer to the most important question in America:
“Why do we occupy?”
According to Prins….
“Vultures’ Picnic answers that question in dramatic detail and biting whodunit monologue and dialogue, the kind that could easily fill a riveting Mission Impossible film where Tom Cruise ricochets into the lairs of the bad guys to save the world from the big bad oil company. Yet all of Palast’s and his team’s findings are shockingly true and infinitely more visceral.” [Read the complete review here.] …more
“Top funders of the Republican Party have demanded that two African nations pay them over half a billion dollars…. Is one of these vulture’s claims based on a stolen security, criminally transferred to an American financier called ‘Goldfinger’? Greg Palast, author of the new book, Vultures’ Picnic, investigates for BBC Television and The Guardian.”
Greg Palast reporting from Kinshasa, Congo; Sarajevo, Bosnia; and Brooklyn, New York
If God doesn’t give a rat’s ass about The Vulture, and what he does for a living, and what he’s done for Africa, why should I?
The thought struck me while sitting here, coffee getting cold, in my old Toyota, trying to look invisible, staked out in front of 300 Dekalb Avenue. It’s just after dawn here in Brooklyn, New York, and I’m hoping that Peter Grossman, a Wall Street star, will pop out of his posh brownstone for a jog or a cup of joe. Then I can jump him. He’s on the look-out for me because I’d already jumped his crony, Goldfinger, the man who’s making Grossman stunningly rich.
Grossman’s riches, nearly $100 million for his firm, FG Management, come from the Congo. I was just there in Congo, two days before this stake-out, at a cholera quarantine center in the capital, Kinshasa.
Besides lots of cholera, Congo has lots of cobalt. Grossman has, through a crazy legal loophole in British law, waylaid a payment of $80 million to the African government for a shipment of cobalt from a government-owned mine.
Grossman is a “vulture,” the name Wall Street gives, …more
Alternet.org – From the Arctic Circle, from inside a whale carcass (really), Greg Palast investigates…
There is a legend told among the Inupiat Alaskans who live above the Arctic Circle, “Etok Tames the Green People.” It goes like this:
In the Old Days, as today, the peoples on the edge of the Arctic Sea killed whales. It’s just what they do. It’s what they eat. But the Green People didn’t like that, and so the Green People set out one day in their fancy-ass black powerboat to stop the people of the Arctic Sea from doing their whale killing thing.
This is Alternet’s excerpt from Palast’s new book, Vultures’ Picnic. Note: Get the book this week and you’ll get all the videos from the interactive edition, no charge. Just go to VulturesPicnic.org, click on, “I’ve bought it, so send me the link to my free films.”
It was a long, long time ago in 1979. The elders tell us how the Green People showed up outside the Inupiat Native village of Kaktovik in their black powerboat and set out their stores of vegetables on the beach. The Green People only ate green food. The Green People then set off in their black powerboat on their blubber-saving mission, with a plan to block the Eskimo’s bidarka whaling ship. Quick as a Raven’s wink, they got lost in a fog bank and stuck in the ice sheet. Prepared, committed, and resourceful, the Green People set out their pup tents on the ice floe and slept, hoping for the fog to lift in the morning. …more
Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Armed Madhouse and the highly acclaimed Vultures’ Picnic, just named Book of the Year on BBC Newsnight Review.
This is it, folks – our last chance to make the New York Times bestseller list – we’re doing well – but we want to slam it – we want to make sure that people can’t miss Vultures’ Picnic when they go on Amazon, walk into stores and browse at airports.
Let’s make sure the media can’t ignore our book.
If you already bought it THANK YOU. Really, we can’t thank you enough. But we’re going to ask one more thing, think of your family. The Holidays are coming up – Vultures’ Picnic will make a great Xmas or Hanukkah present for that Uncle you’ll end up arguing about #OccupyWallStreet with.
Besides being stuffed with tons of info and investigations on the 1%, Vultures’ Picnic also happens to be “Sardonically funny and entertaining “, as one of our readers aptly described it.
If you read my columns, watch my BBC or Democracy Now! reports, you’re just getting the news appetizers. The whole enchilada, the whole book, is tastier than you can imagine.
“If I had a machine gun, I’d kill every one of them white sons of bitches.” Makarka didn’t say, “white.” He used the unkind Alutiiq phrase, isuwiq-something, bleached seal.
As a bleached seal myself, I couldn’t blame him, not if you saw what I saw, the documents that British Petroleum buried deep as they could.
In my investigation of the blow-out on BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig, I knew key evidence could only be found in the files in the hands of the Chugach Natives of Alaska. The story involved the usual mix of big oil, suicide, murder, rock and roll, and fish. Whatever, I had to get from Asia to Alaska. To understand the full story, how America went, in two centuries, from British colony to British Petroleum colony we have to go way back to … …more