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Year: 2011

Wall Street is just an address
And that is WHY WE OCCUPY

Greg Palast 

The Palast investigations team at Zuccotti Park Wall Street, Occupy Portland, Occupy Oakland, and Kinshasa, Congo

exclusive for OpedNews.com

So big deal. They evicted us.  That just means we are among five million Americans evicted from their homes this year.

Our photographer, Zach Roberts, had his camera cracked and his head whacked. [See the photo of the nightstick just before it breaks the lens.]

Go ahead, kick us and evict us. That won’t stop us. Because it’s not about the real estate. Wall Street’s just an address.

Time to remind The One Percent why we occupy. …more

Palast crew reporter Roberts…
just before the cop busted the lens.

Greg Palast 

2a.m. Zuccotti Park, Wall Street, New York

Zach D Roberts, photographer for the Palast Investigative Team, a split second before the copy cracked the lens––and whacked Zach. See that spot on the left? That’s the night stick hitting the lens.

Tonight: Palast on “Why We Occupy.”

…more

This is the moment to make the 1% cry

Greg Palast 

I’m putting it to you bluntly:

Vultures Picnic comes out today – and here’s why I’m asking you, no joke, to get it TODAY, or this week at the LATEST.  Do that, and I’m once again on the bestseller list, top of Amazon.  It’s the ONLY way the work you’ve supported, the work you think is important, breaks into the mainstream media.

And I’ll make it easy for you.  You get a copy of Vultures Picnic TODAY or any time this week from our site, from an independent bookstore or Amazon or whatever, and I’ll send you, as a thank-you, no charge, a private link to see ALL FIFTEEN FILM SHORTS and two audio tracks that are embedded in the “amplified” or “enhanced” versions. Check out a couple.

And you don’t pay a dime.

Every single review, from Bobby Kennedy [“Genius. A real-life spy novel”] to Democracy Now! has said it:  this is my best book yet, by far.  The best read.

That’s because I take you with me on the weird, horrific and darkly humorous investigations of  British Petroleum, Tokyo Electric Power, Goldman Squid and the 1% of the 1%.

(I’ll also send you the link for the videos if you’ve already ordered the book. Just click here and click again on “Film Companion.” I trust you not to be a jerk and fake it.)

Occupy the best-seller list.  Right now it’s totally occupied by Bill O’Reilly and his ilk.  Ugh!  Don’t let these weasels think we’re illiterate.  Jam Vultures’ Picnic right down the media’s throat.

Afraid of commitment?  Then read the first chapter, free, no charge, online or download.  Pass it around.  If you don’t like it, I’ll refund your money.  (Yes, it’s free …but you get the point.)

What are you waiting for?  Dick Cheney to shoot you in the face?

Vultures’ Picnic:  In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Carnivores.  It’s WHY we occupy.

– Greg Palast

Fukushima: They Knew

Greg Palast 

“Completely and Utterly Fail in an Earthquake”
The Fukushima story you didn’t hear on CNN

For FreePress.org

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. …more

Escape from Lady Baba-land

Greg Palast 

Getting the hell out of the Islamic Republic of BP with the Deepwater Horizon evidence

From Vultures’ Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Predators. A tale of oil, sex, shoes, radiation and investigative reporting – get it now.

[Based on a tip from some guy floating in the Caspian Sea in Central Asia, we take off for Baku, Azerbaijan, the “Islamic Republic of BP.” Stopping in London, the deathly ill MI6 double-agent Leslie the Bagman lays out the history of the coup d’etat, hooker-bait and the $30 million “sweetener” paid by Lord Browne to the oil nation’s “president”––and suggests we find his old spy-mate, Natasha.

In the middle of this Byzantine maze, I’m looking for the real reason for the Deepwater Horizon explosion, not the bullshit seen on CNN. I get the goods, film it, get arrested for filming it, get film confiscated …except for the film in the little Austin Powers camera-in-a-pen that has to find its way out of the country.]

From Chapter 2: “Lady Baba-land.”

But we’re not leaving. …more

Greg Palast Tracks the Vultures
of the 1 Percent:
A Truthout Interview

Greg Palast 

by: Mark Karlin, Truthout | Interview

“Greg Palast, Vultures’ Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates, and High-Finance Carnivores”, get your copy here.Greece

Near the front of his new book, “Vultures’ Picnic,” Greg Palast quotes BuzzFlash at Truthout as calling him “a cross between Seymour Hersh and Jack Kerouac.”  He also quotes a White House spokesman as saying about him, “We hate that sonovabitch.”

During its first several years, Palast was the most interviewed resource on BuzzFlash. That was and is because he drives the global elite crazy, not to mention the mainstream corporate media.

He’s a one-person investigative junk yard dog, who chomps down and doesn’t let go.  He’s indefatigable, as the subtitle of his book indicates, “in pursuit of petroleum pigs, power pirates, and high-finance carnivores.”

Mark Karlin: More than any of your other books, your personality appears to come through most strongly …more

Vultures’ Picnic: 15-City Tour

Greg Palast 

The Vultures’ Picnic tour swoops through 15 cities, starting this Sunday.

See the films and hear the twisted tales and sordid stories of the One Percent from my new book, Vultures’ Picnic — my four-continent pursuit of petroleum pigs, power pirates and high-finance carnivores.

Click here …more

Lazy Ouzo-Swilling, Olive-Pit Spitting Greeks
Or, How Goldman Sacked Greece

Greg Palast 

by Greg Palast for In These Times

Here’s what we’re told:Greece

Greece’s economy blew apart because a bunch of olive-spitting, ouzo-guzzling, lazy-ass Greeks refuse to put in a full day’s work, retire while they’re still teenagers, pocket pensions fit for a pasha; and they’ve gone on a social-services spending spree using borrowed money. Now that the bill has come due and the Greeks have to pay with higher taxes and cuts in their big fat welfare state, they run riot, screaming in the streets, busting windows and burning banks.

I don’t buy it.  I don’t buy it because of the document in my hand marked, “RESTRICTED DISTRIBUTION.”

I’ll cut to the indictment:  Greece is a crime scene.  The people are victims of a fraud, a scam, a hustle and a flim-flam.   And––cover the children’s ears when I say this––a bank named Goldman Sachs is holding the smoking gun.

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This is an adaptation of an excerpt from Vultures’ Picnic, Greg Palast’s new book, out next week, an investigator’s pursuit of petroleum pigs, power pirates and high-finance fraudsters. Read the first chapter or just get the book here.

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In 2002, Goldman Sachs secretly bought up €2.3 billion in Greek government debt, converted it all into yen and dollars, then immediately sold it back to Greece.

Goldman took a huge loss on the trade.

Is Goldman that stupid?

Goldman is stupid—like a fox. The deal was a con, with Goldman making up a phony-baloney exchange rate for the transaction.   Why?

Goldman had cut a secret deal with the Greek government in power then.  Their game:  to conceal a massive budget deficit.  Goldman’s fake loss was the Greek government’s fake gain.

Goldman would get repayment of its “loss” from the government at loan-shark rates.

The point is, through this crazy and costly legerdemain, Greece’s right-wing free-market government was able to pretend its deficits never exceeded 3 percent of GDP.

Cool. Fraudulent but cool.

But flim-flam isn’t cheap these days: On top of murderous interest payments, Goldman charged the Greeks over a quarter billion dollars in fees.

When the new Socialist government of George Papandreou came into office, they opened up the books and Goldman’s bats flew out.  Investors’ went berserk, demanding monster interest rates to lend more money to roll over this debt.

Greece’s panicked bondholders rushed to buy insurance against the nation going bankrupt.  The price of the bond-bust insurance, called a credit default swap (or CDS), also shot through the roof.  Who made a big pile selling the CDS insurance?  Goldman.

And those rotting bags of CDS’s sold by Goldman and others? Didn’t they know they were handing their customers gold-painted turds?

That’s Goldman’s specialty.  In 2007, at the same time banks were selling suspect CDS’s and CDOs (packaged sub-prime mortgage securities), Goldman held a “net short” position against these securities. That is, Goldman was betting their financial “products” would end up in the toilet. Goldman picked up another half a billion dollars on their “net short” scam.

But, instead of cuffing Goldman’s CEO Lloyd Blankfein and parading him in a cage through the streets of Athens, we have the victims of the frauds, the Greek people, blamed.  Blamed and soaked for the cost of it.  The “spread” on Greek bonds (the term used for the risk premium paid on Greece’s corrupted debt) has now risen to — get ready for this––$14,000 per family per year.

Euro-nation, the secret Geithner memo, and the Ecuador connection

Why did the Greek government throw its nation’s fate into Goldman’s greasy hands?  What the heck was in the “RESTRICTED” document? And why did I have to take it to Geneva, to throw it down in front of the Director-General of the WTO for authentication, a creepy French banker I otherwise wouldn’t bother to spit on, and then tear off to Quito to share it with the grateful President of Ecuador?

To give you all the answers would require me to write a book.  I have:  Vultures’ Picnic––in Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Fraudsters.

It’s really quite important to me that you read it, that you get it now.  That’s a funny statement, I suppose, from an author.  But if you’ve been reading my stories in The Guardian or watching my reports on BBC Newsnight, you’ve gotten the facts; but I really want to let you inside the investigations, to cross the continents with me and follow down the leads so that you can get a full picture of The Beasts.  The Beasts and their trophy wives, intelligence agency go-fers, political concubines and bone-breakers.  And besides, it’s enormous fun when it’s not scary as sh*t.

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Here’s a taste of Chapter 12 – The Generalissimo of Globalization – from the film-enhanced eBook edition.  [And more on the 1% Greece-ing us, check out the upcoming issue of In These Times.]

Note:  I will be in Chicago for In These Times on November 29, part of our 15 city tour that begins this coming Sunday, November 13, in Portland, then moves to San Francisco, LA, San Diego, Denver, Boulder, New Mexico, Albuquerque, Chicago, Madison, New York, DC, Houston, Burlington, and Atlanta. Find out more info here.

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Greg Palast is the author of Vultures’ Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Carnivores.

Get it now!
For more information about Palast’s brand new book and his book-signing events in your city, go to www.VulturesPicnic.org

Subscribe to Palast’s Newsletter and podcasts.
Follow Palast on Facebook and Twitter.

GregPalast.com

Chapter One of Vultures’ Picnic —
Read it Now

Greg Palast 

 

After some tense discussion (Penguin was partly owned by Gaddafi, so you can imagine…), my publisher has given me the unusual right to give all my readers, for no charge, the entire first chapter of my new book Vultures’ Picnic.
Even if you don’t get the book, I really want you to read the first chapter.

Read it or Download it.

Never before, in my decades as an investigator, have I taken you with me undercover, on the hunt into the lives, secret files, shopping bags and back rooms of the cruel and whacky One Percent.  And, for the first time, I’ve decided to let you in on Greg Palast, to open up my life and the inside of my operation, without censorship or BS.

In Chapter One, you will first encounter …more

GOLDMAN SUX?
Giant Squid Strikes Again
at Occupy Wall Street’s Credit Union

Greg Palast 

By Greg Palast

Palast is the author of Vultures’ Picnic: in Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Carnivores.

What have I done?  There’s one angry squid out there.

Memo from Tim Geithner to Larry Summers
(click to enlarge)

Last week, Democracy Now! and The Guardian ran our story about Goldman Sachs yanking financial support from a community credit union for honoring one of its largest customers.  The customer:  Occupy Wall Street.

Our report so enraged Goldman that, within days, it doubled down on its attack on the little community bank.

Goldman had already demanded the return of its $5,000 payment to the Lower East Side Peoples Federal Credit Union.  Now, sources say, the trillion-dollar Wall Street mega-bank sent the following message to the not-for-profit community bank:  “You will never get a dime from any bank ever again.”

About those “dimes” Goldman is taking away:  …more

Sachs Fiend:
Goldman Attacks Occupy Wall Street’s Non-Profit Bank

When Goldman got huffy at a credit union honouring OWS and pulled its anniversary dinner funding, much more was at stake

Greg Palast 

Exclusive for The Guardian
by Greg Palast, the author of Vultures’ Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates, and High-Finance Carnivores.
With Arun Gupta, founding editor of The Occupied Wall Street Journal.

Greg Palast reports from Occupied Wall Street for Democracy Now!

[Zuccotti Park, Wall Street, New York.]

Mega-bank Goldman Sachs (assets $933bn), has declared war on one of the smallest banks in New York (assets $30m), the customer-owned community bank that happens to also be the banker for Friends of Liberty Plaza, Inc, also known as Occupy Wall Street. And you thought Goldman didn’t care.

The trouble began three weeks ago when the occupiers suddenly found their donation buckets filling with thousands of dollars, way more than needed for their pizza dinners. Suddenly, the anti-bank protesters needed a bank. Citibank and Chase certainly wouldn’t fit. So OWS opened an account at the not-for-profit Lower East Side Peoples Federal Credit Union. Peoples has a unique federal charter – designated to open accounts for low-income folk from all over NewYork, available to those families earning less than $38,000 per year. (Disclosure: the CEO of the Peoples bank is my dearly beloved ex. But that’s another story.)

Goldman Sachs had also joined up with the Peoples bank. Goldman partners reportedly earn a bit more than $38k per annum, yet Goldman’s association so far was limited to giving the credit union $5,000 toward the little bank’s 25th anniversary celebration dinner. Goldman’s largesse was acknowledged on the dinner invites – along with the night’s honoree: Occupy Wall Street.

When a Goldman exec saw its gilded name next to Occupy Wall Street, …more

The 1% who get the gold mine
(we get the shaft)

Greg Palast 

[Wall Street, New York] No one here in Zuccotti Park is protesting “Wall Street.” Wall Street is just an address, just a street sign on a post.

The 99% Movement is about Them: the 1%. The 1% who own Wall Street and all our
streets and have posted a foreclosure notice on the entire planet.

The 1% who get the gold mine while we get the shaft.

For five years, I’ve been quietly working on a four-continent investigation about Them, the 1%.

I’ve put it all in a new book. I could have called it Lives of the Rich and Shameless, but I’ve chosen this: Vultures’ Picnic—in Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Carnivores.

Vultures’ Picnic hits book stores on November 14. Click on the images to see the films, the slideshow, the excerpts—and order it right now. …more

Ãœber-Vultures: The Billionaires Who Would Pick Our President

Greg Palast 

The untold story of the sources of the loot controlled by Paul “The Vulture” Singer, Ken Langone and the Kochs—and why they need to buy the White House

For TruthOut/Buzzflash

Greg Palast’s investigative reports are broadcast by BBC Television’s Newsnight. His new book, Vultures’ Picnic: a Tale of Oil, Sex, Radiation and Investigative Reporting will be released by Penguin USA on November 14.

[October 5, 2011] Paul Singer likes to breakfast on decayed carcasses. What he chews down is sickening, but just as nausea-inducing are his new table mates: Ken Langone and the Koch Brothers, Charles and David.

Singer has called together the billionaire boys club for the purpose of picking our next president for us. The old fashioned way of choosing presidents—democracy and counting ballots and all that—has never been a favorite of this pack. I can tell you that from my investigations of each of these gentlemen for The Guardian. When the Statue of Liberty has nightmares, she dreams that these guys will combine to seize America via a cash-and-carry coup d’état. …more

Hamptons Hurricane: A Bankers’ Katrina

Greg Palast 

NationofChange

Don’t worry:  the bankers are safe.  The sub-prime sharks, derivatives divas, media mavens and their hairdressers, their trophy wives and their trophies’ personal trainers, the movers and shakers and money-makers, are all out of danger. Despite the warning that in a couple of days Hurricane Irene could well hit The Hamptons, the beach of the best of the ruling class will not lose a tan line.

I made sure they’re safe.  A couple decades ago, I worked on an emergency evacuation plan for the county of Suffolk, New York, home of the Hamptons.  It’s the wealthiest county in the United States.

The Hamptons’ hurricane plan is six volumes thick.  The police and the politicians, the fire department and the first responders have their copies, their orders, their equipment and they are ready to roll before a single fake-blonde curl is ruffled by untoward weather.

The last hurricane to hit Long Island, far fiercer than Katrina, took two lives, not 2,000.

But then, the Hamptons isn’t New Orleans, is it?

In 1992, a big storm washed into 190 houses on West Hampton Dunes, getting many grade-B film scripts very wet.  The federal government, with your tax dollars, rebuilt every single home on the beach (average value then, $2 million each)––and even rebuilt the beach with an endless samba line of trucks filled with sand, care of the Army Corps of Engineers.

There’s a photo of one, in case you’d like to move in.  (Shouldn’t we each get at least a weekend in the surf for our money?)

Now look at Patricia  Thomas’ home in the Lafitte Housing Project in New Orleans.  I met her a year after the city flooded; she and her cousin and her cousin’s two kids, just off the bus from refugee centers in Texas, were told that if they returned to their homes, they would be arrested.  It’s been six years and they still are not allowed back in.  Doesn’t matter:  three years ago, their houses were torn down to make way for yuppie condos, for the nouvelle carpetbaggers who will enjoy Lafitte’s locale near the French Quarter.

Last year, a judge ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers and the federal government were completely responsible for the flooding of Lafitte and half the city.  [See the film ‘Big Easy to Big Empty.’  This week, the Palast Investigative Fund is providing the half-hour film without charge. Click here to download it.]

Under the Constitution, the President and Congress must authorize payment to flood victims, as they did for the Westhampton luvvies.  But for the Thomas family, Obama requested, and Congress, appropriated … absolutely nothing.

What about the New Orleans evacuation plan? Where were their six volumes? When I watched the chaos in August 2005, I immediately called FEMA to ask for a copy of the plan. Why were there no busses to take out those without cars? The number of deaths should have been ZERO.

The answer: the New Orleans plan couldn’t be found.  The company paid to draft it, Innovative Emergency Management, couldn’t find a copy either. Long after 2,000 drowned, I found the “plan”:  no provision at all for the 27,000 residents without cars. That’s not surprising: the hurricane evacuation contractor had zero experience in hurricane evacuation. Rather, IEM’s chief did have lots of experience in donating to the Republican Party.

This week marks the sixth anniversary of the biggest ethnic cleansing in America since the Indian wars of the 19th Century:  the flooding of New Orleans.  We will celebrate this weekend, by worrying that Hurricane Irene will make the President and his donors on Martha’s Vineyard spill their daiquiris.

I met Patricia’s cousin five years ago today when, as dusk fell, she was in tears, wondering where she was going to stay with her kids that night.  “That’s what I want to know, Mister, where we going to?”

Well, I know of some usually-empty and quite nice federal housing units on Westhampton Dunes….

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Greg Palast’s investigative report, Big Easy to Big Empty: the Untold Story of How the White House Drowned New Orleans is available as a free download at www.GregPalast.com, provided by the Palast Investigative Fund, a 501(c)3 charitable trust, on the Sixth Anniversary of the New Orleans’ flood.

Palast’s continuing investigation of the flood and its connection to the Deepwater Horizon explosion, filmed for Channel 4 Dispatches UK, will be published in November by Penguin USA.

Subscribe to Palast’s Newsletter and podcasts.
Follow Palast on Facebook and Twitter.

Me and Piers Morgan:
Hacked and Attacked

How Morgan’s Fabricated Story
Almost Ruined This Reporter

Greg Palast 

by Greg Palast
exclusive for Truthout.org/Buzzflash

I am not surprised that Piers Morgan has been outed for hacking phones (listening, in one case, to personal messages between Heather Mills and Paul McCartney). I learned about the creepy antics of this one-man TV-host crime spree the hard way: as a victim of his crime-and-slime form of “journalism.”

On September 29, 1998, Piers Morgan’s Mirror ran a screaming full page headline:  SEX SCANDAL ROCKS LABOUR CONFERENCE.  His paper

had caught a rival paper’s reporter who’d broken into the hotel room of a comely young rising star of the Labour Party.  The reporter was caught there half undressed.

I was that reporter.

And the story was a complete load of crap.  But Piers Morgan, “editor” of the Mirror, ran the report on Page One, and pages 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6—even though he knew it was fabricated.  He knew because he had fabricated it.

Prime Minister Tony Blair’s press chief personally thanked Morgan for running the bogus story. …more

Not Another Ransom Note
from Congressman Boehner

Greg Palast 

 

It was quite upsetting to find our President blindfolded and tied to a chair at the GOP Tea Party headquarters, but I’m sure the $2.2 trillion ransom we paid to the hostage-takers is worth it.

Well, now that the Obama presidency is over, we can move on to more serious matters.

Look out your window.  What you’ll see is that, while the debt-ceiling hostage crisis played out on cable TV, the planet has been burning down.

You haven’t heard a lot from me this year—because the normally-noisy Palast investigations team has chosen to spend these months quietly digging into unreported cases of economic and environmental arson.  It will all hit the presses and TV when we launch a new book and films later this year.

But the investigations continue at full tilt:

#1. Too Far Beyond Petroleum. …more

Who killed “Stieg” Larsson?

Greg Palast 

I asked my daughter if she would like to add her own recollections about JK Rowling and the “alternative” Harry Potter endings Jo Rowling told us when we were hanging out in the Green Room at BBC Television Centre. (I provide investigative stories for the BBC current affairs program Newsnight.) My daughter and her oblivious twin brother don’t remember much, but what did leave an impression were my speculations about the untimely and suspicious death of my fellow investigative reporter, Karl Larsson–whom you would know as the fiction writer “Stieg” Larsson.

 

My daughter interviewed me about Larsson’s work and wrote this report for school. Her mother is allowing me to post it only on condition her by-line gives her nickname only. …more