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Year: 2015

Osama bin Laden Read My Book
That’s what the government told us,
but what is it NOT telling us?

Greg Palast 

By Greg Palast  |  The Guardian

Finding out that The Best Democracy Money Can Buy was on the Bin Laden bookshelf confirms my fears about America’s war on whistleblowers

I already knew that Osama bin Laden read my book before the headlines this week – but I’m still angry that he gave The Best Democracy Money Can Buy only four-and-a-half stars on his Amazon review. Obviously, something in the book pissed him off, because he never friended me on Facebook.

It was actually quite embarrassing to learn that Bin Laden was reading my tome – and a few by my homie Noam Chomsky. It’s embarrassing because it’s clear that Bin Laden was more well-read than our president of the time (though, in George W Bush’s defence, there’s much to be learned from My Pet Goat).

I do hope Osama made it to page 229. I talk about a guy who worked at my office, Clinton Davis. Before I left to write for the Guardian and Observer, my office was in Tower 2 of the World Trade Center. Davis, a cop, was safe at ground level, but he ran upstairs to save others – and disappeared, forever. Did Bin Laden get a little laugh out of that one? At least he got to know his victim’s name.


Get a signed copy of the book.
Osama wouldn’t be caught dead without it!


And what did Bin Laden think of my investigation of the 9/11 attack? While working at Newsnight, a few weeks after the towers fell, a little birdie dropped off a 30-page memo marked “SECRET,” “eyes only” and “1-99I WF”, which is code for “national security document”. The document suggested that FBI agents were blocked from investigating the Bin Laden family well before …more

The Show Girls Club, Fairbanks, Alaska

Greg Palast 

Etok [1943-2015]
His “American” name was Charles Edwardsen Jr.
He died this week, whaling.

I didn’t have any trouble picking him out, even in the pumping lights of the Fairbanks strip club where we were supposed to meet: the leather-dark face, a wolverine pelt sewn into his parka collar with its vicious fangs still attached, and, around his neck, five huge claws of the last polar bear killed by his father. Eskimo bling.

While I’d heard that Eskimos kiss by rubbing noses, the look in Etok’s eyes suggested I wasn’t going to get the nose rub.

“Mr. Palast, we are the last of the Pleistocene people,” he told me. “It would be an honor to help you fuck up …more

Chelsea Manning
and the Deepwater Horizon Killings

Greg Palast 

By Greg Palast  |  for Truthdig

The military whistleblower’s 2010 Wikileaks dump included information that could have saved the 11 BP workers who died that spring in the Gulf of Mexico oil rig disaster.

Five years ago Monday, 11 men died on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig — despite Chelsea Manning’s effort to save their lives.

Let me explain.

The BP drilling rig blew itself to Kingdom Come after the “mud” — the cement used to cap the well — blew out.

The oil company, the federal government and the industry were shocked — shocked! — at this supposedly unexpected explosion in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

But BP knew, and Exxon and Chevron knew, and the U.S. State Department knew, that just 17 months earlier another BP offshore rig had suffered an identical, disastrous blow-out halfway across the planet in the Caspian Sea.

In both the Gulf and Caspian blow-outs, the immediate culprit was the failure of the cement, in both cases caused by the use — misuse — of nitrogen in the cement mix, a money-saving but ultimately deadly measure intended to speed the cement’s drying.

The cover-up meant that U.S. regulators, the U.S. Congress and the public had no inkling that the cost-saving “quick-dry” cement process had failed on an offshore rig only a year before the Deepwater Horizon blew.


You can watch the Deep Water Horizon report in Palast’s documentary compilation film, Vultures and Vote Rustlers, which will be available as a FREE download for the next two days courtesy of the not-for-profit Palast Investigative Fund.


But Pvt. Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning tried to warn us. The details of the Caspian Sea blow-out off the coast of Baku, Azerbaijan, were revealed in the secret …more

Danny Schechter (1942-2015)

Greg Palast 

Today, we lost a journalist’s journalist, the moral commander of investigative reporters from New York to Johannesburg.

Known for bringing the world the story of Nelson Mandela, Danny gave up cushy jobs at ABC and CNN, the big bucks and a steady flow of mainstream awards to blow the whistle on the degradation of American news. Danny exposed what he called the “news goo” of talking hair-dos—denouncing them as repeaters, not reporters. One of his searing books told it all in the title: “The More You Watch, the Less You Know.”

Listen to Danny Schechter Remembered with Greg Palast on KKFI.

It was Danny Schechter who, two decades ago, hectored and harassed me until I gave up a darn good job as an investigator, pushing me to become an investigative reporter. (He did demand I wear a wig so I could get on the US boob tube. (No way. Instead I went into journalistic exile at BBC London.)

And it was Danny Schechter who first brought my investigations back to our benighted America in his film, Counting on Democracy.

Once, in Bosnia, when I ran into some reporters from Kazakhstan, and I told them I was from New York, they asked me, “Do you know Danny Schechter?” When I said yes, they were dazzled. But in America, Danny was, sadly, a prophet outcast in his own land. The hair-sprayed pseudo-news puppets, with their phony tales of derring-do, exiled Danny’s clarion reports to the confined pool of dissenting websites and DVDs.

It had been my plan to surprise Danny by dedicating our current film to him. I will do that still, and, as well, dedicate myself to the Sisyphean task he demanded of me and the many others he mentored: to tell the stories of the brutalized, cheated, hurt and silenced; to be a voice for the voiceless.

Alev ha-shalom, Danny Schechter, rest, finally, in peace.

How Bush Won the War in Iraq – Really!

Greg Palast for Vice Magazine

If you thought it was “Blood for Oil”–you’re wrong.  It was far, far worse.

Because it was marked “confidential” on each page, the oil industry stooge couldn’t believe the US State Department had given me a complete copy of their secret plans for the oil fields of Iraq. Actually, the State Department had done no such thing. But my line of bullshit had been so well-practiced and the set-up on my mark had so thoroughly established my fake identity, that I almost began to believe my own lies.I closed in. I said I wanted to make sure she and I were working from the same State Department draft. Could she tell me the official name, date and number of pages? She did.
…more

From White Sheets to Spreadsheets

Greg Palast 

By Greg Palast for Truthdig


I hate to spoil a happy ending.

The movie “Selma,” like this week’s commemorations of Martin Luther King Jr.’s march from Selma, Ala., 50 years ago, celebrates America’s giant leap from apartheid.

Half a century ago Alabama state troopers and a mob of racist thugs beat African-Americans and others as they marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, demanding no more than the right to vote. By the time King led 25,000 demonstrators singing “We Shall Overcome” into Montgomery, the state capital, on March 25, the president of the United States had introduced the Voting Rights Act. Free at last—to vote. Roll credits.

Yet, just a few months ago, Martin Luther King asked me, “How long until African-American citizens of Alabama—and Mississippi and Georgia—get the unimpeded right to vote?”

Obviously I was not speaking with King Jr.—a bullet stole him from us in 1968. The question was posed by his son, Martin Luther King III. I spent an afternoon at his home in Atlanta, where we pored over the latest evidence that Americans of color were blocked at the doors to the polls in the 2014 midterm elections—by the hundreds of thousands.

As King’s 6-year-old daughter serenaded us with her toy drum set, we dived into a massive, secretive database used by elections officials—almost all of them Republicans—in 28 states. The scheme, called “Interstate Crosscheck,” threatens to disqualify …more

Trojan Hearse:
Greek Elections and the Euro Leper Colony

Greg Palast 

By Greg Palast for το χωνί (Greece)
[updated January 26, 2015]

Europe is stunned, and bankers aghast, that the new party of the Left, Syriza, won Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Greece.

Syriza won on the promise that it will cure Greece of leprosy.

Oddly, Syriza also promises that it will remain in the leper colony.  That is, Syriza wants to rid Greece of the cruelty of austerity imposed by the European Central Bank but insists on staying in the euro zone.

The problem is, austerity run wild is merely a symptom of an illness.  The underlying disease is the euro itself.

For the last five years, Greeks have been told that, if you cure your disease—that is, if you dump the euro—the sky will fall.  I guess Greeks haven’t noticed, the sky has fallen already.  With unemployment at 25%, with doctors and teachers eating out of garbage cans, there is no further to fall.

In 2010, when unemployment was a terrible 10%, a year into the crisis, the “Troika” (the European Central Bank, European Commission and the International Monetary Fund) told the Greeks that brutal austerity measures would restore their economy by 2012.

Ask yourself, Was the Troika right?

There is a saying in America:  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.

Can Greece survive without the euro?  Greece is already dead, but the Germans won’t even bother to bury …more

Selma, secretly

Greg Palast 

By Greg Palast

In 1930, when my father was an eight-year-old kid in Chicago, he asked his older brother why people were outside in the cold snow waiting in a long line. His brother Harold said, “It’s a bread line. They don’t have anything to eat. They’re hoping for bread.”

My father ran to his mother’s bedroom and grabbed my grandmother’s diamond brooch, ran downstairs, and gave it to a man in the bread line.

Later, as the Depression rolled on, my grandfather lost everything. So Gil Palast was a failure early. Stayed a failure.

He ended up in the furniture business, in a store in the barrio in Los Angeles, selling pure crap on layaway to Mexicans; then later on, he sold fancier crap to fancier people in Beverly Hills and he hated furniture, and hated the undeserving …more

Cartoonist Ted Rall Joins
Palast Investigations Team

Greg Palast 

A note from Greg Palast

With the blood of cartoonists still fresh on the walls of Charlie Hebdo in France, I thought I’d move up the announcement that poison pen-man Ted Rall has been named a Fellow of the Palast Investigative Fund.

Now you can sign up to receive Ted’s ‘toons and tales weekly, no charge.

Why the heck does an investigative reporting team need a guy who draws the funnies?  Ted is, in fact, one of the USA’s top journalists—reporting from Afghanistan (“After We Kill You, We Will Welcome You Back as Honored Guests”) and the other places too scary to go to yourself—and from the belly of the New York beast.

The fact that Rall’s reports often come out as punch-lines in word balloons just makes his work even more brilliant.

Download one of Ted’s masterpieces, “To Afghanistan and Back,” for FREE.

We are honored to give Rall more opportunities to put himself in danger.

And be honest: How many of you bought my bestseller, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, but only read Ted’s comic book included with it? (Like this brilliant Aliens Attack illustration.)

Ted, who lived in France, knew and got sloshed with the Charlie Hebdo crew.  He writes,

“I was thinking about that this morning when I heard NPR’s Eleanor Beardsley call Charlie Hebdo “gross” and “in poor taste.” (I should certainly hope so! If it’s in good taste, it ain’t funny.)”

Like Rodney Dangerfield, cartoonists, says Rall, “get no respect.”

Hey, that makes him a perfect candidate for the Palast team.   It’s an unusual fellowship …more

A Tale of Two Cuomos:
The Tragic End of the Inspired Voice
and the Duplicitous Pol

Greg Palast 

By Greg Palast for Reader Supported News 

I knew Mario Cuomo well. Too well.

I helped write talking points for speeches that got him elected Governor and grieved that he did not become President.

But there was another Cuomo, the one that tried to stop the US publication of my book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy; the Mario Cuomo who went to court to try to put the Palast Investigative team out of business while we worked to expose the Bush Family election heist and the con job leading to war.

I just read the glowing New York Times obit.  Even in death, Cuomo has pulled off one last con.   The Times lauds his single stellar accomplishment as Governor:  “He closed the Shoreham nuclear plant on Long Island,” New York.

No, he didn’t.  As usual with Mario, he gave a great speech—and won election by calling for the nuclear plant’s closure.  But behind the scenes, the other Mario, the back-room wheeler-dealer, the toady to the bankers and power industry magnates, moved heaven and earth to stand in the way of the courageous statesmen and activists who actually closed this dangerous, radioactive monstrosity.

On July 2, 1985, the New York State Legislature was about to pass the historic law authorizing the public takeover of the out-of-control private company that owned Shoreham. Near midnight, one of Cuomo’s stooges …more