The book Andrew Meyer clutched in his hands moments before being swarmed and eventually tasered by police–a “mysterious” yellow book, reported the Washington Post –isn’t so mysterious at all: it’s the latest from BBC investigative reporter and author Greg Palast.
“About eleven people called me after it happened,” Palast told RAW STORY. “Then I saw the full clip on YouTube.”
Palast’s book, Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans–Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild, was the basis for Meyer’s comments to Sen. John Kerry, who had been fielding student questions in a forum at the University of Florida.
On video , Meyer can be heard telling Kerry he’d like to recommend the book to him.
“It’s called ‘Armed Madhouse’ by Greg Palast,” the student said, “He’s the top investigative journalist in America.”
“I’ve already read it,” Kerry replied, as Meyer went on to repeat conclusions from Palast’s book, which contends Kerry actually won the 2004 presidential election.
What Meyer was referring to, according to Palast, was a chapter in the book called “Kerry Won. Now Get Over It,” in which he says millions of votes cast in the 2004 election were discarded, not counted or prevented from being cast in the first place–a fact the author says has special relevance to the locale of Meyer’s arrest.
“There’s an entire dimension here that’s not being covered here,” Palast said of the controversy. “The interesting thing to me as a journalist, is that the [Meyers incident] occurred in Alachua County, Florida, one of the worst places in the country for black voters.”
Addressing Kerry before he was taken away by officers, Meyer cites reports, presumably from Palast’s book, about disenfranchisement of voters in Florida and Ohio.
“They were deliberately disenfranchising voters,” Palast said of Alachua, the county home to Gainesville’s University of Florida. “Gainesville is horrendous.”
Calling the area the “center of the attack on the black voter,” Palast pointed to a 2001 article he wrote in The Nation  which details what he says were efforts under Republican-led state government to purge voting rolls of felons who were convicted in other states–eligible voters under Florida law–almost half of which may be black, according to statistics in the piece.
“It’s one ugly place,” said Palast, who also added that the police’s actions in the Meyer case pale in comparison to intimidation techniques used by authorities against minority voters during elections.
As for the tasered Meyer, the author says he sympathizes.
“I must admit I feel some appreciation for [Meyer],”Palast writes at his website, “especially because, even while he was being shot with untold amps of electricity, until he was handcuffed, he would not let go of his mysterious yellow book…”
Palast says he would like to speak to the student and has contacted Meyer’s lawyer to arrange a conversation.
“Maybe I’ll go down and cover the trial,” the journalist added, dead seriously.