Guerrilla of the Year

Greg Palast

Editor’s Pick

It was a big year for muckraker Greg Palast. He broke shocking stories about the Bush Administration’s spiking of intelligence probes into bin Laden and Jeb Bush’s role in the Florida election theft. The Nobel Prize winner in Economics and former World Bank Chief Economist told him the bank, “condemned people to death.” A gold mining company sued him for his story about their alleged connections to a homicidal regime in Africa.

If you live in America, or don’t read GuerrillaNews, you may not have heard about any of this. Palast, an American, works in exile in London – unable to find work in what he calls the ‘gutless’ North American media. His special investigations regularly lead the BBC’s Newsnight program. His bi-weekly column for London’s Observer newspaper has earned him numerous awards.

We honored Palast twice this year as Guerrilla of the Week, so selecting him as Guerrilla of the Year was not hard. In our much-noted CounterIntelligence interview, he offered some insight into why what he does is so unique:

No one has ever advanced their career in the last thirty years by coming up with a great investigative piece. That is a way to get unemployed. Anyone who thinks it’s all ‘Murphy Brown’ and ‘All the President’s Men’ out there is wrong. That’s the fantasy. That’s all television and the movies. It’s not in the newsrooms. If you say what I want to do is expensive and difficult and involves getting inside documents, and upsetting the established order, you are not going to get anywhere.

Here’s to not getting anywhere.

We’ll leave you with an excerpt from another of Palast’s hard-hitting and timely stories from 2001 . . .

Who Shot Argentina? The Finger Prints On the Smoking Gun Read I.M.F.’
Inside Corporate America

Guardian (London)
Sunday, August 12, 2001

And news this week in South America is that Argentina died, or at least its economy. One in six workers were unemployed even before the beginning of this grim austral winter. Millions more have lost work as industrial production, already down 25% for the year, fell into a coma induced by interest rates which, by one measure, have jumped to over 90% on dollar-denominated borrowings.

This is an easy case to crack. Next to the still warm corpse of Argentina’s economy, the killer had left a smoking gun with his fingerprints all over it.

The murder weapon is called, “Technical Memorandum of Understanding,” dated September 5, 2000. It signed by Pedro Pou, President of the Central Bank of Argentina for transmission to Horst Kohler, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.

‘Inside Corporate America’ received a complete copy of the ‘Understanding’ along with attachments and a companion letter from the Argentine Economics Ministry to the IMF from … well, let’s just say the envelope had no return address.

Close inspection leaves no doubt that this ‘Understanding’ fired fatal bullets into Argentina’s defenseless body.

To begin with, the Understanding requires Argentina cut the government budget deficit from US$5.3 billion in 2000 to $4.1 billion in 2001. Think about that. Last September, Argentina was already on the cliff-edge of a deep recession. Even the half-baked economists at the IMF should know that holding back government spending in a contracting economy is like turning off the engines on an airplane in stall. Cut the deficit? As my 4-year old daughter would say, “That’s stooopid.”