Are Scots on the Oregon Trail a lot Smarter than they seem?

While we were in jail in Washington during the war in Vietnam, my comrades and I spent part of our night as guests of the state singing several choruses of the song, ‘Waist Deep in the Big Muddy’.
I would not compare Scottish Power chairman Ian Robinson to President Lyndon Johnson. And Robinson’s invasion of the US power industry through his plan to purchase PacifiCorp of Oregon is not exactly the landing at Da Nang. But there is a little bit of LBJ’s resolute optimism, while marching deeper into the quicksand, which has me humming that old song.

Don't Buy Exxon's Fable Of The Drunken Captain

For The Guardian UK
Thirty years ago this month, Alaskan natives sold Exxon and its partners an astronomically valuable patch of land — the oil terminal at Valdez for a single dollar.
The Chugach Natives of the Prince William Sound refused cash. Rather, in 1969, they asked only that the oil companies promise to protect their fishing and seal hunting grounds from oil.

Ten Years After But Who Was To Blame?

By Gregory Palast for The Observer/Guardian UK
The captain, Joe Hazelwood, was below decks, sleeping off his bender. The man left at the helm, the third mate, would never have hit Bligh Reef had he simply looked at his Raycas radar. But he could not. Why? Because the radar was not turned on. The complex Raycas system costs a lot to operate, so a frugal Exxon management left it broken and useless for the entire year before the grounding.

Monsanto saw Secret EU Documents
US Biotech Firm under Fire in Europe

Monsanto, the US biotech group fined in an English court last week for failing to control genetic modification trials, is under attack on two new fronts. First for obtaining an advance look at confidential European Commission documents during its campaign to win regulatory approval for its controversial bovine growth hormone (BST). Second, because of its legal actions against hundreds of North American farmers for failing to pay for its genetically modified seeds.

Fill your Lungs it's only Borrowed Grime

By Gregory Palast for The Observer/Guardian UK
Up in the hills of Tennessee, they just love air pollution. Can’t get enough of it. In fact, they’ll spend hard cash for more of it.
In May 1992, the Tennessee Valley Authority paid a Wisconsin power company for the ‘rights’ to belch several tons of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere, allowing the authority to legally exceed contamination limits set by law. Wisconsin cut its own pollution to offset Tennessee’s.

Good Ants in the Pants of the Banking System

By Gregory Palast for The Observer/Guardian UK
New York, New York, it’s a helluva town. Only 15 years ago, you could walk down Third Street on the Lower East Side and count 23 boarded up buildings, compared with only seven that were inhabited. On the corner at Avenue B, the awnings of the local bank sheltered an open-air market where you could buy smack, crack, angel dust – you name it.
In 1984, one of those dealers (by then, no longer in the business) took over the bank – and heralded a revolution in US finance.

Lights out across Rio? World Bank is to Blame

By Gregory Palast for The Observer/Guardian UK
I was in Sao Paolo. I had just poured myself another glass of Zeb’s home-made pinga, a potent cane liquor. I was toasting three extraordinary achievements by Brazil that coincided that day.
The first was the approval of a $42 billion line of credit for the country from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. The second, related to the first, was a 4 per cent jump in the value of shares on the nation’s bourse. The third was an announcement by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) that Brazil had finally surpassed Chile as the hemisphere’s most unequal economy.

Miracle Cure, but the Medicine was Bright Red

By Gregory Palast for The Observer/Guardian UK
Sunday November 22, 1998
Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother and Augusto Pinochet have much in common. Both have magic powers. Pinochet is credited with the Miracle of Chile, the successful experiment in free markets, privatisation, deregulation and union-free economic expansion whose laissez-faire seeds spread from Santiago to Surrey, from Valparaiso to Virginia.
But Cinderella’s pumpkin did not really turn into a coach. And the Miracle of Chile is another fairy-tale. The claim that Pinochet begat an economic powerhouse is one of those utterances whose truth rests on its repetition.

A Marxist threat to cola sales? Pepsi demands a US coup. Goodbye Allende. Hello Pinochet

By Gregory Palast for The Observer UK
‘It is the firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup… Please review all your present and possibly new activities to include propaganda, black operations, surfacing of intelligence or disinformation, personal contacts, or anything else your imagination can conjure…’
‘Eyes only, restricted handling, secret’ message. To US station chief, Santiago. From CIA headquarters. 16 October 1970.