It’s not news to anyone who follows my work that big oil likes to use their financial sway in higher education. Back in 2009 I wrote about the Deputy Director of the Louisiana State University Hurricane Center, Ivor Van Heerden who was pushed out of his job when he started talking too much about how Big Oil helped drown New Orleans.
I don’t get to use the word “heroic” very often. Van Heerden is heroic. It was van Heerden who told me, on camera, something so horrible, so frightening, that,…more
Yesterday TransCanada called for the State Department to pause its review of the Keystone XL Pipeline until after the 2016 election. Of course, with every Democratic candidate against the filthy crude tube, and every Republican for it, the delay is a gamble on the race.
But who’s behind the pipe – that is, who benefits? And why in the world are we sending oil all the way down from Canada? Texas? Texas, I hear, already has a little oil.
This week, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, The Palast Investigative Fund is offering my film, Big Easy to Big Empty: The Untold Story of the Drowning of New Orleansas a FREE download. It wasn’t a natural disaster, it was a homicide. This is the story you’re not supposed to know. Get it, and pass on the link.
Screw the celebration. New Orleans hasn’t “come back.” That is, there are still the Bourbon Street bars serving “Hurricanes” to sloshed tourists and Mardi Gras when white Americans can catch trinkets from floats floating over the ghosts of the drowned.
New Orleans is back to 79% of its pre-flood population. Why am I not cheering? Because the original residents – that is, the majority of the pre-flood Black residents – are still wandering in …more
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 aFREE downloadfor 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
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
ForTruthdig Forget Stephen King. If you want scary, read U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier’s 150-page Findings of Fact released Thursday in the Deepwater Horizon case.
Although the judge found BP liable for “gross negligence,” some U.S. media failed to mention that Barbier let BP off the hook on punitive damages. And that stuns me, given that the record seems to identify enough smoking guns to roast a sizable pig.
Here’s a standout example:
Every rig operator knows that, before a rig can unhook from a drill pipe, the operator has to …more
[Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans]Nine years ago this week, New Orleans drowned. Don’t you dare blame Mother Nature. Miss Katrina killed no one in this town. But it was a homicide, with nearly 2,000 dead victims. If not Katrina, who done it? Read on.
The Palast Investigative Fund is making our half-hour investigative report available as a free download – Big Easy to Big Empty: The Untold Story of the Drowning of New Orleans, produced for Democracy Now. In the course of the filming, Palast was charged with violation of anti-terror laws on a complaint from Exxon Corporation. Charges were dropped, and our digging continued.
It wasn’t an Act of God. It was an Act of Chevron. An Act of Exxon. An Act of Big Oil.
Take a look at these numbers dug out of Louisiana state records: …more
As someone who knows president Nicholas Maduro, Hugo Chavez’ successor, (and Maduro’s opponents), I can say that I’ve never met a head of state (and I’ve met many) who absolutely gives a real shit about the average working person of his nation.
Venezuela is Occupy Wall Street on its head: the 1% are out in the street, violently hoping to overthrow the government elected by working people. Are the Kochs involved?
It was Good Friday, 50 years ago on March 27, 1964, that according to seismologists, the snow peaks of Prince William Sound jumped 33 feet into the air and fell back down. Emergency warnings about an earthquake-spurred tsunami went out to towns from Valdez, Alaska, to Malibu, Calif., but no one thought to send a message to the Chugach Natives in Chenega, Alaska.
Chenega chief Nikolas Kompkoff watched the mountains leap and the waters around his island disappear over the horizon.
Knowing the water would return with a vengeance, he ran his four daughters up a hill toward high ground. But the nine-story-tall tsunami was moving too fast for their little legs. Kompkoff made a decision: He grabbed the two girls closest to him, tucked them under his arms and ran up the slope, leaving the other two to be seized by the wave.
Days later, a postal pilot on his weekly mail drop could not find Chenega because every single house – and a third of the residents – had been washed out to sea.
When he circled back to the site he saw the village’s church on the hill with …more
Two decades ago I was the investigator for the legal team that sold you the bullshit that a drunken captain was the principal cause of the Exxon Valdez disaster, the oil tanker crackup that poisoned over a thousand miles of Alaska’s coastline 25 years ago today, on March 24, 1989.The truth is far uglier, and the real culprit – British Petroleum, now BP – got away without a scratch to its reputation or to its pocketbook.
Just this month, the Obama administration authorized BP to return to drilling in the Gulf.
It would be worth the time of our ever-trusting regulators to take a look at my Exxon Valdez files on BP. They would see a decades-long pattern of BP’s lies, bribes and …more
A federal judge in New York today slapped a stern order on attorney Steven Donziger and the Ecuadorean villagers he claims to represent, prohibiting them from capitalizing on a $9 billion judgment the judge said was the product of “egregious fraud.”
The judge is completely, utterly full of shit, here’s the real story.
The guy in the cheap brown windbreaker walking up the dirty tenement steps to my New York office looked like a bus driver.
Nicolas Maduro, elected President of Venezuela last Sunday, did indeed drive a bus, then led the drivers’ union, then drove Chavez laws through the National Assembly as Venezuela’s National Assembly chief.
And this week, the US State Department is refusing to accept the result, suggesting Maduro hijacked the vote count. But did he? Maduro came to me that day in 2004 on a quiet mission, sent by President Hugo Chavez to give me information I needed for my investigation for Rolling Stone – and to get information from me that might save Chavez’s life.
The central topic was the “Invisible Ring”. Venezuelan intelligence had secretly taped US Embassy contractors in Caracas talking in spook-speak: “That which took shape here is a disguised kind of intelligence… which is annexed to the third security ring, which is the invisible ring.”
(“Invisible Ring”? Someone at the State Department has read too many Alan Furst novels.)
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.
Bingo! I’d just beaten the Military-Petroleum Complex in a lying contest, so I had a right to be stoked.
After phoning numbers from California to Kazakhstan …more