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Trump’s Wall of Shame

Anna King 

Trump's strategy as a president is to fuel the fears of Americans. The whole country suffers from the aggression and division. People are in need of hearing that decency and courage make sense again. ...more

Did Chavez’ Pick Steal
the Election in Venezuela?

Greg Palast 

By Greg Palast for Vice Magazine – Leer el artículo en español aquí.

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 Chávez’ 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 Chávez to give me information I needed for my investigation for Rolling Stone ”“ and to get information from me that might save Chávez’ life.


For one more week you can download Palast’s short documentary, The Assassination of Hugo Chávez, originally filmed in Venezuela for BBC, without charge.


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.)

On the grainy film, they worried that …more

Fukushima: They Knew

Greg Palast 

“Completely and Utterly Fail in an Earthquake”
Two years later, the Fukushima story you didn’t hear on CNN

An excerpt from Vultures’ Picnic

I’ve seen a lot of sick stuff in my career, but this was sick on a new level.
Here was the handwritten log kept by a senior engineer at the nuclear power plant:

Wiesel was very upset. He seemed very nervous. Very agitated. . . . In fact, the plant was riddled with problems that, no way on earth, could stand an earth- quake. The team of engineers sent in to inspect found that most of these components could “completely and utterly fail” during an earthquake.

“Utterly fail during an earthquake.” And here in Japan was the quake …more

VAmi con Dios, Hayago Chàvez, mi ugo

Greg Palast 

For Vice Magazine

For BBC Television, Palast met several times with Hugo Chàvez, who passed away today.

As a purgative for the crappola fed to Americans about Chavez, my foundation, The Palast Investigative Fund, is offering the film, The Assassination of Hugo Chavez, as a FREE download. Based on my several meetings with Chavez, his kidnappers and his would-be assassins, filmed for BBC Television. DVDs also available.

Media may contact Palast at interviews (at) gregpalast.com.

Venezuelan President Chavez once asked me why the US elite wanted to kill him. My dear Hugo: It’s the oil. And it’s the Koch Brothers ”“ and it’s the ketchup.

Reverend Pat Robertson said,

“Hugo Chavez thinks we’re trying to assassinate him. I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.” …more

Assault Gun Ban –
Weapon of Mass Distraction

Greg Palast 

For Vice Magazine

George Bush told America he’d keep us safe from terrorists by having us take off our shoes at the airport.

Yesterday, Barack Obama again took the Oath of Office. And this Obama 2.0 is also going to save America from insane killers ”“ by limiting ammo clips to ten bullets instead of 30.

At a television press conference about the Newtown school massacre last Wednesday, a tearful President called this, “meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this”.

It won’t.

But, once again, we get to pretend that our presidents protect us and save us from what is murdering us and destroying us.

But The Great Assault Rifle Debate, like the War on Terror, is just another Weapon of Mass Distraction.

* * * * 

This is the second of Palast’s weekly columns for VICE ”“ beginning with a bang: a four-part series on Alex Jones, guns, Piers Morgan and Palast’s penis.  If you read the full version of part 2 of these reports right now at Vice Magazine,

You get a bonus:  a free download copy of Palast’s latest book, the bestseller, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits.

* * * *

In all fairness to Obama, he also called ”“ as Bush did ”“ for a massive increase in the number of FBI files kept on Americans. I feel safer already, don’t you?

Here’s the facts, ma’am: There are about 4.5 million assault rifles in American civilian hands. That’s around the same number as in tiny Switzerland (population: eight million). Tens of thousands of Swiss keep a 9mm Sig Sauer, like the one used by the Newtown killer. But we don’t see the Swiss sweeping dead kids out of their schoolyards.

The weapon of America’s deadliest mass killer, Timmy McVeigh, was fertiliser. Maybe we should ban bullshit, but that would shut down Washington and all five major TV networks.

At his assault-gun dog-and-pony show on Wednesday, Obama shed tears for the murdered victims, as well he should. But where are his tears for the victims of the MACT?

Let me explain. Last month, Obama bullied his own Environmental Protection Agency into watering down the “MACT” standards ”“ the limits on industrial boiler pollution.



Under this loosened “MACT” rule, industry will get to triple the hydrogen chloride and triple the particulate filth they may dump into the air. The White House crows that Obama’s bending over on this rule will save corporate polluters $1.5 billion (£945 million) a year. Yippee!

Last year, the White House proudly posted the statement of EPA’s Administrator Lisa Jackson that her proposed boiler pollution rules would help “prevent 17,000 premature deaths [and] 120,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms.”

…more

Fukushima: They Knew

Greg Palast 

“Completely and Utterly Fail in an Earthquake”
The Fukushima story you didn’t hear on CNN

For FreePress.org

I’ve seen a lot of sick stuff in my career, but this was sick on a new level.
…more

Can we list your Group
in our Election Guide?

A Request from Greg Palast

Greg Palast 

We need you to join Operation PUSH, Rock the Vote, People for the American Way, League of United Latin American Citizens, Bobby Kennedy Jr., Thom Hartmann Show, Occupy.com and 150 other organizations.  Add your group’s name to our book, website and film, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps.

What do you do?  Just hit ‘reply‘ and say “YES, add us.”

(Please respond by Monday, July 16.)

Then we’ll send you a letter to confirm how you’d like to be listed (example: Presente.org), with your website, public contact and other info about your group you’d like to share with concerned voters.

[Yes, individual supporters can join in:  click here.]

In 2008, Bobby Kennedy and I wrote a voter protection comic book, Steal Back Your Vote. Over a quarter million copies were distributed to activists and in communities where voters are most vulnerable.

In 2012, we’re back, because they’re back:  the vote rustlers, with their caging, purging, blocking, spoiling, vote-tossing ballot banditry.

And we need your group to add its name as an ACTION RESOURCE …more

How Bain Capital helped BP
blow up the Deepwater Horizon

Greg Palast 

A Book Review by Greg Palast, for FireDogLake.com
on Poisoned Legacy: the Human Cost of BP’s Rise to Power (St. Martin’s Press) by Mike Magner.

Here’s my bead on Magner’s book….

I almost fell off the barstool when I read that it was Bain Capital (Mitt Romney, former CEO), that told oil giant BP it was a good idea to cut costs. …more

Arrest of BP Scapegoat:
Real Killers Walk

Greg Palast 

Special for Buzzflash at Truthout

The Justice Department went big game hunting and bagged a teeny-weeny scapegoat.  More like a scape-kid, really.

Today, Justice arrested former BP engineer Kurt Mix for destroying evidence in the Deepwater Horizon blow-out.

I once ran a Justice Department racketeering case and damned if I would have ‘cuffed some poor schmuck like Mix”“”“especially when there’s hot, smoking guns showing greater crimes by BP higher ups.

Last week, I released evidence we uncovered that BP top executives concealed evidence of a prior blow-out.  Had they not covered up the 2008 blow-out in then Caspian Sea, then the Deepwater Horizon probably would not have blown out two years later in 2010. [Watch the film and read the stories.]

I urge you to read the affidavit of FBI agent Barbara O’Donnell which the government filed in arresting Mix.  His crime is deleting texts from his phone indicating that the blown-out Macondo well was gushing over 15,000 barrels of oil a day, not 5,000 as BP told the public and government.  If true, it’s a crime, destruction of evidence.  But Mix is a minnow.  What about the sharks?  The texts were obviously sent to someone (named only “SUPERVISOR” by the FBI).  If “Supervisor” knew, then undoubtedly so did BP managers higher up.  Presumably, even CEO Tony Hayward would have gotten the message on his racing yacht.


Support The Palast Investigative Fund and keep our work alive!


Destruction of evidence is not nice, but concealment of evidence and fraud by corporate bigs, is the bigger crime.  I hope, I assume, I demand that we find out what Supervisor’s supervisors knew and when they knew it”“”“and didn’t tell us.

And far, far, far more important:  when is the Justice Department going to go after the greater wrongdoing? Let’s begin with the cover-up before the spill that the drilling methods used on the Deepwater Horizon had led to a blow-out nearly two years earlier.

Let’s face it:  to go after the bigger crime means going after the entire industry.  The earlier blow-out was concealed by BP as well as its partners Exxon and Chevron and, by the US State Department under Condoleezza Rice.  [If you want to get that story, please check out Part II:  BP Covered Up Prior Oil Spill at Ecowatch.org.]

One point in Mr. Mix’s defense.  During my investigation of the Deepwater Horizon, I found that employees who provide evidence against BP find their careers floating face down in the Gulf.

BP and other oil companies punish troublemakers by writing “NRB” on their record.  That means “Not Required Back””“”“and the worker is banned from the offshore rigs.  No doubt, Mr. Mix thought long and hard about what would happen to his career if his texts came to light.  Not an excuse for crime, but it’s a fact.  It’s the guys on top putting on this kind of pressure that should be doing the perp walk:  the Big Bad BP Wolves, not their mixxed-up scapegoat.

****

Re-prints permitted with credit to Greg Palast

Greg Palast is the author of Vultures’ Picnic, which centers on his investigation of BP, bribery and corruption in the oil industry. Palast’s, reports can be seen on BBC-TV and Britain’s Channel 4.

You can read Vultures’ Picnic, “Chapter 1: Goldfinger,” or download it, at no charge: click here.

Subscribe to Palast’s Newsletter and podcasts.
Follow Palast on Facebook and Twitter.

GregPalast.com

BP Cover-up
Part 2: Bribery, George Bush and WikiLeaks

Greg Palast 

by Greg Palast – Exclusive for EcoWatch.org
Friday, 20. April, 2012

Evidence now implicates top BP executives as well as its partners Chevron and Exxon and the Bush Administration in the deadly cover-up ”“ which included falsifying a report to the Securities Exchange Commission.

Yesterday, Ecowatch.org revealed that, in September 2008, nearly two years before the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, another BP rig had blown out in the Caspian Sea”“”“which BP concealed from U.S. regulators and Congress.

Had BP, Chevron, Exxon or the Bush State Department revealed the facts of the earlier blow-out, it is likely that the Deepwater Horizon disaster would have been prevented.

Days after the Deepwater Horizon blow-out, a message came in to our offices …more

BP Cover-up ‘They Knew.’
Part 1

Greg Palast 

by Greg Palast ”“ Exclusive for EcoWatch.org
Thursday, 19. April, 2012

Two years before the Deepwater Horizon blow-out in the Gulf of Mexico, another BP off-shore rig suffered a nearly identical blow-out, but BP concealed the first one from the U.S. regulators and Congress.

This week, EcoWatch.org located an eyewitness with devastating new information about the Caspian Sea oil-rig blow-out which BP had concealed from government and the industry.

The witness, whose story is backed up by rig workers who were evacuated from BP’s Caspian platform, said that had BP revealed the full story as required by industry practice, the eleven Gulf of Mexico workers “could have had a chance” of survival. But BP’s insistence on using methods proven faulty sealed their fate.

One cause of the blow-outs was the same in both cases:  the use of a money-saving technique””plugging holes with “quick-dry” cement.

By hiding the disastrous failure of its penny-pinching cement process in 2008, BP was able to continue to use the dangerous methods in the Gulf of Mexico””causing the worst oil spill in U.S. history. April 20 marks the second anniversary of the Gulf oil disaster.

There were several failures in common to the two incidents identified by the eyewitness. He is an industry insider whose identity and expertise we have confirmed. His name and that of other witnesses we contacted must be withheld for their safety.

The failures revolve around the use of “quick-dry” cement, the uselessness of blow-out preventers, “mayhem” in evacuation procedures and an atmosphere of fear which prevents workers from blowing the whistle on safety problems.

—————————————————————————————

Support The Palast Investigative Fund and keep our work alive!

—————————————————————————————-

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., president of Waterkeeper Alliance and senior attorney for Natural Resources Defense Council, said, “We have laws that make it illegal to hide this kind of information. At the very least, these are lies by omission. When you juxtapose their knowledge of this incident upon the oil companies constant and persistent assurances of safety to regulators, investigators and shareholders, you have all the elements to prove that their concealment of the information was criminal.” …more

Gulf still slimed by BP oil

Greg Palast 

by Kert Davies, Research Director, Greenpeace USA

Read the Greenpeace blog and listen to the Greenpeace Radio Podcast with Greg Palast, author of Vultures’ Picnic: In pursuit of petroleum pigs, power pirates and high-finance carnivores.

Then read this.  It’s my soul on a plate.  Then pass it on so others can taste it.
— gp

“Occupy,” Big Oil and the U.S. Media
with Muckraking Journalist Greg Palast
By Kevin J. Kelley [12.07.11]
Seven Days Magazine

Greg Palast was floating in a kayak off the Alaska coast in 1997 when he had an epiphany. He was working at the time as an investigator for the Chugach native people, whose lands had been slimed by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. In the course of his study, Palast uncovered information about Exxon’s culpability for the disaster, but he had no way of publicizing it. So he decided to become a journalist.

It’s proven a successful second career for Palast, 59, who studied business at the University of Chicago under right-wing economist Milton Friedman. He’s won six Project Censored awards for reporting important stories ignored by the mainstream press. He’s also the author of two international best sellers, Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.

A native Californian, Palast reports regularly for Britain’s Guardian newspaper and for the BBC. Nation magazine writer Jim Hightower calls Palast “a cross between Sam Spade and Sherlock Holmes.” Corporate executives he’s outed as wrongdoers call Palast other things.

Palast spoke with Seven Days in advance of his scheduled talk next week at Burlington’s Main Street Landing Film House.

Seven Days: You must be sympathetic to Occupy Wall Street. Do you think it will have a lasting impact on U.S. politics?

Greg Palast: It’s not a setback for Occupy to no longer be occupying. No one gives a shit about Wall Street. It’s just a piece of tarmac. It was never the point of the movement.

The point has been to expose the 1 percent, the movers and shakers who are moving and shaking us, all those rich motherfuckers. Now we know their names, where they live, how they made their billions.

So yeah, the impact has been huge. And it’s just starting. I’m deeply involved with Occupy.

SD: You’ve got a new book out: Vultures’ Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates, and High- Finance Carnivores. Can you summarize what it’s about?

GP: Vultures are financial speculators who seize the assets of the poorest nations by claiming these countries owe money that the speculators try to collect through intimidation, bribery and theft. One guy associated with this is Paul Singer; he’s Mitt Romney’s top economic adviser. I’ve been investigating how Romney’s “job creator” makes his money, and that’s a story Singer doesn’t want you to hear.

By the way, I’m totally nonpartisan. Even though Singer owns the Republican Party, I point out that he rents the Democratic Party.

Most of the book is a five-continent investigation of British Petroleum. I’m bringing you the stuff you don’t get from CNN or the Petroleum Broadcasting System.

BP’s blowout in the Gulf in 2010 was actually the second big disaster it had. There was also a blowout in the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan in 2008, but BP covered it up with a combination of bribery, beatings and blow jobs. [Azerbaijani officials] kept their lips closed and their zippers open.

SD: So your talk in Burlington is part of a book tour?

GP: I’m on a troublemaking tour. My talks are platforms for Occupy activists in their transition away from their fixation with real estate.

SD: You obviously come at stories from a left-wing perspective. Do you ever worry that your ideology might blind you to facts?

GP: I don’t have an ideology. There’s really only the truth and the not-truth. I’m just an old-fashioned gumshoe reporter.
The worst fucking thing about American journalism, by the way, is its “on-the-one-hand-this, on-the-other-that” approach. It really distorts or omits truth.

I exposed [Florida Secretary of State] Katherine Harris for purging thousands of black voters from the electoral rolls. That cost [Al] Gore the 2000 election. It was stolen from him. I documented it.

I could not get that story into the U.S. media. There was a total news blackout of what had happened. It finally got picked up by the L.A. Times, and they played the story as “Democrats accuse Republicans of removing black voters from the rolls; the Republicans deny that.”

Jesus Christ! We don’t have balanced news in the United States; it doesn’t fucking exist. News here isn’t reporting; it’s repeating.

SD: Hang on. You write mostly for British outlets. Are you saying the British press is less influenced by corporate interests than the American press? The same financial dynamics are at work, right?

GP: Wrong. The Guardian is owned by a not-for-profit charitable trust. That’s allowed it to become the most influential English-language paper in the world.

SD: More influential than the New York Times?

GP: The New York Times is influential in New York. People elsewhere see that it’s ”” what shall we say? ”” incomplete.

The BBC is the gold standard of journalism. It’s important to know it’s neither corporate owned nor government owned. It’s owned by subscribers, the people who pay £100 a year for a TV license.

SD: Yeah, but Britain doesn’t have a First Amendment or a Freedom of Information Act.

GP: That’s true, but the Brits could borrow our First Amendment, because we’re not using it. And have you tried using FOIA lately? Good luck.

It’s also true that I don’t have any legal protection for stories in the British press. The resulting degree of self-censorship by some reporters is just astonishing.

But it’s still not as bad as it is here. The entire front page of the Guardian last week had my coverage of Singer, Romney’s biggest funder. There wasn’t one mention of his role in the U.S. press.

SD: Staying with journalism for a minute, do you have a journalist hero? George Orwell, maybe?

GP: Only Christopher Hitchens is pompous enough to compare himself with Orwell. My model is Jack Anderson [a Pulitzer Prize-winning modern muckraker who broke scandals involving both Democrats and Republicans].

I also always admired Ron Ridenhour, the soldier who revealed the My Lai massacre [in which 500 Vietnamese villagers were killed by U.S. troops on March 16, 1968]. Ridenhour was the greatest investigative reporter of the last century. He died way too young [of a heart attack in 1998 at age 52].

The TV show “Columbo” had a big influence on me, too. I learned a lot from it about how to do investigations. Lt. Columbo was just totally dogged.

SD: How about Hunter Thompson? You’ve got an image like his.

GP: People make that connection all the time because we have Rolling Stone in common. But Thompson was a brilliant social analyst, and I’m just a gumshoe guy.

SD: You do look like an old-school reporter with that Humphrey Bogart hat of yours.

GP: I wear the hat because I’m bald and I’ll get painfully sunburned otherwise.

SD: Matt Drudge wears the same kind of hat.

GP: Yeah, some people say I’m a left-wing Matt Drudge, but there’s a big difference: Drudge is full of shit, and I’m full of information.

SD: You must be embarrassed that one of the first things on Google for “Greg Palast” is a 2009 piece you wrote saying what a great job Obama is doing.

GP: It was right after he took office. And it was nice to see him acting for one week like a real president.

SD: So what happened?

GP: Obama was reminded of who elected him. He brought into power guys like Tim Geithner and Larry Summers ”” Wall Street operatives and protégés of Robert Rubin, who was Clinton’s Treasury secretary [and a Goldman Sachs and Citigroup executive].

Remember, it wasn’t Bush who destroyed the economy; it was a guy named Bill Clinton.

They put the arm on Obama. They reminded him he’s just a tenant.

SD: Do you worry about your safety?

GP: I very much fear for the safety of my sources. Some of them do end up in jail and/or beaten up. It’s insanely dangerous for some of them to talk to me. One of my great sources was just charged with sedition. These guys are insanely courageous. But please don’t give the impression that your life will be threatened if you become my source. That wouldn’t be helpful.

SD: You’re talking about incidents in other countries, right? You haven’t had sources jailed or beaten up in the U.S., have you?

GP: Look at Bradley Manning, America’s most heroic political prisoner [the U.S. Army soldier accused of supplying a cache of secret diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks]. Lots of Americans are facing the ruin of their careers for whistle-blowing.

******

Greg Palast will talk about “Why We Occupy: How Wall Street Picks the Bones of America,” on December 12 at 7 p.m. in Burlington’s Main Street Landing Film House. Palast’s One-Percent Tour travels this week to Houston on Thursday, Baltimore Friday and next week to Burlington VT (Monday), and Atlanta (Thursday).

Greg Palast is the author of Vultures’ Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Carnivores, released in the US and Canada by Penguin.

You can read Vultures’ Picnic, “Chapter 1: Goldfinger,” or download it, at no charge: click here.

Subscribe to Palast’s Newsletter and podcasts.
Follow Palast on Facebook and Twitter.

GregPalast.com

BP Settlement Sells Out Victims – UPDATE
Deal buries evidence of oil company willful negligence

Greg Palast 

by Greg Palast
for TheMudflats

See Greg Palast on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman on the BP Settlement.

Following the Deepwater Horizon explosion, Greg Palast led a four-continent investigation of BP PLC for Britain’s television series Dispatches. From 1989-91, Palast directed the investigation of fraud charges in the Exxon Valdez grounding for Alaska Native villages.

Some deal. BP gets the gold mine and the public gets the shaft.

On Friday night, the lawyers for 120,000 victims of the Deepwater Horizon blow-out cut a deal with oil company BP PLC which will save the oil giant billions of dollars. It will also save the company the threat of a trial that could expose the true and very ugly story of the Gulf of Mexico oil platform blow-out.

I have been to the Gulf and seen the damage ”” and the oil that BP says is gone.  Miles of it.  As an economist …more