Yesterday, the financial vultures, the carcass-chewers who were preying on the dirt-poor African nation of Liberia, gave up.
Two shadowy vulture funds, which had won a $43 million court judgment against Liberia, agreed to accept only $1.4 million to settle their claim following an investigation by our BBC Newsnight team. We had sought to determine if the vulture funds were covers for an elaborate fraud scheme. They folded rather than face further scrutiny and attacks from activists, Parliaments and Congress.
on the dollar, secretly bought the right to collect a $6 million debt owed by Liberia.
Hermann and his flock of vulture partners demanded Liberia pay $43 million—a devastating sum for that nation—or he would, in effect, block aid funding for Liberia’s recovery from civil war. The nation was now Hermann’s economic hostage.
I was investigating the strange links between Hermann and a company named Hamsah Investments; it smelled of fraud. Tipped off that I was about to arrive with a camera crew to question …more
On Tuesday, Tim Griffin, former chief of research of the Republican National Committee, is on the ballot for Congress to represent Little Rock, Arkansas. He’s favored to win. But Griffin is just as happy to win by stealing votes. Here’s a clip from the Elections Files, the Palast team’s investigations for BBC Television and Democracy Now. …
That’s hardly the kind of endorsement a candidate for Congress expects. But that is the conclusion of voting rights attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. after digging into the evidence of Congressional candidate Tim Griffin’s role in directing the Republican National Committee’s racially biased attack on voters known as “caging.”
A brutal mano-a-mano race in Arkansas’ Second District has become a showdown between Sarah Palin’s banner carrier Griffin (funded by SarahPAC) and Democrat Joyce Elliott who has drawn homeboy Bill Clinton back to Little Rock.
The ex-President, in Arkansas this week, was especially worked up about Griffin’s caging list vote suppression scheme. (Our Good Ol’ Boy in Chief told me back in 2008 he would bust out the story, and it only took him two years to do the right thing, a personal best for Bill.) …more
NBC Arkansas television anchor and investigative reporter Melissa Simas confronted Griffin, a candidate for a Little Rock congressional seat, with the latest information Palast has uncovered on the “Tim Crow” caging scheme.
It’s not Tim Griffin’s day. In 2004, BBC Television exposed Karl Rove’s crony Tim Griffin, for running an operation to challenge the right to vote of active duty soldiers, especially those of color. …more
Vultures defend themselves by vomiting on their enemies. In Britain last week, terrified vultures puked up a Tory MP named Christopher Chope.
Two weeks ago, the day after the 25 February broadcast of our investigation on BBC Television of financial vultures preying on the world’s poorest nations, the British Parliament voted to effectively put them out of business in the UK. A rare victory for victims.
But last Friday, MP Chope used a Parliamentary gimmick to kill the bill.
Chope, I should say, has not confessed to the deed. The cowardly little piece of vulture puke would not admit he’d put the knife in the back of the law. However, vulture vomit has a truly vile stench, impossible to wash off; so activists were able to sniff him out.
Vulture funds buy up Third World nations’ debts at pennies on the dollar then sue these nations for ten or a hundred times what the funds paid for the securities. The Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Bill would have barred vultures from using UK courts.
Whether the law ultimately takes effect may depend on the outcome of the UK election. Though all parties in the UK back the anti-vulture law, the Conservatives’ commitment is apparently hobbled by some of their members’ preference for dining on the dead.
When I was in West Africa in February, I met with former UN diplomat Winston Tubman, who asked the vultures, “Don’t you know you are causing babies to die all over Liberia?”
Will the honorable MP Mr. Chope answer the question?
Greg Palast’s investigations can be seen on BBC Television Newsnight. Sign up to receive Palast’s reports at www.GregPalast.com…more
A week ago Friday, the day after BBC Television broadcast of our investigative report on Liberia vultures, Britain’s Parliament voted to put an end to the creepy business of financial “vultures” who siphon off aid money through manipulating Third World nations’ debt.
And our prior report on financial tricksters, on Democracy Now!, motivated two congressmen to confront the President personally, in the Oval Office with our findings. And now legislation has jets on in the USA.
We’ve kicked vulture butt, but now we need new boots.
This isn’t the easiest time to be an investigative reporter and I am damn sure it’s not the easiest time for you to be supporting folks like our tiny but tough Palast team. So, I wanted to be sure to let you know what YOUR support has accomplished.
These accomplishments are real, but so are the bills for airfare, for the car for the stake-out, for the special microphones, for the … you name it.
BBC TV is a wonderful and prestigious outlet for our work. But “Beeb” budgets simply can’t cover all our costs. We can’t fly to Africa by flapping our arms.
Democracy Now! shows our stuff; we love them — but it’s you, our supporters, who pay our subway fares to Amy’s studio.
That’s why—for the first time this decade—I’m asking you to help keep our work alive with your financial support.
Here are a few ideas on how to do it: If you can contribute $150 or more, I’ll send you signed copies of 5 great DVDs … perfect for Mother’s day, graduations, easter baskets, May Day celebrations, Bingo prizes, or better yet, to spread the word.
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When our investigative team pulled the pants down on Karl Rove’s vote “caging” scam, Congressman John Conyers, who made our disclosures central to Congressional hearings on Bush’s firing of prosecutors told our crew, “America owes you an huge debt of thanks.”
I appreciate that; but we still owe the credit card company for the dozen flights to get on the scene to film the Rove-bots.
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Greg Palast is an investigative reporter for BBC Newsnight and the author of Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. Subscribe to Palast’s Newsletter and podcasts. Follow Palast on Facebook and Twitter.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the president of Liberia, is urging MPs to back a bill banning vulture funds from using British courts to prey on poor countries when it comes to a vote on Friday. Liberia lost a $20m (£13m) case in London last year against two so-called vultures. Such funds buy up the loans of poor governments, wait for them to win from the international community, and then use courts to pursue the countries for assets.
Sirleaf said: “We’ve been waiting for a parliament or an assembly to take this kind of hard decision. I hope the US Congress and maybe some others in Europe will pick up this gauntlet and will follow the example of Britain.”
An investigation for BBC’s Newsnight, to be broadcast tonight, has uncovered allegations that speculators subverted the international debt relief process for Liberia, in an attempt to gain more money from its government and international donors than 97% of its other creditors accepted.
On September 11, 2001, my office building, the World Trade Center, was attacked by al Qaeda, a murder cult of Saudi Arabians, funded by Saudi Arabians. And so, in response to the Saudis’ attack, America invaded … Afghanistan. Like, HUH?
Google it and you’ll find the Times report repeated and amplified 5,785 times more.
Taliban = 9/11. Taliban = 9/11. Taliban = 9/11.
Your eyelids are getting heavy. Taliban = 9/11. Taliban = 9/11.
It’s the latest hit from the same crew that brought you Saddam = 9/11 and its twin chant, Saddam = WMD, Dick Cheney’s chimerical tropes which the New York Times’ Judith Miller happily channeled to the paper’s front page.
And they’re at it again.
Every war begins with a lie. In addition to Saddam = WMD, I’m old enough to remember the Gulf of Tonkin resolution authorizing the war in Vietnam, based on a fictional Vietnamese gunboat attack on our Navy. (White House recordings have Lyndon Johnson gloating privately, “Hell, those damn stupid [US] sailors were just shooting at flying fish.”) …more
Former UK ministers and MPs from all UK parties are set to back a bill later on Wednesday outlawing the activities of vulture funds, hedge funds which divert debt relief from the poorest countries into their own pockets.
Vulture funds have been condemned by governments around the world as perverse and immoral for preying on the world’s poor.
Developed countries including Britain and the US have spent billions of pounds trying to relieve the debts of the world’s poorest nations so that they can spend that money on health and education.
The vulture fund speculators effectively divert that debt relief to themselves by buying debt for pennies in the pound just as it is about to be written off, and then suing in British or US courts for the full value plus interest.
In 2007, Newsnight exposed the activities of Donegal International which bought a tranche of Zambia’s debt for $3m and then sued for $55m – the size of Zambia’s health budget.
Reporter Greg Palast doorstepped Donegal’s boss Michael “Goldfinger” Sheehan who styles himself after the James Bond villain.
“A lot of Europeans wonder: Why are Americans so crazy, they keep reelecting this guy?” Well the answer is, we don’t! They keep stealing these elections! And they stole it in 2000, they stole it in 2004, and they’re all set up to steal it again!” – Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on BBC Television Newsnight.
On Friday at 6pm and 10pm Eastern Time, BBC America will bust open the story of the systematic attack on US voters that could easily cost Barack Obama the White House. (Watch the promo below)
Or watch it, beginning Friday night, at www.Gregpalast.com.
Newsnight investigative reporter Greg Palast travels from the Native pueblos of New Mexico to the war-zone of the 8 Mile neighborhood of Detroit to meet some of the three million voters …more
This week, Colombia’s military invaded Ecuador, killing a guerrilla leader hiding there. Undoubtedly, the invasion, which has brought Ecuador, Colombia and their border-mate Venezuela, to the bring of war, was meant to undermine the new, progressive, and very popular government of Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s new President.Correa, shining new star of South America’s rising Left, and an ally of President Hugo Chavez, granted an extraordinary interview to Greg Palast, Correa’s only English-language interview of his presidency.
Watch or listen to an excerpt as broadcast two weeks ago on Democracy Now!
And catch Palast’s interviews with President Hugo Chavez for BBC Newsnight and on-the-ground investigations on the DVD, “The Assassination of Hugo Chavez.” Trailer here.
December 14th, 2007- If you read US papers, you’d barely note that Karl Rove was just charged with contempt of Congress by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and you sure as hell as wouldn’t know why. The Washington Post mentions that it was Rove’s failure to supply documents to the Committee regarding the firing of US Prosecutors. What you won’t get is what Rove is hiding in those documents.
Well, I’ll tell you. Better yet, I’ll let one of the fired prosecutors tell you. For BBC TV I spoke with David Iglesias, former US Attorney for New Mexico. Iglesias told me that Rove engineered his firing, part of a grand scheme to disenfranchise voters.
The job of the Justice Department is to protect voters. Rove’s scheme was, instead, to harass them – especially those colored brown and blue – i.e. Hispanic Democrats.
BBC Television Newsnight has been able to get close-in film of a new Cofan Indian ritual deep in the heart of the Amazonian rainforest. Known as “The Filing of the Law Suit,” natives of Ecuador’s jungle, decked in feathers and war paint and heavily armed with lawyers, are filmed presenting a new complaint in their litigation seeking $12 billion from Chevron Inc., the international oil goliath.
It would all be a poignant joke – except that the indigenous tribe is suddenly the odds-on favorite to defeat the oil company known for naming its largest tanker, “Condoleezza,” after former Chevron director, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
For Newsnight, reporter Greg Palast, steps (somewhat inelegantly) into a dug-out log canoe to seek out the Cofan in their rainforest village to investigate their allegations. Palast discovers stinking pits of old oil drilling residue leaking into drinking water – and meets farmers whose limbs are covered in pustules.
The Cofan’s leader, Emergildo Criollo, tells Palast that when Texaco Oil, now part of Chevron, came to the village in 1972, it obtained permission to drill by offering the Indians candy and cheese. The indigenous folk threw the funny-selling cheese into the jungle.
Criollo says his three-year son died from oil contamination after, “He went swimming, then began vomiting blood.”
Flying out of the rainforest, past the Andes volcanoes, Palast gets the other side of the story in Ecuador’s capitol, Quito. “It’s the largest fraud in history!” asserts Chevron …more
Reporting from Lago Agrio, Ecuador Wednesday November 14
Before The Lord spoke unto Pat Robertson and told him to endorse Rudy Giuliani, family man, for President, the Reverend got a message that higher powers wanted him to arrange a hit on another President:
“Hugo Chavez thinks we’re trying to assassinate him. I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.”
Robertson has a tough time separating Church and Hate. But when the vicious vicar declared it was time to take out the President of Venezuela, he was simply channeling the wishes of the Supreme Authority, Dick Cheney.
I’m asking you to see the story they don’t want you to see in the USA: from the original investigations filmed for BBC Television, “The Assassination of Hugo”– a special DVD documentary by myself and Rick Rowley. NOT for general release – ONLY available as a gift to donors to the not-for-profit Palast Investigative Fund. Check out the trailer for the film here. Why must they kill Chavez?
With the help of guerrila cameraman Rick Rowley (“Fourth World War”), I flew to Caracas to get the answer – from Chavez himself. I also talked to the guy who took Chavez hostage in 2002. (I had to wear a wire for that one.)
The answer is right underneath Chavez’ feet. Oil. How much? According to the inside documents that fell into my hands from the Department of Energy – LOTS of oil, five times the reserves of Saudi Arabia.
The DVD includes Chavez himself, in our extended exclusive interviews. We go over the Bush plans – for his oil, and for his “elimination.” Sing along with the crooning champion of the poor – or, as George Bush titles him, “a demagogue awash with oil money.”
Watch the film – from Caracas malls to the oil tankers by helicopter – the story I guarantee you won’t get on the Petroleum Broadcasting System.
PLUS two incredibly important reports: “Ecuador: Oiled and Despoiled” – my journey into the mud for Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now, PLUS “Florida Con Salsa” – the theft of the Presidential Election in Mexico 2006.
Donate at least $50 and I’ll sign’m and send’m to you – or to whomever you designate for the holidays.
Make that donation at least $75 and I’ll also send you, signed, “Assassination” AND “The Elections Files,” my investigations for BBC, from the original report that busted open the phony “felon” purge by Jeb Bush to never-before-released interviews with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and fired prosecutor David Iglesias on “caging” voters and the scheme to steal the next election.
Your tax-deductible donation keeps us digging for “Just The Facts, Ma’am.” I’m writing this in the rain forest in Ecuador, where oil is prevalent as snakes- but more poisonous. We donate our films to Democracy Now. BBC pays for some of our effort – but not the expensive work of investigation. That’s your job. YOU produce our work.
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Due to issues involving Andrew Meyer’s litigation, his attorney has requested we hold off broadcast. As this young journalist has hadenough shocks in his life, I see no reason not to comply.
Now that I’ve met Andrew, I can tell you: he’s not some sensationalist fruitcake. He’s a sincere guy with a damn good question: why not count the votes, America? Andrew will be providing on-the-ground reports for us from Florida over the coming election season.
Apologies for the awful puns.
Air- Greg Palast The Palast Report on Clout with Richard Greene
on The Air America Radio Network IT’S NOT THE VOLTS, IT’S THE VOTES! by Zach Roberts GregPalast.com
The student shocked by a taser gun last month at the University of Florida while questioning Senator John Kerry will be providing regular reports on election shenanigans for Air America’s ‘Clout.’ The program, hosted by Richard Greene carries the Palast Report weekly. Andrew will be interning with the Palast team as a journalist in training. Palst is in contact with Kerry’s office to see if the Senator will answer Meyer’s question on air – without an armed guard.
Meyer, who appeared Thursday morning on the Today show sandwiched between reports on Britney Spears, Oprah Winfrey and Heather Mills, was the only guest who