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Fracking: New Dangers

Greg Palast 

by Greg Palast for No Fracking Ireland

Greg Palast Interview from DCTV on Vimeo.

On the 20th of April 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oilrig blew out in the Gulf of Mexico, killing eleven men instantly, then destroying 600 miles of coastline. On 9 September 2010, a natural gas pipeline exploded in San Bruno, California, burning eight to death, one of several recent pipeline explosions in the USA. In 1992, in Chicago, a gas pipe leaked and 18 houses exploded, incinerating three people.


What do these deaths have to do with plans for “fracking” for natural gas in Ireland?

Everything. It was my job to investigate these three explosions, the Deepwater Horizon and California explosions as a reporter for the UK Channel 4’s Dispatches, the earliest as a US government investigator. In all three cases, the deaths were preceded by the same reassurances about the safety of drilling and piping that I read now in the debate about fracking in Ireland.

First, the Deepwater Horizon.  Eleven men died when the ”˜mud’ – drilling cement meant to cap the wellhead – failed and methane gas blew out the top of the pipes and exploded. The Shannon Basin is not the Gulf of Mexico, but your safety will be just as dependent on Halliburton’s mud. …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

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

The Pig in the XL Pipeline
Insider reveals concealed “error”
in pipeline safety equipment that could blow away the GOP’s XL pipe dream

Greg Palast 

For Firedoglake

“They threatened me. Last night I got a call and they threatened me. If I talked.”

“Pig Man #2,” a pipeline industry insider, had a good reason to be afraid.  He was about to blow the whistle on a fraud, information that could blow away the XL Keystone Pipeline project.

His information: The software for the crucial piece of pipeline safety equipment, the “Smart PIG,” has a flaw known to the industry but concealed from regulators.

The flaw allows cracks, leaks and corrosion to go undetected ”“ and that saves the industry billions of dollars in pipe replacements.  But there’s a catch. Pipes with cracks and leaks can explode ”“ and kill.

Federal law requires the oil and gas industry to run a PIG, a Pipeline Inspection Gauge, through big oil and gas pipelines.  The robot porker, tethered to a GPS, beeps and boops as it rolls through, electronically squealing when it finds dangers.

But whistleblowers told us …more

XL Keystone – The Pig in the Pipeline
The GOP is pushing a pipeline
that could blow you to pieces

Greg Palast 

Special to TruthOut.org

Palast conducted a five-continent investigation of Big Oil for British TV’s premier current affairs program, Dispatches, and for BBC Worldwide. This report is based on the broadcast seen prime-time worldwide””but not yet in the USA.

Whistleblowers have told Britain’s “Dispatches” that the safety software on major US pipelines contains deliberate errors””and so pipelines can ”” and have ”” busted, leaked, exploded …and killed.

Congressional Republicans are holding extended unemployment benefits hostage until President Obama agrees to speed up approval to build the XL Keystone Pipeline. XL Keystone will slice down through the entire width of the USA, moving tar-sands oil from Canada to Houston.

The oil industry promises that the Pipeline will be safe. But the pipe is only safe if the PIG inside it can squeal.

Federal law requires the industry to run a diagnostic robot PIG, a Pipeline Inspection Gauge, that will squeal when something is wrong: a crack, dangerous corrosion, anything that might lead to a spill or explosion.

But PIGs are only as good as the software that tracks and analyzes their signals. And the software used by Big Oil has been compromised””deliberately. …more

Ma Nature, the Happy Toilet
BP on Trial at the Occupation

Greg Palast 

For Greenpeace.org
Palast is the author of Vultures’ Picnic: in Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Carnivores.

[Occupy Wall Street Climate Trial, New York. Sunday, Nov 27.]

This is not the first courtroom where I’ve faced off against BP, British Petroleum. But this time, I was outdoors, with a patrol car’s red lights spinning.

OWSTrialOccupy Wall Street asked me to act as “prosecutor” in the Climate Court in their relocated locale in a New York park.

I have the cold, hard, documentary evidence in my hand, gathered with the help of Greenpeace and their submarine (no kidding) in the Gulf of Mexico, in the Caspian Sea, in Alaska. …more

Etok is One Bad-Ass Eskimo-
In September, Obama Quietly OK’d
Drilling in Arctic Waters”“”“WTF???

Greg Palast 

Alternet.org – From the Arctic Circle, from inside a whale carcass (really), Greg Palast investigates…

There is a legend told among the Inupiat Alaskans who live above the Arctic Circle, “Etok Tames the Green People.” It goes like this:

In the Old Days, as today, the peoples on the edge of the Arctic Sea killed whales. It’s just what they do. It’s what they eat. But the Green People didn’t like that, and so the Green People set out one day in their fancy-ass black powerboat to stop the people of the Arctic Sea from doing their whale killing thing.

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This is Alternet’s excerpt from Palast’s new book, Vultures’ Picnic.
Note: Get the book this week and you’ll get all the videos from the interactive edition, no charge. Just go to VulturesPicnic.org, click on, “I’ve bought it, so send me the link to my free films.”

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It was a long, long time ago in 1979. The elders tell us how the Green People showed up outside the Inupiat Native village of Kaktovik in their black powerboat and set out their stores of vegetables on the beach. The Green People only ate green food. The Green People then set off in their black powerboat on their blubber-saving mission, with a plan to block the Eskimo’s bidarka whaling ship. Quick as a Raven’s wink, they got lost in a fog bank and stuck in the ice sheet. Prepared, committed, and resourceful, the Green People set out their pup tents on the ice floe and slept, hoping for the fog to lift in the morning. …more

Before the Beginning

Greg Palast 

Raven, that Lying Little Bastard
by Greg Palast for TheMudflats.net

“If I had a machine gun, I’d kill every one of them white sons of bitches.” Makarka didn’t say, “white.” He used the unkind Alutiiq phrase, isuwiq-something, bleached seal.

As a bleached seal myself, I couldn’t blame him, not if you saw what I saw, the documents that British Petroleum buried deep as they could.

In my investigation of the blow-out on BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig, I knew key evidence could only be found in the files in the hands of the Chugach Natives of Alaska. The story involved the usual mix of big oil, suicide, murder, rock and roll, and fish. Whatever, I had to get from Asia to Alaska. To understand the full story, how America went, in two centuries, from British colony to British Petroleum colony we have to go way back to … …more

The 1% who get the gold mine
(we get the shaft)

Greg Palast 

[Wall Street, New York] No one here in Zuccotti Park is protesting “Wall Street.” Wall Street is just an address, just a street sign on a post.

The 99% Movement is about Them: the 1%. The 1% who own Wall Street and all our
streets and have posted a foreclosure notice on the entire planet.

The 1% who get the gold mine while we get the shaft.

For five years, I’ve been quietly working on a four-continent investigation about Them, the 1%.

I’ve put it all in a new book. I could have called it Lives of the Rich and Shameless, but I’ve chosen this: Vultures’ Picnic””in Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Carnivores.

Vultures’ Picnic hits book stores on November 14. Click on the images to see the films, the slideshow, the excerpts””and order it right now. …more

Not Another Ransom Note
from Congressman Boehner

Greg Palast 

 

It was quite upsetting to find our President blindfolded and tied to a chair at the GOP Tea Party headquarters, but I’m sure the $2.2 trillion ransom we paid to the hostage-takers is worth it.

Well, now that the Obama presidency is over, we can move on to more serious matters.

Look out your window.  What you’ll see is that, while the debt-ceiling hostage crisis played out on cable TV, the planet has been burning down.

You haven’t heard a lot from me this year””because the normally-noisy Palast investigations team has chosen to spend these months quietly digging into unreported cases of economic and environmental arson.  It will all hit the presses and TV when we launch a new book and films later this year.

But the investigations continue at full tilt:

#1. Too Far Beyond Petroleum. …more

Palast Arrested

Greg Palast 

Post from Monday, December 20, 2010

BP’s Azeri police arresting Palast for filming BP oil rig – Baku, Azerbaijan, December 2010

“Here in Azerbaijan we believe in human rights. PLEASE GIVE US YOUR FILM.”

Oh, no, no, not good.

The enforcers here come in three colors:  the military police still wearing their old Russian puke-green uniforms, the MSN (the dictator’s secret police) in windbreakers without ID, and BP’s own corporate police force in black tunics, sashes and full hats who look like toy soldiers from the Nutcracker ballet. They weren’t dancing.

I showed all three flavors of police our press credentials in both English and Azeri, neither of which could be read by the officers. (The dictator had suddenly changed the Azeri alphabet, making most of the nation illiterate overnight.)

The dictator made everyone call him, “Baba,” Grandpa.

…more

BP In Deep Water: The Making Of the Channel 4 Investigation

Greg Palast 

FEATURES

For two decades, investigator Greg Palast has been on BP’s trail. In BP: In Deep Water, Palast takes Dispatches viewers along on his world-wide investigation of the oil giant. (Sorry, UK only).

One year after BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig blew apart and spewed 170 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, BP claims victory ”“ that most of the oil is gone.

Palast walks across one still-slimed beach with a marine biologist who describes ‘BP’s clean up theatre’ as ‘superficial’ and ‘cosmetic’. He shows us the oil still coming ashore, and the oil still deep beneath the beach surface.

From the Gulf, Palast flies to the Alaskan Arctic and discovers that BP has spilled over 200,000 gallons of oil. The problem: BP had not tested the integrity of pipeline for eight years. The reason? A prosecuting attorney said: ‘BP cut corners with disastrous consequences.’ Palast meets an insider In shadow, a man who programmed the type of testing equipment oil companies can use, called the PIG, says it can cost up to $1 million per mile to test pipes. BP’s failure to test could have saved it millions of dollars, but failure to check the pipeline was at the cost of poisoning the last pristine wilderness.

Palast, who years earlier led an investigation of the Exxon Valdez disaster reveals that, despite the name ‘Exxon’ on the tanker, it was a company called Alyeska, in which BP had a majority share, that was responsible for containing the oil spill. Their response was so slow that oil devastated 1,300 miles of Alaskan shores. The company failed to have the equipment and crews required to deal with the spill. Palast shows viewers the oil still on the beaches, 22 years after the spill.

Then, it’s a flight half-way across the planet to the police state of Azerbaijan, in Central Asia, where the Dispatches crew is detained by state security while attempting to film BP’s operations. Just after Azerbaijan’s ruling family took control after a coup, BP , with other oil companies, took the nation’s oil in a deal called the ‘Contract of the Century.’ Former MP, former BP political advisor and MI6 operative Harold Elletson tells Dispatches how the dictatorship made sure the deals with BP would ‘stick’.

Also saying he helped to make BP’s position ‘stick’ was the oil company’s one-time Deputy Representative in Azerbaijan who tells Dispatches that, to win favour from the petro-state, BP authorised his paying over $2 million in bribes.

And, while working for BP, that he was approached by MI6 to spy for Britain, providing military intelligence to Moscow station chief John Scarlett.

About Greg Palast

A fraud investigator turned journalist, Palast is best known in the US for his discovery of how Katherine Harris fixed the Presidential election of 2000 for George W Bush and, in the UK, for his Observer investigation, ‘Lobbygate: Cash for Access’ about New Labour and lobbyist influence. Palast investigated the Exxon Valdez grounding for the Natives of Alaska, owners of the state’s coastline; and for the government, directed investigations of fraud in the energy industry.

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Palast’s investigations are supported in part by the Puffin and Cloud Mountain Foundations and the Palast Investigative Fund, a 501c3 charitable trust.

Subscribe to Palast’s Newsletter and podcasts.

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www.GregPalast.com

Chevron Runs from Judgment
in Ecuador

Greg Palast 

Exclusive for Truth-out.org

Chevron petroleum Corporation is attempting to slither out of an $8 billion judgment rendered yesterday by a trial court in Ecuador for cancer deaths, illnesses and destruction caused by its Texaco unit.

I’ve been there, in Ecuador.

Cofan Leader CriolloI met the victims.  They didn’t lose their shrimp boats; they lost their kids.  Emergildo Criollo, Chief of the Cofan Natives of the Amazon, told me about his three-year-old.  “He went swimming, then began vomiting blood.” Then he died.

See Palast’s report from the Amazon for BBC , War Paint and Lawyers:
Rainforest Indians versus Big Oil on the DVD Palast Investigates: From 8-Mile to the Amazon. Get the signed DVD or Download it for FREE.

 

And then I met Chevron-Texaco’s lawyers.

When I showed Texaco lawyer Rodrigo Perez the epidemiological studies tracing childhood cancers to their oil,  he sneered and said , “And it’s the only case of cancer in the world? How many cases of children with cancer do you have in the States, in Europe, in Quito? If there is somebody with cancer there, [the Cofan parents] must prove [the deaths were] caused by crude or by the petroleum industry. And, second, they have to prove that it is OUR crude ”“ which is absolutely impossible.”

The Texaco man stated, “Scientifically, nobody has proved that crude causes cancer.”

President Barack Obama has said that the British-based BP must pay for all the damage it caused in the Gulf.

I’ve just returned from the Gulf and I can tell you, it’s grim, it’s terrible.  But compared to the damage caused by Chevron-Texaco, the Gulf blow-out is a picnic.

So now, Mr. President, will you stand by your words and tell this renegade, deadly US corporation to pay for the damage they have done?

At the end of my meeting with the oil company lawyers, I showed them a document in which Chevron-Texaco directed its underlings to destroy evidence.

The oil company men said they would get back to me with an “explanation.”  It’s been three years, and I’m still waiting.

There is another insidious game being played by Chevron.  The oil company’s ethically-challenged law firm, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, has attempted to block the Cofan and other victims of Chevron from having legal counsel.  They have even convinced some pinhead judge to block collection of Ecuador’s judgment because harming Chevron would be a blow to “global business.”

It would – and it should.

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Watch Palast’s interview about Chevron v Ecuador with Russian TV America.

Read the original investigative report below:

War Paint and Lawyers: Rainforest Indians versus Big Oil
…more

The Petroleum Broadcast System
Owes Us an Apology

Greg Palast 

For Truthout/Buzzflash

Tonight, my dog Pluto and I watched the PBS ‘Frontline’ investigation of BP, “The Spill.”

PBS has uncovered a real shocker:  BP neglected safety!

Well, no shit, Sherlock!

Pluto rolled over on the rug and looked at me as if to say, Don’t we already know this?

Then PBS told us ”” get ready ”” that BP has neglected warnings about oil safety for years!

That’s true.  But so has PBS.  The Petroleum Broadcast System has turned a blind eye to BP perfidy for decades.

If the broadcast had come six months before the Gulf blow-out, after the 2005 BP Refinery explosion in Texas, or after the 2006 Alaska pipeline disaster, or after the years of government fines that flashed DANGER-DANGER, I would say, “Damn, that Frontline sure is courageous.”  But six months after the blow-out, PBS has shown us it only has the courage to shoot the wounded.

But hey, at least PBS is now on the case.

Or is it?   …more

Crisis in Ecuador
Greg Palast Interviews President Correa

Greg Palast 

Palast Interviews President Correa

Ecuador’s president promises punishment
after day of chaos.

Rafael Correa promises ‘no forgiveness’ for those involved in uprising, as opposition politicians are accused of staging a coup.

Ecuador remains in a state of siege with the military in charge of public order.
President Rafael Correa is promising to punish his enemies a day after a police rebellion triggered mayhem.

In February 2008 Greg Palast met with Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. They discussed the Lawsuit against Chevron, Eradicating Foreign Debt and Why He Says “Ecuador is No Longer for Sale”

Watch part of the interview.
…more

Smart Pig:
BP’s OTHER Spill

Greg Palast 

For Buzzflash.com

Oil spill residue, Chenega, Alaska©1997James Macalpine-PIF

With the Gulf Coast dying of oil poisoning, there’s no space in the press for British Petroleum’s latest spill, just this week: over 100,000 gallons, at its Alaska pipeline operation.  A hundred thousand used to be a lot.  Still is.

On Tuesday, Pump Station 9, at Delta Junction on the 800-mile pipeline, busted.  Thousands of barrels began spewing an explosive cocktail of hydrocarbons after “procedures weren’t properly implemented” by BP operators, say state inspectors. “Procedures weren’t properly implemented” is, it seems, BP’s company motto.

Few Americans know that BP owns the controlling stake in the trans-Alaska pipeline; but, unlike with the Deepwater Horizon, BP keeps its Limey name off the Big Pipe.

There’s another reason to keep their name off the Pipe:  their management of the pipe stinks.  It’s corroded, it’s undermanned and “basic maintenance” is a term BP never heard of.

How does BP get away with it?  The same way the Godfather got away with it:  bad things happen to folks who blow the whistle. BP has a habit of hunting down and destroying the careers of those who warn of pipeline problems.
…more

Economic Hit Men and the Next Drowning of New Orleans

Hurricane Bush Four Years Later, Part 2

Greg Palast 

For Crooks and Liars

Who put out the hit on van Heerden?

Ivor van Heerden is the professor at Louisiana State University’s Hurricane Center who warned the levees of New Orleans were ready to blow ”” months and years before Katrina did the job.

For being right, van Heerden was rewarded with … getting fired. [See Katrina, Four Years Later: Expert Fired Who Warned Levees Would Burst]

But I’ve been in this investigating game long enough to know that van Heerden’s job didn’t die of natural causes or academic issues. This was a hit. Some very powerful folks wanted him disappeared and silenced ”” for good.

So who done it?
…more

Oil and Indians Don’t Mix

Greg Palast 

For Air America Radio’s Ring of Fire

There’s an easy way to find oil.  Go to some remote and gorgeous natural sanctuary, say Alaska or the Amazon, find some Indians, then drill down under them.

If the indigenous folk complain, well, just shoo-them away.  Shoo-ing methods include:  bulldozers, bullets, crooked politicians and fake land sales.

But be aware.  Lately the Natives are shoo-ing back.  Last week, indigenous Peruvians seized an oil pumping station, grabbed the nine policemen guarding it and, say reports, executed them.  This followed the government’s murder of more than a dozen rainforest residents who had protested the seizure of their property for oil drilling.

Again and again I see it in my line of work of investigating fraud.  Here are a few pit-stops on the oily trail of tears:

In the 1980s, Charles Koch was found to have pilfered about $3 worth of crude from Stanlee Ann Mattingly’s oil tank in Oklahoma. …more