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Sachs Fiend:
Goldman Attacks Occupy Wall Street’s Non-Profit Bank

When Goldman got huffy at a credit union honouring OWS and pulled its anniversary dinner funding, much more was at stake

Greg Palast 

Exclusive for The Guardian
Greg Palast, the author of Vultures’ Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates, and High-Finance Carnivores.
With Arun Gupta, founding editor of The Occupied Wall Street Journal.

Greg Palast reports from Occupied Wall Street for Democracy Now!

[Zuccotti Park, Wall Street, New York.]

Mega-bank Goldman Sachs (assets $933bn), has declared war on one of the smallest banks in New York (assets $30m), the customer-owned community bank that happens to also be the banker for Friends of Liberty Plaza, Inc, also known as Occupy Wall Street. And you thought Goldman didn’t care.

The trouble began three weeks ago when the occupiers suddenly found their donation buckets filling with thousands of dollars, way more than needed for their pizza dinners. Suddenly, the anti-bank protesters needed a bank. Citibank and Chase certainly wouldn’t fit. So OWS opened an account at the not-for-profit Lower East Side Peoples Federal Credit Union. Peoples has a unique federal charter – designated to open accounts for low-income folk from all over NewYork, available to those families earning less than $38,000 per year. (Disclosure: the CEO of the Peoples bank is my dearly beloved ex. But that’s another story.)

Goldman Sachs had also joined up with the Peoples bank. Goldman partners reportedly earn a bit more than $38k per annum, yet Goldman’s association so far was limited to giving the credit union $5,000 toward the little bank’s 25th anniversary celebration dinner. Goldman’s largesse was acknowledged on the dinner invites – along with the night’s honoree: Occupy Wall Street.

When a Goldman exec saw its gilded name next to Occupy Wall Street, …more

Rove’s Vote Trickster: Caging Explained

Greg Palast 

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. …

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We Kicked Butt
New Boots Needed

Greg Palast 

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.

Click here, make the tax-deductible donation, and I’ll sign’em all.

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.

New! We are now offering you, the option to donate by getting The Palast Gift Card. Redeemable at our store by the lucky recipient.

Available again! Joker’s Wild, my classic, tarot-size investigative playing cards. Beautiful and great fun.

Better yet for us and maybe a little less burdensome to you, sign up for a modest monthly pledge of as little as $10. You will receive all new Palast releases – books or videos, as they become available. I will also mention you as a supporter in my next book (you may, of course, choose not to).

Right away, as a thank you, I will send all new signees a signed copy of a DVD of your choice plus the Joker’s Wild card deck.

If you’ve beaten the odds and had a great year, consider becoming a co-Producer by making a donation of $1,000 or more. If you do, I will list your name in our next film’s credits. Wait until your friends see that on your Google profile!

Or simply make a donation of any size or visit our Store for other signed gifts and options.

We will spend your donation wisely.

I truly can’t thank you enough,
Greg

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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.
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The Right Testicle of Hell:
History of a Haitian Holocaust

Greg Palast 

Blackwater before drinking water

For The Huffington Post


Just in!
Our plea to send medicine to a friend’s father in Haiti was answered by Democracy Now! producer Sharif Abdel-Kouddous who will make the delivery in Port-au-Prince. Apparently DN, unlike the US government, doesn’t require armed “Security” to save lives.

1.
Bless the President for having rescue teams in the air almost immediately. That was President Olafur Grimsson of Iceland. On Wednesday, the AP reported that the President of the United States promised, “The initial contingent of 2,000 Marines could be deployed to the quake-ravaged country within the next few days.” “In a few days,” Mr. Obama?

2.
There’s no such thing as a ‘natural’ disaster. 200,000 Haitians have been slaughtered by slum housing and IMF “austerity” plans.

3.
A friend of mine called. Do I know a journalist who could get medicine to her father? And she added, trying to hold her voice together, “My sister, she’s under the rubble. Is anyone going who can help, anyone?” Should I tell her, “Obama will have Marines there in ‘a few days”? …more

From 8-Mile to the Amazon – Palast Investigates – The Story Without The Censors

Greg Palast 

Last week, you may have caught the story on “60 Minutes” about Chevron crapping all over the Amazon in Ecuador, poisoning the Indians who live there.

The Palast team is thrilled that a big commercial US Network is picking up our reports from BBC Television and Democracy Now!But if you watched the CBS report, you haven’t seen the WHOLE story.

If you want the real thing, the original reports – uncut, uncensored – pick up our new film, Palast Investigates: From 8-Mile to the Amazon – On the Trail of the Financial Marauders.

Check out the trailer here.

Donate $40 or more to the Palast Investigative Fund (tax deductible) and I’ll send you, with gratitude, a signed copy of the DVD.

The Chicago Tribune says, “these stories bite.”  Here’s what we’ve sunk our teeth into for this DVD – our 3 latest, biggest stories, for BBC Newsnight:
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Steal Back Your Vote!

Greg Palast 

Palast: One out of five Colorado voters purged from voter registration
Outcome of 2008 election likely to be skewed by unethical tactics

RealVail.com

By David O. Williams

August 27, 2008 – Robert Kennedy Jr. had a pretty good excuse for skipping his scheduled appearance with investigative journalist Greg Palast to promote their latest project, “Steal Back Your Vote” – a report on voting irregularities and fraud in the 2008 election.

Palast, speaking at the Progressive Democrats of America gathering at a downtown Denver church during the DNC Tuesday, excused Kennedy’s absence to be with his uncle, Monday’s inspirational surprise speaker Sen. Ted Kennedy, and introduced a surprise replacement of his own, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now.
Progressive investigative journalist Goodman asked a delegate to hold up a goody bag with sponsor logo from AT&T on one side and decried the influence of big corporate money on the modern American political process.

She talked about trying to get into a delegate gathering at Mile High Stadium Monday and being denied access by towering security guards. Goodman said delegates at a corporate party are in training for just how skewed by campaign contributions politics in America have become, and added that there can be no good reasons to keep the press out, only bad ones.

When you’ve got money saturating politics, and even if you care deeply about the public good, you have got to see where the money is and that is what this is about every four years, Goodman said. It’s about teaching (budding politicians) big-money politics. …more

Exclusive interview with the
President of Ecuador

Greg Palast 

Palast Interviews President CorreaThis 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.

President Correa- Chavez Boy Toy
or New Revolutionary Hero?

Greg Palast 

Thursday, December 27

Palast on Democracy Now!

Greg Palast gets the exclusive interview with President Correa of Ecuador only on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman. From the makers of The Assassination of Hugo Chavez, Greg Palast and cameraman Richard Rowley.

Check your local listings for channels and stations here or listen streaming by clicking here. You can also sign up for the Democracy Now! video and audio podcast here– Make sure you sign up for ours at www.GregPalast.com

Have a Happy New Year from everyone in the Palast Office!

War Paint and Lawyers:
Rainforest Indians versus Big Oil

Greg Palast 

Greg Palast investigates for BBC Newsnight –
Chevron: “Nobody has proved that crude causes cancer.”

Wednesday, November 27 – Available on Democracy Now!

Greg getting in Canoe

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 Cofan Leader CriolloRice.

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

Big Easy to Big Empty:
How the White House is Still Drowning New Orleans

Greg Palast 

From the film commercially released this week based on the investigation for Democracy Now! – the story you won’t get on CNN:

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“They don’t want no poor niggers back in – that’s the bottom line.”

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“By midnight the White House knew – but the state police didn’t know.”

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“Stop that camera, we’ve called security.”

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“This is criminal negligence for which people go to jail.”

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“It is a prison set-up. I’ve never been to the bottom
of the barrel until I came here.”

From the film, Big Easy to Big Empty: The Untold Story of the Drowning of New Orleans, an investigation by Greg Palast for Democracy Now! Re-released this week in DVD including exclusive interviews by Palast and Amy Goodman of heroes and villains – the deep horror, the dark humor and the no-bullshit truth you won’t get on CNN.

Get a copy of the DVD here, watch an excerpt here, watch the hour-long broadcast on Link TV tonight, and read the new chapter on New Orleans in Armed Madhouse click here to buy, or hear it read here.
www.GregPalast.com

Palast Hunts the Real Life Goldfinger for BBC – Watch it on Democracy Now!

Greg Palast 

“Vulture Fund” Company Wins $20 Million Payment from Zambia on $4 Million Debt
Thursday, February 15th, 2007

Watch the BBC Newsnight investigative report on BBC Newsnight — or at Democracy Now! with Palast and Amy Goodman.

ListenWatchRead the ReportRead the Transcipt
“Vulture fund” companies buy up the debt of poor countries at cheap prices, and then demand payments much higher than the original amount of the debt, often taking poor countries to court when they cannot afford to repay.

Investigative journalist Greg Palast reports on one company that has won the right to collect $20 million from the government of Zambia after buying its debt for $4 million. In his recent State of the Union address, President Bush declared the United States was taking on the challenges of global hunger, poverty and disease, and urged support for debt relief, which he called the best hope for eliminating poverty.

But what exactly are wealthy nations doing to reduce the debt of impoverished countries?

Today we take a close look at companies known as “vulture funds.” Vulture fund companies buy up the debt of poor countries at cheap prices, and then demand payments much higher than the original amount of the debt, often taking poor countries to court when they cannot afford to repay.

For an in-depth look at this issue, we turn to a BBC Newsnight documentary by investigative reporter Greg Palast. Greg Palast’s BBC report on vulture funds. Today a high court judge in London ruled on the case that a vulture fund can extract more than $20 million from Zambia for a debt which it bought for just $4 million. To tell us more about this case and more we now turn to Greg Palast.

LATEST UPDATE — Zambia Loses ‘Vulture Fund’ Case

Greg Palast. Investigative reporter for the BBC on this story is author of the books “Armed Madhouse”, “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy” and “Democracy and Regulation.”

The BBC Newsnight report was produced by Meirion Jones, BBC London; Rick Rowley, videographer/editor. Investigative research by Matt Pascarella, New York.

…more

Conyers Confronts Bush On Vulture Bonds

ZACH for Democracy Now

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about how your meeting went with the President yesterday?

REP. JOHN CONYERS: Well, we talked essentially about Iraq, Katrina and the domestic breakdown that’s going on right now. But it was my job, I felt, to raise the whole question of this bond speculation that goes on at the expense of poor debtor countries, in which their debt is bought up and then they’re sued for the full amount. It’s bought up at pennies on the dollar, …more

Exxon-erated! Palast Escapes Clutches of Homeland Security

Greg Palast 

HUFFINGTON POST- EAT THE PRESS | Scott Thill

Good news from the edge of reality: Exxon has changed its mind. It was only days ago that they were employing the help of their subsidiary known as the Department of Homeland Security to put a Gitmo scare into Greg Palast and Matt Pascarella for filming the oil powerhouse’s Baton Rouge refinery — and about a thousand Katrina refugees being held behind barbed wire near it …more