Greg Palast and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. believe that the 2008 elections have already been stolen. What’s an American to do given these circumstances? They suggest: “Steal it back”.
Palast, an investigative journalist, and Kennedy, a voting rights attorney, paired up to create a nonpartisan voter guide that illustrates the six ways that American votes will be stolen this election and seven ways to steal them back.
You may ask who’s stealing your votes. Palast and Kennedy believe that the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), created in 2002, is one of the main reasons votes are systematically being stolen. Secretaries of state attempting to comply with HAVA are purging voters from the registration rolls and blocking new ones from registering. The purging occurs if a voter’s name does not match a government database.
Those who are at most risk for having their vote stolen are new voters, people of color, low-income, elderly and swing state voters, Palast told Truthout.
In 2006, Palast says that 40 percent of citizens who were purged from the voter rolls in California had Islamic, Vietnamese, Chinese and Hispanic names. These names were at most risk for misspellings.
The Steal Back Your Vote Guidelines promote the importance of going to the secretary of state Web site for your state to confirm that you are registered ahead of the election.
The New York Times appeared to confirm Palast and Kennedy’s findings on mass voter purges in its report last week titled “States’ Actions to Block Voters Appear Illegal”. The newspaper found that tens of thousands of eligible voters were being illegally purged ahead of the 2008 elections.
In the crucial swing states of Indiana, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio, The New York Times reported that Social Security databases are being used to verify voters, as opposed to more accurate state databases. Federal law requires Social Security databases to be used for verification only as a last resort.
The swing states of Michigan and Colorado are also violating federal law, according to The New York Times, because they are removing voters from the registration rolls within 90 days of the presidential election.
When a name has been purged from the voter rolls, election workers will hand out a provisional ballot. However, Palast points to 1.1 million provisional ballots that went uncounted in the 2004 elections as proof that provisional ballots often go uncounted.
“Once you sign that provisional ballot, the chances are officially one in three that your ballot will be thrown in the garbage can,” said Palast.
In their guide, Palast and Kennedy write that a provisional ballot will most often render a vote uncounted. They suggest seeking adjudication on the spot, by calling a voter’s rights hotline instead of accepting and signing the provisional ballot.
“Don’t go postal,” says Palast, urging voters not to mail in their ballot.
Palast told Truthout: “All you need is the most minor error, like you didn’t use your middle initial in your registration; not enough postage cost a third of a million votes in the US the last time around because most ballots are two stamps, not one. There’s a million ways to not count your vote on a mail-in; don’t do it.”
The other suggestions in the “Steal Back Your Vote” guide include voting early, getting involved in voter-registration and get-out-the-vote organizations, and pursuing legal action if disenfranchised.
Palast and Kennedy will be following the 2008 elections as they unfold, including publishing reports in Rolling Stone and BBC news.
“However, the Republican cry of ‘Vote Fraud!’ has become the cover for purges and challenges to legal voters by the millions. I even tracked down and filmed some of these so-called fraudulent voters handed me from a GOP list. Every one was a legal voter.”
— Greg Palast, Intrepid Investigative Reporter and Author
* * *
Greg Palast and BuzzFlash go back to the election of 2000. At that time, large progressive political news sites were hard to come by ”“ and there was only one investigative reporter who was able to unravel the theft of the Florida election: Greg Palast.
Greg didn’t just expose the mugging of democracy. As a University of Chicago trained researcher, he was able to detail how Katherine Harris used an outside vendor to create caging lists that prevented legitimate voters from casting their ballots. In fact, Greg has a laptop presentation that actually shows you the lists that Harris’s office worked from in keeping minorities from voting.
Of course, Greg’s investigation on vote theft ”“ which has branched out widely in the intervening years ”“ is persuasive and thorough enough for the BBC and British newspapers, but not for the corporate press in America! We kid you not.
To this day, Palast is effectively banned from reaching the mainstream American voter because television stations and big papers are owned by companies that don’t want to rock the vote. It might hurt their tax cuts or efforts to deregulate media ownership.
BuzzFlash thought that now would be a good time to revisit with our most interviewed expert on BuzzFlash, Greg Palast. After all, we have an election coming up.
* * *
BuzzFlash: You have been investigating the coordinated and vigorous GOP effort to suppress and steal votes since the theft of the election in 2000. You and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. just did a BBC Documentary on what nefarious voter suppression tactics the Republicans have in store for us in 2008. Can you summarize some of the methods that the GOP are using to disenfranchise non-Republican voters prior to the election, to prevent them from voting during the election, and to keep their votes from being counted after the polls close?
Greg Palast: It’s ugly. Consider:
– In the swing state of Colorado, we found that the Republican Secretary of State wiped out 19.4% – one in five – voter names in an unnoticed mass purge.
– In swing-state New Mexico, in the February caucus, one in nine Democrats found their names missing from the voter rolls supplied by the State. The elections supervisor of San Miguel County – whose own name was missing from the rolls – has no confidence the state contractors will fix it. Our statistical analysis showed there was a direct relationship between your name and your race and income. The poor and the dark were disappeared.
– In Indiana, you heard about 10 nuns who lost their vote because their ID – drivers’ licenses – had expired (they were all over eighty). But what about the others? We’ve calculated that 143,000 others were turned away – disproportionately Blacks and new voters.
And so on and so on.
BuzzFlash: BuzzFlash has been covering one public relations effort by the Republican National Committee to create a false context for claiming voter fraud. In short, they have been attacking a national community organizing group called ACORN with news releases, lawsuits, surrogate assaults, etc., falsely claiming (as they did in 2004 and 2006) that ACORN is engaged in the massive illegal registration of primarily minority voters. Can you explain the significance of the ACORN slander by the RNC?
Greg Palast: As RFK and I report, there are only about SIX voters found guilty of federal voting fraud in a year. SiX! Out of 178 million registered voters.
So the GOP (and Fox and CNN) are running stories about ACORN signing up zillions of illegal voters. Yep, there are a handful of phony names – but ‘Mary Poppins’ has never shown up to vote.
However, the Republican cry of ‘Vote Fraud!’ has become the cover for purges and challenges to legal voters by the millions.
I even tracked down and filmed some of these so-called fraudulent voters handed me from a GOP list. Every one was a legal voter.
Tell us a bit about the site and downloadable comic book that you launched with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on how to prevent the theft of millions of votes by the Republicans, yet again in 2008. The website is: http://www.stealbackyourvote.com.
Greg Palast: Our Rolling Stone report that’s out this week is all about how they’ve stolen so many legitimate votes. The comic book, which includes the Rolling Stone findings also includes the SEVEN WAYS TO STEAL IT BACK.
And the whole thing is illustrated brilliantly by comic crazies Ted Rall, Lukas Ketner and Troubletown’s Lloyd Dangle. I loved doing it.
You can download the whole comic book for a penny or more (donate more please) at StealBackYourVote.org. And better yet, you can order bunches of the comic book there as well (and see the short movies). Cool eh?
BuzzFlash: Can you briefly explain the role of ProsecutorGate at the DOJ in efforts to suppress the Democratic vote in 2006? How did this fit in with Karl Rove’s grand voter suppression and theft plan?
Greg Palast: You betcha! Fired prosecutor David Iglesias told us something astonishing: He said that he was fired because he refused to arrest innocent citizens for voter fraud that didn’t happen. That’s obstruction of justice. It was all about creating a hysteria over fraudulent voters that didn’t exist.
This is what Iglesias basically said: “They wanted some splashy pre-election indictments [Rove and the RNC] that would scare these alleged hordes of illegal voters away.” Only the voters were legal.
BuzzFlash: Isn’t there one bright spot? You cut your teeth on GOP voter disenfranchisement with brilliant reporting on how the Bush campaign team, Jeb Bush, and Katherine Harris prevented tens of thousands of valid minority voters from voting through a scheme to use an outside vendor, ChoicePoint, to create an inaccurate list of felons who could not vote in 2000 in Florida. Hasn’t the current GOP governor, Charlie Crist, had the right to vote of ex-felons restored?
Greg Palast: Crist is a duplicitous phony. On the one hand, he pretends they’ll let ex-cons vote as in almost every state. On the other hand less than a handful of the half million ex-cons in the state have been able to get through the insane rigamarole required to actually register. In most states ex-cons can vote like anyone else.
BuzzFlash: As a follow up, from a practical matter, don’t the Republicans have to be within a certain striking distance to steal the election. If Obama keeps trending up, or ends up with a double-digit popular vote victory, how could the GOP steal the election? After all, if Nader weren’t on the ballot in Florida ”“ despite all the nefarious Republican voter suppression and theft ”“ Al Gore would be president, right?
Greg Palast: That’s what RFK and I say: you can’t steal ALL the votes ALL the time.
BuzzFlash: Okay, it’s less than a month before the election, what can anyone do to halt another theft of the White House?
Greg Palast: Go to STEALBACKYOURVOTE.ORG. Get the comic book. Now was that so difficult?*
BuzzFlash: For 8 years, you’ve been covering this issue. Some others have joined you over time and it’s a bit of a movement, albeit still relatively small. But, as in 2000, not much has changed with the corporate media. They are still pretty much ignoring the clear evidence of a coordinated GOP effort to keep non-Republicans from voting and to steal votes wherever they can. Is there any reason to think that they might awaken to their journalistic responsibility to report on the mugging of democracy?
Greg Palast: Zero. That’s why we have BuzzFlash. Bless you.
[*In brief, Palast advises voters to vote early; do not mail in your ballot; check on your registration in advance to make sure there is not a glitch; don’t vote a provisional ballot; volunteer on election day; go to the polls with someone for mutual support; and use the resources that you can get at stealbackyourvote.org.]
[BuzzFlash Afternote: The GOP assault on the right of every American to vote is so widespread that we can barely touch upon it in one interview. Of course, there is the whole additional issue of electronic voting theft, for example. The Republican effort to disenfranchise legitimate voters is a vast criminal enterprise.]
It’s Bobby Kennedy and Greg Palast releasing the flaming hot full-color investigative comic book, STEAL BACK YOUR VOTE!
Pow! Zap! No more joking with our rights, Mr. Rove!
Click here and get the 24-page investigative comic book by Greg Palast and Bobby Kennedy: STEAL BACK YOUR VOTE.
With the full story of the investigation you’ll soon see Rolling Stone magazine – illustrated by razor-sharp pencils of Ted Rall, Lukas Ketner and Lloyd Dangle.
SIX ways they’re STEALING your vote – and SEVEN ways to STEAL IT BACK.
(C’mon – ‘fess up – do you really know what to do if they hand you a ‘provisional’ ballot?)
Make a $100 tax deductible donation at StealBackYourVote.org and we’ll send you 25 to pass out to troublemakers of your choice.
And, for every $100 donation, we will give away another 400 to voters to vulnerable voters in swing states. We just sent eight cases to Santiago Juarez. Santiago’s working with young Hispanic voters of New Mexico. Can you help us send him more?
Thanks to your prior generosity, we’re offering the printing plates FREE of any fee to us to any magazine or weekly that wants to insert comic. (You want to reproduce the guide on a mass scale – you got it. Contact zach (at) gregpalast.com
WHAT’S THAT UP IN THE SKY?! It’s our Super Sponsors! Voto Latino, Operation Rainbow Push, Air America Radio, Juan Gonzales of Democracy Now! and other crusaders for Truth, Justice and the American Way.
Contact us at interviews (at) StealBackYourVote.org.
“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
Bobby Kennedy Jr. and I have had it UP TO HERE. They stole 2000. They stole 2004. Now, they’re snatching it again. So Bobby and I are doing the most important thing we can do in a crisis of democracy: write an investigative comic book.
Here it is: Steal Back Your Voteis out today. Download it right now at StealBackYourVote.ORG
Its 24 full-color pages cut open the Rove-arian cancer on our ballot box: the Six Ways They’re Stealing Your Vote ”“ plus a two-page pull-out guide ”“ 7 Ways to Steal it Back.
Print it out. Pass it out. Right now.
Illustrations from the rapier-sharp pencils of Ted Rall, Troubletown’s Lloyd Dangle and Lukas Ketner.
To cover costs, we’re asking you to make a donation ”“ it can be a buck, ten bucks, a penny, a grand. This will pay for print copies we’re sending to vulnerable voters. (We’ll send them gratis to churches designated by our co-sponsor, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Operation Rainbow/PUSH.)
Excerpted from the Greg Palast, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Robert F. Kennedy’s comic book voter guide Steal Back Your Vote.
In 2002, George W. Bush signed the Help America Vote Act.
When a Bush tells you he’s going to “help” you vote – look out!
The result: in the 2004 presidential election, over three million votes – 3,006,080 – were cast and not counted. Like, what the !@#!?
That’s from the official data from an agency created by George Bush called the “Elections Assistance Commission.” When a Bush tells you he’s going to “assist” our elections… (well, you get it).
Three MILLION ballots disappeared – Pfft!
And not just anyone’s ballots. U.S. government experts reported, for example, that a black voter’s ballot is 900% more likely than a white voter’s ballot to get “lost” in the machine. Bush fired the experts.
Three million voters went missing in ”˜04 – but that ain’t nuthin’!
Law professor and voting law expert Robert F. Kennedy Jr. warns that it’s about to get a whole lot worse. Nasty new spores of the “Help” America Vote Act went into effect since the last election that have turned the process into a vicious game of “Chutes and Ladders,” with traps and tricks between you and your vote…
Example: the Republican Secretary of State of Colorado “helped” her state vote by eliminating 19.4% of the voters from the voter rolls. That’s one in five !@#$#@ voters!
Over three million missing ballots ”“ and now the voters themselves are disappearing by the millions. Where the hell did they go?
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. “Itâs about teaching (budding politicians) big-money politics. …more
I’m guessing it was excessive exposure to either radiation or George Bush, but Senator John McCain’s comments from inside a nuclear power plant in Michigan are so cracked-brained that I fear some loose gamma rays are doing to McCain’s gray matter what they did to Homer Simpson’s.
On Tuesday, the presumptive Republican candidate descended into the colon of a nuke to declare we need to build 45 new nuclear plants – that this is the way out of our energy crisis. Nuclear power, declared the senator, is a “safe, efficient [and] inexpensive” alternative to oil.
Really? We can argue all day about whether nuclear plants are safe (they aren’t ”“period). But there can be no argument whatsoever that these giant radioactive tea-kettles are breathtakingly expensive.
Nuclear plants are cheap until you actually try to build one. Not one of the last 49 nuclear plants cost less than $2 billion apiece. I’m looking down the road at the remainders of the Shoreham nuclear plant which took nearly 20 years to build at a cost of $8 billion ”“ or close to $7,000 per customer it was supposed to supply. When I say “supposed to,” it was closed for safety reasons after operating just one single day.
We’re told that the new generation of plants will be different. Just like an alcoholic child-beater, the nuclear plant builders promise us that, “This time it will be different.” Sure. And McCain believes them.
I don’t. Maybe that’s because I headed the government racketeering investigation of the Shoreham nuclear plant’s builders. Stone & Webster Engineering and its partner paid hundreds of millions of dollars to settle the civil racketeering claim over the evidence we found of fraud and perjury. Now Stone & Webster (a division of Shaw Group Inc.) will cash in big-time under Plan McCain.
The other big builder which will hit the jackpot under the McCain scheme is KBR, the one-time subsidiary of Halliburton, whose best known project is the rebuilding of Iraq. (Halliburton dumped KBR last year. Can’t blame them.) KBR has built many nukes ”“not one within a mile of its promised cost.
But that doesn’t bother McCain. So who is McCain getting his energy advice from? I’m looking at a photo of the perplexed senator inside the control room, looking like Homer without a donut, getting a lecture on the wonders of nuclear energy from a power company CEO, one Tony Early. Early is the former President of LILCO, the very corporation the Feds and State of New York charged with civil racketeering. (We did not name Early as a co-conspirator. When the government got him on the witness stand, it was clear the guy was too clueless to recognize he was in the midst of a billion-dollar swindle. McCain’s got quite some team.)
Now, you Obamaniacs might not want to read this next paragraph:
While McCain is pushing nuclear power, a Senator from Illinois who shall remain nameless (skinny, just gave up smokes), was already embracing radiation as the solution to pollution. This Senator voted for George Bush’s energy bill, a law which contained massive giveaways to nuclear energy, legislation which diss’es and dismisses conservation. Indeed, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate has been derided as the “Senator from Commonwealth Edison,” the Chicago division of Exelon Corp., the nation’s largest operator of nuclear plants ”“ and whose executives were the money backbone to his early presidential campaign.
So, we’ve got both candidates hawking the nuclear snake oil. But there is one difference between them. A big big BIG difference.
McCain’s ready to spend a hundred billion dollars on nuclear power, no questions asked. But Barack Obama puts a crucial condition on his approval for building new nukes: an affordable method of disposing the new plants’ radioactive waste.
That’s not small stuff. While The New York Times reporters following McCain repeated his line about “inexpensive” nuclear power without question, a buried wire story on the same day noted that the Energy Department is putting the unfunded bill for disposing nuclear plant waste at $96.2 billion ”“ nearly a billion dollars per plant operating today. And no one even knows exactly how to do it, or where. Obama has the audacity to ask about the nuclear waste’s cost. “Can we deal with the expense?” he said on Meet the Press.
McCain’s plan to spend endless billions on nuclear plants without a waste disposal system in place is like building a massive hotel without toilets. D’oh! I suppose you can always tell the guests to poop in buckets until someone comes up with a plan for plumbing. But the stuff piles up. And unlike the fecal droppings of tourists, nuclear waste will stay hot and dangerous for a thousand generations.
So there you have our election in a nutshell. We have two candidates who rise above their parties – only to agree on a ludicrous pro-nukes energy plan.
But at least Senator Obama, when confronted with an economic question, doesn’t have to take off his shoes to add up the facts.
One million Democrats attempting to vote in this year’s primaries found their names missing from voter rolls. WHERE THE HELL DID THEY GO?
Law professor Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and journalist Greg Palast are launching an investigation. We want to know: where are these votes? Who swiped them? How? And how do we prevent it from happening in November?
The investigations team needs your help. RIGHT NOW. The not-for-profit Investigative Fund needs support to pay the cost of phones, airfare, microphones (hidden, when needed), detective agency fees, camera crew, researchers and all the infrastructure of inquest.
We need, right now, two dozen Producers to put up at least $1000 each to pay for the preliminary investigation and production. You’ll get a tax deduction, a box loaded with DVDs of the finished films now planned from broadcast internationally ”“ and maybe, just maybe, an honest election.
Bobby Kennedy, in his masterful article in Rolling Stone, exposed how Ohio votes vanished in 2004. The Palast team, for BBC Television, unmasked the vicious ”˜scrub’ of Black voters in Florida in 2000. Now Kennedy and Palast have joined together with an extraordinary team of investigators to hunt the missing votes of 2008 BEFORE we have a repeat of 2000 and 2004.
I haven’t sought funding from you all this year ”“ but now I must. Neither I nor RFK take a dime of compensation from the Palast Investigative Fund. But the fund’s hit empty and we can’t ask a our brilliant crew to continue to survive on dog food ”“ they’re beginning to bark at embarrassing moments!
Our investigation is non-partisan. It’s not about saving Democrats, but saving DEMOCRACY.
But we know who’s playing games with the ballots.
FACT: On Super-Tuesday, the number of Democrats missing from voter rolls in New Mexico exceeded George Bush’s 2004 ”˜victory’ total by 300%. No wonder McCain’s campaign says, New Mexico is “in play.” The question is who’s playing with it?
Join our effort. If you’ve got a tip, a document, a witness ”“ CONTACT US. And add your name to the list of Producers and Supporters.
Some Americans have taken a bullet to protect the ballot. All we’re asking is that you take a tax deduction. Add your name in bold on screen as a producer of the film that will open eyes and stop lies.
Donate HERE ”“ and PASS ON this request to friends and patriots. Let’s stop the attack on democracy NOW ”“ so we can make this the final investigation of a stolen election.
I can’t tell you how much your support of our investigations has meant to us.
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.
On a single day, December 7, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales demanded the resignations of 8 United States Attorneys. What was really the purpose of the firings – and who was behind it? Investigative journalist Greg Palast reports.
AMY GOODMAN: Perhaps the most well known of these US attorneys is ousted New Mexico prosecutor David Iglesias. His case has been at the center of the political firestorm. Investigative journalist Greg Palast has been closely following this story. He files this report. TOM CRUISE: Your honor, I’d like to ask for a recess. I’d like an answer to the question, Judge.
J.A. PRESTON: The court will wait for an answer.
GREG PALAST: This past December 7 was not the first time United States prosecutor David Iglesias had been brutally cut loose. In the 1992 film A Few Good Men, Tom Cruise plays David Iglesias, the true story of the young military defense lawyer fighting to uncover the truth.
TOM CRUISE: I want the truth!
JACK NICHOLSON: You can’t handle the truth!
GREG PALAST: Greg Palast.
DAVID IGLESIAS: Greg, hi. David Iglesias.
GREG PALAST: Hey, how are you, Captain?
DAVID IGLESIAS: Hey, I’m doing just fine. Thank you.
GREG PALAST: So can you handle the truth or not?
DAVID IGLESIAS: Absolutely.
GREG PALAST: Captain Iglesias, the US prosecutor, knew something was very wrong when, just a week before the 2006 midterm elections, he received a strange and threatening call to his home. It was his state’s senior senator, the powerful Republican leader Pete Domenici on the line, pushing Iglesias to file criminal charges against a Democrat before the election.
DAVID IGLESIAS: I’m sitting in my bedroom, and here’s the killer point, Greg. He says, “Are these going to get filed before November?” And I said I didn’t think so. And the line goes dead. In other words, our senior senator hung up on me. A terribly inappropriate call.
GREG PALAST: Inappropriate, certainly. Obstruction of justice, possibly.
DAVID IGLESIAS: He basically wanted to know: are you going to file these cases that can help Heather out? That was the subtext. I felt terrible after that phone call.
GREG PALAST: By “helping Heather,” he meant Congresswoman Heather Wilson, then candidate Heather Wilson. The race was a dead heat. Domenici wanted him to bust a Democrat to help Wilson. Still, Iglesias tried to be the loyal party man, even covering up the threatening call.
Did you report this phone call to anyone at the time?
DAVID IGLESIAS: I did not, and I should have. There is a requirement under the US attorney’s manual for us to report that kind of contact from a member of Congress. I didn’t do that.
GREG PALAST: But that act of loyalty wasn’t good enough for Karl Rove, the President’s political advisor. Rove flew to New Mexico just before the election and got an earful of complaints about Iglesias from state party chiefs. Rove reported to President Bush, who personally put the heat on Attorney General Gonzales. Iglesias was stunned.
DAVID IGLESIAS: I had no idea that a few local yokels in New Mexico would have enough stroke to get the President to complain.
GREG PALAST: There was more than failing to help the Wilson campaign. In the 2004 presidential election, Republican operatives blocked a quarter-million new voters nationwide from voting on grounds they brought the wrong IDs to the poles. To justify this massive blockade, Republican officials wanted Iglesias to arrest some voters to create a high publicity show trial. Iglesias went along with the game. Just before the 2004 election, he held a press conference announcing the creation of a vote fraud task force. But the prosecutor drew the line at arresting innocent voters.
DAVID IGLESIAS: They were telling Rove that I wasn’t doing their bidding. I wasn’t filing these voter fraud cases.
GREG PALAST: The evidence fellow Republicans gave him was junk. He refused to bring a single prosecution.
DAVID IGLESIAS: It was the old throwing pasta at the wall trick, that he’s throwing up pasta. Something’s got to stick, and it didn’t.
GREG PALAST: For failing to bring the voting cases, Iglesias paid with his job.
DAVID IGLESIAS: They wanted a political operative who happened to be a US attorney, and when they got somebody who actually took his oath to the Constitution seriously, they were appalled and they wanted me out of there. The two strikes against me was, I was not political, I didn’t help them out on their bogus voter fraud prosecutions.
GREG PALAST: Rove personally ordered his removal. As a prosecutor, Iglesias says that if missing emails prove the firing was punishment for failure to bring bogus charges, Mr. Rove himself is in legal trouble.
DAVID IGLESIAS: If his intent was, look what happened with Iglesias, if that was his intent, he’s in big trouble. That is obstruction of justice, one classic example.
GREG PALAST: Iglesias believes the real reasons for the firings are in what are called the missing emails, emails sent by the Rove team using Republican Party campaign computers, which Rove claims can’t be retrieved. But not all the missing emails are missing. We have 500 of them. Apparently the Rove team misaddressed their emails, and late one night they all ended up in our inboxes in our offices in New York City.
And as Iglesias predicted, they reveal a story the party would rather keep buried. Voting rights attorney Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., reviewed the evidence in our cache of emails and concluded:
ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR.: They ought to be in jail for doing this, because they knew it was illegal, and they did it anyway.
GREG PALAST: What is it that was so obviously illegal that law professor Kennedy thought they deserved prison time? The evidence that shook him was attached to fifty of the secret emails, something that GOP party chiefs called caging lists, thousands of names of voters. Notably, the majority were African American. Kennedy explained how caging worked.
ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR.: Caging is an illegal way of getting rid of black votes. You get a list of all the black voters. Then you send a letter to their homes. And if the person doesn’t sign it at the homes, the letter then is returned to the Republican National Committee. They then direct the state attorney general, who is friendly to them, who’s Republican, to remove that voter from the list on the alleged basis that that voter does not live in the address that they designated as their address on the voting application form.
GREG PALAST: In all, the Republican Party challenged nearly three million voters, a mass attack on minority voting rights virtually unreported in the US press.
ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR.: So they disenfranchised millions of black voters who don’t even know that they’ve been disenfranchised.
GREG PALAST: Page after page of voters with this address, Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, hundreds, thousands of soldiers and sailors targeted to lose their vote. Go to Baghdad, lose your vote.
And what does this have to do with the prosecutor firings? Take a look at the name at the top of the secret missing email: Tim Griffin. This is the man in charge of the allegedly illegal caging operation. He is research director for the Republican National Committee, special assistant to Karl Rove, and as of December 7 Karl Rove’s personal pick for US attorney for the state of Arkansas. Is this a case of the perpetrator becomes the prosecutor? For Democracy Now! this is Greg Palast.
JACK NICHOLSON: We use words like honor, code, loyalty.
GREG PALAST: Is Tom Cruise going to play you in this follow-up?
DAVID IGLESIAS: He’s more handsome, but I’m quite a bit taller, so I’ve got that on him.
AMY GOODMAN: And that was the excerpt of A Few Good Men from Greg Palast’s piece. Greg Palast, investigative journalist, his latest book just out on paperback called Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans, Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild. Greg Palast joins us in the studio now.
Greg, I just want to start where you left off and started this film: A Few Good Men. I don’t think most people understand this about David Iglesias.
GREG PALAST: Yes, well, Iglesias was the guy played by Tom Cruise in the film A Few Good Men, which is a real story about how a young military attorney stood up to military brass to uncover the truth. And somehow they thought that this — you know, this Tom —
AMY GOODMAN: This was the hazing of a young man, a soldier, who was killed.
GREG PALAST: Yeah, who was killed. And it was covered up. And, you know, he just wanted to get to the truth. That was David Iglesias. Now, here he is again, you know, standing up to the brass. I mean, one of the things we have to be very careful of is — you know, I’m not going to say he’s a man for all season — he went along just before the 2004 election and held a big splashy press conference, saying, “Yes, I’m going to go and look for voter fraud,” that there are — you know, it looks like there may be thousands of fraudulent voters.
Understand what this is about. This is to create a hysteria so they could pass legislation which would require voters to show up with ID. A quarter-million voters were turned away for having the wrong ID, but no one was arrested. So Karl Rove and his assistant Tim Griffin are in a panic. You’re turning away thousands of voters, you’re not arresting any. So he’s asking Iglesias, demanding Iglesias — and now we know a half dozen others, almost everyone that was fired — they demand that they just grab people. That’s where Iglesias drew the line in the sand. He said a press conference is one thing, which he probably shouldn’t have done, but literally handcuffing innocent voters for show trials — and then, of course, then you drop the case later — that is one thing he absolutely was not going to do. He was going to give up his job.
He also made the mistake — when he got calls from Senator Pete Domenici asking for inside information, pushing him to arrest Democrats a week before the midterm election of 2006, that was another attempt at what could be obstruction of justice. The US code for US attorneys requires that he turn in Senator Domenici, which he admits he didn’t do. And now he regrets that, but he said, “You know, I want the evidence out there anyway, even if it shows that I failed to act.”
AMY GOODMAN: And Healther Wilson, of course, also called, and Heather Wilson at the time in an extremely close race for her political life as a congress member from New Mexico.
GREG PALAST: Well, in fact, from my investigation, she didn’t win. There was voter fraud, and that the majority of the votes went to the Democrats.
Another thing is that Iglesias did not, unfortunately, investigate the other side of the coin, which is this massive denial of votes, systematic by Republican operatives. Now, what we have and what we showed in the film is that when I was investigating for BBC and for Democracy Now! back in 2004, we got 500 of the so-called missing emails of Karl Rove. They were, you know — Karl Rove, people think he’s an evil genius, but that’s only about half right. I mean, he’s not necessarily the sharpest knife in the drawer, and he and his guys were mistyping their email addresses, sent them to georgewbush.org, instead of dotcom, which is an email domain owned by friends of ours, who shot them right to us.
We went through the 500, and what we found were this massive plan to deny the right to vote — I mean, extraordinarily targeting African American soldiers sent overseas. They’d send them a letter to their home address. The letter would come back. They say, “Gee, they don’t live there. They shouldn’t be allowed to vote.” Their absentee ballot would come in from overseas, and it would be challenged. They would lose their vote. They wouldn’t even know it. Now, when we showed this to several voting rights attorneys, including, as you heard, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. — now, he was really shaken up. That’s when he said these guys should be in jail. So this is the other side of this whole issue involving the prosecutors.
And who did this? Who was in charge of this? It wasn’t Rove personally. He had put Tim Griffin in charge. Griffin is the guy who, with Rove, picked out the US attorneys to be fired and then had himself named by Rove — had himself named by Rove to the spot as US attorney for Arkansas. So what we may have here is a case of the perpetrator of voter fraud becoming the prosecutor. I mean, it is — and what this is all about — in fact, I have an internal Tim Griffin email — what this is all about is, he says it’s all about the votes. This is about the 2008 election, a panic to get their people in place for 2008 to create hysteria about voter ID, knock out minority voters, especially Hispanic, and to put in their people who are experienced in knocking out voters.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to go more into this after break. We’re talking to Greg Palast. His book just came out on paperback. It’s called Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans. Stay with us.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Greg Palast, investigative journalist, author of Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans. Investigative journalist Murray Waas reported last week the Bush administration has withheld emails showing senior White House and Justice Department officials collaborated to conceal the role of White House strategist Karl Rove in installing his former deputy, Timothy Griffin as US attorney in Arkansas. The emails show that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s former chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson, worked with White House officials on two letters that misled Congress on the appointment and also Rove’s role in that. Greg?
GREG PALAST: Well, yeah. They were covering up the fact that Tim Griffin was Rove’s right-hand man. And you have to understand, Rove, as the political director at the White House, was deeply involved in targeting and taking out the US attorneys who were recalcitrant and wouldn’t start handcuffing Hispanic voters on false voter charges. They also know that it’s a slippery slope, because they know that I have 500 of the so-called missing emails.
In fact, that’s one of the points that — in one of their internal emails, which was actually subpoenaed by the committee, they’re complaining about that guy, the British reporter — that’s Greg Palast. As you realize, Amy, I’m American. But, of course, my reports are exiled to BBC Britain, and then they come back here through Democracy Now!, bless you. But they’re saying that these reports about Griffin’s role have not been picked up in the US media, in the US national media. And they’re kind of right. I mean, this material has not come through the US media.
They don’t want Griffin’s role opened up, because once they have the role of Griffin in the firings opened up, they’ll ask why that happened. They will find and discover these emails, and, in fact, now that they’re public, will turn them over to the Conyers committee, and then they’ll find out that Griffin was deeply involved in the removal of legal voters. And now you’re getting into potential felony area. That’s a very serious business. So they want to stop the slippery slope of bringing in Griffin and revealing the entire chain of emails, not just his involvement in the firings, but what led up to it, and that brings us to the emails that you just saw on our report.
AMY GOODMAN: In this whole scandal, we keep hearing about voter fraud, voter fraud. But can you explain what is being talked about here with this aggressive effort to restrict, particularly people of color, voting in battleground states?
GREG PALAST: What happened is that the Republican Party was running a massive campaign directed by Karl Rove and, we know, Tim Griffin, from the written emails, to block voters’ votes or to challenge their votes. One way to challenge voters was to say that they were stealing someone else’s identity. Someone is voting for Amy Goodman. Well, they say, the solution is to create ID cards. The problem is we can’t find anyone anywhere who has committed this crime of stealing Amy Goodman’s name to vote. People are not willing to go to jail to vote in some school board election or even for the presidency.
What Griffin, Rove’s assistant, wanted Iglesias to do — they gave them 110 names. They wanted them, for example, to arrest some guy named, say, roughly, if I remember, like Juan Gonzalez, and say he voted twice, stealing someone’s ID. Well, in New Mexico there may be two guys named Juan Gonzalez. So Iglesias just thought this was absolute junk, absolute junk stuff, and he wouldn’t do it. So it’s all about trying to create a hysteria about fraudulent voting.
There are 120 million people that voted, and I can’t find an actual case out of 120 of a prosecution that — a real prosecution of any single voter for voter identity theft. There is like five cases in the country involving some minor offices. That’s it. So it’s a complete false prosecution set-up, kind of like the Soviet Union: just grab people, put them on show trials, maybe let them go later, maybe they languish in jail.
On the other side, they’re covering up their own program, programmatic challenge of voters, which is not covered in the US press. Three million people were challenged. By the way, this isn’t, you know, from the Democracy Now! black helicopter. This is from the raw data of the United States Election Assistance Commission: three million challenges. These votes were basically lost. Over a million votes were lost. Half a million absentee ballots were thrown out, and many, many of those were votes of African American and Hispanic soldiers that went to Iraq, got their ballots challenged under this Karl Rove-Tim Griffin scheme, and they lost their vote. And they didn’t even know that they lost their vote. So all of this is being covered up.
And so, they cannot now — they don’t want to open up the whole story of Tim Griffin, how he became US attorney, what his role was, because it goes all the way back. And what David Iglesias was saying, US attorney, now captain — by the way, he’s back in the military — Captain Iglesias was saying, if you can show this chain of intent, that it’s all about the voting and he’s being punished for not bringing these false prosecutions, he says, that’s an obstruction of justice charge that can be brought against Karl Rove.
And, by the way, one little sidelight on that is that Captain Iglesias, one of the excuses that they try to give for firing him, Amy, was that he was absent for too many days from office. They didn’t mention that he was absent because he was on active duty in the US Naval Reserve. He is now, by the way, bringing the very first claim ever. You cannot fire someone for doing their duty in the US Naval Reserve. He’s now filing a charge against the commander-in-chief, George Bush, for attempting to fire him for simply showing up for active duty.
AMY GOODMAN: The Arkansas Leader reported enterprising reporters examining Griffin’s fanciful resume discovered his blistering record as a prosecutor was nothing more than paper shuffling in short stints in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps and federal prosecutor offices. He had never taken a single case to trial. His career had consisted almost altogether of political hatchet work.
GREG PALAST: Well, you have to look at what’s going on here. You’ve replaced Iglesias, who is, you know, the Tom Cruise lawyer who has real experience as a prosecutor, as a trial lawyer from the military. They remove him, and they put in a paper shuffler — worse, someone who is actually shuffling voters’ papers that he shouldn’t be shuffling. You saw the kind of emotional reaction of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., voting rights attorney. He was the most emotional, because you have to imagine — remember that his father, his late father, was the predecessor to Alberto Gonzales. Imagine, we’ve gone from Robert F, Kennedy, Sr., to Roberto Gonzales.
AMY GOODMAN: Alberto.
GREG PALAST: Yeah. And you can, you know — from Kennedy’s, this was very an emotional issue. To see the office that his father used to protect civil rights being used deliberately to attack civil rights is a very serious business. But, again, here he is saying, and Iglesias is suggesting now with this evidence, that it rises now to obstruction of justice.
AMY GOODMAN: And, interestingly, McClatchy Newspapers reporting, as part of the strategy, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has sought to roll back policies to protect minority voting rights. On virtually every significant decision affecting election balloting since 2001, the division’s voting rights section has come down on the side of Republicans.
GREG PALAST: Well, even worse, what’s not covered there is that they covered up the active attack on legal voters. I mean, you’re talking — the caging lists that we have, in the 500 sheets, the 500 emails, we have 70,000 names. That’s one state. This was a multimillion-dollar, gold-plated attack operation on the right of minority voters to vote. And, obviously, Griffin knew it, because he was in charge of it. So you actually have the guys who are supposed to be protecting voters are either actively covering up or even actively participating in knocking out legal voters. I mean, it’s like the mob has grabbed the police department. That’s the problem, by the way, with voter fraud — with real voter fraud, not the phony stuff of grabbing the Juan Gonzalezes of New Mexico — if you win, you’ve now grabbed the apparatus of protection and enforcement. It’s the perfect crime.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’re going to leave it there. I want to thank you very much, Greg Palast, for joining us. Greg, an investigative journalist, latest book just out in paperbook called Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans, Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild.
NEW YORK — Monday, May 7, 2007 Voting rights attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has called for prison time for the new US Attorney for Arkansas, Timothy Griffin and investigation of Griffin’s former boss, Karl Rove, chief political advisor to President Bush.
“Timothy Griffin,” said Kennedy,”who is the new US attorney in Arkansas, was actually the mastermind behind the voter fraud efforts by the Bush Administration to disenfranchise over a million voters through ‘caging’ techniques – which are illegal.”
[Hear Kennedy on Griffin, Rove and ‘caging lists’ below or here]
Kennedy based his demand on the revelations by BBC reporter Greg Palast in the new …more
A lot of advice we’re getting from our progressive friends is to take photos of your ballot and silly stuff like that. Well, that’s all about how to complain after they steal it. I have a better idea: Win, don’t whine.
#1: Gang Vote
Arrive with five! Never go bowling, make love or vote alone. And volunteer at get-out-the-vote operations. It’s worth it just for the stale donuts, cold coffee and hot democracy.
#2: Tell Them to Take Their Provisional Ballot and …
If they try to hand you a “provisional ballot,” scream bloody murder. If there’s a problem with your ID or registration, demand adjudication from a poll monitor, come back with proper ID, or demand appeal to the county supervisor of elections.But don’t just walk away. If it’s provisional or nothing, take it — then return for the count to defend it. #3: Get to Work
Volunteer to bring out the vote. Or watch a poll — to challenge the challengers. Get credentials; don’t freelance — you’ll likely get thrown out. Either get credentials from the parties or get information on how you can slay vote-eating dragons in your area from the National Campaign for Fair Elections the umbrella group including NAACP, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law and People for the American Way (NationalCampaignForFairElections.org).
Bonnie Raitt, Larry David and friends invite you to join Jackson Browne, Ed Asner, Ben Vereen and other stars on the November 16, 6-8pm at an intimate gathering in the home of Code Pink’s Jodie Evans in Beverly Hills, California, to support the Palast Investigative Fund, a 501c3 educational foundation. For details and to request one or two of the limited number of invitations, go to http://www.palastinvestigativefund.org/november-16th-fundraiser .
“This war in Iraq has been the best thing in the world for Big Oil and OPEC. They’ve made the largest profits in the history of the world. The interesting thing about your book is you show how it was all planned from the beginning. The story is like a spy thriller.” — Robert F. Kennedy Jr.