The Observer

Abused and Conned in Florida

For the Guardian and Observer (UK)
Sunday October 31, 2004
Voters claim abuse of electoral rolls.
Students say they were conned into registering twice.

An Observer investigation in the United States has uncovered widespread allegations of electoral abuse, many of them going uninvestigated despite complaints of what would appear to be criminal attempts to manipulate voter lists.

WE BEEN NORC'D!

On 15 February, for BBC TV, I reported that inside information from the Consortium of newspapers conducting a thorough review of Florida's 180,000 uncounted ballots showed Gore picking up about 20,000 votes. The information came from sources involved with the newspaper group's contractor, National Opinion Research Center of the University of Chicago.
I'm sure the final was not far off – but understand that NORC did not designate ANY ballot as either a Bush or Gore vote.

Amnesty loses face

Following a landmark libel case ruling, an investigative journalist has warned other reporters not to put their faith in human rights organisation Amnesty International as a reliable source of stories.
The warning was made by investigative journalist Greg Palast, following a libel case concerning an article originally published in UK Sunday broadsheet The Observer, in which certain allegations were made against the multinational mining company Barrick.

Kissing the Censor's Whip

Britain's two leading editors and a reporter face jail for printing a story embarrassing the government – but objections to this assault on freedom of the press were slow and timid.
GREG PALAST reports on how Britain's journalists learned to love the censorship that lashes them.

Why The Lights Went Out All Over California

America Preached The Wonders of Free Markets to The Rest of The World
But Exempted Itself — Until Last Year

Sunday July 1, 2001
The Observer
Napoleon called England a nation of shopkeepers, but the Little Corporal never tried to purchase dietary staples (organic milk, Red Bull) from a Tesco Express. I tackled the manager as to why they were out of stock AGAIN. ‘It's Friday,' he said, as if that were an unforeseen occurrence, like a rogue tidal wave that had engulfed Upper Street and prevented deliveries. I began to explain that ‘Friday' is what accountants call a ‘recurring event' and HAVEN'T YOU BRITONS EVER HEARD OF COMPUTERS YOU KNOW THOSE THINGS THAT LOOK LIKE TELEVISIONS WITH TYPEWRITERS ATTACHED… but, by then, everyone was looking around at that despised figure, the Complaining American.

Ask No Questions…


The Hinduja-Funded Spirit Zone Wasn't The Only Corporate Cash Deal Done at The Dome

For The Observer
Sir Anthony Hammond was so busy, busy, busy last month clearing absolutely everyone in Government over the Hinduja affair that he had no time to speak to the key witnesses. ‘I have not interviewed any of the Hinduja brothers,' he writes in his report to the Prime Minister. ‘There were obvious practical difficulties in visiting them in India.' Yes, and sea monsters had eaten all the phone lines to the sub-continent, I assume.
If on his way to investigate the Hinduja-funded Spirit Zone at the Millennium Dome Sir Anthony hadn't been as hurried as the March Hare, I would have invited him on The Observer ‘s special tour of the Dome. Had he followed me through the doorway marked ‘Privileged Access', he might have asked whether there was a flea market in favours surrounding Geoffrey Robinson, Peter Mandelson, John Prescott and others at the top of a Government obsessed with funding the Greenwich sinkhole and other New Labour projects. But Sir Anthony was not asked to ask questions about the Dome.

Dear Richard, Don't Say We Didn't Tell You

For Gtech, an In With The Bush Family is Worth More Than Anything Lottery Players Have in Their Hand
The Observer
Congratulations to George W Bush and to Camelot on their victories.
More than a year ago, we reported that the Government had decided to let Camelot retain control of the National Flutter in perpetuity. That was two weeks before the formal bidding process began. Despite our announcement, Richard Branson soldiered on, refusing, like the last dinosaur, to heed the voice whispering: ‘Excuse me, but you're extinct.'

A Blacklist Burning For Bush

Hey, Al, take a look at this. Every time I cut open another alligator, I find the bones of more Gore voters. This week, I was hacking my way through the Florida swampland known as the Office of Secretary of State Katherine Harris and found a couple thousand more names of voters electronically ‘disappeared' from the vote rolls. About half of those named are African-Americans. They had the right to vote, but they never made it to the balloting booths.

The lesser of two evils?

My wife would kill me if she knew what I was doing to that blonde, but I don't see how I can vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton. My vote against her in the New York Senate race could put Republican bats in charge of Congress and the White House, where they are certain to suck the blood of the working class – by privatising social security.

Welcome To My Hall Of Infamy

At absolutely no one's request, we hereby announce the winners of Inside corporate America's first annual Golden Vulture Awards:
The Call-My-Lawyer Award to… Sony Corporation.
Only last month, Sony and other media giants won a court injunction in the US against Napster, the website that lets you record music CDs off the internet.

Africans Find U.S. put Catch-22 in Deal for Cheap AIDS Drugs

For The Observer/Guardian UK
It would give me great pleasure to report, as did the New York Times earlier this month, that Bill Clinton has saved Africa. That big-hearted lug will lend African nations a billion dollars a year for AIDS drugs which — more joy! — the pharmaceutical companies have agreed to just give away at 75 percent off list price.

Of Blackbeard and Bill Gates Rip-off Software and CDs, Price-Rigged Pig Feed, Human Rights Abusers – a US Network is now on to them all

For The Observer/Guardian UK
You want to be a billionaire? Answer this one: What do Blackbeard, the Butcher of Croatia and Bill Gates have in common?
While the money clock ticks away, let me tell you about my weekend. I spent it at the Sheraton Hotel in Brussels, watching the guests shuttle between rooms. It looked a little like love, but maybe it meant nothing more to them than a couple nights of fun. There was Steve Ballmer, new CEO of Microsoft, and a thousand of his closest commercial and government friends, meeting under the guise of the ‘European Business Summit'.

Currency Rules – But it's not OK The Euro: Made in America by the Father of Reaganomics as a Tool to Smash the Power of Governments

For The Observer/Guardian UK
Give me two good reasons why I should listen to some American tell me about the euro.
All right. Number One: We don't care. There's no emotional baggage here. Frankly, I couldn't care less whether the Queen's nose remains on your coinage or not.
Number Two: Americans invented the euro. And it's time you learnt why.

New British Empire of the Dammed Bolivia's Water Supply is the Latest Acquisition of Thirsty British Firms in the Service of Uncle Sam

for The Observer/Guardian UK
With the front pages jammed with photos of two dead white farmers in Zimbabwe, the news from Bolivia “Protests claim two lives” was pushed into a teeny “World in Brief” in the Guardian, and unmentioned elsewhere. What a shame. The Zimbabwe murders merely exercised a suppressed nostalgia for England's imperial past. But Bolivia is the story of Britain's imperial future.

Profit and Education Don't Mix Britain should learn a lesson from the US

For The Observer/Guardian UK
The daring escape of three very expensive headmasters from the schools to which they were confined, prompted a flummoxed Education Secretary David Blunkett to do what he does best at times of crisis: issue a press release announcing a new programme to expand the privatisation of state schools. This desperate wheeze was for so-called city academies, which will operate outside the control of local education authorities and free of the Government's own curriculum and employment controls.