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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
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SarahPAC Candidate “Should Be in Jail”
NBC TV airs vote “caging” expose on Tim Griffin

Greg Palast 

For Truthout/Buzzflash

“What he [Griffin] did was absolutely illegal and he should be in jail.”

Illustration from Steal Back Your Vote comic

That’s hardly the kind of endorsement a candidate for Congress expects. But that is the conclusion of voting rights attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. after digging into the evidence of Congressional candidate Tim Griffin’s role in directing the Republican National Committee’s racially biased attack on voters known as “caging.”

A brutal mano-a-mano race in Arkansas’ Second District has become a showdown between Sarah Palin’s banner carrier Griffin (funded by SarahPAC) and Democrat Joyce Elliott who has drawn homeboy Bill Clinton back to Little Rock.

The ex-President, in Arkansas this week, was especially worked up about Griffin’s caging list vote suppression scheme. (Our Good Ol’ Boy in Chief told me back in 2008 he would bust out the story, and it only took him two years to do the right thing, a personal best for Bill.)
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Slick Operator: The BP I’ve known too well

Greg Palast 

 For Truthout.org
May 5, 2010

I‘ve seen this movie before. In 1989, I was a fraud investigator hired to dig into the cause of the Exxon Valdez disaster. Despite Exxon’s name on that boat, I found the party most to blame for the destruction was … British Petroleum. That’s important to know, because the way BP caused devastation in Alaska is exactly the way BP is now sliming the entire Gulf Coast.

The deepwater horizon taken soon after the explosion in the Gulf.Deepwater Horizon in flames before sinking. Photo provided by D.Becnel

Tankers run aground, wells blow out, pipes burst. It shouldn’t happen but it does. And when it does, the name of the game is containment. Both in Alaska, when the Exxon Valdez grounded, and in the Gulf over a week ago, when the Deepwater Horizon platform blew, it was British Petroleum that was charged with carrying out the Oil Spill Response Plans (“OSRP”) which the company itself drafted and filed with the government.

What’s so insane, when I look over that sickening slick moving toward the Delta, is that containing spilled oil is really quite simple and easy. And from my investigation, BP has figured out a very low cost way to prepare for this task: BP lies. BP prevaricates, BP fabricates and BP obfuscates.

That’s because responding to a spill may be easy and simple, but not at all cheap. And BP is cheap. Deadly cheap.

To contain a spill, the main thing you need is a lot of rubber, long skirts of it called “boom.” Quickly surround a spill or leak or burst, then pump it out into skimmers or disperse it, sink it or burn it. Simple.
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Behind the Arizona Immigration Law:
GOP Game to Swipe the November Election

Greg Palast 

Our investigation in Arizona discovered the real intent of the show-me-your-papers law.

For Truthout.org

[Phoenix, AZ.] Don’t be fooled. The way the media plays the story, it was a wave of racist, anti-immigrant hysteria that moved Arizona Republicans to pass a sick little law, signed last week, requiring every person in the state to carry papers proving they are US citizens.

I don’t buy it. Anti-Hispanic hysteria has always been as much a part of Arizona as the Saguaro cactus and excessive air-conditioning.

What’s new here is not the politicians’ fear of a xenophobic “Teabag” uprising.

What moved GOP Governor Jan Brewer to sign the Soviet-style show-me-your-papers law is the exploding number of legal Hispanics, US citizens all, who are daring to vote — and daring to vote Democratic by more than two-to-one. Unless this demographic locomotive is halted, Arizona Republicans know their party will soon be electoral toast. Or, if you like, tortillas.

In 2008, working for Rolling Stone with civil rights attorney Bobby Kennedy, our team flew to Arizona to investigate what smelled like an electoral pogrom against Chicano voters … directed by one Jan Brewer.

Brewer, then Secretary of State, had organized a racially loaded purge of the voter rolls that would have made Katherine Harris blush. Beginning after the 2004 election, under Brewer’s command, no less than 100,000 voters, overwhelmingly Hispanics, were blocked from registering to vote. In 2005, the first year of the Great Brown-Out, one in three Phoenix residents found their registration applications rejected.
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The S-Word and Dr. Kevorkian’s Accountant

Health care Rx from my socialist fire department

Greg Palast 

t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

Greg Palast interviews Wendell Potter
News flash: Wendell Potter tells Greg Palast why the insurance industry is secretly licking its chops over the Health Care bill.

 Tell me where it hurts, Mr. President.

What’s killing you, Barack, is what’s killing us all: an evil germ called “Medical Loss Ratio.”

“Medical Loss Ratio” [MLR] is the fancy term used by health insurance companies for their slice, their take-out, their pound of flesh, their gross – very gross – profit.

The “MLR” is the difference between what you pay an insurance company and what that insurer pays out to doctors, hospitals and pharmacists for your medical care.

I’ve totted it up from the raw stats: The “MLR,” insurance companies’ margins, is about to top – holy mama! – a quarter trillion dollars a year. That’s $2.7 trillion over the next decade.

Until the 1990’s, insurers skimmed only about a nickel on the dollar for their “service,” Wendell Potter told me. Potter is the CIGNA insurance company PR man who came in from the cold to tell us about what goes down inside the health insurance gold mine. Today, Potter notes (and I’ve checked his accuracy), porky operators like AIG have kicked up their Loss Ratio by nearly 500 percent.
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Truthout Video Exclusive:
Steal Back Your Vote!

Greg Palast 


by: Sari Gelzer, t r u t h o u t | Report

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.

Enron’s Skilling Sentenced; Bush Walks

Greg Palast 

Update of the original report for Truthout

[October 24, 2006]

Don’t kid yourself. If you think the sentencing of Jeff Skilling, former Enron CFO (criminal financial officer), to twenty-four years in the slammer means that justice has been done, think again.Ken Lay

First, Skilling got away with murder – or at least grand larceny. Like Al Capone convicted of failing to file his taxes, Skilling, though found guilty of stock fraud, is totally off the hook for his BIG crime: taking down California and Texas consumers for billions through fraud on the power markets. …more

A Taste of Palast’s Armed MadHouse: 1927. Again.

Greg Palast 

t r u t h o u t | Book Preview

Excerpted from Armed Madhouse, a new book by Greg Palast.

1927. Again.

The National Public Radio news anchor was so excited I thought she’d pee herself: The President of the United States had flown his plane down to 1,700 feet to get a better look at the flood damage! Later, I saw the photo of him looking out of the window of Air Force One. The President looked very serious and concerned. That was on Wednesday, August 31, 2005, two days after the levees broke and Lake Ponchartrain swallowed New Orleans. …more

t r u t h o u t’s Marc Ash interviews Greg Palast

Greg Palast 

Well, we have a president that thinks he can take office without being elected. There are not many limits on what he thinks he can get away with, including, for example, handing out pieces of American policy to his donors. It's serious business. It's a serious business when the votes don't count in this country. So, what I was trying to do, what I had done for BBC and when I expanded the book to include a report that I had never previously published is to show exactly how Bush, the Bush family, stole the presidential vote -- and the republicans of Florida. And what we do is provide evidence which I did for investigations for BBC television and for The Guardian newspaper of Britain -- a shame that it had to be British media which had to find out who got elected president -- but you'll see that information in there, the material I have yet to broadcast and publish. ...more