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The Frog Who Crushed The Planet
Did a French Yuppie really create the Finance Crisis?

Greg Palast 

for Vice Magazine

You just knew it had to be one of those brie-biting, Sartre-spewing, overly-garlicked Frenchmen who pushed the Earth’s finance system over a cliff.

This week, US prosecutors finally began the trial of the only person on the entire planet whom they have charged with the financial crimes that sank worldwide stock markets by trillions in 2008 and left millions homeless and jobless, from Detroit to Manchester.

Amazingly, say prosecutors, it all came down to a single Frenchman, Fabrice “Fabulous Fab” Tourre, only 29 years old at the time. Even Julius Caesar waited until he turned 51 to bring the known world to its knees.

Here’s the story which his defence team does not dispute:

In August 2007, hot-shot hedge fund manager John Paulson walked into Goldman Sachs with a …more

New York Genitals Fight for Office
… While Snowden Fights the Forces of Stupid

Greg Palast 

for Vice Magazine

Go ahead and shoot me. It’s hopeless. My War on Stupid is facing defeat on every front.

I open up the New York Times and there’s a page one story about Anthony Weiner, who is now ahead in the race for Mayor of New York.

The article is 17 column inches long. I measured. The entire profile of the candidate ”“ every bumpy, veined inch of it ”“ is about Mr Weiner’s penis.

It is, I admit, a really famous penis. Weiner was a Congressman until two years ago when he resigned because he sent a 21-year-old woman photos of his wiener (modestly bulging from his underpants) via Twitter. Weiner was forced to resign from Congress.

Now he’s back, with a front-runner status conferred by the name-recognition care of the exposure of his jockey shorts.

New York’s school system, with one million students, is desperately screwed up. What is Weiner’s position on privatizing the schools through the “charter” system? The Times won’t tell us. It’s all about Weiner’s weenie. The Times only asks voters if they will forgive him for showing young ladies …more

Summer versus Stupid

Greg Palast 

for Vice Magazine

We all have bad habits. And the worst, besides yelling at our kids when we’re hung-over or just generally disappointed, is the daily deal we make with Evil.

Every day we are thrown head first into that dog fight between What is Right, What is Horrible and, our third way, Just-Don’t-Give-a-Shit-ism.

We know we are not Bradley Manning, nor Edward Snowden.  We know we’d better just shut the fuck up.

And that’s the conflict at the core of civilization’s corrosion: not between national security and freedom, but between courage and complicity.

Warren Ellis ”“ you might know his comic books, including Transmetropolitan with Darick Robertson ”“ said that journalism is a terribly weak weapon ”“ though when correctly aimed, …more

My Big Fat Greek Minister

Greg Palast 

For Vice Magazine

It wasn’t too difficult picking out the Fat Bastard in the crowd of Russian models, craven moochers and media mavens. Besides, Fat Bastard and I were both desperate for coffee and heading for the same empty urn.

(We’d both signed on for Kazakhstan’s annual Eurasia Media Forum, a kind of Burning Man festival for Eastern oilgarchs and their media camp followers.)

Now, it is my policy never to mention an interlocutor’s weight, nor question the legitimacy of their birth, given my own vulnerabilities. (A would-be groupie told me, “You could do a few sit-ups, you know.” Yes, I know.)

But this particular Fat Bastard is asking for it. I had tried to put the belly of this beast out of my thoughts, but I still had a New York Times story folded in my pocket that begins:

ATHENS ”“ As an elementary school principal, Leonidas Nikas is used to seeing children play, laugh and dream about the future. But recently he has seen something altogether different, something he thought was impossible in Greece: children picking through school trash cans for food; needy youngsters asking playmates for leftovers; and an 11-year-old boy, Pantelis Petrakis, bent over with hunger pains.

Fat Bastard ”“ or Theodoros Pangalos, thinks the little Greek kiddies should …more

Did Chavez’ Pick Steal
the Election in Venezuela?

Greg Palast 

By Greg Palast for Vice Magazine – Leer el artículo en español aquí.

The guy in the cheap brown windbreaker walking up the dirty tenement steps to my New York office looked like a bus driver.

Nicolas Maduro, elected President of Venezuela last Sunday, did indeed drive a bus, then led the drivers’ union, then drove Chávez’ laws through the National Assembly as Venezuela’s National Assembly chief.

And this week, the US State Department is refusing to accept the result, suggesting Maduro hijacked the vote count. But did he?Maduro came to me that day in 2004 on a quiet mission, sent by President Hugo Chávez to give me information I needed for my investigation for Rolling Stone ”“ and to get information from me that might save Chávez’ life.


For one more week you can download Palast’s short documentary, The Assassination of Hugo Chávez, originally filmed in Venezuela for BBC, without charge.


The central topic was the “Invisible Ring”. Venezuelan intelligence had secretly taped US Embassy contractors in Caracas talking in spook-speak: “That which took shape here is a disguised kind of intelligence… which is annexed to the third security ring, which is the invisible ring.”

(“Invisible Ring”? Someone at the State Department has read too many Alan Furst novels.)

On the grainy film, they worried that …more

How Bush won the war in Iraq – really!

Greg Palast 

For Vice Magazine

If you thought it was “Blood for Oil”–you’re wrong.  It was far, far worse.

Because it was marked “confidential” on each page, the oil industry stooge couldn’t believe the US State Department had given me a complete copy of their secret plans for the oil fields of Iraq. Actually, the State Department had done no such thing. But my line of bullshit had been so well-practiced and the set-up on my mark had so thoroughly established my fake identity, that I almost began to believe my own lies.I closed in. I said I wanted to make sure she and I were working from the same State Department draft. Could she tell me the official name, date and number of pages? She did.

Bingo! I’d just beaten the Military-Petroleum Complex in a lying contest, so I had a right to be stoked.

After phoning numbers from California to Kazakhstan …more

Aaron Swartz Died for Piers Morgan’s Sins

Greg Palast 

By Greg Palast for Vice Magazine

This is the tale of two geniuses.  One on TV.  One Dead.

Portrait of a Genius (Not Piers Morgan)

In 2000, Aaron Swartz, aged 14, had just released his astonishing invention, RSS, liberating news and information, replacing the selection of the tiny minds of editors with your own wide judgment.

Around the same time, one of Piers Morgan’s stringers hacked into the phone of Sir Paul McCartney’s wife and stole some highly personal, and highly valuable, information ”“ the type of gossip used to sell Morgan’s grotty little scandal sheet, The Daily Mirror, the cornerstone of Morgan’s $20 million fortune based on tittle and titties.

Electronic burglary for profit is a crime in the UK and USA both. But Piers is serving time on prime time, on CNN.

Aaron Swartz did not get a TV show.  The Robin Hood of the Information Liberation Front faced 35 years in prison for a selfless act of civil disobedience.  Swartz was charged for the crime of attempting to liberate documents from JSTOR computers.  JSTOR is the Goldman Sachs and Politburo of university research papers, a giant information sucker squid that hordes research and discoveries crucial to the public – the public which paid for most of the research.

(If Oxford joined JSTOR when Isaac Newton published, only a well-heeled elite would have the secret of thermodynamics.  If Newton worked for Microsoft, we’d be paying a royalty for the use of gravity.)

Aaron, rather than face a life in Obama’s dungeon, chose suicide.  And Piers? …more

Assault Gun Ban –
Weapon of Mass Distraction

Greg Palast 

For Vice Magazine

George Bush told America he’d keep us safe from terrorists by having us take off our shoes at the airport.

Yesterday, Barack Obama again took the Oath of Office. And this Obama 2.0 is also going to save America from insane killers ”“ by limiting ammo clips to ten bullets instead of 30.

At a television press conference about the Newtown school massacre last Wednesday, a tearful President called this, “meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this”.

It won’t.

But, once again, we get to pretend that our presidents protect us and save us from what is murdering us and destroying us.

But The Great Assault Rifle Debate, like the War on Terror, is just another Weapon of Mass Distraction.

* * * * 

This is the second of Palast’s weekly columns for VICE ”“ beginning with a bang: a four-part series on Alex Jones, guns, Piers Morgan and Palast’s penis.  If you read the full version of part 2 of these reports right now at Vice Magazine,

You get a bonus:  a free download copy of Palast’s latest book, the bestseller, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits.

* * * *

In all fairness to Obama, he also called ”“ as Bush did ”“ for a massive increase in the number of FBI files kept on Americans. I feel safer already, don’t you?

Here’s the facts, ma’am: There are about 4.5 million assault rifles in American civilian hands. That’s around the same number as in tiny Switzerland (population: eight million). Tens of thousands of Swiss keep a 9mm Sig Sauer, like the one used by the Newtown killer. But we don’t see the Swiss sweeping dead kids out of their schoolyards.

The weapon of America’s deadliest mass killer, Timmy McVeigh, was fertiliser. Maybe we should ban bullshit, but that would shut down Washington and all five major TV networks.

At his assault-gun dog-and-pony show on Wednesday, Obama shed tears for the murdered victims, as well he should. But where are his tears for the victims of the MACT?

Let me explain. Last month, Obama bullied his own Environmental Protection Agency into watering down the “MACT” standards ”“ the limits on industrial boiler pollution.



Under this loosened “MACT” rule, industry will get to triple the hydrogen chloride and triple the particulate filth they may dump into the air. The White House crows that Obama’s bending over on this rule will save corporate polluters $1.5 billion (£945 million) a year. Yippee!

Last year, the White House proudly posted the statement of EPA’s Administrator Lisa Jackson that her proposed boiler pollution rules would help “prevent 17,000 premature deaths [and] 120,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms.”

…more

Alex Jones, Guns, Piers Morgan
”“ and My Penis

Greg Palast 


For Vice Magazine

PART ONE: ALEX JONES VERSUS DOWNTON ABBEY

Alex Jones is right. Deport Piers Morgan. NOW. Send him back. In chains.

The year’s big YouTube hit, Alex Jones shoves an assault rifle (figuratively) up Piers Morgan. Alex was simply trying to explain to Piers why America has a Bill of Rights while England has David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Paul McCartney.

Before I enumerate the charges against Morgan, we need to ask two questions. Why did Alex Jones ”“ the host of one of the only intellectually substantive, fact-heavy forums on American radio ”“  seem to lose it on air? And why is it so important to the media elite to ridicule Alex Jones and dismiss him as a fruitcake and a buffoon ”“ just another scary, Texan gun-nut ”“ while they venerate Pus Moron ”“ the scoundrel, the faker, the wanker ”“ like he’s Thomas Jefferson?

* * * * 

This is the first of Palast’s weekly columns for VICE ”“ beginning with a bang: a four-part series on Alex Jones, guns, Piers Morgan and Palast’s penis.  If you read the full version of these reports right now at Vice Magazine,
You get a bonus:  a free download copy of my latest book, the bestseller, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits.

* * * *

The yell from Alex’s throat was not his own voice alone ”“ it was the choric cry of his millions of listeners in the forgotten heartland of America. It was The Scream of the Screwed.

It’s not about guns. …more