With Dennis J Bernstein for Reader Supported News
It’s been an action-packed week in politics. Hillary Clinton has been given the official all-clear by the FBI, who have said she won’t have to face charges for the Clorox cleaning job she did on her email server. And with her path to power given the personal red carpet treatment by FBI director James Comey, the fact that a hundred thousand votes or so have yet to be counted in California has been swept under the high thread count rug – where a lot of inconvenient votes end up these days! But the missing emails and votes haven’t been forgotten by our resident sleuth, Greg Palast. In this week’s Best Democracy Money Can Buy: Election Crimes Bulletin he gives Dennis J. Bernstein the skinny on Sanders’ stolen California win, Clinton’s bleached communications – and a multi-million dollar Kazakhstan bribery and corruption scandal that got Cloroxed with them!
Greg Palast: Well, I was reading something called The Washington Post, which is like the American Izvestia, and it said, “Greg Palast made a mistake.” Because I had announced on your show – we’re infamous now – that 2 million ballots were not counted when they declared Hillary Clinton the winner in California with 100% of precincts reporting. In fact, there was 2 million ballots that were uncounted, according to the Secretary of State, on the night that CNN announced that 100% of the results were in. And that doesn’t change, even if The Washington Post doubts it.
Even today, one month after the primary, over 100,000 ballots have yet to be counted – provisional ballots, what we call placebo ballots, which have a danger of not being counted at all. I was also attacked in The Washington Post – I’m not being defensive about this, I just want to correct the record – because I said on this show that the majority of the provisional ballots were, given the demographics, likely Bernie Sanders voters. And I was accused of being The Great Carnac and knowing how people voted without seeing their ballots. No, it was demographics. In fact, of the provisional ballots which have now been counted exactly 75.0%, 3 out of 4 ballots, went for Bernie Sanders.
What is a provisional ballot? I call them placebo ballots, because they make you think you voted when you haven’t. They let you believe you voted. There’s a one in three chance it won’t be counted. In a high risk race, a majority chance it will not be counted. There’s likely to be 3 million given out in the up coming election, – far more than the margins of victory. Supposedly Hillary Clinton initially won in California by 400,000 votes. That margin has officially shrunk substantially. But the margin is far, far less than the number of provisional ballots which have been given out, and, as I projected, 75% of those that get counted go to Sanders. If you count all the provisional ballots, all things equal, Bernie Sanders won.
DB: Well, that begs my next question: how long do you have to wait for a vote count before it becomes irrelevant? Like how long does it take them to count the votes to figure out what happened in Britain?
Palast: Let’s see, by 5am British time they’d counted 37 million ballots. In California, we were waiting one month. This is silicon valley country, right, and we cannot figure out how to count a bunch of pieces of paper in over a month. Part of it is, they’re not trying to figure out how to count these things – that’s easy. They’re trying to figure out how not to count them. How many they can cut out, reject, and throw in the garbage. This is the problem here. We are not counting all the ballots in the United States. That’s why it takes so long, over a month in California, as they figure out how many ballots they don’t want to count – that’s ugly. And when it gets down to the rest of the nation, the racist smell of the ballot rejection is heavy. If a ballot is thrown away as non-countable, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission says it’s 900% more likely that voter is black than white. It’s an apartheid vote-counting system. Everyone in America gets to vote, but not every color gets to have their vote counted.
DB: Well, big announcement, Hillary Clinton is not going to be indicted, at least according to the FBI. But what does this have to do with voter protection? This is not about one candidate or another, but this is an important story, isn’t it?
Palast: Very. Because people know me as the guy who’s the author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Billionaires & Ballot Bandits. And there’s a direct relation between vote-rustling and billionaires buying up our politics. I’m not partisan on that. Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, they discovered that she was basically hiding them because there were Freedom of Information Act requests for her documents from journalists like me. What they wanted to do is tell us that these e-mails didn’t exist. I was interested in finding out about Hillary Clinton’s relationship to the murderous dictatorship of Kazakhstan. Follow the money here.
This is a story reported by The Times, The New Yorker, an investigator named Peter Schweizer, Seymour Hersh too. I went to Kazakhstan to check out these stories. A guy named Frank Giustra, who is a big resource magnate, gave $30 million to the Clinton Foundation. Then Giustra went to Kazakhstan and got the exclusive agreement to mine the uranium from Kazakhstan. This was when nuclear power was making an ugly little comeback, coming out of its crypt. Right after Giustra shows up, Bill Clinton shows up. This guy just got $30 million from Giustra and shows up and he meets privately with the president of Kazakhstan. Hmm, okay.
Hillary Clinton becomes Secretary of State, and Seymour Hersh, myself, and others discovered that there was massive bribery paid by U.S. oil companies to the president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. A Mobile executive went to prison for the bribery payments, but Nazarbayev, himself, the president of Kazakhstan who received the money, about $160 million in bribes, his name was never mentioned in the indictment of the bribers who went to jail. Rather, he was listed as something called KO2, or Kazak official 2. Now, why do we care about that? Because my inside sources at the Justice Department told me that that was arranged by Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State. And, by the way, you don’t want to get on the wrong side of a dictator, because journalists tend to end up dead in Kazakhstan for doing that. Nazarbayev said that anyone in his nation who mentions that he is subject of a bribery investigation, or that he had taken bribes, goes to prison – and they are lucky if they come back out with all their fingers on. So what Hillary Clinton did was, by taking his name out of the indictment and just putting in those initials KO2, it may seem minor, but what that did is allow this guy to clamp down, imprison, and torture journalists in his nation who would bring up the question of bribery from oil companies. Did Hillary Clinton do that to favor the oil companies, to stroke a blood-thirsty oil potentate in the Caspian Sea? Or did she do that to make sure that her foundation kept getting pleasured by Mr. Giustra?
All I wanted to do was get the information in the e-mails between Hillary and her husband regarding this transaction. But according to Hillary Clinton, that’s a personal message, cause it’s to her husband. Well, it’s not really to her husband, it’s to her co-recipient of millions of dollars. They run a business together, basically, called The Clinton Foundation, a political operation called The Clinton Campaign. Hillary Clinton took it not only upon herself to withhold this information by putting it on a private server – and here’s what really disturbs me – when she was caught and told to turn over those e-mails, she took it upon herself to order the erasure of 56,000 e-mails.
If you did that, Dennis, if you were subject to a federal investigation and you erased the e-mails that were subject to that investigation, I guarantee you this broadcast would be from a federal prison. There is zero question. In fact, Comey, the FBI director, even said so. He said a lower official would be in real trouble. He almost gave a lese majeste defense, saying, “Well, the Secretary of State can kind of make up her own rules.” No, we are a nation of rules. Those documents were the public’s documents, not hers. And she definitely erased documents of public interest to keep them out of the hands of journalists. If the standard is she’s not going to jail, is that what we want in an open administration?
By the way, it’s not all for their foundation. Bill Clinton also got $500,000 from Nazarbayev himself, for a talk – that’s pretty golden words. And I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that Nazarbayev’s name was left off the indictments? We need to know. It can’t really be up to federal officials – whether it’s Hillary Clinton or anyone else – to simply erase the e-mails in question. I don’t know what obstruction of justice means anymore if that aint it.
DB: Greg, I know that your excited. You’ve got a screening for the new film you’re working on, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. It’s happening in St. Louis, at the Netroots Nation gathering. What is Netroots Nation, by the way?
Palast: It’s a gathering of media and activists groups that are web-based. It’s a well known, decades-long gathering. We’re doing a sneak preview screening of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits at 6pm on Saturday, July 16. If you’re at Netroots there’s no charge, and we’re working it out so that members of the public can come We’ve got Willie Nelson in there, and Rosario Dawson, but the main thing is to make sure that the alarm goes out that there are billionaires and ballot bandits ready to snatch the 2016 election. This is not a partisan matter, it’s a civil rights matter. So come, we’ll have some fun, eat some popcorn watching the dissolution of that thing that used to be called American democracy.
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Greg Palast (Rolling Stone, Guardian, BBC) is the author of The New York Times bestseller, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, which will be released as a feature documentary movie this fall. Get your name in the movie credits! The deadline to do so is July 18, 2016.
Or support the The Palast Investigative Fund (a project of The Sustainable Markets Foundation) by shopping with Amazon Smile.
Dennis J. Bernstein is the executive producer of Flashpoints, syndicated on Pacifica Radio, and is the recipient of a 2015 Pillar Award for his work as a journalist whistleblower. He is most recently the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom.
Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.