Oil-Volcano, Vote-Fraud Sleuth Greg Palast Shares Secrets Feb. 9

The hard-hitting author and investigative reporter Greg Palast is the featured guest Feb. 9 on my MTL Washington Update radio show discussing his latest book, Vultures Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates, and High-Finance Carnivores.

The New York Times-bestselling author shares at noon (ET) insights from his globetrotting, private-eye style investigations that blow the lid off the oil and banking industries -- and the governmental agencies that don't adequately regulate either of them. Daring sleuth-work took him from scrambling for investigative leads in a remote dictatorship to a luxury Manhattan suite, where he heard a fearful, fabulously wealthy oil tycoon gripe that BP short-changed him out $184 million by only giving him only $92 million.

Greg Palast Cover

As we explore how some obtain such riches and others die as ignorant innocents trying to survive amidst pollution, join MTL founder Scott Draughon and me at noon (ET) on the My Technology Lawyer (MTL) radio network that's carried our weekly public affairs for nearly six years nationwide -- live! The show may be heard by clicking here and later by archive. Listener questions: Call (866) 685-7469 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Mac users need “Parallels.” Scott and I begin the show with commentary on national news, this week notable for three impressive Rick Santorum victories in GOP nomination contests.

Then Palast will tell the story of the corporate vultures whom he portrays as feeding on the weak -- and ruining our planet in the process. The most personal of his books, Vultures' Picnic reveals the strange passion that drives Palast and others on his small, New York-based investigative team to risk everything for their stories.

Palast, who spoke in compelling fashion in December at the National Press Cub in Washington, comes across as especially offended by the evidence he gathered in his years as a real-life private eye probing the oil industry in the 1990s. He says BP was primarily responsible for the Exxon Valdez oil disaster in Alaska, but largely escaped blame. He says BP intentionally and callously neglected the similar safety features in the Gulf of Mexico, and is therefore primarily responsible for the fatal 2010 oil disaster. Palast holds a master's degree in business administration earned studying at the University of Chicago under the iconic free-market economist Milton Friedman. Palast brings that kind of expertise to attacking as grossly inadequate the federal Gulf victim fund and claims procedure supervised by Kenneth Feinberg, the special master jointly appointed by BP and Obama administration.

A decade ago, Palast became well-known in Europe for his investigative reporting on voting fraud in the United States. His reports for the BBC and Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom provided cutting-edge reporting on how the Jeb Bush administration in Florida systematically eliminated under Secretary of State Kathleen Harris vast numbers of eligible voters. These were mostly African-Americans just before the 2000 election narrowly "won" by the governor's brother, George W. Bush, by a margin of some 500 votes. Palast's book, The Best Democracy Greg PalastMoney Can Buy, alleges the State of Florida gave a suspicious contract to a subsidiary of the massive data company ChoicePoint to purge voters. The result, he says, was purge of 91,000 eligible voters from the rolls without warning. For that reason, affected voters had no realistic ability to complain effectively when they were turned away at voting booths.Palast says the good news for the public is that his story was carried by the nation's largest newspaper and biggest broadcasting outlet. The bad news, says the native of California, is that the country whose media published the reporting the United Kingdom, not the United States.

Palast came close to being a victim of career assassination there after investigating several of that nation's top leaders. One was Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair. Officials and newspapers alike targeted Palast, including in a vicious smear by former editor Piers Morgan, then editing a Murdoch-owned newspaper. Morgan is, of course, now a prime time talk show host on CNN. We'll ask Palast about that, and whether he believes the Murdoch telephone "hacking" scandal in the United Kingdom will gain traction in the United States.

In his riveting new book, Palast shows how the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization, and Central Banks act as puppets for Big Oil. Palast describes investigations that took him from the Arctic to Africa to the Amazon to document how the big players in finance and oil escape regulation, or as he says, "simply destroy the rules they themselves can't write." To decade his book title, "PIGs" are automatic test-devices for pipeline leaks -- devices that Palast alleges are adjusted to provide false readings of safety so expensive repairs need not be undertaken. "Vultures" are experts in acquiring debt, sometimes corruptly created, from impoverished nations, enabling the vulture to seize the nation's infrastructure such as water and power --  with sometimes fatal consequences for the poor. And so on.

His reports alleging theft of U.S. Presidential election 2004, the spike of the FBI investigations of the bin Ladens before September 11 and secret State Department documents planning the seizure of Iraq's oil fields have won him a record six 'Project Censored' awards for reporting news otherwise neglected in America.

For more information on him and his books, click details-- and tune in to our show Feb 9!


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Selected Relevant News Reports


Truthout, The Billionaires' Brokered GOP Convention, Greg Palast, Feb. 9, 2012. The  Plan is working. Mitt Romney's biggest backer didn't want him to win. We know that Paul "The Vulture" Singer, Romney's Daddy Warbucks, organized the "grassroots" campaign to replace Romney with Gov. Chris Christie back in September. That flopped, so Singer and the billionaire boys' club that courted Christie moved over to Romney. Not that they had a choice. They knew Moonrocks Gingrich, who thinks he's running for Master Jedi, and Saint Santorum who thinks he's running for pope, would end up road kill in November. But despite their million-dollar checks for Romney's campaign, the billionaires are handling the ex-governor with very long and slippery tweezers. The fact that Singer and the Koch brothers went on bended knee to Christie means they are just nauseated over Romney, a man losing a war with the English language and his own tax returns, carrying their standard against President Obama. These billionaires are smart men. Devious men. I've followed them for years, and they do nothing in a straight line. The super PAC that Singer and the gang control, Restore Our Future, is supposed to be for Romney. But it's not; it's for Singer and Bill Koch. The future they want to restore is their own, not yours or mine -- or Romney's....In the best of all worlds for these super PAC men, no candidate gets the 1,144 delegates needed to win.

Justice Integrity Project, Elections & Justice Reformer Fights Effectively for Results, Andrew Kreig, Dec. 30, 2011.  Two messages in the past few days from my friend Joan Brunwasser illustrate the struggles of justice reformers nationwide. But they exemplify also my hope for a better New Year for those victimized in the ongoing battle to preserve the nation's historic due process protections under the Constitution against abuse by the federal government. Brunwasser is an Illinois-based blogger and editor for OpEd News, a popular progressive news website. Also, she co-founded Citizens for Election Reform, a small non-profit that’s taken a leading role in underscoring the threat that voting machine fraud poses, especially during presidential and other major elections worth stealing. In her first message Dec. 28, she shared with supporters the discouraging news that her coalition’s funding clearinghouse was on the verge of bankruptcy. This threatens, she said, disbursement of much-needed donations that the clearinghouse has managed for the coalition and hundreds of similar small non-profits.

OpEd News, Has America's stolen election process finally hit prime time? Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman, Dec. 29, 2011. It took two stolen US Presidential elections and the prospect of another one coming up in 2012. For years the Democratic Party and even much of the left press has reacted with scorn for those who've reported on it. But the imperial fraud that has utterly corrupted our electoral process seems finally to be dawning on a broadening core of the American electorate---if it can still be called that. The shift is highlighted by three major developments: 1. The NAACP goes to the United Nations. 2. The Justice Department awakens; and 3. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) finally finds that voting machines are programmed to be partisan. The theft of our elections has finally taken a leap into the mainstream of the American mind. Whether that leads to concrete reforms before another presidential election is stolen remains to be seen. But after more than a decade of ignorance and contempt, it's about time something gets done to restore a semblance of democracy to the nation that claims to be the world's oldest.

Justice Integrity Project, Cutting Through Hype, Hypocrisy of Vote Fraud Claims, Andrew Kreig, Aug. 13, 2011. Recent events show why election theft deserves much more scrutiny than it receives from either government officials or news reporters. Most dramatically, a federal judge has released the 2008 testimony of GOP IT guru Michael Connell. The Ohio resident died in a mysterious plane crash that year after anonymous warnings he would be killed if he testified about his work with Karl Rove and others helping the Bush-Cheney ticket win in 2000 and 2004.

Washington Post, Virginia’s ballot-access laws turn tables on GOP, Ezra Klein, Dec. 29, 2011. Of the seven candidates still in serious contention for the Republican nomination for the presidency, only two of them — Mitt Romney and Ron Paul — will be appearing in the Virginia primary on March 6. Republicans are furious. Some of them blame the candidates who failed to qualify. But other Republicans — and most of the candidates — have turned their fire on Virginia. But it runs counter to the efforts Republicans have mounted in dozens of states to make it more difficult for ordinary Americans to participate in the 2012 election. Thirty-four states have introduced — and seven have passed — strict laws requiring photo IDs. It’s not just photo ID laws, of course. Thirteen states have introduced bills to end same-day and election-day voter registration. Nine states have introduced laws restricting early voting, and four more have introduced proposals to restrict absentee voting. Two states have reversed decisions allowing ex-convicts to vote, and 12 states have introduced laws requiring proof of citizenship. Nationally, House Republicans voted to do away with the Election Assistance Commission.

Other Editorial Commendations

Greg Palast.com, Alert: British paper faces suit over Palast investigation, Greg Palast, June 29, 2001. In retaliation for the investigative story about the finances of the George W. Bush campaign, Barrick Gold Mining of Canada has sued my paper, the Observer of London, for libel. The company, which hired the elder Bush after his leaving the White House, is charging the newspaper with libel for quoting an Amnesty International report, which alleged that 50 miners might have been buried alive in Tanzania by a company now owned by Barrick. The company has also demanded the Observer and its parent, Guardian Newspapers, force me to remove the article from my US website, a frightening extension of Britain’s punitive libel laws into the World Wide Web. The company has also issued legal threats against Tanzanian human rights lawyer Tundu Lissu, one of the Observer’s independent sources and an investigator of the mine-site allegations. The attack by Barrick and its controversial Chairman, Peter Munk, one of the wealthiest men in Canada, who boasts of his propensity to sue, also aims to gag my reporting on his company’s purchase of rights to a gold mine in Nevada -- containing $10 billion in gold -- for a payment of under $10,000 to the US Treasury. My Observer story, "Best Democracy Money Can Buy," looked into the activities of several corporations linked to the Bushes. It was in that article I first disclosed that over 50,000 Florida voters, most of them Black, were wrongly tagged as ‘felons,’ and targeted for removal from the voter rolls. My follow-up reports in Salon.com, The Nation, and the Washington Post as well as on BBC-TV’s Newsnight provided the basis for the US Civil Rights Commission finding of massive, wrongful voter