Posts Tagged ‘Greg Palast’

GregPalast.com
New York voting fiasco just the warm-up for the November game
by Greg Palast

Buckle up, America.  The voting demolition derby that was the New York primary on Tuesday was merely the crash test for the coming voting wreckage in November:  acarefully planned pile up.

First, live from New York….

Francesca Rheannon, whom you may know as the host of Writers’ Voice radio, did the civic thing by volunteering to work the polls in a town east of New York City.

“I just got off my 17 hour shift as an election official.  In my election district, out of 166 Democratic voters, 39 were forced to file affidavit ballots.  The last [election] I worked in, exactly ONE voter needed an affidavit ballot.”

That’s nearly one of four voters. Why?  Their names had gone missing from the voter rolls.

An affidavit ballot (called a “provisional” ballot in most other states) is a kind of placebo ballot.  You get to pretend to vote – but the chance it will actually be counted is …well, good luck.  If your name is wrongly removed, kiss your vote – affidavit or not—goodbye.

Rheannon’s experience was hardly unique.  In Brooklyn alone, over 125,000 names were quietly scrubbed from the voter rolls in the five months leading up to the primary.

To put it in prospective, the number of voters purged equals about half of the number who got to vote.  Scott Stringer, the New York City Comptroller will now audit the Elections Board–now that the election is over.  Hey thanks, Scott.

Neal Rosenstein, the lead voting rights attorney for the New York Public Interest Research Group, which plans legal action, notes that part of the problem is that partisan hacks sit on the Elections board in New York—hacks from both parties.

Brooklyn is under the control of the Kings County Democratic Party, one of the last of the big city machines.  Would they attack their opponents’ voter registrations?  I don’t have to guess:  in my wasted younger days, I was in the Brooklyn County elections office with the hacks where we were assigned by the Party to challenge voters’ signatures en masse.  (I wouldn’t and nearly lost my state job.)

Am I saying the machine “fixed” the election for Hillary Clinton?  Without further investigation, it would be irresponsible for me to pronounce judgment.  Some of the purged may have moved, some have died.  But those who waited in line only to fill out affidavit ballots are unlikely to be deceased.

If the Machine had been aware of the mass purge underway, would they have stopped it?  As they say in Brooklyn, Fahgeddabouddit.

But whether party hacks shoplifted New York or not, that’s small potatoes. Scrubbing voter rolls is not a “New York value.” It’s a nationwide epidemic, a disease eating away at the heart of our democracy.

Voting officials learned a lesson from Katherine Harris the Florida Secretary of State who purged Black voters in 2000.  They learned how to repeat the purge, expand it and carefully hide it.

I’ve been traveling the nation, from Ohio to Georgia to Arizona and back—and finding the voter-roll purging machinery running at full speed.

Nationwide, state voting chiefs are, from my long experience, the most violently partisan officials you’ll ever encounter.

From the data provided by the US Elections Assistance Commission, we can calculate that no less than 491,952 voters were wrongly removed from the rolls in 2008, the last reviewed Presidential election in addition 2,383,587 voters filled out registration forms that were simply never added to voter rolls – and 767,023 provisional and affidavit ballots were not counted.

And it’s not just anyone’s ballot. I’ll never forget that, at one of my recent talks on vote suppression, I asked how many in the audience had ever been shunted to a provisional ballot.  There were only two Black people in the audience.  They were the only two to raise their hand.

US Civil Rights Commission statistics tell the story.  The chance of a ballot “spoiled” – not counted for one reason or another – is 900% higher if you’re Black than if you’re White.

As Rosenstein says for NYPIRG, “Instead of purging voters, we should be enfranchising them.”  Yes. Though we thought that was settled by the Civil War.

OK, we didn’t know about the New York purge beforehand.  But I’m telling you this now:  My team is uncovering an unjustified ethnic cleansing of voter rolls from Ohio to Florida to Texas.

This year I was in Selma, Alabama, with Hank Sanders, an African-American who joined Martin Luther King on the march to Montgomery that won the Voting Rights Act.  Today, he’s State Senator Hank Sanders, a title that is a tribute to America’s advance on voting rights.  He’s also Hank Sanders, purged voter, forced to vote “provisionally” this year.

Why?  I’m investigating.  But the state officials (and let’s tell it like it is:  it’s mostly GOP officials) have used so many spurious grounds to cancel registrations—“caging,” “cross-checking” and a host of other sick tricks, it’s not easy to pin-point which one is responsible for the “lynching by laptop.”

It’s worth noting that Brooklyn, like Alabama, was on the “pre-clearance” list in the Voting Rights Act.  I can tell you right now, it’s unlikely that neither Hank Sanders nor the 125,000 Brooklynites would have been purged, had the Supreme Court not gutted the Act in 2013.

As I look upon the wreckage that was the New York primary, I see the prelude, the test run, for the catastrophic failure, the well-planned failure, of the voting system in November. The purges and votes “spoiled”–the votes not counted—not the voters, may well elect our President.*  *  *  *  *  *   *But there’s something you can do about it.

Right now, my investigations and production team are finishing the final frames of our film on the upcoming theft of the 2016 election:  The Best Democracy Money Can Buy:  A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits.

Donate $100 to support our investigation and I will list you in the movie credits, send you a signed copy of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits right now and a signed copy of the DVD once the film has wrapped. 

Or support our work by making a No Gift Donation, small or ginormous, all are immensely appreciated!

Most important, your tax-deductible donation will help us finish, broadcast and distribute our film and print reports before the November catastrophe and just maybe, a better democracy.

For 15 years, Greg Palast has been uncovering voter suppression tactics in investigative reports for BBC Television, The Guardian, Harper’s and Rolling Stone. In 2016 Greg Palast will be releasing his new feature film The Best Democracy Money Can Buy—A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits,which includes his award-winning investigation Jim Crow Returns.

Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy,  Armed Madhouse  and the highly acclaimed Vultures’ Picnic.

HELP US FOLLOW THE MONEY. Visit the Palast Investigative Fund’s store or simply make a tax-deductible contribution to keep our work alive!


Follow Palast on Twitter | Like Palast on Facebook | Forward to a friend
Subscribe to Palast’s Newsletter | Podcasts

Share this with Facebook Twitter Digg

Copyright © 2016 Greg Palast, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this Newsletter because you are a subscriber.

Our mailing address is:

Greg Palast

3357 Cahuenga Blvd W, #13

Los Angeles, CA 90068

http://us4.campaign-archive1.com/?u=33e4ec877eed6a43863a4a92e&id=234c5e2f76&e=529d9ad9ce

GregPalast.com
Lap Dancers, the CIA, Pay-offs, and
BP’s Deepwater Horizon

By Greg Palast  |  for Truthdig
Friday, 18. April 2014

From his investigation for Channel 4 Television in the newly released film, Vultures and Vote Rustlers.

There was CIA involvement through a company called Mega Oil. They were shipping in arms under the cover of oil tools.

The BP executive was explaining to me how the CIA, MI6 and British Petroleum engineered a coup d’état, overthrowing an elected president of a nation who was “not favorable to BP.” The corporation’s former Vice-President, Leslie Abrahams, is pictured here, holding an AK-47 in front of BP headquarters in Baku, Azerbaijan.  Like most of the other BP executives I spoke with, he proudly added that while he was working for BP, he was also an operative for MI6, British intelligence.

The conversation was far from the weirdest I had in my four-continent investigation of the real story of the Deepwater Horizon.
The BP oilrig blew out on April 20, 2010, four years ago this Sunday.

Earlier this month, the Obama Administration officially OK’d BP’s right to resume drillingin the Gulf of Mexico. And two weeks ago, just to assure the company that all is forgiven, the U.S. Department of the Interior gave BP a new contract to drill in the Gulf of Mexico––right next to where the Deepwater Horizon went down. At the same time, the forgive-and-forget U.S. Justice Department has put the trial of David Rainey, the only BP big-shot charged with a felony crime in the disaster, on indefinite hold.

The Deepwater Horizon blow-out incinerated eleven men on the rig and poisoned 600 miles of Gulf coastline. What political fairy dust does BP keep in its pocket to receive virtual immunity from the consequences?

To understand what really happened in the Gulf of Mexico, and how BP became a corporate creature beyond the reach of the law, British television network Channel 4 sent me on a four-continent investigation through a labyrinthine funhouse of bribery, lap-dancing, beatings, Wikileaks, a coup d’état, arrests and oil-state terror.

I found the cause of the tragedy of the Deepwater Horizon seven thousand miles from the Gulf in the ancient city of Baku, the Central Asian caravan stop on the Silk Road.


For the interview with agent Abrahams and the full story of the Deepwater Horizon, see, Vultures and Vote Rustlersthe documentary which will be available as a download without charge for the next two days courtesy of the not-for-profit Palast Investigative Fund.


The literal source of Soviet power until 1991, Baku has been exporting petroleum for 3,000 years. As the Soviet Union shattered into pieces that year, BP set its sights on the city. It is now the capital of the new nation of Azerbaijan, which sits atop the biggest untapped oil field in the world, right beneath the Caspian Sea.

A coup for BP
BP Chairman Lord Browne flew into Baku as soon as the young state elected its first president. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher joined him via the “Iron Lady,” a plane the corporation outfitted especially for her. At a state dinner, Browne handed BP Vice-President Abrahams a briefcase and showed him the contents: a check for $30 million. Browne then gave the check to the president of Azerbaijan.

Still, the new president remained “not favorable” to BP’s demand for control of the Caspian oil, so MI6, the CIA and the corporation went into action. The spy agencies armed and empowered the former Soviet KGB chief Heydar Aliyev, who in 1993 overthrew Azerbaijan’s elected government. Once he became dictator, Aliyev named himself president for life and within four months signed a no-bid deal to give the reserves to BP.

BP and MI6 man Abrahams was instructed, he told me, to “smooth the way” for the deal by taking Azeri officials to London in Lord Browne’s jet for weekends of lap-dancing and other entertainment. By Abraham’s own estimation, he paid over $3 million in additional cash bribes to make certain BP would have no trouble.

I should note that Abrahams broke no law: bribery by a British subject was legal then. BP did not deny the pay-offs when I questioned them directly, and MI6 officers proudly confirmed the coup d’état’s purpose of locking in the offshore deal for BP.

Quick-dry, quick-kill cement
What does this have to do with the blow out of the Deepwater Horizon?

This: It is now well established that the disaster occurred when the cement used to cap the well failed, allowing explosive methane gas to fill the rig and transform it into a sinking fire ball.

But this was not BP’s first cement failure and explosion. Just 17 months earlier, BP’s Caspian Sea Transocean rig suffered exactly the same fate.

The cause of the two blow-outs was identical. In the Caspian as in the Gulf, BP laced its cement with nitrogen gas. The nitrogen bubbles sped up the drying of the mixture, saving BP half a million dollars a day on rig rental charges. But in offshore high-pressure zones, nitrogen-spiked cement can fail. And it did. Twice.

Question: Why in the world was BP allowed to use this insanely dangerous “quick-dry” cement just after a failure in the Caspian? Answer: A cover-up––via threats, beatings, arrests, bribery, perjury and the complicity of the U.S. State Department.

I only learned of the prior blow-out because of a coded message from the Caspian Sea received from one very nervous eye witness. To get the evidence, I flew to Baku and headed across the road-less desert to find more witnesses.

But we had been ratted out. My crew was placed under arrest by Azerbaijan’s secret police. While they demanded our film, I was allowed to keep my pen, which was actually a hidden camera. (I’ve learned a few things from Maxwell Smart.)

How do you keep a monstrous blow-out from going public? As one of the arresting cops told us with odd pride, “BP drives this country.” It drives it with cash. Robert Ebel, former chief of oil analysis for the CIA, estimates that at least $140 million of payments by BP for Azeri oil has gone unaccounted for. Where did it go? Notably, the Aliyev ruling family lives like pashas despite the president’s official salary of $100 a month.

Oil worker advocate Mirvari Gahramanli said she was beaten by police for raising questions. In case I doubted it, she showed me photographs of a dozen cops slamming her with long clubs.

What’s worse, while I was tossed out of the country (it would have looked bad to throw a TV reporter into a dungeon), my witnesses disappeared.

Wikileaks and oily lies
Just five months before the Deepwater Horizon spill, BP Vice-President for Gulf Exploration David Rainey testified before the U.S. Congress that the company had drilled offshore “for the last 50 years in a manner both safe and protective of the environment.”

BP’s testimony was a lie. The Caspian rig blew out a year earlier.

But the lie was good enough for Congress. Based on Rainey’s assurances, legislators pressured the Department of the Interior to drop objections to plans for drilling in the Gulf’s deep waters.

Withholding information from Congress is a felony crime. But Rainey has one heck of a defense: the U.S. State Department was in on the cover-up.

Deep in the pile of confidential State Department cables released by one courageous U.S. soldier, Pvt. Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning, we have the notes from a secret meeting between the U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Anna Dearse, and the chief of BP’s Caspian operation.

The hugger-mugger was demanded by BP’s American partners, Chevron and Exxon.  The U.S. oil companies had complained to the State Department that they were no longer getting their piece of the Caspian loot and BP wouldn’t tell them why. (You’ll remember that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was a member of Chevron’s board of executives.)

In the memo, which you can see in our film, Vultures and Vote Rustlers, the U.S. Ambassador provides the details of the blow-out of the bad cement on the BP rig.

The State Department kept schtum, not even warning U.S. safety regulators. And Exxon and Chevron’s chiefs joined BP’s Rainey in the mendacious sales pitch to Congress, testifying, despite their knowledge, that their offshore drilling methods were safe as a game of checkers.

Justice is not always abused: David Rainey was indicted for felonious obstruction of Congress. However, the charge centers on a relatively minor falsehood: his alleged understatement of the amount of oil bursting into the Gulf. Neither Rainey nor BP will be tried for the deadlier lie to Congress — the prior blow-out caused by the penny-pinching quick-dry cement — because the U.S. government is itself complicit in the cover-up.

Blow-backs and blow-outs
And that’s why we are seeing the red carpet rolled out for BP in the Gulf once more.

When the U.S. government participates in the corruption of other democracies, when it authorizes bribery and ignores police-state tactics to benefit from business deals, the sins of empire can come back to haunt the nation. In the CIA’s world this is called “blow-back.” What was covered up in Baku has killed Americans in the Gulf, and it will likely continue to kill.

And bribery does not simply stay “over there.” American officials are not as different from the Baku bandits as they may like to believe. The agency in charge of regulating BP’s drilling in the Gulf, the U.S. Minerals Mining Service, was rife with watchdogs who, like their Azeri counterparts, took backhanders and pay-outs from BP. And when I say BP was in bed with the regulators, that is not a metaphor: a BP lobbyist was sleeping with a chief of the agency.

Don’t bother sending David Rainey a file in a cake: the BP man won’t get two minutes of jail time. His trial has been suspended indefinitely.

Immunity from law is not new to BP. As I reported two weeks ago, BP was the main culprit in the disaster caused by the Exxon Valdez grounding. The company walked away without paying a dime to the victims. In the case of the Deepwater Horizon, a few tenacious attorneys have ensured the corporation pays some compensation in the Gulf. But that money comes nowhere close to the damage it caused and will do nothing to harm the company’s bottom line.

The oil is still there
Today BP has declared Gulf waters clean, as if Mother Nature were just a toilet you can poop in and flush. But I’ve been to the Gulf shores. Dig down ten inches in the shoals off Gulfport and you’ll hit Deepwater Horizon crude.  Biologist Rick Steiner tells me BP’s poisonous sludge will remain just under the surface for another 40 year. Hidden––just like BP’s crimes.

Greg Palast is the author of Vultures’ Picnic, inside his investigations from the Arctic to the Congo, hunting down rogue billionaires. Palast’s reports are seen on BBC-TV and Britain’s Channel 4.

Watch Palast’s report BP: In Deep Water on Free Speech TV, this Sunday at 7pm & 9pm ET. Check out the trailer here.

Greg Palast is also the author of the New York Times bestsellers, Billionaires & Ballot BanditsThe Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Armed Madhouse.

HELP US FOLLOW THE MONEY. Visit the Palast Investigative Fund’s store or simply make a tax-deductible contribution to keep our work alive!


Follow Palast on Twitter | Like Palast on Facebook | Forward to a friend
Subscribe to Palast’s Newsletter | Podcasts

Share this with   

Greg Palast tells Max Keiser on RT about how fraud and corruption are legalized and this is NOT a misguided ideology but straight up class war

tumblr_m6n5cqyoo61ryf90ao1_500

Greg Palast on HuffPost LIve talking about how top Treasury officials and the big banks secretly colluded to deregulate the banking industry worldwide – and used and abused the WTO to do it.

The original memo that Palast released recently is here.

Is this email not displaying correctly?
View it in your browser.
GregPalast.com
Ku Klux Kourt kills King’s Dream Law
Replaces Voting Rights Act with Katherine Harris Acts
by Greg Palast for Truthout
Tuesday, 25. June 2013

They might as well have burned a cross on Dr. King’s grave.  The Jim Crow majority on the Supreme Court just took away the vote of millions of Hispanic and African–American voters by wiping away Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.


I’m so angry, so distraught by this, that I’ve asked my foundation to release my film,Election Files, for free.  This is a no-BS, no charge download of my series of investigative reports for BBC Television and Rolling Stone.

Furthermore, I’m directing the Palast Investigative Team to drop all other work for a ‘round-the-clock investigation of the Theft of 2014 and 2016 elections that the Supreme Court’s ruling sets in motion.  Help usjoin us.


When I say “millions” of voters of color will lose their ballots, I’m not kidding.  Let’s add it up.

Last year, the GOP Secretary of State of Florida Ken Detzner tried to purge 180,000 Americans, mostly Hispanic Democrats, from the voter rolls.  He was attempting to break Katherine Harris’ record.

Detzner claimed that all these Brown folk were illegal “aliens.”

But Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act requires that 16 states with a bad history of blocking Black and Brown voters must “pre-clear” with the US Justice Department any messing around with voter rolls or voting rules.  And so Section 4 stopped Detzner from the racist Brown-out.

I’ll admit there were illegal aliens on Florida’s voter rolls – two of them.  Let me repeat that:  TWO aliens–One a US Marine serving in Iraq (not yet a citizen); the other an Austrian who registered as a Republican.

We can go from state to state in Dixie and see variations of the Florida purge game. It quickly adds up to millions of voters at risk.

Yet the 5-to-4 Court majority ruled, against all evidence, that, “Blatantly discriminatory evasions [of minority voting rights] are rare.”   Since there are no more racially bent voting games, the right-wing Robed Ones conclude there’s no more reason for “pre-clearance.”

Whom do they think they’re fooling?  The Court itself, just last week, ruled that Arizona’s law requiring the showing of citizenship papers was an unconstitutional attack on Hispanic voters.  Well, Arizona’s a Section 4 state. 

You’ll love this line from the Ku Klux Kourt majority.  They wrote that the “coverage” of Section 4 applies to states where racially bent voting systems are now “eradicated practices.”

“Eradicated?” I assume they didn’t see the lines of Black folk in Florida last November.  That was the result of the deliberate reducing of the number of polling places and early voting hours in minority areas.  Indeed, if the Justice Department, wielding Section 4, hadn’t blocked Florida from half its ballot-box trickery, Obama would have lost that state’s electoral votes.

And that’s really what’s going on here:  The problem is not that the Court majority is racist.  They’re worse:  they’re Republicans.

We’ve had Republicans, like the great Earl Warren, who put on the robes and take off their party buttons.

But this crew, beginning with Bush v. Gore, is viciously partisan.  They note that, “minority candidates hold office at unprecedented levels.”  And the Republican Supremes mean to put an end to that. See “Obama” and “Florida” above.

And when they say “minority” they mean “Democrat.”

Because that’s the difference between 1965 and today.  When the law was first enacted, based on the personal pleas of Martin Luther King, African-Americans were blocked by politicians who did not like the color of their skin.

But today, it’s the color of the ballot of minorities – overwhelmingly Democratic Blue—which is the issue.

Pre-clearance goes WAY north of the Confederacy to Alaska where Alaska’s Natives are often frozen out of the voting system–and West to California.

In the Golden State, an astonishing 40% of voter registration forms were rejected by the Republican Secretary of State on cockamamie clerical grounds.  When civil rights attorney Robert F. Kennedy and I investigated, we learned that the reject pile was overwhelmingly Chicano and Asian—and overwhelmingly Democratic.

How? Jim Crown ain’t gone, he’s moved into cyberspace.  The new trick is lynching by laptop:  removing voters, as was done in Florida and Arizona (and a dozen other states), by using poisoned databases to pick out “illegal” and “felon” and “inactive” voters—who all happen to be of the Hispanic or African-American persuasion.  The GOP, for all the tears of its consultants, knows it can’t rock these votes, so they block these votes.

Despite the racial stench of today’s viciously anti-democratic ruling, the GOP majority knew they were “handicapping” the next Presidential run by a good six million votes.  (That’s the calculation that RFK and I can up with for the racially-bent vote loss in 2004—and the GOP will pick up at least that in the next run.)

And the Court knew full well that their ruling today was the same as stuffing several hundred thousand GOP Red votes into the ballot boxes for the 2014 Congressional races.

The Republican court knows that to swipe 2016, they had to replace the Voting Rights Act with a revival of the Katherine Harris act.

It was investigative reporter Greg Palast, for The Guardian and BBC Television who uncovered Katherine Harris purge of Black voters in 2000.  He is also the author of the recent New York Timesbestseller, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits:  How to Steal and Election in 9 Easy Steps.
Palast’s film The Election Files is now available as a FREE download.
Or simply support our work by making a No Gift donation.
We are counting on you to voluntarily make a tax-deductible donation and keep our investigations alive—and boy, do we need it! So many evils, so little time—and so few resources. And thank you for keeping us alive for a decade of investigative scoops.

Follow Palast on Twitter | Like Palast on Facebook | Forward to a friend
Subscribe to Palast’s Newsletter | Podcasts

Share this with Facebook Twitter Digg

Copyright © 2013 Greg Palast, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this Newsletter because you are a subscriber.
Our mailing address is:

Greg Palast

PO Box 90

Greenport, NY 11944


Did Chavez’ Pick Steal the Election in Venezuela? (Greg Palast for Vice Magazine)