Year: 2011

My Declaration of War on Christmas

Greg Palast 

by Greg Palast

Click on the image to watch the segment

I don’t usually watch Today or any American TV because my reports appear on the British Broadcasting Corporation, a network run by highly-educated America-haters.

But there I was, last Friday, in this hotel room in Atlanta, a city pretending there’s no Depression, chewing my complimentary morning donut, and Today is telling us about the “new face of American poverty.” …more

Occupy Wall Street comes home to roost with Congo’s ‘debt vultures’

Greg Palast 

Nowhere are the ill-gotten gains of the 1% more grossly apparent than in the activities of ‘debt vulture’ hedge funds

by Greg Palast
as published by The Guardian America


This article is the subject of a legal complaint from Peter Grossman.


Photo by Zach Roberts © 2011

This past Sunday, a deputation from Occupy Wall Street crossed the bridge from Manhattan and brought its protest to the Brooklyn residence of one of New York’s “vultures” This type of vulture doesn’t roost in a tree, but in a swish brownstone.

A “vulture” is a financial speculator who, as we recently reported, gets his hands on debts owed by desperately poor nations. The Brooklyn “vulture” targeted by OWS and Friends of the Congo is Peter Grossman. Two weeks ago, the Guardian exposed him as a financier who is demanding the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the world’s poorest nation, pay $100m to the hedge fund he manages, FG Hemisphere.

Grossman, tipped off about the demonstration, …more

Our Photographer (& His Lens) Busted
@Occupy Wall Street

Greg Palast 

By Greg Palast
Special to Truthout.org

“So this Bishop, three priests and a comedian are locked up together in this paddy wagon and ….”

Zach! This is NOT funny, and I do NOT want to hear the punch line.”

Actually, I appreciate the fact that our photo-journalist has a sense of humor about getting busted and jailed at Occupy Wall Street on Saturday.

But it’s not a joke. On Saturday, our man Zach D. Roberts, along with a bishop of the Episcopalian Church and three ministers of various faiths, plus a stand-up comic were pushed face first into the dirt at Duarte Park, hand-cuffed and hauled off in a police van to the lock-up in Lower Manhattan.

I did NOT appreciate that this follows his previous bust at Occupy, the busting of our $600 Tokina 11-16 f2.8 lens by a cop slamming his nightstick down on Zach (reparable) and hitting the lens (not reparable). [Heck of a photo, though, just as the stick is coming down.]

Zach, who is working with the Palast Investigations Team via a Gil Palast Memorial Fund journalism fellowship, has been covering the Occupation since Day One. His astonishing in-the-action photographs from #OWS have been featured in Portfolio Magazine and on the front page of The Guardian. However, credits and press credentials did not impress New York’s Finest.

But hey, they weren’t impressed by Bishop George Packard’s red robes. His Excellency was handcuffed and charged along with Zach and another newsman for trespassing on the property owned by the bishop’s own church, Trinity.

In the holding tank, Zach was put in with an OWS protester who wore a green cap with red blood oozing out from it, the Christmas color-scheme caused by an excess of NYPD holiday zeal.

Zach was there to cover the Occupation’s attempt to re-establish their encampment. OWS asked to use a parcel of empty land owned by Trinity, the oldest and arguably the wealthiest church in America, landlord for much of the real estate called Wall Street.

According to the Bishop (in an interview recorded, I kid you not, while cuffed in the wagon), his Church plans to lease the property to a developer for a skyscraper and is afraid that allowing protesters to move in would devalue their holdings––bring down the neighborhood, so to speak.

Despite the pleas of Bishop Packard, several priests and even fellow Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Trinity’s administrators refused Occupy’s request, choosing, in Tutu’s thinking, Mammon over the church’s moral mission.

The ecclesiastical issues of this Schism, while not exactly on the same order as Luther’s split from The Vatican, were serious enough to be decided by the cops who moved in after Occupation activists (clerics included) used ladders to breach the construction fences.

What concerns me is that the One Percent are clearly using their blue enforcers not just to stop protesters but to stop coverage of the protest. Not every cop went along. One policeman, told to arrest Zach, resisted the command, “This guy’s a journalist! What are we doing!?

That cut no ice with his bosses. I guess if you can bust a bishop, a journalist is kind of small stuff.

These are Zach’s photos from the demo, including the one at the right he shot while face-down on the ground, before they grabbed our equipment.

The shot you see of Zach under arrest was taken by CS Muncy, a top-rank freelancer whose work appears in The Wall Street Journal. Frighteningly, while trying to cover Wall Street, a cop grabbed his press credential necklace but, in the mayhem, Muncy was able to yank it back. While I’m concerned about Muncy’s neck, I’m more concerned about this new––and increasingly violent––attack on press freedom.

Note: Funeral services will be held for our Tokina 11-16 f2.8 lens this week at our New York offices. Zach has requested that, instead of sending flowers, donations be made to the Palast Investigative Fund.

Zach, who was released early Sunday morning, has a court date set for February. We will keep readers informed via our Facebook page, which will include more of Zach’s photos and his own diary of events.

*****

Greg Palast is the author of Vultures’ Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Carnivores, released in the US and Canada by Penguin.

You can read Vultures’ Picnic, “Chapter 1: Goldfinger,” or download it, at no charge: click here.

All photos by Zach D. Roberts. Permission granted for use with credit.

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Don’t Get Scrooged at Christmas

Greg Palast 

This holiday season, why not roast a One Percenter’s chestnuts on an open fire?

Donate $60 or more to the Palast Investigative Fund, and I’ll personally sign and send you and yours a gorgeously illustrated hardbound copy of the book Mitt Romney’s favorite billionaire says, “Is full of errors” – Vultures’ Picnic.

Oh yeah? What it’s chocked full of, is the no-soap dope on Paul “The Vulture” Singer, Mitt’s billion-dollar sugar daddy, on the BP petroleum pirates, on Goldman’s sacks of ill-gotten gold and a lot, lot more.

Order by Monday and get it in time for Xmas or Hanukah.

There are many other gifts at the Palast Investigative Fund store for your tax-deductible donation. Films, books and gift-packs. …more

XL Keystone – The Pig in the Pipeline
The GOP is pushing a pipeline
that could blow you to pieces

Greg Palast 

by Greg Palast
Special to TruthOut.org

Palast conducted a five-continent investigation of Big Oil for British TV’s premier current affairs program, Dispatches, and for BBC Worldwide. This report is based on the broadcast seen prime-time worldwide—but not yet in the USA.

Whistleblowers have told Britain’s “Dispatches” that the safety software on major US pipelines contains deliberate errors—and so pipelines can — and have — busted, leaked, exploded …and killed.

Congressional Republicans are holding extended unemployment benefits hostage until President Obama agrees to speed up approval to build the XL Keystone Pipeline. XL Keystone will slice down through the entire width of the USA, moving tar-sands oil from Canada to Houston.

The oil industry promises that the Pipeline will be safe. But the pipe is only safe if the PIG inside it can squeal.

Federal law requires the industry to run a diagnostic robot PIG, a Pipeline Inspection Gauge, that will squeal when something is wrong: a crack, dangerous corrosion, anything that might lead to a spill or explosion.

But PIGs are only as good as the software that tracks and analyzes their signals. And the software used by Big Oil has been compromised—deliberately. …more

Where is the Sea Devil?

Greg Palast 

The two-grand-a-night call girls are wandering lonely and disconsolate through the Wynn casino, victims of the recession. Badpenny, dressed full-on Bond Girl, is losing nickels in the slots and humming Elvis tunes.

Badpenny’s assigned job here is to look good and get information. She’s good at her job. A tipsy plaintiffs’ lawyer is telling her, “A woman as beautiful as you should be told she’s beautiful every five minutes.” His nose dips slowly toward her cleavage…

Introduction by Razorcakes’ Chris Pepus

If you don’t read Greg Palast’s investigative reports, you don’t know what’s going on in America. Palast is the journalist who discovered election thefts in the U.S., the real reason behind Bush II’s invasion of Iraq, and other vital information on the class war that the rich wage every day.

In his new book, Vultures’ Picnic, Palast presents the inside story of how the financial elite loots public treasuries and passes the bill on to you. He also writes about recent and upcoming environmental catastrophes. In this excerpt for Razorcake, the Palast team starts investigating the 2010 British Petroleum disaster …more

Palast at DC Press Club
Wed, Dec. 14

Greg Palast 

Catch Palast at the DC National Press Club.

Wednesday, 14 December
7 – 8 pm
529 14th St. NW
Washington, DC 20045

Dinner with the speaker will be at 6:30pm in the McClendon Room of the National Press Club. The voluntary but suggested donation for non-members to cover the expenses is $5.00. If you arrive after 5 p.m., parking is FREE with National Press Club dinner validation of your parking receipt from the PMI Garage on G St. NW (between 13th & 14th streets, NW).
Click here for more information.