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An Interview with Award Winning Muck Raker Journalist Greg Palast

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An Interview with Award Winning Muck Raker Journalist Greg Palast; The media sources and journalists he respects and trusts, the people that make up his idea of an "Evil Empire, " and his latest take on threats to honest voting and elections.

By Rob Kall, editor, OpEdNews.com

Greg Palast is the Author of the NY Times Best-seller, Best Democracy Money Can Buy. Subscribe to his writings for Britain 's Observer and Guardian Newspapers and view his investigative reports for BBC television newsnight at WWW.GregPalast.com  

(Interviewer Rob Kall is in bold Times Roman.  Greg Palast is in Italics)

You 've characterized most US News like Pravda. What, if any US media, do you respect?

There 's only one print today that I would read, and that 's the Wall Street Journal, and that 's because they follow the money and that 's the number one rule for information.

For example one document I got which was vitally important news was the state department 's secret plan to steal all the assets of Iraq, which was long before the war. The Wall Street Journal also got that document and printed it. Long before the war they decided to sell off , TO SELL OFF, Iraq 's oil field. We were told that. We were told by our president in his speech, "Don 't burn the oil wells," he told the Iraqis "because your oil is for you." And yet he literally had in his pocket the secret plans to take it.

At least the Wall Street Journal reported on that. They could have gone further. I will go further and investigate it deeper. Of course in the New York Times, dead f*cking silence.

Where do you go to get your news besides the Wall Street Journal?

I actually don 't spend a lot of time reading the news that 's processed-- the outlets-- newspapers and television. I don 't have a television. I produce television. I wouldn 't watch it. And I read original documents. I like reading state department material. I read things like the bulletin of public service international, which is the newsletter of public service unions.

And then there are specialized journals, like Lobster: (Journal of parapolitics, intelligence and State Research,), out of Britain, like I 'll read a lot of foreign material-- United nations Human Development reports, World Bank reports, material about US manipulation of the government of the island of Palau.

I 'll spend 140 or 150 seconds on the NY Times just to know what I 'm "supposed" to be thinking. But it 's rare that I actually read it. The internet is useful. There are tremendous sites for information. Buzzflash, Guerilla News ... *(see a more comprehensive list of web links at Greg's site www.gregpalast.com  )

How about journalists? Any particular journalists you appreciate, value, respect?

Ron Ridenhour was the greatest journalist of our generation. He 's the one who uncovered the My Lai Massacre.

Seymour Hirsch, who I also have great respect for.

Bob Parry has a site Consortiumnews.com. He was an AP reporter, fired for uncovering the Iran Contra scandal.

Ron Ridenhour, who uncovered the Mai Lai Massacre could not get a job in American newspapers, Seymour Hirsch who has done extraordinary work  was fired by the NY Times. (He now writes for the New Yorker.)

Ed Rampell an extraordinary investigative journalist relegated to the so-called alternative press,

John Nichols, a great writer, on trade issues, Washington. It 's hard to find anyone mainstream, outside of the Wall Street Journal, that I would bother to urinate on.

How about the US-- other News Sources or Writers?

Especially outside the US is where you 're going to get your news.

I am in exile journalistically. I moved back to America this year, but journalistically I have to report from England. I just did a one hour special on the Bush Family which you won 't be shown in America.

Can we get videos of it?

I 'm arranging something. Look at my website. I just spoke to BBC. We 'll show it in basements or show it behind the barbed wire.

We 'll do it one way or another. Churchill says we 'll show it on the beaches. We 'll show it in the kitchen. Whatever it takes to get it right.

Is there a concerted effort to block this?

No. (laughing) It doesn 't take any effort at all. Are you kidding? The whole nation,our national media has been Foxified. It 's all Fox-proof at this point. And that 's true whether it 's CBS or NBC or the New York Times. Look at  their new columnist David Brook. He 's somewhat to the right of the Republican party. It 's just fuckin ' awful. No one has to make a decision because it 's very simple. There ain 't no Goddam chance that anything showing up on BBC about George Bush will be shown in the United States of America.

Bush has his evil empires list. Do you have your list of evil empires or people or businesses?

They 're an evil empire. There 's kind of what I call an evil circus. We have a government in Washington and an international government of financiers which they aren 't so much...  They act more like armed and dangerous clowns than like Lex Luthor. There are no professor Moriaritys (Sherlock Holme's brilliant criminal antagonist) out there. They 're buffoons, but they are dangerous. From the International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization I got these documents that we 're not supposed see. These guys sit around and figure out how to tear apart nations, to steal what they have... and to destroy and grab. Slash and grab is the hidden motto of the World Bank. Destroy a nation, take its assets and cart it off for British Petroleum.

The argument is that we need to have some sort of global trade arrangement.

Karl Marx didn 't say "workers of the world disperse." We should all be working together. These guys aren 't talking about global trade. They 're anti-trade.

Do you really want me to include that Karl Marx mention. Do you want to be called a Communist?

I 'll be called anything. Since the Marxists (laughter) don 't like me, I 'm allowed to steal (quote) their guy.

Are you a Marxist, a Communist?

I 'm definitely not a communist. What a pathetic and sorry group they are at this point. I think there 's a lot to be learned from Karl Marx and Adam Smith. As an economist I pull lots from all these writers.

You 're one of the good guys. I 'm just trying to prevent someone from using a quote out of context. Any particular people in this "evil Empire"

Peter Munk. He 's the guy who set up George Bush 's gold mines. They are looters and killers and this guy puts it together.

Is he connected with Liberia too?

No. That 's Pat Robertson. He 's a much bigger player than you think. There 's Pat Robertson, the Elmer Gantry of Television, and Pat Robertson, in the same body, who 's one of the most devious and brilliant businessmen in the hemisphere. And he DOES have gold mines in Liberia, and believe me, we ain 't going in there until that interest is protected. He owns other things that don 't get the light they should be getting.

The Koch brothers-- these are the guys who illegally funded the Republican takeover of the congress. They financed and funded the "contract with America," Newt Gingrich 's plan.

What did they do that was illegal?

Well they pumped about $25 million dollars into the campaign for the Republican party.  No-one 's supposed to give more than $1000 to a campaign. They committed $25 million.

They went after McCain, didn 't they? (I was thinking of the attack ads that were used when McCain was running against Bush in the southern 2000 primaries.)

No. They elected McCain. They put him in over Dennis DiConcini of Arizona who was investigating the Koch brothers who were stealing oil from the Indians off the Indian reservation-- maybe $100 million dollars (worth..) So they spent whatever money it would take to boot him, And they put in McCain in his place. But then, McCain 's gotten kind of out of line...

You talk about Bill Gates as the richest man in America, but I would bet that these Koch brothers are very close, but unlike Gates, Koch 's industries is a private company, and we don 't know how much they 're worth. But I would bet they are close to or more than Gates.

They are the guys who funded some of the big think tanks, George Mason University, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Cato Institute, all these fronts which created the huge intellectual Right.

They 're the number one funders of the right wing.

And by the way, their father founded the John Birch Society.

What 's smart about the Kochs is they work their way through fronts.

My whole purpose is to tell you the stuff that you can 't see, that requires some extra digging. While the internet is an extraordinary research tool, I find that people are dependent upon it and it 's not the question that you get bad information. But you still don 't get enough information. You still have to go digging, making those phone calls. In my case, I go under cover even.

Computerized voting machines...

What you really have to look at is what 's in front of your face-- the touch screen voting machine-- which needless to say, you don 't have to be a f*cking Rhodes scholar to figure out that ..... they 're refusing to come up with some kind of paper ballot to print out back-up.

They 're saying that one of the reasons they don 't want a paper back up is there are all these glitches doing that, as opposed to the machine itself. So, you 're telling me that we can trust the machine to chose the next president but can 't trust it to print out a copy of what someone votes. So I have a big concern.

What I 've looking at is beyond the touch screen voting machines, which are a nightmare.

But the requirement.. there 's something called the Help America Vote Act, which you 've probably never heard of, which was signed by our president. And as soon as George Bush tells you he 's going to help you vote, you better f*cking look out.

He 's not only pushing computerized voting but he also pushing computerization of voting rolls. And that was the key to the theft of the election before. Katherine Harris and Jeb Bush removed tens of thousands of black people from the voting rolls just before the election. They called them criminals and they weren 't. That 's what I uncovered with BBC television. And that 's how the president was elected. And rather than end that system-- Florida was the only state that did that--- the new law requires that every state imitate Florida. Martin Luther King III and I have written an op-ed on this and we call it the Floridation of the nation. It is requiring every state to imitate the evil system that disenfranchised thousands of black voters. They 're computerizing it so one single hack or "hacket," like Katherine Harris, in a state can determine who gets removed from those rolls.

I saw that there 's some new kind of an organization of state voting chairs, or something like that.

Oh yes. One of the problems is that there will be an oversight panel to make sure that no-one abuses this. It will be appointed by George Bush. Which I think is good, I think that therefor, in consequence, why limit it to just the voting. As long as you 're going to have George Bush in charge of making sure that we have an honest vote, shouldn 't we let the mafia have an oversight panel over the FBI? It 's only fair.

Yesteday Moveon.org sent out their newsletter that was all about the vote. It had your piece, Thom Hartmann 's piece, a couple others.

I think that that 's important. I wish they would have the petition. You can sign the Martin Luther King III / Greg Palast petition to stop the Floridation of the 2004 election at http://www.gregpalast.com/detail.cfm?artid=228&row=1

It 's very nice that Moveon is doing something to make people aware of this, but we 've got to actually get people to do something to sign on and show that people are upset about this.

Do you know about Rush Holt 's paper trail ballot legislation?

That 's putting a condom on the rapist. It 's your basic protection. Which is to have computerized voting you got to have a paper trail and have to have other safeguards. But we aren't at that point yet. The number one problem is that we cannot have anything on the computer and be safe. In fact, you can get a paper receipt and that can still be a con. Hell, you don 't know what the machine 's recording even though they print it on the paper.

At least, if we don 't have those basic protections that Holt is talking about-- the fact that they don 't want Holt 's corrections means that they absolutely intend to steal.

When someone says, don 't close the door to the safe, they 're probably trying to steal what 's inside it. Like I say, I back Holt 's legislation. I think it 's a positive step but it 's really just a condom on the rapist. It helps but it doesn 't solve the problem.

So how do you solve the problem?

You prevent the rape. Every single expert that I 've spoken to, bar none, worldwide, says there 's nothing safer than a paper ballot. You mark it and it can be read by all competing factions in public, period! That 's the best, most practical, cheapest, safest method for voting anywhere that anyone 's ever conceived of period-- the paper ballot.

That 's the Gold Standard.

That 's the Gold Standard. And they 're spending an awful lot of money for something that 's much more expensive, much more difficult and has a complete history of utter failure. Well.. I can 't call it utter failure,, because people like Chuck Hagel of Nebraska probably wouldn 't be in the senate. So I geuss you could view it as not a failure if it weren 't for computerized voting.

And Sonny Perdue...

There are counties in Texas that have gone Republican with an astonishing number of black votes., which occurred after they computerized. So to me, it 's quite interesting that the changeover in government that occur when you change over the voting methodology.

The same people that say there is nothing to worry about don 't want any type of testing-- don 't want open codes, don 't want paper receipts. Then what 's the problem here? We have to inform people. But then we have to inform them about what they can do.

Any Updates on Voting Cull Lists in other states besides Florida?

Well now it 's going to be required in every state of the union. I 'm particularly worried about the states of Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, Illinois and Pennsylvania.

Why?

Because that 's where we 've seen some real mischief already and there have been purges already that have been questionable. I 'm very concerned because I worry that one of the questions is the push for Californians to get rid of Grey Davis-- aiming really openly at getting control of the election mechanism in 2004.

And Gerrymandering

There are lots of reasons why they need California.

At this point, 15 minutes past the time allotted for the interview, Greg got a call from a radio station he was scheduled to do a phone interview with.

Here's what Greg said about OpEdNews.com

.... it looks like you 're becoming the center of centers.

.... you 're doing really great stuff. I 'm very impressed with it.

Rob Kall rob@opednews.com is publisher of progressive news and opinion website www.opednews.com and organizer of cutting edge meetings that bring together world leaders, such as the Winter Brain Meeting and the StoryCon Summit Meeting on the Art, Science and Application of Story. This article is copyright by Rob Kall, but permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog, or web media so long as this credit is attached.

 

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

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