may be the best piece I’ve yet seen about how the American media has been
utterly cowed and afraid to do any real journalism about the
Bush administration (and previous administrations, including Clinton’s),
9-11, Venezula, and al Qaeda. The truth is gradually coming out, thanks to
the British press! This is an important piece. It’s just a shame that Hustler
is the only American media publication that had the guts to run it.
you read this, you’ll pick up some important names and connections: Harken
Oil, the Carlyle Group, Barrick Gold, bin Laden, Hugo Chavez, Jeb Bush and
Katherine Harris. I have much more material on these entities to come! But
this is a good place to start.
A couple of key points:
- In the
American media, all you hear about Venezuela is that most of their oil
industry is on strike (why, we aren’t told), and that people are clamoring
for Chavez to resign, or to allow another election. What you aren’t told is
that a) the US government attempted a coup to remove him from power about a
year ago, which failed; b) Chavez is legally and democratically elected and
only wants to help his impoverished people to earn a decent profit from their
resources; c) the international oil industry has been taking huge profits
from its Venezuelan operations for a long time, while paying the Venezuelan
oil workers peanuts, and subjecting them to health hazards that simply aren’t
permitted in the US. But you don’t hear that story over here. What you hear
is: Chavez should be removed from power.
- In the American media, the
stories about what happened in the 2000 general election have been quashed.
The truth is ugly. Bush & Co. didn’t steal the 2000 Presidential
election, they bought it, fair and square!
- G.H. Bush, through his
dealings with the Carlyle Group and others, has his fingers in absolutely
- We didn’t get a real investigation into 9-11 for a very
good reason: the Bush dynasty is intimately involved with bin Laden and all
sorts of CIA shenanigans, and has been for a long time. My guess is, that’s
exactly why we supposedly have intelligence about Saddam’s ties to
terrorist organizations, and his weapons programs, that we can’t release: not
because it’s ultra-sensitive information that would endanger the lives of
American troops, but because the hand of G.H. Bush in the whole affair would
be evident! The same is true of al Quaeda. These are monsters that WE
created, but we have to find a way to take them down without revealing the
fact that we had a hand in their making. Let’s see…how could we do
that…I’ve got it! We’ll simply declare that they’re Evil and then go after
them like the good guys we are! Yeah, that’s the ticket! Americans fall for
simple homilies like that every time.
Much, much more to
Yours for the truth, C
Message—– An article from Journalist Greg Palast’s web-site, http://www.GregPalast.com
GREG PALAST: BEAT THE
Interview by Bruce David
For those of us who’ve long
suspected that our democracy is up for sale to the highest bidder,
award-winning investigative journalist Greg Palast has uncovered disturbing
evidence confirming as much. Palast’s exposés of the theft of the 2000
election, the financial ties between the Bush and the Bin Laden families, and
how these connections kept the FBI from perhaps preventing the horrific
events of 9/11 have thrown fear into the hearts of media pundits. There has
been a near-complete news blackout of the explosive findings documented in
Palast’s book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. First released in England,
where he reports for the BBC and The Guardian, Palast’s collection of
writings is finally being published in America by Penguin/Plume books with
40% new material. In an exclusive HUSTLER interview, the author
discloses the truth on high crimes in high places that the mainstream media
is afraid to touch.
HUSTLER: Tell us about your new book. I know you’ve
been able to get your groundbreaking exposés published in England and Europe,
but, up until now, your stuff has been too controversial for the American
media to touch.
PALAST: Not a chance in America, until now, thanks to the
HUSTLER: What kind of material do you have in the
PALAST: How about this for an example: After Daddy Bush left the
White House, he went to work for a company called Barrick Gold Corporation
in Canada, something you haven’t read in the United States. The first thing
he does is pick up a big, fat check and stock options from Barrick
Gold Corporation for, essentially, selling them the presidential seal and
the presidential Rolodex. And he writes letters to dictators like
[former president of Indonesia] Suharto, saying, “Give these nice guys
HUSTLER: What is Barrick
PALAST: It was founded with money from Adnan Khashoggi, the arms
dealer. You may remember that Adnan was the bagman in the guns-for-hostages,
Iran-Contra scandal. The sheikh got out, then Bush got in. You have to ask
yourself a question: What would a Canadian gold-mining company do with a
used president? Well, it turns out that before he left office, Daddy Bush put
in motion an expedited process for laying claims to gold in the United
States. It allowed Barrick Gold Corporation and a couple of other operators
to lay claim to the largest gold mines in America. To stake a claim on $10
billion worth of gold ore, Barrick paid the U.S. Treasury less than
HUSTLER: I would have gone for that, myself. I could have
scraped together $10,000.
PALAST: All I can say is that Barrick was
very, very grateful for the gold mine. But the public got the shaft, and
Daddy Bush got the job. And George W. got the donations. That’s the other
thing that has been unreported here: People don’t realize how much easy
squeezy [campaign money] is flowing in. That includes things like parallel
spending and soft money and hard money, which, by the way, hasn’t ended. You
know that our Congress has passed campaign-finance reform, so-called. What
they did was eliminate soft money, but they doubled the amount of hard money.
It’s just Viagra for campaign donations. Our big problem is that we held
something closer to an auction than an election in America. A lot of the
reason [George W.] Bush raised all that cash-that easy squeezy-is because of
his father’s business connections. You’re never quite sure where the Bush
family’s bank account ends, and the campaigns and our American policy
HUSTLER: Did Barrick get anything else from Bush
PALAST: He helped Barrick secure a gold-mining concession in
Tanzania. Now the gold-mining concession was owned by another Canadian
company, named Sutton, which Barrick hoped to get the rights from. But there
was a problem: The land was worthless, because there were Tanzanian miners
already on it who had the rights to the mine. That’s why, in the first week
of August 1996, Sutton bulldozers ran across that property with military
police firing guns to chase off the miners. In the process, they sealed up
the mine pits and, unfortunately, there were 50 miners still in the mines,
buried alive, say witnesses. That’s information that has not been reported in
the United States. You can’t get that word out for nothing, because Bush’s
gold-mining company terrorizes journalists who dare breathe a word about it.
They terrorize newspapers; they’ve been terrorizing wire services, and so
you don’t get the story.
HUSTLER: They threaten legal
PALAST: They threaten legal action, and they bring legal action.
They sued my paper, The Guardian; they said it’s all a lie. That’s the
most prestigious newspaper in the world. They tried to get me to back up and
say that no one died. I held firm, and there was nothing that they could do.
I wasn’t in Tanzania, and I didn’t dig out the corpses myself, so
maybe Barrick’s right, but I have videotapes of the corpses.
Your book also mentions Bush and intelligence failures prior to September 11,
PALAST: CIA and FBI agents told BBC Television, for which I was
reporting, that they were ordered not to investigate Saudi Arabian financing
of terror networks such as al Qaeda. The FBI agents “accidentally” left a
file about the Bin Laden family on the desk of one of my researchers. They
called up and said, “Oops, we left our file on your desk by accident. You
haven’t read it, have you? Well, we’ll be back to pick it up in 30
minutes-unless you need 45.” The FBI agents handed us material dated
September 13, 2001, two days after the attack. It was on that date that the
FBI was finally released to go after two members of the Bin Laden family, who
they had already identified as being involved with a suspected terrorist
organization. But by September 11th, they were flown birds.
What happened to other members of the Bin Laden family living in the U.S.
PALAST: Just after the no-fly restriction was lifted, a
private Saudi Arabian jet airlifted the Bin Laden family members out of the
country before the FBI could talk to them. Everyone thinks there’s just one
black sheep in that family, but the FBI agents were telling us at BBC they
think there’s a couple of gray sheep, and they had some questions for the
family members. There were a lot of people dead under the rubble at that
moment when those people left.
HUSTLER: What had American policy been
regarding the Bin Laden family prior to the Bush
PALAST: Bill Clinton had already put a go-slow on
investigations of Saudi Arabian financing of terror networks. Clinton had
always taken the position that we can’t annoy our dear friends, the Saudis,
even if our dear friends happen to be funding terrorists like the al Qaeda
network; however, he never actually stood in the way of investigating them,
whereas George W., according to FBI and intelligence agents, said, “You can’t
go there. You may not look. You may not investigate the American Bin
HUSTLER: So the FBI and CIA agents were pissed at George
PALAST: They are furious. He blindsided our intelligence agencies.
How could a trillion-dollar intelligence operation like the CIA not foresee
the most deadly attack on America since Pearl Harbor? The answer is not
because Bush knew about September 11 in advance. Rather, they were told not
to look because of connections that are political, personal and financial
between the Bushes and the Saudis. When these agencies were told not to look,
there was a lot not to look at. There was a 1996 meeting between the al
Qaeda financial arm, Saudi billionaires and key international arms dealers.
There was a discussion about which Saudis would pay how much to al Qaeda. Now
if I can find out about it, and the French intelligence had a mole in
the meeting, you can bet that our trillion-dollar CIA could find out about
it; so why wasn’t there follow-up? Why wasn’t there action? How about a note
to the Saudis saying, “Do us a favor: Stop giving money to people who
are killing us.”
HUSTLER: What about the Bin Laden and Bush
connections to the Carlyle Group?
PALAST: The Bin Ladens were investors
in a very private and a very exclusive operation called Carlyle, which is an
investment group. Carlyle is one of the biggest private corporations on the
planet; so they report to no one, and they’re responsible to no one, except
their little coterie of owners, which is made up of an ex-president and
dictators. Daddy Bush worked for, and still continues to be on a retainer
for, the Carlyle Group, representing the company in Saudi Arabia and in Asia.
His son, our President, was also put on the board of one of the companies
owned by Carlyle, Caterair, and he was paid on the order of $50,000 for them
to access his great business acumen. Caterair went under, but they never
asked for their money back.
HUSTLER: What about George W.’s oil
PALAST: He had several oil ventures and could never find oil in
Texas, which is almost impossible, as you know. On the other hand, he had a
company, Spectrum Seven, which was bought out by another company, Harken Oil.
Before that, he had Arbusto, which means shrub. He could never find oil, this
guy. But he did find Saudi Arabians who put money into Harken and got him on
the board where he was paid consulting fees. Then, despite the fact that
the company seems to be going south, a miracle occurred. That is, the
Bahraini government insisted on giving Harken Oil a contract to drill in the
Persian Gulf. This is a dry-land Texas company suddenly being given an
offshore oil lease by a country that had previously been doing business with
Amoco. They picked this little, teeny company out of nowhere, which of course
has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the guy was the son of
the President of the United States.
HUSTLER: What about Hugo Chavez,
the president of Venezuela? Was the CIA really involved in the attempted coup
last April? And how did that relate to oil?
PALAST: What’s not
discussed in the American press is that the president of Venezuela, who they
say is a Communist and a dictator, was, in fact, elected in a democratic
election. In that regard, it’s worth noting that our President’s spokesman
said, “Winning a majority of the vote does not make your government
HUSTLER: Who should know better?
PALAST: [The U.S.
government has] been working on getting rid of Chavez, because he’s not only
president of Venezuela, he also got to choose the president of OPEC, and I
haven’t read that anywhere in the U.S. press. He controls the biggest pool of
available oil. Saddam Hussein’s oil fields, if we do invade, will be in
flames. Where do we get the oil to make up for the losses in a war? One
place, Venezuela, which pulled our bacon out of the fire during the Arab oil
embargo of the ’70s.
HUSTLER: Didn’t Chavez piss off U.S. oil companies
by restructuring his deal with them?
PALAST: Here is a guy who said,
“Look, I’ve got a nation where millions of people are living in cardboard
houses. We’re raising the price of oil, I’m taking over OPEC, I’m putting it
back together, and I’m gonna take that money and rebuild the ghettos of
Caracas,” which he did. And that cost a lot of money, which he got by
doubling the royalties on foreign corporations taking out the oil. They were
getting 16% royalties-this is the Venezuelans’ own oil, after all-and Chavez
said, “We’ll take 30%. You get 70%. Is that a deal?” The response from the
Bush Administration was to get the guy kidnapped. And our ambassador, a
political toady named Charles Shapiro, ran down from the U.S. Embassy to put
his arm around the guys who are literally holding the president of the
country hostage. You have to imagine what this looks like to the rest of the
people in the world. Of course, we didn’t see that. We’re not permitted to
find out what’s happening in our news media.
HUSTLER: What has happened
to the the news media in this country?
PALAST: I vomit every time I see
HUSTLER: And Dan Rather-
PALAST: I feel sick at heart
when I see Rather, because he’s actually a journalist. He came on my program,
Newsnight [in England] and said, “I can’t report the news. I’m not allowed to
ask questions. We’re gonna send our children and our husbands into the desert
now, and I can’t ask a question, because I will be lynched.” This is what
Rather said in London. He looked defeated and awful, and I was thinking, Why
am I feeling sorry for this guy who is worth millions? He should turn to the
camera and say, “Well, now for the truth. Over to you, Greg, in London.” The
problem is that he can’t report the story of the intelligence agents who are
told not to look at the Bin Laden family, not to look at Saudi funding of
HUSTLER: What makes Rather afraid to do his job?
It’s not just that there are brutal shepherds like Rupert Murdoch out there
to beat the dickens out of any reporter that asks the wrong questions; it’s
all about making news on the cheap. You know, for some of these editors,
cheap and easy is a philosophy of life. To do a heavy-duty story on Bush, and
his oil and Bush and his gold-mining company is beyond them. A little bit of
the Harken stock scandal came out, but that story was already seven years
old. To some extent they know that there are certain things you cannot say.
Rather says he would be necklaced for telling the truth.
said that? What did he mean?
PALAST: In South Africa, under apartheid, if
someone didn’t like you, they put a burning tire around your neck. That was
called “necklacing.” On my show, Rather said, “If I ask any questions, I’ll
be necklaced.” And I’m thinking, Oh, that’s a good image. It’s sad, but if
Dan Rather doesn’t have the cajones to ask a question, then you name a
reporter who’s gonna step out and ask about what’s going on. It’s not that
the corporate guys say, “Don’t run that story,” although that has happened to
me many times in North American media, but also the shepherds pick the lambs
who won’t ask the questions. For example, there was a reporter, some poor
producer, who wanted to run a story about how Jack Welch had lied about
polluting the Hudson River. The story didn’t run. Shockeroo. That was for
Dateline NBC, owned by General Electric, of which Jack Welch was the chairman
of the board. Or as in the case of Venezuela, I was stunned to come back from
Caracas to find a picture on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle of
100,000 people marching against the president of Venezuela. Sounds like he’s
a terrible guy and people hate him. What they didn’t say was that half a
million people were marching for him.
At least the Soviet Russians
knew that the stuff in Pravda was coming out the wrong end of a toilet,
whereas, we live under the pretense that The New York Times prints all the
news that’s fit to print.
HUSTLER: I won’t read The New York Times. That
publication has no credibility with me.
PALAST: The New York Times ran
a story, front page, the first week of September 2001, talking about
gold-mining companies in Nevada and how they seem to be getting let off the
hook by the Bush Administration on environmental rules. They didn’t mention
two things in that front-page article: They didn’t mention the owner of the
big gold mine-Barrick-and they didn’t mention who had been on their board-the
President’s Daddy. I brought that up to an editor of the Times. They said,
“How dare you. No one has ever accused The New York Times of cowardice,” and
[former Times writer] Seymour Hersch leaned over to me and said, “That’s the
guy who had me pushed out of the Times.”
HUSTLER: They haven’t really
told the truth about Bush and the 2000 election, either.
got brand-new, deeply evil stuff about that in the new book. What happened
was that, five months before the election, Katherine Harris, acting under
orders from Jeb Bush, knocked 57,000 voters off the rolls. They were
suspected of being evildoers and felons and, therefore, not allowed to vote
in Florida. Here’s the news: Of the 57,000 people, 97% were innocent
of crimes, but they were guilty of being black. Half of them
were African-American or Hispanic-in other words, Democratic voters. Was
the state guessing who the the people of color were? In Florida, it’s like
South Africa; they list your race right on your registration. There was
no guessing. These people not only lost their vote, but lost their
president. BBC figures Gore lost 22,000 votes this way, but you didn’t read
that in the U.S. press. You didn’t read in the U.S. press that they say
they’re going to allow the voters back on in 2003. That means that they were
screwed for the election of 2002 as well.
I ran the story of the theft
of the election on the BBC. Then a hotshot with CBS News calls me and says,
“Oh, that’s a great story, can we have a piece of it? We want something new.”
I said, “Yeah, I got something for you: Jeb Bush’s office, the governor of
Florida, is involved in knocking off the voters too, not just Katherine
Harris, and there’s a letter dated September 18, 2000, which directs
county-election officials to deliberately violate the law and not register a
bunch of people who are Democrats. These are people who committed crimes in
other states. Jeb can’t legally stop them from voting, but he did anyway. And
he knows that these people are Democrats, because there’s something about
going to jail that turns people [into] Democrats, about 93% [of ex-cons vote
HUSTLER: So, people who were either black or who had
previously gone to jail were just automatically eliminated?
Right. Jeb sent out the letter anyway, September 18, 2000, despite two court
orders saying he couldn’t do that. I had an insider in his office, some poor
woman, shaking, saying, “I gotta read you this letter.” She knew about the
court orders. Okay, so I said, to CBS, “That’s a story.” CBS News didn’t run
the story-one night, two nights. I said, “What happened?” They said, “It
didn’t stand up.” I said, “How do you know the story didn’t stand up?” “Well,
we called Jeb Bush’s office, and they said, ‘We didn’t do it.’” Oh. Hotshot
Dan Rather investigative news team. They said, “The letter doesn’t exist.
It’s not in the computer files; it’s in no one’s files, not in the governor’s
files. It’s nowhere to be found.” Then Katherine Harris writes a hysterical,
screeching letter to Harper’s Magazine, calling me twisted and maniacal, but
she didn’t say I was wrong. She said, “Yeah we knocked off these people, but
it’s not my fault; I got a letter from the governor.” I called up her
office-I didn’t say, “This is Mr. Twisted and Maniacal”-I said, “Um, excuse
me, I got a letter from your Secretary of State saying that she had a letter
from the governor, before the election, regarding removing people from the
voter rolls. Could you fax that to me?” Suddenly, the letter that CBS says
doesn’t exist is faxed to me. I’ve got it in my hot little hands, the letter
that was in Katherine Harris’s desk; so CBS just took an official denial,
because they’re not gonna say, “The President’s brother, the governor of the
state of Florida, fixed the election”-that we had a coup d’état by
HUSTLER: What can you tell us about the way the news media
counted the ballots in Florida after the election?
PALAST: ABC News
ran down after I noticed that 180,000 ballots were not counted in Florida.
Never counted, because they were spoiled, as they say. They were not counted
because the ballots had mismarks on them. Would you be surprised to find out
that most of those ballots were from black voters? Black precincts. Black
counties. So Ted Koppel’s team goes to investigate, and what they find is
that black voters have a tough time figuring out the ballots, because they’re
not very educated.
HUSTLER: That’s what they actually
PALAST: They reported on Ted Koppel that the reason so many black
votes were voided is that, basically-in very polite, expert terms, in the way
Ted always speaks from under his wig-blacks are too *censored*ing dumb to figure
out the ballots. But I went down to Tallahassee, and what I found out is that
in white areas, when you have a paper ballot, and you make a mistake, it
goes into an automatic reader-an optical reader. It comes back as a mistake,
and you get another ballot, and you vote again. In black counties, you make
a mistake, it goes into the same ballot, it’s the same machine, and the
ballot is destroyed. The buttons were set differently; so it wasn’t that
black voters were too dumb to vote. It was that the white reporters were too
dumb to ask.
HUSTLER: Isn’t it true that even with the fix put in by
Jeb and Harris, Gore would have won if there had been a recount of all the
PALAST: Absolutely. Walking away, Gore won. People
thought that they were voting for Al Gore. What they called a ballot that
doesn’t count is one where Al Gore’s name is circled on a paper ballot. And
listen to this: People wrote in the name Al Gore because the ballot said,
“Write in candidate’s name.” And they wrote in Al Gore. If you wrote in Al
Gore, because he wasn’t a write-in candidate, your ballot was voided. And
again, you gotta go back to the fact, it’s not everybody’s ballot that was
voided. The blacker the ballot, the higher the chances it will not be
counted, and that was the evil of it. That’s the modern way: Use computers
and mechanisms to steal elections, and if you know the race of a voter, you
know the color of their vote.
HUSTLER: Any final words on the state of
the American press?
PALAST: Let’s put it this way: This is the 30th
anniversary of the Watergate break-in, and that means it’s been 30 years
since the Washington Post has broken a major story. I uncovered the story of
the purged voters and broadcast it in Britain within three weeks of the
election. Al Gore was still in the race. The Washington Post ran my story,
seven months later, nicely buried there. W. is reading it in the White House
and giggling to himself. For more news and views from Greg Palast, go
PBS stations nationwide will
broadcast “Counting on Democracy,” featuring Palast’s investigation of state
manipulation of the vote in Florida during the 2000 presidential election.
Local broadcast times for the film, directed by Emmy award-winner Danny
Schechter, can be found at at www.GregPalast.com (Events), where you can also
read and subscribe to Greg Palast’s “London Observer” columns and view his
reports for BBC Television’s Newsnight.
You can also see this article
contents of this e-mail are (c)Greg Palast. All Rights