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Q & A with Greg Palast

Dave Mazza: Let¹s start with your favorite topic, the American election process. In your new book, Armed Madhouse, you say that the same folks who stole the election in 2000 and 2004 are going to do it again in 2008. Now that we know how they did it, how are they going to pull it off again?

Greg Palast: The Brown hunt.  The story of the 2000 election was the purge of Black voters from the Florida voter rolls by the Jebster giving his brother George the White House.  If you remember, Jeb and Katherine Harris tagged thousands as 'felons' though their crime was only Voting While Black.  In, 2004, the Attack on the Black voter was back this time, as the Chapter "Kerry Won" tells us, by the use of "caging" lists which I discovered for BBC -- challenges to hundreds of thousands of voters in strategic states -- plus the shunting of 1.9 million voters to "provisional" ballots.  Over half a million of these were thrown away.  

2008, the Brown voter, the Hispanic Demographic is in their sites.  The key weapon:  ID cards.  The "wrong" I.D. knocked out 300,000 in 2004 -- that will be 3 million in 2008 under new laws.  Yet I'm still looking for one single bust of a voter using someone else's ID to vote -- the crime ID is supposed to stop.  Add to this the 3.6 "spoiled" ballots (caste, not counted) and you have an apartheid voting system.  Why the Democrats have already conceded '08 is another matter -- read the book.

DM:. Most people on the Left argue that the U.S. attacked Iraq to secure its oil reserves. You paint a far more complicated picture in which the U.S.  despite its protests  is actually supporting OPEC because of the profits it creates for American oil companies. Is our government really that cynical?

Palast:  No, our government is not cynical -- its a profit-making venture for Big Oil and the landlords of the White House, the House of Saud.  And NO, we did NOT invade Iraq for its oil.  Look around:  you see more oil?  I see LESS -- and thereby $3 a gallon gas and a BILLION DOLLAR A MONTH NET PROFIT FOR EXXON.  In other words, friends, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

After two years of a frustrating, maddening hunt our team discovered the secret plan for the oil fields of Iraq -- the one first conceived in FEBRUARY 2001, within weeks of the Bush-Cheney regime taking power.  It's 323 pages long but the key page is reproduced in Armed Madhouse:  the hub of the plan to create an Iraqi oil company which, in lock-up deals with "IOCs" (international oil companies) will "enhance [Iraq's new] government's relationship with OPEC," the oil cartel.  Think about that:  Team Bush went in to enforce the will of OPEC and its monarch, the House of Saud.  The problem was, we learned (from the oil company chiefs who wrote the plan), Saddam was "jerking" the oil markets up and down -- and threatening OPEC.  That could not stand.  

Greg Palast in Venezuala, US forces next?

The story surprised me -- an unexpected twist:  It wasn't 'blood for oil' but 'blood for LESS oil.'  Evil, eh?  

DM:   In Armed Madhouse, you make oil seem like a minor issue compared to the administration¹s policies towards trade and currencies. How serious is it and why haven't we been hearing this from the press?

Palast:  Oil is NEVER minor.  But I want readers to understand that George Bush chauffeurs King Abdullah around the Crawford ranch in George's golf cart, it's not because we need his oil.  The Saud dictator can't drink his crude -- he'll ALWAYS sell it to us.  It's the the petroleum, IT'S THE PETRO-DOLLARS George craves.  We pay $3 a gallon to Big Oil; they take their slice and pay the Saudis who take their slice THEN SEND MOST OF IT BACK TO THE USA in the form of US Treasury bills and other dollar investments.  Bush has paid for his ENTIRE budget shortfall with foreign borrowing and the petro-dollars are the keystone.

And that's why they want to kill Hugo Chavez -- he's willing to sell oil at a LOWER price than Saudi Arabia BUT HE WON'T GIVE THE MONEY BACK.  He's sworn to keep it in Latin America for Latin Americas.  He's a dead man.

DM: With your book The Best Democracy Money Can Buy making you a more familiar face, has your job become more difficult? Are people less or more inclined to help you dig up the truth?

  Well known to WHOM?  I'm just journalistic crotch rash to the Powers that Be.  My targets -- oil executives, World Bank honchos, Cheney's chain gang -- they don't recognize me.  For those who do, we go undercover -- that's not done on US TV.  Keep in mind, I'm a TEAM -- if there's a danger someone knows my name, we have a dozen folk who can "beard" for me, like our Swiss researcher with four languages and a dozen accents, for example.  And, to the chagrin of some of the folk who talk to me, WE SECRETLY TAPE (where it's legal, which is just about everywhere, by the way).  That's just not done by US "reporters" who have simply become repeaters of official press releases.

You've painted a pretty bleak picture in Armed Madhouse. What makes you optimistic that in the end the people will prevail?

There's plenty good to say about the USA:  after all, they have to STEAL the elections.  As Daniel Ellsberg says, the best thing about the American people is that they have to LIE to them.  The worst thing is that it's so easy to do.  America maintains a child-like (not childish) brilliance -- that's why I can write a book here filled with the grimmest facts and the goofiest jokes.  Bush cannot turn Americans into imperialists -- we'd rather conquer the world with rock and roll.   John Lennon moved to America -- and I moved back -- for the same reason.  America's fucked up but everywhere else is just fucked.



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Last Updated: May 22, 2006