A BUZZFLASH INTERVIEW
People ask me: Are they going to steal the 2008 election? No, they’ve already stolen the 2008 election. We still have a chance of swiping it back, but the reason I’ve expanded and put out the new edition of Armed Madhouse is to tell you how they will steal in 2008, and what to do about it. That’s one of the main new things. Plus a special chapter on New Orleans and my bust down there.
-- Greg Palast
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You might say, since the 2000 election, BuzzFlash and Greg Palast have shared many a foxhole in the fight for democracy. He's a workaholic, like we are -- and he doesn't flinch one iota in investigating the powers that be.
One of the things that makes Palast such an incredible asset is that he is in the I.F. Stone tradition of his doing thorough research. As much as he's built up a Sam Spade sleuthing persona, it is grounded in his ability to shift through large piles of documents and data that most modern reporters would just look at and cry, "No way, I've got to meet someone for a daquiri."
Mainstream jounalism in D.C. is built on the "easy story," as in the one that is handed to you by the Executive Branch. Actually, Palast doesn't work in D.C. much at all. He is out traveling around the country -- and world -- doing actual investigations into what is really going on.
That's the reason he is the person whom BuzzFlash has interviewed the most times over our seven year history.
Besides, we just love that fedora hat he's always wearing. Just the right touch.
And Greg always has something controversial and eye-popping to share, whether you agree with him 100% or not.
So enjoy, another BuzzFlash interview with Greg Palast.
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BuzzFlash: You’re having incredible success with the new expanded paperback edition of Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans -- Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild. Of course, the electronic voting machines and how they function is a very significant issue, but your specialty has really been how the Bush/Rove GOP political machine keeps persons who are likely to vote Democratic or Independent from voting.
Greg Palast: Yes. People ask me: Are they going to steal the 2008 election? No, they’ve already stolen the 2008 election. We still have a chance of swiping it back, but the reason I’ve expanded and put out the new edition of Armed Madhouse is to tell you how they will steal in 2008, and what to do about it. That’s one of the main new things. Plus a special chapter on New Orleans and my bust down there.
Of course, I was very flattered that the first review of the new edition of Armed Madhouse was written by Karl Rove and the Rove-bots -- it was subpoenaed by the House Judiciary Committee -- I can’t make this up. On February 7th, the Rove team, which had been writing several e-mails screaming about Armed Madhouse and "that British reporter," Greg Palast, were gloating that no U.S. media had picked up my stories. And they had a .pdf file attached. Of course, the reason my book was subpoenaed is that it has to do with the US prosecutor firings. The prosecutor firings were 100% about influencing elections -- not about loyalty to Bush, which is what The New York Times wrote. The administration team couldn’t tolerate appointees who wouldn’t go along with crime. In the book I present the evidence that Karl Rove directed a guy named Tim Griffin to target suppressing the votes of African American students, homeless men, and soldiers. Nice guy. They actually challenged the votes and successfully removed tens of thousands of legal voters from the voter rolls, same as they did in 2000. But instead of calling them felons, they said that they had suspect addresses.
BuzzFlash: In which election cycle?
Greg Palast: 2004. And in 2006 and 2004, they challenged tens of thousands of black soldiers. They stopped their votes from being counted when they were mailed in from Baghdad. Go to Baghdad and lose your vote -- mission accomplished.
BuzzFlash: How did they do that?
Greg Palast: By sending letters to the homes of soldiers, marked "do not forward." When they came back undelivered, they said: Aha! Illegal voter registered from a false address. And when their ballot came in from Fallujah, it was challenged. The soldier didn’t know it. Their vote was lost. Over half a million votes were challenged and lost by the Republicans -- absentee ballots. Three million voters who went to the polls found themselves challenged by the Republicans. This was not a small operation. It was a multi-million dollar, wholesale theft operation.
They’re right that I’m a British reporter, because I put this story on British TV, not on American TV, which won’t touch it. [BuzzFlash note: Palast writes for British papers and reports on the BBC, but he is a product of the San Fernando Valley and the University of Chicago, 100% American.] But our election was a complete, total fraud. This is grand theft -- no question. It’s not a dirty trick; it’s a felony crime.
I’m working with Bobby Kennedy, who is a voting rights attorney. He said, “This is not just an icky, horrible thing that people do wearing white sheets. This is a felony crime.” [paraphrase] And the guy they put in charge of this criminal ring to knock out voters is a guy named Tim Griffin. Today, Tim Griffin is -- badda-bing -- U.S. Attorney for Arkansas. When they fired the honest guys, they put in the Rove-bots to fix the 2008 election. That’s what I’m saying -- it’s already being stolen, as we speak. Tim Griffin is the perpetrator who’s become the prosecutor, and that’s what’s going down right now.
BuzzFlash: You have been questioned about prosecutor-gate and about the theft of the election of 2008. But these replacement prosecutors are still in place, not to mention the ones who have cooperated with Bush. Gonzales has basically told the House Judiciary Committee, make my day. I’m staying on. It’s over with. You asked me questions. I didn’t give you answers, but you don’t have the courage to impeach me, so I’m staying.
Greg Palast: That’s the game, too. Congress is shooting at the glove puppet. I shoot at the puppeteers. It’s not Gonzales. He’s meaningless. He’s a nothing. He should go because he allowed it to happen, and that’s a crime. When I was a racketeering investigator, we used to call it “willful failure to know.” He can’t just say to his staff, I know what Rove is doing, but don’t tell me about it. He would still be liable for criminal conspiracy of obstruction of justice. That’s why Monica Goodling took the Fifth. Not knowing doesn’t mean you’re not guilty, especially when you went out of your way not to know.
Gonzales should be read his rights and carted away. But it’s the puppeteers behind him -- Rove and Harriet Miers -- who were deeply involved in the prosecutor hits. No one’s talking about her. This is the woman who went from head of the Texas State Lottery to nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court by George Bush, and no one asked how that happened. They said: Harriet who? But they didn’t ask how that happened. They said, oh, she’s loyal to Bush. She’s the one who did the payoffs to cover up the fact that George Senior got George Junior out of the war in Vietnam. Do you think that that was done just by daddy making a call? Money had to be paid -- lots and lots of money to keep people quiet -- $23 million. That is something I reported on BBC Television and in the Guardian newspaper. We’ve given them plenty of time to challenge that story about the payoffs. We’ve never gotten a peep from these guys. And unlike CBS, the BBC has not withdrawn the story that the fix was put in to get Chicken George out of Vietnam. No one has challenged our story, nor have we withdrawn a comment on our story that the payoffs were made to keep it quiet.
BuzzFlash: Let’s focus for the moment on voter suppression, and we'll return later to other elements of the voter manipulation story.
Greg Palast: I have it all in Armed Madhouse, including in the three new chapters. First and foremost, is that it’s not one thing. It ain’t just electronic voting, guys. You go, oh, we have paper ballots, we’re saved, we’re saved. Bulls***! Wake up! Hello! Let’s remember that in Florida and Ohio, they didn’t have computer voting. So all the stuff about Diebold -- Ohio was not stolen by computers, because they didn’t have computers there. In fact, they were thrilled when people complained about computers because they could keep the junky punch cards in. That doesn’t mean that computers are safe. As I point out in the new chapter, the Republicans held on to Katherine Harris’ seat -- and we don’t want to think too carefully about that image -- they held onto Katherine Harris’ seat with 300 votes, while 18,000 votes disappeared in the computers. So they do use computers. That was a pure, straight-up, shoplift of the Congressional seat.
BuzzFlash: A House committee just voted not to pursue an investigation of that election, despite the disappearance of 18,000 votes.
Greg Palast: That’s sick -- deeply, deviously sick. First of all, in New York and other states, when votes are in question, they simply redo them. People talk about recount -- forget it. Redo the vote. When the machines collapse, then there’s no question that there was monkey business.
BuzzFlash: Then why do you think --
Greg Palast: -- why don’t Democrats stand up?
BuzzFlash: The U.S. House of Representatives is controlled by Democrats. It’s like saying, well, $320 million is missing from a bank but we’re not going to investigate that.
Greg Palast: You’re forgetting it’s not about the two parties. Vote theft is mainly a racial issue in America, and it’s a class issue. The white caucus is a lot bigger than the black caucus. They don’t call the Congress a millionaire’s club for nothing. There aren’t many guys in there -- or women -- who are not millionaires. So it’s the millionaires versus us. It’s the white caucus versus the black caucus, which is of great concern. So the vote is along racial class and economic lines, not along party lines. Party lines are pretty much meaningless. There’s pretty much one party -- the party of the cash. But I’m not one of these people that says there’s no difference between the Democratic and Republican Party. The question is: is the difference meaningful? That’s all. When it comes down to voter issues, remember that the Democrats in power there were elected under the racist, broken, classist system. If you fix the voting system, a third of those Democrats could never win a primary. The last thing that they want is poor people to vote.
BuzzFlash: Let’s go back to your tremendous work in the 2000 election.
Greg Palast: In that case, Katherine Harris and Jeb Bush targeted 97,000 registered voters, as it turned out, to remove from the voter rolls on the grounds that they were criminals. They were "guilty of voting black." By the way, of out of the 97,000 people, do you know how many they charged with actually voting illegally? Of the 97,000 names that they had? Zero. They looked at six cases and brought no charges. There were only six suspected cases, out of 97,000. That’s how sick that was. And the U.S. press -- Fox TV -- said not one voter was wrongly disenfranchised. In Armed Madhouse, I have the little weasel on Fox who said that, next to the picture of one of the disenfranchised voters, a Gulf War veteran. They love to take out veterans, because who do you think is in the armed forces? A whole lot of war veterans lost their vote because they happened to have -- as part of the legacy of slavery -- names that are the same as someone who, maybe fifty years before, got convicted of something.
BuzzFlash: We just want to praise you again to the readers. We’ve seen you present a number of times, and several years ago, in Chicago, you did a presentation that shows the list that was used to disenfranchise voters.
Greg Palast: Those are the purge lists. For 2004, we have the caging lists. And in 2008, we’re going to have what’s called the verification list.
BuzzFlash: Meaning the return of the Jim Crow laws, I assume?
Greg Palast: When I say the 2008 race has already been stolen, about a million and a half voter registrations have been turned down. Even though there have been massive voter registration drives among Hispanics and African Americans, as the churches fill up the bucket, there’s a hole in the bucket where the registrations are being dumped.
It used to be that you signed your name -- bang, you got through, you’re registered. Not anymore. About 40% of the registrations are being rejected on the grounds that they don’t match citizenship files. Well, you know what? It ain’t the Soviet Union. We don’t have citizenship files in the United States. They don’t exist. They can’t exist under the law, which is the U.S. Constitution.
So how do you verify voters? Well, you don’t. About the only thing that could happen is if you require a passport -- and who has passports?
BuzzFlash: This is not conjecture on your part. You're very methodical.
Greg Palast: We've got the documents. We ain’t guessing. When I say they had caging lists targeting innocent black soldiers, I have the lists. I have the soldiers’ names. We spoke to their families. In fact, interestingly, "60 Minutes" came into our office and said, “My God, to prove what these caging lists are, you’re going to have to make hundreds of calls and spend hundreds of hours going through this stuff.” And we said, “Yeah, it’s reporting. Try it. It won’t hurt you.”
BuzzFlash: You go back again to Florida and Choice Point, and you have excellent video documentation of the confrontations with Choice Point.
Greg Palast: Yes.
BuzzFlash: The Secretary of State’s office, meaning Katherine Harris’ office, no doubt at the request of Jeb Bush and the Bush campaign, chose to expand, rather than limit, the list.
Greg Palast: After they were done bleaching the voter rolls of Florida white -- yes, they wrote some memos to cover their ass. They knew exactly what was happening. These guys were guilty as sin. They should be in prison. But it’s all right. Their CEO maybe in trouble now. He may still yet be cuffed because of allegations of insider trading. The Choice Point people are back in Armed Madhouse for a very good reason. It’s that after they bleached the voter rolls white for the Bush family, they were paid off by no-bid contracts for the war on terror. They’re the guys who are keeping these KGB lists for the government, because the government is not allowed to keep information files on citizens. It’s against the Constitution.
But somehow Bush has decided that if he contracts it out to his cronies, that there’s kind of a contracting out exception to the Constitution. So he gives it out to Choice Point. Well, do we want this private KGB earning billions? And what else do they do with the information? Well, first of all, they’re in the info biz. They are using it -- they sell this stuff. And in fact, they got caught selling at least 145,000 records to identity thieves.
Another problem with using private contractors, of course, is that these private guys don’t have any of the requirements that the government does to be accurate, to produce the information under the Freedom of Information Act. These guys can ream you. And they do. Some people say, well, it’s worth it if they keep us safe. Well, I was charged by the Department of Homeland Security with violating the anti-terror laws -- me. Probably I was caught doing investigative reporting in the United States.
BuzzFlash: In New Orleans, right?
Greg Palast: Yes, that was in New Orleans. While I was charged, I was afraid I wouldn’t get home, because I’d be on a watch list. And then, I’d be more afraid when I got home. So, I mean, I’m still wearing my fedora. And these are the guys who are supposed to be saving us from Osama. And as I point out in the book, I have lists of several six-month-old children who are on the terrorism watch list. You can never start too young, I suppose. Maybe they’ll open up a kind of kindergarten at Guantanamo.
BuzzFlash: People have to read Armed Madhouse and your other articles. They need to go to your site, gregpalast.com. Because you are the expert on what is basically a RICO case to undermine the American electoral and voting system in a comprehensive way from several different angles, as masterminded by Karl Rove and other people in the Republican Party. What you have exposed is, in essence --
Greg Palast: A criminal conspiracy, according to Bobby Kennedy. The BBC requires me to work with lawyers so that I don’t just shoot my mouth off on legal stuff. And Bobby Kennedy, Jr., is a law professor and an expert on voting rights law. And his father gave his life for voting rights, too, don’t forget. Bobby Kennedy says that what we have here is a criminal conspiracy to commit felony manipulation of the voter system. It violates endless numbers of laws. These people really need to be not in office, but in prison. He’s not a guy given to much excitement, but when he looked at the evidence in Armed Madhouse, he just flipped. And what’s driving him crazy as well is that Karl Rove is right. The U.S. media is not picking up the investigation.
BuzzFlash: That’s why I want to say that people should read your book and follow your website and your articles.
Greg Palast: They should stay on with BuzzFlash because, yes, a lot of my stuff will eventually get picked up by the U.S. media. They may say "there are accusations within the blogosphere," because it’s on BuzzFlash. But, of course, this started out with a massive, high-level investigation for the BBC Television network. I’m proud to give it to BuzzFlash because we sure as hell ain’t getting it into the Washington Pravda Post. We aren’t getting into the New York Judith Miller Times. And I’m glad to say that you’re growing and they’re dying, and that’s the way it ought to be.
BuzzFlash: It is such a massive assault on the voting system and felony suppression of rights in many ways, as we’ve pointed out. They’re coming at it from all angles. For instance, in prosecutor-gate, they’re using prosecutors to kind of gin up accusations of voter fraud that don’t exist just to win elections. And then when the elections are over, they get Republicans and state legislatures to cry, oh, that was terrible, even though nothing was ever prosecuted. We need new Jim Crow voter laws to keep people who shouldn’t vote from voting, to prevent fraud that never existed.
Greg Palast: Right now, I’m following up with another story that involves prosecutor-gate. I’m speaking to one of the fired prosecutors' offices -- David Iglesias. Rove had this whole scheme. While he’s stealing votes with both hands -- I mean, literally -- he is, at the same time, coming up with this scheme to accuse Democrats of registering illegal aliens and encouraging massive voter ID theft. It’s a complete goofy scheme. And what they did is try to involve the U.S. attorneys in bringing prosecution. For example, in New Mexico, they wanted David Iglesias. Rove’s people told me that. Rove’s people claimed that there were 150 cases of voter ID theft in New Mexico. And I said, “Well, then send them to me.” And they said, “Well.”
It’s in the book. And they said, “Well, David Iglesias, the U.S. attorney, will back us up.” So I called his office. And they refused to back it up. They said, “Well, we don’t really have an open investigation on this.”
I said, “In other words, you can’t back up this story.” They said, “Well, I guess you could say that.” I said, “I guess I will.” In other words, they fabricated the evidence and they wanted him to bring a phony prosecution -- like a Stalin trial. Pick out a couple Mexicans and say that they were voting illegally, and then we’ll disappear. But you know what? Iglesias wouldn’t do it. He and eight prosecutors drew a line in the sand.
Iglesias, you have to understand, is a right-wing Ashcroft protégé Republican, and he turned away from evidence of the Republicans stealing the election in New Mexico, which they did in 2004. He wouldn’t bust the Rove-arians there. But he wouldn’t go so far as to actually bring false prosecutions. He wouldn’t do it. He has now said the evidence they gave him is bogus. Not that he didn’t try. He had the FBI on these cases. They had the state attorney general on these cases, hoping to give them one prosecution in the entire state. They couldn’t find one. And he said he wasn’t going to just cuff some poor Mexican-American and charge him with voter fraud because Karl Rove ordered him to.
And by the way, Karl Rove flew to New Mexico. The Capo himself flew to New Mexico to give a kiss on each cheek to the doomed prosecutor. And speak to the local guys ordering his execution. Rove went to New Mexico himself to do the hit. It was bring prosecutions against Mexican Americans, or look for a job -- and let’s not forget Iglesias’ last name, okay?
BuzzFlash: Now let’s focus on one individual who stands above all the prosecutors in terms of suppressing the right to vote through fraudulent strategies.
Greg Palast: A lot of competition there, but I think we have a winner.
BuzzFlash: You’ve written about “The Talented Mr. Griffin,” Arkansas’ new U.S. attorney, who has a history of suppressing minority voters. So how does Tim Griffin, a Rove protégé, Rove hit man, Rove op and research man, Rove suppression and voter man, end up in one of the disputed districts?
Greg Palast: Because the Democrats have no cojones. I’m going to tell you something very unhappy, okay? Again, it’s the white caucus versus the black caucus. It’s not Democrats versus Republicans. I talked to the black caucus. John Conyers, head of Judiciary on the House side, is very upset that you have a criminal who knocked black soldiers off the voter rolls as the U.S. attorney in Arkansas. The white caucus leader on the Senate side, is Patrick Leahy. His people said, well, Griffin is just there as an interim appointment, so big deal. Well, he’s interim through the 2008 election. In fact, I have another e-mail from inside the Rovian office which said if the Democrats complain, just say that Griffin is interim.
BuzzFlash: The press fell for this, and Democrats fell for this, too. They won’t seek Senate appointment, and everyone went, oh, you see? They’re conceding that they wouldn’t get it. But it didn’t matter because that was the whole scheme. They are in place for 2008. Rove won.
Greg Palast: Oh, it’s okay because he’s only in there for two years. It’s through the election. Like I say, this is not about Democrats versus Republicans. What you just saw was the millionaires white boys’ club -- versus the black caucus. And that’s what it’s all about. America has an apartheid electoral system and an apartheid Congress. And it’s about time we call it what it is.
BuzzFlash: How does the amazing Tim Griffin represent what really is the goal? As you just pointed out, it’s very important. The Democrats in Congress seem to have forgotten this in not calling for the impeachment of Gonzales.
Greg Palast: If the prosecutors are wrongfully fired, what you do in any wrongful dismissal is you hire them back. Why don’t we have one Democrat saying put them back? Crazy.
BuzzFlash: Basically if you’re Karl Rove and you’re sitting there, you feel you’ve survived everything. And you say I’ll survive this one. The people I’ve put in place to steal the 2008 election are gonna still be there.
Greg Palast: My boys count the votes.
BuzzFlash: Let’s look at Mr. Griffin, who’s one of those who’s in place and will be there until 2008. They went around the senior Democratic senator from Arkansas, Mark Pryor. There’s all sorts of e-mails indicating how they played Pryor.
Greg Palast: The Republicans proved their point. They can break the law. They can put a criminal in as U.S. prosecutor. They can break every rule of the Senate by going around -- remember, it’s not just senatorial privilege, it’s called voter privilege. The people of Arkansas elected Senator Pryor. One of the things that they elected him to do is approve the U.S. attorney for his area. We call that democracy.
BuzzFlash: Why is Griffin particularly emblematic of the reason that most of these eight were being replaced? Either to muddy up Democrats --
Greg Palast: I think that muddying the Democrats is secondary. It’s that he is the guy in charge of the caging list operation. He’s the guy who knocked off tens of thousands -- and it may go up to hundreds of thousands -- of Democratic voters, mostly minorities. That was his operation. And that is why he is particularly evil, manipulative; and plus, if he can get away with it and then get this appointment without any Democrat raising their voice, then what do you think he’s going to do in office? In other words, if he could get away with what he did, and the Democrats don’t complain, and they basically piss all over the Democrats and Senator Pryor says that’s all right with me, and Patrick Leahy says that’s all right with me, then obviously, what’s he going to do once he’s in office? Take my word for it, he’s going to wipe out the black voters of Arkansas.
And I smell a deal, by the way -- and now I’m speculating. Everyone keeps saying he’s been put in Arkansas so he can do investigation of Hillary Clinton. He’s not going to do that. The deal’s been cut. Why do you think that he’s allowed to be there? Because the deal has been cut. We’ll put in Timmy, but he’s not going to touch Hillary. I’ve seen this before. There was a deal cut between the Democrats and Republicans back in the late nineties. The Republican, Newt Gingrich, was going to be in big legal trouble. So was Hillary Clinton. They traded. I smell a trade right here. Why would you allow a complete dirt bag, felon, criminal, racist scum spider in as U.S. prosecutor in Arkansas, in Hillary Clinton’s state, unless the deal was cut that Hillary is off limits to any investigation or grand jury charges?
BuzzFlash: Now we’ve got Griffin, specialist in violating the Voting Rights Act. In Arkansas, we have other people who were appointed who are willing to go on with the scheme to suppress the vote and then have states pass Jim Crow-type laws and Republican legislators. There probably are other prosecutors who weren’t replaced who are willing to go along with this scheme in key states. Otherwise, they would have been replaced. There also have been bogus claims of violation of registration of voters on Native American reservations.
Greg Palast: There is a litany of fake charges. In the new Armed Madhouse, I have Russell Pearce, a Republican legislator from Arizona, who said five million illegal aliens crossed the border to vote for Democrats -- five million. I asked this fruitcake to give me five names. I said, “If they voted, that means that you have their names. You have their registrations. So why aren’t you arresting them?” And that’s when I began to smell the Rove plan. He said, “Oh, the U.S. attorneys are going to arrest them.” But there was not one case brought in New Mexico by the honest attorney. Not one case where there’s an honest U.S. attorney. And by the way, they did find about a half dozen illegal aliens who had registered to vote in Arizona. They were registered by the Republican Party.
BuzzFlash: You’ve shown an arc from 2000 up through 2008. Again, we want to emphasize for the umpteenth time in this interview, that despite all this "investigation" of Gonzales, the status quo remains. These U.S. attorneys were replaced, and "interim" attorneys are still functioning on behalf of Gonzales and Rove. Nothing has been done to inhibit or curtail their activity, which can result in the theft of the election in 2008. And what’s more, no one is even speaking about investigating the patterns of behavior in suppressing votes by those who weren’t replaced.
Greg Palast: But there were cases brought against voters in Missouri. One of the new prosecutors, who came in after they fired the honest guy who said that there were no cases here -- the Rove-bot came in and actually brought charges in Missouri. Illegal voters, illegal voters, illegal voters -- nothing in the papers about the fact that every single case -- every single one -- was dismissed by judges. The judge says, you’re kidding, right? You know, you’re talking about things like someone being arrested for voting twice as Juan Gonzalez. How many guys named Juan Gonzalez there are in a state? They knew. These were fraudulent cases. And when you bring a fraudulent case, you go to jail. This is what the RICO laws were about, and the Civil Rights Act of ’64, and the Voting Rights Act of ’65. It used to be the Democratic officials in the South that teamed up with the Ku Klux Klan to bring false cases. Well, they’re back, but the white sheets have switched parties.
BuzzFlash: You’ve laid it right out on the table in Congress, this abuse of power, the suppression of voting rights. Why then is the mainstream media ignoring what is clearly a multi-year strategy to commit felonies?
Greg Palast: Two reasons. The victims are the poor, and the victims are the defenseless. The victims are black soldiers. There’s a whole section of New Orleans -- these are people that are off the radar. Do you think Obama gives a flying toot about someone living in a mobile home for a year and a half in New Orleans? Nah. They’re not voters. They’re not going to let them vote, so he doesn’t care.
And it’s a class issue. It’s a class war issue, and it’s tainted by race, too. Let’s not forget that. When I talk about voter suppression in 2000, it was a race issue. It was a story about black people. If they had removed people from country clubs off the voter rolls -- baby, you’d hear it. In fact, let’s remember that the only vote manipulation story that got any play at all in 2000 was in Palm Beach. Because imagine -- rich people didn’t have their votes counted correctly. All the reporters are down there, taking pictures of voters in string bikinis. And we’re down the road in Gadsden County, the blackest, poorest county in Florida where the big vote theft was done -- not one single camera. Okay, except for Ted Koppel who went down there and said these poor black people -- they’re just too stupid to figure out the ballot, you know? And Koppel didn’t even check on the fact that they had busted machines. But it was very easy to say black people are too stupid to figure out how to vote. You have to understand, the racism within U.S. papers is absolutely unbelievable. There is an assumption that black people are stupid, incompetent and lazy.
BuzzFlash: Where do we stand today? Gonzales appeared before Conyers’ committee, I believe, and Conyers was, of course in a huff, as he should be, because he’s a righteous man. He sees the plot.
Greg Palast: Again, he knows what’s happening. I’m in contact with his office. He’s worked on a lot of investigations with me. It’s like the man is the entire conscience of the U.S. Congress.
BuzzFlash: Along with Henry Waxman. Let’s give him at least some credit here.
Greg Palast: Waxman is fantastic. Of course, you can’t separate New Orleans and voting, Iraq and voting, the war on terror and voting -- it’s all the same crew playing the same games. And there’s not only votes being lost, but blood being spilled. Of course, the book has a lot of funny stuff in it, because it’s so grim it’s humorous. It’s like a comic horror show. My friend calls it the clown-ocracy, because these are armed and dangerous jesters.
BuzzFlash: So where do we stand? Right now, we have these replacement prosecutors, and the prosecutors who weren’t replaced -- some of whom went along with this voter suppression plan and rewriting state laws into Jim Crow laws. We have electronic voting machines. We have a vast scheme here. But the mainstream media is playing the story that Gonzales is going to survive this because they don’t have any more goods on him.
Greg Palast: It’s a Punch and Judy show. It’s all about Gonzales. He’s the glove puppet. How come they aren’t bringing Rove up? And remember that Conyers cannot just call Rove by himself. He needs the power of the other Democrats who have to find their soul and find their balls. They haven’t grown back yet, despite the election of 2006.
BuzzFlash: Is there anyone else on the national scene in the media, in politics, beyond Conyers and Waxman, who understands that the Bush Administration is still trying to extend unitary, executive authority, as it did a couple of weeks ago, trying to extend wireless taps, spying power, and domestic surveillance? They are not doing this with the intention that a Democrat may then end up in the presidency with expanded powers. Their intention is that the Republicans are going to hold on to the White House. To have that expectation, they must have inside knowledge about how they’re going to manipulate the election.
Greg Palast: The new chapter, called “The Theft of 2008,” calculates with, I think, some reasoned accuracy, that four and a half million votes are going to be shoplifted. Get ready for it. That doesn’t mean that they will own the White House. It just means that they start with a big old thumb on the electoral scale.
We should scream bloody murder. But the whining is not a help, you know. It only takes five million more votes. I say work with Jessie Jackson on this. If they’re going to knock out 40% of the registrations, then overwhelm them with more. If they’re going to throw away half the soldiers’ votes, then you better make sure that more of them vote, and that you’re watching it. Yes, try to change the laws. And when you can’t, you better protect yourself. Don’t mail in your ballot. Don’t go posting, fools. You know, everyone’s concerned about the electronic voting. So, do you think that they’re going to go through all this hassle to manipulate the software, but then politely take your vote that you sent through the mail, open it up, and count it correctly? Really? If you believe that, then you deserve not to have your vote counted.
BuzzFlash: One of your contentions, and it’s an important one, concerns the proprietary software issue, and the likelihood that votes have been lost through it. Certainly the Sarasota incident of 18,000 lost votes gives one pause.
Greg Palast: They want you to think that there’s one problem, which is electronic voting and paper ballots. By the way, that’s also racial. You talk to white voter activists, they talk about computers. You talk to black voter activists, and they talk about suppressing the vote. I want to repeat: There were virtually no computer voting machines in Ohio, and that’s where they stole it. There were virtually no computer voting machines in New Mexico. That’s where they stole it. There were virtually no computer voting machines in Florida in 2000. That’s where they stole it.
It’s not the computer voting machines. Yes, they’re evil. They are wrong, they are manipulative, they are hack-prone, and they stole the election through computers in Sarasota and elsewhere in the last election. By the way, Jeb Bush got reelected as governor through manipulation of the new electronic voting machines. So, yes, they are a problem. But if you think that’s it, baby, they’ve got you.
So let me explain. Start thinking like a Hispanic or black voter who’s trying to get to the polls, and they ask you for your ID.
BuzzFlash: I believe in Arizona now it’s a birth certificate.
Greg Palast: You can’t use a driver’s license, because an alien can get a driver’s license. So, you can use a birth certificate -- certified original -- or a passport. And what people have passports? Now, again, it’s a class issue. After all, Andy Young and Vernon Jordan and Bill Richardson are all for voter ID, okay? Because at their country club, they have plenty of IDs and they can always vote because their chauffeur can vouch for them.
Every time you have a new question or a way to challenge a voter, they will use it. They will abuse it. Three million voters were given provisional ballots. If you’re reading this and you’re white, you don’t know what a provisional ballot is. If you’re reading this and you’re black, you were the ones that got one. It’s that simple. We have one ballot for black folk, one ballot for white folk. And the black ballot is a provisional ballot and it does not get counted. And that’s how it was coming down in the United States of America.
So it’s time that the apartheid within the voter protection movement in America. White voters better start thinking about the need to protect the black vote, because your vote ain’t safe if it gets cancelled out by Karl Rove when they take away a Hispanic voter’s right to vote. You can have a nice, neat paper ballot they will count, but they’re laughing at you because they just purged fifteen Hispanics.
BuzzFlash: In your presentations, you often bring up the figure of millions of votes that are stolen before the election was even open.
Greg Palast: That’s right. Because people are being thrown off the voter rolls. In addition, the one thing that we’re constantly forgetting is that, while there’s this endless discussion of how they can hack the votes that turn you to vote from Democratic to Republican, there’s very, very little evidence of it. It’s there -- I don’t doubt it. But we’re not going to find it.
But one thing we know for damn sure is that they have to do something simple. The machines simply don’t work and don’t record the vote. And then there’s no fingerprints. There’s no manipulation. It just didn’t work. We had a million and a half votes in the 2006 election which just disappeared because machines didn’t work. And now you try to prove that it was deliberate.
All you have to do is look at where they didn’t work. In places like New Mexico, 88% in minority areas -- 88% in minority areas. You want to know how Diebold might have fixed the election in Cynthia McKinney’s district? Their machines don’t work in humidity. What do you have in July in Atlanta but humidity? In the poor areas. In the rich areas, they’re in air conditioned gymnasiums. That’s the games that they play. And the way that you figure it out is, you stop thinking white, and you start thinking slave.
BuzzFlash: Greg. Thank you so much.
Greg Palast: You guys are the best.
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BuzzFlash Interview conducted by Mark Karlin.
Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans -- Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild, Expanded Paperback Edition, by Greg Palast, available from BuzzFlash.
RFK, Jr.: Was the 2004 Election Stolen? (Rolling Stone Magazine)
Bio, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (Wikipedia)
A BUZZFLASH INTERVIEW