by Greg Palast
December 2, 2011
Palast is the author of Vultures’ Picnic: in Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Carnivores. See Palast live on stage in New York, DC and other cities.
Last Monday, a call came in to BBC Television Centre, London, from the office of Mitt Romney’s billionaire backer and “advisor” Paul Singer.
Singer, top donor to the Republican Senate Campaign Committee had a message for the news chiefs at the prestigious broadcaster:
“We have a file on Greg Palast.”
I bet they do.
The purpose of the Singer call was clear: to smear the reporter whose broadcasts from Africa for BBC Newsnight, The Guardian and Democracy Now! had identified Singer as a “Vulture,” a speculator profiteering from misery, mayhem, corruption and civil war.
Apparently, the Republican Presidential front-runner would prefer his sugar-daddies be known as “job creators,” not predators.
And the Vulture really, really, doesn’t like his starring role in my new book, Vultures’ Picnic. I bet he doesn’t.
Is BBC going to let Palast continue to investigate? The Romney money man added an unsubtle threat, “Palast has been sued before.”
Neither BBC nor The Guardian are backing down, bless’m.
What is in the file Mitt’s billionaire has on Greg Palast? I’ll show it to you myself, right here, if you have a little patience.
But it’s not what’s in Singer’s file on me that’s important –– it’s what’s in my file about him.
You need to know: BBC has identified Singer as the Number One donor of the Republican Party in New York. His fundraising, in coordination with the Koch Brothers through a strange little group of far-right billionaires, is the cash-locomotive of the GOP.
How Singer “The Vulture” got his feathers, got that money that fuels the Romney and Republican causes is not a minor matter. Romney and the whole crew from Newt to Cain are selling us the line that Occupy Wall Street has it all wrong: calling for taxing or controlling the One Percent is a misguided attack on “job creators.”
Indeed, one of Romney’s demands is that I change the name of my book from Vultures’ Picnic to Job-Creators’ Picnic. [OK, I made that up.]
Let’s begin with how Singer got his feathers.
I didn’t give Singer the name “Vulture.” His own banker buddies did––with admiration in their voices. Like any vulture, he feasts when victims die. Literally. For example, Singer made a pile buying an asbestos company, Owens Corning, out of bankruptcy. Owens had knowingly allowed thousands of its workers to get deadly asbestosis, then concealed it. You don’t want to die of asbestosis. Your lungs turn to mush and you drown inside yourself.
Singer, the Job Creator, used his political muscle to screw down the compensation workers would get. Offered them peanuts. And dying, they took it. With the asbestos workers buried or bought, the asbestos death factories were now worth a fortune …and Singer made his first “killing.”
Then it was on to Peru where Singer had, through a brilliant financial-legal maneuver too questionable for others to attempt, grabbed control of the entire financial system of Peru. Most important, he seized the President’s jet. When the scamp of a President, Alberto Fujimori, decided it was a good idea to flee his country (ahead of his arrest on murder charges), Singer, Peru’s lawyer told me, let Fujimori escape in return for the Murderer-in-Chief ordering Peru’s treasury to pay Singer $58 million.
But that’s nothing. What really sent Mitt’s man up a wall was my report from the Congos (there are two nations in Africa called ‘Congo’) where there’s a cholera epidemic due to lack of clean water. Singer paid we’re told about $10 million for some “debt” supposedly incurred by the Republic of Congo. Congo would pay the $10 million, but Singer had begun seizing about $400 million in the poor nation’s assets.
The former Deputy Secretary of the UN said about the vultures, “you are causing babies to die.”
It’s legal, it’s sick, it’s Singer.
Well, not legal in most of the civilized world. Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said about Singer and his fellow crew, “I deplore the activities of so-called Vulture Funds, [they] are nothing short of scandalous.” Britain has outlawed Singer’s re-po man seizures (after all, it’s ultimately the aid money we give Africa). In the UK, and in much of Europe, Singer is a finance outlaw. But in the USA, he’s a “job creator.”
Look, I’ve only scratched the surface from BBC’s four-year investigation of Singer who says he’ll talk with us, “Never, ever.”
* * *
You want to get the whole story––and you damn well should––then read the book. Don’t want to pay for it? Alright, I’m putting up most of the Singer material online. Though I don’t mean to pick on Singer alone. The whole book is an investigation of the One Percenters, including Singer’s sicker buddies in the Vulture club. (Yes, they do have a club.)
* * *
Warning 1: Singer’s mouthpiece says that Vultures’ Picnic is “chock full of errors.” He’s refused every opportunity to meet with us. Even the character leaving the threat on the phone won’t talk with us. OK, then send me the list of errors. If I’m wrong, I’ll change it.
And I want to give you an opportunity, Mr. Singer, to make your case. I am giving a talk in Manhattan, on Monday not far from your penthouse at 7pm. You be there, and I’ll share the stage with you. Maybe we’ll share a beer and some carrion afterward.
Warning 2: Yes, they have a file on me. It’s in Vultures’ Picnic. Yes, I was caught going “undercover” on an investigation with a comely young politician to get information. (Got the story …and my photo on the front page of the Mirror.) There. Read it all and see the photos in Chapter 9. Now you have it. Now I’ve taken away their favorite bullet: character assassination.
Turkey vultures living in trees defend themselves by vomiting on their attackers. Apparently, so do the Vultures living in penthouses.
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.
[DS added the video.]
with Greg Palast
Dec. 4, 2011
ontheearthproduction on Dec 1, 2011
Greg Palast never stops reporting…or writing.
He shared some shocking documents included in his latest book
Vultures’ Picnic at the Barrymore theater, Madison, WI.
This event was sponsored by The Progressive
Greg Palast talks at a fundraiser for WORT community radio
Ma Nature, the Happy Toilet – BP on Trial at the Occupation by Greg Palast
Chapter One of Vultures’ Picnic by Greg Palast + Palast: Put your money in community banks
Palast Arrested – Busted by BP in Azerbaijan by Greg Palast
Über-Vultures: The Billionaires Who Would Pick Our President by Greg Palast
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In regards to Romney and aides taking the hard drives and replacing them with new ones in the state computers.
So i emailed the Mass. State Attorney General asking if “buying” state property with state funds and then keeping them wasn’t theft. Also, asked if it wasn’t against the law to exercise “due diligence’ in keeping all correspondence whether privileged or not, either protecting or implicating oneself/state. They emailed back saying they cannot give legal opinions.
So i emailed back saying ‘so i guess this means there is no investigation?’
they emailed back…
Thank you for your continued correspondence with the Office of Attorney General Martha Coakley.
Please be advised that, as a policy, we can neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation conducted by this Office. For updates and information that can be made public about any issue, please review the “Press Releases” section of our website: http://www.mass.gov/ago.
Again, thank you for making us aware of your concerns.
Constituent Services Coordinator
Public Inquiry & Assistance Center
Office of the Attorney General Martha Coakley
I know if i worked someplace and bought a new hard drive with company property and then replaced the one in my company computer..i’d have a whole lot of ‘splaining to do both CIVILLY and CRIMINALLY?!
I’d probably never collect another paycheck in my life-the companies i worked for sue the millions out of you for violating company confidentiality.
See Palast, you’ve got me doing it now..damn you?!
Yeah, Kevin! Thank you for doing this.
oh yea, its worse than that-i pointed out the cases where private companies were with contempt of court and destrying evidence charges. jezz, PALAST!