BuzzFlash has just posted a new interview with Greg Palast, the brilliant American journalist who reports for The Guardian newspapers and the BBC and whose exposes on the “irregularities” committed by the
Republicans – Rove’s minions – in the 2000 and 2004 elections have made him, literally, an enemy of “the state” (if one considers the Bush White House “the state” – see Brian Angliss’s piece on Bush’s desire to gut the G-8’s statement on global heating for an excellent discussion of Bush’s delusions of grandeur) in the eyes of – well, Karl Rove and his minions.
According to Palast, the fix is already in for the 2008 elections:
BuzzFlash: Youâ€™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, theyâ€™ve already stolen the 2008 election. We still have a chance of swiping it back, but the reason Iâ€™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. Thatâ€™s one of the main new things. Plus a special chapter on New Orleans and my bust down there.
BuzzFlash goes on to ask Palast how the 2004 and 2006 elections were fixed. What Palast reports here should make the blood boil of any American with a sense of respect and appreciation for the troops in harm’s way being screwed out of their voting rights in a cynical effort to manipulate election results:
Palast: 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 didnâ€™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.
As usual, Palast knows who the bad guy is (that would be Karl Rove’s chief minion):
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. Thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m saying — itâ€™s already being stolen, as we speak. Tim Griffin is the perpetrator whoâ€™s become the prosecutor, and thatâ€™s whatâ€™s going down right now.
And what amazes Palast – and should appall us – is that Alberto Gonzales, the architect of the firing of Federal prosecutors (part of the Rove plan for stealing the ’08 elections Palast says) and a weasel of the first order, as Robert Silvey points out in his analysis of the “Comey/Ashcroft” affair, will walk when he should be going to jail:
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. Iâ€™m staying on. Itâ€™s over with. You asked me questions. I didnâ€™t give you answers, but you donâ€™t have the courage to impeach me, so Iâ€™m staying.
Greg Palast: Thatâ€™s the game, too. Congress is shooting at the glove puppet. I shoot at the puppeteers. Itâ€™s not Gonzales. Heâ€™s meaningless. Heâ€™s a nothing. He should go because he allowed it to happen, and thatâ€™s a crime. When I was a racketeering investigator, we used to call it â€œwillful failure to know.â€ He canâ€™t just say to his staff, I know what Rove is doing, but donâ€™t tell me about it. He would still be liable for criminal conspiracy of obstruction of justice. Thatâ€™s why Monica Goodling took the Fifth. Not knowing doesnâ€™t mean youâ€™re not guilty, especially when you went out of your way not to know.
Gonzales should be read his rights and carted away. But itâ€™s the puppeteers behind him — Rove and Harriet Miers — who were deeply involved in the prosecutor hits. No oneâ€™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 didnâ€™t ask how that happened. They said, oh, sheâ€™s loyal to Bush. Sheâ€™s the one who did the payoffs to cover up the fact that George Senior got George Junior out of the war in Vietnam.
Will Congress ever get the cojones to take action against the vote repression tactics of Rover and company? Palast thinks not:
Palast: As I point out, the Republicans held on to Katherine Harrisâ€™ seat — and we donâ€™t want to think too carefully about that image — they held onto Katherine Harrisâ€™ 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: Thatâ€™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 thereâ€™s no question that there was monkey business.
BuzzFlash: Then why do you think —
Greg Palast: — why donâ€™t Democrats stand up?
BuzzFlash: The U.S. House of Representatives is controlled by Democrats. Itâ€™s like saying, well, $320 million is missing from a bank but weâ€™re not going to investigate that.
Greg Palast: Youâ€™re forgetting itâ€™s not about the two parties. Vote theft is mainly a racial issue in America, and itâ€™s a class issue. The white caucus is a lot bigger than the black caucus. They donâ€™t call the Congress a millionaireâ€™s club for nothing. There arenâ€™t many guys in there — or women — who are not millionaires. So itâ€™s the millionaires versus us. Itâ€™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. Thereâ€™s pretty much one party — the party of the cash. But Iâ€™m not one of these people that says thereâ€™s no difference between the Democratic and Republican Party. The question is: is the difference meaningful? Thatâ€™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.
The interview continues with more discussion of palast’s brilliant expose of the 2000 election, his investigation into FEMA mishandling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster (reporting that got him arrested at one point), and further discussion of the case of David Iglesias, the New Mexico federal prosecutor who wouldn’t fabricate evidence to create fal;se prosecutions of “fraudulent voting” – including how Rove himself went to New Mexico to whack Iglesias.
It’s fascinating reading about one of the most interesting journalists currently working in America.