Nov 2011 15

Electric power and political power are two sides of the same doubloon. There is no way to separate the power you get through a wire so you can burn your morning toast, from the political power needed to overcharge you for it. – Greg Palast, Vultures’ Picnic

Greg Palast’s latest book contains more stinking shit per page than there is in the tanks at your local sewage works. A detective story that’s all too true, in Vultures’ Picnic, Palast, a forensic accountant and PI turned author and investigative journalist, uncovers the power and money hungry elite who take a big fat dump on our environment and democracy as a matter of course – common decency merely being the cost of doing business for these “high living” scum.

Over the course of the book’s 400+ pages, Palast, a honey-dipper* extraordinaire (who is perhaps best known for being the first to figure out exactly how Bush stole the 2000 election), chases the “turds around the planet” who are responsible for some of the biggest steaming piles of shit to hit newspaper headlines in recent memory.

The Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico and the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactor meltdown and radiation leak in Japan may have been conveniently excused under the polite euphemism of “accident” by the companies responsible — and the media that kowtows to them — but it turns out the incidents were entirely foreseeable, cost assessed, and cynically calculated as a risk worth taking by those who care more about the bottom line than they do about the health of our planet and/or human life.

But before Deepwater Horizon, the company in part responsible for the ultra-deepwater blowout, BP, was also to-the-neck deep in an earlier record-breaking oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Palast had spent some quality time on the scene there doing what he does best, uncovering shit, but this time the shit got the better of him. Burnt out and disillusioned by his investigations into the Exxon Valdez “accident” (despite the name on the tanker, there were many fingers, including BP’s big fat one, in that poop pie), and our press and lawmakers apathetic (at best) response when confronted by the truth, he sought out pastures new.

Palast turned to England and The Guardian newspaper in the hopes of finding a culture that still had some semblance of a sense of justice and an outlet that vaguely understood the meaning of journalistic integrity. As this except from Vultures’ Picnic reveals, Palast soon found himself knee deep in some excrement partly of his own making, with his pants literally and metaphorically down by his ankles…

Vultures’ Picnic: We Figured Out Who Murdered Jake

by Greg Palast

Blackpool, England, 1998

Now, if this were a movie, you would hear the audience screaming, DON’T TAKE THE KEY! DON’T GO UP THOSE STAIRS!

The reporter part of my brain was screaming THIS SMELLS BAD, but I couldn’t hear a thing because, while I was out for the story, the memory of Ms. Jamaica’s hand in my pocket had drained the blood from my cerebellum.

So I took the key she left for me at the desk with the message to meet her up in her room. I went up the stairs. Knock-knock. No answer.


I opened the door.


I took off my clothes. I needed to change my shirt and pants for the New Statesman party, though if she walked in, hey, we could start the party early.

The door opened. I smiled . . . at the desk clerk and Ms. Jamaica’s husband.

Husband! This bitch has a HUSBAND? The poor pudgy schmuck had a face like the map of Liverpool, lost and pathetic and pugnacious at the same time.

The clerk, turning red, stuttered, “I explained the circumstance, sir. . . .” But I got the impression from the husband’s look that this wasn’t the first time Ms. Jamaica had handed some guy her hotel room key.

Thank god the Lord told me to pull up the pants a moment before the door opened. I babbled. ”How’s the vote count looking for our gal?” She was running for the Labour Party’s leadership council, the hand-picked candidate of the Prince of Darkness. To get the shit on the Prince was the reason I went “undercover” (so to speak).

This was not a nice moment. I fell all over my own words. ”Been trying to, to, trying to call her. Guess I’ll meet up — say, are you coming? — catch up with her at the New Statesman ‘do.’ Guess I’ll get going.”

Guess I will.


Look, this was not an easy investigation for me. My face had already been all over the front page of every newspaper in England when I broke Part I of the story in July 1997.

In a nutshell, here’s what happened. In the late 1990s, I was still going through my withdrawal, legal and emotional, from the Exxon Valdez investigation. I was done with being an investigator, a fancy gumshoe. I was hunting for a new job, a new life. OK, I’ll be a poet. I took poetry lessons from Allen Ginsberg, who was terminally sad because, by that time, he was too old to die young. If that’s how you end up, forget poetry.

Why not academe? There’s me: sucking a pipe and pontificating to hormonal grad students. I lectured at Cambridge University, Oxford, University of São Paulo. I could feel myself rusting.

OK, back to my roots, to labor unions, guys who do real stuff. To India, Peru, to Brazil to meet Lula, to London, forming a flying fighting unit against the international power pirates, targeting a company no one had heard of, Enron. Now I was going in reverse. Bang: I’m forty-six — this only happened to other people! Old people!

What could I do with my decomposing self? All over the world, I had heard people scream, but no one was listening. Americans just turned up their TVs. The victimized could scream through me. Journalism. If Clark Kent could do it, why not me?

I sent a fax to The Guardian in London, dropping some tidbits from my files about an operation called Southern Company; and at four the next morning, an editor rang to bring me over to Britain immediately. “Do you know how explosive this is?”

I did, but America didn’t. I would learn the cruel lesson that to report the news about my homeland, I would have to leave it. So, I moved house to England to work for The Guardian and its Sunday paper The Observer. I quickly formed a partnership with . . . a fifth of Felipe II. Our relationship began after more than a few rounds at the Coach & Horses, the pub near the The Guardian, also known as The Guardian‘s second newsroom.

While still sober-ish, I got an assignment: American power companies — Southern Company, Reliant, CSW, Entergy — were buying up Britain’s power systems left and right, sucking out the cash with big straws. It started with Maggie Thatcher but got worse under the new Labour Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

Oddly, Blair allowed the gigantic London Electricity system to be swallowed by a company from Little Rock, Arkansas. Entergy International of Arkansas, had once hired the Governor’s wife for legal work, but she didn’t work too hard. Her billing records, which I reviewed, were phony as a three-dollar bill. The firm really hit the jackpot when the Governor, Bill Clinton, became President of the United States and Entergy’s gal Hillary Rodham became a Lady.

But that was nothing. American power giants were screwing with Britain’s environmental laws, messing with regulations, and getting strange exemptions signed by Prime Minister Blair himself.

This game was up when N. Gregory Levy of Strategies & Solutions, consultants for the little-known Houston outfit Enron, blew the whistle. Levy had secretly recorded lobbyists tied to Trade Minister Peter Mandelson and Chancellor Gordon Brown. On the tapes, the lobbyists detailed how they got laws fixed, rules pushed aside, and were slipped confidential government budget information for their clients, US banks, power companies and others. For a fee of £5,000 a month, these lobbyists would let you in through the back door of Downing Street, literally. (“Levy” received an invitation to go right in. No kidding.) For what you got, it was damn cheap.

N. Gregory Levy was reporter Greg Palast. Strategies & Solutions was The Guardian/Observer’s elaborate front.

The upshot? My story pulled the political pants off Mandelson, the man known throughout the realm as Prince of Darkness, the Prime Minister’s claw hand, Tony Blair’s Karl Rove.

Some of the U.S. energy giants and banks I’d exposed in the cash-for-access goo with Mandelson were not amused.

My most flamboyant connection was an icky little lobbyist named Derek Draper, “Dolly” to most. Dolly was only in his twenties, and Prince Mandelson, in his forties, liked boys. My editor, Will Hutton, wanted to know if Mandy and Dolly . . . “well, you know.” I didn’t know and didn’t want to. What Mandelson shared with Dolly was a deep sense of Mephistophelian amorality. It was Rasputin and Rasputin-in-training. Or Lord Voldemort and his snake, Nagini. What they did with other men before they ate them, I don’t care.

When my “Cash for Access — Lobbygate” story broke in The Observer, it splashed over the front pages of every British newspaper for a week. And so did I. In letters bigger than their “Hitler Defeated” headline, The Mirror’s front page screamed, “THE LIAR.”

The photo of me was most unflattering, suggesting that because I had no hair, I was bald. As you can imagine, it was difficult, then, to go back undercover. My face was known, and the list of those who wanted to see me die in pain was now long enough to cross the Atlantic.

I was only able to pull off my scam because I also played a third fake character, Greg Palast. Not the journalist, but Greg Palast who had been the American expert advising candidate Tony Blair in 1996 and 1997 on power and nuclear industry regulation. I pretended I was trying to secretly cash in on that connection, and the creeps who were cashing in on their own connection to Blair bought it.

In 1997, as Blair was on the cusp of being elected, and I was his advisor, not yet his accuser, I showed up at the Labour Party Conference gala with the (soon to be) Deputy Prime Minister, the rotund and confused John Prescott, and other political poo-bahs. The hotel dance hall was filled with pasty-faced Brits turning red from fattening ales. One gent had unbuttoned his shirt down to his bare chest and was rubbing his own nipples. And they make fun of Americans!

Across the room, alone and quiet, a slender woman. A woman who sizzled. How the hell did she sneak in here? And before I could avert my gawking eyes, she had knifed across the hall and asked me to dance. “So how did you get in with Prescott and Blair?” Power is an aphrodisiac, and combined with celebrity and opportunity, an orgasm in a bottle. She was vibrating. With ambition.

She slipped her hands in my pockets and asked how she could work her own way into the Labour Party leadership. For her, that would be easy. Half-Black Jamaican and all female. That made her a “two- fer” that the Prince of Darkness could surely use on a ballot somewhere. He did: The next year, Mandelson ran her for the Labour Party leadership council against another female, one of Mandy’s enemies. Smart, that prince.

Jamaica gave me her coordinates, played some more in my pocket, and asked me to call her. My male idiot ego could never imagine that this sweet little muffin — and her husband — would, in a year or so, set me up like a bowling pin.

I don’t think she started out with such a plan to set me up for the kill. I surmised that the lady just wanted to have fun, a little dance, a little tickle — and maybe make some politically advantageous connections. She would not be the first talented woman to climb up the political ladder panties first.


One year later, after I busted Mandelson and Blair, I see she’s running for office as Mandelson’s cat’s-paw. Another Party Conference and their galas were coming up in September. I hunted for Jamaica’s number. I left a message and she called back breathlessly telling me I was far more handsome than those terrible photos in The Mirror (“Trouble, Palast, trouble,” a wise voice spoke before I smothered it). Mandy, I learned, had failed to get his star two-fer a ticket to the New Statesman party, the one that anyone who’s anyone just has to attend. I called the magazine’s editor and told him whom I would escort: My nemesis’ little gal.


With my shirt on, I headed off to the New Statesman ball, without his wife. Or mine.

I hit the dance floor, looked around, but Ms. Jamaica wasn’t there. Well, fuck her, the cheating bitch. (It didn’t bother me that I was a cheating butch.) Not by my third gin and tonic. It was the only time since the age of fifteen that I made a decision to get drunk drunk drunk.

Then I saw her. Not Jamaica, but Sweden. That is, one of the two all-legs-and-long-blond-hair women that had stood next to Dolly at his Banqueting Room reception months before, cooing and rubbing him all evening. The Banqueting Room is where King James lost his head.

I was about to lose mine.

How we ended up dancing, I don’t know. But Sweden was close, she was warm, it was going to be a good evening after all. The Son of God was Jewish and all was well, especially when she put her hands inside my suit jacket, rubbing up and down, and down the legs of my trousers. Oh my.

Then the rubbing got a little, it seemed, violent. She was patting me down, harshly, fury in her eyes.

“Where is it!? Where’s the tape recorder! You have a tape recorder! You just wanted to get me to talk to you about Derek. I can’t believe I was about to . . .”

No no no no, I wanted to tell her, but I had to step back to avoid a roundhouse slap to the head. I really truly just wanted your cool thighs crushing my ears. I just wanted to see an angel in underpants who would make me forget Dolly and forget Ms. Jamaica and forget Prince Poofy Mandy-kins AND HOW DARE YOU HIT A DRUNK!

I didn’t want to be a reporter tonight. (Sure, I was recording her. Fake cigarette lighter. Blondie should have noticed I don’t smoke. Asthma.)


Hangovers are not my thing. Don’t like them. No, I don’t. And here I was, made nauseous by the filthy carpet in the hotel lobby. The carpet was pulsing at me, threatening me. I didn’t like it. The Labour Party press office had woken me at a criminally early hour and told me I had to, had to, get to Party Headquarters and right now or I’d lose my press credentials.

New Labour never got drunk. It sipped white wine and knew nothing of love lost. But I said with cheer, “I’ll be right over, mate!” You scrotum-biting crud muncher. Mate.

Got there, waited in line, hating Blackpool and exile from the United States. Well, Palast, stop bellyaching and let’s just get to work.

“Greg Palast? No, sir, no credentials, sir, for you.”

Look, Princess Di or whatever your Limey name is, they told me to come in right now right away for the press pass.

“Been withdrawn, sir. Revoked.”

Huh? What for?

“It says here, for ‘moral violations.’ ”


“You must leave the Blackpool red zone directly.”

I pushed out the door to the street, looking down at my shaking cell phone, when I was slammed hard by two guys standing outside the doors.

I began to apologize when they each slammed me again, even harder, with their shoulders, and pushed me back against a stone wall.

“Palast, we know what you’re up to.”

One then whipped out a camera and started clicking it in my face as the other prick held me pinned to the bricks.

Even hung over, I knew I must not run. Never, ever run when there’s a camera. Every time a target of mine ran, they looked guilty guilty. The prick twins stayed on me, squeezing me from either side. We must have looked like quite a trio.

“We’ve got you in her room, Palast. We know what you were doing in her room, but why don’t you tell us. Make something up, Palast.”

Who the fuck were these guys? Later I would get their names: Will Woodward and Stephen White. If you see them, urinate on them, squeeze them against a wall and take their photo.

Thank God I wore my fedora. In England, some folk would recognize it. The Lord sent me Paul Farrelly, now an Honorable Member of Parliament. About the only honorable member of Parliament.

“Get away from Palast or I’ll have the cops on you.” Paul’s a little guy but built like a brick shithouse. He clearly was not going to wait for the cops to take care of these twats.

And Paul obviously knew them.

The gin and tonics had by now sweated out of me, and Paul, my guard, as they stalked behind us, said, “They’re from The Mirror.”

Oh shit oh shit oh shit.

The next morning, I was hungover from my hangover and grabbed a coffee and a newspaper, with the screaming headline:




Well, at least they didn’t use that ugly photo of me again. Instead, they had the hottie herself, Ms. Jamaica, and me with a “you’ve caught me!” guilty surprise on my face against the Party Headquarters wall.

That was just page one. There were five more pages of nothing but the Sex Maniac and poor damsel, Prince Mandelson’s lovely and innocent protégé. Well, at least I’d upstaged Tony Blair at his own convention.

The Mirror had dropped hundreds of free copies around the convention area so no one could miss it.

“He broke into my room! He’s been stalking me for two years! I’m a married woman!”

Two days later, The Guardian’s political columnist, Simon Hoggart, wrote that he was standing right near Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s press officer and feared political hit-man, who “thanked” The Mirror’s editor for “what you did for us.” For Tony.

The Mirror’s editor, the dirtball who had pulled this stunt, the man who makes vomit look like apple pie, the cockroach who would later be removed as editor of his shitty little tabloid for running a completely fabricated story with faked photos, the schemy little spider is named Piers Moron by Private Eye.

Yes, Piers Morgan. Who returned from the crypt as a judge on America’s Got Talent! And now, Pus Moron has replaced Larry King as a big-time TV host for CNN.

This confirms my theory that when American television executives need a replacement for a news show, they simply wait for a toilet to overflow.

Jackson, Mississippi

But this isn’t about America’s talent, journalism’s celebrity turds, Mata Hari politicians, or Dolly’s blondes.

This is about power. Nuclear, coal-fired, and oil-fired electric power. And political power.

Electric power and political power are two sides of the same doubloon. There is no way to separate the power you get through a wire so you can burn your morning toast, from the political power needed to overcharge you for it.

Prince Mandy, now the Right Honorable Lord Mandelson, Tony Blair, Piers Morgan. Who are they, really? They are high-priced messenger boys, no more than that. The question is, Whose message were they carrying?

Piers didn’t write “THE LIAR” headline story out of his own tiny head. I traced it back to the consigliere for a New York power company, a nuclear plant operator, Long Island Lighting Company. I’d taken the company down for racketeering. Guess they didn’t like that.

Then there’s Southern Company, the biggest power corporation in America. But that was not enough for them; they were going for biggest in the world.

In 1995, Southern, which operated in Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, and Alabama, made a move that was thought to be legally impossible: buying another company across the ocean. Their first cross-border raid was on England’s Southwest Electricity Company. I had questions about how they could get around the law, the U.S. Public Utility Holding Company Act. But before I could get an answer, industry lobbyists had eliminated the law.

I had questions for Southern Company’s executives. I put these questions in that article I faxed to The Guardian, the one that provoked their 4 A.M. call to me in New York. They splashed it across Britain’s front pages, and that had turned me into a reporter in the space of thirty-six hours. My query to Southern was, Who Killed Jake Horton? And where are the parts?

Horton was the company’s Senior Vice-President who was taking the fall for breaking that Holding Company Act. He had been caught making illegal payments to Florida state regulators for Southern. The company had the shit on Jake, all right, but Jake had more on them. The company, I learned, was charging its several million electricity customers for coal from its own mines, but the coal trains were loaded up with rocks. Really. There was more, lots more, and Jake borrowed the company plane to lay it all out to a state Attorney General.

A few minutes after the plane took off, it was blown to pieces.

The Chairman of the Board told our BBC team: “Poor Jake, I guess he saw no other way out.”

And the other question: Where are the parts? Not the pieces of Jake sprinkled over the Southland, but the spare parts Southern used at Plant Vogtle, its Georgia nuclear station, and on the company’s power lines. Southern charged its customers about a hundred million dollars for using the parts. But the parts were not in use. A group of law firms brought me down from New York to Georgia and Mississippi try to figure out the magic trick, the accounting ledger-demain.

I began at the capitol building in Jackson, Mississippi, at the state regulator’s document file storage room, a warehouse of haphazard folders and old carbon-paper copies. I jumped into the hopeless task of finding the spare parts accounting sheets for Southern’s Mississippi unit. All the while, behind a desk covered by a mess that looked like it hadn’t been touched in years, sat a gentleman in short sleeves whose entire conversation with me consisted of shrugging his shoulders and “Don’t know ’bout that.”

It was Delta hot, no air-conditioning and the fan above simply stirred the flies and humidity. I was hungry but couldn’t bring myself to buy the pickled pigs’ feet being sold from a huge jar in front of the Governor’s office.

Then Jackson Ables walked in, straight from the pages of a John Grisham novel: a rotund and lively lawyer wearing a white seersucker suit, smart as a whip. In a drawl thick with Southern syrup, Ables told short-sleeves, “Jasper, this here young man, he’s a good boy.” New York Jew-boy need not be added.

Short-sleeves spoke. “Over there, right on top of the cabinet.” And indeed, there it was: The Unholy Grail, a hundred pages of spare parts accounts, and they left in my briefcase.

Southern had charged for parts never used, a complex accounting game that violated several sections in the thick rule book used for setting the prices charged by the monopoly power company. I took two months to decode it and lay it out for Ables. His firm sued on behalf of the public: fraud, wire fraud, misrepresentation, conspiracy, racketeering.

Our racketeering and fraud complaint alleged that Southern overcharged its millions of electricity customers tens of millions of dollars for using spare parts it never used. Technically, the company had violated the accounting regulations set out by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under federal law.

Southern Company’s view was No problem: The industry simply had Congress repeal the law and end the regulations. The company walked away waving its parts at me.

So, when you hear the word deregulation said with glowing praise, think Southern Company and poor Jake. Because when they say deregulation, they mean de-criminalization.

The judge said, case dismissed. But I kept that list of parts from Plant Vogtle.


Today, as I write this, I have taken time to reach out to two sources.

  • Source 1: “I was a Southern Company——.!.!.!. I knew Jake.!.!.!. It has taken some time, but we have figured out who murdered Jake, and the weapon used.!.!.!.”
  • Source 2: “He clearly committed suicide and murdered the two pilots in the process.!.!.!.”

You know, it would be nice if insiders could have just one story. Anyway, Southern Company didn’t mention Jake in their application to take over a piece of the British market. But I did, in The Guardian. And, from my file cabinet, I pulled out the list of phantom parts. I was not making friends in the power industry.

Houston, Amsterdam

Three other U.S. power companies swiftly joined Southern’s corporate invasion force offering to buy the remainder of England’s electric system.

First, there were the Arkansas boys, Hillary Clinton’s former client, Entergy. When the First Lady’s old law partner was indicted for phony billings, he accepted a short prison term rather than rat on her. On his way to the Big House, the felon was hired by Entergy as a “consultant.” Then Entergy bought London Electricity with the helpful blessing of the White House. I’m not saying these things are connected. These are just dots, you draw the lines.

There were two other companies, Texans on the prowl for English utilities, CSW and Reliant Inc. Together, they owned two nuclear reactors, called the South Texas Project. Reliant makes that famous nuclear plant engineer, Homer Simpson, look like Leonardo da Vinci.

When Reliant and partners first proposed the South Texas nuclear plants, they were challenged on the gargantuan cost and sheer bone-headedness of building the twin reactors. But the companies got the state to order customers to subsidize building the nukes by promising regulators they could build the reactors in just five years for just $1.2 billion. That was the “definitive cost estimate.” And they swore to it under oath. It took twelve years. Ultimate cost: $5.8 billion.

In an attempt to keep costs down, the companies had drilled holes in the workers’ locker room, dropped in secret cameras, attempting to find out which employees were ratting them out to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on their shortcuts to safety. The companies were busted, indicted, but got off with only a fine for their nuclear crime spree.

Reliant and its contractor, Halliburton’s Brown & Root, ultimately ended up paying more than a billion dollars in fines and penalties when the state Public Service Commission ruled they were “imprudent” managers of the plant. Imprudence is the regulatory term for gross incompetence. Still, several billion dollars to cover those cost overruns on the plant were loaded on to the electric bills of Texas consumers, thanks to a deal Reliant cut with Governor George W. Bush.

And “SEX SCANDAL ROCKS . . . ”? The business with Ms. Jamaica became a dum-dum bullet that the Texas boys used on me in Amsterdam. I’d tattled on the operators of the disastrous South Texas Nuclear plant in The Guardian just when Reliant wanted approval from Her Majesty’s government to buy a hunk of the UK power system. When Reliant, the nuclear disaster-maker, made a move on Holland’s power plants, my investigations were given a big play in Handelsblad, the Wall Street Journal of Europe. Reliant didn’t like that, so they slipped Handelsblad the SEX SCANDAL files.

Reliant was the Rosemary’s Baby of utility “deregulation.” It had once been Houston Lighting & Power, then changed its name to Houston Industries and shifted its corporate shape. Houston morphed into Reliant for cross-ocean raiding and mergers, then took on the alias NRG Corporation (NRG = En-er-gy — get it?).

But more South Texas–type projects ultimately put NRG/Houston/Reliant/HLP, international power giant, into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

I thought I’d seen the last of them and they assumed they’d seen the last of me.

We were both wrong.

NRG, this once-bankrupt financial ghoul, after blowing billions on the crime scene known as the South Texas Nuclear Project, has come out of its crypt to feast on the U.S. government’s new loan guarantees for new nuclear plants. The Southern Company, Jake’s former employer, also grabbed for the Treasury’s guarantee. In 2010, NRG, and in 2011, Southern, were designated the winners of the U.S. Department of Energy’s contest for our cash. That’s the first hot load of cash from Obama’s nuke ‘em program.

It was NRG’s internal files that had arrived in that big fat Radioactive Brick. Or I should say, “NINA’s” internal files. NRG, as I’ve mentioned, has shifted shapes again. While the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had considered pulling Reliant’s license for lack of “moral integrity,” in its latest mutation, NINA, “Nuclear Innovations North America,” is getting the Treasury loot.

(NINA’s banks, the ultimate beneficiaries of the Treasury guarantee, must have had quite a laugh at the name used to get government loan backing. “NINA” is the finance industry’s acronym for No Income No Assets, which pretty much summarizes the nuclear consortium’s profile.)

Now, as soon as I show you the file I have on them, I assume they’ll show you their file on me: so I’ve done it for them. You now know as much about my penis as NRG/NINA. I’m taking away their favorite trick: Discredit and destroy.

You want to know what’s in the Radioactive Brick file? In a moment. What’s more important is why I’m telling you this, and what brought me here tonight, a hundred miles from the kisses of my twins, to write this to you. And why I have been waiting many, many years to sit with you and tell you tales of polar bears and oil drills.


Excerpt from Vultures’ Picnic reprinted with kind permission of Greg Palast and Dutton, a division of the Penguin Group. © Greg Palast, 2011.

Greg Palast’s reports can be seen on BBC Television’s Newsnight. He is a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow for investigative reporting, and is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Armed Madhouse.

His latest book, Vultures’ Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Predators, which he describes as “a tale of oil, sex, shoes, radiation and investigative reporting,” is available now. Visit and for more info.

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Stick Your Damn Hand In It: 20th Birthday of the Exxon Valdez Lie
Obama is a two-faced liar. Aw-RIGHT!
Why An Asshole Is Always In Charge
The Steal You Won’t See
SG Interview: Greg Palast – Steal Back Your Vote
SuicideGirls Steal Back Your Vote

Greg Palast’s Vultures’ Picnic book tour is swooping into a city near you:

Wednesday, Nov. 16 – Los Angeles, CA
Thursday, Nov. 17 – San Diego, CA
Saturday, Nov. 19 – Denver AND Boulder, CO
Monday, Nov. 28 AND 29 – Chicago, IL
Wednesday, Nov. 30 – Madison, WI
Thursday, Dec. 1 – Albuquerque, NM
Friday, Dec. 2 – Santa Fe, NM
Monday, Dec. 5 – New York, NY
Tuesday, Dec. 6 – Washington, DC
Thursday, Dec. 8 – Houston, TX
Monday, Dec. 12 – Burlington VT
Wednesday, Dec. 14 – Atlanta, GA

*A person who collects sewage.


SG’s member and readers can get special discounted tickets for the New York date on Greg Palast’s Vultures’ Picnic book tour. Presented by WBAI, Feasting with The 1% – An evening exposing their recipes and secret ingredients, will feature Greg Palast, the blisteringly funny Lee Camp, and other special guests TBA.

When: Monday, December 5, at 7pm
Where: Community Church of New York
40 E 35th Street – between Park & Madison
Special VIP Discounted Ticket Link:


  1. […] So, I sat the fuck down. The officers went on to deal with other people – so, I continued to take photos, from my seated position. Once I had taken everything I could from this angle I called my boss (day job) Greg Palast. […]

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