Pravda Exclusive with BBC-TV journalist Greg Palast, author of "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy"
These are troubling times - restriction of traditional American freedoms, the occupation of Iraq, and continued US aggression based on the Bush administration"s "War on Terror" conspire to make the world a more fearful and less safe place. Two days before an official day of Mourning in America and the burial of Ronald Reagan, PRAVDA.RU contacted author Greg Palast to ask a few questions and provide this legendary journalist with an opportunity to speak directly with PRAVDA readers. The winner of Salon.com"s 2001 "Politics Story of the Year," and known in Britain as "the greatest investigative reporter of our time" (Tribune magazine), Palast has broken some of the most infamous stories of the past decade, including:
- How the Bush family stole the election in Florida in 2000
- How Bush killed the FBI's investigation into the financing of terrorist
organizations by Saudi Arabia, and why
- How Enron cheated, lied, and swindled its way into an energy monopoly
In short, Palast reports the news today"s corporate news "shows" are afraid to cover.
PRAVDA.RU - To what degree do you think Reagan"s rhetoric of Russia as an "Evil Empire" has been replaced by George W. Bush"s "Axis of Evil"?
Greg Palast - You need an enemy. In order to continue a regime of brutality and lying, you need to have a threat and it"s even better if that threat is non-existent. In Reagan"s case he built upon an established fear of communism, but it is absolute nonsense that he drove the Soviet Union into the ground and "won" the Cold War by outspending them on armaments. People are writing that to this day and it is complete crap-ola. The truth is America is lost without an enemy. We started something with "The War on Drugs," but now almost everyone in America has had a puff at some point in their lives and they didn"t go crazy. Plus if there was going to be a real war on drugs they would have to go after the CIA and they aren"t going to do that. The terror attack enabled this administration to find the "Axis of Evil" but they aren"t going to go after the real source of the attacks, the oil sheiks, because that"s where the money is. With this administration it"s a matter of principal up to a point, once they get to the money then principal doesn"t matter.
PRAVDA.RU - Are you working on something now that can back up these claims?
Greg Palast - We"ve received documents, hundreds of pages of classified documents, that people within the Department of Defense and the State Department have sent to us which outline the truth behind the oil companies" involvement in this administration"s actions. There will be more written about this in the coming weeks and I recommend your readers check out www.gregpalast.com for the latest reporting on this topic. Additionally, the purging of the voter rolls in Florida is still going on four years later. Black voters in that state are systematically being excluded from the democratic process.
PRAVDA.RU - Regarding democracy in America, much of the debate could be characterized by the writing of Ann Coulter on the right and Maureen Dowd on the left. In this environment of two monologues, can any meaningful dialogue take place or is America drifting deeper into two entrenched camps?
Greg Palast - Look, I"m interested in truth. I"m interested in providing accurate information that is absent from the American media today. Those people you mentioned are "opinion carriers" - for the average person looking for information, Maureen Dowd is useless. She"s more interested in cocktail parties and "Sex in the City." I hate to pay for opinion. I had to leave the country to write the stories I thought needed to be written. It"s not about politics with me, I"m non-partisan, I"m not a member of a political party nor do I feel any journalist should be. Like I said brutality and lying go together, and if there isn"t someone willing to confront the lies with truth then the brutality will continue.
PRAVDA.RU - How do you think this administration is lying?
Greg Palast - The War on Terror is a lie. The Axis of Evil is a lie. Don"t you think if Osama bin Laden really had a weapon of mass destruction he would have used it by now. And, we have North Korea on that list and they have admitted to having a nuclear program, but this administration does nothing to confront them because there is no money in it. This administration is all for fighting terror if they can make a buck on it, but they are not up front about their killing. At least Osama is honest about his brutality.