Have you been getting soft lately? Taking the New York Times as gospel? (It’s so well-written, after all.) Greg Palast — BBC investigative reporter, American journalist-non-grata, winner of the George Orwell Courage in Journalism Award, bearer of bad news for democracy — has arrived just in time with Armed Madhouse ($25.95, Dutton), a four-part take on “election reform,” terrorism wars, and related plots to steal what’s left of the American republic. He spoke with the Current by phone from New York.
Has your popularity soared with the publication of Armed Madhouse?
It looks like it’s going to be on the best-seller list, so it’s nice to have a little bit of readership. But then again, I don’t exactly hear howls of fear coming from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
I was thinking about the fact that even with the revelation about AT&T releasing phone records to the NSA, the disapproval rating for that was only in the 50s.
Well, people don’t understand the whole game here. So who cares, someone sees phone bills if they get the bad guys? But they aren’t getting the bad guys. First of all, the bad guys weren’t American. This is all building databases so that they can work the next election. They haven’t figured out who we voted for yet.
You think they’re trying to figure out exactly who voted for who
No, what they’re doing `is`, databases are the key to manipulation of elections, and we saw it in the 2000 election when the company ChoicePoint used its databases to scrub out thousands of black voters — the story I broke. In 2004, you had something called caging lists, hundreds of thousands of names the Republican Party put together of black voters to challenge on the basis of their addresses.
In ’08, the story is eliminating the Hispanic vote, because despite George Bush and his pseudo-attempts to get the Hispanic vote, he ain’t winning the Hispanic vote. You know that in Texas very well. It’s still a solid Democratic demographic especially lower-income Hispanics.
How widespread and well-coordinated is this plan?
Extremely well-coordinated and widespread and spreading. What I mean by this is, the Republican Party, when I uncovered the evil caging lists — and by the way, the company that’s doing the big data-mining for the government is the same company that came up with the scrub lists in Florida in 2000, ChoicePoint — when I saw that in Florida, that was a new wave; you could not have done that type of scrub without computerization and centralization of the voter files of Florida Most state voting records are kept at the county level, and usually in paper form. So Florida was the cutting edge.
Then there was a new system set up, a new law, the Help America Vote Act, signed by our President in 2002. And that required states to centralize their voting databases and computerize them, which then opened up grounds for purging mischief all over the country, which went pretty much unreported — in weird places. We had big purges in Texas. Now, what’s weird about big purges in Texas is that you even have a law that allows ex-felons — the trick is that people are being accused of being illegal felon voters who have lost their civil rights because they committed a felony — something like 500,000 people were purged off the voter rolls as supposed felons. That’s pretty odd, because you can vote in Texas if you’ve served your sentence and you wait two years.
If people were going to try to counteract attempts to manipulate the election, what would they do?
The cool thing about the crime is that I’m telling you things you don’t get in the press. You also have to connect the dots here. For example, they’re not going to stop people from coming over the border in Texas. God forbid; there’d be no Texas economy if you spackled up the holes in the border, right? That’s not the game. The game is to knock out the Hispanic vote, especially the poor Hispanic vote; create a drumbeat for national ID cards and ID when you vote. Three hundred thousand people nationwide last time lost their vote because they showed up with the so-called wrong ID.
Who is the architect, as Bush might say, of these plans?
We love to have a Professor Moriarty deep in a tunnel pulling the switches. That’s why people were so entranced by the idea of stealing the vote by computer, when it’s done by dumber stuff than that. You don’t need a Mr. Big to come up with this stuff. First of all, the Mr. Big in this administration who does come up with most of the evil plans isn’t Karl Rove. Karl Rove is just a soft-handed little schmuck. There are much bigger Texans than that. `Former Secretary of State` Jim Baker is behind this stuff. I really should write a book called “Jim Baker Knows Where You Live.” Baker is very much behind so-called “election reform.” And you can’t separate his push for so-called election reform — which means taking away brown people’s votes and black people’s votes, and he represented the Republican Party in Bush v. Gore — he’s pushing for the ID requirement big-time.