Palast, author of "The Best Democracy Money Can
Buy" and investigative reporter for the UK's The
Guardian, The Observer and the BBC, is once again
raking the muck for the truth about our current
leaders, using English media platforms to report
stories the mainstream American press won't touch.
His latest foray, a one-hour BBC3 special, "Bush
Family Fortunes," which first ran June 19th, allowed
British audiences to watch reportage virtually
forbidden to American viewers -- but revealed,
in part, here.
a tongue-in-cheek film noir-ish style, the documentary
discloses damning new information regarding President
Bush's dubious Texas Air National Guard stint.
Wearing a private eye's trench coat and fedora,
Palast went to the Lone Star State, "To find out
how George Bush got the cushy job of defending
Houston, Texas from Viet Cong attack..."
interviews retired Lt. Colonel Bill Burkett of
the Texas Air National Guard (TANG), who states
on camera that shortly after George W. became
Texas' governor in the 1990s, he witnessed a speakerphone
call from the Texas governor's office to TANG,
and overheard the caller tell Guard officers to
"clean [Bush's] records from his files." Palast
says that after the call, Burkett "asked the officers
if they'd carried out the questionable orders,
and they said 'absolutely.' They pointed, and
Burkett saw in the [shredding designated] trashcan
George W. Bush's ... pay [and retirement points]
has simmered for decades over George W.'s Vietnam
era service record; critics have long charged
he went AWOL from the Guard for long periods of
time. The allegedly trashed documents, which had
been undisclosed for years, could have proved
whether or not G.W. had been absent without leave
while he was in TANG.
Bush went AWOL, this would have been desertion
during wartime. "Punishment for Air National guardsmen
who missed two days of work was to be sent to
Vietnam," Burkett also said, according to Palast,
interviewed in Santa Monica, California, before
flying to London to broadcast the expose.
detractors also contend that back in 1968, his
father, wealthy oilman and then-Rep. George Herbert
Walker Bush, pulled strings to cut a behind-the-scenes
deal ensuring Junior was not sent to Vietnam --
Palast says he received a rare, coveted Texas
Air National Guard spot "12 days before G.W. was
to be drafted."
adds he recently interviewed "an extremely well-known
Texan at the center of" President Bush's alleged
draft-dodging, who was a key participant in maneuvers
to get him into the Air Guard. This source not
only confirmed that getting G.W. into the Texas
Air National Guard "was a fix," but that "it was
Daddy Bush himself who made the initial call to
get his son out of the war," Palast says. Although
the figure would not agree to go on camera or
be named, Palast said he interviewed the source
in front of a high-ranking BBC producer.
says Palast, he had considered G.W.'s draft evading
story unverified. However, he now believes he
has confirmed it.
Rampell is a fulltime L.A.-based freelance writer
named after CBS broadcaster Edward R. Murrow.
He writes the "Friend of the People" column for
L.A. Alternative Press, and co-wrote "The Finger"
column for New Times L.A. Rampell has reported
for ABC News' "20/20," The Nation, Mother Jones,
In These Times, Variety, L.A. Times and many other
publications, and co-authored several film history
Palast is author of the New York Times bestseller,
The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (Penguin 2003),
which you can purchase by clicking on the book
link on the left. This book is highly recommended
by our staff.
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