Friday, June 30, 2006 -- GEORGE Bush's operatives have plans to jigger with the upcoming elections. I'm not talking about
the November '06 vote in the USA (though they have plans for
that, too). I'm talking about the election this Sunday in Mexico for their
Presidency. It begins with an FBI document marked, "Counterterrorism" and "Foreign
Intelligence Collection" and "Secret." Date: "9/17/2001,"
six days after the attack on the World Trade towers. It's nice to know the feds got right on the ball, if a little late.
What does this have to do with jiggering Mexico's election?
Hold that thought. This document is what's called a "guidance" memo for using
a private contractor to provide databases on dangerous foreigners. Good idea. We know the 19 hijackers came from
Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the
Persian Gulf Emirates. So you'd think the "Intelligence Collection" would be aimed at getting info on the guys in the
Gulf. No so. When we received the document, we obtained as well its classified
appendix. The target nations for "foreign counterterrorism investigation" were nowhere near the Persian
Gulf. Every one was in Latin America -- Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico and a handful
of others. See one of the documents yourself.
Latin America?! Was there a terror cell about to cross
into San Diego with exploding enchiladas?
All the target nations had one thing in common besides a lack of terrorists: each had a left-leaning presidential
candidate or a left-leaning president in office. In Venezuela, President
Hugo Chavez, bete noir of the Bush Administration, was facing a recall vote. In Mexico, the anti-Bush Mayor of Mexico City, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
was (and is) leading the race for the Presidency.
Most provocative is the contractor to whom this no-bid contract
was handed: ChoicePoint Inc. of Alpharetta, Georgia.
ChoicePoint is the database company that created a list for Governor Jeb Bush of Florida of voters
to scrub from voter rolls before the 2000 election. ChoicePoint's list (94,000 names in all) contained few felons.
Most of those on the list were guilty of no crime except Voting While Black. The disenfranchisement of these voters
cost Al Gore the presidency. Having chosen our President for us, our President's
men chose ChoicePoint for this sweet War on Terror database gathering. The use of the Venezuela's and Mexico's voter
registry files to fight terror is not visible -- but the use of the lists to manipulate elections is as obvious as the make-up
on Katherine Harris' cheeks.
In Venezuela, leading up to the August 2004 vote on whether to re-call President
Chavez, I saw his opposition pouring over the voter rolls in laptops, claiming the right to challenge voters as Jeb's
crew did to voters in Florida. It turns out this operation was partly funded by the International Republican Institute
of Washington, an arm of the GOP. Where did they get the voter info? In
that case, access to Venezuela's voter rolls didn't help
the Republican-assisted drive against Chavez, who won by a crushing plurality.
In Mexico this Sunday,
we can expect to see the same: challenges of Obrador voters in a race, the polls say, is too close to call. Not
that Mexico's rulers need lessons from the Bush Administration
on how to mess with elections. In 1988, the candidate for Obrador's Party
of the Democratic Revolution (PDR), who opinion polls showed as a certain winner, somehow came up short against the incumbent
party of the ruling elite. Some of the electoral tricks were far from subtle. In the state of Guerrero, the PDR
was leading on official tally sheets by 359,369. Oddly, the official final count was 309,202 for the ruling party, only182,874
for the PDR. Challenging the vote would have been dangerous. Two top officials of Obrador's party were assassinated
during the campaign.
Crucial to the surprise victory of the ruling party was the
introduction of computer voting machines and the centralization of voter databases. Observer Andrew Reding of the Council
on Hemispheric Affairs reported that ruling party operatives had special access codes denied the opposition.
the US "War on Terror" lists will find a use in Sunday's election,
we cannot know. But the use of American government resources to interfere in south-of-the-border campaigns is an open
secret. The GOP's International Republican Institute has run training sessions for the PAN youth wing, funded by US
taxpayers through the "National Endowment for Democracy." Foreign -- that is,
American -- interference in political campaigns is a crime. That didn't stop Team Bush. However, when the theft
of its citizen files was discovered, Argentina threatened to arrest ChoicePoint
contractors until the company returned the tapes -- and Mexico's attorney
general did in fact arrest the ChoicePoint data thieves to avoid his party's looking too much the stooge of its Washington patron.
Whether George Bush gave back his copy, no one will say.
Wholesale theft is expected on Sunday in forms both
subtle and brutal. How the US' purloined "counterterrorism"
lists will be used, we don't know. We are certain however, that the Administration did not siphon off these Latin voter
files to fight a War on Terror. It appears, rather, part of the Bush Administration's and GOP's hemispheric War on Democracy
-- along a battle line which runs from Florida to Ohio to Juarez.
Special thanks to the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Washington DC, which received and passed on to our team the FBI ChoicePoint files and other foreign intelligence documentation.
Though the PRI, party (prounced pree, Institutional Revolutionary Party), in Mexico doesn’t need help in stealing elections, the Republican Party sent help. The party has ruled the country for more than 70 years. Power
is maintained through election fraud (Opponents, academics, and historians claim with ample evidence that elections were just
a ritual to simulate the appearance of a democracy—wikipedia.org) The article below is on the current theft and the
role of the Republican party. The article below was published in a leading, respected
Greg Palast is currently (7/13/06) in Mexico with a team of reporters
from the Guardian investigating the election theft.
By Greg Palast, Saturday July 8, 2006
excerpted from The Guardian UK.
[Mexico City] There’s more that
the Mexico vote has in common with Florida besides the heat. The ruling party’s
hand-picked electoral commission counted a mere 243,000 votes more for their candidate, Felipe Calderon, over challenger Andres
Manuel Lopez Obrador. That’s noteworthy in light of the surprise showing of candidate Senor Blank-o (the 827,000 ballots
supposedly left “blank”).
We’ve seen Mr Blank-o do well before
- in Florida in 2000 when Florida’s secretary of state (who was also co-chair of the Bush campaign) announced that
179,000 ballots showed no vote for the president. The machines couldn’t read these ballots with “hanging chads”
and other technical problems. Humans can read these ballots with ease, but the hand-count was blocked by Bush’s conflicted
And so it is in Mexico.
The Calderon “victory” is based on a gross addition of tabulation sheets. His party, the PAN, and its election
officials are refusing Lopez Obrador’s call for a hand recount of each ballot which would be sure to fill in those blanks.
Blank ballots are rarely random. In Florida in 2000,
88% of the supposedly blank ballots came from African-American voting districts - that is, they were cast by Democratic voters.
In Mexico, the supposed empty or unreadable ballots come from the poorer districts where the challenger’s
Party of the Democratic Revolution (PDR) is strongest.
There’s an echo of the US non-count
in the south-of-the-border tally. It’s called “negative drop-off”. In a surprising number of districts in
Mexico, the federal electoral commission logged lots of negative drop-off: more votes for lower
offices than for president. Did Lopez Obrador supporters, en masse, forget to punch in their choice?
Mexico’s Bush-backed ruling party claims it has conducted Mexico’s
first truly honest election, though it refuses to count all the ballots. Has the PAN and its ally in Washington served
democracy in this election, or merely Florida con salsa?