Friday, September 22, 2006

Hard Rain Journal (9-22-06): Election Security Update -- In MX, Lopez Obrador Will Be Sworn In First; In US, RFK, Jr. Asks Will 2006 Be Hacked?

On September 16, over one million people raised their hands in a vote to recognize center-left leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as the “legitimate president” of Mexico. Gathered in Mexico City’s historic center, the delegates to the National Democratic Convention (NDC) agreed to inaugurate their president on November 21—nine days before the inauguration of the officially recognized candidate, Felipe Calderon. This act of civil resistance ushered in a new stage in an electoral conflict that has developed into an all-out battle for the country’s future.
The NDC constituted an unprecedented event in Mexico’s tumultuous sequence of starts and stalls toward democracy. No matter what the outcome, the convention will go down in history as a defining moment in the nation’s political development...
After months of protesting fraud, the convention represented a change in direction. Amid the morass of unexplained discrepancies and manipulated results that have characterized Mexico’s presidential elections, the distinction between the demand for a fair vote count and the need to redress deeply felt social wrongs has been subsumed into a general movement for fundamental reforms.
Laura Carlson, Mexico's Two Presidents, Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF), 9-20-06

Hard Rain Journal (9-22-06): Election Security Update -- In MX, Lopez Obrador Will Be Sworn Before Calderon; In US, RFK, Jr. Asks Will 2006 Be Hacked?
By Richard Power

I do not know what will happen in Mexico, but I do know that the story is not finished, and that it deserves prominent attention in the US mainstream news media (which, of course, it is not receiving). I also know that there is no excuse for denying the Mexican people a full and transparent recount of a national election in which the margin of "victory" was so narrow.

It is important for us to bear witness to what is happening in Mexico, not only because it is an event of profound and unprecedented significance in our southern neighbor's troubled political history, but also because of what Lopez Obrador's laboratory of democratic resistance might tell us about our own future.

Meanwhile, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has written another expose on election security issues for Rolling Stone Magazine.

Here are some fascinating excerpts on Georgia 2002 and the recent Maryland primary (I urge you to click on the link, read the entire piece and then contact Bobby at Ring of Fire to thank him for his courage and conscience):

Chris Hood remembers the day in August 2002 that he began to question what was really going on in Georgia. An African-American whose parents fought for voting rights in the South during the 1960s, Hood was proud to be working as a consultant for Diebold Election Systems, helping the company promote its new electronic voting machines....
Then, one muggy day in mid-August, Hood was surprised to see the president of Diebold's election unit, Bob Urosevich, arrive in Georgia from his headquarters in Texas. With the primaries looming, Urosevich was personally distributing a "patch," a little piece of software designed to correct glitches in the computer program. "We were told that it was intended to fix the clock in the system, which it didn't do," Hood says. "The curious thing is the very swift, covert way this was done."
Georgia law mandates that any change made in voting machines be certified by the state. But thanks to Cox's agreement with Diebold, the company was essentially allowed to certify itself. "It was an unauthorized patch, and they were trying to keep it secret from the state," Hood told me. "We were told not to talk to county personnel about it. I received instructions directly from Urosevich. It was very unusual that a president of the company would give an order like that and be involved at that level."
According to Hood, Diebold employees altered software in some 5,000 machines in DeKalb and Fulton counties - the state's largest Democratic strongholds. To avoid detection, Hood and others on his team entered warehouses early in the morning. "We went in at 7:30 a.m. and were out by 11," Hood says. "There was a universal key to unlock the machines, and it's easy to get access. The machines in the warehouses were unlocked. We had control of everything. The state gave us the keys to the castle, so to speak, and they stayed out of our way." Hood personally patched fifty-six machines and witnessed the patch being applied to more than 1,200 others....
It is impossible to know whether the machines were rigged to alter the election in Georgia: Diebold's machines provided no paper trail, making a recount impossible. But the tally in Georgia that November surprised even the most seasoned political observers. Six days before the vote, polls showed Sen. Max Cleland, a decorated war veteran and Democratic incumbent, leading his Republican opponent Saxby Chambliss - darling of the Christian Coalition - by five percentage points. In the governor's race, Democrat Roy Barnes was running a decisive eleven points ahead of Republican Sonny Perdue. But on Election Day, Chambliss won with fifty-three percent of the vote, and Perdue won with fifty-one percent....
And touch-screen technology continues to create chaos at the polls. On September 12th, in Maryland's first all-electronic election, voters were turned away from the polls because election officials had failed to distribute the electronic access cards needed to operate Diebold machines. By the time the cards were found on a warehouse shelf and delivered to every precinct, untold numbers of voters had lost the chance to cast ballots. It seems insane that such clear threats to our election system have not stopped the proliferation of touch-screen technology. In 2004, twenty-three percent of Americans cast their votes on electronic ballots - an increase of twelve percent over 2000. This year, more than one-third of the nation's 8,000 voting jurisdictions are expected to use electronic voting technology for the first time.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Will the Next Election Be Hacked?, Rolling Stone, 10-5-06

I will continue to monitor the election security issue both in the USA and in Mexico, and I will report on major developments. To follow them more closely, go to Greg Palast, Mark Crispin Miller's Notes from the Underground, and especially Brad Blog


Hard Rain Journal 8-23-06: Struggle for Sanctity & integrity of Electoral Process Rages on in Both US & Mexico

Hard Rain Journal 8-9-06: Lamont & McKinney Stories Underscore the Importance of Lopez Obrador's Struggle

Hard Rain Journal 7-30-06: Struggle for Fair Elections, North & South of the Rio Grande

Hard Rain Journal 7-22-06 Weekend Edition: Updates on US Election Fraud and the Dan Rather Watch

Hard Rain Journal 7-18-06: Update on Disputed Mexican Presidential Election

GS(3) Thunderbolt 7-10-06: Will the Disputed Mexican Election Lead to Insurrection? Lessons for Mexico from the US, and Lessons for the US from Mexico

GS(3) Thunderbolt 7-7-06: Mexican Presidential Election Still in Doubt

GS(3) Thunderbolt 7-3-06: Greg Palast on the Case in the Mexican Presidential Election

Hard Rain Journal 6-28-06: NYU Law School's Brennan Center Reports E-Voting Software Attacks are a Real Danger

SPECIAL EDITION: “Until this issue is burning on the mind of every citizen” -- Words of Power Interviews Mark Crispin Miller

Words of Power #22: Election Fraud As Information Warfare, and a National Security Issue

Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: For more information, go to

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