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Stealing Mexico - Bush Team Helps 'Floridize' Mexican Presidential Election

found in the Bay Area Indy Media
Stealing Mexico - Bush Team Helps 'Floridize' Mexican Presidential Election
by Greg Palast



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.

Whether 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.

_____


For as-it-happens reporting on the Mexican election, check  http://www.GregPalast.com for dispatches from our team investigator Special Correspondent Matt Pascarella with video journalist Rick Rowley in Mexico City.

Get your copy of Palast's new book, Armed Madhouse, at  http://www.GregPalast.com

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.

found at  http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/06/30/18284423.php

the spreading corporate fraudulent elections.. Watch it Oregon! 05.Jul.2006 05:24

forest dwelling critter

It was not like we were not warned... listen this corporatist method of taking over countries is spreading ... I even question the elections last year in Germany, Britain, Canada.. and even Hungary this last spring all close races and all with some local issues over fairness or pushy corporate media wanted the resolutes before the count is fully finished.

Part II:

Florida 2000 looms in Mexico
UNCOUNTED BALLOTS CASTING DOUBT ON CONSERVATIVE'S LEAD
By Kevin G. Hall and Jay Root
McClatchy Mexico City Bureau
MEXICO CITY - Discovery of 3.5 million uncounted ballots in Mexico's disputed presidential election cast doubt Tuesday on early projections showing conservative Felipe Calderón in the lead, raising fears of prolonged uncertainty and political unrest.

The standoff has left Mexico the equivalent of one hanging chad away from a Latin American version of the disputed 2000 U.S. presidential contest in Florida -- only with a greater potential for unrest among the country's poor masses, who already are receptive to the idea of fraudulent elections.

Hinting at insider corruption and claiming a series of voting ``irregularities,'' advisers to leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador are demanding a manual recount of every vote and did not rule out street protests to ratchet up pressure on federal election authorities.

``You cannot come to a final outcome if you do not count all the votes,'' said Manuel Camacho Solís, a top López Obrador aide. ``We are going to demand that the votes are counted. . . . We have the right to go to the streets and we have the right to express our opinion with full freedom.''

A simple recount begins today, but a full-blown election contest could drag Mexico through weeks of uncertainty and tension.

Calderón's ruling National Action Party, or PAN, dismissed the allegations of irregularities, portraying López Obrador as a sore loser.

There had long been fears that a close election split could spark violent protests and plunge Mexico into a destabilizing crisis. Those fears seemed to ease after early results showed Calderón clinging to a thin but seemingly stable lead. Now the edgy feel is back, even though López Obrador and his advisers have promised to act responsibly and work within established electoral procedures.

As of late Monday, preliminary vote totals released by Mexico's Federal Election Institute (IFE) showed Calderón leading with a little more than 400,000 votes, or 1 percent more than López Obrador. A mandatory recount of vote tallies is scheduled to begin today -- and the revelation that 3.5 million votes went uncounted has become Exhibit A in the growing controversy.

Ballots not included

Luis Carlos Ugalde, head of Mexico's Federal Election Institute, acknowledged that the ballots had not been included in Election Day reports. He stressed in an interview with Televisa that it doesn't matter because an official winner won't be announced until the agency concludes its nationwide recount, perhaps by Friday.

He said the tally sheets representing the millions of uncounted votes were set aside on election night because of various ``inconsistencies,'' such as indecipherable markings on the voting booth records.

Asked if the tallies will be included in the recount, Ugalde told the Televisa network: ``Of course they will. These tallies will have to be reviewed at a table with representatives from all the parties.''

The elections chief also warned that the preliminary tally, known by the Spanish initials PREP, shouldn't have been taken as projecting a winner. That was a rebuke to both candidates who declared themselves victorious.

It's unclear how important the uncounted votes will turn out to be. Some might be ruled invalid. López Obrador would have to win an unusually large portion of the uncounted 3.5 million votes to reverse Calderón's lead.

López Obrador aides said the votes were evenly distributed throughout the country and not concentrated in one particular region.

``I think that, given the margin, I think it will be very difficult for the vote to overturn,'' said Armand Peschard-Sverdrup, an expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a center-right think tank in Washington. He was in Mexico to observe the elections. ``We still have to wait and see for the counting of the votes and then probably the adjudication process. This is probably going to go until Aug. 31.''

That's a reference to the deadline the IFE has set for hearing election challenges. By law, a winner must be announced by Sept. 6, officials said.

Other `inconsistencies'

Even if the 3.5 million votes don't swing the election, the PRD says it has other ``inconsistencies'' that prove the results are flawed, including double voting in a Calderón stronghold. They also say that hundreds of vote tallies show markings in congressional races but inexplicably no preference in the presidential contest.

PRD officials are also hinting that Calderón may have a conflict of interest in the election agency itself, saying that could explain why computerized returns showed both candidates actually shedding votes in the wee hours of election night.

Namely, Camacho, the López Obrador adviser, said the campaign was looking into allegations that Calderón's brother-in-law had been involved in the creation of vote-tallying software used by the IFE.

Calderón's brother-in-law Diego Zavala has said that he participated in a bid for election-count software but didn't win. The weekly news magazine Proceso on June 11 reported that the top election official overseeing election-reporting software, Rodrigo Morales, is an old friend of Calderón, raising questions of conflict of interest.

found at  http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/14968639.htm