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FTR #470 Democracy Imperiled

Record­ed July 25, 2004
Lis­ten:
MP3 Side 1 [1] | Side 2 [2]
RealAu­dio [3]

As the title indi­cates, this broad­cast exam­ines grave threats to what remains of Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy. Much of the first half of the pro­gram exam­ines the issue of elec­tron­ic vot­ing. Con­trolled by a small group of inter­con­nect­ed far-right­ists, com­pa­nies like Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia have proved noto­ri­ous­ly unre­li­able in past elec­tions. Sig­nif­i­cant­ly, the peo­ple in charge of these firms are also close­ly con­nect­ed to the covert oper­a­tions milieu of the 1980’s that spawned the Iran/Contra and Iraq­gate scan­dals. The pro­gram reviews the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a man-made earth­quake affect­ing the elec­tion. In the con­text of the Machi­avel­lian nature of this admin­is­tra­tion, it is worth not­ing that Machi­avel­li coun­seled that a leader destroy a soci­ety with demo­c­ra­t­ic tra­di­tions, lest it regroup and restore those tra­di­tions. The pro­gram con­cludes with an exam­i­na­tion of the pro­found­ly anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic atti­tudes of Paul Weyrich and those in pow­er in the Bush admin­is­tra­tion.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: The Uro­se­vich broth­ers and their pro­found influ­ence on the devel­op­ment of both Diebold and ES&S—two of the com­pa­nies at the epi­cen­ter of elec­tron­ic vot­ing; the rela­tion­ship of the Uro­se­vich broth­ers to the far-right wing Ahman­son fam­i­ly; the Ahman­son family’s links to Paul Weyrich’s Coun­cil on Nation­al Pol­i­cy; the pres­ence on the Coun­cil on Nation­al Pol­i­cy of Iran/Contra play­ers Oliv­er North and Gen. John Singlaub; the close rela­tion­ship of Diebold, ES&S and Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Chuck Hagel; Diebold’s appar­ent role in help­ing to swing the call­ing of Flori­da for Bush in 2000; the sus­pi­cious per­for­mance of Diebold machines in the 2002 off-year elec­tions; the sus­pi­cious death of Athan Gibbs (who devel­oped a viable alter­na­tive to Diebold machines); Gen­er­al Tom­my Franks’ pre­dic­tion that a ter­ror­ist inci­dent with WMD’s could lead to the impo­si­tion of a mil­i­tary-style gov­ern­ment in the U.S.; the explic­it­ly anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic views of Paul Weyrich and his milieu; a state­ment by the sec­re­tary to for­mer Pres­i­dent Ger­ald Ford that the US entered World War II on the wrong side.

1. Begin­ning with a sub­ject touched on in FTRs 466, 468, the pro­gram dis­cuss­es the issue of elec­tron­ic vot­ing and the small cabal of extreme right-wingers at the foun­da­tion of the com­pa­nies that man­u­fac­ture these machines. One of the most impor­tant of these is the Diebold com­pa­ny. Head­ed by Wal­ly O’Dell—an ardent Bush supporter—the com­pa­ny makes a num­ber of auto­mat­ed devices such as ATM machines. Inter­est­ing­ly, Diebold’s vot­ing machines are the only ones that do not have pro­duce a ver­i­fi­able paper trail. “ . . . If Ohio’s Repub­li­can Sec­re­tary of State Ken­neth Black­well has his way, Diebold will receive a con­tract to sup­ply touch screen elec­tron­ic vot­ing machines for much of the state. None of these Diebold machines will pro­vide a paper receipt of the vote. Diebold, locat­ed in North Can­ton, Ohio, does its pri­ma­ry busi­ness in ATM and tick­et-vend­ing machines. Crit­ics of Diebold point out that vir­tu­al­ly every oth­er machine the com­pa­ny makes pro­vides a paper trail to ver­i­fy the machine’s cal­cu­la­tions. Odd­ly, only the vot­ing machines lack this essen­tial func­tion.”(“Diebold, Elec­tron­ic Vot­ing and the Vast Right-Wing Con­spir­a­cy” by Bob Fitrakis; The Free Press; 2/24/2004; p. 1.) [4]

2. “State Sen­a­tor Tere­sa Fedor of Tole­do intro­duced Sen­ate Bill 167 late last year man­dat­ing that every vot­ing machine in Ohio gen­er­ate a ‘vot­er ver­i­fied paper audit trail.’ Sec­re­tary of State Black­well has denounced any attempt to require a paper trail as an effort to ‘derail’ elec­tion reform. Blackwell’s polit­i­cal career is an inter­est­ing one: he emerged as a black activist in Cincin­nati sup­port­ing munic­i­pal char­ter reform, became an elect­ed Demo­c­rat, then an Inde­pen­dent, and now is a promi­nent Repub­li­can with his eyes on the governor’s man­sion.” (Idem.)

3. The issue at the fore­front of this dis­cus­sion has come into sharp focus as a result of the elec­toral irreg­u­lar­i­ties in the 2000 elec­tion. The 2002 Help Amer­i­ca Vote Act may have actu­al­ly con­tributed to the prob­lem by man­dat­ing that elec­tron­ic vot­ing machines should take the place of punch card machines. “A joint study by the Cal­i­for­nia and Mass­a­chu­setts Insti­tutes of Tech­nol­o­gy fol­low­ing the 2000 elec­tion deter­mined that between 1.5 and 2 mil­lion votes were not count­ed due to con­fus­ing paper bal­lots or faulty equip­ment. The fed­er­al government’s solu­tion to the prob­lem was to pass the Help Amer­i­ca Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002. One of the law’s stat­ed goals was ‘Replace­ment of punch card and lever vot­ing machines.’ The new vot­ing machines would be high-tech touch screen com­put­ers, but if there’s no paper trail, how do you know if there’s been a com­put­er glitch? How can the results be trust­ed? And how do you recount to see if the actu­al votes match the computer’s tal­ly?” (Ibid.; pp. 1–2.)

4. Many crit­ics have focused on the irreg­u­lar­i­ties that have plagued Diebold machines in the past. “Bev Har­ris, author of Black Box Vot­ing: Bal­lot tam­per­ing in the 21st Cen­tu­ry, argues that with­out a paper trail, these machines are open to mas­sive vot­er fraud. Diebold has already placed some 50,000 machines in 37 states and their track record is caus­ing Har­ris, Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sors and oth­ers great con­cern. Johns Hop­kins researchers at the Infor­ma­tion Secu­ri­ty Insti­tute issued a report declar­ing that Diebold’s elec­tron­ic vot­ing soft­ware con­tained ‘stun­ning flaws.’ The researchers con­clud­ed that vote totals could be altered at the vot­ing machines and by remote access. Diebold vig­or­ous­ly refut­ed the Johns Hop­kins report, claim­ing the researchers came to ‘a mul­ti­tude of false con­clu­sions.’” (Ibid.; p. 2.)

5. “Per­haps to set­tle the issue, appar­ent­ly an insid­er leaked doc­u­ments from the Diebold elec­tion Sys­tems web­site and post­ed inter­nal doc­u­ments from the com­pa­ny to Har­ris’ web­site. Diebold went to court to stop, accord­ing to court records, the ‘whole­sale repro­duc­tion’ of some 13,000 pages of com­pa­ny mate­r­i­al. The Asso­ci­at­ed Press report­ed in Novem­ber 2003 that: ‘Com­put­er pro­gram­mers, ISPs and stu­dents at [at] least 20 uni­ver­si­ties, includ­ing the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley, and the Mass­a­chu­setts Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy received cease and desist let­ters’ from Diebold. A group of Swarth­more Col­lege stu­dents launched an ‘elec­tron­ic civ­il dis­obe­di­ence’ cam­paign to keep the hacked doc­u­ments per­ma­nent­ly post­ed on the Inter­net.” (Idem.)

6. Irreg­u­lar­i­ties in the Volu­sia Coun­ty (Flori­da) Diebold machines appear to have led to the pre­ma­ture media call of Flori­da as hav­ing been won by Bush. (For more about the Flori­da elec­toral irreg­u­lar­i­ties, see—among oth­er pro­grams—FTRs 259, 268 [5].) “Har­ris writes that the doc­u­ments expose how the main­stream media reversed their call pro­ject­ing Al Gore as win­ner of Flori­da after some­one ‘sub­tract­ed 16, 022 votes from Al Gore, and in still some unde­fined way, added 4000 erro­neous votes to George W. Bush.’ Hours lat­er, the votes were returned. One memo from Lana Hires of Glob­al Elec­tion Sys­tems, now Diebold, reads: ‘I need some answers! Our depart­ment is being audit­ed by the Coun­ty. I have been wait­ing for some­one to give me an expla­na­tion as to why Precinct 216 gave Al Gore a minus 16,022 [votes] when it was uploaded.’ Anoth­er hacked inter­nal memo, writ­ten by Tal­bot Iredale, Senior VP of Research and Devel­op­ment for Diebold Elec­tion Sys­tems, doc­u­ments ‘unau­tho­rized’ replace­ment votes in Volu­sia Coun­ty.” (Idem.)

7. “Har­ris also uncov­ered a reveal­ing 87-page CBS news report and not­ed, ‘Accord­ing to CBS doc­u­ments, the erro­neous 20,000 votes in Volu­sia was direct­ly respon­si­ble for call­ing the elec­tion for Bush.’ The first per­son to call the elec­tion for Bush was Fox elec­tion ana­lyst John Ellis, who had the advan­tage of con­fer­ring with his promi­nent cousins George W. Bush and Flori­da Gov­er­nor Jeb Bush.” (Idem.)

8. In exam­in­ing the issue of elec­tron­ic vot­ing, it is essen­tial to note how a small cabal of close­ly con­nect­ed, extreme right-wingers dom­i­nates the few com­pa­nies involved in mak­ing these machines. The main names are: Bob and Todd Uro­se­vich, the Ahman­son fam­i­ly, Car­olyn Hunt, Chuck Hagel, Diebold, ES&S. Note the rela­tion­ships between these indi­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies that dom­i­nate the elec­tron­ic vot­ing mar­ket. “Increas­ing­ly, inves­tiga­tive writ­ers seek­ing an expla­na­tion have looked to Diebold’s his­to­ry for clues. The elec­tron­ic vot­ing indus­try is dom­i­nat­ed by only a few corporations—Diebold, Elec­tion Sys­tems & Soft­ware (ES&S) and Sequoia. Diebold and ES&S com­bined to count an esti­mat­ed 80% of U.S. black box elec­tron­ic votes. In the ear­ly 1980’s, broth­ers Bob and Todd Uro­se­vich found­ed ES&S’s orig­i­na­tor, Data Mark. The broth­ers Uro­se­vich obtained financ­ing from the far-Right Ahman­son fam­i­ly in 1984, which pur­chased a 68% own­er­ship stake, accord­ing to the Oma­ha World Her­ald. After broth­ers William and Robert Ahman­son infused Data Mark with new cap­i­tal, the name was changed to Amer­i­can Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems (AIS). Cal­i­for­nia news­pa­pers have long doc­u­ment­ed the Ahman­son family’s ties to right-wing evan­gel­i­cal Chris­t­ian and Repub­li­can cir­cles.” (Idem.)

9. Deeply involved in the cap­i­tal­iza­tion of the com­pa­nies that evolved into ES&S, the Ahman­son fam­i­ly is close­ly con­nect­ed to the Coun­cil on Nation­al Pol­i­cy, an insti­tu­tion dom­i­nat­ed by far-right wingers close­ly iden­ti­fied with the covert oper­a­tions of the 1980’s, such as the Iran/Contra and Iraq­gate scan­dals. “In 2001, the Los Ange­les Times report­ed, ‘ . . . pri­mar­i­ly fund­ed by evan­gel­i­cal Christians—particularly the wealthy Ahman­son fam­i­ly of Irvine—the [Dis­cov­ery] Institute’s $1‑million annu­al pro­gram has pro­duced 25 books, a stream of con­fer­ences and more than 100 fel­low­ships for doc­tor­al and post­doc­tor­al research.’ The chief phil­an­thropists of the Dis­cov­ery Insti­tute, that push­es cre­ation­ist sci­ence and edu­ca­tion in Cal­i­for­nia, are Howard and Rober­ta Ahman­son. Accord­ing to Group Watch, in the 1980’s Howard F. Ahman­son, Jr. was a mem­ber of the high­ly secre­tive far-Right Coun­cil for Nation­al Pol­i­cy, an orga­ni­za­tion that includ­ed Lieu­tenant Colonel Oliv­er North, Major Gen­er­al John K. Singlaub and oth­er Iran-Con­tra scan­dal nota­bles, as well as for­mer Klan mem­bers like Richard Shoff. Ahman­son, heir to a sav­ings and loan for­tune, is lit­tle report­ed on in the main­stream U.S. press. But, Eng­lish papers like The Inde­pen­dent are a bit more forth­com­ing on Ahmanson’s pol­i­tics.” (Ibid.; pp. 2–3.)

10. “ ‘On the right, fig­ures such as Richard Mel­lon Scaife and Howard Ahman­son have giv­en hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars over sev­er­al decades to polit­i­cal projects both high (set­ting up the Her­itage Foun­da­tion think-tank, the dri­ving engine of the Rea­gan pres­i­den­cy) and low (bankrolling inves­ti­ga­tions into Pres­i­dent Clinton’s sex­u­al indis­cre­tions and the sui­cide of the White House insid­er Vin­cent Fos­ter),’ wrote The Inde­pen­dent last Novem­ber. The Sun­day Mail described an indi­vid­ual as, ‘ . . . a fun­da­men­tal­ist Chris­t­ian more in the mould of U.S. mul­ti-mil­lion­aire Howard Ahman­son, Jr., who uses his for­tune to pro­mote so-called tra­di­tion­al fam­i­ly val­ues . . . by wav­ing for­tunes under their noses, Ahman­son has the abil­i­ty to cajole can­di­dates into back­ing his right-wing Chris­t­ian agen­da.” (Ibid.; p. 3.)

11. Note the role of Chuck Hagel in the devel­op­ment of ES&S, one of the com­pa­nies deeply involved in the elec­tron­ic vot­ing busi­ness. The com­pa­ny grew con­sid­er­ably when it pur­chased BRC, found­ed in part by the far-right wing Hunt fam­i­ly of Texas. (The Hunts assist­ed in the found­ing of the Coun­cil on Nation­al Pol­i­cy.) “Ahman­son is also a chief con­trib­u­tor to the Chal­cedon Insti­tute that sup­ports the Chris­t­ian recon­struc­tion move­ment. The movement’s phi­los­o­phy advo­cates, among oth­er things, ‘man­dat­ing the death penal­ty for homo­sex­u­als and drunk­ards.’ The Ahman­son fam­i­ly sold their shares in Amer­i­can Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems to the McCarthy Group and the World Her­ald Com­pa­ny, Inc. Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Chuck Hagel dis­closed in pub­lic doc­u­ments that he was the Chair­man of Amer­i­can Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems and claimed between a $1 to 5 mil­lion invest­ment in the McCarthy Group. In 1997, Amer­i­can Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems pur­chased Busi­ness Records Corp. (BRC), for­mer­ly Texas-based elec­tion com­pa­ny Cronus Indus­tries, to become ES&S. One of the BRC own­ers was Car­olyn Hunt of the right-wing Hunt oil fam­i­ly, which sup­plied much of the orig­i­nal mon­ey for the Coun­cil on Nation­al Pol­i­cy.” (Idem.)

12. Did Hagel’s ES&S con­nec­tion help with his “stun­ning” elec­toral upset? “In 1996, Hagel became the first elect­ed Repub­li­can Nebras­ka sen­a­tor in 24 years when he did sur­pris­ing­ly well in an elec­tion where the votes were ver­i­fied by the com­pa­ny he served as chair­man and [in which] he main­tained a finan­cial invest­ment. In both the 1996 and 2002 elec­tions, Hagel’s Es&S count­ed an esti­mat­ed 80% of his win­ning votes. Due to the con­tract­ing out of ser­vices, con­fi­den­tial­i­ty agree­ments between the State of Nebras­ka and the com­pa­ny kept this mat­ter out of the pub­lic eye. Hagel’s first elec­tion vic­to­ry was described as a ‘stun­ning upset’ by one Nebras­ka news­pa­per.” (Idem.)

13. “Hagel’s offi­cial biog­ra­phy states, ‘Pri­or to his elec­tion to the U.S. Sen­ate, Hagel worked in the pri­vate sec­tor as the Pres­i­dent of McCarthy and Com­pa­ny, an invest­ment bank­ing firm based in Oma­ha, Nebras­ka and served as Chair­man of the Board of Amer­i­can Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems.’ Dur­ing the first Bush pres­i­den­cy, Hagel served as Deputy Direc­tor and Chief Oper­at­ing Offi­cer of the 1990 Eco­nom­ic Sum­mit of Indus­tri­al­ized Nations (G‑7 Sum­mit).” (Idem.)

14. Again, note the inces­tu­ous struc­ture of Diebold, ES&S and both firms’ rela­tion­ship to Hagel and the Uro­se­vich broth­ers. “Bob Uro­se­vich was the Pro­gram­mer and CEO at AIS, before being replaced by Hagel. Bob now heads Diebold Elec­tion Sys­tems and his broth­er Todd is a top exec­u­tive at ES&S. Bob cre­at­ed Diebold’s orig­i­nal elec­tron­ic vot­ing machine soft­ware. Thus, the broth­ers Uro­se­vich, orig­i­nal­ly fund­ed by the far Right, fig­ure in the count­ing of approx­i­mate­ly 80% of elec­tron­ic vot­ing in the Unit­ed States.” (Idem.)

15. “Like Ohio, the State of Mary­land was dis­turbed by the poten­tial for mas­sive elec­tron­ic vot­er fraud. The vot­ers of that state were reas­sured when the state hired SAIC to mon­i­tor Diebold’s sys­tems. SAIC’s for­mer CEO is Admi­ral Bill Owens. Owens served as a mil­i­tary aide to both Vice Pres­i­dent Dick Cheney and for­mer Defense Sec­re­tary Frank Car­luc­ci, who now works with George H.W. Bush at the con­tro­ver­sial Car­lyle Group. Robert Gates, for­mer CIA direc­tor and close friend of the Bush fam­i­ly, also served on the SAIC Board.” (Ibid.; pp. 3–4.)

16. More on the high­ly sus­pi­cious track record of Diebold and ES&S: “Wher­ev­er Diebold and ES&S go, irreg­u­lar­i­ties and his­toric Repub­li­can upsets fol­low. Alas­tair Thomp­son, writ­ing for scoop.co of New Zealand, explored whether or not the 2002 U.S. mid-term elec­tions were ‘fixed by elec­tron­ic vot­ing machines sup­plied by Repub­li­can-affil­i­at­ed com­pa­nies.’ The scoop inves­ti­ga­tion con­clud­ed that: ‘The state where the biggest upset occurred, Geor­gia, is also the state that ran its elec­tion with the most elec­tron­ic vot­ing machines.’ Those machines were sup­plied by Diebold.” (Ibid.; p. 4.)

17. Note that Diebold machines returned iden­ti­cal vote counts for three Repub­li­can can­di­dates in Texas in 2002. “Wired News report­ed that ‘ . . . a

for­mer work­er in Diebold’s Geor­gia ware­house says the com­pa­ny installed patch­es on its machine before the state’s 2002 guber­na­to­r­i­al elec­tion that were nev­er cer­ti­fied by inde­pen­dent test­ing author­i­ties or cleared with Geor­gia elec­tion offi­cials.’ Ques­tions were raised in Texas when three Repub­li­can can­di­dates in Comal Coun­ty each received exact­ly the same num­ber of votes—18,181—on ES&S machines.” (Idem.)

18. Diebold installed uncer­ti­fied soft­ware in machines in 17 Cal­i­for­nia coun­ties using their equip­ment. Manip­u­lat­ing vote counts was a key fea­ture of the for­eign covert oper­a­tions of the Rea­gan and Bush (I) years. Recall that the Ahman­sons (deeply involved with the devel­op­ment of the com­pa­nies that make elec­tron­ic vot­ing machines and their soft­ware) were asso­ci­at­ed with peo­ple like Oliv­er North and John Singlaub—prime movers in many of those covert oper­a­tions. “Fol­low­ing the 2003 Cal­i­for­nia elec­tion, an audit of the com­pa­ny revealed that Diebold Elec­tion Sys­tems vot­ing machines installed uncer­ti­fied soft­ware in all 17 coun­ties using its equip­ment. For­mer CIA Sta­tion Chief John Stock­well writes that one of the favorite tac­tics of the CIA dur­ing the Rea­gan-Bush admin­is­tra­tion in the 1980’s was to con­trol coun­tries by manip­u­lat­ing the elec­tion process. ‘CIA apol­o­gists leap up and say, ‘Well, most of these things are not so bloody.’ And that’s true. You’re giv­ing politi­cians some mon­ey so he’ll throw his [sic] par­ty in this direc­tion or that one, or make false speech­es on your behalf, or some­thing like that. It may be non-vio­lent, but it’s still ille­gal inter­ven­tion in oth­er coun­tries’ affairs, rais­ing the ques­tion of whether or not we’re going to have a world in which laws, rules of behav­ior are respect­ed,’ Stock­well wrote. Doc­u­ments illus­trate that the Rea­gan and Bush admin­is­tra­tions sup­port­ed com­put­er manip­u­la­tion in both Noriega’s rise to pow­er in Pana­ma and in Mar­cos’ attempt to retain pow­er in the Philip­pines. Many of the Rea­gan administration’s staunchest sup­port­ers were mem­bers of the Coun­cil on Nation­al Pol­i­cy.” (Idem.)

19. Athan Gibbs and his Tru­Vote Inter­na­tion­al machines pro­vid­ed one ray of hope for those con­cerned about the per­ils of elec­tron­ic vot­ing. “Ohio Sen­a­tor Fedor con­tin­ues to fight valiant­ly for Sen­ate Bill 167 and the Holy Grail of the ‘vot­er ver­i­fied paper audit trail.’ Pro­po­nents of a paper trail were embold­ened when Athan Gibbs, Pres­i­dent and CEO of Tru­Vote Inter­na­tion­al, demon­strat­ed a vot­ing machine at a vendor’s fair in Colum­bus that pro­vides two sep­a­rate vot­ing receipts. The first paper receipt dis­plays the voter’s touch screen selec­tion under plex­i­glass that falls into a lock­box after the vot­er approves. Also, the Tru­Vote sys­tem pro­vides the vot­er with a receipt that includes a unique vot­er ID and pin num­ber which can be used to call in to a vot­er audit inter­net con­nec­tion to make sure the vote cast was actu­al­ly count­ed. Brooks Thomas, Coor­di­na­tor of Elec­tions in Ten­nessee, stat­ed, ‘I’ve not seen any­thing that com­pares to the Gibbs’ Tru­Vote val­i­da­tion sys­tem. . . .’ The Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of State of Geor­gia, Ter­rel L. Slay­ton, Jr., claimed Gibbs had come up with the ‘per­fect solu­tion.’ . . .” (Idem.)

20. HR 2239 is one piece of leg­is­la­tion that would require a paper vot­ing trail for all elec­tron­ic vot­ing machines. “ . . . U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Rush Holt intro­duced HR 2239, the Vot­er Con­fi­dence and Increased Acces­si­bil­i­ty Act of 2003 that would require elec­tron­ic vot­ing machines to pro­duce a paper trail so that vot­ers may ver­i­fy that their screen touch­es match their actu­al vote. Elec­tion offi­cials would also have a paper trail for recounts. As Black­well pres­sures the Ohio leg­is­la­ture to adopt elec­tron­ic vot­ing machines with­out a paper trail, Athan Gibbs won­ders, ‘Why would you buy a vot­ing machine from a com­pa­ny like Diebold which pro­vides a paper trail for every sin­gle machine it makes except its vot­ing machines? And then, when you ask it to ver­i­fy its num­bers, it hides behind ‘trade secrets.’ Maybe the Diebold deci­sion makes sense, if you believe, to para­phrase Hen­ry Kissinger, that democ­ra­cy is too impor­tant to leave up to the votes of the peo­ple.” (Ibid.; p. 5.)

21. The broad­cast then reviews the death of the afore­men­tioned [6] Athan Gibbs, a crit­ic of com­put­er vot­ing machines that do not pro­vide a paper trail. Gibbs, who (as not­ed above) had devel­oped a tech­nol­o­gy that assured a viable account­ing of votes, was killed in a car/truck col­li­sion in Texas. “The sub­ject line on yesterday’s e‑mail read: ‘Anoth­er mys­te­ri­ous acci­dent solves a Bush prob­lem. Athan Gibbs dead, Diebold lives.’ The attached news sto­ry briefly described the untime­ly Fri­day, March 12th death of per­haps America’s most influ­en­tial advo­cate of a ver­i­fied vot­ing paper trail in the era of touch screen com­put­er vot­ing. Gibbs, an accoun­tant for more than 30 years and the inven­tor of the Tru­Vote sys­tem, died when his vehi­cle col­lid­ed with an 18-wheeled truck which rolled his Chevy Blaz­er sev­er­al times and forced it over the high­way retain­ing wall where it came to rest on its roof. . . .” (“Mys­te­ri­ous Death Ben­e­fits Bush” by Bob Fitrakis; Coastal Post; 4/2004; p. 1.) [7]

22. Review­ing (from FTR#468 [6]) an emphat­i­cal­ly spec­u­la­tive item, the pro­gram exam­ines recent fore­casts of earth­quake activ­i­ty for Cal­i­for­nia lat­er this year. This infor­ma­tion is pre­sent­ed in the con­text of a num­ber of past broad­casts in which it has been estab­lished that tech­nol­o­gy exists for the delib­er­ate trig­ger­ing of earth­quakes, where suf­fi­cient slip­page exists on a fault sys­tem to pro­duce such an event. (For more about this, see FTR#69 [5]. FTRs 434, 440 [5] dis­cuss the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a man-made quake in Cal­i­for­nia cal­cu­lat­ed to affect the elec­tion results.) The pos­si­bil­i­ty that a major quake occur­ring short­ly before the elec­tion might have a sig­nif­i­cant impact on the out­come should be care­ful­ly con­sid­ered. Such a dis­as­ter could lead to the delay or can­cel­la­tion of the elec­tion in Cal­i­for­nia and would have far-reach­ing con­se­quences for the U.S. as well. If the quake were severe, it could lead to an impo­si­tion of mar­tial law in the U.S., due to the far-reach­ing eco­nom­ic and eco­log­i­cal con­se­quences atten­dant upon such an event. A major Cal­i­for­nia quake would also hand polit­i­cal cen­ter stage to the Ter­mi­na­tor and George W. They could be pack­aged as the sav­iors of Cal­i­for­nia. The grate­ful cit­i­zens’ [delayed] votes would go to Bush, even though Schwarzeneg­ger will be the one who gar­ners most of the action. Such an event could well be used to posi­tion Schwarzeneg­ger for a run for nation­al office. “Sci­en­tists have found strik­ing evi­dence of a three-year cycle of earth­quakes on the San Andreas Fault, a devel­op­ment that might lead to the first prac­ti­cal short-term earth­quake fore­cast­ing in cen­tral Cal­i­for­nia. The new research, which one expert called a tour de force of geo­science, sug­gests that the next peak of the cycle is like­ly to come late this year. . . .”
(“San Andreas Quakes Show Cycli­cal Pat­tern: UC-Berke­ley Study Finds Fault Slip­ping in Peri­od­ic Bursts” by Keay David­son; San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle; 1/9/2004; p. 1.)

23. Yet anoth­er pre­dic­tion of a quake for Cal­i­for­nia for lat­er this year. “A US geo­physi­cist has set the sci­en­tif­ic world ablaze by claim­ing to have cracked a holy grail: accu­rate earth­quake pre­dic­tion, and warn­ing that a big one will soon hit south­ern Cal­i­for­nia. A Russ­ian-born Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia at Los Ange­les pro­fes­sor Vladi­mi

r Keilis-Borok says he can fore­see major quakes by track­ing minor tem­blors and his­tor­i­cal pat­terns in seis­mic hotspots that could indi­cate more vio­lent shak­ing is on the way. And he has made a chill­ing pre­dic­tion that a quake mea­sur­ing at least 6.4 mag­ni­tude on the Richter scale will hit a 31,200-square-kilometer (12,000-square-mile) area of south­ern Cal­i­for­nia by Sep­tem­ber 5. . . .”
(“Expert Warns Cal­i­for­nia to Brace for Big Quake by Sep­tem­ber” (AFP); Yahoo.com; 4/15/2004; pp. 1–2.) [8]

24. The pro­gram notes that Schwarzeneg­ger recent­ly replaced the head of the Cal­i­for­nia Nation­al Guard with a Repub­li­can. This may, or may not be of sig­nif­i­cance. Cer­tain­ly, the Nation­al Guard will be cen­tral­ly involved in any major dis­as­ter response in Cal­i­for­nia. Whether or not this is coin­ci­den­tal or of any sig­nif­i­cance at all remains to be seen. Schwarzeneg­ger also recent­ly replaced the head of the Cal­i­for­nia High­way Patrol—another insti­tu­tion that would be piv­otal­ly involved in a major emer­gency response by the state’s infra­struc­ture. “Gov. Arnold Schwarzeneg­ger abrupt­ly removed Maj. Gen. Paul Mon­roe as com­man­der of the Cal­i­for­nia Nation­al Guard on Tues­day and replaced him with Maj. Gen. Thomas Eres, who has served as direc­tor of the guard’s office of home­land secu­ri­ty. . . . His [Monroe’s] replace­ment, Eres, 59, takes over imme­di­ate­ly. Eres rose through the ranks dur­ing 35 years of ser­vice in the Nation­al Guard. In civil­ian life, he is senior part­ner in the Sacra­men­to law firm of Nos­saman, Gun­th­n­er, Knox & Elliott. He is a Repub­li­can. Mon­roe is a Demo­c­rat. . . .”
(“Schwarzeneg­ger Removes Nation­al Guard Com­man­der” by Carl Nolte; San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle; 3/4/2004; p. A19.) [9]

25. In his intro­duc­tion to the por­tion of the pro­gram deal­ing with Cal­i­for­nia quake pre­dic­tions, Mr. Emory notes that this infor­ma­tion falls in a gray area that hov­ers between “real­i­ty” and “para­noia.” In that same vein, a [hope­ful­ly] humor­ous com­ment by Flori­da Gov­er­nor Jeb Bush may well be noth­ing more than the taste­less joke it appears to be. Let’s hope so, any­way. “ . . . Gov. Jeb Bush joked dur­ing a Flori­da Cab­i­net meet­ing Wednes­day that the peo­ple of San Fran­cis­co may be endan­gered and, ‘That’s prob­a­bly good news for the coun­try.’ The sub­ject was envi­ron­men­tal land and Bush was look­ing at a map show­ing loca­tions with a lot of dif­fer­ent wildlife. ‘It looks like the peo­ple of San Fran­cis­co are an endan­gered species, which may not be a bad thing. That’s prob­a­bly good news for the coun­try.’ Peo­ple in the room broke into laugh­ter. ‘Did I just say that out loud?’ the gov­er­nor asked.’”
(“Jeb Bush Says Peo­ple of San Fran­cis­co Are Endan­gered Species” by Jim Spark­man; Chron­Watch; 11/17/2003; p. 1.)

26. Among the fac­tors man­dat­ing dis­cus­sion of these trou­ble­some and (to some) far-fetched rumi­na­tions con­cern­ing pos­si­ble seis­mic sub­ver­sion of the elec­toral and demo­c­ra­t­ic process­es is the overt­ly Machi­avel­lian nature of this admin­is­tra­tion. One of the strat­a­gems that Machi­avel­li coun­seled in The Prince was the delib­er­ate use of anni­hi­la­tion to inter­dict a population’s renascent demo­c­ra­t­ic instincts. “Indeed, there is no sur­er way of keep­ing pos­ses­sion than by dev­as­ta­tion. Who­ev­er becomes the mas­ter of a city accus­tomed to free­dom, and does not destroy it, may expect to be destroyed him­self; because, when there is a rebel­lion, such a city jus­ti­fies itself by call­ing on the name of lib­er­ty and its ancient insti­tu­tions, nev­er for­got­ten despite the pass­ing of time and the ben­e­fits received from the new ruler. What­ev­er the conqueror’s actions or fore­sight, if the inhab­i­tants are not dis­persed and scat­tered, they will for­get nei­ther that name nor those insti­tu­tions; and at first oppor­tu­ni­ty they will at once have recourse to them, as did Pisa after hav­ing been kept in servi­tude for a hun­dred years by the Flo­ren­tines. . . .But in republics there is more life, more hatred, a greater desire for revenge; the mem­o­ry of their ancient lib­er­ty does not and can­not let them rest; in their case the surest way is to wipe them out. . . .”
(The Prince; Nic­co­lo Machi­avel­li; Pen­guin Clas­sics [trans­lat­ed by George Bull]; ISBN 0–14-044107–7; pp. 48–49.) [10]

27. There has been wide­spread spec­u­la­tion about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a ter­ror­ist inci­dent that might affect the elec­tion. Gen­er­al Tom­my Franks gave an inter­view in late 2003 in which he weighed the grave dan­ger to Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy that a ter­ror­ist inci­dent with WMD’s (weapons of mass destruc­tion) would pose. Those who see Al Qae­da and relat­ed orga­ni­za­tions as sim­ple agent-prova­ca­teurs con­trolled by the Bush admin­is­tra­tion are mak­ing a seri­ous mis­take. Both Al Qae­da and the Bush admin­is­tra­tion are tools of the Under­ground Reich—Bush & co. do not con­trol Al Qae­da. Nonethe­less, many in this admin­is­tra­tion would wel­come anoth­er dead­ly ter­ror­ist inci­dent as a vehi­cle for elim­i­nat­ing what remains of Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy. (As dis­cussed in—among oth­er programs—FTRs 372, 412, 441, 471—this admin­is­tra­tion and its allies might be more close­ly com­pared with the French pow­er elite in the pre-World War II peri­od. They active­ly wel­comed the Ger­man vic­to­ry in World War II, which they saw as the ide­al vehi­cle for elim­i­nat­ing French democ­ra­cy. The rela­tion­ship between this admin­is­tra­tion and Al Qae­da is anal­o­gous to the rela­tion­ship between the French pow­er elite and the Ger­man invaders. The Ger­man inva­sion of France in World War II was not a provo­ca­tion intend­ed to expand French influ­ence. Nonethe­less, it was antic­i­pat­ed and great­ly aid­ed by the French pow­er elite, who col­lab­o­rat­ed enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly with the Third Reich.) “Gen. Tom­my Franks says that if the Unit­ed States is hit with a weapon of mass destruc­tion that inflicts large casu­al­ties, the Con­sti­tu­tion will like­ly be dis­card­ed in favor of a mil­i­tary form of gov­ern­ment. Franks, who suc­cess­ful­ly led the U.S. mil­i­tary oper­a­tion to lib­er­ate Iraq, expressed his wor­ries in an exten­sive inter­view he gave to the men’s lifestyle mag­a­zine Cig­ar Affi­ciona­do. In the magazine’s Decem­ber edi­tion, the for­mer com­man­der of the military’s Cen­tral Com­mand warned that if ter­ror­ists suc­ceed­ed in using a weapon of mass destruc­tion (WMD) against the U.S. or one of our allies, it would like­ly have cat­a­stroph­ic con­se­quences for our cher­ished repub­li­can form of gov­ern­ment.”
(“Gen. Franks Doubts Con­sti­tu­tion Will Sur­vive WMD Attack” by John O. Edwards; NewsMax.com; 12/21/2003; p. 1.)

28. “Dis­cussing the hypo­thet­i­cal dan­gers posed to the U.S. in the wake of Sept. 11, Franks said that ‘the worst thing that could hap­pen’ is if ter­ror­ists acquire and then use a bio­log­i­cal, chem­i­cal or nuclear weapon that inflicts heavy casu­al­ties. If that hap­pens, Franks said, ‘ . . . the West­ern world, the free world, los­es what it cher­ish­es most, and that is free­dom and lib­er­ty we’ve seen for a cou­ple of hun­dred years in this grand exper­i­ment that we call democ­ra­cy.’” (Idem.)

29. “Franks then offered ‘in a prac­ti­cal sense’ what he thinks would hap­pen in the after­math of such an attack. ‘It means the poten­tial of a weapon of mass destruc­tion and a ter­ror­ist, mas­sive, casu­al­ty-pro­duc­ing event some­where in the Weste

rn world—it may be in the Unit­ed States of America—that caus­es our pop­u­la­tion to ques­tion our own Con­sti­tu­tion and to begin to mil­i­ta­rize our coun­try in order to avoid a repeat of anoth­er mass, casu­al­ty-pro­duc­ing event. Which in fact, then begins to unrav­el the fab­ric of our Con­sti­tu­tion. Two steps, very, very impor­tant.’” (Idem.)

30. The pro­gram takes a look at the ide­ol­o­gy of Paul Weyrich. It is worth not­ing the close rela­tion­ship between Weyrich’s Coun­cil on Nation­al Pol­i­cy and the devel­op­ers of Diebold, ES&S etc. (Weyrich is also the founder of the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion, one of the focal points of FTR#465 [5].) As we look ahead to the elec­tions, we should not fail to note the enthu­si­asm with which the far-right ele­ments asso­ci­at­ed with the Bush admin­is­tra­tion view the elim­i­na­tion of the insti­tu­tions of Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy. Their French coun­ter­parts in the pre-World War II peri­od held sim­i­lar atti­tudes. It remains to be seen whether the “Vichy Amer­i­cans” of the Bush admin­is­tra­tion facil­i­tate the destruc­tion of our democ­ra­cy. “On Jan­u­ary 28, 2002, The Amer­i­can Prospect, Inc. pub­lished ‘Fair-Weath­er Friend; Going Down as it Came Up; School Sprays; They’re Back!’ a brief excerpt reads: ‘Two years ago, ur-con­ser­v­a­tive Paul Weyrich stunned the reli­gious right by call­ing for a retreat from tem­po­ral con­cerns. ‘Con­ser­v­a­tives have learned to suc­ceed in pol­i­tics,’ he wrote in an open let­ter that’s still avail­able on the Web site [11]. ‘But that did not result in the adop­tion of our agen­da. The rea­son, I think, is that pol­i­tics itself has failed. And pol­i­tics has failed because of the col­lapse of the cul­ture.’ The right no longer had a ‘moral major­i­ty,’ he wrote. The solu­tion? ‘To look at ways to sep­a­rate our­selves from the insti­tu­tions that have been cap­tured by the ide­ol­o­gy of Polit­i­cal Cor­rect­ness, or by oth­er ene­mies of our tra­di­tion­al cul­ture.’ In essence, he said, the reli­gious right should espouse cul­tur­al and polit­i­cal separatism—by set­ting up its own schools, tele­vi­sion net­works, and even courts of law. The rest of the coun­try breathed a sigh of relief. No more sil­ly Dis­ney boy­cotts by south­ern Bap­tists. No more flaky school-board mem­bers, push­ing cre­ation­ism. No more Paul Weyrich!”
(“Paul Weyrich’s Teach­ing Man­u­al?”; pp. 1–2.)

31. “ ‘The whew, alas, was pre­ma­ture. It turns out that what Weyrich and his folks real­ly had in mind was less sep­a­ratism than gueril­la warfare—a ‘New Tra­di­tion­al­ist’ move­ment that, accord­ing to its man­i­festo, writ­ten by Weyrich pro­tégé Eric Heubeck and bear­ing the grandiose title ‘The Inte­gra­tion of The­o­ry and Prac­tice: A pro­gram for the New Tra­di­tion­al­ist Move­ment,’ would seek ‘to advance a true tra­di­tion­al­ist counter-cul­ture based on virtue, excel­lence, and self-dis­ci­pline.’ The New Traditionalists—who sound a lot like the Old Traditionalists—will ‘reject the mate­ri­al­ism, hedo­nism, con­sumerism, ego­ism, and the cult of self-actu­al­iza­tion which per­me­ate mod­ern life.’ Heubeck elab­o­rates: ‘We will not try to reform exist­ing insti­tu­tions. We only intend to weak­en them, and even­tu­al­ly destroy them. [Empha­sis added.] We will endeav­or to knock our oppo­nents off-bal­ance and unset­tle them at every oppor­tu­ni­ty. . .’” (Ibid.; p. 2.)

32. “ . . . The Bush admin­is­tra­tion is appar­ent­ly quite cozy with Weyrich. This quote from a Time mag­a­zine arti­cle is apro­pos, Time mag­a­zine wrote this: ‘Each Wednes­day, Rove dis­patch­es a top admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial to attend the reg­u­lar con­ser­v­a­tive-coali­tion lunch­es held at Paul Weyrich’s Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion. When activists call his office with a prob­lem, Rove doesn’t pass them off to an aide. He often responds him­self. When Weyrich heard a few weeks that Bush’s bud­get slashed fund­ing for a favorite project called the Police Corps, which gives schol­ar­ships and train­ing to police cadets, he com­plained to the White House. To Weyrich’s sur­prise, Rove called back, ‘We’ve tak­en care of it,’ Rove said. ‘The prob­lem is solved.’” (Idem.)

33. Con­clud­ing with an anec­dote illus­tra­tive of the anti-Demo­c­ra­t­ic, pro-fas­cist views present in the Amer­i­can polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment, the pro­gram presents an encounter a Wash­ing­ton lob­by­ist had with a promi­nent South­ern reac­tionary His views were echoed by the pri­vate sec­re­tary to then House Minor­i­ty leader [and lat­er Pres­i­dent] Ger­ald Ford. “In Jan­u­ary 1968, Haden Kirk­patrick, pub­lish­er of racing’s bible, Thor­ough­bred Record, and his wife gave a small din­ner par­ty at the Pavil­lon Restau­rant in New York. Dur­ing din­ner, we all start­ed dis­cussing the state of nation­al and inter­na­tion­al affairs. Haden turned to me and said: ‘The trou­ble is and always has been Franklin Delano Roo­sevelt. He got us in the Sec­ond World War on the wrong side.’ I was speech­less.”
(The Wash­ing­ton Pay-Off; by Robert N. Win­ter-Berg­er; Copy­right 1972 by Robert N. Win­ter-Berg­er; Lyle Stu­art, Inc. [HC]; ISBN 73–185421; p. 297.) [12]

34. “Sev­er­al days lat­er, back in Wash­ing­ton, I recount­ed this sto­ry to Mil­dred Leonard, for many years Jer­ry Ford’s pri­vate sec­re­tary. [This refers to for­mer House Minor­i­ty Leader, Vice-Pres­i­dent and Pres­i­dent Ger­ald Ford.] Before I could add my per­son­al reac­tion to Haden’s remark, Mil­dred looked up at me and said: ‘You know, he’s right, Mr. Win­ter-Berg­er.’ I was even more amazed, hear­ing this in the Capi­tol of the Unit­ed States from the sec­re­tary of the House Minor­i­ty Leader.” (Idem.)