Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Stolen Elections of 2000, 2004 (and almost 2008)

The Stolen Elections of 2000, 2004 (and almost 2008)

The Stolen Elections of 2000, 2004 (and almost 2008)
Did Bush actually win in 2004? (The Washington Times/Landov)

Ballot Box Thievery

Condensed and excerpted
from American Conspiraciesby
Jesse Ventura with Dick Russell,
with permission of Skyhorse
Publishing, Inc., New York, NY
Everyone knows about the hotly contested  presidential election of 2000; weeks dragged by with no official winner before the Supreme Court forced Florida to stop counting ballots and essentially handed the election to George W. Bush. Many called that a stolen election but...
2004, it turned out, was an even more blatant election theft than in 2000. The exit polls were predicting a huge victory for Kerry. But, by late that night, somehow Bush had taken a decisive lead and Kerry conceded on the day after. "There is no evidence of vote theft or errors on a large scale," the New York Times "informed" us. The Washington Post called any talk of vote fraud "conspiracy theories."

Election Fraud in Ohio

The electronic voting machines played an even bigger role in the 2004 election [than in 2000], with 36 million votes being cast on the touch-screen systems owned by four private companies that use their own proprietary software. Three of those companies had close ties to the Republican Party. One of them, Diebold (including employees and their families) had contributed at least $300,000 to GOP candidates and party funds since 1998. The company's CEO, Walden O'Dell, had gone so far in a fund-raising e-mail as to promise to deliver Ohio to Bush in '04! With enemies like that, Kerry could have used a few friends demanding a return to paper ballots.
Ohio was where Bush's "victory" put him over the top in the electoral college. From 12:20 in the morning until around 2 AM, the flow of information in Ohio mysteriously stopped while the vote count switched dramatically to Bush's side.  A comfortable 118,000-vote-plus official margin in Ohio then gave him a second term as president. But what really went down? "Officials there purged tens of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls, neglected to process registration cards generated by Democratic voter drives, shortchanged Democratic precincts when they allocated voting machines, and illegally derailed a recount that could have given Kerry the presidency," [Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. reported in Rolling Stone ]. Lou Harris, who basically invented modern political polling, said: "Ohio was as dirty an election as America has ever seen."
The fellow in charge of the vote-counting was Ohio secretary of state J. Kenneth Blackwell, who also happened to be the co-chair of Bush's reelection committee there.  When Congressman John Conyers looked into what took place in Ohio, his report in January 2005 set forth "massive and unprecedented voter irregularities and anomalies in Ohio. . . . caused by intentional misconduct and illegal behavior, much of it involving Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell." [In 2006] a well-known voting rights attorney named Cliff Anebeck set out to charge Blackwell and his cronies with "election fraud, vote dilution, vote suppression, recount fraud and other violations." The judge in the case followed up with a court order that all ballot evidence relating to the 2004 election be preserved for another year (beyond the legally required 22 months, which was about to expire).
There were a lot of discussions after that between lawyer Cliff Arnebeck and government officials. They talked about a settlement, or a grand jury investigation, or Congress getting involved. Secretary of State Brunner wanted to focus on assuring the integrity of the next election, rather than be distracted by the past. So Arnebeck agreed to narrow things to taking the deposition of one man, Michael Connell, who was Karl Rove's computer expert and lived in Akron, Ohio.

Michael Connell, Whistleblower

In November 2003, Blackwell's office had enlisted a company called GovTech Solutions, owned by Mike Connell, to establish a duplicate control center for election day '04. The results would be sent directly to subcontractor SMARTech and its backup server out in Tennessee. The contract specified that there would be "a hardware VPN device [that] will allow access to a private network connecting the servers for database replication services as well as remote admin[istration]." Meaning, I'm told, that anybody could get into the network and make whatever adjustments they wanted. The election results could be observed and changed, using remote access through high-speed Internet from any location.
The primary control was SMARTech headquarters. "We have no idea what was set up in Chattanooga," Spoonamore says. "There could have been 20 Republican operatives, and from that point they could have made a direct hop to the White House. They could have been running this from the War Room!"
George W. Bush's political strategist,
Karl Rove, sits behind him
(Reuters/Landov)
Early on Election Day, George W. Bush and Karl Rove flew into Columbus, Ohio, to meet with Blackwell. Connell managed the setup that enabled Blackwell to study maps of the precincts and voter turnout in order to figure out how many votes they needed. A third company that Connell brought into the scheme was Triad, a major donor to Bush's campaign. They were run by some far-right Christians, the Rapp family. Triad supplied the network computers that stored all the voter registration information, and hosted the county board of elections results on its Web server.
Connell admitted making Govtech, SMARTech, and Triad look like a single unit for the Ohio election returns. Congressman Conyers had written to Triad in December 2004, asking about their ability to access the vote-counting computers remotely. Triad, it seems, had changed the hard drive in the tabulator computer before the recount. The only reason to do that, [Electronic data security expert Stephen] Spoonamore says, would be to erase and destroy evidence of a software manipulation of that tabulator. [Watch Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Venture on truTV]
Out of the blue, Connell called [Stephen] Spoonamore late in 2005. They'd never met before, but Connell had heard of the systems Spoonamore developed to protect democracy advocates from being hacked in hostile overseas environments. In one such location, Connell was helping out some Christian advocacy groups. Connell had created Web sites for Jeb Bush's run for governor, and for George W. in 2000. Connell's company got the first private contract to build and manage congressional e-mail servers and firewalls. This gave him the ability and means to read documents and e-mails, copy data, and set up "back doors." Then he did the Web site for Blackwell's office in Ohio; another client of Connell's was Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group that went after Kerry on his service record!
Spoonamore told us, "Mike was a front-end guy, who built Web sites and really sophisticated databases to track voters. The way computers actually function and talk to each other, he didn't have the expertise and would have to work with others, like the guys at SMARTech." When he and Connell first met in Washington, Spoonamore didn't reveal his own interest in the electronic voting world. The two hit it off, and started working together on a couple of unrelated overseas projects.

Karl Rove's Comeuppance

As they became friends, Spoonamore sensed that Connell was having second thoughts about what he'd been doing for the Republicans. Maybe you've followed some of the flap about all of those e-mails of Karl Rove's that somehow disappeared over time. Well, it was Connell who set up the site used by Rove for 95 percent of his e-mail communication, known as GWB43.com. At the end of a private meeting in 2006, Connell asked Spoonamore what he knew about "the complexity of trying to erase e-mail." Spoon explained that, in most cases, it can't be done. Connell pointed in the direction of the White House a few blocks away, saying that he'd "kinda been asked to look at a challenge, whether you could recover or get back e-mails." Spoonamore recalls: "He was fishing around for what the steps might be. I said, 'Mike, I'm involved in a lot of stuff to protect people's privacy and bank accounts, but I don't use those skills to destroy information. And I would encourage you to tell people to walk away from this because, one, it doesn't work and, two, the cover-up is always worse than the crime, Mike.'"
The memo prepared for [Congressman Conyer's] House Judiciary Committee said: "Well before the 2000 election, one of Connell's employees created a 'Trojan Horse' software application which, when installed on one computer, allows its remote control by another computer. Prior to the 2004 election in Ohio, Connell administered and developed important parts of the Secretary of State's computer network including the election results reporting server systems. . . . During the 2004 (and 2006) elections, Connell routed the election results from the OH SOS office through SMARTech servers in Chattanooga, Tennessee."
In July 2008, attorney Arnebeck asked U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey to hold onto all of Rove's e-mails. Rove was identified in the lawsuit as the "principal perpetrator of a pattern of corrupt activity" under the Ohio Corrupt Practices Act. "We have been confidentially informed by a source we believe to be credible that Karl Rove has threatened Michael Connell . . . that if he does not agree to 'take the fall' for election fraud in Ohio, his wife Heather will be prosecuted for supposed law lobby violations."
Then, in September, Connell got issued a subpoena. His attorney, Bill Todd, who happened to also have been legal counsel for Bush/Cheney '04, said that Connell couldn't be deposed before the election because he was too busy working for the John McCain campaign. Shortly before the November election, Connell appeared with a trio of lawyers before an Ohio judge, who ordered him to give a deposition. With the election one day away, Connell denied any role in recommending the Chattanooga SMARTech company to Ohio officials in 2004, but he did admit for the record that his company had subcontracted with SMARTech.
This might have shaken up Rove and company. In mid-October, Rove had an article in the Wall Street Journal headlined "Obama Hasn't Closed the Sale." The latest Gallup tracking poll showed nearly twice as many undecided voters than in the 2004 election, Rove said, so Obama's 7.3% lead didn't necessarily mean that much. McCain, entering the final weekend of the race, predicted a come-from-behind victory, based on how things were looking in battleground states like Ohio. But then suddenly, on Monday night, after Connell gave his deposition, it all changed. The new Rove electoral map predicted a 338-to-200 electoral vote margin in favor of Obama. Rove had basically done a 180-degree turn.

What Happens to Whistleblowers

Mike Connell (MCT/Landov)So then, on December 19, 2008, Michael Connell, 45 years old, father of four, went down in the fiery crash of his Piper Saratoga II single-engine plane. He was flying back alone from a meeting in Maryland and only two and a half miles from the Akron airport. The airplane's right wing clipped a flagpole in the front yard of an empty house before it broke up and set fire to the garage. Connell was thrown out of the burning plane and died instantly. He was an accomplished pilot, flying in decent weather. A friend told a reporter that twice over the past two months, Connell had canceled flights due to suspicious problems with his plane.
"A number of people with expertise are of the opinion that this was a hit," Ohio attorney Arnebeck told us. "There is a method called electromagnetic pulse technology, where you can disrupt the electronics in an airplane and it's very hard to detect, particularly after the fact. The motive would be that Connell was an extraordinary individual in terms of his knowledge and expertise in a fairly vast racketeering kind of conspiracy, in that it involved Karl Rove, business groups, multiple elections, and a fairly broad geography." [Watch Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Venture on truTV]
Spoonamore says this: "I found out something about the system that Mike had on board, where he fundamentally had a system without mechanical controls that was computer operated. Eyewitnesses on the ground say all the plane's lights turned off, the engine stalled. At that point, he would have regained manual control by wire, he flattens it out and tries to fix the problem. But when he turns the engine back on, the plane guns itself and dives into the ground. So what happened? Simple. You program a chip. They changed the chip that runs the plane. Despite the fact that FAA rules require you leave the site alone until daylight, completely document and photograph it, instead they pick up the entire plane and haul it to a Lockheed-Martin hangar. Trust me, by the time the FAA started pulling it apart, the right chip was back in the computer."
To say what happened to Connell was weird timing is an understatement. Here's a guy getting ready to be a whistle-blower on the biggest series of election frauds in our history. Whether it was an accident or by design, he was silenced. Gee, what bad luck this guy had. Hmmmm. . .
Spoonamore, for one, is scared that if we continue with electronic voting, stolen elections are going to happen again. He says most of these companies are run by far-right evangelical Christians. "A tiny group of people who call themselves Christians, but who clearly do not believe in Christ's message or our democracy, seem to repeatedly be behind every questionable voting outcome. They aren't Christians. They are fascists. Fascists who don't have the balls to go public, round people up, and kill them, except on very rare occasions—like Mike Connell."

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