John Heathcote

Seán MacMathúna

Consulting editor: Themistocles Hoetis


Democracy and the world of illusion

John Heathcote

Guardian Article - Feb '07
Florida, now Mexico1
Florida, now Mexico2

Lynching by laptop

Henry Porter; Blair's Autocracy

Diebold - Wikipedia

Voting Machine Controversy












From Bush's first election "victory", back in 2000, engineered by the US Supreme Court (Judge Dredd?); to the following one in 2004, produced by Diebold and various shady underhand operators; it has been evident that his Administration regards democracy as a great slogan, but an inconvenience at best surmounted or subverted, and then forgotten.

'Democracy' seems like a great idea for all those other autocracies around the world - well, those tinpot dictators who don't bend the knee to the North American Imperium and 'open up their markets' to the holy dollar.

However, in the last few years the US has taken its eye off the ball in areas where dirty tricks and arm-twisting once would have done the trick. The focus of the Bush Administration has been continually on the situation in the Middle East, a source of great wealth for the Corporate Insiders, and a continuing rationale for the subversion of human rights and long-fought-for freedoms in their own country.

The re-election of Chavez in Venezuala, and similarly leftist governments emerging in Brazil and Peru, as well as the election of socialist parties in Eastern Europe after determined attempts to impose dollar-friendly regimes, has been a warning shot to the USA that its credit as the 'guardian of democracy' has gone past the red zone.

The election of a hardline Government in Iran, the most westernised of the nations in that region, showed that the people have in fact voted out of fear - of a superpower out of control, with world-wide reach.

The recent victory of Hamas in Palestine (a party initially encouraged by Israel itself, as a means of splitting the people away from Fatah, making the nation ungovernable and divided on religious lines) has led to the Palestinians being 'punished' by Israel and the US for their affrontery.

This was followed by the predictable victory of the Shia parties in Iraq, with its potential to divide the country on religious lines and lead to civil war - threatening to involve Iran in the hell produced by the Bush-Blair aggression.

The USA has shown its true attitudes to democracies which vote 'the wrong way' - the people themselves have to be taught what is in their interest, by force if necessary.

Alternatively, his 'favoured candidates' can indulge in the same three-card trick that Bush himself used to seize power - despite the democratic vote of the American people.

A private and little-known company, ChoicePoint of Alpharetta, Georgia, which was used by Jeb Bush in his Florida fix-up has been employed by the Bush Administration to produce the same sorts of results in South American countries. The removal of "felons" - people caught 'Voting While Black' - and ballot-light returns in 'unfriendly' areas (ie. poor, black, Hispanic, dissenting, socialist) meant that in Florida 2000, 88% of supposedly blank ballots were from African-American voting districts. The majority of these votes cast would undoubtedly have been for the Democratics.

This led to the curious situation, described by Greg Palast in a recent article in The Guardian;

'. . .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 official.'

He compares the situation in Mexico recently;

'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 402,000 votes more for their candidate, Felipe Calderón, over challenger Andrés Manuel López Obrador. That's noteworthy in light of the surprise showing of candidate Señor Blank-o (the 827,000 ballots supposedly left "blank").'

The self-proclaimed but widely disputed victory of the US's 'chosen candidate' on July 7th 2006, the National Action Party (Pan),was by a margin easily outweighed by 'blank' or 'ureadable' ballots. The machines are not able to differentiate between deliberately spoiled ballots and those of the 'hanging chad' variety, and the only way to distinguish between them is by doing a recount of those ballots by hand.

Months ago I got my hands on a copy of a memo from the FBI marked "secret", regarding a contract for "intelligence collection of foreign counter-terrorism investigations". . .the contract was for obtaining the voter files of Venezuela, Brazil . . . and Mexico. . . .What those Latin American countries have in common, besides a lack of terrorists, is either a left-leaning president or a left candidate for president ahead in the opinion polls, leaders of the floodtide of Bush-hostile Latin leaders'.

It is interesting to note, that although Bush's Republican junta has now lost the support of the US citizens through the ballot box - despite Karl Rove and his magic numbers tricks - there is still a stand-off in neighbouring Mexico, where the leftist parties feel that the vote was stolen from them.

As the vote becomes less visible to the naked eye; a product of technology offered up by corporate governments; the idea of 'democracy', open and accountable, becomes nebulous to the point of abstraction.


Co-editors: Seán Mac Mathúna • John Heathcote
Consulting editor: Themistocles Hoetis