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Same Faces Behind Sham US And Iraqi 'Elections'

Posted in the database on Thursday, February 03rd, 2005 @ 22:41:51 MST (2927 views)
by Christopher Bollyn    American Free Press  

Untitled Document As internationalists and media pundits praise the "free and fair" Iraqi elections, a closer look reveals that the polling in Iraq was fundamentally flawed and lacking transparency in the same way as elections in the U.S. No wonder that the same people are behind the organization of both.

"Today is a great day for Iraq and a great day for all those who love democracy," Lorne Craner, former U.S. Asst. Secretary of State and president of the International Republican Institute (IRI), said on January 30. "We can all celebrate with Iraq on a successful election. By taking this brave step the Iraqi people honor all those who have died for a free democratic Iraq."

Asked if the recent election in Iraq was "free and fair," the United Nations special envoy in Baghdad, Pakistan's Ashraf Qazi, said, "overwhelmingly so."

The fulsome praise of Qazi and Craner needs to be seen in its proper context. The internationalist groups they represent were deeply involved – and very well paid – for organizing the flawed Iraqi elections.

"Funded by U.S. taxpayers," The Washington Post reported on Jan. 26, the IRI, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), two daughter organizations of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES), received "as much as $90 million for their work in Iraq."

The NDI "stands at the ambitious heart of the American effort to make Iraq a model democracy in the Arab world," the Post wrote. It operated in Iraq for more than one year before the elections and "trained about 10,000 domestic election observers."

The boards of these "democracy" organizations include many of the biggest names in the U.S. political establishment. The IRI, for example, is chaired by Sen. John McCain (R – Ariz.) and includes Sen. Chuck Hagel (R – Neb.), Lawrence S. Eagleburger, Brent Scowcroft, and Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., former chairman of the Republican Party. Fahrenkopf headed the GOP in 2000 when George W. Bush won a seriously flawed presidential election.

The NDI is headed by former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright. William J. Hybl, chairman of the IFES, is also on the board of IRI. Likewise, the NED is run by some of the most powerful politicos in the U.S.

"The well-funded American democracy programs are the only game in town," the Post reported. The majority of the staff, however, is non-American. "We don't look like the face of American foreign policy," an NDI employee said.


Sham "democratic" elections have been used by the occupying powers in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine, to bestow an aura of legitimacy on their puppet governments. The three elections, praised by the mainstream media as triumphs of "democracy," were imposed on captive nations held "under the gun."

In Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, the installed ruler and former consultant for the energy company Unocal, was elected president.

In Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, a man with virtually no support among the people, but popular with U.S., British, and Israeli leaders, was elected president. Meanwhile, the popular leader of the Palestinian people, Marwan Barghouti, languishes in an Israeli prison.

In Iraq, the appointed prime minister Iyad Allawi is expected to finish at the top of the pile. Allawi has worked with British intelligence since the 1980s and with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency since at least 1991, when he co-founded the Iraqi National Accord.

"Lucky me. I hit the trifecta,'' President George W. Bush must have thought as early results pointed to an Allawi victory. "Trifecta," a term used by Bush, means when a bettor chooses the first three finishers of a race in order.

"He must feel very vindicated," presidential scholar Stephen Hess of the Brookings Institution said about "the successful voting" in Iraq.

Critics, however, say that the elections held under occupation are not successful.

"They're a farce. They're rigged," British MP George Galloway, an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq, said about the elections on Jan. 30.

"An election held under foreign military occupation is always, by definition, utterly flawed," Galloway said. "This is a festival, a farce that's been held to validate the American-British invasion and occupation of Iraq. But it will not validate it, neither in the eyes of the world opinion, nor, more importantly, in the eyes of those Iraqis who are resisting the foreign occupation. The war will go on, I'm sorry to say,"

Iraq's leading Sunni clerics have declared that any government emerging from the election would lack legitimacy.

"These elections lack legitimacy because a large segment of different sects, parties and currents ... boycotted," Iraq's Muslim Clerics' Association said in a statement.

"This means the coming national assembly and government that will emerge will not possess the legitimacy to enable them to draft the constitution or sign security or economic agreements."

"We warn the United Nations and the international community of the danger of granting these elections legitimacy because this will open a door of evil and they will be the first to bear responsibility," the clerics' group said.

"All Iraqi people are waiting for the opportunity to hold comprehensive, free and just elections that have legitimacy," the statement read, "after the withdrawal of the occupation."

Abdul Hussein al-Hindawi, the U.S. appointed chairman of Iraq's electoral commision, acknowledged that polling stations had not opened and that ballots were lacking in Sunni areas in several provinces.

"The elections took place under difficult conditions and this undoubtedly deprived a number of citizens in a number of areas from voting," al-Hindawi said.

Iraq's interim president Ghazi al-Yawar told a press conference on Feb. 1, that "tens of thousands," mainly in Mosul, Basra, Baghdad and Najaf, had not been able to vote due to a "lack of ballots."

But apart from these obvious problems, American Free Press has discovered fundamental flaws in how the Iraqi elections were run. These flaws, which remove all transparency and integrity from the election process, are clearly intentional. They are part of the election process dictated by the Anglo-American occupiers and the internationalist organizations that have worked with the occupying powers.

The sole election authority in Iraq is the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI), established by L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator, on May 31, 2004, in Coalition Provisional Authority Order 92. CPA Order 96 then defined the electoral law and Order 97 dictated who could and could not run for office.

The effective law in Iraq was promulgated by Bremer on March 8, 2004. This law will remain in effect until a permanent constitution is ratified and a government put into place according to the constitution. A similar law of occupation, the Grundgesetz, is still in effect in Germany, 60 years after the end of World War II because a permanent constitution has not been created.

Eight of the nine board members of the IECI were appointed by Bremer, while the United Nations appointed the ninth, a 46-year old Colombian "electoral expert" named Carlos Valenzuela. Valenzuela's father, Arturo, a professor at Georgetown University, is on the board of NDI.

In IECI Regulation 13/2005, the appointed board of the "independent" electoral commission dictated how the polling and counting of the votes would be done. While this regulation calls for the ballots and votes to be counted and tallied at each polling station, it calls these tallies "provisional results," which are to be transmitted to a central location. At the IECI "national tally room, results will be entered into a database."

"When the presiding officer is satisfied with the accuracy of the count, s/he will announce the provisional results of each election to those present in the counting station," the regulation states. It is important to note that the "provisional results" are not "authenticated," or made official, nor are they publicly posted. The public is not allowed to view the counting of their votes. This is a fundamental flaw in the integrity of the Iraqi election process.

This is exactly what has happened to U.S. elections with the introduction of networked electronic voting machines. There is no longer a public count of the votes in the polling station. The authentication of the precinct tally by election judges has become meaningless because they are not allowed to count the votes.

UN spokesman Farhan Haq confirmed to AFP that the polling station results would not be posted at each polling station. Asked why this fundamental step was being avoided, Haq said he did not know.

The official counting of the Iraqi votes is done in the "national tally room." Some 200 workers, using 80 computers, were working around the clock in Baghdad's "Green Zone" tallying the results from some 5,200 polling stations. While each worker would have to process 26 tally sheets, the final tally, it was reported, could take more than a week.

In Chicago, AFP observed the polling at two locations. At the Assyrian center in Skokie, some 6,000 people voted. The external polling was run by the International Organization for Migration, an "arm" of the UN, according to Kathleen Houlihan, media officer for the IOM.

While whole communities were disenfranchised in Iraq, anyone who had an Iraqi father was allowed to vote in the "diaspora."

AFP asked Houlihan if the votes would be counted when the polls closed at 5 p.m. on Jan. 30. "No," Houlihan said. "They will be taken to a secure location, and counted later." Asked why the votes would not be counted openly when the polls closed, another IOM official said that because the large paper ballots were folded the counting would have to wait.

Here is another fundamental flaw. There is no guarantee that the ballots counted on Monday are the same ballots that were cast on Sunday.

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