Greg Palast: STEALING MEXICO: Bush Team undermines Presidential Election


Richard Moore

Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2006 02:26:00 -0400
From: Greg Palast <•••@••.•••>

Subject: Stealing Mexico: Bush Team Helps Ruling Party "Floridize" 
Mexican Presidential Election

STEALING MEXICO: Bush Team Helps Ruling Party "Floridize" Mexican 
Presidential Election

By Greg Palast

Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, 
MADHOUSE:  Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf?, China Floats Bush Sinks, the 
Scheme to Steal '08, No Child's Behind Left and other Dispatches from 
the Front Lines of the Class War."

Friday, June 30, 2006 -- 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 

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 

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 

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 

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 
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 

Special thanks to the 
Privacy Information Center, Washington DC, which received and passed 
on to our team the FBI ChoicePoint files and other foreign 
intelligence documentation.

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