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Monday, December 12, 2011

Lecturing Russians while U.S. voters burn

 Hypocrisy, arrogance, fake championing of voter rights
Re-reporting, editing by Carolyn Bennett

USA lectures Russians

“...We see setbacks for democratic institutions, the rule of law, and electoral processes,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton lectured last week before the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) member-countries in Vilnius, Lithuania.  

“[W]hen authorities fail to prosecute those who attack people for exercising their rights or exposing abuses,” Clinton said, “they subvert justice and undermine the people’s confidence in their governments.

“… [W]e have seen in many places, and most recently in the Duma elections in Russia, elections that are neither free nor fair have the same effect. We have serious concerns about the conduct of those elections.…[T]he preliminary report by the OSCE cites election day attempts to stuff ballot boxes, manipulate voter lists, and other troubling practices.

Russia and Vilnius, Lithuania
“We’re also concerned by reports that independent Russian election observers, including the nationwide Golos network, were harassed and had cyber attacks on their websites, which is completely contrary to what should be the protected rights of people to observe elections, participate in them, and disseminate information. … Russian voters deserve a full investigation of electoral fraud and manipulation.”

“The Russian people, like people everywhere, deserve the right to have their voices heard and their votes counted. And that means they deserve fair, free, transparent elections and leaders who are accountable to them.”

U.S. voters burned

Where was Hillary Clinton when her country was violating voting rights law and suppressing voters’ expression of their right to vote for whom they chose? 

In the United States, there has been widespread voter suppression for many years without a peep from Clinton. 

The voting and elections watchdog group Black Box Voting has found these voting rights and vote suppression issues:

‘Shorting’ voting machines in targeted areas, forcing voters to wait in line for hours • Last-minute switching of targeted polling places without adequate notice Purging and ‘caging’ manipulations with voter registration lists: Purging valid voters and targeting specific groups for special or unfair purges …

Wikipedia describes the suppression of voter rights known as “caging a tactic that is both legal and illegal in the United States, depending upon state of residence.

Caging is a method of challenging the registration status of voters potentially to prevent them from voting in an election. Caging refers to the practice of sending direct mail to addressees on the voter rolls, compiling a list of addressees from which the mail is returned undelivered; and, on the grounds that the voters do not legally reside at registered addresses, using that list to purge or challenge voters’ registrations.

This typically results in voters’ having their votes thrown out or submitted by using provisional ballots, which require further registration confirmation.

U.S. Election 2008

Unlawful actions in six states, according to a New York Times’ review of state records, led to widespread voter purges, which could have [had] impact on the 2008 elections. Some of the actions were apparently the result of mistakes by the states’ handling of voter registrations and files as they tried to comply with a 2002 federal law related to running elections. While neither party was singled out, because the Democratic Party registered more new voters this year, Democratic voters were more adversely affected by such actions of state officials.

Montana 2008

On October 5, 2008 the Republican (but elected on the Democratic ticket) Lt. Governor of Montana, John Bohlinger, accused the Montana Republican Party of vote caging to purge 6,000 voters from three counties which trend Democratic. These purges included decorated war veterans and active duty soldiers.


Michigan’s Republican Secretary of State was found purging voters from voting rolls when voter ID cards were returned as undeliverable. In the court challenge, the federal judge ordered the state to reinstate the voters.

December 2007 Kansas

Kansas GOP Chair Kris Kobach sent an email boasting, ‘[T]o date, the Kansas GOP has identified and caged more voters in the last 11 months than the previous two years!’


Republicans sent out fundraising mailers to voters in five Florida counties: Duval, Hillsborough, Collier, Miami-Dade and Escambia, with ‘do not forward’ on the letters.

The mailers included inaccurate Voter ID numbers and ostensibly confirmed with voters they were registered as Republican. The RNC declined to discuss the mailer with the St. Petersburg Times. A representative denied the mailing had anything to do with caging.

Two top Florida elections officials, both Republicans, faulted the GOP mailing, calling it ‘confusing and ‘unfortunate’ because of a potential to undermine voter confidence by making them question the accuracy of their registrations.


Reports of voter caging emerged in Northern California when letters marked ‘do not forward’ were sent to Democrats with fake voter ID numbers. The description of the letters matches the letters that were sent out in Florida… Many details on the letters were false; for example, the letters referred to a Voter Identification Division but RNC personnel said they had no such department. The RNC did not return calls from a news organization regarding the letters.

Black Box Voting, in its latest report, continues a litany of voting rights breaches in the United States.

Among the frequent examples of suppression  are: Voter intimidation • Traffic blockages obstructing or delaying access to targeted polling places • Inappropriate police activity or harassment around polling places • Inconsistent procedures for provisional ballots (provisional ballots are available to voters who have reason to believe they are registered but their names do not appear on the rolls on Election Day) • Obstructive procedures, such as requiring poll workers to get permission by phone from busy election-day elections headquarters before offering a provisional ballot thus preventing eligible voters from voting • Candidate name not appearing on some ballots (especially a problem in touch-screen areas, where the computer programming for the touch-screen ‘ballot’ is not as carefully checked as the printed paper ballots) • Late polls openings

Coast to coast, the Wikipedia article continues


According to court testimony in a 2004 [U.S.] case, 23-count embezzler Jeffrey Dean gained access to both voter databases and remote access into several California elections systems. He had obtained contracts as a vendor for the Vote Remote absentee vote-processing system, and was accessing and adjusting California data from his location in the Seattle area.

New York

In another incident, a laptop containing sensitive information was stolen from the Diebold ballot printing plant that processes absentee ballots. This division had access to nearly 1 million King County voter registrations, including the social security numbers of King County residents.
Russian State Duma

Russians react to U.S. lecture

Rodhan’s rhetoric is rich indeed

A senior Russian official described HRC’s statements as “strange.”

NATO expert Rick Rozoff said pointedly the United States is in no position to criticize Russian elections. In an interview after Clinton’s December 6 statements, Rozoff told Voice of Russia journalist John Robles, “Regardless of what the actual details are about the recently concluded Duma elections (parliamentary elections) in Russia, the statements emanating from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others are arrogant to a degree.

“If the situation were reversed and Russian and other major political figures in other nations commented similarly on U.S. elections, which are not without their flaws, I hope, there would be as strong as possible protests from the State Department and the White House.”

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s statements — “presuming to speak on behalf of the Russian people, stating that Russian voters deserve ‘a full investigation of electoral fraud and manipulation’” are coming from “somebody who is from the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge.

Moreover, like her commander-in-chief, Barack Obama — who is from Chicago and is a product of the Chicago political machine — she is hardly in a position to complain about electoral fraud and manipulation and ballot box stuffing. They are products of the political machine that all but invented the process.”

Rick Rozoff said he had spoken with Chicagoans who had lived in the former Soviet Union who talked about the fact that when elections were held, election days were on holidays so that people were off work and could not only vote but could participate in the political process, including in the polling place.” This, he said, “is not a luxury accorded to Americans,” though many in the U.S. brag that the country is “the model for democratic processes, including elections…”

He concluded that U.S. State Secretary “is concerned about Russian ‘democracy’ as Washington’s plans for building a ring of missile ‘defense’ systems encircling Russia continue full steam ahead — whether that country ‘likes it or not.’”

The Russian Ministry is reported saying, “We expect the U.S. side to refrain from unfriendly statements running counter to the general positive vector of our bilateral relations. … Pointing to a ‘very low voter turnout at [U.S.] elections at all levels,’ the Ministry noted that the U.S. election system can hardly be considered ‘a paragon of openness and fairness. Therefore, the statement  continued, U.S. executive authorities should focus their analysis on the reasons for this situation and ways to improve it.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described Clinton’s remarks as ‘disrespectful’ and urged the U.S. Secretary not to use the rostrum of the Organization for Security and Cooperation as a means to court voters and obtain political points ahead of the U.S. presidential elections but “to utter criticism in the format of a dialogue.”

The Foreign Ministry concluded, “Russian citizens have made their choice by taking an active part in the vote. Only they have the right to define the country’s future regardless of someone’s biased accounts and politicized recipes.”

Today in U.S. History: The year 2000, the Supreme Court of the United States effectively awarded the U.S. presidency to George W. Bush, ruling that a fair recount of ballots in Florida could not be performed by the deadline for certifying the state’s electors. [Britannica]

Sources and notes

“U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesperson REMARKS Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton OSCE First Plenary Session, December 6, 2011, LitExpo Conference Center, Vilnius, Lithuania, MC.DEL/31/11, 6 December 2011, Original: ENGLISH

“Clinton: Russia elections ‘neither free nor fair,’” http://en.rian.ru/world/20111206/169399214.html


“U.S not in a position to criticize Russian elections – expert,” Interview: Clinton Lectures Russia On Elections, NATO Chief On Missiles Voice of Russia, December 8, 2011 (John Robles, Audio interview with Rick Rozoff, the manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list and a contributing writer to Global Research.ca), http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/interview-clinton-lectures-russia-on-elections-nato-chief-on-missiles/

“Clinton Lectures Russia On Elections, NATO Chief On Missiles,” http://www.voltairenet.org/Clinton-Lectures-Russia-On

“Clinton, who had previously chastised Russia’s State Duma elections, stepped up the rhetoric while speaking at an Organization for Security and Cooperation, OSCE, ministerial meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Tuesday … She was quoted as saying by Reuters ‘When authorities fail to prosecute those who attack people for exercising their rights or exposing abuses, they subvert justice and undermine the people’s confidence in their governments.’ She went on to say, ‘As we have seen in many places, and most recently in the Duma elections in Russia, elections that are neither free nor fair have the same effect.’”

“Russia Slams U.S. Over Criticism of Duma Elections,” December 7, 2011, http://tripolipost.com/articledetail.asp?c=1&i=7448

“U.S. comments about Russian polls ‘unacceptable’” — Foreign Ministry Russia, http://en.rian.ru/russia/20111206/169419272.htm

“Clinton’s Russia election statement ‘disrespectful’ – Lavrov,” December 7, 2011,


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