So much for the evil Chavez vote-rigging accusation!

Looks like one more blob of blogospheric bunkum has now been debunked!

A Chicago alderman suggested that voting machines sold by a company with Venezuelan owners are part of a plot by President Hugo Chavez.

Alderman Edward Burke made the accusation during a hearing on problems with the Sequoia voting machines. Sequoia President Jack Blaine spent two hours answering questions.

‘Of course I think it is a crackpot theory,’ Blaine told reporters afterwards.


Sequoia is based in the United States. But Burke said its owners are Venezuelan, and control it through shell companies in the Cayman Islands.

‘I am saying the potential for tampering with the American electoral process where presidential elections can be determined by just one state exists here,’ Burke said.

Blaine said the parent company, Smartmatic, has no ties to Chavez, who is notoriously at odds with U.S. President George W. Bush.

Langdon Neal, president of the Chicago Board of Elections Commissioners, believes the city has enough controls in place, including a paper record of every vote, to prevent fraud.

Unknown News and Leigh Saavedra have already done an excellent job of deconstructing the disinformation campaign against Chavez, so I’ll provide a link to their work.

I’ll add that the guilt-by-(very loose)-association conjured up by one Richard Brand, writing for the Miami Herald (that bastion of excellence!) is a fine example of how not to convince anyone of anything:

In fact, Smartmatic International is owned by a Netherlands corporation, which is in turn owned by a Curacao corporation, which is in turn held by a number of Curacao trusts controlled by proxy holders who represent unnamed investors, almost certainly among them Venezuelans Mugica and Anzola and possibly others.

Gee, Mr. Brand, could you possibly get more vague? Maybe you’d better stick to learning to lawyer your way out of a wet paper bag. I hope you’re more diligent at that than you are as a writer and researcher–because if I were your editor, I’d have spiked that piece on the grounds of its sheer sloppiness. If you can’t even trace a paper trail to its source, your future in the lawyerly field is as doomed as your journalistic prospects. Unless, of course, you’re planning to represent Diebold or ES & S, in which case your prospects are bright indeed. For then, your talents as a propagandist and an obfuscator can truly shine!

Astute readers of this blog will, of course, recognize the general pattern of right-wing propaganda hacks at work here: don’t deal in facts, just throw out insinuations and trust your readers to run with them as if they were facts. It may work if you’re a stupid sheep, but anyone with a modicum of critical thinking ability won’t be fooled.

And don’t be fooled: This is all part of an effort to paint Hugo Chavez as an anti-American “strongman” out to subvert democracy–a complete 180 degrees’ remove from the truth. And of course, all the lies point in one direction: a plot to get Chavez out of the way, one way or another. Who’s the real antidemocrat, again?

Meanwhile, Edward Burke is making vague accusations based upon more vague accusations. He discredits himself in so doing. He would do better to stick with the facts at hand.

Of course, if there IS something wrong with the machines, regardless of where they come from, the solution is as clear as what we use up here: PAPER BALLOTS ONLY, COUNTED BY HAND. But that would undoubtedly show the Republicans losing in the most irrefutable, concrete (and unhackable) way–and in a way completely impossible to blame on evil, wicked Venezuela.

Couldn’t have that right as Dubya’s approval ratings are so low and Hugo’s are so high, could we.

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2 Responses to So much for the evil Chavez vote-rigging accusation!

  1. Wren says:

    A Venezuelan company controlled by Hugo Chaves makes the voting machines that we use and counted the votes that got Bush elected? The Same Bush that wants to remove Chaves from power? Only from the mind of a rightard. I guess the voting irregularities in Ohio WERE vote fraud. Better kick Bush out now then. He is a Chaves double agent. Anyone that believes this must be a moron struggling for the lofty status of idiot. Never mind the crackpot that came up with this.

  2. Bina says:

    Yeah, I know. Between the paranoia and the stupidity, this whole thing just makes my head spin. Hugo Chavez has his own country to run; he’s not interested in running anyone else’s! At most, he’ll support allies like Fidel Castro (who’s quite a different breed of cat, and was there long before him in any event) and Evo Morales (whose agenda, while similar in parts to Chavez’s, is not exactly identical either.) But to accuse him of destabilizing democracies is ridiculous, especially in light of the false, half-assed “democracy” that prevailed in Venezuela before him (google “Puntofijismo” sometime) and the real thing that he brought in.
    This is, for those who don’t know it yet, a man who campaigned and won on the platform that Venezuelans should be allowed to write their own constitution, and that a special assembly would be elected by them for the purpose. And the final document would be voted on again, BY ALL VENEZUELANS, to ratify it. And that’s just what they did. It passed with a sweeping majority in 1999. The US constitution should have been so democratically conceived!
    And not only that, but he’s also withstood a referendum aimed at recall (he won it even more handily than he did his original election). And candidates from various parties aligned with his swept the congressional elections in December. If there’s no opposition left, it’s not because he killed them (as some insist, with Washington’s backing) but because they were idiots with nothing concrete to offer, and they imploded as a result of telling their voters to stay home!
    Chavez is an enviable democrat. Of course, that’s why the Repugs want him gone. Can’t have him setting any more good examples, can we…

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