From THOM HARTMANN
and SAM SACKS
At around 11:25 pm EST on election night, Karl Rove knew something had gone terribly wrong.
Minutes earlier, Fox News called the key battleground state of Ohio for President Obama, sealing his re-election. But as the network took live shots of jubilant Obama supporters celebrating their victory camped outside the Obama re-election headquarters in Chicago, Karl Rove began building a case against the call his employer network had just made.
Rove explained that when Fox called Ohio, only 74% of the vote was in showing President Obama with a lead of roughly 30,000 votes. But, as Rove contended, with 77% reporting according to the Ohio Secretary of State office, the President’s lead had been slashed to just 991 votes.
“We gotta be careful about calling the thing,” Rove said, “I’d be very cautious about intruding in on this process.”
Rove was supremely confident that the numbers coming in from Ohio throughout the night that favored President Obama weren’t indicative of who would win Ohio when all the votes were ultimately tabulated by the state’s computers. With a quarter of the vote still out there, Rove was anticipating a shift to the Right just after 11 pm, which, coincidentally, is exactly what happened in 2004.
That year, John Kerry and the entire nation were watching Ohio just after the 11pm hour. Florida had just been called for George W. Bush and according to the Electoral College math whoever won Ohio would win the election. And considering that exit polls from the state showed John Kerry with a substantial lead, there were a lot of tense moments for Karl Rove and the Republicans that night.
Then the clock struck 11:14pm, and the servers counting the votes in Ohio crashed. Election officials had planned for this sort of thing to happen and already contracted with a company in Chattanooga, Tennessee called SMARTech to be the failsafe should the servers in Ohio go down.
As journalist Craig Unger lays bare in his book, Boss Rove, SMARTech was drenched in Republican politics. One of the early founders of the company was Mercer Reynolds who used to the finance chairman of the Republican Party. SMARTech’s top client was none other than the Bush-Cheney campaign itself and SMARTech also did work for Jeb Bush and the Republican National Committee. And it was Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell, who ensured that SMARTech received the contract to count votes on election night should the servers go down, which they did at exactly 11:14pm.
Sixty long seconds later the servers came back up in Ohio, but now with vote rerouted through SMARTech in Chattanooga. And, coincidentally, Bush’s prospects for re-election were suddenly a lot brighter. The vote totals that poured into the system from SmartTECH’s computer in Chattanooga were flipping the exit polls on their head. The lead Kerry had in the exit polls had magically reversed by more than 6%, something unheard of in any other nation in the developed world, giving Bush the win in Ohio and the presidency for another four years.
Unger further explains in his book that the only independent analysis of what happened in Ohio was done by Richard Hayes Phillips and published in the book, Witness to a Crime. Phillips and his team analyzed more than 120,000 ballots, 127 polls books, and 141 signature books from Ohio’s 2004 election.
Phillips found zero irregularities in vote totals from all the counties that reported results before the servers crashed at 11:14pm. But of the fourteen counties that came in after the crash connected Ohio’s election computers to SmartTECH’s computers in Chattanooga, every single one of them showed voter irregularities – that all favored George W. Bush.
For example, consider Cleveland’s Fourth Ward. In 2000, Al Gore won 95% of that ward’s vote. But in 2004, the county reported its results after the 11:14 pm crash, and it showed that Kerry had only won 59% of the vote – a 35% drop without any explanation. There were several other abnormalities across Ohio’s post-server crash that delivered the state to Bush.
John Kerry never protested the election and to this day, these 2004 voter abnormalities have never been addressed.
So the question is: on election night this year, when Karl Rove was protesting the call his network had just made in Ohio, was Rove anticipating a wave of unpredicted vote totals to swing the election back to Mitt Romney after a statewide server crash, just as had happened in 2004?
Perhaps. He did make the point that the race was about to drastically narrow according to the Secretary of State’s office. And as The Free Press reports, a number of odd similarities with 2004 began occurring in Ohio this year just after the 11pm hour once again:
“Curiously, the Ohio Secretary of State’s vote tabulation website went down at 11:13pm, as reported by Free Press election protection website monitors, and mentioned by Rove on the news. This was one minute earlier than the time on election night 2004 — when Ohio votes were outsourced to Chattanooga, Tennessee — and then the vote flipped for Bush…This time, the Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) vote tabulation site went down as on election night as well. In his rant on Fox, Rove argued that Fox News should not confirm Ohio for Obama until votes came in from the southwest Ohio GOP strongholds of Delaware, Butler and Warren counties and suburban Cincinnati. It was after the crash of the secretary of state’s site in 2004 that improbable vote totals came in from Republican counties in southwest Ohio – particularly Butler, Clermont, and Warren counties. These three counties provided more than Bush’s entire Ohio victory margin of 119,000.”
Only this time, when the servers came back up, the votes never flipped. President Obama’s lead held and he went on to win, while Karl Rove – and Mitt Romney – watched in slack-jawed amazement.
We know there was a parade of Conservative talking heads in the days before the election predicting a landslide victory for Mitt Romney. Is it because they lived in a bubble, lacking pollster Nate Silver’s facts and arithmetic that actually showed the President winning in a landslide? Could it be that Rove’s election night freak-out was just a result of this same Election Day ignorance held by all Republicans? Or was Rove genuinely shocked by what he was seeing because he knew the fix was in, just like in 2004, and there was no way President Obama was going to win re-election?
And if that’s the case, why did the plan to steal the election not work?
Here’s where the story gets really interesting.
Just a few weeks before Election Day, the hacktivist group Anonymous issued a video statement against Karl Rove. Anonymous is notorious for numerous cyber actions against the Justice Department, the Pentagon, the Recording Industry of America, the Motion Picture Association of America, and even the Church of Scientology.
In the video released prior to Election Day, Anonymous warns Karl Rove that he’s being watched. “We know that you will attempt to attempt to rig the election of Mitt Romney to your favor,” a black-robed figure in a Guy Fawkes mask says in the video. “We will watch as your merry band of conspirators try to achieve this overthrow of the United States government.”
The figure then warns Rove that Anonymous is “watching and monitoring all your servers,” and goes on to say, “We want you to know that we are watching you, waiting for you to make this mistake of thinking you can rig this election to your favor…If we catch you we will turn over all of this data to the appropriate officials in the hopes that you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Then, just two days after Election Day, as the Republican Party was in full-blown despair and Karl Rove was trying to figure out what went wrong, Anonymous released a press statement claiming it did indeed prevent an attempt by Rove to steal the election for Mitt Romney.
The statement reads, “We began following the digital traffic of one Karl Rove…After a rather short time, we identified the digital structure of Karl’s operation and even that of his ORCA. This was an easy task in that barn doors were left open and the wind swept us inside.”The “ORCA” that Anonymous is referring to in the press release is a massive, high-tech get-out-the-vote system created by the Romney campaign this year that will keep tabs on potential voters and coordinate with operatives to target who has and hasn’t voted yet on Election Day.
Romney’s Communications Director Gail Gitcho bragged about how sophisticated ORCA is saying, “At 5 o’clock when the exit polls come out, we won’t pay attention to that. We will have had much more scientific information based on the political operation we have set up.” In other words, ORCA will know who won Ohio better than any exit polls.
But, according to Anonymous, ORCA had nothing to do with getting out the vote and everything to do with rigging the vote.
“We coded and created, what we call The Great Oz. A targeted password protected firewall that we tested and refined over the past weeks. We placed this code on more than one of the digital tunnels and their destination that Karl’s not so smart worker bees planned to use on election night.”
Anonymous alleges these “digital tunnels” were leading to servers in three different states. The release goes on to detail what happened on election night as Rove’s operatives attempted to access these tunnels. “We watched as Karl’s weak corrupters repeatedly tried to penetrate The Great Oz. These children of his were at a loss-how many times and how many passwords did they try-exactly 105.”
“Karl’s speared ORCA whale was breached, rotting with a strong stench across his playground, unable to be resuscitated,” claims Anonymous.
So might this have really been the reason for Karl Rove’s shock on election night? Under the guise of sophisticated get out the vote operation, had Rove and the Republican Party actually built up a massive system to steal the Ohio election, just like in 2004, only to have it thwarted at the last minute by a group of computer hackers?
If this is true, then the implications are enormous and could take down the entire Republican Party and finally wake Americans up to the fact that our privatized vote system is shockingly flawed and insecure.
In their press release, Anonymous concludes, “We have a warning for Karl – sail again at your own peril. We may just put all the evidence into a tidy little package and give it to a painfully bored nemesis hanging out in a certain embassy in London.”
In an era of internet lulz and digital false flags, we must demand proof for these sort of claims made by Anonymous. But given Karl Rove’s history with elections in Ohio and the known vulnerabilities with our corporate owned electronic voting machines, there may be both smoke and fire with these election night allegations.
That’s why it’s vitally important for Anonymous to release any information or evidence it has about this plot to not just Julian Assange, but to law enforcement authorities as well. Otherwise, the alleged democracy-saving actions of the hacktivist group will instead be regarded as useless internet antics, relegated to the dustbins of history.
As laid out in the previous article, it’s possible that Karl Rove used SmartTECH’s servers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to flip the vote totals in Ohio in 2004 and thus steal the election that year for George W. Bush – and just as possible that he tried to do the same thing this year on Romney’s behalf but was thwarted by the hacktivist group Anonymous.
Many people have responded to these claims with a variation on: “That’s impossible. A presidential candidate committing treason? That would never happen, and, if it did, it would be front-page news. Everybody would know about it, right?”
Consider some simple history.
In 1952 Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower won the presidency – and there’s not a hint of scandal associated with that election. Maybe that’s because he supported a 91% top marginal income tax rate on the rich and approved of very popular New Deal programs like Social Security and unemployment benefits. As he told his brother in a letter in 1954, “Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things…a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”
But Eisenhower was the last legitimately elected Republican president.
Richard Nixon, who won the 1968 election against Vice President Hubert Humphrey, followed Eisenhower. At the time, the Vietnam War was raging, millions of students were in the streets, and President Lyndon Johnson, throughout 1968, was working desperately to bring a negotiated end to that war. He’d gotten both the North and the South Vietnamese to agree to terms of peace, and, by late September, there was only a meeting in Paris to seal the deal.
And then the CIA brought LBJ a wiretap they’d intercepted between the Nixon for President Campaign and the office of the President of South Vietnam, Nguyễn Văn Thiệu. Nixon basically told them that if they refused to go to the peace talks, or at least refused to go along with the peace agreement Johnson had worked out with them, then Nixon would give them a much better deal after the election.
LBJ was furious. This was treason, and because he could listen to the CIA phone intercepts, he knew that Richard Nixon was at the heart of it. So he called the senior Republican in the US Senate, Everett Dirksen, one of the most honorable men to hold a Senate leadership position in generations, and told him what was going on.
“I’m reading their hand, Everett,” LBJ said, “I don’t want to get this in the campaign. This is treason!”
LBJ continued, “I can identify them because I know who’s doing this. I don’t want to identify it – I think it would shock America if a principled candidate was playing with a source like this on a matter this important.”
Everett Dirksen promised to contact Nixon personally and try to put a stop to it, and in later conversations reported back to LBJ that Nixon wouldn’t even discuss it with him. General Thiệu dug in his heels, the war continued, Humphrey lost, and Nixon won the election.
This is historical fact. So, why doesn’t every American know that Nixon committed treason in 1968 to win the presidency? Remember that conversation with Dirksen? LBJ said, “I don’t want to let this get into the campaign.” He didn’t want the American people to learn that one of the two candidates for president was a traitor. He was afraid it would so horrify and dishearten the American people that they’d lose faith in the American democratic system. In fact, we didn’t even hear these tapes until just a few years ago when they were finally made public by the LBJ Library, and even then largely ignored by the national press.
LBJ went to his grave with this secret, as did Hubert Humphrey and the entire CIA team that outed Nixon. The American people were not to know that the Republican candidate was a traitor.
The next Republican to run was Ronald Reagan, along with CIA director George HW Bush. At that time, in 1980, the Shah of Iran had been stricken with cancer and left Iran for the US for treatment, and Islamists had taken over the country, along with taking over our embassy and holding its occupants hostage.
Barbara Honegger, who worked in the Reagan State Department, wrote a book about that time titled October Surprise. She and reporter Gary Sick both reported that during the week of October 15th through the 20th, Reagan campaign director Bill Casey went to Paris and met with representatives of the Ayatollah, asking him to stop negotiating with Carter and just hold the hostages until after the election. If Iran would do this, Casey promised, he’d get them weapons for the US-supplied military that the Shaw had amassed, and he’d route those weapons through Israel so nobody would ever know. The Iranians said, “Yes.”
The next day, on October 21st, the Iranians inexplicably, at least to the Carter administration that thought it was working out a deal, stopped negotiating. The world later learned that, over the next three days, Israel began shipping F-4 fighter jet tires to Iran, the first of many shipments of US-made weapons to go that route over the next few years.
And on January 20th, at the exact moment Reagan raised his hand to be sworn in, the Iranians released the hostages. It was their way of saying, “Deal done.” When we found out about it, and that the money the Iranians were paying Reagan for the military hardware was being used to kill Contra rebels in Nicaragua, it was referred to as the “Iran/Contra scandal.”
But Congress, concerned that the details both of the weapons and of Israel’s involvement with the Bush campaign before the election may come out, limited its investigation to events after the election.
On November 22nd, 1991 – 11 years after the election and after Reagan was long gone from the White House – Gary Sick was called to testify for a Congressional hearing on intelligence and security. There, Sick exhaustively detailed where his reporting had led him and how Reagan and his team committed treason.
“What this evidence shows is a consistent pattern of secret contacts between the Reagan-Bush campaign and Iran,” Sick testified. “The contacts began early in 1980, from about the moment that William Casey became the campaign manager for Mr. Reagan. They continued through the summer of that year in Madrid, where the first outline of a deal was reportedly proposed and accepted and where Israeli participation was first introduced.”
Sick then testified, “The terms of the bargain were reportedly made final in the second half of October in Paris. The hostages were released minutes after President Reagan had taken the oath of office, and arms began to flow to Iran from Israel, with U.S. government acquiescence, almost immediately thereafter.”
Also in the testimony, Sick points out curious remarks made by the Iranian Foreign Minister to parliament on August 16th, 1980. “We have information that the American Republican Party, in order to win in the upcoming election, is trying very hard to delay the resolution of the hostage question until after the American election,” said the Iranian Foreign Minister, according to Sick’s congressional testimony.
Sick points out, “That statement was made only a few days after Casey was reported to have met with an Iranian representative in Madrid for the very purpose described in the statement.”
We didn’t learn about Casey and Reagan’s treason until years later. Ronald Reagan went to his grave with this secret, as did his campaign manager, who he made head of the CIA, Bill Casey. Perhaps for the same reason that LBJ told Everett Dirksen in 1968 he wouldn’t out Nixon as a traitor, because it would “shock America,” the American people were kept in the dark this time, too, about their Republican candidate being a traitor.
The next Republican running for President in a serious way was George W. Bush. And his brother, who was governor of Florida, knew that the only way George could win was if tens of thousands of Democratic voters were purged from the rolls. So Jeb ordered his Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, to purge tens of thousands of largely African American voters from the rolls, which she did.
Harris kicked nearly 60,000 mostly African American voters off the rolls claiming that these people – who comprised 3% of the entire African American electorate in Florida – had been convicted of felonies and were thus ineligible to vote.
Turns out, though, that was mostly a lie. The list, based on a Texas felon list, led to tens of thousands of completely eligible African Americans Florida voters with names similar to Texas felons being denied their right to vote.
Thanks to Republicans throwing all these mostly-Democratic-leaning voters off the voter rolls, the election stayed close enough in Florida to out its outcome in doubt after Election Night.
The Florida Supreme Court ordered a statewide recount of the votes. George W. Bush sued at the Supreme Court, in the infamous “Bush versus Gore” case, claiming that if the entire state was recounted it would create “irreparable harm to complainant George W. Bush.”
So the Supreme Court gave the Presidency to Bush, and it wasn’t until a year later, in November of 2001, that a group of newspapers completed their count of the Florida ballots. And, when the New York Times reported on it, they buried in the 17th paragraph of the story the bombshell that, had the Supreme Court not intervened and had all the ballots been counted in Florida as the Florida Supreme Court had ordered, Al Gore would have won no matter how you counted the ballots.
As the Times reports, “If all the ballots had been reviewed under any of seven single standards, and combined with the results of an examination of overvotes, Mr. Gore would have won, by a very narrow margin.”
Why was the story buried? The Times and other news publications didn’t want to delegitimize Bush just a month after 9/11. But the fact remained, he hadn’t won the election – Al Gore had. Al Gore still won’t speak of this, just like John Kerry has only spoken to one reporter on the 2004 election issue – the American people are not to know that the Republican candidate and his brother were traitors.
So, here we have all the Republican administrations of the last half of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Nixon, Reagan/Bush, and Bush. And every one of them took the White House by fraud and/or treason, to quote President Lyndon Johnson.
And now there are questions about Karl Rove trying to electronically rig the election of 2012 in three states. And Democrats and very rational liberals are saying, “There couldn’t be a conspiracy there. Everybody would know about it! The press would report on it! There’s no way they could get away with it! You’re being a conspiracy nut!”
Well, just look at the Republican history of the past fifty years. As LBJ told Everett Dirksen, “This is treason!”