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By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2005 11:09pm PT  

Yet another dubious distinction for Walden O'Dell, the now-former CEO of Voting Machine Company, Diebold, Inc. (The American Voting Machine Company that hackers love most!)

On Monday, O'Dell was forced to resign from the company for..."personal reasons". On Tuesday he was named in a Class Action Securities Fraud suit. And that evening, MSNBC's Countdown included O'Dell in their "World's Worst" segment alluding to --- but not mentioning outright --- our news of the suit on Tuesday afternoon. (We'll give them the benefit of the doubt since we broke it just an hour or two before their air time. We're just generous that way.) What will tomorrow bring?...

-- Windows Media Version of Video
-- QuickTime Version of Video

The BRAD BLOG similarly contributed to a "World's Worst" segment last week after Ann Coulter was recognized for posting the private, unlisted family phone number of one of our Guest Bloggers, Lydia Cornell, on her website. But more on that soon...

(Hat tip to David Edwards whose TiVo machines are always on overdrive!)

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1100 Iraqis Die Violent Deaths in Baghdad During Single Month
Saddam's Generals are Leading the Insurgency
By David Edwards on 12/14/2005 7:51pm PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards

Earlier this week Robert Fisk was interviewed at California State Polytechnic University. Robert Fisk, a journalist for The Independant, is a specialist in reporting on the Middle East. Host, Saul Landau, asked Mr. Fisk about the current situation in Iraq.

Fisk makes some important points during this interview:

  • "Hotel Journalists" report from the hotel room because of dangers in Iraq. Government claims are usually reported as fact because journalists are not able to verify them. Journalists often fail to tell their viewers that the "facts" have not been verified.

  • Fisk got access to the Baghdad's mortuary database which journalists are not normally allowed to see. He discovered that during July, in Baghdad alone, 1100 Iraqis died violent deaths. (How does this square with George Bush's assertion that 30,000 Iraqis in total have died since the beginning of the war?)
  • There are "death squads on all sides" in Iraq.
  • "It's anarchy and chaos from Mosul all the way down to Basra. The idea that it's just a couple of provinces in a state of disturbance is ridicules."
  • "Iraq is going down the tubes. Iraqi people are more and more suffering, more and more dying tragic, terrible, painful, violent deaths."
  • "We're finished. The project is over. We can have as many referendums and constitutions as we like. Iraq is outside all government and Western control now with the exception of little fortresses in the green zone. And even there, mortars drop."
  • Fisk says that generals and other high-ranking military officials of the Iraqi Army which was disbanded by Paul Bremmer are now the leaders of the insurgency. These leaders still maintain the power structures and titles they held before the Army was disbanded. Most of these leaders speak English well and were trained by Western institutions. These men will be instrumental helping to take back control of Iraq after the Americans have left.
  • -- Video in Windows Media format...
    -- Video in QuickTime format...

    The entire video of Robert Fisk's interview includes some discussion on Robert Fisk's new book. It can be streamed from California State Polytechnic University.

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    By John Gideon on 12/14/2005 5:23pm PT  

    Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

    The MSM today has been active with news about the resignation of Wally O'Dell and how analysts think that is great for Diebold. There is still very little there about the securities fraud suit or the Leon County test results. I guess we wait to see if they are going to report these stories. In the meantime, counties in North Carolina are lining up to buy Diebold, ignoring what news there is and the fact that they were probably illegally certified to be used in the state. This brings us to the lawsuit itself and the judge has delayed proceedings for a week while he becomes familiar with the case. That helps no one, least of all the counties who need to make decisions....

    --- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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    By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2005 2:04pm PT  

    Here is the full Securities Fraud Class Action complaint as filed yesterday against Diebold, Inc and eight top officers including former CEO Walden O'Dell and current CEO Thomas Swidarski. It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division.

    -- Diebold Class Action Securities Fraud Suit [PDF]

    For those playing along at home, the case number is: 5:05CV2873.

    For those not yet playing along at home, here is the full story on the litigation as broken yesterday by The BRAD BLOG.

    As mentioned yesterday, this initial 13-page filing has been described to us as "a bare-bones version" with additional information to be added via amended complaints to be filed in the weeks and months ahead. More as it all develops, of course...

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    Robert Novak is Back: 'President Knows Who the Source Is'
    By David Edwards on 12/14/2005 11:48am PT  

    Guest blogged by David Edwards

    If reporters and cameras greet you as you leave for work in the morning then you are probably in the media's spotlight. Karl Rove found himself in that familiar situation this morning and it's making some Republicans a little nervous.

    As MSNBC's David Shuster says in the following clip, Viveca Novak's testimony did little to help Rove. Robert Luskin, Rove's attorney, has predicted that Viveca Novak's testimony about indirectly reminding Rove of a conversation with Time's Matt Cooper would explain why Rove's initial testimony to the grand jury didn't include those conversations in which Rove revealed the identity of a CIA agent.

    -- Video in Windows Media format...
    -- Video in QuickTime format...
    -- Audio in MP3 format...

    If reports are correct then Viveca Novak's testimony did little or nothing to bolster Rove's case. It also doesn't explain why Rove took 5 months after being "reminded" of his conversation with Cooper to notify the grand jury. An article posted at The Raw Story says that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is presenting additional evidence to the grand jury today.

    The other unrelated "Novak" popped out of his hole long enough to stir up some more controversy in the CIA Leak investigation. As reported by The News & Observer, Robert Novak, who was first to disclose the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame in the press, said the president knows the identity of the individual in the White House who leaked Plame's identity.

    "I'm confident the president knows who the source is," Novak told a luncheon audience at the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh on Tuesday. "I'd be amazed if he doesn't."

    "So I say, 'Don't bug me. Don't bug Bob Woodward. Bug the president as to whether he should reveal who the source is.' "

    UPDATE from The Raw Story: Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald did not meet with the grand jury today as expected. Sources (vague as they are) report that Fitzgerald did "move forward" with the case.

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    Results Completely Flipped Despite 800 Documented Officials Told by Diebold That It Couldn't be Done!
    Election Supervisor Requests Funds to Replace Diebold in County, Says 'We will never use Diebold in an election again'
    By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2005 9:36am PT  

    The bad news keeps rolling in for Diebold. But that is hopefully good news for democracy and America! And it doesn't get any plainer than this stunning report from election watchdogs at BlackBoxVoting.org

    Even as the beleaguered American Voting Machine company smarts from yesterday's filing of a securities fraud class action suit a test election was carried out on Diebold voting machinery in Leon County, Florida. Diebold's security measures failed miserably and were easily defeated by a hack performed by a computer security professional on a Diebold Touch-Screen Voting Machine and Central Tabulator.

    In a post yesterday about the test and its remarkable results, BBV's Jim March gave this stunning summary of what happened:

    Due to security design issues and contractual non-performance, Leon County supervisor of elections Ion Sancho told Black Box Voting that he will never use Diebold in an election again. He has requested funds to replace the Diebold system from the county. He will issue a formal announcement to this effect shortly.

    Finnish security expert Harri Hursti proved that Diebold lied to Secretaries of State across the nation when Diebold claimed votes could not be changed on the memory card.

    A test election was run in Leon County today with a total of eight ballots - six ballots voted "no" on a ballot question as to whether Diebold voting machines can be hacked or not. Two ballots, cast by Dr. Herbert Thomson and by Harri Hursti voted "yes" indicating a belief that the Diebold machines could be hacked.

    At the beginning of the test election the memory card programmed by Harri Hursti was inserted into an Optical Scan Diebold voting machine. A "zero report" was run indicating zero votes on the memory card. In fact, however, Hursti had pre-loaded the memory card with plus and minus votes.

    The eight ballots were run through the optical scan machine. The standard Diebold-supplied "ender card" was run through as is normal procedure ending the election. A results tape was run from the voting machine.

    Correct results should have been: Yes:2 No:6

    However the results tape read: Yes:7 No:1

    The results were then uploaded from the optical scan voting machine into the GEMS central tabulator. The central tabulator is the "mothership" that pulls in all votes from voting machines. The results in the central tabulator read: Yes:7 No:1

    This proves that the votes themselves were changed in a one-step process that would not be detected in any normal canvassing procedure - using only a credit-card sized memory card.

    Diebold Elections Systems head of research and development Pat Green specifically told the Cuyahoga County [OH] board of elections that votes could not be changed on the memory card.

    According to Public Records responses obtained by Black Box Voting in response to our requests shows that Diebold promulgated this misrepresentation to as many as 800 state and local elections officials.

    March added later, "this was all done without getting any passwords for any system. All we had was the same degree of physical access that any mid-to-high level elections staffer or official would have."

    Case closed? One would think so! But remarkably, states and counties around the country are still entering into contracts with this company to count your votes in upcoming elections!

    Be sure to let California's Sec. of State know about this latest knews, as well as your local Elections Board! Otherwise, these machines may well be coming to a hacked election near you!

    UPDATE: John Cole points out that Leon County is one of "those" counties from FL 2000!

    UPDATE 12/15/05: The Leon County hack story has now been reported by the actual mainstream media! Go figure! See coverage of the AP report here and a terrific article from Miami Herald here. A preview: Both Diebold and the state of Florida are now frantically scrambling to try and cover their asses over all of this!

    (Thanks John Gideon for the assist!)

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    Another Spin Through the Rightwing Lars Larson Show!
    By Brad Friedman on 12/13/2005 10:19pm PT  

    While it wasn't necessarily the full-out knock-down drag-out that rightwinger Lars Larson and I have enjoyed on his radio show in the past, there were a few good shots thrown between us about the phony "War on Christmas", the real War on Iraq and the far-too-real War on Democracy as being waged here on the homefront...All in all, that good ol' Political Pornography that the Right in America just can't seem to get enough of. No matter what the cost...

    -- A Spin Through Rightwing World with Lars & Brad! [MP3]

    Oh, and Merry Christmas, Lars and Bill!

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    By John Gideon on 12/13/2005 5:22pm PT  

    Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

    Today was a big news day. The Election Assistance Commission announced that they have adopted the new 2005 voluntary voting system guidelines. Diebold is very prominent in the news. We now have a pretty good reason for the sudden resignation of their CEO and President, Wally O'Dell. A securities fraud lawsuit was filed in federal court in Ohio against the corporation and 8 present and former officers. Also, late this afternoon (in fact so late that there is nothing yet in the news about it) it was reported that a security test was done of the Diebold voting system in Leon County, FL. The system failed miserably to stop the intrusion and changing of votes and no record of the intrusion was given though votes were changed. This has resulted in the county elections director to say that he would never use Diebold in an election again. (See BlackBoxVoting.Org for more information)...

    --- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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    By Brad Friedman on 12/13/2005 12:57pm PT  

    The Terminator earns his name...and his bones.

    The Death Penalty is a disgrace to our country. Our collective national shame...

    VERY LATE UPDATE 12/15/05: This Madison Capital Times editorial is 100% correct. Murder is Murder... (Thanks Katrina!)

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    Eight Current and Former Executives Named as Co-Defendants, Including former CEO O'Dell and New CEO Swidarski
    Class Action Suit Alleges Fraud, Insider Trading, Manipulation of Stock Prices, Concealment of Known Flaws in Voting Machines and Company Structural Problems
    By Brad Friedman on 12/13/2005 12:15pm PT  

    The BRAD BLOG can now report that a Securities Fraud Class Action suit has been filed against Diebold, Inc. (stock symbol: DBD) naming eight top executive officers in the company as co-defendants. The suit has been filed by plaintiff Janice Konkol, alleging securities fraud against the North Canton, Ohio-based manufacturer of Voting Systems and ATM machines on behalf of investors who owned shares of Diebold stock and lost money due to an alleged fraudulent scheme by the company and its executives to deceive shareholders during the "class period" of October 22, 2003 through September 21, 2005.

    The suit was filed today in U.S. Federal District Court in Ohio and alleges the company "artificially inflated" stock prices through misleading public information designed to conceal the true nature of Diebold's financial and legal situation. The defendants are also alleged to have attempted to disguise well-known and ongoing problems with Diebold's Voting Machine equipment and software. Additionally, the suit alleges insider trading by defendants resulting in proceeds of $2.7 million. Remedies are sought under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

    The suit, filed by the law firm Scott+Scott, LLC on behalf of Konkol and the plaintiff class, names former Diebold CEO and Chairman, Walden O'Dell as a co-defendant along with seven other current and former officers of the once-venerable company.

    News of the pending litigation was first reported as imminent in an exclusive report by The BRAD BLOG late last week.

    Yesterday, in a surprise announcement, O'Dell unexpectedly resigned from the company. A Diebold press release described O'Dell as leaving the company for "personal reasons". He was immediately replaced by the company's president and chief operating officer, Thomas W. Swidarski, who had directly overseen Diebold's Election Systems subsidiary division for some time. Swidarski is also named as a co-defendant in today's class action suit.

    After news was released of weaker-than-expected third-quarter earnings on September 21, Diebold stock prices plummeted 15.5% in unusually heavy trading that resulted in a one day sell-off costing investors more than $40 million dollars. The complaint describes Diebold and the co-defendants as having "failed to disclose adverse facts known" to the company and that they "participated in a fraudulent scheme and course of business that operated as a fraud."

    The suit, to be released in full by The BRAD BLOG shortly, (UPDATE: Full suit now available for download here) alleges Diebold and the eight co-defendants failed to alert investors to adverse facts known to the company, choosing instead to participate in a "fraudulent scheme and course of business" that operated as a fraud or deceit on the company's shareholders.

    The suit describes the liabilities of the company and co-defendants as follows...

    --- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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    By Brad Friedman on 12/12/2005 9:47pm PT  

    In all the hubbub that occured this afternoon vis a vis Diebold, I want to make sure that you folks noticed the previous EXCLUSIVE concerning Conyers and the Downing Street/Iraq business. It's an important story that may have gotten buried by the news about everyone's favorite American Voting Machine company which followed quickly on its heels.

    The earlier story we reported is important as it signals that there is much to come from the Judiciary Committee Dems in regard to the use, misuse and/or abuse of pre-war intel. The story was also updated a bit with comments from AfterDowningStreet.org's David Swanson after I originally published. And our sources say there will likely be additional notable headlines along with all of this in the next week or so...So stay tuned...

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    By John Gideon on 12/12/2005 8:12pm PT  

    Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

    The big news for today is the surprise resignation of Wally O'Dell as chairman and CEO of Diebold. It is apparent from the Diebold press release and from MSM news articles that the resignation was not on friendly terms and that Wally may have been forced out. The news from Ohio is grim. The state senate is sure to pass HB-3 which will strip much of the voting rights from citizens of the state....

    --- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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    Controversial, Partisan Head of Voting Machine Company Steps Down Citing 'Personal Reasons'
    Fraud Securities Litigation --- as previously reported in a BRAD BLOG Exclusive --- is Imminent! Most likely to be filed on Tuesday!
    By Brad Friedman on 12/12/2005 1:47pm PT  

    Diebold, Inc. (stock symbol: DBD) CEO Walden O'Dell has resigned due to what company officials describe in a press release as "personal reasons". Reuters is reporting that O'Dell will be replaced by the company's president and chief operating officer, Thomas Swidarski.

    As The BRAD BLOG reported exclusively late last week, the filing of a securities fraud class action litigation against the company, O'Dell and other current and former members of their Board of Directors is now imminent. The BRAD BLOG has learned that the case may be filed in Ohio Federal District court as early as today or tomorrow. We will, of course, have more details when that occurs.

    O'Dell has faced a great deal of criticism for his statement to Republican fundraisers, prior to the 2004 Presidential Election, that Diebold he (see correction explanation below) was committed to delivering the electoral vote of the state of Ohio to George W. Bush. O'Dell was part of Bush's "Rangers and Pioneers," a group of individuals who had raised at least $100,000 each for Bush/Cheney's 2004 re-election campaign.

    In the wake of the controversy concerning O'Dell's involvement with the Bush/Cheney campaign, a corporate policy was instituted to disallow involvement in political campaign by senior executives at the company. A report in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer late last week, however, revealed that several Diebold executives had continued to donate to GOP campaigns even after the policy was enacted. The new CEO, Swidarski appears to have given the maximum allowable $2000 contribution himself to George W. Bush's campign in 2004.

    Diebold, along with Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S) are the two largest Voting Machine Companies in America. Between them, they account for equipment which tallies more than 80% of America's votes.

    The North Canton, Ohio-based company has faced several recent financial and upper-level management problems. A recent plummet of 15.5% in the once-venerable company's stock price occurred just days after another BRAD BLOG exclusive in which we reported on a company insider, dubbed "DIEB-THROAT", who had drawn comparisons in the companies management to the now-bankrupt Enron.

    A source (not DIEB-THROAT) familiar with the company is intrigued by the news and expressed amazement that O'Dell is stepping down as both CEO and Chairman of the Board. "This was his baby," commented the source to BRAD BLOG. The source suggests this move "has the earmarks of an internal coup d'etat" given the dearth of other explanations beyond "personal reasons" as given by the company for O'Dell's departure.

    As we reported last Thursday in our exclusive concerning Diebold's mounting legal problems, the company has been plagued by such issues for some time.

    A "Privileged and Confidential" document [PDF] from Diebold's law firm Jones Day was leaked to the Oakland Tribune last year revealing the companies legal fees for just one two month period in the state of California were estimated at $535,000 - $925,000. The document discussed costs related to a $2.6 million dollar settlment the company eventually reached with the state, and outlined fees for "legal analysis of potential criminal violations," "White collar criminal law attorney pre-grand jury investigative advice" and even costs to "Monitor selected Web sites to gain key intelligence."

    Our source, DIEB-THROAT was not surprised to hear of the pending litigation. "I am not surprised that such a lawsuit has developed [as] the company consistently offered Wall Street deceptive information."

    The BRAD BLOG has been told there will be details on the litigation within the next 24 hours. We will, of course, report all such developments once they are confirmed.

    CORRECTION: A reader correctly pointed out that O'Dell promised that he, not necessarily his company, Diebold, as we originally reported, was committed to delivering the state of Ohio to George W. Bush in the 2004 election in his now-infamous fundraising letter to Republicans. More details here on that letter, here....

    More on our DIEB-THROAT reports can be found here. Your DONATIONS to BRAD BLOG help allow us to continue our work. Thanks for whatever assistance you can provide.
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    Domains Re-Directed to Ranking Judiciary Committee Democrat's Website
    Names Suggest Report on DSM and Manipulation of Pre-War Intel by Bush Admin May be Imminent...
    By Brad Friedman on 12/12/2005 1:21pm PT  

    The BRAD BLOG has learned that the "Conyers for Congress" committee has registered a series of Internet domain names that may suggest a forthcoming report based on ongoing investigations held by the Ranking Minority member of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. The domain names, including dsmreport.com, dsmreport.net, iraqreport.net, thedsmreport.com, thedsmreport.net, theiraqreport.com and theiraqreport.net are all set for automatic re-direction to Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) personal campaign website, JohnConyers.com.

    Conyers had led hearings earlier this year concerning the so-called "Downing Street Documents", a series of leaked memos from high-level British officials revealing the Bush Administration's determination to topple Saddam Hussein via military means, concluding that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," according to the officials after meeting with the Bush Administration. All of that, even as the Administration was telling both Congress and the American people that they were working toward a diplomatic solution to the Iraq situation.

    Those hearings on the "Downing Street Documents" have become known as "the basement hearings", since they were held in a small room in the basement of the U.S. Capital Building after Republican lawmakers refused to give Democrats on the Judiciary Committee access to a regular Congressional hearing room. On the same day the hearings were held, June 16th of this year, GOP House Leadership scheduled a record number of votes in the chamber in an attempt, as several Democrat lawmakers have charged, to disrupt the basement proceedings, which were carried live at the time by C-SPAN.

    Conyers staffers have no on-the-record comment at this time regarding the intended use for the recently registered domain names. Information on the registration records for the domains has been protected, so The BRAD BLOG was unable to determine the exact date of registration.

    John Conyers' and his Judiciary Committee staff had previously released a landmark 100+ page report on the irregularities that marred the 2004 Presidential Election debacle in the state of Ohio. That report was given to all House and Senate lawmakers on the day the Electoral Votes from the Buckeye State were debated in an historic constitutional challenge to the validity of the results of the November 2004 elections in that state. Despite having access to Conyers' detailed report, many lawmakers claimed on the floor of Congress, during the debate of the Electoral Challenge, that "there was no evidence" to suggest anything had gone wrong in Ohio's much-maligned 2004 election, resulting in the seating of Electoral College Voters for George W. Bush.

    MORE...David Swanson, co-founder of AfterDowningStreet.org comments to BRAD BLOG: "When Congressman Conyers and his brilliant staff release an analysis of the lies that launched this war, it will be the first draft of a history that our media has been more an actor than an analyst in. This report should light up the internet brighter than an oil fire!"

    More information on the registration of the domain names was obtained by Ron Brynaert. It appears that the domains were all registered on either December 9th or 10th (last Friday and Saturday) of this year.

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    Lawmakers Seek Inquiry in Wake of Revelations that Bush DoJ Appointees Overruled Staff Recommendations Against New Election Laws
    Growing Unease Reported Amongst Hill Republicans Who Are 'Beginning to Realize They May Not Control All Branches of Government Forever...'
    By Brad Friedman on 12/12/2005 12:26pm PT  

    According to Matthew Cardinale of Atlanta Progressive News, 5 US senators and 13 members of the House of Representatives have now called for a probe of the Department of Justice in light of two recent cases where political appointees have overruled the recommendations of professional staff attorneys in giving preclearance to new electoral laws which fall under the jurisdication of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

    Among the legislators exploring the possibility of congressional inquiry is Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA).

    Not listed in Cardinale's report of those calling for the probe is Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), the ranking minority member of the House Judiciary Committee. Conyers announced he will request House Judiciary chair James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) to schedule hearings, in a press release issued on the same day that Washington Post's Dan Eggen first broke the story of a 73-page DoJ memo, that revealed eight staffers, including the lead attorney in the Voting Rights department, had unanimously recommended against approval of the now-infamous 2002 redistricting of the Texas congressional map.

    Previously, Eggen had reported on another leaked memo from DoJ, revealing that four out of five DoJ staffers had recommended against preclearance for a new Photo ID requirement at the polls in the state of Georgia. In that case, Bush's attorney general also ignored the staff recommendation and allowed the law to move forward without objection. Section 5 of the 40 year-old Voting Rights Act mandates that certain states with a history of disenfranchisement must receive pre-approval from the DoJ for new electoral laws which could disproportionately effect minorities in those states. The Georgia law was later found to be unconstitutional by two Federal courts, who found the law to be the equivalent of a "Jim Crow-era poll tax."

    The Texas redistricting case faces court challenges ahead, and one hill insider explained to The BRAD BLOG that "some of this stuff is on such shaky legs, [the Justice Department] may find themselves embarrassed in some of these cases." UPDATE: The Supreme Court has now agreed to hear a challenge to the Texas redistricting case.

    "We're talking about areas where the Justice Department is supposed to be a safety valve, a watchdog. Without that, you have the abilitity to have states that can disenfranchise voters with little redress for the minority voters in those states," the staffer explained.

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