By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2009, 1:43pm PT  

"I triple guarantee you, there are no American soldiers in Baghdad."
Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf (aka "Baghdad Bob"),
Iraqi Information Minister, April 2003

Michelle Shafer is the "Baghdad Bob"-in-chief of the e-voting industry. She's the VP and spokesperson for Sequoia Voting Systems and spokesperson for the e-voting industry as a whole via the Election Technology Council (ETC), a "trade group" created and sponsored by the nation's top four e-voting companies (ES&S, Sequoia, Diebold/Premier, and Hart Intercivic) to help spread their anti-science, anti-reality, pro-e-voting propaganda.

In the very last line of an article published on Thursday, on yet another e-voting related issue (which we may cover in more detail later), Michelle "Baghdad Bob" Shafer is quoted thusly:

Sequoia spokeswoman Michelle Shafer noted, however, that no electronic voting system has been compromised in an election.

As irony would have it, Thursday was also the very same day that news broke of the arrest of a cabal of election official insiders --- including a circuit court judge, the school superintendent, and a number of both Democratic and Republican polling place judges --- charged with having used the electronic voting system to compromise election after election, from 2002 to 2006 in Clay County, Kentucky.

Of course, very strong evidence exists that many other elections have been similarly manipulated on electronic voting systems by election insiders (see here, for just one example), including by both election officials and employees of the various private vendors whom Shafer represents. Much of that evidence, however, has been held at arm's length from citizen election integrity advocates under the absurd argument that that information is a proprietary, legally-protected trade secret. That specious argument has been made for years by the very government-funded corporate welfare queens, like Shafer's companies, that have been paid by our government to privatize our public elections.

So it's been difficult, at least until last week, to point disinformation experts like Shafer to the very evidence that reveal her statement, repeated time and again, to be a lie --- thanks in no small part to the "trade secret" claims of folks like Shafer. Get it? It's a helluva self-perpetuating scam...

"You can go and visit those places. Nothing there, nothing at all.
There are Iraqi checkpoints. Everything is okay."

Shafer's not the only one perpetuating the fraud on the American public, of course. She's just among the most visible and the most willing to don her industry beret and lie in public statements, time and time again. Her compatriots, and the many election officials and other dupes who have bought, and continue to sell, the same line, for whatever reasons, have been more than happy to repeat her unsubstantiated claim(s) for some time. It's about all they have left following academic study, after study, after study having proven, over and over again, that their systems fail to work as promised, are insecure and are easily manipulated, most easily by insiders, in seconds' time.

Earlier this month, the Arapahoe County, CO, County Clerk, Nancy A. Doty, a willful e-voting vendor dupe and "Flat Earther," offered her own best "Baghdad Bob" impersonation by penning a laughable Denver Post op/ed headlined "Election integrity with electronic voting machines." As per usual from these folks, she blamed pollworkers for any problems that have occurred up until now, and promised that the security processes of election insiders like herself are able to keep anything untoward from happening on e-voting systems during an election.

At the center of Doty's wholly-unsubstantiated editorial, in which she dismissed scientific report after scientific report --- even the one commissioned by her own pro-e-voting Republican Sec. of State --- as "flawed evidence" and "testimony of a vocal minority that opposes the use of electronic voting equipment," she drops the old tried-and-(not)-true Shafer line:

It must be noted that there has not been one documented case of successful (or unsuccessful!) tampering with an electronic voting system during an actual election, contrary to the claims made which are not substantiated by fact.

(Wow, speaking of "not substantiated by fact," what world do you live in Ms. Doty?)

The same day that Doty's not-substantiated-by-fact editorial appeared, the Examiner's reliably loony e-voting "expert" Jan Tyler --- a former Republican election official in Denver and yes, a certifiable loon (you may peruse her coo-coo catalog of silly screeds here and decide for yourself) --- dutifully repeated Doty's mis-information, facts-be-damned, in four amusing grafs masquerading as editorial headlined "Voting technology facts fight conspiracy theories."

Those are but a few examples of the use of the industry's latest, well-worn, and now well-disabused line. All blown up in a single day, last Thursday, by the news out of Kentucky.

"Their infidels are committing suicide by the hundreds on the gates
of Baghdad. Be assured, Baghdad is safe, protected."

In a world where there wasn't a corporate-apologists' stranglehold on the American mainstream media, last Thursday's news out of the Bluegrass State would keep the e-voting "Bagdad Bobs" from being able to continue to proffer the same lies over and over again in public and subsequently in the media.

In other countries, when the facts of the failures of electronic voting have been demonstrated, even once, those countries have simply banned the practice entirely. Germany is just the latest European country to find the secrecy and insecurity of e-voting to be "unconstitutional," as determined earlier this month by that country's High Court.

But Americans don't enjoy the luxury of living in such a world. As one election integrity advocate described it most recently, the rights found inviolable in Germany's constitution, are good enough for "conquered Nazis," but apparently not inviolable enough for the very country which helped to conquer them and subsequently helped to ensure the very constitutional rights and freedoms under which they --- if not we --- must operate.

Facts, reality, science, and truth are closing in hard on the e-voting "Baghdad Bobs" out there, more and more so each day. But, with their backs against the wall, their willingness to say anything and do anything, in hopes of continuing to dupe the public into not removing their feeding tube, so they may remain on the anti-democracy, government-funded, tax payer-supported gravy train --- the rights of the citizenry to fully transparent self-governance be damned --- should not be misunderestimated.

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