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Excoriates State Officials Who Are Attacking Leon County, FL Election Supervisor for Exposing Security Flaw in Their Diebold Voting Systems
By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2006 4:11pm PT  

If you haven't read already what's happening down in Florida to Leon County's Election Supervisor/Hero Ion Sancho, see this article from yesterday.

On Tuesday, Fred Grimm of the Miami-Herald wrote a tremendous editorial in support of Sancho worth reading in it's entirety. It's slightly out of date, since it says that two of the three Voting Machine Companies certified to do business in Florida have refused to do business with Sancho (all three have now done so, as we reported yetserday). Nonetheless, Grimm offers tremendous support to the heroic Sancho. His editorial starts this way:

Ion Sancho may be a hero in California, where grateful election officials have verified the ''serious security vulnerabilities'' in Diebold voting machines that the Leon County election supervisor uncovered last year.

Sancho is regarded a little differently in Florida.

Florida's secretary of state's office disparaged Sancho's finding, demonstrating considerably more interest in propping up vendors than protecting elections.

California, alarmed by Sancho's report, dispatched its independent, expert-laden Voting Systems Technology Assessment Advisory Board to conduct its own investigation.

Florida, meanwhile, threatened to sue Sancho.

The piece goes on to outline a letter of support sent to Sancho from David Wagner, a University of California computer scientist on California's assessment team which confirmed Sancho's findings of hackable Diebold voting machines. (That report, amazingly, was actually used as a basis to certify Diebold in California anyway!)

Wagner says, "Our report found all of Ion Sancho's concerns were valid and, in fact, worse than anyone realized...This is incredible how he has been treated...He's the leader everyone else in the nation has been watching."

Grimm concludes by quoting Wagner this way:

"If they can drive out Ion Sancho, this is going to have a chilling effect on election supervisors across the country."

He e-mailed Sancho: "I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know that some of us are grateful for your dedication to election security, even if the state of Florida can't bring themselves to thank you.

''In my mind,'' Wagner added, "You are a real hero."

In Florida, real heroes just catch hell.

The Florida Secretary of State, who has threatened [PDF] punishment of Sancho (and possible removal from office) if he doesn't do business with one of the three Voting Machine Companies certified to do business in Florida --- all three of whom have now refused to do business with him --- can be emailed with your opinions of their treatment of Sancho and their disregard for reliable, accurate and transparent elections at this web page.




Failure Rate So High on Memory Cards in Summit County Test, They Were Thrown Out for a New Batch...Which Then Also Failed!
By John Gideon on 3/9/2006 3:51pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

In preparation for a May 2 primary, election officials in Summit Co., OH began testing their new ES&S optical scan voting machines. The Akron Beacon Journal announced today that ES&S has isolated the problem to a memory card made by one of their contractors.

The article also reveals that the county is not doing the testing themselves.

A consulting company that Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell hired has been in the county since Monday testing all the new voting equipment before its planned use May 2.

Why would a county that has to conduct elections on their own equipment allow a consulting company hired by the Secretary of State, do the testing?

The article goes on to explain the memory card problem in more detail:

Tests on Monday and Tuesday showed that about 30 percent of the computer memory cards --- which should read and store vote tabulations --- did not work, Elections Board Director Bryan Williams said. ``We are noticing a high failure rate,'' he said Wednesday.

Election Systems & Software in Omaha, Neb., makes the machines. Williams said ES&S officials believe they have isolated the problem to the computer cards produced by one of its subcontractors. ES&S contracts with several companies to make the memory cards, Williams said.

"We're looking into the extent to which this affects others,'' said Ellen Bogard, spokeswoman for ES&S. "It will be remedied if there are other cards that need to be replaced.''

The first 177 cards tested Monday worked flawlessly, Williams said. When testing began on the remaining 348 cards, however, the failure rate was so high that the rest were thrown out. ES&S had a second batch of cards sent to Akron on Tuesday, but Williams said those cards experienced a similar failure rate. He said a third batch is expected to arrive today.

Unanswered questions abound. How many other ES&S customers have these bad memory cards? How many of these other customers will go into elections without knowing that their memory cards are bad? How many of the problems with ES&S machines in Texas on Tuesday are a result of bad memory cards? Does ES&S have any Quality Control at all?




By David Edwards on 3/9/2006 8:02am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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Tavis Smiley interviews former U.N. Inspector Scott Ritter who has a new book out titled "Iraq Confidential : The Untold Story of the Intelligence Conspiracy to Undermine the UN and Overthrow Saddam Hussein" (Official Site, Amazon page).

Ritter puts together the evidence of an Iraq intelligence conspiracy by connecting the dots with known facts and media reports. The Administrations of George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush are all implicated in falsifying intelligence for the purpose of creating regime change in Iraq.

Ritter alleges that the United States purposefully undermined the authority of the U.N. by voting for sanctions against Iraq that would be lifted when inspectors could verify that all weapons of mass destruction had been removed. Officials in the Bush #1 and Clinton administrations admitted that the sanctions would never be lifted regardless of the removal of Saddam's WMDs. The official policy of the United States was to impose permanent sanctions until Saddam was removed from power. The U.S. policy effectively undermined the credibility and authority of the U.N. Security Council.

Scott Ritter goes on to explain that Iraq under control of Saddam Hussein was never a direct threat to the security of the United States. All disputes could have been solved with focused diplomacy. Ritter says that no American lives needed to be lost over the fabricated threat that Iraq posed.

Ritter points out the Neo-conservative group that gained power under President Reagan as the primary driver of this conspiracy to manipulate the CIA and intelligence data about Iraq's WMD, undermine the United Nations, and the remove Saddam Hussein at all costs.

The Neocons are still in power and the conspiracy outlined by Scott Ritter continues to control U.S. foreign policy today.




Texas Primary Augurs Upcoming E-Trouble in E-Merica...
By Brad Friedman on 3/8/2006 7:18pm PT  

Texas held their first round of Primary Elections last night since adding new electronic voting equipment to loads of counties around the state. It was one of the first Primary Elections to occur since the Help America Voting Act (HAVA) kicked in this year.

If today's 'Daily Voting News' by John Gideon is any indication, America is in for one hell of a mess this year. Take a look at just a few of the headlines from just the Texas section of today's DVN...and keep in mind that usually the real problems held in 'E-Lections' don't even begin to surface until some time after Election Day...

  • TX: Galveston County - New voting system, same problems (Hart eSlate and eScan) LINK
  • TX: Jefferson County - Voting woes mar debut of electronic ballots (ES&S iVotronic) LINK
  • TX: Jefferson County - Confusion mars new voting process LINK
  • TX: Robertson County - Robertson County vote tallies delayed (ES&S AutoMark) LINK
  • TX: Tom Green County - Computer problems delay election returns (Hart eScan) LINK
  • TX: Webb County - Cuellar defeats Rodriguez in congressional grudge match (Counting problems � ES&S) LINK
  • TX: Webb and Bexar County - 'Glitches' get blame in Webb (ES&S) LINK
  • We have a feeling it's gonna be a very long year...




    By David Edwards on 3/8/2006 4:36pm PT  

    Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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    Abu Dhabi TV which is located in The United Arab Emirates broadcasts this report on prisoner abuse by "Iraqis and Americans" in Iraq.

    Amnesty International found crimes so severe that they are considered "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity." They also found that American forces have detained 14,000 Iraqis.

    Iraqis that have been released are almost never given an explanation for their detention or compensation. In the video, one Iraq can seen being released decrying his imprisonment as "terrorism! terrorism! terrorism!"

    Today, the United States Department of State released a report claiming human rights violations by The United Arab Emirates and the Iraqi Police. The report even hinted at abuses by the U.S.




    Leon County Election Supervisor Alleges 'Breach of Contract' After Security Test Revealed Hackable Elections Possible on Diebold Optical-Scan Systems!
    E-Voting Monolith and 'Competitors' All Refuse to do Business with County Unless the Elected Ion Sancho is 'Removed from Office'
    By Brad Friedman on 3/8/2006 2:26pm PT  

    Ion Sancho is fighting back.

    Sancho, the Election Supervisor of Leon County, Florida who exposed a number of security flaws in Electronic Voting Machines made by the Diebold corporation of North Canton, Ohio, today launched legal "breach of contract" proceedings against the company. The action has been filed on behalf of the Leon County Supervisor of Elections office.

    In a conversation moments ago with Sancho, he confirmed to The BRAD BLOG that "we filed a breach action this morning, pursuant to a contract which notifies Diebold we are pursuing all available options."

    The breach concerns Diebold's refusal to deliver their latest operating system for the optical scan voting systems which had previously been used in Leon County --- until Sancho discovered an alarming security flaw in the system at the end of last year.

    "According to our contract with Diebold," Sancho explained, "we have to give them 30 days notice. And so we are requiring them to answer by March 21, as to how they intend to repair the breach."

    The only two other Voting Machine Vendors, ES&S and Sequoia Voting Systems, have now officially refused to do business with Leon County and Sancho in the wake of a series of security evaluations held last year in the county on actual Diebold equipment. With the state threatening Sancho with legal action themselves if he is not able to implement a voting system which requires with the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA), Sancho had been forced to attempt to do business again with Diebold.

    The most infamous of the security evaluations held last year by Sancho was a "hack test" in December of Diebold's optical scan voting system. That mock election test revealed that election results could be completely flipped on Diebold's optical-scan system without a trace of the hack being left behind.

    With all three companyies now refusing to do business with him, and pressure being applied from Diebold as well as state and local officials to do "do something about Sancho" - he now finds himself with no other choice but to fight back against Diebold, and face this "titanic clash" head on...

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




    By David Edwards on 3/8/2006 12:13pm PT  

    Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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    The Bush Administration has ordered investigations into who blew the whistle leaked information about NSA domestic spying and information about secret CIA prisons.

    Employees of the CIA and other agencies have been questioned and forced to undergo polygraph testing. The Justice Department has warned that journalists may also be prosecuted under Federal espionage laws.

    This video is a segment from Monday's MSNBC Countdown. Craig Crawford discusses the chilling effect this attack has on the ability to report information about the government. In effect, we are quickly getting to the point where only official information released by the government can be reported by the media.

    You may also want to take a look at this video at C&L where David Gergen rails against the Bush Admin. for being worse than Nixon about secrecy and the press.




    Delegation Seeks U.N. Help to Avoid Civil War, Hardships for Women, Children Under U.S. Occupation
    By Brad Friedman on 3/7/2006 10:04pm PT  

    Meant to post this yesterday...From Reuters...

    Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war activist whose son was killed in the Iraq war, was arrested with three other protesters in New York on Monday after a rally with women from Iraq.
    ...
    On Monday, she had joined a delegation of women from Iraq at the rally at the United Nations, urging the United Nations to help prevent civil war in Iraq.
    ...
    Entisar Mohammad Ariabi, a pharmacist at Baghdad's Yarmook Teaching Hospital, wept as she told reporters of the hardships experienced by Iraqi women.

    "U.S. occupation has destroyed our country, made it into a prison," she said. "Schools are bombed, hospitals are bombed."

    "We thank you, Mr. Bush, for liberating our country from Saddam. But now, go out! Please go out!" she said.




    (With a Nod to your Friendly Neighborhood BRAD BLOG)
    By Brad Friedman on 3/7/2006 9:49pm PT  

    A bit alarmist, perhaps, for our personal taste (though we've misunderstimated the amount of needed "alarm" in the past), Chris Floyd covers the state of American Democracy and the Rise of the Machines in Russia's Moscow Times.

    Chris, of Empire Burlesque, who has popped up from time to time as a friendly BRAD BLOG Guest Blogger, covers some of our Diebold/California coverage in his article. So we have no complaints. And couldn't be prouder.

    If only American Media would cover the fall of American Democracy as closely as the Moscow Times does. Remember what the Wingnuts like to say: The world is watching.




    By David Edwards on 3/7/2006 2:58pm PT  

    Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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    Senator Pat Roberts convinced Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee to vote to kill an investigation into the NSA domestic spying scandal. Instead of an investigation, Republican Senators Hagel, Snow and Dewine agreed to create a new subcommittee that would oversee future domestic spying by the NSA.

    Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller said that "this is an unprecedented bow to political pressure from the White House."




    Two Completely Unrelated News Stories
    By Brad Friedman on 3/7/2006 12:29pm PT  

    Today, Tom DeLay faces his first primary battle for re-election down in Texas since being indicted on money-laundering and conspiracy charges.

    Tonight, he'll be back in D.C. at a fundraiser held by lobbyists. Smartly done.

    Over the weekend, an ES&S IVotronic touch-screen voting machine was stolen from the house of an election judge. That, despite the water-tight security that American Election Officials are known for across the globe. (Just ask Linda Lamone in Maryland.)

    To be clear, however, all four of the counties in DeLay's 22nd congressional district, use Hart-Intercivic machines and not ES&S machines. It's just an unfortunate coincidence that we can't help but think about Tom DeLay, Elections, Voting Machines and Theft all at the same time. Oh, well.




    By Brad Friedman on 3/7/2006 11:38am PT  

    They were abruptly removed from the air last week, and replaced with yet another Christian radio station.

    This week, Air America Phoenix is fighting back to rise from the ashes, perhaps as soon as April if you can help with money and/or noise.




    By David Edwards on 3/7/2006 9:09am PT  

    Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com

    A Denver teacher, Jay Bennish, was suspended after he made a loose comparison between Bush's and Hilter's foreign policies. A student made an audio recording of the teacher's comments. The same student may have been attempting to draw provocative comments from the teacher by asking specific questions.

    Instead of contacting the teacher or the school, the parents "shopped" the audio tape around to different right-wing radio shows. Both the teacher and the student have now been suspended.

    NBC Today had the first exclusive interview with Bennish. He says that he has had a great deal of support from his students and community. The parents of the student that made the audio tape still have not contacted him.


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    ADDITIONAL THOUGHT FROM BRAD: While the Wingnut Media has spent hours upon hours trashing this obscure, previously unknown high-school teacher from a small town in Colorado for the answers he gave to the recording-student in front of a few dozen classmates, to date, we're unaware of any of those same Wingnuts having aired Ann Coulter's recent "Raghead Speech".

    Her speech was given as the keynote address, to a packed house of thousands and a standing ovation at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held a couple of weeks ago in D.C. The CPAC is the nation's largest and most important "Conservative" annual gathering and featured other speakers such as Dick Cheney and Bill Frist etc. Coulter also discussed the assassination of Bill Clinton and the bombing of the Supreme Court in her speech. The entire speech can be heard here on BRAD BLOG (if not on Rush, O'Reilly, Hannity et al, where you can hear the high-school teacher's lecture to a few dozen students over and over again.)

    ALSO...: Newshounds has great coverage of how Hannity et al, are taking Bennish's comments out of context and mis-quoting him, etc. to fit their own agenda and to fool their gullible, captive audiences who seem to be less educated than the high schoolers Bennish was speaking to.




    Three Republican Candidates Threaten DeLay
    Absentee Ballot Problem Sends Bush to Vote in Texas
    By David Edwards on 3/7/2006 7:26am PT  

    Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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    Tom DeLay faces three Republican challengers in today's Sugerland Primary Election but he isn't sticking around for the results. DeLay is on his way back to Washington for a fund-raiser.

    In related news, President Bush is flying to Texas today to vote. It has been reported that an aide made a mistake with his absentee ballot.




    Nominated 9 Times in the First Round! (Thanks!)
    By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2006 9:31pm PT  

    Wow. We've made it through the first rounds with 9 nominations in 6 different categories of Wampum's "Koufax 2005 Blog Awards!" And we didn't even need to call in Harri Hursti! Thanks to all for getting us there!

    And now, the next round of voting begins. Please vote BRAD BLOG into the Semi-Finals if you're so inclined!

    There are links to all of the categories on this post. Otherwise, hit any or all of the following links where you are inclined to vote for us, and leave a vote in the Comments section at the bottom!

    I'll try to keep this at the top when I can, as a reminder to vote while it's still allowed for the next few days in this round. Be sure to check out some of the other superb nominated blogs while you're there!




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