Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Did Anonymous Keep Republicans from Rigging the Vote Again?

I suggest you read both of the articles reference below in their entirety, at the given links. Very informative and thought-provoking.

The first article credits publicity and law enforcement scrutiny for preventing the presidential vote from being stolen in 2012 in Ohio.

The second article reports on claims by hacktivist group Anonymoust that they foiled an attempt by the Republicans to steal the election.

It will be interesting to see future developments.

As a retired computer programmer, I know it would be possible to program voting machines to steal an election, then erase that part of its code.
Considering the other dirty tricks Karl Rove has pulled, there is no reason to doubt he would try to rig the vote in this way if he could.

Bob Fitrakis

Why Rove failed to deliver Ohio on Election Day: What happened in Ohio – this time around
November 12, 2012

Was the "fix" in on Election Day in Ohio? The questions surrounding Election Day activities in Ohio and Karl Rove’s now-infamous meltdown on Fox TV election night are causing a buzz in the election integrity movement.

Of course we do not know for sure what happened in Ohio – but we do know the circumstances were eerily similar to election tampering techniques the Free Press discovered after the 2004 election.

One major similarity was Rove's insistence to his colleagues on Fox News that the media consortium’s exit polls were wrong in Ohio. This is the same claim he made in 2004 concerning Ohio and 2000 in Florida.

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 isn’t just a Free Press claim, but is well-documented by Vanity Fair Contributing Editor Craig Unger in his book Boss Rove.

This time, the Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) vote tabulation site went down as on election night as well.


Earlier in the day, I filed suit in both federal and state courts seeking to remove uncertified and untested “experimental” software patches from county vote tabulators in at least 25 Ohio counties. Election Systems & Software (ES&S) installed the last minute software on county tabulators linked to the secretary of state's office. Coincidentally, Warren and Cuyahoga counties were two of the counties targeted with the software patch.

When the Free Press investigated Bush’s implausible 2004 victory in Ohio, we discovered ES&S and Triad technicians had placed similar last-minute unauthorized patches on tabulators in an estimated 44 Ohio counties.

All the counties that Rove mentioned on Fox News had irregularities and funny numbers in 2004.


So why didn’t Rove’s guy Romney win Ohio as Bush did in ’04? All the voter suppression tactics and usual dirty tricks seemed to be in place. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted was the new Blackwell and Romney the new Bush, but Rove proved to be the same old Rove –- operating from his 2004 election theft playbook.

This time, after Columbus Free Press articles appeared about voting machines tied to Romney and scurrilous software patches installed on Ohio tabulators, 60,000 people emailed the U.S. Department of Justice with a petition requesting an investigation of Ohio. Justice Department personnel as well as FBI agents were on the ground on Election Day in Ohio looking not only for voter suppression but also for electronic election tampering.

Election protection activists blanketed the state with a visible Video the Vote project that was based out of Columbus and also included Cleveland and Cincinnati.

Although the judges in the software patch cases denied the temporary restraining orders, the cases are still open. However, the story of the Free Press lawsuit was announced the day before Election Day, was picked up by the Associated Press, and appeared in more than 500 newspapers. Just prior to Election Day, the best reporting in Ohio was ironically coming from Channel 19 -- Fox News in Cincinnati. Also, at 12:23am on Election Day morning, posted one of the greatest anti-vote tampering deterrent articles in U.S. history. Essentially, they outlined the shaky electronic voting technology and how it might be used to tamper with votes in the United States’ foremost swing state. On the page, linked above, Forbes links to the Channel 19 Fox News report.

Under the glare of intense light activated from law enforcement, media and election protection activists, no one seemed willing to tamper this time with Ohio’s vote totals – despite the unrelenting magical numerology of Rove. This time, reality and fact-based numbers prevailed.

(Updated November 13, 2012)

Anonymous, Karl Rove and 2012 Election Fix?
Monday, 19 November 2012 16:02 By Thom Hartmann and Sam Sacks

At around 11:25 pm EST on election night, Karl Rove knew something had gone terribly wrong.


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.


“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.


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.


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.”


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.


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