Greg Palast: 2004. And in 2006 and 2004, they challenged tens of thousands of black soldiers. They stopped their votes from being counted when they were mailed in from Baghdad. Go to Baghdad and lose your vote -- mission accomplished.This is why Tim Griffin was sent to replace Bud Cummins, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Dud Cummings was apparently too law abiding for Rove to trust to kill any investigation of vote suppression or vote stealing in Arkansas.
BuzzFlash: How did they do that?
Greg Palast: By sending letters to the homes of soldiers, marked "do not forward." When they came back undelivered, they said: Aha! Illegal voter registered from a false address. And when their ballot came in from Fallujah, it was challenged. The soldier didn’t know it. Their vote was lost. Over half a million votes were challenged and lost by the Republicans -- absentee ballots. Three million voters who went to the polls found themselves challenged by the Republicans. This was not a small operation. It was a multi-million dollar, wholesale theft operation.
I’m working with Bobby Kennedy, who is a voting rights attorney. He said, “This is not just an icky, horrible thing that people do wearing white sheets. This is a felony crime.” [paraphrase] And the guy they put in charge of this criminal ring to knock out voters is a guy named Tim Griffin. Today, Tim Griffin is -- badda-bing -- U.S. Attorney for Arkansas. When they fired the honest guys, they put in the Rove-bots to fix the 2008 election. That’s what I’m saying -- it’s already being stolen, as we speak. Tim Griffin is the perpetrator who’s become the prosecutor, and that’s what’s going down right now.
Of course, the Republcans don't always conduct vote suppression. Sometimes there is nothing for it but to resort purely to good, old fashion vote stealing.
Greg Palast: I have it all in Armed Madhouse - Updated Edition, including in the three new chapters. First and foremost, is that it’s not one thing. It ain’t just electronic voting, guys. You go, oh, we have paper ballots, we’re saved, we’re saved. Bulls***! Wake up! Hello! Let’s remember that in Florida and Ohio, they didn’t have computer voting. So all the stuff about Diebold -- Ohio was not stolen by computers, because they didn’t have computers there. In fact, they were thrilled when people complained about computers because they could keep the junky punch cards in. That doesn’t mean that computers are safe. As I point out in the new chapter, the Republicans held on to Katherine Harris’ seat -- and we don’t want to think too carefully about that image -- they held onto Katherine Harris’ seat with 300 votes, while 18,000 votes disappeared in the computers. So they do use computers. That was a pure, straight-up, shoplift of the Congressional seat.The USA is the oldest Republic existing on Earth today. It has been a two century plus experiment, and my reading of twentieth century history has suggested to me that powerful industrial societies are forced to adopt many of the characteristics of a Republic. But Bush and the conservative Republicans have been proving that the dangers to a Republic that are inherent in a powerful Chief Executive who is also Commander in Chief are very real. The five decades of WW II and the Cold War allowed the forces opposing democracy to gain a great deal of power, and the end of the Cold War did not make them want to give it up.
BuzzFlash: A House committee just voted not to pursue an investigation of that election, despite the disappearance of 18,000 votes.
Greg Palast: That’s sick -- deeply, deviously sick. First of all, in New York and other states, when votes are in question, they simply redo them. People talk about recount -- forget it. Redo the vote. When the machines collapse, then there’s no question that there was monkey business.
BuzzFlash: Then why do you think --
Greg Palast: -- why don’t Democrats stand up?
BuzzFlash: The U.S. House of Representatives is controlled by Democrats. It’s like saying, well, $320 million is missing from a bank but we’re not going to investigate that.
Greg Palast: You’re forgetting it’s not about the two parties. Vote theft is mainly a racial issue in America, and it’s a class issue. The white caucus is a lot bigger than the black caucus. They don’t call the Congress a millionaire’s club for nothing. There aren’t many guys in there -- or women -- who are not millionaires. So it’s the millionaires versus us. It’s the white caucus versus the black caucus, which is of great concern. So the vote is along racial class and economic lines, not along party lines. Party lines are pretty much meaningless. There’s pretty much one party -- the party of the cash. But I’m not one of these people that says there’s no difference between the Democratic and Republican Party. The question is: is the difference meaningful? That’s all. When it comes down to voter issues, remember that the Democrats in power there were elected under the racist, broken, classist system. If you fix the voting system, a third of those Democrats could never win a primary. The last thing that they want is poor people to vote.
We are seeing the backlash against the end of the Cold War, augmented by 9/11. Terrorism is a major problem, but it is not a war, nor is it an inherent characteristic of Islamic societies. But they want to define it that way because it allows the non-democratic American nationalists to throw out the freedoms from an autocratic government that we Americans have gotten used to.
That's what this vote changing, voter suppression, vote stealing and election stealing is all about. Those given power to deal with a nuclear-armed USSR will not give up that power just because the threat is gone. They are fighting the loss of that power, but it must be taken from them. That is the lesson provided by the Bush/Cheney administration.