Stop thief! Demand grows to safeguard 2004 vote

WASHINGTON – A request for United Nations observers to prevent the theft of the 2004 elections has sparked an outpouring of support in the face of Republican attacks.

Florida Rep. Corrine Brown, one of 13 House members who asked the UN to send observers, has been flooded with messages of support since July 15 when Republicans stripped from the House record her speech accusing George W. Bush of stealing the 2000 election and scheming to do it again in 2004.

The uproar came when Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Ind.) introduced and the House approved a measure barring any federal official from requesting UN observers to monitor U.S. elections. The gag order was in response to a July 1 letter sent by the 13 House members to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan requesting UN observers to prevent a repeat of the 2000 election debacle.

Brown angrily addressed the Republicans on the House floor. “I come from Florida where you and others participated in what I call the United States coup d’état,” she thundered. “We need to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Over and over after you stole the election, you came back here and said, ‘Get over it.’ No, we’re not going to get over it and we want verification from the world.”

Buyer demanded that her words be stricken from the record and the Republican-controlled House complied. Brown returned to the House floor the next day. She called the deletion of her remarks “just another example of the Republican Party’s attempt to cover up what happened in the 2000 election” and hide “their preparations for stealing this year’s election as well.”

In Duval County, which she represents, 27,000 ballots were thrown out in 2000, mostly in heavily Black precincts of Jacksonville, Brown said, part of an illegal, unconstitutional purge of voting rolls. “I saw what happened in my district,” she said, “and there remains a dangerous possibility that we may see a repeat of the flagrant violations of civil rights in the upcoming 2004 election.”

Brown called for a “neutral party, like the United Nations or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe … to oversee and monitor our elections in an unbiased manner.”

The courageous stand of these lawmakers recalls the “We Charge Genocide” petition exposing U.S. government-sanctioned lynching and systematic oppression of African Americans which Paul Robeson and David Simon, Brown’s press secretary, told the World, “Since her speech, our office has been flooded with calls 90 percent or more supporting Congresswoman Brown. The messages are coming not only from her Florida constituents but also from California, Texas, and many other states.”

Sandy Wayland, legislative chairperson of the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition, echoed Brown’s warnings. Direct recording electronic voting machines (DREs) that provide no verifiable paper record have been installed across Florida. Her coalition mobilized statewide against Florida Senate Bill 3004, which would have blocked recounts on touch-screen voting machines, Wayland told the World. “We mounted such a strong effort that the language was removed.”

But Gov. Jeb Bush and his secretary of state, Glenda Hood, imposed the ban on vote recounts through an administrative rule. Said Wayland, “They want to eliminate recounts, period. We are demanding audits of all these machines in Florida’s Aug. 31 primary. We want to address this issue before the Nov. 2 election, not after.”

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has announced formation of a network of lawyers and election experts in every state to monitor the vote Nov. 2.

Speaking to thousands of NAACP convention delegates in Philadelphia, July 15, Kerry said, “A million African Americans disenfranchised in the last election – well, we’re not just going to sit there and wait for it to happen. On Election Day in your cities, my campaign will provide teams of election observers and lawyers to monitor the elections and we will enforce the law.”

Newsweek revealed that DeForest Soaries, Republican director of the federal Election Assistance Commission, wants Congress to grant Bush power to “cancel or reschedule” the Nov. 2 election in the event of a “terrorist” attack.

This plan to seize dictatorial power is not new. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 52, authorizing the mass detention of 400,000 people in the event of “civil unrest” protesting a U.S. invasion of Central America.

It was part of a plot, code-named Rex-84 Alpha, cooked up by the National Security Council under the direction of Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North. It called for suspending the Constitution, placing the nation under martial law and canceling the 1984 election.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was to work with 34 other agencies, running the nation as an open police state. FEMA actually carried out a secret dress rehearsal of this fascist-like operation from April 5-15, 1984.

During the Iran-Contra hearings, Rep. Jack Brooks (D-Texas) attempted to ask North about Rex-84 Alpha, also called “Operation Garden Plot.” Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), chair of the hearings, reminded Brooks, “We agreed not to get into that subject.”

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