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Lou Dobbs discovers Smartmatic

By Aleksander Boyd

London 08.06.06 | US main stream media has finally realised the importance of exposing the shoddy connections of Smartmatic, the e-voting machine vendor that has served so well the electoral purposes of the Venezuelan militaristic caudillo, in their attempt at messing about with USA's democracy. Many reports about Smartmatic have been written by me and others and published in this site over the years. As a matter of fact, following the lead of Venezuelan journalist Orlando Ochoa Teran, I broke the news nearly a year ago about the suspect network of shell companies behind Smartmatic. Dobbs' and others' interest stems from the fiasco that a Sequoia-run election held in Chicago on March 21 this year, resulted in officials of Cook County denouncing the inadequate performance of e-voting machines purchased to Sequoia, which is a fully owned subsidiary of Smartmatic. But there are, in my view, issues that neither Dobbs nor Representative Maloney, Congresswoman who filed a request with Treasury Secretary John Snow to enquire whether or not the acquisition of Sequoia by Smartmatic had been vetted by the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS), have addressed.

Firstly, much has been said by Sequoia, Smartmatic and Venezuelan officials in regards to the re-purchase of the 28% stake that the Chavez administration had in Smartmatic. However, to this day, no credible, or otherwise, evidence has surfaced to support that claim. According to investigations of Ochoa Teran, Venezuela's Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel and Venezuelan Ambassador to the USA Bernardo Alvarez Herrera are intimately related, either through long time friendship or consanguinity relationship, to the directors of Smartmatic. Furthermore according to registry documents, that went missing after the Miami Herald blew the whistle, the names associated to the company are Alfredo Anzola, Antonio Mugica and families Gabaldon-Anzola and Herrera-Oropeza. The incorporation of Smartmatic took place in the Fifth Mercantile Registry, located in the ground floor of tower B in “Cubo Negro” building in Chuao Caracas. Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel's daughter -lawyer Gisela Rangel Avalos de D'Armas was, at the time, the head of the said registry.

Secondly let me point out to readers that it was none other than Jorge Rodriguez, former electoral boss of Venezuela, who travelled to Italy early in 2004 to purchase and supervise the production of the lottery-cum-electronic-voting-machines from Olivetti Tecnost. Why was Rodriguez, and not a Smartmatic official, the one in charge of overseeing and purchasing these machines?

Third no attempt has been made by Smartmatic to clarify who are its real owners. Antonio Mugica and Alfredo Anzola, an unknown couple of callous and inexperienced technicians, were granted contracts for more than $130 millions to conduct elections in Venezuela, without bidding process and lacking credentials and expertise to organize such complex events. Why, if not because they were related to high officials of the Chavez regime?

Fourthly, what particular interests do these two have, if not to follow blindly orders from above, to enter and seek participation in US elections? Mind you two clueless Venezuelan aficionados with notoriously suspect relationships embarking, all of a sudden, in aggressive international expansion plans?

Fifth, all the electoral processes in which Smartmatic has been involved in Venezuela are highly contested for no one in the country, lest of course officialdom, trusts those devices, especially after the discovery that the machines keep the voting sequence, which compromises the secrecy and integrity of elections. How can it be expected then that these people are going to act differently in a country defined by their partner and financial benefactor as the enemy?

Lou Dobbs, Representative Maloney, Alderman Burke and all democracy loving Americans in fact would do well in raising the alarm and keeping Smartmatic and its subsidiaries well clear of US electoral processes, for democracy is not best served by the use of e-voting machines that can be tampered with so easily. In point of fact final results of the legislative elections held in Venezuela in December 4th 2005 are still to be announced by the Venezuelan electoral authorities according to the final report released by the electoral observation mission deployed by the OAS, in spite of supposedly counting on Smartmatic, provider of the 'world's most advanced' voting technology.

They should also take a keen interest in checking the PR firm in New York City that does the bidding and runs the media strategy for Smartmatic and Sequoia: Group SJR (http://www.groupsjr.com) and Mr. Mitchell Stoller, 212-751-3327, email mstoller@groupsjr.com. Their services to Smartmatic are referred to thusly:

Managed communications for a global provider of voting solutions during its acquisition of the largest US competitor, an all-cash transaction with a top UK public company.

Group SJR also takes pride in the following:

Created a New York Times campaign celebrating the first successful country-wide implementation of an electronic voting solution for the world's leading system provider.

To conclude a piece of advice to Americans: be extremely wary of 'voting solutions from the world's leading provider.'



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