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CronkitePeace * DemocracyThreat * OutFoxed * DU-film

12 August 2004

"The necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for
our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude, and perseverance.
Let us remember that `if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty,
we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.' it is a very serious consideration...
that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers of the event."

-- Samuel Adams

Boston, 1771

1).Walter Cronkite: A Department Of Peace?
2) Is the Bush War on Terror or on Democracy?

- - Venezuela Floridated
- - How They Could Steal the Election This Time
- - Democrats cry fraud in Nader drive
3) AlterNet vs Fox News - Fair and Balanced?
4) "The Doctors, the Depleted Uranium, and the Dying Children"

Editor's Notes:

Walter Cronkite never ceases to amaze me with his intelligence, compassion, and insight. Where the mainstream media acts as if Dennis Kucinich is practically invisible, Cronkite gives him credibility, and simply and deliberately explains the wisdom of the Kucinich-introduced legislation for a cabinet-level U.S. Department of Peace. Perhaps John Kerry will listen to such wisdom. We know George Bush won't, as he continues to respond to a religiously distorted viewpoint of neocons stripping away our civil liberties. I much prefer to have a chance for the next President to go in a new direction; yet, as the second item details, the set-up for the theft of the 2004 election is practically in place, and even worse, headed south across the border in Venezuela. Greg Palast writes: "Will The Gang That Fixed Florida Fix the Vote in Caracas this Sunday?" Also in item 2 is an article which will be published in the August 16 issue in The Nation by Ronnie Dugger: "How They Could Steal the Election This Time." A warning for all to be prepared, and work like heck to make the upcoming election a landslide victory for John F. Kerry. Item 3 is an offer to join with AlterNet to challenge Fox News' claim for "Fair and Balanced" reporting, and at the same time, to receive a DVD or video of the new film, "OUTFOXED: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism." Item 4 is on the availability of another recently produced film that was aired on German television called "The Doctors, the Depleted Uranium, and the Dying Children." Both these films can help expose and protect a rapidly disappearing democracy in the US and world. We must stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the destruction of democracy, supported and promoted by the Bush administration and tax dollars provided by US citizens.

"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing"

-- Albert Einstein

"Our safety, our liberty, depends upon preserving the Constitution
of the United States as our Fathers made it inviolate. The people of
the United States are the rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts, not
to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution."

-- Abraham Lincoln

1).Walter Cronkite: A Department Of Peace?

King Features Syndicate

A Department Of Peace?

With this nation embroiled in what threatens to be an interminable "War on Terrorism," an idea put forward last year by Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich has, for me, considerable appeal. Kucinich, who was the one candidate in the Democratic primaries to unfailingly promote the party's traditional Franklin Roosevelt liberalism, proposed the establishment of a Department of Peace.

Now he has introduced in the House HR 2459, a bill that would establish a Peace Department, adding a new cabinet post to the executive branch of government. The Department of Peace would "advise the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State on all matters relating to national security, including the protection of human rights and the prevention of, amelioration of, and de-escalation of unarmed and armed international conflict."

The secretary of peace would serve as a delegate to the National Security Council and also would "provide training of all United States personnel who administer post-conflict reconstruction and demobilization in war-torn societies." In other words, the Department of Peace, with a highly trained and dedicated staff, would be a constant, working counterpoint to the Defense Department and its expenditure of billions of dollars to perfect the weapons of war.

The department would act not only in an international context, but also in those areas of domestic policy that endanger the nation's well-being: the proliferation of automatic weapons and the violence in our schools, our homes and in our streets, where the intolerant prey on those whose lifestyles they find offensive. It might well come up with some new strategies for turning around our losing war on drugs, and it might also lobby Congress to put an end to the cruel and unusual punishment of small-time drug offenders called "mandatory sentencing." It would also advise the attorney general on matters of civil rights and labor law. But its primary importance, it seems to me, would be in international affairs, demonstrating to the rest of the world, to borrow the old motto of the Strategic Air Command, that "peace is our profession."

Now, to some, this is going to sound terribly naive, given the current state of things and the very real, hard-edged dangers that face us. But the naiveté just might lie on the other side with those who believe that military force and our policy of pre-emption are alone sufficient to make us safe. The fact is that there is nothing in this proposal that would weaken our military posture or our ability to strike terrorists and their havens and to do whatever is necessary for the defense of the United States. But wouldn't it be an advantage to have a peer of the secretaries of defense and state whose primary responsibility it was to develop the methods and means of peaceful conflict resolution and to offer peaceful alternatives in the councils of war?

Wouldn't it have been an advantage in the run-up to the Iraq War to have had a cabinet officer whose department was responsible for training U.S. personnel in human rights, conflict resolution, reconstruction and the detailed planning necessary to restoring a durable peace; in short, to do what was so disastrously absent when our forces rolled into Baghdad?

Kucinich's bill is more elaborate and specific than I can spell out here. Right now it is a long way from realization, with only a few dozen congressional sponsors. It needs a lot more to move another step along the legislative process. Actually, there is an urgency to its adoption. In this dangerous world, where the strength of the United States is needed to keep the peace, we need a visible manifestation of our intention to play that role, without the arrogance that cost us friends and allies among the nations and peoples of the world.

But no matter how far off it might be, it is an idea that deserves our attention. We can hope that Kucinich and those who are pioneers in supporting his bill stay the course and redouble their efforts.

You can write to Walter Cronkite c/o King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or e-mail him at

2) Is the Bush War on Terror or on Democracy?

- - Venezuela Floridated
- - How They Could Steal the Election This Time
- - Democrats cry fraud in Nader drive

Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Will The Gang That Fixed Florida Fix the Vote in Caracas this Sunday?
by Greg Palast

Hugo Chavez drives George Bush crazy. Maybe it's jealousy: Unlike Mr. Bush, Chavez, in Venezuela, won his Presidency by a majority of the vote.

Or maybe it's the oil: Venezuela sits atop a reserve rivaling Iraq's. And Hugo thinks the US and British oil companies that pump the crude ought to pay more than a 16% royalty to his nation for the stuff. Hey, sixteen percent isn't even acceptable as a tip at a New York diner.

Whatever it is, OUR President has decided that THEIR president has to go. This is none too easy given that Chavez is backed by Venezuela's poor. And the US oil industry, joined with local oligarchs, has made sure a vast majority of Venezuelans remain poor.

Therefore, Chavez is expected to win this coming Sunday's recall vote. That is, if the elections are free and fair.

They won't be. Some months ago, a little birdie faxed to me what appeared to be confidential pages from a contract between John Ashcroft's Justice Department and a company called ChoicePoint, Inc., of Atlanta. The deal is part of the War on Terror.

Justice offered up to $67 million, of our taxpayer money, to ChoicePoint in a no-bid deal, for computer profiles with private information on every citizen of half a dozen nations. The choice of which nation's citizens to spy on caught my eye. While the September 11th highjackers came from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon and the Arab Emirates, ChoicePoint's menu offered records on Venezuelans, Brazilians, Nicaraguans, Mexicans and Argentines. How odd. Had the CIA uncovered a Latin plot to sneak suicide tango dancers across the border with exploding enchiladas?

What do these nations have in common besides a lack of involvement in the September 11th attacks? Coincidentally, each is in the throes of major electoral contests in which the leading candidates -- presidents Lula Ignacio da Silva of Brazil, Nestor Kirschner of Argentina, Mexico City mayor Andres Lopez Obrador and Venezuela's Chavez -- have the nerve to challenge the globalization demands of George W. Bush.

The last time ChoicePoint sold voter files to our government it was to help Governor Jeb Bush locate and purge felons on Florida voter rolls. Turns out ChoicePoint's felons were merely Democrats guilty only of V.W.B., Voting While Black. That little 'error' cost Al Gore the White House.

It looks like the Bush Administration is taking the Florida show for a tour south of the border.

However, when Mexico discovered ChoicePoint had its citizen files, the nation threatened company executives with criminal charges. ChoicePoint protested its innocence and offered to destroy the files of any nation that requests it.

But ChoicePoint, apparently, presented no such offer to the government of Venezuela's Chavez.

In Caracas, I showed Congressman Nicolas Maduro the ChoicePoint-Ashcroft agreement. Maduro, a leader of Chavez' political party, was unaware that his nation's citizen files were for sale to U.S. intelligence. But he understood their value to make mischief.

If the lists somehow fell into the hands of the Venezuelan opposition, it could immeasurably help their computer-aided drive to recall and remove Chavez. A ChoicePoint flak said the Bush administration told the company they haven't used the lists that way. The PR man didn't say if the Bush spooks laughed when they said it.

Our team located a $53,000 payment from our government to Chavez' recall organizers, who claim to be armed with computer lists of the registered. How did they get those lists? The fix that was practiced in Florida, with ChoicePoint's help, deliberate or not, appears to be retooled for Venezuela, then Brazil, Mexico and who knows where else.

Here's what it comes down to: The Justice Department averts it's gaze from Saudi Arabia but shoplifts voter records in Venezuela. So it's only fair to ask: Is Mr. Bush fighting a war on terror -- or a war on democracy?

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Greg Palast is author of the New York Times bestseller, 'The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.' This commentary is based on 'Tango Terrorists,' in the new chapter of the book's Expanded Election Edition (Penguin 2004). For Palast's reports on Venezuela for the Guardian of Britain and his exclusive interview for BBC Television with President Hugo Chavez, go to

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- - How They Could Steal the Election This Time
by Ronnie Dugger
The Nation [from the August 16, 2004 issue]


On November 2 millions of Americans will cast their votes for President in computerized voting systems that can be rigged by corporate or local-election insiders. Some 98 million citizens, five out of every six of the roughly 115 million who will go to the polls, will consign their votes into computers that unidentified computer programmers, working in the main for four private corporations and the officials of 10,500 election jurisdictions, could program to invisibly falsify the outcomes.

The result could be the failure of an American presidential election and its collapse into suspicions, accusations and a civic fury that will make Florida 2000 seem like a family spat in the kitchen. Robert Reich, Bill Clinton's Labor Secretary, has written, "Automated voting machines will be easily rigged, with no paper trails to document abuses." Senator John Kerry told Florida Democrats last March, "I don't think we ought to have any vote cast in America that cannot be traced and properly recounted." Pointing out in a recent speech at the NAACP convention that "a million African-Americans were disenfranchised in the last election," Kerry says his campaign is readying 2,000 lawyers to "challenge any place in America where you cannot trace the vote and count the votes" [see Greg Palast, "Vanishing Votes," May 17].

The potential for fraud and error is daunting. About 61 million of the votes in November, more than half the total, will be counted in the computers of one company, the privately held Election Systems and Software (ES&S) of Omaha, Nebraska. Altogether, nearly 100 million votes will be counted in computers provided and programmed by ES&S and three other private corporations: British-owned Sequoia Voting Systems of Oakland, California, whose touch-screen voting equipment was rejected as insecure against fraud by New York City in the 1990s; the Republican-identified company Diebold Election Systems of McKinney, Texas, whose machines malfunctioned this year in a California election; and Hart InterCivic of Austin, one of whose principal investors is Tom Hicks, who helped make George W. Bush a millionaire.

..According to Dr. David Dill, professor of computer science at Stanford, all elections conducted on DREs "are open to question." Challenging those who belittle the danger of fraud, Dill says that with trillions of dollars at stake in the battle for control of Congress and the presidency, potential attackers who might seek to fix elections include "hackers, candidates, zealots, foreign governments and criminal organizations," and "local officials can't stop it."

Last fall during a public talk on "The Voting Machine War" for advanced computer-science students at Stanford, Dill asked, "Why am I always being asked to prove these systems aren't secure? The burden of proof ought to be on the vendor. You ask about the hardware. 'Secret.' The software? 'Secret.' What's the cryptography? 'Can't tell you because that'll compromise the secrecy of the machines.'... Federal testing procedures? 'Secret'! Results of the tests? 'Secret'! Basically we are required to have blind faith."

"The system is much more out of control than anyone here may be willing to admit," Dr. Michael Shamos, a computer scientist at Carnegie-Mellon University and for many years an examiner of voting machines for Texas and Pennsylvania, told a House panel on June 24. "There's virtually no control over how software enters a voting machine." Shamos told another House panel on July 20, "There are no adequate standards for voting machines, nor any effective testing protocols."

Torment in Washington

..In the US Senate seven Democrats and the one Independent are co-sponsoring a bill by Senators Bob Graham and Hillary Clinton to require paper trails on DREs by November, with a loophole for jurisdictions whose officials deem it to be technologically impossible. Clinton told the press that without a voter-verified paper trail GOP-leaning corporations might program voting machines to help Republicans steal elections. In an interview in his hideaway office in the Capitol, Graham told me that he regards his and Clinton's bill as so obviously needed that it's "a no-brainer." The absence of a paper trail on the DREs could endanger "the legitimacy" of November's election, Graham said.

New Jersey Democrat Rush Holt introduced a House bill more than a year ago requiring a paper trail on DREs. It has 149 co-sponsors, including a few prominent Republicans. Holt says, "The verification has to be something that the voter herself or himself has to do"; without that, "we will never have a truly secure election." Holt's bill has opened up a partisan divide in the House. The chairman of the committee to which his bill is assigned, Ohio Republican Bob Ney, informed Holt that he is against the bill and would not allow a hearing on it. A few days later Graham and Holt wrote their fellow members of Congress that "without an independent, voter-verified paper trail, we will be able only to guess whether votes are accurately counted." Last month Ney relented and scheduled two hearings. Holt plans to offer his bill as an amendment to the Treasury appropriation after Congress returns from its August recess. Graham is still mulling his strategy..

"What are we going to do if there's a close race?" Wexler asked in the Orlando Sentinel. "The voting records of these machines will have disappeared in cyberspace." He told me angrily: "Apparently their motives are to suppress the vote in Florida in a number of different ways. They are refusing a paper trail on a computerized voting machine. They are again preparing on the felons--they've got a new and improved process. I don't trust 'em to do the right thing." This summer, Representative Alcee Hastings, whose district includes Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, exclaimed, "Any way we cut it, these people are going to try to steal this election."

..A paper trail will not assure that elections won't be stolen in the DREs. "The only thing the VVPAT will do is give us the ability to prove that it happened," says Roxanne Jekot of Cumming, Georgia, a self-taught computer specialist who has become one of the most effective activists against paperless computerized voting. "There is nothing to deter that single outsourced information-technology worker [from manipulating the machine]. Nobody can prove that he did it."

The Kids Prick Open a Scandal

Some kids who are "really interested in computers" were playing around last year, spidering through the links on various websites, when they discovered that Diebold had an unsecured FTP site (the same one Behler had used). One of the boys noted the fact on his website. Some other material on that site--not the stuff about Diebold--attracted a lot of hits, and that automatically led Google, the cyberspace search engine, to position it among the early-listed sites for many searches. One day Bev Harris, a literary publicist in Washington who was doing research for a book on vote-counting in computers, fed Google the right search words and the FTP site itself popped up. Knowing little about computers, she turned to David Allen, who was publishing her book, and he recognized the openly posted source codes and much other data concerning Diebold voting machines.

A small group of activists in Georgia worked with Harris. One of them, Roxanne Jekot, who runs a software consulting firm, analyzed "almost every line" of the Diebold source code and found many ways to change vote totals there and also in the Microsoft operating code. "The software is totally junk," she says. "They sold vaporware." Determined to get peer review of what she was finding, Jekot approached David Dill, the Stanford computer science professor.

"Both Roxanne and Bev were very courageous and determined to lift the veil of secrecy on the code," Dill says. "I think most academics would be much more cautious, especially about publishing the fact that they looked at the code. I certainly was, and I wasn't about to get other people in trouble by asking them to help me. A number of us would be inclined to talk to lawyers before doing anything too bold. So it made a huge difference that Bev posted the code in New Zealand for everyone to download. That reduced but didn't eliminate the legal risks of the Johns Hopkins/Rice University people looking at the code. If Bev and whoever else was involved in releasing this code had not been so brave, people [with strong professional reputations] might not have been able to speak out so freely."

What You Can Do

..Douglas Kellner, the New York City election expert, believes the best practical remedy for the dangers of computerized vote-counting is voting on optical-scan systems, posting the election results in the precincts and keeping the ballots with the machines in which they were counted. In all computerized vote-counting situations the precinct results should be publicly distributed and posted in the precincts before they are transmitted to the center for final counting, Kellner says. Once they are sent from the precinct the audit trail is lost.

Citizens can stay current on election developments via several websites:, a reliable and up-to-date source;, Dill's group;, Mercuri's site;, Bev Harris's site;, the site of the Georgia group led by Jekot; and these will key into many others. For a steady flow of news stories on this subject (and a few others) from around the country, get on the e-mail list of Official information concerning each state is available online at each state's website for its secretary of state.

..Much of this would be unnecessary if Congress enacted either the Graham-Clinton or the Holt bill, which would empower voters to verify their own votes and create a paper trail.

The computerized voting companies have precipitated a crisis for the integrity of democracy. Three months to go.

The complete article can be found on the web at

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- - Democrats cry fraud in Nader drive
Meanwhile, workers say they will sue to get paid.
By Michael Currie Schaffer
Inquirer Staff Writer

Up to 90 percent of the nominating petitions circulated in Philadelphia by Ralph Nader's presidential campaign were marred by forgeries and other improprieties, according to a group of Democrats that plans to file a legal challenge in Commonwealth Court today to keep the independent candidate off the state's general election ballot.

Separately, a Philadelphia lawyer said yesterday that he would file a lawsuit against Nader this morning on behalf of dozens of petition circulators, many of them homeless, who he said had not been paid for their work.

For the complete article, see:

3) AlterNet vs Fox News - Fair and Balanced?


Wish us luck (and maybe a bit more). We've just walked up to the biggest bully on the block and punched him in the nose. AlterNet has launched a national legal challenge against the Fox News Channel. We are suing to cancel its trademark on "Fair and Balanced" on the grounds that it is misleading, deceptive, and "notoriously mis-descriptive."

Rupert Murdoch is livid, and has $7.8 billion to fight us with. AlterNet has ... well, let's just say that AlterNet has quite a bit less. So we're asking for your help to win this historic David-and-Goliath battle for the soul of honest and responsible journalism.

We'll gladly send you a DVD copy of the powerful new documentary "OUTFOXED: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism" as our thanks for your help. OUTFOXED blows the lid off the Fox Network's cynical campaign to spin, slant, and manipulate the news in favor of the Republican Party.

Filled with whistle-blowing (and mind-blowing) internal emails, memos, and "confessions" from Rupert Murdoch's own former staff members, the film is being angrily denounced by the right-wing media. As a result (naturally), the film has shot to the very top of's bestseller list. So you can imagine how hot it is.

OUTFOXED has just opened to huge acclaim in movie theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, and San Francisco, with 6 more cities tomorrow, and many more as soon as 35 mm prints can be made. In New York, "OUTFOXED broke the weekend gross for the Quad Cinema, making it the best opening ever in its 30-year existence."

Meanwhile, Howard Dean, while appearing on the Fox program Hannity and Colmes, told Sean Hannity that he should watch the film. We hope he does. The film should give Fox and Rupert Murdoch the same kind of stomach ache that Fahrenheit 9/11 is giving to George Bush and Dick Cheney.

By special arrangement with the producer and director, Robert Greenwald, AlterNet will gratefully send you a free DVD copy of OUTFOXED as a gift in return for a donation of $30 or more to its "Fight Fox" legal fund. We need the money as much as you need to see this documentary - which we hope you will want to share with friends and everyone you know.

Please make a donation to AlterNet and receive your free DVD copy of OUTFOXED today!

For the full story of our legal proceeding against Fox, our ad that was just published in The Nation magazine, press releases and lots of ways to get involved, visit our campaign site.

Don Hazen, Executive Editor

4) "The Doctors, the Depleted Uranium, and the Dying Children"

New German film exposes current radioactive warfare in Iraq.

Veterans, military families, activists and interested individuals can now order an English version of a documentary film produced for German television by Freider Wagner and Valentin Thurn.

This stunning new video, has just been released by Ochoa-Wagner Produktion in 2004 in Germany and is available through Traprock Peace Center.

"The Doctors, the Depleted Uranium, and the Dying Children" exposes the use and impact of radioactive weapons during the current war against Iraq. The story is told by citizens of many nations and opens with comments by two British veterans, Kenny Duncan and Jenny Moore, describing their exposure to radioactive, so-called Depleted Uranium (DU), weapons and the congenital abnormalities of their children..

To purchase "The Doctors, the Depleted Uranium, and the Dying Children"
(VHS NTSC format) go to

The purchase price is $25.00 for non-commercial, non-institutional use and includes normal shipping - first class mail within the US. (If you require expedited shipping, please call Traprock at 413-773-7427 as the shipping rates will vary.)

For an exclusive article on this film by Tedd Weyman, leader of Uranium Medical Research Centre investigative team that gathered samples for analysis, go to

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