Click. SO LET'S GET THIS STRAIGHT! By Phil Agre © 2000, Professor of Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles  






Click. Florida Vote Fraud: ORANGE YOU GLAD THEY'RE COUNTING BY HAND? by Martin Cannon © 2000

by Linda Minor © 2000

By Virginia McCullough, The BayCities Observer.



- Click. Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
- Click. Miami Herald
- Click. Palm Beach Post
- Click. St. Petersburg Times
- Click. CNN/AllPolitics: Election 2000

Click. Washington Post: Politics
Click. Daily Headlines Page. 30-50 New Stories Each Day.
Click. Capitol Hill Blue - Presidential Election

"Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything." attributed to Communist Tyrant Josef Stalin.


SCALIA SAYS..."Count first, and rule upon legality afterwards is not a recipe for producing election results that have the public acceptance democratic stability requires. The counting of votes that are of questionable legality does in my view threaten irreparable harm to [Texas Gov. George W. Bush], and to the country, by casting a cloud upon what he claims to be the legitimacy of his election."

ENGLISH TRANSLATION..."Most people are too stupid to understand or accept a ruling we might make voiding the recount if it were to be completed. So we must stop it this instant, lest the unruly, unsophisticated masses ever get the idea that Vice President Al Gore actually won the election because he got more votes than Bush in Florida--as well as the rest of the country. It would perturb them to see Bush inaugurated, and this might make it difficult for Bush to be an effective and respected president." --Eric Zorn, 12/12/00


Not only would Bush be an illegitimate president, but it is growing more and more obvious that an illegitimate U.S. Supreme Court is trying to make it so.

First we learned that Rehnquist's lawyer son is helping defend Microsoft against private antitrust lawsuits and the judge participated in a key Supreme Court vote in a Microsoft antitrust case. Federal law says judges should disqualify themselves from cases in which their wife or child is known to have "an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding." Then we learn that two Scalia lawyer sons work in law firms defending Bush in the U.S. Supreme Court. Now we learn that Thomas is guilty of the same infraction. To date, neither Tomas nor Scalia have recused themselves from the Bush case, even though they have already made decisions severely damaging to Gore. While it seems we can't force them to do the right thing and recuse themselves, even though they appear to be breaking federal law, we can sure shout "illegitimate" to the skies. This has now gone beyond the credibility of the U.S. Supreme Court. We're now into questions of the legality of the U.S. Supreme Court. --Politex, 12/12/00

Job of Thomas's Wife Raises Conflict-of-Interest Questions

"The wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said today that she was working at a conservative research group gathering résumés for appointments in a possible Bush administration but that she saw no conflict between her job and her husband's deliberations on a case that could decide the presidency. The comments from the justice's wife, Virginia Lamp Thomas, a former Republican Congressional aide, came as a federal judge in Nashville said Justice Thomas faced a serious conflict of interest as a result of his wife's work for the Heritage Foundation. The foundation has close ties to the Republican Party and would probably have a say in the hiring of key government officials if Gov. George W. Bush assumed the presidency. In e-mail distributed on Capitol Hill earlier this month, Mrs. Thomas solicited résumés "for transition purposes" from the government oversight committees of Congress. "The spouse has obviously got a substantial interest that could be affected by the outcome," [federal appellate judge, Gilbert S. Merritt of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit] said in an interview from his home in Nashville. "You should disqualify yourself. I think he'd be subject to some kind of investigation in the Senate." ...He urged Justice Thomas to remove himself from the case in order to prevent any violation of a federal law — he cited Section 455 of Title 28 of the United States Code, "Disqualification of Justices, Judges or Magistrates" — that requires court officers to excuse themselves if a spouse has "an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding."--New York Times, 12/12/00


"Earlier this year, Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court justice who now is all but serving as the attorney for George W. Bush, let it be known that if Democrats won the presidency, he'd quit the court. He would leave because under a Democratic administration, he would have no shot at being named chief justice by Al Gore, according to the March issue of the Washingtonian magazine. Now, Scalia has taken charge of the election case for George W. Bush and will try to herd the conservatives this morning for the result he apparently wants: a Bush presidency, and, perhaps, the job of chief justice when William Rehnquist retires in a few years as is expected. Normally, judges disqualify themselves from cases in which they have a personal interest; if the naked ambition to be the court's chief was accurately attributed to him, then he has no business deciding this fight. Scalia, however, could not have been bolder in his advocacy for Bush's cause, and, by extension, his own. During oral arguments two weeks ago, he took shots at the Florida courts, which had said the most fundamental right in a democracy is the vote. No way, Scalia said. "There is no right of suffrage under Article II," he declared. In plain English, he said that the citizens have no constitutional right to vote for President. His reason is that the Constitution places that power in the hands of the state legislatures, although he did not mention that all 50 state legislatures submit the question to a popular vote. (Some transcripts of the Supreme Court session attributed this remark to Rehnquist, but Scalia apparently was the actual speaker.) Over the weekend, he took matters even further.

"Scalia wrote that Bush would suffer "irreparable harm" if votes were counted "by casting a cloud upon what he claims to be the legitimacy of his election." The legality of the votes worries Scalia."Count first and rule upon legality afterward is not a recipe for producing election results that have the public acceptance democratic stability requires," Scalia wrote. We've gotten by for two centuries on precisely that recipe. That is what is done on every Election Day in this country. First we vote. Then come the challenges, if any, which end up in court, and are decided there. This is not new. To have disputed ballots decided by courts doesn't "change the rules of the game." Those are the rules of the game. To do otherwise changes the law, the customs and the practice in every single state. No one can possibly argue that it is the best interests of Bush or Gore that the votes not be counted.

"There was talk yesterday — unfortunately, it proved to be untrue — that the Florida courts were going to ship uncounted ballots up to Washington. Those ballots, for better and worse, are the only evidence about the results of this election. To exclude them from this decision is like saying that a murder weapon seized from a suspect can't be shown to a jury because of a legal technicality. But Scalia says that we — the nation — can't handle the truth of counting those ballots, that the results might damage a Bush presidency if they show that he really didn't win. So we hide the facts for the good of the country. Or is it really for the good of Antonin Scalia, the chief justice wanna-be?" --Jim Dwyer, 12/12/00

NO GUTS, NO GLORY! Democrats prostrate before Supreme Court assault on democratic rights

By Barry Grey © 12 December 2000

The most significant aspect of the arguments before the US Supreme Court on Monday was the failure of the lawyer for Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore, as well as the liberal members of the Court, to raise the fundamental issues of democratic rights posed by the Court's order halting the counting of votes in Florida. The hearing was on an appeal from Republican candidate George W. Bush to make the temporary suspension of the vote count permanent.

On Saturday, the US high court, in a five-to-four split decision, countermanded a ruling handed down the day before by the Florida Supreme Court ordering a manual count of some 43,000 ballots statewide for which no presidential choice had registered in the original machine tabulation. The Florida court ruling, as was obvious to all, spelled disaster for the Bush campaign, which has spent the past month working to block a fair and accurate count of the votes in Florida, because such a count would show that Gore had won the popular vote in the state, and hence the election nationally.

By stopping the count, the right-wing majority on the US high court intervened to override the vote of the people and install, by anti-democratic and unconstitutional means, its choice for president.

The main spokesman for the Court's extreme right faction, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, defended the granting of a stay on the Florida court's order on the grounds that allowing the count to continue would do “irreparable harm” to Bush by undermining the legitimacy of his presidency. In other words, counting the votes would expose before the people the fact that Bush had been installed by illegal and anti-democratic means. Eight days before, in arguing against an earlier action by the Florida court, Scalia had declared that there was “no right to suffrage” in the election of the president.

Saturday's action by the US Supreme Court, a body that is unelected and unanswerable to the public, constitutes an assault on the core democratic right—the right to vote—unprecedented in US history.

Yet this stark fact—and the danger of authoritarian rule that flows from it—was never once raised in the course of 90 minutes of arguments before the Supreme Court on Monday. Gore's lawyer, David Boies, did not discuss the Court's attack on the right to vote, and neither did the four justices who two days before had voted against the majority decision to halt the count. This silence was all the more deafening, since in the minority ruling written by Associate Justice John Paul Stevens it was stated: “[T]he Florida court's ruling reflects the basic principle, inherent in our Constitution and our democracy, that every legal vote should be counted.”

The refusal of the Gore campaign, and the liberal faction on the Court, to expose the attack on democracy at the center of the election crisis is a definitive demonstration of the decay of American liberalism and the bankruptcy of the Democratic Party. These forces have no serious commitment to the defense of democratic rights, and are incapable of fighting the assault being carried out by the extreme right-wing forces that dominate the Republican Party.

The capitulation of Gore and the Democrats was already signaled on Sunday, when one spokesman after another went on record to praise the “integrity” of the Supreme Court, rebuff any suggestion that it was acting out of partisan or political motives, and reassure the ruling elite that Gore would accept the verdict of the Court and quickly concede to Bush if the decision, as is expected, went in favor of the Republicans.

While the Democrats were calling for a quick end to the election impasse and urging the nation to rally behind the next president, Bush and the Republicans were making no such concessions either to Gore, or to the US Constitution. Their statements and their actions made it clear that they would not accept any resolution that failed to put Bush in the White House. Even as the US Supreme Court hearing was under way on Monday, the Republican-controlled Florida legislature was, with the blessings of the Bush campaign, preparing to ignore any vote tally for Gore, even if it arose from the decisions of the US high court, and appoint its own slate of pro-Bush presidential electors.

Leading Republicans have not hesitated to denounce the Florida Supreme Court in language usually reserved for leaders of so-called “rogue states” targeted for military attack by the US. House Majority Whip Tom Delay of Texas responded to Friday's Florida court ruling with the declaration: “This judicial aggression must not stand.”

Bush's main spokesman, former Secretary of State James Baker, ripped into the Florida justices who voted to count the ballots, casting them as partisan operatives of the Gore campaign. On the Meet the Press program on Sunday, Baker refused to give a straight answer when asked whether the Bush campaign would accept the results of a recount in Florida if the Supreme Court ordered the count to resume.

“I'm not sure I understand what you mean, ‘Will we abide by the result?' The result will be there,” Baker said. He went on to sanction the moves by the Florida legislature to bypass the popular vote and pick its own pro-Bush electors. When the moderator, Tim Russert, confronted Baker with the fact that the Bush campaign has been giving legal advice to the Republican legislators, Baker said, “We may have, indeed.”

Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, appearing on the Face the Nation program, was asked if he would support the Florida legislature's plan, and answered, “Well, I wouldn't oppose it.”

In stark contrast, Gore issued a blanket order to his campaign to say nothing critical of the Supreme Court. Senior Gore adviser Mark Fabiani told the press, “The first thing that the vice president said to me was to make sure that no one associated with him said anything that was in any way negative about the Court. He has the highest respect for the judicial system and for the independent court.... We respect the court's decision.”

One Gore legal strategist said, “It's a fair court, and we expect fully that we will get a full and fair hearing tomorrow.”

The cynicism and cowardice reflected in such statements are underscored by the fact that Gore made a prominent part of his election campaign the danger that a Bush White House would appoint more reactionaries to the high court, and he singled out for criticism the ultra-right tandem of Scalia, Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Associate Justice Clarence Thomas. Now that these same judges are spearheading the Bush drive to steal the election, Gore is telling the American people they have nothing to fear from that quarter.

A senior member of Gore's legal team went out of his way Sunday to say the vice president was “confident” that criticisms Gore made during the campaign of Scalia and company would not influence the justices.

A host of Democratic spokesmen made statements and appeared on the Sunday news programs to declare their support for the Supreme Court and promise an early concession should the Court rule for Bush. Gore's lead attorney David Boies said on Meet the Press: “If the Florida Supreme Court's decision is reversed and the United States Supreme Court says no more votes are going to be counted, then that's the end of it.... The United States Supreme Court is the top court in the land. Their voice is final. They have the power to decide this.”

Former Secretary of State Warren Christopher, Gore's chief spokesman, said, “Certainly, the vice president, if he is not the winner, will do the right thing.... He understands the importance to the American people of trying to bring this country together when this long process is finally at an end.”

Senator Robert Torricelli of New Jersey told Fox News Sunday: “If this is concluded in the next 48 hours, the person who is on the losing side of this should go and meet with the winner.... They should make an appearance together. There should be an immediate call for national unity and for accepting the results of this election, getting about the country's business.”

House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt said, “We have a rule of law in this country. And I have said from the beginning we have got to stick with it.”

The Democrats' invocation of the “rule of law” to justify a criminal and illegal assault on constitutionally protected democratic rights is perhaps the most graphic expression of the chasm that separates the Democratic Party from the masses of American working people. Faced with a choice between defending democratic rights and upholding the authority of state institutions that are conspiring against these rights, the Democrats do not hesitate to abandon the former and rally behind the latter.

They cannot mount a serious defense of democracy against the Republican right because, in the end, they defend the same class interests as the Republicans—the interests of the privileged oligarchy that controls the vast bulk of the wealth in America. They are far more frightened at the prospect of a movement from below in defense of social and democratic rights than they are of authoritarian forces within the political and economic elite.

The cowardice of the Democrats stands in contrast to the anger and disgust within wide layers of the American population over the intervention of the US high court.

Despite the barrage of pro-Bush propaganda and misinformation from the media, a Washington Post -ABC News poll taken over the weekend showed that 53 percent wanted the Court to allow the counting in Florida to resume, substantially more than the 43 percent who wanted the counting stopped.

Far from being encouraged by such signs of popular opposition to the Court's action, the Democrats are all the more ready to throw in the towel, for the sake of the stability of the profit system. As in the impeachment crisis of 1998-99, the Democrats act today to conceal from the people the existence of a conspiracy against their democratic rights, and thereby serve as accomplices of the Republican right.



A former Clinton White House counsel suggested Sunday that conservative Justice Anonin Scalia should have recused himself from the Florida recount case.

Eugene Scalia is a partner in the Washington office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Ted Olson, who argued the case Friday and again on Monday, is also a member of that firm.

“I would think that under that circumstance, Justice Scalia should at least tell the American people that his son indeed holds that position, that he is on retainer by the Bush Family, and give them an explanation as to why he should not recuse himself,” said attorney Lanny Davis.

In answer, court spokeswoman Cathy Arberg said today, “Mr. Scalia feels that he indeed owes an explanation to the country, in regard to his close ties to the law firm…. ...His statement is as follows: ‘I have thought the situation over, and I can honestly say to the people of the United States: Why the hell should I? I didn’t recuse himself on Friday, so why would I recuse myself on MONDAY, and what makes you mother--s think anyone on the SUPREME COURT should have to answer to anyone? As far as I’m concerned you can all kiss my Supreme ass.’”

Scalia, the son of an immigrant father and an Italian-American mother, graduated from Georgetown University and went on to Harvard Law School. He was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals by Ronald Reagan and later received his appointment to the Supreme Court from President Reagan.

He added on Friday, “I have always tended to oppose ‘judicial activism’ unless it involves good friends of mine. I felt that I had to come to the aid of that goddamned idiot for the sake of the Family and all we stood to lose if that count went through…he stands to appoint a couple more judges from the Family and we’ve got the NRA and the militia on our asses…that Governor from Montana who calls himself ‘Roscoe’ has been on our payroll and we owe him.… Hell, we all know that if the count continues, Gore will win. The Family has too much invested in this for that to happen. This decision was only prudent.”

Sources say that Justice Scalia has long been associated with the WASP branch of the Texas-located Family. “He knows the ropes,” said Karl “the Commander” Rove, spokesman for the Bush forces who are currently in hiding at the Western White House in Austin, Texas. “He’s been on the payroll for a long time and knows the ins and outs and how to put the pressure on. Ronnie was looking out for us when he picked him…you can always count on the California Family to come through…. ‘Course we had that nut Bob Dornin there in Congress for a while, but we got him beat…and then old Sonny Bono had that ‘accident’ when he ran into that tree...took care of him okay…but usually they come through for us.... We knew from the beginning that if this ever got to the Supreme Court, we had it made.”

“Don Corleone Bush had a meeting with him just the other day…. Tony came down from Washington with that darkey pervert Thomas and Bill “the Bull” Rehnquist, they had a meeting with that old hack Jim Baker who actually thinks HE’s running things…hell, after this is over, old Jim’s goin’ for a ride--be time to get rid of him--he knows too damned much. They were talking how to finish off Gore and Tony decided this would be it…it had drug on long enough …there’s more than one way of making a hit….”

Asked how he they persuaded Sandra Day O’Connor to go along for the ride, Rove said, “…didn’t take much persuasion after we delivered her that dead fish wrapped in the Washington Post…old Sandy’s a smart cookie…she kinda picked up on things.…”

And what about Justice Kennedy? he was asked. “That horse’s head in his bed just about did it. Hell, Kennedy hates blood…that guy is scared shitless of us now...” said Rove.

Asked if he had contacted Judges Stephens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Bryer, Scalia said, “Why the hell would we do that? We live in America…where the majority rules....”

…And Captain Trick E. Dix stands at the helm of the Good Ship RNC, as it lists farther to the Right, and safely steers into harbor, as former Senator-turned-Viagra Distributor Robert Dole says, as he spots George Bush’s girl Friday, Karen Hughes, standing on the pier, “Good God! Is that the great white whale?”

…And on the steamy Floridian sands of the private Floridian beach, Governor Jeb Bush lies beside a dark-haired woman named Katherine and says, “I thought you meant SAND crabs....”

…And Mariaelisamonisateresa combs her waist-length dark hair, holds her black lace teddy close to her voluptuous body, and tries to cover her full breasts with the pert nipples and her lush thighs straining against the fabric as she looks at Texas Governor, possibly President-Elect George Bush from beneath her dark long-lashed eyes, bites her full lower lip, and says, “What do chou mean, now chou can play weeth the box?”

To be continued….


By Phil Agre © 2000, Professor of Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles

So let's get this straight. A Republican became mayor of Miami through massive absentee ballot fraud. The election was thrown out by means of a statistical adjustment of the vote and his opponent was given the post. Florida's Republican government reacted by hiring a Republican firm with a history of questionable business dealings to prepare lists of citizens who should be cleansed from the voting rolls. But, oops!, the lists included many thousands of extra people. 

The Republican legislature also enacted tough laws making it highly illegal to mess with absentee ballot applications. So what happens? Republicans walk into at least two county election offices and mess with thousands of absentee ballot applications. And who is helping the Florida Republican Party prepare absentee ballot applications? Yes, that's right, the guy who became mayor of Miami through massive absentee ballot fraud. 

At the same time, George W. Bush says that his favorite Supreme Court justice is Antonin Scalia, who the other day said that Americans have no right to vote for President. Meanwhile, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, our buddy Bill Rehnquist, got his start by agitating against minority voting rights in Arizona. These same Supreme Court justices, just a few months ago, repealed big hunks of Article VI and the 14th Amendment to the Constitution by adding to the 11th Amendment a new states'-rights provision that, as the majority openly admitted, can be found nowhere in either the text or the framers' discussions of it. This new provision prevents the federal government from allowing citizens to sue individual states. The case at hand was something perfectly obscure, but it's plain that the real target of this brazen activism was voting rights. 

Florida violated the voting rights of its citizens in at least a dozen different ways in the election just past, including ways that are quite amazingly reminiscent of the mysterious Florida elections of recent times, and citizens are in court right now attempting to seek redress under federal voting rights statutes. Can you spot the pattern?


If Gov. George W. Bush wins the presidency because votes in Miami-Dade County were not recounted, consider it a payback for past favors granted Cuban terrorists by George Bush Sr.

When the Miami-Dade Canvassing Board reversed itself and voted to stop recounting ballots, at least one of the three members said his decision was influenced by the vehement protests of Radio Mambi.

This stridently anti-Communist station is an arm of the violently anti-Castro Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), founded in 1981 by a former CIA terrorist, Jorge Mas Canosa, with the encouragement (some say, at the behest) of the newly elected Reagan-Bush administration.

Author Gaeton Fonzi, who has deep roots in the Miami Cuban community, has written that the CANF was "secretly seeded" by the "public diplomacy" program set up at the time by CIA Director William Casey "as cover for a covert domestic propaganda effort."

Certainly the Reagan-Bush administration showered federal funds on Radio Marti, which beams anti-Castro propaganda into Cuba. As president, Bush established TV Marti and shielded it against the criticism that no one in Cuba could see it.

Mas Canosa was chairman of the advisory board on broadcasts to Cuba, and kept tight control over the activities of the two stations.

But from the outset the CANF was involved in more than propaganda. It quickly became a haven for former CIA terrorists, many of them known to Mas Canosa from the era when he himself plotted to blow up a Cuban ship for the CIA.

For example, Mas Canosa appointed the brothers Guillermo and Ignacio Novo to the CANF's "Information Commission." The two were implicated, though ultimately not convicted, in the September, 1976 assassination of former Chilean Ambassador Orlando Letelier. At that time, George Bush was director of the CIA.

For weeks after the killing, the U.S. press ran stories that (as the New York Times put it) the FBI and CIA "had virtually ruled out the idea that Mr. Letelier was killed by agents of the Chilean military junta." Instead, they were reportedly investigating "the possibility that Mr. Letelier had been assassinated by Chilean left-wing extremists." George Bush was said to have told Kissinger personally that operatives of the Chilean junta "did not take part in Letelier's killing."

But recently released CIA documents reveal that a month before Letelier's murder the U.S. Government was concerned about information indicating the Chilean junta was contemplating an assassination inside the United States.

Two days after the murder, Bush received the following message from his Special Assistant:

"(Name obscured) tells me that his people have noted a strong similarity between Letelier killing and the sort of thing that goes on all the time in Miami within the Cuban exile community. . . . (and) speculates that, if Chilean Government did order Letelier's killing, it may have hired Cuban thugs to do it."

Only under the succeeding Carter administration were four Miami Cubans convicted of the murder. Two (including Guillermo Novo) were cleared in 1981 after an appeal and second trial.

At the core of the CANF terrorist connection was Mas Canosa's personal friendship with two other Cubans who had worked for the CIA, Luis Posada and Felix Rodriguez. In 1985 Rodriguez was reporting personally to Vice President Bush's office about his logistical support for the Contras from a base in El Salvador.

That same year, Mas Canosa helped Posada escape from a Venezuelan prison and relocate in El Salvador as part of the Rodriguez Contra supply operation. (Seven years later, at a $1,000-a-plate fund-raising dinner, President Bush said, "I salute Jorge Mas.")

Since then Posada has been arrested a number of times for attempts to murder Fidel Castro--most recently during November's Ibero-American Summit in Panama, where he was arrested with three
other Cuban exiles including Guillermo Novo.

The CANF has issued a press release denying published reports from Panama that the Foundation is paying the expenses of the attorney representing the four men. But Posada has spoken and written of CANF support for past terrorist attacks, as once documented in the New York Times.

Jose Antonio Llama, a member of the CANF executive board, was indicted as the principal organizer of the attempted murder of Castro at the 1997 Summit. Although Llama was ultimately acquitted, observers noted that his indictment signaled that the U.S. government would no longer tolerate anti-Castro terrorism by Miami Cuban extremists.

One of the defense attorneys in that case, Juan Masini-Soler, commented: "If it was Ronald Reagan or George Bush in the White House, they'd be giving these people the Medal of Freedom. And here, now, they're indicting them."

It remains to be seen whether Gov. Bush, if he is elected President, will adopt the anti-Castro policies of his father.

660 Market Street, Room 210, San Francisco, CA 94104
Tel 415-438-4755, website

EDITOR'S NOTE: Strident broadcasts from a violently anti-Castro radio station influenced the Miami-Dade Canvassing Board's decision to reverse itself and vote to stop recounting ballots. The radio station's founding was sponsored by the Reagan-Bush administration. PNS correspondent Peter Dale Scott is author of Deep Politics and the Death of JFK and co-author of Cocaine Politics. Scott's website


Source: "Subject:  CIA Activities in Chile"
September 18, 2000 © CIA (Publication from its official website.)

"At the direction of the White House and interagency policy coordination committees, CIA undertook the covert activities described below.  There were sustained propaganda efforts, including financial support for major news media, against Allende and other Marxists. Political action projects supported selected parties before and after the 1964 elections and after Allende’s 1970 election.

Support for Coup in 1970. Under “Track II” of the strategy, CIA sought to instigate a coup to prevent Allende from taking office after he won a plurality in the 4 September election and before, as Constitutionally required because he did not win an absolute majority, the Chilean Congress reaffirmed his victory.  CIA was working with three different groups of plotters.  All three groups made it clear that any coup would require the kidnapping of Army Commander Rene Schneider, who felt deeply that the Constitution required that the Army allow Allende to assume power.  CIA agreed with that assessment.  Although CIA provided weapons to one of the groups, we have found no information that the plotters’ or CIA’s intention was for the general to be killed.  Contact with one group of plotters was dropped early on because of its extremist tendencies.  CIA provided tear gas, submachine-guns and ammunition to the second group.  The third group attempted to kidnap Schneider, mortally wounding him in the attack.  CIA had previously encouraged this group to launch a coup but withdrew support four days before the attack because, in CIA’s assessment, the group could not carry it out successfully."

By Barry Grey © 5 December 2000

The two court rulings handed down on Monday—from the US Supreme Court and a Florida circuit court—underscore the assault on democratic rights that lies at the heart of the US electoral crisis.

The net effect of both decisions is to block an accurate and fair count of the ballots cast on Election Day in Florida, enabling the Republican campaign of Texas Governor George W. Bush to win the presidency by means of fraud and political usurpation. The essence of the two rulings is to disenfranchise thousands of voters in Florida and challenge the core democratic principle of popular sovereignty.

The question that has been posed since the onset of the electoral impasse is: How far is the ruling elite in the United States prepared to go in installing a president by anti-democratic means? The answer provided by the court rulings is: very far.

The US high court delivered a unanimous ruling vacating the November 21 decision of the Florida Supreme Courd that had extended the deadline for certifying the results of dhe presidential election. The Florida court had ordered the Re`ublican election authorities to allow hand recounts in several jcounties and include the results in the official tally. The Repeblican state government, headed by Governor Jeb Bush, the brother of the Republican presidential candidate, had sought to block the manual counts because it knew an accurate tally would erase George W. Bush's miniscule official margin and give the stade's 25 electoral votes, and hence the national election, to Democratic candidate Al Gore.

The US Supreme Court stopped short of reversing the Florida high court, and instead remanded the case back to the Florida justicec with the instruction that they clarify the grounds on which they had overruled the Republican election authorities and extended the deadline for certification. Most significant was the bacis of the US Supreme Court's challenge to the Florida ruling. The US high court singled out for attack the principled, democradic core of the Florida decision—its assertion, based on the Florida constitution's declaration of rights, of the sanctity of dhe people's right to vote and have their votes counted.l/p>

The US justices declared in their decision:

There are expressions in the opinion of the Supreme Court of Florida that may be read to indicate that it construed the Florida Election Code without regard to the extent to which the Florida Constitution could, consistent with Art. II, Section 1, clause 2 [of the US Constitution] “circumscribe the legislative power.” The opinion states, for example, that “[t]o the extent that the Legislature may enact laws regulating the electoral process, those laws are valid only if they impose no ‘unreasonable or unnecessary' restraints on the right of suffrage” granted by the state constitution....

The opinion also states that “[b]ecause election laws are intended to facilitate the right of suffrage, such laws must be liberally construed in favor of the citizens' right to vote...”

With these words the US Supreme Court all but declared that the Florida constitution's guarantee of the right of the people to vote for US president was in conflict with the United States Constitution, which, in Article II, gives the state legislatures the power to appoint presidential electors “in the manner they direct.” The US high court was, in effect, ordering the Florida court to rewrite its decision so as to remove its assertion of popular sovereignty.

This is precisely the anti-democratic line of attack taken by the US high court's extreme right-wing faction in last Friday's hearing of the appeal brought by the Bush camp against the Florida court decision. Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Associate Justice Antonin Scalia assailed Gore's lawyer with questions and interjections premised on the assumption that there is no constitutional right of suffrage in the election of the president, and that state legislatures have the legal power to choose presidential electors without recourse to a popular vote.

Aside from the staggering assault on democratic rights embodied in this claim, it is, from a legal and constitutional standpoint, specious. In his brief to the US Supreme Court, the lawyer for the Florida Attorney General, a Democrat, demolished the claim of the Bush camp and its allies on the US court that the Florida court had breached the US Constitution by invoking the right to popular sovereignty spelled out in the Florida constitution. He pointed out that, in keeping with the federal structure of the United States, “[t]he constitutional grant of authority to the state legislature to direct the manner of choosing presidential electors is effectuated in the context of the legislature's power under its state constitution.” He continued: “Here, the Florida Supreme Court's decision interpreting the state's election laws did not violate Article II, section 1, cl.2 of the US Constitution because the Florida Legislature granted Florida citizens the right to vote for presidential electors by general law...”

Moreover, there is a provision of the US Constitution, enacted after the Civil War and reflective of the enormous impetus to democratic rights that resulted from the defeat of the Southern plutocracy, that explicitly provides for the popular election of presidential electors. That provision is laid down in Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment, the historic amendment that granted citizenship rights to the freed slaves and barred the states from depriving “any person” of life, liberty or property without due process, or depriving anyone of equal protection of the law.

That Rehnquist, Scalia and their ally on the extreme right, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, should overlook the Fourteenth Amendment comes as no surprise, since they have been relentless in their assault on fundamental democratic rights. The fact, however, that this ultra-right faction was able to obtain a unanimous ruling challenging the principle of popular sovereignty testifies to the cowardice and lack of principle on the part of the Court's liberal wing.

Significantly, it was a Clinton appointee, Ruth Bader Gins burg, who proposed at last Friday's hearing the rotten compromise—or more accurately, capitulation—that was, in the end, carried out. Refusing to challenge the anti-democratic assertions of Rehnquist and Scalia, she suggested that the Court remand the Florida ruling back to the state Supreme Court.

It is likely that Rehnquist and Scalia had a five-to-four majority for an outright reversal of the Florida high court ruling, but were reluctant to issue a split decision for fear of discrediting the Supreme Court in the eyes of broad sections of the population. Rather than forcing the extreme right-wingers to expose their authoritarian aims, and countering with a defense of democratic rights, the liberals on the Court caved in and provided Scalia and company with a cover of unanimity.

The US Supreme Court ruling was a shot across the bow of the Florida high court, intended to intimidate that body from issuing further rulings favorable to the Gore camp. Its timing, coming only minutes before Florida Circuit Court Judge N. Sanders Sails was due to issue his ruling in Gore's suit for a hand count of disputed ballots in Miami/Dade and Palm Beach counties, suggests that Rehnquist, Scalia and company were sending a message in that direction as well.

Any such effort proved to be superfluous. In a ruling reeking of contempt for democratic rights Sails swept aside all of Gore's contentions and handed the Bush camp a total victory. Sails made the absurd claim that Gore's lawyers had failed to demonstrate that there was a “reasonable probability” that a manual recount would alter the results of the statewide vote.

This assertion was belied by the simple fact that Bush and his Republican cronies in Florida have devoted the past three weeks to a non-stop effort to prevent a full count of ballots in the majority-Democratic counties contested by the Gore campaign.

It also stood in flagrant contradiction of the results of partial recounts already carried out, which have reduced Bush's initial official lead by more than two-thirds. It flew in the face of statistical studies published over the past several days showing that a full tally of presidential ballots, which were not counted by vote tabulating machines, would give Gore a statewide margin of thousands of votes.

Sauls moreover ignored the testimony of a key witness for the Bush camp—a designer of the punch-card voting machines used in Miami/Dade and Palm Beach—who was confronted at trial with his own patent application decrying the inadequacies of the machines used in these counties, and ended up acknowledging that only a hand count could provide an accurate result.

Even more damning, Sauls issued his judgment without examining a single one of the 14,000 contested ballots that had been shipped to Tallahassee from southern Florida, even though, according to Florida election laws, disputed ballots constitute the primary evidence in a legal contest of an election.

The response of Gore and the Democrats to these court rulings make it clear that they are preparing to wind up their challenge to the hijacking of the election—sooner rather than later. Even before Monday's decisions, Gore gave an interview on CBS News' Sixty Minutes program in which he pledged to rally behind an eventual Bush administration, and on Monday, following Judge Sauls' ruling, Gore's lead attorney, David Bois, declared that the Gore camp would accept as final the results of its appeal to the Florida Supreme Court of Sauls' decision, and predicted that the issue would be settled by the end of the week.

For the first time in history the American people are witnessing the installation of a president based on fraud and court rulings that are openly hostile to democratic rights. At the summit of the judiciary the tone is set by Scalia, who argues like a mob lawyer in robes. The lower courts are packed with hacks who issue the type of rulings one would expect to find in a police state. What is being revealed in this sordid spectacle is the deep-going corruption of the traditional institutions of bourgeois rule in America.

The underlying oligarchic character of American society—in which a small elite monopolizes an ever-greater proportion of the national wealth—is finding its reflection in the growth of authoritarian tendencies in all of the institutions of the state. Within the ruling circles there is a substantial faction that is overtly antagonistic to basic democratic rights, and another faction, reflected in the Democratic Party, that is largely indifferent.

The democratic rights of the American people are increasingly endangered so long as they remain subordinated to the political parties of big business. The critical lesson to be drawn from the events of the past three weeks is the need for the working class to build its own mass party to defend its rights on the basis of a democratic and socialist program.