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  August 25, 2015

Computer Voting and Stealing Democracy

Larry Wilkerson says, that computerized voting has increased the capacity of cheating with precision, consistency and efficiency without any forensic evidence
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Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Government and Public Policy Lawrence Wilkerson's last positions in government were as Secretary of State Colin Powell's Chief of Staff (2002-05), Associate Director of the State Department's Policy Planning staff under the directorship of Ambassador Richard N. Haass, and member of that staff responsible for East Asia and the Pacific, political-military and legislative affairs (2001-02). Before serving at the State Department, Wilkerson served 31 years in the U.S. Army. During that time, he was a member of the faculty of the U.S. Naval War College (1987 to 1989), Special Assistant to General Powell when he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989-93), and Director and Deputy Director of the U.S. Marine Corps War College at Quantico, Virginia (1993-97). Wilkerson retired from active service in 1997 as a colonel, and began work as an advisor to General Powell. He has also taught national security affairs in the Honors Program at the George Washington University. He is currently working on a book about the first George W. Bush administration.


SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore.

According to Jonathan Simon, the author of CODE RED: Computerized Election Theft and the New American Century , one of the main causes of election theft is computerized voting. Yes, the very thing that is supposed to correct human error is a culprit, according to the author. He says that Germany, the Netherlands, and Ireland have scrapped their attempt to use computerized voting, recognizing that security risks are too high.

Here to discuss this book, we are joined by our regular guest Larry Wilkerson. Larry is a retired United States Army soldier and former chief of staff to the United States Secretary of State Colin Powell. Wilkerson is an adjunct professor at the College of William and Mary. Thank you for joining us again, Larry.


PERIES: So Larry, right here in the United States, the use of electronic voting systems continue in spite of the fact that mounting evidence all point to the fact that our democracy is really compromised, you know, just using your fingertips at the voting machine compromises the democracy of our citizenry. Tell us more about the book, and why we continue to use these systems and computers.

WILKERSON: I think this is a very insidious thing we've done to ourselves. It's typically American. And it's typically early-21st century American. That is to say, smartphones and computers and so forth are supposed to make our lives so much easier, so much more efficient, and so forth. And what they do in fact is a wash with us, more or less. Sometimes they help us. But most of the time what they do in major, major ways is make a very small group of people very wealthy. That's what they do.

What computers have done with regard to elections, I think, is lull people into a false sense, a very false sense of security, in a realm where our entire history there has always been cheating. I don't think any sane person in this country would argue that any election in this country has ever gone down perfectly. That is to say, there are always glitches that are non-human. But there are also almost always glitches that are human-inspired and human-executed. Whether it's counting names on gravestones in Texas, as happened during some of LBJ's campaigns, or whether it's just falsifying records or keeping people away from the polls through facetious means, something my party, the Republican party, loves to do. We've always had cheating. Always.

And so it's just the assumption that it's going to be there. You want to keep it to a minimum and you hope both sides do it so it'll be a wash in the final result. What has come about with computers, however, is the capacity to cheat with a precision, with a consistency, with an efficiency, and with a lack of forensic evidence--that is, you can't be caught--that is unparalleled. It is as if we all trust it every time we cast a vote, whether for governor or for president or what have you. It's as if we trusted the person who is in charge of handling that vote, or the people who are in charge of it, with going behind the curtain on a stage, counting the votes, and then coming out from behind that curtain without our ever seeing the votes, or proceeding in or helping with, or even observing the count, pronouncing who the victor is. That's where we are today.

It's very comfortable for those of us who like to have things fast. We want to know who won by midnight. At the very minimum by the next morning. It's not necessary, of course, but we want that. And so we've been complicit in this. We've let it happen. And we just blindly go on thinking that no one is cheating the way they cheated every time in the past, but with a lot more efficiency and a lot more consistency, and a capability to take over the country, as it were.

PERIES: Now, Karl Rove appears to be at the center of some of this kind of election fraud. In fact, a report that was done by Rep. John Conyers of Michigan cited that the manipulation of this sort of electronic voting is so grave that we should actually do something about it back in 2004. However, we haven't. And why do you think this is so?

WILKERSON: I think we're just complacent. Frankly, I think we're perfectly happy with thinking that everything is going fine and letting it go down.

I'll give you an example. My wife and I voted at George Marshall High School in the 2014 midterms at the place we've been voting for 26 years. And we went in, and we felt so good because we actually got to mark a paper ballot. But then I lingered for a moment and watched what was happening. We did the paper ballot because previous elections had been protested, because of what we were just talking about. So Virginia went to this paper ballot. We did the paper ballot, and then I watched what they did with it. They scanned it into the computer. And then a computer took over. In other words, the paper ballot was just sort of like, you know, pabulum for us to make us feel like we had done something and we'd done something that was transparent. It was not transparent at all. It was scanned into the computer, and the computer began clicking the votes.

And in Jonathan Simon's book, Red Zone, he tells you all about how you can plus or minus those votes with no forensic science whatsoever. You will never be caught. You can do it if you're the insider, the corporate insider that provides that mechanism for the election. And I have no doubt that Karl Rove is a master of this, as are probably some other people in my party. Because these latest trends seem to trend red, not blue in terms of who might have been manipulating in a massive way computers and their [supportive] elections.

So Conyers was right, I think, with regard to Ohio. It's a blatant case, not just once but several times Ohio is a blatant case of this having happened, I think. I think it began in Florida with the 2000 elections. And I think we're going to see more and more of this. And if the statistics hold up, and these people make as many errors as they have made in the past repeatedly, perhaps some people will get angry and will begin to question some of these things that look as though they're trending in a way they should not be trending, indeed they could not be trending, unless someone was cheating.

But you know, the American people are not really good about noticing these sorts of things and then reacting to them in a way with energy and with courage and with defiance that actually brings about some change.

PERIES: The Conyers report I was referring to actually has a forward by the famous American literary figure Gore Vidal, who coined the term America's greatest problem with this sort of thing, he coined the term 'United States of Amnesia', and he writes the forward to the Conyers report, and I think that has some resonance today in terms of this topic.

WILKERSON: It does, it really does. And I've used that Gore Vidal description of the United States many times because we simply don't have any memory of history. We don't seem to want to remember history. We don't seem to learn from history.

What's happening with regard to these elections, many cynics say to me, is not really relevant because there's no choice anyway. And they say there isn't a hill of beans' worth of difference between, for example, Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton, that they both are owned lock, stock and barrel by the corporate interests in this country, the plutocracy. And that both take their dictates, perhaps in somewhat different directions, but nonetheless take their dictates from this core plutocracy.

There's some truth to what they're saying. But when you boil it down to all the local elections, the mayors, the governors, the councils and so forth, and you begin to look at what it does to the warp and [weave] of our country, the very essence of what is supposed to be our country, you begin to understand how contaminative it is. And pretty soon you're not talking about just the president and the White House. You're talking about all members of Congress, the Senate and the House. You're talking about all the governors and so forth. And when you talk about this moving in a way that is opposite from if real elections were held, honest elections were held, the American people would want it to move, then you begin to get some idea of how dramatic a change this might present to this republic, and how people should get angry, and we should put a stop to it.

PERIES: All right, Larry. Thank you so much for joining us today. And we'll try to get Jonathan Simon on, who's the author of the book CODE RED, on the Real News, so look out for that. And thank you for joining us, Larry.

WILKERSON: Thank you. And I'll be watching for that, he's a pretty smart guy.

PERIES: And thank you for joining us on the Real News Network.


DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


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