Friday, November 23, 2012

Did Anonymous give USA an honest election?

Living in Minnesota, I tend not to worry about fraudulent vote counting.  We have a system the good government types agree is virtually hackproof.  We fill out a paper ballot that gets scanned by a machine reader.  In theory, the readers could be tampered with, but it would hardly seem worth the effort because the paper ballots still exist in case the election is contested.  Between good-government purists and extensive case law, hand recounts can be extremely thorough.  Although there are some cranks who can still find flaws with this system, Minnesotans trust it to the point where we are comfortable with same-day registration and just rejected a photo ID requirement in the last election.  All of this works extremely well.  Not only is Minnesota at or near the top of voter turnout almost every election, but voting is almost hassle-free.  It only took me about seven minutes this year from sign-in to when a volunteer slapped an "I voted" sticker on my jacket.

Even so, I DO follow the voter chaos in places like Ohio and Florida and am quite contemptuous of folks who cannot organize an honest election.  It's obviously not so hard to do.  So if there are disputed ballots and 8-hour lines to vote, obviously someone is screwing with the process on purpose.

And now we have a tale where a group of hackers claims they thwarted an attempt to flip the results of the Ohio election.  I have NO way of checking out this story but there is one very public piece of evidence that suggests this story might be true—the meltdown of Karl Rove on election night when Fox called Ohio for Obama.  He had the look of a crooked lobbyist who has just discovered the politician he thought he had bought didn't stay bought.

Thom Hartman has an account of this story.  Click on the "more" button for his full-length article.  This story may not be accurate in all its details but it certainly is plausible.
...And if that’s the case, why did the plan to steal the election not work?

Here’s where the story gets really interesting.

Just a few weeks before Election Day, the hacktivist group Anonymous issued a video statement against Karl Rove. Anonymous is notorious for numerous cyber actions against the Justice Department, the Pentagon, the Recording Industry of America, the Motion Picture Association of America, and even the Church of Scientology.

In the video released prior to Election Day, Anonymous warns Karl Rove that he’s being watched. “We know that you will attempt to attempt to rig the election of Mitt Romney to your favor,” a black-robed figure in a Guy Fawkes mask says in the video. “We will watch as your merry band of conspirators try to achieve this overthrow of the United States government.”

The figure then warns Rove that Anonymous is “watching and monitoring all your servers,” and goes on to say, “We want you to know that we are watching you, waiting for you to make this mistake of thinking you can rig this election to your favor…If we catch you we will turn over all of this data to the appropriate officials in the hopes that you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Then, just two days after Election Day, as the Republican Party was in full-blown despair and Karl Rove was trying to figure out what went wrong, Anonymous released a press statement claiming it did indeed prevent an attempt by Rove to steal the election for Mitt Romney.

The statement reads, “We began following the digital traffic of one Karl Rove…After a rather short time, we identified the digital structure of Karl’s operation and even that of his ORCA. This was an easy task in that barn doors were left open and the wind swept us inside.”The “ORCA” that Anonymous is referring to in the press release is a massive, high-tech get-out-the-vote system created by the Romney campaign this year that will keep tabs on potential voters and coordinate with operatives to target who has and hasn’t voted yet on Election Day.

Romney’s Communications Director Gail Gitcho bragged about how sophisticated ORCA is saying, “At 5 o’clock when the exit polls come out, we won’t pay attention to that. We will have had much more scientific information based on the political operation we have set up.” In other words, ORCA will know who won Ohio better than any exit polls.

But, according to Anonymous, ORCA had nothing to do with getting out the vote and everything to do with rigging the vote.

“We coded and created, what we call The Great Oz. A targeted password protected firewall that we tested and refined over the past weeks. We placed this code on more than one of the digital tunnels and their destination that Karl's not so smart worker bees planned to use on election night.”

Anonymous alleges these “digital tunnels” were leading to servers in three different states. The release goes on to detail what happened on election night as Rove’s operatives attempted to access these tunnels. “We watched as Karl's weak corrupters repeatedly tried to penetrate The Great Oz. These children of his were at a loss-how many times and how many passwords did they try-exactly 105.”

“Karl’s speared ORCA whale was breached, rotting with a strong stench across his playground, unable to be resuscitated,” claims Anonymous.

So might this have really been the reason for Karl Rove’s shock on election night? Under the guise of sophisticated get out the vote operation, had Rove and the Republican Party actually built up a massive system to steal the Ohio election, just like in 2004, only to have it thwarted at the last minute by a group of computer hackers?

If this is true, then the implications are enormous and could take down the entire Republican Party and finally wake Americans up to the fact that our privatized vote system is shockingly flawed and insecure.

In their press release, Anonymous concludes, “We have a warning for Karl – sail again at your own peril. We may just put all the evidence into a tidy little package and give it to a painfully bored nemesis hanging out in a certain embassy in London.”

In an era of internet lulz and digital false flags, we must demand proof for these sort of claims made by Anonymous. But given Karl Rove’s history with elections in Ohio and the known vulnerabilities with our corporate owned electronic voting machines, there may be both smoke and fire with these election night allegations.

That’s why it’s vitally important for Anonymous to release any information or evidence it has about this plot to not just Julian Assange, but to law enforcement authorities as well. Otherwise, the alleged democracy-saving actions of the hacktivist group will instead be regarded as useless internet antics, relegated to the dustbins of history. more

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