Archive for September 14th, 2006

The voters ask the CNE

September 14, 2006

Gonzalo Garcia
Ordóńez wrote this for Tal Cual today. I thought I would translate it and we could all add new questions in the comments and I will post the new ones at the end of the list as they appear.

The voters ask the CNE

1. Which law authorizes the military electoral operation the so called “Republic Plan” to operate the fingerprint machines?

2. In which article and of which law is the CNE authorized to use blank voting notebooks for its voters?

3. Which law authorizes the Directors of the Electoral Power to turn over the Electoral Registry to the political parties with no addresses?

4. In which part of our electoral legislation do electronic voting notebooks appear?

5. Why doesn’t the CNE give out information about the results of the in situ audits?

6. Why isn’t there a “social electoral comptroller” for the results, machine by machine, record by record, on the Internet, before a winner is declared?

7. Why don’t the military members of the Republic Plan have their right to vote guaranteed and appear in the electoral notebooks?

8. Why were voters changed, without authorization, from their voting centers and why their slow relocation to the original voting centers?

9. Why does the CNE authorize the mobilization of reservists outside their voting centers

10. When we are talking about violations of the Constitution on Electoral matters, why doesn’t the CNE act, for example, in the case of public workers in their Government jobs who are actively campaigning?

11. Has the Electoral Power seen the political advertising on the side of the UNEFA building, a building under a special military regime

12. Who allows Minister William Lara to give statements for the media with MVR propaganda on the background?

13. Why, if the law forbids it, does the Government candidate use the name of Miranda in his political campaign?

14. Why does the CNE allow that the Government, when using the space given to it under the Law of social responsibility of radio and TV, identify itself as the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela? What would happen if an adeco, copeyano, or justicial Mayor identified its Government as Adeco, Copeyano or Juticicial Government? For example: Justicial Municipality of Baruta?

15. Which law authorizes active military that are part of the Chiefs of Staff to participate in electoral political matters?

16. Was it a violation or provocation to the rule of law, the public and noted fact, as the Prosecutor would say, that active military who are part of the President’s security, accompanied the President dressed with red shirts on the day he registered his candidacy

17. How does the CNE plan to separate Government events from the political campaign, for example, billboards paid by Governors, Mayors, and Pdvsa?

18. Can all Venezuelans participate in the totaling of the tally sheets via Internet, that is, that each witness knows that the computerized results of his poll booth are the correct ones?

19. What will happen to the electoral waste accumulated at the CNE?

20. How can one trust CNE Board members who are pro-Government and a CNE committed to the revolution?

Dr. Tibisay Lucena, the people are not stupid and know what is going on, but they still aspire to free and transparent elections.

New ones:

21. Why is that the “Con Chavez el Pueblo es el Gobierno” and “Con Chavez todo el Poder para el Pueblo” slogans are not forbidden in official ads?

A cartoon that describes the robolution quite well

September 14, 2006

Of course we are going to enrich uranium, but first things first

Princeton group hacks Diebold voting machine

September 14, 2006

Abstract from the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University on breaking the security of a Diebold voting machine, should we make a collection and send them a Smartmatic machine? You can watch the video showing the hacking:. Who was it that said Venezuela had the safest voting system in the world? Ignorance is bliss indeed!

Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting Machine

Ariel J. Feldman, J. Alex Halderman, and Edward W. Felten

Abstract   This paper presents a fully independent
security study of a Diebold AccuVote-TS voting machine, including its
hardware and software. We obtained the machine from a private party.
Analysis of the machine, in light of real election procedures, shows
that it is vulnerable to extremely serious attacks. For example, an
attacker who gets physical access to a machine or its removable memory
card for as little as one minute could install malicious code;
malicious code on a machine could steal votes undetectably, modifying
all records, logs, and counters to be consistent with the fraudulent
vote count it creates. An attacker could also create malicious code
that spreads automatically and silently from machine to machine during
normal election activities — a voting-machine virus. We have
constructed working demonstrations of these attacks in our
lab. Mitigating these threats will require changes to the voting
machine’s hardware and software and the adoption of more rigorous
election procedures.

September 14, 2006

From today’s Financial Times (subscription required after a couple of days)

Treating Chávez as a harmless idealist is dangerous by Richard Lapper in the Financial Times

the past few months Hugo Chávez has put the most inveterate traveller
to shame. One minute the endlessly energetic, anti-American president
of Venezuela is in Moscow signing a deal to buy military helicopters
and manufacture Kalashnikovs; the next he is in Beijing promising to
step up oil sales to China; and then he is in Damascus threatening,
alongside Bashar Assad, president of Syria, to “dig the grave of US

In between, he finds time to visit assorted African
and Asian capitals in order to press his campaign to win one of the
temporary seats on the United Nations Security Council. This week he is
in Havana where he is soon likely to be bashing the Americans again at
the summit of the non-aligned movement.

is still customary for critics, outside Venezuela at least, to dismiss
Mr Chávez as an eccentric idealist lost in the kind of romantic
fantasies that one of his favourite literary characters, Don Quixote,
used to pursue. Mr Chávez might sound like a dangerous extremist but
like Cervantes’ hero he is essentially harmless, the argument runs.

such as Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the Brazilian president, al-ways
draw the distinction between what Mr Chávez says and what he does. “I
know that speeches often worry people. But a speech is a speech,” Mr
Lula da Silva told the Financial Times a couple of months ago. Mr
Chávez, after all, they argue, has been democratically elected. The
scope for radical action is tempered by harsh economic realities. He
may rail about blocking oil sales to the US but this is an empty
threat. Caracas is dependent on its hated northern neighbour for about
half its oil revenues.

Unfortunately, this kind of benign
interpretation of Mr Chávez and his government is looking a lot less
credible. Venezuela’s oil sales are being slowly diversified towards
China and other countries. Mr Chávez’s democratic credentials are more
than a little tarnished of late. If he is such a convinced democrat why
has he begun to talk about the need – as he did 10 days ago – for a
constitutional change that would allow him to remain in power

Once seen as an outlier against a more moderate
underlying leftwing trend, Mr Chávez no longer looks so isolated in his
region. Cuba and Bolivia are firm allies. No foreign leader has visited
Fidel Castro more than Mr Chávez since the Cuban president’s stomach
surgery at the end of July. Politicians close to Mr Chávez are well
placed in upcoming presidential polls in Nicaragua and Ecuador.

Chávez’s latest phase of international activism has been accompanied by
ever more strident anti-Americanism. Underpinning this is a Manichean
view of the world. Listening to him, it seems that US “imperialism” is
responsible for all the world’s ills. Mr Chávez rarely misses an
opportunity to bait the giant. This week, for example, he claimed that
the US might have fabricated the September 11 2001 attacks on the twin
towers in New York.

Anyone the American empire opposes is his
friend, a stance that explains why he is such a fan of dictators such
as Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus. Links with Iran and Syria have
become more prominent. Indeed, along with Cuba and Syria, Venezuela is
leading international support for Iran’s nuclear energy ambitions.

of the UN Security Council would offer Mr Chávez another platform. He
would not enjoy a veto over the body’s decisions. But his style could
make the search for the diplomatic middle ground harder. While Europe,
Asia and the US grope towards a more consensual, multilateral approach
to the complex problems of the Middle East, Mr Chávez or his
representatives are likely to grandstand and shoot from the hip,
creating conflict and division.

Mr Chávez is unlikely to win the
regional consensus that would automatically entitle him to the seat but
he could well win the two-thirds majority at next month’s general
assembly meeting. UN members should turn him down. Countries should not
be blinded by their own difficulties with the US into offering support.

Latin America, moderate leaders such as Mr Lula da Silva and Chile’s
Michelle Bachelet have a particular responsibility. Standing firm
against Mr Chávez is not the same as accepting the dictates of the US
administration. They may disagree strongly with the US administration’s
policy in the Middle East and elsewhere.

But they should not – in reaction to that – give encouragement to knee-jerk anti-Americanism.