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Opinion

Smartmatic messed up Mexico, Brazil elections

GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc - The Philippine Star

Malaysian dissenters: jailed but un-silenced

As Malaysian PM Najib Razak muzzles the local opposition, the louder he is rebuked abroad. Today world figures unite to slam Najib’s repressive arrests of over 150 rights lawyers, professors, artists, youth activists, and journalists. Heading an International Pledge to Restore Democracy in Malaysia are ex-presidents Jusuf Habibie of Indonesia and Abdullah Gül of Turkey, and ex-VP Al Gore of the United States of America. Today is also the 68th birthday of detained Malaysian dissenter Anwar Ibrahim. Hundreds of thousands of Pledgers worldwide are petitioning that Anwar be freed from malicious imprisonment for sodomy. The “victim” had long recanted. Yet the controlled court sentenced Anwar to five years in prison, to ensure his political demise by age 72. A prisoner of conscience, Amnesty International calls Anwar.

Anwar was jailed January, the second time, as the present regime began to totter from power. Two years earlier he had led the opposition to 51% victory in the general election. The ruling party’s ballot fraud and vote buying wiped out the surety of a bigger margin; gerrymandering barred Anwar from taking over the parliamentary majority. Anwar’s unrelenting exposés of corruption also had spurred Malaysians into resistance. Tens of thousands demonstrated weekly in major cities against the economic slow-bleed.

Of note – and help – to Filipinos was a disclosure by Anwar in late 2012 (through this column). He decried why Malaysian fugitive alias Manuel Amalilio was not being extradited to Manila despite a mutual legal assistance treaty. It turned out that the regime was coddling the criminal, a nephew of the foreign minister and the Sabah chief minister, both Najib’s close allies and party financiers. To this day 16,000 Mindanao folk, mostly Muslims like majority of Malaysians, are crying for justice against Amalilio’s P12-billion Ponzi scam.

Recently the Wall Street Journal unearthed an unexplained $700 million in Najib’s bank accounts. The investigative report stemmed from Anwar’s exposé years ago of Najib’s formation of a state financial unit as front for money laundering. Najib didn’t deny the huge stash, only that he allegedly did not personally benefit from it. He also claimed that the US newspaper was part of a plot to bring down his rule and Malaysia’s economy. Indeed the value of the Malaysian currency has sunk to its lowest in years. But it’s mostly due to business uncertainties brought about by Najib’s repression of democracy and justice.

Anwar is kept in a bare cell, deprived of hospital care that visiting government doctors recommended months ago. The regime has failed to break him, though. He remains steadfast as a moderate Muslim leader calling for democratic transition.

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Comelec to ignore this too?

Mexico’s state of Tabasco is to punish election automation seller Smartmatic Corp. for messing up big time last June’s balloting.

Election officials have stopped payment to the Venezuelan firm for the fiasco, and ordered the return of 8.5 million Mexican pesos advanced to it. Over 80 candidates and political parties sought an investigation. Lawmen prevented Smartmatic execs and engineers from fleeing.

Tabasco authorities had contracted the Venezuelan firm electronically to transmit and canvass within 12 hours the preliminary results of 21 local council elections. Smartmatic flopped, transmitting only 45% of results more than a day after the close of the balloting.

That was similar to Smartmatic’s failure in the Philippines to finish the senatorial count in Election 2013. It transmitted only 76% of precinct tallies to the Comelec central server. The missing 24% represents millions of votes in the race that had losers trailing winners by mere tens of thousands. The difference, though, is that Comelec officials continue to grant Smartmatic multibillion-peso deals to supply opaque, flawed vote-counting machines.

The Tabasco fiasco is big news in the Americas. Comelec officials can ask the Philippine embassy in Mexico, or surf the Internet for info (mostly in Spanish, entiendes?). They will learn that:

• Smartmatic demoed its supposedly superior technology in eight mock polls prior to the real thing. Detected errors were left uncorrected. “Absoluto fracaso (total failure),” an unimpressed congressman ominously remarked.

• On Election Day, June 7, the Smartmatic system crashed. With poll results unprocessed, election officers had to step in and finish the job using an internal system. The final count was released way past the expected time.

• Smartmatic was supposed to beam provisional results every 20 minutes, starting 8 p.m. of June 7, and finish by 8 a.m. the next day. But when its system went down at 7:30 p.m. of June 7, it transmitted data only at 1:17 a.m. of June 8, and only 2%. All Smartmatic could yield later by 7:30 p.m. was 45% in one election and 30% in another.

Smartmatic was also blamed for Brazil’s fraudulent presidential election in Oct. 2014.

The plot has been exposed in the blog henrymakow.com. First, the ruling Marxist party’s election lawyer was made head of the supposedly independent election commission (like in the Philippines in Jan. 2011). He in turn hired Smartmatic to supply the voting systems and machines. At the official 5 p.m. close of balloting on Election Day, Oct. 26, all the results were withheld on the pretext that voting still was ongoing in one state, Acre, at 8 p.m. Then, the figures were fudged. Pollsters were barred from conducting exit polls.

Smartmatic also rigged the Venezuela referendum of 2003 to keep strongman Hugo Chavez in office for life. He paid it $220 million, with which it acquired US firm Sequoia Election Systems that had contracts in 17 states.

A bungled Sequoia vote count in Chicago in 2005 led to a US Congress investigation of Smartmatic’s Venezuelan owners. To avoid exposure, Smartmatic hastily sold Sequoia to its US execs. Whereupon, Dominion Voting System of Canada bought into Sequoia, while also licensing Smartmatic to sell its PCOS (precinct count optical scanners).

Last Nov. 2014 the election clerk of Mineral County, Nevada, sued Dominion for poll fraud. Allegedly the PCOS counted hundreds more votes than were actually cast. The balloting results in Nevada statewide also came under question.

In the Philippines, the Comelec has spent P16 billion to lease-purchase, accessorize, and warehouse 82,000 PCOS units. The machines have been used only twice, in 2010 and 2013. The Comelec is mothballing them to buy 94,000 new ones, at P14.5 billion, no accessories and storage yet, for use in Election 2016.

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Storm the heavens with prayers

We all have so many persons and petitions to pray for. May we insert a request for prayers and positive energies for the recovery of our niece, Kristin, from serious injuries from a hit-and-run. At 28 an ex-U.S. Army sergeant who survived year-long stints in Iraq and Afghanistan, she’s a tough cookie – but needs intercessions to pull out of coma. Salamat po.

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Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8-10 a.m., DWIZ, (882-AM).

Gotcha archives on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jarius-Bondoc/1376602159218459, or The STAR website http://www.philstar.com/author/Jarius%20Bondoc/GOTCHA

E-mail: [email protected]

ACIRC

AL GORE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

ALL SMARTMATIC

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

ANWAR

ATILDE

COMELEC

ELECTION

NAJIB

NBSP

SMARTMATIC

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