From the January 2001 issue of Lumpen.  Snail: POB 47050 Chicago, IL 60647 USA  Email: lumpen@lumpen.com



COUP 2K

By John Dee

Copyright © 2001 by John Dee. All rights reserved.




We're living in the new dark ages
Read about it in the magazine pages.
The Mutants

It was the Republicans who first bandied the term "coup d'etat" to describe the 2000 presidential election. Jack Kemp, Dole's running-mate in 1996, flat-out called Florida Supreme Court rulings that ordered the votes should be counted a "judicial coup d'etat." The theme was soon echoed in a chorus that included Paul Gigot of the Wall Street Journal, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and other right-wing propagandists.

Since then, observers ranging from Studs Terkel 1  to the London Observer 2  have turned the tables and labeled the Bush victory a coup. But how much of this is merely rhetoric?

During the election crisis, the absence of "tanks in the streets" was often cited as a sign that however wacky things were, democracy was still intact. And indeed, the popular conception of a "coup d'etat" is of a violent uprising, usually by the military, with shooting in the streets, mass arrests, secret executions and torture. Sometimes even the presidential residence is blown to smithereens.

In reality, this perception of coups is somewhat mistaken. Strictly speaking, that sort of military overthrow is more characteristic of a "putsch." Coups are often a different breed of covert action altogether, and often much quieter.

In fact, much of what we just witnessed not only matches historical examples from the CIA's past history of election rigging and outright overthrows, but can be found in a respected coup "manual" authored by a one-time advisor to President Reagan. While a detailed analysis of the election along these lines would easily fill an entire book, here are some key points for consideration.

What is a Coup d'Etat?

One of the landmark studies of the mechanics of coups d'etat was first published in 1968 by Harvard University. Coup d'Etat: A Practical Handbook was written by Edward Luttwak, a conservative scholar with a long career in the national security system. During the Reagan-era, he served as a "consultant" to the National Security Council and the State Dept. Currently, Luttwak is senior fellow of "Preventive Diplomacy" at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think-tank with close ties to US intelligence. He is also a member of the National Security Study Group of the Dept. of Defense. 3 

In his study, Luttwak writes that while a coup may have characteristics of other, more violent forms of extra-legal seizure of power, "the coup is not necessarily assisted by either the intervention of the masses, or, to any significant degree, by military-type force." 4 

But if a coup does not use warfare or a mass uprising to seize control, then where does it get the power to do so? "The short answer," Luttwak says, "is that the power will come from the state itself... A coup consists of the infiltration of a small but critical segment of the state apparatus, which is then used to displace the government from its control of the remainder." 5 

Normally, a coup does not seek to destroy the basic structure of the existing government, which is more typical of a revolution or a war for liberation. Instead, Luttwak explains, those undertaking a true coup d'etat "want to seize power within the present system, and [they] shall only stay in power if [they] embody some new status quo supported by those very forces which a revolution may seek to destroy." 6  (Emphasis in original.)

In other words, the coup takes advantage of the governmental structure itself, as well as the bureaucratic nature of modern governments. There is an established hierarchy, an accepted chain of command, and standard procedures that are followed when instructions come down this pipeline. So long as the instructions come from the appropriate source or level of authority, they will almost always be followed even if from a new, and illegitimate, holder of that authority.

Luttwak explains that a coup "operates by taking advantage of this machine-like behavior: during the coup because it uses parts of the state apparatus to seize the controlling levers; afterwards because the value of the 'levers' depends on the fact that the state is a machine." 7 

Thus, by gaining control over a few carefully selected pivotal points of power within the government bureaucracy, the plotters of the coup can effectively gain control over the entire "machine" of state.

During the presidential election, the key pivot points proved to be quite limited in number, not to mention patently obvious. The first was the state government of Florida, the second the US Supreme Court. But of course, every puppet needs a puppeteer.

The Godfather

Whatever his strengths might be, no one seriously believes that George W. Bush has the acuity or connections necessary to plan...well anything, really. Although he was conspicuously absent throughout the entire campaign, it goes without saying that GW's secret patrone was one of the best in the biz: his father, George Herbert Walker Bush.

These days, the Bush pater familias is a fairly well-known quantity. As the first director (DCI) of the CIA to be elected President, not to forget (or belittle) his eight-year tenure as VP, GHW Bush's crimes are now legendary. Over the years he formulated, directed and otherwise facilitated brutal guerilla wars, coups, death squads, propaganda operations, money laundering, assassinations 8 , and drug smuggling 9 . And that's just for starters.

Most importantly in our context, GHW Bush has a documented history of using former and active-duty CIA agents in election campaigns.

During his 1979 bid for the presidential nomination, Ray S. Cline, former Dep. Director of the CIA, spearheaded an effort to form a "loose organization" of former agents and spooks to back the ex-DCI. 10  It didn't take much work; the agents flocked to the cause. They hated Carter. At least 30-40 "retired" agents joined up, and that's not counting the 190 members of the Assoc. of Former Intelligence Officers who sported "Bush for President" buttons at their annual convention. 11 

But it wasn't just "retired" spooks who "helped" Bush during the 1979 campaign. Angelo Codevilla, an early Bush supporter, told a 1984 House investigation in a sworn affidavit that he was "aware that active duty agents of the Central Intelligence Agency worked for the George Bush primary election campaign." 12 

When Reagan ultimately won the nomination, an old Bush family friend — William Casey — convinced him to name Bush as his VP. Casey was not only Reagan's campaign manager, he was himself a former OSS 13  officer and soon-to-be head of the CIA. With Bush on the ticket, the spies climbed aboard.

What followed was a slew of partisan covert operations that are now largely forgotten. But the most important one is still remembered today as "The October Surprise." 14  It was a covert operation by the Reagan-Bush campaign that secretly forged a deal with the Iranian radicals who, after overthrowing the US-backed Shah, were holding 52 Americans (including several CIA agents) as hostages. In exchange for holding the hostages until after the election, the Reagan-Bush team offered the Iranians millions of dollars in arms, material, and other considerations. Sure enough, the hostages were held until minutes after Reagan's inauguration, then "suddenly" released.

Bush and Casey personally participated in the secret negotiations. James Baker, who would be Reagan's chief of staff and Bush's Sec. of State, was also involved. To this day, Bush et al. vehemently deny the plot, but their alibis don't hold up to scrutiny and just such secret arms shipments undeniably took place. Most damning is the fact that other participants, including senior Iranian government officials and intelligence operatives from several countries, have publicly confirmed they were involved in secret deal.

Further confirmation came in 1993, in the form of a six-page Russian intelligence report that corroborated much of the story. The sensitive report was released by Russia's prime minister as a gesture of post-Cold War cooperation, in response to a request for information from a US Congressional task force investigating the charges. 15  But the report was suppressed, task force chairman Rep. Lee Hamilton (backed by Henry Hyde) sandbagged the rest of the inquiry, and the final verdict was that there was "no credible evidence" of a secret deal. The "investigation" was such a sham that Hamilton publicly exonerated Bush (by then the president) before it even started. 16 

By engaging in renegade "foreign policy," the Reagan-Bush team undercut President Carter's own secret efforts to free the hostages and thereby stole the White House. It was, in fact, a coup d'etat.

Banana Repugnant

On election day 2000, after Florida was first called for Gore, candidate Bush was indignant while speaking with reporters. It was just impossible, he said. His big brother Jeb had "promised to deliver" the state for him. More telling words are rarely spoken.

Consider, if you will, the history of John Ellis "Jeb" Bush. 17  This is no Jeb-come-lately: not only is he a party veteran, but his documented ties to covert operations are worthy of his family heritage.

During the mid-'80s, while head of the Dade County Republican Party, Jeb served as a secret White House liaison to Contras and allied anti-Castro Cubans operating out of Miami. Jeb publicly denied any such connection, telling the Washington Post in 1986 that while he supported the Contras "I have not been involved in aiding them directly." 18  Of course he had to deny it: at the time supporting the Contras was against the law.

But less than a year later the Miami Herald uncovered a letter he had written in 1985 to Dr. Mario Castejon, a right-wing Guatemalan politician who was seeking to establish a medical brigade for the Contras. "My staff has been in contact with Lt. Col. North concerning your projects," Jeb wrote. He also named a member of his own staff, dedicated to Contra liaison, whom Castejon could contact directly. It was further revealed by the Herald that Jeb was routinely forwarding similar contacts directly to his father who, as Vice President, was secretly in charge of managing all US covert operations. 19 

During the same period, Jeb was involved in a different, elaborate scheme that was a combination covert medical effort for the Contras, Mafia-backed bust-out, and "fundraising" scam for right-wing Cuban exiles. It involved a billion-dollar HMO called International Medical Centers (IMC), which at the time was one of the largest in the country. Headed by a right-wing Cuban named Miguel Recarey Jr., the HMO became embroiled in a dizzying array of criminal activities: international money laundering, massive Medicare fraud, bribes to government and union officials, and even gun running. Even legendary Mafia kingpin Santo Trafficante Jr. was an "investor" in the HMO. Strangest of all, IMC was a veritable den of spies. According to a Wall Street Journal investigation, IMC "engaged at least a dozen people who had worked in foreign intelligence," including one fellow whose resume "claimed training by both the CIA and the KGB, plus work for the Cuban DGI." 20 

Jeb's role with IMC was tailor-made for the son of a Vice President. In exchange for tens of thousands of dollars in "consulting fees", he helped to smooth things with nosey regulators and secured special exemptions to bothersome rules. Naturally, he also served as a secret conduit to the Reagan White House.

In a separate case, federal prosecutors tied Jeb Bush to a Contra cocaine smuggler named Leonel Martinez. While it is not certain whether Jeb was fully aware of Martinez's drug activities, there is no question that he gave over $10,000 in "contributions" to Jeb's party coffers, a Bush-run PAC and the 1987 Bush for President campaign. 21 

There is also the matter of Jeb's open support for admitted anti-Castro Cuban terrorists, Orlando Bosh and Luis Posada two of the bloodiest anti-Castro terrorists around. Most of their activities have had the backing, tacit or otherwise, of the CIA. They were also deeply involved in the CIA-assisted plot to assassinate Orlando Letelier, the foreign minister to overthrown Chilean president Salvador Allende, who was killed by a car-bomb in downtown Washington, DC. As the CIA director at the time, the elder Bush had played a key role in the plot. 22 

In 1988, Bosh was convicted on bail-jumping charges stemming from a 1968 terrorist attack and sent to a Miami prison. In 1990, Jeb Bush took it upon himself to lobby his father for Bosh's release. Naturally, the pleas were well-received and Bosh was once again free to kill innocent people (and help the CIA).

The current relevance is that two Bosh comrade, Posada and Guillermo Novo, were recently arrested in Panama in a foiled plot to assassinate Fidel Castro during a Latin American summit. They, along with two others, were apprehended on Nov. 17 only 10 days after the US election. Posada has now confessed they had planned to do the hit with a car bomb (ala Letelier) but aborted at the last moment, supposedly because "too many innocent people would be hurt." 23  We are to believe that the unexpectedly-contested election of their familia especiale had nothing to do with it.

And let us not forget Florida Sec. of State Katherine Harris. Within days of the election, Governor Jeb recused himself to avoid the "perception" of a conflict of interest. At that point, Harris became the single most important member of the Florida executive branch as far as the election was concerned: she had the sole authority to certify the winner.

Harris herself had overwhelming grounds for recusal. Not only did she co-chair the Bush 2000 campaign in Florida, but it was well-known that she was under serious consideration for a cushy ambassadorial post in Europe. All the negative publicity may have soured that prospect, but post-election press reports indicate she is still in the running for a Latin American posting.

But would the sudden absence of a key player like Jeb Bush have a negative impact on a coup plot? Not necessarily. As we have seen, absence of an overt role in no way precludes a covert role. Plus, as Luttwak explains in his study, having an identifiable (or even titular) leader is actually a disadvantage during the active phase.

With detailed planning, there will be no need for any sort of headquarters structure in the active stage of the coup; for if there is no scope for decision-making there is no need for decision-makers and their apparatus. In fact, having a headquarters would be a serious disadvantage: it would constitute a concrete target for the opposition and one which would be both vulnerable and easily identified....The leaders of the coup will be scattered among the various teams, each joining the team whose ultimate target requires his presence.... 24 

Party Allies Wrongly Purged 'Felon' Voters

Since the Reconstruction, any Florida resident with a felony conviction is stripped of the right to vote, regardless of where the conviction occurred. After serving their sentences, felons can only be re-enfranchised after filling out mountains of paperwork and then winning the approval of the governor and two state representatives.

In June, between 8,000 and 12,000 Florida voters were wrongly purged from the voting rolls as felons. Many of those disenfranchised had never even been arrested; one was even a sitting judge. Meanwhile, hundreds of genuine felons were not purged and according to post-election analysis by the press were able to illegally cast votes, thus further muddying the election results. 25 

The Florida State Government uses an outside contractor to vet their voter rolls; it is the only state to do so. In 1998, the $4 million contract was awarded to a Boca Raton company called Database Technologies (DBT). Earlier this year, DBT was acquired by an Atlanta-area company called ChoicePoint Inc. According to SEC documents, ChoicePoint's acquisition of DBT was completed on May 15, just one month before the grossly inaccurate "purge lists" were turned over to Florida election officials. 26 

Curiously, it turned out ChoicePoint had obtained this false list of "felons" from the state of Texas. 27  Yes, Texas. According to the company, a list of Texans convicted of misdemeanors had "somehow" been added to the Florida lists as felons. Some effort was made to contact those who had been wrongly purged, but most did not find out until they had arrived at their polling place only to be refused ballots.

Curiouser and curiouser, it turns out that ChoicePoint is closely tied to the Republican Party, and that its top executives and board members include many high-dollar donors. Among them is billionaire Ken Langone, who served as Rudolph Giuliani's fund-raising chairman in his aborted Senate run against Hillary Clinton. When Guilani dropped out of the race, Langone donated some $250,000 to support his replacement, Rick Lazio.28  According to Federal Election Committee records, between 1997 and 1999 Langone donated at least $54,000 to Republican committees in campaigns. According to the most recent records available at press time, Langone gave another $29,000 or so within the last year, using multiple addresses and jobs to skirt federal limits. Ken's wife Elaine, who lists "homemaker" as her profession, gave another $8,000 to the Republicans just in the last year. 29  Not bad for a mere homemaker.

Another Giuliani politico at ChoicePoint is former NY Police Commissioner Howard Safir. ChoicePoint's lobbyist, former congressman Vin Weber, has donated over $48,000 to the Republicans in the last three years. 30  Company founder Rick Rozar himself donated $100,000 to the party just before his death in 1998. 31  Other ChoicePoint employees and executives, or at least those who could be identified in the FEC database, have donated an additional $30,000, and probably a good deal more.

(As this edition goes to press, the NAACP, ACLU and several other civil rights groups announced they have filed a federal lawsuit naming DBT and a number of Florida government and election officials defendants. 32 )

Systematic Absentee Ballot Fraud

There are further signs that Republican operatives played a covert role in advance work to jimmy the Florida election. Xavier Suarez, the very same "mayor" of Miami who was thrown from office because of massive voter-fraud in the infamous 1997 election, worked for the Republicans on the 2000 presidential election. Suarez currently serves on the executive committee of the Miami-Dade Republican Party. What's more, Suarez told Feed Magazine that right up to election night he "helped fill out absentee ballot forms and enlist Republican absentee voters in Miami-Dade County." 33 

"Dade County Republicans have a very specific expertise in getting out absentee ballots," he said proudly. "I obviously have specific experience in this myself." 34 

This is profoundly shocking to anyone who knows that Suarez was found guilt of illegally tampering with some 5,000 absentee ballots in the 1997 election. Indeed, absentee ballots had put Suarez over the top in the election when he "won" twice as many as his rival. Incredibly, even after the stringent legal reforms following the 1997 Miami vote-fraud case, Florida still has no independent oversight of absentee ballots until they are actually counted.

Some of Suarez's brand of "specific expertise" may have been evident in Seminole County. A lawsuit there nearly succeeded in throwing out 15,000 absentee ballots because the elections supervisor, Sandra Goard (an elected Republican), had illegally allowed two GOP operatives to "correct" thousands of pre-printed absentee ballot applications that mistakenly printed birth dates instead of the legally-required voter IDs. 35 

Without the voter ID numbers, the law says the applications are automatically void, and no third party can "correct" them. Period. But when the Republicans realized what had happened, they called Goard, who agreed to let them correct the applications as long as they brought their own laptops loaded with the ID data. Goard had her staff retrieve the voided applications from storage and sort the Republican ones from the rest. She then provided a room for the men to work in. For "15-21 days" (they're not sure?), the party hacks worked there — completely unsupervised. Meanwhile, the helpful Goard made sure Democrats' applications with similar errors were thrown away, as required by law.

According to trial transcripts, the two GOP operatives "corrected" at least 2,100 absentee ballot applications nearly four times the majority Bush "won" by in Florida. Incredibly, it came out during the trial that a large number of these had "scrambled" ID numbers and should have been rejected (again). Instead, Goard illegally instructed her staff to process the applications anyway and send these completely illegal absentee ballots to the Republicans. 36 

Under Florida law, the suit should have won handily. The violations were clear, categorical, and largely uncontested. Previously, counties had their absentee ballots thrown out for far less. But perhaps because of GOP public pressure on the judge (a Democrat), the incredible ruling was that these actions "had not violated the spirit" of Florida law, nor the "sanctity" of the ballots a patently absurd conclusion that flies in the face of the law.

As important as the Seminole case was, the real significance of it may have eluded the court and observers alike. The room these men were allowed to work in, unsupervised, contained 18 computers linked directly to the mainframe computer containing the state's voting database. During the trial, GOP lawyers said this didn't matter because "as far as anyone knows," the two men did not have the passwords to those computers. 37 

Such a "defense" is absurd. Even without passwords from Goard, the fact remains that these men brought their own laptops. A laptop can hold hacking programs just as easily as it can data. Any fool with a modem can download dozens of free programs that can crack most passwords within minutes. Furthermore, the defense conceded that these men worked in the room for 2 or 3 weeks with no supervision at all. With that much time to work, they could have hacked the NSA. Did the GOP operatives hack Florida's voting mainframe? We'll probably never know, but five will get you ten....

'Spontaneous' Mob Violence

In Florida, the Bush campaign quietly organized "rent-a-rioters" and flew them to Florida from all over the country. While disingenuously portraying the protests as "spontaneous grass-roots efforts," the Bush campaign sent special squads of GOP Congressional staffers who, in several instances, led violent attacks on Democratic observers, smashed windows, and tried to force their way into vote-counting rooms. This was not civil disobedience intended to show disagreement, but a concerted attack designed to threaten and intimidate. 38 

Shortly after the election, the Bush campaign began a two-pronged program to import as many protesters into Florida as they could. The first prong was done openly: phone-trees reached out across the country to coax party loyalists to head down and fight Al Gore's "theft" of the election. This much is standard political fare. What was unusual was the more discreet second prong.

Under the direction of House Republican Whip Tom DeLay (of Texas, mind you), staff members of GOP Congressmen were quietly approached with offers of all-expenses-paid trips to Florida, "all paid for by the Bush campaign." 39  In addition to staying in swanky beach-side hotels, part of their reward would be an exclusive Thanksgiving Day party in Ft. Lauderdale.

According to the Wall Street Journal, more than 200 Congressional staffers signed on, with many of them staying in Florida for over a week. "Once word leaked out," said one GOP operative, "everybody wanted in." 40 

Of course, the law prohibits Congressional staffers from participating in partisan political activities on "company" time. However, the rules allow them to "go on vacation" or declare themselves on "temporary leave" at a moment's notice. Their marching orders came from their bosses, but officially they were simply "private citizens" (albeit on the Bush campaign's tab).

Once on the scene, high-level coordination was done as secretly as possible. The Wall Street Journal described the "air of mystery to the operation," noting that daily instructions were issued in the form anonymous memos slipped under hotel-room doors late at night. One aide told the paper, "To tell the truth, nobody knows who is calling the shots." 41 

On the streets, operations were coordinated from a motor home decorated with Bush-Cheney campaign shwag, like many others parked nearby. The mobile command center was kept a block or so away from the center of the protests, far enough to lay low but close enough for instant access. The protesters were brought to the scene in specially rented busses. Party operatives used bullhorns to shout inflammatory rhetoric, passed out t-shirts and leaflets, and generally kept things heated.

The first GOP riot occurred in Miami on November 22. 42  In command were some 75 members of the "Congress Gang," who floated in and out of the mobile home a block away where the votes were being counted.

NY Rep. John Sweeney, who was observing the recount, gave the order to "shut it down." 43  Within minutes, an angry mob filled the halls of the government building, screaming threats with their fists in the air. Leading the mob, clearly visible in news footage and photographs, were a number of the staffers in the "Congress Gang."

Panicked sheriff's deputies tried to close the doors leading to the counting area. The protesters responded by pounding on the doors and the large window looking in on the besieged canvassers. The glass bulged under the strain.

Joe Geller, the chairman of the local Democratic Party, decided wisdom was the better part of valor. He shoved some papers and a standard blank sample ballot into his brief case and tried to get away. Someone shouted that Geller was "stealing a ballot," and the mob leapt into hot pursuit. Once on the street, Geller was surrounded. He was beaten and kicked as he tried to shield himself with his arms. Finally, local police waded into the crowd and after a considerable struggle managed to extract Geller in one piece. 44 

Back inside, other Democrats were attacked. Party spokesman Luis Rosero was shoved, punched and kicked when cornered outside the election supervisor's office. Even Congressman Peter Deutsch was "manhandled." Then word came that 1,000 Cuban-Americans were on their way to join the fray, egged on by the most influential Spanish-language radio station, Radio Mambi.

To stave off a full-fledged lynching, the canvassing board announced the counting would be re-opened to the public. Sheriff's deputies had to escort the three terrified counters back into the public recount area. Meanwhile, the local election board held a private meeting in more secure quarters. When they emerged, they announced exactly what the mob wanted: the recount would be stopped altogether, and the original results from Nov. 7 would be certified. The Miami-Dade election supervisor, David Leahy, initially admitted that the attacks had played a part in their decision to stop the count. "If what I'd envisioned worked out," he said at the time, "and there were no objections, we'd be up there now counting." 45  Later, he denied the protests had been a factor.

With their work done in Miami, the motor home and its troops moved on to Broward County, where they were joined by about 20 other Congressional staffers who were already on the scene. The promised Cuban-American activists also arrived, many of whom were members of the Cuban American National Foundation, a right-wing organization with documented ties to the CIA.

Security was much heavier in Broward, in part because of the Miami riot that had just been broadcast live on CNN. As a result, the protests there were extremely vocal and sometimes tense but, judging from the available press reports at least, no one was physically assaulted. However, the local Democratic Party Headquarters was surrounded and at one point a brick was thrown through its window.

Other "Congress Gang" platoons were sent to Fort Lauderdale, and some of the same Congressional staffers were also involved in a tense confrontation with Democratic volunteers in West Palm Beach. The group, which included Rev. Al Sharpton, was cornered while trying to retrieve some campaign signs. Things got quite tense and heated words were exchanged, but no violence erupted.

In the end, the secret GOP effort was so successful that at many demonstrations, GOP protesters outnumbered Democratic supporters 10 to one.

When it was all over, the Republican rent-a-rioters got their lavish Thanksgiving Day party, with plenty of free food and booze. Wayne Newton crooned "Danke Schoen" for the crowd, until screaming female fans stormed the stage. "Danke schoen, darling, danke schoen. Save those lies, darling, don't explain...." 46  But the real highlight of the evening was a conference call from Bush and Cheney. Instead of chastising the goon squad for their violent tactics, the candidates thanked them for their work. They even cracked mocking jokes about their rivals. 47 

The judicious application of "spontaneous" protests and mob violence has always been a key feature of CIA destabilization. Such operations help put political pressure on the target, make for good TV propaganda, and are sometimes used to intentionally provoke a crackdown that is then widely publicized, often through journalists on the Agency payroll.

For example, the CIA's plan for the 1953 coup in Iran called for "stage[d] political demonstrations under religious cover," to include "staged attacks" on Muslim religious leaders which would then be falsely blamed on the Mossadegh government. 48 

In their Chilean operations against Salvador Allende during the early '70s, one of the CIA's greatest propaganda victories was "The March of Empty Pots." Thousands of women marched through the streets banging empty cooking pots with ladles to protest food shortages. In reality, the shortages were artificially induced through a secret campaign of economic sabotage coordinated by the CIA along with ITT, Anaconda Copper and other multinationals. Many of the marching "housewives" were actually the spouses of wealthy anti-Allende partisans who were suffering little. Armed fascist gangs backed by the CIA marched along with the women, then provoked violent clashes with the police. Stories of police "attacking women with empty pots" flooded the world press. Dozens of other protests were organized by CIA front groups in order to artificially escalate tensions and portray Allende as having little support or control. 49 

In 1990, during Bulgaria's first post-Communist elections, professional agitators, backed by millions in covert financing from the US, organized massive street protests that ultimately succeeded in unseating the duly elected government. Even though the renamed Communist party had won the overwhelming majority in voting which western observers on the scene widely agreed had been fair, the US (through the CIA) used the mobs to intimidate and ultimately hound officials from office. 50 

Not coincidentally, one of the senior members of the Bush administration who coordinated the Bulgarian action was none other than James Baker the man who spearheaded the Bush campaign's post-election response to Gore's challenges in Florida. 51 

Propaganda

"All effective propaganda must be confined to a few bare essentials and this must be expressed as far as possible in stereotyped formulae." — Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

In his Coup d'Etat handbook, Luttwak explains the importance of propaganda in the post-coup period. "Our first objective," says Luttwak, "will be achieved by conveying the reality and strength of the coup instead of trying to justify it." 52  The goal is not to explain the legitimacy of the seizure of power, but simply to emphasize that it is a fait acompli to be accepted as fact.

This very stratagem served as the touchstone for James Baker and the entire Bush apparatus. Rather than act on the confidence of their professed certainty, let alone take the moral high-ground in what everyone agreed were questionable circumstances, the Bush campaign instead did everything it could to derail the recounts and assert the "fact" of their victory.

They did not seek to prove the vote had not been tampered with or that machines had not failed catastrophically. Rather, the issue of the legitimacy of the Florida vote was only addressed in terms of its finality. Through simple repetition, these mere stipulations took on the coloration of fact. The people have spoken, we have a majority (even though evidence suggests otherwise), the deadline has passed, and 3,000 Jewish votes for Buchanan just happened. Tough luck, get over it, now shut up and give us the keys to the Capitol. These same semantics were reflected in the GOP's legal challenges to Gore's calls for perfectly legal (indeed, mandatory) recounts. Bush's hatchet men did not so much justify their position, as they instead merely emphasized over and over that it was a done deal.

Another important propaganda theme was that it was Bush who was truly honoring the law; that it was Gore who was violating the law and thus defiling the sanctity of the democratic process. Through this constant refrain, the Bush campaign sought to create an image of themselves as protectors of these sacred tenets of the nation. This is fully consistent with Luttwak's propaganda strategy:

...[O]ur information campaign...[must]...reassure the general public by dispelling fears that the coup is inspired by foreign and/or extremist elements, and to persuade particular groups that the coup is not a threat to them. The first aim will be achieved by manipulating national symbols and by asserting our belief in the prevailing pieties.... 53 

As Luttwak further explains, marginalizing whatever resistance might oppose the coup is equally important. By the same token, creating a sense of isolation and futility among oppositional elements is vital to prevent any possible unification against the coup.

...[N]ews of any resistance against us would act as a powerful stimulant to further resistance by breaking down this feeling of isolation. We must therefore make every effort to withhold such news. If there is in fact some resistance and if its intensity and locale are such as to make it difficult to conceal from particular segments of the public, we should admit its existence; but we should strongly emphasize that it is isolated, the product of the obstinancy of a few misguided or dishonest individuals who are not affiliated to any party or group of significant membership. 54 

An example of the use of such tactics can be found in the way in which the conservative press dealt with Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Miami riot. Following the "Congress Gang" attacks, the GOP propaganda machine first tried to claim the protests had been completely spontaneous. When their cover was blown by the press, the party's pundits and columnists used identical propaganda points to deflect criticism and minimize the intimidation. While the exact words varied somewhat, the startling uniformity of their semantics strongly suggests a coordinated effort.

Within 24 hours after the Miami violence, Paul Gigot used his column in the Wall Street Journal to praise the action as a "burgher rebellion" by otherwise mild-mannered "50-year-old white lawyers" who had been pushed over the edge by the Dems. "If Al Gore loses his brazen attempt to win on the dimples," Gigot wrote, "one reason will be that he finally convinced enough Republicans to fight like Democrats." 55  The clear implication is that it is the Democrats who are the true violent thugs.

The most popular tactic featured classic Reagan-era "Big Lie" assaults on Jesse Jackson. First his role in organizing a Nov. 9 demonstration was derided as "outside agitation" (a classic Cold War ploy), then he was falsely accused of instigating violence that never occurred.

"Jesse Jackson and his minions have now arrived on the scene like malignant cancer cells attracted to a growing tumor," L. Jean Lewis said in one column. "To have them openly encourage rumors of civil rights violations and propagate deliberate unrest is bordering on sedition." 56  In Lewis' world, it's treason for Jackson to speak to a crowd, but just a harmless protest for the Republicans to punch people and throw bricks. It should be noted that Lewis served as an investigator for the RTC following the S&L scandal during the '80s (which also featured CIA involvement). Her findings provided the basis for the overblown Whitewater scandal, that she in turn helped perpetuate through her columns.

Ann Coulter, a self-described "bomb thrower", took the rhetoric even further. "Jesse Jackson is presiding over rioting in the streets," she wrote. "Maybe [Janet Reno] could send in a SWAT team to gun down President-elect George W. Bush." 57  Not only are Democrats thugs, Coulter implies, but they want to assassinate their rival!

But there was no "rioting" by Democrats. No Republicans were ever physically attacked by hired goons, nor were bricks thrown through any of their windows. Furthermore, unlike the Republicans, Jackson never claimed that the demonstrations were spontaneous or entirely local. But by using multiple "journalists" to paint Jackson and others as nothing but "outsiders" fomenting "sedition" and "rioting", the GOP was able to create the impression of a marginalized and silly opposition while simultaneously making it appear as though these were conclusions reached independently by sage observers.

The Nixon Myth

Another propaganda tool was the ubiquitous story of Richard Nixon's "gracious" concession to JFK in 1960. Amidst charges that the close election had been rigged by the Democrats, Nixon purported felt the charges could be proved but he didn't want to "tear the country apart." Ignoring his advisors, the story goes, he chose instead to go quietly and not contest the election. The irony was delicious: the evil reactionary Nixon was more of a statesman than liberal Gore. Just as importantly for Bush, with Daley's son serving as Gore's post-election point man the unspoken implication was that this was all just rotten fruit from an old tree.

But in reality, "magnanimous Nixon" is a fabrication. Back in October, historian David Greenberg revealed in the online magazine, Slate, that in 1960 the Republicans had actually "launched a veritable crusade" to overturn the election. The parallels are rather startling.

Nixon friends in the press pushed the story and helped give the charges credibility. The RNC chairman sent telegrams to state party officials urging them to pursue recounts. A Nixon Recount Committee raised some $100,000. Lawsuits were filed in at least three states. "They succeeded in obtaining recounts, empanelling grand juries, and involving US attorneys and the FBI," Greenberg wrote. 58 

Indeed, the legal brawling continued right up to Dec. 12, when the RNC lost key cases in Illinois and Texas. In fairness, the Nixon fairy tale is not a new one; Nixon himself had described the episode this way in his both of his memoirs. But even after Greenberg penned a post-election op-ed piece for the L.A. Times, none of the major news venues seemed to care about the truth. "Dented but not derailed," Greenberg lamented later, "the conventional-wisdom juggernaut rolled on." 59 

The Spoiler

Leading up to the election, one of the greatest fears of Republican strategists must have been the possibility of Jesse Ventura running for the White House on the Reform Party ticket. Judging by what happened, one cannot help but wonder whether that party's spectacular implosion was truly organic.

In 1992, Ross Perot's Reform Party bid was the Republican's version of Ralph Nader. By Republican reckoning, the eccentric billionaire's 8% showing had both cost President Bush the reelection and had ushered in their worst nightmare: the Clinton presidency. In 1999, Gov. Ventura potentially posed an even more serious threat. The former wrestler, as we all know, had surprised everyone by handily winning the Minnesota governor's race and then delighted the press and public alike with his bluntly honest style. Even more surprising, he did a pretty good job. Ventura was wildly popular, and as the 2000 campaign grew closer there was wide speculation about whether he would run for the presidency. Some felt he might even win.

Suddenly, in October 1999, archconservative and one-time Nixon protégé Patrick Buchanan made a big show of defecting from the Republican Party, leaping into the reluctant arms of the Reform Party. He announced he would seek Reform's nomination for president, and then proceeded to publicly spew a steady stream of rhetoric that was extreme even for him. Meanwhile, Buchanan brought with him a coterie of other reactionaries, who soon wormed their way into the Reform Party infrastructure.

In short order, the Reform Party was viciously split between the extreme right-wingers loyal to Buchanan and pretty much everyone else. Gov. Ventura, the Reform Party's golden boy, quit the party in disgust and held a press conference to pin it on Buchanan. He then announced there was "no way" he would run for president.

Still, internal tensions continued to escalate, and the drama dominated media coverage of the party. By the time their national convention finally convened last August, the disagreements had become full-blown warfare. Rival nominee John Hagelin and his moderate supporters stormed out and formed a new coalition, pledged to fight Buchanan to the bitter end, and filed lawsuits to secure desperately needed federal campaign matching funds. In the end, the Federal Election Committee settled the matter when it awarded the $12.6 million in matching funds to Buchanan's faction. By this time, there were less than two months until the election, the Reform Party's message had been completely usurped and discredited by the strange brawling, and Buchanan was polling a mere 2% thanks to his fascistic pronouncements. For all intents and purposes, the Reform Party had been destroyed from the inside, and any possibility that it would receive federal matching funds in the 2004 election had been safely eliminated.

Such spoiler campaigns have been a common tactic used in CIA covert action. For example, in Chile's 1964 campaign the main recipient of CIA covert support was the conservative Christian Democratic Party. But as a Senate investigation later revealed, the CIA also threw considerable support to the more extreme right-wing Radical Party "in order to enhance the Christian Democrats' image as a moderate progressive party being attacked from the right as well as the left." 60  Buchanan served this function perfectly, regularly spearing even the most extremist Republican positions as namby-pamby liberalism that betrayed the party's "true heritage."

Historically, the CIA has not limited such activities to foreign countries. In 1967, elements working under the Agency's notorious Operation CHAOS 61  were used to destroy a new third-party coalition forming to back a presidential bid by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., with pediatrician/author Benjamin Spock as his VP. When the National Conference for New Politics held a national convention at Chicago's Palmer House, agents provocateur with ties to the CIA used tactics nearly identical to those displayed during the 2000 Reform Party convention to stir up arguments, hammer on divisive issues, and actively prevent any kind of consensus. At one point, one group even (supposedly) threatened to kidnap Dr. King. The sure-fire King-Spock ticket was strangled in the cradle, and their third party died along with it. Less than a year later, King was assassinated while trying to organize a Poor People's March on Washington. 62 

Buchanan himself is no stranger to covert action disguised as electoral politics. For example, in April 1972, while working for the Nixon administration, he wrote a secret memo outlining a comprehensive plan for what he termed "covert operations" to be directed against the Democrats during their national convention in Miami. Buchanan's secret plan included "harassment exercises, and embarrassment exercises for the Democrats." Their secret operative would "put demonstrations together, get leaflets out, start rumors, and generally foul up scheduled events." The plan also called for extensive media ops, including false stories that would then have to be denied by the Democrats. 63 

Supreme Court (In)Justice

On Friday, Dec. 8, when the Florida Supreme Court issued its final order to count the votes in accordance with Florida statutes, Bush's top supporters took to the airwaves. Echoing the 1989 call to arms against Iraq, "This judicial aggression must not stand," growled Tom DeLay. 64  Within a few days, a different kind of "judicial aggression" ended it all.

Spearheading the Bush cause inside the Court was Justice Antonin Scalia, Bush's favorite to be the next Chief Justice. When the fateful emergency stay of the Florida Court's order issued December 9th, it was Scalia who took the unusual step of writing a concurring opinion. It was he who invoked imminent "irreparable harm...to the country" should all the votes be tallied. Even more unusual, Scalia's concurrence made it clear that Bush had "a substantial probability of success" before the briefs were even filed. This set the stage for eventual Bush victory

A protégé of Robert Bork, Scalia entered federal service under President Nixon in 1971. When Nixon resigned in disgrace in 1974, President Ford assigned Scalia to determine legal ownership of the Nixon tapes and documents. He ruled in favor of Nixon. 65 

In 1977, Scalia quit rather than work under President Carter, returning to the Beltway in 1982 when Reagan appointed him to the US Court of Appeals for Washington, DC. During his tenure there, Judge Scalia played a questionable role in another controversial vote-fraud case.

Since 1970, brothers Ken and Jim Collier have obsessively hunted a massive conspiracy they have christened "Votescam." 66 

In 1985, the Collier brothers filed a series of pro se civil suits targeting those they believed were behind an effort to suppress their evidence of nationwide voter fraud. Their suit against the Republican National Committee fell in the jurisdiction of the Washington Court of Appeals. The RNC tried to get the case dismissed, but a two-judge panel (not including Scalia) unanimously decided to send the case to trial in District Court.

Weeks after the ruling, Scalia quietly slipped a signed "killer memo" into the case file stating that in his view it was obvious the case had no merit and recommending "the district court's dismissal of the action." 67  When the Colliers discovered the existence of Scalia's "counterfeit concurrence," they sued him on the grounds that he had violated legal procedure.

Shortly after the episode, Reagan appointed Scalia to the US Supreme Court. During the confirmation hearings Ken Collier testified about the affair but, obviously, the Senators were unmoved and approved Scalia anyway. Ironically, when the Colliers lost their suit against the RNC, they appealed to the Supreme Court. It declined to hear the case. 68 

Conflicts of Interest Violated the Law

Whenever any election-related case was heard by a Democratic judge, Republican cries of conflict of interest received wide media play. But curiously, when it came to the US Supreme Court, serious conflicts of interest barely made a ripple.

In fact, Justice Scalia violated federal statutes when he failed to recuse himself from both of the election cases. Two of his sons work for law firms that worked on the Bush post-election challenges.

Eugene Scalia, for example, is a partner in the Washington office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, the law firm that represented the Bush campaign in oral arguments before the Court. When the press got wind of this, Eugene told reporters that he was not working directly on the case. 69 

However, the federal statute is quite clear on this matter. It requires that a justice recuse himself from any case in which their spouse or child is "known by the judge to have an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding." 70  Whether or not the child is working directly on a given case is irrelevant: the defining concern is an affected interest. Clearly, as a partner in a firm delivering historic cases before the Supreme Court, Eugene Scalia's "interest" would indeed be "substantially affected" by either winning or losing. Having won, just imagine the fees his firm can now charge, the prestige it now enjoys. As a partner, Eugene Scalia profits directly from this, both financially and professionally.

A former White House special counsel joined the call for Justice Scalia to recuse himself. When reporters pressed the issue, Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said only that "the court would have no comment on the matter." 71  And that was that.

Justice Clarence Thomas had an even more serious conflict of interest which violated federal law. His wife, Virginia Lamp Thomas, was (and is) gathering and processing applications for the Bush cabinet. Perversely, a Bush spokesman implied the charges were nothing more than veiled sexism. "Like many professional women, Mrs. Thomas should not be judged by her spouse," he said. 72 

Mrs. Thomas, a former Republican Congressional aide, works for the Heritage Foundation (www.heritage.org). The conservative think-tank first made its first real mark in 1981 when it's Mandate for Leadership was adopted as the "bible" of the incoming Reagan Administration. Since then, the Heritage Foundation has been a cornerstone of Republican presidencies, strongly influencing everything from domestic policy to national security to the very structure of the government itself.

It also happens to enjoy a revolving-door relationship with US intelligence. Its Board of Trustees 73  includes: Richard Mellon Scaife, the right-wing billionaire and Reagan-era propagandist who has personally bankrolled most of the "Clinton Scandal" industry; Holland H. Coors, beer heiress and trustee of the Adolph Coors Foundation, which helped fund the Contra war; Midge Dector, former chair of the anti-communist Committee for a Free World; and Frank Shakespeare, who served as Reagan's ambassador to the Vatican during the P2 Lodge 74  scandal, and director of Radio Free Europe.

In her own job at the Heritage Foundation, Mrs. Thomas has solicited resumes "for transition purposes" from the government oversight committees of Congress. 75  By press time, no fewer than eight of Bush's top cabinet designees have worked for or have ties to the Heritage Foundation. 76 

Despite all this, Mrs. Thomas sternly told the New York Times, "There is no conflict here." She explained that because she "rarely discusses" Court matters with her husband, there was no reason for Justice Thomas to recuse himself from the landmark Bush cases. 77 

But again, the federal statutes are crystal clear that it is the relationship itself and not whether any "discussions" take place that determines when a justice is required to recuse himself. Despite the clear-cut violation, of course, Justice Thomas heard the case and voted with the majority in favor of his wife's ultimate patron.

Lastly, although this pales by comparison, press reports indicate clear signs of early prejudice on the part of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a key swing vote in the Bush v. Gore case. As Time's web site recently reported, "according to the Wall Street Journal, O'Connor's husband said at an election-night party that his wife, a 70-year-old breast-cancer survivor, would like to retire but that she would be reluctant to leave if a Democrat won the presidency and got to select her successor." 78 

No Justice, No Peace

When Katherine Harris certified the Florida vote the Sunday after Thanksgiving, she illegally closed off the state Capitol from the press and public. When a few reporters managed to get in with the help of a state employee, Harris tried to have them all arrested. As the Miami Herald related, the reporters "had to call lawyers to stay in a public building even while state business was being conducted." 79  While attorneys and security officers squabbled, Harris unilaterally disqualified most of the recounts that had been mandated and sanctioned by the Florida courts.

The US Supreme Court had based its controversial final ruling on the premise on the immutability of Dec. 12th as the deadline for certifying electors. Yet by that date, no fewer than 20 states — nearly half the country — still had not submitted their lists of electors to the federal government. "We consider the deadline to be Dec. 18 with no penalty," said National Archives spokeswoman Susan Cooper. 80  No one noticed or seemed to care.

The final indignity came on Saturday, January 6, when Congress met in joint session to officially count and certify the electoral votes. But fewer than half of our elected officials bothered to even show up. Legally, at least 50% must be in attendance for there to be a quorum. Without a quorum, the session is not legally recognized and any actions taken are, technically, null and void.

Florida Representatives Peter Deutsch and Alcee Hastings mounted a formal complaint, rightly claiming that this was not even a legal meeting of Congress. But the rules require that a Senator — any Senator — must also sign the complaint for it to be recognized. None would.

One by one, members of the Congressional Black Caucus took the podium to protest the Florida controversies and the sham certification about to take place. "I don't care that [our complaint] is not signed by a senator," cried Rep. Maxine Waters, the California Democrat who worked so hard to expose CIA-Contra drug dealing. Vice President Gore himself, presiding over the joint session, banged his gavel. "The chair would advise that the rules do care," he said. 81  It did not seem to matter that those same rules called for a quorum.

Finally, the Black Caucus and a few others stood and walked out. A smattering of applause followed them. Then the no-quorum Congress proceeded to illegally certify the electoral vote.

"May God bless our new president and vice president, and may God bless the United States of America," a stoic Gore declared when it was done. 82 

Three days later, in an interview with NPR's "Morning Edition," former President Jimmy Carter said that he would refuse to monitor elections in any country that had election procedures as flawed as those in Florida had been. The Carter Center has monitored 30 elections in 20 countries, including such bastions of corruption as East Timor, Peru, Haiti, and Mozambique.

"I was really taken aback and embarrassed by what happened in Florida," he told interviewer Bob Edwards. "If we [The Carter Center] were invited to go into a foreign country to monitor the election, and they had similar election standards and procedures, we would refuse to participate at all." 83 

Prepare for the Weirdness

Perhaps Hunter S. Thompson summed it up best in his Nov. 20 column for ESPN.com. "If this were the world of sports," he observed, "it would be like playing a Super Bowl that goes into 19 scoreless Overtimes and never actually Ends. ...or four LA Lakers stars being murdered in different places on the same day. Guaranteed Fear and Loathing. Abandon all hope. Prepare for the Weirdness. Get familiar with Cannibalism. Good luck, Doc." 84 

A word to the wise: get your passport while you still can.



ENDNOTES for "Coup 2K" by John Dee

  1. Studs Terkel, "A US Coup D'Etat," Chicago Tribune 12/17/2000.
  2. Will Hutton, "Right-wing coup that shames America," The Observer (London) 12/24/2000.
  3. CSIS Scholars bio, CSIS Web site, http://www.csis.org/html/4luttwak.html
  4. Edward Luttwak, Coup d'Etat: A Practical Handbook (Harvard Univ. Press, 1968), pp. 26. All page citations herein are from the 1979 paperback ed.
  5. Ibid., pp. 26-27.
  6. Ibid., p. 58.
  7. Ibid., p. 21.
  8. See, for example, John Dinges & Saul Landau, Assassination on Embassy Row (NY: Pantheon Books, 1980); and Inside the Shadow Government (Washington, DC: Christic Institute, 1988).
  9. See Gary Webb, Dark Alliance (NY: Seven Stories Press, 1998); and Peter Dale Scott & Jonathan Marshall, Cocaine Politics (Berkeley, CA: Univ. of Calif. Press, 1991). See also: CIA Inspector General, Report of Investigation Concerning Allegations of Connections Between CIA and The Contras in Cocaine Trafficking to the United States, Vol. II: The Contra Story (declassified Oct. 1998). The latter is reproduced online by the Federation of Atomic Scientists at http://www.fas.org/irp/cia/product/cocaine2/. (It can also be found on the CIA's web site.)
  10. Bob Callahan, "Agents for Bush," Covert Action Information Bulletin no. 33 (Winter 1990), pp. 5-7. See also, Webster Tarpley & Anton Chaitkin, George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography (Washington, DC: EIR, 1992), chapter 16. Full text available online at www.tarpley.net/bushb.htm
  11. Washington Post, March 1, 1980. Cited in Callahan, "Agents for Bush," op. cit.
  12. "Unauthorized Transfers of Nonpublic Information During the 1980 Presidential Campaign," House of Representatives (US GPO, 1984), pp. 1112-14. Cited in Callahan, "Agents for Bush," op. cit.
  13. The Office of Strategic Services, the WWII-era predecessor to the CIA. For a comprehensive biography of William Casey, see Joseph R. Persico, Casey (NY: Viking/Penguin, 1990).
  14. See, for example, Robert Parry, Trick or Treason (NY: Sheridan Square Press, 1993); Gary Sick, October Surprise (NY: Random House/Times Books, 1991); and Ari Ben-Menashe, Profits of War (NY: Sheridan Square Press, 1992).
  15. Robert Parry, "The Russian Report," The Consortium (www.consortiumnews.com/ archive/ xfile1.html) 12/11/1995; Robert Parry, "Russia's PM Stepashin Fingered Reagan and Bush," iF Magazine July-August, 1999, pp. 11-17. The latter citation reproduces the entire Russian report. Parry confirmed with Russian government sources that the report was the product of original intelligence, not simply a summary of press accounts.
  16. William Neikirk, "Bush to be exempt from House's hostage probe," Chicago Tribune 8/8/1991.
  17. For an excellent overview of the Bush family legacy, see Jack Colhoun, "The Family That Preys Together," Covert Action Information Bulletin no. 41 (Summer 1992), pp. 50-59. The following is largely condensed from that article, although original sources are cited in the interest of reader access.
  18. Julia Preston & Joe Pichirallo, "Bay of Pigs Survivors Find Common Cause With Contras," Washington Post 10/26/1986.
  19. Castejon affair: Jim McGee & James Savage, "Bush Sent Doctor to North Network," Miami Herald, 3/16/1987. GHW Bush covert op authority: National Security Decision Directive no. 159, "Management of US Covert Operations," Jan. 18, 1985, originally classified "Top Secret/Veil," reproduced in Covert Action Quarterly no. 58 (Fall 1998).
  20. Sydney P. Freedberg, "Miami Mystery," Wall Street Journal 8/9/1988. See also: John Dee, "Flying Mongoose," Lumpen 4.11 (April, 1996), p. 22
  21. Jefferson Morley, "See No Evil," Spin Magazine, March 1991.
  22. John Dinges & Saul Landau, Assassination on Embassy Row (NY: Pantheon Books, 1980); Taylor Branch & Eugene Propper, Labyrinth (NY: Penguin Books, 1983); and Warren Hinckle & William Turner, Deadly Secrets (NY: Thunder's Mouth Press, 1992).
  23. Glenn Garvin, "Panama: Exile says aim was Castro hit," Miami Herald 1/13/2001.
  24. Luttwak, op. cit., p. 147
  25. For example, David Kidwell et al., "Hundreds of felons cast votes illegally," Miami Herald 12/1/2000.
  26. Lists: "Hundreds of voters mistakenly tagged as felons in mix-up," St. Petersburg Times (FL) 6/23/2000; "Error may have taken voters off rolls," St. Petersburg Times 7/1072000. DBT acquisition: Securities & Exchange Commission standard Form 8-K, filed May 19, 2000 by ChoicePoint, Inc. Accessed via www.sec.gov.
  27. Gregory Palast, "Florida's flawed 'voter-cleansing' program," Salon.com 12/ 4/2000.
  28. Ibid. Re: donations to Lazio campaign, see John Riley & Stephanie Saul, "Mystery Group Pitches In for Lazio LIers who backed mayor offer financing," Newsday (New York), 10/29/2000.
  29. FEC data accessed via www.fec.gov. FEC info about the most recent donations was accessed via www.opensecrets.org, which is operated by the Center for Responsive Politics. Mr. Langone also sits on the board of Home Depot Inc., which as a company gave over $320,012 to the Bush campaign.
  30. FEC data at www.fec.gov.
  31. Palast, op. cit.
  32. "Rights groups to sue state leaders," Miami Herald 1/10/2001.
  33. Evan Shapiro, Feed Daily (column), Feed Magazine www.feedmag.com 11/8/2000.
  34. Ibid.
  35. For truly encyclopedic coverage of the Seminole case, complete with fully archived press stories and court documents, see www.campaignwatch.org.
  36. Trial transcripts and depositions, posted at www.campaignwatch.org.
  37. Scott Gold, "A County's Back-Room Goings-On Bring Suit," Los Angeles Times 11/28/2000.
  38. Sources for this section: Nicholas Kulish & Jim Vandehei, "GOP Protest in Miami-Dade Is a Well-Organized Effort," Wall Street Journal 11/27/2000; Dexter Filkins & Dana Canedy, "Protest Influenced Miami-Dade's Decision to Stop Recount," New York Times 11/24/2000; Steve Osunami & Bill Redecker, "Vocal Support," ABCNews.com 11/26/2000; Dana Milbank, "Fla. Recount Prompts an Outpouring of GOP Activism," Washington Post 11/27/2000; Paul Gigot, "Miami Heat: A burgher rebellion in Dade County," Wall Street Journal 11/24/2000; and Al Kamen, "Texans Eye Replanting Lawn," Washington Post 12/6/2000.
  39. Kulish & Vandehei, Wall Street Journal 11/27/2000, op. cit.
  40. Ibid.
  41. Ibid.
  42. By coincidence, this happens to be the anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963.
  43. Paul Gigot, Wall Street Journal 11/24/2000, op. cit..
  44. Footage of the assault on Geller was widely televised. See also Filkins & Canedy, New York Times 11/24/2000, op. cit..
  45. Osunami & Redecker, ABCNews.com 11/26/2000, op. cit..
  46. I wouldn't dare make this up. See Kulish & Vandehei, Wall Street Journal, 11/27/2000, op. cit.. "Danke Schoen" written by Kurt Schwabach, Milt Gabler and Bert Kaempfert © 1962.
  47. Ibid.
  48. Dr. Donald H. Wilber, "Overthrow of Premier Mossadeg of Iran November 1952-August 1953," CIA Clandestine Service Historical Paper No. 208, March 1954. Declassified in 2000. See www.cryptome.org/cia-iran-all.htm
  49. John Dinges & Saul Landau, Assassination on Embassy Row (NY: Pantheon Books, 1980), pp. 104-5. See also: US Senate Staff Report, "Covert Action in Chile 1963-1973" (Washington, DC: US GPO report no. 63-372, Dec. 18, 1975).
  50. William Blum, Killing Hope (Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 1995) pp. 314-320.
  51. Ibid.
  52. Luttwak, op. cit., p. 168
  53. Luttwak, op. cit., p. 168
  54. Luttwak, op. cit., p. 168
  55. Gigot, Wall Street Journal 11/24/2000, op. cit..
  56. L. Jean Lewis, "Whitewater whistleblower sounds off on vote," WorldNetDaily.com 11/14/2000.
  57. Ann Coulter, "Elections in Clintonville," Universal Press Syndicate (Uexpress.com) 11/10/2000.
  58. David Greenberg, "Was Nixon Robbed?" Slate.com 10/16/2000. Also, David Greenberg, "Gracious Loser? Hardly." Brill's Content Feb. 2001, pp. 106-9, 154-7.
  59. Greenberg, Brill's Content, p. 155.
  60. Staff Report, "Covert Action in Chile 1963-1973", op. cit.
  61. Operation CHAOS was a massive domestic surveillance and counterintelligence program started by the CIA in 1967 in response to exposés published in Ramparts magazine. Peace groups, civil rights activists, journalists and other "threats" were targeted. Later it became a joint operation with the FBI. In the days before PCs, a mainframe computer code-named HYDRA was devoted to processing the data. By the time it was finally shut down in the mid-'70s, CHAOS had collected personality files on 13,000 people, general files on 7,000 more Americans, and subject files on 1,000 domestic organizations. Despite being entirely illegal, it was one of the largest domestic surveillance operations in US history. See Morton H. Halperin, et al, The Lawless State (NY: Penguin Books, 1976), chapter 5; Frank J. Donner, Age of Surveillance (NY: Vintage Books, 1981 ed.), pp. 268-275; and US Senate, Final Report of the Select Committeee To Study Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence Activities, Book III, Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports..., (Washington, DC: US GPO, 1976), pp. 679-732.
  62. William F. Pepper, Orders to Kill: The Truth Behind the Murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. (NY: Warner Books, 1998 ed.), pp. 4-10. Pepper was a close friend of Dr. King's, and a direct participant in the formation of the NCNP and the doomed King-Spock presidential bid. Curiously, one of the people who had urged King to run was Yale chaplain William Sloane Coffin, an anti-war activist who was a covert CIA operative during the 1950s. See Peter Grose, Operation Rollback (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2000).
  63. Confidential Memorandum to John Mitchell and HR Haldeman, April 10, 1972, reproduced in full at ParaScope.com. See also: George Lardner, "Buchanan Outlined Plan to Harass Democrats in '72, Memo Shows," Washington Post 3/4/1996, p. A7.
  64. Howard Fineman, "Disorder in the Courts," Newsweek 12/18/2000.
  65. Ultimately the Supreme Court overruled him, but the end result was Nixon kept custody of the tapes until his death — erasing who knows what else.
  66. See Jonathan Vankin, Conspiracies, Cover-Ups and Crimes (NY: Dell Publishing, 1992), pp. 22-38. For their own exhaustive account, see James M. Collier & Kenneth F. Collier, Votescam: The Stealing of America (NY: Victoria House Press, 1992).
  67. Collier & Collier, Votescam, p. 259-60
  68. It must be noted that whatever the merits of the Colliers' Votescam theories (and there are some), the fact remains that they are the very epitome of "conspiracy nuts." Further hampering their credibility is the fact that they have penned a large number of Votescam stories for The Spotlight, the notoriously crypto-wacko newspaper of the "populist" Liberty Lobby.
  69. Associated Press, "Ex-White House Counsel Suggests Justice Scalia Recuse Himself," St. Louis Post-Dispatch 12/11/2000.
  70. US Code Title 28: Judiciary and Judicial Procedure, Section 455: Disqualification of justice, judge, or magistrate. Full text online at http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/28/455.html
  71. "Ex-White House Counsel Suggests...," St. Louis Post-Dispatch 12/11/2000, op. cit.
  72. Christopher Marquis, "Challenging a Justice," New York Times 12/12/2000.
  73. "The Heritage Foundation's Board of Trustees," www.heritage.org/departments/trustees.html
  74. The Propaganda Due (P2) Lodge was an Italian Masonic Lodge comprised of fascists, spies, judges, and other powerful right-wing figures. P2, which enjoyed close ties to the CIA, was involved in a major financial scandal with the Vatican Bank and sought to stage a fascist coup. Some say it was partly responsible for the assassination of Pope John Paul I. See: Penny Lernoux, In Banks We Trust (Garden City, NY: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1984); David Yallop, In God's Name (NY: Bantam Books, 1984); and George Russell, "A Grand Master's Conspiracy," Time, 6/8/1984.
  75. Marquis, New York Times 12/12/2000, op. cit.
  76. See www.heritage.org/features/secretaries-designate/
  77. Marquis, New York Times 12/12/2000, op. cit.
  78. Adam Cohen, "Can the Court Recover?," Time.com 12/17/2000.
  79. "Sunshine Law was election's biggest winner," Miami Herald 12/17/2000.
  80. "20 states are missing at first Electoral College roll call," St. Petersburg Times 12/14/2000.
  81. "Congressional Black Caucus walks out as Congress counts electoral votes," CNN.com 1/6/2001.
  82. "Congress confirms Bush electoral victory," CNN.com 1/2/2001.
  83. Bob Edwards interview with Jimmy Carter, "Morning Edition" (National Public Radio), Jan. 9, 2001. Quoted in Mark Silva, "Carter: Fla. voting too flawed," Miami Herald, 1/10/2001. An audio recording of the entire interview is archived by NPR at http://search.npr.org/cf/cmn/cmnpd01fm.cfm?PrgDate=1%2F9%2F2001&PrgID=3
  84. Hunter S. Thompson, "Prepare for the Weirdness," ESPN.com 11/20/2000. http://espn.go.com/page2/s/thompson/001120.html