Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 13, 2020

Declaring Elections Illegitimate - By Rejecting To Send Observers

International election observer missions are supposed to watch that the individual legal voting rules of a country are followed. They are expected to report any irregularities they detect. Unfortunately there are now attempts to pervert their purpose. The active withholding of observer missions is now used to delegitimize elections even when those are fair and follow all the relevant rules. Recent examples are the presidential election in Belarus and the upcoming congressional election in Venezuela.

Back in June we detected a planned color revolution in Belarus by connecting various media reports that hyped the weak opposition forces.

One additional indication that the election in Belarus would be used for nefarious purposes was the willful absence of OSCE election monitors.

Belarus had, as usual, expected the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to send election observers for the August 9 election. But the OSCE preemptively announced that it would not do so because an invitation was allegedly too late:

“The lack of a timely invitation more than two months after the announcement of the election has prevented ODIHR from observing key aspects of the electoral process,” ODIHR Director Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir said. “These include areas we have noted in recent observation reports as requiring improvement in Belarus, such as the formation of election commissions and registration of candidates. It is clear from the outcomes of these processes that the authorities have not taken any steps to improve their inclusiveness.”

The government of Belarus was surprised by the one-sided step:

“Indeed, to be honest, ODIHR’s decision was disappointing and unexpected. We really hope that this decision will be revised. After all, today, a day after the registration of presidential candidates, in line with earlier public statements, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent invitations to the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. These are our traditional partners in election observation. We remain strongly committed to our promises and obligations, including within the framework of the OSCE,” Anatoly Glaz said.

He emphasized that Belarus has never held elections without observation. “This time we were also determined to invite OSCE/ODIHR observers after the candidate registration. It was announced publicly on numerous occasions, we informed our western partners, senior officials of the Office and personally Ingibjorg Gisladottir about it. We are absolutely transparent in this context and this can be double-checked,” the spokesman said.

The willful absence of OSCE election observers later allowed 'western' media and politicians to claim that the election, which Belarus' President Lukashenko won, had been unfair.

In an August 18 interview Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pointed out that the OSCE argument was wrong:

There are international legal frameworks that must serve as guidance when it comes to determining one’s attitude towards events in a specific country. [...] [T]he Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has an Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). One of its responsibilities is to monitor national elections in the OSCE member states. This responsibility is part of the obligations signed by all members of this highly respected organisation, without exception. We are being told that the violations during the election campaign were obvious and documented by voluntary observers, on social media, on camera, etc. The ODIHR itself, which was supposed to monitor the elections, claims that its representatives did not go to Belarus because the invitation was sent too late. This is not true, to put it mildly, because, like any other OSCE member state, Belarus’s only commitment is “to invite international observers to national elections.”

There is no timeline for inviting OSCE election observers. The OSCE should have prepared for the mission before the official invitation took place.

The scheme to not send election observers when an unwanted candidate is likely to win now sees a repeat with regards to Venezuela.

On September 2 the President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro invited the European Union to send election monitors to watch over the congressional election that will take place on December 6:

Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said on Twitter that a letter had been sent to UN chief Antonio Guterres and EU top diplomat Josep Borrell, outlining "the broad electoral guarantees agreed for the upcoming parliamentary elections," and inviting them to send observers.

The move came a day after Maduro pardoned more than 100 lawmakers and associates of opposition leader Juan Guaido "in the interests of promoting national reconciliation" ahead of the polls.

A week later the EU claimed that the three month preparation time was too short for it to send monitors:

The European Union has received an invitation to observe parliamentary elections in Venezuela in December, but President Nicolas Maduro’s authoritarian government so far has not met “minimum conditions” to allow it to do so, an EU spokeswoman said on Friday.

The spokeswoman, in a statement to Reuters, said “time is already too short” to deploy a full EU Electoral Observation Mission if Maduro’s administration does not delay the vote beyond the current date of Dec 6.

The "time is too short" argument is obviously nonsense. The UN and the EU were already invited in January and had plenty of time to prepare themselves:

MOSCOW, January 24. /TASS/. /TASS/. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has invited obsevers from the United Nations, European Union and several Latin American countries to the parliamentary elections that will be held in the Bolivarian Republic later this year, the press service of the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

What the EU really wants though is to prevent the elections from taking place in an orderly manner:

Venezuela’s opposition has split on whether to participate in the elections, which will see voters elect delegates in the National Assembly. The current assembly head, Juan Guaido, is recognized by the EU as Venezuela’s legitimate head-of-state, though Maduro retains control of the government and military.

Guaido’s coalition of parties has vowed to boycott the election to avoid legitimizing an electoral process they deride as rigged. But in recent weeks another opposition bloc has emerged, under two-time former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, which says Guaido’s stance risks making the opposition irrelevant and a strategy based on persuading foreign nations to impose sanctions on Maduro’s government has failed.

On Thursday, Stalin Gonzalez, an opposition lawmaker backing Capriles, told Bloomberg that Capriles’ faction would also boycott the election unless international observers agree to attend.

The opposition rejects participation in the election unless European monitors are deployed. The EU then refuses to send monitors. It thereby sabotages an election that has an outcome the EU may not like.

Should the election take place and should Maduro's party, for lack of opposition participation, win a solid majority the EU will claim that the election was unfair even when every vote will have been counted correctly.

This scheme of not sending election observers is not furthering democracy and legitimate elections. It is a willful sabotage of elections where the most likely outcome is contrary to the preferences of those observer organizations. It discredits their original purpose.

Posted by b on September 13, 2020 at 10:48 UTC | Permalink

Comments

I guess there's no arguing that the elite are eliminating the old world order of sovereign countries and replacing that system with corporate industrial zones ran by corporate boards.

Corporate fascism and it's elitist cult members are reorganizing the world into a cashless and morally bankrupt system where only they have privacy and security while the rest of us live in a permanent underclass where upward mobility depends upon your service to the neofeudal lords that have been hand picked by the covert agency useful idiots.

Hold on to your arses folks, things are going to get really different really quickly going forward.

Stay safe and remember not to let other people choose your enemies for you.

Posted by: dave | Sep 13 2020 11:07 utc | 1

"We have been careful in our way of proceeding because we see imperialism as the main enemy of the Venezuelan people, and that is why we supported Maduro’s 2018 presidential bid. But the truth is that, beyond the capitalist crisis, the exhaustion of the Venezuelan dependent rentier model [of economic development], and the impact of the imperialist siege, there is plenty of evidence pointing to a real political shift in the project of the governing forces [in Venezuela]." Interview with Oscar Figuera is the general secretary of the Venezuelan Communist Party [PCV].

Posted by: Maracatu | Sep 13 2020 11:17 utc | 2

Byelarus is a participating country of the OSCE so it seems strange but very convenient that observers be withheld.
What about regional elections?
Will observers be present at Russia's regional elections today?

Posted by: AtaBrit | Sep 13 2020 11:31 utc | 3

Ever since the Nicaraguan elections in the 80s, when the ex-Somozista fascists, now rebranded as democratic forces, were given instructions by Washington not to participate in order to invalidate the expected victory of the Sandinistas, this practice is followed whenever convenient. Of course, one might credibly question the sincerity of the US & Vassals to democratic institutions when they have been consistently supporting dictators and fascistic thugs for so long (such as Somoza in Nicaragua), but torrents of propaganda can produce the desired effects.

The question is when the targeted countries will finally start to invalidate the "guardians of democracy and freedom", a.k.a., the defenders of corporate fascism and neoliberalism. At some point it must be obvious that the OSCE, the EU organs and other similar entities must be openly declared unfit and disregarded. In the distant possibility that some people are genuinely committed (even for selfishinterests) to see remotely objective institutions to address such international issues, there must be a message that the current ones won't do for a number of countries in the world due to political interference or downright servitude to the Anglo-American empire and its vassals.

Posted by: Constantine | Sep 13 2020 12:09 utc | 4

"... There is no timeline for inviting OSCE election observers. The OSCE should have prepared for the mission before the official invitation took place ..."

Dear B,

You're assuming that OSCE is competent enough to be able to prepare for a major core mission of overseeing elections and ensuring they are carried out properly with full transparency and accountability.

Alexandra Brzozowski, OSCE facing leadership crisis (Euractiv.com, 20 July 2020)

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is facing an unprecedented leadership crisis, after failing to agree an extension of its four most senior posts, leaving many in Europe worried about how it will continue to work until successors are chosen in December.

The 57 member states failed to reach a consensus on extending the mandates of four of the OSCE’s top officials last week, as of Saturday (18 July), the body has been de facto leaderless.

Swiss diplomat Thomas Greminger was appointed OSCE Secretary General in 2017, for a three-year term, with the four posts being a political package deal struck under the Austrian OSCE chairmanship, thus ending a leadership vacuum in the OSCE. All four are now vacant.

Besides Greminger’s, the three other positions that have been vacated include the director of the organization’s election monitoring and pro-democracy work (ODIHR, Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir); OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media (Harlem Desir), and OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities.

The OSCE’s consensus-based structure means even a single veto at the ministerial meeting in December can sink any reappointment ...

Perhaps the ODIHR's failure to send observers to the Presidential elections in Belarus wasn't just willful ... it was also a sign of its disorganisation and lack of competent leadership.

Posted by: Jen | Sep 13 2020 12:27 utc | 5

Posted by: dave | Sep 13 2020 11:07 utc | 1 Stay safe and remember not to let other people choose your enemies for you.

Trust me to perform on both counts.

Posted by: Constantine | Sep 13 2020 12:09 utc | 4 At some point it must be obvious that the OSCE, the EU organs and other similar entities must be openly declared unfit and disregarded.

Precisely. Virtually every "international" organization is under the thumb of the US either directly, or via funding, or via indirect influence, to the point where there is literally *no* such thing as "international order" any more (if there ever was.) Right-wingers who worry about "One World Government" already have that - it's the US (except for countries like Iran, China and Russia.)

Bottom line: The only way to "free the world" is to get rid of the US government - by any means necessary. Notice I don't say "overthrow it" or "destroy it" - that would be illegal under 18 U.S. Code § 2385. Advocating overthrow of Government. So I don't actually use those words... You are free to believe that I mean doing so by legal voting (if you're really stupid.)

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Sep 13 2020 12:33 utc | 6

And the buck, obviously, doesn't stop with Belarus:

EU tries not to lag behind US in its attempts to ‘punish’ Russia - Lavrov

As I've been trying to say here, this is part of a bigger, overall process happening in the European Peninsula since the post-war period, marked by an unbroken streak of decline in every possible facet.

This process, however, is multifaceted and is an amalgamation of many variables, historical and economic:

1) most important of all, Europe went from imperial to colonial status in a big bang event (WWII);

2) Cold War cut it off from the rest of Eurasia;

3) this status as USA-oriented (American colony) ossified beyond the Cold War, in the form of the ideology of Atlanticism and social-democracy ("socialism" in American terminology);

4) collapse of social-democracy and rise of neoliberalism as a manifestation of a transition from socialization of wealth (post-war miracle) to socialization of misery (tendency of the profit rate to fall, long depression in European capitalism);

5) degeneration of social-democracy into a demented form of "humanitarian imperialism";

6) cannibalization of Europe by Germany with the creation of the EU and, more importantly, the EZ;

7) the institutionalization of the Atlanticist ideology in Germany with the creation and codification of the EU (a dialectic reverse of point 6);

8) a desperate German attempt to expand eastwards (the "3% deficit rule", the destruction of the Ukraine, the attempt to destroy Belarus), in the vacuum of NATO expansion to the same direction, i.e. the EU as the "institutional/governmental" branch of NATO. This one also has a dialectical pair, which is the exhaustion of the American Empire.

Posted by: vk | Sep 13 2020 13:17 utc | 7

"Western democracies" used to be admired and their certification of a "free and fair" election was the gold standard.

But oligarch capitalism and Empire has changed all that.

I expect that an alternative body will soon fill the void for observing/certifying elections. How soon before Western publics demand that their elections are certified by the new body?

This is the kind of development that some would call "incompetence" on the part of Deep State/Empire asshats who doggedly pursue their own interests via faux populist huckster leaders that apply lipstick to swine.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 13 2020 13:25 utc | 8

I would challenge B as logical and fair minded person to attempt the other side of this arguement which is also not without merit I believe.

This place is becoming what the beloved Caitlin has described as Echo Chamber for prop and self reinforcement.

Just because US kind of sucks and is getting worse rapidly does not imply that other countries are good or even better. US is becoming police state so what is China or Russia or Belarus

Posted by: jared | Sep 13 2020 13:33 utc | 9

B "This scheme of not sending election observers is not furthering democracy and legitimate elections. It is a willful sabotage of elections where the most likely outcome is contrary to the preferences of those observer organizations. It discredits their original purpose."

True B - I would only add that while refusing to send observers is wilful, intended to allow western governments, agencies and MSM, together with the westernized/westernizing younger, city (often bourgeois) people of the targeted country, to delegitimize elections in those countries they want for their own purposes (in the case of Belarus both to rape and plunder its economy while gobbling up the last stretch of Russia's western borderlands for NATO).

And @6 Richard S Hack - So bloody true. The few parts of the UN (usually individuals like the Special Rapporteurs on Poverty etc) that remain objective, trustworthy, are sidelined, ignored. Meanwhile those UN bodies, offshoots like the OPCW, OSCE continue to be used by, attended to, hailed by the west, its MSM and politicos.

Posted by: Anne | Sep 13 2020 13:38 utc | 10

Another example of European/German desperation to avoid irrelevance in the 21st Century:

Why is Germany wading into the Indo-Pacific’s strategic waters?


--//--


@ Posted by: jared | Sep 13 2020 13:33 utc | 9

This is a fallacy and I've seen this argument being used by American far-rightists very often these years.

Besides the fact that the numbers themselves tell a completely different picture (that is: the USA indeed has worse human rights records than Russia, China, Venezuela etc. etc.), there's also a failure by design of the narrative.

The question isn't about abstract legal concepts (trilateralism, bilateralism, multilateralism, multipolarity, unipolarity, accords etc. etc.) or of institutions (nation-State vs. nation-State; UN vs. nation-State; EU vs. nation-State etc.), but the dialectical progress of History: which nation-State - in the world of nation-State - has the means and will to promote the progress of humankind?

The answer is clear as day: it's China and only China.

That's why China should be favored in all Eurasian and South China Sea affairs - irrelevant being if its through diplomatic or military ways, bilateral or multilateral deals.

If we degenerate to a simplistic, institutionalistic view of the world/History, we will equal China to the West. This is a false equivalence, and incurs the danger of humanity delving deep into another Dark Age - this time, maybe forever, as we have nukes.

Posted by: vk | Sep 13 2020 14:02 utc | 11

There are studies which regulary report compasons of countries on measures of security, quality of life, freedom and most of them are b/s. But even so if there were an assessment made by people with first hand knowledge I suspect on 0-10 Belarus would be around -5 and China around -8 and US around -2 and most of Europe around 0.
Great places to visit (actually US, not so much). Many of those places would be very good as long as you dont cross the wrong person

Posted by: jared | Sep 13 2020 14:10 utc | 12

Ukraine showed that the OSCE is worthless, however the strategy of continuing to confront the OSCE with its own original aims and standards is still the correct choice because it doesn't take much effort.

It is similar to a holding action and meanwhile the new structures and alternatives are created and already in use although I don't remember the name they had; they observed and vouched for the Belorussian election.

Like in everything else the US & Europe has already lost but they're too dumb to realize, they'll be gone before they get that far.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Sep 13 2020 14:14 utc | 13

This is an important article, a pointer to a perfidious tactic that completely destroys elections as an instrument for expressing the political will of a population, already limited in the setting of the bourgeois state, but still somewhat functional. Naturally, used only when the victory of 'undesirable' parties can be expected.
The same tactic, by the way, is pursued by Tronald, who tries everything to avert the threat of defeat by preemptively delegitimizing the election.

Posted by: pnyx | Sep 13 2020 15:37 utc | 14

Posted by: vk | Sep 13 2020 13:17 utc | 7

Excelent summary, I saw earlier today Lavrov speaking, as usual that is diplomacy, a really prepared, well spoken and to the point diplomat and not the approach of the buy our protection or else gang led by the lier, cheater and stealer representative of what looks like a highway robbers group. Germany blew it again, they tried twice with cannons and failed, they did it with the €uro and miserably failed again.

Posted by: Paco | Sep 13 2020 15:41 utc | 15

I really have nothing to add to what vk has already said, other than saying this is a good article followed by a good discussion - a rarity in the western world.

Posted by: worldblee | Sep 13 2020 16:18 utc | 16

thanks b... excellent overview, and would benefit from adding jens comment @5- also very relevant... the OSCE is becoming like the OPCW - manipulated by the west.. how undemocractic, but in keeping with the trend....

@ jackrabbit... yes - incompetent because ultimately it is not going to work...

Posted by: james | Sep 13 2020 16:28 utc | 17

It's not like the elections weren't going to be declared illegitimate no matter what. The US demanded as the ruler of the world to over see the Syrian elections. The US couldn't prove any thing untoward happened and said they were legitimate elections. Then less than a year later changed it's story to help fan sectarian violence.

Posted by: BraveNewWorld | Sep 13 2020 16:30 utc | 18

These narrative control efforts by empire are part of their ongoing strategy to maintain what they have of unilateral control/power. And these are conscious but misguided efforts that have been going on for decades, guided by the global private finance elite and their God of Mammon acolytes.

The aggressive push back against alternative forms of social organization (multilateralism) by the West is being called out and this will hopefully lead to death by a thousand cuts which the world wishes to happen sooner rather than later.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 13 2020 16:39 utc | 19

A clearer, more open case of managing public opinion could hardly be found. Just as in Julian Assange’s extradition trial, the outcome has been predetermined. In essence, the OSCE will claim that the election was unfair, because they knew it would be.

Posted by: Rob | Sep 13 2020 16:52 utc | 20

Some thoughts and comparisons with past models on peace between Israel and Persian Gulf Arab States, and US designs to implement a new security architecture for western Asia.

In early 70s when Americans were waist high in Vietnam quagmire and Watergate, Brits knew they had enough, no longer could afford policing the Persian Gulf and maintain their bases in the area. As of the result, the rearrangement of political and security architecture for Persian Gulf region became essential and necessary. In short years most disputes between the Arab states and Iran was resolved, Bahrain and UAE became independent states friendly to Iran, Iran reclaimed her sovereignty to several PG islands, Iraq and Iran’ dispute on Shatt al Arab water way was resolved, same with Kurdish insurgencies against the governments, Iran and Egypt restarted their relation, etc.. This (fake, unsubstantiated) political changes were arranged (mostly by British and Americans) to calm the political atmosphere in the region, making possible for Iran to become the” Police of Persian Gulf” to protect the new and old Arab fake but Rich states around the Gulf while the western powers no longer could afford doing so.

To make a new security arrangement to secure the western investments and interests by Iran in the region. Iran was to become capable to purchase massive amount of new and modern armament and training from the west with little money she was earning from her oil production. While Iran, and most of the oil producing gulf states were suffering from lack of any meaningful infrastructure. The solution to make these countries purchasing power capable of affording massive increase in purchasing western armament and infrastructure, came with a substantial increase in their only source of income, the oil price. What is called the “Petrol Dollar” recycling was created to recycle their earning from oil with Arms and Good from the west, a win, win solution. Meaning US will print unbacked fiat currency which everyone will need to have to purchase oil from the Persian Gulf oil producing states and oil producing states will purchase military goods and other services from (western) oil purchasing states.


By now we all know how long this fake security arrangements worked, yes less than 5 years, with Iranian revolution in 79 the west had to return to the region to protect its Arab client states. The Shah with full political, economic and military support of west could not protect himself from internal revolute, nevertheless the Arab statelets. The fact is, after Iranian revolution of 79 the west never was able, to arrange a meaningful lasting security architecture, in western Asia, to secure its Arab and Israeli clients and interests. Amazingly, while during all this past forty years since the Iranian revolution, besides its Arab client states all major regional Sunni Muslim states of Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan were in full cooperation with the US to restructure and maintain a new security architecture for western Asia outside of Iranian influence. It Never worked it never will, historically is impossible to make such an arrangement without Iran.

The reason I brought this up is, I see a similar even more clumsy and desperate new arrangement is forming up by the west to secure this small, low density high value Persian Gulf statelets. Apparently, this new arrangement is through utilizing Israel as the securing umbrella state, the so called Israel peace with Arabs states in the Gulf, this while unlike the Shah’ time at least on surface Turkey and Pakistan are officially not supporting this efforts.

It is not too difficult to understand peace with Israel, may bring some comfort and approval for Arab sheikhs and monarch while out of their choice they know US like Brits are leaving. But these Arab rulers know peace with Israel will not be accepted in their own Arab streets specially among rebellious Arabs youth. The fact is that these client Arab states more than external security that Israel supposedly can provide, need internal security from their own ever growing rebellious Arab youth. In fact, the recognition of Israel by these rich Arab monarchs makes them to be more insecure internally. Egypt and Jordan after peace deals and recognition of Israel, internally became less secure and more of police states, so was the Shah of Iran.


Looks like all signs are pointing to the direction of western states moving and making new arrangements to leave western Asia, Arab western clients should know they wouldn’t last, Historically and naturally Turkey’s influence will grow in eastern Mediterranean, and Iran’ in central Asia, Persian Gulf region.

Once my father ( a historian) told me, one can rewrite history book as one wish, but you one can’t recreate the geography. Geography of the Persian Gulf is the bitch for US.

Kooshy

Posted by: Kooshy | Sep 13 2020 17:02 utc | 21

Russia also asked independent observers for the Crimea vote to leave Ukraine and join Russia. of course it was refused, because US-NATO will never recognize election results for countries don't bend the knee.

Posted by: occupatio | Sep 13 2020 19:34 utc | 22

Excellent reporting b!! Time for the G-20, SCO, or the NAM to create their own election monitoring organizations to do what the dying Outlaw US Empire and its decrepit vassals refuse to do, and truthfully can't be trusted to honestly report results even when they do observe. Not being agreement capable has crept into other areas related to diplomatic relations. Essentially, the West has Navalnied itself with its easily discerned lies and distortions.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 13 2020 20:25 utc | 23

Just because US kind of sucks and is getting worse rapidly does not imply that other countries are good or even better.

Posted by: jared | Sep 13 2020 13:33 utc | 9

Not sure about your definition of "good". Neither China nor Russia have transformed in the last decades entire regions of the world into post-apocalyptic hellholes while posing as God's gift on humanity. None of them has unleashed conventional or unconventional attacks on the US or other countries in complete disregard of international laws, while using racist, ethno-supremacist rhetoric to justify criminal policies.

And considering the utterly brazen effort of the US/EU to subvert Belarus and transform it into a neoliberal corporate colony and a fascist bastion of Russophobia, you really have some nerve mentioning this country on par with Mordor-on-the-Potomac.

Posted by: Constantine | Sep 13 2020 21:50 utc | 24

One has to wonder how many international organizations the US has by the short and curlies.

Posted by: Dick | Sep 13 2020 21:58 utc | 25

Whilst we're pondering fake US-invented UN organisations, it's probably time to mention the IAEA and its insanely myopic focus on Iran, and only Iran.
How "international" is that?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 14 2020 2:52 utc | 26

The solution to this issue is obvious, so obvious I'm really surprised that it hasn't been put in place yet.
These election inspection and validation teams are primarily comprised of former politicians, politicians who for whatever reason have a reputation for honesty (yeah right 99% of 'em are neolibs so that's obviously untrue) and who have a bit of an international profile.
There are far more of these types than there are cushy little gigs for them.
Many have made a play at a big UN gig and either done their time or in the case of women, hit the 'glass ceiling'. Mary Robinson former president of Ireland who went on to become boss of UN Human Rights division is a classic example. That job was the highest she could get try as she might there is no way the UN is going to select a woman to be UN Secretary General. So after her term at UNHRC finished no more gigs for Robinson, consequently she got burned last year when she tried to sell the world a crock about, Sheikha Latifa, the daughter of the evil prick in charge of Dubai/UAE.

There are literally hundreds of these former politicians around and many of them have been cast on the slag heap of the oligarchy simply because there are not enough gigs to go around.
They know that other retired pols owed bigger favours by the oligarchy will always get the high paying gigs ahead of them so many have nothing to lose if they are merely required to tell the truth without putting any spin on it. That is how the Euro election monitoring mob first started out, and there no reason why some foundation cannot do exactly the same, set up a monitoring team to observe what goes down in the Venezuela election and tell the truth about it afterwards.

Of course the borg will eventually wake up to this and try to heavy/bribe/extort a team member to lie. But not initially, if Iran, Russia, China set up a London based 'foundation' recruit some ex-pols with nothing to lose to do an honest job and report about it honestly there will be many takers as long as the pay is good.

A handful of 'honest' pols could blow the wannabe Venezuela coup out of the water.
The stakeholders have enough data on well known pols from everywhere to know who is under the empire's thumb and who is free of it to choose widely.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Sep 14 2020 6:55 utc | 27

Venezuela elections 2018

"Daniel Kovalik teaches international human rights at the University of Pittsburgh Law School. His most recent book is “The Plot to Attack Iran.”

I just returned from observing my fourth election in Venezuela in less than a year. Jimmy Carter has called Venezuela’s electoral system “the best in the world,” and what I witnessed was an inspiring process that guarantees one person, one vote, and includes multiple auditing procedures to ensure a free and fair election.

I then came home to the United States to see the inevitable “news” coverage referring to Venezuela as a “dictatorship” and as a country in need of saving.

elections


Posted by: arby | Sep 14 2020 11:18 utc | 28

Posted by: Debsisdead | Sep 14 2020 6:55 utc | 27

Nice elaboration of the situation with NGOs. For many of those people, those are the best jobs available to them, so of course they can be coerced.

---

In PR it is called the "independent third-party testimonial technique" and it is ubiquitous. Marketing is basically the study of how to gull your fellow humans effectively, everybody ought to learn about it in school. study it, just a prophylaxis.

But it has been over-employed of late, so they are having to invent new "independent third-parties" all the time now, and the Chumps are wising up.

Propaganda is most effective when little used. We are getting regular full-tilt propaganda offensives almost continuously these days, wall-to-wall bullshit. You cannot get away from it.

This will not last long.

The other thing besides NGOs etc., is the Mighty Wurlitzer, where you already have alternate news sources RT, Sputnik, Xinhua, etc. available.

Posted by: Bemildred | Sep 14 2020 11:57 utc | 29

Debsisdead @27

There *were* independent observers in Venezuela (2018). Quite a lot of them if I remember correctly. They ALL declared the elections as both fair and honest.

Neocons et Al did not give a single shit. As far as the US is concerned you can have as many independent unbiased observers as you want. It doesn't matter. The US won't recognise them and the media will play pretend they don't exist because it's not about maintaining the integrity of democratic elections. It never was. It's about forcing a decision the US hegemony wants.

Posted by: S.O. | Sep 14 2020 13:07 utc | 30

I imagine that there have been identified a protocol and quantifiable measures of a legitemate election and agencies qualified to access. These agencies would be credible and widely respected by all sides - they would not be agents of vested interests. Who would have such credibilty to assess and underwrite such a plan - clearly it could not be a long list of discredited actors. Only maybe Cuba comes to mind.

Posted by: jared | Sep 14 2020 22:14 utc | 31

@SO #30 Do you even know what happened in Venezuela it seems you do not.
If I remember correctly the argument with the elections for National Assembly was never about the result because the opposition won, it was about the alternative methods used by Maduro the president to ensure his policies continued. The president is elected separately and has a considerable amount of legislative, judicial and executive power. These powers are the same as the ones that fascist presidents before Chavez had used without complaint by either amerika or other Latin American states.
The entire basis of some guy's 'prezdency' is that he had been selected by a majority in the Assembly, that is unconstitutional. Now it is certain that Maduro's PSUV will gain a majority in the Assembly this time some guy and amerika are pretending it will be rigged, when they know it won't be. PSUV victory will mean that some guy no longer has any basis for his claim legal or moral and amerika will have to stop diverting Venezuela's income to him. If independent monitors do go down and observe, then give the ballot a big tick it will do much to spike amerika's paper cannons.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Sep 14 2020 23:38 utc | 32

@ jared | Sep 14 2020 22:14 utc | 31... jared, you are either braindead, or really naive.... did you follow the OPCW actions with regard to the supposed chemical weapon attack in syria the past year or two??? take a look at that and get back to us on how it hasn't been corrupted... same deal here with OSCE and ODIHR.. they are tools of the empire at this point...

Posted by: james | Sep 14 2020 23:55 utc | 33

arby@28 is outraged that Venezuela is defined in the US as a dictatorship. Some, maybe most of the people who hate Venezuelan dictatorship, are perfectly sincere. The thing is, they regard majority rule as dictatorship. The purpose of government is to protect rights. Many people think political and civil rights, while those who own property think property rights (first or only, a lot of them.) But majority rule that can change the socioeconomic system is tyranny, the illegitimate use of the majority to violate rights. The whole point of "democracy" is to make sure the majority can't oppress the minority, that mere majority votes don't change fundamental policy. The vision of freedom in this is the freedom to buy what you can afford and to do with your property whatever you want. That's the free market and thus democracy is about maintaining the free market. That's how the freedom of slave owners to carry their chattels anywhere in the US without losing their property rights in them simply *was* the struggle for freedom and why the election of a Republican president who would oppose this was a tyrannical attack on their freedom compelling and justifying war for independence.

The notion of democracy as majority rule is more of a socialist/communist idea, pretended to in verbiage on occasion to spread confusion. Democracy as majority rule, or government operating in the general interest rather than property, is the kind of democracy socialists and communists, consistent principled ones at any rate, want. If one accepts that labor is the general interest, a break with the old meaning of democracy, the kind compatible with slavery and empire and Jim Crow and endless wars to punish whole nations, is complete. Most people will not break with the old meaning, shamefacedly refusing to answer the question, democracy for who?

Posted by: steven t johnson | Sep 15 2020 0:38 utc | 34

Further to my quip @ #26 about fake NGOs, here's Pat Lang's commendably brutal assessment of the fakery behind the UN...

14 September 2020
The UN is not a government.

Some points regarding the UN:
1. It has no effective power to enforce anything.
a. It has no money of its own. The members make voluntary donations.
b. It has no army. Members volunteer troops for "peace keeping" duty. Blue Helmets are just spectators everywhere they are placed. The only exception is in Korea which is an accident of history. But, Blue Helmet duty is VERY popular with soldiers everywhere because the UN supplementary pay is JUST WONDERFUL. (as is UN civilian pay).

2. The UN pretends that its "Resolutions" are something like laws. They are not. These multitudinous documents are useful to the major powers (US, Russia, China, India maybe) when they want to justify some action they wish to take. The various "Resolutions" on Iraq that the US managed to wheedle out of the Security Council come to mind. And, the "Resolutions" are oh, so useful as rhetorical devices with which to denounce your long-standing enemies. The Muslim/Arab states and the Israelis are particularly good at this.

3. The real value of the UN lies in its role as a coordinating body for its subordinate specialized agencies; IAEA, UNHCR, ICAO, etc. But, in fact, some of them are of no real value, and exist largely to line the pockets of their staff.

4. The international courts and investigations run by the UN are a joke. They have no power whatever against the aforementioned major powers. War crimes trials? Yes, the losers get tried after denunciation by the winners. Once again, the lawyers, investigators etc., live well in the process. The farcical UN investigation into the murder of Rafiq Hariri is a wonderful example. It went on forever and guess what! Hizballah done it! (probably with a wink and a nod from the Assad) Who woulda thought? An effort was made in the midst of the investigation to get me to participate. The pitch was made by a sometimes famous ex-CIA pundit guy who said that my intimate knowledge of the low personalities among the Lebanese Shia and Hizballah would be the key to making the case for their guilt. Then, the next day the chief UN investigator called to make the same appeal with a lot of money attached to it. But, alas, I slithered away without taking the bait.

Perhaps we should bring back the League of Nations. They also were useless and they have all those empty marble palaces in Geneva. Maybe with Bill De Blasio in charge the UN might wish to leave New York City. pl

Posted at 11:36 AM in government, Israel | Permalink | Comments (6)

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 15 2020 1:52 utc | 35

Hoarsewhisperer

He is correct on the UN to an extent. It is now as useless in most regards as the league of nations. It is however a US construct based on US culture and beliefs. Most of its addons are based on US propaganda of the day - unhcr, opcw ect.
US has long since held itself unaccountable to the UN - since the Nicaragua case. To the extent US is now sanctioning a UN investigator that dared to investigate gods own country on war crimes in Afghanistan.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 15 2020 3:58 utc | 36

@Richard Steven Hack | Sep 13 2020 12:33 utc | 6

Precisely. Virtually every "international" organization is under the thumb of the US either directly, or via funding, or via indirect influence, to the point where there is literally *no* such thing as "international order" any more (if there ever was.)

That is not true. In 2017, inside the United Nations General Assembly, the US lost 9-128 on the question of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The US is free to build its Israeli embassy wherever it wants, but the country can no longer force the rest of the world to follow. The international order is still very strong.


Right-wingers who worry about "One World Government" already have that - it's the US (except for countries like Iran, China and Russia.)

That's a really big "except". The BRICS countries (which include China and Russia) will be more than 50% of global GDP by 2030.

Posted by: Cyril | Sep 15 2020 4:23 utc | 37

Cyril
un general assembly has always been as useful as tits on a bull or alternativly a us tool. usnc is what counts but that also is only voluntary and set up with us groupy pissants having veto power.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 15 2020 6:00 utc | 38

I knew this would happen

‘Provocative & unacceptable’: Minsk says Lithuania’s recognition of Tikhanovskaya as Belarusian president breaks international law
https://www.rt.com/russia/500737-lithuanias-recognition-tikhanovskaya-president-international-law/

Absolutely crazy

Posted by: Zanon | Sep 15 2020 11:20 utc | 39

"Posted by: steven t johnson | Sep 15 2020 0:38 utc | 34"

Not sure what you are getting at but I see that the mighty empire has so far failed to win over the Venezuelan people or the army.
It tells me that by far the majority of Venezuelans are onside with their government despite the insane and intense outside pressure.

Posted by: arby | Sep 15 2020 12:31 utc | 40

@jared | Sep 13 2020 13:33 utc | 9

Just because US kind of sucks and is getting worse rapidly does not imply that other countries are good or even better. US is becoming police state so what is China or Russia or Belarus

Many countries are undoubtedly better, not only because the US sucks, but also because they have objectively behaved much better.

(1) In trustworthiness. They don't dump contracts and treaties, such as the Iran nuclear deal or the ABM/INF treaties (and probably START soon), when it suits them.

(2) In external behavior. They obey the international rules. The invasion of Iraq and the sanctions on Russia and Iran (without Security Council approval) are all violations of the UN Charter, which the US has already ratified. The US therefore promised to obey the Charter, and has broken that promise -- repeatedly.

(3) And even in most human rights. Murders by cop in 2019: about 3 in China; over 1000 in the Land of the Free.

Many people who are uncomfortable with the monster that the US has become, like yourself, Jared, attempt to excuse the Empire's detestable actions by saying that other countries are just as bad. They are not, not even close.

Posted by: Cyril | Sep 15 2020 22:21 utc | 41

Jared @ 9, Cyril @ 41:

Damn right the US is becoming the World's No 1 Police State.

Imprisonment Rates per 100,000 people, according to World Prison Brief via Sentencing Advisory Council (in Victoria state, Australia, data retrieved April 2020):

United States: 655 per 100,000

Russia: 359 per 100,000

Belarus: 343 per 100,000

China: 120 per 100,000

By way of comparison here are figures (per 100,000 people) from some other countries, using above sources.

Australia: 170

Canada: 107

England and Wales: 139

France: 104

Indonesia: 100

Italy: 102

South Africa: 259

Taiwan: 258

So it turns out that the US far outstrips China, Russia and Belarus in incarcerating more people in prison per 100,000 head of population, and moreover some other nations in the Anglosphere counted as "democratic" and respecting the rule of law also have more people in prison per 100,000 persons than China does.

Posted by: Jen | Sep 16 2020 0:10 utc | 42

@ Jen | Sep 16 2020 0:10 utc | 42 with the incarceration numbers...thanks.

Being the money guy I also think about the associated "for profit" prison system. Having a for profit prison system is a travesty in itself but reflective of the double-standard exceptionalism prevalent in the West.....if we were to put the criminals from Wall Street in those prisons, the public view/attitude about them would magically change.....sigh

Wouldn't it be nice to design a social system that had a more humanistic distribution of socialistic versus for profit sectors....and of course, to be on topic, get private money like we see now out of politics/elections.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 16 2020 0:38 utc | 43

Jen @ #42 I took a look at the rates of imprisonment for Oceania and as I suspected Aotearoa is quite bad, really bad in fact at 182 per 100,000 in keeping with my hypothesis that the highest rates of imprisonment are usually those countries subjected to colonial style imperialism where the indigenous population is oppressed. I realise that the situation in amerika is sort of different as the 'settlers' nearly wiped out the indigenous population but as the native americans were replaced by African slaves who are still oppressed as are the remnants of indigenous people the amerikan figure is high.
The indigenous population of Formosa/Taiwan are also doing it tough since Chiang kai-shek's kuomintang invasion has led to a typical han chinese takeover their imprisonment rate is 258 per 100,000. The indigenous population of Taiwan have been subjected to land theft & denial of their language & culture for 70 years and nothing I have ever heard on this from beijing causes me to hope that this would change when Taiwan is reintegrated into the mainland. The best solution would be to kick the invaders back to the mainland then create the republic of Formosa or whatever the original people choose their country to be named.

The really big shock is Palau which has had a very mixed up colonialism since spain first invaded back in the 16th Century. Since then Germany 1899 to 1918, then Japan 1918 to 1945ish (big battle on Palau between Japan & amerika during ww2) and amerika since then - although Palau is complicated as they tried to get free from amerika back in the 1980's and got lumbered with something far worse in 1994 under a Clintonista Compact of Free Association with amerika which gives them all the bad aspects of amerika but with less say in amerika's decision-making than Puerto Rico, which is really saying something. Check out how many lies the borg can get in an article about a nation with an amerikan puppet government. The imprisonment rate on what should be a pacific paradise if it wasn't chocka with amerikan bases is a whopping 522 prisoners per 100,000 of population.

Too often a nation's citizens just accept statistics such as these without actually considering how & why there is such a huge variation on rates of imprisonment.
In Aotearoa very few Tangata Whenua still get locked up for petty crimes (eg there was a bit of a scandal when some tory pig leaked the fact that former minister of Maori Affairs Dover Samuels had served six weeks in prison as an adolescent for the alleged 'crime' of theft of a pillow. The scandal wasn't about what it should have been; that a 16 year old had been tossed in the slammer on a petty charge brought on the verbal evidence a pakeha woman in a fit of jealousy or how Mr Samuels' word was less credible than hers. No the fuss was about a cabinet minister having been a 'former convict') but far too many impoverished citizens do end up in the slammer & since tangata whenua & Pacifica people are overrepresented in the poverty stats they are also overrepresented in crime stats.

For me the incarceration of indigenous people has always been one of my motives for spending a big chunk of my life resisting imperialism. It is bad enough that just about everything is stolen from indigenous populations & their cultures are destroyed, they are also harshly punished for not adhering to a colonising culture which they have no idea of.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Sep 16 2020 3:27 utc | 44

@ Jen | Sep 16 2020 0:10 utc | 42.. thanks for that quick overview... the usa prison system is a for profit system - more prisoners, more profit... it is a sick system...

i agree with @44 debs last paragraph.... that i think is very true...

Posted by: james | Sep 16 2020 16:35 utc | 45

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