THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
Text of Classified Cable Written by U.S. Embassy’s Political Counselor Posted on WikiLeaks
08th December, 2020 0
Editor's Note: To read the full text of the cable sent by U.S. Embassy Political Counselor Robert Downes please click here.
In light of attorney pending lawsuits in Michigan & Philadelphia, Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin that could be taken up by the United States Supreme Court due to the mounting amount of evidence pertaining to fraud in the 2020 Presidential election, one of the key points of concern is with the Dominion Voting System - especially their AVM (Automated Voting Machines).
Interestingly enough, back in 2014 Dominion donated $2.25 million to the Clinton Foundation for a joint project called 'The Delian Project: Democracy through Technology. While the Associated Press has said, “Previous claims that Smartmatic’s voting machines were rigged in Venezuela have been disputed and are ‘unsubstantiated’”, it was none other than the New York Times reporting in 2017 that "Venezuela Reported False Election Turnout" citing Smartmatic, whose machines were used in that particular Venezuela election and several previous ones.
Smartmatic has denied any ties to Dominion, while Dominion said that it has “no company ownership relationships with the Pelosi family, Feinstein family, Clinton Global Initiative, Smartmatic, Scytl, or any ties to Venezuela." Dominion bought assets from a subsidiary of Smartmatic three years after it was sold. Smartmatic wrote on its website that it "does not have any ties to any governments or political parties in any country. It has never been owned, funded or backed by any government."
However, it was none other than Wikileaks - who back in 2016 released damning, unalterable, and indisputable emails from Hillary Clinton and several other DNC leaders pertaining to discrediting Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Primary, which resulted in the travesty of Russiagate for four years - who also leaked several formerly confidential cables disclosing the murky background of Smartmatic.
In fact, we urge everyone to read this July 10, 2006 classified cable titled "Caracas' View of Smartmatic and its voting machines" written by Robert Downes, the U.S. Embassy’s political counselor in Caracas at the time.
Here are some excerpts:
The Venezuelan-owned Smartmatic Corporation is a riddle both in ownership and operation, complicated by the fact that its machines have overseen several landslide (and contested) victories by President Hugo Chavez and his supporters. The electronic voting company went from a small technology startup to a market player in just a few years, catapulted by its participation in the August 2004 recall referendum. Smartmatic has claimed to be of U.S. origin, but it’s true owners -- probably elite Venezuelans of several political strains -- remain hidden behind a web of holding companies in the Netherlands and Barbados. The Smartmatic machines used in Venezuela are widely suspected of, though never proven conclusively to be, susceptible to fraud. The company is thought to be backing out of Venezuelan electoral events, focusing now on other parts of world, including the United States via its subsidiary, Sequoia. End Summary.
Who Owns Smartmatic?
2. (C) Smartmatic was founded in the late 90s by three Venezuelans, Antonio Mugica, Alberto Anzola, and Roger Pinate. According to Mugica's conversations with poloffs in recent years, the three had developed a network capable of handling thousands of simultaneous inputs. An early application was ATMs in Mexico, but the U.S. presidential election in 2000 led the group to consider electronic voting platforms. The company formed the SBC consortium with Venezuelan telecom provider CANTV (at the time 28-percent owned by Verizon) and a software company called Bizta. Mugica said Smartmatic held 51-percent of the consortium, CANTV had 47 percent, and Bizta, 2 percent (ref a). The latter, also owned by the Smartmatic owners, was denounced in June 2004 by the press for having received a US$200,000 equity investment from a Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (BRV) joint venture fund called FONCREI; a Chavez campaign adviser was placed on the board as well. Bizta reimbursed what it called the "loan" when it was made public and shed the Chavista board member.
3. (C) Mugica has told Poloffs on several occasions that Anzola, Pinate, and he are the owners of Smartmatic, though they have a list of about 30 investors who remain anonymous. Jose Antonio Herrera, Anzola's father-in-law (and first cousin to Venezuelan Ambassador to the United States Bernardo Alvarez), told poloff in 2004 the silent partners were mainly upper class Venezuelans, some of whom were staunch Chavez opponents. There were rumors, however, that Smartmatic's early profits came from Venezuelan defense contracts supplied by then-Defense Minister Jose Vicente Rangel, whom Chavez later promoted to Vice President. Perhaps coincidentally, the Vice President's daughter, Gisela Rangel Avalos, was the head of the local corporate registry when Smartmatic was registered, which contributed to allegations of the Vice President's involvement. These unconfirmed rumors also suggested that one-time Chavez political mentor Luis Miquilena was also a shareholder in the company.
4. (C) Mugica first approached the Embassy in 2004 when the company was bidding at the National Electoral Council (CNE) to provide a completely new electronic voting system. Mugica pitched Smartmatic as a U.S. company registered in Delaware with offices in Boca Raton, Florida. In fact, poloffs had several discussions with Mugica in the course of facilitating his L-1 inter-company transfer visa to work in the United States. Mugica said the company's corporate offices were in Boca Raton, but most of the research staff of some 70 employees remained in Caracas. Smartmatic essentially purchased its electoral expertise by hiring veteran election observer AMCIT Jorge Tirado and his team of consultants. Tirado served as the interface between Smartmatic and the CNE for several elections.
It only gets better...
In May 2006, Mugica told Poloff Smartmatic's corporate structure had changed (which had come out in press reports during 2005). Mugica said that Smartmatic was now two different companies under a Dutch holding company. U.S. setup was essentially the same, with Delaware registry and the Boca Raton accounting office overseeing U.S. operations. Smartmatic acquired the U.S voting machine company Sequoia Voting Systems on March 8, 2005, Mugica reported. All U.S. election machinery is assembled in New York, he said. Mugica noted that while their U.S. operations were important, more than half their sales were outside of Venezuela and the United States. The other Smartmatic company was based in Bridgetown, Barbados, where Mugica said the international sales operation was located. Most of the manufacturing for their electoral and other electronic machinery was done in China, Mugica said, with some component work also done in Taiwan. Smartmatic also manufactures some items in Italy through the company Olivetti (which built the original Smartmatic machines for Venezuela). The research and development shop was still located in Caracas, Mugica noted.
6. (C) Of course, the Venezuelan opposition is convinced that the Smartmatic machines robbed them of victory in the August 2004 referendum. Since then, there have been at least eight statistical analyses performed on the referendum results. Most of the studies cross-check the results with those of exit polls, the signature drives and previous election results. One study obtained the data log from the CANTV network and supposedly proved that the Smartmatic machines were bi-directional and in fact showed irregularities in how they reported their results to the CNE central server during the referendum. (Note: The most suspicious data point in the Smartmatic system was that the machines contacted the server before printing their results, providing the opportunity, at least, to change the results and defeat the rudimentary checks set up by international observation missions. Since August 2004, the CNE has not repeated this practice.) These somewhat conspiratorial reports perhaps serve to breathe life into a defeated opposition, but have never proved conclusively the fraud (refs b and c).
The Smartmatic machines suffered a major blow, however, when in a test prior to the December 2005 National Assembly elections an opposition technician was able to defeat the machine's allegedly random storage protocols and, therefore, the secrecy of the vote. The technician took advantage of the fact that the computerized machines used a Windows operating system. A simple program downloaded from the Internet accessed underlying Windows files created "in order" as the machine processed Smartmatic's "randomizing" software. Although Smartmatic officials argued convincingly that such controlled results could not be feasibly replicated during a real election (ref d), the opposition parties boycotted. Abstention rates soared to at least 75 percent and confidence in the CNE among opposition voters plummeted. The disastrous results left Chavez with 100-percent control of the National Assembly, an albatross around the neck of a leader trying to appear democratic.
And even better...
8. (C) If Smartmatic can escape the fraud allegation, there is still a corruption question. Well before Smartmatic, Venezuelan law had dictated that voting ought to be automated to limit fraud -- the U.S. company ES&S and Spanish firm Indra had already sold systems to the electoral body. When the new pro-Chavez CNE was named in September 2003, however, it immediately set out to replace all existing systems. Declaring the bid process to be an emergency (though there was as yet no referendum scheduled), the CNE bypassed normal procedures and initiated a closed bid process.
Smartmatic won the contract, which totaled at least US $128 million, including the delivery of 20,000 touch-screen voting machines (re-engineered lottery machines) yet to be built. There were immediate questions about how a virtually unknown company with no electoral experience could have landed such a large contract.
Mugica asserted to poloff that everything was above board, though he conceded the company may have opened itself up to criticism by hiring a former interior vice minister named Morris Loyo to lobby the government. There were additional allegations of impropriety in October 2005 when the press reported that Smartmatic had paid the bill of CNE President Jorge Rodriguez at an exclusive Boca Raton resort. The company claimed Rodriguez had reimbursed them for the stay, during which Rodriguez reportedly examined an unspecified electoral system Smartmatic was developing. There were subsequent, unconfirmed rumors that Rodriguez was lobbying for Smartmatic in other countries.
Until we get to the startling conclusion:
Smartmatic is a riddle. The company came out of nowhere to snatch a multi-million dollar contract in an electoral process that ultimately reaffirmed Chavez' mandate and all-but destroyed his political opposition. The perspective we have here, after several discussions with Smartmatic, is that the company is de facto Venezuelan and operated by Venezuelans. The identity of Smartmatic's true owners remains a mystery. Our best guess is that there are probably several well-known Venezuelan businessmen backing the company who prefer anonymity either because of their political affiliation or, perhaps, because they manage the interests of senior Venezuelan government officials.
This is all from a confidential State Dept. cable written in 2006.
Since then one can only imagine what fascinating changes have taken place to the org chart of the mysterious "riddle" that is the "de facto Venezuelan" Smartmatic, which emerged out of obscurity to win a top government contract in 2003, prompting the US State Department to ask "how a virtually unknown company with no electoral experience could have landed such a large contract."
What is more fascinating is how for so many years, this mysterious company was directly involved in one allegation of election fraud in Venezuela after another (whereby communist dictators Chavez and Maduro won in consecutive "landslides") before it somehow made its way into the US.
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THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)