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Ballot Tampering * Big "K" for Prez * Shuttle's Odd Images

04 February 2003




1) Ballot-Tampering in the 21st Century
2) Congressman Kucinich Draws Speculation As Possible Candidate
3) Photos show odd images near Columbia's Break-Up


Editor's Notes:


Item 1 in this issue of Flyby News is a behind the scene viewpoint of ballot tampering. This item contains a press release about Chuck Hagel, US Senate-Ethics Director, and his admission of owning a voting machine company. The best part of this story is learning about BlackBoxVoting.com, and their efforts for preserving, or regaining, democracy. This work makes the information in Item 2 even more hopeful, which is from an AP article on the appeal of Dennis Kucinich for President. His record and broad appeal is causing much anticipation. Dennis is listening, and the response, from all types of people, is profound. Item three is on a report published in the San Francisco Chronicle about the photographing of an electrical transference during the early part of Columbia's tragic descent to Earth. The witness from California said: "They clearly record an electrical discharge like a lightning bolt flashing past, and I was snapping the pictures almost exactly . . . when the Columbia may have begun breaking up during re-entry."

While the space shuttle accident emphasizes how crazy it is to use nuclear materials on dangerous rocket-fired space missions, the military seems to get its way. So, while are on a human learning curve, the Bush administration is gun-ho with nukes in space and taking an offensive posture to invade Iraq, (with or without the UN's support). People are dazed, but now it's time to wake up. We need US Congress and United Nations to act in support of a Containment Policy with Iraq - or we will witness the consequences of a US installed regime-change that would destabilize the world and cause much horror and suffering for tens or hundreds of thousands of people, as well as a likely economic collapse and loss of freedom.

For What? CHAOS?.

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Take Action

Tell the UN Security Council No to War on Iraq!


Send a letter to the United Nations Security Council members, telling them to not authorize war on Iraq! Colin Powell is going to the UN on Wednesday, lets pre-empt his meeting by letting the UN know that he does not represent our views. Spread the word and take action. Just fill in your information and click send and all 15 Security Council members will receive your message. [But you can copy or click on each individual addresses to email Security Council members with your personal message!]

http://www.voice4change.org/stories/mailUNSC.asp


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Reminder:

Call US Senators and ask them to support SR. 32.

Capitol Switchboard Telephone # - 202-224-3121.


Iraq Resolution SR. 32 calls on the President to come back to Congress to obtain approval of the legislation authorizing the use of force before committing American troops for war against Iraq. The resolution also calls on the President to fully support the inspectors with the assistance they need for their ongoing disarmament work.

* Senator Kennedy introduced this sense of the Senate resolution on January 29, 2003.

* Senator Byrd (D-WV) is an original co-sponsor of the resolution.

* Many in Congress DO NOT believe that the President has made a compelling case that the use of military force is the only way to disarm Iraq. This war shouldn't be unilateral; it needs to have the support of our Allies. UN weapons inspectors need more time to do their job.

* Under current conditions and circumstances, Senator Kennedy's words are valid: "..that this is still the wrong war at the wrong time."

S. Res 32: Resolution Language

The key language of the resolution states "the sense of the Senate that, before the President uses military force against Iraq without the broad support of the international community, the President should -
(1) provide full support to the United Nations weapons inspectors to facilitate their ongoing disarmament work; and (2) obtain approval by Congress of new legislation authorizing the president to use all necessary means, including the use of military force, to disarm Iraq."


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Public Demonstrations for PEACE
February 15 * for more information, see:
CAMPAIGNS * ACTIONS * EVENTS
http://www.flybynews.com





1) Ballot-Tampering in the 21st Century

Black Box Voting - Ballot-Tampering in the 21st Century

For the first time in history, it may be possible to rig an election on a national scale. Vote-rigging has been part of every election process in history but ever before have so few people had access to so many votes at once!

What are the risks to Democracy?

For more information see http://www.blackboxvoting.com

The following is a press release via Global Network is a BlackBoxVoting.com

This site features the work of Bev Harris, author of Black Box Voting: Ballot-Tampering in the 21st Century. Harris has provided numerous articles on voting machine ownership, errors and security to news publications worldwide. In writing Black Box Voting, she spent over two thousand hours researching voting machines, and interviewed dozens of witnesses including many election officials and even voting machine programmers who work directly for the firms that build these machines. Harris owns Talion.com, a publicity firm, and has been writing professionally for 10 years.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Senate Ethics Director Resigns; Senator Hagel Admits Owning Voting Machine Company


CONTACTS -- Bev Harris, "Black Box Voting," 425-228-7131
http://www.blackboxvoting.com

Dan Spillane, Senior Test Engineer for voting machines - 206-860-2858

Chuck Hagel202-224-4224 -- Senate Ethics Committee - 202-224-2981
Charlie Matulka, ran for office against Chuck Hagel - 402-228-1009

Rebecca Mercuri, expert on computerized voting machines 215/327-7105
The Hill Article http://www.thehill.com

U.S. CHUCK HAGEL NOW ADMITS OWNERSHIP IN VOTING MACHINE COMPANY-

SENATE ETHICS COMMITTEE DIRECTOR RESIGNS

"Hagel's ethics filings pose disclosure issue" -- "The Hill" 1/29/2003


On October, 10, 2002 Bev Harris, author of the upcoming "Black Box Voting: Ballot-Tampering" in the 21st Century, revealed that Republican Senator Chuck Hagel has ties to the largest voting machine company, Election Systems & Software (ES&S). She reported that he was an owner, Chairman and CEO of Election Systems & Software (called American Information Systems until name change filed in 1997). ES&S was the ONLY company whose machines counted Hagel's votes when he ran for election in 1996 and 2002. The Hill, a Washington D.C. newspaper that covers the U.S. national political scene, confirmed her findings today and uncovered more details.

Hagel's campaign finance director, Michael McCarthy, now admits that Senator Hagel still owns a beneficial interest in the ES&S parent company, the McCarthy Group. ES&S counts approximately 60 percent of all votes cast in the United States. According to the Omaha World-Herald which is also a beneficial owner of ES&S, Hagel was CEO of American Information Systems, now called ES&S, from November 1993 through June 2, 1994. He was Chairman from July 1992 until March 15 1995. He was required to disclose these positions on his FEC Personal Disclosure statements, but he did not.

Hagel still owns up to $5 million in the ES&S parent company, McCarthy Group. But Hagel's office, when interviewed by Channel 8 News in Lincoln, Nebraska for the evening news on October 22, 2002, said he had sold his shares before he was elected. His office issued a fact sheet claiming that he had made full disclosure.

Last week, Hagel's campaign finance director, Michael McCarthy (currently an owner and a director of ES&S) admitted to Alexander Bolton of The Hill that Hagel is still an owner of ES&S parent company, the McCarthy Group, and said that Hagel also had owned shares in AIS Investors Inc., a group of investors in ES&S itself. Yet Hagel did not disclose owning or selling shares in AIS Investors Inc. on his FEC documents, a required disclosure, nor did he disclose that ES&S is an underlying asset of McCarthy Group, in which he lists an investment of up to $5 million in 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001.

SENATE ETHICS COMMITTEE CHIEF COUNSEL / DIRECTOR RESIGNS

Harris spoke with Victor Baird of the Senate Ethics Committee office January 9, and asked him who is responsible for ensuring that FEC disclosures are complete. She asked whether anyone had followed up to see why Senator Hagel did not list his positions with the voting machine company, and she asked about his characterization of the McCarthy Group as an "excepted investment fund" and his failure to disclose that it owned ES&S. Baird was silent, and then said "If you want to look into this, you'll need to come in and get hold of the documents."

Unfortunately, according to Alexander Bolton, a reporter at The Hill, when he went to the Senate Public Documents Room to retrieve originals of Hagel's 1995 and 1996 documents he was told they were destroyed. "They said anything over five years old is destroyed by law, and they pulled out the law," says Bolton. However, when he spoke with Hagel's staff, they said had obtained the documents from Senate Ethics Committee files. Copies of the documents are available at OpenSecrets.org/pfds -- a repository for FEC disclosures.

In 1997, Baird asked Hagel to clarify the nature of his investment in McCarthy Group on his 1996 FEC statement. Hagel had written "none" next to "type of investment" for McCarthy Group. In response to Baird's letter, Hagel filed an amendment characterizing the McCarthy Group as an "Excepted Investment Fund," a designation for widely held, publicly available mutual funds. He never disclosed his indirect ownership of ES&S at all, but apparently no one questioned this omission, nor his curious characterization of the McCarthy Group, a privately held company that is not listed on any public brokerage.

Baird told Bolton that the McCarthy Group did not seem to qualify as an "excepted investment fund." He reportedly met with Hagel's staff on Friday, January 25 and Monday, January 27, 2002. Then, also on Monday, he stepped down. On Monday afternoon Baird's replacement, Robert Walker, provided a new, looser interpretation of "publicly available" (though experts disagree, saying that a privately held company like the McCarthy Group cannot be called "publicly available" in order to avoid disclosing underlying assets.)

Hagel's challenger in the Nebraska Senate race, Charlie Matulka, wrote to Baird in October 2002 to request an investigation into Hagel's ownership in and nondisclosure of ES&S. Baird replied, "Your complaint lacks merit and no further action is appropriate with respect to the matter, which is hereby dismissed," in a letter dated November 18, 2002.

SENATE CANDIDATE QUESTIONS HAGEL'S CONFLICT OF INTEREST

Charlie Matulka, the candidate who ran against Chuck Hagel in Nebraska's U.S. Senate race in November 2002, also wrote to the Nebraska Secretary of State and to state elections officials in October 2002. He pointed out that his opponent had ties to ES&S, and asked them to look into the conflict of interest, but received no answer.

Several Nebraska ES&S machines malfunctioned on Election Day, and Matulka filed a request for a hand count on December 10, 2002. It was denied, because Nebraska has a new law that prohibits election workers from looking at the paper ballots, even in a recount. The only machines permitted to count votes in Nebraska are ES&S.

CAN VOTING MACHINES BE TAMPERED WITH THROUGH ACCESS TO PROGRAMMERS?

The Washington Post characterized Hagel's election in 1996 as the biggest upset of the election season. At the time, voters did not know that he owned and had held key positions with the company that counted his votes. But is it improper for a candidate to have ties with voting machine companies?

Harris examines the issue of tampering security in the upcoming "Black Box Voting" book. One of her sources, Dan Spillane, a former Senior Test Engineer for a voting machine company, believes that the computerized voting machine industry is riddled with system integrity flaws.

"The problems are systemic," Spillane says, and he contends that the certification process itself cannot be trusted. Despite industry characterizations that the code is checked line by line, this does not appear to be the case. Spillane points to frequent, critical errors that occur in actual elections and identifies omissions in the testing procedures themselves. His own experience as a voting machine test engineer led him to address his concerns about integrity flaws with the owner of the voting machine company, who then suggested that he resign. He did not, but shortly before a General Accounting Office audit, Spillane was fired, and so was his supervisor, who had also expressed concerns about system integrity.

Election Technology Labs quit certifying voting machines in 1992. Its founder, Arnold B. Urken, says that the manufacturers, specifically ES&S (then AIS), refused to allow the detailed examination of code needed to ensure system integrity. Wyle Labs refused to test voting machine software after 1996; testing then went to Nichols Research, and then passed to PSINet, and then to Metamor, and most recently to
Ciber.

But even if certification becomes adequate, nothing guarantees that machines used in actual elections use the same programming code that was certified. Machines with adjusted code can be loaded onto delivery trucks with inside involvement of only ONE person. To make matters worse, "program patches" and substitutions are made in vote-counting programs without examination of the new codes, and manufacturers often e-mail technicians uncertified program "updates" which they install on machines immediately before and on Election Day.

Both Sequoia touch screen machines and Diebold Accuvote machines appear to have "back door" mechanisms which may allow reprogramming after votes have been cast. Diebold's Accuvote machines were developed by a company founded by Bob Urosevich, a CEO of Diebold Election Systems and Global Election Systems, which Diebold acquired. Together with his brother Todd, he also founded ES&S, where Todd Urosevich still works. ES&S and Sequoia use identical software and in their optical scan machines. All three companies' machines have miscounted recent elections, sometimes electing the wrong candidates in races that were not particularly close.

For more information, call 425-228-7131.

http://www.blackboxvoting.com/

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For a related article, January 31, 2003
"If You Want To Win An Election, Just Control The Voting Machines"
by Thom Hartmann, see:
http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0131-01.htm




2) Congressman Kucinich Draws Speculation As Possible Candidate


Kucinich Running For President?
Congressman Draws Speculation As Possible Candidate

POSTED101 p.m. EST February 2, 2003

WASHINGTON -- Those battling to nab the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2004 include Joe Lieberman, John F. Kerry, John Edwards, Dick Gephardt -- and Dennis Kucinich?


After making stirring speeches across the country and emerging as Congress' liberal answer to the Bush administration, one of Ohio's congressmen is starting to be mentioned as White House material.


Kucinich, 56, is best known nationally as being Cleveland's "boy mayor" in the 1970s. However, since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the increased attention on the inspection of Iraqi weapons, Kucinich has become a national voice for civil liberties and peace.


He plans to spend five days in Iowa this month. Still, the three-term congressman has skillfully dodged questions about his political ambitions. He told Wolf Blitzer on CNN this week to "stay tuned."


"I have been hearing from people all over the country who are asking for my voice to be added into the debate," Kucinich said at a Washington news conference this week. "I'm listening very carefully to those voices."


A spokesman from Kucinich's office said the congressman receives "tens of thousands" of phone calls and e-mails each day urging him to run. The onslaught started after Kucinich gave a speech last February called "A Prayer for America."


In that Los Angeles address, Kucinich used patriotic language to denounce Bush administration policies that he said tread on personal liberties and take the country in a dangerous direction
internationally.


The text of the speech circled the Internet and led Mike Swickey, a 44-year-old computer privacy consultant from Oklahoma City, to launch a Web site asking people to urge Kucinich to run. The site, http://www.draftkucinich.com, has gone from about 200 to 300 hits in its early days to about 5,000 visitors a day.


"He struck a chord with the activist progressive grass-roots part of the Democratic Party, also with the Green Party," Swickey said. "I'm hearing from such a cross section of people. They are interested in his strong statements, how he is not tepid on his views of the war with Iraq and also his populist economic roots."


Ralph Nader, who also appeals to economic populists, has spoken publicly about his support for Kucinich, saying the race needs a progressive candidate. Nader was the Green Party's presidential candidate in 2000.


As chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which consists of 55 of the most liberal members, Kucinich has pushed in Congress for a worker-friendly economic stimulus package and been a longtime advocate for establishing a Department of Peace.


"He is very strong on labor issues, so I am hopeful that he may raise some issues that might not otherwise be discussed," said Gordon Fischer, chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party.


Fischer said his state has seen many of the Democratic hopefuls in the last several months and the buzz about Kucinich has been circling the state. The Iowa Caucus is considered an early test of how successful candidates would be in a presidential race.


Still, Kucinich lacks the name recognition of the current Democratic contenders. And his campaign account had $43,668 as of Nov. 25, 2002, while a presidential primary campaign costs $20 million to $30 million.


Ohio State University political scientist Paul Beck said he wouldn't take the Kucinich rumors seriously -- but, he added, you never know.


"It can happen. I would have said the same thing about Jimmy Carter in 1974," he said. "One can only imagine that if the war goes badly and the economy continues to decline, all of a sudden, Dennis Kucinich looks like he's positioned right on the axis of the major issues."


For more information on Kucinich, see links to previous stories, at:
http://www.newsnet5.com/news/1951586/detail.html

Previous Stories:
January 28, 2003 - Kucinich: Bush Should Focus On Domestic Issues
October 24, 2002 - Kucinich Investigates Near-Nuclear Accident
July 8, 2002 - Congressman Wants Indians Back On Free TV
December 21, 2001 - Kucinich Meets With Potential LTV Buyers
November 21, 2001 - Kucinich Wants LTV Top Management Fired
October 28, 2001 - Kucinich Endorses Campbell For Mayor
October 17, 2001 - Kucinich: 'We Have To Stay Calm'
September 23, 2001 - Kucinich Wants To Hold International Gathering
September 16, 2001 - Kucinich Holds Open Forum About Tragedy
September 9, 2001 - Local Seniors To Rebel Against Rent Hike
May 27, 2001 - Kucinich Says He Won't Run For Mayor
March 15, 2001 - Voinovich, Kucinich Against Lake Erie Drilling
December 21, 2000 - Congressman Forming Coalition To Help LTV
November 8, 2000 - Local Incumbents Prove Too Tough
June 19, 2000 - Kucinich Trying To Lower Gas Prices
March 6, 2000 - Kucinich Leading Way To Save St. Michael

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press
http://www.newsnet5.com/news/1951586/detail.html

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For Flyby News' Updated Dennis J. Kucinich for US President in 2004!, see:
http://www.flybynews.com/cgi-local/newspro/viewnews.cgi?newsid1021307488,43210,m




3) Photos show odd images near Columbia's Break-Up

Photos show odd images near shuttle
David Perlman, Chronicle Science Editor
Sunday, February 2, 2003 2003 San Francisco Chronicle

For
URL: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/02/02/MN221641.DTL

A San Francisco amateur astronomer who photographs the space shuttles whenever their orbits carry them over the Bay Area has captured five strange and provocative images of the shuttle Columbia just as it was re-entering the Earth's atmosphere before dawn Saturday.

The pictures, taken with a Nikon-880 digital camera on a tripod, reveal what appear to be bright electrical phenomena flashing around the track of the shuttle's passage, but the photographer, who asked not to be identified, will not make them public immediately.

"They clearly record an electrical discharge like a lightning bolt flashing past, and I was snapping the pictures almost exactly . . . when the Columbia may have begun breaking up during re-entry," he said.

The photographer invited The Chronicle to view the photos on his computer screen Saturday night, and they are indeed puzzling.

They show a bright scraggly flash of orange light, tinged with pale purple, and shaped somewhat like a deformed L. The flash appears to cross the Columbia's dim contrail, and at that precise point, the contrail abruptly brightens and appears thicker and somewhat twisted as if it were wobbling.

"I couldn't see the discharge with own eyes, but it showed up clear and bright on the film when I developed it," the photographer said. "But I'm not going to speculate about what it might be."

E-mail David Perlman at dperlman@sfchronicle.com.

2003 San Francisco Chronicle

Page A - 18
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

For Original Posting, see:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/02/02/MN221641.DTL




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