I found it completely unsurprising that White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs defended Karzai’s de facto rule in Afghanistan. Without wincing, Gibbs claimed that Karzai had a majority “even if you took out all the fraudulent votes.” That’s the impossibly low standard we’ve come to expect from the Bush/Obama government!
For background, Karzai installed several warlords in his government, avoiding the letter of the law by having these warlords register their local armies as “private security officers.” In addition to these henchmen, Karzai paid for 10,000 tribesmen to ‘oversee’ local elections. These men had no uniform and used their private weapons. Not the greatest foundation for a free and fair election but it gets worse. The Orwellian named “Independent Election Commission” was run entirely by political appointees and allies. Nearly 1500 of the 7000 polling stations were designated in no-man’s lands that were too dangerous to travel to and were unsecured. Intimidation, violence, government censorship and bribery undid this election even before the ballot boxes were fraudulently stuffed or lost.
Abetting the massive fraud was the United Nations. American Special Representative to Afghanistan, Peter Galbraith, whose resume includes uncovering Iraqi genocide of Kurds and successfully negotiating the Serb-Croat treaty, witnessed vote fraud on a massive scale but was fired by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for demanding action regarding the fraud . An interview with Galbraith is here.
from the London Telegraph Oct 4 2009:
Mr Galbraith said: “As many as 30 per cent of Karzai’s votes were fraudulent, and lesser fraud was committed on behalf of other candidates.
“The fraud has handed the Taliban its greatest strategic victory in eight years of fighting the United States and its Afghan partners.”
Calling the poll a “foreseeable train wreck”, he said he had tried to prevent fraud by demanding polling stations not open in insecure areas where they could not be monitored or observed.
A spokesman for the UN in Kabul said the mission “has not, does not and will not turn a blind eye to fraud”. That may be the intentions of those working on the ground but for those higher up the chain within the UN this seems woefully untrue. As has been seen with the UN’s panel on climate control, political expediency always trumps truth for the UN. Senior UN officials cherry picking facts generated by staff seems to be business as usual at the UN.
In light of the scale of voter fraud and after much international pressure, a “run-off” poll was slated for November. Notice it was charitably called a run-off, ostensibly so that one candidate would have at least 50 percent of the vote. The very terminology starts to legitimize those involved. Abdullah Abdullah, the remaining candidate running against Karzai complained that as long as the election was being run by the same people that perpetrated the original fraud, there was no point in people risking their life to take part in a sham vote. Today he announced his refusal to take part in the November run off since Karzai refuses to purge the election commission of his allies.
And so today, British and American officials lined up to congratulate Karzai. Obama once again acts in complete opposition to his “freedom and democracy” rhetoric just as Bush did before him. America’s mission creep in Afghanistan takes another ironic turn as it now finds itself no longer fighting for a free Afghanistan but rather on behalf of a fraudulent Afghanistan regime. The first premise was debatable but the second is now irrevocably true.
-from Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize winning speech at Cairo University, June 4 2009:
“That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. These are not just American ideas; they are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere.”