Foreign Observers to Treat U.S. Like a Third World Delinquent

August 24, 2004

By Tom DeWeese

Here’s the line in the sand. Americans can either sit down and do nothing about a planned invasion of foreign election observers or stand for their liberty by saying no. There is no middle ground.

The Bush Administration, through Secretary of State Colin Powell, has given into pressure from thirteen far-left Democrat members of the House of Representatives and invited an international group to officially observe the November presidential election.

Earlier this year, the thirteen Congressmen, led by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), wrote a letter to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan to request UN observers for the 2004 presidential election. Johnson and her cohorts used the 2000 election troubles in Florida to declare that the United States couldn’t be trusted to conduct a fair election. “As legislators, we should guarantee the American people that our country will not experience another nightmare like the 2000 presidential election,” Johnson wrote to Annan. The UN leader turned down the request, saying the U.S. government must first invite the UN.

Few, at the time, took the effort seriously. It was obvious that Johnson was playing politics, trying to embarrass President Bush by stirring up tired old rhetoric about a stolen election in 2000. The truth is, after the dust had settled in 2000 and the courts had decided the outcome, at least two separate news organizations counted the ballots yet again and, in each case, Bush’s lead increased. There was no fraud or questionable result. America’s election system worked properly and the outcome was legitimate.

There was no reason for any American government official, especially from the Bush Administration, to take action on the demands of a few discredited, far-left Democrat congressmen.  In fact, outraged Republican congressmen managed to pass an amendment to a foreign aid bill barring federal officials from using money to ask the UN to observe the election.

But, bolstered by a few good headlines, Johnson and crew refused to quit. They  wrote a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell, asking him to make the formal request to Kofi Annan. That’s when the shocker came. In a letter to Johnson, dated July 30th, Assistant Secretary of State Paul Kelly told her that the United States had issued an invitation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to serve as official observers for the November presidential election.

“Who,” asked an entire nation, including most of Congress, “is the OSCE?” For the record, it’s an international organization of 55 nations from Europe, Central Asia and North America, based in Vienna, Austria. The United States has been a participating member since 1990. The OSCE calls itself the “largest regional security organization in the world.” Its website says the OSCE is “active in early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation.”

Apparently, the OSCE is the bunch called in to make sure all the new social democracies created after the fall of the Soviet empire are overseen by the proper authorities. The group made itself responsible for a wide range of security-related issues including arms control, preventive diplomacy, confidence and security building measures, human rights, democratization, election monitoring, and even economic and environmental security. It sounds like the makings of a world police force. And these are the guys Colin Powell decided to bring to the United States to police our election.

So, how well does the OSCE do its job? Well, according to Representative Ron Paul (R-TX): “We should be wary about organizations like the OSCE that seek to involve themselves in our electoral process. The OSCE in particular has a terrible record in the newly democratic countries of central Europe, where it normally operates. According to groups that follow OSCE, this organization does much more to undermine free elections than to promote them.”

In Bosnia in 1996, Paul reports, the OSCE approved parliamentary elections despite the fact that an impossible 107 percent of the eligible voting-age population supposedly had voted. “This year,” Paul said, “the OSCE approved the election of Mikheil Saakashvili in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia with a Saddam Hussein-like 97 percent of the vote.”

If that’s not bad enough, in July of this year, the OSCE elected Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings to be president of its Parliamentary Assembly. Alcee Hastings’ district includes Broward County, one of the most contested in the 2000 election. Hastings has not been an innocent bystander in the election controversy. On June 14th he said, “anyway you cut it, these people (the Bush Administration) are going to try to steal this election.” Alcee Hastings is the man who will pick where OSCE observers will be placed. He will also have a major voice in the OSCE’s final report on the election. So much for impartial observers. The fix is in.

And it gets even worse. Alcee Hastings is a former federal judge who was impeached by the U.S. Congress in 1998 after being caught in an FBI sting operation for taking bribes. The Congress voted 413 – 3 to impeach and remove Hastings from the bench.

Now in Congress, Hastings hasn’t changed his shady ways. He is currently under investigation by both the Federal and Florida election commissions. There are also charges of cronyism and intimidation flying around his re-election campaign. Apparently Alcee is a real piece of work.

The question must be asked: what kind of organization elects such a man as its president? And why in the world is the United States involved with it, supplying money to the tune of $25 million? And why have we invited them to observe our elections?

Rep. Johnson says the OSCE is involved to “ensure free and fair elections.” Rep. Lamar Smith, a Republican also from Texas, says he “smells politics.” That’s why he and ten fellow members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary Powell requesting some answers. Smith wants to know if the State Department had planned to invite the OSCE even before receiving Johnson’s letter. Smith also wants to know if the OSCE’s monitoring of this year’s election is a direct response to the “contested presidential election in 2000.” And above all, he has asked Secretary Powell to reveal what cities and states the observers will be deployed, as well as who determines these locations. We obviously have one answer– Alcee Hastings. But that didn’t come from the State Department.

The DeWeese Report called the State Department with some additional questions.  We want to know what kind of credentials the observers would wear to alert voters to their presence. We also want to know what official authority they would be operating under and what, if any, influence they would wield over the elections.

No answers, either to The DeWeese Report or Rep. Smith, have been received. All of our questions were answered with, “we don’t know.” The State Department will only say that the details will be determined after members of the OSCE visit the U.S. in September.  We were told to call the OSCE directly for answers.

A spokesman for the OSCE in Vienna, said the group does not have authority over election results in any way. “We don’t give them a yes or no or grade them,” she said. “But we monitor, we publicize what we see. You can call it political pressure.”

So here we have an international organization, with a budget of over $200 million, invited by our own State Department as a defensive maneuver against angry, radical Democrats still sour over losing the last election. Under that banner, the OSCE, led by an impeached and disgraced former judge, stands ready to storm the American election with observations teams, yet not a single American official knows where they will be posted, what they will be authorized to do, or what authority they will have in observing the elections. Meanwhile, the OSCE is telling us that they will bring political pressure to bear on what they see. Any guesses on what direction that political pressure will take?

The United States is not a social democracy in which the all-powerful central government controls the elections. Nor are we a third-world delinquent where dictators must be watched to make sure they aren’t taking off with the goods. We are a Republic, which means our elections are not controlled by the federal government in Washington, but rather by the states and local governments. It’s the states that operate the elections and it’s the states that certify them. Through that system, we have been holding free and peaceful elections for two hundred years.

Allowing an outside policing agency to meddle in our elections can only have devastating results. Imagine the 2000 election, had the OSCE been involved. The Gore campaign raised questions about the results. The battle went on for weeks. Instead of having it decided in our own justice system, the issue may have been resolved with international observers suddenly flashing their badges and applying their “political pressure” to nullify the outcome, making it nearly impossible for local election officials to perform their jobs in a fair manner. As already mentioned, follow-up recounts performed by private news organizations who, frankly, would have been overjoyed to find a different result, found only that the Bush lead increased with each recount. That’s why the issue went away except in the minds of Democrats like Eddie Bernice Johnson.

There’s more to consider in allowing foreign election observers into this nation. Rep. Johnson and her crew try to sell the OSCE observers as a way to “proudly show our democratic system, warts and all.” But that’s not the game being played here. This is about a political agenda to broadcast U.S. elections as unfair and invalid. The true result of an invasion of foreign observers would be to diminish our stature in the rest of the world. It would intimidate American voters as they pass by foreign officials wearing imposing badges of identification. Above all, it would be an act of voluntary surrender of a major piece of our national sovereignty.

The issue of allowing the OSCE to enter our nation to observe our elections is not about guaranteeing free and fair elections. The result will be just the opposite. It is a power grab of massive proportions. The real game is the drive to erase our sovereign borders and bring the U.S. into international submission. If allowed to move forward, it is the first step in the final drive to bury the United States forever in the dung heap of the global village.

The line in the sand has been drawn. What will it be America? Do we hang our heads in shame by allowing outside forces decide how we conduct our national business or do we fight for our liberty and independence by telling the Bush Administration to rescind its invitation to the OSCE? The White House phone number is (202) 456-1414. Make the call. Your liberty is at stake.

Tom DeWeese
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Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence.