Friday, March 18, 2005

The OSCE and the US elections

The OSCE - Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Europe had the task of overseeing the correctness of the US Presidential election on 2nd November 2004. Their preliminary report was mildly critical of some of the access arrangements for international observers, and commented on the long queues for voters in some precincts. Reading between the lines, it looks as though they were not exactly welcomed with open arms by polling officials wherever they went:

The OSCE observers were able to assess aspects of the pre-election environment and were granted access to polling stations in a number of states, sometimes only in specific counties. The OSCE believes that in order to further enhance transparency and to meet U.S. international commitments, Congress and individual states should consider introducing legal provisions allowing unimpeded access for international observers invited by the U.S. government.

(Whole report here)

Their final report, which should examine in detail the allegations of tampering with the electoral computers as well as other evidence of fraud, was due to come out just before Christmas - a very good time to bury bad news, as Jo Moore the New Labour spin doctor said on 9/11. However, Christmas came and went, without a sign of the final OSCE report.

I sent an email on 18th December to Urdur Gunnarsdottir ODIHR Spokesperson, Press and Public Information Adviser, Public Affairs Unit, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, enquiring when their final report would be due out. She replied “early January”. I wrote on the 9th February, pointing out that the OSCE report is now more than a month overdue. Is this normal? Urdur replied “There is an backlog in election reports from last fall. They should all be out by the end of this month”.

I wrote again on 28th February, 13th march, 16th March and 18th march to the new Press officer, Richard Murphy ( ). The last letter reads:

There is still no final report on the 2/11/2004 US election by the OSCE.. It is now two and a half months overdue. There is a tendency for the human imagination to fill in gaps where information is missing, and there is a tendency to suppose that the OSCE has drawn up its final report, but that the US authorities are objecting to certain passages in the report which refer to unsatisfactory practices and procedures in the election, and that the OSCE, showing exemplary regard for truth, transparency and democracy, are refusing to give way.

Am I wrong?

Nobody likes a conspiracy theory, but the best antidote to imagination is reality. The OSCE should either publish its final report on the US elections, or explain why they cannot publish.

(This one is up on Blogger News Network)


Anonymous said...

The report is now out, published 31 March:

DocRichard said...

Yes, I have seen it: see April 4th blog. It is a weeny, weedy, weakly, report that is so lackin in teeth that is looks like a sucker of a report. Poos OSCE, poor ODIHR, poor America, poor democracy, poor world, poor show altogether.