The Passing Of Aquino, The Rigging Of Elections And The Need For People Power

By Bob Fitrakis

The death of former Philippine President Corazon Aquino on August 1, 2009 should be remembered for many reasons: not just because she led the People Power revolution in the Philippines that stood for peace and human rights, and not just because she did it after the brutal Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos had her husband assassinated, but most importantly, she stood up to one of the first documented stolen elections.

While the American mainstream media steadfastly refuses to recognize the use of both computer hardware and software in modern election manipulation, President Ronald Reagan’s good buddy Marcos immediately knew the score with the new technology and blatantly used mainframe computers to rig his 1986 election. With the support of the Reagan administration, Marcos simply had the vote count shut down until “new tapes” were brought in that reversed Aquino’s victory.

All of this was captured on the nightly news, and more tellingly, in Hedrick Smith’s book The Power Game and the video he did called “The Power Game: The President.” The video documents the role of Senator Richard Lugar complaining to the world that somebody was cooking the numbers on the election computers. Fortunately for Aquino, most of the election workers walked out rather than accept the rigged election.

Not the case in Ohio in 2004. And coincidentally, August 2 marks the fourth anniversary of the death of the Reverend Bill Moss. He was the lead plaintiff who sued to overturn the 2004 Ohio presidential election. A key difference between the people of the Philippines and most of those in the U.S. is that the Philippine people took to the street in a general strike after the election was stolen.

The corruption of the Marcos regime was well-established, including the bullet to the back of Corazon’s husband Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. when he returned from exile in the U.S. to ask for a democratic election. Recall Marcos had him assassinated right on the tarmac at the airport.

Yet, were the dealings of the Bush administration any less blatantly corrupt? You had the coup in Florida in the 2000 election, followed by the illegal occupation of Iraq, and the blatant embracing of torture and other violations of human rights before the eyes of the world. So, when Bush crony J. Kenneth Blackwell privatized the 2004 Ohio election bringing in private companies like Triad, Diebold, New Media, and Smartech – and the exit polls all indicated unprecedented vote theft – it was Moss who led the charge.

The election integrity movement remains to evolve into a real people power movement that will wrest control of the computer software and hardware from the private vendors with direct ties to the Republican Party and the CIA-connected Bush family.

This weekend we should honor our election integrity heroes who have passed. The wondrous “ordinary housewife” Corazon Aquino who became the 11th president of the Philippines and beat back Reagan’s version of the U.S. as an evil empire, and Bill Moss, the man behind the Moss V. Bush lawsuit in Ohio that resulted in the first challenge to a state’s entire electoral college slate in U.S. history.

There is much work to be done. But much inspiration in the legacy of Aquino and Moss.

Bob Fitrakis is the freepress.org Editor and was one of the four attorneys in the Moss v. Bush lawsuit.