Sunday, 28 October 2012

Obama Backs UN-linked Election Monitors, but Texas Stands Firm

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As the national scandal over United Nations-linked “elections monitors” in the United States continues to grow after Texas threatened potential prosecutions, the international outfit deploying “observers” demanded that the Obama administration come to its aid. The U.S. State Department promptly claimed that the UN-affiliated monitors would have “full” diplomatic immunity. But in the Lone Star State, officials fired back and upped the ante: Don’t mess with Texas.

On October 23, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sent a strongly worded letter to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) warning that its representatives could be prosecuted if they violate state law or are found within 100 feet of a polling place. Among the most serious concerns was the fact that the UN partner organization was working with discredited far-left radical groups to supposedly seek out conservative “voter suppression” schemes — mostly state laws aimed at preventing election fraud.

In a statement, the OSCE also said it would monitor “compliance” with unspecified “international obligations” supposedly applicable to the United States. The controversial organization, which includes as members the governments and dictators ruling Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and other nations, responded to Texas with its own letter to the U.S. State Department warning against any efforts to “restrain” its personnel.

“The threat of criminal sanctions against OSCE/ODIHR observers is unacceptable," complained Janez Lenarcic, chief of the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) monitoring operations. "The United States, like all countries in the OSCE, has an obligation to invite ODIHR observers to observe its elections." (Emphasis added.)  

The Obama administration responded to the controversy by purporting to offer the international “elections monitors” supposed “diplomatic immunity” — essentially claiming that they were above the law, even in Texas. The two monitors for Texas, scheduled to be deployed in Austin, are Conny Jensen from Denmark and Melanie Leathers from the United Kingdom, documents show. In an October 26 press conference, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland claimed that "in general, we give them protected status.”

The spokesperson also claimed there were “no sovereignty issues” involved, emphasizing, as Texas’s attorney general did, that the OSCE obviously has no authority over the states it chooses to monitor. "They have said that they do not intend to violate any laws while in the United States," Nuland claimed. "So we are going to let the conversations go forward between the OSCE and Texas and see how that goes."

In the Lone Star State, however, officials did not take kindly to the international whining or the Obama administration’s response. "No UN monitors/inspectors will be part of any TX election process," tweeted Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, in support of his chief law-enforcement officer. GOP U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz, a popular conservative who made opposition to UN schemes a key part of his campaign, also saluted Abbot for standing up to the scandal-plagued international outfit.  

The Texas attorney general, meanwhile, remained defiant despite State Department pronouncements and OSCE complaining. “UN-related vote monitors warn Texas: Don't mess with us. My response: BRING IT,” Abbott tweeted in response. He also quoted Sam Houston saying: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may." Following the tweets, Abbot also sent an official letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton laying down the law

“It appears that OSCE is under the misimpression that the State Department can somehow help its representatives circumvent the Texas Election Code. Texas law prohibits unauthorized persons from entering a polling place — or loitering within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance — on Election Day,” the attorney general explained to Clinton. “OSCE monitors are expected to follow that law like everyone else.”

Of course, as Clinton already knows, Texas election laws govern anyone and everyone who wishes to participate in elections held in the Lone Star State, Abbott said. “The fact that representatives of the United States joined the U.S.S.R, Yugoslavia, Romania, and other OSCE member-nations in signing a document at a 1989 conference in Copenhagen has absolutely no bearing on the administration of elections or laws governing elections in the State of Texas,” he warned.

If the OSCE wants to visit Texas during the election, Abbott said the state would welcome the opportunity to educate its representatives about state elections — perhaps it could be useful to OSCE member regimes like the brutal communist tyrant ruling over Belarus. “But OSCE is not above the law and its representatives must at all times comply with Texas law when they are present in this state,” he added.

The 1990 OSCE governing document signed by the representatives of the U.S. government and cited by the international group in its pleas with the Obama administration is “legally irrelevant” in Texas and “will have no impact” on the way the state administers its election, Abbott pointed out. However, the attorney general still added that, even according to that agreement, observers are required to follow applicable law. In other words, the OSCE is making “false” claims.

In addition to misconstruing its own governing documents, in its letter to the Obama administration, the OSCE promised only to follow all “national” laws and regulations. “This statement may simply reveal that the OSCE is unfamiliar with our nation’s federalist system,” Abbott observed in his letter to Clinton. “On the other hand, it may reveal that the OSCE does not consider itself restrained by state law.”

In either case, Texas needs assurances from the OSCE that it intends to strictly comply with all state laws. So far, Abbott said, those assurances have not been forthcoming. There are other problems, too, however.  

“In addition to my desire to defend and enforce Texas election laws, I am also concerned that an unnecessary political agenda may have infected OSCE’s election monitoring activities,” the state’s top law enforcement officer explained, citing the international outfit’s objections to efforts aimed at preventing registration fraud as well as state laws requiring voter ID. “The OSCE may object to photo identification laws and prohibitions on felons voting — but our nation’s Supreme Court has upheld both laws as entirely consistent with the U.S. Constitution.”

Ironically, Abbott added, the OSCE’s U.S. election monitoring boss, diplomat Daan Everts, hails from the Netherlands, which requires that all voters present identification to help combat fraud. “Why the OSCE appears to now question voter identification laws in the United States is beyond reason. Perhaps it is just politics,” the letter stated. “Regardless, the OSCE’s perspective on Voter ID is legally irrelevant in the United States.”

Meanwhile, the attorney general also took the opportunity to blast the OSCE yet again for meeting with “plainly partisan” U.S. organizations. Among the American groups working with the OSCE are the NAACP, the ACLU, and assorted splinter groups like “Project Vote” formed after the taxpayer-funded, Obama-linked organization ACORN collapsed in disgrace amid charges of massive voting fraud.

In letters and meetings with the international monitors, those groups warned of alleged efforts by conservatives to “disenfranchise” minority voters. The OSCE promised to follow up on the half-baked accusations, drawing widespread criticism and ridicule across the country.

“This appears to reflect a concerted effort to politicize an initiative that was previously perceived as an international information exchange program,” Abbot wrote. “While Texas may welcome visitors from any nation or international organization who wish to learn more about the steps the State has taken to protect the integrity of state elections, we need not open our doors and accommodate an international effort affiliated with partisan organizations in the United States that wish to suppress electoral integrity.”

Of particular concern, Abbot said, was an organization known as Project Vote, which recently boasted that it was helping to advise the OSCE on what issues and jurisdictions to “monitor” this election. “In light of Project Vote’s history of voter registration fraud and its more recent failed attempt to enjoin Texas election laws that were enacted to prevent fraud, no legitimate international body would affiliate with Project Vote,” the attorney general wrote. “Consequently, OSCE’s affiliation with this dubious organization necessarily undermines its credibility and the independence of its election monitors.”

Abbott also took the opportunity to provide some constitutional education for Clinton and Washington, D.C., which seemingly view Texas and other sovereign U.S. states as mere provinces subject to the whims and dictates of the federal government. In the Lone Star State, at least, officials apparently know that the United States was founded under a system in which the central government has limited and specifically enumerated powers. 

“The United States Constitution authorizes the States to regulate the conduct of state and federal elections within their borders,” Abbott’s letter continues. “Unlike the unelected bureaucrats at the OSCE, our State’s leaders and decision-makers were duly elected by Texas voters. Elected members of the Texas Legislature enacted the Texas Election Code to ensure our State’s elections are free, fair, open, and reliable.”

Finally, the attorney general emphasized again, Texas’ election laws do not authorize OSCE representatives to enter polling places. If they do, there will be consequences. Nothing in any OSCE governing documents has any impact — legal or otherwise — on how elections are conducted in Texas, Abbott warned.

“If the OSCE does not wish to follow the laws that govern everyone else present in the State of Texas, including the voters who elect our State’s leaders, then perhaps it should dispatch its representatives to another state,” Abbot concluded. “In closing, I have a simple request: Please work with the OSCE to ensure they agree to comply with Texas law. If they refuse to do so, OSCE’s representatives may be subject to legal consequences associated with any violations of state law.”

Analysts and activists across the country promptly showered praise on the state of Texas and its officials for standing up to the controversial international scheme while protecting state sovereignty, constitutional values, and the rule of law. However, more than a few experts also warned that the UN and its affiliates were becoming increasingly threatening. If America hopes to maintain its freedom and sovereignty, it must continue to resist any and all efforts to impose or even legitimize purported international “authority” over the American people.

Photo: Texas state capitol dome

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