Let's segue from Jeff Wells' lame disinfo campaign back to the one that has afflicted the election integrity movement. Since they are clearly connected through Andy Stephenson, it's not such an outrageous leap from one to the other.
An anonymous source has tipped me off to an association between VoteTrustUSA and a data mining titan named ChoicePoint. He pointed me in the direction of two archived Democratic Underground threads.
No Excuses on ChoicePoint: A Threat to Our Constitution and Freedom
Greg Palast Responds re Land Shark ER Post on ChoicePoint/Private KGB!
It could be easily argued that ChoicePoint had as much to do with GW Bush's stealing of the 2000 election than any other factor. Tens of thousands of predominantly African-American citizens were unduly purged from the voter rolls. However, when it came to the attention of the election integrity crowd at DU that there were wolves in the henhouse, a surprising development ensued. Instead of folks becoming concerned with their movement being compromised, they turned their claws on reporter Greg Palast for having been the one doing the exposing.
It has been noted before that without paystubs, it's impossible to know whether one is a paid disinfo agent, or if somebody has been merely prodded into moving with the conformist herd. A lot of internet convolution may have more to do with psychology 101 than any deliberately placed provocation. It's human nature to want to believe in people who appear to be fighting for the common good. I fell for that trap in regards to Brad Friedman of BradBlog. The phrase concern troll applies. One effective at that has the strong ability to make one appear as a good guy, while the whole time that person has actually been working on bahalf of their own interests or perhaps even towards the undermining of positive, social movement.
A Quick Look At ChoicePoint
There was an interesting article in The Progressive from August 13th, 2003 written by John Ross. I was unable to find a direct link to that excellent expose, but it can be read here. It will give you an example of what ChoicePoint represents.
VoteTrust USA is described as a project of the Verified Voting Foundation. One of its co-founders was Andy Stephenson.
VoteTrustUSA and their sychophants from DU came up with the typical defenses, that the connection between ChoicePoint and VTUSA was not that strong. That this was a McCarthyite type smear. That whoop-de-doo, someone with ties to ChoicePoint made a donation. That this didn't prove ChoicePoint had any influence on their election integrity activities.
However, the following written by Donna Curling was never properly explained (to my satisfaction anyway).
Strangely enough, Mark Crispin Miller has deleted the following from his website. It is now only available through cache. Two very interesting comments were left.I am Donna Curling, wife of Doug Curling, President of Choicepoint. When the California Election Protection Network’s comments were posted back in November, I went to my husband to discuss us possibly working together to see if we could not address this problem once and for all. I discussed the problem with Roxanne Jekot, whom I work closely with on a daily basis, and with Joan Krawitz and Warren Stewart, both of whom I have worked with and traveled with to DC. I also serve on the Board of Vote Trust USA and help fund many projects.
A statement from VoteTrustUSA
Those who have followed my unpaid blogging are well-aware of my efforts to expose Brett Kimberlin, Velvet Revolution, and BradBlog for their propagation of unsubstantiated gobbledygook. Much of what they have pumped out has unfortunately overshadowed real issues to do with ensuring election integrity. Worst case scenario is they have turned a real issue into appearing as tinfoil conspiracy theory. Of course, feel free to make a donation to Brad and Brett. I'm sure they'll appreciate it.Comment by Anonymous on July 26, 2006 @ 1:06 pm
Please give it a break. You were caught pushing a coordinated message on Choicepoint. The message for those who don’t know is: Choicepoint bought DBT after they completed the Jeb Bush-Katherine Harris Florida felon purge software. Choicepoint had nothing to do with it.
How strange can election integrity activism get?
That’s why people in your organizaiton had to apologize.
So was Choicepoint responsible even a tiny little bit for the felon purge? How about a statement on that?
Comment by Anonymous on July 26, 2006 @ 1:36 pm
Anonymous only puts part of the picture out, though accurate as far as it goes in describing the coordinated defenses of choicepoint that came out after choicepoint’s president’s wife became an involved funder of many VTUSA projects (as she said in writing) and even claimed to be on the board of VTUSA (in writing), though VTUSA later said there is no board in VTUSA at all. How Mrs. Choicepoint came to be think she was in a top leadership post at VTUSA but that it was not “the Board” is not known and has not been explained, though Mrs. Curling did state under her name dmac on Democraticunderground.com that her confusion, in this regard, was “legitimate.”
Beyond the failure of Choicepoint to consider the disfranchisement of the vast majority of 97,000 people to be important enough to issue a recall (like we would for a manufacturing defect in a cheap plastic toy) give that Choicepoint had from May 2000 to November 2000 to issue the equivalent of a recall to correct the situation, there is an ever more important issue:
How can an activist organization credibly push for transparency, when the organization itself does not publicly disclose the funding and control that it receives from shareholders of Choicepoint, who happen also to be a spouse of the President of Choicepoint? How can it maintain that lack of transparency, and at the very same time have its members take positions and actions to defend choicepoint using false or misleading facts? Even after apologizing for falsely stating that Greg Palast was lying in asserting Choicepoint’s culpability for Florida 2000, Is this an organization that can be trusted to lead the fight for transparency in elections? VTUSA is STILL NOT disclosing the full nature of its ties and funding with Donna Curling, the spouse of Choicepoint’s president Doug Curling and a shareholder in Choicepoint.
VTUSA can easily be connected to BradBlog through John Gideon. John was one of Brad's top bloggers for a substantial period of time. He was also a bigwig for VTUSA.
The Richard Armitage Connection
It turns out that the Deputy Secretary of State during the first Bush Administration was the former Director of ChoicePoint.
According to Toni Solo:
Now feel free to go back to the original DU threads, and ask yourselves why the few messengers were attacked so much. One might even proceed to make a list based on which posters wrote what. You could make two columns, one for potential wolves and the other for truth seekers.Data abuse--the Choicepoint link It is hard to get precise details on who is selling Choicepoint this confidential information.  But some idea of the use to be made of all that data can be inferred from the role envisaged by John Poindexter for his Total Information Awareness program (TIA) in the developing John Ashcroft police state. While Poindexter, convicted of lying to Congress during the Iran Contra hearings, may be off the public scene after the DARPA "terrorism futures" fiasco, TIA soldiers on under different guises, like the MATRIX program in various US states, notably Florida.
Richard Armitage, one of the Iran-Contra plotters, was a board member of Database Technologies (DBT)/ChoicePoint Inc before taking office under George Bush Jr. Now he is Colin Powell's deputy Secretary of State. Choicepoint is a partner of data mining company SAIC whose web site proclaims it has "developed a strategic alliance with ChoicePoint Incorporated to provide our clients with quick and effortless information retrieval from public records data. ChoicePoint Incorporated maintains thousands of gigabytes of public records data." SAIC's clients include The U.S. Army National Guard and Reserve, United States Marine Corps and BP Amoco. Before becoming Secretary of State, Donald Rumsfeld was on BP Amoco's advisory board.
related link- (scroll down): Choicepoint President Funds Secretary of State Candidate Scott Holcomb in Georgia