United Nations-affiliated election monitors from Europe and central Asia will be at polling places around the U.S. looking for voter suppression activities by conservative groups, a concern raised by civil rights groups during a meeting this week. The intervention has drawn criticism from a prominent conservative-leaning group combating election fraud.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a United Nations partner on democratization and human rights projects, will deploy 44 observers around the county on Election Day to monitor an array of activities, including potential disputes at polling places.
Liberal-leaning civil rights groups met with representatives from the OSCE this week to raise their fears about what they say are systematic efforts to suppress minority voters likely to vote for President Obama.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP and the ACLU, among other groups, warned this month in a letter to Daan Everts, a senior official with OSCE, of “a coordinated political effort to disenfranchise millions of Americans — particularly traditionally disenfranchised groups like minorities.”
The request for foreign monitoring of election sites drew a strong rebuke from Catherine Engelbrecht, founder and president of True the Vote, a conservative-leaning group seeking to crack down on election fraud.
“These activist groups sought assistance not from American sources, but from the United Nations,” she said in a statement to The Hill. “The United Nations has no jurisdiction over American elections.”
The observers, from countries such as Germany, France, Serbia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, will observe voting at polling places and other political activity.
“They [will] observe the overall election process, not just the ballot casting,” said Giovanna Maiola, spokeswoman for OSCE. “They are focusing on a number of areas on the state level, including the legal system, election administration, the campaign, the campaign financing [and] new voting technologies used in the different states.”
In a follow-up e-mail, Maiola noted that it is a limited election-observation mission. She said “the OSCE has regularly been invited to observe elections in the United States, in line with OSCE commitments.”
Access of international observers during voting is explicitly allowed in some states such as Missouri, South Dakota, North Dakota and New Mexico.
“State law does not generally provide for international observers,” Maiola said. “However, through our contacts at state and county level in certain states, we managed to secure invitations at local level and we have taken up the offer to observe. Where this is not possible, we will respect the state regulation on this matter and will not observe in precincts on Election Day.”
International observers will follow up on the concerns raised by civil rights groups.
“We attended their meeting, we took note of the issued they raised and we asked our observers in the field to follow up on them,” said Maiola.
Per the OSCE Handbook:
Election observation enhances accountability and transparency, thereby boosting both domestic and international confidence in the process. The mere presence of international observers alone, however, should not be viewed as adding legitimacy or credibility to an election process. Although the presence of observers may indicate that the process merits observation, it is the observers’ conclusions about the process, based on the ODIHR’s methodology, that will form the ODIHR’s opinion on the election.
Through my anger, I researched the OSCE further, because somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind, the name rang a bell. I soon discovered why:
Jewish leaders expressed outrage Friday over the State Department’s praise for, and defense of, a controversial Muslim leader who has defended terrorist groups and suggested that Israel may have been responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Salam al-Marayati, founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), was picked to represent the United States government at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) annual 10-day human rights conference, the Human Dimension Implementation Meetings (HDIM).
Al-Marayati’s well-known anti-Israel bona fides prompted Jewish leaders and others to express outrage over the Obama administration’s selection.
“It is regrettable that someone with such distorted, conspiratorial views—even with a lackluster apology—is delegated by our government to represent our country abroad,” the Anti-Defamation League said in a statement to the Free Beacon.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, argued that the State Department is showing inconsistency by touting an individual who has defended the militant groups Hezbollah and Hamas, both of which are designated by the U.S. as terrorist organizations.
“One would assume that individuals selected to represent the United States at an international human rights conclave would share our government’s longstanding policy that Hamas and Hezbollah are dangerous terrorist organizations,” Cooper told the Free Beacon. “But Mr. Salam al-Marayati and his organization are long-time advocates that these deadly terror groups be removed from the U.S. terrorist list.”
“With terrorism continuing to roil the Middle East,” Cooper added, “the question is why the U.S. State Department would say he is ‘highly credible’?”
So, who is this guy, whom Obama chose as our country’s representative to this group that is monitoring the most important Presidential Election in our lifetime?
According to discoverthenetworks.org:
Salam Al-Marayati is the founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), a Los Angeles-based Islamic advocacy group that defends Muslim extremist violence. MPAC has condemned the anti-terrorism measures of both the U.S. and Israel, and has called for a repeal of the Patriot Act.
On the afternoon of September 11, 2001, Al-Marayati used a Los Angeles talk radio program as a forum in which to accuse the Israelis of responsibility for that morning’s attacks on New York and Washington. Al-Marayati has also called for the U.S. government to unfreeze the assets of two Islamic charities, the Global Relief Foundation and the Holy Land Foundation, that were shut down by the government because of funding they had given to terrorist organizations.
Al-Marayati refuses to call Hezbollah a terrorist group. “I don’t think any group should be judged 100% this or that,” he says. “I think every group is going to have . . . its claim of liberation and resistance.” He has similarly justified Hamas’ existence as a political entity that promotes social programs and “educational operations.” “Yesterday’s terrorists in the Middle East are today’s leaders,” he says. “The PLO is the number one example of this . . . The PLO 35 years ago was considered a terrorist organization, nobody should deal with them . . . But they became the people in authority, in Palestine, today. So Hamas today, the way it’s being viewed, is exactly how the PLO was viewed 30 years ago. And in fact, even Hamas in terms of its social and educational operations is doing exactly what the PLO was doing 35 years ago, as well as its quote unquote military operations.”
During a 1997 speech he delivered at the University of Pennsylvania, Al-Marayati equated the concept of jihad to the statements of the eighteenth-century American statesman Patrick Henry. Said Al-Marayat, “[T]he person who we think in America would epitomize jihad would be Patrick Henry, who said, ‘Give me liberty or give me death.’ That is a way of looking at the term jihad from an American perspective.”
Excuse me, sir, but, I beg to differ. Patrick Henry was an American Christian Leader, not a supporter of merciless Islamic Terrorism.
And, Americans certainly do not need you, nor the United Nations, involved in our elections. We are a Sovereign Nation. Men like Patrick Henry pledged their lives and sacred honor to give us the right to vote as we see fit.
And, neither you, the OCSE, nor the United Nations, is going to be able to do a darn thing about it.
Very soon, you will be joining your buddy and boss, Barack Hussein Obama, on the Unemployment Line.
We’ll see you on November 6th.