In what can only be described as an epic attempt to troll both Obama and Hillary, and an apparent move to embarrass the United States over Trump's claims of that the upcoming presidential election will be "rigged", Russia has asked to send monitors to US polling stations for the Nov. 8 vote, according to reports by Russian media.
However the US State Department was not amused, and promptly rebuffed the request with one state election official threatening criminal action if Russian monitors showed up, according to state-controlled Izvestia daily and broadcaster RT. State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner called the Russian effort a "PR stunt."
Cited by USA Today, a spokeswoman for Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler, who received a request to allow Russian monitors, called it a "propaganda ploy." "We've allowed observers from overseas in the past from other countries, never from Russia," Meg Casper said. She added that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security also "told us not to do this."
But if Russia is not only intimately involved in the election, but is also rigging it, why not give it the opportunity to watch their action in real time. Surely, if they can manipulate the outcome, they can also observe it from a distance.
Sarcasm aside, Trump has complained for weeks about potential election fraud. In Wednesday night's debate with Democrat Hillary Clinton, the Republican nominee refused to say whether he would abide by the results on Election Day. On Thursday, he said he will "totally accept the results — if I win."
Needless to say, Russia and Vladimir Putin have both become prominent fixture in the U.S. campaign and were mentioned during Wednesday's debate for allegedly interfering in the election.
The discussion has gone along the following lines:
Trump:You are rigging the elections!
Clinton: You are a conspiracy theorist. Russia is rigging the elections!
And so on.
U.S. intelligence officials "believe" that Russia is behind a series of computer hacks that leaked embarrassing emails from the Democratic National Committee and top Clinton campaign staffers. Trump was skeptical about Russia's role in the leaks and deflected Clinton's charge that he is an admirer of Putin and overlooks the Russian leader's alleged meddling in the election and other anti-U.S. positions. Last night, during a New York City roast, Hillary Clinton compared Donald Trump to the horse that Putin rides on in his occasional jaunts in the Russian countryside.
The irony in the US refusal to accept Russian monitors is that this is merely the latest indication of the "moral" double standard imposed by the US. As USA Today writes, the US often sends monitors to observe elections in other countries with a history of voter fraud. Izvestia said Russia made the request for monitors in the U.S. during talks with the State Department and was "categorically rejected."
Russia was invited to participate in routine monitoring conducted by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, in which Russia is a member, but the level of access was unacceptable to the Russians, according broadcaster RT. The European group said it will observe the U.S. election with a delegation of 439 people from 10 countries deployed nationwide. The delegation includes at least one Russian.
Even better, Toner noted that U.S. officials participated in a similar observation mission for Russia's parliamentary elections in September.
Russian officials also sought access on the state level in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. Izvestia said Russia was turned down in "harsh" terms. Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos wrote a Sept. 28 letter to Alexander Zakharov, Russia's consul general in Houston, that "only persons authorized by law may be inside of a polling location during voting. All other persons are not authorized and would be committing a Class C misdemeanor crime by entering."
Louisiana Secretary of State Schedler declined the Russian request in a genial manner, according to a copy of an Aug. 26 letter sent to Zakharov. Schedler explained that his office in Baton Rouge sustained heavy damage from a massive flood that left him short-staffed.
"Had this flood event not occurred, we certainly would have been open to such a visit, but I cannot meet such a request with the situation I currently have in front of me," Schedler wrote. He urged Zakharov to contact him in 2020 if he's still interested.
Oklahoma Secretary of State Chris Benge turned down the request, citing Oklahoma law. "While it would be our honor to offer the opportunity to observe our voting process, it is prohibited under state law to allow anyone except election officials and voters in or around the area where the voting takes place," Benge wrote.
One wonders: if the US really has nothing to hide why such a stern and hypocritical refusal... unless of course Trump is, gasp, right and not only the elections, but so are "the primary and the media", as Assange alleged earlier.
Meanwhile, in order to once again hammer that unproven fact that Russia is behind every computer crime in the US at moment, following today's massive DDOS attacked earlier today Reuters just blasted the following:
- U.S. EXAMINING WHETHER ATTACK ON INTERNET PROVIDER DYN WAS A 'CRIMINAL ACT' - U.S. OFFICIAL: RTRS
We are confident that this, too, will be Putin's fault.