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Offshore Company Captures Online Military Vote
by Lynn Landes 7/16/03
year, while President Bush marshaled U.S. forces for the invasion of Iraq,
the patriots at the Department of Defense awarded the contract for a new
online voting system for the military... to an offshore company.
Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment (SERVE) is the system and
Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting of Arthur Andersen/Enron bankruptcy fame) is the
company. And although Accenture has not been officially implicated in
the Enron scandal, they have created a reputation of their own that is
already raising eyebrows.
This is hot off the newswire -- 7/15/03 "NEW YORK (CBS.MW) -- Accenture Ltd., the former Andersen Consulting, disclosed Tuesday that it might have violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Chairman and CEO Joe Forehand, on an earnings call with analysts and reporters Tuesday, said the consulting firm's Middle East operations could be in non-compliance with the Act, which prohibits the bribery of foreign government officials by U.S. persons.
Canada-based Polaris Institute published a scathing report on Accenture, saying,
"Accenture's efforts in government outsourcing have often been very
expensive and/or of poor quality. There is good reason to question
Accenture's track record in outsourcing of government services."
is the leading offshore beneficiary of government contracts whose main business
is the privatization of government services, according to Lee Drutman
of Citizen Works, a non-profit founded by Ralph Nader. Accenture has a
troubling track record, a close business relationship with Dick Cheney's
Halliburton, and 2500 partners - more than half are not U.S. citizens.
2001 Accenture and Election.com have been strategic partners "to
jointly deliver comprehensive election solutions to governments worldwide,"
according to their press release. Last
month Accenture bought the public-sector election assets of Election.com,
which suffered its own scandal this year when it was discovered that Osan Ltd, a
firm of Saudi and other foreign investors, bought controlling interest in it. According
to Mark Harrington of NewsDay.com, "Several shareholders of the company
said they were surprised by the recent buyout and have asked for securities
regulators to investigate."
has had other problems. In January 2003, during Canada's New Democratic
Party leadership convention, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported, “Earl
Hurd of Election.com said he believes someone used a "denial of
service" program to disrupt the voting – paralyzing the central computer
by bombarding it with a stream of data”…service was restored, then…
"Toronto city councilor Jack Layton's victory on the first ballot surprised
many, who had expected a second or even third round of voting before a leader
was chosen from the pack of six candidates."
election security experts, a strong and growing suspicion is that computer
glitches or disruptions are actually vote rigging. A surprise election
result should raise a red flag.
is big. It has more than 75,000 employees in 47 countries, and generated net
revenues of $11.6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2002. On
their Board of Directors is Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO and known to
many as Bad Boy Ballmer for his ruthless, if not illegal, business
practices. Microsoft has been sued by the federal government and
several states for monopolistic business practices which were designed to
destroy their competition. Massachusetts’s Attorney General is still
pursuing Microsoft. In March 13, 2000 Andersen
Consulting (now Accenture) and Microsoft signed a "$1
Billion Pact To Form Joint Venture and Expand Global Alliance." What's the
alliance? To control voting systems around the world?
sense of civic duty isn't high on Accenture's list of priorities. According
to an article last year in TheDailyEnron.com, "Accenture
is lobbying furiously on Capitol Hill to defeat a measure that would deny
federal contracts to US companies that move offshore to escape US taxes.
Accenture, you see, has incorporated in Bermuda. But, Accenture also holds
nearly $1 billion in government contracts in the US. The company earned nearly
$700 million last year working for Uncle Sam and - ironically - is currently
under contract with the Internal Revenue Service itself to redesign its online
and Internet operations."
the Accenture connection to Halliburton, vice president Dick
Cheney’s former employer. Halliburton is widely criticized for doing business
with brutal regimes and was the subject of a SEC investigation and
several lawsuits surrounding their accounting practices during and after Cheney’s
tenure at the helm. The Polaris Institute says that in July 2000
David Lesar succeeded Dick Cheney as Chairman and CEO of Halliburton
Company. Before joining Halliburton, Lesar was employed by the Arthur
Andersen, Accenture's former parent company. Polaris
says, "…while defending Halliburton's accounting practices, David Lesar
Cheney knew about the firm's accounting practices..."
an October 2001
press release, Halliburton and Accenture announced a major expansion of their
longstanding relationship with the signing of an alliance between Accenture and
Landmark Graphics Corporation, a wholly owned business unit of Halliburton.
the words of the U.S. military's anthem, "I'm proud to be an American”,
Accenture owes its allegiance to "partners" outside of the USA.
letter to the editor of the Austin Chronicle last year, Accenture's
Director of Corporate Communications, Roxanne Taylor wrote, "When
Accenture's parent company, Accenture Ltd., was first incorporated last year,
the organization's 2,500 partners, more than half of whom are non-U.S. citizens,
decided to incorporate in Bermuda. With thousands of partners and employees of
many nationalities, it was important commercially and culturally for the
organization to select a neutral location such as Bermuda for its parent
very global of them.
million U.S. military and civilian voters could soon be using the
military's new online voting system. According
to computer voting security experts, any online system will be easy to rig by
company insiders and vulnerable to attack by outsiders. Apart from that reality,
does the U.S. military really want a company owned
by non-U.S. citizens in charge of their vote?
anyone at the Pentagon spell "national security"?
Lynn Landes is the publisher of EcoTalk.org and a news reporter for DUTV in Philadelphia, PA. Formerly Lynn was a radio show host for WDVR in New Jersey and a regular commentator for a BBC radio program. She can be reached at (215) 629-3553 / firstname.lastname@example.org.