Bush Administration Congratulates Election Thieves

George W. Bush knows something about stealing an election. So it comes as no surprise that his administration would be friendly with the newly "elected" authoritarian dictator of the oil-rich, former Soviet bloc nation of Georgia.

In August, Bush congratulated Ilham Aliev on his appointment to the post of prime minister and gave him a warm reception in Washington. Last month he was "elected" as the new President, to replace his ailing father. But given the opposition to his candidacy, extraordinary measures were necessary to insure "victory."
Human Rights Watch research found that the government has heavily intervened in the campaigning process in favor of Prime Minister Ilham Aliev, son of current President Heidar Aliev. The government has stacked the Central Election Commission and local election commission with its supporters, and banned local nongovernmental organizations from monitoring the vote. As the elections draw nearer, government officials have openly sided with the campaign of Ilham Aliev, constantly obstructing opposition rallies and attempting to limit public participation in opposition events. In some cases, local officials have closed all the roads into town during opposition rallies, or have extended working and school hours—on one occasion, even declaring a Sunday work day—to prevent participation in opposition rallies.

Police violence and arbitrary arrests have been endemic during the campaigning period. Police have beaten and arbitrarily detained hundreds of opposition activists, including a seventy-three-year-old woman. Several major opposition rallies have been violently dispersed by the police, with scores of injuries. Local officials have also participated in pre-election intimidation and attacks, beating opposition supporters with impunity.

Something to consider while reading Dubya's recent speech on democracy.