Obama Backs UN-linked Election Monitors, but Texas Stands Firm

By:  Alex Newman
10/29/2012
       
Obama Backs UN-linked Election Monitors, but Texas Stands Firm

As the national scandal over United Nations-linked “elections monitors” continues to grow after Texas threatened potential prosecutions, the international outfit deploying “observers” demanded that the Obama administration come to its aid. The State Department promptly claimed that the UN-affiliated monitors would have “full” diplomatic immunity. But in the Lone Star State, officials fired back and upped the ante: Don’t mess with Texas.

As the national scandal over United Nations-linked “elections monitors” in the United States continues to grow after Texas threatened potential prosecutions, the international outfit deploying “observers” demanded that the Obama administration come to its aid. The U.S. State Department promptly claimed that the UN-affiliated monitors would have “full” diplomatic immunity. But in the Lone Star State, officials fired back and upped the ante: Don’t mess with Texas.

On October 23, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sent a strongly worded letter to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) warning that its representatives could be prosecuted if they violate state law or are found within 100 feet of a polling place. Among the most serious concerns was the fact that the UN partner organization was working with discredited far-left radical groups to supposedly seek out conservative “voter suppression” schemes — mostly state laws aimed at preventing election fraud.

In a statement, the OSCE also said it would monitor “compliance” with unspecified “international obligations” supposedly applicable to the United States. The controversial organization, which includes as members the governments and dictators ruling Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and other nations, responded to Texas with its own letter to the U.S. State Department warning against any efforts to “restrain” its personnel.

“The threat of criminal sanctions against OSCE/ODIHR observers is unacceptable," complained Janez Lenarcic, chief of the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) monitoring operations. "The United States, like all countries in the OSCE, has an obligation to invite ODIHR observers to observe its elections." (Emphasis added.)

The Obama administration responded to the controversy by purporting to offer the international “elections monitors” supposed “diplomatic immunity” — essentially claiming that they were above the law, even in Texas. The two monitors for Texas, scheduled to be deployed in Austin, are Conny Jensen from Denmark and Melanie Leathers from the United Kingdom, documents show. In an October 26 press conference, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland claimed that "in general, we give them protected status.”

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Photo: Texas state capitol dome

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