America's mainstream media collectively seems to be ignoring certain story lines with this one being no exception. Unfortunately, some of these story lines are very, very complicated with the subject of this posting being a prime example of the confusion that goes along with possible conspiracy theories.
As you may or may not be aware, the White House has supplied us with a means of getting issues to their attention through its "We the People" website. On this website, you can create and share a petition, gather signatures and, if you get 100,000 signatures in 30 days, you will get an official update from the White House within 60 days.
With the 2016 election on everyone's mind, here is an interesting petition that was created on October 21, 2016:
In just over a week, this petition has received 125,303 signatures, ensuring that the White House will have to respond.
Let's look at bit further at the story. According to the tubes that make up the internet, George Soros has part ownership in a company called Smartmatic, a United Kingdom-based privately owned company that develops voting technologies "...that increase the transparency, efficiency and integrity of elections while making voting more accessible.". According to its website, Smartmatic was founded in 2000 in Palm Beach County, Florida and developed its first voting machine in 2003. In total, more than 3.7 billion ballots have been cast using Smartmatic technology in government elections around the globe. On the company's "Facts about Smartmatic" webpage, we find the following:
Smartmatic very clearly states that George Soros does not have and has never had an ownership stake in Smartmatic. However, it is interesting to note that the Chairman of Smartmatic's board is Lord Mark Malloch-Brown who also happens to be a member of the Global Board of the Open Society Foundations, a network of foundations, partners and projects founded and chaired by George Soros Here is Mark Malloch-Brown's biography from his page on the Open Society website:
As we can see, there is a connection between George Soros and Mark Malloch-Brown; Malloch-Brown was the vice-chairman of George Soros' investment funds as well as his Open Society Foundations philanthropy. That said, as you will see, there is no publicly available information which shows that George Soros has an ownership stake in Smartmatic.
Let's go back to Smartmatic. Here is a company overview from Bloomberg showing Smartmatic's board membership:
So, who are the shareholders in this privately held company? Here's what the company has to say:
The four founders are Venezuelans and include Antonio Mugica (dual Spanish - Venezuelan), Alberto Angola, Roger Pinate and Jorge Massa (french - Venezuelan). According to the company, in 2006, Mugica owned 78.8 percent, Anzola owned 3.87 percent and Pinate owned 8.47 percent. and Massa owned 5.97 percent leaving 2.89 percent ownership for company employees, friends and family members. Mugica is still listed as the company's CEO and director and Pinate is listed as the company's COO and director you can see here:
Now, let's look at how this whole picture becomes even more confusing. On Smartmatic's website, we find this page:
...and this diagram:
So, according to Smartmatic, while they are not supplying any voting technology for the 2016 presidential election, they have supplied voting technology to 307 counties in 16 states after acquiring Sequoia Voting Systems in 2005. In 2007, Sequoia was sold to a group of private United States investors. According to the company's website, this divestiture took place largely because of the on-going debate over foreign investment in America's election technology, however, Sequoia and Smartmatic were under investigation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to discover whether or not there were any ties between the Government of Venezuela and the companies. It was at that point that Smartmatic announced the sale of Sequoia, enabling it to withdraw from the CFIUS investigation.
To complicate the Smartmatic story even more, we have this cable from the Department of State in 2006 about the company and its experiences in the 2004 Venezuelan recall referendum which saw President Hugo Chavez avoid recall, despite irregularities in voting:
Among many interesting revelations in this cable, I found it particularly interesting that a technician was able to defeat the voting machine's ability to ensure the secrecy of the vote simply by using a bit of code downloaded from the internet because the machine's operating system was Windows-based.
I think that's enough for this posting. The Smartmatic story is a very complex one; while George Soros may not be involved with the company, it is interesting to see that it has a very storied past and a very opaque ownership structure (at least according to the Department of State) and its connection with the American election machine is a fascinating one. At the very least, it will be interesting to see how the next leader of the free world responds to the petition requesting the removal of any Smartmatic voting machines from the 2016 election. Sometimes the real story is even more fascinating than any conspiracy theory.