I’ve been reading the U.S. State Department’s GEC Special Report on Russian efforts to impact our elections. Titled “Pillars of Russia’s Disinformation and Propaganda Ecosystem,” it is absolutely riveting to learn intricate details about the sophisticated networks and misinformation tactics they employed in 2016 and are enhancing and expanding now.
I highly recommend you read it, especially if you’re tempted to spread conspiracy theories on Facebook.
America’s free and fair elections are under attack!
Russian front groups, fake individual online identities, and state-funded media to sow disinformation and dissension about U.S. allies around the world. Russian intelligence operations have perfected the art of laundering distorted and fabricated narratives through media networks, covert hacking, international proxies, and others.
Why the Russians are doing it
The Russians have two goals in mind:
- First, they want to undermine democracies and attack the United States’ global image so we can no longer speak with moral clarity on behalf of freedom-loving people around the globe. If they succeed in smudging our reputation and diminishing our influence, Russia will essentially gain greater influence on the world stage as a result.
- Secondly, these efforts serve to silence criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has displayed alarming authoritarian tendencies by invading Crimea and staying in office well after his term should have expired. The former KGB officer has murdered journalists for sharing information about his corruption, jailed his political opponents, and he seems to have extraordinary influence over the current president of the United States, Russia’s hated adversary on the world stage and the author of the collapse of the former Soviet Union.
As a passionate defender of my country and a lover of democracy, I feel I must bring attention to this invasion of our sovereignty and perversion of democracy.
I try not to interfere in such matters or show bias toward any one side of the fence because the political parties are often different sides of the same coin, but it is virtually impossible to stay completely silent when the nation faces what I perceive to be the single greatest threat to our way of life in my lifetime.
Here in the Bible Belt, I see friends and neighbors thoroughly agitated and triggered by what they are seeing and sharing on Facebook. The latest outrage is over some conspiracy theory about a vast left-wing pedophilia ring. Obviously, such a thing is repulsive to our moral core, but the fact that such a thing is being hyped and shared at this time, in particular, feels highly suspicious of the way the Russians have weaponized social media to infiltrate domestic conversations, undermine faith in Western institutions and amplify protests and civil discord.
And it is all embraced by a politician presently on the ropes who is desperate for distraction and so clearly power-hungry that there is no bottom to his ruthlessness. It’s been shockingly easy for Americans to become manipulated, both by the Russians and by their colluding Western assets inside the Dark State.
The report states, “By simultaneously furthering multiple versions of a given story, these actors muddy the waters of the information environment in order to confuse those trying to discern the truth.”
This is a golden time for fringe thinkers and conspiracy theorists. A fascinating article on Medium.com explores how we get roped into these idiotic scams. Well worth reading as well.
I’m seeing unprecedented disdain toward scientists and fact-checkers. As if it’s all a ploy, a toolkit of lies, to lead us to some imaginary persecution. Well, there is a toolkit of lies, alright. But the liars and the con men have successfully projected their own manipulations upon others, convincing everyday people that anyone who presents information which contradicts their rhetoric is the actual deceiver.
It’s going to be something to watch when the leader of their cult eventually goes too far and a far-reaching ephiphany sweeps this country. Sadly, it will take a 911-level tragedy to hit the reset button for most people. And for some, it will never happen. Some people will be so hopelessly reliant upon their false belief system that they won’t be able to shed themselves of it, despite clear instances of cognitive dissonance.
Look, vote for whoever you think is the best person to lead our nation forward. But please do first ask yourself two critical questions:
- Would it have been acceptable for Barack Obama to say and do everything the current occupant of the White House has said and done over the past 3+ years in office?
- Does an incumbent deserve a second term if he and his allies must rig the outcome by tampering with the U.S. Postal service (to presumably prevent mailed absentee ballots from getting to absentee election managers in time), inviting foreign adversaries to assist in misleading American voters (see the above link to report), and fear-mongering in the most cynical possible way? If someone has to suppress voter turnout and get registered voters disqualified to have any shot at winning, is he or she authentically respecting the will of the majority of the American people?
If you answer those questions – honestly – then you can feel confident in your choices when you check the box next to the name of the person who you feel is best qualified to lead us.
I leave you with this quote from the movie “V for Vendetta,” which somehow seems appropriate to our current situation.
“Good evening, London… I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine – the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke… There are, of course, those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power.
“Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission.
“How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.
“I know WHY you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor… He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent…
“Fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives. So if you’ve seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you, then I would suggest you allow… this November to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me… and together we shall give them a November that shall never, ever be forgotten.”