Muftic: American elections for Americans
March 5, 2018
Trump supporters may chant, "Make America Great Again" or "Put America First," but they should be chanting instead: "American Elections for Americans" and "Make Democracy Great Again."
They are not. Should you care?
The Russians have demonstrated the ability to manipulate individual voters, your vote, your thoughts and your participation in the American version of democracy Russians seek to undermine. We should be in charge of our own destiny instead of having some foreign adversary bend us to their will. However, polls show as many as half of Americans do not put this as top of their concerns list and 83 percent of Republicans in January still believed Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe is a witch hunt. So many have buried their heads in the sands of denial or blame Obama for failing to do what President Trump refuses to do. Could it be that some even welcome a foreign force interference that supports their leader and their beliefs? What goes around can come around, and imagine in a future election, Chinese active measures would favor a Democratic candidate's trade and military policies. They have the skills. The Russians got away with it; why would not they?
The Mueller indictment of the 13 Russians for their execution of a campaign and anticipated indictment of Russians who hacked emails and election data bases to swing the 2016 elections toward Donald Trump have had a very disturbing reaction from many on the right. Some even called the Mueller Russian indictments of Russians who weaponized social media a "nothing burger." It was not nothing that the Russians undertook a million dollar a month campaign on behalf of Donald Trump's election. Even social media CEOs admitted to Congress in the fall the Russian bots reached 120 million voters. The indictment found that "by 2016, the size of many (Russian) organization-controlled groups had grown to hundreds of thousands of online followers."
It was not a nothing burger that Russians attempted to hack into twenty one states' election data bases and succeeded to penetrate those of Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Texas and Wisconsin. Though President Obama was not told of the actual penetration until his last week in office, in October 2016 he did publicly warn twenty one states of the Russian attempts and he did take some measures behind the scenes. President Trump has refused to activate sanctions authorized by Congress last year against Russians. He instead has launched attacks against the FBI, AG Sessions, and Mueller. Admiral Michael Rogers, NSA director and U.S. cyber chief testified at the Senate Military Affairs committee Feb. 27, 2018, that he has not received additional orders he needs from Trump to disrupt Russian cyberattacks targeting upcoming elections.
Mueller's indictment of the thirteen Russians did not assess whether the Russian conspiracy tilted the election to Trump. It did report three Trump staffers were unwitting participants. Did the Russian efforts support the election of Donald Trump? Yes it did by early to mid-2016. Identified Trump supporters were not the only targets. Russian campaigns on social media exhorted Democrats to vote for Jill Stein (Green Party) and Bernie Sanders in order to divide and weaken Hillary Clinton. By the hundreds of thousands, Americans retweeted, reposted, shared the messages well crafted by the Russians posing as Americans to make them hate immigrants, African American activists, Muslims more than before and to love guns even more. Russian bots claimed in October 2016 that there was election fraud, but offered no proof. They also hyped scary false social media postings of Muslims supporting Sharia law.
Read the indictment yourself at http://www.justice.gov/file/1035477 to see if you too were unwittingly taken in.
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