Muftic: Have we forgotten why we are celebrating the Fourth?
July 3, 2018
It is the Fourth of July time. Remember why we celebrate it? We are on the verge of undermining the very essence of the reason it was declared, freedom from foreign interference and the right to control our own destiny without some foreigners telling us what to do.
We fought the Revolutionary war, the war of 1812 to rid us of British control. We fought World War I and World War II to save us from German and then Nazi control. We fought the Cold War with the USSR to keep us from communism's control, and a hot war in Vietnam and Korea, too. But now, there is a very significant body of voters who do not care, welcome it because it helps their cause or are in denial of evidence that Russians effectively interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
Only 43 percent of Republicans polled in January 2018 believed Russians interfered in the 2016 elections. A plurality of all voters surveyed by Yougov in June 2018 called the Mueller investigation into Trump campaign's ties with Russia a "politically motivated witch hunt." Per a Navigator research poll May, 23, 2018, 59 percent of Americans did not know that Mueller has already obtained five guilty pleas and 17 criminal indictments. His final report has not been issued nor has his indictment activities been completed.
Every director of our intelligence agencies now and previously in office is warning us about what Russia is doing to interfere in our election process, and is continuing to do so. It is the old divide and conquer strategy, using modern techniques and technology, social media, the internet, and disinformation to intensify ethnic and racial hatred and political divisions within a country. They hope to weaken western style democracies. Why? Russia's reasoning: it would increase Russia's power and help them reestablish control of neighbors. Putin sees his national interests as threatened or blocked by expansion of NATO and economic alliances and he supports those who oppose such alliances. He views western democracies as weak and vulnerable to his manipulations. There is plenty of evidence that Russia also interfered in recent European elections and the Brexit vote using the same techniques they employed to interfere in the 2016 U.S. elections.
Russian techniques and methods were detailed publicly in Mueller's indictment of thirteen Russians and organizations who conducted active measures to interfere in the 2016 campaign. In summary, here is how they did it: Russians posed as Americans to operate bogus social media accounts, buy advertisements and stage political rallies. They stole the identities of real people in the United States to post online and built computer systems in the US to hide the Russian origin of their activity. Tweets , false stories, and ads were carefully targeted to those they identified as gullible and then retweeted, shared, and resent to millions in our country by unsuspecting US citizens who thought they seemed plausible and substantiated to their own views. Their techniques were clever, cheap, and effective. For those who would like to "consider the source" as a way to dismiss these charges and evidence, I challenge them to read the text of the indictments themselves at http://www.justice.gov/file/1035477/download.
It will be very illuminating.
As always, sources of data and reports are footnoted and listed at http://www.mufticforumblog.blogspot.com.