Russia

Cambridge Analytica, Russia, and Taking Action

new-york-1977537_1920

For years, my friends in other countries have been protesting injustice. I’ve watched their feeds. Seen private images. Read messages sent at times when they weren’t being censored by their countries. It’s been brutal… and all along I’ve known in my heart that one day this would come to my doorstep.

That day has arrived.

Watching my friends in other places fighting for one another, fighting against oppressors, and standing up for what’s right has given me strength. It’s shown me that the military can suddenly switch sides and protect the people, not the oppressors. It’s shown me that taking action matters and makes change. It’s shown me that we’re often lied to, and it’s up to us to be vigilant and seek the truth… Mostly, though, it’s shown me what everyday, ordinary people can do when they believe in something.

So when this day arrived, I was only partially afraid. Because I’ve been doing things behind the scenes for about ten years now, I’ve had more prep time than some of my US peeps have. And while I never thought trump would be elected–especially by the EC, since they were put in place to keep people like trump out–once he was elected, I knew it was going to be bad. And I began preparing myself for the worst.

I suspect that’s why I was so angry and sensitive the first month after his election. Because I knew that no matter how many people told me, “Just wait and see…” that waiting and seeing wouldn’t matter. I knew where we were heading because I’ve been watching this in other countries for ten years.

These last eight years with Obama have been good for the most part. There are certainly things he’s done that I’m not okay with. That I didn’t align with. I’m very much against war, so all the bombing… not good. I also had issues with Bush, and Clinton, and even the recent Clinton, though I did vote for her, and this is because I honor who I am. I also understand that the President isn’t a dictator. Or at least, they aren’t supposed to be. So even if a President doesn’t want something or is against it, they may be powerless to change it. That is how our system works.

The big danger now is that dangerous people have all the power. While there are always bad people in places of power, we’ve never had a situation like we do now. Trump isn’t only dangerous himself, but he’s put people equally as bad in places of power too. And he cheated his way in. He literally bought the Whitehouse.

At first, I read Motherboard’s article and thought, no way. No way this is true. I knew it could be and likely was, but I didn’t want to believe it. Despite seeing the evidence.

To fact check, I went to Cambridge Analytica’s website. In the article, I’d read that the CEO of the company was proud of his accomplishments, which included Brexit. I was horrified when I got to Cambridge’s site to see the video pop up on the homepage announcing their accomplishment for the trump election too.

For those of you that don’t know what Cambridge Analytica is, I suggest you find out. It’s fucking terrifying. I’m not joking in any way here.

This came after I’d already read all of the horrible shit trump and his posse passed or proposed in his first few days in office.

This list of horror keeps growing and I don’t think it’s going to slow down anytime soon. We are in for a shitshow, a ride of our lives, BUT…

Tonight, I saw people come together once again, to protect the people being detained at the airport. For those that don’t know what I’m referring to, trump put an immigration freeze on people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. This actually affected a lot more people than just those from these countries, but this was where it began.

The claim was that it was to keep terrorists out. But according to NPR, the ONLY countries that received the ban were ones that trump didn’t have businesses in. Despite the fact that many of the countries he’s got businesses in have much higher rates of terrorism.

People are saying it’s a Muslim thing, but as NPR also points out, “The 19 terrorists in the Sept. 11 attacks were from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates, Myre points out. They are among the Muslim-majority countries not affected by Trump’s immigration freeze, but where Trump does business.”

So what is it then? Is it a Muslim thing? A terrorist thing? Or is it business?

No matter the reasoning, people went out on their Saturday night and protested at the airport. They played live feeds–I watched the one in Seattle so I can send my complaints in on how some officers handled it poorly–and this happened all over the country.

While Facebook played a role in the Cambridge issue, they also allowed for a million of us to take part in the protest from home tonight. Then FB (as if I couldn’t have predicted this) suddenly slowed own, wouldn’t show me the feeds of any friends that posted the live feed, and stopped functioning for a while. Hrmmm, am I surprised? No, but still, it served its purpose for the live feed.

All this being said, we really need to be more aware. It’s our responsibility to be knowledgeable and act.

If you still don’t believe Russia had anything to do with trump being elected either, you’d better start fact-checking. We are at war, but not a war many of us would recognize. Politico Magazine is calling it a non-linear war. The information age has changed everything. We’ve never seen anything quite like this before.

Control, yes. Censorship, yes. News stations only printing or sharing news that didn’t make their affiliates look bad, yes.

But never anything like what we’re facing now. In their article, Putin’s Real Long Game, author Molly K. McKew says, “information warfare is not about creating an alternate truth, but eroding our basic ability to distinguish truth at all. It is not “propaganda” as we’ve come to think of it, but the less obvious techniques known in Russia as “active measures” and “reflexive control”. Both are designed to make us, the targets, act against our own best interests.” In essence, they are working to create an unstable environment for us where we turn on one another.

We must call these things out. We must not make trump’s abuse commonplace, but we must make this knowledge. The more people hear that they are being manipulated, the easier it will be to see the manipulation.

The more we point out lies, and call them lies, the easier it will be to see them.

The more we call out racism, fascism, narcissism, misogyny, bigotry, the easier it will be to see it.

In these terrible times, I also see things that I never have before. I’m seeing people leave the comfort of their homes and go out and protest. The people at the airport tonight are refusing to leave until those being detained are released. And by released, they mean to freedom.

I’m also seeing people speak out on all social media platforms that are usually quiet and nonpolitical. They’re using their voices. In person as well.

I’m reading things like this, “Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has a message for refugees rejected by U.S. President Donald Trump: Canada will take you.

I refuse to allow these abusive people in power–no matter which country they’re from–make abuse the norm. Abuse and hatred are not the norm. That’s what they want us to believe, though. These types don’t want us to see our power or embrace it.

These abusive people are gaslighting us. We must keep our eyes open to these tactics. **See The Washington Post on Trump and Gaslighting.**

What would have happened tonight if the airport officials refused to detain people? What would have happened if the police actually protected the people and *joined in* the protest? What would happen if our military protects us against our domestic enemies… our current leaders?

We have the power. I’m using mine however I can.

Are you?