Monday, July 03, 2017

Monbiot Fingers British Columbia for Democratic Subversion.

These days when you see an unexpected "come from behind" election win you need to ask whether the election was rigged?

When it comes to vote tampering Canada, well more specifically British Columbia, is the temple of the dark art.

The Observer's Carole Caddwalladr exposed these people who use military-grade psy-ops systems to cross the line between electioneering and electoral brainwashing.

It's a web that links Victoria, BC's AggregateIQ and a guy by the name of Chris Wylie with American rightwing billionaire Robert Mercer and his company, Cambridge Analytica, with Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel and his company, Palantir, with the Brexit "leave" campaign plus the Trump campaign and, now, the Trump administration.

One preferred fishing hole is Facebook where people vulnerable to political messaging can be detected, identified and targeted. In this way informed consent can be powerfully displaced by manufactured consent. You don't have to hack into the voting machines if you can hack into the voter's prejudices and neuroses and thereby control his/her vote.

Now  George Monbiot writes that it's urgent to get to the bottom of who may have rigged the Brexit vote, who bought the services of Victoria's Aggregate IQ.

"[T]he questions raised by Cadwalladr over why and how the different leave campaigns – including Vote Leave and the DUP – used the same obscure data company in British Columbia are crucial.

A decision of such significance, whose implications are likely to be felt in this country for generations, should be above any possible suspicion of manipulation. Knowing what we know now, I do not believe this can be said about the EU referendum. So do we leave this monumental issue to a body which – by its own admission – is constitutionally incapable of challenging a result, even if that result has been obtained unfairly?

No. Though I am a lukewarm European – a Eurosceptic remainer – it now seems clear that the credibility of our political system demands that Brexit should be halted until the means by which the result was obtained have been thoroughly investigated, ideally by a public inquiry. If the outcome of such an investigation is that serious breaches of electoral law have taken place, the referendum should be annulled and repeated. Is this not what democracy entails?

The fact that these wizards of vote manipulation operate in our own country should set off alarm bells for the 2019 elections. We cannot have free and fair elections that permit manipulation of emotionally vulnerable voters. Or we can do nothing and allow whatever special interest is willing to buy the election of their preferred candidate or party prevail.

What is your prime minister doing to protect your vote, your democracy?


Anonymous said...

Voters (emotionally vulnerable, or not) were manipulated since voting was invented. Looks that some folks are hyperventilating...

Toby said...

"What is your prime minister doing to protect your vote, your democracy?"

Nothing. I would not be surprised to discover that several of our politicos are doing whatever they can to subvert our democracy. My guess is that Christy Clark is talking to Cambridge Analytica as we discuss this.

There have always been people who tried, often successfully, to manipulate voters. The editorial page of most newspapers was frequently used for that. Of course, that was obvious and all but the most stupid knew what it was. With Facebook it is almost impossible to tell that one is being conned and truly impossible to know by whom.

What computers do best is to make lists, often called logs. Those with access to the logs can use the data in ways that were never intended. Anyone who is the least bit concerned about their privacy should shun Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg is not your friend.

The Mound of Sound said...

Be as dismissive as you like, A..non, but you're wrong.

The Mound of Sound said...

Of course people have always tried to manipulate voters. Always. That said we stopped short of prying into individuals to glean their vulnerabilities and then used those against these individuals to shape their vote. They boast of their prowess at brainwashing. That too is an old practice only it was used against adversaries.

Toby said...

The selection of adversaries has changed.

Lulymay said...

Being an amateur genealogist, I had a need to look into some US Census records and I was shocked, I tell you, because I didn't know I was so unaware of our closest country's policies when it came to something we always thought was fairly private, like how one voted.

There, for all to see, was a column that registered whether the person voted Democrat or Republican. This, compliments from, what they refer to as the bestest, most bestest democracy in world, like THE world!

The Mound of Sound said...

Hi, Lulymay. I was taken aback when I read how Team Trump were demanding the States turn over their voting records. Yeah, so much for the cornerstone of democratic elections, the secret ballot. Imagine you're an ambitious middle management type knowing the boss could easily determine if you voted for his party in recent elections. No pressure there, eh? Or what if you were a young professional out to land that first big job knowing that the headhunters would be screening your political record?

It's grotesque.

The Mound of Sound said...

Now they probably don't record the individual's voting choice in specific elections but, as I understand it, you do have to register your party affiliation to be eligible to vote in primaries. Still that should not be freely divulged to anyone.

Anonymous said...

It's becoming a bizarre world where we are wary of what true and what is false.
Conspiracy theory is the flavor of the day whether true or false ; who can tell?
This is what applies to those that consider themselves knowledgeable of current affairs.
Add to this those that are engrossed with popular culture

and we have a totally dysfunctional society.

Big Unions are gone or at least lifeless, Big Government is still here as is Big Business.
Who controls our world is not in our hands.


Anonymous said...

Just found this..

Much better than my slobbering rant.


John B. said...

Somebody may have already pointed this out here, so my apologies if so.

From the closing paragraph of Fareed Zakaria's lecture to the Democrats in his WP column on 29 Jun 17, also repeated on GPS:

"... I am convinced that people cast their vote mostly based on an emotional bond with a candidate, a sense that they get each other."

It's the emotional bond, stupid.


Meanwhile, I continue to wonder whether the geniuses at Renaissance have been able to discover and explore any exciting new market correlations since Trump has ascended.

The Mound of Sound said...

Thanks for the links. Life in the post-truth world indeed.