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International electoral espionage is bigger than one election, one person and one country. It is also bigger than elections themselves. It is a direct threat to our democracy and to other countries around the globe. It states that these efforts were part of a broader campaign to subvert global democratic structures, and it predicts that they will inform future campaigns worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes.

These tactics are not new ask Ukrainian or Georgian democratic activistsnor is Russia the only perpetrator. International electoral espionage is relatively inexpensive and easily replicated in other countries, by other countries and to some degree by private interests. Plus, false news, leaks and other disinformation are quickly picked up and spread domestically often by national trollsjust as international agents study a country to hone their nefarious messages for easy replication.

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However damaging private actors may be to democratic electoral integrity, state-sponsored electoral espionage is an affront at a higher level. Foreign espionage corroded the US electoral environment and affected the electorate even if it did not ultimately determine the electoral result and even if there was no direct manipulation of voter registries or tabulation which are within the realm of future possibilities.

It was simultaneously interference in the most fundamental of internal affairs of this country and a violation of the right of US citizens to freely choose our head of state. These points explain why every US citizen should condemn such transgressions and demand that our government acts to prevent them here and elsewhere. A trespass unanswered not only is a transgression tolerated, it is an invitation to further trespasses in this country and beyond. Electoral espionage not only was and is an offense against the government of the US — it was and is a transgression against the citizens of this country, where sovereignty resides.

It violates the essence of the right of self-determination, whereby citizens freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. That collective right is realized through genuine elections that guarantee the free expression of the will of the voters. International electoral espionage therefore is also a human rights issue.

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The right to seek, receive and impart information i. The free expression of the will of the electors is impossible without having sufficient accurate information upon which to make an informed vote. Hacking US campaign Annan dirty nsa for right now, feeding that stolen information into the election environment and orchestrating disinformation, false news and other negative, polarizing tactics were a combination of overt and covert actions used to subvert the will of US voters.

That is espionage. However, there is more. Such authoritarian actions also aim to undermine democratic norms and democratic governance globally. These practices threaten electoral integrity internationally and should be confronted as a challenge to international relations.

There are concerns that the upcoming elections in France, Germany and The Netherlands are likely targets for floods of fake news and other political warfare tactics, as Central and Eastern European countries have been. Other regions of the world are not immune to such subversion. The US and other countries should renounce international electoral espionage and build a strong consensus to address it.

This is a matter of right and wrong. It is also a matter defending democracy and with it international peace and security. There are some in this country and elsewhere who say the US cannot complain because in the past it interfered inappropriately in the elections of other countries. Examples offered are typically from 40 or more years ago, but there is a more salient point.

The US and other democratic nations often support efforts of citizens in other countries to participate in the political process, inform themselves to make free electoral choices and engage in pluralist political competition.

For over 30 years now those endeavors have simultaneously helped advance human dignity, peace and US interests. They have been conducted openly and in response to calls for assistance. The United Nations and regional intergovernmental organizations endorse and participate in such efforts.

That is not espionage; it is supporting Annan dirty nsa for right now freedoms of association and expression. Having personally observed more than 50 elections around the world and helped to draft the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation, I can say that the difference between democracy promotion and political warfare campaigns is as clear as the difference between art and pornography.

Addressing international electoral espionage will require enabling citizens to identify overt tactics of disinformation and false news and to obtain genuine information needed to make free political choices. Research will be needed to identify those population segments most likely to be vulnerable to manipulation and gauge the impact of disinformation campaigns to inform how its effects can be countered. Robust public education will be required to inoculate against and counter political warfare campaigns.

In the private sector, social media platforms like Facebook and Google will have to aggressively address identifying disinformation and take steps to block purveyors of it. Plus, specialized capacities will be needed to identify the sources of international electoral espionage and political warfare more broadly. Sensitive electoral processes will have to be safeguarded against hacking and other covert actions — and opening electoral data for public verification will be critical, because that prevents covert manipulation of data and builds public confidence. Political finance information also will need to be made transparent so that dirty money to Trojan Horses can be more easily identified.

Replicating each of these capacities in all countries is not feasible, which highlights the importance of building networks across borders and sharing information, experiences and innovative techniques. Even those actions, however, will not be enough. To defend and advance democratic norms and principles of governance, democracy must deliver improved human conditions — and populations must understand that is happening. Governmental institutions will have to become more effective, and corruption will have to be tackled in earnest around the globe. Political parties will have to grapple with effectively messaging, mobilizing and safeguarding votes garnered in light the increased threats to electoral integrity.

Barriers to citizen participation will have to be removed, and citizens will have to demand ability and progress, at home and abroad. Awareness of international political warfare is increasing, though action to expose and counter it lags far behind the task. Social media platforms are beginning to face the matter, and the World Economic Forum set up a multi-sector group that is relevant.

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The EU is to expand its small taskforceand the European Parliament recently passed a resolution on countering hostile propaganda. The Czech Republic is setting up a unit to counter fake news. Media outlets are beginning to collaborate on their part e. It is too soon to know whether or how the act will be implemented. Implementation will need to be monitored. Addressing international electoral espionage will require identifying points of leverage that will punish and deter it — and mustering the will to use that leverage.

The failure to do so will embolden authoritarians even further. While the considerable shortcomings of democratic governance here and elsewhere must be vigorously addressed, democratic ideals must be defended and promoted. Democracy makes it possible for the world to become more peaceful, prosperous and just — and its defense requires strong efforts by us all. Elections have become almost universal since the end of the Cold War. Yet in many countries where elections are held, freedom and democracy are actually in retreat.

Intended as mechanisms for the peaceful arbitration of political rivalries, they frequently become flashpoints for political violence. At the core of these paradoxes are elections without integrity. All too often, elections serve merely to give autocratic regimes a veneer of legitimacy. But elections without integrity cannot provide the winners with legitimacy, the losers with security and the public with confidence in their leaders and institutions. This makes polities fragile as it encourages disgruntled groups to find other, less constructive, channels for the expression of their discontent.

The Kofi Annan Foundation and Electoral Integrity Initiative advise countries on how to strengthen the integrity and legitimacy of their electoral processes and avoid election-related violence. Looking beyond technical requirements, they focus on creating conditions for legitimate elections, making it possible to govern peaceably in a climate of trust.

Inaction is not moral strength or justice. It is only an invitation to further transgressions. Share Post:. Snakebite in Africa — Dr Robert Harrison weighs in. Extremely Together: Letting young people lead. Supporting Elections and Annan dirty nsa for right now. Key posts in this category.

Annan dirty nsa for right now

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International electoral espionage is political warfare, violating sovereignty & human rights