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Thread: Cambridge Analytica - the dark money-go-round. (Trump, Brexit, etc.)

  1. #1
    Mr. Tricorder Pete!'s Avatar
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    Exclamation Cambridge Analytica - the dark money-go-round. (Trump, Brexit, etc.)

    Breaking my long lurk to start a thread about this, because it'll help my brain to have a repository for this stuff and get some additional perspectives from a familiar few.

    Cambridge Analytica is a data analysis company that has been assisting campaigns around the world for a few years. It's funded by billionaire father and daughter Robert and Rebekah Mercer, big Trump donors, and Steve Bannon sat on its board. It's been linked to Nigel Farage and Brexit backer Arron Banks, as well as short-lived national security advisor Michael Flynn.

    It is shady as all fuck.

    Their model is deep mining of people's personal data online in order to, in their own words, "change audience behavior". It's suspected to have influenced the UK's EU referendum and the 2016 Presidential election, as well as Kenyan elections in 2013 and 2017, and data surveillance in Trinidad & Tobago in 2013. Its practices are definitely questionable.

    In addition to this, it seems likely that CA is part of a scheme to subvert spending rules in the UK during the EU referendum. This is a long read and a decent primer, but part of it details how a group of Leave campaigning bodies all happened upon an obscure analytics firm, which basically ended up being a shell for CA.

    It was with AggregateIQ that Vote Leave (the official Leave campaign) chose to spend £3.9m, more than half its official £7m campaign budget. As did three other affiliated Leave campaigns: BeLeave, Veterans for Britain and the Democratic Unionist party, spending a further £757,750. “Coordination” between campaigns is prohibited under UK electoral law, unless campaign expenditure is declared, jointly. It wasn’t. Vote Leave says the Electoral Commission “looked into this” and gave it “a clean bill of health”.

    “I went through all the Leave campaign invoices when the Electoral Commission uploaded them to its site in February. And I kept on discovering all these huge amounts going to a company that not only had I never heard of, but that there was practically nothing at all about on the internet. More money was spent with AggregateIQ than with any other company in any other campaign in the entire referendum. All I found, at that time, was a one-page website and that was it. It was an absolute mystery.”

    A source emailed me to say he had found that AggregateIQ’s address and telephone number corresponded to a company listed on Cambridge Analytica’s website as its overseas office: “SCL Canada”. A day later, that online reference vanished.
    The latest is that Cambridge Analytica's CEO reached out to Julian Assange in 2016, offering to help release HRC's "missing 33,000 e-mails." Which puts them in even shadier territory than usual.

    Nix, who heads Cambridge Analytica, told a third party that he reached out to Assange about his firm somehow helping the WikiLeaks editor release Clinton’s missing emails, according to two sources familiar with a congressional investigation into interactions between Trump associates and the Kremlin. (CNN later reported Cambridge backer Rebekah Mercer was one of the email's recipients.) Those sources also relayed that, according to Nix’s email, Assange told the Cambridge Analytica CEO that he didn’t want his help, and preferred to do the work on his own.
    The interchange between Nix—whose company made millions from the Trump campaign—and Assange represents the closest known connection between Trump’s campaign and Wikileaks.
    There's a lot of alarming, fascinating stuff around all this, and I'll probably collate some of journalist Carole Cadwalladr's tweets for this thread, because she's been pursuing it relentlessly. But yeah. Here's some stuff, I'd be interested to know what some of you think?

  2. #2
    it's a long long climb Kari's Avatar
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    I think it's fucking terrifying and insane. I will have more coherent thoughts once I've had coffee and read the links you posted. Also, hi, welcome back! We have gone from shitposting about celebrities to pondering our existential decline!

  3. #3
    Mr. Tricorder Pete!'s Avatar
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    Cool, existential decline is my jam.

  4. #4
    trapped in the worst timeline just owls's Avatar
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    I read about this a few months ago and it really is horrifying to think about. I posted this video a while ago in the dumpsterfire thread of a guy from CA explaining casually how they mindfuck and manipulate people.


  5. #5
    Mr. Tricorder Pete!'s Avatar
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    This is a good piece by Forbes from December 2016 about Jared Kushner's involvement, and eagerness to take credit.

    This wasn't a completely raw startup. Kushner's crew was able to tap into the Republican National Committee's data machine, and it hired targeting partners like Cambridge Analytica to map voter universes and identify which parts of the Trump platform mattered most: trade, immigration or change. Tools like Deep Root drove the scaled-back TV ad spending by identifying shows popular with specific voter blocks in specific regions--say, NCIS for anti-ObamaCare voters or The Walking Dead for people worried about immigration. Kushner built a custom geo-location tool that plotted the location density of about 20 voter types over a live Google Maps interface.

    Soon the data operation dictated every campaign decision: travel, fundraising, advertising, rally locations--even the topics of the speeches.

  6. #6
    it's a long long climb Kari's Avatar
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    Okay back. In short, I think that if you use the internet at all, it is likely you have been targeted, analyzed, and nearly directly approached by these fuckers. I started to notice sources (usually fake bullshit liberal sites) popping up in my news feed that normally I never would have given the time of day to, mostly anti-Hillary. While it's not really a secret that the far left aren't a bunch of Hillary fans, it seemed weird to me that so many sites were actively trying to smear her - not with facts and information, but with bullshit and rumors that could be easily disproved by, y'know, reading. And then I saw a HUGE amount of my feed sharing this bullshit information, people who normally could be relied on for decent info but because these sites confirmed their bias, they bought in. It struck me as odd. Now I am aware that between Cambridge Analytica and Russian bots, this is a case where people's minds have been hijacked. And because being faced with the idea that one has, essentially, been brainwashed is too much for people's pride and also completely disrupts their sense of world order, they seem to have doubled down on their Wrong Information and have their heels firmly stuck in the ground. If that is happening in my circle, I shudder to think of what conservative Facebook/Twitter was looking like during this election cycle.

    Obviously, this shouldn't be legal. But yay capitalism, it is. And this is one of those things where I'm not sure what to do about it. It's very obvious Trump's people decided that monetizing and infiltrating the consciousness of Americans - literally getting into their brain - was a strategy. And it appears to have worked. What's more is that people now feel completely free to refuse plain fact. You tell them the sky is blue, they will say no its purple, you can't prove that its not, Hillary made it purple, etc. I honestly have no fucking idea how you combat mass brainwashing. I really don't.

  7. #7
    Administrator Ryan's Avatar
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    People have been talking about Cambridge Analytica since around November/December 2016 and how it ties in to the Russian meddling, but the MSM is only now starting to pick up on it all. A few of the ex Intelligence community people I follow on Twitter have been screaming about the Mercers. I went down some rabbit hole one night, reading all about them and where their money is going, and it's really sad how blatant it all is. But mention this stuff to your average co-worker or family member and their eyes glaze over as they write you off as some kind of conspiracy theorist.

    This is a big part of how and why Bannon became part of the Trump admin, IMO. Trump needed that kind of data targeting to win the election, and Bannon needed a Trump win.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Jezebelle's Avatar
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    This is the first I'm hearing of this. And they call US "deep state".

    I'll read through those depressing links today and tomorrow. In short, we're doomed, right? We're already too addicted to that which controls us, right? (social media)
    chillin in kyoto grand with my man Skrill

  9. #9
    Mr. Tricorder Pete!'s Avatar
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    Posted by Wired yesterday, describing the nuts and bolts of what CA did for the Trump campaign. The abstract is pretty straight-forward, it's pretty much what anyone would expect from a campaign analysis outfit; the devil's in the details, obviously, with who is paying how much for what, and what exactly is the content of these ever-so-persuasive ads.

    Adding to the intrigue is the fact that shadowy billionaire and Trump supporter Robert Mercer is Cambridge’s main financial backer. Former Trump campaign manager and chief strategist to President Trump, Steve Bannon, also held a position on Cambridge's board. The company itself is an offshoot of the British firm, SCL, which has roots in government and military operations.

    Now, Assange’s confirmation that Cambridge’s CEO wanted to join forces against Clinton has renewed suspicions about the company’s business tactics, suspicions that the Trump team would very much like to avoid in the face of ongoing investigations into Russian meddling in the election.
    Kari, I've got thoughts on what you said about mass-brainwashing, but I need to organize them.

  10. #10
    generally largely right Dan's Avatar
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    The Mercers need to be lynched.

  11. #11
    fire up the quattro SMMY's Avatar
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    Related to this, Frontline is doing a two part doc. on Putin's relationship with the U.S. I knew that Putin regarded the U.S. as meddling in Russia politics, but had no idea how deep his fear and loathing went. The Russian meddling in our 2016 election now makes sense. Also his hatred of Clinton. In a sense their project, much like Al Qaeda and 911, has succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Will anyone trust election outcomes again? How can social media be more responsible in terms of their content, since many now use them as their main source of news. Should they be regulated as other news media is. Should we return to paper ballots again for the time being? I worry about the 2018 election because there are already signs that Russia is ramping up for this one as well.

  12. #12
    worth a million in prizes .chris's Avatar
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    ^
    I just watched part 1 yesterday. It was really fascinating to watch Putin's rise and his paranoia over the rebellion in neighboring countries.
    Last edited by .chris; 10-27-2017 at 09:33 PM.

  13. #13
    fire up the quattro SMMY's Avatar
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    Yes, I also didn't realize how much he was freaked out about the fall of Hussein and Gaddafi and how he thought we were coming for him next.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Puddles's Avatar
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    I've been wanting to watch that Frontline episode but it's not available in Canada, not even through purchase on Amazon or iTunes. It looks interesting though.

  15. #15
    Remember. Steve SFM's Avatar
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    I haven't really followed the the recent CA stuff because I've been so buried in Weinsteinland. (Huge new story on that tonight.) But I do know a thing or two about the Mercers. Mainly, that they are very dangerous motherfuckers that make the Kochs look moderate and apolitical. Thanks for the links, Pete. I'll read the stories soon.
    At my core, I think we're gonna be OK.

    Barack Hussein Obama

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