Cambridge Analytica: the Tea Party’s New Atlantic Bridge
Military psychological research & lobbying money have brought Brexit Boiz & Team Trump’s radical nativists together for years.
Steve Bannon-owned Cambridge Analytica LLC, a US subsidiary of UK defense contractor SCL Group, has been increasingly faulted for its dual role in both Donald Trump and Brexit’s victories. Its elevated & expensive role in the Trump-GOP digital media & marketing team’s self-proclaimed voter suppression rollout was the culmination of several years of preparation by military and anti-government interests on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as nationless finance & technology kingmakers seeking to enhance their own profit power.
Our previous article looked at the undertold history of the nonprofit organization Citizens United regarding highly influential American political media & advertising and its moneyed creators from 1988 to 2011, and we’ll continue right where we left off.
SCL was in a down period at the beginning of our tale, and its Cambridge Analytica did not yet exist. Donald Trump was engaged in early-2011 meetings with his new friends Steve Bannon and Citizens United’s David Bossie (fresh off a huge Supreme Court victory) to plot out a Trump 2012 presidential campaign, but they ultimately decided to once again put his formal aspirations on hold.
Still, the fire rises.
1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis, who was attempting to win back the White House after 8 years of…medium.com
Three years after meeting Steve Bannon in 2004 — at the Beverly Hills movie premiere of Bannon’s directorial debut In the Face of Evil: Reagan’s War in Word and Deed — Andrew Breitbart left The Drudge Report to start his own media outlet, Breitbart News, which he said was intended to be “unapologetically pro-freedom and pro-Israel.” Breitbart rapidly became the darling of the ultraconservatives and elbowed his way into mainstream relevance, becoming a driving force in the 2009–10 rise of the explicitly anti-Obama Tea Party.
With their respective stars on the rise, it’s impossible to know who was more smitten with whom at the Spring 2011 Club For Growth meeting, but Breitbart took enough interest in nascent conservative activist Rebekah Mercer and her father Robert Mercer—a wildly successful robotic hedge fund co-CEO, former IBM Watson AI coder, and increasingly major GOP donor—to later introduce them to his man Bannon. Having been with Breitbart News since its inception, Bannon ended up hitting it off with the Mercers and they immediately joined forces. In June 2011, the Mercers invested $10m in Breitbart, becoming co-owners in the process, but one of their contract stipulations demanded that their brand new friend Bannon be promoted to the board of directors.
Cash was flying every which way during that time period, but perhaps the most important development and deployment of what we’ll call ‘Mercer Money’ in 2012 came in the form of a $5,000,000 investment in a relatively unknown British defense contractor, then called Strategic Communication Laboratories Ltd but now known as SCL Group. The Mercers tossed the pounds across the pond to enable data analytics research, with Rebekah wanting a “results-oriented consultant.”
This investment has been noted elsewhere as a natural fit for Robert Mercer, as his background in algorithms and language processing mesh with what we now know about SCL’s recent use of big data to enhance electioneering communications, but that actually didn’t yet make sense at the time. Back then, the only technology strongly tied to SCL would have been communications hardware (as opposed to database software), but only as one aspect of their rather straightforward advertising-cum-propaganda tactics.
SCL had worked on some elections, in a few war zones, and for the Pentagon over the years, with perhaps their most notable appearance being in 2004 Ukraine at the time of the Orange Revolution (allegedly on behalf of the vested interests of British intelligence, according to one untrustworthy source, as previously noted by TEXTIFIRE). SCL carries a Secret clearance as a ‘List X’ contractor for the British Ministry of Defence and had always portrayed themselves as experts in the field of behavioral dynamics and psychological warfare, but had no known background in the algorithmic data processing with which they are now associated.
So why would an ill-equipped foreign defense contractor like SCL be called upon by the Mercers to do big data research? The answer again appears to lie somewhere in the weeds near Steve Bannon.
WEREN’T THE FIRST TEA PARTIERS ANGRY AT THE BRITS..?
Bannon became interested in United Kingdom politics in the early 2010s, seeing it as fertile ground for ideological manipulation. He began making friends with far right bloggers and politicians, particularly those tied in with Nigel Farage’s United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). A hard right party commonly disparaged as fascist, UKIP sought to restore what it saw as true conservatism. Bannon was greatly invested in the USA Tea Party ‘movement’ at the time, as evidenced by his movie productions and speaking engagements, so he viewed UKIP as a natural comrade in arms.
UKIP had been stagnating as a political force while known as a single platform party, focused almost entirely on immigration crackdown and demand for UK’s exit from the European Union. Co-founder Farage had returned to lead the party for a 2nd time in November 2010 — later in the same week as the first Tea Party Republicans were elected in the US midterms — after failing in his bid to become House of Commons Speaker earlier that year, and began to incorporate a wider variety of populist messaging with a focus on local elections to increase growth.
Soon after Bannon took over Breitbart in the summer of 2012, he brought Farage to the USA for a grand tour of New York and Washington, D.C. During this trip, Bannon introduced Farage to a number of movers & shakers, including the staff of Jeff Sessions, the then-senator from Alabama who is now US Attorney General. This was certainly not the first connection between UK eurosceptics and US nativists, however.
Throughout the previous year, a UK political activist ‘pressure group’ called Atlantic Bridge was garnering a lot of press for all the wrong reasons. Fronted by then-Defence Secretary Liam Fox, after being founded in 1997 by Fox and Reagan BFF/ex-UK-PM Margaret Thatcher, its stated goal was to protect the 80’s holdover concept of the US & UK’s military and cultural ‘special relationship’ from “the European integrationists who would like to pull Britain away from its relationship with the United States.”
Atlantic Bridge fell into the sea in late 2011, after extensive investigations found Fox had been implementing a “shadow foreign policy” by internationally courting a variety of corporate lobbyists and military contractors via the dark money donated to Bridge as a falsely-labeled charity. Fox then resigned his Cabinet position, taking a few others down with him.
One of those affected was yet another powerful hedge fund manager, ex-Goldman Sachs head trader, climate-change denier & funder, and longtime Tory/Conservative donor named Michael Hintze who provided the majority of those donations and lent his private jet to Fox for schmoozy jaunts to meet with D.C. defence contractors. With a strong interest in geopolitical wargames, a habit of supporting Defence Secretaries, and a predilection for hiring senior military officials at his powerful firm Convertible & Quantitative Strategies, it’s small wonder Hintze sought to establish a Western security superhighway before the Bridge collapsed.
Back in 2007, however, Atlantic Bridge was still in its prime, and it gained even more power when a giant among US political activist groups began an official partnership with it. The American Legislative Exchange Council — better known as ALEC — set up a stateside nonprofit called the Atlantic Bridge Project, in order to “foster positive relationships between conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic, so they may further the ideals exemplified by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.”
ALEC’s decades-old modus operandi is to write complete versions of new legislation, which invariably benefits only its powerful corporate members, to be passed off to complicit politicians and introduced in Congress as original products. An official ALEC newsletter from Dec 2007 bragged of the Bridge Project’s new plans to enact “a series of events aimed at conservative leaders from the field of politics, media, business, and academia — exposing them to innovative conservative thinking from the U.S. and Great Britain and helping them forge new transatlantic relationships.”
Catherine Bray is pictured in the newsletter as the Director of International Relations for Atlantic Bridge; she had previously worked for prominent UKIP member & climate change denier Roger Helmer and subsequently worked for Tory Daniel Hannan, “the man who brought you Brexit.” In 2015, Bray married Wells Griffith, who became the battleground states director for Trump’s presidential campaign.
Managing the D.C. operations for the Project was Gordon Cohen Strategies LLC, co-founded by Lee Cohen, Atlantic Bridge’s Washington DC Director, and J.D. Gordon, a retired Pentagon spokesman and well-traveled defense lobbyist. Lee Cohen is now an ardent Trump supporter, publishing an IJR essay in November 2016 predicting Trump and new UK PM Theresa May will be the new Reagan & Thatcher.
Within a few days of Liam Fox’s resignation, J.D. Gordon took a job as communications director for Herman Cain’s 2012 presidential campaign, in which Tea Partier Cain promised to reduce corporate taxes and install the Shell Oil CEO as head of the EPA. Cain began briefly leading Obama in the polls at that time and was the most reported-on GOP candidate in 2011, but quit the race less than 2 months later after sexual misconduct charges arose.
Gordon was slightly controversial when he originally joined up as one of Cain’s foreign policy advisers, as he had recently left a fellowship position at the Washington-based Center for Security Policy, a far-right think tank (or perhaps hate group) devoted to advancing founder and former Reagan official Frank Gaffney’s pet cause of extreme Islamophobia. Cain’s campaign also absorbed the staff of Gordon’s own embryonic thinktank, the Center for Security and Democracy, which included a former Heritage Foundation manager.
J.D. Gordon is most recently known for his work as a key foreign policy adviser to Cain clone Donald Trump, who counted Herman among his early campaign rally speakers/surrogates, and about whom Gordon wrote a pro-Trump foreign policy Breitbart article in April 2016. Gordon was also Jeff Sessions’ deputy, traveled to Budapest six times during the campaign, participated in the infamous July 2016 Republican National Convention meeting — hosted by the Heritage Foundation — involving co-adviser Carter Page and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, and is said to have previously recommended that Page embark on his Congressionally-investigated trip to Moscow. Gordon also claims he personally asked to water down the RNC platform with noncommittal language omitting lethal weapons support for Ukraine, and that Trump directly ordered him to do so.
Atlantic Bridge’s leading light in the US Congress was South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, then frequently cited as one of the farthest-right sitting Senators. An ardent tax reformer, Family member, and anti-immigration crusader, he was on board with the Tea Party from its inception in early 2009, setting the stage with the establishment of his Senate Conservatives Fund PAC in 2008. The Fund attacked Republicans for being too ‘moderate’ and then gave millions to the successful 2010 Senate campaigns of such first-time Tea Party candidates as Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, and Pat Toomey. Also in 2010, DeMint introduced the first bill intended to repeal the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.
Senator DeMint followed up that legislation a few months later with his first published article/op-ed on Breitbart News, dated 6 May 2010. Breitbart repeatedly showered him with glowing coverage, so he went on to publish another article there on 27 Jul 2012, in which he endorsed Tea Party candidate Ted Cruz for Senate and lauded the aforementioned Club for Growth’s monetary “air and ground support” for Cruz’s campaign.
A large chunk of the money for that tactical assault was provided by Robert Mercer, with other miniature morsels of Mercer Money going to DeMint, Toomey, and Rubio at various times. Unsurprisingly, Club for Growth rated Paul, Johnson, Lee and DeMint as 4 of the only 5 Senators to vote ‘correctly’ 100% of the time, with Lee and Demint tying for the Heritage Foundation’s top honor at 99% approval.
DeMint resigned from the Senate less than two months after the 2012 election in order to become president of Heritage — a thinktank which shares an enormous number of historical, practical, and membership commonalities with ALEC — by which time Atlantic Bridge had been dead [in the UK] for over a year. Even so, it’s easy to imagine DeMint, Liam Fox, J.D. Gordon, and/or any of the other Atlantic Bridge ambassadors still managed to make their way to any one of the legendary parties thrown at the “Breitbart Embassy”, a four-story townhouse rented (?) by Breitbart near the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.
As for the gregarious and cigar-chomping heavy drinker Nigel Farage, we don’t have to imagine anything. He was treated as the guest of honor at a Breitbart Embassy dinner & cocktail party in September 2014, where the stars of the new right rubbed shoulders with journalists from across the media spectrum. Other guests that night included LifeZette’s Laura Ingraham, a reporter from Rolling Stone, Jeff Sessions, and Sessions’ then-top aide Stephen Miller.
Steve Bannon had been partially living at the Embassy since at least 2011, when Breitbart staff and writers were first encouraged to work & sleep there, though it was initially expected to serve as a means to rub shoulders with the movers & shakers of the DC political elite. “Andrew [Breitbart] said that if you didn’t have a place within spitting distance of the Capitol, no one would come,” Bannon told The Washington Post at an Embassy blowout schmooze-and-boozefest CPAC rager in 2014. “He loved to throw big parties.”
But regardless of the precise circumstances by which Bannon became enmeshed with the UK’s conservative elite prior to mid-2012, engrossing as the detailed story may be, his ongoing friendship with UKIP & Brexit’s Farage tells us all we need to know. As such, we should be unsurprised to learn it was allegedly Steve Bannon who urged the Mercers in summer 2012 to invest US$5m in big data research funds with the British defence contractor SCL Group.
PSYOPS GOES MAINSTREAM
In October 2012, a few months after the Bannon-driven deposit of Mercer Money toward new election management technology, a Strategic Communication Laboratories subsidiary named SCL Elections was registered in the UK. All company shares were initially owned by Alexander Nix, Director of SCL Group and public face of the conglomerate, but its first and current Managing Director is Mark Turnbull.
Turnbull had previously worked for the tremendously influential public relations and strategic communications firm Bell Pottinger — co-founded by infamous PR guru Lord Timothy Bell — spending 18 years at the company. In 2004, he founded and led Bell Pottinger Public Advocacy (BPPA, fka Bell Pottinger Special Projects), which claimed to specialize in “understanding and influencing the human and social dynamics of conflict and cooperation…[using]…people’s identities, interests, networks and narratives that are the focal point for communications designed to deliver measurable change in support of political, social, developmental or military objectives.”
Bell Pottinger (B-PC) landed a 2004 Pentagon contract in Iraq devoted to manufacturing pro-Coalition media — including in-house advertising, video production, and paid placement of newspaper/TV/radio news items — in support of post-Saddam Hussein nation building and anti-Daesh messaging. The creative team of BPPA collaborated on the media directly with US military intelligence, with the crews working side-by-side in the most highly secured locations, such as Baghdad’s Camp Victory.
Though initially intended to be a 4-month contract, the project ultimately extended all the way to 2011. Upwards of 40 ‘stratcom’ companies — including BKSH & Associates, formed from the ashes of Black, Manafort, and Stone — followed B-PC’s lead, creating a veritable vortex of political propaganda and psychological operations experimentation. B-PC came out as the big winner of the free-for-all, as by the end of its time in Iraq, B-PC’s contract payouts had ballooned from US$5.8m to a total of $540m–660m.
Also present in Iraq during those years was a specialized British Armed Forces tri-service unit, the 15 (UK) Psychological Operations Group, formerly known as Shadow. Its stated objective was to “influence attitudes in order to affect behaviour” with “planned, culturally sensitive, truthful and attributable activities directed and disseminated by various means to an approved target audience.” It drew from the Army, Navy & Air Force, seeking out Reserves who were also “TV & film producers, camera operators, radio presenters, [and] graphic designers/illustrators for print/web.”
Two important members of 15 (UK) PSYOPS (aka 15 POG) were Stephen Jolly of the Ministry of Defence and Royal Navy Commander Steve Tatham, both graduates of Cambridge University-affiliated schools. A linguistic scientist, certified psyops planner, and instructor for 15 POG, Jolly went on to serve as the UK’s Director of Defence Communications, starting in Dec 2012. He retired in 2015 as the most senior serving psyops officer in British Defence, moving on to become Fellow of the UK Defence Academy and Fellow in Communications at the Cambridge University Judge Business School.
As Defence Comms Director, Jolly embraced the new ‘Army 2020’ holistic reform initiative, pushing a “full spectrum” approach which combines the fields of public relations, media operations, information operations (IO) and psyops. This led to the creation of the 77th Brigade of the British Army, which absorbed several specialized units, including the 15 (UK) PSYOPS Group. Its establishment received a fair amount of media coverage, due to the claim it would partially focus on utilizing social media to wage the ‘dark arts’ of asymmetric warfare, but its №1 Column focuses on “the behavioural analysis of actors, audiences and adversaries.”
Commander Steve Tatham served with 15 POG in Iraq, but commanded its Afghanistan regiment for years. He also plied his trade as Director of Communication Research at the UK Defence Academy, and was the UK’s longest continuously serving Influence Activities officer. Upon retirement he became Director of Operations at IOTA-Global, a UK company owned by Nigel Oakes, the founder of SCL and its research arm, Behavioural Dynamics Institute (BDi).
Grown just outside battlefields across the globe, Tatham designed a course titled “Target Audience Analysis” for the National Defence Academy of Latvia on behalf of the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, teaching several agencies how to counter Russia’s propaganda in Eastern Europe. Originally a 9-week intensive training, delivered as a collaboration between IOTA-Global, BDi, and SCL Defence (formerly an SCL Group subsidiary), Tatham has repeated the course in Moldova and Ukraine. As IOTA-Global recently disbanded its corporate status, Tatham is currently Director of Defence Operations at SCL Group.
Another pair of 15 (UK) PSYOPS veterans and avowed fans of the new 77th Brigade, Sven Hughes and David Stanhope, are leaders at the behavioral marketing firm Visualisation, which bills itself as “the world’s first consultancy dedicated to changing behaviour by precision-engineering language.” Hughes, who also assisted NATO forces in Afghanistan, says his staff members are “largely ex-military personnel and political campaigners.” Stanhope spent eight years with 15 POG, serving under Cdr Tatham for a spell in Afghanistan, and also worked in 2011 for SCL (briefly joining fellow ex-IO/psyops agents Ian Tunnicliffe & Jerry Knight, both former SCL directors). The POG vets claim Verbalisation’s RAID aka Rapid Audience Insight Diagnostics® software tool can help military and marketing clients — including several News Corp media outlets — “decode” personalities based on 24 set parameters, including language, cognition, susceptibility, and culture.
Despite years of effort and billions of international dollars, the Iraq and Afghanistan information operations (IO) projects were deemed by experts to have been a failure. Cdr Tatham even co-wrote a UK Defence Academy report lamenting “the corporate failure to adapt IO and PSYOPS’s operating practices to the 21st century, instead relying upon ages-old methods of communication,” as well as an “over reliance of IO and PSYOPS on commercial advertising and marketing strategies.”
“Commercial marketing and advertising methods are designed to increase the hit rate of customers in a target group. A conversion of 10% would be considered outstanding and highly profitable. But in military operations achieving a 10% change in the behaviour of an insurgent group or a hostile community would be operationally insignificant,” Tatham wrote in the NATO StratCom Target Audience Analysis (TAA) course summary. He instead advocates for TAA and the use of scientific research into behavior predictors, such as language, likes, and motivation, as opposed to focusing the majority of resources on creative media production glitz.
To this end, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), a trading fund of the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) which is the equivalent of USA’s DARPA, conducted a study between May-Sept 2013 called ‘Project DUCO’ which contracted SCL and BDi to test out their TAA capabilities. The evaluation was undertaken as part of the Human and Social Influence project, funded from the MoD Science and Technology research budget. In-person questionnaires were verbally completed by young unmarried males (“YUMs”) in target regions, with SCL-trained interviewers canvassing neighborhoods like standard solicitors, simply because no other means existed to gain insight into individual personalities and groupthink.
It seems that the psyops startup incubators of Iraq and Afghanistan failed to overwhelmingly win the hearts and minds of the target audiences in those locales, but succeeded in honing the methodological requirements of the IO traffickers. As Tatham suggested, giant billboards and radio jingles aimed at a large population based on small sample size indicators weren’t effective enough, so a product like Verbalisation — listed under “Counter Terrorism and Security” on R-Cloud, Dstl’s marketplace for partnered contractors — was born, ready and able to pinpoint individuals & target groups for analysis and alteration.
Of course, all of this sounds exactly like the TAA work SCL was contracted in early 2017 to perform for the US State Department’s new Global Engagement Center, a reboot of the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC) and its famously failed 2010s online propaganda & surveillance program.
Robert Mercer-funded Cambridge Analytica’s foreign parent company signs deal to do propaganda work for State’s Global…medium.com
SCL and State’s CSCC were not strangers prior to 2017, though, as Nigel Oakes had spoken at a January 2012 CSCC seminar on “The Most Common Mistakes in Designing Influence Campaigns,” at which Oakes was pitching the State Dept on knowledge acquired from Iraq and Afghan 15 POG work. The seminar’s BDi-provided video description explains, “Nigel highlighted four very common errors made in designing influence campaigns, especially if one is trying to induce significant behavior change.”
Bits and pieces of the 2000s Middle Eastern psyops extravaganza had trickled out back then, but the full extent of B-PC/BPPA’s Iraq work under Mark Turnbull was only revealed in a October 2016 report entitled “Fake News and False Flags” by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a UK nonprofit devoted to extended and unbiased investigations.
Five years previous, the Bureau conducted another well-publicized investigation into Turnbull’s BPPA, in which B-PC executives were caught on tape boasting about their unique “dark arts” ability to initiate political change via their deep infiltration into the highest levels of UK government. The execs also boasted of their skills in hiding bad PR by manipulating Google results with juiced-up ‘Google bombing’, and how they had a team devoted to Wikipedia reputation management, which is common now but was rather cutting-edge at the time.
NOT EXACTLY MAGGIE & GORBY
Also back in 2004 — the same year BPPA formed and their work began in Iraq — B-PC took on a contract to spin their web in Ukraine for Yulia Tymoshenko in the time of the Orange Revolution, which would have seen them working against Paul Manafort’s clients in the Party of Regions, as well as in the vicinity of fellow contractor SCL. A previous article published by TEXTIFIRE explored SCL’s role in those events and the related history, which involves billionaires, rigged elections, the most glamorous Russian spy in history, and a mythical war room SCL billed as “The Most Powerful Weapon In The World.”
SCL once had their defense contractors’ conference booth made by a design team from Goldeneye 007. Here’s a pitch for…medium.com
Bell’s involvement in Ukraine did not end in 2004, for even though they had been employed by future Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, it was her frequent antagonist and Party of Regions bigwig Dmytro Firtash who retained the long-term services of B-PC. Firtash is an oil & natural resources magnate who also owns Ukraine’s largest TV station, but is now an internationally wanted criminal suspect trailing a long history of personal relationships with Vladimir Putin and Russian mobster Semion Mogilevich. Just as with the American PR firm Black, Manafort, Stone, and Atwater, whose client list is littered with objectively unsavory characters, Bell Pottinger has long made itself available to the highest bidder.
Bell advised the Firtash Foundation while Anthony Fisher, senior consultant with Bell Pottinger, served as director of the Foundation. Fisher also co-founded the Firtash front Scythian Limited, which came under fire for funneling foreign funds to Tory politicians in a scandal which prevented a National Security Adviser nominee from being confirmed, and is a board member of the Firtash-supported group British Ukrainian Society (BUS). Chairman of BUS is Lord Risby, an economics graduate of Cambridge University, former vice-chairman of the Conservative Party, and current member of the House of Lords.
Firtash’s direct ties to several well-placed UK Conservatives is a curiosity. Despite his heavy baggage, Firtash has stayed active in politics via his BUS, and he donated a truck full of cash to help establish Cambridge University’s Ukrainian Studies school. Perhaps his open checkbook and loose lips have allowed him to avoid extradition to the USA, instead roaming free in Vienna while out on US$125,000,000 bail from long-unprosecuted charges. Without speculating too much about his actual place in this tale, Firtash’s story in particular is reminiscent of the days of Reagan-Thatcher-Gorbachev era Cold War double agents.
What’s old is apparently new again, however, as the Parliamentary members of the short-lived group Conservative Friends of Russia would no doubt decline to attest. Conservative Friends rapidly fizzled after public outcry but quickly relaunched as the Westminster Russia Forum, yet those ex-Friends could be expected to assure us that their original so-called “Tories for Putin” group was strictly on the up and up.
As Friends co-founder Richard Royal explained at the time in his 2012 Guardian op-ed, the Tories had turned their backs on the more liberal Labour leadership but found their increasingly hardlining nativist gaze met in Eurasia. “We must remember, however, that being a Friend of Russia is not the same as being a Friend of the Russian government,” said Royal. “By that reckoning, our Conservative members were not friends of Britain between 1997 and 2010[.]”
Retro ’80s stylings abound, in fact, as Conservative bedfellow Lord Bell was nominated for his knighthood by Margaret Thatcher, for whom he served as personal media adviser throughout her time as UK Prime Minister, with their close friendship illustrated by Bell’s official announcement of her 2013 death.
The Iron Lady left behind quite the well-connected coterie, with her Atlantic Bridge co-founder Liam Fox overseeing the aforementioned psyops work while Shadow Defence Secretary & Defence Secretary from 2005–2011, his megadonor patron Michael Hintze a client of Lord Bell’s during the time of Atlantic Bridge, and old friend Sir Geoffrey Pattie — another former vice-chair of the Conservative party who served as Thatcher’s Minister of State for Industry & Information Technology and Undersecretary for Defence Procurement — spending a few years as a Director of SCL.
Though Sir Pattie had switched from Director to President of SCL Group four years prior, SCL Elections’ official registration in the month preceding President Obama’s reelection — with Mercer Money in its coffers and Lord Bell’s ‘Special Projects’ ex-director Mark Turnbull at its helm — set off a chain reaction of SCL corporate maneuverings that extended across the following four years.
A flurry of declarations of new subsidiaries and subsequent name changes of those companies culminated on 7 September 2016, when SCL Director Alexander Nix transferred all 100 original shares of SCL Elections from himself to the company SCL Analytics. Formed a year prior, SCL Analytics is 70% owned by Nix and 30% owned by its parent company SCL Group.
As far as is known at presstime, SCL Group and Nix currently co-own all shares of SCL Analytics, which owns all shares of SCL Elections, which owns all shares of [what was originally named SCL USA Ltd but as of 13 April 2016 is officially known as] Cambridge Analytica (UK) Limited.
However, that CA-UK is technically separate from the American subsidiary Cambridge Analytica LLC, which was registered in Delaware on 31 Dec 2013, over two years sooner. To confuse us even further, 22 Apr 2014 saw the DE registration of SCL USA Inc., which is also wholly owned by SCL Elections but is separate from the 12 Feb 2003 establishment of SCL USA LLC.
If you followed all that, give yourself a pat on the back and a candy.
Cambridge Analytica LLC — the US company which will henceforth be referred to as CA or CambAnal — has garnered a large amount of public interest over the last year and a half for its use of big data in elections, just like Rebekah Mercer wanted. After recommending that the Mercers fund the startup SCL Elections in 2012, which was the major catalyst for the creation of CambAnal, Steve Bannon continued his push into UK affairs.
He flew to England in late 2013 to meet with Raheem Kassam, a young far-right blogger and frequent thinktank employee. Bannon invited him to guide the hand of the upcoming Breitbart London bureau expansion site, which Kassam agreed to do.
Breitbart London successfully launched in February 2014 and began working surprising magic on the fortunes of UKIP, which would gain its biggest head of steam yet as it made huge gains in Parliamentary seats and pushed for an exit of Britain from the EU. This seems to be partially due to Kassam’s positioning as Bannon’s UK avatar. Kassam not only tirelessly supported the cause on Breitbart, but switched his voting allegiance from Conservative to UKIP at the time Bannon visited in 2013, and then suddenly rose to become UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s chief of staff in 2014.
A landmark moment for CambAnal arrived around that same time in the USA, as it was rewarded for all of its convoluted preparation when it received its first publicly recorded paycheck on June 10th, 2014.
It has also recently been revealed that June was CA’s first claimed month with its heavyweight Vice President/Secretary, who is primarily known as the former stock trader, Pentagon employee, executive chairman of the most influential online news outlet of the past few years, and Tea Party & Brexit supporter extraordinaire who initially helped kickstart SCL as it rolled down its current path. All of this describes just one person: Mr Stephen K. Bannon.
CATCHING UP TO THE PRESENT TENSION
Steve Bannon — the current White House Chief Strategist who still attends National Security Council meetings — has owned at least a hefty chunk of Cambridge Analytica, the Facebook-powered, international military psyops-based, Mercer-funded, Microsoft-enabled, finance-loopholed, Amazon-trained, far-right-affiliated, foreign-born, algorithmic-advertising-driven media machine which participated in both the victorious Brexit and Donald Trump campaigns.
In fact, Bannon is the only publicly documented member/owner of Cambridge Analytica LLC to date. Every SCL subsidiary in the UK has reported their shareholders on a regular basis for public dissemination, as is the lawful standard, but similar information is generally not available in the US. As a result of Bannon’s required White House financial disclosures, however, we learned he owned between $1m-$5m in CambAnal, though in defiance of legality he had not sold it as of at least late April 2017.
When Bannon’s CambAnal joined the Leave, Trump & GOP campaigns’ data teams in employing high-speed AI advertising and algorithmic purchasing strategies while partnering with Facebook & Google’s ad deployment platforms during the 2016 elections, it was a very big deal. Here we had highly motivated, massively funded, ideologically driven, career specialist military, psychology, and technology minds from both sides of the Atlantic working closely together to achieve specific outcomes at any cost.
For example, Liam Fox is the first-ever UK Secretary of State for International Trade, despite all of his outrageous behavior just a few short years ago. Apparently someone who profits off of private deals with international military contractors, all while taking a government paycheck to represent the public’s best interests, is exactly who should be in charge of Trade as Britain prepares to exit the European Union. Brexit’s success paved the way for Fox to triumphantly reclaim his lost power, which makes his role clear.
Brexit kingpin and former financial trader Nigel Farage was invited to speak at Heritage Foundation in 2015, along with Roger Helmer & other UKIP “Patriotic Voices from Europe”, delivering a barrage of Obama attacks to the delight of the crowd. In fact, Farage’s Leave campaigns were entirely unafraid of identifying their friends across the pond, as evidenced by the namecheck in Go Movement Ltd’s (GML) application for Leave designation: “GML will further coordinate with the Heritage Foundation and other think tanks that support an EU referendum, which will provide a strong ‘outside’ voice within the echo chamber.” Predictably, the director of Heritage’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom is elated about Brexit.
Heritage Foundation was credited with formulating the exact blueprint for Trump’s first 100 days, which mostly worked perfectly (if we can agree its true intent was to deconstruct the administrative state). Even its slight failure might explain why President Jim DeMint was recently ousted, after which time Steve Bannon was floated as a replacement candidate. Things are now looking like they might go very bad in the Trump administration, but the suggestion that a White House Chief Strategist would leave that post for a thinktank should clarify the extent of Heritage’s power and influence. Rebekah Mercer’s placement as a strong Heritage board member, along with her donations of millions of Mercer Money, is likely stoking the coals under a Bannon-Heritage matchup.
Club for Growth, which has received at least $2,000,000 of Mercer Money since 2011, is welcoming the new administration with open arms. Vice President Mike Pence gave a speech at the Spring 2017 Club event on 19 March, in which he mentioned Tea Partiers Pat Toomey & Mike Lee by name and regaled the crowd with stories of the Club’s strong support for Pence since way back in 2000.
Atlantic Bridge’s former partner ALEC has also filled the halls of the US government and especially the White House, with supporters, donation recipients, and members running the show at the highest possible level. Those names include CIA chief Mike Pompeo, EPA head Scott Pruitt, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, United Nations representative Nikki Haley, and — wait for it — VP Mike Pence.
Robert Mercer’s hedge fund Renaissance Technologies is a legend in the trading industry, partially because they have consistently been pioneers of automated financial prediction. In 2017, human quants across the market spectrum are being increasingly laid off and replaced by AI & algorithms. Machine learning is so prevalent in finance, with so much more predictive power than humans, that high-speed algorithms are the new normal on Wall Street. However, Mercer is poised to dominate the industry with RenTec’s new HFT-killing patent, which will essentially elbow out all but the largest black box houses, leaving him King of FinTech.
These are the people that profited from techniques and software honed by the world’s largest militaries and tech corporations, merging media production intended to craft weapons out of art with… well, actually that perfectly describes both psyops and advertising, but merging those with total information awareness and special access to the control panels of the ubiquitous technologies used by billions of people. Theirs is the money that flowed freely in the wake of the Citizens United ruling, and that money has steered the conversations that buoyed their ascendancy.
A foreign defense contractor, specializing in military-grade behavioral modification techniques enhanced by artificial intelligence, embedded directly inside domestic political campaigns at the highest level. What will they think of next?
The preceding is an edited excerpt from TEXTIFIRE’s behemoth report: