Plutarchy in the UK: An SCL Conspiracy Theory Roundup

Are wildly unsubstantiated accusations against Cambridge Analytica hindering the quest for truth?

A newfound public interest in the shadowy activities of SCL Group and its subsidiary Cambridge Analytica has led to investigation, supposition, and wild speculation. Can we learn anything from unproven conspiracy theories, or is the truth more complicated than a distillation to Big Bad villains?

Two weeks ago we published two stories about SCL Group, one of which laid out a gossipy but well-substantiated historical timeline detailing how SCL — the new US State Dept hire and UK parent of Robert Mercer-funded/Steve Bannon-owned Donald Trump campaign boogeyman Cambridge Analytica (as detailed in our other article that week) — ended up in the middle of an ‘EU vs. Russia’ political revolution in Ukraine alongside a cast of characters straight out of a James Bond film.

SCL carries a Secret clearance as a ‘List X’ contractor for the British Ministry of Defence, but you can imagine our surprise when we later got a tip alerting us to the existing accusation that SCL had started the revolution while tied to MI6… aka the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service, the nonfiction foreign intel agency which fictionally employs James Bond 007.

Apparently, two weeks prior to our publications, the repeatedly unreliable Wayne Madsen Report put out an ‘intel’ newsletter saying this:

SCL claims that with the “aid of modern research and efficient campaign intervention techniques,” it “succeeded in maintaining the cohesion of the [Orange] coalition.” In 2014, [then-Ukrainian president Victor] Yanukovych, who was elected in 2010, was ousted by another U.S.-backed coalition. It turned out that advising Yanukovych was none other than Trump’s short-lived campaign manager Paul Manafort. Cambridge Analytica and its parent, SCL, which were assisting the Trump campaign, were working at loggerheads with Manafort in Ukraine. It was the ouster of Yanukovych by a pro-American and pro-EU right-wing government in Kiev in 2014 that led to the retrocession of Crimea to Russia, a rebellion by Russian speaking Ukrainians in the eastern Donbass region, Western economic sanctions on Russia, a breakdown in U.S.-Russian relations, and now, charges that Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential election. Yet, it is SCL/Cambridge Analytica, with their ties to MI-6, that first triggered off the Ukrainian crisis with the Orange Revolution of 2004.
The real question that should be asked in Washington is not “What Role did Russia play in the 2016 election?” but “Why was a British firm linked to the Tavistock Institute involved in the 2016 U.S. election and the Ukrainian election that originally precipitated the Ukrainian/Russian crisis?”

While a number of those items are quite true, as we had independently established in our previous article, a few things jump out at us.

Obviously, first is the assertion that SCL was close enough to MI6 to warrant mention of that in the same breath as their presence in 2004 Ukraine; second is the suggestion that SCL “first triggered off” the Orange Revolution itself. Both of these nuggets are potentially worth mining further.

On the other hand, the veracity of those tidbits is called into question by Wayne Madsen’s problematic mention of the Tavistock Institute.

Really, a glaring issue there is Wayne Madsen himself, as he is known to be a conspiracy theorist of the tinfoil kind. He regularly writes for & appears on Alex Jones’ Infowars, which automatically renders worthless every other credit from the legitimate news outlets listed on Madsen’s lengthy pundit CV.

Taking that into account, for him to then bring up Tavistock suggests he is trippin on some goood hi-test chemtrails, because Tavistock is a favorite target of the alt-fact Natural News crowd. ‘Critics’ from Lyndon LaRouche to a hundred other Geocities-style ‘anti-globalism’ conspiracy sites lump Tavistock together with so-called “Illuminati” organizations, such as the Committee of 300, Council on Foreign Relations, Bilderberg, and the Trilateral Commission. Big red flag.


Founded in 1947 as a spinoff from the Tavistock Clinic, the London-based Tavistock Institute has historically focused on [Freudian] psychoanalytic and group behavior research (admittedly not too dissimilar from SCL’s oeuvre), most recently focusing on corporate structure & interpersonal relations, and has worked with many government agencies over the decades.

Its conspiracy-minded critics thusly accuse it of engaging in mass-scale brainwashing and behavior alteration campaigns, natch, all as part of the New World Order agenda of spreading socialism, attacking Christianity, and destroying the traditional family unit. Their alleged primary methodology to achieve these ends is getting children hooked on sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll.

In fact, the most infamous accusation lobbed at Tavistock is that it colluded with Stanford Research Institute to manufacture & popularize The Beatles as part of “The Aquarian Conspiracy.” According to “Dr. John Coleman,” The Beatles were “used by the Illuminati to introduce soft drugs among middle class American youth. They were also a vehicle for the introduction of mind control ‘trigger words’ into everyday jargon.” But what about the worldwide youth, Doc?

The Aquarian Conspiracy is uncoincidentally the title of a popular 1980 book by Marilyn Ferguson, who was probably a big Magical Mystery Tour fan. She said she used “conspiracy” to mean “breathing together”, as defined by her idol, French Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Chardin also came up with the Omega Point, in which he attempted to scientifically predict the end of physical law upon the eschatological return of Christ and God’s reabsorption of the known universe.

Ferguson’s book advocated for the politics of ‘radical centrism’ and espoused ‘new age’ concepts; e.g., the ‘self-actualization’ of the ‘human potential movement’. Self-actualization was of course popularized by the humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow, gaining fame atop his Hierarchy Of Needs.

Constance Cumbey

Marilyn Ferguson went on to speak at the UN-sponsored “Spirit of Peace” conference, alongside Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama. The inclusive company she kept was not enough to save her from religious wrath of True Believers, however, who claimed her book was a key cog in a demonic plot to bring forth the Antichrist. We can safely assume USA Today & New York Times were trolling Constance Cumbey — an ultra-religious critic who launched anti-Aquarian missives via her 1983 book The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow: The New Age Movement and our Coming Age of Barbarism, wherein she coined the term ‘Prison Planet’, which is now the name of Infowars’ popular sister website run by UK fascist Paul Joseph Watson— when they called The Aquarian Conspiracy “the handbook of the New Age,” which was “working its way increasingly into the nation’s cultural, religious, social, economic and political life.”

Come to think of it, that does sound a fair bit like vintage John Lennon.

If we step back from our descent into madness, what can we learn from all this, aside from the clear fact that quibbling religious believers fear the British, are obsessed with the annihilation of humanists & cultural marxism, and no matter how much their chosen adversaries ultimately agree with them, they are never satisfied?

Well… it’s hard to say, really, as it’s difficult to parse Wayne Madsen’s report.

Calculating his addled logic: SCL worked against Russia in Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, except he says SCL was working with MI6 and its Tavistock-influenced Illuminati/satanic ethos, which would tend to suggest Putin was a stand-in for Christ, the Lord and Savior of Alex Jones and Mike Pence.

But SCL’s Cambridge Analytica also worked for Trump, so does that mean Trump has been working with demonic globalists, the sworn enemy of Madsen’s frequent employer Infowars, which has incessantly promoted Trump for over a year?

Madsen has also appeared on RT in the past, so was he in the Kremlin’s pocket in 2014 when he also railed against the “Soros-funded” ”Tavistock” “PSYOP” used by ‘CIA, GCHQ & MI6’ to “overthrow” the Ukraine’s “democratically-elected government of President Viktor Yanukovych,” even though Yanukovych was in reality a corrupt cohort of Vladimir Putin, Dmytro Firtash, Russian mobsters, and Paul Manafort?

And when Madsen says we shouldn’t be asking whether Russia helped Trump, is he attempting to distract us from Russia’s ACTUAL “info wars” that are being investigated by the FBI as core components — alongside Alex Jones himself — of the Trump campaign’s internet toolkit (feat. SCL’s CambAnal) by feeding us some convoluted disinformation intended to throw us off the scent?

Look at us devolving into paranoia. Oops.

Despite the chronic omnipresence of Russia lurking around nearly every link of every chain, however, the overarching zeitgeist portraying Russia as Big Red Soviet USSR has got to stop. Team Putin is all kinds of terrible things but ‘commie pinko’ is not one of them, so we’re not advocating for McCarthyism here. Unlike some people.

Louise Mensch is a popular #TrumpRussia agitator, former UK Conservative MP, and current News Corp employee with over 220,000 Twitter followers, whom she whips into a daily frenzy with taunts, snark, and retweets of even the most speciously unfounded Trump rumors. On April Fools’ Day she ghostwrote a post on an obscure blog — despite having an op-ed published in the prestigious New York Times just two weeks prior, which mentioned none of her blog entry content— claiming Russia owns SCL Group.

To be more specific, she says Russia-based Alfa Bank and Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash are owners of SCL. It’s difficult to say anything for sure here, but there is absolutely zero evidence of that being true. If it turns out to be true, fabulouss! But her only source for this claim was an article from last year which mentioned Alfa in passing and explained a tangential tie between Firtash and Vincent Tchenguiz, an actual former co-owner of SCL.

(Full disclosure: We explored facets of Firtash’s fact-based role in this story at length in our previous article and Mensch has apparently blocked our Twitter account even though we’ve never interacted, but we’re not bitter. Also, the author of the original Tchenguiz piece, Ann Marlowe, just posted potential evidence showing a company owned by Tchenguiz and a subsidiary of Alfa Group have had neighboring office space in the same London building. So the book is by no means closed, but we’re concerned by Mensch & Marlowe’s total lack of interest in the Mercers.)

If it weren’t for her enormous Twitter fanbase, Mensch would be yet another pundit hollering out hearsay at the breakneck pace of the nascent Trump Era. But due to the fact that she gets tens or hundreds of thousands of retweets every day, any incorrect information she or her peers launch is exponentially more dangerous.

When false information is spread, it allows the defendants’ chorus a toehold to deny the charges and dismiss any related accusations based on the pre-existing inaccuracies. This ‘double jeopardy’ makes it much more difficult for the factual fruits of 100% substantiated investigations to be heard and believed. It’s ultimately a hair’s breadth away from the deployment of disinformation aka active measures aka “fake news”.

For critical thinking purposes, the historical difference between ridiculous theories and intriguing theories usually comes down to Religious vs. Financial/Political, but that is not a universal rule and the lines are increasingly blurred. As the scope of this terrifyingly planetary investigation widens, so does the range of falsehoods. Those caveats aside, there have been major investigative breakthroughs coming from a wide variety of sources recently, with more coming out every single day.

A stunningly comprehensive piece by Brexitshambles was recently released, detailing a vast web of connections between SCL Group, Dmytro Firtash, and a number of high-profile businesspeople & politicians from the UK to Ukraine. There are actually too many to mention here — one example is Raymond Asquith aka Lord Oxford, Firtash colleague and former head of MI6’s Moscow bureau — but if you’re looking for concrete leads on Firtash, you couldn’t do much better than to start with their article.

To summarize, however, there are myriad financial and political links between Eurosceptic organizations, mid-to-far right wing UK politicians, and Group DF (Firtash’s international conglomerate). The people responsible for Brexit have been innately enjoined with Firtash and Ukraine for years. Whether this is due to standard international business cooperation, related to Ukraine’s candidacy to join the EU, or something more sinister, we can only yet speculate.

Speaking of Euroscepticism, the Guardian’s Carole Cadwalladr just published a superlative piece in which she relays her sit-down interview with Arron Banks, the primary funder and partial mastermind of the Leave campaigns. The self-labeled ‘Bad Boy of Brexit’ went out of his way to boast of how they executed a planned insurgent attack on the media, circumvented “helpless” election laws, and shared strategies with Trump, Mercer, Breitbart, and Bannon.

Bad Boy chortled about his previously-suspected-Russian-spy wife and said he’s pro-Putin because Putin knows Russia can’t be run as a democracy. And when bragging about using social media-scraped political big data (some of which was ostensibly gathered by Leave contractor Cambridge Analytica) for commercial purposes, he said, “We know everything about everyone. We buy everything. … It’s my data.”

Data has always been key to the success of natural language processing / high-frequency & quant stocktrading ubermensch Robert Mercer, who nearly single-handedly paid for every campaign contract Cambridge Analytica received over this past election cycle. Reverb Press and Hsquared are two blogs which have pointed out Mercer’s heavy investments — via his wildly profitable hedge fund Renaissance Technologies — in VimpelCom, a subsidiary of Alfa Group.

Alfa Group was founded by Mikhail Fridman, a Ukrainian-born 2nd-wealthiest Russian who also holds Israeli citizenship, whom we previously noted as an subsidiary-officemate of former SCL co-owner Vincent Tchenguiz. Fridman and Alfa came under scrutiny last year for strange but mostly debunked claims of communication between an Alfa server and a Trump-contracted email server. In this case, though, it appears Mercer stands to make a boatload of money now that VimpelCom is rebranding from a worldwide telecommunications megacorp into VEON, a “global tech company.”

Wonder if the Global Engagement Center knows about this. (VEON)

We’re not sure what the difference is, but apparently VEON is “a revolutionary mobile internet platform that integrates powerful data analytics and artificial intelligence to finally put the user in control.” That sounds like a PR parody, but they’re also partnering with Mastercard and Vivendi, and “VEON will integrate [’s] AneedA, a device-agnostic virtual assistant with a conversational interface to the internet, apps, streaming music and other services.” Guess this means Mercer will make bank when Alfa serves up a “personal internet revolution” to global audiences, so here’s another version of media & music being corrupted.

Plus, we just learned Johnny Rotten, British co-writer (alongside fatal overdosee Sid Vicious) of the Sex Pistols’ 1976 punk anthem Anarchy in the U.K., supports Brexit and considers Donald Trump “a possible friend” who has been smeared by “the left-wing media.” Public Image Ltd, indeed.

Even more conspiracy-laden sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll. Super.


Finally, in the UK press recently is embattled former US National Security Adviser, probable SCL defense contract lobbyist, accused kidnapping co-conspirator, and now-registered foreign agent Michael Flynn’s past presence at a Cambridge University weekly forum on spycraft. The Cambridge Intelligence Seminar, run by official MI5 historian Prof. Christopher Andrew, hosts the meetups between academics and intelligence professionals.

After the former head of MI6 and others quit the CIS four months ago, it was reported they’d complained about “unacceptable Russian influence” on the group. It has now been brought to the fore that Flynn had some curious interactions with a young female Russian historian during and after his attendance at the CIS, while he was head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014.

Since the historian and Cambridge student, Svetlana Lokhova, had previously sued & settled a sexual harassment lawsuit against her former employer Sberbank — one of a pair of Kremlin-controlled banks now orbiting many stateside storylines, including Trump cheerleading, DC lobbying against its own sanctions, convicted-but-just-released-early Russian spies, recent employment of longtime Trump lawyers, and sketchy meetings between bank execs & Jared Kushner — perhaps Flynn was cultivating her as an asset for the US.

But that’s difficult to accept, as we’re once again talking about Team Trump, Family Trump, Russian banks & spies, British upper crust, and Cambridge University (namesake of Cambridge Analytica, origin point of its notorious psychometric techniques, home of the Dmytro Firtash-funded Cambridge Ukrainian Studies school, and base of the 1940s-50s then-Soviet spies known as the Cambridge Five).

Oh, and also James Bond 007’s MI6.

There is clearly collusion here on several levels, many of which aren’t yet getting any attention. Big names are on the tongues of accusers and big ideas are popping up in this investigative tossed salad. On one hand, we should not be jumping to conclusions without proper evidence, but due to the shocking breadth and importance of this story, maybe we shouldn’t limit ourselves by fear of the tinfoil taboo. Sometimes skepticism is our only followable lead.

With all this in mind, let’s set aside all the worst intentions & insinuations of Wayne Madsen’s aforementioned satanilluminatish mishmash, but perhaps give his self-alleged NSA/SIGINT background one last benefit of the crushing doubt. Let’s try focusing on our heavily re-edited version of his final suggestion:

The real question that should be asked in Washington is: Why was a British intelligence & defence contractor, especially one involved in the 2004 Ukraine election mess and the Brexit Leave referendum, allowed to become embedded in the heart of the 2016 USA election?

That’s actually a great question. Stay tuned for some answers.