SCL Group’s Eurasian Vacation
SCL once had their defense contractors’ conference booth designed by a team who worked on Goldeneye 007. Here’s a pitch for their own Bond tale.
Once again we find new Trump employee SCL Group surrounded by trouble, this time in the UK and Ukraine, as we glimpse events leading up to their previously established roles in all the recent global political intrigue.
Our previous article detailed how SCL, a data analyzing, election rigging, behavior modifying defense contractor, has ascended to a key role in the new wave of fascist propaganda via support from Steve Bannon, Robert Mercer, Rex Tillerson, and Michael Flynn. While researching it we came across some connective tissues that are primarily circumstantial but incredibly interesting nonetheless, so we’re just going to throw this out there as some sort of gossip column for international spies.
SCL’s newest contract is with the US Department of State’s Global Engagement Center, so let’s globetrot back across the pond to engage with their home base of the UK for the start of this story.
Vincent Tchenguiz, who was the single largest SCL shareholder for a decade, owning 23% from 2005–2015, recently placed a cash bet on far-right Front National’s Marine Le Pen to win the upcoming French presidential election. This is the second large bet on a presidency for Tchenguiz in the last few months, as he scored an £850,000 profit when Trump was elected with help from SCL’s Cambridge Analytica.
There is no evidence of CA/SCL directly working for the Russia-funded Le Pen campaign — though her politically active niece did publicly accept some sort of invitation from Trump chief strategist / former CA VP Steve Bannon, possibly in relation to Breitbart’s delayed France bureau — but Tchenguiz’s habit of presidential betting is curious.
Through Wheddon Ltd., a holding company owned by his family holding company, Investec Trust, Tchenguiz was part-owner of Strategic Communication Laboratories Ltd. until 10 June 2015; on that same day it was formally rechristened as SCL Group Ltd. (Please note the above evidentiary hyperlinks lead to a site which gathered its information from the Panama Papers leak of offshore companies.)
Presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s campaign receipts show its first payment to Cambridge Analytica took place on 2 July 2015, a mere 3 weeks after those changes, which opens inquiry into whether Cruz’s team felt Tchenguiz might have been an embarrassing owner to have on the books of CA’s parent. However, Julian Wheatland, Chairman of SCL Group, is a long-time employee of Tchenguiz through his Consensus Business Group (which originally owned that 23% of SCL prior to transferring it to Wheddon).
But why might the Iranian expat real estate tycoon playboy Tchenguiz (Persian for “Genghis”, chosen when his father changed the family name) be a political danger?
It could be the drawn-out scandal involving the botched investigation of allegations suggesting Tchenguiz was complicit in the planned collapse of the Icelandic bank Kaupthing during the economic collapse of 2008, which ultimately resulted in Tchenguiz suing the UK’s Serious Fraud Office for £300M and settling for £3.5M, as well as him accusing Kaupthing of framing him in an elaborate conspiracy.
It could be the fact that infamous Russian spy & recruiter Anna Chapman — who, after her foreign agent conspiracy conviction, was released from US custody to Russia in a highly publicized “spy swap” — was linked to Tchenguiz in multiple media reports in 2010. Judging by the timeline, it seems the two met somewhere around the same time Tchenguiz first bought into SCL in the 2nd half of 2005, which also lines up with SCL’s September 2005 relaunch.
Yes, Anna Chapman, who returned to Russia a celebrity, has kept busy rallying and recruiting pro-Russian “rebel” forces in Ukraine, and has most recently been in the news for her Hillary-hating, Trump-worshiping Instagram profile full of long bilingual diatribes against the lying American media. Chapman’s phantom handler, who was convicted in absentia by Russia for treason, also [may have?] died last year amidst a rash of suspicious deaths, though Russia doesn’t believe the hype.
Or, perhaps, it could be the potential relationship between Tchenguiz and Dmytro Firtash, as outlined by journalist Ann Marlowe, which finds them at least tangentially connected via a series of shell companies and a questionable venture in Libya around 2005–6. Now, even if true, it is not at all surprising that two international businessmen with vast resources across dozens of offshore corporations and matryoshka holding companies might end up in business together. On the other hand, this is Dmytro Firtash we’re talking about.
Currently exiled from his homeland Ukraine and wanted for extradition to the US and Spain after a 2014 indictment on multiple charges of international racketeering and money laundering, Firtash is a very important figure to show up in this tale, but not because he loves things named Cambridge, though he did serendipitously donate millions to Cambridge University (which employs Dr. Spectre, co-author of CambAnal’s OCEAN psychometric algorithms).
He was detained and very nearly sent to Spain or the US by Austrian authorities last month, as he had been in Vienna freely living out on ~US$174,000,000 bail since 2014, but for some reason the deals suddenly fell through and he was quietly released from custody once more.
Firtash is a tacitly towering figure in recent Ukrainian history. A natural resources and media magnate, he was 45% co-owner of natural gas giant RosUkrEnergo through another holding company, with Russia-owned oil & gas powerhouse and Vladimir Putin pet project Gazprom owning 50%. RosUkrEnergo was formed in July 2004 to replace Eural Trans Gas, which was suspected of being a Gazprom front, and of which Firtash had retained 90% ownership.
Ukrainian politician Yulia Tymoshenko — who would later become Ukraine’s first female Prime Minister — at the time claimed an admitted associate and alleged silent partner of Firtash’s was the true beneficiary of the deal: Sergei Mogilevich.
Firtash has long been accused of being extremely close with notorious Kyiv-born and Putin-connected organized crime boss Mogilevich. He is known as the “boss of bosses,” a Moscow-affiliated don in Bratva, the Russian mob umbrella and pre-eminent player in money laundering, human and drug trafficking worldwide, which was said to have controlled two-thirds of the Russian economy in the 1990s before they eased into ‘legit’ banking. Mogilevich was also indicted in the US for racketeering, stock market fraud, and money laundering in 2003.
Another of Firtash’s close friends is Victor Yanukovych, the deposed former president of Ukraine. Yanukovych fled to Russia in February 2014 after the massive Euromaidan protests, in which citizens called for greater EU integration, less corruption, and less Russian influence. Yanukovych had suspended the signing of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement the previous fall. Almost immediately upon his abdication, Russia began planning to secretly invade Crimea in eastern Ukraine, which culminated in the Russian takeover of Crimea in March 2014, for which Anna Chapman cheerleaded; the UEUAA was signed a few days later.
Before all that, Yanukovych was Prime Minister of Ukraine when he first ran for president in 2004. His primary opponent was the EU-leaning Victor Yushchenko, also a previous Prime Minister and governor of the National Bank of Ukraine, who was poisoned by dioxin in September 2004 — less than 2 months before the election — in an incident which famously left his bodily appearance permanently altered and scarred. Despite ingesting fatal amounts of poison while at a restaurant, he recovered enough to continue his campaign.
The first vote was on 31 October 2004, which saw both candidates receive just over 39% of votes — but Yushchenko ahead by half a percent — so without the required 50% majority a revote was held on 21 November. The exit polls depicted Yushchenko winning by a large margin, but the official vote count reported Yanukovych as the winner.
This irregularity, along with a slew of other accusations related to a fraudulent Central Elections Commission process and reports of voter intimidation around the country, some attributed to Mogilevich, set off a firestorm. Yushchenko supporters — mostly in the western half of the country, where the capital Kyiv is located, while Yanukovych support was nearly exclusive to the east — immediately called on supporters to protest “the total falsification of the vote.” This set off a millions-strong, 3-month-long protest in the dead of winter which came to be known as the Orange Revolution.
Vladimir Putin attempted to intervene and replace the pro-Kremlin Yanukovych with a new contender for an entirely new election, but that idea was shot down. Constant protests forced the Ukraine Supreme Court to call for a 3rd vote on 26 December, in which Yushchenko won 52% of the vote and was eventually inaugurated on 23 January 2005. (Yushchenko began collaborating with Dmytro Firtash and the Kremlin no later than 2006, but people were happy about his election at the time.)
The Orange Revolution was known for its novel use of the internet in a time before Facebook & Twitter, by which protestors shared information and protomemes via the web. Their technical prowess was key to a new phenomenon and the old guard was ill-prepared for the adversary, which created a clash and eventually necessitated help of outside specialists for both.
So, within a year prior to all the previously described events in 2005 key to SCL Group’s existence — Tchenguiz buying a stake, meeting Anna Chapman, and the relaunch of SCL as a military contractor — Strategic Communication Laboratories Ltd. was called on “in 2004” to work its magic on the Orange Revolution.
SCL claims to have been working on the side of the Orange Revolution, but the deployment of viral mis- & disinformation is known to have been a tool used against the protestors, though they were generally too tech-savvy to be affected.
The psychographics techniques of Cambridge Analytica were of course yet to be developed — as my granpappy used to say, “No Facebook? No Google? No Social Metrics!” — but the propaganda and group behavior theory applicable to this situation had already carried over from BDi (Behavioural Dynamics Institute, SCL’s research arm; see previous article).
In addition, an article from 2005 announcing SCL’s DSEI relaunch via an elaborate mockup of what looks like Dr. Evil’s lair — created by artists who had worked on Goldeneye at Pinewood — quotes their website: “‘[The OpCentre] can override all national radio and TV broadcasts in time of crisis,’ [SCL’s website] says, alluding to work the company has done in an unspecified Asian country.” Ukraine is not quite in Asia, but this could have been useful during mass outdoor protests powered by cell phones. Not to mention, common sense tells you it’s likely that any sort of deployment scenario might be able to use SCL’s OpCentre, aka “The Most Powerful Weapon In The World.”
Of course, if in fact SCL worked on the side of the Orange Revolution, it would have given them valuable experience participating in an upstart, tech-exploitative campaign to allegedly subvert existing government, motivating legions of young people in the grips of nationalistic fervor to whole-heartedly believe in what turned out to be an establishment candidate. Y’know, just in case another Orange Thing might need some help accomplishing that in the future.
Either way, in the space of less than a year, SCL’s timeline looks sorta like:
- SCL worked somewhere in the middle of the famed Orange Revolution, with Russia on one side and Ukraine on the other
- SCL acquired a new 23% major shareholder, Iran expat Tchenguiz, injecting big cash flow
- — Tchenguiz was hanging out with who is now the most infamous modern-day Russian spy, hero, and pro-Crimean-rebel mascot in 2005–6
- — Tchenguiz did a little business in Libya with Orange Revolution antagonist and accused Kremlin/Bratva intermediary Firtash in 2005–6
- SCL relaunched the company as a psyops-focused defense contractor, touting “The Most Powerful Weapon In The World”
Not only was SCL called in for support as the Orange Rev revved up, but so was another Western consultant who goes by the name Paul Manafort. It is currently unknown whether they came into contact with each other at that time.
Known as a slick lobbyist, PR rep, and occasional fixer of evil elections worldwide, Manafort was first brought in as a consultant to the pro-Yanukovych team between the 2nd and 3rd elections in 2004. It’s said he told them that the damage had been done and there was no way to turn the tide back in their favor, but he remained in contact with Yanukovych’s Party of Regions.
Manafort went on to personally advise Yanukovych starting in 2005, taking over his team of aides and inciting many of them to quit in the process. He would continue to manage and groom Yanukovych for the next decade, and succeeded in cleaning him up enough to finally secure him the Ukrainian presidency in 2010.
Soon after the inauguration, Yulia Tymoshenko — former Prime Minister, Firtash-Mogilevich critic, “gas princess,” and face of the Orange Revolution — was investigated and brought to trial for allegedly illicit dealings with Gazprom. Specifically, she was accused of signing an important 10-year pact with Vladimir Putin in 2009, while she was still PM, that resumed gas from Gazprom flowing into Ukraine after it was shut off due to an allegedly unfulfilled contract with Ukraine’s gas company Naftogaz. She was convicted in 2011 and sent to prison for 7 years for taking care of her utility bill.
Humanitarian organizations came down hard on the Ukrainian government for her imprisonment, but she was not released until 2014, partly due to repeated lobbying against her cause by Paul Manafort during her entire sentence.
When she got out, she partnered with others to file a civil lawsuit in New York naming Dmytro Firtash, Sergei Mogilevich, Victor Yanukovych, and Paul Manafort as co-conspirators in a racketeering and money laundering operation. She accused them of skimming money from RosUkrEnergo — and running it through a series of offshore shell companies — which was acting as middleman between Naftogaz and Gazprom between 2004–2009, right up until she signed the new deal with Putin.
Basically, they stole money that should have been paying the utility bill, and then when she took care of it they threw her in jail. Shockingly, high-priced lawyers were able to get the case quickly dismissed and swept under the rug.
Manafort has been involved in extensive documented business dealings with Firtash, and has also recently been accused of ordering the massacre killings of dissidents during the Euromaidan protests which scared away Yanukovych in 2014.
His lobbying of US congresspeople to deter them from intervening in Yulia Tymoshenko’s wrongful imprisonment has also been in the news. It turns out he never registered himself as a foreign agent — nor did his colleagues at The Podesta Group (yes, Tony & John Podesta) — prior to his lobbying efforts, which is kind of illegal, so he’s been wanted for questioning for 2 years.
Oh wait, you were probably already aware it’s illegal, since Michael Flynn did the exact same thing for Turkey — prior to lobbying for SCL to secure a new US State Department propaganda contract, but after taking money from Russia Today and Russia-funded Kaspersky Labs — and it’s probably part of the reason why he resigned as National Security Adviser last month.
Don’t forget that Anna Chapman was convicted and deported for violating the very same law in question with those two, the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), and it’s been suggested RT / Russia Today should be required to register under FARA, as well.
And you already knew it’s come back to bite Paul Manafort, too, because he and Trump were allegedly blackmailed over it, and it’s part of the reason why he resigned as Trump’s presidential campaign manager last August.
Which, as you recall, is part of why Steve Bannon and Donald Trump and Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group are running the Free World’s executive and psyops branches right this very moment.
But all of this hearsay is surely coincidental.
Thanks to all the sourced researchers and uncredited graphics artists!