Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:21 pm


In 2014, Steve Bannon reportedly asked Cambridge Analytica to test messaging:

a) About Putin and Russian aggression ("expansion") into Eastern Europe
and
b) About how to discourage Democratic voter turnout.

Two years ahead of the election.


Cambridge Analytica's Promotion of Discontent Tied to Bannon

More stories by Billy HouseApril 25, 2018, 4:50 PM CDT
By
Billy House
Whistleblower tells Democrats of former Trump adviser’s role

Partial transcript from Wylie released by House Democrats


Steve Bannon

Photographer: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg
Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie told House Democrats that Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former adviser, was behind much of the company’s early focus on promoting public discontent to influence U.S. elections.

“Cambridge Analytica was set up to be essentially a full-service propaganda machine," Wylie said, according to a partial transcript of Tuesday’s closed-door interview released by House Democrats.

Republicans didn’t participate in the interview of Wylie, conducted by Democrats on the Judiciary and the Oversight and Government Reform committees. Wylie also met on Wednesday with House Intelligence Committee Democrats. Bannon, who served as chief executive officer of Trump’s campaign and later as chief White House strategist, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Wylie set off a firestorm last month with his revelation that Cambridge Analytica, a U.K. political research firm hired by Trump’s presidential campaign, accessed tens of millions of Facebook profiles to harvest data of unsuspecting Americans and use it to influence the election.

Wylie’s comments Tuesday related to a time period after Bannon became involved in Cambridge Analytica in 2014 but before he joined the Trump campaign in 2016. Bannon served as vice president and secretary of Cambridge Analytica from June 2014 through August 2016, according to a government disclosure report he filed.

Bannon said he wanted to use Cambridge Analytica to discourage specific groups of people from voting, including those likely to vote for Democrats, Wylie told lawmakers, according to the partial transcript released on Wednesday.

Bannon also directed the company to test messaging later used by the Trump campaign, Wylie told lawmakers. Bannon pushed for research intended to capitalize on discontent within certain populations by using themes such as "drain the swamp" and immigration, Wylie said.

Bannon said he didn’t care if campaign ads created and promoted through Cambridge Analytica promoted incorrect information because he was trying to win a “culture war,” Wylie told the Democrats.

In something that Wylie said he couldn’t fully explain, he also reported that Bannon directed Cambridge Analytica in 2014 to test images and concepts for an American audience relating to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian expansion in Eastern Europe.

“I can’t explain why it was that they picked Vladimir Putin to talk about in focus groups or to do message testing or to do models on, and why that would be useful to Steve Bannon," he told the Democrats.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... pId=google


Bannon turned Cambridge into 'propaganda machine,' whistleblower says

WASHINGTON — Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie told Democrats on Capitol Hill that former Trump campaign strategist Steve Bannon asked the embattled data firm to study voter suppression strategies and to test messaging on Russia.

In a closed-door meeting Tuesday, Wylie told Democratic Members of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that Bannon specifically tasked Cambridge Analytica with looking at ways to depress Democratic turnout with their messaging.

Cambridge Analytica “was set up to be essentially a full service propaganda machine,” Wylie said. He spoke to Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee in separate closed-door meeting Tuesday.

Bannon acknowledged helping to found Cambridge Analytica and coming up with the company’s name at a Financial Times conference in March. “I helped put the company together and gave it that amazing name,” Bannon told the conference.

But, he said he “didn’t even know about the Facebook mining,” referring to the scandal surrounding data on up to 87 million Facebook users that was improperly sold to Cambridge Analytica to help the company develop messaging for Republican candidates in U.S. elections. The company was later hired by Donald Trump’s campaign.

Bannon did not respond to a request for comment on this story.


Cambridge Analytica employee Christopher Wylie arrives to meet with Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on April 25, 2018.Aaron P. Bernstein / Reuters
Wylie also told lawmakers that Bannon asked Cambridge Analytica employees to test messaging for an American audience about Vladimir Putin and Russian expansion in Eastern Europe.

“It was the only foreign issue, or foreign leader, I should say, being tested at the time I was there,” Wylie said. “I can’t explain why it was that they picked Vladimir Putin to talk about in focus groups or to do message testing or to do models on, and why that would be useful to Steve Bannon.”

Wylie said there was very little U.S.-based staff at Cambridge Analytica. The company, he said, was a “shell” company with most of the work done in London by its parent company, SCL.

Lawmakers asked Wylie about Michael Flynn’s advisory role in the company. Flynn did not disclose his relationship with Cambridge Analytica until he filed his third amended financial disclosure form, which listed work for the SCL Group, but stated that he worked for them only from November 2016 to December 2016.

“As far as I know, it was to open doors and look at potential contracts,” Wylie said of the relationship.

Wylie has publicly stated his suspicions about Cambridge Analytica’s work with Russia but the company has denied ever doing any work with any Russian entity.

A spokesman for Cambridge Analytica and SCL did not respond to requests for comment.

In the Financial Times video Bannon defends the company, saying it only works in U.S. elections and is totally separate from its parent company, SCL, that has been criticized for some of its work in elections around the world.

Bannon and Cambridge Analytica’s financial backers Rebekah and Robert Mercer got legal advice about the importance of having Cambridge Analytica be a U.S. company with Americans in leadership and decision-making roles if working on U.S. elections.

Cambridge Analytica has called Wylie a disgruntled former contractor who left the company in July 2014 and has no knowledge of the inner workings of the company.
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald ... ys-n869126
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed May 02, 2018 2:00 pm

: Cambridge Analytica is shutting down, effective today. :roll:
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby Grizzly » Wed May 02, 2018 2:20 pm

^^^Something, something barn door, horses out etc, etc.
If Barthes can forgive me, “What the public wants is the image of passion Justice, not passion Justice itself.”
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed May 02, 2018 2:22 pm

mission accomplished

In an interview, Cambridge Analytica executives say that they will instead be stealing your data and weaponizing it from another company, to be set up tomorrow.



The power players behind Cambridge Analytica have set up a mysterious new data company

Mar. 21, 2018, 6:05 AM 32,258

Rebekah Mercer
Nick Ayers, chief of staff to Mike Pence, and Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway with Rebekah Mercer (right) at Trump Tower in 2016.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
The power players behind Cambridge Analytica have set up a new company — and the daughters of Donald Trump-supporting billionaire Robert Mercer have just joined as directors.
Rebekah and Jennifer Mercer joined Emerdata on March 16, but it is shrouded in mystery.
Alexander Nix, the suspended CEO of Cambridge Analytica, is also a director, as well as other executives from parent firm SCL Group.
Emerdata also lists Johnson Chun Shun Ko, a Chinese executive from Frontier Services Group, the military firm chaired by prominent Trump supporter Erik Prince.
Cambridge Analytica is under scrutiny for the role it played in the US election after The Observer revealed the firm had illegitimately hoovered up Facebook user data.
Rebekah and Jennifer Mercer, daughters of hedge fund tycoon Robert Mercer, have just joined the board of a mysterious new company set up by executives at scandal-hit political research firm Cambridge Analytica.

According to public filings at Britain's Companies House, Emerdata was incorporated in August 2017 and the Mercers were appointed to its board on March 16 this year.

The Companies House filing.
Business Insider
Cambridge Analytica's now-suspended chief executive, Alexander Nix, is also listed as a director, as is Julian Wheatland, chairman of Cambridge Analytica parent firm SCL Group.

The filings show Wheatland set up Emerdata along with Cambridge Analytica's chief data officer, Alexander Tayler.

Nix's role in Emerdata is unclear given he has been suspended from Cambridge Analytica. A spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

It isn't clear what Emerdata does, though the company is listed under "data processing, hosting, and related activities." It shares an address in Canary Wharf with Cambridge Analytica's parent, SCL Group.

Emerdata is connected to controversial Trump supporter Erik Prince

Another notable company director is Johnson Chun Shun Ko, the deputy chairman of Frontier Services Group.

Frontier is a private security firm which mostly operates in Africa and is currently chaired by US businessman and prominent Trump supporter Erik Prince. Prince is best known for founding private military group Blackwater US and is the brother of US education secretary Betsy DeVos.

Erik Prince.
Susan Walsh/AP
Prince also donated to the Make America Number 1 PAC, a Mercer-funded group that supported Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

Make America Number 1 paid Cambridge Analytica $1.5 million in 2015 and 2016. During undercover filming by Britain's Channel 4 News, CA executives revealed how Make America Number 1 was used to seed online attack ads against Hillary Clinton.

The appointments indicate the strong ties between the Mercer family and Cambridge Analytica.

Robert Mercer is the primary funder for Cambridge Analytica, and was also a major backer of Donald Trump's presidential campaign through the Make America Number 1 PAC.

He's also the major funder behind controversial right-wing news site Breitbart. Breitbart's former executive chairman and former White House advisor, Steve Bannon, once sat on the board of Cambridge Analytica.

Trump's team once appointed Cambridge Analytica to run its digital campaign — something the firm boasted about in secret recordings taken by Channel 4.

According to Politico, the Trump camp is now trying to distance itself from the company following revelations that it misused millions of Facebook users' information, plus incriminating undercover recordings which show the executives boasting of their ability to manipulate elections and even blackmail political opponents.

Nix was suspended from his role late on Tuesday after the recordings aired on Channel 4.
http://www.businessinsider.com/cambridg ... ata-2018-3
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu May 03, 2018 10:01 am

Carole Cadwalladr

Verified account

@carolecadwalla
24h24 hours ago
Stand by for "The Database of Truth"....
@CommonsCMS has just published this flowchart from AIQ data expert @VickerySec who's about to give testimony to MPs on his findings now...


America: you need to watch this testimony from @VickerySec live in UK parliament now. @damiancollins: "Did Cambridge Analytica use psychological insights derived from Facebook data in the Trump campaign?" "Yes."


https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Ind ... c86acb880c


Image


Was this left open on purpose? For other people to find? And therefore to co-ordinate? "I don't know. This would be a smart way to do it. And maintain plausible deniability. Anyone with an internet connection could have found it."

Fascinating testimony from @VickerySec. The idea that insights from the Facebook data wasn't used in Trump campaign just not credible. "I don't know why they would learn it & not use it?"

Here we go. @ianlucasMP: "Were the pro-Brexit campaigns that used AIQ co-ordinating?" @vickerysec: "Yes. No reasonable, rational person could possibly think otherwise.' Polite reminder: CO-ORDINATION BETWEEN CAMPAIGNS IS ILLEGAL.

https://twitter.com/carolecadwalla/stat ... 9035588609


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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu May 03, 2018 2:01 pm

Image


Cambridge Analytica: Will data scandal firm return from dead?

By Leo Kelion Technology desk editor

Cambridge Analytica's Washington office has been left unmanned
Are Cambridge Analytica and its parent SCL Elections as dead as they seem?

The businesses issued a statement on Wednesday, saying they had started bankruptcy proceedings, blaming a "siege of media coverage" related to the Facebook data-harvesting scandal for the decision.

The document added that staff were being laid off as a consequence.

But the role of two other London-registered operations has been questioned.

They are Firecrest Technologies Ltd and its parent, Emerdata Ltd.

Alexander Nix, the ex-chief of Cambridge Analytica, and Julian Wheatland were listed as directors of Emerdata but also as directors of some of the wider SCL Group of companies.

Christopher Wylie - a former Cambridge Analytica worker who divulged details about its alleged efforts to swing elections - is among those who have suggested that the two companies could pick up where Cambridge Analytica left off.

Missing name plateEPA
Cambridge Analytica's nameplate has been removed from its London offices
"Remember: Cambridge Analytica specialises in disinformation!" he tweeted on Wednesday evening.

"We need to make sure their shutdown is not just some rebranding or a way to hide from investigations."

The BBC attempted to contact Firecrest and Emerdata - both list accountancy firm PKF Littlejohn's Canary Wharf office as their registered address.

However, the woman who answered the phone at PKF Littlejohn said that it was "not prepared to make any comment" on the matter.

Cambridge Analytica closure 'will not stop probe'
Cambridge Analytica is shutting down
Facebook data scandal: the story so far
PKF Littlejohn's office is also listed as SCL Group's contact address.

A spokesman for Cambridge Analytica did not respond to a request to clarify if there is a relationship between the companies

Both Channel 4 News and the New York Times have reported that Nigel Oakes, a British director of the SCL Group, has said that Emerdata was set up to acquire and roll together Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group under a new name.

Billionaire family

Emerdata has no website, but its listing on Companies House says it is engaged in "data processing, hosting and related activities".

The firm's records reveal the nine-month-old business became involved in a flurry of activity in the days surrounding the Observer newspaper's expose of the Facebook data harvest, and Channel 4 screening a hidden camera video showing Cambridge Analytica chief Alexander Nix discussing potential ways to discredit politicians.

This activity included the appointment of Rebekah and Jennifer Mercer as directors.

Robert and Rebekah MercerGetty Images
Rebekah Mercer is the second-born of Robert Mercer's three daughters
The two women are daughters of the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, who is reported to have been one of Cambridge Analytica's major investors.

And the contact address given for Rebekah Mercer is the same location as Cambridge Analytica's New York operation.

Neither of the sisters had been directors of Cambridge Analytica or other SCL Group businesses before.

In addition, Mr Nix - who had been one of Emerdata's directors - had his post terminated.

Alexander NixGetty Images
Cambridge Analytica had said that it was carrying out an investigation into its former chief Alexander Nix
He was replaced by Cambridge Analytica's chief data officer and acting chief executive, Dr Alexander Bruce Tayler.

A New-York based investigative journalist has tracked other alleged links between SCL and Emerdata.

Wendy Siegelman told the BBC that she was particularly intrigued by Emerdata's appointment of the Chinese businessman Johnson Chun Shun Ko as one of its directors in January.

Mr Ko had not previously been a director of either Cambridge Analytica or the SCL Group.

"He has a business partnership with Erik Prince, who plays a key role in the Trump-Russia investigation," she said.

"And [President Trump's former chief strategist] Steve Bannon has reportedly been a very close associate of Mr Prince."

Mr Bannon co-founded Cambridge Analytica and recently said he had coined its name.

Steve BannonGetty Images
Steve Bannon was a close associate of the Mercer family before he criticised President Trump
"I wonder if Bannon is still operating in the background even though he's not a director," added Ms Siegelman.

Firecrest describes itself as a "business and domestic software" developer.

It was only created on 7 March, while the Observer newspaper report was still being prepared.

Somewhat bizarrely, Alexander Nix was appointed and then stood down as its director the same day

Dr Tayler has been in charge ever since.

Bankruptcy law

Even if Emerdata and Firecrest are intended to carry out similar work to Cambridge Analytica, UK insolvency law prevents them simply walking away with its data.

"All the assets are now under the control of the administrator, so the directors no longer have any powers to do anything," said Nick Hood, a consultant to the insolvency specialist Opus Restructuring.

"In a high-profile case like this, the administrator would look at the intellectual property of the firm, consider how best to market it and might well talk to the people who used to run Cambridge Analytica to see if they are prepared to pay a reasonable market price for those assets.

"But no insolvency practitioner would simply allow the assets to be taken, as he would be for the high jump."

Mr Hood added that any sale would leave a paper trail stating who the new owner or owners were.

"It's a very transparent process," he said.

The Information Commissioners Office has already made it clear that it intends to keep track of what happens next, as part of its investigation into the use of personal data by political campaigns.

"The ICO will continue its civil and criminal investigations and will seek to pursue individuals and directors, as appropriate and necessary even where companies may no longer be operating," it said in a statement.

"We will also monitor closely any successor companies using our powers to audit and inspect, to ensure the public is safeguarded."

Cambridge Analytica has denied any wrongdoing and claims an "independent investigation", carried out at its request, failed to find evidence to support the allegations made against it.

However, others - including Observer journalist Carole Cadwalladr - remain unconvinced.

Image
http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43989046
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Sat May 05, 2018 2:56 pm

UK regulator orders Cambridge Analytica to release data on US voter

Carole CadwalladrSat 5 May 2018 09.13 EDT
In landmark cross-border decision, Information Commissioner’s Office gives company 30 days to comply with David Carroll’s request

Cambridge Analytica has been ordered to hand over all the data and personal information it has on an American voter, including details of where it got the data and what it did with it, or face a criminal prosecution.

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) served the enforcement notice to the company on Friday in a landmark legal decision that opens the way for up to 240 million other American voters to request their data back from the firm under British data protection laws.

The test case was taken to the ICO by David Carroll, an associate professor at Parsons School of Design in New York. As a US citizen, he had no means of obtaining this information under US law, but in January 2016 he discovered Cambridge Analytica had processed US voter data in the UK and that this gave him rights under British laws. Cambridge Analytica had refused to accept this and told the ICO that Carroll was no more entitled to make a so-called “subject access request” under the UK Data Protection Act “than a member of the Taliban sitting in a cave in the remotest corner of Afghanistan”.

The ICO did not accept this as a valid legal argument and has now told SCL Elections, which acted as the data controller for Cambridge Analytica, that it has 30 days to comply or appeal. Cambridge Analytica and its affiliates announced this week that they had gone into liquidation, but the ICO has made it clear that it cannot avoid its responsibilities under UK law and states that “failure to comply with this enforcement notice is a criminal offence”.

It was always astonishing to us that Cambridge Analytica and SCL took such a combative approach
Carroll said the decision was a landmark moment not just for him but for the millions of other people whose data Cambridge Analytica used in the Trump and other campaigns.

“This should solve a lot of mysteries about what the company did with data and where it got it from,” he said. “I hope that it will help the ongoing investigations in my country and yours, and other places like Canada. There’s a lot of questions that no one has been able to answer until now so hopefully this will be a major breakthrough in our understanding of what it did.”

He said the ICO’s letter was “pretty extraordinary” and “proved what we’ve been saying for a long time: this is not a normal company. To have the audacity to say that American voters are no different than jihadis hiding in a cave is pretty shocking”. He said that it was the fact that it was a British company that had processed US voters’ data in the UK in an act of “digital colonialism” that had originally inspired him to ask the company for his data back.

He went public in an interview with the Observer last year after Cambridge Analytica sent him a “profile” they had created about him but no information about how they created it: “They had given me ‘scores’ for different issues but I had no idea what they’d based this on.”

Carroll is also pursuing his right to his data through the British courts, with his case due to be heard in the high court in the next few months.

Ravi Naik, a human rights lawyer with Irvine Thanvi Natas, the British solicitor who is leading the case, said the decision “totally vindicates David’s long battle to try and reclaim his data”. He added: “The company put him through such a torturous process over what should have been a very simple subject access request. It was always astonishing to us that Cambridge Analytica and SCL took such a combative approach when the law is crystal clear. Data flows across borders, so the law follows.”

The covering letter from the ICO says that if Cambridge Analytica has difficulties complying, it should hand over passwords for the servers seized during its raid on the company’s office – something that raises questions also about what it has managed to retrieve from the servers so far.

Paul-Olivier Dehaye, a data expert who helped Carroll with his request, said that his website, PersonalData.io, had received a flood of inquiries from people who wanted to reclaim their data from Cambridge Analytica and other companies.

“The data commissioner has said that data crimes are real crimes and she is now putting this into action. This would have been unimaginable a year ago. It’s a real landmark. The ICO is showing that they are real consequences to not complying with UK data laws..

“Cambridge Analytica has been able to evade journalists’ questions and mislead both parliament and Congress, but now if they don’t answer these questions, it shows they’re criminally liable. And there’s also the potential that the truth could be even more incriminating.”

The company has claimed to have up to 7,000 data points on 240 million Americans, and if it refuses to comply with Carroll’s request or can be shown to have misused data, it could open itself up to class action from the entire US electorate – a fact that Dehaye suggests may have contributed to its decision this week to fold.

Carroll, who has studied the modern “adtech” industry for his professional work, said that he didn’t expect to find his data had been harvested from Facebook “since I’ve always been pretty paranoid about my privacy settings”, but that he expected to find a whole host of other companies implicated. “I think we’re going to find that this goes way beyond Facebook and that all sorts of things are being inferred about us and then used for political purposes.”

Cambridge Analytica has been approached for comment.
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/201 ... id-carroll
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun May 06, 2018 10:20 pm

stillrobertpaulsen » Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:44 pm wrote:Larisa Alexandrovna is describing this as BCCI 2.0. From her Facebook page:

Update:
Looks like I am right: Wiley just said in his hearing that (via Prof David Carroll's wording:

"Cambridge Analytica is a shell corp majority owned by Robert Mercer created to hide foreign actors and optics to obscure SCL Group, a military contractor with a tainted past. He came forward because military grade psychological operations have no place in democracies" h/t to Prof David Carroll (who is suing CA on behalf of the US public).

_________________

So if we piece this together, we are starting to see something familiar. Let's call it BCCI 2.0.

If you are unfamiliar with BCCI, then none of this will make sense and you have a lot of homework. Try here: http://content.time.com/time/covers/0,1 ... 29,00.html

I have finally had an aha moment on what CA actually is and what it actually does.

Cambridge Analytica seems to sell coups via being a shell company for other front companies which use spies, technology, etc. It acts as the front office for companies like Black Cube (Israeli intelligence) and AIQ and likely the Russian FSB who work as "private contractors"

Now it makes sense why they would outsource a product claimed as their own or deploy 15 operatives to the Cruz campaign for no apparent reason.

And several billionaires are the ones using this to create their ideal world in which they are kings. Mercer being just one. I am sure there are more involved.

Or as I like to call the Russian scandal = a post-national criminal syndicate (PNCS).


BCCI 2.0


Revealed: Trump team hired spy firm for ‘dirty ops’ on Iran
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon May 07, 2018 10:31 am

As noted in the article, last week the UK Companies House website posted an update on Emerdata, noting two pending filings, for “Resolution of removal of pre-emption rights” and “Resolution of allotment of securities” - the resolution filing is now posted /1

The 1st Emerdata resolution authorizes directors to allot shares in the Company up to an aggregate nominal amount of £526,046, the 2nd resolution says directors are generally empowered to allot equity securities - the resolutions passed on 23 Jan 2018 /2

Image

As noted in article "Perhaps these filings will show that the company is dissolving, or perhaps they will be the standard filings of an active company" - they are the latter. There are no filings yet related to dissolving any of the UK SCL/CA companies.
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/201 ... are_btn_tw
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https://twitter.com/WendySiegelman/stat ... 6379095040
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue May 15, 2018 8:16 pm

Associated persons like....

Robert Mercer?
Rebekah Mercer?
Steve Bannon?
Brad Parscale?
Jared Kushner?




Justice Dept, FBI launch probe into Cambridge Analytica: report

The Justice Department and FBI have launched an investigation into the now-closed data company Cambridge Analytica, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Prosecutors have told possible witnesses that there is an open investigation into the company as well as “associated U.S. persons,” according to the Times.

The newspaper noted that the probe is in its early stages, and that investigators are questioning former staffers and banks linked to the firm.

Cambridge Analytica, the Justice Department and the FBI declined to comment to the Times.

Company whistleblower Christopher Wylie confirmed to the Times that he had been questioned by the FBI and Justice Department, adding, “We plan to meet again to provide substantive answers to the investigators.”

Cambridge Analytica, which worked on President Trump's campaign, said earlier this month that it would declare bankruptcy and close after it was revealed it had improperly obtained the data of about 87 million Facebook users.

A U.S. official also told the newspaper that investigators were also questioning Facebook in the probe. Facebook declined to comment for the Times's report.

CEO Alexander Nix was also suspended in March after he was shown on hidden camera footage saying that the firm blackmails political clients' rivals.

Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon and hedge fund billionaire and GOP mega-donor Robert Mercer founded Cambridge Analytica in 2013.

The company reportedly used the Facebook data it obtained to create data models for clients, including the Trump campaign.

Cambridge Analytica has denied any wrongdoing, saying that it has deleted the Facebook data and that it wasn't used for the Trump campaign.
http://thehill.com/policy/technology/38 ... ica-report
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed May 16, 2018 3:14 pm

Alfa Bank Scandal Reveals New Ties to Russia, Cambridge Analytica.

Alfa Entities

Tea Pain’s granddaddy Virgil was a wise man. He used to say, “Tea Pain, coincidences take a heap of plannin’.” He sure was right. And speakin’ of coincidences, Tea Pain just stumbled upon a big one.

Tonight, news broke that Cambridge Analytica is now under investigation by the Dept. of Justice and the FBI. Tea Pain himself has been contacted by four different press outlets in the past few weeks with folks wantin’ to know more about the Alfa Bank scandal and if it ties into the Cambridge Analytica investigation. The answer is a big fat “YES.”

If this sounds strange to you, our you might wanna refresh your memory. Check out Tea Pain’s article that started it all. The Stealth Trump-Russia Data Machine.

During the short life of the Trump Tower mystery server, it only was contacted by 5 different entities. That’s a mighty reclusive life for most web servers, so we know this machine existed to perform a single task: transfer data between Trump Tower, Alfa Bank and Spectrum Health. As matter of fact, 99 percent of the data traffic was between these three entities. Outside of a couple of pings from a Kansas City IP block seller that was contacted during the machine’s set up, only two other pings, or connections, contacted this lonely little treason machine.

Once Tea Pain started trackin’ down these two single pings, the story got mighty interestin’.

The first ping Tea sleuthed out was Obit.RU. The “RU” extension was the first dead giveaway. Yep, that means “Russia.” But wait, as Billy Mays used to say, there’s more! Obit.RU is a Russian telecommunications company whose website boasts of representin’ Concord Catering, the company owned by the notorious Russian troll farmer, Yevgeny Prigozhin. That’s right, ol’ Putin’s Chef himself. He’s the godfather of the Internet Research Agency that Bob Mueller has indicted for messin’ with our 2016 election.

Now hold on to your pantaloons, cause this next part might knock ’em off entirely. “News.com.au” is owned by ol’ Rupert Murdoch’s “News Corp”, who’s American headquarters is located at 1211 Avenue of the America’s in New York City. That’s interestin’ in and of itself, but Tea Pain just discovered that until October 2016, Cambridge Analytica’s New York office was in the very same building.

Bingo, Ringo! That’s right, Cambridge Analytica. Remember the movie Casablanca where Rick mutters to himself, “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine?” That’s precisely what we have here. Of all of the digital gin joints in the world… It’s funny, there’s no stray pings from an Arby’s wifi in Wichita or the Wienie World in the food court at the mall. The only two contacts were from companies now under indictment or under FBI investigation.

Coincidence you say? Folks, there ain’t no such thing.

https://teapainusa.wordpress.com/2018/0 ... analytica/



Cambridge Analytica ran voter suppression campaigns, whistleblower claims

Washington (CNN)The whistleblower whose disclosures about Cambridge Analytica shook the tech world over questions about users' data privacy told Congress on Wednesday that the company engaged in efforts to discourage or suppress voting.

Christopher Wylie, a former Cambridge Analytica employee who blew the whistle on its alleged misuse of Facebook data, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the company offered services to discourage voting from targeted sections of the American population.

"Mr. Bannon sees cultural warfare as the means to create enduring change in American politics. It was for this reason Mr. Bannon engaged SCL (Cambridge Analytica's parent company), a foreign military contractor, to build an arsenal of informational weapons he could deploy on the American population," Wylie claimed, referring to Trump's former top political adviser Steve Bannon.

Wylie did not provide specific evidence of voter suppression campaigns taking place in the US. But when asked by Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, if one of Bannon's "goals was to suppress voting or discourage certain individuals in the US from voting," Wylie replied, "That was my understanding, yes."

After the hearing, Wylie told CNN that although he did not take part in voter suppression activities, he alleged that African-Americans were particular targets of Cambridge Analytica's "voter disengagement tactics," which he said were used to "discourage or demobilize certain types of people from voting," and that campaigns and political action committees requested voter suppression from Cambridge Analytica.

CNN has reached out to Bannon for comment.

Alleged Russian ties


Wylie also outlined during his testimony how he believed it may have been possible for the Facebook data of American voters to have been obtained by entities in Russia.

Wylie highlighted how Cambridge University professor Aleksandr Kogan -- who has told CNN he gathered information on 30 million Americans through his Facebook personality test app in 2014, which he then passed to Cambridge Analytica -- made numerous trips to Russia, in part a result of his work with St. Petersburg University.
Wylie said he believed it was possible that Cambridge Analytica was a target of the Russian security services and that Kogan's computer could have been hacked during his visits there.

Scientist: Didn't know data used to target voters
Scientist: Didn't know data used to target voters 02:23

In response, Kogan told CNN, "Mr. Wylie is confusing fantasy for probable" and said he did not travel to Russia while he was working for Cambridge Analytica in 2014.

"Mr. Wylie has proven once again that he has a very active imagination without actual knowledge to back it up. As with his claims about the usefulness of the data, his claims here also quickly fall apart under any sensible scrutiny," Kogan told CNN.

Former clients


After the hearing, Wylie said he was happy both Republican and Democratic lawmakers had attended.

"Although Cambridge Analytica may have supported particular candidates in US elections, I am not here to point fingers. The firm's political leanings are far less relevant than the broader vulnerabilities this scandal has exposed," his written testimony read.

Among lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee questioning Wylie were Republican Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Ted Cruz of Texas. Both have operated campaigns that were Cambridge Analytica clients.

Cambridge Analytica announced earlier this month that it was shutting down its operations and would announce bankruptcy proceedings.
Controversy around Cambridge Analytica's alleged misuse of Facebook data raised a host of new questions about the social media giant's role in the public discourse and elections, and helped prompt renewed scrutiny in Washington, where last month Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before committees in both houses of Congress.

On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that Cambridge Analytica was under investigation by the Department of Justice and the FBI.
https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/16/politics ... index.html
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri May 18, 2018 8:51 am

Cambridge Analytica files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation after debilitating scandal

Nathan BomeyUpdated 8:13 a.m. ET May 18, 2018
The UK's information watchdog has said it will continue its investigation into Cambridge Analytica's role in the Facebook data scandal - even though the company has announced it is closing down. The firm denies any wrongdoing in accessing the personal details of millions of people, and says media attention has driven away all of its clients. Sonia Legg reports Newslook

Cambridge Analytica, the political intelligence firm whose tactics came under fire and sparked a whirlwind of scrutiny over Facebook data, has submitted papers in the U.S. to begin liquidating.

The company filed late Thursday to enter Chapter 7 bankruptcy in a widely expected decision after the firm had already started similar proceedings in United Kingdom courts.

The move comes less than three weeks after Cambridge Analytica announced it would shut down, citing the debilitating controversy over its handling of some 87 million Facebook users' data and its aggressive political maneuvers, including past ties to the Trump campaign.

The company is also said to be under investigation by U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller as he probes Russian meddling in the presidential election. That will continue.

Cambridge Analytica said earlier this month that it had "unwavering confidence that its employees have acted ethically and lawfully," but "the siege of media coverage has driven away virtually all of the company’s customers and suppliers."

The company had 107 full-time employees and offices in New York, Washington and London as of earlier this month.

In a court filing, Cambridge Analytica listed assets of about $100,000 to $500,000 and debts of about $1 million to $10 million. The company said it had no more than 49 creditors.

More: Cambridge Analytica shutting down in wake of Facebook data crisis

More: Facebook data of 50M users exploited by Trump data firm, say reports; firm suspended

More: Facebook backlash: Failure to disclose political firm's profile access draws scrutiny

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a trustee is typically appointed to oversee a selloff of the debtor's remaining assets. Proceeds are used to pay as many debts as possible.

Afterward, the company ceases to exist, though it's possible that an outsider could attempt to buy intellectual property such as the name or technology.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/20 ... 622303002/
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu May 24, 2018 7:53 am

Black Cube Israeli Intelligence
viewtopic.php?f=33&t=40981


Carole Cadwalladr

Who were the "Israelis" who hacked president of Nigeria's emails & then passed them to Cambridge Analytica to leak? Black Cube? Mossad? Or, new boys on the block, Psy Group? This is a good q for Alexander Nix when he comes to parliament

Mueller is investigating payments to Psy Group via Cyprus. Because: isn't it always.
Image


Wow. Multiple Trump stories just ran smack into each other. Who should turn up in a story about Psy Group, the Israeli intelligence outfit, that met with Don Trump, the Saudis & UAE? Why, it's only Cambridge Analytica...


Cambridge Analytica's ruthless bid to sway the vote in Nigeria

Carole Cadwalladr
Wed 21 Mar 2018 15.00 EDT
Still terrified witnesses paint a shocking picture of how far a western firm will go to win an election

Nigeria’s former president Goodluck Jonathan
A rich supporter of Nigeria’s former president Goodluck Jonathan hired SCL for the 2015 elections. Photograph: Bloomberg/Getty Images
If Britain hadn’t voted to leave the EU, and Trump hadn’t won the US election, it’s unlikely anyone outside Nigeria would have given a second thought to what went on during its presidential election campaign three years ago.

But the 20/20 vision of hindsight casts a very different light on the events of early 2015, and a campaign that now seems to eerily prefigure what happened in the US a year later. Many of the same characters, some of the same tactics.

At the heart of it all – data analytics company, SCL – the parent company of Cambridge Analytica. It had been hired by a rich Nigerian who supported the incumbent, President Goodluck Jonathan.

“It was the kind of campaign that was our bread and butter,” says one ex-employee. “We’re employed by a billionaire who’s panicking at the idea of a change of government and who wants to spend big to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

This was a standard variation on what SCL had done around the world for 30 years – this time, with a twist. Weaponising information to harm an opponent was standard methodology.

It was a methodology honed and developed in the company’s defence and military work – the fifth dimension of warfare, defined by the US military as “information operations”.


Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: 'We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles' – video
What was new, or at least new to those employees who have now spoken out, was bringing these techniques to the company’s election work.

Seven individuals with close knowledge of the Nigeria campaign have described how Cambridge Analytica worked with people they believed were Israeli computer hackers.

The sources – who spoke to the Observer over many months – said the company was looking for “kompromat” on Muhammadu Buhari – at the time, leader of the opposition.

They said the hackers offered Cambridge Analytica access to private information about Buhari.

Their testimony paints an extraordinary picture of how far a western company would contemplate going in an effort to undermine the democratic process in a country that already struggles to provide free and fair elections.

Their claims are disputed by the company, which insists it did not take possession of or use any personal information for any purpose and did not use any “hacked or stolen data”.

The company confirmed, however, that it had been hired to provide “advertising and marketing services in support of the Goodluck Jonathan campaign”.

That work seems to have come about through Brittany Kaiser, a senior director at Cambridge Analytica, who would go on to play a public role at the launch of Nigel Farage’s Leave.eu campaign, and a senior strategist on the Trump campaign.

Regarded by colleagues as a prolific networker, in December 2014 she was introduced to a Nigerian oil billionaire who wanted to fund a covert campaign to support Jonathan.

The billionaire wanted total discretion.

An ex-employee said: “[Kaiser] got a phone call. It was just before Christmas and she flew out to meet them in Washington DC. It was all a bit ridiculous. It was only six to eight weeks before the election and they were looking to spend nearly $2m.”

The election was a big deal. At stake, the future of the most populous country in Africa, and potential access to its lucrative oil reserves. The sitting president was favourite to win, though Buhari was doing unexpectedly well.

Not least because his team had hired AKPD, once the firm of former Barack Obama strategist David Axelrod, which was pushing a slick, social media heavy Obama-esque message of hope.

“There were a lot of scared millionaires worried that Buhari would get in. It was all very last-minute. A team flew out to Abuja and put together a communications campaign. It was a straightforward, normal comms campaign in most respects,” the employee said.

Most but not all respects. The Observer has obtained an astonishing and disturbing video that Cambridge Analytica used in the campaign.

“Coming to Nigeria on February 15th, 2015,” the voiceover says in the manner of a trailer for a Hollywood movie.

“Dark. Scary. And very uncertain. Sharia for all.” And then it poses the question: “What would Nigeria look like if sharia were imposed by Buhari?”

Its answer to that question is certainly dark. And scary. It’s also graphically, brutally, violent. One minute and 19 seconds of archive news footage from Nigeria’s troubled past set to a horror movie soundtrack.

There are scenes of people being macheted to death. Their legs hacked off. Their skulls caved in. A former contractor said: “It was voter suppression of the most crude and basic kind. It was targeted at Buhari voters in Buhari regions to basically scare the shit out of them and stop them from voting.”

If Buhari wins, the film warns: women would wear the veil. Sharia law would be introduced. And the inference is, you may be macheted to death.

It wasn’t just videos spreading fear. The Cambridge Analytica campaign team in Nigeria were jumpy too.

“It felt risky, being there. There were various points when we were told we were in danger.” And in the Abuja hotel to which the team was confined in early 2015, rumours abounded.

The tales are Graham Greene-esque. The hotel was where slick western consultants, including a team from the now disgraced Bell Pottinger, partied with their Nigerian counterparts. Mingling among them, western intelligence operatives - state backed, or privately commissioned, nobody was quite sure.

And then there were the meetings: three sources have told the Guardian about one that took place between Cambridge Analytica employees and two people they were told were Israeli intelligence operatives.

“There was a two-hour meeting that took place in the hotel lobby between two senior campaign members and Israeli intelligence. After which they swept our hotel rooms for listening devices and said they would switch out our phones. The story we were told was that there were intelligence agents from a number of different countries, including Israel and France, who were supporting Goodluck Jonathan and helping the campaigns.”

There is no suggestion that Jonathan was aware of or implicated in this support. Another employee said: “Basically the Israelis didn’t want [Buhari] to win.”

Other employees questioned whether they were “real” Israeli intelligence operatives, or Israeli private contractors.

A few weeks later, as the campaign was drawing to a close, there was another meeting at Cambridge Analytica’s London office.

An expert had flown in from Israel with a laptop, sources say.

And Alexander Nix, Cambridge Analytica’s now suspended CEO, and Kaiser, asked employees to take a thumb drive and download the contents on to their own computers.

The content was private emails and the information, they were told, related to Buhari’s financial and medical records.

One employee who was present at the London meeting said he had initially assumed the visiting expert was Mossad or Israeli intelligence passing on what he called “legtimate information”.

But he began to realise this wasn’t the case, he said, when he saw the reaction of his colleagues. One of them had “freaked out”, he said. “He was like, ‘What the fuck? I don’t want anything to do with this.’”

The witnesses are clear – at least in their own minds. The information they were shown had come from hackers.

Back in Nigeria, the team still on the ground found out what was going on from their colleagues in London. There was more “freaking out”. This time with live, pressing concerns.

“They were fucking scared,” said a colleague who spoke to them while they were in the country. The campaign fixer, the person with local knowledge who navigated them through the ins and outs of Nigerian politics, made it clear to them: they needed to get out of the country right away.

Cambridge Analytica had put them all in danger, they said. If opposition supporters found out, there was no saying what might happen.

One member of the team missed his flight and instead of asking the office to re-book it, he got the first fight out – to Dubai – and put it on his credit card. “Everyone just wanted to get out as soon as possible.”

A spokesman for the company said its team remained in country throughout the original campaigning period had “left in accordance with the company’s campaign plan”.

“Team members were regularly briefed about security concerns prior to and during deployment and measures were taken to ensure the team’s safety throughout.”

There are multiple wider political questions about what went on in the Nigerian election of 2015 and the role western powers played. Whether western political campaigners taking lucrative foreign contracts are contributing to the democratic framework of developing countries – or helping to destroy them. If they’re experimenting with methods and techniques that they later re-import back to our more developed democracies.

Christopher Wylie, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower who spoke to the Observer, called it “post-colonial blowback”.

“The west found a way of firehosing disinformation into weak and vulnerable democracies. And now this has been turned back on us. This really is about our chickens coming home to roost.”

Another said: “Everything the company did after the Mercers got involved was about refining a set of techniques that they would go on to use in the US elections. These campaigns in other countries were experiments. They worked out how to harvest data and weaponise it. And they got steadily better at it.”

And what comes across most strongly, the sources say, is how little thought, if any, the senior directors in London had given to their employees and colleagues who became caught up in the activities, many of whom were in their early to mid-20s.

One member of staff who met the Israelis in the office on another occasion described them as “special forces” types. He said: “They were cliche alpha males with a certain intellect. Looked military, very composed. They looked like they could beat the crap out of you.”

Three years on, there is still stress in some of their voices when they recount these stories. Stress and fear and anger – about the danger they put in, and the lack of care shown toward them, the morally compromising position they were put in, the lack of knowledge they had about what sort of the company they would be working for when they took their jobs.

It’s why, despite the personal risks, so many of them agreed to speak.

“When I took that job, I did not sign up to any of this,” said one. Three years on, he is still angry and shocked and fearful. “You don’t know what this company is capable of,” he said.

In a statement, SCL Elections, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, confirmed it had been hired in December 2014 in support of the Jonathan campaign.

“We can confirm that SCL Elections was hired in December 2014 to provide advertising and marketing services in support of the Goodluck Jonathan campaign.”

Asked specifically about the meetings in which staff described being asked to transfer personal information that they believed had been hacked, the firm said: “During an election campaign, it is normal for SCL Elections to meet with vendors seeking to provide services as a subcontractor.

“SCL Elections did not take possession of or use any personal information from such individuals for any purposes. SCL Elections does not use ‘hacked’ or ‘stolen’ data.”
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/201 ... are_btn_tw
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu May 31, 2018 9:13 pm

Exclusive Leaked Docs Expose Yemen-Based Counter-Insurgency Program by Cambridge Analytica Parent Company SCL

Surveillance, Yemen May 23, 2018

Part one of a two part investigation into Cambridge Analytica/SCL’s global operations

By Max Blumenthal

Internal documents exclusively obtained by the Grayzone Project and embedded at the end of this article show how Cambridge Analytica’s UK-based parent company, SCL group, conducted a surveillance operation in Yemen, using psychological profiling, “strategic communications campaigns,” and infiltration of foreign operatives into indigenous communities through unwitting local partners whom they were instructed to deceive.

The SCL documents describe “a research and analysis study undertaken by Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) on behalf of Archimedes,” a US-based military contractor. The name of the operation was “Project Titania.” It relied heavily on deception to gain access to the local population, ordering project operatives to develop a “cover story” that placed their presence in the country in a more innocent light.

The geographic targets of the project were Yemen’s Hadramout and Marib provinces. These regions have served as organizational bases for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and were at the time in the crosshairs of then-President Barack Obama’s drone assassination program.

Many of the methods of surveillance and manipulation revealed in these SCL documents closely mirror the tactics that were later applied in Western electoral contests. And when these tactics were exposed in early 2018, they ignited a political firestorm.


The data and behavioral analytics firm Cambridge Analytica closed shop this May following damaging revelations that it obtained the raw data of over 80 million Facebook users during the 2016 presidential election campaign, and exploited this information to influence the outcome of numerous political campaigns. The damage spread across the Atlantic, to Cambridge Analytica’s UK-based parent company, SCL group, forcing it to shutter its operations as well.

Cambridge Analytica was partially owned by Steve Bannon, the former manager of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and ex-White House chief of staff. It was co-owned by Bannon’s main financial angel at the time, reclusive right-wing tech billionaire Robert Mercer, and his daughter, Rebekah Mercer, who served as its vice president.

Cambridge Analytica debuted its work with a series of Republican Get Out the Vote efforts in 2014, deploying the psychological profiling techniques that have become the company’s bread and butter. “Its dirty little secret was that there was no one American involved in [the 2016 effort], that it was a de facto foreign agent, working on an American election,” former Cambridge Analytica research director Christopher Wylie revealed.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Cambridge Analytica played a central role in Trump’s digital outreach efforts. In a hidden camera investigation by the UK’s Channel 4, Cambridge Analytica executives took credit for generating several enduring lines of attack against Hillary Clinton. “We just put information into the bloodstream of the internet and then watch it grow, give it a little push every now and again over time to watch it take shape,” one executive boasted. “And so this stuff infiltrates the online community, but with no branding, so it’s unattributable, untrackable.”

SCL Group and ‘Project Titania‘

The ethically dubious tactics that Cambridge Analytica rolled out during the 2016 campaign had been honed by its parent company, the London-based SCL Group, in an array of influence operations in conflict zones and Third World election contests.

Founded in 2005, SCL specializes in what company literature has described as “influence operations” and “psychological warfare” around the globe. An SCL brochure leaked to the BBC revealed how the firm exacerbated ethnic tensions in Latvia to assist their client in 2006.

A year later, the firm orchestrated “anti-election” rallies to suppress the opposition vote in Nigeria’s 2007 presidential election. Then, in 2010, according to the BBC, SCL initiated an “ambitious campaign of political graffiti” that “ostensibly came from the youth,” enabling its client to “claim credit for listening to a ‘united youth.'”

SCL has also applied its influence in Ukraine, first as part of the broader public relations campaign during the country’s NATO-backed 2004 “Orange Revolution,” then in Ukraine’s contested Donbas region, where it boasted in company literature that it “succeeded in maintaining the cohesion of the coalition to ensure a hard fought victory.”

But SCL has also played an equally unsettling role as a private arm of British and US counter-insurgency efforts in the Middle East.

Internal documents legally obtained by the Grayzone Project provide an exclusive look at one such effort overseen by SCL. The materials show how the company used psychological profiling, “strategic communications campaigns,” and foreign operatives, in methods of surveillance and manipulation that parallel the tactics that were subsequently used to influence Western elections.

A media professional whom SCL attempted to recruit for an influence operation in Iran described to the Grayzone Project an array of covert campaigns across the region. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the source said they were solicited in 2009 by a SCL staffer seeking a person to infiltrate Iran under journalistic cover and gather data on its population.

Though the media professional rejected the job, expressing deep reservations about the company’s emphasis on subterfuge, they described similar operations they learned about that targeted populations in Libya, Pakistan, and Syria.

The source was told that the Syrian operation gathered human intelligence by using foreigners either posing as Arabic language students or enrolled in study abroad-style programs.

SCL has acknowledged in company documents that it has operated in Libya, Syria and Iran.

The documents obtained by the Grayzone Project provide perhaps the first inside look at one of these programs. They shine light on the “research and analysis study” that SCL conducted in Yemen on behalf of the military contractor Archimedes, known as Project Titania.

‘A Cover Story Will Be Used’

When SCL launched Project Titania, US drones regularly shadowed the skies over the Yemeni regions of Marib and Hadramout. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) had successfully turned both areas into training and recruitment grounds, as well as bases for attacks on government troops.

In May 2010, an American drone strike accidentally killed the deputy governor of Marib, provoking his tribe to attack the country’s main oil pipeline in revenge and drain its economy of $1 billion in revenue. A year later in Marib, a drone strike personally authorized by then-President Barack Obama killed AQAP propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki and his son, Abdurahman, who was a US citizen.

Project Titania was defined by its authors as a counter-radicalization study aimed at reducing the appeal and influence of AQAP across Yemen. The operation first aimed to identify a “Non Desired Behavior” — defined as “support for, and engagement in, violent Jihadism” — and to explain the factors that accounted for its existence and growth. Next, the project called for a proposal for a “Strategic Communication Campaign” to undermine the spread of jihadist ideology.

SCL instructed its field researchers to disseminate questionnaires to Yemeni locals in order to gather their psychological profiles. The goal spelled out in Project Titania’s mission plan was to gain a “detailed psychosocial understanding of the groups that can be used to most effectively influence” young Yemeni men deemed vulnerable to jihadist recruitment. These methods predated the use by Cambridge Analytica of Facebook questionnaires to gather personal data on American voters.

The foreigners dispatched to implement Project Titania were explicitly instructed to deceive the Yemeni citizens they would rely on for field research. “A cover story will be used to explain the purpose of the research to the researchers; the local researchers will not be informed of the objectives or sponsors of the study,” a SCL document states. “The questionnaire and interview protocol will be completely non-attributable to the original source.”

SCL even proposed options for the cover story: “Prior to completing the interview or the questionnaire, all participants will be given a rationale for the study (i.e., that the study is part of a university research programme or a market research programme) and they will be informed that their responses will be kept confidential.”

The use of cover stories in Western intelligence operations has led to severe social damage in some cases. In Pakistan, locals had long suspected that the CIA was hunting for drone targets behind the smokescreen of a vaccination program run by Pakistani Polio Eradication Initiative. When news broke that the CIA had run a bogus hepatitis B eradication campaign in an unsuccessful bid to obtain the DNA of Osama bin Laden’s family, militant elements initiated a boycott of vaccination programs. Over 3 million children went without polio vaccines as a result, and the disease spread into neighboring countries.

Did the UK Government Contract SCL in Yemen?

The leaked Project Titania documents highlight the British government’s participation in SCL’s covert activities in Yemen, and suggest that it was the client that had contracted the private counter-insurgency operation.

A section labeled “risk register” contains the following security guideline for field operatives: “All foreign national team members to liaise with contact at British embassy and register with UK FCO LOCATE service.” (The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s LOCATE service provided expats with security issue updates; it was abolished in 2013 because so few citizens enrolled in it).

Project Titania documents listed an array of NGOs operating in Marib and appeared to suggest them as potential vehicles for obtaining intelligence on the indigenous population. The names of those NGOs have been redacted from this report to protect staff from repercussions that might result from their connection to a covert Western influence operation. If any wound up as participants in Project Titania, they did so unwittingly, as project materials specifically demanded they be coerced into the operation under false pretenses.

Yasha Levine, a journalist and author of “Surveillance Valley: The Hidden History of the Internet,” saw SCL’s Project Titania as a fairly typical counter-insurgency operation. “Looking at these documents about SCL’s Yemen data-driven counterinsurgency program, the most remarkable thing about them is just how unremarkable it is,” Levine told the Grayzone Project.

“If you change the wording a bit,” he continued, “SCL’s proposal could have been written a half century ago for the Vietnam War, where computer-aided counterinsurgency technologies were first pioneered. Back then the idea was that to fight insurgencies — wars in which enemy combatants came out of the general population — you first needed to understand the cultural, social and political environment in which the enemy operated. That meant first and foremost studying and surveilling restive populations as if they were lab rats, and then using advanced computer technology to shift through and process all the information coming in.”

“Even back then, in the 1960s, the holy grail was to build computer technologies that could watch the world in real time and predict human behavior — stopping revolts and revolutions before they had a chance to develop,” Levine said. “The push to build these technologies is what the Internet came out of.”

But there was more to Project Titania than what was revealed in the SCL documents. Communications obtained by the Grayzone Project linked the project’s principal director to a much wider program of surveillance and data mining aimed not only at a region or two, but at the entire Arab world.

Stay tuned for part two of this investigation. The complete plan for Project Titania is below.

SCL/Cambridge Analytica Project Titania Yemen Plan by Max Blumenthal on Scribd

SCL/Cambridge Analytica Project Titania Plan for Yemen, Part Two by Max Blumenthal on Scribd

Max Blumenthal
Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of books including best-selling Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, The Fifty One Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza, and The Management of Savagery, which will be published later this year by Verso. He has also produced numerous print articles for an array of publications, many video reports and several documentaries including Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie and the forthcoming Killing Gaza. Blumenthal founded the Grayzone Project in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America’s state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions.
https://grayzoneproject.com/2018/05/23/ ... analytica/


Internal Cambridge Analytica Documents Reveal Private Intelligence Web Behind Global Surveillance Program

Surveillance, Yemen May 30, 2018

Part Two of an Exclusive Two Part Investigation

By Max Blumenthal

Read part one here.

Internal documents exclusively obtained by the Grayzone Project (and embedded after this article) show how Cambridge Analytica’s UK-based parent company, SCL group, conducted a surveillance operation in Yemen called Project Titania. The initiative relied on psychological profiling, “strategic communications campaigns,” and infiltration of foreign operatives into indigenous communities through unwitting local partners whom they were instructed to deceive.

According to the materials detailed here, Project Titania was to be implemented by SCL “on behalf of Archimedes.” Archimedes is a US-based private contractor that advertises its ability to provide “Systems Integration, Engineering, and Mission Support solutions to government and businesses worldwide.”

The partnership between SCL and Archimedes highlights the seamless web of relationships between private intelligence firms and Western governments engaged in counter-intelligence activities in the Middle East. These large scale surveillance operations have been conducted without the knowledge of the Western public or input from elected officials, and would have remained mostly unknown had a series of leaks and hacking operations not placed them in the public domain.

Communications obtained legally by the Grayzone Project indicated that a former Archimedes staffer named Tim Riesen was a key contact for the Yemen operation. Little information is publicly available about Riesen; he is currently the the CEO of an international corporate consultancy firm called Madison Springfield, Inc.


While he is also listed as an adjunct political science professor at the school of graduate studies at Norwich University, a private military academy in Vermont, published material by Riesen is difficult to find online. Riesen did not respond to an interview request delivered by the Grayzone Project to his email at Madison Springfield.


Tim Riesen, formerly of Archimedes, was a director of Project Titania and key figure behind Romas/COIN
One of Riesen’s few public appearances consists of a brief cameo in a 2011 video by AFRICOM, the US military command center that operates in 53 African countries. In the video, an AFRICOM staffer describes a briefing Riesen delivered on the demographics and political tendencies of South Sudan ahead of its independence referendum that year.

Despite his negligible online footprint, or perhaps because of it, Riesen has made himself a considerable player in the world of private intelligence. That is clear from the tranche of emails that surfaced when the private intel firm HBGary was hacked in 2010 by the Anonymous collective.

The HBGary hacks were first reported by journalist Barrett Brown, who was prosecuted by Obama’s Department of Justice and sentenced to five years in prison for publicizing the emails. When their contents were published in full at Wikileaks, HBGary and consortium of intelligence firms were exposed for planning to carry out a full-scale attack on American social justice activists and journalists.

The firms homed in on journalist Glenn Greenwald and Wikileaks, plotting to undermine both through a campaign of “disinformation,” spawning internal rifts and “creating messages around actions to sabotage or discredit the opposing organization.” HBGary was also considered by the US Chamber of Commerce to launch a smear campaign against its critics.

In a separate initiative, HBGary aimed to develop a “persona management” system for the US Air Force that enabled users to spam social media with replies from users with false but detailed personas that gave the impression of organic consensus. The project outlined in the emails closely resembles the kind of troll and bot farms that have gained infamy amid America’s furor over Russian meddling, however, this one was made in the USA.

According to Barrett Brown, the contract for the system was ultimately won by a subsidiary of Cubic, a major multi-national arms, combat training company, and infrastructure company.

Archimedes and the ROMAS/COIN mass surveillance plan

Though the HBGary emails generated a brief flurry of media interest, little attention was devoted to one of the most disturbing programs they exposed. In a series of communications between intelligence firm directors, an operation came to light that Brown described as “a secretive and immensely sophisticated campaign of mass surveillance and data mining against the Arab world, allowing the intelligence community to monitor the habits, conversations, and activity of millions of individuals at once.”

That plan was Romas/COIN, with “COIN” referring to counter-intelligence — the same acronym used in the FBI’s notorious COINTELPRO program. Riesen’s Archimedes was a key player in the development of the initiative.

According to details of the program gathered by Brown and a collection of online researchers, Apple was also an active team partner, communicating regularly with HBGary CEO Aaron Barr and his peers. In one email, Apple’s “Homeland Defense Manager” Andy Kemp rescheduled a meeting with Barr by explaining, “I’ve been requested to be [in] phoenix by a senior member at ODNI [the Office of the Director of National Intelligence] – someone That I don’t say no to.”

Romas/COIN focused heavily on mobile phone software and applications. Its designers aimed to develop specialized “social media monitoring tools” and linguistic analysis systems, presumably to surveil the communications of younger, activist-minded Arabs on platforms like Facebook.

To emphasize the Arab-centric nature of Romas/COIN, Chris Clair of the intelligence firm TASC proposed a bold name to his colleagues: “Can we name COIN Saif? Saif is the sword an Arab executioner uses when they decapitate criminals. I can think of a few cool brands for this.”

In the end, the private spies agreed to call their program “ROMAS.”

“ROMAS is the name of a middle eastern spider. I thought I was pretty clever,” HBGary’s Barr wrote. “I am glad they are going to continue to use the name.”

Riesen appears in several emails with Clair, Barr, and a handful of partners pursuing what he called a “potential collaboration opportunity.” He described his company, Archimedes, and Barr’s HBGary, as subcontractors to Clair’s TASC on the project.

Together, they brainstormed a plan to compete with the contractor Northrup Grumman for a lucrative contract from an unnamed US government client seeking advanced capabilities in surveillance and “IO” — the acronym for influence operations.

On July 23, 2010, the ROMAS/COIN team decided on an informal setting to brainstorm their proposal. “And we are on Thursday,” Clair informed Riesen. I’ll have the steaks ready to grill and the beer will be chilled. I am sure it will be loads of fun.”

Massive State Department contracts to SCL for covert propaganda

In a recent exchange at the US State Department, spokesperson Heather Nauert confirmed that the US government had provided SCL with lucrative contracts to advance its propaganda goals on the international stage. Nauert acknowledged that in late 2016, the US State Department’s Global Engagement Center was granted a $120 million budget to wage war on online ISIS recruitment and Russian “disinformation.”

The counter-propaganda initiative promptly doled out two contracts, totaling $496,232, to SCL in February and March of 2017 to carry out “target audience research.” According to Nauert, the contracts to SCL were aimed at supplementing US anti-ISIS operations in the Middle East.


Before folding into Emerdata, SCL removed endorsements from NATO and the State Department from its website (image from NBC News)
The Global Engagement Center is an international influence operation run out of heart of the State Department. Originally formed as the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, and with a mission initially focused on fighting ISIS-oriented propaganda, the operation shifted its focus — and massively expanded its budget — as soon as the national panic over Russian meddling erupted during the 2016 election.

According to Richard Stengel, the center’s former director, “we supported credible counter-Russian voices in the region. We pretty much stopped creating content ourselves.” Which voices Stengel was referring to remains unclear, but as the former managing editor of Time Magazine, his remarks raised questions about whether the US government was covertly paying or promoting journalists to advance its agenda in Eastern Europe.

At a Council on Foreign Relations forum on “fake news” this May, Stengel made an unusually candid disclosure. “My old job at the State Department was what people used to jokingly [call] the chief propagandist job,” he declared. “I’m not against propaganda, every country does it and they have to do it to their own population and I don’t necessarily think it’s that awful.”


Rebranding a toxic name

Just weeks after the collapse of Cambridge Analytica and SCL, the firm’s principals, including Rebekah Mercer, magically resurfaced as directors of a newly minted, London-based company called Emerdata that appears to differ from SCL in name only. In fact, the firm is even headquartered at the same office formerly occupied by SCL Elections.

The brazen rebranding of SCL/Cambridge Analytica might be disturbing, but these firms are only part of a much wider web of private intelligence firms determined to manipulate the behavior of the public for the benefit of powerful clients. And before these cynical operators applied their methods in Western elections, they tested them on populations in conflict zones like Yemen.

Back in 2011, when he exposed the Romas/COIN mass surveillance program, Barrett Brown warned of the coming blowback for the West. “It is inevitable, then, that such capabilities as form the backbone of Romas/COIN…will be deployed against a growing segment of the world’s population,” Brown wrote. “The powerful institutions that wield them will grow all the more powerful as they are provided better and better methods by which to monitor, deceive, and manipulate. The informed electorate upon which liberty depends will be increasingly misinformed. No tactical advantage conferred by the use of these programs can outweigh the damage that will be done to mankind in the process of creating them.”

SCL/Cambridge Analytica Project Titania Plan for Yemen, Part Two by Max Blumenthal on Scribd

SCL/Cambridge Analytica Project Titania Yemen Plan by Max Blumenthal on Scribd

Max Blumenthal
Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of books including best-selling Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, The Fifty One Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza, and The Management of Savagery, which will be published later this year by Verso. He has also produced numerous print articles for an array of publications, many video reports and several documentaries including Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie and the forthcoming Killing Gaza. Blumenthal founded the Grayzone Project in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America’s state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions.
https://grayzoneproject.com/2018/05/30/ ... e-program/


BANKRUPTCY
Lawyers Chase Missing Cambridge Analytica Unit
Cambridge Analytica Holdings hasn’t filed for bankruptcy anywhere, lawyers say, prompting fears evidence could be lost

The central London building where offices of Cambridge Analytica were located. British employees were sent home recently, told no buyer had emerged to keep the company going. PHOTO: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
By Peg Brickley
May 30, 2018 4:53 p.m. ET

Lawyers who sued Facebook Inc. and Cambridge Analytica over alleged improper harvesting of users’ personal data say they fear evidence will disappear as the British data-mining company folds up part of its corporate web.

Cambridge Analytica and its SCL affiliates, which worked for the campaign that saw the election of President Donald Trump, have filed for court protection to liquidate in the U.S. and U.K. British employees were sent home recently, told no buyer had emerged to keep the company going.

Lawyers who sued in the name of millions of Facebook users say they haven’t been able to contact one of the shell companies that make up Cambridge Analytica’s corporate family, and have a “legitimate concern regarding the preservation of documents and other evidence.”

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Cambridge Analytica Holdings LLC, a company created in Delaware in 2014, which appears to be a key element of the corporate family, didn’t file for bankruptcy anywhere, according to the plaintiff’s attorneys.

U.K. administrators handling the bankruptcy proceeding in the High Court of Justice, Business and Property Courts of England and Wales, didn’t respond to inquiries about the status of Cambridge Analytica Holdings.

If Cambridge Analytica Holdings is being abandoned, evidence could be lost, plaintiffs’ lawyers said in a filing with a federal court in Delaware, where they brought suit in April, accusing Facebook of breaking privacy promises. A similar suit seeking to vindicate the privacy rights of 87 million people was filed in federal court in San Francisco.

“Cambridge Analytica is running scared. We intend to pursue the full measure of our clients’ rights against them, here and in the U.K.,” said Jodi Westbrook Flowers, a lawyer for plaintiffs. She is with the firm of Motley Rice LLC, one of the largest class-action litigation firms in the U.S., known for its work for people harmed by tobacco and asbestos.

Cambridge Analytica couldn’t be reached for comment. The filing of the bankruptcy petition automatically froze legal action against the company in the U.S.


As for the missing piece of the Cambridge Analytica corporate family, in court papers, plaintiffs cited a Guardian newspaper report that said Robert Mercer, the billionaire whose daughters signed off on Cambridge Analytica’s U.S. bankruptcy papers, funded Holdings, which created and ran Cambridge Analytica. In a U.S. bankruptcy filing, Mr. Mercer’s daughter Jennifer signed papers on behalf of Cambridge Analytica Holdings, identifying it as the “preferred majority interest” in Cambridge Analytica, owner of a nearly 70% direct interest.

A person who has represented the Mercer family didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The data-privacy lawsuit lawyers say they haven’t been able to contact Holdings, and fear the people responsible for it—who are also linked to a new company created last year, Emerdata Ltd.—have simply walked away. This arouses a “legitimate concern regarding the preservation of documents and other evidence at Holdings,” they said in court papers.

Facebook, which was sued along with Cambridge Analytica in the putative class action, has taken no position on the request for a court order compelling the preservation of evidence that is in the hands of Cambridge Analytica Holdings, court papers say.

Facebook didn't respond to a request for comment. In an SEC filing, the company has said the legal actions and government inquiries growing out of the Cambridge Analytica connection could mean “substantial fines and costs” and otherwise adversely affect its business.

Both Facebook and the suing consumers have put in appearances in Cambridge Analytica’s U.S. bankruptcy proceedings, which began May 17. The British insolvency proceedings began May 2.

Twenty-two lawsuits have been filed in federal court seeking to tag Facebook for damages for alleged wrongs in connection with the use of data by Cambridge Analytica.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/lawyers-ch ... 1527713583
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:55 pm

Carole Cadwalladr

Big news from @ICOnews. Investigation into Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, data, campaigns & the referendum is ‘unprecedented’ in scale. ‘Biggest data protection investigation ever’. ICO commissioner Liz Denham giving further evidence to European Parliament tonight.

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A lot happening today. This is also a BIG deal. @profcarroll also giving evidence to European Parliament today...on day of deadline for Cambridge Analytica to turn over his data to him. If it fails to do so, it becomes a matter for criminal proceedings.

UK regulator orders Cambridge Analytica to release data on US voter

Carole CadwalladrSat 5 May 2018 09.13 EDT
In landmark cross-border decision, Information Commissioner’s Office gives company 30 days to comply with David Carroll’s request
Cambridge Analytica has been ordered to hand over all the data and personal information it has on an American voter, including details of where it got the data and what it did with it, or face a criminal prosecution.

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) served the enforcement notice to the company on Friday in a landmark legal decision that opens the way for up to 240 million other American voters to request their data back from the firm under British data protection laws.

The test case was taken to the ICO by David Carroll, an associate professor at Parsons School of Design in New York. As a US citizen, he had no means of obtaining this information under US law, but in January 2016 he discovered Cambridge Analytica had processed US voter data in the UK and that this gave him rights under British laws. Cambridge Analytica had refused to accept this and told the ICO that Carroll was no more entitled to make a so-called “subject access request” under the UK Data Protection Act “than a member of the Taliban sitting in a cave in the remotest corner of Afghanistan”.

The ICO did not accept this as a valid legal argument and has now told SCL Elections, which acted as the data controller for Cambridge Analytica, that it has 30 days to comply or appeal. Cambridge Analytica and its affiliates announced this week that they had gone into liquidation, but the ICO has made it clear that it cannot avoid its responsibilities under UK law and states that “failure to comply with this enforcement notice is a criminal offence”.

It was always astonishing to us that Cambridge Analytica and SCL took such a combative approach
Carroll said the decision was a landmark moment not just for him but for the millions of other people whose data Cambridge Analytica used in the Trump and other campaigns.

“This should solve a lot of mysteries about what the company did with data and where it got it from,” he said. “I hope that it will help the ongoing investigations in my country and yours, and other places like Canada. There’s a lot of questions that no one has been able to answer until now so hopefully this will be a major breakthrough in our understanding of what it did.”

He said the ICO’s letter was “pretty extraordinary” and “proved what we’ve been saying for a long time: this is not a normal company. To have the audacity to say that American voters are no different than jihadis hiding in a cave is pretty shocking”. He said that it was the fact that it was a British company that had processed US voters’ data in the UK in an act of “digital colonialism” that had originally inspired him to ask the company for his data back.

He went public in an interview with the Observer last year after Cambridge Analytica sent him a “profile” they had created about him but no information about how they created it: “They had given me ‘scores’ for different issues but I had no idea what they’d based this on.”

Carroll is also pursuing his right to his data through the British courts, with his case due to be heard in the high court in the next few months.

Ravi Naik, a human rights lawyer with Irvine Thanvi Natas, the British solicitor who is leading the case, said the decision “totally vindicates David’s long battle to try and reclaim his data”. He added: “The company put him through such a torturous process over what should have been a very simple subject access request. It was always astonishing to us that Cambridge Analytica and SCL took such a combative approach when the law is crystal clear. Data flows across borders, so the law follows.”

The covering letter from the ICO says that if Cambridge Analytica has difficulties complying, it should hand over passwords for the servers seized during its raid on the company’s office – something that raises questions also about what it has managed to retrieve from the servers so far.

Paul-Olivier Dehaye, a data expert who helped Carroll with his request, said that his website, PersonalData.io, had received a flood of inquiries from people who wanted to reclaim their data from Cambridge Analytica and other companies.

“The data commissioner has said that data crimes are real crimes and she is now putting this into action. This would have been unimaginable a year ago. It’s a real landmark. The ICO is showing that they are real consequences to not complying with UK data laws..

“Cambridge Analytica has been able to evade journalists’ questions and mislead both parliament and Congress, but now if they don’t answer these questions, it shows they’re criminally liable. And there’s also the potential that the truth could be even more incriminating.”

The company has claimed to have up to 7,000 data points on 240 million Americans, and if it refuses to comply with Carroll’s request or can be shown to have misused data, it could open itself up to class action from the entire US electorate – a fact that Dehaye suggests may have contributed to its decision this week to fold.

Carroll, who has studied the modern “adtech” industry for his professional work, said that he didn’t expect to find his data had been harvested from Facebook “since I’ve always been pretty paranoid about my privacy settings”, but that he expected to find a whole host of other companies implicated. “I think we’re going to find that this goes way beyond Facebook and that all sorts of things are being inferred about us and then used for political purposes.”

Cambridge Analytica has been approached for comment.
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/201 ... are_btn_tw

Also giving evidence to EU Parliament today, Facebook whistleblower Sandy Parakilas @mixblendr, Cambridge Analytica whistleblower @chrisinsilico & (gulp) me. Nervous.
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