Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
Now in the West the scandal over the American-British targeting firm Cambridge Analytica, which also touches the business of the Internet giant Facebook, is being actively inflated..
And even a cursory analysis of the accusations concerning the collection of the data of users shows that the true purposes of this campaign are not that these firms did something unusual and illegal. In fact, all marketing companies were engaged in this, and Barack Obama, who was the first to widely use these methods for political purposes, is even eulogised for this by the same liberal media.
The true purpose of this campaign is to distract public attention from the details that emerged during the scandal of the dirty information and psychological operations that Washington and London have been conducting abroad for years using the SCL Group firm – the parent structure of Cambridge Analytica.
Moreover, these operations were carried out, in addition to all the rest, in Ukraine and Donbass using British taxpayer money.
“Ukrainian girls are beautiful and work well”
As a reminder, the scandal began after correspondents of the British Channel 4 News agency under the guise of potential clients from Sri Lanka ingratiated themselves with the management of the Cambridge Analytica (CA) firm and extracted curious information about the methods of their work from them.
During the first meetings with the “Sri Lankan clients” representatives of CA were quite cautious. They constantly emphasised: “We’re not in the business of fake news, we’re not in the business of lying, making stuff up, and we’re not in the business of entrapment, so we wouldn’t, we wouldn’t send a pretty girl out to seduce a politician and then film them in their bedroom and then release the film. There are companies that do this but to me that crosses a line”.
However, after several preliminary meetings the executive director of CA Alexander Nix came out to talk, and things started rolling off his tongue. Here he didn’t hide methods that this firm could offer. As opposed to what he said to his subordinates, he directly stated that it is possible to put girls in bed with a rival. Moreover – Ukrainian girls. Here is how it sounded:
Nix: “It’s simply an idea. I’m just saying, we could bring some Ukrainians in on holiday with us you know, you know what I’m saying”.
“Client”: “Ukrainian girls are very beautiful”.
Nix: “They are very beautiful. I find that they work very well”.
And further the head of CA adds: “Please don’t pay too much attention to what I’m saying, because I’m just giving you examples of what can be done … (an awkward pause follows) what has been done”.
Why Nix started talking about Ukrainian girls will become clear below. But he doesn’t stop at sexual scandals, stating that the opponent of the rival can be caught on an artificially arranged bribe. For example, on behalf of a rich developer, the candidate is proposed to invest “a large sum of money” in the campaign in exchange for the promise to give land for construction after victory in the elections. And then they spread the video over the Internet.
In addition, Nix tells very important information that could and should have interested many western journalists and experts, but for some reason it didn’t: “Often we set up (again a pause) … if we are working then we can set up fake IDs and websites, we can be students doing research projects attached to a university, we can be tourists, there’s so many options we can look at. I have lots of experience in this”.
Nix speaks, in general, also about the banal methods that are widely used in the practice of political campaigns — about the creation of computer bots for the distribution of messages needed by candidates. But pay attention, this isn’t about the automatic creation of empty profiles, this is about a purposeful campaign for the creation of “real” users: “we can be students, we can be tourists”. And after all, we can also be “Russian hackers”? Maybe this also answers who was behind the hacker attacks on the campaign headquarters and the so-called “Russian bots” that caused scandals in the US? For some reason the western media inflating this scandal can’t allow such a thought to enter their mind, Or don’t want to.
What does Russia have to do with this?
On the contrary, after Channel 4 News set the example, everyone immediately started looking for the “Russian trace”. In one of the episodes of this investigation Hillary Clinton appears in the shot – famous for her obsession with the idea that “Russians are guilty of everything”, and she starts arguing: “From where did the Russians know how to target their messages so precisely in the direction of undecided voters in Wisconsin, Michigan, or in Pennsylvania?”
I.e., just imagine – Clinton is still sure that her deserved victory in elections was stolen from her by “Russian bots”, which spread on social networks negative messages about her in Wisconsin. The fact that Clinton never visited this state during the electoral campaign (unlike Trump) is seemingly not perceived by her as her own mistake. Even back then American sociologists pointed out: “Russia also hacked the schedule of Hillary’s campaign and deleted her stops in the rural Areas of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan?”
Did Russia also hack Hillary’s campaign calendar and delete all her stops in rural Wisconsin, Penn., and Michigan?https://t.co/5lUnrvsGpy
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) December 10, 2016
And of course, neither the authors of the scandalous movie nor especially Clinton asked the question: if the firm working for the Republicans could appear on social networks as “students” or “tourists”, then what would it have cost to also appear as “Russian bots”?
The message planted by Clinton in this film was immediately picked up by the American media: it’s like saying that it is necessary to look for the “Russian trace”. And the omnipresent CNN also caught on to this topic. Immediately after the first movies exposing CA were broadcasted there were articles with such titles as “Did Cambridge Analytica Leverage Russian Disinformation for Trump? The company has more ties to Russia and Russian interests than it admits“.
In essence, “ties with Russia”, according to such pathetic analysts, is a photo showing the ambassador of Russia in Great Britain Aleksandr Yakovenko together with the aforementioned Alexander Nix. The photo was made in July, 2016, when the ambassador was invited by the Windsor Club to a polo tournament, where he awarded prizes (a bottle of Ivan the Terrible vodka for everyone) to each of the ten participants, among which there was also Nix.
Yes, the “Russian origin” of the author of the algorithm used by CA, 32-year-old professor of the Cambridge university Aleksandr Kogan, springs to mind. In reality he was born in the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic (but, as you understand, western analysts won’t look for a “Moldavian trace”) and left with his parents for the US at the age of 7. Respectively, he is a US citizen (which the western media also prefers to not mention), he studied in the US and Hong Kong, worked in Canada and Britain, married in Singapore, and lives in San Francisco. The “Russian trace” is obviously seen, right? Actually, all “traces” are limited by this.
SCL worked to “erode and weaken the Donetsk People’s Republic”
Not exactly – the authors of the aforementioned article about “Russian ties” to CA provide more “indestructible“ proof of “ties with Russians”:
“Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, Strategic Communications Laboratories, is a military contractor recognized as a global leader on the subject of disinformation and political influence. The company, for example, is currently working with the U.S. State Department on a $500,000 contract for countering ISIS propaganda. That expertise also extends to Russian information warfare and disinformation tactics. In 2015, SCL’s head of defense business Steve Tatham edited a Stratcom journal on subjects ranging from ‘Russia’s 21st Century Information Warfare’ and ‘Memetic Warfare’ to ‘Narrative and Social Media’. That same year, SCL was hired by NATO for training services on disinformation, including countering Russian information warfare. As a director of SCL, Alexander Nix almost certainly would have been aware of Russian strategies and tactics”.
Here it is — the ties with Russia .
Just try to ponder: the company is employed by the US State Department and NATO to counter “Russian information warfare” — and this testifies to “ties with Russia”. And not with NATO? And not with the State Department?
And here we approach the most important in this scandal. Pay attention to how everybody concentrated on the methods of targeting, quite usual for marketing and political campaigns. Representatives of CA, Facebook, and other social networks are being summoned for hearings in parliaments. But the activity of the parent company that only uses CA as its digital laboratory generally remains outside the equation. Despite Nix being the executive director of CA, he at the same time was one of five directors of SCL.
In Channel 4 News’ expose it is somehow casually mentioned that SCL was used by the governments of the US and Britain during the campaigns in Afghanistan and Libya. It is mentioned and immediately forgotten. And indeed, why focus attention on it? After all, Trump and Russia are more interesting for the audience.
Everybody crowded around CA, without paying attention to the fact that Nix, talking about the dirty services that he provides, also mentions campaigns that were taking place even before the creation of Cambridge Analytica. I.e., during all this time he was talking about the parent structure, and not the affiliated one. But to touch SCL is fraught, because then there will be questions about clients — western governments resorting to the dirty services of this firm.
Even the list of campaigns that SCL officially participated in (many remain in the shadows) specifies that in all cases it acted on the side of western interests and definitely not Russian ones. For example, after the “orange revolution” in 2004 in Ukraine this firm worked for the “orange coalition”. The admission of SCL itself about this can be found in the cache of their own site.
And to this day on the official website of group it is mentioned that the government of Ukraine employed it to solve the “Donetsk problem”. SCL admits that by the request of Kiev it was engaged in delivering a “data-driven strategy” for the purpose of “winning back control of Donetsk”. The group directly claims (verbatim): “Findings were applied to design localized communications campaigns to erode and weaken the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). The final project report was delivered to the President of Ukraine for his Cabinet’s assessment and shared with the UK MOD”.
Pay attention – this group worked to weaken the DPR at the request of the British Ministry of Defence and the President of Ukraine. And someone will then claim that there is a “Russian trace” in the activity of this company?
Disinformation, propaganda, fakes using the money of London and Washington
It is possible to imagine what methods this group used in Ukraine. Nix (who, by the way, visited Ukraine for a public presentation only several months ago) and his team spoke about this quite frankly to the “Sri Lankan clients”.
According to them, the main method of the firm is to uncover and understand “really deep-seated fears, concerns”. “It is no good fighting an election campaign on the facts, because actually it is all about emotion,” they declared to the hidden camera.
They admitted that can easily spread disinformation on networks, exploiting these fears. Now it is possible to assume from where the Ukrainian media scooped fakes about the situation in Donbass? At the same time, representatives of the company shamelessly said that they use former agents of MI5 and MI6 – now working for private organisations – to collect data on the opponent. It is possible to guess what private organisations are meant, considering the fact that in January of this year Nix and some of his colleagues were included in the management of the new structure Emeralda LTD. The Director of the doubtful firm Frontier Services Group, which in turn was founded by Erik Prince – the founder of the notorious private military company Blackwater USA, which profits from sending mercenaries to the hot spots of the planet – also appeared in Emeralda LTD. Here is your “Russian trace”.
Nix admitted to his “Sri Lankans” that his services were used by the current president of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta in his two campaigns — 2013 and 2017. Moreover, judging by these statements, the firm was responsible for all stages of the campaign and the rebranding of the party of the president. As a reminder, these elections were the dirtiest ones of last year: a high-ranking figure of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission was killed, and mass protest actions accompanied with blood took place across all the country. But this didn’t prevent the most famous politicians in the West from immediately recognising these elections as “clean”.
This was stated, in particular, by the former US Secretary of State John Kerry and official observers of the European Union, who “didn’t notice” the murders. This is once again relates to the question about whose side SCL works for. A few weeks later the Supreme Court of Kenya cancelled the results of these elections because of mass violations of the law.
Even a cursory analysis of the geography of the campaigns that SCL was involved in shows that it is a private representative of the power structures of Britain, the US, and NATO for carrying out dirty campaigns of disinformation and psychological operations in foreign countries. For example, in 2014-2015 it received a contract for £150,000 from the British government supposedly for training a puppet government in polling technologies. The data of SCL research, as was the case with the work in Donbass, came straight to the Ministry of Defence of Britain.
This group worked under contract with the US Government in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to “The Times” newspaper, SCL directly admitted that it uses hackers to control the Internet and to spread or, on the contrary, delete negative information from the Internet, and also to spread “alternative information” (read as: fakes) with the use of “avatars”, i.e., especially created accounts. So what was that about “Russian hackers”?
This is not the first instance when firms working for the power structures of the West were caught spreading disinformation and provocations. In 2016 it was revealed that the famous British PR corporation Bell Pottinger was used by the Pentagon to create faked videos that were later presented as videos of “Al-Qaeda”.
The US Department of Defence allocated for such a disinformation campaign between 2007 and 2011 the enormous sum of $540,000,000. But for some reason this scandal showing the real methods of the Pentagon’s work wasn’t so inflated as the noise around Cambridge Analytica — no hearings in parliament, no hashtags, no criminal prosecutions.
A few years ago the American “Rolling Stone“ magazine shed light on the methods of such work carried out by the Pentagon in hot spots. In particular, the magazine revealed the methods of disinformation and propaganda that are used by the secretive psychological operations division of the American army. It became clear that the task of this division was to discredit international politicians and diplomats who opposed the expansion of the military operation in Afghanistan. But a scandal was caused only because there were also American senators among the other purposes of this campaign. The presence of the ambassador of the Czech Republic or the Minister of Internal Affairs of Germany on this list didn’t disturb anybody — the Pentagon isn’t forbidden to use disinformation against non-citizens of America.
So, the scandal over SCL bares methods that the power structures of the US and Britain use in different points of the planet: psychological operations, spreading disinformation, creating and spreading fake news, discrediting opponents, directly influencing elections in other countries, inciting interethnic conflicts (like in Kenya), direct participation in military conflicts (like in Donbass), the use of hackers and false Internet bots. I.e., everything that the West has actively accused Russia of doing over the past few years.
It is obvious that it is exactly for this reason that there is this inflation of the scandal over the targeting firm Cambridge Analytica, which is only a small digital sub-division of a powerful network that has been working hard for the governments of the US and Britain, as well as NATO. And it is precisely for this reason that the main media concentrated on the theses about “Trump’s firm”, about Facebook, and even about the imaginary “Russian trace”. Simply put, it is very important to pull this scandal away from the real trace, which directly leads to the Pentagon, the British Ministry of Defence, and MI6. Because after all, this trace can stretch for miles.
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