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Monday, May 08, 2017

How Democracy was hijacked

This is the most extraordinary, penetrating, in-depth article ever written about Cambridge Analytica, SLC, the Mercer empire, Breitbart and the whole psychological warfare operation directed against both the United States and Europe. Nothing compares. I haven't the time to deal with it in depth, but here's a key excerpt...
“That was before we became this dark, dystopian data company that gave the world Trump,” a former Cambridge Analytica employee who I’ll call Paul tells me. “It was back when we were still just a psychological warfare firm.”

Was that really what you called it, I ask him. Psychological warfare? “Totally. That’s what it is. Psyops. Psychological operations – the same methods the military use to effect mass sentiment change. It’s what they mean by winning ‘hearts and minds’. We were just doing it to win elections in the kind of developing countries that don’t have many rules.”

Why would anyone want to intern with a psychological warfare firm, I ask him. And he looks at me like I am mad. “It was like working for MI6. Only it’s MI6 for hire. It was very posh, very English, run by an old Etonian and you got to do some really cool things. Fly all over the world. You were working with the president of Kenya or Ghana or wherever. It’s not like election campaigns in the west. You got to do all sorts of crazy shit.”

On that day in June 2013, Sophie met up with SCL’s chief executive, Alexander Nix, and gave him the germ of an idea. “She said, ‘You really need to get into data.’ She really drummed it home to Alexander. And she suggested he meet this firm that belonged to someone she knew about through her father.”

Who’s her father?

“Eric Schmidt.”

Eric Schmidt – the chairman of Google?

“Yes. And she suggested Alexander should meet this company called Palantir.”

I had been speaking to former employees of Cambridge Analytica for months and heard dozens of hair-raising stories, but it was still a gobsmacking moment. To anyone concerned about surveillance, Palantir is practically now a trigger word. The data-mining firm has contracts with governments all over the world – including GCHQ and the NSA. It’s owned by Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of eBay and PayPal, who became Silicon Valley’s first vocal supporter of Trump.

In some ways, Eric Schmidt’s daughter showing up to make an introduction to Palantir is just another weird detail in the weirdest story I have ever researched.
If that doesn't entice you, you must be sleeping. More soon.
D'y'know what, Joe? I checked in here precisely to draw your attention to that article. But you beat me to it!

Talking of Britgov, Cadwalladr writes of "(a) government that has just triggered an election specifically to shore up its power base" and "(an) election designed to set (Britain) into permanent alignment with Trump’s America."

What I like about this is that she is mentioning the reasons for calling a freak British general election in the middle of her article on psychological warfare. She has put her finger on something.

But she's jumping the gun. First we've got to ask why the hell the British government did call a general election. The stated reasons were lies. They were that otherwise 1) the opposition, the SNP and members of the House of Lords would continue their game-playing; and 2) negotiations with rEU would reach their most difficult stage in the run-up to an election.

1) is rubbish, because the Tories have an absolute majority in the Commons and whatever happens in a general election doesn't affect the House of Lords at all. As for the SNP, Theresa May is taking the piss.

2) is what the chattering classes are saying - drawing their "opinions" from editorials and journalistic commentaries that largely come from Downing Street - but it's more or less rubbish too. It's unlikely that the Tories would lose an election on the issues of either Brexit or "shape of Brexit". Are they really so scared of the British people? I doubt it. Moreover, the next election would have happened in 2020, a year after the two-year deadline for the Brexit negotiations. Did any mainstream editorialist even notice?

So the reason must be something else. Here are some words in May's announcement that in future years may be remembered:

"(T)here should be unity here in Westminster, but instead there is division."

That is so reminiscent of Lenin's statement after the suppression of the Kronstadt uprising:

"You can stand here with us, or against us out there with a gun in your hand, but not within some opposition (...) We've had enough opposition."

The whole point of parliamentary fucking democracy is supposed to be that there is a functioning opposition independent of the government and the legislature is divided between the government's supporters and its opponents.

The Socialist Party has been whacked to near irrelevance in France, in the space of about a year. Is this what is in store for the Labour Party in Britain? Never underestimate the sheer amount of hatred there is in the Tory Party and its milieu.

One last point: nobody in the mainstream media ever criticises the independence of the polling companies, at least not until several months after an election. At that time, perhaps an article will appear based on academic research carried out at a minor university that indicates that the polling companies, far from being objective and neutral and clean, were actually willing and conscious tools of the interests that successfully achieved the election result they wanted. Then that's soon forgotten, and when the next campaign comes along everyone assumes again that the polling companies are neutral.

Well, they're not. They are implicated in this muck, just as much as Google and Facebook. We've just experienced that in a big way in France. And here in Britain I can hardly turn my fucking radio on without hearing some shitty "expert" spout that the Labour party are about to get kicked to kingdom come to an extent that nobody ever dreamed of before.

So I conclude: the cool kids who want to keep up on the current state of psychological warfare should pay attention to the ongoing election campaign in Britain.
Some words on Peter Thiel, chairman and largest shareholder of Palantir.

Founder of Paypal, Thiel is also a director of Facebook - and he's a special adviser to the Trump administration.

Mussolini defined fascism as when you can't slide a cigarette paper between the interests of big business and the interests of the government. Thiel prefers to say he is a "libertarian".

Sounding like a mentally disturbed teenager, he writes that he "stand(s) against (...) the ideology of the inevitability of the death of every individual". In short, he wants to live forever. What a baby.

But just in case, he is also one of the super-rich loonies who wants their bodies to be cryogenically preserved when they die. Perhaps this desire is related to the fact that he won't father children because he is gay.

He also dislikes women. Is anyone surprised? He writes in sophomoric tones that "(s)ince 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of 'capitalist democracy' into an oxymoron".

Listen - this kind of shit isn't new.

I strongly suspect that as well as wanting to live forever, the guy also aims to ensure that many millions of the rest of us all cease to exist for other than natural causes.
Also extremely scary, Jane Mayer's Dark Money -
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