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Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Of Mercer and Mensch -- or: What if Putin is NOT the real issue?

One of the least popular things I ever did (after being born, learning to talk, looking like this, surviving my heart attack, etc.) was contributing a piece to Democratic Underground which warned liberals not to place blind faith in the "spooks against Trump." That's my catch-all term for Louise Mensch, John Schindler, this "Jester" fellow and their comrades in the clandestine world.

That DU piece left me open to charges of hypocrisy, since my crush on Ms. Mensch remains immovable, and I continue to cite her writings.

Nevertheless, I must sound that unpopular theme once more. Keep Mensch's work in mind as you re-read this extremely important Guardian piece on Cambridge Analytica and the Mercer PsyWar empire. (We first took note of this investigation in yesterday's post.) Of Robert Mercer -- zillionaire Trump funder and former Steve Bannon employer -- Guardian writer Carole Cadwalladr says:
Mercer is a brilliant computer scientist, a pioneer in early artificial intelligence, and the co-owner of one of the most successful hedge funds on the planet (with a gravity-defying 71.8% annual return). And, he is also, I discovered, good friends with Nigel Farage. Andy Wigmore, Leave.EU’s communications director, told me that it was Mercer who had directed his company, Cambridge Analytica, to “help” the Leave campaign.
Even many of Louise Mensch's fans are troubled by her support of Brexit, even though there is certainly no love lost between her and Farage. Example. Another example.

Nevertheless, we can't ignore two discomforting facts: 1. Mensch is a Tory. 2. The links between the Mercer PsyWar factory and the Tory party are undeniable.

Back to the Guardian piece:
When my article linking Mercer and Leave.EU was published in February, no one was more upset about it than former Tory adviser Dominic Cummings, the campaign strategist for Vote Leave. He launched an irate Twitter tirade.
Mensch has had her own issues with Cummings. Nevertheless, it's hard not to be bothered by this passage from the Guardian piece...
What’s been lost in the US coverage of this “data analytics” firm is the understanding of where the firm came from: deep within the military-industrial complex. A weird British corner of it populated, as the military establishment in Britain is, by old-school Tories. Geoffrey Pattie, a former parliamentary under-secretary of state for defence procurement and director of Marconi Defence Systems, used to be on the board, and Lord Marland, David Cameron’s pro-Brexit former trade envoy, a shareholder.

Steve Tatham was the head of psychological operations for British forces in Afghanistan. The Observer has seen letters endorsing him from the UK Ministry of Defence, the Foreign Office and Nato.

SCL/Cambridge Analytica was not some startup created by a couple of guys with a Mac PowerBook. It’s effectively part of the British defence establishment. And, now, too, the American defence establishment. An ex-commanding officer of the US Marine Corps operations centre, Chris Naler, has recently joined Iota Global, a partner of the SCL group.
Now do you understand what bothers me about the whole "spooks against Trump" twitter subculture? Trump himself was placed in the oval office by spooks.

Not Putin's spooks. Our spooks. By British and Americans spooks. By right-wing upper-class spooks with ties to the Tories and the GOP and the defense establishment.

Louise Mensch continues to ignore this dichotomy, as do most of her American fans.

In MenschWorld, it's all Russia all the time. Discussion of a firm like Cambridge Analytica is permissible only when it can be framed in terms of Putin's perfidy. Cadwalladr points out (toward the finale of her piece) that there are, in fact, important links between Moscow and Mercer. But those links are not the whole story.

Pardon my heresy, but I cannot escape the feeling that Trump could have won the White House through underhanded means even if Vladimir Putin had never existed.

(Don't you dare accuse me of excusing or minimizing Putin's actions. Remember, this humble blog was the first political website to discuss the Putin/Trump linkage, in a June 16, 2016 piece that name-checked Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Carter Page.)

The spooks-against-Trump want to keep the controversy framed purely in terms of the foreign threat. Don't look at Cambridge Analytica, they say: Keep looking at Putin and ONLY at Putin. Fear the Other. Trust us.

Why do I get the feeling that the spooks-against-Trump are protecting members of their club?

To the best of my knowledge, Louise Mensch has not mentioned the Guardian piece in her recent twitter feed, though she has given shout-outs to Cadwalladr in the past. Yesterday, Mensch found the time to retweet some humorous posts which poke fun of Melania while ignoring all of this new data about the Mercer enterprise.

I can't help but suspect that Cadwalladr has lobbed a grenade which impacted rather close to Mensch's political home.

I'll continue to cite and discuss Mensch's work. My crush won't evaporate for some time: The heart wants what it wants. But sooner or later, we must deal with the obvious contradictions on display here. Trump was not foisted upon the world by Vladimir Putin operating all by himself. Yes, Putin played a key role. Yes, he provided money and muscle. We might even say that Alexander Dugin -- Putin's sage -- invented the ideological glue which binds together the disparate elements of the New Fascist International.

Nevertheless, if you want to know who foisted Trump on the world, don't look toward Russia. Look to that precious stone set in a silver sea. Look at a posh and secretive group of people locatable within Louise Mensch's social circle, or just outside of it.

Thus, my continued mistrust. I also object to some of the books she wrote as Louise Bagshawe. Very indecent. Some passages make me blush every time I read them.
Yes indeed. The Russian factor is huge, unprecedented and raises adds overt treason to the list of possible crimes committed in the course of the election theft by Republicans and their allies.

As I wrote in December on these fine pages, however, the undermining of American democracy by domestic right-wingers is much deeper and long-term than just this. Industrial scale voter suppression and gerrymandering, corruption and weaponization of fundamentalist "Christianity," the creation of a right-wing megaphone for fake news and propaganda, likely shenanigans with electronic voting and vote counting systems...the list goes on and on - and the timeline goes back much further than the Putin Trump alliance.
Never underestimate the Malthusian hatred that dominates upper Tory circles. Carole Cadwalladr is a good lass - an Oxford graduate who has denounced the "Oxbridge" elite, she has courage and decency - but I am not sure that she appreciates just what level of evil we are talking about.

BTW there's an Oxford Analytica too :) Its former CEO, Nader Mousavizadeh, formerly of Goldman Sachs, set up Macro Advisory Partners, at which one of the partners is John Sawers, the Bilderberger steerer (like Schmidt and Thiel) and former head of MI6.
I think your theory is very plausible and have suspected same. Comes from reading about JFK's murder for 50 years.Things are not as they seem.
It would appear that the Mercer focus has been and is on Congress, whose far-right members are relatively easy to control and easier to get elected, per Mercer's algorithms. The focus on Trump makes no sense, as Clinton would be much friendlier to the military-industrial complex.

P.s. Now I get why you didn't read Jane Mayer's New Yorker piece on the Mercer family connections: you read Louise's books in your leisure time?
I guess I'm a little confused. Isn't this article basically about how ex-military people used their psy-ops training in a political campaign? It may make me a little uncomfortable, but I don't see anything seriously wrong with this. Ex-military can be involved in politics. I also understand Democrats have a similarly sophisticated data operation that uses similar data mining from social media.

The only really bad thing I've read about Cambridge Analytica is that they may have been using stolen voter registration rolls in their data. But this is about using stolen data, not a military conspiracy.

I should note I am also skeptical of the "spooks against Trump" crowd. Though my belief isn't they are running interference but that they are hyping up information beyond its conclusions. Overreaching IOW.
@dj morris Precisely. In some ways I felt the Russian story was a shell game. Now, I don't doubt they were involved and have intent to harm, but they're just a piece of the puzzle. As is always the case, "We've met the enemy and it is us".
Yep--everyone is ignoring the fact that Trump has been an FBI asset for decades now. They built this monster. This is the only way Trump has gotten away with so many all dates back to his days with Roy Cohn. Rather complicated, but I am sure you can figure out how they worked both sides to their advantage, so won't go into it more.
Mensch actually tweeted that Comey is her hero now-oh please.... such low standards. Not buying anything she is selling, if that is her idea of a hero. k
k, where's the evidence that Trump was ever an FBI asset? The only website I've ever seen which mentions that possibility was written by a crazy person who spends most of his time rambling about Tesla and Alex Jones.
Can someone tell me whether it's peculiar or not that the Attorney General (assuming Trump is telling the truth) recommended Comey's dismissal. I can understand the AG recommending that Comey be charged with a crime, or that he not be charged with a crime, but dismissal?
I don't read sites like that-anyone that even begins to say anything about Jones gets muted. It's interesting that you are questioning that Russia is the main issue, while also dismissing that maybe they are protecting themselves with this focus (similarly to Nixon really). Think about how many deals the FBI made with FBI informants throughout the years- you know all this. Now think about all the crimes that Trump has gotten away with. Now think about the fact that he was in Cohn's ear constantly (15 to 20 times a day). Do you honestly think Cohn didn't use Trump in some way? Cohn was a master manipulator. I am not going to lead you into all the info.(will share one link), but to me it seems pretty obvious Trump has been protected for years and Cohn used him as a tool to control investigations. I am not saying Trump was a good informant-the FBI screwed themselves over good with using him, because Cohn fed them what he wanted them to know etc. and controlled investigations.

I am pretty certain there is a record of one deal in particular, but can't find it now. At the end of the day, it is a big question of who is using who and at what price? I lived in NY for 10 years- I know there is no way in hell he didn't have a hand in many dirty pockets, while also covering himself somehow. There are too many people who have been arrested surrounding him, throughout the years. He got where he is because he is an asshole supreme with no moral fiber. You probably know- when he found out Cohn had AIDS he ended his friendship instantly. They all just used each other-that's all they know.
ps - no one is going to go on the record making these assertions about him, as Trump is a major litigator and for other obvious reasons. I think it is implied numerous times, as that is all they can legally do/say.
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