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.
do you understand what bothers me about the whole "spooks against Trump" twitter subculture? Trump himself was placed in the oval office by
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.