I made Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14897611
They created chemical weapons in WWI, in WWII they created the atomic bomb, now they are creating the digital weapons to enslave us. Science knows no ethics.

I made Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool

Or, as Wylie describes it, he was the gay Canadian vegan who somehow ended up creating “Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare mindfuck tool”.

In 2014, Steve Bannon – then executive chairman of the “alt-right” news network Breitbart – was Wylie’s boss. And Robert Mercer, the secretive US hedge-fund billionaire and Republican donor, was Cambridge Analytica’s investor. And the idea they bought into was to bring big data and social media to an established military methodology – “information operations” – then turn it on the US electorate.


Staff claim Cambridge Analytica ignored US ban on foreigners working on elections

How Cambridge Analytica turned Facebook ‘likes’ into a lucrative political tool
#14898147
Albert wrote:Finally we have evidence of collusion between Trump campaign and the British.


Trans-Atlantic links between the US and the UK on all levels have been well known since the existence of the US.

Cambridge Analytica Uncovered: Secret filming reveals election tricks

At this stage, only the EU can protect us from a digital police state.
#14898150
EU itself is suppressing populist movement through digital communication sphere and other coercive means. At some levers worse then America or UK.

Must I remind of Geert Wilders and what they put that poor man through. Now they are trying jail La Pen in France over a tweet. I have to giver credit to USA as they have managed to keep freedom of expression intact more so then other western countries.
#14898154
Yeah, the great American plutocracy, the land of the alt-right and fake news that brought about the great Donald leader. We are all so envious of that dysfunctional distopia :D

What absolutely beats me is how the entire West gets hysterical about a handful of Putin trolls who do more to damage Russian reputation than to Western democracy, while at the same time corporate American has moved right into a digital dictatorship.

The hypocrisy of it!
Last edited by Atlantis on 20 Mar 2018 15:05, edited 1 time in total.
#14898156
It is interesting that you find democracy and will of the people as dysfunctional distopia. Nevertheless many people who voted Democrat in US election will agree with you, that is why at the moment they are working tirelessly to circumvent the democratic process to impeach Trump.
#14898364
Cambridge Analytica And The Manipulation Of People
MoA-ites correctly distrust every word emanating from the mealy mouthed Guardian because it has been used in a vicious campaign to advance the interests of Zionists to the point where the well being of Guardian readers has been relegated below the interests of apartheid Israel.

Nevertheless having a bit of a shufti at the loudly trumpeted Facebook-Cambridge Analytica expose is an essential act for anyone who wants to try to get a grip on how populations are being deliberately manipulated.

There is a relatively easy to digest video here where Christopher Wyllie, a computer scientist, outlines the birth of Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix, the CEO and the method used to sell the development of the corporation to Steve Bannon, CA's first customer and Robert Mercer, the Wall Street financier who underwrote the cost of setting up the corporation.

I recommend spending the 13 minutes required to watch the video because Wyllie's summation of what they did and why is horrifying. Lines such as "If you want to change the way a person votes you have to change the culture the person lives within." and "to change a culture, first you have to smash the existing one then grab the pieces and mold it into the shape you want the culture to be".

A computer scientist at Cambridge University, Aleksandr Kogan had been given privileged access by Facebook to conduct 'academic research' he had access to the entire range of any Facebook user's account and that of all their Facebook friends. America was targeted first as that was what both Bannon and Mercer wanted - all set for the '16 beauty contest' aka 'the presidential election'. Over a period of three months back in 2014 CA conned around 200,000 Facebook users into installing their app, 200,000 provided enough connection through Facebook friends to gather the profiles including private messages, of more than 50 million American Facebook users.

Nix went into the British parliament and told the puppets that CA have no Facebook data. This is the angle of attack the silly Grauniard is using and one which they will come unstuck on because CA have moved far beyond that initial scrape in 2014 where they gathered everything about every Facebook user. That was the 'foundation' and it has been built upon by nudging users down hand crafted rabbit holes for the last 4 years. The data has been re-categorised and reshaped, so that finding any traces of Facebook in it will probably be impossible.

CA has teams of psychologists, web site builders and videographers tasked with creating content which the users whose profiles have been mined will find 'interesting'. Websites, Youtube videos and blogs were built to cater to each particular category of human the psychologists had identified.

Facebook doesn't even really matter any more as the 'clay' has been shifted into their own special grouping and CA propagandists are whispering in each mug's ear telling him/her exactly what will cause them to slightly alter their point of view about a product service, TV show or politician. Gently edging people onto a conveyor belt of predetermined values, encouraging them to only interact with other humans who share that outlook, the aim is to split social cohesion leaving the mug's reliant on their category's self reinforcing groupthink as the absolute truth. Iphone 57 users will only hang with people who agree Iphone 57 is the best.

Thomas Cook travel agency customers will plan their holidays with other Thomas Cook customers and supporters of the dem or rethug branch of the American empire party will no longer be discomfited by hearing alternative points of view.

That happened to 50 million American voters in 2016 and everyone is worrying about a couple of hundred grand spent long before the primaries on a handful of badly worded urges to buy some now defunct product which was responded to by only a handful of Americans?

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Added: Channel 4 collaborated with the Guardian/Observer on the Cambridge Analytica story. Their report, ‘Data, Democracy and Dirty Tricks’ includes undercover video of Cambridge Analytica's sales pitch:

Part 1: Cambridge Analytica: Whistleblower reveals data grab of 50 million Facebook profiles
Part 2: Cambridge Analytica Uncovered: Secret filming reveals election tricks
Part 3: On the company’s work in the United States, will be broadcast at 7pm tomorrow (Tuesday, 20 March 2018).

---
Added:

b here: In my opinion, Cambridge Analytica and its parent company, SCL do nothing else than the powers-that-be have done for ages. They only privatize and commercialize the tools that have been used all along. During the Cold War (and likely continuing today) the CIA ran up to 400 journalists and editors in "western" media. It promoted abstract art and 'progressive' counter culture, financed the publishing of George Orwell's 'Animal Farm' and so on. The Pentagon rewrites movie scripts and helps financing many Hollywood blockbusters and TV series. They did not need Facebook to 'sell' the war on Iraq.

Yasha Levine's new book Surveillance Valley describes how the Internet grew out of the Pentagon's Vietnam War era counterinsurgency projects as a tool for surveillance and manipulation. It was privatized but all the big Internet companies, Google, Amazon, Facebook etc, are now Pentagon and CIA contractors who help to expand the original project. SCL and Cambridge Analytica are part of this.

But the real question is how well these new projects work. Yes, advertising can sell a product. 'News' can change opinions. But they can only do so to a certain degree or for a limited time. Eskimos do not need refrigerators. Counterinsurgency campaigns usually fail. The Internet companies claim that advertising on their channels works extraordinary well because they can categorize the 'eyeballs' they attract by the data their users 'voluntarily' supply. Cambridge Analytica claims it can efficiently manipulate whole nations on a similar base. These companies sell snake-oil. Their claims are made out of self-interest. I for one doubt them.
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/03/ca ... eople.html
#14898385
So a gay man with a cow's nose ring and absurdly large glasses made this "psychological warfare tool" and is now "whistleblowing" instead of just not doing it in the first place if he was uncomfortable with it?

Threshold questions for me before we ask why Democrats can do this and be praised for it.
#14898387
Let's just forget about Russiagate. That's just a smoke screen. What we need is a whistle blower from inside Cambridge Analytica who can link to the proxies CA used to support the Trump campaign. I doubt that Christopher Wylie knows the subcontractors that were hired for the dirty tricks. They need to make a top executive speak. If Mercer spent 6 million on the Trump campaign, he probably spend a few more million on CA directly. Much of the work CA did for the Brexit campaign was paid for by Mercer without declaring it to the election watchdog.

Trump campaign sprints away from Cambridge Analytica

Trump campaign sprints away from Cambridge Analytica

As the scandal around the data analytics firm intensifies, the Trump camp dramatically downplays its ties to the company.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and his allies are well-practiced in the art of distancing themselves from their own campaign officials and activities once they run into controversy.

The swiftly intensifying scandal involving Cambridge Analytica is no different.

With the data analytics firm battling headlines over a breach of Facebook users’ private data as part of their work to elect Trump and over its now-suspended CEO’s secret pitch of honey traps to influence elections around the world, the Trump team is once again deploying a hardly-knew-‘em defense.

A Trump campaign official — who did not wish to be named — told POLITICO on Tuesday that the 2020 campaign has no existing contracts with Cambridge Analytica and no plans to contract with the firm going forward. And, the official added, the data analytics firm only “provided limited staffing” during the 2016 campaign, and the Trump campaign did not use the firm’s data.

The Trump campaign was not always so eager to distance itself from Cambridge Analytica, especially in the wake of the surprise 2016 win.

We found that Facebook and digital targeting were the most effective ways to reach the audiences,” Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a top campaign aide, told Forbes after the election during an interview in which he boasted about the campaign’s digital strategy. “After the primary, we started ramping up because we knew that doing a national campaign is different than doing a primary campaign. That was when we formalized the system because we had to ramp up for digital fundraising. We brought in Cambridge Analytica.”

And to hear Alexander Nix, the suspended CEO, tell it, Cambridge is practically the reason Trump won.

“We did all the research, all the data, all the analytics, all the targeting, we ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign and our data informed all the strategy,” Nix told an undercover reporter with the U.K.’s Channel 4 in video released late Tuesday. He also said he had met with Trump “many times.”


The revisionist tak
Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, now facing charges for money laundering? He was only involved with the campaign for “a very short period of time,” in Trump’s telling. Former foreign policy aide George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about Russia contacts? Nothing but a “coffee boy,” per one campaign adviser.

But like those other examples, the Trump campaign’s ties to Cambridge Analytica are well documented.

Election records show the Trump campaign paid the firm $5.9 million, and the firm’s extensive ties to Trump have been the subject of numerous media reports during and after the campaign.

Cambridge Analytica has been primarily funded by Robert Mercer who, along with his daughter Rebekah Mercer, was a major backer of Trump’s electoral efforts. Trump’s former White House chief strategist and campaign CEO, Steve Bannon, had served as vice president at the firm. And Kushner, along with 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, who led the campaign’s digital operations in 2016, were reportedly involved in the decision to retain Cambridge Analytica.

The firm was so central to Trump’s electoral efforts that special counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing ties between the Trump campaign and Russian election meddling, has asked the firm to turn over the emails of any employees who worked on the Trump campaign, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Parscale, for his part, has tried to downplay Cambridge’s role, instead saying during an October 2017 interview with “60 Minutes” that the campaign had its own set of tricks that created a winning strategy.

The Trump campaign on Tuesday also tried to point to some past comments, directing POLITICO to an October statement, in which campaign executive director Michael Glassner said Trump chose after securing the nomination to “partner with the Republican National Committee on data analytics” and “relied on them as our main source for data analytics.”

“Any claims that voter data from any other source played a key role in the victory are false,” the statement said.

But the effort to tamp down the Cambridge Analytica scandal will likely become increasingly difficult as lawmakers seize on the revelations.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, on Tuesday cited the scandal as he freshly accused Republicans on the panel for prematurely wrapping up its investigation into connections between the Trump campaign and Russia-driven election meddling.

“Glad to see Cambridge Analytica whistleblower is willing to testify,” Schiff tweeted, referencing news that former Cambridge employee Christopher Wylie was willing to speak with the panel’s Democrats. “Recent revelations about Erik Prince, Roger Stone and Cambridge Analytica illustrate how GOP decision to shut down their investigation abdicated their oversight responsibilities to country. But our work goes on.”

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she’d like Nix to testify and answer questions about potential Russia connections, which could lead to a public airing of close ties between the Trump campaign and Cambridge Analytica.

The White House did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
#14898490
The EU is the only thing that stands between us the digital police state.

Top EU privacy watchdog calls Facebook data allegations the ‘scandal of the century’

Top EU privacy watchdog calls Facebook data allegations the ‘scandal of the century’

By Catherine Stupp | EURACTIV.com Mar 20, 2018 (updated: 10:11)

The top EU privacy watchdog said that allegations of massive harvesting of Facebook users' profile data to influence political campaigns could be "the scandal of the century".

Privacy regulators across the EU should join together to investigate allegations that London-based firm Cambridge Analytica illegally analysed millions of Facebook users’ data, the EU’s top data protection watchdog has said.

National authorities from across the EU should form a joint taskforce to determine whether the social media giant and Cambridge Analytica broke the bloc’s strict data protection laws.


“None of us may succeed alone. A joint action is needed,” Giovanni Buttarelli, the EU data protection supervisor, told reporters on Tuesday (20 March).

His comments dialled up growing pressure from outraged European politicians to crack down on Facebook and Cambridge Analytica over the allegations of massive data harvesting.

Data protection regulators can investigate legal breaches in their own member states and can coordinate their inquiries to share information if more than one authority investigates the same case.

On Wednesday (21 March), Andrea Jelinek, the chair of the article 29 working party, the umbrella group of national data protection authorities from EU member states, said the organisation is working together to investigate the incident. The UK authority is leading the group’s inquiry.

As a rule personal data cannot be used without full transparency on how it is used and with whom it is shared. This is therefore a very serious allegation with far-reaching consequences for data protection rights of individuals and the democratic process. ICO, the UK ́s data protection authority, is conducting the investigation into this matter. As Chair of the Article 29 Working Party, I fully support their investigation. The members of the Article 29 Working Party will work together in this process,” Jelinek said.

The UK data protection authority ICO opened an investigation last year into how data analytics companies were used in the leadup to the Brexit referendum, after reports first circulated about Cambridge Analytica’s analysis of Facebook profiles for political clients. On Monday, the regulator’s office said it would look into new evidence, referring to the reports about Facebook’s knowledge of the data use.

Buttarelli said on Tuesday that allegations about Cambridge Analytica using 50 million Facebook users’ profile data to influence political campaigns “could be the scandal of the century”.

Media reports on Saturday (17 March) about Facebook’s knowledge of an app that collected data from the social media platform and fed it back to Cambridge Analytica in 2016 might just be “the tip of the iceberg,” Buttarelli warned.

The New York Times and the Observer reported over the weekend that millions of Facebook users’ profiles were analysed for political campaigns without their consent, and that Facebook knew of the data harvesting but did not inform its users.

Buttarelli said the allegations posed “an extremely important test for all of us”, referring to the national privacy watchdogs from EU countries.

Facebook under pressure as EU lawmakers announce probes into data harvesting
The European Parliament announced on Monday (19 March) that it will investigate allegations that millions of Facebook users’ data was misused without their knowledge. The European Commission also called for national watchdogs to open their own probes of the incident.

Cambridge Analytica’s clients included Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Leave.EU campaign in the 2016 Brexit referendum, according to the newspapers. The company has denied that it abused Facebook’s user terms to collect the data without informing users. Facebook said over the weekend that it had suspended Cambridge Analytica’s account.

“We are not here to alarm you but the problem is real and huge,” Buttarelli said.

He said the national authorities spoke to each other over the phone and by email after the latest reports broke about Cambridge Analytica and Facebook.

The regulators have started to work together more over the last few years, particularly in their actions after data breaches affecting large tech companies that operate across the bloc.

Last autumn, privacy authorities from seven EU countries banded together to investigate a breach that exposed personal data from millions of users of the ride-sharing app Uber.

The watchdogs do not currently have the power to conduct EU-wide inquiries if they suspect a company has broken the law in multiple member states. They can voluntarily agree to create special taskforces, like in the case of the Uber investigation, if more than one regulator is investigating the same case.

But that will change when a stricter new EU data protection regulation comes into effect in May that will give regulators more muscle and the ability to impose much higher sanctions of up to €20 million, or 4% of a firm’s global turnover.

A group of multiple European authorities would be better positioned to investigate whether the incident broke EU law because Facebook’s business model and use of features such as the ‘like’ button or fan pages to track user data are the same in every country, Buttarelli said.

“The way in which the system works is global and there is no exception. There is no national approach,” Buttarelli told reporters.

Facebook’s European headquarters is in Ireland. On Tuesday, the Irish data protection commissioner said in a statement that she is “following up with Facebook Ireland in relation to what forms of active oversight of app developers and third parties that utilise their platform is in place”.

A European Commission spokesman said on Monday that the EU executive urged national data protection watchdogs to open an “EU-wide investigation”.

Vera Jourova, the EU’s Justice Commissioner, called the allegations “horrifying”.

She flew to Washington on Monday and will discuss the Facebook data case in meetings this week with Trump administration officials, her spokesman said. She will also meet with Facebook representatives.

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani said on Tuesday that he had invited Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to a hearing in the house. The Parliament does not have the authority to sanction firms over breaches of EU data protection law. The UK Parliament has also summoned Zuckerberg to give evidence to MPs.
#14898680
The BBC keeps on pontificating about the dire state of the 3rd world, yet unseen by the public, British businessmen at companies like Cambridge Analytica together with the British intelligence community earn big money by subverting democracy in the 3rd world.

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

Still terrified witnesses paint a shocking picture of how far a western firm will go to win an election

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”.

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”.


[b]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.’”
[/b]
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.”


And then they tell us it's bad old Putin doing it.

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