The British Guardian Observer tonight says it has located a document it believes provides a link between two data analytic firms and right wing billionaire financier Robert Mercer. Mercer and his daughter have been major backers of Donald Trump. The story itself is complex, but boils down to the following:
– There were actually two major organizations in Britain pushing for British exit from the European Union — Vote Leave and Leave.EU. By all reports the two groups were supposedly at great odds with each other.
On the surface, the two main campaigns, Leave.EU and Vote Leave, hated one other. Their leading lights, (Nigel) Farage and Boris Johnson, were sworn enemies for the duration of the referendum. The two campaigns bitterly refused even to share a platform.
But the Observer has seen a confidential document that provides clear evidence of a link between the two campaigns. More precisely, evidence of a close working relationship between the two data analytics firms employed by the campaigns – AggregateIQ, which Vote Leave hired, and Cambridge Analytica, retained by Leave.EU.
British electoral law is founded on the principle of a level playing field and controlling campaign spending is the key plank of that. The law states that different campaigns must not work together unless they declare their expenditure jointly. This controls spending limits so that no side can effectively “buy” an election.
But this signed legal document – a document that was never meant to be made public and was leaked by a concerned source – connects both Vote Leave and Leave.EU’s data firms directly to Robert Mercer, the American billionaire who bankrolled Donald Trump.
I don’t want to get into fair use questions here.
I strongly urge Kossacks click the link to the article. It is long, it is complex and if true, it suggests that Mercer and allies have been up to a very large global game — one that involves global strategies to destabilize governments and alliances. It also appears to make heavy use of highly sophisticated data analytics to help identify supporters and opponents of political candidates and campaigns and to craft strategies and messages designed to manipulate them.
Much of this concept has already been widely discussed in relation to the Trump Campaign’s reliance on Cambridge Analytica, but the Guardian Observer story suggests that Mercer et al appear to have combined the forces of Cambridge Analytica and a very obscure firm called AggregateIQ to achieve a new and apparently supercharged level of sophistication in these techniques.
You will find references in the article to Steve Bannon, key strategist with the successful Trump campaign and Nigel Farage, a leader of the British Brexit effort. And you will find various firms denying they worked together even as they deleted web pages that detailed just how they did.
If this is true, the blunt fact is that the Russian hacking, however successful it may have been, could well have been chicken feed in comparison with the Trump campaign’s ability to analyze its support and opposition in incredibly fine detail, and to use sophisticated social messaging techniques to manipulate the views of groups and even individuals to a degree not yet seen in any democratic political campaign. It appears that this powerhouse has done so now to achieve at least two stunning upset victories…Brexit and Trump.
If true, OUR democracy and those of democratic governments around the world are in very serious trouble.