Part 1 described the origins of Cambridge Analytica when Steve Bannon persuaded oligargh Robert Mercer to invest in the company in order to infulence the 2016 presidential election. Who is Robert Mercer? He is an American multi-multi-millionaire who funded various right wing political activity including Nigel Farage’s Brexit campaign as well as funding many right-wing political causes in the United States, such as Breitbart News and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign for president.
Mercer started out as computer scientist, an early artificial intelligence researcher, then later became CEO of the hedge fund company Renaissance Technologies. In 2015, The Washington Post called Mercer one of the ten most influential billionaires in politics. Mercer was shown data that indicated “voters were becoming alienated from both political parties and mainstream candidates” which probably led him to support Trump in the Republican race in 2016.
To test run, Cambridge Analytica’s approach to infulence elections, Mercer became involved in the EU Referendum, donating the services of Cambridge Analytica (CA) to Nigel Farage and Leave.EU. CA harvested data from Facebook profiles (more about in Part 3) in order to target them with individualized ads to vote for Brexit. CA, through Canadian digital firm AggregateIQ also advised Dominic Cummings’ VoteLeave campaign, which delivered an estimated one billion individually curated targeted adverts to voters in the lead up to the Brexit referendum, in contravention of established voting rules. Neither VoteLeave and Leave.EU informed the UK electoral commission of Mercer’s donations. In 2018, the Electoral Commission found the VoteLeave campaign guilty of breaking electoral law.
“Adverts”… it sounds so tame, doesn’t it? Part 3 will be discussing this in more detail but in the meantime, this is a must-watch TED talk by Carole Cadwallar who slams into facebook and the impact that social media is making on the UK’s antiquated election laws.
To avoid making this article epic length, it will be broken down in stages. This is Part 1, Background
Cambridge Analytica was founded (around 2013-2015) by conservative businessmen Steve Bannon and Oligargh Robert Mercer in order to infulence the 2016 presidential election. Around 15 million dollars was originally invested into the company by Mercer as a subsidiary to the SCL group.
CA did not spring out of nowhere. It has a history and before delving into CA, you need to know more about the SCL Group and the Behavioural Dynamics Institute (BDI)
In 1990, Nigel Oakes, who had a background in TV production and advertising, founded the BDI as a research facility for strategic communication: the study of mass behaviour and how to change it. Oakes thought that to shift mass opinion, academic insights as gained through psychologists and anthropologists at BDI should be applied, and would be more successful than traditional advertising methods. Oakes established Strategic Communication Laboratories in 1993 to monetise the BDI research while BDI became a non-profit affiliate of SCL.
SCL was successful commercially and then expanded into military and political arenas. It became known for alleged involvement “in military disinformation campaigns to social media branding and voter targeting”. In 2005, “with a glitzy exhibit” at Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI), “the United Kingdom’s largest showcase for military technology”, SCL demonstrated its capacity in “influence operations”, in particular, “to help orchestrate a sophisticated campaign of mass deception” on the public. According to its website, SCL has participated in over 25 international political and electoral campaigns since 1994.
SCL’s involvement in the political world has been primarily in the developing world where it has been used by the military and politicians to study and manipulate public opinion and political will. It uses what have been called “PsyOps” to provide influence the thinking of the target audience. SCL claimed to be able to help foment coups. According to its website, SCL has influenced elections in Italy, Latvia, Ukraine, Albania, Romania, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Mauritius, India, Indonesia, The Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, Colombia, Antigua, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, St. Kitts & Nevis, and Trinidad & Tobago. While the company initially got involved in elections in the United Kingdom, it ceased to do so after 1997 because staff members did not exhibit the same “aloof sensibility” as with projects abroad.
SCL claims that its methodology (more on this in a later part) has been approved or endorsed by agencies of the Government of the United Kingdom and the Federal government of the United States, among others.
CEO of CA is Alexander Nix. Follow this link to hear him describe the CA Big Data approach elections or this one to hear how big data helped Senator Ted Cruz in 2016. Where is Nix today?
So what happens next? Johnson is keen to obtain a news agenda on his terms; Number 10 needs to keep up the gaslighting… they even have a giant gaslamp outside the front door to remind everyone… So Johnson instructed non-partisan news outlets to be banned from PM briefings. Now we may now get no news at all after journalists, in solidarity, walked out together. It was left to one of Boris Johnson’s aides to ban reporters. “The confrontation took place inside No 10 after Lee Cain, Johnson’s most senior communications adviser, tried to exclude reporters from the Mirror, the i, HuffPost, PoliticsHome, the Independent and others from an official government briefing.” You know what they say, “first they came for the journalists and I said nothing… I don’t know what happened after that!” Was stopping every news report, all part of the plan? Since we can only expect bad news for the next few years…
So connecting the dots between what is happening in the UK and the USA: the billionaire class attempting to subvert democracy by promoting toadies and stooges and crippling the election process… what does this mean for the 2020 US Presidental election?
Currently it is not looking good. What exactly that happened in the Iowa Caucus last night? Details are sketchy but this is the Daily Gaslight’s current understanding:
With just a few districts announced, Bernie supporters, checking their own canvassing called foul. The Shadow software was underreporting Sanders’ support by 40%! The Sanders team showed their estimates: a lead for Sanders with some 29% of the vote.
In the resulting confusion, every candidate announced they were the winner.
Twitter was a buzz with anti-Bernie jibes that he had cheated (!) and was encouraging anti-semitism in the party.
So Gaslighting continues… the DNC party leadership seem to have this real grudge against Bernie Sanders and the democratic process… let’s see what happens next in the USA (since we will be getting precious little news from Number 10 by the look of things!)
To tie this news back to the theme of this post: what happens to the UK Trump deal if Bernie wins the Presidential race?
The Previous Daily GasLamp post refered to GE2019 as a PysOp – which stands for Pyschological Operation. So PysOp is a mission conducted by Pyschological Warfare (a little known part of the art of warfare but this is still as old as Sun Tzu.) This post expands upon that statement.
Firstly the reason, why a PysOp was needed was because Jeremy Corbyn together with the Labour party had effectively challenged the Conservatives in the 2017 snap election coming close to knocking them from power. However, Teresa May clung on as PM… she later taunted Corbyn over the desptach box that he’d never become Prime Minister, perhaps alluding to an establishment stitch up. Another election was obviously only another one or two years away. The Conservatives hoped that Brexit would be achieved and would do better against Labour but by October 2019, another Brexit Deadline had been missed.
Meanwhile, the establishment, namely newsmedia, civil service, public schools, intelligence and armed services (although not the legal profession, so much) were not too pleased with Corbyn. The armed forces were using a photo of Corbyn for target practice. The establishment would plan to ensure that Corbyn with his anti-Trump, anti-Israel, anti-nuclear-weapon, anti-war, anti-Royalty policies could never be enabled.
Who could do it?
World leaders in PysOps are the USA, Israel or Russia and these countries all have a vested interested in a Conservative Win in the GE. While the UK also has a PysOps capability, it is probably unlikely that a British military services would be used, but it could be done by other UK organisations… such as the likes of the Institute for Statecraft. To quote wikipedia, their “Integrity Initiative’s twitter account had been used to smear Corbyn and the Labour Party. The Foreign Office minister, Alan Duncan ordered an investigation into the reports and stated “Not only must [anti-Labour attacks by Statecraft] stop, I want to know why on earth it happened in the first place.”MP Chris Williamson argued that it promoted the “denigration of the Labour party and Jeremy Corbyn” and called for an inquiry.”
If the Institute for Statecraft was not used then other, equally clandestine, organisations spun off from the Deep State could also be responsible.
What is a PysOp?
The process of a PysOP is well documented and is as follows:
clearly define the mission so that it aligns with national objectives
need a PSYOP estimate of the situation
prepare the plan
pre-testing – determines the probable impact of the PSYOP on the target audience
production and dissemination of PSYOP material
post-testing – evaluates audience responses
So a proposed PysOp for GE2019 could look like the following:
1. Clearly define a plan: rig the election so that the Conservatives Win.
2. PYSOP estimation: the election despite being rigged but must appear to be fair and the mismatch between expectation and rigged result could be explained by propaganda generated both before and after the election.
4. Media Selection: everything! All channels to be used to bombard the public with anti-Corbyn propaganda including BBC and social media.
5. Product Development. The basic solution for this PysOp was the development of a solution that provided Situational Awareness of voter intentions. This was the solution used with Vote Leave and just upgraded for GE2019 by Dominic Cummings as described by Dominic Cummings in his blog.
6. Pre-testing. Dominic Cummings describes how pre-testing of social media ads was done on small groups then expanded out and in any case, the approach was successful in Vote Leave. Facebook allowed targeting of ads to just the people that would be most susceptible.
7. Production of PysOp material – besides the usual right wing newspapers – included the supposedly politically neutral BBC that seemed intent on creating the worst character assassination of Corbyn. Many people expressed dislike for Jeremy Corbyn, but when pressed could not be specific about the reasons why although normally pro-terrorist or ant-semitism were mentioned. As an anti-war, anti-racist, anti-zionist campaigner, Corbyn had developed quite a few enemies in the establishment… Others pointed out he did not display traditional military style leadership methods. Corbyn, indeed, led by building consensus and in the process grew the Labour Party to be the largest political party in Europe. This forming another reason why the establishment did not like him.
8. Implementation: there are multiple lines of attack here: Propaganda – full spectrum covergage, targetted ads, sock puppets and bots to retweet and encourage the right behaviour with “voter intention feedback” from automatic AI-based inspection of social media pages of targetted voters.
9. Post-testing. Finally with a complete Big Data view provided complete “situation awareness” allowed the minimum amount of vote rigging… Social Media was used to monitor the campaign and just before the Postal Vote deadline, Dominic Cummings noted that they didn’t have the numbers… so postal vote fraud was required. No doubt exact numbers of how many votes were required to push their candidates over the line (with a small margin for error) was provided for each constituency…
10. Feedback was the election result. The BBC exit poll had it spot on… but hang on… 38% of the the votes were postal vote. If, as Dominic Raab and Laura Kuenssberg mentioned before election day, the postal vote was expected to be mainly Tory… shouldn’t the exit poll be slightly different? Nope. The BBC obviously had all the intell they needed….
Everyone now agrees with the political story that Corbyn was an unpopular politician with unpopular policiies hence he lost the election. Rather than the truth: a fraudulent election fixed by computer analytics fed from illegal use of social media, automation, pyschographics and postal vote rigging. The propaganda fog from the compliant main stream media being so dense that everyone believes the narrative. No-one believes that they have been gas-lighted.
No-one seems to be talking about this yet… GE2019 and the use of Social Media Sock Puppets and Psychological Operations, Postal Vote Fraud and Voter Suppression. This wasn’t so much a political event, trading policy ideas on a level playground, but more like a military operation with one side armed to to teeth with tanks and fighter jets with the other with handbags.
The Tories were in a real mess in October 2019 running a minority government. Johnson was goading Corbyn to call for an election. Johnson obviously had a plan for the election and it had nothing to do with policy or a vision of the future for Britain, it was just three words “Get Brexit Done” – whatever that means (as far as I can tell it is just to let Tory Donors off the hook from tax avoidance scams).
The Tories ran a pretty dreadful campaign. Johnson was Boo-ed on many of his public outings and his team were a shambles, offending Greenfeld victims, NHS workers and patients, and dodging any questions regarding climate change or the environment. Johnson was defending a marginal seat with only 4000 odd majority, but did not even attend hustings in his consituency. A similar story can be found in constituencies in the north of England (soon to be won by them in the GE) where there was precious little evidence of a Tory campaign on the ground.
Various commentators noted that the gap between Conservatives and Labour was narrowing mainly because the polls had not accounted for the Youth Quake, dying Brexit voters and Campaign disasters (such as Fridge Gate). There was the issue of Labour voters moving to the Brexit Party but both the LibDems, Brexit Party and Tories had a dreadful campaign and many people expected a shift to Labour and at least a hung parlaiment.
General Election 12th December 2019
So on the day of the General Election, there were extraordinary queues at polling stations in many consituencies: Young Voters coming out in force. But at 10.30pm the exit polls were announced and the BBC was 99% accurate to the actual result… which is rather strange since the postal votes were at an extraordinary high – double the number in 2017 and not counted towards the exit poll. Did the BBC have other data to work with other than the exit poll information?
According to the official figures, while the registered voter population had grown from 46m to 47m, turned out had dropped slightly from 68.7% to 67.3%. These figures seem to be a bit of puzzle… considering not only the Youth Quake, Polling Booth Queues but also the reported doubling of the postal vote from around 16% in 2017 to 32% in 2019 – these figures are still being collated since official figures will not be fully available until Jun 2020.
The official explanation is that former Labour Voters moved to Conservative (and Brexit Party) and while this story has credibility according to these figures, more striking is the move from Labour to LibDem, Green and SNP. Perhaps the real story is how efficient the Tories had optimised their vote in the very unfair First-Past-The-Post election system, allowing them to pick up one seat for every 38264 votes while the LibDems were amazingly less efficient moving from 200,000 in 2017 for each seat to 300,000 in 2019. It seems that the Conservatives with only 100,000 or so paid up party members had out-campaigned Labour, the largest political party in Europe with 500,000 party members, through the use of capital-intensive technology.
Before the EU Referendum, Dominic Cummings had created a system for Vote Leave called the Voter Intentions Collection System (VICS). This is well documented in Dominic Cummings own blog. https://dominiccummings.com/on-the-eu-referendum/ It provides a statistical probability of each and every vote and voter, fed by data sources “conventional and unconventional”.
In 2019, Dominic Cummings claimed that voters were persuaded to change their attitudes to people, party and desire to vote by targetted adverts. Facebook allows targetted ads including by location, demographics (age, gender, education, job title), interests, behaviour and connections, include people who are connected to your people or events, or to exclude them. So the Tories had the ability to target people that were likely to be swayed by their ads. Cummings claim they tested the ads on small groups, fine tuned them and then pushed out to larger groups. The ads were largely attack ads against Corbyn or “Get Brexit Done” messages with overtones of racism. The ads were targetted towards football supporters and football supporter mentality… which is largely pretty tribal if not racist…
However to really guage voter intention, VICS needs more than just targetting information it needs, feedback and engagement. Social media, particularly facebook, is the tool of choice. Sock Puppet accounts and bots were enabled to do a number of things:
a) identify a person who was likely to vote for a particular party – if confirmed views, would they be voting?
b) identify people who could possibly be infulenced “floating voters”, and if infulenced would they vote?
c) identify people who were unlikely to vote at all
In particular, besides identifying voter’s political view, the sock puppets and bots could re-inforce tribal behaviour and commitment to vote by either “liking” posts, engaging in chit-chat and obtaining such confirmation. As mentioned above, the Tories had demonstrated a massive capability for its sock puppets and bots but it is unlikely that these were directly controlled by Tory Party operatives but either UK Intelligence Services or Foriegn Intelligence Services – the most likely being, not Russia, but USA and Israel who both have massive capability for such “Pyschological Operations“.
IDOX systems are used to used to manage Postal Votes in around 80% of UK constituencies. It does not count votes but managing the requests, sending out voter packs, verifying the packs and managing the electoral rolls. This is gold dust info into a system like VICS. So was the data passed deliberately to Tory CCHQ? Maybe not necessary – just hacked! Rabid Tory Peter Lilly was a former director of IDOX, he could have passed on details to people that could then easily hack the IDOX systems. We know for instance that each IDOX installation was separated (so no central database) and I’m sure, “good security controls” but each system was also capable of being connected by wi-fi and/or the internet and so, of course, wide open to any determined organisation to hack into it. (See picture). The Institue of Statecraft for example, would easily be able to achieve this.
Postal Vote Fraud
Various efforts are now in play to investigate the postal vote fraud but this is nothing new. There was a postal vote court case in England in September 2019 and suspected postal vote fraud in the Scottish Referendum For GE2019 early information indicates that both Safe Tory Seats and Marginals won by the Conservative, had high Postal Ballot percentages, double the usual figures.
The VICS data would have indentified those people unlikely to vote. These would be the perfect people to impersonate for postal vote ballot stuffing.
Finally there is evidence of voter suppression, particularly of youngsters, people living abroad and new British Citizens, (and there’s more on the way). The evidence for this is available all over Twitter. Another group, confirmed non-Tory voters, could have been identified by VICS data and these voters could have been somehow twarted from voting (by a variety of means).
The different methods to achieve the goal, a conservative landslide, would have been diverse in order to stop any one particular method being fully understood and the fraud exposed. All that really was required was “Situational Awareness” – a military term that is now widely used within business – to provide a complete overall picture of progress towards the goal. In the conversative case, this was provided by Dominic Cummings’ Voter Intention Database. Is that system illegal? No… Well, actually it depends on who paid for it and how it was accounted for in campaign finances… and we won’t know that until June 2020. Oh, and if using Social Media Data it probably broke GDPR rules governed by the Information Commissioner Office. (The ICO seems to be very quiet on this matter).
More information will be written up as it becomes available. This blog will be used to store information and links provided for use on social media…
Electoral Law is lagging behind in regulating Big Data and other technological advances that destroy real democracy…