Mercer’s Cambridge Analytica ‘Utterly Sleazy’

Mercer’s Cambridge Analytica ‘Utterly Sleazy’


It’s
the Real News Network. I’m Greg Wilpert coming to you from Quito,
Ecuador. The data mining company Cambridge Analytica,
which is owned by the billionaire Robert Mercer, made headlines for a second time in less than
a week. On Monday Britain’s Channel 4 News broadcast
the results of a four month long investigation into the company. The explosive report shows the company’s CEO
Alexander Nix bragging about using dirty tricks to entrap politicians. Here’s a short clip from the program. After a four-month undercover investigation,
tonight a glimpse into how they really operate. Prepared, it seems, to ruin their clients’
opponents through handouts and honey traps. Through sex, secrets, and spies. This report comes on the heels of another
report published last week in The New York Times and in the Guardian which revealed how
Cambridge Analytica used data from 50 million Facebook users to build psychological profiles
and generate targeted social media campaigns in support of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Joining me now to discuss the Channel 4 report
on Cambridge Analytica and related matters is Bill Black. Bill is a white collar criminologist and former
financial regulator and Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of
Missouri Kansas City. He is the author also of “The Best Way to
Rob a Bank Is to Own One.” Thanks for joining us again, Bill. Thank you. Bill, What is your initial reaction to these
latest revelations about Cambridge Analytica dirty tricks? So, Americans understand the Koch brothers. But if you distilled the Koch brothers down
to the absolute essence of evil then you’d have the Mercer father-daughter team. They want to produce a world that’s authoritarian
and they want to produce a world that is nationalistic, along the lines of, basically, pure blood
and those types of things. And they’ve taken over this entity Cambridge
Analytica that used to be just sort of a regular company. They purged all of the moderates. So it’s deeply, deeply right wing. But it’s more than that. It’s, basically, you have to think of these
people as mercenaries, as in mercenaries in the old days that would go in and take over
a country by force of arms. Now they do it in a more sophisticated fashion. They have no country that they believe in. Former spies type such, but they are entirely
out for power and money in these areas. So the first thing, as you said, was the Facebook. Now, what people have to understand is every
time you do something like like something on Facebook you are giving them valuable information
that they sell to use to manipulate you. Or to meet your needs. You know, some combination of those things. And Cambridge Analytica used a front man,
a Russian front man, who was a professor. Researcher was his official title in the U.K. And he got grants, supposedly, from Cambridge
Analytica to do this work. And that gave them access to Facebook in a
way that they would normally not have gotten access. And then they deliberately misused that for
purely non-academic purposes. By the way, all of that took enormous amounts
of money to do the research, and they gifted that to the Trump administration as part of
this campaign effort that the Mercers paid for. So that means it’s not the charge that they,
you know, made public, that they had charged the Trump admin group, the campaign, four
million dollars, which is a lie. They’ve actually done six million through
another cut out front. But on top of that maybe 100, maybe even 200
million worth of research according to some estimates was done and gifted to the Trump
administration. That would quite possibly be a violation of
the campaign finance laws as well. OK. So all of that we know is sleaze and we all
know about crony capitalism how it creates a criminogenic environment and how you expect
sleazy people to use sleazy people to do things. But rarely do you see it on videotape, and
done with such British, not coolness, but just boasting by some dweeby guys about how
they use Ukrainians, you know, presumably blondess to seduce people, that’s called the
honey trap. And then you take the embarrassing pictures
and you blackmail them. Now that means, by the way, this is not a
dirty trick. That’s a crime. That’s called extortion. That’s a crime everywhere. They talked about how they used bribes. That’s a crime. That violates the Foreign Corrupt Practices
Act in the United States, and the UK has its own version of that. And then they extort people for taking the
bribe because they filmed the person taking the bribe. That too is a crime. So it is just a mass of criminal operations
from front to back, and they brought it up. They bragged about this, and such. And their defense is the best in the world. Their defense is, oh, we deliberately say
outrageous things and promise to do terrible outrageous things because we’re testing the
client, because we don’t want immoral clients. So if the client says no, yes to these things,
then we would never, you know, associate. But of course, this investigation was done
over months. And when that supposed client, the undercover
person indicated quite some interest that this they didn’t walk away and say oh no,
we don’t want to deal with sleazy. They said yes, yes. Here’s more and more things we could do. So this is, again, the modern way of the modern
mercenary, and they’re every bit as disgusting as the folks that used to stage coups all
over Africa and such. It’s just that now they don’t, they do it
in Africa, they do it in the Middle East, but now they do what the United States and
France, and they did it in the United Kingdom. And the Brexit vote was probably affected
by this as well. So this is the face of what the Mercers and
the Trump administration are bringing. It’s not just criminality, but blatant criminality,
where there’s not really even much of a facade of public interest, it’s just we take pride
in the fact that we’re sleazy and willing to do awful things. And we will find some human weakness in our
opponents, and then we’ll exploit that and blackmail them in order to drive them from
the public sphere, or to corrupt them to do the things we want, and we’re really quite
proud of how we do this. Just aside from the issue of the blatant criminality
that you mentioned there seems to be also a bit of a grey area. I just want to ask you about that, that is
in that video in that short clip. I don’t know if it was very clear, but it
also provides subtitles where the executive is talking, the Cambridge Analytica executive
is also talking about releasing information. That is, that they found out, or dirt, basically,
that they have on particular opponents in releasing that information into the bloodstream
of the Internet. In other words, to put it out in social media. And so I’m just wondering, what can you say
about the legality of that kind of thing? I mean, if it’s not a direct bribe or extortion,
but rather a way to influence public opinion by setting people up and then releasing it
into into the public sphere. Please note that these are the same folks
who are attacking the Steele so-called dossier on the grounds that it did some allegedly
smidgen of this, whereas this is the entire purpose they boast about. And suddenly Trump has no problem with it. In fact, he says hire those guys. Yes, opposition research is something that
can be done if someone really does have something bad in their record and you find it out and
you make it public. And of course, the voters may turn against
the folk. That is not illegal. What Cambridge Analytica did, and as the tapes
show in multiple places, it doesn’t, you know, wait and see whether we can find something
they’ve done that’s sleazy. We will create sleaze. We will go and bribe people. We will go and seduce people. We will go even make false claims. Even if they say no to our attempts to extort
them, to suborn them, we will claim that they did the wrong thing. We’ll show a picture of us handing the money
over to them, not the picture of them saying no and refusing the money. So even in the grey area they often they quickly
move back to where they’re most comfortable, which is as felons. That’s what their business plan is. The strategic plan of Cambridge Analytica
is we have a competitive advantage over any rival because we have no moral constraints. But assuming that it does get into the social
media platforms and it isn’t blatant blatantly illegal, I mean, clearly the illegal stuff
you have to deal with through law enforcement, but I’m wondering about the stuff that’s in
this gray area, particularly in terms of what, what do you think does this say about the
power of social media, and maybe what might need to be done in order to get this power
under public control. What do you think? Well, obviously it shows the destructive nature
of it. And again, back to what Facebook does, Facebook,
through all those things that you choose to buy, to not buy, the things you choose to
watch and such, they look for associations with policy, personality types, those types
of things. In order to send, they don’t just put it indiscriminately
into the bloodstream of the Web. They look for the people most susceptible. Think of it as people that have a genetic
susceptibility to a disease, and they make sure they spread that toxin directly to though
that target those people. So yes, it is much more destructive than in
the old days where, you know, what you hoped to do with opposition research was to get
a negative story in the media. You know, the newspaper. And then the people who read the newspaper,
maybe if it was really embarrassing that would make the television shows. Obviously, anybody that deals with social
media knows we’re in a very different world. And we also have significant pockets of people,
not a few percentages, large percentages that really lap this stuff up and have very few
other sources of news. And they don’t seem to even try to discriminate
what’s real, what’s false, and what, your point more subtly, is real but, you know,
deliberately ginned up. The way you take some normal human weakness
and you make it into the most embarrassing thing in the world. Or even something that wasn’t a weakness where
someone simply had a phrase and in context it’s clear that they were saying X and you
make it look like they were saying negative X. Right? And where negative X would be very unpopular. All of those things are being done. If you want it in terms of economics, Austrian
economics, one of the big things of von Hayek and such is this concept of spontaneous order. Left to its own devices, markets will simply,
no one has to plan, they will simply rise to profit opportunities. Von Hayek saw only the positive parts of that. But of course, you can make lots of money
by doing terrible, terrible things to people, and Austrian economics ignored those things. So you need to regulate. And if you have a monopolist, or close to
a monopolist, you know, like which is Facebook and some aspects of its operations, that you
have even under neoclassical economic theory a legitimate basis for regulating them. By the way, as we are speaking today the security
chief of Facebook has just resigned, apparently in protest at Facebook’s refusal to take security
and privacy of its customers sufficiently seriously. So I don’t believe the reform is going to
come from Facebook. Well, we’ll definitely come back to this as
this is not an issue that’s going to go away. I’m speaking to Bill Black, Professor of Economics
and Law at the University of Missouri Kansas City. Thanks again for having joined us today, Bill. Thank you. And I’m Greg Wilpert for the Real News Network.

37 Replies to “Mercer’s Cambridge Analytica ‘Utterly Sleazy’

  1. lol this story is so funny, especially this tool being on candid Camera
    http://www.businessinsider.com/cambridge-analytica-secretly-filmed-by-channel-4-saying-it-can-entrap-politicians-2018-3

  2. Very interesting BUT the UK's Channel 4 is thought by many to be, let's say, strongly 'influenced' by the UK government – see some of their reportage on Syria. Possible that this is just another way – Russian Trump collusion etc – of undermining Trump? Don't know – certainly a nasty outfit.

  3. Bill is good talking about economic matters.

    On this subject he was painful … the bulk of his commentary was old news and he kept talking about the Trump Administration when the object was the Trump Campaign … more specifically Bannon and Mercer.

    Cambridge Analytica was revealed as a player in the 2016 elections in 2016!

  4. Wake up people God gave Satan dominion over the Earth like he said let the evil rule the evil city state and federal officials all over the world are all doing it and are all in on it together repent for the time draws near

  5. Whooooah …… Throwing in the “Brexit also rigged” and not following it up won’t do. Brits had decided they wanted to leave the EU years before that vote even took place. Obama flying over here and threatening us was the icing on the cake . That sealed the Brexit vote for us.

  6. Consider the underlying idea, trying to sell people who have been targeted as receptive, so they will accept the message because they already accept the message. Hmm, I smell a con, paying for collating existing peoples predilections and claiming they created it. Why test the client, well, if the act is borderline criminal, then they are in no position to complain when it doesn't work.
    All they do is make unrealistic promise to ignorant people to get them to do stupid things, the more informed the public, the worse they do.
    The criminal acts of course, something else entirely, data mining for a weakness and then committing criminal acts to extort the victim (preferable apparently) or when they can not be extorted driving them from public life. A deep scan of their databases might well expose some interesting activity.

  7. An international cabal has hijacked.governments worldwide. Killing hundreds of millions since WWII. WHEN WILL WE ACT ??? … Silent weapons are being used against the West. See Professor William Engdahl’s Seeds of Mass Destruction, The Corbett Report: How Big Oil.

  8. Great guest and very interesting analysis. Would just add that Project Veritas exposed some very dubious things on the Democratic side (leading to some resignations) and then there is the whole unravelling of Russiagate…that looks questionable at best…conspiratorial at worst. Watching all this unfold one gets the feeling its two criminal gangs fighting it out…using all the levers (dirty tricks) at their disposal, paying little or no heed to the average Joe…he suffers from this. At the same time average Joe is full of anxiety towards the "other side" (depending which side he is on) leaving rationality at the door hence no vision for a solution.

  9. So Channel 4 digs back up the C.A story that was discussed a year ago because it now loosely fits the Russia hysteria ?!
    So now MSM runs around like a headless chicken because this ticks both boxes; Cold War 2.0 agenda AND social media censorship agenda.

  10. Cambridge Analytica CEO suspended for bragging about criminality. $200 million dollars of stolen information was "gifted" to, but not reported by, the Trump campaign. The whistleblower and the Channel 4 undercover sub rosa films reveal serious criminality. Trump was connected to Cambridge Analytics and voter suppression efforts by Crosscheck back in 2014. Koch and Mercer money went to Steve Bannon to weaponized extreme right wing, authoritarian ideology. Putin and Trump are authoritarian types favored by the Mercers and Koch brothers. Strong authoritarian dictators are always backed by wealthy industrialists with strong militaries and a domestic police state. Taking over a country through election tampering has always been easier than through military force.

  11. I was totally for Brexit and I'm not living in UK. I was for Trump at the time of Elections in USA and I'm not American. I was for Le Pen, and I'm not French. Realise people aren't hoodwinked into how they vote or promote another candidate. At the end of the day you'd hope the proper votes were counted properly and the winner be the winner. At no time do I think Brexit was won by corruption.

  12. This expose will insure these guys want be able to influence UK’s election, if Brexit was successful I’m sure the Conservatives and London have been using them for the upcoming election. The poisoning of the Russian spy now makes sense; Jeremy C. was being Sheep-dipped as a Russian puppet. Jeremy already called out London for laundering money for Russian Oligarchs which is what Trump and others in the US have been doing. Nobody talks about Steve B. White Nationalist movement, he was just in France and Italy stirring the pot. Almost every EU member state is having trouble forming a coalition government because of refuges which the US, London and Israel have no problems providing. I wish the US would do a data audit on i360 Computer, it probably has a pretty detailed data base on US citizens but we don’t have the will to go there. It doesn’t matter though because blunder boy is destroying the Republican/Corporate Democrat alliance on his own. Thanks Bill I'll have to study Austrian economic theory also.

  13. Black notes that the online companies find people who are susceptible to misinformation and feed it to them. Here's an article on Google's search algorithm spreading false information with a right wing bias.
    www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/dec/16/google-autocomplete-rightwing-bias-algorithm-political-propaganda

    Here's an article on YouTube's (owned by Google) search algorithm and recommended videos also steering susceptible people off into the right wing fever swamp. www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/feb/02/how-youtubes-algorithm-distorts-truth

    I remember when Google went public and their corporate motto was "Don't be evil." They have failed.

  14. They can do all they want, has zero effect on voters just like the ridiculous Russian based memes on Facebook.

  15. So I guess they bribed/blackmailed Hillary into throwing the election, makes more sense then most explanations for that election result.

  16. Would providing misleading personal information such as likes and dislikes be a means of sabotaging this operation?
    It seems to me they depend on information,what if they depend on false information?
    Will that dependency make their efforts at mind manipulation ineffective?

  17. Despite the fact that I DESPISE BOTH CANDIDATES for President, I hate to admit this, but I voted for TRUMP to SEND HILLARY MY MESSAGE, because I HATED what she did to Bernie Sanders during our Primary! Not only to Bernie, but to Bernie Supporters and NINA TURNER, at the Democratic Convention! This is how much I HATED & STILL HATE what Hillary & her Goons did to us! All this other stuff you're discovering had absolutely nothing to do with why I voted for Trump! and I am POSITIVE, MILLIONS of other Americans FEEL the same way, and VOTED, or DID NOT VOTE for TRAITOR ASS, 2-FACE HILLARY!

    Sorry, fact is, Hillary SCREWED HERSELF because of what she & her THUGS DID to Bernie Sanders, and how they DISRESPECTED US at the Convention!

  18. The Koch brothers have a similar "data collection" company called "i360" which is probably just as dangerous and slimy.

  19. A lot of this is really a story of natural resource predation by the wealthy without compensation.

    The natural resource in this case is US.

    Just as capitalists loot the environment without restoration or payment for precious items like gold or oil, now they mine you for precious information about how you might behave in an election, with respect to a product purchase, or even how you will behave during a hypothetical uprising.

    The EU has a law that is not a law in the US that demonstrates this quite adequately: Google is required to destroy information about a person in its search index if that person requests it. In the EU.

    This was fought tooth and nail by Google because that is part of what Google is valued for.

    One key point about this is that these disgusting people are harvesters. Looters. They don't pay for what they loot, just as they do not pay the orangutans and locals for palm oil plantations.

    And now, Democrats are using the long standing reality to create a police state rather than requiring the looters to pay for what they loot. ~ ARIC

  20. Instead of looking at for attacks on "crooked Hillary" on the comments here, I'll make up my own. CHRC (crooked Hilary Rodem Clinton) a.) had a different blah blah blah and except for this preemptive edit would continue through b.) ad infinitum qua qua qua.

    But seriously, it is nigh impossible to know how to absorb this context. THIS context. Am I some arbitrary individual sharing some random thoughts about the memeish current intrigue of the day, no matter how actually impactful the subject matter? Mostly, yes. Do I hope accomplish anything by posting this (THIS) entirely anonymous diatribe? Mostly just to replicate my own ideology in other people, incongruous of any notions of their preexisting ideologies, being the imperialist that I am.

    Conclusion: THIS is a socially futile exercise. It may stretch my elocutionary legs a bit but I am really not relating to anyone on any substantive level.

  21. The old man took his criminalistic professor expert position into a quite political opinion real fucking lightning fast.

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