The processes by which the right-wing neo-fascists undermined democracy in the US have been increasingly exposed by intrepid investigative journalists who have dug deep and followed the legal and financial trails to their hidden roots among the global oligarchy. Foremost among those journalists are The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, whose Dark Money and New Yorker articles expose the web of investments by the Koch brothers, Robert Mercer, and others to tip the legal, political, and academic playing fields to the right, and Carole Cadwalladr of The Guardian, who more recently has pulled together the threads connecting Mercer’s Cambridge Analytica to a global network of political electioneering using the new found power of computer algorithms. (See my blogs at Jane Mayer’s Dark Money, Jane Mayer Exposes Robert Mercer, and Carole Cadwalladr Connects the dots on Trump-Russia, and Cambridge Analytica Exposed.)
Cadwalladr’s latest article is “Follow the data: does a legal document link Brexit campaigns to US billionaire? We reveal how a confidential legal agreement is at the heart of a web connecting Robert Mercer to Britain’s EU referendum“. Here, Cadwalladr is primarily concerned with the way in which the pro-Brexit forces skirted British law and financing restrictions to combine forces and use computer analytics to target voters. But underlying that effort is a global combination of forces, in significant part reflecting the finances and work of Robert Mercer and of Steve Bannon, now a chief aide to Donald Trump. Here’s the Cadwalladr section I found core:
“Follow the data, however, and another story is revealed, which leads directly to Mercer and his close associate, Steve Bannon, now Donald Trump’s chief strategist in the White House. Mercer was the owner of Cambridge Analytica, a firm which, as the Observer detailed last week, was spun out of a British firm with 30 years experience in working for governments and militaries around the world, specialising in “psychological operations”. At the time of the referendum, the Observer has learned, Bannon was the head of it.
What was not known, until February, was the relationship between all these figures and the Leave campaign. That was when Andy Wigmore, Leave.EU’s communications director, revealed to this paper that Farage was a close friend of both Bannon and Mercer. He said that the Leave campaign was a ‘petri dish’ for the Trump campaign. ‘We shared a lot of information because what they were trying to do and what we were trying to do had massive parallels.’
Wigmore also said that Mercer had been ‘happy to help’ and Cambridge Analytica had given its services to the campaign for free. It was the general secretary of Ukip, a British lawyer called Matthew Richardson, who effected Leave.eu’s introduction to Cambridge Analytica, Wigmore said. ‘We had a guy called Matthew Richardson who’d known Nigel for a long time and he’s always looked after the Mercers. The Mercers had said that here’s this company that we think might be useful.’
He said that Mercer, Farage and co had all met at a conference in Washington. ‘The best dinner we ever went to. Around that table were all the rejects of the political world. And the rejects of the political world are now effectively in the White House. It’s extraordinary. Jeff Sessions. [Former national security adviser Michael] Flynn, the whole lot of them. They were all there.’”
Cadwalladr’s work is extraordinary too and must be read in full. It lays bare the level and sophistication that underlies the way in which the oligarchs have swung governance to the right. Call it a conspiracy if you will. Follow the money. And know your enemy.