FILLING THE GAPS IN THE MUELLER REPORT, PART TWO: SCL Group, Global Election Meddling & the Pentagon

October 4, 2021 0


A Company With Close Ties To Steve Bannon Turns Up At The Pentagon

Cambridge Analytica’s work on the Trump campaign inspired conspiracy theories about electoral mind control. So what is its parent company doing at the Department of Defense?

BuzzFeed News, March 2, 2017 ... The company, the UK-based SCL Group, has done work for the Department of Defense in the past. ... The company did not respond to requests for comment. Given the group’s relationship to the [Trump] White House, any new business with the federal government could raise the prospect of conflicts of interest. ... The Washington Post reported that SCL Group is trying to win new U.S. government contracts across multiple agencies, and that Michael Flynn, who recently stepped down as Trump’s national security advisor, had previously served as an adviser to SCL on such efforts. ... SCL Group has worked on many other projects with the U.S. government, a person with direct knowledge of the company’s government work confirmed. A spreadsheet leaked to BuzzFeed News lists more than a dozen projects, covering work such as “opinion research” and “audience analysis.” ... Outside of the U.S. government, SCL Group has worked on an array of military, political and humanitarian efforts, including ... working to lower opposition-party turnout in a recent Nigerian election, according to information on the company’s website (some of which was removed after a BuzzFeed News story). Hriar Cabayan, the Pentagon official who confirmed the SCL Group meeting, said that the executives in attendance were Nigel Oakes and Kirsten Fontenrose, a former State Department employee who recently joined the company. ... BuzzFeed News previously reported that Oakes once said he used “the same techniques as Aristotle and Hitler.” He added, “We appeal to people on an emotional level to get them to agree on a functional level.”


The New Yorker, March 26, 2018 ... S.C.L. claims to have worked on more than a hundred election campaigns around the world, but evidence for its early work is hard to come by. In 2000, the British press caught wind of Oakes’s activities in Indonesia. In Jakarta, he’d established what the company called an 'operations centre'—a room full of dozens of computers, giant TV screens, and a large one-way mirror—to monitor popular opinion on behalf of the country’s troubled President, Abdurrahman Wahid. ... After the attacks of September 11, 2001, S.C.L. rebranded itself as a communications company for a dangerous world, claiming that its in-house research group (the B.D.I. kept an office at the Royal Institution, Britain’s foremost scientific body) gave it an edge in “psychological warfare” and “influence operations.” In 2005, the company rented a prominent booth at Defence Systems & Equipment International, the United Kingdom’s largest military trade fair, where S.C.L. staff simulated another ops center, running the communications strategy for a fictitious smallpox outbreak in London. The company told Slate it had worked for the U.N. and in post-apartheid South Africa. According to the Observer, in 2007, S.C.L. paid twenty thousand dollars to a Washington lobbying company, Global Policy Partners, to help it win defense contracts in the United States, and the company subsequently carried out surveys for the U.S. military in Iran and Yemen. ... the company survived mainly by offering “election management” services to political parties and their funders in democracies in the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa. ... Rivals from London’s political-consultancy scene {said} “You can judge a political firm a bit by who its clients are. ... they all look like people you wouldn’t trust if they sent you an e-mail.” FILLING THE GAPS IN THE MUELLER REPORT, PART THREE: FACTCHECK - Testimony and reporting that “Cambridge Analytica did not collude with Russia" is obscenely false. We give it five goat bricks.


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