The Psychographic Scourge
Cambridge Analytica, political manipulation, Facebook,
Mercer, Brexit, Trump, Putin and other scams
see also Money is crap! and Twitface
“This country’s been hijacked. You know it. I know it. People are scared. People are angry. They need a voice that echoes that discontent. Someone’s got to tell them ‘Don’t take any shit’”. Billy Joel speaking at John Mellencamp’s induction into the US Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.
Billy Joel’s and Naomi Klein’s words came several years after the Enron scandal, around the time of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and of the Great Financial Collapse with its bailouts from the public purse to private interests that had profited from manipulating complex financial schemes (hedge funds, etc.) through banking institutions that were considered ‘too big to fail’. Meanwhile Jo and Joanne Public (98% of the population) were easy targets and left to ‘fail’. Joel and Klein are talking about the effects of the nefarious neo-liberalist system that hijacked the common good (res publica). Neo-liberalism’s only winners are the super-rich (<2%).
Neo-liberalism is a dogma that gained extra momentum after the fall of the Soviet Union when capitalism no longer needed to pretend it was humane. After the Reagan and Thatcher years it became entrenched under the Bushes and Clinton in the USA, and, in the UK, under Major and Blair. At the same time, the more emboldened and cynical it became (Enron, Madoff, Financial Collapse, etc.), the clearer it became to an increasing number of ordinary people that the system was, despite all the ‘freedom and free market’ propaganda, deeply flawed and painfully unjust. People’s lives were getting worse, not better. In many circles socialism unsurprisingly ceased to be a dirty word. Such longing for a just society and for real freedom —even if expressed in apolitical terms like ‘Yes, we can’ and ‘Sí, podemos’ — demanded radical counter-measures from the super-rich and the rabid right if they were to maintain their economic and ideological stranglehold on the populace (us). That’s where psychographics came in with its mass-psychological manipulations.
Alexander Nix, boss of data mining firm Cambridge Analytica, owned by Robert Mercer (see below)
To understand the psychographics scourge and how it works, please read reports about the data mining firm Cambridge Analytica and its role in rigging both the UK Brexit referendum and the US 2016 elections. The reports, based on rigorous investigative journalism and on whistle-blower evidence, expose the iniquitous and largely illegal manipulation of public opinion. Here are just a few links to relevant info (all clickable).
The Cambridge Analytica Files — ‘I made Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool’: about whistle-blower Christopher Wylie, Cambridge Analytica and its links to both the UK Brexit campaign and to Team Trump in the 2016 US presidential election (info from The Guardian, The Observer, The New York Times).
Cambridge Analytica: links to Moscow oil firm and St Petersburg university
50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach
Facebook Failed to Protect 30 Million Users From Having Their Data Harvested by Trump Campaign
Cambridge Analytica and Facebook accused of misleading MPs over data breach
incl call for Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg to testify before parliamentary committee
Breach leaves Facebook users wondering: how safe is my data?
Claims that Cambridge Analytica used data to target voters in US election raises tough questions
No one can pretend Facebook is just harmless fun any more
‘From its stance on extremist content, to its vast caches of user data, Facebook is a corporation whose power must, finally, be reined in. Italy’s far-right figure Matteo Salvini explicitly thanked Facebook for contributing to the country’s recent election results. If ExxonMobil attempted to insert itself into every element of our lives like Facebook, there might be a concerted grassroots movement to curb its influence. So perhaps it’s time to start treating Facebook as the giant multinational corporation it is – especially because people with Facebook profiles aren’t the company’s customers: they are the product it sells to advertisers.’
(from The Guardian)
Some of the key players (click names for info) in this insidious saga are:
Robert Mercer, Steve Bannon, Facebook, The SCL Group, Alexander Nix,
‘Veterans for Britain’, BeLeave, DUP (Democratic Unionist Party, Northern Ireland),
Thomas Borwick , ASI Data Science, Nigel Farage and Arron Banks,
not to mention Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.
Why I don’t do Facebook or Twitter.
Since Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013 about the NSA, no-one’s accusing me of paranoia. If we didn’t have such spineless governments brown-tonguing finance capitalists and Washington I'd've campaigned to grant Snowden asylum in the UK. It’s also worth putting the atrocious mass murders in Ankara, Bamako, Beirut, Brussels, Paris etc. and the fear they generate, into perspective. For example, in 2010, in the USA, you were 4 times more likely to be struck by lightning than die in a terrorist attack: that’s a 1 in 5½ miliion chance of dying from a lightning bolt against 1 in 20 million in a terrorist attack. The risk of dying in a bath tub was 1 in 800,000, in a building fire 1 in 99,000. The biggest death risk was traffic: you had a 1 in 19,000 chance of being killed that way (statistics). Does ‘cybersecurity’ protect us from those types of carnage?
Facebook is a great tool for intelligence gathering about individuals, says a CIA deputy director. It’s no joke. Facebook, Twitter, Google etc. are seriously detrimental to our civil liberties. Unfortunately, I once felt obliged to set up a Twitter account but soon abandoned it.
Corporations like Microsoft and Facebook have agreed to share all user activity and content with US government agents who don’t need a warrant for such searches. It’s all in the name of cyber-security. I'm aware of enough repressive measures taken in the name of “our own safety” to know better than that.