Cognitive warfare and reordering mass consciousness “Cambridge Analytica and beyond”
Before reading this blog please see this video.
The recent setback of BJP despite getting much higher vote percentage but loosing out on the number seats made to have a relook at my research article in April 2018 shared with limited persons became necessary. Despite point out, BJP and its leadership are still not ready to accept the challenge and dealing it more in sledgehammer format. For example types of control, govt wants to bring on Social Media as the solution won't work. The issue needs to be dealt with much more differently with technology. Sadly the courtier created by PMO is not allowing it to look beyond themselves. Thus I felt constrained to share my document with the public.
"We used to be in the business of mindbending for political purposes, but now we are in the business of saving lives."
- Nigel J. Oakes, Co‐founding CEO, SCL Group (Parent company of Cambridge Analytica):
(The Guardian, Sep. 10, 2005)
Revelations made by Mark Zuckerberg during his grilling by the US members of Congress and whistleblower Christopher Wylie submissions to Parliamentary Committee of Britain have shaken the world. But most people have not yet understood the full import of paradigm shift in Cognitive Warfare and mass mind-bending. Most of the discussions are focussed on the subject of private data leakage and use on analytics. But this is not as important as the factor that the core objective trough Cambridge Analytica was neo-colonising by using more than two decades of military-grade experience in Psychological warfare of its parent company SCL Group. It was an attempt to undertake Cognitive warfare to change the consciousness of masses without their understanding that their thought process was being manipulated. Britain is investigating the impact of Brexit and the US is trying to grasp as how people were motivated not to vote or vote in the invalid form to let Trump win the elections, as well as the role of Russians in the Presidential elections. Both Countries are taking action in this regard. However, it must be noted that this phase of action has come about after almost 2 years of simmering. We need to look at the issue from the Indian security perspective. (Some new terms and names of key players are given at the end of the article.)
Strategic Communication Laboratory Group is UK based conglomerate which part-owns the Cambridge Analytica. SCL was established by Nigel Oakes in 1993. (It is understood that It has been working in tandem with US and UK military psychological operations as well as training NATO forces on PsyOps for decades. SCL carries a secret clearance as a ‘List X’ contractor for the British Ministry of Defence, which means it had access to Top Secret information in Mi6 and CIA. Many of their critical staff are former intelligence agents and PsyOps specialists from the US as well as UK forces. They specialised not just in marketing and strategic communication but to bring about group behavioural changes impacting as serious thing as election and establishing a government of their choice. A separate entity SCL Election Ltd was created just to deal with election campaigns across the world especially the third world. It has been officially stated that they have influenced at least 25 elections since 1993, including India. According to a sting operation, it got revealed that they have no hesitation to use honey traps and sting operation to contain the opposing party.
One fine day, a former intern of SCL election introduced its CEO Alexander Nix to Mr Steve Banon, the Chairman of Breitbart News Network, who was close to Presidential candidate Donald Trump. At that time SCL election lacked effective data analytics and data gathering capabilities. Therefore whenever Steve Banon use to arrive a fake research centre used to be created in rented place using students of Cambridge University. Steve got convinced and mentioned it to Robert Mercer, Co-CEO of Renaissance Technology (RenTech), a multi-billionaire and main fund provider to Donald Trump. Robert Mercer is not a common businessman but high skilled technologist, having worked at ‘Mr Watson’, the Artificial Intelligence project of IBM as a pioneer. At RenTech he created a complex computer network for High-Frequency Transaction (HFT) in the stock market.
"Of his 200 employees, ensconced in a fortress-like building in unfashionable Long Island, New York, a third have PhDs, not in finance, but in fields like physics, mathematics and statistics. Renaissance has been called “the best physics and mathematics department in the world” and, according to Weatherall, “avoids hiring anyone with even the slightest whiff of Wall Street bona fides."
— Sarfraz Manzoor, The Telegraph, 2013 on RenTech
Robert Mercer in SCL Election saw the opportunity to realise his dream to make America an invincible power of the world with a reasonable flavour of neo-colonialism, where most governments in the world will be controlled by the USA. And the first government change by the new entity would be of the USA itself. With these dreams, Cambridge Analytica (CA) LLC was created on 31st Dec 2013. (Please note prior to the creation of CA, SCL had very limited capabilities of traditional military PsyOps, the power of big-data analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence with super specialist manpower came with huge investments by Robert Mercer directly and through Rebekha Mercer, his daughter. Therefore the impact of SCL operations in India prior to 2015-16 was limited to some local areas).
Major hiring was undertaken but most importantly Dr Aleksandr Kogan, a Moldavian born data scientist at the Cambridge University was taken on board (Probably, thats why name Cambridge Analytica). He has really advanced research work in psychometrics. He prepared a survey app by the name of ‘thisisyourdigitallife’ was launched seeking some inputs from Facebook users and for a reward of $1 to $2. But this app sucked-out not only all the details of the user (which was mentioned in terms & conditions) but also her all friends (which was not mentioned in terms & conditions). Additionally, direct one-to-one messages were also sucked-out by this app. Kogan’s business partner Joseph Chancellor who had joined Facebook provided the necessary support, with the knowledge of Mark Zuckerberg. Though the case of CA only name of Facebook comes to all possible data from open social media platforms especially Tweeter was also ingested into the system. The difference between the Facebook (and where lies the crime) and Tweeter was that Facebook shared all data while Tweeter allowed what was lying in the open domain. But profiling was undertaken from anything and everything. From Facebook itself, about 50 million US Citizen Data was harvested.
So what was new, many marketing companies collect such data. Likes of Google and Microsoft have far more invasive data collection approach then what Kogan has gathered? The difference is that Kogan data collection was designed for its weaponisation. The ‘Magic Sauce’ was prepared out of it (See figure below)
Using the concept of Magic Sause, each individual's Psychographic profiling along with emotional datamining was prepared and everyone was geotagged.
In order to alter opinions but also to manufacture trending topics, commandeer political narratives, and manipulate the larger sociocultural dialogue of the entire populace, this information is then weaponised to activate emotional trigger for each selected person and some of the following techniques were used:
Bot networks – Where Facebook, tweeter and blog accounts were created which were run by machines but person seeing the response feels as if a human is operating that account.
Hashtagging – To emphasis an issue and to make it go viral. (That’s why you may have seen several accounts, including those of know personalities, just repeat the message, sometimes verbatim.
Dark posts – Various version of sameness by the same author is kept in the dark-web and when a targeted person clicks on it he gets his individual personalised version of that article, with the objective to bring DELTA change in his behaviour. Thus it is possible that if two friends have a different psychometric profile, may see two different content of the same article with appropriate nuances and intensity /emphasis changed. It is also possible to change the article on the fly using Artificial intelligence. New technology using Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language processing allows modifying an article on the fly to suit the psychological state of the reader with a tap for moulding the thoughts.
Later in 2016, Cambridge Analytica (UK) Ltd was incorporated. While just before the US presidential elections Kogan wound up all his companies and created a fresh company.
While undertaking investigative journalism regarding US presidential election, the observer newspaper reported, “Cambridge Analytica worked on campaigns in several key states for a Republican political action committee. Its key objective, according to a memo the Observer has seen, was “voter disengagement” and “to persuade Democrat voters to stay at home”: a profoundly disquieting tactic. It has previously been claimed that suppression tactics were used in the campaign, but this document provides the first actual evidence.” The tactics are similar to instigating Indian voters either not to vote or press NOTA through disenchantment campaign. We have seen the impact in MP, Rajasthan as well as Karnataka Election of low voter turnout and pressing of Nota button especially in urban Bengaluru area, where social media has higher penetration.
Following diagram is self-explanatory as to how using this technique Trump won.
The combination of SCL and RenTech and its directors/ supporters web of more than 200 companies were existing to evade not only taxes but also throw off any serious investigation connecting the candidates / political parties to Cambridge Analytica.
Following is the example of how funds were routed to CA for Brexit operations. all IPR rights of a Canadian company Aggregate IQ were bought over by Robert Mercer, but on records, he or none of his associate was on the Board of Directors. The money was paid to AIQ and not to CA. Therefore it becomes challenging to produce court sustainable pieces of evidence.
According to SCL Election to make a change at nation-state level:
If you want to change policies, first change the culture.
If you want to change the culture, first break the old culture.
Once the old culture is broken, remould it as required.
Can we see that is happening in India?
Impact of such cognitive warfare is:
Destroy the collective memory of a society, because each individual mind is controlled and manoeuvred independently of others. ( That's why the attack on Hinduism and festivals/ culture of Hindus)
Every individual has her own perception of the world, society, religion, system and no one is aware that all that is remotely controlled.
Fragmentation and reconsolidation of society in a manner as desired by Mercer and his team.
Playing with the psychology of the whole country to undertake regime change, including inciting violence and killing.
Do we remember suddenness and ferocity of Baharat Band on 02 April 2018 called by Dalits, which caused serious law and order problem but the government failed to identify who was leading them or instigating them? It has been reported that the Bharat Bandh on April 2 was called by Dalit groups was a result of the successful use of artificial intelligence (AI), the geographic information system (GIS) and big data, according to a core group of US-based Dalit activists. New Jersey-based Deelip Mhaske, a Dalit secretive leader has said that a London based firm has been engaged for the same. He confirmed that "People joined the call without knowing who is calling it. 'Bharat Bandh' was called through social media using Artificial Intelligence and social media technology." They have bigger plans for 2019 elections. Though he denied use of Cambridge Analytica but CA has so many shell companies that it can well hide its identity. More recently there is the growth of mob lynching based on fake news. Who created those fake news? How it got spread to only relevant people? How the mob gathered so fast?
The most damning expose by whistleblower Christopher Wylie to the British Parliament were:
There is little money in manipulating the election, but more significant income is through corruption after the concerned party comes to power.
The ministers are influenced to get a contract awarded to the partner companies. (The allegations on Mr Karti Chidambaram are similar in nature. Many other paddlers (including Nira Radia) worked on the same principle)
Once the client minister in place then help them create black money through sham projects, which feed not only the minister but also the Cambridge Analytica.
Either lax laws of the target country are exploited or laws created to suit the objectives. ( Please note that Mr Mercer/ RenTech has a big set of lawyers on his payroll who are experts in writing laws for the target nation-state)
In a way, CA was acting more like a Colonial Master (Bannon Mercers and Trump have a dream to ‘Make America Great Again’).
The Cambridge Analytica is not dead but reborn as Emerdata. Emerdata had made frequent changes in its management, but all CA people (except Banon, who has fallen off from mercy or Mercer) found their place. Presently only 3 people are informal control, two are Mercer sisters and Julian Wheatland. Julian is the same person who started SCL in the first place. He is also the founder of Emerdata. Julian is the partner of Queen’s Privy Council Warlord Sir Geoffrey E. Pattie in founding SCL. Golden share control of the Queen of England cannot be ruled out in Emerdata. And all these actors and actions of Cambridge Analytica and Emerdatastrengthen the argument of whistleblower Christopher Wylie that the end objective is to recolonise the world.
Data Mining: Data mining is the process of discovering patterns in large data sets involving methods at the intersection of machine learning, statistics, and database systems. It is an essential process where intelligent methods are applied to extract data patterns.
Geodemographic segmentation: In marketing, geodemographic segmentation is a multivariate statistical classification technique for discovering whether the individuals of a population fall into different groups by making quantitative comparisons of multiple characteristics with the assumption that the differences within any group should be less than the differences between groups.
Microsegmenting: Microsegmentation is a marketing process that uses techniques such as data mining, artificial intelligence, and algorithms to recognize and predict minute consumer spending and behavioural patterns.
PsyOps: Psychological Operations are primarily a military action which is practised mainly by psychological methods with the aim of evoking a planned psychological reaction in other people.
Psychographic profiling: A relatively complete profile of a person or group's psychographic make-up
Demographic targeting: Demographic targeting is a form of behavioural advertising in which advertisers target online advertisements at consumers based on demographic information. They are able to achieve this by using existing information from sources such as browser history, previous searches as well as information provided by the users themselves to create demographic profiles of consumers.
Behavioural targeting: Behavioural targeting comprises a range of technologies and techniques used by online website brands, publishers and advertisers aimed at increasing the effectiveness of marketing and advertising using user web-browsing behaviour information.
Attitudinal targeting: Attitudinal research allows marketers to place a high value on their audiences' opinions and how they feel about topics and concerns that they may have. Insights can be gathers to find out what motivates consumers by directly hearing from the consumer themselves.
Google Bombing: Manipulating the algorithm of Google search engine so that only selected search results will appear on the initial pages
Psychometric: Psychometrics is the approximation of latent psychological processes by means of stochastic analysis at both the individual and population levels.
Cognitive Warfare: Cognitive warfare is the blend of psychological warfare and information warfare where each entity of the targeted group or nation is fed on individually shaped information environment so to concede or align to the will of the attacker. Cognitive warfare can lead to social unrest, political turmoil, regime change, civil war or loss of kinetic war maybe even before a bullet is fired but the attacker is not blamed.
In the business of cognitive warfare Cambridge Analytica is indeed a leader and therefor it is necessary to understand the objectives and psychological makeup of each protagonist. Some of the important protagonists are:
Robert Mercer: Robert Mercer, a half billionaire is the most important person to understand the concept and objectives of Cambridge Analytica. July 1946 born Robert Mercer is a computer wizard who worked at the initial development of Mr Watson, IBM Artificial Intelligence Project. In 1993 he joined Renaissance Technologies (RenTech) and became its co-CEO 2009. RenTech is involved in stock-in-trade, using quantitative analysis and high-frequency trading (HFT) to win big on the global financial markets. The RenTech employs complex algorithms to robotically identified market trends in nano-seconds, then software then directs farm of computers to buy and sell stocks in humanly impossible speed. Techniques like pump and dump can be executed which most others cannot grasp. He has a strong desire to make the United State ‘strong’. He is a right-wing supporter. Mercer appears as a director of eight Bermuda companies in the Paradise Papers, some of which appear to have been used to legally avoid US taxes. He stepped down from RenTech in November 2007, after severe backlash due to his political activism. He is the primary financier and brain behind Cambridge Analytica.
Alexander James Ashburner Nix: 42 years old Nix is current but suspended CEO of Cambridge Analytica. He is still Director of the Strategic Communication Laboratory (SCL) Group. He fully own SCL Elections which claims to have influenced about 200 elections worldwide. SCL Group and its linked companies are in the business of psychological operations with Pentagon and Mi6. Nix is the face (fall guy) of Cambridge Analytica.
Mark Turnbull: Mark is Managing Director of Cambridge Analytica Political Global and SCL Elections, both part of the SCL Group. He founded Bell Pottinger Special Projects, which claimed to specialize in “understanding and influencing the human and social dynamics of conflict and cooperation…[using]…people’s identities, interests, networks and narratives that are the focal point for communications designed to deliver measurable change in support of political, social, developmental or military objectives.” B-P worked with 15 (UK) PsyOps Group (POG) in Iraq war. He picked up many officers to join SCLs comapnies from 15 (UK) POG, which was infamous for waging the ‘dark arts’ of asymmetric warfare and focused “the behavioural analysis of actors, audiences and adversaries.” According to “TextFire”, the POG vets claim Verbalisation’s RAID aka Rapid Audience Insight Diagnostics® software tool can help military and marketing clients — including several News Corp media outlets — “decode” personalities based on 24 set parameters, including language, cognition, susceptibility, and culture.
Stephen Kevin Bannon: Bannon, a paleoconvervative has lots to his credit as investment Banker, film producer and Media Executive but he is more famous being a (former) Chairman of Breitbart News Network, a self-declared the platform for alt-right. Breitbart is known for ideologically align to white supremacists, misogynistic, xenophobic, and racist. He served as White House Chief Strategist in the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump during the first seven months of Trump's term. He is the key person to establish handshake between SCL and Robert Mercer
Rebekha Mercer: Rebekha is a political powerful middle daughter of Robert Mercer. She was the primary force for Robert Mercer to invest in Cambridge Analytica. She helped Bannon to write book and later film produce ‘Cliton Cash’. She is highly influenced by Art Robinson a pseudoscientist, who created Robinson Curriculum based Bible.
Mark Elliot Zuckerberg: Mark is Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of social media platform Facebook. According to Wikipedia, “Zuckerberg wrote a program called "Facemash" in 2003 while attending Harvard University as a sophomore (second year student). According to The Harvard Crimson, the site was comparable to Hot or Not and used "photos compiled from the online facebooks of nine Houses, placing two next to each other at a time and asking users to choose the "hotter" person". Facemash attracted 450 visitors and 22,000 photo-views in its first four hours online. The Facemash site was quickly forwarded to several campus group list-servers, but was shut down a few days later by the Harvard administration. Zuckerberg faced expulsion and was charged by the administration with breach of security, violating copyrights, and violating individual privacy. Ultimately, the charges were dropped. Zuckerberg expanded on this initial project that semester by creating a social study tool ahead of an art history final exam. He uploaded all art images to a website, each of which was featured with a corresponding comments section, then shared the site with his classmates, and people started sharing notes.” “To replace paper Face Book of the University Zuckerberg began writing code for a new website, known as "TheFacebook", with the inspiration coming from an editorial in the Crimson about Facemash, stating that "It is clear that the technology needed to create a centralized Website is readily available ... the benefits are many.” On February 4, 2004, Zuckerberg launched "TheFacebook", originally located at thefacebook.com.” He faced Law suite for stealing the idea, which got later settled.
Dr Aleksandr Kogan: Dr Aleksandr Kogan, Moldavian born data scientist who is appears to be in centre of CA-FB controversy because he used an app with Facebook permission to extract all information of the consenting person but all her fiends including private direct messages. Kogan’s company, Global Science Research (GSR), was behind the app, ‘thisisyourdigitallife’, which harvested the data of tens of millions of Facebook users which was then passed on to Cambridge Analytica. To make the app attractive users were paid $1 to $2 for the so-call-survey. It is estimated that about 50 million According to Wylie, hundreds of thousands of Facebook users took personality tests with the app. In doing so, users consented to their data being collected for academic use. It is interesting that Kogan partner in GSR and two other companies was Joseph Chancellor. Chancellor joined Facebook in User Experience Research team. It through GSR, Kogan shared information with CA. Dr Kogan also been visiting Russia on several occasions for under taking research work. He claimed that he shared information with CA without any consideration and for research purposes. But GSR was dissolved in Oct 2016 just few days prior to US President elctions. Other two companies were also dissolved on the same day (Dr Aleksander Kogan has also used name Dr Aleksander Specter). Same day he open another company Philometrics Ltd and also with a month change his name once again from Dr Aleksander Specter to Aleksander Borisovic Specter. Though Dr Kogan claims innocence but his actions raise serious doubt that he was unaware that Ca is interfering in US Presidential Elections.
(m) Jonathan Ernst/Reuters