"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.
Theresa May has had to get used to facing difficult questions about Brexit. After two years of gruelling negotiations, the British prime minister has spent recent weeks trying to sell the virtues of her proposed Brexit deal to the United Kingdom's media, and to often sceptical colleagues in her own party. Whether she has succeeded or failed should become apparent soon. But there is a major question about Brexit that the Conservative leader still refuses to answer: Was Britain's 2016 referendum to leave the European Union tainted by illegal campaign funding and foreign interference? And if it was, should there be a full investigation into the Brexit vote itself?
"The connectivity that is the heart of globalisation can be exploited by states with hostile intent to further their aims.[…] The risks at stake are profound and represent a fundamental threat to our sovereignty." "It's not MI6's job to warn of internal threats. It was a very strange speech. Was it one branch of the intelligence services sending a shot across the bows of another? Or was it pointed at Theresa May's government? Does she know something she's not telling us?" Senior intelligence analyst, April 2017 In June 2013, a young American postgraduate called Sophie was passing through London when she called up the boss of a firm where she'd previously interned. The company, SCL Elections, went on to be bought by Robert Mercer, a secretive hedge fund billionaire, renamed Cambridge Analytica, and achieved a certain notoriety as the data analytics firm that played a role in both Trump and Brexit campaigns. But all of this was still to come. London in 2013 was still basking in the afterglow of the Olympics. Britain had not yet Brexited. The world had not yet turned. "That was before we became this dark, dystopian data company that gave the world Trump," a former Cambridge Analytica employee who I'll call Paul tells me. "It was back when we were still just a psychological warfare firm." Was that really what you called it, I ask him. Psychological operations – the same methods the military use to effect mass sentiment change.
The US billionaire who helped bankroll Donald Trump's campaign for the presidency played a key role in the campaign for Britain to leave the EU, the Observer has learned. It has emerged that Robert Mercer, a hedge-fund billionaire, who helped to finance the Trump campaign and who was revealed this weekend as one of the owners of the rightwing Breitbart News Network, is a long-time friend of Nigel Farage. He directed his data analytics firm to provide expert advice to the Leave campaign on how to target swing voters via Facebook – a donation of services that was not declared to the electoral commission. Cambridge Analytica, an offshoot of a British company, SCL Group, which has 25 years' experience in military disinformation campaigns and "election management", claims to use cutting-edge technology to build intimate psychometric profiles of voters to find and target their emotional triggers. Trump's team paid the firm more than $6m (£4.8m) to target swing voters, and it has now emerged that Mercer also introduced the firm – in which he has a major stake – to Farage.
A firm that worked for Donald Trump and which once claimed ties to a pro-Brexit campaign group is now reportedly working for Kenya's incumbent president. Cambridge Analytica's mission statement is simple. On its website, the firm says it "uses data to change audience behaviour." Most notably, the company was hired by Donald Trump's presidential campaign and has been given some credit for Trump's electoral success. The company purchases and compiles demographic data on voters.