Cambridge Analytica, Israel and Hungary – Part Three and a Half
Therefore I have decided to use a series of trigger warnings:
(This is a shame really because it is all true. It's just some stuff that I have found, it may jibe with some people's current beliefs but to me it's just another piece of a rather complex puzzle. I find these things and see if they are connected.)
Now this really should be in part three of the blog series but unfortunately I didn't discover this until recently and my time machine is knackered. It's not totally broken but it can only go forward in time and only at a rate of a second per second – so it's as good as useless.
Did you know that the delightful and universally loved Benjamin Nethanyahu is good friends with Viktor Orbán, the ruler/dictator of Hungary? Well apparently they are.
Back in 2008 when Viktor Orbán was looking to be elected he turned to his pal (old Bibi as his mates call him) for advice on the situation.
Nethanyahu didn't hesitate in arranging a meeting for his pal Orbán with another long term friend of his Arthur Finkelstein. Finkelstein at the time was working with his partner George Birnbaum and their speciality was electoral campaigns, designing them, implementing them and ultimately winning them. An agreement was reached and Finkelstein and Birnbaum went to work for the Orbán administration.
Finkelstein and Nethanyahu's election
Arthur Finkelstein had had a long career as a successful political adviser to conservative, mostly Republican thinkers and politicians. His client list included such luminary figures as Ayn Rand, Richard Nixon and Donald Trump.
There are many ways to promote a candidate, you can appeal to their connection to the public, you can use their charisma to charm, you can highlight the good things they have done and promote the good things they hope to achieve in the future. Arthur Finkelstein didn't go in for any of that pussyfooting around being positive or using facts. He developed a far more efficient strategy of negative propaganda against the opponent. This is particularly effective if you can get the opponent to defend or deny the lies as it keeps the rumours in the mind of the public.
In 1995 Benjamin Nethanyahu was trailing the socialist Shimon Peres by twenty points in the race for Prime Minister. Finkelstein turned that around in record time by instigating a campaign of lies stating Peres had plans to divide Jerusalem.
What is the method?
Finkelstein's methods and doctrines include:
1) Very few elections are won by convincing supporters of other parties or candidate to support your candidates. Their minds are made up by the time the election begins. The trick instead is to discourage supporters of your opponents to vote.
2) To achieve this you run highly personalised negative campaigning against your opponent. Don't demonise the party, demonise the candidate. People can be made to hate individuals more easily than institutions.
3) Your base must be charged up on an emotional level by fear and hatred of the opponent. Old hatreds grow stale as motivators, so new enemies must be discovered, and if necessary invented.
4) Make the opponent play on your territory by setting the agenda.
5) Facts matter little in the emotional landscape of an election.
I have no idea why but a lot of this seems really familiar to me. Anyone else getting the same type of vibe?
Finkelstein and Birnbaum
By 2006 Finkelstein and Birnbaum had created a new company named GEB which continued their political campaign business across Europe. They specifically targeted former communist countries as ripe markets for the taking. During the 2000's they did work for campaigns in Romania, Bulgaria and The Czech Republic.
In 2008 on Nethanyahu's recommendation, his friend Viktor Orbán hired GEB to work for his Fidesz political party. Fidesz had had disappointing results in recent elections and looked for a radical change of tactic. There tactic was to create an enemy to rally against and a fake enemy was better than a real one because you can control the narrative.
Who is the enemy?
Hungary was struggling economically and at that point had to borrow money from the World Bank. GEB seized on this as a way to show how corrupt and weak the current government was. They levelled dozens of charges of corruption and misdealing at the present administration, traditional facts and accuracy were never that vital in these accusations.
Finkelstein and Birnbaum and Orbán
Fidesz won the election with a huge majority. The strategy to keep their base in a state of near apoplectic frenzy was deemed essential to keep the momentum of Orbán's popularity rolling. As Birnbaum himself admitted, "they had to keep the base powered up. One had to give the electorate a reason to go out at the next election." Birnbaum also stated that they needed to find a "fire-breathing dragon that Orbán had to fight with the help of the people."
In 2014 that Finkelstein came up with a "campaign idea, so big and so Mephistophelian, that it will outlive itself." As he himself described it.
You will not like this next bit but it's true
Finkelstein picked up on the fact that George Soros had become a hate figure for the Republican Party in America
As Journalist Hannes Grassegger tells it:
"Finkelstein and Birnbaum saw something in Soros that would make him the perfect enemy. There's a long history of criticism of Soros, dating back to 1992, when Soros earned $1 billion overnight betting against the British pound. For many on the left, Soros was a vulture. But Soros used his sudden prominence to push for liberal ideas. He supported everything the right was against: climate protection, equality, the Clintons. He opposed the second Iraq War in 2003, even comparing George W. Bush to the Nazis, and became a major donor for the Democrats. He was soon a hate figure for the Republicans."
The campaign was based on setting up the idea of Soros as a brand that people could identify – the evil, reclusive multi billionaire interfering with world policy from behind the scenes. The idea being he is so powerful that the whole country would need to unite behind Orbán to save everything they held dear.
Stop punching the screen!
Some of you won't have got this far – kudos if you have. Some of you will be grinding your teeth so hard that it will start breaking up masonry and others will be plotting to catch me unawares and choke me to death with one of my monthly Open Society Foundation cheques that I get through the post.
Relax – it's not that at all. Both positions can be correct. Just because someone is a bastard it doesn't mean everything that is said about them is true. In fact lies work more if the said person is a bastard then it is more believable. Saddam Hussein was a murderous dictator (propped up by the west but that's another discussion) but he didn't throw babies out of incubators to die on the cold floor or have weapons of mass destruction – those were lies. Do you remember in Dirty Harry when the guy who was in Hellraiser paid the black guy to beat him up and it was blamed on Detective Callaghan (of course you do). This wasn't true but was believed due to the reputation Harry (played by Clint Eastwood by the way) had gained for violence. Another example could be when in the Simpsons when Sideshow Bob was framed by his brother Cyril in the plan to destroy the newly built dam in Springfield. Bob was actually innocent but for the majority of the episode he was assumed to be behind the plot due to the perception of his character. I am not a fan of Soros but neither am I a fan of lies.
I am a huge fan of Dirty Harry, it totally kicks ass and so does the Simpsons.
Similarly, lies have been told that may seem plausible to some – again before you get all bent out of shape (SPOILERS) they admitted it.
It nearly didn't work
Now here is something that I didn't know. During this time George Soros was actually quite well liked in Hungary. Orbán himself had received money from Soros to help finance his education.
Soros was a non-politician who didn't even live in Hungary and hadn't for years. He was an old man, known all over the country as a patron of civil society and as I previously was unaware of –well liked. He had supported the opposition against the Communists before the fall of the Iron Curtain, and financed school meals for kids afterward. In Budapest, he had built one of the best universities in Eastern Europe. He even gave generously to anti corruption organisations, the red cross, medical facilities and organisations that were investigating Hungary's terrible human rights/torture problem such as Amnesty international. By strange coincidence all of these institutions were woven into the conspiracy and kicked out of Hungary as part of Soros network. The anti corruption and investigations into human rights abuses had no bearing on this list, I am sure.
As I said before Orbán had even received money from Soros: During his time in the opposition, his small underground foundation Századvég published critical newspapers, created on a copy machine that was paid for by none other than George Soros. Orbán was also one of the more than 15,000 students who received scholarships from Soros's Open Society Foundations. Thanks to Soros, Orbán studied philosophy in Oxford. The two men only met once: when Soros came to Hungary in 2010 after a toxic spill disaster. Soros was there to provide $1 million in emergency funds which the country greatly needed for the cleanup.
Regardless of the facts of the situation Finkelstein and Birnbaum saw him as a perfect target for every ill in Hungary.
Government publications were suddenly filled with anti-Soros articles. Here are two headlines from Origo. "George Soros dictates Brussels' migration policies" and "The drowned little boy's photo was manipulated on instructions from Soros." Or "Soros also manipulated the press,"
The Finkelstein and Birnbaum campaign also included spreading these types of rumours in Ukraine, Romania, the Czech Republic, Macedonia and Albania. Birnbaum defended this by saying he felt only purely capitalistic measures not social programs would improve these nations stating Soros stood for "a socialism that is wrong for these areas." There may be an element of truth to this but we have to remember this is a multi millionaire who makes his living by ruining people's reputation with lies.
Arthur Finkelstein died in August 2017. In 2011, in one of his last public speeches, he said, 'I wanted to change the world. I did this. I made it worse.'"
Birnbaum defends the campaign:
Some of the Israeli press has disavowed this saying it is all fabricated. If you are still here and haven't torn your own eyes out in anger, remember I said that they admitted it. Well here is George Birnbaum admitting it.
"The perfect enemy is one that you can punch again and again and he won't punch back," said Birnbaum. If Soros had struck back, it would have just played into their hands, confirming that he had power and influence, said Birnbaum.
In fact Soros and the Open Society Foundations have tried to counter accusations and attacks in the public domain. They have even gone as far as to sue the Hungarian government in the European Court of Human Rights. None of this matters to Orbáns base and it can all be spun anyway as Birnbaum says.
Despite everything that followed, Birnbaum has stated that he is proud of the campaign against Soros. Here he is admitting it yet again, "Soros was a perfect enemy. It was so obvious. It was the simplest of all products, you just had to pack it and market it."
The one regret that Birnbaum expressed was the fact that this campaign fed into the idea of a world Jewish conspiracy, with Soros seen as the rich Jew pulling strings behind the scenes to control world events. Birnbaum himself is himself Jewish and obviously long time friends with Benjamin Nethanyahu.
"When we planned the campaign," he said, "we didn't think a second about Soros being a Jew." Birnbaum claimed he didn't even know it back then, and that he never worked with anti-Semites.
When asked if he had changed his mind about the Soros campaign or had any regrets he simply said.
"Anti-Semitism is something eternal, indelible," said Birnbaum. "Our campaign did not make anyone anti-Semitic who wasn't before. Maybe we were just drawing a new target, not more. I would do it again."
One thing that is particularly suspicious is that these campaigns seemed to be basically identical to the campaigns being run by the Israeli firm Black Cube which just so happened to be taking place at the exact same time.
Black Cube is a Data Mining and Election management firm (just like Cambridge Analytica) and Politico magazine revealed it was hired by the Orbán government to spread lies about Soros connected NGO's to suggest that he (with Germany) were planning a leftist/communist takeover of Hungary (and the rest of the EU).
Aside from spreading straight up lies claiming this conspiracy (with no evidence) they also approached members of NGO's connected to the OFS and recorded them, before editing the comments to make them seem sinister.
There are huge human rights abuses in Hungary, strangely the government is shy about investigating this or altering these conditions and so it is reliant on Nongovernmental organisations to keep them in check. The Orbán government – with the help of Black Cube made it appear that these companies had suggested that Germany should impose law on Hungary – what they actually did was propose checks and balances from other EU counties where human rights abuses are taking place. Bizarrely the Hungarian government wasn't keen on this. Recently these abuses led to Hungary narrowly avoiding being kicked out of the EU – they were rescued by the UK Conservative Government.
Black Cube was founded by Vincent Tchenguiz with the help of high level ex- Mossad operatives. Vincent Tchenguiz is one of the most prominent shareholders with Cambridge Analytica (see blog post two for the background to this). Just like Cambridge Analytica it is a psy-ops firm with ex intelligence agencies making up the majority of its board. Also just like Cambridge Analytica it is under export control. Cambridge Analytica has a list x clearance, which means it can hold UK intelligence files secret and higher and is under export control to the UK government. This means its techniques are considered a weapon and can't be used without their explicit say so – this means elements of the UK government and US government and intelligence agencies wanted Brexit and wanted Trump elected. Similarly and terrifyingly Black Cube ( an offshoot of Cambridge Analytica) is under export control to the Israeli Defence Ministry – it is a weapon of the Israeli government and intelligence agencies – and they installed a far right government in Hungary using George Soros as a leveraged fake enemy to fight against. Essentially elements of Mossad got Orbán elected. I'll just repeat that because it's quite important, essentially elements of Mossad got Viktor Orbán elected
So to sum up
So there's an Israeli law firm called Finkelstein and Birnbaum that got the current Israeli Prime Minister elected (with a campaign of lies). This firm is then introduced to Viktor Orbán by said Prime Minister (the two are old friends) and the firm agrees to get Orbán elected with a similar campaign, namely leveraging a false enemy in the shape of George Soros. Simultaneously Black Cube, an Israeli psychological warfare weapon that is under export control from the Israeli government and run by ex Mossad spies just so happened to be doing the same exact campaign. The Black Cube campaign just so happens to be identical to the recent campaigns run by the British Intelligence psychological warfare weapon Cambridge Analytica which was used to promote the leave vote in the EU referendum, was hired by the DUP and was the driving force behind the Trump campaign and also recent right wing election wins in India, Argentina and Brazil.
Anyone else think something a bit fishy is going on?