Last night Channel 4 news ran a piece in which the head of the data collection company Cambridge Analytica, one Alexander Nix, offered an entrapment and disinformation service to a journalist posing as a Sri Lankan politician.
Cambridge Analytica worked on Donald Trump’s election and the Brexit campaign and was funded by billionaire Ayn Rand enthusiast Robert Mercer.
This came a few days after the exposé in The Observer and New York Times of the massive data harvesting on Facebook undertaken by Cambridge Analytica and used to create microtargetted propaganda. To paraphrase whistleblower Christopher Wylie, the data was used to create a massive propaganda weapon in Steve Bannon’s culture war.
In short, Cambridge Analytica “harvested” a huge amount of data without the knowledge of the individuals involved, and then organised mass manipulation through a campaign of fake news across the internet, including not only flooding Facebook with false stories, but also creating fake blogs, websites and so on. In effect, they reversed a citation process. They chose the target, created the story, and then worked backwards to back it up.
This is turning into a humdinger of a Mercury Retrograde. Hardly surprising when you see that the little planet of speed and speech is screeching to a halt in the sign of haste, Aries. The data-wars just got personal. Aries is the sign of the “I”. If you have a Facebook profile, it’s likely your private information has been illegally harvested — at least 58 million profiles were scraped.
Not only that, but one term being flung around “weaponised data” is Aries Mercury. Notice also that when this story broke Aries’ ruler Mars was at 0° Capricorn: the warrior planet had broken through into Capricorn.
Mercury enters the shadow — March 9 — Aries 4°47
Mercury turns retrograde — March 23 — Aries 16°54
Mercury conjuncts the Sun — April 1 — Aries 11°
Mercury turns direct — April 15 — Aries 4°47
Now journalists have obviously been working on these stories for a long time, so you can’t say that this has come out of nowhere, but the revelations are happening now.
This Mercury Retrograde is making a harsh angle to all those planets in Capricorn — the power, the one per cent, the establishment. In particular, the planet of information is squaring Saturn in Capricorn. Mercury is the little guy, the journalist, throwing darts at that establishment. We’ll see what happens next, but the story is likely to unfold rapidly. It burst out as the Moon went through Aries helping to trigger Mercury; and the repercussions will start to become evident during the actual retrograde.
Remember that situations (or information) tend to go wrong or unravel during the shadow and the first part of the retrograde, and after Mercury conjoins the Sun, you start to see things beginning to resolve. Among other things, Facebook lawyers must be terrified of the upcoming lawsuits.
On a personal level, mind what you say right now: it could come back and bite you. And watch out when Mars squares Mercury and conjuncts Saturn. That’s April 4 at 9° — kablam!