The Wikileaks founders astonishing admittance should induce MPs ultimately to start asking questions
Last Wednesday, 11 months into Donald Trump’s new world order, during the first year of normalisation, a abrupt unblurring of fronts took place. A transformation. A doorway of sensing swung open.
Because that was the day that the dramatis personae of two separate Trump-Russia scandals crushed headlong into one another. A high-speed information car clang between Cambridge Analytica and Wikileaks, the two organisations that arguably had the most impact on 2016, grouped together last week in one head-spinning scoop.
That day, we learned that Alexander Nix, the CEO of Cambridge Analytica, the controversial data conglomerate that helped Trump to power, had contacted Julian Assange to ask him if he craved “help” with Wikileaks’s stash of plagiarized emails.
That’s the hoard of stolen emails that had such a devastating impact on Hillary Clinton in the last months of awareness-raising campaigns. And this story brought Wikileaks, which the head of the CIA describes as a” unfriendly intelligence services”, directly together with the Trump campaign for which Cambridge Analytica laboured. This is an stunning planned turn for the company, owned by US billionaire Robert Mercer, either already the subject of investigations by the House intelligence committee, the Senate intelligence committee, the FBI and, it was announced sometime on Friday night, the Senate judiciary committee.
So far, so American. These are US scandals involving US politics and the information cleared the headlines in US bulletins across US networks.
But it’s also Cambridge Analytica, the data analytics busines, which has its headquarters in central London and that, following a series of articles about an important role in Brexit in the Guardian and the Observer , is too being investigated, by the Electoral Commission and the Information Commissioner’s Office. The companionship that was spun out of a British armed contractor, is headed by an old-time Etonian and that responded to our fibs earlier this year by threatening to sue us. It’s our Cambridge it’s named after , not the American one, and it was here that it treated the voter records of 240 million US citizens.
It’s also here that this” unfriendly intelligence services”- Wikileaks- is based. The Ecuadorian delegation is just a few miles, as the crow flies, from Cambridge Analytica’s head office. Because this is not just about America. It’s about Britain, more. This is transatlantic. It’s not possible to separate Britain and the US in this whole sorry mess- and I say this as someone who has spent months trying. Where we see this most clearly is in that other funny Wikileaks connection: Nigel Farage. Because that moment in March when Farage was caught tripping down the steps of the Ecuadorian delegation was the last minute the lines abruptly grew visible. That the ideological overlaps between Wikileaks and Trump and Brexit were revealed to be not just wrinkles, but a path of communication.