Carole ‘Correction’ Cadwalladr

Last week Carole Cadwalladr wrote of various spuriously connected groups in Westminster of colluding to smear ‘whistleblower’ Shahmir Sanni. These included BrexitCentral and the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Adam Smith Institute, and the Centre for Policy Studies.

But with her tail between her legs Carole has now made some pretty big corrections, undermining the entire premise of her article. She has admitted that neither BrexitCentral or the Institute of Economic Affairs were involved in her wild conspiracies and are in fact separate organisations.

Cat got your tongue, Carole?

UPDATE: The same article has been corrected yet again, in order to make clear that the Adam Smith Institute was not party to the Shahmir Sanni case either. One correction is unfortunate, but two is just careless…

UPDATE II: The same article has been corrected for a third time, clarifying that the Centre for Policy Studies was not implicated in the Sanni case, and yet again that none of these parties coordinated to vilify Sanni. Two corrections are careless, but three seem deliberately disingenuous… 

Damian’s Dodgy Data Discovery

Carole Cadwalladr has exclusively revealed that self-promoting DCMS Committee Chairman Damian Collins made the extraordinary move to seize documents from the founder of a small US software company called ‘Six4Three’ over the weekend – in time for Carole’s deadline. The founder Ted Kramer, who is currently suing Facebook in a messy lawsuit in California, just happened to be in the UK on a ‘business trip’. The DCMS Committee apparently magically knew about this brief trip, the hotel the founder was staying at, and that he had the documents with him. This remarkably detailed information led to Collins initiating a parliamentary procedure to seize the documents, complete with the theatrical sending of a serjeant at arms to the founder’s hotel with a “final warning” and an escort to parliament. It all seems a little choreographed…

It appears to Guido that this entire theatrical codswallop story is a stitch up. The ‘Six4Three’ founder seems to have flown to the UK specifically to have the documents seized – which Facebook wants to keep confidential. NBC’s tech investigations editor Olivia Solon has suggested that if that weren’t the case you would “be seeing statements from his lawyers decrying jurisdictional overreach / worrying misuse of power.” Why did ‘Six4Three’ founder have the documents with him, under seal, on his trip to the UK?

If Guido was the sort of journalist who made unsubstantiated speculative allegations that later had to be corrected he’d wonder, without any firm evidential basis, if Damian is part of a charade to get these documents out in the open and Carole Cadwalldr knows this because she has been in touch with Ted Kramer, the owner of Six4Three. He is suing Facebook, claiming that “Facebook itself is the biggest violator of data misuse in the history of the software industry”. On this point he is probably correct.

Should Damian be co-operating with an attempt to subvert United States due legal process? Isn’t Collins’ committee’s whole shtick meant to be sticking up for due process and the rule of law?

The Other Cambridge Analytica: Whistleblower Wylie’s Own Dodgy Data Dealings

While the ICO’s report into data use in the referendum principally served to blow apart Carole Cadwalladr’s main Brexit conspiracy, one aspect of the report that has largely been overlooked is the role of data-hustler-turned-whistleblower Chris Wylie. The one who made an international media and public speaking career out of setting up Cambridge Analytica and then dobbing them in…

A notable feature of the ICO report is how few people are explicitly named in it – not even Arron Banks is. The few that are include Alexander Nix, the CEO of Cambridge Analytica, Dr Aleksandr Kogan, the academic whose company harvested the data behind the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a couple of other individuals related to Cambridge Analytica, and Chris Wylie. Not exactly the good guys in this whole saga…

Wylie’s inclusion in the report is not in the context of his role as whistleblower, it is as a key part of how Cambridge Analytica came to acquire the Facebook data at the heart of the scandal in the first place:

“In May 2014, Dr Aleksandr Kogan… offered to undertake the work himself as he had developed his own app called the ‘CPW Lab App’… We have seen evidence that CA staff, including whistleblower Chris Wylie, were involved in setting up these contacts through their networks of friends and colleagues; many of whom had been involved in earlier campaigns in North America…

“Once the company was set up and a contract signed with CA, Dr Kogan, with some help from Chris Wylie, overhauled the ‘CPW Lab App’ changing the name, terms and conditions of the app into the ‘GSR App’ which ultimately became thisisyourdigitallife (the app).”

Wylie himself has never denied his role in creating Cambridge Analytica, telling Damian Collins’ DCMS Select Committee in March: “To be clear, Cambridge Analytica was set up in large part because of the research I was doing at SCL Group [Cambridge Analytica’s parent company].”

However, Cambridge Analytica was not the only company which received the illicit Facebook data set that resulted from Wylie’s work with Dr Kogan. As has been reported in North American press (and confirmed by Mark Zuckerberg to the US Congress) but largely ignored in the UK, the harvested data was also acquired by one other company, Eunoia Technologies. Eunoia Technologies Inc. was a separate company registered in the US on 12th June 2014… by Chris Wylie.

Wylie’s background is in centre-left politics, he worked for many years with Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party in Canada and also worked with the Liberal Democrats in the UK. Since becoming a whistleblower, he has described social data harvesting as “grossly unethical”…

However, that didn’t stop Eunoia unsuccessfully trying to flog its services to Donald Trump’s campaign director in early 2015, before Eunoia again attempted to sell their services to the Remain campaign in November 2015, as Private Eye reported in April this year. Finally, he had yet another pitch rebuffed in January 2016, this time with Vote Leave’s Dominic Cummings dismissing his offer of “psychographic microtargeting”. Evidently Cummings was not the only one who concluded they were “charlatans”…

Zuckerberg told the US Congress that Wylie had certified to Facebook that Eunoia deleted its data in August 2016, but added that Facebook had “no way to confirm” activities that had “taken place off Facebook and its systems”. Eunoia’s UK branch didn’t wind up as a company until 24 October 2017.

The ICO’s report itself is inconclusive about the fate of the Facebook data, confirming that their own investigations into it are still ongoing:

“Our concerns also extend to who else may have received the harvested data and what they then did with it; our enquiries are active and continuing in that regard…”

“We will be making sure any organisations, which may still have copies of the Facebook data and its derivatives demonstrate its deletion.”

Given his intimate involvement in the genesis of the scandal, it would be remarkable if Wylie and Eunoia were not key lines of inquiry for the ICO in this regard. Only two companies are known to have received the illicit data – Cambridge Analytica and Eunoia. The ICO obtained a search warrant and raided the offices of one. What has it done about the other?

Information Commissioner Crushes Carole’s Conspiracies

Guido readers will be well-versed in Carole Cadwalladr’s various conspiracy theories about how a secret nexus of data companies conspired to rig the Brexit vote. As well as the corrections that would inevitably follow her front page ‘revelations’, buried on page 50 of the next week’s Observer…

In an inconvenient twist for the Orwell Prize-winning journalist, the report out today from the Information Commissioner’s Office has crushed most of her central claims. Terrible when a good story gets undermined by basic facts…

Carole claimed that Leave.EU was working with Cambridge Analytica. The ICO found that there was “no evidence of a working relationship between Cambridge Analytica and Leave.EU” beyond “preliminary discussions”:

“[B]oth parties stated that only preliminary discussions took place, and the relationship did not move forward when Leave.EU failed to attain the designation as the official Leave campaign… Based on our enquiries, testimony and interviews, we conclude that this is indeed the case – there is no evidence of a working relationship between CA and Leave.EU proceeding beyond this initial phase.”

Carole claimed that the Canadian data firm, AIQ, who worked with Vote Leave, was effectively the “Canadian branch” of Cambridge Analytica, although she has since retracted this claim. The ICO scotched this one too:

“Whilst there was clearly a close working relationship between the entities and several staff members were known to each other, we have no evidence that AIQ has been anything other than a separate legal entity… ultimately we have concluded that this was a contractual relationship.”

Carole’s whole conspiracy centered around the notion that AIQ and Cambridge Analytica had shared data in the referendum. In fact the ICO found no evidence that either Cambridge Analytica or its parent company SCL Elections were involved in any data analytics work on the referendum at all:

“We found no evidence of unlawful activity in relation to the personal data of UK citizens and AIQ’s work with SCLE. To date, we have no evidence that SCLE and CA were involved in any data analytics work with the EU Referendum campaigns.”

Meanwhile Vote Leave was given a clean bill of health for its data work with AIQ:

“We know that Vote Leave had a commercial relationship with AIQ. In respect of that work, we have not obtained any evidence that Vote Leave transferred or processed personal data outside the UK unlawfully – or that it processed personal data without the consent of data subjects… Our further investigations into AIQ revealed no evidence of the unlawful processing of UK personal data.”

After massively bigging up the report yesterday, Carole has been unusually quiet on Twitter since it landed, mainly complaining that no-one was paying attention to the “MUCH bigger story” (was it being “deliberately buried”?) and even accusing Buzzfeed – of all places – of doing Arron Banks’ “dirty work”Maybe she’s still feeling a little bit sore after *that* article

Remainers were hoping for an explosive report to blow up Brexit. Instead it revealed that it’s the Remain campaign and the Lib Dems who are under investigation for potential data breaches, while Arron Banks’ looming fines are almost entirely for using his Leave.EU mailing list to flog insurance after the referendum, not for activities during the campaign. The only thing the report blew up was Carole’s conspiracy. She was after all, as Isabel Oakeshott famously said, “chasing unicorns”…

Police Rubbish Remoaner Conspiracy

Remoaners have been working themselves up into a tizzy over the last few weeks over an Open Democracy report which claimed that the police weren’t investigating the Leave campaigns due to “political sensitivities”. Carole was all over it, David Lammy had a Twitter tantrum while 74 MPs, Peers and MEPs including Vince Cable, Chuka Umunna and Lammy signed Ben Bradshaw and Molly Scott Cato’s cranky letter to the Police. Damian Collins even had a stern-looking Observer photoshoot

The Met Police’s response has left the conspiracy brigade looking incredibly silly. Far from “stalling” the investigation, the police revealed that they had only received over 2,000 documents relating to the case from the Electoral Commission last month and were therefore still assessing the documents. No conspiracy, just another Electoral Commission cock-up…

They also issued a stern rebuke to Bradshaw and Scott Cato’s suggestion that they had “been approached by government representatives to suggest that you soft-pedal this investigation due to political sensitivities”, revealing that the only people who had been putting them under political pressure were them and their fellow Remoaners:

“The operational independence of the police is central to our policing system. There has been no contact from any government representative making enquiries into the status of the MPS enquiries. The only approach from any elected politician, political party, official or representative has been your correspondence, or similar correspondence from other seeking the MPS undertakes a wide ranging investigation into the EU referendum.”

The only ones trying to externally influence the police are the ones shouting loudest about “police independence”…

Carry-On Carole’s Conspiracy Confusion

Carole Cadwalladr is not happy that the police inquiry into an alleged over-spend in the referendum campaign is not proceeding at the speed she would like. The Electoral Commission referred matters to the police in May and Carole wants results. She phrases it thus “What I want to know is: cock-up? Or conspiracy?” Here we go again…

Bear in mind that everybody accused by the Electoral Commission of wrongdoing is appealing everything. They all reckon they have a reasonable chance of success. Andy Wigmore claims that the Electoral Commission now realise they have cocked-up in Leave.EU’s case and are trying to wriggle out of the situation. Anyway Carole reckons it is all due to political interference. Harder to blame it all on the Russians this time…

The police might of course take the view that they will wait until the appeals have run their course before they proceed with an investigation. After all there are murders and stuff to investigate before they go on what might turn out to be a wild goose chase.

As you can see from her tweet, Carole thinks the police should not be subject to political interference, something with which all Guido’s co-conspirators can agree. So, as you can also see, Carole wants more politicians to interfere. You would have thought all the cuckoos would have gone south by now…

Cadwalladr and Farage’s Australian Getaway

Guido has learned that the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr was flown to Australia to report on Nigel Farage’s tour of entertaining evenings. Must be strange for her to have a go at reporting events that actually happened, for a change.

Things didn’t all go to plan for the Orwell Prize winning journalist as she was refused entry to an evening event with Farage at the prestigious Melbourne Club because she wasn’t dressed appropriately for the venue. Oops.

Latest Cadwalladr Conspiracy: Bots Behind Labour Anti-Semitism

Observer rent-a-conspiracy writer Carole Cadwalladr has stuck her foot in it yet again by incredibly suggesting that Anti-Semistism in the Labour Party is the product of paid Tory trolls and her favourite bogeymen Cambridge Analytica.

She approvingly quote tweeted a conspiracy thread suggesting that Brandon Lewis has hired “a team of Tory trolls” and that recently suspended Labour members like Damien Enticott were just ‘hacked’.

This thread was written by a Labour supporter who is backing Pete Willsman for Labour NEC, a figure even too toxic for the likes of Owen Jones and Matt Zarb-Cousin.

Another brilliant piece of codswallop from Carole.

UPDATE: Carole has deleted her tweet and posted this apology…

“Man. What times. I’ve deleted this tweet asking if there was disinfo afoot…because there’s been a pile-on saying the tweet about disinfo is itself disinfo. Which it may be? I honestly don’t know. Yikes. Sorry. I’m keeping out of this one…”

BBC and DCMS Committee Push Fake News About Vote Leave Facebook Adverts

Whoever wrote this news article for the BBC website about Vote Leave’s Facebook adverts is going to have some explaining to do to their editor. The article talks about how Vote Leave and BeLeave “micro-targeted” adverts during the referendum, “with 252 of them seen fewer than 1,000 times”. Just one problem: it’s total nonsense. The adverts were never requested by Vote Leave or BeLeave. They never ran. That is why they appear in the “0-999” impressions box in the DCMS select committee’s numbers. The true number is zero. A glaring factual error completely demolishing the BBC’s story that Vote Leave “micro-targeted” adverts to data sets of fewer than 1,000 people.

This fake news has come about because the DCMS select committee refused to publish evidence that would have clearly explained what happened. Aggregate IQ wrote to the committee with the explanation back in May. The committee refused to publish the letter, and now off the back of that the BBC has ended up publishing nonsense. Yet more evidence of Damian Collins’ Remoaner select committee, which is supposed to be impartial, losing touch with reality as they peddle their conspiracy theories about Vote Leave…

UPDATE: Carole is going on about there being no imprint – on the ads that didn’t run – “That look completely illegal”. There is no legal requirement for imprints on online adverts. This is not a “whole new massive can of worms”. It is Carole showing her complete lack of knowledge of the rules.

The reason online adverts don’t require an imprint is because generally they are too small and when viewers click they will in any event be taken to a site that generally says clearly who the advertiser is by advocating a vote for them.

UPDATE II: The BBC has issued a correction:

Yet Another Cadwalladr Correction

Here we go again… Hidden away on page 42 yesterday, The Observer had to publish yet another correction following Carole Cadwalladr’s wild claims about Vote Leave. They have admitted that their Orwell Prize winning super sleuth was wrong to say that Vote Leave’s COO Victoria Woodcock had deleted herself and others on a shared Google drive. Cadwalladr has argued that this was an attempt to hide evidence from the Electoral Commission and ICO, but the Observer admits that

‘we accept that Ms Woodcock did not try to destroy evidence and that allegations of trying to thwart official investigations or pervert the course of justice do not fairly arise against her from this reporting’

This ‘evidence’ was put forward by whistleblowers Shahmir Sanni and Chris Wylie, and reported by Carole as if it was gospel. The Observer has now been forced to admit that this was yet another false claim brought by Zoolander and Walter Mitty. Carole has also been made to delete all of her tweets in which she claimed that Ms Woodcock was trying to destroy evidence.This comes after the Observer had to publish two corrections against the Leave campaign, including accusations that Vote Leave, AggregateIQ and Cambridge Analytica were all working together. The Observer has agreed to pay Ms Woodcock’s legal fees. How much more will they have to fork out for Carole’s conspiracy theory reporting?

Meanwhile, this afternoon Carole tweeted that Piers Morgan “hacked a deal girl’s phone”, referring to Milly Dowler. That was a different paper…

Cadwalladr and Collins to Share Platform at Byline Festival

Brexit probe grandstander Damian Collins appears to have gone off the deep end. The DCMS select committee chair is due to appear alongside Carole Cadwalladr next month at the crackers Byline festival in Sussex. The panel is entitled ‘Is Silicon Valley a Danger to Democracy?’. Readers will remember Byline as the conspiracy theory website founded by the tin foil hatted Peter Jukes.

You have to wonder what a select committee chairman is doing hanging around with cranks like Byline. Collins has already lowered the standing of select committees with his disastrous performances so far – even Remainers were protesting at his incompetence after he was humiliated by Arron Banks. Sad.

Cadwalladr Forced to Delete Erroneous Attack on BBC Editor

Carole Codswallop has done it again. The top Observer sleuth has been forced to delete yet more error-strewn tweets after launching an unhinged attack on the BBC. During her meltdown last night about Isabel Oakeshott being invited onto Question Time, Codswallop launched a pile-on against the Beeb’s head of live political programmes, Rob Burley, demanding an explanation. Her tweet tagging Burley was retweeted more than a thousand times. For hours Burley was under attack from hundreds of tweets from Codswallop’s crazy legion of followers. Just one problem: Burley has nothing to do with Question Time, which is produced by the independent production company Mentorn.

12 hours later, Carole deleted the tweet and apologised.

She also tweeted claiming that, during her Marr appearance with Oakeshott, they didn’t ask her about her Observer story about Shahmir Sanni. They did. That has now been deleted. This is basic stuff…

Carole Cadwalladr: I’m Unaware of Any Allegations of Remain Cheating

Top investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr has told the European Parliament she is unaware of any allegations of the Remain campaign breaching spending rules during the referendum:

“I am unaware of any issues on the Remain side. There is none that I have come across. There is none that I understand the Electoral Commission has come across… if there are then I very much hope that journalists uncover this and it will be investigated.”

Carole must have missed the dossier of evidence about Remain cheating handed to the Electoral Commission this weekend. And the fact that the Electoral Commission has said they are looking into it. Guido is glad to hear Carole’s commitment to exposing Remain campaigners as well and looks forward to reading about it in next weekend’s Observer…

Two More Cadwalladr Factual Errors

Just the two corrections for Carole Cadwalladr this week. First, she has deleted a tweet linking to her Observer article last weekend in which she claimed the Information Commissioner’s Office had launched “legal proceedings” against Leave.EU and Arron Banks. Carole has conceded that she was wrong to say any legal proceedings had been launched:

Second, Carole claimed in this all caps tweet that a payment from UKIP to Cambridge Analytica was “an EXPENSE” that was “not DECLARED”. “Right here is literally a year of my life”, said Carole.

Just one problem. The invoice is dated 14 December 2015. The EU referendum date wasn’t announced until 20 February 2016. The spending limit period didn’t begin until 15 April 2016. So it wasn’t an expense and it didn’t need to be declared. Her story, which she described as “literally a year of my life”, is literally wrong. Is there anyone left who buys this embarrassing nonsense?

Cadwalladr: My Story is More Important Than Salisbury Attack

Good to see Carole keeping everything in perspective…

Second Cadwalladr Correction in Two Weeks

Oh dear… The Observer has had to publish a Carole Cadwalladr correction for the second week running. Last Sunday they snuck out a page 50 correction admitting her central claim linking Vote Leave, Aggregate IQ and Cambridge Analytica was untrue. Today they have admitted her story about AIQ being paid to set up a website for Michael Gove but the website never going live was also completely wrong. The site did go live.

“We mistakenly said the website for Michael Gove’s bid for the Tory party leadership in July 2016 never went live. The website Gove2016 did go live.”

And guess what, they buried this correction at the bottom of page 50 as well:

This is pretty basic stuff. No wonder even most Remainers think Carole and the Observer have lost it…

Yesterday’s Cadwalladr Claims Untrue Too

Yesterday the Observer published a page 50 correction conceding that Carole Cadwalladr’s central charge linking Vote Leave, Cambridge Analytica and AggregateIQ is untrue. And it gets worse… 

The paper yesterday also ran a new article about AIQ’s work for Michael Gove’s leadership campaign. Gove told them that AIQ set up his campaign website, but Carole’s award-winning investigative work found that the site “never went live” and “failed to secure the domain”.

“When asked about the work AIQ did for Gove, a spokesman said: “The Gove 2016 campaign paid AIQ £2,720.46 in July to set up its website. The payment was authorised by the campaign manager and paid for from funds donated to the campaign. All campaign spending was fully declared to CCHQ as required under Conservative party leadership election rules.”

AIQ did not respond to inquiries about its work on the Gove 2016… Gove 2016 never went live – according to reports, the campaign failed to secure the domain”

This is just wrong. The domain was secured, the website did go live. An archived version is available here:

This could have been determined by the most basic of web archive searches, but Cadwalladr didn’t bother and the Observer has published another untruth as a result. And the conspiratorial insinuation that some Brexiteer trickery was involved once again falls apart. Will next Sunday’s Observer have to publish its second Cadwalladr correction in two weeks?

UPDATE: Carole confirms her story yesterday was wrong. She’s now admitted her reports have contained fundamental errors two weeks in a row…

Observer Admits Cadwalladr’s Cambridge Analytica / AIQ Conspiracy Theory is Wrong

A humiliating correction for Carole Cadwalladr in today’s Observer as her conspiracy theory that Cambridge Analytica, AggregateIQ and Vote Leave were all working together falls apart:

In two news articles last week (“Revealed: the ties that bound Canadian data firm to Leave campaign in referendum” and “Brexit insider claims Vote Leave team ‘may have broken law’”), we are happy to clarify that we did not intend to suggest that AggregateIQ is a direct part and/or the Canadian branch of Cambridge Analytica, or that it has been involved in the exploitation of Facebook data, or otherwise been involved in any of the alleged wrongdoing made against Cambridge Analytica. Further, we did not intend to suggest that AIQ secretly and unethically co-ordinated with Cambridge Analytica on the EU referendum. We are happy to make clear that AggregateIQ is and has always been 100% Canadian owned and operated.

This was one of the central pieces of the story published by Cadwalladr – who has won a British Journalism Award for her nonsense – and her source Chris Wylie. Even ultra-Remainers who Guido has spoken to over the last week think Cadwalladr has lost the plot. Seems her editors at the Observer are now catching up…

UPDATE: This is where the Observer buried its correction admitting Carole Cadwalladr’s central charge linking Vote Leave, Cambridge Analytica and AggregateIQ is untrue. Page 50.

Cadwalladr’s Sunday Scoop: Top Remainer Paid AIQ

Guido hears Carole Cadwalladr has another big scoop lined up for Sunday about money paid to the Canadian digital marketing firm AggregateIQ. Carole has emailed Michael Gove asking what AIQ did for his leadership campaign in the summer of 2016. Has she uncovered a new layer to the great Brexit conspiracy? It turns out AIQ was paid £2,720.46 in July 2016 to set up the campaign website. The payment was put through by campaign manager Nick Boles, a prominent Remainer and Stronger In campaigner. Which slightly throws a spanner in the works for Carole’s next sinister Brexiteer flow chart. Just how deep does the conspiracy go? 

Adonis Thinks Cadwalladr Has Gone Too Far

Interesting tactical split between the remainers exposed in this tweet by Andrew Adonis this morning. Adonis thinks remainers “mustn’t fall into the trap of saying 2016 referendum vote was invalid”. That is of course a blatant sub-tweet of Carole Cadwalladr and the proponents of this week’s spectacle.[…] Read the rest

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