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Steve Bannon promoted ‘culture war,’ says Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie

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U.S. President Donald Trump’s former aide Steve Bannon sought to use personal information collected online to promote “a culture war,” a whistleblower on now-defunct political data firm Cambridge Analytica told U.S. senators on Wednesday.

Bannon, a former Cambridge Analytica vice president, “saw cultural warfare as a means to create enduring change in American politics,” testified Christopher Wylie, who says information about tens of millions of Facebook (FB.O) users ended up in Cambridge Analytica’s hands.

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Bannon’s attorney William Burck did not immediately respond to an email request for comment on Wylie’s testimony.

 Wylie, who worked for SCL, the British-based parent of Cambridge Analytica, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Cambridge Analytica hired hackers to collect data it then used against opponents of its political clients.
Allegations of the improper use of data for 87 million Facebook users by Cambridge Analytica, which was hired by Trump’s 2016 election campaign, have led to investigations in the United States and Europe.

Bannon worked on Trump’s campaign and became a White House aide when Trump took office in January 2017. Bannon left in August 2017.

Wylie, who has provided reports about how the firm used data Facebook collected, on Wednesday described discussions at the company about suppressing the vote, exploiting racial tensions, and testing campaign slogans in 2014 for use in the 2016 election.

“One of the things that did provoke me to leave was the beginnings of discussions of voter disengagement, I have seen documents reference and I recall conversations that it was intended to focus on African-American voters,” Wylie said.

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“The company learned that there were segments of the population that responded to messages like ‘drain the swamp’ or images of border walls or indeed paranoia about the ‘deep state’ that weren’t necessarily reflected in mainstream polling or mainstream political discourse that Steve Bannon was interested in to help build his movement,” Wylie said.

Another witness who testified to the judiciary committee, Tufts University associate professor Eitan Hersh, said he was “skeptical” of the effectiveness that such political messaging and targeting. “No person is persuadable all the time,” he said.

As part of an investigation into U.S. allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is looking into how Russian intelligence agencies timed and targeted emails hacked from Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and others. The Kremlin denies interfering in the U.S. election.

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Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by John Walcott and Grant McCool


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Trump is going through a mental health crisis that makes his judgment even more impulsive and ‘catastrophic’: psychologist

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The first week of public impeachment hearings against Donald Trump in the House of Representatives has concluded. Despite the obsessive efforts of Trump’s Republican Party minions, his personal spokespeople and the right-wing disinformation media, the facts are clear: Multiple witnesses independently report that Donald Trump abused the power of the presidency for personal gain in an effort to bribe and extort the president of Ukraine into aiding his re-election campaign.

This article first appeared in Salon.As documented by Robert Mueller's report, the Ukraine scandal is part of a long pattern by Donald Trump and his supplicants to seek out foreign assistance to subvert American democracy, with the goal of first installing Trump in power and then keeping him there.

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Another summit between North Korea and the US would be "useless" unless Washington offers new concessions in their nuclear negotiations, Pyongyang said Monday, hours after Donald Trump hinted at the prospect.

"You should act quickly, get the deal done," Trump tweeted Sunday, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "See you soon!"

Kim and Trump have met three times since June last year, but talks have been gridlocked since their Hanoi summit in February broke up in disagreement over sanctions relief, while October's working-level talks rapidly broke down in Sweden.

Pyongyang has set Washington a deadline of the end of the year to come forward with a fresh offer, and foreign ministry advisor Kim Kye Gwan said the US was "buying time while acting as if it has achieved progress".

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Samoa makes measles vaccine mandatory to stop deadly outbreak

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Samoa finalised plans for a compulsory measles vaccination programme Monday, after declaring a state of emergency as a deadly epidemic sweeps the Pacific nation.

At least six fatalities, including five children, have been linked to the outbreak of the virus, which has also hit other island states such as Tonga and Fiji.

Samoa is the worst affected with more than 700 cases reported from across all areas of the country, prompting the government on Friday to invoke emergency powers.

Declaring a state of emergency, the government said plans for compulsory measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) immunisations would be published on Monday.

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