Alfa Bank, Arron Banks, Beauvoir, BGR Government Affairs, BGR Group, Big Data Dolphins, Brexit, Brexit Boys, Cambridge Analytica, CFIUS, Charlemagne Capital, civil war, Clinton, Confederacy, diamond mining, Eldon Insurance, FARA, German Khan, Gold Mining, Haley Barbour, Jefferson Davis, Leave EU, Lord Ashcroft, Manx Financial Group, Mississippi, Nigel Farage, Ole Miss, Phil Bryant, SCL Group, UKIP, Ukraine, Uranium One, US sanctions Russia, Webis Holdings
Mississippi Governor Bryant (2012-present) served as Lt. Governor (2008-2012) under former Governor Barbour (2004-2012). Prior to that he was the State Auditor from 1996-2008. Barbour is a co-founder of BGR Government Affairs lobbying group. BGR represented Uranium One in the period of the Russian government takeover, while apparently failing to register as a foreign agent (FARA). It has long represented Russia’s Alfa Bank (from 2002 to present), owned by several prominent oligarchs, including German Khan, whose son-in-law was sent to jail for a month in the Mueller investigation. As a Republican operative and lobbyist, Haley Barbour might be dubbed Mississippi’s Manafort, though Barbour hasn’t been indicted or convicted of anything – at least not yet.
(See more details on BGR group and Alfa Bank at this post bottom)
The Brexit Boys and Mississippi Governor Bryant appear to have slept through the part of history about the US Civil War – the Confederacy lost the Civil War and a lot of people died. The slaves were finally freed. Beauvoir was the home of the President of the Confederacy, Jeff Davis: “Mississippi governor honored by Confederate group at Beauvoir” BY Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today, June 19, 2018 05:00 AM, Updated June 19, 2018 05:00 AM https://www.sunherald.com/latest-news/article213406509.html
On January 19, 2017, Nigel Farage tweeted that he was in DC for Trump’s inauguration and that it was great to be with Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi and Lord Ashcroft. Governor Bryant, Nigel Farage, Lord Ashcroft, Andy Wigmore, and Arron Banks are all pictured together. Ashcroft, Wigmore, Bryant and Banks were at Ole Miss together again in November 2017. During the Trump inauguration, Phil Bryant introduced Farage to “party guests“, at a hotel. See photo-tweet and article here: “Too much love: Nigel Farage and friends have a bad boys’ ball in DC” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/20/too-much-love-nigel-farage-and-friends-have-a-bad-boys-ball-in-dc
Earlier in Missisisippi – “Farage at Trump rally: ‘I wouldn’t vote for Clinton if you paid me’ – Trump described Brexit as a bid for autonomy and drew parallels to his own campaign, declaring a Trump presidency would bring ‘American independence’” https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/aug/24/nigel-farage-donald-trump-rally-hillary-clinton
“Nigel Farage To Attend Donald Trump Inauguration With Phil Bryant“, By Sara C Nelson, 06/01/2017 12:56 GMT | Updated 06/01/2017 13:16 GMT, https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/nigel-farage-to-attend-donald-trump-inauguration-with-phil-bryant_uk_586f7fcee4b0cf4ed40e5330
“From Man Caves to the ‘Great Wall,’ Bryant and Farage Head to Trump’s Inauguration“, by Donna Ladd, http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2017/jan/06/mississippi-governor-brexits-nigel-farage-attendin/
Almost two months ago, the New York Times reported: “Russians Offered Business Deals to Brexit’s Biggest Backer” https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/29/world/europe/russia-britain-brexit-arron-banks.html “As Arron Banks spent millions on Brexit, meetings at the Russian Embassy opened opportunities in gold and diamonds“, according to the NYT. Among other things, the NYT explains that Charlemagne Capital was one of a group of investors allowed to buy into the Russia government’s Alrosa diamonds, sold in a private offering at a discount, a few weeks after the Brexit vote, although the value of diamonds and the stock were increasing at the time. Mr. Mellon made a fortune investing in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and often with businessmen who were “close to” Putin, according to the NYT. Mellon introduced Banks to Nigel Farage. Mellon is business partners with Banks in Manx Financial Group: “Mellon made “spectacular amounts” in Russia’s transition to a market economy in the 1990s. A spin-off of from Regent Pacific that specialises in Eastern Europe, the fund management firm Charlemagne Capital, was also founded in the 1990s… He is also chairman of Manx Financial Group PLC (the parent company of Conister Bank), of which Brexiteer Arron Banks owns 25%. He is also financially connected to Banks through gaming company Webis Holdings PLC…” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Mellon
Cambridge Analytica was initially engaged with Arron Banks, Andy Wigmore and Matthew Richardson to design parallel proposals for Leave.EU, GoSkippy/Eldon Insurance and the UK Independence Party. I was asked by Nix and Wheatland to take the lead on contract negotiations. I believe this is because, as upper class Brits, they did not want to front up the deal with him themselves. Banks was excited to discover my background with the Obama campaign.
Over a period of five months, we undertook both meetings and work at the Bristol headquarters of Eldon Insurance, the SCL Group offices in Mayfair, and the Leave.EU London offices in Millbank Tower, as well as a press launch and media engagements. Our work for UKIP/Leave.EU was never reported to the Electoral Commission by the party, the campaign, or our company.
At the time, I didn’t see anything wrong in what was being proposed. I am not a data lawyer or an expert in UK elections law; and we included caveats in our proposals about requiring legal advice before proceeding with some elements of the project. Arron Banks said, “It’s my data” – it seemed natural that he would use it across his initiatives. I was also reassured by a legal opinion arranged by former UKIP party secretary Matthew Richardson from Philip Coppel QC to UKIP and Cambridge Analytica, an opinion which Richardson co-signed in a manner which seems somewhat unorthodox in retrospect. I am providing this document now to Parliament.
In hindsight, I now think that there is reason to believe that misuse of data was rife amongst the businesses and campaigns of Arron Banks. If the personal data of UK citizens who just wanted to buy car insurance was used by GoSkippy and Eldon Insurance for political purposes, as may have been the case, people clearly did not opt in for their data to be used in this way by Leave.EU. I have similar concerns about whether UKIP members consented to the use of their data.
For example, I went to Bristol with a senior data scientist to spend the day with the Leave.Eu team. We started the work day by presenting to the heads of every department (social media, call center, IT/data, creative, events) to show them how Cambridge Analytica uses data and would be supporting the Leave.Eu campaign. After the general presentation we went to work with each department to assess which kinds of data they had…” See: https://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/culture-media-and-sport/Brittany-Kaiser-Parliamentary-testimony-FINAL.pdf
“Gov. Bryant linked Ole Miss with scrutinized British data firm” by Adman Ganucheau, April 19, 2018, Mississippi Today, includes a photo of Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant posing with Lord Michael Ashcroft, Andy Wigmore, and Arron Banks at the Ole Miss football stadium last year. According to the article, Governor Bryant was in a luxury skybox at the Ole Miss stadium with Banks, Wigmore and Lord Ashcroft during an Ole Miss game. And, that Lord Ashcroft fired the cannon used on the football field to mark a touchdown. See pdf page 48 of lawsuit: http://jacksonfreepress.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/news/documents/2018/06/07/Doc_2_Complaint.pdf
NB: From 2016 to present, Haley Barbour is a financial supporter of “Mississippi Today”
Governor Bryant and the Brexit Boys had reunions showing up on twitter throughout 2017, including a Thursday November 2, 2017 photo saying that he is with Mississippi governor Phil Bryant, Lord Ashcroft and Andy Wigmore “for the big game at ole miss! What a weekend…” So, was that the previous weekend where Arkansas beat them? See article and lots of photos here: “Why Brexit bankroller Arron Banks launched a data firm in Oxford, Mississippi” by Alex McDaniel. http://magnoliastatelive.com/brexit-bankroller-arron-banks-launched-data-firm-oxford-mississippi/
The B in BGR is for former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour:
BGR GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS – Uranium One and Alfa Bank. For example, Alfa Bank Q1 2015 was to lobby on “U.S.-Russian bilateral relations”. Uranium One hired them to lobby on CFIUS, but we find no record of them filing FARA for their work with Uranium One, which was already largely owned by the Russian government. In fact, the whole point of CFIUS lobbying was to convince the US Congress that it was ok to allow Russia to own US uranium mines: https://efile.fara.gov/pls/apex/f?p=171:200:6067993337655::NO:RP,200:P200_REG_NUMBER:5430
See some relevant screen captures further below.
Severstal was founded in Columbus Mississippi in 2005: https://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=24602395
In the context of the Kemper County Coal project, the Sierra Club explains that Haley Barbour maintained ties to BGR group above and beyond friendship ties: “After working as a Republican political operative for years, Haley Barbour founded a new lobbying firm, called BGR Group, in 1991. Barbour left BGR Group from 1993–1997 when he was chairman of the Republican National Committee. After he retired from the position, he returned to BGR Group… When Barbour became governor of Mississippi in 2004, he promised that his lobbying career was behind him and that he had put all of his assets in a blind trust to avoid conflicts of interest. But media accounts have since disclosed that Barbour’s assets include 50,000 shares in Interpublic Group – the company that bought BGR Group for a period of time beginning in 1999. Reports show that Barbour also had a profit sharing plan, an arrangement where the stakeholder typically receives a percentage of profits based on a company’s earnings…. After Barbour’s governorship ended in 2012, he rejoined BGR Group as a lobbyist…” Excerpted from: “Haley Barbour’s Dirty Money: lobbying for tHe Kemper County Coal plant – A Report from the Sierra Club“. https://content.sierraclub.org/creative-archive/sites/content.sierraclub.org.creative-archive/files/pdfs/100_248_HaleyBarbour_FactSht_03_low.pdf
Note that BGR Group appear to lie about foreign ownership in the registration. Uranium One was already largely owned by Russian government owned Rosatom. And, Uranium One itself was Canadian.
In June 2009, the Rosatom subsidiary ARMZ acquired 16.6% of shares in Uranium One in exchange for a 50% interest in the Karatau uranium mining project, a joint venture with Kazatomprom. In June 2010, Uranium One acquired 50% and 49% respective interests in southern Kazakhstan-based Akbastau and Zarechnoye uranium mines from ARMZ. In exchange, ARMZ increased its stake in Uranium One to 51%…..” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranium_One “Russia’s Rosatom state nuclear corporation will receive 356 million common shares in Uranium One, which along with ARMZ’s existing 23.1% holding will give it an interest of at least 51% in the company.” June 9, 2010: http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/C-ARMZ_takes_hold_of_Uranium_One-0906107.html
NB: Most of this post was written almost two months ago, but based on a quick search it appears to still be up to date.
Update note – It is believed that the UK Facebook data was moved from Ole Miss, in quaint Oxford, to Mississippi State, whose library, built ca 1950, used to look like Hitler’s Chancellery (fascist architecture) until it was remodeled.