Cambridge Analytica founder once compared Trump to Hitler

Nigel Oakes, who runs the group that founded data mining firm Cambridge Analytica, admitted in an interview last year that President Donald Trump’s controversial propaganda tactics mirror those of Adolf Hitler. 

Both Hitler and Trump have successfully attacked another group, turning it into an “artificial enemy,” in order to foster greater support among loyalists, Oakes, the CEO of SCL Group, Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, said last November.

He made the comments as part of a series of interviews that Emma Briant, a University of Essex lecturer, conducted with people involved in Britain’s campaign to leave the European Union about propaganda used during the Brexit referendum. Britain’s Parliament released the interview transcripts Monday.

“Hitler, got to be very careful about saying so, must never probably say this, off the record, but of course Hitler attacked the Jews, because... He didn’t have a problem with the Jews at all, but the people didn’t like the Jews,” Oakes said. “So if the people… He could just use them to say… So he just leverage an artificial enemy. Well that’s exactly what Trump did. He leveraged a Muslim- I mean, you know, it’s- It was a real enemy. ISIS is a real, but how big a threat is ISIS really to America? Really, I mean, we are still talking about 9/11, well 9/11 is a long time ago.”

Another one of the interviewees, former communications director for Leave.EU Andy Wigmore, compared the campaign’s own strategy to Hitler’s “very clever” propaganda machine.

“In its pure marketing sense, you can see the logic of what they were saying, why they were saying it, and how they presented things, and the imagery,” he said of the Nazis. “And looking at that now, in hindsight, having been on the sharp end of this campaign, you think: crikey, this is not new, and it’s just … using the tools that you have at the time.”

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A man fixes posters depicting Cambridge Analytica's CEO Alexander Nix behind bars, with the slogan 'Our Data Not His. Go Straight To Jail' to the entrance of the company's offices in central London on March 20, 2018. The European Parliament on Tuesday invited Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg to speak following revelations that a firm working for Donald Trump's US presidential campaign harvested data on 50 million users. Facebook has faced worldwide criticism over the claims that Cambridge Analytica, the UK data analysis firm hired by Trump's 2016 campaign, harvested and misused data on 50 million members. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 20: In this photo illustration the logo of the strategic communication company 'Cambridge Analytica' is seen on the screen of an iPhone in front of a computer screen showing a Facebook logo on March 20, 2018 in Paris, France. Cambridge Analytica is accused of collecting the personal information of 50 million users of the Facebook social network without their consent and would have used it to develop software to predict and influence voter voting during the campaign American election according to the New York Times and the Guardian. Facebook share price fell by more than 5% Monday shortly after the opening of Wall Street. (Photo Illustration by Chesnot/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 20: A protester called Heiko Khoo sticks posters of Alexander Nix behind bars onto the windows of the offices in a demonstration against Cambridge Analytica on March 20, 2018 in London, England. PHOTOGRAPH BY Matthew Chattle / Barcroft Images (Photo credit should read Matthew Chattle / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Christopher Wylie, a whistleblower who formerly worked with Cambridge Analytica, the consulting firm that is said to have harvested private information from more than 50 million Facebook users, speaks at the Frontline Club in London, Britain, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
A man films Christopher Wylie, a whistleblower who formerly worked with Cambridge Analytica, the consulting firm that is said to have harvested private information from more than 50 million Facebook users, for a Facebook live cast as he speaks at the Frontline Club in London, Britain, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Christopher Wylie, a whistleblower who formerly worked with Cambridge Analytica, the consulting firm that is said to have harvested private information from more than 50 million Facebook users, arrives at the Frontline Club in London, Britain, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
A man wheels storage crates from the building that houses the offices of Cambridge Analytica in central London, Britain, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
People walk past the building housing the offices of Cambridge Analytica in central London, Britain, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
People walk past the building housing the offices of Cambridge Analytica in central London, Britain, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Alexander Nix, CEO of Cambridge Analytica arrives at the offices of Cambridge Analytica in central London, Britain, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
A man films Christopher Wylie, a whistleblower who formerly worked with Cambridge Analytica, the consulting firm that is said to have harvested private information from more than 50 million Facebook users, for a Facebook live cast as he speaks at the Frontline Club in London, Britain, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 19: Traders and financial professionals work ahead of the closing bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), March 19, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped over 330 points on Monday. Shares of Facebook dropped nearly 7 percent after news broke that analytics firm Cambridge Analytica was able to collect information on 50 million people's Facebook profiles without their consent. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 20: In this photo illustration the logo of the strategic communication company 'Cambridge Analytica' is seen on the screen of an iPhone on March 20, 2018 in Paris, France. Cambridge Analytica is accused of collecting the personal information of 50 million users of the Facebook social network without their consent and would have used it to develop software to predict and influence voter voting during the campaign American election according to the New York Times and the Guardian. Facebook share price fell by more than 5% Monday shortly after the opening of Wall Street. (Photo Illustration by Chesnot/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 19: Traders and financial professionals work ahead of the closing bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), March 19, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped over 330 points on Monday. Shares of Facebook dropped nearly 7 percent after news broke that analytics firm Cambridge Analytica was able to collect information on 50 million people's Facebook profiles without their consent. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
HOLBORN, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 20: Chief executive of Cambridge Analytica Alexander Nix arrives at the office near Holborn on March 20, 2018 in Holborn, England. PHOTOGRAPH BY Matthew Chattle / Barcroft Images (Photo credit should read Matthew Chattle / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
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Cambridge Analytica said Oakes never worked for the company or the Trump campaign and said he was instead “speaking in a personal capacity about the historical use of propaganda to an academic he knew well from her work in the defence sphere,” according to a spokesperson.

The firm, which the Trump campaign hired in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election, has been embroiled in controversy following the revelation that it may have harvested the data of up to 87 million people on Facebook. While the social media giant’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has apologized for the breach and promised to improve the way it communicates with users about their data, Cambridge Analytica has attempted to downplay the effect its tools had on the election. It denied that it misused Facebook user data and insisted that no more than 30 million people had data that could have been harvested.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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