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Mon Feb 11, 2019, 01:03 PM

Ronan Farrow in the New Yorker: "Private Mossad for Hire"

Inside a plot to influence American elections, starting with one small-town race.

The recall was a clear threat to Benzeevi’s hospital-management business, and he consulted a law firm in Washington, D.C., about mounting a campaign to save Kumar’s seat. An adviser there referred him to Psy-Group, an Israeli private intelligence company. Psy-Group’s slogan was “Shape Reality,” and its techniques included the use of elaborate false identities to manipulate its targets. Psy-Group was part of a new wave of private intelligence firms that recruited from the ranks of Israel’s secret services—self-described “private Mossads.” The most aggressive of these firms seemed willing to do just about anything for their clients.

Psy-Group stood out from many of its rivals because it didn’t just gather intelligence; it specialized in covertly spreading messages to influence what people believed and how they behaved. Its operatives took advantage of technological innovations and lax governmental oversight. “Social media allows you to reach virtually anyone and to play with their minds,” Uzi Shaya, a former senior Israeli intelligence officer, said. “You can do whatever you want. You can be whoever you want. It’s a place where wars are fought, elections are won, and terror is promoted. There are no regulations. It is a no man’s land.”

In recent years, Psy-Group has conceived of a variety of elaborate covert operations. In Amsterdam, the firm prepared a report on a religious sect called the Brunstad Christian Church, whose Norwegian leader, Psy-Group noted, claimed to have written “a more important book than the New Testament.” In Gabon, Psy-Group pitched “Operation Bentley”—an effort to “preserve” President Ali Bongo Ondimba’s hold on power by collecting and disseminating intelligence about his main political rival. (It’s unclear whether or not the operations in Amsterdam and Gabon were carried out. A spokesperson for Brunstad said that it was “plainly ridiculous” that the church considered “any book” to be more important than the Bible. Ondimba’s representatives could not be reached for comment.) In another project, targeting the South African billionaire heirs of an apartheid-era skin-lightening company, Psy-Group secretly recorded family members of the heirs describing them as greedy and, in one case, as a “piece of shit.” In New York, Psy-Group mounted a campaign on behalf of wealthy Jewish-American donors to embarrass and intimidate activists on American college campuses who support a movement to put economic pressure on Israel because of its treatment of the Palestinians.

Psy-Group’s larger ambition was to break into the U.S. election market. During the 2016 Presidential race, the company pitched members of Donald Trump’s campaign team on its ability to influence the results. Psy-Group’s owner, Joel Zamel, even asked Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker, to offer Zamel’s services to Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law. The effort to drum up business included brash claims about the company’s skills in online deception. The posturing was intended to attract clients—but it also attracted the attention of the F.B.I. Robert Mueller, the special counsel, has been examining the firm’s activities as part of his investigation into Russian election interference and other matters.


A deep dive into the wild west world of opinion-influencer "guns for hire" focused on manipulating elections.

This is an interesting time to be alive, but not a happy one for democratic self-governance.

We are increasingly at the mercy of oligarchs with vast fortunes to expand and protect.

sadly,
Bright

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Reply Ronan Farrow in the New Yorker: "Private Mossad for Hire" (Original post)
TygrBright Monday OP
underpants Monday #1
saidsimplesimon Monday #2
justhanginon Monday #3
Dem2theMax Monday #4
calimary Monday #6
PeeJ52 Monday #5
Grins Monday #7
watoos Monday #9
SCVDem Monday #13
Grins Wednesday #15
Pacifist Patriot Monday #8
RAAD2 Monday #10
bluescribbler Monday #11
ToxMarz Monday #12
Duppers Monday #14

Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 01:06 PM

1. He's a hell of a reporter

I’ll read this fully later

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Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 01:16 PM

2. Thank you Mr. Farrow

Keep up the journalist values of honesty and courage that should not demand such sacrifices from those who do.

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Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 01:44 PM

3. Scary times indeed! So difficult to discern the truth about

virtually anything anymore. Increasingly we have to rely on those investigative reporters and journalists who have a track record of verifiable truthtelling.

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Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 01:50 PM

4. Kicking to read later.

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Response to Dem2theMax (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 02:07 PM

6. Yeah no kidding! Wanna take some time with this one.

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Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 01:53 PM

5. and to think, our sources are getting fewer and fewer until there will only be a handful left

and we will only be able to pick between two, with no ability to corroborate either one's story. The future is so exciting.

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Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 02:09 PM

7. Israel is as deep into Trump, Putin, the Saudis, Kushners...

Israel is as deep into Trump, Trump Jr., Putin, Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, the Saudis, the United Arab Emirates, both Kushners, Deutsche Bank, Papadopoulos, Elliott Broidy, Bannon, Tom Barrack, Cambridge Analyticia, the Mercers, Erik Prince, Felix Sater, the Russian mob, Joel Zamel, the fucking with NATO, Brexit, Bezos and the National Enquirer, and just for the fun of it the NRA - as any of them.

And that's why I think when the final Mueller report comes out it will be FAR broader and FAR MORE ENCOMPASSING than just the 2016 election and Trump Tower Moscow. FAR MORE.

I wouldn't trust the sucking-up-to-the-Reich-Wing-Evangelicals Israeli's for a second, on this or anything else!

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Response to Grins (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 02:31 PM

9. I agree with your post but be careful,

there are many here who are sensitive to anything that hints of being anti-Israel. People don't seem to be able to separate Bibi and his far right allies from moderate Israelis.

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Response to watoos (Reply #9)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 02:53 PM

13. Have you noticed that

Anything in the least bit negative about Israel gets you spanked, BUT, Native Americans are open season?

Just look at trump v Warren.

I demand equal rights for OUR indigenous people!

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Response to watoos (Reply #9)

Wed Feb 13, 2019, 10:57 AM

15. ....well, I'm not anti-Israel...

I'm anti-Likud! And right-wing religious Shas party. And I think I can defend my position.

I'm old enough to remember in the early 1950's hoping Eisenhower would win election, a tough time for the new state of Israel. I supported them in the 1960's too, in spite of actress Vanessa Redgrave on "60-Minutes" arguing for the rights of Palestinians, in an arguments that I could not refute. And even then I still supported Israel. I supported them in the 1960's and the 1970's and still can see in my mind George Jessel on the "Tonight Show" and everywhere else flogging the phony 'plant a tree in Israel' to make the desert bloom nonsense (that turned out to be a huge Israeli government-run scam on donors.)

And then it all changed. The extortion they pulled on Nixon and Kissinger. Jonathan Pollard. Ben-Ami Kadish. The USS Liberty. The 30 UN Security Council resolutions that Israel ignored (with the support of the U.S.) between 1968 and 2008. The shelling the shelling of refugees in a UN school. The 2009 shelling of a home of 30 people in Gaza all evacuees by the IDF that the UN Commissioner high commissioner for human rights said "has all hallmarks of war crime". May 15, 2009:

GOP House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) circulated a letter ...urging President Obama to support Israel when moving forward with any Israeli peace process. Trouble is, they forgot to delete the name of the lobbying group involved in the letter from the document. Attached to the email message...was the document, titled, “AIPAC Letter Hoyer Cantor May 2009.pdf.”


The "Eff-you-in-your-face" construction of 1600 new illegal housing units on land the Palestinians consider their future capital in East Jerusalem. The 200 Israelis, some former members of Israeli military intelligence, arrested - in the United States - in 2002.

And Sheldon Adelson.

And to stop belaboring the point:

"Muslims do not “hate our freedom” but rather they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights and the longstanding even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt Saudi Arabia Jordan Pakistan and the Gulf states. ....In other words they do not hate us for our values but because of our policies."


Where did that come from? U.S. Defense Science Board in 2004, tasked after 9/11 to find out why the Muslim world hates us. The Secretary of Defense who requested this study: Donald Rumsfeld.

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Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 02:28 PM

8. Long article, but very important read. I recommend taking the time to do so.

Thanks for sharing!

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Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 02:32 PM

10. News For Hire - Infotainment - Truthspeak - 1984

Winston had to love Big Brother.

Everything told him he had to.

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Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 02:49 PM

11. Great reprting.

Fortunately, the effort in the recall election failed miserably.

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Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 02:50 PM

12. Everyone is so focused on the Social Media aspect, while huge, is only one piece

It is not beyond belief that they are also cultivating the likes of AMI and National Enquirer etc. in their influence machine. All those magazines at the checkout counters of every grocery/drug/conveinience in America, that literally everyone must pass frequently is akin to your Facebook page being overrun with misinformation/propaganda. And no one has to log in, buy or even pick one up and open it up. You just stand there waiting to checkout and peruse.

A while back a local grocery began covering the Enquirer in the checkout because of complaints, but then the right wingers complained so they uncovered them. Then locals began covering them up as they went through the checkout and it became a big mess.

I think all those magazines should be removed from the checkout and put in a normal place where people that want them can get them and those who don't aren't having them forced on them. If the Govt can't do this, maybe public pressure can. Just moving them to another neutral location shouldn't be a free speech issue.

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Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 08:14 PM

14. K&R

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