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Wikistrat

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:18 am
by seemslikeadream
Mueller Witness’ Team Gamed Out Russian Meddling … in 2015

One former analyst at the Wikistrat consulting firm called it ‘disturbing.’

01.30.19 5:05 AM ET
Days after Donald Trump rode down an escalator at Trump Tower and announced he’d run for president, a little-known consulting firm with links to Israeli intelligence started gaming out how a foreign government could meddle in the U.S. political process. Internal communications, which The Daily Beast reviewed, show that the firm conducted an analysis of how illicit efforts might shape American politics. Months later, the Trump campaign reviewed a pitch from a company owned by that firm’s founder—a pitch to carry out similar efforts.

The founder of the firm, called Wikistrat, has been questioned by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team as they investigate efforts by foreign governments to shape American politics during the 2016 presidential campaign. Joel Zamel, a low-profile Israeli-Australian who started the firm, has deep contacts in Middle Eastern intelligence circles. There are no known publicly available pictures of him. But he met people in the upper echelons of the Trump campaign.

In April 2016, senior Trump campaign official Rick Gates reviewed a pitch produced by a company called Psy Group, which Zamel reportedly owns. The pitch laid out a three-pronged election influence campaign that included creating thousands of fake social media accounts to support then-candidate Trump and disparage his opponents, according to The New York Times.

After Trump became the party’s official nominee, Zamel met with Donald Trump Jr. and discussed the plan, which echoed both the real election interference already underway by the Kremlin and the scenario Wikistrat gamed out the year before.

Zamel took part in at least two meetings in Washington in 2016 and 2017. And his staff at Psy Group made several connections about their social media manipulation plan with individuals who represented themselves as close to the Trump team.

It’s unclear if the Psy Group plans ever went forward. Some former employees of the firm who previously spoke to The Daily Beast said Gates never pursued the campaign. Others said part of the plan was carried out.

To be clear, Wikistrat’s manipulation sim was just one of hundreds the firm has conducted. And at the time, many firms in the private intelligence sector were looking for ways to explore the ramifications of the growing threat of online propaganda and political interference.

Marc Mukasey, a lawyer for Zamel and Wikistrat, said the firm’s predictions were the result of good work.

“Wikistrat has conducted hundreds of simulations with thousands of scenarios of the past few years,” he told The Daily Beast. “They deal with a wide variety of topics related to technology, cybersecurity, national security, economic issues. Wikistrat and Psy Group are completely separate companies. Anything Wikistrat successfully predicted was purely a credit to the firm’s crowdsourced prediction capabilities and completely unrelated to the nonsense reports or events to occur years later.”

But Peter Marino, one of the Wikistrat analysts who helped create the report in 2015, told The Daily Beast that, looking back, he finds the firm’s prescience quite strange.

“At the time we were discussing the subject of cyber interference in democratic processes, it felt like just another idle intellectual exercise. But retrospectively, it feels a bit too on-the-nose not to be disturbing.”

— Former Wikistrat analyst Peter Marino

“At the time we were discussing the subject of cyber-interference in democratic processes, it seemed and felt like just another idle intellectual exercise and scenario planning project for political scientists,” said Marino, who is currently pursuing a PhD in Chinese politics and history. “But retrospectively, it feels a bit too on-the-nose not to be disturbing.”

Wikistrat is essentially a think tank for rent. The firm, which only has a few full-time employees, contracts with foreign policy and national security experts to produce reports for corporate and government clients about specific geopolitical issues. The firm’s analysts also sometimes produce reports that aren’t for clients, according to people close to the firm; the firm then displays those reports on its website to demonstrate the quality of its work, or markets them to potential buyers.

The report The Daily Beast reviewed includes several different conversation threads, like a high-end version of Reddit. It was titled “The Rise of the Cyber Mercenary.”

In a discussion of how a hostile foreign government could weaponize social media against an adversary, one Wikistrat analyst put it this way:

“Cyber-mercenaries are mainly hired by governments as online counter-information and counter-counter-information officers. Disguised as ordinary citizens, these cyber-mercenaries are experts at sensationalizing and distorting political issues in a manner that appeals to common sense. Their objectives are not to convince explicitly, but rather subconsciously, by inserting a seed of doubt that leads to confusion and encourages fact-skepticism. Their ultimate targets are foreign governments, but their attacks are launched on proxy targets, ordinary citizens, chiefly ignorant, vulnerable, and uneducated populaces of a particular nation-state.”

The analyst then noted that entities like “Russia’s ‘Internet Research Group’”—likely a misnomer for the country’s Internet Research Agency, which Mueller indicted in Feb. 2018—already weaponize social media to shape their countries’ domestic politics.

“As a foreign policy tool, misinformation can be used to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt among the population of antagonist countries, therefore furthering the instigator’s own agenda,” the analyst added. “Instead of direct government involvement, using cyber-mercenaries to enact these operations would create a degree of indirection and a veneer of plausible deniability that would make it harder to clearly separate propaganda from facts.”

Another analyst then sounded off on what makes trolling effective.

“[T]hese ‘cyber-trolls’ are trained controversialists: they openly engage in public controversy…People are drawn to the excitement of controversy and these cyber-trolls are experts in sensationalizing a political issue. The objective of cyber-trolls is not to convince explicitly, but rather subconsciously, by inserting a seed of doubt that leads to confusion and encourages fact-skepticism. They are not afraid to use provocative and confrontational language, as it is to their advantage if it leads to an emotional rise in the reader because the reader is then more likely to engage in debate, which in-turn, creates more buzz and attracts a greater audience, increasing the potential number of people exposed to this misinformation campaign.”

The analysis was written after the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency had begun its U.S. election interference campaign, but well before the American public knew about it. In the end the troll factory controlled thousands of fake organizations and personas on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which it used to push out divisive rhetoric and fake news—overwhelmingly in support of Donald Trump’s candidacy.

In another discussion thread that was part of the Cyber Mercenaries project, analysts scrutinized the possibility of a hostile foreign government targeting the U.S. elections.

“The targets for these attacks are either the Democrats or the Republicans,” an analyst theorized. “The countries which sense that their [sic] is a divergence in their strategic objectives or foreign policy and therefore harbor a preference for one party or the other.”

“Foreign governments with a high stake in U.S. elections might be willing to hire cyber-mercenaries to influence election results,” the analyst added.

One analyst then chimed in, pointing out that “Ukraine and Russia already have the situation.”

Another then replied, “I feel this has the potential to be developed into a more standardised operational procedure.”

One former senior employee of Psy Group said the language in the simulations echoed that of materials the intelligence firm drafted in a similar time period. At the time, Psy Group, Wikistrat, and dozens of other intelligence companies were looking to capitalize on election-related cybersecurity concerns. It was a burgeoning market, the employee said.

“All jargon across all materials is more or less the same,” the employee said about Wikistrat and Psy Group’s reports.

The employee spoke to The Daily Beast anonymously because he was not authorized to speak publicly about Psy Group work, even though the company is now defunct. The FBI has questioned employees of Psy Group about its work during the 2016 election. Zamel, the owner of the firm, has been questioned by the Special Counsel’s Office.

The Wikistrat simulations, according to the former Psy Group employee, mirror material in a presentation that Rick Gates sought from Psy Group in 2016. The presentation, detailed by The New York Times, shows how the firm would have used avatars to obtain intelligence on American voters.

The Wikistrat “Cyber Mercenary” project lasted for more than a week and touched on multiple scenarios including hacking groups targeting American polling stations, Russian trolls, sources of revenue for cyber-mercenaries, and hacked corporate records, according to five current and former employees who spoke to The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about internal data. Four worked on the simulations.

It’s unclear if the Wikistrat simulations were conducted for a particular client. Analysts who spoke to The Daily Beast said most of the projects they worked on were for governments or private companies, though they didn’t learn their identities. That information was held by a few full-time staff at the top of Wikistrat, they said.

“We never heard from anyone at the top,” one former employee said. “Sometimes we would get pump-up emails from Joel but that is about it.”

Employees said Wikistrat was looking to expand its expert and analyst base in 2015 but has since scaled back its operations. Several former top analysts have been laid off.

A source who worked at Wikistrat while the simulation was being conducted told The Daily Beast that, in retrospect, it’s worrisome. He pointed to Zamel’s reported work with George Nader, a Lebanese-American emissary for the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, who is cooperating with Mueller’s investigation of the 2016 election. Nader attended the Seychelles meeting where American billionaire Erik Prince and the head of a Russian sovereign wealth fund reportedly discussed setting up a back-channel between their two governments.

“The problem is when you combine that with the fact of all the other allegations against Mr. Zamel, including the allegations that he received payment from George Nader, that Psy Group was allegedly involved with a social media manipulation campaign first during the primary and then during the general—you combine all of that with the fact that at another company he owns, Wikistrat, his analysts came up with a scenario that’s eerily similar to what wound up happening,” that person said. “It’s circumstantial, certainly, but it is very concerning.”

--with additional reporting by Kevin Poulsen
https://www.thedailybeast.com/mueller-w ... ng-in-2015

Re: Wikistrat

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:34 am
by seemslikeadream
seemslikeadream » Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:38 pm wrote:Bijan Kian, now charged with not disclosing his work for another country, worked on the WH transition team.

An article by @kenklippenstein described a source who said Bijan Kian introduced Michael Flynn to Joel Zamel, head of Wikistrat & Psy-Group, the social media company that met with Don Jr, Erik Prince & George Nader Aug 2016 and Nader later paid $2 million

Zamel apparently wanted former national security adviser Michael Flynn to be a member of Wikistrat’s advisory board; Zamel spoke with him about it on multiple occasions around the time Flynn was forming his ill-fated Flynn Intel Group
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Erik Prince and Bijan Kian were both attendees at Rep. Rohrabacher's "Liberty Ball" Inauguration party. Other attendees included London Breitbart/Brexiteer Raheem Kassam, and noted Russian adoption advocates/Trump Tower meeting besties Rinat Akhmetshin and Natalia Vesselnitskaya.

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Inside the Mysterious Intelligence Firm Now in Mueller’s Sights

Wikistrat bills itself as a ‘crowdsourced’ analysis agency based in Washington. But interviews with current and former employees and documents tell a very different story.

06.04.18 7:55 PM ET
HUSH HUSH

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Kendall McMinimy/Getty


In the fall of 2016, Donald Trump Jr. and other key aides to the future president reportedly met in Trump Tower with Joel Zamel, the founder of a company called Wikistrat.

Wikistrat bills itself as a “crowdsourced” geopolitical analysis firm based in Washington, D.C. But interviews with current and former employees and documents reviewed by The Daily Beast tell a different story: that the vast majority of Wikistrat’s clients were foreign governments; that Wikistrat is, for all intents and purposes, an Israeli firm; and that the company’s work was not just limited to analysis. It also engaged in intelligence collection.

Robert Mueller’s office is investigating Wikistrat and Zamel, according to The Wall Street Journal, as the special counsel’s probe expands into Middle Eastern governments’ attempts to influence American politics.

Publicly, Wikistrat touts its crowdsourcing interface it has described as “Wikipedia meets Facebook” to develop reports for clients. The documents also highlight Wikistrat’s heavy reliance on “gamification”—applying game design features to encourage user engagement—to solicit information from sources. Former Wikistrat employees say its founder viewed himself as the Mark Zuckerberg of the national-security world.

But despite the firm’s purported commitment to “transparent, open-source methodologies,” the documents provided to The Daily Beast show something different: that the company exploits “in country… informants” as sources.

Wikistrat’s “About” page includes mention of “on-the-ground collection.”

And according to internal Wikistrat documents marked “highly confidential and sensitive material,” 74 percent of the firm’s revenue came from clients that were foreign governments.

Although Wikistrat’s clients were overwhelmingly foreign governments, the company boasted incredible access to top U.S. military and intelligence officials. The firm’s advisory council lists former CIA and National Security Agency director Michael Hayden, former national security adviser James L. Jones, former deputy director of the National Security Council Elliott Abrams, and former acting director of the Defense Intelligence Agency David Shedd, among others.

Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that the company’s website is adorned with the insignias of U.S. military agencies and that it claims D.C. as its headquarters.

But exactly how much of a connection these advisers have with the company isn’t totally clear. “I have always been informal… but I support the concept of their work (as my quote [on Wikistrat’s website] points out),” Hayden told The Daily Beast in an email. “There is no paperwork between us and I have never been to a board meeting.”

A former senior analyst for Wikistrat, James Kadtke, described his experience with the company to The Daily Beast. A physicist by training, Kadtke worked as a defense and technology adviser to Sen. John Warner from 2002-05 and as a senior fellow at the National Defense University before joining Wikistrat in 2016.

When Kadtke first interviewed with a couple of Wikistrat executives to discuss working for them, he said it became obvious to him that there was more to this company than meets the eye.

“It was clear to me that both of these guys had intelligence backgrounds, intelligence professionals, not academics or analysts,” Kadtke told The Daily Beast. “They were using their experts for tacit information going on in various parts of the world. I got the impression they were doing things outside of Wikistrat. It seemed mysterious.”

Working for Wikistrat didn’t seem to clear up Kadtke’s questions. Kadtke said that, in retrospect, Wikistrat appeared to be more about intelligence collection than anything else.

Elad Schaffer, the Wikistrat CEO who succeeded Zamel this year, did not respond to a request for comment.

Asked about Kadtke’s remarks about intelligence collection, one former high-ranking employee said, “Could he [Wikistrat’s founder] have done this? Yes, by all means,” adding that Wikistrat’s work “was not limited to geopolitics.”

The documents provide rare insight into a company that Wikistrat employees repeatedly described as extraordinarily secretive.

“Joel ran a very compartmentalized organization,” one former high-ranking staffer said.

“I felt like I had no real visibility into what the company was really doing,” another former senior employee said.

“He was very secretive, everything was highly compartmentalized… It was clear that he kept the entire company in the dark. Even [company executives] didn’t have the whole picture,” a former employee said, adding that if someone took a photo at a company gathering, Zamel would leave the room.

“He never allowed anyone to get near his phone, his laptop, stuff like that.”

Even in the internal company documents, which include a page about the company’s leadership, photos of each of the executives are included—except Zamel’s.

“I suspected he was involved in other stuff simply because a man without secrets doesn’t need to be secretive. If he had nothing to hide, he would’ve been much more open. I thought he was involved in other operations.”

If Wikistrat was engaged in intelligence collection, an obvious question arises: For whom?

Much of the reporting so far has focused on Wikistrat’s relationship with the United Arab Emirates. For instance, The New York Times recently reported a secretive Trump Tower meeting three months before the 2016 presidential election, between Donald Trump Jr., Zamel, and George Nader, an emissary for the UAE. The meeting drew comparison to the infamous Trump Tower meeting between Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin.

Zamel is reported to have pitched Trump Jr. on a social-media manipulation strategy to help his father win the election. After Trump was elected, Nader is said to have paid Zamel a large sum of money—as much as $2 million.

In light of the scrutiny of Zamel’s ties to the UAE, it’s natural that news coverage would focus on that country. But Wikistrat may, in fact, have stronger ties to Israel.

Zamel is a citizen of Israel and master’s graduate of IDC Herzliya—a small, elite college that’s often compared to U.S. Ivy League schools—where he studied government, diplomacy, and strategy, specializing in counterterrorism and homeland security.

(The internal documents reviewed by The Daily Beast confirm that Zamel also owned the lion’s share—86 percent—of Wikistrat, with the next biggest shareholder possessing less than 6 percent of the company.)

Though Wikistrat’s website lists its location as Washington, Kadtke said the company was run out of Israel the entire time he worked there.

A former Wikistrat employee confirmed the company was run out of Tel Aviv, with the D.C. office only handling sales and business development, he said.

“He knew a whole lot of people there [in Israel]. One of his connections was the former head of the [Israeli] intelligence directorate, Amos Yadlin.”

In fact, each of Wikistrat’s principals listed Tel Aviv as their address in a 2015 copy of Wikistrat’s Virginia business license.

Former employees say that at the core of Wikistrat’s leadership were three Israelis: Daniel Green, the CTO, Elad Schaffer, formerly the COO and now the CEO, and Zamel, the founder and, until this year, its CEO.

“Those people were very close, and it wasn’t just professional,” one former employee said.

That former employee added, “I had an initial conversation with Joel where I said, ‘One of the issues you’re going to run into, if you want to be focused on [U.S.] government work, you’re going to run into problems every day because of the Israeli connection.’ He said, ‘Well, why is that? They’re amazing allies?’”

“There were many conversations internally [about this]... Israel is one of the top counterintelligence concerns for the U.S.”

One of the internal documents reviewed by The Daily Beast lists a former “major in [an] elite Israeli intelligence-analysis unit,” Shay Hershkovitz, as its chief security officer and director of analytic community. That document also describes Schaffer as a former “counterterrorism officer for Israeli intelligence.”

“Elad was involved in a very elite, select group of individuals performing a very important mission… dealing with the height of the global war on terrorism,” one former employee said. “He did some collaborative work with U.S. special-operations counterparts who were working in the Middle East to deal with threats coming from al Qaeda.”

“Elad kept a very low profile.”

Schaffer did not respond to a request for comment.

‘FLYNN TOOK A REAL SHINING TO JOEL’

Zamel apparently wanted former national security adviser Michael Flynn to be a member of the firm’s advisory board; Zamel spoke with him about it on multiple occasions around the time Flynn was forming his ill-fated Flynn Intel Group, a former high-ranking Wikistrat employee told The Daily Beast.

“Flynn took a real shining to Joel,” the source said.

Another former Wikistrat employee appeared to confirm Zamel’s links to Flynn, saying a mutual contact, Adam Lovinger, helped introduce Zamel to numerous Pentagon officials. Lovinger, a Pentagon strategist and former Trump NSC analyst, had been named to the National Security Council by Flynn and was reportedly associated with Flynn Intel Group.

Flynn Intel Group would later be investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller in connection to a $530,000 payment it received from a company owned by a Turkish businessman close to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Lovinger told The Daily Beast that he had introduced Zamel to Pentagon officials after a Navy commander brought him to the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment.

“I know both Joel and Mike Flynn, but I don’t know the extent of their relationship,” Lovinger added.

Zamel had apparently been introduced to Flynn by Bijan Kian, Flynn Intel Group’s former vice chairman of its board of directors, according to one source. Kian had been a partner at Flynn Intel Group and served as point man on Flynn’s discussions with Zamel.

Neither Flynn nor Kian responded to requests for comment.

“Joel Zamel has never met Michael Flynn,” Zamel’s attorney, Marc Mukasey, told The Daily Beast via telephone. Asked about Zamel’s relationship with Kian, Mukasey hung up.

However, shortly after this report’s publication, Mukasey confirmed via email that Zamel had indeed communicated with Flynn. In an email to The Daily Beast, Mukasey wrote: “Regarding Joel and Wikistrat, your information and your statistics and your numbers and your descriptions are flat-out wrong. You’ve been fed misinformation (likely by a disgruntled ex-employee) or you’re simply making things up. By way of example, there was one—and only one—conversation with Flynn.”

The appeal of working with a high-profile intelligence officer like Flynn is easy to see. What’s more opaque is why Zamel moved away from harvesting “crowdsourced” intel to making foreign deals.

The allure of quick and easy money from extravagantly wealthy Middle East leadership figures, coupled with an increasingly personal relationship with them, represented a “shiny object” that lured Zamel away from Wikistrat’s original mission, a former senior Wikistrat employee said.

And although Zamel was rich, he might not have been wealthy enough to float Wikistrat on his own.

“It was never clear to me how much Joel was actually paying out of pocket to subsidize the company vs. what was brought in,” another former employee said. “Clients paid decently but not enough to sustain the company. So Joel was either substantially funding the company or we were getting money from somewhere else. That naturally leads you to focus on non-U.S. sources of income.”

The documents appear to corroborate this, showing that Wikistrat had been losing large amounts of money. For example, an income statement summary shows Wikistrat’s income as -$603,000 in 2013, -$110,000 in 2014, and a projected -$773,000 for 2016.

Kadtke said that, toward the end of 2017, Wikistrat’s ordinary operations (i.e., war games and analysis) went “way down.”

“Around the beginning of 2017, the three people I knew there left very abruptly… The last study on the website was January 2017 (they used to do a lot). They seemed to have ceased operations,” Kadtke said. “It was very strange to me that they just sort of collapsed. It was probably a three-month period after which everyone I knew there left.”

https://www.thedailybeast.com/inside-th ... ers-sights





Document: Michael Flynn Associates Charged in Gulen Extradition Effort

By Quinta Jurecic Monday, December 17, 2018, 10:45 AM

A grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia has indicted Bijan Rafiekian and Kamil Ekim Alptekin, both associates of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, for efforts to secure the extradition of cleric Fethullah Gulen from the United States to Turkey. The document is available here and below.
https://www.lawfareblog.com/document-mi ... ion-effort



MIKE FLYNN STEPS IN IT: IN A BID TO FEED THE FROTHY RIGHT, HE LEADS TO RELEASE OF DAMNING NEW DETAILS SHOWING HE LIED TO PROTECT TRUMP

December 17, 2018/32 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, Mueller Probe /by empty wheel

Last week, I suggested that Mike Flynn’s cute trick of publicly releasing information from Andy McCabe’s memo and Peter Strzok’s 302 might backfire.

He cited a memo that fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe wrote the day of Flynn’s interview and the interview report (called a “302”) that fired FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok had a hand in writing up in August 2017, some seven months after the interview.

In response, the judge in his case, Emmet Sullivan, issued an order asking not just for those two documents, but any documents related to the matters Flynn writes up, to be filed by tomorrow, along with the government’s reply to his memorandum.

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And so it is that on the one year anniversary of the order Sullivan issued to ensure that Flynn got any exculpatory information relating to his plea, that the hopes among the frothy right that Flynn’s prosecution (including for lying about his sleazy influence peddling with Turkey) will be delegitimized and with it everything that happened subsequent to Flynn’s plea might be answered.

Or maybe not.

[snip]

DOJ has never had the opportunity to write its own explanation for what happened with Flynn’s interview. By inviting a reply specifically in the context of this Flynn claim, Sullivan has given DOJ the opportunity to do just that, finally.

[snip]

Sullivan’s order may result in documentation that reveals just how shoddy all the claims irregularity surrounding Flynn’s interview have been all this time.


Boy oh boy was I right.

In response to Judge Sullivan’s order, the government filed Flynn’s 302 under seal. After Sullivan reviewed it, he deemed it pertinent to Flynn’s sentencing, and had the government release a redacted version.

And it is unbelievably damning, in part because it shows the degree to which Flynn’s lies served to protect Trump.

The 302 shows how the FBI Agents first let Flynn offer up his explanation for his conversation with Kislyak. He lied about the purpose for his call to Kislyak on December 29 (he said he had called to offer condolences about the assassination of Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey) and he lied about the purpose of his call about Israel (he claimed he was, in part, doing a battle drill “to see who the administration could reach in a crisis” and in the process tried to find out how countries were voting on the Israeli motion; Flynn denied he had asked for any specific action).

Then, after the Agents specifically asked whether he recalled any conversation about the Obama actions, Flynn doubled down and claimed he did not know about those actions because he was in Dominican Republic.

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He was hiding two things with this claim: first, I believe Susan Rice had given the Trump Administration a heads up on what Obama was going to do (at the very least the Obama Admin had asked the transition not to send mixed messages, and at least one person on the transition says they agreed not to). More importantly, he was hiding that he had already talked about the actions with KT McFarland, who was at Mar-a-Lago relaying orders from Trump.

And Flynn again denied having had a heads up from Susan Rice when he claimed he didn’t know that Russia’s diplomats were being expelled.

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Finally, Flynn offered an excuse that is at least partly bullshit for why he called Kislyak multiple times.

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The reason he kept calling Kislyak was, at least in part, because he was coordinating with Trump at Mar-a-Lago. His earlier claim that he didn’t respond to Kislyak is also probably a lie; he delayed his response to contact Mar-a-Lago first.

Sullivan said this 302 is relevant to Flynn’ sentencing, so he may actually use it to justify ignoring the joint requests of Flynn and Mueller for no jail time (though I’m not betting on it).

But by giving DOJ the opportunity to present this 302 for publication, Flynn provided proof of what has been hidden all this time — why Trump responded to the way he did about this investigation.

Flynn lied to hide Trump’s involvement in all this (and, to an extent, the degree to which it involved specifically ignoring a heads up from Obama).

Flynn lied to hide Trump’s personal involvement in telling the Russians to hold off on responding to Obama’s sanctions. And when the FBI investigated those lies, Trump fired the FBI Director to try to end that investigation.

Update: Jeebus. This 302 also reveals that he was quoting directly from the instructions KT McFarland had given him, relaying Trump’s orders. Here’s what McFarland said she had told Flynn, in an email shared with multiple transition officials.

She also wrote that the sanctions over Russian election meddling were intended to “lure Trump in trap of saying something” in defense of Russia, and were aimed at “discrediting Trump’s victory by saying it was due to Russian interference.”

“If there is a tit-for-tat escalation Trump will have difficulty improving relations with Russia, which has just thrown U.S.A. election to him,” she wrote.


And here’s what — quoting from the transcript of his calls with Kislyak — the Agents asked him if he said.

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https://www.emptywheel.net/2018/12/17/m ... ect-trump/





seemslikeadream » Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:49 pm wrote:

Israeli Intelligence Company Formed Venture With Trump Campaign Firm Cambridge Analytica

Psy-Group is owned by entrepreneur Joel Zamel, who has been questioned by special-counsel investigators

By Byron Tau and Rebecca Ballhaus Updated May 23, 2018 1:00 a.m. ET
WASHINGTON—A company owned by Joel Zamel, an Israeli entrepreneur whose work has drawn the scrutiny of special counsel Robert Mueller, formed a strategic partnership with a data firm for President Donald Trump’s campaign in a joint bid to win business from the U.S. government and other clients after the 2016 election, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Psy-Group, one of Mr. Zamel’s firms, signed a memorandum of understanding with Cambridge Analytica LLC, a digital media firm that helped propel Mr. Trump to the presidency, these people said. Facebook Inc. in March suspended Cambridge over allegations that it improperly harvested the data of millions of Facebook users, accusations that in part led to the firm’s closure earlier this month.

The Dec. 14, 2016, memorandum, as described to The Wall Street Journal, outlines a partnership whereby the two firms could cooperate on a case-by-case basis to provide intelligence and social-media services, or pitch business to an array of clients.

A person familiar with the work of Psy-Group, a private intelligence firm, said the partnership was intended in part to help win government contracts—something that Cambridge and its parent company, SCL Group, were aggressively seeking to do as their allies in the Trump administration took power, according to people familiar with the efforts.

The existence of the memorandum is an example of how the president’s allies sought to gain entry and influence in Washington after the election.

SCL Group won a $500,000 contract from the State Department starting in February 2017 aimed at providing “target audience research,” according to federal records. No government contracts have been awarded to the Psy-Group, according to public records, though not all government contracts—for example, in the arena of intelligence and foreign policy—are publicly disclosed.

A spokesman for SCL and for Cambridge Analytica didn’t respond to requests to comment.

Marc Mukasey, a lawyer for Mr. Zamel, said his client “had nothing to do with Cambridge Analytica.” He has previously said investigators have told him Mr. Zamel isn’t a target of the Mueller investigation.

A person familiar with the memo between Cambridge and Psy-Group, which was first reported by Bloomberg, said it was signed without Mr. Zamel’s involvement. It was unclear whether Mr. Zamel was aware of the deal at the time it was reached.

Mr. Zamel has met with Mr. Mueller’s investigators, who appear to have expanded their inquiries to questions about the influence of a Gulf monarchy during the 2016 election, the Journal has previously reported. Mr. Mueller is investigating whether Trump associates colluded with Russia in the 2016 U.S. election. Mr. Trump denies colluding with Russia, and Moscow denies that it meddled in the election.

In the months before the 2016 election, Mr. Zamel met with Donald Trump Jr., Mr. Trump’s eldest son, at Trump Tower along with George Nader, a top adviser to the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates, to discuss an offer from Messrs. Zamel and Nader to help boost the campaign, the Journal has previously reported. Mr. Zamel is said to be close to top officials in the U.A.E.

Cambridge Analytica earlier this month announced it was shutting down its operations, along with its U.S. and U.K. affiliates SCL Group and SCL Elections. The firm is liquidating its assets, an administrator for the firm said Tuesday.

Cambridge Analytica faced mounting legal fees in the U.K.’s investigation of the data firm and was rapidly losing clients, according to people familiar with the matter. In March, it suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix, after undercover journalists at British broadcaster Channel 4 released a video that depicted him describing campaign tactics he said the company had used, among them entrapping political opponents with bribes and sex.

In the video, Mr. Nix said Cambridge Analytica used Israeli companies in its campaign efforts. “We use some British companies, we use some Israeli companies,” he said. “From Israel. Very effective in intelligence gathering.”

Mr. Nix has said he regretted his role in the video, and Cambridge Analytica has said it didn’t use the tactics he described.

One person familiar with the work of both firms said Mr. Nix in the video appeared to be referring to Psy-Group, which does work that tracks closely with Mr. Nix’s description. The intelligence firm’s website says the company’s motto is “shape reality.”

Some of Psy-Group’s work involves setting up “honey traps”—real-world scenarios where people are caught saying embarrassing or incriminating things to gain leverage over them—sometimes using the promise of a romantic relationship as part of the approach, which often begins online, according to people familiar with the firm’s operations.

“The general aim is to get their trust, take that relationship to the next level,” said one person who was familiar with the company’s work. “In many cases, they are able to take that relationship offline. Then they can meet in real life.”

After the 2016 election, Cambridge Analytica aggressively pitched federal agencies, often partnering with larger corporations, according to a person familiar with the efforts.

A wave of negative publicity over the course of 2017 slowed the company’s efforts. When news first emerged last fall that Mr. Nix had contacted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during the election, some companies told Cambridge Analytica they no longer wanted its involvement in pitching the government, the person said. Recent revelations over the company’s alleged use of Facebook data brought about “the biggest drop-off,” the person said.

Sometime around 2014, Mr. Zamel began making contacts in the U.A.E., becoming close to the national security adviser there, people familiar with the matter said. A Zamel-owned consulting firm, Wikistrat, which aimed to crowdsource expert opinions on geopolitical problems for corporate clients and governments, conducted war-games scenarios for the government of the U.A.E., though many of the company’s employees remained in the dark about who they were working for, they said. Former employees say that it became increasingly clear that the U.A.E. government was one of the firm’s major clients.

At some point during this time period, Mr. Zamel also launched Psy-Group. In early 2016, the firm began using a London-based headhunter to look for a head of sales—possibly based in the U.S., according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The head of sales position was marked “confidential,” and a pitch in the documents described Psy-Group as a firm that is “founded and is managed by an experienced group of former high-ranking officers from elite units of some of the world’s most renowned intelligence agencies.”

“Their team has a proven track record in information gathering, analysis, research, special intelligence operations and technology in the physical and cyber domains,” the document said.

Mr. Zamel’s interest in running Wikistrat began to wane around the same time. The firm had one year of profitability, according to one person familiar with its balance sheets, and in 2015 had approximately $6 million in gross revenues, the person said. Mr. Zamel put Wikistrat up for sale in 2016, sending a prospectus to a number of companies looking for a buyer, according to a person who has seen the document.

The person said Mr. Zamel was seeking about $25 million for the company. It hasn’t found a buyer.

Corrections & Amplifications
Wikistrat was put up for sale in 2016. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said it had been put up for sale in 2015. (May 23)

Write to Byron Tau at byron.tau@wsj.com and Rebecca Ballhaus at Rebecca.Ballhaus@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/israeli-in ... Nxl0y9KZwP





seemslikeadream » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:18 am wrote:

Top Cheney Aide in Mueller’s Sights as Probe Expands

Mueller’s investigators have examined an array of operatives with ties to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the UAE—including John Hannah, Dick Cheney’s former national security adviser.

11.16.18 4:42 AM ET
Dick Cheney’s former top national-security aide has come under scrutiny from special counsel Robert Mueller, two people with knowledge of the probe tell The Daily Beast. It’s the latest sign that Mueller’s probe has expanded beyond the narrow bounds of Russian interference in American politics.

Mueller’s team has been looking into the communications and political dealings of John Hannah, the former Cheney adviser who later worked on Trump’s State Department transition team. This includes interactions with Lebanese-American businessman and fixer George Nader, who brokered meetings between foreign dignitaries and Team Trump, and Joel Zamel, a self-proclaimed social-media guru with deep ties to Israeli intelligence. The Daily Beast previously reported that the three men met with a top Saudi general in the days leading up to Trump’s inauguration to discuss plans to undermine and overthrow the government of Iran.

Hannah, who has not been accused of any wrongdoing, is close with Nader and Zamel, both of whom the special counsel has questioned, according to two people with knowledge of those relationships. Hannah is listed on the website of one of Zamel’s firms, Wikistrat, as a member of its advisory council. Nader worked with Hannah on Iraq policy during the George W. Bush administration, according to four people who worked with the two or who knew of their interactions during the war. Hannah is now a senior counselor for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a pro-Israel think tank known for its criticism of the Iranian regime.

Hannah and his attorney did not respond to requests for comment for this story. The Special Counsel’s Office declined to comment. A representative for Nader declined to comment. And a lawyer for Zamel did not respond to requests for comment.

Nader and Zamel have both been questioned by the Special Counsel’s Office and are reportedly cooperating with its probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Nader has been questioned about his ties to high-level officials in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, his relationship with Zamel, and his interactions with the Trump campaign. Mueller has questioned Zamel about his role pitching top campaign officials on an influence operation to help Trump win the election—which could have broken federal election laws.

Mueller’s interest in Hannah’s communications and interactions with the two suggest the special counsel’s probe is broader than previously understood.

“Mueller might be opening another front here,” said John McLaughlin, the former acting director of the CIA. “His mandate is to examine Russian collusion, but there’s the clause in his mandate that’s very open-ended—to the effect of ‘and any associated matters.’ It could be a separate line of inquiry about efforts to influence the election by foreigners.”

“Mueller might be opening another front here. His mandate is to examine Russian collusion, but there’s the clause in his mandate that’s very open ended.”

— Former acting CIA director John McLaughlin

Since the investigation’s launch in 2017, the Special Counsel’s Office has looked at various aspects of the Trump campaign, including payments to former porn stars, foreign lobbying by campaign aides, and hacking by Russian spies into U.S. computer networks. Mueller has so far indicted more than a dozen people and is preparing for the sentencing of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman.

Less has been said about Mueller’s probe of individuals involved in meetings that seem to lie on the outside of the main focus of the investigation. For example, the special counsel has looked at the January 2017 Seychelles meeting between Nader, former Blackwater head Erik Prince, and Kirill Dmitriev, the head of a Russian sovereign wealth fund. And it has asked witnesses about the offer by Zamel to employ social-media manipulation to help Trump defeat Republican primary opponents and Hillary Clinton, according to two individuals who worked with the group.

Mueller’s probe of Hannah’s interactions and communications with Nader, Zamel, and other Trump officials sheds new light on what appears to be a lesser-known side of the special counsel’s investigation—one that deals with Israeli, Emirati, and Saudi influence in the 2016 presidential elections.

Hannah is one of the individuals who sits at the center of that nexus.

“These are countries that are extremely powerful that operate outside of a Democratic framework converging in the most sacred of America’s democratic institutions: its election,” said Karen Greenberg, director of Fordham University’s Center for National Security.

“The Cheney group was often doing things... outside the customary boundaries of America’s internal and external politics,” she added. “If Mueller finds evidence of wrongdoing, it would make us wonder why we as a community—whoever we are—weren’t paying attention to Cheney alums’ persistent presence in American domestic politics.”

During the Republican primaries, Hannah was working as one of the senior leaders at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He often spoke publicly about the need for the U.S. to address the Iranian threat in the Middle East, especially as it related to Israel.

He introduced Nader to Zamel sometime in 2016, according to two people involved in the interaction.

One of Zamel’s companies, Wikistrat, was well-connected in Washington and had built up a base of high-level American military and intelligence officials to serve—or, at least, to appear to serve—as consultants to the firm. Meanwhile, Zamel’s other company, Psy Group, was in the midst of trying to sell the Trump campaign on an online influence strategy and was communicating with several Trump officials, including Rick Gates, who has since pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to the FBI. The New York Times was first to report the connection between Psy Group and Gates.

Eventually, the Psy Group plan was presented to Donald Trump Jr. and other campaign officials in August 2016 in a meeting that included Prince, Nader, and Zamel. The campaign never moved forward, according to individuals with knowledge of Psy Group’s work. But others familiar with Zamel and his interactions in the summer of 2016 told The Daily Beast it is unclear if the social-media plan was ever dropped.

Nader paid Zamel a large sum of money after Trump was elected, the Times reported, but it is unclear what that payment was for or if it related to Psy Group’s work.

Nader, for his part, was also developing his relationship with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the UAE as well as senior Saudi officials, which included Mohammed Bin Salman, the de-facto leader of the kingdom. Throughout 2016 and 2017, Nader met with the two Gulf leaders and developed strategy on how to work with the Trump campaign. In one instance in January 2017, less than a week before the Seychelles meeting, Nader met in New York with Zamel, Trump campaign officials and Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the head of Saudi intelligence, to discuss a plan to topple the regime in Tehran.

Hannah, too, was in touch with Gulf officials, including the UAE’s ambassador to the U.S., Youssef Otaiba, according to emails published by The Intercept in 2017.

“If Mueller finds evidence of wrongdoing, it would make us wonder why we as a community—whoever we are—weren’t paying attention to Cheney alums’ persistent presence in American domestic politics.”

— Fordham University's Karen Greenberg

At the same time, Hannah was working on the State Department’s transition team. He helped advise former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Middle East policy. Matters he advised on included a possible embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to two people who worked with him. The rest of the advisers came from various corners of Washington, including think tanks and other political offices.

Those who worked on the transition team said Hannah was a somewhat unusual figure. In a team largely stocked with relative amateurs and policy outsiders, he was one of the few who “actually understood how government worked.”

In November 2017, Hannah wrote an op-ed for Foreign Policy, praising the Trump State Department.

“With time and learning, there’s reason to believe that the administration more broadly can overcome its initial stumbles. Whether the same can be said of [Trump’s often-embattled Secretary of State Rex] Tillerson is much less clear,” Hannah wrote, acknowledging his time on the department’s transition team. “If your objective is to maximize the effectiveness of American foreign policy, it’s essential that the secretary of state be universally perceived as having the full backing of the commander in chief.”

Hannah is still working at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. It is unclear if he is still in touch with the Trump administration.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/top-chene ... ia=desktop





seemslikeadream » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:40 am wrote:

Saudi Spy Met With Team Trump About Taking Down Iran

Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the Saudi intelligence chief taking the fall for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, hobnobbed in New York with Michael Flynn and other members of the transition team shortly before Trump’s inauguration. The topic of their discussion: regime change in Iran.

Mohammed bin Salman, the powerful Saudi crown prince, dispatched Assiri from Riyadh for the meetings, which took place over the course of two days in early January 2017, according to communications reviewed by The Daily Beast. The January meetings have come under scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office as part of his probe into foreign governments’ attempts to gain influence in the Trump campaign and in the White House, an individual familiar with the investigation told The Daily Beast. A spokesperson for Mueller declined to comment.

The New York meetings were attended and brokered by George Nader, a Lebanese-American with close ties to leaders in the United Arab Emirates who is currently cooperating with Mueller’s team. Also present at the meetings was Israeli social media strategist Joel Zamel, who has been questioned by Mueller for his role in pitching top campaign officials on an influence operation to help Trump win the election—overtures that could have broken federal election laws.

Steve Bannon was involved as well in conversations on Iran regime change during those two days in January, according to the communications.

The communications show that participants in the meetings discussed a multi-pronged strategy for eroding, and eventually ending, the current Iranian regime—including economic, information, and military tactics for weakening the Tehran government. Earlier this year The New York Times reported Nader was promoting a plan to carry out economic sabotage against Iran and pitched the plan in the Spring of 2017 to Saudi, UAE, and American officials. It’s unclear if that plan ever moved forward or if it was part of the larger project for regime change discussed in these January 2017 meetings.

“It smacks of covert action planning, which is the most sensitive thing the U.S. government does and is so uniquely the province of the sitting president.”

— Former acting CIA director John McLaughlin

Either way, former CIA acting director John McLaughlin told The Daily Beast, the get-togethers as described were very unusual.

“It’s concerning to me as a former intelligence official because of the fact that it smacks of covert action planning, which is the most sensitive thing the U.S. government does and is so uniquely the province of the sitting president,” he said.

A spokesperson for Zamel said his client had spoken to the special counsel’s office about his business but declined to comment on the January 2017 meeting. Bannon did not comment on the record for this story. A lawyer for Flynn declined to comment.

The meetings in New York, which have not yet been reported, show the depth of efforts by foreign officials and power brokers to influence the nascent Trump administration on the most sensitive foreign policy decisions. The discussions in New York came at a time when the Trump team was developing its Iran strategy and looking for input from individuals who were working on plans to counter Tehran’s influence. Saudi Arabia and the UAE, whose leaders made overtures to the campaign throughout the 2016 election, were at the time developing campaigns to thwart its regional adversaries, including Iran.

“It makes complete sense that Assiri would have been meeting with the Trump team during this time,” one former Pentagon official with close ties to the intelligence community told The Daily Beast. “The team was meeting with a lot of foreign influencers and Saudi was a country that wanted in on all anti-Iran projects.”

The meetings in New York not only reveal details of one of the Trump team’s first encounters with officials from Saudi Arabia—a country that is embroiled in one of the year’s most scandalous and consequential geopolitical incidents—but also sheds more light on Trumpworld’s relationship to Zamel, a self-styled Mark Zuckerberg of the national-security world with deep ties to Israeli intelligence.

Trump’s team drew in Zamel, a young strategist and entrepreneur, during the campaign. Zamel had pitched a plan in August 2016 to Donald Trump Jr. to help Trump win the presidential election, according to The New York Times. It’s unclear if that plan was ever put into action. Trump’s lawyer has previously stated that the candidate heard Zamel’s plan but did not move forward with it.

Zamel’s lawyer has also previously denied his client’s involvement in U.S. election or campaign efforts and told The Daily Beast that he is “not a target” of the Mueller investigation.

But it appears Zamel remained close to the Trump team throughout the election and into the transition. Part of the reason? He had an easy in. He had been introduced to Nader, closely connected with the Trump campaign, years earlier by John Hannah, a former aide to Dick Cheney now working as a senior counselor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a right-leaning think tank known for its anti-Iran work. Hannah is listed as a member of the advisory council of Wikistrat, one of Zamel’s companies, on the firm’s website. (Other members of that board, including former CIA chief Michael Hayden, say their involvement with Wikistrat is informal and at arms length.)

Hussein Ibish, senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, told The Daily Beast that Wikistrat doesn’t bill itself as a typical consulting firm.

“Wikistrat presents themselves as a kind of private intelligence service,” Ibish said. “If you look at the work they’ve done in Yemen, they’ve been a work for hire. It’s sort of like an intelligence-for-hire kind of thing.”

“If you have a very rudimentary conversation discussing the possibility of raising the question of regime change, then it’s not surprising to bring in a set of stakeholders including Wikistrat,” he added.

Details of the January 2017 meeting reviewed by The Daily Beast show how Zamel—already a familiar face in Trumpworld for his audacious plan to use social media influence campaigns to help beat Hillary Clinton—had ambitions beyond Trump’s election. According to communications reviewed by The Daily Beast, Zamel flew to New York to help pitch the Iran idea to Assiri and Trump's team, delivering a bound presentation full of tactics to undercut the country’s government.

“The communications show that participants discussed a multi-pronged strategy for eroding, and eventually ending, the current Iranian regime—including economic, information, and military tactics for weakening the Tehran government.”

The Trump team offered a new way forward for Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Israel, who had all grown frustrated by the Obama administration for its stance toward Iran and its brokering of the nuclear deal. Trump had campaigned, in part, on the promise that he would renegotiate the deal and take major steps against the Iranian regime during his first days in office. In his first public address after taking office, Flynn said the U.S. was “officially putting Iran on notice” after it carried out a missile test and attack on a Saudi warship by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. Since then, the Trump administration has pulled out of the nuclear deal and levied snapback sanctions on the country.

The meetings in New York were part of a flurry of visits from influential foreigners to Trump Tower. Weeks before, Emirati Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed reportedly discussed Iran policy at Trump Tower with Bannon, Flynn, and Jared Kushner. The meetings appear to be part of Saudi and Emirati efforts to lobby the incoming Trump administration against Qatar and Iran, their top regional competitors. The New York Times reported earlier this year that Nader worked with Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy to urge the White House to take an aggressive stance against the two countries. (Nader also helped orchestrate the meeting between Blackwater founder and Trump ally Erik Prince and Moscow moneyman Kirill Dmitriev.)

Mohammed bin Salman—known by his initials, MBS— leaned on General Assiri to help carry out conversations with Western officials about Iran and the Saudi-led war in Yemen, according to two senior officials in the intelligence community. Assiri was previously the spokesperson for Saudi’s military offensive in Yemen. That effort, in concert with the UAE and backed by the United States and European countries, has drawn enormous outcry from human rights activists and members of Congress. The UN has called it the globe’s worst humanitarian crisis, and UN air chief Mark Lowcock said earlier this week that the war puts 14 million Yemeni people at risk of starvation.

Sources familiar with the Saudi footprint in Washington described Assiri as one of MBS’ closest allies and most trusted confidants. Before joining the intelligence service, he was top officer in the Saudi air force—an elite service branch tasked with shooting down missiles that target the country. A former U.S. defense official told The Daily Beast Assiri was highly regarded in his air force days.

The killing of Khashoggi has thrown Assiri, and his Saudi leaders, under the spotlight. While several Washington-based lobbying firms have dropped the kingdom as a client, the Trump administration says it is still mulling its options for punishment. Earlier this week Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the administration would ban travel visas for the individuals involved in the operation in Istanbul. But it is unclear if the White House will approve financial measures levied against Saudi Arabia. If it does, those actions would most likely fall after the midterm elections.

—with additional reporting by Asawin Suebsaeng
https://www.thedailybeast.com/saudi-spy ... -down-iran



oh btw #2

the actual charge against these traitors in the end will be

CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY






seemslikeadream » Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:02 am wrote:
Seth Abramson

Verified account


(MEGA-THREAD) A *major* mystery in the Trump-Russia investigation—what type of illegal election assistance Israeli intel-affiliated entities offered the Trump campaign after Trump Jr. accepted their help in August 2016—may have just been solved. I hope you'll read on and retweet.
Image
7:08 PM - 30 Oct 2018


1/ We know from the NEW YORK TIMES that on August 3, 2016, an emissary from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates—George Nader—offered the Trump campaign illegal election assistance at Trump Tower, and that Don Jr. said "yes" to the two nations' offer.

Trump Jr. and Other Aides Met With Gulf Emissary Offering Help to Win Election

May 19, 2018

Donald Trump Jr. met in Trump Tower in the summer of 2016 with a representative of two wealthy Arab princes who said they were eager to help his father win election.Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
WASHINGTON — Three months before the 2016 election, a small group gathered at Trump Tower to meet with Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son. One was an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation. Another was an emissary for two wealthy Arab princes. The third was a Republican donor with a controversial past in the Middle East as a private security contractor.

The meeting was convened primarily to offer help to the Trump team, and it forged relationships between the men and Trump insiders that would develop over the coming months — past the election and well into President Trump’s first year in office, according to several people with knowledge of their encounters.

Erik Prince, the private security contractor and the former head of Blackwater, arranged the meeting, which took place on Aug. 3, 2016. The emissary, George Nader, told Donald Trump Jr. that the princes who led Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were eager to help his father win election as president. The social media specialist, Joel Zamel, extolled his company’s ability to give an edge to a political campaign; by that time, the firm had already drawn up a multimillion-dollar proposal for a social media manipulation effort to help elect Mr. Trump.

The company, which employed several Israeli former intelligence officers, specialized in collecting information and shaping opinion through social media.


Donald Trump Jr. was said to respond approvingly to a proposal for a social media manipulation effort to help elect his father as president.Damon Winter/The New York Times
It is unclear whether such a proposal was executed, and the details of who commissioned it remain in dispute. But Donald Trump Jr. responded approvingly, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting, and after those initial offers of help, Mr. Nader was quickly embraced as a close ally by Trump campaign advisers — meeting frequently with Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, and Michael T. Flynn, who became the president’s first national security adviser. At the time, Mr. Nader was also promoting a secret plan to use private contractors to destabilize Iran, the regional nemesis of Saudi Arabia and the Emirates.

After Mr. Trump was elected, Mr. Nader paid Mr. Zamel a large sum of money, described by one associate as up to $2 million. There are conflicting accounts of the reason for the payment, but among other things, a company linked to Mr. Zamel provided Mr. Nader with an elaborate presentation about the significance of social media campaigning to Mr. Trump’s victory.

The meetings, which have not been reported previously, are the first indication that countries other than Russia may have offered assistance to the Trump campaign in the months before the presidential election. The interactions are a focus of the investigation by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, who was originally tasked with examining possible Trump campaign coordination with Russia in the election.

Mr. Nader is cooperating with the inquiry, and investigators have questioned numerous witnesses in Washington, New York, Atlanta, Tel Aviv and elsewhere about what foreign help may have been pledged or accepted, and about whether any such assistance was coordinated with Russia, according to witnesses and others with knowledge of the interviews.

Erik D. Prince, the founder of Blackwater, arranged the meeting with Donald Trump Jr., George Nader and Joel Zamel.Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News
The interviews, some in recent weeks, are further evidence that special counsel’s investigation remains in an intense phase even as Mr. Trump’s lawyers are publicly calling for Mr. Mueller to bring it to a close.

It is illegal for foreign governments or individuals to be involved in American elections, and it is unclear what — if any — direct assistance Saudi Arabia and the Emirates may have provided. But two people familiar with the meetings said that Trump campaign officials did not appear bothered by the idea of cooperation with foreigners.

A lawyer for Donald Trump Jr., Alan Futerfas, said in a statement that “prior to the 2016 election, Donald Trump Jr. recalls a meeting with Erik Prince, George Nader and another individual who may be Joel Zamel. They pitched Mr. Trump Jr. on a social media platform or marketing strategy. He was not interested and that was the end of it.”

The August 2016 meeting has echoes of another Trump Tower meeting two months earlier, also under scrutiny by the special counsel, when Donald Trump Jr. and other top campaign aides met with a Russian lawyer after being promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton. No evidence has emerged suggesting that the August meeting was set up with a similar premise.

Stephen Miller, a senior aide to President Trump, was in Donald Trump Jr.’s office when the others arrived for the meeting.Shawn Thew/EPA, via Shutterstock
The revelations about the meetings come in the midst of new scrutiny about ties between Mr. Trump’s advisers and at least three wealthy Persian Gulf states. Besides his interest in Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, Mr. Mueller has also been asking witnesses about meetings between White House advisers and representatives of Qatar, Saudi Arabia’s bitter rival.

A lawyer for Mr. Zamel denied that his client had carried out any campaign on Mr. Trump’s behalf. “Neither Joel Zamel, nor any of his related entities, had any involvement whatsoever in the U.S. election campaign,” said the lawyer, Marc L. Mukasey.

“The D.O.J. clarified from Day 1 that Joel and his companies have never been a target of the investigation. My client provided full cooperation to the government to assist with their investigation,” he said.

Kathryn Ruemmler, a lawyer for Mr. Nader, said, “Mr. Nader has fully cooperated with the special counsel’s investigation and will continue to do so.” A senior official in Saudi Arabia said it had never employed Mr. Nader in any capacity or authorized him to speak for the crown prince.

Mr. Trump has allied himself with the Emirati crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, endorsing his strong support for Saudi Arabia and confrontational approaches toward Iran and Qatar.Al Drago for The New York Times
Mr. Prince, through a spokesman, declined to comment. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Advisers to the Court

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, the king’s main adviser, had long opposed many of the Obama administration’s policies toward the Middle East. They resented President Barack Obama’s agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, his statements of support for the Arab Spring uprisings and his hands-off approach to the Syrian civil war.

News outlets linked to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates fiercely criticized Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Trump’s Democratic opponent, when she was secretary of state, and diplomats familiar with their thinking say both princes hoped for a president who would take a stronger hand in the region against both Iran and groups like the Muslim Brotherhood.

Mr. Nader had worked for years as a close adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed of Abu Dhabi, and Mr. Zamel had worked for the Emirati royal court as a consultant as well. When Mr. Trump locked up the Republican presidential nomination in early 2016, Mr. Nader began making inquiries on behalf of the Emirati prince about possible ways to directly support Mr. Trump, according to three people with whom Mr. Nader discussed his efforts.

One of Mr. Zamel’s firms did work for Oleg V. Deripaska, an aluminum magnate, who has been linked to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters
Mr. Nader also visited Moscow at least twice during the presidential campaign as a confidential emissary from Crown Prince Mohammed of Abu Dhabi, according to people familiar with his travels. After the election, he worked with the crown prince to arrange a meeting in the Seychelles between Mr. Prince and a financier close to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

Companies connected to Mr. Zamel also have ties to Russia. One of his firms had previously worked for oligarchs linked to Mr. Putin, including Oleg V. Deripaska and Dmitry Rybolovlev, who hired the firm for online campaigns against their business rivals.

Mr. Deripaska, an aluminum magnate, was once in business with the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who has pleaded not guilty in the special counsel investigation to charges of financial crimes and failing to disclose the lobbying work he did on behalf of a former president of Ukraine, an ally of Mr. Putin. Mr. Rybolovlev once purchased a Florida mansion from Mr. Trump.

Mr. Nader’s visits to Russia and the work Mr. Zamel’s companies did for the Russians have both been a subject of interest to the special counsel’s investigators, according to people familiar with witness interviews.

Mr. Prince has known Mr. Nader since he worked for Blackwater in Iraq.Zach Gibson for The New York Times
A String of Meetings

Mr. Zamel and Mr. Nader were together at a Midtown Manhattan hotel at about 4 p.m. on the afternoon of Aug. 3 when Mr. Nader received a call from Mr. Prince summoning them to Trump Tower. When they arrived, Stephen Miller, a top campaign aide who is now a White House adviser, was in Donald Trump Jr.’s office as well, according to the people familiar with the meeting.

Mr. Prince is a longtime Republican donor and the brother of Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, and Mr. Prince and Mr. Nader had known each other since Mr. Nader had worked for Blackwater as a business agent in Iraq in the years after the American invasion. Mr. Prince has longstanding ties to the Emirates, and has frequently done business with Crown Prince Mohammed.

Mr. Prince opened the meeting by telling Donald Trump Jr. that “we are working hard for your father,” in reference to his family and other donors, according to a person familiar with the meeting. He then introduced Mr. Nader as an old friend with deep ties to Arab leaders.

Mr. Nader repeatedly referred to the Saudi and Emirati princes as “my friends,” according to one person with knowledge of the conversation. To underscore the point, he would open his mobile phone to show off pictures of him posing with them, some of which The New York Times obtained.

George Nader in 1999. He is an adviser to the Emiratis who is cooperating in the special counsel investigation.Ron Sachs/Picture-Alliance, via Associated Press
Mr. Nader explained to Donald Trump Jr. that the two princes saw the elder Mr. Trump as a strong leader who would fill the power vacuum that they believed Mr. Obama had left in the Middle East, and Mr. Nader went on to say that he and his friends would be glad to support Mr. Trump as much as they could, according to the person with knowledge of the conversation.

Mr. Zamel, for his part, laid out the capabilities of his online media company, although it is unclear whether he referred to the proposals his company had already prepared. One person familiar with the meeting said that Mr. Nader invited Donald Trump Jr. to meet with a Saudi prince — an invitation the younger Mr. Trump declined. After about half an hour, everyone exchanged business cards.

“There was a brief meeting, nothing concrete was offered or pitched to anyone and nothing came of it,” said Mr. Mukasey, the lawyer for Mr. Zamel.

By then, a company connected to Mr. Zamel had been working on a proposal for a covert multimillion-dollar online manipulation campaign to help elect Mr. Trump, according to three people involved and a fourth briefed on the effort. The plan involved using thousands of fake social media accounts to promote Mr. Trump’s candidacy on platforms like Facebook.

Mr. Nader and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia in a photograph obtained by The New York Times..
There were concerns inside the company, Psy-Group, about the plan’s legality, according to one person familiar with the effort. The company, whose motto is “shape reality,” consulted an American law firm, and was told that it would be illegal if any non-Americans were involved in the effort.

Mr. Zamel, the founder of Psy-Group and one of its owners, has been questioned about the August 2016 meeting by investigators for the special counsel, and at least two F.B.I. agents working on the inquiry have traveled to Israel to interview employees of the company who worked on the proposal. According to one person, the special counsel’s team has worked with the Israeli police to seize the computers of one of Mr. Zamel’s companies, which is currently in liquidation.

In the hectic final weeks of the campaign and during the presidential transition, several of Mr. Trump’s advisers drew Mr. Nader close. He met often with Mr. Kushner, Mr. Flynn and Stephen K. Bannon, who took over as campaign chairman after Mr. Manafort resigned amid revelations about his work in Ukraine.

In December 2016, Mr. Nader turned again to an internet company linked to Mr. Zamel — WhiteKnight, based in the Philippines — to purchase a presentation demonstrating the impact of social media campaigns on Mr. Trump’s electoral victory. Asked about the purchase, a representative of WhiteKnight said: “WhiteKnight delivers premium research and high-end business development services for prestigious clients around the world. WhiteKnight does not talk about any of its clients.”

After the inauguration, both Mr. Zamel and Mr. Nader visited the White House, meeting with Mr. Kushner and Mr. Bannon.

At that time, Mr. Nader was promoting a plan to use private contractors to carry out economic sabotage against Iran that, he hoped, might coerce it to permanently abandon its nuclear program. The plan included efforts to deter Western companies from investing in Iran, and operations to sow mistrust among Iranian officials. He advocated the project, which he estimated would cost about $300 million, to American, Emirati and Saudi officials.

Last spring, Mr. Nader traveled to Riyadh for meetings with senior Saudi military and intelligence officials to pitch his Iran sabotage plan. He was convinced, according to several people familiar with his plan, that economic warfare was the key to the overthrow of the government in Tehran. One person briefed on Mr. Nader’s activities said he tried to persuade Mr. Kushner to endorse the plan to Crown Prince Mohammed in person on a trip to Riyadh, although it was unclear whether the message was delivered.

Asked about Mr. Nader’s plans to attack Iran, the senior Saudi official said Mr. Nader had a habit of pitching proposals that went nowhere.

Mr. Nader was also in discussions with Mr. Prince, the former head of Blackwater, about a plan to get the Saudis to pay $2 billion to set up a private army to combat Iranian proxy forces in Yemen.

Since entering the White House, Mr. Trump has allied himself closely with Saudi Arabia and the Emirates. His first overseas trip was to Riyadh. He strongly backed Saudi and Emirati efforts to isolate their neighbor Qatar, another American ally, even over apparent disagreement from the State and Defense Departments.

This month, Mr. Trump also withdrew from an Obama administration nuclear deal with Iran that both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had campaigned against for years, delivering them their biggest victory yet from his administration.

Mark Mazzetti reported from Washington, Ronen Bergman from Tel Aviv and David D. Kirkpatrick from London. Maggie Haberman contributed reporting.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/19/us/p ... zamel.html


2/ We also know that Joel Zamel—an Australia-born Israeli businessman who runs two "business intelligence outfits"—was also at the meetup, which Nader and Trump shadow national security adviser Erik Prince had set up. We know Zamel offered his assistance too—and Don Jr. said yes.



3/ In researching PROOF OF COLLUSION, I ran into a dilemma at this point in the NYT-sourced story: research revealed Zamel had connections to a top aide to Netanyahu, and that many men in his outfits (Psy Group and Wikistrat) had Mossad connections. So who let him do what he did?



4/ To explain: it's illegal for foreign governments to offer election aid to a campaign, yet that's just what Zamel did and what Don Jr. accepted. But Zamel—given his government ties—would have known that offering such help without Netanyahu's blessing would ruin him. Yet he did.



5/ Because the trail ended there—I couldn't clearly tie Zamel to Israeli government-granted authority to help the Trump campaign pre-election—this issue is only lightly covered in PROOF OF COLLUSION. But now there's new reporting that answers this question *and* another key one.


6/ The second question that is now answered—and will be answered in this thread—is one I've been asking here and elsewhere for a *year*: what the hell does *Ben Carson* have to do with *anything*? He employed Papadopoulos before Trump—and sent Papadopoulos to Trump. Why would he?


7/ I normally don't see Carson as any sort of player in any of this, but he used *Michael Flynn* and *Papadopoulos* as advisers before they *both* went to Trump. Both men were *bizarre* choices to be advisers—especially as all Papadopoulos knew about was... Israeli energy issues.


8/ So as I wrote PROOF OF COLLUSION, big issues stood unresolved with respect to Israel, Zamel, Carson, Flynn, and Papadopoulos. I had Flynn and Papadopoulos linked up—they emailed and worked closely together during the campaign—but I couldn't see how the others fit in with them.


9/ When Papadopoulos' wife, Simona, said that Papadopoulos had originally been suspected by Mueller as an *Israeli* spy, I perked up. When Papadopoulos told Tapper that an *Israeli* had given him $10,000, I perked up still further. And now I think it all makes sense. Here we go:


10/ Walla! News is a major Israeli news outlet connected to HAARETZ, which is one of maybe two or three huge Israeli news outlets that Americans have heard of. Think of Walla! News as the Yahoo! News of Israeli (and remember how much great Russia reporting Isikoff of Yahoo! did).



11/ Walla! News says in late Spring '18, Mueller sent agents to Israel to investigate Zamel's Psy Group and Wikistrat, both of which are filled with ex-Mossad guys (this is discussed in PROOF OF COLLUSION). But Walla! News says the *real* Trump collaborators were *another* group.


12/ Walla! says that AT THE EXACT SAME TIME that Zamel offered Psy Group/Wikistrat's services to Trump's campaign and Don Jr. said yes, a *nearly identical* Israeli outfit that *also* had Mossad ties, Inspiration, began working for one of the Trump campaign's biggest Super-PACs.


13/ Here is the Walla! News article, which I've reviewed in detail in translation (and I'll now discuss it in detail here, so feel free to read it yourself, though you can also just read the synthesis in this thread):
Image
הקשר הסודי בין הקמפיין לנשיאות של טראמפ לבכירי אמ"ן לשעבר
חשיפת וואלה! NEWS: חברת inspiration, שפועלת מכפר שמריהו ומנוהלת על ידי בכיר לשעבר באגף המודיעין, עבדה מאחורי הקלעים למען בחירתו של דונלד טראמפ לאיש החזק בעולם. לאחרונה הגיעו לישראל סוכני FBI במסגרת חקירת מעורבות גורמים זרים בבחירות
https://news.walla.co.il/item/3160166?u ... cialbutton


14/ Walla! News says Inspiration began working for a Trump Super-PAC "3 months" before the November 2016 election—*exactly* when Zamel made his offer to Trump Jr. at Trump Tower and Trump Jr. said yes. And who connected the Trump Super-PAC to Inspiration? Wait for it: Ben Carson.



15/ If that doesn't many *any* sense to you, it *shouldn't*. Ben Carson doesn't know a *damned thing* about foreign policy—everyone saw that during the debates. But his adviser, Flynn, had *previously been recruited by Zamel*, and his adviser, Papadopoulos, had deep Israeli ties.


16/ So Ben Carson offering George Papadopoulos to Trump, and sending his man Flynn to Trump, suddenly makes sense—as the two men were able to bring to Trump *Israeli* connections (in Flynn's case, Russian ones, too) which Trump would be able to draw from if he got the nomination.



17/ Based on his prior associations with both Prince and Zamel, it now seems highly likely that *Flynn*—working with his Israeli-linked protege, Papadopoulos—was able to link up the Trump campaign to not just one but *several* connected Israeli "business intelligence" outfits.



18/ This explains why Papadopoulos' arrest led almost immediately to Flynn's; this explains why Papadopoulos' first trip for Trump was to Israel, and that around the time Prince was in the Seychelles in January 2017 working on the "six-nation bargain," Papadopoulos was in Israel.



19/ This explains Papadopoulos getting contacted by a man he says was in Israeli intelligence; this explains Mueller investigating Papadopoulos as an Israeli spy. Both Flynn and Papadopoulos were supposed to be Trump's links to Israeli government-connected intelligence outfits.



20/ This explains why Joel Zamel *formally* went into business with Trump's data firm, Cambridge Analytica, *immediately* after the election (read that twice). This explains why Cambridge Analytica's whistleblower, Chris Wylie, said CA was working with former Israeli intel guys.



21/ WALLA! NEWS: "[Israeli business intelligence outfit] Inspiration worked behind the scenes for the election of Donald Trump....recently, FBI agents arrived in Israel [in May 2018] to investigate the involvement of foreign elements in the U.S. elections."


22/ WALLA! NEWS: "Inspiration [is] a company headed by a former senior IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] intel officer, whose main activity in recent years has been work for the election of Donald Trump as president in the last election campaign in the United States." *Main activity*.


23/ WALLA! NEWS: "[Inspiration head] Ronen Cohen held a number of senior [Israeli] intelligence positions: He was the head of the terror division in the Research Branch of Military Intelligence, the deputy head of the research division, and in his last position was... (continued)


24/ ...the [Israeli] Central Command intelligence officer. In 2012, after his retirement, he founded Inspiration. In the past, the company engaged in various types of intelligence and security consulting, but today it focuses on campaigns to influence public awareness." Bingo...



25/ According to THE NEW YORK TIMES, what Zamel offered Don Jr.—and what Trump Jr. said yes to—was just such a "campaign to influence public awareness" during a pre-election period. And right after he made that offer, Inspiration began offering such services to a Trump Super-PAC.



26/ And the man who connected the Trump Super-PAC with an Israeli government-linked intel outfit in August '16, right after Trump Jr. agreed to such Israeli assistance, was "Ben Carson"—meaning, Mike Flynn and/or George Papadopoulos, who were key Trump NatSec aides *at the time*.



27/ WALLA! NEWS: "In the first stage, Inspiration analyzes the client and the field that he wishes to influence, whether it's a business or political client. On the basis of the analysis, a campaign [is] built. 'It could be online--setting up sites, working on Facebook... (cont.)


28/ ...or working in more conventional media,' says a source familiar with [Inspiration] and similar companies [NB: Wikistrat, Psy Group, Black Cube]. 'There can also be acceptance on the ground, from the simplest thing, a kind of lobbying, to more complex things... (continued)


29/ ...that complement the campaign and create credibility and the narrative you want to achieve." In other words, what Trump's Super-PAC got after the Zamel offer was a *domestic disinformation campaign* identical to Russian's—one which was worth *millions* of (foreign) dollars.


30/ But oh god it gets better.


31/ Because WALLA! NEWS found that Inspiration *didn't work alone*. It worked with (wait for it) *another Israeli intel outfit*. ("The information [Inspiration gathered] was analyzed...in cooperation with another Israeli company.") So here's where things get *really* interesting.


32/ Three Israeli intel outfits with the capacity/resources to work with Inspiration have been named in the Trump-Russia probe: Zamel's Psy Group and Wikistrat and another outfit, Black Cube. The chances Inspiration worked with one of these is high—as it only had so many options.


33/ WALLA! NEWS: "In the first stage, the company received huge amounts of information about voters. The information was analyzed, apparently in cooperation with another Israeli company, in order to try to understand which voters were more likely or less likely to vote... (cont.)


34/ ...on election day. The company naturally focused on trying to predict the behavior of voters in internal splits in the swing states. Various content intended for different types of voters was prepared in a focused manner."

Note: this is EXACTLY what Cambridge Analytica did.


35/ So Wylie says Cambridge Analytica was working with Israeli intel guys; Walla! News says Inspiration was working with another Israeli intel company; Zamel offered Trump Jr. help, and Trump Jr. said yes; and Carson introduced a Trump Super-PAC to an outfit identical to Zamel's.


36/ This is as *thinly and poorly veiled* an acceptance of illegal foreign (in-kind) donations as could possibly be imagined—given that Trump Jr. accepted the help in person and it appears to have been set up by Trump's data firm and two of Trump's top national security advisers.


37/ Wiley says Cambridge Analytica didn't work with Black Cube, and Inspiration says it didn't work with Cambridge Analytica, so that strongly suggests either Psy Group or Wikistrat worked with Cambridge Analytica. And guess who else thinks that, apparently: Robert Mueller. Thus:



38/ WALLA! NEWS: "Psy-Group's profile is very similar to that of Inspiration—it employs Israelis with a security/intel background and focuses on campaigns to influence public opinion. As far as is known, the FBI didn't contact any Inspiration personnel." But it *did* Psy-Group's.


39/ But because the FBI didn't speak to Inspiration personnel, it didn't realize Inspiration had quite possibly been working with Psy-Group. That'd explain, and perfectly, what Zamel's real "offer" was and what it was that Trump Jr. accepted—thereby coordinating with a Super-PAC.


Seth Abramson Retweeted Chemi Shalev
40/ A tweet on this, from a HAARETZ journalist:Seth Abramson added,
Chemi Shalev


Walla News claims to have uncovered another Israeli firm run by former IDF Intelligence officers - “inspiration” - that worked with Trump campaign http://news.walla.co.il/item/3160166?ut ... cialbutton


41/ But it's HAARETZ *itself* that takes this story to the next level.


42/ According to HAARETZ, "Housing Secretary and then-candidate Ben Carson personally presented Trump with Inspiration’s plan for voter manipulation in swing states." You read that right—and not in translation: "personally presented Trump with [the] plan."

The Countless Israeli Connections to Mueller’s Probe of Trump and Russia

The Israel-lobbyists, Netanyahu cronies, psyops manipulators and well-connected oligarchs — could it all be just one big coincidence?

Chemi Shalev May 26, 2018 11:48 AM

Analysis
FILE PHOTO: Elliott Broidy, left, with Benjamin Netanyahu, right, at a gala banquet held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, Feb. 27, 2008.
The Israeli media usually takes scant interest in Robert Mueller’s investigations. It prefers to dwell on Donald Trump’s supposedly pro-Israeli policies. Last week’s report in the New York Times about the participation of Joel Zamel, the Australian-born “Israeli specialist in social media manipulation,” in an August 3, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in New York was an exception to the rule. The FBI, the Times reported, had even come to Israel to search the offices of Zamel’s company. Here was a direct Israeli link to the scandal that has bewitched much of America since Trump was first elected.

To really understand Trump, Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz

The moment of fleeting interest was followed up by a report, published by Walla! News, that another Israeli-based company called Inspiration, run by former IDF intelligence officers, had been employed by a super PAC that supported Trump’s election. The report alleged that after retiring from the race, Housing Secretary and then-candidate Ben Carson personally presented Trump with Inspiration’s plan for voter manipulation in swing states. A source in the company told Walla! that Inspiration had received “enormous amounts” of information from the Super PAC, which it then used to compose strategies and slogans that would elevate Trump and “float all kinds of things” about Hillary Clinton.

The two separate cases of Israeli involvement fed into sometimes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that seek to place Israel on the same level as Russia in its intervention in the 2016 presidential elections. In Israel’s case, however, there is no indication or allegation of direct government involvement or of Mueller’s interest. Nonetheless, beyond Zamel and Inspiration, a disturbing number of the main players implicated so far in Mueller’s investigation, many of them of Russian origin, have a direct link to Israel in their past or present.

There could be myriad reasons for the preponderance of actors with ties to Israel. In recent years, Israeli political strategists have developed an international reputation for election campaigns; many are employed by foreign political parties. Israeli intelligence services have certainly developed an expertise in psychological warfare; both Zamel and Inspiration are said to have employed former intelligence officers. And an estimated 10-15 percent of the million or so Russian immigrants who came to Israel from the 1970s onwards are known to have used the country as a way station to immigrate to the United States and other Western countries – but not before picking up Israeli citizenship, which remains with them for life. These included so-called Russian oligarchs, some of whom made their fortunes on the wrong side of the law.

Nonetheless, there is no denying that Benjamin Netanyahu’s government was overjoyed at Trump’s election – if not before the fact, then certainly after. According to reports published in November and December of last year, Mueller is investigating lobbying efforts made in December 2016, before Trump’s inauguration, by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and presidential adviser Jared Kushner against the Obama administration’s intention to refrain from vetoing UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which condemned Jewish settlements in the occupied territories. Flynn’s indictment included an admission that he had lied to the FBI about his approach to Russia’s U.S. Ambassador Sergei Kislyak to delay the Security Council vote.

And while no direct link has been established, there was certainly a confluence of views and interests in the recently uncovered efforts by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia to assist Trump’s campaign. According to the New York Times, in the August 2016 meeting at Trump Tower, the UAE representative, George Nader, told Donald Trump Jr. and other participants that Obama had left a “power vacuum” in the Middle East. The report also states that Nader had concocted a secret plan to destabilize the Iranian regime, an objective now being pursued, despite their denials, by both Israel and the United States.

>> Explained: What Michael Flynn’s guilty plea means for Jared Kushner and Israel ■ Ronan Farrow: Israelis, like Russia, are interfering in American politics ■ Analysis: Netanyahu puts Israel’s fate in hands of U.S president dubbed ‘serious threat to national security’

The question of whether the Israeli involvement was merely coincidental or an indication of something more sinister could become clearer if and when Mueller presents his findings. In the meantime, here is a necessarily incomplete catalog of the numerous Israeli connections to some of the people named so far in Mueller’s probe:

* George Nader, the convicted pedophile who worked on behalf of UAE, is a Lebanese businessman who has worked for decades in the shadows of Middle East diplomacy. He has often been accused in the Arab press of being an agent for the Mossad. In the 1980s, Nader reportedly mediated between Israel and Lebanon. At the same time, he established the journal Middle East Insight, which often arranged meetings in Washington between Israelis and Arabs. In July, 1996, Nader hosted Netanyahu shortly after his first election as prime minister. This video shows both on the same stage.

In this Oct. 25, 2017, photo acquired by The Associated Press, George Nader poses backstage with President Donald Trump at a Republican fundraiser in Dallas. Nader, a convicted pedophile, was told by the Secret Service that he could not meet the president. His business partner, Elliott Broidy, helped him secure this photo with the president. (AP Photo)
In this Oct. 25, 2017, photo acquired by The Associated Press, George Nader poses backstage with President Donald Trump at a Republican fundraiser in Dallas. Nader, a convicted pedophile, was told by /AP
Two years later, Nader forged even closer ties with Netanyahu and his bureau: he served as Ronald Lauder’s assistant in the cosmetic tycoon’s failed efforts to secure a peace deal between Netanyahu and Syria's president at the time, Hafez Assad. Netanyahu’s advisers have acknowledged their contacts with Nader, who is said to have been especially close to Dore Gold, the prime minister’s aide and former UN ambassador.

* Nader’s partner in representing the UAE – and in pressing Trump to take a hard line on Qatar – was Elliott Broidy, the Los Angeles venture capitalist and GOP fundraiser. Broidy made headlines in recent weeks for his lucrative lobbying efforts on behalf of the UAE, which included two personal meetings with Trump, as well as for his alleged role in Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s payment of $1.6 million to former Playboy Playmate Shera Bechard. Many commentators assume that it was Trump who actually had an affair with Bechard and got her pregnant, with Broidy volunteering to serve as his cover.

Michael Cohen, personal lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump, arrives at Federal Court in New York, U.S., on Monday, April 16, 2018. Cohen says he gave legal advice to three clients in the past year, including the president and Elliott Broidy, former deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg
Michael Cohen, personal lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump, arrives at Federal Court in New York, U.S., on Monday, April 16, 2018. Cohen says he gave legal advice to three clients in the past year,Bloomberg
Broidy also has a long history with Israel in general and Netanyahu in particular. Together with Sheldon Adelson, he is a prominent member of the board of directors of the Republican Jewish Coalition, which has taken hawkish positions on the Iran nuclear deal and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Fifteen years ago, Broidy set up Markstone Capital Group which operated in Israel, investing in Israeli companies and attracting Israeli investors. In 2003, then-Finance Minister Netanyahu took credit for convincing the New York State pension fund to invest $250 million in Markstone. It later emerged that Broidy’s bribes to former New York State Comptroller and now-convicted felon Alan Hevesi also played a role in the pension fund’s largesse. By the time Broidy pled guilty to a misdemeanor after cooperating with Hevesi’s investigators in 2012, Markstone's Israeli branch had essentially collapsed, taking with it the many Israelis' investments.

* In January 2017, Nader took part in a meeting in Seychelles, which is also being probed by Mueller. In attendance were Erik Prince, Trump confidante, brother of Education Secretary Betsy Devos and founder of the security company Blackwater, as well as Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian government’s sovereign wealth fund Russia Direct Investment Fund. Dmitriev's fund has in recent months been negotiating with Israeli government ministers on a $100 million project to open Israeli-run dairies in Russia.

* Russian lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya, who features in the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower, in which she is alleged to have offered damaging information on Hillary Clinton, represented Prevezon Holdings Ltd. in the money laundering case brought forth by former New York Southern District Attorney Preet Bharara. After Bharara was dismissed by Trump, Prevezon was allowed to pay a $6 million fine in May 2017 to avoid criminal prosecution. The owner of Prevezon is Denis Katsyv, another Israeli citizen, whose father Pyotr was a high municipal official in Moscow. In 2005, the same Katsyv reached a similar settlement with Israeli authorities, paying a fine of 35 million shekels after being indicted for money laundering at a Tel Aviv branch of Bank Hapoalim. The Cyprus-registered Prevezon was managed for a while by a Tel Aviv lawyer, who also represented the Russian Embassy in Tel Aviv.

* Katsyv partnered with the Dutch branch of Africa-Israel Ltd., which belongs to Russian-Israeli diamond and real estate mogul Lev Leviev. Leviev’s apartments in New York were alleged to have served as a conduit for Prevezon’s money laundering. In 2015, Leviev sold four stories of the old New York Times building in Manhattan to Jared Kushner for $295 million, secured through a loan from Deutsche Bank, which is also being probed by Mueller.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Lev Leviev

* Leviev and Roman Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club who has recently run into visa problems with British authorities, teamed up in 1999 to set up the Federation of Jewish Communities in Russia (FOR). They were responding to a request by Vladimir Putin to set up a group that would rival the Russian Jewish Congress, headed by Israeli-Russian oligarch Vladimir Gusinsky, who was close to former Russian President Boris Yeltsin. The head of the FOR is Italian-Russian Chabad Rabbi Berel Lazar. In April 2017, Politico alleged that Chabad and FOR were used by the Kremlin as conduits for their efforts to influence the U.S. elections. The report was denied and even dismissed as anti-Semitic. Interestingly, a BBC story published this week about payments made to Michael Cohen by Ukraine in order to secure a long White House meeting with Trump for Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko notes that the approach to Trump’s lawyer was made through attendees at a Chabad function in Port Washington, New York.

* Mueller is also said to be investigating connections between Russian oligarchs and Trump’s businesses in the years before he became president. One such partner in Trump’s failed Soho tower was the late Israeli-Georgian tycoon Tamir Sapir. In 2007, Trump hosted the wedding of Sapir’s daughter, Zina, with Rotem Rosen, then the director of the North American branch of Leviev’s Africa-Israel. The same year, Netanyahu listed Sapir as one of the potential donors to his Likud primary campaign in a handwritten note uncovered by the Yedioth Aharonoth daily.

* Another partner in the Soho project, and possibly the architect of Trump’s ties to Russia, was Felix Sater, who worked closely with Cohen. Sater is also an Israeli citizen, having passed through the country on his way to the United States with his father Mikhail, whom the FBI has named as a lieutenant for Russia mafia kingpin Sergei Mogilevich. Mogilevich came to Israel in 1990 and lived there for a few years. According to press reports, Mogilevich participated in a 1995 meeting of Ukrainian master criminals convened in Tel Aviv by another Russian oligarch with a shady reputation, Boris Birshtein. After several years in Israel, Birshtein left the country for Canada, after learning that he had turned into a target of the Israeli police. Subsequently, he partnered with Trump in a building project in Toronto.

Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk, founder of Interpipe Group, poses for a photograph following a Bloomberg Television interview on day two of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013. World leaders, influential executives, bankers and policy makers attend the 43rd annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, the five day event runs from Jan. 23-27. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk, founder of Interpipe Group, poses for a photograph following a Bloomberg Television interview on day two of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland,Bloomberg
* Mueller is also said to be investigating a $150,000 contribution to Trump’s inaugural committee, in which Broidy played an active role, made by another Ukrainian billionaire, Victor Pinchuk. Cohen, it is alleged, was the middleman. Pinchuk is a significant contributor to religious institutions in Israel, but is also well connected to its politicians. In 2008 he served as co-chairman of the Israeli Presidential Conference convened in Jerusalem by the late Shimon Peres.

* Another purported target of Mueller's investigation is Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian oligarch with investments in Israel, for payments allegedly made to Michael Cohen. Vekselberg partnered with Israeli-Russian billionaires Len Blavatnik, who is invested in Israeli media, connected to Netanyahu and is also under Mueller’s spotlight, as well as Russian-Israeli billionaire Mikhail Fridman. One of their joint holdings was Alfa Bank, which, according to the Steele Dossier, owned a mysterious internet server found in Trump Tower. Fridman is also the main contributor to the Genesis Prize, in which Netanyahu regularly plays a prominent role, and which featured recently in the brouhaha surrounding Natalie Portman’s decision to decline the prize after she had earlier accepted it.
https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premiu ... -1.6116639


43/ HAARETZ: "A source in the company [Inspiration] told Walla! that Inspiration had received 'enormous amounts' of information from the Trump Super PAC, which it then used to compose strategies and slogans that would elevate Trump and 'float all kinds of things' about Clinton."


44/ Wait a minute—so Trump was *personally presented* a plan, and *personally approved* a plan, to have an "unconnected" Super PAC "compose strategies and slogans that would elevate Trump and 'float all kinds of things' about Clinton"? How have we not heard about this before now?

45/ PROOF OF COLLUSION has a whole chapter about the totally false "things about Clinton" that Trump's campaign knowingly amplified pre-election. And you know who was most involved in floating these stories in US media? These men:

* Donald Trump Jr.
* Michael Flynn
* Erik Prince


46/ Meanwhile, post-election Papadopoulos told his contacts in Greece that he had a "blank check" for any job he wanted in the Trump administration and that he *personally* had "helped Trump get elected." (This is all in PROOF OF COLLUSION.) Why did he say that? *What did he do*?


47/ And as importantly as anything else, why did George Papadopoulos' conviction lead so quickly to Michael Flynn's arrest and conviction? What did Papadopoulos tell Robert Mueller about Flynn, the Trump NatSec man he worked closely with—by his own confession—during the campaign?


48/ I'd mention, too, that Papadopoulos is now—hoping to save his would-be GOP political career—floating a theory that *Australians* set him up to look like a foreign spy. Isn't that interesting, when Joel Zamel was born in Australia? I feel like Papadopoulos knows what's coming.


49/ When you read the HAARETZ article I linked to (Tweet #42), you'll see just how many *in-campaign* emissaries Trump had to Israel *besides* Carson, Flynn, and Papadopoulos.

He also had men connected to the UAE and Saudi Arabia—think "six-nation bargain"—like Broidy and Nader.


50/ All the evidence suggests what I'd always suspected: Zamel *wasn't* a rogue actor on August 3, 2016—nor was Trump Jr. saying "yes" to an offer that mysteriously never materialized. The Israelis knew what they were doing, and so did the Trumps. Illegally and pre-election. /end



PS/ Because this is Twitter, everything here has been abbreviated. The evidence suggests Israel, Russia, UAE, Saudi Arabia and—most oddly, but a full presentation of evidence explains it quite well—Qatar were involved in an illegal pre-election six-nation bargain with the Trumps.

THE SIX-NATION BARGAIN/ Here it is:

Image


NOTE/ A final note: I'm Jewish, and realize I'm researching a topic that implies the Israeli government may have acted illegally. But I want to underscore that Israel's motivations were entirely logical—not even opaque—even as what I believe were their actions were reprehensible.



NOTE2/ This research has nothing to do with American Jews or Jewry, nor does it imply nefarious motives on the part of Israeli agents. The Israelis are understandably trying to secure their people against certain external threats. The question is whether they broke laws to do it.



NOTE3/ Believe me, I *know* all the good stuff I left out, like Kushner's ties to Israel, and that it was *Kushner* who ordered Flynn to illegally negotiate with Russia and other nations on an *Israeli issue then before the UN* during the transition. Yes, that was a quid pro quo.


NOTE4/ I should add that I think (and actually would say that by now it's pretty well proven) that Netanyahu is a corrupt politician. I don't believe prior Israeli governments would have acted in this way. Netanyahu has been reckless, arrogant, and dangerous for a very long time.

https://twitter.com/SethAbramson/status ... 0788890625


seemslikeadream » Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:59 pm wrote:Ahmed Al-Assiri, the Saudi intelligence chief taking the fall for Khashoggi’s murder, met with Michael Flynn & other Trump transition team members to discuss regime change in Iran. Mueller is investigating it.




Polly Sigh

SCOOP: In Jan 2017, Saudi spy chief Al-Assiri [who's taking the fall for Khashoggi's murder] met in NY with Mike Flynn, other Trump officials, George Nader, and Psy Group CEO Joel Zamel, who met with Don Jr in Aug 2016.

MBS spy chief Al-Assiri's Jan 2017 NY meetings appear to be part of Saudi & Emirati efforts to lobby the incoming Trump admin against Qatar & Iran. Around the same time, Emirati Crown Prince MBZ also met with Bannon, Flynn, & Jared Kushner in NY.

Recall in Dec 15, 2016: In an unusual breach of protocol, Emirati crown prince MBZ made an undisclosed trip to New York [without notifying the Obama admin] and met with Trump transition team members Michael Flynn, Jared Kushner, and Steve Bannon.

ICYMI: Jared Kushner friend/envoy Rick Gerson met with Nader in NY [weeks before the he attended the Jan 2017 Seychelles summit] when Trump officials, Kushner, Flynn, & Bannon had a secret meeting with MBZ & UAE Amb Otaiba at a Four Seasons in NY.

AUG 2016: The emissary, Nader [now cooperating w/ Mueller], told Don Jr that Saudi & UAE crown princes MBS & MBZ were eager to help elect Trump. Zamal, who worked for Deripaska, proposed a covert online manipulation campaign to aide their efforts.

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Saudi Spy Met With Team Trump About Taking Down Iran

Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri, the Saudi intelligence chief taking the fall for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, hobnobbed in New York with Michael Flynn and other members of the transition team shortly before Trump’s inauguration. The topic of their discussion: regime change in Iran.

Mohammed bin Salman, the powerful Saudi crown prince, dispatched Assiri from Riyadh for the meetings, which took place over the course of two days in early January 2017, according to communications reviewed by The Daily Beast. The January meetings have come under scrutiny by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office as part of his probe into foreign governments’ attempts to gain influence in the Trump campaign and in the White House, an individual familiar with the investigation told The Daily Beast. A spokesperson for Mueller declined to comment.

The New York meetings were attended and brokered by George Nader, a Lebanese-American with close ties to leaders in the United Arab Emirates who is currently cooperating with Mueller’s team. Also present at the meetings was Israeli social media strategist Joel Zamel, who has been questioned by Mueller for his role in pitching top campaign officials on an influence operation to help Trump win the election—overtures that could have broken federal election laws.

Steve Bannon was involved as well in conversations on Iran regime change during those two days in January, according to the communications.

The communications show that participants in the meetings discussed a multi-pronged strategy for eroding, and eventually ending, the current Iranian regime—including economic, information, and military tactics for weakening the Tehran government. Earlier this year the New York Times reported Nader was promoting a plan to carry out economic sabotage against Iran and pitched the plan in the Spring of 2017 to Saudi, UAE, and American officials. It’s unclear if that plan ever moved forward or if it was part of the larger project for regime change discussed in these January 2017 meetings.

“It smacks of covert action planning, which is the most sensitive thing the U.S. government does and is so uniquely the province of the sitting president.”

— Former acting CIA director John McLaughlin

Either way, former CIA acting director John McLaughlin told The Daily Beast, the get-togethers as described were very unusual.

“It’s concerning to me as a former intelligence official because of the fact that it smacks of covert action planning, which is the most sensitive thing the U.S. government does and is so uniquely the province of the sitting president,” he said.

A spokesperson for Zamel said his client had spoken to the special counsel’s office about his business but declined to comment on the January 2017 meeting. Bannon did not comment on the record for this story. A lawyer for Flynn declined to comment.

The meetings in New York, which have not yet been reported, show the depth of efforts by foreign officials and power brokers to influence the nascent Trump administration on the most sensitive foreign policy decisions. The discussions in New York came at a time when the Trump team was developing its Iran strategy and looking for input from individuals who were working on plans to counter Tehran’s influence. Saudi Arabia and the UAE, whose leaders made overtures to the campaign throughout the 2016 election, were at the time developing campaigns to thwart its regional adversaries, including Iran.

“It makes complete sense that Assiri would have been meeting with the Trump team during this time,” one former Pentagon official with close ties to the intelligence community told The Daily Beast. “The team was meeting with a lot of foreign influencers and Saudi was a country that wanted in on all anti-Iran projects.”

The meetings in New York not only reveal details of one of the Trump team’s first encounters with officials from Saudi Arabia—a country that is embroiled in one of the year’s most scandalous and consequential geopolitical incidents—but also sheds more light on Trumpworld’s relationship to Zamel, a self-styled Mark Zuckerberg of the national-security world with deep ties to Israeli intelligence.

Trump’s team drew in Zamel, a young strategist and entrepreneur, during the campaign. Zamel had pitched a plan in August 2016 to Donald Trump Jr. to help Trump win the presidential election, according to The New York Times. It’s unclear if that plan was ever put into action. Trump’s lawyer has previously stated that the president heard Zamel’s plan but did not move forward with it.

Zamel’s lawyer has also previously denied his client’s involvement in U.S. election or campaign efforts and told The Daily Beast that he is “not a target” of the Mueller investigation.

But it appears Zamel remained close to the Trump team throughout the election and into the transition. Part of the reason? He had an easy in. He had been introduced to Nader, closely connected with the Trump campaign, years earlier by John Hannah, a former aide to Dick Cheney now working as a senior counselor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a right-leaning think tank known for its anti-Iran work. Hannah is listed as a member of the advisory council of Wikistrat, one of Zamel’s companies, on the firm’s website. (Other members of that board, including former CIA chief Michael Hayden, say their involvement with Wikistrat is informal and at arms-length.)

Hussein Ibish, Senior Resident Scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, told The Daily Beast that Wikistrat doesn’t bill itself as a typical consulting firm.

“Wikistrat presents themselves as a kind of private intelligence service,” Ibish said. “If you look at the work they’ve done in Yemen, they’ve been a work for hire. It’s sort of like an intelligence-for-hire kind of thing.”

“If you have a very rudimentary conversation discussing the possibility of raising the question of regime change, then it’s not surprising to bring in a set of stakeholders including Wikistrat,” he added.

Details of the January 2017 meeting reviewed by The Daily Beast show how Zamel—already a familiar face in Trumpworld for his audacious plan to use social media influence campaigns to help beat Hillary Clinton—had ambitions beyond Trump’s election. According to communications reviewed by The Daily Beast, Zamel flew to New York to help pitch the Iran idea to Assiri and Trump's team, delivering a bound presentation full of tactics to undercut the country’s government.

“The communications show that participants discussed a multi-pronged strategy for eroding, and eventually ending, the current Iranian regime—including economic, information, and military tactics for weakening the Tehran government.”

The Trump team offered a new way forward for Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Israel who had all grown frustrated by the Obama administration for its stance toward Iran and its brokering of the nuclear deal. Trump had campaigned, in part, on the promise that he would renegotiate the deal and ake major steps against the Iranian regime during his first days in office. In his first public address after taking office, Flynn said the U.S. was “officially putting Iran on notice” after it carried out a missle test and attack on a Saudi warship by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. Since then, the Trump administration has pulled out of the nuclear deal and levied snapback sanctions on the country.

The meetings in New York were part of a flurry of visits from influential foreigners to Trump Tower. Weeks before, Emirati Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed reportedly discussed Iran policy at Trump Tower with Bannon, Flynn, and Jared Kushner. The meetings appear to be part of Saudi and Emirati efforts to lobby the incoming Trump administration against Qatar and Iran, their top regional competitors. The New York Times reported earlier this year that Nader worked with Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy to urge the White House to take an aggressive stance against the two countries. (Nader also helped orchestrate the meeting between Blackwater founder and Trump ally Erik Prince and Moscow moneyman Kirill Dmitriev.)

Mohammed bin Salman—known by his initials, MBS— leaned on General Assiri to help carry out conversations with western officials about Iran and the Saudi-led war in Yemen, according to two senior officials in the intelligence community. Assiri was previously the spokesperson for Saudi’s military offensive in Yemen. That effort, in concert with the UAE and backed by the United States and European countries, has drawn enormous outcry from human rights activists and members of Congress. The UN has called it the globe’s worst humanitarian crisis, and UN air chief Mark Lowcock said earlier this week that the war puts 14 million Yemeni people at risk of starvation.

Sources familiar with the Saudi footprint in Washington described Assiri as one of MBS’ closest allies and most trusted confidantes. Before joining the intelligence service, he was top officer in the Saudi air force—an elite service branch tasked with shooting down missiles that target the country. A former U.S. defense official told The Daily Beast Assiri was highly regarded in his air force days.

The killing of Khashoggi has thrown Assiri, and his Saudi leaders, under the spotlight. While several Washington-based lobbying firms have dropped the Kingdom as a client, the Trump administration says it is still mulling its options for punishment. Earlier this week Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the administration would ban travel visas for the individuals involved in the operation in Istanbul. But it is unclear if the White House will approve financial measures levied against the Kingdom. If it does, those actions would most likely fall after the midterm elections.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/saudi-spy ... -down-iran


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Re: Wikistrat

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:35 am
by seemslikeadream
seemslikeadream » Tue May 29, 2018 7:19 pm wrote:

Erik Prince is all over the map. Literally.

From DC to the DRC, Erik Prince keeps pitching new ideas — from proposals for privatized wars and spy agencies, to Frontier Services Group’s Belt and Road plans, to a new company that revives the infamous Blackwater brand.

Wendy SiegelmanMay 28
on Twitter @WendySiegelman


In the Trump-Russia story, a few people in Trump’s orbit have appeared repeatedly, attending ‘secret’ meetings and pursuing self-enriching business deals — Michael Flynn, Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, Elliot Broidy, George Nader. Among this group of frenetic deal-makers, Erik Prince may be the most prolific in pitching and launching new business ideas, while striving to spread his influence and operations around the world.

Prince who founded the private security company Blackwater seemed to reach his peak around 2006, became embroiled in highly publicized investigations into civilian deaths in Iraq the next year, and then left his company and country, to rebuild his career overseas. Prince has re-emerged in the past few years, pitching new deals and leveraging strong connections within the Trump administration, to promote his career. Time will tell if Prince will succeed, or if he will follow in the footsteps of Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort and encounter legal ramifications from Mueller’s investigation.

Formative Years

Erik Prince was raised in Michigan with three older sisters, including Betsy — who is now U.S. Secretary of Education and married to Dick DeVos, whose father co-founded Amway. Erik’s father, Edgar, founded Prince Corporation, an auto parts and machinery manufacturer that in 1972 developed a sun visor with an illuminated vanity mirror.

After Erik Prince graduated from Hillsdale College, he briefly attended and then quit the U.S. Naval Academy and did an internship in the early 1990s in the White House under George H.W. Bush. Prince considered himself a libertarian and developed a strong conservative network, including interning with Huntington Beach, California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher. In 1993 Prince joined the Navy SEALs.

Erik’s father passed away in 1995 and his company was sold a year later for $1.35 billion. Erik had returned home and created the private security contractor company Blackwater. Throughout the 2000’s Blackwater grew to become a primary military subcontractor for the CIA and the State Department, earning $2 billion, mostly from unclassified work, such as secretly arming and maintaining drones in Pakistan and training CIA hit teams.

In 2007 Blackwater employees shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians and seriously wounded 20 civilians, in what became known as the Nisour Square massacre. A series of investigations and lawsuits followed and Erik Prince resigned as Blackwater CEO in March 2009.

In 2008, then Senator Hillary Clinton signed on as the first co-sponsor of a bill to ban the use of State Department private security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Stop Outsourcing Security Act, introduced in the Senate at the end of 2007 by Bernie Sanders, took direct aim at Blackwater, as well as DynCorp owned by Stephen Feinberg, and Triple Canopy, a security company later bought by Constellis, which also bought Blackwater (which had been renamed Xe Services, and then Academi). Constellis was purchased in 2016 for $1 billion by Apollo Global Management, however Constellis is now up for sale and took initial bids earlier this year.

The Stop Outsourcing Security Act was not supported by Obama and was never enacted, but Hillary Clinton’s early support of the bill put her directly in the crosshairs of Erik Prince, who had made his fortune from government outsourcing of security services.

After resigning from Blackwater, Prince went to live in the United Arab Emirates and with $529 million in funding from the UAE created an 800-member mercenary army, staffed largely by men from Colombia, to “conduct special operations missions inside and outside the country, defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers from terrorist attacks and put down internal revolts.”

It was not clear if Prince’s new endeavors in the UAE were approved by U.S. officials. And in 2010 Blackwater, renamed Xe Services, had to pay $42 million in fines for hundreds of violations of US export control regulations, including illegal weapons exports to Afghanistan, making unauthorized proposals to train troops in south Sudan and providing sniper training for Taiwanese police officers.

During his years in the UAE Prince also ran an operation for the Emirati government using South African mercenaries to train Somalis to fight pirates. Prince later shifted his focus to developing business opportunities in China with business partner and Hong Kong billionaire, Johnson Chun Shun Ko.

Aside from a few news stories tracking his overseas activities, Prince kept a relatively low profile for years, but as Donald Trump’s campaign built momentum, Prince reappeared on the scene. In mid 2017 Prince started promoting a solution to the war in Afghanistan, writing a piece in USA Today proposing the president “‘restructure’ the war, similar to a bankruptcy reorganization.” In the months leading up to the election, Prince appeared as a frequent guest on Steve Bannon’s Breitbart platform, often discussing anti-Clinton stories.

The business and political ventures Erik Prince has pursued in the last few years highlight his efforts to further his right-wing ideology while attempting to regain the scale, wealth, and influence from his Blackwater days.

Erik Prince and the Trump-Russia Investigation

There has been wide reporting on Erik Prince’s January 2017 meeting in the Seychelles with the United Arab Emirate’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund Kirill Dmitriev, and George Nader, a former consultant for Erik Prince’s company Blackwater. According to George Nader, who is cooperating with the special counsel, Robert Mueller, a main purpose of the meeting was to set up a communication channel between the Russian government and the incoming Trump administration.

Nader’s account of the Seychelles meeting has called into question testimony Erik Prince gave to the House Intelligence Committee, describing his meeting with Dmitriev as a chance encounter at the bar.

This month, The New York Times broke a story about an unreported August 3, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower attended by Erik Prince, George Nader, Donald Trump Jr., Stephen Miller, and Joel Zamel, who had presented a multimillion-dollar proposal for his company Psy-Group to implement a social media manipulation campaign to help elect Trump.

“Prince opened the meeting by telling Donald Trump Jr. that ‘we are working hard for your father,’ in reference to his family and other donors, according to a person familiar with the meeting. He then introduced Mr. Nader as an old friend with deep ties to Arab leaders.”
After Trump was elected, Nader paid Zamel a large sum of money, described by one associate as up to $2 million, although there are conflicting accounts of the reason for the payment. In addition to Psy-Group, Joel Zamel and his business partner Daniel Green, co-founded a consulting firm Wikistrat, founded in Israel in 2010 and now based in Washington, D. C., that has been included in Mueller’s investigation.

After Erik Prince introduced George Nader to the campaign in August 2016, Nader met frequently with Jared Kusher, Michael Flynn, and Steve Bannon. Nader attended the January 2017 Seychelles meeting with Erik Prince. And Nader became an active partner with businessman and RNC fundraiser Elliott Broidy, in advocating for the interests of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates within the Trump administration, while Nader and Broidy simultaneously pursued massive business deals together.

Erik Prince and Elliott Broidy have some notable similarities — both are deeply entangled in the Trump-Russia story, both have run security and intelligence companies and in past years both established contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars with the UAE. Elliott Broidy pitched a proposal to train mercenaries to help the UAE battle the Taliban and the Islamic State in Afghanistan, and he made a proposal to help Saudi Arabia train Arab troops to fight in the escalating war in Yemen.

It is not surprising that George Nader has been linked to both men, although it appears that he may have transitioned his alliance in 2017, from Prince to Broidy.

Prince, Rohrabacher, and Behrends

Erik Prince has been a long-time supporter of former Reagan speechwriter, and Pro-Russia congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who was mentioned in a private conversation by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who said “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.”

In the 1990’s Prince interned for Rohrabacher’s aide Paul Behrends, who later became a lobbyist for Prince’s company Blackwater, and then returned to work for Rohrabacher in his role as Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats.

Rohrabacher and Behrends visited Russia in 2014 and 2016. Behrends introduced Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and Russian-born lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin — who both attended the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Don Jr, Manafort, and Kushner — around Washington D.C. during the inauguration. Rohrabacher and Behrends helped spread opposition research on Bill Browder and engaged in efforts to weaken the Magnitsky Act. Behrends’ pro-Russia activities caused so much unease that he was dismissed as staff director on the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee, but continues to work as Rohrabacher’s Deputy Chief of Staff.

Despite intense focus on Rohrabacher’s pro-Russia activity, and the media scrutiny of an August 2017 visit Rohrabacher made with alt-right troll Charles Johnson to see Julian Assange, in March 2018 Erik Prince held a fundraiser for Rohrabacher, that was also attended by Oliver North, a key figure in the Iran-Contra scandal and now the president of the NRA.

Prince has also worked closely with Steve Bannon, especially in the months before the 2016 election, when Prince did several interviews for Breitbart pushing the Clinton uranium Russia story, and describing incriminating information the NYPD had about Clinton on Anthony Weiner’s laptop.

Deals Pitched to the Trump Administration


After the election Prince leveraged his connections to the Trump administration and Buzzfeed reported that in early 2017 Prince presented a proposal to the administration to privatize the Afghan war and to fund the effort by mining Afghanistan’s valuable minerals. Prince’s presentation identified rare-earth minerals, including uranium valued at $1 trillion, as well as magnesite, talc, and other minerals valued at $4.3 billion. The presentation highlights China’s dominance of REEs (Rare Earth Elements) as a threat to the U.S., noting that the U.S. remains subject to market manipulation by China.

The presentation in Prince’s Afghanistan pitch of China as a threat to U.S. interests, is ironic since Prince’s company, Frontier Services Group, is headquartered in Hong Kong and the largest shareholder is CITIC, a Chinese state-owned business, closely tied to the Chinese government.

Around the same time as Prince made his pitch to privatize the war in Afghanistan, Buzzfeed reported that in February 2017, Prince’s company Frontier Services Group planned to set up a private army with “two Blackwater-style training camps in China,” which the company said, “does not involve armed personnel.” A former associate of Prince noted that “He’s hell bent on reclaiming his position as the world’s preeminent private military provider.”

In late 2017, Prince and CIA veteran John Maguire, who worked for the intelligence contractor Amyntor Group along with Oliver North, pitched a set of proposals to the White House to create a global, private spy network to circumvent official U.S. intelligence agencies, a group Trump calls the “Deep State.” Prince and Maguire denied that they had collaborated and Prince denied any involvement in the proposal.

Intelligence Ops, Black Cube, Cambridge Analytica

Prince has been primarily known for his mercenary and privatized military contracting work, but, like many of the key figures in the Trump-Russia story, Prince has associated with firms that merge communications, PR, propaganda, social media manipulation and “weaponizing data” for business and political purposes. At the height of his Blackwater success, Prince hired several senior former CIA officials and launched his own intelligence firm.

Cofer Black, who had served in the Directorate of Operations at the CIA and was Director of the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center, was Vice Chairman of Blackwater from 2005 to 2008. Black was also Chairman of Total Intelligence Solutions, created by The Prince Group in 2007 and later renamed OODA, with chief executive Robert Richer, a former CIA associate deputy director of operations. Rick Prado, who is still listed as an advisor to OODA, was an ex-CIA officer who worked for Blackwater and allegedly was “a hitman for a notorious Miami mobster,” had worked for the mob after joining the CIA, and was the head of the CIA’s secret assassination squad against Al-Qaida.

In addition to the recent story revealing that Prince introduced Joel Zamel to Donald Trump Jr. in August 2016 to pitch the social media work of Psy-Group, Erik Prince has a few tangential connections to Black Cube, an Israeli intelligence company made up of “veterans from the Israeli elite intelligence units” that specializes in “tailored solutions to complex business and litigation challenges.”

In November 2017 Ronan Farrow published a New Yorker story about how Harvey Weinstein had hired Black Cube to collect information on the women and the journalists trying to expose sexual harassment and assault allegations against Weinstein. In May 2018, The Observer reported that the Trump team had hired a spy firm to gather information to discredit several Obama officials involved with negotiating the Iran arms deal. A day later Farrow confirmed that the company allegedly hired by the Trump administration was Black Cube.

The contract for Black Cube’s work for Harvey Weinstein was personally signed by lawyer David Boies. In 2012, David Boies represented the former president of Blackwater, Gary Jackson, on charges related to falsifying ownership papers for Blackwater guns that were presented in 2005 to Jordan’s King Abdullah.

Black Cube was founded in 2011 by Dan Zorella, a former IDF military intelligence officer based in London, Dr. Avi Yanus and the late Meir Dagan was president of the board. Their first known major job was for the Tehran-born, British-Jewish billionaire Vincent Tchenguiz, after he was raided by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office in 2011 for bank fraud. Black Cube helped build the successful challenge to the SFO raids, which were declared unlawful. However in subsequent years, Tchenguiz had a falling out with Black Cube and allegedly spied on his own spies, who were based out of his London office.

During the years Tchenguiz worked with Black Cube, he was also, notably, the largest shareholder, until 2015, in SCL Group, the owner of Cambridge Analytica, which became Donald Trump’s data company during the 2016 presidential election.

An Haaretz article describes Prince’s business connections to Netanyahu’s former Chief of Staff Ari Harow and his past business partner, Isreali financier Dorian Barak. Erik Prince invested in Harow and Barak’s Indigo Strategic Capital fund in the Israeli companies NowForce (security) and Agent Vi (real-time video analytics). Barak also tried to interest Prince in a joint investment with Vincent Tchenguiz, however it is not known if a deal between Tchenguiz and Prince was pursued.

Meanwhile, Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie told British MPs that “the company utilized the services of an Israeli private intelligence firm, Black Cube” in 2015 to hack the personal data of Nigerian President Buhari prior to his election. Both Cambridge Analytica and Black Cube denied the allegations.

Earlier this year I reported on Emerdata Limited, a company set up by Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group executives, that included board members Rebekah and Jennifer Mercer, and Johnson Chun Shun Ko, who is Executive Director and Deputy Chairman of Erik Prince’s Frontier Services Group.

There is no evidence that Erik Prince had any direct involvement with Emerdata Limited, SCL Group or Cambridge Analytica. Nor is there evidence that Prince has worked with Black Cube.

However, Prince’s close business connection to Johnson Chun Shun Ko the director of Emerdata, his history with Steve Bannon who ran Breitbart and was a shareholder of Cambridge Analytica, and Prince’s involvement in introducing Joel Zemel’s Psy-Group to the Trump campaign to propose a social media manipulation effort, raises questions about Prince’s involvement with the messaging and social media plans during and after the Trump campaign.

And Erik Prince’s link to David Boies, his experience running his own intelligence company, hiring senior CIA intelligence officials, and working closely with business partners with strong connections to the Israeli government, including discussions about a deal with Vincent Tchenguiz, raises the question of whether or not Prince has crossed paths with Black Cube.

Frontier Services Group Future Plans

As Erik Prince has been busy pitching proposals to the White House and attending secret meetings in the Seychelles and Trump Tower, his main business venture, Frontier Services Group has pursued ambitious plans across several continents, despite having operating losses for five years in a row.

At the end of April 2018, Frontier Services Group Limited published its 2017 annual report. The Chairman’s message from Erik Prince about the Bermuda-registered company, headquartered in Hong Kong, includes standard marketing and financial information. However, the FSG annual report also provides insight into the breadth of countries, regions, and services that Prince has been involved with as he has simultaneously appeared behind-the-scenes in various meetings and events related to the Trump-Russia story.

In 2014 Prince partnered with Hong Kong businessman Johnson Chun Shun Ko on DVN Holdings, which was later renamed Frontier Services Group. Erik Prince has additional business ties with Ko through Prince’s associate Dorian Barak who served as a board director of Ko’s Reorient Group from 2014–2016, and Dorian Barak and Ko both serve as directors of the Chinese company KuangChi Science.

According to a March 2018 press release, Frontier Sciences Group is 28% owned by CITIC, a Chinese state-owned company that is closely aligned with the Chinese government.

In 2016 Prince and Frontier Services Group were under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and other federal agencies for attempting to broker military services to foreign governments and possible money laundering using a Chinese bank. A story in The Intercept described:

“What began as an investigation into Prince’s attempts to sell defense services in Libya and other countries in Africa has widened to a probe of allegations that Prince received assistance from Chinese intelligence to set up an account for his Libya operations through the Bank of China”
After the story was published several senior executives and directors left Frontier Services Group, however, the company has continued expanding its business ventures.

In May 2018, the Washington Post published a story about how Frontier Services Group has been overseeing private security training at various locations in China. The International Security Defense College in Beijing is a private security training school that has promotional materials boasting that “Frontier has trained more than 5,000 Chinese military personnel, 200 plainclothes police officers, 500 SWAT specialists, 200 railway police officers and 300 overseas military police officers.” The article poses the question of whether or not the work of Prince’s Frontier Services Group is going against U.S. interests.

In addition to China, Frontier Services Group is pursuing business ventures across Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, regions aligned with China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI), formerly called One Belt One Road (OBOR). Inspired by the Silk Road trading route, the initiative launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, aims to invest in infrastructure across 68 countries with a focus on trade in Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa. A CNN article noted that it is “China’s push to put it in a position of world leadership as the US under President Donald Trump takes a more protectionist approach and gives up the mantle of globalization.”

Erik Prince’s Chairman’s Letter in Frontier Services Group 2017 Annual Report describes how the Group’s business is focused on four strategic Belt & Road regions:

North West: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan with its regional office in Kashgar, China. Currently, the focus of the region is serving the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (“CPEC”) and its related projects.
South West: Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia. In Myanmar, the Group signed a partnership agreement with the country’s leading security firm. In Laos, the Group broke ground on a new security training facility across the border from China in Boten.
Middle East: U.A.E. and Qatar. The region is home to key logistics routes for the Belt & Road as well as construction and energy projects.
Africa: Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo (“DRC”) and South Africa, and the secondary markets of Tanzania, Mozambique and Uganda.
Frontier Services Group also has four aircraft, trucking, and logistic companies: Maleth Aero Limited, a Malta-based air operation company, Transit Freight Forwarding (Pty) Ltd, a logistics company based in South Africa, Phoenix Aviation Limited, a Kenya-based air operations company, and Cheetah Logistics SARL a DRC-based trucking operation.

Frontier Services Group reported an operating loss of HK $221,448,000 (approx. $28 million) for 2017, an 11.5% increase over the prior year, and FSG has reported operating losses every year since 2013.

Despite the consistent losses, Frontier Service Group’s 2017 annual report indicates that Prince is actively pursuing expansion of his business around the globe, although a theme that appears repeatedly in Prince’s overseas initiatives is whether or not his business pursuits present a conflict of interest with U.S. interests.

Erik Prince’s Other Ventures

While Prince has been busy pitching proposals at the White House, attending secret meetings in the Seychelles and Trump Tower, and building the security, logistics, and insurance business of Frontier Services Group throughout Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, he has managed to find time to pursue a few other business ventures.

Last year, Foreign Policy reported that Erik Prince was listed as an investor in Wickr, an American software company best-known for its free secure messaging app. This venture is somewhat unusual since Wickr is known as a secure communications solution for journalists, human rights workers, and even the Democratic Party. The size of Prince’s investment in Wickr is not known.

And it appears that Erik Prince may be working to revive the Blackwater brand. In March 2018, a Maltese company called Blackwater Ammunition was officially launched at a firearms and hunting event called IWA 2018 in Nurnberg Germany. While it appears that Prince licensed the Blackwater brand, he is featured prominently on the website with Nicola Bandini, CEO of Maltese company Precision Ballistic Manufacturing Ltd, and Maltese guns and ammunition distributor James Fenech.

Now that Erik Prince has several advocates in the White House, including National Security Advisor John Bolton, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, it appears that he may have an opportunity to make a comeback. Or, like Flynn and Manafort, he could get pulled deeper into the Muller investigation. Regardless of the outcome, Erik Prince is likely to continue pitching new ideas and initiatives in far flung regions around the world.
https://medium.com/@wsiegelman/erik-pri ... e4dbc87459




seemslikeadream » Tue May 22, 2018 9:07 am wrote:
Wendy Siegelman


Who is Joel Zamel, the Australian-Israeli linked to Mueller’s Trump Probe? His company Psy-Group engaged in private intelligence gathering work, while Wikistrat was contracted by the UAE to conduct war game scenarios on the political situation in Yemen


Who Is Joel Zamel, the Australian-Israeli Linked to Mueller’s Trump Probe?

The Israeli social media expert, allegedly linked to the Trump campaign through an online manipulation campaign, founded several companies, including one offering 'honey traps' and 'deep web' capabilities

Allison Kaplan Sommer May 21, 2018 5:22 PM
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A screenshot of the lead image of the Psygroup promotional brochure Psygroup
The news that special counsel Robert Mueller dispatched FBI agents to the Middle East to interview witnesses and worked with the Israel Police to seize computers affiliated with a company that specializes in "social media manipulation," hit Israel like a bombshell.

The name thrust into the spotlight by Saturday’s New York Times report is that of Joel Zamel, described as an “Israeli social media expert.” His company, Psy-Group, the article said, developed “an online manipulation campaign that involved usage of thousands of fake social media accounts to help Trump get elected.”

Zamel, the Times reported, met Donald Trump, Jr. together with George Nader, a special adviser to the leadership of the United Arab Emirates three months before the 2016 election and allegedly pitched his company expertise to help Trump defeat Hillary Clinton and discussed ways to help the Republican candidate’s campaign through social media manipulation.

It wasn’t the first time Zamel’s name has arisen in connection with the Mueller probe, which is looking into alleged foreign meddling in the 2016 elections. On April 3, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Mueller team was examining the nine-year-old company owned by Zamel and his business partner Daniel Green, then a consulting firm called Wikistrat.
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A screenshot of an image inside the Psygroup brochure.Psygroup
The Journal said that Wikistrat was contracted by the UAE beginning in 2015 to conduct war game scenarios on Islamist political movements in Yemen and had developed close relationships with the Emirate’s security establishment and business community. According to the newspaper, the work included Wikistrat putting together a war game concerning the political situation in Yemen for the UAE and then briefed top Emirati national security officials on the results.

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That job, it said, had “morphed into what one person close to the company referred to as ‘intelligence lite’—using local on-the-ground sources to anticipate threats.”

Zamel’s two companies appear to be radically different.

PsyGroup has a minimal footprint - a one-page website that gives a Cyprus address and a slogan “Shape Reality.” A Hebrew language job recruiting site lists it as being a small “media, marketing and advertising company” and says it has between 11 to 50 employees.
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A screenshot from the Psygroup brochure featuring the info on "dark net"Psygroup brochure
A more detailed picture of PsyGroup was painted in a Wall Street Journal story published the same day as the Times report. The Journal described the company as engaging in “private intelligence gathering work.” It said “one of its main rivals was Black Cube—another Israeli firm which achieved notoriety after it was used by Harvey Weinstein to counter probes into his alleged sexual abuse of actresses. Several people linked to the firm are veteran Israeli intelligence officials, with experience in areas that include psychological operations. According to the firm’s marketing materials reviewed by the Journal, Psy-Group offered clients an array of services—including “honey traps,” a term used by spy agencies for an intelligence-gathering tactic using romantic or sexual relationships to extract information.

The article included a link to a Psy-Group company brochure online showing the services they advertise - including honey traps - as well as “deep web and Darknet capabilities.”

By contrast, Wikistrat is a large, established company with a much higher and extremely public profile. It was founded in Israel in 2010 and is now based in Washington, D. C. It bills itself as “the world’s first crowdsourced consultancy. We leverage a worldwide community of several hundred strategic thinkers to run simulations of likely international events and unfolding global trends, wargame future conflict or crisis scenarios, and conduct strategic planning exercises.”

Wikistrat’s list of clients on its website includes numerous U.S. government and intelligence agencies. Its advisory council includes many former U.S. intelligence officials, as well as familiar names like Dennis Ross, former Middle East peace negotiator, Elliot Abrams, former Deputy Director of the National Security Council and John P. Hannah, former National Security Advisor to then U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. While his name doesn’t appear on the company website, a Bloomberg online biography lists Zamel as Wikistrat’s founding director and chief executive officer, relating that he “developed the strategic planning methodology of Collaborative Competition, on which Wikistrat’s flagship system is based. He has a Bachelor of Mining Engineering from the University of New South Wales and a Masters Degree in Government, Diplomacy and Strategy from the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, specializing in Counter-Terrorism and Homeland Security.”
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A screenshot from the Psygroup brochure featuring the info on "honey webs"Psygroup brochure
In 2011, the company courted publicity by sponsoring a “Grand Strategy Competition” that it said would provide participants with a “Wikipedia meets Facebook collaborative space for generating content” aimed at “bringing together leading analysts of the future, who will be challenged to come up with long-term national strategies for selected countries based on five issues: global energy security, global economic “rebalancing,” Jihadist terrorism, the Sino-American relationship and nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.”

In an article about the event in The Jerusalem Post, Zamel and his Wikistrat co-founder Daniel Green are described as “Australian expats” in Israel.

A third company, with an even lower profile than Psy-Group was mentioned in the Times article, which said that in December 2016, Nader utilized another company “linked” to Zamel, one called WhiteKnight and based in the Philippines. He reportedly bought from them “a presentation demonstrating the impact of social media campaigns on Mr. Trump’s electoral victory.”

The Times said that when asked about the purchase, “a representative of WhiteKnight said: “WhiteKnight delivers premium research and high-end business development services for prestigious clients around the world. WhiteKnight does not talk about any of its clients.”

Speaking for Zamel and Wikistrat in April, attorney Marc L. Mukasey, chairman of white collar defense at the law firm Greenberg Traurig, said in April to The Wall Street Journal that the company has said they possess “only a tenuous connection to the special counsel’s investigation and are cooperating fully.”

Regarding the more recent revelations regarding Psy-Group, Mukasey said that Zamel “offered nothing to the Trump campaign, received nothing from the Trump campaign, delivered nothing to the Trump campaign and was not solicited by, or asked to do anything for, the Trump campaign.” He said reports that Zamel had engaged in “social media manipulation” were incorrect and that his client’s companies “harvest publicly available information for lawful use.”

Much has been made across social media regarding the fact that among Zamel’s company’s clients include Russian oligarchs implicated in other parts of the Mueller probe. The Times reported that one of Zamel’s firms “had previously worked for oligarchs linked to Mr. Putin, including Oleg V. Deripaska and Dmitry Rybolovlev, who hired the firm for online campaigns against their business rivals. Mr. Deripaska, an aluminum magnate, was once in business with the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who has pleaded not guilty in the special counsel investigation to charges of financial crimes and failing to disclose the lobbying work he did on behalf of a former president of Ukraine, an ally of Mr. Putin. Mr. Rybolovlev once purchased a Florida mansion from Mr. Trump.”

In the political blog, Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall pointed out the interconnectedness when it came to legal representation in the Trump probe.

“Zamel is represented by a man named Marc L. Mukasey,” Marshall wrote. “You may recognize the name because he’s the son of the former Attorney General Michael Mukasey. For our present purposes what is important is that Mukasey has been the deputy and the law partner of Rudy Giuliani for years.”

For over a decade, Mukasey and Giuliani worked together at the law firm of Bracewell and Patterson. In January 2016, Giuliani moved to Greenberg Traurig.

In June 2017, Giuliani travelled to Israel to attend a cybersecurity conference in his role as as a Senior Advisor to Greenberg Traurig’s Executive Chairman and as Chair of Cybersecurity, Privacy and Crisis Management Practice. During that visit, he said one of the reasons he chose the firm was because it was the “only international law firm with an office in Tel Aviv” and praised Israel’s “capitalist free market economy” saying it was “one of the most innovative countries in the world” with “cutting edge technology in cybersecurity.”
https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.pr ... -1.6104963


in December 2016, Nader utilized a third company “linked” to Zamel, called WhiteKnight based in the Philippines and reportedly bought from them “a presentation demonstrating the impact of social media campaigns on Mr. Trump’s electoral victory.” https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.pr ... -1.6104963
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The Times reported that one of Zamel’s firms “had previously worked for oligarchs linked to Mr. Putin, including Oleg V. Deripaska and Dmitry Rybolovlev, who hired the firm for online campaigns against their business rivals”



TPM pointed out that Zamel is represented by Marc Mukasey who has been the deputy and the law partner of Rudy Giuliani for years. https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.pr ... -1.6104963

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For Now, We'll Trust That Rod Rosenstein Is Playing the President* Like a Five-Cent Violin

The indications are the Deputy AG is a crafty bureaucrat.

BY CHARLES P. PIERCE
MAY 21, 2018

Every day that Robert Mueller and his tunnel rats continue to labor under the foul mire that is this administration* is a day when the White House loses. Every day in which Mueller goes home at night still in the same job is a day when the president* is one day closer to possibly losing his.

So it’s easy to read too much into the meeting late Monday afternoon when deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and FBI director Chris Wray dropped by the White House to talk to the president* in response to the latest administration* fever dream about how the previous administration had gone all Gordon Liddy on the Trump campaign—and just because that campaign was lousy with crooks, mountebanks, and influence-pedding in a dozen different languages.

THAT CAMPAIGN WAS LOUSY WITH CROOKS, MOUNTEBANKS, AND INFLUENCE-PEDDING IN A DOZEN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES.

So, Rosenstein and Wray dropped by and, when the meeting was over, the three principals issued a very curious statement. It stated that the DOJ’s inspector-general will expand his ongoing investigation to include “tactics” employed by the FBI in its investigation of the Trump campaign. Further:

"It was also agreed that White House Chief of Staff Kelly will immediately set up a meeting with the FBI, DOJ, and DNI together with congressional leaders to review highly classified and other information they have requested."
Nobody seems to know what that second part means. The intelligence community would be out of its mind to hand over material vitally important to its investigation to the leakiest White House since before they put the roof on the joint. At the same time, it seems that Rosenstein et.al. have agreed to give to the administration* material that the FBI has fought tooth-and-claw to keep from the congressional Republicans.

For the moment, I’m going to give Rosenstein credit for being a gifted bureaucratic infighter and survivor who has played the president* like a five-cent violin. (There are precedents supporting this view to be found just this morning.) There are a dozen ways for Rosenstein to slow-play the review of any classified documents. I think the president* got played on behalf of all of us.

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/p ... ting-wray/



The reported fee for Trump to pose with convicted pedophile George Nader: $189,000
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Written by Max de Haldevang
In the middle of a furious lobbying campaign last year, convicted pedophile George Nader had a big request—a photo of himself with president Donald Trump, the AP reports.

Nader, a close associate of the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, had allied with Elliott Broidy, another convicted felon who was then deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, to lobby Trump’s administration against Qatar. The administration had initially banned Nader from meeting Trump—the exact reason why was unclear, the AP reports—so, the photo request was a big one.

Broidy reportedly told Nader, who served a year in Czech prison in 2003 for ten counts of sexually abusing children, that a donation of $100,000 to $250,000 to the RNC could secure the photo. A picture of Nader and Trump in front of the American was duly taken. On Nov. 30, Broidy made three donations to the RNC, totaling $189,000—more than he had donated in over two decades of fundraising, the AP writes. Earlier in the year, Broidy had invoiced Nader $2.5 million (pdf, p.9) for “consulting, marketing and other advisory services.”


Nader, a Lebanese-American, has reportedly been complying (paywall) with special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into foreign influence over Trump’s election campaign, with new questions emerging over whether Middle Eastern powers helped Trump win election. Broidy recently resigned from his RNC role after the Wall Street Journal reported (paywall) that he had paid $1.6 million to a former Playboy model who said he had impregnated her
https://qz.com/1284238/donald-trumps-ph ... donations/



The dealmaker: Mueller witness helped broker $4.2 billion Iraq-Russia arms deal

Laura Rozen March 8, 2018

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s latest interest, Lebanese-American businessman George Nader, has a long history of mysterious dealings in the Middle East despite a low profile in Washington.
GETTY/Alex WongSpecial Counsel Robert Mueller (C) leaves after a closed meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the Capitol in Washington, June 21, 2017.
A Lebanese-American businessman reported to be cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe helped broker a controversial 2012 Iraq-Russia arms deal valued at $4.2 billion, Iraqi sources tell Al-Monitor.

Russia arms deal

George Nader, 58, traveled to Moscow in 2012, telling Russian interlocutors that he represented Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the deal should be negotiated through him, according to two Iraqi sources. Nader’s role in the deal was controversial to Iraqi officials because Iraq’s minister of defense was in Russia to conduct the negotiations, and they were unaware that Maliki was working with Nader to bypass official channels.

One of the Iraqi sources, a former Iraqi official who spoke to Al-Monitor on condition that he not be named, personally witnessed Nader’s interactions with Maliki in their Moscow hotel when he accompanied Maliki to Moscow in October 2012 to sign the arms deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Nader’s career as a deal broker in Iraq ran from the mid-2000s until Maliki left office in 2014, the Iraqi sources said. Nader then became an adviser to the powerful Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. It is in that capacity that Nader’s meetings with members of the incoming Donald Trump administration in 2016-17 — including Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former chief strategist Steve Bannon — brought Nader to Mueller’s attention.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that Nader was arrested and questioned by the FBI when he landed at Washington Dulles International Airport on Jan. 17 en route to celebrate Trump’s first year in office at Mar-a-Lago in Florida. He was questioned by Mueller’s grand jury March 2 and is reported to now be cooperating with Mueller’s probe. One line of inquiry Mueller is reported to be questioning Nader about is whether the United Arab Emirates (UAE) might have funneled money to members of the incoming Trump administration in an effort to curry influence with them, including in their dispute with Qatar.

From journalist to dealmaker

Nader’s recent career as a Middle East deal broker is both an outgrowth and departure from his past. As an editor of Middle East Insight magazine in Washington in the 1980s and 1990s, Nader interviewed President Bill Clinton and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

During this time, Nader also served as a frequent go-between in informal Syrian-Israeli talks encouraged by the Clinton administration before abruptly disappearing from the Washington scene around 2000.

“He was a reliable go-between, a facilitator,” Martin Indyk, who knew Nader when Indyk served as Clinton’s assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs and ambassador to Israel in the 1990s, told Al-Monitor. “He was not a con man.”

Nader was connected to the Hafez al-Assad regime through then-Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa and then-Syrian Ambassador to the United States and current Foreign Minister Walid Moallem, Indyk said. “He was going to Israel from time to time. He set up an interview of [Syrian Foreign Minister al-Sharaa] with Israeli journalist Ehud Yaari as a confidence-building measure. George is the one that made that happen. … Then he hooked up with [Ron] Lauder. He traveled with Lauder 16 times to Damascus in 1998” in efforts to advance an Israeli-Syrian peace agreement.

“And then when the Clinton administration was gone, George was gone,” Indyk, now executive vice president of the Brookings Institution, said.

“Last time I heard from [Nader] was after the US invasion of Iraq,” journalist Hisham Melham told Al-Monitor. “He called me from Kurdistan. But why would MBZ [the crown prince] need him when he has [UAE Ambassador] Yousef Al Otaiba?”

From dabbling in Syria-Israel peace talks to Iraq postwar dealmaker

Nader appeared in Iraq in the mid-2000s, looking to translate his Rolodex of connections from his Middle East Insight days into work advising various Iraqi political clients, including some of Iraq’s new Shiite political leaders, as well as Kurdish officials.

According to Iraqi sources, Nader helped arrange meetings for the 2005 visit to Washington of leading members of an Iraqi Shiite political party with close ties to Iran, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. In 2010, Nader similarly arranged meetings for then-Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani with high-level UAE officials, including the crown prince, a second Iraqi source now living in exile told Al-Monitor. But Nader failed to win over the KRG leader, the second Iraqi source said.

“Nader got Nechirvan Barzani meetings with MBZ and [Lebanese Prime Minister] Saad Hariri,” the second Iraqi source said, adding that he advised Iraqi Kurdish interlocutors at the time to be wary of Nader.

Nader had a “knack for claiming that he had unique access to 'mysterious' persons,” the second Iraqi source said. “This way he would be able to latch on from one new confidant to another.”

By 2012, Nader had forged close ties with the Iraqi prime minister and Maliki’s son and deputy chief of staff, Ahmed Maliki, Iraqi sources said. Nader had worked with the younger Maliki on power generation projects, the former Iraqi official said. The relationship that Nader forged with Maliki’s son apparently brought Nader into the father’s inner circle when the huge Russian arms deal was being negotiated.

In August 2012, Iraq’s Minister of Defense Saadoun al-Dulaimi spent 24 days in Moscow to finalize negotiations for the $4.2 billion Russian arms deal. But during the negotiations, the former Iraqi official told Al-Monitor that he received a message from former Russian Energy Minister Yuri Shafranik warning him that there were other people in Moscow claiming that they, and not the defense minister, were representing Maliki, and that the deal should go through them.

Eventually, on Oct. 3, 2012, Shafranik went to Baghdad to try to clarify the situation with Maliki, the former Iraqi official said. Shafranik even offered Maliki a direct communication line with Russian President Vladimir Putin to avoid confusion and leaks.

“The third of October, Yuri [Shafranik] came to Baghdad, met the prime minister and told him clearly that ‘Mr. Putin is suggesting direct relations between you and him to avoid any leakage and … cut any unhealthy things,’” the former Iraqi official said. “The prime minister welcomed that.”

Maliki assured the officials that he welcomed the suggestion to streamline their contacts and signaled that the confusion over who represented Baghdad in the arms deal would be resolved.

So the former Iraqi official was astonished when he accompanied Maliki to Moscow in October 2012 to sign the Russian arms deal to see Nader enter their hotel and take the elevator to Maliki’s suite.

“We were in a Radisson hotel in Moscow,” the former Iraqi official said. “And all of a sudden, George Nader came, walking very fast, entered the elevator, went up and, I saw from the screen over the elevator, went to the level where the prime minister was staying.

“When the minister of defense came down to the ground floor, I asked, did you notice George Nader? And he said yes; he saw him entering the prime minister’s suite,” the former Iraqi official said. “By that time I realized the issue is in-house. The corrupted party, which went to Moscow to represent Maliki, they are not … strange people. They are in the circle with Maliki.”

The former Iraqi official continued, “Also, while we were there we discovered new facts. I myself did not know that those people who traveled to Moscow at the end of August, that they are connected to Maliki and his son. But George Nader I knew very well. I was shocked. Then it immediately came to me — Nader’s relations with the son of Maliki.”

Over the course of the trip to Moscow, “we came to know that one of the three people who had been in Moscow presenting themselves as [Maliki’s] representative was George Nader,” the former Iraqi official said.

A call Wednesday by Al-Monitor to an attorney who represented Nader in an earlier case was not returned. A spokesman for the Iraqi Embassy said it did not have information on the matter.

The Iraqi-Russian arms deal was controversial in Iraq and long suspected to have involved corruption. In November 2012, just a month after it was signed, Iraq’s then-acting Defense Minister Dulaimi announced that the deal was canceled, “citing possible corruption in the contract,” Reuters reported.

But Maliki’s then-media adviser Ali al-Moussawi was cited by Reuters as saying that the deals would be renegotiated and any suspension of the contract was “a precautionary measure because of suspected corruption."

From Iraq to the UAE

After the end of Maliki’s run as Iraq's prime minister in 2014, Nader made his way to become an adviser to the Abu Dhabi crown prince. Until Trump’s election, however, he had maintained such a low profile that even several Washington consultants who have advised the Emirates said they were entirely unaware of his role.

It may now be left to Mueller to help deepen understanding of Nader’s mysterious activities and what role they may have played in influencing the Trump administration’s policies toward the Middle East.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/origina ... z5GF8QTALK





seemslikeadream » Sun May 20, 2018 9:17 am wrote:were there two (or three or four) separate foreign governments working to shape....help trump win the U.S. election or were they working together?

George Nader has been given immunity


All of which is to say that Nader isn’t just your average businessman, or even your average shady character in Trumpworld. He’s instead a potentially vital source for the investigators looking to answer the question of whether Russia....Israel....Saudi Arabia.....United Arab Emirates and the Trump campaign colluded in 2016.


Mr. Nader and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia in a photograph obtained by The New York Times..
There were concerns inside the company, Psy-Group, about the plan’s legality, according to one person familiar with the effort. The company, whose motto is “shape reality,” consulted an American law firm, and was told that it would be illegal if any non-Americans were involved in the effort.

Meanwhile, the Gulf emissary was George Nader, a longtime close adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed of Abu Dhabi, who conveyed to Trump Jr. “that the crown princes who led Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were eager to help his father win election as president.”


The company, PSY-Group, according to the NY Times report, “employed several Israeli former intelligence officers” and “specialized in collecting information and shaping opinion through social media.” Zamel is also founding director and CEO of geopolitical analysis and business consultancy group Wikistrat, according to Bloomberg.


UAE adviser cooperating with Mueller also had Russia ties
http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/381 ... ies-report


A key Mueller witness has close ties to Russia
George Nader is reportedly so close to the Kremlin that he’s taken a photo with Putin.
By Zeeshan Aleem@ZeeshanAleemzeeshan.aleem@vox.com Apr 5, 2018, 4:10pm EDT
P
George Nader, a business executive who is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller, has extensive personal ties to Russia that could help investigators answer key questions about the extent of the Trump campaign’s interactions with Moscow during the 2016 election.

According to the New York Times, Nader, who is cooperating with the Mueller probe in exchange for at least partial immunity, has traveled to Russia, done business with Russia, and developed relationships with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle at least as far back as 2012. He’s close enough to the Kremlin to have even taken a photo with Putin.

That puts some of his meetings with Trump’s associates, both during the transition between the Obama and Trump administrations and after Trump took office, in a new light. It raises questions of whether he could have benefited financially from helping establish more harmonious ties between the US and Russia. And it raises the possibility that he could’ve acted as an informal broker on behalf of Russia during those meetings or provided expert counsel on how to get in touch with the Kremlin.

Nader used his connections to Russia to help set up a meeting in January 2017 in Seychelles that included Kirill Dmitriev, a Russian fund manager with close ties to Putin, and Erik Prince, the founder of the private security firm Blackwater and an informal adviser to the Trump transition team.

That off-the-grid meeting is a key focal point for the Trump-Russia investigation, as it could offer answers about any potential deals or informal understandings between Trump and Russia right before he took office.

Nader also met with top Trump campaign officials Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner during the transition at least once, and he had regular meetings with them during the early months of the presidency.

Beyond Nader’s Russia ties, Mueller is also investigating how Nader might have helped the United Arab Emirates increase its political influence in the Trump White House by striking huge business deals with a top Trump fundraiser. In other words, Nader’s ties are crucial to understanding how more than one foreign country might have tried to covertly influence the White House.

Nader’s Russia ties could be very valuable to Mueller’s investigation
The Times reports that Nader has a substantial record of dealing with Russian elites going back at least half a decade. He helped broker a $4.2 billion arms deal between Russia and the Iraqi government in 2012. At the time, Nader acted as an informal adviser to then-Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Kamal al-Maliki and accompanied him to Moscow. The deal eventually fell apart due to accusations of corruption, but the exchange shows that Nader was a power broker with real influence among Russian elites.


In 2012 Nader also attended the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which is basically Russia’s version of the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland, every year. It’s invitation-only, and the conference is organized by senior officials in Putin’s inner orbit. It’s unclear if he’s attended the conference since then.

According to the Times sources, Nader has returned to Russia “frequently” while working for the government of the UAE. Nader has accompanied Mohammed bin Zayed, the UAE’s de facto ruler, to Moscow on a number of those trips.

Nader’s Russia ties make it more likely that he has potentially important information to offer Mueller’s investigators about his own interactions with Trump’s associates, including Prince, Bannon, and Kushner. It seems increasingly possible that he has contacts deep inside Putin’s inner circle and could have acted as a messenger for key information about negotiations over how the US-Russian relationship could be improved.

For example, Nader could shed light on what actually went down at the Seychelles meeting and whether Prince and Dmitriev discussed any kind of quid pro quo between Putin and Trump tied to Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.

Nader might have helped the UAE buy influence with the Trump administration
Nader’s cooperation with the probe could also give Mueller insight into how other countries may have attempted to influence the Trump administration.

Nader seems to have used some potentially questionable tactics to lobby for Middle Eastern countries, according to the New York Times. Around the time of Trump’s inauguration, he met Elliott Broidy, a business executive and a top Trump fundraiser. They quickly developed a collegial relationship, and it appears Nader helped Broidy get some major business deals in exchange for influence with the White House.

Nader helped connect Broidy to some new potential clients for Broidy’s private security company, Circinus: the UAE and Saudi Arabia. He helped Circinus win more than $200 million in contracts with the UAE and has recently been in talks with Broidy to set up a $650 million contract with Saudi Arabia.

They then discussed how Broidy could use his influence in Washington to lobby on behalf of Saudi and Emirati foreign policy objectives, like taking a hard line against Qatar and Iran.

Just weeks after Nader wired $2.5 million to Broidy through a company in Canada, Broidy began making large donations to members of Congress who were backing legislation critical of Qatar for its support of terrorism in the Middle East.

Last fall, Broidy sent Nader a memo detailing how he’d used a private Oval Office meeting with Trump to push for the president to meet with bin Zayed and support his foreign policy goals in the region. He had also urged Trump to fire then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

It’s unclear what they discussed during those meetings, but given Nader’s style of using business deals to score political points, investigators are surely looking for signs of whether he violated laws restricting and regulating the flow of foreign money into American politics.

All of which is to say that Nader isn’t just your average businessman, or even your average shady character in Trumpworld. He’s instead a potentially vital source for the investigators looking to answer the question of whether Russia and the Trump campaign colluded in 2016.





Trump Jr. and Other Aides Met With Gulf Emissary Offering Help to Win Election

May 19, 2018

Donald Trump Jr. met in Trump Tower in the summer of 2016 with a representative of two wealthy Arab princes who said they were eager to help his father win election.Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
WASHINGTON — Three months before the 2016 election, a small group gathered at Trump Tower to meet with Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son. One was an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation. Another was an emissary for two wealthy Arab princes. The third was a Republican donor with a controversial past in the Middle East as a private security contractor.

The meeting was convened primarily to offer help to the Trump team, and it forged relationships between the men and Trump insiders that would develop over the coming months — past the election and well into President Trump’s first year in office, according to several people with knowledge of their encounters.

Erik Prince, the private security contractor and the former head of Blackwater, arranged the meeting, which took place on Aug. 3, 2016. The emissary, George Nader, told Donald Trump Jr. that the crown princes who led Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were eager to help his father win election as president. The social media specialist, Joel Zamel, extolled his company’s ability to give an edge to a political campaign; by that time, the firm had already drawn up a multimillion-dollar proposal for a social media manipulation effort to help elect Mr. Trump.

The company, which employed several Israeli former intelligence officers, specialized in collecting information and shaping opinion through social media.


Donald Trump Jr. was said to respond approvingly to a proposal for a social media manipulation effort to help elect his father as president.Damon Winter/The New York Times
It is unclear whether such a proposal was executed, and the details of who commissioned it remain in dispute. But Donald Trump Jr. responded approvingly, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting, and after those initial offers of help, Mr. Nader was quickly embraced as a close ally by Trump campaign advisers — meeting frequently with Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, and Michael T. Flynn, who became the president’s first national security adviser. At the time, Mr. Nader was also promoting a secret plan to use private contractors to destabilize Iran, the regional nemesis of Saudi Arabia and the Emirates.

After Mr. Trump was elected, Mr. Nader paid Mr. Zamel a large sum of money, described by one associate as up to $2 million. There are conflicting accounts of the reason for the payment, but among other things, a company linked to Mr. Zamel provided Mr. Nader with an elaborate presentation about the significance of social media campaigning to Mr. Trump’s victory.

The meetings, which have not been reported previously, are the first indication that countries other than Russia may have offered assistance to the Trump campaign in the months before the presidential election. The interactions are a focus of the investigation by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, who was originally tasked with examining possible Trump campaign coordination with Russia in the election.

Mr. Nader is cooperating with the inquiry, and investigators have questioned numerous witnesses in Washington, New York, Atlanta, Tel Aviv and elsewhere about what foreign help may have been pledged or accepted, and about whether any such assistance was coordinated with Russia, according to witnesses and others with knowledge of the interviews.

Erik D. Prince, the founder of Blackwater, arranged the meeting with Donald Trump Jr., George Nader and Joel Zamel.Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News
The interviews, some in recent weeks, are further evidence that special counsel’s investigation remains in an intense phase even as Mr. Trump’s lawyers are publicly calling for Mr. Mueller to bring it to a close.

It is illegal for foreign governments or individuals to be involved in American elections, and it is unclear what — if any — direct assistance Saudi Arabia and the Emirates may have provided. But two people familiar with the meetings said that Trump campaign officials did not appear bothered by the idea of cooperation with foreigners.

A lawyer for Donald Trump Jr., Alan Futerfas, said in a statement that “prior to the 2016 election, Donald Trump Jr. recalls a meeting with Erik Prince, George Nader and another individual who may be Joel Zamel. They pitched Mr. Trump Jr. on a social media platform or marketing strategy. He was not interested and that was the end of it.”

The August 2016 meeting has echoes of another Trump Tower meeting two months earlier, also under scrutiny by the special counsel, when Donald Trump Jr. and other top campaign aides met with a Russian lawyer after being promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton. No evidence has emerged suggesting that the August meeting was set up with a similar premise.

Stephen Miller, a senior aide to President Trump, was in Donald Trump Jr.’s office when the others arrived for the meeting.Shawn Thew/EPA, via Shutterstock
The revelations about the meetings come in the midst of new scrutiny about ties between Mr. Trump’s advisers and at least three wealthy Persian Gulf states. Besides his interest in Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, Mr. Mueller has also been asking witnesses about meetings between White House advisers and representatives of Qatar, Saudi Arabia’s bitter rival.

A lawyer for Mr. Zamel denied that his client had carried out any campaign on Mr. Trump’s behalf. “Neither Joel Zamel, nor any of his related entities, had any involvement whatsoever in the U.S. election campaign,” said the lawyer, Marc L. Mukasey.

“The D.O.J. clarified from Day 1 that Joel and his companies have never been a target of the investigation. My client provided full cooperation to the government to assist with their investigation,” he said.

Kathryn Ruemmler, a lawyer for Mr. Nader, said, “Mr. Nader has fully cooperated with the special counsel’s investigation and will continue to do so.” A senior official in Saudi Arabia said it had never employed Mr. Nader in any capacity or authorized him to speak for the crown prince.

Mr. Trump has allied himself with the Emirati crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, endorsing his strong support for Saudi Arabia and confrontational approaches toward Iran and Qatar.Al Drago for The New York Times
Mr. Prince, through a spokesman, declined to comment. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Advisers to the Court

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, the king’s main adviser, had long opposed many of the Obama administration’s policies toward the Middle East. They resented President Barack Obama’s agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, his statements of support for the Arab Spring uprisings and his hands-off approach to the Syrian civil war.

News outlets linked to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates fiercely criticized Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Trump’s Democratic opponent, when she was secretary of state, and diplomats familiar with their thinking say both crown princes hoped for a president who would take a stronger hand in the region against both Iran and groups like the Muslim Brotherhood.

Mr. Nader had worked for years as a close adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed of Abu Dhabi, and Mr. Zamel had worked for the Emirati royal court as a consultant as well. When Mr. Trump locked up the Republican presidential nomination in early 2016, Mr. Nader began making inquiries on behalf of the Emirati prince about possible ways to directly support Mr. Trump, according to three people with whom Mr. Nader discussed his efforts.

One of Mr. Zamel’s firms did work for Oleg V. Deripaska, an aluminum magnate, who has been linked to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters
Mr. Nader also visited Moscow at least twice during the presidential campaign as a confidential emissary from Crown Prince Mohammed of Abu Dhabi, according to people familiar with his travels. After the election, he worked with the crown prince to arrange a meeting in the Seychelles between Mr. Prince and a financier close to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

Companies connected to Mr. Zamel also have ties to Russia. One of his firms had previously worked for oligarchs linked to Mr. Putin, including Oleg V. Deripaska and Dmitry Rybolovlev, who hired the firm for online campaigns against their business rivals.

Mr. Deripaska, an aluminum magnate, was once in business with the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who has pleaded not guilty in the special counsel investigation to charges of financial crimes and failing to disclose the lobbying work he did on behalf of a former president of Ukraine, an ally of Mr. Putin. Mr. Rybolovlev once purchased a Florida mansion from Mr. Trump.

Mr. Nader’s visits to Russia and the work Mr. Zamel’s companies did for the Russians have both been a subject of interest to the special counsel’s investigators, according to people familiar with witness interviews.

Mr. Prince has known Mr. Nader since he worked for Blackwater in Iraq.Zach Gibson for The New York Times
A String of Meetings

Mr. Zamel and Mr. Nader were together at a Midtown Manhattan hotel at about 4 p.m. on the afternoon of Aug. 3 when Mr. Nader received a call from Mr. Prince summoning them to Trump Tower. When they arrived, Stephen Miller, a top campaign aide who is now a White House adviser, was in Donald Trump Jr.’s office as well, according to the people familiar with the meeting.

Mr. Prince is a longtime Republican donor and the brother of Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, and Mr. Prince and Mr. Nader had known each other since Mr. Nader had worked for Blackwater as a business agent in Iraq in the years after the American invasion. Mr. Prince has longstanding ties to the Emirates, and has frequently done business with Crown Prince Mohammed.

Mr. Prince opened the meeting by telling Donald Trump Jr. that “we are working hard for your father,” in reference to his family and other donors, according to a person familiar with the meeting. He then introduced Mr. Nader as an old friend with deep ties to Arab leaders.

Mr. Nader repeatedly referred to the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the Emirates as “my friends,” according to one person with knowledge of the conversation. To underscore the point, he would open his mobile phone to show off pictures of him posing with them, some of which The New York Times obtained.

George Nader in 1999. He is an adviser to the Emiratis who is cooperating in the special counsel investigation.Ron Sachs/Picture-Alliance, via Associated Press
Mr. Nader explained to Donald Trump Jr. that the two crown princes saw the elder Mr. Trump as a strong leader who would fill the power vacuum that they believed Mr. Obama had left in the Middle East, and Mr. Nader went on to say that he and his friends would be glad to support Mr. Trump as much as they could, according to the person with knowledge of the conversation.

Mr. Zamel, for his part, laid out the capabilities of his online media company, although it is unclear whether he referred to the proposals his company had already prepared. One person familiar with the meeting said that Mr. Nader invited Donald Trump Jr. to meet with a Saudi prince — an invitation the younger Mr. Trump declined. After about half an hour, everyone exchanged business cards.

“There was a brief meeting, nothing concrete was offered or pitched to anyone and nothing came of it,” said Mr. Mukasey, the lawyer for Mr. Zamel.

By then, a company connected to Mr. Zamel had been working on a proposal for a covert multimillion-dollar online manipulation campaign to help elect Mr. Trump, according to three people involved and a fourth briefed on the effort. The plan involved using thousands of fake social media accounts to promote Mr. Trump’s candidacy on platforms like Facebook.

Mr. Nader and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia in a photograph obtained by The New York Times..
There were concerns inside the company, Psy-Group, about the plan’s legality, according to one person familiar with the effort. The company, whose motto is “shape reality,” consulted an American law firm, and was told that it would be illegal if any non-Americans were involved in the effort.

Mr. Zamel, the founder of Psy-Group and one of its owners, has been questioned about the August 2016 meeting by investigators for the special counsel, and at least two F.B.I. agents working on the inquiry have traveled to Israel to interview employees of the company who worked on the proposal. According to one person, the special counsel’s team has worked with the Israeli police to seize the computers of one of Mr. Zamel’s companies, which is currently in liquidation.

In the hectic final weeks of the campaign and during the presidential transition, several of Mr. Trump’s advisers drew Mr. Nader close. He met often with Mr. Kushner, Mr. Flynn and Stephen K. Bannon, who took over as campaign chairman after Mr. Manafort resigned amid revelations about his work in Ukraine.

In December 2016, Mr. Nader turned again to an internet company linked to Mr. Zamel — WhiteKnight, based in the Philippines — to purchase a presentation demonstrating the impact of social media campaigns on Mr. Trump’s electoral victory. Asked about the purchase, a representative of WhiteKnight said: “WhiteKnight delivers premium research and high-end business development services for prestigious clients around the world. WhiteKnight does not talk about any of its clients.”

After the inauguration, both Mr. Zamel and Mr. Nader visited the White House, meeting with Mr. Kushner and Mr. Bannon.

At that time, Mr. Nader was promoting a plan to use private contractors to carry out economic sabotage against Iran that, he hoped, might coerce it to permanently abandon its nuclear program. The plan included efforts to deter Western companies from investing in Iran, and operations to sow mistrust among Iranian officials. He advocated the project, which he estimated would cost about $300 million, to American, Emirati and Saudi officials.

Last spring, Mr. Nader traveled to Riyadh for meetings with senior Saudi military and intelligence officials to pitch his Iran sabotage plan. He was convinced, according to several people familiar with his plan, that economic warfare was the key to the overthrow of the government in Tehran. One person briefed on Mr. Nader’s activities said he tried to persuade Mr. Kushner to endorse the plan to Crown Prince Mohammed in person on a trip to Riyadh, although it was unclear whether the message was delivered.

Asked about Mr. Nader’s plans to attack Iran, the senior Saudi official said Mr. Nader had a habit of pitching proposals that went nowhere.

Mr. Nader was also in discussions with Mr. Prince, the former head of Blackwater, about a plan to get the Saudis to pay $2 billion to set up a private army to combat Iranian proxy forces in Yemen.

Since entering the White House, Mr. Trump has allied himself closely with Saudi Arabia and the Emirates. His first overseas trip was to Riyadh. He strongly backed Saudi and Emirati efforts to isolate their neighbor Qatar, another American ally, even over apparent disagreement from the State and Defense Departments.

This month, Mr. Trump also withdrew from an Obama administration nuclear deal with Iran that both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had campaigned against for years, delivering them their biggest victory yet from his administration.

Mark Mazzetti reported from Washington, Ronen Bergman from Tel Aviv and David D. Kirkpatrick from London. Maggie Haberman contributed reporting.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/19/us/p ... zamel.html


Trump Jr. met with Gulf adviser who offered help to win election: report

Josh Delk05/19/18 01:28 PM EDT
President Trump's eldest son Donald Trump Jr. reportedly met with a Gulf emissary months before the 2016 presidential election who said that the crown princes of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia were eager to help Trump win.

Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with George Nader was held at Trump Tower in August 2016, The New York Times reported Saturday, noting the meeting and other interactions are the first indication that a country other than Russia may have offered to help the Trump campaign before the election.

Also present at the meeting was an Israeli political strategist named Joel Zamel, whose company chalked up a plan to manipulate social media in an effort to help elect Trump, the Times reported.

It remains unclear whether the plan was executed, and a lawyer for Zamel denied to the Times that his client carried out a campaign on behalf of Trump.

The Times reported that private security contractor Erik Prince, the former head of Blackwater and brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, arranged the August meeting. He declined to comment for the report.

A lawyer for Trump Jr., Alan Futerfas, told the Times in a statement that “prior to the 2016 election, Donald Trump Jr. recalls a meeting with Erik Prince, George Nader and another individual who may be Joel Zamel. They pitched Mr. Trump Jr. on a social media platform or marketing strategy. He was not interested and that was the end of it.”

Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed by the Justice Department to investigate Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 election, is reportedly looking into interactions between Nader and Zamel.

A lawyer for Nader told the newspaper that he "has fully cooperated with the special counsel’s investigation and will continue to do so." A senior official in Saudi Arabia also told the Times that it never employed Nader nor authorized him to speak for its crown prince.

The meeting took place just three months prior to the election in Trump Tower in New York City, the same location of a controversial meeting between campaign aides and a Russian attorney tied to the Kremlin in June of that year.

Earlier this week, the Senate Judiciary Committee released the full transcript of its interview with Trump Jr. regarding the infamous June 2016 meeting he attended with a lawyer promising dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Updated at 1:50 p.m.
http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing- ... ion-report



'JOEL ZAMEL'S FIRM DREW UP SOCIAL MEDIA MANIPULATION PLAN'
Israeli questioned, FBI traveled to Tel Aviv, in Trump election probe — report
New York Times says 'Israeli specialist in social media manipulation,' emissary for Saudi, and Emirati princes met with Trump Jr. and others 3 months before election

By TOI STAFF
Today, 9:35 pm 0

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Then-Republican nominee Donald Trump (R) standing with his son Donald Trump Jr. after the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, September 26, 2016 (AFP Photo/Jewel SAMAD)

Three months before the November 2016 elections, senior members of the campaign of then-candidate Donald Trump, including his son Donald Trump Jr., met with a small group of people from the Mideast who offered to help the controversial businessman win the race against Hillary Clinton. The group included “an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation,” an emissary for two wealthy Arab princes, and Erik Prince, a Republican donor and the former head of the private security firm Blackwater whose sister Betsy Devos is now secretary of education, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

The August 3, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan, according to the report, “was convened primarily to offer help to the Trump team, and it forged relationships between the men and Trump insiders that would develop over the coming months — past the election and well into President Trump’s first year in office, according to several people with knowledge of their encounters.”


According to the report, the Israeli specialist, Joel Zamel, “extolled his company’s ability to give an edge to a political campaign,” and his firm “had already drawn up a multimillion-dollar proposal for a social media manipulation effort to help elect Mr. Trump.”

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The company, PSY-Group, according to the NY Times report, “employed several Israeli former intelligence officers” and “specialized in collecting information and shaping opinion through social media.” Zamel is also founding director and CEO of geopolitical analysis and business consultancy group Wikistrat, according to Bloomberg.


This 1998 frame from video provided by C-SPAN shows George Nader, president and editor of Middle East Insight. (C-SPAN via AP)
The plan, according to the report which cited three people involved and a fourth briefed on the effort,” involved using thousands of fake social media accounts to promote Mr. Trump’s candidacy on platforms like Facebook.”

Meanwhile, the Gulf emissary was George Nader, a longtime close adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed of Abu Dhabi, who conveyed to Trump Jr. “that the crown princes who led Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were eager to help his father win election as president.”

Nader allegedly said that the two crown princes “saw the elder Mr. Trump as a strong leader who would fill the power vacuum that they believed Mr. Obama had left in the Middle East, and Mr. Nader went on to say that he and his friends would be glad to support Mr. Trump as much as they could, according to the person with knowledge of the conversation.”

Trump Jr. “responded approvingly,” the New York Times said, citing “a person with knowledge of the meeting,” and following the initial offers for help, Nader “was quickly embraced as a close ally by Trump campaign advisers — meeting frequently with Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, and Michael T. Flynn, who became the president’s first national security adviser.”

Nader was also reportedly “promoting a secret plan to use private contractors to destabilize Iran, the regional nemesis of Saudi Arabia and the Emirates.”

After Trump won the election, Nader paid Zamel “a large sum of money, described by one associate as up to $2 million.” and while the NY Times said there were conflicting accounts for the payment, “a company linked to Mr. Zamel provided Mr. Nader with an elaborate presentation about the significance of social media campaigning to Mr. Trump’s victory.”


In this June 21, 2017, photo, special counsel Robert Mueller departs after a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The August 3 meeting is a focus of the ongoing investigation by Robert Mueller, the special counsel, who was tasked last year with examining possible cooperation and coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia in the lead-up to the election.

The revelation of the meeting is the first indication that countries other than Russia may have offered assistance to the Trump campaign.

Nader also reportedly visited Moscow twice during the campaign and Zamel’s businesses have ties to Russia, which are “of interest” to the special counsel’s investigation, according to the report.



Zamel was already questioned by investigators for the special counsel, the report said, “and at least two FBI agents working on the inquiry have traveled to Israel to interview employees of the company who worked on the proposal.”

The Israeli police worked with US investigators to seize the computers of one of Mr. Zamel’s companies, which is currently in liquidation, according to the report.

Nader too has been cooperating with the inquiry, the report said, “and investigators have questioned numerous witnesses in Washington, New York, Atlanta, Tel Aviv, and elsewhere about what foreign help may have been pledged or accepted, and about whether any such assistance was coordinated with Russia, according to witnesses and others with knowledge of the interviews.”


Blackwater founder Erik Prince arrives for a closed meeting with members of the House Intelligence Committee, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
A lawyer for Trump Jr., Alan Futerfas, told the NY Times in a statement that “prior to the 2016 election, Donald Trump Jr. recalls a meeting with Erik Prince, George Nader, and another individual who may be Joel Zamel. They pitched Mr. Trump Jr. on a social media platform or marketing strategy. He was not interested and that was the end of it.”

A lawyer for Zamel, Marc L. Mukasey, told the NY Times, that “neither Joel Zamel, nor any of his related entities, had any involvement whatsoever in the US election campaign.”

“The DOJ [Department of Justice] clarified from Day 1 that Joel and his companies have never been a target of the investigation. My client provided full cooperation to the government to assist with their investigation,” he said.

“There was a brief meeting, nothing concrete was offered or pitched to anyone and nothing came of it,” he added.

The New York Times reported that though it is still unclear if any direct assistance was forthcoming from Saudi Arabia, or the UAE, “two people familiar with the meetings said that Trump campaign officials did not appear bothered by the idea of cooperation with foreigners.”

The August 3, 2016 meeting came two months after Trump Jr., Kushner, and others met with a Russian lawyer who promised damaging information on Clinton.

This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee released about 2,500 pages of interview transcripts and other documents tied to the New York meeting on June 9, 2016.

In a closed-door interview last year with the committee, Trump Jr., said he did not give much thought to the idea that the meeting was part of a Russian government effort to help his father in the presidential race.
https://www.timesofisrael.com/report-tr ... tion-help/


The Domestic Conspiracy Is Hiding In Plain Sight Erik Prince
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=40315




It’s a Small World of Trump Lawyers

Josh Marshall
Lawyers represent many different clients. There’s a limit on how much we can infer from these relationships. But it is striking how many lawyers with extremely close ties to the Trump family, often longtime lawyers for President Trump himself, are also currently representing various foreign interests who the Special Counsel is now investigating in its probe. What I’m about to describe involves a slightly different set of people. But it is similar and to me quite notable. It comes from this new blockbuster Times article revealing offers of help from a group of Gulf princes which Donald Trump, Jr. apparently eagerly embraced.

Let’s put a pin in that larger story for a moment. We’ll return to it. One of the major players in this is Joel Zamel, an Israeli social media expert who has a company that runs social media psy-ops campaigns quite similar to the effort Russia mounted on Trump’s behalf in the 2016 campaign. The possibility of his doing that on Trump’s behalf came up in these newly revealed meetings. Zamel also has close business ties to a number of key Russian oligarchs who he has frequently worked with. One of them is Oleg Deripaska, the guy Paul Manafort owed all the money to. Needless to say Bob Mueller’s investigators seem highly interested in all of this.

Billionaire Oleg Deripaska attends an investment forum in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told participants at the "Russia Calling!" forum, sponsored by state-owned bank VTB, that "we plan to consistently and purposefully reduce state intervention in the economy and, moreover, step up privatization processes." (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)
Billionaire Oleg Deripaska attends an investment forum in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)
Again, let’s put a pin in that larger set of connections. The Times notes that Zamel is represented by a man named Marc L. Mukasey. You may recognize the name because he’s the son of the former Attorney General Michael Mukasey. For our present purposes what is important is that Mukasey has been the deputy and the law partner of Rudy Giuliani for years. Partnerships are big. You can be the ‘law partner’ of lots of different people. This is different. They’ve been like a team for many years – first at Bracewell Giuliani and then together again at Greenberg Taurig. Indeed, when Giuliani came onboard with President Trump, Mukasey was in discussions to join President Trump’s team. That was just a couple weeks ago!

Now, one might say to all this, people represent lots of different people. As long as you’re clear with all involved about whether there are any conflicts, it’s not necessarily a problem. That’s true as far as it goes. But a lot of these relationships are very close, very incestuous.

Here’s another example. Marc Kasowitz, President Trump’s longtime attorney, represented Trump in the Russia probe for a significant portion of last year and has been consulting with the President in recent works also represented the US affiliate of Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg. That’s the outfit that paid $500,000 to Michael Cohen.

Again, lawyers work for lots of different clients. They sometimes appear to connect up weird combinations of people through different people they represent. All of that’s true. But there are lots of examples of Trump lawyers and people tight in Trump’s orbit representing people on the other side of these collusion investigations. It’s odd.
https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/it ... mp-lawyers
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seemslikeadream » Wed Apr 04, 2018 8:06 pm wrote:Mr. Nader used his longstanding ties to Kirill Dmitriev, the manager of a state-run Russian investment fund, to help set up a meeting in the Seychelles between Mr. Dmitriev and a Trump adviser days before Donald J. Trump took office

Witness in Mueller Inquiry Who Advises U.A.E. Ruler Also Has Ties to Russia

By MARK MAZZETTI, DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK, BEN PROTESS and SHARON LaFRANIERE
APRIL 4, 2018


An adviser to the leader of the United Arab Emirates, George Nader, who is cooperating in the special counsel investigation, also has previously undisclosed links to Russia. Credit Ron Sachs/Picture-Alliance, via Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A witness who is cooperating in the special counsel investigation, George Nader, has connections to both the Persian Gulf states and Russia and may have information that links two important strands of the inquiry together, interviews and records show.

Mr. Nader’s ties to the United Arab Emirates are well documented — he is an adviser to its leader — but the extent of his links to Russia have not been previously disclosed.

Mr. Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman, has a catalog of international connections that paved the way for numerous meetings with White House officials that have drawn the attention of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. For example, Mr. Nader used his longstanding ties to Kirill Dmitriev, the manager of a state-run Russian investment fund, to help set up a meeting in the Seychelles between Mr. Dmitriev and a Trump adviser days before Donald J. Trump took office.

Separately, investigators have asked witnesses about a meeting Mr. Nader attended in 2017 with a New York hedge fund manager, where he was joined by Jared Kushner and Stephen K. Bannon, who at the time were both senior advisers to Mr. Trump.

The investigative trail even led Mr. Mueller’s team to stop an Australian entrepreneur with ties to the U.A.E. after he landed at a Washington-area airport, according to people briefed on the matter. The investigators questioned the entrepreneur about Mr. Nader, including Mr. Nader’s relationship with Russia and his contacts with Mr. Trump’s advisers, as well as the movement of money from the U.A.E. into the United States.

Mr. Nader has received at least partial immunity for his cooperation, and it appears unlikely that Mr. Mueller is trying to build a case against him. Instead, it is common for prosecutors to interview as many people as possible to corroborate the testimony of a key witness like Mr. Nader.

Mr. Nader’s dealings with Russia date at least to 2012, when he helped broker a controversial $4.2 million deal for the government of Iraq to buy Russian weapons. At the time, he was an informal adviser to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq, and he accompanied Mr. Maliki to Moscow in September 2012 to sign the arms deal at a meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

The deal was canceled shortly after because of concerns about corruption, and a spokesman for the prime minister said it would be renegotiated.

Earlier that year, Mr. Nader also attended the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, an invitation-only conference organized by senior officials close to Mr. Putin that Russia presents as its answer to the World Economic Forum held annually in Davos, Switzerland. Mr. Nader is on a list of participants from 2012. Representatives of the St. Petersburg forum did not respond to inquiries about his attendance in subsequent years.

Since then, according to people familiar with his travels, Mr. Nader has returned frequently to Russia on behalf of the Emirati government. He even had his picture taken with Mr. Putin, according to one person who has seen the photograph, although it is unclear when the picture was taken.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, the de facto ruler of the U.A.E., is a close ally of the United States and a frequent visitor to the White House. He has also visited Moscow and met with Mr. Putin several times in recent years. One person briefed on the matter said Mr. Nader had accompanied the crown prince to Moscow on numerous occasions.

Last year, days before Mr. Trump took office, Mr. Nader helped set up a meeting at a Seychelles resort between Mr. Dmitriev, Emirati officials and Erik Prince, the former head of Blackwater Worldwide and an adviser to Mr. Trump’s transition team. The meeting, at the bar of a Four Seasons Hotel overlooking the Indian Ocean, was brokered in part to explore the possibility of a back channel for discussions between the Trump administration and the Kremlin, according to people familiar with the meeting.

Kirill Dmitriev, the manager of a state-run Russian investment fund, met with Mr. Nader and an adviser to the Trump campaign days before Donald J. Trump took office. Credit Ramil Sitdikov/Sputnik, via Associated Press

Such contacts are at the heart of Mr. Mueller’s investigation, and his investigators have repeatedly used aggressive tactics to press witnesses. About four weeks ago, F.B.I. agents working with Mr. Mueller’s team stopped a Russian oligarch at a New York-area airport, questioned him about his dealings with Mr. Trump and seized his electronics, according to a person familiar with the matter, which was first reported by CNN.

Mr. Mueller’s investigators have asked multiple witnesses about the Seychelles meeting, part of a broader line of inquiry surrounding contacts between Emirati advisers and Trump administration officials. They have also pressed for details about a meeting Mr. Nader attended in New York in early 2017 with Mr. Kushner and Mr. Bannon with the hedge fund manager Richard Gerson, a friend of Mr. Kushner’s and the founder of Falcon Edge Capital.

Mr. Mueller’s particular interest in that meeting is unclear, although Mr. Gerson has had business dealings with the court of the U.A.E.’s Prince Mohammed. Mr. Gerson has developed relations with several senior Emirati officials over the years, including with Prince Mohammed himself, and he has often sought investments from Emirati state funds.

Mr. Gerson’s family also has business and philanthropic ties to the Kushners. Mr. Kushner has been friends for more than a decade with Mr. Gerson’s brother Mark, a founder of the specialized research company Gerson Lehrman Group. Mark Gerson was also an early investor in Cadre, a real estate technology company founded by Mr. Kushner and his brother, Josh.

Jared Kushner’s family foundation has also donated tens of thousands of dollars to an Israeli medical aid group led by Mark Gerson.

A lawyer for Mr. Nader and a spokesman for Rick Gerson declined to comment. Mark Gerson did not reply to requests for comment.

Mr. Mueller’s investigators have also questioned Joel Zamel, an Australian entrepreneur who has an office in Tel Aviv and knows Mr. Nader, according to people briefed on the matter. Mr. Zamel has had contacts with senior U.A.E. officials close to its ruler since at least 2014.

In February, federal agents working for Mr. Mueller stopped Mr. Zamel at Reagan National Airport outside Washington and briefly seized his electronic devices, the people said. Mr. Zamel later appeared before a grand jury and was questioned about Mr. Nader, though it was unclear whether Mr. Zamel had any information about Mr. Nader’s ties to Russia.

Mr. Zamel is a witness in Mr. Mueller’s investigation and is not suspected of any wrongdoing, according to Marc Mukasey, a lawyer for Mr. Zamel and his crowdsourced consulting firm, Wikistrat. The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that Mr. Zamel informally met with Mr. Mueller’s team.

“Joel and Wikistrat have not been accused of anything, have done nothing wrong and are not the focus of the special counsel,” said Mr. Mukasey, a global chairman of Greenberg Traurig’s white-collar defense and special investigations practice. “Prosecutors like to question as many people as they can — even if they have tangential involvement and limited knowledge.”

Mr. Zamel briefly met last spring with Jared Kushner at the White House, another person said, though that meeting does not appear to be a focus of Mr. Mueller’s inquiry.

Wikistrat, which pays security experts around the world for their insights, has landed several government contracts, according to databases and news reports. Its website says the firm can draw from a group of more than 2,200 analysts worldwide who share their thinking on an interactive platform.

Some well-known experts serve on Wikistrat’s advisory council, including Michael V. Hayden, a former head of the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency, and Dennis Ross, a former United States diplomat with deep expertise in the Middle East.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/04/us/p ... d=tw-share




seemslikeadream » Fri Jan 29, 2016 11:46 am wrote:
Barnett’s Five Flows of Globalisation
Coercive Engineered Migration: Zionism's War on Europe (Part 3 of an 11 Part Series)
by Gearóid Ó Colmáin / January 21st, 2016

As German independent TV station K-TV has revealed, the current refugee crisis is most likely the brain child of the afore-mentioned US military grand strategist General Thomas PM Barnett. Barnett was a strategic advisor to former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and currently works with the Israeli military consultancy firm Wikistrat. Wikistrat are close collaborators with US Africa Command (Africom). Barnett’s books The Pentagon’s New Map and Blueprint for Action have had a major influence on US/Israeli global military geostrategies.

A former student of Vice-Admiral Andrew K. Cebrowski, former director of the Office of Transformations in the US Department of Defense, Barnett’s work focuses on integrating Cebrowski’s concepts of Network Centred Warfare, Colonel Boyd’s OODA loop theory, and Lind’s Fourth Generation Warfare, by ‘simultaneously seeking to relate their yin-and-yang interplay to the larger economic reality of globalization’s emergence as the dominant characteristic of today’s strategic environment’.1

Barnett divides the world into ‘functioning core’, ‘non-integrating gap’ countries and ‘seam states’. The first category of ‘functioning core’ countries includes Europe and North America, Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and Chile. These are economies which are actively integrating into the global economy. This category is subdivided into ‘old core’ Europe, the USA and Japan and ‘new core’, Brazil, Russia, China and India.

The second major category is the ‘non-integrated gap’. This is made up of the Caribbean Rim, Andean South America, Africa, parts of the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The third category contains some members of the first two. This category is referred to as the ‘Seam States’, countries which surround the Gap — such as Indonesia, Thailand, Pakistan, Turkey, Greece, Algeria, Morocco, South Africa, Mexico and Brazil.

The former Pentagon general has developed the theory of the ‘Five Flows of Globalisation’ — five flows which must come about if US Zionist imperialism is to dominate the world. These involve the free flow of money, security, food, energy and people. The ‘free flows’ theory means breaking down nation-state structures, thus freeing up resources for pillage by US multinational corporations. The inundation of Europe with immigrants from the Southern Hemisphere is a key feature of Barnett’s geo-strategic thinking. That is why it would be wrong to see the immigrant crisis from Libya and Syria as an unintended consequence of NATO policy as some form of unforeseen blowback.

Europe’s top demographers have known for some time that the Southern Hemisphere countries are experiencing a population boom and what that means for Europe’s relative population decline. German sociologist and demographer Gunnar Heihsohn published a major book on this topic, Söhne und Weltmacht: Terror im Aufstieg und Fall der Nationen (Sons and World Power: The Rise of Terror and the Fall of Nations). In his book Heinsohn argues that population youth bulges were the driving factor behind European colonialism and world conquest. From 1900 to 2000 the population of the Muslim World has grown from 150 million to 1,200 million, an increase of 800 percent. He argues that large families tend to produce ‘superfluous’ sons, who, unable to find work at home, emigrate.

Heinsohn contends that these youth bulges can lead to extreme violence as the young men, needing to carve out a place for themselves in the world, often tend to resort to violence in order to survive. This is one of the many factors driving the Islamic State. The youth bulge means boom time for imperialism’s merchants of death, who are harnessing youthful anger and hatred for the fomentation of proxy wars against geopolitical enemies. Heinsohn predicted that Europe would be overwhelmed with Southern Hemisphere youths by 2015.

The German sociologist notes that Islamism is more a tool which enables disaffected ‘superfluous’ sons to justify genocide, rather than an ideology which they necessarily believe in. In other words, once demographic balances have been restored, the Korans will be for sale in second-hand book shops. He gives the example of Spanish and Portuguese conquistadores in the 15th and 16th century who, needing to kill in order to carve out colonies in the New World, made convenient use of the Bible in order to absolve themselves from feelings of guilt.

Heinsohn notes that Europe’s immigration policy contrasts markedly with that of Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In Europe, there are no requirements that immigrants possess the qualifications needed by European economies, whereas in Canada and Australia those with the highest skills are given preference. The result of these policies is that 98 percent of immigrants in Canada have higher qualifications than the native population, whereas in Europe only 10 percent have higher qualifications. At the same time, the percentage of highly qualified Europeans leaving the continent for the Anglophone world is rising steadily every year. In this sense one can understand the logic behind Anglo-Saxon imperialism of flooding Europe with uneducated immigrants, while simultaneously siphoning off the continent’s brains and skills, thus ensuring Anglo-American/Zionist global hegemony. It is the ability to take into account these complex demographic realities which constitutes the importance of Thomas P.M. Barnett’s grand strategy of US globalisation.

In her book Weapons of Mass Migration: Forced Displacement, Coercion and Foreign Policy Kelly M. Greenhill argues that one of the reasons for Europe’s rapprochement with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was the latter’s offer to stem the tide of African emigration to Europe. It would be erroneous, therefore, to suggest that the chaos wrought by the Arab Spring was unintentional. While many European politicians may have wanted to prevent a chaotic overflow of immigration into Europe, the imperial agencies behind the Arab Spring wanted just that.

The mass exodus of migrants/refugees is a central part of the globalisation of class war in accordance with the Pentagon’s long term objectives of global hegemony or “Full Spectrum Dominance”. What we are dealing with here is a well-planned strategy of chaos. To paraphrase Shakespeare, it is madness but there is method in it.

General Barnett’s Wikistrat are heavily involved in the development of ‘crowd sourcing’ and ‘crowd leveraging’ technologies. Investigative journalist Andrey Fomine, using the analyses of the Russian Academy of Sciences, has convincingly shown that most of the twitter entries encouraging refugees/migrants in Turkey to travel to Germany come from the UK, USA and Australia.

What we are witnessing here is a covert war being waged by the Anglo-Saxon Zionist elite against the German Federal Republic. The low-intensity war is using people as weapons to create conditions of social chaos in order to prevent Berlin’s inevitable rapprochement with Moscow. The migrants cannot possibly integrate in German society if the German economy does inot integrate with Eurasia, as Germany will have no viable market for its exports.

Barnett has predicted that Muslim immigrants in Europe will form their own Islamist political parties. In his book Blueprint for Action he quotes approvingly from Oliver Roy’s Globalized Islam, who claims that while in the past working class Muslims would have joined Marxist political movements: “There are now in the West only two movements of radical protest that claim to be ‘internationalist’: the antiglobalization movement and radical Islam. For a rebel, to convert is to find a cause”

Both of these movements, that of ‘human rights’ and ‘jihad’, represent petty bourgeois objections to the global order, but as they do not have a scientific analysis of the capitalist mode of production, they cannot possibly change that order. That is why they are both backed by the forces they supposedly oppose. Hence Barnett welcomes this development:

By channeling their sense of economic and social disconnecteness into political action, Muslims in Europe achieve connectivitiy with governments there that allow for their integration into political life on a peaceful basis while preserving a sense of cultural identity. (p. 292)

In other words, these movements will help increase and further entrench globalization, imperialism and class warfare.

In Europe’s case, this isn’t just the political release valve for both sides but an economic one as well: Europe needs workers to balance its rapidly aging population, while the Middle East needs to be able to siphon off a portion of its huge youth bulge for emigration. (p. 292)

Barnett predicts that the mass migration of people from the Middle East into Europe will lead to a ‘revival of ethnicity’. He argues that their immigration into Europe will generate a paradoxical attitude that will marry Muslim identity politics at home with European human rights evangelism in their countries of origin. He writes:

So when Muslims emigrate from the Middle East and immigrate into Europe, both regions respond to this transaction by becoming, respectively, more Islamic and more European in the near term, until such time passes that new rule sets emerge to define these profound forms of social(family ties), economic( remittances), and ultimately political connectivity. While the movement of Core citizens into the Gap occasionally force Core powers to defend them through military means…. a far more potent form of political connectivity comes in expatriate populations living inside the Core and agitating for their adopted nations to intervene militarily or diplomatically in their countries of origin in response to instability or political repression there. A good example of this, of course, is the role of Iraqi expatriates in the US decision to lead a multinational coalition into that country in 2003 to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime. (p. 294)

This is imperialist grand strategy accounting for demographics, economics, religion and ethnicity. But its core function is similar to the imperialist ideologies of the past: divide and conquer the workers of the world on the basis of religious and ethnic sectarianism, as well as bourgeois values such as human rights, thereby making the world “safe for capitalism” and global imperialist domination.

A recent example of expats mobilising for imperialist intervention in their own country was provided by demonstrations by Eritreans in Germany against President Issias Afwerki in 2012, with the predictable US NGO inspired slogan “Down, down dictator”.

Barnett predicts that Europe and Russia will disintegrate in the 21st Century, leaving only India and China to rival the United States. The US strategist clearly believes that coercive engineered mass migration into Europe, coupled with American occupation of Eastern Europe and the Balkans, will prevent Eurasian integration, whilst securing the US/Israeli control of Europe and the conquest of Africa, thereby establishing US/Israeli global supremacy in the 21st century.

The choreography and mediatisation of the ‘Refugees Welcome’ campaign bears a striking resemblance to ‘Je Suis Charlie’ campaign launched less than 30 minutes after the first reports of the Paris terrorist attack in January 7th were broadcast.

Many of the migrants are receiving welcome booklets packed with maps and information distributed by an NGO called w2eu,which stands for welcome to the EU.

One is reminded of the non-violent revolution rule book by Zionist ideologue Gene Sharp which was used to train activists in the US/Israeli fomented counter-revolutions in North Africa in 2011.

Re: Wikistrat

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:16 pm
by Grizzly
Wait! ISRAEL? House of Saud? No way!...

“If Mueller finds evidence of wrongdoing, it would make us wonder why we as a community—whoever we are—weren’t paying attention to Cheney alums’ persistent presence in American domestic politics.”

— Fordham University's Karen Greenberg


:roll: :roll: :roll:

But, but Scooter (sex with bears) Libby went down!

Can we now at least tweak the tone death, Russia Russia Russia, with slight knob equalizer fade of Israel Israel Israel, and add pitch, to Saudi Saudi Saudi??? :moresarcasm

Re: Wikistrat

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:21 pm
by seemslikeadream
I am dancing as fast as I can ....you mentioned in another thread why doesn’t slad do Brits

Well I do that too but I guess whatever I do it is just not enough for you or it is just not the "right" thing to be posting about

Why haven’t YOU done more of that Brit thing? Why is it all on me?




The Brexit thread
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=39811


And btw I think I am the ONLY person here to mention Israel and Saudi role in trump land

Russia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Israel: What the Hell Was Going On at Trump Tower?

Arabs and Israelis, Oh My!

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=40179&p=658519&hilit=Israel+Saudi+TRUMP#p658519



Mueller Asked About Money Flows to Israeli Social-Media Firm, Source Says Michael RileyMay ... and whose founder reportedly met with Donald Trump Jr. in August 2016, according to a person familiar ... Tower with Donald Trump Jr. and an emissary to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to discuss ...
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=40179&p=658440&hilit=Israel+Saudi+TRUMP#p658440


. foreign governments working to shape....help trump win the U.S. election or were they working ... to answer the question of whether Russia....Israel....Saudi Arabia.....United Arab Emirates and the Trump campaign ...
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=40179&p=658263&hilit=Israel+Saudi+TRUMP#p658263



appears to center on the role of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, which were eager to help the campaign and


viewtopic.php?f=8&t=40179&p=667819&hilit=Israel+Saudi+TRUMP#p667819


And I just posted this this morning

Exclusive: Ex-NSA cyberspies reveal how they helped hack foes of UAE
viewtopic.php?f=52&t=41569


August 3, 2016, an emissary from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates—George Nader—offered ...
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viewtopic.php?f=8&t=40179&p=665408&hilit=Israel+Saudi+TRUMP#p665408


HAVEN'T YOU READ ANYTHING I posted about Jared Kushner???

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=40566&p=669035&hilit=kushner#p669035


... An ex-congressman has alleged ties to the Trump campaign, as well as powerful figures in Russia ... by the Gulf crisis, which began last June when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar’s ... outreach to prominent American advocates of Israel, including Alan Dershowitz, an informal Trump ...
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=40179&p=659104&hilit=Israel+Saudi+TRUMP#p659104


:roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

Re: Wikistrat

PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:37 am
by Grizzly
Wait! I thought you had me on ignore. Which is it? I don't know why you single me out as one of four people trying to get you to leave RI ... Not one fucking time have I ever even eluded to that. Contrary to your idea of who you think I SUPPORT ... I have always appreciated your posts. Except your TRUMP RUSSIA mania. Do with that what you will, since you seem to know so much about someone you’ve never met. I call Truce. I don't hate you slad, I hate the redundant message. I consider you an integral part of RI. We just have to agree to disagree.

Re: Wikistrat

PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 3:03 am
by Elvis
That's encouraging, Grizzly. Let's get this train back on track. No more stick-poking alright? Good topic, Slad!

Who is this guy? And who's she? Mainly I'm amused by the guy. Nice scarf.

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Re: Wikistrat

PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:54 am
by seemslikeadream
that's London Breitbart/Brexiteer Raheem Kassam and thanks for speaking to Grizzly

Raheem Kassam, .tiff
Raheem Kassam, .tiff (549.35 KiB) Viewed 1000 times

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and just to clear up some assertions made by Grizzly

1. I don't think I ever put you on ignore....just because I hate to see 50 horse gifs in my threads I will never put you on ignore

2. you never made the Big Four list, sorry to disappoint you

3. just stop posting off topic drive by stupid posts in my OPs and we will be fine

Re: Wikistrat

PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:08 pm
by Grizzly
Your so full of yourself, lately Slad. I nothing else to say to you.

Re: Wikistrat

PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:36 pm
by seemslikeadream
thank you

"Grand Bargain"

SPOILER: Trump conspired pre-election with Saudi Arabia, UAE, Israel, Russia, and Egypt


seemslikeadream » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:23 pm wrote:Looks like the only country trump didn't collude with was America.

And Psy Group had a business deal with....Cambridge Analytica. Are you paying attention, Britain?

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Rick Gates Tells Mueller About Trump Team’s Dealings With Israeli Intelligence Firm

Psy Group delivered plans for ‘social media manipulation’ in 2016 and the special counsel is digging in as part of his probe into Mideast influence.

01.16.19 2:15 PM ET
MORE TO COME



Rick Gates, the former campaign aide to Donald Trump, is cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into whether individuals from the Middle East worked with the Trump campaign to influence the election, according to two individuals with first-hand knowledge of the investigation.

Gates has answered questions specifically about Psy Group, an Israeli firm that ex-employees say drew up social media manipulation plans to help the Trump campaign, according to sources familiar with the questions. Mueller’s team also asked Gates about interactions with Psy Group’s owner, Joel Zamel, and Lebanese-American businessman George Nader, who worked as an emissary for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the sources said.

On Tuesday, Mueller’s team said that Gates was cooperating with “several ongoing investigations” in asking a federal judge to delay his sentencing for financial crimes he pleaded guilty to committing with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. One of the ongoing investigations is into possible Middle Eastern election influence, three people with knowledge of the probe told The Daily Beast.

A lawyer for Gates did not respond to requests for comment. Zamel’s lawyer declined to comment for this story, but previously said in other reports that Zamel cooperated with the special counsel’s office. The special counsel’s office declined to comment.

Gates requested proposals in 2016 from Psy Group that would help Trump in his campaign for president, The New York Times reported last year. Those proposals included social media manipulation tactics such as creating fake avatars to engage voters and Republican campaign delegates. Gates reportedly spoke about the proposals with George Birnbaum, a Republican consultant with connections in Israel. Former Psy Group employees who spoke with The Daily Beast said they only interacted with Birnbaum, whom they were introduced to by an intermediary, and did not have contact with Gates.

Mueller asked Gates whether the Trump campaign approached Psy Group, or whether Psy Group, through intermediaries like Birnbaum, approached representatives of the Trump team, according to two sources familiar with Gates’ cooperation.

“Joel is a very secretive guy, he holds all his cards very close to the chest. It’s very possible he was running some sort of side operation that used Psy resources but didn’t include the staff.”

— former Psy Group employee

Former employees of Psy Group told the Times they asked Washington-based law firm Covington and Burling if the plan violated laws that regulate foreign participation in American elections. Employees told The Daily Beast that the law firm said it was legal to proceed with the plan if the firm took certain steps to involve U.S. individuals. Covington and Burling did not comment for this story.

Psy Group employees told The Daily Beast they have been interviewed by the FBI, which asked about two Republicans other than Gates who had made overtures from Trump world to Psy Group in 2016. Both represented themselves as members of Trump’s inner circle and were introduced to Psy Group by “brokers,” including Birnbaum, the former employees said. Former employees said they could not reveal the names, citing non-disclosure agreements. (Psy Group is in the process of liquidation.)

It is unclear if Zamel or Psy Group ever carried out the campaign for Trump.

At the same time, Zamel had his own discussions with Trump associates. The special counsel’s office has examined whether Zamel’s interactions with the Trump team, and his conversations about a plan to help Trump win the election, overlapped or coincided with conversations Psy Group employees had with Birnbaum and Gates.

Zamel told employees he used Psy Group material in conversations with Trump associates, the employees said.

“Joel is a very secretive guy, he holds all his cards very close to the chest,” one former employee said. “It’s very possible he was running some sort of side operation that used Psy resources but didn’t include the staff.”

Mueller’s team is still actively looking at Zamel’s interactions with the Trump team beyond Psy Group, according to sources familiar with Gates’ cooperation.

After the election, Zamel helped craft a plan a plan for regime change in Iran. The Daily Beast was the first to report the meeting, which included Zamel, Nader, incoming national security advisor Flynn, and a Saudi general, Ahmed al-Assiri. During this time, Nader was also promoting a plan for the U.S. to carry out economic sabotage against Tehran. The meeting appears to be part of Saudi and Emirati efforts to lobby the incoming Trump administration against Qatar and Iran, their top regional competitors.

The special counsel’s office is also probing a payment made from Zamel to Nader for $2 million after the election. Mueller has questioned multiple witnesses, including Gates, about that payment, according to three sources with knowledge of his team’s questioning.

Mueller’s team is also examining whether foreigners illegally donated to Trump’s inaugural committee via American intermediaries leading up to Trump taking office. One matter of interest is a breakfast meeting that took place at the Trump International Hotel in Washington three days before the presidential inauguration. That event included Flynn, then-House intelligence committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and GOP mega donors. Dozens of foreign officials, including those from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Qatar, were invited to the event.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/rick-gate ... ia=desktop





"Grand Bargain"

SPOILER: Trump conspired pre-election with Saudi Arabia, UAE, Israel, Russia, and Egypt




Putin told trump how to publicly respond to Trump Tower meeting with the Russians

Andrew S. Weiss


Andrew S. Weiss Retweeted Greg Miller

THREAD: Has anyone noticed the very disturbing overlap between Trump’s insistence on preventing his own staff from learning about discussions with Putin at the Hamburg G20 meeting in July 2017 and how he handled initial revelations about the infamous Trump Tower meeting? 1/

Greg Miller
Verified account

@gregpmiller
NEW: After closed door mtg with Putin, Trump took his interpreter's notes, told linguist not to reveal what had transpired to other administration officials. Pattern of concealing communications with Putin. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-has-concealed-details-of-his-face-to-face-encounters-with-putin-from-senior-officials-in-administration/2019/01/12/65f6686c-1434-11e9-b6ad-9cfd62dbb0a8_story.html?utm_term=.866a342cc660&wpisrc=al_post_exclusive__alert-exclusive--alert-national&wpmk=1 …



Consider the following timeline: on July 7–8, 2017,Trump attends the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany the site of his first face to face encounter with Putin. 2/


On the morning of July 7, 2017, the New York Times informs the White House--for the first time--that it has learned about the Trump Tower meeting between Don Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and a Russian lawyer with Russian government connections, Natalya Veselnitskaya. 3/


The New York Times asks the White House to comment. 4/

On the afternoon of July 7, 2017, Trump and Putin, accompanied only by Rex Tillerson, Sergei Lavrov and their interpreters, meet for 2 and 1/2 hours. 5/



We now know from @gregpmiller that after the meeting Trump seizes the US interpreter’s notes and tells her not to brief senior NSC or State Department aides about the conversation with Putin. https://wapo.st/2Fyrqtt?tid=ss_tw&utm_t ... ec17269030 … 6/


Later that evening on July 7, 2017, during the formal G20 summit dinner, Trump seeks out Putin for another conversation. Putin’s interpreter is the only other participant. 7/


The fact of this meeting is not publicly revealed until more than a week later after @ianbremmer hears about it from other G20 attendees. (The White House doesn’t officially confirm it until July 18, 2017.) http://reut.rs/2vfTTwi @steveholland1 8/


As Bremmer points out, Trump oddly doesn’t even inform his own staff afterwards that he’s had this second conversation with Putin. https://twitter.com/ianbremmer/status/1 ... 8152428545 … 9/



On the AF1 flight back to Washington the next day on July 8, 2017, Trump dictates the text of the now infamous, misleading statement (for Don Jr. to release) about the Trump Tower meeting. http://wapo.st/2vh7dmA?tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.c483e459eca7 … @AshleyRParker @CarolLeonnig @PhilipRucker @thamburger 10/


Don Jr.’s statement to @nytimes emphasizes: “We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children” at the meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya 11/



The @nytimes story about the Trump Tower meeting appears later that same day (July 8, 2017) https://nyti.ms/2uWPOMw


On July 11, 2017 the same @nytimes team breaks the story that Don Jr was told in advance that Veselnitskaya intended to provide dirt on the Hillary Clinton campaign at the behest of the Russian government. Don Jr. replies: "I love it." https://nyti.ms/2u4Ly0W 13/



On July 19, 2017 Trump repeats the false assertion that he talked to Putin about adoption in a conversation with @peterbakernyt, @nytmike and @maggieNYT
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/us/p ... ule=inline … 14/




In the same interview, Trump also floats the idea that there was nothing inappropriate about his senior-most campaign officials meeting with foreign emissaries who wanted to help his campaign. “Who wouldn’t have taken a meeting like that?” 15/



All of this begs the question: What did Trump and Putin actually discuss at that impromptu one-on-one dinner meeting at the Hamburg G20 on July 7, 2017? 16/



Moreover, why did they huddle together by themselves within hours of the White House learning that the at-that-point-still-secret Trump Tower meeting between Trump, Jr. and the Russians was about to become public? 17/



Put another way, shortly after the New York Times reached out to the White House to ask about a secret meeting with the Russians, Trump himself sought a secret meeting with the Russians. 18/


h/t Former federal prosecutor who helped compile this timeline and series of as-yet unanswered questions END
https://twitter.com/andrewsweiss/status ... 0051736577

Re: Wikistrat

PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:48 pm
by seemslikeadream

Salvator Mundi
Posted on January 2, 2019 by Zev Shalev
DA-VINCI.jpg
DA-VINCI.jpg (23.29 KiB) Viewed 937 times


Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman appears to have ‘lost’ the world’s most expensive painting. The Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece, Salvator Mundi, may hold the key to the Trump-Russia investigation. And, the artwork itself could be evidence of collusion.

Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘last’ masterpiece was to be unveiled on September 18 at the spellbinding new Louvre in Abu Dhabi, but the exhibit was put on a temporary hold, amid rumours the painting was lost.

The art world has become increasingly alarmed. After all, Salvator Mundi is the most expensive artwork ever sold. “Nobody outside the immediate Arab hierarchy knows where it is,” Da Vinci scholar Martin Kemp told The Times.

Questions are being raised. First, why did the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, an art novice, buy the masterpiece? Secondly, why did he overpay for it by $300 million? Even for the stupendously wealthy Prince Mohammed bin Salman, that’s not just a simple rounding error. How do you misplace a $450 million painting anyway?

We can also reveal Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating both the buyer and the seller of the Da Vinci masterpiece as part of the Trump-Russia investigation.

All the intrigue suits Salvator Mundi’s already storied past well, but as I write this, no-one has seen the rare masterpiece in over a year, and its exact whereabouts have been unknown for over 100 days.


The Louvre Abu Dhabi was to exhibit the Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi from September 18, this year.
Masterpiece or fraud?

Leonardo da Vinci is said to have painted the Salvator Mundi, which literally translates to ‘Savior of the World’, as a male counterpart to his Mona Lisa, and an homage to his other Christ masterpiece, The Last Supper. The result of those intersecting ideas is an eerie portrait of Jesus Christ in a blue renaissance robe, offering benediction with his right hand raised and while holding a glass orb in his left.

Da Vinci was not prolific. He only pained 20 great works his entire life. That’s why the art world heralded Salvator Mundi’s rebirth over a decade ago with a messianic zeal only it could muster. “A painting of the most iconic figure in the world by the most important artist of all time,” gushed Loic Gouzer, co-chairman of post-war and contemporary art at Christie’s. “The opportunity to bring this masterpiece to the market is an honour that comes around once in a lifetime.”

Salvator Mundi has a pedigree, but also a bit of a sketchy past. The painting was first recorded in the collection of King Charles I in the early 1600s, but since then ‘Salvator’ was inauspiciously passed down from one lesser royal collection to the next, until it eventually sold for a mere £45 at a Sotheby’s auction in 1958, before disappearing for more than half a century.

In 2005, ‘Salvator Mundi” had its second coming when a consortium of businessmen acquired the damaged masterpiece from the estate at a small regional auction house. The Savior needed saving itself. Christ’s hair and face were painted over, and the canvas ripped on the side of his face.

It took six years of painstaking research and inquiry by the world’s ‘leading authorities on the works and career of Da Vinci’ to not only authenticate the lost masterpiece but to completely restore it, allowing Christie’s to present it to the world as it would have looked when Da Vinci painted it.


The reborn Salvator Mundi was unveiled at London’s National Gallery in 2011 to much fanfare, although you’d be hard-pressed to find mention of the masterpiece in the gallery’s official guide. You can read a back-peddling attribution to Da Vinci in the Gallery’s statement: “an important opportunity to test this new attribution by direct comparison with works universally accepted as Leonardo’s.”

As if that weren’t enough, a quick reading of Jonathan Jones’ review in The Guardian would convince any ardent art follower something was afoot. “The transparent orb is far too brilliantly painted to be the work of one of his disciples,” Jones wrote, referring to a painting technique not yet invented in Leonardo’s time. Some doubted it was a genuine Da Vinci, others thought the reconstruction was heavy-handed. Despite the question marks over its authenticity, the world’s wealthiest art collectors scrambled to acquire it.

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A Russian in the House

Dmitry Rybolovlev’s story is typical of many Russian oligarchs. He made his fortune as. a potash miner until the Kremlin bought him out, sending him into a friendly “exile”. Rybolovlev chose the Grimaldi House of Monaco to set up shop. He bought the luxurious penthouse “La Belle Epoque” on Monaco’s famous seaside cliffs, the AC Monaco football team, 10% in the Bank of Cyprus and allegedly an extensive network of corruptable judges, ministers and other officials.

He also met Swiss art dear Yves Bouvier, from whom he bought about $2 billion in art. Rybolovlev officially paid Bouvier a 2% commission per painting, but he later found out the Swiss art dealer was also acting for the seller, marking up prices and pocketing the margin along with both buyer’s and seller’s commissions.

That is how Rybolovlev came to own The Salvator Mundi for $127 million, instead of its valued $80 million. The two men have been squabbling in court ever since. Both have been arrested. And Rybolovlev is suing Sotheby’s for knowing and not telling, he was being ripped off. The case itself could be a scam: money launderers often sue each other to wash their money with a judge’s order.

Since March 2013, the now $127 million ‘Salvator Mundi’ has been hanging in Rybolovlev’s penthouse in New York City. Rybolovlev sees no shame in the $47 million he lost in the purchase of the masterpiece. It wouldn’t be the first time someone’s accused him of overpaying.

In addition to several corruption investigations in Monaco and Europe, Rybolovlev is also under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for the $95 million purchase of Donald Trump’s home in Palm Beach in 2006, which Trump had bought four years earlier for $41 million. There was no market reason for the $ 54 million mark-up, except to save Trump from another bankruptcy.

After struggling to sell it, Rybolovlev demolished the property to sell it for its seafront land. Experts point out all three of Rybolovlev’s investment interests – football, art and real estate – are prime vehicles for money laundering.

The corruption investigations into Rybolovlev may connect his finances directly to the Kremlin. Especially if they prove he manages the assets of Russian deputy premier Yuri Trutnev, as claimed in Der Spiegel in November.

Rybolovlev occupies the same proximity to Putin as Oleg Deripaska, making him extremely rich and powerful and a loyal ally of the Russian president. Rybolovlev regularly mixes affairs of state with his personal business, In 2016, he met Donald Trump twice in the final days of the campaign. Both men deny the meetings took place, but radar tracking reveals their planes coincided on airport tarmacs in both Charlotte, NC and Las Vegas, just days before the election.

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George Nader is an emissary for the Crown princes of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.
The ‘Other’ Don Jr. Meeting

There has been a lot of ink spilled on the June 9 meeting at Trump Tower, involving Donald Trump, Jr., Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and a significant offer of dirt on Hillary Clinton, to which Don, Jr. famously responded, “I love it.”

But a far more significant meeting took place at Trump Tower three weeks later which has received far less coverage, and yet it may be the most important evidence of collusion Robert Mueller has uncovered. “The August event may well become “the single most important event of Trump-Russia.” Seth Abrahamson, author of “Proof of Collusion” told me this week.

Erik Prince arranged the meeting. Prince is a mercenary who is notorious for his work with Blackwater. He is still a gun for hire working for the Chinese and Emiratis yet somehow, Prince still played a pivotal, yet unofficial role for the Trump Transition and coordinating this meeting was as significant as they come.

Prince planned to meet his guests at a nearby hotel to avoid the glare of the media assembled in Trump Tower’s gilded lobby.

You’re wondering who the guests were? George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman who was acting as an emissary for both the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman (MbS) and the de facto leader of the UAE, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ). Nader was accompanied by Joel Zamel, the Australian-born Israeli founder of Psy-Group, and an expert in social media manipulation.

As the three men made small talk, President Obama was on TV pleading with the Republican Party to reject Trump as their candidate, and calling him “unfit to serve.” Prince smiled and checked watch. He knew Obama’s criticism would only strengthen Trump’s chances. “We have the green light to go up,” Prince told Nader and Zamel.

The three men made their way out of the hotel for the short walk to Trump Tower through rush-hour traffic, passed the media in the lobby and up to the 26th floor in one of those golden elevators. Donald Trump, Jr. was already in the conference room with Stephen Miller, when the three men walked in.

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Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed poses for a photo with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during the Saudi-UAE Summit in Jeddah. Reuters

A Plot to Elect a President

Nader began his pitch. The Saudi and Emirati princes “were eager to help your father win election as president,” Nader said. He said Zamel’s Psy Group was particularly successful at social media manipulation and the two crown princes would bankroll a multi-million dollar plan drawn up by Zamel, to help elect his father president.

Psy-Group had figured out how to shift public sentiment by creating fake news, publishing it on fake news sites and then amplifying it through a network of some 5,000 fake social media accounts. The company’s side-hustle was providing services in the dark arts of honey-trapping, hacking and blackmail, for a fee.

Not surprisingly Don. Jr. “responded approvingly” to the pitch, according to the New York Times but he later claimed he turned down the offer. There are no contracts or invoices to prove the campaign was ever executed. Lawyers for both sides deny any campaign collaboration. Of course, if they had, it would have been illegal.


The Facts Don’t Concur

In reality, there is evidence Psy-Group carried out some work for the campaign. For one thing, the Trump Campaign’s main digital partner, Cambridge Analytica, didn’t have the tools to deliver the social media content the campaign constantly credits for its victory.

Cambridge Analytica’s raison d’etre was psychographic profiling using stolen Facebook data. Psy-Group brought to the table a fake news factory proven to sway minds.

CamAnalytica and Psy also appeared to let the cat out of the bag when, one month after Trump’s victory, they publicly announced they would partner on future campaigns together, including a joint pitch the U.S. State Department, but failed to explain how they were introduced to each other.

Sources also tell the Daily Beast contacts between Psy-Group and the Trump Campaign were far more extensive than first reported, involving at least two other members of Trump’s inner circle. Company founder Zamel also spoke to Trump officials about helping Saudi Arabia and regime change in Iran.

Psy-Group is based in Israel but it is registered in Cyprus and corporately aligns in off-shore holding databases with companies owned by Russian oligarchs and banks. Mueller has also taken a specific interest in Zamel, and his close relationship with two of Putin’s most powerful oligarchs, the aforementioned Oleg Deripaska and Dmitry Robolovlov.

In February, Mueller subpoenaed the Cypriot bank accounts of the Psy-Group and dispatched a team of investigators to Israel this Spring to interview Zamel. This clearly struck a nerve. Within a week, Psy-Group shuttered the entire operation.

And remember, George Nader is cooperating with the investigation and he was in on every conversation with Don, Jr., Zamel, Kushner and the two crown princes. Nader has already testified before a grand jury and acknowledged making a $2m payment to Zamel. Psy-Group almost certainly worked for the campaign, they question os how did they get paid?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3orkmMlSpmI
Art of the Deal

$300 million. That’s the incredible profit Rybolovlev made on the sale of Salvator Mundi. $300 million is also the amount Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (acting through an intermediary) “accidentally” overpaid for the artwork.

At first blush, laundering hundreds of millions of dollars in full view of a global audience, may not seem like the smartest move, but the facts support this may have been what the two Crown Princes and Dmitry Rybolovlev tried to do.

Robolovlev put the masterpiece up for auction through Christie’s in November 2017. The estimated price for Lot 9B was between $80 and $120 million. Christies’s auctioneers were stunned when bidding quickly surged past $80 million in just seconds and then, just as effortlessly over $130 million. Two anonymous bidders continuously outbid each other, not stopping until they had run up the price to $450.3 million, making it the single most expensive work of art ever sold at auction.

In the ensuing days, Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman was publicly unmasked as the real buyer of the masterpiece but another key identity wasn’t made known: the identity of the other bidder.

In March, The Daily Mail revealed the counter-bidder was Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ). The princes claimed they had no idea the other was bidding, dismissed the whole thing as a mistak.

To be clear, these are the very same crown princes George Nader represented at the August 3rd with Donald Trump, Jr. and whom, Nader promised, would pay for the social media campaign. On the seller’s side, Dmitry Rybolovlev was not only well acquainted with Psy-Group’s founder but as an owner in the Bank of Cyprus, he could quietly carve out payments to Psy-Group, along with any kickbacks to Putin without anyone noticing

It’s worth noting that four months after the Da Vinci auction Mueller sent investigators to Israel this year and asked about specific deposits to PSY-Group’s Cypriot bank accounts. The FBI travelled to Israel in February, a month before the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince was outed as Salvator Mundi’s second bidder.

I started writing this piece after watching the giddy display of backslapping by Vladimir Putin and Mohammed at the recent G20 summit. The two looked like they had gotten away with something big, It is hard to explain the series of events I’ve described in any other.

Savior of the World

The whereabouts of Salvator Mundi remain unknown, there are no plans to exhibit it, the deepening mystery of what happened at auction, as well as Mueller’s relentless investigation into Psy-Group’s Cyprus accounts, suggests to me there is much to discover.

The entire affair supports the new prevailing theory about the direction of the Mueller investigation.

Up until now, Robert Mueller’s focus has been squarely on Russian collusion but as citizens from other countries are implicated, it seems the Special Counsel has widened his purview from just collusion with Russia, to collusion with a multi-nation alliance of at least four countries including Russia, Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates and Israel.

Gregg Smith, the former CEO of Prince’s Frontier Services Group told me this week he believes “the Israelis, Emiratis and Saudis all had a role and [Erik] Prince was [Steve] Bannon’s conduit to them.”

There can be no certainty when the game is subterfuge, and we need to wait for Mueller’s final report before we reach any conclusions, but if Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi proves a key for Mueller’s investigation “Savior of the World” could prove to be nothing short of prophetic.
https://narativ.org/2019/01/02/salvator ... t-davinci/

Re: Wikistrat

PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:29 pm
by seemslikeadream
Senate Intelligence committee has reached out to social media manipulation co Psy Group founders Royi Burstien & Joel Zamel per sources - Psy Group had pitched team Trump (via Rick Gates, Erik Prince, George Nader & Don Jr)



BRING THAT BEAT BACK
Senate Intel Eyes Social Media Manipulators Who Pitched Team Trump

They worked on plans to use fake social media accounts to win Trump the election. No wonder the Senate’s Russia probe is interested in them.
Erin Banco
National Security Reporter
Betsy Woodruff
Political Reporter
Published 07.09.19 3:24PM ET
EXCLUSIVE
Win McNamee/Getty
A few months into Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, his team reviewed a strange pitch. It came from a company called Psy Group, which had links to Israeli intelligence, and it laid out how fake social media accounts could manipulate the American election. That outreach caught the attention of Robert Mueller’s team. And now, the Senate Intelligence Committee––which is still investigating foreign interference in the 2016 election––has reached out to the company’s founder for questioning, according to two sources familiar with the outreach.

Royi Burstien, the founder and ex-CEO of Psy Group, isn’t alone, according to two people familiar with the matter; the committee also sent an inquiry to Joel Zamel—a self-styled Mark Zuckerberg of the national-security world who reportedly owned Psy Group. The Israeli-Australian discussed Psy Group’s “Campaign Intelligence and & Influence Services Proposal” with Donald Trump Jr. during the campaign, and campaign staff also reached out to the company about social media manipulation to help Trump win the White House.

Zamel also attended meetings during the transition that included discussions about how to undermine and ultimately take down the regime in Iran, according to communications reviewed by The Daily Beast. Top Trump World power brokers, including Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn, were present for the talks. And a top Saudi spy, who has since taken the fall for the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, participated in the talks as well.

So the nature of Trump World’s relationships with Psy Group, Zamel, and Burstien has long raised questions––especially given that another Zamel company, Wikistrat, gamed out in 2015 how a foreign government could meddle in U.S. elections, per internal documents The Daily Beast obtained. Special Counsel Mueller’s team interviewed multiple Psy Group employees, but the unredacted portions of his Russia report don’t reference the company.

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s interest means the public may still learn more about the dynamics.


A spokesperson for the Senate Intelligence Committee declined to comment, citing a blanket policy against discussing witness engagements. Attorneys for Psy Group and for Zamel did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Burstien did not comment for this story.

Psy Group, in liquidation as of last year, has employed a handful of people who formerly worked for and with Israeli intelligence, including Burstien. Former employees of the firm said federal agents questioned them last year about the firm’s financial structure, its ownership and its communications with Team Trump during the 2016 campaign. Several Psy Group individuals said their lawyers told them in 2018 that they were no longer of interest to the FBI.

The New York Times reported last year that former Trump campaign advisor Rick Gates reached out to Psy Group in 2016 about online manipulation plans. According to the Times, the plans, which had a price tag of about $3 million, included the possibility of Psy Group using online avatars to impact the vote. One of the proposals included intelligence officers would use social media accounts to examine the political leanings of 5,000 delegates to the Republican National Convention, the Times reported.

In 2016, Zamel became increasingly connected to the Trump team and led conversations with transition officials and advisors, including Donald Trump Jr. and former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince, about his company helping other Middle Eastern players, such as Saudi Arabia, use economic, information, and military tactics for weakening the government in Tehran.

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s probe has distinguished itself from other investigations in two ways: First, it’s been almost entirely non-controversial, for the most part avoiding the kind of criticism that Fox News hosts and Congressional Republicans lobbed at Mueller’s team. And second, it’s the longest Russia probe by far; Chairman Richard Burr and Vice Chairman Mark Warner announced its inception before Trump was even inaugurated. And months after the closure of Mueller’s probe, it’s still underway.

The probe is bipartisan, and free from the public internecine sniping that plagued the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation. A rare moment of controversy came in May, when news broke that the committee subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr. to testify. The president responded by complaining about Committee leadership, but his son ultimately met with investigators.

Warner and Burr split earlier this year on a key issue: their findings. In an interview with CBS in February, Burr said the committee had found no evidence of collusion between Trump World and the Russian government. But Warner disputed Burr’s comment. “Respectfully, I disagree,” he said, per CNN.

The probe’s scope does not overlap with Mueller’s. As The Daily Beast has reported, it is looking at matters Mueller never scrutinized, including Kremlin-backed efforts to court NRA leadership in the lead-up to the 2016 campaign.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/senate-in ... itter_page

Re: Wikistrat

PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:35 am
by seemslikeadream
Barrett Brown



Wikistrat, founded like Psy-Group by ex-Mossad (and Flynn contact) Joel Zamel, focus of Mueller investigation, discussed in @Stratfor emails - along with Flynn himself, who met with firm’s corrupt chairman George Friedman few months before I got entangled with them [cont’d]

Image
Too Many Secretsi want to fight joe roganDavid

Incidentally, Fred Burton’s buddy @david_dafinoiu is a serial plagiarist Worse, among those he plagiarized is Scot Terban, aka @krypt3ia, whose posts on subjects like yours truly are largely fraudulent works of erratic nonsense

http://attrition.org/errata/plagiarism/ ... index.html

Replying to @BarrettBrown_ @Stratfor
So?

This post is intended for people who actually follow these matters, rather than those ideologically compelled to pretend them away.

https://twitter.com/BarrettBrown_/statu ... 0087247873