Connect with us

News

Israeli Firm Pitched Don Jr. On Election Meddling Scenario in 2016 — and It Sounds Eerily Like the Russia Scheme

Published

on

A consulting firm with ties to Israeli intelligence pitched a plan to the Trump campaign to use social media and foreign assistance to interfere with the 2016 election that turned out to be eerily similar to Russian meddling.

Wikistrat started gaming out a foreign influence campaign just days after Donald Trump entered the race, and an associated firm pitched senior campaign official Rick Gates on the plan in April 2016, reported The Daily Beast.

The pitch by Psy Group, which is reportedly owned by Wikistrat founder Joel Zamel, laid out an election influence campaign that involved creating thousands of fake social media accounts to support Trump, and Zamel himself took part in at least two meetings in Washington in 2016 and 2017.

His staff at Psy Group continued making connections about their social media manipulation scheme with individuals who represented themselves as close to the Trump campaign.

Zamel met with Donald Trump Jr. after his father became the Republican presidential nominee to discuss the plan, which resembled the election interference already underway by Russia and the scenario described by Wikistrat the year before.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators have already questioned Zamel, who is so low-profile that no public photos of him are known, and Gates has agreed to cooperate as part of a plea agreement.

It’s not clear whether the Psy Group plans were ever implemented, but some former employees said at least parts of them were carried out.

An attorney for Wikistrat pointed out the firm had conducted hundreds of simulations on a variety of scenarios, and many in the cybersecurity world were concerned about foreign election interference when Psy Group conducted the sim.

But one former employee who helped create the 2015 report said the accuracy of their predictions are spooky in retrospect.

“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 Peter Marino, a former Wikistrat analyst. “But retrospectively, it feels a bit too on-the-nose not to be disturbing.”

 

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

News

Bombshell report on Matt Gaetz is just the beginning: ‘This is the start of a long road’

Published

on

One of the reporters who broke the bombshell Daily Beast report on Matt Gaetz doing cocaine with an escort who had a no-show state job said the story is just the first in many to come.

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes interviewed Jose Pagliery on Friday about the report.

“When Rep. Matt Gaetz attended a 2019 GOP fundraiser in Orlando, his date that night was someone he knew well: a paid escort and amateur Instagram model who led a cocaine-fueled party after the event, according to two witnesses. The Florida congressman’s one-time wingman, Joel Greenberg, will identify that escort to investigators as one of more than 15 young women Gaetz paid for sex, according to a source familiar with the investigation,” The Beast reported.

“But what distinguishes this woman, Megan Zalonka, is that she turned her relationship with Greenberg into a taxpayer-funded no-show job that earned her an estimated $7,000 to $17,500, according to three sources and corresponding government records obtained by The Daily Beast. On Oct. 26, 2019, Gaetz attended the “Trump Defender Gala” fundraiser as the featured speaker at the Westgate Lake Resort in Orlando. Two witnesses present recalled friends reconvening at Gaetz’s hotel room for an after-party, where Zalonka prepared lines of cocaine on the bathroom counter. One of those witnesses distinctly remembers Zalonka pulling the drugs out of her makeup bag, rolling a bill of cash, and joining Gaetz in snorting the cocaine,” The Beast reported.

“It seems to me, should this all be true, I just feel like there’s not going to be real shortage of witnesses here,” Hayes said. “Has a real open secret vibe to me right now.”

“This was an afterparty, we have identified at least half a dozen people who were there and saw this take place,” Pagliery said. “The reason that we decided to break this news and start with this one is that there are lots of other parties like this. There are more young women, more locations and more actions and bad behavior on the part of Gaetz and Greenberg that we’re going to be exposing.”

“This is the start of a long road,” he added.

Watch:

Continue Reading

News

House Announces Bipartisan Agreement on January 6 Commission – Until Kevin McCarthy Says He Hasn’t Read It Yet

Published

on

House Democrats and Republicans Friday morning announced an agreement has been reached “to introduce legislation to form a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the January 6 domestic terrorism attack on the United States Capitol.” Many have doubted the commission would be formed after Republicans worked to derail progress. Now, House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy may do just that.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised the Committee on Homeland Security’s agreement, saying, “It is imperative that we seek the truth of what happened on January 6 with an independent, bipartisan 9/11-type Commission to examine and report upon the terrorist mob attack.”

But as CNN’s Annie Grayer reports, “Kevin McCarthy tells reporters he has not read through the deal that John Katko made with Dems on 1/6 commission and said that the scope should not just be focused on 1/6 even though that’s what the deal says.”

Republicans have been trying to include the Black Lives Matter protests in the investigation, even though they have nothing to do with the attempted coup and attack on the Capitol.

When asked about McCarthy’s roadblocking, Speaker Pelosi told Grayer, “You know what, why don’t you ask him?”

“His ranking member is a cosponsor of the legislation,” Pelosi noted. “We’re very pleased that it is bipartisan, and the scope was very important in the legislation.”

Bloomberg adds that McCarthy “was noncommittal when asked if he supports the commission legislation.”

“I have to go through it,” he said, pointing to “rhetoric” in the bill about the scope of the investigation “that I want to look through.”

Some claim McCarthy’s attempts to block the Commission stem from what GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger revealed earleir this week, that on Jan. 3 he warned McCarthy Republicans’ rhetoric and actions were going to lead to violence, but McCarthy dismissed him.

 

Continue Reading

News

Unearthed Video Shows Marjorie Taylor Greene Harassing Ocasio-Cortez’s Office More Than Two Years Ago

Published

on

QAnon-loving Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has a long history of stalking and harassing her political foes, including this week when she followed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) around the United States Capitol and accused her of supporting “terrorists.”

CNN has now uncovered a video that Greene herself posted in 2019, which has since been deleted from her social media accounts, in which she harassed Ocasio-Cortez’s office while visiting the Capitol.

“During a February 2019 visit to congressional offices at the US Capitol with associates who include a man who would later enter the Capitol during the January 6 insurrection, Greene… can be seen taunting Ocasio-Cortez’s staff outside the congresswoman’s locked office by talking through a mailbox slot,” reports CNN. “In the video… Greene tells Ocasio-Cortez to ‘get rid of your diaper,’ referring to the congresswoman’s office as a ‘day care.'”

Greene in the past has also been caught on camera stalking and harassing school shooting survivor David Hogg, as well as Muslim Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN), whom she targeted for taking the oaths of office on the Koran instead of the Bible.

Watch the video below.

 

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.