PSY-Group: Joel Zamel’s Israeli Psychops

“Shape Reality”

2014 Royi Burstien founded PSY Group after Russians targeted the 2014 Ukraine Elections

Joel Zamel-worked for Oleg Deripaska, Dmitry Rybolovlev, and met with Trump Campaign

Judith Hamburger through July 2016 “Shape Reality,” PSY-Group, Israeli Intelligence service for hire on campaigns for an average of $350,000, and more, “use elaborate false identities to manipulate its targets”, employs former Mossad agents.

Trump Jr. and Other Aides Met With Gulf Emissary Offering Help to Win Election NY Times 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. By Mark Mazzetti, Ronen Bergman and David D. Kirkpatrick May 19, 2018  “

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.

Erik Prince, the private security contractor and the former head of Blackwater, arranged the meeting, which took place on August 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. 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. 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.

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. 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

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.”

Mueller Asked About Money Flows to Israeli Social-Media Firm, Source Says Bloomberg By and 

FBI agents working with Mueller’s team interviewed people associated with PSY Group’s U.S. operations in February, and Mueller subpoenaed bank records for payments made to the firm’s Cyprus bank accounts, according to a person who has seen one of the subpoenas. Though PSY Group is based in Israel, it’s technically headquartered in Cyprus, the small Mediterranean island famous for its banking secrecy.

Shortly after those interviews, on February 25, PSY Group Chief Executive Officer Royi Burstien informed employees in Tel Aviv that the company was closing down. Burstien is a former commander of an Israeli psychological warfare unit, according to two people familiar with the company.

In a contracting proposal for the U.S. State Department that PSY Group prepared with Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group, Cambridge’s U.K. affiliate, the firm said that it “has conducted messaging/influence operations in well over a dozen languages and dialects” and that it employs “an elite group of high-ranking former officers from some of the world’s most renowned intelligence units.”

Although the proposal says that the company is legally bound not to reveal its clients, it also boasts that “PSY has succeeded in placing the results of its intelligence activities in top-tier publications across the globe in order to advance the interests of its clients.”

That proposal was the result of a collaboration that gelled after Trump’s victory — a mutual non-disclosure agreement between Cambridge and PSY Group is dated Dec. 14, 2016 — but the documents don’t indicate how the companies initially connected or why they decided to work together.

Private Mossad for Hire Inside an effort to influence American elections, starting with one small-town race. The New Yorker