SEE THE FACTS ABOUT THE HORRIFiC REVENGE, REPRISAL, PAYBACK AND 'RATFUCKING' ATTACKS THAT THE OLIGARCHS ENGAGE IN AGAINST CITIZENS:
POLITICAL KILL ORDERS AND STATE-SPONSORED CHARACTER ASSASSINATIONS
How A Modern Character Assassination and Political "Kill Order" Is Executed By the Silicon Valley Oligarchs and their total control of propaganda media
Patrick George At Jalopnik attacks outsiders under contract with Elon Musk and the DNC. Silicon Valley campaign finance oligarchs hire him to run hatchet jobs on innocent outsiders and then Gawker-Gizmodo-Jalopnik uses their financial partnership with the DNC's Google to push the character assassination articles to the top of Google web products and searches. Patrick George, Adrian Covert, John Hermann and Nick Cook are the sexually degenerate cabin boys that report to boy-loving sleaze-tabloid oligarch Nick Denton. They created the Fake News crisis in the media by flooding the internet with defamation posts and reprisal hatchet job articles designed to damage political enemies of the Socialists. They coordinate a large number of the character assassination efforts at Gawker, Gizmodo, Jalopnik, CNN, New York Times and other propaganda outlets. These Millennial boys are "Media Rapists" and should be treated as abusers.
How and why did a Donald Trump stripper-date named "Stormy" or an Elon Musk sex party or a Kavanaugh drinking incident or the Moonves and Weinstein indiscretions suddenly hit the news at about the same time in news history?
In addition to actual murder, Politicians and Silicon Valley Oligarchs hire operatives to end people's lives in other creative ways.
It is all part of the modern trend in vendetta, revenge and political payback when a Senator or a tech oligarch issues a "kill order" on an opponent.
The client does not like to get their hands dirty so the actual social hit job is performed by companies such as:
IN-Q-Tel - (DNC); Gawker Media - (DNC); Jalopnik - (DNC); Gizmodo Media - (DNC); K2 Intelligence - (DNC); WikiStrat - (DNC); Podesta Group - (DNC); Fusion GPS - (DNC/GOP); Google - (DNC); YouTube - (DNC); Alphabet - (DNC); Facebook - (DNC); Twitter - (DNC); Think Progress - (DNC); Media Matters - (DNC); Black Cube - (DNC); Mossad - (DNC); Correct The Record - (DNC); Sand Line - (DNC/GOP); Blackwater - (DNC/GOP); Stratfor - (DNC/GOP); ShareBlue - (DNC); Wikileaks (DNC/GOP); Cambridge Analytica - (DNC/GOP); Sid Blumenthal- (DNC); David Brock - (DNC); PR Firm Sunshine Sachs (DNC); Covington and Burling - (DNC), Buzzfeed - (DNC) Perkins Coie - (DNC); Wilson Sonsini - (DNC) and hundreds of others…These are the people and companies that except cash, revolving door jobs, political appointments, insider trading stock in Silicon Valley tech companies, prostitutes and real estate in exchange for destroying the lives of others.
These attackers deserve to be punished for the rest of their lives for taking away the lives of others in exchange for cash. Any company who is corrupt enough to hire any of these assassins should be forced out of business. These attack services are responsible for 90% of the "Fake News" problem in the world because they are the authors of most fake news. Congress must act to make these kinds of companies illegal!
These digital assassination services offer hit-jobs, character assassinations and economic reprisal programs to famous billionaires and corrupt politicians who are seeking revenge, retribution and vendetta executions.
In the case of reporters getting targeted for attacks, President Donald Trump has been accused by the liberal corporate media of whipping up a hateful frenzy against the press. But while CNN’s Jim Acosta grandstands against Trump, real journalists are still reeling from the draconian extrajudicial measures that Barack Obama and his administration used to target them for exposing truth.
This secretive targeting occurred while Obama speechwriter and hate-filled ANTIFA supporter Ben Rhodes was running “Operation Echo Chamber,” which reportedly continues, in which he fed information to willing corporate media scribes. “They literally know nothing,” Rhodes said of the twentysomething journalists he easily manipulated.
The Freedom of the Press Foundation’s Trevor Timm published documents showing how former attorney general Eric Holder changed the rules to more effectively intimidate and surveil members of the press.
Timm writes: “Today, we are revealing—for the first time—the Justice Department’s rules for targeting journalists with secret FISA court orders. The documents were obtained as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by Freedom of the Press Foundation and Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.”
Trending: Brennan and Clapper Accused of Hacking John Roberts To Blackmail Him
Here is the memo published by the Foundation, which dropped the documents in their entirety:
Obama is also clearly linked to the plot to obtain fraudulent FISA warrants on President Trump’s team, as evidenced by Peter Strzok and Lisa Page’s texts confirming that Obama was overseeing their fly-by-night operation.
Larry Schweikart reported for Big League Politics:
For months pundits and researchers have been pondering the mystery of the FISA approval that led to the illegal and historically titanic scandals to ever hit the U.S. government. Some have argued that Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein knew the FISA was bogus when he extended it. Others have wondered if Special Counsel Robert Mueller knew about the fraudulent basis of the FISA when he used it, in part, to indict Michael Flynn. Other still, that Mueller was fooled by the FBI.
This is what President Trump calls “SPYGATE”.
It may well be that the surveillance that was conducted began with UK intelligence services and then was fed back to the White House of Barack Obama. Here’s the kicker:
President Barack Obama did not need a FISA warrant to authorize spying/electronic surveillance on Trump because Obama all along had legal authorization to by-pass the normal court vetting process. According to 50 U.S. Code 1802, the “Electronic Surveillance Authorization” () “Foreign intelligence in relation to a US person (Trump or his associates) is information that’s necessary for the US to protect against attack, hostile acts, sabotage, . . . as well as other clandestine activities by a foreign power . . . OR . . . information relevant to national defense/security of the US, or the conduct of foreign affairs of the U.S.” Such an authorization by Obama required certification by Attorney General Loretta Lynch that must be logged with the FISC court. (“The [AG]+ shall immediately transmit under seal to the court [FISC] a copy of his certification.”)
In short, the DOJ has this. If we are correct, a copy of that certification is currently under seal at least with the DOJ and the FISC.
This is what they are hiding.
However, the Act requires the AG to keep the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Committee on Intelligence informed of these authorizations and unmaskings therein. See 1803 (a) (1) (C) If indeed this is what happened, did Lynch report—or only selectively report—to the committees in a way that excluded non-friendlies? Can you see why Adam Schiff, Mark Warner, and their ilk are terrified?
1) Obama authorized spying/electronic surveillance on Team Trump, by-passing normal judicial oversight.
2) To create “foreign intelligence,” John Brennan and others organized for UK intelligence to conduct surveillance on Trump and his associates, either from the UK or from UK assets within the U.S. This is another reason revealing this will unleash an excrement storm: the UK is about to be caught meddling bigly in an American election.
3) Lynch certified Obama’s authorization which is now held under seal by DOJ (and FISC).
From this authorization, all unmaking followed, as well as the FBI fraudulent counter intel investigation and perhaps the FISA warrant too. Obama knew this was all fake when he made the authorization; Lynch knew it was fake when she certified it; the entire inner circle, including the FBI, all knew. This takes the U.S. into uncharted territory, and could imperil any politician in the British government who supported this or had knowledge of it. Proving any of this would be difficult, as if confronted Lynch would almost certainly cover up and Obama would simply deny knowledge. Without a paper trail, a conviction might be a bridge too far. This is only one of thousands of "kill order" tactics introduced by the Obama Administration.
These are the playbook tactics that Senators and tech oligarchs most often use to destroy the lives of their political and business enemies:
- Government agency bosses sometimes solicit the target victims with false promises of future loans, contracts or grants from their agency and cause the target victims to expend millions of dollars and years of their time for projects which those government bosses had covertly promised to their friends. They use the target victims as a “smokescreen” to cover their illegal government slush-funds for the victims competitors and personal enemies. By using this tactic, the attackers can drain the target victims funds and force them into an economic disaster in plain view of everyone without the government bosses fearing any reprisal for their scam.
- Every match.com, okcupid.com, Plenty Of Fish, Seeking Arrangements and all other IAC-owned, or similar, dating sites (IAC is managed by Hillary Clinton's daughter) have had their profiles, texts, and inter-member communications, since those companies were started, hacked or purchased. The attack service providers use Palantir and In-Q-Tel financed data analysis software to analyze every activity in those dating services in order to find honey-trap, blackmail, sextortion and social conflict exploitation opportunities. If you had a bad date with someone, that someone will be hunted down and convinced to help harm, #metoo or "rape charge" the intended target. All dates involve a search for sex, so the likelihood that a sexual disappointment experience will exist in each persons dating history is high. Searching every past dating email and text of a subject is quite easy with modern software and hacking techniques. A synthetically amplified, PR-agency optimized sex scandal can destroy any target. Your dating experiences from the 70's or 80's will come back to haunt you decades later. Most dates involve drinking alcohol and taking drugs. If you were unattractive or had bad sexual skills your bad date will be called "date rape", "drugging your date for sex" and related twisted narratives that are designed to shame you, the target. If you try to get a date in the future, your potential date will be contacted by a third party who will slander and libel you to make sure your potential first date gets cancelled. Your social life will, essentially, end. Every photo on every dating site is cross checked with every other photo on the internet in order to cull your Facebook, Linkedin, Snapchat and other social media together to create a total psychological manipulation profile data file on you. A single photo on a dating site can be cross searched on every mugshot archive, photo album and corporate database in the worth within minutes using modern super-computers. Your sex life will be on public record in a flash.
- Social Security, SSI, SDI, Disability and other earned benefits are stone-walled. Applications of targets are “lost”. Files in the application process “disappeared”. Lois Lerner hard drive “incidents” are operated in order to seek to hide information and run cover-ups.
- Government officials and tech oligarchs contact members of the National Venture Capital association (NVCA) and created national “black-lists” to blockade target victims from ever receiving investor funding. This was also confirmed in a widely published disclosure by Tesla Motors Daryl Siry and in published testimony. If Silicon Valley political campaign finance oligarchs black-list you (see the "AngelGate" Scandal and the "High Tech No Poaching Class Action Lawsuit" cases) you will never get investor funding again.
- FOIA requests are hidden, frozen, stone-walled, delayed, lied about and only partially responded to in order to seek to hide information and run cover-ups.
- State and federal employees will play an endless game of Catch-22 by arbitrarily determining that deadlines had passed that they, the government officials, had stonewalled and obfuscated applications for, in order to force these deadlines that they set, to appear to be missed. This can bankrupt a target victim.
- Some Victims found themselves strangely poisoned, not unlike the Alexander Litvenko case. Heavy metals and toxic materials were found right after their work with the Department of Energy weapons and energy facilities. Many wonder if these “targets” were intentionally exposed to toxins in retribution for their testimony. The federal MSDS documents clearly show that a number of these people were exposed to deadly compounds and radiations, via DOE, without being provided with proper HazMat suits which DOE officials knew were required.
- Victims employers are called, and faxed, and ordered to fire target victims from their places of employment, in the middle of the day, with no notice, as a retribution tactic.
- On orders from Obama White House officials, DNC-financed Google, YouTube, Gawker Media and Gizmodo Media produce attack articles and defamation videos. Google locks this attack media on the internet on the top line, of the front page of all Google searches for a decade in front of 7.5 billion people, around the world. This attack-type uses over $40 million dollars in server farms, production costs and internet rigging. The forensic data acquired from tracking some of these attacks proves that Google rigs attacks against individuals on the internet and that all of Google’s “impressions” are manually controlled by Google’s executives who are also the main financiers and policy directors of the Obama Administration. This data was provided to the European Union for it’s ongoing prosecution of Google’s political manipulation of public perceptions.
- Victims HR and employment records, on recruiting and hiring databases, are embedded with negative keywords in order to prevent the victim targets from ever gaining future employment.
- Gary D. Conley, Seth Rich, Rajeev Motwani and many other whistle-blowers in these matters, turned up dead under strange circumstances. It is very possible that some of these attack services, operated by former CIA operatives, even offer discrete murder-for-sale services using high-tech assassination tools that make murders look like heart attacks and brain failures.
- Disability and VA complaint hearings and benefits are frozen, delayed, denied or subjected to lost records and "missing hard drives" as in the Lois Lerner case.
- Paypal (A DNC-biased operation) and other on-line payments for on-line sales are de-platformed, delayed, hidden, or re-directed in order to terminate income potential for target victims who competed with the attackers interests and holdings.
- DNS redirection, "website spoofing" sends target victims websites to dead ends where no sales orders or customer inquiries actually get back to the target. These internet revenue activity manipulations are conducted using Google and Amazon servers. All commercial storefronts and on-line sales attempts by target victims, will have had their sites hidden, or search engine de-linked by a massively resourced facility located in Virginia, Texas or Palo Alto, California in order to terminate revenue potentials for the target victims.
- Over 50,000 trolls, shills, botnets and synth-blog deployments are deployed to place defamatory statements and disinformation about victims in front of 7.5 billion people around the world on the internet in order to seek to damage their federal testimony credibility by a massively resourced facility.
- Campaign finance dirty tricks contractors are hired by campaign financiers to attack the friends and family members of the target victim in order to create low morale for the target victims psyche and motivation.
- Are you getting weird headaches and hearing a "buzzing sound" in your head? The U.S. Government has now acknowledged that the Cuban, Chinese and other embassy "sonic attacks" are from a known microwave beam weapon. Any one of the technical departments of the attack services listed at the top of this article can build such a biological harassment weapon. It can be aimed at the target victims office, bedroom or vehicle and, within a week, have caused biological and emotional damage using a weapon that has no visible track of trajectory. It is designed to make the target victim think they are "going crazy" or "hearing sounds in their head". While this may sound pretty out there, web search "Embassy sonic attacks" on the top 5 non-Google search engines and read the very credible reports of these attacks.
- In one case covert political partner: Google, transferred large sums of cash to dirty tricks contractors and then manually locked the media portion of the attacks into the top lines of the top pages of all Google searches globally, for years, with hidden embedded codes in the links and web-pages which multiplied the attacks on Victims by many magnitudes.
- Covert Cartel financier: Google, placed Google’s lawyer: Michelle Lee, in charge of the U.S. Patent Office and she, in turn, stacked all of the U.S. Patent Office IPR and ALICE review boards and offices with Google-supporting employees in order to rig the U.S. Patent Office to protect Google from being prosecuted for the vast patent thefts that Google engages in. Google has hundreds of patent lawsuits for technology theft and a number of those lawsuits refer to Google’s operations as “Racketeering”, “Monopolistic Cartel” and “Government Coup-like” behaviors. Thousands of articles and investigations detail the fact that Google, “essentially” ran the Obama White House and provided over 80% of the key White House staff. A conflict-of-interest unlike any in American history. Google’s investors personally told Applicant they would “kill him”. Google and the Obama Administration were “the same entity”. Applicant testified in the review that got Michelle Lee terminated and uncovered a tactical political and social warfare group inside Google who were financed by Federal and State funds.
- Honeytraps and moles were employed by the attackers. In this tactic, people who covertly worked for the attackers were employed to approach the “target” in order to spy on and misdirect the subject.
- Gawker Media, Gizmodo Media, Snopes, SPLC and other hired media assassins will be retained to produce "hatchet job" character assassination articles about you. Then those articles will be faxed, mailed and emailed to your employer and investors with a note saying: "You don't want to have anything to do with this person, do you..?" in order to get you fired from your job and get your loans or financing pulled. The attackers will use their round one attack media, that they authored, to create a round two second wave attack designed to end your life via economic warfare.
- Mortgage and rental applications will have had red flags added to them in databases to prevent the targets from getting homes or apartments.
- Krebs On Security, Wired, Ars Technica, The Wall Street Journal and most major IT publications have reported that hundreds of spy "back-doors" have been found on every Intel, AMD, Apple, Xfinity, Cisco, Microsoft, Juniper Networks motherboard, chip-set and hardware component set. This means that any kid with the "key" code can open any computer, server, router, cloud-network or other network connected device and read every file, photo, video, your calendar and email on your devices at any time from any location on Earth. The key codes have been released to every hacker community in the world for over ten years. There is now no government, corporate or personal data that can't be hacked, even data from decades ago. Every single one of your darkest secrets can be in the hands of your enemy within 60 minutes, or less. Important meetings you had planned with potential investors, employers, clients, dates, suppliers and others will suddenly get cancelled at the last minute. They will get cancelled because your enemies are reading your calendar remotely and covertly sending slander information to those you had hoped to engage with in order to sabotage your life. Nothing you have ever typed on a computer or Smartphone is safe. it WILL be acquired and it WILL be used against you.
- McCarthy-Era "Black-lists" are created and employed against target victims who competed with Obama Administration executives and their campaign financiers to prevent them from getting funding and future employment.
- Obama Administration targets were very carefully placed in a position of not being able to get jobs, unemployment benefits, disability benefits or acquire any possible sources of income. The retribution tactics were audacious, overt..and quite illegal.
- There are thousands of additional Dirty Tricks tactics being used by these Attack Services yet Congress refuses to pass laws out-lawing such attack services. The cost of an attack on a person ranges from $150,000.00 to over $50,000,000.00. While a Silicon Valley billionaire can afford to launch counter-measures to these attacks, any regular taxpayer will be utterly destroyed, and incapable of fighting back, against even the smallest version of one of these "kill orders". A number of modern office shootings are the results of these attacks against an individual who has lost everything because of the attack and has no options left.
Federal law enforcement, the United States Congress and the highest level investigators in the U.S., and abroad, have documented (per the “FISA Memo”, Congressional Reports and federal employee testimony) and proven the fact that the Obama Administration regularly engaged in the operation of retribution, vendetta and reprisal campaigns known as “hit-jobs” against domestic natural born U.S. citizen domestic taxpayers. The Federal Court, in at least one previous court case,has ruled that Applicants, in this particular matter, were the victims and target of a number of these attacks designed to inflict permanent medical, emotional, character assassination, brand negation, economic and career damage.
'They Can't Beat Him On The Law So They Are Trying To Destroy His Life' -Sen. Graham Questions Dems' Motives On Brett Kavanaugh Sexual Assault Allegations (dailycaller.com)
LINKS TO PROOF THAT WILL STAND UP IN COURT:
!!!!! Mueller Hears That Silicon Valley Has Been Manipulating The Entire BREXIT Campaign !!!!!!
- Second former employee of controversial data firm to be questioned by special counsel’s inquiry into Russia collusion
By Carole Cadwalladr
Brittany Kaiser is said to be cooperating fully with the Mueller inquiry.
A director of the controversial data company Cambridge Analytica, who appeared with Arron Banks at the launch of the Leave.EU campaign, has been subpoenaed by the US investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
A spokesman for Brittany Kaiser, former business development director for Cambridge Analytica – which collapsed after the Observer revealed details of its misuse of Facebook data – confirmed that she had been subpoenaed by special counsel Robert Mueller, and was cooperating fully with his investigation.
He added that she was assisting other US congressional and legal investigations into the company’s activities and had voluntarily turned over documents and data.
Kaiser, who gave evidence to the UK parliament last April in which she claimed Cambridge Analytica had carried out in-depth work for Leave.EU, is the second individual connected to the firm subpoenaed by the special counsel. The Electoral Commission has said its investigation into Leave.EU found no evidence that the campaign “received donations or paid for services from Cambridge Analytica …beyond initial scoping work”.
Damian Collins, chairman of parliament’s inquiry into fake news, said it was “no surprise” that Kaiser was under scrutiny by Mueller because “her work connected her to WikiLeaks, Cambridge Analytica and [its parent company] SCL, the Trump campaign, Leave.EU and Arron Banks”.
He said it was now vital Britain had its own inquiry into foreign interference: “We should not be leaving this to the Americans.”
Tom Watson, the deputy leader of the Labour party, echoed Collins’s statement, saying: “This is the first evidence that a significant player in the Leave.EU campaign is of interested to the global Mueller inquiry. People will be bewildered that the British government has no interest in establishing the facts of what happened.”
In August, Sam Patten, a US political consultant who had worked for Cambridge Analytica on campaigns in the US and abroad, struck a plea deal with Mueller after admitting he had failed to register as a foreign agent for a Ukrainian oligarch.
He became a subject of the special counsel’s inquiry because of work done with Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, in Ukraine. He had also set up a business with Konstantin Kilimnik, a key figure who Mueller has alleged has ties to Russian intelligence and who is facing charges of obstruction of justice. In a 2017 statement to the Washington Post, Kilimnik denied any connection to intelligence services. Kaiser, however, is the first person connected directly to both the Brexit and Trump campaigns known to have been questioned by Mueller.
The news came to light in a new Netflix documentary, The Great Hack, which premiered at the Sundance film festival last month and is expected to be released later this spring. Film-makers followed Kaiser for months after she approached the Guardian, including moments after she received the subpoena. She claims the summons came after the Guardian revealed she had visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange while still a Cambridge Analytica employee in February 2017, three months after the US election.
One part of Mueller’s investigation focuses on whether the Trump campaign sought to influence the timing of the release of emails by WikiLeaks before the election. Investigators are looking at communications between them. In the film, Kaiser says that she has gone from being a cooperating witness to a subject of investigation because of her contact with Assange.
In October 2017, it was revealed that Alexander Nix, the chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, had contacted Assange in August 2016 to try to obtain emails from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign – which indictments from Mueller’s team say were obtained by Russian military intelligence – to use in Donald Trump’s campaign. When Kaiser gave evidence to parliament last year, she was asked about her relationship with Assange and WikiLeaks but failed to reveal that she had met Assange.
In the documentary, Kaiser is shown after receiving an email from the Guardian last June asking about meeting Assange and alleged donations of cryptocurrency to WikiLeaks. Kaiser did not respond to the email at the time, but on camera says: “She knows I met Assange. And she knows I donated money to WikiLeaks in bitcoin.”
Her legal representatives later wrote to the paper to say that the allegations, including that she had “channelled” donations to WikiLeaks, were false. Kaiser said she had received a small gift of bitcoin in 2011 – long before she worked at Cambridge Analytica – and, not knowing what else to do with it, gave it to WikiLeaks, because she had benefited from material it had released over the years.
Her lawyer told the Observer that the meeting with Assange came about after a chance encounter in London with an acquaintance who knew him. It lasted 20 minutes and consisted mainly of Assange telling her “about how he saw the world”. He said they did not discuss the US election.
Patten and Kaiser were involved in a controversial election campaign in Nigeria in January 2015, which former Cambridge Analytica employees say had “unsettling” parallels to the US presidential election.
The Guardian revealed that the data firm had worked alongside a team of unidentified Israeli intelligence operatives on the campaign. Ex-Cambridge Analytica employees described how the Israelis hacked the now-president of Nigeria’s emails and released damaging information about him to the press weeks before the election.
CBS NEWS 60 MINUTES Lara Logan "I’m Being ‘Targeted’ For Saying the Media is ‘Mostly Liberal"
by Tamar Auber
On Wednesday, former CBS News foreign correspondent Lara Logan spoke with Fox News Sean Hannity about her recent comments slamming the media as “mostly liberal.”
Logan told Breitbart podcaster Mike Ritland the remarks made on his show — which drew widespread attention online — amounted to “professional suicide.”
Defending her remarks on Hannity’s show, Logan said that as the result of her speaking out about how the media is “mostly liberal” she has been targeted because she is an independent voice.
“Any journalists who are not beating the same drum and giving the same talking points,” she insisted “pay the price” for not going along with the liberal crowd.
She also called out her targeters by name.
“I know they’re going to come after me,” she told Hannity. “Michael Calderone who is at the Huffington Post. I can give you the script now. I can tell you who the players are. Joe Hagan. Brian Stelter.”
She added: “They smear you personally. They go after your integrity. They go after your reputation as a person and a professional. They will stop at nothing. I am not the only one. And I am just, I am done, right, I am tired of it. And they do not get to write my story anymore. They don’t get to speak for me, I want to say loudly and clearly to anybody who is listening, I am not owned. Nobody owns me, right? I’m not owned by the left or the right.”
Logan made headlines recently when, during a scorched earth podcast interview with Ritland, she said that there was a lot of “weight” in most news organizations on “one side of the political spectrum.”
“The media everywhere is mostly liberal. But in this country, 85 percent of journalists are registered Democrats. So that’s just a fact, right?” she told Ritland.
She also trashed reporting based on single, anonymous government sources.
“That’s not journalism, that’s horseshit,” Logan stressed. “Responsibility for fake news begins with us. We bear some responsibility for that, and we’re not taking ownership of that and addressing it. We just want to blame it all on somebody else.”
Internal documents from a private Israeli intelligence firm called Psy-Group show that, at the time of many incidents, the company, and possibly other private investigators, were targeting U.S. citizens because they spoke up about crimes.
Psy-Group’s intelligence and influence operations, which included a failed attempt in the summer of 2017 to sway a local election in central California, were detailed in a New Yorker investigation that I co-wrote earlier this month. Before it went out of business (ie: changed it's name) , last year, Psy-Group was part of a new wave of private-intelligence firms that recruited from the ranks of Israel’s secret services and described themselves as “private Mossads.” Psy-Group initially stood out among its rivals because it didn’t just gather intelligence; its operatives used false identities, or avatars, to covertly spread messages in an attempt to influence what people believed and how they behaved. In 2016, Psy-Group held discussions with the Trump campaign and others about conducting covert “influence” operations to benefit the candidate. Psy-Group’s founder and C.E.O., Royi Burstien, a veteran Israeli intelligence officer who established the firm in 2014, told me that his talks with the Trump campaign went nowhere. The company’s posturing, however, attracted the attention of Robert Mueller, the special counsel, who has been investigating interference in the 2016 Presidential race.'
FED BOMBSHELL: Fusion GPS Bribed Dozens of MSM Journalists With Cash To Run Character Assassinations, While News Companies Paid Firm to Dig Dirt on Trump
High-ranking FBI insiders are pulling back the curtain on Fusion GPS, the firm that commissioned and spread the bogus Trump dossier.
It appears the embattled intelligence firm was quite busy paying off Big Media reporters, according to federal sources who have traced dozens of transactions between TD Bank and media members as well as media organizations, sources confirm.
But stunningly, Big Media organizations have employed Fusion GPS to dig dirt on politicians and D.C.’s elite — namely Donald Trump.
“Fusion GPS was on the payroll of the media and in turn had members of the media on its payroll,” one FBI insider said.
FBI insiders confirm Fusion GPS employed law firms as well as shell companies to send and receive funds to and from media and reporters. But the embattled firm also used its accounts at TD Bank to directly commission reporters. Likewise, Fusion GPS received funds from media companies into its own accounts at TD Bank, FBI insiders said,
“There are dozens of payments from the media flowing into their (Fusion GPS’) account,” one federal law enforcement official said. “One company wired funds to Fusion (GPS) more than a dozen times.”
Why would media companies commission Fusion GPS? Likely to dig dirt on enemies or secure records that reporters could not legally obtain, one federal law enforcement insider said. One FBI insider said the payments to Fusion GPS coincide with Donald Trump’s run for the White House.
The payments were made between Sept. 2015 and Sept. 2017, records show.
The unthinkable: The mainstream media paying Fusion GPS for dirt on Trump to the same firm the Democratic National Committee paid to fund the bogus Trump dossier. And at the same time Fusion GPS bribing journalists to place stories — likely negative about Trump, as well as spread the bogus Trump dossier around.
Was Buzzfeed — the only company to publish the full bogus dossier — on that list?
And who is on the payroll? We are trying to run that information down.
And why aren’t these people behind bars?
Huge Covert Inside-Google Teams Engaged in Manual Interventions on Google Search Results To Rig Elections And Stock Market Results
- The "Google Algorithms" are manually created software instructions that allow Google's global server farms to monopolistically control news, information and perceptions around the world for the benefit of Google's elitist globalist bosses
- The Google empire controls most of the media on Earth, via many front corporations, and indoctrinates everyone in it's organization using 'cult' methodologies. Google owner's believe in "our-ideology-at-any-cost" and "the-ends-justify-the-means" scenarios. What could possibly go wrong?
- EYE-WITNESS GOOGLE STAFF AND PARTNER RECORDINGS AND TESTIMONY PROVE THAT GOOGLE IS A CRIMINAL INFORMATION MANIPULATION, STOCK MARKET-RIGGING, TAX-EVASION MONOPOLY THAT BRIBES CONGRESS
- ERIC SCHMIDT, DAVID DRUMMOND, JARED COHEN, SERGEY BRIN AND LARRY PAGE AT GOOGLE HAVE THIS THEORY THAT "STARTING CIVIL WARS IS GOOD FOR A SOCIETY..." SO THEY USE GOOGLE TO CREATE CULTURAL SPLITS. OTHERS MIGHT CALL THAT "TREASON". THEY CONSPIRE TOGETHER TO MASS MANIPULATE INFORMATION AND DELETE ALL COUNTER-POINT VIEWS FROM THE WEB. THEY LAUGH AT ANY ATTEMPT TO STOP THEM BECAUSE THEY BRIBE 90% OF THE GOVERNMENT.
- LARRY PAGE AND ELON MUSK SHARE SEX PARTNERS, LIVING ARRANGEMENTS, MONIES, DARK MONEY CAMPAIGN FINANCING, CENSORSHIP PROGRAMS TO PROTECT THE CRIMES OF EACH OTHER GETTING COVERED IN THE NEWS AND STOCK OWNERSHIPS.
- GOOGLE BOSSES, INCLUDING ERIC SCHMIDT, TOLD ASSOCIATES: "OBAMA NEVER WOULD HAVE BEEN ELECTED WITHOUT GOOGLE'S DIGITAL MASS PERCEPTION-MANIPULATION AND OPINION-STEERING TECHNOLOGIES..." SEE MORE AT: https://www.thecreepyline.com
Forensic Proof That Google Is A Cult:
Google was created to become the best-of-the-best, in mind-control, for social and political manipulation.
Steven Hassan, renown cult interdiction specialist and the author of " Combating Cult Mind Control" says:
"...there are universal patterns of manipulation; someone who's skilled (ie: Google) can figure out how to systematically and incrementally manipulate you into a vulnerable isolated place (like you computer screen) and start to control your information, control your behavior, control your thinking...to make you dependent and obedient. There are millions of people in mind control cults like this..."
The biggest lie ever told is the one that you tell yourself when you say that "subliminal messages and digital mind control have no effect on you". They do! The more you deny it, the better it works on you.
The young employees of Google are chosen for their naive and impressionable characteristics and then, as with Facebook, immersed in a synthetic bubble of ideological echo-chambering in order to push the precepts of the "Google Youth".
Google wants to mass-"Police" all political "tone" and ideology on the internet.
By Adrian Dennis
Google has “huge teams” working on manual interventions in search results, an apparent contradiction of sworn testimony made to Congress by CEO Sundar Pichai, according to an internal post leaked to Breitbart News.
“There are subjects that are prone to hyperbolic content, misleading information, and offensive content,” said Daniel Aaronson, a member of Google’s Trust & Safety team.
“Now, these words are highly subjective and no one denies that. But we can all agree generally, lines exist in many cultures about what is clearly okay vs. what is not okay.”
“In extreme cases where we need to act quickly on something that is so obviously not okay, the reactive/manual approach is sometimes necessary.”
The comments came to light in a leaked internal discussion thread, started by a Google employee who noticed that the company had recently changed search results for “abortion” on its YouTube video platform, a change which caused pro-life videos to largely disappear from the top ten results.
In addition to the “manual approach,” Aaronson explained that Google also trained automated “classifiers” – algorithms or “scalable solutions” that corrects “problems” in search results.
Aaronson listed three areas where either manual interventions or classifier changes might take place: organic search (“The bar for changing classifiers or manual actions on span in organic search is extremely high”), YouTube, Google Home, and Google Assistant.
Aaronson’s post also reveals that there is very little transparency around decisions to adjust classifiers or manually correct controversial search results, even internally. Aaronson compared Google’s decision-making process in this regard to a closely-guarded “Pepsi Formula.”
These comments, part of a longer post copied below, seem to contradict Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s sworn congressional testimony that his company does not “manually intervene on any particular search result.”
According to an internal discussion thread leaked to Breitbart News by a source within the company, a Google employee took issue with Pichai’s remarks, stating that it “seems like we are pretty eager to cater our search results to the social and political agenda of left-wing journalists.”
According to the posts leaked by the source, revealed that YouTube, a Google subsidiary, manually intervened on search results related to “abortion” and “abortions.” The intervention caused pro-life videos to disappear from the top ten search results for those terms, where they had previously been featured prominently. The posts also show YouTube intervened on search results related to progressive activist David Hogg and Democrat politician Maxine Waters.
In a comment to Breitbart News, a Google spokeswoman also insisted that “Google has never manipulated or modified the search results or content in any of its products to promote a particular political ideology.”
Pichai might claim that he was just talking about Google, not YouTube, which was the focus of the leaked discussion thread. But Aaronson’s post extends to Google’s other products: organic search, Google Home, and Google Assistant.
Aaronson is also clear that the manipulation of the search results that are “prone to abuse/controversial content” is not a small affair, but are the responsibility of “huge teams” within Google.
“These lines are very difficult and can be very blurry, we are all well aware of this. So we’ve got huge teams that stay cognizant of these facts when we’re crafting policies considering classifier changes, or reacting with manual actions”
If Google has “huge teams” that sometimes manually intervene on search results, it’s scarcely plausible to argue that Pichai might not know about them.
THE SMOKING GUN: Google Manipulated YouTube Search Results for Abortion, Maxine Waters, David Hogg In Order To Steer Politics And Stock Gains To Palo Alto Mafia and Pelosi/Feinstein Families
Alex Wong, Win McNamee/Getty, Screenshot/YouTube
In sworn testimony, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told Congress last month that his company does not “manually intervene” on any particular search result. Yet an internal discussion thread leaked to Breitbart News reveals Google regularly intervenes in search results on its YouTube video platform – including a recent intervention that pushed pro-life videos out of the top ten search results for “abortion.”
The term “abortion” was added to a “blacklist” file for “controversial YouTube queries,” which contains a list of search terms that the company considers sensitive. According to the leak, these include some of these search terms related to: abortion, abortions, the Irish abortion referendum, Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and anti-gun activist David Hogg.
The existence of the blacklist was revealed in an internal Google discussion thread leaked to Breitbart News by a source inside the company who wishes to remain anonymous. A partial list of blacklisted terms was also leaked to Breitbart by another Google source.
In the leaked discussion thread, a Google site reliability engineer hinted at the existence of more search blacklists, according to the source.
“We have tons of white- and blacklists that humans manually curate,” said the employee. “Hopefully this isn’t surprising or particularly controversial.”
Others were more concerned about the presence of the blacklist. According to the source, the software engineer who started the discussion called the manipulation of search results related to abortion a “smoking gun.”
The software engineer noted that the change had occurred following an inquiry from a left-wing Slate journalist about the prominence of pro-life videos on YouTube, and that pro-life videos were replaced with pro-abortion videos in the top ten results for the search terms following Google’s manual intervention.
“The Slate writer said she had complained last Friday and then saw different search results before YouTube responded to her on Monday,” wrote the employee. “And lo and behold, the [changelog] was submitted on Friday, December 14 at 3:17 PM.”
The manually downranked items included several videos from Dr. Antony Levatino, a former abortion doctor who is now a pro-life activist. Another video in the top ten featured a woman’s personal story of being pressured to have an abortion, while another featured pro-life conservative Ben Shapiro. The Slate journalist who complained to Google reported that these videos previously featured in the top ten, describing them in her story as “dangerous misinformation.”
Since the Slate journalist’s inquiry and Google’s subsequent intervention, the top search results now feature pro-abortion content from left-wing sources like BuzzFeed, Vice, CNN, and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. In her report, the Slate journalist acknowledged that the search results changed shortly after she contacted Google.
The manual adjustment of search results by a Google-owned platform contradicts a key claim made under oath by Google CEO Sundar Pichai in his congressional testimony earlier this month: that his company does not “manually intervene on any search result.”
A Google employee in the discussion thread drew attention to Pichai’s claim, noting that it “seems like we are pretty eager to cater our search results to the social and political agenda of left-wing journalists.”
One of the posts in the discussion also noted that the blacklist had previously been edited to include the search term “Maxine Waters” after a single Google employee complained the top YouTube search result for Maxine Waters was “very low quality.”
Google’s alleged intervention on behalf of a Democratic congresswoman would be further evidence of the tech giant using its resources to prop up the left. Breitbart News previously reported on leaked emails revealing the company targeted pro-Democrat demographics in its get-out-the-vote efforts in 2016.
According to the source, a software engineer in the thread also noted that “a bunch of terms related to the abortion referendum in Ireland” had been added to the blacklist – another change with potentially dramatic consequences on the national policies of a western democracy.
At least one post in the discussion thread revealed the existence of a file called “youtube_controversial_query_blacklist,” which contains a list of YouTube search terms that Google manually curates. In addition to the terms “abortion,” “abortions,” “Maxine Waters,” and search terms related to the Irish abortion referendum, a Google software engineer noted that the blacklist includes search terms related to terrorist attacks. (the posts specifically mentions that the “Strasbourg terrorist attack” as being on the list).
“If you look at the other entries recently added to the youtube_controversial_query_blacklist(e.g., entries related to the Strasbourg terrorist attack), the addition of abortion seems…out-of-place,” wrote the software engineer, according to the source.
After learning of the existence of the blacklist, Breitbart News obtained a partial screenshot of the full blacklist file from a source within Google. It reveals that the blacklist includes search terms related to both mass shootings and the progressive anti-second amendment activist David Hogg.
This suggests Google has followed the lead of Democrat politicians, who have repeatedly pushed tech companies to censor content related to the Parkland school shooting and the Parkland anti-gun activists. It’s part of a popular new line of thought in the political-media establishment, which views the public as too stupid to question conspiracy theories for themselves.
The full internal filepath of the blacklist, according to another source, is:
Responding to a request for comment, a YouTube spokeswoman said the company wants to promote “authoritative” sources in its search results, but maintained that YouTube is a “platform for free speech” that “allow[s]” both pro-life and pro-abortion content.
YouTube’s full comment:
YouTube is a platform for free speech where anyone can choose to post videos, as long as they follow our Community Guidelines, which prohibit things like inciting violence and pornography. We apply these policies impartially and we allow both pro-life and pro-choice opinions. Over the last year we’ve described how we are working to better surface news sources across our site for news-related searches and topical information. We’ve improved our search and discovery algorithms, built new features that clearly label and prominently surface news sources on our homepage and search pages, and introduced information panels to help give users more authoritative sources where they can fact check information for themselves.
The fact that Google manually curates politically contentious search results fits in with a wider pattern of political activity on the part of the tech giant.
In 2018, Breitbart News exclusively published a leaked video from the company that showed senior management in dismay at Trump’s election victory, and pledging to use the company’s power to make his populist movement a “hiccup” in history.
Breitbart also leaked “The Good Censor,” an internal research document from Google that admits the tech giant is engaged in the censorship of its own products, partly in response to political events.
Another leak revealed that employees within the company, including Google’s current director of Trust and Safety, tried to kick Breitbart News off Google’s market-dominating online ad platforms.
Yet another showed Google engaged in targeted turnout operations aimed to boost voter participation in pro-Democrat demographics in “key states” ahead of the 2016 election. The effort was dubbed a “silent donation” by a top Google employee.
Evidence for Google’s partisan activities is now overwhelming. President Trump has previously warned Google, as well as other Silicon Valley giants, not to engage in censorship or partisan activities. Google continues to defy him.
HOW GOOGLE RIGS ELECTIONS AND CHARACTER ASSASSINATION ATTACKS AROUND THE GLOBE FOR GOOGLE VC'S POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES AND VENDETTAS
BY ROBERT EPSTEIN
Authorities in the UK have finally figured out that fake news stories and Russian-placed ads are not the real problem. The UK Parliament is about to impose stiff penalties—not on the people who place the ads or write the stories, but on the Big Tech platforms that determine which ads and stories people actually see.
Parliament’s plans will almost surely be energized by the latest leak of damning material from inside Google’s fortress of secrecy: The Wall Street Journal recently reported on emails exchanged among Google employees in January 2017 in which they strategized about how to alter Google search results and other “ephemeral experiences” to counter President Donald Trump’s newly imposed travel ban. The company claims that none of these plans was ever implemented, but who knows?
While U.S. authorities have merely held hearings, EU authorities have taken dramatic steps in recent years to limit the powers of Big Tech, most recently with a comprehensive law that protects user privacy—theGeneral Data Protection Regulation—and a whopping $5.1 billion fine against Google for monopolistic practices in the mobile device market. Last year, the European Union also levied a $2.7 billion fineagainst Google for filtering and ordering search results in a way that favored their own products and services. That filtering and ordering, it turns out, is of crucial importance.
As years of research I’ve been conducting on online influence has shown, content per se is not the real threat these days; what really matters is (a) which content is selected for users to see, and (b) the way that content is ordered in search results, search suggestions, newsfeeds, message feeds, comment lists, and so on. That’s where the power lies to shift opinions, purchases, and votes, and that power is held by a disturbingly small group of people.
I say “these days” because the explosive growth of a handful of massive platforms on the internet—the largest, by far, being Google and the next largest being Facebook—has changed everything. Millions of people and organizations are constantly trying to get their content in front of our eyes, but for more than 2.5 billion people around the world—soon to be more than 4 billion—the responsibility for what algorithms do should always lie with the people who wrote the algorithms and the companies that deployed them.
In randomized, controlled, peer-reviewed research I’ve conducted with thousands of people, I’ve shown repeatedly that when people are undecided, I can shift their opinions on just about any topic just by changing how I filter and order the information I show them. I’ve also shown that when, in multiple searches, I show people more and more information that favors one candidate, I can shift opinions even farther. Even more disturbing, I can do these things in ways that are completely invisible to people and in ways that don’t leave paper trails for authorities to trace.
Worse still, these new forms of influence often rely on ephemeral content—information that is generated on the fly by an algorithm and then disappears forever, which means that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for authorities to reconstruct. If, on Election Day this coming November, Mark Zuckerberg decides to broadcast go-out-and-vote reminders mainly to members of one political party, how would we be able to detect such a manipulation? If we can’t detect it, how would we be able to reduce its impact? And how, days or weeks later, would we be able to turn back the clock to see what happened?
Of course, companies like Google and Facebook emphatically reject the idea that their search and newsfeed algorithms are being tweaked in ways that could meddle in elections. Doing so would undermine the public’s trust in their companies, spokespeople have said. They insist that their algorithms are complicated, constantly changing, and subject to the “organic” activity of users.
This is, of course, sheer nonsense. Google can adjust its algorithms to favor any candidate it chooses no matter what the activity of users might be, just as easily as I do in my experiments. As legal scholar Frank Pasquale noted in his recent book “The Black Box Society,” blaming algorithms just doesn’t cut it; the responsibility for what an algorithm does should always lie with the people who wrote the algorithm and the companies that deployed the algorithm. Alan Murray, president of Fortune, recently framed the issue this way: “Rule one in the Age of AI: Humans remain accountable for decisions, even when made by machines.”
Given that 95 percent of donations from Silicon Valley generally go to Democrats, it’s hard to imagine that the algorithms of companies like Facebook and Google don’t favor their favorite candidates. A newly leaked video of a 2016 meeting at Google shows without doubt that high-ranking Google executives share a strong political preference, which could easily be expressed in algorithms. The favoritism might be deliberately programmed or occur simply because of unconscious bias. Either way, votes and opinions shift.
It’s also hard to imagine how, in any election in the world, with or without intention on the part of company employees, Google search results would fail to tilt toward one candidate. Google’s search algorithm certainly has no equal-time rule built into it; we wouldn’t want it to! We want it to tell us what’s best, and the algorithm will indeed always favor one dog food over another, one music service over another, and one political candidate over another. When the latter happens … votes and opinions shift.
Here are 10 ways—seven of which I am actively studying and quantifying—that Big Tech companies could use to shift millions of votes this coming November with no one the wiser. Let’s hope, of course, that these methods are not being used and will never be used, but let’s be realistic too; there’s generally no limit to what people will do when money and power are on the line.
1. Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME)
Ongoing research I began in January 2013 has shown repeatedly that when one candidate is favored over another in search results, voting preferences among undecided voters shift dramatically—by 20 percent or more overall, and by up to 80 percent in some demographic groups. This is partly because people place inordinate trust in algorithmically generated output, thinking, mistakenly, that algorithms are inherently objective and impartial.
But my research also suggests that we are conditioned to believe in high-ranking search results in much the same way that rats are conditioned to press levers in Skinner boxes. Because most searches are for simple facts (“When was Donald Trump born?”), and because correct answers to simple questions inevitably turn up in the first position, we are taught, day after day, that the higher a search result appears in the list, the more true it must be. When we finally search for information to help us make a tough decision (“Who’s better for the economy, Trump or Clinton?”), we tend to believe the information on the web pages to which high-ranking search results link.
As The Washington Post reported last year, in 2016, I led a team that developed a system for monitoring the election-related search results Google, Bing, and Yahoo were showing users in the months leading up to the presidential election, and I found pro-Clinton bias in all 10 search positions on the first page of Google’s search results. Google responded, as usual, that it has “never re-ranked search results on any topic (including elections) to manipulate political sentiment”—but I never claimed it did. I found what I found, namely that Google’s search results favored Hillary Clinton; “re-ranking”—an obtuse term Google seems to have invented to confuse people—is irrelevant.
Because (a) many elections are very close, (b) 90 percent of online searches in most countries are conducted on just one search engine (Google), and (c) internet penetration is high in most countries these days—higher in many countries than it is in the United States—it is possible that the outcomes ofupwards of 25 percent of the world’s national elections are now being determined by Google’s search algorithm, even without deliberate manipulation on the part of company employees. Because, as I noted earlier, Google’s search algorithm is not constrained by equal-time rules, it almost certainly ends up favoring one candidate over another in most political races, and that shifts opinions and votes.
2. Search Suggestion Effect (SSE)
When Google first introduced autocomplete search suggestions—those short lists you see when you start to type an item into the Google search bar—it was supposedly meant to save you some time. Whatever the original rationale, those suggestions soon turned into a powerful means of manipulation that Google appears to use aggressively.
My recent research suggests that (a) Google starts to manipulate your opinions from the very first character you type, and (b) by fiddling with the suggestions it shows you, Google can turn a 50–50 split among undecided voters into a 90–10 split with no one knowing. I call this manipulation the Search Suggestion Effect (SSE), and it is one of the most powerful behavioral manipulations I have ever seen in my nearly 40 years as a behavioral scientist.
How will you know whether Google is messing with your election-related search suggestions in the weeks leading up to the election? You won’t.
3. The Targeted Messaging Effect (TME)
If, on Nov. 8, 2016, Mr. Zuckerberg had sent go-out-and-vote reminders just to supporters of Mrs. Clinton, that would likely have given her an additional 450,000 votes. I’ve extrapolated that number from Facebook’s own published data.
Because Zuckerberg was overconfident in 2016, I don’t believe he sent those messages, but he is surely not overconfident this time around. In fact, it’s possible that, at this very moment, Facebook and other companies are sending out targeted register-to-vote reminders, as well as targeted go-out-and-vote reminders in primary races. Targeted go-out-and-vote reminders might also favor one party on Election Day in November.
My associates and I are building systems to monitor such things, but because no systems are currently in place, there is no sure way to tell whether Twitter, Google, and Facebook (or Facebook’s influential offshoot, Instagram) are currently tilting their messaging. No law or regulation specifically forbids the practice, and it would be an easy and economical way to serve company needs. Campaign donations cost money, after all, but tilting your messaging to favor one candidate is free.
4. Opinion Matching Effect (OME)
In March 2016, and continuing for more than seven months until Election Day, Tinder’s tens of millions of users could not only swipe to find sex partners, they could also swipe to find out whether they should vote for Trump or Clinton. The website iSideWith.com—founded and run by “two friends” with no obvious qualifications—claims to have helped more than 49 million people match their opinions to the right candidate. Both CNN and USA Today have run similar services, currently inactive.
I am still studying and quantifying this type of, um, helpful service, but so far it looks like (a) opinion matching services tend to attract undecided voters—precisely the kinds of voters who are most vulnerable to manipulation, and (b) they can easily produce opinion shifts of 30 percent or more without people’s awareness.
At this writing, iSideWith is already helping people decide who they should vote for in the 2018 New York U.S. Senate race, the 2018 New York gubernatorial race, the 2018 race for New York District 10 of the U.S. House of Representatives, and, believe it or not, the 2020 presidential race. Keep your eyes open for other matching services as they turn up, and ask yourself this: Who wrote those algorithms, and how can we know whether they are biased toward one candidate or party?
5. Answer Bot Effect (ABE)
More and more these days, people don’t want lists of thousands of search results, they just want the answer, which is being supplied by personal assistants like Google Home devices, the Google Assistant on Android devices, Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google’s featured snippets—those answer boxesat the top of Google search results. I call the opinion shift produced by such mechanisms the Answer Bot Effect (ABE).
My research on Google’s answer boxes shows three things so far: First, they reduce the time people spend searching for more information. Second, they reduce the number of times people click on search results. And third, they appear to shift opinions 10 to 30 percent more than search results alone do. I don’t yet know exactly how many votes can be shifted by answer bots, but in a national election in the United States, the number might be in the low millions.
Recently, Trump complained that Twitter was preventing conservatives from reaching many of their followers on that platform through shadowbanning, the practice of quietly hiding a user’s posts without the user knowing. The validity of Trump’s specific accusation is arguable, but the fact remains that any platform on which people have followers or friends can be rigged in a way to suppress the views and influence of certain individuals without people knowing the suppression is taking place. Unfortunately, without aggressive monitoring systems in place, it’s hard to know for sure when or even whether shadowbanning is occurring.
7. Programmed Virality and the Digital Bandwagon Effect
Big Tech companies would like us to believe that virality on platforms like YouTube or Instagram is a profoundly mysterious phenomenon, even while acknowledging that their platforms are populated by tens of millions of fake accounts that might affect virality.
In fact, there is an obvious situation in which virality is not mysterious at all, and that is when the tech companies themselves decide to shift high volumes of traffic in ways that suit their needs. And aren’t they always doing this? Because Facebook’s algorithms are secret, if an executive decided to bestow instant Instagram stardom on a pro-Elizabeth Warren college student, we would have no way of knowing that this was a deliberate act and no way of countering it.
The same can be said of the virality of YouTube videos and Twitter campaigns; they are inherently competitive—except when company employees or executives decide otherwise. Google has an especially powerful and subtle way of creating instant virality using a technique I’ve dubbed the Digital Bandwagon Effect. Because the popularity of websites drives them higher in search results, and because high-ranking search results increase the popularity of websites (SEME), Google has the ability to engineer a sudden explosion of interest in a candidate or cause with no one—perhaps even people at the companies themselves—having the slightest idea they’ve done so. In 2015, I published a mathematical model showing how neatly this can work.
8. The Facebook Effect
Because Facebook’s ineptness and dishonesty have squeezed it into a digital doghouse from which it might never emerge, it gets its own precinct on my list.
In 2016, I published an article detailing five ways that Facebook could shift millions of votes without people knowing: biasing its trending box, biasing its center newsfeed, encouraging people to look for election-related material in its search bar (which it did that year!), sending out targeted register-to-vote reminders, and sending out targeted go-out-and-vote reminders.
I wrote that article before the news stories broke about Facebook’s improper sharing of user data with multiple researchers and companies, not to mention the stories about how the company permitted fake news stories to proliferate on its platform during the critical days just before the November election—problems the company is now trying hard to mitigate. With the revelations mounting, on July 26, 2018, Facebook suffered the largest one-day drop in stock value of any company in history, and now it’s facing a shareholder lawsuit and multiple fines and investigations in both the United States and the EU.
Facebook desperately needs new direction, which is why I recently called for Zuckerberg’s resignation. The company, in my view, could benefit from the new perspectives that often come with new leadership.
I am cheating here by labeling one category “censorship,” because censorship—the selective and biased suppression of information—can be perpetrated in so many different ways.
Shadowbanning could be considered a type of censorship, for example, and in 2016, a Facebook whistleblower claimed he had been on a company team that was systematically removing conservative news stories from Facebook’s newsfeed. Now, because of Facebook’s carelessness with user data, the company is openly taking pride in rapidly shutting down accounts that appear to be Russia-connected—even though company representatives sometimes acknowledge that they “don’t have all the facts.”
Meanwhile, Zuckerberg has crowed about his magnanimity in preserving the accounts of people who deny the Holocaust, never mentioning the fact that provocative content propels traffic that might make him richer. How would you know whether Facebook was selectively suppressing material that favored one candidate or political party? You wouldn’t. (For a detailed look at nine ways Google censors content, see my essay “The New Censorship,” published in 2016.)
10. The Digital Customization Effect (DCE)
Any marketer can tell you how important it is to know your customer. Now, think about that simple idea in a world in which Google has likely collected the equivalent of millions of Word pages of information about you. If you randomly display a banner ad on a web page, out of 10,000 people, only five are likely to click on it; that’s the CTR—the “clickthrough rate” (0.05 percent). But if you target your ad, displaying it only to people whose interests it matches, you can boost your CTR a hundredfold.
That’s why Google, Facebook, and others have become increasingly obsessed with customizing the information they show you: They want you to be happily and mindlessly clicking away on the content they show you.
In the research I conduct, my impact is always larger when I am able to customize information to suit people’s backgrounds. Because I know very little about the participants in my experiments, however, I am able to do so in only feeble ways, but the tech giants know everything about you—even things you don’t know about yourself. This tells me that the effect sizes I find in my experiments are probably too low. The impact that companies like Google are having on our lives is quite possibly much larger than I think it is. Perhaps that doesn’t scare you, but it sure scares me.
The Same Direction
OK, you say, so much for Epstein’s list! What about those other shenanigans we’ve heard about: voter fraud (Trump’s explanation for why he lost the popular vote), gerrymandering, rigged voting machines, targeted ads placed by Cambridge Analytica, votes cast over the internet, or, as I mentioned earlier, those millions of bots designed to shift opinions. What about hackers like Andrés Sepúlveda, who spent nearly a decade using computer technology to rig elections in Latin America? What about all the ways new technologies make dirty tricks easier in elections? And what about those darn Russians, anyway?
To all that I say: kid stuff. Dirty tricks have been around since the first election was held millennia ago. But unlike the new manipulative tools controlled by Google and Facebook, the old tricks are competitive—it’s your hacker versus my hacker, your bots versus my bots, your fake news stories versus my fake news stories—and sometimes illegal, which is why Sepúlveda’s efforts failed many times and why Cambridge Analytica is dust.
“Cyberwar,” a new book by political scientist Kathleen Hall Jamieson, reminds us that targeted ads and fake news stories can indeed shift votes, but the numbers are necessarily small. It’s hard to overwhelm your competitor when he or she can play the same games you are playing.
Now, take a look at my numbered list. The techniques I’ve described can shift millions of votes without people’s awareness, and because they are controlled by the platforms themselves, they are entirely noncompetitive. If Google or Facebook or Twitter wants to shift votes, there is no way to counteract their manipulations. In fact, at this writing, there is not even a credible way of detecting those manipulations.
And what if the tech giants are all leaning in the same political direction? What if the combined weight of their subtle and untraceable manipulative power favors one political party? If 150 million people vote this November in the United States, with 20 percent still undecided at this writing (that’s 30 million people), I estimate that the combined weight of Big Tech manipulations could easily shift upwards of 12 million votes without anyone knowing. That’s enough votes to determine the outcomes of hundreds of close local, state, and congressional races throughout the country, which makes the free-and-fair election little more than an illusion.
Full disclosure: I happen to think that the political party currently in favor in Silicon Valley is, by a hair (so to speak), the superior party at the moment. But I also love America and democracy, and I believe that the free-and-fair election is the bedrock of our political system. I don’t care how “right” these companies might be; lofty ends do not justify shady means, especially when those means are difficult to see and not well understood by either authorities or the public.
Can new regulations or laws save us from the extraordinary powers of manipulation the Big Tech companies now possess? Maybe, but our leaders seem to be especially regulation-shy these days, and I doubt, in any case, whether laws and regulations will ever be able to keep up with the new kinds of threats that new technologies will almost certainly pose in coming years.
I don’t believe we are completely helpless, however. I think that one way to turn Facebook, Google, and the innovative technology companies that will succeed them, into responsible citizens is to set upsophisticated monitoring systems that detect, analyze, and archive what they’re showing people—in effect, to fight technology with technology.
As I mentioned earlier, in 2016, I led a team that monitored search results on multiple search engines. That was a start, but we can do much better. These days, I’m working with business associates and academic colleagues on three continents to scale up systems to monitor a wide range of information the Big Tech companies are sharing with their users—even the spoken answers provided by personal assistants. Ultimately, a worldwide ecology of passive monitoring systems will make these companies accountable to the public, with information bias and online manipulation detectable in real time.
With November drawing near, there is obviously some urgency here. At this writing, it’s not clear whether we will be fully operational in time to monitor the midterm elections, but we’re determined to be ready for 2020.
- Robert Epstein is a senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology in California. Epstein, who holds a doctorate from Harvard University, is the former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today and has published 15 books and more than 300 articles on internet influence and other topics. He is currently working on a book called “Technoslavery: Invisible Influence in the Internet Age and Beyond.” His research is featured in the new documentary “The Creepy Line.” You can find him on Twitter @DrREpstein.
HERE IS WHAT YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT HOW GOOGLE IS USING YOUR ELECTRONICS TO ABUSE YOUR HUMAN SOCIAL RIGHTS, PROFITEER OFF YOUR PRIVACY AND PLAY MIND-GAMES WITH POLITICS:
With daily headlines about Google's Big Tech scandals, sex cults and clandestine data-sharing, there’s no better time to read up on these topics.
The choices below are listed in no particular order and, wherever possible, we link to author websites and privacy-respecting sources.
Reading about surveillance capitalism may not warm your heart, but it could put a fire in your belly and encourage you to #DemandFreedom in 2019.
The End of Trust – McSweeney’s Issue 54 (Nov. 2018)
Compiled by the team at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) for McSweeney’s, this collection features writing by luminaries like Cory Doctorow, Gabriella Coleman, Edward Snowden, Bruce Schneier, and many more. Among the gems within is a conversation between artist Trevor Paglen and journalist Julia Angwin, with Paglen having this to say about the intersection of freedom and privacy:
“I think I had the sense of growing up within structures that didn’t work for me and feeling like there was a deep injustice around that. Feeling like the world was set up to move you down certain paths and to enforce certain behaviors and norms [didn’t] work for me, and realizing that the value of this word formerly known as privacy, otherwise known as liberty, plays not only at the scale of the individual, but also as a kind of public resource that allows for the possibility of, on one hand, experimentation, but then, on the other hand, things like civil liberties and self-representation.”
Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyper-connected World – Bruce Schneier, W. W. Norton & Company (Sep. 2018)
Schneier’s latest book is a sobering account of the pitfalls of modern technology. It covers a lot of ground, such as the huge gap between security and implementation in Internet-of-Things devices. The author has a gift for raising questions that cause the reader to rethink the underlying technology behind seemingly-simple tech, like network-connected baby monitors:
“They’re surveillance devices by design, and can pick up a lot more than a baby’s cries. Of course, I had a lot of security questions. How is the audio and video transmission secured? What’s the encryption algorithm? How are encryption keys generated, and who has copies of them? If data is stored on the cloud, how long is it stored and how is it secured? How does the smartphone app, if the monitor uses one, authenticate to the cloud server?”
American Spies: Modern Surveillance, Why You Should Care, and What to Do About It – Jennifer Stisa Granick, Cambridge University Press (Jan. 2017)
Granick gives the reader a real sense of just how big, and just how pervasive, U.S. intelligence programs really are. The author doesn’t stop with government programs, however, and calls out Big Tech for its major role in population surveillance:
“Spying is thriving not only because of technology, but also because of modern business models. Much of the modern privacy problem is the result of people giving up their data – knowingly or otherwise – to obtain cool new products and services.”
Nothing to Hide: The False Tradeoff between Privacy and Security – Daniel J. Solove, Yale University Press (Jan. 2013)
This is a now-classic rumination on the deeply important role of privacy in autonomy and freedom. It quickly demolishes the “nothing to hide argument”, a constant refrain in today’s privacy debates, and continues to shed light on social and legal dimensions of surveillance. Here, Solove highlights contradictory perceptions of audio and video snooping:
“The electronic-surveillance statutes strongly protect against the government’s eavesdropping on your conversations but don’t protect against the government’s watching you. This distinction doesn’t make a lot of sense. Video surveillance involves similar threats to privacy as audio surveillance. As one court noted: ‘Television surveillance is identical in its indiscriminate character to wiretapping and bugging. It is even more invasive of privacy… but it is not more indiscriminate: the microphone is as ‘dumb’ as the television camera; both devices pick up anything within their electronic reach, however irrelevant to the investigation.'”
Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance – Julia Angwin, Times Books (Feb. 2014)
Angwin is no stranger to the many facets of surveillance capitalism, and this book is just as prescient now as it was five years ago. In that time, the author’s concerns have been validated, with the pace of Big Tech’s blunders only escalating. Angwin keeps the human element in constant view, giving vital context to headlines about privacy and data catastrophes:
“Skeptics say: ‘What’s wrong with all of our data being collected by unseen watchers? Who is being harmed?’ Admittedly, it can be difficult to demonstrate personal harm from a data breach. If Sharon or Bilal is denied a job or insurance, they may never know which piece of data caused the denial. People placed on the no-fly list are never informed about the data that contributed to the decision. But, on a larger scale, the answer is simple: troves of personal data can and will be abused.”
Free Software, Free Society, 3rd Edition – Richard M. Stallman, Free Software Foundation (Oct. 2015)
Stallman’s status as an icon in the Free/Libre world is often the focus of press. Bootstrapping GNU and the Free Software movement was no small feat, but there is too little focus on Stallman’s writing. The author’s philosophy is grounded in practical concerns and explained with a clear and mindful tone that few writers possess. This most recent edition of Stallman’s collected essays describes just how important liberty is in the contemporary digital context:
“If ‘cloud computing’ has a meaning, it is not a way of doing computing, but rather a way of thinking about computing: a devil-may-care approach which says, ‘Don’t ask questions. Don’t worry about who controls your computing or who holds your data. Don’t check for a hook hidden inside our service before you swallow it. Trust companies without hesitation.’ In other words, ‘Be a sucker.’”
Defending Politically Vulnerable Organizations Online – Sean Brooks, Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity (July 2018)
In this report from the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity (CLTC), Brooks provides a broad overview of the cybersecurity landscape. This is a great introduction for industry professionals and consumers alike, though it focuses on civil organizations that are often targeted for political reasons. The report’s citations are a valuable resource in their own right, providing context as well as technological solutions. The author is quick to point out lackluster investment in cybersecurity in both the public and private spheres, describing the vicious cycle this creates:
“The broad asymmetry between attackers and defenders online is unsurprising; politically vulnerable organizations lack resources and are therefore particularly under-protected. This problem is not unique to politically vulnerable organizations. Many public and private organizations have underinvested in cybersecurity and have become soft targets for criminals and other bad actors. Online attackers have continued to develop their offensive capabilities, exacerbating the mismatch.”
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup – John Carreyrou, Penguin Random House (May 2018)
This story of the rise and fall of biotech startup Theranos is a page-turner, described here with all the detail of investigative journalism. Carreyrou’s most interesting passages are those where the author describes the culture of Silicon Valley, where fraudulent CEO Elizabeth Holmes was desperately trying to fill the mold of her Big Tech heroes:
“For a young entrepreneur building a business in the heart of Silicon Valley, it was hard to escape the shadow of Steve Jobs. By 2007, Apple’s founder had cemented his legend in the technology world and in American society at large… to anyone who spent time with Elizabeth, it was clear that she worshipped Jobs and Apple.”
The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner – Daniel Ellsberg, Bloomsbury USA (Dec. 2017)
Decades after the legendary whistleblower disclosed the Pentagon Papers to the American public, Ellsberg’s warnings will still ring alarm bells and shock the reader. Through first-hand accounts, the author chronicles the nuclear program of the 1960’s and the dangers of the present day, describing the contrasting roles of secrecy and transparency, as well as their relationship to trust:
“Like discussion of covert operations and assassination plots, nuclear war plans and threats are taboo for public discussion by the small minority of officials and consultants who know anything about them. In addition to their own sense of identity as trustworthy keepers of these most-sensitive secrets, there is a strong careerist aspect to their silence.”
The Participatory Condition in the Digital Age – Electronic Mediations Book 51 (Nov. 2016)
This collection of articles spans the gamut from street protests to online “hacktivism” to Free and Open-Source collaboration. The editors expertly summarize the transdisciplinary tone of the volume in an introductions that’s worth contemplating in its own right. Among other issues, Gabriella Coleman describes Kate Crawford’s work on the power and scale of spying:
“Ubiquitous surveillance facilitated by [information and communications technology or ICTs] – what Crawford designates as ‘algorithmic listening’ – and the gathering of personal data currently operated by web-based corporations (commercial surveillance) and governments (the NSA program, for example) are not simply matters of privacy but also of scale and lack of accountability.”
Privacy and Big Data: The Players, Regulators, and Stakeholders – Terence Craig & Mary Ludloff, O’Reilly Media (Sep. 2011)
Published at a time when “Big Data” was more of a buzzword than a factor of everyday life, this book is a quick and easy introduction to the perils of the data economy. The lessons would seem dated if they weren’t still applicable, and there’s perhaps nothing more prescient than the fact that data can not only be sold by Big Tech to business partners, it can be given away:
“While the IP stakeholders have been busy redefining “privacy” for their own ends, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and others have been equally busy making billions of dollars collecting your data and using it for targeted advertising. Of course, any company or organization that collects data can offer it for sale or free.”
Habeas Data: Privacy vs. the Rise of Surveillance Tech – Cyrus Farivar, Melville House (May 2018)
Farivar exposes the role of common, household tech in the global surveillance apparatus, diving into the court cases and legal precedent that shapes the scope and limits of privacy and security. Above all, the author steeps his analysis in history, with quotes from legal heavyweights like Louis Brandeis, here discussing wiretaps in a famous dissenting opinion:
“‘The progress of science in furnishing the Government with means of espionage is not likely to stop with wiretapping,’ Brandeis wrote. ‘Ways may someday be developed by which the Government, without removing papers from secret drawers, can reproduce them in court, and by which it will be enabled to expose to a jury the most intimate occurences of the home.'”
Dr. Robert Epstein: Google Has the ‘Power to Flip ...
“That’s right and of course in most elections, especially close ones, it’s the undecided people who determine the outcome of the election, so if you can swing a lot of undecided people — and Google has at least three ways to do that that we’re studying,” responded Epstein.
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How Google Could Rig the 2016 Election - POLITICO Magazine
Google can drive millions of votes to a candidate with no one the wiser. ... By ROBERT EPSTEIN. August 19 ... of each candidate and then asked how much they liked and trusted each candidate and whom they would vote for.
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Dr. Robert Epstein Discusses The Battle for Your …
Boogywstew, based on voter turnout numbers for Republicans, it appears as though many stayed home as Romney wasn’t able to get the voters fired up.
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Dr. Robert Epstein: Research Documents Google Search - Breitbart
Psychologist Dr. Robert Epstein appeared on SiriusXM Patriot's Breitbart News Sunday to discuss ... Google encourages users to "go vote" ...
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Google's Search Algorithm Could Steal the Presidency | WIRED
Epstein's paper combines a few years' worth of experiments in which Epstein ... The team calls that number the "vote manipulation power," or VMP. ... It'd be easy to go all 1970s-political-thriller on this research, to assume that ...
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His latest research looks at how search engines can affect voters by suggesting negative or positive search terms when a political candidate’s name is entered into the search bar. Dr. Epstein’s research found that when negative search terms are suggested for a …
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People trust the “unbiased” internet search giant Google so much it can ... Clinton for president, prominent US psychologist and author Robert Epstein told ... All they have to do is send out “Go out and vote” reminders to Hillary ...
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When Black Cube Tried To Kill Me And My Reputation, The Bumbling Spies of Google's Private Mossad
A secretive Israeli investigative firm employs aggressive tactics that sometimes blow up
Darryl Levitt was eager to meet the British businessman who had emailed him about a potentially lucrative consulting contract. But shortly after he sat down in a restaurant at Toronto’s Hazleton Hotel, his host, Victor Petrov, steered the conversation to the topic of Mr. Levitt’s legal fight with a local financial company.
“I knew right away that the whole thing was a ruse,” said the Canadian lawyer. He broke off the October 2017 get-together. The fake nature of the meeting was crystallized when he remembered that “Viktor Petrov” was the Russian president in the popular Netflix thriller “House of Cards.”
“The Victor Petrov I met was a hapless actor,” said Mr. Levitt.
The stranger, he learned earlier this year, was Aharon Almog-Assoulin, an undercover agent for Black Cube, an Israeli private investigative firm. Mr. Almog-Assoulin declined to comment.
Cloak and Camera
Black Cube investigators adopt false identities to gather information in corporate or personal disputes.
Black Cube investigators adopt false identities to gather information in corporate or personal disputes.
Analysts research a targeted individual or company.
Staff members create fake business websites, promotional videos and LinkedIn pages for agents.
Field agents are given a phone, fake names, a script and sometimes wigs or other disguises to win over targets.
Targets, known as ‘objects,’ are sometimes lured to meetings at which conversations can be secretly recorded and later edited to distort conversations.
Source: People familiar with Black Cube
The secretive firm—often referred to in press reports as a “private Mossad”—has helped clients by covertly eliciting damaging information about competitors or legal opponents, among other things. But a number of its cases in recent years have been marred when flimsy cover stories were exposed by bumbling agents and risky tactics, according to a review of past cases and Black Cube internal documents, along with former employees, rivals, targets and clients.
Two agents blundered trying to dig up dirt on an outspoken Russia critic. An operative posing as a businessman unsuccessfully tried to prod a former Canadian judge to disparage Jews. Agents were exposed engineering a smear effort against financier George Soros in Hungary.
More companies and individuals are turning to private intelligence firms to gather evidence about adversaries—including embarrassing details—typically to gain the upper hand in legal battles. Black Cube is known for strategies such as creating fake businesses and personas to lure targets to meetings during which conversations are secretly taped.
In an interview, Efraim Halevy, a member of Black Cube’s advisory board, defended the firm’s use of fake identities, saying businesses need these tactics because “documents are becoming less prevalent” and the only evidence is “human sources.” He stressed that the company’s tactics—creating “virtual” situations to gain access and information—have “to be done in a legal manner.”
Despite some missteps, Black Cube “has to turn clients away because it cannot service all the demands,” said Mr. Halevy, a former head of the Mossad, an Israeli government intelligence agency. He said Black Cube has worked on 300 cases since being founded in 2010 by two former Israeli military intelligence officers, Dan Zorella and Avi Yanus. He objected to the term “private Mossad,” arguing that the firm specializes in business rather than political espionage.
“The majority of our successes remain below the radar,” the company said in a statement, adding that the firm “has never engaged in any illegal activities and all our operations and methodologies are backed by highly respected expert legal opinion in every jurisdiction in which we operate.”
Share Your Thoughts
Would you hire an investigations firm that uses subterfuge to gain a business advantage? Join the conversation below.
The firm has grown to roughly 120 employees and catapulted into the public eye through scandals involving fake identities and subterfuge. In one case, a Black Cube agent posed as a “women’s rights activist” to secretly record an actress on behalf of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein as part of his efforts to quash sexual-assault allegations.
Mr. Weinstein has “unequivocally denied” any nonconsensual sex.
Mr. Halevy said Black Cube’s board now reviews potential clients for red flags and rejects those that have been convicted of crimes, are involved in illegal practices or ask the Tel Aviv agency to flout the law. The firm pledged to donate profits from the Weinstein case to organizations supporting victims of sexual harassment.
Other Black Cube efforts have been lower profile. Consider the firm’s push to gather dirt in August 2017 on a prominent critic of Russia President Vladimir Putin.
Vladimir Ashurkov, executive director of Russia’s Anti-Corruption Foundation who lives in the U.K. after gaining political asylum in 2015, said he got an enticing pitch: A wealthy Indian businessman wanted to hire the small event-planning business Mr. Ashurkov ran with his wife to help him throw a huge party in London with dancers and musicians from Moscow. The unprompted email came from “Nile Bridge Capital.”
After dinner with one of the Nile Bridge executives in the Bvlgari Hotel, however, Mr. Ashurkov said he began to have doubts. He said the executive, “Patrik Dayan,” turned the conversation to Mr. Ashurkov’s work with Russian anticorruption campaigner Alexei Navalny. “How do you get money to him?” Mr. Dayan said in a lowered voice, according to Mr. Ashurkov, who said he deflected numerous queries before ending the dinner because “they seemed unbelievable and suspicious.”
In fact, Mr. Dayan and colleague “Vanessa Collins” were dispatched by Black Cube to dig up dirt on Mr. Navalny, one of the Russian government’s most outspoken critics, according to people familiar with the case. In an interview, Mr. Navalny said he’s “a problem for Putin.”
Black Cube targeted at least three other associates of his in the U.S. and Russia with similar ruses in what employees called “Project Vortex,” the people familiar with the case said. Black Cube’s Mr. Halevy said the case related to a client’s business dispute, and had no political purpose.
“Vanessa Collins” was Black Cube agent Stella Penn Pechanac, who had impersonated the “women’s rights activist” in the Weinstein case, and “Patrik Dayan” is Mr. Almog-Assoulin, the man who also once represented himself as “Victor Petrov” in Canada, according to people familiar with the case.
Mr. Almog-Assoulin declined to comment. Black Cube declined to comment on behalf of Ms. Pechanac.
Virtually all content on the website for Nile Bridge Capital, which said it was based in Geneva, has been deleted. No records for a company of that name could be discovered.
Private investigators have long resorted to a form of deception known as “pretexting” to gather information in corporate or personal disputes. Most developed countries prohibit impersonating people to obtain private information such as phone, bank or medical records, but using assumed identities can be legal in other contexts.
Such deceptions are critical to how Black Cube operates. After its analysts research targets, case managers bring in field agents, who are given a phone, fake names, a script and sometimes wigs or other disguises to deceive targets—“objects” in the firm’s internal parlance—according to people familiar with the firm.
Staff members create fake business websites, promotional videos and LinkedIn pages for the agents. Phone numbers listed on the fake sites and emails are usually routed to Black Cube’s Tel Aviv headquarters, where staffers answer phones pretending to be employees of the sham companies, the people said.
Black Cube typically tries to lure targets to large European cities such as London, Amsterdam, Prague and Vienna, to meet undercover agents equipped with hidden cameras or microphones, these people said.
The tactic can be successful. In 2016, insurer AmTrust Financial Services Inc. hired Black Cube to probe an ex-business partner with whom it was embroiled in a legal dispute. Under the pretext they represented Chinese investors, Black Cube investigators using fake identities secretly taped the businessman boasting that he had bribed an arbitrator overseeing the AmTrust dispute, according to a lawsuit AmTrust filed in a U.S. federal court.
The parties settled. Both sides said the settlement was confidential and the former business partner said in a text message that he didn’t “corrupt anyone.”
Mr. Halevy also pointed to Black Cube’s recent role in a case where agents developed evidence against an allegedly corrupt Panamanian judge, and another in which they traced significant financial assets allegedly belonging to an Israeli businessman who had filed for bankruptcy.
Less successful was a 2017 effort by a Black Cube agent to prod a retired Canadian judge named Frank Newbould into making negative remarks about Jewish people. In remarks to reporters in 2016, Catalyst Capital Group Inc. had accused Mr. Newbould of “severe indications of possible bias” after he dismissed the Toronto company’s legal claim against a rival and criticized testimony from a controlling shareholder who is Jewish.
Catalyst appealed the ruling and Black Cube was brought in to help. The Israeli firm dispatched an agent posing as a U.K. businessman to approach the retired judge seeking advice about an unrelated arbitration, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The agent—identified by people familiar with the matter as Erez Gabriel Michaeli—said he was representing a client who was concerned about “the Jewish way of doing things,” and tried to get Mr. Newbould to agree that Jewish business people are “all the time trying to make more than they should,” according to excerpts of a transcript of a secretly taped conversation published in a Canadian newspaper and a person familiar with the matter.
The retired judge didn’t bite. Catalyst’s appeal of the judge’s decision was dismissed last year.
Black Cube, which declined to comment on behalf of Mr. Michaeli, said its agents “did not ‘prod’ Mr. Newbould to say anything negative about Jewish business people or Jewish people in general.” Black Cube’s Mr. Halevy said Catalyst’s legal fight continues and “Black Cube’s role will be understood and accepted” when it is over.
Catalyst said it had no prior knowledge of the meeting with Mr. Newbould, and that Black Cube acted “lawfully” on its behalf.
“That is not acceptable conduct,” said Steve Kirby, a Chicago-area private investigator and past president of the profession’s global association, Council of International Investigators, although he adds: “It is not unlawful to lie.”
As Black Cube evolved, it hired law firms to verify the legality of edgy “operational methodologies,” according to an internal presentation. In devising strategies, employees were told not to “steal” a real person’s identity. They were told it was legal to misrepresent yourself unless it was for direct monetary gain, such as tricking someone into making a bad investment, according to the people familiar with the firm’s work.
Employees undergo annual polygraphs to ensure discretion and loyalty, the people said. Tests include a question about whether an employee had covertly recorded conversations with Black Cube employees or revealed the identities of agents to any outsiders, they said.
To immerse themselves in espionage, some employees binge-watched the TV spy thriller “The Americans” and read “By Way of Deception,” the best-selling book about the making of a Mossad officer, according to the people familiar with the firm’s work.
Black Cube would regularly send employees to Paris or Vienna to buy prepaid credit cards for use by the field agents or to buy website domains at online auctions that couldn’t be traced for cover stories, according to people familiar with the matter.
Disenchantment grew at Black Cube following media reports in 2017 about the firm’s aggressive efforts to gather information about women alleging they had been sexually assaulted by Mr. Weinstein, according to people familiar with the firm; several employees sought to find new jobs, they said.
The firm typically applies secret code names and restricts information about each of its projects to small teams. Some Black Cube employees were shocked by the Weinstein revelations.
Ms. Pechanac, who resigned last week from the firm, told employees during a 2018 presentation that she didn’t regret her work on the Weinstein case, saying she was only tasked with finding out if there was a secret campaign by rival film studios to denigrate Mr. Weinstein, the people familiar with the matter said.
Meantime, some Black Cube agents have had missions derailed after encounters with targets and high-risk tactics backfired in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
Two Black Cube agents were jailed in Romania in 2016 after police accused them of illegally using devices and software to intimidate the country’s chief of anticorruption. The men received suspended sentences after pleading guilty, according to Romanian media.
That case was the only time Black Cube worked for a politically motivated client, said Mr. Halevy. He said the firm now expressly doesn’t work for any government or in any politically directed case.
Last year, Black Cube’s cover was blown on a case targeting billionaire George Soros. Employees with European aid groups funded by Mr. Soros were separately invited in early 2018 to meet with individuals in Europe and the U.S., said Csaba Csontos, a Berlin-based spokesman for the Soros-backed Open Society Foundations.
Some of the meetings in various hotels were secretly recorded, heavily edited and replayed by Hungarian media, which wrongly suggested Mr. Soros favored mass refugee settlements in Hungary, Mr. Csontos said.
The recordings were so primitively edited, said Mr. Csontos, that background hotel music skipped erratically like a broken record, adding: “It was ridiculous.”
The project, code-named “Project Mantlepiece,” according to people familiar with the matter, was exposed as a Black Cube ruse when two operatives made the mistake of inviting an official with a Hungarian refugee-aid group, unrelated to Mr. Soros, to Vienna for a meeting. The aid worker grew suspicious when questioned about Mr. Soros and he took photos of his hosts, Mr. Csontos said.
The people familiar with the matter identified the man as one of the firm’s top agents, Dan Lieberman. Black Cube declined to comment on behalf of Mr. Lieberman.
Excerpts of the edited recording were published by Hungarian media and Mr. Soros was portrayed on billboards and in some media as the mastermind of a secret plan to flood the country with illegal immigrants. After the smear campaign, anti-immigrant and right-wing populist Viktor Orban was re-elected Prime Minister.
Black Cube’s Mr. Halevy said the case was initiated by a businessman, whom he declined to identify, embroiled in a private dispute with Mr. Soros.
“In order to get people to talk you need to create a specific world which is a virtual world,” he said. “It’s like creating a play.”
—Mark Maremont in Boston contributed to this article.