The Trump Doctrine In Action During The Campaign: Is There Any Agent Of Influence Donald Trump Jr Didn’t Meet With?

Apparently not! From The New York Times:

Three months before the 2016 election, a small group gathered at Trump Tower to meet with Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son. One was an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation. Another was an emissary for two wealthy Arab princes. The third was a Republican donor with a controversial past in the Middle East as a private security contractor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The interviews, some in recent weeks, are further evidence that special counsel’s investigation remains in an intense phase even as Mr. Trump’s lawyers are publicly calling for Mr. Mueller to bring it to a close.

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

Zamel founded and runs Wikistrat*, as well as several other defense and intelligence sector companies. The one in question here is Psy-Group, whose website is basically a front page. Given that Zamel is an Israeli counter-terrorism specialist and employs former Israeli intelligence personnel, there is no way, shape, or form that he was involved with this without Netanyahu’s tacit approval. Erik Prince, of course, is now a wholly funded asset and subsidiary of the People’s Republic of China. And it appears that this most recent reporting is further proof that Prince lied in his testimony to Congress.

According to The New York Times reporting, Zamel is also tied to Oleg Deripaska, who was Paul Manafort’s sugar daddy for Manafort’s work on behalf of Putin’s Ukrainian catspaw Viktor Yanykovych. As well as Dmitry Ryobololev. Ryobololev bought the President’s previous south Florida mansion for a significant markup. But the key piece in all of this is George Nader, who we know has been cooperating with Special Counsel Mueller since late last year. Nader served as the middle man for this meeting, just as he did for Erik Prince’s Seychelles’ meeting with Kirill Dmitriev, who is a close associate of Putin’s. Nader is also the bridging node to Elliott Broidy, who like Michael Cohen, is one of the RNC’s Finance Chairs.

What we have here is the Trump Doctrine at work during the campaign. In this case the Saudis and Emiratis, in conjunction with an Israeli counterterrorism specialist who owns several defense and intelligence contracting companies that employ former Israeli intelligence personnel, offering to help the President’s campaign in order to ensure that he would win. And offering to do so in a way that seems very, very reminiscent of what Cambridge Analytica was supposedly doing for the campaign. The Saudis and Emiratis certainly had their own interests in making this offer; they were upset over the US led JCPOA agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear weapons program. But they also had other interests.

The Emirati crown prince, Muhammed bin Zayed (MBZ), has taken it upon himself to mentor both the Saudi crown prince, Muhammed bin Salman (MBS), and Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner. By treating the President fairly via his campaign, MBZ and MBS were setting the conditions to have their interests in the Middle East given priority should the President’s campaign prove successful, which it was. This is also what Prince and Zamel were hoping to get out of providing support.

Treating then candidate Trump fairly was intended to provide very lucrative opportunities for Muhammed bin Zayed, Muhammed bin Salman, Erik Prince, Josh Zamel, George Nader, and the latter three’s patrons should the campaign prove successful. This is just the latest reported example of the President’s campaign being open to and/or actively seeking foreign assistance during the campaign. We’re not talking about receiving a donation or two from someone who shouldn’t have, realizing it, coming clean in an FEC filing, and donating it to charity or returning the donation. We’re talking about actively seeking out or being actively receptive to receipt of foreign assistance in goods and services in order to advance the campaign. And remember, Nader has been cooperating with the Special Counsel’s Office since last year, so the Special Counsel and his staff know everything and have known it long before The New York Times broke the story this morning. And woven through all of this new reporting are Russians. You can’t diagram anyone in the President’s familial, business, or campaign orbit, as well as several in the administration, without quickly linking to an influential Russian oligarch tied to Vladimir Putin. That is NOT normal!

Stay frosty!

Open thread.

* Here’s Wikistrat’s subject matter experts. See anyone you know?

138 replies
  1. 1
    Corner Stone says:

    The meetings, which have not been reported previously, are the first indication that countries other than Russia may have offered assistance to the Trump campaign in the months before the presidential election.

    Strongman dictatorships know a sucker when they see one.

  2. 2
    David Anderson says:

    Does this tie into Flynn and
    nuclear reactors as well?

  3. 3
    JPL says:

    Mueller: How many countries did you try to collude with?

    Don Jr. All of them, katie.

  4. 4

    Does J-Kush selling 666 Fifth Avenue to (basically) Qatar fit in to all this?

    OT: I am pleased to announce I’ve sold my first short story. Sorry Adam.

  5. 5
    p.a. says:

    Hmmm… Saudi and, was it UAE, vs Qatar? Timing of the Saudi palace ‘reshuffling’ and junior’s visit? Timeline time…

  6. 6
  7. 7
    Lapassionara says:

    @Major Major Major Major: congratulations! Way to go!

  8. 8
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @David Anderson: Flynn was involved with the meeting. How it fits into his nuclear reactor pitch, I don’t know.

    I will say, and I’ll have more on this either tomorrow or Monday as I’m waiting to see how the subsequent coverage is, that the informant that the NYTimes and WaPo wrote about yesterday became an informant in 2014 after observing LTG (ret) Flynn observing Flynn at an intel conference being held by a group he was involved in at Cambridge. This was in 2014. He was troubled that Flynn was cozied up to by a Russian coed who attended the conference. And reached out to his US intel contacts as a result. Remember those creepy tweets Flynn sent to that Russian grad student where he signed them “General Misha”? That was the result of this. Classic honeypot dangle. Though I doubt Flynn had an affair with her. More that they were following up on the original approach that I think, as my professional opinion, occurred when he went to Russia as DIA Director and lectured at the GRU academy.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    Skepticat says:

    So, you’re telling me that this is just another group of hijackers backed by the Saudis?

  11. 11
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Why are you apologizing. That’s great. Congratulations.

    It appears that the Qatari overtures were separate. My take is that the Qataris got wind of the Saudi and Emirati overtures and started their own channel to buy influence. First during the transition with Kushner’s dad that wasn’t successful and then the follow up now, which appears to have been successful. In between the two approaches, of course, was Saudi and UAE getting the US to isolate Qatar.

  12. 12
    Corner Stone says:

    @David Anderson: I note that Dick Mayhew’s brother Tom is listed as a Wikistrat SME. Seems suspicious, in a suspicious kind of way.

  13. 13
    Breezeblock says:

    That’s a lot of “experts”. Only name I recognized was Pipes. Should we consider this a Rogues’ Gallery, or could there be some in here that thought they were just doing mundane stuff?

  14. 14
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Skepticat: Apparently it really was Flight 93/9-11 election after all. Michael Anton was right despite being wrong.

  15. 15

    @Adam L Silverman: because it’s the one where I appropriated one of your people’s mystical traditions 😁

  16. 16
    Formerly disgruntled in Oregon says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Cool – congrats!

  17. 17
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Breezeblock: Some of those folks are legit. A former colleague of mine is on there. Some of them are sketchy – Pipes, Gartensteen-Ross, etc. One should seem very familiar to those in the left of center blogosphere.

  18. 18
    Millard Filmore says:

    Hi Adam, your first “(MBS)” should be “(MBZ)”

  19. 19
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Major Major Major Major: …wait, did you sell it to Adam? :)


  20. 20
    Corner Stone says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Does J-Kush selling 666 Fifth Avenue to (basically) Qatar fit in to all this?

    IMO, Qatar got the hard sell early on and the, “Nice country you got there. Be a shame…” pitch and didn’t go for it. Now they are playing catch up big time and throwing cash at anything that moves that has Trump stink on it.

  21. 21
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Major Major Major Major: We are aware. Appropriate sanctions were approved by the Elders at the last meeting. Operatives have been activated. Enjoy your remaining time…//

  22. 22
    Frans says:

    There are more Russians close to Trump than in “War and Peace”.

  23. 23
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Millard Filmore: Thanks. Fixed.

  24. 24
    Jager says:

    I pressure washed my sidewalks today, then I came in and read this. Now I need to pressure wash my head I’m so pissed. Actually I’d like to pressure wash the fake tan off trump’s bloated face. Then shove my washer up his fat ass at 1500 lbs per sq inch.

  25. 25
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Fucking sell-out. What happened to you? You used to be cool.

    Seriously though, congrats.

  26. 26
    Jeffro says:

    See anyone you know?

    No, but DANG that is one heck of a long list ! Who knew that wingnut welfare could extend so far down the food chain?

    (Bonus: I did spot an “Olin” and I do not believe in coincidences )

    What do you think: $5-10k retainer each, in exchange for the veneer of legitimacy and the ability to babble nonsense on Fox news with two hours’ notice ?

  27. 27
    Corner Stone says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I was going to ask you if an association automatically made the eyebrow raise or pucker factor increase. Joyner, Slaughter, Farley, a couple others. I wouldn’t mind if someone intro’d me to Dr. Maha Hosain Aziz.

  28. 28
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Jager: That is remarkably specific.

  29. 29
  30. 30
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jeffro: I have no idea. I’ve been approached on a couple of these over the years. I have never said yes. The first one wanted me involved so badly that they were going to shift an international trip to Israel to accommodate me. As a result, I’m not rich, but I can look at myself in the mirror every day without flinching.

  31. 31
    HinTN says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Yes, sir. It sure was. Thanks for this informative explication.

  32. 32
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Corner Stone: It is what it is.

  33. 33
    HinTN says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Turned up to 11.

  34. 34
    Corner Stone says:

    Did Trump really misspell Melania’s name in a tweet welcoming her back to the WH? It’s spelled correctly in his feed but on Cole’s twit feed there’s the PressSecBot twit that has it as Melanie.

  35. 35
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Corner Stone: He did. Then he corrected it.

  36. 36
  37. 37
    Suffragettecity says:

    Has there been any cogent explanation for what was happening (shots heard fired) at Saudi palace within the last couple of weeks?
    I’m hoping Erik Prince lands his azz in jail over this.

  38. 38
    Corner Stone says:

    This breaking news is oddly well timed for some reviewing I have been doing recently. Going back and watching videos about the 2016 election and what happened and all that. The immediate excuse making in Dec 2016/Jan 2017 by these panels is just hilarious. Or would be if Trump wasn’t squatting in the WH dedicated to destroying our democracy while he lines his pockets.

  39. 39
    Jeffro says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Smart…no, wise man.

    I’m seriously in a bit of awe. Just this one org, stretched far and wide, and all with impressive-looking mostly-real* credentials to boot. Probably put together for well under a half-mil, and ready at a moment’s notice.

    *I think there were two “security experts” whose cred consisted of “keeping up on the Middle East for 25 years” or something. Translation: “ I’ve read a daily paper more often than not.” Which to be fair, is more than 95% of Americans…

  40. 40
    JPL says:


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

    Ruemmler was White House Counsel for President Obama..

    Trump is so going to tweet that it is Obama’s fault.

  41. 41
  42. 42
    Jager says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Yes and we could put it on pay per view.

  43. 43
    Amir Khalid says:

    At first I thought Wikistrat might have something to do with my current musical obsession. Then I clicked on the link and was disappointed.

    At this point I would be more surprised if there were some foreign player who had not met with Don Jr. I am amused at the idea that certain Arab crown princes seemed to regard him as a fellow crown prince.

  44. 44
    debbie says:

    DJTJ: Daddy’s Good Errand Boy.

  45. 45
    mike in dc says:

    Mueller will go dark 60 days out from the mid-term elections, so if more indictments are coming before then, it will happen in the next…carry the two…110 days or so. I don’t expect Mueller’s report to be sent to Rosenstein until some time next year.

  46. 46
    B.B.A. says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Brookfield isn’t “basically Qatar”, it’s an actual massive real estate development company, the kind Trump and Kushner only dream of having. Qatar as a minority shareholder may have influenced this particular deal, but that’s speculation on NYT’s part. Actual control of Brookfield, as far as I can tell, belongs to a bunch of old white Canadian dudes.

  47. 47

    @B.B.A.: from the Times, “the Qatar Investment Authority is the second-biggest investor in Brookfield Property Partners, Brookfield’s real estate arm.”

    ETA I think I’d misread a different article as saying the QIA was a plurality holder of the unit though.

  48. 48
    JMG says:

    @mike in dc: He can’t go dark in that time frame because the Manafort trial starts in mid-September. That’s evidence presented in open court. He (or the defense) would have to ask for a postponement, which I’m not sure a judge would be happy to give.

  49. 49
    Steeplejack says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Congratulations on the story sale! Whence or to where?

  50. 50
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @mike in dc: @JMG: Mueller is already running silent. Unless someone he is looking to indict is on a ballot somewhere, political time is not his concern.

  51. 51
    Buckeye says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Some of those folks are legit. A former colleague of mine is on there. Some of them are sketchy – Pipes, Gartensteen-Ross, etc. One should seem very familiar to those in the left of center blogosphere.

    I see Prof. Robert Kelly AKA BBC Dad.

  52. 52
    Another Scott says:

    @Suffragettecity: My recollection is that it was reported within a few hours after it happened that there was a small drone where it shouldn’t have been and they were trying to shoot it down. It seems to have been a genuine nothingburger.

    There was some discussion here about it. Google indexes this site pretty well, so it should be fairly easy to find.



  53. 53
    Amir Khalid says:

    @mike in dc:
    That will disappoint commenter oldgold, who devoutly believes Mueller is supposed to be working to help the Democratic party win the midterms.

  54. 54
  55. 55
    Another Scott says:

    @Adam L Silverman: As I mentioned downstairs, Memeorandum has a blurb from GG at TheIntercept giving the guy’s name, and seemingly being quite proud of himself about it.

    Shocking, I know.

    (I haven’t read the story myself – don’t want to give GG any clicks.)


  56. 56
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I’m off to the gym. Back later.

  57. 57
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Another Scott: The right wing/conservative/alt-right/conspiracy blogosphere and social media outlets are working over time to pump his name out there.

  58. 58
    B.B.A. says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I looked up the SEC ownership filings. Qatar owns 7%, Partners Ltd (consisting of the aforementioned old Canadians) owns 69%. Confusingly there’s a bunch of interlocking shell companies all called “Brookfield” with ownership stakes in each other, but it’s Partners Ltd at the top of the pile.

    Again it’s possible that the Qataris influenced this deal, but they certainly weren’t the shot-callers.

  59. 59
  60. 60

    @B.B.A.: gotcha. I had thought they were supremely influential in the particular shell company in question. I guess I was wrong.

  61. 61
    Suffragettecity says:

    @Another Scott:
    I had seen something about a drone but did not know that really was the problem. Thanks!

  62. 62
    Corner Stone says:

    @Another Scott: Google indexes this site worth shit. It used to but in the last year+ it has a real recency bias and apparently no way to sell ads off relevant hits, so they just don’t care. Google Search has gone to complete shit and I can no longer use it because it’s so bad.

  63. 63
    Corner Stone says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I do not believe it’s possible to dismiss Qatar’s influence on this deal at the present time. Others may have fuel efficiency standards that vary.

  64. 64
    JPL says:

    The asshole is tweeting about the FBI and DOJ. I just wish they’d lock the asshole up.

  65. 65
    Another Scott says:

    @Corner Stone: It’s better than nothing, and I usually don’t have much trouble finding what I’m looking for.

    E.g. “ saudi drone” immediately returns this as the first hit.

    But there’s definitely a more-recent bias, for sure.


  66. 66
    Corner Stone says:

    @Suffragettecity: They scrambled half the freaking national defense force (or whatever they call it) and had reports of sustained gunshots. Including video. I find it deeply suspect to dismiss it as a simple drone where it shouldn’t be.
    They moved the King to a secure location, IIRC!

  67. 67
    Corner Stone says:

    @Another Scott: I used to be able to find conversations + commenters or key phrases that don’t show up 3/4ths of the time. It has noticeably gotten much worse.

  68. 68
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Corner Stone: The site used have a fairly effective effective search mechanism of its own. It apparently was a casualty of one of the upgrades.

  69. 69

    @Omnes Omnibus: it’s a WordPress core issue actually. The amount of time it takes to search the site grows more-than-linearly with the number of posts.

  70. 70
    Alexander von Humbug says:

    Robert Farley of LGM is on the SME list.

  71. 71
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Well, I miss it, but it is better than threaded comments.

  72. 72
    moops says:

    We are getting into the end of spring. It is time to start rolling up higher-level indictments.

    I had been wondering for some time why Trump cares about the Iran deal. Not why the GOP or the right-wing schemers care. Trump has to have some personal reason for him to put an effort into anything. Backing off of Russia is tied to Trump’s actual personal source of money. I think we might be getting closer to knowing why Trump pulled us out of the Iran deal. Not the whole answer, but the outlines of it. We are closer to this mattering to him, Donald Trump and his Money and his Ego.

  73. 73
    B.B.A. says:

    @moops: Obama made the deal. Therefore Trump must rip it up. Nothing more or less to it than that.

  74. 74

    @Omnes Omnibus: Hmm, maybe I can write something to fix it.

  75. 75
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Major Major Major Major: The search function or implementing threaded comments he asks nervously…

  76. 76
    MomSense says:

    Anyone else feel like we got robbed?

  77. 77
    Brachiator says:


    I had been wondering for some time why Trump cares about the Iran deal.

    First of all, Obama made the deal. And Trump buys into the sick racism that says that everything Obama did was, by definition, wrong and can only be fixed by a strong white man.

    Further, Netanyahu hated the deal, and wants something done that will weakened Iran. Trump is happy to go along.

  78. 78
    Schlemazel says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    NICE! Congrats.

    See anyone you know?

    I may (or may not)have done some work in conjunction with a person or two there but I wouldn’t say I know them

  79. 79
    Another Scott says:

    @B.B.A.: I think there’s more going on than just the Obama hate. Remember that Donnie threw a fit and (seemingly) almost got us involved in a war between KSA+UAE vs. Qatar about fake messages praising Iran. While we’ve got a big Navy base in Qatar…

    KSA has a blood feud going with Iran’s leadership, in Yemen, in Syria, and who knows where else.

    Donnie needs or very badly wants money from the Saudi sheiks and others who really, really hate Iran. They seem to have him wrapped around their little finger almost as much as Vlad does – maybe even more.

    Donnie loves taking revenge on people, but there’s more than just revenge going on here, I think.

    (“Needless to say, I don’t have any inside information.”)

  80. 80
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    I am pleased to announce I’ve sold my first short story.

    That is great news! Big congratulations to you!

  81. 81
    Gvg says:

    What I am finding as news is that Israel is apparently tied to Russian thugs. Netanyahu is even worse than I thought and considering Russian history I am just lost. Does the Israeli public know this?

  82. 82
    Schlemazel says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    BTW – please let us know when it is published so I can get a copy & write them a note praising your work. Unless is stinks in which case I will rip you unmercifully ;)

  83. 83
    Van Buren says:

    @Skepticat: That’s weapons grade snark, sir or madam.

  84. 84
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    That will disappoint commenter oldgold, who devoutly believes Mueller is supposed to be working to help the Democratic party win the midterms.

    I can certainly understand where oldgold is coming from. My happiest fantasies involve Trump, his family, his cabinet, and his campaign officials (and pretty much every Republican member of Congress) (and for that matter, while we’re at it, pretty much everyone who voted for him) all in handcuffs and shackles and bright orange jumpsuits doing the perpwalk to a nearby Black Maria, preferably all in the next week or two.

    That’s the fantasy. But once I return to reality, I would so much rather have Mueller take however much time he requires to build all the cases he needs. The absolute last thing he should be doing is making decisions based on any potential political fallout.


  85. 85
    Corner Stone says:


    But once I return to reality, I would so much rather have Mueller take however much time he requires to build all the cases he needs.

    Mueller has already taken too much time. He’s playing old school and Trump et al are using every day to discredit truth and facts.

  86. 86
    The Ancient Randonneur says:

    That’s quite a conspiracy the Deep State pulled off to make the Treason Tribble look bad.

  87. 87
  88. 88
    jl says:

    Thanks for an informative, and depressing, post, on more deviltry in the Trump campaign.

    Looks like the jack-booted federal police thugs are going to perjury-trap poor Erik Prince.

    IANAL, but my understanding is that a perjury trap is where you knowingly lie your ass off under oath, after you promised to tell the truth, in order to cover shit you’ve done up and avoid getting in more trouble. But, damitall, you get in trouble for just covering up shit you did, not for anything actually wrong for reals, and it is very unfair to you. Is that right?

  89. 89
    oldgold says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    That is not what I believe.

    What I believe is that timing and time is important.

  90. 90
    Miss Bianca says:

    Just re-read what Adam wrote, and find myself howling along with Augustus, “Is there anyone in Rome who HASN’T slept with my daughter?”!

  91. 91
    Corner Stone says:

    @jl: Prince is looking for a pardon so he can go back to living in the UAE and being bought by the Chinese.

  92. 92

    @David Anderson: I am keeping Flynn’s nuclear reactor deal in mind. Connections are not clear yet. I have some theories, but there’s not enough to support them yet.

  93. 93

    As has been said upthread, some (probably many) of those associated with Wikistrat are legit. I was asked to join early on but didn’t like some of the people they already had recruited. Rabid rightwing. So I turned them down. Glad I did.

  94. 94
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Gvg: Avidgor Lieberman has long been openly rumored to be Putin’s man in Jerusalem. Moreover, the southern part of the north-south Russian organized crime network for smuggling women for the sex trade, drugs, and munitions is Israel. And it serves as the southernmost east-west hub for those activities.

  95. 95
    Dev Null says:

    @Adam L Silverman: First I’ve heard speculation that Flynn was a Russian asset at the same time that he was DIA Director, except possibly a Mnemosyne comment.

    Do you have references, or is this purely personal speculation?

    Every explanation I’ve read for Flynn’s termination as DIA Director references Flynn’s managerial incompetence and (perhaps PTSD-related) control / instability issues. I’d think that would be sufficient cause for termination.

    Were there suspicions that Flynn was a Russian asset, I’d be gob-smacked were those suspicions held this close – it being a BFD if true – but perhaps they were circulated but I wasn’t on the distribution list. ~shrugs~

    EDIT: Let me put that differently. It seems to me that termination plus deciding to cash in on connections is sufficient to explain FLynn’s post-DIA trajectory… but I say that based on what’s in the public record (that I’ve read), of course.

  96. 96
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Correct. This is why I’m not affiliated with this type of thing. Either who the other folks are (conspiracists like Pipes) or where the funding is coming from. The problem for the legit folks with this now is going to be what Zamel was involved with.

  97. 97
    Shana says:

    Yes, as a matter of fact, one of my neighbors is on that list. I know he and his wife are Dems.

  98. 98
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Dev Null: My professional speculation is they put the hook in when he was there. That it was the initial approach. I can’t prove it, but they had to know from their intel he was angry and disgruntled. The GRU commanding general was well known as one of the smoothest intel operators in Russia. All it would take to get the hook in is, while they were meeting and talking shop, for the GRU head to go: “That Putin, he was KGB. Thinks he knows everything about intelligence. Won’t listen to anyone else. It is so frustrating.” Basically build rapport on a supposed shared level of professional frustration. That’s how I’d do it. Now did it happen? I don’t know. I’m not sure we’d ever find out if it did. But I find it hard to believe as good as the GRU commanding general was, that he’d leave an opportunity like that on the table without at least trying.

  99. 99
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Shana: Keep an eye on them and report back as necessary. Can’t be too careful…//

  100. 100
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    He was troubled that Flynn was cozied up to by a Russian coed …

    Adam, thanks a million for all your informative, entertaining, and often terrifying posts. In the context of all the great stuff you do here, this is a nitpick, but please don’t use “coed.” It’s sexist and dated. When the fact that a student is female matters, as it does here, just say that. Thanks!

  101. 101
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice: Okay. How’s a Russian woman student of the female persuasion?

  102. 102
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Sounds like her persuasion was the basis for her persuasiveness.

    I tried but failed to make that rhyme.

  103. 103
    Dev Null says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Roger that, I knew about the Russian grad student at the Cambridge conference. Wasn’t aware of Flynn’s (earlier) travel to Moscow to lecture to the GRU academy. Certainly plausible that the GRU guy worked to build a bond with Flynn in Moscow … indeed, it would be surprising had the GRU guy not tried.

    Still, “Flynn bonded with GRU general” (equivalently, “GRU general put a hook in Flynn”) seems to me to be a whole ‘nother can of worms from this:

    [Russians] were following up on the original flip that I think, as my professional opinion, occurred when he went to Russia as DIA Director and lectured at the GRU academy.

    But perhaps you have additional information that you’re not at liberty to disclose. ~shrugs~

    My two Euros …

    … with another Euro will get you a medium latte with an extra shot …

  104. 104
    Dev Null says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Heinlein used convex / concave.

    “We report, you decide”

  105. 105
    catclub says:

    I think the explicit aid that Netanyahu gave to Mitt Romney in 2012, that was let slide, because Obama still won, was an original sin in the foreign influence game. Notice netanyahu in the mix again?

  106. 106
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Dev Null: I have no other information. If I had any that couldn’t be shared, I wouldn’t talk about any of this at all. I think they got the hook in with that initial approach. Even if Flynn didn’t realize it. And even if the Russians didn’t do anything with it for a while. Hell, I’m not sure that Flynn realizes now that he’s been coopted.

  107. 107
    Steeplejack says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice:

    But she was wearing a letter sweater and introduced herself as Comrade Betty Veroniskaya!

  108. 108
    Dev Null says:

    @Steeplejack: where’s the goddam “like” button?!?

  109. 109
    danielx says:

    I can hear it now….”Fake news! Never happened! And even if it did there was no collusion!”

    This is pretty goddamned depressing.

  110. 110
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Dev Null:

    Heinlein used convex / concave.

    I am reminded of a classic limerick 😆

  111. 111
    Dev Null says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I have no other information. If I had any that couldn’t be shared, I wouldn’t talk about any of this at all.

    Yeah, I wondered about that.

    I think they got the hook in with that initial approach. Even if Flynn didn’t realize it. And even if the Russians didn’t do anything with it for a while.

    That’s fair. (er, IMNSHO, of course…)

    Hell, I’m not sure that Flynn realizes now that he’s been coopted.

    Flynn strikes me as a guy who would have difficulty passing a self-awareness test…

    … of course I’d say the same of Trump and most of his acolytes.

    All that said …

    … when you say “Flynn flipped”, I hear “Flynn became a Russian asset”. That is very different from what I hear when you say “the GRU put a hook in Flynn.”

    Happy to have the point spelled out to me should my hearing be deficient.

  112. 112
    Platonailedit says:

    Russians. Israelis. Saudis. Emiratis. At this point, it will be easier to count the number of countries that traitorous thug and his corrupt cabal did not collude with.

  113. 113
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Dev Null: I can see where the confusion is. I’ll go back and revise that comment.

  114. 114
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Platonailedit: Saotome and Principe!

  115. 115
    Dev Null says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Roger that.

    I’m thinking that “DIA Director Flynn flipped” would be a 5 alarm fire, so the absence of 5 alarms is suggestive (albeit not conclusive).

  116. 116
    Dev Null says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Please share. :-)

  117. 117
    Jay says:


    Canada, France, Britain, Germany, you know, all the US’s former allies.

  118. 118
    Dev Null says:

    @Jay: I was going to say …

    Need a “like” button …

  119. 119
    Steeplejack says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I’ll go back and revise that comment.

    This is mildly troubling. It seems to me that the original confusion was cleared up in your exchange with Dev Null, but going back and changing your original comment creates the possibility of more confusion.

    “Why is Dev Null saying Adam said ‘flip’? Adam didn’t say ‘flip’!”

    “Well, I did, but I changed it.”

    Not a big deal in this instance, but it feels like a slippery slope. Maybe leave the original in with a strikeout.

  120. 120
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Dev Null:

    I kind of thought everybody knew it. (Ahem.)

    There once was a man from Racine
    Who invented a fucking machine.
    Concave and convex,
    It could serve either sex,
    Entertaining itself in between.

  121. 121
    Bill Arnold says:

    Has anyone found any more public information on PSY-GROUP “SHAPE REALITY” other than what’s in the NYTimes story? It sounds vaguely like the SCL group in its public face, computational propaganda with a human touch.
    Projects and research to neuter these tools, or render them less effective, really is key to retention of some actual democracy in the countries that still have it. IMO. E.g., via Kevin Drum, Why We’re Partnering With Facebook on Election Integrity : Working together to ensure tools designed to bring us closer together, don’t drive us further apart

    The challenge is understanding the scope and trends of disinformation so that we can move from being reactive to proactive. Earlier this month, our team saw automated narratives ahead of local elections in Malaysia on May 9. Two hashtags directed at opposition parties reached more than 300,000 users and generated more than half a million impressions. While the accounts spreading those messages were mostly fake, the citizens reached were likely not.

    Forging digital resilience will not be immediate. It will take a lot of work that cannot be done exclusively by social media companies or a research community. We need to close the current information gap between governments, tech companies, and media in order to solve for challenges like disinformation. Collective challenges, require collective solutions. If one acts in a silo, it’s not enough.

    (Disclaimer, I know nothing of this particular project other than the linked press release.)

  122. 122
    Pluky says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice: Not to worry about the lack of rhyme. Excellent example of polyptoton!

  123. 123
    Dev Null says:

    @Steeplejack: “EDIT” might be better than strikeout. I read strikeouts in text as tongue-in-cheek sarcasm …

    … but what do I know?

  124. 124
    Bill Arnold says:


    changing your original comment creates the possibility of more confusion.

    Likewise. The 5-minutes-until-baked rule that the rest of us work with is pretty good IMO. Otherwise edits should probably be with strikeout or otherwise visible.

  125. 125
    Dev Null says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: [ROFL]

    Thank you for sharing … new to me…

  126. 126
    Dev Null says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    Has anyone found any more public information on PSY-GROUP “SHAPE REALITY” other than what’s in the NYTimes story? It sounds vaguely like the SCL group in its public face, computational propaganda with a human touch.

    A very good question …

    Multiple vendors seem to be hawking similar “reality-shaping” social media based tools to politicians. Not convinced we know yet which vendor supplied the magic sauce to Трамп’s campaign.

  127. 127
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    Will you tell us which story it is? Site bookmarked.,(I liked the current “Suzy’s Friend”.)

  128. 128
    Steeplejack says:

    @Dev Null:

    I think usually it’s clear whether a strikeout is sarcasm or a straight correction. But I’m fine with “edit,” as long as it retains the original (which other people may already have responded to).

  129. 129
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Dev Null:

    Thank you for sharing … new to me…

    In that case, you might enjoy another favourite:

    A dashing young pirate named Yates
    Once danced the fandango on skates.
    He fell on his cutlass,
    Which rendered him nutless
    And inconsequential on dates.

  130. 130
    Corner Stone says:

    @Steeplejack: I am not really a fan of swapping out, either.

  131. 131
    SgrAstar says:

    @Gvg: there are tons of Russian immigrants to Israel. Very significant voting block, very conservative.

  132. 132
    jc says:

    Have I mentioned lately that Trump voters are world class suckers? Par excellence, the very best suckers. Our country’s suckers put other country’s suckers to shame.

  133. 133
    laura says:

    @Major Major Major Major:  I am pleased to announce I’ve sold my first short story. 
    You should be pleased as punch. What a time you’ve had, and a joy to lurk on- I’m late to join the chorus of well-wishers, and wish you well in this, the possible new job and new city.
    Good on ya, M^4! It’s shaping up to be quite a year.

  134. 134
    SWMBO says:

    Dead thread but there have been suggestions on FB that one of the reasons Trump tore up the Iran deal is that his admin tore up the Iran/Boeing contracts. Something like $16billion in planes and parts. The new contract will be with Russian aircraft companies.

  135. 135
    Dev Null says:

    @Steeplejack: Yep, you’re probably correct, although there would always be “corner” cases where a strikeout would admit either interpretation.

    But it isn’t my decision, just putting my opinion on the table… free, and worth every peso you paid for it.

  136. 136
    Dev Null says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Excellent! ~amused~

    Clearly I missed out on the better things in life. :-)

    Thanks again!

  137. 137
    Dev Null says:

    @SWMBO: Wonder how many US workers that would have sustained for how many years.

    Touching, Трамп’s concern for China / ZTE jobs, amirite?

    ZTE phones being considered something of a natsec risk, I read.

    But perhaps ZTE is about outright bribery, rather than about jobs.

  138. 138
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Dev Null:

    ZTE phones being considered something of a natsec risk, I read.

    Another random thought; curiously, the low-end feature phones sold (in the US) by TracFone are ZTE now. Since they’re still used as burners, perhaps there is some compromise (by e.g. NSA) at risk.

Comments are closed.