A new investigation by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) revealed that an Israeli team is interfering with elections in many countries and manipulating their campaigns using hacking, sabotage and misinformation on social media.

This was stated in a long


published by the British newspaper The Guardian, saying that the Israeli hacker unit is run by a person who calls himself Tel Hanan (50 years old), a former member of the Israeli Special Forces and now works privately using the pseudonym "Jorge". He has been working secretly in different countries for more than two decades, adding that the unit's activity has covered more than 30 electoral processes around the world.

Jorge's team

The report indicated that the disclosure of Hanan and his unit, which uses the code name "Team Jorge", was made through secret photographic footage and documents leaked to the Guardian newspaper.

He stated that Hanan did not answer detailed questions about the team's activities and methods, but said, "I deny any wrongdoing."

The Guardian said the investigation was revealing extraordinary details of how disinformation was weaponised.

operations worldwide

Hanan told undercover reporters that his services, which others describe as "black operations," were available to intelligence agencies, political campaigns, and private companies that secretly wanted to manipulate public opinion.

He said they have carried out operations throughout Africa, South and Central America, the United States and Europe.

The report indicated that one of the team's main services is an advanced software package (Advanced Impact Media Solutions) and its abbreviation "Aims", which controls a huge army of thousands of fake profiles on social networking sites: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Telegram, Gmail, Instagram, YouTube.

The Guardian report indicated that the International Federation of Journalists who investigated Jorge's team includes reporters from 30 media organizations, including French Le Monde, German Der Spiegel, and Spanish El Pais, and the investigation project, which is part of a broader investigation into the disinformation industry, was coordinated by the organization Forbidden Stories is a French non-profit whose mission is to follow the work of reporters who have been murdered, threatened or imprisoned.

The secret footage was filmed by 3 reporters who approached Jorge's team posing as potential agents.

The way of work

In more than 6 hours of secretly recorded interviews, Hanan and his team talked about how they gathered intelligence on competitors, including using hacking techniques to gain access to real accounts, and bragged about planting misleading material in a number of well-known media outlets, which is then amplified by software. (Aims) to manage bots.

Their strategy appears to revolve around disrupting or sabotaging rival campaigns, the Guardian said: The team even claimed to have sent a sex toy delivered via Amazon to a politician's home, with the intention of giving his wife the false impression he was having an affair.

Warning to democracies

The Guardian commented that this evidence of a global private market in disinformation targeting elections will ring alarm bells for democracies around the world, adding that discovering the activities of Jorge's team may constitute an embarrassment to Israel, which has come under increasing diplomatic pressure in recent years due to its export of electronic weapons that undermine Democracy and human rights.

Jorge's team appears to have conducted at least some of the disinformation through an Israeli company, Dememan International, registered on a website run by the Israeli Ministry of Defense to promote defense exports.

The Israeli Defense Ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

A rare window into the mechanisms of disinformation

The Guardian reported that the interviews with Jorge's team, which were secretly filmed and took place between July and December 2022, provide a rare window into the disinformation mechanisms on offer for hire.

One practical experiment with how Jorge's team worked was for the team to pretend they were advisers working for a politically unstable African government that wanted to help delay elections.

The interviews with Hanan and his colleagues took place via video calls and a face-to-face meeting at Jorge's team base, an ordinary office space 20 miles outside Tel Aviv.

Offices all over the world

Hanan described his team as "graduates of government agencies", with experience in finance, social media and campaigns, as well as "psychological warfare", and they work from 6 offices around the world.

The meetings were attended by four of Hanan's colleagues, including his brother Zohar Hanan, who was described as the CEO of the group.

In his initial presentation to journalists disguised as "potential agents", Hanan said: We have a team in Greece and a team in the UAE.

We have completed 33 campaigns at the presidential level, 27 of which have been successful.” Later, he said he was involved in "two major projects" in the US, but claimed not to get directly involved in US politics.