The report in the New Yorker this week that Harvey Weinstein employed an “army of spies” in an effort to suppress publication of accusers’ accounts of sexual attacks is rocketing ’round the world. The fact that some of these agents were Israelis was in the New Yorker lead, and on the NBC Nightly News last night. The Guardian features that angle too:
Among the private security agencies hired by Weinstein starting around autumn 2016, the magazine claims, was Black Cube, which is largely run by former officers of Israeli intelligence agencies, including Mossad.
The publicity is the opposite of those natural disaster stories in which Israel sends out teams of doctors and disaster pros to find earthquake victims or heal children — this time Israeli professionals are helping an alleged sexual predator in his efforts to stifle journalists. Their chief method, per the New Yorker, was impersonating friendly sources in an effort to learn what the reporters and accusers were saying about Weinstein.
Israeli Channel 2 reported that Weinstein got his spooks from a former Israeli prime minister. ToI:
Former prime minister Ehud Barak put the now-disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in touch with an Israeli firm comprised mostly of ex-Mossad agents, which Weinstein hired to suppress news stories detailing allegations of sexual harassment and assault against dozens of women.
NBC Nightly News spotlighted the Barak connection last night. Barak wants nothing to do with it.
the former prime minister admitted to putting the producer in touch with agency, but said he did not know why Weinstein was interested in its services.
“Over a year ago, Barak was asked by Harvey Weinstein if he knew an Israeli company he had heard of, that was capable of helping him with business issues he had. Barak confirmed to [Weinstein] the company he heard of was likely Black Cube,” a spokesperson for Barak said in a statement. “Barak is not personally familiar with the firm or its executives but gave Weinstein its contact information.”
“Barak was not aware until this morning of the fact the company was hired by Weinstein, or for what purposes or operations,” the statement added.
FYI, the Clintons washed their hands of Weinstein nearly a month ago.
The New Yorker piece, by Ronan Farrow, describes somewhat hamhanded efforts by Black Cube, a firm made up of former Israeli intelligence officers, to befriend Rose McGowan, the actress who was preparing to come forward and accuse Weinstein or raping her, as well as journalists investigating the case. Black Cube worked for Weinstein for a year despite a dubious track record:
Last year, two of its investigators were arrested in Romania on hacking charges
It received at least $100,000 on $600,000 in invoices. One contract, signed with Weinstein lawyer David Boies, who now regrets the deal, reportedly included this language:
provide intelligence which will help the Client’s efforts to completely stop the publication of a new negative article in a leading NY newspaper.
Its labors included passing along a hundred pages of information regarding a McGowan memoir, titled Brave, to be published in January. That information was evidently garnered by a woman agent who spent many hours with McGowan posing as a women’s rights advocate and dangling large contracts with McGowan. The woman had a UK phone number and what McGowan took to be a German accent.
This is a far cry from the derring-do with which Mossad is usually associated: killing Palestinian leaders in their beds in Persian Gulf hotels or hunting down the perpetrators of the Munich Olympic games massacre, as portrayed in the movie Munich.
The work is a lot closer to the information wars that Israel is now engaged in, fighting boycott campaigns on campuses and seeking to smear advocates for Palestinian human rights.
Black Cube advertises these kinds of services for “high net-worth individuals”–protecting them from the “challenges” of “reputational management and political persecution.”
Though his politics have not been an element of the ongoing case, Harvey Weinstein is a great supporter of Israel. At a gala in September for the Jewish newspaper Algemeiner, two weeks before the scandal broke, he promoted a movie he was producing about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, Mila 18, and said it was about the birth of Israel. He said, “I’m an Israeli in my heart and mind.”
“I’m an Israeli in my heart and mind. I love that country, I love what it stands for. I’m proud to be Jewish And when people see Mila 18, they can subtitle it Jews with guns. Because this is not about going into the night quietly. This is the birth of the modern Israelis. These are the guys in the ghetto who said we’re not going to walk into the concentration camps and get herded like cattle. We’re going to kill some Germans instead.”