By Patrick Brogan
The story that just keeps on giving. While the Harvey Weinstein allegations were the catalyst for a number of other people to come forward about their own sexual harassment encounters, the Harvey Weinstein story itself just keeps on going and gets worse.
The latest twist in the story is that Weinstein used a company made up predominately of ex-Israeli intelligence members to dig up dirt and discredit those that came forward to make accusations. Black Cube is based in Tel Aviv and has offices in London and Paris and describe themselves as “a select group of veterans from the Israeli elite intelligence units that specialises in tailored solutions to complex business and litigation challenges”. Sounds a bit vague, but they use analytics, the Dark Net and database access to do this.
One element that stands out on their website is their “pro-active approach” which is described as; “We overcome limited-access sources by taking a can-do, dynamic approach. We have developed several unique methods, especially in the social engineering field, that allow us to move freely in and to extract valuable information from limited access sources, both in virtual and physical environments.” The group made headlines in Israel back in 2013 when former Israel Discount Bank chairman Nochi Dankner used them to get damaging information on his rivals.
One of the methods they used was to meet Rose McGowan posing as women’s rights group. They secretly recorded the interview hoping to catch some incriminating information on her. They also used similar tactics on the journalist that broke the story, Ronan Farrow. He wrote for The New Yorker about Weinstein’s 13 alleged sexual misconducts. The tactic clearly didn’t work as he was the man that broke this story, too. He claimed in an interview that there was more to come. An interesting aside about Farrow is he the child of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen. He is from Hollywood royalty, also.
This must cause Israeli officials some embarrassment. Their own former secret service agents were used to suppress women making sexual allegations. Added to this, it was a former Israeli prime Minister, Ehud Barak, that gave Weinstein the contact details of Black Cube. He claimed he didn’t know what Weinstein would need them for. Weinstein also denies using Black Cube for this reason.
We have seen intelligence agents all around the world do this before. They are the people best equipped to find out information and suppress it from seeing the light of day. They have a dangerous skill-set that should not be used on those trying to tell the truth. This isn’t just exclusive to Israel.
Weinstein has had a huge fall from grace. These allegations have finished his career, but in recent years he has become less powerful than he once was and perhaps this is part of the reason these stories started to emerge. The knock-on effect has been huge and this has been very clear in the case of Kevin Spacey. Even years-old paedophile rumours have become part of the news cycle with former child actor Corey Feldman producing a report and handing it to LAPD on abuses he suffered as a child and those he witnessed. Ronan Farrow was correct when he said this wasn’t the end of the story, not by a long shot.
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