Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 07, 2018

'Black Cube' First Denies, Then Obfuscates, Then Admits Spying On Iran Deal Negotiators

Yesterday we published a piece about "Black Cube", an Israeli spy company with deep state relations. The piece was updated earlier today.

Black Cube used false identities to trick two former members of the Obama administration, Ben Rhodes and Colin Kahl, as well as the pro-Iran lobbyist Trita Parsi, to find out if they had profited from the nuclear deal (JCPOA) with Iran. The Observer, which broke the story without naming Black Cube, reported that people related to the Trump administration had hired the company to get information that could help Trump to dump the nuclear deal with Iran.

Now the company is in panic and tries to cover its trail.

It is why we got mail:


Referring to the Moon of Alabama piece Black Cube writes:

"Please add our full comment ASAP! It causes us damage and it's defamation without our full denial."

I have cut their "full comment" from the above pictured email. I see absolutely no reason to publish their lying "comments" and denials.

How do I know that Black Cube lies?

Well, that is what spies do.

In their first comment to Israeli media after the Observer story broke without naming the company Black Cube denied any involvement. We then connected Black Cube to what the Observer reported. Early today the New Yorker confirmed our take and got a different comment from Black Cube. The company's denial was no longer clear-cut but included suspiciously specific formulations:

In a statement, Black Cube said, “It is Black Cube’s policy to never discuss its clients with any third party, and to never confirm or deny any speculation made with regard to the company’s work.” The statement also read, “Black Cube has no relation whatsoever to the Trump administration, to Trump aides, to anyone close to the administration, or to the Iran Nuclear deal.”

"Black Cube has no relation whatsoever ... to the Iran Nuclear deal." Hmm, did anyone claim that very specific "relation .. to" point?

Then the company told Haaretz that, yes, the Iran deal was the reason why it tried to spy on Obama administration people who had worked on it:

Israeli intelligence company Black Cube was hired to spy on former aides in the Obama administration last year. A source close to the company says that the Israeli intelligence company was acting on behalf of a business entity, however, and not on behalf U.S. President Donald Trump’s aides.

A source close to the company said the purpose of its data collection was to serve the client’s business or legal interests, and had nothing to do with Trump. The source also said correspondence regarding Iranian nuclear issues related to the business interests of the client who hired the spy firm.

Emmanuelle Elbaz-Phelps works for the Israeli channel 10 news. Here she documents the development of those lies from her personal interaction with the company:

Emmanuelle Elbaz-Phelps @manuelbaz - 17:09 UTC - 7 May 2018

Thread :

1. Right after the report published in the #Observer, I asked the #BlackCube spokesman if Black Cube is in fact the Israeli firm. His answer (yesterday morning) was : "Not related to us".
2. @lrozen tweeted here yesterday that it is confirmed the Israeli firm in question is #BlackCube. He denied again. "BS, It's not us". I reported his denial here.
3. This morning, after @RonanFarrow 's publication in the @NewYorker , his version changed: "We didn't know the @guardian meant us. We didn’t know it was us because this report was about #Trump. But then we saw the emails reported by the New Yorker and we know those emails."
4. He insisted "there is no connection to Trump or the #IranNuclearDeal" but he didn't deny #BlackCube was hired by a private company and even told me the client is "somebody that profits from the sanctions on Iran".
Question : who is the client and how they connect to Trump?

Now other Israeli media are given more specific information, likely also false, about the "private company":

Neri Zilber @NeriZilber - 17:13 UTC - 7 May 2018

Black Cube op targeting former Obama staffers was allegedly about business dispute bw 2 shipping companies - 1 of which Taiwanese - involving Iranian sanctions regime. Per Israel Ch2 news

It is obvious that the Black Cube statements are not the truth but denials which change into obfuscating lies when they are contradicted by new evidence. Black Cube's "dispute between two shipping companies" explanation is certainly just as false as their earlier statements.

Neither this nor other sites are defaming Black Cube. The spy outlet is doing that all by itself.

The original Observer claim that people near to Trump hired Black Cube has neither been confirmed nor debunked by any other reporting.

That Black Cube is suddenly so eager to point to some far away "Taiwanese shipping dispute" trail convinces me that Trump circles are indeed involved.

Posted by b on May 7, 2018 at 19:28 UTC | Permalink


good work b!!! you have pissed them off, obviously! these folks hate any exposure to light.. kinda like cockroaches basically... and they will be providing all sorts of ongoing lies to hide their ass too... thanks b..

Posted by: james | May 7 2018 19:40 utc | 1

Haha what a bunch of morons - good job b, "by way of deception thou shallt do war" comes to mind.
Although these people probably has the power to sue you if they are sick enough..

Soon a propaganda campaign directed at MoonofAlabama will ensure,
"Pro- Assad, Pro-Iran Pro-Hezbollah, Anti-semitic, Anti-israeli blogger "b" at Moon Of Alabama" type of smearing..

Posted by: Anon | May 7 2018 19:46 utc | 2

The clumsiness is entertaining. Without their high profile contacts within the Israeli intelligence agencies paid for by many countries, these people would probably just be cleaning streets. "Defamation" that's probably the first word the author of the e-mail learned at school.

Posted by: xor | May 7 2018 20:00 utc | 3

as well as the pro-Iran lobbyist Trita Parsi

I had no idea that such a creature existed on this planet, he should be protected by the EPA.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | May 7 2018 20:11 utc | 4're just conspiring to drive these people further undercover. I'm not at all convinced you have all the information this company has about its relationship to the Deep State, for example.

It would be WORTH taking a page from other publications and simply not using their real company name until something much, much bigger than one nuclear deal is in the hopper.

If we could tie this company's principals to the Mossad activities in the Houston ship channel, for example, we'd have the Bush Family and the murder of Tony Carnaby. Madsen has previously disclosed that this Houston activity was directly linked to the internecine murder of US troops in Iraq (the Houston origin of the SUV's used in the attack still had their Texas inspection stickers on in their windshields -- herpty derp).

Carry on, tho. Great work. Just an observation for posterity.

Posted by: Greg | May 7 2018 20:13 utc | 5

Good one b. Excellent outing by the ferret as the terrified rabbits scatter. It has started a good week and I trust the whole of May will let the sun shine in.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 7 2018 20:26 utc | 6

as well as the pro-Iran lobbyist Trita Parsi
I had no idea that such a creature existed on this planet, he should be protected by the EPA.

Looks like he has more ideas on the ME then the average environmentalist...

"Trita Parsi is the 2010 recipient of the $200,000 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. He is an award-winning author with a focus on US foreign policy in the Middle East. His first book, Treacherous Alliance - The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the US (Yale University Press, 2007) won the Grawemeyer award and Council of Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Award in 2008 (Silver medallion).

His second book, A Single Roll of the Dice - Obama's Diplomacy with Iran (Yale University Press, 2012) was selected as The Best Book on The Middle East in 2012 by Foreign Affairs. His latest book - Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy (Yale University Press, 2017) - reveals the behind the scenes story to the historic nuclear deal with Iran. Dr. Parsi is the President of the largest Iranian-American grassroots organization in the US, the National Iranian American Council and has taught at Johns Hopkins University and George Washington University. He currently teaches at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington DC."


Posted by: Christoph | May 7 2018 21:04 utc | 7

Unearth every little detail of what Israel and chosen poeple were. Soon will only be a memory.

P.S And by soon I mean less then a decade.

Posted by: Fantome | May 7 2018 21:09 utc | 8

Gee, my comment containing a link to a very rare article about the political opposition in Zionland went sideways again--Sputnik URLs always seem to get posted with no problems, but it seems that's changing. Here it is again without my editorializing.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 7 2018 21:23 utc | 9

Thanks Greg #6. I just followed up on the Tony Carnaby line at The Rag Blog. That was interesting and prompts a wider sweep of info. Thanks again to all the great contributers here, you often make my day.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 7 2018 21:35 utc | 10

For a purported “private intelligence” firm, Black Cube appears a just wee bit short on intelligence.

Posted by: GM | May 7 2018 22:00 utc | 11

I've heard of Black Cube before, I'm sure of it...but I was under the Cone of Silence at the time and couldn't here very well.

Mark Twane: "Truth Is Stranger than Fiction, But It Is Because Fiction Is Obliged to Stick to Possibilities; Truth Isn’t"

Posted by: Babyl-on | May 7 2018 22:06 utc | 12

Pretty much why I read every post.

Posted by: IhaveLittleToAdd | May 7 2018 22:36 utc | 13

When deception and lies are the core business of spy agencies, we need not wonder that eventually spy agencies end up lying and deceiving themselves, and that they end up short on "intelligence" when so much of what passes for "intelligence" is hot smelly air.

Have to wonder though how many "private intelligence" companies and consultancies exist, how many people they employ, and how much money they make and pay their staff, and then wonder at how much BS they generate.

Posted by: Jen | May 7 2018 22:49 utc | 14

Wanted to ask this again--isn't this the company hired by Harvey Weinstein to forestall denunciations from his potential accusers?

Posted by: Paul | May 7 2018 22:53 utc | 15

The dummies. If they were smart they'd be called the White Cubes.

Posted by: sejomoje | May 7 2018 23:03 utc | 16

Trump flunkies

“You’re going to see a change in the way we do business,” Ms. Haley said. “Our goal with the administration is to show value at the U.N., and the way we’ll show value is to show our strength, show our voice, have the backs of our allies and make sure our allies have our back as well.”

“For those who don’t have our back,” she added, “we’re taking names; we will make points to respond to that accordingly.”

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 7 2018 23:23 utc | 17

I wonder if I'm the only one finding this company name ironic-to-outright-creepy.

Posted by: nines | May 7 2018 23:40 utc | 18

A lot of things building up here. Iran sanctions May 12. Nutty heading off to Moscow. Israel say Iran is setting up to launch missiles from Syria in retaliation to Israels attack on T4. And then this black cube thing comes out.
AQ worded up to fire sime missiles into Israel from Syria? so Israel can launch attacks against Iran personal/assets in Syria as a 'response'?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 7 2018 23:59 utc | 19

Also Lebanese elections with Hezbollah now being part of the Lebanese government.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 8 2018 0:08 utc | 20

"4. He insisted "there is no connection to Trump or the #IranNuclearDeal" but he didn't deny #BlackCube was hired by a private company and even told me the client is "somebody that profits from the sanctions on Iran"."
Did they just implicate MBS, or at the very least some big Saudi oil interest?

Paul - 16: Yes, it is. B mentioned it already in his first post about Black Cube.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 8 2018 0:11 utc | 21

Peter AU 1 @21--

Hezbollah was already part of the Lebanese government prior to election--MPs and two Cabinet Ministers. Now with its coalition, they can nix legislation deemed unfavorable, and will likely have more than 2 Ministers within Cabinet.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 8 2018 0:33 utc | 22

An Israeli shipping company with a long history of association with Israeli intelligence is Zim.

Zim vacated its office spaces in the World Trade Center one week before 9/11.

Posted by: lysias | May 8 2018 0:46 utc | 23

I take it Haley and others like her around Trump are dumb enough with there hatred of Iran to hire a company like black cube and dumb enough to get caught.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 8 2018 1:01 utc | 24

On one hand, Trump with his hatred of Iran or the circle of Iran haters around him may well have done this, but on the other hand, there has been so many attempts to bring Trump down that this may be another plot being cooked up.

Likklemore at the open thread put up a link to this video. Looking at it, due mainly to Rodgers and Nunes, those that cooked up the plots to cover Clinton and Trump/Russia collusion will soon be fully exposed. Plenty of reason for that crowd to cook up another quick plot to get rid of Trump before they go down.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 8 2018 1:13 utc | 25

is 'black cube' related to the 'cube', the alleged 'nuclear reactor' near del ezor in Syria, that Haaretz and others, are now alleging was blown up by Israeli commandoes in 2007, but was kept secret until now..? the narrative is similarly far fetched..

Posted by: majobrs | May 8 2018 1:25 utc | 26

Black Cube is doing what zionists do - lying, obfuscating and whining about it being the real victim. The only moderately interesting thing about the Black Cube story is that the lies, cover-ups and victim cries are going backwards as each position becomes untenable, rather than forwards with each lie providing a foundation for the next bigger lie, which is the traditional modus operandi of the murdering, raping and thieving arseholes.

As far as the Lebanon thing goes, here is a an agreement badly in need of renegotiating, the confessional political structure of Lebanon was set as part of the treaty to end the civil war in the 1980's. It allocates the president position to a Sunni follower of Islam, the Prime Minister position to a Christian and speaker of the house to a politician elected by followers of Islam determined to be shia.
There are many problems with this deliberately divisive structure, not least of all for israel and amerika, the shift xtian Lebanese took, away from backing sunni pols into siding with the shia majority.
But the big takeaway is that however unjust and undemocratic this system is the shia majority and their security guarantee, Hezbollah, haven't broken this agreement. As I outlined elsewhere about the JCPOA where Iran has adhered to that agreement, Islam is a belief system with commitment to honesty and truth at its core and for many of the multitudes of 'flavours' Islam has, wilfully breaking an agreement is considered abhorrent.

That said, the current Lebanese political structure is unsustainable because it leaves the biggest chunk (and most powerful thanks to Hezbollah) with the least amount of official political power.

This will change soon but I have no doubt it will not be the shia community that kicks it off. The little prince and his/her zionist playthings, hurt and offended by the election (which they have delayed for so long) result, will kick off something, probably another attempt to divide Lebanon along sectarian lines.
They won't succeed at that because the 'Lebanese in the street' simply will not join in. I'm predicting a massive backfire caused by citizens' outrage which thanks to the saudi puppets' stupidity/cupidity will create the perfect space to force israel's themb off the scales.

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 8 2018 1:29 utc | 27

In Lebanon each voter is assigned to a registered religious community (and this is determined by family of origin and not religious faith). The voting system guarantees the continuance of the status quo. Less than half of the voting population voted in the May 6th election.

There may be a reason why the Israeli fabulation machine is in such high gear on Iran right now: an attempt to provoke a firefight with Iran.. Haaretz is rolling out one article after another, on how the IDF is preparing for an Iranian missile attack on Israel, in retaliation for the bombing of the Iranian base in Syria. One Haaretz 'analysis' even suggests that the missiles will rain on Israel but Iran will not take credit. way the Hamas never takes credit for their firecrackers...
Since Israel has long practiced the self attack method by Hamas firecrackers, this indeed a serious threat against Iran ...

Posted by: majobrs | May 8 2018 2:24 utc | 28

@30 Debs, correction: According to the Lebanese constitution, the office of President is held by a member of the Christian faith while that of the Prime Minister is Sunni but your point stands that this is divisive. KSA serves its interest in keeping Hariri in power by enacting laws through him to normalize the presence of Syrian Sunni refugees in a bid to demographically offset Shia ascendance..

Posted by: Lozion | May 8 2018 3:10 utc | 29

"never confirm or deny any speculation made with regard to the company’s work.” The statement also read, “Black Cube has no relation whatsoever to the Trump administration, to Trump aides, to anyone close to the administration, or to the Iran Nuclear deal.”

1) we will not deny
2) we deny relation Trump admin

Posted by: hu? | May 8 2018 3:16 utc | 30


I was thinking something bigger than a cockroach, with fangs, a cloak, and a yarmulkel. Oops, I did it again! It's a felony in EU, lol. USA is dead busted hillbilly broke, going down 'Work or Starve' fast by the bow. Trump just emergency-cut (threw overboard) Children Lunch Program and another 30,000,000 elderly on ACA, but the Ship of State is headed for the abyss, as the unblinking eye of Black Cube hums warmly, and it's a Jaweh-damn FELONY to name their names!!

Posted by: Chipnik | May 8 2018 4:02 utc | 31

Looking up Ben Rhodes and Colin Kahl, there is a very good chance they where in on the Obama Gov collusion, fake dossier ect to take down Trump. Could easily be a set up by that crowd.
On the other hand, Trump may or may not be stupid enough to pull something like this, but the nutters he appoints/hires certainly are.
Sort of like sorting through garbage to see what stinks the most.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 8 2018 5:07 utc | 32

Reagan "America is a shining city upon a hill"

Looks more like a burning mountain of garbage to me. And a stench to match.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 8 2018 5:14 utc | 33

Posted by: Lozion | May 7, 2018 11:10:34 PM | 33
OK for some reason I thought Hariri et fils were prez's but I see that they were only Prime Ministers. which is natural since the head of state gig (prez) is largely ceremonial in Lebanon, whereas the PM does the actual grubby politicking.
It doesn't really matter, as you said. I run on memory which does have a habit of deteriorating with time. This means I rarely include links - I have two reasons for this - 1 If anything I write does engage anyone else I much prefer that person proving (or even disproving) what I said by checking it for themselves as force feeding goes against the grain and 2 I'm too fuckin lazy to hunt out obscure links which date back through the 'mists of time'.

The thing is though, as well as being divisive, the confessional structure is too inflexible - it holds the people of Lebanon into outmoded social structures at a time when having the flexibility to amend systems to better meet the needs of the population is an essential feature of a successful sovereign entity.

On the other hand when:
Posted by: majobrs | May 7, 2018 10:24:46 PM | 31
writes "In Lebanon each voter is assigned to a registered religious community (and this is determined by family of origin and not religious faith).", this strikes me as a distinction without a difference. About 99% of the superstitious who fall for the weird and to an outsider arcane differences between alternative 'religions' do so on the basis of what their antecedants lapped up. This is because all of these facile beliefs have inculcated strong social conventions into their doctrinal nonsense, being an alawite, xtian, jew or druze allows a person to participate in all the social/community activities of their particular village. The 'slapped into the same confessional as dad' bizzo is a mechanism, not a principle.

AFAIK, the confessional system was launched in 1928 following the Sykes-Picot sodomizing of Arab speaking people by england & France.

amerika and japan (allegedly allies during the 1st act of the 20th century euro war), were given the Pacific to play in, post Act 1. Japan was given China and amerika was given pretty much all the rest; so adding that haul to the Philippines and Guam, amerika could put up hotels not just houses. Unfortunately instead of doing that, amerika sulked about "Japan getting the bigger share" and it devoted the decades leading up to Act 2 by demonising and destabilising Japan. Doubtless amerika would have done better if they joined the League of Nations but woodrow wilson didn't have the cojones to push that through the Capitol Hill rackets, confining himself to flexing his muscles domestically with petty bullshit like making Gene Debs' life a misery.

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 8 2018 5:33 utc | 34

I have watched this system a bit, although not knowing the intricacies, but it does seem to work for Lebanon and Syria.
Hezbollah sticking up for Hariri when he was held by the headchoppers seems to have united the country a lot.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 8 2018 5:43 utc | 35

". . . ironically, it is the US and its allies that have opened the door to Iran by destroying or weakening the state structure in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. In any confrontation with the US and Israel, Iran will have every incentive to reinforce its position in the region. If the US really wants to reduce Iranian influence and that of its allies in the region, there is a much better and more effective way doing so: this is to end the wars which have enabled Iran and many other players to spread their influence."

Paddy Cockburn in the Indy

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 8 2018 7:42 utc | 36

Debs / Lozion: There's an even trickier part of Lebanese politics and elections, which is that seats are guaranteed for every significant confession, and odds are that the current 50/50 split between Christians and Muslims doesn't hold water - just like the 50/50 between Sunnis and Shia is becoming dodgier.
Hariri or any Sunni block wanting to push to increase Sunni power will not only be met by resistance from the Shias, but obviously by Christian opposition as well, because Christian will lose seats if the current repartition of MPs is modified to better represent the current situation. If there's any sign that Saudis / Hariri wants to use Syrian refugees as a reason to change the deal, they will face a massive opposition from the majority of people and MPs. Not to mention Lebanese still remember well that their civil war was partly lit by the demographic inbalance due to Palestinian refugees - and few Lebanese want another civil war, even if some of their neighbours wouldn't mind.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 8 2018 8:11 utc | 37


That said, the current Lebanese political structure is unsustainable because it leaves the biggest chunk (and most powerful thanks to Hezbollah) with the least amount of official political power.
Actually, I don't see it changing, not in the forseeable future. Hizbullah don't particularly want political power, better to remain the éminence grise. They did take over power at one point, when Hariri was being outrageous, but then withdrew a day later, once they'd got the agreement they wanted.

The confessional division was set up by the French to maintain permanent Christian domination of the government. If you remember, the French established Lebanon in order to make a Christian state in the Middle East, only they added to the original Christian kernel of Mt Lebanon, in order to extend Christian power, territories unfortunately inhabited by Muslims and Druze, leaving only a small Christian majority which slowly evaporated, and is now long gone. The confessional govt system was a way of keeping Christians in power, but even that has been lost, with a Sunni as PM.

But even that doesn't mean Hizbullah wants power. Not as long as Nasrallah rules. There would be too many negatives, on the international front. And nobody has sufficient authority to change the system. The central government scarcely exists, the army is a joke, and everyone gets on fine.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 8 2018 8:26 utc | 38

Paul #15
Yep that is the same company that the predator weinstein hired to work over any critic. My bet is they are also paid by Simeon Mogilevitch when working on 'common interest' issues.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 8 2018 9:22 utc | 39

all of these intelligence outfits, 8 ball and otherwise, seem to forget that not only do they gather at least 80% of their intelligence from open sources, but that we, as well, have the same access. (:

Posted by: john | May 8 2018 9:52 utc | 40

"all of these intelligence outfits, 8 ball and otherwise, seem to forget that not only do they gather at least 80% of their intelligence from open sources, but that we, as well, have the same access."

Just like with Nike or McDonald's, it is all in how they brand it and market it.

Posted by: ralphieboy | May 8 2018 11:41 utc | 41

Many good comments.

Stuff like Black Cube smells strongly of baiting for distractions doesn't it? I'm aware such miasma is normal for media but one has to be careful to not become so accustomed to it that one doesn't notice the stench at all. It works the same way e-mail spam does.

To nines (18): yes and no!!!

This is comical, both in a slap-stick manner and in the ancient Greek manner. Seinfeld please move over :P

Cubes, from the obvious to the less so, and as black (and/or evil) as you like:
A commonly encountered net of a cube is the cruciform one

One probably couldn't choose a better and more symbolic name for the depressingly typical human (including jewish despite any protestations including of their own) self-imprisonment and self-enslavement inside a box than "Black Cube". Don't ask me why a core trait of humanity is to be one's own worst enemy, I don't know why even though it applies to me as well and in equal measure. Some jews give the impression they are striving to be/remain the world champions at it and there seems to be a growing acceptance from everyone else that indeed they are: the best at being their own worst enemies.

I wonder; do they (including the powers that be in the US) ever stop to consider what the prize will be? The grave they're digging is awfully big and deep.

"Black Cube" neatly sums up everything that we defeat ourselves with no matter who we are, at least in my opinion. I bet they weren't conscious of any of this (and there's more) but just wanted something that sounded cool :P

We all betray ourselves constantly (and what a relief that is) :)

I'm not really a fan of the "fear God for what we deserve" point of view (political and social control/manipulation writ large) but one would think that at the very least those claiming to be either jews, muslims, or christians would be somewhat aware of that point of view (otherwise there's nothing to be "salvationed" or similar from no matter what form it takes or is given). I like "hate evil, love good" much better (and it's simpler) which is the first four words of Amos 5:15 (old testament).

As I said: comical, painfully and embarrassingly comical, and too dark (or should that be black?) for my liking. If that makes me fluffy then I'm okay with that :)

The last thing I would like to mention is to be vary of assuming anything. I wouldn't trust the Observer any more than I would trust the Guardian or any other media or government. Just say no :D

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | May 8 2018 12:12 utc | 42

Netanyahu renew threats against Iran, hours before Trump announce that he will reject the Iran deal (yes he will).

Netanyahu Claims Iran Planning to Plant 'Very Dangerous Weapons in Syria'

israel is the biggest threat the world have faced in a long time.

Posted by: Anon | May 8 2018 13:34 utc | 43

Have to wonder though how many "private intelligence" companies and consultancies exist, how many people they employ, and how much money they make and pay their staff, and then wonder at how much BS they generate. Jen, 14.

A LOT of all mentioned.. Would be fascinating to study, expose it all. 'Private intelligence’ has been a yuuge money maker since about - off the cuff est.? - 1995, upped fast post 2001, then 2003, etc. Due to the power of ‘technology’ (existed before in other forms.)

A small cadre class controls it without a cabal acting (the IT industry is sprawling.) Many deciders, ppl at decision nodes, or in power in one way or another, don’t understand IT tech and thus are dependent on ‘trusted’ tech ppl, advisors, overseers.

The clients are prisoners of a device which is owned, as in mastery of its operative system, by others. (The Awan / Dem. scandal in the USA might be a good ex.) The tech experts are crafty, they prefer to hunker down in their ascribed role, they don’t want to take over the world, being a behind-da-scenes organisor and manipulator is more lucrative and less dangerous than being on the front lines.

The US is of course particularly vulnerable to scams + hype as ‘competition’, ‘privatisation’ and ‘contractors’ hold sway, leading to ‘best idiocies that can be touted’, modern snake oil, which invariably, in view of the no-clue audience who pays steep, has no result except dollars being shunted about.

Posted by: Noirette | May 8 2018 15:06 utc | 44

Pompeo signaled Iran deal withdrawal to European colleagues

Posted by: Anon | May 8 2018 15:13 utc | 45

23;very interesting.zim.

Posted by: dahoit | May 8 2018 15:18 utc | 46

Anon @43--

That "new weapon" is something no Zionist can defeat as it's psychological--Fearlessness in the face of Zionist provocations and undying faith in Zionism's eventual defeat. It's something Hezbollah was able to instill in its people and is spreading within Lebanon, and all Syrians are learning it too--this weapon's not restricted to just Shiites, but is multiconfessional. The same fearlessness is seen in Houthis. And many Iraqis learned how to use that weapon against the Outlaw US Empire's occupation. For a long time the unofficial slogan of Zionists and the Outlaw US Empire was: We don't care if they hate us just as long as the fear us. Well, fear has vanished from the formula--just look at Gazans!

Posted by: karlof1 | May 8 2018 15:31 utc | 47

Thanks for this. Always a good sign to see zios in panic.

Posted by: John Gilberts | May 8 2018 15:56 utc | 48

@laguerre 38

Spot on. As ridiculous and problematic as Lebanon's confessional political system is, it ain't going anywhere. The problem of handing over the reigns of political power to religious authorities is, they really really like that power and won't relinquish it for anything. The Christians, Druze and Sunnis would to lesser degrees lose out by a rebalance, hence why no new census (on which the parliamentary allotment is based) has been done since the 40s. The only 'winners' would be the Shia, but as you note, they've figured out they really don't need that power anyway. Their power comes from their guns, not MPs, and all they would want in parliament is to be able to veto legislation aimed at curbing their actual power, something they gained in this last vote.

Posted by: Don Wiscacho | May 8 2018 15:58 utc | 49

There we go,
Trump to reject deal and impose all pre-sanctions and more...

Posted by: Anon | May 8 2018 16:02 utc | 50

A recent posting at Off-Guardian led me to reread the famous Rebuilding America’s Defenses (RAD) document published by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) in September of 2000. A lot has happened in the intervening two decades and many things have changed.

But to read the document is also to be impressed by its continuing contemporary relevance.

The chairman and co-founder of PNAC, William Kristol, has since 2000 only become more influential and visible, landing a spot at the NY Times (2007), and more recently being a heralded member of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy (2017), the co-founder of the Hamilton 68 algorithm, and many other like accomplishments besides. One of PNAC’s three founding directors, John Bolton, after being elevated to a short and controversial stint as Ambassador to the U.N (2005-2006), now finds himself the National Security Advisor to President Trump.

The career trajectories of Kristol and Bolton subsequent to 2000 are roughly similar. The status of both rose rapidly during the Bush Administration, then seemed to decline for most of the Obama Administration before ascending rapidly once again during and after the 2016 elections. Kristol has now been mainstreamed, while Bolton has not, but both are certainly more powerful in real terms in 2018 than either was back then, when the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and the Ukrainian coup, were but a glimmer in their eyes.

The central question of RAD remains illuminating: “Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?” The key phrase in this question is “resolve to shape,” which echoes a similar phrase found in PNAC’s Statement of Principles: “it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire.”

Writing in the fall of 2000, the authors of RAD perceive that a narrow window of time has opened during which America, which at the time was clearly the world’s sole superpower, might leverage its economic and military dominance to “shape circumstances before crises emerge.” To “shape circumstances” means to forcibly impose America’s preferred financial and political structures on countries occupying the strategic areas of Southeast Europe (extending to include Mediterranean countries of northern Africa), the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. By doing this, America would be able to complete and secure the global dominance of its own “principles and interests” before China could become powerful enough, economically or militarily, to challenge them.

RAD conveys a real sense of urgency about this process. The authors understand that America, in the year 2000, must act very quickly to consolidate and secure its imperial order before “potentially powerful states” become strong enough, either singly or through strategic partnership, to realistically contest its might. Some examples of these states in RAD include: Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and China.

What is needed, in 2000, is a substantive and rapid increase in the U.S. defense budget, and a radical reorientation of our national military strategy—away from nuclear deterrence and toward active interventionism on multiple and simultaneous fronts. Otherwise the narrow window of unquestioned U.S. dominance will close, and securing America’s peace will then be much harder to guarantee.

At the same time, though, RAD is pessimistic about the “resolve” of the U.S. political system as a whole to meet this urgency with action. “The process of [the U.S.’s military ]transformation,” RAD notes, “even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event—like a new Pearl Harbor.”

In September of 2001, there was such a catalyzing event. The subsequent history reveals the American government’s hasty attempt to carry through the plan outlined in RAD in 2000, but with increasing difficulty and cost.

Has the window closed? Compare the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with its proxy wars in Libya and Syria, and compare the outcome of all of the former with the statement in Syria, and you have the answer to that question.

Posted by: WJ | May 8 2018 16:38 utc | 51

"stalemate," not "statement."

Posted by: WJ | May 8 2018 16:40 utc | 52

WJ - 51 : Even though the US had its new Pearl Harbor, that in itself was actually one of these new crises for which the US wasn't well prepared, a crisis that came too early. It's quite obvious that right now, that window of opportunity PNAC dreamed about is over, but one can argue that the window actually closed way back in late 2001.
At this point, the only places where US absolute dominance remains unquestioned are Europe - as usual, vassal lapdogs - and the Pacific Rim. And it's waning fast in East Asia. As for Europe, if Trump is foolish enough to put back old sanctions on Iran and to add even more sanctions, then he might well risk a real trade war with Europe and not only with China.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 8 2018 16:49 utc | 53

Clueless Joe @53

I think you are right about the present. It is not clear that the U.S. dominance over even Europe is any longer "unquestioned." Germany has been making noises, and has its own domestic politics and foreign interests, and knows how the U.S. operates. It will be interesting to see what happens with Germany-Russia Germany-FUKUS relations in the coming years, especially once the UK leaves the EU, if it ever does.

About the past, though, I think that the 9/11 crisis (however you want to understand it) was actually extremely important for RAD's realization of its project. So it was at the very least a welcome crisis. If we look back on the Iraq war, from a purely analytic standpoint, surely we must agree that the only thing rivaling our government's willingness to deceive, manipulate, control, and destroy in that war was the sheer incompetence and inefficiency of its military operations and political strategy for "winning" the war. If the U.S. government and military leadership were even minimally competent--as opposed to just being maximally wealthy and powerful--then I believe we would have 'invaded' Libya and Syria much sooner than we did, and by this point might even have with Israel already taken on Iran. My interpretation is that the Iraq war took a lot longer to win was a lot harder to 'end' than our "leaders" thought; it slowed us down so considerably that by the time we got to Syria and before we could get to Iran the Russia-China axis had solidified itself in just the way the 2000 RAD document fears.

Posted by: WJ | May 8 2018 17:25 utc | 54

Let them have their comment, it won't mislead anybody.

Posted by: tat | May 8 2018 17:37 utc | 55

Alastair Crooke asks: Is Israel Preparing For War?. But then he delves into the new initiatives developed by China and Russia and the illgotten idea that there's no ideological component within those initiatives, which I've proven to be incorrect, to which Crooke agrees. Crooke sees the rise of those initiatives as indicative of the Outlaw US Empire's failures to achieve its goal--the implementation of the Yinon Plan--thus changing the regional dynamic/status quo: A change Zionists see as the existential threat. IMO, it makes no difference to Zionists if Trump stays or withdraws from JCPOA--the dynamic has already been altered in the negative as seen by Zionists, thus their desperation to return to status quo ante. However, by the Zionists's own admissions, they are incapable of winning the war they must wage, which is why they need the Outlaw US Empire to wage their war for them.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 8 2018 18:13 utc | 56

@37 Clueless Joe. Correct, it's a case of too little Saudi shenanigans too late. The balance of power is now in favor of the Shia/Christian alliance. Hariri is toast, its only a matter of time..

Posted by: Lozion | May 8 2018 18:25 utc | 57

The funny thing about pulling out of the Iran deal is that it will be something of a win for Iranian economic interests in Iraq and may very well help them to continue building the (interrupted) economic partnership with Lebanon, Syria, China, Russia etc. Reuters curiously printed a very interesting commentary on this, of course from a generally pro-empire viewpoint, but still:

Iran may respond by restarting its nuclear weapons program, but this is a high risk strategy that could prompt Trump’s hardline advisers to pursue air strikes on weapons and research facilities in Iran. To avoid such strikes, Iran may instead seek other ways to hit back.

For example, if Iran succeeds in building a loyal political coalition that takes power in Baghdad, that new government could eject U.S. troops from Iraq – something that Iraqi political figures close to Iran have long wanted. As recently as March, a small majority of the Iraqi parliament called on the Iraqi government to set out a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. The surprising vote by a largely pro-Iranian group of parliamentarians was seen as an effort by Iran to demonstrate its political leverage in Iraq.

As far as Black Cube; looks like the American Empire hydra is steadily going insane, one head attacking another head, the beast ripping at its own belly. Downfall is imminent.

Posted by: nonsense factory | May 8 2018 19:06 utc | 58

Beautifully described. If, as FDR said, “we have nothing to fear but fear itself,” then some of Israel’s neighbors are on the path to victory.

Posted by: Daniel | May 8 2018 21:55 utc | 59

Good morning,

and by the way: there is No excuse to collaborate to desinformation and drop all logic and historical knowledge.
Thanks Daniel.

Posted by: Charles Michael | May 10 2018 3:05 utc | 60

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