Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #318 Kidding Around: Child Molestation and Pedophilia in the GOP

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This pro­gram exam­ines alle­ga­tions pre­sent­ed in a book by a very con­ser­v­a­tive Nebras­ka state sen­a­tor con­cern­ing orga­nized pedophile rings with­in the ranks of the Repub­li­can par­ty. These alleged activ­i­ties over­lap not only the admin­is­tra­tion of the elder George Bush but some of the activ­i­ties involved in the Iran-Con­tra scan­dal as well.

1. The pro­gram begins with dis­cus­sion of the arrest of a GOP may­or for alleged­ly lur­ing a minor for sex. As we shall see, this sort of thing is not as unusu­al as one might sup­pose with­in the ranks of the GOP. The alle­ga­tions con­tained in The Franklin Cov­er-Up put the con­cept of “fam­i­ly values”—much bal­ly­hooed by the GOP, in a dra­mat­i­cal­ly dif­fer­ent light.

“May­or Philip A. Gior­dano of Water­bury, who lost a long-shot bid last year to unseat Sen­a­tor Joseph I. Lieber­man and whose city has been tee­ter­ing on the edge of bank­rupt­cy, was arrest­ed in New Haven this morn­ing by fed­er­al agents in New Haven and accused of lur­ing a minor for sex. . . . At a news con­fer­ence at the office of the Unit­ed States attor­ney for Con­necti­cut in New Haven, offi­cials said Mr. Gior­dano had engaged in ‘inap­pro­pri­ate sex’ with ‘chil­dren,’ though they did not state the num­ber, age or sex of the vic­tims. The spe­cial agent in charge of the Fed­er­al Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion in Con­necti­cut, Michael J. Wolf, said, ‘The pub­lic expects and deserves utmost hon­esty, integri­ty and strong moral fiber from those who serve on their behalf.’ He called Mr. Giordano’s con­duct ‘dis­grace­ful.’”

(“Con­necti­cut May­or Is Arrest­ed by U.S. Agents in Child Sex Case” by David M. Her­szen­horn; The New York Times; 7/27/2001; p. A19.)

2. Accord­ing to the con­ser­v­a­tive Nebras­ka state leg­is­la­tor John W. De Camp (a dec­o­rat­ed Viet­nam vet­er­an), the sort of activ­i­ties that Gior­dano was accused of engag­ing in are, to a cer­tain extent, rep­re­sen­ta­tive of how ele­ments of the GOP get their kicks. While prob­ing the col­lapse of a Nebras­ka finan­cial insti­tu­tion, inves­ti­ga­tors came upon some inter­est­ing oper­a­tions alleged­ly super­vised by a promi­nent Nebras­ka GOP big­wig, Lar­ry King (not to be con­fused with the syn­di­cat­ed talk show host.) Mr. Emory notes that the sec­ond edi­tion of the book con­tains some mate­r­i­al which is eas­i­ly discredited—due, appar­ent­ly, to De Camp’s hav­ing been over­ly trust­ing of some of the infor­ma­tion being dis­sem­i­nat­ed by the less respon­si­ble ele­ments of the mili­tia milieu.

(The Franklin Cov­er-Up; by John W. De Camp; Copy­right 1992 by AWT, Incor­po­rat­ed; ISBN 0–9632158‑0–9.)

3. De Camp describes Lar­ry King’s polit­i­cal and “extracur­ric­u­lar” activ­i­ties.

“When Lar­ry King trav­eled the polit­i­cal cir­cuit, he evi­dent­ly had two agen­das. To the pub­lic, he was the ris­ing GOP star with the res­o­nant bari­tone voice. Some­thing else went on behind closed doors.”

(Ibid.; p. 166.)

4. What were the alleged clan­des­tine activ­i­ties that De Camp was refer­ring to?

“At the Dal­las [GOP] con­ven­tion in 1984, King threw his splashy par­ty at South­fork Ranch, remem­bered by me and many oth­er del­e­gates as an unpar­al­leled extrav­a­gan­za. Accord­ing to sev­er­al vic­tim-wit­ness­es, he also arranged some pri­vate events dur­ing the con­ven­tion. They recall being flown to Dal­las, to be sex­u­al­ly used by con­ven­tion-goers. Gary Caradori mapped the rec­ol­lec­tions of the Webb fos­ter chil­dren in his notes of Feb­ru­ary 1990: ‘Dur­ing this vis­it [the children’s aunt] Mar­cy informed [social work­er] Joanie that [the youngest Pat­ter­son Webb sis­ter] Kendra had told her she had been trans­port­ed around the coun­try sev­er­al times, she thought to Texas and Louisiana. Mar­cy remem­bered Texas in par­tic­u­lar, and a Repub­li­can Con­ven­tion because one of the chil­dren, pos­si­bly Kendra, had a book of match­es from Texas and that is how the chil­dren had known where they were at. Joanie stat­ed she remem­bered that the chil­dren had been exploit­ed sex­u­al­ly in Texas, and she indi­cat­ed that it was [the] feel­ing this activ­i­ty had been occur­ring for sev­er­al years.’”

(Ibid.; p. 167.)

5. De Camp con­tin­ues with his alle­ga­tions con­cern­ing King.

“I was lat­er to learn from Paul Bonac­ci, that he was also at the famed South­fork par­ty. He described it for me in exact detail, some sev­en years after the par­ty took place. He had been here for the pur­pose of pro­vid­ing sex­u­al favors for peo­ple Lar­ry King want­ed to accom­mo­date, sat­is­fy, or com­pro­mise. Paul said he was one of a troop of teenaged boys and girls, whom King had shipped to Dal­las for his pur­pos­es.”

(Ibid.; p. 167.)

6.

“I have talked to Paul repeat­ed­ly about this par­ty. I have lis­tened to his descrip­tion. Only by hav­ing been there, could some­one describe the set­ting the way Paul did to me. Because I was there myself for the par­ty, I am cer­tain that Paul Bonac­ci was there and did not invent his sto­ry or his descrip­tion of the par­ty. This was, it hap­pens, just one of Paul’s leads into mat­ters sur­round­ing Lar­ry King and Franklin that I could per­son­al­ly check out and know the boy was telling the truth. Not because some­body told me he was telling the truth. Not because some­body said he passed a lie detec­tor test on the sub­ject. But because I was there and saw a part of it, and saw the exact same things this boy did.”

(Idem.)

7. More about King’s social activ­i­ties and a Repub­li­can con­ven­tion, this one in New Orleans in 1988.

“Again in 1988, atten­dance at Lar­ry King’s par­ty was vir­tu­al­ly manda­to­ry for any true Nebras­ka Repub­li­can attend­ing the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion, held this time in New Orleans. Most of the Nebras­ka del­e­ga­tion was trans­port­ed to the par­ty by bus. The theme of the fes­tiv­i­ties was Mar­di Gras.”

(Idem.)

8. De Camp alleges that the “fun and games” that King was arrang­ing at the New Orleans con­ven­tion were sim­i­lar to the activ­i­ties at the 1984 Dal­las con­ven­tion.

“King’s par­ties were designed to bring in every­body, from the inno­cent to the top-rank­ing busi­ness­men and politi­cians. I per­son­al­ly attend­ed the two largest par­ties he ever threw, as did many Repub­li­can offi­cials. As a guest at the par­ty, you would not know from the out­er glit­ter, what sor­did activ­i­ty was going on behind the scenes. I am sure that was the char­ac­ter of many of Lar­ry King’s par­ties, par­tic­u­lar­ly the polit­i­cal events. Out­ward­ly, they had the appear­ance of legit­i­ma­cy, with promi­nent peo­ple in atten­dance, from may­ors to pres­i­dents, from busi­ness­men to con­gress­men. So, when peo­ple say to me, Well, I was at one of Lar­ry King’s par­ties and I did not see any of this sex or drug or pedophil­ia stuff,’ I under­stand that they may be speak­ing with hon­esty and accu­ra­cy. As to what real­ly went on, I believe they are wrong.”

(Ibid.; p. 168.)

9. De Camp dis­cuss­es some oth­er inter­est­ing man­i­fes­ta­tions of King/GOP “fam­i­ly val­ues.”

“King acquired con­tacts in Washington’s homo­sex­u­al pros­ti­tu­tion scene, one of whom was the late Craig Spence. A lob­by­ist and polit­i­cal oper­a­tive, Spence main­tained a call boy ring that catered to the polit­i­cal elite and, unlike most D.C. call boy rings, offered chil­dren to its clients.”

(Ibid.; p. 169.)

10. More about the afore­men­tioned Craig Spence.

“Spence’s activ­i­ties made ban­ner head­lines in the Wash­ing­ton Times on June 29, 1989: ‘Homo­sex­u­al pros­ti­tu­tion inquiry ensnares VIP’s with Rea­gan, Bush.’ Spence’s access was so good, that he could arrange night­time tours of the White House for his clients. The Times added on August 9, 1989, that Spence ‘hint­ed the tours were arranged by ‘top lev­el’ per­sons, includ­ing Don­ald Gregg, nation­al secu­ri­ty advi­sor to Vice Pres­i­dent Bush. . . .” Spence, accord­ing to friends, was also car­ry­ing out homo­sex­u­al black­mail oper­a­tions for the CIA.”

(Idem.)

11. De Camp alleges that Lar­ry King’s activ­i­ties were dis­cov­ered through an inves­ti­ga­tion into Spence’s oper­a­tions.

“Accord­ing to a Wash­ing­ton, D.C. inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist who researched the Spence ring, ‘The way we dis­cov­ered Lar­ry King and this Nebras­ka-based call boy ring, was by look­ing through the cred­it card chits of Spence’s ring, where we found King’s name.’ Anoth­er inves­ti­ga­tor, with per­son­al knowl­edge of the call-boy rings oper­at­ing in Wash­ing­ton, put it this way: ‘Lar­ry King and Craig Spence were busi­ness part­ners. Look at two com­pa­nies, ‘Dream Boys’ and ‘Man to Man’, both of which oper­at­ed under anoth­er ser­vice, ‘Bod­ies by God.’”

(Idem.)

12. Appar­ent­ly, the inves­ti­ga­tion of Spence’s activ­i­ties was fol­lowed by a seri­ous down­turn in Spence’s health. De Camp alleges that both Spence and King were involved with the Iran-Con­tra imbroglio.

“When Craig Spence turned up dead—a sui­cide, police were quick to say—in a Boston hotel room, in Novem­ber 1989, it was the lat­est in the long string of deaths of per­sons linked to Iran-Con­tra covert oper­a­tions and fund­ing. There is evi­dence that Lar­ry King had Wash­ing­ton busi­ness in that area as well. ‘In the 6 ½ months since fed­er­al author­i­ties closed Franklin, rumors have per­sist­ed that mon­ey from the cred­it union some­how found its way to the Nicaraguan con­tra rebels,’ said a World-Her­ald arti­cle on May 21, 1989.”

(Idem.)

13.

“The first World-Her­ald reporter on the Franklin case, James Allen Flan­ery, appar­ent­ly found more than rumors about the mon­ey-laun­der­ing. In late 1988, Flan­ery called Car­ol Stitt to dis­cuss what he had learned. Their con­ver­sa­tion is relat­ed in a Feb­ru­ary 21, 1989 report by Jer­ry Lowe: ‘Carol’s notes also have a ref­er­ence to Lar­ry King run­ning guns and mon­ey into Nicaragua . . . . Carol’s notes on Dec. 21, 1988 reflect that she talked with Flan­ery and in addi­tion to the Nicaraguan info, he was also now talk­ing about CIA involve­ment and pro­vid­ed info that yes­ter­day (Dec. 20) the FBI quit coop­er­at­ing with him . . . . Carol’s notes next jump to Feb.6, 1989, where she talked on the phone with Flan­ery and Flan­ery told her that the appro­pri­ate peo­ple didn’t want to believe any of this and who was ever going to pros­e­cute it. Appar­ent­ly Flan­ery told Car­ol he was close to resign­ing and the rea­sons he didn’t think any­one want­ed to do any­thing was because of the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a White House con­nec­tion, the con­nec­tions to a num­ber of big peo­ple, and he fact that the inves­ti­ga­tors want­ed bad­ly to con­fine this all to the mon­ey. Also many white peo­ple made Lar­ry King [who was African-Amer­i­can], he did not hap­pen on his own.’”

(Ibid.; p. 170.)

“Appar­ent­ly Flan­ery told Car­ol he was uncom­fort­able on the phone, his edi­tor was dis­tressed and things he had writ­ten were con­tin­u­al­ly edit­ed, he want­ed to his byline off the arti­cle print­ed the 9th among oth­er things . . . Flan­ery also expressed con­cern to Car­ol that if he didn’t get off this sto­ry he wor­ried about being com­pro­mised.” Soon Flan­ery was off the Franklin case, which con­tin­ued for months to be the major news lead in Nebras­ka, and went to the Uni­ver­si­ty of Kansas on Sab­bat­i­cal. When he returned a year lat­er, Flan­ery no longer wrote. about Franklin.”

(Idem.)

14. The sub­ject of the Iran-Con­tra scan­dal will be revis­it­ed lat­er in the dis­cus­sion. One should note that the views expressed in what fol­lows are those of the speak­ers and are not to be mis­con­strued as homo­pho­bia. Rather, the self-right­eous chest-beat­ing on the part of the GOP, their embrace of the Chris­t­ian Right and their exco­ri­a­tion of gays and cyn­i­cal manip­u­la­tion of homo­pho­bia in order to advance the Repub­li­can elec­toral agen­da are quite note­wor­thy in this con­text. (Writer David Brock not­ed the gay skele­tons in the Repub­li­can Par­ty when he was attacked for his own gay­ness fol­low­ing the pub­li­ca­tion of his book The Seduc­tion of Hillary Clin­ton.) De Camp notes the reac­tion of an offi­cial of the Franklin Nation­al Cred­it Union to his inves­ti­ga­tion. Again, the views expressed here are De Camp’s.

“Squelch­ing inter­est in an Iran-Con­tra con­nec­tion to Fanklin was also a top­ic of the hour, in that phone call I received from Nation­al Cred­it Union admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial Fen­ner, back in the ear­ly months of the leg­isla­tive Franklin probe. ‘Why would the head of the NCUA be want­i­ng to talk to me?’ I won­dered out loud, when my sec­re­tary said that Fen­ner was on the line. The man on the oth­er end of the phone said he knew I was a close friend of for­mer CIA head Bill Col­by, and that I also was Sen­a­tor Loran Schmit’s per­son­al attor­ney. He quick­ly came to his point.”

(Ibid.; pp. 170–171.)

15. De Camp dis­cuss­es his rela­tion­ship with for­mer CIA chief William Col­by and dis­cus­sion of the loot­ing of Franklin in order to finance the Con­tras.

“‘I know there are a lot rumors, that Franklin was being used as a front for laun­der­ing mon­ey for the Con­tras and that a lot of the mon­ey that is miss­ing from Franklin actu­al­ly went to finance the Con­tras.’ I acknowl­edged that I had heard such talk, and told, him, ‘I myself am one of those who won­der, if that is not a real pos­si­bil­i­ty, in light of the way things have been shak­ing out on the Con­tra scan­dal.’ Fen­ner then gave me a flood of details on the secret Franklin accounts, and where the miss­ing mon­ey sup­pos­ed­ly went. No des­ti­na­tions linked with Iran-Con­tra were men­tioned.”

(Idem.)

16. Note that the views that fol­low are those of the speak­ers.

“‘So tell me,’ I said, ‘just what is at the bot­tom of it? If it is not laun­dered mon­ey involved in the Iran-Con­tra scan­dal, what the blazes is it? And how could Lar­ry King get away with this, with­out you or some­body else know­ing what was going on? Looks to me as if he had to have one heck of a lot pow­er­ful polit­i­cal pro­tec­tion at the high­est lev­els.’ ‘Homo­sex­u­als,’ Fen­ner said, ‘Franklin financed the biggest group of homo­sex­u­als any state has ever seen. A lot of awful­ly pow­er­ful and promi­nent per­son­al­i­ties involved. But prob­a­bly not any­thing you can do any­thing about.’”

(Idem.)

17. Oth­er sources have not­ed the role of sex­u­al black­mail oper­a­tions in the con­text of pow­er pol­i­tics and the world of covert oper­a­tions. One of the most pow­er­ful alleged play­ers on this stage is Robert Kei­th Gray.

“The career of anoth­er Nebraskan, Robert Kei­th Gray, illu­mi­nates this milieu and why it would be so con­ge­nial to a per­son like Lar­ry King. Gray is the chair­man and CEO of Hill and Knowl­ton, one of the two biggest pub­lic rela­tions firms in the world, with such blue-chip clients as AT&T, IBM, Xerox, and DuPont. CBS-TV’s 60 Min­utes has called Hill and Knowl­ton ‘by far, the biggest, most influ­en­tial PR firm in Wash­ing­ton,’ adding that ‘crit­ics accuse them of being an unelect­ed shad­ow gov­ern­ment.’ Gray first came to Wash­ing­ton D.C. dur­ing the Eisen­how­er Admin­is­tra­tion, as Ike’s appoint­ments sec­re­tary and then sec­re­tary of the cab­i­net. He went to Hill and Knowl­ton in 1961. Gray played a role in Ronald Reagan’s 1976 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign and, in 1980, he was deputy direc­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions. Report­ing direct­ly to Bill Casey.”

(Ibid.; p. 178.)

18.

“On the strength of his con­nec­tions in the new admin­is­tra­tion, he left Hill and Knowl­ton to set up his own PR firm. With­in a year, Gray and Com­pa­ny secured over $9 mil­lion in billings from a clien­tele includ­ing Warn­er Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, NBC, GTE, Mutu­al of Oma­ha, the Amer­i­can Truck­ing Asso­ci­a­tion, the Amer­i­can Iron and Steel Insti­tute, and the gov­ern­ments of Cana­da and Turkey. In 1986, Hill and Knowl­ton bought out Gray and Co.; Gray became chair­man and CEO of Hill and Knowl­ton. Said to be Harold Andersen’s ‘clos­est friend in Wash­ing­ton,’ Gray is also report­ed­ly a spe­cial­ist in homo­sex­u­al black­mail oper­a­tions for the CIA.”

(Idem.)

19. The rela­tion­ship between Gray and the Wil­son, Ter­pil oper­a­tions detailed in RFA#4.

“Dur­ing the Water­gate era, Robert Kei­th Gray served on the board of Con­sul­tants Inter­na­tion­al, found­ed by CIA agent Edwin Wil­son. When Wil­son and fel­low agent Frank Ter­pil got caught run­ning guns abroad, Gray tried to deny his con­nec­tion with Wil­son. ‘Yet ten years before,’ accord­ing to Peter Maas’ book Man­hunt, ‘in a top secret Navy review of Wilson’s intel­li­gence career, Gray described Wil­son as a per­son of ‘unqual­i­fied trust,’ with whom he’d been in con­tact ‘pro­fes­sion­al­ly two or three times a month’ since 1963.’”

(Ibid.; p. 179.)

20. De Camp relates Jim Hougan’s account of anoth­er aspect of Gray’s alleged activ­i­ties. (Note that Tong­sun Park—a key fig­ure in the Kore­a­gate scandal—was close­ly asso­ci­at­ed with the Moon orga­ni­za­tion, which also has strong con­nec­tions to the Bush admin­is­tra­tion.

“Author Jim Hougan in Secret Agen­da, report­ed anoth­er aspect of Wilson’s work for the CIA: ‘Accord­ing to fugi­tive ex-CIA offi­cer Frank Ter­pil, CIA-direct­ed sex­u­al black­mail­ing oper­a­tions were inten­sive in Wash­ing­ton at about the time of the Water­gate scan­dal. One of those oper­a­tions, Ter­pil claims, was run by his for­mer part­ner, Ed Wil­son. Wilson’s base of oper­a­tions for arrang­ing trysts for the polit­i­cal­ly pow­er­ful was, Ter­pil says, Kore­an agent Ton Sun Park’s George Town Club. In a let­ter to the author, Ter­pil explained that ‘His­tor­i­cal­ly, one of Wilson’s Agency jobs was to sub­vert mem­bers of both hous­es [of Con­gress] by any means nec­es­sary. . . .Cer­tain peo­ple could be eas­i­ly coerced by liv­ing out their sex­u­al fan­tasies in the flesh. . . .A remem­brance of these occa­sions [was] per­ma­nent­ly record­ed via select­ed cam­eras. . . . The tech­ni­cians in charge of film­ing. . .[were] TSD [Tech­ni­cal Ser­vices Divi­sion of the CIA] The unwit­ting porno stars advanced in their polit­i­cal careers, some of [whom] may still be in office.’”

(Idem.)

21. De Camp alleges that the oper­a­tions in which Wil­son, Ter­pil and Gray alleged­ly engaged in were an exten­sion of the activ­i­ties of for­mer Joseph McCarthy aide Roy Cohn.

“Gray’s asso­ciate Wil­son was appar­ent­ly con­tin­u­ing the work of a report­ed col­lab­o­ra­tor of Gray from the 1950’s—McCarthy com­mit­tee coun­sel Roy Cohn, now dead of AIDS. Accord­ing to the for­mer head of the vice squad for one of America’s biggest cities, ‘Cohn’s job was to run the lit­tle boys. Say you had an admi­ral, a gen­er­al, a con­gress­man, who did not want to go along with the pro­gram. Cohn’s job was to set them up, then they would go along. Cohn told me that him­self.’ The first pres­i­dent of Tong Sun Park’s George Town Club, where Wilson’s sex­u­al black­mail oper­a­tions were report­ed­ly run, was Robert Kei­th Gray.”

(Ibid.; pp. 179–180.)

22. Gray’s activ­i­ties over­lap those activ­i­ties of the Iran-Con­tra scan­dal and also the milieu of the Bush fam­i­ly. The Catholic youth home Covenant House was impli­cat­ed in orga­nized child molesta­tion and also had ties to the Bush­es.

“Gray employ­ee Rob Owen set up a pri­vate group to solic­it funds for the Con­tras. Owen was called before Con­gress, to tes­ti­fy on how he deliv­ered bags of cash to the Con­tras. In Feb­ru­ary of 1989, Hill and Knowlton’s Charles Perkins rushed to New York for a frac­tion of the firm’s usu­al fee, to help with pub­lic rela­tions for Covenant House. The youth organization’s direc­tor, Father Bruce Rit­ter, was alleged to have molest­ed youth who took refuge with him.”

(Ibid.; p. 180.)

23.

“Laud­ed by the Rea­gan and Bush Admin­is­tra­tions as a show­case for the pri­va­ti­za­tion of social ser­vice, Covenant House had expand­ed into Guatemala as a gate­way to South Amer­i­ca. Accord­ing to intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty sources, the pur­pose was pro­cure­ment of chil­dren from South Amer­i­ca for exploita­tion in a pedophile ring. The flag­ship Guatemalan mis­sion of Covenant House was launched by a for­mer busi­ness part­ner of Nicaraguan dic­ta­tor Anas­ta­sio Somoza–Roberto Ale­jos Arzu–who had ties to the CIA, accord­ing to the Vil­lage Voice of Feb. 20, 1990. The Voice quot­ed Jean-Marie Simon, author of Guatemala: Eter­nal Spring, Eter­nal Tyran­ny: ‘It’s like hav­ing Idi Amin on the board of Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al.’”

(Idem.)

24.

“A top source of mon­ey for Covenant House has been Robert Macauley, founder of Ameri­cares, a ser­vice orga­ni­za­tion impli­cat­ed in chan­nel­ing funds to the Con­tras. A close friend of the Bush fam­i­ly since Con­necti­cut, Andover and Yale days, Macauley has George Bush’s broth­er Prescott on the Ameri­cares’ board. Father Rit­ter was a vice pres­i­dent of Ameri­cares, at least until he had to resign from Covenant House in Feb­ru­ary 1989, and spent week­ends at Macauley’s estate in Con­necti­cut, accord­ing to a for­mer Covenant House employ­ee. As in New York, also in Nebras­ka an insti­tu­tion that shel­tered child abuse could count on pro­tec­tion from Wash­ing­ton. The atti­tude of fed­er­al agen­cies towards Lar­ry King’s Franklin Cred­it Union fits the mold.”

(Ibid.; pp. 180–181.)

25. More of De Camp’s alle­ga­tions con­cern­ing Lar­ry King imply con­nec­tions between King, the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty and George Bush (the Elder.)

“If King was involved with CIA mon­ey laun­der­ing, that jibes with a report from a mem­ber of Con­cerned Par­ents: ‘I heard from two dif­fer­ent black peo­ple in North Oma­ha that King used to send lim­ou­sines down to Offutt Air Base [home of the Strate­gic Air Com­mand] to pick up CIA per­son­nel for par­ties.’ The some­times expan­sive Lar­ry King used to talk fond­ly about his friends. In a Sept. 7, 1988 inter­view with the Met­ro­pol­i­tan, King said, ‘I know some of the peo­ple I admire aren’t very pop­u­lar. Ed Meese. The late Bill Casey of the CIA. And I love for­mer Chief Jus­tice Burg­er. Those are the peo­ple I real­ly like to talk to. Bill Casey. . . . I just thought so very high­ly of him.’”

(Ibid.; p. 175.)

26.

“Lar­ry King adored Bill Casey, but what about one of Casey’s pre­de­ces­sors at Cen­tral Intelligence—George Bush? Ever since July 23, 1989, when the lead edi­to­r­i­al in the World-Her­ald said that ‘one child . . . is said to believe that she saw George Bush at one of King’s Par­ties,’ King’s con­nec­tion with Bush has been a fre­quent­ly asked ques­tion about the Franklin case. Anx­i­ety on this account has run espe­cial­ly high in Omaha’s black com­mu­ni­ty, where in Decem­ber 1990, one young lady stood up at a pub­lic meet­ing and pro­claimed, ‘I think George Bush is involved in this child abuse case, and that is why all these peo­ple have been dying.’”

(Idem.)

27. Accord­ing to De Camp, Bush’s name sur­faced in the begin­ning of the inves­ti­ga­tion into the Franklin/pedophilia con­nec­tion.

“Inside inves­ti­ga­tors of Franklin, and the Webb case before it, know that Bush’s name came up at the very begin­ning, and it came up more than once. The July 1989 World-Her­ald col­umn, in an attempt to dis­cred­it this and oth­er vic­tim-wit­ness tes­ti­mo­ny, attrib­uted the men­tion of Bush to a per­son ‘under psy­chi­atric care,’ mean­ing Loret­ta Smith. In real­i­ty, the report was from Nel­ly Pat­ter­son Webb.”

(Idem.)

28.

“Nel­ly first brought up Bush in 1986, when she told Julie Wal­ters about the sex par­ties she was flown to in Wash­ing­ton and Chica­go. She saw Bush at two of these par­ties, she said, one in each city. Nel­ly also told Wal­ters that one fre­quent par­ty-goer with King was a boy named ‘Brent,” the one who was ‘flown to anoth­er city some­where’ after a falling out with King. Wal­ters did not have the resources to cross-check this infor­ma­tion with the life of Brandt Thomas, the Boys Town res­i­dent who had moved in with Lar­ry King. Franklin cred­it union files con­tained a let­ter signed by King, in his capac­i­ty as Youth Affairs Com­mit­tee advi­sor for the Nation­al Black Repub­li­can Coun­cil, list­ing Thomas as one of two nation­al con­tact peo­ple for NBRC cam­pus chap­ters.”

(Ibid.; p. 176.)

29.

“Three years lat­er, with an inves­ti­ga­tion of abuse by King and the Webbs final­ly under way, Nel­ly was inter­viewed again. Speak­ing to Franklin com­mit­tee Jer­ry Lowe, she repeat­ed her account of the Chica­go par­ty, and said that Bush and two men he arrived with appeared to have left the affair with a young black man she called ‘Brandt.’ Of course, as I have made clear, mere atten­dance by a politi­cian, be he the Pres­i­dent or any oth­er office-hold­er, at a Lar­ry King par­ty does not mean that per­son knew of or was involved in Lar­ry King’s sor­did activ­i­ties. Almost every top Nebras­ka Repub­li­can, includ­ing myself, attend­ed the two largest par­ties King ever host­ed, the ones at the Repub­li­can nation­al con­ven­tions in 1984 and 1988.”

(Idem.)

30. De Camp relates anoth­er alleged con­nec­tion between Bush and the Lar­ry King/pedophilia con­nec­tions.

“Bush’s name sur­faced again in Lowe’s May 1989 review of reports by Thomas Vla­houlis from the state attor­ney general’s office: ‘Soren­son told Vla­houlis that both Kim­ber­ly and Nel­ly brought up the name of George Bush and indi­cat­ed that they had both met him. . . .’ On June 10, 1989, Lowe received a let­ter from a cit­i­zen: ‘There is a psy­chol­o­gist in Oma­ha who used to work for the CIA. In response to a direct ques­tion by an Oma­ha psy­chi­a­trist regard­ing George Bush’s pri­vate life, this psy­chol­o­gist report­ed hear­ing rumors when Bush was head of the CIA, that cor­re­spond direct­ly with one of the infer­ences made by Nel­ly Webb, and com­ment­ed to the psy­chi­a­trist, ‘But how do you inves­ti­gate your boss?’”

(Ibid.; pp. 176–177.)

31. De Camp notes the elder Bush’s pro­cliv­i­ties for appoint­ing Nebras­ka Repub­li­cans.

“In August 1990, Bush appoint­ed Ronald Roskens of Nebras­ka, to head the Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment (AID). Roskens had been fired the pre­vi­ous year as chan­cel­lor of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Nebras­ka, where Lar­ry King was a mem­ber of his ‘chancellor’s advi­so­ry com­mit­tee.’ Gary Caradori’s dai­ly notes for Feb. 19, 1989 record: ‘I was informed that Roskins [sic] was ter­mi­nat­ed by the state because of sex­u­al activ­i­ties report­ed to the Regents and ver­i­fied by them. Mr. Roskins was report­ed to have had young men at his res­i­dence for sex­u­al encoun­ters. As part of the sep­a­ra­tion from the state, he had to move out of the state-owned house because of the lia­bil­i­ty to the state if some of this sex­u­al behav­ior was ‘ille­gal.’ Upon Roskins vacat­ing the house, he was pro­vid­ed a house by Joe Seacrist [sic] of the Lin­coln Jour­nal-Star.’ The lead­er­ship of AID is the kind of sen­si­tive job—AID assign­ments have been used as a ‘cov­er’ by CIA agents, for instance—for which appointees under­go a back­ground check that would have to turn up what Caradori also heard. Nev­er­the­less, George Bush appoint­ed Roskens.”

(Idem.)

32. Inves­ti­ga­tor Gary Caradori was among the many casu­al­ties of the Franklin inves­ti­ga­tion. De Camp has an appen­dix of a list of “sus­pi­cious deaths tied to the Franklin case.”

“(1.) BILL BAKER. He was a restau­rant own­er in Oma­ha, and a part­ner of Lar­ry King in homo­sex­u­al pornog­ra­phy oper­a­tions. He was found shot in the back of the head.

(2.) SHAWN BONER. Broth­er of vic­tim-wit­ness Troy Bon­er, he died of a gun­shot wound from ‘Russ­ian Roulette.’

(3.) GARY CARADORI. Chief inves­ti­ga­tor for he leg­isla­tive Franklin Com­mit­tee, Caradori told asso­ciates days before his death that he had infor­ma­tion that would ‘blow this case wide open.’ He died when his plane crashed on July 11, 1990.

(4.) ANDREW ‘A.J.’ CARADORI. Died at the age of 8, in the plane crash with his father.

(5.) NEWT COPPLE. A con­fi­den­tial infor­mant for Caradori and his inves­tiga­tive firm, Cop­ple was a key behind-the-scenes activist fight­ing the cov­er-up of the Franklin case. Son of Com­mon­wealth Sav­ings own­er S.E. Cop­ple, busi­ness­man in his own right, an ex-cham­pi­on wrestler with no pri­or health prob­lems and par­ents who lived into their late eight­ies and nineties, Cop­ple sud­den­ly ‘died in his sleep’ in March 1991, at the age of 70.”

(Ibid.; p. 250.)

33. More of De Camp’s Franklin death list fol­lows.

“(6.) CLARE HOWARD. The for­mer sec­re­tary of Alan Baer, who arranged Baer’s pedophile trysts, Howard ‘died in her sleep’ in 1991.

(7.) MIKE LEWIS. A for­mer care­giv­er for vic­tim-wit­ness Loret­ta Smith. He died of a ‘severe dia­bet­ic reac­tion’ at the age of 32.

(8.) JOE MALEK, asso­ciate of Lar­ry King and own­er of Peony Park, where homo­sex­u­al galas were held. His death from gun­shot was ruled a sui­cide.

(9.) AARON OWEN, the broth­er of vic­tim-wit­ness Alisha Owen. He was found hanged in his cell in Lin­coln, Nebras­ka, hours before one of his sister’s court appear­ances.

(10.) CHARLIE ROGERS. A reput­ed homo­sex­u­al part­ner of Lar­ry King, Rogers said that he feared for his life, in the days before his death. His head was blown off with a shot­gun, in what was ruled a sui­cide.

(11.) DAN RYAN, an asso­ciate of Lar­ry King. He was found stran­gled or suf­fo­cat­ed in a car.

(12.) BILL SKOLESKI. An offi­cer in the Oma­ha Police Depart­ment who was believed to be keep­ing a file on Lar­ry King, he died of a heart attack.

(13.) KATHLEEN SORENSON. The fos­ter par­ent for Nel­ly and Kim­ber­ly Webb after they fled the home of Lar­ry King’s rel­a­tives, Jar­rett and Bar­bara Webb, she was an out­spo­ken activist against Satanism. Her death in a sus­pi­cious car crash is relat­ed in Chap­ter 15.

(14.) CURTIS TUCKER. An asso­ciate of Lar­ry King, he fell or jumped out of the win­dow of the Hol­i­day Inn in Oma­ha.

(15.) HARMON TUCKER. A school super­in­ten­dent in Nebras­ka and Iowa, a reput­ed homo­sex­u­al, his death had signs of satan­ic rit­u­al mur­der. He was found dead in Geor­gia, near the plan­ta­tion which Harold Ander­sen and Nebras­ka-Iowa FBI chief Nicholas O’Hara used for hunt­ing.”

(Ibid.; pp. 250–251.)

34. Among the casu­al­ties that De Camp believes to be con­nect­ed to the Franklin inves­ti­ga­tion was the late William Col­by, for­mer direc­tor of the CIA. De Camp worked with Col­by dur­ing the Viet­nam War. Col­by had worked with De Camp on the book, and served as an inves­tiga­tive source.

“It is a lit­tle over four years since I, John De Camp, wrote the words you have just read. My clos­es friend and men­tor, Bill Col­by, like so many oth­ers in the Franklin case, is dead; he was fished out of a riv­er in front of his home, under the most ques­tion­able of cir­cum­stances, in April of 1996. Was he killed because of his involve­ment in Franklin? I don’t know. What I do know, is that Bill Col­by was the heart and soul of the Franklin inves­ti­ga­tion. Although at a cer­tain point he warned me against inves­ti­gat­ing the case fur­ther, it was he who relent­less­ly pushed to pub­licly expose what had already been dis­cov­ered, when every­one else, includ­ing, at times, myself, want­ed to call it quits. With­out him, this book would nev­er have been writ­ten.”

(Ibid.; p. 1.)

35. It is inter­est­ing that the late Col­by had been a sup­port­er of Pres­i­dent Clin­ton and that his wife worked for Clin­ton.

“Not only was Bill’s wife, Sal­ly Shel­ton Col­by, in a senior posi­tion in the Clin­ton Admin­is­tra­tion, but Col­by him­self had empha­sized to me, repeat­ed­ly, that Clin­ton was a great Pres­i­dent, and that it was urgent that he be re-elect­ed.”

(Ibid.; p. 388.)

36. De Camp describes the death of his friend and col­league.

“A week after out get-togeth­er, in which Bill spoke so enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly about his work and his trav­els, he was dead—under the most unusu­al cir­cum­stances, his death offi­cial­ly labeled an ‘acci­dent.’ I did not believe it then, and I do not believe it now. But I do believe what Bill said: ‘If it’s done right, you will nev­er know how it was done, or who did it.’”

(Ibid.; p. 389.)

37. De Camp expounds on his skep­ti­cism con­cern­ing Colby’s death, based on exten­sive knowl­edge of the late director’s behav­ior.

“Col­by had a sail­boat and his lit­tle get-away cot­tage, where he went as often as he could. I vis­it­ed him there on sev­er­al occa­sions, as Bill invit­ed me sail­ing when­ev­er I was in town. Inevitably, how­ev­er, the weath­er fore­cast would warn of a pos­si­bil­i­ty of rain, or a drop of rain would fall, or he’d notice that the moon was not in the right posi­tion, or the sun too hot, or what­ev­er. And Bill would decide not to take the risk and go out sail­ing.”

(Ibid.; pp. 384–385.)

38.

“My point is sim­ple. Bill Col­by was the sin­gle most metic­u­lous­ly care­ful, pro­grammed, orga­nized indi­vid­ual I have ever encoun­tered, espe­cial­ly when it came to mat­ters of safe­ty, secu­ri­ty, and per­son­al activ­i­ties. There­fore, the descrip­tion giv­en in the media, sur­round­ing his death, does not cohere with Bill Colby’s per­son­al­i­ty, his char­ac­ter, his modus operan­di, and my per­son­al expe­ri­ences with him over many years. Bill Col­by was not the kind of per­son who would take off on an evening boat­ing expe­di­tion, leav­ing his com­put­er still turned on at his desk, his half-fin­ished din­ner still sit­ting on the table, and most of the lights on in the cot­tage. That was not Bill.”

(Ibid.; p. 385.)

39. Recount­ing an inci­dent that escaped most people’s notice (includ­ing Mr. Emory’s), De Camp relates an inci­dent that fore­shad­owed Colby’s death.

“Fur­ther­more, Bill had been the vic­tim of a ‘rob­bery’ in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., not too long before his death, in which he had been bad­ly beat­en, and eas­i­ly could have died. This ‘rob­bery’ and his actu­al death were both mys­te­ri­ous inci­dents, in a rel­a­tive­ly short span of time. I have a hard time believ­ing in coin­ci­dences, when it comes to peo­ple like Bill Col­by. His mys­te­ri­ous death has also brought, to my mind, his own expla­na­tions of how peo­ple end up dead, in the course of our dis­cussing the death of Franklin case inves­ti­ga­tor Gary Caradori—a death Col­by him­self had inves­ti­gat­ed. His exact state­ment on this was: ‘If it’s done right, you’ll nev­er know how it was done, or who did it for sure. That’s what pro­fes­sion­al­ism is all about.’”

(Idem.)

Discussion

21 comments for “FTR #318 Kidding Around: Child Molestation and Pedophilia in the GOP”

  1. http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011–11-10/sports/30381212_1_child-molester-madden-claims-jerry-sandusky

    SHOCKING PENN STATE RUMOR: Jer­ry San­dusky ‘Pimped Out Young Boys To Rich Donors’
    Tony Manfred|November 10, 2011

    (AP) Sports­writer Mark Mad­den went on WEEI in Boston and report­ed a rumor that alleged child moles­ter Jer­ry San­dusky would pimp out boys to rich donors.

    “I hear a rumor that there will be a shock­ing devel­op­ment from the Sec­ond Miles Foun­da­tion ... That Jer­ry San­dusky and Sec­ond Mile were pimp­ing out young boys to rich donors.”

    Mad­den claims it’s being inves­ti­gat­ed by “two promi­nent colum­nists.”

    We’d say this is ridicu­lous, and that you should take it with a grain of salt. But Mad­den actu­al­ly wrote about San­dusky for the Beaver Coun­ty Times six months ago — long before the scan­dal blind­sided every­one else this week.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/jerry-sandusky-column-2011–11

    A News­pa­per Ran A Col­umn About The Hor­ri­fy­ing Penn State Scan­dal Six Months Ago
    Tony Man­fred | Nov. 9, 2011, 3:12 PM

    Penn State’s bun­gled response to the Jer­ry San­dusky scan­dal is even more shock­ing when you con­sid­er this: there was a report about San­dusky’s alleged abus­es six months ago.

    On April 3, the Beaver Coun­try Times ran a col­umn by Mark Mad­den head­lined, “San­dusky A State Secret.”

    The col­umn calls out the uni­ver­si­ty for fail­ing to stop San­dusky a decade ago, and warns that a impend­ing grand jury report could cause a mas­sive scan­dal.

    It also asks many of the same ques­tions we are ask­ing this week.

    “What did Pater­no know, and when did he know it? What did Penn State’s admin­is­tra­tion know, and when did they know it?” he asks.

    It’s hard to under­stand how any­one at Penn State — from Pater­no to the pres­i­dent to the PR depart­ment — could have been unpre­pared for the scan­dal to explode con­sid­er­ing it was already rel­a­tive­ly pub­lic.

    The col­umn does­n’t make the alleged con­duct of PSU offi­cials any bet­ter or worse, it just makes the messy PR moves by the school over the last few days look even more ter­ri­ble.

    There was also a news sto­ry in the Patri­ot-News about the grand jury inves­ti­ga­tion in late March.

    . . . . .

    Orig­i­nal arti­cle from Mark Mad­den, who now accus­es a pedophile ring involv­ing “rich donors & boost­ers” in the Penn State/Sandusky case:

    http://www.timesonline.com/columnists/sports/mark_madden/madden-sandusky-a-state-secret/article_863d3c82-5e6f-11e0-9ae5-001a4bcf6878.html#user-comment-area

    San­dusky A State Secret

    Post­ed: Sun­day, April 3, 2011 11:55 pm | Updat­ed: 4:34 pm, Mon Apr 4, 2011.
    by Mark Mad­den

    The Jer­ry San­dusky sit­u­a­tion seems a mat­ter of fail­ure to con­nect cer­tain dots, or per­haps unwill­ing­ness in that regard. Lots of peo­ple besides the for­mer Penn State defen­sive coor­di­na­tor have some explain­ing to do.

    Alle­ga­tions of improp­er con­duct with an under­age male first sur­faced in 1998, while San­dusky was still employed by Penn State. That inci­dent alleged­ly occurred in a show­er at Penn State’s on-cam­pus foot­ball facil­i­ty. No charges were filed.

    San­dusky retired the next year, in 1999. He was 55, prime age for a coach. Odd, to say the least — espe­cial­ly with Joe Pater­no thought even then to be ready to quit and San­dusky a like­ly, open­ly-dis­cussed suc­ces­sor.

    It seems log­i­cal to ask: What did Pater­no know, and when did he know it? What did Penn State’s admin­is­tra­tion know, and when did they know it?

    Best-case sce­nario: Charges are nev­er brought, and San­dusky walks away with his rep­u­ta­tion per­ma­nent­ly scarred. The rumors, the jokes, the side­ways glances — they won’t ever stop. Pater­no and Penn State do the great escape.

    Worst-case sce­nario: San­dusky is charged. Then it seems rea­son­able to won­der: Did Penn State not make an issue of San­dusky’s alleged behav­ior in 1998 in exchange for him walk­ing away from the pro­gram at an age pre­ma­ture for most coach­es? Did Penn State’s con­sid­er­able influ­ence help get San­dusky off the hook?

    Don’t kid your­self. That could hap­pen. Don’t under­es­ti­mate the pow­er of Pater­no and Penn State in cen­tral Penn­syl­va­nia when it comes to politi­cians, the police and the media.

    In 1999, Penn State was rid of San­dusky. His rep was unblem­ished, which allowed him to con­tin­ue run­ning a char­i­ta­ble foun­da­tion that gave him access to under­age males. To be a vol­un­teer assis­tant with a high school foot­ball team, thus gain­ing access to under­age males.

    If Pater­no and Penn State knew, but did­n’t act, instead facil­i­tat­ing San­dusky’s untrou­bled retire­ment — are Pater­no and Penn State respon­si­ble for unto­ward acts since com­mit­ted by San­dusky?

    This is far from an out­ra­geous hypoth­e­sis, espe­cial­ly giv­en the con­ve­nient time­line.

    Ini­tial­ly accused in 1998. Retires in 1999. Nev­er coach­es col­lege foot­ball again. San­dusky was very suc­cess­ful at what he did. The archi­tect of Line­backer U. Helped win nation­al cham­pi­onships in 1982 and 1986. Rec­og­nized as col­lege foot­bal­l’s top assis­tant in 1986 and 1999.

    Nev­er any sto­ries about San­dusky being pur­sued for a high-pro­file job. Nev­er any rumors about him com­ing out of retire­ment.

    But there’s no short­age of sto­ries and rumors about Penn State foot­ball sweep­ing prob­lems under the rug, is there?

    Why did col­lege foot­ball let an accom­plished coach like San­dusky walk away at 55? Why did he dis­ap­pear into rel­a­tive anonymi­ty?

    A grand jury, spurred by a com­plaint made by a 15-year-old boy in 2009, has been inves­ti­gat­ing San­dusky for 18 months. Wit­ness­es include Pater­no and Penn State ath­let­ic direc­tor Tim Cur­ley.

    Inter­view­ing Pater­no about a sub­ject like this had to have been one of the sin­gle most uncom­fort­able acts in the his­to­ry of jurispru­dence.

    Plen­ty of ques­tions remain yet unan­swered.

    Poten­tial­ly among them: What’s more impor­tant, Penn State foot­ball or the wel­fare of a few kids?

    You might not want to hear the answer.

    Posted by R. Wilson | November 24, 2011, 10:44 pm
  2. I’m sure there’s a per­fect­ly rea­son­able expla­na­tion for all of this (and that). Let’s be char­i­ta­ble.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 4, 2012, 1:10 pm
  3. Pter­rafractyl: Your first link is bro­ken (on the word ‘that’).

    I seem to be hav­ing prob­lems as well post­ing here at Spit­fire. If this com­ment takes, it will be the first in a cou­ple weeks of try­ing

    Posted by R. Wilson | June 4, 2012, 7:55 pm
  4. @R. Wil­son: Yeah, me too, unfor­tu­nate­ly. I still believe there may be a glitch in the for­mat. =(

    Posted by Steve L. | June 4, 2012, 11:46 pm
  5. @R. Wil­son: Whoops! Looks like I left off the “http://” part from the URL and it got inter­pret­ed as a local link. This should work. And yeah, not sure what’s going on with the com­ments...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 5, 2012, 9:15 am
  6. Let’s not for­get that GW’s col­lege nick­name was Lips. In elite cir­cles there is an ele­ment who prac­tice homo­sex­u­al­i­ty and pedophil­ia as an expres­sion of deprav­i­ty, con­tempt for main­stream morays and for inner cir­cle ini­ti­a­tion. Homo­sex­u­al pref­er­ences can be more or less healthy but not so here. The sex­u­al mor­al­iz­ing by the far right is an ongo­ing huge joke on the unwashed. Wit­ness Roy Cohn’s adamant, vocal pub­lic oppo­si­tion to all things homo­sex­u­al while in the con­stant com­pa­ny of a parade of young male com­pan­ions.

    Posted by Dwight | June 6, 2012, 10:41 am
  7. Con­tin­u­ing dif­fi­cul­ties for a week try­ing to post any com­ment to this page.

    I’ll try to write out the URL and see if that works:

    www (dot) ibtimes (dot) co (dot) uk (slash) arti­cles (slash) 397824 (slash) 20121024 (slash) tom-wat­son-child-sex-ring-sire-peter (dot)htm

    Was Mar­garet Thatch­er’s Top Aide Peter Mor­ri­son in Pae­dophile Ring?

    By DOMINIC GOVER
    Octo­ber 24, 2012 6:50 PM GMT

    The politi­cian impli­cat­ed in an alleged child sex ring at 10 Down­ing Street was Sir Peter Mor­ri­son, one of Mar­garet Thatch­er’s clos­est advis­ers, IBTimes UK can reveal.

    Mor­ri­son was the mys­tery “senior aide” MP Tom Wat­son allud­ed to at Prime Min­is­ter’s Ques­tions (PMQs). Wat­son’s alle­ga­tion of a pae­dophile ring close to Down­ing Street stunned the House of Com­mons.

    Mor­ri­son was a Con­ser­v­a­tive politi­cian who act­ed as Thatch­er’s par­lia­men­tary pri­vate sec­re­tary while she was prime min­is­ter. He also mas­ter­mind­ed her failed bid to hold on to the lead­er­ship in 1990.

    Mor­ri­son left office in 1992 and died in 1995.

    The sex­u­al tastes of the prime min­is­ter’s trust­ed advis­er were an open secret in some quar­ters but were con­cealed by a police cov­er-up and threats of libel by Mor­ri­son him­self, accord­ing to a for­mer edi­tor of the Sun­day Mir­ror, Peter Con­new.

    Simon Hef­fer wrote in the Dai­ly Tele­graph in 2009: “At least one mem­ber of Mrs Thatch­er’s first cab­i­net was homo­sex­u­al. Her last par­lia­men­tary pri­vate sec­re­tary, Sir Peter Mor­ri­son, was a con­stant tri­al to the whips, who were afraid that his late-night cruis­es around and skir­mish­es in Sus­sex Gar­dens would come to the atten­tion of the press.”

    Con­new told IBTimes UK that he saw first-hand how efforts to name and shame Mor­ri­son were ham­pered.

    Mor­ri­son, the MP for Chester, was arrest­ed more than once for pes­ter­ing young boys in pub­lic toi­lets for sex, said Con­new. When police offi­cers tried to charge him, the cov­er-up began.

    “Such was the hush-up that nobody could get hold of the log of the arrest,” Con­new told IBTimes UK.

    “As soon as he was brought in for impor­tun­ing young boys in pub­lic toi­lets, the seniors would come down. That was the rea­son the offi­cers leaked the details: they were out­raged that the seniors had ticked them off for arrest­ing him.

    “If they had nicked a lor­ry dri­ver, he would have been up before the judge in no time.”

    Print and I’ll sue you

    When reporters act­ing on tip-offs doorstepped Mor­ri­son, he came out fight­ing, added Con­new.

    “When they doorstepped him, he said ‘print and I’ll sue you.’ This is some­thing that Lord Leve­son might want to con­sid­er.”

    Alle­ga­tions against Mor­ri­son first sur­faced in the press in 1998. Inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist Nick Davies report­ed how Chris House, crime edi­tor at the Mir­ror, had been tipped off by police about Mor­rison’s activ­i­ties — but was gagged by legal fears.

    Not being able to expose the politi­cian close to No 10 irked House, said Con­new. “He cat­e­gorised it as the most frus­trat­ing scoop he could nev­er write. He was more involved in it than me.

    “I had no idea Tom Wat­son was going to set off that hand grenade in par­lia­ment,” he added.

    Mor­rison’s activ­i­ties were thrown under the spot­light by Labour MP Wat­son at PMQs. The West Bromwich East MP allud­ed to a polit­i­cal fig­ure who was cit­ed in evi­dence at the 1992 tri­al of pae­dophile Peter Righton, real name Paul Pel­ham.

    Wat­son said in par­lia­ment: “The evi­dence file used to con­vict pae­dophile Peter Righton, if it still exists, con­tains clear intel­li­gence of a pae­dophile ring.

    “One of its mem­bers boasts of his links to a senior aide of a for­mer prime min­is­ter who could smug­gle inde­cent images of chil­dren from abroad.

    “The leads were not fol­lowed up but if the file still exists I want to ensure that the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Police secure the evi­dence, re-exam­ine it and inves­ti­gate clear links of a pow­er­ful pae­dophile net­work linked to par­lia­ment and No 10.”

    Righton was a high-pro­file pub­lic expert on the UK child­care sys­tem. He was con­vict­ed of import­ing and pos­sess­ing child pornog­ra­phy in 1992.

    UPDATE (25 OCTOBER 2012) Wat­son has gone on record to deny that the mys­tery aide referred to in his state­ment at PMQs was Peter Mor­ri­son, for­mer aide to Mar­garet Thatch­er when she was in pow­er. Mor­ri­son was recent­ly named by for­mer Tory MP Edwina Cur­rie as hav­ing had sex with teenage boys.

    Posted by R. Wilson | November 5, 2012, 7:09 pm
  8. While it’s nev­er a good time to be an elite pedophile, it looks like it’s going to be an espe­cial­ly bad time for any UK elite pedophiles. Let’s hope we don’t see a repeat of any­thing like this. Or this.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 18, 2013, 8:04 am
  9. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/tory-mp-warned-of-powerful-paedophile-ring-30-years-ago-8507780.html

    New evi­dence sup­ports late MP’s claim of elite pae­do ring

    Tory MP warned of pow­er­ful pae­dophile ring 30 years ago

    New evi­dence sup­ports claim for­mer backbencher’s life was threat­ened

    FRIDAY 22 FEBRUARY 2013

    A burly vet­er­an of scores of ama­teur box­ing bouts, the Tory MP Geof­frey Dick­ens was best known dur­ing his bustling 16-year career in Par­lia­ment as a pugna­cious right-winger who sup­plied “hang ‘em and flog ‘em” quotes to the tabloids.

    Eigh­teen years after his death, how­ev­er, the backbencher’s rep­u­ta­tion as a polit­i­cal light­weight is being revised in the wake of a Scot­land Yard inves­ti­ga­tion which is exhum­ing a scan­dal long buried in the West­min­ster of Mar­garet Thatcher’s pre­mier­ship.

    New evi­dence sug­gests that Dick­ens stum­bled upon an Estab­lish­ment pae­dophile ring in the ear­ly 1980s – and that his efforts to expose a cov­er-up left him in fear of his life. Dick­ens told fel­low MPs that after warn­ing of the exis­tence of the net­work, he had received threat­en­ing phone calls and been bur­gled twice. He also claimed he had been placed on a “hit-list”, he told the House of Com­mons in a lit­tle-noticed speech.

    For four years between 1981 and 1985, Dick­ens railed in Par­lia­ment against a pae­dophile ring which he claimed was con­nect­ed to a trade in child pornog­ra­phy, then con­trolled by gang­sters.

    In 1981 Dick­ens had used Par­lia­men­tary priv­i­lege to name a diplo­mat and MI6 oper­a­tive, Sir Peter Hay­man as a ped­erast and demand­ed the Attor­ney Gen­er­al explain why he had escaped pros­e­cu­tion over the dis­cov­ery of vio­lent pornog­ra­phy on a Lon­don bus two years pre­vi­ous­ly.

    ...

    Last month Met­ro­pol­i­tan Police began Oper­a­tion Fern­bridge into alle­ga­tions that res­i­dents of a chil­drens home in Rich­mond, west Lon­don, were tak­en to the near­by Elm Guest House in Barnes, where they were abused. Pornog­ra­phy involv­ing adults hav­ing sex with chil­dren was alleged­ly shot at the prop­er­ty and then cir­cu­lat­ed com­mer­cial­ly.

    Sir Peter was among the vis­i­tors to the prop­er­ty. Oth­ers, accord­ing to a list seized by Scot­land Yard last month, were the late Lib­er­al MP Cyril Smith, the for­mer Russ­ian spy Sir Antho­ny Blunt, a Sinn Fein politi­cian, a Labour MP, and sev­er­al Con­ser­v­a­tive politi­cians.

    After neigh­bours com­plained about the arrival of chil­dren, the police raid­ed the guest­house in 1982 but the oper­a­tion was mys­te­ri­ous­ly cut short. A 2003 inves­ti­ga­tion also failed.

    ...

    “Hon­ourable Mem­bers will under­stand that where big mon­ey is involved and as impor­tant names came into my pos­ses­sion so the threats began.

    “First, I received threat­en­ing tele­phone calls fol­lowed by two bur­glar­ies at my Lon­don home. Then, more seri­ous­ly, my name appeared on a multi-killer’s hit list.”

    ...

    How­ev­er twen­ty-eight years after he made [the com­ments], Scot­land Yard offi­cers kept their new inves­ti­ga­tion secret for weeks, fear­ful that it would be closed down like ear­li­er inquiries.

    In a blog on his web­site, the Labour MP Tom Wat­son – whose claims of a pow­er­ful pae­dophile net­work prompt­ed the new inquiry – said that he had been advised by child­care experts who have tried to expose the scan­dal to be care­ful about his per­son­al secu­ri­ty. He has asked the Home Office for the dossier pre­sent­ed by Dick­ens to Sir Leon, but it has not yet been found.

    Posted by R. Wilson | February 22, 2013, 10:18 pm
  10. Well, it looks like the Pope’s call for prayers have been answered: The night before the Pope’s res­ig­na­tion we saw a new pedophile scan­dal emerge involv­ing pow­er­ful people...and it does­n’t involve the Vat­i­can. Tom Flana­gan, Steven Harper’s for­mer polit­i­cal advis­er and a man char­ac­ter­ized as the God­fa­ther of Canada’s mod­ern con­ser­v­a­tive, just told an audi­ence that he’s been on the NAMBLA mail­ing list for years while defend­ing child porn. It was­n’t well received:

    Toron­to Star
    For­mer polit­i­cal advis­er Tom Flana­gan says view­ing child porn shouldn’t be a crime
    Peo­ple should not be jailed for their taste in pic­tures, says for­mer advis­er to Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harp­er.

    By: Jeff Green News reporter, Pub­lished on Thu Feb 28 2013

    Tom Flana­gan, the man behind Stephen Harper’s rise to pow­er, the god­fa­ther of the rebirth of right-wing Cana­di­an pol­i­tics, trans­formed him­self into a pari­ah yes­ter­day.

    Flana­gan set off a firestorm Thurs­day, con­don­ing the view­ing of child pornog­ra­phy by say­ing it shouldn’t be a crime.

    “I cer­tain­ly have no sym­pa­thy for child moles­ters, but I do have some grave doubts about putting peo­ple in jail because of their taste in pic­tures,” Flana­gan said Wednes­day night dur­ing a small talk at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Leth­bridge, lat­er post­ed to YouTube. “I don’t look at these pic­tures.”

    By mid-after­noon, the for­mer Harp­er advis­er and pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­gary met an onslaught of crit­i­cism with an apol­o­gy. Flana­gan said his words “were bad­ly cho­sen.”

    But the dam­age was done. The Prime Minister’s Office called his com­ments “repug­nant and appalling.” The CBC’s Pow­er and Pol­i­tics dumped him, say­ing his com­ments crossed the line, impact­ing his cred­i­bil­i­ty. Wil­drose Par­ty Leader Diane Smith said there was no lan­guage strong enough to con­demn his com­ments and that the par­ty would have no role with Flana­gan. He was her cam­paign man­ag­er in 2012. Smith was his star stu­dent.

    “I absolute­ly con­demn the sex­u­al abuse of chil­dren, includ­ing the use of chil­dren to pro­duce pornog­ra­phy,” Flana­gan said Thurs­day in a state­ment.

    The night before, Flana­gan was at a talk to dis­cuss Indi­an Act reform when he was asked about com­ments in 2009 at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Man­i­to­ba in which Flana­gan said, “What’s wrong with child pornog­ra­phy — in the sense that it’s just pic­tures?”

    His response was met with jeers from the crowed. Flana­gan stum­bled, and revealed his clos­est brush with child pornog­ra­phy was that he was on the mail­ing list for the North Amer­i­can Man/Boy Love Asso­ci­a­tion (NAMBLA) for sev­er­al years.

    “So it is a real issue of per­son­al lib­er­ty, to what extent we put peo­ple in jail for doing some­thing in which they do not harm anoth­er per­son,” Flana­gan said.

    ...

    Flanagan’s rela­tion­ship with Harp­er has been on the outs since 2007, after Flana­gan pub­lished Harper’s Team, an in-depth look at Harper’s rise to pow­er.

    As a pair of Reform Par­ty mem­bers, they co-authored a 1997 arti­cle called Our Benign Dic­ta­tor­ship, con­demn­ing extend­ed lib­er­al rule as a stunt to democ­ra­cy.

    The back­room brain trust for the Reform and Con­ser­v­a­tive par­ties cen­tered at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­gary was dubbed the “Cal­gary School.”

    In 2000, Flana­gan pub­lished First Nations? Sec­ond Thoughts, his argu­ment against “abo­rig­i­nal ortho­doxy” dis­missed Firsts Nations as “first immi­grants.”

    Flana­gan was once the right-hand man to Pre­ston Man­ning, and was Harper’s chief advis­er until 2004. He was brought back to serve in Harper’s suc­cess­ful 2005-06 elec­tion cam­paign as Harper’s senior com­mu­ni­ca­tions advis­er.

    In the lead-up to the 2004 elec­tion, a pro­file of Flana­gan in The Wal­rus asked Ezra Lev­ant, a for­mer stu­dent of Flana­gan, about a report that referred to Flana­gan as the “orig­i­nal god­fa­ther of the city’s con­ser­v­a­tive mafia.”

    Levant’s response: “I call him Don Toma­so . . . . He is the mas­ter strate­gist, the god­fa­ther — even of Harp­er.”
    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 28, 2013, 9:43 pm
  11. This isn’t exact­ly the kind of issue a par­ty wants to deal with weeks before an elec­tion:

    Der Spiegel
    Too Much Tol­er­ance: Pedophil­ia Debate Hits Ger­many’s FDP
    Sep­tem­ber 05, 2013 – 06:33 PM

    By Flo­ri­an Gath­mann, Ann-Katrin Müller and Chris­t­ian Teevs

    Ger­many’s Free Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty has con­sis­tent­ly denied ever hav­ing sup­port­ed pedophil­ia. But archival mate­ri­als show just how tol­er­ant the par­ty once was of activists advo­cat­ing for sex with chil­dren.

    In Novem­ber of 1982, Ger­many’s busi­ness-friend­ly Free Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (FDP), today the junior coali­tion par­ty of Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s rul­ing con­ser­v­a­tives, threw a par­ty at the close of its fed­er­al con­ven­tion. The invi­ta­tions promis­ing “dis­co and dis­cus­sion” went out not only to par­ty mem­bers who had par­tic­i­pat­ed in the con­ven­tion in Berlin, but also to a selec­tion of gays, les­bians — and pedophiles. The invi­ta­tion bore the FDP logo, embla­zoned at the bot­tom right, and explic­it­ly wel­comed “Les­bians and Lib­er­als, Gos­sips and Sis­ters, Celebri­ties and Ped­erasts.”

    The gath­er­ing was orga­nized by the work­ing group on homo­sex­u­al­i­ty of the par­ty’s region­al asso­ci­a­tion in Berlin. Jür­gen Kun­ze, region­al par­ty chair, signed off on it. The invi­ta­tion also went to at least 26 par­ty func­tionar­ies. No one raised any oppo­si­tion.

    Pedophiles and the FDP? Deputy par­ty chair Sabine Leutheuss­er-Schnar­ren­berg­er, who serves as Ger­many’s Jus­tice Min­is­ter, is sure there must be some mis­take. “Pedophil­ia was not and is not an issue in the FDP. Not in the par­ty’s his­to­ry and cer­tain­ly not today,” she told dai­ly news­pa­per Die Welt three­weeks ago.

    But that isn’t true. Doc­u­ments from archives linked to the FDP show that the clas­si­cal­ly lib­er­al par­ty decid­ed­ly did demon­strate tol­er­ance and sup­port for pedophiles’ views in the ear­ly 1980s.

    Work­ing for Decrim­i­nal­iza­tion

    For one thing, the Young Democ­rats, the FDP’s youth orga­ni­za­tion at the time, resolved at its gen­er­al assem­bly in March 1980 to sup­port the removal of Para­graphs 174 and 176, which for­bid sex­u­al abuse of chil­dren and teenagers, from the Ger­man Crim­i­nal Code.

    This tol­er­ance of pedophiles’ views, though, went far beyond just the FDP-fund­ed Young Democ­rats. From today’s per­spec­tive it seems incom­pre­hen­si­ble that the FDP ever dis­cussed decrim­i­nal­iz­ing sex between adults and chil­dren. But in the wake of the mas­sive soci­etal changes brought about by the “1968 gen­er­a­tion,” many in the FDP, much like their coun­ter­parts in the Green Par­ty dur­ing the same peri­od, were no longer cer­tain where the bound­aries of tol­er­ance should lie. And many in the par­ty felt an oblig­a­tion to aid the project of eman­ci­pa­tion.

    “This was the spir­it of all those who saw them­selves as work­ing for civ­il rights and want­ed to lib­er­ate soci­ety com­plete­ly from the ‘fug’ of Ade­nauer’s repub­lic and from the ‘anti-sex big­otry’ of Catholi­cism,” writes Franz Wal­ter, a pro­fes­sor in Göt­tin­gen who is inves­ti­gat­ing the Green Par­ty’s past entan­gle­ment with pedophiles.

    That lib­er­al spir­it brought about the long over­due decrim­i­nal­iza­tion of homo­sex­u­al­i­ty, but also led to calls to do away with Para­graphs 174 and 176. Accord­ing to Wal­ter, the FDP was “unques­tion­ably the first place to turn” for civ­il rights activists and sex­u­al reform­ers. In its strug­gle to achieve the high­est pos­si­ble degree of lib­er­al­i­ty, the par­ty lost per­spec­tive.

    ‘Work­ing Group on Pedophil­ia’

    A cam­paign ad for the FDP ahead of Berlin’s 1981 state par­lia­ment elec­tion pro­vides a prime exam­ple. “The taboo is bro­ken!” reads the head­ing, fol­lowed by text prais­ing five of the par­ty’s ini­tia­tives. In addi­tion to worth­while projects such as a coun­sel­ing cen­ter for gays and les­bians in Berlin’s Kreuzberg dis­trict, the FDP also obtained gov­ern­ment fund­ing for the Gen­er­al Homo­sex­u­al Work­ing Group (AHA). At the time, AHA did­n’t just advo­cate the urgent­ly need­ed decrim­i­nal­iza­tion of homo­sex­u­al­i­ty — it was also a lob­by­ing group for pedophiles.

    This meant tax­pay­ers’ mon­ey went to an orga­ni­za­tion whose “Work­ing Group on Pedophil­ia” called for a reform of Ger­many’s sex crime leg­is­la­tion, offered sup­port to pedophiles fac­ing tri­al and pub­lished cor­re­spond­ing views on these sub­jects in the coun­try’s news­pa­pers. Olaf Stüben, one of the most famous and out­spo­ken pedophiles of the peri­od, was coor­di­na­tor of AHA at the time the ad was pub­lished.

    FDP mem­bers of the Bun­destag, Ger­many’s par­lia­ment, also took up the sub­ject of sex crime leg­is­la­tion. On May 5, 1981, the FDP’s par­lia­men­tary group invit­ed experts to a hear­ing on the pos­si­bil­i­ty of repeal­ing the noto­ri­ous Para­graph 175, which made homo­sex­u­al­i­ty a crime.

    The 11 experts who accept­ed the invi­ta­tion includ­ed lawyers spe­cial­iz­ing in crim­i­nal law, sex researchers, a social work­er and two gay activists. And among them were two pro­fes­sors, Rüdi­ger Laut­mann and Hel­mut Kentler, both known at the time for their pro-pedophil­ia stance. Laut­mann, a soci­ol­o­gist, told the par­lia­men­tar­i­ans that cur­rent beliefs con­cern­ing “age dif­fer­ences, the behav­ior of the younger par­ty and the nature of the sex­u­al con­tact” were entire­ly incor­rect.

    A Pre­sen­ta­tion on Pedophile Ther­a­py

    Kentler, a sex researcher who taught social edu­ca­tion at Hanover Uni­ver­si­ty, even sat on the board of the Ger­man Study and Work­ing Group on Pedophil­ia (DSAP) in 1980. At his appear­ance before the FDP par­lia­men­tary group, he pre­sent­ed a report on a project in Berlin being fund­ed by the city’s sen­ate.

    As a psy­chol­o­gist, Kentler explained, he worked with chil­dren in the fos­ter care sys­tem who suf­fered from “sec­ondary men­tal retar­da­tion.” Start­ing in 1970, he explained, he placed these boys, ages 13 to 15, in the homes of pedophiles. He felt he had a good rea­son for doing so. “These peo­ple were able to put up with these retard­ed boys only because they were in love with them, infat­u­at­ed with them, crazy about them,” Kentler said. He added that these “rela­tion­ships” were close­ly super­vised.

    It was an out­ra­geous act, a pro­fes­sor of psy­chol­o­gy plac­ing vul­ner­a­ble young peo­ple at the mer­cy of self-con­fessed pedophiles. Yet this did­n’t seem to dis­turb the FDP par­lia­men­tar­i­ans. Accord­ing to a tran­script of the hear­ing, there were no inter­jec­tions or ques­tions.

    Dubi­ous Con­nec­tions

    The FDP had con­nec­tions even to those high­est up in the pedophil­ia move­ment. In 1980, the high­ly active DSAP shared a post office box with the Human­is­tic Union (HU) in Düs­sel­dorf. That orga­ni­za­tion’s fed­er­al chair was Ulrich Klug, an FDP politi­cian, since deceased, who served as state sec­re­tary in the jus­tice min­istry of the fed­er­al state of North Rhine-West­phalia from 1971 to 1974 and as jus­tice sen­a­tor in Ham­burg from 1974 to 1977.

    The HU, which describes itself as an “inde­pen­dent civ­il rights orga­ni­za­tion,” also had a long­stand­ing prob­lem­at­ic posi­tion on the issue of pedophil­ia, main­tain­ing close con­tact with the Work­ing Group on Human Sex­u­al­i­ty (AHS), which advo­cat­ed the legal­iza­tion of sex between adults and chil­dren. Not until 2004 did the HU dis­tance itself from the AHS and its pro-pedophil­ia stance.

    Laut­mann, the soci­ol­o­gist, still serves on the HU’s advi­so­ry board, along with Green Par­ty politi­cians Renate Künast and Clau­dia Roth. His 1994 book “Die Lust am Kind” (“Attrac­tion to Chil­dren”) con­tin­ues to be tout­ed by pedophiles, although Laut­mann has since dis­tanced him­self from the book in response to pub­lic crit­i­cism.

    Jus­tice Min­is­ter Leutheuss­er-Schnar­ren­berg­er of the FDP also serves on the HU’s advi­so­ry board. She was there nine years ago, when the civ­il rights orga­ni­za­tion grap­pled with — and ulti­mate­ly dis­tanced itself from — its past con­nec­tions to pedophil­ia.

    This makes it all the more strange that Leutheuss­er-Schnar­ren­berg­er now says the FDP does­n’t need to exam­ine its own past. There seems ulti­mate­ly to be ample evi­dence that the par­ty once lacked crit­i­cal dis­tance from pro­po­nents of pedophil­ia.

    Since the FDP is an ally of Merkel’s CDU it will be inter­est­ing to see how this impacts the elec­toral out­come, if at all. It might but maybe not too much.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 9, 2013, 11:41 am
  12. Cue the QAnon dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign: The issue of high-lev­el pedophile net­works is back in the news fol­low­ing the sur­prise arrest of bil­lion­aire alleged child traf­fick­er Jef­frey Epstein over the week­end.

    This is one of those sto­ries that inter­sects with the Trump admin­is­tra­tion in a num­ber of way. First, there’s the direct Trump con­nec­tions. As the fol­low­ing arti­cle describes, Trump him­self was an asso­ciate of Epstein in the 90’s and ear­ly 2000’s. Epstein fre­quent­ed Mar-a-Lago. Trump even gave a 2002 inter­view where he said, ““I’ve known Jeff for fif­teen years. Ter­rif­ic guy...He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beau­ti­ful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jef­frey enjoys his social life.” So Trump was hint­ing at Epstein’s child traf­fick­ing in that 2002 inter­view.

    Anoth­er con­nec­tion is that one of Epstein’s vic­tims, Vir­ginia Roberts, was work­ing at Mar-a-Lago when she was recruit­ed into Epstein’s net­work.

    Trump him­self was sued for rape in 2016 by an anony­mous woman claim­ing to have been one of Epstein’s vic­tims. But that accu­sa­tion was even­tu­al­ly with­drawn and the jour­nal­ists who pur­sued that sto­ry remain skep­ti­cal of the accuser. That’s the only instance of Trump him­self being direct­ly accused of hav­ing been involved with Epstein’s sex­u­al traf­fick­ing.

    So, at a min­i­mum, Trump is a tan­gen­tial char­ac­ter to this sto­ry. Bill Clin­ton is also a tan­gen­tial char­ac­ter to this sto­ry, hav­ing flow­ing on Epstein’s planes mul­ti­ple times. And those are just two of the shock­ing num­ber of oth­er pow­er­ful fig­ures who could poten­tial­ly be swept up in this inves­ti­ga­tion. In oth­er words, we might be on the cusp of see­ing a pow­er­ful under­age sex traf­fick­ing net­work involv­ing some of the most pow­er­ful peo­ple on the plan­et get­ting exposed, which means a lot of pow­er­ful peo­ple are going to be pay­ing very close atten­tion to this sto­ry and work­ing to shape the pub­lic’s per­cep­tion. If this new inves­ti­ga­tion does start to expose pow­er­ful peo­ple we should expect the deflection/disinformation to kick into over­drive. The fact that elite pedophile rings are cen­tral fix­a­tion of many right-wing con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries also more or less guar­an­tees that this is going to be dis­in­for­ma­tion mag­net. So get ready for a poten­tial mael­strom of dis­in­for­ma­tion and deflec­tion, because Trump and Clin­ton and just two of Jef­frey Epstein’s many pow­er­ful friends:

    Vox.com

    Jef­frey Epstein’s con­nec­tions to Don­ald Trump and Bill Clin­ton, explained
    Here’s what we know.

    By Andrew Prokop
    Jul 9, 2019, 11:40am EDT

    Jef­frey Epstein’s new indict­ment on sex traf­fick­ing charges is notable for many rea­sons: the scope of his alleged crimes, his wealth and influ­ence, and the con­tro­ver­sial non-pros­e­cu­tion agree­ment the Jus­tice Depart­ment struck with him a decade ear­li­er.

    But it’s also got­ten a good deal of atten­tion because of Epstein’s past ties to two par­tic­u­lar­ly promi­nent peo­ple: for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton and cur­rent Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

    In the years before Epstein’s 2007 guilty plea to solic­i­ta­tion of pros­ti­tu­tion with a minor, he was known for “col­lect­ing” friend­ships with many note­wor­thy or influ­en­tial peo­ple — includ­ing Clin­ton and Trump, who were social acquain­tances. Clin­ton took inter­na­tion­al trips on Epstein’s plane in the ear­ly years of his post-pres­i­den­cy, includ­ing a trip to sev­er­al African coun­tries with Kevin Spacey and Chris Tuck­er.

    Trump, mean­while, report­ed­ly attend­ed Epstein-host­ed events in New York and Flori­da, as Epstein patron­ized the Mar-a-Lago Club. In 2002, Trump even gave a remark­able on-the-record com­ment about Epstein to a New York mag­a­zine jour­nal­ist, call­ing him “ter­rif­ic” and adding that he “likes beau­ti­ful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”

    So, at the very least, Trump and Clin­ton were friend­ly with some­one who turned out to be a very bad guy.

    Yet the nature of some of the alle­ga­tions against Epstein has led to spec­u­la­tion that there could be even more to the sto­ry. In par­tic­u­lar, one Epstein accuser has claimed in court fil­ings that in addi­tion to sex­u­al­ly exploit­ing her him­self, Epstein traf­ficked her to oth­er wealthy and pow­er­ful men, with the appar­ent goal of obtain­ing black­mail mate­r­i­al on those men. (Pros­e­cu­tors have not at this point made this alle­ga­tion them­selves.)

    Clin­ton has not been accused of any spe­cif­ic sex­u­al mis­con­duct con­nect­ed to Epstein. As for Trump: Dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign, Trump was sued by an anony­mous woman who claimed he raped her at an Epstein par­ty when she was 13 years old. How­ev­er, sev­er­al jour­nal­ists who dug into this alle­ga­tion back then came away voic­ing cau­tion or down­right skep­ti­cism, and the accuser with­drew her law­suit short­ly before the elec­tion.

    So there hasn’t yet been cor­rob­o­ra­tion of Epstein-relat­ed wrong­do­ing on Trump’s part by media out­lets, or any accu­sa­tion against Clin­ton at all. But the ques­tion of whether oth­er influ­en­tial fig­ures will be impli­cat­ed in Epstein’s crimes remains an open one. Julie Brown, a Mia­mi Her­ald inves­tiga­tive reporter who has cov­ered Epstein’s case inten­sive­ly, said on MSNBC Sun­day that “there are prob­a­bly quite a few impor­tant peo­ple, pow­er­ful peo­ple, who are sweat­ing it out right now.”

    Epstein’s con­nec­tions to Trump

    By Trump’s own descrip­tion, his social rela­tion­ship with Epstein start­ed sev­er­al decades ago, in the late 1980s. Describ­ing Epstein to Lan­don Thomas Jr. of New York mag­a­zine for a 2002 pro­file, Trump made a com­ment that, in ret­ro­spect, was fright­en­ing­ly on-the-nose:

    “I’ve known Jeff for fif­teen years. Ter­rif­ic guy,” Trump booms from a speak­er­phone. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beau­ti­ful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jef­frey enjoys his social life.”

    That is: Trump praised Epstein, dat­ed their social rela­tion­ship as begin­ning around 1987, said they shared a taste for “beau­ti­ful” women, and specif­i­cal­ly not­ed that Epstein liked women “on the younger side.”

    Since Epstein’s legal trou­bles became known, Trump’s attor­neys have tried to down­play his asso­ci­a­tion with Epstein. (“He had no rela­tion­ship with Mr. Epstein and had no knowl­edge what­so­ev­er of his con­duct,” Trump lawyer Alan Garten told Politi­co in 2017.)

    But even beyond Trump’s own words fur­ther up, there’s a good deal of evi­dence that the two were friend­ly social acquain­tances at least through the ear­ly 2000s:

    * Media reports from the late 1990s and ear­ly 2000s fre­quent­ly men­tion Trump attend­ing Epstein-host­ed social events.
    * Trump called Epstein twice in Novem­ber 2004, accord­ing to mes­sage pads seized from Epstein’s Flori­da man­sion by the gov­ern­ment.
    * Sev­er­al phone num­bers for Trump, includ­ing an emer­gency con­tact and a num­ber for Trump’s secu­ri­ty, were among many notable people’s num­bers list­ed in Epstein’s “black book” (which was lat­er obtained by the gov­ern­ment).
    * Epstein’s broth­er Mark tes­ti­fied that Epstein once took Trump on one of his planes to go from Flori­da to New York, say­ing he thought it hap­pened in the late 1990s. Trump is not known to have tak­en any oth­er flights on Epstein planes.
    * Epstein was a fre­quent vis­i­tor to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Flori­da. (How­ev­er, after Epstein’s plea deal with the gov­ern­ment, the New York Post quot­ed an anony­mous Mar-a-Lago source claim­ing Epstein had been banned from the resort for mak­ing sex­u­al advances to a masseuse.)

    “I knew him like every­body in Palm Beach knew him,” Pres­i­dent Trump said Tues­day. “I had a falling out with him a long time ago, I don’t think I’ve spo­ken to him for 15 years, I wasn’t a fan.”

    Trump’s name has also come up in legal wran­gling around Epstein — albeit for very dif­fer­ent rea­sons.

    The 2009 sub­poe­na: In 2009, Brad Edwards, an attor­ney who has rep­re­sent­ed var­i­ous Epstein vic­tims, had Trump served with a sub­poe­na for tes­ti­mo­ny in a case against Epstein.

    But Edwards is not alleg­ing any wrong­do­ing from Trump; rather, the oppo­site. He said in a recent inter­view that he had served sub­poe­nas on many con­nect­ed peo­ple in 2009, and that Trump was “the only per­son who picked up the phone and said, ‘Let’s just talk. I’ll give you as much time as you want.’”

    Edwards added that Trump “was very help­ful, in the infor­ma­tion that he gave,” call­ing it “good infor­ma­tion that checked out and that helped us.” And, he said, Trump “gave no indi­ca­tion what­so­ev­er that he was involved in any­thing unto­ward what­so­ev­er.”

    Vir­ginia Roberts’s law­suit: In 1999, 16-year-old Vir­ginia Roberts worked as a spa atten­dant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. It was there, she says, that Epstein’s girl­friend Ghis­laine Maxwell recruit­ed her to give mas­sages to Epstein at his house. But Roberts (who now goes by Vir­ginia Giuf­fre) hasn’t accused Trump of any wrong­do­ing, and her pre­vi­ous sta­tus as a Mar-a-Lago employ­ee is the only con­nec­tion to Trump.

    The Katie John­son law­suit: This is the only accu­sa­tion against Trump for Epstein-relat­ed wrong­do­ing. An anony­mous woman sued Trump in 2016, claim­ing that in 1994, he vio­lent­ly raped her at an orgy host­ed by Epstein. She said she was 13 years old at the time, and accused Epstein of rap­ing her as well. She first filed suit in Cal­i­for­nia under the name “Katie John­son,” and when it was thrown out there for tech­ni­cal rea­sons, she filed it in New York under “Jane Doe.”

    But many jour­nal­ists were wary about this claim. There was no cor­rob­o­rat­ing evi­dence offered (except for affi­davits from two anony­mous peo­ple claim­ing to have been told of or wit­nessed it), and the suit appeared “to have been orches­trat­ed by an eccen­tric anti-Trump cam­paign­er with a record of mak­ing out­landish claims about celebri­ties,” the Guardian’s Jon Swaine wrote. Jezebel’s Anna Mer­lan tried for some time to get to the bot­tom of what was going on and con­clud­ed in June 2016, “The facts speak less to a scan­dal and more, per­haps, to an attempt at a smear.”

    Trump him­self said, “The alle­ga­tions are not only cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly false, but dis­gust­ing at the high­est lev­el and clear­ly framed to solic­it media atten­tion or, per­haps, are sim­ply polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed.”

    All that was before the Access Hol­ly­wood tape and before many women had spo­ken out pub­licly to accuse Trump of sex­u­al assault. But even after that, the anonymi­ty of “Katie John­son” and the sketch­i­ness of her asso­ciates kept main­stream US jour­nal­ists wary about this accu­sa­tion. She end­ed up with­draw­ing her law­suit days before the 2016 elec­tion; her attor­ney Lisa Bloom said it was because she was get­ting death threats.

    Epstein’s con­nec­tions to Clin­ton

    Soon after Bill Clin­ton con­clud­ed his pres­i­den­cy in 2001, he entered a new stage of his career, in which he’d trav­el the world, launch phil­an­thropic ini­tia­tives, hang out with rich peo­ple and celebri­ties, and make mon­ey.

    “What attract­ed Clin­ton to Epstein was quite sim­ple: He had a plane,” Lan­don Thomas Jr. wrote in that 2002 New York mag­a­zine pro­file. Clinton’s aide Doug Band made the intro­duc­tion, and that Sep­tem­ber, Epstein and Clin­ton were off on a tour of five African coun­tries, along­side actors Kevin Spacey and Chris Tuck­er. Per Clinton’s team, the trip was about “democ­ra­ti­za­tion, empow­er­ing the poor, cit­i­zen ser­vice, and com­bat­ing HIV/AIDS.” (It was that trip that first ele­vat­ed Epstein to some media noto­ri­ety, as jour­nal­ists began to dig into Clinton’s new friend.)

    That wasn’t the only trip. Accord­ing to Clin­ton spokesper­son Angel Ure­ña, in a new state­ment this week, there was one more to Africa, one to Europe, and one to Asia — but, he says, Clin­ton and Epstein haven’t spo­ken in “well over a decade.”

    Vir­ginia Giuf­fre has said in an affi­davit that Clin­ton was also present on Lit­tle St. James Island, Epstein’s pri­vate island in the US Vir­gin Islands. But so far, there has been no cor­rob­o­ra­tion for this claim, and Ure­ña says Clin­ton has has nev­er been there.

    Clin­ton has been accused of sex­u­al mis­con­duct in the past, includ­ing by Juani­ta Broad­drick, who says he raped her in 1978 (Clin­ton has denied this). But there have been no accu­sa­tions of sex­u­al mis­con­duct against Clin­ton relat­ed to Epstein. Even Giuf­fre, who said she recalled Clin­ton vis­it­ing Epstein’s island, said she had not had sex­u­al rela­tions with Clin­ton or seen him have sex­u­al rela­tions with any­one.

    Are pros­e­cu­tors going beyond Epstein?

    The under­cur­rent of all this is the wide­spread spec­u­la­tion, and the occa­sion­al spe­cif­ic claim, that in addi­tion to sex­u­al­ly abus­ing these girls, Epstein also traf­ficked them to the wealthy and pow­er­ful friends he was fre­quent­ly hang­ing out with at the time.

    Giuf­fre said in her 2015 affi­davit that this is exact­ly what hap­pened to her. “Epstein also traf­ficked me for sex­u­al pur­pos­es to many oth­er pow­er­ful men, includ­ing politi­cians and pow­er­ful busi­ness exec­u­tives,” she said. “Epstein required me to describe the sex­u­al events that I had with these men pre­sum­ably so he could poten­tial­ly black­mail them.”

    She named two names: Prince Andrew of the British roy­al fam­i­ly (there is a pho­to­graph of her with him) and law pro­fes­sor Alan Der­showitz. Buck­ing­ham Palace has denied her accu­sa­tion about the prince, and Der­showitz has called her a liar who “is going to end up in prison.” (Der­showitz has also been Epstein’s defense attor­ney.)

    “Epstein specif­i­cal­ly told me that the rea­son for him doing this was so that they would ‘owe him,’ they would ‘be in his pock­et,’ and he would ‘have some­thing on them,’” Giuf­fre said in the affi­davit.

    ...

    Pros­e­cu­tors have not made any such accu­sa­tion either, focus­ing instead on Epstein’s own sex­u­al con­duct. The inves­ti­ga­tion is like­ly still in flux — more vic­tims may come for­ward, and evi­dence has been seized from Epstein’s Man­hat­tan man­sion. For now, though, this case is one against Epstein him­self.

    ———-

    “Jef­frey Epstein’s con­nec­tions to Don­ald Trump and Bill Clin­ton, explained” by Andrew Prokop; Vox.com; 07/09/2019

    Yet the nature of some of the alle­ga­tions against Epstein has led to spec­u­la­tion that there could be even more to the sto­ry. In par­tic­u­lar, one Epstein accuser has claimed in court fil­ings that in addi­tion to sex­u­al­ly exploit­ing her him­self, Epstein traf­ficked her to oth­er wealthy and pow­er­ful men, with the appar­ent goal of obtain­ing black­mail mate­r­i­al on those men. (Pros­e­cu­tors have not at this point made this alle­ga­tion them­selves.)”

    Where there oth­er pow­er­ful men involved in Jef­frey Epstein’s teenage orgies? That the ques­tion that’s undoubt­ed going to make this a sto­ry watched by pow­er­ful peo­ple around the world. Because all it takes is a quick look through Epstein’s “black book” to get a sense of how wide­ly con­nect­ed he was. But in Trump’s case, those ques­tions are com­pound­ed by the fact that Trump specif­i­cal­ly referred to Epstein’s pref­er­ence for women “on the younger side” in that now noto­ri­ous 2002 inter­view, along with the fact that Epstein fre­quent­ed Mar-a-Lago and Vir­ginia Roberts was work­ing there when Epstein recruit­ed her:

    ...
    Epstein’s con­nec­tions to Trump

    By Trump’s own descrip­tion, his social rela­tion­ship with Epstein start­ed sev­er­al decades ago, in the late 1980s. Describ­ing Epstein to Lan­don Thomas Jr. of New York mag­a­zine for a 2002 pro­file, Trump made a com­ment that, in ret­ro­spect, was fright­en­ing­ly on-the-nose:

    “I’ve known Jeff for fif­teen years. Ter­rif­ic guy,” Trump booms from a speak­er­phone. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beau­ti­ful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jef­frey enjoys his social life.”

    That is: Trump praised Epstein, dat­ed their social rela­tion­ship as begin­ning around 1987, said they shared a taste for “beau­ti­ful” women, and specif­i­cal­ly not­ed that Epstein liked women “on the younger side.”

    Since Epstein’s legal trou­bles became known, Trump’s attor­neys have tried to down­play his asso­ci­a­tion with Epstein. (“He had no rela­tion­ship with Mr. Epstein and had no knowl­edge what­so­ev­er of his con­duct,” Trump lawyer Alan Garten told Politi­co in 2017.)

    But even beyond Trump’s own words fur­ther up, there’s a good deal of evi­dence that the two were friend­ly social acquain­tances at least through the ear­ly 2000s:

    ...

    Vir­ginia Roberts’s law­suit: In 1999, 16-year-old Vir­ginia Roberts worked as a spa atten­dant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. It was there, she says, that Epstein’s girl­friend Ghis­laine Maxwell recruit­ed her to give mas­sages to Epstein at his house. But Roberts (who now goes by Vir­ginia Giuf­fre) hasn’t accused Trump of any wrong­do­ing, and her pre­vi­ous sta­tus as a Mar-a-Lago employ­ee is the only con­nec­tion to Trump.
    ...

    And then there’s the accu­sa­tions by “Katie John­son”, who claims Trump vio­lent­ly raped her when she was 13. The jour­nal­ists who looked into this sto­ry were wary of it at the time it emerged, but as the arti­cle notes, that was also before the Access Hol­ly­wood tape and the parade of women accus­ing Trump of sex­u­al harass­ment. So a review of the plau­si­bil­i­ty of “Katie John­son’s” sto­ry might end with a dif­fer­ent con­clu­sion today:

    ...
    The Katie John­son law­suit: This is the only accu­sa­tion against Trump for Epstein-relat­ed wrong­do­ing. An anony­mous woman sued Trump in 2016, claim­ing that in 1994, he vio­lent­ly raped her at an orgy host­ed by Epstein. She said she was 13 years old at the time, and accused Epstein of rap­ing her as well. She first filed suit in Cal­i­for­nia under the name “Katie John­son,” and when it was thrown out there for tech­ni­cal rea­sons, she filed it in New York under “Jane Doe.”

    But many jour­nal­ists were wary about this claim. There was no cor­rob­o­rat­ing evi­dence offered (except for affi­davits from two anony­mous peo­ple claim­ing to have been told of or wit­nessed it), and the suit appeared “to have been orches­trat­ed by an eccen­tric anti-Trump cam­paign­er with a record of mak­ing out­landish claims about celebri­ties,” the Guardian’s Jon Swaine wrote. Jezebel’s Anna Mer­lan tried for some time to get to the bot­tom of what was going on and con­clud­ed in June 2016, “The facts speak less to a scan­dal and more, per­haps, to an attempt at a smear.”

    Trump him­self said, “The alle­ga­tions are not only cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly false, but dis­gust­ing at the high­est lev­el and clear­ly framed to solic­it media atten­tion or, per­haps, are sim­ply polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed.”

    All that was before the Access Hol­ly­wood tape and before many women had spo­ken out pub­licly to accuse Trump of sex­u­al assault. But even after that, the anonymi­ty of “Katie John­son” and the sketch­i­ness of her asso­ciates kept main­stream US jour­nal­ists wary about this accu­sa­tion. She end­ed up with­draw­ing her law­suit days before the 2016 elec­tion; her attor­ney Lisa Bloom said it was because she was get­ting death threats.
    ...

    So those are some of the direct Trump con­nec­tions to this sto­ry. There’s the oth­er mas­sive indi­rect con­nec­tion through the fact that Trump’s Labor Sec­re­tary, Alex Acos­ta, was the fed­er­al attor­ney would nego­ti­at­ed Epstein’s 2008 sweet­heart deal that allowed him to avoid fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tion. A deal that the Depart­ment of Jus­tice launched a probe of back in Feb­ru­ary. Trump him­self just today announce that he will be look­ing “very close­ly” at Acosta’s han­dling of the case.

    But there’s anoth­er per­son who is going to be look­ing even more close­ly at this case and this per­son also has a bizarre con­nec­tion to the Epstein case: Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bill Barr. As for­mer FBI Assis­tant Direc­tor Frank Figli­uzzi point­ed out on Twit­ter over the week­end, Bill Bar­r’s father actu­al­ly hired Epstein to teach at the elite pri­vate Dal­ton school. What makes this hir­ing curi­ous is that Epstein had no col­lege degree. So Bar­r’s father hired a man with no col­lege degree to teach at an elite pri­vate school:

    Raw Sto­ry

    Bill Barr could inter­fere with Trump pal Jef­frey Epstein’s pros­e­cu­tion: ex-FBI offi­cial

    By Tom Bog­gion
    on July 7, 2019

    In a series of tweets on Sat­ur­day night and Sun­day morn­ing, for­mer FBI Assis­tant Direc­tor Frank Figli­uzzi admit­ted that Attor­ney Gen­er­al William Barr could run inter­fer­ence for the pres­i­dent with the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York’s pros­e­cu­tion of alleged child traf­fick­er Jef­frey Epstein.

    After link­ing to a report on Epstein’s arrest, com­menters not­ed the millionaire’s rela­tion­ship to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and the ex-FBI man said Barr — as the head of the Jus­tice Depart­ment — could insert him­self into the case but it would be high­ly obvi­ous if he tried to inter­fere.

    First writ­ing, “Watch for the cur­rent Sec­re­tary of Labor; Watch for why this is being han­dled by the Pub­lic Cor­rup­tion sec­tion at SDNY, ” Figli­uzzi, added, “Yes, AG Barr over­sees the US Attorney’s Office in NY, so it’s pos­si­ble he could attempt to inter­fere, though it would be obvi­ous. Also, many years ago, Barr’s father hired Epstein to teach at the pri­vate Dal­ton school, with no col­lege degree. So there’s that…”

    ...

    ———-

    “Bill Barr could inter­fere with Trump pal Jef­frey Epstein’s pros­e­cu­tion: ex-FBI offi­cial” by Tom Bog­gion; Raw Sto­ry; 07/07/2019

    “First writ­ing, “Watch for the cur­rent Sec­re­tary of Labor; Watch for why this is being han­dled by the Pub­lic Cor­rup­tion sec­tion at SDNY, ” Figli­uzzi, added, “Yes, AG Barr over­sees the US Attorney’s Office in NY, so it’s pos­si­ble he could attempt to inter­fere, though it would be obvi­ous. Also, many years ago, Barr’s father hired Epstein to teach at the pri­vate Dal­ton school, with no col­lege degree. So there’s that…””

    It’s an odd con­nec­tion, but giv­en the cir­cum­stances of the charges against Epstein it’s poten­tial­ly more than just odd. And as Fib­li­uzzi points out, Barr is going to be in a cir­cum­stance to run inter­fer­ence on this case if he choos­es to do so.

    But there’s anoth­er Barr con­nec­tion to this case that has actu­al­ly led to Barr recus­ing him­self from one aspect of this case: Barr used to work for the law firm, Kirk­land & Ellis, that rep­re­sent­ed Epstein in the ear­li­er pros­e­cu­tion of him (the pros­e­cu­tion that Alex Acos­ta end­ed with a sweet­heart deal). And as the fol­low­ing arti­cle notes, this has indeed result­ed in Barr recus­ing him­self. But he’s only recus­ing him­self from any reviews of that ear­li­er sweet­heart deal Acos­ta nego­ti­at­ed. Barr is NOT recus­ing him­self from the new inves­ti­ga­tion that was just opened. As Wal­ter Shaub Jr., the for­mer the head of the fed­er­al Office of Gov­ern­ment Ethics and a vir­u­lent Trump crit­ic, point­ed out, tech­ni­cal­ly Barr does­n’t have to recuse him­self from the new inves­ti­ga­tion because Epstein is cur­rent­ly be rep­re­sent­ed by a dif­fer­ent law firm. Shaub notes that it would still be pru­dent for Barr to recuse him­self, but he does­n’t actu­al­ly have to do it:

    Raw Sto­ry

    ‘Huh?’ Legal experts stunned after Bill Barr decides not to recuse him­self from cur­rent Jef­frey Epstein case

    By Eric W. Dolan
    on July 9, 2019

    U.S. Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bill Barr does not plan to recuse him­self from the cur­rent inves­ti­ga­tion into mul­ti-mil­lion­aire and con­vict­ed sex offend­er Jef­frey Epstein, accord­ing to sources who spoke to CNN and Fox News.

    A Depart­ment of Jus­tice offi­cial told CNN on Tues­day that “Bill Barr has con­sult­ed with career ethics offi­cials at DOJ and he will not recuse from cur­rent Epstein case.”

    Barr, how­ev­er, has recused him­self “from any review of the ear­li­er case in Flori­da,” in which Epstein received a con­tro­ver­sial plea deal.

    A DOJ offi­cial says Bill Barr has con­sult­ed with career ethics offi­cials at DOJ and he will not recuse from cur­rent Epstein case in NY, per @evanperez But he will remain recused from any review of the ear­li­er case in Flori­da bc of his ties with firm Kirk­land and Ellis— Manu Raju (@mkraju) July 9, 2019

    NEW: DOJ offi­cial says that AG Barr will remain recused from any review of the 2008 #Epstein case due to past legal work, but after con­sult­ing with ethics offi­cials, he will NOT recuse from the cur­rent #Epstein case led at #SDNY— Brooke Singman (@brookefoxnews) July 9, 2019

    On Mon­day, Barr was quot­ed as say­ing: “I’m recused from that mat­ter because one of the law firms that rep­re­sent­ed Epstein long ago was a firm I sub­se­quent­ly joined for a peri­od of time.”

    CNN legal ana­lyst Elie Honig said Barr’s deci­sion not to recuse him­self from the cur­rent case was “trou­ble.”

    “I have zero con­fi­dence Barr will let this case play out in its nat­ur­al course if it should start to impli­cate or do col­lat­er­al dam­age to pow­er­ful, polit­i­cal­ly-con­nect­ed peo­ple,” he tweet­ed.

    This is trou­ble. I have zero con­fi­dence Barr will let this case play out in its nat­ur­al course if it should start to impli­cate or do col­lat­er­al dam­age to pow­er­ful, polit­i­cal­ly-con­nect­ed peo­ple. https://t.co/6ZuFfwKNTo— Elie Honig (@eliehonig) July 9, 2019

    ...

    But Wal­ter Shaub Jr., the for­mer the head of the fed­er­al Office of Gov­ern­ment Ethics, said that it was not nec­es­sary for Barr to recuse him­self from the cur­rent case.

    Barr’s for­mer firm, Kirk­land & Ellis, is a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of a par­ty in the ear­li­er case under review. That neces­si­tates recusal. But Epstein’s rep­re­sent­ed by Marc Fer­nich & Mar­tin Wein­berg in the cur­rent case, and they’re not with K&E. So recusal is not required in the new one.

    — Wal­ter Shaub (@waltshaub) July 9, 2019

    I’m only shar­ing what the ratio­nale of the DOJ ethics offi­cials would have been. I don’t trust Barr fur­ther than I can throw his house and would like to see him recused from any­thing even remote­ly in Trump’s per­son­al orbit. But such a recuse would be pru­den­tial and not manda­to­ry.

    — Wal­ter Shaub (@waltshaub) July 9, 2019

    ———-

    “‘Huh?’ Legal experts stunned after Bill Barr decides not to recuse him­self from cur­rent Jef­frey Epstein case” by Eric W. Dolan; Raw Sto­ry; 07/09/2019

    “I’m only shar­ing what the ratio­nale of the DOJ ethics offi­cials would have been. I don’t trust Barr fur­ther than I can throw his house and would like to see him recused from any­thing even remote­ly in Trump’s per­son­al orbit. But such a recuse would be pru­den­tial and not manda­to­ry.”

    That was Wal­ter Shaub’s take: he does­n’t trust Barr at all and a recusal would have been pru­dent, but it was­n’t manda­to­ry. The Trump admin­is­tra­tion does­n’t do pru­dent.

    So that’s all part of what makes this sto­ry so poten­tial­ly explo­sive. Just giv­en all the pub­licly avail­able facts it seems very plau­si­ble that a new and more vig­or­ous Epstein inves­ti­ga­tion could uncov­er all sorts of new evi­dence that leads back to Trump. At the same time, the pub­licly avail­able facts include the fact that the Attor­ney Gen­er­al is refus­ing to recuse him­self and poten­tial­ly has his own per­son­al stake in the inves­ti­ga­tion, sug­gest­ing that any new facts uncov­ered in this new inves­ti­ga­tion prob­a­bly aren’t going to become pub­lic facts. At least not if they involve Trump. Any new damn­ing Clin­ton-relat­ed facts will pre­sum­ably be wide­ly tout­ed.

    And in relat­ed news, the recent rape accu­sa­tions against Trump by E. Jean Car­roll are still large­ly being ignored by the media.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 9, 2019, 3:35 pm
  13. The reopen­ing of the inves­ti­ga­tion of Jef­frey Epstein rais­es a num­ber of poten­tial­ly explo­sive ques­tions, most notably the ques­tion of who among Epstein’s pow­er­ful friends was involved with Epstein’s under­age sex traf­fick­ing net­work. But as Josh Mar­shall notes in the fol­low­ing arti­cle, there’s anoth­er large mys­tery loom­ing over this case: How did Epstein become a bil­lion­aire? Because it turns out that no one has any idea where his bil­lions actu­al­ly came come:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    Edi­tor’s Blog

    The Oth­er Epstein Issue

    By Josh Mar­shall
    July 10, 2019 12:29 pm

    We know the out­lines of charges that Jef­frey Epstein for years had pro­cur­ers recruit­ing under­aged girls for sex. We know the sus­pi­cions that var­i­ous wealthy and pow­er­ful men in his vast social cir­cle may have been part of this orga­nized sys­tem of statu­to­ry rape. But there’s anoth­er part of this emerg­ing sto­ry I want to focus your atten­tion on – one which is dis­tinct but may not at all be sep­a­rate.

    No one seems to have a clear idea of where Jef­frey Epstein’s mon­ey comes from.

    The pub­lic sto­ry, such as it is, is that Epstein is some kind of hedge fund man­ag­er or he man­ages cap­i­tal for peo­ple whose wealth is mea­sured in the bil­lions. But it’s not clear that that is real­ly true. Hedge funds are noto­ri­ous­ly opaque. When you oper­ate at that scale there are next to no dis­clo­sure require­ments, only qual­i­fied investors can par­tic­i­pate, and if you’re real­ly doing busi­ness with bil­lion­aires only that is a tiny, tiny com­mu­ni­ty of peo­ple. He’s sup­pos­ed­ly one of those col­lege dropout math genius­es who sees the trad­ing and met­rics pat­terns no one else can and uses that skill to make mil­lions and bil­lions for his investors and lat­er him­self. (Epstein’s first job after drop­ping out of col­lege was being hired to teach math at New York’s elite Dal­ton School – bizarrely, hired by Bill Barr’s dad, the then-head­mas­ter.) But while there may not be much SEC dis­clo­sure, if you oper­ate with that amount of cap­i­tal it’s hard not to leave some foot­print, which will like­ly be vis­i­ble to oth­ers who play in those spaces. To be more con­crete, if you’re mak­ing an invest­ment move with hun­dreds of mil­lions or even bil­lions of dol­lars that’s going to leave a foot­print that peo­ple will see even if there’s no offi­cial or pub­lic dis­clo­sure.

    The sim­ple fact is that none of the hedge fund types and pri­vate wealth man­agers who cater to that scale of wealth have any clear idea where Epstein’s wealth comes from and they don’t seem to think he’s real­ly in the busi­ness they’re in. This is the gist of numer­ous arti­cles on the man. But this part of the sto­ry has always or until recent­ly been treat­ed as part of his air of mys­tery rather than a key ques­tion to be answered in a broad­er sto­ry of crim­i­nal activ­i­ty.

    Recent­ly Vicky Ward has revis­it­ed report­ing she did on Epstein in Van­i­ty Fair back in 2003. The focus of the fol­low up report­ing has been how she found out about the abuse and assault of under­aged girls and how and why Van­i­ty Fair cut that part of the sto­ry. But the orig­i­nal focus of the report­ing was on Epstein as a finan­cial wiz­ard. That part of the sto­ry is a sec­ondary but still impor­tant part of these fol­low up arti­cles. I’d rec­om­mend read­ing Ward’s piece in full. But the gist is that the more she poked into his sto­ry the finan­cial part of it just didn’t add up. She didn’t real­ly fig­ure out what he did or where he got his mon­ey. But the pub­lic sto­ry seemed to be lay­er upon lay­er of obfus­ca­tion and fronts.

    From one per­spec­tive, who cares? The point is his abuse of per­haps dozens or more girls and young women. Pre­cise­ly how he made his mon­ey doesn’t mat­ter. But the scale of the mon­ey is appar­ent­ly so vast, its ori­gins so intense­ly hid­den and the per­va­sive­ness of his polit­i­cal con­nec­tions so grand that I don’t think we can be sure they’re not relat­ed in some way. The amount of wealth and the obscu­ri­ty of its ori­gin are just too great to be the prod­uct of mere dis­cre­tion.

    ...

    Some have spec­u­lat­ed that far from being a hedge fun­der he ran some sort of pro­cure­ment ring for bil­lion­aires. But that doesn’t real­ly explain the full scale of the wealth. You could make a lot of mon­ey doing this but not bil­lions or even hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars. Nor is there a short­age of ways for extreme­ly wealthy peo­ple to pur­chase sex or sat­is­fy any vari­ety of bou­tique kinks or per­ver­sions. It just doesn’t add up as an expla­na­tion.

    Maybe the wealth is a sham? Maybe he’s a Trump-like fig­ure liv­ing a con­spic­u­ous­ly lux­u­ri­ous life but it’s all strung togeth­er with bail­ing wire and debt and sharp deal­ing? Maybe. The prob­lem with that the­o­ry is that Epstein appears to have been respon­si­ble for quite a lot of phil­an­thropy – donat­ing big mon­ey to elite uni­ver­si­ties, fund­ing sci­ence projects, all sorts of stuff. Per­haps this part of the equa­tion is also over­stat­ed and is less than it appears. But at least on its face Epstein seems to have account­ed for an amount of giv­ing that even on its own required vast wealth or access to vast wealth.

    Maybe it’s a Mad­off type sit­u­a­tion? A Ponzi scheme? Pos­si­bly and maybe no one would won’t to come for­ward now as one of his finan­cial vic­tims giv­en his noto­ri­ety. But as we saw with Mad­off scams on that mag­ni­tude leave a swathe of col­lat­er­al dam­age that’s hard to hide.

    I don’t want to get too far spec­u­lat­ing because it’s just that: spec­u­la­tion. I haven’t read up enough on this part of the sto­ry to know all the details. But even my incom­plete read­ing sug­gests that once you’ve read all of it it all adds up to no one real­ly knows where his mon­ey comes from. But I think it’s high­ly like­ly that the answer to this mys­tery of where his mon­ey came from will play a cen­tral part of the sto­ry itself, relat­ed in some deep way to the alleged sex­u­al crim­i­nal­i­ty now com­ing to light.
    95

    ———-

    “The Oth­er Epstein Issue” by Josh Mar­shall, Talk­ing Points Memo, 07/10/2019

    “The sim­ple fact is that none of the hedge fund types and pri­vate wealth man­agers who cater to that scale of wealth have any clear idea where Epstein’s wealth comes from and they don’t seem to think he’s real­ly in the busi­ness they’re in. This is the gist of numer­ous arti­cles on the man. But this part of the sto­ry has always or until recent­ly been treat­ed as part of his air of mys­tery rather than a key ques­tion to be answered in a broad­er sto­ry of crim­i­nal activ­i­ty.”

    So no one actu­al­ly knows how he became a bil­lion­aire. But there are hints. And one of those hints came from Alex Acos­ta, Trump’s Labor Sec­re­tary who was the fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tor who cut the extreme­ly lenient 2008 deal with Epstein. Accord­ing to reporter Vicky Ward, who has report­ed on Epstein for year, she was told that the issue of the Epstein case came up when Acos­ta was being vet­ted by the Trump admin­is­tra­tion for the Labor Sec­re­tary posi­tion. Acos­ta alleged­ly told the Trump admin­is­tra­tion that he’d had just one meet­ing about the Epstein case and he was told to “back off” Epstein because Epstein “belonged to intel­li­gence”:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    Edi­tor’s Blog

    “I Was Told Epstein ‘Belonged to Intel­li­gence’ And to Leave It Alone.”

    By Josh Mar­shall
    July 10, 2019 1:25 pm

    In my ear­li­er post I men­tioned the report­ing of Vicky Ward who did a lengthy piece on Epstein for Van­i­ty Fair in 2003 and is now revis­it­ing the sto­ry in The Dai­ly Beast. (Ward had a detailed ver­sion of the under­aged girls part of the sto­ry but Van­i­ty Fair cut that from the 2003 sto­ry.) I want­ed to flag your atten­tion to a pas­sage in her lat­est piece at The Dai­ly Beast which reports that Acos­ta told Trump tran­si­tion offi­cials that he’d been told to back off the Epstein case at the time and that that was why he gave Epstein such a gen­er­ous deal.

    Here’s the pas­sage …

    Epstein’s name, I was told, had been raised by the Trump tran­si­tion team when Alexan­der Acos­ta, the for­mer U.S. attor­ney in Mia­mi who’d infa­mous­ly cut Epstein a non-pros­e­cu­tion plea deal back in 2007, was being inter­viewed for the job of labor sec­re­tary. The plea deal put a hard stop to a sep­a­rate fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tion of alleged sex crimes with minors and traf­fick­ing.

    “Is the Epstein case going to cause a prob­lem [for con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings]?” Acos­ta had been asked. Acos­ta had explained, breezi­ly, appar­ent­ly, that back in the day he’d had just one meet­ing on the Epstein case. He’d cut the non-pros­e­cu­tion deal with one of Epstein’s attor­neys because he had “been told” to back off, that Epstein was above his pay grade. “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intel­li­gence’ and to leave it alone,” he told his inter­view­ers in the Trump tran­si­tion, who evi­dent­ly thought that was a suf­fi­cient answer and went ahead and hired Acos­ta. (The Labor Depart­ment had no com­ment when asked about this.)

    It’s quite hard to know what to make of this claim. As one of my col­leagues just point­ed out to me the dia­log itself seems more out of Hol­ly­wood that some­thing you’d hear from a for­mer US Attor­ney. On it’s face this sounds like sec­ond or third hand infor­ma­tion, which puts some ques­tion over its reli­a­bil­i­ty and may explain the movie script dia­log. More impor­tant­ly, Acos­ta is hard­ly a reli­able fact wit­ness in this case. He has every rea­son to deflect respon­si­bil­i­ty for the deal he made with Epstein. Final­ly, it seems high­ly improb­a­ble that Epstein “belonged to intel­li­gence”.

    What does seem plau­si­ble though is that Epstein had many very high pro­file defend­ers and that this some­how trans­lat­ed into mes­sage to back off or to make the sit­u­a­tion go away with as lit­tle pub­lic­i­ty and pres­sure on Epstein as pos­si­ble. We can blame Acos­ta for the deal he cut. But that doesn’t explain why he did. Get­ting told to back off or hear­ing direct­ly from a bunch of Epstein’s high roller friends sounds like a log­i­cal sup­po­si­tion.

    ...

    ———-

    ““I Was Told Epstein ‘Belonged to Intel­li­gence’ And to Leave It Alone.”” by Josh Mar­shall, Talk­ing Points Memo, 07/10/2019

    ““Is the Epstein case going to cause a prob­lem [for con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings]?” Acos­ta had been asked. Acos­ta had explained, breezi­ly, appar­ent­ly, that back in the day he’d had just one meet­ing on the Epstein case. He’d cut the non-pros­e­cu­tion deal with one of Epstein’s attor­neys because he had “been told” to back off, that Epstein was above his pay grade. “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intel­li­gence’ and to leave it alone,” he told his inter­view­ers in the Trump tran­si­tion, who evi­dent­ly thought that was a suf­fi­cient answer and went ahead and hired Acos­ta. (The Labor Depart­ment had no com­ment when asked about this.)”

    “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intel­li­gence’ and to leave it alone.” That was what Acos­ta alleged­ly told the Trump tran­si­tion team and they found that to be an ade­quate answer. But is it a plau­si­ble answer? As Mar­shall points out, this recount­ing of Acosta’s vet­ting sounds like sec­ond or third hand infor­ma­tion, so we don’t actu­al­ly know that this is what hap­pened. And even if Acos­ta did make this claim to the tran­si­tion offi­cials we should­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly take that at face val­ue. What we do know is that Epstein had an abun­dance of pow­er­ful friends who no doubt want­ed to see the case qui­et­ly go away:

    ...
    It’s quite hard to know what to make of this claim. As one of my col­leagues just point­ed out to me the dia­log itself seems more out of Hol­ly­wood that some­thing you’d hear from a for­mer US Attor­ney. On it’s face this sounds like sec­ond or third hand infor­ma­tion, which puts some ques­tion over its reli­a­bil­i­ty and may explain the movie script dia­log. More impor­tant­ly, Acos­ta is hard­ly a reli­able fact wit­ness in this case. He has every rea­son to deflect respon­si­bil­i­ty for the deal he made with Epstein. Final­ly, it seems high­ly improb­a­ble that Epstein “belonged to intel­li­gence”.

    What does seem plau­si­ble though is that Epstein had many very high pro­file defend­ers and that this some­how trans­lat­ed into mes­sage to back off or to make the sit­u­a­tion go away with as lit­tle pub­lic­i­ty and pres­sure on Epstein as pos­si­ble. We can blame Acos­ta for the deal he cut. But that doesn’t explain why he did. Get­ting told to back off or hear­ing direct­ly from a bunch of Epstein’s high roller friends sounds like a log­i­cal sup­po­si­tion.
    ...

    Also note that Acos­ta just held a press con­fer­ence about his work on the Epstein case and he was direct­ly ques­tioned about his alleged claims that he was told to “back off” Epstein because he “belonged to intel­li­gence”. Acosta’s answer was sim­ply “I can’t address it direct­ly because of out guide­lines”. So he clear­ly dodged that ques­tion but it’s not obvi­ous why exact­ly he dodged the ques­tion.

    Next, here a piece that cov­ers some of the var­i­ous sce­nar­ios for how Epstein got his wealth. One sce­nario is a Ponzi scheme. Back in 2009, Busi­ness Insid­er not­ed mul­ti­ple red flags point­ing towards a Bernie Mad­off-style scheme. One of his ear­ly employ­ers in finance, Steve Hof­fen­berg, was con­vict­ed of run­ning one of the largest Ponzi schemes in U.S. his­to­ry. Adding to this spec­u­la­tion is the fact that Epstein was in jail dur­ing the 2008 finan­cial cri­sis and yet this some­how did­n’t destroy his finan­cial empire dur­ing this hyper-volatile time.

    As one of the lawyers for Epstein’s vic­tims dur­ing the 2008 tri­al notes, they were nev­er able to ever got sol­id doc­u­men­ta­tion of how much Epstein was actu­al­ly worth. The only known client for his finan­cial man­age­ment busi­ness was Lex Wexn­er, the founder of Vic­to­ri­a’s Secret. Vicky Ward sug­gest­ed that Wexn­er may be the real source of Epstein’s wealth. Adding to that spec­u­la­tion is the fact that Epstein pur­chase, or received, his Man­hat­tan town­house from Wexn­er in 1998, but there were no prop­er­ty records on the trans­fer until 2011 when the com­pa­ny Wexn­er used to the buy the place trans­ferred it to an Epstein-owned com­pa­ny for $0. Epstein signed the doc­u­ment for both sides.

    Anoth­er pos­si­ble source of Epstein’s wealth is black­mail. Specif­i­cal­ly, using the under­age girls to black­mail wealth asso­ciates and force them to invest their mon­ey through Epstein. This the­o­ry was backed by a 2015 court fil­ing by one of Epstein’s alleged vic­tims where she states that “Based on my knowl­edge of Epstein and his orga­ni­za­tion, as well as dis­cus­sions with the FBI, it is my belief that fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors like­ly pos­sess video­tapes and pho­to­graph­ic images of me as an under­age girl hav­ing sex with Epstein and some of his pow­er­ful friends.” She also claimed that Epstein “debriefed her” after she was forced into sex­u­al encoun­ters so that he could pos­sess “inti­mate and poten­tial­ly embar­rass­ing infor­ma­tion” to black­mail friends into park­ing their mon­ey with him. Relat­ed to this is the pos­si­bil­i­ty is he was involved with an off­shore mon­ey-laun­der­ing/­tax dodg­ing scheme. And, final­ly, there’s the intel­li­gence angle.

    So the avail­able evi­dence points towards a num­ber of dif­fer­ent, poten­tial­ly over­lap­ping, expla­na­tions for how Epstein got his immense wealth. All awful expla­na­tions:

    New York Mag­a­zine

    How Jef­frey Epstein Made His Mon­ey: Four Wild The­o­ries

    By Matt Stieb
    07/09/2019 7:23 P.M.

    Bil­lion­aire is a word that’s often thrown around when dis­cussing Jef­frey Epstein, but unlike some of his oth­er com­mon mod­i­fiers — con­vict­ed sex offend­er, pedophile — there’s scant proof as to his finan­cial bona fides. The bulk of Epstein’s wealth is believed to come from his mon­ey-man­age­ment firm for ten-fig­ure investors, although his only known client is Victoria’s Secret founder Les Wexn­er, who report­ed­ly ditched Epstein over a decade ago.

    After sex-traf­fick­ing charges were hand­ed down on Mon­day, exec­u­tive-suite financiers dis­cussed how absent Epstein was from the field: “He’s sup­posed to run an enor­mous FX [for­eign-exchange] trad­ing firm,” said Enrique Diaz-Alvarez, chief risk offi­cer at Ebury. “But I nev­er once heard of him or his firm or any­one who worked or trad­ed with him.” And as Forbes wrote in a 2010 blog post with a very direct title — “Sex Offend­er Jef­frey Epstein Is Not a Bil­lion­aire” — his mon­ey-man­age­ment firm based in the U.S. Vir­gin Islands “gen­er­ates no pub­lic records, nor has his client list ever been released.”

    As we wait for more infor­ma­tion to emerge in the investigation’s com­ing months, spec­u­la­tion is pour­ing out on how Epstein made his wealth. To make up for the lack of pub­lic infor­ma­tion on his rev­enue stream, peo­ple are turn­ing to unver­i­fied the­o­ries on how Epstein main­tained such a ster­ling finan­cial rep­u­ta­tion in addi­tion to his mil­lions. But first we’ll start with the knowns.

    Epstein’s mys­te­ri­ous career

    Accord­ing to a 2002 pro­file in New York — the one with the Trump quoteEpstein dropped out of Coop­er Union and NYU’s Courant Insti­tute of Math­e­mat­i­cal Sci­ences before find­ing a job teach­ing cal­cu­lus and physics at the Dal­ton School in the mid-1970s. Epstein was hired at the pres­ti­gious Man­hat­tan col­lege-prep insti­tu­tion by the father of Attor­ney Gen­er­al William Barr, and his stu­dents includ­ed the son of Bear Stearns chair­man Alan Green­berg. In 1976, Epstein joined Bear as a floor trader’s assis­tant, mak­ing part­ner in a mere four years. By 1981, he was out, set­ting up the J. Epstein & Co. mon­ey-man­age­ment busi­ness the next year. New York described his busi­ness strat­e­gy in 2002:

    He would take total con­trol of the bil­lion dol­lars, charge a flat fee, and assume pow­er of attor­ney to do what­ev­er he thought was nec­es­sary to advance his client’s finan­cial cause. And he remained true to the $1 bil­lion entry fee. Accord­ing to peo­ple who know him, if you were worth $700 mil­lion and felt the need for the ser­vices of Epstein and Co., you would receive a not-so-polite no-thank-you from Epstein.

    In Vicky Ward’s recent process piece on her report­ing of an Epstein pro­file for Van­i­ty Fair in 2003, she lays out some of her thoughts on the mat­ter of a pos­si­ble bene­fac­tor. In addi­tion to a claim from a Ponzi schemer that Epstein was kicked out of Bear Stearns in 1981 for “get­ting into trou­ble,” Ward sug­gests that Wexn­er may have helped bankroll the financier. Ward writes: “While Epstein’s friends spec­u­lat­ed that retail­er Les Wexn­er was the real source of Epstein’s wealth, Wexn­er (who called him ‘my friend Jef­frey’) nev­er com­ment­ed on this, though he did send me an email prais­ing Epstein’s ‘abil­i­ty to see pat­terns in pol­i­tics and finan­cial mar­kets.’”

    No one knows how much he’s worth

    Accord­ing to his lawyers, around the time of his noto­ri­ous plea deal in Flori­da in 2008, Epstein’s net worth was over nine fig­ures. The fig­ure was “a bone of con­tention with Epstein’s lawyers,” Spencer Kuvin, an attor­ney rep­re­sent­ing three of Epstein’s alleged vic­tims, told the Palm Beach Post in 2008. “In the lit­i­ga­tion itself we were nev­er able to get him to pro­duce ver­i­fied finan­cial infor­ma­tion. The ‘nine fig­ures’ came by nego­ti­a­tion. It kept going up and up and up. They start­ed at zero — they wouldn’t tell us at all.”

    As Bloomberg states, “Today, so lit­tle is known about Epstein’s cur­rent busi­ness or clients that the only things that can be val­ued with any cer­tain­ty are his prop­er­ties.” Accord­ing to a doc­u­ment sub­mit­ted in advance of Epstein’s bail hear­ing, his Man­hat­tan town­house is esti­mat­ed to be worth around $77 mil­lion. Then there are the prop­er­ties in New Mex­i­co, Paris, the U.S. Vir­gin Islands, his pri­vate jet, a fleet of 15 cars, and a Palm Beach com­pound esti­mat­ed at $12 mil­lion.

    But even the real-estate hold­ings have an air of mys­tery to them. Epstein pur­chased, or received, the Man­hat­tan town­house from Wexn­er around 1998. But there were no prop­er­ty records on the mansion’s trans­fer until 2011, when the com­pa­ny Wexn­er used to buy the place trans­ferred it to an Epstein-owned com­pa­ny for $0. Epstein signed the doc­u­ment for both sides.

    Finan­cial Con­spir­a­cy The­o­ry #1: Ponzi scheme

    A Ponzi scheme has been float­ed as a pos­si­ble source of Epstein’s wealth since as ear­ly as 2009, when Busi­ness Insid­er not­ed that mul­ti­ple red flags point­ed to a pos­si­ble Mad­off-like fraud. The secre­cy of his client list; the “admin­is­tra­tive” nature of all 150 of his employ­ees in 2002; the absolute con­trol over investors’ mon­ey, and the $1 bil­lion base­ment invest­ment required — all signs could point to Ponzi, although there’s no con­crete evi­dence. In the sto­ry, finance writer John Car­ney raised a vital ques­tion, con­sid­er­ing Epstein’s (lim­it­ed) time in jail dur­ing the 2008 finan­cial cri­sis: “How could Epstein’s one-man show not fall apart while he was in jail dur­ing one of the most volatile years in his­to­ry?”

    In addi­tion, one of his ear­ly employ­ers in finance, Steve Hof­fen­berg, was con­vict­ed of run­ning one of the largest pre-Mad­off Ponzi schemes in U.S. his­to­ry. Accord­ing to jour­nal­ist Vicky Ward, Hof­fen­berg brought on Epstein in 1981 after he left Bear Stearns. “He has a way of get­ting under your skin,” he told Ward. Hof­fen­berg paid Epstein $25,000 per month for his work as a con­sul­tant for Tow­ers Finan­cial, though Epstein had left well before Hof­fen­berg plead­ed guilty in 1994 to defraud­ing investors to the tune of $450 mil­lion. For years, it appeared Epstein had no expo­sure in the Tow­ers Finan­cial case, until 2018, when share­hold­ers filed a puta­tive class action suit against him for his alleged role in the Ponzi scheme. In a sep­a­rate New York state case in 2018, Hof­fen­berg report­ed­ly detailed Epstein’s alleged involve­ment in the scam.

    The­o­ry #2: Black­mail

    As the Inter­cept D.C. bureau chief Ryan Grim not­ed, a piece of evi­dence detailed in the SDNY’s deten­tion memo could hold a great deal of black­mail poten­tial:

    CD’s in Epstein’s safe labeled: “Young [Name] + [Name]“That looks an awful lot like they found the black­mail tapes https://t.co/4tR9Mya7lL— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) July 8, 2019

    And in a 2015 court fil­ing, alleged Epstein vic­tim Vir­ginia Roberts Giuf­fre claims that U.S. author­i­ties were in pos­ses­sion of footage of her hav­ing sex with mem­bers of Epstein’s elite friend group. “Based on my knowl­edge of Epstein and his orga­ni­za­tion, as well as dis­cus­sions with the FBI, it is my belief that fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors like­ly pos­sess video­tapes and pho­to­graph­ic images of me as an under­age girl hav­ing sex with Epstein and some of his pow­er­ful friends,” she said. Giuf­fre claimed that Epstein “debriefed her” after she was forced into sex­u­al encoun­ters so that he could pos­sess “inti­mate and poten­tial­ly embar­rass­ing infor­ma­tion” to black­mail friends into park­ing their mon­ey with him.

    The­o­ry #3: Epstein “Belonged to Intel­li­gence”

    One of the more mys­te­ri­ous quotes of this whole con­spir­a­cy-adja­cent mess comes from Alexan­der Acos­ta, the cur­rent Labor sec­re­tary, who arranged for Epstein to get off with just a wrist-slap in 2007, when he was a U.S. attor­ney. Accord­ing to Vicky Ward, when Acos­ta was being inter­viewed for the Labor sec­re­tary job, he was asked if his involve­ment in the Epstein case would be a prob­lem dur­ing his con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings.

    Acos­ta had explained, breezi­ly, appar­ent­ly, that back in the day he’d had just one meet­ing on the Epstein case. He’d cut the non-pros­e­cu­tion deal with one of Epstein’s attor­neys because he had “been told” to back off, that Epstein was above his pay grade. “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intel­li­gence’ and to leave it alone,” he told his inter­view­ers …

    Whether that’s the Amer­i­can intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty, the greater point-one-per­cent brain trust, or just a garbage excuse, the answer was good enough for the Trump admin­is­tra­tion to go for­ward with Acosta’s nom­i­na­tion.

    The­o­ry #4: Off­shore Tax Schemes / Mon­ey Laun­der­ing

    Because Epstein’s wealth is held off­shore and is shroud­ed in mys­tery, some spec­u­late that he may have made his mon­ey in tax schemes or mon­ey laun­der­ing. Accord­ing to a well-devel­oped, if fac­tu­al­ly void, pan-con­spir­acist take from finance Twitter’s Quant­ian, Epstein could have black­mailed his social cir­cle into invest­ing with him, then dumped the cash in an off­shore account to avoid tax­es. Or, sim­i­lar to the Ponzi scheme con­spir­a­cy — and, again, with­out basis in fact — there is so lit­tle paper­work on the funds that the whole thing could just be a rig for mon­ey laun­der­ing.

    ...

    ———-

    “How Jef­frey Epstein Made His Mon­ey: Four Wild The­o­ries” by Matt Stieb, New York Mag­a­zine, 07/09/2019

    “After sex-traf­fick­ing charges were hand­ed down on Mon­day, exec­u­tive-suite financiers dis­cussed how absent Epstein was from the field: “He’s sup­posed to run an enor­mous FX [for­eign-exchange] trad­ing firm,” said Enrique Diaz-Alvarez, chief risk offi­cer at Ebury. “But I nev­er once heard of him or his firm or any­one who worked or trad­ed with him.” And as Forbes wrote in a 2010 blog post with a very direct title — “Sex Offend­er Jef­frey Epstein Is Not a Bil­lion­aire” — his mon­ey-man­age­ment firm based in the U.S. Vir­gin Islands “gen­er­ates no pub­lic records, nor has his client list ever been released.”

    Epstein’s firm gen­er­at­ed no pub­lic records and nev­er released a client list. It’s mys­te­ri­ous. Black­mail? A Ponzi Scheme? Off­shore tax eva­sion and mon­ey-laun­der­ing? An intel­li­gence front? All of these above?

    Or was his only known client, Lex Wexn­er, the real source of his wealth? They def­i­nite­ly had some sort of unusu­al busi­ness rela­tion­ship:

    ...
    In Vicky Ward’s recent process piece on her report­ing of an Epstein pro­file for Van­i­ty Fair in 2003, she lays out some of her thoughts on the mat­ter of a pos­si­ble bene­fac­tor. In addi­tion to a claim from a Ponzi schemer that Epstein was kicked out of Bear Stearns in 1981 for “get­ting into trou­ble,” Ward sug­gests that Wexn­er may have helped bankroll the financier. Ward writes: “While Epstein’s friends spec­u­lat­ed that retail­er Les Wexn­er was the real source of Epstein’s wealth, Wexn­er (who called him ‘my friend Jef­frey’) nev­er com­ment­ed on this, though he did send me an email prais­ing Epstein’s ‘abil­i­ty to see pat­terns in pol­i­tics and finan­cial mar­kets.’”

    ...

    But even the real-estate hold­ings have an air of mys­tery to them. Epstein pur­chased, or received, the Man­hat­tan town­house from Wexn­er around 1998. But there were no prop­er­ty records on the mansion’s trans­fer until 2011, when the com­pa­ny Wexn­er used to buy the place trans­ferred it to an Epstein-owned com­pa­ny for $0. Epstein signed the doc­u­ment for both sides.
    ...

    Also note that Wexn­er has long been a GOP mega-donor. He and his wife donat­ed almost $2 mil­lion to the GOP between 2013 and 2018, includ­ing $500k to Jeb Bush in 2016. But Wexn­er became a ‘Nev­er-Trump’ mega-donor and offi­cial­ly left the Repub­li­can Par­ty last Sep­tem­ber. And that’s one of the poten­tial­ly inter­est­ing twists in all this: The Trump admin­is­tra­tion prob­a­bly real­ly hates Wexn­er at this point. Wexn­er lit­er­al­ly stopped being a GOP mega-donor specif­i­cal­ly because he hat­ed Trump so much. So while it remains to be seen how much we’re real­ly going to learn about Epstein’s back­ground, don’t be super sur­prised if very very lit­tle is released about how Epstein became a bil­lion­aire except for infor­ma­tion tying Epstein to Wexn­er.

    And regard­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty that Epstein could have been run­ning a child sex traf­fick­ing ring as part of an intel­li­gence front, this is also prob­a­bly a good time to recall the strange case of George Nad­er, the Mid­dle East­’s man of mys­tery who fig­ures so promi­nent­ly in the var­i­ous #TrumpRus­sia threads. Recall how Nad­er clear­ly worked with the US gov­ern­ment on sen­si­tive mat­ters going back to the 80s and was repeat­ed­ly caught with child pornog­ra­phy and yet kept get­ting lenient sen­tences (includ­ing a light sen­tence by the Czech gov­ern­ment). But back in June, Nad­er sud­den­ly faced new child porn charges over a dis­cov­ery inves­ti­ga­tors made last year. So as with Epstein, Nad­er was some­one with a track record for get­ting lenient treat­ment for child sex crimes but is now fac­ing new inves­ti­ga­tions. Now, there’s nev­er been any­thing to indi­cate that Nad­er was some­how incor­po­rat­ing child porn into his sen­si­tive gov­ern­ment work, as would be the case for Epstein if he was run­ning some sort of black­mail ring for intel­li­gence pur­pos­es. But at a min­i­mum, Nader’s sto­ry demon­strates the capac­i­ty for an offi­cial tol­er­ance of such activ­i­ties by peo­ple deemed to be doing impor­tant sen­si­tive work. So George Nad­er rep­re­sents anoth­er par­tic­u­lar­ly dis­turb­ing data point sug­gest­ing that Epstein may indeed have been involved in intel­li­gence work. The par­al­lels are hard to ignore.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 10, 2019, 2:51 pm
  14. Here’s an inter­est­ing new twist on the mys­tery of Jef­frey Epstein and the ques­tions of why he was giv­en a sweet­heart plea deal back in 2008. First, recall that Alex Acos­ta report­ed­ly told the Trump admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials who were vet­ting him for the Labor Sec­re­tary posi­tion that he gave Epstein that plea deal because he was told that Epstein “belonged to intel­li­gence.” Keep in mind that even if Epstein ‘belonged to intel­li­gence’ and that was the basis for his lenient treat­ment, that does­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly mean he belonged to US intel­li­gence. He could have been work­ing with an allied intel­li­gence agency, with Israel or the UK being obvi­ous pos­si­bil­i­ties giv­en Epstein’s asso­ci­a­tions. And now we just learned a new detail about Epstein’s back­ground: When author­i­ties recent­ly raid­ed Epstein’s man­sion they found a safe con­tain­ing cash, dia­monds, and an expired fake for­eign-issued pass­port from the 80’s. The pass­port had Epstein’s pic­ture but a fake name. And it lists Sau­di Ara­bia as Epstein’s place of res­i­dence:

    Law & Crime

    Pros­e­cu­tors Reveal Jef­frey Epstein Had Fake Pass­port That List­ed Res­i­dence as Sau­di Ara­bia

    by Matt Naham | 11:43 am, July 15th, 2019

    Fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors con­tin­ue to reveal more and more infor­ma­tion about what was locked away in a safe at accused child sex-traf­fick­er Jef­frey Epstein’s Upper East Side man­sion. Pros­e­cu­tors said they were “made aware” on Mon­day that Epstein’s safe con­tained cash, dia­monds and an expired pass­port.

    The gov­ern­ment men­tioned this while mak­ing its case that Epstein should not be let out of jail ahead of tri­al, argu­ing that he is about as big of a flight risk as there is.

    Although the pass­port was issued in the ’80s and is cur­rent­ly expired, oth­er details about it raised some eye­brows. For one, the pass­port has a pho­to that appears to be of Epstein, but it has a dif­fer­ent name on it. Sec­ond­ly, it was a for­eign-issued pass­port and list­ed his res­i­dence as Sau­di Ara­bia.

    SDNY says they learned today that Epstein had in a locked safe a for­eign pass­port issued in the 1980s, expired, with a pho­to that appears to be Epstein and a name that is not his. It also gives his place of res­i­dence as Sau­di Ara­bia.

    — eri­ca orden (@eorden) July 15, 2019

    Epstein was also said to have “piles of cash” in that safe.

    NEW: As part of the raid at Epstein’s NYC man­sion author­i­ties found in a locked safe “piles of cash, dozens of dia­monds” and a for­eign pass­port, issued in the 1980s. It is expired, lists his res­i­dence Sau­di Ara­bia, and has a pho­to that appears to be him. https://t.co/InC6iiaqS3

    — Per­vaiz Shall­wani (@Pervaizistan) July 15, 2019

    It’s not clear if this was the same safe (or if there are oth­er safes) that author­i­ties said con­tained thou­sands of lewd images of young girls. The images were found dur­ing a raid that occurred as Epstein was arrest­ed at Teter­boro Air­port on July 6. Author­i­ties said they found “at least hundreds–and per­haps thousands–of sex­u­al­ly sug­ges­tive pho­tographs of ful­ly-or par­tial­ly nude females.” Pros­e­cu­tors said some of the images appeared to be of under­age girls. “[A]t least one girl, who accord­ing to her coun­sel, was under­age at the time the rel­e­vant pho­tographs were tak­en,” they said.

    Pros­e­cu­tors have admit­ted that they have no idea how Epstein made his for­tune, but said Fri­day that an unnamed finan­cial institution’s records showed Epstein is worth more than $500 mil­lion. They argued that if Epstein is let out ahead of tri­al he would be in the wind posthaste.

    “[T]here would be lit­tle to stop the defen­dant from flee­ing, trans­fer­ring his unknown assets abroad, and then con­tin­u­ing to do what­ev­er it is he does to earn his vast wealth from a com­put­er ter­mi­nal beyond the reach of extra­di­tion,” pros­e­cu­tors said.

    ...

    ———-

    “Pros­e­cu­tors Reveal Jef­frey Epstein Had Fake Pass­port That List­ed Res­i­dence as Sau­di Ara­bia” by Matt Naham; Law & Crime; 07/15/2019

    “Although the pass­port was issued in the ’80s and is cur­rent­ly expired, oth­er details about it raised some eye­brows. For one, the pass­port has a pho­to that appears to be of Epstein, but it has a dif­fer­ent name on it. Sec­ond­ly, it was a for­eign-issued pass­port and list­ed his res­i­dence as Sau­di Ara­bia.

    So was there a Sau­di con­nec­tion to Epstein’s child sex traf­fick­ing ring? Recall the evi­dence sug­gest­ing that the dis­ap­pear­ance of Pol­ly Klaas was part of an elite Sau­di child-sex traf­fick­ing ring that spe­cial­ized in pro­vid­ing under­age white West­ern girls for Sau­di elites. Was Epstein’s oper­a­tion involved with some­thing like that? To put it anoth­er way, would a fake pass­port that gives a fake name and lists Sau­di Ara­bia as his place of res­i­dence be help­ful for get­ting out of a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion if the Sau­di gov­ern­ment was­n’t in on the scam to back it up if need be?

    Keep in mind that, thus far, the reports about Epstein’s asso­ciates ser­viced by his under­age vic­tims haven’t includ­ed ref­er­ences to a large num­ber of Saud­is or trips to Sau­di Ara­bia. But giv­en the nature of that ini­tial sweet­heart plea deal and Acosta’s ref­er­ence to Epstein “belong­ing to intel­li­gence”, it’s pos­si­ble that such evi­dence would have been kept from the pub­lic so far.

    And note that, while the ques­tion of how Epstein made his for­tune remains large­ly a mys­tery, at least one unnamed finan­cial insti­tu­tion has con­firmed that Epstein is cur­rent­ly worth more than $500 mil­lion. So he’s man­aged to main­tain quite a for­tune in the decade fol­low­ing his ini­tial 2008 plea deal:

    ...
    Pros­e­cu­tors have admit­ted that they have no idea how Epstein made his for­tune, but said Fri­day that an unnamed finan­cial institution’s records showed Epstein is worth more than $500 mil­lion. They argued that if Epstein is let out ahead of tri­al he would be in the wind posthaste.

    “[T]here would be lit­tle to stop the defen­dant from flee­ing, trans­fer­ring his unknown assets abroad, and then con­tin­u­ing to do what­ev­er it is he does to earn his vast wealth from a com­put­er ter­mi­nal beyond the reach of extra­di­tion,” pros­e­cu­tors said.
    ...

    Also note that while the iden­ti­ty of this unnamed finan­cial insti­tu­tion that con­firmed Epstein’s wealth remains a mys­tery, we have learned about one insti­tu­tion in par­tic­u­lar that would be well placed to know such things: It turns out Deutsche Bank recent­ly sev­ered its rela­tion­ship with Epstein:

    Bloomberg

    Deutsche Bank End­ed Its Rela­tion­ship With Jef­frey Epstein This Year

    By Tom Met­calf and Matt Robin­son
    July 10, 2019, 4:27 PM CDT
    Updat­ed on July 11, 2019, 6:28 AM CDT

    Deutsche Bank AG sev­ered busi­ness ties with Jef­frey Epstein ear­li­er this year, just as fed­er­al author­i­ties were prepar­ing to charge the dis­graced financier with oper­at­ing a sex-traf­fick­ing ring of under­age girls out of his opu­lent homes in Man­hat­tan and Palm Beach.

    The Ger­man bank, itself a sub­ject of unre­lat­ed gov­ern­ment inves­ti­ga­tions, closed Epstein’s accounts over sev­er­al months, accord­ing to a per­son famil­iar with the sit­u­a­tion, who asked not to be iden­ti­fied dis­cussing pri­vate mat­ters.

    It’s unclear how much mon­ey was involved or how long Epstein was a cus­tomer of Deutsche Bank, which main­tained the accounts long after he was con­vict­ed of sex crimes more than a decade ago. A com­pa­ny spokesman in New York declined to com­ment.

    ...

    The rev­e­la­tion of the closed accounts adds to the mys­tery sur­round­ing Epstein’s sup­posed for­tune. Despite his lav­ish lifestyle and rich acquain­tances, the extent of his wealth — and how he acquired it — remains unclear. He left Bear Stearns in 1981 to set up his own firm after a swift rise at the invest­ment bank. While he report­ed­ly man­aged mon­ey for bil­lion­aires for decades, his trades, if any, have attract­ed lit­tle atten­tion from most mar­ket play­ers despite an out­size lifestyle fea­tur­ing pri­vate jets and lux­u­ry homes. He was arrest­ed on the week­end after return­ing from Paris on his Gulf­stream G550.

    Still, some details about his busi­ness deal­ings have emerged.

    Epstein served as a direc­tor to Leon Black’s fam­i­ly foun­da­tion from 2001. He resigned in July 2007 at the family’s request and has not been affil­i­at­ed with or per­formed any duties for the Foun­da­tion since that date,” a spokes­woman for the pri­vate equi­ty executive’s foun­da­tion said in an emailed state­ment. His name mis­tak­en­ly appeared on dis­clo­sure forms filed with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment from 2008 to 2012, she said.

    His Finan­cial Trust Co. had a $121 mil­lion invest­ment in hedge fund firm DB Zwirn & Co., which shut down in 2008. Finan­cial Trust also was also a major investor in Bear Stearns’s High-Grade Struc­tured Cred­it Strate­gies Enhanced Lever­age Fund, whose col­lapse helped ignite the glob­al finan­cial cri­sis.

    So lit­tle is known about Epstein’s cur­rent busi­ness or clients that the only things that can be val­ued with any cer­tain­ty are his prop­er­ties. The Man­hat­tan man­sion is esti­mat­ed to be worth at least $77 mil­lion, accord­ing to a fed­er­al doc­u­ment sub­mit­ted in advance of his bail hear­ing.

    ...

    ———-

    “Deutsche Bank End­ed Its Rela­tion­ship With Jef­frey Epstein This Year by Tom Met­calf and Matt Robin­son; Bloomberg; 07/10/2019

    “The Ger­man bank, itself a sub­ject of unre­lat­ed gov­ern­ment inves­ti­ga­tions, closed Epstein’s accounts over sev­er­al months, accord­ing to a per­son famil­iar with the sit­u­a­tion, who asked not to be iden­ti­fied dis­cussing pri­vate mat­ters.”

    Yep, just a few months ago, Deutsche Bank decides to end its rela­tion­ship with Epstein. Keep in mind that the renewed scruti­ny over Alex Acosta’s sweet­heart plea deal with Epstein start­ed back in Novem­ber, so the bank was pre­sum­ably react­ing to those reports and the expec­ta­tion that more bad press was com­ing for Epstein.

    And note that this was Deutsche Bank’s noto­ri­ous­ly cor­rupt pri­vate-bank­ing unit that was work­ing with Epstein. Recall that Deutsche Bank’s pri­vate bank­ing unit was report­ed­ly so scan­dalous lax in its enforce­ment of laws regard­ing mon­ey-laun­der­ing that a num­ber of employ­ees have becom­ing whis­tle-blow­ers. So learn­ing that the most cor­rupt unit in Deutsche Bank was work­ing with Epstein until only recent­ly does add some clar­i­ty to the sit­u­a­tion in the sense that it makes it more clear that there was some­thing very shady like­ly going on with his finances in recent years too. There was already the mys­tery of how he made his for­tune and now there’s a mys­tery of what he did with the mon­ey after he made it. Two mys­ter­ies that could be very inter­twined if he was essen­tial­ly offer­ing mon­ey-laun­der­ing/­tax eva­sion ser­vices for his clients as has been spec­u­lat­ed.

    So as we can see, this is one of those sto­ries where, the more we learn, the more we learn about a coverup and the larg­er that coverup appears to get. It’s the kind of sto­ry that unfor­tu­nate­ly means we prob­a­bly won’t ever real­ly learn what was going on. Espe­cial­ly if it involved a sweet­heart deal for an intel­li­gence-pro­tect­ed Sau­di-con­nect­ed under­age sex traf­fick­ing ring.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 15, 2019, 12:45 pm
  15. @Pterrafractyl–

    Sau­di Ara­bia!

    Inter­est­ing.

    Maybe he was involved with, or adja­cent to, some of the things men­tioned at the con­clu­sion of FTR 31001.

    http://spitfirelist.com/for-the-record/ftr-1001-further-reflections-on-weaponized-feminism-and-the-metoo-movement/

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | July 15, 2019, 5:30 pm
  16. @Dave: There was a recent NY Times piece that includ­ed descrip­tions from guests of Jef­frey Epstein’s Man­hat­tan town­house last year. The walls were cov­ered with pho­tos of peo­ple Epstein had met. He appar­ent­ly specif­i­cal­ly point­ed out his pho­to of Sau­di Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmon to one of the guests.

    And now we’ve learned the coun­try that issued Epstein’s pass­port: Aus­tria. Intrigu­ing­ly, while the name on the pass­port is fake, accord­ing to the fol­low­ing arti­cle, pros­e­cu­tors still haven’t estab­lished whether or not the pass­port is actu­al­ly fake or was indeed issued by the Aus­tri­an gov­ern­ment:

    The Dai­ly Beast

    Jef­frey Epstein Had ‘Piles of Cash,’ Dia­monds, Aus­tri­an Pass­port in Safe

    Pros­e­cu­tors are argu­ing he should be held with­out bail until tri­al because he’s a flight risk.

    Per­vaiz Shall­wani
    Kate Briquelet
    Tra­cy Con­nor
    Updat­ed 07.16.19 7:13PM ET / Pub­lished 07.15.19 10:19AM ET

    FBI agents found “piles of cash,” dozens of dia­monds and an expired for­eign pass­port in Jef­frey Epstein’s when they raid­ed his Man­hat­tan man­sion last week, pros­e­cu­tors revealed Mon­day.

    Pros­e­cu­tors said the pass­port was issued by Aus­tria, was dat­ed in the 1980s, and gave a res­i­dence in Sau­di Ara­bia. It was not issued under Epstein’s name but did have what appeared to be a pho­to of him. Pros­e­cu­tors have not deter­mined if it was issued by the gov­ern­ment or is a fake, they said.

    The safe’s con­tents were dis­closed dur­ing a bail hear­ing at which prosecutors—and accusers—argued that Epstein is a flight risk and should be kept locked up until his sex-traf­fick­ing tri­al.

    “I was sex­u­al­ly abused by Jef­frey Epstein start­ing at age 14,” accuser Court­ney Wild told the court. “I would just like the court to not to grant him bond, just for the safe­ty of any oth­er girls out there. He is a scary per­son to have walk­ing the streets.”

    Anoth­er woman, Annie Farmer, said she was 16 when she met Epstein and he flew her to New Mex­i­co. “He was inap­pro­pri­ate with me,” she said.

    Farmer’s old­er sis­ter, Maria, claimed in an affi­davit in April that Epstein had abused her under­age sis­ter in New Mex­i­co and also accused Epstein and his alleged madam, socialite Ghis­laine Maxwell, of rap­ing her at bil­lion­aire Les Wexner’s Ohio Man­sion. The retail mogul Wexn­er is Epstein’s only known client. He did not respond to Maria Farmer’s alle­ga­tions.

    Jour­nal­ist Vicky Ward has said that the Farmer sis­ters and their moth­er tried to warn about Epstein’s sex­u­al pre­da­tions in 2003 for her now-famous pro­file of the financier for Van­i­ty Fair, but that edi­tor Gray­don Carter cut the alle­ga­tions from the final piece. (Carter has claimed that he did­n’t “have con­fi­dence” in Ward’s report­ing at the time.)

    Epstein, 66, look­ing fatigued and wear­ing navy-blue jail garb, stared blankly ahead for most of the hear­ing.

    He has been held at the fed­er­al Met­ro­pol­i­tan Cor­rec­tion­al Cen­ter in Man­hat­tan since his July 6 arrest but has asked to be released and put on house arrest with armed guards and sur­veil­lance.

    Pros­e­cu­tors said that was inad­e­quate to make sure he would not skip town.

    “The defen­dant is ask­ing for spe­cial treat­ment to build his own jail,” Assis­tant U.S. Attor­ney Alex Ross­miller told the court, adding that Epstein has “vast assets and every incen­tive in the world to use those assets.”

    Bank doc­u­ments the gov­ern­ment got last week show Epstein has $110 mil­lion in a sin­gle account—and anoth­er $400 mil­lion in var­i­ous hold­ings, Ross­miller not­ed.

    A fed­er­al pro­ba­tion office agrees with pros­e­cu­tors that Epstein should be detained, but U.S. Dis­trict Judge Richard Berman said he has not decid­ed whether to grant bail and won’t announce a rul­ing until Thurs­day.

    He told the defense he is not sat­is­fied with the finan­cial infor­ma­tion that Epstein filed under seal, which amount­ed to “less than a page,” and is inclined to make it pub­lic.

    Epstein’s team said the bail sub­mis­sion was “admit­ted­ly rough.” But, attor­ney Mar­tin Wein­berg added, “Let me be blunt, what­ev­er bond you want Mr. Epstein to sign... he will sign. He ful­ly intends to appear.”

    To bol­ster his argu­ment that Epstein should be allowed to await tri­al on house arrest in what pros­e­cu­tors referred to as his “gild­ed cage,” Wein­berg dropped the names of two of the biggest finan­cial vil­lains in mod­ern U.S. his­to­ry who got bail: Ponzi schemer Bernie Mad­off and Enron felon Jef­frey Skilling.

    “He’s not an out-of-con­trol rapist,” Wein­berg said of his client.

    “How do you know that?” Judge Berman retort­ed.

    Monday’s hear­ing fol­lowed a flur­ry of fil­ings in which Epstein’s defense team and fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors dueled over whether the filthy-rich financier would go on the lam if he was released.

    The gov­ern­ment argued that Epstein’s inter­na­tion­al con­nec­tions and wealth meant it would be easy for him to get beyond the arm of the law.

    Even if he didn’t turn fugi­tive, pros­e­cu­tors argued, Epstein has a his­to­ry of wit­ness-tam­per­ing, includ­ing wiring $350,000 late last year to two alleged accom­plices after the Mia­mi Her­ald pub­lished its expose on his Flori­da plea deal.

    Epstein’s attor­neys, on the oth­er hand, have argued that the indict­ment unsealed last week is so flim­sy that their client, who plead­ed not guilty, has no rea­son not to fight the charges.

    “You don’t pun­ish first and have a tri­al sec­ond,” Wein­berg told the judge.

    Epstein has offered up a bail pack­age that includ­ed armed guards and sur­veil­lance cam­eras, a GPS ankle mon­i­tor, and a “trustee” who would live in the sev­en-sto­ry man­sion and report back to the feds.

    Epstein had just returned from France—where he has a lux­u­ry apart­ment on one of the showiest boule­vards in Paris—when the FBI swooped down a week ago and arrest­ed him at Teter­boro Air­port in New Jer­sey.

    ...

    Editor’s note: The sto­ry has been updat­ed to cor­rect the ori­gin of the pass­port found in Epstein’s safe. Pros­e­cu­tors ini­tial­ly told The Dai­ly Beast that it was from Sau­di Ara­bia but on Tues­day said it was Aus­tri­an.

    ———–

    “Jef­frey Epstein Had ‘Piles of Cash,’ Dia­monds, Aus­tri­an Pass­port in Safe” by Per­vaiz Shall­wani, Kate Briquelet, Tra­cy Con­nor; The Dai­ly Beast; 07/15/2019

    Pros­e­cu­tors said the pass­port was issued by Aus­tria, was dat­ed in the 1980s, and gave a res­i­dence in Sau­di Ara­bia. It was not issued under Epstein’s name but did have what appeared to be a pho­to of him. Pros­e­cu­tors have not deter­mined if it was issued by the gov­ern­ment or is a fake, they said.

    So it’s entire­ly pos­si­ble the Aus­tri­an gov­ern­ment actu­al­ly issued this pass­port with a fake name. Accord­ing to the fol­low­ing arti­cle, the pass­port expired 32 years ago (around 1987). So it was pre­sum­ably issued some time in the ear­ly 80s. Accord­ing to Epstein’s lawyers, he got the Aus­tri­an pass­port to ward off hijack­ers and ter­ror­ists while trav­el­ing in the Mid­dle East because his Jew­ish ances­try and immense wealth made him a tar­get. Based on that, it sounds like Epstein was spend­ing quite a bit of time in the Mid­dle East in the 80’s:

    NBC News

    Jef­frey Epstein’s lawyers: He had a doc­tored pass­port to ward off hijack­ers, ter­ror­ists
    Pros­e­cu­tors revealed the exis­tence of the pass­port at a Mon­day bail hear­ing, argu­ing that it demon­strat­ed the accused sex traf­fick­er was a flight risk.

    By Tom Win­ter and Rich Schapiro
    July 16, 2019, 6:03 PM CDT

    Jef­frey Epstein’s lawyers offered an unusu­al expla­na­tion for a pass­port found in his home with his pho­to and a dif­fer­ent name on it, say­ing he obtained the trav­el doc­u­ment years ago to ward off “kid­napers, hijack­ers and ter­ror­ists.”

    “The pass­port was for per­son­al pro­tec­tion in the event of trav­el to dan­ger­ous areas, only to be pre­sent­ed to poten­tial kid­napers, hijack­ers or ter­ror­ists should vio­lent episodes occur,” his lawyers wrote in court papers Tues­day, say­ing that Epstein’s Jew­ish faith and ample finances made him a tar­get in the Mid­dle East.

    Fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors revealed the exis­tence of the pass­port at a Mon­day bail hear­ing, argu­ing that it demon­strat­ed Epstein was a flight risk and should remain behind bars. The pros­e­cu­tors said the expired pass­port was issued in the 1980s and indi­cat­ed that Epstein was liv­ing in Sau­di Ara­bia.

    In the court papers filed Tues­day, Epstein’s lawyers said the trav­el doc­u­ment came from Aus­tria and had expired 32 years ago.

    “The gov­ern­ment offers noth­ing to sug­gest – and cer­tain­ly no evi­dence – that Epstein ever used it,” his lawyers said. “In any case, Epstein – an afflu­ent mem­ber of the Jew­ish faith – acquired the pass­port in the 1980s, when hijack­ings were preva­lent, in con­nec­tion to Mid­dle East trav­el.”

    Epstein, 66, is fac­ing up to 45 years in prison if con­vict­ed on charges of oper­at­ing a sex traf­fick­ing ring and prey­ing on under­age girls as young as 14. He has plead­ed not guilty.

    His lawyers have request­ed that he be allowed to remain at his $77 mil­lion Man­hat­tan home with elec­tron­ic mon­i­tor­ing as the case pro­ceeds.

    At the Mon­day bail hear­ing, pros­e­cu­tors told U.S. Dis­trict Judge Richard Berman that, in addi­tion to the pass­port, fed­er­al agents found piles of cash and dozens of dia­monds inside a safe in his town­house.

    In court papers filed Tues­day, the pros­e­cu­tors detailed the dis­cov­ery: $70,000 in cash and 48 loose dia­monds rang­ing from 1 to 2.38 carats.

    “Such ready cash and loose dia­monds are con­sis­tent with the capa­bil­i­ty to leave the juris­dic­tion at a moment’s notice,” pros­e­cu­tors say.

    Berman is slat­ed to decide on Epstein’s bail request on Thurs­day.

    The wealthy financier was fac­ing sim­i­lar alle­ga­tions in 2007 when he signed a con­tro­ver­sial non-pros­e­cu­tion deal in Flori­da that allowed him to dodge the prospect of a long fed­er­al prison sen­tence.

    Epstein ulti­mate­ly plead­ed guilty to state charges of solic­it­ing minors for pros­ti­tu­tion, and served a 13-month sen­tence in a Flori­da coun­ty jail. He was also ordered to pay resti­tu­tion to his vic­tims and reg­is­ter as a sex offend­er.

    ...

    ———-

    “Jef­frey Epstein’s lawyers: He had a doc­tored pass­port to ward off hijack­ers, ter­ror­ists” ny Tom Win­ter and Rich Schapiro; NBC News; 07/16/2019

    ““The pass­port was for per­son­al pro­tec­tion in the event of trav­el to dan­ger­ous areas, only to be pre­sent­ed to poten­tial kid­napers, hijack­ers or ter­ror­ists should vio­lent episodes occur,” his lawyers wrote in court papers Tues­day, say­ing that Epstein’s Jew­ish faith and ample finances made him a tar­get in the Mid­dle East.

    That sure sounds like Epstein was doing a lot of Mid­dle East­ern trav­el in the ear­ly to mid-80s. Recall that Epstein joined Bear Stearns in 1976 and left to start his own firm in 1981 to run in firm with hard­ly any pub­licly known clients. So the 1980s was a par­tic­u­lar­ly mys­te­ri­ous decade in Epstein’s back­ground that now includes an appar­ent large num­ber of trips to the Mid­dle East:

    ...
    In the court papers filed Tues­day, Epstein’s lawyers said the trav­el doc­u­ment came from Aus­tria and had expired 32 years ago.

    “The gov­ern­ment offers noth­ing to sug­gest – and cer­tain­ly no evi­dence – that Epstein ever used it,” his lawyers said. “In any case, Epstein – an afflu­ent mem­ber of the Jew­ish faith – acquired the pass­port in the 1980s, when hijack­ings were preva­lent, in con­nec­tion to Mid­dle East trav­el.”
    ...

    Now here’s an arti­cle from 2013 that describes Aus­tria as the Euro­pean coun­try most will­ing to basi­cal­ly sell pass­ports to the super-rich. Epstein’s pass­port was issued in the 80’s so it’s pos­si­ble Aus­tri­a’s cur­rent lax pass­port pol­i­cy isn’t reflec­tive of Aus­tri­a’s poli­cies at the time Epstein got the pass­port. But it seems like a pret­ty good bet that Aus­tria was sell­ing pass­ports back in the 80’s too if they’re doing it today:

    Deutsche-Welle

    Euro­pean cit­i­zen­ship: sold to the super wealthy

    The island nation of Mal­ta plans to start sell­ing cit­i­zen­ship to rich for­eign­ers. Wealth is a fac­tor that pro­vides clear advan­tages for get­ting a sec­ond pass­port in oth­er Euro­pean Union coun­tries as well.

    Julia Mah­ncke, Chris­t­ian Ignatzi
    15.11.2013

    Mon­ey can indeed buy hap­pi­ness, at least if the def­i­n­i­tion of hap­pi­ness involves cit­i­zen­ship in a Euro­pean Union coun­try. A pass­port from an EU mem­ber state is use­ful for peo­ple from cri­sis-torn regions, non-Euro­peans who live and work in Europe, and even to peo­ple who want to trav­el the globe. Bypassed visa require­ments with­in Europe also make it eas­i­er to do busi­ness on the con­ti­nent, if a per­son has an EU pass­port.

    Mal­ta is the most recent EU coun­try that has start­ed offer­ing to sell its cit­i­zen­ship — the new iden­ti­fi­ca­tion doc­u­ment will cost 650,000 euros. Mal­tese Prime Min­is­ter Joseph Mus­cat is hop­ing this will bring more mon­ey — and rich peo­ple — to the coun­try. It’s expect­ed that 200 to 300 peo­ple will apply each year.

    Mus­cat esti­mat­ed that 45 sold pass­ports would be sold in the first year bring­ing in around 30 mil­lion euros ($40 mil­lion). The polit­i­cal oppo­si­tion in Mal­ta has crit­i­cized the scheme for ben­e­fit­ting Russ­ian oli­garchs who would nei­ther have to live on the island nor invest mon­ey there.

    Rights with­out respon­si­bil­i­ties

    Menderes Can­dan, an expert in migra­tion com­plet­ing his doc­tor­ate at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mün­ster in Ger­many, said he finds the con­cept of sell­ing cit­i­zen­ship prob­lem­at­ic. “While rich peo­ple are able to sim­ply buy cit­i­zen­ship, there are a num­ber of refugees on Mal­ta who have sought in vain to get into the coun­try, and who aren’t doing well,” Can­dan said.

    Jan Philipp Albrecht, a Mem­ber of Euro­pean Par­lia­ment from the Ger­man Greens par­ty, also point­ed out that many peo­ple who have put their roots in Europe are still wait­ing for cit­i­zen­ship from a Euro­pean coun­try. “The allo­ca­tion must be equal for all,” he told DW.

    Can­dan added that cur­rent Mal­tese cit­i­zens won’t ben­e­fit from the pol­i­cy, for exam­ple through col­lec­tion of tax­es. “Cit­i­zen­ship involves not only rights, but respon­si­bil­i­ties. But I can’t imag­ine that for­eign investors will be held to this,” he said.

    Investor-cit­i­zens

    Nicos Anas­tasi­ades, the pres­i­dent of Cyprus, announced his inten­tion to grant cit­i­zen­ship to investors in April 2013. In order to receive a Cypri­ot pass­port, for­eign­ers would have to pay 3 mil­lion euros.

    In mak­ing this announce­ment, Anas­tasi­ades — ref­er­enc­ing poten­tial loss­es from EU bailout mea­sures — was attempt­ing to pla­cate Russ­ian busi­ness­men at their annu­al finan­cial meet­ing in the south­ern Cypri­ot city of Limas­sol. Before then, it had been pos­si­ble to “pur­chase” a Cypri­ot pass­port, but that cost 15 mil­lion euros in invest­ment over five years.

    Albrecht called such rules “inap­pro­pri­ate,” and said he would pre­fer a com­mon immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy for all Euro­pean coun­tries. “I find it espe­cial­ly alarm­ing that EU mem­ber states can grant cit­i­zen­ship so arbi­trar­i­ly,” he said.

    Dif­fer­ing rules

    At present, the immi­gra­tion poli­cies of var­i­ous EU coun­tries dif­fer great­ly. Until 2001, Ire­land also allowed for­eign investors to gain cit­i­zen­ship fair­ly eas­i­ly. But now it takes a 500,000 euro invest­ment in a pub­lic project in the fields of edu­ca­tion, health, art or sports to receive a guar­an­teed res­i­den­cy per­mit.

    In Por­tu­gal, immi­gra­tion remains con­nect­ed to real estate pur­chas­es. Spain is also con­sid­er­ing a sim­i­lar plan: for a min­i­mum of 160,000 euros, a new home­own­er can receive per­ma­nent res­i­den­cy. In Hun­gary, pur­chase of gov­ern­ment bonds open the way to a new home coun­try. Many of those inter­est­ed — in addi­tion to Rus­sians — come from Chi­na and India.

    But Aus­tria remains the Euro­pean coun­try that does the most to gain well-to-do poten­tial cit­i­zens. The gov­ern­ment is per­mit­ted by law to grant cit­i­zen­ship to those for­eign­ers “who have already made and are expect­ed to make extra­or­di­nary achieve­ments in the inter­est of the repub­lic.” Accord­ing to media reports, a Sau­di hotel investor and Russ­ian singer Anna Netre­bko met these cri­te­ria and received Aus­tri­an pass­ports.

    Bought cit­i­zen­ship the excep­tion

    Diet­rich Thrän­hardt, an immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy expert and pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mün­ster, also con­sid­ered such arrange­ments prob­lem­at­ic. “But they don’t threat­en the EU,” he told DW, adding that only a small num­ber of peo­ple gain cit­i­zen­ship this way.

    Accord­ing to infor­ma­tion from Aus­tria, no for­eign investors received cit­i­zen­ship in 2012. The year before, 23 peo­ple were able to make use of the spe­cial clause in Aus­tri­an immi­gra­tion law.

    In the entire EU, Aus­tria places the high­est hur­dles against those who seek to gain Euro­pean cit­i­zen­ship via con­ven­tion­al routes, Thrän­hardt added. He said the coun­try is known for its high fees and long waits. He point­ed out that across the EU, the process is made eas­i­er for those with mon­ey.

    ...

    ———

    “Euro­pean cit­i­zen­ship: sold to the super wealthy” by Julia Mah­ncke, Chris­t­ian Ignatzi; Deutsche-Welle; 11/15/2013

    But Aus­tria remains the Euro­pean coun­try that does the most to gain well-to-do poten­tial cit­i­zens. The gov­ern­ment is per­mit­ted by law to grant cit­i­zen­ship to those for­eign­ers “who have already made and are expect­ed to make extra­or­di­nary achieve­ments in the inter­est of the repub­lic.” Accord­ing to media reports, a Sau­di hotel investor and Russ­ian singer Anna Netre­bko met these cri­te­ria and received Aus­tri­an pass­ports.”

    So as of 2013, Aus­tria was the Euro­pean gov­ern­ment that was doing the most to sell pass­ports to wealthy for­eign­ers. Espe­cial­ly for­eign­ers “who have already made and are expect­ed to make extra­or­di­nary achieve­ments in the inter­est of the repub­lic.” So had Epstein already made extra­or­di­nary achieve­ments in the inter­est of Aus­tria back in the 80’s? Was he expect­ed to at the time? Or did he sim­ply make a large pay­ment? At this point we have no idea.

    But accord­ing to Epstein’s defense, he was giv­en this pass­port by a friend and the pass­port had already been used before Epstein got it and had been used to trav­el to Sau­di Ara­bia, France, the UK, and Spain based on the pass­port stamps. Epstein nev­er actu­al­ly used the pass­port. So if this sto­ry from Epstein’s defense is accu­rate, Epstein’s friend some­how got some­one else’s pass­port and doc­tored it to add Epstein’s pic­ture. It’s an ali­bi that rais­es the ques­tion of whether or not the doc­tored pass­port was the pass­port of an Aus­tri­an cit­i­zen or the pass­port of a wealthy non-Aus­tri­an who had pur­chased an Aus­tri­an pass­port. Because if this was the doc­tored pass­port of a wealthy for­eign­er who paid a large sum the Aus­tri­an gov­ern­ment to get it that would imply Epstein’s fake pass­port was using the name of a rather wealthy and poten­tial­ly inter­na­tion­al­ly known indi­vid­ual, unless the name was changed too. Of course, it’s also pos­si­ble Epstein’s defense is sim­ply lying and it was Epstein who used that pass­port to make those trips in the 80’s:

    The Dai­ly Beast

    Epstein Says Friend Gave Him Fake For­eign Pass­port Used in 4 Coun­tries
    His lawyers say he got it from a friend and that it had already been used.

    Tra­cy Con­nor
    Exec­u­tive Edi­tor
    Updat­ed 07.18.19 10:25AM ET Pub­lished 07.17.19 5:34PM ET

    Jef­frey Epstein’s lawyers said Thurs­day that the fake, for­eign pass­port found in his safe was giv­en to him by a friend and had already been used when he got it.

    Their claim, in a let­ter to the judge who will decide if Epstein gets bail, came in response to a pros­e­cu­tion fil­ing that revealed the pass­port con­tained stamps from France, Spain, the Unit­ed King­dom, and Sau­di Ara­bia.

    Pros­e­cu­tors have cit­ed the passport—which was issued in Aus­tria but had a Sau­di Ara­bia address, a fake name and Epstein’s photo—as evi­dence that the accused sex traf­fick­er is a flight risk.

    “Epstein was giv­en the pass­port at issue by a friend,” defense lawyer Marc Fer­nich wrote.

    “Some Jew­ish-Amer­i­cans were infor­mal­ly advised at the time to car­ry iden­ti­fi­ca­tion bear­ing a non-Jew­ish name when trav­el­ing inter­na­tion­al­ly in case of hijack­ing.

    “He nev­er used the doc­u­ment to trav­el inter­na­tion­al­ly and nev­er pre­sent­ed it to any immi­gra­tion or cus­toms author­i­ty. The pass­port stamps, pre­dat­ing his receipt of the doc­u­ment, do not reflect Mr. Epstein’s entries or exits.”

    The let­ter did not dis­close who gave the pass­port to Epstein or why he still had the trav­el doc­u­ment, which was from the 1980s and had long expired.

    ...

    ———-

    “Epstein Says Friend Gave Him Fake For­eign Pass­port Used in 4 Coun­tries” by Tra­cy Con­nor; The Dai­ly Beast; 07/18/2019

    “Their claim, in a let­ter to the judge who will decide if Epstein gets bail, came in response to a pros­e­cu­tion fil­ing that revealed the pass­port con­tained stamps from France, Spain, the Unit­ed King­dom, and Sau­di Ara­bia.

    The mys­tery pass­port just keeps get­ting more mys­te­ri­ous. Along with the mys­tery of why he kept this pass­port decades after it expired. Are expire pass­ports from decades ago use­ful when flee­ing?

    There’s an ele­ment to the time­line of all this this also worth point­ing out: while the spe­cif­ic child sex traf­fick­ing charges Epstein faces took place from 2002–2005, it’s worth not­ing that news reports from the ear­ly 90’s men­tioned Epstein accom­pa­ny­ing Ghis­laine Maxwell, the Lon­don socialite who is alleged to be Epstein’s ‘madam’ who recruit­ed the under­age girls, going back to the ear­ly 90’s. So while Epstein’s dis­cov­ered Aus­tri­an pass­port expired in 1987, years before the peri­od when he’s charged with run­ning the traf­fick­ing ring, the fact he was already part­ner­ing with Maxwell by the ear­ly 90’s sug­gests that he may have already been oper­at­ing some sort of sex traf­fick­ing oper­a­tion by that point. Addi­tion­al­ly, some of his accusers date the events back to the mid-90s:

    The Dai­ly Beast

    Jef­frey Epstein Dodged Ques­tions About Sex With His Dal­ton Prep-School Stu­dents
    As a teacher, Epstein daz­zled par­ents at Dal­ton with his math genius and piano skills. But in lat­er depo­si­tions, he balked at ques­tions about rela­tions with his stu­dents.

    Thomas Volscho
    Updat­ed 07.13.19 3:37AM ET / Pub­lished 07.12.19 9:22PM ET

    “I’m teach­ing a bunch of lit­tle brats next year.”—Jeffrey Epstein, 1974–75 Dal­ton School Year­book

    It took a clan­des­tine FBI-NYPD joint sting oper­a­tion to arrest the elu­sive con­vict­ed sex offend­er Jef­frey E. Epstein on Sat­ur­day July 6th on the tar­mac of Teter­boro air­port in New Jer­sey (a sto­ry first bro­ken by The Dai­ly Beast). Simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, a sledge­ham­mer was used to break the entry to his mas­sive $77 mil­lion New York City town­house on East 71st Street. Police recov­ered hun­dreds, pos­si­bly thou­sands, of nude images of young women and girls—an auto­mat­ic legal prob­lem for a man who is on mul­ti­ple sex offend­er reg­istries. Epstein’s case may be one of the most extreme cas­es of orga­nized child abuse in mod­ern his­to­ry.

    Epstein is with­out doubt the wealth­i­est indi­vid­ual on any sex offend­er reg­istry in the Unit­ed States (and he is at Lev­el 3—at great­est risk of abus­ing more chil­dren). On his reg­istry entry, the fol­low­ing res­i­dences are list­ed: his $7.8 mil­lion 70-acre pri­vate island in the U.S. Vir­gin Islands (his pri­ma­ry res­i­dence owned by his Delaware-based LLC, L.S.J.), his Paris apart­ment on Avenue Foch (one of the most expen­sive address­es in the world), his $15.5 mil­lion Palm Beach estate, his $77 mil­lion New York City town­house (a gift from Victoria’s Secret founder Leslie Wexn­er), and his $10 mil­lion castle/ranch in New Mex­i­co. At the bot­tom of his res­i­dences is anoth­er island in the Vir­gin Islands, Great St. James. Epstein pur­chased it in 2016 for $18 mil­lion and was active­ly (and with­out per­mit) devel­op­ing an even larg­er com­pound on its 165 acres—that is, until his arrest this past Sat­ur­day.

    As far as vehi­cles, his offend­er reg­istry entries list two Gulf­stream jets (though his lawyers say he sold one of them in June), two heli­copters, nine Mer­cedes-Ben­zes, nine Chevy Sub­ur­bans, three Cadil­lac Escalades, three Harley-David­sons, one $375k Bent­ley Mul­sanne, a jet-ski, and oth­er assort­ed items. He has wined and dined Amer­i­can pres­i­dents, princes, elite aca­d­e­mics, socialites, cor­po­rate CEOs and oth­er VIPs. His alleged vic­tims were lit­tle girls, often eco­nom­i­cal­ly des­ti­tute or run­aways or orphans—from sixth graders to high-school sopho­mores. Because his alleged crimes span mul­ti­ple decades, his vic­tims like­ly num­ber in the hundreds—or more.

    *******

    “Unno­ticed by almost every­body, trav­el­ling with her was a grey­ing, plump­ish, mid­dle-aged Amer­i­can busi­ness­man who man­aged to avoid the pho­tog­ra­phers.” —Mail on Sun­day, Nov. 15, 1992 (Lon­don edi­tion)

    That busi­ness­man was Jef­frey Epstein. In the ear­ly 1990s, British news­pa­pers that fol­lowed British socialite Ghis­laine Maxwell (alleged to be Epstein’s chief pro­cur­er of vic­tims) tried to fig­ure out who Epstein was. The Mail on Sun­day asked in 1992: “But what is he—property devel­op­er, con­cert pianist, math teacher, cor­po­rate trea­sure hunter, stock­bro­ker, mer­chant banker or globe-trot­ting busi­ness­man?” No one seemed to know.

    Giv­en Epstein’s appar­ent mys­tique, I checked New York City’s birth, cen­sus, and mar­riage records to be cer­tain about the facts. Epstein was born Jan. 20 1953 in Brook­lyn, NY. His par­ents were Paula (nee Stolof­sky, 1918–2004) and Sey­mour G. Epstein (1916–1991) and they were mar­ried in Brook­lyn in 1952—shortly before Jef­frey Epstein’s birth.

    Epstein grew up dur­ing the 1950s and 1960s in the Lafayette neigh­bor­hood around Coney Island, as doc­u­ment­ed by James Pat­ter­son, John Con­nol­ly, and Tim Mal­loy in their 2016 book on Epstein, Filthy Rich. Epstein attend­ed the now-shut­tered Lafayette High School, a work­ing-class high school that pro­duced a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of pro­fes­sion­al base­ball play­ers. Epstein’s moth­er, Paula, was a home­mak­er while his father, Sey­mour, worked for the New York City Parks Depart­ment as a groundskeep­er and gar­den­er. Dur­ing their retire­ment years, Epstein’s par­ents (as well as sev­er­al mater­nal aunts) resided in near­by prop­er­ties he pur­chased in West Palm Beach. In 1991, Epstein’s father passed away at the Cleve­land Clin­ic in Ohio at the age of 75. His moth­er passed away in 2004 at age 85 in Palm Beach.

    Epstein has a younger broth­er, Mark (“Pug­gy”), who has joined him in real-estate deals through­out the years. Mark oper­ates a real-estate busi­ness, OSSA Prop­er­ties, which owns some of the prop­er­ties—includ­ing the apart­ments in the 301 East 66th Street building—where Jef­frey Epstein’s alleged sex slaves and oth­er employ­ees were housed (real-estate own­er­ship between the broth­ers may have com­min­gled).

    Jef­frey Epstein grad­u­at­ed from Lafayette High School in 1969 at age 16, hav­ing skipped two grades. He was “chub­by with curly hair and a high, ‘hee-hee’ kind of laugh,” accord­ing to Filthy Rich. In the fall of 1969, Epstein start­ed at Coop­er Union and stud­ied there for two years until the spring semes­ter of 1971. Many writ­ers say he attend­ed New York Uni­ver­si­ty (NYU) after Coop­er Union, but they rarely give spe­cif­ic dates. I decid­ed to ver­i­fy through Nation­al Stu­dent Clear­ing­house records exact­ly when Epstein went to col­lege and where. Coop­er Union does not par­tic­i­pate in the Nation­al Clear­ing­house, but NYU does. It turned out that Epstein was enrolled at NYU between Sep­tem­ber of 1971 and June of 1974. Thus, most of Epstein’s col­lege study years were spent at NYU. I ver­i­fied that he did not grad­u­ate from NYU with their reg­is­trar.

    In a 2002 pro­file in New York mag­a­zine, Thomas Lan­don report­ed that Epstein stud­ied at NYU’s Courant Insti­tute of Math­e­mat­i­cal Sci­ences. It is not clear why Epstein attend­ed two insti­tu­tions of high­er edu­ca­tion but did not grad­u­ate from either. When Epstein joined the board of Rock­e­feller Uni­ver­si­ty, he mis­rep­re­sent­ed his edu­ca­tion­al and employ­ment back­ground; a press release stat­ed that he had “stud­ied physics at Coop­er Union in New York and then joined Bear Stearns, becom­ing a Lim­it­ed Part­ner until 1981.” Between Coop­er Union and Bear Stearns, Epstein stud­ied at NYU and was a teacher for two years (two unre­port­ed and sig­nif­i­cant events). When a con­vict­ed sex offend­er fac­ing sex-traf­fick­ing charges was first employed as a teacher, it bears at least some scruti­ny.

    **********

    After the sum­mer of 1974, Epstein began work­ing as a teacher of math­e­mat­ics and physics at the Dal­ton School in the Upper East Side of Man­hat­tan. It has been report­ed that he began there in 1973, but this is incor­rect. I searched the 1973–74 Dal­ton year­book and there is no men­tion of Jef­frey Epstein. I then searched Dalton’s school news­pa­per and found in the Sep­tem­ber 1974 issue that “... Mr. Epstein, who will also teach physics, [has] also joined the depart­ment this year.” Epstein also con­firmed that he taught there between 1974 and 1976 in a depo­si­tion.

    In the Unit­ed States, there are var­i­ous schools that edu­cate chil­dren from the social upper classes—Kent School, Horace Mann, Miss Porter’s. Dal­ton is among that set. These schools are often restrict­ed to chil­dren from the “old mon­ey” stra­tum in soci­ety, with a small num­ber of schol­ar­ship stu­dents or ath­letes from non-elite back­grounds.

    In 1974, Dal­ton was run by head­mas­ter Don­ald Barr—father of Attor­ney Gen­er­al William Barr, whose Jus­tice Depart­ment recent­ly began a review of Epstein’s 2007 non-pros­e­cu­tion agree­ment for the Palm Beach child sex­u­al assault charges. Writ­ers have not­ed the inter­est­ing coin­ci­dence. How­ev­er, Don­ald Barr resigned in tur­moil in Feb­ru­ary of 1974 (accord­ing to the March 14, 1974 issue of The Dal­ton­ian) which was sev­en months before Jef­frey Epstein began teach­ing there that fall. While it is pos­si­ble that Don­ald Barr may have hired Epstein, if he made per­son­nel deci­sions long in advance, the Dal­ton School lost four math teach­ers (accord­ing to The Dal­ton­ian) pri­or to the 1974–75 school year. There­fore the school may have hired Epstein, in part, out of an urgent need to fill vacant positions—even though Epstein did not have a col­lege degree.

    Peter Branch was the act­ing head­mas­ter after Barr’s depar­ture and he may have hired Epstein. Full ver­i­fi­ca­tion would require access to Dalton’s per­son­nel records, if they still retain them. I put a Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Law (FOIL) request into the State of New York Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion and they report­ed hav­ing no teach­ing license on file for Epstein—this may sug­gest that he was not plan­ning on a career in teach­ing. Unlike pub­lic schools, it should be not­ed, a pri­vate school like Dal­ton does not require its teach­ers to pos­sess a state teach­ing license or cer­tifi­cate.

    While at the Dal­ton School, Epstein was the coach of the math team. In com­pe­ti­tions with sev­er­al local schools, Epstein led the stu­dents to vic­to­ry in one instance and to sec­ond place in anoth­er. At a Feb­ru­ary 1976 math meet, the Dal­ton team com­pet­ed against Ramaz and the Man­hat­tan Tal­mu­dic Acad­e­my with “Boss Epstein watch­ing from the side­lines…” (The Dal­ton­ian March 5, 1976). At anoth­er match up in April 1976, Epstein told his team “a vic­to­ry would be as easy as Pi.” The paper report­ed Epstein would be start­ing a “math-track team” the fol­low­ing year due to his “unique phi­los­o­phy of inte­grat­ing phys­i­cal exer­cise with spir­i­tu­al and math­e­mat­i­cal stim­u­la­tion.” The Dal­ton School stu­dents and fam­i­lies are com­prised of some of the wealth­i­est fam­i­lies in the Unit­ed States—unlike Epstein’s own. But this access may have cre­at­ed an open­ing for him.

    As a young man from a work­ing-class neigh­bor­hood in Brook­lyn (equipped with a deep Brook­lyn accent), Jef­frey Epstein at Dal­ton like­ly had to be a “quick study” to grace­ful­ly flow among the social upper class. Vicky Ward’s 2003 Van­i­ty Fair pro­file of Epstein deemed him “The Tal­ent­ed Mr. Epstein”—drawing a par­al­lel to Matt Damon’s char­ac­ter in the 1999 film The Tal­ent­ed Mr. Rip­ley, where Tom Rip­ley cons his way into the upper class through fraud and mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion (and plen­ty of piano play­ing). To wit, the April 1975 issue of The Dal­ton­ian cov­ered a Par­ent-Teacher Asso­ci­a­tion event, “the first par­ent-fac­ul­ty musi­cal in recent mem­o­ry,” not­ing that “Mr. Epstein proved him­self to be the ivory show man on the piano.”

    Was Epstein woo­ing and daz­zling the par­ents as a means of gain­ing access to their rar­efied world? It seems to have worked because a par­ent won­dered what he was doing there and put him in touch with the chair­man of Bear Stearns, Ace Green­berg (whose chil­dren also attend­ed Dal­ton; Epstein may have tutored them). After the 1975–1976 school year was fin­ished, Epstein informed the school he was not return­ing and began his career on Wall Street at Bear Stearns.

    After just four years, on August 1, 1980, Bear Stearns pub­lished an advert in The Wall Street Jour­nal list­ing all the peo­ple who had made lim­it­ed part­ner, includ­ing Jef­frey E. Epstein (along with peo­ple such as Lar­ry Kud­low, for­mer CNBC com­men­ta­tor and cur­rent direc­tor of the Nation­al Eco­nom­ic Coun­cil). Epstein, it seemed, was on the path, to accu­mu­lat­ing the eco­nom­ic rich­es nec­es­sary for entry into the one per­cent. Obtain­ing the social graces required for accep­tance by the social upper class would come much lat­er with the help of sev­er­al socialites, but most­ly Ghis­laine Maxwell.

    **********

    ...

    Epstein’s 2019 charges are for crimes com­mit­ted in New York and Flori­da between 2002 and 2005. How­ev­er, there are alle­ga­tions against Epstein from ear­li­er time peri­ods (such as Maria Farmer’s 2019 sworn affi­davit that she and her 15-year old sib­ling were assault­ed by Epstein and Maxwell in var­i­ous loca­tions in 1996—alle­ga­tions that were report­ed­ly nixed by an edi­tor from Vicky Ward’s 2003 pro­file of Epstein). One thing to keep in mind is Epstein was a school teacher and would have had pos­si­ble access to vic­tims there as well. There are no reports that he did any­thing at Dal­ton school, but he was asked about his rela­tions with stu­dents in a depo­si­tion in 2009 and here is what he said:
    [see image of Epstein’s answers]

    His answer about the ages of his stu­dents is note­wor­thy. He replies “Most­ly old—mostly 17 and 18.” This tells us that Epstein thinks that the ages of 17 and 18 are “old.” He is asked what sub­ject he was teach­ing, and he answers truth­ful­ly, physics and math­e­mat­ics. The attor­ney asks if any of the girls he was teach­ing were under age 17 at the time, and Epstein answers that he does not know—this sounds gen­uine. Things take a turn when the attor­ney asks Epstein if he had any sex­u­al con­tact with any stu­dents at Dal­ton. Epstein answers the first time with a ques­tion, “Again?” He is asked a sec­ond time and again answers with a ques­tion, “While I was a teacher?” The attor­ney says yes, let’s start with that ques­tion and Epstein gives a sol­id “no.” The attor­ney press­es “How about after?” and Epstein says “Not that I remem­ber.”

    In sum­ma­ry, Epstein revealed that he feels high-school stu­dents aged 17 to 18 years are “old” and he that he does not remem­ber if he had sex­u­al con­tact with Dal­ton stu­dents after he was a teacher there. The final time he is asked, he reads from a state­ment in which he claims that the attorney’s law firm is engaged in fraud and then pleads his Fifth Amend­ment rights. Ques­tions about sex­u­al con­tact with Dal­ton stu­dents appear to be sen­si­tive for him. Epstein depo­si­tions are extreme­ly dif­fi­cult to read because he pleads the Fifth to almost every question—as he even­tu­al­ly does here.

    **********

    Julie Brown of the Mia­mi Her­ald has done a sig­nif­i­cant amount of research on the Epstein case with her and her col­leagues’ award-win­ning Per­ver­sion of Jus­tice series. The exten­sive report­ing in the Mia­mi Her­ald, The Dai­ly Beast, and by inde­pen­dent jour­nal­ists like Ed Opper­man, Pearse Red­mond, William Ram­sey and oth­ers has like­ly influ­enced law enforce­ment to con­sid­er the new evi­dence uncov­ered by the press—including pos­si­ble new loca­tions where recruit­ment or abuse might have occurred.

    Relat­ed to Epstein’s depo­si­tion above, Vir­ginia Roberts Giuf­fre, who accused Epstein of sex­u­al­ly abus­ing her as an under­age girl and loan­ing her out to his famous friends, claimed that Epstein “lost inter­est” as she got old­er and sent her to Thai­land to bring him anoth­er vic­tim, at which point she says she escaped from Epstein.

    Anoth­er alarm­ing detail about Epstein is report­ed in Vicky Ward’s 2003 Van­i­ty Fair arti­cle. She not­ed that Epstein left a paper­back copy of the Mar­quis de Sade’s The Mis­for­tunes of Virtue lying on a table at his 71st Street town­house. Why would Epstein have left this book out in plain view? This obscene nov­el (even Napoleon ordered its author jailed) is about a 12-year-old French girl, Jus­tine, who trav­els alone across France and winds up in a monastery and is forced to become the sex slave of monks where she endures repeat­ed sex­u­al assaults and is ordered to par­tic­i­pate in orgies. She escapes but suf­fers sim­i­lar abus­es and encoun­ters as the sto­ry fol­lows her life until the age of 26.

    Jus­tine may have been a pedophile’s fan­ta­sy sto­ry in which the vic­tim some­how learns “virtue” from what she endures. Jus­tine almost par­al­lels the life of some of Epstein’s alleged vic­tims. What is even more trag­ic is that in the course of her report­ing, Ward found two of Epstein’s vic­tims and their moth­er. Ward says they detailed in 2003 how Epstein sex­u­al­ly assault­ed them in the mid-1990s—including the time when one was alleged­ly held cap­tive for 12 hours at mogul Leslie Wexner’s Ohio prop­er­ty after she says Epstein and Maxwell assault­ed her. (Wexn­er has not respond­ed to the alle­ga­tions.) Per­haps their sto­ries might have been able to deter or expose Epstein ear­li­er, if they had been pub­lished when the girls first came for­ward.

    We can expect a trove of infor­ma­tion about Epstein to con­tin­ue to emerge now that he is in jail. Indeed, the Mia­mi Her­ald reports that at least a dozen new vic­tims have come for­ward since his arrest. Epstein and his accom­plices may have seen his vic­tims as lit­tle girls—but now they are strong, brave women fight­ing back today.

    ———-

    “Jef­frey Epstein Dodged Ques­tions About Sex With His Dal­ton Prep-School Stu­dents” by Thomas Volscho; The Dai­ly Beast; 07/13/2019

    “Epstein’s 2019 charges are for crimes com­mit­ted in New York and Flori­da between 2002 and 2005. How­ev­er, there are alle­ga­tions against Epstein from ear­li­er time peri­ods (such as Maria Farmer’s 2019 sworn affi­davit that she and her 15-year old sib­ling were assault­ed by Epstein and Maxwell in var­i­ous loca­tions in 1996—alle­ga­tions that were report­ed­ly nixed by an edi­tor from Vicky Ward’s 2003 pro­file of Epstein). One thing to keep in mind is Epstein was a school teacher and would have had pos­si­ble access to vic­tims there as well. There are no reports that he did any­thing at Dal­ton school, but he was asked about his rela­tions with stu­dents in a depo­si­tion in 2009 and here is what he said

    So two of Epstein’s accusers claim Epstein abused them in var­i­ous loca­tions in 1996. Beyond that, Epstein’s 2009 depo­si­tion sure hint­ed at rela­tion­ships with stu­dents while he was teach­ing at Dal­ton back in the 70’s:

    ...
    His answer about the ages of his stu­dents is note­wor­thy. He replies “Most­ly old—mostly 17 and 18.” This tells us that Epstein thinks that the ages of 17 and 18 are “old.” He is asked what sub­ject he was teach­ing, and he answers truth­ful­ly, physics and math­e­mat­ics. The attor­ney asks if any of the girls he was teach­ing were under age 17 at the time, and Epstein answers that he does not know—this sounds gen­uine. Things take a turn when the attor­ney asks Epstein if he had any sex­u­al con­tact with any stu­dents at Dal­ton. Epstein answers the first time with a ques­tion, “Again?” He is asked a sec­ond time and again answers with a ques­tion, “While I was a teacher?” The attor­ney says yes, let’s start with that ques­tion and Epstein gives a sol­id “no.” The attor­ney press­es “How about after?” and Epstein says “Not that I remem­ber.”

    In sum­ma­ry, Epstein revealed that he feels high-school stu­dents aged 17 to 18 years are “old” and he that he does not remem­ber if he had sex­u­al con­tact with Dal­ton stu­dents after he was a teacher there. The final time he is asked, he reads from a state­ment in which he claims that the attorney’s law firm is engaged in fraud and then pleads his Fifth Amend­ment rights. Ques­tions about sex­u­al con­tact with Dal­ton stu­dents appear to be sen­si­tive for him. Epstein depo­si­tions are extreme­ly dif­fi­cult to read because he pleads the Fifth to almost every question—as he even­tu­al­ly does here.
    ...

    And in 1992, the Mail on Sun­day, report­ed on Epstein trav­el­ing with Ghis­laine Maxwell. So the pair who would for the core of this sex traf­fick­ing ring were already trav­el­ing togeth­er by the ear­ly 90s and Epstein was already try­ing to avoid pho­tog­ra­phers at the time:

    ...
    “Unno­ticed by almost every­body, trav­el­ling with her was a grey­ing, plump­ish, mid­dle-aged Amer­i­can busi­ness­man who man­aged to avoid the pho­tog­ra­phers.” —Mail on Sun­day, Nov. 15, 1992 (Lon­don edi­tion)

    That busi­ness­man was Jef­frey Epstein. In the ear­ly 1990s, British news­pa­pers that fol­lowed British socialite Ghis­laine Maxwell (alleged to be Epstein’s chief pro­cur­er of vic­tims) tried to fig­ure out who Epstein was. The Mail on Sun­day asked in 1992: “But what is he—property devel­op­er, con­cert pianist, math teacher, cor­po­rate trea­sure hunter, stock­bro­ker, mer­chant banker or globe-trot­ting busi­ness­man?” No one seemed to know.
    ...

    It’s those alle­ga­tions of abuse in the mid-90’s and the fact that Epstein was clear­ly already a trav­el­ing com­pan­ion of Ghis­laine Maxwell as ear­ly as 1992 that makes this mys­tery pass­port that expired in 1987 so mys­te­ri­ous. Espe­cial­ly giv­en the gen­er­al mys­tery of what Epstein was up to through­out the 1980s. We know he left Bear Stearns to start his own mys­tery finan­cial firm with mys­tery clients in the ear­ly 80’s and that’s about it. The rest real­ly is a mys­tery at this point.

    And in relat­ed news, NBC just uncov­ered a video of Epstein and Don­ald Trump par­ty­ing at Mar-a-Lago in 1992. They cer­tain­ly seem pret­ty chum­my at the time.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 18, 2019, 1:06 pm
  17. While the Jef­frey Epstein scan­dal pos­es a num­ber of obvi­ous poten­tial direct threats to Pres­i­dent Trump’s 2020 cam­paign — giv­en both the unsa­vory nature of Trump’s past friend­ship with Epstein as well as the implic­it focus the Epstein sto­ry puts on all the rest of Trump’s his­to­ry of misog­y­ny and creepi­ness around teens — here’s an arti­cle that hints at one of the indi­rect ways the Jef­frey Epstein scan­dal could end up cre­at­ing more trou­ble for Trump. And more trou­ble for Deutsche Bank:

    Deutsche bank employ­ees are once against anony­mous­ly talk­ing to the press about the out­landish con­duct at Deutsche Bank’s pri­vate bank for high net-worth clients. This time it involves Jef­frey Epstein’s account. Or rather, the many accounts of Jef­frey Epstein. He appar­ent­ly has so many accounts the bank keeps find­ing new ones. That’s right, Deutsche Bank keeps find­ing new Epstein accounts. Bank offi­cers decid­ed to end its rela­tion­ship with Epstein fol­low­ing the Decem­ber 2018 Mia­mi Her­ald inves­ti­ga­tion into Epstein, but dis­cov­ered that end­ing that rela­tion­ship would be trick­i­er than they imag­ined because Epstein and his busi­ness had sev­er­al dozen accounts with the bank.

    We’re told that the bank’s offi­cials have pre­vi­ous­ly thought they shut down all of Epstein’s accounts, only to dis­cov­er new accounts they weren’t aware of and this appar­ent­ly has hap­pened on a num­ber of occa­sions. So some of Epstein’s accounts were effec­tive­ly hid­den from the bank itself. It’s being blamed on Deutsche Bank’s “anti­quat­ed tech­nol­o­gy sys­tems”. That’s how scan­dalous­ly lax Deutsche Bank’s inter­nal con­trols are at its pri­vate bank. Clients get secret accounts that are secret even to the bank itself thanks to an “anti­quat­ed tech­nol­o­gy sys­tems”.

    Of course, the nar­ra­tive about bank offi­cials think­ing they close all of Epstein’s accounts only to dis­cov­er new ones they did­n’t know about could obvi­ous­ly be an “oop!” cov­er sto­ry so the bank can pre­tend like it did­n’t know­ing­ly wait until the Epstein scan­dal reerupt­ed this year to end its rela­tion­ship with Epstein. What we’re told at this point is that Epstein has been a client with Deutsche Bank’s pri­vate bank since at least 2013. The bank appar­ent­ly does­n’t know if it had a rela­tion­ship with the bank ear­li­er than that peri­od, which is the kind of ambi­gu­i­ty that sug­gests there was an ear­li­er rela­tion­ship that they don’t want to dis­close.

    We’re also learn­ing that Epstein had pre­vi­ous­ly had a bank­ing rela­tion­ship with JP Mor­gan’s pri­vate bank­ing unit from the late 1990’s until 2013, which is the peri­od of time when Epstein is charged with run­ning his under­age sex traf­fick­ing ring. So while the Epstein case is cer­tain­ly very bad news for Deutsche Bank and Don­ald Trump, it’s also poten­tial­ly pret­ty awful news for JP Mor­gan.

    We’re also told that there were trans­ac­tions tak­ing place in “some of Epstein’s accounts” as late as “late spring” of this year. That sug­gests a late May-to-mid-June time frame. It also sug­gests Epstein still had mul­ti­ple accounts as of “late Spring”. Keep in mind that Epstein was arrest­ed a few weeks ago on July 6, so we’re talk­ing about trans­ac­tions out of mul­ti­ple accounts that Deutsche Bank claims to have not known exist­ed that hap­pened about a month before his arrest.

    In both 2015 and 2016, anti-mon­ey laun­der­ing com­pli­ance offi­cers in Deutsche Bank’s offices in New York and Jack­sonville, Flori­da, raised what we are told was a vari­ety of con­cerns about the bank’s rela­tion­ship with Epstein. Among those con­cerns were sim­ply con­cern over the dam­age to the rep­u­ta­tion of the bank that could hap­pen from hav­ing some­one like Epstein as a client. But we are also told that the com­pli­ance offi­cers saw poten­tial­ly ille­gal activ­i­ty in one of Epstein’s account “on at least on occa­sion”. It’s, again, the kind of vague lan­guage sug­gests this hap­pened on more than one occa­sion. These com­pli­ance offi­cers filed a sus­pi­cious activ­i­ties report but it’s unclear if it was ever filed with the US trea­sury depart­ment, which also sug­gests it was­n’t ever filed.

    Then, ear­li­er this year, as bank offi­cials were try­ing to dis­en­tan­gle the bank from Epstein, the bank found addi­tion­al “prob­lem­at­ic” trans­ac­tions in Epstein’s accounts. In this case it sounds like the sus­pi­cious activ­i­ties reports were actu­al­ly filed with the US gov­ern­ment. We are also told that Deutsche Bank is are still try­ing to deter­mine what Mr. Epstein was using his accounts for, includ­ing where and to whom he had pre­vi­ous­ly moved mon­ey.

    So we are now being told by these anony­mous Deutsche Bank insid­ers that Epstein has had mul­ti­ple accounts the bank has known about and at least one of these accounts was flagged for sus­pi­cious activ­i­ty in 2015 and 2016 but like­ly nev­er report­ed it to the gov­ern­ment. And there are also mul­ti­ple accounts that the bank has only recent­ly dis­cov­ered and the bank has yet to deter­mine where and to whom those accounts moved mon­ey to. In oth­er words, there was basi­cal­ly no due dili­gence going on at Deutsche Bank’s pri­vate bank.

    How might this rev­e­la­tion about Deutsche Bank’s pri­vate bank­ing divi­sions near com­plete lack of due dili­gence com­pli­cate Don­ald Trump’s 2020 cam­paign? Well, recall how one of the #Rus­si­a­Gate affair includ­ed the mys­tery of Russ­ian lawyer Natalia Vesel­nit­skaya also work­ing for defense of Pre­ve­zon, one of the com­pa­nies charged in the Mag­nit­sky affair for mon­ey-laun­der­ing involv­ing Man­hat­tan real estate. Also work­ing on Prevezon’s defense was FusionG­PS. And in 2015, Jared Kush­n­er made pur­chase of Man­hat­tan real estate from Lev Leviev, the own­er of one, AFI, which is of the com­pa­nies also charged with help­ing Pre­ve­zon with mon­ey laun­der­ing using Man­hat­tan real estate. Kushner’s pur­chase was for $295 mil­lion. A month before the 2016 elec­tion, Deutsche Bank loaned Kush­n­er $285 mil­lion. In 2016 and 2017, Deutsche Bank employ­ees flagged a num­ber of sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tions from both Kushner’s and Trump’s accounts that looked like pos­si­ble mon­ey laun­der­ing. So the ques­tion of whether or not those Trump and Kush­n­er accounts at Deutsche Bank’s pri­vate bank were engaged in mon­ey laun­der­ing or some sort of oth­er illic­it activ­i­ty is an ongo­ing unan­swered ques­tion and now we learn about the Epstein case that Deutsche Bank’s pri­vate bank­ing unit was even worse than imag­ined:

    The New York Times

    Jef­frey Epstein Moved Mon­ey Over­seas in Trans­ac­tions His Bank Flagged to U.S.

    By David Enrich and Jo Beck­er

    Jul 23, 2019

    As Deutsche Bank offi­cials this year scram­bled to extri­cate them­selves from a years­long rela­tion­ship with Jef­frey Epstein, the wealthy financier charged this month with sex traf­fick­ing, they uncov­ered sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tions in which Mr. Epstein had moved mon­ey out of the Unit­ed States.

    Deutsche Bank report­ed the trans­ac­tions to a fed­er­al agency in charge of polic­ing finan­cial crimes, accord­ing to three peo­ple famil­iar with the bank’s inter­nal process­es. The report came as the bank start­ed look­ing for signs that Mr. Epstein was using his finan­cial resources for the pur­pos­es of sex traf­fick­ing.

    ...

    Deutsche Bank has been con­tact­ed by pros­e­cu­tors and oth­er gov­ern­ment author­i­ties inves­ti­gat­ing Mr. Epstein. Joerg Eigen­dorf, a Deutsche Bank spokesman, said the bank was “absolute­ly com­mit­ted to coop­er­at­ing with all rel­e­vant author­i­ties.”

    Deutsche Bank exec­u­tives are still try­ing to under­stand the depth and scope of the bank’s rela­tion­ship with Mr. Epstein, who has been a client of its pri­vate-bank­ing divi­sion since at least 2013 — years after his con­duct became pub­lic in a pros­ti­tu­tion case involv­ing a teenage girl. Mr. Epstein struck a lenient plea deal that includ­ed a non-pros­e­cu­tion agree­ment from fed­er­al author­i­ties, and the case has been held up as a glar­ing exam­ple of how the wealthy and well-con­nect­ed can evade con­se­quences.

    At least one bank dropped Mr. Epstein as a client in the years after his guilty plea. But it wasn’t until late last year, after The Mia­mi Her­ald pub­lished an inves­ti­ga­tion into the ear­li­er sex­u­al abuse alle­ga­tions, that Deutsche Bank decid­ed to sev­er ties with him. The process proved more com­pli­cat­ed and time-con­sum­ing than exec­u­tives had ini­tial­ly antic­i­pat­ed because Deutsche Bank’s pri­vate-bank­ing divi­sion had opened sev­er­al dozen accounts for Mr. Epstein and his busi­ness­es.

    The bank’s anti­quat­ed tech­nol­o­gy sys­tems did not help. On a num­ber of occa­sions, Deutsche Bank exec­u­tives had thought they had shut down all of Mr. Epstein’s accounts, only to learn that there were oth­ers that they had not pre­vi­ous­ly been aware of, accord­ing to one of the peo­ple.

    At least as of late spring, there were still trans­ac­tions tak­ing place in some of Mr. Epstein’s Deutsche Bank accounts, the three peo­ple said. Exec­u­tives now believe that they have closed all of Mr. Epstein’s accounts.

    The bank’s rela­tion­ship with Mr. Epstein has been anoth­er black eye for Deutsche Bank, which is lay­ing off thou­sands of employ­ees as it strug­gles to return to prof­itabil­i­ty. The bank has been dogged by repeat­ed finan­cial scan­dals. It is under fed­er­al crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion for poten­tial mon­ey laun­der­ing, an inves­ti­ga­tion that has raised ques­tions about Deutsche Bank’s han­dling of sus­pi­cious activ­i­ty reports.

    Two con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tees and state pros­e­cu­tors in New York have also opened inves­ti­ga­tions into the bank’s rela­tion­ship with Pres­i­dent Trump, who received a total of more than $2 bil­lion in loans from Deutsche Bank over near­ly two decades, even as oth­er major banks refused to do busi­ness with him.

    Mr. Epstein appears to have moved his busi­ness to Deutsche Bank after JP Mor­gan Chase cut ties with him. He had been a client of JPMorgan’s pri­vate-bank­ing divi­sion from the late 1990s until around 2013, five years after he had plead­ed guilty to state pros­ti­tu­tion charges.

    In addi­tion to wealth-man­age­ment accounts, Deutsche Bank also pro­vid­ed loans to Mr. Epstein and his busi­ness­es, accord­ing to three peo­ple famil­iar with the rela­tion­ship.

    That rela­tion­ship has been cause for con­cern with­in the bank even before the height­ened scruti­ny brought by The Herald’s report­ing.

    In 2015 and 2016, anti-mon­ey laun­der­ing com­pli­ance offi­cers in Deutsche Bank’s offices in New York and Jack­sonville, Fla., raised a vari­ety of con­cerns about the work the bank was doing with Mr. Epstein. The employ­ees were con­cerned that the bank’s rep­u­ta­tion could be harmed if it became pub­lic that Mr. Epstein was a client, accord­ing to the three peo­ple famil­iar with the rela­tion­ship.

    In addi­tion, the com­pli­ance offi­cers on at least one occa­sion noticed poten­tial­ly ille­gal activ­i­ty in one of Mr. Epstein’s accounts, includ­ing trans­ac­tions in which mon­ey was mov­ing out­side the Unit­ed States, two of the peo­ple said. The com­pli­ance offi­cers pro­duced a so-called sus­pi­cious activ­i­ty report, but it is unclear whether the report was ever filed with the Trea­sury Department’s finan­cial-crimes divi­sion.

    Despite the com­pli­ance offi­cers’ mis­giv­ings, the bank con­tin­ued to do exten­sive busi­ness with Mr. Epstein.

    Ear­li­er this year, as the bank rushed to dis­en­tan­gle itself from him, offi­cials dis­cov­ered addi­tion­al trans­ac­tions that they saw as prob­lem­at­ic, three peo­ple said. That prompt­ed the bank to sub­mit a sus­pi­cious activ­i­ty report to the Trea­sury Depart­ment.

    The nature of the bank’s con­cerns about the 2019 trans­ac­tions was not clear. Just because a bank files a sus­pi­cious activ­i­ty report does not mean the trans­ac­tion was actu­al­ly improp­er: Banks some­times err on the side of over-report­ing trou­bling trans­ac­tions to avoid gov­ern­ment crit­i­cism that they missed red flags.

    The report was filed with the gov­ern­ment as Deutsche Bank con­duct­ed an inter­nal inves­ti­ga­tion into its rela­tion­ship with Mr. Epstein. Deutsche Bank offi­cials are still try­ing to deter­mine what Mr. Epstein was using his accounts for, includ­ing where and to whom he had pre­vi­ous­ly moved mon­ey.

    “We’re still try­ing to get our arms around it,” one of the peo­ple said.

    ———-

    “Jef­frey Epstein Moved Mon­ey Over­seas in Trans­ac­tions His Bank Flagged to U.S.” by David Enrich and Jo Beck­er; The New York Times; 07/23/2019

    ““We’re still try­ing to get our arms around it,” one of the peo­ple said.”

    Yep, Deutsche Bank is still try­ing to “get our arms around” under­stand­ing what the bank itself did. The bank is play­ing dumb about its own actions. And the scary part is that the bank might actu­al­ly be “dumb” in the sense that it’s inten­tion­al­ly blind­ing itself to what’s going on inside the bank so it can ‘legit­i­mate­ly’ claim to not know what’s going on dur­ing sit­u­a­tions like this. Com­bined with the fact that Epstein had dozens of both per­son­al and busi­ness accounts at the bank and it’s the per­fect recipe for mon­ey laun­der­ing:

    ...
    Deutsche Bank exec­u­tives are still try­ing to under­stand the depth and scope of the bank’s rela­tion­ship with Mr. Epstein, who has been a client of its pri­vate-bank­ing divi­sion since at least 2013 — years after his con­duct became pub­lic in a pros­ti­tu­tion case involv­ing a teenage girl. Mr. Epstein struck a lenient plea deal that includ­ed a non-pros­e­cu­tion agree­ment from fed­er­al author­i­ties, and the case has been held up as a glar­ing exam­ple of how the wealthy and well-con­nect­ed can evade con­se­quences.

    At least one bank dropped Mr. Epstein as a client in the years after his guilty plea. But it wasn’t until late last year, after The Mia­mi Her­ald pub­lished an inves­ti­ga­tion into the ear­li­er sex­u­al abuse alle­ga­tions, that Deutsche Bank decid­ed to sev­er ties with him. The process proved more com­pli­cat­ed and time-con­sum­ing than exec­u­tives had ini­tial­ly antic­i­pat­ed because Deutsche Bank’s pri­vate-bank­ing divi­sion had opened sev­er­al dozen accounts for Mr. Epstein and his busi­ness­es.
    ...

    And note how vague descrip­tions of “anti­quat­ed tech­nol­o­gy sys­tems” are used to explain how the bank can’t track down which accounts Epstein holds. If a bank uses an “anti­quat­ed tech­nol­o­gy sys­tem” in 2019, that’s a delib­er­ate choice. The sys­tem is appar­ent­ly so anti­quat­ed that Epstein was able to use his accounts at least as of late spring (up to mid-June) of this year despite the bank’s offi­cers appar­ent­ly decid­ing to close his accounts in Decem­ber. It rais­es the ques­tion of how many oth­er clients have secret bank accounts with Deutsche Bank that the bank ‘offi­cial­ly’ does­n’t know about:

    ...
    The bank’s anti­quat­ed tech­nol­o­gy sys­tems did not help. On a num­ber of occa­sions, Deutsche Bank exec­u­tives had thought they had shut down all of Mr. Epstein’s accounts, only to learn that there were oth­ers that they had not pre­vi­ous­ly been aware of, accord­ing to one of the peo­ple.

    At least as of late spring, there were still trans­ac­tions tak­ing place in some of Mr. Epstein’s Deutsche Bank accounts, the three peo­ple said. Exec­u­tives now believe that they have closed all of Mr. Epstein’s accounts.
    ...

    It’s also pret­ty remark­able that the bank did­n’t decide to qui­et­ly close these accounts in 2015 or 2016 after the bank’s own anti-mon­ey laun­der­ing com­pli­ance offi­cers flagged at least one account that was poten­tial­ly involved in ille­gal activ­i­ty and these offi­cers specif­i­cal­ly brought up to the bank the risk to the bank’s rep­u­ta­tion over the rela­tion­ship with Epstein. It’s either a reflec­tion of how lit­tle the bank cared about hav­ing unsa­vory clients or a reflec­tion of how much the bank val­ued Epstein as a client. Giv­en the ongo­ing ques­tion of whether or not Epstein was involved in intel­li­gence, the fact that Deutsche Bank was so cav­a­lier about a client like Epstein should be kept in mind when con­sid­er­ing which intel­li­gence agen­cies he may have been involved with:

    ...
    In addi­tion to wealth-man­age­ment accounts, Deutsche Bank also pro­vid­ed loans to Mr. Epstein and his busi­ness­es, accord­ing to three peo­ple famil­iar with the rela­tion­ship.

    That rela­tion­ship has been cause for con­cern with­in the bank even before the height­ened scruti­ny brought by The Herald’s report­ing.

    In 2015 and 2016, anti-mon­ey laun­der­ing com­pli­ance offi­cers in Deutsche Bank’s offices in New York and Jack­sonville, Fla., raised a vari­ety of con­cerns about the work the bank was doing with Mr. Epstein. The employ­ees were con­cerned that the bank’s rep­u­ta­tion could be harmed if it became pub­lic that Mr. Epstein was a client, accord­ing to the three peo­ple famil­iar with the rela­tion­ship.

    In addi­tion, the com­pli­ance offi­cers on at least one occa­sion noticed poten­tial­ly ille­gal activ­i­ty in one of Mr. Epstein’s accounts, includ­ing trans­ac­tions in which mon­ey was mov­ing out­side the Unit­ed States, two of the peo­ple said. The com­pli­ance offi­cers pro­duced a so-called sus­pi­cious activ­i­ty report, but it is unclear whether the report was ever filed with the Trea­sury Department’s finan­cial-crimes divi­sion.

    Despite the com­pli­ance offi­cers’ mis­giv­ings, the bank con­tin­ued to do exten­sive busi­ness with Mr. Epstein.
    ...

    But let’s not for­get that Deutsche Bank isn’t the only bank that should be run­ning away from its rela­tion­ship with Epstein. JP Mor­gan is arguably in a much more pre­car­i­ous sit­u­a­tion giv­en that it was bank­ing with Epstein from the late 90’s up through 2013, the peri­od of time that cov­ers the sex traf­fick­ing and what­ev­er finan­cial activ­i­ty he was engaged in dur­ing that peri­od when he was build­ing his still-mys­te­ri­ous finan­cial empire:

    ...
    Mr. Epstein appears to have moved his busi­ness to Deutsche Bank after JP Mor­gan Chase cut ties with him. He had been a client of JPMorgan’s pri­vate-bank­ing divi­sion from the late 1990s until around 2013, five years after he had plead­ed guilty to state pros­ti­tu­tion charges.
    ...

    So it’s going to be inter­est­ing to see if the sto­ry of Deutsche Bank set­ting itself up to the per­fect ‘see no evil, hear no evil, report no evil’ mon­ey laun­der­ing machine pow­ered by ‘anti­quat­ed tech­nol­o­gy sys­tems’ ends up becom­ing a larg­er sto­ry on its own. Per­haps large enough to make the Amer­i­can elec­torate notice that one of the most fas­ci­nat­ing mys­ter­ies of the entire #Rus­si­a­Gate scan­dal — the mys­tery of the sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tions in the Trump and Jush­n­er Deutsche Bank accounts and whether or not it involved one of the enti­ties at the heart of the Mag­nit­sky scan­dal — hap­pens to involve this same mon­ey laun­der­ing machine. It’s one of the many intrigu­ing crim­i­nal mys­ter­ies swirling around the 2020 elec­tion. That’s, of course, assum­ing enough of the US elec­torate cares whether or not the US pres­i­dent lived a life of crime, which remains one of the oth­er mys­ter­ies swirling around the 2020 elec­tion.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 27, 2019, 4:13 pm
  18. There was recent three part series of arti­cles in Mint Press by Whit­ney Webb about the mys­te­ri­ous back­ground of Jef­frey Epstein. The over­all gist of the series is that Epstein had deep ties to a net­work of peo­ple with deep ties to US intel­li­gence (in par­tic­u­lar Rea­gan-era US intel­li­gence), Israeli intel­li­gence, orga­nized crime and a group of pro-Israel bil­lion­aires known as the Mega Group. Part of what makes this his­to­ry so fas­ci­nat­ing is that it’s basi­cal­ly a rehash­ing of much of what we already know about the many lines of his­tor­i­cal con­ti­nu­ity between the sig­nif­i­cant scan­dals of the 20th cen­tu­ry involv­ing West­ern covert oper­a­tions and right-wing pol­i­tics and the fas­ci­nat­ing role the Mossad has played as both an inde­pen­dent force but also a part­ner for West­ern intel­li­gence.

    Anoth­er part of what makes this his­to­ry so inter­est­ing is how friend­ly Don­ald Trump has been with so many of the fig­ures involved with this his­to­ry, in part because Trump’s men­tor Roy Cohn has so many ties to these fig­ures. In gen­er­al, the net­work of wealthy and influ­en­tial Jews described in the series veer strong­ly towards to the very con­ser­v­a­tive and right-wing Jews with deep ties to the Repub­li­can Par­ty in the US and Likud Par­ty in Israel. So while the sto­ry of Epstein appears to be a sto­ry involv­ing Israeli covert oper­a­tions, it’s impor­tant to keep in mind that this appears to be pre­dom­i­nant­ly right-wing Jews net­work­ing with their right-wing coun­ter­parts around the globe. Giv­en the indi­ca­tions that Epstein was a far right tran­shu­man­ist, the fact that his clos­est long-time asso­ciates in the Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty appear to be pre­dom­i­nant­ly tied to the Repub­li­can and Likud Par­ties seems par­tic­u­lar­ly rel­e­vant.

    The fol­low­ing piece also dis­cuss­es the con­nec­tions between Epstein and Ronald Laud­er, the bil­lion­aire heir of Estee Laud­er. As the arti­cle notes, Laud­er is very close to the Repub­li­can Par­ty and the rise of Ben­jamin Netanyahu and is a major financier of the Likd Par­ty. In 1983, Laud­er was made the Unit­ed States Deputy Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense for Euro­pean and NATO Affairs despite hav­ing no expe­ri­ence out­side of work­ing for his par­en­t’s cos­met­ics com­pa­ny. In 1986, Laud­er was made the US ambas­sador to Aus­tria. This is par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ing in light of the dis­cov­ery of an Aus­tri­an pass­port (list­ing a Sau­di Ara­bi­an res­i­dence) that was found in Epstein’s safe.

    But it’s impor­tant to note that there appears to be a mis­take in the fol­low­ing arti­cle (Part 3 of the series) regard­ing Epstein’s mys­te­ri­ous Aus­tri­an pass­port and the pos­si­bil­i­ty that Ronald Laud­er played a role in him acquir­ing it: The arti­cle states that Epstein’s pass­port was issue in 1987, which would be dur­ing the time when Laud­er was ambas­sador to Aus­tria. But as we’ve seen, Epstein’s pros­e­cu­tors told us that Epstein got the pass­port “some time in the 80’s” and the pass­port expired 32 years ago, which would be 1987. So that makes it a lot less like­ly that Laud­er’s sta­tus as ambas­sador to Aus­tria played a role in acquir­ing that pass­port. Still, he’s an illus­tra­tive fig­ure in terms get­ting a sense of the kinds of fig­ures behind the rise of Epstein.

    And there’s one par­tic­u­lar angle to this his­to­ry cov­ered in Part 3 of the series that is par­tic­u­lar­ly top­i­cal giv­en the cur­rent envi­ron­ment of mass sur­veil­lance con­duct­ed by intel­li­gence-con­nect­ed Sil­i­con Val­ley giants and one mega-hack after anoth­er: Robert Maxwell, father of Ghis­laine Maxwell, was a key fig­ure in the PROMIS soft­ware scan­dal of the 80’s (see Mis­cel­la­neous archives M50 Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4, M51 Parts 1a, 1b, 1c, 2a, 2b, 2c, 3, and 4, and FTR#82).

    As we’ll see, it turns out Jef­frey Epstein was a pri­ma­ry investor in a con­tem­po­rary com­pa­ny start­ed by for­mer Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Ehud Barack that, on the sur­face, has an num­ber of par­al­lels with the PROMIS sto­ry. The com­pa­ny, Reporty Home­land Secu­ri­ty, now called Car­byne, offers a smart­phone app that allows peo­ple to imme­di­ate­ly patch into emer­gency response dis­patch­ers. So Reporty is osten­si­bly a pub­lic safe­ty app. But it sounds like it’s much more than that. The key tech­no­log­i­cal inno­va­tion devel­oped by Reporty is the abil­i­ty of the app to scan vir­tu­al­ly all of the avail­able modes of com­mu­ni­ca­tion in a giv­en area, find the best way to ensure some­one can com­mu­ni­cate with the emer­gency dis­patch­er with­out infor­ma­tion being dropped. The algo­rithm quick­ly the avail­able com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nels around some­one (IP/ umts / 2G / 3G /4G / LTE etc.) and decides which chan­nel to use to send the infor­ma­tion to dis­patch­er. Reporty has sev­er­al employ­ees from Israel’s cyber oper­a­tions intel­li­gence units. So Reporty facil­i­ates the rapid com­mu­ni­ca­tions between a nation’s civil­ian telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions infra­struc­ture and the emer­gency infra­struc­ture infra­struc­ture that includes tech­nol­o­gy for rout­ing, indoor posi­tion­ing plat­form, dis­patch sys­tems, and mon­i­tor­ing. That sure sounds like the kind of tech­nol­o­gy that would have some use­ful intel­li­gence appli­ca­tions. Reporty is set up to work in 160 coun­tries and the US Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty is report­ed­ly quite inter­est­ed in this kind of tech­nol­o­gy.

    Epstein report­ed­ly financed the bulk of Ehud Barak’s 2014 invest­ment in Reporty. Ehud Barak’s name has already sur­faced in the sto­ries of Epstein fol­low­ing reports that Barak vis­it­ed Epstein’s Man­hat­tan res­i­dence and his pri­vate island. Barak asserts that he met Epstein 17 years ago after being intro­duced by Shi­mon Peres and has nev­er attend­ing any par­ties with him or seen him in the com­pa­ny of women or young girls. But Epstein’s Man­hat­tan neigh­bors claim that Barak fre­quent­ly stayed at Epstein’s place and pho­tos have been released show­ing Barak enter­ing Epstein’s place in the com­pa­ny of four women includ­ing one iden­ti­fied as an Epstein trav­el­ing com­pan­ion. So Ehud Barak appears to be one of Epstein’s ‘clients’ in addi­tion to being a busi­ness part­ner with Epstein which makes it worth ask­ing whether or not Barak’s busi­ness rela­tion­ship with Epstein is a result of Barak being a vic­tim of sex­u­al black­mail or if they’re gen­uine­ly friend­ly asso­ciates?

    Also note that Barak announced a bid to unseat Netanyahu last month so this a as polit­i­cal­ly potent sto­ry in Israel right now. And that ques­tion of whether or not Epstein was engaged in acquir­ing sex­u­al black­mail on Israeli pol­i­tics, like the cen­ter-left Ehud Barak, rais­es the larg­er ques­tion of whether or who Epstein was ulti­mate­ly work­ing for in his sex­u­al black­mail oper­a­tion. Ehud Barak, a cen­ter-left politi­cian, sure seems like the kind of tar­get the right-wing allies of Epstein would like to be able to black­mail. In oth­er words, giv­en that Epstein is both obvi­ous­ly tied to Israeli intel­li­gence but also clear­ly tied to US intel­li­gence (with some sort of odd rela­tion­ship with Aus­tria), we have to ask whether Epstein’s sex­u­al trafficking/blackmail oper­a­tion was pri­mar­i­ly an oper­a­tion on behalf of a nation state’s intel­li­gence ser­vice or pri­mar­i­ly an oper­a­tion on behalf of a pri­vate right-wing net­work of peo­ple who hap­pen to have exten­sive intel­li­gence con­nec­tions? At this point it remains very unclear. It’s one of the biggest mys­ter­ies involv­ing all of this: Epstein’s con­nec­tions are so vast and yet opaque that the more we learn about who Epstein worked with, the less obvi­ous becomes of who exact­ly he was work­ing for in the end. Of Epstein’s asso­ciates, how many were real­ly his friends and how many were peo­ple who tol­er­at­ed him because he man­aged to black­mail them? Of the peo­ple he acquired black­mail mate­r­i­al on, was he tar­get­ing them accord­ing to the nation­al secu­ri­ty inter­ests of Israel? The US? Or the pri­vate inter­est of his pow­er­ful friends who hap­pened to have deep ties to the nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ments of Israel and the West?

    Mint Press News

    Mega Group, Maxwells and Mossad: The Spy Sto­ry at the Heart of the Jef­frey Epstein Scan­dal

    The pic­ture paint­ed by the evi­dence is not a direct Epstein tie to a sin­gle intel­li­gence agency but a web link­ing key mem­bers of the Mega Group, politi­cians, and offi­cials in both the U.S. and Israel, and an orga­nized-crime net­work with deep busi­ness and intel­li­gence ties in both nations.
    by Whit­ney Webb

    August 07th, 2019

    By Whit­ney Webb

    As bil­lion­aire pedophile and alleged sex-traf­fick­er, Jef­frey Epstein sits in prison, reports have con­tin­ued to sur­face about his report­ed links to intel­li­gence, his finan­cial ties to sev­er­al com­pa­nies and “char­i­ta­ble” foun­da­tions, and his friend­ships with the rich and pow­er­ful as well as top politi­cians.

    While Part I and Part II of this series, “The Jef­frey Epstein Scan­dal: Too Big to Fail,” have focused on the wide­spread nature of sex­u­al black­mail oper­a­tions in recent Amer­i­can his­to­ry and their ties to the heights of Amer­i­can polit­i­cal pow­er and the U.S. intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty, one key aspect of Epstein’s own sex-traf­fick­ing and black­mail oper­a­tion that war­rants exam­i­na­tion is Epstein’s ties to Israeli intel­li­gence and his ties to the “infor­mal” pro-Israel phil­an­thropist fac­tion known as “the Mega Group.”

    The Mega Group’s role in the Epstein case has gar­nered some atten­tion, as Epstein’s main finan­cial patron for decades, bil­lion­aire Leslie Wexn­er, was a co-founder of the group that unites sev­er­al well-known busi­ness­men with a pen­chant for pro-Israel and eth­no-phil­an­thropy (i.e., phil­an­thropy ben­e­fit­ing a sin­gle eth­nic or eth­no-reli­gious group). How­ev­er, as this report will show, anoth­er unit­ing fac­tor among Mega Group mem­bers is deep ties to orga­nized crime, specif­i­cal­ly the orga­nized crime net­work dis­cussed in Part I of this series, which was large­ly led by noto­ri­ous Amer­i­can mob­ster Mey­er Lan­sky.

    By virtue of the role of many Mega Group mem­bers as major polit­i­cal donors in both the U.S. and Israel, sev­er­al of its most notable mem­bers have close ties to the gov­ern­ments of both coun­tries as well as their intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ties. As this report and a sub­se­quent report will show, the Mega Group also had close ties to two busi­ness­men who worked for Israel’s Mossad — Robert Maxwell and Marc Rich — as well as to top Israeli politi­cians, includ­ing past and present prime min­is­ters with deep ties to Israel’s intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty.

    One of those busi­ness­men work­ing for the Mossad, Robert Maxwell, will be dis­cussed at length in this report. Maxwell, who was a busi­ness part­ner of Mega Group co-founder Charles Bronf­man, aid­ed the suc­cess­ful Mossad plot to plant a trap­door in U.S.-created soft­ware that was then sold to gov­ern­ments and com­pa­nies through­out the world. That plot’s suc­cess was large­ly due to the role of a close asso­ciate of then-Pres­i­dent Ronald Rea­gan and an Amer­i­can politi­cian close to Maxwell, who lat­er helped aid Rea­gan in the cov­er-up of the Iran Con­tra scan­dal.

    Years lat­er, Maxwell’s daugh­ter — Ghis­laine Maxwell — would join Jef­frey Epstein’s “inner cir­cle” at the same time Epstein was bankrolling a sim­i­lar soft­ware pro­gram now being mar­ket­ed for crit­i­cal elec­tron­ic infra­struc­ture in the U.S. and abroad. That com­pa­ny has deep and trou­bling con­nec­tions to Israeli mil­i­tary intel­li­gence, asso­ciates of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, and the Mega Group.

    Epstein appears to have ties to Israeli intel­li­gence and has well-doc­u­ment­ed ties to influ­en­tial Israeli politi­cians and the Mega Group. Yet, those enti­ties are not iso­lat­ed in and of them­selves, as many also con­nect to the orga­nized crime net­work and pow­er­ful alleged pedophiles dis­cussed in pre­vi­ous install­ments of this series.

    Per­haps the best illus­tra­tion of how the con­nec­tions between many of these play­ers often meld togeth­er can be seen in Ronald Laud­er: a Mega Group mem­ber, for­mer mem­ber of the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion, long-time donor to Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu and Israel’s Likud Par­ty, as well as a long-time friend of Don­ald Trump and Roy Cohn.

    From cos­met­ics heir to polit­i­cal play­er

    One often over­looked yet famous client and friend of Roy Cohn is the bil­lion­aire heir to the Estee Laud­er cos­met­ics for­tune, Ronald Laud­er. Laud­er is often described in the press as a “lead­ing Jew­ish phil­an­thropist” and is the pres­i­dent of the World Jew­ish Con­gress, yet his many media pro­files tend to leave out his high­ly polit­i­cal past.

    In a state­ment giv­en by Laud­er to New York Times reporter Mag­gie Haber­man in 2018, the cos­met­ics heir not­ed that he has known Trump for over 50 years, going back at least to the ear­ly 1970s. Accord­ing to Laud­er, his rela­tion­ship with Trump began when Trump was a stu­dent at the Whar­ton School at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia, which Laud­er also attend­ed.

    Though the exact nature of their ear­ly friend­ship is unclear, it is evi­dent that they shared many of the same con­nec­tions, includ­ing to the man who would lat­er count them both as his clients, Roy Cohn. While much has been said of the ties between Cohn and Trump, Cohn was par­tic­u­lar­ly close to Lauder’s moth­er, Estee Laud­er (born Josephine Mentzer). Estee was even count­ed among Cohn’s most high-pro­file friends in his New York Times obit­u­ary.

    A small win­dow into the Laud­er-Cohn rela­tion­ship sur­faced briefly in a 2016 arti­cle in Politi­co about a 1981 din­ner par­ty held at Cohn’s week­end home in Green­wich, Con­necti­cut. The par­ty was attend­ed by Ronald Lauder’s par­ents, Estee and Joe, as well as Trump and his then-wife Ivana, who had a week­end home just two miles away. That par­ty was held soon after Cohn had helped Rea­gan secure the pres­i­den­cy and had reached the height of his polit­i­cal influ­ence. At the par­ty, Cohn offered toasts to Rea­gan and to then-Sen­a­tor for New York Alfonse D’Amato, who would lat­er urge Ronald Laud­er to run for polit­i­cal office.

    Two years lat­er, in 1983, Ronald Laud­er — whose only pro­fes­sion­al expe­ri­ence at that point was work­ing for his parent’s cos­met­ics com­pa­ny — was appoint­ed to serve as Unit­ed States Deputy Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense for Euro­pean and NATO Affairs. Soon after his appoint­ment, he served on the Din­ner Trib­ute Com­mit­tee for a din­ner host­ed by the Jew­ish fra­ter­nal and strong­ly pro-Israel orga­ni­za­tion B’nai B’rith, the par­ent orga­ni­za­tion of the con­tro­ver­sial Anti-Defama­tion League (ADL), in Roy Cohn’s hon­or. Cohn’s influ­en­tial father, Albert Cohn, was the long-time pres­i­dent of B’nai B’rith’s pow­er­ful New Eng­land-New York chap­ter and Roy Cohn him­self was a mem­ber of B’nai B’rith’s Bank­ing and Finance Lodge.

    The din­ner specif­i­cal­ly sought to hon­or Cohn for his pro-Israel advo­ca­cy and his efforts to “for­ti­fy” Israel’s econ­o­my, and its hon­orary chair­men includ­ed media mogul Rupert Mur­doch, Don­ald Trump and then-head of Bear Stearns Alan Green­berg, all of whom are con­nect­ed to Jef­frey Epstein.

    Dur­ing his time as deputy assis­tant sec­re­tary of defense, Laud­er was also very active in Israeli pol­i­tics and had already become an ally of the then-Israeli rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the Unit­ed Nations and future prime min­is­ter of Israel, Ben­jamin Netanyahu. Laud­er would go on to be one of the most impor­tant indi­vid­u­als in Netanyahu’s rise to pow­er, par­tic­u­lar­ly dur­ing his upset vic­to­ry in 1996, and a major financier of Israel’s right-wing Likud Par­ty.

    In 1986, the year that Roy Cohn died, Laud­er left his post at the Pen­ta­gon and became the U.S. ambas­sador to Aus­tria, where his tenure was shaped by his con­fronta­tions with the then-Aus­tri­an pres­i­dent and for­mer Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor, Kurt Wald­heim. Lauder’s inter­est in Aus­tri­an pol­i­tics has con­tin­ued well into recent years, cul­mi­nat­ing in accu­sa­tions that he sought to manip­u­late Aus­tri­an elec­tions in 2012.

    After leav­ing his ambas­sador­ship, Laud­er found­ed the Ronald S. Laud­er Foun­da­tion in 1987 and lat­er went on to run for May­or of New York against Rudy Giu­liani in 1989. Laud­er was encour­aged to run by then-Sen­a­tor Alfonse D’Amato, who had close ties to Roy Cohn and his long-time law part­ner Tom Bolan, who was D’Amato’s advis­er. At the afore­men­tioned 1983 B’nai B’rith din­ner hon­or­ing Cohn, D’Amato was the fea­tured speak­er.

    The like­ly rea­son was that Giu­liani, though once an ally of the “Roy Cohn machine,” was at the time deeply dis­liked by the late Cohn’s asso­ciates for pros­e­cut­ing Cohn’s for­mer law part­ner, Stan­ley Fried­man, for rack­e­teer­ing, con­spir­a­cy and oth­er charges. Giu­liani also had a his­to­ry of bit­ter dis­agree­ments with D’Amato. Lauder’s pri­ma­ry cam­paign, though unsuc­cess­ful, was not­ed for its vicious­ness and its cost, as it burned through more than $13 mil­lion.

    A few years lat­er, in the ear­ly 1990s, Laud­er would join a new­ly formed group that has long evad­ed scruti­ny from the media but has recent­ly become of inter­est in con­nec­tion with the Jef­frey Epstein scan­dal: the Mega Group.

    Laud­er, Epstein and the mys­te­ri­ous Aus­tri­an pass­port

    Before get­ting to the Mega Group, it is worth not­ing one par­tic­u­lar act appar­ent­ly under­tak­en by Laud­er while he was U.S. ambas­sador to Aus­tria that has recent­ly come to light in rela­tion to the arrest in ear­ly July of Jef­frey Epstein, a find­ing first report­ed by jour­nal­ist Edward Sza­ll. When police recent­ly dis­cov­ered an Aus­tri­an pass­port with Epstein’s pic­ture and a fake name after raid­ing his Man­hat­tan res­i­dence, the source and pur­pose of the pass­port came under media scruti­ny.

    Accord­ing to the Asso­ci­at­ed Press, Epstein’s defense lawyers specif­i­cal­ly argued that “a friend gave it to him [Epstein] in the 1980s after some Jew­ish-Amer­i­cans were infor­mal­ly advised to car­ry iden­ti­fi­ca­tion bear­ing a non-Jew­ish name when trav­el­ing inter­na­tion­al­ly dur­ing a peri­od when hijack­ings were more com­mon.” This claim appears to be relat­ed to con­cerns that fol­lowed the hijack­ing of Air France Flight 139 in 1976 when Israeli and Jew­ish hostages were sep­a­rat­ed from oth­er hostages based large­ly on the pass­ports in their pos­ses­sion.

    Giv­en that Epstein was unable to meet the con­ven­tion­al qual­i­fi­ca­tions for an Aus­tri­an pass­port — includ­ing long-term res­i­den­cy in Aus­tria (the pass­port lists him as a res­i­dent of Sau­di Ara­bia) and flu­en­cy in Ger­man — it appears that the only way to have acquired an Aus­tri­an pass­port was by uncon­ven­tion­al means, mean­ing assis­tance from a well-con­nect­ed Aus­tri­an offi­cial or for­eign diplo­mat with clout in Aus­tria.

    Laud­er, then-ambas­sador to Aus­tria for the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion, would have been well-posi­tioned to acquire such a pass­port, par­tic­u­lar­ly for the rea­son cit­ed by Epstein’s attor­neys that Jew­ish-Amer­i­cans could be tar­get­ed dur­ing trav­el, and in light of Lauder’s very pub­lic con­cerns over threats Jews face from cer­tain ter­ror groups. Fur­ther­more, the pass­port had been issued in 1987, when Laud­er was still serv­ing as an ambas­sador.

    In addi­tion, Laud­er was well-con­nect­ed to Epstein’s for­mer patron — for­mer head of Bear Stearns Alan Green­berg, who had hired Epstein in the late 1970s imme­di­ate­ly after the lat­ter was fired from the Dal­ton School — and Don­ald Trump, anoth­er friend of Laud­er and Green­berg who began his friend­ship with Epstein in 1987, the same year the fake Aus­tri­an pass­port was issued. In 1987, Epstein also began his rela­tion­ship with his prin­ci­pal financier, Leslie Wexn­er, who is also close­ly asso­ci­at­ed with Laud­er (though some sources claim that Epstein and Wexn­er first met in 1985 but that their strong busi­ness rela­tion­ship was not estab­lished until 1987).

    Though Epstein’s defense attor­ney declined to reveal the iden­ti­ty of the “friend” who pro­vid­ed him with the fake Aus­tri­an pass­port, Laud­er was both well-posi­tioned to acquire it in Aus­tria and also deeply con­nect­ed to the Mega Group, which was co-found­ed by Epstein’s patron Leslie Wexn­er and to which Epstein has many con­nec­tions. These con­nec­tions to both the Aus­tri­an gov­ern­ment and to Epstein’s men­tor make Laud­er the most like­ly per­son to have acquired the doc­u­ment on Epstein’s behalf.

    Fur­ther­more, Epstein and the Mega Group’s ties to the Israeli intel­li­gence agency, Mossad, also sug­gest Laud­er was involved in procur­ing the pass­port, in light of his close ties to the Israeli gov­ern­ment and the fact that Mossad has a his­to­ry of using ambas­sadors abroad to pro­cure false, for­eign pass­ports for its oper­a­tives.

    Laud­er him­self has been alleged to have ties to Mossad, as he is a long-time fun­der of IDC Her­zliya, an Israeli uni­ver­si­ty close­ly asso­ci­at­ed with Mossad and their recruiters as well as Israeli mil­i­tary intel­li­gence. Laud­er even found­ed IDC Herzliya’s Laud­er School of Gov­ern­ment, Diplo­ma­cy and Strat­e­gy.

    Fur­ther­more, Laud­er co-found­ed the East­ern Euro­pean broad­cast­ing net­work CETV with Mark Palmer, a for­mer U.S. diplo­mat, Kissinger aide and Rea­gan speech­writer. Palmer is bet­ter known for co-found­ing the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy (NED), an orga­ni­za­tion often described as an acces­so­ry to U.S. intel­li­gence, and one whose first pres­i­dent con­fessed to the Wash­ing­ton Post that “a lot of what we do today was done covert­ly 25 years ago by the CIA.” A 2001 report in the Evening Stan­dard not­ed that Epstein once claimed that dur­ing the 1980s he worked for the CIA, but Epstein lat­er backed away from that asser­tion..

    ...

    The mys­te­ri­ous Maxwells

    The Maxwell fam­i­ly has become a source of renewed media inter­est fol­low­ing Jef­frey Epstein’s arrest, as Ghis­laine Maxwell, long described in the media as a British “socialite,” was pub­licly cit­ed as Epstein’s long-time “on and off” girl­friend, and Epstein’s vic­tims, as well as for­mer wives of Epstein’s friends, have claimed that she was Epstein’s “pimp” and pro­cured under­age girls for his sex­u­al black­mail oper­a­tion. Ghis­laine Maxwell is also alleged to have engaged in the rape of the girls she pro­cured for Epstein and to have used them to pro­duce child pornog­ra­phy.

    Ghis­laine was the favorite and youngest daugh­ter of media mogul Robert Maxwell. Maxwell, born Jan Lud­vick Hoch, had joined the British Army in World War II. After­wards, accord­ing to authors John Lof­tus and Mark Aarons, he great­ly influ­enced the Czecho­slo­va­kian government’s deci­sion to arm Zion­ist para­mil­i­taries dur­ing the 1948 war that result­ed in Israel’s cre­ation as a state, and Maxwell him­self was also involved in the smug­gling of air­craft parts to Israel.

    Around this time, Maxwell was approached by British intel­li­gence out­fit MI6 and offered a posi­tion that Maxwell ulti­mate­ly declined. MI6 then clas­si­fied him as “Zion­ist — loy­al only to Israel” and made him a per­son of inter­est. He lat­er became an agent of the Mossad, accord­ing to sev­er­al books includ­ing Robert Maxwell: Israel’s Super­spy by Gor­don Thomas and Mar­tin Dil­lon. Fur­ther­more, Sey­mour Hersh’s The Sam­son Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arse­nal and Amer­i­can For­eign Pol­i­cy alleges ties between Maxwell and Israeli intel­li­gence.

    Accord­ing to Vic­tor Ostro­vsky, a for­mer Mossad case offi­cer:

    Mossad was financ­ing many of its oper­a­tions in Europe from mon­ey stolen from Maxwell’s news­pa­per pen­sion fund. They got their hands on the funds almost as soon as Maxwell made the pur­chase of the Mir­ror News­pa­per Group with mon­ey lent to him by Mossad.”

    In exchange for his ser­vices, the Mossad helped Maxwell sat­is­fy his sex­u­al appetite dur­ing his vis­its to Israel, pro­vid­ing him with pros­ti­tutes, “the ser­vice main­tained for black­mail pur­pos­es.” It was lat­er revealed that the hotel in which he stayed in Israel was bugged with cam­eras, allow­ing the Mossad to acquire “a small library of video footage of Maxwell in sex­u­al­ly com­pro­mis­ing posi­tions.” As with the CIA, the Mossad’s use of black­mail against both friend and foe is well-doc­u­ment­ed and known to be exten­sive.

    Maxwell was also a close asso­ciate and friend of Israeli “super­spy” Rafi Eitan, who, as pre­vi­ous­ly men­tioned, was Jonathan Pollard’s han­dler and who had pre­vi­ous­ly worked direct­ly with Mey­er Lan­sky. Eitan had learned of a rev­o­lu­tion­ary new soft­ware being used by the U.S. gov­ern­ment known as “Promis” from Earl Bri­an, a long-time asso­ciate and aide to Ronald Rea­gan. Promis is often con­sid­ered the fore­run­ner to the “Prism” soft­ware used by spy agen­cies today and was devel­oped by William Hamil­ton, who leased the soft­ware to the U.S. gov­ern­ment through his com­pa­ny, Inslaw, in 1982.

    Accord­ing to author and for­mer BBC inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist Gor­don Thomas, Bri­an was angry that the U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice was suc­cess­ful­ly using Promis to go after orga­nized crime and mon­ey-laun­der­ing activ­i­ties and Eitan felt that the pro­gram could aid Israel. At the time, Eitan was the direc­tor of the now defunct Israeli mil­i­tary intel­li­gence agency Lekem, which gath­ered sci­en­tif­ic and tech­ni­cal intel­li­gence abroad from both pub­lic and covert sources, espe­cial­ly in rela­tion to Israel’s nuclear weapons pro­gram.

    A plan was hatched to install a “trap­door” into the soft­ware and then mar­ket Promis through­out the world, pro­vid­ing the Mossad with invalu­able intel­li­gence on the oper­a­tions of its ene­mies and allies while also pro­vid­ing Eitan and Bri­an with copi­ous amounts of cash. Accord­ing to the tes­ti­mo­ny of ex-Mossad offi­cial Ari Ben-Menashe, Bri­an pro­vid­ed a copy of Promis to Israel’s mil­i­tary intel­li­gence, which con­tact­ed an Israeli Amer­i­can pro­gram­mer liv­ing in Cal­i­for­nia who then plant­ed the “trap­door” in the soft­ware. The CIA was lat­er said to have installed its own trap­door in the soft­ware but it is unknown if they did so with a ver­sion of the already bugged soft­ware and how wide­ly it was adopt­ed rel­a­tive to the ver­sion bugged by Israeli intel­li­gence.

    After the trap­door was insert­ed, the prob­lem became sell­ing the bugged ver­sion of the soft­ware to gov­ern­ments as well as pri­vate com­pa­nies around the world, par­tic­u­lar­ly in areas of inter­est. Bri­an first attempt­ed to buy out Inslaw and Promis and then use that same com­pa­ny to sell the bugged ver­sion.

    Unsuc­cess­ful, Bri­an turned to his close friend, then-Attor­ney Gen­er­al Ed Meese whose Jus­tice Depart­ment then abrupt­ly refused to make the pay­ments to Inslaw that were stip­u­lat­ed by the con­tract, essen­tial­ly using the soft­ware for free, which Inslaw claimed to be theft. Some have spec­u­lat­ed that Meese’s role in that deci­sion was shaped, not only by his friend­ship with Bri­an, but the fact that his wife was a major investor in Brian’s busi­ness ven­tures. Meese would lat­er become an advis­er to Don­ald Trump when he was pres­i­dent-elect.

    Inslaw was forced to declare bank­rupt­cy as a result of Meese’s actions and sued the Jus­tice Depart­ment. The court lat­er found that the Meese-led depart­ment “took, con­vert­ed, stole” the soft­ware through “trick­ery, fraud and deceit.”

    With Inslaw out of the way, Bri­an sold the soft­ware all over the world. Eitan lat­er recruit­ed Robert Maxwell to become anoth­er Promis sales­man, which he did remark­ably well, even suc­ceed­ing in sell­ing the soft­ware to Sovi­et intel­li­gence and con­spir­ing with Repub­li­can Texas Sen­a­tor John Tow­er to have the soft­ware adopt­ed by the U.S. gov­ern­ment lab­o­ra­to­ry at Los Alam­os. Dozens of coun­tries used the soft­ware on their most care­ful­ly guard­ed com­put­er sys­tems, unaware that Mossad now had access to every­thing Promis touched.

    Where­as the Mossad’s past reliance on gath­er­ing intel­li­gence had relied on the same tac­tics used by its equiv­a­lents in the U.S. and else­where, the wide­spread adop­tion of the Promis soft­ware, large­ly through the actions of Earl Bri­an and Robert Maxwell, gave the Mossad a way to gath­er not just troves of coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence data, but also black­mail on oth­er intel­li­gence agen­cies and pow­er­ful fig­ures.

    Indeed, Promis’ back­door and adop­tion by intel­li­gence agen­cies all over the world essen­tial­ly pro­vid­ed the Mossad with access to troves of black­mail that the CIA and FBI had acquired on their friends and foes for over half a cen­tu­ry. Strange­ly, in recent years, the FBI has sought to hide infor­ma­tion relat­ed to Robert Maxwell’s con­nec­tion to the Promis scan­dal.

    Accord­ing to jour­nal­ist Robert Fisk, Maxwell was also involved in the Mossad abduc­tion of Israeli nuclear weapons whistle­blow­er Vanunu Mordechai. Mordechai had attempt­ed to pro­vide the media with infor­ma­tion on the extent of Israel’s nuclear weapons pro­gram, which was even­tu­al­ly pub­lished by the Sun­day Times of Lon­don. Yet, Mordechai had also con­tact­ed the Dai­ly Mir­ror with the infor­ma­tion, the Mir­ror being an out­let that was owned by Maxwell and whose for­eign edi­tor was a close Maxwell asso­ciate and alleged Mossad asset, Nicholas Davies. Jour­nal­ist Sey­mour Hersh alleged that Davies had also been involved in Israeli arms deals.

    Per Fisk, it was Maxwell who con­tact­ed the Israeli Embassy in Lon­don and told them of Mordechai’s activ­i­ties. This led to Mordechai’s entrap­ment by a female Mossad agent who seduced him as part of a “hon­ey trap” oper­a­tion that led to his kid­nap­ping and lat­er impris­on­ment in Israel. Mordechai served an 18-year sen­tence, 12 years of which were in soli­tary con­fine­ment.

    Then, there is the issue of Maxwell’s death, wide­ly cit­ed by main­stream and inde­pen­dent media alike as sus­pi­cious and a poten­tial homi­cide. Accord­ing to authors Gor­don Thomas and Mar­tin Dil­lon, Maxwell had sealed his own fate when he attempt­ed to threat­en top Mossad offi­cials with the expo­sure of cer­tain oper­a­tions if they did not help him res­cue his media empire from crip­pling debt and finan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties. Many of Maxwell’s cred­i­tors, who had grown increas­ing­ly dis­pleased with the media mogul, were Israeli and sev­er­al of them were alleged to be Mossad-con­nect­ed them­selves.

    Thomas and Dil­lon argue in their biog­ra­phy of Maxwell’s life that the Mossad felt that Maxwell had become more of a lia­bil­i­ty than an asset and killed him on his yacht three months after he demand­ed the bailout. On the oth­er extreme are the­o­ries that sug­gest Maxwell com­mit­ted sui­cide because of the finan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties his empire faced.

    ...

    ———-

    “Mega Group, Maxwells and Mossad: The Spy Sto­ry at the Heart of the Jef­frey Epstein Scan­dal” by Whit­ney Webb, Mint Press News, 08/07/2019

    “Per­haps the best illus­tra­tion of how the con­nec­tions between many of these play­ers often meld togeth­er can be seen in Ronald Laud­er: a Mega Group mem­ber, for­mer mem­ber of the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion, long-time donor to Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu and Israel’s Likud Par­ty, as well as a long-time friend of Don­ald Trump and Roy Cohn.

    Epstein had a lot of friends and asso­ciates. But the net­work of peo­ple he appeared to be asso­ci­at­ed with back in the 80’s, when he appeared to be get­ting estab­lished as an oper­a­tive of some sort, had a dis­tinct right-wing bent. This is exem­pli­fied by Ronald Laud­er, a key patron of Ben­jamin Netanyahu, the Likud Par­ty, and the Repub­li­can Par­ty. And a long-time asso­ciate of both Don­ald Trump and Roy Cohn:

    ...
    From cos­met­ics heir to polit­i­cal play­er

    One often over­looked yet famous client and friend of Roy Cohn is the bil­lion­aire heir to the Estee Laud­er cos­met­ics for­tune, Ronald Laud­er. Laud­er is often described in the press as a “lead­ing Jew­ish phil­an­thropist” and is the pres­i­dent of the World Jew­ish Con­gress, yet his many media pro­files tend to leave out his high­ly polit­i­cal past.

    In a state­ment giv­en by Laud­er to New York Times reporter Mag­gie Haber­man in 2018, the cos­met­ics heir not­ed that he has known Trump for over 50 years, going back at least to the ear­ly 1970s. Accord­ing to Laud­er, his rela­tion­ship with Trump began when Trump was a stu­dent at the Whar­ton School at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia, which Laud­er also attend­ed.

    Though the exact nature of their ear­ly friend­ship is unclear, it is evi­dent that they shared many of the same con­nec­tions, includ­ing to the man who would lat­er count them both as his clients, Roy Cohn. While much has been said of the ties between Cohn and Trump, Cohn was par­tic­u­lar­ly close to Lauder’s moth­er, Estee Laud­er (born Josephine Mentzer). Estee was even count­ed among Cohn’s most high-pro­file friends in his New York Times obit­u­ary.
    ...

    And while it’s unclear what Epstein’s direct ties to Laud­er were in the 80’s, Laud­er was close with a num­ber of peo­ple who would lat­er be iden­ti­fied as Epstein asso­ciates, includ­ing Alan Green­berg and Don­ald Trump. And Laud­er was very close to the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion:

    ...
    Two years lat­er, in 1983, Ronald Laud­er — whose only pro­fes­sion­al expe­ri­ence at that point was work­ing for his parent’s cos­met­ics com­pa­ny — was appoint­ed to serve as Unit­ed States Deputy Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense for Euro­pean and NATO Affairs. Soon after his appoint­ment, he served on the Din­ner Trib­ute Com­mit­tee for a din­ner host­ed by the Jew­ish fra­ter­nal and strong­ly pro-Israel orga­ni­za­tion B’nai B’rith, the par­ent orga­ni­za­tion of the con­tro­ver­sial Anti-Defama­tion League (ADL), in Roy Cohn’s hon­or. Cohn’s influ­en­tial father, Albert Cohn, was the long-time pres­i­dent of B’nai B’rith’s pow­er­ful New Eng­land-New York chap­ter and Roy Cohn him­self was a mem­ber of B’nai B’rith’s Bank­ing and Finance Lodge.

    The din­ner specif­i­cal­ly sought to hon­or Cohn for his pro-Israel advo­ca­cy and his efforts to “for­ti­fy” Israel’s econ­o­my, and its hon­orary chair­men includ­ed media mogul Rupert Mur­doch, Don­ald Trump and then-head of Bear Stearns Alan Green­berg, all of whom are con­nect­ed to Jef­frey Epstein.

    Dur­ing his time as deputy assis­tant sec­re­tary of defense, Laud­er was also very active in Israeli pol­i­tics and had already become an ally of the then-Israeli rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the Unit­ed Nations and future prime min­is­ter of Israel, Ben­jamin Netanyahu. Laud­er would go on to be one of the most impor­tant indi­vid­u­als in Netanyahu’s rise to pow­er, par­tic­u­lar­ly dur­ing his upset vic­to­ry in 1996, and a major financier of Israel’s right-wing Likud Par­ty.
    ...

    But, again, it’s impor­tant to note that Epstein’s mys­te­ri­ous Aus­tri­an pass­port expired in 1987. It was­n’t issued in 1987. So spec­u­la­tion that Laud­er facil­i­tat­ed the issuance of this pass­port after being appoint­ed ambas­sador to Aus­tria in 1986 appears to be mis­tak­en:

    ...
    Laud­er, then-ambas­sador to Aus­tria for the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion, would have been well-posi­tioned to acquire such a pass­port, par­tic­u­lar­ly for the rea­son cit­ed by Epstein’s attor­neys that Jew­ish-Amer­i­cans could be tar­get­ed dur­ing trav­el, and in light of Lauder’s very pub­lic con­cerns over threats Jews face from cer­tain ter­ror groups. Fur­ther­more, the pass­port had been issued in 1987, when Laud­er was still serv­ing as an ambas­sador.
    ...

    So did Epstein actu­al­ly speak Aus­tri­an? That seems likes a rel­e­vant ques­tion.

    High­light­ing how this net­work has ties to US intel­li­gence in addi­tion to Israeli intel­li­gence, note how Laud­er co-found­ed the
    the East­ern Euro­pean broad­cast­ing net­work CETV with Mark Palmer, a for­mer U.S. diplo­mat, Kissinger aide and Rea­gan speech­writer known for co-found­ing the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy. Plus, Epstein him­self once claimed to work for the CIA in the 80’s:

    ...
    Fur­ther­more, Laud­er co-found­ed the East­ern Euro­pean broad­cast­ing net­work CETV with Mark Palmer, a for­mer U.S. diplo­mat, Kissinger aide and Rea­gan speech­writer. Palmer is bet­ter known for co-found­ing the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy (NED), an orga­ni­za­tion often described as an acces­so­ry to U.S. intel­li­gence, and one whose first pres­i­dent con­fessed to the Wash­ing­ton Post that “a lot of what we do today was done covert­ly 25 years ago by the CIA.” A 2001 report in the Evening Stan­dard not­ed that Epstein once claimed that dur­ing the 1980s he worked for the CIA, but Epstein lat­er backed away from that asser­tion.
    ...

    But while Ronald Laud­er has a num­ber of tan­gen­tial ties to Epstein’s net­work of impor­tant asso­ciates that makes Laud­er appear to be an impor­tant fig­ure in Epstein’s back­ground, Robert Maxwell has a far more sub­stan­tive sin­gle tan­gen­tial tie to Epstein: he was father of Epstein’s key part­ner in his sex-traf­fick­ing ring, Ghis­laine Maxwell. And as the arti­cle notes, among Robert Maxwell’s many spy exploits as a long-time Mossad asset includes his role in the sell­ing of the Promis soft­ware sys­tem:

    ...
    The mys­te­ri­ous Maxwells

    The Maxwell fam­i­ly has become a source of renewed media inter­est fol­low­ing Jef­frey Epstein’s arrest, as Ghis­laine Maxwell, long described in the media as a British “socialite,” was pub­licly cit­ed as Epstein’s long-time “on and off” girl­friend, and Epstein’s vic­tims, as well as for­mer wives of Epstein’s friends, have claimed that she was Epstein’s “pimp” and pro­cured under­age girls for his sex­u­al black­mail oper­a­tion. Ghis­laine Maxwell is also alleged to have engaged in the rape of the girls she pro­cured for Epstein and to have used them to pro­duce child pornog­ra­phy.

    ...

    Maxwell was also a close asso­ciate and friend of Israeli “super­spy” Rafi Eitan, who, as pre­vi­ous­ly men­tioned, was Jonathan Pollard’s han­dler and who had pre­vi­ous­ly worked direct­ly with Mey­er Lan­sky. Eitan had learned of a rev­o­lu­tion­ary new soft­ware being used by the U.S. gov­ern­ment known as “Promis” from Earl Bri­an, a long-time asso­ciate and aide to Ronald Rea­gan. Promis is often con­sid­ered the fore­run­ner to the “Prism” soft­ware used by spy agen­cies today and was devel­oped by William Hamil­ton, who leased the soft­ware to the U.S. gov­ern­ment through his com­pa­ny, Inslaw, in 1982.

    ...

    A plan was hatched to install a “trap­door” into the soft­ware and then mar­ket Promis through­out the world, pro­vid­ing the Mossad with invalu­able intel­li­gence on the oper­a­tions of its ene­mies and allies while also pro­vid­ing Eitan and Bri­an with copi­ous amounts of cash. Accord­ing to the tes­ti­mo­ny of ex-Mossad offi­cial Ari Ben-Menashe, Bri­an pro­vid­ed a copy of Promis to Israel’s mil­i­tary intel­li­gence, which con­tact­ed an Israeli Amer­i­can pro­gram­mer liv­ing in Cal­i­for­nia who then plant­ed the “trap­door” in the soft­ware. The CIA was lat­er said to have installed its own trap­door in the soft­ware but it is unknown if they did so with a ver­sion of the already bugged soft­ware and how wide­ly it was adopt­ed rel­a­tive to the ver­sion bugged by Israeli intel­li­gence.

    After the trap­door was insert­ed, the prob­lem became sell­ing the bugged ver­sion of the soft­ware to gov­ern­ments as well as pri­vate com­pa­nies around the world, par­tic­u­lar­ly in areas of inter­est. Bri­an first attempt­ed to buy out Inslaw and Promis and then use that same com­pa­ny to sell the bugged ver­sion.

    Unsuc­cess­ful, Bri­an turned to his close friend, then-Attor­ney Gen­er­al Ed Meese whose Jus­tice Depart­ment then abrupt­ly refused to make the pay­ments to Inslaw that were stip­u­lat­ed by the con­tract, essen­tial­ly using the soft­ware for free, which Inslaw claimed to be theft. Some have spec­u­lat­ed that Meese’s role in that deci­sion was shaped, not only by his friend­ship with Bri­an, but the fact that his wife was a major investor in Brian’s busi­ness ven­tures. Meese would lat­er become an advis­er to Don­ald Trump when he was pres­i­dent-elect.

    Inslaw was forced to declare bank­rupt­cy as a result of Meese’s actions and sued the Jus­tice Depart­ment. The court lat­er found that the Meese-led depart­ment “took, con­vert­ed, stole” the soft­ware through “trick­ery, fraud and deceit.”

    With Inslaw out of the way, Bri­an sold the soft­ware all over the world. Eitan lat­er recruit­ed Robert Maxwell to become anoth­er Promis sales­man, which he did remark­ably well, even suc­ceed­ing in sell­ing the soft­ware to Sovi­et intel­li­gence and con­spir­ing with Repub­li­can Texas Sen­a­tor John Tow­er to have the soft­ware adopt­ed by the U.S. gov­ern­ment lab­o­ra­to­ry at Los Alam­os. Dozens of coun­tries used the soft­ware on their most care­ful­ly guard­ed com­put­er sys­tems, unaware that Mossad now had access to every­thing Promis touched.

    Where­as the Mossad’s past reliance on gath­er­ing intel­li­gence had relied on the same tac­tics used by its equiv­a­lents in the U.S. and else­where, the wide­spread adop­tion of the Promis soft­ware, large­ly through the actions of Earl Bri­an and Robert Maxwell, gave the Mossad a way to gath­er not just troves of coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence data, but also black­mail on oth­er intel­li­gence agen­cies and pow­er­ful fig­ures.

    Indeed, Promis’ back­door and adop­tion by intel­li­gence agen­cies all over the world essen­tial­ly pro­vid­ed the Mossad with access to troves of black­mail that the CIA and FBI had acquired on their friends and foes for over half a cen­tu­ry. Strange­ly, in recent years, the FBI has sought to hide infor­ma­tion relat­ed to Robert Maxwell’s con­nec­tion to the Promis scan­dal.
    ...

    And it’s Robert Maxwell’s his­to­ry with the whole Promis affair — a sto­ry that appeared to involve the US gov­ern­ment know­ing­ly facil­i­tat­ing the sale of pow­er­ful data­base inte­gra­tion soft­ware sold to gov­ern­ments with spy­ware implant­ed by both the Mossad and the CIA — that makes the reports about Epstein’s rela­tion­ship with Ehud Barak’s com­pa­ny Reporty so fas­ci­nat­ing. Epstein qui­et­ly financed Barack­’s invest­ment in start­ing Reporty back in 2014, which was only revealed last month. So Epstein was a secret investor in a com­pa­ny that was inte­grat­ed civil­ian telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions with a nation’s emer­gency tele­com infra­struc­ture. It’s not exact­ly like Promis. And it’s unclear how much sen­si­tive infor­ma­tion Reporty has access to as a part of pro­vid­ing its ser­vice. But if being con­nect­ed to a nation’s emer­gency tele­com infra­struc­ture has intel­li­gence appli­ca­tions it seems like Reporty would be very well placed to sur­rep­ti­tious­ly gath­er intel­li­gence. Like Promis. And like Promis, Reporty appears to have the endorse­ment of the US nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment:

    Geek­wire

    Ehud Barak leads $5.15 mil­lion Series A for Israeli safe city app Reporty

    From mass shoot­ings to traf­fic acci­dents, this app is help­ing first respon­ders act faster and more effi­cient­ly

    Gabriel Avn­er
    Sep 27, 2016

    Israeli-based safe city app Reporty announced on Tues­day the close of their Series A round of fund­ing, bring­ing in $5.15 mil­lion in new cap­i­tal.

    The round was led by for­mer Prime Min­is­ter and Min­is­ter of Defense Ehud Barak, who also took charge for the company’s seed round last year. Com­bined with the $1.8 mil­lion from their seed financ­ing in April 2015 that came pri­mar­i­ly from Barak with par­tic­i­pa­tion from the Chief Scientist’s Office, this new fund­ing brings them to a total of $7 mil­lion raised over­all. The remain­der of the cap­i­tal has been attrib­uted to pri­vate investors.

    Reporty’s team is no stranger to the world of oper­a­tional secu­ri­ty and tech­nol­o­gy. The company’s founder and CEO Amir Elichai for­mer­ly led an elite unit in the Israel Defense Forces and comes with a back­ground in ven­ture cap­i­tal projects. He brings with him Pin­chas Buchris, who has served in the past at the Min­istry of Defense as its direc­tor. Bucharis also com­mand­ed the IDF’s sig­nals intel­li­gence unit 8200. Their VP for busi­ness devel­op­ment Lital Leshem joins the team with expe­ri­ence in the IDF’s oper­a­tions branch. The com­pa­ny also has a strong set of tech minds, with VP for tech­nol­o­gy Alex Dizen­goff com­ing from the Secu­ri­ty Ser­vices’ Cyber unit and Yoni Yat­sun, a vet­er­an of the start­up scene who is respon­si­ble for devel­op­ing the nav­i­ga­tion algo­rithms that are at the heart of the apps.

    The app works through the instant com­mu­ni­ca­tion between the user and the author­i­ties. When the user acti­vates the app with the press of a but­ton, a two-way video and audio link is auto­mat­i­cal­ly made with the dis­patch­er. By speak­ing with the caller while view­ing the sit­u­a­tion in real-time, the dis­patch­er can quick­ly assess the nature of the emer­gency as well as its cred­i­bil­i­ty, and advise the caller with poten­tial­ly life sav­ing instruc­tions. At the same time, the app uses the phone’s loca­tion ser­vices to track the user and send the response team, even if the user is inside a build­ing.

    “Reporty’s plat­form has reduced the aver­age dura­tion of call for our clients by 67% to less than 45 sec­onds,” Elichai tells Geek­time, empha­siz­ing the impor­tance of speed and accu­ra­cy for con­vey­ing infor­ma­tion in emer­gency sit­u­a­tions. “The rea­son is the instant and auto­mat­ic amount of infor­ma­tion trans­ferred which allows the dis­patch­er to under­stand the full pic­ture.”

    Updates since their launch

    In the year since Geek­time first cov­ered Reporty, the com­pa­ny has been work­ing on improv­ing their sys­tem and expand­ing to new loca­tions.

    Elichai tells Geek­time that they have used the time to devel­op a full com­mu­ni­ca­tion ecosys­tem for nation­al emer­gency ser­vices which includes mobile apps, an API for seam­less inte­gra­tion to an exist­ing sys­tem, and an emer­gency infra­struc­ture. He says that this infra­struc­ture includes tech­nol­o­gy for rout­ing, an indoor posi­tion­ing plat­form, dis­patch sys­tems, and mon­i­tor­ing.

    One of the most inter­est­ing and per­haps impor­tant aspects of their tech­nol­o­gy is in how they have designed their rout­ing sys­tem that ensures that the caller can con­nect with the dis­patch­er.

    “Our patent­ed router sys­tem has a bench­mark algo­rithm that tests (less than 2 sec­onds) the avail­able com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nels around the per­son and makes a deci­sion on how to stream the info,” Elichai explains to Geek­time. “It can be through any chan­nel IP/ umts / 2G / 3G /4G / LTE etc. The inno­va­tion is that it’s the sep­a­ra­tion of the chan­nels and how to con­nect them back at the dispatch/command sys­tem in real time.”

    This is essen­tial for emer­gency sit­u­a­tions where the most cru­cial ele­ment is mak­ing sure that all of the infor­ma­tion makes it to the dis­patch­er.

    Users can now reach emer­gency ser­vice call cen­ters in 160 coun­tries, with the app work­ing to route calls to the rel­e­vant num­bers accord­ing to their loca­tion.

    Mak­ing the most out of mobile for first respon­ders

    The con­ver­gence of the rise of smart cities, fears of ter­ror-relat­ed vio­lence, and over­all mobile con­nec­tiv­i­ty has made way for a spike in inter­est for apps that make the jobs of first respon­ders just a lit­tle bit eas­i­er.

    Over the past year, the U.S. gov­ern­ment in par­tic­u­lar has made moves through dif­fer­ent projects to col­lab­o­rate with Israeli com­pa­nies on devel­op­ing these types of apps and ser­vices. In July, Geek­time report­ed on how the new U.S. Depart­ment of Home­land Security’s Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy Direc­torate (DHS S&T)-backed NextGen First Respon­der Tech­nolo­gies pro­gram gave a $1.9 mil­lion grant to star­tups work­ing on these kinds of solu­tions through the joint Israel‑U.S. Bina­tion­al Indus­tri­al R&D (BIRD) Foun­da­tion.

    One of the com­pa­nies that received fund­ing is the Tel Aviv-based SayVU Tech­nolo­gies Ltd, led by CEO Amotz Koskas. Sim­i­lar to Reporty, their prod­uct lis­tens to audio, with­out need­ing to open the app, to help pro­vide dis­patch­ers with infor­ma­tion on the sit­u­a­tion and their loca­tion.

    The pre­vi­ous month in June, the Unit­ed States Defense Department’s Com­bat­ing Ter­ror­ism Tech­ni­cal Sup­port Office (CTTSO) was in Tel Aviv for their now annu­al com­pe­ti­tion for new tech­nolo­gies and apps that can help secu­ri­ty forces and emer­gency per­son­nel. This year they includ­ed an app cat­e­go­ry, pass­ing out $100,000 to the most promis­ing devel­op­ers.

    ...

    Plans post fund­ing

    Mov­ing for­ward from this round, the com­pa­ny tells Geek­time that they intend to use the fresh­ly raised cap­i­tal to con­tin­ue devel­op­ing new tech­nolo­gies, grow their mar­ket­ing oper­a­tions, and open a U.S. branch.

    ————

    “Ehud Barak leads $5.15 mil­lion Series A for Israeli safe city app Reporty” by Gabriel Avn­er, Geek­wire, 09/27/2016

    “Reporty’s team is no stranger to the world of oper­a­tional secu­ri­ty and tech­nol­o­gy. The company’s founder and CEO Amir Elichai for­mer­ly led an elite unit in the Israel Defense Forces and comes with a back­ground in ven­ture cap­i­tal projects. He brings with him Pin­chas Buchris, who has served in the past at the Min­istry of Defense as its direc­tor. Bucharis also com­mand­ed the IDF’s sig­nals intel­li­gence unit 8200. Their VP for busi­ness devel­op­ment Lital Leshem joins the team with expe­ri­ence in the IDF’s oper­a­tions branch. The com­pa­ny also has a strong set of tech minds, with VP for tech­nol­o­gy Alex Dizen­goff com­ing from the Secu­ri­ty Ser­vices’ Cyber unit and Yoni Yat­sun, a vet­er­an of the start­up scene who is respon­si­ble for devel­op­ing the nav­i­ga­tion algo­rithms that are at the heart of the apps.”

    The for­mer Israeli Min­istry of Defense direc­tor and the com­man­der of the IDF’s sig­nals intel­li­gence unit 8200. That’s quite a series of resumes for a com­pa­ny that pro­vides instant com­mu­ni­ca­tions between users and author­i­ties and sends audio, video, and loca­tion ser­vices. And emer­gency infra­struc­ture it con­nects to include tech­nol­o­gy for mon­i­tor­ing and as of 2016 it was func­tion in 160 coun­tries. That sounds like the kind of tech­nol­o­gy that has plen­ty of dual use appli­ca­tions:

    ...
    The app works through the instant com­mu­ni­ca­tion between the user and the author­i­ties. When the user acti­vates the app with the press of a but­ton, a two-way video and audio link is auto­mat­i­cal­ly made with the dis­patch­er. By speak­ing with the caller while view­ing the sit­u­a­tion in real-time, the dis­patch­er can quick­ly assess the nature of the emer­gency as well as its cred­i­bil­i­ty, and advise the caller with poten­tial­ly life sav­ing instruc­tions. At the same time, the app uses the phone’s loca­tion ser­vices to track the user and send the response team, even if the user is inside a build­ing.

    ...

    Elichai tells Geek­time that they have used the time to devel­op a full com­mu­ni­ca­tion ecosys­tem for nation­al emer­gency ser­vices which includes mobile apps, an API for seam­less inte­gra­tion to an exist­ing sys­tem, and an emer­gency infra­struc­ture. He says that this infra­struc­ture includes tech­nol­o­gy for rout­ing, an indoor posi­tion­ing plat­form, dis­patch sys­tems, and mon­i­tor­ing.

    One of the most inter­est­ing and per­haps impor­tant aspects of their tech­nol­o­gy is in how they have designed their rout­ing sys­tem that ensures that the caller can con­nect with the dis­patch­er.

    “Our patent­ed router sys­tem has a bench­mark algo­rithm that tests (less than 2 sec­onds) the avail­able com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nels around the per­son and makes a deci­sion on how to stream the info,” Elichai explains to Geek­time. “It can be through any chan­nel IP/ umts / 2G / 3G /4G / LTE etc. The inno­va­tion is that it’s the sep­a­ra­tion of the chan­nels and how to con­nect them back at the dispatch/command sys­tem in real time.”

    This is essen­tial for emer­gency sit­u­a­tions where the most cru­cial ele­ment is mak­ing sure that all of the infor­ma­tion makes it to the dis­patch­er.

    Users can now reach emer­gency ser­vice call cen­ters in 160 coun­tries, with the app work­ing to route calls to the rel­e­vant num­bers accord­ing to their loca­tion.
    ...

    But there’s one gov­ern­ment that appears to be par­tic­u­lar­ly excit­ed about this tech­nol­o­gy: the US gov­ern­ment. And not just Reporty’s tech­nol­o­gy. The U.S. Depart­ment of Home­land Security’s Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy Direc­torate (DHS S&T)-backed NextGen First Respon­der Tech­nolo­gies pro­gram also gave a grant to Tel Aviv-based SayVU Tech­nolo­gies Ltd which is devel­op­ing a sim­i­lar app that would have the capac­i­ty of send­ing audio back to author­i­ties with­out even acti­vat­ing the app. Again, it seems like there’s a lot of dual use capa­bil­i­ty here:

    ...
    Over the past year, the U.S. gov­ern­ment in par­tic­u­lar has made moves through dif­fer­ent projects to col­lab­o­rate with Israeli com­pa­nies on devel­op­ing these types of apps and ser­vices. In July, Geek­time report­ed on how the new U.S. Depart­ment of Home­land Security’s Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy Direc­torate (DHS S&T)-backed NextGen First Respon­der Tech­nolo­gies pro­gram gave a $1.9 mil­lion grant to star­tups work­ing on these kinds of solu­tions through the joint Israel‑U.S. Bina­tion­al Indus­tri­al R&D (BIRD) Foun­da­tion.

    One of the com­pa­nies that received fund­ing is the Tel Aviv-based SayVU Tech­nolo­gies Ltd, led by CEO Amotz Koskas. Sim­i­lar to Reporty, their prod­uct lis­tens to audio, with­out need­ing to open the app, to help pro­vide dis­patch­ers with infor­ma­tion on the sit­u­a­tion and their loca­tion.

    The pre­vi­ous month in June, the Unit­ed States Defense Department’s Com­bat­ing Ter­ror­ism Tech­ni­cal Sup­port Office (CTTSO) was in Tel Aviv for their now annu­al com­pe­ti­tion for new tech­nolo­gies and apps that can help secu­ri­ty forces and emer­gency per­son­nel. This year they includ­ed an app cat­e­go­ry, pass­ing out $100,000 to the most promis­ing devel­op­ers.
    ...

    That’s all part of why so many are notic­ing par­al­lels between the Epstein saga and the Promis affair. Epstein clear­ly has deep ties to the Israeli polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment and fig­ures with close ties to Israeli intel­li­gence. He also clear­ly has deep ties to the US polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment and fig­ures with close ties to US intel­li­gence. Along with asso­ci­a­tions with pow­er­ful peo­ple across the world. Pow­er­ful peo­ple he was appar­ent­ly tasked with putting in com­pro­mis­ing sit­u­a­tions for black­mail pur­pos­es. So who, of all those asso­ciates, were the peo­ple Epstein was work­ing for vs the peo­ple he was hus­tling for the black­mail mate­ri­als? That’s still unclear, but it’s look­ing more and more like the peo­ple he was ulti­mate­ly work­ing for in both the US and Israel hailed from the right-wing. So was he work­ing for a gov­ern­ment? Mul­ti­ple gov­ern­ments? Or a pri­vate net­work of (large­ly right-wing) peo­ple with deep gov­ern­ment con­nec­tions?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 17, 2019, 4:34 pm
  19. The FBI just released a trove of old doc­u­ments relat­ed to child sex-traf­fick­ing case with pos­si­ble intel­li­gence con­nec­tions. But it’s not about the Jef­frey Epstein case. Instead, it’s a cache of old doc­u­ments that were post­ed yes­ter­day online on the FBI’s “The Vault” web­site about “The Find­ers” case. That’s the case involv­ing a group of chil­dren, aged 2–6, dis­cov­ered by police in Feb­ru­ary of 1987 under the care of two adults. The chil­dren were cov­ered in insect bites and showed signs of being kept in con­di­tions con­sid­ered child abuse. It was then dis­cov­ered the adults were mem­bers of a com­mune, the Find­ers, and the moth­ers of these chil­dren were mem­bers of the com­mune. Inves­ti­ga­tors ini­tial­ly found signs of child sex­u­al abuse and sus­pi­cions grew that the Find­ers were involved with Satanism and child pornog­ra­phy. But with­in a cou­ple of weeks the inves­ti­ga­tion was wound down and no charges were pressed.

    It was a dis­turb­ing sto­ry out of the gate. But in 1993 it got extreme­ly dis­turb­ing. In Decem­ber of 1993, the Wash­ing­ton Times (owned by anoth­er cult, the Uni­fi­ca­tion Church) pub­lished a sto­ry about alleged ties between the Find­ers has ties to the CIA. Poten­tial­ly very close ties. Accord­ing to the report, in April of 1987, a US Cus­toms agent who par­tic­i­pat­ed in the ini­tial raids on The Find­ers’ prop­er­ties dis­cov­ered that the CIA had sent employ­ees to a com­pa­ny called Future Enter­pris­es for com­put­er train­ing in the 80s. A lat­er Cus­toms report says the CIA “admit­ted to own­ing the Find­ers orga­ni­za­tion as a front for a domes­tic com­put­er train­ing oper­a­tion but that it had ’gone bad.” That agent sent those doc­u­ments to mem­bers of Con­gress and urged an inves­ti­ga­tion. As we’ll see in the sec­ond arti­cle excerpt below, the CIA vocif­er­ous­ly denied that Future Enter­pris­es was a CIA front, while acknowl­edg­ing that, yes, the CIA had been send­ing employ­ees to Future Enter­pris­es Inc. for com­put­er train­ing in the 1980s. Even more dis­turb­ing is that the vice pres­i­dent of Future Enter­pris­es con­firmed that the com­pa­ny trained CIA employ­ees in com­put­er use and con­tin­ued to do so to that day. To this day, the case of the Find­ers, why the inves­ti­ga­tion was so rapid­ly closed with­out charges, and what exact­ly its rela­tion­ship was with the CIA remains unre­solved, mak­ing it a case eeri­ly famil­iar to the Epstein child sex-traf­fick­ing net­work.

    So the FBI just data dumped 324 pages of doc­u­ments relat­ed to that case. Why now? That’s unclear, but it’s worth not­ing that the first doc­u­ment has a stamp indi­cat­ing it’s from ear­ly Novem­ber of 1993 and a num­ber of oth­er doc­u­ments appear to be from around that time. That’s inter­est­ing not only because it was about a month before the Wash­ing­ton Times made that explo­sive Decem­ber 1993 report about the CIA ties to the Find­ers, but also because the date of this data dump (10/25/2019) is almost exact­ly 25 years (a week away from 26 years) after that ear­ly Novem­ber 1993 peri­od. So if these are the kinds of doc­u­ments that were legal­ly required to be pub­licly dis­closed 25 years lat­er, this would be the last week to release them because it will be 26 years lat­er next week. So per­haps that explains the tim­ing. Although not all of the doc­u­ments are from Novem­ber 1993. Some are from 1987, some from lat­er in the 90s. And quite a few that make ref­er­ences to the CIA’s ties to var­i­ous com­pa­nies asso­ci­at­ed with the Find­ers (take a look at page 307 on Gen­er­al Sci­en­tif­ic Cor­po­ra­tion, a com­pa­ny the Find­ers appar­ent­ly tried to infil­trate). The FBI has giv­en no expla­na­tion or con­text for this dump so we’re left to guess.

    But since this case is now back in the news, and dis­turbing­ly top­i­cal giv­en the ongo­ing Epstein ‘sui­cide’ mys­tery, here’s a cou­ple of arti­cle that high­light how dis­turb­ing this case was as it unfold­ed. First, here’s a Feb­ru­ary 13th, 1987, arti­cle about the FBI drop­ping the inves­ti­ga­tion into the Find­ers just one week after six chil­dren in the cult were dis­cov­ered in con­di­tions that sug­gest­ed child abuse:

    Chica­go Tri­bune

    FBI DROPPING INVESTIGATION OF WASHINGTON COMMUNE

    Janet Caw­ley, Chica­go Tri­bune
    Feb­ru­ary 13, 1987 | Wash­ing­ton

    The FBI said Thurs­day it was ”wind­ing down” its inves­ti­ga­tion of a Wash­ing­ton-based com­mune after find­ing no evi­dence of ille­gal activ­i­ty in con­nec­tion with the dis­cov­ery of six rag­tag young­sters in a Flori­da park last week.

    And a spokes­woman for the com­mu­nal group known as the Find­ers said five mem­bers who are the children‘s moth­ers were on their way to Tal­la­has­see to try to reclaim the young­sters, who are aged 2–6.

    ”Because some­one leads an alter­na­tive lifestyle doesn‘t mean they‘re not a fit moth­er,” said Diane Sher­wood, the group‘s spokes­woman.

    Sher­wood, 50, who said she was a native of Chica­go and had attend­ed Mundelein Col­lege and Loy­ola Uni­ver­si­ty, said the five women were trav­el­ing togeth­er to Tal­la­has­see but had stopped to rest at an unspec­i­fied loca­tion.

    ”They‘re tired,” she said. ”They‘re con­sid­er­ing whether to get an attor­ney. They don‘t want to be per­ceived as women who don‘t want their kids back.”

    The case of the Finders–and the miss­ing mothers–made head­lines last week when the young­sters were found in a Tal­la­has­see park in the cus­tody of two men. Police said the chil­dren were dirty, hun­gry and cov­ered with insect bites. They charged the men with child abuse. Lat­er, they said a doctor‘s report indi­cat­ed more than one young­ster showed signs of sex­u­al abuse.

    When it became known that the men belonged to the Find­ers, and that the chil­dren were off­spring of Find­ers mem­bers, an avalanche of pub­lic­i­ty ensued that sug­gest­ed the Find­ers was a mys­te­ri­ous cult that may have been involved in satan­ic rit­u­als and child pornog­ra­phy.

    Adding to the mys­tery was the fact that none of the moth­ers had come for­ward to claim her child.

    But with­in a week, as author­i­ties com­plet­ed their inves­ti­ga­tions, things began to shift. On Mon­day, the Wash­ing­ton met­ro­pol­i­tan police depart­ment held a press con­fer­ence to say it had found no evi­dence of wrong­do­ing or satan­ic activ­i­ty by the Find­ers. Health offi­cials in Flori­da then said they found no evi­dence of sex­u­al abuse of the chil­dren.

    And on Thurs­day, Gary Shep­pard, spokesman for the FBI‘s Wash­ing­ton field office, said the FBI inves­ti­ga­tion was ”pret­ty well wind­ing down . . . At this point we have not uncov­ered any evi­dence of fed­er­al vio­la­tions.”

    He said this includ­ed no evi­dence of kid­nap­ing or using the chil­dren for porno­graph­ic pur­pos­es.

    At the Find­ers‘ home, two adjoin­ing red-brick town­hous­es in a mid­dle-class neigh­bor­hood on the fringes of trendy George­town, Sher­wood said the FBI had inter­viewed all five moth­ers before they left for Tal­la­has­see.

    Sher­wood, who said she had been a group mem­ber since 1971, said the six women in the group–herself and the five mothers–had gone to San Fran­cis­co sev­er­al weeks ago ”to write arti­cles, edit and net­work” while sev­er­al of the men in the group took the chil­dren camp­ing.

    She said she was not cer­tain about the exact num­ber of men in the com­mune, but thought an esti­mate of 14 was about right and said the oth­ers were out ”work­ing, trav­el­ing and earn­ing mon­ey.”

    When the women learned their chil­dren had been tak­en into cus­tody, she said, ”the imme­di­ate reac­tion was to go to Flori­da. But we didn‘t know what to expect. It was going into the teeth of the drag­on.”

    Con­trary to ear­li­er reports, she said, the women had, in fact, phoned Tal­la­has­see police but ”they had 500 calls from peo­ple say­ing they were the moth­ers so they (the police) just said, ‘Uh huh, uh huh.‘ ”

    Sher­wood said the women flew back from San Fran­cis­co at the request of the FBI and, ”the minute their inter­views were fin­ished, they jumped in a car and left for Tal­la­has­see.”

    ...

    John Awad, dis­trict admin­is­tra­tor for the Flori­da Depart­ment of Health and Reha­bil­i­ta­tive Ser­vices, said the young­sters remained in his department‘s cus­tody and were ”doing well.” He said they would not be released ”until we find a suit­able home for them to return to.”

    An eval­u­a­tion of the Find­ers‘ home would have to be done by the prop­er Wash­ing­ton agency, he said, and ”we‘re going to do it delib­er­ate­ly and not be rushed. It‘s going to be a while.”

    The two men found with the chil­dren, Dou­glas Edward Ammer­man, 27, and Michael James Houli­han, 28, who also uses the name Hol­well, appeared in a Tal­la­has­see court Wednes­day on child abuse charges, based on the con­di­tion of the young­sters when they were found. The judge entered inno­cent pleas for both. No tri­al date was set.

    ———–

    “FBI DROPPING INVESTIGATION OF WASHINGTON COMMUNE” by Janet Caw­ley; Chica­go Tri­bune; 02/13/1987

    “The case of the Finders–and the miss­ing mothers–made head­lines last week when the young­sters were found in a Tal­la­has­see park in the cus­tody of two men. Police said the chil­dren were dirty, hun­gry and cov­ered with insect bites. They charged the men with child abuse. Lat­er, they said a doctor‘s report indi­cat­ed more than one young­ster showed signs of sex­u­al abuse.

    Dirty and hun­gry chil­dren cov­ered in insect bites and show­ing signs of sex­u­al abuse. That was the ini­tial dis­cov­ery. This imme­di­ate­ly turned into an avalanche of spec­u­la­tion about satanism and child pornog­ra­phy. Note this was dur­ing Amer­i­ca’s ‘Satan­ic Pan­ic’ peri­od, which prob­a­bly part­ly explains the Satanism alle­ga­tions. But there was still an abun­dance of imme­di­ate evi­dence that these kids were being held in abu­sive con­di­tions and grow­ing up in a cult, and yet a week lat­er the inves­ti­ga­tion was close and the group was absolved of all sex­u­al abuse claims. It’s that extreme­ly atten­u­at­ed inves­ti­ga­tion that fueled spec­u­la­tion this group was some­one being pro­tect­ed:

    ...
    When it became known that the men belonged to the Find­ers, and that the chil­dren were off­spring of Find­ers mem­bers, an avalanche of pub­lic­i­ty ensued that sug­gest­ed the Find­ers was a mys­te­ri­ous cult that may have been involved in satan­ic rit­u­als and child pornog­ra­phy.

    Adding to the mys­tery was the fact that none of the moth­ers had come for­ward to claim her child.

    But with­in a week, as author­i­ties com­plet­ed their inves­ti­ga­tions, things began to shift. On Mon­day, the Wash­ing­ton met­ro­pol­i­tan police depart­ment held a press con­fer­ence to say it had found no evi­dence of wrong­do­ing or satan­ic activ­i­ty by the Find­ers. Health offi­cials in Flori­da then said they found no evi­dence of sex­u­al abuse of the chil­dren.

    And on Thurs­day, Gary Shep­pard, spokesman for the FBI‘s Wash­ing­ton field office, said the FBI inves­ti­ga­tion was ”pret­ty well wind­ing down . . . At this point we have not uncov­ered any evi­dence of fed­er­al vio­la­tions.”

    He said this includ­ed no evi­dence of kid­nap­ing or using the chil­dren for porno­graph­ic pur­pos­es.
    ...

    And note how the spokes­woman for the group, Diane Sher­wood, claimed to have been a group mem­ber since 1971. It gives us an idea of when the group start­ed:

    ...
    ”Because some­one leads an alter­na­tive lifestyle doesn‘t mean they‘re not a fit moth­er,” said Diane Sher­wood, the group‘s spokes­woman.

    ...

    At the Find­ers‘ home, two adjoin­ing red-brick town­hous­es in a mid­dle-class neigh­bor­hood on the fringes of trendy George­town, Sher­wood said the FBI had inter­viewed all five moth­ers before they left for Tal­la­has­see.

    Sher­wood, who said she had been a group mem­ber since 1971, said the six women in the group–herself and the five mothers–had gone to San Fran­cis­co sev­er­al weeks ago ”to write arti­cles, edit and net­work” while sev­er­al of the men in the group took the chil­dren camp­ing.
    ...

    It’s worth not­ing that Sher­wood is ref­er­enced in the new FBI data dump. For exam­ple, on page 309 of the dump, there’s a num­ber of notes going back to the ear­ly 80’s about Sher­wood and anoth­er indi­vid­ual con­tact­ing peo­ple in Pana­ma back in 1980. Some­one in Mia­mi appears to have asked the legal attache for Pana­ma (Legat, Pana­ma, in the doc­u­ments) that year, although the con­text is unclear because so much is redact­ed. But there are a num­ber of redact­ed ref­er­ences involv­ing the CIA in that sec­tion of the data dump.

    Ok, now here’s a Decem­ber 17, 1993, Asso­ci­at­ed Press report that gives the CIA’s response to the explo­sive Wash­ing­ton Times report a week ear­li­er alleg­ing that the Find­ers’ com­pa­ny that the CIA was send­ing employ­ees to for com­put­er train­ing was a CIA front com­pa­ny. The CIA does­n’t deny send­ing employ­ees to the com­pa­ny, Future Enter­pris­es, but it does deny­ing it was a CIA front com­pa­ny. And the vice pres­i­dent of Future Enter­pris­es claims the CIA is was still send­ing employ­ees there to be trained. But accord­ing to police reports and Cus­toms agent doc­u­ments from 1987, the CIA admit­ted it was an agency front com­pa­ny at the time:

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press

    Jus­tice Depart­ment Look­ing At Alleged CIA Ties To Com­mune

    CAROLYN SKORNECK
    Decem­ber 17, 1993

    WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Jus­tice Depart­ment said Fri­day it is inves­ti­gat­ing alle­ga­tions the CIA used a “front com­pa­ny” run by a com­mune to train agency employ­ees and that the CIA blocked inves­ti­ga­tion of the group.

    The CIA denied any ties to the com­mune, called the Find­ers.

    Jus­tice Depart­ment spokesman John Rus­sell said the depart­ment is look­ing into the alle­ga­tions, con­tained in Cus­toms Ser­vice doc­u­ments sent to some mem­bers of Con­gress.

    CIA spokesman David Chris­t­ian called the charges “ridicu­lous.” He said, “The alleged facts are wrong, and any impli­ca­tion the CIA obstruct­ed jus­tice is out­ra­geous. Con­spir­a­cy sto­ries abound, and they often grab head­lines in the tabloid press, but this is one of the weird­est we’ve heard.”

    The Wash­ing­ton Times report­ed Fri­day that the CIA had ties to the Find­ers, a Wash­ing­ton-based group once accused of engag­ing in Satan­ic rit­u­als, child abuse and pornog­ra­phy.

    The charges were raised in the 1980s by law enforce­ment offi­cials, but none result­ed in pros­e­cu­tion.

    Chris­t­ian said Fri­day the CIA sent some employ­ees to a com­pa­ny called Future Enter­pris­es Inc. for com­put­er train­ing in the 1980s. But the spokesman said the CIA did not know about any con­nec­tions between the com­pa­ny and the Find­ers and added the com­pa­ny “was in no sense a CIA front or ever owned or oper­at­ed by any­one for the CIA.”

    Joseph Marinich, vice pres­i­dent of Future Enter­pris­es, said the com­pa­ny has trained CIA employ­ees in com­put­er use and con­tin­ues to do so, but that it has nev­er been a front for any­one.

    “I’m shocked and appalled” at the alle­ga­tions, he said. “This is stuff that I could nev­er have imag­ined.”

    Marinich said one Find­ers mem­ber, for­mer Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice employ­ee Robert Garder Ter­rell, worked for the com­pa­ny before he was let go in Feb­ru­ary 1987.

    That month the Find­ers gained noto­ri­ety when two mem­bers were accused of child abuse in Tal­la­has­see, Fla. The men spent six weeks in jail before a judge dis­missed the charges.

    Police at one time had called the Find­ers a cult that might be prac­tic­ing Satan­ic rit­u­als, child abuse and pornog­ra­phy. But for­mer Dis­trict of Colum­bia Police Chief Mau­rice Turn­er said the depart­ment found no evi­dence of crim­i­nal wrong­do­ing.

    ...

    The Cus­toms Ser­vice doc­u­ments that have prompt­ed atten­tion to the alleged CIA-Find­ers tie include an April 13, 1987, report by a Cus­toms agent who par­tic­i­pat­ed in raids on Find­ers’ prop­er­ties in Wash­ing­ton and Vir­ginia.

    The agent sent the doc­u­ments to mem­bers of Con­gress and has pushed for an inves­ti­ga­tion, offi­cials said Fri­day.

    The Wash­ing­ton Times report­ed that the agent pro­vid­ed doc­u­ments sug­gest­ing the CIA was block­ing inves­ti­ga­tions of the Find­ers by the FBI and Dis­trict of Colum­bia police.

    The news­pa­per also said a police doc­u­ment of Feb. 19, 1987, quotes a CIA agent as con­firm­ing that his agency was send­ing its peo­ple to “a Find­ers Corp., Future Enter­pris­es, for train­ing in com­put­er oper­a­tions.”

    A lat­er Cus­toms report says the CIA “admit­ted to own­ing the Find­ers orga­ni­za­tion as a front for a domes­tic com­put­er train­ing oper­a­tion but that it had ’gone bad,” the news­pa­per said.

    Cus­toms spokesman Bill Antho­ny said Tal­la­has­see police con­tact­ed Cus­toms about the group dur­ing an anti-pornog­ra­phy crack­down led by then-Attor­ney Gen­er­al Edwin Meese III.

    “We were total­ly tan­gen­tial to all of this” and Cus­toms dropped the mat­ter when it found no Cus­toms vio­la­tions, Antho­ny said. “Nobody asked us to shut down the case.”

    ———-

    “Jus­tice Depart­ment Look­ing At Alleged CIA Ties To Com­mune” by CAROLYN SKORNECK; Asso­ci­at­ed Press; 12/17/1993

    Chris­t­ian said Fri­day the CIA sent some employ­ees to a com­pa­ny called Future Enter­pris­es Inc. for com­put­er train­ing in the 1980s. But the spokesman said the CIA did not know about any con­nec­tions between the com­pa­ny and the Find­ers and added the com­pa­ny “was in no sense a CIA front or ever owned or oper­at­ed by any­one for the CIA.””

    So the CIA def­i­nite­ly did send its employ­ees to a com­pa­ny asso­ci­at­ed with the Find­ers in the 80s. No one denies that. What is denied by the agency is that the com­pa­ny was a CIA front com­pa­ny or that the agency knew about any con­nec­tion between the Find­ers and the com­pa­ny at all. Inter­est­ing­ly, the vice pres­i­dent of the com­pa­ny also indi­cat­ed the CIA was still send­ing its employ­ees there for ‘com­put­er train­ing’ in 1993:

    ...
    Joseph Marinich, vice pres­i­dent of Future Enter­pris­es, said the com­pa­ny has trained CIA employ­ees in com­put­er use and con­tin­ues to do so, but that it has nev­er been a front for any­one.

    “I’m shocked and appalled” at the alle­ga­tions, he said. “This is stuff that I could nev­er have imag­ined.”

    Marinich said one Find­ers mem­ber, for­mer Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice employ­ee Robert Garder Ter­rell, worked for the com­pa­ny before he was let go in Feb­ru­ary 1987.

    That month the Find­ers gained noto­ri­ety when two mem­bers were accused of child abuse in Tal­la­has­see, Fla. The men spent six weeks in jail before a judge dis­missed the charges.
    ...

    But accord­ing to police doc­u­ments from the ini­tial 1987 inves­ti­ga­tion into the child abuse case, the CIA con­firmed to them at the time that it was send­ing its peo­ple to “a Find­ers Corp., Future Enter­pris­es, for train­ing in com­put­er oper­a­tions.” But the most explo­sive claim was that the CIA admit­ted to a Cus­toms agent that the agency owned “the Find­ers orga­ni­za­tion as a front for a domes­tic com­put­er train­ing oper­a­tion but that it had ’gone bad.”. The agent sent these doc­u­ments to mem­bers of Con­gress and pushed for an inves­ti­ga­tion:

    ...
    The Cus­toms Ser­vice doc­u­ments that have prompt­ed atten­tion to the alleged CIA-Find­ers tie include an April 13, 1987, report by a Cus­toms agent who par­tic­i­pat­ed in raids on Find­ers’ prop­er­ties in Wash­ing­ton and Vir­ginia.

    The agent sent the doc­u­ments to mem­bers of Con­gress and has pushed for an inves­ti­ga­tion, offi­cials said Fri­day.

    The Wash­ing­ton Times report­ed that the agent pro­vid­ed doc­u­ments sug­gest­ing the CIA was block­ing inves­ti­ga­tions of the Find­ers by the FBI and Dis­trict of Colum­bia police.

    The news­pa­per also said a police doc­u­ment of Feb. 19, 1987, quotes a CIA agent as con­firm­ing that his agency was send­ing its peo­ple to “a Find­ers Corp., Future Enter­pris­es, for train­ing in com­put­er oper­a­tions.”

    A lat­er Cus­toms report says the CIA “admit­ted to own­ing the Find­ers orga­ni­za­tion as a front for a domes­tic com­put­er train­ing oper­a­tion but that it had ’gone bad,” the news­pa­per said.
    ...

    So that whole poten­tial mega-scan­dal is what the FBI’s qui­et Fri­day data dump was all about. Was the tim­ing of the dump done out of an oblig­a­tion to make the doc­u­ments pub­lic after 25 years or was there some oth­er basis? At this point we have no idea. We just know that we nev­er actu­al­ly learned, decades lat­er, what the case of the Find­ers was all about. Much like the ‘Franklin coverup’ and the Epstein case. Which, tak­en togeth­er, is a pret­ty pow­er­ful les­son about how eas­i­ly even mega scan­dals can fall down the mem­o­ry hole.

    In relat­ed news, the Mia­mi Her­ald, which led the way towards the reopen­ing of the Epstein inves­ti­ga­tion due to its dogged inves­tiga­tive report­ing on the sto­ry, is try­ing to raise $1.5 mil­lion over the next three years to dou­ble its inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism team. Keep in mind that the Find­ers case start­ed in Flori­da so hope­ful­ly this FBI data dump gives that expand­ed inves­tiga­tive team the kinds of leads that could pull this sto­ry out of the mem­o­ry hole.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 26, 2019, 3:00 pm
  20. Here’s an inter­est­ing update on the inves­ti­ga­tion of the mys­te­ri­ous ‘sui­cide’ of Jef­frey Epstein in his jail cell despite being on sui­cide watch at the time: crim­i­nal charges are now being filed against the two guards who were tasked with watch­ing Epstein on the night of his death. The offi­cers, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, are fac­ing charges of mak­ing false records and con­spir­ing to inter­fere with the func­tions of the fed­er­al prison. The charges were unsealed on the same day the Sen­ate Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee held an over­sight hear­ing on the fed­er­al Bureau of Pris­ons, so this case unsur­pris­ing­ly came up dur­ing that hear­ing. When asked by Sen­a­tor Lind­sey Gra­ham whether or not inves­ti­ga­tors are look­ing into whether or not a crim­i­nal con­spir­a­cy was behind Epstein’s death, the top pris­on­er admin­is­tra­tor in the US, Kath­leen Hawk Sawyer, answered that, “the FBI is involved and they are look­ing at crim­i­nal enter­prise, yes.” So, while it’s hard to have much con­fi­dence in fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tions involv­ing any­thing relat­ed to Epstein at this point, it sounds like there’s at least an inves­ti­ga­tion into whether or not Epstein had ‘help’ with his ‘sui­cide’:

    Mia­mi Her­ald

    Feds file crim­i­nal charges against jail guards respon­si­ble for watch­ing Jef­frey Epstein

    BY JULIE K. BROWN AND DANIEL CHANG
    NOVEMBER 19, 2019 12:24 PM

    Two cor­rec­tion­al offi­cers respon­si­ble for guard­ing Jef­frey Epstein when he died in his jail cell in August were charged on Tues­day with fal­si­fy­ing prison records to make it appear they were doing their jobs.

    Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, cor­rec­tion­al offi­cers at the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Cor­rec­tion­al Cen­ter in Man­hat­tan, were charged with mak­ing false records and con­spir­ing to inter­fere with the func­tions of the fed­er­al prison.

    Noel and Thomas are accused of fail­ing to check on Epstein every half hour, as required, and of fal­si­fy­ing prison logs to make it appear that they had been mon­i­tor­ing the Palm Beach mul­ti­mil­lion­aire and sex offend­er on Aug. 9 and 10.

    Instead of check­ing on Epstein reg­u­lar­ly, accord­ing to the indict­ment unsealed Tues­day, Noel and Thomas “sat at their desk, browsed the inter­net, and moved around the com­mon area of the SHU (Spe­cial Hous­ing Unit).”

    To cov­er up their fail­ure, the indict­ment charges, Noel and Thomas “repeat­ed­ly signed false cer­ti­fi­ca­tions attest­ing to hav­ing con­duct­ed mul­ti­ple counts of inmates when, in truth and in fact, they nev­er con­duct­ed such counts.”

    ...

    The New York City coro­ner ruled Epstein’s death a sui­cide by hang­ing — a find­ing that has since been chal­lenged by a not­ed pathol­o­gist hired by Epstein’s broth­er to mon­i­tor the autop­sy.

    The charges were unsealed on the same day that the Sen­ate Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee held an over­sight hear­ing on the fed­er­al Bureau of Pris­ons.

    The nation’s top prison admin­is­tra­tor, Kath­leen Hawk Sawyer, told the com­mit­tee that FBI agents inves­ti­gat­ing Jef­frey Epstein’s death are look­ing at the pos­si­bil­i­ty that a “crim­i­nal enter­prise” played a role in his sui­cide.

    Sawyer, direc­tor of the fed­er­al Bureau of Pris­ons, was tak­ing ques­tions when Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham, a South Car­oli­na Repub­li­can and chair­man of the Sen­ate Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee, asked about the FBI inves­ti­ga­tion.

    “With a case this high pro­file, there has got to be either a major mal­func­tion of the sys­tem or a crim­i­nal enter­prise afoot to allow this to hap­pen,” Gra­ham said. “So are you look­ing at both? Is the FBI look­ing at both?”

    “The FBI is involved and they are look­ing at crim­i­nal enter­prise, yes,” Sawyer replied.

    Lat­er dur­ing Tuesday’s Sen­ate hear­ing, Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Repub­li­can, lam­bast­ed the fed­er­al prison sys­tem and laid out his own the­o­ry on what may have hap­pened to Epstein.

    “What hap­pened to Jef­frey Epstein is an enor­mous black eye for the BOP,” Cruz said, using the acronym for the Bureau of Pris­ons, “and yet he died in fed­er­al cus­tody. He died in fed­er­al cus­tody before he had a chance to tes­ti­fy about his crimes, about his wrong­do­ings, and about the oth­er pow­er­ful men who were com­plic­it in that sex­u­al abuse. ... There were pow­er­ful men who want­ed Jef­frey Epstein silenced.”

    Cruz float­ed “two pos­si­bil­i­ties” for what hap­pened to Epstein. The first was “gross neg­li­gence and total fail­ure of BOP to do its job.” The sec­ond, he said, was “some­thing far worse ... that it was not sui­cide but rather a homi­cide car­ried out by per­son or per­sons who want­ed Epstein silenced.”.

    The Texas sen­a­tor then asked Sawyer whether she saw “any indi­ca­tion” that Epstein was mur­dered.

    Sawyer replied: “There’s no indi­ca­tion, from any­thing I know, that it as any­thing oth­er than a sui­cide.”

    ———–

    “Feds file crim­i­nal charges against jail guards respon­si­ble for watch­ing Jef­frey Epstein” by JULIE K. BROWN AND DANIEL CHANG; Mia­mi Her­ald; 11/19/2019

    “The nation’s top prison admin­is­tra­tor, Kath­leen Hawk Sawyer, told the com­mit­tee that FBI agents inves­ti­gat­ing Jef­frey Epstein’s death are look­ing at the pos­si­bil­i­ty that a “crim­i­nal enter­prise” played a role in his sui­cide.”

    Well, at least there’s an inves­ti­ga­tion, although we don’t real­ly know how seri­ous the inves­ti­ga­tion is and if it ends with these two guards it’s hard to imag­ine it was a very seri­ous inves­ti­ga­tion.

    And note how the Repub­li­cans on the Sen­ate Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee appeared to be aggres­sive­ly rais­ing the prospect of a con­spir­a­cy to kill Epstein, with Ted Cruz also rais­ing the prospects of a planned mur­der to silence Epstein. On the one hand, it’s good to see aggres­sive ques­tion of this case giv­en the absur­di­ty of the events that led up to Epstein’s death and the body of evi­dence that that he was an intel­li­gence-con­nect­ed/pro­tect­ed indi­vid­ual. But on the oth­er hand, we can’t for­get that in the mod­ern polit­i­cal and social era for the Unit­ed States, where move­ments like QAnon thrive on spec­u­la­tive non­sense, it’s not like we can expect hon­est aggres­sive inves­ti­ga­tions from the Repub­li­cans. And it’s not like we’re going to need a con­clu­sion to this inves­ti­ga­tion for the right-wing to arrive at the con­clu­sion that Bill and Hillary Clin­ton were behind it all. For exam­ple...:

    Rolling Stone

    Trump Push­es Con­spir­a­cy The­o­ry That Clin­ton Was Involved in Epstein Death

    But this is far from the president’s first time ped­dling false infor­ma­tion

    By Peter Wade
    August 10, 2019 7:29PM ET

    Don­ald Trump, pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca, retweet­ed two tweets pro­mot­ing the base­less con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that for­mer sec­re­tary of state Hillary Clin­ton was involved in the appar­ent sui­cide of bil­lion­aire and alleged sex traf­fick­er Jef­frey Epstein on Sat­ur­day.

    US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has retweet­ed the com­plete­ly base­less con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry imply­ing Epstein was killed by the Clin­tons. He also boost­ed an account that spread a false­hood about today’s events ear­li­er in the day. pic.twitter.com/5l6dmVGLIK— Jane Lytvy­nenko ????????????????????? (@JaneLytv) August 10, 2019

    Trump’s tweets came after a Trump HUD employ­ee post­ed on Insta­gram the same accu­sa­tion of Clin­ton.

    ...

    Oth­er base­less con­spir­a­cies Trump has engaged with include that for­mer Supreme Court jus­tice Antonin Scalia was mur­dered and that Twit­ter is inten­tion­al­ly and secret­ly lim­it­ing the reach of Repub­li­cans’ accounts. And just this week his cam­paign released an ad that sig­naled the pres­i­dent sup­port­ed QAnon con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries that claim with­out evi­dence that there is a “deep state” plot of gov­ern­ment employ­ees con­spir­ing against Trump and his sup­port­ers.

    Recent­ly, Yahoo News obtained an inter­nal FBI memo that stat­ed con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries are a “domes­tic ter­ror threat” and specif­i­cal­ly men­tioned QAnon. Accord­ing to the FBI, the spread of con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries will “occa­sion­al­ly [dri­ve] both groups and indi­vid­ual extrem­ists to car­ry out crim­i­nal or vio­lent acts.” And here the pres­i­dent is, pro­mot­ing them out in the open.

    ———-

    “Trump Push­es Con­spir­a­cy The­o­ry That Clin­ton Was Involved in Epstein Death” by Peter Wade; Rolling Stone; 08/10/2019

    “Don­ald Trump, pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca, retweet­ed two tweets pro­mot­ing the base­less con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that for­mer sec­re­tary of state Hillary Clin­ton was involved in the appar­ent sui­cide of bil­lion­aire and alleged sex traf­fick­er Jef­frey Epstein on Sat­ur­day.”

    That was Pres­i­dent Trump him­self on the day of Epstein’s death. He was­n’t wast­ing any time try­ing to solid­i­fy that nar­ra­tive. Of course this is exact­ly what we should have expect­ed from Trump, espe­cial­ly giv­en that Trump him­self would actu­al­ly be one of the prime sus­pects in any sort of crim­i­nal con­spir­a­cy to silence Epstein. He’s poten­tial­ly got the motive and the cer­tain­ly has the means. But it’s also what we should have expect­ed even if Trump was­n’t a sus­pect. It’s what he does.

    So we’ll see what, if any­thing, comes from the inves­ti­ga­tion of these guards. But it’s worth not­ing that these two guards were report­ed­ly offered a plea deal last week and reject­ed it:

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press

    AP sources: Jail guards at time of Epstein death reject deal

    By MICHAEL BALSAMO and MICHAEL R. SISAK
    Novem­ber 16, 2019

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors offered a plea deal to two cor­rec­tion­al offi­cers respon­si­ble for guard­ing Jef­frey Epstein on the night of his death, but the offi­cers have declined the offer, peo­ple famil­iar with the mat­ter told The Asso­ci­at­ed Press.

    The exis­tence of the plea offer sig­nals the Jus­tice Depart­ment is con­sid­er­ing crim­i­nal charges in con­nec­tion with the wealthy financier’s death at the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Cor­rec­tion­al Cen­ter in New York in August. The city’s med­ical exam­in­er ruled Epstein’s death a sui­cide.

    The guards on Epstein’s unit are sus­pect­ed of fail­ing to check on him every half hour, as required, and of fab­ri­cat­ing log entries to show they had. As part of the pro­posed plea deal, pros­e­cu­tors want­ed the guards to admit they fal­si­fied the prison records, accord­ing to the peo­ple famil­iar with the mat­ter. They spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty because they were not per­mit­ted to pub­licly dis­cuss the inves­ti­ga­tion.

    ...

    Both guards were work­ing over­time because of staffing short­ages. They have been placed on admin­is­tra­tive leave while the FBI and the Jus­tice Department’s inspec­tor gen­er­al inves­ti­gate the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing Epstein’s death. The 66-year-old had been await­ing tri­al on charges of sex­u­al­ly abus­ing teenage girls.

    Epstein was placed on sui­cide watch after he was found on his cell floor July 23 with bruis­es on his neck. Mul­ti­ple peo­ple famil­iar with oper­a­tions at the jail have said Epstein was then tak­en off sui­cide watch about a week before his death, mean­ing he was less close­ly mon­i­tored but still sup­posed to be checked on every 30 min­utes.

    Epstein’s death exposed mount­ing evi­dence that the chron­i­cal­ly under­staffed Met­ro­pol­i­tan Cor­rec­tion­al Cen­ter may have bun­gled its respon­si­bil­i­ty to keep him alive. Guards often work over­time day after day, and oth­er employ­ees are pressed into ser­vice as cor­rec­tion­al offi­cers.

    Fal­si­fi­ca­tion of records has been a prob­lem through­out the fed­er­al prison sys­tem. Kath­leen Hawk Sawyer, who was named direc­tor of the Bureau of Pris­ons after Epstein’s death, dis­closed in a Nov. 4 inter­nal memo that a review of oper­a­tions across the agency found some staff mem­bers failed to per­form required rounds and inmate counts but logged that they had done so any­way.

    “Fal­si­fi­ca­tion of infor­ma­tion in gov­ern­ment sys­tems and doc­u­ments is also a vio­la­tion of pol­i­cy, and may be sub­ject to crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion as well,” Hawk Sawyer wrote in the memo to top prison offi­cials, a copy of which was obtained by the AP.

    The memo also not­ed that staff mem­bers who are indict­ed by a grand jury will be placed on an indef­i­nite, unpaid sus­pen­sion until the res­o­lu­tion of the crim­i­nal case.

    Epstein’s abil­i­ty to take his own life while incar­cer­at­ed at one of the most secure jails in Amer­i­ca end­ed the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a tri­al that would have involved promi­nent fig­ures. And it sparked wide­spread anger that he wouldn’t have to answer for the alle­ga­tions. He had plead­ed not guilty and was prepar­ing to argue that he could not be charged because of a 2008 deal he made to avoid fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tion on sim­i­lar alle­ga­tions.

    The Jus­tice Depart­ment has vowed to aggres­sive­ly inves­ti­gate and bring charges against any­one who may have helped Epstein. Fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors inves­ti­gat­ing the financier’s death sub­poe­naed up to 20 staff mem­bers at the jail in August.

    Attor­ney Gen­er­al William Barr — who has said inves­ti­ga­tors found “seri­ous irreg­u­lar­i­ties” at the jail — said the FBI’s inves­ti­ga­tion had been slowed because some wit­ness­es had been unco­op­er­a­tive.

    In addi­tion to the shake­up at the top of the Bureau of Pris­ons, the war­den at the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Cor­rec­tion­al Cen­ter had also been reas­signed to a desk post at a region­al office.

    ———-
    “AP sources: Jail guards at time of Epstein death reject deal” by MICHAEL BALSAMO and MICHAEL R. SISAK; Asso­ci­at­ed Press; 11/16/2019

    “Fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors offered a plea deal to two cor­rec­tion­al offi­cers respon­si­ble for guard­ing Jef­frey Epstein on the night of his death, but the offi­cers have declined the offer, peo­ple famil­iar with the mat­ter told The Asso­ci­at­ed Press.”

    Is that a sign of con­fi­dence in their upcom­ing defense? Or a sign that these guards real­ly don’t want to piss off their co-con­spir­a­tors? We don’t know. Although it’s worth not­ing that one of the two guards was­n’t a reg­u­lar cor­rec­tions offi­cer and was appar­ent­ly pressed into ser­vice that night to deal with staffing short­falls:

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press

    Ques­tions swirl around Epstein’s mon­i­tor­ing before sui­cide

    By JIM MUSTIAN, MICHAEL R. SISAK and MICHAEL BALSAMO
    August 12, 2019

    NEW YORK (AP) — One of Jef­frey Epstein’s two guards the night he hanged him­self in his fed­er­al jail cell wasn’t a reg­u­lar cor­rec­tion­al offi­cer, accord­ing to peo­ple famil­iar with the deten­tion cen­ter, which is now under scruti­ny for what Attor­ney Gen­er­al William Barr on Mon­day called “seri­ous irreg­u­lar­i­ties.”

    Epstein, 66, was found Sat­ur­day morn­ing in his cell at the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Cor­rec­tion­al Cen­ter, a jail pre­vi­ous­ly renowned for its abil­i­ty to hold noto­ri­ous pris­on­ers under extreme­ly tight secu­ri­ty.

    “I was appalled, and indeed the whole depart­ment was, and frankly angry to learn of the MCC’s fail­ure to ade­quate­ly secure this pris­on­er,” Barr said at a police con­fer­ence in New Orleans. “We are now learn­ing of seri­ous irreg­u­lar­i­ties at this facil­i­ty that are deeply con­cern­ing and demand a thor­ough inves­ti­ga­tion. The FBI and the office of inspec­tor gen­er­al are doing just that.”

    He added: “We will get to the bot­tom of what hap­pened and there will be account­abil­i­ty.”

    In the days since Epstein’s death while await­ing charges that he sex­u­al­ly abused under­age girls, a por­trait has begun to emerge of Manhattan’s fed­er­al deten­tion cen­ter as a chron­i­cal­ly under­staffed facil­i­ty that pos­si­bly made a series of mis­steps in han­dling its most high-pro­file inmate.

    Epstein had been placed on sui­cide watch after he was found in his cell a lit­tle over two weeks ago with bruis­es on his neck. But he had been tak­en off that watch at the end of July and returned to the jail’s spe­cial hous­ing unit.

    There, Epstein was sup­posed to have been checked on by a guard about every 30 min­utes. But inves­ti­ga­tors have learned those checks weren’t done for sev­er­al hours before Epstein was found unre­spon­sive, accord­ing to a per­son famil­iar with the episode. That per­son was not autho­rized to dis­cuss the mat­ter pub­licly and also spoke on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty.

    A sec­ond per­son famil­iar with oper­a­tions at the jail said Epstein was found with a bed­sheet around his neck Sat­ur­day morn­ing. That per­son also wasn’t autho­rized to dis­close infor­ma­tion about the inves­ti­ga­tion and spoke on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty.

    Serene Gregg, pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Fed­er­a­tion of Gov­ern­ment Employ­ees Local 3148, told The Wash­ing­ton Post that one of the peo­ple assigned to Epstein’s unit wasn’t a cor­rec­tion­al offi­cer, but a fill-in who had been pressed into ser­vice because of staffing short­falls.

    It wasn’t clear what the substitute’s reg­u­lar job was, but fed­er­al pris­ons fac­ing short­ages of ful­ly trained guards have resort­ed to hav­ing oth­er types of sup­port staff fill in for cor­rec­tion­al offi­cers, includ­ing cler­i­cal work­ers and teach­ers.

    The man­ner in which Epstein killed him­self has not been announced pub­licly by gov­ern­ment offi­cials. An autop­sy was per­formed Sun­day, but New York City Chief Med­ical Exam­in­er Dr. Bar­bara Samp­son said inves­ti­ga­tors were await­ing fur­ther infor­ma­tion. A pri­vate pathol­o­gist, Dr. Michael Baden, observed the autop­sy at the request of Epstein’s lawyers.

    ...

    The House Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee demand­ed answers from the Bureau of Pris­ons about Epstein’s death. Com­mit­tee chair­man Jer­rold Nadler, a Demo­c­rat, and the panel’s top Repub­li­can, Geor­gia Rep. Doug Collins, wrote the bureau’s act­ing direc­tor Mon­day with sev­er­al ques­tions about the con­di­tions in the prison, includ­ing details on the bureau’s sui­cide pre­ven­tion pro­gram.

    Inmates on sui­cide watch in fed­er­al jails are sub­ject­ed to 24 hours per day of “direct, con­tin­u­ous obser­va­tion,” accord­ing to U.S. Bureau of Pris­ons pol­i­cy. They are also issued tear-resis­tant cloth­ing to thwart attempts to fash­ion noos­es and are placed in cells that are stripped of fur­ni­ture or fix­tures they could use to kill them­selves.

    Those watch­es, though, gen­er­al­ly last only 72 hours before some­one is either moved into a med­ical facil­i­ty or put back into less inten­sive mon­i­tor­ing.

    The jail does have a video sur­veil­lance sys­tem, but fed­er­al stan­dards don’t allow the use of cam­eras to mon­i­tor areas where pris­on­ers are like­ly to be undressed unless those cam­eras are mon­i­tored only by staff mem­bers of the same gen­der as the inmates. As a prac­ti­cal mat­ter, that means most fed­er­al jails nation­wide focus cam­eras on com­mon areas, rather than cell bunks.

    Lind­say Hayes, a nation­al­ly rec­og­nized expert on sui­cide pre­ven­tion behind bars, said that cam­eras are often inef­fec­tive because they require a staff mem­ber to be ded­i­cat­ed full time to mon­i­tor­ing the video feed 24 hours a day.

    “It only takes three to five min­utes for some­one to hang them­selves,” said Hayes, a project direc­tor for the Nation­al Cen­ter on Insti­tu­tions and Alter­na­tives. “If no one is watch­ing the screen, then the cam­era is use­less. There are a lot of sui­cides that just end up being record­ed.”

    On the morn­ing of Epstein’s appar­ent sui­cide, guards on his unit were work­ing over­time shifts to make up for staffing short­ages, one per­son famil­iar with the mat­ter said. The per­son said one guard was work­ing a fifth straight day of over­time and anoth­er was work­ing manda­to­ry over­time.

    Epstein’s death cut short a pros­e­cu­tion that could have pulled back the cur­tain on his activ­i­ties and his con­nec­tions to celebri­ties and pres­i­dents, though Barr vowed Mon­day that the case will con­tin­ue “against any­one who was com­plic­it with Epstein.”

    “Any co-con­spir­a­tors should not rest easy. The vic­tims deserve jus­tice and they will get it,” he said.

    Accord­ing to police reports obtained by the AP, inves­ti­ga­tors believed Epstein had a team of recruiters and employ­ees who lined up under­age girls for him.

    ...

    Staffing short­ages wors­ened by a par­tial gov­ern­ment shut­down prompt­ed inmates at the New York City jail to stage a hunger strike in Jan­u­ary after they were denied fam­i­ly and lawyer vis­its.

    Eight months lat­er, the jail remains so short-staffed that the Bureau of Pris­ons is offer­ing guards a $10,000 bonus to trans­fer there from oth­er fed­er­al lock­ups.

    In the wake of Epstein’s sui­cide, union pres­i­dent Eric Young of the Amer­i­can Fed­er­a­tion of Gov­ern­ment Employ­ees Coun­cil of Prison Locals said a Trump admin­is­tra­tion hir­ing freeze at the Bureau of Pris­ons has led to thou­sands of vacan­cies and cre­at­ed “dan­ger­ous con­di­tions” for prison work­ers and inmates.

    In a state­ment, Young said that teach­ers, cler­i­cal work­ers and oth­er sup­port staff are reg­u­lar­ly used to fill in for guards, and many guards are reg­u­lar­ly forced to work 70- and 80-hour weeks.

    Sui­cide has long been the lead­ing cause of death in U.S. jails over­all. In the fed­er­al sys­tem, sui­cides are rar­er. At least 124 inmates killed them­selves while in fed­er­al cus­tody between fis­cal years 2010 and 2016, accord­ing to the most recent sta­tis­tics avail­able from the Bureau of Pris­ons.

    ———-

    “Ques­tions swirl around Epstein’s mon­i­tor­ing before sui­cide” by JIM MUSTIAN, MICHAEL R. SISAK and MICHAEL BALSAMO; Asso­ci­at­ed Press; 08/12/2019

    “Serene Gregg, pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Fed­er­a­tion of Gov­ern­ment Employ­ees Local 3148, told The Wash­ing­ton Post that one of the peo­ple assigned to Epstein’s unit wasn’t a cor­rec­tion­al offi­cer, but a fill-in who had been pressed into ser­vice because of staffing short­falls.”

    So one of these two guards was a fill-in who had been pressed into ser­vice due to staffing short­falls. Was that part of their rea­son­ing for not tak­ing the plea deal? A con­fi­dence that their best defense that these are the kinds of mis­takes that should be expect­ed from a mas­sive staff short­age? It’s the kind of expla­na­tion that would be con­sis­tent with this real­ly being an unforced egre­gious staffing error. Of course, hav­ing a fill-in on the night of Epstein’s death is also con­sis­tent with this being a con­spir­a­cy to ensure he died and a desire to get just the ‘right’ per­son in there to man­age it.

    It’s also worth not­ing the com­ments about the video cam­eras like­ly only being in com­mon areas and not show­ing what was hap­pen­ing in Epstein’s cell:

    ...
    The jail does have a video sur­veil­lance sys­tem, but fed­er­al stan­dards don’t allow the use of cam­eras to mon­i­tor areas where pris­on­ers are like­ly to be undressed unless those cam­eras are mon­i­tored only by staff mem­bers of the same gen­der as the inmates. As a prac­ti­cal mat­ter, that means most fed­er­al jails nation­wide focus cam­eras on com­mon areas, rather than cell bunks.

    Lind­say Hayes, a nation­al­ly rec­og­nized expert on sui­cide pre­ven­tion behind bars, said that cam­eras are often inef­fec­tive because they require a staff mem­ber to be ded­i­cat­ed full time to mon­i­tor­ing the video feed 24 hours a day.

    “It only takes three to five min­utes for some­one to hang them­selves,” said Hayes, a project direc­tor for the Nation­al Cen­ter on Insti­tu­tions and Alter­na­tives. “If no one is watch­ing the screen, then the cam­era is use­less. There are a lot of sui­cides that just end up being record­ed.
    ...

    It is true that cam­eras point­ing into cells can’t nec­es­sar­i­ly pre­vent sui­cides and will just end up record­ing them. But that brings us to one of the oth­er major anom­alies in this case: the cam­eras that showed who came and went from Epstein’s cell hap­pened to be bro­ken:

    Reuters

    FBI stud­ies two bro­ken cam­eras out­side cell where Epstein died: source

    Mark Hosen­ball
    August 28, 2019 / 4:51 PM

    (Reuters) — Two cam­eras that mal­func­tioned out­side the jail cell where financier Jef­frey Epstein died as he await­ed tri­al on sex-traf­fick­ing charges have been sent to an FBI crime lab for exam­i­na­tion, a law enforce­ment source told Reuters.

    Epstein’s lawyers Reid Wein­garten and Mar­tin Wein­berg told U.S. Dis­trict Judge Richard Berman in Man­hat­tan on Tues­day they had doubts about the New York City chief med­ical examiner’s con­clu­sion that their client killed him­self.

    The two cam­eras were with­in view of the Man­hat­tan jail cell where he was found dead on Aug. 10. A source ear­li­er told Reuters two jail guards failed to fol­low a pro­ce­dure overnight to make sep­a­rate checks on all pris­on­ers every 30 min­utes.

    He had been tak­en off sui­cide watch pri­or to his death.

    The cam­eras were sent to Quan­ti­co, Vir­ginia, site of a major FBI crime lab where agents and foren­sic sci­en­tists ana­lyze evi­dence.

    The Wash­ing­ton Post report­ed on Mon­day that at least one cam­era in the hall­way out­side Epstein’s cell had footage that was unus­able. The news­pa­per said there was oth­er usable footage cap­tured in the area.

    The U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment declined com­ment. The FBI and Fed­er­al Bureau of Pris­ons did not respond to requests for com­ment. All are inves­ti­gat­ing his death. Lawyers for Epstein also did not respond to requests for com­ment.

    Epstein, a wealthy 66-year-old mon­ey man­ag­er who once count­ed U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton and Britain’s Prince Andrew as friends, was arrest­ed on July 6 and plead­ed not guilty to sex traf­fick­ing charges involv­ing dozens of girls as young as 14.

    ...

    ———–

    “FBI stud­ies two bro­ken cam­eras out­side cell where Epstein died: source” by Mark Hosen­ball; Reuters; 08/28/2019

    “The two cam­eras were with­in view of the Man­hat­tan jail cell where he was found dead on Aug. 10. A source ear­li­er told Reuters two jail guards failed to fol­low a pro­ce­dure overnight to make sep­a­rate checks on all pris­on­ers every 30 min­utes.”

    The two cam­eras with­in view of Epstein’s cell just hap­pened to be mal­func­tion­ing that night. What a coin­ci­dence. One of so very many coin­ci­dences in this case. So we’ll see if the FBI man­ages to dis­cov­er a broad­er crim­i­nal con­spir­a­cy behind Epstein’s death or if the trail ends with the two low-lev­el guards who hap­pened to enable the one thing so very many pow­er­ful peo­ple des­per­ate­ly want­ed to hap­pen.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 19, 2019, 5:10 pm
  21. I could­n’t help but notice that a Michael Baden has been hired by the Epstein fam­i­ly to inves­ti­gate the cir­cum­stances of Epstein’s ‘sui­cide’. Could this be any­one but THE Michael Baden who has been involved in any num­ber of shenani­gans not­ed on these pro­grams over the years? See the AP report from Novem­ber 19th for more details.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/30/nyregion/jeffrey-epstein-homicide-autopsy-michael-baden.html

    Posted by Brad | November 21, 2019, 4:17 am

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