The Talented Mr. Epstein
Jeffrey Epstein was the talented Mr. Ripley of shadowy sexual predators.
With a mind-numbing contact list, from Henry Kissinger and Bill Clinton to Prince Andrew and Mohammad bin Salman, the leering billionaire financier and alleged eugenics enthusiast evaded real punishment for almost his entire life. One might say this continued even after he was finally apprehended and facing the music for his sexual abuse and extensive trafficking ring, when he was snuffed out like a cheap cigarette.
What becomes of the case now? Victim Courtney Wild’s attempts to unseal records in court that would reveal co-conspirators and hold the government responsible is ongoing, but the case seems largely dead in the water, particularly as Epstein’s procurer and occasional sex abuse co-participant Ghislaine Maxwell has disappeared from the scene. Maxwell has reportedly fled to Israel and is now shuttling between there and other unspecified countries where she’s being protected by “powerful contacts.”
The media and Hollywood—despite Ricky Gervais’ recent remarks at the Golden Globes—remain largely uninterested in this massive story. Epstein’s Hollywood connections are numerous, including disgraced actor Kevin Spacey, who flew on Epstein’s jet to his pedophile island various times, and Harvey Weinstein, who’s currently on trial for his alleged sexual abuses. (It’s hard to forget the 2006 photo in which Weinstein is standing with Epstein and Maxwell at Prince Andrew’s party.) What about #MeToo or #TimesUp? Do such movements not apply to a pedophile like Epstein who raped and psychologically tortured preteens for decades?
So many details of Epstein’s abuses and sex trafficking operations remain unknown, as do numerous aspects of his close associates, potential connections with various intelligence agencies, and where and exactly how he obtained his copious amounts of money. The disturbing accounts of his victims and his years of being shepherded away from punishment indicate that Epstein was a man of limitless arrogance—a man who knew he was protected at the highest levels. In fact, reports from the Virgin Islands allege that Epstein was trafficking 12-year-old girls to his private island of Little St. James as recently as 2018.
Epstein victim Virginia Guiffre—who has faced credible death threats for coming forward about her past abuse, allegedly at the hands of Prince Andrew—put it this way as she was walking past Epstein’s vacant Manhattan palace with a reporter: “Being a kid I didn’t even really realize what world I was being brought into. I was abused by people that I can’t even mention here. There’s a lot of scars hidden behind those walls. It should be ripped down. It should be burned to the ground.”
Maxwell and Epstein would often specifically target children in lower-income neighborhoods for grooming, offering kids a wonderful life serving Epstein with all the money, education, and adventures they could hope for. Epstein sexually molested numerous young girls and reportedly demanded sex three times a day from whoever was on hand. He also paid his victims a commission if they found more girls for him, with a premium placed on those who were a younger age.
Around half of Americans polled believe Epstein was murdered. But apart from that, who was Epstein? Who was he working for and why exactly? Epstein’s Israel connections are extensive. He was reportedly tied to former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak who received millions from an Epstein-funded organization created to support Jewish and Israeli professional successes. Barak’s services that led to the payoff are unknown and he won’t say anything apart from claiming they were “research-related” (although Barak did threaten to sue media organizations that reported the story). After photos surfaced of Barak entering Epstein’s house in 2016 with his face hidden, he scoffed at allegations of wrongdoing, saying he was there for “lunch or a chat.”
How did Epstein get rich? Money laundering via hedge funds and other methods? Spying for Israel, Saudi Arabia, and possibly certain American interests? Or direct funding from Victoria’s Secret billionaire Les Wexner? For his part, Trump’s former labor secretary Alexander Acosta—who says he was ordered by unspecified higher-ups to give Epstein a slap on the wrist while serving as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida—claimed he was told at the time that Epstein “belongs to intelligence, leave him alone.” Journalist Vicky Ward said Epstein “definitely trades in the knowledge he has over the rich and famous, and uses it for leverage. He also introduces rich and famous people, like Bill Clinton, like Donald Trump, to girls.”
Epstein routinely bragged about his tight friendship with Jamal Khashoggi-chopping madman Mohammad bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, and had a wide circle of associates, many of whom are notable for their fondness or policy flexibility towards Israel and Israeli interests. Maxwell’s press baron father Robert was himself reportedly a spook. He died in 1991 on his Lady Ghislaine yacht near the Canary Islands, shortly after it was revealed that he was allegedly spying for Israel. Maxwell was given a state funeral befitting a national hero before being buried in Israel, with then-prime minister Yitzhak Shamir stating that Maxwell “has done more for Israel than can today be said.”
Incidentally, Shamir’s spokesman at the time, Ehud Gol, dismissed claims that Maxwell had been with Mossad as leveled by Seymour Hersh as “nonsense.” Regardless of whether he was conducting espionage or not, Maxwell was one of the most important supporters Israel has ever had and was even key in Israel gaining air superiority among their hostile Arab neighbors by turning post-war Czech factories into production facilities for Israeli fighter jet parts.
Could these allegations, if true, help explain why Ghislaine Maxwell is reportedly being protected by Israel?
Was Epstein a Mossad honeypot to get blackmail kompromat on everyone from Bill Clinton to the Saudis or just a freelancer? Former business associate and scam partner in a massive Ponzi scheme Steven Hoffenberg is quoted in a new book, by Dylan Howard, Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales, claiming that Epstein was in fact a top Mossad spy and was taken out precisely because he was becoming too much of a liability. The claims that Epstein and Maxwell ran a Mossad honeypot are echoed by former Israeli spy Ari Ben Menashe in the same book, saying the two blackmailed politicians for info on behalf of Mossad. ***
Menashe also claims that Epstein was introduced to the idea of working with Israel by Robert Maxwell prior to Epstein’s meeting and partnership with Ghislaine Maxwell, and that Maxwell wanted to bring Epstein into the weapons dealing on the Iran Contra scheme (with which Menashe was reportedly involved).
The Epstein case should be important to everyone who cares about the truth because it marks the dividing line between cynical resignation and uncovering the facts no matter how disgusting or who they might implicate. The Epstein case and the cast of depraved vampires surrounding it may involve espionage, blackmail, money laundering, and many other sick things that attended the trafficking of teenage girls, but it is also characterized by a brazen dismissal of the law. If those at the top are exempt from the rules, society will eventually collapse and vigilantism will become the norm. Elites engaging in abuse and exploitation is nothing new, from the ancient Mayans to the Romans to the European ruling class of medieval times. But in today’s flagrantly self-righteous #MeToo environment, it is particularly important that the establishment and liberal culture faces up to the monsters it has in its midst—and has arguably helped create by accepting their money and support.
***Editor’s Note: The story has been modified to clarify that Hoffenberg and Menasche were both quoted in the Dylan Howard book.
Paul Brian is a freelance journalist. He has reported for the BBC, Reuters, and Foreign Policy, and contributed to The Week, The Federalist, and others. You can follow him on Twitter @paulrbrian or visit his website www.paulrbrian.com.