By Barry Grossman
The Epstein affair is almost molecular in the way an otherwise inert scenario has been driven into a global public frenzy by a collision of political agendas.
Most people are of course entirely focused, almost transfixed, on the salacious details of the underlying sex related charges against Epstein, albeit that other details which might reasonably call into question the veracity of the formal allegations made against him by his presumed victims have not received much attention.
Of course none of this is surprising since what otherwise appears to be just another garden variety case of moneyed and powerful people committing ordinary vice related crimes, suddenly erupted from relative obscurity to dominate several weeks of news cycles pretty much entirely because of behind the scenes machinations connected with:
1. ongoing civil proceedings commenced by victims targeting Epstein’s assets and unexplained wealth;
2. potential gains sought by strategists on both side of the political divide as a result of Epstein’s associations with people like Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and a virtual who’s who of the US power structure; and
3. decisions made within the US Department of Justice which re-characterize the received facts grounding Epstein’s initial conviction for soliciting underage girls for sex as implicating him and various unspecified others in a “human trafficking” conspiracy which targeted underage girls with intent to recruit and use them as “sex slaves.”
The problem with all of this is that the sudden emergence of legislation in recent years which, using the language of “human trafficking”, is selectively applied in cases involving people accused of being involved, either in facilitating illegal migration or in the commercialization of sexual services, is by definition political and has been conceived, in my opinion, to push agendas which have relatively little to do with targeting anything that might reasonably considered human trafficking.
The complications created by imposing this “human trafficking” framework on offenses which, by US cultural standards, is otherwise barely worthy of being considered a crime, were further aggravated in Epstein’s case by the prosecutorial advantages created by framing the first count in Epstein’s inappropriately vague grand jury indictment as a “conspiracy”, albeit that, very strangely, no co-conspirators were ever named let alone charged for being part of the alleged conspiracy. Of course that too is not surprising since most, if not all of his conspirators seem to also have been women, including some who claim or are deemed to have been his victims and it is becoming increasingly obvious that political pressure is leading to the de facto decriminalization of selling sexual services, but the criminalization of men who pay for such services. In other words, a new reality is emerging which tends to deem anyone other than heterosexual men involved in the sex industry to be victims and any men involved, be it for profit or as consumers, criminals.
Of course all of the ease with which this contrived “sex slave” and “conspiracy” framework has made for good headlines and, with the public side of this scandal having been in no small part managed by public relations professionals and political party strategists, the story quickly captured the public’s attention, with Epstein and others at the receiving end of the public’s almost universal and unqualified condemnation.
After all, there can be no doubt that, based on what we know, Epstein lived a life dominated by his degenerate obsession with perversion and commercial sex. That said, it seems lost on most people that, as far as the vice related side of Epstein’s story goes, he was in reality just a classic playboy operating on the “Hugh Hefner” model that was, for many decades a mainstream aspiration of many, if not most, red blooded American males. Indeed, the whole Epstein story would probably never have become a scandal but for unproven allegations about the indiscretions of some very powerful men.
As a result, it was necessary leverage the whole affair into the public conscienceless with the power of some “X” factor and, in this case, that “X” factor was the claim that Epstein targeted underage girls and trafficked them as sex slaves to his powerful friends, notwithstanding that the there seems to be very little evidence in the recently unsealed cases files to support such allegation. On the other hand, those same material contain quite clear indication that his victims, along with the attorneys and business advisers, were very aware of the need to imbue the entire affair with this “X” factor in order to achieve their aims.
Unfortunately, this is where the whole “preying on innocent virgins” angle goes widely astray of the mark since - even to though there may have been some incidents involving girls who had not yet reached the age of maturity, even leaving aside outcomes dictated by the (necessary) legal fiction that underage individuals are by definition incapable of giving informed consent - many other lurid details salted away in the recently unsealed court files make it clear that Epstein’s victims, were very experienced in all manner of adult matters, from the habitual use of narcotics and alcohol to sex and live-in relationships, well before they met Epstein and his crew of degenerates, after which they willingly took part in Epstein’s games of debauchery in return for quite generous payments judged by the standards which typically apply to such seedy enterprises. They were also, the record makes very clear, astutely aware of how to make money from the connection with Epstein and his crew and, in at least one instance, openly admitted destroying evidence in the form of a detailed diary documenting once victim’s experiences during the relevant period.
Frankly, while it seems likely that Epstein, his associates and, oddly enough, his “victims”, all committed some quite ordinary vice related crimes, if there was anything amounting to a criminal conspiracy involved in this case, then that conspiracy, it seems to me, is more likely to be a conspiracy by his victims to profit from the sordid affair and/or some conspiracy by Epstein and others to leverage his knowledge about the indiscretions of his powerful fiends in order to obtain some advantage.
None of this is intended to claim or imply that insofar as Epstein was or could have been proven to have had sex with underage girls on one or more occasions, or otherwise compelled such girls or, indeed, any women to provide sexual services to other people against their wishes, that the personal histories and/or apparent consent of his victims or any claim that he did not know their age, is relevant to the issue of guilt. Such considerations are, however, relevant to the assessing the credibility of his accusers’ testimony insofar as it was not corroborated by anything other than an apparent compact between them to “get Epstein” and thereby get no small part of his inexplicable wealth. Such considerations would also have been relevant to the issue of sentencing although that has now become a moot point.
What is clear is that, notwithstanding media spin and public sensibilities it fostered, there is no evidence to suggest that Epstein was a classic pedophile or rapist preying on children by forcing them into sex, let alone making a categorical enterprise out of such vile activities. He was, it seems, just another typically decadent, amoral, pervert who saw nothing inappropriate in using money to get young women to service his most base desires; that being an aim which has of course been promoted by Hollywood since the silent film era as one of the many benefits of success promised by the American Dream.
Serious questions remain unanswered
That brings me to the real issues which seem to have largely been ignored in all the lunacy surrounding the collision of agendas people rushed in to impose on this case in order to obtain some kind of political advantage. Indeed, one could be forgiven for speculating that the whole point of whipping up a decidedly skewed and hypocritical public understanding of the Epstein affair focusing entirely on the salacious details of his victim’s allegations was to distract public and official attention from the far more important concerns raised by Epstein’s activities.
For example, there are very serious questions that remain unanswered about the source and legality of Epstein’s wealth given his humble origins not so long ago as school teacher, with various allegations of related crimes involved in Epstein’s accumulation of wealth which even he valued at around $500 million. Even more important, there are very serious questions to be answered about his associations with Intelligence agencies and the extent to which any such agencies were involved in or otherwise sanctioned the activities which have received so much public attention in this case, including whether or not he was in fact part of a clandestine “honey pot” type operation which used the indiscretions of wealthy and powerful individuals, facilitated by Epstein and his crew, to extract money, favors, and information, or influence the way they exercised their power.
Related to that, there are serious questions about why his close associate, Ghislaine Maxwell, was not indicted given that Epstein’s accusers made allegations against her that were no less serious than those made against Epstein himself. Moreover, since law enforcement authorities somehow reached the view that Epstein was involved in some kind of conspiracy to sexually enslave underage girls, then surely allegations made by the same presumed victims whose allegations were considered sufficient to indict Epstein for such a conspiracy, should also be sufficient to indict other powerful individuals who they claim Epstein and/or Maxwell directed them to have sex with.
Of course, now that Epstein is no longer among us, it is unlikely that we will ever get any answers to these important questions and, frankly, it certainly seems every bit as likely that his reputed suicide was in fact an execution or perhaps even a rescue operation. No doubt many people will dismiss such speculation as lunacy, while others answer it by saying that if Epstein was considered such a threat to senior politicians and other powerful members of the establishment that one or more of them would have him killed, then surely it would have been done sooner before so much damage was done. Yet the reality is that even the wildest speculation about such matters now seems almost scholarly compared to the madness encouraged by the way both law enforcement authorities and the media have handled the vice related allegations and Epstein’s related indictment, arrest, pretrial imprisonment, and supposed suicide.
For my part, I very much doubt that his demise or disappearance, as the case may be, was in any way directly connected with politicians or other powerful individuals who seem to have had so much to lose if had been left to make statements which confirmed the untested allegations and imputations already made against them by Epstein’s presumptive victims. After all, even the political elite generally don’t have that kind of reach and when it comes to their indiscretions, any related clean up operations are left to others who proceed on a need to know basis. My own suspicion is that while it remains entirely possible that he indeed did kill himself - a possibility which, by the way, reflects scarcely any less poorly on the US criminal justice system than any other possibility - given the sheer competence with which systems already in place to keep him alive were administered, he may been either rescued or taken out by elements within the intelligence apparatus who take their marching orders from what, for lack of a better term, has come to be known as the Global Deep State, bearing in mind that it was starting to look like details regarding any connections he may have had with such agencies might come out in the wash as long as he was still on the hook and breathing.
Politicians, even heads of state, come and go, so can be sacrificed to public opinion as a result of their participation - real or imagined - in scandalous enterprises like that which, we are being told, was run by Epstein. But the US and wider Atlantic World intelligence agencies which have come to dominate all political and economic affairs are here to stay and therefore can never be left to take the kind of direct hit that was looking increasingly possible as long as Epstein was still on the hook for his alleged crimes.
With Epstein gone and no others indicted in the conspiracy he was allegedly part of, it seems that any such risks have passed and the whole affair will, with proper media management, quickly slip out of the news cycle, although there still is the not so small matter of Ghislaine Maxwell being out there somewhere. That said, it is quite clear that the recent legal machinations targeting Epstein were largely driven by moves to get hold of his assets by way of compensation and with Maxwell’s pockets apparently being nowhere as deep as what Epstein’s victims claim her throat is, I rather doubt we will see any concerted moves to keep this matter alive and get to the bottom of the core allegations by going after her.
Barry Grossman is an international lawyer and political commentator focused on human rights related issues. He has been extensively published on various legal subjects and is a frequent commentator on political affairs. He is often interviewed by Press TV and other media outlets. He received a B.Comm. from the University of Calgary in 1984 and his LLB from York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School in 1987. After working as a litigator at a major commercial law firm in Toronto, he moved to Australia to teach at the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Law in 1988. He later worked for several years as a litigation consultant to the national Australian firm of Freehill, Hollingdale & Page before later taking up a full time lectureship at Monash University’s Faculty of Law. He has resided in Indonesia since 1999.
(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)