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Jeffrey Epstein RIP: But Many More Questions Remain to be Answered

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | August 10, 2019

The Jeffrey Epstein saga goes on even though convicted pedophile Epstein himself has been found hanged in his jail cell in Manhattan. One has to wonder how he managed to kill himself, if that is indeed the case, as he was reportedly on suicide watch at the prison and it is to be presumed that he had been stripped of any clothing or accoutrements that would have been usable to that end. So, he is dead but did he do it himself or was he helped? There are many prominent individuals and powerful government agencies that will be very pleased that he is gone as most of his secrets will have gone to the grave with him.

There was certainly a warning that something might happen. Two weeks ago, he was reportedly found unconscious in his jail cell with marks around his neck. It was suggested that he might have tried to kill himself or, alternatively, had been beaten up by another inmate. There was also considerable speculation that some aggrieved part of the Deep State was trying to kill him to silence him.

The subsequent press reports revealed that Epstein had been taken to a hospital, but there has been no follow-up about his condition or status apart from a brief note that he had been returned to the same jail under suicide watch. In any event, the story had pretty much died, which is precisely what a lot of the high rollers and politicians who became involved with Epstein would have liked to see happen. Nevertheless, investigations of the “Affair Epstein” reportedly were continuing at the federal level as well as in New York State and Florida.

The most recent elaboration of the Epstein saga prior to his death came from his former patron Leslie Wexner, the canny Jewish business tycoon who built an Ohio based fashion empire called L Brands from scratch. L Brands, by the way, includes Victoria’s Secret, which features young women strutting around in their underwear. The 81 year old Wexner claimed in a 564 word letter that the wily Epstein “misappropriated vast sums of money” from him. In the letter Wexner admitted to having lost at least $46 million from his family money, but some media accounts are suggesting that the fraud amounted to much more, possibly as much as $500 million. And the alleged theft also extended to property, to include the series of transactions that left Epstein possessing the Upper East Side mansion where he resided and did his filming of celebrities having sex with young girls, estimated to be worth $56 million, as well as the commercial airliner that became the Lolita Express and a yacht.

*(Leslie Wexner. Credit: American Academy of Achievement/ YouTube)

Now, either sum of purloined money is not exactly pocket change even for multi-billionaire Wexner, even if rag trade magnate was enamored of the massages he was getting at Epstein’s house. It would take an extremely poor businessman to be unaware of losing that kind of money and that much property unless his name were Donald Trump.

Wexler claimed that he began to sever ties with Epstein in 2007, after Florida authorities charged Jeffrey in early 2006 with multiple counts of molestation and unlawful sexual activity with a minor. In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to state charges of solicitation of prostitution from a minor and was required to register as a sex offender, but he received an astonishingly mild jail sentence of eighteen months with a private cell, unlimited visitors including young women, and daily release so he could be picked up by his driver to go to work in his Palm Beach office, a bit of incomprehensible leniency that is currently being subjected to criminal investigation by the state of Florida. After the sentence was handed down the county sheriff observed that “He was astonished that [Epstein] had to go to prison at all.”

Indeed, the entire Florida side of the Epstein story seems to have disappeared down some memory hole. Epstein was convicted for his involvement with prostitution, but the only remaining issue was the consequences that he faced. That is where other players stepped in, including Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz, Palm Beach county state attorney Barry Krischer, and the Miami office U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta.

*(Barry Krischer (L) Alex Acosta (R)

My belief that Jeffrey Epstein was an intelligence agent is based principally on Acosta’s comments when being cleared by the Trump transition team. He was asked “Is the Epstein case going to cause a problem [for confirmation hearings]?” … “Acosta testified that 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.’”

The questions about Epstein remain even though he is gone, but one fears that the authorities will be disinclined to further investigate a dead man. It appears that no one in the various investigative agencies or the mainstream media has been interested in what Acosta meant, even though it would be simple enough to ask him. Who told him to back off? And how did they explain it? And then there is Epstein’s Austrian passport. Was it fake or real, with a real name and photo substitution or alternation of both picture and name? How did he get it? Austrian passports are highly desirable in intelligence circles because the country is neutral and its holders can travel just about everywhere without a visa.

And there’s more. As a former intelligence officer myself, there is little doubt in my mind that what Epstein did and how he did it was an intelligence operation. There is no other viable explanation for his filming of prominent politicians and celebrities having sex with young girls. And as for the question of whom Epstein might have been working for, the most likely answer is Mossad. The CIA would have had no interest in compiling dossiers on prominent Americans, but American movers and shakers like Bill Clinton, with his 26 trips on the Lolita Express, former Governor Bill Richardson, or former Senator George Mitchell are precisely the types of “agents of influence” that the Mossad would seek to coerce or even blackmail into cooperation.

Other compelling evidence for a Mossad connection came from Epstein’s relationship with Ghislaine Maxwell, who reportedly served as his key procurer of young girls. Ghislaine is the daughter of Robert Maxwell, who died or possibly was assassinated in mysterious circumstances in 1991. Maxwell was an Anglo-Jewish businessman, very cosmopolitan in profile, like Epstein, a multi-millionaire who was very controversial with what were regarded as ongoing ties to Mossad. After his death, he was given a state funeral by Israel in which six serving and former heads of Israeli intelligence listened while Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir eulogized: “He has done more for Israel than can today be said.”

Israel and high-profile Jewish players also have continued to turn up like bad pennies in the Epstein case, but no one seems to be interested in pursuing that angle. Epstein clearly had contact with former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak and Wexner also had close ties to the Jewish state and its government. Barry Krischer, who may have been the source of the comments to Acosta, has received the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) award. Evidence also suggests that Krischer, cooperating with rabidly pro-Israel Epstein lawyer Alan Dershowitz, played a key role in the failure to adequately punish Epstein for his conviction for pedophilia.  According to a recent New Yorker story, the police investigators of the Epstein case observed that “the tone and tenor of the discussions of this case with Krischer changed completely” after his meetings with Dershowitz. At that point, the two detectives most involved in the case found themselves under extreme pressure. They were surveilled constantly by private investigators and they even had their household trash snatched and searched. And the resulting plea agreement with Krischer “…was due to the efforts of Dershowitz, who had proceeded to attack and smear the victims.”

Krischer claims that his office “subpoenaed witnesses took evidence to a Grand Jury, which returned a single felony count indictment against Epstein of soliciting prostitution,” but the reality appears to be that he worked with the defense to get Epstein off. There was plenty of evidence based on more than forty interviews with victims to convict Epstein, but instead of having him arrested, Krischer instead set up the Grand Jury with no mention of underage victims to mitigate the possible consequences. He also did not inform the victims of what he had arranged so they could challenge the verdict and penalty, a violation of Crime Victims Rights Act.

The Palm Beach police who worked the case at the time told The Miami Herald as part of an investigation published in November that they felt pressured by Krischer to downgrade Epstein’s case to a misdemeanor, or to drop it entirely. They said “the fix was in.” Acosta, more recently, did not refer to Krischer by name during an early July news conference, but spoke of the Palm Beach County state’s attorney. He described his own office as stepping in to ensure Epstein faced some form of punishment. “Simply put, the Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office was willing to let Epstein walk free. No jail time. Nothing,” Acosta said. “Prosecutors in my former office found this to be completely unacceptable, and we became involved.”

After thirteen months in country club jail in Palm Beach, Epstein was released. At his mansion in New York City, he subsequent had an artist paint a mural of himself in jail, evidently as an insider joke for those who knew about his time behind bars. End of story? Not exactly, even though Epstein is now dead. But the key questions go unanswered including was he a spy for Israel? And what about the Krischer-Dershowitz connection that kept him from being punished commensurate with his crimes? Did those instructions also come from Israel or from its friends in the U.S. Justice Department? Will the three simultaneous investigations currently taking place even continue and ask the right questions now that the target of the investigation is gone? Given the high stakes in the game, quite likely, there will be a cover-up both of how Epstein lived and how he died. We the public will never know what Epstein was all about.

Philip M. Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served nineteen years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain. He was the CIA Chief of Base for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and was one of the first Americans to enter Afghanistan in December 2001. Phil is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a Washington-based advocacy group that seeks to encourage and promote a U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East that is consistent with American values and interests.

August 10, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , | 7 Comments

Suicide (non-)watch: What we know about Jeffrey Epstein’s death… and what we don’t

RT | August 10, 2019

The apparent suicide of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein immediately spawned allegations of prison negligence and even murder – and no wonder, given the confusing, scarce data available. Here’s what we know.

It’s been confirmed that Epstein was found dead in his cell in the special housing unit of New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center on Saturday morning at around 6:30am EST.

‘Apparent suicide’

Lifesaving measures were “initiated immediately by responding staff,” and Epstein was transported to hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the Bureau of Prisons said on Saturday. The Bureau called his death an “apparent suicide,” althought an investigation has yet to determine this conclusively.

A number of officials told media outlets that Epstein had hanged himself in his cell, but no one, at the time of writing, has confirmed this publicly.

An FBI investigation has also been opened, and Attorney General William Barr later announced a Justice Department probe into Epstein’s death, which he also called an “apparent suicide.”

The 66-year-old, a convicted pedophile, had been held at the New York prison since his arrest last month on child sex trafficking and conspiracy charges. He pled not guilty to the charges, which carried a penalty of up to 45 years in prison.

Was he on suicide watch?

At the time of his death, Epstein was rumored to have been on suicide watch. According to Bureau of Prisons policy, inmates on suicide watch are to kept under “direct, continuous observation,” in a room that allows “unobstructed vision of the inmate at all times.”

Epstein was supposedly kept under this supervision after he was found semi-conscious on the floor of his cell two weeks ago, with marks on his neck. Speculation in the media immediately turned to how a man on suicide watch could have possibly killed himself. According to BOP policy, in addition to the constant monitoring, a suicidal inmate’s cell “may not have fixtures or architectural features” that would enable self-harm, such as hooks or bunks that could be used to tie a rope around.

However, one source told Reuters that Epstein had been taken off suicide watch some time since his first apparent attempt on his own life. Photos published by the New York Post lend some credence to this report, as they show Epstein’s body being wheeled into hospital on a gurney, clad in the standard-issue prison jumpsuit, instead of the paper dress or ‘suicide smock’ usually given to these inmates.

Camera malfunction?!

Regardless, inmates at MCC are said to be checked in on every 30 minutes throughout the night. When guards are away on their patrols, video surveillance usually picks up the slack. However, BOP policy does not mandate video surveillance of either suicide watch or regular cells.

According to a report by a former Al Qaeda prisoner however, MCC staff monitor high-security cells with two video cameras, one above the shower and another above the toilet or bed. Epstein had been kept in this same extra-security area of the prison, a New York Times source said.

Additionally, a BOP audit last year found that cameras are “placed strategically throughout the institution,” and are “sufficient” to ensure the safety of inmates and staff.

Rumors circulated on Saturday that the cameras supposedly monitoring Epstein had mysteriously “malfunctioned” at the time of his death, adding fuel to the theories of foul play already circulating. However, these rumors can be traced back to an unsubstantiated tweet by right wing commentator Michael Coudrey, which was picked up and spread by a suspicious public.

Though it may still emerge that there was a “camera malfunction” overnight, that claim has not yet been verified.

What happens next?

Pending further investigation, rumors will likely continue to circulate. Epstein’s death came at a suspicious time, occurring just one day after court documents were unsealed alleging that Epstein procured young girls for some of the world’s most powerful and wealthiest men, including British Prince Andrew, billionaire investor Glenn Dubin, former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, and a number of other unnamed foreign political and business figures.

As Epstein was the only defendant in the case against him, the trail now goes cold.

However, in a court filing last month, the government said it was pursuing an “ongoing investigation of uncharged individuals” connected to Epstein, and a source told Reuters on Saturday that the investigation will continue despite Epstein’s death.

August 10, 2019 Posted by | Deception | | 6 Comments

Amazon Plant In China Accused Of Forcing High School Interns To Work 60 Hour Weeks

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 09/2019

In addition to not paying taxes and putting the entire brick and mortar retail industry out of business single-handedly, Amazon has now opened itself up to even more criticism. The company is being accused of using a Chinese assembly plant that relies on temporary workers, including high school interns, and overtime limits set beyond law, according to Bloomberg.

In fact, Foxconn fired two executives from the plant, which assembles Echo speakers and Kindle e-readers, in response to a labor group’s allegation that it cut wages and broke labor laws. This marks the second time that Amazon and its Taiwanese peer have been under scrutiny for the treatment of workers at the Hengyang plant.

The plant’s chief and head of human resources were fired, while managers at the plant who were responsible for using interns were “punished”, according to Foxconn. 

China Labor Watch said:

 “Amazon and Foxconn responded that they would make improvements to the factory’s working conditions. However, CLW’s 2019 investigation found that Foxconn’s working conditions did not improve, and instead deteriorated.”

The labor group deemed the factory’s wages too low to support a “decent standard of living last year”. Since then, they’ve been slashed another 16% in 2019.

The poor salary hasn’t been enough to fill the company’s 58 assembly lines, which require 7,000 people to operate during peak production, which begins in July. To fill the void, Foxconn instead tapped interns as young as 16 from vocational schools, some of which were forced to work overtime.

One 17 year old computing major at a vocational school, who was responsible for putting protective film over Amazon Echo Dots, said she worked 40 hour work weeks. She was then asked to start working overtime and put in 60 hour work weeks. When she complained to the manager, she reportedly was warned by her teacher that turning down the work could jeopardize her graduation. 

Foxconn admits that its proportion of contract workers and student interns had “on occasion exceeded legal thresholds and that some interns had been allowed to work overtime or nights”.

“We were not in full compliance with all relevant laws and regulation,” Foxconn said. The company continued, in a statement:

“Effective immediately, the percentage of interns assigned to that facility will be brought into full compliance with the relevant labor law.”

The specific allegations made by the China Labor Watch report included:

  • Interns from local vocational schools accounted for more than 20% of the plant’s current workforce, double the levels permitted by law
  • Such student workers were forced to work night shifts and overtime, in violation of the law, and that some interns were physically and verbally abused by teachers overseeing their work
  • The factory used “dispatch workers” — similar to temporary staff in the U.S. — for around one in three positions at the plant, in excess of the 10% permitted by law
  • Some 375 workers had been asked to work overtime on Sunday without receiving makeup days off, contrary to labor rules that stipulate at least one scheduled day off per week

Foxconn has battled criticism of how it has treated its workers for over a decade now. Those critiques came to a head in 2010 when a rash of suicides by workers at the company forced it to make a major overhaul of how it treated workers. 

A report from China Labor Watch last year once again shone a spotlight on the company, as well as on Amazon. Amazon claims that it asked Foxconn to make changes in 2018 after a labor audit of the Hengyang facility showed similar overtime violations. Amazon’s investigators arrived on site Wednesday and the company says it has started doing “weekly audits” of the labor issue. Let’s see how long that lasts.

Amazon commented: “We are urgently investigating these allegations and addressing this issue with Foxconn at the most senior level.”

August 10, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , | 3 Comments

China backs the opening of Kashmir file in UNSC

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | August 10, 2019

The “special and emergency visit” by Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to Beijing on Friday August 9 has been highly successful in getting China to voice open support for Islamabad’s proposed move to raise the Kashmir issue in the UN Security Council.

From both Pakistani and Chinese accounts, the outcome of the meeting between the Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Qureshi conveys a significant “pro-Pakistan” shift in Beijing’s stance apropos the situation around J&K, which was more or less on neutral ground initially. (See my blog China reacts to J&K, India demands reciprocity.)

How far the reference to China’s “internal affairs” in the MEA spokesman’s remarks on August 6 (which appeared to be a knee-jerk reaction) provoked Beijing is a moot point now. Indeed, Qureshi’s air dash to Beijing signalled Pakistan’s desperate need of Chinese open support and China cannot afford to be seen wanting.

According to the Xinhua report, the cutting edge of Wang’s remarks lies in his listing of the UN Charter (which upholds international peace and security, fundamental human rights, adherence to international law and obligations of member states to adhere to treaties, etc.), relevant resolutions of the UN SC on Kashmir (on the status of J&K, holding of plebiscite, UNMOGIP, etc.) and the bilateral agreements between Pakistan and India (Shimla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration) — in that sequence as the road map on Kashmir.

China has de facto pledged support to Pakistan when the latter raises the Kashmir issue in the UN SC. Wang doubled down on Beijing going the whole hog to support Pakistan: “China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic partners and have always understood and supported each other on issues concerning core interests, which is also a good tradition that both countries should cherish. China will continue to firmly support Pakistan in safeguarding its legitimate rights and uphold fairness for Pakistan in international affairs.”

Qureshi reciprocated subsequently by telling the media in Beijing, “Pakistan is not looking at the military option. We are rather looking at political, diplomatic and legal options to deal with the prevailing situation.” Wang reportedly advised Qureshi that Pakistan should prioritise its national development and peace in South Asia and seek a new path of peaceful co-existence with India.

The Radio Pakistan reported that the Wang-Qureshi meeting lasted for two and half hours, which suggests that substantive discussions took place regarding strategy on Kashmir. The Pakistani report said Wang also agreed that “steps taken by India are unilateral that have changed the status quo and structure” of J&K and “could jeopardize the peace and stability in the region.” It added that Wang “was in concurrence that Jammu and Kashmir has been recognized as a disputed region and its resolution should also be in the light of UN resolutions.”

The overt, dramatic shift in the Chinese stance against Indian interests would have taken into account the ambivalence in the US position on Kashmir. Against the backdrop of the controversial remarks by President Trump to mediate on Kashmir, the US state department spokesperson, when asked on Friday’s press briefing in Washington, blithely passed the buck to the White House.

The spokesperson also underscored, “Obviously, we just had Prime Minister (Imran) Khan here, not just because of Kashmir. That’s certainly an incredibly important issue and something that we follow closely, but we have a host of issues that we work with India on quite closely and that we work with Pakistan on quite closely. I would say that we are – as a State Department, we are incredibly engaged in Southeast Asia.”

During the coming week, two senior US officials are landing in Delhi at the same time — US deputy secretary of state John Sullivan (corresponding to ministerial rank) and Acting deputy secretary of state in charge of South Asia Alice Wells. Sullivan is reaching Delhi from Bhutan while Wells who was on a scheduled visit to Islamabad has extended her tour by travelling to India as well.

By the way, Sullivan becomes the highest ranking US official to visit Bhutan in decades. His visit signals a Churchillian approach in the US policies toward China lately — “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills.” Historically, this is the first time that Bhutan finds itself being courted as a frontline state in the Cold War cockpit.

Clearly, Sullivan’s visit augurs the same centrality to Bhutan in the US geo-strategy that Washington has lately begun attaching to Mongolia. In June, US National Security Advisor John Bolton visited Ulaanbaatar; in July, President Trump hosted Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga in the White House; by August already, the US Defence Secretary Mark Esper touched down in Ulaanbaatar on a daylong follow-up visit “to expand their military training, joint exercises and defense intelligence sharing”, according to Stratfor, US think tank wired into the security and defence establishment.

The big question is, whether Sullivan is delivering an invitation from Trump to the Dragon King of the Kingdom of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.

Equally, there is the likelihood that the US may seek the establishment of intelligence outposts in Bhutan. En route to Mongolia, Def Secy Esper told reporters openly that the US is working to build relationships with key countries in the Indo-Pacific that share values and respect for each other’s sovereignty, “whether it’s Mongolia this trip, Vietnam, a future trip, Indonesia, other countries who I think are key.”

In a reference to China, Esper said, “We’ve got to be able to compete with them.” An AP report quoted a senior US official that the US seeks to expand its defense and intelligence cooperation with Mongolia, noting that its location makes it ideal for listening posts and monitoring stations for peering into both U.S. adversaries.

According to the US state department, Sullivan “will explore expanding and deepening our ties with the government and people of Bhutan.” Of course, any significant expansion of US-Bhutan relations can only happen with the concurrence and approval of India. This is where Chinese sensitivities arise.

Possibly, Beijing senses that Sullivan’s Bhutan trip figured in the meeting between foreign minister S. Jaishankar and his American counterpart Mike Pompeo in Thailand recently. Sullivan is expected to meet Jaishankar.

Most importantly, the state department announcement on Thursday implied that Sullivan’s visits to Thimpu and Delhi are a back-to-back mission with the aim “to advance the United States’ partnership with two nations that are critical to preserving the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region.”

To be sure, Beijing would have taken note that the fizz has gone out of the Wuhan Spirit — with just a couple of months left for the visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to India in October. The Wang-Qureshi meeting testifies to it.

August 10, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

4 Palestinians Killed by Israeli Forces at Gaza Border

By Ali Salam | IMEMC | August 10, 2019

Four Palestinians were shot and killed by Israeli forces for allegedly coming too close to the border fence between Gaza and Israel, east of Dir al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, according to Israeli media sources.

Israeli forces stationed along Gaza borders to the east of Khan Younis reportedly opened fire on a group of Palestinians after they allegedly approached the Israeli-installed barbed-wire fence along Gaza’s border with Israel, shooting and killing four.

The identities of the Palestinians remain unknown.

Israeli sources claimed that the group of Palestinians had fired toward the military base at the border, and there was an exchange of fire.

The Israeli Ynetnews said that the Golani Brigades that opened fire on the Palestinians are the same Brigade that came under fire two days ago, when two soldiers were injured.

Following the shooting of the two Palestinians, the Israeli airforce dropped bombs on what they claimed were two observation posts for the Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas party.

Military vehicles also invaded the area east of Dir al-Balah and began combing the area.

Israel has imposed a buffer zone inside the Gaza Strip along the border between Gaza and Israel, preventing Palestinians from reaching their lands near the border fence. It regularly opens fire at anyone who enters that buffer zone.

In a fact sheet about Israeli attacks on border areas and their consequences, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said, “preventing Palestinians from accessing their lands and fishing areas violates numerous provisions of international human rights law, including the right to work, the right to an adequate standard of living, and the right to the highest attainable standard of health.”

August 10, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 4 Comments