If it’s August, it must be silly season. The politicians are on vacation and the journalists are rolling up their sleeves, taking even longer lunches than usual, and engaging in unfounded speculation of a kind inimical to their remorselessly high ethical standards. Cockburn, after polishing off some proper breakfast refreshments and eating the olive that was languishing at the bottom, has been reflecting deeply on the case of confirmed sex pest Jeffrey Epstein, as well as asking around.
We’ve got a ‘billionaire’ who might not be a billionaire at all. We’ve got a pedophile associated with two presidents of the United States, including the sitting one. We’ve got A-listers galore, including at least one Spectator USA contributor. And behold, look what’s on tap: a thick slurry of conspiracy theories, enough to last a lifetime, or a lifetime sentence. Not since we all discovered that the government has a literal super-machine that sees all and hears all — and no one cared, sorry, Messrs. Assange and Snowden — has Cockburn heard such shameless and baseless gossip. It makes him wonder whether the Pizzagaters were right, only they just had the wrong pizza parlor.
The papers called Epstein a ‘hedge fund manager’, but is he? ‘The real mystery to me,’ a financier friend confides to Cockburn, ‘is where does the cash this fellow has access to come from? He is touted as a hedge fund manager but he doesn’t register in that turf.’
Epstein’s big break was getting hired by Les Wexner, a tycoon in ladies’ underwear famous for Victoria’s Secret. Epstein managed Wexner’s wad, and according to an email released to the Wexner Foundation yesterday ‘misappropriated’ some of those funds…but what else did he do? Some of Epstein’s friends all thought Leslie Wexner had a ‘much, much deeper personal relationship’ with his money man than has been disclosed, according to an estranged associate. Cockburn has no idea if this is true.
A source familiar with the matter tells Cockburn that 15 years ago there were two people in New York that everyone knew, but no one knew how they made their money: Jeffrey Epstein and Bernie Madoff. Now we know all about Bernie, but what about Jeff?
When Bernie was busted, some of his high-profile clients publicly demanded their money back. But when Jeff was jerked — in Florida in 2005 and in New York in July — nobody clamored for a refund.
So, what’s going on with Jeffrey Epstein?
Theory #1: Mossad banker
Ah yes, Israel. Essential to any serious conspiracy theory, especially when you’re called Epstein and have had your photo taken with Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak. Cockburn can report that in late 1982, Epstein was seen at a bat mitzvah in Westchester, waving his hands while talking animatedly with a man about salmon. Did Epstein handle cashish for a foreign power?
Plausibility: 3/10, because if Epstein was Mossad, we wouldn’t know, would we?
Theory #2: Russian troll
Or maybe Epstein was the king of kompromat. Or the Chinese, whose ties to leading Democratic figures has long been the stuff of legend, even back in the Nineties when Donald Trump was a Democrat, sort of. The Russians make good villains because they keep insisting on being villainous. Epstein’s homes, especially the infamous bungalows in New York and the Sunshine State, were apparently bugged. Wild Bill Clinton and Epstein’s other house guests didn’t know they were being entrapped. Did Wild Bill make the mistake of underestimating new sheriff, Vladimir I. Putin?
Plausibility: 6/10, because you should never underestimate those crazy Russians.
Theory #3: Common criminal
Maybe Cockburn is overthinking this and needs a siesta. Jeffrey Epstein was a financial fraudster who frequently rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous. He stole some money, slept with some underage girls, and his old party pals are now too embarrassed to be associated with him. They can carry the financial losses, but they’re not willing to disclose publicly, either cause they know there’s nothing to recoup, or because it’ll be too embarrassing. Epstein recorded stuff because he’s Jeffrey Epstein, pervert.
Plausibility: 8/10, but it doesn’t explain the money, does it?
Theory #4: Tax-dodger
One rumor that Cockburn’s heard while seeking cash loans in both London and New York City is that Epstein was assisting wealthy clients who wished to evade taxation. That might explain all that jetting to and from the Caribbean. It might also explain why no one has come forward to say, ‘I’m very rich. I paid Jeffrey Epstein a commission to illegally hide my money from the IRS. I can afford to do this, but you, the suckers who work away their lives day by day like dumb ants, just have to pay it.’
Plausibility: 9/10, because even Elizabeth Warren knows it’s a rigged game.
Theory #5: Eyes Wide Open
Epstein is merely the tip of the iceberg. He’s a mid-level player, one of the global elite’s sloppiest, who got caught and is now is helping to expose an international sex mafia. The honored society, indeed. Stanley Kubrick’s last film, Eyes Wide Shut, was an exposé, and that’s why Kubrick died while editing it. Take a look at this Rothschild Surrealist party from the Seventies. If all this makes sense, then you’re in deeper than you think.
Plausibility: 0/10, and if you believe that, you’ll believe anything.
Perhaps there’s a whiff of truth in all of these madcap theories. Perhaps none of them are true and Cockburn needs to stop drinking absinthe before noon. Perhaps, worryingly, we’ll never find out…