LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
The case against multimillionaire hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein is a horrifying one. And I say that also for those of you who have young children listening. Police and prosecutors say Epstein sexually abused dozens of underage girls - some as young as 14 or 15 - and, in some cases, asked them to recruit other girls for him and his powerful friends to prey on.
But in 2008, Epstein struck a deal to plead guilty to just felony prostitution charges in state court and serve 13 months. It was a remarkable deal, which gave him immunity from federal sex trafficking charges that could've sent him to prison for life. It also left his victims, now adults, out in the cold. Miami Herald reporter Julie Brown began examining Epstein's case in 2017. And she published her findings this week. And so now she's on the program with us.
JULIE BROWN: Hi.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: The scope of accusers is terrifying. You were able to identify 80 of them - some of them in their late 20s and early 30s. Can you tell me about these women, who they were?
BROWN: Well, at the time that this happened, they were underprivileged girls who lived in West Palm Beach. And some of them lived in foster homes. Several of them were one step away from homeless, if not truly homeless. And they thought that they were just going to give a man a massage in exchange for money. But what ultimately happened is that he sexually abused them and then offered them even more money to recruit their friends and other girls in their same age. So he had a revolving door of young girls coming into his mansion in Palm Beach.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Did they have any knowledge of the deal that was struck back then?
BROWN: No. No. And it was by design. Epstein's lawyers did not want them - find out. I mean, we have a whole trail of emails and letters that went between prosecutors and Epstein's lawyers saying, we've got to keep this out of the media. We don't tell the victims. I mean, they did not want the victims to know because they feared that, had the victims known, they would've raised objections. And then the deal would've fell apart.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: The ultimate question is, why did this deal take place? And one of the people that you talk about is Alexander Acosta, who's now President Trump's labor secretary. And he was the former Miami U.S. attorney. He orchestrated this deal. Why exactly did they manage to negotiate so successfully with him?
BROWN: He had some of the best lawyers that his money could buy. He had an all-star legal team of Alan Dershowitz, Roy Black, Kenneth Starr, Jay Lefkowitz. Several of these lawyers were in a former law firm that Acosta had been affiliated with, as well. These were prominent players in the law firm of Kirkland and Ellis.
So they knew each other. So they were professionals together. And you could see in their emails everything was very amicable. You know, it was like OK. You know, we're going to do this. We're going to do that. It was very friendly. They wanted to make it go away. They never really talked about that they were going to prosecute this case.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Right. Alan Dershowitz was part of his legal team, but it wasn't only that. Your team reported that at least one victim claims that Mr. Dershowitz was one of the people who had sex with one of the many girls who was lured into Epstein's circle. Dershowitz has reiterated his denials to you. But there is a sense - right? - that this hugely connected man truly had a different set of rules attached to him in his case.
BROWN: Yes, obviously - at the same time this case was happening, Alex Acosta was prosecuting a lot of other men for pornography laws at the time the Justice Department was going after child pornography on computers. They were sending men to prison for decades for having child porn on their computers. But these were just regular Joe Schmoes. They weren't a powerful man. On the other hand, here, you had this powerful man who was actually molesting girls. And he gets off with a very light jail sentence.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: What is Epstein doing now?
BROWN: He has a private jet. You know, he flies back and forth mainly between New York and his permanent residency in the U.S. Virgin Islands. But he also - you know, over the summer, he was abroad. He was in Paris. And he still has the house in Palm Beach.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So he's basically living his life.
BROWN: Yeah, he's jet setting. He's also tried to, I think, repair his reputation, if that's possible, by donating, you know, a lot of money to mostly scientific research causes. He's donated a lot of money to Harvard University and to various other arts and science foundations.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So what would the victims like to see happen?
BROWN: The victims want to see him go to prison. They would like to see him, you know, pay for what he did. There were a number of civil claims against him. And many of the girls, if not most of them, did get some damage, money in damages. But to them, that is not real justice. To them, this is a person that should have to sit in a cell, as one girl told me, and really think about what he did wrong because, as of now, they believe - and all indicators are - he truly did not believe he did anything wrong.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Julie Brown. You can read her astonishing reporting and that of her whole team at miamiherald.com. Thank you very much.
BROWN: Thank you.
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ADMONITIONS TO A STIFF-NECKED PEOPLE
Professor Robert Weiner in The Long 19th Century (2005) tells of the emancipation of the Jews in Europe in 19th century and empathizes the importance of the Dreyfus Affair (1894-1905). Weiner writes in the study notes that accomplish his video presentation that as “racism” was deemed scientifically based and biologically determined and “racial science” categorized the world's ethnic communities into hierarchies, Jews were categorized as a race as well, with mostly negative characteristics. Where this biologically based understanding of culture became most rooted—especially in Germanic lands—racial poisoning (Judaicization) was seen as even more dangerous than in other nations, such as France, where the poisoning was understood to be more cultural.
Thus, the late 19th century saw a large number of major scholars, journalists, and religious luminaries decrying the demise of European civilization as a result of Jewish cultural, economic and biological domination and contamination; these folks called for a battle to save Europe's soul, and their message spread widely.
This agitation came to a head most pointedly in democratic France during the Dreyfus Affair at the time, at least, it got a widespread hearing, in a process of values clarification, leading to the Jewish officer's exoneration and rehabilitation.
However, a large segment among the elites continued to oppose Dreyfus's innocence, while opponents founded one of the earliest proton-fascist leagues (the Action Francaise).
CAN WE EVER HAVE PEACE IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Avraham Burg wants to defeat Hitler, but caste and class prevents this in Israel, as well among the American-Zionist in America. Burg writes that his neighbor in Israel Rami's father looks at him as if he were a Gypsy who soiled his well-groomed garden. He does not regard Burg or his family as real Yekkes, echte Yekkes, purebreds. My father is only first-generation German-born. They are Ostjuden, Eastern Jews.
His family immigrated to Germany from a town in East Galicia that was once part of Austria, then of Poland, then of Ukraine. When he was a child, he was sure that Osjude meant leper, and inferior creature that lived in the sewer. Adults pronounced the word “Ostjude” with contempt; it means the person is a cunning, primitive exploiter, an untrustworthy boor.
Burg posits that most Shoah victims were European Jews, Ashkenazi. Israel's War of Independence was also mostly an Ashkenazi war, fought by sons of pioneers who emigrated from Europe, and concentration-camp survivors who were sipped to battle in the new state joined them. The Six-Day War was different. The 1967 victory should have been a shared victory, a uniting one, belonging to both the veteran Israelis and the newer immigrants. Yet something went wrong. The old-timers and the religious Zionists snatched the victory and claimed it for themselves.
Most of the Jews from Muslim countries arrived here by surprise. It seems to Burg that the Zionist political and cultural preparation process skipped over most of the Jews who emigrated from Yemen, Morocco, Libya, Algeria, Iran, India, and other countries.
While in Europe, especially in the east, national sentiments brewed for decades in newspapers, literature, language conflicts, uniting unions, and congregating conventions, Middle Eastern Jews went on living as usual. Messianic Zionism and political activism had always existed there, but no on the same scale as in Europe. Burg is not sure that the Jewish public in the Muslim world was as thoroughly politically prepared as the European Ashkenazis. Perhaps this was for the better.
However, as Burg points out, it seems that more than six decades after his death, Hitler retains his influence of American Jews. Vulnerability can be felt in the most impressive community the Jews have ever built, a Jewry more glorious than those of Babel and Spain, even more so than German Jewry that existed between the time of Mendelssohn and of the Shoah. The potential is there for Jews to change the world for the better, if they only free themselves from the Nazi shackles.
Courageous Israel is a mini-America in the “Wild East.” It faithfully represents the American spirit in a region that is very much in need of salvation. In Israel you find frontiers and pioneers with vision just like the early American West. Israel plays the cowboy, and the Jews of America provide the strategic support that compels every U.S. Administration to support Israel. In turn, Israel supports the administration that is supported by the Jewish organizations that support Israel that supports them. What is wrong with mutual back-scratching?
There is a major weakness in this triangle of strategic alliance. Jewish voters traditional cast their votes to the Democratic Party, Jewish Republicans are relatively few in number, [except for the Neocon/Zionist]. Even in the heyday of Jewish support of Republican presidents—Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush---not more than one-third of Jess voted Republican. The American Jewish voter is apparently more concerned with domestic issues than with what the Jewish wheeler-dealers claim is good for Israel, namely a Republican President, [like Donald J. Trump].
“Good for Israel” means different things to the Jewish masses and to their leaders. It seems that instinctively, millions of Jews understand that a White House that is good for Israel should not necessarily do everything that Israel requests, but rather do what Israel needs. Furthermore an ordinary Jew, though he is affected by his family's memories and suffering for their traumas, wants his children to grow in a healthy society. He would rather integrate into a multicultural society and look forward to the future than linger, holding on to the past. He would want to preserve solidarity with the government, reducing its involvement to a minimum.
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