Splainer

Wednesday, August 11 2021


Dive In

You could say that I am privileged. I had a mic id and a cameraperson with me. If I didn’t have a mic and a cameraperson then I don’t know what would have happened. Perhaps, we may not have been having this conversation… I thought if I don’t say it and they beat me up, they will break a few bones, and I will be bedridden for one or two months. I thought if they beat me a lot, I will be bedridden for three or four months. I then thought, if I say it, I will not be able to live with the fact that I surrendered before these hate mongers.

That’s Anmol Pritam, a journalist at National Dastak, recalling his encounter with raging Hindutva supporters at Jantar Mantar on Sunday. He refused to say ‘Jai Shri Ram’ despite being threatened—and being afraid for his own safety. Pritam luckily escaped unscathed.

Big Story

Prince Andrew has a very big problem

The TLDR: Virginia Roberts Giuffre has filed a lawsuit in a federal court in New York accusing the prince of sexually abusing her—when she was a minor. The civil case may not put Andrew in jail but he is now the first member of the royal family to face such a legal action—which promises both great public humiliation and, perhaps, monetary damages. And that’s unprecedented.

 

Some quick background

This case is actually the fallout of the death of multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein—who is accused of trafficking Giuffre to Andrew. Here what you need to know about Epstein:

 

  • He was a high-profile financier best known for his lavish lifestyle and very famous friends—which included Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Bill Gates, Woody Allen, Kevin Spacey and Israeli PM Ehud Barak. Epstein once said: “I invest in people — be it politics or science. It’s what I do.”  FYI: No one knows exactly how he made his money.
  • In 2007, he was indicted for “sexually abusing dozens of underage girls, bringing them to his home for massages during which he masturbated or had intercourse with them.”
  • Thanks to a dodgy deal with the prosecution, he got off with 13 months in a county jail. While he was now a registered sex offender, it did little to cramp Epstein’s lifestyle or crimes. In 2019, he was again arrested—this time for sex trafficking minors who he recruited for his powerful friends.
  • If convicted, he would have faced 45 years in prison—but he died of suicide in his jail cell instead. An unexpected event that spawned a million conspiracy theories.

 

Epstein’s modus operandi: He and his ex-girlfriend and alleged partner in crime, Ghislaine Maxwell, groomed young girls—who they would sexually abuse. Maxwell lured vulnerable children into the network with promises of trips to the Caribbean, financial support and free flights to luxurious destinations. Then they bullied the girls into recruiting other kids:

 

“According to Joseph Recarey, the lead Palm Beach detective on the case, Epstein was essentially operating a ‘sexual pyramid scheme’... ‘He told me he wanted them as young as I could find them,’ Courtney Wild, who says she recruited 70 or 80 girls for Epstein, told Brown. ‘He wanted as many girls as I could get him. It was never enough.’”

 

The girls were then ‘passed around’ to Epstein’s famous friends—who included dear old Prince Andrew. FYI: Maxwell is currently in jail in the United States awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

 

What’s the allegation about Andrew?

First, meet Virginia Giuffre: The 38-year old was allegedly trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. She claims that Maxwell approached her when she was working at the Trump-owned Florida resort Mar-a-Lago. She was then brought to Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion. The abuse began when she was 16-years-old in 1999, and continued for several years—during which she says she was passed around to other famous men. In her deposition, she says she was ordered to give them massages: “And when they say massage, they mean erotic, OK?... That's their code word.”

 

Enter Prince Andrew: Giuffre says she was forced to have sex with Andrew on three separate occasions—and in three separate locations: Jeffrey Epstein’s home in Manhattan, his mansion in the US Virgin Islands, and in Ghislaine Maxwell’s London residence. This occurred between 2000 and 2002 — when she was still under 18. Here’s what the lawsuit claims:

 

“The lawsuit alleges Mr. Epstein and Ms. Maxwell mandated Ms. Giuffre to have sex with Prince Andrew and that she ‘feared death [or] physical injury’ if she chose not to comply due to the ‘powerful connections, wealth and authority’ the three of them held. It also says Ms. Giuffre didn’t consent to the sexual acts and alleges Prince Andrew knew her age from Mr. Epstein and Ms. Maxwell and knew ‘she was a sex-trafficking victim being forced to engage in sexual acts with him.’”

 

Giuffre also said “the prince had committed acts of sexual assault and battery that caused her severe and lasting damage.” And the lawsuit declares:

 

“Twenty years ago Prince Andrew's wealth, power, position, and connections enabled him to abuse a frightened, vulnerable child with no one there to protect her. It is long past the time for him to be held to account."

 

A key piece of evidence: This photo of Andrew with Giuffre—with Maxwell in the background, allegedly taken at Maxwell’s London residence. 

 

What does Andrew say?

He has not commented on the lawsuit. This may be smart since the 2019 BBC interview he gave to defend himself—when the allegations first became public—was a complete disaster. In it, Andrew insisted:

 

  • He does not recall ever meeting Giuffre: “It didn't happen. I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened...I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”
  • No, he can’t explain the photo—which he suggests may have been manipulated: “Investigations that we've done” can’t prove if the photograph was faked “because it is a photograph of a photograph of a photograph.” Also: “we can't be certain as to whether or not that's my hand.” And finally: “I'm at a loss to explain this particular photograph.”
  • On one of the occasions cited by Giuffre, he was having pizza with his daughter. 
  • Giuffre’s description of him “profusely sweating” at a club (in her deposition) is clearly a lie. The reason: He has a medical condition that prevents him from perspiring.  
  • And no, he did not buy her alcohol—contrary to her claims—because: “I don't drink, I don't think I've ever bought a drink in Tramps [the club] whenever I was there."

 

What will happen to him now?

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In today’s edition

Headlines That Matter

  • Taliban advances, everyone else retreats
  • Twitter prefers skinny people
  • Middle age shrinking is a problem
  • TikTok rules the world

 

A list of curious facts

  • Billie Eilish is the modern star with the biggest vocabulary
  • Hermit crabs are sexually excited by plastic garbage
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