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By Jason Michael
PRINCE ANDREW’S INTERVIEW with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis was, and I hate to admit it, electrifying viewing. Given that it has topped social media trends for two whole days, there is no denying the fact that this interview has really touched on a nerve right at the heart of British society. In the blue corner, the royal establishment, the Conservatives, and the monarchists are frothing at the mouth; it was a massive mistake, they are shouting, that he ever consented to give such an interview – and, yes, it was a mistake. In the red corner – where pretty much everyone else lives, the mood is a disturbing mixture of outrage and delight. Outrage that this is all about the trafficking and sexual exploitation and abuse of children, and delight that Andrew – the son of Mrs Saxe-Coburg und Gotha – has been caught coughing and clearing his throat, looking shifty as hell, in the spotlight.
So, was Andrew, a “senior member of the royal family” involved in the sexual abuse of minors procured for just that purpose by Jeffrey Epstein’s girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell – Prince Andrew’s long-time personal friend and the daughter of disgraced tycoon Robert Maxwell – for Epstein and his cronies? Right now, we don’t know. That’s for a court to decide – but we can rest assured that Andrew will never be in the dock answering criminal charges in a US court. Sure, his name may be mentioned in connection to these alleged crimes as the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the States continues its inquiries, but all we are left with are the known facts and what suspects, witnesses, and litigants have said in statements and depositions. Andrew has spent a lot of time with Epstein and Maxwell over the years – at their homes in New York, London, and on Epstein’s private island, and his name keeps cropping up.
🤣 One of the best dry throat moments of all time - Andrew asked if he would be prepared to make a statement under o… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…—
Jason Michael (@Jeggit) November 18, 2019
Andrew claims not to have been Epstein’s friend per se, rather that he was the partner of his friend Ghislaine Maxwell. People don’t spend time with the boyfriends, partners, and spouses of their friends in the absence of their friends unless those significant others are in fact also personal friends. None of your friends turn up and take your boyfriend or girlfriend out for a meal or a stroll in the park unless they are also friends. That would just be odd. There is no shortage of evidence that Andrew and Epstein were spending time together without Maxwell; walks in the park, lunches, dinners, stay-overs, nights out. Many of those already quizzed by the FBI have said as much. Try as he did in his Newsnight interview to distance himself from Jeffrey Epstein – a man convicted of procuring an underage girl for prostitution (read: raping a minor) in 2008, the simple truth is that Andrew and Epstein were friends. But this doesn’t really matter, Ghislaine Maxwell was the one doing all the leg work.
Virginia Roberts (now Virginia Giuffre) gave evidence which became public in 2015 that while working at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in 1999 – when she was a minor – Maxwell introduced her to Epstein, after which the two of them groomed her for sexual exploitation. Of course, in 2015, Maxwell denied all knowledge of Epstein’s crimes and stated that she had not “facilitated Prince Andrew’s acts of sexual abuse” against Virginia Roberts. But, then, there’s that picture: Andrew with his hands round Roberts with Maxwell smiling in the background – in London! A young waitress from the States, a seventeen-year-old, in London, in Jeffrey Epstein’s pad, with Prince Andrew’s hands on her bare hip, and Maxwell standing there smiling?! What billionaire brings a teenage waitress half way around the world to meet a prince? This wasn’t an episode of Jim’ll Fix It! And what girlfriend is happy with her middle-aged boyfriend bringing home a teenage girl he met in a club?
It’s not only Virginia’s evidence though. In 2018 Sarah Ransome settled out of court for an undisclosed sum after accusing Epstein and Maxwell of hiring her to give erotic massages to Epstein and for bullying her into having sex. Maria Farmer went public in April 2019 and made a sworn affidavit in a federal court in New York that she and her fifteen-year-old sister were groomed by Epstein and Maxwell, and that they were raped in two separate locations in 1996. Maxwell was named in one of three lawsuits filed in New York in August 2019. The woman who filed this suit claimed she was recruited in 2006 and trained by Maxwell, with step-by-step instructions on how to provide sexual services for Epstein.
‘I’m honourable, don’t sweat, I didn’t have sex with teenager, I was at home after Pizza Express in Woking, I went… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…—
Aamer Anwar🎗✊🏽 (@AamerAnwar) November 17, 2019
Whether or not Andrew was friends with Jeffrey Epstein, he was definitely friends with Maxwell – a woman now sought by the FBI who has gone on the run. By the looks of things, this is who Epstein and Maxwell were, a couple who acted together to ‘recruit’ underage girls, groom and sexually abuse them, and make their services available to their rich and influential friends. Andrew was at all of their houses, they visited him in England, and he attended their parties. Andrew was one of their rich and influential friends – but he denies everything. He claims he never knew their secret, despite other friends of theirs giving evidence that “you couldn’t be around [them] without knowing what was going on.” He denies being seen at Epstein’s home in New York by the literary agent John Brockman enjoying a foot massage from “a Russian girl.” The accusation, put to him by Maitlis, was news to him. But it’s an old story. It was published by Evgeny Morozov in The New Republic earlier this year. Brockman’s email account reads:
Last time I visited [Jeffrey Epstein’s] house (the largest private residence in NYC), I walked in to find him in a sweatsuit and a British guy in a suit with suspenders, getting foot massages from two young well-dressed Russian women. After grilling me for a while about cyber-security, the Brit, named Andy, was commenting on the Swedish authorities and the charges against Julian Assange…
…at that point I realized that the recipient of Irina’s foot massage was his Royal Highness, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.
Personally, I think Virginia Giuffre’s story is legit. When she says Andrew wined and dined her, got her drunk, and had sex with her (read: raped her) when she was underage, I believe her. When she says he had sex with her in a toilet, I believe her. She names him. She presents us with a picture of him touching her – a child – inappropriately. She has been flown across the Atlantic by a billionaire couple, against whom there are a slew of similar accusations and a conviction, to meet a prince at their private London residence in Belgravia. I believe her because she names Epstein and Maxwell – who, let’s face it, really do look like international sex traffickers here, and because she names Andrew. Really, what are the chances, of all the high-profile characters in the world, both she – a teenage waitress from Florida – and John Brockman pin the tail on him; other than maybe Prince Edward, his brother, the most eminently forgettable royal in the world? When Brockman didn’t recognise him, are we to believe a seventeen-year-old Floridian did? That is some coincidence!
Innocent until proven guilty. Fair enough, but had Andrew not been ‘Prince Andrew,’ and had this story been brought to the police rather than the BBC, any beat cop worth their salt would find it a bit fishy that two independent sources fingered the same unremarkable chap in connection to the sexual abuse of children in a well-organised international paedophile ring. The police, as is their wont, would at least want to speak to this guy. It was strange, I thought, that when asked about giving a sworn statement to law enforcement in the States, Andrew got a dry throat and coughed, before swallowing hard – the only time this happened in the interview. Darren Stanton, a former front-line police officer, psychologist, and a recognised expert on body language and deception, didn’t buy his answers either, saying: “The behaviour I observed during the documentary is consistent with someone being evasive and potentially deceptive.”
Do you trust the BBC? Please RT etc.—
Jason Michael (@Jeggit) November 12, 2019
“Being cross-examined by Maitlis,” said Brian Gerard on Twitter, “is like being mauled by a lamb” – an assessment with which I am forced to agree. She failed to pull him up at a number of key moments in his account. Brockman? When asked if he thought John Brockman was lying, he shook his head saying he doesn’t know Mr Brockman, but the lie was given to this the moment John Brockman was introduced to the discussion; when in a pantomime gesture he turned his head to Maitlis and said with faux surprise “Really?!” Obviously, he does know Mr Brockman. Upstairs? He says that the photograph of him with Virginia Giuffre and Maxwell was taken upstairs in Epstein’s London home and that he has never been upstairs in Epstein’s London home – so, how did that happen, and how did he know it was upstairs if he had never been upstairs? I’m no Scotland Yard DCI, but these two inconsistencies are screaming at me that it’s time to turn up the heat. Not once did Maitlis call him out on a contradiction. She certainly repeated questions for dramatic effect, but that’s not the same as staring down an interview subject and suggesting he might be telling lies. No effort was made to get under his skin, to unbalance him, or to draw him into a trap.
At the very least this was poor journalism, but it’s the BBC – a state broadcaster which, at its highest operational levels, is deeply compromised by the influence of the British government and the Palace. Maitlis is a good journalist and an exceptional interviewer – you don’t send the newbie to interview senior members of the royal family, and not when it’s about the possibility of their involvement in the trafficking and rape of children. Maitlis was a deliberate choice precisely because she is a good journalist and an exceptional interviewer. So, why was it such a rubbish interview? Why was the journalism so abysmally poor? Had this been Alex Salmond, the former leader of the Scottish National Party and First Minister of Scotland, Maitlis would have brought her best game, she would have been breaking a sweat – unlike Prince Andrew – to rip him to shreds.
Richard Nixon and David Frost, this was not – and it wasn’t ever going to be, because this was the BBC. This was a damage limitation exercise. Buckingham Palace, Prince Andrew and his staff, and the government were given the questions in advance. Andrew was coached. Emily Maitlis was briefed and no doubt warned within an inch of her life. This was a show trial of sorts, and it happened because sooner or later, if she doesn’t happen to die first, Ghislaine Maxwell – who Andrew has already hung out to dry – will be brought in by the FBI and put before a US federal court, and she will sing like a bird. The BBC and the rest of the British establishment is circling the wagons. There will be a media blackout on news from the States and a massive effort to distract public attention. That was why this interview was so soft. It gives the impression of honest scrutiny, but it was far from that. This was the BBC really on top of its game, doing what it does best.
Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein FULL INTERVIEW – BBC Newsnight