Rot at the Top: The Epstein Affair
By Cliff Kincaid
The Washington Post reported in September that the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), an exclusive club of mostly Washington, D.C. and New York City insiders, “took no action” against one of its members, pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, after his crimes were known. Epstein, a secretive billionaire with high-level connections in academia and government, had attended CFR events and donated $350,000 to the organization, becoming one of its top donors and a member of the “Chairman’s Circle.” The CFR kept the money.
Epstein, whose “suicide” in jail has been labeled by some informed observers as murder, may be the most controversial CFR member since communist spy Alger Hiss.
If Epstein was murdered, the question becomes what did he know and when did he know it. At the CFR he would have had the opportunity to learn some deep dark secrets about foreign policy matters and the military-intelligence establishment. ABC newswoman Amy Robach said in the video uncovered by Project Veritas, “He [Epstein] made his whole living blackmailing people.” She stated her belief that he was murdered in jail while awaiting trial on child sex trafficking charges.
Her own well-documented story about the sex fiend was killed by ABC News.
There were several big holes in the Post story about this “prestigious” organization and its Epstein connection. The paper failed to note the long list of people from the Post, ABC News, and other Big Media organizations who belong to the CFR. Epstein was found guilty of sex crimes in 2008 but remained a member from 1995 through 2009. He was dropped from the rolls for nonpayment of dues and not because of sex crimes.
The CFR’s “Rules, Guidelines, and Practices,” stipulate that, “Members should bring any concerns related to conduct at CFR to the attention of the vice president for membership or another officer of the Council.”
It looks like nobody said a word about Epstein, even after he was convicted.
While much of what the CFR does is out in the open, in the form of public meetings and a journal called Foreign Affairs, the organization has a “rule on non-attribution” for certain meetings in which identities of speakers are concealed.
CFR leaders “now acknowledge that they never discussed what to do about Epstein’s donations after he pleaded guilty to sex crimes in 2008,” said Post reporter Marc Fisher. He quoted CFR president Richard Haass as saying, “I deeply regret that his conviction did not automatically trigger a review of his membership status.” These comments were in an email to council members “obtained” by The Washington Post.
While he didn’t find time to reject Epstein or his money, Haass appears regularly on MSNBC, an outlet known for Trump hatred. He was on the “Morning Joe” program, featuring Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, both CFR members, where he denounced Trump for “abandoning” the Marxist Kurds in northern Syria. He has also used MSNBC to denounce Trump for “extreme nationalism,” in comments to NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, another CFR member.
The corporate membership is a who’s who of top American companies, including social media firms like Facebook and Google, banks, and hedge funds like Soros Fund Management.
While it was framed as a disclosure about CFR malfeasance, the Fisher story is a classic example of how the media cover for the rich and powerful, including themselves. Members of the media who belong to this exclusive club are nominated, under the rules of the organization, by another CFR member. The membership is over 5,000.
The Fisher story pretends to “cover” Epstein’s involvement with the CFR without going into any significant detail at all and not holding anybody accountable.
The “nonpartisan” CFR attracts some naïve Republicans such as John Bolton by claiming not to take “any position on questions of foreign policy.” But president Richard Haass, a former Bush Administration official, states in an official CFR publication that “internationalism is built into our institutional DNA.” Hence, when the CFR journal Foreign Affairs published the article, “The Hard Road to World Order,” we can safely assume it spoke for most members of the organization, including its leadership. This article, written by Richard N. Gardner in 1974, outlined the various global structures and international organizations needed to bring about a form of world government.
This kind of article, along with a 2017 piece predicting CIA subversion of the Trump presidency, are why authentic conservatives have always regarded the organization with suspicious and distrust. They understand it was founded for the distinct purpose of opposing “isolationism,” or what might today be described as an “America-First” approach in global affairs.
But the organization has had an impact on both political parties. Haass, whose speaking fee is in the $40,000-$70,000 range, met for free with Trump when he was running for president. Trump said at the time, “…I like him a lot. I have a few people that I really like and respect.”
One can safely assume Trump’s opinion has changed. Indeed, CFR domination of the military-intelligence establishment explains why President Trump has to be considered an enemy of the Deep State.
But what interest did Epstein, an alleged blackmailer, have in the organization? The Post article claims, “In his 15 years as a member of the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations, Jeffrey Epstein attended only two events -- a dinner for big donors in 1998 and a 2002 conversation with Paul O’Neill when he was U.S. treasury secretary during the George W. Bush administration.”
This is stated as a matter of fact when no sources are provided for this information. One has to assume it came from a CFR member. And if the information came from a member, can’t we assume, because of the controversial nature of Epstein’s activities, that perhaps this is not the complete truth? After all, wouldn’t the CFR want to play down his involvement with the organization?
Did any CFR members visit Epstein at his various properties? Did they go there to play chess? Was he solicited for donations? By whom?
Billionaire Bill Gates is being hounded (and rightly so) by some media for meeting with Epstein on several occasions. Although he is not listed as a CFR member in the current membership roster, his wife gave a speech to the organization in 2008 and his foundation has contributed to the CFR.
However, except for the Marc Fisher story in the Post, which is of limited value, this “prestigious” organization has gotten off the hook for its acceptance of largesse from Epstein. In response to the Post’s inquiry, a CFR spokesperson said the organization is now “examining ways to allocate resources equivalent to Epstein’s donations” to combat sexual violence and human trafficking.
But where is the investigation of what CFR members may have known about Epstein’s penchant for young girls?
Post reporter Fisher provides limited information about the CFR as a faithful employee of another rich and powerful man, Jeff Bezos, the owner of the paper who was caught in a sex scandal of his own. Bezos owns Amazon, making him one of the richest people in the world. Bezos had to give his ex-wife a big chunk of his fortune when sexually explicit photos were leaked and he was caught in an adulterous affair.
We have to assume we are not getting the entire picture about Epstein and certainly not about Bezos from the Post. While Bezos is not listed as a CFR member, billionaire George Soros is. His money is said to have played a decisive role in the Democratic Party takeover of Virginia on Tuesday. The Post hails Soros as a philanthropist, but Republicans in the state say the left-wing agenda in Virginia includes gun confiscation, releasing criminals from jail, a “Green New Deal,” and abortion-on-demand until birth.
We can’t assume we will ever get the full picture from the Post or other media about Epstein’s role in the CFR. Post employees who belong to the CFR include David Ignatius, a mouthpiece for the intelligence community, and Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor. Marc Thiessen, a “conservative” columnist associated with the American Enterprise Institute and featured on Fox News, is also a member.
The media have an obvious conflict of interest in covering one of the most powerful organizations in the world.
Nothing to See Here
The headline over the Fisher article was predictably deferential to this powerful group: “Council on Foreign Relations, another beneficiary of Epstein largesse, grapples with how to handle his donations.” It sounds like a mere bookkeeping error, not a sex scandal involving powerful men passing around money and devoted to running the world.
Meanwhile, with the Epstein matter behind them, the “Amazon Post” will get back to the business of trying to destroy the elected president of the United States because he asked a foreign government to keep its promise to fight corruption. It was at a CFR meeting in 2018 that Former Vice President Joe Biden boasted about withholding aid to Ukraine to force the firing of a prosecutor. Richard Haass presided over the meeting.
Perhaps the CFR connection helps explain why the Biden scandal is not a scandal at all.
In the words of former Post journalist Richard Harwood, the CFR and its members “are the nearest thing we have to a ruling establishment in the United States.” They decide what is news. They decide what is a scandal. And they want Trump out of office.
Who will investigate them?