The question that must be asked: Was Epstein running 'honey traps' and blackmailing the power elite?

It strikes me as quite unlikely that Jeffrey Epstein's motive for allegedly inviting powerful figures from the U.S. and Europe aboard the Lolita Express on a trip to Orgy Island was mere fellowship — as if they were playing a round of golf together.  My dominant hypothesis is that he was video-recording highly illegal and morally reprehensible rapes for use as blackmail material.  It might have been insurance against serious prosecution for his indulging in his own perversion, which would explain why his punishment the first time he was prosecuted was laughably light:

In June 2008, after Epstein pleaded guilty to a single state charge of soliciting prostitution from girls as young as 14, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Instead of being sent to state prison like the majority of sex offenders convicted in Florida, Epstein was housed in a private wing of the Palm Beach County stockade. He was able to hire his own security detail and was allowed "work release" to his downtown office for up to 12 hours a day six days a week. He served 13 months before being released for a year of probation. While on probation he was allowed numerous trips on his corporate jet to his homes in Manhattan and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

But a man who made serious money on Wall Street might well appreciate the utility of being able to blackmail people into sharing secret information, or rendering government decisions that favor him, among many other possibilities.

The sad truth is that in the course of my decades of academic and consulting work, I have come to believe that honey traps and blackmail are far more common than most people realize.  And it is not just Russian intelligence agencies, as depicted in the Red Sparrow trilogy, whose heroine was trained as a honey trap agent.  It extends to all sorts of activities.  Salesmen hiring hookers for purchasing agents, lobbyists doing the same in state capitals, and all sorts of non-glamorous and non-cosmopolitan uses of the principle of getting compromising information on a target constitutes the lower level of the practice.

The public rarely gets a glimpse of the corruption.  And when people do, most often, the scandal is "contained."  Remember Anna Chapman, the lovely Russian agent who allegedly plied Americans with her wiles in exchange for official secrets but was caught?  This real-life Red Sparrow was exchanged for Americans held by the Russians in 2010 before she could spill any beans.  I speculate that a number of her targets were in a position to get her out quickly.

Anna Chapman in 2011, following her 2010 return to Russia (photo credit: Anton Nozick).

Back when Ralph Nader wrote his first book, Unsafe at Any Speed, criticizing the Chevrolet Corvair as an alleged safety hazard, General Motors hired a woman to lure him into a compromising situation.  He turned it down and blew the whistle, forcing General Motors to publicly apologize to him and making him into a hero.  The fact that GM was at the time the largest manufacturer in the United States implies that even the mighty and powerful, not just the weak and desperate, resorted to the tactic.

Even as a consultant for decades, in the course of my work that sometimes affected very big decisions and also personal careers, I have been offered women just a few times — something that shocked me at first.  Not frequently, mind you, and never accepted.  But I was not making the decisions that could reward or punish people, only offering advice.

There is absolutely no way to scientifically research the topic of the pervasiveness of honey traps, because the people who know have no incentive to talk.  But after a lifetime of work and study, I sadly conclude that honey traps in all sorts of forms are part of our political, governmental, and corporate life to a degree that we simply do not want to believe.

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