Born in 1961 outside Paris, Ghislaine Maxwell is the daughter of late British media mogul Robert Maxwell. Maxwell studied at the University of Oxford and is said to speak several languages. She was mostly known as Jeffrey Epstein’s ex-girlfriend, whom she dated for a few years and then continued to work with long afterward, the Washington Post reports.
A well-connected socialite, Maxwell introduced Epstein to many of her wealthy and powerful friends, including Bill Clinton and the Duke of York (who was accused in the court papers of touching a woman at Jeffrey Epstein’s home).
Maxwell is accused of assisting Epstein’s abuse of minors by helping to recruit and groom victims while knowing they were underage. She was reportedly arrested in New Hampshire and is due in court next Thursday (9 July). Maxwell has previously denied any involvement in or knowledge of Epstein’s alleged sexual misconduct.
After getting arrested in New York City last year following allegations that he was running a sex trafficking network of underage girls, Epstein died in prison on 10 August as he awaited his trial. His death was ruled as suicide, but many theories were made about the possibility of it being a murder.
Four of the six charges made against Maxwell relate to the years 1994 to 1997, when Maxwell was one of Epstein’s closest associates, according to the indictment. The two other charges are allegations of perjury in 2016.
The indictment says Maxwell “assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18.”
She is now charged with conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, as well as repeatedly lying when questioned about her conduct and relationship to some of the minor victims.
Maxwell allegedly attempted to befriend the minors by asking about their lives and families and then build friendships with victims by taking them to the cinema or shopping. While many of Epstein’s alleged victims have accused Maxwell of bringing them into his circle to be sexually abused by him and his friends, Maxwell has persistently denied any wrongdoing.
Yesterday, Twitter saw Anonymous, a group of hacktivists known for its cyber-attacks against governments, institutions and corporations post a new video after a few years of absence. In it, an activist wearing the group’s recognisable Guy Fawkes mask promises to expose Minneapolis Police Department’s “many crimes to the world,” following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin. The footage ends with the message: “We are legion. Expect us.”
Furthermore, unrelated to the protests currently happening all over the US, Anonymous has also tweeted that it has uploaded documents with evidence against Donald Trump, Jeffrey Epstein and other high-profile figures. So who exactly is Anonymous and what else has the group of hacktivists revealed yesterday?
The group named Anonymous began on 4chan in 2003. It is a decentralised group of hackers with no leadership and famous for never revealing its members’ identity. When posting videos online, Anonymous members usually wear a Guy Fawkes mask, the same mask worn by protesters in the novel and film V for Vendetta. Members also disguise their voices by using voice changers or text-to-speech programmes.
Originally focused on entertainment, Anonymous gradually became associated with activism on many international issues. 17 years after its conception, Anonymous is mostly known for its highly publicised cyber-attacks against specific institutions. This reputation began in 2008, when the group targeted the Church of Scientology in a series of cyber-attacks which incited in-person protests against the church.
Two years after that, in 2010, Anonymous went after Airplex software, a company that worked with film studios to shut down copyright infringement websites. Anonymous shut down Airplex’s website for a day, saying: “Anonymous is tired of corporate interests controlling the internet and silencing the people’s rights to spread information, but more importantly, the right to SHARE with one another.”
In 2012, Anonymous brought PayPal’s website down in retaliation for shutting off service to Julian Assange’s Wikileaks, which cost the company millions.
In 2011 and 2012, Anonymous took actions to support the Arab Spring movement by helping Tunisians protect web browsers from government surveillance and helping dissidents in Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Jordan and Zimbabwe. The collective also hacked Israeli websites after the 2012 Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip.
In 2014, Anonymous hackers attacked Ferguson City Hall’s website after the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer, which started riots throughout the city. At that time, Anonymous went on to threaten local police with cyber-attacks if protesters were abused or harassed.
Back to 2020, new protests have erupted in the US for the same reason as the demonstrations that took place in 2014: protesting against police brutality and systemic racism. While the group of hacktivists has clearly stated it will go after the Minneapolis Police Department’s, it also released some other shocking documents.
If you haven’t followed the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, here’s a little recap for you. After working as a teacher, Epstein moved into high finance when he persuaded the father of one of his pupils to give him a job at Bear Stearns. He quickly rose through the company and set out on his own as a financial consultant after just five years with the bank.
In 2008, Epstein was charged with soliciting prostitution from underage girls, and served a short jail sentence thanks to a plea deal widely seen as too clement. While awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking, Epstein took his own life in his jail cell in New York in 2019.
Prince Andrew met Epstein in 1999. Last year, after a picture emerged of Prince Andrew with one of Epstein’s accusers, he became part of the Epstein scandal. The picture was said to have been taken at Epstein’s London address. Further claims were made against Prince Andrew, who has since said he only saw Epstein once or twice a year and stayed “in a number of his residences”, but cut ties with him in 2011 after a photo of the pair walking together attracted criticism.
The duke denied ever witnessing or suspecting any concerning behaviour from Epstein. That being said, the Duke of York has now been relieved of his public duties due to his involvement in the scandal and his friendship with the late Epstein.
Although it was already known before Anonymous posted its recent video that Trump was friends with Epstein, the US President has recently always been quick to dismiss any kind of friendship. And yet, Donald Trump was pictured with Epstein at many events through the years and had once called him “terrific.”
Both moved in the same circles for years, but Trump insisted he only knew Epstein because of his own club in Palm Beach, where Trump was photographed with Epstein in 2001.
On the 31 May, Anonymous tweeted that it has uploaded documents which contain incriminating evidence against Donald Trump in the cases of Epstein’s alleged sexual assault. The collective also claimed it has evidence that the British royal family had Princess Diana murdered. Many of these tweets have since disappeared, but screenshots are still circulating online.
After launching a threat against the US government following the death of George Floyd, the group of cyber activists explained that if the government was not willing to bring justice in the case, Anonymous would then begin to expose some of the crimes that the US has been hiding.
A few hours after the Anonymous video hit the internet, the collective exposed the connection of many celebrities to the Epstein child trafficking scandal. As mentioned before, Trump was listed in what Anonymous called ‘The Little Black Book of Jeffrey Epstein’—a list of all the people who attended parties organised by Jeffrey Epstein, where it is said that he “recruited the children.”
These names included Ivanka and Ivana Trump, Chris Evans (the English TV host, not to be confused with the American Marvel actor), Mick Jagger, Will Smith, and more. Among those names was the English supermodel Naomi Campbell.
Not only did Anonymous threaten the US government and the Minneapolis Police Department, it then took down the Minneapolis police website and hacked Chicago’s police radio to play ‘Fuck the Police’ on loop in order to stop officers from communicating with each other.
More secrets are expected to be revealed as long as the US police keep arresting protesters instead of “the real criminals.”