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Jeffrey Epstein and MIT: FAQs (mit.edu)
266 points by danso 12 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 333 comments





From the report

http://factfindingjan2020.mit.edu/files/MIT-report.pdf

Professor Lloyd's dealings look very, very shady:

> Professor Lloyd remained friends with Epstein after his conviction in 2008. He visited Epstein at his office in Florida during the period of Epstein’s criminal sentence. Professor Lloyd also visited Epstein’s private island, though for only a few hours for lunch, and he has acknowledged Epstein in his academic publications. While Professor Lloyd clearly valued Epstein as a source of potential funding, he also told us he believed that, by continuing to engage with Epstein post-conviction, he could be part of Epstein’s rehabilitation. Professor Lloyd told us that, in 2005 or 2006 (before Epstein’s conviction), Epstein gave him a personal $60,000 gift to support his MIT research that Professor Lloyd did not submit through MIT. In possible violation of MIT policies and certainly in violation of MIT norms, Professor Lloyd deposited the gift into a personal bank account and did not report it to MIT.

> Eventually, in July 2016, Professor Lloyd affirmatively contacted Epstein by email to ask for funding to support his upcoming sabbatical. On June 1, 2017, Epstein emailed his accountant and Professor Lloyd: “send 125 k to mit for seth lloyd from gratitude.”


My jaw dropped when I read page 9 of the report, it says "Professor Minsky (who passed away in 2016) had worked with Epstein to organize an off-campus conference on artificial intelligence that same year."

That's quite a charitable characterization! The conference in question wasn't just any "off-campus conference" -- it was held on Epstein's island.

Minsky had also organized a two-day symposium on Epstein's island several years prior (in 2002), a fact also totally omitted from the report.


Ugh. Everything about that island creeps me out. Hopefully someone (maxwell) is talking about what really happened there.

We have testimony about what happened there: underage girls were taken there and had their passports taken away.

Listen to TrueAnon to hear all about it and enjoy banter with your fellow SF labor organizing comrades.


long live warkrime

Maxwell is an Israeli spy. She was responsible for procuring underage girls.

How do you know this stuff though? Where are you getting the info? I see lots of speculation but not a lot of proof.

> Professor Lloyd also visited Epstein’s private island, though for only a few hours for lunch

Normally one would give the benefit of the doubt, but given the abhorrent acts people were perpetrating or turning a blind eye to in this case, I'm inclined not to. Hence this question of fact:

Unless there are credible witnesses attesting to the fact that he spent his few hours on that island eating lunch, the report should refrain from speculation and simply say "he visited Epstein's island for a few hours." We don't know what he was doing.


> Normally one would give the benefit of the doubt, but given the abhorrent acts people were perpetrating or turning a blind eye to in this case, I'm inclined not to.

I think this is a dangerous way to look at things... Just because there's a lot of shady people doing awful things, doesn't mean we should tar everyone who associated with the person.

Whatever other things happened with other people doesn't really matter. Instead we should look at the facts for each case (visited Epstein's island where bad things had happened, and accepted money from Epstein in an unusual way).


> I think this is a dangerous way to look at things

That's a fair point. I should have said "while a small technical oversight such as stating 'he went for lunch' as a fact (absent proof) would normally not be worth highlighting, the facts of this case make me feel that even such small technical oversights should be avoided or highlighted when they occur."

By "the facts of this case" I mean the facts that 1) Epstein appears to have been guilty of trafficking many underage girls and directing them to have sex with friends or business partners of his and 2) this guy who had other inappropriate/unethical dealings with Epstein went to his island, for a few hours.

Basically I'm saying they should just say "This friend of Epstein made a 3 hour visit to him on pedophile island" which are the only known facts. Not saying he did anything, but neither should the report claim he didn't unless they have evidence. Just stick to the facts.


seriously.

When I was young I used to wonder how in the hell the Salem Witch Trials ever happened. It boggled my mind.

I don't wonder about how it happened anymore, I've seen it so many times it's old hat now.

I mean what next, anyone who takes a jet with Bill Clinton is having sex with an intern?


Yes, imagine thinking that people who rode on a jet where children were routinely raped, or who associated with a man convicted of soliciting underaged girls for prostitution, might have been involved or known about it themselves! It's exactly the same thing as 17th century hysterics who believed women were possessed by literal demons.

> I think this is a dangerous way to look at things...

When I'm walking through my hometown and the tall grass next to me shakes, I think it's a rabbit or a dog or something. When I'm on the African plains in lion country and see the same thing, I think it's a lion. Bad association begets cynical assumption, because it's more often correct than incorrect.


Thankfully the founders of the US knew the difference between judging what is in the grass and judging a person’s actions.

[flagged]


> It just came out that Comey's daughter was responsible for the deleted tapes from the prison FFS...

what?

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51053205

no sir, that's not even wrong. take your conspiracy theories somewhere else.


It just came out where precisely that comeys daughter erased the tapes?

"some people are saying"

Some people are saying that the safest place to deposit your paycheck is into my account! Great returns guaranteed. Which is to say that I will return to an island getaway and it will be great... for me.

I think the claim that he was stopping by for lunch is important to report on. But it should have been presented as a claim along with the source of the claim, rather than just asserted as fact.

Yeah he got $60,000 as an unreported funding gift that bypassed normal research funding mechanisms and went into his private bank account and was actually spent on ???, followed by a $125,000 donation that apparently followed the same route in order to "support his sabbatical", and this is on top of the $225,000 that Dr. Lloyd got through official channels from Epstein.

The $185,000 made as alleged gifts to MIT but which went into Lloyd's bank accounts won't be returned by MIT or donated to charity, nor will the interest they earned on their investments from the officially given $850,000 money given over the last 15 years or so. And was there other side channel off the books funding beyond the $185,000 to Lloyd? Was he really the only one that saw huge sums of cash magically appear in his private bank account?

All interesting. Will Lloyd return the $185,000 or donate it? Was any of that cash declared as income on his tax returns?

So he says oh I just flew out to a Caribbean private island renowned for pedophilia for a brief lunch and nothing more, nothing to it, what's the big deal. Yeah... maybe that's what happened. We'll probably never know, but everyone that went to that island has a black mark.


Why did Epstein transfer money to Lloyd though? If Lloyd was taking advantage of Epstein's island, wouldn't one expect money to be flowing from Lloyd to Epstein?

If you donate $5,000 to a university they will invite you to one or two events a year where they show you the kind of research donations have been supporting, some students who received bursaries say how it let them buy books and focus on their studies, and the head of the university gives a speech about their vision for the future of the school. Important-sounding academics and administrators will circulate and talk to you as a peer.

Or, from a more cynical point of view, they make you feel important/distinguished/part of their community, in hopes of soliciting further donations in the future.

I assume, if you donate $50,000,000 they knock that up several notches.


Maybe he connect Epstein with high end clients, some sort of finder fee. Or it could possible be a finder fee for women if you want to make those allegations.

To be honest it's not even clear that "for a few hours" is fact. It doesn't appear to be footnoted or sourced in the report.

Visiting a private island in the Caribbean from your home base in Boston is a full day affair. Total one-way travel time from MIT campus to that island is about half a day. Seems at least as likely to have been an overnight trip.


page 12:

> Professor Lloyd remained friends with Epstein after his conviction in 2008. He visited Epstein at his office in Florida during the period of Epstein’s criminal sentence. Professor Lloyd also visited Epstein’s private island, though for only a few hours for lunch, and he has acknowledged Epstein in his academic publications. While Professor Lloyd clearly valued Epstein as a source of potential funding, he also told us he believed that, by continuing to engage with Epstein post-conviction, he could be part of Epstein’s rehabilitation.

The way it's phrased it isn't clear if this was a one time visit or multiple times. "He visited the island" is an ambiguous statement as regards one time or many.


It’s a 3 hour direct flight which can be a 3 hour trip in a private jet. But I don’t think you get to claim it was for lunch unless you can prove it. Why would someone go so far for lunch?

For the same reason you would show up at Bill Gates house for lunch if you were invited.

Yah, worlds greatest philanthropist and infamous child rapist are not quite equivalent...

If the type of guy who will give you $60,000 to cover the cost of your sabbatical invites you to lunch, but this lunch will take 8 hours of your time, that's still an excellent hourly rate.

(If you're willing to overlook the sex offences, that is)


I really don't know how you live your life acting like that.

Is it your belief that response somehow changed the point? Or maybe you think that response changed human nature? That somehow reacting in that manner changes mankind such that no one would ever be flattered that a rich and powerful person thinks they're interesting enough to have lunch with.

What about their wives? Are the wives pedophiles too? They sometimes went to the island with whomever. How many degrees of separation is necessary before you become just a person who wasn't aware of this rich and powerful persons predilections?

Lets call it Pedophile Bacon. Everyone is at most 6 degrees of separation from Epstein, therefore it has to be a number between 1 and 6, otherwise everyone is a pedophile due to Epstein.

I think what kills me the most is the implication through all of this that Epstein was so important that everyone should have been aware. I certainly wasn't. Until all this shit came out, I had _no idea_ who he was, or that he had been convicted. I don't spend my time tracking pedophile, and I would consider it a bit strange for anyone who does.

Imagine if someone like me is asked to go to lunch by their employer. And then this shit hits the fan, and suddenly you're being accused of being a pedophile because the Pedophile Bacon is 3 or less and you're at 2.

Maybe the guy is a pedophile. But him having lunch with Epstein says nothing about his status of being a pedophile. Because having lunch with a pedophile is not, by definition, what makes a pedophile a pedophile.

But you come in here with this snide ass comment as if it changes any of that. I don't personally understand. Help me understand why you would muddy the waters surrounding pedophiles. How many Pedophile Bacon's does it take before someone once again is presumed innocent until proven otherwise?


There's evidence of people being aware of Epstein's predilections. He was hardly secretive about it:

https://www.motherjones.com/crime-justice/2019/08/jeffrey-ep...

> There were lavish dinner parties with the likes of Steven Pinker and Stephen Jay Gould during which Epstein would ask provocatively elementary questions like “What is gravity?” If the conversation drifted beyond his interests, Epstein was known to interrupt, “What does that got to do with pussy?!”

It think it's fair to say anyone who was on his island, home or jet should be questioned by authorities about what they saw there. He was a child sex trafficker operating out of his homes and private jet. Those are crime scenes.

Not everyone who went there is guilty, but given everything we now know it's not unfair to question their presence in Epstein's orbit.


this does not make someone a pedophile. It probably makes them morally corrupt, but not a pedophile.

That's just one small example. The other big one is that he had underage girls around him all the time. That makes him a pedophile.

so elementary teachers are all pedophiles since they're around underage girls all the time?

A pedophile is a very specific thing. It's someone who is sexually aroused by underage children. More specifically, it's someone who acts on those desires.

that's it. That's the end. There are no other possible ways to get into that club.

If someone goes to lunch with a pedophile, knowing they're a pedophile, to try and get $60,000, they're morally corrupt. They're a shitty person. But until they start abusing these underage girls, they're not pedophiles themselves.

This is not a hard concept. There are 5 categories of people who went to that island.

1. unaware of his predilections

2. aware, and morally corrupt

3. pedophiles who were unaware of his predilections

4. pedophiles who were AWARE of his predilections

5. pedophiles who went to have sex with underage children.

The argument here is that the only reason you would ever go to that island is if you were 5. This is unreasonable, and it makes you kind of dumb.


> A pedophile is a very specific thing. It's someone who is sexually aroused by underage children.

Specifically, it's someone aroused by prepubescent children.

> More specifically, it's someone who acts on those desires.

No, someone who acts on those desires (for underage children, whether a pedophile in the strict sense or not) is a child sex abuser. A pedophile is a pedophile whether or not they act on their desires, and it's possible to act on sex desires that make you a child sex abuser without being a pedophile at all.

> If someone goes to lunch with a pedophile, knowing they're a pedophile, to try and get $60,000, they're morally corrupt.

I disagree, whether using either the actual definition or yours of “pedophile”.

Now, if you know that he's a child sex trafficker (and thus that in some way the funds would originated from the sexual abuse of children), then, sure, there's a good argument.


"well akcshually...".

Lets not, sex with a 13 year old post-pubescent child will get the same laws slammed at you. The technical definition is irrelevant for this conversation.


> Lets not, sex with a 13 year old post-pubescent child will get the same laws slammed at you.

In many jurisdictions and details of the other corcumstancesthat's not true, it will get a subset of the same laws slammed at you, because their are additional offenses defined for crimes against younger children. But, in any case, I'm not the one who started the terminological games (“a pedophile is a very specific thing...”), just the one who insisted that if you are going to insist on the “very specific” meaning of terminology, you do it right. If you want to say “child sex abuser”, do that; don't use “pedophile” and insist that it has a very specific meaning which is both broader (by targeted age) and narrower (including only active offenders) than “pedophile” actually is, and exactly matching what “child sex abuser” is.


No one made that argument. I said:

> Not everyone who went there is guilty, but given everything we now know it's not unfair to question their presence in Epstein's orbit.

That's it. I'd also argue that 1. doesn't exist because Epstein and his properties highly advertised his lifestyle.

> This is unreasonable, and it makes you kind of dumb.

You're responding to an argument no one has made.


> You're responding to an argument no one has made.

You say while simultaneously arguing 1 doesn't exist, which is the entire point of my argument.

I certainly had no idea who the fuck epstein was before all this went down.


We’re talking about people invited to his island and people he invested in. Not random members of the public.

It’s all in the MIT report. They knew everything about him yet continued to work and socialize with him.

ryacko 10 days ago [flagged]

You're right, Epstein was engaged in a platonic mentoring relationship with scandalously young women who by many metrics were also good looking.

I didn't know the private island had a landing strip large enough for a private jet!

It doesn't have any runway. You fly into St. Thomas, then take a boat (or submarine as Hawking did) over to the island.

Which was enough contact for the Virgin Islands locals to start referring to Little Saint James as "Pedophile Island." How much did people who actually went to the island see?

Yeah, VI locals all call it that and have for a long time. It's hard to imagine anyone passing through to the island wouldn't have heard about the scene there. But who knows. Even when we hear stories from people who claim not to have participated they'll often have stories about seeing very young girls doing stuff like propositioning people. We know from the flight logs of the Lolita Express that young girls were on flights with major personalities who surely must have thought it odd and wondered what underage teen girls were doing on the flights as hostesses.

Harvard Professor Mark Newman also has similar shading dealings with Epstein. His own book, SuperCooperators [1], has nearly 3 whole pages dedicated to describing his experiences on Jeffery Epstein's Island, thanking him for all his support and basically sucking up to him by describing his (Epstein's) incredible intelligence. Stephen Hawking even makes an appearance in these stories with a talk about how Epstein rented a submarine so Hawking could experience being underwater. Epstein occurs so frequently in Newman's own book that he even is listed in the index (you can view the index on amazon for free). The book was published in 2011 after Epstein's first convictions.

I find it very hard to believe all these scientist didn't know what was going on nor would I be surprised to find out they participated in it.

[1] (https://www.amazon.com/SuperCooperators-Altruism-Evolution-O...)


Yah-- Epstein did something nice for Hawking -- unknown if before or after the conviction-- therefore one can reasonably expect that Hawking knew Epstein was raping underage girls on his island and that Hawking participated. /s

I'll admit the Hawking part was poorly worded. I didn't intend to specifically point the finger at him. However Mark Newman's own descriptions of spending days on this Island, eating breakfast with Epstein and all of his guests. Well I'm very suspect.

Epstein was, by all accounts, absolutely obsessed with sex and abusing underaged girls. One of his victims described the abuse he and Ghislaine Maxwell committed as "a full time job."

So the question is, was he more or less restrained in broadcasting his proclivities in the early 2000s before his first conviction? And, was he more or less restrained on his private island which was essentially constructed for the purpose of facilitating his abuse?


You're correct about this but sadly getting downvoted. People have a hard time processing that their heroes very likely knew about Epstein's activities and at the very least looked the other way (some definitely participated themselves). Gates, Hawking, Groenig... all have their fans that will defend them to the death.

The evidence is there though for those that care to look. As you say, Epstein couldn't not talk about sex and young women, they were around constantly, everyone knew it was weird or they enjoyed the prospect of it.


I love that the charitable interpretation of Minksy's behavior is "an underaged girl propositioned him for sex on Epstein's island and he said 'no,' but then continued to associate and organize symposia with Epstein even after his 2008 conviction."

Wow, let's not go overboard with the guilt-by-association here!


I've had women relay their complaints to me about Hawking. Apparently he liked to harass pretty young women by driving his chair into them.

There were definitely young women around when Hawking was there. I don't know if they were underage, but it I don't think it's safe to say Hawking knew nothing. By all accounts the island was full of girls and decorated with photographs of nude photos of them (some underage).

You can see Hawking surrounded by women on the island here:

https://cloverchronicle.com/2019/07/24/stephen-hawking-pictu...


> You can see Hawking surrounded by women on the island here:

I assumed from the description this was going to look like Stephen Hawking at the Playboy Mansion, but instead it's him at a bbq with two middle aged men and two middle aged women, and him in a submarine with a woman whose back is to the camera so you can't tell her age apart from not being gray-haired.


It's an interesting Rorschach test. I can see all kinds of things going on here, or nothing at all. The expression on the face of the nearest woman has a serious "not amused" vibe to it no matter how I try to look at the situation though.

She's got the same kind of name tag on as the guy to her right. I'd guess that they are both attendees of the conference that was going on at the neighboring island.

That could well be her "I'm a theoretical physicist presenting at an important conference, and the only reason that news photographer is including me in the photo is because I'm sitting at the same table as Stephen Hawking" look.


The woman on the left is I believe someone I’ve seen frequently in photos with him. Not sure of her name or relationship to him.

(Odd website, though. It looks like something being run by an intel agency.)

Why would a billionaire being surrounded by young woman be a red flag? Being a billionaire is enough to explain their presence without any hint of coercion.

Because it was supposed to be a professional event and that's not even remotely professional? There's a second hand account in this thread by someone who knows people who went to the island and were propositioned for sex there.

It's unprofessional at best but as we know know, many of these girls were sex trafficking victims and underage.

It's also known that Epstein's island residence was decorated with pictures of underage nude girls and a giant nude painting of Ghlisaine Maxwell. So yeah, I'd say there are quite a few red flags there.


I think the concept of "professional event" has changed considerably in the last few decades. So judging what should or shouldn't have been known by the guests based on modern standards is a mistake.

As far as nude pictures and paintings, were they clearly underage and non artistic? There's a lot of post hoc reasoning by those who want to spread blame around that doesn't stand up to scrutiny.


This wasn't a "few decades ago" it was 2015. The standards for professional events have not changed since then.

I wasn't talking about the most recent ones after his convictions and after people should have known to avoid him.

Wow. Seth Lloyd is a very well-known name in Quantum Computing. It's pretty shady that he's depositing $50,000 gifts from known sex offenders directly into his personal bank account...

It would appear to be $50,000 plus $125,000 if I'm reading that last note correctly.

The $60,000 gift in "2005 or 2006" is the only one the report says was deposited into his personal bank account. Because it was not sent to MIT, "this gift ... is not included in the $850,000 in" total donations the report indicates were accepted by MIT.

In contrast, the $125,000 is included in the $850,000, as indicated by the breakdown in the table on page 9. Thus, though not stated explicitly, the report indicates that the $125,000 was sent to MIT (to fund Seth Lloyd's research but not into his personal bank account).

(At any rate, the fact that he accepted a gift of any amount, especially into his personal bank account, is very concerning. Sounds like currently he has been put on administrative leave and we'll see what happens after they're done deciding what to do.)


Usually it means the professor is taking a break from teaching so they can focus on their research. There's no sabbatical police force though, so if the professor wants to hike the AT or backpack across Europe or something that's their prerogative.

Reif's e-mail [1] indicates he was forced into administrative leave, and that the leave was not Lloyd's decision.

> The actions of a senior faculty member have raised new concerns. In keeping with MIT practice on faculty discipline, I have asked his department head to consider any appropriate action. In the meantime, in consultation with the provost, dean and department head, I have placed him on leave.

Also I think administrative leave is different from other types of leave, which are all also different from sabbatical.

[1] http://news.mit.edu/2020/letter-president-reif-fact-finding-...


This is from 2020, the sabbatical GP and above are talking about was in 2017, as mentioned here:

> Eventually, in July 2016, Professor Lloyd affirmatively contacted Epstein by email to ask for funding to support his upcoming sabbatical. On June 1, 2017, Epstein emailed his accountant and Professor Lloyd: “send 125 k to mit for seth lloyd from gratitude.”


What does "ask for funding to support his upcoming sabbatical" even mean? Is that for research, or is it money for him to just go on vacation for a year?

Full-year sabbatical is the norm, but the home institution does not necessarily offer salary for that full year, so it's up to the professor to find funding for the rest of it from the host or some grant. According to their web site[1], MIT pays salary for half of the sabbatical year, leaving Lloyd to raise the other half himself. 125k sounds to me like a believable half-year salary for a full professor at MIT.

1: https://vpf.mit.edu/300-sabbaticals


the last note says "send to mit", not "send to lloyd" so I'm not sure

“ps make sure my work gets paid this time so they can pay me to take an extended vacation”

> Q: What steps is MIT taking to ensure that its fundraising processes and practices are consistent with Institute values?

See most people have never been faced with the position of making sure convenient sums of money offered to them are consistent with the values they represent


Can't these people just go to facebook and get like a 300k salary for a few years?

Maybe that's not their goal in life?

Tenured professors do sometimes take leaves of absence to work for a period with some company on a problem they think is interesting. And many do consulting on the side.

Tenured professor at an elite school certainly isn't a bad gig. But compensation isn't mostly at the senior engineer FAANG levels that people like to throw around. But then LOTS of jobs that people both enjoy and are useful to society aren't.


[flagged]


While I have a lot of critics for Academia in particular regarding code publication or reproducibility or the chase for the next conference paper, this is completely uncalled for.

Their real world constraint is publish or perish, and they do have a timeline: the next conference. And their requirements does not include usability and maintenance.

Also writing a good paper is a long endeavor, often frustrating, sometimes with politics involved.


Yeah but all of that actual work is typically done by grad students and then professors just put their name on the top of it. (Even the grant proposals are often written by grad students.)

> Professor Lloyd also visited Epstein’s private island, though for only a few hours for lunch,

I live a fairly privileged life as a U.S. West Coast techie...and stopping at a private island for a few hours sounds crazy. Do non-billionaire people (active academics at that) really lead lives like this? `


In my upper-middle-class life, I’ve been an invited guest in some pretty mind-boggling old-money spaces a handful of times. Lots of kids growing up had stories from a week on their crazy rich family friend’s palatial vacation property or mega-yacht. At a highly selective university, the son of a teacher or an accountant might be dating the daughter of a household name CEO.

Those people do sometimes have friends like us & a desire to entertain.


> Do non-billionaire people (active academics at that) really lead lives like this?

If a billionaire calls you up and tells you they're sending their plane to pick you up if you're interested in going, then yes. That's fairly common, in terms of billionaires sending their planes to pick folks up they want to meet with, or letting others hitch a ride.


It is typical for academics to visit both potential and current sponsors to discuss research funding and collaborations. It is not typical for sponsors to own private islands, and I think visiting for a day is common but a few hours sounds short (but for a one-day visit, the discussions themselves would only be a few hours). These visits are generally paid for by the sponsor (flights, hotels).

That's pretty interesting, my only experience of the sort was the sponsor (DARPA) visiting the academic's ocean-overlooking mansion (with two teslas in the garage) with very nice hors d'ouvres. Of course this academic was very well known for owning a yacht and doing "experiments" on the yacht (to be fair the project I was on used the results of one of those experiments).

To be fair, my entire life story has been rather topsy turvy in many ways (went to an undergrad with more grad students, went to a grad school with no undergrads).


“If poor people knew how rich rich people are, there would be riots in the streets”

For a random visualization attempt:

"Everyone in this room, stand up. Every second we're going to count a million dollars. If your net worth is less than that amount, sit down."

Most people will sit down in a second or two. Some might last ten seconds.

A billionaire will still be standing 16 minutes later. Every second, a million dollars ticking away.

TWO DAYS later, you're getting to the richest people in the world. Remember, one million dollars a second.


One day, in your setup, is 86bn (plus change). By Wikipedia data, the richest person is Jeff Bezos with 113bn. So who are the two-day-ers? Poorest of them must have almost 173bn, who are those?

That’s on me - I forgot about Bezos divorce. Before that he was pushing 160B.

Putin and Gaddafi (before his death) have both been estimated to have 200 Billion in wealth.

> Putin and Gaddafi (before his death) have both been estimated to have 200 Billion in wealth.

This seems pretty unlikely. Putin has certainly done well being a corrupt leader, and probably has control over $200B, but I doubt he has holdings that reach anywhere near that level.

Gaddafi having that much money is a bit of a joke. It would require him having many multiples of the entire country's GDP in his own personal account. Perhaps theoretically possible, but hard to believe without better proof.


I think it's impossible to properly evaluate Putin's assets as they are not economical property in classical sense of the word. If Putin loses his power, his assets could very well be $0. If he doesn't, he probably could control a lot more than he nominally owns, and a lot of stuff he controls is owned by all kinds of figureheads. So we'd have to exclude autocrats and such from the equation - what they have isn't really what we mean as property, at least in Western world.

"Hobnob with the billionaire global elite" was a core part of Epstein's pitch to academics to launder his reputation.

https://newrepublic.com/article/154826/jeffrey-epsteins-inte...


The friends of billionaires do, I would argue. Why would Epstein leave his private island to go to lunch in a public location in Boston when he can entertain his guest at his home?

From my experience, Academics do get around. I know a lot (mostly humanities) that are social butterflies and travel to a lot of exotic locations thanks to wealthier friends and benefactors.

I think there's this view that academics are quiet home body book worms, but that's flawed. Adjuntcs maybe, but definitely not tenured professors.


When I worked as a freelancer, in the dotcom era, I've participated in a number of projects led by some rich people. That included having meetings in their personal homes (some of them conduct a lot of business from their home office, apparently). For most of them, I had very vague idea who they are outside of the project I was in (some of them were rich enough so I tangentially heard about them before, some weren't) and if they conducted some nefarious crap in secret, I would never know. There weren't private islands involved, but I don't think it's too far out necessarily if you upgrade from a nobody IT freelancer to the leading MIT researcher.

So, if that lunch happened _before_ Epstein conviction, I'd give some benefit of the doubt. After, "not with a ten mile pole" is the appropriate policy and any other conduct is on him.


I imagine he was on St. Thomas, and took a small boat over.

So many people left academia after completing their PhD because they could not find legitimate funding to continue their research.

Lloyd should resign from MIT immediately. There is simply no excuse for soliciting money from a child trafficking racketeer like Jeffrey Epstein.

If your research is worth pursuing, compete honestly for federal research grants like everyone else.


What would Epstein get from Lloyd?

If Epstein was in fact blackmailing the rich and famous, or running a sex trafficking operation for profit, how does he benefit from supplying donations (and whatever else he allegedly supplied) to a quantum computing professor?


Epstein was most likely backed by Israel, so you should ask what they would want with quantum computing.

So your accusation is that Epstein blackmailed Seth Lloyd or converted him into an Israeli spy/consultant on quantum computing?

Many engineering professors consult with private companies for a fee. So it seems odd that a country would need to take a roundabout and scandalous approach like this to pick a professor's brain, when they could just work though a legitimate-seeming company as an intermediary.


We don't know what Epstein and his backers were after. Maybe Seth Lloyd had influence over someone or some other leverage they wanted. It definitely warrants further investigation though.

Once you slipped and accepted the "gift," he and all Epstein's handlers had the person by the, you know what. So after that, nothing is rational.

I also think it's easy to say "how could they do x and y with a 17 year old..." but humans are made of flesh and blood.


Does it seem strange that epstein would ask his accountant to move money around? Is this a normal accountant activity?

Yeah, it's normal. A personal accountant can and often will handle a lot of bookkeeper duties on top of the accounting work. See https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/04011... for more.

The report itself is rather interesting:

http://factfindingjan2020.mit.edu/files/MIT-report.pdf

> After meeting Epstein in February 2013, Ito conducted what he described as “due diligence” into Epstein. Ito told us that he performed a Google search of Epstein and also spoke with certain individuals to learn more. According to Ito, the “influential” people with whom he spoke included Nicholas Negroponte, Media Lab co-founder and Professor Post-Tenure of Media Arts and Sciences; members of the Media Lab Advisory Council; tech billionaires, including a former LinkedIn senior executive and co-founder; and a well-known Harvard Law School professor. Ito also met other influential individuals at meetings with Epstein, including Woody Allen, a senior executive at the Hyatt Corporation, and a former prime minister of Israel. Ito explained that these meetings and discussions influenced his view of Epstein.


> To the contrary, members of MIT’s Senior Team were wary of Epstein and nearly returned his May 2013 donation, the first donation of which they became aware

I love the word "nearly" here. Just saying.


I love the institute but I agree they really need to think hard about how it runs.

The past 30 years have been a continuous project in weaning the institute off being merely a very large government research lab.* IMHO this process has not been successful.

* with a small school bolted onto the side: the educational side of the institute is only 16% of the budget and is run at a small loss. This might explain their interest in Epstein.


The Institute doesn't deserve your love. It has a habit of not protecting young people in its own community. Now it's under fire for turning a blind eye to the abuse of young people by its donors.

Let the Institute burn. It brought this upon itself.


I must agree that the institute (i.e. the faculty and staff) mostly consider students a nuisance unless they are interested in research. But I think it's been and continues to be a net positive for the planet. And if most students HTFP (or claim to) there's a solid group -- even a majority? -- who love it.

I admit I was one of the lucky ones for whom it was an almost perfect environment. But even as an undergraduate I had no illusion that I was there to "attend school". I was there to learn AND do.

I am really soory if it screwed you. I have friends who had that experience.


Your comment suggests you believe those screwed by MIT are somehow naive about how the Institute works. You use the word "illusion."

I can tell you're not trying to insult anyone but you have to understand how that's kind of insulting.

If your point were correct and the issue were a simple question of being mentally prepared for the research slant of the school, Professor Tonegawa's son would not have killed himself in his freshman year.

Don't blame the students for what the system itself is structured to encourage. I was there to "learn and do" (to use your words), and I was still horrified by my experience there.


>I think it's been and continues to be a net positive for the planet.

Can you name something concrete that the place has actually done? From where I'm sitting, it has worked on a lot of trendy bullshit which never amounted to anything, but got curiously good press.

For example, that ridiculously twee and obviously fraudulent claim to have built "personal food computers" is a recent nothingburger that comes to mind.

https://www.businessinsider.com/mit-media-lab-personal-food-...


> Can you name something concrete that the place has actually done? F

MIT graduates, faculty and staff have earned quite a few Nobel and Turing prizes; half a dozen graduates have walked on the moon; the lead professor in my Unified class left to become secretary of the Air Force; she was replaced by the former head of NASA. Almost every or every department has contributed in fundamental ways to its respective field.

From Chemistry to Electronics to Mechanical Engineering to Electrical Engineering to Economics to Physics...I think the modern world would be unrecognizable without MIT.


None of these are achievements of MIT media labs.

Everyone knows that MIT the school, as opposed to Negroponte's pedo-blackmailer funded wank fest, has historically done some important things. If you were originally saying MIT the school is a net positive for humanity, that's not what I am asking for clarification on at all.


Sorry, “the institute” is MIT slang for MIT. The media lab is called the media lab and indeed many people at the institute view it with scorn and/or envy. The document under discussion was about the institute.

Several interesting things came out of the media lab including mindstorms OTOH. Not in proportion perhaps to the amount of press, but the media lab was not funded from government grants by and large.

Media lab emphasized demos, true, but in some ways I admired it, as the rest of the institute (a part from Architecture, wher the ML sits) but you know, everywhere else was good at burying things or assuming the technical detail was all that mattered.


Got it; sorry for the confusion.

I ask because media labs often annoyed me with the twee "look at the future" stuff that never really panned out. The "food computer" thing mentioned above being a particularly ridiculous recent example.

I think it mostly annoys present day me in that I was taken in by this in the early 90s, when I was an avid reader of Mondo2k, Wired and the other kinds of publications Negroponte used to shill in. If the best thing that came out of the place since it was founded back in 85 is ... lego extensions... well, maybe people should stop funding them. I mean, Seymour Papert was pretty cool for his day, but he's dead.


The Media Lab is sort of an odd duck. They did some "cool" forward looking work way back when (in the 90s as you say) but not a lot concrete ever came out of it and it felt like they were largely eclipsed by the "real world" during the dot-com era.

They did eventually get enough money to build a second building. (Which has a really nice event space--so there's that.) And I assume if I went through their research I'd find some interesting things. But I certainly don't know of anything particularly world-changing off the top of my head.


Ever taken a Suggestion by amazon, netflix, etc? That originated in Pattie Maes’s group at the media lab and was first commercialized as Firefly.

Pretty sure it didn't originate in Pattie Maes group.

For example these all before her group:

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/d663/d25cbc8212adf560b2b1f1...

http://soda.swedish-ict.se/2225/2/T94_04.pdf

MIT, but not Mae's group or Media lab: https://sites.ualberta.ca/~golmoham/SW/web%20mining%2023Jan2...


I’ll admit that doppler radar, noise canceling headphones, RSA cryptography and GPS might all be “trendy”, but they’re only a few of the many, many inventions that came out of MIT, mostly bankrolled by military funding.

None of these are achievements of MIT media labs. Please respond to what I wrote.

You'll have to give Gumby the courtesy of responding to what he wrote, first. He is clearly talking about "the institute". In the sentence you quoted, "I think it's been and continues to be a net positive for the planet", the pronoun "it" refers to "the institute (i.e. the faculty and staff)" in the previous sentence, consistent with "The Institute doesn't deserve your love" in the parent posting and "I love the institute" in the grandparent posting. It's 100% unambiguous that "the institute" he's talking about is "MIT" (that's what the middle "I" stands for: "institute"), not Media Lab, which didn't even exist when he joined MIT in 1982.

I am quite amused by MIT having to make some kind of apology for Jeffrey Epstein, but: the Rad Lab series, unless you count that as curiously good press.

They killed Aaron Swartz after all.

Also don't forget that Rafael Reif was responsible for orchestrating the massive coverup of fraud at MIT Lincoln Laboratory regarding Ted Postol's allegations of fraudulent missile defense tests:

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/401412/postol-vs-the-pent....

If the Department of Defense had not punted on the investigation, then provost Rafael Reif and his supervisor president Susan Hockfield would be serving time in a federal penitentiary with former dean of MIT Sloan School of Management Gabriel Bitran

https://money.cnn.com/2014/08/12/investing/mit-professor-sca....

instead of sending thank-you notes to one of the most depraved child molesters of the 20th century.

Shame on Rafael Reif and Susan Hockfield!


Not just hand signed paper thank-you notes, but also Neri Oxman's artistically illuminated 3D-printed glass marble, sent as a thank-you gift for a $125,000 donation to her design lab.

https://www.artnews.com/art-news/news/neri-oxman-jeffrey-eps...

https://www.dezeen.com/2019/09/16/neri-oxman-mit-donations-j...

>The newspaper also reported that her lab produced "a grapefruit-sized, 3-D printed marble with a base that lit up", as a personal gift for Epstein that was delivered to his Manhattan apartment.


It’s not reported but Reif’s job was also under review, though it appears to me that he survived.

Aaron Swartz wasn't the first.

The Voo Doo MIT Journal of Humor regularly published dark tasteless jokes about MIT driving students to suicide, because it was true.

https://web.archive.org/web/20031230203757/http://www.mit.ed...

Here's an example from their Fall 2003 issue: page 12, "FORM 27B-6: STUDENT AUTHORIZATION TO SELF-TERMINATE".

https://web.archive.org/web/20040806042029/http://www.mit.ed...

>This form must be competed in its entirety by any graduate or undergraduate student wishing to end the biological process of his or her life. Postdoctorates and faculty members should not complete this form; instead, these individuals should complete alternate Form 27B-9.

Or "Fun Stuff To Pull On The Clueless":

http://www.mit.edu:8001/activities/voodoo/is741/clueless.htm...

Voo Doo also published a biting spot-on parody of "Hunter S Negroponte" and Media Lab (including a reference to his brother John Negroponte's war crimes and lies to Congress):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Negroponte#Criticism

https://www.michigandaily.com/opinion/02viewpoint-negroponte...

https://web.archive.org/web/20000928224954/http://www.mit.ed...

Generation of Bits

Tales of shame and degradation in the Big Idea Lab

by Hunter S. Negroponte

Too Many Bits

The other day I was thanking my good friend Former President Bush (or ``George'' as I call him) for pulling some strings to get my brother out of that Iran-Contra mess, and he asked me if I knew any hot technologies he could sink his Presidential Pension into. In my opinion, the smart money is on filters. It's getting so you can't read Usenet without seeing that ``Dave Jordan'' Ponzi letter followed by forty replies from dickless wannabes threatening to mail-bomb the poster's sysadmin for the ``innapropriate post.'' Of course, I personally have my staff of Elegant British Women pre-edit my .newsrc for me (God how I envy the British), but that option is not open to the unwired masses outside the Media Lab.

One way to eliminate the blather while keeping the First Amendment intact is to create active ``Filter Agents,'' as I like to call them, that presort my Netnews articles and eliminate the tiresome pseudo-commercial posts. Can you imagine what the net's raw content will look like when all the half-literate morons in the U.S. can publish any text that their tiny minds ooze? The very thought makes me want to refill my glass with the '56 Chateau Lafite. America's Intelligentsia will need some serious Digital Butlers guarding our Offramp on the Digital Highway's Mailing Lists (damn metaphors) when this comes to pass.

The Big Lie

Media Lab critics (there have been a few) have occasionally questioned the practical application of our work. Well, have you heard about the Holographic Television? No longer a device found only in the back of comic books, we've actually made this sucker work. An honest-to-god motion-picture hologram, produced in the Media Lab basement on a 2000 pound holography table by computers, lasers and mirrors spinning at 30,000 RPM. It's real! It works! Life Magazine even came in to photograph it in action (of course, they had to fill the room with smoke so the lasers would show up on film). Practical application? Sure, it requires a 2000 pound air-suspended rock table and a Connection Machine II to run, but hell, everyone knows the price of computing power and 2000 pound rock tables is cut in half every year. My point, however, is more mundane: we have created a demo literally from smoke and mirrors, and the Corporate World bought it. Even my good friend Penn (or ``Penn,'' as I call him) Jillette would be proud.

In fact, I'm a few points up on Penn. You may have heard of the Interactive Narrative work that is proceeding in the lab. Folks, I'll be honest with you for a moment. I know as well as you do that it's a stinking load of horseshit. Roger Ebert said ``Six thousand years ago sitting around a campfire a storyteller could have stopped at any time and asked his audience how they wanted the story to come out. But he didn't because that would have ruined the story.'' You think Hollywood would have learned this lesson from the monster ``success'' that Clue, the Movie enjoyed several years ago. But no! I've repackaged the ``Choose your own Adventure'' novels of childhood as Digital Information SuperHighway Yadda Yadda crap, and again, they bought it! Sony right this minute is building an interactive movie theater, with buttons the audience can push to amuse themselves as the story progresses. Dance for me, Corporate America! I'm SHIT-HOT!

Why, just the other day I listened to a member of my staff explain to potential sponsors that we had spent \$US 4,000,000 of Japanese sponsor dollars to construct a widescreen version of ``I Love Lucy'' from the original source. And HE SAID IT WITH A STRAIGHT FACE! CAN YOU FUCKING BELIEVE THAT? Boy, I bet those Nips wish they had their money back now! Earthquake? No, we can't do much to rebuild your city, but we SURE AS HELL can give you a 1.66:1 cut of Lucy to fit all those busted HDTVs of yours! HA HA HA!

A Sucker Born

Last week I was off the coast of Greece on my yacht ``Nippo-bux'' (I put the ``raft'' in ``graft,'' as I always say) with my close personal friend Al (``Al'') Gore. He asked me ``Nick--er, Hunter, how do you do it? You maintain a research staff of, in the words of Albert Meyer [an underfunded Course VI professor], `Science Fiction Charlatans,' yet you never fail to rake in monster sponsor bucks? I could fund Hillary's socialized medicine boondoggle in an instant if I had that kind of fiscal pull.''

I told him that it's merely a matter of understanding our sponsor's needs. Our sponsors are represented by middle-aged middle-managers who need three things: Booze, good hotels, and hookers. Keep 'em busy with free trips and the slick dog and pony shows, provide them with pre-written notes for their upper-managment, and the money will keep rolling in.

Do I worry that one day some sponsor will wake up and say ``Wait a minute--what the hell did I do last night? Did I shell out a million bucks to fund a LEGO Chair in the Media Lab? Tequila!'' Over the years I've learned not to care. I could pull the cigar out of W.C. Field's mouth and sell it back to him at a profit. And he'd thank me for the deal. I'm that goddamn good.

Obligatory Plug

By the way, if you enjoyed this article, you can read it again in my upcoming book: Being Gonzo -- Life on the Digital Information SuperHighway Fast Lane. Buy one now.


Brutal. But I’ll have nothing bad said about Clue!

Yep, they're trying to save face.

Makes one think twice about the value of social proof.

Epstein was like a landing page with customer logos from LinkedIn, Microsoft, MIT, and Harvard.


I replied "this is an excellent analogy" and it was voted down. On the assumption that I was too brief, I'll try again.

From the early 40s through the early 90s MIT was essentially entirely (> 80%) funded by various organs of the US government (I used to read the budget when I was a student, and nowadays the development office sends me the budget). With the end of the Cold War that era came to an end. Interestingly Nicholas Negroponte was one of the few who really recognized this and he set up the media lab on a different structure.*

MIT really struggled to make a transition, which it has only partially made progress on. And what I like about this analogy is that it is trading on someone else's judgement and reputation. The landing page and pitch deck that uses other peoples' logos (typically without permission which I think, in the pitch deck case at least, is just fine, as long as the usage is true). "Trust us! Our B2B solution is trusted by Coca-Cola, Airbus and Lyft!"

A lot of schools name buildings and courses after people. One thing I liked about the old MIT is that they didn't really: Building 2 actually has a name but who really knows it? There were a few exceptions, but they were few. One element of the "new" MIT is that they essentially sell their own credibility ("Steven Schwartzman school of computing is merely the most notorious" and also try to trade it in reverse "Steven Schwarzmann may be a scumbag but he thought we were worth giving money to". Harvard (from its very name) Stanford, etc have all been in on this game for decades and centuries; MIT is just trying to catch up.

* I have mixed feelings about his by that's an unrelated matter


> Building 2 actually has a name but who really knows it?

It helps that rooms are numbered with the building number up front (e.g., 2-351 is building 2 floor 3 room 51), so the number is much more informative than the name.

Also, it's only been the Simons building for 4-5 years or so; before that it was just building 2.


Although the building number (mostly) doesn’t tell you much about the location except approximately.

Not too approximately: Even numbered buildings are to the east of the central grassy plaza (Killian Court), and odd numbered buildings to the west; the numbers tend to increase moving away from the river.

Additionally, buildings outside the main cluster have a cardinal direction prefix (W/NW/N/NE/E) that helps locate them.

<http://whereis.mit.edu>

(I know you know all that; I'm adding context for the readers.)


I have to admit I never noticed the even/odd rule. Maybe I'd have found Building 2 without having to look it up the other day :-)

I think social proof is quite valuable, just not in a way that is positive for Ito, Dershowitz, Negroponte, etc.

Social proof has usefully demonstrated exactly what they are.


This is an excellent analogy.

Haven't seen this being discussed anywhere:

>In addition to his own donations, Epstein claimed to have arranged for donations to MIT from other wealthy individuals. In 2014, Epstein claimed to have arranged for Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to provide an anonymous $2 million donation to the Media Lab.

From the PDF linked above: http://factfindingjan2020.mit.edu/files/MIT-report.pdf


Gates had close ties to Epstein:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/12/business/jeffrey-epstein-...

In fact, Epstein left his entire estate to Boris Nikolic (guy on the far right on that NYT picture). Nikolic worked for Gates for many years.

This is Gates emailing co-workers after visiting Epstein:

> After the meeting, Epstein emailed friends and associates to boast, writing "Bill's great" in one email reviewed by The Times. In an email Gates sent to his own colleagues the next day, he wrote, "A very attractive Swedish woman and her daughter dropped by and I ended up staying there quite late."

The revelations about Epstein directing the $2M Gates donation to MIT first came out in Ronan Farrow The New Yorker piece on Joi Ito and MIT. Gates has denied it but given all the facts it seems very believable that Epstein did have something to do with that donation.


> Gates had close ties to Epstein

That's an extreme exaggeration that borders on character assassination - your linked article disagrees with your setup at every step (it notes repeatedly the limited nature of his interaction with Epstein). Gates met with Epstein a few times on the premise that he claimed he could raise billions of dollars for charitable causes Gates was associated with and otherwise did not have ties to him, did not do business with him or know him on a personal level.


> and a well-known Harvard Law School professor.

almost certainly Alan Dershowitz, who is up to his eyeballs in epstein dirt.


Yes, and the LinkedIn co-founder is obviously Reid Hoffman. Here's a series of Tweets from Aanand Giridharadas talking about discovering some of this information and how they reacted to it:

https://twitter.com/AnandWrites/status/1169947031806365696


Reid Hoffman arranged a 2015 dinner where he invited Epstein, Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Thiel, and Elon Musk. Epstein would later tell a New York Times reporter that he knew intimate & embarrassing details of the sex lives of numerous tech luminaries. I'm sure it's all nothing though. Hoffman says he regrets it so he's in the clear. Even still has his podcast on NPR!

https://www.thedailybeast.com/linkedin-founder-reid-hoffman-...

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/12/business/jeffrey-epstein-...


That was a great and horrifying read. They're circling the wagons.

> Why are the people not connected to Epstein leaving this orbit, while people connected to Epstein remain?

> Shouldn't it be the other way around?


>> and a well-known Harvard Law School professor.

> almost certainly Alan Dershowitz, who is up to his eyeballs in epstein dirt.

My guess is Lawrence Lessig, since he himself wrote about this ("Our conversations then were about his diligence to determine whether Epstein remained an abuser"), see

https://medium.com/@lessig/on-joi-and-mit-3cb422fe5ae7


I stand corrected, I didn't realize how many famous harvard law professors he was associated with.

The the former Israeli Prime Minister probably being Barak; Israeli media has uncovered that Epstein gave him use of his NY apartment, and millions in investments.

It was a PANTS ON massage!

Ah yes, Woody Allen, the well-known judge of character when it comes to matters of child sexual abuse.

The "former prime minister of Israel" was probably Ehud Barak, who solicited $1 million in seed money from Epstein for his startup Carbyne, received large political donations from Epstein's benefactor Les Wexner, and was a frequent guest at Epstein's NYC mansion.


1) Negroponte responded: “I know him quite well. The person who is his closest friend is Marvin Minsky, who even visited him in jail. I would take Berlusconi’s money, so why not Jeff.” (By March 2013, Berlusconi, the former Prime Minister of Italy, had been accused of hiring underaged prostitutes and dating underaged girls.)

2)“I’ve also talked to Nicholas [Negroponte] as well who had met him and he also agrees that we should treat Jeffrey with respect.”

3)Negroponte pushed back on concealing Epstein’s attendance, responding (in part) “Of course he can come and would be welcome …. I would make absolutely no fuss over his coming and welcome home [sic] 100%.”

Wow, just wow, are there no depths too low?


I'm really surprise Marvin visited him in jail. It's not out of character of him (he was really a kind human) but I'm surprised he had that close a relationship.

I like Nicholas a lot but some of his remarks do surprise me.


Marvin Minsky was accused of assaulting Virgina Guiffre. Virginia had been trafficked by Epstein starting when she was 15.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/08/new-details-in-unsea...

> Giuffre also alleges Epstein and Maxwell told her to have sex with former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson; former Democratic Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell; the late MIT computer scientist Marvin Minsky; and MC2 model agency cofounder Jean Luc Brunel, as well as an unnamed “prince,” “foreign president,” and owner of “a French hotel chain.” Giuffre previously alleged she had been forced by Epstein and Maxwell to have sex with lawyer Alan Dershowitz and Britain’s Prince Andrew.


I know several people who were at that island and have discussed this event; one even told me that he remembered it because Marvin came over to him and said "this woman just offered to have sex with me." Also Gloria, his wife, was there, though I haven't asked her about it (and wouldn't). This seems believable to me.

OTOH I did read Giuffre's deposition and she says not just that she was told by Epstein to proposition various people but that it happened. I find that very hard to believe having known him so long, but she made that statement under oath. Also I'm not sure Marvin was famous enough to be worth making up a story about (as opposed to, say, a famous heir to a throne).


I don't think it's correct that the deposition says that sex happened -- I'd greatly appreciate a reference to that if you have one.

The deposition contains questions like "Where were you and where was Ms. Maxwell when she directed you to go have sex with Marvin Minsky?", which seem to focus entirely on Maxwell's behavior rather than telling us what Minsky's response was.

(For the record I think Minsky's conduct -- in continuing to associate with Epstein after being offered sex by a young woman on Epstein's private island and then continuing to host conferences there after Epstein's conviction -- is terrible either way, but agreeing on which facts are actually known seems important.)


Deposition page 204 line 13 (marginally ambiguous).

My point about Marvin not being super famous is if I were making something up I'd make it up about famous people.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/14ZOEKwoBnDKUFI1hLbFJH5nsUFx...


Could you check the page? Neither 204 of the PDF nor 204 in red at the top seems to be a deposition text page.

I'm not imagining that Giuffre made anything up. I'm just trying to work out whether, after she propositioned Minsky as she was directed to by Maxwell (from the deposition, as well as Minsky's own account to other attendees), he accepted.


Page labeled in black in its footer

Thanks, that looks like the one I was quoting. I'm surprised you say "she says not just that she was told by Epstein to proposition various people but that it happened" from that text, unless maybe by "it" you just mean the proposition..?

I'd agree that Minsky agreeing to the proposition would be implied by those sentences in normal conversation, but depositions have carefully constructed and precise questions and answers, so that leaves me unsure.

(Again, I'm not trying to offer a strong defense of Minsky here or claim that any part of the deposition isn't true.)


Did any of the people you know regret going there? I know I would be able to do it. Even if they didn't participate, I would think being in an environment like that would make most people really uncomfortable.

> I know I would be able to do it.

Freudian slip?


Typo

Why does that say "Epstein and Maxwell told her to have sex with" and not "had sex with, as ordered by Epstein and Maxwell" ? Did Giuffre say that the sex happened?

Yes, she did claim that. Here's a better link:

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article233728717.html

> In the lawsuit, Giuffre claimed she was forced to have sex with a “large amount of people,” some of whom had not previously been named, including former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, Hyatt hotels magnate Tom Pritzker, hedge fund manager Glenn Dubin, the late Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientist Marvin Minsky, modeling agent Jean-Luc Brunel, Dershowitz, Prince Andrew, another unnamed prince, plus “a well-known Prime Minister.”


That's the Miami Herald misunderstanding the deposition, I believe. The actual deposition talks about her being directed to offer sex to these people, but doesn't say explicitly whether they accepted it.

Example quote from the deposition: "Where were you and where was Ms. Maxwell when she directed you to go have sex with Marvin Minsky?"


Minsky had been close with Epstein for years. Minsky had even organized two events on Epstein's island, a two day symposium in 2002 (not mentioned in the report) and a full conference in December 2011 (this appears to be mischaracterized as 2012 in the report). I see another poster has commented about Giuffre's allegations.

Age of consent in Italy is 14, like many other European countries. Underage prostitutes not.

I think "14" is reasonably understood as "underaged girl" even if there are countries where the age of consent is that low. At any rate "it was technically not illegal in such-and-such jurisdiction" is hardly a robust defense of middle-aged men "dating" girls barely in their teens.

But prostitution below the age of 18 is illegal

I've seen some articles written by former MIT Media Lab employees, and they made it seem like Epstein's involvement and history was basically an open secret that they weren't allowed to mention in emails or documents.

There was a Medium article that said Epstein brought young Eastern European women (likely trafficked) with him to campus. (If I can find it I will edit this comment) I think it says a lot about their culture, that people working there are encouraged to look the other way when a billionaire is involved.

Also, looking at the report, it is obvious that Ito was completely aware of Epstein's history, and the risks of associating with him, but continued to invite him to MIT's campus.


You know, I was thinking to myself what it would take to take Epstein money. How much would count? And the truth is that no amount really works. Most of us middle-class folk would probably say no pretty fast if offered the choice because the best way to stay safe from the mob is to not let it turn its Eye of Sauron on you. The instinct that keeps me far is less morality than self-preservation. Epstein himself had billions and he died in a jail cell. I'd take the deal if I were destitute, though.

Interestingly, lots of these people weren't destitute. But these people (more intelligent than I am) fell for a trick I would have fallen for a hundred times faster: the slow drip. "Come visit my island. I'll fly you there". Of course I say "yes". Then when I'm there, everyone is busy having sex with kids. I'm standing there like gawking like an idiot. I have no sex with kids. I'm the only one who will say that. I'm already screwed. Well played, mob, well played. If I whistle blow the kid-screwing then they'll get in front of me. I'll commit suicide because apparently I had this secret paedophilia. The Internet will say "Well, junba wasn't a trustworthy guy ultimately. They found child porn on his computer". I'm not saying that some of the guys were innocent. I'm saying that given the existence of adversaries bent on information manipulation, no one external can determine if you're innocent or not. Better to stay far from the Eye of Sauron.


> At the end of the discussion, there was a consensus, reached by Morgan, Ruiz, and Newton, to keep Epstein’s $100,000 donation to the Media Lab and to accept further donations from him so long as: (1) each donation would be recorded as anonymous, and Epstein could not publicize it; (2) the donations would be relatively small; and (3) the donations would be unrestricted.

Right, they thought really hard about it and their moral compass told them to sweep it under the carpet.

Then the emails from Ito to Newton and the others at Resource Development are interesting. Here is one, Ito tries hard convince others to let him keep the money.

> I’m actively developing the relationship with Jeffrey Epstein and I’d like to know your thinking on this. More important than this $100K is what happens if he is interested in a much larger gift. My previous understanding was that if it was not accounted or named—or if the gift might be given anonymously—it was likely to be OK.

He is dangling future bags of money in front of them. "Just think of all the funding we could be getting. And look, we've already hid it as anonymous before, surely we can do it again".

That's some very effective tactics. Epstein did that too, he started giving smaller amounts of money first to see how it goes. Those processed, people made excuses. Once that happened they were hooked into the scheme and ready to be roped in even more. Ito was using the same tactics.


this whole thread bothers me, but not for the usual reasons.

1) everyone is up on their high horses pretending that they somehow have an absolute moral compass that would prevent them from doing any wrong. To me it looks like people over at MIT are trying to do the right thing (with this external investigation) and maybe there will be some lessons learned from this whole episode.

2) everyone is outraged (rightfully) at what this guy/monster did but I believe we are missing a bigger point here: people abuse power every damn day. people fuck over people in a weak position - that cannot defend themselves - every damn day. It sounds like some lives are more important than other when it comes to capturing the moral highground. What about minimum wage workers living in poverty, people that deperately need health care or civilians in war zones? Nobody gives a damn about what has become the new normal, but we're outraged that some guy had assistants in their 20s and basically ran a prostitution ring on his island.

3) a subset of the same people that probably visited the island have decided to silence the guy because he probably knew too much. The same people that had no problem having sex with underage, sexually exploited girls, decided to abuse their power once more. And we're outraged that a bunch of MIT professors took donations to pursuit their research.

Honestly at this point I would just let law enforcement do their thing and would focus on preventing/exposing situations such of this vs being revisionists about what should have been done.


I agree with 2), but the Epstein case was closely related to the HN bubble, so it's only natural that people get worked up about it.

> Honestly at this point I would just let law enforcement do their thing

I don't think this will happen. Look at the phenomenal outcome of this underage prostitution case, which (from what we know) sounds pretty boring in comparison:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Dutroux#Deaths_of_potenti...

Something about sex trafficking seems to bring out the hitmen really quick.


The MIT-affiliated Draper Laboratory conducted research for the CIA in support of its post-9/11 enhanced interrogation program. Stephen Kosslyn, formerly affiliated with the Harvard psychology department, helped Draper win this contract and served as an academic advisor to the program for the CIA.

Kosslyn was also responsible for creating a position for Jeffrey Epstein at Harvard in the psychology department, according to a recent report published by Harvard's president Lawrence Bacow.

Given Epstein's alleged connection to CIA, one wonders what role it played in helping land this disgraceful $20 million program in Draper's lap?


> In September, in response to revelations about engagements between MIT and Jeffrey Epstein...

This isn't true, right? MIT knew about those engagements from as far back as 2013. This is the first sentence in the first answer to the first question and it just isn't correct. What _actually_ happened in September is a bunch of fucking terrible press for MIT. This whole thing is just so sad and at the end of all this is a bunch of human beings who were treated so poorly by some, and in some ways almost worse, treated indifferently by so many others.


The point is revelation outside MIT. The report is pretty clear that Epstein's presence was discussed frequently internally -- and okayed.

The amount of money he donated is infinitesimal by MIT's standards. They must have been convinced there was tons more to come.


I'm not denying the report is clear, as that wasn't written by MIT, but an independent 3rd party. The FAQ is written by MIT and I believe the first sentence is not clear to someone who isn't familiar with the history. The FAQ should stand on its own without the report or else what good is it.

The sentence reads:

> In September, in response to revelations about engagements between MIT and Jeffrey Epstein, President Reif and the Executive Committee of the MIT Corporation asked MIT's general counsel to retain a law firm to design and conduct a review of the facts surrounding those engagements.

It is the case that Goodwin Procter's fact-finding investigation began in September. And the report details interactions in 2012 and 2013, including who was aware of what at the time. You can read the report here: http://factfindingjan2020.mit.edu/files/MIT-report.pdf


I still don't understand. They knew in 2013. What exactly does "in response to revelations" mean then? What was the revelation? They've known. That sentences is bullshit and misleading at best.

MIT is not one person. The report details exactly who knew what, when. According to the report, the President of the institute (Reif) did not know until the reporting linking MIT with Epstein.

I'm not referring to the report. I'm talking about the FAQ. The answer is disingenuous and I believe purposefully written to make people unfamiliar with the details to believe MIT found out about the "revelations" in September or at some point around there. There was never a revelation. It was known.

> Senior members of the administration were aware of gifts the Media Lab received between 2013 and 2017 ... They knew in general terms about Epstein’s history – that he had been convicted and had served a sentence


Wasn’t one of the early findings of the investigation that Reif had signed a thank you note to Epstein for his donations, and had sat in the meeting where the institute decided faculty could take Epstein’s money as long as he donated anonymously?

According to Reif himself, he signed a "letter thanking Jeffrey Epstein for a gift to Seth Lloyd ... on August 16, 2012, about six weeks into my presidency."

So it would stand to reason that Reif knew about the relationship with Epstein, dating back to at least 2012.


You’re talking about basically a form letter that he probably signs approximately a zillion of. I even have one.

You're ignoring the part where Epstein was a hyper-wealthy socialite who had already made a six-figure donation before his 2008 conviction. MIT administrators have acknowledged that they knew about his crimes and that conviction. They took money from him anyway.

Epstein brought Bill Gates's money through the door. Don't pretend the administration was unaware of his donation history, or that he was just some everyday small-potatoes donor.

Reif had his eyes open, he said thank you for the money, and now he's throwing others under the bus to preserve his own career.


Anybody else remember the death of Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz? And what role MIT played in it? And the “conspiracy theories” surrounding his death? It may be a good time to look at that again.

Also don't forget that Rafael Reif was responsible for orchestrating the massive coverup of fraud at MIT Lincoln Laboratory regarding Ted Postol's allegations of fraudulent missile defense tests:

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/401412/postol-vs-the-pent...

If the Department of Defense had not punted on the investigation, then provost Rafael Reif and his supervisor president Susan Hockfield would be serving time in a federal penitentiary with former dean of MIT Sloan School of Management Gabriel Bitran

https://money.cnn.com/2014/08/12/investing/mit-professor-sca...

instead of sending thank-you notes to one of the most depraved child molesters of the 20th century.

Shame on Reif and Hockfield!


What appears surprising to me is how easy the funded researchers apparently got away with it.

- Profs Lloyd and Oxman, still in service

- Joscha Bach, who is the VP of research at the AI foundation (https://aifoundation.com/about/), and declined to comment. I don’t know whether someone with such track record should be educating on the future of AI?


The report is the product of considerable work involving 73 interviews of 59 people and more than 610,000 documents and emails.

That's 10,000 documents and emails per person interviewed. How is that even possible?


Likely - not all 610k documents are authored by those 59 people.

59 people are interesting to look at. 610k documents are related to the investigation probably by search/graph.

Realistically, not all 610k are read manually.


Also, the interactions span over 15 years.

I have 24k emails over the last year in my work email. I think this is fairly typical in large companies.

In a University it is completely out of control. Every individual you ever meet or encounter electronically seems to generate an email or meeting invite from them, their university, their department, their school/faculty and from associated departments with a shared resource that you are required to understand. Sometimes it's multiple messages per day, and I haven't worked there in 3 years. Anacedata as I have only worked at one university.

It's out of control in general. Email itself is a little bit like phone calls these days - almost entirely useless to me as a medium due to the amount of spam generated.

Email is, of course, worse. For every 15-20 emails I get maybe one of them I was expecting or is personal. It's just a glorified spam box.


Those two things are not related. "Give me all the e-mails and Sharepoints on the Exchange server" and "I want to talk to these 59 people" are separate requests.

Presumably the documents and emails come from people besides the interviewees.

Fairly certain that when they refer to “documents” it means pages

Can someone explain to me what harm was caused by MIT accepting anonymous donations from Jeffrey Epstein? As an MIT alum I don't understand what the problem is.

It allowed Epstein to launder his reputation as a sexual predator and trafficker. Even with his donations recorded as "anonymous", he remained a conduit and effective networker for the Media Lab. Bill Gates donated $2,000,000, IIRC, to the Media Lab through Epstein. As part of his continued networking as a big dollar donor, Epstein continued using his private island to abuse and traffic underage women.

Basically, once his reputation was in tatters following his conviction, the Media Lab and various individuals found it profitable to rent their reputations (and MIT's) to Epstein.


They weren't really anonymous. Those who needed to know, knew. The details were just hidden from the general public.

"Really anonymous" might be to set up a trust, interact through a lawyer, where MIT receives no information about the person behind the scenes.

But people at MIT knew, and it helped him make connections with other people.

In addition, the donations were reciprocated. One example (going from memory, so might have details wrong) was that one of the labs was asked to make a gift for Epstein.


> “Have you managed to talk to many of my friends?”

> Epstein had been supplying me the phone numbers of important scientists and financiers and media figures. “Do you understand what an extraordinary group of people they are, what they have accomplished in their fields?"

-- http://nymag.com/news/features/41826/


The same reason that you don't do business with organized crime.

Apparently Reif's job was on the line too. I was surprised he survived

"Releasing bad news or documents on a Friday afternoon in an attempt to avoid media scrutiny is often called a “Friday news dump” by members of the media." - https://politicaldictionary.com/words/friday-news-dump/

Why they hired a law firm to begin with?

Often times outside law firms handle investigations like this. MIT clearly had some failed policies where they were laundering the reputation of a despicable person for donations, which shouldn't happen. An internal investigation would be strongly biased to find no wrong-doing. Ostensibly, an outside investigation is more neutral (even though MIT is still paying for it so they're clearly biased to be soft too...)

I found noteworthy that MIT recognized the risk of bias and attempted to control for it by retaining a second law firm (that had no history of working with MIT, whereas the first firm they retained has been used by MIT for previous tasks).

> An internal investigation would be strongly biased to find no wrong-doing.

Yes, if there is a bias, it needs to come from somewhere? If feel it is like saying "If you haven't made a crime, you don't need an attorney." This doesn't make sense for most of people on your side of Atlantic, but try to get the rationale behind that.

Similarly, if they began talking of settlement fund, then for what they set it for to begin with, if this is a complete BS?


Well, the law firm in this case is basically an extension of MIT's in-house counsel. MIT has a long, long history with them, including whistleblower intimidation and other cover-ups.

This is answered in part in the final q; so that the inquiry could have independence from MIT’s general counsel:

> When Epstein’s donations to MIT were revealed, MIT’s general counsel retained Goodwin Procter, a law firm that has worked with the Institute in the past and that has extensive experience conducting internal investigations at academic institutions. That background allowed the firm to get up to speed quickly as it began its review. Soon thereafter, the Executive Committee engaged the law firm Paul Weiss, which also has extensive experience leading internal investigations and advising boards of directors but no prior relationship with MIT. From a governance perspective, the Executive Committee felt Paul Weiss’s independence from the Institute was valuable.


To protect the president, of course.

The report concludes that President L. Rafael Reif was not aware that the Institute was accepting donations from a convicted sex offender and accused pedophile

Following one of the two $50,000 donations, staff prepared a standard gift-acknowledgment letter to Epstein, and President Reif signed it on Aug. 16, 2012


To conduct a fact-finding operation regarding MIT (and its members') interactions with Epstein and donations contributed by him to the university or its members.

http://factfindingjan2020.mit.edu/


After the report on Aaron Swartz I have very low expectations, in fact I expect another MIT whitewash. I'll read it to see if that's the case.

There is a good reason why Rafael Reif only appears in public these days flanked on all sides by brutes from the MIT police department.

During the Vietnam War, Dean Epps was placed under citizen's arrest by the students of Harvard University (as he famously yelled back at them: "Unhand me, you mother-fuckers!") for that organization's complicity in what the UN has now ruled a war crime:

https://www.salon.com/2011/11/11/occupy_harvard_gets_the_old...

Got to wish protesters today the best of luck getting anywhere near that close to Rafael Reif, with the police detail that he needs to hide behind in order to protect his filthier-than-dirt, self-rationalizing ass from those who might attempt to hold him publicly accountable.


> Epstein was joined by one or two female assistants who appeared to be in their twenties, which made some people uncomfortable ... A Media Lab staff member told us that she was "grossed out" during of one Epstein's visits to the Media Lab, both because ... and because Epstein brought female assistants in their twenties with him.

Is anyone interpreting this as "At MIT, it's reasonable to be prejudiced against young women who claim to have a job in the philanthropy field. Anyone actually qualified for such a job would have a different age or a different gender."? If I'm a professor elsewhere and visit MIT to talk about my research, can my female graduate student (who did most of the work) safely visit at the same time, or will she run into the same prejudice? Does the answer depend on her physical appearance?


People are, quite sensibly, prejudiced against someone convicted of sex crimes involving the exploitation of young women traveling with young women. The prejudice is against him, not the women. The incident and the reactions of the staff involved has been documented in greater detail elsewhere, you can just google it up.

To avoid the appearance of impropriety, should people avoid hiring female assistants? I hope not.

To avoid the appearance and reality of impropriety, people should avoid sex trafficking and other crimes. I don’t understand what the relationship to ‘employing women assistants’ is supposed to be.

Once you've been convicted of sex trafficking, yes.

He trafficked underage sex slaves

Most everyone else is interpreting this in the context of Epstein trafficking young women from eastern europe, because that's what he did.

If you interpret it as you describe instead, I also desperately hope you are not a professor and don't visit MIT.


> we now see that the donations totaled $850,000

Why would Epstein donate $850k to MIT?


Reif should resign.

Epstein didn't kill himself.

Video footage "accidentally" deleted and the backup footage also lost due to "technical errors."

His death and a cleanup so slovenly and brazenly done in front of the public eye is a mockery of America as a nation of "liberty and justice for all."


This happens MUCH less today than at any time in the past. Only 2 generations ago, stuff like this was happening on a daily basis everywhere in the world. This was basically what justice used to be.

The world is not fair. There is little justice. But it's more fair and just than it's ever been before, by far. Maybe we've taken a step back in the last 10 years. It's hard to say. But compared to even 50 years ago, we are so far ahead it's unbelievable. 100 years, and it's basically a different world.


Well, that seems to be a fact, but it is not a reason to not regard it as suspicious, and not a reason to not investigate.

> This happens MUCH less today than at any time in the past.

Really? You know this how?

> Only 2 generations ago, stuff like this was happening on a daily basis everywhere in the world.

And it magically stopped?

> This was basically what justice used to be.

As opposed to justice now being what money can buy?

> But it's more fair and just than it's ever been before

I disagree. The world is just as fair and just as it's ever been before. This is just recency bias like how the enlightenment crowd painted the period before them as the "dark ages" where no learning or progress was made.

> But compared to even 50 years ago, we are so far ahead it's unbelievable.

Maybe if we cherrypick some parts or aspects.

> 100 years, and it's basically a different world.

Humans are still humans.

Things aren't as terrible as you think they were. Things aren't as terrible today as some think. Things aren't as great as some think they were. Things aren't as great today as some think.


"America" is different than "everywhere in the world"

No, it isn't. Money corrupts, and if anything, being the first economic power, USA is rife with corruption, although not brazenly obvious; i.e., you don't bribe politicians, you contribute to their campaigns.

Each place is different in its own way, so replace America for whatever and this will be true. If you think "America" is less corrupt than the rest of the world I'll have to disagree.

A lot of corruption in the rest of the world serves the American government interest of the interest of American corporations. America "is in it" as much as everybody else.

Like, to be blunt, Americans are snorting most of the cocaine from Latin America and having sex with most of the children in Thailand. That doesn't mean those children will wrap themselves in American flags or shoot guns after being fucked, but if you follow the money the trail ends in America and no one is doing anything to stop this. People get killed and raped in the trafficking and cocaine business all the time and I would call that pretty corrupt.


There’s plenty of data showing that conditions have improved around the world.

There were way more socialist and right wing dictators in the 1970s. Even in the early 90s than today.

Extrajudicial killings, independent courts, poverty via failed economic ideologies or resistance to adopting modern industry/markets, etc has all significantly declined and conditions have improved.

The world will always need constant maintenance and good things stagnant and need reforming. History has a habit of repeating itself but rarely to the same degree of failure as lessons do get learned and quality of life always increases.


Where?

Germany today definitely seems better than Nazi Germany -- copy that for almost all of Europe.

Japan today is definitely better than Tojo.

Russia today is probably better than Soviet Russia. Maybe it's worse. It's still bad.

Copy that for China, but I can't imagine it's worse than Mao. South East Asia seems a lot better off without the Khmer Rogue running around.

Isis is fucking up the middle east and MBS is terrible, but at least women have some rights and their courts aren't an absolute complete joke anymore.

I don't know much about India -- but it definitely seems like it's improving vs the recent past.

I don't really know anything about South America or Africa or Australia -- but if you think there was more justice in the Aztec or Inca Empires than there is today, you're mistaken.

Sure, things are way worse in some pockets I guarantee -- see Syria.

The world as a whole is getting better and fairer. And if you think anywhere in the world wasn't killing people on a regular basis for political motives and getting away with it Scott Free, I think you should read about Kingdoms and Empires and Slavery and Feudalism -- you know, the things civilazation ran on until relatively recently. And if you think "Modern Day Slavery" is anywhere near as bad as "Real Slavery" -- again, you're completely mistaken.

Go back 300 years, and you could kill your wife almost anywhere for almost any reason. Nevermind "Royalty" being able to get away with anything.


> Germany today definitely seems better than Nazi Germany

Meanwhile we had to drop a lawsuit against the NPD because the most vocal and hateful all turned out to be law enforcement. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, especially with the AFD reaching a nice 14% support.

> Copy that for China, but I can't imagine it's worse than Mao.

Blindly killing and starving your population for a rebuild from "scratch" vs. systematic eradication and organ harvesting. I am not sure if that counts as improvement, of course we get cheap crap from it so you might count it as a win.

> Isis is fucking up the middle east and MBS is terrible, but at least women have some rights and their courts aren't an absolute complete joke anymore.

Now if only some weird self styled world police stopped starting wars every few decades under the pretense of bringing peace. There are decades old pictures where the smoking ruins still looked a lot more western then they do now.

> Go back 300 years, and you could kill your wife almost anywhere for almost any reason.

And yet at least in Germany there were explicit laws covering "self defense against ones wife"[1]. While parsing that text hurt my brain (old German spelling + old German letters) the law text itself doesn't seem to paint the man involved in a good light from the start. So one attempt to find a law text in a language I can read and one success vs. "almost anywhere for almost any reason" - maybe I should play the lottery.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitutio_Criminalis_Carolin...


Sodomy is still illegal today in most of the world.

There's a difference between what is law and what's enforced.

I.E. it was illegal to mistreat your wife in Germany 300 years ago, but how often did the women win against the man compared to today? How often did they even bring up a case vs today? We don't know. But I'm skeptical it was even close to as fair as today.


Holding up Epstein’s likely murder as evidence of progress is deeply fucked up. I hope you have values.

They aren't holding it up as evidence of progress...

Kind of impressive, and nice in a way - - since it is so obviously corrupt and we become aware of it because the case is so high profile. Makes you wonder who pulled it off and how often things like it occur.

The attorney general confirmed it was a suicide, so if we're to believe it was actually a surreptitious murder, it goes all the way to the top.

You mean AG Barr, whose father hired Epstein as a 20-year-old college dropout to teach calculus and physics at a prestigious prep school? https://hillreporter.com/the-ties-that-bind-jeffrey-epstein-...

Considering his involvement in Iran-Contra and deliberate derailing of Congressional oversight, I wouldn't believe a word the current attorney general says.

Especially because the case disappearing is clearly convenient for people personally connected to the AG, or to whom the AG owes a favor.


Not to mention that the AG runs the Bureau of Prisons.

Epstein was in Barr's custody.


It is quite possible he was taken off suicide watch so he could... commit suicide. It wouldn't have to be a murder in the technical sense

the video of the first "suicide attempt" was lost too - due to technical error, accidentally erased or some "Oopss!" like this...

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/jeffrey-epstein-jail-cell-video...


Of course it goes to the top. Just look at Epstein's cohorts.

Assisted suicide?

Or maybe the attorney generals public statement is confirmed suicide, as to not be suicided himself, but meanwhile reaching out to uncorrupt allies that can investigate the murder wide-eyed-optimist-face?

Epstein might still be alive and the whole thing some sort of elaborate witness protection scheme to protect him from all of the people who want him dead. So there might not be corruption all the way to the top.

Corruption seems like an easier explanation though.


This sounds like the plot of Michael Crichton's next thriller.

Michael Crichton generally wrote sci fi. Maybe you mean John Grisham or John LeCarre, or similar.

I think it's more likely that he or people around him pulled strings so he could kill himself rather than he be killed.

If he's powerful enough to pull strings to kill himself, why wouldn't he pull strings to disappear?

If I want a conspiracy theory involving Epstein's power here, it's going to be that this is how you disappear if you're powerful enough, and the phrase "Epstein didn't kill himself" is correct not because his death wasn't a suicide, but because it's not his death.


Disappearing is a lot harder than offing yourself.

What actual evidence do you have that he was murdered? I think it is much more likely that someone who was going to be in prison for the rest of his life, and who previously attempted suicide, killed himself rather than being murdered by someone in the prison. There is footage of the guards falsifying time sheets, so to me it seems like a pretty clear case of negligence. I recall reading an FBI report about the suicide, where they said that they watched footage of the outside of the cell at the time of his suicide, but I can't find it back.

Great claims require great evidence. Your claim makes me increasingly skeptical, but I require a lot more.

What is the best, least crackpot looking resource to dig into the _facts_?


The cctv footage existed, it has now been ‘accidentally deleted’.

The chances of this happening on a high profile case are infinitesimally small. So on the contrary the great claim requiring evidence is that this was a completely normal suicide in prison. Where is the evidence this video was deleted by mistake?

https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/01/10/us/09reuters-peop...


What surprises me is that said CCTV system/sever is not currently in the hands of a IT forensics specialist. It's hard enough to wipe data intentionally, it much be even harder to loose it irrevocably by accident. I would be quite surprised if the footage cannot be at least partially recovered given the right resources.

I don’t know what happened, but do find it very odd cctv was wiped, and is not recoverable.

> The chances of this happening on a high profile case are infinitesimally small.

You're claiming that the chances of this are infinitesimally small comes off a bit tautological. It kind of feels like you're /saying/ it's infinitesimally small because /if/ that were in fact true, it /might/ help your claim.


Accidentally deleting video of not one but two separate events along with the backups of that video seems pretty far fetched, but how often are they asked to recover video from hours ealier? Maybe the buffer period is just way too short and it is incompetence?

I have no claim, I have no idea what happened, but I do know that video footage of prison cells where prisoners killed themselves does does not disappear by accident, saying it dies in such a high profile case alone requires quite a high burden of proof (I.e, the prison burned down, there was an unexpected solar storm). If there is no obvious explanation, the most likely one is it was deleted deliberately.

> I do know that video footage of prison cells where prisoners killed themselves does does not disappear by accident

How do you know that?

To me, this is like saying "backups of important data do not become unrecoverable by accident." Except backups (and CCTV footage) is routine, high data volume, and very usually uninteresting, so something going wrong can very easily be missed. And things can go wrong with relatively high frequency--I would not be surprised if most attempts to restore from backups failed.


Yes grey-area is begging the question.

I’ve seen numerous accounts that the prison is understaffed and under budgeted. I’m not surprised at all that they would lose footage if they’re out of drive space and don’t have enough eyes to keep up with the error logs.

Also if you missed the latest news stories, they did save the footage for one of them but were given the wrong cell number so they had footage for the wrong floor.

This is just the general level of disorder and incompetence you can expect when you decide not to give a thing the level of funding it needs.


> The chances of this happening on a high profile case are infinitesimally small

Even if they are ([citation needed] on the claim that the high profile nature of the case decreases the odds of mechanical accident), infinitesimally small events can still happen once. The fact they happened at a time most inconvenient for holding a wealthy man accountable doesn't change the nature of probability.


Sure it’s perfectly possible, just really improbable, that he happened to kill himself when the video happened to be deleted.

I've heard it happens far more often in the US prison system than it should, regardless of profile.

I hear you. But the absence of evidence is not evidence of a crime. You've got your reasoning inverted. "Show me the evidence that there isn't a giant space walrus on the far side of Neptune. Otherwise we must conclude there is one. "

I'd like links to sensible aggregate sources and discussion. I don't want to have the discussion here.


So if, for example, a crime happens with 10 witness, and all 10 witness start dying one by one, will you simply say that there is no evidence the crime and forget about it?

In this case, there may not be any bulletproof evidence, but everything around the case that could've gone wrong has gone wrong, to the point where it's no longer statistically plausible to be a mistake. Everything in the system had redundancy yet every part of the system "failed".

There were two guards, yet they were both "asleep". They were supposed to check him every 30m yet they didn't check him for hours exactly when he killed himself. He had attempted suicide yet he wasn't on suicide watch. His cell mate was taken away. All the footage and backup were lost.

I guess the closest evidence so far is that the autopsy shows more homicide than suicide, but that isn't much.

Yes, it is indeed a conspiracy theory at this point, but unlike what the internet will have you believe, "conspiracy" != "crackpot theory".


I'd be more convinced if there weren't reasonable explanations for every one of these facts already in the public record. At this point, were this an actual criminal trial, proof of homicide is way far out there.

Further, if someone powerful was worried he'd implicate them, killing him is a terrible way to keep the secret. With him dead, his effects and possessions are now no longer subject to Constitutional privacy protections and the FBI can go over them at its leisure to string together a case against his accomplices or any who used his "services" to arrange illegal sexual encounters.

(... civil trial burden of proof is mere "preponderance of evidence," and IIUC his estate is seeking civil trial, so they may win that case, make of that what one will).


That's assuming someone hasn't already gone and taken out whatever proof there was from his island. There have been drone footage taken by people showing how things were taken from his mansion.

https://www.redstate.com/brandon_morse/2019/08/13/computer-r...


The FBI took evidence into custody. Beyond that, I wouldn't trust RedState's analysis without independent confirmation items are missing.

I wouldn't trust it as proof, I'm just saying, there wasn't anything stopping people from taking away incriminating evidence before the FBI had a chance to get a warrant.

> They were supposed to check him every 30m yet they didn't check him for hours exactly when he killed himself.

"Hours" means at least 4x longer than the normal period Epstein would have waited for the guards check in on him. Even at the 45 minute point it would be clear to Epstein that the guards were late.

Basic logic would dictate that a guy desiring to commit suicide would make an attempt exactly when it seemed likely to him the guards weren't going to show up for awhile.

So we have two options-- either Epstein was intent on committing suicide (in which case the timing is unremarkable) or he wasn't (in which case the timing is highly suspect). Given that we don't know Epstein's state of mind, and as you point out we don't have much of anything as corroborating evidence, we cannot make heads or tails of the timing. And this is the problem with conspiracy theories. It's simply too tempting to overlook that and jump to the branch that adds more intrigue to the conspiracy.

I find it useful to build a simple gate before jumping to unlock further contemplation. For example, perhaps I read about a statement from a guard claiming they were told not to check on Epstein during that time. Or even a report of some suspicious activity or event at the location that happened around the same time the regular checking procedure got interrupted. Having that gate there ensures that I don't accidentally let unrelated yet intriguing facts fill in for the corroborating evidence I desire.


You greatly overestimate the competency of the modern bureaucracy if your best evidence is presenting a series of lapses as a well executed conspiracy. You cannot honestly use the phrase ‘statistically implausible’ because you most likely have no statistics nor idea how often such lapses occur. You’re trying to dress up a weak theory with much more rigor than is actually present.

Just for the record, absence of evidence can be evidence of a crime: evidence-tampering. And anyway, an absence of evidence isn't exactly exonerative either, especially if a plausible narrative exists to explain the absence. And there are several here.

It's a matter of probabilities. Surveillance video was prematurely destroyed, twice in a month, in separate incidents and in different ways. Oh and both of those incidents involved the same subject. That is statistically improbable, similar in category if not in actual magnitude, to getting struck by lightning twice. At the very least that should justify and support an investigation kicking into overdrive mode to find direct evidence. And if no such evidence is found, it may nonetheless end up being used as part of a prosecution. Interesting coincidences are always pretty persuasive.


Debating that there wasn't a conspiracy is different than debating if he killed himself (which can't be proven). So far, there has been a coordinated effort to obscure accountability and records. This is SOP for the US Federal Government, when trying to hide misdeeds from the US population. Typically, we only get windows into what happened later when political opponents need ammunition or decades later when there are deathbed admissions.

Again, _any_ solid links about this discussion? The main tell tale sign of crackpots is that they'll tell you a big earful of conspiracy. If they had a solid case they'd just share a link to a solid case. A link with analysis filled with references all the way down to primary sources.

I'm always so dissatisfied when I ask for evidence for these things.


Of course there's no solid evidence.

But there are also serious questions that need to be answered - a very, very long list of serious questions about very important and influential people involved in some very suspicious events that culminated in some very rare and unusual security lapses.

Linking anyone asking those questions to "crackpots" is simply disingenuous.


There is no scientific way to organize a "solid case" and there is no legal avenue with the federal handwashing that has already been stated (ie it was the guards who simply failed to check up, and criminally falsified records).

A classic denialist position is to require a social process and specific outcome in order to challenge their beliefs, in the face of context. Not that it will change our society, in either case.


His name is Bert, and he's just visiting Neptune, it's not like he lives there.

> Show me the evidence that there isn't a giant space walrus on the far side of Neptune. Otherwise we must conclude there is one.

That's a nice, more-memorable riff on Russell's Teapot [0].

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell%27s_teapot


Thanks for sharing! I knew this was "a thing" but I don't usually know the names of all these logic and philosophy things.

We could call it Blakey's Walrus?

A giant space walrus is not in question. What is in question is why video showing a suicide was deleted.

Do you have any explanation for that?


I've got no "facts" for you, but, and I've said this before here, if Epstein was about to testify in court about organized crime or a murder allegedly committed by a Mafia member no one here would be questioning the idea that he was murdered.

That he was in deep with very, very powerful people for a long time that are in the public eye we now somehow have to apply greater scrutiny to the evidence. Just, gobbledygook.

Perhaps we should realize that there really isn't much difference between the Mafia and generational political families.


The claim that he killed himself should also require evidence.

I think the idea is that "destruction" of evidence (the initial suicide tape), failure to gather evidence (specific cameras not operating the night of his death) and failure of protocol (him somehow being able to strangle/hang himself as a high profile person hours off of suicide watch) while not evidence are definitely cause for suspicion.

A lot of the evidence seems to be anecdotal. I've heard multiple interviews of people who have worked in various functions over the years at MCC where Epstein was being held.

All have noted how tight the security is (its often referred to as the "Gitmo of the East"), how so many failures would have to occur for him to be able to do what he did without anybody seeing it happen, or not have someone realize he was trying to kill himself and stop it.

I remember an interview with a high level jail admin and when asked about Epstein and what happened, he just laughed. The host asked why he was laughing and he basically said, "I worked there for 15 years, no way this happens with the security they have there. Someone was paid off or it was an inside job. There's no doubt in my mind when I consider the kind of people Epstein was linked to."


Can you provide links to _anything_ you just said?

Epstein's was the first suicide in MCC in 21 years:

https://nypost.com/2019/08/10/suicide-supposedly-nearly-impo...


Not asking for pieces of evidence. I'm asking for a well-produced case linking lots of evidence.

You're going to have to put the (many) pieces together yourself. The people who would normally be responsible for doing this (the media, the government) are the same people working to suppress the story. And yes, there is plenty of evidence for this (Amy Robach hot mic, Acosta's "intelligence owns him" quote, destroyed video tapes, the plea deal Epstein got...),

What point is there to ask for something that you know does not exist?

Funny how the players are all intertwined in the loss of the suicide video.

https://i.redd.it/6pg6wj8toy941.png


Not in the picture: the President of the United States and very close friend to Epstein, Donald Trump.

Are you saying Donald Trump work with James Comey's daughter Maurene Comey (the assistant prosecutor for the Epstein's case) to destroy the suicide video?

No. I'm just pointing out that there's a lot of conspiracy theories trying to link people who had at best tangential relationships with Epstein with his demise, but somehow manage to ignore that literally the most powerful man on planet Earth had a lot to lose from Epstein's indiscretions becoming public.

It's interesting how conspiracy theories seem to always have a very particular... 'conservative' bias.


So the Russian collusion conspiracy is a "conservative" bias. That's pretty interesting.

I don't want to use HN to discuss politics, but notice that the 'Russian collusion conspiracy' is not a conspiracy theory. Donald Trump Jr himself published the emails setting up a meeting with a Russian lawyer which - he admitted - was supposed to yield information that'd help his father in the election. That makes it the very definition of a real conspiracy, right?

Isn’t that the epitome of starting a conspiracy based on flimsy accusation? And the conspiracy kept alive for 2 years, by whom?

Hm... not sure what you are trying to say. What flimsy accusation? Donald Trump Jr released the emails himself on Twitter? What in that is a 'flimsy accusation'?

We all kind of know that, yet it still remain just a "conspiracy theory" which no decent person will dare to publicly acknowledge. Yeah, another one.

“Suicide” is also a totally unfounded accusation on paar with a conspiracy theory: There isn’t a single proof of suicide. Yet all the newspapers repeated it gullibly until social media made it impossible to ignore the opposite. So why wasn’t this affirmation entirely disqualified first hand?

At best, the doctor can affirm that Epstein died. Little more. Suicide is associating a storytelling, a blatantly lying storytelling in the face of the public as long as no proof of intent was even available when the suicide was affirmed. We basically know nothing on the circumstances of his death, so the suicide word was more than unfounded.


occam's razor says you're wrong.

You toss a coin 8 times and are told you get 8 heads, you wanted tails, the person reporting this to you wanted heads on each occasion. By occam's razor is 8 heads a simpler explanation than you were lied to?

One toss, you couldn't really detect much smell. But 8? Does it stink?

Any one of these things, camera footage x2, cell mate, suicide watch removal, plea deal, guards asleep x2, association with the current president, Bill Clinton, actual royalty, just for starters... and we can keep going with these coincidences.

Any one, fine, happens. Any three, ok, weird, but not totally outside expectation. But we're kind of beyond that. It just stinks. If it's all just a massive coincidence that all these independent things "just happened" that needs support because it seems the assumption that all those events are independent is shaky, at best. Shaky by occam's razor heuristic.

0.9^8 is less than 50%

So it should be looked at closely on principle. With or without support from occam's razor.


Occam's razor isn't a law, just a heuristic.

Irrespective of the trueness or falseness of this, it is completely off-topic.

It is off-topic, but that's not uncommon on HN — and it's certainly one of the most important points that can be made from the Epstein case.

This comment is downvoted, but shouldn't be: "Epstein didn't kill himself" clearly is off-topic for the thread, and the resulting "discussion" ate the whole thread. 'zamalek is absolutely right.

What's wrong with being a little bit off-topic every now and then as long as it's somewhat interesting?

For a lot of us, HN is a big part of our lives, it's our water-cooler place where we come to chat and wind down. I was myself curious to hear what folks here thought of the "Epstein didn't kill himself" trope.


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