It had not yet been certified that the millionaire had committed suicide in his New York cell and theories were already being spread about dark factors that would have forced his death. Even Trump became the promoter of one of those unfounded ideas.
Not much time had passed since Saturday morning when the apparent suicide death of Jeffrey Epstein was known in the New York prison where he was awaiting trial, for the accusation of child trafficking for sexual purposes. Expressions of astonishment, suspicion and outlandish theories circulated in networks about what ‘really’ happened to a prisoner with so many connections in the highest spheres of politics and business.
The suspicion that followed the surprise is natural. It was the highest-profile detainee in the hands of federal authorities in New York, his testimony could potentially harm famous names (among his friends were Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton, and even the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, to mention a few) who allegedly were close friends to Epstein.
That’s why the suspicion that ‘someone’ didn’t want him to talk wouldn’t seem so far-fetched. Moreover, until a few days ago Epstein had been under special surveillance and therapy after an alleged suicide attempt. Suddenly he is returned to normal incarceration. Very strange, say the skeptics. That strangeness is shared from Attorney General William Barr to New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
What is abnormal is for the president of the United States to spread one of those unfounded conspiracy theories by retweeting a video of a comedian who says, without presenting any proof, that the detainee died by order of Clinton and his wife Hillary, Trump’s opponent in the 2016 presidential election.
According to CNN’s count on Sunday morning, the president’s message triggered the video views to the point that it was duplicating the most watched video of that comedian-political commentator.
The “Clinton´s body count”
An old fantasy widely spread by those who dislike the “Clinton´s”. It is sort of a Don Corleone tale that gives the Clinton family, mafia-like abilities in order to “eliminate” people who “know too much”.
That theory spread in 1995, when Vince Foster, a friend and advisor to the Clinton family committed suicide in their first few months in the White House. The right-wing conspiracy theorists said he was murdered so that he would not reveal the “dirty laundry” that surrounded the presidential couple.
This so called “Clinton´s Body Count” is about detractors of the former president and his wife who, according to the conspiracy theorists, have died in, for them, strange circumstances, even though police or medical reports do not give rise to such suspicions.
The most recent entry on that list came in 2016, when a Clinton campaign contributor Seth Rich was shot and killed by an assailant, according to the report by the Washington DC Metropolitan Police. However, rumours began by the conspiracy theorists saying that the advisor was going to give out “sensitive information” to Wikileaks about the campaign so he was killed for it. This gossip was heightened when WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange offered a reward for information about the death, implying that Rich had contributed to its publication.
By definition, any conspiracy theory is elaborated as an alternative explanation to generally accepted facts, with the problem that it does not have sufficient grounds to prove its validity.
In the end, it becomes a convinced expression of those who promote them, claiming that the lack of evidence is due to the power of those powerful actors behind the mess.
The lack of evidence does not finish dismantling the theory. On the contrary, it reinforces it in the minds of some, in a circular reasoning that prevents them from getting out of the scheme.
Jeffrey Epstein was alone the day he was found dead in his cell in a New York jail. That’s why it’s so irresponsible for someone in Trump’s position to choose to amplify such an unfounded theory simply to gain a few points on his most radical electoral base or to discredit those he considers his political enemies, when he is the head of the federal government responsible for Epstein’s safety (like of all detainees under the authority of the Department of Prisons) and who will have to investigate what happened.
The president thus erodes the official position expressed by the Department of Prisons and the Department of Justice, which reported that the cause of death was “apparent suicide,” something that the final investigations should confirm.
In fact, even before the president decided to echo irresponsible accusations by others, Attorney General Barr announced that a special investigation will be conducted, apparently in addition to the FBI investigation, to answer the many questions posed by Epstein’s sudden death.
Trump’s taste for lies
Since the beginning of his campaign, Trump has shown a taste for conspiracy theories. At least he owes his entry into the political arena as a favourite of conservatives and nationalists when he promoted, and partially financed, the movement that claimed there was no birth certificate for Barack Obama certifying his American nationality, ergo, his right to be president of the United States. This was called the “birther” movement.
Trump was among the most active “birtherists” until 2016 when he recognized that Obama was born in the United States. Only he did five years after the president presented his birth certificate, which at the time Trump claimed, without evidence, it was “fraudulent”.
When he was running for the Republican Party presidential nomination in 2016, Trump echoed a note from the tabloid Enquirer in which he showed a photo claiming that the father of the senator and then candidate Ted Cruz, Rafael Cruz, was handing out flyers in favour of Fidel Castro with whom it would be the assassin of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald, in the streets of New Orleans in 1963.
The Cruzes denied that the person in the photo was Rafael, their father, but the underlying accusation in Trump’s comments was that Cruz Sr. would have had “something to do” with the assassination that occurred months later on a visit to Dallas, Texas.
Donald Trump is quite given to those theories and likes -loves- to spread them, like there is a “deep state” in Washington that controls the government and somehow prevents him from exercising power as he would like.
In fact, when he came to power, there was a bureaucracy that guaranteed the basic functioning of the administration regardless of the changes in the White House. Today that has been altered in some quarters by the dismantling of many offices because of Trump’s obsession with appointing secretaries and interim directors, surrounding himself with inexperienced loyalists, non-renewal of career staff, and the shrinking of budgets.
It is not surprising that groups that cultivate such unfounded “alternative explanations” see Trump as an equal. To the extent that in some campaign events for the re-election of the president have been members of the so-called Q Anon, a virtual collective that spreads crazy ideas about the high government, whose secrets they claim to know.
Trump has never publicly supported Q Anon but they feel that there is “one of them” in the White House, whom they consider to be in danger due to obscure factors of the “deep state” that would be seeking to preserve its power.
Doubts, suspicions, and conspiracy… Where´s the reality?
There is a failure in the conspiracy theories regarding Epstein’s case, since his death it is not enough for the FBI to shut down the investigation. It will be continued since these alleged criminal activities are based in a conspiracy charge (which in this case means that two or more people plotted to commit a crime).
Yes, it is true that the testimony of the main suspect will not be heard and maybe some secrets of the rich, powerful and famous went to the grave with Epstein, however, there are others who knew about the millionaire´s illicit activities and can still give information that puts at risk the good name and even perhaps the freedom of some.
So… right now, we know that not only the Clinton’s, or the Trump’s or the Prince of England attended the parties at Epstein´s Palm Beach mansion or his private island but many other respectable business people who may not want their name mixed on this scandal or want anyone to know they enjoyed Epstein’s “hospitality”.
Let´s be serious here for a moment and think… In a conspiracy theory what´s the difference between the Clinton´s, Prince Andrew or Trump? – Why couldn´t he be as much of a suspect as any other person? He is the most powerful man on earth, is he not? He can be as equally suspected of “doing something” to Epstein.
One thing is a fact. Conspiracy theorists are having the time of their lives.
With information from: CNN / Univision / Q Anon / The Guardian / @realDonaldTrump / FoxNews
The Yucatan Times