WHITNEY WEBB: “Isabel Maxwell: Israel’s ‘Back Door’ Into Silicon Valley”

By moving in “the same circles as her father” and vowing to “work only on things involving Israel,” Isabel Maxwell became a pivotal liaison for the entry of Israeli intelligence-linked tech firms into Silicon Valley with the help of Microsoft’s two co-founders, Paul Allen and Bill Gates. Isabel would also head an Israeli tech company that “protects children online,” at a time when her sister — Ghislaine Maxwell — was actively abusing and trafficking children as part of an intelligence-linked operation alongside Jeffrey Epstein. Also notable is the fact that Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein would themselves become involved in Isabel’s world, i.e. the growing nexus between Silicon Valley and Israel, courting and allegedly blackmailing major Silicon Valley executives while also investing in Israeli intelligence-connected start-ups.

~Whitney Webb

 

This is Part II of the series “The Maxwell Family Business: Espionage” and focuses on Isabel Maxwell. Part I can be found here.

In 1992, Israel’s government created the Yozma Program at the urging of Chief Scientist of Israel’s Ministry of Industry and Trade — Yigal Erlich — as Erlich moved to leave that position. The Yozma Program aimed to “incentivize venture investment” by creating state-linked venture capital funds, which later spawned a myriad of Israeli hi-tech start ups with merging them with major, foreign technology companies. According to Erlich’s website, he had lobbied Israel’s government to launch Yozma because he had “identified a market failure and a huge need in Israel to establish for the first time a professionally-managed venture capital industry that will fund the exponential growth of high tech ventures coming out of Israel.” He then “convinced the Israeli government to allocate $100 million for his venture capital vision.”

Erlich’s vision would also result in the fusion of Israel’s hi-tech sector, which he helped to create, with Israel’s intelligence apparatus, with numerous Israeli hi-tech conglomerates created with funding from the Yozma program and its successors doubling as tools of Israeli espionage. Notably, not long before Erlich convinced Israel to place $100 million into this program, Israeli intelligence, thanks largely to the work of infamous spymaster Rafi Eitan, had learned the benefits of placing backdoors for their intelligence services into commercial software through the theft and subversion of the PROMIS software. As noted in Part I of this series, Israel’s bugged version of PROMIS was largely marketed by Robert Maxwell.

After the Yozma program was established, the first venture capital fund it created was called Gemini Israel Ventures and Israel’s government chose a man named Ed Mlavksy to lead it. Mlavksy, at the time, was the Executive Director of the Israel-U.S. Bi-national Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD), where Erlich was Chairman of the Executive Committee. Mlavsky states that, while heading the BIRD foundation, “he was responsible for investments of $100 million in more than 300 joint projects between U.S. and Israeli high-tech companies.” BIRD’s connections to Gemini Israel Ventures and the Yozma Program in general are interesting, given that – just a few years prior — it had come under scrutiny for its role in the one of the worst spy cases in U.S. history — the Jonathan Pollard affair.

Jonathan Pollard had been a naval intelligence analyst turned Israeli spy who passed troves of documents regarding U.S. military technology (specifically nuclear technology) as well as clandestine U.S. intelligence operations to Israeli intelligence, specifically to the now defunct spy agency Lekem. Pollard’s handler was none other than Rafi Eitan, who had engineered Israel’s outsized role in the PROMIS software scandal. In the indictment of Pollard for espionage, it was noted that Pollard delivered documents to agents of Israel at two locations, one of which was an apartment owned by Harold Katz, the then-legal counsel to the BIRD foundation and an adviser to Israel’s military, which oversaw Lekem. Government officials told the New York Times at the time that they believed Katz “has detailed knowledge about the Pollard spy ring and could implicate senior Israeli officials.”

Journalist Claudia Wright, writing in 1987, openly speculated about whether the close ties between Katz and Pollard’s handlers meant that BIRD itself had been used to pass funds to Pollard or that BIRD funds themselves, most of which were provided by U.S. taxpayers as opposed to public claims of “joint” funding, had been used to pay Pollard for his “services” to Israel. In her article, she notes that Mlavsky had considerable discretion over the use of those funds while the U.S. official in charge of overseeing the U.S.’ interests in BIRD did “not know how investment is regulated” by the foundation. In addition, no U.S. official had access to any audit of the foundation, which were said to be conducted by an Israel-based accounting firm with no U.S. offices. The New York Times noted at the time that Katz specifically “may have knowledge of the method used to pay Mr. Pollard, who received tens of thousands of dollars from his Israeli handlers.”

After BIRD’s Mlavsky was chosen to head Gemini Israel Ventures, one of the first companies the firm invested in was called CommTouch (now known as Cyren and majority owned by Warburg-Pincus). Founded in 1991 by Gideon Mantel, a former officer in a “special bomb-squad unit” for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), alongside Amir Lev and Nahum Sharfman, CommTouch was initially focused “on selling, maintaining and servicing stand-alone email client software products for mainframe and personal computers.” They specifically courted Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), meaning companies whose products are used as components in the products of another company that are then sold to end users. Integration of its products into those of major software and hardware developers would allow CommTouch’s products to be widely used but unseen. A Wired article discussing CommTouch noted as much, stating that CommTouch products are meant “to be as seamless and unnoticeable as the copper is to a phone caller.”

However, from their founding through early 1997, CommTouch struggled to stay afloat, unable to turn a profit and unable to secure any notable deals or to expand its company beyond 25 employees. Yet, thanks to Gemini Israel Ventures and “grants” from Israel’s government, which were used to finance the research and development of its products, CommTouch managed to stay afloat. As late as 2006, CommTouch noted in official documents that the company “has a history of losses and may never achieve profitability,” further noting that they hemorrhaged millions of dollars a year in net losses. Clearly, the decision by Gemini Israel Ventures and Israel’s government to continue to pour money into a decidedly unprofitable company for several years was motivated by something other than profits.

At some point in early 1997, CommTouch decided to enter the U.S. market and began seeking out a new President for the firm who had “local clout.” “We knew exactly what we were looking for,” Gideon Mantel later told Wired ofCommTouch’s search, “Someone who knows her way around the Valley.” They found their woman in the daughter of Israeli “superspy” and PROMIS salesman par excellence, Isabel Maxwell.

An Intriguing Pedigree

Mantel and CommTouch allegedly chose to court Isabel Maxwell for their company’s presidency through an unspecified placement company and were “attracted to her expertise and insight in Silicon Valley when it sought her out.” The Israeli outlet Globes states that Gideon Mantel “went to Isabel Maxwell as soon as he arrived in Silicon Valley and realized that in order to progress, an e-mail solutions company like CommTouch needed help from someone who knew the rules of the game.” Wired offers a similar portrayal, further adding that it was “Gideon Mantel who got Isabel Maxwell to take the job.”

Mantel told Jewish Weekly that while Maxwell’s pedigree, i.e. being Robert Maxwell’s daughter, “was very intriguing at the beginning… it wasn’t her name that made the decision for us.” However, Mantel, in separate reports, compares Isabel to her father on numerous occasions when praising her professional abilities. For example, he told Haaretz that Isabel “is not cowed by anyone, and she never gives in…. She got all that at home. They taught her to go after things and not give up.” Similarly, he told Wired that “Like her father, she is a fighter,” later adding that “She always charges. She has no fear. Of course, it is from her father. It is in her blood.” Given that Robert Maxwell is rarely posthumously remembered (in media anyway) as “a fighter” and “fearless,” it goes without saying that Mantel views him with a degree of reverence that he also associates with his daughter Isabel.

Isabel, notably, has herself stated on several occasions that her acceptance of Mantel’s offer to be CommTouch’s President was also informed by her father’s controversial ties to Israel. She told Haaretz that her reasons for accepting the CommTouch presidency was “from the heart” because it was “a chance to continue her father’s involvement in Israel,” leading her to reject other more lucrative job offers from actually established companies that she had received at the time. She similarly described her reasons for joining CommTouch to Jewish Weekly as “an affair of the heart,” adding that “it had to do with my father and my history.” The New York Times quoted her as saying that she had “considered other California-based Internet start-ups [in 1997], but felt a pull toward CommTouch and the Israeli connection.”

Isabel has some interesting views on her father, whom she describes as the “ultimate survivor,” and his involvement in Israel. She describes him as “highly complex,” adding that she doesn’t “have rose-coloured glasses about him,” but nonetheless says she is “proud” of his controversial legacy and that “if he were alive today that he would be proud of us too.” She said something similar to The Guardian in 2002, stating that “‘I’m sure my father would be thrilled to know what I’m doing now,’ throwing back her head and laughing loudly.” In addition, when asked who the most influential person in her life had been, Isabel responded “My father was most influential in my life. He was a very accomplished man and achieved many of his goals during his life. I learned very much from him and have made many of his ways my own.”

Isabel told Haaretz around that same time that “When I was with him [her father], I felt power. Like being at the White House… Beyond that, it was a collective power, not my personal power. I was part of this unit,” apparently referring to her other siblings, Ghislaine and Christine among them, and suggesting that they were collectively extensions of their father’s power.

However, Isabel stands out from her other siblings, and even Ghislaine, in terms of a sense of loyalty to her father and to the state of Israel. According to Elizabeth Maxwell, Isabel’s mother, Isabel “is also loyal to the memory of her father, and to what Judaism represents in her life. All my children were brought up as Anglicans, but Isabel was very taken by the Jewish faith and the politics in Israel” compared to her other children, including Ghislaine.

Indeed, Isabel has close relationships to several prominent former Mossad officials and Israeli heads of state, with several of those relationships having been “forged by her father.” A now scrubbed report published by the Jerusalem Post in 2003, entitled “Isabel Maxwell Fights Back,” notes that “Maxwell travels in the same circles as her father, but she is more comfortable behind the camera, not in front of it…she is carrying on her father’s legacy in Israel, albeit in her own way.” It also noted that, by 2003, Isabel was visiting Israel every month, visiting her father’s grave on the Mount of Olives at least once every visit.

Arguably the most interesting part of the now-scrubbed Jerusalem Post article is the way in which Isabel views her father’s legacy. In discussing the book by Gordon Thomas and Martin Dillon, Robert Maxwell, Israel’s Superspy: The Life and Death of a Media Mogul, Isabel — even though she participated in interviews for the book — rejected its premise that her father was a “spy”and went on a private smear campaign against the book and its authors prior to its publication.

Tellingly, she does not object to the book’s contents regarding her father’s activities on Israel’s behalf, including his role in the PROMIS software scandal or Iran-Contra, but merely objects to the use of the word “spy” to describe those activities. “My father was certainly a ‘patriot’ and helped in back business and political channels between governments,” Isabel told the Jerusalem Post, “But that did not and does not make him a ‘spy.’” It could be said, then, that Isabel would view her subsequent career “in back business and political channels” via the “same circles as her father” as similarly “patriotic.” Yet, for those that consider her father a “spy” for his activities, that would also mean extending the same to Isabel, who self-identifies as Israeli.

Aside from her father’s own ties to Israeli intelligence, it is worth noting that Isabel’s own history — up to the point she joined CommTouch — involved her working for the Israeli intelligence front company used by her father to sell bugged PROMIS software in the U.S., Information on Demand, and subsequently the search engine Magellan, of which she shared ownership with her sister Christine (whose ties to U.S. intelligence will be explored in Part IV) and her sister Ghislaine, a sexual blackmailer and sex trafficker operating on behalf of U.S. and Israeli intelligence. Isabel’s past with both Magellan and Information on Demand were clearly known to CommTouch at the time of Isabel’s hiring. It also worth noting that, on several occasions, Isabel credits CommTouch’s success with the ties of all of its Israeli employees to the Israeli military and military intelligence, resulting in — per Isabel — a “dogged work ethic” and a “trained mind-set” among its Israeli workforce.

As will be shown in more detail in Part III of this series, upon departing CommTouch, Isabel deepened her already close ties to prominent Israeli politicians and intelligence officials, serving alongside ex-Mossad directors and counting former Israeli chief intelligence officers and heads of state among her “family friends” and business partners. This involvement continued during the period when her son was given a prominent position at the Middle East affairs desk at the State Department when it was headed by Hillary Clinton, who — as many are now aware — has close and controversial ties to Isabel’s sister, Ghislaine.

Microsoft’s Co-founders put CommTouch “On the Map”

Upon taking the job at the Israeli tech firm, Maxwell’s promotion of the company was called “almost messianic” even though her enthusiasm was described as “hard to fathom” given the lackluster performance of the company and its products. However, soon after becoming CommTouch’s president, her personal connections to prominent figures in Silicon Valley — forged through her past work at Magellan — paid off and the company announced new partnershipswith Sun Microsystems, Cisco, and Nippon Telephone and Telegraph, among others. At CommTouch, Maxwell managed “all sales and marketing activities for CommTouch and co-directed strategic business development.”

Some reports have noted that Maxwell’s connections with prominent Silicon Valley figures were the key to her professional success, with Globes noting that “Everyone who has worked closely with Maxwell says that her advantage lies in her ability to help penetrate the market with a new product by opening the right doors,” an “advantage” also ascribed to her father while he sold bugged PROMIS software on behalf of Israeli intelligence. Yet, despite Isabel’s penchant for “opening the right doors,” reports well into Maxwell’s career at CommTouch still referred to the firm as “an obscure software developer.”

However, out of all the alliances and partnerships Isabel negotiated early on during her time at CommTouch, it was her dealings with Microsoft co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen that would put CommTouch “on the map.” Maxwell had previously negotiated a major deal with Microsoft’s Bill Gates earlier during her time as the McKinley Group/Magellan’s Executive Vice President, resulting in Microsoft announcing that the Maxwell-owned Magellan would power the search option for the company’s MSN service.

Yet, it appears that Microsoft’s co-founders did much more than put CommTouch “on the map,” but ended up preventing the collapse of its initial public offering, a fate that had befallen Isabel Maxwell’s previous company, the McKinely Group, not long before. Indeed, CommTouch kept pushing back its IPO until a massive investment from firms tied to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen was announced in July 1999.

The investment from Allen’s Vulcan Ventures Inc. and Go2Net Inc resulted in a jump in “interest in the stock sale and in CommTouch, until now an obscure software developer,” according to a Bloomberg report, and also inflated their stock price immediately prior to their going public. The money from Allen-linked investment would be specifically used “to expand sales and marketing and build its presence in international markets.” Allen’s decision to invest in the company seems odd from a financial perspective, given that CommTouch had never turned a profit and had netted over $4 million in losses just the year before. Yet, thanks to Allen’s timely investment and apparent coordination with the company’s repeated delays of its IPO, CommTouch was valued at over $230 million when it went public, as opposed to a $150 million valuation just weeks prior to Allen’s investment.

It’s not exactly clear why Paul Allen came to the rescue of CommTouch’s IPO and what he expected to gain from his investment. However, it is worth pointing out that Allen was among the members of an exclusive online community of elites set up in 2004 called “Small World,” whose membership also included Jeffrey Epstein and Epstein-linked figures like Lynn Forester de Rothschild and Naomi Campbell, as well as Petrina Khashoggi, the daughter of Adnan Khashoggi, a former client of Epstein’s. Small World’s largest shareholder was Harvey Weinstein, the now-disgraced media mogul who was a business partner of Epstein and was since accused by a number of women of sexual abuse.

Less than three months after Allen’s investments in CommTouch in October 1999, the company announced that it had struck a major deal with Microsoft whereby “Microsoft will utilize the CommTouch Custom MailTM service to provide private label web-based email solutions for select MSN partners and international markets.” In addition, per the agreement, “CommTouch will provide MSN Messenger Service and Microsoft Passport to its customers while building upon its Windows NT expertise by supporting future MSN messaging technologies.”

The agreement came less than two years after Microsoft had purchased Hotmail, which — up until the CommTouch/Microsoft agreement — had been one of CommTouch’s main competitors for its web-based e-mail services. In other words, this meant that Microsoft would use CommTouch’s “behind the scenes” software as the backbone of its web-based e-mail services, Hotmail included. “We are looking forward to further enhancing our relationship with Microsoft by integrating other state-of-the-art Microsoft products,” Gideon Mantel of CommTouch said upon the deal’s public announcement.

In December 1999, Microsoft then announced that it had invested $20 million in the company by purchasing 4.7% of CommTouch stock. The announcement pushed CommTouch stock prices from $11.63 a share to $49.13 in just a few hours time. Part of that deal had been finalized by Richard Sorkin, a recently appointed CommTouch director. Sorkin had just become a multimillionaire following the sale of Zip2, Elon Musk’s first company where Sorkin had been CEO.

It further appears that Bill Gates, then head of Microsoft, made a personal investment in CommTouch at the behest of Isabel Maxwell. In an October 2000 article published in The Guardian, Isabel “jokes about persuading Bill Gates to make a personal investment” in CommTouch sometime during this time frame.

The article then oddly notes the following regarding Isabel Maxwell and Bill Gates:

“In a faux southern belle accent, [Isabel] purrs: ‘He’s got to spend $375m a year to keep his tax free status, why not allow me to help him?’ She explodes with laughter.”

Given that individuals as wealthy as Gates cannot have “tax free status” and that this article was published soon after the creation of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Isabel’s statements suggest that it was the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust, which manages the foundation’s endowment assets, that had made this sizable investment in CommTouch. Furthermore, it is worth highlighting the odd way in which Isabel describes her dealings with Gates, speaking of her interactions with him in a way not found in any of Isabel’s numerous other interviews on a wide variety of topics (i.e. “purring”, speaking in a fake Southern accent). This odd behavior may have some be related to Isabel’s previous interactions with Gates and/or the mysterious relationship between Gates and Epstein, alluded to in a 2001 Evening Standard article, and eyewitness testimony regarding Epstein’s and Ghislaine Maxwell’s comments about Bill Gates in 1995, discussed in Part I of this series.

After 2000, CommTouch’s business and clout expanded rapidly, with Maxwell subsequently crediting Bill Gates-led Microsoft and Paul Allen’s investment for the company’s shifting fortunes. Maxwell, as quoted in the 2002 book Fast Alliances, states that Microsoft viewed CommTouch as a key “distribution network,” adding that “Microsoft’s investment in us put us on the map. It gave us instant credibility, validated our technology and service in the marketplace.” By this time, Microsoft’s ties to CommTouch had deepened with new partnerships, including CommTouch’s hosting of Microsoft Exchange.

Though Isabel was able to secure lucrative investments and alliances for CommTouch and see its products integrated into key software and hardware components produced and sold by Microsoft and other tech giants, she was unable to turn the tide of the company’s dire financial performance, with CommTouch netting a loss of $4.4 million in 1998 and similar losses well into the 2000s, with net losses totaling $24 million in the year 2000 (just one year after the sizable investments from Microsoft, Paul Allen and Bill Gates). The losses continued even after Isabel formally left the company and became President Emeritus in 2001. By 2006, the company was over $170 million in debt.

The One-Woman Liaison Between Israel and Silicon Valley

Isabel Maxwell would leave her role at CommTouch in 2001, but remained President Emeritus for years afterward retaining a sizable amount of CommTouch stock then-valued at around $9.5 million. While Maxwell remained honorary president, CommTouch added Yair Shamir, son of former Israeli Prime Minister and friend of Robert Maxwell, Yitzhak Shamir, to its board. Yair Shamir, Chairman of the Israeli government owned corporation, IAI (Israeli Aerospace Industries) when he joined CommTouch’s board, had previously managed Scitex when it was owned by Robert Maxwell. After nearly collapsing due to its long-standing debt burden a few years later, CommTouch was rebranded as Cyren and, today, runs in the background of Microsoft, Google, Intel, McAfee and Dell products, among many others.

Haaretz wrote in 2002 that Isabel, as CommTouch was in dire financial straits, had decided to “work only on things involving Israel. Even the failure of CommTouch, the Israeli Internet company she headed, hasn’t deterred her: She still believes in the medium, and she still believes in Israel.” Maxwell would subsequently create “a unique niche for herself in high tech as a liaison between Israeli companies in the initial development stages and private angel investors in the US” as a private consultant, subsequently creating Maxwell Communications Network in 2006. That company offered “cross-border communications, funding and market research to leading venture capitalists and hi-tech companies in the US and Israel.” However, she notes that her “specialty” was in “helping Israeli high-tech companies.”

During this period (2001-2006), Isabel would also head an Israeli tech company that “protects children online,” at a time when her sister — Ghislaine Maxwell — was actively abusing and trafficking children as part of an intelligence-linked operation alongside Jeffrey Epstein. Isabel took the job at iCognito (now Pure Sight) “because the company is in Israel, and because of its technology.” She also joined the board of the Israeli company Backweb alongside Gil Shwed, a famous alumnus of Unit 8200 (often likened to Israel’s NSA equivalent) and co-founder of Israeli tech giant Check Point, which is a long-time partner of CommTouch.

Isabel’s close involvement with former Israeli heads of state and heads of intelligence would only deepen after leaving CommTouch, particularly with former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. The Jerusalem Post described the Peres-Isabel relationship as “close” and “forged by her father.” Isabel was also in close contact with former Mossad deputy director David Kimche (until his death in 2010) and former head of Israeli military intelligence and Prime Minister Ehud Barak. Notably, Ehud Barak, in addition in being a major player in the Israeli-U.S. hi-tech scene, was also closely associated with Jeffrey Epstein and Isabel’s sister Ghisaline, having recruited Epstein for Israeli military intelligence and overseeing the Lekem agency at the time of the PROMIS scandal (including Robert Maxwell’s role) and the Pollard Affair as well as Israel’s involvement Iran-Contra. Barak was also a frequent visitor to Epstein’s island and slept over in New York apartments that were owned by Epstein’s brother and which housed many of Epstein’s underage “sex slaves.”

Also notable is the fact that Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein would themselves become involved in Isabel’s world, i.e. the growing nexus between Silicon Valley and Israel, courting and allegedly blackmailing major Silicon Valley executives while also investing in Israeli intelligence-connected start-ups. During this time, Isabel was a major player in venture capital networks and other organizations aiming to further develop ties between Israeli intelligence-linked start-ups and U.S. tech companies, which is now part of an openly admitted Israeli intelligence operation (in which Microsoft plays a major role). The ties of Isabel, Ghislaine and Epstein to this hi-tech world of Israeli espionage, as well as Isabel having inspired what would later become Ghislaine’s TerraMar project and her ties to powerful groups like the World Economic Forum and even the Hillary Clinton-led State Department, will be explored in the next installment of this series.

 

Question Everything, Come To Your Own Conclusions.

 

~via The Last American Vagabond

RYAN CRISTIAN w/ WHITNEY WEBB: “Alleged Salas Family Assailant Worked For U.S./Israeli Intelligence-Linked Firm”

This is an excerpt of The Daily Wrap Up 7/22.

 

~via The Last American Vagabond

‘MUST-WATCH’!!! ~ Adam Green: “Ghislaine Maxwell Revelations”

 

 

~via Know More News

WHITNEY WEBB: “Alleged Salas Assailant Worked for U.S./Israeli Intelligence-Linked Firm With Clear Ties to Deutsche Bank”

“The alleged gunmen who killed the son of Esther Salas, the judge recently assigned to the Epstein-Deutsche Bank case, worked for a company of corporate spies and mercenaries with ties to intelligence and also to Deutsche Bank. Beyond the tragedy of Sunday’s shooting, which claimed the life of Salas’ only child, the quick discovery of the death of the main suspect, Roy Den Hollander, of a ‘self-inflicted’ gunshot to the head before he could be arrested or questioned by authorities has led to speculation that there is more to the official narrative of the crime than meets the eye. Indeed, just last December, Epstein’s personal banker at Deutsche Bank, Thomas Bowers, the chief of Deutsche Bank’s Private Wealth Management division in New York from 2012 to 2015, was found dead in his home. His death was quickly ruled a suicide by hanging. Bowers had also signed off on ‘unorthodox’ loans, not just for Epstein, but Donald Trump, who has his own ties to the Epstein scandal. While some have been quick to point out that Trump as well as his son-in-law Jared Kushner could stand to lose from potential revelations in the Epstein-Deutsche Bank trial, there are other key power-brokers tied to both Epstein and Deutsche Bank who could also be feeling the heat. Even the recent move by Attorney General William Barr to remove SDNY District Attorney Geoffrey Berman from his post appears to be more related to Berman’s efforts to investigate Deutsche Bank than the Epstein scandal, as some have alleged. This is because Barr’s new pick for Berman’s old job counts Deutsche Bank among his former clients and notably defended the bank in a recent anti-money laundering probe, whereas Berman was investigating the bank (albeit for political reasons that took aim at the bank’s dealings with Trump). As the heinous act targeting the Salas family has shown, individuals with a lot to lose are willing to go to the farthest extremes to keep the ties of Epstein to the financial sector and to intelligence out of sight and out of mind.”

~Whitney Webb

 

The alleged gunmen who killed the son of Esther Salas, the judge recently assigned to the Epstein-Deutsche Bank case, worked for a company of corporate spies and mercenaries with ties to intelligence and also to Deutsche Bank.

The news of the shooting of the husband and son of Esther Salas, the judge recently assigned to oversee the Jeffrey Epstein – Deutsche Bank case, caused shock and confusion while also bringing renewed scrutiny to the Epstein scandal just a week after Epstein’s main co-conspirator, Ghislaine Maxwell, was denied bail in a separate case.

The case Salas is set to oversee is a class action lawsuit brought by Deutsche Bank investors who allege that Deutsche Bank “failed to properly monitor customers that the Bank itself deemed to be high risk, including, among others, the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.” The case came after the New York state Department of Financial Services had settled with Deutsche Bank over the bank’s failure to cut ties with Epstein-linked accounts, resulting in Deutsche Bank paying a $150 million fine. Deutsche Bank, unlike other financial institutions, failed to close all of its accounts linked to Epstein until less than a month prior to his arrest last year, even though the bank had identified him as “high risk” years before.

Beyond the tragedy of Sunday’s shooting, which claimed the life of Salas’ only child, the quick discovery of the death of the main suspect, Roy Den Hollander, of a “self-inflicted” gunshot to the head before he could be arrested or questioned by authorities has led to speculation that there is more to the official narrative of the crime than meets the eye.

With law enforcement sources now claiming that Esther Salas was not the intended target of the attack and some media reports now suggesting that Den Hollander’s motive was related to his dislike of feminism, it appears there are efforts underway to distance Sunday’s tragic shooting from Salas’ recent assignment to the Epstein case, which occurred just four days before the tragic shooting.

The most likely reason for any such “damage control” effort lies in the fact that both U.S. law enforcement investigations and mainstream media reports have consistently downplayed the connections of Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual trafficking and financial crimes to intelligence agencies in the U.S. and Israel. Similarly, Roy Den Hollander previously worked for a New York firm has been described as a “private CIA” with ties to those countries’ intelligence agencies and, also, ties to Deutsche Bank.

A Private CIA

According to his website, Den Hollander once worked for Kroll Associates Moscow Office, where he “managed and upgraded Kroll’s delivery of intelligence and security in the former Soviet Union” from 1999 to 2000. A few years prior, Kroll had won a considerable bid from the Russian government to locate money allegedly “spirited out of the country by the directors of state enterprises when they realized that privatization was inevitable.” The Kroll executives in charge of the Russian portfolio prior to Den Hollander were E. Norbett Garrett, a former CIA station chief in Cairo and Kuwait, and Joseph Rosetti, former chief of security for IBM. During that period and prior to his hiring at Kroll, Den Hollender worked as a lawyer in Russia regarding “legal and business issues, including international financing and marketing” and married a Russian woman he met during his time there that he subsequently claimed was part of the “Russian mafia.”

Founded by Jules Kroll in 1972, Kroll Associates would later become known as the “CIA of Wall Street” and “Wall Street’s Private Eye” and was alleged to be an actual front for the CIA by French intelligence agencies, according to the Washington Post. Part of the reason for this nickname, which was once a boasting point for top Kroll executives, owes to the fact that the firm frequently hired former CIA and FBI officers, as well as former members of MI6 and Mossad. K2 Intelligence, the successor to Kroll Associates founded by Jules Kroll and his son Jeremy in 2009, has similar hiring practices, counting former FBI and NSA officials among its ranks alongside former high-ranking members of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency. Kroll also boasted ties to the Bush family, with Jonathan Bush (George Bush Sr.’s brother) serving on its corporate advisory board, and Kroll was also employed by Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign.

Though it is mainly involved in corporate security and investigations, Kroll has also frequently investigated targets of Washington foreign policy, including Saddam Hussein, and was also the company tapped to “reorganize” Enron in 2002. Kroll Associates also has long been a subject of scrutiny for those that question the official narrative on the attacks of September 11, 2001, given that the company was put in charge of security for the World Trade Center complex from 1993 bombing up through the 2001 attacks and has no shortage of ties to companies and individuals that profited from the attacks. Kroll itself experienced a “surge in business” following the events of 9/11, a day when its top executives all avoided going to work despite ostensibly providing security for the complex.

A similar “surge in business” for Kroll followed the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq after the company’s investigations into Saddam Hussein’s and the Bath Party’s finances had been used as partial justification for the military incursion. Kroll became a major provider of mercenaries along with companies like Blackwater and DynCorp to the U.S. invasion and subsequent occupation through its subsidiary Kroll Security International. Its clients included the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which has long fronted for the CIA, and also provided mercenaries for the war in Afghanistan.

Kroll executives over the years have commented to the press on their reputation as a “private CIA” and have also noted the advantages of being a “private” as opposed to “public” intelligence agency. For instance, E. Norbett Garrett, the former CIA official turned Kroll executive, told The New Yorker in 2009 the following:

“Garrett explained the disparity between what Kroll could do and what the C.I.A. could in a place like Sudan. “They have to rely on public and covert sources,” he said. “But we can go straight to Salah Idris. He’s our client, after all. We can go straight to his friends. We can be manipulated, of course, shown incomplete information, and sometimes we have to walk away from a case if we don’t trust somebody. But we definitely have some advantages.”

Kroll Associates and the Epstein Network

Aside from Kroll Associates’ own role as a private intelligence firm, it is also worth pointing out that Jules Kroll had an odd meeting with Robert Maxwell, Ghislaine Maxwell’s father, shortly before his death, alleged by most Maxwell biographers and his family to have been a homicide. Roughly two weeks before his death, Kroll met with Maxwell at New York’s Helmsley Palace Hotel. According to a 1992 article in Vanity Fair, “Maxwell had ushered Kroll and two other men out onto the patio so that their conversation could not be overheard or bugged,” with Maxwell allegedly seeking to hire Kroll to uncover “people out to get him, to destroy his empire, to cripple him financially, and to destroy his life and business in any way they could.”

The article further notes that “the meeting broke up with Maxwell’s promising that he would send Kroll what he called “a memorandum of suspicions and unexplained events.” “Maxwell was working on this compendium,” said the [anonymous] participant [in the meeting], “when he met his death.” Kroll Associates was never formally hired.”

Much more recently Kroll came under scrutiny after being hired by disgraced media mogul Harvey Weinstein alongside the “private Mossad for hire” firm Black Cube. Weinstein had been instructed to hire Black Cube by Ehud Barak, the former Israeli military intelligence head and Israeli Prime Minister with close ties to Jeffrey Epstein and a frequent visitor of Epstein’s residences. Weinstein hired Kroll to harass and cyberstalk women who had accused him of sexual assault. Weinstein was a one-time business partner of Jeffrey Epstein’s and the testimony of Epstein victim Maria Farmer strongly implies that Ghislaine Maxwell and Epstein “shared” women, and potentially underage girls, with the film producer. The Daily Beast later reported that Epstein had used his ties to Weinstein to impress and recruit potential victims and at least one of those victims landed a role in a film produced by a Weinstein-owned company due to Epstein’s ties to Weinstein.

In addition, Kroll’s long-time executive Vice President for Operations, James Bucknam, was previously chief adviser to former FBI director Louis Freeh and is now CEO of the Freeh Group. Freeh has since become notorious for having been hired by Epstein associate, lawyer Alan Dershowitz, to “investigate” the Epstein scandal, and was also involved in the cover-up of the Penn State child molestation and abuse scandal. Freeh was also director of the FBI when the Bureau declined to investigate accusations regarding Leslie Wexner, Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein and their involvement in the sex trafficking of minors, first reported to the FBI in 1996 by Maria Farmer.

The Kroll – Deutsche Bank “Revolving Door”

After “retiring” from Kroll associates, Jules Kroll created a credit-rating agency, a field he had called just years earlier “a heck of a racket.” Named the Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA), the firm was envisioned by Kroll as a “credit-rating agency on steroids,” but has failed to make a dent in the market shares of the so-called “Big Three” credit-rating agencies: Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s Investors Service, and Fitch Ratings.

Though it hasn’t managed to become a dominant force in credit ratings, KBRA has managed to be profitable and to have produced something of a “revolving door” between its senior management and Deutsche Bank executives. For instance, KBRA’s top executive in Europe, Mauricio Noé, had previously been a Managing Director of Deutsche Bank’s London branch. In another example, Vice President for Credit Structuring at Deutsche Bank in New York, Ian Ross, was previously employed by KBRA and Yee Cent Wong, managing director of KBRA for CMBS, was previously Vice President of the Credit Solutions Group at Deutsche Bank Securities. Another managing director of KBRA, Bill Baneky, had previously served as Deutsche Bank’s Vice President and National Relationship Manager. One of KBRA’s senior managing directors, Rosemary Kelley, is also a former Deutsche Bank Vice President, while another, Ken Kockenmeister, was Deutsche Bank’s Director for Large Loan Securitization and Underwriting.

While they may not be the “biggest” credit-rating agency, KBRA analysts and executives frequently speak to media outlets where they comment on the state of various businesses, Deutsche Bank among them. Given the amount of overlap between Deutsche Bank and KBRA, it is unsurprising that KBRA has lobbied in the press on Deutsche’s behalf. For instance, KBRA analyst Christopher Whalen told Business Insider in 2016 that “The problem with Deutsche Bank may be the end of Merkel’s career,” adding that “The question is does she want to be remembered for doing the right thing — which is to provide support for the bank and diffuse the situation — or does she want to be remembered for standing by when one of the largest banks in Europe failed?”

Jeffrey Epstein’s Links to Deutsche Bank

Jeffrey Epstein’s ties to Deutsche Bank go back decades, and potentially earlier. After working for Bear Stearns earlier in his career and then as a so-called “financial bounty hunter” with ties to intelligence-linked arms dealers and Wall Street, Epstein set up a Ponzi scheme with Steve Hoffenberg called Tower Financial, which collapsed in 1993 and subsequently landed Hoffenberg 20 years in prison. Epstein’s name, despite being a clear co-conspiractor, was suspiciously dropped from the case during the trial. Hoffenberg subsequently alleged that Epstein used his ill-gotten gains from Tower Financial alongside a series of suspect loans from Deutsche Bank to create his investment company.

Hoffenberg subsequently told The Observer the following:

“His lead bank is Deutsche Bank, Germany, that runs the lead on his financial trust company. They run the platform in the trading of the currencies for Epstein and with Epstein. He’s never disclosed to the investors that provide the money to Deutsche Bank his true legacy, that’s securities fraud.”

Following that point, Epstein’s financial activities, aside from his Deutsche Bank-enabled investment vehicle, were publicly conducted through Bear Stearns (until its 2008 collapse) and J.P. Morgan. When J.P. Morgan dropped Epstein as a client, he again turned to Deutsche Bank in 2013, becoming a client of the bank’s private wealth division in New York. Anti-money laundering compliance officers at the bank’s branches in New York and Florida subsequently flagged Epstein’s accounts in 2015, in 2016 and again in 2019, creating suspicious activity reports regarding the movements of large amounts of funds tied to Epstein-linked accounts outside of the U.S.

However, the bank did not fully terminate their relationship with Epstein until June 2019, just a few weeks prior to his arrest last year. Epstein was believed to have dozens of accounts with the bank at one point and those accounts were shut down slowly over a period of several months beginning in late 2018.

Ties that Bind

The narrative emerging that Den Hollander was motivated to kill Esther Salas’ husband and sons due to his hatred of feminism is a rapid attempt to explain away a story that clearly warrants further investigation, albeit into avenues that mainstream media and powerful individuals in the public and private sectors prefer remain untouched.

As the heinous act targeting the Salas family has shown, individuals with a lot to lose are willing to go to the farthest extremes to keep the ties of Epstein to the financial sector and to intelligence out of sight and out of mind. Indeed, just last December, Epstein’s personal banker at Deutsche Bank, Thomas Bowers, the chief of Deutsche Bank’s Private Wealth Management division in New York from 2012 to 2015, was found dead in his home. His death was quickly ruled a suicide by hanging. Bowers had also signed off on “unorthodox” loans, not just for Epstein, but Donald Trump, who has his own ties to the Epstein scandal.

While some have been quick to point out that Trump (as well as his son-in-law Jared Kushner) could stand to lose from potential revelations in the Epstein-Deutsche Bank trial, there are other key power-brokers tied to both Epstein and Deutsche Bank who could also be feeling the heat. For instance, Lynn Forester de Rothschild, who became close to Epstein in the early 1990s and subsequently connected him to the Clinton White House and later to Alan Dershowitz, is intimately involved in the Deutsche Bank Microfinance Consortium.

Aside from Epstein’s use of the money, Deutsche Bank has been notorious for years as a cesspool of money laundering for organized crime networks, paying $14.5 billion in fines in just seven years for official action taken against the bank by several governments. It is highly likely that the brutality of what happened outside the Salas family home on Sunday is more related to Deutsche Bank than Epstein, as numerous powerful individuals have ties to the embattled bank.

Even the recent move by Attorney General William Barr to remove SDNY District Attorney Geoffrey Berman from his post appears to be more related to Berman’s efforts to investigate Deutsche Bank than the Epstein scandal, as some have alleged. This is because Barr’s new pick for Berman’s old job counts Deutsche Bank among his former clients and notably defended the bank in a recent anti-money laundering probe, whereas Berman was investigating the bank (albeit for political reasons that took aim at the bank’s dealings with Trump).

While Epstein’s egregious and criminal actions targeting minors have now become public knowledge, his role in facilitating white collar crime, money laundering and financial frauds on behalf of corporations, governments and oligarchs remains sorely under-covered, despite his role in such activities preceding and continuing after his involvement in an intelligence-linked sexual blackmail operation.

It arguably remains one of the key components of the Epstein scandal, yet the most poorly understood and most under-investigated. If anything, the tragic events at the Salas family home on Sunday, and what appears to be a rapid yet shoddy cover-up of the shooter’s ties to Kroll Associates and actual motives, reveal that Epstein’s financial ties are more frightening to certain powerful individuals and institutions than his trove of sexual blackmail.

 

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WHITNEY WEBB: “The Maxwell Family Business: Espionage”

“Ghislaine Maxwell is hardly the only Maxwell sibling to continue their father’s controversial work for intelligence, with other siblings carrying the torch specifically for Robert Maxwell’s sizable role in the PROMIS software scandal and subsequent yet related hi-tech espionage operations. Notably, an article from The Evening Standard in 2001 makes an odd comment about a major source of income from Jeffrey Epstein during the 1990s, stating that he ‘has made many millions out of his business links with the likes of Bill Gates, Donald Trump and Ohio billionaire Leslie Wexner, whose trust he runs.’ In addition, Epstein victim Maria Farmer noted in an interview that she overheard Ghislaine and Epstein discuss Bill Gates as though they knew him well in 1995. However, these mentions of Bill Gates here defies the official narrative about the Epstein-Gates relationship, which claims they first met in 2011. With Ghislaine’s name and her ties to intelligence now inking their way back into the media sphere, detailing the decades-long course of these technology-focused espionage operations and their persistent ties to the Maxwell sisters demands the attention it deserves, as the need to air out the real Maxwell family business — espionage — is now greater than ever before.”

~Whitney Webb

 

Ghislaine Maxwell is hardly the only Maxwell sibling to continue their father’s controversial work for intelligence, with other siblings carrying the torch specifically for Robert Maxwell’s sizable role in the PROMIS software scandal and subsequent yet related hi-tech espionage operations.

Many were surprised to learn earlier this month that the key co-conspirator in Jeffrey Epstein’s intelligence-linked sexual blackmail operation, Ghislaine Maxwell, had been in hiding in New England since Epstein’s arrest and subsequent “suicide” last summer. Her recent arrest, of course, has returned attention to the Epstein scandal and to Ghislaine’s ties to the entire operation, in which she played a central and crucial role, arguably more so than Epstein himself.

Ghislaine was first reported to be living in New England at the mansion of her alleged boyfriend Scott Borgeson on August 14th of last year. Though Maxwell is believed to have stayed there until purchasing the nearby New Hampshire home where she was arrested, attention from her presence on the East Coast was immediately and sensationally re-directed to the West Coast when, a day later on August 15th, the New York Post published a picture allegedly depicting Maxwell reading a book on “CIA operatives” at an In-N-Out Burger in Los Angeles, California. The photo was later revealed to have been photoshopped and a fake, but ultimately served its purpose in distracting from her actual location in New England.

While the media frenziedly covered the fake In-N-Out Burger photo, the appearance of an unexpected visitor nearby Borgeson’s mansion succeeded in largely slipping under the radar. On August 18th, Ghislaine’s sister Christine was spotted “packing up a number of bags” into a SUV just a few miles from Borgeson’s “secluded beachfront” home. Christine, who currently lives and works in Dallas, Texas, declined to comment on why she was visiting the exact area where Ghislaine was allegedly hiding at the time.

Out of the seven Maxwell siblings, Ghislaine Maxwell has undoubtedly received the bulk of media scrutiny both in recent years and arguably ever since the suspected homicide of the family patriarch, Robert Maxwell, in 1991. In the years since his death, Robert Maxwell’s close ties to Israeli intelligence and links to other intelligence agencies have been documented by respected journalists and investigators including Seymour Hersh and Gordon Thomas, among others.

While Ghislaine’s own ties to intelligence have since come to light in relation to her critical role in facilitating the Jeffrey Epstein sexual blackmail operation. Little, if any attention, has been paid to her siblings, particularly Christine and her twin sister Isabel, despite them having held senior roles at the Israeli intelligence front company that facilitated their father’s greatest act of espionage on Israel’s behalf, the sale of the bugged PROMIS software to the U.S. national laboratories at the heart of the country’s nuclear weapons system.

Not only that, but Christine and Isabel later became directly involved with technology-based business ventures that directly involved Ghislaine during the very period she worked with Epstein on behalf of Israeli and U.S. intelligence to ensnare powerful U.S. political and public figures in a sexual blackmail scheme involving minors. At the time, Ghislaine described her profession to a number of newspapers as “an internet operator.” Then, after this venture’s multi-million dollar sale to a competitor, Christine and Isabel became involved with successors to the PROMIS software scandal that were closely tied to U.S. intelligence and Israeli intelligence, respectively.

Ghislaine herself also became involved in these affairs, as did Jeffrey Epstein following his first arrest, as they began courting the biggest names in the U.S. tech scene, from Silicon Valley’s most powerful venture capital firms to its most well-known titans. This also dovetailed with Epstein’s investments in Israeli intelligence-linked tech firms and his claims of having troves of blackmail on prominent tech company CEOs during this same period.

With Ghislaine’s name and her ties to intelligence now inking their way back into the media sphere, detailing the decades-long course of these technology-focused espionage operations and their persistent ties to the Maxwell sisters demands the attention it deserves, as the need to air out the real Maxwell family business — espionage — is now greater than ever before.

Trap Doors and Treason

One of the most brazen and successful operations conducted by Israeli intelligence on a global scale is undeniably its sale of a bugged software program to governments, corporations and major financial and scientific institutions around the world. That software program, known as the Prosecutor’s Information Management System or by its acronym PROMIS, was originally created and marketed by Inslaw Inc., a company created by former NSA official Bill Hamilton and his wife Nancy.

In 1982, Inslaw leased its revolutionary PROMIS software to the U.S. Justice Department, then headed by arch neocon Edwin Meese III, Ronald Reagan’s most trusted advisor and who would later go on to advise Donald Trump following the 2016 election. The success of the software, which allowed integration of separate databases and information analysis on a previously unimaginable scale, eventually caught the attention of Rafi Eitan, the notorious and legendary Israeli spymaster and handler of the “most damaging spy” in American history, Jonathan Pollard. Eitan, at the time, was serving as the then-head of the now defunct Israel intelligence service known as Lekem, which focused specifically on espionage related to scientific and technical information and discoveries.

Eitan had first learned of PROMIS from Earl Brian. Brian was a long-time associate of Ronald Reagan who had previously worked for the CIA in covert operations and had been in charge of Reagan’s healthcare program when Reagan was governor of California. Brian often bragged of the nickname he had acquired in overseeing that health care initiative — “the man who walked over the dead.” In 1982, however, Brian was attempting to build a business empire, in which then-AG Ed Meese’s wife was a major investor, and he had first met Eitan while attempting to sell a healthcare system in Iran.

Brian divulged the efficacy of PROMIS, but — instead of praising its revolutionary approach to data analysis — expressed his frustration that the software enabled U.S. federal investigators to successfully track and target money laundering and other financial crimes. He also expressed frustration that he had been left out of the profits on PROMIS, the development of which he had followed closely for several years.

As their conversation wore on, Eitan and Brian hatched a plan to install a “trapdoor”, today more often referred to as a back door, into the software. They would then market PROMIS throughout the world, providing Israeli intelligence and allied elements of U.S. intelligence with a direct window into the operations of its enemies and allies while also netting Eitan and Brian massive profits for the sale of the software. Brian, of course, would also be able to use PROMIS to circumvent authorities investigating financial crimes.

According to the testimony of ex-Mossad official Ari Ben-Menashe, after a PROMIS was obtained Israel’s military intelligence through direct collusion with the U.S. Department of Justice, Ben-Menashe contacted an Israeli American programmer living in California on Eitan’s orders. That programmer then planted a “trapdoor” or back door into the software that would allow Lekem covert access to any database connected to a device on which the software was installment.

Once the back door was present, Brian attempted to use his company Hadron Inc to market the bugged PROMIS software around the world, though he first had tried to buy out Inslaw to do so. Unsuccessful, Brian turned to his close friend, then-Attorney General Ed Meese, and the Justice Department then abruptly refused to make the payments to Inslaw that had been stipulated by the contract, essentially using the software for free, which Inslaw claimed to be theft.

Meese’s actions would force Inslaw into bankruptcy and Inslaw subsequently sued the Justice Department, with a US court later finding that the Meese-led department “took, converted, stole” the software through “trickery, fraud and deceit.” With Inslaw out of the way, Brian sold the bugged software to Jordan’s and Iraq’s intelligence services, a major boon for Israel, and to a handful of companies. Despite this, Eitan was unsatisfied with Brian and Hadron and he quickly turned to the person he thought could most effectively market and sell PROMIS to governments of interest all over the world, Robert Maxwell.

First recruited as an asset of Israeli intelligence in the early 1960s, Maxwell’s standing with Israeli intelligence would strengthen considerably beginning in the early 1980s, when he purchased a web of Israeli companies, many of which were official “service providers” for the Mossad. One of these companies, a computer firm called Degem, had been used for years to provide cover to Mossad assassins that conducted kidnappings and murders in Latin America and Africa.

Through Degem and other Maxwell-owned companies based in Israel and elsewhere, Maxwell marketed PROMIS so successfully that Israeli intelligence soon had access to the innermost workings of innumerable governments, corporations, banks and intelligence services around the world. Many of Maxwell’s biggest successes came in selling PROMIS to dictators in Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America. Following the sale and after Maxwell collected a handsome paycheck, PROMIS’ unparalleled ability to track and surveil anything — from cash flows to human movement — were used by these governments to commit financial crimes with greater finesse and used to hunt down and disappear dissidents. Israeli intelligence, of course, watched it all play out in real time.

In Latin America, for instance, Maxwell sold PROMIS to military dictatorships in Chile and Argentina, which were used to facilitate the mass murder that characterized Operation Condor as the friends and families of dissidents and so-called subversives were easily identified using PROMIS. PROMIS was so effective for this purpose that, just days after Maxwell sold the software to Guatemala, its US-backed dictatorship rounded up 20,000 “subversives” who were never heard from again. Of course, thanks to the back door in PROMIS, Israeli intelligence knew the identities of Guatemala’s disappeared before the victim’s own families. Israel was also intimately involved in the arming and training of many of the same Latin American dictatorships that had been sold the bugged PROMIS software.

Though Israeli intelligence found obvious use for the steady stream of sensitive and classified information, their biggest prize was yet to come — top secret government laboratories in the United States. Eitan tasked Maxwell with selling PROMIS to US labs in the Los Alamos complex, including Sandia National Laboratory, which was and is at the core of the US nuclear weapons system. Notably, the eventual sale of PROMIS to these laboratories by Maxwell occurred during the same period in 1984 when Eitan tasked one of Israel’s top experts in nuclear targeting with supervising Jonathan Pollard’s espionage of U.S. nuclear secrets on Israel’s behalf.

In order to plot how he would accomplish such a feat, Maxwell would meet with none other than Henry Kissinger, who told him that — in order to sell PROMIS to these sensitive laboratories — he needed to enlist the services of then-Senator for Texas John Tower, who was the head of the Senates’ Armed Services Committee at the time. Maxwell quickly struck a deal with Tower and then, using Mossad money, paid Tower $200,000 for his services, which included opening doors — not just to the Los Alamos complex, but also to the Reagan White House. Tower would arrange a trip for Maxwell to travel to Sandia National Laboratory, where he would market PROMIS. Unlike most other PROMIS sales, this one would not be handled by Degem, but a US-based company called Information on Demand.

It is worth noting that, despite Tower’s obvious and treasonous actions with respect to U.S. national security, another long-time “source” of Robert Maxwell, George H.W. Bush, would attempt to nominate Tower to server as U.S. Secretary of Defense. When the Senate refused to confirm Tower, only then did Bush nominate Dick Cheney, who would then head the Pentagon and oversee the U.S.’ role in the First Gulf War. Not long after his failure to secure the nomination as Pentagon chief, Tower died in a suspicious plane crash soon after the equally suspicious death of Robert Maxwell.

Front Companies and FBI Cover-Ups

Robert Maxwell purchased Information on Demand from its founder, Sue Rugge — a former librarian, through the Pergamon Group in 1982 — the very year plans were made by Rafi Eitan and Earl Brian to subvert PROMIS. Its offices were just a few doors down from the home of Isabel Maxwell and her first husband Dale Djerassi, son of the scientist credited with creating the birth control pill.

According to FBI files obtained by Inslaw Inc. via a FOIA request in the 1990s, San Francisco’s FBI opened an investigation into Information on Demand a year later in October 1983 and subsequently interviewed Rugge about the business and its activities. She told the FBI that the company’s sources “include over 250 computer data bases” and that company uses these to “locate single facts as well as provide answers to complex questions dealing with such areas as comprehensive marketing research, custom data summaries, sophisticated literature searching, current awareness service and global information capability.

One of these databases included Lockheed’s Dialog database and “the Defense Technical Center which is connected to the Department of Defense (DOD) which contains classified information. ” She asserted, however, that the company “has no password for access and further no need for access.” Elsewhere in the document, it notes that Information on Demand claimed not have any access to classified information “to the best of their knowledge” and “includes information concerning government and various available means of tapping government information databases.”

The FBI asked Rugge about one client of the company in particular, whose name and identifying information is redacted in its entirety, but notes that this mysterious client had worked with Information on Demand since at least 1973. Subsequent efforts by Inslaw Inc. and others to learn the identity of the redacted client have been unsuccessful since 1994.

Notably, just one month before the FBI opened an investigation into Information on Demand and interviewed Sue Rugge, another related Maxwell-owned firm, Pergamon International Information Corporation, had sent a letter to then-CIA Director Bill Casey, offering to provide the agency with access to patent databases. The only redacted portion of the letter is the identity of PIIC’s Executive Vice President, who had written the letter to Casey.

After Rugge had been interviewed, FBI interest in Information on Demand peaked soon after in June 1984, when a formal investigation was opened. This took place after two employees of Sandia National Laboratory who worked in technology transfer approached the Bureau over Information on Demand’s efforts to sell PROMIS to the laboratory. Those employees were compelled to contact the FBI after obtaining information from employees of the National Security Agency (NSA) regarding “the purchase of Information on Demand Inc. by one Robert Maxwell, the owner of Pergamon International.” The specific information on this purchase from the NSA is included in the report but redacted in its entirety. Two months later, one of the Sandia employees followed up with the Bureau, suggesting that the NSA and FBI jointly investigate Information on Demand, but was essentially stonewalled and told to take it up with FBI headquarters.

The FBI case file is coded as a foreign counter-intelligence investigation specifically, suggesting that the case was opened because the FBI was made aware of the alleged involvement of a foreign intelligence service in some aspect of Information on Demand’s activities that related specifically to the “dissemination, marketing or sale of computer software systems, including but not limited to the PROMIS computer software product.” It also noted that Maxwell himself had previously been the subject of a “security investigation” conducted by the FBI from 1953 until 1961, the year Maxwell was formally recruited as an Israeli intelligence asset.

In early August 1984, FBI headquarters and other higher-ups in the Ed Meese-led Department of Justice, which itself was complicit in the whole sordid PROMIS affair, ordered the New Mexico office to halt its investigation into Information on Demand, Maxwell and PROMIS. The cover-up, oddly enough, continues today, with the FBI still refusing to release documents pertaining to Robert Maxwell and his role in the PROMIS scandal.

Several months following the shuttering of the FBI investigation into Information on Demand, Robert Maxwell again returned to Sandia National Laboratories in February 1985, signing the contract for the sale of PROMIS and listing himself as President and CEO of Information on Demand. A few months later, he passed that role on to his daughter Christine, who served as the company’s president and CEO up until her father’s death in 1991, according to her résumé. Upon the collapse of his business empire shortly after his demise, which also resulted in the closure of Information on Demand, Christine created a company called Research on Demand that offered similar services and specialized “in Internet- and Big Data analytics-related market studies for companies in the Telecoms.”

In addition, Isabel Maxwell, who lived in close proximity to the company’s offices in Berkeley, CA, told Haaretz that she had also worked for Information on Demand, which she refers to as “her sister’s company,” following her 1989 divorce from Dale Djerassi.

Recreating their Father’s Legacy

After the death of Robert Maxwell, in what most of his family and many of his biographers regard as a murder conducted by Israeli intelligence, his children began to pick up the pieces and sought to rebuild their father’s empire. Of his seven children, five took on different aspects of their father’s vast portfolio.

Kevin and Ian Maxwell took over much of his businesses (and the associated fall-out) and his murky network of interlocking companies, trusts and foundations spread throughout the world. Ghislaine, having already positioned herself in New York at her father’s behest to anchor his efforts to expand his empire and operations into Manhattan, began a sexual blackmail operation on behalf of Israeli intelligence alongside Jeffrey Epstein. Christine and Isabel, however, would take off where Maxwell’s intelligence-linked work with PROMIS and in technology had left off by cashing in on a new revolutionary technology, the Internet.

“We literally were trying to think about how to restart this whole business” that had collapsed after their father’s death, Christine Maxwell would later say of her decision to found, along with her husband Roger Malina, Isabel and Isabel’s then-husband David Hayden, their internet services company — the McKinley Group — in January 1992. Isabel would remember the decision similarly, telling Wired in 1999, that she and her sister had “wanted to circle the wagons and rebuild,” seeing McKinley as “a chance to recreate a bit of their father’s legacy.” In 2000, Isabel would tell The Guardian that her father would “love it [the internet] if he was still here.” “He was very prescient…. He’d be in his element, he’d be having a blast, I’m sure he’d be thrilled to know what I’m doing now,” she told the UK-based publication while “throwing back her head and laughing loudly.” Notably, at that time, Isabel was leading Israeli software company with ties to Israeli military intelligence and powerful Israeli political players, including some who had previously worked directly under her father.

It’s not hard to see why Christine and Isabel saw the internet as their chance to expand upon and rebuild upon Robert Maxwell’s “legacy.” As previously mentioned, Christine, right up until her father’s death, had been president and CEO of the Robert Maxwell-owned Israeli intelligence front company, Information on Demand, where Isabel had also worked. Upon his death, Christine had founded a related company called Research on Demand, which specialized in “internet and big data analytics” for telecommunications firms, and would later overlap with the McKinley Group’s work. McKinley began as a directory with a rating system for websites, later transitioning into the Magellan search engine, all of which Isabel Maxwell told Cnet in 1997 were all Christine’s idea.

McKinley created what became known as the Magellan online directory, remembered as “the first site to publish lengthy reviews and ratings of websites.” Magellan’s “value-added content” approach attracted several large corporations, resulting in “major alliances” with AT&T, Time Warner, IBM, Netcom and the Microsoft Network [MSN] that were negotiated by Isabel Maxwell. Microsoft’s major alliance with McKinley came in late 1995, when Microsoft announced that Magellan would power the search option for the company’s MSN service. Time Warner first chose Magellan for its early web portal called Pathfinder and Magellan was on the homepage of the internet browser Netscape for much of the 1990s.

However, McKinley’s fortunes were troubled as its efforts to be the first search engine to go public fell through, igniting a stand-off between Christine Maxwell and Isabel’s husband that also resulted in the company’s essentially falling behind other market leaders both missing the window for a second IPO attempt and lagging behind in adding ad revenue to their business model. Excite, which was later acquired by AskJeeves, ultimately bought the McKinley Group and Magellan for 1.2 million shares of Excite stock in 1996, which was then valued at $18 million. It was allegedly Isabel Maxwell who made the deal possible, with Excite’s CEO at the time, George Bell, claiming she alone salvaged their purchase of McKinley.

Despite the company’s lackluster end, the Maxwell sisters and other stakeholders in the company, Ghislaine Maxwell among them, not only obtained a multi-million dollar payout from the deal, but also forged close connections with Silicon Valley high-rollers. Upon McKinley/Magellan’s sale, the overt ties of Christine and Isabel Maxwell to intelligence in both the U.S. and Israel would grow considerably.

A Family Affair

While the company is often framed as being a venture between Christine and Isabel Maxwell, McKinley Group and Magellan were much more than just the twin sisters’ business. For instance, a November 2003 article in The Evening Standard notes that Christine and Isabel launched the company with considerable help from their brother, Kevin Maxwell who the article described as being “consumed by an overwhelming desire to be his ‘dad reincorporated’” according to confidants. Another Evening Standard article from March 2001 cited report that “Kevin played a major role” in the company’s affairs.

In addition, at the time, The Sunday Times noted in November 2000 that Ghislaine Maxwell “had a substantial interest in Magellan” and netted a considerable sum following its sale to Excite in 1996. It also noted that Ghislaine, throughout the 1990s, had “been discreetly building up a business empire as opaque as her father’s” and that “she is secretive to the point of paranoia and her business affairs are deeply mysterious.” However, she would nonetheless describe “herself as an ‘internet operator’” even though “her office in Manhattan refuses to confirm even the name or the nature of her business.” A separate article in The Scotsman from 2001 also notes that Ghislaine “is extremely secretive about her affairs and describes herself as an internet operator.”

Exactly how involved Ghislaine Maxwell was involved in the McKinley Group and Magellan is unclear, though her decision to describe herself as an “internet operator” and her documented “substantial interest” in the company suggest that it was more than superficial. What is notable, however, is that Ghislaine’s time as an “internet operator” and her business interests in Magellan overlap directly with her time working alongside Jeffrey Epstein in an Israeli intelligence-linked sexual blackmail operation.

During this period of time, Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein frequently had considerable overlap in their finances, with press reports from the time often asking whether Ghislaine’s expenses were paid by Epstein or through her access to the “lost Maxwell millions” that had been hidden in a web of murky, untraceable financial entities and allegedly “disappeared” following his 1991 death.

The latter is certainly a possibility as it was Ghislaine who was the first to walk into her late father’s office on the Lady Ghislaine following his death, where she “shredded all incriminating documents onboard,” according to journalist John Jackson who witnessed the scene. This would likely mean that she was quickly able to distinguish which documents were “incriminating” and was intimately aware of his more unsavory business activities. In addition, prior to his death, Robert Maxwell had provided Ghislaine with a “tailor-made” New York corporation called Maxwell Corporate Gifts, of which little is known. The corporation was reportedly intended to aid her in establishing a foothold in New York’s power base for Robert Maxwell’s planned expansion into New York society, a plan first set into motion following his purchase of the New York Daily News.

Notably, an article from The Evening Standard in 2001 makes an odd comment about a major source of income from Jeffrey Epstein during the 1990s, stating that he “has made many millions out of his business links with the likes of Bill Gates, Donald Trump and Ohio billionaire Leslie Wexner, whose trust he runs.” In addition, Epstein victim Maria Farmer noted in an interview that she overheard Ghislaine and Epstein discuss Bill Gates as though they knew him well in 1995. However, these mentions of Bill Gates here defies the official narrative about the Epstein-Gates relationship, which claims they first met in 2011. Given the “major alliance” between McKinley/Magellan and Microsoft that was forged in 1995-1996, it is certainly possible that Epstein’s pre-2001 “business links” with Bill Gates were, in fact, related to Ghislaine’s involvement and stake in Magellan. This is also supported by the fact that, as will be shown in Part 2 of this report, Magellan co-founder Isabel Maxwell had a personal relationship with Bill Gates and that he put her subsequent company, Israel-based CommTouch, “on the map” after a major investment that had been brokered between Gates and Isabel personally. Part 2 will also show how both Isabel and Christine’s overt involvement, with Israeli and U.S. intelligence, respectively, deepened after Magellan was sold to Excite in 1996.

 

 

~via Unlimited Hangoout