Absent from mainstream discourse on Ghislaine Maxwell’s ongoing trial is any mention of the ties, not only of herself, but her family, to Israeli intelligence. Those ties, forged by Ghislaine’s father Robert Maxwell, are critical to understanding Ghislaine’s history and her role in Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual blackmail and trafficking network.
The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the alleged madam of Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual blackmail and sex trafficking network, has attracted considerable mainstream and independent media attention, though not as much as one might expect given the level of media attention that surrounded Epstein’s 2019 arrest and death or given the public interest in the Epstein/Maxwell scandal and its broader implications.
Unsurprisingly, the broader implications of the Epstein/Maxwell scandal have been largely, if not entirely absent, from mainstream media (and some independent media) coverage of Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial as well as absent from the case itself. For example, despite physical evidence of sexual blackmail stored at Epstein’s residences being shown by the prosecution (with the names of those incriminated being notably redacted), the prosecution chose not to mention even the potential role of blackmail in Ghislaine Maxwell’s activities and motives as it related to her involvement in sex trafficking activities alongside Jeffrey Epstein. Not only that, but the names of Ghislaine’s close contacts and even some of her defense witnesses, along with considerable information about her role in Epstein’s network that is very much in the public interest, is due to be filed under seal and forever hidden from the public, either due to “deals” made between the prosecution and the defense in this case or due to rulings from the judge overseeing the case.
Going hand in hand with the blackmail angle of this case is the specter of Ghislaine Maxwell’s family ties to intelligence agencies, as well as the intelligence ties of Jeffrey Epstein himself. Given that blackmail, particularly sexual blackmail, has been used by intelligence agencies – particularly in the US and Israel – since the 1940s and beyond, it is deeply troubling that neither the blackmail or intelligence angle has played any role in the prosecution’s case or in the mainstream media’s coverage of the trial.
To remedy this lack of coverage, Unlimited Hangout is publishing a 2-part investigative report entitled “Meet Ghislaine”, which is adapted from this author’s upcoming book on the subject. This investigation will detail key aspects of Ghislaine Maxwell’s links to intelligence agencies and sexual blackmail activities that are relevant to the case against her and perhaps explain the silence from the prosecution and their interest in sealing potentially incriminating evidence against Ghislaine from public scrutiny. Part 1 of this article will focus on Ghislaine’s father, Robert Maxwell, a “larger than life” figure who straddled the worlds of both business and espionage and whose daughters inherited different aspects of his espionage contacts and activities as well as his influence empire following his 1991 death.
The Making of a Maxwell
To understand Ghilaine Maxwell’s history, one must start with a hard look at the rise of her father, Robert Maxwell. Born in what is now part of Ukraine, “Robert Maxwell” was the last in a series of names he used, with Abraham Hoch, Jan Ludvick, and Leslie Du Marier among his earlier aliases. The name Robert Maxwell emerged at the behest of one of his superiors in the British military. Maxwell had joined the British military during World War II, having left the village of his birth prior to the war, when the Third Reich began its expansion. Maxwell’s parents and his siblings are believed to have died in the Holocaust.
Robert Maxwell was involved with the British intelligence service MI6 during the war and, after the war, was befriended by Count Frederich vanden Huevel, who had worked closely with Allen Dulles during the war. Dulles went on to be the first director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and, during the war, was busy running interference for prominent Nazis and actively undermining FDR’s “total surrender” policy for senior Nazi leadership.
The chaos of postwar Europe allowed Maxwell to plant the seeds for what would become his future media empire. Thanks to his contacts with Allied Forces in postwar Berlin, he was able to acquire the publishing rights for prominent European scientific journals and, in 1948, those interests were folded into the British publishing company Butterworth, which had long-standing ties to British intelligence. In the early 1950s, the company was renamed Pergamon Press, and this company became the cornerstone of Maxwell’s media empire.
Pergamon’s access to prominent academics, scientists, and government not only led to Maxwell acquiring great wealth but also attracted the interest of various intelligence agencies— British, Russian, and Israeli among them—all of which attempted to recruit Maxwell as an asset or as a spy. When MI6 attempted to recruit Maxwell for the service, it concluded, after conducting an extensive background check, that Maxwell was a “Zionist—loyal only to Israel.” His subsequent relationship with MI6 was choppy and largely opportunistic on both sides, with Maxwell later laying some of the blame for his financial troubles on MI6’s alleged attempts to “subvert” him.
Maxwell was not officially recruited to work for Israeli intelligence until 1961, but his critical role in securing weapons and airplane parts for the 1948 war that created the state of Israel suggests a strong relationship with prominent politicians and military figures in the nation from its beginning, as this was certainly the case with other prominent businessmen who had helped arm Zionist paramilitaries before and during 1948. In the early 1960s, Maxwell was formally approached by Israeli intelligence to make use of his access to the variety of prominent businessman and world leaders that he had cultivated while growing his media empire.
A few years after being officially recruited as an asset of Israeli intelligence, Maxwell ran for public office, becoming a member of the British Parliament for the Labour Party in 1964. His bid for re-election failed, which left him out of office by 1970. Around that same time, he also lost control of Pergamon Press, though he reacquired it a few years later.
Having nearly lost everything, Maxwell devoted his time to consolidating control over his ever-growing web of interlocking companies, trusts, and foundations that now encompassed much more than media concerns, while also developing his ties to prominent politicians, businessmen, and their fixers, a group that Maxwell proudly referred to as his “sources.” Among these early “sources” were soon-to-be UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher; Israel’s biggest arms dealer and one of its powerful oligarchs, Saul Eisenberg; financial behemoths such as Edmund Safra; and master manipulators such as Henry Kissinger. Another early “source” was George H. W. Bush, who was then part of the Nixon administration and soon served as CIA director before becoming Reagan’s vice president and then US president himself.
Maxwell’s sources and influence extended well beyond the West, with many of his most prominent contacts found in Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union. He had cozy relationships with dictators, intelligence officials, and even organized crime lords such as Semion Mogilevich, sometimes referred to as the “boss of the bosses” of the Russian mafia. It was none other than Robert Maxwell who orchestrated the entry of Mogilevich-connected companies into the United States, a move that was accomplished after Maxwell successfully lobbied the state of Israel to grant Mogilevich and his associates Israeli passports, thereby allowing them easier access to US financial institutions.
The expansion of Maxwell’s prominent contacts paralleled the growth of his media empire. By 1980, he had acquired the British Printing Corporation, which he renamed the Maxwell Communication Corporation. Just a few years later, he bought the Mirror Group, publisher of the British tabloid the Daily Mirror. This was followed by his acquisition of US publishers Prentice Hall and MacMillan and later the New York Daily News. Much of the money Maxwell used to acquire the Mirror Group and several of these other companies came from financial backers of Israeli intelligence. Money “borrowed” from Maxwell-owned media outlets such as the Mirror Group and its pension fund was used to finance Mossad activities in Europe and elsewhere; then, the funds were restored before the absence was noticed by company employees not privy to these operations. Maxwell later derailed this well-oiled system by dipping into these same funds to finance his own ostentatious and salacious habits.
During this period, Maxwell’s ties to Israeli intelligence deepened in other ways, particularly during the time when Yitzhak Shamir was prime minister. Shamir, previously a leader of the Zionist terrorist group known as Lehi or the Stern Gang, deeply loathed the United States, a sentiment he confided to Maxwell during one of Maxwell’s visits to Israel. Shamir told Maxwell that he blamed the Americans for the Holocaust because of US failure to support the transfer of European Jews to Palestine prior to the war. Shamir’s views on the US likely informed Israel’s more aggressive espionage targeting the US that emerged during this time and in which Maxwell prominently figured.