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Jeffrey Epstein pilot testifies he flew people of influence on Epstein’s plane

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Ghislaine Maxwell, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Jeffrey Epstein’s former pilot, Larry Visoski was the first person to testify in the Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex-trafficking trial on Tuesday. He worked as a pilot for Epstein for over 25 years.

Visoski claimed that he would be given notice when high-profile passengers like Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew, and many more were flying in the plane. Prince Andrew is also being sued for by Virginia Giuffre for sexually assaulting her during these trips, however, he denied these claims. In addition, Bill Clinton’s spokesman, Angel Urena said in 2019 “in 2002 and 2003, President Clinton took a total of four trips on Jeffrey Epstein’s airplane: one to Europe, one to Asia, and two to Africa, which included stops in connection with the work of the Clinton Foundation,” adding “and has never been to Little St. James Island, Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico, or his residence in Florida.” There were also celebrities that flew on his planes like Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker and even the renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman.

Epstein flew his guests all over the world including his private island, Mexico ranch, and his New York City townhouse. It is alleged that he used these planes to also fly teenage girls to his property and groom them for sexual abuse. The trial is happening because Maxwell, Epstein’s former girlfriend is alleged to have helped him groom the teenagers. Whereas, she claims that she is used as a scapegoat for Epstein who died in prison in 2019 by suicide. If Maxwell is found guilty she can face up to 80 years in prison. Assistant US Attorney Maurene Comey described Maxwell’s position in these crimes as “the number two” and “Epstein was the big number one.”

The former pilot claimed that he hadn’t personally seen any sexual activities on the plane but the cockpit door was always kept close during trips. Moreover, the plane was nicknamed “Lolita express” likely a reference to Nabakov’s novel Lolita which tells the story of pedophilic relationship between a man and a 12-year-old. One witness came to the trial to testify against both Epstein as well as Maxwell but the claims have not been verified yet.

A lot of unspeakable things happened to young teenage girls on these trips. Everyone involved in these crimes should be held accountable to show that no one, even those with power and influence, is above the law. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Crime

Judge declares sexual assault lawsuit to continue in case of Prince Andrew

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The sexual assault lawsuit against Prince Andrew by Virginia Giuffre will not be dismissed, as declared by the New York Judge Lewis Kaplan on Wednesday 12th January 2022. This declaration came after the royal family member tried to get the case thrown out. 

Virginia Giuffre, formerly known as Virginia Roberts filed a case against Prince Andrew by stating that he sexually assaulted her in 2001 when she was a teenager. Prince Andrew, however, has denied the abuse and dismissed the lawsuit. After hearing the arguments from the lawyers representing the royal member, Judge Kaplan wrote in the ruling “Ms. Giuffre’s complaint is neither ‘unintelligible’ nor ‘vague’ nor ‘ambiguous,'” adding “it alleges discrete incidents of sexual abuse in particular circumstances at three identifiable locations. It identifies to whom it attributes that sexual abuse.” The lawyers representing the Royalty dismissed Giuffre’s claims because she signed a $500,000 settlement agreement in 2009. The judge explained more in the document “moreover, the defendant’s assertion that he cannot reasonably prepare a response to plaintiff’s allegations plainly contradicts the content of his moving papers, in which he denies Ms. Giuffre’s allegations in no uncertain terms.” The document was 46 pages long and in short, the attempt to dismiss the case was “denied in all respects” . After the ruling, Ms. Guiffre’s lawyer, David Boise stated, “it is only one step in the process, it does not resolve the case but it rejects certain legal defenses Prince Andrew was putting up to avoid the trial.” 

According to Ms. Giuffre, she was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein another convicted sex offender, when she was 17. She is accusing Prince Andrew of “sexual assault and battery” in Epstein’s private island located in the US Virgin Islands. Her lawyer says that she “wants to achieve justice,” by bringing this case to light. The trial is set to take place later this year if it is not settled before that. The Prince’s reputation has already been tarnished due to his friendship with the late Epstein and his former partner who was also convicted in December for aiding in his offenses. This has led to the Prince stepping away from royal duties since 2019. Buckingham Palace denied making any comments after the recent changes in the case, saying “We would not comment on what is an ongoing legal matter.” 

The royal status of the Prince should not shield him from being properly charged. Therefore, hopefully, the judge’s effort to not let the lawsuit go under is not wasted in the trial as well. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Kazakhstan turmoil reaches new heights as violent protests continue across the country

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Brokev03, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Protests in Kazakhstan that started due to increased fuel prices had much deeper underlying issues that came to the surface after a few days of protest. Due to the intensity, the government declared a state of emergency following the upheaval on Wednesday.

This was the worst protest in Kazakhstan since this oil-rich country received independence 30 years ago. The main reason for this was the sudden increase in the prices of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) which was the main fuel source used by the people. Soon the protests escalated and the demonstrators torched government buildings, looted businesses and vehicles, and also toppled statues while the officials used violent means to control them. To control the protests that started on 2nd January, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev dropped the fuel prices again but the protests continued. Mainly because what started as a fight for simple cause soon revealed greater discontent that people had with the country. Another main reason for the protest was the control the former President, Nursultan Nazarbayev who led the country for three decades, had on the government and its decisions. The underlying issues for the protest were definitely much deeper like the increasing social inequalities as the rich keep their wealth safe and the poor have to suffer.   

To help restore the peace, troops from countries like Russia were sent in while the country was left in lockdown from Wednesday with strict curfews and no internet. According to the Interior Ministry on Monday, almost 8,000 people have been detained throughout the country as protesting is still illegal there. Moreover, on Sunday evening a statement was posted by officials on Telegram social media app stating that 164 people had died in the recent unrest. However, this statement was soon retracted as it was due to a “technical error” and until now only 44 deaths have been confirmed. The security forces apparently had to kill the rioters to restore peace in the country as President Tokayev gave them the order to “fire without warning”.

Seeing these protests, the Ukrainians also took to the street to not only defend their independence but to also fight for the rights of Kazakhstan. The protest included drones that flew with the flags of both countries. One of the drone operators, Vitaly Shevchuk explained his stance “we condemn violence in any form, but we also oppose foreign military intervention in Kazakhstan under the guise of a peacekeeping operation, which is more like punitive action and risks becoming an occupation.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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10 bodies found in a car outside of state governor’s office in Mexico

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10 victims were found beaten to death in a car outside of the historical local state governor’s office in Zacatecas, Mexico according to officials on Thursday. The authorities have arrested two individuals in relation to the crime. 

The Mazda SUV containing the bodies was found near a Christmas tree in the main plaza of the city. The state governor, David Monreal confirmed this by stating “they came to leave them here in front of the palace,” adding “bit by bit we will recover our peace. What we received was a cursed inheritance,” in a video recorded in the plaza. According to the federal Public Safety Department, the vehicle in which the bodies were found was seen driven by a man who drove the car into the plaza, parked it, and then left by walking down an alley. 

Zacatecas has been seeing a rise in murders and crimes due to rivalry between the gangs of the area. Mainly, because of the turf war between the notorious Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels. To solve the crime, the Mexican security minister will be sending assistance to help the local investigation. In fact, Zacatecas is considered one of the most violent regions of Mexico due to the gang wars that intensified in the pandemic. In 2021 alone, there were 1,050 murders in the area which is 260 more murders than the previous year. Although the governor tweeted after the incident that the culprits have been arrested, their information has not been released. To cope with the increased crime rate in Mexico, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is struggling as well as almost 90,000 people have disappeared so far due to the rival drug wars. 

Hopefully, the victims’ families are compensated properly for their loss and the culprits are also charged accordingly. Sometimes, innocent people lose their lives in gang violence which is a very devastating side effect. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Crime

George Floyd’s family struck by tragedy once again

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On 25th May 2020, an event in Minneapolis, Minnesota took place that made news across the globe. George Floyd was wrongfully murdered by officer Derek Chauvin. On 25th June 2021, Chauvin was sentenced to 22 ½ years for the murder. This tragedy was just one in a history filled with racially motivated attacks and murders by law enforcement. The US finds itself at a point where many innocent people see the police as a threat rather than a safeguard.

After Chauvin’s sentencing, Floyd’s family rejoiced in their victory. While nothing could bring Floyd back, justice was being served, which is considered uncommon in the US in racial violence cases. Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, said “I’m not just fighting for George anymore. I’m fighting for everybody around this world.” He also said, “Today, we are able to breathe again,” referencing the way George Floyd died because he couldn’t breathe the way Chauvin had pinned him down during the arrest.

One very young member of Floyd’s family who joined the marches and rallies in his honour was four-year-old Arianna Delane, Floyd’s great niece.

Unfortunately, the Floyd family has suffered a violent tragedy once again. On 1st January 2022, while many were celebrating the New Year, Delane was fighting for her life in Houston, Texas. The young child was sleeping in her bed when several gunshots were fired at her family’s apartment. She was hit in the torso and suffered from a punctured lung and liver, as well as three broken ribs.

“My daughter jumped up and said ‘Daddy, I been hit,’ and I was shocked until I seen the blood and I realised my four-year-old daughter was really hit,” her father recalls. “She didn’t know what was going on. She was asleep.”

Arianna’s mother transported the child to a hospital three to four minutes after she was struck. Police were informed about the shooting around 3am but it was reported that no help arrived until approximately four hours later. Houston’s Police Chief, Troy Finner, addressed this delay on 4th January, saying “I am aware and have concerns regarding the delayed response time in this incident and have initiated an Internal Affairs investigation.” 

The next day on 5th January, Finner issued another statement, via Twitter, stating that officers had arrived on the scene but “were not flagged down by any citizen and eventually left the location without observing a crime scene. Unbeknownst to them, the child had already been transported from an apartment in a private vehicle to the hospital…” 

Many are expressing anger at the Houston Police Department, stating that the officers who arrived on the scene should have been more vigilant and tried harder to locate the area where the shooting took place.

No arrests have been made at this time. Police have said there is no suspect description nor is there currently a motive for the shooting. The family, however, has expressed concerns that the shooting was targeted, but did not provide further details.

The four-year-old is currently in stable condition after undergoing surgery. She remains hospitalised.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Crime

23 Killed in Colombian Guerilla fights

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The fight between illegal armed groups National Liberation Army (ELN) and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has left at least 23 dead. The death toll is thought to be higher but the area where the fighting took pace is difficult to access.

“We are proceeding with the preliminary figure of 23 victims, but the information is still not [fully] clear. It’s very hard to enter the area where the clashes occurred, so these numbers must be handled with care,” spokesperson Paola Tovar told CNN.

The fighting broke out over the New Year’s weekend in the early hours of 2nd January, in Arauca, Colombia, which sits on the border with Venezuela. It is said the cause of the fight dated back to 2016 where both groups, ELN and FARC, refused to enter into the Colombian peace process. 

The rival guerrilla groups continuously fight over the control of illegal economies such as drug trafficking, according to a statement from Colombia’s army. The rivalry between these groups has caused the displacement of at least 12 families

The fighting occurs in the Arauca region which borders Venezuela and since 2006 at least 850 people have been killed with 58,000 displaced, as per a 2020 HRW report.

The ombudsman’s office expressed “deep concern for the escalation of the armed conflict in Arauca due to the confrontation between illegal armed groups that put the civilian population at grave risk”

“For years, the conflict between the FARC and ELN tormented people in Arauca and Apure. They can’t be left to their own devices as a new version of this conflict appears to [be coming] alive in the region.” Juan Pappier, a senior Americas researcher at Human Rights Watch told Al Jazeera.

These clashes have become a daily source of stress for the civilians. Thousands of people have already fled Apure in March 2021 amid clashes between Colombian armed groups and the Venezuelan military.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Challenging liberty from ‘Goddess of Democracy’ to Pillar of Shame

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zh:User:Duanhua, CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/, via Wikimedia Commons

After more than 30 years of the oppression that resulted in the Tiananmen massacre, its fragments still live on. One of the examples of it was seen earlier this week as the Pillar of Shame was taken down by the authorities from the Hong Kong University. The statue by a Danish artist, Jens Galschiot, was erected at the university to signify the lives lost to the tyranny of the Chinese regime in 1989. The statue that displayed 50 bodies piled upon each other was placed in the university, as a monument to the 1989 events, 24 years ago.

The issue of the Tiananmen massacre is still considered taboo in China with people and textbooks holding binary opinions on the incident. Even the number of victims has not still been issued officially. The creator of the statue, Jens Galschiot, in his statement to the media said that the statue is his property, and he will protect it. He further said that:

“in the moment they are destroying (which) belong to foreign artists…of course, we will try to protect our property in Hong Kong and even sue them if this is necessary.”

Critics from around the world came together to protest against this act including the Scottish Member of Parliament, Steward McDonald who condemned the act and called for people in Scotland and around the world to “erect a similar memorial in solidarity with those who stood for freedom.”

HKU, Hong Kong University, Council issued their statement over the issue and said that the decision came “on external legal advice.” The university council justified its decision saying that ”the University is also very concerned about the potential safety issues resulting from the fragile statute. The latest legal advice given to the University cautioned that the continued display of the statute would pose legal risks to the University based on the Crimes Ordinance enacted under the Hong Kong colonial government.” They reported that the statue has been removed and placed in storage until further action.

Following the removal of the Pillar of Shame, two more universities of Hong Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Lingnan University, removed two monuments that were placed in memory of the Tiananmen massacre. Both universities released similar statements to that of HKU to justify the decisions.

In the Tiananmen square, the Goddess of Democracy was taken down by the authorities which symbolized the quest for the liberty of the protesters. 32 years later, statues and monuments are still taken down by the authorities while the massacre stands as a taboo.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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