Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad told Russian television network Rossiya 24 in an interview Thursday that billionaire Jeffrey Epstein “was killed because he knew a lot of vital secrets.”
Police arrested Epstein, a well-connected but mysterious financier, in July on charges of underage sex trafficking. Guards found him dead in his prison cell in August and authorities have since ruled the death a suicide. Forensic experts, Epstein’s relatives, and other observers have widely questioned this version of events, citing several unexplained injuries on Epstein’s body that are nearly impossible to self-inflict.
Assad added his voice to the chorus of doubters Thursday while responding to a question on the death of James Le Mesurier, the British founder of May Day Rescue, an organization largely responsible for training and organizing the humanitarian group known as the “White Helmets.” The White Helmets have worked at the forefront of the Syrian Civil War and repeatedly uncovered evidence that Assad used chemical weapons against civilians, which has led to Assad referring to the group as jihadist terrorists tasked with fabricating false evidence to discredit him.
Assad implied that the American CIA killed Le Mesurier, using Epstein’s death as an example of another high-profile false suicide.
“American billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was killed several weeks ago, they said he had committed suicide in jail,” Assad said. “However, he was killed because he knew a lot of vital secrets connected with very important people in the British and American regimes, and possibly in other countries as well.”
“And now the main founder of the White Helmets has been killed, he was an officer and he had worked his whole life with NATO in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Iraq, and Lebanon,” he continued.
The White Helmets, he argued, “are naturally part of al-Qaeda” and Le Mesurier was killed because “they knew major secrets.” He compared Le Mesurier and Epstein to al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and Islamic State “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Assad had previously claimed that al-Baghdadi never existed, but now alleges that American forces did kill him out of “a dire need to do away with [him].”
Le Mesurier’s death, “of course … is this work of the secret services,” Assad claimed.
“But which secret service? When we talk about Western secret services in general, about Turkish and some other ones in our region, these are not the secret services of sovereign states, rather these are departments of the main intelligence agency – the CIA,” he added.
“Possibly, the founder of the White Helmets had been working on his memoirs and on the biography of his life, and this was unacceptable. This is an assumption, but a very serious one, since other options don’t sound convincing to me at the moment,” Assad concluded.
Assad regularly speaks to Russian propaganda outlets as Moscow is his regime’s most powerful ally and largely responsible for him remaining in power since the civil war began in 2011. The Russian government alleges that Assad was “democratically” elected – despite the last election, in 2014 and only counting votes from areas under Assad’s control, widely being considered illegitimate.
James Le Mesurier was found dead this week in Istanbul, Turkey, where he resided. Turkish authorities reportedly claim that the evidence suggests he “fell” from a window in his home, as there is no evidence anyone entered the apartment.
Assad has for years claimed that the White Helmets, who Le Mesurier helped establish and train, were a terrorist organization. Last week, in another interview following the capture and suicide of al-Baghdadi, Assad claimed that the humanitarian aid workers helping the White Helmets were all al-Qaeda terrorists.
“It’s very simple to see the same faces of those ‘angels’ — the White Helmets — the same faces, the same one in the White Helmets was a fighter with Al-Qaeda,” Assad said. “You can see him. The images are very clear. The same one who has been beheading, or cutting heads, and one of them was eating the heart of a soldier.”
The chemical weapons attacks they documented were a “play,” Assad added.
“I mean they staged a play, full play, where somebody plays the role of the victim in many incidents, not only with the chemical weapons, even with bombardments, they stage a play that somebody is being the victim,” Assad claimed. “And then at the end of the shooting, he is a normal person, he stands up and moves normally; you can see it on YouTube.”
Assad also recently alleged that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi never existed – he was a “Hollywood” creation by American actors and that the man known as al-Baghdadi was a Hollywood actor who would, in a few years, resurface in the Middle East playing another role.
“No aircraft were detected on radar screens. Why were the remains of Baghdadi not shown?” Assad asked. “So, why did they hide everything about the Bin Laden operation and now also the Baghdadi operation? This is part of the tricks played by the Americans.”
“American politics are no different from Hollywood; it relies on the imagination,” he continued. “Not even science fiction, just mere imagination. So, you can take American politics and see it in Hollywood or else you can bring Hollywood and see it through American politics. I believe the whole thing regarding this operation is a trick.”
Jeffrey Epstein was found dead on August 10 in his prison cell. Authorities rapidly declared his death suicide by hanging. Prior to his arrest for trafficking in underage forced prostitution, the financier was known to frequent celebrity and powerful political social circles, including establishing a relationship with former president Bill Clinton.
Law enforcement authorities told reporters following Epstein’s death that none of the camera footage from the hallways surrounding his cell was usable, leaving many open questions.
Dr. Michael Baden, a former New York City medical examiner, said in October that the evidence available on Epstein’s injuries suggested homicide by strangulation, not suicide.
“I think that the evidence points toward homicide rather than suicide … because there are multiple — three fractures in the hyoid bone, in the thyroid cartilage that are very unusual for suicide and more indicative of strangulation, homicidal strangulation,” he said.