National Enquirer allegedly attempts to blackmail Jeff Bezoz, possible links to Trump and the Kashoggi murder.

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National Enquirer allegedly attempts to blackmail Jeff Bezoz, possible links to Trump and the Kashoggi murder.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-02-08 02:56pm

Well this is all kinds of fucked up.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/08/media/na ... index.html
Pecker, the head of American Media Inc., controls the National Enquirer. In a blockbuster blog post titled "No thank you, Mr. Pecker," Bezos on Thursday evening accused Pecker of an "extortion and blackmail attempt."

Bezos backed up his "extortion" charge with copies of what he said were multiple emails form American Media.

The company responded by saying in a statement on Friday morning that "American Media believes fervently that it acted lawfully in the reporting of the story of Mr. Bezos.
Summary of the story: The Trump-aligned tabloid the National Enquirer (who's David Pecker got in trouble for buying up stories that would be harmful to Trump and suppressing them, and then got an immunity deal in exchange for turning over his dirt on Trump in the Cohen case) published some salacious messages between Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his mistress (and around the same time, Bezos had his wife announced that they were undergoing an amicable divorce). Bezos then had his security chief look into who leaked the messages to the National Enquirer.

Somewhere along the line, the investigator alleged that the National Enquirer's actions were politically-motivated, which would be more shocking if we hadn't lived through the last three years. Pecker is a long-time ally of Trump while Bezos is the owner of the Washington Post, which is a favorite target of Trump's attacks on the media. I've also seen it alleged elsewhere that Pecker has business ties to the Saudi elite, while the post has been going after the them hard over the Kashoggi murder (unsurprisingly, given that he was a Washington Post journalist).

According to Bezos, he then received messages from the National Enquirer telling him that they had more messages and photos, and would release them if he did not end the investigation and release a statement denying that their was any political motive.

Rather than give in to their demands, Bezos, in what I must admit is a pretty ballsy move, publicly released the messages (which included a list and descriptions of the photos they supposedly had), and accused the National Enquirer of blackmail and extortion.

Since then others, including Ronan Farrow, have come forward saying that the National Enquirer made similar threats, and prosecutors are now investigating the allegations to determine whether Pecker violated his immunity deal. Meanwhile, Pecker has claimed innocence and the company is conducting an investigation- but since Pecker is one of the people in the board conducting the investigation, only a fool would consider it remotely impartial.

And what I'm wondering is, what the hell did Pecker think he was doing here? If this is true, then he managed to get caught up in the investigations of Trump, was lucky enough to manage to get not merely a plea deal but full immunity, and then decided to immediately piss it away by trying to blackmail one of the richest men on Earth when he didn't even have anything all that damaging on him (from what I've heard, its basically just some dick pics, nothing non-consensual or anything that would seriously damage Bezos, and the National Enquirer has already come out of this looking way worse than Bezos). Honestly, I was reminded of this scene from The Dark Knight:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1z6o1GIEsQE

These Trumpers are all just like their boss, aren't they? Brazenly corrupt, laughably incompetent, and arrogantly convinced that they are somehow immune to consequences, that the law does not apply to them. And until recently, that was probably largely true, for practical purposes. These fucks have gotten away with a lot, for a long time, because they're rich and white in America and they have all the right connections. But they finally got too big, and too brazen, and drew too much attention to themselves by tying themselves to the sinking ship that is the SS Donald Trump, their luck ran out, and now heads are finally starting to roll.

Well, I look forward to watching this one get Pecker-slapped by the FBI. :D
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Re: National Enquirer allegedly attempts to blackmail Jeff Bezoz, possible links to Trump and the Kashoggi murder.

Post by K. A. Pital » 2019-02-12 05:17am

Bezos is an evil person and fully deserves this and more.
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Re: National Enquirer allegedly attempts to blackmail Jeff Bezoz, possible links to Trump and the Kashoggi murder.

Post by bilateralrope » 2019-02-12 01:44pm

Just how scared do you have to be of what an investigation would turn up to threaten blackmail with such a weak hand ?
K. A. Pital wrote:
2019-02-12 05:17am
Bezos is an evil person and fully deserves this and more.
I'm not seeing any scenario where this could hurt Bezos.

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Re: National Enquirer allegedly attempts to blackmail Jeff Bezoz, possible links to Trump and the Kashoggi murder.

Post by K. A. Pital » 2019-02-12 01:48pm

No, of course it cannot, Bezos is just too much of a superoligarch.

But if it could, then he would deserve every bit of damage.
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Re: National Enquirer allegedly attempts to blackmail Jeff Bezoz, possible links to Trump and the Kashoggi murder.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-02-12 05:49pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
2019-02-12 05:17am
Bezos is an evil person and fully deserves this and more.
Ah, so the law only applies to people you like.

I don't care how much of a hate boner you have for Bezos. I don't like him myself, but if you're going to entertain the concept of a society based on the rule of law, then everyone has to have a right to the protection of the law. It doesn't become okay to blackmail and extort someone because they're a bad person.

Besides, they weren't just going after Bezos. This was about trying to muzzle press that was critical of the President. If you defend this because you hate Bezos, then all you're doing is showing that you are a hypocrite who will defend fascists as long as they're targeting people you don't like.
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Re: National Enquirer allegedly attempts to blackmail Jeff Bezoz, possible links to Trump and the Kashoggi murder.

Post by bilateralrope » 2019-02-12 07:51pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
2019-02-12 01:48pm
No, of course it cannot, Bezos is just too much of a superoligarch.

But if it could, then he would deserve every bit of damage.
You are right to hate him.

But him being a superoligarch has little to do with why this couldn't hurt him. This couldn't hurt him because the blackmail material was so weak. The National Enquirer had already revealed his affair to the public, all they had left to blackmail him with were texts and pictures exchanged during the affair. He wasn't sending dick pics to random people, he was sending them to a woman he was in a sexual relationship with. Few people are going to care and those that do are likely all Trump supporters.

If any indictments come down on on National Enquirer or its staff, Bezos is probably going to get some credit in the public's eye for blowing up their immunity deal.

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Re: National Enquirer allegedly attempts to blackmail Jeff Bezoz, possible links to Trump and the Kashoggi murder.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-02-12 07:59pm

Indeed.

However much one might hate Bezos, if these allegations are true, the Enquirer was unambiguously in the wrong, both legally and morally, and moreover they were fucking stupid about it. Nobody except some evangelicals really gives a shit in this day and age if you have a consensual affair, the affair was already public, and the worst that's likely to happen is that Bezos and his girlfriend will be embarrassed- not criminally charged, not sued, not lose their jobs or be forced to resign (though admittedly that last could happen to someone in a more vulnerable position than Bezos). Just embarrassed. And even that's going to be mitigated by the fact that Bezos handled this in the smartest possible way and put the story out there himself, preempting the blackmailers. Hell, his reputation, as bitlateralrope noted, will probably get a big boost with the Left due to him taking down one of the nastier Swamp Critters allied to Trump.

All that's happened is that it looks like Pecker effectively just committed political/legal suicide by FBI.
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Re: National Enquirer allegedly attempts to blackmail Jeff Bezoz, possible links to Trump and the Kashoggi murder.

Post by bilateralrope » 2019-02-12 08:16pm

Especially if parts of the internet run with a meme about how much damage Bezos can do with his dick. Maybe with some encouragement from Amazon's marketing team.

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Re: National Enquirer allegedly attempts to blackmail Jeff Bezoz, possible links to Trump and the Kashoggi murder.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-02-12 08:37pm

bilateralrope wrote:
2019-02-12 08:16pm
Especially if parts of the internet run with a meme about how much damage Bezos can do with his dick. Maybe with some encouragement from Amazon's marketing team.
When the story broke, a number of news outlets ran with the headline "Bezos exposes Pecker". :lol:
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Re: National Enquirer allegedly attempts to blackmail Jeff Bezoz, possible links to Trump and the Kashoggi murder.

Post by bilateralrope » 2019-02-12 09:30pm

How unusual is an immunity deal that includes the condition that the subject can't commit any crimes ?

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Re: National Enquirer allegedly attempts to blackmail Jeff Bezoz, possible links to Trump and the Kashoggi murder.

Post by Solauren » 2019-02-13 08:54am

Actually, I believe that's fairly common. After all, why give immunity to someone if they are just going to go out and cause more shit?
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Re: National Enquirer allegedly attempts to blackmail Jeff Bezoz, possible links to Trump and the Kashoggi murder.

Post by Elheru Aran » 2019-02-13 01:02pm

Solauren wrote:
2019-02-13 08:54am
Actually, I believe that's fairly common. After all, why give immunity to someone if they are just going to go out and cause more shit?
Quite common. Basically if you're going to cooperate with the government in a criminal investigation, you have to stay on their good side, because you just gave them your cards and now they have the upper hand. For example, say a Mob hitman confesses to a bunch of murders and offers information on other crimes; do you really expect them to just shrug and let him go out and shoot a few more people? Nah.

So yes, AMI is definitely in trouble now that they've been exposed trying to commit a criminal act, extortion, against one of the wealthiest men in the world, after they've signed a deal with the government to share information that they were holding on Donald Trump. Part of said deal almost certainly being "don't fuck up while we've got the upper hand".
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Re: National Enquirer allegedly attempts to blackmail Jeff Bezoz, possible links to Trump and the Kashoggi murder.

Post by bilateralrope » 2019-02-14 10:09pm

While most people are focusing on how this will damage the National Enquirer, there are some people saying that Bezos should release the pictures himself:

Opinion: Jeff Bezos, Please Release Your Dirty Selfies
It’s for the good of the country. Especially our kids.

By Dan Savage
Mr. Savage is a nationally syndicated sex advice columnist.


Dear Jeff Bezos,

I know you’ve been through a lot in the past few weeks, but I have one more request: Release those pics.

I say this as an Amazon stockholder, an Amazon Prime member and a fellow parent. Publish that “below the belt selfie” before The National Enquirer can leak it to TMZ. And while you’re at it, toss up a half a dozen other pics the tabloid hasn’t even seen.

“If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion,” you wrote on Medium, “how many people can?” By standing up to blackmail­ — by refusing to be ashamed — you turned the tables on the bullies at The National Enquirer. And people cheered! For a billionaire! Poor Howard Schultz must have been seething.

By all rights you should’ve spent last week being dragged for the news that Amazon is stealing tips from delivery drivers, as revealed in a Los Angeles Times investigation published the same day as your Medium post. Instead you were heaped with praise on Twitter — Twitter! — for standing up to David Pecker, the chairman and chief executive of American Media, who, as publisher of The National Enquirer, did more to put Donald Trump in the White House than perhaps anyone other than Vladimir Putin.

Standing up to Pecker was a great start. But by self-publishing your own nude photos, you can turn the tables on the sexual and cultural hypocrisy that allows people like him to weaponize nude photos in the first place.

If I know one thing, having written a sex-and-relationship advice column for the last few decades, Jeff, it’s this: We’ve all taken and sent photos like the ones you sent your girlfriend. O.K., not everyone. But many of us. And many more of us every day.

After years of hearing about the dangers of youth sexting, researchers at Drexel University set out in 2015 to find how common the practice is among adults. And after interviewing 870 people, ranging in age from 18 to 82, they discovered that sexting is “more common than generally thought,” as the American Psychological Association primly observed. Fully 88 percent of adults reported swapping sext messages at least once; 82 percent had sexted with someone in the last year. Far from being a threat to our relationships, sexting correlated strongly “with greater sexual satisfaction, especially for those in a relationship.”

We’re all carrying little pornography studios around with us in our pockets. And while many of us just use our words, a lot of us — young and old, gay and straight, anything and everything else — send sexy selfies too. We use our phones to flirt with established partners we hope we can trust (sometimes wrongly; vengeful exes are why we have revenge porn laws). We use them to flirt with complete strangers. And, yes, some of us misuse our phones by sending unsolicited dirty pics to people who never asked to see them.

It’s only going to get worse (or better, depending on your perspective) as we’re rapidly establishing new and welcome cultural norms about hitting on people. It’s increasingly unacceptable to hit on someone at work or in a classroom or on the street. So we do it online. We swipe left or right and start swapping texts with a stranger. The conversation quickly progresses from flirty to dirty and, before we know it, we’re exchanging nudes with that stranger.

We live in a world where two things are true: Nearly everyone has a few nude photographs out there somewhere (saved on a stranger’s phone; archived on a dating app you forgot you signed up for; lingering on some tech company’s servers). And yet a single solicited dirty pic has the power to end someone’s career.

Let’s end this ridiculous state of affairs.

Jeff, you have the power to make the world safer for your kids and mine, to say nothing of all the adults out there swapping nude photos with complete strangers or their spouses. (And to say nothing of all the other billionaires out there who, according to Bloomberg News, are now very worried about the whereabouts of the pics they’ve sent to their mistresses.) By releasing your own photos, you can normalize what is already normal and protect the professional and political futures of all the young adults who have been taking and sending nude selfies since they got their first phones.

The sooner we all have a few dirty pics out there, the sooner it won’t matter whose dirty pics get out there. Until then, we are all in danger of being blackmailed.

Sure, I could go first and release a few of my own. But the dirty pics a gay sex-advice columnist sent to his husband don’t have the power to change the world. The dirty pics the world’s richest man sent to his girlfriend? They do.

I’ve long thought there should be an annual release-a-nude-pic day. Imagine a kind of purge where all Americans would unite by mass-releasing dirty pics, thus depriving hackers, vengeful exes, unscrupulous publishers, sex-phobic employers and former K.G.B. agents of the power to destroy peoples’ lives. If you go first, Jeff, we’ll call it Jeff Bezos Day. It’s a far better legacy than wage theft.
Would it be a good thing for society in general if we got more high profile people releasing their own pics ?

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Re: National Enquirer allegedly attempts to blackmail Jeff Bezoz, possible links to Trump and the Kashoggi murder.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-02-14 10:15pm

You know, I'm inclined to agree, although of course its easier said than done.
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Re: National Enquirer allegedly attempts to blackmail Jeff Bezoz, possible links to Trump and the Kashoggi murder.

Post by Elheru Aran » 2019-02-15 03:56pm

Two problems with that:

--Privacy. Nobody particularly wants pictures of themselves floating around in public like that. For some, particularly women, it's sort of an asset; if nude photos of an actress come out, and she has never before appeared nude in a film, she might be less able to ask more money for taking on such roles. Men might feel that releasing nudes might degrade their social status in some way and hurt their standing.

--Publicity. Nobody particularly wants to see nude photos of, say, Warren Buffett. But turn the tables and say we've got Elizabeth Warren releasing nudes. While she's an older woman, the freak-out would be insane. There's an obvious element of gender discrimination here.

I'm quite aware that in theory there should be no particular reason why naked pictures of people are a Bad Thing-- skin is skin, everybody's got some, horrible burn patients aside-- but socially and culturally there's a whole minefield of weird gender and social issues that would get in the way.
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Re: National Enquirer allegedly attempts to blackmail Jeff Bezoz, possible links to Trump and the Kashoggi murder.

Post by Ralin » 2019-02-15 06:35pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2019-02-15 03:56pm
but socially and culturally there's a whole minefield of weird gender and social issues that would get in the way.
Isn't encouraging those attitudes to change sort of the point?

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Re: National Enquirer allegedly attempts to blackmail Jeff Bezoz, possible links to Trump and the Kashoggi murder.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-02-15 10:10pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2019-02-15 03:56pm
Two problems with that:

--Privacy. Nobody particularly wants pictures of themselves floating around in public like that. For some, particularly women, it's sort of an asset; if nude photos of an actress come out, and she has never before appeared nude in a film, she might be less able to ask more money for taking on such roles. Men might feel that releasing nudes might degrade their social status in some way and hurt their standing.

--Publicity. Nobody particularly wants to see nude photos of, say, Warren Buffett. But turn the tables and say we've got Elizabeth Warren releasing nudes. While she's an older woman, the freak-out would be insane. There's an obvious element of gender discrimination here.

I'm quite aware that in theory there should be no particular reason why naked pictures of people are a Bad Thing-- skin is skin, everybody's got some, horrible burn patients aside-- but socially and culturally there's a whole minefield of weird gender and social issues that would get in the way.
You're not wrong.

However, we live in a post-privacy world. If the general public doesn't know all your dirty secrets, its because no one important cares enough about you to go digging. Its not fair, its not right, but thems' the breaks. Its part of the price we pay for living in a high tech. society with mass distribution of information. No one should have to have their nudes out there if they don't want to, and people who release others' nudes without their consent should absolutely go to jail as sex offenders, but personally I'm not going to judge anyone for choosing to release that stuff, regardless of gender or status. Honestly, I've gotten to the point where I'm pretty much cool with everyone's dick and/or pussy being public record, as long as they're past their 18th. birthday.

Over-saturate the market with this shit, and maybe someday people will stop giving a shit. But it takes a lot more courage (probably more than I have, I admit), to be the ones who go first.
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