When you come for the king...
I was in my car on my lunch break at around 4pm PST when a brief notification came on my phone. Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon and The Washington Post, had published a piece on Medium in which he detailed that American Media, Inc., parent company of Traitor Donald Trump’s favorite mouthpiece, The National Enquirer, had attempted to blackmail him. I thought nothing much of it, notching it down to another fight between rich men.
But then I read the post, and the reporting which mushroomed in the hours since. And, as the kids say, holy shitballs.
The basics of the story are this: Bezos and his wife MacKenzie announced they were divorcing. Two days later, the Enquirer published purloined texts between Bezos and his lover, Lauren Sanchez. Bezos then turned to his longtime security consultant, Gavin de Becker, to investigate how AMI obtained those texts. The investigation was digging up a mountain of information, at which point AMI, in a manner reminiscent of bad mafia B-movies, tried to blackmail Bezos with naked pictures they had of him. They wanted him to state that AMI was not acting in a political manner when it was pursuing its reporting of him. Bezos refused, and instead published his piece and the emails that de Becker’s lawyer received from AMI.
I urge you to read Bezos’ post, because it’s simply unbelievable. Also in the post, he drops hints that his texts and other material were intercepted by a “government entity”. He doesn’t say which entity, or which government, but the rumors are either Trump loyalists in the intelligence community, or Saudi intelligence, or Mossad. Right now we don’t know, but the implications are hair-raising, and I have no hair. If a foreign intelligence agency was behind the Bezos hack, that’s disturbing enough. If it was elements of US intelligence, either at the behest of Trump or with his wink and a nod, that’s just what Richard Nixon wanted to do with the FBI and CIA against his enemies’ list. This would not just be cause for impeachment; this would be cause to throw out that Department of Justice memorandum that sitting presidents can’t be indicted. And if it was the Saudis or the Israelis, it’s not hard to fathom that they did so, again, with the connivance of Trump and his circle.
Jeff Bezos is not some hero. He is at best problematic, with his labor practices at Amazon. But sometimes we make alliances with those at whom we look askance. The fact is that, if the more fevered suppositions are accurate, someone turned intelligence agencies loose on an American citizen because he’s a perceived enemy to those in power. Of course, this has happened before; cf. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the FBI trying to get him to commit suicide or it would reveal his supposed adultery. This type of tactic isn’t new. What’s new is that it targeted literally the wealthiest man in the world, and did so in such a ham-fisted way that it beggars belief. In 2019, the idea that a man like Bezos would succumb to blackmail because of a dick pic is so laughable that it wouldn’t make it past the first edit in a Hollywood script. And yet that’s the card that AMI played. This again shows that those around Trump are as intelligent as their leader. This was the best they had, and they thought it was a good hand.
Bezos also says in his post that the matter is being investigated by official bodies. If this is true, then attempted blackmail is the least of the conspirators’ problems. Especially if intelligence agencies, either domestic or foreign, are involved.
You don’t have to like Bezos to be on his side in this matter. If the accusations bear out, this regime and its allies feel secure enough to brazenly threaten a private citizen considered an enemy with blackmail and extortion. That should enrage anyone who hasn’t given their soul to Trumpism. Trump is attempting all the tricks in the dictators’ handbook. We’re fortunate that he is so inept at it. We’re even more fortunate that he makes those around him equally inept.
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