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Subject: Bezos and the National Enquirer rss

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Wendell
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This post is pretty remarkable.



Jeff Bezos basically a big FUCK YOU to David Pecker and the National Enquirer who tried to blackmail Bezos into dropping an investigation into them. So Bezos describes the pictures and texts the National Enquirer has of him (dick pics).

You should read it - Bezos even published their threatening emails to him.

I'm conflicted about Amazon.com. But Bezos has shown some guts here.

Just think of all those others who can't afford to tell National Enquirer to fuck off. 'Cause you know this ain't the first time they've done it.
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Mike Parker
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Blackmail is illegal, right? I’m not just imagining that?
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Rich Shipley
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Fake Mike wrote:
Blackmail is illegal, right? I’m not just imagining that?
It isn't usually treated as a crime when lawyers do it.
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Rich Shipley
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gvonl wrote:
It is gutsy. But Bezos did something that we typically censure people for, so we should also censure him for it even as we laud him for being gutsy. The two things needn't be mutually exclusive.
Why should I care about Bezos' marital issues at all?
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Andrew J
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I’m having a juvenile laugh at Bezos responding to a dick pic blackmail with ‘No thank you, Mr. Pecker.’ Obvious and low brow, sure, but I did qualify it as a juvenile laugh.
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Very legal & very cool
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aeroguru1978 wrote:
I’m having a juvenile laugh at Bezos responding to a dick pic blackmail with ‘No thank you, Mr. Pecker.’ Obvious and low brow, sure, but I did qualify it as a juvenile laugh.
Any discussion of Mr. Pecker is a good excuse for a juvenile laugh.
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Andre
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The definition of blackmail legally, is quirky, a woman on CNN tried to explain it this morning. What they did MIGHT be illegal, but it has a lot to do with the value of the item they were seeking to extort.

That said, beyond the blackmail thing, several possible larger issues are at hand here. Bezos security agent believes that Bezos' phone was NOT hacked, and believes that state entity(ies) may be responsible, for obtaining the emails and texts that might be compromising.

AMI (Pecker's) relation to Trump is well known, and Trumps hatred of Bezos (and his Washington Post) is well documented. People were suggesting this morning, that this incident is worthy of investigation on another level, namely, that the hack of his emails and texts (which would be illegal) were done in coordination between Pecker, possibly Trump, and possibly the Saudis, whom have the capability to conduct such hacking operations. It should not escape notice, that Pecker was trying to extort a stop, to Bezos (and Washington Post) investigations, into Peckers activities, and also possible ties to Trump.

Given the fact that Kushner is unusually cozy with MBS, given the fact that MBS has the capabilities to hack Bezos' info, and given the fact that both Pecker and MBS are cozy with the Trump admin on policies (and feigned ignorance on the Khashoggi killing), I think that this incident will be investigated, for possible deeper meaning, which might eventually reveal a more careful, coordinated union, between Pecker, Trump and his team, and a foreign state actor, which may have conducted illegal activities on a U.S. citizen.

It could be very damaging indeed, if Trump was somehow involved, or intimately knowledgeable, about such activities.
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Chad Ellis
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rshipley wrote:
Fake Mike wrote:
Blackmail is illegal, right? I’m not just imagining that?
It isn't usually treated as a crime when lawyers do it.
IANAL, but this one might well be criminal.

Lawyers (and people) generally engage in "legal" extortion by threatening either to file legal claims or to take some action directly related to the issue at hand. For example, I had a contractual relationship with a business where in my view the other party was failing to perform at a minimum acceptable level. I demanded that they make some changes or I would stop doing any of the various things I was doing beyond my contractual obligations, as well as telling anyone who came to me as a reference why I thought the partner was failing to live up to their end of our relationship. I could have added a threat to file a press release or some other public statement. It would have been, "Do what I want or I'll do something that harms you," but it would have been legal since my actions were directly related to the contract.

In this case, the demand is that the owner of a newspaper put out a public statement about a matter the newspaper is investigating and the threat has nothing to do with that. If they had said, "Pay us $1 million or the dick pick goes out," that would obviously be criminal. The've asked for something of obvious monetary value.

Put another way, if this isn't illegal, the law should be rewritten.
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Andre
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Laughs, AMI was under some type of plea deal arrangement with SDNY, based on past misdeeds. General rules of thumb should have been;

Don't attempt to extort someone.

Stay away from the wealthiest man on the planet, who has the resources to fight it.


But the commentary was made, rightfully, that this kind of scumbag operation, can definitely ensnare the type of person, that does not have the financial means, like Bezos, to fight extortion.

I agree that there should be definitive rules set in place, that prevent someone from feeling like they are being extorted. Either publish the stuff you have (if legally obtained), or don't. But contacting someone that is a subject of that evidence, and attempting to coerce them into saying or doing something, in exchange for silence, should be a definite no-no.

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abadolato01 wrote:
Bezos security agent believes that Bezos' phone was NOT hacked, and believes that state entity(ies) may be responsible, for obtaining the emails and texts that might be compromising.
Your texts go through the cell phone company's infrastructure. They aren't encrypted. There are thousands of people who could get access to that data stream if they were motivated to do it.

[edit] A few years back Mark Cuban was pushing his Cyberdust messaging platform which encrypted everything and guaranteed zero data retention, even on your own phone. Most people just don't understand (or maybe just don't care) how insecure the cell phone infrastructure is.
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rshipley wrote:
Fake Mike wrote:
Blackmail is illegal, right? I’m not just imagining that?
It isn't usually treated as a crime when lawyers do it.
Why not?
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I was hoping he'd say Ms. Sanchez agreed with this approach.
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sfox wrote:
Most people just don't understand (or maybe just don't care) how insecure the cell phone infrastructure is.
The US president relies heavily on his cell phone.
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Andre
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remorseless1 wrote:
abadolato01 wrote:
I agree that there should be definitive rules set in place, that prevent someone from feeling like they are being extorted. Either publish the stuff you have (if legally obtained), or don't. But contacting someone that is a subject of that evidence, and attempting to coerce them into saying or doing something, in exchange for silence, should be a definite no-no.
Extortion, fraud, intimidation, terroristic threats -- there's already lots of laws against this kind of stuff
Maybe, but it's odd that the legal pundits on the news media circuit, were not all in unison about whether that AMI did is ACTUALLY illegal. If there is that much uncertainty about it, the laws should definitely be clarified, or given more bite.
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remorseless1 wrote:

Extortion, fraud, intimidation, terroristic threats -- there's already lots of laws against this kind of stuff

Thanks for not making me the first one to pedantically point out the difference between blackmail and extortion.

Credit to Bezos for getting out in front of this, but it sucks that pretty much only a billionaire who has nothing to lose but a bit of dignity can fight back against this kind of thing.
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Burke Martin
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and the plot thickens!

A reporter at the Washington Post says that an investigator hired by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos believes that text messages leaked to the National Enquirer between Bezos and his girlfriend may have been sent to the magazine by someone in government.

https://thehill.com/policy/technology/429085-reporter-bezos-...
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DavidDearlove wrote:
rshipley wrote:
Fake Mike wrote:
Blackmail is illegal, right? I’m not just imagining that?
It isn't usually treated as a crime when lawyers do it.
Why not?
What we're calling lawyer blackmail, is something along the lines of "we believe your youtube video is infringing on our copyrighted material. Please remove it and pay us $x in damage or we will sue you for removal, $x+y damages and court costs".

If this was illegal, lawyers wouldn't be able to negotiate or settle out of court at all, they'd just have to litigate everything to death.

A lawyer still cannot be like "Pay us 5 mil or we'll publish your dick pics".
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Escapade wrote:
DavidDearlove wrote:
rshipley wrote:
Fake Mike wrote:
Blackmail is illegal, right? I’m not just imagining that?
It isn't usually treated as a crime when lawyers do it.
Why not?
What we're calling lawyer blackmail, is something along the lines of "we believe your youtube video is infringing on our copyrighted material. Please remove it and pay us $x in damage or we will sue you for removal, $x+y damages and court costs".

If this was illegal, lawyers wouldn't be able to negotiate or settle out of court at all, they'd just have to litigate everything to death.
Yes, but it depends on what x and y are. When they are unreasonable - as they often are - then it may be legal but that's the best you can say about it. It may fail to be ethical even by lawyers' own standards.

Quote:
A lawyer still cannot be like "Pay us 5 mil or we'll publish your dick pics".
If the dress it up right, they can get close to that. Maybe not for 5 million though.
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Chad Ellis
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Dearlove wrote:
Escapade wrote:

A lawyer still cannot be like "Pay us 5 mil or we'll publish your dick pics".
If the dress it up right, they can get close to that. Maybe not for 5 million though.
But if you dress it up, is it still even a dick pic?
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Wendell
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I've seen a couple of lawyerly assessments that this may not TECHNICALLY be illegal. Which doesn't mean it may not be a big deal.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/i-think-this-will-be-ve...

Josh Marshall wrote:
What it does show is that AMI is precisely the criminal enterprise, weaponizing pseudo-journalism and cash payoffs on behalf of wealthy associates, as we’ve come to suspect. Bezos’ also hints pretty clearly that there may be evidence that the Saudis are somehow behind what happened. Remember, Trump hates Bezos because he owns The Washington Post. Whether he believes that Bezos actually calls the shots in the Post’s reporting I have no idea. But that’s the source of Trump’s ire. Jamal Khashoggi also had a column with the Post. The Post has taken the lead in pushing for justice on Khashoggi’s behalf. So the Saudis have a big beef too. And of course Trump appears to have his own corrupt ties to the de facto rulers of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

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Chad_Ellis wrote:
Dearlove wrote:
Escapade wrote:

A lawyer still cannot be like "Pay us 5 mil or we'll publish your dick pics".
If the dress it up right, they can get close to that. Maybe not for 5 million though.
But if you dress it up, is it still even a dick pic?
Then it's a dick portrait.
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gvonl wrote:
It is gutsy. But Bezos did something that we typically censure people for, so we should also censure him for it even as we laud him for being gutsy. The two things needn't be mutually exclusive.
If he sent a dick pic to another consenting adult (apparently it was his gf?), what's to censure about it*? It's between him and her.

I know our society doesn't work that way with things like that, but we can be better, and say AMI did something awful and Bezos did something great to call their bluff.



*Beyond having a GF while married to someone not ok with that, but we already knew about that.
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Aetheros wrote:
Chad_Ellis wrote:
Dearlove wrote:
Escapade wrote:

A lawyer still cannot be like "Pay us 5 mil or we'll publish your dick pics".
If the dress it up right, they can get close to that. Maybe not for 5 million though.
But if you dress it up, is it still even a dick pic?
Then it's a dick portrait.
Ain't no one wants to see that (except maybe Roger Stone?).

 
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windsagio wrote:
*Beyond having a GF while married to someone not ok with that, but we already knew about that.
The timeline is murky, but the relationship may have occurred during Bezos' trial separation. That does make more than a bit of a difference.

It's their personal lives and not criminal in any way. We really shouldn't care.
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