Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com founder and Washington Post (WP) owner, has claimed that American Media Inc. blackmailed him by threatening to publish his intimate photos, which were obtained illegally.
He accused the National Enquirer’s parent company in a Medium blog post, after his private life was divulged by the tabloid publisher, which maintains close ties with the US President Donald Trump.
Bezos said, “Of course I don’t want personal photos published, but I also won’t participate in their well-known practice of blackmail, political favors, political attacks, and corruption.”
“I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out.”
This scandal has lifted off the veil over US’s imbecilic relationship with Saudi Arabia that spearheads unethical hacking and media deception.
In his blog post, Bezos hinted that the blackmailing emails by National Enquirer publishers probably involved Trump and the Saudi oil money.
Allegedly, the Bezos-AMI affair began to turn sour after the murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, who moved to the US for writing anti-Saudi columns for the Washington Post, owned by Jeff Bezos.
In October 2018, Khashoggi visited Saudi’s embassy in Istanbul, where he was killed by the Saudi hit-squad. Later, CIA’s investigation concluded that Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) had ordered it.
The Washington Post, where Jamal Khashoggi was an esteemed contributor, took his murder as a threat against journalism. The journalism house spared no effort to follow up the story until the truth was out. In December, WP memorialized the slain journalist in an entire page ad. Post’s publisher, Fred Ryan, vowed its reporters would continue the efforts against Saudi Arabia “until meaningful action is taken.”
Trump and Saudi Arabia’s involvement in hacking
In August 2016, before Trump took the presidency vow, his son Donald Trump Jr. held a secret meeting in Trump Tower with a representative for Saudi Arabia and its Gulf ally, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), George Nader, along with founder of Blackwater, Erik Prince, and former Israeli intelligence agent Joel Zamel.
According to the New York Times, Nader said the Saudi Kingdom and the UAE were keen on Trump’s victory in the election. Moreover, Trump made his first international trip as a President to no other country but Saudi Arabia.
One year later, Trump invited his good friend American Media Inc. CEO, David Pecker, to the White House. There he also met with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is an ally of Mohammed bin Salman. The same day, Kushner and Pecker had a dinner with French businessman Kacy Grine, who is also an adviser to MbS.
In October 2017, Pecker visited Saudi Arabia and met with Crown Prince MbS and Grine to pitch business prospects. A few months later, Pecker’s firm, American Media Inc., published a colorful magazine that was fundamentally a pro-Saudi propagation brochure glorifying the Crown Prince.
Meanwhile, Washington Post’s investigative stories against Trump made him furious over its owner Bezos, who has no say in the Post’s journalism.
In his blog, Jeff Bezos also mentioned that Trump could have “wrongly concluded” him as an enemy, and that the Post’s journalism on Khashoggi’s case is “highly unpopular in some circles.”
He wrote: “For reasons still to be better understood, the Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve.”
Canada-based Saudi activist and a close friend of Khashoggi, Omar Abdulaziz, filed a lawsuit in December against Israeli software company, NSO Group for hacking his iPhone. According to the reports, the group sold its spyware named Pegasus to Saudi Arabia for $55 million. The Kingdom used the technology to get hands on his communications with Khashoggi.
Other Saudi dissidents and rival leaders have also made allegations on Saudi Arabia for hacking their Smartphones to spy on them. Furthermore, UAE has also faced similar allegations of using a program called Karma for spying on the iPhones of critics and foreign leaders.
It seems that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have developed an obsession for hacking. However, the question is yet to be answered that why did AMI demand Jeff Bezos to call off the investigation against the hacking of his phone. Any connection between the Bezos phone hack and Saudi Arabia or Trump could be destructive.