Tag: Saudi Arabia

Background Briefing: February 10, 2019

 

Do Pecker and AMI’s Threats to Bezos Amount to Extortion?

We begin with the question of whether the most powerful man in the world, the president of the United States, weaponized a supermarket tabloid the National Enquire to go after his hated enemy the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, the owner of newspaper that is Trump’s nemesis, The Washington Post. Joining us is Elie Honig, who served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York and as the Director of the Division of Criminal Justice at the Office of Attorney General of the State of New Jersey who is now a legal analyst at CNN where he has an article “Could AMI’s alleged actions on Bezos amount to extortion?” We discuss the extent to which Federal law defining the crime of extortion applies in the case now being revisited by the prosecutors in the SDNY, the Southern District of New York, who had previously made a non-prosecution agreement with AMI, the publishers of The National Enquirer, in exchange for evidence they used to convict Trump’s lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen. Since Jeff Bezos took the unusual step of going public with charges that he was being blackmailed by AMI who were threatening to publish further sexually humiliating so-called “dick picks” of Bezos unless he called off his investigation of them, we will assess whether a crime has been committed by AMI that would break their non-prosecution agreement with SDNY and expose them to the same fate as Michael Cohen.

 

The Saudi Role and Ex-NSA Hackers

Then we investigate the Saudi angle to this story and speak with Iyad El-Baghdadi, a writer and human rights activist who was raised in the UAE then detained without trial and expelled in 2014 for tweeting satirical comment at tyrants in trouble from the Arab Spring. We examine the role of former NSA employees who worked for the UAE’s Mohammed bin Zayed, the mentor of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and whether their hacking skills and hacking tools ended up in the hands of the Saudis to be used against Jeff Bezos who singled out a “government entity” as the culprit in his explosive blog post which also hinted at Saudi Arabia having a role.

 

Trump’s Campaign Rally Versus “Beto at the Border”

Then finally with President Trump visiting El Paso on Monday after making wildly inaccurate claims in his State Of The Union that the city with one of the country’s lowest crime rates was ravaged by crime until a wall was built to keep Mexicans out, we go to El Paso and speak with Michelle García, a journalist and author who has a recent 3-part essay on the U.S.-Mexico border at The Baffler. She joins us to discuss her blog post “Beto at the Border” and the demonstrations accompanying Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s “March For Truth” planned against Trump’s campaign rally in El Paso for his border wall.