Bezos links ‘blackmailing’ to Khashoggi murder
Jeff Bezos, the billionaire owner of Amazon and the Washington Post, has accused American Media Inc. (AMI) of attempting to blackmail him, drawing a connection between the publisher of the National Enquirer and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which could all relate to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Laying out his allegations in an extraordinary 2,000-word blogpost, Bezos noted on Feb. 8 that David Pecker and his AMI have been “investigated for various actions they’ve taken on behalf of the Saudi government.”
He added that “for reasons still to be better understood, the Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve.”
“It was not immediately clear why Bezos made the Saudi connection, but political commentators were quick to recall that Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of the Saudi government, was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, focusing often critical attention on [U.S. President Donald] Trump’s cosy relationship with the kingdom,” the Guardian said.
“Pecker is also close to Trump, and AMI has admitted in the past that it engaged in a practice known as “catch-and-kill” – suppressing potentially damaging stories – to help Trump become president. Trump has also waged a running war of words against Bezos, owner of the Washington Post, which he frequently denounces as part of the “fake news media.’”
The White House remained silent on the matter but two more threads raised questions about a potential association.
Pecker and AMI have a storied relationship with Trump, though it was said to have cooled in recent months. The company recently admitted secretly aiding Trump’s election campaign by paying $150,000 to a Playboy model for the rights to her story about an alleged affair with the then candidate. AMI then suppressed the story until after the 2016 election.