Unweaving The Tangled Web

Over the weekend, Will Bunch did a great tweet stream linking Jeff Bezos, National Enquirer, the Saudis, Jamal Khashoggi, and Donald Trump, along with others. He promised he would put it into a column, and here it is. It’s more cautious than the tweet stream, but fairly interesting. He introduces a number of possibilities by asking questions, a relatively safe way to introduce thoughts that you don’t have journalistic confirmation for. They are good questions, worth keeping in mind as things proceed.

Only now is the world figuring out that making up stories to sell papers may have been the least of the sins committed by the Enquirer, which was propped up in its 1950s’ infancy by Mafia money and which later forged a close relationship with Roy Cohn, the notorious New York fixer attorney who took an up-and-coming New York developer named Donald Trump under his wing while fighting off allegations including (wait for it) extortion and blackmail.

He gives a fair bit of background. It’s not entirely clear how the Enquirer got the material on Bezos. Joel Zamel runs a company or two that do both intelligence and propaganda and may be involved in that and other areas of Trump corruption. It’s becoming clear that blackmail is a major tool of associates of Trump. The National Enquirer has been involved in information operations for Trump for some time. That’s most recently what got them in trouble – buying up stories from a Trump mistress, which amounts to hush money and not quite legal.

As a result of that, the judge gave them a lenient sentence under the condition they not violate the law again. Legal Twitter is somewhat divided, but leaning toward the latest antics being blackmail, extortion, or possibly both.

Trump thinks Bezos is an enemy because the Washington Post has not glorified his reign and has been tweeting against him for some time. So it wouldn’t be surprising if he sent his attack dog National Enquirer after him. Bezos, of course, put an end to that in his own way.

Any link between the Bezos phone hack and the Saudis or their allies (UAE, Team Trump) would be devastating — but what if de Gavin is on the trail of something darker? Like the truth behind Khashoggi’s murder? Or — given the ties between Team Trump, the Saudis, UAE and ex-Israeli intelligence that go back to the summer of 2016 — the truth behind the election of an American president?

This is what occurred to me over the weekend, as this all played out. An international ring of grifters and blackmailers has taken over several important countries, including our own.

Meanwhile, all this talk of blackmail and extortion is a reminder that two years into the Trump administration a president who promised America “the art of the deal” has instead tried to run the country the way he ran his business in the mobbed-up New York of the 1980s — with bullying, bluster, and personal threats. But when forced to play that hand over the border wall and the government shutdown recently, it failed miserably. Would it be a surprise if Trump continues to fall back on the only tactic that’s worked for him and his allies to get things done over the years, the dark art of the blackmailer?

Anyhow, read the whole thing. There’s a lot more there. Enough information is becoming available to start to build narratives of the Trump corruption and how other countries helped him in the 2016 election. But there are still lots of holes and multiple possible narratives. The questions Bunch poses are useful.

The latest New Yorker has a long article by Adam Entous and Ronan Farrow about Joel Zamel’s organizations and others, “Private Mossad For Hire,” and some of their interference in the 2016 elections.

Also, James Bamford, who has written reasonably competently about spying in the past, inadvertently demonstrates for us how disinformation works in an article in The New Republic, which finds that Maria Butina was merely an ambitious and gun-loving student who never should have been arrested. A friend of mine who knows a great deal about Soviet spying during the Cold War commented that what he sees today is complete amateurism. That amateurism could have helped to throw Bamford off the trail.

78 replies
  1. 1
    wvng says:

    Drat. I’ve reached my free article limit at Bunch’s paper. Regardless, the extortion angle is a really important one. Coming from Trump, or AMI, or Russians, or Saudis, or whoever, it could explain some behavior that really seems inexplicable. Lindsey Graham’s “conversion” after playing a round of golf with Trump was just weird. You just don’t go from full throated critic to pure sycophant that quickly, not even Lindsey.

  2. 2
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Occam’s Razor says the most likely explanation is that Sanchez was a honey trap or that she left her phone unlocked around her brother or he knew her password (or had a thumbprint close enough to hers).

  3. 3
    Emma says:

    Jesus Christ. Mossad too? And Hillary still managed to get more votes than Trump? I don’t know whether to curse or laugh.

  4. 4
    Barbara says:

    Apparently the current thinking is that Michael Sanchez delivered the goods to AMI, but nothing would surprise me, not even if it turns out that Lauren Sanchez was in on the take down. I hope that’s not true because, wow, what a stinky thing that would be, but nothing would surprise me.

    @Bobby Thomson: That thought occurred to me as well, but how does one go about getting invited to things that put one in contact with Jeff Bezos? Seems like a hard thing to bring about, so I am still voting no on that theory, but again, wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out to be true.

  5. 5
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Barbara: not following. He wouldn’t need to be near Bezos, just near his sister and her phone full of dick pics.

    ETA: And yes, ew. It’s unlikely that was a one-way street.

  6. 6
    Barbara says:

    @Bobby Thomson: Not the brother, the sister as honey trap.

  7. 7
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    @wvng:

    You could try opening the article in a private or incognito tab. Or here is Bunch’s original tweet thread.

  8. 8
    Yarrow says:

    Bunch:

    Or — given the ties between Team Trump, the Saudis, UAE and ex-Israeli intelligence that go back to the summer of 2016 — the truth behind the election of an American president?

    Cheryl:

    This is what occurred to me over the weekend, as this all played out. An international ring of grifters and blackmailers has taken over several important countries, including our own.

    I think it goes back farther than that. The 9/11 hijackers were Saudi.

    Since AMI is back in the news, remember that it was the AMI headquarters in Florida that got sent anthrax after 9/11. Were they trying to hide or destroy evidence there? I had forgotten that the company that won the contract for decontaminating it, Bio-One, was partly owned by Rudy Giuliani.

  9. 9
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Barbara: that’s what I was saying. Does she have a different name?

  10. 10
    Barbara says:

    @Bobby Thomson: Sorry, you’re confusing me and I have to get back to work.

  11. 11
    JPL says:

    @Barbara: Either that or he’s being paid to take the fall. I wonder if Bezo’s has access to her phone so he could see who downloaded material.

  12. 12
    Yarrow says:

    @Bobby Thomson: I agree. Lauren Sanchez as honey trap. Brother, who is buddies with Trump or Roger Stone, gets the goods from sister’s phone.

    @Barbara:

    but how does one go about getting invited to things that put one in contact with Jeff Bezos?

    If you’re the brother of the woman Jeff Bezos is having an affair with it seems like that wouldn’t be that hard. “Hey, my brother is coming by for a few minutes…”

  13. 13

    @Yarrow: Interesting.

    Since AMI is back in the news, remember that it was the AMI headquarters in Florida that got sent anthrax after 9/11.

  14. 14
    Yutsano says:

    @Barbara:

    how does one go about getting invited to things that put one in contact with Jeff Bezos?

    She’s a prominent journalist in the Seattle area. It’s entirely possible she was there for coverage or even at invitation. It wouldn’t be too difficult in those circumstances.

  15. 15

    @Emma: Mossad has not shown up yet as a player. The reference is “Private Mossad”, which in this case means private companies doing the same sorts of thing. [whispers]Israeli companies.[/whispers]

    I’ve been wondering if saying that gets me called anti-Semitic.

  16. 16
    MattF says:

    Can’t read the article (even in ‘privacy’ mode), but the blackmail/extortion connection to Trump can’t be regarded as a complete surprise. I’m pleased, in any case, to see Bezos pull the rug out from under them.

  17. 17
    Yarrow says:

    @Yutsano: Sanchez? She’s in L.A. not Seattle.

  18. 18

    Still firmly believe Trump got pegged as stooge from the get-go, and the Grifter Train lined him up as the biggest mark to ever come down the line, multiple times.

  19. 19
    AThornton says:

    @wvng:

    Persistent rumors Lindsey is gay. People in SC don’t care as long as it doesn’t become A Thing, i.e., pictures of fellatio, sodomy, etc., in the media. I find it completely believable the Trump Crime Family has names, dates, and pictures and are using the info to blackmail him.

  20. 20
    Yarrow says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: If you wanted to hide or destroy incriminating evidence that AMI had in its vaults, an anthrax contamination would be a good way to do that.

  21. 21

    @Yarrow: Well, that opens up a whole new set of narratives for the anthrax distributions.

  22. 22

    Sometimes it feels like all this will culminate in a Grand Unified Theory of Corruption.

  23. 23
    Jharp says:

    So the richest man in the world made the mistake of doing his thinking with his little head.

    Just amazing.

    And look where it got him. It blows shit up up every time.

  24. 24
    Yarrow says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: You want me to keep going with the odd connections? Manafort Brothers construction, founded by Paul Manafort’s grandfather, got the demolition contract for the World Trade Center after 9/11.

  25. 25
    Yarrow says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: And you’d hire someone corrupt like Giuliani to “clean it up.”

  26. 26
    jl says:

    A lot of this stuff is over my head and above my pay grade, but thanks for the interesting links.

    I had time to skim through Bamford’s article. Seems to me that a lot of what he says is perfectly true, a lot of what Butina did was perfectly legal and out in the open. Which is why, as I understand it, she is more accurately termed an agent or operative rather than as a spy.

    But what was her role in doing legal and out in the open, very unhidden, things in a possible, and plausible, scheme to illegally funnel large amounts of foreign money into a US election? Bamford cites a year old news article on that issue. Since then NRA issued nothing and then a very nondenial nondenial, really a nonresponsive ‘no comment’ full of boilerplate in response to charges that they used foreign money for US politicking. So Bamford’s article not worth much on that score.

  27. 27
    Brachiator says:

    @Jharp:

    So the richest man in the world made the mistake of doing his thinking with his little head.

    Or he honestly fell in love with another person. Life happens, even to the richest man in the world.

  28. 28

    @jl: Bamford is ignoring a lot of stuff, including the sanctions against Torshin and his role, other than a kindly gun-lover.

  29. 29
    khead says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Sometimes it feels like all this will culminate in a Grand Unified Theory of Corruption.

    You may want to get working on the trademark for this.

  30. 30
    ruemara says:

    @AThornton: I strongly doubt it’s about Lindsey being gay. He’s probably a pedophile. It seems to be the glue that binds together the inner circle of Trumpism. Him being gay is like the secret that he’s got a wattle.

    @Brachiator: At that level? No, he did what men with means do. Buy a younger model to display. It has nothing to do with love and everything to do with aging and needing an ego boost.

  31. 31
    Emma says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Ok, ok, that makes me…. slightly less likely to freak out. Thanks.

  32. 32
    jl says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Yes, thanks. I don’t remember all of it accurately to put in a short comment. Points like that are key elements of the story, and Bamford covers them very inadequately, with inadequate references, in a few lines.

  33. 33
    Yarrow says:

    @ruemara: Lauren Sanchez is about four months older than Mackenzie Bezos. So it’s not Jeff “buying a younger model.” Whether he needs the ego boost is another thing.

  34. 34
    Emma says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: We need to make sure this gets into the rotating tags with due credit. Maybe even a copyright.

  35. 35
    Yarrow says:

    From the Bunch article:

    And what if I told you something else: That the Bezos scandal is ripping away the curtain on a secret world that’s been hiding in plain sight: That a nation founded in the ideals of democracy has been increasingly fallen prey to a new dystopian regime that melds the new 21st century dark arts of illegal hacking and media manipulation with the oldest tricks in the book: blackmail and extortion.

    I really struggle to understand how this is just now becoming something journalists are considering. Where have they been???!!! It’s been like a flashing neon light for the last two years that this was going on. And if anyone was actually paying attention, the 2016 campaign made it pretty clear this sort of thing was happening. And it goes back well before that, but I’m only talking about stuff people couldn’t miss.

    When it’s so obvious and the media flatly ignores it I start to ask why they’re doing that. Plenty of members of our media are compromised, that’s for sure. Maybe some are slow. I don’t know. I mean, a handful of journalists were writing about this sort of thing two and three years ago. Where was everyone else?

  36. 36

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Sometimes it feels like all this will culminate in a Grand Unified Theory of Corruption.

    I expect a GUT in physics first.

  37. 37
    Brachiator says:

    @ruemara:

    At that level? No, he did what men with means do. Buy a younger model to display. It has nothing to do with love and everything to do with aging and needing an ego boost.

    She’s not that much younger.

    At his level of wealth, if he were just leching it up, he would typically buy a yacht and stock it with young supermodels, etc.

    Also to be clear, I am not defending Bezos, but I don’t know if people should jump to the reflexive conclusion that “bad” men discard their wives. Marriages end for all kinds of reasons.

  38. 38
    Kathleen says:

    @Yarrow: An AMI employee died from the anthrax. Here’s NPR’s timeline:

    https://www.npr.org/2011/02/15/93170200/timeline-how-the-anthrax-terror-unfolded

  39. 39
    frosty says:

    @Yarrow: Whoa!! I need a whiteboard and some string.

  40. 40
    AThornton says:

    @ruemara:

    Lindsey could bugger dead goats and everybody could know it and he would still get away with it as long as it doesn’t become public and create a “scandal.” The difference between private knowledge and public knowledge is all important. Southern Baptists have been raping children for decades, people knew it, and nobody did anything. That’s how southern whites roll.

  41. 41
    Buckeye says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    In skimming Bamford’s article early this afternoon I got the impression that he wanted to the reader to disregard the claims and charges against her because the prosecutors initially claimed she was basically a honeypot, and that wasn’t true. But he also claims that the the Russians are being treated as badly in the US as Muslims were after 9-11, and since that’s not true I guess I can disregard the entirety of his article, if I am following his logic.

  42. 42
    sgrAstar says:

    @ruemara: just want to point out that Sanchez is not a “younger model”. She’s not only *older* than Bezos’ wife, she’s older than he is. Or so I’ve read. :)

  43. 43

    @frosty: Talk to Adam, he may have some extra supplies.

  44. 44
    jl says:

    @Yarrow: I agree, and would go further. This kind of corrupt social engineering has been going on for decades, actually forever. It going on ‘forever’ is OK, since that is the nature of politics.

    But the dirtier versions of it that go over into criminality, and the ‘legit’ (non tabloid, non AMI) corporate media’s willingness to play along, and play their own (we hope mostly) non-criminal version has scaled up and intensified, and seems to have more outsize influence lately.

    The US has survived it before. Look at the reactionary, rabidly anti-progressive major newspapers in early twentieth century, and the dishonest smears they spread against unions, any kind of progressive politician and ideas, etc. I hope we can survive it and reform it this time. And there were the Hearst papers.

  45. 45
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @khead: Haven’t physicists been trying to develop a unified theory for decades? Or am I having a senior moment??

    So the investigation may take a looong time

  46. 46
    Mike in NC says:

    “Dystopian Regime” is a perfect description of TrumpLand.

  47. 47
    Yarrow says:

    @Kathleen: They did. But as we’ve learned for some people body counts are just part of doing business.

    A real estate developer named David Rustine bought the AMI building–and all its contents–for $40K. Giuliani’s company was hired to decontaminate it. There were some disputes about who owns what and at least one item–a picture of Elvis–was shredded during decontamination. Did other things go missing?

    Sure seems like it would be a convenient way to get rid of incriminating photos, video, letters, whatever. And if Gliuliani had access to everything, what did he do with it?

  48. 48
    danielx says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    The Axis of Sleaze?

  49. 49

    @sgrAstar: BTW, good nym(now that I figured out what it means). I hope to be shooting more pics of you(difficult since you don’t emit visible light) and M31.

  50. 50
    Steeplejack says:

    @Bobby Thomson, @Yarrow:

    My reading was that Barbara asked “How does one go about getting invited to things that put one in contact with Jeff Bezos?” not about the brother but about Linda Sanchez, assuming she was the original honeypot. I.e., how does she get next to Bezos in the first place?

  51. 51
    Yarrow says:

    @frosty: If you’re only getting out your whiteboard and string now you’ve got a long way to go to get caught up.

  52. 52
    Yarrow says:

    @Steeplejack: If she’s a journalist and runs in entertainment circles she could probably get an invite to some event where he was. Can’t be that hard.

  53. 53

    @Yarrow: Yeah, I think Silverman may have cornered the market.

  54. 54

    @Buckeye:

    But he also claims that the the Russians are being treated as badly in the US as Muslims were after 9-11,

    There’s a school of thought out there – I just read an academic article yesterday in which the author, who had been doing a pretty good analysis of Trump’s foreign policy up until then, just jumps up and says Nothing we are hearing about the Russians is true and people are freaking out. He then fleshed that out at length.

    I think there is some exaggeration out there that Putin is a mastermind and is pulling strings on Not-A-Puppet Trump’s every move. Putin has his problems too, including oligarchs who do their own thing. There are so many of them that it’s hard to believe he is planning for all of them. Rather, he said something like “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome country?” and the barons/ boyars/ oligarchs are doing their things.

    But I just don’t get the reaction that attributing any of what we’ve seen to the Russians is absurd and due to anti-Russian prejudice. Takes all kinds, I guess.

  55. 55
    Aleta says:

    Harry Littman in the WaPo): “AMI’s reported conduct appears to meet the elements of the federal crime of extortion.” (former U.S. attorney and deputy assistant AG; teaches constitutional law and national security law UC LA School of Law and UCSD Department of Poli Sci

    At that time Josh at TPM wrote (but didn’t identify): “Ex-prosecutors who I think know what they’re talking about are saying this probably isn’t blackmail by a criminal standard. So let’s assume that’s true.” Later: “knowledgable ex-prosecutors seem to think this effort would not be prosecutable as extortion or blackmail” even though it meets the colloquial definition.”

    Also want to say thanks to Immanentize for really clear explanations in his comments about this and lots of other things.

  56. 56

    @Roger Moore: Nah, the Corruption GUT will come first.

    @danielx: I think I like that better.

    The Axis of Sleaze

  57. 57
    Kathleen says:

    @Yarrow: Wow. I did not know that story or the Drool Ghoul’s connection with AMI building.
    What I’ve read in this thread reminds me of the connections in the JFK/MLK/RFK murders and yes I do believe they were results of conspiracies.

  58. 58
    Starfish says:

    @Steeplejack: Sanchez and her husband knew the Bezos family because both couples have houses in Seattle and are in the same social circles.

  59. 59
    NeenerNeener says:

    @Yarrow: Sanchez’s hubster is a successful talent agent, so there should have been invites to high-profile events based on his connections as well as hers.

  60. 60
    Yarrow says:

    @Starfish: @NeenerNeener: Yeah, in those circles it’s just not that hard for them to meet and see each other at events.

  61. 61
    Steeplejack says:

    @Yarrow:

    Sure. I was just trying to clear up the confusion between Bobby Thomson and Barbara. She wasn’t talking about getting the brother next to Bezos.

  62. 62
    jl says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I think there does seem to be an idea, or fear, in the US that various strongmen and dictators, are clever and smarter than us, and simply because their political rules allow them to plan over a longer time horizon, they can implement undefeatable sinister master plans. I don’t think that is true.

    What’s really going on with Russian leadership is something I don’t read enough about to have an informed opinion. I think beyond doubt that Putin decided to mess with other countries’ elections on a systematic basis. Whether the guy has a detailed plan worked out is another matter. Certainly an issue whether he ended up working a long range plan with the Trumpsters, who are probably far too incompetent to work with in any normal sense of the word.

    One example I do know about, is the fear I’ve seen expressed about China’s plan to make its currency a global reserve currency through its Belt and Road scheme, and maybe, OMG, displace the US dollar. Well, basic monetary economics said that China’s plan would fail, or take an order of magnitude longer to work (several decades at least) than China’s leaders imagined. And recent news I’ve read indicate that in short to medium term, China’s plans for getting its currency into global reserve league are, in fact, failing.

    Just because an authoritarian leader has plans, and can stay in power a long time, doesn’t mean that the authoritarian leader knows what he or she is doing, or that the plans will work.

  63. 63
  64. 64
    dimmsdale says:

    @Yarrow: Yes, or STEAL such evidence from the AMI safe, for use … at another time? (hey, I devoured the entirety of LEVERAGE, so I *think* I know a thing or 2 about grift.)

  65. 65
    Buckeye says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:
    Who was the author on the article on Trump’s foreign policy who then decided the Russians weren’t that bad? I was a wanna-be Kremlinologist many many years ago, and when I started reading up on it again in 2014 it was interesting to see how scholars I’d admired, like S Cohen, were, if not exactly pro-Putin, were excusing a lot of his behavior.
    And yes, there’s been exaggeration about Putin’s abilities and how much of this he’s actually planning, etc. But reading a bit about Bamford he strikes me as one of those whose studied the US ‘deep state’ for so long that they tend to be sympathetic toward anyone accused of doing something against the US, because they don’t trust the US government to be truthful about what’s happening.

  66. 66
    Leto says:

    @Yarrow: Is there enough string for that? Wait, I think I found my next Griftstarter:

    “Do you have problems having enough string to connect all of your ideas? Do you find yourself constantly coming up short? Well have I got a solution for you!”

  67. 67

    Fascinating and scary theorizing here. Thanks, Cheryl.

  68. 68

    @Buckeye: No, not Stephen Cohen, who I just saw on Twitter has written another article for RT. I don’t recall the name of the person who wrote the article I read. I just read it and closed the tab – not someone I read a lot of, from Colorado College, I think.

    Bamford has written a lot about the spy agencies. I’ve found his work to be uneven, and he’s not one of my go-tos, but he is just plain flim-flammed in that Butina article. It does appear that this latest crop of Russian spies (or whatever one wants to call them) lack some of the skills of the Cold War Soviet spies, which is one of the reasons I think this is not a tightly controlled operation.

  69. 69
    lynn says:

    Remember when 4 NY Dem state senators refused to caucus with the Dems and went to GOP. Was that the results of blackmail?

  70. 70
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Buckeye: Cohen has been a “fellow traveler” since the Brezhnev era, essentially his entire academic career. His Putinism is no surprise whatsoever.

  71. 71
    Aleta says:

    Boston Globe today:

    Who Loaned $460 million to AMI? Back in January, before Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos went public with allegations of extortion and blackmail against the National Enquirer, the tabloid’s parent company raised $460 million to refinance its debt. American Media Inc. didn’t disclose who loaned it the money, but the New York Post said new investors kicked in along with hedge fund managers Leon Cooperman and Chatham Asset Management, which already own a chunk of the company.

  72. 72
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: The Greenwald/Intercept left is big on discounting claims of Russian influence, too–they’ve got residual burn from the Cold War and smell McCarthyism when someone sees Rooskies under the bed. Even though the Rooskies aren’t leftists now. And it’s a valuable kind of skepticism to have, I suppose. It’s a valid point that the Russians can only manipulate us by using forces that already exist in our society. But the insistence on dismissing any influence gets absurd sometimes.

  73. 73
  74. 74
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @danielx: If anyone can dig up an open-source group shot of Twitler & Spawn (Jarvanka, Junior, Eric), someone might consider photoshopping orange jumpsuits on them all & captioning it THE TANG DYNASTY.

  75. 75
    Lalophobia says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Yeah, I don’t think they’re discounting claims like that on account of naiveté and left over memories from the red scare. They’re getting paid for their own brand of “no collusion”.

  76. 76
    M31 says:

    @Uncle Cosmo: ok that’s funny

  77. 77
    Chris Johnson says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I’ve seen a really intense push in hard-lefty places to try and claim that ALL of ‘Russiagate’ is liberals making up fake news to cover for their own fecklessness.

    It’s been pushed so hard it quite turned me off the ‘progressives’, which is unfair as they’re still there but they are absolutely smothered by a pile of propaganda. No points for guessing who benefits from trying to tilt online political forums in a pro-Russia direction. It’s pretty brazen and really cuts off the oxygen. If we had up/downvoting here you’d be seeing the same thing on Balloon Juice, possibly with different tactics or topics. Over there it’s full-on ‘Russiagate is totally made up guys’.

    I’d also add, this doesn’t take ‘master planning’. It’s just making chaos, messing with your enemies in obvious ways. This does not require a supervillain, or great smarts. A simple poorly-organized troll army will accomplish all we’ve seen.

  78. 78
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Aleta:

    Who Loaned $460 million to AMI? Back in January, before Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos went public with allegations of extortion and blackmail against the National Enquirer, the tabloid’s parent company raised $460 million to refinance its debt. American Media Inc. didn’t disclose who loaned it the money, but the New York Post said new investors kicked in along with

    And who has enough money that they could do this on a (perhaps dark indeed) whim? :-)
    Some relevant background links:
    Behind Trump Tabloid King, a Connected and Flush Hedge Fund
    (2018/08/30 – Gerry Smith, Katherine Burton, Shahien Nasiripour, and Allison McNeely)

    Chatham Asset Management is the cash behind AMI’s David Pecker

    National Enquirer’s Hedge-Fund Owner Dragged Into Fight With Bezos (Nick Turner , Gerry Smith , and Bob Van Voris – February 7, 2019)

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