Archive for tabloids

CIA Attempt To Kill Fmr. Spy Chief And Defense Secretary Gates Foiled

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Robert Gates

It's actually quite easy to start rumors. Both major political parties do it all the time. They take minuscule facts -- it's always good to start with a little verifiable foundation -- then spin it in fantastical ways.

Take the case of Robert Gates, the 26 year spy veteran, former CIA chief as well as Bush US Defense Secretary. He's the guy with all the secrets and knows literally where all the bodies are buried. He's been retired for a few years now, so chances are he doesn't pose too much of a risk. Or does he?

He's got a new book coming out, a tell-all memoir, later this month. That's got a lot of politicians and spies jumpy. What if he does a Snowden or Chelsea Bradley job. His publisher, Knopf has described "DUTY: Memoirs of a Secretary At War" as an eye-opening exposé . Biographile.com:

In his new book, Gates notes his story will be "principally about" Iraq and Afghanistan. Our gains in both countries were "squandered," Gates says, "by mistakes, shortsightedness, and conflict in the field as well as in Washington, leading to long, brutal campaigns to avert strategic defeat.

Something as potentially explosive as this sent shivers through Washington and especially the 'Company.' Those spies don't like having their secrets revealed and they might have taken steps to silence their former darling and Republican operative.

Just a few days ago, New Years Day, the top secrets keeper took a suspicious fall in his home, fracturing his first vertebrae.

This injury is not expected to curtail his book promotion. Then again, Gen. George S. Patton sustained a a similar 3rd vertebrae injury, not unlike the one Gates suffered, and he was dead within two days of a hospital stay. Controversy and conspiracy theories continue today as to how Patton, who Eisenhower despised, was recovering enough to be readied to leave the German hospital for a return to the US, then suddenly died. And in his case, there was no autopsy and no formal investigation into the "accident" driver responsible.

Will this happen to Gates?

Taking the facts and spinning them just a little, here's the story as a rumor monger or conspiracy theorist might analyze it.

Early New Year's Day, two operatives secretly entered the home of Robert Gates who's in his bedroom on the second floor in his two story home. He's just gotten dressed and hears a noise downstairs. He goes to investigate. At the top of the landing he sees operative number one. Gates turns to retrieve his gun from his bedside nightstand. That's when he's surprised by operative number two who pushes Gates down the stairs, tumbling toward his death. While operative number two hurries down the stairs, operative number one checks for vital signs, to see if the "accidental fall" permanently took out the former Director. When they see he's still alive, they're about to inject him with a lethal dose of meds that will make it look like he's had a heart attack -- to make the fall look accidental.

But suddenly the two "spooks" hear someone coming from upstairs, responding to the thuds of Gates fall. The approaching footsteps scare away the two agents before they can finish their job.

Gates, who's book was going to reveal some very shameful and illegal activities by the Bush administration during the Iraq war survives. He decides its safer to keep the details of the botched assassination attempt on his life quiet for now, hoping once the book is released he won't be harmed. Now, with 24 hour security covering him like stink on fresh dog poop, the next CIA assassination attempt will have to wait or be called off.

Of course the Republican spin machine is torn on whether to blame the Democrats or keep silent, as the condemning material in the Gates book might get some unwanted attention, embarrassing the GOP demagogues and setting the more liberal or progressive tongues wagging. Only time will tell.

Watch for Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity to grab this story and run with it.

Okay, this is just speculation. But take the facts. Put a little GOP conservative fairy dust on them and you have this story. Will this be tomorrow's headlines? I'm just sayin'!

Follow me on Twitter: @Linzack

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The Guardian: James Murdoch could face criminal charges on both sides of the Atlantic

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Now that News of the World is toast, and Andy Coulson has been arrested for phone-hacking allegations, we're all waiting for the next shoe(s) to drop.

Wait.. what's that I hear?

*plop*

Yep, that was a shoe. Via The Guardian:

James Murdoch and News Corp could face corporate legal battles on both sides of the Atlantic that involve criminal charges, fines and forfeiture of assets as the escalating phone-hacking scandal risks damaging his chances of taking control of Rupert Murdoch's US-based media empire.

All together now, in unison: Awwww.

Next I want a gigantic size 18 boot to drop, with the name Rupert scrawled all over it.

[T]he younger Murdoch has admitted he misled parliament over phone hacking, although he has stated he did not have the complete picture at the time. There have also been reports that employees routinely made payments to police officers, believed to total more than £100,000, in return for information.

The payments could leave News Corp – and possibly James Murdoch himself – facing the possibility of prosecution in the US under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) – legislation designed to stamp out bad corporate behaviour that carries severe penalties for anyone found guilty of breaching it – and in the UK under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 which outlaws the interception of communications. [...]

While the UK phone-hacking scandal has been met with outrage in the US, the hacking itself is unlikely to prompt Washington officials into action. But because NI is a subsidiary of the US company, any payments to UK police officers could trigger a justice department inquiry under the FCPA.

I just got back from the eye doctor so my eyes are dilated, and reading/typing are a real challenge for the time being, so please read more here.

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Andy Coulson to be arrested over phone hacking tomorrow

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Earlier I posted that James Murdoch announced that News of the World would cease operations. It's closing Sunday after 168 years. However, per Sarah Ellison of Vanity Fair on MSNBC just now, they're expanding The Sun tabloid to seven days a week, so they're basically just moving pieces around the board.

But there is action on the legal front. Via The Guardian:

Andy Coulson has been told by police that he will be arrested on Friday morning over suspicions that he knew about, or had direct involvement in, the hacking of mobile phones during his editorship of the News of the World.

The Guardian understands that a second arrest is also to be made in the next few days of a former senior journalist at the paper.

Wild guess: Rebekah Brooks?

Coulson was David Cameron's director of communications until last January, when he resigned.

Coulson was editor of The News of the World between 2003 and 2007. A close friend and deputy of News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks when she edited the paper, Coulson resigned a few weeks before the paper's royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were jailed after admitting intercepting messages on royal aides' phones.

It would be so loverly if they nabbed Rupert the Wonder Sharpei.

More details here.

H/t: Keith Olbermann

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James Murdoch: News of the World to cease operations

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I got a late start today, opened my email, and saw this:

News of the World executive James Murdoch says the British tabloid, at the center of accusations into the illegal hacking of cellphones, will publish its last issue Sunday.

More soon at http://www.latimes.com.

And this:

The tabloid at the center of the British phone hacking is to be closed after a final, ad-free Sunday edition this weekend, according to a top official at News Corp., James Murdoch, in a sudden statement that underscored the devastating effect of allegations that targets included not only a 13-year-old murder victim but also relatives of fallen soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Read More:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/08/world/europe/08britain.html?hp&emc=na

And this, in a CNN email alert:

Britain's embattled News of the World, the world's top-selling English-language newspaper, will shut down after Sunday's edition. The scandal-hit tabloid, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., has been at the center of phone hacking charges.

Victims of the alleged phone hacking, where reporters are said to have obtained PIN numbers and listened to voicemails, include a teenage murder victim, celebrities, royalty and at least one man killed in the 2005 London bombing.

Murdoch has condemned the allegations against News of the World as "deplorable and unacceptable." Murdoch's media empire extends to the U.S. to include Fox News and the Wall Street Journal.

And this via Yahoo:

  News Int'l says some 200 tabloid staffers to be laid off, can apply for other company jobs

That's how I like to start my day, although unemployment is never good news.

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