NEWS CLUES: It’s Like Adderall For Your Eyeballs

FBI SEZ: Blackwater Guards Massacred 14 Unarmed Iraqi Civilians

blackwater-750842.jpgWASHINGTON, Nov. 13 — Federal agents investigating the Sept. 16 episode in which Blackwater security personnel shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians have found that at least 14 of the shootings were unjustified and violated deadly-force rules in effect for security contractors in Iraq, according to civilian and military officials briefed on the case. The F.B.I. investigation into the shootings in Baghdad is still under way, but the findings, which indicate that the company’s employees recklessly used lethal force, are already under review by the Justice Department. Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to seek indictments, and some officials have expressed pessimism that adequate criminal laws exist to enable them to charge any Blackwater employee with criminal wrongdoing. Spokesmen for the Justice Department and the F.B.I. declined to discuss the matter. [via NEW YORK TIMES]


WHAT’S IN A NAME: Hugh Grant Sells Liz For $21 Million

liztaylorwarhol.jpg Grant sold Andy Warhol’s 1963 Pop portrait of Elizabeth Taylor at Christie’s in New York for $21 million (£10 million plus about 12 per cent commission), a record for the Liz series. Grant had bought the picture at auction at Sotheby’s six years ago for just $3.6 million. Only two bidders competed for Liz before it went to a buyer on the telephone for below the low estimate of $25 million. Taylor was one of Warhol’s muses of celebrity culture alongside Jacqueline Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. Liz is a unique painting from a group of 13 colourful portraits produced by the pop artist in tribute to Taylor at the height of her silver-screen fame. The 40sq in (258sq cm) image shows the actress against a turquoise background that sets off her scarlet lips and violet eyes. Although using the mass-media technique of screenprinting, Warhol embellished her eyes, skin and make-up with paint applied by hand. The top price previously paid for any of Warhol’s Liz series at auction is the $12.6 million that the jeweller Laurence Graff paid for a portrait with a deep-red background at Sotheby’s in May 2005. But prices of Warhols have soared in recent years, with a new artist’s record of $71.7 million set by Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I) at Christie’s in May. [via TIMES OF LONDON]


Judith Regan Sues News Corp, Claims She Was Set-Up To Protect Giuliani

judithreganoj.jpgNOVEMBER 13 — Judith Regan, the volcanic publishing industry figure who sought to publish O.J. Simpson’s “I Did It” (and trysted with Bernard Kerik in an apartment overlooking Ground Zero) today sued Rupert Murdoch‘s media conglomerate for defamation, claiming that she was unjustly tarred as an anti-Semite when fired last year. In a blistering $100 million lawsuit filed today in New York State Supreme Court, Regan, 54, accuses several defendants, including Murdoch’s News Corporation and HarperCollins Publishers, of orchestrating a smear campaign that was intended to advance the Murdoch political agenda and protect “Rudy Giuliani‘s presidential ambitions.” According to Regan, Murdoch employees were aware of her personal relationship with Kerik and, fearing she had damaging information on Giuliani’s former police commissioner and business partner, “knew they would be protecting Giuliani if they could preemptively discredit her.” The Murdoch firms did this, Regan charges, by claiming she made anti-Semitic statements during a phone conversation with a HarperCollins lawyer. However, the ousted editor alleges, the offensive statements were never made-an assertion she says is backed up by a temporary secretary who listened in on the call in question. [via THE SMOKING GUN/Illustration via THE NEW YORK OBSERVER]

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