Four Saudis who participated in the 2018 killing of columnist Jamal Khashoggi received paramilitary training in the United States the previous year under a contract approved by the US State Department.
The New York Times says training was provided by Tier 1 Group, which is owned by a private equity firm.
Tier 1 Group was founded to train US military personnel.
But as US military training budgets began to shrink, the company searched for new clients.
By 2014, it was beginning to train foreign military units, including Saudis. Its trainers are said to include former employees of the notorious Blackwater mercenary group.
The State Department initially granted the Tier 1 Group a licence for the paramilitary training of the Saudi Royal Guard, starting in 2014 during the Barack Obama administration.
The training continued during at least the first year of former president Donald Trump’s term. Khashoggi, a US resident who wrote opinion columns for the Washington Post was critical of Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
He was killed and dismembered by a team of operatives linked to the prince in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.
A US intelligence report in February said the crown prince had approved an operation to capture or kill the journalist.
- Meanwhile the British government is going for Qatar as the partner of choice.
The Royal Air Force (RAF) already has one joint unit with the Qatari air force which was set up last year. It is Britain’s first joint squadron with another nation since the Second World War, when Polish pilots helped fight the Battle of Britain.
The Ministry of Defence announced another squadron with Qatar will be established in September, based at RAF Leeming in Yorkshire.
The scheme, which was agreed earlier this year, will train British and Qatari pilots on Hawk fighter aircraft and enhance “interoperability and coordination between both air forces”.
The Yorkshire base will permanently host nine Hawk aircraft Britain is selling to the Qataris.
These jets are currently being built by arms corporation BAE Systems at its factory in Warton, Lancashire.
Free after 32 years jail for false murder conviction
A man has walked free from prison after 32 years after his murder conviction was overturned due to new evidence.
Gilbert Poole jr was jailed for the murder of Robert Mejia in 1988 in Detroit, Michigan.
He had always challenged the ruling.
A crucial part of Poole’s conviction was the testimony of Dr Allan Warnick, a clinical professor at the University of Detroit School of Dentistry. He was considered an expert in “bite mark analysis”.
Warnick testified that Poole’s teeth matched a bite mark found on Mejia’s right arm above the elbow.
Warnick also claimed that the odds of anyone other than Poole having made a bite mark appearing on the murder victim were “2.1 billion to one.”
This was a central part of the evidence used to persuade the jury that Poole was guilty.
However, bite mark analysis and the expert witness work of Dr Warnick have since been discredited. Several convictions based on his testimony have been overturned.
Several bloodstains from the crime scene were Type O which matched Mejia’s blood type.
Other crime scene blood was Type A which did not match either the victim or Poole’s blood type. Poole’s blood type is AB and shared by only three percent of the population.
None of this evidence was presented at trial by his legal counsel.
- BHS stores went into liquidation in 2016. A parliamentary investigation found it had been systematically plundered under its former owners Phillip Green and Dominic Chappell. Now comes news that the liquidators, Anthony Wright and Geoffrey Rowley of FRP Advisory LLP, have taken fees of £4,858,117. More is expected. The exorbitant fees will ensure that unsecured creditors—including employees—will receive next to nothing.
- Matt Hancock was rather less generous with NHS doctors than he was with Gina Coladangelo, who earned £15,000 a year for 15 days’ work at his former department.According to government records, GPs will be given just 50p a patient to help them deal with the potential tsunami of long-Covid cases.
Brew Dog is the rebel face of avoiding tax
Nearly a quarter of Brewdog’s shares are held in the Cayman Islands.
The beer giant was launched by James Watt and Martin Dickie in 2007 and has built up a global following mainly through its “equity for punks” Crowdfunding initiatives. These have attracted more than 145,000 small shareholders.
But it has emerged that almost a quarter of its shares are held by obscure partnerships in notorious tax haven the Cayman Islands.
It also has one very un-punk big backer—Conservative donor Jon Moynihan. Some
23.25 percent of the firm’s shares are owned by two exempted limited partnerships, who hold “liquidation preference”.
This means that if the beer company goes bust, they would get their money back first. The partnerships are controlled by TSG Consumer Partners, a US private equity firm with more than £6.4 billion in assets.
Osborne new job among his friends
Former chancellor George Osborne is in charge of loot grabbed by the British empire at the British Museum.
Osborne was handed the job after a process led by the deputy chair Minouche Shafik.
Amazing how things come around.
Seven years ago Baroness Shafik became deputy governor of the Bank of England after a process led by Osborne.
Lord Sassoon, a Tory peer, is the deputy chair of the museum’s board and was a Treasury minister under Osborne.
Another board member is Philipp Hildebrand. The Swiss banker is vice chair of BlackRock, the world’s largest investment fund. BlackRock previously employed Osborne for four years on a salary of £650,000.
Osborne’s latest position means he is now down to only nine jobs in all.
He is a partner at Robey Warshaw, a boutique Mayfair bank.
And he has advisory roles at the venture capital firm 9Yards Capital, and a Netherlands-based holding company called Exor.
BP is one of Robey Warshaw’s biggest clients.
Happily the oil company is one of the museum’s major sponsors.
Things they say
‘He put his family first’
Tory MP Brandon Lewis doesn’t seem to understand What Matt Hancock has been up to
‘Give the Tories a stick to beat Labour with’
Labour shadow cabinet minister Thangam Debbonaire says free social care is too expensive. So going back on Keir Starmer pledge that he would introduce free social care
‘Give alms to the oppressed’
An 11 year old primary school pupil was referred to the government’s Prevent programme after a teacher mistook the word “alms” for “arms”
Donald Trump’s response to anti-racism protests in the US
‘Just shoot them’
Trump’s instruction to head of the US army General Mark Milley head of the US army to deal with the protests after cops killed George Floyd’s
‘Well, shoot them in the leg—or maybe the foot. But be hard on them!’
Trump’s response when the general refused