Tag Archives: Jeff Bezos

Saudi Arabia stands alone

I have seen hypocrisy in my time, people selling others down the river for the mere pleasure to afford their share of cocaine and hookers, or as they state it themselves, extra bonus for a family house. The benefit of selling whatever needs be short to afford a lifestyle their ego demands yet, it is a style usually preserved for CEO’s and higher.

It is not always the case, not 100%, sometimes people get ahead because they know someone; they have friends in housing, perhaps a police commissioner who gives them the goods in advance. These things happen. That is not corruption; that is at times merely a small advantage and we can agree that no hard was done, these things just are.

I have always believed that we need to do something when something wrong is done. Yet, what happens if we get played? What happens when there are too many questions and we see governments act on half-baked information? That is at the core of it all. This all started three days ago when I decided to write (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/03/28/because-skills-lacked/) ‘Because skills lacked?‘, It was all about the arms embargo for Saudi Arabia, enforced by Germany making both the UK and France uneasy. Yesterday (at https://www.politico.eu/article/germany-extends-saudi-arms-embargo-with-concessions-to-allies/) we saw that it was extended by six months, even as concessions have been given to UK and France, the issue is actually much larger and it is time to call for evidence.

In the first, my emotional response to issues is the question whether Agnes Callamard knew what she was doing. You see, Al Jazeera (at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/02/rapporteur-khashoggi-murder-perpetrated-saudi-officials-190207171824211.html) gave us a few things, issues repeated by many news casters. First there is “her three-member team had access to part of “chilling and gruesome audio material” of the murder obtained by Turkish intelligence agencies“, it is important we see no establishment of identity, we see no mention on authentication as that is unlikely to happen. Then there is “Woefully inadequate time and access was granted to Turkish investigators to conduct a professional and effective crime-scene examination and search required by international standards for investigation“, as well as “US intelligence agencies believe Prince Mohammed ordered the assassination“, and finally there is “His body has yet to be found“.

Her report might end up being more likely than not a failure (I have not read the full report as I have not been able to obtain it at present, and I might not be able to until the presentation this upcoming June. The initial issues seen at present are (with a lot more when we dig deeper):

  1. The authenticity of the tapes have not been verified, Turkey has been facilitating to Iran to the largest degree (who is in a proxy war with Saudi Arabia), in addition several published quotes give a different light of the activities of Turkey (see previous blogs on the matter).
  2. As I mentioned, there is an issue on Turkey and Iran, making Saudi Arabia a little hesitant to give any credibility to Turkey. In addition to all this, the Consulate is Saudi grounds, It is Saudi territory, as such Turkey has no rights on those grounds. Three weeks after the event refused to share all Khashoggi evidence with Saudi Arabia. If it was actual evidence sharing it would not have impacted the evidence, the fact that it was not shared implies optionally that it did not exist. In effect the Saudi prosecutor did not have access to all evidence.
  3. Are those the same US intelligence agencies that vowed that there were WMD’s in Iraq? What evidence did the US intelligence submit? When we consider the Washington Post, we get: “the CIA examined multiple sources of intelligence, including a phone call that the prince’s brother Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, had with Khashoggi, according to the people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the intelligence. Khalid told Khashoggi, a contributing columnist to The Washington Post, that he should go to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to retrieve the documents and gave him assurances that it would be safe to do so. It is not clear if Khalid knew that Khashoggi would be killed, but he made the call at his brother’s direction, according to the people familiar with the call, which was intercepted by U.S. intelligence.” I am not stating that this is false or inaccurate, yet the parts ‘according to the people familiar with the matter‘, as well as ‘he made the call at his brother’s direction, according to the people familiar with the call’; these two parts call doubt into the complete stage.
  4. The absence of a cadaver also implies that there is no forensic evidence of any kind (at present or ever).

These four parts do not make Saudi Arabia innocent, yet the guilt cannot be established to any definite degree. I am not trying to twist anything, anyone on a jury in a capital crime knows that the establishment is ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ and that cannot be proven, even manslaughter cannot be proven at present. Consider that there was a beating, perhaps interrogation with a heavy hand; can we see evidence that this was the case? The audio is not evidence by itself, the simplicity is that we do not know whether the tape is a fake, is there any way to tell that the person in discomfort was Jamal Khashoggi? I have not heard the tape, I cannot tell, how was Agnes Callamard able to tell? In addition, if Turkish intelligence is so good, how did they get the body away and out of sight? The fact that the Turkish intelligence remained clueless should be an answer by itself. The newscasters go all out to contain people on their page, so when the Daily Mail gives us (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GD06WLJH3Wk) ‘Khashoggi’s body parts carried into Saudi Arabia’s consul residence‘, what evidence is there that it was what they claim it to be? I cannot even tell whether they are carrying trash or books, let alone optionally part of a cadaver. CNN at least used the optional word ‘may’, there have been so many speculations, that and the fact that the Turkish government seemingly did not share all the evidence makes this a lost case.

And now for Germany

So in a stage where something went optionally wrong, yet no way to tell how far it actually goes, the Germans started an embargo on a non-event. There is no conviction, there has been no court on the matter, but for Germany it was enough to set the stage for the embargo. For me it is great, I need a second income and I will happily sell any weapon system to Saudi Arabia if that pays the rent. I see no problem to sell any weapon system to the Saudi government that I can lay my hands on. It is the simple application of American entrepreneurship: Ca$h is king!

So when I see: ‘Riyadh denies the powerful prince had any involvement, alleging “rogue” Saudi elements acted on their own accord‘, I am not willing to dismiss it, the optional evidence does not allow me to do so. In addition, “A confidential report prepared by Kroll, a large private security firm, for the Saudi public prosecutor found that none of the WhatsApp messages exchanged between Prince Mohammed and his top aide, Saud al-Qahtani” I see the reinforcement of that part. I wonder if the actual people who optionally caused the passing of Jamal Khashoggi will ever be found, the media made that close to impossible and Turkish posturing helped in the event, the fact that they have the most incarcerated journalists in the world does not help their attempts for the limelight and the Turkish use of the New Zealand tragedy is further evidence still that the Turkish government cannot see the difference to posturing and doing the right thing, making all the evidence they present even less valued and requiring more and more scrutiny to optionally see it as valid and not tainted.

It is the simple application of the Evidence Act 1995. When we look towards Ellis v Wallsend District Hospital 17 NSWLR 553, we see that it was: ‘open to a Court to disbelieve evidence tainted by hindsight‘, it is not about the case, but on the state of the evidence and there is a massive wave of actions giving a large rise to the fact that evidence is optionally tainted. I use the word optional as it would be to a judge to state it to be so, but the quotes and the application of what is not presented makes it optionally so. Time is the tainting factor on all the evidence. The Washington Post adds to this when the readers are treated to: “The accepted position is that there is no way this happened without him being aware or involved“, ‘Accepted position‘? By what standard, what definition and on what premise and applied evidence is that? The overall usage of ‘people familiar with the matter’ makes the issue worse. The stage of manslaughter and higher requires ‘beyond all reasonable doubt‘, whilst in the current state it is becoming less and less likely that the Torts premise of ‘is it more likely than not‘ would be reached.

And that is the foundation of Germany to stage an embargo? Well, if that is to be the case, than for the next 6 months I will try to find a way to supply weapons to Saudi Arabia. I have rent to pay, taxes to pay and I need a wardrobe as well as a new desktop (and iPad), all these things cost money and I have no issues to sell to most governments if the opportunity arrives.

As the media is showing us how Saudi Arabia stands alone, all whilst they seem to overlook the Iranian actions, they are ready to pound others whilst there is a lack of evidence, seems odd does it not? Although, according to the Hollywood Reporter, people in Saudi Arabia have nothing better to do than hack the phone of some Amazon CEO and gives us: “Our investigators and several experts concluded with high confidence that the Saudis had access to Bezos’ phone, and gained private information. As of today, it is unclear to what degree, if any, AMI was aware of the details” less than a day ago (at https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/jeff-bezos-investigator-claims-saudi-arabia-behind-leaked-texts-1198348). I have absolutely no idea where that came from, it is not like that guy Jeff Bezos is a famous person, is he?

So is it about that optional famous person, the event, the leak, or is it about the new application of ‘several experts concluded with high confidence‘, exactly like the CIA used. It is a claim that cannot be vouched for; cannot be proven (or disproven) and no evidence is there, but the finger needs to be pointed at someone and the FBI learned the hard way on how blaming North Korea on Sony events was a bad idea. It is basically the Dutch building fraud example of: ‘Dat meen ik mij niet te herinneren‘, which means ‘I don’t think I can remember that‘, the trained response of a politician facing governmental scrutiny in a commission. That is the one sentence they had down perfectly (the Dutch denial version of a 5th amendment), and we see it applied in too many fields. So especially as it impacts larger government concerns, it seems that we need to take a look at the application of evidence towards assigning blame and guilt. Although, if this gets me my retirement fund of $24,445,000, so that I have a golden parachute. I would personally like to thank the German government, as well as the participating media for being this short sighted.

Saudi Arabia does not stand alone, there is always a person willing to facilitate to any government. It was the basic lesson Mossack Fonseca left the people on a minimum income, when a firm is facilitating within the confines of legal structures for 45 years, do you think that governments did NOT know? Give me a break, they merely played the flustered emotional card to keep the people at peace, in the end nothing changes and a new player takes over from the previous one.

The EU grave train provides one way or another, yet in the end it will provide and not to the people the taxpayers believe it does, on the larger international scale, especially in light if so much evidence failure, it was up to all of us to ask the hard questions but the media prevented it, the emotional curve are all the shareholders and stake holders required.

I think I will start Chapman Calibre Ballistics (CCB) and offer my services to the Saudi Arabian Defence Forces procurement division, so that others will readily confuse my acronym it all with either Child Care Benefit or China Construction Bank, giving the media more things to blame China for, because that is apparently how the game is supposed to be played.

 

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Short Stories, part 1

The Newspaper, the cross and the arrow

Today is not about a big issue, today according to some it is a moment of a few small issues. Like for example the Washington Post and the act of what some call Misogynous pre-emptive striking. Many might have seen the ‘gender symbol mix-up‘ (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38518943) and as such nearly all posts that I did see I saw, the mention “erroneously published“. The mention of blunder with the additional mention of a quick apology. The press seems to be leaving it alone. What I see is a form of misogyny, an intentional quick jab for free publicity. The question is how high it goes up the ladder. It might mention Washington Post, yet it still is a tabloid. So did this act go all the way into Nash Holdings LLC? Was Jeff Bezos aware and involved, or does it end with his editor?

You see, this is not some empty accusation. When you look at the images, the front cover is clearly a high end art work. The circle is the indicator, the virtual people are in an identical setting, with the two elements the male arrow and the female cross. These two parts rely on shadows and the characters seem to have a lower resolution.

wpe_male_1483637434

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I added one part for you to decide. So, as I see it, the fact that both artworks existed implied that they seem to both have been prepared. This conclusion comes forward as the Male was the original (read: initial) artwork, so the entire symbol should have been of much higher quality and resolution, that apart from the text that implies clearly a female march and whichever art designer cannot tell the difference between male and female symbol should never be hired ever again.

In the second there is my experience in this line of work and any issue that passes by any editor without proofs being viewed and approved is just not a realistic part, so as I see it this ‘error’ was intentional and from my logic and experience, the editor must have been in on it. The more news coverage is see with the word ‘mistakenly‘ the more anger I am actually feeling. The fact that the rest of the media is not all over these ‘mistakes’ (besides calling them mistakes) is beyond me and the fact that the Washington Post is now linked and part of these events is even more baffling. I reckon that next week Nash Holdings LLC, more important Jeff Bezos who shelled out a quarter of a billion for the newspaper will most certainly take another look if their value got impacted and I wonder what will happen to the editorial staff of the Washington Post Express. On the other side, at least one newspaper in the US did start the New Year with a little noise of a scandalous nature.

 

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The double sided blade

I stumbled upon a situation last night that gives food for thought. You see, I am the first one to give way to those who are growing an actual business, those who are there to be true captains of industry. Yet what defines a captain of industry nowadays? What if the person is stated to be an entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist; yet, the information given to us makes that person a mere oppressor, a borrower and an antagonist or opposer? In this case I am talking about Jeff Bezos, the man behind Amazon. Multi billionaire before he became half a century old, making him more successful than Bruce Wayne without the cape and the niceties.

So where does my view come from?

That is an important part, because other whiles it would just be envy, which in my condition isn’t entirely untrue either. The part that set it off yesterday was in the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/dec/11/amazon-accused-of-intolerable-conditions-at-scottish-warehouse). We could agree that the subtitle is merely an emotional part, yet the consideration it gives when we read ‘Willie Rennie claims workers are paid so little some camp outside warehouse in tents to cut commuting costs’, depending on the distance, we can agree that alternative solutions would be found and it is not up to an employer to decide how any employee is deciding on their budget.

Yet when we see the following elements:

  1. All permanent and temporary Amazon workers start on £7.35 an hour or more and earn at least £11 an hour for overtime (The new national living wage is £7.20 for workers aged over 25).
  2. Amazon has been accused of creating “intolerable working conditions” after allegations that workers have been penalised for sick days and that some are camping near one of its warehouses to save money commuting to work.
  3. A Sunday Times investigation found that temporary workers at the warehouse were being penalised for taking time off sick and put under pressure to hit targets for picking orders.

So are my impressions founded? You see, point one gives way that the Amazon is acting within their right and as such Amazon does nothing wrong, as stated before is there an issue as we see point two? There are clear labour laws, you get a number of sick days, but you need to build up that right, so again is there a wrongdoing? Item three repeats item 2, giving additional questions when an article seems to rehash a point, yet in addition the requirement for targets and pressure are a clear issue. The question becomes are these targets realistic? If they are not then there is an issue.

Yet this is not the only side in all this. In addition there is the part we would have seen in the Daily Record (at http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/politicians-union-leaders-urge-snp-7235948), more important that this news was from January 2016, so the issue is not really new. The issues in that part is: “Rennie clashed with Sturgeon over the issue at Holyrood on Thursday, highlighting a £1 million grant given to Amazon in the past year alone. The UK arm of the business paid just £11.9 million in tax in 2014, despite taking in £5.3 billion from British shoppers“, which implies that a company making £5.3 billion, only pays £11.9 million in tax in 2014 and got a £1 million grant last year. Now, we can see that three could be an issue, but where are the direct links? You see, Revenue is one, profit is another and after that there is taxation. We can put a straight argument that 5 billion would require more than 10 million in taxation (11 million minus a grant), yet what possessed the giving party to give that 1 million grant? Why was only 11 million in taxation paid? None is this reflects on Jeff Bezos, this is not a failure of the maker of Amazon, but a failure from the governing parties giving out cash where the requirements in light of revenue was nowhere near any justification of any grants, especially when we consider Forbes, who stated that Amazon boss Jeff Bezos ‘added $20 billion to his net worth over the 12 months through late September 2016‘, so, based on how much revenue and profit brought the increased net worth? The newspapers are extremely non-revealing on this. Now consider the two sources, the fact that some was known for nearly a year, we could ask questions from these agencies hiring, we could ask questions at the HR offices of Amazon in the UK and Scotland, yet in all this, were any errors, any transgressions made? Amazon is a business and its concern is profit plain and simple. The fact that according to the initial part that Amazon pays £0.10 per hour above a living wage, we could consider the firm to be Scrooge like which is not a crime! Now we need to look at two elements. The first is the definition of a living wage, which is regarded by several sources as ‘a living wage is the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet their basic needs’. Yet what are basic needs and where does that end? In addition we should consider that the living wage should be substantial enough to ensure that no more than 30% of it needs to be spent on housing. Which is interesting, because that is nowhere near realistic in many places. In larger places, we either need to consider growing cost of commuting or consider that £144 pw is not the cheapest in Scotland and not that sizeable. So at a working week of 40 hours the rent is 48%, implying that the living wage is far below expectations or realism. The only way to get near a living wage is to work a full day extra in overtime, yet in all this the cost of living is not considered, so we have a CEO who is getting demonized here (by yours truly), yet what wrong has he done? From the parts I can see, there seems to be enough evidence to see that there is no wrongdoing on the surface, yet we can in equal measure debate whether he can call himself a philanthropist. If you are spending money on one side by being a ruthless almost cutthroat like business man on the other, they should be cancelling each other out. Is he validly under the same conditions really an investor? If he is using the guise of tax deductibility, is he actually investing or is he relocating funds that were due to HM Revenue & Customs? Relocating some (read: most) of these funds so that they benefit the ‘personal goals‘ of Amazon. Is that really investing? Lastly there is the title of entrepreneur. If we accept the definition: ‘a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit‘, well Amazon has been here for a while, so setting up? We could see it in light of franchises, does that count? And as for taking on financial risk? With the league of tax write offs and grants, should he be allowed to call himself an entrepreneur?

So perhaps the titles or entitlements given to Jeff Bezos are no longer valid, is that a valid view, does this warrant demonization? Off course is does not, because that would be unjust. Yet, we seem to focus on the ‘stamps’ we are giving a successful person, whilst in the cold light of day we overlook the non-repayable funds given to Amazon. In addition, when we look at the independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/money/tax/revealed-amazon-earns-more-through-government-grants-than-it-pays-in-tax-8617919.html), where in May 2013, the following was given to the public: “Amazon paid less in UK corporation tax last year than it received in government grants, its official company accounts have revealed – sparking condemnation from MPs around the country“, which happened in 2013. We now get another side that is not with Jeff Bezos, but with parliament and elected officials. Yet that news did not really make it to the massive forefront (other than Willie Rennie who seems to shout for attention). You see, if I can be harsh on Jeff, I need to be equally be harsh on Willie and in that regard the fact that the Amazon issues have been on the papers for the longest of times, implies equally that there either is no political issue, or that the most in charge have not committed to anything towards the workers who feel wronged, yet are any laws broken? That is the issue we need to address. What is valid and what is of concern is the labels we seem to bestow on people. For what reason? We can argue that enabling through tax laws does not make a person an investor and the £5.3 billion gains against £11.9 million taxation is equally incomplete more important, how much was exactly invested by Amazon and where? Even if we accept certain labels and certain values, we need to equally accept that the old values entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist are no longer what they seemed to be. In a world of constants, we see the change and evolution of entitlements on a nearly daily basis giving us less to hold onto and even less than that to consider as the stability of an impression in a constantly changing world.

How is that fair on those who truly were philanthropists, investors, and entrepreneurs?

So until the true investigation, if it happens at all, Jeff Bezos might not be seen as a borrower, an antagonist or opposer. Yet at this point there is in addition nowhere near the clear evidence available to see him as an oppressor, that part would only be seen in the eyes of the workers who decided to stay in tents, to avoid travel costs that does not make him an oppressor. In addition, what scrutiny have the agencies been going through? The smallest quote in the Guardian stating: “Staff have to pay to catch an agency-provided bus to the Dunfermline site” gives us the part where we need to ask how much people have to pay and was this clearly communicated to them in the beginning?

In the end, we need to take a look at what is going on at the Dunfermline site. Is it merely Liberal Democrat shouts for attention via Amazon?  If not, considering that this has been going on for quite some time, how have officials failed and in addition, who signed off on the grants for Amazon? All valid issues and without clear answers we can only see Jeff Bezon as a shrewd business man, which is not a crime and not a valid push for demonization of him in person.

And the hidden messages we now see regarding the whistle-blowers and Google taxation? The independent is giving a nice line, in between the lines of Amazon, yet why is this not seen in a clear tax audit? If there is an issue not reported or not seen by Ernst and Young, it means that either the tax laws are not clear enough, or that Ernst and Young is shown to be unable to do its job. This would be a valid discussion with PwC, yet is there any clear indications with E&Y? And who were those whistle blowers? What many are ignoring is that the benefit of a global company means that you have global options, which is the clear benefit that Amazon is using as well. The fact that politicians have been unwilling to make changes to tax laws makes them negligent and possibly incompetent, not the large corporations, a part clearly not seen in any of the articles. So like Ed Balls, we see another politician shouting for the limelight, yet is there clear wrongdoing?

It seems that this is sidestepped by several parties and when we consider that the sources I mentioned are news sources, perhaps they are missing the plot too, but that just a small speculation from my side. We look at a double sided blade, Amazon and Google alike will slice from the revenue on one side, yet they will in equal measure slice from entitlements within legal limits from the other side of the blade because the option was given to them. Given to them, not taken by them, there is a clear difference and politicians are at the core of that largely diminished roast being presented.

 

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