Posts Tagged ‘diplomatic immunity’

Saudi Arabia gets away with it again — but why?

October 21, 2015

That Saudi Arabia uses barbaric, medieval methods within Saudi Arabia is almost a cliche. But why they command an almost fawning behaviour by other countries can only be partly explained by the power of their money. Values, it seems, are subverted by Saudi oil money.

Without financing from parties in Saudi Arabia, ISIS could not sustain itself. The madrassas and mosques where feeble-minded, muslim kids are radicalised in Europe and in Asia, are financed to a large extent from Saudi Arabia. The 9/11 terrorists were mainly Saudis. Bin Laden was Saudi.

Dissolute and decadent Saudi and Gulf tourists run riot in Europe, driving recklessly, drinking heavily, cooking, littering and smoking shisha in public parks. All with an impunity as if they had a de facto diplomatic immunity – which of course they seem to have. Even the Saudi King and an entourage of 1,000 were allowed to take over a whole beach in France in spite of local protests. The French acquiesced to the King’s demand that female police officers be removed.

Saudi Arabia would collapse without its expat workers and foreign labour. Their medieval treatment of foreigners is a scandal but is tolerated because they pay well. How on earth did Saudi Arabia get elected as the Chair of UN Human Rights Council Panel?

In the last few weeks the arrogant and decadent behaviour of the Saudis at home and abroad has been on show.

  1. The incompetence of the Saudi authorities led to the death of at least 2177 people at the Hajj stampede, not the 769 that Saudi Arabia admits to (as if that was not bad enough).
  2. Two Nepali women working as maids for a Saudi diplomat were were held captive by his family and used for “entertainment” for their Saudi friends. They were starved and sexually abused by them and other Saudi guests. When the girls were eventually released and the diplomat charged, he just claimed immunity and was whisked back to Saudi Arabia.
  3. The US authorities allowed a Saudi prince to flee rape charges even though he had no immunity. Majed Abdulaziz Al-Saud was arrested but fled while on bail. “Arrested on suspicion of false imprisonment, sexual assault and battery, a Saudi prince has also recently been accused of attacking at least three women and holding them captive for several days. Immediately upon posting bail, the prince reportedly emptied his $37 million mansion and fled the country on a private jet to avoid civil litigation and criminal charges. …. Although the prince is a royal member of the House of Saud, the U.S. State Department eventually confirmed that Al-Saud does not have any diplomatic immunity”.

Is it just oil money that leads the US and European governments to put up with the atrocious behaviour that would lead to calls for regime change in other countries? Of course the US sees Saudi as a balance for Iran in the region. But if the US is serious about its so-called war on terror, the sources of most of the financing of islamic terror organisations lie in Saudi Arabia. King Salman is showing signs of dementia and the country is actually being run by his son – but not very competently. Mohammed bin Salman is just 29 and has never had experience of being anything more than an aide. The incompetence on show has led to one of the grandsons of the founder of Saudi Arabia making public his concerns about the way the country is being run.

A senior Saudi prince has launched an unprecedented call for change in the country’s leadership, as it faces its biggest challenge in years in the form of war, plummeting oil prices and criticism of its management of Mecca, scene of last week’s hajj tragedy. 

The prince, one of the grandsons of the state’s founder, Abdulaziz Ibn Saud,  ……. (but) who is not named for security reasons, wrote two letters earlier this month calling for the king to be removed.

And all of Europe and the US continue to indulge them. Low oil prices for the next decade will – perhaps – reduce some of the Saudi excesses, but there is something more than just oil money at play.

I suspect it is the delusion in US and Europe that they can manage the inevitable restructuring of nations in the Middle East that must come. At some time Iraq has to split three-ways between Sunni, Shia and Kurd. And now it looks inevitable that Syria must also split in some similar manner, with a Sunni part of Syria perhaps merged with a Sunni part of Iraq.

Ralph Peters’ scenario for the Middle East

 

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US dismisses charges as idiotic Khobragade episode “ends”

March 13, 2014

I remain convinced that this was a “ploy by a maid and her family to get visas for the US with US consular officials in Delhi conniving with the New York prosecutor”.

The “bad guys” in this story are Wayne May – the US consular official – and Preet Bharara the ambitious New York prosecutor who were certainly involved in some form of “conniving together”. Sangeeta Richard – the maid – comes out as just being opportunistic. Devayani Khobragade herself comes out as either being – at best – naive, and – at worst – somewhat incompetent.

In any event the case generated much diplomatic heat between India and the US but has now been brought to a sort of conclusion with a US Federal judge dismissing all charges. However the dismissal is not because there was no substance in the charges but because she should have been granted immunity.

The Hindu

Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade on Thursday won dismissal of the indictment against her for visa fraud, with a U.S. judge ruling she had full diplomatic immunity although prosecutors are not barred from bringing new charges in future.

District Judge Shira Scheindlin said in her 14-page order that “it is undisputed” that Ms. Khobragade acquired full diplomatic immunity at 5:47 p.m. on January 8 after the U.S. State Department approved her accreditation as a counsellor to India’s mission to the United Nations.

While the indictment was returned on January 9, Ms. Khobragade had the immunity till she departed from the U.S. for India on the evening of January 9 and so the prosecutors cannot proceed with the current indictment.

“Ms. Khobragade’s motion to dismiss the indictment on the ground of diplomatic immunity is granted. Ms. Khobragade’s conditions of bail are terminated, and her bond is exonerated. It is ordered that any open arrest warrants based on this indictment must be vacated,” Ms. Scheindlin said in her 14-page order, capping months of unprecedented diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and India.

“On January 9, immediately following the return of the indictment, Ms. Khobragade appeared before the court through counsel and moved to dismiss the case. Because the court lacked jurisdiction over her at that time, and at the time the indictment was returned, the motion must be granted,” the judge said ordering that the motion and the case be closed.

Khobragade: Observing the niceties – for an idiotic episode

January 10, 2014

UPDATE 2!! The plot thickens. It seems more and more like a ploy by the maid and her family to get visas for the US with US consular officials in Delhi conniving with the New York prosecutorAccording to the HT

the diplomat given “little more than 48 hours” to leave India is Wayne May, a counsellor instrumental in granting visa and helping Richard’s husband and two children’s “evacuation” to the US. … Another US diplomat, who purchased the tickets for the Richards availing tax exemption, could be in trouble next.

 

UPDATE!! Continuing the diplomatic niceties, India has asked the US to withdraw a diplomat from the US Embassy in New Delhi. The diplomat (consular official) is of similar rank to the expelled Indian diplomat and is thought to be the US official who connived with the maid’s father-in-law (an employee at the US Embassy) in causing the whole ruckus.

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Nobody comes out of this nonsense very well except perhaps the maid trying to stay permanently in the US.

But niceties have been observed and the incident will be soon forgotten. Devyani Khobragade was indicted, then granted full diplomatic immunity (starting after the indictment to save face for the prosecutor) and then allowed to leave the US. If she had immunity – even if it was only officially granted on January 8th – her diplomatic status was no different at the time she was arrested and – horror of horrors – strip searched (shades of Draupadi). The sensitivities and the sensibilities of the entire Indian male establishment (who as we all know revere women) were hurt. The Indian female establishment were torn between supporting the exploitative – but female – diplomat and the conniving – but female – maid and her family. 

But the New York prosecutor with political ambitions could not be seen to be a puppet duped by the maid and her family. So he was allowed to indict her before the immunity came into effect. So Khobragade can never now return to the US without the threat of being arrested.

To invoke the analogy with the  Mahābhārata, the prosecutor is Duryodhana to the Shakuni of the maid and her family. But then Khobragade has to take a composite role between Yudhishthira the reckless gambler and the “pure” but insulted Draupadi.

If I have to rank the players in order of culpability it would be:

  1. Preet Bharara, the US prosecutor in the Southern District of New York
  2. Sangeeta Richard (the opportunistic maid) and her family
  3. Devyani Khobragade,  Deputy Consul General of the Consulate General of India in New York
  4. US State Department (John Kerry)
  5. Indian Ministry of External Affairs

Sangeeta Richard and her family will now get leave to live permanently in the US and come out of this best. They will probably get much financial assistance from the US prosecution authorities and various “Human Rights” groups.

Bharara has done himself no great harm even though he has been skillfully manipulated by Sangeeta Richard her husband and her father-in-law (who seems to be the Svengali in this tale). All publicity – even that which makes him out to be rather silly – is good publicity for Bharara’s political aspirations. From his record he will not be the flavour of the month with the Republicans. But he could find a place as a champion of liberal causes with the new image of New York as the bastion of liberal Democrats.

Khobragade ought to have a major reprimand in her personal file. If not for visa fraud then at least for being too gullible and having allowed herself to be caught in such a trap. Her next posting – if she stays with the Indian Foreign Service – could be to a diplomatic Siberia – perhaps Kazakhstan or Somalia. But if she wants to make use of the sympathy wave, her best bet is to go into politics. She is far too tainted to be acceptable to the Aam Admi Party or to the Indian feminist movement. She could do a lot worse than allying herself with Narendra Modi and the BJP. After all Modi has his own issues with US Visas but he will likely become the next Prime Minister of India. And when he does the US State Department will find some way to grant him a Visa and there could well be some collateral benefit for her to be following in his wake.

An incident which should never have happened.


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