Friday, December 20, 2013
THE COZY RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE BUSH’S & THE HOUSE OF SAUD
Former President George W. Bush kissing Fahda bint Asi Al Shuraim’
The King of Saudi Arabia. Theirs was not a kiss and tell romance.
Just how many of their dealings were sealed with a kiss?
TAGS: 9-11-01 VICTIMS AND NEXT OF KIN OF VICTIMS GRANTED LEGAL AUTHORITY
TO SUE SAUDI ARABIA, HOUSE OF BUSH – HOUSE OF SAUD, SAUDIS PERMITTED
UNPRECEDENTED PERMISSION TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY AFTER 9-11-01, WHO GRANTED PERMISSION,
SAUDI GOVERNMENT AIDED AND ABETTED 9-11 HIJACKERS, SAUDI RELIGIOUS LEADERS
PROVIDED MATERIAL SUPPORT FOR THE 19 HIJACKERS, MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS,
WILL WE EVER KNOW THE TRUTH?
(Friday December 20, 2013, Falls Church, VA) The small northern Virginia city of Falls Church is like many other similar communities in Fairfax and Arlington Counties. These towns and suburban enclaves are primarily bedroom communities populated by the huge contingent of personnel it takes to keep all the federal government’s apparatus running. A significant number of the workforce required for the tasks involved from top political appointees to the legions of bureaucrats, functionaries, operatives and clerks opt to live around the periphery of Washington, DC. It could be argued that more federal employees live within a 25 mile radius of The District center than any other place. Many of the residents here are actively employed by the political-public relations-lobbyists complex and are as familiar with the minutiae of the law as they are the maneuvers of politics. These are the people who know the ins and outs of how government and politics work. They are all familiar with the DC axiom that usually assures a hot news item that could be potentially embarrassing to an Administration is best leaked to the press late on a Friday afternoon or while the bone-headed members of Congress have fled the District and returned to their homes to raise money for their next campaign.
Today the powers that be managed to pull a trifecta of a sort and from all indications it has been successful. Not only was a major news story dropped inside the Beltway yesterday but it landed while Congress has departed and the President himself is enjoying the sun, surf and sand of his native Hawaii. These three elements made yesterday a great time to make a revelation that will open a can of worm most Americans have long considered closed but if opened will be laden with an importance that could have far reaching implications.
Yesterday a three judge panel in the 2nd United States Court of Appeals reversed a previous ruling handed down by a different three judge panel in the same Court back in 2002. The announcement yesterday clearly stated the legal footing that plaintiffs, primarily surviving members of those lost to the attacks of September 11, 2001 can sue the government of Saudi Arabia for what amounts to but falls just short of overtly accusing them of providing funding and support for the 19 members of al Qaeda, 15 of whom were Saudi nationals alleged to have hijacked and crashed US based airplanes. There have long been serious doubts regarding the support provided to the members of al Qaeda who managed to infiltrate the US by members of the Saudi Royal family and wealthy religious and business leaders inside the Saudi Kingdom. That it has taken over 12 years for a decision such as that made public yesterday to be granted is not only proof of the lumbering nature of our Court system but more so of the unique influence and power the Saudis had over the Cheney/Bush administration. Actually, the relationship between the two dynastic governments, “The House of Bush and The House of Saud” was forged decades ago, built on partnerships in the oil industry and was dramatically strengthened during the Presidency of George H.W. Bush and his oil baron cronies. The Saudis have long enjoyed working with US administrations provided they were unflinching in their loyalty.
THE FIRST 40 HOURS
There are a substantial number of conspiracy theories and alternate accounts directly contrary to that provided by the Bush Administration, the 9-11-01 Commission, the Congressional Investigative report on 9-11-01 many of which are highly compelling. Some offer strong physical evidence to support their arguments and still others have garnered a staunch following of thinking Americans who see evidence that does not even closely comport with the official narrative.
Serious questions, claims and counterclaims were already in full flight within the first 40 hours after the dust began to settle at the World trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, DC and an anonymous grassy field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Some of those very same questions remain gnawingly unanswered despite the intervening 12 years.
By Presidential authority and Vice Presidential edict every private and commercial airplane over the continental United States was grounded within four hours of the terrorist attacks. As US military fighter jets were scrambled in a haphazard manner, to say the least, the airspace over the United States was closed to all traffic for the next 4 days. One of the first questions to arise from employees at two airports within the greater Washington, DC area was why were there jetliners flying under the state flag of Saudi Arabia granted clearance and permission to leave the US? It was during this same timeframe that several smaller luxurious private jets owned by the bin Laden Group, the family business of which the spiritual leader of al Qaeda was an heir, were also granted permission to extricate members of the extended bin Laden family who were studying abroad here in the USA back to Saudi Arabia. One Air Force General speaking not for attribution recently commented that, “It was more than odd the way the commands came down to us. In my mind it was as if the official “chain of command” had been severed and we were being ordered about by political operatives in the White House. One flight that departed Dulles on the 12th (September 12, 2001) had over 75 Saudi nationals the majority of whom were members of the extended bin Laden family. No one was asked to present so much as a passport to board that plane and I remember wondering, ‘what’s going on here’.”
AIDING AND ABETTING
Many people from top government, military and intelligence insiders to civil, forensic, and structural engineers, to metallurgists, physicists, architects and others from a host of related fields have never believed any of the party line. They have amassed a copious amount of data from the site, collapse and aftermath and subject it all to the most rigorous, objective standards of their respective disciplines. Individually and collectively these learned men and women have been able to substantiate their gut instincts with audio, video and physical proof.
Working on the darker side of the street have been members of our federal and military intelligence machinery and other agencies have professed to being motivated and focused investigating each and every aspect of the 9-11-2001 atrocities. For some, such a statement of purpose rings on hollow ears. Had our CIA and FBI been effectively communicating with each other, had the National Security (NSA) and Department of Defense (DoD) been able to extract “actionable intelligence” from the staggering amount of conventional and digital data; “chatter”, as they call it, the staggering amount of information they routinely intercept, then, possibly, 9-11-2001 would never have happened. It is highly disturbing now, this far out, to finally recognize that those 19 terrorists may have in fact been state-sponsored operatives of the Saudi regime.
If nothing else emerges from the release of more information that has been classified since 2001, the fact that no small number of Saudis, from members of their government to wealthy citizens as well as Imams preaching to and reaching a segment of the misguided zealots, the young male unemployed population in the Kingdom, it is now factually established that the 19 hijackers received financial and material support for their devious lethal mission.
Saudi Arabia has long been considered as an ally albeit a self-centered entity unreliable when it has come to American interests. American Administrations over the last 50 years have done the Saudi’s bidding ostensibly to have a “politically stable” government in their perpetually tumultuous, often violent, part of the world. While that may be the official party line, everyone knows our kinship with the Saudis has been based on one specific commodity; a commodity that we consume 25% of the world’s production of- crude oil. The geopolitical intricacies of oil have directed our foreign policy in the Middle East for two generations. As the royal Saudi family is aging and unrest among their citizens continues to fester and grow, the Saudi regime found it was easier to pacify their homegrown fundamentalist movement, known terrorist within their sovereign borders, and otherwise pay off their extremists so those dangerous entities would refrain from making trouble within Saudi Arabia. As long as a radicalized native son of a very wealthy Saudi construction company, Osama bin Laden, was fighting the Soviet troops in Afghanistan, the Saudis were ready and generous financiers of bin Laden’ mujahidin. When Sadaam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990 bin Laden offered his mujahidin fighters to defend against an advancing Iraqi army that could easily challenge the Saudi defense capabilities. Not only was bin Laden rebuffed by the House of Saud, the Saudis invited American troops to defend the land of the two holiest sites in Islam. Bin Laden would be heard from again.
THE SAUDIS CLOSED RANKS
Within hours of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 Saudi nationals, most of whom were attending some of the most prestigious universities in America, others working in high finance, banking and related fields in which Saudi Arabia had interests, began making arrangements for a quick departure. Some were members of the extended bin Laden family, others were part of the sizable diplomatic corps, employees of the Saudi Embassy and Consulates; others still were “businessmen” of dubious distinction. The planning for their departure was well coordinated and, in large part, logistically supported by the Saudi government.
By September 12th, 2001 most of those who were being spirited out of the country were assembling at Dulles Airport just miles from Washington, DC. Overnight numerous small private jets had picked up passengers from non-descript somewhat remote airfields from locations including Charlottesville, Virginia, Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis and Los Angeles. Given the fact that there was a complete lock down in effect for the airspace over America, how was it that these flights were granted some sort of an exemption to the “no-fly” orders from the White House? By whose authority were these flights permitted to leave the United States? Clearly the decisions made in this regard came directly from the White House, specifically as the growing evidence has illustrated, from the Office of the Vice President Dick Cheney. Dick Cheney has enjoyed a cozy relationship with the Saudis for decades both while he was working in government and during his stints in the oil industry most notably when he was the CEO of Halliburton.
OATH OF SILENCE
From the highest ranks of the military including the Joint Chiefs down to the dozens of airmen who made this exodus possible were ordered to sign an oath of silence under the auspices of “national security”. Given the confusion and shock still palpable the day after the terrorist attacks, the men and women who worked the tarmacs, control towers and other support roles necessary for the long flight to Saudi Arabia, they signed the oaths put before them under penalty of disciplinary actions including the possibility of Court Marshall. Many dared not question what was going on and merely accepted their orders and carried out their duties. Now, over 12 years after the fact more details are emerging regarding the Saudi flights and some involved have decided to speak about the events in some detail.
A retired air traffic control who was working at a smaller airport that catered to private jets in central Virginia, speaking anonymously for fear of government retaliation recently commented, “You’re dammed right I was confused. I really did not know what was going on. We were receiving countervailing directives from the Department of Defense, the Department of Transportation and even an Air Force General. I signed the nondisclosure agreement under protest but I was afraid I had no choice but to do so. I am still amazed that this story has not caught on. The press really dropped the ball on this one”.
It remains to be seen what details, if any, become known publically now that next of kin of those who perished that Tuesday morning in 2001 and survivors have been granted the legal right to sue the government of Saudi Arabia. But, as most will say this process is not about a financial settlement or money, it is about truth. There is so much to this odd chapter that was written on September 11, 2001 and the days immediately thereafter Perhaps some of the details will become known in a court of law but it is more likely that any potential lawsuit will take years of legal maneuvering and wrangling before it ever sees the inside of a courtroom. There are vitally important issues at stake here; there is the credibility of the Cheney/Bush Administration and they should be called to task to explain their roles in the great Saudi exodus of September 12 and 13, 2001. Nothing short of full disclosure should be acceptable. We, each of us as American citizens is entitled to the truth. In the past our government has conducted far too many amoral acts from testing LSD on unwitting servicemen, studying the effects of nuclear fallout on members of the military and a veritable cookbook of experiments and studies all conducted in the name of national security. If this particular story does come to light then those involved should be held accountable. Accountability is a rare commodity in Washington, DC but we can only hope, watch and wait to see how this develops.
Copyright The Brooding Cynyx 2013 © All Rights Reserved
Thursday, December 19, 2013
INTEL & COUNTERERRORISM DEPUTYS OFFER RESIGNATIONS
NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly in his morning intelligence briefing in the Executive Command Center
with Deputy Commissioner for Counterterrorism Richard Daddario, center,
and Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence David Cohen, left.
(Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters)
TAGS: NYPD RAY KELLY, DAVID COHEN, RICH DADDARIO RESIGNATIONS,
NYPD INTELLIGENCE DIVISION, COUNTERTERRORISM UNIT, PROTECTING NYC,
TERRORIST THREATS, de BLASIO & BILL BRATTON, PRIORITIES
(Thursday December 19, 2013, Barclay St., NYC) Just days after outgoing NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly inked a lucrative contract with the Greater Talent Network to be a featured keynote speaker on the circuit two of his top Deputy Commissioners submitted their letters of resignation to the incoming NYPD Commish Bill Bratton. While this is not an unusual rite of passage when a new administration is about to take control of the City, the two men leaving will be very difficult to replace for several reasons. The vacancies their resignations will leave are in positions that had never before existed until Ray Kelly created them when he took command of the NYPD just three months after the terrorists’ attacks of September 11, 2001. The question looms large now: how will Mayor – elect Bill de Blasio and Commissioner-in-waiting Bratton approach filling those vacancies and will they maintain the operational initiatives of two specialized Commands created by Commissioner Kelly. Mr. Bratton should also be on the lookout for more resignations in the near future.
Shortly after assuming command of the NYPD in January 2002, Ray Kelly realized that the events of 9-11-2001 required new and novel methods, strategies and tactics to address the real and present dangers posed to NYC in the form of the terrorist’s threat. With the support of Mayor Bloomberg, Kelly revamped totally reinvented the Intelligence Division that had been, up to that time, concerned largely with gang activity, drug dealing and, in part “organized crime”. Kelly’s vision became reality in the present incarnation of the Intelligence Division and the Counterterrorism Unit. He saw the glaring need to have his own intelligence gathering and Counterterrorism operations since it was painfully obvious that our federal government’s intelligence apparatus was not just dysfunctional but truly fatally flawed, negligent and not up to the task.
To direct his new Commands he wisely hired David Cohen a 35 year CIA veteran to head the Intelligence Division and named former federal prosecutor, Richard Daddario, to head up the Counterterrorism Unit. The combined talents of these men and some of those personnel they brought with them to their new jobs literally wrote the first chapter in the new book of post 9-11-01 urban policing and police-based intelligence and Counterterrorism policies and practices. Suffice to say, despite their often controversial methods, both of these Commands have been successful in collecting, analyzing and disseminating “real time” actionable intelligence and have interrupted at least 13 terrorist plots. Much of the controversy surrounding the operations of the Intel and Counterterrorism squads have been leveled by Muslims and Islamic leaders living in New York City and in Jersey City just across the Hudson River from Lower Manhattan. The Muslim community felt they were being unfairly targeted and “racially profiled” because the 19 men believed to have perpetrated the 9-11-01 attacks were Muslim.
Contrary to the complaints of New York City’s Muslims, NYPD went through great efforts to assure their operations were within the legal boundaries of all applicable law. Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Cohen hired another long time CIA veteran, Larry Sanchez, a former colleague that Cohen valued, respected and trusted. Sanchez was officially “on loan” from the CIA as per then CIA Director George Tenet. Sanchez remained an active CIA employee with access to all the intelligence and resources that came with such employment. What these men and their personnel achieved is now considered as the “Gold Standard”, the template other “big city” Police Departments are trying hard to emulate.
CHANGING OF THE GUARD
For every Member of Service (MOS) in the NYPD that will miss Ray Kelly there is an opposing MOS that is happy to see him go. The ratio between these camps is surely not one to one but it is difficult to determine what the majority opinion is. As in any highly structured hierarchical organization of this size, the 40,000 or so MOS have diverse and often conflicting opinions not only about who sits in the spacious 14th floor office in One Police Plaza (1PP) but also who the others are occupying the upper echelon of the Department, Commands, Divisions, Units as well as each and every Precinct. Cops, generally speaking, loathe politics, politicians and any and every public action taken by the highest ranking Brass is immediately scrutinized in an effort to discern what the “real” message is coming out of 1PP. When the rank and file believes and actually feels that the Big Brass has their backs then the entire Department functions more efficiently and effectively. It is difficult to understate the importance of “morale” among the MOS. When the rank and file begins to feel under siege by their own Department, the entire organization suffers as does the public they are tasked with protecting and serving.
No one can deny Bill Bratton’s right to exercise his executive prerogative; naturally as any CEO in any organization, he needs to surround himself with like-minded, trusted advisers and counselors; people that can play “devil’s advocate” without fear of reprisal, speak truth to power even when doing so is difficult. That is the only way it should be and it is even of more vital significance when we are discussing the largest, most professional law enforcement agency in the country in the largest, most diverse and densely populated City in America. Naturally there were some MOS who reacted poorly, to say the least, when Bratton was named the next Commissioner by Bill de Blasio. Bratton is no stranger to this City or the NYPD but, for all his history here he will forever be an ‘outsider” and, not just any outsider; Bratton is from Boston. NYPD is a legacy agency, deeply rooted in its own history and traditions; they like to see one of their own rise up through the ranks. But, the Mayor-elect has made his decision and that is that.
NO POLITICS, JUST OPERATIONS
There are those who view this particular discussion as inappropriately “political”. We are of a contrary view. These issues affect not just all MOS of NYPD but everyone who lives here, works here, travels through here and visits here. How well the “Vital Services” of NYC (FDNY, the Department of Sanitation, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, and the Office of Emergency Management) just to name the most visible, function is as important to the City as is the heart to the human body. Sound and strong leadership is essential to each Department and Agency to keep our City running smoothly.
In the post 9-11 City there was much to change and much has been changed. It is common knowledge that we, New York City, remain the most “target rich environment” in the eyes of terrorists around the world. Just because we have not been successfully attacked since September 2001 certainly is no indication or proof that we are not still in the crosshairs of terrorists of every ilk from every corner of the earth. The public will likely never learn precisely how effective Kelly, Cohen and Daddario have been individually in their respective positions as well as a tripartite collective working with all gears meshing quietly.
WHO’S WATCHING WHO…?
It would be naïve for anyone to think that we are not about to enter into a more vulnerable time. The changing of the guard, the transition from the stability of 12 years of Bloomberg and Kelly into the new days of a novice Administration is no doubt being followed by some terrorist organization or cell or, perhaps, just a few zealots somewhere with designs on making their bloody mark on our City. As we have all learned so painfully, so awfully vividly, we have been and remain a high value target. We can only hope that the new team about to assume control in a few weeks has the same priorities regarding our safety and security as did the outgoing Administration.
Let all of us hope that the torches that will pass from the Bloomberg Era to the de Blasio Administration are deftly handled and that real continuity and focus is upheld by all those now entrusted to govern and protect our City.
Copyright The Brooding Cynyx 2013 © All Rights Reserved
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
NOT PERMISSION TO ACT WITH IMPUNITY
INDIAN GOVERNMENT WORKERS REMOVE CONCRETE
SECURITY BARRIERS FROM THE UNITED STATES EMBASSY
IN NEW DELHI IN RETALIATION FOR THE ARREST OF
A MEMBER OF THEIR DIPLOMATIC CORPS IN NYC LAST WEEK
TAGS: INDIAN DIPLOMATE ARRESTED IN NYC, CONSULAR OFFICER DEVYANI KHOBRAGADE,
INDIAN GOVERNMENT RETALIATES,
US DEPARTMENT OF STATE, SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY,
UNITED STATES MARSHALLS SERVICE,
NYPD, PERMANENT MISSION OF THE USSR, RUSSIAN EMBASSY, DIPLOMATIC PARKING TICKETS,
NYPD, NYPD 19TH PRECINCT, THE COLD WAR
(Wednesday December 18, 2013 67th Street & Lexington Ave., NYC) Even the most casual stroller through this Upper East Side neighborhood can tell this is among the toniest areas in Manhattan. This is the heart of the NYPD 19th Precinct, the swanky “Silk Stocking District” that runs from 59th Street to 96th Street and from 5th Avenue to the East River. It is home to some of New York City’s most famous institutions including Gracie Mansion, Lenox Hill and Sloan Kettering Hospitals as well as the Council for Foreign Relations (CFR), Hunter College and the Russian Permanent Mission sometimes referred to as the Russian Embassy, just to name a few. Walking east on 67th Street the unfamiliar may not realize that this very street, this block from Lexington to Third Avenues was the most visible site in New York City during the decades long Cold War between the USA and the USSR. Along the north side of this block sits the storied 19th Precinct; directly across the street is a stolid red brick building that is now the Russian Embassy. Before the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1990, Cops of the 19th Precinct stared across the street at their Soviet counterparts in the USSR Security Service. In those days this block saw some very unruly demonstrations conducted by anti-communist protesters and Russians living in NYC.
Since New York City is the home of the United Nations, we host 197 Permanent Missions of the United Nations member states as well as 114 Consulates and upwards of 70 international multi-state sponsored trade and commerce organization. NYC is truly an international City and with that title come myriad responsibilities that NYPD and other City services and agencies must perform over and above the challenges of the normal day to day operations that keep this City running including policing and enforcing the law for our fellow 9 million diverse and disparate New Yorkers.
Each of the UN member states assigns high ranking members of their Diplomatic Corps to represent them in NYC. It is without a doubt a plum assignment for those fortunate enough to be tapped for such duty. Some of these foreign contingents consist of scores of people ranking from Ambassadors, Consulate Officers, Charge’ de Affairs, as well as Aides de Camp’ Diplomatic Aides, Assistants, Assistants to the Assistants and Associate Assistants to Assistant Assistants. Many of these personnel bring their families with them so the ranks of those granted “Diplomatic Immunity” is substantial and quite often problematic to the City and NYPD. Additionally, the actual precepts of what “Diplomatic Immunity” covers are poorly understood if understood at all by some.
The members of these contingents also bring members of their protective and security services to serve as body guards and keepers. In some cases these security keepers find themselves tasked with running interference and creating obstructions if the personnel in their care runs afoul of the law which happens with far more frequency than is reported in the press. The stories almost any current or former Member of Service (MOS) of NYPD can tell about confrontations with people claiming “Diplomatic Immunity” range from the benignly comical to the tragically lethal. Some incidents that began as relatively minor civil or criminal activities perpetrated by Embassy staffers quickly escalated into full blown international diplomatic crises.
The latest such type of kerfuffle in the headlines is the account of an Indian Consular Officer, Devyani Khobragade, who was arrested and detained last Thursday by MOS from the United States Marshalls Service (USMS) because she had allegedly falsified immigration documents for a “nanny” in her employ and perhaps other information on her visa application as well. The 39 year old has vociferously complained that she was treated in a “heavy handed” manner by the Marshalls, held in a cell with “drug addicts” and was subjected to a humiliating and completely unnecessary “strip and full body cavity search”. She was released soon after her arrest on a $250,000 bond. Her arrest has generated serious repercussions and fallout that is causing troubling and potential dangerous reverberations from New York City to Washington, DC and to New Delhi.
The Indian government has levied a host of sanctions on our Embassy personnel in New Delhi and has gone as far as removing the concrete security barricades from the front of our Embassy. This is a gross over reaction that has graver implication than anything that was or was not a matter of fact in Ms. Khobragade’s arrest. As is usual our Department of State, under the misguided leadership of the hapless, woefully inept Secretary John Kerry, has handled this incident poorly to say the least. If the Indian government’s actions thus far are any indication, it appears that this may be the spark that ignites a dramatic shift in our relations with India at a time where there were signs of progress between our two nations towards a more “normalized” relationship in trade, commerce and military concerns as well as offering guidance for the security of their nuclear arsenal.
The stories of Foreign Embassy personnel acting poorly in public and often committing serious crimes in New York City are legion and legendary. Over the years some have made the headlines while many more, particularly during the height of the Cold War, were handled via back channels, quietly, privately and, in the cases of crimes against persons with the perpetrating Embassy’s country making large cash pay outs to the victims and their families as “hush money”.
The fact of the matter is these miniature armies of Foreign Diplomatic Corps personnel often feel they are “untouchable” by NYPD and that the cloak of “Diplomatic Immunity” is absolute and bullet proof. Sadly, that has often been the case. There have been more incidents than anyone in One Police Plaza or the Department of State would ever dare admit in public where a foreign national assigned to their country’s Permanent Mission here committed serious felonies including grand theft, assault, rape and even homicide. In some of those scenarios in the not too distance past, the alleged offender was immediately surrounded by his security keepers as reams of red tape were spooled out from NYC to the appropriate country’s capital to Washington, DC and back again. With sufficient interference and obstruction there were times the alleged offender was quickly spirited out of the United States back to his homeland and safely out of the range of NYPD and any US law enforcement.
Some of the most notorious situations involved members of the Soviet Foreign Service and the Israeli Contingent. The Soviets lorded the pretext of the Cold War over us to avoid making the crime public while the Israelis would always claim some form of exalted status simply because they were Israelis. Without going into details now (for obvious reasons) there have been brutal sexual assaults and homicides committed by Soviets and Israelis as well as Chad, Nigeria and Bolivia stationed here. In virtually every case the perpetrator was never held account in any way, let alone arraigned, indicted or tried in a NYC or US Federal Court. That was just how the game was played. It was sickening then and it is just as sickening today.
Many of the Foreign Service personnel that are assigned to NYC seem to fall in love with our City and open, free society. They see our great City as their own private playground where they can flout our laws with impunity. They partake in behavior here that they would never dare dream about in their homelands. Some of our most exclusive restaurants and nightclubs have been the scenes of drunken debauchery and criminal behavior that any other New Yorker would be arrested for without question. Too great a portion of the Foreign Service personnel are possessed of the notion that our laws simply do not apply to them; that they need not abide by our criminal code. What these people fail to recognize is that they are our guests; they are the guests of The City of New York and The United States of America.
A case in point for any New Yorker owning a car has always been the fact that cars with “diplomatic plates”, special license plates issued to each Permanent Mission and Consulate, seem permitted to park anywhere, at any time, in any circumstance that suits their convenience. For years NYPD and the NYPD Traffic Division would issue parking tickets to those cars that were illegally parked. The problem was none of the Embassy’s amassing huge numbers of summons ever paid them. “So what”, one might say, “What’s the big deal”? The big deal is that when dozens of tickets turn into hundreds and then into thousands the fines begin to add up to real money; real money as in millions of dollars unpaid to the City of New York. At one time the Soviet Embassy had over 170 vehicles registered in their name and it was not uncommon to have a week in which their vehicles alone were cited dozens of times for parking and other violations.
When Michael Bloomberg was in his first year of his first term as Mayor, he learned that there were over $22 million worth of unpaid parking tickets that had been written to “diplomatic plates”. Mayor Bloomberg wanted that $22 million and, after all sorts of machinations from our own State Department and the offending countries, those fines were paid and Bloomberg revamped the NYC Code governing the legal usage of diplomatic plates.
REAL DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY
Diplomatic Immunity as it is understood and respected by most sovereign nations today was drafted as part of the Geneva Conventions chapter addressing Diplomatic Relations written in 1961. The specific intent is in the language and is not ambiguous. It specifies that any foreign Diplomat or Emissary of the same stature cannot be prosecuted by a host country for any actions this representative may take in the conduct of his or her “official duties” as a foreign Ambassador. It does not extend to conduct and actions that such a representative might take “outside” his or her codified role. Essentially, it allows for Diplomats to travel safely to and from other countries, even during times of hostility, military conflict or war to conduct the business of their government. It is very clearly defined and understood.
When members of a Foreign Service are abroad they are considered to be immune from prosecution only as it relates to their diplomatic efforts. It also protects the transfer and transport of documents while a diplomat is in transit conducting his or her governments bidding. That is it; that’s the long and short of it. It does not imply that a member of a Foreign Service can shoplift at Macy's, not pay for damages to hotel rooms they have lodged in, stiff a waitress for a hefty dinner bill, get falling down drunk and sexually assault a woman in a nightclub or any of the other offenses some of them have attempted to throw their tarp of Diplomatic Immunity over.
The retaliatory actions the Indian government is now engaged in as well as their unreasonable and unproductive saber-rattling rhetoric is a violation of the Diplomatic Immunity of our Embassy personnel. The removal of the security barricades, permitting angry mobs to picket and demonstrate outside our now unprotected Embassy in New Delhi are serious violations of common law. They are grossly disproportional to the incident that triggered this as yet unfinished business between our two countries. Our Department of State should inform New Delhi that we will simply not tolerate any of these retaliatory measures and will hold that government liable and responsible for the safety and security of every one of our personnel currently in India. This should not be couched as a mild threat or related as a mere admonition but as a stern warning and an absolute promise.
Copyright The Brooding Cynyx 2013 © All Rights Reserved