Finding “Justice” (Sunday Sermonette)

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I spoke with friends today about the curious case of Matthew Hedges (31), a British university student, who has been charged with spying “for a foreign state” in the United Arab Emirates is looking at a trial (of sorts) next week. I won’t take up the question of whether or not I think that Hedges was a British spy. I leave that to wiser people than me. 
However, there is a reason why most case officers (government spies) operate under diplomatic cover with diplomatic immunity while overseas. There are two kinds of case officers:

(1) Inside officers, who hold jobs within the embassy of the nation that they represent. Those jobs come with diplomatic immunity and they can’t be arrested, but they can be expelled (PNG’d) by the host nation if they’re caught.

(2) Outside officers,  often referred as non-official cover officers or NOC’s, who operate outside of the shadow of the embassy. If apprehended, they’re on their own, but the employing nation works to get them released – often blowing their cover in the process. Disclosure of cover can have a lot of unpleasant ramifications and I won’t go into that here.

(*) There are also recruited assets, referred to in the business as “agents” who are managed by both categories (above). If captured or compromised, they’re usually on their own. 

Matthew Hedges has been kept in solitary confinement for the last five months. UAE Investigators had gathered evidence from his electronic devices and intelligence from UAE security agencies that was in his possession when he was arrested last May.
What many Westerners don’t understand when they go abroad is that in places like the UAE, you have almost no rights. Your trial will take place in secret and is decided by an Islamic judge. There is no jury. There is no right to free speech, no right to confront accusers, no right against self incrimination, and due process is what the UAE says that it is.
Last year, Hedges co-authored an article in an academic journal on the Muslim Brotherhood political organization and the Gulf Cooperation Council, of which the UAE is a member. The UAE is officially opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood. And there you go. A serious crime is revealed.
I suspect that there are wheels-within-wheels that grind deeper than the superficial but will not comment on that. The short message is that if you leave the USA you have very limited rights.

17 thoughts on “Finding “Justice” (Sunday Sermonette)

  1. Yes, the wheels of foreign 'justice' are arbitrary at best. Not like the good ol' USA, no siree Bob. Here, when you compromise classified material like taking a selfie inside a submarine, you spend a few years in the slammer. Equal 'justice' under the law. That is, unless you have clout, you can keep classified info on your personal server in your basement, with access to the entire world, and compromise the crap out of ever state secret the US has, and nobody says boo.

    Or, you can hire a Chinese spy as your confidant/chauffer for 20 years, compromise every state secret within your possession, and nobody says boo.

    Yup, those foreigners just don't know how to properly assess 'justice,' unlike us Americans, where there is equal justice under the law. Except for those who are more equal than others.

  2. Fredd makes an interesting point but it was HER TURN, so she obviously couldn't be prosecuted for anything. That would've been racist.

  3. >What many Westerners don't understand when they go abroad is that [they] have almost no rights.

    Yes. The first time I encountered this was with a graduate student at an elite university. I was shocked. I was also much more naive about the "IYI" class then. Most recently was some Harvard post-docs going on about "But we have our First Amendment rights! They can't do anything to us!" This was in reference to big talk about holding a protest — in Saudi Arabia of all places. I just turned around and walked away, on the basis of "… and you'll annoy the pig."

  4. Your best bet overseas is NOT to associate with other Americans. Low profile is a GOOD thing.

  5. All of that inequality notwithstanding in the US of A, the difference between the UAE and the US is considerable.

    "All pigs are equal but some are more equal than others" is a maxim for the ages.

  6. Hanoi Jane Fonda wasn't executed. Hillary didn't go to prison. Swiftboat John Kerry did the same thing that General Flynn was accused of and he continued to do what he's been doing. The list is endless.

  7. You don't want to annoy the pig while in-country in the Magic Kingdom. It leads to trouble. Particularly if you're a sodomite.

  8. How amusing. You actually believe that Americans have "rights" and that our government honors that concept.

  9. I am not familiar with the spying stuff but after spending time to learn about the history of Islam I know they have their own book with rules and guide lines the can practice according to what they find serve the purpose. Any non-muslim will start with a bad case if the muslims decide that is the case. In the US you probably still have some time where the traditional legal system will define the rules but who knows what the future will bring? Maybe you get the experience to be taught differently in due time.

  10. Yes, we do and yes they do. Having said that, yes, some pigs are more equal than others.

    I worked for a large district attorney's office for 21 years. I and those who worked with me followed the law and worked to make it a prosecutor's office, not a "persecutor's office".

  11. I am familiar with Sharia law and courts. In this case there is more at stake from a political perspective and there are wheels within wheels. Dealing with Islamic courts is usually not an "unfair situation" from an Islamic perspective. You're in their country and the world is viewed from their eyes in terms of what is and what is not fair.

  12. The only one you are fooling is yourself. EVERY victim persecuted by your office for ANY gun possession crime is proof rights are irrelevant. EVERY persecution committed based on ANY evidence acquired without a properly written Search Warrant is proof that rights are irrelevant. Every instance of "testilying" by LEO your office refused to charge as perjury is proof rights are irrelevant. Pull your head out of your ass. The vast majority of the "laws" used to abuse and enslave Americans are DIRECT violations of the Constitution and our Bill Of Rights…..but that fact has NEVER mattered to the people running the system.

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