Tuesday, August 4, 2009

This thing just does not make sense!

Peeping Tom: Uncle Freddie is right. Given national security and anti-terrorism concerns, a United States firm exporting restricted items to a foreign country is not going to place the equipment into the hands of anyone and based on a letter which purports to originate from a foreign government.
Checks are going to be made. Export documentation has to be approved by the Bureau of Industry and Security and the requisite approvals granted. Unlike what Uncle Freddie feels, however, the process is not always as meticulous as he feels.
In the case of military sales, this will inevitably involve detailed checks and clearance, but in the case of some device to locate from where a call originates, it is hardly likely that any detailed check would be made.
Today there are GPS systems commercially available. Thus, detailed checks on such purchases and on the authenticity of the requisite authorisations may not take place at all.
In fact, when it comes to the purchase of sensitive equipment requiring a licence, in excess of ten thousand applications are approved each year. It is impossible for meticulous checks to be made for all these applications.
The first thing that Uncle Freddie should note is that there has to initially be the approval of the sale, for both domestic and export use. In fact, the overwhelming bulk of the applications each year, in excess of 10,000, are for use by foreign nationals within the United States of America. This too requires a permit.
It would be impossible for the US Government to carry out meticulous checks on all applications, including those specifically for exports. In many instances these applications are required for dual purpose items which would include the sort of computers that we are learning was purchased and exported purportedly in the name of a Government Minister.
The second thing that Uncle Freddie needs to understand is that a purchase of sensitive equipment by a foreign national is under US law deemed a purchase by the government of the country from which that national originates. Thus, it is quite possible for a US-based Guyanese to purchase a piece of restricted computer equipment in his name and to have that deemed as a purchase to the government of his country.
The Guyanese people must be aware of these issues under US law and must not get carried away into believing that because it was mentioned that the said item was purchased by the government of Guyana that this means that the government of Guyana authorized the transaction.
It could well be that it was sold to a Guyanese but because of the nature of US law that sale is deemed to be to the country from which the foreign national originated.
It is inconceivable for the government of Guyana to have purchased such sensitive equipment and to have gone through the diplomatic process and yet deny this. Why would the government deny that it was behind a purchase when there may be records to indicate that it did?
Why, also, it has equally been asked, would a foreign company under oath claim that it sold spy equipment to a sitting Minister of a government? Why would the government ask its Minister of Health of all persons to purchase that equipment? This makes no sense at all.
If the government was interested in purchasing sensitive equipment during a security crisis, why would it allow that equipment to be purchased by its Minister of Health and not its National Security Minister? Why would that equipment end up in the hands of someone outside of the government rather than in the hands of the government?
If this equipment was, as is being alleged, capable of intercepting phone calls, why would the government want it in the hands of someone who could use it against the government? Why would the United States authorities knowing that such equipment could be used for politically advantageous purposes grant an approval for it to be exported to Guyana?
It is in the defence’s interest to support the contention that the equipment was exported with authorisation, for that will establish that the computer was not illegally obtained.
We may conclude that these questions are going to be answered during the course of the trial. The possibility though is that it may not.

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