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Is this really a country that promotes itself on the world stage?

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Is this really a country that promotes itself on the world stage?

Old 21st Nov 2018, 15:34
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Is this really a country that promotes itself on the world stage?

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Old 21st Nov 2018, 18:41
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Unbelievable and idiotic. There will be consequences not least the dwindling tourists from the UK.
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Old 21st Nov 2018, 23:08
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Not surprising. What about all the stories you don't hear about?
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Old 21st Nov 2018, 23:21
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one would think rape victims being jailed would be enough to put people off of that place...
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Old 22nd Nov 2018, 01:16
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One may note that the British government do not explicitly deny that he was a spy.
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Old 22nd Nov 2018, 04:16
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1. He admitted he was doing research into the UAE Security strategy, without approval. Tourists don't do that so there is no reason for anyone thinking of the place for a holiday to concern themselves. Why would a tourist care in the slightest as they safer there than in the UK.

2. The UK gets annoyed when Russian tourists to Salisbury are accused of crimes are they not ?. Yet the UK whingers want UK citizens to poke around other countries without consequence.

3. Jeremy Hunt moans because the UAE government didnt tell its courts what the outcome should be. Try asking Hunt to tell the Uk courts what to do and he will tell you they are independent yet he expects other countries to run their courts the way he would refuse to. He's a d*ck.

4. Whether he was a spy or not is largely irrelevant, as he was poking his nose into a country's security without approval and in almost any country, you'd be in big trouble.

5. The guy is a clearly an idiot, as he went to a politically sensitive region and started poking around and thought that because he would claim he was doing a PhD that would be alright. Try going to Cheltenham as a Brit and poking around the area of GCHQ and you'll be in big trouble as well.

No sympathy I'm afraid - he'll do a year and be thrown out.
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Old 22nd Nov 2018, 06:24
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He admitted he was doing research into the UAE Security strategy, without approval.
Remember that poor Italian student who tried a similar project in Egypt? Wasn't his body found in the road? Why on earth choose a subject about security. Agreed no sympathy here.

Also what happened to those guys from the UK that were accused of spying whilst plane spotting? I believe the Arab culture does not include plane spotting, train spotting or any other type of spotting!

Last edited by crewmeal; 22nd Nov 2018 at 07:07.
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Old 22nd Nov 2018, 06:51
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There are two points here.
  1. If he was a UK spy then clearly he was found out and the matter could and should have been dealt with via back channels. I don't believe he was a spy hence the anger in the UK. There is no reason to accuse Jeremy Hunt of stupidity in the case.
  2. Snooping around any country doing security research without some prior approval is stupid, but does not deserve a life sentence nor a kangaroo trial.
Let's have some balance here. The UK knows the Russians in Salisbury were up to serious no good; I. E. Murder. Our academic idiot from Durham was naive, but not looking for ways to commit other serious crime.

I feel for him and would never voluntarily visit any Arab state for the reason that they have strange rules compared to western countries (rape victims are guilty of a crime) and they love to torture you having arrested you to get a confession.
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Old 22nd Nov 2018, 15:50
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Originally Posted by Espada III View Post
There is no reason to accuse Jeremy Hunt of stupidity in the case.
Yes, there is. Hunt said he 'expected' the UAE government to deliver a verdict that he expected and at the same time complains about the lack of independent judiciary in other countries. He's a hypocrite.

Originally Posted by Espada III View Post
but does not deserve a life sentence nor a kangaroo trial.
Some countries take spying quite seriously when their friends spy on them. And its not a kangaroo trial - just the laws of another country. Others who may be considering working for the security services will now think twice about it. They don't always release via back channels if they feel betrayed - and a bit of public shaming helps.

Originally Posted by Espada III View Post
The UK knows the Russians in Salisbury were up to serious no good
So they claim. Plenty of non-Brits would believe otherwise and the Uk government has been known to lie - dodgy dossier anyone ?

Originally Posted by Espada III View Post
Our academic idiot from Durham was naive, but not looking for ways to commit other serious crime.
Thats you making an assumption on the basis that as he is British he must be honest and not up to anything bad. Kim Philby mean anything to you ?

The problem is that the guy is a grade 1 idiot, and people who believe him to be innocent simply on the basis of an accusation from an Arab country must be false, do not help anyone. When the accused says 'I am not spying but just investigating your security services and its approach to the Arab Spring' then he should be locked up on the basis of being a moron alone.
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Old 22nd Nov 2018, 18:46
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I think HMG lost all credibility to my mind during the arms to Iraq Matrix Churchill case. HMG were more than happy to see an agent jailed to save face.
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Old 22nd Nov 2018, 19:55
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Good to see that the milk of human kindness is apparent here, not. I hope those that have such little sympathy for a young married man to be given a life sentence for, yes a slightly naive interest in UAE security never find themselves on the wrong side of UAE ‘justice’. If he was genuinely working for British intelligence that would have been known. These repetitive incidents of injustice in the UAE and the wider ME are going to backfire horribly. The whinging and moaning Brits as described by one of the brave keyboard warriors here will decide to boycott the tourist paradise in their droves and their toxic, ridiculous airlines. People have cottoned on to the fact that Dubai is a baking sh1thole built up on sub continent slavery. I hope common sense prevails despite the spite of correspondents here, but either way, look out for karma, she is a b1tch.

Last edited by olster; 22nd Nov 2018 at 23:59.
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Old 23rd Nov 2018, 00:18
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Any tin pot PhD student would know the risks of getting caught doing unauthorised “research” in a totalitarian regime. Worse still, let’s not forget that this was his area of expertise. Good grief.

He took the risk, got caught and now wants everyone to bail him out. Why?.. Because being British apparently makes you special.
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Old 23rd Nov 2018, 03:11
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Agree with Lucille (except the last sentence!). While I have a lot of sympathy for this chap and his predicament, there are two elements in this case which puzzle me. Firstly, his parents lived in Dubai for a number of years, he reportedly grew up in, and attended school in, the UAE for at least some time, and he subsequently worked in the UAE. Anyone with this this background would without doubt be aware of the attitude of the authorities to political, military, police, and security matters. Secondly, bearing in mind the first point, why on earth did he (or his University) not approach the authorities, explain what he wanted to do, tell them in broad terms what sort of questions he would be asking, and get their written permission to carry out his research? It would also have been sensible to tell the local British Embassy what he was up to and sought their advice - I'm sure the resident "spook" would have given some sound guidance! At PhD level, the depth of questions he would have been asking would undoubtedly have raised some local eyebrows and drawn attention to his activities. The mere mention of the Muslim Brotherhood would have been sufficient to attract attention to his research. I would argue that his PhD supervisors failed in their 'duty of care' by not ensuring that this was done, but also that he was naive in the extreme by not doing it himself. For these reasons, I'm not absolutely convinced that he wasn't also acting in some capacity other than simple PhD research.

Just for the record, before my aviation career I did a lot of commercial research - some of it sensitive in nature - in an assortment of dodgy places - including Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan. In all cases we advised the authorities and the local Embassy, secured their permission in the form of a letter from the local Interior Ministries, and armed with that, never experienced any problems. In fact it helped open doors which would otherwise have remained tightly shut. The closest I ever came to being arrested for espionage was actually in UK, where I was escorted off the premises of a major defence contractor who had alerted the security services - so its not just in "totalitarian" countries that one has to be very careful.

Having said all that, I hope he's home in time for Christmas, having learned something about how not to carry out research in places which have a radically different attitude and penal system from his home country.

7B
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Old 23rd Nov 2018, 03:55
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Originally Posted by AIMINGHIGH123 View Post
Poking around a sensitive area of the world without authority. Very stupid if you ask me.

......


Finally released with no charge but given a warning.
Land of the free? Yeah right.
Can’t believe it took this post to make me finally comment on PPRuNe...

So the first dude did something stupid and should have known better, but your cousin did the same and he is the victim?

And he was released after the police in the states obviously realized that he was doing a constitutionally protected activity... without torture, fine, or any other adverse ‘life sentences’... but the yanks are bad. Keep your politics at the door mate.
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Old 23rd Nov 2018, 09:34
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Yup, have to agree with olster. Nice to see such compassion amongst my fellow human beings. If only stupidity was a crime.......the place would be far better with all the idiots in jail. Unfortunately, it isn't and a life sentence for it seems harsh. With the caveat that we probably don't have all the facts, there is no question that his actions were stupid. There is a massive leap from someone foolishly poking around a foreign country's security structures to someone who is here to undermine a state, or steal their state secrets. He was not convicted of doing phd research, but of spying.......that is a serious and massive leap. Surely a measure of investigation and due process would have revealed the truth. The state's only real proof appears to be a confession signed in a language that he does not understand and under some seriously dubious circumstances.

I think we also missed the point that the OP was trying to make.....sure, the UK should not try tell UAE how to run it's courts but the UAE is seeking to sell itself on the world stage. They should be judged by world standards. We all get better when we pay attention to critical review of our actions.
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Old 23rd Nov 2018, 11:06
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They should be judged by world standards. We all get better when we pay attention to critical review of our actions.
World standards? You have POTUS questioning the decisions of judges as partisan because he doesn’t agree. Rendition by the CIA. Russians meddling in elections, invading Crimea and using nerve agents in the UK. Look at recent spying cases in the west, quick judgement and lengthy sentences.

You need to get ethics permission in the UK to carry out a study on primary school students for a research paper. Who in their right minds would carry out ‘security research’ in a country that has clear laws preventing it. You can’t even take photos of aircraft at the airport..

As much as I feel sympathy for his personal predicament, using words like naivety to describe the actions of an obviously intelligent 31 year old man who would be fully aware of the need to get permission for academic research having already carried out a masters degree seems ludicrous.

He was dumb, got caught out and is now trying to duck the consequences. But...he will be pardoned shortly and kicked out.
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Old 24th Nov 2018, 10:03
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I think it is fair to say that the UAE, nor any other country in the region, would never give its blessing to anyone coming in and carrying out the type of research that he was apparently carrying out, based on accounts from friends and academics.

From the outside looking in, it would seem that it got to the point where he simply knew too much highly sensitive information, which the UAE feared would be extremely embarrassing and potentially damaging for their own national security. I would not be surprised if he had connections in the country, due to him previously working in the UAE as a researcher in the defence sector. Every Emirati will have their own threshold of what they are comfortable to be asked and talk about concerning their own country. Perhaps one of his interviewees felt a line was crossed and subsequently voiced their concern? It was reported that many of the people he was interviewing were already known to him in a previous professional capacity.

He co-authored a paper in 2017 concerning the GCC and the Muslim Brotherhood and after reading a section, it's clear we are not dealing with an idiot here but someone who clearly had their finger on the regional geopolitical pulse. One press article I read suggested some topics that he was researching, with one being the relationship between the various Emirati tribes and recruitment into the security services. A topic that would probably send a cold sharp chill up any kandura on a hot summers day.

My guess is his early release will be announced on UAE National Day and he will be back in the UK for Christmas.
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Old 24th Nov 2018, 18:36
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And its not a kangaroo trial - just the laws of another country.
So, signing a confession in a language that you can't understand is ok with you? Being banged up without access to a lawyer too? No consular access? No access to proper medical care?

"Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge... is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another's world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding."
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Old 26th Nov 2018, 08:32
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He has been pardoned.
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Old 26th Nov 2018, 11:58
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Originally Posted by Emma Royds View Post

My guess is his early release will be announced on UAE National Day and he will be back in the UK for Christmas.
Hope you put money on that Emma. Oh I forgot - betting's illegal in UAE
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