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Devyani Khobragade

Cermank
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1/12/2014 11:49:29 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Was wondering where DDO stood on the issue.

[https://en.wikipedia.org...]

Will expound on it if the topic garners interest, but I'm mildly pro-Devyani as of now. She probably did underpay her maid- but it's impossible for her to pay $4500 per month when she earns around $4100. This is something that is probably a problem for every consulate not Indian, given that they are paid according to the wage rate in the country they are from. As for the strip search, I was pretty appalled initially, but apparently that's standard procedure. Still a little shocking nevertheless.
Cermank
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1/12/2014 12:04:31 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/12/2014 11:49:29 AM, Cermank wrote:
Was wondering where DDO stood on the issue.

[https://en.wikipedia.org...]

Will expound on it if the topic garners interest, but I'm mildly pro-Devyani as of now. She probably did underpay her maid- but it's impossible for her to pay $4500 per month when she earns around $4100. This is something that is probably a problem for every consulate not American, given that they are paid according to the wage rate in the country they are from. As for the strip search, I was pretty appalled initially, but apparently that's standard procedure. Still a little shocking nevertheless.

fixed
wrichcirw
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1/12/2014 4:49:14 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Hmmm...I had been under the impression that she had full diplomatic immunity when she was strip-searched, but apparently she didn't, in which case there shouldn't be any international controversy given that US marshals were following standard procedures.

I can understand that the strip-search element may most definitely seem inappropriate given the charges, but if she was not treated any differently from other offenders of the same type of crime, then in the end, given her lack of diplomatic immunity at the time, I wouldn't see it as a diplomatic issue as much as an issue of stupid US Marshal procedures.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
rross
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1/12/2014 7:17:38 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/12/2014 11:49:29 AM, Cermank wrote:
Was wondering where DDO stood on the issue.

[https://en.wikipedia.org...]

Will expound on it if the topic garners interest, but I'm mildly pro-Devyani as of now. She probably did underpay her maid- but it's impossible for her to pay $4500 per month when she earns around $4100. This is something that is probably a problem for every consulate not American, given that they are paid according to the wage rate in the country they are from.

She didn't just underpay her maid, she broke US laws and committed fraud to get the Richard into the country. This from an Indian consular official.

If she doesn't get enough living expenses from the Indian government, then she needs to take it up with them. It's not an excuse for breaking the law - are you serious? If it's the sort of position that you need to be rich to take, and she's not rich enough, then she should have applied for a different position. Again, it's no excuse for breaking the law and committing fraud. The other option is, of course, that her husband could stay home with the children, or they could arrange for cheaper childcare.

As for the strip search, I was pretty appalled initially, but apparently that's standard procedure. Still a little shocking nevertheless.

Could you explain a bit about why it's shocking? I know there's been a huge reaction in India - but, personally, I really don't see it as a problem (I'm not Indian, though). She committed fraud, and committed a crime that borders on human trafficking, which is disgraceful for someone in her position. She was strip-searched, so what? I get strip-searched at airports sometimes. It's not fun, but it's no big deal. So I don't really understand the reaction.

Later on, Khobragade filed charges of theft against Richard who was arrested and probably strip searched as well, if it's standard procedure. But nobody's protesting about that. What's the difference exactly?
Cermank
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1/13/2014 8:48:18 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/12/2014 7:17:38 PM, rross wrote:
At 1/12/2014 11:49:29 AM, Cermank wrote:
Was wondering where DDO stood on the issue.

[https://en.wikipedia.org...]

Will expound on it if the topic garners interest, but I'm mildly pro-Devyani as of now. She probably did underpay her maid- but it's impossible for her to pay $4500 per month when she earns around $4100. This is something that is probably a problem for every consulate not American, given that they are paid according to the wage rate in the country they are from.

She didn't just underpay her maid, she broke US laws and committed fraud to get the Richard into the country. This from an Indian consular official.

If she doesn't get enough living expenses from the Indian government, then she needs to take it up with them. It's not an excuse for breaking the law - are you serious? If it's the sort of position that you need to be rich to take, and she's not rich enough, then she should have applied for a different position. Again, it's no excuse for breaking the law and committing fraud. The other option is, of course, that her husband could stay home with the children, or they could arrange for cheaper childcare.

As for the strip search, I was pretty appalled initially, but apparently that's standard procedure. Still a little shocking nevertheless.

Could you explain a bit about why it's shocking? I know there's been a huge reaction in India - but, personally, I really don't see it as a problem (I'm not Indian, though). She committed fraud, and committed a crime that borders on human trafficking, which is disgraceful for someone in her position. She was strip-searched, so what? I get strip-searched at airports sometimes. It's not fun, but it's no big deal. So I don't really understand the reaction.

Later on, Khobragade filed charges of theft against Richard who was arrested and probably strip searched as well, if it's standard procedure. But nobody's protesting about that. What's the difference exactly?

It's cultural. In India, its considered the highest of the highest dishonour to ask a female to strip. I knew there were some cases where strip searches were performed in other countries, but I thought they were reserved for the people who committed heinous crimes. As far as I've read, its to ensure safety of criminals (?), but I still think there needs to be a limit of infringing on civil liberties. I tried to normalize it in my head, but I can't. Especially considering the number of stupid laws we have in our country. (I've already broken a couple of them, the drinking age being 25 and cannibis being illegal. )

And the general consensus in India is that we shouldn't really bother about her, considering we have much more important things going on. The 'furious' reaction is just politicians trying to divert public ire. It just takes a few to 'appear' angry. Plus, the public mood is pretty anti-Devyani, if that's to be considered. The 'retaliatory' steps are merely reciprocity, apparently US consulates in India were being given much more perks than the Indian consulates in US. Reciprocity is the basis of any international relation.

But here's the thing, if we are looking in strictly legal terms, US couldn't have filed a case against Devyani, given that Mr. Khobragade already had an injunction from teh Delhi court on September 20- restarining Richards from moving court against Devyani outside India.

( http://archive.indianexpress.com... )
This is apart from the fact that the Delhi court had asked US courts to file a missing report against Richards, which was not taken up formally by the US authorities.

If we're not talking in legal terms (which is usually not the case in international disputes, but informally here), I feel the law being kind of stupid. The wages were consensual initially, given that Sangeeta agrees there was a 'verbal contract'. The second contract that they agreed to, the written one, specified that Devyani would give her Rs. 30,000 which translated to around $3.3 per hour at that ER. She got the Visa, and this is what she was paying her maid. I personally don't understand what was 'wrong', apart from the fact that its illegal. As long as its consensual, why does the law have to interfere? Sangeeta agreed to the terms when she signed the contracts.
Cermank
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1/13/2014 8:54:15 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/12/2014 4:49:14 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
Hmmm...I had been under the impression that she had full diplomatic immunity when she was strip-searched, but apparently she didn't, in which case there shouldn't be any international controversy given that US marshals were following standard procedures.

I can understand that the strip-search element may most definitely seem inappropriate given the charges, but if she was not treated any differently from other offenders of the same type of crime, then in the end, given her lack of diplomatic immunity at the time, I wouldn't see it as a diplomatic issue as much as an issue of stupid US Marshal procedures.

Yeah, I kind of agree with this. Not even the strip search, (which I've cast aside as a case of cultural misunderstanding; even though it did fuel much of my initial discomfort,) its more of a case of someone who went back on something that was already decided upon in the beginning. It got more footage than its worth, regardless.
wrichcirw
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1/13/2014 9:29:05 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
My gut reaction is that you're being far too harsh on Khobragade.

At 1/12/2014 7:17:38 PM, rross wrote:
At 1/12/2014 11:49:29 AM, Cermank wrote:
Was wondering where DDO stood on the issue.

[https://en.wikipedia.org...]

Will expound on it if the topic garners interest, but I'm mildly pro-Devyani as of now. She probably did underpay her maid- but it's impossible for her to pay $4500 per month when she earns around $4100. This is something that is probably a problem for every consulate not American, given that they are paid according to the wage rate in the country they are from.

She didn't just underpay her maid, she broke US laws and committed fraud to get the Richard into the country. This from an Indian consular official.

If she doesn't get enough living expenses from the Indian government, then she needs to take it up with them. It's not an excuse for breaking the law - are you serious? If it's the sort of position that you need to be rich to take, and she's not rich enough, then she should have applied for a different position. Again, it's no excuse for breaking the law and committing fraud. The other option is, of course, that her husband could stay home with the children, or they could arrange for cheaper childcare.

I agree that her financial situation is completely irrelevant to this particular situation and that a maid is not some sort of necessity for anyone...and if it was for whatever reason related to her position, the Indian government should have provided her with one instead of having her find one for herself.

As for the strip search, I was pretty appalled initially, but apparently that's standard procedure. Still a little shocking nevertheless.

Could you explain a bit about why it's shocking? I know there's been a huge reaction in India - but, personally, I really don't see it as a problem (I'm not Indian, though). She committed fraud, and committed a crime that borders on human trafficking, which is disgraceful for someone in her position. She was strip-searched, so what? I get strip-searched at airports sometimes. It's not fun, but it's no big deal. So I don't really understand the reaction.

There's a (relatively) big reaction stateside too. IMHO, how this strikes me is that she was treated differently despite whatever the US marshals are saying. I mean, trafficking is a very strong word for what is commonplace in America - the hiring of illegal immigrants for maid/nanny purposes. This one happened to be Indian instead of Latino.

US government officials have resigned over even improper allegations of such...but strip searched?? Are you kidding? Zoe Baird was found to have done the same thing as Khobragade - hiring illegals in a domestic capacity. It doesn't matter how much she paid them. I don't remember a damned thing about a strip search when "nannygate" entered the popular lexicon here. Hell I don't even remember an arrest being made.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

On your own personal experiences with this practice, I've never been strip searched before. I've been held at an airport for hours while they opened all of my luggage to find out WTF I had in there, but strip searched? Are you kidding? Maybe you fly a lot more than I do, and maybe the fact that I've almost always flown into countries where I didn't require a passport, but still.

From what I've read of this case, a cavity search would have been routine for someone in Khobragade's situation...my guess would be because "trafficking" of any sort automatically assumes drug trafficking, so gotta check those orifices...again, stupid US marshals procedures.

Later on, Khobragade filed charges of theft against Richard who was arrested and probably strip searched as well, if it's standard procedure. But nobody's protesting about that. What's the difference exactly?
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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1/13/2014 12:54:13 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/13/2014 8:48:18 AM, Cermank wrote:
At 1/12/2014 7:17:38 PM, rross wrote:

I personally don't understand what was 'wrong', apart from the fact that its illegal. As long as its consensual, why does the law have to interfere? Sangeeta agreed to the terms when she signed the contracts.

rofl..just lol...

The rest was pretty interesting and very close to my opinion (although I didn't read the other article you linked, so I can't comment on that part)...but this?

I mean, maybe visa fraud is OK in India, but in the US, visa fraud is serious business. US citizenship is...well, unfortunately very, very special.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Cermank
Posts: 3,773
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1/13/2014 1:10:04 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/13/2014 12:54:13 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/13/2014 8:48:18 AM, Cermank wrote:
At 1/12/2014 7:17:38 PM, rross wrote:

I personally don't understand what was 'wrong', apart from the fact that its illegal. As long as its consensual, why does the law have to interfere? Sangeeta agreed to the terms when she signed the contracts.

rofl..just lol...

The rest was pretty interesting and very close to my opinion (although I didn't read the other article you linked, so I can't comment on that part)...but this?

I mean, maybe visa fraud is OK in India, but in the US, visa fraud is serious business. US citizenship is...well, unfortunately very, very special.

I'm actually not sure the level of severity of a visa fraud in India, but I was commenting on the dichotomy between something considered wrong and 'illegal'. I understand that visa fraud is serious bizness, but this isn't even someone lying in order to get in US. This is a contractual illegality- a contract that was agreed upon, but illegal according to US standards. And someone going back on their word and using the word of the fiat to strengthen their case.

Obviously I can't actually hold these thoughts in the court of law, but this has been bothering me for a while. Perhaps India is a little lax on laws. Cannabis, for example, is illegal but culturally acceptable during a festival, so much so that extended families sit together and have it once a year, (in limited quantities, of course), during a festival (holi). Alcohol is illegal but the police is so lax on this one they didn't even ask for bribe when I showed them my ID. Just a 'warning' to be responsible with it.

And it makes sense, some laws are stupid. Just because its illegal doesn't mean its wrong.
Cermank
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1/13/2014 1:18:11 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
In fact, thinking back, I don't think visa fraud considered such a big deal. When I went to Indo-Bangladesh border recently, apparently people from the Bangladeshi border came to India without visas a lot. So much so that the bribe is just a 100 rupees (which is less than $2). I don't think people care that much, as long as we get people willing to work for less.
rross
Posts: 2,772
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1/13/2014 1:43:23 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/13/2014 8:48:18 AM, Cermank wrote:
At 1/12/2014 7:17:38 PM, rross wrote:
At 1/12/2014 11:49:29 AM, Cermank wrote:
Was wondering where DDO stood on the issue.

[https://en.wikipedia.org...]

Will expound on it if the topic garners interest, but I'm mildly pro-Devyani as of now. She probably did underpay her maid- but it's impossible for her to pay $4500 per month when she earns around $4100. This is something that is probably a problem for every consulate not American, given that they are paid according to the wage rate in the country they are from.

She didn't just underpay her maid, she broke US laws and committed fraud to get the Richard into the country. This from an Indian consular official.

If she doesn't get enough living expenses from the Indian government, then she needs to take it up with them. It's not an excuse for breaking the law - are you serious? If it's the sort of position that you need to be rich to take, and she's not rich enough, then she should have applied for a different position. Again, it's no excuse for breaking the law and committing fraud. The other option is, of course, that her husband could stay home with the children, or they could arrange for cheaper childcare.

As for the strip search, I was pretty appalled initially, but apparently that's standard procedure. Still a little shocking nevertheless.

Could you explain a bit about why it's shocking? I know there's been a huge reaction in India - but, personally, I really don't see it as a problem (I'm not Indian, though). She committed fraud, and committed a crime that borders on human trafficking, which is disgraceful for someone in her position. She was strip-searched, so what? I get strip-searched at airports sometimes. It's not fun, but it's no big deal. So I don't really understand the reaction.

Later on, Khobragade filed charges of theft against Richard who was arrested and probably strip searched as well, if it's standard procedure. But nobody's protesting about that. What's the difference exactly?

It's cultural. In India, its considered the highest of the highest dishonour to ask a female to strip. I knew there were some cases where strip searches were performed in other countries, but I thought they were reserved for the people who committed heinous crimes. As far as I've read, its to ensure safety of criminals (?), but I still think there needs to be a limit of infringing on civil liberties. I tried to normalize it in my head, but I can't. Especially considering the number of stupid laws we have in our country. (I've already broken a couple of them, the drinking age being 25 and cannibis being illegal. )

OK. Yeah, I thought it must be cultural. But again, why no protest over Richard being strip-searched?

And the general consensus in India is that we shouldn't really bother about her, considering we have much more important things going on. The 'furious' reaction is just politicians trying to divert public ire. It just takes a few to 'appear' angry. Plus, the public mood is pretty anti-Devyani, if that's to be considered. The 'retaliatory' steps are merely reciprocity, apparently US consulates in India were being given much more perks than the Indian consulates in US. Reciprocity is the basis of any international relation.

But here's the thing, if we are looking in strictly legal terms, US couldn't have filed a case against Devyani, given that Mr. Khobragade already had an injunction from teh Delhi court on September 20- restarining Richards from moving court against Devyani outside India.

( http://archive.indianexpress.com... )

Wow. I had no idea such a thing was possible. How can it be - if the alleged crimes were in US territory?

Also, talk about bias: the defendant was treated like a member of the family. Lol. Yeah, a member of the family who eats separately and has to work 19 hours a day.

This is apart from the fact that the Delhi court had asked US courts to file a missing report against Richards, which was not taken up formally by the US authorities.

But is she missing?

If we're not talking in legal terms (which is usually not the case in international disputes, but informally here), I feel the law being kind of stupid. The wages were consensual initially, given that Sangeeta agrees there was a 'verbal contract'. The second contract that they agreed to, the written one, specified that Devyani would give her Rs. 30,000 which translated to around $3.3 per hour at that ER. She got the Visa, and this is what she was paying her maid. I personally don't understand what was 'wrong', apart from the fact that its illegal. As long as its consensual, why does the law have to interfere? Sangeeta agreed to the terms when she signed the contracts.

Several parts. It was illegal immigration. She was a consul, in a position of responsibility over granting visas, and she abused that position. The US has work standards which must be complied with. She tried to undercut those standards, which weakens the position of all workers in the US.

Because Richard was there illegally, Khobragade was in a position of immense power over her. Asking her to work 19 hour days, for example, is extreme.
rross
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1/13/2014 1:51:36 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/13/2014 9:29:05 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
My gut reaction is that you're being far too harsh on Khobragade.

At 1/12/2014 7:17:38 PM, rross wrote:
At 1/12/2014 11:49:29 AM, Cermank wrote:
Was wondering where DDO stood on the issue.

[https://en.wikipedia.org...]

Will expound on it if the topic garners interest, but I'm mildly pro-Devyani as of now. She probably did underpay her maid- but it's impossible for her to pay $4500 per month when she earns around $4100. This is something that is probably a problem for every consulate not American, given that they are paid according to the wage rate in the country they are from.

She didn't just underpay her maid, she broke US laws and committed fraud to get the Richard into the country. This from an Indian consular official.

If she doesn't get enough living expenses from the Indian government, then she needs to take it up with them. It's not an excuse for breaking the law - are you serious? If it's the sort of position that you need to be rich to take, and she's not rich enough, then she should have applied for a different position. Again, it's no excuse for breaking the law and committing fraud. The other option is, of course, that her husband could stay home with the children, or they could arrange for cheaper childcare.

I agree that her financial situation is completely irrelevant to this particular situation and that a maid is not some sort of necessity for anyone...and if it was for whatever reason related to her position, the Indian government should have provided her with one instead of having her find one for herself.

As for the strip search, I was pretty appalled initially, but apparently that's standard procedure. Still a little shocking nevertheless.

Could you explain a bit about why it's shocking? I know there's been a huge reaction in India - but, personally, I really don't see it as a problem (I'm not Indian, though). She committed fraud, and committed a crime that borders on human trafficking, which is disgraceful for someone in her position. She was strip-searched, so what? I get strip-searched at airports sometimes. It's not fun, but it's no big deal. So I don't really understand the reaction.

There's a (relatively) big reaction stateside too. IMHO, how this strikes me is that she was treated differently despite whatever the US marshals are saying. I mean, trafficking is a very strong word for what is commonplace in America - the hiring of illegal immigrants for maid/nanny purposes. This one happened to be Indian instead of Latino.

There's a big difference between hiring an illegal immigrant who's already there (although I do have issues with that) and bringing someone in specially, and illegally...

US government officials have resigned over even improper allegations of such...but strip searched?? Are you kidding? Zoe Baird was found to have done the same thing as Khobragade - hiring illegals in a domestic capacity. It doesn't matter how much she paid them. I don't remember a damned thing about a strip search when "nannygate" entered the popular lexicon here. Hell I don't even remember an arrest being made.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

On your own personal experiences with this practice, I've never been strip searched before. I've been held at an airport for hours while they opened all of my luggage to find out WTF I had in there, but strip searched? Are you kidding? Maybe you fly a lot more than I do, and maybe the fact that I've almost always flown into countries where I didn't require a passport, but still.

No, I'm not kidding. But I've never had to take off my underwear, so it's very different to be fair.

From what I've read of this case, a cavity search would have been routine for someone in Khobragade's situation...my guess would be because "trafficking" of any sort automatically assumes drug trafficking, so gotta check those orifices...again, stupid US marshals procedures.

I think her orifices were only checked with an external visual. I think they waived the full examination in her case. Thank goodness.

Later on, Khobragade filed charges of theft against Richard who was arrested and probably strip searched as well, if it's standard procedure. But nobody's protesting about that. What's the difference exactly?
rross
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1/13/2014 1:58:56 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/13/2014 1:18:11 PM, Cermank wrote:
In fact, thinking back, I don't think visa fraud considered such a big deal. When I went to Indo-Bangladesh border recently, apparently people from the Bangladeshi border came to India without visas a lot. So much so that the bribe is just a 100 rupees (which is less than $2). I don't think people care that much, as long as we get people willing to work for less.

Yeah, it can become a big deal when people can't leave or are desperate not to leave. For example with sex trafficking, the passports are held, even though they may or may not have agreed to contracts beforehand, they may have to pay off a debt, or they're afraid for their safety if they have to return to their own country.

Or even with "mail order" marriages, just the fact that the spouse may really, really want to stay in the new country (economic opportunities and the chance to bring her family members over) can open him or her up to abuse, since there's a waiting period before full residency. That's why these visas often have the abuse claim clauses.
wrichcirw
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1/13/2014 2:36:15 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/13/2014 1:51:36 PM, rross wrote:
At 1/13/2014 9:29:05 AM, wrichcirw wrote:

There's a (relatively) big reaction stateside too. IMHO, how this strikes me is that she was treated differently despite whatever the US marshals are saying. I mean, trafficking is a very strong word for what is commonplace in America - the hiring of illegal immigrants for maid/nanny purposes. This one happened to be Indian instead of Latino.

There's a big difference between hiring an illegal immigrant who's already there (although I do have issues with that) and bringing someone in specially, and illegally...

True enough, I overlooked this. I suppose this is where "trafficking" specifically becomes much more relevant.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
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1/13/2014 2:38:35 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/13/2014 1:10:04 PM, Cermank wrote:
At 1/13/2014 12:54:13 PM, wrichcirw wrote:

I mean, maybe visa fraud is OK in India, but in the US, visa fraud is serious business. US citizenship is...well, unfortunately very, very special.

I'm actually not sure the level of severity of a visa fraud in India, but I was commenting on the dichotomy between something considered wrong and 'illegal'. I understand that visa fraud is serious bizness, but this isn't even someone lying in order to get in US. This is a contractual illegality- a contract that was agreed upon, but illegal according to US standards.

Well, they lied to the US. That's kinda why the US went apesh!t. =)

After reading rross's response to me, I'm more convinced that the US did the right thing, and that rross had a really good point about the nature of human trafficking.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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1/13/2014 2:48:42 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/13/2014 1:43:23 PM, rross wrote:
At 1/13/2014 8:48:18 AM, Cermank wrote:
At 1/12/2014 7:17:38 PM, rross wrote:
At 1/12/2014 11:49:29 AM, Cermank wrote:
Was wondering where DDO stood on the issue.

[https://en.wikipedia.org...]

Will expound on it if the topic garners interest, but I'm mildly pro-Devyani as of now. She probably did underpay her maid- but it's impossible for her to pay $4500 per month when she earns around $4100. This is something that is probably a problem for every consulate not American, given that they are paid according to the wage rate in the country they are from.

She didn't just underpay her maid, she broke US laws and committed fraud to get the Richard into the country. This from an Indian consular official.

If she doesn't get enough living expenses from the Indian government, then she needs to take it up with them. It's not an excuse for breaking the law - are you serious? If it's the sort of position that you need to be rich to take, and she's not rich enough, then she should have applied for a different position. Again, it's no excuse for breaking the law and committing fraud. The other option is, of course, that her husband could stay home with the children, or they could arrange for cheaper childcare.

As for the strip search, I was pretty appalled initially, but apparently that's standard procedure. Still a little shocking nevertheless.

Could you explain a bit about why it's shocking? I know there's been a huge reaction in India - but, personally, I really don't see it as a problem (I'm not Indian, though). She committed fraud, and committed a crime that borders on human trafficking, which is disgraceful for someone in her position. She was strip-searched, so what? I get strip-searched at airports sometimes. It's not fun, but it's no big deal. So I don't really understand the reaction.

Later on, Khobragade filed charges of theft against Richard who was arrested and probably strip searched as well, if it's standard procedure. But nobody's protesting about that. What's the difference exactly?

It's cultural. In India, its considered the highest of the highest dishonour to ask a female to strip. I knew there were some cases where strip searches were performed in other countries, but I thought they were reserved for the people who committed heinous crimes. As far as I've read, its to ensure safety of criminals (?), but I still think there needs to be a limit of infringing on civil liberties. I tried to normalize it in my head, but I can't. Especially considering the number of stupid laws we have in our country. (I've already broken a couple of them, the drinking age being 25 and cannibis being illegal. )

OK. Yeah, I thought it must be cultural. But again, why no protest over Richard being strip-searched?

And the general consensus in India is that we shouldn't really bother about her, considering we have much more important things going on. The 'furious' reaction is just politicians trying to divert public ire. It just takes a few to 'appear' angry. Plus, the public mood is pretty anti-Devyani, if that's to be considered. The 'retaliatory' steps are merely reciprocity, apparently US consulates in India were being given much more perks than the Indian consulates in US. Reciprocity is the basis of any international relation.

But here's the thing, if we are looking in strictly legal terms, US couldn't have filed a case against Devyani, given that Mr. Khobragade already had an injunction from teh Delhi court on September 20- restarining Richards from moving court against Devyani outside India.

( http://archive.indianexpress.com... )

I cannot believe this would hold outside of Indian jurisdiction. Frankly, it seems to be an intimidation tactic against the Richards.

If the crime happened in the US, then all else being the same, she should be tried under US law. I'm not aware of India having any sort of extraterritoriality treaties with the US outside of the standard of diplomatic immunity.

Wow. I had no idea such a thing was possible. How can it be - if the alleged crimes were in US territory?

Also, talk about bias: the defendant was treated like a member of the family. Lol. Yeah, a member of the family who eats separately and has to work 19 hours a day.

This is apart from the fact that the Delhi court had asked US courts to file a missing report against Richards, which was not taken up formally by the US authorities.

But is she missing?

If we're not talking in legal terms (which is usually not the case in international disputes, but informally here), I feel the law being kind of stupid. The wages were consensual initially, given that Sangeeta agrees there was a 'verbal contract'. The second contract that they agreed to, the written one, specified that Devyani would give her Rs. 30,000 which translated to around $3.3 per hour at that ER. She got the Visa, and this is what she was paying her maid. I personally don't understand what was 'wrong', apart from the fact that its illegal. As long as its consensual, why does the law have to interfere? Sangeeta agreed to the terms when she signed the contracts.

Several parts. It was illegal immigration. She was a consul, in a position of responsibility over granting visas, and she abused that position. The US has work standards which must be complied with. She tried to undercut those standards, which weakens the position of all workers in the US.

Because Richard was there illegally, Khobragade was in a position of immense power over her. Asking her to work 19 hour days, for example, is extreme.

Yeah, after reading all this with the link, I'm firmly in the belief that the US was in every way in the right to treat Khobragade as harshly as they did, to include the strip search. This is orders of magnitude more severe than "nannygate".

This is human trafficking.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Cermank
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1/13/2014 3:02:41 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/13/2014 1:43:23 PM, rross wrote:
At 1/13/2014 8:48:18 AM, Cermank wrote:
At 1/12/2014 7:17:38 PM, rross wrote:



Later on, Khobragade filed charges of theft against Richard who was arrested and probably strip searched as well, if it's standard procedure. But nobody's protesting about that. What's the difference exactly?

It's cultural. In India, its considered the highest of the highest dishonour to ask a female to strip. I knew there were some cases where strip searches were performed in other countries, but I thought they were reserved for the people who committed heinous crimes. As far as I've read, its to ensure safety of criminals (?), but I still think there needs to be a limit of infringing on civil liberties. I tried to normalize it in my head, but I can't. Especially considering the number of stupid laws we have in our country. (I've already broken a couple of them, the drinking age being 25 and cannibis being illegal. )

OK. Yeah, I thought it must be cultural. But again, why no protest over Richard being strip-searched?
I didn't know she was. There would have been similar concerns had the media played that up. I'm not very well versed with the law to know what went down there. The theft was just an accusition, as far as I can verify- the actual case filed was the case of extortion. When she recieved a call and asked her to pay $10,000 and provide her with a regular passport, among other things.

And the general consensus in India is that we shouldn't really bother about her, considering we have much more important things going on. The 'furious' reaction is just politicians trying to divert public ire. It just takes a few to 'appear' angry. Plus, the public mood is pretty anti-Devyani, if that's to be considered. The 'retaliatory' steps are merely reciprocity, apparently US consulates in India were being given much more perks than the Indian consulates in US. Reciprocity is the basis of any international relation.

But here's the thing, if we are looking in strictly legal terms, US couldn't have filed a case against Devyani, given that Mr. Khobragade already had an injunction from teh Delhi court on September 20- restarining Richards from moving court against Devyani outside India.

( http://archive.indianexpress.com... )

Wow. I had no idea such a thing was possible. How can it be - if the alleged crimes were in US territory?

Because the 'perpetrators' were Indian residents. This is quite a standard practice, actually.

Also, talk about bias: the defendant was treated like a member of the family. Lol. Yeah, a member of the family who eats separately and has to work 19 hours a day.

This is apart from the fact that the Delhi court had asked US courts to file a missing report against Richards, which was not taken up formally by the US authorities.

But is she missing?

No, when Sangeeta didn't return from grocery shopping- Devyani contacted the Indian government who asked the US officials to file a missing complaint. Ir wasn't taken up officially though.

If we're not talking in legal terms (which is usually not the case in international disputes, but informally here), I feel the law being kind of stupid. The wages were consensual initially, given that Sangeeta agrees there was a 'verbal contract'. The second contract that they agreed to, the written one, specified that Devyani would give her Rs. 30,000 which translated to around $3.3 per hour at that ER. She got the Visa, and this is what she was paying her maid. I personally don't understand what was 'wrong', apart from the fact that its illegal. As long as its consensual, why does the law have to interfere? Sangeeta agreed to the terms when she signed the contracts.

Several parts. It was illegal immigration. She was a consul, in a position of responsibility over granting visas, and she abused that position. The US has work standards which must be complied with. She tried to undercut those standards, which weakens the position of all workers in the US.

Because Richard was there illegally, Khobragade was in a position of immense power over her. Asking her to work 19 hour days, for example, is extreme.

Richard wasn't there illegally though, the CONTRACT she had signed privately with Devyani was illegal under the US laws. If anything, it gave Sangeeta immense power over Devyani, as the subsequent developments have clearly shown. One can ask anything, if its not in the contract, she has no legal obligation to do that. Sangeeta had complete right to be there in the US.
wrichcirw
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1/13/2014 3:07:23 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/13/2014 8:48:18 AM, Cermank wrote:
At 1/12/2014 7:17:38 PM, rross wrote:

And the general consensus in India is that we shouldn't really bother about her, considering we have much more important things going on. The 'furious' reaction is just politicians trying to divert public ire. It just takes a few to 'appear' angry. Plus, the public mood is pretty anti-Devyani, if that's to be considered. The 'retaliatory' steps are merely reciprocity, apparently US consulates in India were being given much more perks than the Indian consulates in US. Reciprocity is the basis of any international relation.

I just wanted to add my two cents on specifically "reciprocity".

On a moral basis, this is most certainly compelling logic.

On a realist basis, what matters is power relations. The US gets more perks all around the world, especially wherever it has a permanent military presence. Whenever I went to Japan or Korea as a soldier, I used the same line that diplomats used to enter the country, did not require a passport, and waited maybe 2 minutes while the rest of the plane waited a couple hours to pass through customs.

In country, had I murdered a Korean or a Japanese citizen in cold blood while on duty, the Korean and Japanese governments would have had no jurisdiction over me - they would have to turn me over to US authorities to stand trial over what should otherwise be a purely Korean or Japanese domestic matter. This happens often - most US soldiers do minimal time, if they are even found guilty of a crime. Such is the power of the "status of forces agreements" (SOFA) that the US typically signs with host nations of occupied countries. It is modern day extraterritoriality.

It is precisely because the US could not arrange this level of immunity for its soldiers in Iraq that led to the US withdrawal out of Iraq.

There is zero reciprocity with those arrangements. We do not allow Japanese or Korean soldiers on US soil that are not subject to US laws.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
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1/13/2014 3:18:36 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I still have my SOFA card in my wallet. It looks just like this:

http://www.usfk.mil...

Non-military US citizens in foreign countries are not afforded this kind of "special treatment", although I'm sure civilian agencies like the CIA and such have their own guidelines.

Anyway, I'd be more than willing to debate the morality of such a procedure. I've been framing it as an amoral issue for a long time, but I think that's just me trying to dodge the issue.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Cermank
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1/13/2014 3:19:49 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/13/2014 1:58:56 PM, rross wrote:
At 1/13/2014 1:18:11 PM, Cermank wrote:
In fact, thinking back, I don't think visa fraud considered such a big deal. When I went to Indo-Bangladesh border recently, apparently people from the Bangladeshi border came to India without visas a lot. So much so that the bribe is just a 100 rupees (which is less than $2). I don't think people care that much, as long as we get people willing to work for less.

Yeah, it can become a big deal when people can't leave or are desperate not to leave. For example with sex trafficking, the passports are held, even though they may or may not have agreed to contracts beforehand, they may have to pay off a debt, or they're afraid for their safety if they have to return to their own country.

Or even with "mail order" marriages, just the fact that the spouse may really, really want to stay in the new country (economic opportunities and the chance to bring her family members over) can open him or her up to abuse, since there's a waiting period before full residency. That's why these visas often have the abuse claim clauses.

I'll just clarify I'm not sure where India stands on visa frauds. This is just me extrapolating from some observations I made a month ago. In Bangladesh, for example, prostitution is legal- so the dynamics change a little.

But i still don't see the need for laws governing contractual agreements. Perhaps abuse claim clauses, yes. But specifying minimum wage and the number of hours you'd be 'allowed' to hire someone just seems regressive. If a worker agrees he wants to work for, say, 50 hours a week and he signs a contract for the same, I don't see why government needs to mandate the work. If he agrees to work for 50 and is being made to work 51, that is a legit criminal case. I agree with the concerns you outline, obviously human traficking is an extremely serious crime. But i believe governments role beyond ensuring the contracts specified are followed is neither needed, nor desirable.
wrichcirw
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1/13/2014 3:33:10 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/13/2014 3:19:49 PM, Cermank wrote:
At 1/13/2014 1:58:56 PM, rross wrote:
At 1/13/2014 1:18:11 PM, Cermank wrote:
In fact, thinking back, I don't think visa fraud considered such a big deal. When I went to Indo-Bangladesh border recently, apparently people from the Bangladeshi border came to India without visas a lot. So much so that the bribe is just a 100 rupees (which is less than $2). I don't think people care that much, as long as we get people willing to work for less.

Yeah, it can become a big deal when people can't leave or are desperate not to leave. For example with sex trafficking, the passports are held, even though they may or may not have agreed to contracts beforehand, they may have to pay off a debt, or they're afraid for their safety if they have to return to their own country.

Or even with "mail order" marriages, just the fact that the spouse may really, really want to stay in the new country (economic opportunities and the chance to bring her family members over) can open him or her up to abuse, since there's a waiting period before full residency. That's why these visas often have the abuse claim clauses.

I'll just clarify I'm not sure where India stands on visa frauds. This is just me extrapolating from some observations I made a month ago. In Bangladesh, for example, prostitution is legal- so the dynamics change a little.

But i still don't see the need for laws governing contractual agreements.

Well, here's the thing though. What happens when one party breaks the contract? That's where enforcement comes in...government enforcement.

Perhaps abuse claim clauses, yes. But specifying minimum wage and the number of hours you'd be 'allowed' to hire someone just seems regressive. If a worker agrees he wants to work for, say, 50 hours a week and he signs a contract for the same, I don't see why government needs to mandate the work. If he agrees to work for 50 and is being made to work 51, that is a legit criminal case. I agree with the concerns you outline, obviously human traficking is an extremely serious crime. But i believe governments role beyond ensuring the contracts specified are followed is neither needed, nor desirable.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Cermank
Posts: 3,773
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1/13/2014 3:36:11 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/13/2014 3:07:23 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/13/2014 8:48:18 AM, Cermank wrote:
At 1/12/2014 7:17:38 PM, rross wrote:

And the general consensus in India is that we shouldn't really bother about her, considering we have much more important things going on. The 'furious' reaction is just politicians trying to divert public ire. It just takes a few to 'appear' angry. Plus, the public mood is pretty anti-Devyani, if that's to be considered. The 'retaliatory' steps are merely reciprocity, apparently US consulates in India were being given much more perks than the Indian consulates in US. Reciprocity is the basis of any international relation.

I just wanted to add my two cents on specifically "reciprocity".

On a moral basis, this is most certainly compelling logic.

On a realist basis, what matters is power relations. The US gets more perks all around the world, especially wherever it has a permanent military presence. Whenever I went to Japan or Korea as a soldier, I used the same line that diplomats used to enter the country, did not require a passport, and waited maybe 2 minutes while the rest of the plane waited a couple hours to pass through customs.

In country, had I murdered a Korean or a Japanese citizen in cold blood while on duty, the Korean and Japanese governments would have had no jurisdiction over me - they would have to turn me over to US authorities to stand trial over what should otherwise be a purely Korean or Japanese domestic matter. This happens often - most US soldiers do minimal time, if they are even found guilty of a crime. Such is the power of the "status of forces agreements" (SOFA) that the US typically signs with host nations of occupied countries. It is modern day extraterritoriality.

It is precisely because the US could not arrange this level of immunity for its soldiers in Iraq that led to the US withdrawal out of Iraq.

There is zero reciprocity with those arrangements. We do not allow Japanese or Korean soldiers on US soil that are not subject to US laws.

I think you'd know the concerns Id have with the arrangement. India has a bilateral extradition agreement with US, btw. (my phone can't handle too much text, apparently.) What's your moral take on this?

I mean, certainly no one can blame a country for equaling the stakes.
Cermank
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1/13/2014 3:39:35 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/13/2014 3:33:10 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/13/2014 3:19:49 PM, Cermank wrote:
At 1/13/2014 1:58:56 PM, rross wrote:
At 1/13/2014 1:18:11 PM, Cermank wrote:
In fact, thinking back, I don't think visa fraud considered such a big deal. When I went to Indo-Bangladesh border recently, apparently people from the Bangladeshi border came to India without visas a lot. So much so that the bribe is just a 100 rupees (which is less than $2). I don't think people care that much, as long as we get people willing to work for less.

Yeah, it can become a big deal when people can't leave or are desperate not to leave. For example with sex trafficking, the passports are held, even though they may or may not have agreed to contracts beforehand, they may have to pay off a debt, or they're afraid for their safety if they have to return to their own country.

Or even with "mail order" marriages, just the fact that the spouse may really, really want to stay in the new country (economic opportunities and the chance to bring her family members over) can open him or her up to abuse, since there's a waiting period before full residency. That's why these visas often have the abuse claim clauses.

I'll just clarify I'm not sure where India stands on visa frauds. This is just me extrapolating from some observations I made a month ago. In Bangladesh, for example, prostitution is legal- so the dynamics change a little.

But i still don't see the need for laws governing contractual agreements.

Well, here's the thing though. What happens when one party breaks the contract? That's where enforcement comes in...government enforcement.

Yeah, I agree with that. The government should ensure the contracts are carried out religiously. Why does it need to mandate the terms of the contract?

Perhaps abuse claim clauses, yes. But specifying minimum wage and the number of hours you'd be 'allowed' to hire someone just seems regressive. If a worker agrees he wants to work for, say, 50 hours a week and he signs a contract for the same, I don't see why government needs to mandate the work. If he agrees to work for 50 and is being made to work 51, that is a legit criminal case. I agree with the concerns you outline, obviously human traficking is an extremely serious crime. But i believe governments role beyond ensuring the contracts specified are followed is neither needed, nor desirable.
wrichcirw
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1/13/2014 3:41:42 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/13/2014 3:39:35 PM, Cermank wrote:
At 1/13/2014 3:33:10 PM, wrichcirw wrote:

But i still don't see the need for laws governing contractual agreements.

Well, here's the thing though. What happens when one party breaks the contract? That's where enforcement comes in...government enforcement.

Yeah, I agree with that. The government should ensure the contracts are carried out religiously. Why does it need to mandate the terms of the contract?

Fair question. There are some instances of consumer fraud where, for example, pages from the actual contract are either withheld or otherwise unavailable during the signing process. Consumer protection laws aim to prevent such occurrences.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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1/13/2014 3:43:32 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/13/2014 3:36:11 PM, Cermank wrote:
At 1/13/2014 3:07:23 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/13/2014 8:48:18 AM, Cermank wrote:
At 1/12/2014 7:17:38 PM, rross wrote:

And the general consensus in India is that we shouldn't really bother about her, considering we have much more important things going on. The 'furious' reaction is just politicians trying to divert public ire. It just takes a few to 'appear' angry. Plus, the public mood is pretty anti-Devyani, if that's to be considered. The 'retaliatory' steps are merely reciprocity, apparently US consulates in India were being given much more perks than the Indian consulates in US. Reciprocity is the basis of any international relation.

I just wanted to add my two cents on specifically "reciprocity".

On a moral basis, this is most certainly compelling logic.

On a realist basis, what matters is power relations. The US gets more perks all around the world, especially wherever it has a permanent military presence. Whenever I went to Japan or Korea as a soldier, I used the same line that diplomats used to enter the country, did not require a passport, and waited maybe 2 minutes while the rest of the plane waited a couple hours to pass through customs.

In country, had I murdered a Korean or a Japanese citizen in cold blood while on duty, the Korean and Japanese governments would have had no jurisdiction over me - they would have to turn me over to US authorities to stand trial over what should otherwise be a purely Korean or Japanese domestic matter. This happens often - most US soldiers do minimal time, if they are even found guilty of a crime. Such is the power of the "status of forces agreements" (SOFA) that the US typically signs with host nations of occupied countries. It is modern day extraterritoriality.

It is precisely because the US could not arrange this level of immunity for its soldiers in Iraq that led to the US withdrawal out of Iraq.

There is zero reciprocity with those arrangements. We do not allow Japanese or Korean soldiers on US soil that are not subject to US laws.

I think you'd know the concerns Id have with the arrangement. India has a bilateral extradition agreement with US, btw. (my phone can't handle too much text, apparently.) What's your moral take on this?

I mean, certainly no one can blame a country for equaling the stakes.

Right. I mean, the US doesn't have troops in India. My point was simply to illustrate how reciprocity does not occur in international relations to nearly the extent that one would think it would given a "human rights" perspective.

Morally? I don't know. For all this time, I've been saying "it just is".
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Cermank
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1/13/2014 3:57:15 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/13/2014 3:43:32 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/13/2014 3:36:11 PM, Cermank wrote:
At 1/13/2014 3:07:23 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/13/2014 8:48:18 AM, Cermank wrote:
At 1/12/2014 7:17:38 PM, rross wrote:

And the general consensus in India is that we shouldn't really bother about her, considering we have much more important things going on. The 'furious' reaction is just politicians trying to divert public ire. It just takes a few to 'appear' angry. Plus, the public mood is pretty anti-Devyani, if that's to be considered. The 'retaliatory' steps are merely reciprocity, apparently US consulates in India were being given much more perks than the Indian consulates in US. Reciprocity is the basis of any international relation.

I just wanted to add my two cents on specifically "reciprocity".

On a moral basis, this is most certainly compelling logic.

On a realist basis, what matters is power relations. The US gets more perks all around the world, especially wherever it has a permanent military presence. Whenever I went to Japan or Korea as a soldier, I used the same line that diplomats used to enter the country, did not require a passport, and waited maybe 2 minutes while the rest of the plane waited a couple hours to pass through customs.

In country, had I murdered a Korean or a Japanese citizen in cold blood while on duty, the Korean and Japanese governments would have had no jurisdiction over me - they would have to turn me over to US authorities to stand trial over what should otherwise be a purely Korean or Japanese domestic matter. This happens often - most US soldiers do minimal time, if they are even found guilty of a crime. Such is the power of the "status of forces agreements" (SOFA) that the US typically signs with host nations of occupied countries. It is modern day extraterritoriality.

It is precisely because the US could not arrange this level of immunity for its soldiers in Iraq that led to the US withdrawal out of Iraq.

There is zero reciprocity with those arrangements. We do not allow Japanese or Korean soldiers on US soil that are not subject to US laws.

I think you'd know the concerns Id have with the arrangement. India has a bilateral extradition agreement with US, btw. (my phone can't handle too much text, apparently.) What's your moral take on this?

I mean, certainly no one can blame a country for equaling the stakes.

Right. I mean, the US doesn't have troops in India. My point was simply to illustrate how reciprocity does not occur in international relations to nearly the extent that one would think it would given a "human rights" perspective.

Morally? I don't know. For all this time, I've been saying "it just is".

Perhaps the most defining moment in my moral compass was when I was at this international MUN, a junior member of the press. Had to interview thr delegates, and I was stuck by how Pakistani delegate and a US delegate could say exactly the same thing regarding human rights violations in the other country, and be percieved so differently by other countries, all owing to the unequal balance of power and thr consequent (metaphorical) arm twisting. Pakistan tries to do that through its religious leverage, US through its economic.
wrichcirw
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1/13/2014 4:13:47 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/13/2014 3:57:15 PM, Cermank wrote:
At 1/13/2014 3:43:32 PM, wrichcirw wrote:

I mean, certainly no one can blame a country for equaling the stakes.

Right. I mean, the US doesn't have troops in India. My point was simply to illustrate how reciprocity does not occur in international relations to nearly the extent that one would think it would given a "human rights" perspective.

Morally? I don't know. For all this time, I've been saying "it just is".

Perhaps the most defining moment in my moral compass was when I was at this international MUN, a junior member of the press. Had to interview thr delegates, and I was stuck by how Pakistani delegate and a US delegate could say exactly the same thing regarding human rights violations in the other country, and be percieved so differently by other countries, all owing to the unequal balance of power and thr consequent (metaphorical) arm twisting. Pakistan tries to do that through its religious leverage, US through its economic.

I think my short answer is that morality does not apply. This would be ripped straight out of my understanding of realism, the international arena is anarchic, there are no laws, there is only force <=> counterforce.

Morality only comes after the establishment of order. This would be why I hold the belief that government legislation is societal morality, and that without such, all you have are individual beliefs and no cohesion, no real sense of right and wrong. This would go very far in explaining religions that instill the fear of God into their subjects, all the while presiding over a theocracy. That fear is what historically compelled morality.

What flows from this calculus is that you assume the worst in every international player. You assume that if they had the opportunity to do so, they would invade your country and take the lands/treasure/whatever for themselves, and because you assume others would do this, you do the same. Reciprocity.

On "equaling the stakes", it's in no country's interests to have "equal partners". It's in every country's interests to have "unequal partners" or better yet "no partners", i.e. hegemony.

lol, depressing. :/
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
rross
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1/13/2014 4:26:43 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/13/2014 3:19:49 PM, Cermank wrote:
At 1/13/2014 1:58:56 PM, rross wrote:
At 1/13/2014 1:18:11 PM, Cermank wrote:
In fact, thinking back, I don't think visa fraud considered such a big deal. When I went to Indo-Bangladesh border recently, apparently people from the Bangladeshi border came to India without visas a lot. So much so that the bribe is just a 100 rupees (which is less than $2). I don't think people care that much, as long as we get people willing to work for less.

Yeah, it can become a big deal when people can't leave or are desperate not to leave. For example with sex trafficking, the passports are held, even though they may or may not have agreed to contracts beforehand, they may have to pay off a debt, or they're afraid for their safety if they have to return to their own country.

Or even with "mail order" marriages, just the fact that the spouse may really, really want to stay in the new country (economic opportunities and the chance to bring her family members over) can open him or her up to abuse, since there's a waiting period before full residency. That's why these visas often have the abuse claim clauses.

I'll just clarify I'm not sure where India stands on visa frauds. This is just me extrapolating from some observations I made a month ago. In Bangladesh, for example, prostitution is legal- so the dynamics change a little.

But i still don't see the need for laws governing contractual agreements. Perhaps abuse claim clauses, yes. But specifying minimum wage and the number of hours you'd be 'allowed' to hire someone just seems regressive. If a worker agrees he wants to work for, say, 50 hours a week and he signs a contract for the same, I don't see why government needs to mandate the work. If he agrees to work for 50 and is being made to work 51, that is a legit criminal case. I agree with the concerns you outline, obviously human traficking is an extremely serious crime. But i believe governments role beyond ensuring the contracts specified are followed is neither needed, nor desirable.

Well, I'm nervous about answering this because I know you're an economist, and I've never understood economics...but anyway...

I think the US minimum wage is over $7/hr.
http://www.minimum-wage.org...

So Richard and Khobragrade signed an illegal contract. That's why there was the real contract signed in India and the false contract submitted with the visa application. I'm a big fan of the minimum wage but I'm guessing you're not. Either way, it doesn't matter because it's the current law in the US.

Also, because Richard signed an illegal contract and lied on her visa application, she was definitely in a vulnerable position. She did not have every right to stay in the US, as you suggested above. Under normal circumstances, if authorities discovered her working arrangements, her visa would be cancelled and she wouldn't be allowed to return for several years.
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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1/13/2014 11:55:32 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/13/2014 4:13:47 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/13/2014 3:57:15 PM, Cermank wrote:
At 1/13/2014 3:43:32 PM, wrichcirw wrote:

I mean, certainly no one can blame a country for equaling the stakes.

Right. I mean, the US doesn't have troops in India. My point was simply to illustrate how reciprocity does not occur in international relations to nearly the extent that one would think it would given a "human rights" perspective.

Morally? I don't know. For all this time, I've been saying "it just is".

Perhaps the most defining moment in my moral compass was when I was at this international MUN, a junior member of the press. Had to interview thr delegates, and I was stuck by how Pakistani delegate and a US delegate could say exactly the same thing regarding human rights violations in the other country, and be percieved so differently by other countries, all owing to the unequal balance of power and thr consequent (metaphorical) arm twisting. Pakistan tries to do that through its religious leverage, US through its economic.

I think my short answer is that morality does not apply. This would be ripped straight out of my understanding of realism, the international arena is anarchic, there are no laws, there is only force <=> counterforce.

Morality only comes after the establishment of order. This would be why I hold the belief that government legislation is societal morality, and that without such, all you have are individual beliefs and no cohesion, no real sense of right and wrong. This would go very far in explaining religions that instill the fear of God into their subjects, all the while presiding over a theocracy. That fear is what historically compelled morality.

What flows from this calculus is that you assume the worst in every international player. You assume that if they had the opportunity to do so, they would invade your country and take the lands/treasure/whatever for themselves, and because you assume others would do this, you do the same. Reciprocity.

On "equaling the stakes", it's in no country's interests to have "equal partners". It's in every country's interests to have "unequal partners" or better yet "no partners", i.e. hegemony.

lol, depressing. :/

Just to flesh this out, since I got started on this path:

My own solution to this quandary, this eye-for-an-eye mentality in the international realm, is to create a hegemony - a true world government. I think the US is pioneering how this world government would look like - the US is very aggressive, no question, but it could easily be far more aggressive and far more brutal...yet it chooses not to be. Instead, it recognizes "states' rights" - what I mean by this is that we obviously have protectorates, like all of NATO, Japan, Korea, and very quickly Australia too...yet we also recognize these protectorates as retaining sovereignty to a far larger degree than has ever been seen before in the history of such protectorate/imperialistic/colonial arrangements. The US's hand, while still unquestionably undesirable and a challenge to the sovereignty of these other nations, is relatively light.

The ostensible hand of a world government would similarly be light. IMHO the quasi-federalist model that the US has established for its own protectorates, and can also be seen in institutions like the UN, create an optimal blend of sovereignty/self-determination along with all of the benefits of hegemony, i.e. no conflicting militaries, freedom of travel within the "empire" or in this case "federation" .

The sovereignty/self-determination aspect allows us to see each other "face to face" - it holds us accountable to each other, just like how democracies hold their elected officials accountable. There is a lack of amalgamation of power, which is in line with the spirit of US founding documents, especially our constitution.

The hegemony portion allows us to share common bonds - interestingly enough, the freest trade happens INTRA-nationally, yes? There would be no real "immigration" issues if we were all one nation. There would be far fewer misunderstandings.

The key hurdle to making this work is the US itself. IMHO our best shot at doing this was in 1992, when Clinton got elected. At that point, the USSR was dissolving...we could have co-opted our greatest enemy and turned it into our greatest ally...but we failed. Had we done so, we could have brute-forced a hegemony upon the rest of the world...if we were able to co-opt Russia, then the Middle East would easily follow. That would only leave South/East/Southeast Asia, which without Russian support would more than likely fall into line as well - indeed we see this already as most of these regions are pliable to US interests. The final step in such a process would have been for the US to transfer power to a global entity...probably the hardest part, because no one likes to give up power...yet that's exactly what the US would have had to do under such a scenario to establish a "true" federation.

Unfortunately, Clinton failed. Bush II then took over and failed even harder. This is how I see the state of affairs from a realist perspective. The only appeal we have now is to make a moral appeal to this kind of world government, which IMHO is compelling...however, realistically now no one really has any reason to acquiesce to US demands, so there's little chance of this happening. They would all want power for themselves, since it is now possible to do so given the US's relatively weakened position since the fall of the USSR due to the failures of Clinton and Bush II.

---

Regardless, had Clinton and Bush II succeeded, my ideal scenario under a moral lens would have resembled thus:

1) Federation/Protectorates would have sovereignty and self-determination as a "state" under a "global nation" - the US would also be one of these states, one out of many. This allows for the air of reciprocity that you originally laid out, that being aligned with the "golden rule", yes?

2) Hegemony dramatically decreases military costs. Indeed we see that today - the US has its armies over most of the world, yet US spending on its military as a % of GDP is around the lowest it's ever been since WWII. This is because our hegemonic presence precludes other nations from building their own militaries, which then allows us to draw down our own forces. Another phenomenon that results from hegemony is the lack of borders that are necessary to defend - this allows for much fewer people to necessarily take arms.

Think about the most militarized regions of the world - probably not too hard for you because of India/Pakistan. I was stationed in Korea...North Korea has one of the largest standing armies in the world because of its border with South Korea. Without these borders, there would be no need to man them, yes? Such is the case with the "border" of France and Germany today - both are US protectorates, so both do not militarize, and so their borders are almost wholly unmanned. See how that works? It's an interesting phenomenon, IMHO.

This dramatically decreases military costs even from today's dramatically low levels. This would allow for optimal economic growth, which in a utilitarian calculus would be "moral". Combine this with a federation-style international (in reality "interstate") governing body, and you would get a world government that is representative of global populations with excellent economic growth.

So there's my answer. This is how I resolve the differences between a realist and a moral position...I combine them into a feasible, yet (relatively) moral entity. =)

I've said this all elsewhere, I'm pretty sure. I don't think I'm stating anything new here, although perhaps it's a tad more succinct and organized.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Cermank
Posts: 3,773
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1/14/2014 12:16:56 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/13/2014 4:26:43 PM, rross wrote:

But i still don't see the need for laws governing contractual agreements. Perhaps abuse claim clauses, yes. But specifying minimum wage and the number of hours you'd be 'allowed' to hire someone just seems regressive. If a worker agrees he wants to work for, say, 50 hours a week and he signs a contract for the same, I don't see why government needs to mandate the work. If he agrees to work for 50 and is being made to work 51, that is a legit criminal case. I agree with the concerns you outline, obviously human traficking is an extremely serious crime. But i believe governments role beyond ensuring the contracts specified are followed is neither needed, nor desirable.

Well, I'm nervous about answering this because I know you're an economist, and I've never understood economics...but anyway...

I think the US minimum wage is over $7/hr.
http://www.minimum-wage.org...

So Richard and Khobragrade signed an illegal contract. That's why there was the real contract signed in India and the false contract submitted with the visa application. I'm a big fan of the minimum wage but I'm guessing you're not. Either way, it doesn't matter because it's the current law in the US.

Not a lot of economics here lol. I'm not a fan of minimum wage, sure. And I agree that the US law supercedes whatever debate we can have on the validity of a minimum wage- that was merely me musing. Even IF we consider the terms, Sangeeta and Khobragade both of them are Indian citizens, India had issued an ex-parte ad interim injunction against Philip and Sangeeta Richard, restraining them from initiating any legal action or proceedings against Khobragade in any Court / Tribunal / Forum outside India with regard to her employment. A case was already being conducted in India- both Delhi and Washington were already in talks regarding the issue. US unilaterally deciding to arrest Devyani in the middle of the talks was both an insult to India and the talks and an extremely insensitive move. Couple that with the strip search and it just ups the stakes.

Was she wrong? I don't think so. They signed a contract, she knew the wage she'd be getting. Doesn't matter in the eyes of the law, but it does shape most of my opinions. I mean, legally- the step wasn't sound, and neither was it morally.

Also, because Richard signed an illegal contract and lied on her visa application, she was definitely in a vulnerable position. She did not have every right to stay in the US, as you suggested above. Under normal circumstances, if authorities discovered her working arrangements, her visa would be cancelled and she wouldn't be allowed to return for several years.

Both of them did. Sangeeta was allegedly the victim in the contract, so obviously had the leverage. The contract was illegal. She lied about the wage she'd be getting, I don't see why that would put her in a vulnerable position. If authorities discovered her working arrangements, she'd be the victim. Why would she be punished? It'd be Devyani who would face the brunt of the law, considering she was the 'perpetrator' of the heinous crime that is underpaying her maid.

I mean, we have seen what happened when she filed the case, have we not? She was the victim, and Devyani got jailed.