This from Rob Petersen, who is still trying to get justice, concerning his unlawful treatment by BISS (a wholly owned subsidiary of Boeing), and the Saudi Arabian government.
Read and be advised what kinds of things happen to Americans and what little support they have from our government, if they decide to work overseas for a company doing work outside of the U.S. even if the company is American or is a wholly owned subsidiary of an American company. Or does Boeing now consider itself to no longer be an American corporation? If that is the case, a whole lot of things need to be reinvestigated and redetermined regarding defense contracts and other contracts which have to do with U.S. national security.
KB Richter has not answered Mr. Petersen’s question. Her/his answer is no answer. If a person accepted work with a Saudi company, and it was not represented as an American corporation, or a division of a well-known American corporation, that is one thing. But if an American corporation like Boeing, and/or its wholly owned subsidiary represents itself as doing business in both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, that is another thing altogether. It sounds like Mr. Peterson and others have a valid false claims complaint.
From what I understand of Mr. Petersen’s unfortunate experience, he was injured and needed medical care in the U.S. and was not allowed access to his passport to return to the U.S. for that necessary medical care. That ventures into the human rights arena in my mind. This is not merely a “labor dispute” over some small matter. This was a matter of life and health.
It would appear people should be very careful about accepting employment with any American company that does business overseas, either the parent company, or any subsidiaries, wholly owned or not. If our government cannot and will not protect it’s citizens in these situations, and that country is such a violator of human rights, I again ask, why Saudi Arabia holds such a high degree of trust with regard to trade and arms sales? Why are we selling them weapons, planes with secret technology, and so on?
I ask this to push the issue. I am aware of previous personal relationships between our heads of state and Saudi royal family. I am aware of manipulation of trade agreements to accomplish sale of certain airplanes produced by Boeing. I am aware of other business and banking relationships between certain entities here and Saudi entities. None of this should make it acceptable to hold an American hostage like Robin Petersen was when injured and needing medical treatment back home in the U.S. Outrageous. Particularly the Boeing Company’s efforts to now distance themselves from their wholly owned subsidiary, now that they’ve been caught with their hands in this matter.
If any of you can add your voice to the call for justice, regarding all of this, please do!
After over eight months I finally received an email from the U.S. State Department stating they are unable to help Americans in the country of Saudi Arabia.
If you should care about America and our rights, as I do, please send a letter to your Senators or House Representatives asking just two questions: (Consider enclosing the email found below with your letters)
1. How is possible that our young men and women can be fighting for “Freedom” in Afghanistan or Iraq, but that our own U.S. Consulate in Saudi Arabia will throw an injured American Veteran out on the street when he asks for help to have his illegally confiscated U.S. Passport returned?
2. Ask how is it that no action will be taken against American Companies that participate, support and condone the illegal activity of passport confiscation?
Thank you for your help.
Subject: RE: OIG complaint regarding your experience in Saudi Arabia
Date: Tue, 9 Aug 2011 15:47:08 +0000
Dear Ms. Richter;
Would you please identify your position; which office within the U.S. Department of State you work; your supervisors position; and the date of the letter (my letter) of which you are now responding.
For your information, I was told that my complaint had been sent to the Bureau of Consulate Affairs, Washington DC for action over eight (8) months ago. I am still waiting for a response from that office.
Thank for providing the information concerning Saudi Arabia. My complaint however, concerns the fraud that was perpetrated upon me by “The Boeing Company” and its “American Run” and wholly own subsidiary Boeing International Support Systems (first) here in the United States and then again in Saudi Arabia. Boeing International Support Systems operates from Oklahoma City and St. Louis Missouri. The evidence package I provided the DOJ and Bureau of Consulate Affairs supports this claim. My U.S. passport was taken from me by an American Citizen working for Boeing/BISS and was not returned upon my reasonable (written) request.
As your information (found below) confirms the fact that it is illegal to confiscate passports in the country of Saudi Arabia. Any American business that engages or condones the confiscation of U.S. passports and who supports human trafficking in any way has violated U.S. law. The Presidential Interagency Task Force created in February 3, 2010 pledges; “To uphold a system that provides for all victims, whether they lost their freedom through sex trafficking or labor trafficking and regardless of age, gender or immigration status.” I believe the U.S. State Department is part of this “Interagency Task Force” and has a duty to protect my rights as an American Citizen.
As such, I am again stating for the record, that my country follow the law, utilize the “Presidential Interagency Task Force” and bring those to justice who bring disgrace and discredit upon our Nation’s Constitution and the Laws of this Country. Thank you for your email and I look forward to hearing that this matter will be thoroughly investigated.
Robin P. Petersen
Subject: OIG complaint regarding your experience in Saudi Arabia
Date: Tue, 9 Aug 2011 09:47:52 -0400
I just received your OIG complaint regarding your experience with Boeing in Saudi Arabia. I understand you have concerns regarding your time in Saudi and how you feel you were held against your will and your passport was confiscated and the Consulate in Jeddah did nothing to assist you. Working in Saudi Arabia is completely different than working in the U.S. Your sponsor – the company that hired you – has control over you while in Saudi and can stop you from departing if there are contractual or other disputes. The U.S. Embassy/Consulate is unable to assist you those situations.
In our Consular Information Products which are available at http://travel.state.gov we try to give you as much information as we can regarding travel and work in Saudi Arabia.
Business Contracts: The written Arabic text of a contract governs employment and business arrangements under Saudi law. Before signing a contract, U.S. companies should obtain an independent translation to ensure a full understanding of the contract’s terms, limits, and agreements. No U.S. citizen should come to work in Saudi Arabia or make a business arrangement without having read and understood the full written contract. Verbal assurances or side letters are not binding under Saudi law. In the event of any contract dispute, the Saudi authorities refer to the contract. Since the Saudi sponsor holds the employee’s passport and controls the issuance of exit permits, U.S. citizens cannot simply leave Saudi Arabia in the event of a labor or business dispute. A U.S. citizen who breaks an employment or business contract may have to pay substantial penalties before being allowed to leave Saudi Arabia. To change employers in Saudi Arabia requires the written permission of the original sponsoring employer, which is discretionary. Saudi courts take seriously their responsibility to adjudicate disputes. This process, which is performed in accordance with Saudi law and customs, may require hiring legal counsel, should not be entered into without an Arabic translator, and generally takes several months. Persons involved in legal cases are not permitted to leave the Kingdom until the case has been resolved or abandoned. The U.S. Embassy and U.S. Consulates General cannot adjudicate labor or business disputes or provide translation services. U.S. consular officers can provide lists of local attorneys to help U.S. citizens settle business disputes, but ultimate responsibility for the resolution of disputes through the Saudi legal system lies with the parties involved. For additional information on Saudi labor law, please refer to the Ministry of Labor’s information on related regulations.
The Human Rights Report from 2010 discusses the lack of workers’ rights in Saudi Arabia.
http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/nea/154472.htm – The lack of workers’ rights, including the employment sponsorship system, remained a severe problem.
Noncitizens may reside or work in the country only under the sponsorship of a citizen or business. The law does not permit noncitizens to change their workplace without their sponsor’s permission, thus forcing the worker to remain with the sponsor until the satisfaction of the contractual terms or to seek the assistance of the embassy to return home. Foreign workers were under the complete control of their sponsoring employers, who held their passports and were responsible for processing residence permits on their behalf, although the country has a law prohibiting the withholding of passports. Sponsors involved in a commercial or labor dispute with foreign employees could ask authorities to prohibit the employees from departing the country until the dispute is resolved. Workers can hire a lawyer or represent themselves in the arbitration or court proceedings to settle the contractual dispute.
This email is UNCLASSIFIED.