Are Defense Contractors Immune from Law in Saudi Arabia?

Discussion in 'Law and Justice System' started by Activist Too, Jun 6, 2010.

  1. Activist Too

    Activist Too GFS

    May 23, 2010
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    This story was sent to me as a comment related to the McNerney stories about Jim McNerney being placed in charge of Obama’s Export Council. It was sent to me by the plaintiff, Robin Peterson, who has filed suit against Boeing. I find this very disturbing that what Mr. Peterson was subjected to could even conceivably happen. Do multinational companies really feel they are above any law? Think twice before agreeing to go work overseas, particularly in a country where rights are only a furtive dream. I wish Mr. Peterson well and good luck with his legal proceedings.
    7:10 p.m. June 2: This is real. I found the court filing here: Cases filed matching "Robin P. Peterson" :: Justia Dockets & Filings
    And Mr. Peterson’s attorney’s website here: Kissandra Tysman
    The Tysman Law Firm - Bringing You the Legal Justice You Deserve


    The Boeing Company, a U.S. company incorporated in the State of Delaware and with corporate offices in Chicago, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri and its wholly owned subsidiary Boeing International Support Systems, Saudi Arabia (BISS) are reportedly engaged in the practice of passport confiscation, involuntary servitude, debt bondage, and fraudulent recruitment practices upon U.S. Citizens and Third Country National (TCN) workers. The Boeing Company may be held responsible for violations of U.S. Law and international law for "Aiding and Abetting" their subsidiary company, BISS which recruits employees out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and is alleged to have confiscated passports from US Citizens and Third Country National workers in Saudi Arabia.

    As reference, the U.S. State Department's 2009 report on "Human Trafficking" details the unconscionable and disturbing ongoing human rights violations that are presently taking place in the country of Saudi Arabia. A report authored by former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, (2006) identifies Saudi Arabia as a "Tier 3" country whose government does not fully comply with the minimum standards and is not making significant efforts to eliminate human rights violations in their country. The report further states that the United States employs a "zero tolerance" policy against human trafficking both domestically and abroad. A third report by the Department of Defense, OIG dated January 15, 2010, provides information relating to "Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act," January 10, 2006 that gives the United States Government authorization to terminate grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements for "Trafficking in Persons" (TIP) related violations.

    A lawsuit brought by Attorney Kissandra L. Tysman of the Tysman Law Firm, located in Mesa, Arizona was filed on May 7, 2010 in U.S. District Court, Phoenix, Arizona against "The Boeing Company" and it wholly owned subsidiary BISS. The lawsuit alleges that her client Mr. Robin Petersen, a pilot and former U.S. Navy Commander who became injured overseas while employed by Boeing/BISS was not allowed to return to the United States for medical treatment in that he had his U.S. passport confiscated; was held against his will; and was not provided with an "Exit Visa" in which to leave the country of Saudi Arabia. Mr. Petersen had made several written requests for the return of his passport to "The Boeing Company" Operations Manager, in Saudi Arabia, Mr. Shaun A. Ford, and also contacted Mr. W. James McNerney, Jr., "The Boeing Company" CEO by Federal Express letter, detailing the fraudulent activity, unethical business practices, and violations of human rights that he had observed and experienced while employed by Boeing/BISS. Mr. McNerney never responded to Mr. Petersen's concerns and request for help. The lawsuit also alleges that a number of other U.S. Veterans and Third Country National workers who were employed by Boeing/BISS in Saudi Arabia had their passports confiscated and were subject to inhumane treatment.
    Mr. Petersen made several attempts to get help from the U.S. Consulate located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He was finally helped by a consulate security official in June 2009, who then ordered Boeing/BISS company officials to return Mr. Petersen's U.S. passport and provide him with the required "Exit Visa" in which to depart the country of Saudi Arabia. On June 8, 2009, and after six months without having the freedom to travel, Mr. Petersen was able to return to the United States to get the proper treatment he needed for his injury. The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Arizona, May 7, 2010 (case # 2:2010CV00999 Petersen v Boeing) and lists the following causes of action:

    Count 1, Confiscation of U.S. Passports
    Count 2, Violations of RICO statutes
    Count 3, False imprisonment
    Count 4, Breach of Contract
    Count 5, Fraud
    Count 6, Intentional Inflection of emotional distress
    Count 7, Failure to pay wages

    Although this lawsuit has been filed in the United States, it is important to know that there is an effort on the part of several worldwide organizations to hold executives of companies such as Mr. McNerney, CEO of "The Boeing Company" criminally responsible for willfully aiding and abetting their business partners who engage in human rights violations.


    Boeing says they are not responsible, as BISS is not Boeing. BISS is a subsidiary of Boeing and Boeing upper management have oversight of these subsidiaries, as evidenced below:

    Link to Original: Boeing: Boeing Defense Unit Realigns for Growth, Expansion Into New Markets

    Boeing Defense Unit Realigns for Growth, Expansion Into New Markets
    ST. LOUIS, Jan. 7, 2010 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today announced organization and leadership changes within its Integrated Defense Systems unit that continue to reposition the company for growth in the current business environment. The realignment is effective immediately, and the unit will begin operating under a new name: Boeing Defense, Space & Security.
    In announcing the changes, Boeing Defense, Space & Security President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg said the realignment is part of a continuing effort to successfully compete in a rapidly evolving global defense and security marketplace. Muilenburg said that reshaping the unit positions Boeing for further growth in new and adjacent markets while continuing to serve existing defense and space customers.
    "Boeing anticipated flattening defense budgets and shifting customer priorities for the past few years and has been taking aggressive steps to position the company for profitable growth in a challenging economy," Muilenburg said. "In the past 18 months alone, we have acquired seven companies to enhance existing capabilities, expanded Boeing's services business, and created new divisions -- like Unmanned Airborne Systems -- to directly and rapidly respond to our customers' emerging priorities.
    "With these latest strategic moves, we can extend our core programs even as we enhance Boeing-wide capabilities designed to capture business in promising markets in the United States and around the world, including cyber-security, energy, intelligence, C4ISR and logistics," Muilenburg said.
    The scope of change in Boeing's business environment is further reflected in the decision to rename Integrated Defense Systems, a name the unit has carried since 2002, when the company consolidated its military aircraft and space businesses. Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a recognition that success in a highly competitive global arena will be determined by a company's ability to offer and deliver new capabilities, products and services to meet complex customer demands.
    "As Boeing sustains and grows its core global defense business through solid execution, we are also playing a broader role in markets that go beyond Boeing's traditional strengths," Muilenburg said. "As we grow in these areas, it is important for us to send strong signals to our global customers that we are prepared to offer high-value Boeing solutions for all of their needs across defense, space and security domains."
    While Boeing Defense, Space & Security will retain its current operating units -- Boeing Military Aircraft (BMA), Network and Space Systems (N&SS), and Global Services & Support (GS&S) -- the realignment consolidates some divisions and makes a number of leadership changes. Chief among the moves is consolidation of two divisions in N&SS: The Combat Systems division and the Command, Control & Communications (C3) Networks division will be unified as the new Network and Tactical Systems division.
    Muilenburg also announced several key leadership assignments at the Boeing Defense, Space & Security level and throughout the business units that will help the company improve productivity, manage its cost structure and deliver on customer commitments:
    · Rick Baily is named vice president, Engineering and Mission Assurance; prior to this, Baily was vice president/general manager of Combat Systems.
    · Nan Bouchard is named vice president, Program Management; she previously served as vice president/general manager, C3 Networks.
    · Dave Bowman is named BMA vice president/general manager, Global Mobility Systems and International Tankers; he previously served as vice president, Tanker Programs.
    · Jean Chamberlin is named BMA vice president/general manager, U.S. Air Force Tanker Program; prior to this, she served as vice president, Global Mobility Systems.
    · Steve Goo is named vice president, International Operations and Compliance; he adds international compliance to his responsibilities. He will oversee all BDS international legal entities in Australia, the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia.
    · Bill Schnettgoecke is named vice president, Operations and Supplier Management; Schnettgoecke previously served in a deputy role to this position, and succeeds John Van Gels.
    · Torbjorn Sjogren is named GS&S vice president of the Boeing International Support Systems and Alsalam Aircraft Co. subsidiaries in Saudi Arabia; previously, he served as GS&S vice president, International Support Systems.
    · Charles Toups is named N&SS vice president/general manager of Network and Tactical Systems; he had served as vice president, Engineering and Mission Assurance.
    · John Van Gels is named vice president, Strategic Planning for Operations and Supplier Management; he previously was vice president, Operations and Supplier Management.
    A number of structural changes complement these leadership moves:
    · In BMA, the Weapons business becomes a division with a direct reporting relationship to BMA; it had been a subdivision of the BMA Global Strike Systems division.
    · In N&SS, the Heath, Ohio, and Ogden, Utah, facilities will now report to the Missile Defense Systems division; previously, they reported to the N&SS C3 Networks division.
    · GS&S operations in Australia will report to Jim O'Neill, vice president/general manager, Integrated Logistics division. Aviation Training International Ltd., a joint venture for Apache helicopter training with AgustaWestland in the United Kingdom, will report to Mark McGraw, vice president, Training Systems and Services division. Both entities previously reported to International Support Systems.
    A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world's largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.
    # # #
    Daniel Beck
    External Communications
    Office: 703-414-6447
    Mobile: 562-243-7082

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