Saturday, June 10, 2006
JO - Hondurans face deportation
Hondurans face deportation
Friday, May 12, 2006
FIVE Hondurans were Wednesday ordered deported when they pleaded guilty to the charge of illegal entry in the Half-Way-Tree Resident Magistrate's Court.
According to court documents, a crew of 60 Honduran fishermen entered Jamaican waters on May 3, and sailed to the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Coast Guard Station on the Cays. The fishermen were seeking medical attention for a fellow fisherman who had been bitten by a barracuda and was bleeding profusely.
While waiting for the man to receive medical attention, the five - Wanio Suniga, Donato Francisco, Macbel Calpio, Desman Torres and Merejildo Valeriano - disembarked the vessel. On their return they learnt that their ship had set sail for home without them.
Since that time the men had been on the Cays attempting to find and board a vessel going in their direction. They were subsequently taken into police custody and charged with illegal entry.
Friday, June 09, 2006
JO - Jamaica inching towards tier two human trafficking rankingmust improve on prosecutions and convictions
Jamaica inching towards tier two human trafficking rankingmust improve on prosecutions and convictions
Taneisha DAVIDSON, Observer staff reporter
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Ambassador John Miller, director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, said Jamaica was well on its way to further improving its US State Department rankings in terms of human trafficking.
On Monday the US State Department released a June 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report, which placed Jamaica on its Tier Two Watch List for human trafficking. This is an improvement from the tier three ranking it received last year, which is the lowest ranking given to countries that neither satisfy the minimum standards nor demonstrate a significant effort of compliance.
But yesterday, ambassador Miller, who was speaking to reporters at the US Embassy in Kingston, via live video link from the US, said Jamaica's efforts to curb human trafficking had inched the country closer to a tier two ranking, than a tier three. Nevertheless, he said that despite the progress the country had made, it still had more work ahead.
"I do think Jamaica is closer to a tier two than it is to tier three and I say that because of the efforts that have started this last year. I am talking about the increase in awareness, I am talking about the government's launching of a public awareness campaign and an inter agency task force...," he said.
"However, for Jamaica to move up, that anti-trafficking police unit has to see its work converted into both prosecutions and convictions and the reporting of victims, the protection of victims and working with NGOs to improve," Miller added.
A tier two rating includes countries that do not fully comply with the minimum standards, but were making significant efforts to meet compliance standards.
Jamaica's placement on the tier two watch list means that it requires special scrutiny because of high or significantly increasing number of victims or failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking.
At the same time, Miller noted that the US government plans to provide funding to train Jamaica's police officers to assist with nabbing the human traffickers.
On Monday, information minister Collin Campbell said the government was in the process of drafting specific legislation to deal with human trafficking.
Miller remarked yesterday that the fact that the Jamaican government was making an effort to draft specific legislations was a progressive sign. He, however, suggested that the legislation being developed should take into consideration aspects such as rescuing the victim, reintegration, repatriation, as well prosecution, protection and prevention.
"The repatriation process should be handled in a way that the victim is given a chance to participate in the prosecution process before being repatriated," Miller said, adding that the reintegration process should be tailored in such a way that the victim does not end up back into the hands of the traffickers.
JO - Tier two rating in human trafficking now official. US State Department upgrades Jamaica.
Tier two rating in human trafficking now official
US State Department upgrades Jamaica
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
THE United States (US) State Department has officially given Jamaica a tier two ranking in terms of the island's efforts to stem human trafficking.
In its June 2006 Trafficking in Persons Reports released yesterday, the State Department upgraded Jamaica from last year's tier three rating, acknowledging steps taken to curb human trafficking.
CAMPBELL. improved rating means Jamaica has demonstrated some initial progress in combating human trafficking
The official rating comes almost three months to the day that former Information Minister Burchell Whiteman appeared to have jumped the gun in announcing that the Americans had given the island the tier two rating.
The 2006 report labelled Jamaica as a "source country" for the trafficking of men, women, and children for the purposes of sexual exploitation and labour. It said information from international organisations and embassies working in Jamaica suggested that women from the Dominican Republic and Eastern Europe were trafficked to Jamaica for sexual exploitation. Women and children, it added, were also internally trafficked from rural to urban and tourist areas for sexual exploitation.
But some local sources have questioned the moral authority of the US to judge other countries in human trafficking, saying it should look at its own problems, and pointed to other types of atrocities being committed by the US military in places like Iraq.
WHITEMAN. jumped the gun in March announcing that Americans had given the island the tier two rating
"The Government of Jamaica does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so," the report conceded. "Although Jamaica demonstrated some initial progress in combating trafficking shortly after the last Report, Jamaica is placed on Tier two Watch List because the determination that it is making significant efforts is based in part on its commitments to take additional future steps over the coming year."
In the report, countries are ranked between one and three in terms of their efforts to tackle human trafficking. Tier one consists of countries which have fully complied with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; tier two includes countries which do not fully comply with the minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to meet compliance standards.
There is also a tier two watch list requiring special scrutiny because of high or significantly increasing number of victims, or failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking.
Tier three is comprised of countries that neither satisfy the minimum standards nor demonstrate a significant effort to come into compliance. These countries are subject to possible non-humanitarian and non-trade sanctions by the US Government, according to the report.
After learning about the ranking as it relates to human trafficking, the government stepped up its efforts to stem human trafficking through the launch of a public awareness campaign and the creation of an inter-agency task force to coordinate anti-trafficking matters and to enforce Jamaica's anti-trafficking and related laws. The report stated that, to date, there have been a number of raids and arrests, but no convictions under the Child Care and Protection Act.
There have been some related convictions under other aws, including the Spirit Licensing Act and also some reported immigration code violations. There are at least six cases currently under investigation. The government also temporarily suspended work permits for foreign exotic dancers, some of whom are victims of trafficking.
The report also said the ministry of labour was currently working on procedures to monitor individuals granted an exotic dancer permit, to ensure these persons were not being abused. However, despite some progress on law enforcement, official corruption remains endemic, the report claimed.
It noted, too, that law enforcement efforts were also hampered by a lack of resources, personnel and trafficking awareness.
However, the report stated that while the government had committed to advancing these initiatives over the coming year, very few investigations had led to prosecutions. It recommended that the government increase law enforcement efforts and take strong action against corruption that may impede progress in this area.
Meantime, at the post-Cabinet briefing yesterday, Information Minister Colin Campbell said that the improved rating meant that Jamaica had demonstrated some initial progress in combating human trafficking. However, the area of concern now relates to appropriate legislation to deal with the issue of human trafficking.
"The only legislation that we have dealing with the issue is Offences Against the Person Act," he said. "We are in the process of drafting specific legislation which we hope to take through all its stages during the current legislative year. So, hopefully, we will continue to show improvements."
The report highlighted the fact that Jamaica had specific laws against trafficking in children, such as the "Child Care and Protection Act of 2004"; however, there are no laws that specifically address trafficking of adults.
It said related criminal statutes, such as the "Offenses Against the Person Act" which prohibits certain aspects of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, could be used to prosecute individuals for trafficking.Campbell stressed that the US had recognised the country's effort to stem human trafficking.
"The US government noted the efforts made by Jamaica over the last 12 months and this includes public information," he said. "They noted the launching of a public awareness campaign and the creation of an inter-agency task force to co-ordinate anti-trafficking matters and appointment of a police officer to handle trafficking-related investigations."
Jamaica is among 32 countries on the tier two watch list in company with Bolivia, Taiwan, South Africa, Kenya, India, Russia and China, among others. Countries such as Canada, France, Austria, German, Spain, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom earned a tier one ranking, while countries such as Cuba, Belize, Zimbabwe and Iran are at tier three.
JG - Jamaica inches up on blacklist - US upgrades trafficking status
Jamaica inches up on blacklist - US upgrades trafficking status
published: Tuesday June 6, 2006
Andrea Downer, Gleaner Writer
A NEW United States report has placed Jamaica on its Tier Two Watch List for Trafficking in Persons, an improvement from the bottom-place ranking it received last year, but still warned Government to do more to protect vulnerable groups.
This means that, while the Jamaican Government has made some efforts to combat human trafficking, it has not fully complied with the minimum U.S. standards for the elimination of the activity described as modern-day slavery.
RAISE GLOBAL AWARENESS
The U.S. Department of State's Trafficking in Persons Department, which issued the report, described Jamaica as a source country for men, women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and labour.
"The report, mandated by law, is intended to raise global awareness of the problem, underscore the growing efforts of the international community to combat human trafficking, and encourage nations around the world to take effective actions against this abuse," said U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica Brenda LaGrange Johnson.
According to the U.S., while the Jamaican Government has made significant efforts to combat human trafficking, it has not fully complied with the minimum standards for the elimination of the illegal activity.
In last year's report, Jamaica was downgraded from the Tier Two Watch List to Tier Three, the lowest rank on the three-tier system.
However, the country was upgraded to the Tier Two Watch List in October last year and narrowly escaped economic sanctions, which apply to Tier Three countries.
In a live broadcast via the Internet shortly after noon yesterday, Ambassador John Miller, senior adviser on trafficking in persons to U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, warned that countries like Jamaica that are on the Tier Two Watch List are in a danger zone.
"The Government that is on the Watch List is barely on Tier Two. The 'W' not only stands for Watch, it stands for Worry. It stands for Warning," he cautioned during the webcast which lasted for just over a half hour. "Any Government certainly without significant efforts in the coming year will fall to Tier Three. This has to be a source of concern."
Human trafficking has been defined as the movement of people from one place to another by the use of force, coercion or deception for means of exploitation. Approximately 800 million people are trafficked within countries and across borders worldwide.
According to the 2006 Human Trafficking Report, "Information from international organisations and embassies in Jamaica suggests that women from the Dominican Republic and Eastern Europe are trafficked to Jamaica for sexual exploitation. Women and children are also internally trafficked from rural to urban and tourist areas for sexual exploitation."
The U.S. has blamed corrupt law enforcement officials for this lack of progress.
VICTIMISATION OF WOMEN
Dr. Glenda Simms, consultant on women's affairs, yesterday agreed that Jamaica's Tier Two ranking is cause for concern.
However, she says it is encouraging that Attorney-General, A.J. Nicholson has publicly acknowledged that trafficking in persons is an issue in Jamaica.
"I am particularly concerned that it is still women and girls who are being trafficked almost exclusively for sexual purposes. It is up to us as a country to ensure that it stops!" Dr. Simms stated.
Meanwhile, the Government, which has since last year increased efforts to make the public aware of human trafficking, says it will be advancing legislation to address the issue. Information Minister Senator Colin Campbell made the disclosure yesterday shortly after the report was released.
funny hit of the day
JO - No passport, no entry
No passport, no entry
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Nothing bothered me more profoundly than the story of Jamaican-born Eric Ross being denied entry to the country of his birth (Daily Observer, Tuesday May 9).
The immigration officials on the spot made a terrible mistake and the respective ministry should admit to this and apologise and make amends if possible. In the context of the right of residency of a human being, to my mind there is no more inalienable or automatic or absolute right than that of citizenship by birth. Under no circumstances should Mr Ross have been denied access to the country of his birth. I shudder to think that a right so naturally endowed could have been stripped so arbitrarily. It would have been proper to give Mr Ross the benefit of the doubt, after all, what could it have cost? "Do unto others..." is a simple mantra of humanity.
Think about it. Mr Ross could have more easily and justifiably been refused entry to the USA on his return. After all, he was not born there.
The shame of this is still with me and I was not directly affected. Then again, one day I could be denied existence if I left my ID card at home (at least in the Jamaican context).
Reliant Enterprise Communications Ltd.
7th Floor, 30 Knutsford
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Battlestar Galactica; by Jeffrey A. Carver; 318 pp.
Battlestar Galactica; by Jeffrey A. Carver; 318 pp.; Copyright (c) 2006 by Universal Studios Licensing LLLP; A Tor Book, New York
Printed in the United States of America
The true heart of Bandit Company operations
JG - Deported from Canada? Here's how to re-enter
Deported from Canada? Here's how to re-enter
published: Wednesday May 10, 2006
Marva Barrow, Contributor
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (seated) receives a standing ovation in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill, Ottawa, late last month. - REUTERS
IF YOU have been issued a departure order, exclusion order or a deportation order, it means that you are in 'non-compliance of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)'.
There are differences between foreign nationals and permanent residents in how the act is applied. In the case of a foreign national, non-compliance may have occurred through doing or failing to do something that is contrary to a provision of the act. A permanent resident may contravene the act through failure to comply with the conditions or residency obligations.
The new Canadian Govern-ment has stated that deportation of those who breach the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is a high priority. Therefore, you or someone you know may be facing deportation.
Prior to the implementation of the act in June 2002, deportation in itself was considered a lifetime ban from Canada. This negatively affected several Canadian citizens and permanent resident families. Subsequently, amendments to the Immigration Regulations introduced a less draconian measure; hence, foreign nationals are eligible to return to Canada legally upon obtaining a Minister's Permit and meeting the admission requirements at the time of re-entry into Canada.
So, if IRPA repealed the Immigration Act of 1976 and is intended to make the new immigration system more transparent, simplify humanitarian or broaden family reunification, why are so many families still torn apart by deportation?
There are three types of removal orders, namely departure orders, exclusion orders and deportation orders.
A departure order may be issued to a foreign national for failure:
a) to establish permanent residence;
b) to leave Canada by the end of the period authorised for their stay; or,
c) to comply with the Act.
In the case of a departure order, a foreign national does not have to obtain authorisation to return to Canada. However, failure to comply with a departure order within 30 days of when the order becomes enforceable will result in a deportation order.
An exclusion order may be issued if a foreign national is found to be inadmissible under health grounds, financial reasons or misrepresentation. An exclusion order obliges the foreign national to obtain a written authorisation in order to return to Canada during the one-year period after the exclusion order was enforced. If the exclusion order resulted from misrepresentation (lying), more time must pass before seeking a written authorisation to return to Canada.
A deportation order may be issued to a permanent resident pursuant to specific sections of the act governing security grounds, violating human or international rights, serious criminality, or organised criminality. Unlike departure or exclusion orders, a deportation order obliges the foreign national to obtain a written authorisation in order to return to Canada at any time after the deportation order was enforced. Canadian citizens involved in war crimes or crimes against humanity can also have their citizenship revoked under the Citizenship Act, and be deported.
Removal orders affect you the foreign national and your family members. With the exception of protected persons (or Convention refugees), if you are found to be inadmissible under the act, then all of your family members, whether they accompany you or not, are also automatically inadmissible.
Pursuant to Section 227 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, a report prepared under subsection 44(1) of the act against a foreign national is also a report against the foreign national's family members in Canada.
From this article, you will see that removal orders are very complex issues. Under certain circumstances, however, the minister may impose a stay on removal orders. Because of the complexity of these matters, the service of a legal representative is critical.
Marva Barrow is the president of Barrow International Immigration Solutions and is a member in good standing with the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants and the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants. She can be reached at 416-850-8318. Send direct confidential questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
details remain sketchy
My site meter has been working overtime today recording all the various search engine-generated hits related to the Army's recent announcement of the Army Service Uniform.
Presumably all the details have been worked-out already, but let's just offer, by way of positive thinking, something sort of in lieu of a prayer.
An earlier Army Times article mentioned some of the possible options, but here's what they've actually announced:
"the blue Army Service Uniform eliminates the need for numerous sets of green Class A uniforms, service blue uniforms and, for some, Army white mess uniforms (and tunics, for women)."
Judging from the slide show, this may be a mis-statement, at least insofar as the Army white mess uniforms. The blue Army Service Uniform (ASU) renders redundant the Army Green service (and dress) uniforms (See Army Regulation 670-1, Chapters 15, 16 & 17) as well as the Army White service (and dress) uniforms (See AR 670-1, Chapters 18 & 19).
The slideshow doesn't put the kibosh on any of the mess or evening mess uniforms.
Let's take a look at the blue Army Service Uniform from the ground up. (Note: For simplicity, the uniform discussed will be the male version. Someone more expert in wear of the female versions of the Army service, dress and mess uniforms will welcome to discuss those at their own web log.)
Let's assume that footwear remains the same. The black low-quarter shoes are standard footgear for all the Army service, dress, and mess uniforms. Likewise for socks. Black dress socks are in common for all these. There are some boots worn by, for instance, airborne-qualified soldiers, but that's somewhat of an exception.
The Army blue trousers are kind of interesting. Traditionally of a lighter shade of blue than the jacket, they current feature a gold stripe on the outer seam of the trousers for all ranks below general officers (there are some technicalities as to the types of gold braid authorized for the stripes, but they're not all that relevant). General officers' blue trousers are the same shade as the jacket.
Okay, so maybe the trousers aren't all that interesting. What was curious in the earlier Army Times article was speculation about the trouser stripe. Would it be de-authorized for enlisted or junior NCO ranks? Would trouser stripes again be dependent upon branch color? For now there's no word about a change.
The shirt worn with the Army Blue uniform has, up until now, been a white shirt. Presumably, if this is truly going to be a service uniform, whether there will be a Class B version, that is, authorizing wear without the jacket. In a lot of geographical locations, that's going to be a major consideration regarding wear, not least during those awesomely humid D.C. summers.
So we can stipulate there will be a Class B version, where the jacket is omitted and some sort of insignia is worn on the shirt itself. Currently the Class B version of the Army Green service uniform allows wear of all sorts of doodads, from shoulder marks indicating rank to marksmanship and qualification badges and regimental insignia all the way to medal ribbons. The standard men's dress shirt currently worn with the Army Blue service uniform isn't really built to carry all that sort of thing, as well as lacking epaullets onto which the shoulder marks could be placed.
And the color. White shirts with those blue trousers will only make a soldier look like a rent-a-cop. Not cool.
Some have suggested a khaki shirt, much like the U.S. Marine Corps wears. While I like the idea as a concept, as a practical matter it seems to me that it lends itself, gold trouser stripes and different insignia notwithstanding, to confusion. So reluctantly I have to cast a notional vote against the khaki shirt.
Another suggestion was a gray shirt. That idea isn't so bad. Many officers have already, as cadets, worn gray before, it doesn't look that bad with the shades of blue used by the Army, and it won't show wear or appear soiled as easily as a white shirt would. So a gray shirt in material, cut and weight similar to the current Army Green "mint" shirt get my notional vote. That would permit identical insignia wear for a Class B ASU variant as is currently practised with the Army Green service uniform Class B variant.
Hopefully there won't be many/any changes to the Army Blue jacket. There's a bit of gold braid and lace for all ranks; this is one of the few times that an Army NCO uniform can appear more impressive than that of a commissioned officer. That may occasion efforts to reduce some of that gold braid for enlisted and junior NCOs to the greater glory of their superiors. Any effort to do so should be promptly squashed like a roach.
Regarding headgear, this uniform change provides an opportunity to reduce occasions for wear of the much-unloved black beret. The Army Blue service cap, sometimes called a "flying saucer" or "bus driver's hat" has not been crowded out by Gen. Shinseki's brainchild. With a little luck, the service cap will remain the headgear for the ASU.
A word about some of the optional uniform items. As part of the Class B uniform, there are several versions of black sweaters and windbreakers available for wear with the Army Green service uniform. Once an updated ASU shirt is defined (see my notional vote above for a gray shirt), the black sweates and windbreakers should remain authorized for Class B wear with the ASU as they are currently configured.
As for the overcoat, raincoat or capes, no change would be necessary here as they are all either black or Army Blue.
Lastly, since the ASU isn't intended for wear in tactical or combat environments, the wear of a white UnderArmour t-shirt could be permitted in lieu of the standard white cotten t-shirt.
re: "Right Between the Shoulderblades…"
Dining by The Rivers of Babylon, sort of
JO - No passport, no entry
No passport, no entry
BY INGRID BROWN Observer staff reporter
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
ERIC Ross never thought that he would have had a problem travelling to Jamaica. Afterall, he was born here, although he has been living in the USA for 21 years and now holds dual citizenship.
ROSS. I felt so ostracised, humiliated and embarrassed
So last Saturday, Ross, intending to visit his ailing father here, boarded a Spirit Airlines jet in Florida, carrying his birth certificate and New York driver's licence as identification. His passport, he said, had expired.
But he had learnt that Americans are allowed entry into Jamaica using either of the two documents. Furthermore, the airline, he said, told him that he could travel without a passport.
Ross, therefore, was angry when he was refused entry to Jamaica and put back on the same plane on which he came."I felt so ostracised, humiliated and embarrassed, as I was treated like an expatriate," said Ross yesterday.
He said the treatment he received at the Immigration Department in Kingston was unwarranted and alleged that it is because he is a Rastafarian why he was not given any time to explain himself before being "verbally attacked" by an immigration officer.
"The first immigration officer I was talking to left to get the supervisor, and when she came she just took one look at me and all hell broke lose," Ross said.
"Yu can't come inna the country with this. Yu haffi go back where yu a come from," he said the immigration officer told him.However, Leighton Wilson, Jamaica's director of immigration, said that travel on a birth certificate and driver's licence applied only to North American citizens. This is done only to facilitate tourists.
Wilson said that he was not aware of the specific incident, but told the Observer that it was a general rule to return persons to the country they were coming from when they do not have the required documents. He said that if Ross was not sent back and it was later proven that he was not Jamaican, then Jamaica would be stuck with him, having already received him.
He pointed out that maybe one of the reasons why Ross was sent back immediately was because they had to catch the flight on which he arrived.
"When that flight is the last flight out for the day, you will not want to go beyond a certain time, because if that person misses the flight, and we are not satisfied, then that person becomes a charge to the state," said Wilson. "We will become responsible for that person's accommodation until that person leaves."
Yesterday, Ross said that even though he pleaded with the immigration officer to hold onto his birth certificate and driver's licence and allow him to have his passport expressed to him in Jamaica, she was adamant that he must return to the United States.
According to Ross, had it not been for the staff of Spirit Airlines he would have found himself in an even greater predicament. "They flew me back to Florida, put me up in a hotel which they paid for," he said.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Two great-uncles of mine perished during the Normandy invasion, one from each side of my family. My grandfather, at the same time, was well into his nearly three years of captivity in the Philippines.
World War II was a war well worth winning, and one we didn't dare lose. Much like the war we fight today.
To absent comrades.
ARNews - Army streamlines service uniforms to one blue Army Service Uniform
Army streamlines service uniforms to one blue Army Service Uniform
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, June 5, 2006) – Army service uniforms will be streamlined to one blue Army Service Uniform, the Army announced today.
“World-class Soldiers deserve a simplified, quality uniform. The blue Army Service Uniform is a traditional uniform that is consistent with the Army’s most honored traditions,” said Sgt. Maj. Of the Army Kenneth O. Preston.
“We have all of these variations of uniforms – green, blue and white,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker. “It makes sense for us to go to one traditional uniform that is really sharp and high quality and which Soldiers will be very proud to wear. And that’s what we’ve done by adopting this blue Army Service Uniform that reflects simplicity, quality, utility and tradition.”
Many Soldiers already own an Army blue uniform (now to be called the Army Service Uniform) and may continue to wear it. Improvements will be made to the fabric and fit. Reduction of the number of uniforms will reduce the burden on Soldiers for purchases and alteration cost.
Introduction in the Army Military Clothing Sales Stores should begin in fourth quarter of fiscal year 2007. Introduction in the Clothing Bag should begin first quarter 2009. The Mandatory Possession Date is expected to be fourth quarter fiscal year 2011.
A wear-out date for the Army Green Class A and White dress uniforms will be determined at a later date.
The consolidation of Army service uniforms is part of a streamlining process. In 2004, the Army reduced the number of battle dress uniforms from three to one when it adopted the Army Combat Uniform in place of the Woodland Green Battle Dress Uniform (winter and summer versions) and the Desert Combat Uniform. That uniform consolidation has been a resounding success in terms of soldier acceptance and reducing the variety of combat uniforms with which they must deal.
Army Blue as a uniform color traces its origins back to the National Blue and was first worn by Soldiers in the Continental Army of 1779.
Besides tradition, the Army Service Uniform reflects utility, simplicity and quality.
• In utility, the blue Army Service Uniform provides a basic set of components that allow Soldiers to dress from the lowest end to the highest end of service uniforms with little variation required.
• In simplicity, the blue Army Service Uniform eliminates the need for numerous sets of green Class A uniforms, service blue uniforms and, for some, Army white mess uniforms (and tunics, for women). Streamlining various service uniforms into one Army Service Uniform reduces the burden on Soldiers in the same manner that the Army Combat Uniform (ACU) did for the field utility uniform.
• In quality, the blue Army Service Uniform is made of a durable material that is suitable for daily use without special care.
Information about the blue Army Service Uniform and its composition is available at www.army.mil/symbols/uniforms.
How about a post on the armored-HMMWV issue?
From the Bandit photos you've posted over the last few months, it seems like you never got 'real' armored Hummers, nor did you improvise armor for them.
Since your unit consisted of motivated, mature, high-GT-scoring soldiers (or in plain English, "crafty old thieving bastards"), it seems as though you could have achieved some level of armor by hook or crook.
I can only conclude that you decided it was tactically better to have a vehicle that drives faster and that you can get out of quickly, rather than loading yourself down with armor that wouldn't protect you against a serious mine threat anyway.
Is that accurate?
Taking things in order, this is that post.
We never got up-armored humvees. I don't think it was ever planned that we do so. We went to war with the vehicles we had (from back at our home station in Maryland). To be fair, nobody was thinking we needed armored humvees before OIF1 kicked-off.
We didn't improvise armor for them. What we did do was make a number of modifications to them during our time at Camp Udairi, Kuwait based on the experience and recommendations of one of our neighbor units also attached, at that time, to the 513th MI Brigade. That unit, an infantry company from the Georgia Army National Guard, was an LRS unit. LRS stands for Long Range Surveillance. Think of a sort of "desert rats" done over for the 21st century.
A layer of sandbags covered all the floors of the passenger compartments.
Racks for fuel and water "jerry cans" were bolted along the vehicles sides.
Plywood and wooden two-by-fours were used to construct rooftop firing platforms for crew-served weapons.
Many of us had purchased, at our own expense, police model body armor from First Choice Armor, the purchase of which was arranged more-or-less "at cost" as a patriotic gesture, since the company knew individual soldiers were paying for them, not a "deep pockets" government purchasing agent. We were, individually, issued the standard "flack" jackets which were later replaced by Interceptor Body Armor (IBA). In the meantime lot of us, myself included, used these flack jackets as a form of "up-armoring" by hanging them on our doors, to put just one more layer between us and the outside.
The resources simply weren't there, in terms of materials and tools, for us to add any real armor to the vehicles, nor do I believe our chain-of-command would have permitted that sort of unauthorized modification to government equipment. I can easily imagine someone being charged under the UCMJ for "damaging government equipment" or other nonsense.
Remember, these were still early days, there was no known IED threat at that point.
JM's point about manuevarability and ease of egress are also on point but not wholly complete.
When "outside the wire," every vehicle would be fully-crewed. That is, a driver and three "passengers." On the "gun trucks" a fifth "passenger," the gunner, would man a crew-served weapon topside through a field-engineered "turret." Everybody except the driver was always "guns up." That is, the barrel of an individual weapon, usually an M-16A2, was pointed out every window of every vehicle. This sent, and was intended to do so, the clear message that every vehicle of every one of our convoy movements was "game on" and prepared to return fire. Bear in mind that at that particular time and place, vehicle ambush was still considered the greater hazard than IED strike.
This, along with a healthy serving of luck, meant that Bandit Company experienced zero casualties due to enemy fire.
1634: The Ram Rebellion; by Eric Flint with Virginia DeMarce; 496 pp.
1634: The Ram Rebellion; by Eric Flint with Virginia DeMarce; 496 pp.; Copyright (c) 2006 by Eric Flint with Virginia DeMarce. Stories copyright by individual authors; Baen Books, Riverdale, NY
A Baen Books Original
ISBN 10: 1-4165-2060-0
ISBN 13: 978-1-4165-2060-7
First printing, May 2006
Printed in the United States of America
JG - Understanding international law
Understanding international law
published: Monday June 5, 2006
INTERNATIONAL LAW is the law that governs relations between and among states. Particularly in the period since World War II, international law has also come to embrace matters concerning human rights within countries, so that in some contexts individuals may bring claims against their countries pursuant to international law. This is, of course, a salutary development, because some governments have been apt to abuse citizens without regard to any law whatsoever. International law helps to reduce the possibility that Governments can act with impunity.
But how do we identify international law? Sometimes we tend to confuse it with other things. Some people, for instance, confuse international law with morality. They wish to say that "so and so" is wrong, but instead, they say "so and so" is contrary to international law. Alternatively, persons advocating a certain perspective on a social issue may say "International law requires this conclusion", when in fact it does no such thing.
The persons who confuse international law with morality may well be sincere in their analysis - but sincerity does not amount to legal correctness. And sometimes, when they confuse the issues, they also confuse other people. How many people, when told that international law requires a particular result, will stop the speaker and say, "That is complete nonsense"? Very few, because not many people are lawyers, and even fewer profess to be international lawyers.
Incidentally, re a column 'Vasciannie's error' published last week, the error lies in the failure of people to distinguish between international law, on the one hand, and morality, on the other.
So then, how do we identify international law and distinguish it from other things? The answer to this question accepted by international lawyers is that we must look at Article 38, paragraph 1, of the Statute of the International Court of Justice. Article 38 (1) indicates in essence that the sources of international law are: treaties, customary law, general principles of law recognised by 'civilised nations', and as subsidiary means, judicial decisions and the writings of the most qualified international lawyers of various countries.
What then is a rule of international law? It is a rule that takes its validity and content from the items listed in Article 38(1). If you want to find out what international law says on a particular point, it is advisable to check, first of all, whether there is a treaty on the subject.
In some instances, however, you will have to look beyond the treaty rules because your country may not be party to the treaty, or because the treaty does not cover the issue you are considering. In those instances, you are apt to find that customary law will be helpful.
Customary law is, generally speaking, formed by the practice of states, together with what states believe they are doing when they follow a particular practice. In most cases, treaties and customary law will cover the point of international law that is in question. In rare instances, international tribunals deciding cases will also rely on general principles and the subsidiary sources of judicial decisions from municipal courts and learned writings.
The insistence that interna-tional lawyers must respect the sources of the international lawyer is sensible. If you do not follow an identified list of sources of international law, then anyone can assert that any thought amounts to a rule of law. The idea of sources provides us with an agreed reference point for decision making. This is taken for granted in domestic law cases. In Jamaica, for instance, you look at legislation and previous decisions for your law - you don't, or you shouldn't, go shouting that the law is as long as the judge's foot. If you do that, you are in error.
Stephen Vasciannie is a head of the Department of Government, UWI, Mona and a Deputy Solicitor General in the Attorney-General's Chambers.
It's time for the annual army birthday ball!
Bandit Gun Truck III
JO - Groucho does Nureyev
Groucho does Nureyev
Sunday, May 07, 2006
The United States is represented at the United Nations by a man named John Bolton, with a white, Groucho Marx moustache and a serious propensity both to embroider the truth and to invent new truths. Take this example, for instance: "While treaties may be politically or even morally binding, they are not legally obligatory. They are just not law as we apprehend the term."
Breathtaking - isn't it? Mr John Bolton was, at the time he said that, doing his damnedest to ensure that the United States did not join 150 other countries in signing the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. His efforts, and those of others, proved successful. The US Senate did not ratify the treaty.
Because of this sort of behaviour, Senator Brian Dorgan said two years ago that President Bush's nomination of Mr Bolton to be undersecretary for arms control was "a terrible nomination".
Senator Dorgan went further:"To nominate Mr John Bolton to be undersecretary of state for arms control defies logic.
" .Are we going to be a world leader in stopping the spread of nuclear weapons or not? Are we going to be a leader in trying to make this a safer world? Are we going to be a leader in trying to reduce the number of nuclear weapons that exist in this world?"
The answer from the president, it seems to me, in sending this nomination to the Senate is no; we don't intend to lead on anything.
We intend to do our own thing notwithstanding what anybody else thinks about it, and notwithstanding the consequences with respect to the reduction of additional nuclear weapons and delivery systems."
Mr Bolton's specialty in the State Department was, according to American authorities on the subject, to block initiatives designed to lessen international tension. According to the Washington Post's Peter Baker and Dafna Linzer ". a key US programme intended to keep Russian nuclear fuel out of terrorist hands has been frozen by an arcane legal dispute. As undersecretary of state, John R Bolton was charged with fixing the problem, but critics complained he was the roadblock."
Baker and Linzer quoted Rose Gottemoeller, a Clinton administration expert on nonproliferation issues. "Throughout his career in the first Bush administration, he was always playing the stopper role for a lot of different issues and even when there was obvious interest by the president in moving things forward, Bolton often found ways of stopping things by tying the inter-agency process in knots."
Many people in the State Department were therefore pleased when Bolton was shifted by Condoleezza Rice and sent to be the resident firebug at the UN. It was a position he was well qualified for, having stated publicly that the UN building could well do without its top 40 floors. Senator Dorgan thought the US would live to rue Bolton's nomination:
"All I know about this nominee is what he has said, what he has established as a public record. It is, in my judgment, antithetical to what we ought to aspire to be and what we ought to aspire to see from someone in the position we expect to provide leadership on arms control.
" .In my judgment, if this Senate sees fit today to vote positively on this nomination, we will have taken a significant step backwards. We will have impeded the efforts of this country to be a world leader in areas that really matter."
When Condoleezza Rice moved Bolton to the UN, she also moved him out of the circles dealing with a number of arms control issues in which he had played his usual obstructionist role.
Baker and Linzer reported that "As the administration's point man confronting Iran's nuclear programme, Bolton had blocked US support for a European bid to negotiate a settlement with Tehran, arguing that such talks would legitimise Iran's clerical regime without stopping any secret weapons development.
"But Bolton was shut out of Iran after Rice's ascension, according to two US officials, and his policy was reversed. In early January, officials from France, Britain and Germany flew secretly to Washington for a brainstorming session on Iran. Bolton was not invited, European diplomats said. Instead, they met with Elliott Abrams of the National Security Council.
"We weren't the ones who wanted to keep the meeting secret," one European diplomat said. "It was the American side that didn't want him there."
Unfortunately, the Americans weren't able to keep him out of the continuing discussion, and Mr Bolton apparently got his president's approval to move the subject of Iran from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the Security Council where Mr Bolton feels more comfortable with the other North Atlantic representatives of the 'civilised world'.
That is not simply a cheap shot at Mr Bolton. As an acolyte of Senator Jesse Helms his résumé would seem to qualify him to be described as a racist. His performance in relation to Cuba would seem to disqualify him from ever being regarded as a witness of truth.
During his confirmation hearings before the senate last year it transpired that Bolton had deliberately perverted a CIA memorandum on Cuba to make it state, falsely, that Cuba was in the process of making and testing biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction.
It took former President Jimmy Carter's visiting Cuba with a bunch of American experts to nail that particularly dangerous and noisome lie. Mr Bolton has been doing a carefully choreographed dance around the truth for the last several weeks, his pas de seul and arabesques being faithfully recorded by a craven Press, trying to make it appear that the Iranians are even more intransigent and unreasonable than they actually are.
Mr Bolton believes that Iran wants nuclear weapons to destroy Israel, and nothing the Iranians can say will change his belief. With a president who has such a contempt for the language and for science that he will not properly pronounce the word 'nuclear', Bolton is unlikely to face any challenges from the direction of the White House.
Additionally, Mr Bush is woefully in need of a triumph of some kind, and the unconditional surrender of the Iranians and the removal of President Ahmedinejad would do nicely, thank you. The Iranians are firm.
They realise that nuclear war is out of the question and that for logistical and internal political reasons, the United States cannot launch any realistic invasion of their country. They see no reason to back down. They are prepared to deal with the IAEA, not the Security Council and John Bolton.
Their position is simple. They are entitled under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty - which Mr Bolton despises - to carry out programmes of nuclear research for peaceful purposes. They did not tell the whole truth about the programme in the beginning, for good reason: they were then being attacked by Iraq, armed and egged on by the United States, and they had seen what happened to Iraq's nuclear reactor at the hands of Israel. The construction of nuclear weapons is not a simple or cheap process and it takes time. There is no way that Iran could possibly make nuclear weapons without the world being aware.
Similarly, there was no possibility that Israel could have done that either, but Israel and Apartheid South Africa were allowed to collaborate in making and testing nuclear weapons without a peep from the 'civilised world'.
Israel now has submarines equipped with nuclear missiles and can take out any country it wishes at a few hours' notice.The Iranians say that the proper forum for discussion of their programme is in the IAEA, not the Security Council, where Mr Bolton expects his 'civilised friends' to support him, as they supported the US in Haiti and in Palestine.
The stakes in Iran are somewhat more critical, since they include the possibility of an oil crisis and global economic meltdown.And Mr Bolton dances on, Groucho doing Nureyev. There is a pratfall in the script, but he doesn't know that, yet.
Ironist does Manolete
The annual White House Correspondents dinner is, under President Bush, a normally cosy affair, unlike the sometimes acerbic occasions when Democrats are in the White House. This year, to end the proceedings, someone had the wit - or misfortune - to hire a comic named Stephen Colbert.
Mr Colbert, posing, as is his wont, as a friend of the president's, proceeded to unmask himself as the Little Boy in the fable about the Emperor's New Clothes.
Having unfrocked the Emperor, Colbert then turned into an intellectual Manolete, producing elegant passes against two targets, the Presidential bull and the Judas Goat Press, placing his barbed banderillas with savage precision, provoking open-mouthed amazement from an increasingly abashed crowd of dinner guests. Some journalists walked out. They didn't find their defrocking funny. Nobody knows whether President Bush got the message.
They all should be reminded, as Colbert did remind them, that reality has a leftist bias, and that in the good old days, kings and emperors carried their own 'Fools' around with them, to remind them that they were not in fact Gods. Mr Bush has gone too long without a Fool at his side. Which is why Mr Colbert is on his way to becoming an American national folk hero.
Patterson turns Lobbyist
Last week's announcement that the former prime minister, Mr Patterson, is to become a lobbyist alarms me, though it does not surprise me. His choice of partners is even more alarming than his choice of occupation. Mr Patterson is to join a firm of international consultants named GoodWorks International, headed by Mr Andrew Young.
I met Andrew Young about 1978 when he came to Jamaica as the guest of Prime Minister Michael Manley. He was then President Carter's Ambassador to the UN and came with all the cachet of having been an associate of Martin Luther King and a pillar of the civil rights movement.
I confess that we took an instant dislike to each other, and on a television programme in which I was one of the journalists, we got into a short, sharp row about the direction poor countries like Jamaica should be taking. We were, at the time, under attack from the IMF and World Bank and I thought it was unreasonable for those worthies to demand that Jamaica should collapse its pretensions to any programme of self-reliance and poor people's politics. Young was all for dissolving all state-owned enterprise and simply turning to capitalism as the engine of development.
My position was that a people disfranchised by their history of slavery and colonial exploitation could not drag themselves up by their own bootstraps and that dependence on foreign investment would simply be another form of slavery.
Michael Manley was somewhat angry with me for treating this big 'Benefactor' from the US so roughly. I don't think Michael disagreed with my position, more, perhaps with the vigour with which it was expressed.
Since then, Mr Young has gone on to bigger and better things. In February 2005 he became chairman of 'Working Families for Walmart', an organisation sponsored by Walmart in response to public criticism that Walmart is anti-people and anti-minority.
Mr Patterson is still being paid the salary of a Jamaican Prime Minister, which I would have thought would satisfy anyone who was not an oil industry 'ginnigog'. That he should join Mr young and company alarms me. Despite his protestation that he will not involve himself in any deal involving Jamaica, I am afraid that I cannot believe his disclaimers, because he has broken too many promises to the Jamaican people.
I believe that the Jamaican government should take action to forbid any former high official of government from representing any company which has contractual dealings with this country. And I believe that if former prime ministers are to be paid as if they were still in office, the law should prohibit them from engaging in any enterprise of profit. He should be out doing good works if only as penance for his failures.
Palestine & the Haitian Solution
I do not have the space this week to reply to my friend Ainsley Henriques, who counselled me to confine my human rights concerns to Darfur. I simply wish to point out that much of his complaint is based on discredited Israeli versions of history.
Additionally, he should check the BBC website, where a recent study has highlighted the BBC's "failure to convey adequately the disparity in the Israeli and Palestinian experience, reflecting the fact that one side is in control and the other lives under occupation".
On the emotive issue of whether acts of violence perpetrated against either side should be called "terrorism", the review said the BBC should use the term because it is "clear and well understood" and that once it had decided on a policy for the correct use of language it should be more consistent in applying it.
Since the BBC is probably the least obviously biased Western news agency reporting from Palestine, its deficiencies should cause others to question their reporting.
Ainsley should also consult the Israeli human rights websites dealing with Palestinian issues, such as B'Tselem, Finally, the former head of the World Bank, Mr James Wolfensohn, has resigned as envoy from the Quartet group to the Palestinians, because of restrictions on dealing with the Hamas government.
Wolfensohn said: "It would surprise me if one could win by getting all the kids out of school or starving the Palestinians. And I don't think anyone in the Quartet believes that to be the policy. I think that's a losing gambit."
Copyright© 2006 John Maxwell
Monday, June 05, 2006
re: "a round-up of recent fraud news"
re: "Mug tip"
re: "It's A War"
If you're going to have to do paperwork, you might as well have an office
JO - Jamaica Diaspora should press for these answers
Jamaica Diaspora should press for these answers
Sunday, May 07, 2006
The most precious gift anyone in this country could present to a Jamaican national living here in 2006 is an American visa. This, 143 years after Lincoln's proclamation which signalled the end of slavery in the USA.
Affecting about three million descendants of Africans kidnapped from their home, the numbers alone could not explain the real horror - 15 million Africans kidnapped and taken to the Americas between 1540 and 1850, then raped, tortured, mutilated and worked, sometimes to death.
Lincoln called his proclamation "the central act of my administration and the greatest event of the 19th century". From the times around the date of Lincoln's proclamation and in the post-civil war period to Brown vs Board of Education in 1954 and even beyond, the era of Jim Crow was in full swing.
Jim Crow was the name of a Southern song that delighted in denigrating blacks, and the title became the credo which dictated how blacks were treated in the USA, especially those resident in the Southern Confederate states. In essence, Jim Crowism was the continuation of slavery where the whip was replaced by the Klu Klux Klan, the noose and a long life of real fear.
Today, the USA is the desired destination of the poorest Jamaicans, not just because American soil and society are still seen as the route to economic success, but moreso because too many of the poorest Jamaicans living here have viewed their situation on the 'Rock' as hopeless.
Polls have indicated that if the USA were to offer every Jamaican citizen the opportunity to obtain a US visa, based simply on his or her own recognisance, about 70 per cent of us would flee these shores in a matter of weeks.
It has been estimated that there are about 1.5 million Jamaicans living overseas; that is, in the USA, Britain and Canada. Those numbers could easily swell by a factor of at least two if we should include their offspring who are all too ready to claim brand name Jamaica as their ancestral home.
In recent times, the Diaspora in Europe, the USA and Canada has been making the call for more involvement in the nation's business. The most important demand is the vote. Why not, I say, when the annual remittances from Jamaican nationals abroad now routinely exceed the US equivalent of J$85 billion? In any language that is big money, and it is expected that where big money goes, bigger talk follows. Many of the more educated ones in the Diaspora are distrustful of the Jamaican government. Not PNP government, not JLP government; just the Jamaican government. Most left because they saw the country as a brick wall which would not give when they pushed against it and asked Jamaica to facilitate them in getting an education and making a decent life for them and their children.
It is quite foolish for us at home to be telling them to shut up because we remained here and they opted for foreign shores. Would we have preferred that they remained with us and 'box food out a hog mouth?' In Jamaica, the poor and the powerless have no voices except at riot time and when a few main roads are blocked and police vehicles are burnt. Many in the Diaspora have looked on in our times of crisis and remarked: 'There but for the grace of God go I.
'Many of our politicians are the staunchest hypocrites on the question of what to do about the voices in the Diaspora. The guiding principles in politics in that regard are, we can talk to them, convince them how important is their 'input' in the country's politics, take their money, run elections, then turn our backs on them. Our sisters and brothers in the USA, Britain and Canada have learned the hustle, and now they are demanding a bigger say in local politics.
One of the greatest bits of hypocrisy is the tendency, no, the law which governs politicians and their health. A Jamaican politician gets a headache and wham, he is off to New York or Florida to seek medical assistance. A tough law ought to be made that all our elected politicians should use our medical facilities once it has been established that local equipment and personnel are available. Indeed, it could be taken a step further.
Where the majority of us are forced to utilise our hospitals and clinics, should not our elected representatives be forced to use those same facilities, no matter the state of those health facilities?
In addition, many of our politicians are the holders of 'green cards', which allow them not just ease of entry to the USA but exposes them to many of the amenities which we do not have. How about forcing them to educate their children here?
If that were so, I would bet that in less than two years our health system would be significantly upgraded, so too would our sorry excuse for primary education. In the interim, I would like to know which of our politicians possess green cards and also enjoy dual citizenship?
Those in the Diaspora wield much. more power than I in forcing the hands of our political representatives to act. They should make the demand loud and clear.
Show me the green card!
Dangers ahead in the next election?
GOLDING. will be forced to quit politics if he loses the next general election
There is just too much at stake for us to accept that the next (early) elections will just be business as usual, as far as elections in Jamaica go. The campaign leading up the October 1980 election took Jamaica close to all-out civil war. The elections in 1993 would have been won by the PNP anyway, yet the level of 'tiefing' in that election was appalling.
It has been about 10 weeks now since Portia Simpson Miller was installed as prime minister and, as the political clock ticks, it is coming home to many of us that both herself and the opposition leader are running huge risks with their political future.
From deep inside the PNP are rumblings of 'division', disunity and sabotage. Many of us predicted that, and it has come to me that about a week ago the prime minister read the riot act to those who may have been harbouring thoughts of sabotage because the sour aftermath of the PNP internal elections of February 25 is still stuck in their throats.
Portia would very much like to be the prime minister come World Cup Cricket in mid-2007. Bruce Golding as head of the JLP and opposition leader would jump for joy should he be seated in Jamaica House during the staging of World Cup Cricket in 2007 when the eyes of the cricketing world will be on Jamaica. The political and the economic spin-offs are just too much to enumerate.
Politically, the prime minister is the luckier one. She calls the shots in this country where prime ministers are elected using the widest possible democratic involvement.
Once every five years this is done and immediately after that, the prime minister is literally given dictatorial powers until the next election carnival or carnage, depending on the mood of the people and the political stakes.
The Jamaican constitution allows Portia the luxury of surprising the Opposition, but mostly catching it with its pants down. She can call the election date within a broad time frame.
Bruce Golding was brought back into the JLP because some powerful persons here were able to 'convince' him that it was the right thing to do. This was based on what they saw as a fact of Seaga's un-marketability. In the last minute of the 2002 election campaign, Golding returned and so shocked the system and confused the electorate that the election turned out to be one of the closest in our history.
This time around, the aftermath of Seaga's influence in the JLP has sufficiently waned to the extent that the JLP is now Golding's baby. Any excuse should the JLP lose the next election cannot be considered Seaga's fault.
With a fanfare that rivalled any general election ever held in Jamaica, Portia was given the top post in the PNP and made prime minister. The internal rumblings in the PNP could make her showing at the next elections into the greatest political anticlimax of the first decade of the 21st century.
I am not predicting a PNP loss for Portia. I am merely presenting you, the reader, with the political gifts being fought for and the risks involved.
Should Golding lose the next (early) election, he will leave not just the leadership of the JLP but he will take his exit from politics. In any event, it will not be left up to him - he will be forced out, thrown out even.
Should the JLP win, the noise from the business class, most of those in the intelligentsia and all of the Labourites will be deafening. In this scenario, there will also be rejoicing in certain quarters of the PNP, especially among those who have spent the last 17 years fattening themselves.
They will be overjoyed to see Portia go and will spare no one the 'I told you sos'.
Too much will be at stake for both Portia and Bruce. For that reason I will be watching the street forces carefully.
At this stage it appears to me that the JLP is the party more ready for the next (early) elections. It was always known that once P J Patterson was quiet, he was planning to spring a surprise on the JLP.What are we to make of Portia's silence?
Sunday, June 04, 2006
re: "The Force of Reason"
" "America is perceived by Fallaci as the only hope for the West. In this unprovoked cultural war that has been waged on the West, America should lead the way, but it cannot do it alone. According to Fallaci, the West has not realized that it is under attack, and that this war "wants to hit our soul rather than our body. Our way of life, our philosophy of life. Our way of thinking, acting and loving. Our freedom. Do not be fooled by their explosives. That is just a strategy. The terrorists, the kamikazes, do not kill us just for the sake of killing us. They kill us to bend us. To intimidate us, tire us, demoralize us, blackmail us."
Over-the-top perhaps...? Ahh but, with the undisputed evidence of the way in which European intellectuals, media, and politicians bow down to and surrender to the demands of Muslims.. And sad to say, with so many Americans doing likewise... Don't we need to examine both sides, in order to come out, in our best interest? Can we afford to just follow the "Politically Correct Police"????????? "
JO - Jamaica looking to fix ramshackle visa system as human trafficking concerns mount. Illegal immigrants untrackable, caught by chance.
Illegal immigrants untrackable, caught by chance
BY INGRID BROWN Sunday Observer Reporter
Sunday, June 04, 2006
JAMAICA deports an average of five illegal immigrants per month, immigration officials said Friday, but with no centralised system to track visa issuances and travel permits, the country has no idea how many undocumented foreigners live and work here.
We are trying to come up with some figure for how many illegal persons we have here," said Leighton Wilson, director of immigration.
"It used to be ignored to some degree, and there wasn't much emphasis placed on it," he said, adding that the issue has turned into a big problem for Jamaica, and will require immediate and concentrated effort.
The immigration division of the national security ministry, under its new drive to quantify and address the problem of human trafficking here, is now reviewing the system of visas, and is tracking entry records to see if it can trace immigrants who may have settled here without permit.
But for now, says Wilson, Jamaica has no clear monitoring system in place to identify foreign visitors, their origin and whether they overstay.
"With the whole consciousness of migration and human trafficking, it is an area that we are looking at - to have a more scientific approach as to what figures to come up with," he told the Sunday Observer.
The tracking of visitors will be easier, he said, now that an electronic border management system, which captures data on arriving and departing travellers, is in place at the two international airports - Sangster in Montego Bay, and Norman Manley in Kingston.The ministry, he said, is more worried about the cost of tracking those who sneak in illegally.
Jamaica requires nationals from some 112 countries to enter on visas. Haiti was the only Caricom member country on the visa list supplied to the Sunday Observer by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.
Cayman Island, an associate member of Caricom, was added this year in retaliation for imposing visa restrictions on Jamaicans. Colombia was dropped from the list in January after the two countries agreed to expand their relations and areas of cooperation.Legal migration to Jamaica has climbed from 6,765 in year 2000 to 8,239 in 2004.
But if the figures for deportees are dropped from the count, then legal migration has actually dipped: from 5,280 to 4,013 in the five-year span.
Wilson said that 90 per cent of visas are issued by Jamaican missions and embassies overseas, for which there is no centralised reporting system.
"You will hear significant variation in numbers that are coming in but it is just a difficult task" to track visitors, he said, linking it to resource constraints.
In many instances, he said even though the visas have been issued, the applicants sometimes never travel on them. "We are trying to put a system in place to account for them much better and to ensure that the reporting from the various consulates takes place on a more timely basis," he said.
The four to five illegals deported monthly are mostly nabbed, by chance, in police stings or routine traffic checks."Both develop and developing countries are unable to find the resources to properly monitor such a thing," said Wilson.In the United States, for example, a country of almost 300 million, illegal immigrants are estimated at 11 million.
In Jamaica: "Most of the time, the persons who are deported are those whose status were discovered if they have committed criminal acts or involved in simple violation or through a routine police check," said Wilson.
He made reference to the recent arrest of a Haitian national living illegally in Portland since 2004, who was discovered in routine spot check by the police.
Jamaica has long emerged as a panoply of cultures with distinct populations of Africans, Indians, Chinese and other Asians, and more recently Latin Americans and eastern Europeans who often work in the clubs - making it difficult to pinpoint those who are illegals.
Wilson said the more difficult task is detecting those who enter illegally at unpatrolled sections of the coast - the method most used by Haitians, for example, who come intermittently by the boatload.
There is also no available data on the origin of illegal immigrants, nor the numbers who use Jamaica as a jumping off point to other countries. Wilson said that so disjointed is the data that often Jamaica only discovers the illegals long after they have left for other shores or having self-repatriated.
Jamaican visas are issued manually, making it difficult to calculate just how many have been granted in the various countries, said the immigration director.
Explaining just how the system works, Wilson said, foreign nationals would apply for a visa in their country to enter Jamaica.
"If the Chinese are coming for employment or to peruse the possibility of investment, then they would come in as a visitor and they would examine the whole possibility and then if they see the prospect right then they make the formal application to set up the business," he said.
The granting of work permits falls under the ambit of the Ministry of Labour."That person should have obtained the work permit before coming to Jamaica and that applies to all non-commonwealth nationals," said Wilson.
"We really don't have anything to do with it. Our main thing is to see that when the person comes to us that they are legally in Jamaica."But securing a work permit does not give the applicant automatic right to remain in the country. That has to be approved by the immigration department.
Outlining a scenario, Wilson said: "Let us say the time of that person's visit expired in January, but they obtain a work permit in May. They turn up at the office in June very confident that everything is okay now but it is not, because the work permit does not cover the period they were in breach."
However, such cases are treated on merit, which means the person in breach is likely to be granted an extension of their stay in the island.
For persons wishing to acquire Jamaican citizenship, Wilson say they either have to be married to a Jamaican; live here for five continuous years; or be of Jamaican parentage.