By KNews | Filed Under Features / Columnists, Peeping Tom 

A lot of names are calling in the trial in New York, and with little apparent reason for so doing. At the rate at which things are going, anybody’s name can be called. The Almighty God had better watch out. Even he might be implicated.
In due course, it is hoped that this newspaper can obtain the full transcript of what was tendered within the Courts so that a clearer picture can emerge.
It is unfortunate but understandable that the local newspapers could not have had their own correspondents covering the trial. There have been serious gaps which have emerged in the reporting which may have been avoided had the local newspapers had their own persons at the trial and reporting back directly on every shred of the evidence being led.
One foreign online newspaper reported some interesting evidence being led by a corrections officer in the case, as well as a major contradiction which emerged in the cross-examination of the witness. Yet, that aspect of the case has not been featured in our local newspapers.
Another news organisation has reported that a witness in the trial admitted under cross-examination that it was he who planted the idea in the head of the accused about harming relatives of witnesses. This was a damaging admission which discredits the original testimony of the witness.
Despite what is emerging we still see commentators within the media speaking about the spy equipment in the singular.
Even before the trial of Roger Khan’s lawyer commenced, there were reports that more than one computer was involved and that the software allegedly used for interception purposes was transferable, meaning that it could be replicated on more than one computer.
I am yet to be convinced that the receiver equipment allegedly used to intercept calls could actually record calls. I am more inclined to believe that this so-called spy equipment more likely could identify the location from which calls originated and that the actual recording of conversations required a different form of tapping.
This may explain why the recorded calls of one senior police officer were of such clarity.
There have also been some serious misgivings about the export of such equipment, with the principal assumption within Guyana being that only governments are authorized to purchase such equipment and that meticulous checks are carried out by the exporting company and governmental authorities within the US.
On the contrary, this is not the case.  The checks are far from meticulous except for military sales, and in fact, a 2004 Report of the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Commerce had observed that export control compliance was mixed, and had recommended on-site inspections to ensure compliance with licensing conditions.
The system was, and probably still is, subject to manipulation. Under the licensing system required for the export of sensitive technology, only a person in the United States may apply for an export licence, but may do so on behalf of someone outside of the United States.
Thus the government of Guyana could not have applied for a licence to bring the equipment out of the United States.
The regulations are clear in that the applicant must be the exporter and who is deemed the US principal party of interest. However that party may apply on behalf of a foreign party of interest, but this foreign party of interest again does not have to be a foreign government.
It can be a company in another country which may have a relationship by ownership, or otherwise, with the US Company that is doing the exportation.
US laws, however, require that there be full disclosure of all parties involved in a transaction. But whether there are meticulous checks to verify this, given the volume of licences that are approved each year, is open to question.
In fact, all that is required from the foreign party of interest is a power of attorney on a letterhead.
There is no doubt that the type of communication equipment which was said to be exported to Guyana required an export permit. But there is no requirement that the sale could only be to governments.
There are some additional requirements, but these can be exempted if the goods are non-firearm related and if they are being sold to governments and if the final destination of the goods is an OAS country. Thus, once there is a power of attorney which is believed to have come from a representative of a foreign government of an OAS country, there is no need for the additional requirements to be met.
Is it therefore possible for there to have been a forgery in respect to the power of attorney and the disclosure requirements? I do not know.
What I keep asking myself is why, if the government of Guyana was a party to this controversial transaction would they procure the equipment through the Minister of Health, as is being alleged? This makes no sense to me.
The man is not even a member of the ruling party. So why would he be trusted with such a transaction.
Why also would the government, if indeed this is the case, facilitate the purchase of equipment by someone when that same person could use that very equipment to compromise the State? Why would, in other words the government facilitate Roger Khan, when it could import, quite easily, the said equipment for its own uses?
This is why I would strongly suggest that immediately, the government of Guyana have someone within the United States investigate the purported authorization that the sale of the spy equipment was for the Guyana government, so as to determine whether there was a forgery of the power of attorney, which was used in the transaction.

Thursday, August 06, 2009