Archive for category Travel

Legal News: Charges Dismissed Against Nicholas Moody In UAE Weapons Case!

    Excellent news and thanks to everyone out there that applied the necessary pressure on our US Embassy in the UAE, and for your support in this case. This will certainly be a wonderful holiday gift to Nicholas and his friends and family. –Matt

Charges dismissed against American in UAE weapons case

December 14, 2010

The charges against an American soldier who had been detained for more than two months in the United Arab Emirates have been dismissed, authorities said.

Cpl. Nicholas Moody, from Nevada, was arrested September 29 during an 18-hour layover in Abu Dhabi while heading back from his job as a private security contractor in Iraq.

Moody was charged with possession of weapons accessories — parts that could accompany a gun, though no firearm itself — which is illegal in the UAE.

Charges against Moody, were dismissed Monday said Melhem Sharrouf, one of Moody’s attorneys.

Moody, who has served in Iraq and then Afghanistan as part of the California and then Nevada National guards, had been released from jail on bail, but it was uncertain when he would be allowed to leave the United Arab Emirates.

Moody’s visa expired while he was in jail and his passport was being held by the government, his attorneys said. He would need to renew his visa before he could leave.

Those who created a support website on Facebook rejoiced about the development in the case. More than 2,500 people have expressed support to the “Help Bring Nick Moody Back Home” site on Facebook.

“NICK’S CASE WAS DISMISSED!!!!!!!!!! The paperwork will take a couple days, then travel arrangements will be made for Nick to come home! THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR THE LOVE, LETTERS, SUPPORT, PRAYERS AND POSITIVE ENERGY!” the site said.

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Job Tips: UAE Travel And Shipping Stuff

     What sucks is; just a few months ago I brought most of my gear through Dubai; and I could have been arested. This was because the US Military P.O. would not let me ship most of my gear from APO in Iraq to APO in Afghanistan. It’s BS man,  and it is going to come down to-we have to risk getting arrested just to get our gear to our work place.-FJ Reader

    I wanted to get this out there for folks to think about and discuss.  Many contractors pass through the UAE for work, and this country keeps changing their laws and rules without getting the word out to the companies or contractors. All I have to say is that they are doing a poor job of strategic communications, and an excellent job of arresting contractors. (perhaps that is the goal? lol)

    If you look at the DoS travel advisory for the UAE, their treatment of the subject is pretty thin.  Do they not understand that thousands of contractors pass through these airports every year, and most of them are doing the good work of protecting folks and things in the war zones? They are putting their lives on the line for the US and it’s allies in the war, and they continue to be treated as a second class citizens.  At the very least, DoS could be a little more responsive to this issue, and maybe even push back. American citizens are getting arrested because they are not getting the word, or they have poor interpretations of the laws, or they are not aware of any new laws the come up out of the UAE, and the US embassy should be out there doing what they can to prevent this type of thing.

    I also put some blame on the companies for not taking care of their people.  You need to be pressing the embassy and the UAE for exactly what is required, and not just ‘ho hum’ your way through the whole thing. Contractors should be considered your most valuable asset, and by not doing everything you can to educate them with the most up to date laws of other countries, just shows a lack of compassion or responsibility on the company’s part.

    Then of course there is personal responsibility.  Guys have to get educated on this stuff, and that is why I constantly tell folks to do your homework about this industry.  Go to the forums and relevant websites out there, read what everyone is talking about, ask your questions if you haven’t found it in a search, and get educated. It is also important to really listen to your company or what the older guys have to say in this industry, because sometimes they do get it right and they do know what is best for travel on that particular contract. Don’t assume anything and get the facts.

    The quote up top was from a reader that was in a sticky situation, and this is a good example of the kind of dilemmas you can get into. In their case, they were traveling from one war zone to the next and their equipment was essential for the job.  They did not have a civilian parcel company at the base to use, and the only means of getting the stuff to their work site was carrying it through checked baggage or sending it APO to APO via military post office. My question here is why is the US military not working with contractors by allowing them to ship APO to APO? And because this contractor had no idea about the new laws or updates to the laws in the UAE, he could have been arrested just like the other guys.

    The other point about this situation was that sometimes at these airports, no one cares and it seems these policies and laws are only enforced by the officers that wish to do their job that day.  Or an officer does their own interpretation of the vague rules, and once they commit to the arrest, of course they are not going to backtrack and admit they were wrong. (unless a higher up that has been pressured diplomatically intervenes-hint, hint to the embassy) Some officers demand a bribe or maybe they have some bias–who knows. But this is the way travel is in some foreign countries and their airports.

     Now looking at all of these scenarios, you would think that companies would provide all the equipment necessary to do the job out there.  The truth is, that they don’t. Most contractors, to include myself, have had the unfortunate experience of being without some essential equipment in war zones, and all because a company made false promises about equipment, or the stuff they had was limited or in poor condition.  As more airports and countries introduce more strict rules on contractor related equipment, and as the enemy continues to conduct system disruption attacks that spawn more idiotic rules in airports, it will be increasingly important for contractors to be aware and/or increasingly depend up the company to provide this stuff. But that would require a company to actually care or cut into their profits to properly outfit their contractors.

    Which brings up another point.  Many companies use contractors because of the tax benefits and the ease of hiring or getting rid of them.  They also like security contractors because we usually have our own ‘tools’, much like a contractor in the building industry. Contractors even write off that equipment on their taxes.  So as more of these airports clamp down on contractors and limit their ability to transport their kit or ‘tools’ to a work site, then companies will be forced to incur more cost and provide those tools for the contractor. That kind of sounds like ’employee’ country, and not contractor stuff now and companies need to be aware of this stuff. (some companies rent the gear to the independent contractor, as an example)

    Now for another issue with shipping. What is with this dumb rule that came out where guys could not send their ACOG scopes home through military PO’s, because of the ‘gas’ that is in the ACOG? I have heard this from several contractors that tried to ship home their ACOG’s and the military told them they couldn’t do it. Luckily, from what I heard on the forums, folks are able to ship home their ACOG’s through a civilian parcel.

    I remember going through the same hassle with body armor or knives, and in my view, a military PO should do all they can to accommodate and work with contractors so that they can get this done.  In my case, I just sent the stuff home through civilian parcel because I was not allowed to send this stuff. But it was also more expensive and I was lucky that I was on a base that had a civilian parcel office. On some of my other contracts, I just had to give my stuff away to someone else that could use it, and eat the loss. This is repeated many times by contractors in the war zones and I guess you could call this the cost of doing business. –Matt

UAE authorities will confiscate any weapons, weapon parts, ammunition, body armor, handcuffs, and/or other military/police equipment transported to or through a civilian airport. U.S. citizens have been arrested and jailed for transporting such weapons and equipment without the express written authorization of the UAE government, even though airline and U.S. authorities allowed shipment on a U.S.-originating flight. – DoS Travel Advisory here.

UAE’s website with travel section here.

Discussion on here and here.

Recent Changes In UAE Law For Travelers And Contractors

 … all US personnel – to avoid violation of Emirati laws by the intentional or accidental transport of any arms or items considered as law enforcement equipment or military gear. UAE airport personnel will x-ray all baggage – checked or carry-on – and cargo shipments, including household goods, both incoming and outgoing.  UAE authorities will confiscate any weapons, weapon parts, ammunition, body armour, handcuffs, sensitive electronics, cryptographic devices, and/or other military/police equipment transported to or through a civilian airport. Persons found to be carrying such items will be arrested and face strict criminal penalties, including imprisonment and large monetary fines…  One such incident involved one bullet, found in the bag of a traveler who had unknowingly left the item in his bag.  This individual was detained by the police and now faces a possible jail sentence and large monetary fine.  In other similar incidents, U.S. defense contractors transiting the U.A.E. with weapons were arrested and are now serving jail sentences of several months.The following is a sampling of the types of items that are illegal in the United Arab Emirates.

The list is NOT all inclusive, but does include the following:

• Weapons of any type, to include guns of any type, including simulators, assembled or disassembled, in carry-on or checked baggage.

• Ammunition or pyrotechnics of any type to include spent brass or casings.

• Body armor, including ballistic vests and military/police helmets.

• Police or law enforcement paraphernalia, including; handcuffs, flexi-cuffs, night vision goggles, gun holsters, pepper spray etc.

• Military-style electronics and cryptographic devices.The smallest quantity of any of the above mentioned items can result in detention and prosecution, to include a possible jail sentence, in the United Arab Emirates.

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Travel: The Expat Rockstar Magazine

     Hey, check out this website. I know James from the Black Flag Cafe and his website about civilian contractors.  The Expat Rockstar Magazine is an extension of what he is really expert in, and if you want an interesting read, check it out. –Head Jundi



Expat Rockstar Magazine

Website Here

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