Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for May 4, 2018

Newsline: Defense attache allegedly hid camera at New Zealand Embassy in US

A high-ranking New Zealand military officer has been accused of hiding a camera in a bathroom at the nation’s embassy in Washington in a case that has raised unusual jurisdictional questions. Alfred Keating was a navy commodore and the embassy’s senior defense attache at the time of the incident last July. He would have been eligible to claim diplomatic immunity from being prosecuted by U.S. authorities. But the case was handled by New Zealand police, who traveled to Washington to investigate. A New Zealand judge on Friday dismissed an appeal by Keating to have his name and other personal details suppressed. Keating, who has returned to New Zealand, has been charged with attempting to make an intimate visual recording. If convicted, he faces a maximum 18 months in prison. Court documents say a camera was found in a unisex bathroom that was available for use by the 60 or so people who worked at the embassy. “It had been purposely mounted inside a heating duct unit in the bathroom, at a height and direction that captured recordings from people who arrived and used the toilet,” the documents say. The camera was discovered after it fell on the floor. It had likely been in place for many months, according to the documents. It had been activated the morning it was found and had 19 images of people from that day, the documents say. Prosecutors say they didn’t find any indecent images when they searched Keating’s computer but they did find that he had installed the driver software for the camera. A pre-trial hearing has been scheduled for July.



Newsline: Israeli diplomat in US booted from Uber for speaking Hebrew

An Israeli diplomat in Chicago said he was thrown out of an Uber on Thursday night when the driver heard him speaking Hebrew. Itay Milner, Israel’s deputy consul general in Chicago, posted on Facebook that it was one of the worst experiences of his life. “I was just thrown out of an Uber in the middle of the highway only because I answered my phone in my mother tongue,” he posted. “10 minutes into my ride and with no prior interaction between the driver and myself, it took only two words in Hebrew to get my driver [to] start yelling at me ‘get the $#@* out of my car,’” Milner wrote. “When I asked him if it’s because I’m speaking Hebrew he said yes and kept yelling at me to get out.” According to a screenshot he shared on his Facebook page, the driver’s name was Yuva, and he had a high 4.89 rating. “I never thought something like this could happen in America, such awful racism,” Milner wrote, “This cannot be tolerated!” Uber responded to Milner’s complaint, saying the company does not tolerate discrimination, and had suspended the driver pending an investigation.