CNN Freedom Project: Are These LinkedIn Articles a Cyber Crime?!
(CNN #MyFreedomDay: 14 March 2018)
Writer, Researcher, Consultant
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What does Freedom mean to me? Before answering this question, I would like to tell you the following short story. One day I received a phone call from the Deputy Public Prosecutor in Ibra, Oman. He told me, in a harsh and threatening voice, that his name is Saif Al-Saltti and he wanted to see me at his office. I was really surprised because I did not remember I committed any crime in Oman or elsewhere in the world. I have always spent my life as a law-abiding citizen and expatiate, and a very hard-working academic and employee everywhere. I arrived at Saif Al-Saltti’s office in the Public Prosecution in Ibra and found a thin man who was smoking heavily inside the office. This was the first sign that made me conclude the man is “reckless and does not care about the law”! The man was clearly breaking the law as smoking in offices and public buildings and places is strictly forbidden in Oman. He told me that there was a memo against me from Abood Al-Sawafi, the Vice Chancellor, of A’Sharqiyah University because of articles I had written on Facebook and LinkedIn. The articles were in English. When I looked into the file, I found a very detailed, hand-written memo in Arabic. It was written and signed by Hamed Al-Hajri, the Assistant VC of A’Sharqiyah University on behalf of Abood Al-Sawafi and the University. When I read it, I did not believe myself at the level of wickedness, hatred, and fabrication with which the memo was written. But I was able to understand the reason behind it. I had caught Hamed Al-Hajri red-handed many times before and reported him to the former VC and the present VC, so he wanted to have his revenge on me and had orchestrated a very wicked conspiracy to have my contract terminated as he always does with anyone who stands on his way. He is a big thief and one of the most wicked and corrupt senior managers in Oman and the Middle East. I will expose his corruption to the full with documents. The file contained five of my LinkedIn articles written in English with “translated”, or rather mistranslated, texts from a commercial translation bureau. The translated texts were very inaccurate and very weak; they did not reflect an honest attempt to render the original literal and metaphorical meanings and connotations of the English texts. There was something else which was very serious and the Judge himself, later on, pointed this to Abood Al-Sawafi. The name of Abood Al-Sawafi and A’Sharqiyah University were printed with a stamp on the translated texts (in Arabic) though they are not found in the original texts! This was done to mislead the readers Page 2 of 11
into believing that the articles are about Abood Al-Sawafi and A’Sharqiyah University. Those who understand English can very clearly see that the articles talk in general about various issues related to higher education institutions. But Abood Al-Sawafi and Hamed Al-Hajri wanted to deceive the Police, the Public Prosecutor and the court as they hardly know any English. I explained this to Saif Al-Saltti, the Deputy Public Prosecutor and expected him to take this into account or mention it somewhere on the case file, but he ignored it! Saif Al-Saltti read half of the first “mistranslated” article in Arabic sentence by sentence and I pointed to him the mistakes and inaccurate points in the translation but, again, he ignored my corrections. After reading half a page of a mistranslated text, he left the office and never returned. He asked his clerk to continue reading the other half of the Arabic text. After finishing reading, the clerk asked me to sign a paper about writing the articles. I explained to him that I wrote the articles in English not in Arabic and I did not write the mistranslated texts. He told me they would mention this point to the court, but they did not! Is this how a legal investigation in a Public Prosecution office in Oman should be done? Is this fair? How do you expect me or the others to believe there is justice in Oman and all of us are equal before the law? The articles are all in English and are available on many websites and can easily be consulted and copies of which were submitted with the mistranslated Arabic texts. One expects the Public Prosecutor to go through the texts one by one and discuss them with the accused, the writer, but he did not! What are the five articles mentioned in the memo submitted by Hamed Al-Hajri? They are the following: 1. Higher Education is not a game of gambling, Mr. VC!! (Published on September 29, 2015). 2. Are Indians Cheap Labor? Who is to blame? Expatriate Indian Teachers in Higher Education (Published on October 1, 2015) 3. Understanding and Implementing Oman Labour Law in Colleges and Universities (Published on October 8, 2015) 4. Oman Health at Risk: Oman Labour Law and Medical Insurance Companies (Published on October 12, 2015) Page 3 of 11
5. When Senior Management is Shortsighted: Knowledge Management for Startup Organizations in Higher Education (Published on October 20, 2015) I have written these articles in English, not in Arabic, and I will never deny that. Whether the articles are about Abood Al-Sawafi and A’Sharqiyah University or not is for the reader to know or conclude but there is a simple fact: the names of Abood Al-Sawafi and A’Sharqiyah University are not mentioned in the articles, so there is no legal justification whatsoever for any court case against them. In fact, in the first court hearing, the presiding Judge asked Abood AlSawafi about his name in the articles and where it was mentioned. Abood Al-Sawafi replied that the pronoun “he” in the articles refers to him! The Judge smiled and asked me if this was correct. I answered that this was not correct as the pronoun “he” refers to the name mentioned somewhere before it. Since the name Abood Al-Sawafi is not mentioned in the text at all, then the pronoun “he” does not refer to him. Imagine a VC of a university who does not know how the pronoun “he” is used in English! What surprised me more than anything else was the bunch of lies and fabrications in the memo and in the translated texts. Some of the phrases did not occur even in the translations but they were inserted in the memo by Hamed Al-Hajri. Other phrases were inserted into the Arabic texts by the translator under pressure from Abood Al-Sawafi and Hamed Al-Hajri. The phrases and sentences, as we will show, are not found in the original English texts. They are blatant lies for anyone who can read the original texts in English. I will mention here only a few examples and will give the titles of the article in question for easy reference. I will use the historical present tense for vivid description. 1. Higher Education is not a game of gambling, Mr. VC!! (Published on September 29, 2015). In his memo, Hamed Al-Hajri claims that this article is an attack on higher education! This is a grave misunderstanding of the article due to the fact that Hamed Al-Hajri does not understand English. The article discusses the higher education system and attempts to shed light on the essential requirements for the success of any higher education institution. Investors should pay due attention to these requirements instead of looking at their private higher education institution Page 4 of 11
as a “cash cow” -- an investment for making money in a fast way. The article discusses the topic in general and does not mention Abood Al-Sawafi or A’Sharqiyah University as any reader who knows English can see very easily from the article. The article starts with this sentence: “Investing some money on a very simple building which looks like a Bedouin camp without a set of academic principles or values is not an investment on higher education.” The sentence is very general in meaning and does not refer to any group of Bedouin anywhere in the world. A Bedouin camp in English refers to a scattered camp and does not involve any disrespect or any reference to “Oman Bedouin Society” as Hamed Al-Hajri and his translator claim. Where is this phrase “Oman Bedouin Society” in the article in order for Hamed Al-Hajri to repeat it in the memo and in the court?! 2. Are Indians Cheap Labor? Who is to blame? Expatriate Indian Teachers in Higher Education (Published on October 1, 2015) The claims about this article and the translations, or rather mistranslations, as submitted by Hamed Al-Hajri are unbelievable. They are just a bunch of cheap lies and fabrications in a very wicked way. The article depicts reality as it is and as I have experienced it in Oman. In fact, may Indian colleagues have agreed with me about the points mentioned in the article. So the article is an attempt to correct a widespread misconception and malpractice whereby Indian teachers, like all expatriate Indian employees in Oman and elsewhere, are being paid salaries lower than their colleagues with the same qualifications and experience working in the same higher education institution. I have worked in Oman for fifteen years and I have come to this conclusion, especially after I have worked as a Head of Department, Director of a Language Center and Director of a Foundation Program. In all these positions, part of my job was to recruit teachers for the higher education institutions I have worked with. I used to get instructions from the senior managers, Omanis and non-Omanis, to give Indian teachers lower salaries than the teachers from other nationalities because they claim “there are too many Indians in Oman and because of the low standards of living in India!” For me, these instructions are disgusting and very unfair! I have never followed them and will never follow them. I used to treat the Indian teachers like any other nationality. I said this very clearly in the article: “Indians are like any other nationality and Page 5 of 11
they deserve salaries and wages like the others when they have the same qualifications and experiences and perform the same job. So when I was asked to recruit teachers for the Foundation Program five years ago, I insisted on giving the Indian teachers the same salaries and benefits as the Westerners or Western-educated teachers with the same credentials.” So where is this attack on the Indian teachers which Abood Al-Sawafi and Hamed Al-Hajri claim in their vicious memo?! Then comes the surprising claim by Hamed Al-Hajri that the articles “incite the Indian teachers in A’Sharqiyah University to make a revolution”!! Where in the article is this mentioned?! The article does not even mention A’Sharqiyah University at all! The word “revolution” does not occur in the article. The article is very general and has been supported by many teachers inside and outside Oman and has nothing to do with Abood Al-Sawafi and Hamed Al-Hajri. The Indian teachers in A’Sharqiyah University and in Oman are very peaceful and obedient people, though few of them love to make conspiracies against their colleagues and against those who want to do them justice! Many of them in A’Sharqiyah University are afraid even to read my articles, let alone making a revolution! The claim by Hamed Al-Hajri that they will be incited to make a revolution in Oman is utter nonsense. Why do they need to make a revolution in Oman after all? Why don’t they make a revolution in India itself?! I also said the following sentence very clearly in the article: “the Oman Labor Law strongly prohibits this exploitation.” So where is the attack on the Oman Labor Law as per the treatment of Indian teachers, as Abood Al-Sawafi and Hamed Al-Hajri claim in their fabricated memo to the Public Prosecution? 3. Understanding and Implementing Oman Labour Law in Colleges and Universities (Published on October 8, 2015) Abood Al-Sawafi and Hamed Al-Hajri claim in their memo that “this article is against the Oman Labor Law”! But any reader who knows English will see that this is completely false. In fact, there is a praise for the Oman Labor Law. The article states this very clearly: “Oman Labour Law is generally regarded as one of the strong points in Oman job market. It was issued to regulate the labour relationships between the employers and employees in the private sector. It is written in a very good language avoiding the “legal jargon” and is available online in English Page 6 of 11
and Arabic. So it cannot be misunderstood by anyone who knows the language in which it is written.” This statement has also occurred in the Arabic translated text, so what is wrong with the article? If Abood Al-Sawafi and Hamed Al-Hajri do not understand the article in English, why do they not understand the Arabic translation? Referring to the problem of being a slave to the employer in everything, I have said in the article: “It is a real dilemma: either you keep silent even if your rights are taken away from you or your head will be cut off!! The translator did not understand the sentence in the contexts of work contract and work environment and mistranslated “your head will be cut off” into “execution” because there is no freedom! In spite of the fact that this mistranslation is absolute nonsense, Hamed Al-Hajri and his lawyer were repeating it happily in their memos, just to mislead the Public Prosecution and the court! 4. Oman Health at Risk: Oman Labour Law and Medical Insurance Companies (Published on October 12, 2015) Abood Al-Sawafi and Hamed Al-Hajri also claim here that this article is an attack on the Oman Health system! Again, they reveal themselves as stupid and ignorant people. They do not understand anything in English nor do they care about the health of their own people. As the reader can clearly see, this article praises the Government Healthcare system; it says “Omani nationals, as is the case in many countries in the world, receive their health care in government hospitals and other medical facilities that are, in general, very well equipped and well-staffed.” Any expatriate working in Oman would tell you about the different health care the Omani nationals get from that of the expatriates. This is one of the bitter realities facing expatriates in Oman and it is a very serious problem which needs to be addressed by the health authorities in Oman in order to keep the country healthy. I have said this very clearly: “illnesses and diseases do not differentiate between Omanis and non-Omanis, between those who work for the government and those who work for the private sector. We are on the same ship and if it sinks, God forbid, we will all sink with it.” The article is a very serious attempt to tackle a serious issue anywhere in the world, that is, the health care system and how it can be made more effective for everybody for the safety and wellPage 7 of 11
being of the whole country. The writer should have been rewarded, as many lawyers in the court told me, not put on trial. The other important point is the fact that the article does not mention Abood Al-Sawafi or Hamed Al-Hajri or A’Sharqiyah University by name so what has the article got to do with them? Are they representatives of the Ministry of Health in Oman? The Ministry of Health knows about the article and has read it and I have sent them a copy. They are educated people and they understand English and, later on, they sent me more than one survey about the health care provided by the private sector in Oman. So where is the problem in order for Abood Al-Sawafi and Hamed Al-Hajri to take the article to court and claim “it is s cybercrime”?! Is this a sign of intelligence and education or a sign of utter stupidity, ignorance, wickedness, and lack of leadership? 5.When Senior Management is Shortsighted: Knowledge Management for Startup Organizations in Higher Education (Published on October 20, 2015) This article deals with the role of knowledge management in startup institutions or organizations in higher education. Like the other articles, it does not mention Abood Al-Sawafi or Hamed AlHajri or A’Sharqiyah University or even Oman by name. So, once more, the article deals with a general topic and does not mention any names and cannot be taken as “defaming” any specific person or entity. This is obvious from the conclusion of the article: “Higher education institutions are places for knowledge and learning not for money-making. This basic principle can never be ignored without grave consequences. Senior Managers with a “fishmonger mentality” should not be given any role in higher education anywhere in the world. They are fit to run a farm for cattle or camels. They are not fit to run a university for human beings!” The presiding Judge in the Labor Case rejected Abood Al-Sawafi’s and Hamed Al-Hajri’s fabricated claims. He mentioned that in the court hearings and in the final verdict saying that all these claims “have nothing to do with the work contract and with the Labor Case”. So I was granted my end-of-service gratuity in full. It ran into thousands of dollars. So I broke the noses of both Abood Al-Sawafi and Hamed Al-Hajri and got my money which they wanted to steal as they always do with their employers. Before the end of the final hearing of the Labor Case, Abood Al-Sawafi and Hamed Al-Hajri and their lawyer realized that they were losing the case. So they collected their fabrications and went Page 8 of 11
with their lawyer to the Police and to Saif Al-Saltti, the Deputy Public Prosecutor in Ibra, Oman to submit their very wicked and spiteful memo claiming this time that “the articles are a cybercrime!” What?! A cybercrime?! But they have nothing to do with any cybercrime. There is not a single definition of a cybercrime which applies to them! A cybercrime is usually defined as “a crime in which a computer is the object of the crime (hacking, phishing, spamming) or is used as a tool to commit an offense (child pornography, hate crimes).” (Wikipedia). Techopedia explains that a “Cybercrime encompasses a wide range of activities, but these can generally be broken into two categories:
Crimes that target computer networks or devices. These types of crimes include viruses and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.
Crimes that use computer networks to advance other criminal activities. These types of crimes include cyberstalking, phishing and fraud or identity theft.”
The definition and the explanation do not apply to the articles in question. No one in their senses would tell you or believe that a Cybercrime includes writing general articles on LinkedIn or other websites on general or specific topics. But this is what Abood Al-Sawafi, the VC of A’Sharqiyah University and Hamad Al-Hajri, his Assistant VC, have wickedly twisted the meaning of the term. Saif Al-Saltti told me that the articles were being treated as a cybercrime as per Article 16 of the Oman Penal Code. I went to the Oman Penal Code (available online) and found out this law is intended to protect privacy. It has nothing to do with cybercrimes in the normal sense. It is similar to what we usually call “Libel” laws. It never mentions writing articles on the Internet. The articles, as we have explained, do not qualify for the legal definition of a cybercrime or a libel case in any way whatsoever as they are void of any explicit mention of names of individuals, families or entities, which is an essential legal requirement for any article to be included in a “cybercrime” or a “libel” case, even by Oman Penal Code. In fact, after one or two court hearings and after realizing his mistake in the “legal description” of the articles as a cybercrime, Saif Al-Saltti, Deputy Public Prosecutor in Ibra, requested the Judge to change the legal description of the case. The Judge also realized that there was no case
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against the articles and was unable to find any legal description for them, so he postponed the hearing! The whole episode was not more than a “circus show”! The Police in Ibra do not understand English, Saif Al-Saltti himself, and by his own admission, does not understand English, the lawyer does not understand English, the Judges themselves in both cases do not understand English, Abood Al-Sawafi hardly understands English, and Hamed Al-Hajri does not understand any word in English! All of them were talking about articles which they did not read and do not understand the language in which these articles are written! If they do not understand the articles or the language in which they are written, why do they not understand the law itself? Or they understand everything, but there is something else?! What a catastrophe for any justice system in the world! The story continues. We conclude that since the articles are very general and do not mention Abood Al-Sawafi or Hamed Al-Hajri or A’Sharqiyah University by name. they do not then make up a “court case” of any sort. There is another important question: Why did Abood Al-Sawafi and Hamed Al-Hajri ignore the articles at the very time when they were published and I was working with them at the same University (A’Sharqiyah University) as a Consultant for Program Development? In fact, I was working as a Program Consultant to Abood Al-Sawafi himself! Imagine that! They did not talk to me nor did they mention anything to me. They waited for months and then took the articles to the Public Prosecutor after I left the University. How wicked and spitefull they are! Do these articles deserve the efforts and the money spent on them? For Abood Al-Sawafi and Hamed Al-Hajri, this question is irrelevant. They do not care as long as the money belongs to the University, and they have nothing to do with any efforts because they have hired lawyers to do all their dirty work for them and they have paid them from the University’s budget! Where are the Boards of Directors and the Board of Trustees? I really do not know. What is the result? The reputation of A’Sharqiyah University has been going down the drain and the students, their parents, and the community at large have come to know a great deal about what has happened and what sort of damage being inflicted by Abood Al-Sawafi and Hamed Al-Hajri on the reputation of A’Sharqiyah University. It makes you feel very sad that the students are paying a Page 10 of 11
very heavy price for Abood Al-Sawafi’s and Hamed Al-Hajri’s incompetence and bad management. Even the Police Force and the Military now do not recognize the certificates and degrees from A’Sharqiyah University! Everything is being destroyed because of uncivilized and unbelievably rotten mentality of some awkward senior managers who are extremely nasty examples of morally bankrupt employers practising modern-day slavery in a very ugly way. I may now answer the question: What does Freedom mean to me? Freedom to me means the ability and the opportunity to express myself freely on the Internet and on any other medium of expression available to other human beings without the fear of being prosecuted, fined, or jailed. I have been able to get and value this freedom after being inspired by the CNN Freedom Project. Working for employers who are prepared to confiscate my freedom of expression and treat me like a slave is longer an option for me. It also means getting rid of bad and nasty employers like Abood Al-Sawafi (VC) and Hamed Al-Hajri (Assistant VC) of A’Sharqiyah University in Oman. They are so wicked and spiteful that they will do everything to mercilessly smash even their best employees who may differ with them in opinion or stand on their way of corruption and thievery. Freedom means to me that human beings are not for sale.
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Published on Mar 14, 2018
Published on Mar 14, 2018
What does Freedom mean to me? Freedom to me means the ability and the opportunity to express myself freely on the Internet and on any other...