In the News …

According to The Jakarta Post, the state-owned Indonesian weapons maker PT Pindad “will sanction an arms distributor that shipped its weapons to the Philippines should it prove to have violated its contract with the firm.”  The statement came on the heels of the seizing of Pindad-made rifles aboard a Panamanian-flagged vessel by the Philippine authorities on Aug. 20.

According to a new poll conducted by Bendixen & Associates, Cuban-Americans are split over whether the U.S. should continue its sanctions policy toward Cuba.  With the recent election to the Congress of three Representatives that support the current hardline policy, these poll results seem more like push-polls. This is not the first time “polls” have been used to try and sway official Washington to change policy on Cuba.   The left, and some very small pockets of misguided Republicans, have become obsessed with the embargo.  Despite as hard as they try to make it so, U.S. sanctions have never been the issue – the Cuban regime is the problem.  A state sponsor of terrorism just 90 miles from our shores – thats the issue.

The U.S. Department of Justice yesterday announced the arrest of a Belgian national “on charges alleging that he conspired to illegally export F-5 fighter jet engines and parts from the United States to Iran.”  His partner, an Iranian national remains at large.  According to the indictment this motley crew was seeking aircraft replacement parts for F-5 fighter jet engines.  This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that arms smugglers working on behalf of the Iranian regime will try it.

Former U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Amb. John Bolton, pens that “[a]dopting tougher economic sanctions is simply another detour away from hard decisions on whether to accept a nuclear Iran or support using force to prevent it.”

An envoy with U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons met with Cambodian officials earlier this week to discuss human trafficking.   According to the press, U.S. Ambassador Ambassador Luis CdeBaca praised Cambodia’s “progress in the fight against “modern slavery”.”  In June 2009, the U.S. downgraded Cambodia to the second-lowest mark on the rating system for assessing human-trafficking prevention by national governments (from Tier 1 to Tier 2).   Tier 3 status will trigger economic sanctions.

New Zealand officials said that economic sanctions are not in the cards to pressure Fiji to move back to more democratic rule.

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