Around Town …

  • U.S. Citizen Sentenced for Illegal Exports of Controlled Aircraft Parts to Iran.  Last week the Department of Justice announced that the “director of Monarch Aviation Pte, Ltd. (“Monarch”), a Singapore company that imported and exported military and commercial aircraft components for more than 20 years, was sentenced … in federal court in Brooklyn to 46 months’ incarceration for conspiring to violate the U.S. trade embargo by exporting controlled aircraft components to Iran. Wang-Woodford was also ordered to forfeit $500,000 to the United States Treasury Department.”  The news release is available, here.  The UK husband half of this scheme is still a fugitive and is believed to be hiding out in Singapore or some other place in Southeast Asia.   Over what items you ask led to the arrest of this husband and wife team?  Aircraft shields, shears, “o” rings, and switch assemblies.  Americans can trade freely and without most restrictions with over 94% of the countries in the world.  One has little sympathy for people that set out to do evade these rules.
  • African Nation Getting Close to Arms Embargo and Sanctions? In response to a military takeover of the Republic of Guinea government that has resulted in the death of civilians and human rights abuses, the State Department, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, issued a Web Notice recently advising exporters “that although there is no current U.S. or UN arms embargo on Guinea, the final decision on license applications for the export of U.S. Munitions List (USML) items to Guinea received from this date or currently in the review process may be delayed as the situation develops.”  Read the complete Web Notice, here.  In related news, the African Union announced this weekend announced economic sanctions.
  • Export Law Blog:  “Ex-Treasury Advisor Claims U.S. Jurisdiction over Entire Planet”.  Over at the Export Law Blog, well, go read for yourself.  Its a good read.  What side are you on?  Once you read Burns’s post the following comment may make more sense; under UN Security Council Resolution 1737 (March 2007), the Security Council called on “all States and international financial institutions not to enter into new commitments for grants, financial assistance, and concessional loans, to the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, except for humanitarian and developmental purposes.”  The UN could look into this matter; at least for consistencies sake since the Asian Clearing Union is an international financial institution.  And, alas, the U.S. may not “rule” the world, but we sure have a great deal of influence over what countries, companies, and international financial institutions do with our goods and our greenbacks.
  • House Democrats Rally Around U.S. Travel Ban on Cuba.  According to the Miami Herald, more than 50 House Democrats are urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to leave the U.S. embargo on Cuba alone.  “Any legislation that would seek to ease or lift sanctions . . . would send a devastating message to Cuba’s opposition movement and legitimize an ailing dictatorship,” states the letter signed by Florida Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Kendrick Meek, Alcee Hastings and 50 others.”  Read the Miami Herald story, here.  The supporters of easing the travel restrictions for U.S. citizens say they have enough votes to securing passage in the House.  We’ll see.  One day, one hopes, we will learn why people in Congress and K Street insist on supporting a state sponsor of terror just 90 miles from our shores. For now, kudos to the brave 50 or so Democrats who stand for freedom.
  • Rep. Connie Mack Keeps Pressing on Listing Venezuela as State Sponsor of Terrorism.   In letter to the editor of the of the Fort Myers News-Press, Florida Representative Connie Mack outlines why Venezuela should be listed as a state sponsor of terrorism.  “United States law clearly states that a state sponsor of terrorism is one that repeatedly provides support to acts of international terrorism. Hugo Chavez has done so and is a clear threat to our hemisphere. That’s why the United States must add Venezuela to the list of state sponsors of terrorism, and why we must stand with the people of Venezuela as they fight for freedom from Chavez’s iron fist,” Mack states in the letter.  Mack and other Members of Congress have pressed for this designation for some time now and they are correct,  it is long overdue.  A possible middle ground option could be to designate Venezuela, and likely Ecuador, as a terror sanctuary.
  • New Mosque in Nicaragua Fuels Rumors About Iranian Regime Meddling.  The Wall Street Journal reports today on a new mosque set to open in Managua, Nicaragua – a country with 300 or so Muslims.  According to the Journal, “[t]he geopolitical chatter surrounding the gold-domed mosque, which opened in September after more than a year of construction, continues. “Did Iran put up the money? That’s the question everyone asks,” says Ismat Khatib, a native Nicaraguan lawyer and businessman who is of Palestinian descent. One Managua-based diplomat says it is believed Iran subsidized it.”  For years I have been hearing from colleagues and friends close to Nicaraguan opposition leaders that Iran has been funneling money and “diplomats” to Managua for projects such as an “embassy” building that never seems to come to completion.  Expect to hear more about Iranian influence, eh, meddling is more like it,  in the Western Hemisphere for years to come.  For now though, the Managua Mosque is just that, a mosque. Also, something that the WSJ does not mention – it is not just the Iranian regime money flows in to the region that should concern as there are other groups and countries that are out to destabilize the Americas. Read the Wall Street Journal article, here.
%d bloggers like this: