Around Town …

  • The Australian newspaper reported earlier this week that the Australian government has blocked several shipments of controlled items including water pumps used to cool nuclear reactors.  Ominously titled “Kevin Rudd’s secret war on Iran,” the reporter who penned the article asks readers to contact them if they have had exports blocked by the government.  That they would even ask readers to share such information says quite a bit about the export control culture in Australia.  They seem to make it more complicated (and less transparent) than it should be.
  • A Taiwan exporter has been arrested on charges of exporting missile components to Iran.  The complaint alleges that the Taiwanese national, Kevin Chen, caused dual use goods to be exported from the U.S., including P200 Turbine Engines and spare parts, MIL-S-8516 Sealing Compound, Glass to Metal Pin Seals, and Circular Hermetic Connectors (Model MIL-C-81703).  P200 Turbine Engines are designed for use as model airplane engines but can also be used to operate unmanned aerial vehicles and military target drones.  Federal agents learned of Chen’s efforts to obtain and export U.S. goods and commodities after Chen attempted to export detonators through a California company using unsatisfactory information in documents regarding Chen’s ultimate customers.  The investigation revealed that Chen’s ultimate customers for the dual use exports listed in the complaint are all in Iran. Read more about it, here.
  • Not sure why it always seems to happen this way … On the same day that the Justice Department announced the arrest of an individual for violating U.S. export control laws,  Department of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced some details of President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI).   Obama mentioned NEI during the State of the Union speech and how it would “help farmers and small businesses increase their exports, and reform export controls consistent with national security.”  In his prepared remarks at the National Press Club yesterday, Locke did not mention the export reform control talisman.
  • Ray Walser at the Heritage Foundation asks, “So why isn’t Venezuela on the State Sponsors of Terrorism List?”  Indeed, why not?
  • The U.K. shadow foreign secretary William Hague goes to Cuba – a trip the Labour Foreign Secretary characterizes as a “real slap in the face for those who are campaigning for a more open Cuba.”  While both political parties have been wrong on Cuba for some time, it is somewhat amusing to see Labour taking the more hardline position on the Cuban regime.
  • And for those who lobby and argue in Washington, DC and around the world that economic sanctions do not work, ever, a reminder of how they can be a vital factor where there is the political will to follow through on ending oppression and lawlessness:  How the stage was set for the end of South African apartheid.
  • As did the Bush Administration, in a notification to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi the President announced yesterday that North Korea does not meet the statutory criteria for inclusion on the state sponsors of terrorism list.  Too bad.
  • Over at the Export Law Blog, Clif Burns pens an item explaining how a golf course may be shut down as a result of U.S. economic sanctions imposed against Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and his cronies.
  • Twenty-two people were arrested earlier this week in during a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operation are being charged criminally with using their businesses to transport recently smuggled aliens into the country. The three-month investigation, dubbed “Night Moves,” focused on Houston-area transportation businesses, which ranged from store-front operations to individually contracted drivers. Since November, ICE and U.S. Border Patrol agents have administratively arrested 209 individuals as part of the operation, including citizens from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

%d bloggers like this: