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Around Town …

  • The 11th Circuit reinstated a Florida state ban on travel by university students to countries listed by the Department of State as state sponsors of terrorism.  The Travel Act was signed in to law in 2006 and was soon challenged by several Florida universities and the ACLU.  It’s a good win.  Maybe the U.S. Congress should take a hint that U.S. taxpayer monies should not be used to fund “cultural exchanges” and “academic” programs with SSTs – impose a similar restriction at the federal level.
  • Russian arms dealer and sanctions buster Viktor Bout‘s extradition to the U.S. from Thailand is still delayed because of legal technicalities.  The latest charges include money laundering and fraud.
  • Iranian proxy Hezbollah knocking at our southern door.  For years there has been anecdotal evidence that Hezbollah, as well as other Middle Eastern radical Islamic terrorist groups, have been operating just south of the U.S.-Mexico border.  An indictment handed down late month in the Southern District Court of New York has connected the dots to Hezbollah and the Mexican drug cartels.  May the lawyers keep going south – they will surely find links in places such as Nicaragua, Venezuela, Brazil, and even Ecuador.
  • Pakistani Taliban added to US international terrorism blacklist, $5 million reward announced yesterday by State Department officials.
  • A former North Korean Ambassador to the United Nations and another official may be at the center of North Korea’s illegal arms trade with other rogue regimes such as Iran.
  • “Historic. Exotic. Affordable.”  That is how USA Today‘s travel reporter Bill McGee describes Cuba as travel destination.  McGee even provides tips on third country entry as an “open secret.”  Save your coin.  What he should have said is that Cuba is “Run down. Depressing.  Crumbling.”   If you want to be depressed, see repression, and partake in tourism apartheid, go ahead.  But, under U.S. law, third country travel is “illegal.
  • Mexican drug cartels members, many of which are listed as specially designated nationals (SDNs) by the U.S. Government, are recruiting members in the United States.  Phoenix, Arizona bars seems to be a prime location for finding new drug mules or gun runners.  And there are still folks in this town who want to fight SB 1070?
  • The editorial board of the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper argues that the Obama Administration should not have sent a new ambassador to Venezuela because of that country’s ties to terror and poor human rights record.  Common sense?  Certainly, but not in Washington, DC.  There is enough on record to seriously deem Venezuela a region of terrorism concern.  Yet as the editors say in the piece, ni hablar.  These folks will not do it.
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