Around Town …

  • Earlier this month, the Department of the Treasury, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued new guidance on Informal Value Transfer Systems (IVTS), i.e., hawala, hundi, fei ch’ien, or phoe kuan, among others.
  • While an Iranian opposition group claims to have a exposed a secret nuclear facility in Iran,  the U.S. Government seeks the extradition of a Brit for allegedly selling missile parts to the Iranian regime.
  • Moving on to U.S. border security, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton labeled Mexican drug cartel violence an “insurgency“, while Arizona Governor Jan Brewer talks of beheadings at the Arizona-Mexico border (Brewer retracted the statement, however, as this 2008 Time magazine story details, beheadings have been taking place in Mexico, albeit not necessarily at the border).
  • More on border security: 25 slain in deadliest day for Mexican City near the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • According to a recent Wall Street Journal story, a Somali militant group may be using acts of maritime piracy to help fund al-Qaida.  If the links were ever conclusively made, paying ransoms could, theoretically, expose companies to further legal liability for violations of economic sanctions on transacting business with folks with clear links to terrorists.
  • In Poland recently on a speaking tour, a former Cuban political prisoner calls for an international tribunal to try the Castro brothers.  Finally, a voice of reason in a sea of Cuba policy mediocrity.  Do not expect the pillars of courage in this town to embrace out of the box thinking such as this.
  • And while on the subject of Cuba, applying for travel or Trade Sanctions Reform Act (TSRA) licenses has become a little easier.  Seems like the Treasury Department may be getting ready for changes and a potential for increased applications.
  • A doctoral graduate student from McGill University has been blogging on his dissertation journey.  Subject:  the intersection of export controls law and U.S. satellite and space technology.
  • Finally, yet another sign of how out of touch Washington politicians are with everyday voters.  The fundraising invitation speaks for itself.  Is there some Cuba sanctions regulations violation here?  No.  There is no law against making a fool of yourself, even if you are a Member of Congress using Fidel Castro in a fundraising pitch.

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