Around Town …

  • Over at the Export Law Blog a nice jab at the State Department’s definition of what should constitute a “defense service” under U.S. law. A gut feeling though, this rule is not going to die an easy death.
  • I think the media, and the Obama Administration, spent too much time yesterday on the birther issue. Fox’s Shepard Smith voiced strong views on same.
  • Fatah and Hamas call a truce? More like an alliance with Iran’s mullahs pulling the strings. It is a truce in name only. A legal footnote for U.S. persons, Hamas is a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under U.S. law. There is no such thing as FTO by proxy but this new Fatah-Hamas alliance sure comes close to it. For U.S. companies and persons that do business with the Palestinians, you’d better mind your Ps and Qs moving forward. Maybe its time to cut U.S. foreign assistance as, in all likelihood, Hamas’s benefactor Iran is celebrating the new alliance in Tehran, a relationship that will hurt U.S. and regional interests.
  • Honduras is on alert by the U.S. Government to be on the look out for al-Qaeda activists with links to the tri-border area in South America.
  • Obama keeps snubbing the Colombians on a Free Trade Agreement, and while Colombia has every right to be upset, it should not let security concerns cloud their judgment. Venezuelan drug trafficker, the Syrian born Walid Makled, should have been extradited by Colombia to the United States, not Venezuela.  Let’s hope Colombia’s politically myopic decision does not backfire on them. We may have had access to him before the extradition to Venezuela, but I doubt Makled gave us all we needed. Moreover, it sends a wrong signal to those who seek to evade U.S. law: just go to Colombia, you may get a free pass to another Latin American country.
  • No matter your view on California’s Proposition 8, going after Judge James Ware, or any judge in any case for that matter, is rarely a good idea as a matter of law. Cornell School of Law Professor Jacobson’s Legal Insurrection blog has some free practical advice.
  • Through the folks at the always a good read Babalu Blog: Meet the old boss, same as the new boss.
  • The 2011 International Property Rights Index (IPRI) is out. Based on IPRI scores, Sweden beats out the lot for the number 1 position, while Venezuela is dead last (the U.S. and Belgium share an IPRI score at position 18). Latin America and the Caribbean has a lot of work to do; explains the many challenges throughout the Americas. Be sure to read the Foreword: Private Property and Collective Action: Managing a Faustian Bargain.
  • Al-Qaeda in Brazil? Why not. They’ve been in the region for quite some time.
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