Compliance and Economic Sanctions in the Virtual Arena, Workable But Never Easy

The majority of U.S. economic sanctions laws and regulations designed for the brick and mortar world, continue to present compliance challenges for businesses offering goods and services on the web. The Internet makes it easier to get around and avoid sanctions, and export controls, but compliance remains necessary. The brick and mortar rules, at a …

Human Rights Abusers, Others Would Be Banned from US, New Law Proposed

Two senior Senators introduced legislation that would block entry to the United States of persons found to have violated human rights or engaged in corrupt practices in foreign countries. It would also block access to U.S. financial systems. The proposal would expand the Russia-specific sanctions of the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act (“the Magnitsky Law”). …

Georgia Man Sentenced to Prison for US-Iran Sanctions Violations

A Georgia man has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for violating U.S.-Iran sanctions. There are many lessons an exporter can draw from this case, the most important one is very basic: never lie to a federal officer or give them any reason to think you’re trying to hide something from them. Go …

Arms Trade Politics in the UK

This Wednesday in the UK, the Committee on Arms Export Controls will hear from several government officials about the enforcement of export control laws. The session, something akin to a Congressional oversight hearing in the United States, is part of an ongoing effort to link the weapons trade to human rights and select issues around the …

Spreading Use of Internet Tools in Cuba, Other Repressive Lands is Essential for Freedom

From brick and mortar block captains or neighborhood watch teams, to more advanced internet snooping technology, repressive regimes such as Cuba use whatever tool they can to maintain control. When it comes to the cyber world, U.S. law restricts for export a lot of hardware and software that can be used to do that. It …

Cheering for Snowden? Secret Meetings Aside, Think Again.

In the trade security arena (export controls, economic sanctions, etc.), there is an international organization called the Wassenaar Arrangement that holds an annual meeting every December in Vienna, Austria. While U.S. government political appointees and bureaucrats take part, the meetings are held in secret with no input from the public. Meeting since the mid-1990s, these …

Uncle Sam Has a Little Company On the Moon, China Lands Space Probe

China made a little history yesterday. It became the third country ever to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon. Only the United States and the Soviets have done so. Accompanying the lunar module is a rover named Jade Rabbit. JR is reportedly loaded with experiments and going to probe a particular section of the …

Senate Fails to Control Distribution of Know-How of Digitally-generated “gun-like” devices

The folks over at the non-profit Defense Distributed (DD), makers of the composite pistol, will be a little pleased. Despite efforts to control the production and distribution of the Liberator handgun, the Senate was unable to pass new laws controlling it manufacturer and distribution. But this was just an opening. I expect regulators will continue to seek …

Virginia, America’s First International Trade Hub, Keeps Making History

Over at the Bacon’s Rebellion blog, they posted a summary of a recent CATO study that, among other things,  finds that Virginia is one of the leading states in the country where welfare benefits do not exceed the value of an entry-level, minimum-wage job. Bacon Rebellion‘s bottom line: Poverty sucks in Virginia. But that means people are more …

Advanced U.S. Defense Toys May Be In Hands of Syrian Rebels

Whose arming the Free Syrian Army? According to a sparsely sourced story at the Daily Caller today, could be the United States. I would usually not post these items, however, it is rare to see a story citing export controls, much less the International Traffic in Arms Regulations popularly known to legal practitioners and policy …

Future Food Insecurity, the Coming China Chicken Fiasco

Last time you walked through the produce section at your local grocer, ever stop and look at the origin of the produce? Depending on the time of the year and the region of the country, you think there would be a lot of locally-grown foods. Well, it depends. There seems to be an increasing number …

Warning: Tennis Shoes … Made in Cuba, For Sale in Israel?

A friend who is visiting Israel this month sent me the attached photo of a pair of shoes on display in a Tel Aviv shoe store. Look at the information right below the price. Cuba does not have a strong textile manufacturing base. This is the first time I had ever heard of shoes made …

Home-based Business Owner Faces Jail Time, $300,000 Fine

The U.S. maintains a series of laws and regulations that control who is allowed access to defense articles (i.e., tanks, guns, military sensors, etc.) as well as other high-end controlled technology known as dual-use items. We do not want bad actors, and others, using these things against the U.S. in the battlefield or marketplace of …

U.S. May Revisit Iranian Terror Activities in Latin America

For decades there have been thought leaders in the U.S. government, both in the Congress and the Executive branch, Democrats and Republicans, that have opposed the U.S. listing Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism. These are usually the same folks who also resist making any linkages whatsoever to Iran’s Latin American adventurism. Glad to …

U.S. Can Do Better With Iran Policy

My op-ed  in today’s The Hill newspaper: Former House Foreign Affairs CoS Yleem Poblete: Failing, again, to connect the dots on Iran As two House Foreign Affairs subcommittees prepare to hold a hearing on the threat of Iran in the Western Hemisphere, one cannot help but recall what Machiavelli wrote about centuries ago in The Prince: When …

USSR, I Mean Russia, Prosecutes Dead Lawyer for Tax Evasion

The Russian government is, if anything, a persistent creature. Russia TV reports this morning: …a district court in Moscow has ruled both the fugitive boss of the Hermitage Capital investment company and its late auditor guilty of tax evasion … If your not familiar with the Magnitsky case, you can read more about it in the …

Iran in the Americas, Another Flaccid USG Report

The State Department issued a report on Iran in the Western Hemisphere that some Members of Congress say understates the Iranian presence and activity in the Americas. Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) told Bloomberg News that he believes “the Administration has failed to consider the seriousness of Iran’s presence here at home … I question the methodology …

Keeping A Lid on Sensitive Technology and Processes Starts With the Government … Or it Should

The Obama Administration has tackled reform of our national export control system with much gusto. Our trade security system includes a series of laws and regulations that, among other things, controls what sensitive technology and services can be sold or shared with foreigners. Also included under this system are economic sanctions, customs rules, and others. …

Congressional Oversight of Export Control Reform Process Needed

Industrial espionage has been around for centuries. Our enemies (yes, we do have enemies) and economic competitors are always on the prowl for the latest and greatest technology developed by the United States at our universities, national labs, corporations and, yes, even in our basements and garages. While an overwhelming majority of U.S. goods and …

Thou Shalt Not Export to Israel

A group of U.S. Christian groups has reportedly sent a letter to various Members of Congress requesting that they investigate alleged violations by Israel of the Foreign Assistance Act and the Arms Export Control Act. According to the Jerusalem Post, the letter says, in part: “… unconditional US military assistance to Israel has contributed to …