Thursday, December 16, 2004


Treasury's Ratchet II - Much Better Now

In this post from a week ago, entitled Treasury's Ratchet, I decried the OFAC (part of the US Treasury Dept) for preventing publishers from printing the works of dissidents in countries like Cuba and Iran. They did so on the grounds that helping with publication constituted a service to an enemy country. The post asked:

does proofreading or translating the work of a dissident - Solzhenitsyn, from the past, comes to mind - constitute trading with the enemy?
Now that he's been asked to stay on as Treasury Secretary, perhaps John Snow can explain why Treasury is helping to suppress dissidents in "enemy" countries.
Well, I'm happy to report that the situation has been rectified:
The United States has quietly eased sanctions against three of its old nemeses -- Cuba, Iran and Sudan -- to facilitate literary, cultural and scientific exchanges that could help foster dissent there.

A new rule, unveiled by the Treasury Department Wednesday, enables Americans to freely engage in most ordinary publishing activities with Cuban, Iranian and Sudanese individuals and groups.
The changes seem sensible.