Friday, March 27, 2015


Palestinian media sources have been circulating a scathing report that is critical of OFAC for its sanctions programs against Iran & Syria. The article, which I have seen reposted to a number of Internet sites outside the Middle East, appears to be part of a campaign to pressure OFAC to make changes which could limited its effectiveness.

Basically, the article accuses OFAC of taking actions which are inconsistent with the protections afforded by the United States Constitution, described as "fundamental Constitutional requirements.". Unfortunately, those who are running this anti-OFAC campaign forget to mention a critical detail: Due Process, notice and the opportunity to be heard, and to challenge and other civil rights, are simply not available to a suspected terrorist living outside the United States; They are not United States persons, and are not entitled to such rights.

What the Palestinian, and obviously pro-Iranian/pro-Syrian viewpoint seeks, is to fatally weaken OFAC, by granting some major rights to individuals sanctioned by OFAC, by requiring that Treasury regulations be amended as follows:

(1) List specific criteria on which activities are proscribed, to merit a designation, and develop evidentiary standards for determining designations.
(2) Provide targeted individuals with a statement of reasons for violation that OFAC claims were committed, and give them access to the evidence that allegedly formed the basis for the designation.
(3) Require a deadline by which OFAC must respond to a designee's petition to be removed from the sanctions list, so that assets are not frozen indefinitely.
(4) Give specific advice on delisting procedures to applicants.
(5) Establish an online redress program, so that petitions for delisting can be filed online.
(6) Designate an Ombudsman to oversee the program of delisting requests.

OFAC is NOT the Freedom of Information Act, for G_d's sake. To give a sanctioned terrorist living in a cave the right to remotely file a delisting petition,  allow him access to all your classified intelligence, and impose a deadline on the process (with an outside monitor) would be the end of OFAC as we know it.

Obviously, the Iranian backers of this movement are looking to use delisting petitions as potential sources of the limits of US knowledge of their sanctioned WMD and ballistic missile programs, which America would either have to disclose, under the above guidelines, or delist the SDN designation. We trust that this proposal will receive little or no consideration from Treasury, lest it lose its most valuable tools for containing sanctioned activities.

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