Today I have the honor of moderating a remarkable panel at the World Bank as part of its Law, Justice, and Development week. The panel entitled “Clean Solutions for Dirty Money: Closing the Implementation Gap” will look at the current status of the global anti-money laundering (AML) legal regime and the need for possible reforms, including such questions as whether there is any concrete, empirical evidence that the regime actually works and whether the compliance costs associated with the regime outweigh whatever effectiveness there is in the system. There are also growing questions over the “opportunity costs” associated with the existing AML regime such as the huge amounts of money being spent on compliance as well as humanitarian costs associated with the restriction on money transfers and movement.
We have been discussing the alarming erosion of free speech in Canada in the last few years — part of a trend in the West. Those concerns have been rekindled by the trial of Roy Arthur Topham, who was charged with promoting hatred against Jewish people through his website RadicalPress.com. He was arrested by the RCMP Hate Crimes Unit in 2012.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has issued a blockbuster report that calls for Russia to be banned from international athletics for doping violations and a “deeply rooted culture of cheating at all levels” within Russian athletics. We have previously discussed the lax treatment of cheating by countries like China in international sports. WADA has not only bucked that trend but criticized the long-ridiculed the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for its “inexplicable laissez-fair policy.” Bravo, WADA, Bravo.
A tragic hit-and-run crime in California has rekindled the controversy over our porous borders after it was learned that Ramon Jaime Horta was not only driving on a suspended license but had been deported six times for criminal offenses from the country. Despite his serving time, Horta showed that he was able to move freely back into the country where he ultimately killed Marcello Bisarello in Santa Ana.
This picture of actress Sadaf Taherian would seem like most any such photo appearing on social media (beyond the fact that she is obviously especially striking). However, the government in Iran immediately spotted something missing. That’s right, a veil or hijab. As a result, Taherian has fled to the United Arab Emirates to avoid an arrest. In addition, leading actress Chekame Chaman-Mah has fled Iran after committing the offense of defending the right of an actress to post an unveiled image. Iranian officials have declared both women to be in violation of Islamic morality and laws.
I have been writing for years about the alarming decline of free speech in France where citizens are routinely investigated and prosecuted for criticism groups or religions. We discussed this trend most recently with the prosecution of far right politician Marine Le Pen for her exercise of free speech against immigration. Now, France’s Supreme Court (the Court of Cassation) has upheld the shocking prosecution of twelve anti-Israel activists for protesting Israel and supporting the global boycott movement of Israeli goods. It is an appalling moment for a nation that once embodied the very essence of Western Civilization and freedoms.