Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Do as we say, not as we do.

The Royal Bank is in a bit of hot water, that over its apparent quick step acceptance of an American request to stop Canadian residents in setting up US Dollar accounts. The Royal Bank has stopped Canadians with dual citizenship from a list of six countries on a US watch list.

The theory behind the ban is to stop money laundering and possible terrorist uses, but in the orbit of that will be many Canadians who use US Dollar accounts to send money back home for their families and such. There are already tight money laundering regulations in effect, so the critics of the Royal Bank are suggesting that the Bank, which has large assets in the USA, is simply attempting to mollify American officials.

The six nations on the watch list include, Iran, Iraq, Cuba, Sudan, North Korea and Myanmar, countries which the US government has serious security concerns about. With the climate of 9-11 still very much in the consciousness of the US Government, they have increasingly tightened the rules over access to US Dollars which were put in place in 2001.

The controversial decision by the Royal Bank comes on the heels of a decision by Bell Helicopters of Montreal to ban 24 employees from working on a U. S. military contract due to their nationalities.

The workers were taken off the lucrative U.S. military project because they were born in countries that the Americans consider a security risk. Security measures outlined in the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations do not allow citizens from 25 countries to work on strategic military weapons.

The Prime Minister says that the Canadian Government is very concerned over the situation and has raised it with the Americans, but to no avail so far. Many of the affected workers in Montreal have lived in Canada for a number of years and hold dual citizenship, but because they come from the 25 countries on the American list they are not allowed to work on the lucrative military contract.

While one might think that the US Government is being a tad over cautious, if not down right paranoid in their stand, the real problem with their stand comes with developments in their own country.

In a story yesteray, AP reports that a number of countries have been able to purchase surplus American military equipment with little or no trouble, this despite their status as least favored nations.

In fact Iran, which at the moment seems to be the number one concern of the US, has managed to purchase a number of weapons including F-14 parts and missile components.

All of the items in surplus were sold or stolen as though going through the back door of the Pentagon and auctioned off to the highest bidder.

So while they concentrate on the third party participants of the Canadian industrial complex, the bank account holders and the helicopter plant workers, the real problem is in their own backyard, where it seems anything is available for a price, regardless of your place on the nations to watch list.

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