I saw this on Evil Bobby. I had to read it twice. I thought it was a joke, or a cleverly crafted piece of satire. Then I saw the link to the White House.
Its not a joke.
This happened quietly. I didn't see it on the front-page of the New York Times on July 18th. I haven't seen word of this running around on the various channels I read. Either I completely missed it, or this was stealthily slipped out.
Here's the whole text:
Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq
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Fact sheet Message to the Congress of the United States Regarding International Emergency Economic Powers Act
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, as amended (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.)(IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.)(NEA), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,
I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, find that, due to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by acts of violence threatening the peace and stability of Iraq and undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq and to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people, it is in the interests of the United States to take additional steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13303 of May 22, 2003, and expanded in Executive Order 13315 of August 28, 2003, and relied upon for additional steps taken in Executive Order 13350 of July 29, 2004, and Executive Order 13364 of November 29, 2004. I hereby order:
Section 1. (a) Except to the extent provided in section 203(b)(1), (3), and (4) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(1), (3), and (4)), or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the date of this order, all property and interests in property of the following persons, that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of United States persons, are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in: any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense,
(i) to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of:
(A) threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq; or
(B) undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people;
(ii) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, logistical, or technical support for, or goods or services in support of, such an act or acts of violence or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or
(iii) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.
(b) The prohibitions in subsection (a) of this section include, but are not limited to, (i) the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order, and (ii) the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.
Sec. 2. (a) Any transaction by a United States person or within the United States that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
(b) Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
Sec. 3. For purposes of this order:
(a) the term "person" means an individual or entity;
(b) the term "entity" means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization; and
(c) the term "United States person" means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States.
Sec. 4. I hereby determine that the making of donations of the type specified in section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) by, to, or for the benefit of, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order would seriously impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13303 and expanded in Executive Order 13315, and I hereby prohibit such donations as provided by section 1 of this order.
Sec. 5. For those persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that, because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render these measures ineffectual. I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13303 and expanded in Executive Order 13315, there need be no prior notice of a listing or determination made pursuant to section 1(a) of this order.
Sec. 6. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order. The Secretary of the Treasury may redelegate any of these functions to other officers and agencies of the United States Government, consistent with applicable law. All agencies of the United States Government are hereby directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order and, where appropriate, to advise the Secretary of the Treasury in a timely manner of the measures taken.
Sec. 7. Nothing in this order is intended to affect the continued effectiveness of any rules, regulations, orders, licenses, or other forms of administrative action issued, taken, or continued in effect heretofore or hereafter under 31 C.F.R. chapter V, except as expressly terminated, modified, or suspended by or pursuant to this order.
Sec. 8. This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right, benefit, or privilege, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, instrumentalities, or entities, its officers or employees, or any other person.
GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE,
July 17, 2007.
We're long past this going too far. Congress must reinstate checks and balances. The President's powers must be curtailed. Its small, subtle, yet profound actions like these that erode our personal freedoms and continue the slide towards tyranny.
What do I mean? Well read up on some history. Start with the Federalist Papers.
Why shouldn't the President have this power to seize assets or terrorists? Because he's using the draconian Executive Orders relating to the Iraq war to seize the properties of anyone he or his Administration deem as terrorists. There's been no transparency in this Administration. People are arrested and held indefinitely as 'enemy combatants' with no trial. To me this seems like a way for the current Administration to consolidate power and silence dissent. The abuses of power, the erosion of personal liberties, and lack of oversight of the Administration and the various law enforcement organizations in the name of 'national security' are too numerous to list. Anyone who has questioned these actions have been deemed somehow un-American. I've questioned them, and will continue to do so, someone has to.
Readers over at BoingBoing have cleared up some things. I've misunderstood some of the wordings/intent of the Executive Order, not surprising, I'm not a lawyer. But still it doesn't make the Order suck any less really.
White House Kisses Goodbye to 5th Amendment
The latest Executive Order from the War Criminal Administration facilitates and sanctions the taking away of property of anyone who is deemed to be "undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people". Left in those terms, it isn't too much of a stretch to envision this Administration deciding that any particularly vocal critic of the Iraq occupation is "undermining efforts" and thus a target for seizure of property or assets, Fifth Amendment be damned.
Big news indeed, and yet it has received scant little attention in the media. Shameful in every regard, but it troubles me even more that this latest criminal act has crossed a new threshold in reckless disregard for the US Constitution, and yet hardly a soul even knows about it.
As Wonkette sums it up: "If the White House decides that you are in any way 'undermining efforts' in Iraq, or related to Iraq or pretty much anything else, the Treasury Department is authorized to seize your money, property, stocks, etc. The pride is back!"
Link to the White House's Executive Order
Sorry to criticize, but you screwed up on the White House Executive Order story.
The Order clearly only applies to people who have "committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of: ... (B) undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people"
In other words, it doesn't apply to anyone who is "undermining efforts." It requires violence + undermining efforts. You left off the first part. I'm not saying that this makes the order any better, but at least it limits it.
Further, the President cannot take away property of US citizens by fiat. That's prohibited by the Fifth Amendment. This is directed to foreign nationals who are holding their assets in the US.
Robert is incorrect about the scope of the executive order and who it applies to.
1) it has a broad theoretical reach, i.e., anyone who the executive branch says "pose[s] a significant risk of committing" acts of violence that "undermine efforts" in Iraq. It's like the Dept. of Pre-Crime.
2) the EO applies to "U.S. persons," a group which includes U.S. citizens, not just foreign nationals parking their money in the U.S.
Talking Points Memo has some analysis from the ACLU and other experienced voices on the topic.
The comments point to a preliminary ACLU analysis.
Representatives from the ACLU are still studying the executive order. But preliminarily, says spokeswoman Liz Rose, the order appears to expand the assets-seizure provisions of the Patriot Act, known as Section 806, to organizations linked to Iraqi insurgent groups. Much like the order, Section 806 allows the government to seize assets of banned organizations without prior notice and without a conviction of involvement in banned activity. "It is by far the most significant change (in the law) of which political organizations need to be aware," the ACLU wrote in 2002, contending that the vagueness of Section 806 potentially implicates legitimate political protest as well as material support for terrorism.
TPM Muckracker also has a response from the U.S. Treasury Department.