Perhaps my google-fu is just weak, but I can’t seem to find anyone really talking about Tuesday’s Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq. Several people have posted the order in its entirety, but few seem to actually interpret or discuss what it means. If you’ve come across such a post, please leave a comment with a link, as I’d really like to read what the more educated have to say about it.
What really scares me about it is not-
…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come within the possession or control of United States persons, are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in: any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, (i)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;
Though I obviously disapprove of the practice, seizing the assets of ones enemies is pretty standard behvior. Nor is what really has me concerned-
(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.
Again, I disagree, but this isn’t exactly newsworthy. Many Americans seem to feel that giving basic human aid to “the enemy” is equal to blowing up buildings oneself. Getting closer to worrisome, but also all to common (and accepted) these days is the following-
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.
The American people seem to have given up on the concept of courts entirely, so it’s not really too surprising that they’re being regularly removed from the equation. No, what really bothers me is this portion right here-
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.
If I understand this correctly (and please feel free to point me to where I can get better educated) then the following situation is now true:
- Mike gets picked up by the F.B.I. and has all of his assets seized because they believe he has threatened “the peace or stability of Iraq” by donating to an organization that he thought was going to feed starving children. Unbeknownst to him, the Federal government has determined that this organization is actually an insurgent support group.
- Mike doesn’t understand what he has done wrong, because no evidence has been presented to any court, so he contacts me and asks for help.
- I hire a lawyer to investigate Mike’s situation.
- I get picked up by the F.B.I. for making a donation in support of Mike.
We’re not only seizing the assets of accused terrorists (without due process of law), but also of accused terrorist supporters, and of those that support the accused terrorist supporters. The way I read the Executive order, my boss could get arrested for mailing my paycheck to me after I get arrested for loaning money to Mike so he can attempt to find out what, exactly he has supposedly done to be labeled a terrorist.
Isn’t this essentially the same as the blacklisting that occurred during the McCarthy era?