- Did anyone get the license plate of that Mack truck that
ran us over yesterday? By executive order, the Secretary of the Treasury
may now seize the property of any person who undermines efforts to promote
economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq. The Secretary may
make his determination in secret and after the fact. Click here
to read this new little gem out of the Bush Administration.
- What's it say, you ask? The White House will decide if
you are in any way "undermining efforts" in Iraq, or related
to Iraq or pretty much anything else, the Treasury Department is authorized
your money, property, stocks, etc
- Although good in overall notion (stop terrorist funding),
the ridiculously broad language in this order takes the 5th amendment,
and flushes it down the toilet. As an example, if it appears that if you,
say, donate to a charity that the Bush administration determines, without
any proof, is trying to undermine the Iraqi government, all of your assets
can be frozen. No due process, do not pass go.
- The order permits the targeting of those who aid someone
else whose assets have been blocked under the order -- wittingly or not.
And under Section Five, the government does not have to disclose which
organizations are subject to having their assets frozen:
- 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 scope of the order has raised civil-liberties concerns.
"Certainly it is highly constitutionally questionable to empower the
government to destroy someone economically without giving notice,"
says Bruce Fein, a Justice Department official in the Reagan administration.
"This is so sweeping it's staggering. I've never seen anything so
broad that it expands beyond terrorism, beyond seeking to use violence
or the threat of violence to cower or intimidate a population. This covers
stabilization in Iraq. I suppose you could issue an executive order about
stabilization in Afghanistan as well. And it goes beyond even attempting
violence, to cover those who pose 'a significant risk' of violence. Suppose
Congress passed a law saying you've committed a crime if there's significant
risk that you might commit a crime."
- How does the Secretary of the Treasury feel about a t-shirt
that says, 'Stop the War?' Is such a T-shirt considered destabilizing?