Photo: The View
Over at Salon, Glenn Greenwald has a story on a controversial executive order that has civil libertarians fuming. According to The Washington Post, Obama has just issued an executive order claiming the power to freeze any assets you own, if you “directly or indirectly” obstruct the new government of Yemen.
There are hardly any criteria for judging just how broadly this order can be interpreted.
Here’s the background:
Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi is the new Yemeni president, and the former Vice President of long-time dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh. Hadi was recently installed after an “election” where he ran unopposed, prompting celebrations about a new blooming democracy in the Middle East. Subsequently, the U.S. has sent millions in aid and military assistance to the Hadi government, despite its unpopularity among observers in the West and most importantly, the Yemeni people.
Do you oppose this? Better not say or do anything to protest it, or your bank account is getting frozen. The Washington Post sums it up:
President Obama plans to issue an executive order Wednesday giving the Treasury Department authority to freeze the U.S.-based assets of anyone who “obstructs” implementation of the administration-backed political transition in Yemen.
The unusual order, which administration officials said also targets U.S. citizens who engage in activity deemed to threaten Yemen’s security or political stability, is the first issued for Yemen that does not directly relate to counterterrorism.
Unlike similar measures authorizing terrorist designations and sanctions, the new order does not include a list of names or organisations already determined to be in violation. Instead, one official said, it is designed as a “deterrent” to “make clear to those who are even thinking of spoiling the transition” to think again. . . .
The order provides criteria to take action against people who the Treasury secretary, in consultation with the secretary of state, determines have “engaged in acts that directly or indirectly threaten the peace, security or stability of Yemen, such as acts that obstruct the implementation of the Nov. 23, 2011, agreement between the Government of Yemen and those in opposition to it, which provides for a peaceful transition of power . . . or that obstruct the political process in Yemen.”
The trouble, as Greenwald puts it, is who is challenging this? Who’s raising questions? Who even realises that the Obama Administration is currently bombing innocent Yemeni civilians, or the fact that American troops are currently on the ground according to an AP report yesterday?
Greenwald makes the case that the Obama Administration is devoting efforts to imposing a dictatorial regime in Yemen. There is something seriously wrong with American policy in Yemen. Greenwald points out that, “Obama has played a direct personal role in the ongoing imprisonment of a Yemeni journalist who committed the crime of documenting the large number of civilian deaths from a U.S. cluster bomb attack on his country…”
And now, the President is taking on new powers over Americans to protect the incoming Yemen government.
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