21 July 2007

How to Read Government-Speak

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come within the possession or control of United States persons, are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in: any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense,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.


As usual, the hysteria over Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq is spearheaded by folks on the left who, apparently, can't read.

George decided to authorize himself to freeze the assets of folks doing business with murderers. It's sort of like RICO, but for terrorists. Now, of course, RICO has been around for 37 years and folks whistle and cheer when the due process of mobsters gets trampled.

Now, of course, the new executive order does the same thing to folks who behead little kids and blow themselves up in marketplaces.

But, cry the Libr'ls, it freezes the assets of everyone who is threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq!

Nice to see an acknowledgment on the left, finally, that their agitation against winning in Iraq is also agitating in favor of the various terrorist groups to eventually gain control of Iraq and turn it into a Taliban-like state which produces terrorists en masse as a primary export. (Insert Rimshot here)

Sorry folks, couldn't resist the obvious cheap shot.

Nope. You all, ordinarily intelligent folks, have forgotten how to read Government writing. Sections have paragraphs which have subparagraphs, etc. That bit about threatening the peace or stability of Iraq is under the bit about "acts of violence."

Try not to blow any Iraqis up, and you shouldn't have much to worry about.

What's all the rest of the verbage for? "Islamic Charities". Organizations whose alleged charitable purpose is a smokescreen to raise money for terrorist activity. Muslims in the United States donate heavily to these organizations, with enough winking and nodding that they can claim to be unaware that these organizations use the money to buy weapons and make payments to terrorist fighters. Pardon me if I don't weep much more than I do for any other sort of mobster who falls under RICO.

"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"

I seem to recall a couple folks of the libr'l anti-war persuasion arguing in this blog that demonstrating in favor of terrorists and using one's speech to support those terrorists was not treason as treason required 'material aid' rather than a Smith Act sort of standard. So, using the same logic, as long as you are 'merely' using speech rather than actually buying LRCT base stations to use as IED detonators, you shouldn't fall under this executive order.

Folks, due process is fundamental right.

However, due process has long since been modified by the 'needs' of the situation. The perpetual "war on drugs", the RICO-led attacks on the Mafia in the 1970s and 1980s, all have pretty much created a large class of people whose due process rights can abrogated more or less at the discretion of the local District Attorney. The IRS, as near as I can tell, is not bound by the Constitution in any way and can seize assets of a person or business more or less on a whim and not release them for years. If these are all acceptable measures to control the population of a society, then where does anyone get off with saying the extension of this category of unprotected persons to those who try to kill American Soldiers in combat and provide the logistical tail enabling those attacks is the end of the World as We Know It?

It is one or the other. Either due process is a fundamental right and you decry the arbitrary confiscations of assets by the IRS and as part of the "war on drugs", or due process can be abrogated due to circumstance. If you agree that due process should be reduced in any circumstances, then extending those circumstances to terrorists is just plain common sense.

9 Comments:

Blogger Yuri said...

1) You skip section iii.

2) I quite agree a reasonable reading does preclude political speech from being restrained by this. Of course that relies on a reasonable reading from a group that, at least per the order, isn't reviewed. Its an infinitely careless power to leave in any governments hands.

3) I can't find any reference to property seizure under RICO that doesn't get a judicial review (other than an civil administrative, which if contested timely automatically converts to a judicial proceeding.

8:44 AM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

(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.

If someone were to take significant issue with this, that's likely to be the bit that they do it over. By a strict reading, this allows the Secretary of the Treasury to walk up to the Secs Stat & Defense and say 'you know what I just realized? That guy whose assets we froze last week? I hear he hired a lawyer to get him out of a traffic ticket. No, I haven't actually looked into it, but I have this name here, and I'm told it's the lawyer this guy hired. I wanna freeze the lawyer's assets. What do you guys think? No? And No? Ok. I'll go do it anyway.'

And while I admit that it would take a brain dead moron to actually DO that... well... vegetable, politician... is there really a difference?

10:13 AM  
Blogger Just A Decurion said...

As opposed to the IRS, which doesn't have to have even that much probable cause to audit you and freeze your assets in the meantime?

Like I said, if we are going to claim this is the end of the world, then we need to, in order to be honest, also put the IRS back on a leash.

4:45 PM  
Blogger A Soldier's Girl said...

Yuri,

Section iii is in there. I agree with Bill to some degree, and I also agree with John that taking to the extreme Bill did is an absurd argument.

However, due process is a fundamental right, and I get twitchy when I see it trampled on for *any* reason. (Please, do not get me started on Padilla!)

The IRS can freeze your assets with no process, correct? Does that bother you?

I also understand that they are trying to freeze the so-called charities that are flimsy fronts for terrorist organizations, and I agree with that.

Gah. Where the hell was I going when I started all this?

6:41 PM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

The IRS bothers me on a whole lot of levels. Largely because to a large degree, it's succeeded in making itself such a large and byzantine organization that even what little oversight there is on it has very little chance of really unravelling enough of it to effectively provide that oversight.

But yes, both the RICO and IRS abilities to seize property without due process, and the New York City ordinances that allow the cops to impound your car as evidence if you're accused of drunk driving bother me.

9:25 PM  
Blogger A Soldier's Girl said...

Bill,

The IRS is scary and they're pretty much, as you mentioned, a loose cannon. Kind of a like the junkyard dog who now runs the junkward while the owner looks on confusedly.

NYC can impound your car? That sucks.

Right. Another reason not to move the NYC.

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

Yeah, that was one of the brainchildren of Rudy Guiliani, the same man who wholeheartedly supported NYPD actions in shooting unarmed men 42 times (ok, he reached for a wallet. You thought he was going for a gun. You shot him. This is a tragedy, but understandable. HOW MANY TIMES DO YOU NEED TO RELOAD? Dude fell down before either of the cops went through half of the first magazine, let along put in the second and emptied most of that one.) and sodomizing suspects (who, it should noted, were later conclusively ID'd as NOT the bad guy) with nightsticks in the bathroom. The man who fenced off the steps of City Hall specifically to prevent citizens from assembling there. The man who puts the city's Office of Emergency Management into the only building in the city that's already been targeted by terrorists... and the building they've already said they'll keep going after. And who now uses fearmongering as a campaign tactic.

That man must not become President.

5:25 AM  
Anonymous Zach Bush said...

I'm a fan of your "leashing the IRS" ideas and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

5:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>vegetable, politician... is there really a difference?

You can eat veggies raw. Politicians aren't safe unless they've been cooked at least 350 degrees for an hour.
--Laserlight

9:38 PM  

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