Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 16, 2012

An Executive Gag Order To Silence Policy Opposition

This is a terribly excessive and overreaching executive order:

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.
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.”

It covers those who “have materially assisted, sponsored or provided financial, material or technological support” for the acts described or any person whose property has already been blocked, as well as those who have acted on behalf of such people.

The administration's plan is to keep the unbearable situation in Yemen virtually unchanged. While Ali Abdullah Saleh is gone as president he also received immunity, has kept all his money and is still in the country. His relatives still hold key security positions. His successor, the former vice-president Hadi, is a mere Saleh puppet and in 2014 Saleh may again get elected.

When one opposes this plan, for example by pointing out that a vote with a ballot with only one person on it and no possibility to vote "No" is a fake election, one will now get accused of engaging in acts that obstruct the Saudi/GCC/U.S. plan for Yemen. Then ones asset can be seized by the mere whim of a bureaucrat.

When the writes negatively about the plan, its domain, which is under U.S. jurisdiction, can now be seized. It will now have to be careful with publishing opinions like these:

Why is Yemen in that situation? It is because as many people, including Nobel Laureate Tawakkul Karman have pointed out at the time, the Gulf Cooperation Council peace deal extracted by the wily Saleh was a monumental mistake. That mistake was supported by the US, whose singular concern was Al Qaida, and accepted by the opposition parties led by the hapless Yemeni prime minister, and by president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, none other than Saleh's silent partner for decades.

And Princeton scholar Gregory Johnsen will have to watch for his bank accounts being frozen, because he believes that the Obama policy on Yemen, supporting the GCC deal, is a "catastrophic mistake" and writes against it. 

What about his 1st Amendment rights? And how about the Yemeni's right of self determinations? Anyone opposing Hadi and Saleh will now get their credit card seized? That certainly is democracy promotion - Obama style.

Posted by b on May 16, 2012 at 13:00 UTC | Permalink


Obomber is a true world dictator...

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.

i can hear the cat laugh at this...who is the greatest destabiliser of them all: the US dictatorship, which uses US taxpayers money to prop up tyrants and pull down democracies

Posted by: brian | May 16 2012 13:40 utc | 1

whats the good of being in power if you cant use it?! the americans will need to get off their 4 legs...and launch an american spring

Posted by: brian | May 16 2012 13:41 utc | 2

This is what the Saudis want, need, to stay in power. As Obama said "sometimes we will not support the transition in some countries if it is considered contrary to the interest of the US ". The interest of the US is what makes the US stop democracies and has stopped democracies across the region for generations. The interest of the US is what toppled the first Syrian Government after achieving independence from France and placed a dictator followed by dozens of coups. The interest of the US is what will replace the current Syrian Govt with another pro US, puppet regime, and who cares if it is democratic, its only qualificatioj is that it must support the "interest of the US".
I always laugh when some american or any western leader would say, "the reason we support Israel is because it is the only democracy in the middle east".
Obama is waking up to the Arab spring and making sure the resulting regimes will be pro american, like the saudis, qatar, uae, jordan, morocco and any new government like the installed yemen government who was installed by the GCC in the interest of the US. Syria is next, then Lebanon.

Posted by: ana souri | May 16 2012 14:26 utc | 3

I am, actually, stunned. Gobsmacked.

This is a direct attack on the founding principles of this nation, a full refutation of our Bill of Rights.

From our Nobel Peace Prize president. Wow.

Posted by: jawbone | May 16 2012 14:53 utc | 4

Glenn Greenwald writes post on this titled Obama's new free speech threat."

Where will this anti-democracy pseudo Democrat stop???

Posted by: jawbone | May 16 2012 14:58 utc | 5

Used general link for Greenwald; here's the specific link to the post.

Posted by: jawbone | May 16 2012 15:00 utc | 6

First Amendment rights in the U.S. of free speech and a free press are still more robust than most other countries in the world. It was one realm which the Bush War on Terror had by and large — not entirely, but by and large — left alone. That is just no longer true.
And now, USA in no respect can serve as an example of a free and democratic society. Not that it ever has been, but now it is approaching the anti-thesis of a free country. Any attempt to export the american political system anywhere is an attack on human rights.

Posted by: Alexander | May 16 2012 15:17 utc | 7

On Friday Obama will issue an executive order that will allow the Treasury Dept to seize all US based assets of any individual or country that disagrees with his policy anywhere in the world. Germany, you better get your gold out now. /Snark, maybe

Posted by: mrm | May 16 2012 15:44 utc | 8

Here's a little ray of sunshine. Malaysia kicks off its war on Yankee fascism, ter'rism, mass murder. Plus bullying and lying (cowardice).
It’s official: Bush & associates are war criminals

"On the charge of Crime of Torture and War Crimes, the tribunal finds the accused persons former U.S. President George W. Bush and his associates namely Richard Cheney, former U.S. Vice President, Donald Rumsfeld, former Defence Secretary, Alberto Gonzales, then Counsel to President Bush, David Addington, then General Counsel to the Vice-President, William Haynes II, then General Counsel to Secretary of Defence, Jay Bybee, then Assistant Attorney General, and John Choon Yoo, former Deputy Assistant Attorney-General guilty as charged and convicted as war criminals for Torture and Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatment of the Complainant War Crime Victims."

In a similar vein, since I'm still blocked from Dateline (, someone here might like to visit their site and look up the May 15 edition and see if it's worth posting a link, and if so, doing so. The third report was an interview with an ex-CIA officer who is in Oz to promote his book. He and the book say some VERY unflattering things about the Bush/Cheney Administration and the torture & "rendition" programs (of which he was a part).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 16 2012 16:14 utc | 9

give bho a break. at least he's for gay marriage. now.

Posted by: wenis | May 16 2012 16:15 utc | 10

@2 - exactly. what we need is an american spring that creates a power vacuum that enables an american version of the mb to fill the gap.

Posted by: wenis | May 16 2012 16:19 utc | 11

That is brilliant indeed, if now only more countries would be willing to extradite them on entry.. The list of lands these guys can travel to are shrinking year by year.

Posted by: Alexander | May 16 2012 16:23 utc | 12

The Executive Order is now at the White House website.

It is as bad as announced.

Posted by: b | May 16 2012 16:37 utc | 13

Re #9.
.. er.. I'm not blocked at Dateline.

Here's the link to the Glenn Carle, ex-CIA, story.
There are tabs for video and transcript.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 16 2012 16:40 utc | 14

The Obama Executive has already claimed the privilege to murder at will. Now they claim the privilege to steal at will. If they were implementing a thin-end-of-the wedge strategy they would have reversed the order of these things. Arguably, the US is still a democracy--google Archdruid for an explanation of this--yet the US is also arbitrary and tyrannical. If you thought these things were antithetical, this is your counter-example right here.

--@#4 You are right, of course, but you left off the snark tags! The US has been in decline for a while, and is now truly desperate. How desperate? Bernard documents it for us. US policies will get worse, more lawless, and more extreme as its situation devolves. It is as unfortunate as it is inevitable.


Posted by: Gaianne | May 16 2012 18:25 utc | 15

US shadow war in Horn of Africa revealed by blogger

Posted by: bokonon | May 16 2012 19:38 utc | 16

Thanks to all for the links. More bricks in the wall of proof of the malevolence of our so-called "leaders". Please,don't hold your breath until these monsters are held accountable for their crimes against humanity.

Posted by: ben | May 16 2012 19:45 utc | 17

Are we forgetting the exact same EO of April 23 regarding policy in Syria?

Posted by: marionett | May 17 2012 15:07 utc | 18

So we have elected a man in the White House who had promised to return all our civil liberties and roll back the Bush-era security state. With the constant erosion of our Bill of Rights, the US is in a historically similar situation of the Weimar Republic in pre-Nazi Germany before you know who came to power. All the tools are being put in place. People, Ceasar is right around the corner.

Posted by: Andre' E. Williams | May 17 2012 15:40 utc | 19

The Nobel Prize winning Constitutional scholar.More better.
The intellectual attributes of poison ivy league education, best described as intelligence for sale(impossible),are exposed as as hollow as the shrubs claims of mission accomplished.Empty suits,matched with empty souls,but with full pockets.
How's alCIAda(nice acronym,saw it at infowars) doing in Syria,BTW?

Posted by: dahoit | May 17 2012 17:08 utc | 20

Here's a shocker -- Jeremy Scahill on Neocon Propaganda Radio (NPR) giving his take on America's covert war on Yemen:

I love the way Jeremy ends the discussion admitting how most of his intelligence gathering in Yemen was done by attending and participating in khat chews.;~)

Posted by: Cynthia | May 17 2012 19:58 utc | 21

The extra-judicial assassination thing was quite extraordinary to put it mildly.

Now this.

Not that it is surprising or unexpected, this kind of judicial creep is standard, absolutely normal.

Problem. Such laws, besides cheesing off Americans attached to free speech, which is legitimate, are in violation of numerous international treaties, accords, principles, etc. Not to mention National (other nations) laws, etc.

So, is the UN vociferating, cracking down, setting up committees, outraged? What about the EU? Are they fine with this stuff? Putin? The BRICS? and so on. Anyone retaliate (symbolically)?

No, not a word or a mumble.

Just like for the invasion of Iraq (Afgh was agreed on before 9/11), extraordinary renditions, torture, using DU in Iraq (Fallujah), allowing murder of Palestinians, seizing funds of charities that just might be linked to ‘jihadists’, without any legal justification, putting anyone on the ‘terror’ or ‘no fly’ lists, etc. one could go on.

Nobody is standing up. Everyone prefer to ignore these things (or maybe agree silently.) That is very frightening.

Don’t want to gather Godwin points, but you see what I mean.

Posted by: Noirette | May 17 2012 20:02 utc | 22

Noirette, I think the analogy holds

it shows that you can have totalitarianism without a dictatorship;
this means we got our "lessons learned" from the XX century completely wrong;
the implications are far-reaching

Hannah Arendt hints at this possibility in her "Origins of Totalitarianism", but unfortunately didn't developed this intuition

Posted by: claudio | May 18 2012 6:58 utc | 23

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