New executive order -- Admin can freeze assets of anyone "undermining" Iraq

From the WH website.

It goes on to say that assets can be frozen with no prior notice to the owner.

. . . WTF?

What is the purpose of this order? Who is it targeting? Who in the U.S. has been sending money to fund terrorism or insurgency in Iraq?

How broadly is “undermining” to be interpreted? Does this mean Bush can freeze Harry Reid’s assets?

And the last paragraph says:

Does this mean only that the government does not commit any actionable tort by freezing assets under this order – or does it mean that the owner of such assets has no recourse to sue to get the assets unfrozen?! If the latter, it is almost certainly illegal.

The purpose of the order seems clear to me…to seize the assets of any group or individual who is found to be sending material support to insurgent groups in Iraq.

Who is it targeting? At a guess, individuals and groups who are sending material aid to insurgents in Iraq. A further guess based on the phrasing would be…groups and individuals outside of the US but who have assets that are either in the US or accessible or open to manipulation by the US.

I don’t think the main target of this is people IN the US sending funds to terrorists or Iraqi insurgents BG…YMMV.

As to the legal question, have to see if Bricker wanders in…I have no idea myself.


What are the limits of an executive order? They’re not laws, but what can you do with one?

So, if I’m the parent of someone who has their assets block by the order, then my assets can also be blocked. If I provide someone who has blocked assets with, say, a break in the rent for a month, then I can get my assets blocked. It seems to me like it could target more than just individuals and groups who are sending material aid. Plus, there’s that whole “technical support” thing…If someone uses a name-brand computer in order to coordinate with groups in iraq and calls their computer’s tech support line, wouldn’t the person who answers be providing technical aid?

A lot. From the Wikipedia:

I doubt it…but then, I’m not a lawyer. Somehow I am a bit skeptical that this is the gloom and doom BG is painting it as though.

I, however, shall withhold judgment on this until I understand it a bit more.


But yesterday I bought $30 worth of gas, and the money probably went to Saudi Arabia–the birthplace of 14 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11. What if I just funded future conspirators? Will my assets be seized? What can I do? What can I do?

You seem to be overlooking the fact that the “undermining” clause relates to those who have committed or pose a significant risk of committing acts of violence.

I’m no expert in this area, but it doesn’t appear that this EO is something extraordinary, or at least unprecedented. Other EOs restrict transfer of property to Iran for example, and also contain the last provision about not creating a right of action. We can certainly debate whether it is a proper function of government to sanction or block transfers of private assets to people outside the country, but based on my first glance, I don’t see any particular problem with having a policy that says that Americans aren’t allowed to fund insurgents in Iraq. One can always apply for a license from OFAC if one needs to transfer some asset to which there’s a risk of diversion for benefit of insurgents.

And I’m not sure of this, but I believe I heard one time about the last clause on creating a right to action really has to do with people not suing the government to force the government to place sanctions on a particular group or person. I’d be interested to hear from an attorney if that is indeed the significance of the last clause.

I expect it’s targeting individuals or groups that haven’t made it to the Foreign Terrorist Organizations List yet. There’s probably some fact checking and bureaucratic deliberations involved in getting on the list, and the President doesn’t want to be bothered with that.

I don’t know one way or the other, but I’m damn glad that someone is concerned.

I suppose one might be concerned if the President had shown any tendency to expand or aggrandize executive power, but thus far, he has kept his claims strictly within the limits of his imagination. And look how carefully crafted the wording is, how it posits inherent safeguards! “Directly or indirectly” is very taut wording, it could hardly include more than 40-50% of the population! OK, 60%. 70%, tops! I mean, its not like the President can simply declare some citizen to be an enemy of the people, like the commies do!

Exactly…its only in the fevered imaginations of the faithful that the President, even on like Bush, can do this.
Er…you were being serious I hope.


Are you seriously saying that two-thirds of the American people are acting as financial agents for Iraqi insurgents whose assets have already been seized?

Okay. Let’s cut down the hyperventilating a bit.

The authority for the president to do this is to some degree inherent in his executive role, but it was clarified by a 1977 law called the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. You will notice if you read the original order that this is explicitly mentioned.

This act clarified the president’s role in declaring an unusual threat to the foreign policy, security, or economy of the United States and authorized the president to block transactions, freeze assets, and enact other measures to deal with that threat. When President Carter used various economic measures against the Islamic government of Iran, some still in effect, it was under the authority of this act.

The IEEPA falls under the auspices of the National Emergencies Act, also mentioned. That means that the emergency must be renewed annually and can be overridden by Congress at any time.

So there really is nothing new in this declaration. It basically was the mechanism behind the sanctions imposed on Serbia and Montenegro, on South Africa, on Iraq after the invasion of Kuwait right through to 2004, and many other times.

So, it’s the very absence of newness that required a new executive order here? :wink:

Absolutely! Bush is just reminding us (as if we could, much as we’d like to, forget) that he’s still about…


That’s probably it, and I’m actually reassured by that POV. It’s just that the Deciderer’s track record moves me to view any even possibly suspicious action as the thin end of an authoritarian wedge.

The executive order was neccesary to apply the law to the Iraqi insurgents. Here’s the old executive order from 1999 imposing sanctions on Serbia, for comparison:

It’s about time somebody went after Halliburton and all those other contracters for what they’ve done in Iraq.

Or am I misunderstanding the intent of this executive order?