Democracy Without Dissent: Obama Issues Draconian Executive Order To Silence Opponents Of Yemen’s Leader

President Obama has issued an alarming executive order that would allow the government to crackdown of U.S. citizens and other individuals who “indirectly” oppose U.S.-backed Yemeni President, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. Hadi was the right-hand man to the prior  dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh and won an “election” composed only of himself.  We, of course, immediately embraced Hadi and the Obama Administration is now threatening anyone who opposes him, including our own citizens. The Administration appears delighted that, while opponents are not welcomed in the country, American drones are.


The executive order Wednesday gives the Treasury Department authority to freeze the U.S.-based assets of anyone who “obstructs” the political transition in Yemen, including U.S. citizens who are “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.” One Obama official is quoted as saying that the order is meant to deter people opposing the regime to “make clear to those who are even thinking of spoiling the transition” to think again. . . .” That would be called a chilling effect designed to deter opponents of the regime.

One of the greatest threats posed by this order is that it places such actions in the the administrative law process on the agency level. Citizens are given fewer protections in that process and agencies given absurd levels of deference by federal courts. Various organizations have complained about that process in being detailed as aiders or abettors of terrorism. Glenn Greenwald has an article below discussing the new order.

The executive order appears to fall into that ever-widening category of extreme presidential powers claimed under the “Trust me I am Obama” rationale. Once again, Democrats and liberals are silent despite the fact that they would be outraged if this had been done by Bush. Once again, Obama’s failure to respect constitutional principles are excused by saying that others like Romney would be worse. This short-sighted and relativistic approach by Obama supporters will likely come back and haunt them when later presidents not of their liking invoking the same authoritarian measures created by Obama. What will be said then? These were really just for Obama? If Obama can do this with Yemen, how about critics of Israel or Saudi Arabia? You can question the factual need to support “stability” in these countries, but the question is one of the authority to order it. Once the authority is accepted, the rest is left to the discretion of the President, whoever that may be.

Note that the government already has ample means to move against any terrorist organizations and a material support law that has been denounced as so ill-defined as to cover the most minor interaction or contact with targeted groups. It also has laws barring efforts of citizens to lend military or violent means to support opposition to the regime. This executive order was intentionally written broadly to capture areas that are presumed to be protected like free speech.

While Section 11 contains vague boilerplate language, the obvious thrust of the law is to allow for greater government action against opponents to the Yemeni government than already exists on the books. Note that such opponents would not be terrorists to be nailed under this law, just indirect threats to stability.

The Administration has not shown how the existing laws would not be entirely ample in combatting unlawful activities by U.S. citizens and others in the country. Now however you can have your property seized and pulled into a government investigation if you “materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services” that are viewed by Obama officials of “indirectly” threatening or obstructing the “stability” of the Yemeni government. Of course, nothing is more stable than an election with only one candidate — an election praised by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was a great triumph for democracy.

This executive order was written by people without a scintilla of concern for free speech or due process. It also reflects a perception of immunity by the Obama Administration when it comes to civil liberties.

It appears that a man elected in an election of one fits nicely into our plans for fighting Al Qaeda. As a result, things like the first amendment in the United States are deemed as expendable by our own supreme leader.

Here is the executive order:

EXECUTIVE ORDER
– – – – – – –
BLOCKING PROPERTY OF PERSONS THREATENING
THE PEACE, SECURITY, OR STABILITY OF YEMEN

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) (NEA), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,

I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, find that the actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Yemen and others threaten Yemen’s peace, security, and stability, including by obstructing the implementation of the agreement of November 23, 2011, between the Government of Yemen and those in opposition to it, which provides for a peaceful transition of power that meets the legitimate demands and aspirations of the Yemeni people for change, and by obstructing the political process in Yemen. I further find that these actions constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat. I hereby order:

Section 1. All property and interests in property 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 any United States person, including any foreign branch, of the following 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, to:

(a) 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 agreement of November 23, 2011, between the Government of Yemen and those in opposition to it, which provides for a peaceful transition of power in Yemen, or that obstruct the political process in Yemen;

(b) be a political or military leader of an entity that has engaged in the acts described in subsection (a) of this section;

(c) have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, the acts described in subsection (a) of this section or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or

(d) 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.

Sec. 2. I hereby determine that the making of donations of the type of articles specified in section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to section 1 of this order would seriously impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in this order, and I hereby prohibit such donations as provided by section 1 of this order.

Sec. 3. The prohibitions in section 1 of this order include but are not limited to:

(a) 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

(b) the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

Sec. 4. The prohibitions in section 1 of this order apply except to the extent provided by statutes, 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 effective date of this order.

Sec. 5. Nothing in section 1 of this order shall prohibit transactions for the conduct of the official business of the United States Government by employees, grantees, or contractors thereof.

Sec. 6. (a) Any transaction that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.

(b) Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.

Sec. 7. For the purposes of this order:

(a) the term “person” means an individual or entity;

(b) the term “entity” means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization; and

(c) the term “United States person” means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States.

Sec. 8. 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 those measures ineffectual. I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in this order, there need be no prior notice of a listing or determination made pursuant to section 1 of this order.

Sec. 9. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order. The Secretary of the Treasury may redelegate any of these functions to other officers and agencies of the United States Government consistent with applicable law. All agencies of the United States Government are hereby directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order.

Sec. 10. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to submit the recurring and final reports to the Congress on the national emergency declared in this order, consistent with section 401(c) of the NEA (50 U.S.C. 1641(c)) and section 204(c) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1703(c)).

Sec. 11. This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

BARACK OBAMA

Source: Washington Post and Salon

147 thoughts on “Democracy Without Dissent: Obama Issues Draconian Executive Order To Silence Opponents Of Yemen’s Leader

  1. Then perhaps the assets of Obama, Panetta, et. al. should be seized. There have been many drone attacks in Yemen. What role did they play in destabilizing the government? And isn’t a drone attack an act of war?

  2. Jessie Cheese Crisp on a cracker! I only wish I was not so old that I could leave the shit hole this country seems intent on becoming. I expected this sort of garbage out of boy blunder, it fits nicely with his twisted world view and sociopathic authoritarian streak but I thought we have elected changed in 08. Apparently BHO thinks he only needs to be less bad than the alternative instead of trying to be the best he can be.

    Less bad than the worst President in American history is not good enough but is sadly the best we can do for the next 4 years

  3. Obama’s radical right wing foreign policy and tendencies trumps all, for me. He knows no one but a few of us fringe civil libertarians even care about domestic, much less foreign, abrogation of liberty. To repeat, I’m sitting this one out.

    OK, now the avalanche of why DonS is an enabling, purist, angel-on-the-head-of-a-pin, misguided, cheese-eating Romney dupe.

    (btw, I had tried to insert “fascist” and “totalitarian”, with strikethroughs, before “radical right wing”, but I don’t think I can get the code right. Let me experiment right here: fascist totalitarian )

  4. One wonders why he hasn’t done that to Saudi Arabia, since they bankrolled 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11:

    Those officials also said that the federal government is, and has been for ten years or so, covering that reality up.

    The media, i.e. Hardball and Morning Joe on MSNBC, carried the story, which is noteworthy on its own.

    A perplexing mystery was also asserted, in that they came to the conclusion that the ongoing cover-up was and is due to our addiction to Saudi Arabian oil (ibid, see videos); a perplexing mystery that is in effect the practice of crimes hidden in plain sight…

    (Fighting Terrorism For 200 Years). Could it be that Yemen does not have a certain drug we are addicted to?

    Two presidents in a row were “afraid” to mess with Saudi Arabia, but not Yemen.

    Why?

  5. Coming soon to a government near you!

    *******************************

    DonS,

    The HTML code you are looking for is “strike”.

  6. As a former English teacher I bring to the attention of the author the diction or grammar or granpa of the following sentence which appears in the text above:
    We, of course, immediately embraced him and the Obama Administration is now threatening to anyone who oppose Saleh, including our own citizens.

    The administration may now be a threat. Or the administration may now be threatening to choke anyone…
    But the way its worded leaves one perplexed. Yeah we know what you sort of intend.

  7. “(a) 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 agreement of November 23, 2011, between the Government of Yemen and those in opposition to it, which provides for a peaceful transition of power in Yemen, or that obstruct the political process in Yemen;”


    Hey journalists, they’re coming for you!

  8. What Frankly said. Sad situation. One can only hope that saner heads will win out in the end. Did I miss it or is this “national emergency” open ended with no end date?
    Dredd, that drug is Oil.

  9. Thanks, Gene. Now let me try again. What’s the worse that can happen :-)

    fascist, totalitarian.
    or fascist, totalitarian

  10. Among other things, since taking office Obama has (partial list):
    – Signed the NDAA into law — assassinating US citizens w/o trial now legal
    – Waged war on Libya without congressional approval
    – Started a covert, drone war in Yemen
    – Escalated the proxy war in Somalia
    – Escalated the CIA drone war in Pakistan
    – Will maintain a presence in Iraq even after “ending” war
    – Sharply escalated the war in Afghanistan
    – Secretly deployed US special forces to 75 countries
    – Sold $30 billion of weapons to the dictatorship in Saudi Arabia
    – Signed an agreement for 7 military bases in Colombia
    – Touted nuclear power, even after the disaster in Japan
    – Opened up deepwater oil drilling, even after the BP disaster
    – Did a TV commercial promoting “clean coal”
    – Defended body scans and pat-downs at airports
    – Signed the Patriot Act extension into law
    – Continued Bush’s rendition program

  11. Frankly,

    “…but I thought we have elected changed in 08. ”

    “Changed” is what we got. We hoped and Obama changed…right before our eyes.

  12. Obama has also failed to stop a covert and draconian domestic program, the details of which remain hidden from the majority of Americans.

  13. anon nurse,

    A suggestion:

    “Obama has also failed to stop a expanded covert and draconian domestic programs, the details of which remain hidden from the majority of Americans.”

  14. In the past few years the fertile spawning ground for al qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is drying up. They have been moving into Yemen. I did not see any liberals applaud the World Trade Center disaster. Turning this new war front into an election attack on President Obama is shallow and deceiving. Dont trust anyone under 30, anyone who throws rocks at President Obama or anyone who does not employ good grammar or granpa on a regular basis.
    Liberal, former English Teacher and BarkinDog barkin here.

  15. Marcy Wheeler:

    The Jeremy Scahill Yemen Executive Order

    For the record, I don’t think the Obama Administration would be so brazen as to freeze Jeremy Scahill’s assets because he reported critically on Obama’s Yemen policy. But the Executive Order they’re rolling out today is reportedly written so broadly so as to make something like that possible.

  16. Gene H. 1, May 17, 2012 at 11:47 am

    anon nurse,

    A suggestion:

    “Obama has also failed to stop a expanded covert and draconian domestic programs, the details of which remain hidden from the majority of Americans.”

    ======

    Gene,

    From where I’m sitting, and given my personal experiences with the particular program to which I’m referring, little has changed. Having said, I agree with your “suggestion.” “Expanded” is more accurate, I’m certain. Thanks for the correction. ;-)

  17. http://www.npr.org/2012/05/17/152854335/why-the-u-s-is-aggressively-targeting-yemen

    “Scahill tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross that increased drone attacks by the U.S. military have led to many civilian casualties in Yemen and a growing resentment and anger toward the United States.

    “Because the drone strikes started by President Obama’s administration in 2009 have not been precise, what I saw was Yemenis starting to say, ‘The enemy of the enemy is my friend. If the United States is saying they’re fighting AQAP but they’re killing our children and our grandchildren and our wives, then we’re terrorists too,'” he says.”

  18. Obama’s new free speech threat
    An Executive order seeks to punish U.S. citizens even for “indirectly” obstructing dictatorial rule in Yemen
    By Glenn Greenwald
    May 16, 2012
    http://www.salon.com/2012/05/16/obamas_new_free_speech_threat/singleton/

    Excerpt:
    There is substantial opposition in both Yemen and the West to the new U.S.-backed Yemeni President, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. Hadi was the long-time Vice President of the Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, and after Saleh finally stepped down last year, Hadi became President as part of an “election” in which he was the only candidate (that little fact did not prevent Hillary Clinton from congratulating Yemen “on today’s successful presidential election” (successful because the U.S. liked the undemocratic outcome)). As it does with most U.S.-compliant dictators in the region, the Obama administration has since been propping up Hadi with large amounts of money and military assistance, but it is now taking a much more extreme step to ensure he remains entrenched in power — a step that threatens not only basic liberties in Yemen but in the U.S. as well:

    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 organizations 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.”

    In other words, the U.S. Government will now punish anyone who is determined — in the sole discretion of the U.S. Government — even to “indirectly” obstruct the full transition of power to President Hadi. But what if someone — a Yemeni or an American — opposes Hadi’s rule and wants to agitate for a real election in which more than one candidate runs? Is that pure political advocacy, as it appears, now prohibited by the U.S. Government, punishable by serious sanctions, on the ground that it “obstructs” the transition of power to Hadi? Can journalists who report on corruption or violence by the Hadi regime and who write Op-Eds demanding a new election be accused, as it seems, of “threatening Yemen’s political stability”?

    Jeremy Scahill, who has reported extensively from Yemen over the last year, reacted to the news of this Executive Order this morning by writing: ”This Executive Order appears to be an attack on Americans’ 1st Amendment Rights and Yemenis’ rights to self-determination“; he added: ”apparently the 1st Amendment had an exception about Yemen in it that I missed.” He then asked a series of questions, including: “What if a Yemeni citizen doesn’t believe in a one candidate ‘election’ and is fighting to change their government? US sanctions?” and ”How would Obama define an American citizen as ‘indirectly’ threatening the stability of Yemen’s government?” and “what if an American citizen doesn’t support Yemen’s government and agitates for its downfall? Sanctions from US Treasury? Wow.” Marcy Wheeler has some typically astute points to make about this as well.

  19. I was just beginning to wonder if this blog is actually a Libertarian blog disguised as an unhiased blog for legal “experts”. Sometimes I enjoy the blog postings and comments on here, but this post makes me wonder why I bother. I’m an Independent with leanings toward the left. My son will be leaving Afghanistan in a few days after a 7-month tour. There are some things that Obama has done that I don’t like or have reserved Judgement about. And Yemen and the subject of this blog is something I’ll have to find out more about. Probably most of you would consider me a liberal so I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess why all the liberals aren’t as outraged over this issue as you seem to think everyone else is. I’m guessing that liberals and anyone else who haven’t expressed outrage over this is because either they haven’t heard about it or they’ve heard about it but want more information before making an informed opinion. On the face of this post, and the embedded document, it appears that Obama is over-reaching his authority or setting a precedent. One could say that about our last president. My son was 14 when we entered Afghanistan. My son is now 24 and ending his tour there in 2 days. Do I blame Obama for a 10 year war? No, I lay it all at the feet of George W. Bush.

  20. @Karen – (1) Your son’s choice to serve (and thank him for his service for me); and (2) yes, if you can still blame Bush for President Obama’s policies at 3 years and 4 months into his presidency, I might consider that an earmark of a Liberal. Bush inherited the problems in the mid-East and SW Asia from his predecessors, who inherited them from their predecessors, and so-on and so-on… One thing from my perspective and many others, this administration has not provided the “change” we were promised, in the Army we would say, “SS/DD” Same shit, different day…

  21. Monday, May 14, 2012 11:11 AM EDT

    Chomsky on Obama

    Bush disappeared and tortured those the US disliked, while the Obama administration simply “murders them”

    By Glenn Greenwald

    http://www.salon.com/2012/05/14/chomsky_on_obama/singleton/

    Excerpt:

    Appearing on Democracy Now this morning, Noam Chomsky said the following:

    If the Bush administration didn’t like somebody, they’d kidnap them and send them to torture chambers.

    If the Obama administration decides they don’t like somebody, they murder them.

    Though a bit oversimpified — the Bush administration killed plenty of people, while the Obama administration makes use of kidnapping and torture chambers albeit by proxy; also, as this tweeter noted: it’s “unfair to say the Obama administration kills those it doesn’t like, since they claim power to kill people without even knowing who they are” – this concise comparison just about about sums it up. But it’s important to note that President Obama has progressivism in his heart and that makes all the difference in the world.

    Regarding the Obama administration’s constant killing of Muslims in numerous countries, Chomsky said that “it’s almost as if they’re consciously trying to increase the threat” (last week, a former CIA counter-terrorism chief warned that Obama’s drone strikes in Yemen risk converting Yemeni domestic militants into “dedicated enemies of the west“). What’s most remarkable, Chomsky said, is how little debate is stirred by these constant acts of lawless violence compared to the controversy created by the less lethal Bush policies (though see the prior paragraph for why that is: “President Obama has progressivism in his heart and that makes all the difference in the world”). (end of excerpt)

  22. http://www.democracynow.org/2012/3/15/jeremy_scahill_why_is_president_obama

    Jeremy Scahill: Why is President Obama Keeping Yemeni Journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye in Prison?

    “The Obama administration is facing scrutiny for its role in the imprisonment of a Yemeni journalist who exposed how the United States was behind a 2009 bombing in Yemen that killed 14 women and 21 children. In January 2011, a Yemeni state security court gave the journalist, Abdulelah Haider Shaye, a five-year jail sentence on terrorism-related charges following a disputed trial that was condemned by several human rights and press freedom groups. Within a month of Shaye’s sentencing, then-Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced he was going to pardon the journalist. But Saleh changed his mind after a phone call from President Obama. Thirteen months later, Shaye remains behind bars. We speak to Mohamed Abdel Dayem of the Committee to Protect Journalists and award-winning investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill. “Abdulelah Haider Shaye [is] a brave journalist. He just happened to be on the wrong side of history in the eyes of the U.S.,” Scahill says. “His crime seems to be interviewing the wrong people and having the audacity to publish another side of the story.””

  23. BarkinDog 1, May 17, 2012 at 11:47 am

    In the past few years the fertile spawning ground for al qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is drying up. They have been moving into Yemen. I did not see any liberals applaud the World Trade Center disaster.
    =============================================
    Are the Saudi’s who bankrolled 15 of the 19 hijackers, liberal or conservative in your estimation?

  24. Still waiting to hear a peep on this, or the District Court (Judge Forrest) rebuke to the Administration on NDAA indefinite, detention, out of Americablog, TPM, Kos, Talkleft, Think Progress, etc.

    Seems like we’re on First Amendment overload, and I sure wish the MSM would do some serious journalism on it.

  25. DonS, I posted on this yesterday. No one seemed interested except anon nurse. Judge Forrest is an Obama appointee. She replaced Judge Rakoff. TPM did have something on it. I read about it on Bloomberg.

  26. Crown and Country have been involving their citizens in wars of one kind or another since Crown and Country had citizens to tax and send. External war tactics always, always become internal tactics for Crown and Country on the hunt finds enemies everywhere it looks both without and within.

    Citizens, attempting to justify taxes raised and lives lost, always try to find morality in war. They never do because there is no morality in war.

  27. BettyKath,
    With that Obama deeds list you might get invited to be a part of his history group, the ones behind bars. Oh, you are under constitutional protection—uh huh, just like the assassinated citizens are/were.

  28. bettykath 1, May 17, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Among other things, since taking office Obama has (partial list):
    – Signed the NDAA into law — assassinating US citizens w/o trial now legal
    ===================================
    Actually, when Obama signed the law he disavowed the section:

    When he signed the NDAA into law on December 31, 2011, President Obama simultaneously issued a “signing statement.” A portion of that statement referred explicitly to § 1021:

    Section 1021 affirms the executive branch’s authority to detain persons covered by the [AUMF]. This section breaks no new ground and is unnecessary. The authority it describes was included in the 2001 AUMF, as recognized by the Supreme Court and confirmed through lower court decisions since then . . . . Moreover, I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens . . . . My Administration will interpret section 1021 in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the law.

    Statement on Signing the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, 2011 DAILY COMP. PRES. DOC. 978 (Dec. 31, 2011) at 1-2 (hereinafter “Signing Statement”), available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/DCPD-201100978/pdf/DCPD-201100978.pdf.

    Just sayin …

  29. On the face of it this seems awful. However, I’ve not been paying attention to the situation in Yemen, or to the agreement signed. Is there some faction i Yemen that is considered to be threatening? Is there some faction in the U.S. that has some pernicious interest in assuring disruption of the Yemeni peace process? In fact what is the Yemeni peace process? I will try to find that out, but perhaps someone here has that info on hand and can supply it. I is hard for me to make a judgment on what is going on here absent any real of just what the issues in Yemen are.

    As a for instance, with absolutely o connection implied to the situation at hand. In Central and South America companies like United Fruit continually intervened to assure a compliant government. Is a situation like that happening in Yemen aqnde that is why Treasury is being brought in. I have no idea at this point, but I will try to educate myself.

  30. Associated Press

    WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama served notice that he would sanction individuals and entities who undermine the stability in Yemen, as the government in the Middle Eastern nation ramped up its campaign against al Qaeda militants

    President Obama signed an executive order Wednesday allowing the Treasury Department to freeze U.S.-based assets of those who the White House says “threaten the peace, security and stability” of Yemen.

    The order gives Yemen’s new president, Abed Rabbo Hadi, another tool to sweep out relatives and cronies of authoritarian leader Ali Abdullah Saleh, who are refusing to relinquish the political or military posts the former strongman doled out during his rule.

    Mr. Hadi issued a decree in April ordering the holdovers to leave, and the U.S. presidential order could essentially target the assets of anyone who fails to comply, according to a senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the policy.

    State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the order was meant to send “a message to those who are trying to block transition that we have this tool to use against them, and that they should think again about the policies that they are pursuing.”

    Yemen is a strategic counterterrorism partner for the U.S. and officials fear that political instability there will provide an opening for al Qaeda affiliated terror groups to expand their influence. The White House says Mr. Obama took the step because he believes the legitimate aspirations of the Yemeni people cannot be addressed if political progress there stalls.

    On Wednesday government troops and warplanes pounded al Qaeda positions in southern Yemen, killing at least 29 militants as part of a ramped up campaign against the group, military officials said.

    The fighting is part of a four-front offensive the military began Tuesday, using warplanes and heavy artillery to clear the way for an assault by ground troops on towns where al Qaeda fighters are either operating or in control. For the first time, Yemen’s army is receiving direct help from U.S. troops, who are operating from a desert air base near the main battle zones to help coordinate assaults and airstrikes, according to Yemeni officials.

    The officials said it was the most direct American involvement yet in the country’s expanding campaign against al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen, which has been blamed for directing a string of unsuccessful bomb plots on U.S. soil from its hide-outs in the impoverished country at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula.

  31. As long as I started a scorecard on “liberal” blogs avoiding any comment so far, add Juan Cole — who isn’t shy about opining about anything — to the list.

  32. If there is another attack on the Empire State Building or the Empire State or the Pentagon, it will be folks from al qaeda with roots in Yemen. The President is on this piece of territory because the spys on our side know that the bulk of the Hamid guys have migrated to Yemen. If this was December 8, 1941 there would be some criticism if FDR for sleeping while the Japs pounced. Joseph Kennedy looked like a chump after the war began because of his desire to be pals with Hitler before the war started. Romney and his minions will throw any rock at our President and the one rock from the faux liberals who are really Romney schmucks, as in this diatribe from Willard Turley, is a bit out of whack. And while you are at it Mister President, please bomb, bomb, Iran. I am a liberal who remembers the World Trade Center and I say Never Again.
    I am also a Rottweiler so I do get agitated in my barkin.

  33. The illusion of change. I don’t like the government. I don’t like the R. or the D. parties. They are simply two sides of the same coin, in which both sides come up “whatever keeps us in power and money”. I’m sick of em all. Leave. Other. Countries. The. F@#k. Alone.

  34. BarkinDog, not to get the fur up on your back or anything, but would that make Yemen “the good war”, “the right war”, “the preemptive war”? I think your “bomb, bomb, Iran” answers for you.

  35. If we consider the long term possibilities some are these:
    Ameica continues to fight for world hegemony, although lacking USSR to use as a threat, it manufacturs other threats to stability. Now stability is defined as the preacher defines the Bible, his way.

    The muslim/Islam threat is a faux one. Is in any way the Islamic world expanding in terms of non-Islamic countries subverted. I don’t think so. But it is held up as a threat to keep us at war.

    The real expansion of China’s influence is not mediasized.

    The attempts by África to oppose commercial takeover, more than their domination today through world market control of primary products, is successfully thwarted for the moment.

    Keep tuned in. There are certainly more executive orders already written, to be issued when the stars approve and public manipultation succeeds.

    Nothing succeeds like success, unfortunately for true freedom.

  36. Signing statements don’t amend laws passed by congress.
    Indefinate detention of American Citizens is the law of the land and any president even one who signed a signing statement can do it. Cry for the beloved country!

  37. http://rt.com/programs/alyona-show/obama-pakistan-nato-us/

    Obama issues Yemen exec order

    US President Barack Obama (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)

    ­”Michael Hastings is on the show to talk about Pakistan finally being invited to the NATO summit, President Obama issuing a veto threat to the new NDAA and has issued an executive order regarding Yemen, that many argue could stifle free speech all the way here in the US. Then, we talk to Kevin Zeese about the upcoming NATO summit and how both protesters and police are preparing. And what can FOIA’s documents from the Department of Homeland Security tell us about how they monitor political movements?”

  38. http://rt.com/news/al-qaeda-usa-sanctions-yemen-443/

    ‘Al-Qaeda manipulated the US into putting sanctions on Yemen’

    Published: 17 May, 2012, 08:30

    Excerpt:

    The US is moving to place sanctions on anyone who opposes what Washington calls a democratic process in Yemen. Anti-war activist Susan Lindauer says this brings the US right into Al-Qaeda’s trap.

    ­Yemen is fighting an alleged Al-Qaeda insurgency with military support from the United States. On top of this, the Arab state continues to suffer from months of political unrest, with anti-government protesters demanding more reforms.

    RT: Do members of the peaceful opposition in Yemen fall under these new US sanctions?

    Susan Lindauer: Bad news for Barack Obama – the United States has played right into the hands of Al-Qaeda. It’s been a long-term ambition of Al-Qaeda to manipulate the United States into putting sanctions on Yemen, so that they can alienate the very impoverished Yemeni people from the central government. Yemen is a scrabble poor country, desperately poor. They are running out of water, they have no food, they have limited hospitals, limited educational opportunities.

    Yemen sits right next toward Saudi Arabia. Ever since the bombing of the USS Cole, Al-Qaeda has made it clear that it wants to establish a base inside Yemen to attack the Saudi oil fields right next door. And anything that they can do to alienate the Yemeni people from the central authority and the West, the United States’ cause [would be] a great victory for them. It’s a very bad decision by the United States.

    RT: The United States has significantly stepped up its involvement in Yemen’s fight against Al-Qaeda. Is it a part of Washington’s “war on terror” or, perhaps, there may be some ulterior geopolitical motives behind it?

    SL: The US only sees the world in black and white. They see terrorism and the outcome of violence, but not the root causes of poverty and hopelessness, or jealousy of the gross economic inequities between Yemen and its extravagantly wealthy neighbors in the Gulf Region and Saudi Arabia. Those Gulf countries should immediately pump economic aid for education, hospitals, water facilities, and food. Washington would not have to spend a dollar. Arab countries should be capable of doing this on their own.

    RT: Yemen is in a key position in the region, but the US does not have a military base there. Will it be having one?

    SL: I would say they have secret military bases all over the place, don’t they? They have drone capacity, and they first tested the drones in Yemen. Over the past few years Yemen was the first target of the drones. The US has a very strong secret military capacity in this country.

    RT: Drone attacks, inflated military presence – the US claims this would help make Yemen more stable and secure. And yet, could that be more about beginning another covert war in the region, rather than promoting a democracy?

    SL: Drones never build democracy anywhere. Drone attacks feed chaos and destabilize the civilian population. Yemen has never been more insecure. Economic aid must start flowing into the country, or it will be lost for good. (end)

  39. Anybody familiar with our glowing history regarding the Bonus Army Encampment in D.C.in 1932? MacArthur, Eisenhower, Patton were all part of the charge that trampled, bayoneted, and tear gassed hundreds of WWI veterans and their families (women, children, babies) in what was noted at the time as greatest concentration of fighting troops in Washington since 1865.

    Twelve years later these 1932 baby killers were heralded as heroes for their service in WWII and we even elected one of them to the Presidency.

    Other than our banks loaning money to Bolivia and Paraguay for the Chaco War, we were not involved in any wars in 1932 but the Hoover Administration saw enemies at home and ruthlessly killed them and burned them out.

    These WWI veterans had lost their homes and jobs thanks to the Wall Street/Banks driven Great Depression and were demanding that the $500 bonus scheduled to be paid in 1945 be paid NOW. The House voted to pay it but the Senate voted not to and then adjourned.

    Hey, what’s a moral government to do?

  40. The statutes cited in the executive order were acts of abdication by Congress. The order itself could easily have been drafted by John Yoo, edited by David Addington and implemented by Dick Cheney. Were the Constitution still deemed to limit executive authority, White House counsel would have tossed this piece of garbage where it belongs. Elliott Richardson and William Ruckelshaus resigned for less serious reasons.

  41. As this thread by Professor Turley shows, we have truly lost control of our government. The main reasons seem to be graft, corruption, and executive powers. I propose that we form a national movement with the objective being to hold a Constitutional Convention in 2013.

    It would seem that a quorum for a Constitutional Convention requires thirty-four states, and that constitutional amendments can be passed by thirty-two of those states being in agreement.

    The proposed amendments should be broad and speak to the mechanisms that have currently crippled our representation. I propose five, listed below, knowing that all will not be successful, if any.

    The movement needs to be non-partisan with all acknowledging the need to regain our representative government and should speak to major structural issues only.

    I wanted to work much more on this before posting, but there are some good minds on this blog and issues that would take me months of study to write competently about can be accomplished much quicker by others participating.

    Pressure on state representatives needs to be strenuously applied so that the state representatives are compelled to petition Congress for an Article V Convention.

    1.0 Proposed Amendments

    1.1 No corporate access to the Bill Of Rights
    1.1.1 Details related to 1.1

    Wipe out Citizens United.

    Major campaign finance reform.

    Possibly make all campaigns federally funded (possible amendment proposal).

    Force NAB to provide their “public service” by airing political media ads at no cost with equal airtime for all candidates.

    Rein in corporate lobbyist, or attempt to prohibit altogether.

    1.2 Limit Executive ability to wage war
    1.2.1 Details related to 1.2

    At a minimum, be brought in line with the intent of the War Powers Resolution Act (50 USC § 1541-1548).

    I’m sure there are many pitfalls to this proposal as the Executive has the authority to sign treaties and agreements and dictate foreign policy. With Congress having abdicated its right to declare war through entropy some way must be found to limit the executive wars.

    1.3 Rescind Patriot Act and all other rights infringing acts/executive orders passed since 9/11

    1.4 Eliminate the Electoral College

    1.5 Restore Congress’ right to mint money.

    2.0 Methods Of Organization

    2.1 Non-partisan
    Movement needs to be non-partisan to gain as much support as possible. This will hopefully be accomplished by keeping the proposed amendments to fundamental issues. The basic idea is to get our representative government back, and then we can discuss other divisive issues through our representative government.

    2.2 State Based/Organized

    2.3 501c(3) business structure.

    2.4 Funding through personal donations

    3.0 Justify the need for a Constitutional Convention
    3.1 Develop a group of qualified writers and speakers (historians, constitutional scholars, constitutional layers, political scientist, and economists) to produce essays and appear on media shows to argue the need for a Constitutional Convention.

    This will be at both a national and local level.

    3.2 At a local level hold community events discussing the need for a Constitutional Convention utilizing the works from 3.1.

    4.0 How to apply pressure so the state legislatures feel compelled to petition for a Constitutional Convention

    4.1 Gain the support of unions, businesses, and individuals.

    4.2 Rolling general strikes from state to state with individuals and union participation.

    Participants do not hit the streets, but stay at their place of residence. What can the authorities do: send out the National Guard, bust into peoples houses and force them to go to work at gunpoint?

    There are twenty-two work days on average in a month. On average each state would have a general strike every two-and-one-third months (if all fifty states participate).

    Once every two-and-one-half or three months hold a national general strike.

    This is a very crude outline, but hopefully it can be fleshed out in time.

  42. “Once again, Democrats and liberals are silent despite the fact that they would be outraged if this had been done by Bush.” Jonathan Turley

    A bad official act like this one deserves criticism on the basis of its own demerits, irrespective of which, or both, or neither of our conjoined corporate parties approves or disapproves of it. Theoretically, the “politically disinterested” courts would not care one bit who argues which side of a case devoid of merit on its face. Nevertheless, since Professor Turley did resort to the argumentum ad hominem, I’d like to offer a paraphrase that at least acknowledges the truly bipartisan sources of the “silence” he decries. To wit:

    Once again, [some] Democrats and [most] Republicans remain silent because [some] Democrats approve of Obama while [most] Republicans approve of fascist encroachments upon the Constitutional rights of non-corporate — i.e., living, breathing, and poor — persons.

    As a matter of fact, when it comes to President Obama’s draconian assaults on civil and human rights, he has encountered far more resistance from the so-called “left” — or “fucking retards,” as his former Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel used to call us — than he has from the rabid Republican reactionaries who can’t believe how easily they’ve bullied yet another Republican-wannabe “Democrat” into doing what they could never do themselves while muting their normal outrage at blowjobs and pregnant women and queer weddings long enough to let the blame for their beloved fascism fall on the Democrats who stupidly enable it for them.

    Like the dog that did not bark in the night, when Republicans do not scream bloody murder at anything a corporate Clinton or Obama (but I repeat myself) does, you know they approve wholeheartedly.

    I trust that this clarifies for Professor Turley the truly bipartisan sound of silence that he finds so disturbing. As a test of their patriotic sincerity, let the rabid Republican reactionaries now lead the charge against the “unitary executive” and its encroachments upon the (now practically non-existent) constitutional rights of non-corporate persons, citizen and non-citizen alike. I won’t hold my breath until this happens, but it does make for a momentarily entertaining thought experiment.

  43. “One wonders why he hasn’t done that to Saudi Arabia, since they bankrolled 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11.”

    You mean the Saudis finance U.S. false flag operations?

    Obama 2012: “Not The Worst, But Just as Bad”

  44. Forget not who the al qaeda movement is and what nation financed and empowered it. When the So viets were in Afghanistan we did not want them there. We found folks in the Muslim Brotherhood to go fight them. For instance, al Zawarhi from Egypt: “The Doctor”. After the Soviets left we abandoned the scene of the crimes. The Muslim Brotherhood and Mujahdeen (sp) morphed into al qaeda. Many were Saudis. Saudi Arabia is a dangerous place. All of the middle east is a dangerous place. Yemen is the fertile ground Now. Iran is the power in the region that foments killers and gorrillas (pardon the pun) throughout the region–even pirates from Somalia and Yemen. Now we are in Afghanistan and there are some who might wish that the Russians had stayed there all along. Its kind of like that obnoxious commerical on television. “I fell and I cant get up!”

    My take on today’s article by Jonathan Turley is that there is some cheap shot political rocks being thrown against President Obama. Yemen is the present day fertile ground that al qaeda is using to launch their next attack. When it happens, Romney, McCain, Palin, Boner and the rest of the RepubliCons will say that he is Obumbo.

    In my prior life as a humanoid I travelled to Egypt, Afghanistan and some of the other places where al Zawari the Doctor and others live and breathe. I am a liberal on American civil rights and social policy but I am not no dumschmuck on things like Yemen and al qaeda. Iran is going to have a nuclear bomb if we dont stop them and that my fine furred freinds in the dog pack is something we do not want to come about.

  45. “Liberals”? What “liberals”? As Chris Hedges writes in Death of the Liberal Class:

    The collapse of liberalism, whether in imperial Russia, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Weimar Germany, the former Yugoslavia, or the United States, was ultimately tied to the rise of a culture of permanent war. Within such a culture, exploitation and violence, even against citizens, are justified to protect the nation. The chant for war comes in a variety of slogans, languages, and ideologies. It can manifest itself in fascist salutes, communist show trials, campaigns of ethnic cleansing, or Christian crusades. It is all the same. It is a crude, terrifying state repression by the power elite and the mediocrities in the liberal class who serve them, in the name of national security.

    “Liberals”? What “liberals”? I don’t see no stinking “liberals.” Don’t you know, Professor, that “we’re at war AUMF”? That means we’ve got orders from Deputy Dubya Bush to go shopping and buy a few tickets to Disney World because this whole Saddam Hussein thing won’t last more than six months and won’t even cost 60 billion dollars — which the Iraqis will gladly pay out of their oil revenues. Honest injun! So get with the war AUMF, Professor, lest President Bush Obama mistake you for a mediocre liberal servant of the crony-corporate fascism that must oppress us in order to stamp out “unpatriotic” liberalism — in the name of national security.

  46. Barkin Dog:

    As Condoleeza Rice once said to Douglas Feith (whom General Tommy Franks accurately called “the dumbest man on planet earth”):

    “If we want the Israeli position, we’ll call in their ambassador.”

    Since Iran has never threatened or attacked America and since I don’t give a damn about the position of the Apartheid Zionist Entity — since I don’t support theocratic, racist, apartheid governments — it makes no difference to me whether Iran has a nuclear weapon or not. The Soviets had thousands of them and the Apartheid Zionists have hundreds. So what? The more America and the A.Z.E. persist in attacking other countries, the more other countries will obtain nuclear weapons out of sheer self-preservation. If America really doesn’t want Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon, then America should stop threatening Iran and make suitable bi-lateral diplomatic deals with them instead of calling in the A.Z.E.’s ambassador so as to know that to think or do next.

    With the A.Z.E. tail wagging the American dog so mercilessly, I don’t hear any barking from the dog — just a teeth-chattering whimper from the unrelenting whiplash.

  47. It seems that the writer did not understand that Salih and his family members are the targets of this order. They have the money while I do not care about this order because my money are already frozen by God before I even received them. I have no money to be frozen.

  48. “I further find that these actions [somehow related to Yemen] constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.” — President Chicken Little

    “unusual and extraordinary”? I thought “extraordinary” meant “unusual”. Needless and pointless redundancy always marks bad rhetoric.

    “national emergency”? Over something completely unspecified, somehow having to do with some place called “Yemen”? Aw, fer cryin’ out loud.

    What a piss-poor excuse for “the most powerful nation on earth.” More like scared shit-less of its own shadow.

    Let Professor Turley note that I have not remained silent in the face of this ludicrous assertion of Presidential omnipotence.

  49. “Many Yemenis are happy with this order.” — yemenianalyst

    No doubt the only Yemeni to run for president — with the support of the United States government — counts himself among them.

  50. When I saw the photograph of Yemenianalyst, I recognized him and gave him a call. He is an independent Yemeni-born American journalist who has often reported on Arab affairs for the BBC and who is known throughout the Arab world as a fierce independent voice. He has tirelessly AND fearlessly opposed the Saleh regime for all of his adult life. (Yes, his credibility is enhanced by the fact that there is a Fatwah out on him, has been for years now.) He pointed out to me that the Executive Order, which appears to support Saleh’s own people (since Hadi served in his Regime) is actually quite the opposite; it is the Hadi government that is gaining the necessary power and position to throw off the yoke of the shadow government that Saleh set in place when he realized his own days were numbered. My friend Mouses tells me that the Yemeni Opposition [to Saleh’s people] are figuratively dancing in the streets (not time to do it literally, yet), saying “Finally the U.S. got it and will help.” The problem with the order, of course, is that it should be merely an emergency measure, not something that should last on and on…

    Now that doesn’t make the Executive Order right, and of course, we have our constitution to think about. Even as an emergency measure, you look at something like this and realize how ephemeral any of our freedoms are. Like the suspension of habeas corpus rights during war-time, an order like this can snatch up your substantial rights and then erode any possibility of restoring them. And I brought that up with Mouses, and he said that Imam Ali (the son-in-law of the Prophet) said, “The right argument for the wrong result.”

    And I thought back to the Elizabeth Morgan/Eric Foretich case and the ridiculous federal law that was passed JUST to apply to Elizabeth and her daughter, a law that wouldn’t do anybody else a bit of good. I ruefully remembered the years Professor Turley put in, defending the Constitution and helping Foretich redeem rights he could never exercise, to get the bill, which really WAS a bill of attainder in confusing and chaotic form, repealed long after it was moot. And I realized that the bill itself was “the wrong argument for the right result.” And sometimes I guess we need to know more Arabic proverbs.

  51. I just read every comment. None of us, self included, take on the assertion in the heading of the Turley article here that the Executive Order is aimed as stiffling criticism of Yemen–he employs the words: To Silence Opponents Of Yemen’s Leader.
    To Silence a person means to shut them up, not deter their overt acts to arm a rebellion for example. I am an opponent of the Yemen leadership but this act does not address silencing speech. Aiding an abetting a rebellion with goods and services is not the same as criticizing the leader whom the rebels oppose. I am critical of the leadership in Iran but I am not aiding and abetting the opposition by giving them guns and butter.

    The heading of this article distorts what the President has done in this Executive Order. This kind of distortion can best be described as a “Willard”. When you distort, you commit a Willard. If my first name was Willard I would adopt a nickname. Like “My” if I was Swedish or Mitt if I was an American.

  52. You want unfettered dissent in America, Professor Turley? Then help organize a force to compel the American government to rescind the ludicrous “AUMF” — i.e., Aimless, Unlimited, Military Farce — and thus free Americans from the tyrannical yoke of “permanent war [on something or someone, somewhere].” By way of support for this position, consider what Chris Hedges writes in Death of the Liberal Class:

    Since the end of World War I, the United States has devoted staggering resources and money to battling real and imagined enemies. It turned the engines of the state over to a massive war and security apparatus. These battles, neutered all opposition to corporate power and the tepid reforms of the liberal class. The liberal class, fearful of being branded as soft or unpatriotic in the Cold War, willingly joined the state’s campaign to crush popular and radical movements in the name of national security. Permanent war is the most effective mechanism used by the power elite to stifle reform and muzzle dissent. A state of war demands greater secrecy, constant vigilance and suspicion. It generates distrust and fear, especially in culture and art, often reducing ti to silence or natinalist cant. It degrades and corrupts, education and the media. It wrecks the economy. It nullifies public opinion. And it forces liberal institutions to sacrifice their beliefs for a holy crusade, a kind of surrogate religion, whether it is against the Hun, the Bolshevik, the fascist, the communist, or the Islamic terrorist. The liberal class in a state of permanent war is rendered impotent.

    The so-called “liberal class” crawled up its own ass and died long ago, so don’t suppose that anything by that name any longer exists to save America from the crony-corporate crypto fascists. You cannot shame these non-existent “liberals” into saving your freedom for you by taunting them for their “silence.” Unlike the Republicans who only remain silent when they’ve got the Democrats barking for them, you don’t hear anything from the “liberals” because they no longer exist in numbers sufficient to voice more than a pitiful squeak of ignored protest. Instead, today, you have “Democrats” like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, so terrified of the “liberal” label that they at best will only consent to call themselves “bipartisan.” Whipped already by nothing but a word.

    Help us end this Aimless, Unlimited Military Farce and wage Peace instead. Then you can have your dissent without fear. But if you must have your needless, pointless, endless “warAUMF,” then you deserve the tyranny you’ve gotten and will get.

  53. Michael Murry,
    Wow,
    You nailed it.
    Wow, you nailed it.
    For a long time I was trying to find a way to ask the question, “How have they been able to turn ‘liberal’ into a per se negative epithet?” I never could figure out why our leaders refused to stand up and call themselves liberals, until I saw that they weren’t — none of them was a liberal, not ONE!

    How did this rout get accomplished?

    Simply by the so-called “Conservatives” (and they aren’t conservative!) stealing a march on the language?!

    One time I had a lawyer who was “Conservative” (this had nothing to do with his job as my lawyer, which he did not do — he just wanted to take the money and talk about himself for long enough to “use it up”) and when he was making polite conversation with me (on my nickel) he said that he had heard that I was a liberal. I said, “Who told you that?” He asked, “Do you deny it?” I answered, “Of course I do; I’m MUCH more radical than a liberal!” He’s tea-party now. He never did the job he took my money to do, and when last I asked him about it, he said he was very busy repealing Obamacare. He was the lawyer who represented Paula Jones; he had a mistress and a wife at the time that he argued that one in front of the US Supreme Court, if rumor has it right.

    We do deserve our tyranny. Of course I, the individual I, do not, but of course, I am also one who feels the yoke most heavily. That’s in the nature of finding out how enslaved we are. If we have benevolent private masters, we may not even discover it…

  54. Rafflaw, ever time I get into a conversation with Mouses, I come away more and more impressed with my ignorance. For example, he told me once how many of our State Dept. people get confused when they are speaking with the Arab diplomats, etc. They do not, for example, understand the ways that “Inshallah” may be used to mean either “yes” or “no.” It astonishes me, how much there is to NOT KNOW. In fact, I once heard about a possible misinterpretation of the Japanese response to the American threats before bombing Hiroshima. Apparently the Japanese spokesperson said a word or phrase that could be interpreted as either “no” or as “Time to think it over,” and then came the bomb attack. I am sorry to say I cannot remember the details of this, but I think I read it in a reliable source, about semantics, or linguistics, or meaning, you know, one of those subjects that uses a little example like that to show something.

    We are just overwhelmed. So much noise in the environment, so many lies, so much hidden stuff, so little real transparency, so many ulterior motives, so much conflict, even in the telling of it, so much to decipher…

  55. As Glenn Greenwald notes:

    One difference between this EO and the prior one issued for Somalia is that this one exempts U.S. government agencies, which means, as [Marcy] Wheeler puts it, that “while Obama doesn’t want you, or Ali Abdullah Saleh’s leave-behinds, or the AP to destabilize Yemen, he reserves the right for US government employees, grantees, or contractors to do so. Which presumably means, as happened in Afghanistan, [that] we are and plan to continue paying some of the people who are in violation of this EO.” It is, then, in so many respects, a perfect expression of American justice when it comes to the War on Terror.

    No one but those we pay to violate this executive order may violate this executive order.

    “National emergency,” my aching ass.

  56. I am struck by the tendency of folks on the blog here to criticise each other or more likely to catagorize themselves or others by these rather imprecise terms that are floated about in America when it gets down to politics. A person could be a Liberal and be in the Libertarian Party, or the Democratic Party, but probably not the Republican Party. A person can be a conservative in any of those three. A person with extreme views will hedge and call themself a conservative when in fact they are bigots or nazi. A communist will perhaps call themself a libertarian or liberal. A tee party person thinks of themself as a scion of the American Tea Party tradition in Boston in 1776 or so.
    But if you scratch a present day Tea Party person they would be in Philadelphia not Valley Forge and be fighting with the elites and King George, not George Washington. Pee Party is a more fitting phrase.

    If one believes in the Bill of Rights and say the First Amendment in particular then how does that translate into Liberal, Conservative, Moderate, Pee Party hot or cold?
    I submit that few people on this blog fit into Liberal, Conservative or Moderate as one travels about different topics.
    There is not need to castigate each other on this blog. And, really the differences are not all that far apart. This is not a Caucus Night in a state where one goes to decide whom one will sit with and determine which candidate gets the vote of the county caucus. I might agree with any one of you on some issues and not on others. I can be a Liberal on civil rights and free speech and still argue that bombing Iran might be a good thing. They are not antithetical. I would have been for George Washington at Valley Forge and not King George. I would have thrown the tea into Boston Harbour back in our revolution. I would throw the present day Pee Party folks into Boston harbour. But it doesnt mean that I would disparage them on this blog. If I think someone is a closet Willard Romney supporter then I will out them on this blog. I think it a bit shallow to throw rocks at the President by criticizing this Yemen issue to gain favor for numnuts. I dont want another war but I dont want another Trade Center attack. A barkin dog believes in free speech. The german shepard in the group calls it frei sprech or somesuch terminology.

  57. “This executive order was intentionally written broadly to capture areas that are presumed to be protected like free speech.”

    **********************************************
    While no fan of usurping power by executive fiat, I fail to find support for this view. The Order prohibits those who:

    ” 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 agreement of November 23, 2011, between the Government of Yemen and those in opposition to it, which provides for a peaceful transition of power in Yemen, or that obstruct the political process in Yemen;”

    The operative word is “acts.” Is speaking against the agreement an “act”? I see no construction or interpretation to that effect and would be just as outraged as many of you if it were.

    I think this argument mirrors the debate over the defense authorization bill where a rather extreme interpretation of the language (that was debunked by the bill’s sponsors) led some to conclude that Americans would be rounded up and imprisoned without trial or even an opportunity for a habeas petition.

    http://jonathanturley.org/2012/01/16/indefinite-detention-of-citizens-a-response-to-senator-carl-levin/

    That didn’t happen and we’ve all moved on from the rhetoric. I prefer not to see ghosts in every piece of legislation or executive order. Let’s tackle problems that are more than speculation.

  58. Ron Paul just co-sponsored impeachment legislation, maybe this next Obamination might convince people this facist in democratic clothing should be removed from power.

  59. “This is not a Caucus Night in a state where one goes to decide whom one will sit with and determine which candidate gets the vote of the county caucus. I might agree with any one of you on some issues and not on others. I can be a Liberal on civil rights and free speech and still argue that bombing Iran might be a good thing. They are not antithetical.”

    BarkinDog,

    Thank you. Your entire comment that this came out of was very well put. My initial comment on this thread admitted my lack of knowledge of the circumstances that led to this Presidential Order. I knew there was some sort of conflict in Yemen, but it hadn’t interested me enough that I’d spent more time on it than glancing at headlines. Therefore in reading this post, while at first put off by the implications it had for free speech, I was also curious as to why the Administration saw fit to issue it and what was their aim in doing so.
    Context is all important in trying to honestly analyze any issue and I lacked context. Many commentators I believe also lacked context, but reacted on a gut level. Perhaps their “guts” led them to the truth, but perhaps they were responding from a general belief to a specific instance and as such failed to make an insightful analysis, because they to hadn’t paid particular attention to Yemen. The idea of a “party line” has never been limited to Marxists. It is a given of any “Ism” in which one chooses to believe. By wholeheartedly embracing ay particular “party line” one actually diminishes their ability to react to each new event spontaneously and thus gain clarity.

    Certainly, your initial comments and Malisha’s, added differing points of view on this topic. In my own mind I am an extremely intelligent person and I have the acquired wisdom of age. However, the life lessons I’ve learned have proven to me time and again that I’m not as smart as I think I am and can be led up a wrong path via my “intelligence”. A motto I adopted in my 50’s, developed through the times I was convinced of my perspicacity, only to see for myself how wrong I was, is this: I first began to see I was developing wisdom when I realized how very little I knew.

  60. Good post, Barking Dog. You certainly don’t suffer from the “detached purism” that Andrew Sullivan claims Glenn Greenwald suffers from. Probably just got myself in trouble with some on here. Whatever……….

  61. Civility, what a concept.

    Still, giving the benefit of the doubt to the establishment, the 1%’s, in the name of civility, might be a bridge too far. I know that’s not what generally being said, however, I’m not one who believes if we’re all just civil enough everything will work out for the average guy.

    Further, I generally agree in the uselessness of labels like liberal, conservative, progressive, etc., especially across categories of issues. But I smell a political environment that is increasingly totalitarian and, if that’s a label, sorry ’bout that.

    As for more wars. Haven’t we really been there, done that, enough times to show it futility, and as a game profiting the MIC (sorry, I know, that’s a label — even if Ike coined it!)

  62. None of the comments I have read on this thread change my views on the executive order. In the first place, no occupant of the White House takes a strict constructionist approach to the topic of executive power. And if you believe that the phrase “acts which directly or indirectly threaten the peace, security or stability of Yemen” cannot be applied to speech, I respectfully suggest that the controversy surrounding Jane Fonda’s notorious trip to North Vietnam years ago provides a more accurate example of how the expression of contrary views may be popularly regarded as treason.

    The point is that a vaguely worded grant of authority whose interpretation and implementation rely solely on the good faith and discretion of the grantee from time to time is a bad law.

  63. MIke A:

    “And if you believe that the phrase “acts which directly or indirectly threaten the peace, security or stability of Yemen” cannot be applied to speech, I respectfully suggest that the controversy surrounding Jane Fonda’s notorious trip to North Vietnam years ago provides a more accurate example of how the expression of contrary views may be popularly regarded as treason.”

    ************************

    That was (is) the view of many but not the U.S. Dept of Justice who declined to prosecute her precisely because of free speech concerns and the inability to prove that she provided “aid and comfort” to the enemy. In essence there was no “overt act” performed by Fonda which provided “aid and comfort.” Her speech in support of the NVA and her 10 radio broadcasts, and even the infamous photograph on the AA gun was simply not enough.

  64. Dredd,

    “Among other things, since taking office Obama has (partial list):
    – Signed the NDAA into law — assassinating US citizens w/o trial now legal
    ===================================
    Actually, when Obama signed the law he disavowed the section:”

    I’m aware of the EO but there is a lot of wiggle room. He signed the law therefore assassinating US citizens w/o trial is now legal. Indefinite military detention isn’t quite the same thing as assassination. An EO that says he won’t do something can be easily overruled by a new EO. And it’s only binding on his administration, not subsequent ones.

    “Moreover, I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens”

    Tell that to Bradley Manning.

  65. Bettykath:

    “Moreover, I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens”

    Tell that to Bradley Manning.

    *******************************

    COURT DATES: US v. Bradley Manning
    Hearing: June 6-8, 2012
    Hearing: July 16-20, 2012
    Hearing: August 27-31, 2012
    Hearing: September 19-20, 2012
    Trial: currently scheduled to begin September 21 through October 12, 2012

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/04/bradley-manning-judge-denies-dismissal-sets-trial-date/

  66. “Journalist, Plaintiff Chris Hedges Hails “Monumental” Ruling Blocking NDAA Indefinite Detention” -Thursday, May 17, 2012

    “This is another window into … the steady assault against civil liberties,” Hedges says. “What makes [the ruling] so monumental is that, finally, we have a federal judge who stands up for the rule of law.” -Chris Hedges

    http://www.democracynow.org/2012/5/17/journalist_plaintiff_chris_hedges_hails_monumental

    “In a rare move, a federal judge has struck down part of a controversial law signed by President Obama that gave the government the power to indefinitely detain anyone it considers a terrorism suspect anywhere in the world without charge or trial — including U.S. citizens. Judge Katherine Forrest of the Southern District of New York ruled the indefinite detention provision of the National Defense Authorization Act likely violates the First and Fifth Amendments of U.S. citizens. We speak with Chris Hedges, a journalist who filed the suit challenging the NDAA along with six others, and Bruce Afran, the group’s attorney. “This is another window into … the steady assault against civil liberties,” Hedges says. “What makes [the ruling] so monumental is that, finally, we have a federal judge who stands up for the rule of law.”

    Chris Hedges, senior fellow at the Nation Institute. He is a former foreign correspondent for the New York Times and was part of a team of reporters that was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism. He is the author of a number of books, including Death of the Liberal Class and The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress. He is a plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the National Defense Authorization Act.

    Bruce Afran, lawyer representing Chris Hedges and other plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the National Defense Authorization Act.

    Excerpt of interview, which touches on “appeal” issues:

    AMY GOODMAN: So, what happens now? I mean, this was struck down by Judge Forrest. Where does it go now?

    BRUCE AFRAN: Well, technically, there could be a trial on a full issue of a permanent injunction. That very rarely ever happens. Usually, the government will appeal. They have 60 days to appeal. We don’t know what will happen. We, Carl Mayer and I, my co-counsel, are calling on the government to issue a permanent—agree to a permanent injunction, put this permanently, you know, under a rule that it is unconstitutional and can’t be enforced. Right now it is illegal. The judge has put a hold on it. And we’re calling on the President to agree to make it a permanent injunction.

    AMY GOODMAN: Chris Hedges, where do you go from here?

    CHRIS HEDGES: I think that, you know, this is a never-ending battle. The security and surveillance state has already boxed us in, those of us who don’t conform to the official narrative. And this was a tremendous victory, but there are still important issues to be fought. The Espionage Act is a good one, the Authorization to Use Military Force Act itself, the PATRIOT Act, the refusal to restore habeas corpus, of course the FISA Amendment Act, the warrantless wiretapping. There are still other issues that those of us who care about an open democracy have to go out and fight for.

    AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you both for being with us, Chris Hedges, senior fellow at the Nation Institute, former correspondent for the New York Times; Bruce Afran, lawyer representing Chris Hedges and the other plaintiffs in this lawsuit challenging the National Defense Authorization Act. Judge Forrest has struck down the statute that would allow for the indefinite detention of anyone anywhere considered a terrorism suspect, without charge, without trial, including U.S. citizens.

  67. http://thisdayinwikileaks.blogspot.com/

    “Bradley Manning has been in jail without trial for 725 days.”

    Thursday, May 17, 2012

    05/17/12

    WikiLeaks has been financially blockaded without process for 531 days.
    Julian Assange has been under house arrest without charge for 528 days.
    Bradley Manning has been in jail without trial for 725 days.
    A secret Grand Jury on WikiLeaks has been active in the US for 611 days.

  68. “…but that was yesterday… and yesterday’s gone. ”

    “Bradley Manning has been in jail without trial for 726 days.”

  69. I would venture that this Administration hate it when a real journalist like Jeremy Scahill goes on NPR Fresh Air (17-may-2012 on WHYY-FM 90.9 Philadelphia) to essentially question with FACTS, the whole US engagement in Yemen, the countless mistakes that cost so many innocent lives, the systemic coverup by alleged heroes like David Petreaus etc. etc.

    https://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=152854335&m=152854545

    Listening Scahill interview makes it pretty obvious that US government behavior is becoming the best recruiting tool for AQ.

  70. Listening Scahill interview makes it pretty obvious that US government behavior is becoming the best recruiting tool for AQ. -Francois T

    I posted the same link upthread. The U.S. government is, without question, radicalizing people in Yemen, the U.S. and, I dare say, the world over.

  71. DonS,
    ;-)

    As Carl Oglesby of the SDS rightly said, “It isn’t the rebels who cause the troubles of the world, it’s the troubles that cause the rebels.”

  72. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/18/indefinite-detention-bill-fails_n_1525659.html

    “Bill To End Indefinite Detention Fails In House”

    Posted: 05/18/2012 10:03 am Updated: 05/18/2012 11:35 am

    WASHINGTON — A judge may have found unconstitutional the law that allows people to be held indefinitely without trial by the military, but the House of Representatives voted Friday to keep it anyway.

    On Wednesday, Federal Judge Katherine Forrest found that the law violates rights to free speech and due process. But House members defended it, ultimately voting 238 to 182 against an amendment to guarantee civilian trials for any terrorism suspect arrested in the United States.

    The measure, sponsored by Reps. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Justin Amash (R-Mich.), had been backed by a mix of conservatives, moderates and liberals who argued that letting the president decide to detain anyone — including Americans — deemed to be a terrorist was granting the executive too much power. And they argued that with more than 400 terrorists having been tried and convicted in civilian courts while dozens of plots were prevented, the law was unnecessary.

    “The president right now has the authority to go outside the normal due process, constitutionally protected rights that are part of a court trial, and lock somebody up indefinitely or place them in military custody here in the U.S.,” Smith said in floor debate. “That is an extraordinary amount of power to give the executive branch over individual freedom and liberty. I don’t think it is necessary to keep us safe.”

  73. mespo, I know that Ms. Fonda was not prosecuted. That’s why I used the phrase “popularly regarded as treason.” But there were plenty of people in Congress at the time who would have been happy to see her prosecuted, and it cannot be denied that there has been a marked increase in the public’s willingness to surrender constitutional rights in the aftermath of 9/11. Further, Congress has almost completely abandoned to the executive the legislative role in the initiation and prosecution of war, primarily to avoid responsibility for outcomes. Much is made of Pres. Obama’s stated intention not to use all of the power at his command, but when the protection of fundamental rights is dependent upon the subjective judgment of the President, it is of no consolation that the current holder of that office may have a benevolent disposition.

  74. “… when the protection of fundamental rights is dependent upon the subjective judgment of the President, it is of no consolation that the current holder of that office may have a benevolent disposition.” — Mike Appleton

    Before I would repose confidence in the “benevolent disposition” of the current President of the United States, I would want to see evidence of it. The petty, vindictive persecution of Private Bradley Manning, to cite only one egregious example, argues conclusively for the absence of any such quality.

  75. Mike A., you and Mespo both have points of course. Sometimes I think it boils down to noting the legal niceties of a situation, and noting the practical, moral implications.

    Those of us old enough to remember certain things, in person, mights be less apparently forgiving of the patterns we see. Having been lied to by LBJ over Vietnam, and Nixon. Having been lied to and scammed by Reagan over just about everything — Central America being one covert example of not being able to trust your government. Having been lied to, or shall we say finessed by slick Willie and the so-called third way to selling out to Wall Street. Having been lied to by Dubya-Cheney and company over, well you name it. Why now, with Obama already having established a well documented history of bait and switch, too little too late, hard core right wing foreign policy, would one give him the benefit of the doubt?

    Those with the mind to see, and the heart to feel, need to use those attributes to constantly speak truth to power. IMO. History is lettered with the wreckage of too many afterthoughts.

  76. “Ms. Fonda was not prosecuted. That’s why I used the phrase “popularly regarded as treason.” — Mike Appleton

    Many of us Vietnam Veterans considered Jane Fonda a complete babe in Barbarella and a slew of other fine films. We only wished that our country had more just like her. Right wing whiners against the protests that eventually ended that stupid, vainglorious disaster in Southeast Asia do not constitute “popular regard” but only the constipated bile of bitter, defeated reactionaries. That America has blundered into two more Vietnams (with more apparently on the way) because the backward bastion of buffoonery refuses to learn from enlightened citizens like Jane Fonda only adds more luster to her fame. She got it right when it counted, and this Vietnam Veteran has always loved her for that.

    Persecute the prophets and reward the REMFs — the ‘Murican Way.

  77. File this Obama story under “Bad as Bush”:

    ‘Reporter’s Privilege’ Under Fire From Obama Administration Amid Broader War On Leaks
    Posted: 05/18/2012 2:48
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/18/reporters-privilege-obama-war-leaks-new-york-times_n_1527748.html

    Excerpt:
    RICHMOND, Va. — The Obama administration Friday morning continued its headlong attack on the right of reporters to protect their confidential sources in leak investigations.

    Before a panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, a Department of Justice lawyer argued that New York Times reporter James Risen should be forced to testify in the trial of former CIA agent Jeffrey Sterling, who is charged with leaking classified information to Risen about a botched plot against the Iranian government.

    Rather than arguing the specifics of the case, DOJ appellate lawyer Robert A. Parker asserted that there is no reporter’s privilege when a journalist receives an illegal leak of national security secrets.

    When Judge Robert Gregory asked Parker to explain why the public’s interest in a free press was outweighed by the specific circumstances in this case, Parker declined.

    “I don’t think there would be a balancing test because there’s no privilege in the first place,” Parker said. “The salient point is that Risen is the only eyewitness to this crime.”

  78. Michael Murry:
    I agree with you. BTW, I really like your site and the biting edge of your poetry.

    DonS:
    My first clear understanding of what was happening in Viet Nam came when I read Bernard Fall’s “Hell in a Very Small Place” in 1965, the lessons from which remain unappreciated to this day by American foreign policy makers and the American exceptionalism crowd. My first clear understanding of the government’s willingness to lie came when I learned what was really behind the Gulf of Tonkin resolution.

  79. Elaine:

    I read the article on the reporter’s privilege case. Once again the Obama administration is asserting an indefensible and extremist position on a First Amendment issue.

  80. Here’s an interesting story for you:

    Congressmen Seek To Lift Propaganda Ban
    Propaganda that was supposed to target foreigners could now be aimed at Americans, reversing a longstanding policy. “Disconcerting and dangerous,” says Shank.
    Michael Hastings
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/mhastings/congressmen-seek-to-lift-propaganda-ban

    Excerpt;
    An amendment that would legalize the use of propaganda on American audiences is being inserted into the latest defense authorization bill, BuzzFeed has learned.

    The amendment would “strike the current ban on domestic dissemination” of propaganda material produced by the State Department and the Pentagon, according to the summary of the law at the House Rules Committee’s official website.

    The tweak to the bill would essentially neutralize two previous acts—the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987—that had been passed to protect U.S. audiences from our own government’s misinformation campaigns.

    The bi-partisan amendment is sponsored by Rep. Mark Thornberry from Texas and Rep. Adam Smith from Washington State.

    In a little noticed press release earlier in the week — buried beneath the other high-profile issues in the $642 billion defense bill, including indefinite detention and a prohibition on gay marriage at military installations — Thornberry warned that in the Internet age, the current law “ties the hands of America’s diplomatic officials, military, and others by inhibiting our ability to effectively communicate in a credible way.”

    The bill’s supporters say the informational material used overseas to influence foreign audiences is too good to not use at home, and that new techniques are needed to help fight Al-Qaeda, a borderless enemy whose own propaganda reaches Americans online.

    Critics of the bill say there are ways to keep America safe without turning the massive information operations apparatus within the federal government against American citizens.

  81. Mike, I hope your lawn is a whole lot flatter than the one I am currently struggling with! Re the propaganda? It’s a great psychological tool; simply make the covert overt .

  82. Mike A.,

    Here’s more on the propaganda story:

    Misinformation campaign targets USA TODAY reporter, editor
    By Gregory Korte, USA TODAY
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/story/2012-04-19/vanden-brook-locker-propaganda/54419654/1

    Excerpt:
    WASHINGTON – A USA TODAY reporter and editor investigating Pentagon propaganda contractors have themselves been subjected to a propaganda campaign of sorts, waged on the Internet through a series of bogus websites.

    Fake Twitter and Facebook accounts have been created in their names, along with a Wikipedia entry and dozens of message board postings and blog comments. Websites were registered in their names.

    The timeline of the activity tracks USA TODAY’s reporting on the military’s “information operations” program, which spent hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan — campaigns that have been criticized even within the Pentagon as ineffective and poorly monitored.

    For example, Internet domain registries show the website TomVandenBrook.com was created Jan. 7 — just days after Pentagon reporter Tom Vanden Brook first contacted Pentagon contractors involved in the program. Two weeks after his editor Ray Locker’s byline appeared on a story, someone created a similar site, RayLocker.com, through the same company.

    If the websites were created using federal funds, it could violate federal law prohibiting the production of propaganda for domestic consumption.

    “We’re not aware of any participation in such activities, nor would it be acceptable,” said Lt. Col. James Gregory, a Pentagon spokesman.

    A Pentagon official confirmed that the military had made inquiries to information operations contractors to ask them about the Internet activity. All denied it, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the inquiries were informal and did not amount to an official investigation.

    The websites were taken down following those inquiries. Various other sites and accounts were removed for violating their providers’ terms of service.

  83. DonS,

    Thank you for introducing the subject of memory through your reference to “those of us old enough to remember certain things.” Thank you, as well, for taking note of the distinction between the superficial and the significant. I can certainly remember when the war drums began beating for Deputy Dubya Bush’s stud-hamster vendetta against the toothless tinpot Saddam — “he tried to kill my daddy” — Hussein. Those of us with relevant experience from Vietnam screamed as loud as we could: “DON’T LET THE RAMPAGING BULL ELEPHANT LOOSE AGAIN, YOU FOOLS! Naturally, the big-thinkers-of-the-moment trotted out their superficial factoids to dismiss our warnings. “How absurd to make analogies with Vietnam,” they pompously intoned. “Can’t you dirty fucking hippies see that the bull elephant rampaging through a Vietnamese restaurant has nothing in common with the same bull elephant rampaging though an Iraqi restaurant — because the restaurants sit on different sides of the street and serve completely different kinds of food.” See the distinctions that make all the difference? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm?

    America suffers from not just a lack of collective memory, Don, but from a rank inability unwillingness to see the profound forest amid the trivial trees.

    As much as I loved and respected my WWII-generation parents, we never resolved our differences over Vietnam. My mom would ask: “Who will protect us from our enemies if you don’t?” To which I always asked in return: “Who will protect me from my own government if you don’t?” I never saw the Vietnamese as my enemy, but I certainly saw my own hyper-militarized government that way. I got it right and my parents got it wrong; which only goes to show that some generational experiences have no bearing on the truth whereas other generational experiences do — even if the truth has little chance against the orchestrated cacophony of lies shamelessly spit at the American people daily by their own hyper-militarized government.

  84. Michael M., your thanks are welcome, but unnecessary of course. The vehicle we both ride in, no matter what our specific history, leads us to recognize the very sick disease rampant in our country.

    And, absolutely, deny Vietnam, the most accurate template for exposing the gigantic coverup our government has run to protect and perpetuate massive incompetence, greed, graft, and indeed, treason that has been acquiesced to by, now, generations of initiate.

    Look forward, not backward, eh? I think not. At least not until someone is held accountable.

  85. “Look forward, not backward, eh? I think not. At least not until someone is held accountable.”

    Now if we could only get millions of voters to convince those clowns in Congress and the White House that we are very serious about our accounting, Don.

  86. First, no president who suspends the rule of law in any area, let alone the number of areas Obama has, can be considered “benevolent”. These actions are the actions of someone who is malevolent.

    This action tells me the military elites are coming out as the nation’s rulers. Obama is a vain man. After all he himself claimed he is our fourth best president ever! People with that level of vanity seldom concern themselves with the protection of others’ reputation.

    Obama is a very cruel person, but again, all the people he hangs out with are extraordinarily cruel and evil so why worry about the one evil guy in Yemen? No, this is the military.

    The US military is supporting Hadi all the way. He has allowed us to fly our drones and take what we need. This is also a great place to launch attacks against Iran. In return the US military props Hadi up, takes out his enemies and kills civilians by the score.

    As the US military elites aim to attack Iran, they need to silence dissent. Indeed they are silencing dissent in every way. Right now in Chicago 47 Federal agencies are aligned against peaceful protesters. Some people who have been arrested have not yet been seen since their arrest. The army and the Israeli army have a hand in the coordinated actions against peaceful protesters.

    Only citizens who simply want to “believe” in Obama above all else are able to overlook/deny the consistent and brutal suppression of American citizen’s rights and the amazing amount of war this nation is pouring out into the world. I am asking believers to stop this denial. You are helping cruelty and wrong doing against your fellow citizens and other people of the world. Surely, you do not wish this to be your legacy to others.

  87. Meanwhile, at home:

    FDL: “Activists Charged With Providing Material Support for Terrorism Ahead of NATO Summit”

    http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2012/05/19/three-activists-arrested-in-night-raid-still-in-jail-ahead-of-nato-summit/

    “It is important to recall that back in 2008, prior to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, eight activists were preemptively raided and ultimately charged with “conspiracy to riot in furtherance of terrorism.” The national security state has a script, and when it comes to “National Special Security Events,” they stick to that script pretty well.”

    ———————————–

    Do these idiots, and I mean the police, and whoever is coordinating all this at DOJ, actually believe that stepping on the people’s throats will silence those who are intent on protesting, and snuff out protest? About as well as in Iraq or Afghanistan, I’d say.

  88. “Only citizens who simply want to “believe” in Obama above all else are able to overlook/deny the consistent and brutal suppression of American citizen’s rights and the amazing amount of war this nation is pouring out into the world. I am asking believers to stop this denial. You are helping cruelty and wrong doing against your fellow citizens and other people of the world. Surely, you do not wish this to be your legacy to others.”

    Jill,

    There you go again. You are consistently the most politically elitist snob who is a regular here. You are incapable of evaluating anybody’s opinion that doesn’t jibe with your conception of political ethics and morality. As with Right Wing Authoritarians who I wrote about here: http://jonathanturley.org/2012/01/21/the-authoritarians-a-book-review-and-book/ , you are incapable of comprehending any viewpoint which is not your own. This makes everything you do politically fruitless because you cannot rally people to your cause by adopting the cant of moral superiority which places yourself on a pedestal of purity above them. I have time and again expressed not only disagreement with much that the President has done, but I’ve shown in my writings that my view is far more dystopian than most regulars here: http://jonathanturley.org/2012/03/17/a-real-history-of-the-last-sixty-two-years/. I refuse to again explain the reasons for my voting, simply because you are incapable of understanding nuance. Please do consider this to be an attack. However, before you proceed with your usual defense of playing victim, consider your statement above called forth this diatribe from me, since your statement was an attack on all of us here who have said we would vote for Obama.

  89. Obama is desperately trying to avoid a war with Iran. Just look at the plummeting oil prices. Jill makes some valid points about Obama and civil liberties, but then goes over the top and launches an attack. It makes me want to head to the Obama phone bank not stay home and protest him. There really seems to be a push to get the republicans back in control of everything.

  90. DonS,

    George Orwell famously said, “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”

    I say, “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a bunch of guys with boots on eventually getting broken ankles.”

    That’s a fault in the reasoning of oppressors. They think their actions will have perpetuity. In reality, oppression is like most things in nature: cyclical. This is also the reason that the cost of liberty and justice is constant vigilance.

  91. http://www.waynemadsenreport.com/articles/20120420
    NSA spying operation targeting journalists focused but massive
    publication date: Apr 20, 2012

    National Security Agency (NSA) sources have reported the following to WMR:

    The NSA has conducted a targeted but massive surveillance operation against certain journalists who have routinely exposed NSA’s illegal domestic communication surveillance program, code named STELLAR WIND.

    NSA has, for some time, kept tabs on journalists who wrote about the communication spying agency. In its embryonic stage, the journalist surveillance system, originally code-named FIRSTFRUITS, was basically a clipping service that provided NSA and CIA analysts with copies of newspaper, magazine, and Internet articles that mentioned one or both of the two agencies.

    Shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney’s legal counsel, David Addington, visited NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland with a list of individuals he wanted NSA to spy on and provide Cheney’s office with transcripts of phone calls and e-mails. From that visit, STELLAR WIND was developed as an illegal surveillance system targeting journalists, members of Congress, and other “persons of interest” for the White House.

    In March 2004, Attorney General John Ashcroft ruled STELLAR WIND illegal but the next day he became critically ill with pancreatitis. When White House chief of staff Andrew Card and White House counsel Alberto Gonzales visited Ashcroft in his hospital room to demand he sign off on the program, Ashcroft deferred to his deputy James Comey and FBI director Robert Mueller who both refused to authorize the program. George W. Bush overruled Ashcroft, Comey, and Mueller and continued to authorize STELLAR WIND. President Obama has continued to authorize STELLAR WIND, according to NSA sources.

    Although STELLAR WIND continues to generally target journalists who write about intelligence and national security matters, NSA has concentrated its efforts on three journalists, in particular. They are New York Times’ reporter and author of State of War James Risen, journalist and author of The Puzzle Palace and Body of Secrets James Bamford, and WMR editor Wayne Madsen. Risen continues to fight a grand jury subpoena to testify about his sources on Operation Merlin, a CIA program to deliver flawed nuclear design technology to Iran. Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling has been indicted and charged under the Espionage Act for revealing details of the program. Risen’s subpoena was quashed by Judge Louise Brinkema of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, but the Obama administration has appealed the decision to the U.S. Appeals Court for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia and oral arguments in the case are scheduled for next month.

    NSA sources report: Wayne Madsen’s e-mails and phone conversations back to 2002 are in the possession of the NSA. The phone calls range from those with his mother to those with government sources. All passwords to social networking websites, banks, phone companies, credit card companies, and his website, WayneMadsenReport, are held by the NSA. The data includes the list of his subscribers to WayneMadsenReport, as well. [So now I have a file with NSA.] The same level of detailed data is maintained on Risen and Bamford.

    Personal observation: It is very clear that a number of individuals who contacted this editor over the past several years to pass on information were stymied at the last minute from maintaining contact. These individuals were willing to provide information on: the movement and temporary “loss” of nuclear weapons from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana in 2007 coupled with the murder of Air Force special operation Captain John Frueh in Washington state; documents proving Canadian military involvement in torture of detainees in Afghanistan; information on the 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Aden harbor being a “false flag” attack; evidence that there were no human remains found at the crash site of United flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania; and evidence showing that Harvard virologist Dr. Don Wiley, who was investigating the initial anthrax attacks, was murdered in Memphis in November 2001.

    In all these cases, individuals who contacted this editor and were willing to provide information ceased contact after their initial phone calls, letters, and email.

    NSA also maintains mail covers on addresses of certain individuals in the event that contact is made via the U.S. Postal Service or private companies such as FedEx or DHL.

    FIRSTFRUITS, which is now known by a different cover name, contains, in addition to articles, complete transcripts of phone calls, e-mails, faxes, and letters, in addition to the numbers and names of all individuals who have been in contact with targeted journalists. In addition to the three high priority targets — Risen, Bamford, and Madsen — other journalists who are a subject of the NSA warrantless surveillance include Bill Gertz of The Washington Times, Eric Lichtblau and Scott Shane of The New York Times, Siobhan Gorman, formerly of The Baltimore Sun and now with The Wall Street Journal, and Seymour Hersh with The New Yorker.

    So far, the Obama administration has brought Espionage Act charges against six individuals for contact with the media. They are charged with providing classified information to journalists and “aiding the enemy.”

    However, the Justice Department may take an even more draconian turn. This editor has heard from NSA insiders that there is a willingness by some quarters to charge two of the three key targeted journalists under the Espionage Act. Since Bamford and Madsen both once worked at NSA and both signed non-disclosure agreements — Bamford in the 1960s and Madsen in the mid-1980s — there has been talk of indicting them also for violations of the Espionage Act, along with their sources in the intelligence community.

  92. Mike S.,

    Call me whatever you want but it is no longer feasible for a person who cares about our Constitution, war, murder and torture to think Obama isn’t doing things which are wrong. At some point, Obamney supporters must come to terms with reality, face it and be brave enough to join with others who oppose these horrors.

    Your own post was about fear. I believe you are terrified. You are terrified of a Republican president doing the things that a Democratic president is currently engaged in. With so much fear, you are willing to give up your rights for what you consider “safety”. You will not be safe, nor will you or anyone else have rights. If you want to trade out your own rights that is your choice. What I wish you would see is that you are giving up everyone else’s rights as well. It is way past time to be truthful and I won’t lie to you even if you call me names.

    Look up Juan Cole about this. There is a reason that the president of Yemen is the first person we are not supposed to have any questions about. This will be followed by more edits to silence dissent. There is a world wide use of “law” and force to silence dissent. If you think this is only about Obamney and the US you will be missing a much more important picture.

  93. “At some point, Obamney supporters must come to terms with reality, face it and be brave enough to join with others who oppose these horrors.”

    Jill,

    Just what sort of “bravery” are you exhibiting? Also what sort of opposition are you mounting? What is the name of your movement? You are neither fearless, nor brave. You are just an opinionated purist, who lacks the capability to accept that anyone but yourself has integrity. You are as much an elitist as the 1% and you are too obtuse to understand that elitist thinking comes in all forms, from all parts of the political spectrum.

    “Your own post was about fear. I believe you are terrified.”

    If you are referring to my post this week it wasn’t about terror, or fear of anything else than uncertainty. You of course wouldn’t get that because you have no uncertainty, so convinced are you of your “moral” high-ground that you can only view the world via your own lenses of pre-judgment.

    You pronounce judgment on others, yet lack any sense of empathy and compassion for most of humanity. To me you cry “crocodile” tears at the tragedy of this world, but are more interested in your preening purity. As far as courage goes, your entire history here has been one of playing the victim when ever anyone disagrees with you. You have no moral courage because you have proven time and again that you can dish it out, but you can’t take it.

    How’s Buddy Roehmer working out for you?

  94. Karl F., Brooklin Bridge, Jill……one and the same or a movement. On that note I need to go do what I am supposed to be doing today.

  95. Malisha, had to go back and check the context. I can only say, ahem, how kind of you! Although angels aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, not having to cope with their animal instincts and all.

  96. Off Topic;

    Drone filmmaker denied visa
    A Pakistani student is unable to accept his film festival award because he is denied the right to enter the U.S.
    BY GLENN GREENWALD
    http://www.salon.com/2012/05/18/drone_filmmaker_denied_visa/singleton/

    Excerpt:
    Muhammad Danish Qasim is a Pakistani student at Iqra University’s Media Science and is also a filmmaker. This year, Qasim released a short film entitled The Other Side, a 20-minute narrative that “revolves around the idea of assessing social, psychological and economical effects of drones on the people in tribal areas of Pakistan.” A two-minute video trailer of the film is embedded below. The Express Tribune provided this summary of the film, including an interview with Qasim:

    The Other Side revolves around a school-going child in Miranshah, the capital of North Waziristan. The child’s neighborhood gets bombed after the people of the region are suspected for some notorious activities. He ends up losing all of his loved ones during the bombing and later becomes part of an established terrorists group who exploit his loss and innocence for their own interests.

    On the reasons for picking such a sensitive topic, the film-maker said, “Most of the films being made right now are based on social issues, so we picked up an issue of international importance which is the abrogation of our national space by foreign countries.”

    When asked how this film on terrorism will be different from all the others that have been released since 9/11, he said, “The film takes the audience very close to the damage caused by drone attacks. I have tried my best to connect all the dots that lead to a drone attack and have shot the prevailing aftermath of such attacks in a very realistic and raw manner.”

    In particular, “the film identifies the problems faced by families who have become victims of drone missiles, and it unearths the line of action which terrorist groups adopt to use victimised families for their vested interests.” In other words, it depicts the tragedy of civilian deaths, and documents how those deaths are then successfully exploited by actual Terrorists for recruitment purposes.

    We can’t have the U.S. public learning about any of that. In April, Qasim was selected as the winner of the Audience Award for Best International Film at the 2012 National Film Festival For Talented Youth, held annually in Seattle, Washington. Qasim, however, along with his co-producers, were prevented from traveling to the U.S. to accept their award and showcase their film because their request for a visa to travel to the U.S. was denied. The Tribune reported: “Despite being chosen for the award, the filmmakers were unable to attend the award ceremony as their visa applications were rejected twice. ’If we got the visa then it would have been easy for us to frame our point of view in front of the other selected youth filmmakers,’ Qasim said.” And:

    “I believe the most probable reason for the visa denial was the sensitive subject of my film,” says Qasim. He recalls that when the visa officer asked about the subject matter of the film, he suggested making changes in the letter issued by his University upon hearing that the film dealt with terrorism and drone attacks.

    “Although I made the changes to the letter according to the visa officer’s recommendation, they still rejected the visa and did not disclose the reason for it,” says a disappointed Qasim.

    According to Qasim, “NFFTY is considered to be the biggest event for young film-makers of the world. Film schools as well as potential Hollywood producers attend the event in order to interact with young, talented film-makers. I’m disappointed that my team, especially my crew members Atiqullah, Ali Raza Mukhtar Ali and Waqas Waheed Awan, who made the film possible with their hard work and support, missed out on a major opportunity to represent Pakistan on an international forum.”

    Although it’s not proven why the visa was denied — the U.S. government, needless to say, refuses to comment on visa denials — this case is similar to that of Shahzad Akbar, a Pakistani lawyer who had sued the CIA on behalf of civilian drone victims and was also denied a visa to travel to the U.S. to attend last month’s Drone Summit in Washington; the Obama administration relented and permitted him to travel to the U.S. only once a serious outcry arose. The Bush administration also routinely excluded Muslim critics of U.S. foreign policy from entering the U.S.

    Banning filmmakers, lawyers, political activists, and scholars from entering your country out of fear of their criticisms is the behavior of an insecure, oppressive nation. It’s also natural behavior for political leaders eager to maintain an impenetrable wall of secrecy around their conduct.

  97. Elaine, OT? If only we knew what the topic is. Broadly, one might say we are looking at actions and reactions based on the construct “war on terror”.. And that may be the great emotional divide — between ideas of what a democracy is and how it behaves.– in discussion. Some claim they do not want to see another WTC catastrophe (as if anyone does) , and that’s the end of the discussion. Anything’s justified. We can nibble around the edges of debate but, basically, our mini-polarities are swallowed in the great anti-terror juggernaut and surveillance state in which all excess in absolved, and dissent marginalized, in the name of patriotism.

  98. DonS, Believe me, I wasn’t challenging you at all. I just wanted some GUIDANCE so I could find my own way!

  99. Malisha, lol, I wasn’t trying sarcasm! If I did know the guidebook, I think I would share! But, I agree you’re right. It is about finding one’s own way and, yes, with the help of others, assuming one has a basic critical mind and ability to recognize charlatans.

  100. “Anything’s justified. We can nibble around the edges of debate but, basically, our mini-polarities are swallowed in the great anti-terror juggernaut and surveillance state in which all excess in absolved, and dissent marginalized, in the name of patriotism.” -DonS

    Well said.

    A couple of items that might be of interest:

    Saturday, May 19, 2012 06:39 PM EDT

    The 2002 political climate

    CNN’s Connie Chung told US citizen Martina Navratilova to go back to Czechoslovakia rather than complain so much

    By Glenn Greenwald

    Excerpt:

    Here’s something I accidentally just found when I was searching for something else: it’s from a July 17, 2002, interview of tennis legend Martina Navratilova, who had been a naturalized U.S. citizen at that point for more than 20 years. She was interviewed by Connie Chung, then the host of a prime-time CNN program, Connie Chung Tonight, where she played the role of neutral journalist. This was the very first question-and-answer exchange; it’s just remarkable:

    INTRO [announcer]: Life after center court turns hot. Tennis legend Martina Navratilova, is she anti-American? Tonight, Martina sets the record straight with Connie. . . .

    CHUNG [intro]: It’s not the game that’s now getting Navratilova in the news again. The very personal admission to a paper that she wants to adopt a child and some very damaging quotes in German newspaper allegedly made by the tennis phenom. . . . All of this has pitted Navratilova against the country that has given her so much.

    CHUNG [interview starts]: All right. I’m going to read what was said, a quote from that German newspaper. Quote: “The most absurd part of my escape from the unjust system is that I have exchanged one system that suppresses free opinion for another. The Republicans in the U.S. manipulate public opinion and sweep controversial issues under the table. It’s depressing. Decisions in America are based solely on the question of how much money will come out of it and not on the questions of how much health, morals or environment suffer as a result.”

    So, is that accurate? . . . .

    NAVRATILOVA: Well, obviously, I’m not saying this is a communist system, but I think we’re having — after 9/11, there’s a big centralization of power. President Bush is having more and more power. John Ashcroft is having more and more power. Americans are losing their personal rights left and right. I mean, the ACLU is up in arms about all of the stuff that’s going on right now. . . .

    CHUNG: Can I be honest with you? I can tell you that when I read this, I have to tell you that I thought it was un-American, unpatriotic. I wanted to say, go back to Czechoslovakia. You know, if you don’t like it here, this a country that gave you so much, gave you the freedom to do what you want.

    NAVRATILOVA: And I’m giving it back. This is why I speak out. When I see something that I don’t like, I’m going to speak out because you can do that here. And again, I feel there are too many things happening that are taking our rights away. (and the article continues)

  101. AN, pretty brave for a high profile person (as opposed to us mere mortals) in 2002. We used to think, well, it’s just those nasty jingoistic republicans; or, well, they’re all just saluting because their just a bunch of politicians, and ‘patriotism’ sells; or, this well wear thin and, you know, well get some courage and repeal the Patriot Act for starters; or, man Obama’s the guy, smart enough to turn us in a better direction . . .

    Sigh.

  102. Searched for “drones” and this was the first article, so…

    Tuesday, May 22, 2012 08:34 AM EDT

    John Brennan’s new power

    President Obama’s counter-terrorism chief has “seized the lead” in secretly determining who will die by US drone

    By Glenn Greenwald

    http://www.salon.com/2012/05/22/john_brennans_new_power/singleton/

    Excerpt:

    “Reuters previously described the secret process used to determine which human beings, including American citizens, would be targeted for due-process-free death-by-CIA: they “are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials” with “no public record” nor “any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules” — an actual death panel, though one invented by the White House rather than established by law. And now John Brennan has even more control over the process, and fewer checks, when issuing these death sentence decrees.

    Remember in the Bush era when little things like the Patriot Act and warrantless eavesdropping and military commissions were the Radical and Lawless Assaults Trampling on Our Constitution and Our Values? Now, all those things are completely normalized — controversies over those policies are like quaint and obsolete relics of a more innocent era — and we now have things like unelected Death Sentence Czars instead.”

  103. […] Of the gravest concerns about Obama these US Military commanders have, this report says, was his 6 July 2012 Executive Order giving him total power over all communication systems in the United States, and his 16 May 2012 Executive Order wherein he outlawed any American citizen from writing or saying Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi was el…. […]

  104. Isn’t it nice that obama protects Yemen…yet sues our own states…for upholding federal law. Arrest obama Sheriff Arpaio. PLEASE! And all of his cohorts for suspision.

  105. […] Of the gravest concerns about Obama these US Military commanders have, this report says, was his 6 July 2012 Executive Order giving him total power over all communication systems in the United States, and his 16 May 2012 Executive Order wherein he outlawed any American citizen from writing or saying Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi was el…. […]

  106. […] Of the gravest concerns about Obama these US Military commanders have, this report says, was his 6 July 2012 Executive Order giving him total power over all communication systems in the United States, and his 16 May 2012 Executive Order wherein he outlawed any American citizen from writing or saying Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi was el…. […]

  107. […] Of the gravest concerns about Obama these US Military commanders have, this report says, was his 6 July 2012 Executive Order giving him total power over all communication systems in the United States, and his 16 May 2012 Executive Order wherein he outlawed any American citizen from writing or saying Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi was el…. […]

  108. […] Of the gravest concerns about Obama these US Military commanders have, this report says, was his 6 July 2012 Executive Order giving him total power over all communication systems in the United States, and his 16 May 2012 Executive Order wherein he outlawed any American citizen from writing or saying Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi was el…. […]

  109. […] Of the gravest concerns about Obama these US Military commanders have, this report says, was his 6 July 2012 Executive Order giving him total power over all communication systems in the United States, and his 16 May 2012 Executive Order wherein he outlawed any American citizen from writing or saying Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi was el…. […]

  110. […] Of the gravest concerns about Obama these US Military commanders have, this report says, was his 6 July 2012 Executive Order giving him total power over all communication systems in the United States, and his 16 May 2012 Executive Order wherein he outlawed any American citizen from writing or saying Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi was el…. […]

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