According to the Washington Post, he has signed an Executive Order that subjects anyone (Americans or foreigners) to penalties if they obstruct the administration’s preferred policies in Yemen.
President Obama issued 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.
As Glenn Greenwald points out, it now becomes an offense to work against American foreign policy decisions.
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”?
The Obama administration’s seems to be constantly striving for new lows when it comes to encroaching on people’s basic freedoms. His apologists will likely trot out their usual defense, that he will only use these powers against the ‘bad guys’.
Since there seems to be no political opposition to these violations of constitutional rights, we have to depend on judges to protect them, though their record has also not been good.
But late yesterday, US District judge Kathleen Forrest ruled that the also bad National Defense Authorization Act that I wrote about before (see here and here) was unconstitutional. Of course, the government will appeal.