What percentage of American citizens — even among
the candidates for next year’s presidential elections,
for that matter – do you suppose has an inkling that
their Commander-in-Chief has been declaring "national
emergencies" to counter what he and his handlers regard
as the "threat"– get this! — "posed by the actions of certain persons to undermine Lebanon’s legitimate and democratically elected government or democratic institutions, to contribute to the deliberate breakdown in the rule of law in Lebanon, including through politically motivated violence and intimidation, to reassert Syrian control or contribute to Syrian interference in Lebanon or to infringe upon or undermine Lebanese sovereignty, contributing to political and economic instability in that country and the region," here quoting the August 1 letter instructing Congress about this latest decree (repeating virtually word-for-word the second paragraph of the actual decree)? Among the general public, maybe one or two percent, tops? And among the presidential candidates, maybe one-in-four or five? (If they’re lucky.)
As a U.S. citizen, when your Commander-in-Chief tells you (or at least informs the Federal Register about it) that, "by the authority vested in [him] as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act…, the National Emergencies Act…, and Section 301 of title 3, United States Code," he has determined that "any person…to have taken, or to pose a significant risk of taking, actions…that have the purpose or effect of undermining Lebanon’s democratic processes or institutions, contributing to the breakdown of the rule of law in Lebanon, supporting the reassertion of Syrian control or otherwise contributing to Syrian interference in Lebanon, or infringing upon or undermining Lebanese sovereignty," or "to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, such actions," do you even notice?
Besides, on what grounds do you suppose that "[s]uch actions" even could "constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States"? To the extent that territorial Lebanon covers a part of the surface of the planet earth at the eastern end of the Mediterannean Sea, the planet earth being roughly coterminous with the territory that rightly belongs to the manifest destiny of the United States to possess one day, even if the rest of the planet has been illegally occupied by foreigners for millennia?
After all, either Lebanon already is a sovereign member of the United Nations. Or it isn’t. But if it is, then what’s up with the Washington regime declaring the existence of national emergencies for the United States over events that may or may not transpire inside Lebanese territory?
Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah wondered about this too. "Bush keeps on meddling in Lebanon’s internal affairs…and no good will ever come out of the US administration," the Daily Star quoted Nasrallah having told "tens of thousands of his followers in Baalbak…during a ceremony commemorating the summer 2006 war and the Bekaa’s role in that conflict."
"The US is imposing its policies on the region and this country," Nasrallah added, "and it is the one pushing for a civil war."
The Daily Star‘s report continued ("Nasrallah slams Bush for ‘meddling’ in Lebanon’s affairs," Rym Ghazal, August 4):
In response to accusations that the party’s alliance with Syria and Iran is causing problems in Lebanon, he dared "anyone" to bring evidence of "Hizbullah’s dealing with Syria and Iran against Lebanon."
"Let us all depend on each other, and unite by forming a new government of national unity," he said.
He added that once a national unity government is formed, then all pending issues regarding the party’s arms and a "national defense strategy" for Lebanon will be discussed with Hizbullah’s full cooperation.
"Our party welcomes any dialogue regarding our weapons, as we are not willing to keep them forever," he said.
Nasrallah devoted a large portion of his speech to the Taif Accord, and called on the leaders to "fully implement it" and not just focus on the disarmament point. "You want the Taif? Then allow it to be implemented fully," said Nasrallah.
"Whatever happened to balanced development all across Lebanon?" asked Nasrallah, who accused "all governments" in Lebanon of neglecting the peripheries of the country.
"The North, South and Bekaa, have all been victims of negligence," he said. "The Bekaa is suffering from poverty not because of its political alliance, but due to a historic neglect of this area and its people."
"The mind set of the ruling state needs to be changed," he warned. "We need to change a state that is running this country as a bank, to a state that governs the country as a country." Just 48 hours before the onset of the highly competitive Metn by-election, Nasrallah defended the Free Patriotic Movement and its alliance with the party.
"FPM is being attacked for its support of the resistance … when the other Christian team has allied itself with groups that have massacred, displaced and destroyed homes of the Christians," he said, in apparent reference to the deadly battles in the Chouf area between Druze and Christians during the Civil War.
"We never held any Christian responsible for crimes committed against us," he added.
Nasrallah also saluted the Lebanese Army and their "courage" and blamed the US for the great losses in the army in the ongoing battle against the militants of Fatah al-Islam.
"The US left it up to the army to do their bidding in the area…leaving the sacrifices to be given up by the army,"he said. "Let me remind you, it was not Hizbullah who ambushed and killed troops up in the North."
"We want to protect the army and its unity for the sake of this country," said Nasrallah.
I’ve searched, and searched, and searched some more. As with most of this regime’s unconstitutional decrees issued under the cover of "national emergencies" or some other form of special executive privilege alleged to be triggered by an "extraordinary threat," neither the June 28 nor the August 1 decrees received more than scant mentions in the U.S. news media — the June 28 decree slipping past in perhaps complete silence. (Recall also the July 17 "Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq.")
Aside from the mentions and PR-circulation that the two Lebanon-related decrees received in the regulatory reporting services (e.g., White House Press Releases, the Federal Register, the Regulatory Intelligence Database, and the like), I have been able to find reports on the one dated August 1 by Agence France Presse, Associated Press, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Xinhua, the Washington Post, and the Daily Star – as well as a ferocious op-ed by the old Reagan era Justice Department lawyer Bruce Fein attacking these decrees on the pages of the Washington Times.
Far less reticent were the news media in Lebanon, all of which (i.e., at least that I could check) recognized, along with Sheik Nasrallah, the gravity and dangers posed by Washington’s outlandish interference in Lebanon’s internal affairs. In a wonderfully ironic commentary by Ra’uf Shahuri for the Beirut-based Al-Anwar newspaper (as translated from the Arabic by the BBC Worldwide Monitoring service), Shahuri wrote that the August 1 decree shows that the government of Lebanon’s Prime Minister Fuad Siniora is now "part of U.S. national security."
The translation continues (all of the exclamation marks included):
Countries usually declare a state of national emergency when they are subjected to dangers that threaten their security, stability, sovereignty, and unity, or any of these elements independently. When President Bush declares a state of national emergency for the sake of Lebanon, he is insinuating by this that Lebanon has become part of the overseas US empire….What is really even stranger than all that is the binding executive decision issued by President Bush ordaining freezing the assets and deposits of any individual or organization that may be involved in activities leading to undermining the democratically elected legitimate Lebanese Government; thus he considers that toppling the government of Fuad Siniora represents an unconventional threat to US national security or foreign policy! Just like that, and very simply, the US President confirms that Siniora’s government and all those supporting it are part of the national security and foreign policy of the United States!
This measure announced by Bush is part of the United States’ general policy that is being executed by this administration all the way from Pakistan to Algeria and that is based on supporting one group against another inside the single country; this is what the United States is doing today in Iraq and what it has succeeded in doing in Palestine, and it is now Lebanon’s turn!
You can say that again.
"Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons Responsible for Policies and Actions That Threaten Lebanon’s Sovereignty and Democracy," White House Office of the Press Secretary, June 29, 2007
"Message to the Congress of the United States Pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act," White House Office of the Press Secretary, issued August 1, 2007
"Executive Order: Blocking Property of Persons Undermining the Sovereignty of Lebanon or Its Democratic Processes and Institutions," White House Office of the Press Secretary, issued August 1, 2007