Defining Proliferation Downward

President Bush will no doubt have UN Ambassador John Bolton – once ensconced – demand the Security Council endorse the implementation of his Proliferation Security Initiative. That is, demand the Security Council endorse the use of (1) economic sanctions; (2) interdiction and seizure; and/or (3) preemptive military force against any and all entities Bush judges to be "proliferators" of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons (and of the means of delivering such weapons) as well as all entities "facilitating the procurement" thereof.

Meanwhile, Bush has issued a presidential directive blocking the transfer, sale, withdrawal, or export of "all property and interests in property" of "proliferators" of "weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them" as well as that of their "supporters."

What property does the directive effectively seize?

All properties "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 United States persons."

Who does Bush define to be a WMD proliferator?

"ii. any foreign person determined by the secretary of state – in consultation with the secretary of the treasury, the attorney general, and other relevant agencies – to have engaged (or attempted to engage) in activities or transactions that have materially contributed to (or pose a risk of materially contributing to) the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or their means of delivery (including missiles capable of delivering such weapons), including any efforts to manufacture, acquire, possess, develop, transport, transfer. or use such items, by any person or foreign country of ‘proliferation concern.’"

Great Zot!

Condi Rice can effectively seize the U.S. assets of any foreign person she supposes may have attempted to engage in activities she supposes may pose a risk of materially contributing to the development of – among other things – a "wheat smut" production capability?

Well, what about "supporters" of WMD proliferation? Who are they?

"iii. any person determined by the secretary of the treasury – in consultation with the secretary of state, the attorney general, and other relevant agencies – to have provided (or attempted to provide) financial, material, technological, or other support for – or goods or services in support of – any activity or transaction described in paragraph (ii) of this section, or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order."

So, Treasury Secretary Snow can effectively seize all the U.S. assets of any person – foreign or domestic – he determines may have attempted to provide financial support to any foreign person that Condi has determined may have attempted to engage in activities that might have contributed to the development of a wheat smut production facility.

Can you believe that?

In other words, if Condi decides some Iranian is purchasing equipment to brew wheat smut – rather than beer – and blocks all his U.S. assets, including his line of credit, if you loan him the money to buy the equipment, Snow can effectively seize all your assets, too.

It gets worse.

"Any transaction or dealing by a United States person or within the United States in property or interests in property blocked pursuant to this order is prohibited, including, but not limited to, (i) 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 (ii) the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person."

Incredible!

You can’t even give him – or accept from him – a lift to the airport!

Of course, "person" – as defined in the directive – includes an "individual, partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization."

An annex to the directive lists eight "persons" whose U.S. assets have now been summarily blocked. Three are North Korean semi-government companies, four are Iranian – including the Atomic Energy Agency of Iran – and one is a Syrian government research agency.

Bush-Bolton-Rice have made it very clear they believe that the Iranians are pursuing a nuclear weapons program. But International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Mohammed ElBaradei continues to report that his International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors can find no indication that Iran has, ever had, or intends to have a nuclear weapons program.

Hence Bush’s executive order, which threatens to effectively confiscate all the U.S. assets of those "persons" – including European Union companies and banks – that are still attempting to negotiate big business deals with the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency.

Read more by Gordon Prather

Author: Gordon Prather

Physicist James Gordon Prather has served as a policy implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. — ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.