Daya Gamage |
“The United States remains concerned by the consolidation of executive power”, was what American ambassador to Sri Lanka Michele Sison declared in her maiden media interview since she took up her duties in Colombo last August.
Anyone who knows the basics of political science is aware what the ambassador is endeavoring to convey: Sri Lanka’s president Mahinda Rajapaksa is using his ‘executive position’ toward the consolidation of executive power, meaning usurping the legislative power of the parliament to make laws or legislate from his presidential secretariat.
In the caption we used the word ‘tyrannical’, and that’s not our adjective to give a better description of Mr. Obama’s executive orders but one that has been used by political analysts and media personnel in the United States to project the routine exercise of the Obama White House usurping the legislative responsibilities of the U.S. Congress.
This is what the Sri Lanka media outlet reported following Ambassador Michele Sison’s interview:
“The United States remains concerned by the consolidation of executive power, the fact that no agreement has yet been reached on political devolution, and the militarization of the former conflict zones,” she added. Referring to the country’s judiciary, Sison urged the Sri Lankan government to strengthen judicial independence by ending interference in the judicial process; protecting members of the judiciary from attack; and restoring a fair, independent, and transparent mechanism to oversee judicial appointments.
The media outlet further reported, “In her first interview with the media since assuming duties as the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Michele Sison says the United States, along with its partners in the international community, continue to urge Sri Lanka to address outstanding issues related to the Rule of Law, governance, accountability and reconciliation.”
It is not a surprise that these serious indictments of foreign diplomats, especially that of the American envoy, simply go unchallenged in Sri Lanka. The Asian Tribune does not advocate to start a diplomatic battle with the United States but there is a way in which some official who holds responsible position in the Rajapaksa administration could use some space to let the American diplomatic post in Colombo know that it shouldn’t come out with this type of indictments when the Obama administration itself uses ‘Executive Orders’, tyrannical as some observers believe, to bypass the Congress’ legislative responsibilities.
What Ambassador Sison leveled is a very serious allegation if not an indictment against the president of Sri Lanka. And, it comes from President Obama’s diplomatic envoy accredited to Sri Lanka. It is very serious than a political observer or a media personnel in the U.S. describing President Obama’s ‘Executive Orders’ as ‘tyrannical’.
For Ambassador Michele Sison’s information and the readers knowledge let us list here some of the ‘Executive Orders’ President Obama has issued that have been interpreted as ‘tyrannical’ by political observers and media personnel here in the United States and not by Sri Lanka’s diplomatic representatives in Washington which is most undiplomatic and unethical.
And the following is a compilation using several media outlets, print and online, which gave somewhat a comprehensive list of ‘Executive Orders’ issued by Obama White House by-passing the Congress.
A September 24 a Wall Street Journal editorial warned that President Obama is moving to control the Internet by executive order. “Any day now, the White House will issue an executive order on cyber security, according to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano who said last week that the measure ‘is close to completion.’”
It noted that “the White House intends to go ahead with its order in the face of vociferous opposition on Capitol Hill.”
“According to leaked versions of the draft, the executive order would impose security standards for 16 critical industries” and that “private companies have innovated and invested heavily to protect themselves without regulatory prodding. What they need from the government is an information-sharing program and liability protection.”
This is just one more executive order that would, along with others, impose a totalitarian control over every aspect of life in America on the pretext of a national emergency. We had a national emergency on 9/11 and no laws were abrogated, no Constitutional freedoms denied.
A Homeland Security Department study, “Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States 1970-2008”, listed Americans who are “fiercely nationalistic”, “suspicious of centralized federal authority” and “reverent of individual liberty”. .Jeffery T. Kuhmer, writing in The Washington Times in March, noted that “On March 15, the White House released an executive order, ‘National Defense Resources Preparedness.’ The document is stunning in its audacity and a flagrant violation of the Constitution.”
To understand how extensive this is, the Western Center for Journalism published a list of“Obama’s Worst Executive Orders” asserting that some 900 Obama executive orders had been initiated when in fact Obama has signed 139. However, added to active EOs from previous administrations, the Center is correct in its fears that he is “creating a martial law ‘Disney Land’ of control covering everything imaginable.”
Executive Order 10990 allows the Government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.
– Executive Order 10995 allows the government to seize and control the communication media.
– Executive Order 10997 allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels, and minerals.
– Executive Order 11000 allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.
– Executive Order 11001 allows the government to take over all health education and welfare functions.
– Executive Order 11002 designates the Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons.
– Executive Order 11003 allows the government to take over all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.
– Executive Order 11004 allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate and establish new locations for populations.
– Executive Order 11005 allows the government to take over railroads, inland waterways, and public storage facilities.
– Executive Order 11049 assigns emergency preparedness function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21 operative Executive Orders issues over a fifteen-year period.
– Executive Order 11051 specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.
– Executive Order 11310 grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute Industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and to advise and assist the President.
– Executive Order 11921 allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit, and the flow of money in U.S. financial institutions in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when the president declares a state of emergency, Congress cannot review the action for six months.
Political observers and media personnel observe that these executive orders are a blueprint for the takeover by the government by White House fiat, by-passing Congress.
They go on to say by declaring that “international tensions and economic or financial crisis” or a “national emergency” exists, it puts all powers of governance in the hands of one man, the president of the United States.