By Cliff Kincaid
The Clinton-Gore administration is winding down, but much damage is still being done. By mid-December, Clinton had issued 347 executive orders, many of them far-reaching; 80 classified executive orders known as Presidential Decision Directives (PDDs); and had undertaken a host of other unilateral federal actions, some known as presidential determinations, proclamations and executive memoranda. More are expected before his term ends on January 20. In addition, his power to pardon or grant clemency to convicted criminals may be abused before he leaves office. In the last week of 2000, Clinton was considering demands from the far-left that he free American Indian activist Leonard Peltier. He has been in prison for 24 years, serving consecutive life sentences for the execution-style murders of two FBI agents as they lay wounded and helpless after being ambushed on an Indian reservation.
FBI vs. NLG
Current and former FBI agents have banded together to show their opposition to the killer’s release. On December 15th, about 500 of them marched to the White House to let Clinton know how they feel. This rare display of courage by government employees got the media’s attention. But the news re-ports have failed to reveal who is behind the “free Peltier” movement. The Communists have been promoting his cause for years. The National Lawyers Guild, which many years ago was identified by Congressional committees as a Communist front, is behind the current effort to persuade Clinton to free Peltier.
The NLG has sent a letter to Clinton requesting clemency and is sending other requests for clemency to Senator Barbara Boxer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi to give to Clinton. The NLG was investigated and cited as a Communist front by the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1944. A Senate committee in 1956 said, “To defend the cases of Communist lawbreakers, fronts have been devised making special appeals in behalf of civil liberties and reaching out far beyond the confines of the Communist Party itself. Among these organizations are the…National Lawyers Guild.”
The NLG Web site shows that little has changed over the years. It reports on a visit that Guild lawyers made to Communist Cuba, where they met with Castro and Elian Gonzalez’s father and grandparents. It insists that Cuba’s battles are winning “broad support” in the U.S. It also has an article referring to George W. Bush’s election victory as a “coup.”
Far-Left Votes for Gore
It is significant that Clinton announced he was considering clemency for Peltier during an interview with Amy Goodman on far-left Pacifica Radio. He gave the interview in an effort to drum up support for Al Gore in the presidential election and obviously thought the comments about Peltier would please the left. Among others urging clemency are Jesse Jackson, Amnesty International, actors Ed Asner and Danny Glover, Rep. John Conyers, Rep. Connie Morella, and a rock group called “Rage Against the Machine.”
Under the Constitution, the president has the power to issue pardons, although there’s absolutely no indication it was ever intended to be used to free dangerous criminals from prison. Clinton, however, has already used it for that purpose in one controversial case. Last year he gave clemency to 16 members of a Cuban-backed Puerto Rican terrorist group responsible for six deaths, more than 130 bombings, and 70 other acts of violence. The offer, made over the objections of law enforcement officials, was viewed as an attempt to facilitate Hillary Clinton’s run for the Senate from New York, which has a substantial Puerto Rican population.
But his action provoked a firestorm of criticism and Congressional hearings. It was disclosed that the Justice Department had failed to consult the victims of the terrorists or their families while the clemency offer was being considered. It was also revealed that a Justice Department report had warned that the clemency offer heightened the threat of terrorism from groups seeking independence for Puerto Rico.
When members of Congress reacted to this abuse of power by advocating that law enforcement advice and concern over victims’ rights be used in evaluating such matters, the Justice Department insisted that nothing should be done to restrict or influence the constitutional powers granted exclusively to the president. However, Clinton has shown no such deference to Congress on the issue of powers constitutionally granted to the legislative branch. He just usurped them. This is an aspect of the Clinton presidency that members of Congress, with a new president coming to town, now want to address. The Washing-ton Times reported on December 6 that Republican congressional leaders meeting with Vice President-elect Dick Cheney wanted a Bush White House to be “aggressive” about over-turning Clinton-era executive orders.
Subverting the Constitution
Clinton has used executive orders or presidential directives to shape policy in many different areas. An executive order on federalism (13083), virtually repealing the 10th amendment, was suspended, only to be replaced by another (13132). Clinton has also used executive orders or presidential memoranda to promote abortion rights (Clinton’s first five orders on January 22, 1993, were on this subject), homosexual rights (13087, 11478), and to restrict property rights (13061, 12852) and second amendment rights (an April 6, 1998 presidential memorandum prohibiting the import of certain firearms). Clinton even used an executive order (13045) to revoke a Reagan executive order intended to protect families from government bureaucracies and regulations.
Writing in the July 3 Forbes magazine, Dan Seligman noted that Clinton in his final months in office has been on “an executive order kick” because he was issuing so many of them on so many subjects. Seligman said that Clinton is only the second president in history to have an executive order declared unconstitutional. That occurred in 1996 when, in pandering to Big Labor, he issued an executive order stating that the federal government would no longer do business with companies that permanently replace striking workers. The District of Columbia Court of Appeals struck down the executive order, and Clinton declined to ask for a Supreme Court review.
In another controversial case, Clinton issued an executive order (13155) to prohibit the U.S. from imposing sanctions on countries in Africa, which manufacture their generic versions of AIDS drugs in violation of international patents held by drug companies. During the campaign Vice President Gore talked of imposing such sanctions and was accused of taking “drug money” from the pharmaceutical industry. Some liberal members of Congress reacted by attaching an amendment that would bar such a move to a bill that was before Congress. The bill as amended did not get through a House-Senate conference committee.
U.S. trade representative Charlene Barshefsky told the Wall Street Journal on May 11 that while this was “disappointing,” the administration had simply decided, “to issue essentially the same policy in executive-order form.” That was done, using the language of the proposed amendment. As former Clinton adviser Paul Begala once put it, “Stroke of the pen. Law of the land. Kind of cool.” This has been the practice of the Clinton administration for 8 years. But with the passage of time, it has become more brazen about using executive orders to usurp the right of Congress to enact legislation.
While the nation was preoccupied with the outcome of the presidential contest, the Los Angeles Times reported on November 26 that the Clinton administration was preparing to impose a series of even more extraordinary executive orders, including one that would designate the entire Alaskan Wildlife Refuge as a national monument. This would make oil drilling in the area virtually off-limits. George W. Bush had advocated drilling in the area to lessen our dependence on foreign oil, while Al Gore had opposed it. Now, Clinton, the lame duck president, is reported to be planning to take that action in defiance of the wishes of his successor.
It’s not getting much attention nationally, but people out West are up in arms over another Clinton scheme to lock up thousands of acres. The Casper Star Tribune, Wyoming’s statewide newspaper, reported recently on a visit to the state by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, who was greeted by dozens of protesters. They were carrying posters and signs that said, “Leave Wyoming Alone,” “Clinton Land Grab Unfair,” and “Babbitt Go home.” Babbitt’s visit was designed to give impetus to radical environmental plans to outlaw oil and gas development in large parts of Wyoming.
The Bureau of Land Management has been working with local officials for years on a plan to allow the land to be used for multiple activities, including oil and gas development. Senator Craig Thomas said that Babbitt’s visit to the area, apparently in preparation for a presidential decision to lock it up, was an attempt to subvert the process that has been underway for several years. Tipping their hand, Babbitt had been quoted in the Washington Times on June 14, 1999, as saying, “We’ve switched the rules of the game. We’re not trying to do anything legislatively.” Dick Cheney, who is from Wyoming, should have something to say about that.
Clinton issued executive order 13178 on December 4 to set aside 84-million-acres of the Pacific Ocean around the Hawaiian Islands to restrict commercial and recreational fishing and ban oil drilling. It constitutes the largest protected area in the U.S.
Down With English, Up With The U.N.
On August 11, 2000, with little fanfare or media coverage, Clinton issued executive order 13166 that carried the innocuous title, “Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency.” John Fonte of the Hudson Institute says it makes the use of a foreign language a civil right protected under law. This runs counter to the efforts to have English adopted as the official language of the United States. Misapplying title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Clinton required that federal rules and regulations be available “in any language whatsoever,” Fonte says. Such an executive order, he explains, could prohibit requirements that U.S. citizenship tests be taken in English.
On December 11, Clinton issued a “presidential determination,” another form of executive order, citing an “unforeseen emergency” that required immediate military assistance to the United Nations military operation in Sierra Leone. This is a former British colony, which is demonstrating that democratic self-government has failed in another sub-Saharan African country. For openers, the bill for the U.S. is a draw down of the stocks of our military, which is suffering from shortages of equipment necessary to maintain readiness. This is a modest $36 million addition to the more than $10 billion that Clinton has diverted from the Pentagon budget to support U.N. peacekeeping operations. This dwarfs our so-called “debt” to the world body, and much of it has been wasted.
Congress still doesn’t have a copy of PDD 25, which Clinton issued to authorize U.S. involvement in U.N. military operations. Under the ultimate authority of this PDD, Clinton had Army Specialist Michael New court-martialed and discharged for refusing to wear a U.N. uniform on a U.N. mission. His appeal is still pending in the courts. Congress’s investigative arm, the General Accounting Office (GAO), reports that it has been unable to get basic information and documents about the policy from the State Department, Defense Department and National Security Council. Henry Hinton, assistant comptroller of the GAO, says, “This is clearly inappropriate and unacceptable.” The GAO has been trying to get information on U.S. involvement in peacekeeping missions in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Congo and East Timor.
The evidence shows that the Clinton administration is sharing information with foreign governments and the U.N. that it is unwilling to give to Congress. The GAO said it got one 20-page unclassified document that had a note on its cover page saying it could be shared with U.S. allies and the U.N. but the remainder of the document provided to Congress was completely redacted or blacked-out. Congressman Ben Gilman, chairman of the House International Relations Committee, has been forced to introduce a resolution denouncing the administration for impeding the GAO investigation.
Protecting Homosexuals In The Military
Soon after taking office, Clinton wanted to issue an executive order allowing open homosexuals to serve in the military. There was such an uproar in Congress and across the nation that Clinton backed down. The compromise, known as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” passed the Congress. It continued the ban on open homosexuals in the military. The enforcement procedures implemented by the Department of Defense gave local commanders the authority to investigate suspected homosexuals. If they had openly proclaimed their homosexuality, they were out.
Clinton, who has received big campaign contributions from wealthy homosexuals, has been chipping away at that policy. The Pentagon now requires that investigations of homosexuals be approved by Pentagon civilians, political appointees who may be homosexuals. This was done to create a barrier to the investigation and removal of homosexuals from the services. Unless the Bush team changes this more homosexuals will remain in the military and move up in the ranks. On October 6, 1999, Clinton issued executive order 13140 to give homosexuals special rights under the Code of Military Justice. It carried the innocuous title “1999 Amendments to the Manual for Courts-Martial, United States.” His directive added the term “sexual orientation” to a list of things that can be considered in court-martial cases.
By fiat, he introduced especially severe punishment of person’s accused of assaulting homosexuals, something Congress and most state legislatures have refused to do. Since there are not supposed to be any open homosexuals in the military, there should be no need to change military law to give them special treatment. Clinton’s executive order also had new guidelines relating to communications between military personnel and psychotherapists. This is intended to prevent investigators from using information from psychotherapists to show that a member of the armed forces has admitted his or her homosexuality and is subject to discharge. This is another Clinton effort to nullify the don’t-ask, don’t-tell policy.
Ignoring the constitutional role of Congress, Clinton waged war on Yugoslavia through executive orders and presidential directives alone. Clinton used executive orders to designate a “combat zone” (13119), call up troops (13120), proclaim a “national emergency” with respect to Yugoslavia (12846, 12934) and impose economic sanctions on the Belgrade government (13088). Under this same authority, Clinton dele-gated command-and-control of U.S. forces to NATO and its Secretary-General Javier Solana, who decided when the air war would be discontinued and had the authority to order U.S. troops into military action once again. Without getting Congressional approval, Clinton also announced a new “Strategic Concept” for NATO that went far beyond the defensive purposes of the alliance outlined in the NATO treaty.
Some of the Kosovo executive orders were based on the National Emergencies Act of 1976 and the International Emergencies Economic Powers Act of 1977, which authorize the president to declare national emergencies and take action when facing “unusual and extraordinary” wartime threats. Emergency declarations have been issued regarding Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Iran, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia. These laws let the president regulate imports, exports and financial transactions involving the targeted country, group or individuals.
Clinton issued executive orders under this legislation to comply with U.N. sanctions on UNITA, the anti-communist group in Angola, and its representatives in the U.S. The Center for Democracy in Angola (CEDA), an educational organization established under U.S. law, was dismantled and it’s web site taken off the Internet. Treasury police from the Office of Foreign Assets Control said UNITA representatives were not allowed to engage in any contacts or business relationships, including paying a web server to maintain an Internet site or making telephone calls. All of CEDA’s staffers, including some Americans, lost their jobs, and the representatives who were not U.S. citizens were threatened with expulsion.
EXECUTIVE ORDER HIDES TWA 800 EVIDENCE
Bill Clinton has used executive orders and presidential policy directives freely to by-pass Congress to carry out policies and programs that he knew Congress would not approve. This is usurpation of the legislature’s power that can be justified only if there is a genuine emergency that requires speedy action. Very few, if any, of the executive orders cited above were necessary because such emergencies existed. Clinton is not the only president to have done this, but he may be unique in having issued an executive order to prevent Congress and the public from learning about criminal actions of his administration.
The Infamous Executive Order 13039
In March 1997, he issued executive order 13039 to withdraw the protection provided by the Whistleblower Protection Act to certain government employees. This was issued with no public announcement, and it was quickly removed from the White House Web site when it was pointed out that this proved that the White House was trying to keep the public from learning of evidence that one or more missiles had hit TWA Flight 800.
By law the National Transportation Safety Board controls investigations of civilian aircraft accidents, but the FBI seized control of the TWA 800 probe even though it has little experience in this area. Instead of utilizing experienced investigators from the NTSB and the aircraft and airline industries, it interfered with their efforts to find out what caused the crash.
The FBI refused to let the NTSB interview eyewitness for five months and would not give it reports of all the interviews conducted by its agents. The FBI seized all the radar tapes from different towers. A copy of one tape was sent surreptitiously to an independent expert, Capt. Richard Russell, who disclosed that it showed evidence of a missile on a collision course with the airliner. The FBI denied that, but no other tapes have been released to disprove that analysis. Other investigators altering the evidence in the Calverton hangar observed FBI agents, changing the shape of some of the metal and changing the tags showing the location where it was found.
The non-FBI investigators were not informed of the results of the FBI’s analysis of a red residue found on three rows of seats that may have been deposited by a missile. When a TWA member of the team arranged to have journalist James Sanders have the material analyzed, both he and Sanders were charged with the crime of removing material from an air crash site. Sanders and his wife were convicted. The analysis showed that the residue may have been solid-rocket fuel exhaust.
The FBI obviously did not want the non-FBI members of the investigating team, as well as the public, to know what all the evidence showed. It was hiding something. It feared the eye-witness testimony, barring its presentation at the NTSB public hearing. It tried to discredit it by showing at a televised news conference a CIA video simulation of the crash based on the theory that those who thought they had seen a missile blow up the plane had seen only the plane after it blew up.
If, as the radar data and the eyewitness interviews indicated, a missile or missiles shot down the plane, missile parts should have been found near the wreckage. The Navy personnel who participated in the salvage operation would know if any were found. Executive order 13039 was clearly a message from President Clinton, warning them to keep their lips sealed. He had no reason to do that unless he knew they had found proof that a missile shot down TWA 800. The FBI’s $40 million investigation had covered this up, and Clinton did not want the public or Congress to learn about it.
This also explains why the salvage operation for TWA 800 was assigned to the U.S. Navy even though this caused a needless delay. It took several days for the Navy ships and crews to reach the scene of the crash. A privately owned salvage vessel was in the vicinity and could have begun the search immediately, but that would have made it more difficult to keep the information about the missile from becoming known.
A Fax Reveals Hidden Evidence
Proof that the divers found evidence that was concealed from the non-FBI investigators was inadvertently revealed by a fax from Teledyne Ryan Aeronautics (TRA) in San Diego to the FBI team at Calverton. The FBI had asked TRA, which makes drones, to send an expert to tell them if some metal painted international orange that was found in the wreckage could be from its Firebee drone. The fax included drawings, which the expert had requested, of the tail assembly of the Firebee.
Because of a wrong number the fax went to a Long Island housewife. When she told the FBI she had their fax, the agent’s first reaction was, “Oh, s—!” He told her to fax it to him and destroy the original. She faxed it to him, but she shared her copy with the Southampton Press. The establishment media have never reported this incident, much less demand that the government explain why this had to be kept secret from other members of the investigative team and the public. Nor have they reported Cmdr. Bill Donaldson’s discovery that the FBI kept scallop searching for a stinger-missile starter-motor long after the salvage operation ended.
What You Can Do