Bush Waives Sanctions Under Burma Bill

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Friday, January 16, 2009 at 11:39 pm

Seems he just couldn’t resist.

With just days left in his tenure, President George W. Bush yesterday scrapped a portion of a Burma-sanctions law that was intended to weaken the country’s brutal military junta by freezing the assets of its leaders.

The provision — found in the Block Burmese JADE Act, which Bush signed into law in July — freezes the finances of Burma’s military leaders and their families in all U.S.-owned banks, including those operating overseas. The original law also applied the asset-freeze to yet-unnamed Burmese nationals who are later discovered to support the repressive regime. Bush’s waiver prevents the freeze from applying to this anonymous group, instead limiting sanctions only to those appearing on the Treasury Department’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons. Here’s the still-president’s explanation:

Because the imposition of effective and meaningful blocking sanctions requires the identification of those individuals and entities targeted for sanction and the authorization of certain limited exceptions to the prohibitions and restrictions that would otherwise apply, I hereby determine and certify that such a limited waiver is in the national interest of the United States.

Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, isn’t convinced. Berman blasted Bush’s move Friday, saying the decision runs “contrary to the law.” From Berman’s statement:

Now those who are supporting the Burmese military clique and who have not yet been publicly identified by the Treasury Department will get a free pass — just what Congress was trying to prevent. It is puzzling that a President who has professed support for Burmese advocates for freedom has made a decision in his final days in office that was both unnecessary and so contrary to his past actions.

Berman spokeswoman Lynne Weil said the waiver provision was intended for cases when national security might be compromised or Washington wanted to cut a deal with an individual in return for some form of cooperation. “To do a blanket waiver — exempting people who haven’t even been named — it’s unusual,” Weil said.

The move is particularly puzzling because Laura Bush has been an unusually vocal critic of Burma’s human rights record.

So what is George thinking? We’ve been asking ourselves that for eight years.

Categories & Tags: Congress| | | | | | | |

Comments

6 Comments

Daniel Pedersen
Comment posted January 17, 2009 @ 1:53 am

Well it may have something to with US oil/oil related companies currently active in Burma, such as:
Baker Hughes
BJ Service
Caitlin Group Limited
Chevron
Schlumberger
It is less likely to have anything to do with travel/travel related companies:
Journeys International
Impact Publications
Hunter Publishing
Abercombie and Kent
Archaelogical Tours
First Cabin
First Choice Expeditions
Fodor's/Random House
Grand Circles Travel


Tettoe Aung
Comment posted January 17, 2009 @ 11:31 pm

George W Bush's legacy will not goes down into the dustbin of history as an American President whose eight years in the White House has causes such damages to America, both do domestically and internationally, but also as one who worth less then the shoes he has been thrown with in Iraq.


enjoy0rs
Comment posted January 18, 2009 @ 8:54 pm

George W Bush's legacy will not goes down into the dustbin of historyUGG Classic Tall Patent Paisley as an American President whose eight years in the White House has causes such damages to America, both do domestically and internationally, but also as one who worth less then the shoes he has been thrown with in Iraq.


Richterscale
Comment posted January 19, 2009 @ 9:28 am

“So what is George thinking?” That's a joke…right?


Kogyi
Comment posted January 21, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

Bush leaves Obama with an opportunity for a new way forward on Myanmar. Secret engagement with the Regime is better than letting DASSK rot in jail. US companies cant just get up and divest either, as they are contracted to pay large lumps sums capital gains taxes on future earning as penalties to the regime. Any old way, lots of lessons learned I hope by now (20 years later). It doesnt help to demonize the whole military either… find the good soldiers for reconciliation and a new way forward. Also, this is “Burma's” problem not the USA or UN, let the Myanmar people fix it themselves.


Kogyi
Comment posted January 21, 2009 @ 8:34 pm

Bush leaves Obama with an opportunity for a new way forward on Myanmar. Secret engagement with the Regime is better than letting DASSK rot in jail. US companies cant just get up and divest either, as they are contracted to pay large lumps sums capital gains taxes on future earning as penalties to the regime. Any old way, lots of lessons learned I hope by now (20 years later). It doesnt help to demonize the whole military either… find the good soldiers for reconciliation and a new way forward. Also, this is “Burma's” problem not the USA or UN, let the Myanmar people fix it themselves.


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