Treasury Department claims power to seize gold, silver, currency

It’s that pesky Office of Foreign Assets Control again. They’re saying that they can prohibit ownership of gold and silver during wartime, and during wartime and national emergencies, to seize currency, stocks, bonds, or just about anything that could be a financial instrument.

The government’s authority to interfere with the ownership of gold, silver, and mining shares arises, Thornton wrote, from the Trading With the Enemy Act, which became law in 1917 during World War I and applies during declared wars, and from 1977’s International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which can be applied without declared wars.

While the Trading With the Enemy Act authorizes the government to interfere with the ownership of gold and silver particularly, it also applies to all forms of currency and all securities. So the Treasury official stressed in his letter to GATA that the act could be applied not just to shares of gold and silver mining companies but to the shares of all companies in which there is a foreign ownership interest.

Further, there is no requirement in the law that the targets of the government’s interference must have some connection to the declared enemies of the United States, nor even some connection to foreign ownership. Anything that can be construed as a financial instrument, no matter how innocently it has been used, is subject to seizure under the Trading With the Enemy Act and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. . . .

When the Trading With the Enemy Act was passed in 1917, gold and silver formed part of the official currency of the United States and were essential to ordinary commerce, so perhaps an argument could be made then against “hoarding,” even if “hoarding” could not be well defined. That is no longer the case; the United States has officially disavowed gold and silver as money and they no longer have a meaningful role in commerce. (GATA is working on that.) So gold and silver investors may want to ask their members of Congress to seek repeal of the statutes that give the government the authority to interfere with the private ownership of gold and silver, emergencies or not.

And ordinary citizens with no particular interest in gold and silver may want to ask their members of Congress to reconsider these statutes simply for being wildly tyrannical. — Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee

Since we’re constantly under some state of national emergency or other, this is particularly disturbing news. I don’t know of anyone’s assets being seized under these laws recently, but they are claiming they can do it. And I’ve never known government not to use its powers whenever it can.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control is also primarily responsible for censorship of foreigners wanting to publish in the U.S.