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Tue Dec 18, 2018, 02:32 PM

A country doesn't have to be an enemy for your dealings to be trason

One of the Pundits on CNN seemed to have that part wrong.

treason
n. the crime of betraying one's country, defined in Article III, section 3 of the U.S. Constitution: "Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort." Treason requires overt acts and includes the giving of government security secrets to other countries, even if friendly, when the information could harm American security. Treason can include revealing to an antagonistic country secrets such as the design of a bomber being built by a private company for the Defense Department. Treason may include "espionage" (spying for a foreign power or doing damage to the operation of the government and its agencies, particularly those involved in security) but is separate and worse than "sedition," which involves a conspiracy to upset the operation of the government.


https://dictionary.law.com/Default.aspx?selected=2153

14 replies, 489 views

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Reply A country doesn't have to be an enemy for your dealings to be trason (Original post)
Quixote1818 Dec 18 OP
jberryhill Dec 18 #1
Hermit-The-Prog Dec 18 #4
Quixote1818 Dec 18 #5
Lock him up. Dec 18 #9
Codeine Dec 18 #10
Lock him up. Dec 18 #14
uponit7771 Dec 18 #2
Democrats_win Dec 18 #3
triron Dec 18 #6
Codeine Dec 18 #11
Quixote1818 Dec 18 #12
Codeine Dec 18 #13
pecosbob Dec 18 #7
Quixote1818 Dec 18 #8

Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2018, 02:37 PM

1. That's not the definition under US law

Crimes against the US are SOLELY defined in 18 USC.

"Treason" is as follows:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2381

18 U.S. Code § 2381 - Treason

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

--------

That online law dictionary (or wherever that text came from) is not at all consistent with the actual definition of the crime of treason under US law.

The Constitution contains a broad authorization for such a crime to be defined but does not, by itself, act as the operative definition of the offense.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 18, 2018, 02:48 PM

4. minor quibble in your characterization

The Constitution defines the crime but leaves Congress to define the punishment. Congress did so in the U.S. Code you cite, but further limited the crime of treason by the definition of "enemy".

See:

Article III
Section 3

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articleiii#section3

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 18, 2018, 02:50 PM

5. Looks like you are correct. Even the Rosenberg's were not convicted of treason but espionage

Because of this history, a lot of things that might seem or feel like treason to casual observers do not, in fact, come close. In this context “enemies,” for example, must be countries against which Congress has formally declared war or otherwise authorized the use of force. (So contemporary Russia is out, whatever role it may have played in the 2016 election.) Even during the height of the Cold War, when Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were tried, convicted and executed for conveying nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union, the charge against them was espionage, not treason.

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/americans-have-forgotten-what-treason-actually-means-how-it-can-ncna848651

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 18, 2018, 04:28 PM

9. The "or adheres to their enemies" part doesn't specify...

"their enemies" actually shooting or bombing, or should it specify "at war" (as in cyberattacks)?

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Response to Lock him up. (Reply #9)

Tue Dec 18, 2018, 04:47 PM

10. Because "enemy" is defined by the US Code

thusly;

(2) the term “enemy” means any country, government, group, or person that has been engaged in hostilities, whether or not lawfully authorized, with the United States;

And “hostilities” as follows;

(9)The term “hostilities” means any conflict subject to the laws of war.

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Response to Codeine (Reply #10)

Tue Dec 18, 2018, 06:54 PM

14. Then the term "Cyber Warfare" should be included in...

the term "hostilities" because a hostile foreign power (a group: (Russian troll farm) and a person (Vladimir Putin)) have waged illegal intrusions (with Cyber Attacks) in order to manupulate the electoral institutions for installing their compromized assets.

An urgent "update" to the term "hostilities" (or the laws of war) is needed.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2018, 02:38 PM

2. K&R

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2018, 02:45 PM

3. I know treason when I see it.

Yes, Malcolm Nance has often explained the legal definition, but nonetheless, this is treason. We know it when we see it.

(Apologies to Justice Potter Stewart who said,"I know it when I see it," in relation to hard-core porn movies and the legal definition.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_know_it_when_I_see_it

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Response to Democrats_win (Reply #3)

Tue Dec 18, 2018, 02:57 PM

6. Tend to agree despite the naysayers.

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Response to Democrats_win (Reply #3)

Tue Dec 18, 2018, 04:53 PM

11. I think it's fair to say that "treason"

has on one hand a VERY specific legal meaning (seriously, it’s one if the most narrowly-defined laws around) and in discussions of such that meaning should be hewed to quite closely, but it also has a colloquial meaning that transcends the strict legal confines of the word.

I’m happy to consider the Tangerine Idi Amin to be a traitor in the colloquial sense, but I won’t pretend he’s committed actual treason in any legal sense. Probably espionage is an applicable crime, which is just as serious.

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Response to Codeine (Reply #11)

Tue Dec 18, 2018, 04:58 PM

12. Agree 100%.

Wondering now that I have discovered my OP is wrong if I should delete it? However it has created some interesting discussions.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Reply #12)

Tue Dec 18, 2018, 04:59 PM

13. Heck no.

It generated a less-heated and more-informative discussion than any of its brethren did.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2018, 02:57 PM

7. Treasonous actions versus Treason

Two different things? Perhaps why Judge Sullivan walked back his remarks...

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Response to pecosbob (Reply #7)

Tue Dec 18, 2018, 03:27 PM

8. The closest thing I could find was what they call Treachery

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