Monday, February 20, 2006

Meeting new people

From the list of Kansas blogs attached to the Eagle's story, I learned about "The Kansas Federalist." "Great," I thought, "a new thoughtful conservative to add to the list."

The top post disappointed me. The title was Sedition or Treason - The Gore-ing of America, and this is the key paragraph:
Former Vice President Al Gore appeared before a Saudi audience this past week and accused the United States of committing "terrible abuses" against Arabs after 9/11. Gore’s remarks are highly inappropriate during a time of war and he should be in fact, arrested and charged for sedition and/or treason for his anti-American comments. In fact, the accusations cited are false and he has used doctored research material to make his arguments.
Sedition has a specific meaning, defined by 18 USC 2384:

If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.
I think that pointing out that it was unfortunate that John Ashcroft (and Kris Kobach) rounded up a lot of people for no reason after 9/11 does not rise to a conspiracy "to destroy by force the Government of the United States." I'm a little worried that a former sheriff is relying on dictionary.com for his legal definitions.

Let's move along to treason, defined by 18 USC 2381 as:

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.
But anyone claiming the mantle of the Federalists should know that treason is not defined by US Code, but in Article III, Section 3 of the 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. 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.
Again, I fail to see how pointing out that innocent people spent weeks in detention for no reason amounts to levying war against this country, nor how it constitutes aid and comfort to enemies.

As I say, one who claims the Federalists' mantle should know what the Federalist said about treason.

From Federalist 43, by James Madison:
As treason may be committed against the United States, the authority of the United States ought to be able to punish it. But, as new-fangled and artificial treasons, have been the great engines , by which violent factions, the natural offspring of free Governments, have usually wrecked their alternate malignity on each other, the Convention have with great judgment opposed a barrier to this peculiar danger, by inserting a constitutional definition of the crime, fixing the proof necessary for conviction of it, and restraining the Congress, even in punishing it, from extending the consequences of guilt beyond the person of its author.
I conclude that the Kansas Federalist is a partisan of precisely the sort of violent faction which the original Federalists decried, and that this "alternate malignity," this "new-fangled and artificial treason" Currie Myers is declaring makes the author unworthy of the title chosen for himself and his blog. Such historical anachronism will not stand, and I shall link thither no more.

As for the round-ups of Arab and Muslim immigrants and visitors, nothing came of it:
NSEERS was so poorly conceived and badly managed that it created chaos and fear. Trust between the immigrant community and law enforcement was severely strained and, in the end, there was no evidence that any terrorists were apprehended as a result of the effort.

A detention facility in Queens, New York was called "a little gulag." Inmates there undertook at least one hunger strike to protest the length of their detentions. As of October, 2003, some had been kept there in solitary confinement without any judicial review for years. Others were detained for months without any clear basis, only to be released as Congressional scrutiny mounted. Part of the Congressional concern derived from news stories, public speeches and unhappy phone calls from people concerned about family members or basic principles of America. Those people were not committing treason, and certainly not sedition. They were petitioning their government for redress of grievances.

That's in the Constitution, too.