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View Full Version : Can a nation restrict political speech for the interest of national security?



Wei Wu Wei
03-31-2011, 11:56 AM
For freedom-loving Americans, freedom of speech is one of the most treasured rights guaranteed to us.'

Obviously, there are limits to free speech (shouting Fire in a crowded theater, threatening to harm the president, ect.), but what about when the danger of the speech is political?


Some examples:


If we are in a war, should it be illegal to speak out against the war?

Should it be illegal to condemn our allies or America during peacetime or wartime? Should it be illegal to write a book that portrays America or our allies in a negative light?

If someone were to say (only say, not actually do anything mind you) "I will not participate in Obamacare and if they want to steal my tax money to punish me they can come get it themselves and if they put me in jail so be it because that's what I believe in" - should this person be arrested for speaking about doing something illegal (not complying with the health law or tax law)?

Suppose someone doesn't have any weapons or anything illegal or dangerous like that, but they talk a lot with their friends about a revolution and publically speak out against the president? Should they be arrested, executed, or deported for trying to undermine the United States Government?


Which of these examples should be illegal and prosecuting in the United States of America?

or if none of these, where do you draw the limits of free speech when it comes to issues of loyalty to the nation, and possible subversion or anti-American speech? At what point do they become traitors? At what point should dissent be considered treason?

Wei Wu Wei
03-31-2011, 11:57 AM
Also I probably shouldn't say "can a nation do X", because history shows that obviously nations can, but can the United States of America do this, and still remain true to it's values and principles?

NJCardFan
03-31-2011, 01:38 PM
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

There is nothing ambiguous about this.

Wei Wu Wei
03-31-2011, 01:41 PM
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

There is nothing ambiguous about this.

So in all of the hypothetical examples above, you say free speech should be respected above patriotism and these people should not be arrested?

NJCardFan
03-31-2011, 01:43 PM
So in all of the hypothetical examples above, you say free speech should be respected above patriotism and these people should not be arrested?

There is nothing ambiguous about the Amendment stated above.

Wei Wu Wei
03-31-2011, 01:48 PM
You can try using your own words to explain what that amendment means to you. This is what arguments of constituionality are all about, whether specific acts or laws fall within the scope of what the specific amendment says. If there was "nothing ambigious" about it, we wouldn't have any need for the supreme court.

There's nothing in that amendment that says "except in cases of yelling fire in a crowded theater" but we all know that it's established that it doesn't apply there, as well as in other situations.

You know as well as I know that every law is ambiguous around the edges, and has exceptions. I think we can all agree that publically plotting to assissinate a public official is not preotected free speech as well. Clearly there are limits.

My question here is what do you consider the limits to be when the issue is patriotism and national security? Criticizing public policy, criticizing our allies in war, trying to convince people that a law or war is unjust, speaking about wanting to overthrow the government, stuff like that?

Do you think it's constitutional to arrest people for those things?

Arroyo_Doble
03-31-2011, 02:02 PM
*shrug*

Suspend habeas corpus and get back to me after the war is over.


As far as the 1st Amendment, one of the signitors of the Declaration of Independence, a delegate to the Continental Convention, and Founding Father (he nominated George Washington for president) was probably the one who attacked freedom of speech and the press more than any other in our nation's history.

Although putting Eugene Debs into prison might be considered worse.

Wei Wu Wei
03-31-2011, 02:09 PM
How about being sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for making a film about the American Revolution because it portreyed the British in a negative light?


How about a year in prison for a civilian (not yet being drafted) simply stating out loud that he would rather go to jail than fight in a war?

NJCardFan
03-31-2011, 02:51 PM
You can try using your own words to explain what that amendment means to you. This is what arguments of constituionality are all about, whether specific acts or laws fall within the scope of what the specific amendment says. If there was "nothing ambigious" about it, we wouldn't have any need for the supreme court.

There's nothing in that amendment that says "except in cases of yelling fire in a crowded theater" but we all know that it's established that it doesn't apply there, as well as in other situations.

You know as well as I know that every law is ambiguous around the edges, and has exceptions. I think we can all agree that publically plotting to assissinate a public official is not preotected free speech as well. Clearly there are limits.

My question here is what do you consider the limits to be when the issue is patriotism and national security? Criticizing public policy, criticizing our allies in war, trying to convince people that a law or war is unjust, speaking about wanting to overthrow the government, stuff like that?

Do you think it's constitutional to arrest people for those things?
My own words reflect the amendment word for word. It's the first amendment for a reason. Again, it's not ambiguous. What another country does does not concern me. What this country does, does. Even if it's speech I don't agree with, that person or persons have the right to spew it. Even you. All speech is protected as in you have the right to say it. However, you have to choose your words carefully.

txradioguy
03-31-2011, 03:10 PM
How about being sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for making a film about the American Revolution because it portreyed the British in a negative light?


How about a year in prison for a civilian (not yet being drafted) simply stating out loud that he would rather go to jail than fight in a war?

http://www.lowbird.com/data/images/2010/11/sharenator-trolling-trolling-troll-internet-likes-to-fight-fail-jerk-pu-demotivational-poster-1239308887-re-the-meme-team-s640x512-97875.jpg


I get the feeling our little Communist agitator here is fishing for a gotcha moment.

Tread lightly folks.

Molon Labe
03-31-2011, 03:17 PM
no

Arroyo_Doble
03-31-2011, 03:24 PM
no

Habeas corpus can be suspended for the duration, so it really doesn't matter in practical terms.

Rebel Yell
03-31-2011, 03:32 PM
Freedom of speech is just that. Freedom of Speech. No one has the right to not get their feelings hurt or hear things they find disgusting. That includes me.

PoliCon
03-31-2011, 03:43 PM
The only justifiable limit the government can enforce to free speech is when what you say places the lives of others in danger - such as shouting fire in a crowded theatre.

Odysseus
03-31-2011, 03:49 PM
As long as you are not giving aid and comfort to the enemy, which is the other Constitutional restriction on conduct in wartime, then no.

Rebel Yell
03-31-2011, 03:52 PM
The only justifiable limit the government can enforce to free speech is when what you say places the lives of others in danger - such as showing fire in a crowded theatre.

That would fall under arson, wouldn't it?

PoliCon
03-31-2011, 04:06 PM
That would fall under arson, wouldn't it?

I fixed it. happy now?

marv
03-31-2011, 04:11 PM
Actually, there's nothing illegal about shouting fire in a crowded theater.

If it promotes a riot, it's a case something like disturbing the peace or inciting to riot. IOW, only state or local laws are broken. If someone is trampled to death, it's probably negligent homocide. Again, only state laws are broken.

But it's not illegal just for shouting, and it's certainly not a violation of the US Constitution.

Keep phishing wee wee, and hope everybody keeps their mouth shut when there is a real fire while you're watching the latest Michael Moore flac...er...flick.

Rebel Yell
03-31-2011, 04:11 PM
I fixed it. happy now?

Somebody's gotta stand in for Linda.

PoliCon
03-31-2011, 04:15 PM
Actually, there's nothing illegal about shouting fire in a crowded theater.

If it promotes a riot, it's a case something like disturbing the peace or inciting to riot. IOW, only state or local laws are broken. If someone is trampled to death, it's probably negligent homocide. Again, only state laws are broken.

But it's not illegal just for shouting, and it's certainly not a violation of the US Constitution.

Keep phishing wee wee, and hope everybody keeps their mouth shut when there is a real fire while you're watching the latest Michael Moore flac...er...flick.


free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic. [...] The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to preventSchenck v. United States - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Odysseus
03-31-2011, 05:40 PM
It's perfectly legal to shout "fire" in a crowded theater if the theater is actually on fire. It's only if it isn't on fire that you've broken the law.

Wei Wu Wei
03-31-2011, 07:25 PM
As long as you are not giving aid and comfort to the enemy, which is the other Constitutional restriction on conduct in wartime, then no.

Do speech and/or opinions count as aid and comfort to the enemy?

Are ideas that do not jive with the official government stance considered aiding the enemy?

Wei Wu Wei
03-31-2011, 07:27 PM
Is it legitimate for the US government to arrest, imprison, deport, flag, or otherwise target people or their livelihoods because they were found guilty of, let's say, speaking communist propaganda?

If not communist propaganda how about, anti-war propaganda? or...anti-American President speech?

NJCardFan
03-31-2011, 07:49 PM
Is it legitimate for the US government to arrest, imprison, deport, flag, or otherwise target people or their livelihoods because they were found guilty of, let's say, speaking communist propaganda?

If not communist propaganda how about, anti-war propaganda? or...anti-American President speech?

How many people went to jail during the Bush administration for spouting anti-war rhetoric? Give me names. Because if nobody was locked up then, then that should answer your question.

ColonialMarine0431
03-31-2011, 08:01 PM
Woodrow Wilson routinely & harshly suppressed dissent and resistance among citizens and the press.

At Wilson’s urging, a Sedition Act forbade Americans from criticizing their own government in a time of war. Citizens could not “utter, print, write or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language” about the government or the military. The Postmaster General was given the authority to revoke the mailing privileges of those who disobeyed. About 75 periodicals were were shut down by the government in this way and many others were given warnings.

His Department of Justice arrested tens of thousands of individuals without just cause. One was not safe even within the walls of one’s own home to criticize the Wilson administration. A letter to federal attorneys and marshals said that citizens had nothing to fear as long as they “Obey the law; keep your mouth shut.” In fact, the Justice Department created the precursor to the Gestapo called the American Protective League. Its job was to spy on fellow citizens and turn in “seditious” persons or draft dodgers. In September of 1918 in NYC, the APL rounded up about 50,000 people. This doesn’t even include the infamous Palmer Raids (named after Wilson’s attorney general) that occurred after the war.

fettpett
03-31-2011, 08:03 PM
Woodrow Wilson routinely & harshly suppressed dissent and resistance among citizens and the press.

At Wilson’s urging, a Sedition Act forbade Americans from criticizing their own government in a time of war. Citizens could not “utter, print, write or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language” about the government or the military. The Postmaster General was given the authority to revoke the mailing privileges of those who disobeyed. About 75 periodicals were were shut down by the government in this way and many others were given warnings.

His Department of Justice arrested tens of thousands of individuals without just cause. One was not safe even within the walls of one’s own home to criticize the Wilson administration. A letter to federal attorneys and marshals said that citizens had nothing to fear as long as they “Obey the law; keep your mouth shut.” In fact, the Justice Department created the precursor to the Gestapo called the American Protective League. Its job was to spy on fellow citizens and turn in “seditious” persons or draft dodgers. In September of 1918 in NYC, the APL rounded up about 50,000 people. This doesn’t even include the infamous Palmer Raids (named after Wilson’s attorney general) that occurred after the war.

fortunately the SCOTUS had ruled the Sedition Act unconstitutional a hundred years before

Adam Wood
03-31-2011, 08:08 PM
For freedom-loving Americans, freedom of speech is one of the most treasured rights guaranteed to us.'

Obviously, there are limits to free speech (shouting Fire in a crowded theater, threatening to harm the president, ect.), but what about when the danger of the speech is political?


Some examples:


If we are in a war, should it be illegal to speak out against the war?

Should it be illegal to condemn our allies or America during peacetime or wartime? Should it be illegal to write a book that portrays America or our allies in a negative light?

If someone were to say (only say, not actually do anything mind you) "I will not participate in Obamacare and if they want to steal my tax money to punish me they can come get it themselves and if they put me in jail so be it because that's what I believe in" - should this person be arrested for speaking about doing something illegal (not complying with the health law or tax law)?

Suppose someone doesn't have any weapons or anything illegal or dangerous like that, but they talk a lot with their friends about a revolution and publically speak out against the president? Should they be arrested, executed, or deported for trying to undermine the United States Government?


Which of these examples should be illegal and prosecuting in the United States of America?

or if none of these, where do you draw the limits of free speech when it comes to issues of loyalty to the nation, and possible subversion or anti-American speech? At what point do they become traitors? At what point should dissent be considered treason?
You can try using your own words to explain what that amendment means to you. This is what arguments of constituionality are all about, whether specific acts or laws fall within the scope of what the specific amendment says. If there was "nothing ambigious" about it, we wouldn't have any need for the supreme court.

There's nothing in that amendment that says "except in cases of yelling fire in a crowded theater" but we all know that it's established that it doesn't apply there, as well as in other situations.

You know as well as I know that every law is ambiguous around the edges, and has exceptions. I think we can all agree that publically plotting to assissinate a public official is not preotected free speech as well. Clearly there are limits.

My question here is what do you consider the limits to be when the issue is patriotism and national security? Criticizing public policy, criticizing our allies in war, trying to convince people that a law or war is unjust, speaking about wanting to overthrow the government, stuff like that?

Do you think it's constitutional to arrest people for those things?As the old saying goes, your right to swing your fists stops at the tip of my nose. Same goes with free speech: you have every right to say anything you wan up to the point at which it causes tangible, measurable harm. Saying "America is a horrible country and I wish that the North Koreans would take it over" does not cause tangible, measurable harm. It will cause flared tempers, for sure, but it does not cause harm. That speech is protected by the First Amendment. Threatening someone, though, does cause tangible harm. The police are required to investigate threats, and as such, threatening someone with bodily harm is considered a form of assault in most jurisdictions. You have every right to shout "FIRE" in a crowded theatre if the theatre is actually on fire because the truth is an absolute defense. Even if someone gets trampled trying to get out of the theatre because you yelled "FIRE" that is still protected speech.

However, leaking state secrets does do real and tangible harm. That's why it's a crime. You can say what you want about other people, but if you lie about it, if you commit slander/libel, then your speech is not protected.

Whether it's a time of war or not really isn't relevant here, because the same principles apply no matter what our nation's DEFCON status is.


To answer your overall question: Can a nation restrict political speech in the interest of national security? Sure. Happens all over the globe. Should a nation restrict political speech in the interest of national security? No. At least not the United States, anyway.

ColonialMarine0431
03-31-2011, 08:11 PM
fortunately the SCOTUS had ruled the Sedition Act unconstitutional a hundred years before

Wilson's Act was seperate from the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. His was the Sedition Act of 1918. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedition_Act_of_1918)

fettpett
03-31-2011, 08:17 PM
Wilson's Act was seperate from the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. His was the Sedition Act of 1918. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedition_Act_of_1918)

nevermind, i'm dumb LOL :D


It NEVER should have been ruled Constitutional

ColonialMarine0431
03-31-2011, 08:25 PM
i know...my point was that a version of it had already been ruled unconstitutional, his wouldn't have past the muster

It would'nt pass muster today but it was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Abrams v. United States in 1919 until Congress repealed the Sedition Act on December 13, 1920.

The gist of what I'm saying is that most Americans don't think that you can be throw in jail for speaking against the gubbment in war time, when in actuality it has already been done in American history.

Not to mention Lincoln suspending Habeas.

ColonialMarine0431
03-31-2011, 08:29 PM
nevermind, i'm dumb LOL :D


It NEVER should have been ruled Constitutional

:D It never should have happened. Woodrow Wilson was the original Liberal Fascist. No doubt a man that Obama admires.

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y53/ColonialMarine/Liberal%20Baiting/Liberal%20Fascism/41945261-1.jpg

fettpett
03-31-2011, 08:33 PM
:D It never should have happened. Woodrow Wilson was the original Liberal Fascist. No doubt a man that Obama admires.

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y53/ColonialMarine/Liberal%20Baiting/Liberal%20Fascism/41945261-1.jpg

yeah, I agree

Wei Wu Wei
03-31-2011, 09:05 PM
It would'nt pass muster today but it was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Abrams v. United States in 1919 until Congress repealed the Sedition Act on December 13, 1920.

The gist of what I'm saying is that most Americans don't think that you can be throw in jail for speaking against the gubbment in war time, when in actuality it has already been done in American history.

Not to mention Lincoln suspending Habeas.

This is a key point for this discussion. I don't think it's a partisan issue here it's just the facts of our history.

Wei Wu Wei
03-31-2011, 09:06 PM
How many people prosecuted under the Espionage Act or the Sedition act were guilty of speech crimes? How many of these people were socialists?


The answer: a lot

People faced arrests, imprisonment, violent off-the-record beatings, and deportation. There was a period where loyalty tests were common and anything that could be considered anti-war or anti-capitalist was enough to get a friendly knock at your door.

NJCardFan
03-31-2011, 09:07 PM
How many people prosecuted under the Espionage Act or the Sedition act were guilty of speech crimes? How many of these people were socialists?


The answer: a lot

Names and their alleged crimes please. You just can't make a blanket statement like this and not back it up so supply the names of people who were prosecuted for speech crimes.

Wei Wu Wei
03-31-2011, 09:15 PM
Kate Richards O'Hare - gave a speech that was deemed dangerous

Eugene Debs - Arrested for giving a speech

Robert Goldstein, producer of Spirit of '76 - arrested for making a movie about the American Revolution that portrayed the British negatively

Fred Fairchild - arrested for stating he would not go to war during a civilian argument

Not to mention the Palmer Raids (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palmer_Raids)(link):


The Palmer Raids were attempts by the United States Department of Justice to arrest and deport radical leftists, especially anarchists, from the United States. The raids and arrests occurred in November 1919 and January 1920 under the leadership of Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer. Though more than 500 foreign citizens were deported, including a number of prominent leftist leaders, Palmer's efforts were largely frustrated by officials at the U.S. Department of Labor who had responsibility for deportations and who objected to Palmer's methods and disrespect for the legal process. The Palmer Raids occurred in the larger context of the Red Scare, the term given to fear of and reaction against political radicals in the U.S. in the years immediately following World War I.

ColonialMarine0431
03-31-2011, 09:17 PM
Names and their alleged crimes please. You just can't make a blanket statement like this and not back it up so supply the names of people who were prosecuted for speech crimes.

I think he was addressing the Sedition Act of 1918, not modern day, when there were arrests and some prosecutions for speaking against Woodrow Wilson and our involvement in WWI. But beatings? I don't know.

Wei Wu Wei
03-31-2011, 09:21 PM
I think he was addressing the Sedition Act of 1918, not modern day, when there were arrests and some prosecutions for speaking against Woodrow Wilson and our involvement in WWI. But beatings? I don't know.

let me be specific with the beatings.

in WWI there were many conscientious objectors to the war who were drafted anyway. many of them requested support or non-combat roles and faced serious unofficial punishments by other soldiers. this was not part of a specific policy of course, but there are records of it happening.

there was a long quote from a book i read the other day of someone describing what they would do in that situation. i'll try to post the exact quote when i can get my hands on that book again.

Melody
03-31-2011, 09:32 PM
My own words reflect the amendment word for word. It's the first amendment for a reason. Again, it's not ambiguous. What another country does does not concern me. What this country does, does. Even if it's speech I don't agree with, that person or persons have the right to spew it. Even you. All speech is protected as in you have the right to say it. However, you have to choose your words carefully.

"you have to choose your words carefully"

So, this is what our freedom of speech is boiled down to?

Being carefull of how we speak, what we speak. Fear multiplied to keep us silent, complacent?

malloc
03-31-2011, 09:47 PM
Kate Richards O'Hare - gave a speech that was deemed dangerous

Eugene Debs - Arrested for giving a speech

Robert Goldstein, producer of Spirit of '76 - arrested for making a movie about the American Revolution that portrayed the British negatively

Fred Fairchild - arrested for stating he would not go to war during a civilian argument

Not to mention the Palmer Raids (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palmer_Raids)(link):


The Palmer Raids were attempts by the United States Department of Justice to arrest and deport radical leftists, especially anarchists, from the United States. The raids and arrests occurred in November 1919 and January 1920 under the leadership of Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer. Though more than 500 foreign citizens were deported, including a number of prominent leftist leaders, Palmer's efforts were largely frustrated by officials at the U.S. Department of Labor who had responsibility for deportations and who objected to Palmer's methods and disrespect for the legal process. The Palmer Raids occurred in the larger context of the Red Scare, the term given to fear of and reaction against political radicals in the U.S. in the years immediately following World War I.


Targeting seditious foreign nationals for deportment is hardly anything I would consider unconscionable. Coming to the U.S. as a guest is a privilege, not a right, more so when the U.S. accepts one as a refugee from the Russian Revolution. The main group targeted for deportation, The Union of Russian Workers, openly advocated in their Declaration of Principles, that they stood for uniting American and Canadian workers against capitalism and "forces of authority". In other words, they were not citizens, but guests in our country who openly organized and advocated an insurrection against the very government and people who were harboring them. Deportation was justified.

Wei Wu Wei
03-31-2011, 10:01 PM
Targeting seditious foreign nationals for deportment is hardly anything I would consider unconscionable. Coming to the U.S. as a guest is a privilege, not a right, more so when the U.S. accepts one as a refugee from the Russian Revolution. The main group targeted for deportation, The Union of Russian Workers, openly advocated in their Declaration of Principles, that they stood for uniting American and Canadian workers against capitalism and "forces of authority". In other words, they were not citizens, but guests in our country who openly organized and advocated an insurrection against the very government and people who were harboring them. Deportation was justified.

ah yes touché

Odysseus
03-31-2011, 10:23 PM
Do speech and/or opinions count as aid and comfort to the enemy?

Are ideas that do not jive with the official government stance considered aiding the enemy?

If you advocate deliberately aiding the enemy, or any action whose purpose is to cause the defeat of the US, or disclose classified information to the enemy, either directly or via third parties, then yes. The Constitutional definition of treason is very specific and clear:


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

Example 1: A sign that says, "We support our troops when they kill their officers" is an open exhortation to mutiny, and if done so for the purpose of ensuring American defeat, constitutes "levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort."

Example 2: The statements by various imams that American Muslims' duty is to kill Americans for Allah (acted on by MAJ Nidal Hasan, among others), are treason exhortations to "levying war against them."

Example 3: Code Pink soliciting funds to provide to Iraqi insurgents clearly constitutes "giving them aid and comfort."

Example 4: Waving the enemy's flag in public is an announcement of solidarity with the enemy and loyalty to that enemy or, as the Constitution puts it, "adhering to their enemies."

Melody
03-31-2011, 11:51 PM
For freedom-loving Americans, freedom of speech is one of the most treasured rights guaranteed to us.'

Obviously, there are limits to free speech (shouting Fire in a crowded theater, threatening to harm the president, ect.), but what about when the danger of the speech is political?


Some examples:


If we are in a war, should it be illegal to speak out against the war?

Should it be illegal to condemn our allies or America during peacetime or wartime? Should it be illegal to write a book that portrays America or our allies in a negative light?

If someone were to say (only say, not actually do anything mind you) "I will not participate in Obamacare and if they want to steal my tax money to punish me they can come get it themselves and if they put me in jail so be it because that's what I believe in" - should this person be arrested for speaking about doing something illegal (not complying with the health law or tax law)?

Suppose someone doesn't have any weapons or anything illegal or dangerous like that, but they talk a lot with their friends about a revolution and publically speak out against the president? Should they be arrested, executed, or deported for trying to undermine the United States Government?


Which of these examples should be illegal and prosecuting in the United States of America?

or if none of these, where do you draw the limits of free speech when it comes to issues of loyalty to the nation, and possible subversion or anti-American speech? At what point do they become traitors? At what point should dissent be considered treason?

Free speech in the USA has no line of demarcation. Freedom pf speech is just that. Freedom.

Treason, well, look at bambis admin. and get a clue about that. Treason does not need to be "recognized" by all to be treason.

noonwitch
04-01-2011, 01:13 PM
If you advocate deliberately aiding the enemy, or any action whose purpose is to cause the defeat of the US, or disclose classified information to the enemy, either directly or via third parties, then yes. The Constitutional definition of treason is very specific and clear:


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

Example 1: A sign that says, "We support our troops when they kill their officers" is an open exhortation to mutiny, and if done so for the purpose of ensuring American defeat, constitutes "levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort."

Example 2: The statements by various imams that American Muslims' duty is to kill Americans for Allah (acted on by MAJ Nidal Hasan, among others), are treason exhortations to "levying war against them."

Example 3: Code Pink soliciting funds to provide to Iraqi insurgents clearly constitutes "giving them aid and comfort."

Example 4: Waving the enemy's flag in public is an announcement of solidarity with the enemy and loyalty to that enemy or, as the Constitution puts it, "adhering to their enemies."



Example 3 is one I hadn't heard before-Code Pink annoys the hell out of me. That's a pretty clear example, too. Dumb bitches.

Odysseus
04-01-2011, 01:25 PM
Free speech in the USA has no line of demarcation. Freedom pf speech is just that. Freedom.

Treason, well, look at bambis admin. and get a clue about that. Treason does not need to be "recognized" by all to be treason.

No, there is certain speech that constitutes treason. The treason trial of Tokyo Rose was based entirely on her speech. There is no constitutional right to incite mutiny in the armed forces, advocate the violent overthrow of the government or parrot enemy propaganda for the purpose of undermining the defense of the United States.

Rebel Yell
04-01-2011, 01:28 PM
"you have to choose your words carefully"

So, this is what our freedom of speech is boiled down to?

Being carefull of how we speak, what we speak. Fear multiplied to keep us silent, complacent?

And be damned sure that the person your talking to or referencing is the same color as you.