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World Association of International Studies

Post Defining Treason
Created by John Eipper on 11/21/20 7:54 AM

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Defining Treason (Brian Blodgett, USA, 11/21/20 7:54 am)

In response to Tor Guimaraes (November 21st), once again we see the word "treason" used in context with individuals and their actions, and once again, is it really the correct legal word that we should be using?

Per my WAIS posting on August 26, I pointed out that "Treason is the only crime that our Founding Fathers specifically defined in the Constitution and applies only to American citizens who betrayed their allegiance that is presumed owed to the nation."

However, as I also stated, according to the US 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" (U.S. Const., art III, § 3).

As John pointed out at that time, "the term treason is used way too cavalierly." If folks are going to accuse individuals, and in Tor's case, not just one, but hundreds or perhaps even thousands of individuals, then we need to at least use the correct word.

JE comments:  In the strict Constitutional sense, can any treason take place if there is no (declared) war?  What about undermining the Constitutional rule of law--in essence, waging war from within?

A word on Tor Guimaraes's post.  There was an error of citation.   David E Sanger of the NYT (November 19th) did not use the word "treason" per se:


The addition of the treason accusation was from a gloss of Sanger's essay that appeared in the Daily Kos.

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