Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Treason: Aid and Comfort Within the United States or Elsewhere!

An LA TIMES editorial writer (10-15-06) comments:

[I]f the facts are as the government alleges, Adam Yahiye Gadahn did indeed commit treason when, in his own words, he "joined a movement waging war on America and killing large numbers of Americans."

....Treason is the only crime defined in the Constitution itself, which establishes a higher evidentiary burden — two eyewitnesses or a courtroom confession — for its prosecution. This higher burden, and the ability to rely on other criminal statutes in most such cases, is the reason the government so seldom resorts to the charge of treason. But in Gadahn's case, his own video messages may help the government prove its case, and prosecutors were within their rights to charge him with the most serious offense against the nation, a crime that can be punishable by death...

[T]he U.S. criminal code, which tracks the constitutional language, states that "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." If the government can prove the facts it alleges, that is clearly what Gadahn did — he joined the enemy (there can be little doubt that a state of war exists between Al Qaeda and the U.S.) to further its cause. [Full text]

Gadahn has appeared in a series of propaganda videos (Washington Post 10-11-06) for Al Qaeda. See here (ABC News, 9-12-05), here (MEMRI #1281, 9-6-06), and here (MEMRI #1201, 7-11-06).

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