26 July 2007

The wagers of deceit

We hear so much from people about 'enforcing the laws' and the ability of the law to do so much, that 'there ought to be a law' became a cliche in the American lexicon. New laws are proposed to try and cover old ills which cannot be covered by the Nation as it would impinge upon the rights of adults to have a Nation in common. Instapundit points to this article which describes Congresscritters having 'hearings' about why the internet should be 'filtered' of content that might injure 'children'. Apparently they have not bothered to read a few decades of Supreme Court rulings on this, where the Federal government is informed that this is still held by the United States:

Amendment I

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.
This means censoring based on offensive content is *not* to be legislated on by Congress. The freedom of the press is the right of the People to disseminate information amongst themselves without Congress deciding if it is fit for human reading. There are limits to this, but they deal almost exclusively with activities aimed to deny rights or oversight over those that cannot find enforcement via legal means and to protect the Nation, as a whole, especially in dissemination of false or defamatory information about those critical services mandated under the Constitution to be under the bounds of Federal control. That is why the American People hand so little over to the Federal Government: it puts the onus of responsibility amongst the People, where it belongs, not to an empowered bureaucrat that was elected by no one.

The power of the press, held by the People, is to be used responsibly by the People to uphold the Nation which guarantees the backstopping of the foundations and protection of those rights. Accountability is at the lowest level, although it may be promulgated from various levels, the individual Citizen is the one that gives oversight and purview to their activities with the least restraining of Congress or, indeed, any government. That means that the rights of the People are put at risk when the very few things necessary to protect the Nation are put at risk by irresponsible reporting. The accountability is held by those doing the reporting and, in matters of National Safety and National Security which We the People have handed to the Federal government to allow the Nation to be free from outside interference, that means anything which might put the Union at risk via the freedom of the press actually does need to adhere to the laws involved in such reporting. We do not hand to any government the ability to censor or filter those things that we, as a People, teach our children. We do hold ourselves accountable for our actions to the Nation as individuals to be a part of the People.

Controls over speech are the most onerous ones as they seek to limit dissemination of thoughts, restrict public debate and put at risk the basis for democracy. Those seeking to make certain types of speech 'Politically Correct' are engaging on peer-based, authoritarian forms of this as individuals in an attempt to bypass political forms of censorship and use forms that will influence political debate. Change the use of terminology or use different contextual definitions for words that differ highly from standard definitions and yet attempt to retain emotional backing, and the end result is a disingenuous attempt to control others with illegitimate presentations of thoughts via language. The basis of common society is common discourse with widely accepted terminology and definitions. Without that there is not basis of thought nor reason via the use of language and common society crumbles as it is redefined by those that purport to present 'new ideas' while they are, in fact, presenting 'old ideas' and giving a sugar coating to them by debasing common usage for terms in 'new ways' that are at odds with their common usage.

This, however, does not work with the law as it utilizes common usage at the time a law is put in place and later changes to usage do not change the original meaning. Even worse is when a definition is GIVEN in a law and then those in later years try to undermine it by claiming that there is a different definition given to the language involved. A case in point here is the definition of 'person':
Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.

Section 1.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Here the definition of 'person' is clearly given in the Amendment itself and is abundantly clear as the conjunction AND is used to demonstrate that the first and second part must be true for the following to apply. Thus a 'person' for consideration of the usage within this Amendment is this class of being that has been born or naturalized into the US. If you are not born or naturalized into the US then jurisdiction does not matter as you do not fall under the first part of the logical statement being made. Only those that are born or naturalized into the United States are considered to be citizens within the United States, and are also subject to State laws where they live. And yet that clear and ample definition of 'person' has been twisted by those wanting to destroy the meaning of citizenship to include *anyone* who can somehow get to the United States, hide from the enforcement of the laws and otherwise seek to undermine the rule of law within the United States by their presence.

Even worse is the consideration that being born into the United States is *all* that is needed to become a citizen. As the States have jurisdiction over the laws that oversee birth certificates and the legitimacy of birth within their State to be eligible to become a citizen, the States can, if they wished on their own, put forth that to be considered under their jurisdiction as a citizen (plurally) an individual born in their state may be regulated as to Nationality. Any State that wanted to do so could put that down and require that at least one parent of the child be verified as a citizen of the United States for the child to gain such legitimacy. The Federal government via its immigration and naturalization powers may not step into an area where the State has sole jurisdiction. One does not get a birth certificate from the Federal government but from the STATE. It is the States that decide this matter for their own outlook as this is neither an immigration or naturalization power, but a determination of legitimacy of citizenship based on State jurisdiction upon birth.

Twist the meaning of 'person' to be a generic human being and the rest of the Amendment turns to mush as it can be applied globally. Local definition based on the definition given for the piece of law, or in this case the Constitution, over-rides later attempts to re-define it. You want to change it? Amend the Constitution to say EXACTLY what you mean.

On the other end of the spectrum we have National protection laws set up to ensure that false or otherwise destructive language with intent to harm the Union are regulated. This is not your deranged individual in the park on a soapbox, with which the Nation suffers fools gladly for the greater benefit to the Nation of freedom of speech, but the actual misrepresentation, misreporting or outright fraudulent reporting of events to undermine the National ability to understand the context of events in the affairs of mankind. Even here the Federal government has very few powers of oversight and has stringent restrictions upon what it can do outside the realm of commerce regularization and enforcement, protection on the High Seas and air space, promulgation of foreign policy outside the Nation, and with regards to the activities of Armed Forces. In these areas there are laws on the books to protect these few responsibilities and rights granted to the Federal and held for the People by that government. We agree on this, as the People, so as to have a government for a more perfect Union to represent us All. You may *disagree* with that government and petition it and use your freedoms to discuss its problems with your fellow citizens, but in those areas handed to this common government We have agreed that it does have accountability and oversight of those things.

Yes it is, indeed, 'done in your name'.

If you don't like that, then protest it right up to the limit of the common and talk and reason with your fellow citizens about why you dislike what is done in your name. Stepping away and saying it is not 'in my name' that it is done is stepping away from the People and putting your viewpoint as being more important and above the common viewpoint held for us, in trust, by the government. When you say it is 'Not in my name' what you are saying is: 'I am no longer of We the People and better than the rest of you'.

Protest, yell, scream, rant like a 5 year old if you must. Then feel the awesome weight we take upon ourselves as a People for the things done in our name as a People. We don't hand that off to dictators, tyrants, despots, or any authority whatsoever. We may trust in God, but We are held accountable for what is done for Us by Our government and no other may do that for Us and those that walk away from it are refusing to be part of society. When the government does Right we should feel empowered to know that our system works, and when it does wrong we should use our power to hold it accountable. But at no time do you step away from We the People by declaring actions done are 'not in your name'. That is Our compact and it ensures that we have small, tight and accountable government, not a Nannystate that takes your name from you and hands out a number.

The path to dictatorship is 'not in your name' until you have your name removed from you. Then your name will not matter. Because you decided your name was more valuable than the society you are a part of... until that society falls to adjust to those nameless, non-social entities who refuse to bear responsibility for authority handed out in common.

That path of disunion has legal obstacles put in its way on directly attacking those bodies that protect the Union as a whole. There are actual laws, on the books to protect those parts of government from hostile action via freedoms the People hold so that the Union may be protected against such attacks upon those commonly held functions. And yet there are those that wish to twist words and meanings to attack those very same functions and cause greater disunity amongst the People and loss of faith and trust in these functions held in common by the People.

Here a case in point is the set of 'diaries' published by the anonymous "Scott Thomas" in The New Republic. I looked at that in overview for the lack of ethics held by TNR and talk a bit about how TNR actually does not put up a Code of Ethics where the Public can readily find it. That shows a lack of integrity for the organization concerned and that, as they have no accountability they place upon themselves, that the more common accountability of We the People must be used. That, unfortunately, takes us to the actual laws that are in place to cover how the People can talk about the Armed Forces of the Union, and the peacetime law is under 18 USC 2387:



Sec. 2387. Activities affecting armed forces generally

(a) Whoever, with intent to interfere with, impair, or influence the
loyalty, morale, or discipline of the military or naval forces of the
United States:

(1) advises, counsels, urges, or in any manner causes or
attempts to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of
duty by any member of the military or naval forces of the United
States; or

(2) distributes or attempts to distribute any written or printed
matter which advises, counsels, or urges insubordination,
disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty by any member of the military
or naval forces of the United States
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten
years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United
States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next
following his conviction.

(b) For the purposes of this section, the term ``military or naval
forces of the United States'' includes the Army of the United States,
the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Naval Reserve, Marine
Corps Reserve, and Coast Guard Reserve of the United States; and, when
any merchant vessel is commissioned in the Navy or is in the service of
the Army or the Navy, includes the master, officers, and crew of such
Here the actual reporting is that of demonstration of insubordination to the chain of command by not following rules and regulations for reporting of events and proper conduct during said events, the reporting of this by individual citizens using their press rights are *not* seeking out the lines of control and authority within the Armed Forces to report this *first*. By not reporting the individual(s) involved for misconduct, insubordination, refusal to obey the rules of engagement and the UCMJ covering conduct, The New Republic is disseminating information to give the appearance that such activities are NOT limited to a single individual or handful of individuals, but is endemic across the US Armed Forces. By not taking the responsibility of citizenship to the whole of the Nation and going through legitimate lines set up by Congress for the ability to hold soldiers accountable for their actions, TNR disseminates material to undermine the Armed Forces for its own ideological viewpoint.

The responsibility for a citizen is *clear*: if you see misconduct you report it to the organizations and chain of command to get this addressed as this falls under the UCMJ not Civil Law. These are soldiers representing the Union and they agree to adhere to the Laws set by Congress for them via the chain of command. The place of the press is either to report that such activities have been reporting and to report upon investigations, or that they have sought to do so and have been REFUSED HEARING by the lawful organs of the Armed Forces set up by Congress. I have not seen TNR do *either*. The responsibility of the press right is that of the citizens right of free speech which has restrictions placed upon it when it comes to endangerment of fellow citizens in wrongful ways or when it is used to attack those things held in common without utilizing the lawful recourse for same set up by Congress.

And when the Armed Forces are at war, which is a function duly authorized by Congress to use force overseas by the Armed Forces of the United States, or others via the Letters of Marque and Reprisal system, or anyone the President sees fit to utilize overseas to achieve these ends, including such things as allies lending forces to our command structure, the next statute applies to this activity, which is 18 USC 2388:



Sec. 2388. Activities affecting armed forces during war

(a) Whoever, when the United States is at war, willfully makes or
conveys false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with
the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United
States or to promote the success of its enemies
; or
Whoever, when the United States is at war, willfully causes or
attempts to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of
duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or willfully
obstructs the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States, to
the injury of the service or the United States, or attempts to do so--
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty
years, or both.

(b) If two or more persons conspire to violate subsection (a) of
this section and one or more such persons do any act to effect the
object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall
be punished as provided in said subsection (a).

(c) Whoever harbors or conceals any person who he knows, or has
reasonable grounds to believe or suspect, has committed, or is about to
commit, an offense under this section, shall be fined under this title
or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both

(d) This section shall apply within the admiralty and maritime
jurisdiction of the United States, and on the high seas, as well as
within the United States.
Here things get a bit rougher as putting the active Armed Forces at risk due to the press freedom of the People is more actively endangering the Union as a whole. The diarist "Scott Thomas" has, indeed, made false statements and misrepresented events in Iraq. Confederate Yankee has been collecting that list of things that are blatantly false, misrepresented or otherwise reported in a light of insubordination and meant to sow discord amongst the People to help the enemies that the soldiers of the United States face. By doing these things "Scott Thomas" and the TNR are actively attempting to hinder progress being made and work against the stability of the Armed Forces to make them appear irrational, insubordinate to command and authority during wartime, and otherwise painting a false picture of activities in Iraq that those operating in the same Forward Operating Base have seen.

While abhorrent activity is common in any organization set up by humans on the face of this Earth, NO organization deserves to be slandered by one or two bad actors in it. The responsibility by "Scott Thomas" was to report such activities and for those around him to do that exact, same thing: report them. By asserting that these things happen, often with witnesses, the outlook is that the entirety of those surrounding "Scott Thomas" likewise are willing to act outside the rules and laws set up by Congress and the accountability system within the Armed Forces to ensure regular operations for the Union as a whole. Above and beyond that, every editor, proof reader, and any individual at TNR who has had any oversight or input into the presentation of these stories are *likewise* aiding this by not reporting it to the Armed Forces via proper legal channels, the chain of command or BOTH. There are two ways to get this addressed at MINIMUM within the Armed Forces, and calling the Unit Commander or the legal affairs folks on the ground handling the receipt of complaints for review under UCMJ, and BOTH are legitimate for reporting this story and individual first, before it gets to the general public.

Even worse, however, is the blatant disregard for the remains of those in the 'mass grave' found and that is wholly out of line with the general procedures outlined by USAID in their view of identifying mass grave sites to assess criminality involved. And it is against the governmental view given by the Dept. of State for the United States on how mass graves are going to be handled. As we, as a Nation, cannot tell if any grave site is part of a mass grave site, even if the locals give information on the grave site itself, each is to be handled with respect and care. This is re-inforced by the Hague Convention II (1899), Article 56, which the US is a signatory to:
Article 56
The property of the communes, that of religious, charitable, and educational institutions, and those of arts and science, even when State property, shall be treated as private property.

All seizure of, and destruction, or intentional damage done to such institutions, to historical monuments, works of art or science, is prohibited, and should be made the subject of proceedings.
Cemeteries and grave sites, when NOT the sites of criminal mass murders, are under the care of the previous State and are considered to be non-"usufructory" under Article 55 of the same convention: cemeteries are not an area of productive utility and are to be treated as private property for all warfare, and sacrosanct once captured, save to find evidence of war crimes or other crimes. As nearly every cemetery on the planet has *some* affiliation with a religion, it is to be treated with utmost respect even and especially if it has unmarked graves.

To not do that falls under 18 USC 2441:



Sec. 2441. War crimes

(a) Offense.--Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States,
commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection
(b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term
of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be
subject to the penalty of death.
(b) Circumstances.--The circumstances referred to in subsection (a)
are that the person committing such war crime or the victim of such war
crime is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States or a national
of the United States (as defined in section 101 of the Immigration and
Nationality Act).
(c) Definition.--As used in this section the term ``war crime''
means any conduct--
(1) defined as a grave breach in any of the international
conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such
convention to which the United States is a party;
(2) prohibited by Article 23, 25, 27, or 28 of the Annex to the
Hague Convention IV, Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land,
signed 18 October 1907;
(3) which constitutes a violation of common Article 3 of the
international conventions signed at Geneva, 12 August 1949, or any
protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party
and which deals with non-international armed conflict; or
(4) of a person who, in relation to an armed conflict and
contrary to the provisions of the Protocol on Prohibitions or
Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices as
amended at Geneva on 3 May 1996 (Protocol II as amended on 3 May
1996), when the United States is a party to such Protocol, willfully
kills or causes serious injury to civilians.
As all indications given by "Scott Thomas" are that the 'mass grave' was of unknown origin and had the remains of children in them, it was and is to be treated with the highest respect possible and no tampering with forensic evidence is to be done. The area is to be cordoned off and the official registry system contacted to find out what type of grave this is, if the locals know, and treat it as a war crime investigation site as we do not know what the Saddam regime did in its 30 years and more in power. Yes, in not respecting the dead in a foreign Nation during wartime, in not upholding the Hague II protocols, and in not following the established procedure outlined by the US Government in the Executive branch for the discovery of 'mass graves', "Scott Thomas" is reporting his own culpability in a war crime under the Hague II treaty. This is true if it is only a PURELY civilian grave site with NO criminal investigation warranted: the dead are to be respected.

This goes beyond mere misrepresentation.

And in not following the procedures set out by Congress to report such things, TNR is aiding and abetting the idea that the Armed Forces will commit war crimes and not have them reported upon. Very well, it is time to cough up "Scott Thomas" to the legal authorities on the oversight of 'mass graves' and start getting to the bottom of this.

That is, if there is a "Scott Thomas" to cough up.

For I do not like those that commit war crimes.

Or sedition.

And TNR, in my view, has no other way to explain its actions in printing what it has printed.

UPDATE: "Scott Thomas" has outed himself at TNR. H/t to Dean Barnett at Hugh Hewitt's place. He’s Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp, a member of Alpha Company, 1/18 Infantry, Second Brigade Combat Team, First Infantry Division.

Corroboration of events, Mr. Thomas? TNR? Any accountability there at all?


USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Outstanding post, A Jacksonian, and I thank you for taking the time and making the effort to describe the seditious acts of Scott Thomas and TNR!

I have no idea why justice hasn't been pursued consistantly, if at all, since the war started, against the NYT, WaPo, AP, CNN, NBC, and many other news organizations, that clearly have violated the law.

Members of Congress have done many of the same things this Scott Thomas Beaucamp has done, such as John Murtha and John Kerry, to name just a few.

I truly hope that TNR and Beaucamp are prosecuted to the fullest extent on the law, and that our AG and Justice Dept. aggressively pursue others who are guilty of sedition, and even traitorous acts against our Military, and the People of the United States and our Allies, as well as those who help the terrorists win the propaganda part of the war!

I believe that one of the greatest blunders President Bush and his Administration have made, has been the lack of prosecution in regards to sedition and traitorous acts.

Our Military and our citizens deserve better!

A Jacksonian said...

Ben - It has been with dismay that I see the lack of adherance of my fellow Americans to the laws of the land, and individuals walking away from the common responsibilities that we hold to ourselves and our Nation and our fellow Citizens. Using rights to undermine the common government causes a destruction in the structure of the Nation's social fabric to try and unweave the cloth first made in the fire of Revolution.

I am fully dismayed by so many in Congress not even knowing their duties, not to speak of their responsibilities, and the long term trend of those, that I do fear for the Nation as a whole.

We cherish our rights and freedoms, but when we no longer cherish our accountability and responsibility the rule of law collapses as that is the structure of law: acknowledging common responsibility for oneself and to one's community, and accountability for actions taken to undermine that community and diminish the support for the rights and freedoms held in common between us.

As the phrase goes: 'No good will come of that.'

Those that wage deceit are seeking to destroy accountability and honesty in the forthrightness of activities. I am more than happy to support those willing to go to jail for their open beliefs that they use to try and destroy the Nation! Protest, speak your mind and be held accountable for what you say and do. But when individuals try to pass of deceit as heading for some 'greater truth' and to avoid their responsibility for speaking deceitfully... that is destructive to honesty to oneself, one's Nation and to those Citizens around you who trust YOU to hold yourself accountable. That erosionn of trust between us, as Citizens, is the most despicable thing of all for it is the basis of society and Nation. Without it we shall soon have neither.