Aid and Comfort: Jane Fonda in North Vietnam
By Henry Mark Holzer
Professor of Law Emeritus, Brooklyn Law School
and Erika Holzer
Free speech or treason?
By Frank Laughter, July 15, 2002
Article III. Section. 3.
As one would expect from such distinguished scholars (See Curriculum Vitae), the Holzer's analysis of treason and "aid and comfort" is consistent with American jurisprudence. They don't rely solely on the stark language of the Constitution but carefully examine original intent and legal precedent to fortify conclusions that mesh well with our intuition and common sense.
During and immediately following WWII, indictments for treason were brought against several Americans. Two of the most notorious were "Axis Sally" who broadcast anti-America propaganda from Germany and "Tokyo Rose" who aired from Japan. Neither was condemned to death but that didn't appease left-wing 'original intent' revisionist that railed from the front of university classrooms: The treason charges were bogus; words can't provide "aid and comfort;" the poor ladies were simply exercising First Amendment rights.
Since WWII Americans have become increasingly befuddled over the lack of treason charges against traitors, including a few American POW's from the Korean War who collaborated with their communnist captors. Many American's feel that somewhere along the way, the DOD and the DOJ lost their compass for justice and surrendered to left-wing zealots. A case in point was Julius and Ethel Rosenberg who were executed in the early 1950's under espionage law for passing our most highly classified nuclear weapon secrets to the Soviet Union.
Later, there were others who should have been charged with treason regardless of the convenience of other federal statutes. Of course, there was Hanoi-Jane Fonda but a more recent example is the Robert Hanssen (FBI Special Agent, counter intelligence) case in which that traitor was allowed to plea-bargain under espionage law and let off with a jail term while his family collects his retirement benefits from the U.S. treasury. That's illogical and nonsensical because, as it turns out, Hanssen's retirement is from 20 years of devoted service to the Soviet Union and Russia.... Russia should pay his retirement benefits.
The last federal official to publicly accuse an American of treason was not from the DOJ. It was Senator Ted Kennedy who accused John Ashcroft (then nominee for Attorney General) of treason because Ashcroft had written a pro gun article for a conservative outdoors magazine. In the article, Ashcroft supported the generally accepted interpretation of the Second Amendment's provision for an individual's right to own guns and he agreed with the NRA's stance on the issue. In an open Senate Judiciary Committee hearing (considering Ashcroft's confirmation) Chappaquiddick-Teddy raised a copy of the magazine high above his head and shouted, "this is treason!" thus confirming that he holds an innate belief that those who do not conform to his left-wing ultra liberal dogma are un-American.
The Constitution is not a law book. It was framed to specify those limited powers to be delegated to a central government, principally, national defense and security. To ease apprehensions that a central government could assume too much power, James Madison led a successful effort to amend the basic document by adding the Bill of Rights.
However, going beyond the delegation of powers, the Founders, with the consent of 13 nervous states, agreed that three crimes deserved attention in the document: piracy, counterfeiting, and treason. They left it to Congress to codify all three into federal statutes but treason received special treatment. It's the only crime for which the Constitution specifies minimum requirements for conviction. There was a legitimate reason for specificity: The old European practice of disposing of political rivals and their families by branding them traitors and removing their heads. The Treason Clause ended such arcane indictments in America but it did not limit the federal government's ability to bring such charges and try the defendant in a court of law.
Shenanigans, railings, and false interpretations by a small minority of left-wing zealots clearly have blown chilling winds through the DOJ and the White House. Today, July 15, 2002, despite broad public support for a charge of treason, DOJ entered into a plea agreement with the lawyer for John Walker (Lindh) -- a.k.a. Jihad Johnny, Taliban John, or to Osama bin Laden, Abdul Hamid -- and let Walker walk with a guilty plea to two ordinary criminal charges carrying a maximum combined penalty of 20 years. Jihad Johnny's lawyer, James Brosnahan, says the poor, misunderstood "boy" was simply pursuing religious edification and will be out in 17 years prepared to demonstrate his love for America.
Brosnahan didn't mention a stipulation demanded by Osama's disciple to finalize the bargain... After his release from jail, Abdul must be granted a passport (usually not issued to convicted felons) so that he can join the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.
Henry and Erika Holzer's published works reveal that they are not mindless political hacks. Instead, readers discover scholars who carefully examine legal and Constitutional doctrine and render reasoned conclusions. Their prose is efficient and a reading pleasure.
The Holzer's are leading the way to put Humpty-Dumpty together again with their marvelous Web site and latest book. They are regular contributors to FrontPage Magazine. I recommend their work and encourage others to pass the word.
"Aid and Comfort" is published as a heavy-duty public library quality book but personal copies are available on the Net from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble (best price). (The Holzer's have no control over prices.) However, even if you choose not to get your own copy, they would be delighted if you could convince your local library to acquire a copy and let your friends know of its availability. . . . . . Frank Laughter
Professor Holzer's Web site
Professor Holzer's Curriculum Vitae
Aid and Comfort: Book Review
Taliban John -- a.k.a., Jihad Johnny
A subsequent novel, EYE FOR AN EYE (Tor/St. Martin's/Forge, hard & soft) was a Brilliance uncondensed audio with foreign editions and such prominent endorsers as: Nelson DeMille, Ed McBain, Sandra Scoppettone, Barbara D'Amato, and Dorothy Salisbury Davis. Film rights were purchased by Paramount's Sherry Lansing, and the feature film "Eye For An Eye," directed by John Schlesinger and starring Sally Field and Kiefer Sutherland, was released in 1996 and is often replayed on television.
All rights reserved.