Did Hanoi Jane Pass Notes Handed to Her by US POWs to Vietnamese Captors?

Those of you who caught me on The O'Reilly Factor last night might be wondering that very question, as it became the sticking point between the Big O and yours truly. Here's the discussion of the matter from the widely hailed and authoritative site Snopes.com:

The most serious accusations..., that Fonda turned over slips of paper furtively given her by American POWs to the North Vietnamese and that several POWs were beaten to death as a result, are untrue. Those named in the inflammatory e-mail categorically deny the events they supposedly were part of.

"It's a figment of somebody's imagination," says Ret. Col. Larry Carrigan, one of the servicemen mentioned in the 'slips of paper' incident. Carrigan was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967 and did spend time in a POW camp. He has no idea why the story was attributed to him, saying, "I never met Jane Fonda."

The tale about a defiant serviceman who spit at Jane Fonda and is severely beaten as a result is often attributed to Air Force pilot Jerry Driscoll. He has repeatedly stated on the record that it did not originate with him.

Mike McGrath, President of NAM-POWs, also stepped forward to disclaim the story:

Please excuse the generic response, but I have been swamped with so many e-mails on the subject of the Jane Fonda article (Carrigan, Driscoll, strips of paper, torture and deaths of POWs, etc.) that I have to resort to this pre-scripted rebuttal. The truth is that most of this never happened. This is a hoax story placed on the internet by unknown Fonda haters. No one knows who initiated the story. Please assist by not propagating the story. Fonda did enough bad things to assure her a correct place in the garbage dumps of history. We don't want to be party to false stories, which could be used as an excuse that her real actions didn't really happen either. I have spoken with all the parties named: Carrigan, Driscoll, et al. They all state that this particular internet story is a hoax and they wish to disassociate their names from the false story.

The whole Snopes account, which is extremely critical of Fonda's actions during the Vietnam War, is here.

Urban Legend's take on the same matter here. This also concludes that Fonda did not hand over messages from US POWs.

Both the Snopes and Urban Legend versions confirm that a prisoner, Michael Benge, was beaten by Vietnamese captors for refusing to meet with Fonda.

My review of Fonda's autobio is here.

[A shout out to H&R commenter Sage, who threw in most of the above in the discussion below of Hanoi Jane, Bill O, & Me.]

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Nick, why do you hate America?

  • ||

    "Both the Snopes and Urban Legend versions confirm that a prisoner, Michael Benge, was beaten by Vietnamese captors for refusing to meet with Fonda."

    Actually, they confirm prisoners were beaten. Urban Legends then reprints an account provided by Benge (who had announced his intent to tell the truth at Fonda's propaganda party):

    "Because of this," the narrative continues, "I spent three days on a rocky floor on my knees with outstretched arms with a piece of steel placed on my hands, and beaten with a bamboo cane every time my arms dipped."


    Snopes is even tougher:

    She also spoke with eight American POWs at a carefully arranged "press conference," POWs who had been tortured by their North Vietnamese captors to force them to meet with Fonda, deny they had been tortured, and decry the American war effort.

    They also note her non-apology for the event:

    "There are hundreds of American delegations that had met with the POWs," she added. "Both sides were using the POWs for propaganda. It's not something that I will apologize for."

    Frontpage also has a good summary of "Hanoi Jane's" activities, and documents her various propaganda efforts (including the famous AAA photo-op).

    In short, while you're correct the paper slip incident was falsified, it strikes me as a distinction without a difference. Her actions were treasonous, her participation in the POW charade (and latter characterization of POWs as "liars and hypocrites") was beneath contempt, and her failure to render an appropriate apology is incomprehensible. And in fact the story only helps Fonda, as it distracts from her well-documented antics.

  • ||

    In short, while you're correct the paper slip incident was falsified, it strikes me as a distinction without a difference.

    Sure there's a difference. The difference is that the paper slip incident was mentioned by O'Reilly as "the one thing" he can never forgive her for, and it's patently false. That's not to say she's a great lady. The argument is kinda like people who are saying the veracity of the Koran flushing incident isn't all that important because a lot of similar stuff was done at Guantanamo. But you don't need to approve of Gitmo to find Newsweek's dubious reporting of the Koran incident to be reprehensible.

  • ||

    I think the difference between being a sucker taken in by somebody's Potemkin village, and actively working to contribute to the suffering of the people you see, is pretty significant.

  • ||

    Well, now the terrorists...I mean, the Communists, have won. Way to go, traitors!

  • ||

    If I were in charge Jane Fonda would be tried and if found guilty, put before a firing squad. After that I could forgive her, or not.

  • ||

    "Sure there's a difference. The difference is that the paper slip incident was mentioned by O'Reilly as "the one thing" he can never forgive her for, and it's patently false."

    Okay, pretend O'Reilly was smart enough to replace "paper slip incident" with "POW news conference" and see if it scans any better. The fact is she caused POWs to be abused (though it wasn't a direct result of her handing a paper slip to someone), and added insult to injury.

    As to whether it's forgiveable, that's moot until she figures out she owes an apology . . . and stops trying to justify it.

  • ||

    Okay, pretend O'Reilly was smart enough to replace "paper slip incident" with "POW news conference" and see if it scans any better.

    In that pretend world there wouldn't be a problem with what O'Reilly said.

  • ||

    In that pretend world, O'Really would be admitting that his anger is motivated by her political stance, and not by the perception that she cooperated in the abuse of American prisoners.

    Of course, in that pretend world, he would come right out and say that he's not really on your side, but that he just wants your money.

  • R C Dean||

    It sounds like the paper slip report is being defended as "fake but accurate". If that doesn't fly for the lefty media, it doesn't fly for the righties either.

    joe, I am fascinated by your distinction between being a willing dupe of totalitarian criminals, and being their active accomplice. Talk about your nuances! I doubt it made much difference to the people being beaten into submission to provide a PR opportunity for Jane Fonda and the Communist regime she supported, though.

  • Jesse Walker||

    R.C.: I guess it's the old distinction between a knave and a fool.

    Of course, it's quite possible to be both.

  • ||

    Her actions were treasonous, her participation in the POW charade (and latter characterization of POWs as "liars and hypocrites") was beneath contempt, and her failure to render an appropriate apology is incomprehensible.

    I can agree with the last two, but her actions weren't treasonous. Had she been an agent of the US government at any point, like by being in the military or working for the government, in a position where she could actually betray her allegiance to the US, then she would be a traitor. Unless you count recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance when you're forced to do so by social pressure, then she never actually swore to uphold the government of the United States.

    I think that this is an important distinction to make, especially to libertarians. Think about it. Under a definition where her actions were treasonous, all of us are bound to uphold the actions of the government we're born under, not just if we choose to by government service. I don't think that a free citizen of a republic owes allegiance to that republic; if Jane Fonda wanted to oppose the actions of the United States in Vietnam, she had every right to do so. Had she killed someone in pursuit of that, then she would be liable for murder. In this case, it sounds like she might be guilty of assault, or conspiracy to assault, or whatever the legal definition might be. She committed criminal acts, maybe, but not treason.

    Maybe this is an archaic definition of treason; it's the one I could find on dictionary.com (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=treason).

    All of which isn't to say that Jane Fonda shouldn't apologize for what she did, or that she was wrong for doing what she did. But "wrong" and "treasonous" are two different things, and I think that we would be well-served to remember the difference between bad judgment and treason.

  • ||

    "joe, I am fascinated by your distinction between being a willing dupe of totalitarian criminals, and being their active accomplice."

    So when W. gazed into Putin's eyes and saw his soul, that was exactly the same thing as ordering the Interior Ministry guys to kidnap, torture, and mutilate Chechen civilians?

  • ||

    Hands up: who considers the beatings, sleep deprivation, long periods of remaining in a single position, and stress positions used on American POWs in Vietnam to be torture?

  • ||

    "It sounds like the paper slip report is being defended as "fake but accurate". If that doesn't fly for the lefty media, it doesn't fly for the righties either."

    I'd suggest Fonda supporters are using the fact that she's innocent of the paper slip allegations to pretend she's innocent of having POWs abused. And that's simply not true. (The fact that O'Reilly is an idiot who can't get his facts straight is another issue.)

    "I don't think that a free citizen of a republic owes allegiance to that republic; if Jane Fonda wanted to oppose the actions of the United States in Vietnam, she had every right to do so."

    I might support her right to oppose the actions of the US . . . I'm having considerably more difficulty with actions helpful to the enemy in wartime. I also disagree with your view of the responsibilities of a free citizen. It seems to me that when we're sending notices to fellow citizens stating: "Greetings: Your friends and neighbors have selected you for service in the Armed Forces . . ."--and the law requires they serve--then the rest of us have an obligation to support those "chosen." However, I recognize the Constitution makes a treason conviction nearly impossible, and your view might well prevail in a legal setting. But I don't have to like it.

  • ||

    RC, if you are unable to see the distinction between the truth - that Fonda was a fool and an unwitting tool of communist propaganda, and Reillly's charge - that she deliberately betrayed prisoners' confidence with the likely forknowledge that they would be subject to vicious reprisals - then I suggest that your understanding lacks more than mere nuance.

  • ||

    You guys are just too weird. Fonda did a dumb stunt that didn't move the war one way or another. Really, do you think anyone fought harder or deserted sooner because an actress posed on a gun? Maybe one or two easily led marginals.

    Meanwhile Johnson, Nixon, and McNamara sent tens of thousands to their actual real world deaths when then knew better. Did any of you call their actions treason or demand that they be stood up against a wall and shot?

    Untwist your shorts and put your anger where it belongs.

  • ||

    Hands up: who considers the beatings, sleep deprivation, long periods of remaining in a single position, and stress positions used on American POWs in Vietnam to be torture?

    joe, why do you hate America?

  • ||

    Meanwhile Johnson, Nixon, and McNamara sent tens of thousands to their actual real world deaths when then knew better. Did any of you call their actions treason or demand that they be stood up against a wall and shot?

    DAMN GOOD POINT!!!

    Johnson admitted that he had no idea why he was sending young Americans to die. He continued to do so anyway.

    If that doesn't count as a betrayal of one's countrymen and an abdication of his responsibilities to the troops under his command, I don't know what does.

  • ||

    "Hands up: who considers the beatings, sleep deprivation, long periods of remaining in a single position, and stress positions used on American POWs in Vietnam to be torture?"

    Hmmm, dunno. Probably depends on severity. There's considerably less doubt about the rope torture, bastinado, starvation, tiger cages, failure to provide medical attention, etc. But it's worth pointing out that's not the standard (from Third Geneva): "Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind." And of course, the disappointing historical record of US POW treatment inspired Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE) school, where trainees are beaten, sleep deprived, stress positions and water boarded (they also don't feed you, but it's only for a few days). They call those things "training."

  • ||

    Cecil, what pray tell are the personnel being trained to "survive" and "resist?"

    thoreau, "joe, why do you hate America?"

    *SOB* American touched me where my bathing suit goes!

  • ||

    "Cecil, what pray tell are the personnel being trained to "survive" and "resist?""

    Enemy captivity and interrogation, respectively. It's given to anyone with a higher-than-normal risk of being captured. (Here's a link to the Army version.)

    *SOB* American touched me where my bathing suit goes!

    That'd make me cranky, too. Did he even kiss you first?

  • ||

    Maybe she didn't give the slips of paper to the Vietnamese, but I haven't seen any proof that she didn't flush them down the toilet.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Did anyone notice that O'Reilly didn't have a fargin' clue what snopes.com was? How can he be that ignorant? Oh sure, he tried hard to stuff the cat back into the bag, but he blew it, and on national TV.

    I'll add here that the stories of Fonda and the slips of paper pre-date the Internet by decades. These are persistent rumors that date all the way back to the height of the Viet Nam war.

    Cecil said it best, a distinction without a difference. And I'll qualify that by saying I totally agree with Sage, who said elsewhere that it's important to be as accurate as we can about this stuff. Fonda was verifiably evil, let's stick to hating for the right reasons. :-)

  • ||

    Joe,
    "what pray tell are the personnel being trained to "survive" and "resist?"

    They are being trained to evade enemy capture, survive detention, and resist interrogation. It is a good school.

    Atlas,
    "Meanwhile Johnson, Nixon, and McNamara sent tens of thousands to their actual real world deaths when then knew better. Did any of you call their actions treason or demand that they be stood up against a wall and shot?"

    I do think Johnson, and McNamara should be put on trial, and I would have not heartburn if their sentence was most severe. I think Johnson, for specifics of Vietnam and a series of other incidents including the events surrounding the USS Liberty should be put on trial. And McNamara for what he reveals in his book alone. (I haven't read it, just heard about what he says)

    I have no problem with someone opposing a war. I somewhat dislike it if they are going to oppose our war while they are overseas in a third country. But if they go and aid the enemy, I do think that perhaps traitor is the word.

  • Luke Thomas||

    At the end of the day, she still a MILF.

    My hat is now in the Jane Fonda ring.

  • ||

    Hands up: who considers the beatings, sleep deprivation, long periods of remaining in a single position, and stress positions used on American POWs in Vietnam to be torture?

    just the beatings.

  • ||

    By the way, this whole thread is weird to me. The first time I heard that the Jane Fonda mass email talked about here was fake, was on the O Reilly radio show. I heard him say it was fake when I was on leave and in my car going to the store. I thought wondered if O Reilly was right that it was fake, did he have all the facts?

    I know that he was very soft on Dan Rather. O Reilly was blasting the Vietname Vet that spit on her.

    My dad is a Vietnam vet and he hates Fonda with a passion.

    So as I read this post, I wonder if I am in some kind of time warp. Because I also came from the Gym where they cut normal Fox or CNN morning crap to go to Senate or House deliberations about the Nucular option for judicial nominees. And I don't see any mention about that on H&R.

    I wonder, could they be running and old newsreel, because most of the power is out?

  • ||

    Luke,
    If you are in your 80's that is an acceptable observation. If not, maybe you haven't seen a picture of her since Barbarella. I'd hit the Fonda in Barbarella.

    If you are not in your later days, and you have seen a picture of her, and you still believe what you said, maybe you should look into pulling a male version of Anna Nichole Smith stunt.

  • ||

    kwais,

    "But if they go and aid the enemy, I do think that perhaps traitor is the word." If we were talking about running weapons to them or giving them photos of senstive locations (mmmm...Barbarella), I would agree. But this is a sticky area - the "aid" she gave them amounted to undermining political support in the United States for the prosecution of the war. By that standard, anyone who writes an Op-Ed promoting the teachings of Ghandi is committing treason.

  • ||

    "But this is a sticky area - the "aid" she gave them amounted to undermining political support in the United States for the prosecution of the war."

    It's hardly without precedent. Tokyo Rose was convicted of treason, Lord Haw Haw was convicted and hanged. In both cases for making propaganda broadcasts.

  • ||

    Joe,
    First off, I watched Barbarella, it sucked, all the promise of a skinemax movie, and yet there was no nudity. WTF? What a waste of my time!

    But to your main point. In the US, you can say whatever you want. You can even say what great people the enemy are, and how they should win. But when you go to where the enemy are while we are fighting with them, and pose for their propaganda machine.

    I even think that Americans that went to Afghanistan and helped the Taliban (while not having knowledge of the plan to do attack us) are OK, so long as they quit doing so once 9-11 happened.

  • ||

    scratch my last, Cecil said it better and shorter.

  • ||

    Gentlemen,

    Tokyo Rose and Lord Haw Haw made propaganda for the purpose of undermining the morale of American troops. Their words were a weapon to be used to give our enemies a leg up on the battlefield. I don't think they even broadcasted the announcements to the States.

    Fonda's intent was to change minds in the United States. Treason is a crime, and one of the elements of a crime is intent.

  • ||

    Of course, in that pretend world, he would come right out and say that he's not really on your side, but that he just wants your money.

    With you liberals, it's just all about the money, nothing more, nothing less.

    On the other hand, I'm totally sure he's madly in love with his own voice, as well.

  • ||

    And ultimately, the difference between the alleged notepassing and the other activities she engaged in, the reason why O'Reilley singled it out as "the one thing I can't forgive her for," is that it alone, of everything she did, would have shown intent to aid the NVA in their war effort, and to inflict harm on American soldiers.

  • ||

    "Fonda's intent was to change minds in the United States."

    I'm not sure how you can conclude Fonda's activities weren't related to the war effort, or didn't have the effect of demoralizing our troops (or weren't intended to). The POW incident and sitting on a AAA piece seem particularly martial. The difference between her and Tokyo Rose seems to be predominantly one of degree, the qualitative distinction you cite is too subtle for me.

  • ||

    Cecil,

    Tokyo Rose's speeches were broadcast on bands that were available to GIs in the field. Was the footage of Fonda on the gun similarly distributed to GIs?

    But more important, Tokyo Rose and Lord Haw Haw made statements like, "Hello to the boys of the 55th bomber wing. We killed half of you today, and we'll kill the other half tomorrow." They said these things to airmen who had, as a matter of fact, had half their number shot out of the sky earlier that day.

    I don't think it takes a great deal of nuance to distinguish this from what Fonda did.

  • ||

    Regarding intent....

    As I understant it, proving intent is not required for all crimes. In the case of treason, see [i]Haupt v. United States[/i] and [i]Cramer v. United States[/i].

    Douglis writing for Haupt in part says....

    "Intent need not be proved by two witnesses but may be inferred from all the circumstances surrounding the overt act."

  • ||

    Under a definition where her actions were treasonous, all of us are bound to uphold the actions of the government we're born under, not just if we choose to by government service.


    From 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. 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.

    I'd say that she provided aid and comfort to our enemies during wartime; i.e., treason.

  • ||

    Luke Thomas,

    "MILF?" I dunno, she's kinda long in the tooth now, IMHO. Actually, wouldn't she be a G(ranny)ILF?

  • ||

    a, if you are just making a point about the law, your post still indicates that a finding of intent is a necessary part of a conviction.

    If you are making a subrosa claim that Fonda's intent to harm American troops or the United States itself can be inferred from her other actions, then we're in "You're against the war because you love Saddam/Communism" territory.

  • ||

    Don, the "aid and comfort" she provided them was to spread ideas among the American people, in the hope of bringing about a change in our government's policy.

    Including such ideas in the definition of treason has a long history in this country - the Sedition Acts being one example, the jailing of Eugene V. Debs being another. In modern times, however, the spreading of ideas has been treated with much more deference. Perhaps you'd like to change that?

  • ||

    "if you are just making a point about the law, your post still indicates that a finding of intent is a necessary part of a conviction."

    Jeez, joe, that's now how I read the case law at all. The way I read it, intent is inferred from the action.

    "If you are making a subrosa claim that Fonda's intent to harm American troops or the United States itself can be inferred from her other actions, then we're in "You're against the war because you love Saddam/Communism" territory."

    Jeez, joe, not sure I made any sub rosa claim. In fact, from what I posted, it was rather blatant. And it's not my claim. It is the court's interpretation of treason and the requirements for proof of intent. What exactly is "sub rosa" about it?

    So what's your point?

  • ||

    "The way I read it, intent is inferred from the action."

    Well, it can be, or it can be proven through facts. But either way, the jury still has to find that there was intent. The case you cite is about HOW intent can be established, not whether it needs to be established.

    If I read more into your post than you intended, I apologize.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    The difference between her and Tokyo Rose seems to be predominantly one of degree

    No, the difference is that World War II was a declared war and Vietnam was not. If you want to treat Hanoi Jane as an enemy agent, take your time machine back to 1964 and lobby Congress to declare war on North Vietnam. Short of that, there's no aid to any enemy; there's just a difference of opinion, with a bunch of conscripts sadly suffering in the middle of it. Jesus, are there any more real constitutionalists in this land?

  • ||

    Whether Fonda's helping the North Vietnamese government produce propaganda footage counts as treason is a question that, well, I just dislike. It's a more squirmy issue than A or Joe, for instance, would argue it to be.

    Reading the definition of treason, it's making war against the US or helping its enemies, inclusive.

    On the one hand, the idea of equating all public discourse against a war with treason is incredibly scary. On the other hand, lending assistance in propaganda-making to a government whose troops are exchanging bullets with ours seems rather clearly within the definition. But, going back to the first hand, what if an enemy government co-opts that public discourse for its propaganda purposes? And is there a discernable difference between trying to end a war with an enemy and helping that enemy?

    The intent of the action indeed seems to be the only way to try to sort this out...but what really was the intent? (The "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh" vs. "Peace" question, I guess.) Posing for pictures on anti-aircraft guns...Well, not good - not so much about the "Peace" thing, and seemingly more about the victory of North Vietnam.

    But.

    Let's put it bluntly: Fonda was a young, dumb Hollywood left-wingnut. Her North Vietnamese handlers undoubtedly had no trouble manipulating her for their ends.

    We wouldn't prosecute treason against a child or a mentally incompetent person manipulated by an enemy government. We wouldn't prosecute someone who had no reasonable way of knowing his or her activites would benefit an enemy. How should we handle the case of young twits who are too willfully stupid (as many young people are, now and then) to realize what any sensible person would consider obvious?

  • ||

    No, the difference is that World War II was a declared war and Vietnam was not.

    Where's the definition of "enemy" in the Constitution that requires a declared war?

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    I understand the point re: Declared war v undeclared war, but the only way I see that argument flying is in court, but it is still mere technicality. Fonda did exactly what Tokyo Rose and others did.

    Had Fonda plyed her trade during the Korean era's undeclared war she would have likely found herself in a far different legal position than she did during the turmoil of the 1960's where the expected political fallout from prosecuting her just wasn't worth it. You can bet your Ticky Dick watch that Nixon looked hard at the option.

    The other thrust of the argument has to do with free speech and the rights of Americans to do what they dang well please. Certainly Fonda had a right to speak her mind and travel where she chose but that doesn't change the fundamental point that her actions were reprehensible. As a frikkin' movie star she had every available lecturn in the country at her disposal to change people's opinions about the war. She chose to pretend to shoot down American planes for photo ops that were shown around the world.

    And the horse she came to town on regards, TWC

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Luke, I don't know if she's a MILF or a GILF, but for a 68 year old woman she looks pretty good. She looked good at 30 as well.

    However, I wouldn't do her with your, ahem, appendage. :-)

  • ||

    Fonda is a MILF & a media magnate's whore & an arobics instructor & the conscience of the nation & a young dumb left wingnut & a second string movie star & without a doubt, a traitor.

    And the fact that she's every damn one of those things makes her a part of us. To simplify and disavow parts of her is to impoverish our own self-knowledge as Americans living in this era.

    Ha.

    Mmim

  • ||

    People, I think we are missing the point. The real crime of Jane Fonda is that she benefited from exposing the general populace to such a horrible piece of crap like "Monster in Law".

    And for all those people who think Fonda still looks hot at 68, keep in mind that makeup and digital airbrushing do wonders today. I bet if you saw her real face it would resemble Joan Rivers more than J-Lo. And even Joan Rivers doesn't look all that bad on TV. Given enough resources and a couple of Playboy editors, one could make Margaret Thatcher look hot.

  • ||

    No, the difference is that World War II was a declared war and Vietnam was not. If you want to treat Hanoi Jane as an enemy agent, take your time machine back to 1964 and lobby Congress to declare war on North Vietnam. Short of that, there's no aid to any enemy; there's just a difference of opinion, with a bunch of conscripts sadly suffering in the middle of it. Jesus, are there any more real constitutionalists in this land?

    What the hell, Cavanaugh? I'd like to second Eric the Half A Bee here and ask where in the Constitution it says we must be in the midst of a declared war for another nation to be considered an enemy? Fer chrissakes, we executed the Rosenbergs for espionage when we weren't in a declared war. If you're going to bitch about a lack of Constitutionalists, at least pretend to have read the goddamned thing.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    Go back to sleep, Phil.

    Giving or selling state military secrets to a foreign power, friend or foe, is treason whether there's a war on or not. That's why Jonathan Pollard is in prison even though he spied for a country with which the US has cordial relations.

    Serving the propaganda purposes of a foreign power is not treason unless there's a war on and that foreign power is the enemy. That's why Dalton Trumbo didn't go to prison (for treason at any rate) even though he was a Soviet stooge, communist propagandist and all-around scumbag.

  • ||

    Serving the propaganda purposes of a foreign power is not treason unless there's a war on and that foreign power is the enemy.

    That's the coupling of conditions you're assuming, but nothing in the constitutional definition of treason makes that two-stage requirement. Even without a declaration of war, how, precisely, would a government with soldiers engaged in battles with American troops not be an enemy?

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    Even without a declaration of war, how, precisely, would a government with soldiers engaged in battles with American troops not be an enemy?

    How can a ten-year commitment of a conscript military be covered by "letter of marque and reprisal"? These are the mysteries and confoundments that grow up when overweening presidents and supine congresses violate their responsibilities to the Constitution. The original comparison was to Tokyo Rose, and the claim stated at least once and implied repeatedly above is that the only difference is political-that Vietnam wasn't a popular war. That's not true. There's a legal difference, and that's why you can't find people being imprisoned over simple free speech issues in the absence of a declared war. (You may be able to come up with some rare examples during the Korean War, but I don't think that's a precedent anybody's looking to repeat.) Whether they should be prosecuted even when there is a declared war is another matter, but it's been generally recognized throughout U.S. history that during wartime special (read extra-constitutional) conditions apply. By any common sense application, Vietnam was wartime and Hanoi Jane should have been thrown in the clink as a traitor. But the law is no respecter of common sense.

  • ||

    Tim, you're referring to extra-Constitutional actions supposedly justified by a state of war. That's irrelevant to the issue of why a declared war is a requirement for a hostile nation to be an enemy for the purposes of the constitutionally-defined crime of treason.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    Gary, you may continue down your dark corridor, but I shall go no further.

  • raymond||

    Constitutionally, "treason" is a bit like "high crimes and misdemeanors". It's whatever you get found guilty of.

    And what Jane Fonda did was not treason. because she was not tried and convicted for her actions. Just as getting bjs is not a "high crime and misdemeanor".

    I imagine that if public sentiment had supported this "police action", then Jane Fonda's fate would have taken a different turn.

    she caused POWs to be abused

    pretend she's innocent of having POWs abused.

    That is a very interesting (and perverted) view of personal responsibility.

  • ||

    Gary, you may continue down your dark corridor, but I shall go no further.

    Good grief. Give a question someone doesn't want to answer, and they call you Gunnels.

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  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

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