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The Logan Act: Secrecy, Sovereignty, Democracy and Freedom of Speech

The Logan Act (US federal law, 1799), like the US Fourteenth Amendment (1868), falls into the category, I would say, of ambiguous legislation, which may be applied to serve the interests of the people, or alternately, to strip the people of their rights and deprive them of their interests. It must therefore be amended, as with the Fourteenth Amendment, in order to clarify its intent and application. I am not a lawyer or legislator, but these are my thoughts, and I believe they are worthy of serious consideration.

The Logan Act should allow citizens to hold discussions or correspondence with foreign nations' peoples, governments or representatives, but not as official representatives of the US government unless duly authorized, and not in secret – this would thereby give the protection of sovereignty which was intended, while upholding Freedom of speech, assembly and association.

Allowing small groups of powerful men to meet secretly to discuss affairs of state pertaining to one or more nations is undemocratic and unwise, and leads easily to the tyranny of the few over the many. The closed door meetings of the Security and Prosperity Partnership, which seek to integrate the laws, regulations, economies, military, security and intelligence of Canada, the US and Mexico, as well as the secretive meetings of elite clubs such as the Bilderberg group, CFR and Trilateral Commission are four clear examples of such meetings which undermine the democratic process and leave open wide, the door to oligarchic anti-democratic rule.

Absence of checks on such extra-parliamentary, unaccountable and anti-democratic concentrations of power constitute grave and immediate threats to the functioning of democratic processes, to national sovereignties, as well as to the rights and freedoms of citizens in the US and other nations. Let the super-rich and corporate elite have their clubs. But let us not be so foolish as to allow them secretive meetings pertaining to national and international affairs of the greatest importance. Open the doors, if they wish to discuss. Power confers responsibility, not the prerogatives for skirting and avoiding accountability. This applies equally to economic power as to political power, if not more so – or, at least it will when we choose to exercise our common sense.

At the same time, banning citizens’ discussion with foreign nations or foreign citizens is clearly in violation of basic principles of human rights and freedom. To say for example that a US Senator, or any US citizen, is forbidden to speak with a member of a foreign government, and will be sanctioned, censured or imprisoned for doing so, as some tried to impose recently, is clearly draconian, unconstitutional, illegal, immoral, anti-democratic and antithetical to the principles of freedom.

The clarification recommended here would resolve both dilemmas.

Alternately, the previously proposed HR 6252 would vacate the law, rendering it next to useless, while Steve King’s proposed amendment would make it, as described above, draconian and unconstitutional as well as incompatible with basic rights and freedom.

This is a law which presently may be of service or of harm to the people, and no clarity is presently available within its current framing. It must therefore be amended, and it can be argued compellingly, immediately so. The significance of the act is in terms of two not unrelated realms, that of basic freedoms, and that of unchecked concentrations of un-elected and unaccountable, undemocratic powers. It is vital that both of these be addressed, and this act must be amended, along with other measures which must be taken, in order to accomplish this.

In the meantime, if the Logan Act can be utilized to protect the sovereignty, rights, freedoms and interests of the people of the United States, then of course it should be utilized immediately for that purpose. Though it is in need of clarification, it may even now be a vehicle to advance the public interest over the special interests of the highly influential corporate lobby. It would seem obvious that this should begin at once.

In sum, clarification and proper utilization of the Logan Act, the Fourteenth Amendment – stripping corporations of the unconstitutional and illegitimate, absurd claim to personhood – along with strengthening and full utilization of the competition and anti-trust laws, would go a considerable way to protecting the democratic process, the Constitution, and the sovereignty, rights and freedoms of the citizens of the United States, all of which are now under attack, and are in very real and immediate danger of being submerged by a transnational un-elected, undemocratic, unaccountable “defacto world government” – as the leading business journal in the Western hemisphere, the Financial Times, has itself described the emerging global corporatist order.

It is not too late to act, and all the tools and peaceful means at the disposal of the citizenry must be rallied and utilized in defense of freedom. There is no time to lose. A new form of tyranny is undeniably arising, and swiftly so.

People involved with the American Freedom Agenda, people opposed to the SPP and NAU, note this. It may be one more tool for protecting democracy and freedom from the rapidly encroaching corporate rule.

This post first appeared on Writings Of J. Todd Ring, please read the originial post: here

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The Logan Act: Secrecy, Sovereignty, Democracy and Freedom of Speech


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