Bringing Back the Neutrality Act: U.S. Prosecutors Charge 7 with Laos Coup Plot

Bringing Back the Neutrality Act: U.S. Prosecutors Charge 7 with Laos Coup Plot

Here’s something you don’t see very often. U.S. federal prosecutors in Sacramento have charged 7 individuals with conspiring to overthrow the Laos government. Not just weapons violations, etc, but, with violating 18 U.S.C. 960, the Neutrality Act.



According to the complaint, the defendants are being charged with “providing and preparing a means for furnishing the money of and taking part in a military expedition or enterprise to be carried on against the territory and dominion of the foreign and sovereign nation of Laos, with which the the United States is at peace.”



The Neutrality Act is an old law that reflects an even older idea: the U.S. government can and should punish individuals who are engaging in hostile actions against friendly governments. It is not, needless to say, invoked all that often. But it’s nice to know it is still out there. And I’m sure the government of Laos is thankful as well.

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marvelous
marvelous

I suppose current Laos government is one for U.S. to sleep in a bed with. Otherwise, those 7 individuals would get some real financial/material help and then “export democracy” abroad.

wjneill
wjneill

Uh, out of innocence I will ask if The Neutrality Act applies to certain agencies of the US govt and, in particular, those of the Dept of Defense. Or, to frame the question somewhat differently, who defines what constitutes “a friendly govt”?