John McCain SB 3081: Hold Americans Indefinitely Without Trial

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has authored Senate Bill 3081, which includes holding American citizens indefinitely and without trial if they are termed an Unprivileged Enemy Belligerent in the War on Terror.

John McCain

Obviously, this is not Constitutional and is in direct opposition to the Constitution’s Fifth and Sixth Amendments.

The object of the legislation is noble: keep terrorists out of federal courts and don’t Mirandize them.  Today, it is a grim reality that American citizens have become terrorists, are living in the midst of us, and are traveling back and forth, to and from, terrorist training camps. This is a new day in America’s history.

But how do we explain, former Vietnam prisoner of war, and decorated American hero, John McCain authoring this bill? John McCain, the man who vehemently opposes America’s ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ which neither kills nor maimes, but would seek to take away an American citizen’s right to a speedy and fair trial.

It boggles the mind. The only possible explanation might be that the Senator is facing a strong opponent for his Arizona senate seat, J.D. Hayworth. Is it possible McCain knows this cannot pass, but thinks it might sound admirable from the man, who in opposition to most Republicans, wants Gitmo closed? Can he possibly misjudge conservatism to this extent? Can he really think conservatives want the Constitution trampled? Or…

Article Three, Sec. 3 of the U.S. Constitution addresses ‘treason,’ which consists only of:

 “levying War against them (U.S.), 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.

The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason…

American citizens who engage in those things defining an ‘Unprivileged Enemy Belligerent’ (see below) could certainly be charged with adhering to our enemies, giving them aid and comfort – and…Congress has the power to declare the punishment.

Commenter, blogger and friend, Karen at The Lonely Conservative, sees another problem:

What’s concerning about this is that the left keeps calling people like us terrorists.

That brought a howl of laughter from me, and after I picked myself up off the floor, and actually thought it about, I realized she is right to be concerned.

There are seven Republican co-sponsors? Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT), James Inhofe (R-OK), Scott Brown (R-Mass), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), George LeMieux (R-FL), Jefferson Sessions (R-AL), John Thune (R-SD), Roger Wicker (R-MS). I’ll be calling Inhofe to see what he has to say, and I’ll pass it on to you. If you have something to add , just let me know.

 Senate Bill 3081 says (snippets):

An individual, including a citizen of the United States, determined to be an unprivileged enemy belligerent under section 3(c)(2) in a manner which satisfies Article 5 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War may be detained without criminal charges and without trial for the duration of hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners in which the individual has engaged, or which the individual has purposely and materially supported, consistent with the law of war and any authorization for the use of military force provided by Congress pertaining to such hostilities.


(b)…An individual who may be an unprivileged enemy belligerent and who is initially captured or otherwise comes into the custody or under the effective control of the United States by an intelligence agency of the United States may be held, interrogated, or transported by the intelligence agency and placed into military custody for purposes of this Act if retained by the United States within a reasonable time after the capture or coming into the custody or effective control by the intelligence agency

Found this of interest in the proposed bill – assurance that DOJ funds may not be used to prosecute:

(a) Limitation- No funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the Department of Justice may be used to prosecute in an Article III court in the United States, or in any territory or possession of the United States, any alien who has been determined to be an unprivileged enemy belligerent under section 3(c)(2).

SEC. 6: (9) Definition of Unprivileged Enemy Belligerents:

The term ‘unprivileged enemy belligerent’ means an individual (other than a privileged belligerent) who–

(A) has engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners;

(B) has purposely and materially supported hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners; or

(C) was a part of al Qaeda at the time of capture.