John McCain’s “unprivileged enemy belligerent” Amendment Biting Him in the Butt: Paul Pushed Graham to Vote for Brennan

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) lashed out at Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) at least twice yesterday using the “Libertarian” word several times, saying he  was “ridiculous” and his filibuster was a “stunt.” Paul’s filibuster was intended to force an answer from the White House as to their ability to kill Americans on American soil without due process. McCain is the Republican Senator who tried to get the words “unprivileged belligerent” and “including a citizen of the United States,” into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) but failed. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) joined McCain in that unconstitutional effort. See Senator Paul’s comments about John McCain and the NDAA in December 2012 below.

As Paul stood on the Senate floor for 13 hours, McCain and Graham dined with Obama, and the day the filibuster of the confirmation of John Brennan to the CIA ended, Graham said Paul had pushed him to support Brennan. You can’t make this stuff up:

Mr. Graham said he had been inclined to oppose the nomination because he’d found Brennan to be qualified for the job but also “arrogant, kind of a bit shifty.” He said he wasn’t going to filibuster him but would have voted against him on final passage, but now he’ll vote for him. “I am going to vote for Brennan now because it’s become a referendum on the drone program,” he said.

FLASHBACK: Go back to April 2010 when “maverick” Senator John McCain with Lindsey Graham in S. 3081, titled Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010. S. 3081, tried to make it clear that they could and would deny U.S. citizens due process if someone in power deemed it appropriate. S. 3081 failed.

SEC. 5. DETENTION WITHOUT TRIAL OF UNPRIVILEGED ENEMY BELLIGERENTS.

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.

Had the amendment passed, a hell-fire drone might be preferable to indefinite detention (see the video below). The word “belligerent” was found in the 2012 NDAA. Some in the Senate attempted to clarify that Americans could not be apprehended on American soil and be held without due process:

Senate Amendment (SA) 1126 would “clarify” Section 1031 to explicitly state within the section that the authority of the military to detain persons without trial until the end of hostilities does not apply to American citizens. [Update: Voted down 45-55] SA 1125 would limit the mandatory detention provision in Section 1032 to persons captured abroad, not in America. [Update: Voted down, 45-55]

They failed. At the time, retired four star Marine Generals Krulak and Hoar in a NYT op-ed said the NDAA was “misguided” and if passed (which it die) would make “Due process” “a thing of the past.”

“Due process would be a thing of the past,” wrote Gens Charles C. Krulak and Joseph P. Hoar. “Current law empowers the military to detain people caught on the battlefield, but this provision would expand the battlefield to include the United States – and hand Osama bin Laden an unearned victory long after his well-earned demise.” ABC News:

The Fifth Amendment of the U.S Constitution:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, withoutdue process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Legal minds tried to come to a decision about how much weight “due process” would hold under the NDAA. The conclusion: who knows?

Rand Paul December 19, 2012:

“The decision by the NDAA conference committee, led by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to strip the National Defense Authorization Act of the amendment that protects American citizens against indefinite detention now renders the entire NDAA unconstitutional,” Sen. Paul said. “I voted against NDAA in 2011 because it did not contain the proper constitutional protections. When my Senate colleagues voted to include those protections in the 2012 NDAA through the Feinstein-Lee Amendment last month, I supported this act,” Sen. Paul continued. “But removing those protections now takes us back to square one and does as much violence to the Constitution as last year’s NDAA. When the government can arrest suspects without a warrant, hold them without trial, deny them access to counsel or admission of bail, we have shorn the Bill of Rights of its sanctity. More at The New American

If they can’t kill us in a coffee shop, they perhaps can detain us indefinitely. Why strip language that leaves no doubt?

A federal Judge stepped in and tried to clean up the Acts of Congress. Federal Judge Katherine B. Forrest ruled in favor of activists filing a lawsuit challenging Obama’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), specifically Section 1021, which may allow the Government to detain militarily and indefinitely, without trial, Americans suspected of terrorism, referred to as ‘rendition.’

Then…federal Judge Raymond Lohier granted the Obama administration an “emergency” stay and the possibility of an American version of Hunger Games was on. It is entirely appropriate to remember that the U.S. has played a role around the world in training al-Qaeda members to bring down leaders in Libya and Syria, and are aiding the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt – a faction that believes Jihad is righteous.

Are you a U.S. citizen “belligerent” or are you not? And whether you are not, who decides? Obama ordered a drone-kill of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki and succeeded. His 16-year-old son, also a U.S. citizen was killed in a separate drone attack. Awlaki operated freely in the U.S. for years. Within 16 days of the 9/11/01 attacks, the FBI knew Awlaki had purchased airline tickets for three 9/11 hijackers in the summer of 2001. What happened next? Awlaki was invited to dine at the Pentagon and conduct a prayer service for Mulim staffer on Capitol Hill.

Al-Awlaki’s invitation to dine at the Pentagon (Fox News through FOIA request):

The documents show that more than 70 people were copied on the invitation, which originated in the Defense Department’s Office of the General Counsel. It is home to the Pentagon’s top lawyer. “I have reserved one of the executive dining rooms for February 5th, which is the date he (Awlaki) preferred,” a defense department lawyer wrote in the e-mail announcing the event. “He (Awlaki) will be leaving for an extensive period of time on February 11th.” The e-mail states that New Mexico born al-Awlaki was the featured guest speaker on “Islam and Middle Eastern Politics and Culture.” The Defense Department lawyer who vetted the imam wrote that she “had the privilege of hearing one of Mr. Awlaki’s presentations in November and was impressed by both the extent of his knowledge and by how he communicated that information and handled a hostile element in the audience.”

Senator Paul’s insistance on answers regarding non-Constitutional treatment of Americans on American soil was important. The answer he received from Eric Holder is laughable, although Paul says he is now satisfied that the Executive branch has assured him, through a letter, with one word:  “no,” they will not kill Americans without due process – but they can and will detain us indefinitely if they deem it appropriate. Might as well be dead. But I agree with Hot Air. There are new mavericks in town and McCain is doing Senator Paul an “incredible favor.”

 John McCain on hell-fire drone missiles and a dressing down of Rand Paul (video)

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