McCain’s Next Stop: Guantanamo?

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What a week for Senator John McCain!

On Memorial Day in the US, he crossed over into Syria to pay a visit to a group of insurgents fighting to overthrow the secular Syrian government. According to the organizers of his trip, a shadowy organization called the “Syrian Emergency Task Force,” McCain met inside Syria with the Asifat al-Shamal Brigade, a branch of the so-called “Free Syrian Army.”

It appears McCain may have inadvertently obliterated claims he and the other neo-conservative interventionists have made that there is a domestic, secular, non-jihadist force in Syria fighting for freedom and democracy that should be supported by the US government. He certainly did not meet with anyone who fits that description.

First, it has emerged that the some of the individuals he met with in Syria are actually ruthless kidnappers, who snatched men, women, and children in 2012 from a Lebanese bus heading home after visiting religious shrines in Iran. Relatives of those kidnapped were shocked to see pictures of McCain in Syria negotiating with the very individuals who abducted their relatives (photos at link):

“Daniel Shoueib, a relative of one of the hostages, who was reading the news of McCain’s surprise and unexpected visit, was shocked to see the photo which showed men he recognised as the kidnappers on May 22, 2012.

Second, McCain’s Free Syrian Army in Aleppo have announced that they are merging with the US-designated terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra, which is effectively a branch of al-Qaeda.

Finally, McCain’s Free Syrian Army are reported to have entered the Christian-populated al-Duvair village near Homs on May 27th and massacred the entire Christian civilian population of the village.

Section 1021 of the infamous 2012 National Defense Authorization Act prescribes indefinite detention for:

(1) A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks.

(2) A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.

McCain has repeatedly called for the US to arm these terrorist groups and this week he directly met with them to help provide them with substantial support (i.e. US weapons). Given McCain’s bizarre trip to Syria and open support for groups that have pledged themselves to Al-Qaeda, is there any legal argument against his next foreign trip being a very, very long stay on a remote outpost of a sunny Caribbean island?

Twitter @DanielLMcAdams

2:39 pm on May 30, 2013