Running across some interesting ideas while scouting around on things and it is probably time to spell out some of what Privateers can do. Now, as part of the High Seas power of Congress law is made to address piracy and other internationally lawless activities and that is a whole area in and of itself but is pretty simple to figure out. The US Code, Title 33 covers most of the waterways portion of this and so it is worth looking at that to find out what can be done via mandate and Letters. And Title 18, Chapter 81 goes into Piracy and Privateers.
Sec. 1651. Piracy under law of nations
Whoever, on the high seas, commits the crime of piracy as defined by the law of nations, and is afterwards brought into or found in the United States, shall be imprisoned for life.
Sec. 1653. Aliens as pirates
Whoever, being a citizen or subject of any foreign state, is found and taken on the sea making war upon the United States, or cruising against the vessels and property thereof, or of the citizens of the same, contrary to the provisions of any treaty existing between the United States and the state of which the offender is a citizen or subject, when by such treaty such acts are declared to be piracy, is a pirate, and shall be imprisoned for life.
Sec. 1654. Arming or serving on privateers
Whoever, being a citizen of the United States, without the limits thereof, fits out and arms, or attempts to fit out and arm or is concerned in furnishing, fitting out, or arming any private vessel of war or privateer, with intent that such vessel shall be employed to cruise or commit hostilities upon the citizens of the United States or their property; or
Whoever takes the command of or enters on board of any such vessel with such intent; or
Whoever purchases any interest in any such vessel with a view to share in the profits thereof--
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
Sec. 1657. Corruption of seamen and confederating with pirates
Whoever attempts to corrupt any commander, master, officer, or mariner to yield up or to run away with any vessel, or any goods, wares, or merchandise, or to turn pirate or to go over to or confederate with pirates, or in any wise to trade with any pirate, knowing him to be such; or
Whoever furnishes such pirate with any ammunition, stores, or provisions of any kind; or
Whoever fits out any vessel knowingly and, with a design to trade with, supply, or correspond with any pirate or robber upon the seas; or
Whoever consults, combines, confederates, or corresponds with any pirate or robber upon the seas, knowing him to be guilty of any piracy or robbery; or
Whoever, being a seaman, confines the master of any vessel--
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
Basically you do not outfit a vessel to act in a Piratical way, nor take part in, nor own any part of a Pirate scheme, serve as a Privateer *against* the United States as a Citizen, and as a commander of such vessel you *do* put up a fight. But this one is very special to remember for later on:
Sec. 1661. Robbery ashoreYes, it seems obvious, but do read on...
Whoever, being engaged in any piratical cruise or enterprise, or being of the crew of any piratical vessel, lands from such vessel and commits robbery on shore, is a pirate, and shall be imprisoned for life.
Chapter 113B goes over Terrorism, as such which are acts:
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;This can occur either overseas or domestically. So terrorism is a pretty broad category. These are further enumerated by those things which transcend National Boundaries:
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
Sec. 2332b. Acts of terrorism transcending national boundariesSo these are definitely actions taken against individuals and/or the United States itself.
(a) Prohibited Acts.--(1) Offenses.--Whoever, involving conduct transcending national boundaries and in a circumstance described in subsection (b)--(b) Jurisdictional Bases.--(A) kills, kidnaps, maims, commits an assault resulting in serious bodily injury, or assaults with a dangerous weapon any person within the United States; or(2) Treatment of threats, attempts and conspiracies.--Whoever threatens to commit an offense under paragraph (1), or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be punished under subsection (c).
(B) creates a substantial risk of serious bodily injury to any other person by destroying or damaging any structure, conveyance, or other real or personal property within the United States or by attempting or conspiring to destroy or damage any structure, conveyance, or other real or personal property within the United States; in violation of the laws of any State, or the United States, shall be punished as prescribed in subsection (c).(1) Circumstances.--The circumstances referred to in subsection (a) are--(A) the mail or any facility of interstate or foreign commerce is used in furtherance of the offense;(2) Co-conspirators and accessories after the fact.-- Jurisdiction shall exist over all principals and co-conspirators of an offense under this section, and accessories after the fact to any offense under this section, if at least one of the circumstances described in subparagraphs (A) through (F) of paragraph (1) is applicable to at least one offender.
(B) the offense obstructs, delays, or affects interstate or foreign commerce, or would have so obstructed, delayed, or affected interstate or foreign commerce if the offense had been consummated;
(C) the victim, or intended victim, is the United States Government, a member of the uniformed services, or any official, officer, employee, or agent of the legislative, executive, or judicial branches, or of any department or agency, of the United States;
(D) the structure, conveyance, or other real or personal property is, in whole or in part, owned, possessed, or leased to the United States, or any department or agency of the United States;
(E) the offense is committed in the territorial sea (including the airspace above and the seabed and subsoil below, and artificial islands and fixed structures erected thereon) of the United States; or
(F) the offense is committed within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States.
Thus Chapter 7 is a good place to start on Piracy:
Sec. 381. Use of public vessels to suppress piracyHere the President is authorized to employ 'public armed vessels' in protection of merchant vessels, pretty straightforward, that.
The President is authorized to employ so many of the public armed vessels as in his judgment the service may require, with suitable instructions to the commanders thereof, in protecting the merchant vessels of the United States and their crews from piratical aggressions and depredations.
Sec. 382. Seizure of piratical vessels generallyAnd those armed vessels may seize piratical vessels that have attempted acts contrary to the laws of the high seas. This is what one may do if meeting up with a pirate trying to do things contrary to those laws of the high seas:
The President is authorized to instruct the commanders of the public armed vessels of the United States to subdue, seize, take, and send into any port of the United States, any armed vessel or boat, or any vessel or boat, the crew whereof shall be armed, and which shall have attempted or committed any piratical aggression, search, restraint, depredation, or seizure, upon any vessel of the United States, or of the citizens thereof, or upon any other vessel; and also to retake any vessel of the United States, or its citizens, which may have been unlawfully captured upon the high seas.
Sec. 383. Resistance of pirates by merchant vesselsNow here is where it gets to be interesting as a ship need only have part or partial ownership by a US Citizen to be eligible to fight back against piratical takeover.
The commander and crew of any merchant vessel of the United States, owned wholly, or in part, by a citizen thereof, may oppose and defend against any aggression, search, restraint, depredation, or seizure, which shall be attempted upon such vessel, or upon any other vessel so owned, by the commander or crew of any armed vessel whatsoever, not being a public armed vessel of some nation in amity with the United States, and may subdue and capture the same; and may also retake any vessel so owned which may have been captured by the commander or crew of any such armed vessel, and send the same into any port of the United States.
Sec. 384. Condemnation of piratical vessels'In any court having admiralty jurisdiction', which does pertain to the high seas, of course. So, bring the pirates and their vessel in, have them adjudged being pirates and the court can immediately order the sale of the vessel. That customarily also *includes* the contents thereof.
Whenever any vessel, which shall have been built, purchased, fitted out in whole or in part, or held for the purpose of being employed in the commission of any piratical aggression, search, restraint, depredation, or seizure, or in the commission of any other act of piracy as defined by the law of nations, or from which any piratical aggression, search, restraint, depredation, or seizure shall have been first attempted or made, is captured and brought into or captured in any port of the United States, the same shall be adjudged and condemned to their use, and that of the captors after due process and trial in any court having admiralty jurisdiction, and which shall be holden for the district into which such captured vessel shall be brought; and the same court shall thereupon order a sale and distribution thereof accordingly, and at its discretion.
Sec. 385. Seizure and condemnation of vessels fitted out for piracyThus the vessel itself used in piracy is liable for capture and condemnation. This is getting very interesting, to say the least!
Any vessel built, purchased, fitted out in whole or in part, or held for the purpose of being employed in the commission of any piratical aggression, search, restraint, depredation, or seizure, or in the commission of any other act of piracy, as defined by the law of nations, shall be liable to be captured and brought into any port of the United States if found upon the high seas, or to be seized if found in any port or place within the United States, whether the same shall have actually sailed upon any piratical expedition or not, and whether any act of piracy shall have been committed or attempted upon or from such vessel or not; and any such vessel may be adjudged and condemned, if captured by a vessel authorized as mentioned in section 386 of this title to the use of the United States, and to that of the captors, and if seized by a collector, surveyor, or marshal, then to the use of the United States.
Sec. 386. Commissioning private vessels for seizure of piratical vesselsThis power of the President to 'authorize the commanders of any other armed vessels' under the Letters or 'the commanders of any other suitable vessels', is a broad sweeping one as that last is open to *anyone* designated by the President as 'commander' of a 'suitable vessel'. The President is fully responsible, of course, but that is the way the Executive powers work on foreign affairs: wide latitude.
The President is authorized to instruct the commanders of the public-armed vessels of the United States, and to authorize the commanders of any other armed vessels sailing under the authority of any letters of marque and reprisal granted by Congress, or the commanders of any other suitable vessels, to subdue, seize, take, and, if on the high seas, to send into any port of the United States, any vessel or boat built, purchased, fitted out, or held as mentioned in section 385 of this title.
Sec. 387. Duties of officers of customs and marshals as to seizureThe basic follow-up to allow the folks running ports and such to automatically seize vessels that are identified as piratical or taking part in piratical activities. So that covers the high seas part!
The collectors of the several ports of entry, the surveyors of the several ports of delivery, and the marshals of the several judicial districts within the United States, shall seize any vessel or boat built, purchased, fitted out, or held as mentioned in section 385 of this title, which may be found within their respective ports or districts, and to cause the same to be proceeded against and disposed of as provided by that section.
Next up, the air.
Here is Title 49, Subtitle VII for perusal:
Sec. 40106. Emergency powersHere the big notice is in the Presidential waiver authority. And there is then a good 'catch-all' for extension of the high seas rights to airspace and such in the General Provisions:
(a) Deviations From Regulations.--Appropriate military authority may authorize aircraft of the armed forces of the United States to deviate from air traffic regulations prescribed under section 40103(b)(1) and (2) of this title when the authority decides the deviation is essential to the national defense because of a military emergency or urgent military necessity. The authority shall--(1) give the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration prior notice of the deviation at the earliest practicable time; and(b) Suspension of Authority.--(1) When the President decides that the government of a foreign country is acting inconsistently with the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft or that the government of a foreign country allows territory under its jurisdiction to be used as a base of operations or training of, or as a sanctuary for, or arms, aids, or abets, a terrorist organization that knowingly uses the unlawful seizure, or the threat of an unlawful seizure, of an aircraft as an instrument of policy, the President may suspend the authority of--
(2) to the extent time and circumstances allow, make every reasonable effort to consult with the Administrator and arrange for the deviation in advance on a mutually agreeable basis.(2) The President may act under this subsection without notice or a hearing. The suspension remains in effect for as long as the President decides is necessary to ensure the security of aircraft against unlawful seizure. Notwithstanding section 40105(b) of this title, the authority of the President to suspend rights under this subsection is a condition to a certificate of public convenience and necessity, air carrier operating certificate, foreign air carrier or foreign aircraft permit, or foreign air carrier operating specification issued by the Secretary of Transportation under this part.
(A) an air carrier or foreign air carrier to provide foreign air transportation to and from that foreign country;
(B) a person to operate aircraft in foreign air commerce to and from that foreign country;
(C) a foreign air carrier to provide foreign air transportation between the United States and another country that maintains air service with the foreign country; and
(D) a foreign person to operate aircraft in foreign air commerce between the United States and another country that maintains air service with the foreign country.
(3) An air carrier or foreign air carrier may not provide foreign air transportation, and a person may not operate aircraft in foreign air commerce, in violation of a suspension of authority under this subsection.
The application of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 (72 Stat. 731; 49 U.S.C.A. Sec. 1301 et seq. [see 49 U.S.C. 40101 et seq.]), to the extent necessary to permit the Secretary of Transportation to accomplish the purposes and objectives of Titles III [former 49 U.S.C. 1341 et seq., see Disposition Table at beginning of this title] and XII [see 49 U.S.C. 40103(b)(3), 46307] thereof, is hereby extended to those areas of land or water outside the United States and the overlying airspace thereof over or in which the Federal Government of the United States, under international treaty, agreement or other lawful arrangement, has appropriate jurisdiction or control: Provided, That the Secretary of Transportation, prior to taking any action under the authority hereby conferred, shall first consult with the Secretary of State on matters affecting foreign relations, and with the Secretary of Defense on matters affecting national-defense interests, and shall not take any action which the Secretary of State determines to be in conflict with any international treaty or agreement to which the United States is a party, or to be inconsistent with the successful conduct of the foreign relations of the United States, or which the Secretary of Defense determines to be inconsistent with the requirements of national defense.Which is pretty all-encompassing and even moreso in times of war given this:
Sec. 40107. Presidential transfersNow here the modern Congressional Authorization for the Use of Force would apply. What is this getting up to? Well consider that during wartime a President may transfer the duties of the FAA for Administration to the Dept. of Defense and apply that, particularly, to those things which do not abide by the various Treaties covering the air AND the High Seas laws as set by Congress. This includes the following from Special Aircraft Jurisdiction:
(a) General Authority.--The President may transfer to the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration a duty, power, activity, or facility of a department, agency, or instrumentality of the executive branch of the United States Government, or an officer or unit of a department, agency, or instrumentality of the executive branch, related primarily to selecting, developing, testing, evaluating, establishing, operating, or maintaining a system, procedure, facility, or device for safe and efficient air navigation and air traffic control. In making a transfer, the President may transfer records and property and make officers and employees from the department, agency, instrumentality, or unit available to the Administrator.
(b) During War.--If war occurs, the President by executive order may transfer to the Secretary of Defense a duty, power, activity, or facility of the Administrator. In making the transfer, the President may transfer records, property, officers, and employees of the Administration to the Department of Defense.
CHAPTER 465--SPECIAL AIRCRAFT JURISDICTION OF THE UNITED STATESFascinating stuff, no? So add up the following for wartime piracy coverage of aircraft and it will include any aircraft wholly or even partially owned by a Citizen of the United States, either directly or via company shares or if a national of the United States was on board the aircraft. This means that *any* terrorist organization that has taken part in 'air piracy' of any sort involving an aircraft owned or in-part owned via joint ownership in a company, or has had a US national on-board is considered to be a Pirate operation. That is in *addition* to being a terrorist organization!
Sec. 46502. Aircraft piracy
(a) In Special Aircraft Jurisdiction.--(1) In this subsection--(b) Outside Special Aircraft Jurisdiction.--(A) "aircraft piracy'' means seizing or exercising control of an aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States by force, violence, threat of force or violence, or any form of intimidation, and with wrongful intent.(2) An individual committing or attempting or conspiring to commit aircraft piracy--
(B) an attempt to commit aircraft piracy is in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States although the aircraft is not in flight at the time of the attempt if the aircraft would have been in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States had the aircraft piracy been completed.(A) shall be imprisoned for at least 20 years; or
(B) notwithstanding section 3559(b) of title 18, if the death of another individual results from the commission or attempt, shall be put to death or imprisoned for life.(1) An individual committing or conspiring to commit an offense (as defined in the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft) on an aircraft in flight outside the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States--(A) shall be imprisoned for at least 20 years; or(2) There is jurisdiction over the offense in paragraph (1) if--
(B) notwithstanding section 3559(b) of title 18, if the death of another individual results from the commission or attempt, shall be put to death or imprisoned for life.(A) a national of the United States was aboard the aircraft;(3) For purposes of this subsection, the term "national of the United States'' has the meaning prescribed in section 101(a)(22) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(22)).
(B) an offender is a national of the United States; or
(C) an offender is afterwards found in the United States.
Here the broad and sweeping anti-Piracy powers and those for terrorism *combine* to give a President quite sweeping authority against all Nations, companies, groups, organizations and individuals that traffic with, aid or support knowingly any terrorist organization that has committed attacks against the United States its 'vessels or property thereof'. Which *includes* simple 'robbery ashore', such as kidnapping a US national as part of a terrorist act and taking items from them wantonly. That is *also* Piracy! Which can incur the broad sanctions and wrath against all of those that aid and abet those terrorists, including seizure of vessels trafficking with them.
This is what I mean by 21st Century Privateers!
With Warranted Citizens and their Companies granted Letters by Congress to use warpowers of the United States, the President can then direct such to go *after* the full panoply of suppliers for terrorist organization that knowingly traffic with them and *seize* vessels and demonstrate proof of that in the closest US Admiralty Court or to other US Official of Port or Interior Authority of the Federal Government.
This, specifically *includes* aircraft as they fall under the High Seas provision 'catch-all' and the authority to stop entire air carriers during wartime then requires *only* a consultation with the Sec. Def. and Sec. State. Further, the President can then target specific air carriers for seizure by Privateers along with their property, goods and anything else they have as part of the war powers. Get it, bring it in, demonstrate proof, sell at auction or for Bounty if Congress has set such or other Prizes as allowed by Law.
What this categorically is *not* are: bounty hunters, mercenaries or any rag-tag group of individuals. Unless the President deems such as necessary to carry out such activities, but that is usually a last resort sort of deal, as Presidents have normally stuck to a bit higher up the food chain for Warranted and Sanctioned organizations. Congress can set what is necessary for that, allow armament of those groups as those groups see fit to carry out their responsibilities and then the President can set forth the goals per group or for all groups depending on scope of need.
This is known as: Asymmetrical Warfare by the Citizens of the United States and their Warranted Companies.
Every terrorist organization that has gone after US vessels or 'property' and attacked same is a Pirate organization. It may *also* be a terrorist organization, in which case the entire broad set of powers can be used against it. Thus a mere 'threat' by an organization to destroy US property makes an organization a terrorist organization. An actual attack upon US property or ships *also* makes it a Pirate organization. Intent does not matter as it is the activity that defines what is being done. Thus that perusal at Terror Knowledge Base looking for mere property damage against US Government facilities starts to yield a long, long list of groups that are not only terrorist but Piratical.
When will the United States *ever* begin to treat them as such?