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Former Guantanamo chaplain wants U.S. Army apology

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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-07-07 06:31 AM
Original message
Former Guantanamo chaplain wants U.S. Army apology
Wed Feb 7, 2007 3:19am ET26

By Bernd Debusmann, Special Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Capt. James Yee spent 76 days in solitary confinement, much of the time shackled and in leg irons, after accusations of sedition, espionage and aiding the enemy while serving as a Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo Bay.

The Army's case against him collapsed at trial, and it eventually wiped his record clean and gave the West Point graduate an honorable discharge.

Two years later, he is still waiting for an apology. "Since my case was dismissed, nobody has taken responsibility for what happened to me," he said in an interview. "Nobody has explained what went wrong or why. Nobody apologized."

Yee says the way he was treated damaged the reputation of military justice and is one of the reasons why American Muslims are reluctant to join the military at a time when it needs Arabic speakers as it wages war in two Muslim countries ...

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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-07-07 07:55 AM
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1. Yep.
Why would any Arabic speaker (doesn't even have to be a Muslim) want to join the military when they would automatically be suspected of being terrorists--after all, they know that "terrorist language", don't they? And heaven help them if they are Muslim--there is a concerted effort to defame Islam and Muslims in general and to paint us all as terrorists. I was on a board yesterday where a man "quoted" the Qur'an--leaving out key words so that the passage said what he wanted it to say. I pointed this out to him--with online citations, but he didn't answer. Hopefully others saw my post and read it. But it sure feels like futility to try and stop the hate. Sigh.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-07-07 07:55 AM
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2. BUY HIS BOOK! "For God and Country..." Success is the best revenge--for
those harmed by the Bush Junta who have been lucky enough to survive. And we, the people of the United States, in whose name these injustices are committed, should try to compensate as well as we can, by putting our money behind our belief in the Constitution and common decency. What this West Point grad suffered under the Bush Junta--and is still suffering in psychological trauma, insult, humiliation and loss of his career--should never happen to anyone in this country.

($17.04 new, as low as $.15 used) / God-Country-Faith-Patriotism-Under/dp/1586483692
(also see)

From Publishers Weekly
"Wrongly accused of treason, imprisoned and later discharged, Muslim U.S. Army Chaplain James Yee served at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba-a detention center for War on Terror detainees-for most of 2003 before his Catch-22esque descent into a military inquiry fueled by suspicion of his faith, not evidence of his alleged wrongdoing. A graduate of West Point, Yee later converted to Islam and, upon his assignment to Guantanamo (Gitmo, to the locals), he became the base's third Muslim chaplain in six months, a contentious role that saw him educating soldiers that "Muslim" and "terrorist" were not synonymous, leading prayer services and ministering to detainees. He struck up friendships with the small group of Muslims working on the base, and, unbeknownst to him at the time, his group of friends had been dubbed "Hamas" by other Gitmo soldiers, an anecdote indicative of the accusations of treason that would soon hound him. Sincere almost to the point of navet, Yee realizes the distorted view many Westerners have of Muslims, but is constantly surprised he would become a target. A searing indictment of justice gone awry and unchecked, systemic ignorance, Yee's story is sure to stimulate its share of discussion on a volatile subject at a crucial time. Photos.
Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved."

The Washington Post, October 9, 2005
"Should be required reading for all U.S. officials waging war on Islamist terrorists.... Yee's book is also packed with revelations."


We can also lobby the Pentagon Inspector General and Congress members to complete this lagging investigation and issue an apology to Capt. Yee!


The Reuters article continues:

"'If the Pentagon came out and said "we admit we made a mistake," it would show the integrity of the system. An apology would make the military stronger."

"Despite what he calls humiliating treatment driven by bigotry, ignorance and mistrust, Yee said he would consider rejoining the military if there were a formal apology. 'I'm waiting for the outcome of an investigation by the (Pentagon's) Inspector General.'

"The Pentagon has given no indication of when the investigation might be completed. It began in December, 2004, after written requests to then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld by lawmakers.


"Critics of the United States around the world see the detention of prisoners at its naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a symbol of American disregard for international law.

"In his book, which became a bestseller in Indonesia but had limited success in the United States, Yee portrays an environment in which guards were encouraged to abuse prisoners by the prison commander, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller....(who) ...received a Distinguished Service Medal for meritorious service in a ceremony at the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes.

"Yee said he prompted the ire of senior officers at Guantanamo by drawing attention to U.S. soldiers abusing the Koran, mocking Islam and stripping prisoners of their dignity. After he was arrested and taken to a Navy brig in Jacksonville, Florida, he said he was subjected to similar treatment.

"'My cell was 8 foot by 6 foot, the same size as the detainees' cages at Guantanamo,' he wrote in his book. 'Now I was the one in chains. It was my turn to be humiliated every time I was taken to a shower. Naked, I had to run my hands through my hair to show that I was not concealing a weapon. Then mouth open, tongue up, down, nothing inside.'

"'Right arm up, nothing in my armpit. Left arm up. Lift the right testicle, nothing hidden. Lift the left. Turn around, bend over, spread your buttocks, knowing a camera was displaying my naked image as male and female guards watched. It didn't matter that I was an army captain, a graduate of West Point, the elite U.S. military academy.'

"...he had not been charged at that time ....'So, if that kind of justice, that kind of treatment, is given to a U.S. citizen, what can a foreigner expect?'"
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