Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Abu Ghraib'd

Remember the story of Capt. James Yee, a Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo Bay? Basically, the military destroyed his career (and his marriage) as a result of some very fuzzy charges relating to 'espionage' at Gitmo. This was before the Abu Ghraib situation broke in the news earlier this year.

After the news of detainee torture and humiliation was made public, there was some speculation that perhaps Capt. Yee had possession of some pictures and documents that maybe would have been, eh, a bit damaging to the fine folks running the Gulag Gitmo. All charges against Yee were eventually dismissed, but not before forcing him to plead guilty to possessing smut on his computer. So, I would imagine that did wonders for his marriage. But then, one man's torture is another man's smut. We'll never know the nature of the pictures.

Anyway, another formerly accused "spy" at Gulag Gitmo had the most serious charges against him dropped today, and last week, so did another officer who had previously been accused to trying to take "classified material" off base. (By the way, there's no "off-base" in Guantanamo Bay).

It's all pretty fishy sounding, and it seems as if the Army has no desire to go the public courts martial route. No doubt that Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and company would rather deal with all those involved in a manner that the military refers to as "non-judicial punishment". In other words, no public witness to the trial, no legal discovery, and a closed record, in return for a reduced sentence (which each will most certainly accept) and a hushed mouth.

U.S. Drops Charge Against Accused Spy

The military on Wednesday dropped an espionage charge against a Muslim interpreter accused of spying at the camp for terror detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The development marks the third Guantanamo spy case to fall apart this year, despite vows by Attorney General John Ashcroft and military officials to prosecute the men for jeopardizing the nation's security.

The charge against Senior Airman Ahmad Al Halabi was dropped in exchange for his guilty plea to four "minor infractions," said defense lawyer Donald Rehkopf Jr.

...Al Halabi was one of four men accused of spying at the Navy base in Cuba. Suspicions were raised when Al Halabi and his superior officer and chaplain, Capt. James Yee, also a Muslim, spoke Arabic while socializing together at the base.
Somehow, I have a sneaking suspicion this issue is not yet finished. We'll see, but the Army sure wants to make it go away, and they're admitting (in hindsight) that there wasn't a very solid case to begin with.