Dec 15, 2003
In September, the U.S. military charged Muslim chaplain Youssef Yee with being part of a terrorist spy ring at its detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Yee was arrested in Jacksonville, Florida, charged with stealing classified documents.
The military used the fact that Yee had at one time studied in Syria and was carrying a paper on Syria to suggest that Yee was part of an elaborate plot by Syria to infiltrate the Guantanamo Bay military base.
All of this made big headlines of course, but once the story cooled, the military reduced the charges against Yee to "mishandling classified documents."
But Yee's lawyer objected to even these reduced charges. The government had offered no proof the documents were classified. The military prosecutors backed off again, asking for a "postponement."
Yee was then released from jail and returned to active duty. So much for all the talk about spying. The paper on Syria turned out to be a term paper Yee had written for a course on international affairs.
Of course, having kept Yee in solitary confinement in a military brig in South Carolina for 76 days, often in shackles, the government had to charge him with something. Thus he now stands charged with the dangerous "crimes" of ... storing pornography on a government computer and committing adultery.
Imagine if the military were to court-martial every soldier who ever possessed pornography or had committed adultery! There would hardly be a soldier left in the barracks.
In the last two years since the September 11 attacks, the government has pretended to be pursuing "terrorists." A study by Syracuse University shows that 6400 people were picked up for "terrorism." Less than one third were ever charged. Of those, only 879 were convicted. Only 23 of those convicted received sentences of five years or more. And almost all of these 23 were for charges having nothing to do with terrorism. Half the people were given sentences no longer than 14 days. In other words, they were charged only with technicalities.
Yee's case – like the other 6,399 – is just part of a massive effort by the government to create hysteria about terrorism, to intimidate anyone who dares question government policies.