Mar 29, 2004
The military dropped all criminal charges against James J. Yee, a U.S. Army chaplain who is a Muslim. Last September, the military had accused Yee of espionage, accompanied by tons of publicity. He was supposedly part of a terrorist spy ring, planning to help prisoners of the Afghan war to escape from the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Military prosecutors claimed to have found evidence of their accusations in Yee's luggage and on his computer. They placed him in solitary confinement. They announced that they might seek the death penalty.
By contrast, the announcement of the charges against Yee being dropped was kept very low-key. It came late on a Friday afternoon, when newspapers were already heading to press. The news was buried on the back pages.
No wonder there never had been a case. The prosecution produced no evidence. All criminal charges against Yee were dropped, quickly and quietly. By the time of his release, Yee faced only a reprimand for violating Army rules about having an affair with a fellow soldier and possessing pornography.
Now Yee's ordeal is over; and he has his job back. But the military and the Bush administration have certainly gotten something out of this case. With the complicity of the media, they were able to use all that publicity around this false case to reinforce the idea that "we" are under attack.