'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Yee Speaks, Sort Of 

Capt. James Yee just made a rare public appearance. Yee was the Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo Bay who was locked in solitary confinement, persecuted for months by the US military, because of an espionage charge that turned out to be completely baseless. On Saturday night he received an award from the Council on American-Islamic Relations and spoke of the "new culture of eroding civil liberties" during his acceptance speech.

Although Yee has resigned from the army, he is still under a gag order presumably until Jan. 7 when his honorable discharge will be finalized. Yee seems anxious to speak about his ordeal; at his first public appearance after his release he thanked the audience for their patience with his inability to tell his story but promised that he would eventually. It's more than half a year later but Yee still isn't saying much. Evidently he justifiably fears being thrown back in jail a la Vanunu. In an article about his recent appearance, the Sacramento Bee claims that Yee has, in fact, been recently re-warned not to speak out:

Yee and Al Halabi [Yee's assistant at Gitmo who was also falsely charged] declined to be interviewed Saturday. Earlier in the week, Yee's civilian defense attorney, Eugene R. Fidell, said his client was warned by military officials that his public statements would be scrutinized.

[ ... ]

Military officials also declined to comment on Yee's Sacramento speaking engagement and his case.

"No one's talking about the Yee case. It's pretty much an 'over' issue," said Lt. Cmdr. Chris Loundermon, a spokesman at U.S. Southern Command in Miami. "He can tell you what he wants to tell you."

If Yee is free to tell the press what he wants to tell the press, then why doesn't the army lift the gag order and why did they just warn him about it earlier this week?

It's pretty obvious the military has something to hide here. The big question has always been whether the gag order on Yee has anything to do with the Abu Ghraib-style abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. I guess we'll find out in January...

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?