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What does the enemy really look like?(18 posts)

What does the enemy really look like?Live Steam
Sep 22, 2003 7:03 PM

Gitmo chaplain probed as spy

Counseled terror suspects


Capt. Yousef Yee, a chaplain at Gitmo.

A Muslim chaplain counseling Al Qaeda and Taliban suspects held at the Guantanamo military prison has been detained by federal authorities.
Capt. Yousef Yee, a West Point graduate, is the first known U.S. soldier to be detained in the war on terror and is being investigated for espionage and possibly even treason, several news reports said.

Yee was found carrying classified documents, which CNN said included diagrams of the cells and the camp, lists of inmates and the names of their interrogators.

Yee, 34, was stopped by FBI agents Sept. 10 in Jacksonville, Fla., after returning from Gitmo. After questioning, he was handed over to military officials.

He is being held at a military brig in Charleston, S.C. - the same place officials are holding Yaser Esam Hamdi, an American-born Saudi who allegedly fought with the Taliban, and Jose Padilla, a former Chicago gang member charged with plotting to detonate a "dirty" bomb.

The chaplain had largely unfettered access to the 660 inmates of Gitmo's sprawling Camp Delta. The prisoners are considered enemy combatants instead of POWs, and were captured in the war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Daily access to detainees

As an Arabic speaker, Yee counseled the detainees, advised them on religious matters and made sure their dietary needs were met at the base in eastern Cuba.

"He had daily access to the detainees," said Capt. Tom Crosson, a spokesman for U.S. Southern Command in Miami, who confirmed that the military was holding Yee in South Carolina.

Yee is of Chinese descent and was raised in Springfield, N.J., as a Christian named James Yee. After graduating from West Point in 1990, where he studied Islam, he converted and took the name Yousef.

After leaving the Army, he went to Syria for four years, where he received religious training and married a Syrian woman, the Washington Times said. He returned to the U.S. military soon after.

Yee's father, Joseph, was clearly shaken last night and said simply, "I have no comment right now."

Family friends were also stunned.

"I find it difficult to believe based on what I know about the family. They are above reproach," said Jessie Blesdoe, a member of the New Jersey Telephone Pioneers with the elder Yee.

Blesdoe said she spent most of yesterday with Yee at a board meeting. They talked about his children, and he didn't indicate anything was wrong.

"He told me one son, the chaplain, was overseas. And his other son and his wife, who are doctors, were called up from the reserves in the Seattle area," she said.

She said Yee, a retired telephone company worker, and his wife are very active in community works and volunteered with the Salvation Army after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Shortly after 9/11, the younger Yee was quoted in an interview saying it was "an act of terrorism. The taking of innocent lives is prohibited by Islam, and whoever has done this needs to be brought to justice, whether he is Muslim or not."

In another interview, when asked if he was sympathetic to the prisoners - some of whom have been held in Guantanamo for nearly two years without charges - Yee was silent.

Before being sent to Guantanamo, he was stationed in Fort Lewis, Wash., where he was the chaplain for I Corps troops.

Earlier this year, Army Sgt. Hasan Akbar, a 32-year-old Muslim, was charged in a March grenade attack in Kuwait that killed Air Force Maj. Gregory Stone, 40, and Army Capt. Christopher Seifert, 27, and injured 14 others.

Akbar, however, was not accused of terrorism. He was charged with premeditated murder and attempted murder.
Can it be your neighbor or mine?Live Steam
Sep 22, 2003 7:06 PM

Captain from Jersey detained by military

Gitmo chaplain reportedly probed as spy

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Star-Ledger Staff

An Islamic Army chaplain from New Jersey has been detained by the U.S. military amid an investigation into his role as the spiritual counselor to suspected terrorists at the Guantánamo Naval Base in Cuba.

Capt. Yousef Yee, 35, a West Point graduate who grew up James Yee in a Lutheran family in Springfield, was taken into custody at a Jacksonville, Fla., naval station as he returned from Guantánamo Sept. 10, a spokesman for the military's Southern Command said yesterday.

Yee, who has since been held at a military brig in Charleston, S.C., has not been charged. The Washington Times reported yesterday that Yee was under investigation for aiding the enemy, spying and espionage.

The Southern Command spokesman, Capt. Thomas Crosson, said he could not confirm the nature of the probe.

"If charges were formally filed, then we'd be able to tell you," Crosson said.

The spokesman added that the Army Defense Counsel has appointed a lawyer to represent Yee, but he did not know the lawyer's name.

A senior law enforcement official told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity that FBI agents in Jacksonville confiscated documents Yee was carrying and questioned him before turning him over to the military.

An FBI spokesman in Jacksonville confirmed that agents were at the scene when Yee was detained, but he would not comment further on the bureau's involvement.

Yee, who is of Chinese descent, is believed to be the first U.S. soldier detained in a terrorism investigation.

A man who answered the phone at Yee's family home in Springfield declined comment yesterday. A neighbors said Yee's father, Joseph, and mother, Fong, still live in the home, an off-white split-level.

Yee, who has several siblings, has not been seen much in the neighborhood since he left for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he studied religion, said the neighbor, Lena Apicella.

After his 1990 West Point graduation, Yee served on active duty as an air defense artillery officer, Crosson said. He left the Army in the mid-1990s and moved to Syria for four years, later returning to the United States and re-entering the Army as an Islamic chaplain.

In November, Yee was assigned to the task force holding prisoners at Guantánamo. Known as Camp Delta, the prison holds about 660 people, the majority of whom were captured in the U.S.-led war on Afghanistan. The detainees include suspected members of the Taliban and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network.

In an interview with the Associated Press in January, Yee described his role at the base.

"I'm here to provide spiritual services to the detainees and to the troops," he said. Yee also educated fellow soldiers about Islam and offered Friday prayer services.

Crosson said Yee, an Arabic speaker, had daily access to the prisoners.

As one of the Army's relatively few Islamic chaplains, Yee was quoted extensively in newspapers in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

At the time, he was assigned to the 29th Signal Battalion at Fort Lewis in Washington state.

Yee told reporters the attacks on New York and Washington were viewed with horror by Muslims.

"Muslims share the same grief as everyone else and are affected by the attacks as anyone else would be," he told Scripps-Howard News Service in October 2001. "There were Muslims who died in the attacks. There were Muslim doctors and volunteers who were among the first to respond to the attacks."

He told reporters he also had provided counseling to Muslim soldiers who might have been conflicted about waging war on fellow Muslims in Afghanistan.

Crosson said he knew of no other soldier w
He hasn't been charged with anything.Spoiler
Sep 22, 2003 8:04 PM
I can't see why he was detained. The story certainly doesn't tell. I would expect a Catholic priest to have access to Catholic POW's, so how's this different?
He hasn't been charged with anything.sn69
Sep 22, 2003 8:12 PM
According to "leaked" reports--and NOTHING else--he was found to be in possession of illicit and supsicious items, including detailed maps of individuals' cells with names, lists of timed daily activities and detailed lists of guards and their homes of record.

That suggests a lot, none of it good. Still, you are correct, he has yet to be charged. There are a host of other possibilities beyond the simple assumption of treasonous guilt. In spite of what my gut feel tells me, I'm still going to keep the faith, so to speak, until the system proves otherwise.

What might surprise some is that the bulk of DOD's Muslim chaplains have been rotated through X-ray on a regular basis to ensure that the captives religous (and, to a lesser extent, nutritional) needs are met. ...Another thing that sets us apart.

FWIW, chaplains of all faiths have unrestricted access to members and PWs. Military chaplains offer assurances when they enter military service to tend to all, regardless of faith.

Illicit documentsSpoiler
Sep 23, 2003 6:38 AM
I'd assume he have to have a list of individual' cells with names. He has to know where the Muslim prisoners are so he can service them. He can't go wandering around asking each and ever prisoner if they are muslim. I'd assume he's have to know when prisoners are in and out. He can't be ministering to a prisoner when he's scheduled to be interrogated.
Perhaps I should have explained more.sn69
Sep 23, 2003 7:51 AM
There are protocols in place that specify what he or any other person, minister or not, is allowed to bring in and take out of that facility. For that matter, the same type of protocols exist within any sensitive military facility, prison or otherwise. If he illicitly took those documents out, then he is in violation of regulations and quite possibly the Uniformed Code of Military Justice. He and everyone else there were "read-in" when they began their assignment, meaning that they were given detailed direction about those protocols and the limits imposed by them. Again, that's the same everywhere, from prison facilities to CVIC--the aircraft carrier's intel center--to various places within the Pentagon, etc....

If he took documents without authorization and he wasn't holding something called a courier card, he's in deep doo-doo, even if it was a simple mistake. DOD takes that stuff seriously after the John Walker espionage ring incident from the 1980s.

And no, he's not ministering. He's under investigation. When a pilot crashes an airplane, she/he doesn't fly until after an investigation. ...That's our system. There are plenty of other Islamic chaplains on-hand to tend to the needs of the PWs.

In any case, I still hope this simply turns out to be little more than a lapse in judgement on his part, and not something more sinister.
How about we elect to neither assume nor suspectsn69
Sep 22, 2003 8:06 PM
our neighbors, particularly those of the Muslim faith or those of Middle Eastern Descent.

There's a Muslim petty officer in my squadron, and we've gone to great lengths to ensure that we do all we can to minimize any inferred, intentional or unintentional suspicion that he has some involvement. The fact is that he doesn't. He's a petty officer in the United States Navy, and that's all we elect to see.

Perhaps, then, we as a society would be wise to do the same. If CAPT Yee is guilty, the military justice system will confirm that and he'll be dealt with accordingly. If not, then he still might have some disciplinary issues to contend with if he was guilty of a lesser albeit non-treasonous activity. ...Or he might be innocent. That's for the general courts martial to decide.

In the meantime, if you go around sounding the "red" alarm, citing supposed seditious acts by your neighbors, then Osama has won another round. Terrorism, after all, seeks to affect a change in a society by the use of fear, suspicion and, ultimately, behavioral modification. We're bigger than that, though, Steam--we're Americans. The words engraved upon Lady Liberty and those that are written in our founding documents still ring true, and, in spite of our great many faults, we still hold the promise of freedom from oppression for all peoples.

Don't let Osama and his band of sociopaths alter your true character. Don't suspect or assume unless you've got really friggin' good reason. An American is an American, regardless of color, creed, sex, sexual preference, etc.

In the meantime, if Yee is guilty, he'll be punished. If not, he'll face a similar test--to rise above and continue as a human being or to become victim to yet more hatred. I suggest we simply watch as this plays out.
Scott I agree, yet ...Live Steam
Sep 23, 2003 6:40 AM
in this new age, the enemy and the lines of battle are certainly blurred beyond recognition. This also further serves to suggest, though you and many others may vehemently want to deny it, including our leaders - this is a religious war. This is not the first episode of a member of the US military suddenly putting his religious faith before that of his country. Remember the Sgt. who killed two officers and wounded more than a dozen more during the war?
Let's have some Army-McCarthy hearings! nmOldEdScott
Sep 23, 2003 7:05 AM
Scott I agree, yet ...sn69
Sep 23, 2003 7:44 AM

That guy (the one who killed the two Os) was a nut-job, plain and simple. The fact that he was also Muslim was probably little more than coincidental and provided an easy psychological rationalization for his actions (within his own muddied mind, that is). If you go back into news archives, you'll find that he had a laundry list of NJP (non-felonius) offenses and disciplinary breeches dating way back. The guy was a kook. Unfortunately, just like society, we've got our share of those. Hell, in my old community out here in San Diego, we had an officer who killed his wife and burried her under his hot-tub slab....

Still, one has to be particularly careful when electing to cast labels on those within one's own society. We did that without justification 50 years ago, driven by little more than panic, and we damned several thousand to the concentration camps of Manzanar. Likewise, the preposterous witch-hunts of McCarthyism still send shivers down most peoples' spines, and I sincerely hope that lil' sh!t Cone enjoys eternity in hell or whatever he got when he finally morted.

Yes, this is a religious war, but a lot of the solution to it is the equitable distribution of resources free from the oppression of dictatorial regimes that we support. We cannot expect the powerless and the poor throughout the world to simply take our side when the governments that hold them back are our so-called allies and the only forces who bring them relief are Muslim charities, no mtter how duplicitous we KNOW their motivations to be. It's not unlike how early Christianity spread like wildfire through the Roman Empire.

The other facet of this, of course, is the job that the military has yet to finish. Kill the f@#kers dead who represent the dark core of this cancer. Yet that's the easiest part to address in terms of understanding and response. It's the other part that's more difficult.
It's all very disturbingLive Steam
Sep 23, 2003 8:18 AM
I have a tenant that is Pakistani. He has been a good tenant, paying on time and never giving me trouble for the past 12 years or so. He says he is a doctor by training in Pakistan, but here in the US he owns and operates delis. Quite a few by now. Maybe more than two dozen and the store he has in my building is his most profitable. He is very religious. He also makes it a point to be very "American". He wears and sells 9/11 ribbons and has his office plastered with pictures of him with Daniel Moynahan, Hillarity, and other politicos. He actually threw a big fund raiser for Hillarity during her senate run.

Yesterday I was meeting a paving contractor in the strip center where he is my tenant, to get a price on re-paving the parking lot. The handyman that does minor repairs in his stores was hanging around and we started to chat. He is your everyday Joe Blow American - like myself :O) After telling him I was just married he tells me that his son is finally getting married too at age 37. The girl he is marrying works for INS. He tells me that my tenant, after finding this out, asked him if he would talk to his future daughter-in-law about expediting paperwork for guys he has employed. Many of the guys he had working for him suddenly disappeared after they were required to report in with INS. After recounting all of this, we looked at each other, probably with the same thoughts in mind, though neither of us said anything.

Yesterday I get home and read this report about the GITMO chaplain and I begin to wonder about my tenant. My tenant is for the most part, a very likable and straight forward guy, but his request seemed a bit odd, a bit disturbing and a bit out of character. I never thought of him as anything other than a good tenant and a nice guy, but yesterday I didn't see him in the same light. I hope my suspicions are fleeting and terribly wrong. If I have to spell it out - there is some fear and sense of guilt that, if my tenant is somehow related to the "dark core" as you put it, and I have been accepting checks from him each month. I would feel a terrible sense of guilt, should that fear come to be reality. This is what prompted me to post the story about Capt. Yee.
It's all very disturbingsn69
Sep 23, 2003 8:39 AM
Yup, it IS disturbing. I remind myself all the time that we can only sacrifice so much before Osama eeks out another victory. I suppose that's why I'm so bothered by the "Patriot" Act.

Vigilance is one-thing, but it has to be metered against the civil liberties that make our country what it is. Granted, that will inevitably leave chinks in the armor, but that's the certain price we have to pay for freedom in this context. ...All the more reason to press home the attack abroad and send Osama and his goons off to the other side, so that they might collect their 40 virgins and honeyed cakes courtesy of a 5.56 round or Mk84 bomb.

Here's a twist, though. While Islam is a unifying characteristic that many of these people share, their ethnicities vary greatly, and at least one guy is Hispanic. What does that mean? IMHO it simply means that the "dark core" will seek to exploit wackos regardless of ethnicity. If they are Muslim, then I'm sure Osama takes great delight, because he probably sees and easy mark, ripe for the pickin' into his basket of future matyrs. If they're not, his infrastruture still sees an asset. That speaks towards how Islam is being used by Osama to further his own megalomaniacal goals. Sh!t, his very actions in Taliban Afghanistan reeks of "crusaderism"--attempting to usupr power in a foriegn country to further his own religious ideals. "Hello, Pot? Yeah, this is Kettle? You're an a@@hole."

Anyhow, I understand your trepidation. Still, as hard as it is, try to walk the high road and regard your tennant for who he seems to be--a very hard working entrepenuer (sp?) who seems to have a vested interest in legitimizing his business in order to grow and succeed. His employess no doubt went rabbit so they could stay, and it's far more likely that they're simply trying to eek-out a living rather than plotting terrorist conspiracies. Your guys is probably trying to do right by them as well as his own business ventures. It's his right to grab that piece of the pie too, even if it means he'll end up in a Hummer H2 parked in the driveway of his McMansion. Tee hee.

By the way, how is marriage treating you?

Same crackers :O)Live Steam
Sep 23, 2003 9:17 AM
Well I should say the Mrs. is more relaxed these days :O) I am happy and so is she, so everything is good.

I sure hope that the little voice in my head and that feeling in my gut, is wrong. It's strange that even after 9/11, I never really thought about him this way. Yesterday changed all of that for some reason. I think the handyman didn't actually think about it in the same terms either, before recounting his story to me.

We see little snippets of events and don't usually string them together. It's not in our nature to be suspicious. However, when presented with all of the info at once, a picture emerges. I hope it's a wrong picture - that's all.

You suggest that we press the attack abroad, yet many criticize us for that too. Whether you agree with Bush's policy on Iraq or not, I am sure the administration viewed it as a small price with a large payoff. Our presence there, in the capacity we are in presently, has reaped immeasurable rewards in the fight against these evil bastards - at least that is my impression. I don't see the downside as others do. I see a liberated people and the removal of a tyrant who, though not a religious zealot, was a madman and our enemy. I wouldn't put it past him to pass off information, weapons and funding to the religious nuts perpetrating these acts of terrorism -(Your enemy is my enemy, so I will help you) in order to inflict as much damage as he could against us and those he viewed as a threat to his schemes.
Please notice...Tri_Rich
Sep 23, 2003 9:47 AM
...WHO Scott said the military should be eliminating.

As to your tenant I would suspect that his request has to do with the sudden loss of many of his employees and, due to the now much slower INS, a difficulty in replacing them.
The web gets more complicated....sn69
Sep 23, 2003 11:33 AM

Wow, it'll be interesting to see where all of this ends up.
some questionsSpoiler
Sep 23, 2003 4:49 PM
"this is a religious war."
We were the ones to initiate the war. We declared war. We warned Saddam to leave or face war. If religion is what it's all about, what religion is the United States fighting for?
Back it up a bit.sn69
Sep 23, 2003 5:48 PM
You can start as early as Gulf War 1, which the majority of the Arabian Gulf nations wanted our involvement in. But, Bin Laden didn't, espousing a mujahedin-style counter insurgency once Iraq invaded Saudi Arabia (which was most likely Hussien's ultimate goal). Basically, OBL was looking towards several objectives, not the least of which was to topple the House of Saud and to usupr power once, presumably, he either thwarted the Iraqi occupiers or once he curried favor with Bahgdad.

To his dismay, the infidel pig dog swine (puppets of those pornographic Jews who use Barbi dolls to corrupt young Muslim girls)--namely us--came in and won the war rather quickly. ...Or did we. Our macro-vision is usually quite good, but it often blurs our micro-vision, and in this case, OBL was able to use our continued presence at Prince Sultan Air Base, Eskan Village, Dharan (until Kobar went boom thanks to him), Ali Al Salem (Kuwait), Al Jabar (Kuwait) and a couple other places as a means to further his aims at West versus East, Islam--his version, which, incidentally, has generally been panned even by most ardent right wingers like Iran's Revolutionary Counsel--versus everyone else.

The rest is simply chronology. Kobar Towers were leveled. The African embassies were bombed. The Cole was bombed. 9-11.

I suppose we could easily devolve this into an esoteric argument about the capatalistic, imperial west versus the impoverished east, but OBL hardly qualifies as the champion of the impoverished masses. One might be able to draw that conclusion for Che, Fidel and Uncle Ho, but not Mr. Rich Kid OBL. He's a power-hungry sociopath who cloaks himself in the false piety of religious supremacy in order to further his goals. (And yes, from there we too can devolve into an argument about the current administration and it's apparent/presumed aims...blah, blah, blah).

The bottom line is that OBL was fermenting his plan towards Saudi dominance since his skills were honed in Afghanistan fighting the Soviets. To say we trained him/made him is a gross oversimplification. At any given time, we had less than a half dozen CIA SOG operatives there, only one of whom had regular contact with the "rich kid who came to get his jollies." We no more made him than we made the Unibomber, Ted Bundy, Tojo 9 (the dictator, not the studio), etc. His war was hatched in the dark cesspool of his misbegotten, sickened inner self, a misguided, self-conceived opportunity to become the next singular leader of the Islamic world.

Back to your point, Spoiler. This is a religious war int he sense that religion is being used as a means to an end by one side. They could argue that this is also an economic war since we often justify our actions that way. To a more dubious extent, so too are they--shorting several million shares of American and United just before the 9-11 attacks, etc.

Again, forget for a moment the issues of an administration that I'm assuming you don't like. Forget the Iraqi campaign. The issue of the broader skirmishes leading up to the opening salvo of this war are irrefutable. What has transpired since and will continue for many years to come is a related issue.

Still, I hope will total, honest sincerity that the broader ramifications of a religious war defined by Islam versus non-Islam NEVER comes to be.

I hope you believe that. Humanity cannot afford it.
They have darker skin, pray to the wrongGod and are made of wood128
Sep 23, 2003 7:58 AM
Just teasing. I think I see your point.

My first reaction was to ship them all out and keep anymore from coming in. Just hard to figure out who 'them' was. As US citizens, weirdly, we are, or become 'them'.

Somehow we're supposed to feel no paranoia of Middle Easterers even now. Honestly, I can't do that. There is suspicion. I have to admit it and sublimate it. But I put my faith in the system (Heaven help me!) to allay my suspicion.

We're forced to live the paradox: The cost of Liberty is constant vigilance.

Kind of a contradiction.... Welcome to America.