23 February 2004

Military justice system a self-inflicted casualty in terror war

It would be difficult to quantify to what extent the government used profiling to target Yee, and then, out of desperation and lack of evidence, targeted him on punishable adultery charges.

What is clear is that the impact of the treatment of Yee on potential Arab and Muslim translators in the military is likely to be devastating. It is a result the US can ill afford. It is also not new. It has been reported that the aggressive, and ultimately minimal, espionage prosecution of scientist Wen Ho Lee in 1996 caused a dramatic decline in Asian-American scientists willing to serve the US.

In addition, the Yee case is a glimpse into the government's heavy handed detentions at Guantanamo Bay. The Supreme Court will decide this year whether the administration's indefinite detention of hundreds of men there, only alleged to be terrorists or combatants, is a legitimate use of power. Until then, Guantanamo Bay exists in a legal never-neverland. Charges against Yee, and other Muslims at Guantanamo, have all fallen short. The problem with Guantanamo is not espionage or infiltration; it's Guantanamo.

Whatever Yee may have done wrong in the military's eyes pales in comparison with what the case has done to denigrate the military court system.

The military court should take its next opportunity not only to salvage Yee's shattered reputation, but to salvage the reputation of military justice itself.

Bear in mind, while you think about the Yee case, that he has access to procedures unavailable to the Guant�namo detainees. The Bush administration never admits it is wrong, never ever. Their espionage case against Yee collapsed months ago, so they brought adultery charges instead. IS that a terrific qualification for a group that wants to establish itself as a secret judicial system without traditional safeguards? And everything will b okay because we can trust George Bush?

What was our prime minister smoking when he decided the military commissions would or could deliver fairness?

No comments: