12-Year-Olds at Gitmo


The Talking Dog has a fascinating interview with Captain James Yee a West Point graduate who served as a Muslim chaplain ministering to detainees at Guantanamo Bay. After 10 months of service at Gitmo, Yee was arrested while traveling back to the United States for a two-week leave. He was accused of espionage, which carries the death penalty. Yee spent 76 days in solitary confinement in the brig in Charlestown, South Carolina. Eventually, all charges against Yee were dropped and he received an honorable discharge. Yee has recently published a book about his experiences: For God And Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire.



Here's what Yee has to say about the child and adolescent prisoners he met at Gitmo:

As for the juveniles, there were at least three boys in Camp Iguana between 12 and 14 years old. There were at least 6 others, by the way, who were 15 or 16, definitely younger than 18, in general population. The three in Camp Iguana I met weekly. We were led to believe they were "hard core terrorists" but this was utterly ridiculous. The guards in charge of them would frequently discipline them with "time-outs" just as many American parents discipline their own children.

I spent a fair amount of time with the youngsters; they learned to throw footballs, and I watched them kick soccer balls- occasionally over the fence and into the ocean. These kids were not the hard-core super-terrorists capable of slitting anyone's throat, as we were led to believe, and as portrayed by our military and governmental officials. Nevertheless, it was no fun and games for these pre-teens boys. They were subjected to harsh interrogations just like the other prisoners. Several of these interrogations were taking place when I would come visit and thereby prevent me from accessing Camp Iguana.

Yee has much more to say about the deteriorating conditions he observed at GMTO, abuse of the Koran, harsh investigation techniques, and his own ordeal at the hands of the US government. 


[The Talking Dog]

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