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]

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.