September 23, 2003


Air Force Airman Charged with Espionage at Guantanamo Bay Prison (AP, 9/23/03)

An Air Force airman who worked as a translator at the U.S. prison camp for suspected terrorists has been charged with espionage and aiding the enemy, a military spokesman said Tuesday.

Senior Airman Ahmad I. al-Halabi is being held at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, spokesman Maj. Michael Shavers said.

Al-Halabi worked as an Arabic language translator at the prison camp for al-Qaida and Taliban suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Shavers said. The Air Force enlisted man knew the Muslim chaplain at the prison arrested earlier this month, but it's unclear if the two arrests are linked, Shavers said. . . .

Pentagon officials said an investigation into possible security breaches at Guantanamo Bay continues.

So, should Muslims be assigned to Guantanamo?

Posted by David Cohen at September 23, 2003 3:56 PM

Only after an intense vetting process.

Posted by: M Ali Choudhury at September 23, 2003 4:02 PM

Short Answer: No
Long Answer: HELL NO

Posted by: h-man at September 23, 2003 4:05 PM

No, they should not. And I want to see a firing squad on live television (yes, I am serious, and I am a 46 year old white woman who is fed up with radical Islam in a big way).

Posted by: Kay at September 23, 2003 6:28 PM

I am no expert on military affairs--but did the military have an outright ban on Communists being members of the armed forces at the height of the Cold War? If there *was* such a ban, I would wonder if Islamists should be treated in the same fashion, as we are (in some ways) threatened by that ideology just as much as we were by Communism. Not "PC", perhaps, but we generally don't see Lutherans or agnostics behaving in such a manner.

Posted by: Southerner at September 23, 2003 7:20 PM

I was in the military during the height of the Cold War. If I remember correctly, admitting to having been a member of the Commmunist Party was disqualifying.

For one very important reason: admission thereof would make gettting a security clearance impossible.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at September 23, 2003 8:17 PM

I think they may have to, if only because the people they need as translators are often Muslim. However, let's not jump to the conclusion that this is all just a Pentagon screwup. For all we know, these people have been carefully watched the whole time by our counterespionage people, who have been tracking just where the information was passed.

At least I hope so.

Posted by: PapayaSF at September 23, 2003 8:51 PM

Just think of it as Flypaper Theory, domestic style....

Posted by: Barry Meislin at September 24, 2003 2:07 AM

Now, remember all the criticism of the military and CIA for not having expert Muslim advisers and agents prior to 9/11.

Posted by: David Cohen at September 24, 2003 7:43 AM

I'm with Papaya and David.

Posted by: genecis at September 24, 2003 10:16 AM

If you won't trust the ones who put on a uniform and swear an oath, on what grounds do you support "democratic reformists," which was the sentiment on this blog just yesterday?

It does not take very many bad Muslims to spoil the whole barrel, does it? And although I am unused to having the BJB commentators on my side, today's comments ought to suggest to moderate or tolerant Muslims that they need to take steps to show the rest of the world how to discriminate between them and the bad 'uns.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 24, 2003 3:28 PM