(First published March 29, 2004). In 1893 Alfred Dreyfus, a captain of the French Army, was accused and tried for treason. In spite of evidence to the contrary, he was convicted and sent to prison in Devil’s Island for the rest of his life. The Dreyfus’ case unleashed a storm of anti-Semitism all over France (he was a Jew) and it was only through mighty efforts of people of good will all over France that he was finally exonerated of all charges in 1906 and then too, only after a change of government. He was re-instated in the army with the rank of Major and fought gallantly in WWI as Lieutenant Colonel.
In 2003 Captain James Yee, a Muslim Chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, was placed in solitary confinement, in shackles for most of 76 days in a military brig where he was not even told what time of day or night it was so he could pray. No one was told where he was or what the charges were against him and the word “espionage” was widely used by various spokes people; his military lawyers were told to prepare for a death-penalty defense. Continue reading