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Saturday, September 18, 2004

Another Guantanamo Military Case Came to Naught

As reported in this December 1, 2003 Oklahoma Daily article, Col. Jackie Duane Farr, 58, a long-serving senior intelligence officer working at he US military base in Guantanamo bay, was charged in a criminal investigation.
Col. Jackie Duane Farr, 58, is accused of two violations of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice: making a false statement and failure to follow orders. Conviction of the crimes could carry a maximum combined punishment of seven years in prison, a dishonorable discharge and a loss of pay.

The U.S. Southern Command in Miami announced the charges in a statement. "Specifically, Farr is charged with wrongfully transporting classified material without the proper security container on or around Oct. 11, and making a false statement in the course of the investigation into his handling of classified material."
Now, Reuters reports, these charges are no more.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Army has dropped all charges against a colonel who served as an intelligence officer at the Guantanamo prison and had been accused of trying to take classified material from the base, officials said on Thursday.

Army Reserve Col. Jackie Duane Farr was the highest ranking of three U.S. service members charged in 2003 in connection with suspected security breaches at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the United States is holding about 585 foreign terrorism suspects.

All charges have now been dropped against Farr as well as Army Capt. James Yee, a Muslim chaplain who ministered to prisoners, while the prosecution case against Air Force Senior Airman Ahmad al Halabi, an Arabic language translator, has run into numerous troubles.

The Army dropped charges against Farr of disobeying an order by transporting classified material without the proper security container, and making a false statement during an investigation, said Army Maj. Hank McIntire, a spokesman at the Guantanamo base.

Instead, Army Brig. Gen. Jay Hood, commander of the Guantanamo prison, on Aug. 27 imposed "nonjudicial punishment" in an administrative proceeding, McIntire said.

I really like the bit about charges being dropped but some kind of "nonjudicial punishment" being imposed. Those with a better grasp of the English lexicology are welcome to try and explain to me the difference between "nonjudicial" and "extrajudicial". Be that as it may, it sounds like the Army ain't really got nothin' on that ole' soldier Farr but they just can't come clean and admit it.

But that is not the most important part of the story, I reckon. The most interesting part, in my opinion, is the fact that all the security-related investigations of the US military personnel working at the Guantanamo POW camp have yielded practically no results. Some bloggers have called these investigations "frame-up attempts". That is possible, though I have an easier time envisioning an individual overzealous security official somewhere in the hierarchy trying to strike it big. Be that as it may, this string of investigations demonstrates, at the very best, the utter confusion in the military intelligence and counterintelligence operations.

The US media, while covering the initial accusations extensively, appears to be largely mum when it comes to covering the subsequent annulment of those accusations. At least that was the case with Captain James Yee. Does this qualify as biased reporting?

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