Col. Lawrence Wilkerson Demolishes Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld’s Lies About Guantánamo

by Andy Worthington
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
www.andyworthington.co.uk
13 April, 2010

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Those of us who have been studying the recent career of Col. Lawrence Wilkerson were not surprised when, last week, he submitted a declaration (PDF) in a lawsuit seeking compensation from the US government that was filed by former Guantánamo prisoner Adel Hassan Hamad. A Sudanese hospital worker, Hamad was sold to US forces by their unscrupulous Pakistani allies in the summer of 2002, but was only released from Guantánamo in December 2007.

In the declaration, Col. Wilkerson, who served in the US military for 31 years and was Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell from August 2002 until January 2005, stated that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld all knew — and didn’t care — that “the vast majority of Guantánamo detainees were innocent.”

Last March, Col. Wilkerson wrote a guest column for The Washington Note, “Some Truths About Guantánamo Bay,” in which he first laid out some of his major complaints about the failures of the Bush administration’s detention policies in the “War on Terror.” In his column, Col. Wilkerson decried “the utter incompetence of the battlefield vetting in Afghanistan during the early stages of the US operations there,” and explained, “Simply stated, no meaningful attempt at discrimination was made in-country by competent officials, civilian or military, as to who we were transporting to Cuba for detention and interrogation.”

Col. Wilkerson also wrote that:

[S]everal in the US leadership became aware of this lack of proper vetting very early on and, thus, of the reality that many of the detainees were innocent of any substantial wrongdoing, had little intelligence value, and should be immediately released. But to have admitted this reality would have been a black mark on their leadership from virtually day one of the so-called Global War on Terror and these leaders already had black marks enough: the dead in a field in Pennsylvania, in the ashes of the Pentagon, and in the ruins of the World Trade Towers.

Furthermore, Col. Wilkerson wrote:

[I]t has never come to my attention in any persuasive way — from classified information or otherwise — that any intelligence of significance was gained from any of the detainees at Guantánamo Bay other than from the handful of undisputed ring leaders and their companions, clearly no more than a dozen or two of the detainees, and even their alleged contribution of hard, actionable intelligence is intensely disputed in the relevant communities such as intelligence and law enforcement. This is perhaps the most astounding truth of all, carefully masked by men such as Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Cheney in their loud rhetoric — continuing even now in the case of Cheney — about future attacks thwarted, resurgent terrorists, the indisputable need for torture and harsh interrogation and for secret prisons and places such as GITMO.

Col. Wilkerson’s attacks on the Bush administration’s incompetence reflected what I and other researchers had discovered, and as a result, I felt emboldened to approach him, to ask if he would agree to an interview. I was delighted when he accepted, and the resulting two-part interview was published by the Future of Freedom Foundation last August and September.

MORE: http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2010/04/13/lawrence-wilkerson-demolishes-bush-cheney-and-rumsfeld%E2%80%99s-lies-about-guantanamo/

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