Many detainees locked up at Guantanamo were innocent men swept up by U.S. forces unable to distinguish enemies from noncombatants, a former Bush administration official said Thursday.
“There are still innocent people there,” Lawrence B. Wilkerson, a Republican who was chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, told The Associated Press. “Some have been there six or seven years.”
Wilkerson, who first made the assertions in an Internet posting on Tuesday, told the AP he learned from briefings and by communicating with military commanders that the U.S. soon realized many Guantanamo detainees were innocent but nevertheless held them in hopes they could provide information for a “mosaic” of intelligence.
“It did not matter if a detainee were innocent. Indeed, because he lived in Afghanistan and was captured on or near the battle area, he must know something of importance,” Wilkerson wrote in the blog. He said intelligence analysts hoped to gather “sufficient information about a village, a region, or a group of individuals, that dots could be connected and terrorists or their plots could be identified.” Full Story
Did Media Ignore Autopsy Reports on Iraqi Prisoners?
Professor Peter Phillips reprimands mainstream media for underreporting autopsy reports released in 2006 that listed homicide as the cause of death for dozens of Iraqi and Afghani civilians held in U.S. military custody. “This is killing people; this is murder,” he says.
Murder of detainees confirmed!
Innocent Gitmo Detainee Says He Was Tortured, Holds Bush and Cheney Responsible
Lakhdar Boumediene was locked up at Guantanimo Bay prison for 7 1/2 years for a crime he didn’t commit and says he was tortured while he was there, including one episode where he was forced to go without sleep for 16 days straight. He cries because he doesn’t even know his own daughters anymore, and may sue the US government.
The Obama administration is considering a change in the law for the military commissions at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, that would clear the way for detainees facing the death penalty to plead guilty without a full trial.
The provision could permit military prosecutors to avoid airing the details of brutal interrogation techniques. It could also allow the five detainees who have been charged with the Sept. 11 attacks to achieve their stated goal of pleading guilty to gain what they have called martyrdom.
The proposal, in a draft of legislation that would be submitted to Congress, has not been publicly disclosed. It was circulated to officials under restrictions requiring secrecy. People who have read or been briefed on it said it had been presented to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates by an administration task force on detention. Full Story