What was that quaint idea of trusting government officials in a time of war?
Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once declared that individuals captured by the US military in the aftermath of 9/11 and shipped off to the Guantanamo Bay prison facility represented the “worst of the worst.”
During a radio interview in June 2005, Rumsfeld said the detainees at Guantanamo, “all of whom were captured on a battlefield,” are “terrorists, trainers, bomb makers, recruiters, financiers, [Osama Bin Laden’s] body guards, would-be suicide bombers, probably the 20th hijacker, 9/11 hijacker.”
“We’re learning a great deal of information about how al-Qaida operates, and able to stop other terrorist attacks,” he added.
But Rumsfeld knowingly lied, according to a former top Bush administration official.
And so did then Vice President Dick Cheney when he said, also in 2002 and in dozens of public statements thereafter, that Guantanamo prisoners “are the worst of a very bad lot” and “dangerous” and “devoted to killing millions of Americans, innocent Americans, if they can, and they are perfectly prepared to die in the effort.”
Now, in a sworn declaration obtained exclusively by Truthout, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who was chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell during George W. Bush’s first term in office, said he would be willing to state, under penalty of perjury, what top Bush officials knew and when they knew it.
He claims that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and others knew the “vast majority” of prisoners captured in the so-called War on Terror were innocent and the administration refused to set them free once those facts were established because of the political repercussions that would have ensued.