Former US president George W. Bush and his top aides were accused Friday of covering up that many Guantanamo Bay detainees were innocent, amid fears releasing them could harm the ‘war on terror’.
The allegations were made in a document by Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, once chief of staff to Bush’s first secretary of state, Colin Powell, in a lawsuit filed by a former Guantanamo inmate and published by The Times in London.
Wilkerson alleged Bush’s vice president, Dick Cheney, and defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld knew that most detainees held at the US detention camp in 2002 were innocent but believed it was “politically impossible to release them”.
They were also keen to avoid revealing the “incredibly confused” detention operation, Wilkerson said, claiming prisoners were often rounded up by Afghan and Pakistani forces in return for cash, with little or no evidence as to why.
He alleged Cheney “had absolutely no concern that the vast majority of Guantanamo detainees were innocent… If hundreds of innocent individuals had to suffer in order to detain a handful of hardcore terrorists, so be it”.
Wilkerson, who according to The Times has been a long-time critic of the Bush administration’s approach to counter-terrorism, said he discussed the issue with Powell, who left his job in 2005.
“I learnt that it was his view that it was not just vice president Cheney and secretary Rumsfeld, but also president Bush who was involved in all of the Guantanamo decision-making,” the newspaper reported him as saying.
Wilkerson’s statement was filed in support of Adel Hassan Hamad, a Sudanese man held at Guantanamo Bay from March 2003 until December 2007. He claims he was tortured by US agents and filed a damages action Thursday, The Times said.
Some 183 detainees remain at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay on Cuba, including dozens already cleared for release. Most have been held without charge or trial.
Trump’s racism is ‘disqualifying’ for him to remain as president: former White House lawyer
Former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal explained on MSNBC on Thursday why he viewed President Donald Trump's racist attacks on four women of color in Congress as disqualifying.
Anchor Brian Williams read a quote from Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.
"Half of the country is appalled but not really sure how to combat him; the other half is cheering, or at least averting its gaze. This is what a political civil war looks like, with words, for now, as weapons," Glasser wrote.
Lawrence O’Donnell reports on the growing movement for the impeachment of President Donald Trump
Anchor Lawrence O'Donnell reported on the growing movement for the impeachment of President Donald Trump during Thursday evening's "The Last Word" on MSNBC.
"The House of Representatives conducted a symbolic vote on a hastily written impeachment resolution by Democratic Congressman Al Green in reaction to the president’s tweeted comments that the House of Representatives voted to condemn as racist," O'Donnell reported. "The impeachment resolution had nothing to do with the [Robert] Mueller investigation and referred only to the president being unfit for office because of the language that he has used recently about members of Congress and immigrants and asylum seekers."
Video proves how far the Trump’s GOP has gone from the era of Ronald Reagan and HW Bush
The immigration policies of Donald Trump’s presidency would have no room for his GOP predecessors Ronald Reagan or George H.W. Bush—who both embraced work visas, family unification, easy border crossings and a better relationship with Mexico.
That counterpoint can be seen in a very short video clip from the 1980 presidential election where Reagan and Bush—who became Reagan’s vice president for two terms before winning the presidency in 1988—were asked about immigration at a campaign debate in Texas. Their responses show just how far to the right the Republican Party’s current leader, President Trump, and voters who have not left the GOP to become self-described political independents, have moved on immigration.