What if many, even most, of the detainees at places like Guantanamo turned out to be innocent? What if the physical and psychological trauma to which they have been subjected, and the resulting generation of rage at the United States, was all unnecessary? Would that be a big story?


Yet check this out: Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, the former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, has alleged exactly that, in a deposition supporting a detainee’s lawsuit. The story of Wilkerson’s assertions was published on April 9 in….a British publication, the Times of London. And then they simply fizzled.

As the article noted:

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror, according to a new document obtained by The Times.

The accusations were made by Lawrence Wilkerson, a top aide to Colin Powell, the former Republican Secretary of State, in a signed declaration to support a lawsuit filed by a Guantánamo detainee. It is the first time that such allegations have been made by a senior member of the Bush Administration…

…He claimed that the former Vice-President and Defence Secretary knew that the majority of the initial 742 detainees sent to Guantánamo in 2002 were innocent but believed that it was “politically impossible to release them”….

WhoWhatWhy’s research librarian, Dave MacHenry, could find no examples of major American media covering this story.


  • Russ Baker

    Russ Baker is Editor-in-Chief of WhoWhatWhy. He is an award-winning investigative journalist who specializes in exploring power dynamics behind major events.

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