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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/26/09

Bush Official: They Knew Many Innocent Were Tortured

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Here it comes...the truth that Senator Pat Leahy must get at if his new Truth Commission has anything to do with truth.  New whistleblower, former Colin Powell Chief of Staff Larry Wilkerson, is blasting the media for burying the story of many innocents captured and tortured by the Bush administration, saying:  

largely unreported is that several in the U.S. leadership became aware 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. They were not about to admit to their further errors at Guantanamo Bay. Better to claim that everyone there was a hardcore terrorist, was of enduring intelligence value, and would return to jihad if released.

Wilkerson says he felt compelled to step forward after Dick Cheney's recent bizarre interview in McLean, Virginia, in which he portrayed President Obama as coddling terrorists and being a danger to the Republic.  Wilkerson says that a former vice president engaging in such fearmongering and imputations to the president is "really, really dangerous."  Wilkerson blasted Cheney for the:

unmistakable stoking of the 20 million listeners of Rush Limbaugh, half of whom we could label, judiciously, as half- baked nuts. Such remarks as those of the former vice president's are like waving a red flag in front of an incensed bull. And Cheney of course knows that.

Cheney said in the interview:

"When we get people who are more interested in reading the rights to an Al Qaeda terrorist than they are with protecting the United States against people who are absolutely committed to do anything they can to kill Americans, then I worry."

The problem is that the president has never said a single thing about reading rights to terrorists, and if anything has been moving much more slowly on closing Gitmo than many, including Wilkerson, would like.  In the same interview Cheney admitted to putting proclaimed terrorists back on the street.  He said "at least 61 of the inmates who were released from Guantanamo (sic) during the Bush administration...have gone back into the business of being terrorists."

Less clear was whether they were terrorists to begin with, or the kind of terrorist who, if they had nothing against America when they went in, sure did now.  

Wilkerson, a retired Army colonel who flew combat missions in Vietnam, wrote for The Washington Note:

al-Qa'ida will be back. Iraq, GITMO, Abu Ghraib, heavily-biased U.S. support for Israel, and a host of other strategic errors have insured al-Qa'ida's resilience, staying power and motivation. How we deal with the future attacks of this organization and its cohorts could well seal our fate, for good or bad. Osama bin Laden and his brain trust, Aman al-Zawahiri, are counting on us to produce the bad. With people such as Cheney assisting them, they are far more likely to succeed.

In other news, during a visit by George Bush to Calgary last week a Mohawk Indian advanced through a police line to effect a citizen's arrest of Bush as a suspected war criminal.  Gale Davidson of Lawyers Against the War of Vancouver crafted a legal position that under Canadian law Bush could be arrested.  Splitting the Sky, a Mohawk from Six Nations, first evoked international law by asking the RCMP to arrest Bush.  When they refused he told them, "I am serving you notice that you are protecting a war criminal and an international terrorist.  You can be tried, convicted and executed as a collaborator before a Nuremberg-type tribunal".

Splitting the Sky then broke through the police line and advanced alone to arrest George Bush.  He got 2 to 3 feet into the Center.  He pushed his way through with his hands over his head yelling, "I am not touching anyone".  Police surrounded and pounced.  He was arrested and beaten in the police van and jail cell, where he was kept for 24 hours and released on $500 bail.  He sustained serious bodily injuries, including a partial concussion and a massive hernia.

His defense fund and website are at

FORWARD TO Senator Pat Leahy's email:


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Ralph Lopez majored in Economics and Political Science at Yale University. He writes for Truth Out, Alternet, Consortium News, Op-Ed News, and other Internet media. He reported from Afghanistan in 2009 and produced a short documentary film on (more...)

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