Book: CIA Found that One-Third of Detainees at Guantanamo Bay Were Not Enemy Combatants in 2002

In 2002, the Administration was telling the public that the detainees at Guantanamo Bay were the “worst of the worst” and that federal courts had to be barred from access because we could not risk a single detainee being independently reviewed, let alone released. Critics cited violations of international and domestic law but the administration assured the public that these detainees were killers and terrorists. Now, it turns out that the Administration was warned by a CIA analyst that one-third of those detainees were innocent. If anything, he was too conservative. Over fifty percent were later found not to be enemy combatants. The analyst was told that, while he had completed interviews and review of each case, the President had determined that they were all guilty and therefore they were.

The President appears to have made clear that these detainees were just another “mission accomplished” and, regardless of all evidence to the contrary, they would remain enemy combatants.

A new book by Jane Mayer entitled “The Dark Side,” quotes Cheney staff director David Addington as saying “There will be no review. The president has determined that they are ALL enemy combatants. We are not going to revisit it.” Addington is repeatedly mentioned in some of the worst decisions of the Administration on international and domestic violations – including torture.

What is remarkable is that the analyst not only issued a detailed report but his assessment was supported by the view of Major Gen. Michael Dunlavey, who estimated that half were innocent. A later academic study found that 55 percent were innocent.

Once again, despite reports that as many as half of the detainees were innocent, the Congress, including the Democrats, passed laws barring access to the courts and refused any meaningful investigation.

For all those professors who (while mysteriously silent now) steadfastly defended the right of the President to create his own legal system and set his own standards, this is consequence of abandoning legal principle. Ultimately, it did not matter that we were holding hundreds of innocent people in abusive conditions for years: The President had made up his mind and that was enough.

For the full story, click here.

31 thoughts on “Book: CIA Found that One-Third of Detainees at Guantanamo Bay Were Not Enemy Combatants in 2002”

  1. In case you missed it, Keith Olberman’s commentary on Obama’s political damned if did/damned if he didn’t dilemma and how John Dean’s legal analysis of FISA makes that a bit less discomforting, IMHO…

    Can’t do two links in one post – Dean’s follows.

  2. Because in case you didn’t notice there, Machine-gun Martha, there wasn’t a “battlefield” until that grade school throwback you call a president made one.

    And there wasn’t a mess on it, until he made the mess.

    So, not only is his “clean up” not even close to “perfect”, its HIS mess he’s trying to clean up.


    I think we’ll call him “PigPen”.

  3. martha h
    1, July 20, 2008 at 8:55 am

    Then along comes a man, a President, who cleans it up to the best of his ability and all the one percenters can do is whine that it isn’t a perfect cleaning up

    Well, not sure about all that, but I do agree with you that Bush would have been better suited for work in the White House in a janitorial position of some kind.


    Instead of the “decider” he could be the “quicker-picker-upper”.

  4. martha hellfire
    1, July 20, 2008 at 8:55 am

    War is hell ain’t it.

    Thank you General Patton.


    Course, not sure what you’d know about it, particularly since we’re not at war, but merely invading and occupying countries that have not attacked us.

    I’m guessing one too many John Wayne.

  5. Jill,
    I agree with your comment about Obama on FISA. I can only hope that he will make concerted efforts to undo the damage after the election. I also agree that we should all examine what he says and proposes very carefully. However, there really is no other logical choice to make with McCain being the Republican candidate. I have voted the 3rd party route before and I do believe it was a wasted vote. The best chance we have of correcting the severe damage done to our nation of laws is with Obama in the White House. I wish I had seen that Oprah segment, but I do not see her much. It is probably better that I didn’t because I would have thrown something at the TV.
    I agree with you that Obama is no George Washington, but I believe that he can motivate people to get some good things accomplished.

  6. rafflaw,

    You know I respect what you say, and that won’t change because of any disagreement I have with you.

    “…I think people are looking for someone who will not lie to them on the big issues. They are looking for someone who actually believes that he/she works for them. People are looking for someone who will return us to a nation of laws…”

    Obama has lied to us about big issues. Do his words and actions really show that he believes he works for us? I’m not certain of that. This needs a careful anaylsis. When he voted for FISA he told us something very important about his views on a nation of laws.

    I don’t know what to do but we have until Nov. We should take that time to make a critical anaylsis of Obama. I’ve seen very little of that going on. McCain is obviously a very bad choice, but we have others. I can’t remember the documentary I saw this in but I just can’t get this scene out of my mind. A young woman was in Oprah’s audience and she was just saying we should wait before we go to war, spend time looking at the facts. Oprah tore her a new ass-hole. Oprah told her to be behind her president, no questions asked. We all know how that turned out. I feel the left wing and even that MSM has pretty much been Oprahesque on Obama. Sure they ask studpid questions about flag pins, but not much dispassionate anaylsis to speak of. We have the time to do the anaylsis. Why not do it?


    I agree that Washington was a good person for our nation. He didn’t even want to be president and he refused the kingship. That is both remarkable and admirable. I just don’t think Obama is like Washington. But I do agree that together people of good can accomplish a great deal.

  7. Jill,

    Can’t believe you would trash our mountain cousin.
    Cheney’s 1% doctrine.

    If there were even a 1% chance that humans could be used as fuel, this bunch would be lining us up for consumption, ramming a human depletion allowance through Congress, holding humans in ships off shore to drive up the price, setting aside the stronger men for future wars, eliminating birth control, engaging in stem cell research to grow more and fatter children, all the while smirking that protesters are unpatriotic and praising Jesus.

  8. Mespo,
    Well said. Although, I have one suggested correction. I have been feeling like a “subject” ever since the beginning of the Bush regime.

  9. Jill:

    Everyone on this blog knows my admiration for Jefferson, but I think if we had not had George Washington in 1776, we’d be referring to ourselves as subjects rather than citizens. One man or one woman really can make a difference if he/she is supported by other good men and women.

  10. Jill,
    I understand your concern, but I think people are looking for someone who will not lie to them on the big issues. They are looking for someone who actually believes that he/she works for them. People are looking for someone who will return us to a nation of laws. Our responsibility will be to hold the next President’s feet to the fire if he fails us like Bush has. The strength of the man/woman isn’t as important as the strenth of their character.

  11. mespo,

    The “one man” theory really worries me under certain conditions, this time period being one of them. I think many of us are quite desperate right now. We see our Constitution and the best of what the United States is being destroyed. We see the suffering of both the innocent and the guilty. Everyone’s rights are being stripped away. The economy is at the brink. We are, at this time, most tempted to find a savior, someone who will set everything right for us.

    I feel this desire is understandable but dangerous. There is no one savior. I know many people believe Obama is that man but I think that puts too high a burden on one person. I also think this desire causes well meaning people to stop evaulating critically just what Obama is saying and what he really stands for. We most need this critical evaluation at a time when it is most difficult to do it.

    It almost seems we are looking for our own strong man. That’s not a path back to democracy. It’s the path to dictatorship, even if we call it enlightened dictatorship.

  12. I would have to agree with both Jill and Mespo and say that Cheney is one of the most evil and arrogant men of my lifetime. He is in the same league as many of the ruthless dictators over the years. The only difference between Cheney and the worst of the worst is the dictators many time admitted what they were. Cheney tries to hide in the bushes (no pun intended) while his dirty work is being done. He learned his trade during the good old Nixon years and perfected his evil and many times illegal ways since then.
    Martha H., If you ever stated an intelligent thought on this site, the shock will probably kill the rest of us. Your comment about a President who cleans up “to the best of his ability” is comical. First of all, you have to assume that Bush has any ability. Secondly, you have to assume that he is calling the shots. I think Count Cheney is pulling those strings. And if justice is served, the people that are calling for war crimes investigations against Bush and Cheney, et al, will get what they ask for. The day that those two and their fellow torturers and enablers get justice, will be a second Independence day for the rest of us.

  13. Martha wrote

    Then along comes a man, a President, who cleans it up to the best of his ability

    Please tell me you’re not trying to defend the current President and root cause of these kinds of findings with this crap. War may be hell, but deliberately torturing people for the sheer pleasure of it is not a justifiable act of any war.

    Your attempts to drag this board and this country down to your (and the GOP’s) level has been exposed as the fraud that it is and will no longer be tolerated as reresenting American values.

  14. Jill:

    Old Niccolo Machiavelli understood guys like Cheney:

    “Men are so simple and so much inclined to obey immediate needs that a deceiver will never lack victims for his deceptions.”

    He understood Bush too:

    “The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.”

    But he offered us some hope as well:

    “A return to first principles in a republic is sometimes caused by the simple virtues of one man. His good example has such an influence that the good men strive to imitate him, and the wicked are ashamed to lead a life so contrary to his example.”

    Maybe we’ll have that “one man” come along soon.

  15. I’m rude so I’ll say it! Ruthless Bastard! (But I still think he’s practical, not from a rational or ethical perspective, but very practical about how to achieve his own means.)

  16. Jill:

    “I believe cheney is a ruthlessly practical man.”

    Just as a suggested edit: I would lose the “ly” after “ruthless;” strike “practical; and find a new word for “man” that included an epithet. I can suggest some but not in polite company.

  17. martha h:

    “the world is NOT perfect despite your feelings about your own perfection….”
    And with martha h running things, the world will never even approach perfection. Wonder if she’d be so cavalier sitting in a 6×6 sweltering cell, blindfolded, and listening to the blare of Deep Purple while wondering if she would ever be released.

  18. There is an consistent pattern of mass arrests and torture without regard to anything that I can see, other than to establish presidential absolute power. I believe cheney, addidington and other minions have used fear, secrecy, and warentless detention along with their domestic spying to form cheney’s attempt at absolute dictatorship. So far the courts are the only other branch of govt. to stop him, and that is only recently.

    I believe cheney is a ruthlessly practical man. None of these actions make sense as law enforcement or in establishing a functional govt. in Iraq, nor keeping us safe from terrorists. I do not believe he has any of these as true goals, and just gets confused about how to achieve them. I believe he knows exactly what his goals are and he sets the policies to achieve them. That is why Congress and we the people need to oppose this attempt at mass chaos and dictatorship.

    Zimbabwae is us next if we don’t get our shit together really quick.

  19. War is hell ain’t it.

    People get caught up in it, lie about their actions, profit from it, encourage it for personal gain, use it to rid the world of opposition, murder women, civilians, children.

    Then along comes a man, a President, who cleans it up to the best of his ability and all the one percenters can do is whine that it isn’t a perfect cleaning up.

    Here is a clue for them: the world is NOT perfect despite your feelings about your own perfection….

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