“Should we accept everything they say as true? Probably not.” Those are the words of CNN Pentagon Correspondent Chris Lawrence, talking about the accounts of Guantánamo Bay (Gitmo) detainees, in documents released by WikiLeaks starting on April 24. The documents contain startling amounts of intelligence about failed or rejected al-Qaida plots. So why does Lawrence tell us not to take every word at face value?
Because it’s all probably bunk, made up to avoid torture.
“The documents draw on the testimony of witnesses — in most cases, the prisoners’ fellow prisoners — whose words are unreliable, either because they were subjected to torture or other forms of coercion (sometimes not in Guantánamo, but in secret prisons run by the CIA), or because they provided false statements to secure better treatment in Guantánamo,” WikiLeaks said.
So why would CNN (and plenty of other mainstream news outlets) run this story? Because Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed “mastermind” behind the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, is one of the prisoners mentioned in the documents.
Mohammed claimed there were plans to attack the “tallest building in California” (and Washington state), destroy the Brooklyn bridge and blow up gas stations.
There was even a plot involving the use of Sega game cartridges as remote-controlled firing devices. I guess they don’t have the Wii in Afghanistan.
The release of all these documents — many of which refer to terror threats the Department of Homeland Security claims to have already handled — serves an interesting dual purpose.
On the one hand, the good guys caught the bad guys, and aren’t we so lucky that the government stopped so many terrorist plots? Isn’t it wonderful knowing we’re safe? Maybe we don’t need all those Constitutional rights after all.
But hold on — if these are the terrorists they caught, what about all those bad guys who are still out there?! We killed their boss; the terrorists are going to be really mad now. We need to pay these higher taxes — the Government needs more of my money to keep me safe.
George Orwell was right: “When memory failed and written records were falsified — when that happened, the claim of the Party to have improved the conditions of human life had got to be accepted, because there did not exist, and never again could exist, any standard against which it could be tested.”