Fact check: False claim that Bill Clinton was poisoned to death at Guantanamo Bay

·4 min read

The claim: Bill Clinton was poisoned to death at Guantanamo Bay

Former President Bill Clinton was recently hospitalized in California for a non-COVID-related infection, but some social media users shared an alternative explanation: he was poisoned to death at Guantanamo Bay.

Clinton is the latest target of fabricated stories regarding fake deaths, military arrests and executions of high-profile figures and politicians. The claims are often inspired by the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, which alleges there is a “deep state” apparatus run by Democratic celebrities and political elites who are pedophiles.

“Bill Clinton Death Ruled a Homicide, Death by Poison,” reads a screenshot of a Sept. 30 article that was shared to Instagram on Oct. 15 and accumulated more than 700 likes within a few days.

In recent days, other Instagram users shared similar versions of the claim, questioning if Clinton actually had sepsis, the bacterial infection he was treated for at a Southern California hospital.

However, Clinton is alive and was not poisoned to death in Guantanamo Bay. The claim stems from Real Raw News, a website that routinely publishes fake stories and conspiracy theories.

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The social media users and Real Raw News did not return requests for comment.

Clinton was not poisoned

Clinton was released from the hospital on Oct. 17 and returned to his home in New York to finish his course of antibiotics, according to a statement from his spokesperson, Angel Ureña. There are no credible news reports stating Clinton was poisoned to death.

In an Oct. 15 statement, Ureña said "all health indicators are trending in the right direction" and Clinton is in "excellent spirits." Additionally, on Oct. 1, the day after the Real Raw News article was published, Clinton shared a happy birthday tweet to former President Jimmy Carter.

Clinton has also tweeted about the death of Colin Powell and other news events.

The claim originated in a Sept. 30 article by Real Raw News, which has a history of promoting false claims about the “arrests” and “executions” of politicians and celebrities including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Hunter Biden, among others.

Real Raw News' article about Clinton's "death" provides no evidence and attributes the information to an anonymous Guantanamo Bay "source."

The author claims Capt. Dale Ramirez with the U.S. Naval Hospital in Guantanamo Bay oversaw Clinton's autopsy. However, Dawn Grimes, a spokeswoman for the hospital, told USA TODAY via email that Ramirez did not perform or oversee any such autopsy.

The website says its content “contains humor, parody, and satire” however, the disclaimer is hidden on the about page, and says, "we have included this disclaimer for our protection, on the advice on legal counsel."

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An investigation by PolitiFact found stories on Real Raw News are authored by Michael Ruffin who goes by "Michael Baxter," and claims to be a reporter with access to official sources. Despite the satire disclaimer, he frequently defends the accuracy of his stories in the comments sections.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Clinton was poisoned to death at Guantanamo Bay. Clinton recently returned to New York after being released from the hospital, and he has been active on social media. The claim originated on a site that regularly publishes fabricated stories about the arrests and deaths of politicians based on the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: False claim that Bill Clinton was poisoned to death

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