Obama lied last night repeatedly and often. Obama’s biggest lies regarded his answers to the torture and state secrets questions. If Obama did not lie then he is missing a great deal of information from his education.
Why Obama lied is a mystery because Big Media was content to ask “difficult” questions which bordered on ‘This is a very difficult question because you risk being immodest, but why, oh why, are you so wonderful?’
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On torture Obama wrapped himself around a non-existent Winston Churchill [Hint: Winston Churchill tortured]. After misrepresenting Churchill, Obama begged the question of whether torture should be used. Obama wants Americans to believe there is an easy way out on torture. We stated why the torture question is not an easy one in HELP! We’re Being Tortured! We wrote:
Torture works. The current debate on torture has to start off from that simple premise. If torture does not work then we merely have a simple argument about governments and their “intelligence” agencies doing something stupid which they can stop doing without harm to the national interests. But the reason “torture” is torture to figure out is because it does work.
Did our British cousins torture? You betcha!
Kensington Palace Gardens is one of the most exclusive, and expensive, addresses in the world: its stately row of 160-year-old mansions, built on land owned by the crown, is home to ambassadors, billionaires and princes. [snip]
Between July 1940 and September 1948, however, these three magnificent houses were home to one of the country’s most secret military establishments: the London office of the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre, known colloquially as the London Cage.
The London Cage was run by MI19, the section of the War Office responsible for gleaning information from enemy prisoners of war, and few outside this organisation knew exactly what went on beyond the single barbed-wire fence that separated the three houses from the busy streets and grand parks of west London.[snip]
The London Cage was used partly as a torture centre, inside which large numbers of German officers and soldiers were subjected to systematic ill-treatment. In total 3,573 men passed through the Cage, and more than 1,000 were persuaded to give statements about war crimes. The brutality did not end with the war, moreover: a number of German civilians joined the servicemen who were interrogated there up to 1948.[snip]
Among the documents stored at the National Archives at Kew is the manuscript of Scotland’s memoirs. In his first draft he recalled how he would muse, on arriving at the Cage each morning: “‘Abandon all hope ye who enter here.’ For if any German had any information we wanted, it was invariably extracted from him in the long run.” [snip]
An assessment by MI5 pointed out that Scotland had detailed repeated breaches of the Geneva convention, with his admissions that prisoners had been forced to kneel while being beaten about the head; forced to stand to attention for up to 26 hours; threatened with execution; or threatened with “an unnecessary operation”.[snip]
Within the National Archives are documents from two official inquiries into the methods employed at the Cage, one which heard evidence that guards were under orders to knock on some prisoners’ cell doors every 15 minutes, depriving them of sleep, and another which concluded with “the possibility that violence was used” during interrogations.
There is also a long and detailed letter of complaint from one SS captain, Fritz Knoechlein, who describes his treatment after being taken to the Cage in October 1946. Knoechlein alleges that because he was “unable to make the desired confession” he was stripped, given only a pair of pyjama trousers, deprived of sleep for four days and nights, and starved.
The guards kicked him each time he passed, he alleges, while his interrogators boasted that they were “much better” than the “Gestapo in Alexanderplatz”. After being forced to perform rigorous exercises until he collapsed, he says he was compelled to walk in a tight circle for four hours. On complaining to Scotland that he was being kicked even “by ordinary soldiers without a rank”, Knoechlein alleges that he was doused in cold water, pushed down stairs, and beaten with a cudgel. Later, he says, he was forced to stand beside a large gas stove with all its rings lit before being confined in a shower which sprayed extremely cold water from the sides as well as from above. Finally, the SS man says, he and another prisoner were taken into the gardens behind the mansions, where they were forced to run in circles while carrying heavy logs.
The Red Cross knew of “The Cage” but was not allowed to inspect as required by the Geneva Conventions. The wardens of “The Cage” had “secret gear” they did not want the Red Cross to see. The interrogations in other camps was “far worse”. There is testimony that treatment at “The Cage” was worse there than at similar guest facilities run by the Gestapo.
Obama however ran for cover with ahistorical answers on torture which appear to admit that torture works. Here is an extended excerpt from last night’s press conference (the first question is from ABC’s Jake Tapper, the second question is from CBS’ Mark Knoller):
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. You’ve said in the past that waterboarding, in your opinion, is torture. Torture is a violation of international law and the Geneva Conventions. Do you believe that the previous administration sanctioned torture?
OBAMA: What I’ve said — and I will repeat — is that waterboarding violates our ideals and our values. I do believe that it is torture. I don’t think that’s just my opinion; that’s the opinion of many who’ve examined the topic. And that’s why I put an end to these practices.
I am absolutely convinced it was the right thing to do, not because there might not have been information that was yielded by these various detainees who were subjected to this treatment, but because we could have gotten this information in other ways, in ways that were consistent with our values, in ways that were consistent with who we are.
I was struck by an article that I was reading the other day talking about the fact that the British during World War II, when London was being bombed to smithereens, had 200 or so detainees. And Churchill said, “We don’t torture,” when the entire British — all of the British people were being subjected to unimaginable risk and threat.
And then the reason was that Churchill understood, you start taking short-cuts, over time, that corrodes what’s — what’s best in a people. It corrodes the character of a country.
And — and so I strongly believed that the steps that we’ve taken to prevent these kinds of enhanced interrogation techniques will make us stronger over the long term and make us safer over the long term because it will put us in a — in a position where we can still get information.
In some cases, it may be harder, but part of what makes us, I think, still a beacon to the world is that we are willing to hold true to our ideals even when it’s hard, not just when it’s easy.
At the same time, it takes away a critical recruitment tool that Al Qaida and other terrorist organizations have used to try to demonize the United States and justify the killing of civilians.
And it makes us — it puts us in a much stronger position to work with our allies in the kind of international, coordinated intelligence activity that can shut down these networks.
So this is a decision that I’m very comfortable with. And I think the American people over time will recognize that it is better for us to stick to who we are, even when we’re taking on an unscrupulous enemy.
OBAMA: I’m sorry?
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) sanctioned torture?
OBAMA: I believe that waterboarding was torture. And I think that the — whatever legal rationales were used, it was a mistake.
OBAMA: Mark Knoller?
QUESTION: Thank you, sir. Let me follow up, if I may, on Jake’s question. Did you read the documents recently referred to by former Vice President Cheney and others saying that the use of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” not only protected the nation but saved lives?
And if part of the United States were under imminent threat, could you envision yourself ever authorizing the use of those enhanced interrogation techniques?
OBAMA: I have read the documents. Now they have not been officially declassified and released. And so I don’t want to go to the details of them. But here’s what I can tell you, that the public reports and the public justifications for these techniques, which is that we got information from these individuals that were subjected to these techniques, doesn’t answer the core question.
Which is, could we have gotten that same information without resorting to these techniques? And it doesn’t answer the broader question, are we safer as a consequence of having used these techniques?
So when I made the decision to release these memos and when I made the decision to bar these practices, this was based on consultation with my entire national security team, and based on my understanding that ultimately I will be judged as commander-in-chief on how safe I’m keeping the American people.
That’s the responsibility I wake up with and it’s the responsibility I go to sleep with. And so I will do whatever is required to keep the American people safe. But I am absolutely convinced that the best way I can do that is to make sure that we are not taking short cuts that undermine who we are.
And there have been no circumstances during the course of this first 100 days in which I have seen information that would make me second guess the decision that I have made. OK?
Mark Knoller’s question was excellent. Obama responded with the naive ponder “could we have gotten that same information without resorting to these techniques?” Obama would not answer the original Knoller question: what if the only way to get the information, which will save many lives, is by using torture “techniques”. That’s the rub.
Would Khalid Shaikh Mohammed have “cooperated” without the “good cop, bad cop” beatings alternated with sweet talk? Doubtful. He is a tough man undoubtedly trained to withstand less harsh interrogation. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, according to the 9/11 Commission Report was “the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks”. He is also thought to have had, or has confessed to, a role in many of the most significant terrorist plots over the last twenty years, including the World Trade Center 1993 bombings, the Operation Bojinka plot, an aborted 2002 attack on Los Angeles’ U.S. Bank Tower, the Bali nightclub bombings, the failed bombing of American Airlines Flight 63, the Millennium Plot, and the murder of Daniel Pearl.
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Michael Scherer, a journalist we increasingly respect for his non-fawning appearances regarding Obama, asked a good question too:
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. During the campaign, you criticized President Bush’s use of the state secrets privilege, but U.S. attorneys have continued to argue the Bush position in three cases in court. How exactly does your view of state secrets differ from President Bush’s? And do you believe presidents should be able to derail entire lawsuits about warrantless wiretapping or rendition if classified information is involved?
OBAMA: I actually think that the state secret doctrine should be modified. I think right now it’s overbroad.
But keep in mind what happens, is we come in to office. We’re in for a week, and suddenly we’ve got a court filing that’s coming up. And so we don’t have the time to effectively think through, what exactly should an overarching reform of that doctrine take? We’ve got to respond to the immediate case in front of us.
There — I think it is appropriate to say that there are going to be cases in which national security interests are genuinely at stake and that you can’t litigate without revealing covert activities or classified information that would genuinely compromise our safety.
But searching for ways to redact, to carve out certain cases, to see what can be done so that a judge in chambers can review information without it being in open court, you know, there should be some additional tools so that it’s not such a blunt instrument.
And we’re interested in pursuing that. I know that Eric Holder and Greg Craig, my White House counsel, and others are working on that as we speak.
Obama was surprised and did not think things through – that is his defense. We here at Big Pink were not surprised, nor should anyone with access to the court docket (meaning everybody with internet access) be surprised this issue would require a court filing early in the year. We wrote about this issue on February 10 and cited the remarkable quote from an U.S. Courthouse. Judge: “The change in administration has no bearing?” Obama lawyer: “No, your honor.”
The Obama campaign website addressed the issue which later surprised Obama. Obama says the issue was a surprise and he was unprepared and therefore invoked the state secrets priviledge as sort of a quickie response. A problem with that Obama rubbish is that the lawyers for the plaintiffs’ had agreed to extend the time for the Obama lawyers to respond. It was the Obama lawyers who stated they did not need an extension of time because they wanted to brief their ugly position in court. According to the Obama worshipping Huffington Post, Obama was asked whether he agreed with his own lawyers and whether Obama knew what his lawyers were briefing in these cases and the answer was “Absolutely, absolutely he does“.
Scherer’s question was a good one and Obama’s answer was a series of lies and rubbish. The New York Times editorialized regarding the Obama/Bush garbage:
Of the many ways that the Bush administration sought to evade accountability for its violations of the law and the Constitution under the cover of battling terrorism, one of the most appalling was its attempt to use inflated claims of state secrecy to slam shut the doors of the nation’s courthouses.
Sadly, the Obama administration also embraced this tactic, even though President Obama criticized the cult of secrecy while running for office, leaving it to the courts to stand up for transparency and accountability.
And that is just what a panel of the federal appeals court in San Francisco did on Tuesday by firmly rejecting the claim that the government can prevent a judge from even hearing those who say they were hurt by federal polices and actions.
Barack Obama and his supporters are the mirror image of George W. Bush and his supporters. If George W. Bush had said in a press conference what Obama said last night Democrats would be outraged and Big Media would be outraged.
Instead, Big Media and Dimocrats applaud as Obama Lies On Torture And State Secrets.