President Barack Obama's grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama, must be turning over in his grave.
Winston Churchill — the man who ordered his torture during the Kenyan war of independence — was being praised by his grandson for not using torture. What a laugh.
Obama cited Britain as a country that never resorted to torture during war during his prime-time press conference on Tuesday night.
“London was being bombed to smithereens [and] had 200 or so detainees. And Churchill said, 'We don't torture,'" Obama said. "Churchill understood, you start taking shortcuts, and over time, that corrodes what's best in a people."
Excuse me, Mr. President: Churchill did condone torture and he did use torture — and advocated using poison gas and concentration camps. And he was quite proud to do so, writing about it frequently as a means to an end.
I don’t know whose Kool-Aid Obama was drinking, but it must have been supplied by the British Embassy in bucketfuls.
It was an amazing gaffe, as there is clear evidence that Obama’s own grandfather, a member of the Mau Mau insurgency in Kenya, was tortured by the British after he was captured.
Recent accounts in the British press note that he was whipped mercilessly every day when he refused to cooperate.
It was good old Winnie, drawing on his experience in similar tactics during the Boer War, who as Prime Minister ordered the savage suppression of the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya in 1952.
According to historians, “The ensuing torture caught up many uninvolved Kenyans, and just like many modern 'anti-terror' campaigns, radicalized them and their friends and family, too. One earlier victim of this approach was the President's grandfather.“
This was the same Churchill who drew an arbitrary line in the sand and created the state of Iraq, which has been the cause of all subsequent commotion — but not before writing in a 1919 memo that "I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes" to "spread a lively terror." The specific targets were the Kurds, in what was then Mesopotamia.
Then, of course, we come to Northern Ireland — here, torture was definitely used. Between 1971 and 1975, more than 2,000 people were interned without trial by the British in Northern Ireland.
Many faced what was euphemistically called “Interrogation in depth.” This was the infamous five techniques, many of which you will recognize from the Guantanamo / Abu Graib / CIA methods' allegations.
They include sensory deprivation though being hooded, often while naked, forced to stand against walls for over 20 hours, subjected to continuous noise for periods up to six or seven days, deprivation of food and water, and sleep deprivation for up to one week. Relays of interrogation teams had to be used lest the torturers grew fatigued.
The British media exploded in anger when allegations of torture were made against their government. They claimed, incredibly, that some of the wounds were "self-inflicted."
“One hard-line Provisional was given large whiskies and a box of cigarettes for punching himself in both eyes,” claimed the hilariously wrong Daily Telegraph on 10/31/77.
In 1978, the European Court of Human Rights called the techniques Britain used “intense physical and mental suffering and acute psychiatric disturbance,” and said it was cruel and inhuman punishment.
Amnesty International called it what it was: torture.
In his book “Provos, the IRA and Sinn Fein,” Peter Taylor noted then Prime Minister Brian Faulkner was told by the army and senior British officials that the techniques had often been used "many times before when Britain was faced with insurgencies in her colonies — Palestine, Malaya, Kenya, Cyprus, the British Cameroons, Guyana, Borneo, Malaysia, and the Persian Gulf.”
In other words, the spirit, and worse, the torture philosophy of "old Winnie" is alive and well in Britain today. In fact, the British are as far from "banning torture" as you can get.
After all, they practically invented modern torture.
What the hell was Obama thinking?