Back during the Bush administration, it was common for liberals to declare “Bush lied!” because, well, he did. Often. About matters of life and death.
Will those same liberals now declare “Obama lied!”?
In February 2009, a letter marked “Obama administration’s communication” was delivered from the U.S. State Department to the British government [the name of the author has been redacted]. The letter referred to seven redacted paragraphs of information about the treatment of Binyam Mohamed by U.S. agents as “highly sensitive information contained in the memoranda” and “classified information.” “Public disclosure of this information, reasonably could be expected to cause serious damage to the United Kingdom’s national security,” the letter declared. The UK Foreign Office confirmed that the Obama administration had argued the release of these seven paragraphs “could likely result in serious damage to UK and US national security.”
When, later in February of 2009, a British court blocked the release of these seven paragraphs, the Obama administration formally thanked the British government “for its continued commitment to protect sensitive national security information.”
In August 2009, after Spokesman Ian Kelly of the Obama State Department was asked in a Daily briefing about these seven paragraphs and was unable to provide a response, the Obama Administration issued the following formal written answer:
Question: Does the release of the 7 paragraphs of information from the trial of Binyam Mohamed hinder our intelligence sharing with Britain?
Answer: The United States and the UK government continue to share a commitment to protect sensitive national security information and preserve the long-standing intelligence sharing relationship that enables both countries to protect their citizens.
The following is the text of those seven paragraphs, finally released by the British Government:
It was reported that a new series of interviews was conducted by the United States authorities prior to 17 May 2001 [SIC] as part of a new strategy designed by an expert interviewer.
v) It was reported that at some stage during that further interview process by the United States authorities, BM had been intentionally subjected to continuous sleep deprivation. The effects of the sleep deprivation were carefully observed.
vi) It was reported that combined with the sleep deprivation, threats and inducements were made to him. His fears of being removed from United States custody and “disappearing” were played upon.
vii) It was reported that the stress brought about by these deliberate tactics was increased by him being shackled in his interviews.
viii) It was clear not only from the reports of the content of the interviews but also from the report that he was being kept under self-harm observation, that the inter views were having a marked effect upon him and causing him significant mental stress and suffering.
ix) We regret to have to conclude that the reports provide to the SyS made clear to anyone reading them that BM was being subjected to the treatment that we have described and the effect upon him of that intentional treatment.
x) The treatment reported, if had been administered on behalf of the United Kingdom, would clearly have been in breach of the undertakings given by the United Kingdom in 1972. Although it is not necessary for us to categorise the treatment reported, it could readily be contended to be at the very least cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the United States authorities.
National security information? Sensitive? Vital to the protection of American and British citizens? No. That the United States used all of these techniques to grind people down was widely known around the world by the time Barack Obama took office.
To call confirmation that the United States tortured a detainee “national security information” or “sensitive” or a blow to the safety of American citizens is a lie. A lie that the Obama administration repeated for months on end, right until the moment that the seven paragraphs were released last week. Now the truth is out — that the United States Government under both Bush and Obama was hoping to avoid embarrassment — all the White House can manage to say is that it is “deeply disappointed.”
It was a lie.
Will you say it?