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Obama says Churchill didn't torture even in WW II (with dissenting views)

Barack Obama has praised Winston Churchill's refusal to torture German spies during World War II as an example of why the United States was right to abandon waterboarding and other methods of torture.

The president said he recently read an article where he learned for the first time that the British wartime prime minister had stoutly refused to use violent interrogation of hundreds of detainees even as "London was being bombed to smithereens".

"Churchill said 'we don't torture' when the British people were being subjected to unimaginable risk and threat," he said at a White House press conference to mark his 100th day in office.

The article he referred to on Atlantic.com referred to the interrogation methods of Colonel Robin "Tin Eye" Stephens, commander of the wartime spy prison and interrogation centre codenamed Camp 020, which were revealed when MI5 papers were declassified in 2005. He submitted prisoners to intense, psychologically tough, all night questioning but wrote that violence was counter-productive as it produced unreliable information.

Related Links

  • Guardian: Prisoners were tortured by British in WW II

  • Andrew Sullivan:"If" Churchill was aware of torture he is a war criminal

  • HNN: Were Nazis Tortured in World War II?

  • Stephen Bainbridge: We practiced torture in World War II
  • Read entire article at Telegraph (UK)