WASHINGTON — In a remarkable reversal of policy, President Obama held a press conference at the White House Tuesday afternoon in which he announced a pardon for Bradley Manning, the whistleblower who uncovered millions of embarrassing American diplomatic files. Standing at a podium with the presidential laptop, President Obama clicked a button which officially confirmed Manning’s pardon. President Obama said, “Did you think I’d really let him rot in a gulag for the rest of his life? This is America! It’s been hell for the State Department since WikiLeaks got a hold of all those files, and we’ve been nearly paralyzed, but what counts are Manning’s good intentions and touching personal story. I’m now inclined to agree with his supporters that America is becoming an evil empire. But I won’t let it continue.”
President Obama fielded questions from reporters, but refused to speak with the mainstream media, instead opting to interact with scrappy-looking members of the independent media who livestreamed the event with ad hoc broadcast gear strapped to their bodies. One citizen reporter asked President Obama if he planned to continue the process of healing international relations, and the President responded, “I plan to tour all the nations that have been unfair subjects of our imperialism and personally apologize. We won’t just apologize this time, but we will reverse the policies which have paralyzed our diplomacy and unfairly benefited American interests.”
Another reporter questioned President Obama about a possible pardon for Edward Snowden, the NSA leaker who uncovered massive surveillance systems targeting not only US citizens, but the entire internet. Obama said, “Snowden may have been an agent for Russia or China, and we can’t rule that possibility out just yet. If his touching story turns out to be legitimate, then yes, I’d pardon him, but it’s too soon to tell. As for the surveillance on US citizens, we’ve pulled the plug on that program entirely. It’s not helping us catch terrorists and it costs far too much, but even more importantly, it’s an insult to the American people. It says our judgement is too clouded by fear to trust the American people with the liberty of privacy, and we can’t be guided by that kind of paranoid thinking.”
One livestreamer asked President Obama about human rights abuses and force-feeding at Guantanamo Bay, and the President responded, “The force feeding going on there is disgusting. I promised to shut down Guantanamo Bay, and now we’re finally pulling the plug on it.” The President scowled at the mainstream media, and almost sneeered, “If maximum security American prisons aren’t good enough for terrorists, then what are they good for?”
Obama was later seen shirtless, sporting the Nobel Peace Prize around his neck on a gold chain, playing pick up basketball with poverty-stricken children who have no access to health care or college education.