Olbermann Defends Former Left-Wing Terrorist, Compares to George Washington

On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seemed to rationalize the actions of the Chile-based Marxist terror group MIR, as he compared one of the group’s followers who helped kidnap a Spanish businessman, and who is currently attempting to have Bush administration members indicted in a Spanish court on war crimes charges, to George Washington.

In response to FNC’s Bill O’Reilly, who last week pointed out that Gonzalo Boye, the attorney in Spain who is trying to have Bush administration members prosecuted, himself spent eight years in a Spanish prison for assisting the MIR, Olbermann suggested that the attorney’s involvement with the Chilean terrorist group was justified because the group's aim was to topple former dictator Augusto Pinochet.

But Olbermann did not mention that the crime Boye was convicted of being involved in was the 1988 kidnapping of Spanish businessman Emiliano Revilla, who was abducted outside his Madrid home and held eight months for ransom in a collaborated effort between the Chile-based MIR and the Spain-based ETA, another left-wing terror group which has perpetrated bombings and killed many in Spain. Olbermann responded to O’Reilly’s complaint that it was a "big omission" for a New York Times article not to mention Boye’s history by rationalizing Boye’s terrorist history. Olbermann: "Well, no, not as big an omission as forgetting to mention that the man whom Mr. Boye`s collaboration with terrorists targeted was the sadistic Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. This is like Bill-O calling George Washington a terrorist."

In the March 31, 2009, National Review Online article, "Spain's 'Universal Jurisdiction' Power Play," Andrew McCarthy summarized Boye's links to terrorists, which also includes trying to work with Hamas to bring war crimes charges against the Israeli government:

[Gonzalo Boye] obtained his law degree in a Spanish prison. According to reports in the Spanish press, Boye, a Chilean, was a member of the terrorist Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR) when, in collusion with the ETA, Spain's Marxist-Leninist Basque terrorist outfit, he participated in the abduction of a Spanish businessman, Emiliano Revilla.

For 249 days in 1988, from Revilla's seizure at gunpoint until his family paid the multi-million-dollar ransom, the social-justice activists of MIR and ETA stashed their hostage in a cell that, as Revilla has recounted, measured 2 meters long, 1 meter wide, and 1.8 meters high. ... Boye was ultimately prosecuted and sentenced to ten years in prison, during which time he obtained his law degree from something called the National University of Distance Education.

McCarthy continued:

More recently, Boye has worked with Palestinian "human rights activists" to bring suit -- in Spain, of course -- against Israel's former defense minister, and six others in his chain of command, for 2002 military operations against terrorists in Gaza -- which, in the Madrid lawyer's considered opinion, were "disproportionate." And Haaretz reports that Boye was back in Gaza earlier this year, consulting with Hamas in anticipation of bringing war-crimes charges against Israel for its defensive operations in a war necessitated by the thousands of missiles Hamas fired at Israeli civilians.

During the Monday, April 6, Countdown, Olbermann attacked O’Reilly during the show’s "Worst Person" segment:

During his threatened one-man boycott of Spain over the efforts of the attorney Gonzalo Boye to indict six members of the Bush administration for war crimes, Bill-O said, "the New York Times reported Boye`s beef but did not report this: Boye served almost eight years in a Spanish prison for collaborating with terrorists. He was sentenced in 1996. Now, that seemed to be a mighty big omission by the New York Times, does it not?"

Well, no, not as big an omission as forgetting to mention that the man whom Mr. Boye`s collaboration with terrorists targeted was the sadistic Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. This is like Bill-O calling George Washington a terrorist.

Olbermann is also well known for coming to the defense of detained terror suspects against what he deems harsh treatment by the Bush administration, once even suggesting Osama bin Laden’s driver was a "victim" of the Bush administration "urinating on the Constitution," on the August 7, 2008, show. Olbermann:

So, besides urinating on the Constitution and the rights and freedoms every American soldier has ever fought to win and protect, the Bush administration has now decided that when its victims have actually served their sentences, doled out under its own medieval, quote, "justice," unquote, system, it still might not choose to set them free, thereby giving that Constitution and our country a second pass on the way out.

On the Friday, January 23, Countdown show, Olbermann suggested that an al-Qaeda leader behind a bombing in Yemen may have been an innocent man when he was first jailed at Gitmo, and then became a terrorist leader as a result of being imprisoned unjustly. The Countdown host plugged the story before a commercial break: "But perhaps the real question is: Since we never tried him, never found him guilty, and the Bush administration set him free, what if he wasn’t a terrorist in the first place, but we turned him into one by sending him to Gitmo?"

During the January 23 show's "Still Bushed!" segment, the MSNBC host elaborated on his counterintuitive theory:

Shihri said he had gone to Afghanistan to do relief work, and his trip to Iran, that was to buy carpets for his family’s furniture store in Riyad. So the ultimate question here is not: Doesn’t this prove we can never ever ever never close Gitmo? But rather, if he really was traveling tourists of terrorism and not a guy buying rugs, why did the Bush people let him go? Or, why was he never put on trial? Or, why did the permanent solution to terrorism the Bushies claim Gitmo was fail so utterly here? And, perhaps worst of all, if Shihri was once just a guy trying to get a deal on some carpets, which is suggested by the fact that Bush’s people let him go, did his detention at Gitmo in fact turn him into a terrorist? Did we perhaps create in Said al-Shihri his reason for hating us?

On the March 24 show, Olbermann attacked conservative activist Gary Bauer during the show's "Worst Person" segment for suggesting that some former Guantanamo detainees turned to terrorism after their release because they were allowed too much exposure to religious extremism while in captivity, as Olbermann disagreed with Bauer's theory and repeated his own:

When [Gary Bauer] mentioned me by name as one of the commentators who believe Gitmo had created terrorists, he made up the rest. I never cited the inhumane treatment or any religious persecution. Those would be secondary.

The primary reason you might be turned into a terrorist because you were detained by the U.S. without charge for years and kept in a military prison is because you were detained by the U.S. without charge for years and kept in a military prison. Nobody, nobody at Gitmo was convicted by us of anything beforehand, and only a couple were convicted of anything afterwards. Statistics alone suggest we kept at least one innocent man in prison there for years. And guess what? That`s bad enough.

Below is a more complete transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday, March 24, Countdown show:

OLBERMANN: The runner-up, Gary Bauer, former presidential candidate, former Reagan domestic policy adviser and now president of American Values which, despite the name, is not a discount septic tank operation, writing at Politico a mere two months after the last of dozens of conflicting Pentagon reports suggested with almost no verification that 61 former Gitmo detainees had been identified as returning to terrorism. Some of the 61, by the way, were so identified because they appeared in a documentary. Seriously.

Surprisingly, Bauer agrees with me that Gitmo may have, in fact, created terrorists, turned innocent people unfairly detained into guys with understandable vendettas.

"But," he writes, "while many liberal commentators behave inhumane treatment and religious persecution transforms detainees into suicide bombers and high-level terrorists, I believe the opposite is true, that the unprecedented and extreme religious accommodation granted to Gitmo prisoners has created a culture of Islamic radicalization."

You heard it. We were too nice to them. Here`s the bigger picture Mr. Bauer has thoroughly missed. When he mentioned me by name as one of the commentators who believe Gitmo had created terrorists, he made up the rest. I never cited the inhumane treatment or any religious persecution. Those would be secondary.

The primary reason you might be turned into a terrorist because you were detained by the U.S. without charge for years and kept in a military prison is because you were detained by the U.S. without charge for years and kept in a military prison. Nobody, nobody at Gitmo was convicted by us of anything beforehand and only a couple were convicted of anything afterwards. Statistics alone suggest we kept at least one innocent man in prison there for years. And guess what? That`s bad enough.