Chrystia Freeland has called the US prison system an "American Gulag Archipelago." The Global Editor-at-Large of Reuters made her comment during today's Dylan Ratigan show on MSNBC.
The context was a discussion of the recent WikiLeaks document dump about Gitmo, but Freeland was clearly speaking of the domestic US prison system, not our military prisons. Ratigan picked up on her theme, saying we could cut our prison costs in half if marijuana were legalized.
CNN's Jessica Yellin, filling in for host John King on Thursday's "John King, USA," delved into the mystery of Hollywood's disenchantment with President Obama – and wondered if it isn't due to celebrity liberals being "spoiled."
Yellin's guest was outspoken liberal Joy Behar, host of HLN's "The Joy Behar Show" and co-host of ABC's "The View," who believes Obama has more charisma than Lady Gaga.
On Monday night's "Piers Morgan," the CNN host professed his admiration for President Obama – but like any good liberal, sounded his disappointment that the Guantanamo Bay detention camp is still open. He tried to get his guests to share similar sentiments.
"I am quite an Obama fan, but I was quite disappointed that he did the big U-turn on Guantanamo, actually," Morgan admitted.
Hosting cast members of the upcoming film "The Conspirator," Morgan asked if the ethical issues in the plot – the post-Civil War trial of an accused co-conspirator in Lincoln's assassination – mirrored the ethical and constitutional questions of military trials of terrorists at Guantanamo, shortly after another American crisis.
Bowing to reality, President Obama has officially reneged on a campaign promise to his base, reversing a previous decision on detainees at Guantanamo Bay that will keep the prison camp for terrorists open indefinitely. It made the front page of Tuesday’s Washington Post but was buried near the back of the New York Times that day, on page 19: “Obama, in Reversal, Clears Way for Guantanamo Trials to Resume.”
Reporters Scott Shane and Mark Landler rounded up some suspiciously sympathetic quotes from left-wing figures, or as the Times calls them, “civil rights advocates," either cutting Obama some slack or even finding bright spots in the decision.
The three evening newscasts on Monday and the morning shows on Tuesday mostly ignored Barack Obama's abandonment of a campaign pledge to close Guantanamo Bay and end trials of detainees there. NBC's Today, CBS's Early Show and ABC's Good Morning America all covered the story only in news briefs. Yet, when President Bush was in the White House, the networks obsessed over the issue.
Today's Ann Curry called the move to resume military trials there a "stunning reversal," but the network allowed just two brief anchor reads during the four hour program. ABC almost completely ignored the development. Monday's World News skipped the topic entirely.
On Tuesday's Good Morning America, Juju Chang offered a single mention, explaining, "And an about-face from President Obama on Guantanamo Bay. He is resuming military trials for terrorism suspects held in Cuba, two years after he pledged to close the prison."
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld appeared on Tuesday's Hannity and recounted the harm Newsweek did in 2005 with a false report about U.S. soldiers flushing a Koran down the toilet at Guantanamo Bay.
Discussing the story with host Sean Hannity, he complained, "Later [Newsweek] said 'if part of our story wasn't correct, we apologize.' Of course, the people they were apologizing to were dead. Now, how does that happen?" 15 people died in rioting resulting from the article. Rumsfeld lamented, "Well, I suppose people want to be first instead of accurate and that's too bad."
He added, "Of course, a lie races around the world 15 times before the truth even gets its boots on." Rumsfeld, who was promoting his new book, also appeared on Monday's World News, Nightline and Tuesday's Good Morning America. None of those ABC hosts questioned the ex-Defense Secretary about Newsweek's false story or the impact it had on America.
Every so often, MSNBC anchor Dylan Ratigan goes on a rhetorical bender that stupefies his guests and defies logic.
On his eponymous program today, Ratigan latched onto conflicting reports concerning the treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning, who was arrested under suspicion of illegally downloading classified military documents and funneling them to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, to assert that the American justice system is akin to that of the Communist Chinese.
"Think about that in the context of 243 days in confinement, 23 hour-a-day lockdown, sleep deprivation," bemoaned Ratigan. "And you think China's bad?"
Ratigan also made repeated references to Guantanamo Bay, implying that Manning is being treated like an enemy combatant.
How much does NBC hate Guantanamo Bay? On Tuesday, the network brought a former inmate on air, let him rail against U.S. foreign policy, insist he was tortured, and proclaim his innocence, all without a single dissenting voice, and without even mentioning the massive amounts of evidence against him.
It's not that the evidence isn't available. Indeed, you can get enough information online to dispel most of former Gitmo inmate Saad Iqbal Madni's claims, or at least cast serious doubt on them.
But even in its woefully-incomplete recitation of the charges against Madni, NBC made sure to qualify all claims by immediately invoking Madni's insistence that he was in fact innocent. If NBC researchers had made even the slightest attempt to independently verify his claims, they would have discovered that they were specious at best.
A man is arrested and detained for months without any charges being brought against him. He is being held in deplorable conditions, forced to endure extreme physical and mental distress. He is exposed to the same ‘torture’ tactics that other enemies of the United States have allegedly suffered through.
So why isn’t the Commander-in-Chief taking heat for this travesty of justice?
Because this isn’t the Bush administration.
Firedoglake blogger, David House, has been detailing a recent visit with Bradley Manning, accused of leaking classified documents to Wikileaks, at a military prison at the Quantico Marine base in Virginia (h/t Weasel Zippers). Of course, House bemoaned the ‘inhumane’ treatment of Manning, describing the toll that months of solitary confinement have taken on his physical and mental well-being.
AFP ran with the story and made it clear that they had no intention of offering a balanced report. In fact, viewing the headline, one would never know that the story came from an extremely liberal website, reading more as fact than a slanted accusation.
In the video at the ABC link, George Stephanopoulos's intro at Good Morning America describes Holder as "a pretty circumspect man," but that on the subject of domestic terror threats, "he doesn't seem to be pulling any punches."
Really? If that's the case, Holder must have said a lot of things which got left on ABC's cutting-room floor. That's because in the entire three-page story at ABC (it's easiest to prove the following by looking at the print version, which can only be obtained at the link), the following words never appear:
For all of the bluster and glory, for all of the pomp and circumstance and yes, for all of the anticipated hope and the promised change, the whirlwind of hype and expectation surrounding the President a mere two years earlier has virtually dissolved, and Barack Obama has set a course that will leave his legacy as no more than a footnote in American Presidential history.
In a softball interview with retired liberal Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens on Sunday's 60 Minutes, correspondent Scott Pelley touted Stevens's opposition to the court ruling on the 2000 presidential election: "He thinks [Bush v. Gore] is one of the Court's greatest blunders....There were many people in this country who felt that the Supreme Court stole that election for President Bush."
Pelley introduced the segment by proclaiming that Stevens "has shaped more American history than any Supreme Court justice alive" and made "decisions that have changed our times." The decisions Pelley focused on were the Justice's most liberal: "It was Stevens who forced a showdown with President Bush over the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, and Stevens who tried to stop the court from deciding the presidential election of 2000."
In an attempt to re-litigate the past, MSNBC contributor Cenk Uygur indicted former President George W. Bush for war crimes.
Bellowing today from his regular perch on late afternoon Dylan Ratigan Show, Uygur mischaracterized the 43rd President's position on the waterboarding of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as "go ahead and torture him basically" before demanding that Bush be prosecuted for allegedly violating Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.
"Now it seems to me we have a confession here of a war crime and a clear violation of international and United States law," proclaimed Uygur. "President George W. Bush should go to jail for at least 10 years."
The alleged "confession" Uygur referred to is an excerpt from Bush's new memoir, Decision Points, in which the former commander-in-chief reaffirms his decision to condone the use of waterboarding as an enhanced-interrogation technique for suspected terrorists.
Appearing as a guest on Friday’s Countdown show, MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe – formerly of Newsweek – referred to the debunked story that was retracted by Newsweek in May 2005 which had incorrectly claimed that American interrogators at Guantanamo Bay had flushed a Koran down a toilet to intimidate Muslim prisoners. But Wolffe did not inform viewers that the story was untrue as he accused conservatives of a double standard for criticizing Newsweek’s inaccurate Koran desecration story from 2005 while not being aggressive enough in condemning Pastor Terry Jones’s declaration that he would burn the Koran on September 11. Wolffe:
I'm struck all the time with this story about the experience of those of us who worked in Newsweek – not the least of whom is Mike Isikoff now at NBC News who wrote a story about the abuse of the Koran in Guantanamo Bay, and there were riots and people died and the overwhelming torrent of abuse from conservative, the echo chamber, more than elected officials I think, certainly from conservative media, was that Newsweek had lied and people died. That's what they said.
Newsweek’s erroneous story inspired riots and a significant number of deaths in 2005 before it was retracted by the magazine, although, as previously documented by the MRC, Newsweek buried its retraction.
Those are the two most prevalent words uttered or typed on this tragically historic day.
For many, September 11, 2001, was a day that will forever be seared into the minds of those who were witness. On that day, the nation was awoken by a harsh reality that some people want nothing more than to destroy our freedom, our way of life. It was a day that 19 hijackers, four airplanes, two towers, and one deranged ideology brought the threat of terrorism to the forefront in our country.
But a mere nine years after 9/11, has the leadership of this nation, both administrative and media related, already forgotten?
Yesterday, on the eve of the anniversary of 9/11, the President of the United States of America had the tone deaf audacity to ignore the concept of time and place, choosing to defend the building of the Ground Zero victory mosque. In his news conference, President Obama said that the proposed New York City mosque has run up against the "extraordinary sensitivities around 9/11." In other words, he hears the sensitivities, he simply does not care.
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
With the recently announced end of Fox's hit series "24," many liberal pundits are parading the show as a false depiction of the notion that "torture works." Contrary to their accusations, the Jack Bauer interrogation methods bear exactly zero resemblance to any actual interrogation techniques used by American military, law enforcement, or intelligence agents.
"On '24,' torture saves lives," the New York Times's Brian Stelter writes, disapprovingly. James Poniewozik, writing on a Time Magazine blog, attributes the show's supposed approval of harsh interrogations to the "conservative politics of co-creator Joel Surnow."
Any American who has serious doubts that our military and intelligence officials would allow interrogators to, say, directly threaten the lives of a terrorist's family (let alone inflict tremendous physical pain) to elicit information has a better grasp of interrogation techniques -- and the integrity of our men and women in uniform -- than most of the liberal media.
Doing work the Associated Press refused to do -- or more specifically, providing context the AP refused to provide -- Sweetness & Light's indefatigable blogger Steve Gilbert gave readers the back story behind the order by U.S. District Judge James Robertson (pictured at right) to release Guantanamo Bay detainee Mohamedou Ould Salahi. Salahi is said to have, in the words of the wire service's Pete Yost, "provided advice to three of the Sept. 11 hijackers."
On Monday's Rick's List, CNN's Rick Sanchez painted Ann Coulter and CPAC as "hardline." Sanchez also implied that the CPAC attendees were hypocritically cheering Dick Cheney: "I invited Ann Coulter, who exemplifies the hardline spirit of CPAC...and asked her why anti-spend conservatives meeting there...would give a standing ovation to a former vice president whose administration ran up the deficit" [audio clip available here].
The CNN anchor revisited his Friday interview of Coulter 13 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour (Noel Sheppard exposed Sanchez's slanted interview of Coulter): "Do you remember last week when former Vice President Dick Cheney got the loudest ovation at CPAC? So I invited Ann Coulter, who exemplifies the hardline spirit of CPAC, I believe, and I asked her why anti-spend conservatives meeting there at CPAC would give a standing ovation to a former vice president whose administration ran up the deficit to $1.2 trillion, even though they were handed a surplus. I thought it was a fair question."
On Monday’s Rick’s List program on CNN, Slate’s Fred Kaplan attacked Republicans for politicizing national security, accused the GOP of being in an alternate reality, and blasted Sarah Palin for “talking...complete and utter nonsense.” Kaplan also wrote off the tea parties as not a “mass movement,” and, along with anchor Rick Sanchez, accused Palin of forwarding “anti-intellectualism.”
The Slate national security columnist, who is also a former correspondent for the Boston Globe, appeared as a guest during the last ten minutes of Sanchez’s program, just before the top of the 5 pm Eastern hour. Before introducing Kaplan, the CNN anchor set up the discussion by referencing the political debate over the granting of Miranda rights to attempted airline bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab after his Christmastime arrest. Sanchez first asked the Slate writer, “Who’s doing the politicizing here?”
Marc Thiessen, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush and author of "Courting Disaster," blasted Christiane Amanpour for comparing American interrogation techniques to what the Khmer Rouge did in Cambodia after the Vietnam War.
Appearing on CNN International Wednesday, Thiessen took issue with Amanpour's April 2008 piece "Scream Bloody Murder" in which she made the case that waterboarding was similar to what the Khmer Rouge did in the '70s.
"[T]here have been so many misstatements told about the enhanced interrogation techniques, comparing them to the Spanish Inquisition, to the Khmer Rouge," said Thiessen. "And I have to tell you, Christiane, you're one of the people who have spread these mistruths."
This led to quite an exchange between the two (video of the entire 24-minute segment embedded below the fold with full transcript, fireworks start at 6:00):
The media has frequently made the deplorable decision to present prisoners at Guantanamo Bay as innocent choir boys, wrapped up in the evil that is a U.S. prison system run by blood thirsty prison guards. Such is the case of a recent piece by the BBC, covering a love-fest reunion between the former Guantanamo guard who has seen the light, repenting for his evil ways, and two ex-inmates whose only goal in Afghanistan back in 2001 was to provide aid work, sight see, and smoke dope.
The BBC interview with the three individuals - former prison guard Brandon Neely and former inmates Ruhal Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul - asks the question: "But what were the pair doing in Afghanistan in 2001?"
In an interview on Fox News Channel’s Studio B on Wednesday, New York Congressman Peter King criticized President Obama for his “race to close Guantanamo,” prompting host Shepard Smith to parrot left-wing talking points on the subject: “[Obama] said that gave us a black eye around the world and studies seem to suggest that’s exactly what it did.”
King went on to staunchly defend the military prison: “I think we should not be giving in just because the terrorists say that Gitmo is a recruiting agent. So is our support of Israel. Does that mean we shouldn’t support Israel?” Smith skeptically replied: “You’re not equating the two, are you Congressman?” He then wondered: “Why is this political football being thrown around so much in the middle of all this?”
Smith later ranted: “Of all the important things to talk this just where we keep these people who want us dead, why do we spend time even talking about it? Why do people care?... In Cuba, we shoved them off to another country and stuck them on the end of an island and given the nation a black eye, if you believe – if you believe President Obama.” King pointed out Smith’s bias: “I think only a person that’s incredibly naive would say that we got – that we deserve that black eye. We got it because elements in the media and elements in the Democratic Party kept parroting that line.” In reply, Smith could be heard off camera sighing in disgust: “Ugh.”
Speaking with Republican New York Congressman Peter King on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: “Congressman, here you are a Republican talking about everything that’s wrong and everything that went wrong....Tom Kean, who was the co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission said quote,‘we should dismiss the partisan bickering over the security failures over this issue.”
Rodriguez went on to place the blame for partisanship on the Republican side of the aisle as she asked: “Do you agree and do you say to your colleagues let’s try to support the President here and get to the bottom of the real issue?” King replied: “I have never made one partisan statement on terrorism since that day....I will give the President credit when I think he’s right. But on the other hand, when mistakes are being made, I think it’s my obligation to speak out because this issue is so vital to all Americans.”
Unlike CBS and NBC, ABC on Wednesday night reported on criticism from the right of how President Barack Obama is addressing terrorism, but correspondent David Wright tried to discredit the critics' points by reacting with astonishment and sarcastic snipes. Astonishment: “Do you really feel like President Obama has made the country less safe?”
Sarcasm: Rebutting former Bush speech writer Marc Thiessen's bewilderment (“Why are we taking a terrorist who just tried to bring down a plane and telling him, 'You have the right to remain silent'? That's insane”), Wright disparaged the point with an extreme exaggeration of the alternative which reflected the left's caricature of the pre-Obama policy: “So you say water-board him, torture him?” (Wright did at least allow Thiessen to explain: “You don't have to water-board him and torture him. You have to question him.”)
Without pointing out how President Obama described Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab as “an isolated extremist,” a “suspect” and a “passenger” who “allegedly” tried to ignite an explosive device, Wright recited former VP Dick Cheney's comment that President Obama “seems to think if we get rid of the worlds ‘War on Terror,’ we won't be at war” and then countered by reading the White House's retort, “We are at war. The difference is this: President Obama doesn't need to beat his chest to prove it.”
Managing Editor's Note: The following is a reprint of Michael Moriarty's original December 14 post to Big Hollywood. Moriarty, you may recall, played a prosecutor in the first few seasons of the long-running NBC drama "Law and Order."
Well, I think I’ve been fairly calm and forgiving of "Law and Order" for about fifteen years. Living outside of the U.S. has certainly helped in more ways than one. Out of sight, out of mind. "Law and Order" has, for years, been just a press of the remote away from non-existence.
However, recent events have "Law and Order" just begging for my reassessment. I hardly expected my old television series to be the clown act that leads the American viewing audience into an increasingly predictable pile of hard left propaganda.
CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen is a long-time critic of the Bush administration, enhanced interrogation techniques, military tribunals, Gitmo, and many aspects of the government's prosecution of the war on terror. For general background, see Cohen's CBS News blog "Court Watch." It is, therefore, no surprise at all to see Cohen defending the propriety of the upcoming New York City terror trials.
Two-and-a-half years before Army Major Nidal Hasan, a Muslim medical doctor, murdered 13 at Fort Hood in Texas in what more-and-more looks like a jihadist terrorist attack given his anti-American rants and ties to Islamic extremists, ABC's since-canceled Boston Legal drama ridiculed the idea a doctor could be a terrorist.
A scene in the episode first aired on Tuesday, May 8, 2007 -- meant to show the silliness and incompetence of the military for detaining obviously innocent men -- concluded with a released terror suspect being asked in courtroom about a colleague who had committed suicide to avoid the mistreatment: “Was your friend a terrorist?” The man replied with these words, dripping with disgust, which dramatically ended the scene: “No, he was a doctor.”
Late Wednesday afternoon, MSNBC's David Shuster and Chris Matthews made clear their agreement with the message of a new ad from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) which ridicules former Vice President Dick Cheney's past judgments and thus proclaims him “WRONG” on the value of enhanced interrogation techniques, with Shuster declaring “he deserves” the “brutal ad” which makes, Matthews decided, an “obvious” and “undeniable” point.
Giving free publicity to the TV ad supposedly scheduled to begin airing Thursday on cable channels, just before 5 PM EDT MSNBC played part of the ad and Hardball viewers were treated to the entire 30 seconds about a half hour later. With “WRONG” on screen, the ad features a clip of Cheney asserting what was conventional wisdom at the time: “There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.” Then, with “HE'S STILL WRONG” on screen, viewers hear Cheney maintain “the enhanced interrogation techniques were absolutely essential.” The ad ends with:
ABC's Brian Ross and NBC's Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday night each listed some al Qaeda plots uncovered via CIA interrogations, but both balked when it came to vindicating former Vice President Dick Cheney on whether “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EITs) led to information which prevented attacks.
“Nowhere in the reports...does the CIA ever draw a direct connection between the valuable information and the specific use of harsh tactics,” Ross declared on World News in citing reports Cheney requested be released. NBC's Andrea Mitchell cited only Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and related how “administration officials say there is no way to know whether the same information could have be obtained from him without waterboarding or whether he would have given it up sooner had he been handled differently.”
On FNC, however, The Weekly Standard's Steve Hayes, quoting from the just-released 2004 report by CIA Inspector General John Helgerson, pointed out how even it noted regarding Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, the terrorist behind the USS Cole attack, “following the use of EIT's, he provided information about his most current operational planning as opposed to the historical information he provided before the use of the EIT's.” Hayes asserted: “I mean, it doesn't get clearer than that. So we can debate the morality, we can debate whether this was torture. We can't debate any longer about whether this was effective.”