On the Monday, March 30, The O’Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O’Reilly slammed the New York Times for not reporting that an attorney in Spain, Gonzalo Boye, who is trying to have Bush administration members charged with war crimes in a Spanish court, himself has served eight years in prison for "collaborating with terrorists," referring to the Chile-based MIR, and the Spain-based ETA, both left-wing terrorist groups. During his "Talking Points Memo," O’Reilly related: "The action is being driven by a man named Gonzalo Boye, a radical left lawyer in Madrid. On Sunday, 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?"
But on the same night’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann informed his viewers of the possible indictment in Spain without mentioning Boye and his terrorist connections. Introducing a discussion with George Washington University Professor Jonathan Turley, Olbermann announced: "The first steps towards opening a criminal investigation against the Bush administration about torture is now under way, only it`s not by the U.S. government but by Spain. The New York Times reporting a Spanish court now building a case against six high-level Bush officials."
And one week later, on the Monday, April 6, Countdown show, Olbermann attacked O’Reilly for making an issue of Boye’s terrorist connections, as the MSNBC host claimed O’Reilly’s take on Boye was "like calling George Washington a terrorist." More details here.
Below are transcripts of relevant portions of the Monday, March 31, The O’Reilly Factor on FNC, followed by the same night’s Countdown show on MSNBC:
From the March 30 The O’Reilly Factor:
BILL O’REILLY: Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thanks for watching us tonight. Spain insulting the USA: That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo." A Spanish court has begun steps to open a criminal investigation against some members of the Bush administration for alleged crimes involving the war on terror – former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Faith and Justice Department lawyer John Yoo are three of the Americans being targeted.
Now we're used to this kind of stuff from the far left here in the USA, but the Spanish action raises the bar, and Spain must be held accountable for that. The action is being driven by a man named a Gonzalo Boye, a radical left lawyer in Madrid. On Sunday, 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?
We called the Spanish ambassador in Washington, Jorge Dezcallar to appear with us this evening. The ambassador says he cannot comment, which of course is loco. Of course, he can comment. So here's the deal of Spain. If this action goes forward, you'll be insulting America, implying that we are the problem in the terror war. You're also diverting attention away from the true evil, Islamic fundamentalist killers who have attacked your own country. Finally, unless this action is condemned by Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero, then I am not going to that country. And I'm not optimistic that Zapatero will do the right thing. He's a Socialist. And Spain has not been a big supporter of the USA. In fact, once Zapatero took over from Prime Minister Asnar, a good guy, that country began opposing tougher sanctions on Iran for example, and is Iran's third biggest trading partner. Isn't that nice?
Spain also has been soft on Hamas and Hezbollah. And while it's true Spain has 800 troops in Afghanistan, as part of the NATO force, it has rejected President Obama's calls to send more troops, preferring to let the USA do most of the fighting. Are you getting the picture here?
A few years back, "The Factor" called for boycott of France because the corrupt President Jacques Chirac was doing back door deals with Saddam Hussein. When President Sarkozy was elected, we lifted the boycott because he's a terror warrior and doesn't hate the USA. So for now, the Spanish prime minister needs to step up and stop the madness. And the ambassador in D.C. needs to get out from under his desk. And that's the Memo.
Now for the top story tonight, reaction. Here in the studio, Annamarie McAvoy, an international law professor at Fordham University. And from Washington, Douglas Feith, author of the book, "War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism." Now all the proceeds from Mr. Feith's book go to military charities.
So, Mr. Feith, you may be put – tried in absentia, of course. You're not going over to that dog and pony show. And if convicted, which good chance in that place, your travel would be severely restricted around the world.
DOUGLAS FEITH, SENIOR FELLOW AT HUDSON INSTITUTE: Well, there are really two big problems that I'd highlight about this. First of all, what I understand about the allegations about me personally, I happen to know are just backwards. And they, I'm being criticized for a position that I never advocated. And so the facts are just wrong.
But there's also a broader point of principle here, which is what the Spanish authorities are considering doing is indicting people in the, former U.S. government officials for giving advice to the President. And the idea that a foreign official can disagree with advice given to the President. They're not talking about action, and they're not even talking about directing people to take action. They're talking about people who were advising the president on policy and legal questions.
O'REILLY: Okay, but Mr. Feith, here's the mistake you're making. You're actually being rational. You're actually taking this seriously. This isn't serious. This is a kangaroo court set up by a terrorist guy who served eight years in prison. New York Times didn't mention that, but he's the driver. Indicting you and two other guys who have nothing to do with policy in the United States. You guys don't make policy. You could say whatever you want.
Look, I could be indicted in Spain for saying that I support waterboarding. Are you going to put me on trial? You going to send me -- that's what’s going on. But if the government of Spain sanctions these nuts, goes through the process, and then convicts you guys, which, believe me, they would, and then you go to Africa or something on a safari and somebody grabs you, you could be in big trouble.
FEITH: Well, this is an effort to intimidate U.S. government officials and to basically get some Spanish magistrate.
FEITH: .-or any magistrate anywhere in the world to be able to exercise a degree of control over U.S. government decision-making.
O'REILLY: Well, look, I think I'm more angry about it than you are. But I think I'm furious. How do you see this, professor?
ANNEMARIE MCAVOY, INTERNATIONAL LAW PROFESSOR AT FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: I agree with you 100 percent. It is absolutely outrageous what they're trying to do here. These poor people, they aren't - and they weren't even the people who made any of the decisions. These are mid-level.
O'REILLY: No, they're advisors.
MCAVOY: That's right and mid-level, lower-level people, chief of staff to the Vice President. Instead of picking the people who at least have made the decisions, I mean, this is – the whole thing is outrageous. And the poor people, if they want to then go on a trip, they'll, if this goes through, they would certainly have to worry about being picked up. It.
O'REILLY: They would have to worry about.
MCAVOY: It's not out of the question. They could be extradited.
O'REILLY: If you go to certain countries that don't like the United States and want to embarrass the United States, they could grab you and extradite you to Spain. And they could do whatever they want. Now, I don't think that's going to happen, because all hell would break loose in this country. But I think that we have to make a stand now and say if you go ahead with this, Spain, you know, we're not going over there. We're not going to buy any – you sell it to Iran, we're not going to buy your stuff.
MCAVOY: Absolutely. And I would hope that also that I think it's wonderful what you're doing here. But I think the Obama administration also has to step up and say hey, put some pressure on the Spanish government if they-
O'REILLY: I don't know if the President should get involved quite yet, because it's not at that level yet. But certainly the Spanish ambassador, Mr. Feith, "Oh, we can't comment." What a bunch of hooey, all right, that is. He can comment on anything he wants to comment.
And the second thing is that, you know, Spain has got to wise up. Right now, Spain's not a friend to the United States. They're not. If you look at every conflict around the world, it's Spain taking the other side. Third largest trading partner of Iran, Spain. That's great. They don't want sanctions against the nukes. No, let Iran have those nukes. This is Spain. I think Spain's a problem. What do you think?
FEITH: Well, it certainly is. And, I mean, let's remember that the government in Spain changed when there were elections held, and al-Qaeda people wanted to influence.
FEITH: They blew up that train in Madrid. And it had the effect that they were hoping for.
FEITH: And it got, it got the current government voted in.
O'REILLY: Okay, last question. Were you surprised reading about yourself in the New York Times yesterday? Did you know this Boye guy was a convicted terror enabler? Did you know by reading that article in the New York Times?
FEITH: No, I didn't. What's going on in Spain is implementing, essentially, an idea that a British lawyer has been proposing, a guy named Felipe Sands, who wrote an extremely dishonest book on the subject. So I knew that he was going around and some other people were going around trying to find somebody in Europe who could bring indictments against U.S. government officials.
O'REILLY: No, I know, I know, but the New York Times wrote an article on the front page. Your face was in it. And they didn't mention that this Boye guy had served eight years for terrorism enabling. I mean-
FEITH: Yeah, no, that's a pretty amazing omission by the New York Times.
O'REILLY: I mean, come on, you know. And they wonder why they're going out of business.
#From the March 30 Countdown on MSNBC:
KEITH OLBERMANN: The first steps towards opening a criminal investigation against the Bush administration about torture is now under way, only it`s not by the U.S. government but by Spain. The New York Times reporting a Spanish court now building a case against six high-level Bush officials. Among them Cheney legal advisor and chief of staff, David Addington, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former Justice Department lawyer, John Yoo, author of the infamous torture justification memo, and not to neglect the Pentagon`s role, former Defense Undersecretary Douglas Feith. The other two are not Mr. Cheney nor former President Bush. For more on all this, let`s turn to Jonathan Turley, George Washington University law professor and constitutional law expert. Jon, good evening.
JONATHAN TURLEY, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Hi, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Vice President Cheney criticized Obama as recently as two weeks ago when he claimed Americans are now less safe because of the new administration`s new policies on national security. And here, we have officials who witnessed the old policies in action, saying they were not only completely ineffective but they turned a fairly cooperative detainee into a guy who just said anything to stop the pain. Is this the moment in which we have jumped from a theory that torture does not work on any moral or practical level, to a fact that torture does not work on any moral or practical level?
TURLEY: Well, that`s, of course, the great irony about torture, is that it`s long been known to produce absolute garbage. We had hoped that the moral limitations would be enough to prevent the United States government from starting a torture program. But history has shown that it has very little practical benefit. And the terrible thing is, how cheaply the Bush administration sold our collective soul on this issue, how little we got for it. It`s the ultimate Faustian bargain. The appearance that is left is that there were people in the White House, on a visceral level, wanted to have rough techniques exercised against these people. And it seemed to almost have the technique being the main driving force that they wanted to see it used as opposed to its purpose. The great irony as well is that we`ve seen how legitimate means produce legitimate information. Part of the value of being in the legal system is it forces people to focus on the facts, what they know, and to get information that`s reliable and usable instead of the garbage produced here at such a, just prohibitive cost for this country. The only thing we got out of this was condemnation of the ages. We got nothing else.
OLBERMANN: Have we seen any movement yet out of the Holder Justice Department or any other part of the Obama administration about doing something about Bush administration abuses of power like torture?
TURLEY: No. I think that the White House is still desperately hoping that people will forget about this. President Obama has clearly been told by his political advisors that this would not be good for him and not be good for his administration. But, of course, this isn`t supposed to be a discretionary act. We’re bound to do this. Now, the Spanish inquiry creates a very interesting prospect for Obama. That is, he can take the high road finally, right now, by saying that we prefer to do our own investigation: "It`s not my choice. I`ll have a special prosecutor in the United States look into these, not to have foreign tribunal." He can do that and take the high ground, and he can regain what we`ve lost. But if he doesn`t, then he will be blocking not just an investigation in the United States of known war crimes, but he`ll be blocking an international effort to look into the same acts.
OLBERMANN: The Cheney national security aide suggested this afternoon that Sy Hersh`s account of an executive assassination ring that reported to the Vice President`s office, it`s not true. Then he described what was true, and, of course, it describes exactly that, only with a different name to it. Should the Spanish prosecutors be taking notes? Because they don`t include Cheney in their investigation here. They`re focusing on six other figures.
TURLEY: Well, I think so. But, you know, Dick Cheney is every criminal defense attorney`s nightmare. I mean, he`s going around; virtually selling torture like it`s a sham product. And, you know, this is very embarrassing for Obama because the reason he’s out there, the reason he`s having these conversations is because Obama is protecting him from a criminal charge, from a criminal investigation. He wouldn`t be doing this if Obama simply said: "Look, what you are describing is a crime. Now, you can keep on talking about it. You can incriminate yourself, but I`m not going to protect you. I`m going to leave it to a professional prosecutor to determine whether what you’ are saying so proudly happens to be a criminal act."
OLBERMANN: You are an expert on the U.S. Constitution. I don`t know – we`ve never discussed what you know about the Spanish government. But do you have any idea why on Earth – I mean, even the Spanish magistrate who`s doing this in Spain seems to be pulling his punches in not going after the former Vice President and the former President of this country. Do you got any idea why?
TURLEY: Well, lawyers transcend boundaries, thank God. But one of the reasons- [AUDIO GAP] - tend to go for lower-lying fruit, although these are fairly high-up individuals. But you tend to go for the first line of defendants. And then, if you have a case, you go for the higher ones. But there’s another reason. It`s well known the Obama administration is protecting President Bush and Vice President Cheney from criminal investigation. And if he went after the two of them, the U.S. government could move aggressively to shut down the inquiry.
OLBERMANN: Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, great thanks for your time. And I guess I`m the one who`s going to have to say it, so here it goes. Put me on camera for this in the tube box if you still have it. No one expects the Spanish Inquisition.
TURLEY: Oh, thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Thank you, Jon.