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Bill O'Reilly Accuses U. S. District Court Judge of Playing Politics from the Bench

Reported by Marie Therese - June 1, 2005

Remember these quotes. Lindsey Graham on NBC's Meet the Press: "If there are more photos, if there's a video, for God's sake, lets talk about it; let's get it all out on the table. This is not about command influence, this is about rape and murder. This isn't just humiliation, this is a systematic failure and criminal offenses." John McCain on FOX News Sunday: "One thing I know about scandals - they go on and on and on until the American people feel they have a full and complete picture of what happened."

The Bush administration - not the ACLU - is responsible for the horrors perpetrated at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. All the vehement blustering by a legion of talking heads will not change that.

George Bush and his minions have brought this down upon our heads but, true to form, they don't want to pay the price for their own actions.

TRANSCRIPT of an interview with Barbara Comstock and Andrew McCarthy aired May 31, 2005 on The O'Reilly Factor.

O'REILLY: Another view of the ACLU attack on America - my description. Joining us now from Washington, Barbara Comstock, former Justice Department spokesperson under John Ashcroft and from Hartford, Connecticut, Andrew McCarthy, former Assistant U. S. Attorney. Mr. McCarthy, we begin with you. I know I'm going to get mail [that says] I'm overstating it I don't think I am. I think that everyone knows that these photographs and videos, if released, will lead to people being killed. But the American Civil Liberties Union does not care, sir? How do you react?

McCARTHY: I don't think there's any question that it would lead to people getting killed. I think we should emphasize that the culprit here doing the killing is militant Islam. But, that being said, this is like throwing a match on an oil puddle. It's just - ah - it's crazy. I don't really think - the first photographs, the first set that went out - should have gone out, certainly not all of the pictures and you know, frankly, we do this every day in trials all across America where pictures are likely to inflame, where their only purpose is to arouse the prejudices of people, courts commonly keep them in the fact-finding process ...

O'REILLY (interrupts): You know what's interesting, Mr. McCarthy, that you bring that up. Here at FOX we did not use the people jumpin' out of the World Trade Center windows. We did not use the beheadings of Americans by Al Qaeda. We did not run those pictures. I did not run, Barbara, the Abu Ghraib pictures. I didn't run any of 'em. I told the audience what it was. The audience understood. Our audience is smart. But I think the ACLU is now putting itself up as a fifth column. They are helping the terrorists. They are putting American soldiers in jeopardy. What say you, madame?

[COMMENT: Bill O'Reilly is full of it. FOX News used and used and used the video of Nick Berg, always making sure to cut it just before the beheading, as all other news outlets did. They have aired every subsequent hostage story over and over again. As for the Abu Ghraib pictures, maybe Bill didn't air them, but everyone else on FOX did.]

COMSTOCK: Well, you're right. They are ignoring the fact that the information is already out. In fact in this case, you know, the government pointed out that they have given over, they've turned over transcripts actually describing these pictures and discussing what went on here. There's been lots of testimony about that. It's unnecessary, as Andy pointed out, as you pointed out, to inflame people further. We've had this. And another point that the government has pointed out that this would violate the Geneva Conventions. So you actually have the ACLU is saying: Hey, let's violate the Geneva Conventions and then you also have another part of this case, where they're saying: Oh, we don't care that the International Red Cross doesn't want to turn over - they turned over information to the Defense Department on the condition that only that it not be made public. Yet, now the ACLU is now saying: Yeah, blow off the American Red Cross, too. [sic - does she mean the International Red Cross?] So anything to embarrass the United States. And there's no purpose. As you pointed out, we're already invested in it.

O'REILLY (overtalks last 9 words)t: Yeah. I mean. I think it's one of the most vicious things I've ever seen. Mr. McCarthy, the judge, Hellerstein, in ruling in favor of the ACLU says: No. No. Americans need to know the extent of the abuses at Abu Ghraib, so whatever the government has, has to be made public. How do you react to the judge?

McCARTHY: What could we conceivably find out about this that we don't already know?

O'REILLY (interrupts): Well, that we're an evil country and that we're the - uh - we're, we're the problem in the war on terror ...

McCARTHY (interrupts): Well, that's the late-breaking news.

O'REILLY: That's what the judge wants Americans to come up with.

McCARTHY: I don't want to try to get into the judge's mind but if that was really what he wanted ...

O'REILLY: Well, he said that! Those are his words. You don't have to get into his mind.

[COMMENT: O'Reilly appears to be saying here that Judge Hellerstein said words to the effect that America is an evil country that is the real problem in the war on terror. At last that is the inference that could be drawn from this last exchange.]

McCARTHY: Well, well, the fact is that that information to the extent it makes that point is out there alread - I dispute that it makes that point - but another nine or ten pictures are not going to make that point anymore.

O'REILLY: Alright. Can you explain because you're a veteran of this, can you explain a federal judge ruling in this manner, putting U. S. troops in jeopardy Can you explain that?

McCARTHY: Yeah. I think that people unfortunately - and the ACLU is of this this bent of mind too often - mistake things that are valuable for things that are absolute. It's very important that we don't.

O'REILLY: That's not why. Here's why. (hold up a paper, points to it. Comstock smiles.) This is Judge Hellerstein's political contributions - he and his wife Mildred. Alright? Every one of 'em. To the Democratic Party. And to people like Gerald Nadler. You know. Left-wing people. Here it is. OK? That's why this judge wants to hurt Bush. Am I wrong, Miss Comstock?

COMSTOCK: Well, Bill, I think it points the bigger picture on why Democrats are often trying to block our judges and why it's important that we get judges ...

[COMMENT: In the Terri Schiavo case two of the most involved judges, Greer and Pryor, are both staunch conservatives, yet they voted for upholding the law and did not succumb to pressure from religious groups.]

O'REILLY (interrupts, dismissive): Nah. I don't care about that.

COMSTOCK: .... in there who actually interpret the law because, actually, in this case, I think the briefs very clearly set out that the law does not allow us to release the pictures.

[COMMENT: Note her legal maneuver here. She used the word "briefs" - which are statements of the case as outlined by each plaintiff and defendant - and then said that somehow the "briefs" illustrate the law. She needs to go back to law school. I'm not a lawyer and even I can see through this one! The point of the litigation is actually to decide which set of arguments will prevail. Citing the briefs submitted by your side as justification is using the given to prove the hypothesis, which, if I remember my basic logic, is a big no-no. It certainly was in geometry class in high school! An uneducated or inattentive viewer of this interview might assume Ms. Comstock was implying that Judge Hellerstein voted against the law of the land, instead of what really happened: He voted against the Department of Justice's interpretation of the law as set forth in its "briefs."]


COMSTCOK: It would violate the treaties that we've signed and ... and ..

O'REILLY (interrupts, not interested in her answer): Final question. Shouldn't Bush, Barbara, set up a commission as I recommended. Shouldn't he do that, then to take this off the front page and say: OK. You want transparency. We'll do this. We'll find out who did what to whom Stop all the rumor and innuendo. Isn't that a good idea?

COMSTOCK: Well, I think that's an idea that could be considered because I think when a commission looks through ....

O'REILLY (interrupts, badgering): Is it a good idea, Barbara?

COMSTOCK: Sure. I think it's an idea that's a good idea that could be considered because there's a lot of good information there ....

O'REILLY: Because, I mean, I think ...

COMSTOCK: .. that we're already putting out ...

O'REILLY: I'm gettin' ...

COMSTOCK: ... and showing that we're prosecuting these people ...

O'REILLY: Alright

COMSTOCK: We have transcripts that demonstrate that we've dealt with this very aggressively, like you said ...

O'REILLY: Mr. McCarthy, I'm doin' this for personal reason [sic]. I don't think I have to be - should be defending the Bush administration here. I don't think I shou - my job. I should be analyzing what's happening. But I see here a dishonest reportage, a pipeline from the ACLU to the anti-Bush media to the fanatics overseas who put us all in jeopardy, sir.

McCARTHY: I don't disa ....

O'REILLY: I think the commission - I think we need the commission. I'll give you the last word.

McCARTHY: I don't disagree that that's the impression that's out there. I don't think a commission would be the thing that would solve it. Frankly, I think the people know what the ACLU is about at this point.

O'REILLY: Alright. I hope they do. I mean, certainly the people who watch this program do, but I don't know about the sleeping giant of America. Miss Comstock, Mr. McCarthy, thank you.


You can access all the pertinent documents that are currently available by going to the ACLU website.

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