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O'Reilly Bullies Arianna Huffington and Issues a Challenge to His Viewers

Reported by Marie Therese - June 10, 2005

Yesterday on The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly told Arianna Huffington and his FOX viewers: " If anybody out there - including you, Arianna - can give me the name of somebody the government says was mistakenly swept up and put in Gitmo, I will put that person's name and picture on the air and I will send them a donation." To all our military and legal beagles out there - any takers?


O'REILLY: Is the left-wing press undermining the war on terror by blowing charges of abuse out of proportion. President Bush thinks so. yesterday he said this to Neil Cavuto (don't you just love that FOX cross-promotion machine?)

Begin VIDEO CLIP of President George W. Bush: "I will tell you that - that we treat these prisoners in accordance with international standards and that's what the American people expect. When somebody put up that Amnesty International report they asked me about, I said it was absurd ..." (End clip.)

O'REILLY: With us now pundit Arianna Huffington who sees things a bit differently. You want to close down Gitmo. You know I've looked at this. I've looked at all the stats that we can possibly get a hold of. We sent Col. David Hunt, our Chief Military Analyst, to interview a detainee in Pakistan. He was released. I see no evidence to - why we should shut this place down.

HUFFINGTON: Well, there is evidence. There is evidence in FBI reports, there is evidence of abuse and there is - the overwhelming evidence that it's being used as a recruiting tool for terror around the world.

O"REILLY (overtalks the last 3 words): Yeah, but they'll find another recruiting tool ...

HUFFINGTON: But, what is very important, Bill, is that the most important thing for government to do ...


HUFFINGTON: .... is to protect its citizens.


HUFFINGTON: And right now any kind of evidence of abuse, any kind of evidence that we are not abiding by the Geneva Convention, that we not abiding by the human rights standards

O'REILLY: Right.

HUFFINGTON: ... that America is proud of is really turning against the safety of our own citizens.

O'REILLY: But they're makin' it - they're makin' the abuses up. Don't you get that?

HUFFINGTON: But we've released 234 people from Guantanamo Bay who had nothing to do with terror. 234 people.

O'REILLY: Who? Wait a minute.

HUFFINGTON: ... have released.

O'REILLY: I have never seen the government make a statement that they've released one person from Guantanamo who had nothin' to do with terrorism.

HUFFINGTON: They said ...

O'REILLY: What they say is ....

HUFFINGTON: ...230 of them who were not enemy combatants

O'REILLY: The release quote is (reads): "We no longer need them in detention. We have what we need from them." If you can give me one name of one detainee who was released because he was in there mistakenly, I'll check it out.

[COMMENT: Duh? Bill, get with it - you're reading press releases written by flunkies from a Department of Defense that is facing hundreds of potential lawsuits by citizens of various nations. What do you think they're gonna do - admit that they "bought" most of the Gitmo detainees from Northern Alliance bounty hunters? Gimme a break! Oh, and by the way, Bill, the DoD does not publish the names of the detainees in its press releases, which you undoubtedly knew before you asked Ariana this question, since we assume you were reading from one such release during the show.

If one runs a Google search on "Transfer of Detainees Completed," it will bring up lots of DoD press releases, which all follow a set format. They do NOT give the names of the released detainees and they use language that says "Transfer or release of detainees can be based on many factors, including law enforcement, intelligence, medical considerations, as well as whether the individual would pose a threat to the United States. At the time of their detention, these enemy combatants posed a threat to U.S. security." None of the 10 different ones that I read said "We no longer need them in detention. We have what we need from them." So exactly which DoD reports WAS Bill O'Reilly reading from? Next time O'Reilly pulls this kind of a trick, I suggest that his guest should calmly ask to take a look at what O'Reilly is reading and force him to verify his source. That might throw him off his game a bit. As for his question, he knew quite well before asking it that only someone privy to DoD files could give the names of any of the detainees. Arianna was set up.]

HUFFINGTON: Bill, do you really think that guilty people are released?

O"REILLY: Can you give me one name, Arianna?

HUFFINGTON: Yeah. I would say all 234 people must have been released because they did not pose a threat to the United States.

O'REILLY (interrupts, overtalks the last 6 words) : Because their use - their use in interrogation is through.

HUFFINGTON: But if somebody ...

O'REILLY: Can you give me one name of somebody who's been there who's completely innocent?

HUFFINGTON: If somebody is a danger to the United States then surely they should not be released

O'REILLY: It depends what they know.

HUFFINGTON: If they're not a danger ...

O'REILLY: It depends what they did.

HUFFINGTON: If they're not a danger to the United States, then why are they being held as enemy combatants?

O'REILLY: I'm assuming you can't give me one name (points to camera) If anybody out there ...

HUFFINGTON: I'm - I'm giving you all 234 names.

O'REILLY: No. I'm sorry. That's not gonna to cut it. If anybody out there - including you, Arianna - can give me the name of somebody the government says was mistakenly swept up and put in Gitmo, I will put that person's name and picture on the air and I will send them a donation. Now, let's move ahead.

[COMMENT: There has been at least ONE detainee that the military determined was not an enemy combatant: DoD release 9/18/04: "This transfer includes the one detainee approved for release by DoD and subsequently found to not be an enemy combatant by Combatant Status Review Tribunal." The release did not give his name. Can any of our military people find out who this person is? It would seem that he is a likely candidate to receive money from Bill O'Reilly. There were also three children released. They might also be able to claim the dough.]

HUFFINGTON: Let me just say one more thing.

O'REILLY: Alright.

HUFFINGTON: Which is just that either the United States government is releasing people who are guilty, then they are doing something wrong to undermine the security.

O'REILLY: Arianna, why don't you get - why can't you understand this? I know you're very smart. They're releasing people who they have no more use of detaining. They have gotten all the information they can out of them. That's who they release. Alright. Let's move ahead. Say Arianna's President of the United States, which you may be some day

HUFFINGTON (laughs): No I can't be. I wasn't born here.

O'REILLY: OK Alright. Say someone you know is President and they listen to you and you close Gitmo down. What do you do with the 500 plus people who are there now. What do you do with them?

HUFFINGTON: Well, there are many places where you can put detainees. I mean, remember when Abu Ghraib ...

O'REILLY: Where do you put them?

HUFFINGTON: There are many places. I'm not going to decide where you put them. There are many facilities around the United States. Remember when the Abu Ghraib scandal ...

O'REILLY (interrupts): So you want to move them here on the U. S. mainland

HUFFINGTON: There's no reason why they shouldn't be here. You remember when there was the Abu Ghraib scandal ...


HUFFINGTON: There was a tremendous emphasis at the time on the need to close down Abu Ghraib because it became ...

O'REILLY: And they didn't close it because that would have been insane.

HUFFINGTON: But, I don't why it's insane. I think anything ....

O'REILLY: Because they need prisons to put people,

HUFFINGTON: I understand.

O'REILLY: .... who are killing other people, in.

HUFFINGTON: I understand....

O'REILLY: But, wait, let's stay on this. So, you don't know where you'd put them put them but you'd move them someplace in the U.S.A., right?

HUFFINGTON: It's not my job to decide

O'REILLY (loudly): But, wait a minute, it is if you're a pundit ...

HUFFINGTON: No. It's my job ...

O'REILLY: ... and you're sayin' close Gitmo down, it is your job to have an alternative. That's responsibility.

HUFFINGTON: It is my job


HUFFINGTON: ... to say that the highest priority of the U.S. government is to protect the security of its people and, right now, we are conducting the war on terror - on terror - in a way that makes us less secure. We are spreading ...

O'REILLY: In your opinion. But not in my opinion.

HUFFINGTON: Everything is in my opinion.


HUFFINGTON: But, it's also based on fact.

O'REILLY:: But don't you feel that if you and Joe Biden and whoever is saying close Gitmo, you should have "and then put them here." But you don't have "And then put them here." This is what drives me crazy. That's why Kerry lost the election. Because he was criticizing, criticizing and then you say: Well, what would you do? and he goes "Go to my website and everybody goes: No! We don't - we want to know what you would DO!

HUFFINGTON: I will tell you what I would do, first of all.


HUFFINGTON: I would have an exit strategy to get us out of Iraq ..

O'REILLY: An exit strategy.

HUFFINGTON: Because that's the beginning of a lot of the major, tragic problems in the United States right now.

O'REILLY: And what would that exit strategy be?

HUFFINGTON: It would involve a withdrawal of the troops in a phased way ...

O'REILLY: And you would tell the enemy when you would do that?

HUFFINGTON: I believe, I believe that right now we are an irritant

O'REILLY: OK. Wait, wait.

HUFFINGTON: Our presence in Iraq ...

O'REILLY: We are an irritant. We're an irritant to terrorists. They don't like us.

HUFFINGTON: We are - we are ....

O'REILLY: But you would tell the enemy when you would -

HUFFINGTON: We actually ..

O'REILLY: ....we're gonna withdraw this many on this day?

HUFFINGTON: We are a recruitment tool for terrorists right now.

O'REILLY: OK. I got that!!


O'REILLY: Let's stay on - let's stay in the real world.

HUFFINGTON: But it's all connected ...

O'REILLY: So you would have an exit strategy? So you would tell the enemy in February we're gonna pull out 30,000 troops. You would tell them that?!

HUFFINGTON: I would give a phasing of when we leave and I would not be building military bases in Iraq because that's ..

O'REILLY (excited): Alright. So you're would tell the enemy we're gonna come out there, so the enemy would say: OK. We'll wait till you leave and then we'll blow the country up!!

HUFFINGTON (quietly, patiently): But, you don't understand, Bill. One of the main reasons why the insurgency is so strong at the moment is because they want America out. If you had a referendum in Iraq right now ...


HUFFINGTON: ... they would want America out. You know that.

O'REILLY: That's true. That's true. But they want - theSunni Ba'athists - want to run the country the way Saddam ran it. That's what they're doin', Arianna!

HUFFINGTON: 25,000 innocent Iraqis have died. What do you think that does to the spread of anti-Americanism?

O'REILLY (really agitated): Innocent - This is a war. People DIE!!

HUFFINGTON: It's a war for what? There were no WMD....

O'REILLY: For what?!!

HUFFINGTON: What was the war for?

O'REILLY: Did you miss the election in Iraq - that they voted. Did you miss it?!!

HUFFINGTON (angry): Do you think - do you really think that the American people - 58% of whom right now consider the war in Iraq wrong - do you think the American people believe it is the function of our government, our military and our resources to spread democracy abroad. I don't think so!!

O'REILLY: Maybe you're right on that ..

HUFFINGTON: And let me tell you ..

O'REILLY: Maybe you're ...

HUFFINGTON: This is not a right-left issue.

O'REILLY: That is a debatable issue.

HUFFINGTON: Because Pat Buchanan and I agree on that.

O'REILLY: Wel,, that's right. Pat is an isolationist and he agrees.

HUFFINGTON: It's not about isolationism. It's about security It's not about peace. It's not "Make Love Not War." It's about security. Right now, that's the most important thing.

O'REILLY: Alright. Let me just give you one tip. If you want security, you've got to think about ...

HUFFINGTON: Yes, that's what I want more than anything.

O'REILLY: ... then you've got to think what you would do, rather than just takin' shots.

HUFFINGTON: First of ...

O'REILLY: We gotta go. Good debate. I enjoyed that, Arianna. Thank you for coming in.


O'REILLY: Go to Arianna's website. W

HUFFINGTON : www.huffingtonpost.com

O'REILLY (overtalks the web address): Warren Beatty - you can hear what Warren has to say.

[COMMENT: Beatty has mentioned that he could do a better job of running California than Arnold Schwarzenegger.]

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