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Hannity Adopts Sensationalized Republican Video About Guantanamo Bay Prison As His Own

Reported by Ellen - May 8, 2009 -

I've long said that the Republican Plan A (and hence Sean Hannity's and FOX News') is to paint Barack Obama as soft on national security, no matter what he does, in preparation for blaming him the moment there's any kind of terrorist attack here or abroad. So it was no surprise that the House Republican Conference has come out with a video about the release of Guantanamo Bay detainees that could have been produced by Glenn Beck in his Doom Bunker. Naturally, Hannity played it in its entirety. And he trotted out convicted liar (the conviction was later overturned on a technicality) and charity huckster Oliver North to fan the flames of fear. With video.

Against a backdrop of scary-movie music, the video rehashed 9/11, showed the faces of some of the Guantanamo Bay detainees and, as the music reached a crescendo, the screen read, “How does closing Guantanamo Bay MAKE US SAFER?”

As "balance" a clip of Attorney General Eric Holder was shown in which he said some of the detainees will be released, some will be tried, some will be detained for “a fairly extended basis.” Holder also said that those who will be released will be “those who we think CAN (his emphasis) be released and be released on a safe basis.”

Predictably, North and Hannity interpreted that to mean that terrorists might be moving into decent neighborhoods across the country at any moment.

Never one to pass up an opportunity for melodrama, North said the detainees are “241 of the most dangerous people on earth.” Well, not quite, Ollie. There are the 17 Chinese Muslim (Uighur) prisoners whom a federal judge has ordered released “because the government provided no proof that they were enemy combatants or security risks.” And, as the BBC reports, Intelligence officials have already cleared about 60 Guantanamo inmates for release.

But, apparently, North and Hannity know better. North said, of the Uighurs, “They were all trained at Al Qaeda camps, they've all been given training in how to build bombs, how to kill themselves, and they've practiced at it.” Well, not quite, Ollie. As the Washington Post reported, “In late 2003, the Pentagon quietly decided that 15 Chinese Muslims detained at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, could be released. Five were people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, some of them picked up by Pakistani bounty hunters for U.S. payoffs. The other 10 were deemed low-risk detainees whose enemy was China's communist government -- not the United States, according to senior U.S. Officials.” The same article in the Post later said, "The Uighurs have been found by US officials not to be either Al Qaeda or Taliban." The article was written in 2005, while President Bush was in the White House. Funny how there hasn't been an outcry about releasing the Uighurs until now on Fox.

“What are we going to do with these guys?” North asked. “We gonna find 'em a nice community like Winchester, Virginia, to turn 'em loose? I hope not. That's pretty close to where I live.”

In reality, it's a question Holder is obviously still wrestling with. The Uighurs were previously ordered by a federal judge to be released into the US but the ruling was overturned on appeal. Holder has said the possibility exists he will release them onto US soil but he is clearly uncertain about what to do at this point.

Not that that would be any reason to let up on the fearmongering.

“We seem to be lettin' our guard down again,” chickenhawk and self-styled national security expert Hannity said. He added, “Seems to be that we're lettin' our defenses down again... These are the worst of the worst.”

As Hannity spoke, photos of some of the detainees appeared on the screen above a large caption that read, “Gitmo's Worst.”

Hannity asked rhetorically why Obama would do this.

“This is another one of those campaign promises that he's now stuck with,” North said scornfully.

Yes, it's another one of those campaign promises that the American people voted for.

“Let's engage the Democrats in this debate,” Hannity said. And yet he did not see the need to invite one to do just that.