"I'm not troubled by that stuff": Three Colorado radio hosts advocated, condoned torture

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

On recent broadcasts, three Colorado radio personalities -- 630 KHOW-AM's Peter Boyles, Newsradio 850 KOA's "Gunny" Bob Newman, and Fox News Radio 600 KCOL's Scott James -- advocated or condoned torture. Their comments came in response to the release of a transcript in which Khalid Shaikh Mohammed confessed to plotting the September 11, 2001, attacks and other terrorist acts.

In the wake of the March 14 release of a military tribunal transcript in which alleged 9-11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed confessed to engineering those attacks, bombing the World Trade Center in 1993, beheading Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, and planning numerous other terrorist plots, three Colorado radio personalities advocated or otherwise condoned torture. For example:

  • On March 19, 630 KHOW-AM host Peter Boyles said, "The Abu Ghraib thing was out of line. I agree. Putting dogs on those people, that was wrong. But this guy [Khalid Shaikh Mohammed], it's not wrong." Later in the show, Boyles said to a caller, "I mean, this guy planned it. Now, if he's willing to do it once, you know? [Laughs] I mean, I mean, 'No, don't tort -- he -- he'll tell you on his own if we just be nice to
    him.' "
  • On the March 15 broadcast of Fox News Radio 600 KCOL's Ride Home with The James Gang, host and KCOL program director Scott James attacked Rosie O'Donnell, co-host of ABC's The View, claiming that she "feels sorry for" Mohammed. O'Donnell said on the March 15 broadcast of The View that Mohammed "has been in the custody of the American government in secret CIA torture prisons and Guantánamo Bay, where torture is accepted and allowed, and he finally is the guy who admits to doing everything. They finally found the guy. It's not that guy, bin Laden. It's this guy they've had since '93 [sic]." James commented that, upon hearing about the torture of accused terrorists, "You and I think, 'Good.' Admit it ... be honest with yourself. Good. Because we got more information now to where we can hunt these butchers down, and then bring them to the justice that they don't deserve. They deserve the same kind of justice that Daniel Pearl received."
  • Finally, on the March 16 broadcast of Newsradio 850 KOA's The Gunny Bob Show, host "Gunny" Bob Newman announced the results of "a bonus poll question" posted on his show's website, "Who would you like most for 'Gunny' Bob to waterboard?" Newman then stated, "Eight percent said Sean Penn. Twelve percent said Barbra Streisand. Thirty-three percent said John Murtha. And 47 percent said Rosie O'Donnell. [Laughs] That's -- I'd probably kinda like that, actually."

As Colorado Media Matters noted, Newman, a former military interrogator, explained the "coercive" interrogation technique of waterboarding during an appearance on the October 27, 2006, broadcast of MSNBC's The Most.

Colorado Media Matters also noted that on the September 20, 2006, broadcast of Newsradio 850 KOA's The Jon Caldara Show, right-wing pundit and frequent guest Ann Coulter declared, "I'm for torture," telling listeners that "[w]e need a referendum in America on whether Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9-11 ... should be tortured." She then added, "I think he should be given waterboarding on days that he's good."

From the March 19 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Peter Boyles Show:

BOYLES: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed comes up this morning in some interesting phone calls. He's the suspected mastermind of 9-11. He got tortured. He confessed to 9-11; the murder of Danny Pearl; plotting to kill Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter, and [Pope] John Paul. I'm -- I'm, I'm not troubled by this. And apparently these people this morning were twisted around the axle and comparing it to what happened in Hanoi. It's not true. It's not even remotely close. What happened to the American fliers -- and some others -- in places like the Hilton, and Dogpatch, and City Lights, and those horrible places. They beat those people every day -- there wasn't any information that they wanted. They just beat them. When -- and the [USS] Pueblo, when the North Koreans seized the Pueblo -- if you read that book Season in Hell, Lloyd Bucher's book, they beat those guys every day for -- for drill. They just beat 'em up. The Abu Ghraib thing was out of line. I agree. Putting dogs on those people, that was wrong. But this guy, it's not wrong. And this idea of it's going to be -- it's horrible to do. And I keep saying, Jesus, I mean, look on -- let's do this: All three of your children, or your four children, or one of your children, your wife, or your mom, your dad has been given poison. Khalid Mohammed knows where the antidote is. You don't tell me you won't go down his throat? I would. I'm not troubled by that stuff. But, man, the email this morning has been remarkable. But remember, Khalid Mohammed, he -- they beheaded Danny Pearl. He plotted 9-11. He had other plans. Who knows what his plans were. "No, no, don't" -- they -- "Don't, please. Don't. No. My God." What world are we now living in?

[...]

CALLER: About the torture thing. You know, it's a damned if you do, damned if you don't thing.

BOYLES: No. I don't think it's damned if you do.

CALLER: Well, no. Well, I -- well, yeah, I do because they all -- they criticize them. You know, they criticize them for torturing them and finding information out. Well, they don't -- not for finding out information, great to get that -- but they, they don't like the idea of them torturing them. But if you don't torture them and then they blow something up somewhere and you said, "You -- oh, we could have found that out," then they're all upset with you.

BOYLES: Look, the Shaikh Khalid Mohammed thing is amazing.

CALLER: Oh, absolutely.

BOYLES: I mean, this guy planned it. Now, if he's willing to do it once, you know? [Laughs] I mean, I mean, "No, don't tort -- he -- he'll tell you on his own if we just be nice to him."

CALLER: Oh, no. Well see, that's the problem, Peter. I mean, you stop and think -- what was the girl's name, when the Iraq war first started that they, they abducted, like, their whole -- what? -- Humvee unit and that girl Jessica --

BOYLES: Jessica. Jessica. Was it Jessica Lynch?

CALLER: Yeah. Didn't they break her legs and rape her repeatedly? You know, they, they don't care about us --

BOYLES: Well --

CALLER: -- and they don't care about what they do to us.

BOYLES: And --

CALLER: You know --

BOYLES: -- As crazy as this sounds, if you read old, old histories -- and this is not to be offensive; I don't want it to offend anyone. Rape was considered a spoil of war.

CALLER: Yeah.

BOYLES: Truly. I mean, in -- whether it was in Europe, in Asia, doesn't matter. Rape was a, was a spoil of war for soldiers. Now, I'm not -- here come the email, right?

CALLER: We're not advocating it, but the deal is is it happened.

BOYLES: Yeah, but it -- that's what it was. You know --

CALLER: Exactly.

BOYLES: I mean, and so --

CALLER: Peter, this kind of boils down to this too: you know, we look at this thing and where, where they're basically listening to the phone calls and stuff. This just comes along the same lines, 'cause all the information that we find out that keeps us from being hit and they break up these cells, they break up these things where people are actually planning terrorist events. If we weren't doing it, these people -- these very same people who complained about torture --

BOYLES: Oh yeah.

CALLER: -- would be in uprage -- in an uproar.

From the March 16 broadcast of Newsradio 850 KOA's The Gunny Bob Show:

NEWMAN: Hey, yesterday on the show we had a bonus poll question. I didn't tell you about it. I wanted you -- you know, for those of you who normally go to the Gunny Bob pages, you saw it. And apparently you liked it. The bonus poll question yesterday that you got free of charge: "Who would you like most for 'Gunny' Bob to waterboard?" Eight percent said Sean Penn. Twelve percent said Barbra Streisand. Thirty-three percent said John Murtha. And 47 percent said Rosie O'Donnell. [Laughs] That's -- I'd probably kinda like that, actually.

From the March 15 broadcast of Fox News Radio 600 KCOL's Ride Home with The James Gang:

JAMES: What about Rosie O'Donnell? Thursday's installments: Rosie O'Donnell actually said that the only reason Al Qaeda terrorist Khalid Shaikh Mohammed confessed to any of these actions is because he is being held and tortured by the United States government. "Oh, the U.S. government is bad. Bad, bad, bad. I so much hate it here." Rosie, why don't you go join your pal Madonna in Britain? You hate it here that much, go join your pal over there, would you? She says for any right-thinking American, this is some pretty disturbing footage of a so-called fellow citizen actually defending one of the most heinous terrorists in history. Uh, and, oh, there's the footage linked here on this website. Barbara Walters is -- she -- you know, of course, people are demanding that she be fired, to fire Rosie O'Donnell from The View over comm -- the comments O'Donnell made on today's episode. She's not going to, because you know who O'Donnell, or, Barbara Walters is interviewing now? [Venezuelan President] Hugo Chavez. Why is it when the United States develops somebody that we have a little bit of a, of an issue with, the first thing the media does is run and stick a mic in this person's face and say, "Oh, tell us your story, because perhaps if we understand better, we'll like you." This guy's a socialist at best, communist at worse -- and would fund terrorist activities, in my opinion, with all that oil money he's getting.

We caught Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. He has confessed to being the mastermind now of some 26 plots -- including blowing up Big Ben, including blowing up the, the Empire State Building, and the list went on and on and on and on. He says that, yes, he is the one that beheaded Daniel Pearl. He says he is the one that masterminded from A to Z the 9-11 terrorist attacks. And Rosie O'Donnell feels sorry for him. "We forced it out of him." See here, O'Donnell's comments about Khalid Shaikh Mohammed admitting to planning the 9-11 attacks. She yelled, "So we finally got the guy. He just so happened to admit to all of these things, and it's not bin Laden, it's this guy?" She then said that she doesn't believe he's responsible for any of it, and that we Americans tortured him and got him to admit it. She shrieked on and on that we Americans torture these poor people. Am I cold and heartless when I read that we Americans torture these poor people, I, in the back of my head, in my -- and you do as well. You do it. You just don't admit it on the airwaves. You and I think, "Good." Admit it. Adm -- be honest with yourself. Good. Because we got more information now to where we can hunt these butchers down, and then bring them to the justice that they don't deserve. They deserve the same kind of justice that Daniel Pearl received.

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