O'Reilly minimized detainee treatment: "Most of us sleep in a fetal position"


Fox News host Bill O'Reilly minimized the abuse of prisoners, reported in FBI documents, at the Pentagon's detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, leaving out key incidents and calling the "fetal position," which some detainees were reportedly chained into, "not an uncomfortable position." Responding to Sen. Richard J. Durbin's (D-IL) recent Senate floor statement in which he quoted from memos in which FBI agents described abusive treatment they witnessed, O'Reilly presented his take on one memoPDF file that describes a detainee chained in a fetal position for longer than a day in extreme temperatures. While noting the temperature and length of time the detainee was chained, O'Reilly illustrated the scene to his listeners, "You know what the fetal position is -- that's not an uncomfortable position. Most of us sleep in a fetal position."

O'Reilly's statement echoes other conservatives who have denied and downplayed substantial evidence of abuse at Guantánamo. O'Reilly himself has previously characterized detainee treatment as just "some minor cases of abuse" involving simply "unbuttoning blouses, women interrogators, things like that, but no touching or anything like that."

From the June 17 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:

O'REILLY: Well, I mean, you're telling the world, senator, that we're a repressive country because you don't like coerced interrogation. Now, the FBI report, for those of you whom missed it, centered around a detainee who was chained to the floor in the fetal position. You know what the fetal position is -- that's not an uncomfortable position. Most of us sleep in a fetal position. OK? So picture the fetal position, most of us sleep that way. But the guy's chained. Now he can't move, he's down there.

Then they either make the room unbearably hot or unbearably cold. And they keep the guy there for 24 to 36 hours in that position, so they can't go to the bathroom. OK? So that's what the FBI guy reported. That's what's got Durbin conjuring up images of Pol Pot, Hitler, and Stalin. So you make the call, you make the call. It's up to you. I'm not gonna tell you what to think.

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