Florida governor Ron DeSantis doesn’t talk much about his time as a JAG officer at Guantanamo Bay, and that might be because detainees at the prison say that he was personally involved in the torture that they experienced. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis doesn’t talk much about his time as a JAG officer at Guantanamo Bay and that might be because detainees at the prison say that he was personally involved in torture that they experienced. Okay, first of all, this is a bigger story than the DeSantis part of it.

Farron Cousins: Oh yeah, much bigger.

Mike Papantonio: DeSantis, you know, if you take the, you know, we beat on DeSantis every week. Every, every week. But here he was a JAG officer. He was looking through a fence. He was trying to say, these are standards that we have to follow. It was force feeding. Force feeding is not, you know, under all the treaties is not torture. But I mean, the attack on him, it’s just gonna be a pile up attack. This is just one of them. Give me your take on it. I think this is a bigger story than DeSantis because if you go after DeSantis on this, you gotta go after all of these people who knew exactly what was, Obama. All of Obama’s people knew exactly what was going on there. Right?

Farron Cousins: Well, and see, that’s the problem is that not a single person was held accountable. You know, when this began under the Bush administration with the torture, not just at Guantanamo, I mean the Abu Ghraib pictures that were all over the media. They tried to pin it on one or two individuals. They even claimed one of the women involved in torture, oh, well, she was, when she was born, she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, so it starved her of oxygen. And they said that’s why she ended up torturing. But this was, this was legalized to a degree by Alberto Gonzales, by George W. Bush himself.

Mike Papantonio: The force feeding, the force feeding with these prisoners who were saying, look, I’m gonna starve myself.

Farron Cousins: We’re on a hunger strike because we’re being held here on no charges. And this individual who’s got a new book out, and he says, Ron DeSantis was right there watching as all of these horrible things are happening to me. He was released after 14 years with no charges at all. So we just held him and plenty of other folks for over a decade.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: And then eventually said, all right, you can go home.

Mike Papantonio: What was going on back then is you would have tribal, you’d have tribes that this person in this tribe hated this person in this tribe. So they would tell the US government about it. They would tell the military about it. They would take that person prisoner and put ’em in Guantanamo. It was just in fighting. A lot of it was just pure crazy in fighting and it took us years to figure that out. And this guy, as you say, was there for 14 years. And he was, I guess, you know, you can’t explain it any other way. He’s bleeding through the mouth. The force feeding is not just stick a tube down somebody’s nose and everything’s okay. But the story is, DeSantis was JAG officer. He was there at the time. There’s a lot worse stories about DeSantis than that.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: The stories that are taking place in Florida right now are horrendous. What he’s doing to consumers in Florida is horrendous. And so if we look at DeSantis as a potential presidential candidate, we have to say, is he gonna do same thing nationally? And there’s a big history of him really abusing consumers in Florida.

Farron Cousins: And there is, and to me, this story with this prisoner’s new book is not even really the DeSantis story. It’s the story of how we just hit the 20 year anniversary this week of the Iraq War. Nobody has been held accountable for any part of it, whether it’s the torture, the lies leading up to it. Colin Powell walking into the UN with his little vile saying, oh, this is proof right here.

Mike Papantonio: Complete lie. He admitted that, you know, they lied to me and I lied to the UN.

Farron Cousins: The aluminum tubes, the yellow cake, all of this.

Mike Papantonio: Condoleezza Rice, lied to her. You know, she should have known a lot more. But the whole thing was a lie. Nobody’s prosecuted, nobody’s held accountable. Then it flows over to the Obama administration. Nothing changes there either.

Farron Cousins: Right. Obama comes into office. He’s got this stack of evidence, the Gonzalez torture memos.

Mike Papantonio: Right.

Farron Cousins: All of it. And Eric Holder, his new AG says, we’re going to look forward, not backwards.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Eric Holder did that because he was trying to, Eric Holder didn’t do that because of the war issue. Eric Holder did that because he was trying to protect all of his pals on Wall Street, who had burned down the entire economy, who lost $13 trillion for the US economy. That’s who he represented. He represented those white collar criminals with this, his law firm, Covington Burling. And so he comes in and says, we gotta look forward. We can’t look backwards. Nobody gets prosecuted for anything under Eric Holder’s watch. But I guess this is a story from the standpoint somebody can, you know, they can make hay with it. But at the end of the day, there’s so many more important stories about DeSantis’ abuse of voters, abuse of citizens, abuse of consumers, than this story.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.