Guest: Adam Shapiro, Mark Zupan, Karen Hanretty, Lisa Salvati, Paul
Reynolds, T.J. Ward
MONICA CROWLEY, GUEST HOST: A very big show tonight, from Aruba to London, and all across SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
CROWLEY (voice-over): Natalee Holloway's mother announces a huge reward for information leading to her daughter. And, as the Aruban police commissioner gets ready to retire and the prosecutor goes on vacation, the family hires a private investigator. We will ask him what he's hoping to find. We've got all the day's developments in the search for Natalee Holloway.
The second subway bombings in two weeks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All I saw is people running for their lives, and there was no room for me to get away to the next carriage.
CROWLEY: And authorities believe it's the handiwork of the same al Qaeda cell. What are they planning next and are other cities in their sights? We will ask our all-star panel of experts.
And it's the toughest sport on wheels, a knock-down, drag-out, no-holds-barred game, and the players are all paralyzed. It's called quad rugby, but we will show you why it's better known as murderball.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
CROWLEY: Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. I'm Monica Crowley, in tonight for Joe.
Well, we have got some surprising new developments in the case of missing honeymooner George Smith. And we'll have that for you in just a moment.
But, first, our top story, the search for Natalee. As authorities await DNA test results to come back, Natalee Holloway's family announces a big reward for any information that might lead to her whereabouts. In just a moment, we will speak with a member of her family, as well as a private investigator they have hired.
But, first, we go live to Aruba and NBC's Michelle Kosinski, who has all the latest developments.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Monica.
And this is the sort of thing we have seen now with both of Natalee's parents. They are at the point where they are willing to try anything they can think of, any idea they can come up with to get to the bottom of what happened to their missing daughter. And today, Beth Holloway Twitty announced a much, much bigger reward than what's already been out there.
Also with it comes a tip line that she helped set up with local authorities. The police here in Aruba have already had a tip line. They told me today they are still getting calls on that. But this new one really is in conjunction with the reward. Natalee's mother wanted to emphasize that anybody who calls in will remain anonymous. She wants this to draw people out and draw out some information.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, MOTHER OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY: Investigating authorities, together with the Holloway-Twitty family, in an effort to get the very much needed information on the whereabouts of Natalee and to further help the investigate of this case, are now offering substantial cash rewards to the person that provides the right information.
There will be a cash reward in the amount of United States dollars $200,000 for anyone who provides information that leads to the safe return of Natalee. For information given that leads to the whereabouts of Natalee Holloway will receive a cash amount of United States dollars $100,000, shall be awarded to that person who provides that information.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSINSKI: Today, we saw groups of people, some of them tourists volunteering their vacation time, to go around the island and hang up posters announcing that reward, many of them very touched. Tourists know the situation here. And they want to do what they can help, too.
And, also, we mentioned that police here do have a tip line. But police in Aruba just don't use rewards. It's not part of the way they do things here. So, another hope with this is that the unusual nature of offering a reward, the size of it, and the fact it's something that doesn't happen here all the time will help the situation, will help people come forward.
And this is going on while the family and investigators are awaiting test results on some hairs that were found on the island, on some duct tape. And we know that prosecutors want to compare those results with DNA samples that were compelled earlier in the week from all three suspects in this case—back to you, Monica.
CROWLEY: Michelle, quick question for you. The DNA samples were split between the FBI headquarters in the United States, as well as in the Netherlands, for analysis. When might—might we expect some results?
KOSINSKI: Well, it took a little more time than some people were expecting. Ones those swabs were done two days ago, we expected them to go right off to the labs. And when the tape was found several days ago, we expected that to go right off, too, but that wasn't the case.
Each side, both the FBI and Dutch authorities, wanted someone to hand-deliver it to the labs, one in Holland and one in Quantico, Virginia. So, that took a few extra days. We are expecting about a week from today to get those results, but it could be a little bit sooner, and it could be up to about a week later, we are told.
CROWLEY: All right, NBC's Michelle Kosinski, live for us in Aruba—
Michelle, thank you.
And we have also learned that, just yesterday, the lead prosecutor decided to take a working vacation. It's been reported she actually took the duct tape and hair evidence with her on the plane back to the Netherlands. Apparently, the vacation was planned well in advance, and, if there is a break in the case, she will return immediately to Aruba.
Meanwhile, Natalee's foam has hired T.J. Ward. He's a private investigator. And he joins us now live from Aruba.
T.J. WARD, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Thank you.
CROWLEY: So, first of all, how long have you been on this case on behalf of the Holloway family? That's the first question. And the second question is, have you been able to find any leads in this case that the Aruban authorities have not yet followed?
WARD: Well, I arrived yesterday, after being hired by the Holloway-Twitty family.
I was here approximately three weeks ago on—after receiving information from Ms. Janssen, who advertised that they were looking for some new technology here in Aruba to help with the investigation. We have available to us a computer program called layered voice analysis that we offered to bring here on behalf of the family.
After arriving here, we met with the Aruban government and law enforcement and demonstrated the layered voice analysis to them, which they were very excited with. And after they presented this information to Ms. Janssen, she said she was real reluctant to use the information, in efforts to—that she may spoil the investigation on behalf of the government.
CROWLEY: T.J., what is your—what is your...
WARD: And I have been here...
CROWLEY: What is your impression of the kind of investigation that the Aruban authorities have conducted so far?
WARD: Well, as we are all aware, the investigation was hampered by the police not doing what is normal in the course of a criminal investigation like this.
When they arrived on the scene after discovering that Natalee had been missing, with the van der Sloots, and at their house, the DNA evidence has been spoiled and not taken. There's nothing there now, when they should have, that night, issued search warrants and probably taken things from the home. They probably should have taken the vehicles and taken the suspects into custody right then and there and secured their clothes, so they could have pulled DNA samples off of that.
But here we are 53 days later, and now we are pulling DNA samples because of something washed up offshore called duct tape and hair, although the duct tape probably will give them a little bit more evidence than just the hair samples. They should be able to pull fingerprints and other remedies of skin or whatever from the duct tape.
This may hamper the results being taken a few more days from the FBI and from the authorities in Holland. But I think some new developments have transpired today with the new reward that is here, and in hopes that, in the course of our investigation, which we have—are going to have to start from the beginning, because, first of all, we have to find out where Natalee Holloway—what happened to her on the 29th into the 30th, much less where she is now.
So, we are here. And I have spent a great deal of time with the Holloways, Twitty family, in identifying who hasn't been talked to, what evidence hasn't been looked at from the Aruban authorities. And that's where we will start our investigation.
CROWLEY: All right. Very good.
WARD: You know, there's numerous people...
CROWLEY: Very good. Private investigator T.J. Ward, thank you so much for being with us tonight. And good luck with your efforts in Aruba.
WARD: Thank you.
CROWLEY: And now let's bring in Natalee's uncle Paul Reynolds.
Mr. Reynolds, welcome.
PAUL REYNOLDS, UNCLE OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY: Thank you.
CROWLEY: So , we just spoke with T.J. Ward, who is a private investigator hired by the Holloway family. Why hire a private investigator? Have you been that dissatisfied with the investigation so far?
REYNOLDS: Well, it's another avenue that we can use to obtain information and take us closer to determining what happened and where Natalee is.
We've—you know, we have had concerns about the investigation. We understand there are new people involved in the—in the investigation, and we're—you know, we are anxious to work with them. We also think there's people out there that have information. We want them to come forward. And that's—and that's the reason for the reward.
CROWLEY: Well, Paul, let me ask you about that, because it was announced today that the family has increased the reward money. Do you think that that might bring in people, or bring people forward who might have information who haven't yet brought that forth?
REYNOLDS: It certainly might.
And, again, we do feel there are people out there that have that information. We hope this will encourage them to come forward and tell the truth and—and help us out.
CROWLEY: Well, let me ask you also about the lead prosecutor in this case. Apparently, she had a vacation scheduled well in advance for this week. She went back to the Netherlands and apparently took some of the key evidence with her for analysis.
Does the fact that the lead prosecutor took off right when a potential key piece of evidence has been discovered, does that trouble you?
REYNOLDS: It's our understanding there are people there that will continue the investigation. You know, we—we want them to keep an open mind. We want them to pursue every lead, and we think they can do that. And so we're—we are certainly hopeful, and, you know, we are going—we are going to work with them every way that we can.
CROWLEY: Paul, what do you make of the discovery of this potential piece of evidence, this piece of duct tape with some hairs attached to it? Are you hopeful that perhaps this might lead to some sort of breakthrough?
REYNOLDS: You know, we are hopeful with every, every new bit of information, every piece of evidence. We try not to get too excited about any one particular piece, because it—it does lead to the tremendous ups and downs, but we want this investigated.
We want to determine whether or not it has a bearing. And, depending on what the results are, we will move from there.
CROWLEY: Paul, let me ask you, when this case first began, it got a lot of media attention, a lot of media folks down at the island.
But a lot of weeks have gone by, and certainly the media attention has dwindled a bit. How do you feel about that, number one? And, also, what about the intention being given to this case by the Aruban authorities? Are they still as attentive?
REYNOLDS: You know, I think so. People are very interested in this. We—we all want to know where Natalee is. I think that the media has done a great deal to keep attention focused on this. Everyone is interested. We all want an answer.
CROWLEY: Well, Natalee Holloway's uncle Paul Reynolds, thank you so much for joining us tonight. And, of course, our thoughts and prayers are with you and the family. Thank you.
REYNOLDS: Thank you.
CROWLEY: And, coming up next, terrorists strike again in London. Next, is this all part of a chilling new al Qaeda global strike against the West, and who could be next? We'll ask our all-star panel.
And mystery in the Mediterranean, new developments in the case of a groom who vanished from his honeymoon cruise.
It's a big night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Stick around.
CROWLEY: It's fast, it's violent, and it's played by some of the world's toughest athletes in wheelchairs. We will get one player's view of the super competitive world of murderball.
Stay with us.
CROWLEY: In case we have forgotten that we are in a war, a war against a brutally ruthless enemy, the enemy just reminded us once again.
Two weeks after radical Islamists terrorists attacked London, killing 56 people, they apparently struck again today. And although the magnitude of the attack was less than this time around, we know they are capable of much bigger, more deadly hits.
Let us remind ourselves once again, this is an enemy that operates in the shadows while telling us exactly what their intentions are, an enemy that cannot be negotiated with, reasoned with or deterred, an enemy that believes nothing short of conquering the Western world will do, an enemy that beheads people as an average day at the office, an enemy that believes the Christian, Jew, any non-Muslim, is an infidel who needs to be converted to Islam or killed, that enemy.
Their objective is to have radical Islam dominate the world, and they will stop at nothing to get there. They try to undermine our will to fight back by killing us, paralyzing our cities, hobbling our economies, terrorizing us in every sense of the word. The enemy is bloody-minded, sophisticated, ruthless, rich, and fatalistic.
These attacks are political, as well as terrorist events, to demonstrate power, confidence, fearlessness, and reach. Remember the note left behind by one of the Madrid bombers after that attack? It said: “You choose life. We choose death.”
Well, yes, we do choose life and our way of life. And, as long as we have the strength and the confidence to call the enemy what it is, stare it right in the face and destroy it, we will prevail.
And we have some flash news for you. In the wake of today's bombing, the House voted just moments ago to extend the USA Patriot Act. The vote was 257-171.
With me now are NBC News military analyst General Wayne Downing, who is also the chairman of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, and terrorist expert Steve Emerson, author of “American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us.”
RET. GEN. WAYNE DOWNING, NBC MILITARY ANALYST: Thanks, Monica.
CROWLEY: General, let me begin with you.
What can you tell us about what you saw today in London and what you are learning about these attacks, about the level of coordination and also the level of sophistication? There is some proof today, or at least some evidence, to suggest that what we saw happen today, although not on the scale of two weeks ago in London, may have some connections.
DOWNING: Well, I—I think there are definitely connections. And I think it's unprecedented to have two back-to-back attacks like this. We didn't have it in Bali. We didn't have it in Istanbul, Casablanca, or Madrid. And here, they have hit us twice. And, of course, and the Brits have fairly decent security, and they certainly have been spun up because of the 7/7 attacks.
So, you know, certainly, there's a pattern here. Of course, you know, these attacks were not successful. And it looks like something went wrong with the explosives, would say that perhaps not the same chemist mixed this group of explosives, probably TATP, triacetone triperoxide, which is—you know, which you can make with commercially available products.
But that seems to—to have failed them. And, of course, because of
that, we have a tremendous amount now, Monica, of eyewitnesses to go along
with the backpacks themselves and the surveillance tapes, which I think is
· is going to really help the British authorities make great progress in this case much quicker than they did with the 7/7 bombings. But it's very alarming.
CROWLEY: Steve Emerson, based on what you saw today, was this a signature al Qaeda attack?
STEVE EMERSON, NBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, it certainly was a signature al Qaeda inspired, instigated or influenced attack.
I mean, I think, again, al Qaeda is more of a state of mind today than a corporate enterprise. This was militant Islamic fundamentalism carried out to its logical degree, carrying out jihad in the heart of the West. And, as Wayne pointed out, it was pretty brazen of them to carry out a second attack within two weeks, right under the noses of one of the most effective and most knowledgeable intelligence services in the world, the British intelligence services.
Clearly, they—if—the only difference between today and two weeks ago was the fact that the explosives didn't detonate. But, if they had, this would have been a major attack, the likes of which we hadn't seen in two weeks, and certainly something that occurred, again, right under the noses of British intelligence, meaning they do not have a handle on the amount of jihadists operating and living in their own soil.
CROWLEY: Steve, do you think that this signals a new al Qaeda M.O., in other words, attack transportation, try to paralyze a city?
EMERSON: Well, I think, actually, they have thought about attacking transportation systems for many years.
In fact, one of the things they did obviously on 9/11 was attack the air transportation system. But, in terms of attacking urban, they attacked obviously—or the like-minded attackers attacked the—the Spanish trains on 3/11, and killing close to 200 Spaniards. So, it's in the playbook of al Qaeda to attack urban areas.
We just never expected them to attack in the heart of Europe, as they had attacked in New York and Washington on 9/11.
CROWLEY: General, as you and Steve both indicated, the second wave of attacks coming against the same city caught a lot of people by surprise. Do you think that we are looking at a new al Qaeda global strike strategy?
DOWNING: Well, I really think—and Steve has said this—this is very centralized now.
I don't think al Qaeda central is directing these kind of attacks. We have seen this now over the last two or three years, especially on the jihadist Web sites, where they are encouraging these al Qaeda-inspired groups—some people call them franchises—to go ahead and conduct operations to reach out on their own and do these kind of attacks.
And, of course, Monica, this is very, very frightening, because there is no central direction. It's—it's hard to pick this up. I can't overemphasize the sophistication with which al Qaeda and the franchises use the Internet not only to—to spread their message of jihad, but to actually give instructions to these jihadist sympathizers out there to go ahead and attack the West.
And—and—and they want to do this all over. And, by the way,
your lead-in, Monica, was just excellent, because that's exactly what we
are faced with right now. We are not faced with terrorists. We are faced
with insurgents who are trying to seize political power in the Islamic
countries of the world. And, if they can do that, then they would like to
· to expand that to the Western countries.
This is a very serious threat that's going to be with us for a long, long time.
CROWLEY: Steve, on the point that the general just made, are we looking at brand-new cells popping up in Europe? Are they freelancing, or are they getting their actual direction from the top of al Qaeda leadership?
EMERSON: Yes. I think Wayne is right. This is not your—your parents' al Qaeda. This is al Qaeda 3.0.
And, basically, these are new recruits, and I don't think they operate in the same classical definition of cells, the way we think of cells, like “The Manchurian Candidate,” where someone is implanted and suddenly carries out an operation when they're activated with a button.
These are people who are mobilized, who are ready to carry out jihad. All they need is a green light. And, unfortunately, there are hordes of them. Unfortunately, Europe now is infested with this cancer of radical jihadists, young Muslim youth, who are ready to carry out suicide or other jihadist operations.
Generally speaking, the Brits have turned along—have turned away when it was carried out against Israel or against other countries in the Middle East, preferring to believe that, somehow, the jihadists wouldn't strike at home. Well, we are seeing the results of the chickens coming home to roost, for all those years that British turned away their eyes from what was going on in their homegrown territory.
CROWLEY: Well, on this point, if we turn it back home, General Downing, today, the mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, announced that folks who are trying to board trains in Penn Station, Grand Central Station and so on would be subjected to random searches. Is that the proper way to go about this in a free society?
DOWNING: Well, see, Monica, this is—this is the big rub.
We know that we have got to upgrade security. But the steps that we are going to want to take, like the mayor of New York just outlined, which already happened in Washington, D.C., are things that the American people find onerous and offensive. And, unfortunately, we are going to have to do some things like this, which some people are going to interpret as curbing their personal liberties. We are going to have to do this in order to secure ourself.
The thing that is frustrating to me, the same people that will criticize these kind of actions will be the first people to—to—to cry incompetence should we get hit here at home.
CROWLEY: That's right. That's right.
DOWNING: And we are going to have to do these kind of things when—when we do get hit the next time. These will be SOP.
CROWLEY: Steve Emerson—Steve Emerson, al Qaeda cells in the United States, how concerned should we be?
EMERSON: I think we should be very concerned. The fact of the matter is, in the last two months, we have seen three al Qaeda-like cells operate in Lodi, California, between—also in Upstate New York, and the Boca Raton doctor who was caught up in a sting operation.
There was a conviction just a couple of weeks ago of a jihadist in Northern Virginia, a guy who was homegrown. He was born in the United States, and he was convicted of conspiring to wage war against the United States. So, we do have a problem here in the United States. And it's not being tamped down by Islamic groups who claim that they are against terrorism, but refuse to utter a condemnation of Islamic terrorism itself, the ideological source and wellspring of what's going on in London today.
CROWLEY: That's right.
Well, General Wayne downing and Steve Emerson, a pleasure to have you with me tonight.
Thank you so much.
DOWNING: Great. Thanks, Monica.
CROWLEY: And coming up next, what do you call a picture that depicts the United States being flushed down the toilet? There you see it. In California, it's called art, and they put it in a government building. Can you stand it? I will be joined by the artist and the person trying to get it removed next.
And then, a new movie on the intense sport of quadriplegic rugby. The movie is winning over audiences, and we'll hear from one of the stars, why he says becoming paralyzed actually made his life better.
CROWLEY: It's a case that's baffling investigators from America to the Mediterranean. What happened to this young groom who vanished from his honeymoon cruise? Tonight, a brand-new development in that investigation.
But, first, here's the latest news from MSNBC World Headquarters.
CROWLEY: Courage, grit, and heart, a unique look at a sport where it's fast, it's violent, and it's played by some of the world's toughest athletes in wheelchairs. Just how tough is it? Well, it's called murderball. Joe gets one player's view of the physical and emotional battle to go from severely injured to super competitive.
Welcome back. I'm Monica Crowley, in tonight for Joe.
That story is coming up in just a few minutes.
But, first, tonight, a brand-new development in a story SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY has been following very closely. It's the search for newlywed George Smith IV. Smith married Jennifer Hagel in June. The couple went on a cruise through the Mediterranean. But, on July 5, the 26-year-old Smith vanished as the ship sailed between Greece and Turkey.
What happened that night? Did he fall off the ship, or is something, or someone, more sinister, to blame? Tonight, prosecutors in Turkey are asking for blood samples from George Smith's family.
Joining me now, Lisa Selvati—Salvati, rather—who has been following all the developments for WVIT in Hartford.
Bring us up to date, Lisa.
LISA SALVATI, WVIT REPORTER: Well, Monica, after two frustrating weeks of not being able to get anyone who knew this couple to talk about this, finally, a new development. Investigators have asked George Smith's family to provide blood samples, so they could compare the blood to the stains that were found on board the cruise ship.
Now, one of my colleagues spoke to a DNA expert today at the Dr. Henry Lee Institute of Forensics, located right here in Connecticut. Dr. Lee, as you know, worked on the O.J. Simpson murder case. And this is what he said, basically, that, if they get the samples from George Smith's mother and father, they should be able to tell whether this blood, indeed, came from George Smith.
Now, hopefully, this blood did not degrade as a result of the weather, being exposed to the elements. That is a concern today. Now, also, I have to tell you, this has been the most frustrating case to cover as a local TV reporter. I have been to Cromwell, where Jen Hagel grew up. I have been to Greenwich, where George Smith lived, very frustrating. George Smith's friends and family are not talking. Jen Hagel's friends and family, same thing. They are not talking. They have built a wall of protection around her.
And, honestly, you know, you can't blame them. I mean, could you imagine how this woman must feel? She is 25 years old. She gets married. She goes on her honeymoon, and she comes back without her husband? And the FBI is investigating his disappearance. I mean, I can't imagine anything worse than that, Monica.
CROWLEY: Lisa, do we have any witnesses on board? This is a large cruise ship. We're seeing it right there. Any witnesses to man overboard?
SALVATI: No witnesses that have been reported, Monica.
You know, as we reported last week, Jen Hagel woke up the morning of July 5, didn't see her husband, assumed—told the cruise ship she assumed he was with friends. And, hours later, he was reported missing. They did not find him. They searched the cabins right by where this blood was found. A passenger had reported finding blood. The cruise ship officials searched the cabins around it. And that's when they discovered that George Smith was, indeed, missing.
CROWLEY: Lisa, SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY has obtained some photos from a passenger who was on that same ship as George Smith. Take a look. These are shots from inside a cabin, looking out at the balcony, very similar to George Smith's room. It was on the same deck.
And the next photo shows an awning cover below the window, the awning where some passengers reported finding that blood that you were just talking about.
Lisa, there was also a divers—diver search here. And, apparently, the divers turned up nothing as well.
SALVATI: It's a very frustrating case. As I said, no one is talking.
As far as where he was the night before, Jennifer Hagel is the one who
· she is the one that we need to talk to, as we know. We don't know where she is. It is a very frustrating case to cover. A lot of people that knew this couple, they are not talking.
CROWLEY: Lisa, we do know that the Turkish authorities have been conducting their own investigation, but they turned over the file and a lot of information and any evidence they may have collected to the U.S. Embassy in Turkey. And the FBI, we know, has taken over a large chunk of this case. Who has the jurisdiction here? Is it the United States or is it Turkey?
SALVATI: Well, the FBI did inform me that they are investigating. They are coordinating the investigation, is the way they phrased it. So, I would think, right now, the FBI is investigating. And, hopefully, we'll learn a little bit more as to what happened to this man.
CROWLEY: Very, very mysterious.
OK, Lisa Salvati of WVIT in Hartford, thank you so much.
SALVATI: Thank you.
CROWLEY: And take a look at this. Does it make you angry? We are going to put it up on the screen in a moment, a piece of art that, among other things, shows the American flag, in the shape of this country, being flushed down a toilet. There it is. But it's not hanging in any museum or any gallery. It's at the California Department of Justice Building in Sacramento.
As you can imagine, the piece is stirring up some intense emotions.
And here to talk about it is Karen Hanretty from the California Republican Party, who says it should be taken down.
Karen, we should mention the artists were also invited on, but they haven't yet made it to the studio. So, let's just ask, how does an exhibit like this even make it into a government building?
KAREN HANRETTY, CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN PARTY: Well, quite frankly, the California arts commission teamed up with one of the local lawyers associations and the attorney general. They commissioned a curator to go out and solicit artwork from either attorneys or, if not—if the artwork wasn't produced by an attorney, they solicited artwork with a theme that has to do with the law.
And this particular artist, Stephen Pearcy, was contacted by the curator, after the curator saw the scuffle that was created earlier this year after Mr. Pearcy, who created this painting, took a mannequin, strapped a noose around its neck, dressed it as a soldier, and hung the soldier in effigy off of his home here in Sacramento.
It got a great deal of attention around the country, certainly here in California. The curator must have found that artwork interesting, contacted Mr. Pearcy, and asked him if he had any paintings he would like to submit.
CROWLEY: Yes. Right now, we are looking at the effigy of the American soldier that Mr. Pearcy had hung on his home with a sign on it that said: “Bush Lied. I died.” Angry residents in his community tore that effigy, and rightly so.
Karen, let me ask you, why would any material that most people think is offensive—and I would think any right-thinking American would take a look at this painting and think it was outrageous—how did it even get allowed to be hanging on government property? Didn't anyone raise a red flag and say, this is totally inappropriate for government property? Taxpayers are paying for this property. Why do they have to put up with this hanging there?
HANRETTY: You know, I think that's a very good question, and it's—
I think it's a question that needs to be answered.
No one wants to take responsibility for this art exhibit that is being displayed in a government building. The California Arts Council put out a press release saying, well you know, no tax dollars were spent on this art exhibit. The lawyers association—I'm sorry, the attorney general's office isn't taking any responsibility for this.
Basically, they are—they are pawning it off on the curator, who, by the way, was paid to do this exhibit. And they are pawning off responsibility onto this—the lawyers association. But that's ridiculous. The California Arts Council is paid for and funded with taxpayer dollars. The attorney general knew that this exhibit was going to go in his building.
In fact, the Arts Council is actually housed in the Department of Justice. Someone in government needs to take responsibility for this. Surely, they knew exactly the content of this exhibit, and they chose to keep it up there anyway. And here's something that is really important.
The attorney general is arguing, well, if we take down this painting, that is somehow censorship. But I can guarantee you that the Democratic attorney general would never allow a painting of a gay pride flag to be floating in a toilet bowl and hung in his building. That would never happen. Artwork that is offensive to gays and lesbians or that expresses violence towards women would never be allowed to hang in his building.
And they came back and said, well, that would be a hate crime. Art is not a hate crime. And if art was a hate crime, then I would expect the attorney general to file a lawsuit against the music industry in the way they treat women and gays.
Well, we did invite the artist of this particular piece on the program tonight. He has not arrived for the segment. But “The Sacramento Union” writes that it took Mr. Pearcy about 20 minutes to complete that work. He said it was intended to reflect his concern about Americans and what he called their fanatical level of patriotism in the wake of the September 11, 201, terrorist attacks—quote—“The goal is to create something quick and put it in the minimum amount of effort and get the maximum amount of communication,” I guess, out of it.
Karen, taking a look at this so-called art, I think Mr. Pearcy should not give up his day job as an attorney.
What about the political agenda? I mean, do you think—you mentioned if somebody had tried to put up a piece of artwork that was offensive to gays or lesbians or Jews or African-Americans, there's no way that it would be allowed to be hung in a government building.
HANRETTY: Well, not so fast. Actually, there is a painting in there that I think a lot of Jewish people in America would find offensive. There's a painting that references...
HANRETTY: Where is the outrage, Karen?
HANRETTY: That references Palestine and suggests that the Jewish people are oppressing the Palestinians.
Look, this—this whole—not every piece of artwork in this exhibit
· and I went and looked at the exhibit—has a political bent. But some
· a lot of it does, quite frankly. And I am just not sure why it is necessary for us to be hanging political propaganda that is one-sided and anti-American in a government building.
CROWLEY: Especially, Karen, during the middle of a war.
Karen Hanretty, thank you so much for your time tonight.
HANRETTY: Thanks, Monica.
CROWLEY: Well, call them disrespectful, call them disorderly, but don't call them disabled. We are talking about people who play quad rugby, better known as murderball. There's a brand-new documentary about this wild sport. And the star and the man who made the movie are here in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
And a sophisticated tunnel found underneath the border, but there's something that makes this one very different and very disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “MURDERBALL”)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watch Zupan. Watch Zupan. Attack, attack, attack, attack, attack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: That's a clip from the new documentary “Murderball.” Murderball is the affectionate name for quad rugby, which is just that, rugby played by quadriplegics.
Before he left, Joe talked to filmmaker Adam Shapiro and rugby star Mark Zupan and asked them about murderball.
MARK ZUPAN, MURDERBALL PLAYER: It's played with a volley ball on a basketball court inside. And it's kind of like a combination of football, hockey, basketball, soccer.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Who thought of this sport? How did it start up? How did you get involved?
ZUPAN: It was invented in Canada in the late '70s. I got involved competitively in 1996, when one of my therapists said, I have a game you probably will be good at. And her boyfriend at the time played, so brought me down. I started playing, and I've been playing ever since.
Dana, what was your biggest shock? I mean, you—you went into this thing not knowing what you were going to find out. And you went into this world that, again, probably 99 percent of Americans don't know about. What did you come away with? What will Americans come away with that see this film?
DANA ADAM SHAPIRO, CO-DIRECTOR, “MURDERBALL”: I think you definitely see the chair as an albatross or a liability. You definitely see it as a detriment. And, as you hang around with these guys, you start to realize that, at times, it can really be a plus.
I mean, when you go to bars with them, they have a much easier time meeting girls as a result of the chair. And the sport that they play is as violent as anything I have ever seen and as competitive. And it was interesting to hear a lot of these guys say they wouldn't take back that night or that day, that they wouldn't trade their accident if they could.
And that's just something I thought was some sort of therapy line that
they had to believe. And towards the end of the film, it was something
that I knew that they did believe. The ones who said it—Zupan, for one
· said, you know, it's the best thing that ever happened to me. And that's pretty—that was pretty mind-blowing to hear.
SCARBOROUGH: Mark, why do you say that?
ZUPAN: Because it is the best thing that's happened.
I have been to more countries. I've met more people. I've done more things. I have had a heck of a lot of fun in 12 years. Now I am fortunate enough to be part of a documentary. And, I mean, it's been fun. I mean, I have gotten to go to the Paralympics. I have a medal from the Paralympics. I have been able to compete all over the world.
SCARBOROUGH: And you talk about your social life and your sex life in this film. Is that part of blowing away the stereotypes about paraplegics, quadriplegics?
ZUPAN: They are questions that people want to know. They just won't ask. And the movie does such a great job answering those, you know, about sex. You know, a lot of the times, people won't come up and ask you about it. Sometimes, they will if you are at the bar. And girls—girls get curious.
SCARBOROUGH: Did your family and friends think you were crazy when you got involved with a sport called murderball?
ZUPAN: Actually, no. My family and friends kind of understand the way I think and the way we play. And my mom is like, all right, if that's what you like to do, I trust that you are going to do well at what you put your mind towards.
SCARBOROUGH: And, Dana, you say that this sport is one of the most violent sports you have ever seen?
I mean, these guys describe it as kill the man with the ball, bumper cars. But it's like bumper cars without the bumpers. We got into the chairs and played a round with these guys, and it was like being in a shopping cart and smashing into a wall. There is no rubber. There is no shock absorption. You are in a—basically, this—this chair, which is plated with metal, with a grill. And when you hit, you hit pretty hard.
And you flip over, and you are strapped in. And you can't get back up. And, yes, it was—it was—it was—let's just say that a lot of them are lucky that they can't feel parts of their body, because, when they hit it, it hurts.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, just talking to Mark right now, hearing about some of these other athletes, it just sounds like nobody is sitting back looking at themselves as victims. It looks like...
SCARBOROUGH: It looks like they are focusing on people to victimize.
ZUPAN: ... true.
I mean, I think the inclination, you know, to hold the door for these guys or to pat them on the back and sort of say, hey, good for you, you know, it's just so good to see you doing something, that might come from a good place, but it's a pretty condescending attitude, because you are setting the bar pretty low for what they should be able to do.
And, you know, we never wanted to make a film that was sort of, you know, cue the violins, up with people, this pat-on-the-back type of thing. We made a movie that reflected these guys. And the inspiration really was that they really reject people holding the door for them and treating them with kid gloves.
SCARBOROUGH: Mark, is that the worst thing somebody can do for you, is try to treat you like a victim, try to hold the door open for you, look into your eyes and try to show you pity?
ZUPAN: Well, yes, it's annoying.
I mean, I have done more than a lot of people. You know, it's—what's bad is when they come up and they say, your life must be just so hard. It's like, my life, hard? I feel bad for you?
It's like, no. It's funny.
ZUPAN: I mean, it's funny, because we were in San Francisco, and I was holding the—I held the door for a lady. And the lady was like, no, no, you can't hold the door for me. I was like, why not? I am not going anywhere. You better go inside the bar, because I will sit out here all night.
SCARBOROUGH: Do you have a message? What is the message you want to get out, not only through this film and also through murderball, but what message do you want to get out to Americans tonight about—about yourself, about others like you, about quadriplegics?
ZUPAN: Treat me like I am a normal person. Don't treat me like I am special. Don't think that you need to hold the door or you need to push me up a hill. If I need help, I will ask.
Also, I am an athlete. I am a Paralympic athlete, which is—I train as hard as an Olympic athlete. So, I mean, we just don't get the recognition. We are normal. We are normal people.
ZUPAN: Just treat us normally.
SCARBOROUGH: Mark, final question. What's next for you? When is the next big competition?
ZUPAN: The next big competition is 2006 in Christchurch, New Zealand. It's the world championships. So, we need to go in and take our gold back, so we are seeded number one going into the Paralympics for Beijing in 2008.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Mark, Dana, thank you all both so much for being with us.
SHAPIRO: Thank you.
SCARBOROUGH: The movie is called “Murderball.” It opens July 22.
And I'll tell you what. I, for one, can't wait to go see it.
ZUPAN: Thank you.
CROWLEY: A disturbing discovery at the border, but not the border you may think. Next, we will show you where the feds discovered this drug tunnel.
CROWLEY: Hey, want to be the smartest person at work? Who doesn't?
Well, check out Joe's morning read for the latest hot stories of the day.
You can find it at Joe.MSNBC.com.
We'll be right back.
CROWLEY: Our borders are porous. We already know that, but a new discovery on our border with Canada raises some serious questions.
DEA agents in Washington state yesterday raided a sophisticated tunnel intended to smuggle drugs under the U.S.-Canada border between Vancouver and Seattle. Five suspected smugglers were arrested. And, apparently, these guys spent at least a year building a 360-foot tunnel that runs from a storage building in rural British Columbia to a living room—yes, a living room—of a home in Lynden, Washington.
DEA agents say it was well-built, probably one of the most sophisticated tunnels they have ever seen. The feds had been monitoring construction of the tunnel for about six months. They waited for it to be finished and then they moved in. They said it's the first drug-smuggling tunnel found on the U.S.-Canada border, although more than 30 such tunnels have been uncovered on the border between Mexico and the United States.
The five men are facing marijuana—marijuana trafficking charges. And agents seized 93 pounds of marijuana that had been loaded into a vehicle and was being driven across Washington state. Luckily, this tunnel only appears to be intended for drug smuggling, but what if it were intended for something more dangerous, like terrorism?
Well, that's all the time we have for tonight.
And do you have something to say? Drop us an e-mail at Joe@MSNBC.com.
I'm Monica Crowley, in for Joe. Have a great night.
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