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eliminate, modify or sunset the other provisions infringing individual rights. Congressional oversight should also evaluate Justice Department compliance with section 1001 to ensure that abuses under the PATRIOT Act are fully investigated, especially those against Muslim, Arab and immigrant communities. Amnesty's racial profiling report last year found that such practices increased dramatically after 9/11.
We agree with Human Rights First and others that section 804, which expands U.S. jurisdiction to include offenses committed by or against a national of the U.S. provides grounds for Congress to support appointment of a special counsel and an independent commission to comprehensively investigate the torture and ill treatment of detainees in U.S. custody.
Over 500 people have been detained without charge at Guantanamo for over 3 years, and tens of thousands more in Iraq, Afghanistan and secret detention centers around the world. The rest of the world knows of this. And, they also know about the more than 100 deaths in U.S. custody, including the, at least, 28 homicides referred to. And the world views all this as an egregious abuse of power and a denial of the most fundamental rights of human exist
In Amnesty's 2005 annual report, we noted that U.S. tolerance for torture and ill treatment sends a tragic and counterproductive message to the world that human rights may be sacrificed in the name of security.
Right now the U.S. domestic and foreign approaches are both preemptive, secretive, unchecked, subjective, counter to the presumption of innocence, unilateral, unreliable and abusive. Instead of being fair, legal, objective, fact-based, tested, cooperative and most importantly perhaps effective.
Congress must reiterate that human rights are an integral part of true security. Policies that facilitate torture at Guantanamo and elsewhere make us less safe and true security cannot be achieved without respect for
human rights and the rule of law. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Chairman SENSENBRENNER. Thank you, Mr. Pitts. [The prepared statement of Mr. Pitts follows:)
PREPARED STATEMENT OF CHIP PITTS Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Ranking Member, Members of the Committee, on behalf of Amnesty International USA 1 thank you for the opportunity to be here today.
Amnesty International's 1.8 million members in over 100 countries—including hundreds of thousands in the United States—are committed to exposing human rights violations committed by governments and armed groups around the world. Amnesty International is guided by international human rights and humanitarian law, and the standards set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Conventions, international instruments the United States championed and helped create half a century ago. The organization was founded to defend the right of individuals incarcerated for the peaceful expression of their views and to oppose the use of torture on any person. Its members have helped free over 40,000 political prisoners, many of whom are survivors of torture, and continues to work for the eradication of torture worldwide and the implementation of relevant international instruments that establish universal human rights standards.
1 Amnesty International is a grassroots organization with 1.8 million members worldwide working to promote and defend human rights. For information, contact Ms. Alex Arriaga or Ms. The CSA Patriot Act was adopted in the weeks after the horrific attack on Septenter 11, 2001. Amnesty International vigorously condemned the 9/11 attack as a trial assault and a crime against humanity, and recognized the duty of every natin to protect its citizens and to seek fair justice. Amnesty International vigor
yondemns terrorist attacks, and upholds the international human right to be sie fra terronam. The organization also maintains that the lesson of history is 13. proaring human rights and the rule of law is the indispensable and preferred
to true security. Vie are concerned that the USA Patriot Act, combined with other, related post$ il legislation, executive orders, and policies, undermines the human rights of Americans and non-citizens in this country, weakens the framework for promoting human rights internationally, and contributes to a climate conducive to human rights violations as well as increased incidents of terror.
Amnesty International believes that the USA Patriot Act, as it exists today, is out of step with the legal requirement and critical need to preserve core principles, constitutional freedoms, and adherence to human rights even in times of crisis. The Patriot Act and related measures threaten rights otherwise protected in the U.S. Constitution and international instruments, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention against Torture, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
Provisions of the Patriot Act have had a chilling affect on freedom of speech and association, freedom of religion and belief, and privacy. The law jeopardizes due process and fair trial procedures by encouraging a presumption of guilt until proven innocent, instead of the normal presumption of innocence. The Patriot Act is of concern both in itself, and also because it has inspired a significant cascade of similar legislation around the world that weakens the rule of law which is so essential to the protection of human rights, including the right to be defended against terrorist attacks.
The overly braod and heavy-handed approach of the Patriot Act is also reflected in other US laws, executive orders, policies and tactics that have led to excesses in the 'war on terror' and have allowed abusive governments around the world to cite the United States as an example to justify their own violations. The policies of the world's superpower disproportionately influence other nations. Governments in countries as diverse as Britain, China, Colombia, Cuba, India, Jordan, and Uzbekistan have stepped up efforts to enact or expand similarly restrictive policies. According to U.S. officials, at least 180 countries—almost every country in the world-have followed suit with legislation of their own since the USA Patriot Act was passed.
Amnesty International urges Congress to correct the deficiencies of the Patriot Act by restoring checks and balances, fact-based individualized suspicion, and independent judicial review over government implementation of the Patriot Act. These corrections are necessary both to protect fundamental civil and human rights and to more thoughtfully enhance the law's contribution, if any, to curbing terrorism. Provisions of special concern to Amnesty International include the following:
The USA Patriot Act creates a broad definition of "domestic terrorism” that discourages the right to free expression and association. Section 802 of the law defines "domestic terrorism” as acts committed in the United States "dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws” if the US government determines that they “appear to be intended” to “influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion,” or “to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.” Already, the Patriot Act has emboldened some school administrators to discourage participation in free speech activities, and has dis
couraged some peaceful dissenters from protesting. • The USA Patriot Act allows non-citizens to be detained without charge and
held indefinitely once charged, if the US Attorney General certifies that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe this person is engaged in conduct that threatens national security. This runs counter to US and international rights
to due process and to non-discrimination. • And the USA Patriot Act infringes on the right to privacy and removes many
types of judicial review over law enforcement and intelligence activities, which may in turn facilitate the commission of abuses of other human rights. For example, Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act permits the government to scrutinize peoples' reading habits through monitoring of public library and bookstore records and requires bookstores and libraries to disclose, in secrecy and under threat of criminal prosecution, personal records of reading and
press, as well as privacy. Librarians have stated publicly that they are torn between abiding by the law and violating their patron's right to privacy. The Patriot Act also allows for “sneak and peek” search warrants to conduct physical searches of property and computer records without providing notification, wiretapping and monitoring of e-mail, access to financial and educational records, among other areas. The right to be free from arbitrary interference with individual privacy is protected in both the US Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the United
States is a party. Amnesty International urges the U.S. Congress to enforce the sunset provisions currently in the USA Patriot Act, or modify them significantly to protect individual rights, and eliminate, modify, or place sunsets on other provisions that infringe on individual rights of all Americans and non-citizens.
We urge the U.S. Congress to exercise its important oversight role to examine implementation of the USA Patriot Act. In particular, Amnesty International is concerned by abuses against Muslim and Arab communities in the United States, and the generally hostile climate against immigrants. Amnesty International last year released a report on racial profiling in the United States and found that racial profiling practices by law enforcement have expanded in the government's “war on terror" and threaten to affect an estimated 87 million individuals in the United States. The report, “Threat and Humiliation: Racial Profiling, Domestic Security, and Human Rights in the United States” finds that law enforcement's use of race, religion, country of origin, or ethnic and religious appearances as a proxy for criminal suspicion undermines national security. Racial profiling blinds law enforcement to real criminal threats and creates a hole in the national security net.
Congress should evaluate the Department of Justice compliance with Section 1001 of the law with regard to complaints alleging abuses of civil rights and civil liberties by employees and officials of the Department of Justice. Congress must ensure that department policies prevent racial profiling and abuse. This is a matter of upholding civil and human rights, applying the rule of law, and enhancing national security by protecting the human rights and freedoms of all.
Amnesty International also urges the U.S. Congress to exercise its important oversight role in examining the performance of the U.S. Government in implementing Section 804 of the Patriot Act. Section 804 amended the definition of “special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States” to include "offenses committed by or against a national of the United States” on diplomatic, consular or military premises. The U.S. government has failed to date to support a truly independent and comprehensive investigation into abuses against detainees in U.S. custody.
That is why Amnesty International continues to call on the U.S. Congress to establish a truly independent commission, which has not happened yet, and to urge the Attorney General to appoint a Special Counsel to investigate reports of torture and ill-treatment of detainees held in U.S. custody in Guantanamo, Bagram, Abu Ghraib, and detention centers—including secret detention centers--around the world. For over three years, over 500 individuals have been held in indefinite detention in Guantanamo in conditions that spurred the International Committee of the Red Cross to break its tradition of silence and protest publicly U.S. mistreatment of detainees. General Richard Myers has indicated that at least 68,000 individuals have been detained around the world in the so-called “war on terror". We have all seen the photographs taken at Abu Ghraib, but we may not know that there have been over 100 deaths in custody, of which at least 27 have been ruled “homicides”.
Amnesty International recently released its 2005 Annual Report which summarized human rights conditions in 149 countries and territories. Upon releasing the report, Amnesty International noted that the images of detainees tortured in Abu Ghraib shocked the world. As evidence of torture and ill-treatment of detainees in US custody in other countries continues to emerge, the United States is sending an unequivocal and severely damaging message to the world that human rights may be sacrificed ostensibly in the name of security. Congress must act to reverse this message, ensure an independent investigation into abuses, and uphold the rule of law and international standards of human rights for all. We are not safer when we abuse others. But we are safer when we promote conditions that allow every person to exercise their human rights and freedoms.
Chairman SENSENBRENNER. The Chair will recognize Members under the 5-minute rule. The gentleman from Michigan, Mr. ConMr. CONYERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I first begin by praising the four witnesses who, on such short notice were able to pull these excellent statements together. I want to put out these questions because, as you know, 5 minutes is a very short amount of time. And you may respond to them as you feel inclined. What changes do you think need to be made in the PATRIOT Act to prevent legal and innocent people from being unjustly punished or persecuted? That is the first question. The second, the Inspector General found that the detention of aliens after 9/11 “indiscriminate and haphazard.” Do you believe that the Department of Justice's approach in this matter has become any better? Do you believe the Administration has adequately investigated allegations of torture, in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo?
And, is there anyone here that does not support an independent commission or select committee to investigate? And is any one of you experts here aware of a single terrorist arrest or conviction that came from the registration of or interview of over 10,000 men of Middle Eastern descent? Please, those of you who are witnesses may.
Chairman SENSENBRENNER. Who wants to be first?
Ms. TAPIA RUANO. Thank you, Mr. Pitts, and I would like to address some of these questions, not all of them, since I understand it is as we feel willing and with regards to the detention of illegals as it relates to non-citizens that, at this time, Department of Homeland Security is, you know, is a newly-created department and has been very distracted with reorganizing itself and that has definitely contributed to its ability to detain less people. I do think less people at this time are being detained as a result of post 9/ 11 investigations. But I also think it is important to note that the Department has recognized the failures of its prior policies and of its prior initiatives.
And, as any good agency, is attempting not to repeat its failures. I would also say that, of course, I would support an independent commission to investigate this. And no, as an immigration attorney which considers herself pretty well informed as to what happens in the country with regards to immigration detentions, I am not aware, and that is all that I can address to—I am not aware of a single occasion where any of the individuals that were brought in, noncitizens, as a result of these post 9/11 investigations were, in fact, charged with any 9/11 terrorist activity.
Mr. CONYERS. Thank you so much.
Mr. PITTS. Thank you, Congressman. In answer to your first questions about changes needed to prevent unjust persecution in the PATRIOT Act, we think again that there are three broad categories, adding checks and balances, adding independent judicial review, and adding requirements of individualized fact-based suspicion. We think that those are essential to make sure you are not stereotyping innocent Muslims or Arabs. And it is interesting how much ignorance there is on this issue. People assume that Muslims are Arabs and vice versa when Arabs are a small minority of Mus
infinite variety as the world itself. One out of every 5 people in the world. So the anti-foreigner provision in section 412 of the PATRIOT Act, for example, which allows rolling and potentially indefinite detention, and is discriminatory based on the subjective say-so of one man is a good example of the discriminatory disrespect for the objective rule of law that we need to have effective action against terrorism, not stereotyping but identifying the real threats.
Similarly, our racial profiling report last year pointed out that racial profiling just doesn't work. Think for a second about the most famous alleged members of al-Qaeda, Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, British national of West Indian descent; or the white guy from California, John Walker Lind, for example, or Jose Padilla, Hispanic gang member. You cannot possibly say that we are going to profile against people who look Middle Eastern and expect to be successful against Al Qaeda. What we need to do is not just have formal rhetoric against racial profiling, but recognize that the huge, gaping national security exception is illegitimate. It allows discrimination and a resurgence of religious, national origin and racebased discrimination that doesn't work.
Mr. CONYERS. Thank you. Mr. Chairman
Chairman SENSENBRENNER. The chairperson will recognize the witnesses and the time of the gentleman has expired. The gentleman from Iowa, Mr. King.
Mr. KING. I thank the Chairman and I appreciate the witnesses being here today and those Members of the Committee that are here today, and I had the privilege of adjusting my travel plans to be someone who could benefit from this testimony today. Some of the things that come to mind, I think, I will direct initially to Mr. Pitts.
Could I ask you, if you could define for this Committee, the distinction between the standards in a criminal investigation with regard to subpoenas, that have been long accepted in the United States as something that protects and preserves the human rights of all citizens in this country. The distinction between that standard and the standard that is implemented by the PATRIOT Act with regard to that same type of search warrant.
Mr. PITTS. Absolutely, Congressman King. Thank you for the opportunity to clear up the rampant confusion on this point. In fact, just a couple of days ago with Deputy Attorney General James Comey's testimony before this Committee, he said that the standard in the PATRIOT Act is the same thing, probable cause. And he reiterated that there is probable cause to be an agent of a foreign power. That is a bit misleading, because when you read the actual language of the statute, at several points, for example, in section 215, the actual standard in the law is that an investigation is launched by the subjective interest of the law enforcement powers, and the information is sought for the purposes of that investigation. That is not a probable cause standard. Neither is the standard in section 505, which isn't even a relevant standard, the national security letter.
So there is a dramatic difference between the regular criminal