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Charman SENSENBYENNER. State your order.
Let me, first of all thark y distingeisbed coleagues Mr. Van Hver. and Ms. Wasserlan Schnitz
Chairman SENTENZHENDER The gentlewoman will state her point of order.
ME. JACKSON LEE.--for being whicg to geld to me. I want to Ilake it clear
Chairman SEXSEXEHENNEP. The gentlewoman is not statir.g a point of order, and the gentleman from Maryland Mr. Van Hoxen Je regized.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman. I was in the room before my two C, Bezles, however, I will yield to my two colleagues because of the orientation of the Chairman. Thank you very much.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. I thank my colleague, and I thank all the witnebote for their testimony this morning.
And, Sr. Zugby, I wanted to follow up on a couple of points you made bocause you talked about the impact on people around the world of actions taken here in the United States, and the perceptions that that gave to people. And you mentioned those in the context of the PATRIOT Act, but also Abu Ghraib and some of the indefinite detentions that took place. And you made what I think is a very important point that needs to be emphasized, which is, this is not about winning a popularity contest. Yes, it's nice to be liked around the world, but the most important thing that we can do as Americans is to make sure that we protect our security.
But essential to protecting our security is making sure that people around the world in many cases have a positive impact upon the Crited States, especially when we're pursuing an effort to enOUR ze and promote democracy around the world. And as you said, we all share the view that the United States must be a leader in promoting democracy and human rights around the world, and if we're going to be encouraging elections, free and open and fair elections, in places in the Middle East, if we're going to be encouraging free and fair elections in many other places around the world, then it's important to us how people who are going to be voting in those elections perceive the United States, because we hope that they will elect leaders who will be supportive and friendly toward the Cnited States' interests, and to the extent they have a negative view of the United States, it's much easier for those who would want to demagogue the United States to win in those elections.
And so an integral part of our democracy promotion effort overseas, it seems to me, is making sure that the United States continues to be perceived, as it has been in the past, as a great leader for freedom and a great leader for human rights. And to the extent that we tarnish that image, we hurt our own national security intreats, and we hurt our ability to fight the war on terrorism.
You've done a lot of work in this area. Could you please talk a little bit more about how those negative perceptions of the United States can undermine our own efforts to promote democracy in those regions in a way that is consistent with our national security
Mr. ZOGBY. And, Congressman, I thank you. And I would say I'm not sure I could do it more eloquently than you've just done. I think you have made the case very clear.
But I would say to you that this is not about us being the best or the worst. At the end of the day, there is not a scale that judges America with other countries. And I think Congressman Coble is right about that. We set a higher standard and always have. We have always been and wanted to see ourselves be the city on the hill, and that's why democratic reformers have looked to us. When they no longer look to us in their governance, instead look to us to validate policies that bring about repression, then I think we have to examine ourselves not only for our foreign policy purposes, but I think also for a sense of are we being true to ourselves and to our Founders, and to the sense of the value of America that we teach our children. I think that is really fundamental here.
The pictures of Abu Ghraib were not a 1-day story, and they shouldn't have been, because that's not who we are. And those pictures are going to be soon replicated by other pictures from Abu Ghraib that will come out at the end of the month, and we will be reminded again and the world will be reminded again that America stopped being America.
The stories of the Koran are not a few, but there are many, number one. And number two, the inspector general reported that the Department of Justice shows that those very practices took place domestically in metropolitan detention centers.
We need to be fair to who we are. If we deny who we are, I think we lose our ability to lead in the world. When foreign governments become more repressive-because as people become more angry at America and become more angry at their government's leadership for being supportive of America, we are, in effect, creating a groundswell for terrorism. As we said, antidemocratic practices produce terrorism. By those very practices that we are encouraging or by example leading other governments to pursue, we are making other countries in the world less free, we're making the countries less democratic, and we're making America a role model for less democratic and less free practices. And there is a tragedy in all of that because it undercuts our effort to fight terrorism and make us more secure.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Thank you. And let me just say,
Chairman SENSENBRENNER. The time of the gentleman has expired.
The gentleman from Indiana Mr. Pence.
Mr. PENCE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you for the long series of hearings that you have held on the PATRIOT Act; they have been enormously informative to me as a Member of this Committee who was involved in drafting this PATRIOT Act.
I also want to thank the panel. It is not easy to come before Congress, and I am grateful for your patriotism and your citizenship displayed today.
I want to direct my remarks and my questions specifically and respectfully to the Chairman of the Board of Amnesty International, Mr. Pitts. And let me say I'm a bit of a fan of Amnesty International. I actually went to the floor a week before the initi
International's outstanding research on the profound and appalling human rights record of Saddam Hussein. Tens of thousands incarcerated. I, frankly, found your research to be very moving. Quite a few people in precincts around the country didn't appreciate this conservative Republican quoting Amnesty International to justify, in part, the war, but I have appreciated your work.
It's in that context that I must tell you, Mr. Pitts, I was very troubled by your description of the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay as a gulag of our times. There has been a lot said by Mr. Van Hollen a few moments ago and other colleagues about the importance of our image in the world, and I think prison abuse is an appalling thing, and I'm pleased at the aggressive prosecutions that have taken place of military personnel who have been accused of that, and believe that that should be the case. But I also believe that anti-historical, irresponsible rhetoric, like referring to the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay as the gulag of our times, endangers the lives of Americans in uniform by fueling the very worst stereotypes of our enemies about this country in the world.
The gulag, of course, was a Soviet system of forced labor camps. The word is a Russian abbreviation for the term chief administration of camps. In The Gulag Archipelago, the famous book by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, he brought the story of the gulags to the world; 28.7 million people put into forced labor. The death rates in those camps reached their apex in World War II. The total number of prison deaths is impossible to calculate. It ranges from a low end of 3 million people systematically executed or starved to death or worked to death in the gulags to numbers of 10, 12 and even 20 million.
In the book, Gulag: A History, a journalist named Anne Applebaumgate writes that after 1937 the camps "transformed themselves from indifferently managed prisons in which people died by accident into genuinely deadly camps where workers were deliberately worked to death or murdered."
It is extraordinary to think of a comparison between a U.S. detention facility, where maybe mistakes have been made and have been made by American personnel, to the systematic death camps of the Soviet empire. It's also peculiar to me that Amnesty International would refer to Guantanamo as the gulag of our times when there is a much better candidate in the Kwan-li-co couldn't find system of concentration camps in North Korea, North Korea is a bona fide Soviet state run by the son of a man who was actually put into power by Stalin. In fact, Kim Jong-il was reportedly born in a training camp in Siberia where his father was groomed for power. But to suggest that, you know, in all of the world the gulag of our times is not the death camps that are the natural progeny of the gulags of the Soviet empire that exist today in North Korea, but that Guantanamo Bay is, that seems to me, as I said, anti-historical, irresponsible and the type of rhetoric that endangers American lives.
Now, I'm not alone in this. It was former Soviet political prisoner Vladimir Bukowski who characterized your term as “stupid” and "an insult to the memory of millions who perished in Soviet With all of that said, and I ask this respectfully, Mr. Pitts, are you or is Amnesty International prepared to retract your statement that the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo is the gulag of our times, or are you prepared before this hearing to qualify that before this hearing, given the extraordinary record of history of the gulags and the reality of gulags in our times in countries like North Korea?
Chairman SENSENBRENNER. The gentleman's time has expired. The gentlewoman from Florida
Mr. NADLER. Point of order, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman SENSENBRENNER. The gentleman will state his point of order.
Mr. NADLER. I believe it is improper under our rules to cast aspersions on the integrity of our witnesses, and I would like to give the witness an opportunity to respond to that.
Chairman SENSENBRENNER. First of all, that is not a proper point of order; secondly, I believe the gentleman
Mr. NADLER. It's a point of decency.
Chairman SENSENBRENNER. Well, point of decencies are determined other than by rulings of the Chair.
The statements that were made by the gentleman from Indiana were not impugning the integrity of any of the witnesses, including Mr. Pitts, before the Committee; they were value judgments on the part of the gentleman from Indiana, Mr. Pence, on statements that have been made by representatives of Amnesty International other than the witness that is before us.
Mr. NADLER. I would ask that the witness have an opportunity to respond.
Chairman SENSENBRENNER. Without objection, the witness may proceed.
Mr. PITTS. I would like to respond to Mr. Pence's question, and also some of the other statements made that Amnesty has in some way applied amoral equivalency either with the horrendous regime of Stalin, which we were at the forefront of condemning the perpetuation of that system in the Soviet Union in the 1970's and 1980's. And we're not suggesting moral equivalency, Mr. Pence, with China, or North Korea or Iran. Our point is that it's not Amnesty International that is putting the U.S. in this position, and it's not just Amnesty International's reports—although we have issued several reports, hundreds of pages in each, enumerating numerous instances of torture that would break our heart—and I'm prepared to read them if you would like. But as we've heard today, it is the Government's own reports, it is the reams of Government memos that show that we created a black hole, and that the same principles or practices that were at play in the gulag-disappearances, putting people in the gulag, stripping them, beating them—these are practices that people that were there we are now seeing in Guantanamo.
How can the U.S. have credibility in condemning North Korea as it does, or Iran or Cuba, for arbitrary detentions, for beatings, for torturing people when the same things are going on in Guantanamo? And Secretary Rumsfeld himself approved techniques like forced nudity, like stripping, like hooding people. One of the people know died from the hooding, the beating. He was one of the ghost detainees that Secretary Rumsfeld personally approved.
And so I don't think it's absurd for Amnesty International to make these points, I think it is absurd for the U.S. to create that legal black hole. And it's time to fill in that legal black hole and shut Guantanamo.
Chairman SENSENBRENNER. The Chair would point out that the activities of the Department of Defense are not within the jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee, but are within the jurisdiction of the Armed Services Committee, and it is their responsibility to investigate allegations and to conduct oversights over the Department of Defense.
The gentlewoman from Florida, Ms. Wasserman Schultz. Mr. CONYERS. Would the gentlelady yield to me just briefly? Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Of course. Mr. CONYERS. I would like to point out that it is the jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee to consider human rights, civil rights, civil liberties violations. That is not an inappropriate subject for this Committee. As a matter of fact, we have the sole jurisdiction over those concerns.
I thank the gentlelady for yielding.
Mr. Chairman, it is a pleasure to join this Committee. It is a baptism by fire for me as a new Member. And as the gentleman from Arizona stated, sometimes the world does see our version of democracy, warts and all. This proceeding would be one version of that democracy.
I wanted to ask Mr. Zogby if he could discuss the Justice Department's claims that it is not racially profiling, but is profiling by country of passport. For me, because I represent communities in south Florida where we have many Hispanic Americans and many Hispanic immigrants who have darker skin, I think that they would beg to differ on that difference, and that it would be deemed as a difference without distinction. And actually, if I could get my questions out to the three of you, and then I will be quiet so I can hear your answers and not use up my 5 minutes talking.
My other question would be first, Ms. Tapia Ruano, your testimony discussed the secret immigration hearings that are taking place. Can you talk a little bit about why the secrecy is a problem, and why it's important for the American public and the world to know who has been detained? And do we even know how many people and who has been detained and for how long? And in general, between the two of you, if you can discuss what changes you think need to be made to the PATRIOT Act, because obviously that is a product that we would like to bring forward from the results of this hearing so that legal and innocent immigrants, and Americans, who have been unjustly punished or detained can receive justice. Thank you.
Mr. ZOGBY. Congresswoman, you are right, it is a difference without distinction, bottom line. When all the people brought in in the call-ins, when people from Arab or Muslim countries, there is a single set of characteristics there that constitutes profiling. There was no behavior issue at stake; there was no broader definition of