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Posts from January 2010
WASHINGTON – Congressman Connie Mack (FL-14), the Ranking Republican of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, congratulated Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo upon his inauguration as the president of Honduras this morning, and urged the Obama Administration to stand on the side of freedom and democracy by supporting our allies in Honduras and Latin America.

Mack, who was the first Member of Congress to visit Honduras after former President Manuel Zelaya’s removal, said:

“Today is a fresh start for Honduras after a tumultuous year. I want to congratulate President Lobo and wish him well as he starts his term as Honduras’ new leader. I also want to commend former President Roberto Micheletti for his unwavering commitment to upholding freedom and the rule of law and for standing against Hugo Chavez and his Bolivarian Revolution.

“As Honduras begins the next chapter in its history, the country must look ahead to overcoming challenges and ensuring that freedom and democracy prevail over the thugocrats of the hemisphere.

“The Obama Administration, who last year foolishly cut vital military, anti-drug trafficking, and humanitarian aid to Honduras after Zelaya’s removal, must help our ally by immediately restoring security assistance and other vital aid to Honduras, as well as reinstating the revoked visas of Honduran officials.

“The people and the government of Honduras are forging ahead to make Manuel Zelaya’s rule a distant memory. As the Honduran courts have repeatedly ruled, Zelaya violated the constitution. In fact, just yesterday, a Honduran judge determined that the country’s top military commanders were justified in removing Zelaya. The United States must stand with the Honduran people as they continue to reject tyranny and embrace freedom.”
WASHINGTON, DC—In regards to the one year anniversary of President Obama’s executive order to close the terrorists’ detainee facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Congressman J. Gresham Barrett (SC-03) made the following remarks:

“Since the President announced his intentions to permanently close the detainee facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, terrorists have only become more determined in their efforts to harm the United States and its citizens. Recent terrorists’ activities prove that closing GITMO is not in our nation’s best interests. With all that has happened in the past year, we must strengthen our resolve as well as our national security and immigration measures so that we may fully protect and defend the safety and security of all Americans.

I hope that the President will realize now is not the time to focus on appeasing the international community, and instead, will focus on creating policies that will keep American families safe.”

(Washington, D.C.) - Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02) issued the following statement on the one-year anniversary of President Obama's executive order to close the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba:

"The President must finally put the brakes on his efforts to close Guantanamo Bay. Each day, we continue to hear more frightening facts about terrorist recidivism; the recent decision to release two detainees to Algeria, a country with a growing presence of al-Qaeda, is particularly disconcerting. Once a detainee is relocated, there is no way to stop them from rejoining the ranks of al-Qaeda," said Congressman Joe Wilson.

Of the former detainees released from Guantanamo, one in five rejoins the ranks of radical terror groups, and those are only the ones we know of. In Yemen, three top officials of al-Qaeda are former detainees from Guantanamo, and are actively training and equipping radical Islamists.

This week, Congressman Joe Wilson, along with other Republican members of the House, introduced legislation that would restrict the President's ability to transfer Guantanamo detainees to countries with ungoverned spaces or active al-Qaeda terrorists or networks.

"The Christmas bomber's connection to Yemen and al-Qaeda puts a spotlight on the issues surrounding closing Guantanamo. Going forward, it's crucial that the administration prevents these detainees from being transferred to countries like Yemen with ungoverned spaces and active terrorist organizations."


(WASHINGTON) - U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) will answer questions from members of the press today following a meeting with the family of Felix Batista. Batista, an anti-kidnapping expert from Miami, disappeared in Mexico over a year ago.

In May, Ros-Lehtinen personally delivered a letter to Mexican Ambassador Sarukhan raising the case of Felix Batista. She has also raised the issue with President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, and Members of the Florida Congressional Delegation.

Who: Ranking Member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL)

What: Press Availability following meeting with family of Felix Batista

Where: 716 Hart Senate Office Building

When: TODAY, January 20, 2010, at 4:00 p.m.


U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) offered a congressional letter Thursday to the executives of Google commending the Internet search company for standing firm against China censors, saying, “we need to commend companies that will not cooperate with governments intent on violating human rights.”

Inglis also joined with Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) Thursday at a press conference to call for a vote on the Global Online Freedom Act (H.R. 2271), a bipartisan bill that would prevent U.S. information technology companies from collaborating with repressive foreign governments in their efforts to conduct Internet censorship and surveillance on their own citizens. The legislation has passed multiple House Committees in the previous Congress.

“Americans are all too familiar with China’s record of human rights violations,” Inglis said, noting that basic political freedoms and human rights are denied to China’s 1.3 billion citizens. “The brave activists who seek to reform the system are hounded relentlessly and imprisoned by the government, and American companies should not cooperate.”

On Tuesday, Google revealed that the Gmail accounts of these human rights activists were the subject of “a highly sophisticated and targeted attack.” Company officials said they would no longer cooperate with censorship efforts by the government and would pull out if the surveillance attacks did not stop.

“Google decided to stand on principle and appears willing to renounce the growing Chinese advertising market in order to uphold its commitment to the free flow of information, “ Inglis said. “We commend them on this decision and express our support for them and for the Chinese people as the situation unfolds.

During a press conference Thursday, Inglis as to join Rep. Frank Wolf, Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders and former Chinese political prisoners Harry Wu and Wei Jingsheng to comment Google’s announcement. Rep. Smith will call on House leaders to finally vote on the Global Online Freedom Act. Smith met with Google officials in his office Wednesday to discuss the bill, which the company has previously endorsed.

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), sent a letter of support to Google, CEO, Eric Schmidt, praising the leading internet firm’s decision to end its cooperation with the Communist Chinese government’s censorship and spying activities on Chinese citizens.

“It was a travesty that you initially agreed to allow your product to be used to help maintain the oppression of the Chinese people,” writes Rohrabacher. “The decision to sacrifice your morality for business expedience was the wrong one.

“I am pleased that you have decided to no longer be a moral pygmy, but to stand up like a noble giant.”

Rep. Rohrabacher uses the Google case as a cautionary tale for other U.S. companies considering doing business with repressive regimes. “Once you start down the slippery slope of compromising your integrity and literally selling out your moral values to despots, the line between you and them grows thinner and thinner, until there is no longer any difference,” writes Rohrabacher. “I congratulate you and the rest of Google for your decision to stop being a tool of subjugation…”

Rep. Rohrabacher is the Ranking Member on the House International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight Subcommittee and is a co-sponsor of H.R. 2271, the Global Online Freedom Act (GOFA).

"It’s clear that this is a failure of the intelligence community to act upon specific information collected. Had they acted, I feel very confident that Abdulmutallab wouldn’t have been able to get on the plane in the first place because he wouldn’t have had a visa to get into the United States. That’s the fundamental error in this case. The fact that the State Department didn’t revoke his visa is inexcusable and I think that people need to be held accountable for this serious error. My biggest concern in the next couple of weeks is the fact that they have identified a vulnerability, they know we have a weakness and they will continue to exploit it on future flights. We don’t know how many more individuals are still out there that were trained by this radical cleric in Yemen and may be still trying to pull off the same stunt."
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressman J. Gresham Barrett (SC-03) introduced the Stop Terrorists Entry Program Act of 2010. This legislation amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to bar admission of aliens from countries that have strong ties to terrorist regimes and also from the terrorist detainee facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Barrett released the following statement regarding the STEP Act of 2010:

“Terrorists have made it clear that they will not stop their attempts to harm the United States or its citizens. We must stop any opportunities terrorists may have to enter our country and succeed at their ultimate goal of harming American citizens. In order to ensure that Americans remain safe, I introduced the STEP Act of 2010 that will enhance our national security through common sense changes to our current immigration laws.

“Unfortunately, many have been misinformed on the true nature of this legislation. Contrary to some reports, the STEP Act does not contain any language that calls for deportation of citizens from countries identified as state sponsors of terrorism who have already obtained a United States visa and currently reside in the United States.

“The purpose of this legislation is to ensure the safety of the United States and its citizens, while closing off any avenues terrorists may have to gain access to American soil. These regimes will not stop their attacks; therefore we must strengthen our policies in order to remain as vigilant as possible.”

The State Department has identified the following states as sponsors of terrorism: Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria. Given recent reports of increased levels of terrorist activities in Yemen, Congressman Barrett has requested that its citizens not be allowed to enter the United States.

Citizens from these countries who have already obtained a United States visa and currently reside in the United States will not be affected by this legislation. Individuals seeking political or religious asylum or emergency medical treatment may be exempt from these provisions, only after an extensive federal screening.

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