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Public Statements

Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS -- (Senate - June 06, 2005)

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By Mr. SPECTER (for himself, Mr. BAYH, Ms. COLLINS, Mr. JOHNSON, Mrs. MURRAY, Mr. FEINGOLD, and Mr. WYDEN):

S. 1171. A bill to halt Saudi support for institutions that fund, train, incite, encourage, or in any other way aid and abet terrorism, and to secure full Saudi cooperation in the investigation of terrorist incidents, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, I have sought recognition to offer legislation to halt Saudi Arabia's support for institutions that fund, train, incite or in any other way aid and abet terrorism, and to secure full Saudi cooperation in the investigation of terrorist incidents and organizations.

Despite the Saudi government's attempts to show otherwise, a growing amount of evidence indicates that Saudi Arabia has provided only lackluster support for U.S. investigations into terrorist networks, such as al Qaeda. Mounting documentation and reports have revealed that since the attacks of September 11, 2001, Saudi citizens have provided significant amounts of financial support to al Qaeda, Hamas, and other terrorist organizations. The Saudi government continues to use direct and indirect means to support organizations that propagate hate and incite terror around the world.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373, adopted in 2001, mandates that all states ``refrain from providing any form of support, active or passive, to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts ..... take the necessary steps to prevent the commission of terrorist acts ..... deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, or commit terrorist acts ..... ensure that any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts or in supporting terrorist acts is brought to justice'' and that member countries ``afford one another the greatest measure of assistance in connection with criminal investigations or criminal proceedings relating to the financing or support of terrorist acts.'' I would like to share some findings with my colleagues that I believe paint a clear picture that Saudi Arabia has failed to comply with this U.N. standard.

Saudi Arabia's lack of cooperation with the United States is not a postÐ 9/11 phenomenon. At the time of the Khobar Towers bombing in 1996, I chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee. I visited Dhahran and had the opportunity to inspect the results of the car bomb which killed nineteen of our airmen and injured 400 others. In that situation, U.S. investigators were denied the opportunity to interview the suspects. I personally met with Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and requested that the FBI be permitted to speak with suspects in custody. Crown Prince Abdullah denied my request and informed me that the United States should not meddle in Saudi internal affairs. The murder of nineteen U.S. airmen and the wounding of 400 more hardly qualifies as a Saudi internal affair.

A joint committee of the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives issued a report on July 24, 2003, which found ``a number of U.S. Government officials complained to the Joint Inquiry about a lack of Saudi cooperation in terrorism investigations both before and after the September 11 attacks.'' With regard to dealing with Saudi officials, General Counsel of the Treasury Department, David Aufhauser, testified on July 23, 2002, that ``there is an almost intuitive sense, however, that things are not being volunteered. So I want to fully inform you about it, that we have to ask and we have to seek and we have to strive.''

The Saudi Government has asserted its right to question Saudi nationals captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan, yet according to a September 15, 2003 issue of Time

Magazine, the Saudi Government denied ``U.S. officials access to several suspects in custody, including a Saudi in detention for months who had knowledge of extensive plans to inject poison gas in the New York City subway system.''

In a June 2004 report entitled ``Update on the Global Campaign Against Terrorist Financing'', the Council on Foreign Relations reported that ``we find it regrettable and unacceptable that since September 11, 2001, we know of not a single Saudi donor of funds to terrorist groups who have been publicly punished.''

Additionally, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United

States, also referred to as the 9/11 Commission, interviewed numerous military officers and government officials who repeatedly listed Saudi Arabia as a prime place for terrorists to set up bases. ``In talking with American and foreign government officials and military officers on the front lines fighting terrorists today, we [9/11 Commission] asked them: If you were a terrorist leader today, where would you locate your base? Some of the same places come up again and again on their lists ..... the Arabian Peninsula, especially Saudi Arabia.''

The U.S. should not be in the position of begging for information and expending time and energy pleading for assistance from Saudi Arabia on matters of such great importance to our national security.

In the case of funneling funds to terrorist organizations, Saudi Arabia cannot be permitted to turn a blind eye to the millions of dollars its citizens funnel to radical organizations. It sends a message to the U.S. that they are not serious about stemming the flow of support for terror and it sends a message to their own people that this type of behavior is tolerated.

The New York Times reported on September 17, 2003, that ``at least fifty percent of Hamas's current operating budget of about $10 million a year comes from people in Saudi Arabia.'' In a July 3, 2003 report, The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported that various Saudi organizations have funneled over four billion dollars to finance the Palestinian intifada that began in September 2000.

The 9/11 Commission also clearly stated that ``Saudi Arabia's society was a place where al Qaeda raised money directly from individuals through charities.''

In testimony presented to the Senate Judiciary Committee in July 2003, David Aufhauser, General Counsel of the Treasury Department, was asked if the trail of money funding terrorists led back to Saudi Arabia. He indicated that ``in many cases it is the epicenter.''

Not only has the government failed to halt the hemorrhaging of terrorist funds from its citizens, but its own leadership has reportedly provided significant support for terrorist organizations. Saudi Arabia must begin by getting its own house in order which includes rooting out those of its leaders and those in its government who are fanning the fire of hate. According to the aforementioned MEMRI report, ``for decades the royal family of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been the main financial supporter of Palestinian groups fighting Israel.''

In addition to financial support, Saudi Arabia, through its various domestic and foreign institutions, has supported the spread of radical ideology. A report released on January 28, 2005 by Freedom House's Center for Religious Freedom found that Saudi Arabia is the state most responsible for the propagation of material promoting hatred, intolerance, and violence within United States mosques and Islamic centers, and that these publications are often official publications of a Saudi ministry or distributed by the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, DC.

Freedom House also found that ``while the government of Saudi Arabia claims to be `updating' or reforming its textbooks and study materials within the Kingdom, its publications propagating an ideology of hatred remain plentiful in some prominent American mosques and Islamic centers, and continue to be a principal resource available to students of Islam within the United States.''

One such document Freedom House collected from a Herndon, Virginia mosque, distributed by the Cultural Department of the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington, was found to contain ``virulent denunciations of Christians and of the infidelity of their beliefs and practices. It offers intricate guidelines concerning the proper relations Muslims should have with non-Muslims while they reside in the latter's `lands of shirk and kufr' (i.e. lands of idolatry and infidelity).'' The report also found a fatwa in a Saudi Embassy publication condemning tolerant Muslims and ``is followed by selective Koranic verses that spell out the infidelity of Jews and Christians and condemn them to the eternal fires of hell.''

In a May 2003 report on Saudi Arabia, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom found ``some Saudi government-funded textbooks used both in Saudi Arabia and also in North American Islamic schools and mosques have been found to encourage incitement to violence against non-Muslims.'' The Commission further found ``offensive and discriminatory language in Saudi government-sponsored school textbooks, sermons in mosques, and articles and commentary in the media about Jews, Christians, and non-Wahhabi streams of Islam.''

The September 13, 2003 issue of Time Magazine reported eighth and ninth grade Saudi textbooks which read ``that Allah cursed Jews and Christians and turned some of them into apes and pigs ..... and that Judgment Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them.''

Time also, found that ``many of the Taliban, who went on to rule much of Afghanistan, were educated in Saudi-financed madaris in Pakistan.'' In the September 2003 issue of Time Magazine, a former Saudi diplomat, Mohammed al-Khilewi, stated that ``the Saudi government spends billions of dollars to establish cultural centers in the U.S. and all over the world'' and that they ``use these centers to recruit individuals and to establish extreme organizations.'' It is no surprise that it is from these fertile grounds that fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were born and radicalized.

To be successful in the global war on terrorism we need the proactive and full cooperation of all nations--especially those who consider themselves allies of the United States.

The Saudi Government must provide complete, unrestricted and unobstructed cooperation to the United States in the investigation of terrorist organizations and individuals. This bill directs the President to certify to Congress that the Government of Saudi Arabia is fully cooperating with the United States in investigating and preventing terrorist attacks, has closed permanently all Saudi-based terror organizations, has ended funding for any offshore terrorist organization, and has made all efforts to block funding from private Saudi citizens and entities to offshore terrorist organizations. If Saudi Arabia fails to take such steps, this legislation will require the President to prohibit certain exports to Saudi Arabia and restrict the travel of Saudi diplomats. This legislation permits the President to waive such sanctions if he determines it is in the national security interest of the United States.

Two major objectives in the Global War on Terrorism are to deny terrorists safe haven and to eradicate the sources of terrorist financing. We cannot be successful in this war by ignoring the problem Saudi Arabia presents to our security. The government of Saudi Arabia can no longer remain idle while its citizenry continues to provide the wherewithal for terrorist groups with global reach nor can it continue to directly facilitate and support institutions that incite violence.

President Bush has stated that the United States ``will challenge the enemies of reform, confront the allies of terror, and expect a higher standard from our friends.'' The 108th Congress passed, and the President signed, the Syrian Accountability Act. I believe the Saudis are a much greater threat to U.S. interests than the Syrians and there ought to be a very firm approach to our relationship with the Saudi Government. The 9/11 Commission recommended that the problems in our bilateral relationship with Saudi Arabia must be confronted openly--this legislation takes a step in that direction.

By Mr. SPECTER (for himself, Mr. HARKIN, Mrs. CLINTON, Mr. OBAMA, and Mrs. BOXER):

S. 1172. A bill to provide for programs to increase the awareness and knowledge of women and health care providers with respect to gynecologic cancers; to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, I have sought recognition today to introduce The Gynecological Cancer Education and Awareness Act of 2005 also known as Johanna's Law.

Every year, over 80,000 women in the United States are newly diagnosed with some form of gynecologic cancer such as ovarian, uterine, or cervical cancer. In 2005, 29,000 American women are expected to die from these cancers.

Early detection of these cancers must be improved to decrease this tragic loss of life. Unfortunately, thousands of women in the U.S. each year aren't diagnosed until their cancers have progressed to more advanced and far less treatable stages. In the case of ovarian cancer, which kills more women in the U.S. than all other gynecologic cancers combined, 70 percent of all new diagnoses take place after this cancer has progressed beyond its earliest and most survivable stage.

Women are often diagnosed many months, sometimes more than a year after they first experience symptoms due to a lack of knowledge of early warning signs of gynecological cancers. Adding to the challenge of a prompt and accurate diagnosis is the similarity of gynecological cancer symptoms to those of more common gastrointestinal conditions and benign gynecologic conditions such as perimenopause and menopause. Women too often receive diagnoses reflecting these benign conditions without their physicians having first considered gynecologic cancers as a possible cause of the symptoms.

The Gynecological Cancer Education and Awareness Act will improve early detection of gynecologic cancers by creating a national awareness and an education outreach campaign to inform physicians and individuals of the risk factors and symptoms of these diseases. When gynecological cancer is detected in its earliest stage, patients 5-year survival rates are greater than 90 percent and many go on to live normal, healthy lives.

The national awareness campaign will be carried out by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to increase women's awareness and knowledge of gynecologic cancers. The campaign will maintain and distribute a supply of written materials that provide information to the public about gynecologic cancers. Further, the program will develop public service announcements encouraging women to discuss their risks for gynecologic cancers with their physicians, and inform the public about the availability of written materials and how to obtain them. The projected cost of the awareness campaign is $5 million per year from 2006-2008, totaling $15 million.

The educational outreach campaign will be carried out through demonstration grants through HHS. These demonstration grants will go to local and national non-profits to test different outreach and education strategies, including those directed at providers, women, and their families. Groups with demonstrated expertise in gynecologic cancer education, treatment, or in working with groups of women who are at especially high risk will be given priority. Grant funding recipients will also be asked to work in cooperation with health providers, hospitals, and state health departments. The projected cost of the educational outreach campaign is $10 million per year from 2006-2008, totaling $30 million.

This legislation was brought to my attention by my friend Fran Drescher, who was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2000 and whose diagnosis was also delayed due to her lack of knowledge about symptoms of this disease. She has recovered from uterine cancer and is advocating on behalf of gynecological cancer awareness. She also brought to my attention one of the many victims of gynecological cancers Johanna Silver Gordon, after whom this bill is named, who was diagnosed at an advanced stage of ovarian cancer.

Johanna, the daughter and sister of physicians, was extremely health conscious taking the appropriate measures to maintain a healthy lifestyle including exercising regularly, eating nutritiously, and receiving annual Pap smears and pelvic exams. Johanna however did not have the information to know that the gastric symptoms she experienced in the fall of 1996 were common symptoms of ovarian cancer. She didn't learn these crucial facts until after she was diagnosed at an advanced stage of this cancer. Despite aggressive treatment that included four surgeries, various types of chemotherapy, and participation in two clinical trials, Johanna died from ovarian cancer 3 1/2 years after being diagnosed. Johanna is survived by her sister Sheryl Silver who has tirelessly worked to increase the information available regarding gynecological cancers.

As Chairman of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, I led, along with Senator Harkin, the effort to double funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) over five years. Funding for the NIH has increased from $11.3 billion in fiscal year 1995 to $28.5 billion in fiscal year 2005. In 2004, the NIH, through the National Cancer Institute provided $212.5 million for gynecological cancer research. Further, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) provided $209 million in fiscal year 2005 for breast and gynecological cancer screening and diagnostic services, including: pap tests, surgical consultation, and diagnostic testing for women whose screening outcome is abnormal. To date, the Program has screened more than 2.1 million women, provided more than 5 million screening exams, and diagnosed 66,295 pre-cancerous cervical lesions and 1,262 invasive cervical cancers. We must continue these efforts to do more to provide information about gynecological cancer to physicians and those most at risk.

I believe this bill can provide desperately needed information to physicians and individuals so that women can be diagnosed faster and more effectively. I urge my colleagues to work with Senator Harkin and me to move this legislation forward promptly.

I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in the RECORD.

There being no objection, the bill was ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:

S. 1172

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http://thomas.loc.gov

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