Proceedings, Debates of the U.S. Congress
REQUESTING REPORT ON ANTI-AMERICAN INCITEMENT TO VIOLENCE IN THE MIDDLE EAST; Congressional Record Vol. 155, No. 183
(House of Representatives - December 08, 2009)
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[Pages H13558-H13560] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] REQUESTING REPORT ON ANTI-AMERICAN INCITEMENT TO VIOLENCE IN THE MIDDLE EAST Mr. COSTA. Madam Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 2278) to direct the President to transmit to Congress a report on anti-American incitement to violence in the Middle East, and for other purposes, as amended. The Clerk read the title of the bill. The text of the bill is as follows: H.R. 2278 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. ANTI-AMERICAN INCITEMENT TO VIOLENCE IN THE MIDDLE EAST. (a) Findings.--Congress finds the following: (1) Freedom of the press and freedom of expression are the foundations of free and prosperous societies worldwide, and with the freedom of the press and freedom of expression comes the responsibility to repudiate purveyors of incitement to violence. (2) For years, certain media outlets in the Middle East, particularly those associated with terrorist groups, have repeatedly published or broadcast incitements to violence against the United States and Americans. (3) Television channels that broadcast incitement to violence against Americans, the United States, and others have demonstrated the ability to shift their operations to different countries and their transmissions to different satellite providers in order to continue broadcasting and to evade accountability. (4) Television channels such as al-Manar, al-Aqsa, al- Zawra, and others that broadcast incitement to violence against the United States and Americans aid Foreign Terrorist Organizations in the key functions of recruitment, fundraising, and propaganda. (b) Statement of Policy.--It shall be the policy of the United States to-- (1) designate as Specially Designated Global Terrorists satellite providers that knowingly and willingly contract with entities designated as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under Executive Order 13224, to broadcast their channels, or to consider implementing other punitive measures against satellite providers that transmit al-Aqsa TV, al- Manar TV, al-Rafidayn TV, or any other terrorist owned and operated station; (2) consider state-sponsorship of anti-American incitement to violence when determining the level of assistance to, and frequency and nature of relations with, all states; and (3) urge all governments and private investors who own shares in satellite companies or otherwise influence decisions about satellite transmissions to oppose transmissions of telecasts by al-Aqsa TV, al-Manar TV, al- Rafidayn TV, or any other Specially Designated Global Terrorist owned and operated stations that openly incite their audiences to commit acts of terrorism or violence against the United States and its citizens. (c) Report.-- (1) Requirement for reports.--Beginning 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act and annually thereafter, the President shall transmit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on anti-American incitement to violence in the Middle East. (2) Content.--The reports required under paragraph (1) shall include-- (A) a country-by-country list and description of media outlets that engage in anti-American incitement to violence; and (B) a list of satellite companies that carry mediums described in subparagraph (A) or designated under Executive Order 13224. (d) Definitions.--In this section: (1) Anti-american incitement to violence.--The term ``anti- American incitement to violence'' means the act of persuading, encouraging, instigating, advocating, pressuring, or threatening so as to cause another to commit a violent act against any person, agent, instrumentality, or official of, is affiliated with, or is serving as a representative of the United States. (2) Appropriate congressional committees.--The term ``appropriate congressional committees'' means the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate. (3) Middle east.--The term ``Middle East'' means Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from California (Mr. Costa) and the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ros- Lehtinen) each will control 20 minutes. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California. General Leave Mr. COSTA. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and to include extraneous material on the bill under consideration. The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from California? There was no objection. Mr. COSTA. I yield myself as much time as I may consume as I rise in strong support of this resolution. Madam Speaker, I want to commend my friend from Florida (Mr. Bilirakis) for introducing this piece of legislation as well as my friend and colleague from New York, Joe Crowley, for his leadership on this issue. This is an important matter. The Obama administration has brought a new, more positive tone to American foreign policy in the Middle East. Yet, despite the President's desire to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, there still lies fanatical anti-American and anti-Semitic efforts which continue to incite people around the world through broadcasts in the Middle East by television stations for those Muslim viewers. Without a doubt, freedom of the press and freedom of expression are the foundations of free and prosperous societies throughout the world. Yet with this important freedom comes the great responsibility to reject and repudiate that incitement to violence. This resolution attempts to remind us of that fact. For years, certain media outlets in the Middle East, particularly those associated with terrorist groups, have repeatedly published or have broadcast incitement to violence against the United States and our allies. Television stations, such as Hezbollah's al-Manar, Hamas' al- Aqsa, the Iraq-based Al-Zawra, and others that broadcast incitement to violence against the United States aid foreign terrorist organizations in their key functions to recruit, to fund-raise, and to incite further propaganda. This must not continue. Some of these stations are broadcast throughout the region by two prominent Arab world satellites--Egypt's Nilesat and the Arab League's Arabsat--in which both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are the leading shareholders. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have relations with our country. This is unfortunate. This propaganda threatens long-term U.S. interests in the region, and it does a great deal of damage to the prospect of improving bilateral relations between America and our allies in the Arab world. In addition, it undermines the prospects for Arab-Israeli peace. Make no doubt about that. Americans have witnessed the direct connection between the charged rhetoric of the jihadist narrative, as Tom Friedman called it in his recent column that many of us have read, and it incites actual violence. This incitement creates an environment conducive to and accepting of terrorism, terrorism that impacts all of us throughout the world. As the U.S. and other nations join in fighting this terrorism, there must be renewed vigilance against the purveyors of anti-American hatred abroad and of the consequences for inaction, inattention, or state sponsorship of this hatred. This legislation requires the State Department to submit to Congress an annual report that details, country by country, Middle Eastern media outlets that engage in anti-American incitement to violence and of the satellite companies that transmit them. They are the enablers. It also establishes as U.S. policy that satellite providers which knowingly and willingly contract with terrorist entities can be legally designated as ``specially designated global terrorists,'' under Executive Order 13224, for perpetrating this incitement. In addition, it calls upon our government to consider the state sponsorship of anti- American incitement to violence when determining the level of assistance to and the frequency and nature of relations with Middle Eastern states. We ought to reflect and make an analysis [[Page H13559]] of this effort. This legislation attempts to do so. Finally, H.R. 2278 urges all governments and private investors who are involved with satellite transmissions to oppose the broadcasting of telecasts by any specially designated global terrorist-owned-and- operated stations which openly incite their audiences to commit acts of terrorism or acts of violence against the United States and its citizens or against citizens throughout the world. I know that the terrorist likes of Hamas and Hezbollah will not soon abandon their mass media attempts of promoting hatred and violence, but there are efforts that we can and should pursue. It is longtime past for all state-owned and privately owned satellite companies, wherever they are located, to cease transmitting these ugly messages which encourage the murder of Americans and our allies. That is why, Madam Speaker, I strongly support this legislation, and I urge all of my colleagues to join me in that support. I reserve the balance of my time. Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. I yield myself such time as I may consume. Madam Speaker, I also rise in strong support of this legislation authored by my good friend and colleague from Florida, Congressman Gus Bilirakis, and I am a proud cosponsor of this important bill. I thank Mr. Bilirakis for his vision, and I also wish to extend my gratitude to our colleague from New York, Congressman Joe Crowley. They have been leaders on this important issue. The bill before us, Madam Speaker, is a successor to a resolution that was passed last Congress condemning the broadcasting of incitement to violence against Americans and the United States in media based in the Middle East and calling for the designation of al-Aqsa TV as a specially designated global terrorist entity. As we commemorate the 68th anniversary of the United States' entry into World War II, we know well the power that words have for either good or evil. Before there were factories to drive the Nazi war machine, there were hateful and violent words. Before there were bricks to build concentration camps, there were ugly, dehumanizing words. As we have witnessed, such charged rhetoric invites violent action, and such incitement creates an environment accepting of and conducive to violent Islamic extremism. As we too sadly learned on September 11, 2001, purveyors of anti- American incitement to violence traffic not only in words but in deeds. Accordingly, this important and critical legislation before us this morning requires that the President submit a report to Congress on the activities of media outlets which engage in anti-American incitement to violence and on the satellite providers that carry out these messages of hate. Furthermore, Mr. Bilirakis' legislation seeks to document the threat posed by the broadcasts of incitement to violence against Americans and the United States on television channels and other media which are accessible in the United States. It will highlight how the threat may increase the risk of radicalization and recruitment of Americans into extremist organizations which seek to carry out attacks against American targets and on American soil. We cannot allow satellite providers which traffic in and profit from anti-American incitement to violence to remain in the shadows. We must join with the majority of those throughout the Middle East and right here at home who value pluralism, who value tolerance, and, in both word and deed, who reject the purveyors of anti-American incitement to violence and their enablers. Madam Speaker, I strongly urge my colleagues to support this critical legislation. I thank the author of this important bill, my colleague from Florida (Mr. Bilirakis), for its introduction. As well, I thank our friend from New York (Mr. Crowley). With that, Madam Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to my friend from Florida (Mr. Bilirakis). Mr. BILIRAKIS. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 2278. I want to thank the gentleman from California, of course my good friend from Florida, and also the gentleman from New York (Mr. Crowley). My legislation will direct the President to transmit to Congress a report on anti-American incitement to violence in the Middle East. This nefarious activity is escalating in quality and quantity and is fueled by the rapid growth of satellite television throughout the Arab world. In 2008, al-Manar TV, which is run by Hezbollah, broadcast over two dozen video clips of insurgents' bombings against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. Further, Iranian state-controlled TV channels, such as al-Rafidayn, repeatedly broadcast calls for ``death to America.'' Al- Aqsa TV, an arm of Hamas, broadcast a puppet show depicting an Arab child stabbing the President of the United States. Instead of denouncing such incitement, many countries in the region provide financial, material, and technological support to the purveyors of incitement. Al-Manar and al-Aqsa, among others, are transmitted on the satellite providers Nilesat, which is controlled by the Egyptian Government, and Arabsat, which is controlled by the Arab League. Given the dangers such incitement poses to American soldiers and civilians in the region and at home, it is long past time for the U.S. and other responsible nations to stop this growing threat. The passage of H.R. 2278 is therefore critical. This legislation seeks to designate, under Executive Order 13224, specially designated global terrorist satellite providers which knowingly engage in contracts with entities already designated as specially designated global terrorists. This bill would also make it the policy of the U.S. to urge all governments and private investors who own shares in satellite companies to oppose transmissions of telecasts by any station that openly incites its audience to commit acts of terrorism or violence against the United States and its citizens. This bill requires the President to transmit a report to Congress that must include a country-by-country list and description of media outlets that engage in anti-American incitement to violence in the Middle East and a list of satellite companies which carry such media. Most importantly, it must be the policy of the United States, in crafting its foreign policy, to consider the state sponsorship of anti- American incitement to violence when determining the level of assistance to and frequency in nature of relations with regional states. Finally, Madam Speaker, the broadcast of incitement to violence against Americans in our country on television channels and on other media that are accessible in the U.S. may increase the risk of the radicalization and recruitment of individuals into foreign terrorist organizations that seek to carry out acts of violence against American targets on American soil. This is a concerning trend that must be halted. Madam Speaker, I urge the passage of this very important measure, which I hope will improve our national security and the safety of our soldiers and citizens overseas. Again, I thank the gentleman from California and the gentlewoman from Florida. I appreciate it very much. Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time. Mr. COSTA. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to turn the management of this measure and of the other remaining items to my friend, the gentleman from New York (Mr. Engel). The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from California? There was no objection. Mr. ENGEL. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of this resolution. I reserve the balance of my time. Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. With that, Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time. Mr. ENGEL. Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time. The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from California (Mr. Costa) that the House suspend the rules and pass the bill, H.R. 2278, as amended. The question was taken. The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds being in the affirmative, the ayes have it. Mr. BILIRAKIS. Madam Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays. [[Page H13560]] The yeas and nays were ordered. The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX and the Chair's prior announcement, further proceedings on this motion will be postponed. ____________________