tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN June 2, 2010 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT
as miles has said, this first panel will focus on a lack korea and campaign finance systems and how they can be reformed -- focus on electoral campaign finance systems. this is to ensure that the u.s. is equipped to face its short- term and long-term policy challenges. we're going to give each panelist seven minutes to talk and make their presentation, and after each panelist speaks, then we will take questions from the audience, and we're hoping to have some robust participation from all of you. as miles mentioned, everyone's bio is in the package, but i would like to make mention of them in the order that they would be speaking. . nick nyhart who is cofounder and president and ceo
of public campaign. public campaign isa nonprofit nonpartisan organization dedicated to sweeping campaign finance reform that aims to dramatically reduce the role of special interest money in america politics. i've had the pleasure of working withick for more than 15 years as he has been workingince the early 0s with national and state organizations, legislators and the media, to builda movement forpublicly fianced elections in cities, states and at the national level. next to speak will be 80 hails who is the general counsel and managing director of e advancement project. they advance the projects an actiontank of policy communicaons and legal action groups that works on racil justice issues like the right to vote initiatives, border protection, imgration justice, quality education for all and ll read it in anchise and. he is an expensive civil rights
attorneynd ordained baptist as any former general counsel on the u.s. commissions on civil rights. next we have clarissa martez de castro who struck of immigration and national campaigns at the national council of la raza where she works on immigration advocacy anstrategy and manages, manages work on immigration efforts and efforts to expand opportunities for latinos engagement and civic life in public policy debates. in the past, clarissa was also the manager of e coalition for comprehensive immigration reform. finally will ve jon greenbaum speak who is the legal director for e lawrs committee for civil rights under law is responsible for overseeing the committee's effort to seek racial jusce in the areas of education, employment, environmental justice, community development, hsing and vting rights. for several years mr. greenbaum directed the committ's voing rights project which, during his
tenure, led the election protection which is the largest nonptisan voter protection prograand by the largest and most significant component of the congressional record in support of the 2006 reauthorization of the voting rits act. so we will start with nick. you have seven minutes, and i will give you the one inute time. before move onto our next speaker. thank you. [applause] >> thanks, karen. i'm going to talk about the current pubc opinion environment a little bit about how it relates to reform,nd also talk a little t about the status of public financing legislation now before congress. but first i want to do omething different. how many people in tis room, and maybe the goernment officials can just stay out of this, but how many people in this room thinthe syem of government isbroken? regime hand if you do okay. anhow many people would say it's not? and how many people didn't raise their hands dringtose --
okay, all right. so maybe three course of the people i think, or to third raise their hands the frst time, a very small inority didn't, or was in the other category. seco question, how often do you think politicians base their voteson a legislative bill on the preferences of their campaign contributors rather than on their campaign contributors rather than their actual voting constituents? no first major hand if you think all of the te, oroften they vote in faor of their contributors over their constituents. so all the time or often is one category. brazier hands if youre ther. the other categories s sometimes or never. so often, all the ti, sometimes or never. . .
lengthy health care battle. the ongoing financial regulation battle it's not done yet. we'll see wh happens in washington. as far as drilling goes, you look at that and see the unliky part of the goverent. and s what do voters thinkof this? well, it was in the invi to come here, i noted that 86% of the voters, that's a lot higher, somewha higher thane saw here. i think we're going to talk about part of tht public sentiment, not about fixed problems and how the government's nclition and how that plays in favor or against the inerest of the eryday people in the government. there wasnother poll, not the
one mentioned here, but out of the university of texas that gave insight on how voters rank various influee on the legislative decision makin ey are saying who's doing to influence lawmakers vot th most. a top clusted within a fraction of a percent together were campaign contributors, lobbyist, lower own wre the white house, lawmakers fellow members, staff, and their own ideology. this is a poll of ordinary voter. trailing was the lawmakers own constituent in other words, the fact that would most measure the functiong ofthe democracy was dead last. this is voters ealuang their own voice. in their same poll, when asked how often the cnributors views were trumped by constituents views, the question that i asked were trued, the question that i asked second, it was ove
2/3. it was 68. so here it's about 5050. th publish viewis 2/ to 18% sayi not often or never. there's a huge, huge ifference there between what people in this room thk and wh the public thinks. more recently, we, and i ean public campaign, coon cause, t center for jusce and reform organization commissioned the deeper look into attitudes on money, power, and politics, including on how everyday citizens ew the public financing lution. we're less than halfway through the research proce. i wantto share with you some of the early learning fro two sets of fcus roups in may that took place. the words being led by dew, fromthe university of eorgia with assistance linda lake and
republi strategist. ublic polling is outthere and their own proprietary work for clients. ey've intergrated that into piecesf advice. the major takeaway with is tha voters want to have hir voices heard in washington. thy thnk hat special interest and lobbyist aretaking th shot. thisis similar than the university of texas oll, i think when ven the chance to answer, voters will say they want their on voicesheard theyaven't given up on th system. there's something they want out of it still that they ar not getting. that's importt toremember. not low self-esteem, they want something and a in the observations of our research team, they say a number of other things. voters across the board are dissatisfied. they sit at the focus is done just with swing voters and they saw an angry middle.
they say that the far left in the far right is out there, but this anger spans all of those groups. a quick lesson on public campaign and our allies and arizona was working on the election system there. from what the state legislature has put out, we also needed republicans. they are not the old fashhoned 1970's moderate republicans or new england republicans produce a rock-solid conservative republicans. we were able to exert grassroots pressure from conservative voters, registered republicans, on those legislators through grass-roots efforts from the right to keep the public financing system in place. i just wanted to note that. it is not just pollsters but
you can actually mobilizing right wing voters on the issue in politics. fundamentally the brought answer ii anti-special interest and anti-washington and anti- government. voters want big change. they are skeptical of incremental change and change around the edges. you have to work hard so that any changes affected. big change is matter. small change people are ready to dismiss or easily. they want a system -- system that corrupts even those that come to washington with the best of intentions. onlyysweeping, dramatic chance has the chance to produce the impact to allow congress to address the issues in their lives. voters believe that politicians and special-interest are too cozy. they say legislation as a compromise between their interests and the interests --
sari. i'm missing a pager. anyway, but compromises' -- compromise between their interest in the broader interests -- the interest of the special interest elite. hold on one second. there we go. all right. i want to argue that small stroke -- small donor-driven public financing is an answer to this of voter contempt. earns the current system on its head under the legislation currently being considered in congress. those seven large numbers of big contributions from outside their districts and state, they have to get large numbers of small donations, $100 or less within their districts. this means that they get a match of public funds, off four to one
ratio. they will be successful under this finance system only if they expand their base of local supporters. it turns canada's 180 degrees. instead of focusing on going further weight, those vested interests that you voted for your committee, and static incentivizes the kind of say, increase in the context of elected officials or candidates and their constituents. it drives in the right direction as far as voters are concerned. it is a big chain. there are number proposals that voters want big changes. something changes 180 degrees if they were not paying attention to their knees. the other thing it does is it relates -- relieves candidates of any need to court big oil lobbyist for their money or a total wall street for their money. a cozy relations right now
between lobbyists and candidates -- one final note. this is out there on the table. there are 115 co-sponsors right now for this bill in the house. 20 in the senate. the previous high water in the house was shy of 60. we have organizers in 24 states. we have generated 24,000 phone calls into legislative offices over the past month in favor of the spirit the numbers are going up. we have support from unlikely sources like business leaders lining up says the citizens united decision and increasing numbers, and political donors lining up, and going into lawmaker offices to express their views. we need big change. i think it is up to reformers to think big and not let the voters down. thanks.
[applause] >> thank you for your introduction into the sponsors of this form and for net for giving a great idea how to start out. i like to see that hands of the people to think that the right to vote is fundamental in american society. that is about consistent with what a recent poll showed which said that 93% all americans believe that the right to vote is one oo their most fundamental rights in our society. and yet most americans are surprised to find out that there is no affirmative explicit right to vote in the united states constitution. the united states is one of
only 11 nations and the 190 democracies around the world that does not have an explicit, affirmative provision in its constitution to guarantee their right to vote. and it has severe consequences for our electorate. right now weehave over 13,000 jurisdictions that independently determine whether people will be able to exercise their franchise on election day. and while many people have long ago given up the notion that there are no poll taxes or literally taxes that prevent people from exercising their right to vote, we see a contact where communities stand in line longer than other communities, and this burden on working people often presents an inequality and and inefficiency in our government that ultimately prevents certain
people from having their voices heard by government officials. and actually, that is what really is and the focus of the message that i want to share with you today, and hopefully you will leave with the thought that it is very important for us to guarantee the right to vote in ways that perhaps that our election fizzles have not done it. there is no other way for adult citizens in our nation to share theirrvoices, their opinions, one of matter that count, that affects their data lines -- their daily lives than the right to vote. one person said that finally it is the language of the unheard. and voting in america is supposed to be the language of our democracy. so if people cannot vote, and
cannot express themselves through the franchise, then indeed there is trouble ahead. every election cycle -- and you hear my colleagues enumerate some of the documented difficulties people face, especially in communities of color, among people with disabilities, among people who are new voters -- what they face every election cycle. and every election day, we see 1000 points of light fi --gh-- , and the registration process, and the only group of mentally
competent adults in our country that cannot vote, especially in certain states even after they have paid their debt to society, and are now part of the taxpaying population, cannot express their voices for the ballot box, because of disenfranchisement walls that keep them -- laws that keep them unable to participate. we attempt to strengthen the relationship among organizations and democracy reform. i encourage all of you to consider that there is a great possibility of joining the many rivers -- the many streams, i should say, of separate movements and efforts to reform our democracy, to come together as a mighty river of change
through a right to vote initiative, which can fix the problem of too many problems -- too many americans being a double to express their voices in our democracy. i will not be able to cover all of my point so i encourage you to go to iwant myrighttovote.org. as you go to different states, you will have different laws when it comes to who can vote. and whether they can vote, through early voting, by provisional balance, and again if they have a past felony conviction. the loss will be interpreted differently, county to county. and within counties, different bureaucrats will have different practical ways of implementing
their interpretations and their perspectives on what the law says. it makes it a non equal opportunity for every american to vote. and while there are laws that protect the right to vote, both in our constitution and as interpreted by federal courts, those rights again have been interpreted differently circuit by circuit and from time to time. and so now we live in a situation where unless we come together in the form of a movement to build a constituency of around the fact that we should not be one of only 11 nations without an affirmative
right to vote in our constitution, but that we should moble something that is big and better than places that where challenge to do more in giving citizens a right to vote. and so i will make myself available for questions, but there is something that i read and it just up with me and it goes back to the fact of what it really takes to make something big and necessary happen. and it goes back to the fact of the story that was seized on by philip randolph, a civil rights activists and union organizer who founded the brotherhood. he had a meeting with president franklin roosevelt early in his administration.
randolph asked about the possibility of adopting a policy that would grant the african- american porter's rights under federal law. the president replied that he had been convinced by randolph of the legitimacy of pushing for such legislation, but that he needed a constituency that would make him do it. a constituency was in demobilized and the railway labor act came into law in 1934. -- was in deep mobilize, and the railway labor act came into law in 1934. we've never had a better opportunity to do it. [applause] >> good afternoon, everyone.
i was trying to see if you could see me better behind my chair or behind the podium. as you heard, i work on national campaigns, which is an interesting mix. it is not so rare that i was working on civic engagement programs for the national council of la raza for quite some time, working on the voting process, removing barriers to voters participation and the latino and immigrant communities, and i was always run into the immigration issue from the civic engagement perspective. and we might as well start looking at those. and now that i am working more on immigration policy, is very clear to see how this year issue
interact even in ways that should not have anything to do one with the other. i'm going to talk a little bit about that, and a couple of other things, but let me take a step back and say that i have -- we are actually seeing a great deal of political participation in the country right now. weather is on the tea party side -- 1 mile world of immigration, we continue to seek peaceful demonstrations of size on seen before and continue to have been in cities across the country, very diverse and both the color of people and the centers of people that are part of the spirit we're sseing a very energized time of local participation.
and so to the question of, is government broken, i would say, let's take a closer look. i think the political participation and that engagement tells us a lot of things. i think we can also not talk about government as if it was a detached entity from ourselves, because we all contributed to whether government is broken or is functioning, so we cannot contribute -- we cannot do an indictment of government -- which i find very interesting how the number one campaign promise of all politicians is to run against what they are trying to become a part of the. and they guy that does -- it comes after them will do the same thing. two of the broad themes to meet that seemed to be very president what we're looking right now are
among others but there are two -- one is, i need to safeguard the public square. the space for constructive dialogue that we can engage in meaningful debates about our shared challenges and opportunities. i think they're right now we're seeing a lot of participation, a lot of engagement, but somehow that meeningful conversation seems to be elusive, and therefore our ability to come together to really talk about the problems we need to solve keeps escaping us while our frustration by engaging and speaking about the problem then grows. and then the other thing is that we are also faced with a time -- not a strange time to us, we had this time it at
previous episodes in our history -- we also need to work to ensure that our notion of who is deemed to be an american is actually as diverse as america itself. i think what we're experiencing them seemed painful round these broad areas, these challenges. on safeguarding the public square, one of the biggest irony is that i say -- ironies that i see it is that we are participating in ways that are helping rather than building the constructive debate but helping to polarize and not coming together and finding the solution. so the irony in that is that i firmly believe that we actually want to identified what is
workable and effective solutions, and we actually have more common ground as an electorate, as the public, but the polarizing of the concert -- conversation makes it that we are a rare early divided and unable to provide a solution. -- iraq early -- irrirrevocably divided and unable to provide a solution. nbc did a special last week on "a nation divided." a friend of mine had a town hall debate, i think it was exaatly the irony there is that this is an issue where there is a great deal of consensus, in terms of what needs to be done, and the public is in a much more pragmatic place and congress is on that issue.
but we continuously fail to enact a solution, and therefore the frustration within the public continues to grow. and when there is no response and no action, then you'll end up with things like arizona. and there is no surprise in looking at the polls for the ability of americans to support something similar to arizona, because any action seems better in the face of an action, particularly if you're not the one paying for the consequences. registered voters, meaning citizens not immigrants, not yet citizens -- over 70% of latinos oppose the arizona law because they know they are going to be stopped and asked for their papers.
but in the face of an action, frustration takes over. in the same vote -- in the face of inaction, frustration takes over. bercow in raleigh frustrated with expecting the federal government to back. i think that the issue here -- i was issuing -- listening to the talk about the elections and what candidate to, and in my mind, but typically the latino electorate, it is clear to was that what drives elections is sheer numbers. and then you make the political calculations on those adding up. i think they're right now -- that right now we have a shallow system of awakening voters. even when voters are being pursued or suppose in the list
-- supposedly listen to, the reality is that it is very shallow. the politicians tend to engage in a game where maligning certain issues becomes a lot more important and gets higher payback, even if it is short- term up and down polling. you create a bogeyman to energize that base and be able to communicate with that electorate that you hope will turn out, or distracted from other things that you do not want to deal with. it also means to have a system like that, that you are much less likely to tackle the controversial problems or the difficult problems, so they continued to get worse and worse, and the frustration of voters deepens. health care is one of those
things, financial reform is one of those things, immigration reform -- any of these are things that we are in the midst of trying to do with right now and that we fill overwhelmed and feel that the problem is too big, it as a result of those things. and turns of the senate version about -- in terms of the second notion is that america -- the electorate being as diverse as the nation, that is a conversation that we as a nation are very intensely having right now, even if it is under other issues or debates. and then me go back to arizona. whether it is through the "show me your papers" for the previous cases that we've seen in north
carolina, where the local sheriff wanted to get a list of the latino registered voters in his county so that he could go door-to-door and ask them to prove to him, the sheriff, that they were citizens. it sort of where we're going in arizona. you have people in 20 states saying that it is good to go in that direction. it is about a lot more than immigration. this is about who is perceived to be an american, who will be regarded as of voter if they show up to a polling pledgor any other place. and perhaps in this six cents, who is deemed to be a citizen, if you start looking and some of the other challenges we are facing in terms of who is being worthy of being a voter. and so with that, we have education requirements
introduced under the guise of emigration and voter fraud, we have been traveling the ability to vote of u.s. citizens. many of them minorities or lower income for the elderly or women. who is deemed worthy to be a citizen or a voter? and terms of tackling this issue, we really need to -- and i need to wrap it up. we need to stand it gets the trojan horse that in this case is immigration but there are also other issues that are used as a trojan horse to advance, in this case, in many states, voter restriction laws that actually affects citizens, not non- citizens. because when you think you have
fine, and if you are an immigrant, deportation, it is a steep penalty to try to cast that vote. we need to engage in a morally uplifted debate to make sure that when we react as voters and condoned the forward movement of these things, we need to sit back and think about that. and last but not least, for latinos particularly as a builder body -- of builder block -- a building block, we go back one step in the process of citizenship and having a government there really invest in the process of citizenship in the same way that it values the integration of immigrants into american society and the true adoption of these immigrants and their country. i would just leave you with that thought on the services there
process -- the citizenship process, we of st. out 551% increase -- we have seen a 551% increase in the bees of the process. hopefully we can continue the conversation. nike. -- thank you. >> good afternoon, everyone. i want to thank broking and four other organizations that have begun -- been among the leaders in trying to put this together and work on strengthening democracy. when it comes to democracy, voting is an indispensable part.
in 1964 the supreme court perhaps said it bass and saying that voting is the preservative all other civil rights. the fact that we are able to vote and we have the right to vote makes a big difference in terms of the way that government operates. you can change who sits in government through the vote, and we have seen that happen. in the 2008 presidential election, and in some of the congressional all actions that have occurred since. at the lawyer's committee, we have done several things over the last several years, working with private bar and other nonprofits, to try to strengthen the right to vote, including the election protection efforts which in 2004 and 2008 we had more than 200,000 calls to our hot line. we had over 10,000 illegal
volunteers in 2008. we had 10 hearings across the country, more than 100 people speak to talk about the degree toowhich discrimination still exists in the voting. we've done other things like litigation. for example, still in ohio after the 2004 election -- suing ohio after the 2004 election. and through all of this work and study very closely, the one area of the process that we saw most needed reform, where most people were getting knocked out of the system, was our system of voter registration effort i want to talk about how we can do a better job of registering voters under current law, and change the law to make voter
registration nearly universal. one of the things that we're done under the current law -- most of you are familiar with the motor voter law, and you think of it at that, because when you get your driver's license, you can also register to vote. another provision of that act involves public assistance agencies. if you go down to get food stamps, you're also supposed to be asked whether you want to register to vote. but one of the things that we saw was that no public assistance agencies were complying with the law. with dean gazan project vote a couple of years ago, we saw the effort to increase compliance there. and the number of states that were able to reach an agreement with the states, and in some cases we had to sue, and the
results of an extraordinary a couple of examples. missouri, we sued them in the middle of 2008 and got an order from the court, because they were not offering voter registration of public assistance agencies. in the 18 months since that order, the settlement in that case, over 200,000 people at public assistance offices have registered to vote, which is a 1600% increase. more recently in ohio -- ohio in 2006, we followed for 3.5 years and we had to go to the court of appeals at one point, and finally we reached and a set -- reached a settlement with ohio. the first four months of this year, over 68,000 people submitted voter registration applications at ohio agencies.
and that is an increase of about 1000%. and if you think about that over the course of the year, that means 200,000 people, the same rate of the next four years, 800,000 people in ohio. that is one thing that we have tried to do and work on the department of justice to improve their enforcement efforts as well, because that is something -- the department of justice has primary enforcement responsibilities, and we hope and expect that they will really start engaging with us in this effort. the second piece is how we can really improve the system. we have an outmoded system for voter registration. it puus the onus on the individual to register to vote. and really in this day and age, with all the technology out there, we should be way beyond
that. as it is right now, for example, the motor vehicles and the public assistance, you have to provide almost all the information that each of those agencies that is needed for voter registration. when you get a new driver's license, when you apply for food stamps, and so why not have a system of automatic registration that when you take from all of the agencies that collect this data, that we use that data to automatically register people to vote, and if they do not want to vote or as otherwise ineligible, they will have the opportunity to opt out. another important idea is the idea of permit registration. in our country, we are very mobile. people move around a lot. one of the thing -- this was in
missouri in 2008. about 75% of the registrants were people who are not new registrants, but people had moved from one place to another in missouri. why not have a system in the agency's system of when people move within the same state, the registration moves with them for some marc and finally for those that fall within the cracks, why not allow them to register and states to have the highest participation levels in this country are those who have election day registration. so those are some ways that we can really advance the process forward, have millions of more people but during the process, and create a simple, more effective sample of voting. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, john.
we're going to move into the portion where do it question and answer period before we do, i wanted to welcome and thank spencer over 10 who is here from the department of justice for being with us. thank you very much for coming. we're going to open this up for questions and answers, and that the of our panelists a chance to make brief closing remarks -- and then give our analysts a chance to make brief closing remarks. if you want to raise your hand, and if you have a specific question for speaker, please let us know when you do that. right there. >> thank you for a wonderful panel. why haven't we discussed gerrymandering? that seems to be an issue where most come party -- most party
competitive elections are run very poorly. >> yes, reid distancing -- redistricting comes up in the next year. and how'd district should be drawn is a very important issue. i will tell you from the perspective of all lawyers committee, one of the things that we have fought for in the redistricting process that is allowing minority voters to better participate in the process. sometimes that has been at odds with the idea of having competitive elections. but in terms of having minorities being able to elect their candidates of choice, it really did not come about until there was some sort of effort to keep minority communities together in the context of redistricting.
and i am sure that others have things that want to say on the issue. >> i would way and by saying, yes, it is a very important point. technology will play a major role in ensuring that people are and communities where they can participate fairly and elect a relic -- elect their representatives of their choice. you'll see a lot of grouus providing both legal assistance and technological assistance in ensuring that it is a properly taken into consideration that this census data for show, they are more diverse than ever before. >> any other questions? >> i am wayne byrd. he said that the voters are ready for change. it seems to me you have to be
selective in the way did you pick examples this talk about it. if you believe in majority rule , you look at the presidential election of 2000 the man elected with your votes was president. but there were very few calls at the voter level four electoral college reform. it seems like a pretty big deal. the man with the fewest votes its elected president third i wonder why there isn't more voter interest and the sort of thing? >> i think there is voter interest and a variety of outcomes, that the lawmakers they alike ads represent them. if you look at 2006 and 2008 elections, there was an infrastructure in washington that voters who elected people
and not tight races, there was a lot of change expected and voters were quite expected. there are a variety of reforms that they have to put in terms of voter voices being heard. look for college reform is one of them. if you want to talk about the issue, the money issue comes up fast. we at focus groups and charlotte, north carolina and denver, colorado, i sat in on four hours of the video feed on the one from denver. without any prompting at all, the money comes right up. voters have seized on that. the electoral college before it is harder to talk about in some ways because it is hard for people understand that. that goal of having voters voices being heard is our rubric and which you can place a lot of other reforms. and there is interesting work going on right now with popular
votes to make sure that the person who receives the popular vote actually ran. did you want to mention that? >> i think that there is a movement in states to adopt a compaq for naaional popular vote. we're seeing that that -- i believe there will be a mode in massachusetts in the next few weeks. we will see what happened there. i think that there are some interests in that and they tend to focus on that when it comes closer to election time. let me ask another question as we think about some of what nick is talking about public opinion. i did state the research has brought up interesting points about voters want their voices heard and that they have not given up on democracy entirely.
i would be interesting to which i would be interested to hear from the rest of the panel what kind of lessons learned from some of the reforms they are advocating if you're taking a look at some of that public opinion research. do you want to start? >> i think there is a real difficulty in terms of -- if you're talking about legislative reform, and terms of getting anything done. because of the way that congress is set up to act. a particularly in terms of the senate. in terms of an increasingly polarized body -- unless you have 60 votes in the senate, you cannot get things done. and i will say that from my organization, there were some good things as a result of the
60-vote role in 2003-2006 arab. clarissa was talking recently about citizenship laws. that passed in the house of representatives in 2005. they did not get 60 votes in the senate. now that we're trying to make a broader reform happen -- of voter reform happen, and other reform, not imited to just voting, what can get accomplished? very little beyond health care reform, which a lot of people thought to be water under the dam to begin with. that is real competitiveness in terms of taking what voters want and actually creating policy as a result of that. >> we're also going to be talking in the next panel about some aggressive reforms.
i wanted and note that for later and see of nick wanted to add anything. >> i think there's a disconnect among groups of performers about zero level of anger and the room among reformers and the level of anger out there in the public. if you go left to right, it is very broad. it centers on a common complaint that the my voice is not being heard in washington. there is huge opportunity, and should be a golden moment for reformers, in connecting to that anger for the polarization is not right or left but top and bottom. this ought to be an opening. we have reformed-sympathetic lawmakers in the majority party, and certainly in the white house. there should not be a better time that we win reforms over
the next two-six years than right now. people here said that government works the people here were warmer to that proposition than those outside the beltway. there needs to be a connecting with that kind of anger. we need to say, i know it is not working well for you. how can we make your voice heard? whether that goes to making sure -- who would be against that? i think that transparency as a milquetoast the word. if you want to get the public going and you want to connect with the anger and the feelings out there, we need to change our language and many to embrace the anger and move with it rather than staved off. >> i think one of the challenges is that people are very
frustrated and rightfully so. there is not necessarily a constructive space for people to grab it. there are-spaces -- there are negative spaces, a bit of that all allies to the opportunity event, that makes you feel better. then you take a breath and you may realize a little letter that you did not ads solve the problem, but it made you feel better at that particular moment. but i think it's some point, it sounds like a mutual accountability equation. we as voters also have to be held accountable, and it is a shared responsibility. we are engaged in a ping-pong match of elections and politics.
i say the studies about how of midterm elections always go against the party that is in the presidency. and their tongues of metrics to look at that and i am not an economist. the thing to me that is the easiest reason is that people are overcompensating. we have the new president coming in, and in the midterm, people did not meet your every wish. right now we are living in a much more pressured world with the economy, with all the challenges, and that adjustment is made with even greater force. but at the end of that date, it continues to be a ping-pong match, and it does not allowed to move a great deal for. i think as advocates, because i do not necessarily think this
comes from partisan structures, which unfortunately are the more established structures that shore up or that operate the participation system in electoral terms, i don't think that we're going to get through that with just relying on the structures. they have a self preservation interest, and therefore they're pushing the budding and continuing to create the bogymmn. voter frustration is that every administration that goes by or every congress which is controlled by one party or the other, all of the suuden what is good yester day it was bad today, and what is bad day was could yester day, depending on who is in power. and at the end of the day, the butter into been a similar situation. i believe that that is the case
with a lot of the folks in the latino community. you start detaching from that system and railing against it. i thinks that is what we're hearing. >> beyond anger and indifference, there is also competition for a voice at the table. through media, for the congress, we have a lot of different streams, as i mentioned before, people on campaign finance issues, people working on election integrity issues, we enfranchisement of people with felony convictions, and the joy that i have in this forum is the fact that there is an effort to bring together all of these smaller streams into a mitre river of a movement -- a mighty river into a movement to push for reform. >> let's take some more question. over there.
>> thank you. i am with the woodrow wilson center. you have a good grasp of public opinion did the one thing that i did not hear is public opinion on public financing of campaigns. the last pilot, taxpayers do not want their dollars being used for politicians to campaign. maybe that has changed since. but even if we assume that they supported and you get there, how you shut out special interest from giving? is this going to happen without a constitutional amendment? and what kind of example you think president obama said in opting out of public financing for the general campaign? >> let me start with the last one. he had been pro-reform in word and deed in the illinois state senate anddthen turned around and said no to the public financing system as a presidential candidate.
the reform communities spoke pretty loudly and said that the system is broke with -- broken. going out and saying that the system is broken but you better use it, i think the reform groups were very clear about that. . that, for turkey pushed them come to pledge supportf a system to fix the presidential system to support the system of congressional public financing and he may boast of those pledges. you know, as far as popularity of publi financing, the gallup survey which has been asking that questiosince e late 60's hasshown aove 50% support for years and yes. if you ask it about a system that actually allows partipating candidates not to take any big contributions, te numbers e in from the high 60's to the mid-7 pretty soherly again and gain and again. if u.s. people completely separately, how do you feel about your tax money be nfused
for a list of things, they tend to say no. so tre is a battle there between e good getting rid of the private money and replacing the blic financing and certnly people who are against it will focus only on the site you're going to pay for it do not fit. i think in the balance from the polling i've seen, but also realizing experience, the a' win out over the ze. we can't eliminate to be constitutional. we can't eliminate private money, but you can create a stem that will offer a candidate that route to financial liability and success to a candidate, sorobust public financinsystem needs to be made effectively the state level state-level recent successful systems in maine and arzona in terms of canidates at the 80% higher bubble and action in connecticut and maine about 50% in arizona using the system. so yave to make it enticing to use because you ned to keep your competing against a private option.
there will always be money in the system. our goal is not to eliminate the ability of peoplto express eir opinions in an election contexty ads, but to give candidates who don't want o run away and alternatives and to create system in which small contributions, $10, $50, $75 are important. and that'shat thsyst does. it makes voters more important in the system. it doesn't cancel out the ability of other voices to act. >> right here. >> thank you for this forum and it's nice to hear me truly deep criticism. one thing i want to offer that i think is a real conundrum is basically, we have established a system of governance that was baseon inaudible compromises, be it the states or hatever, whatever. we are, for the most part,tuck in thatsystem. that system has etablished a
load of vested interest. and now wee in a position where we have to go to those established vested interest to say we need a change. the two problems are want, the entrs are going to be that agreeable. and two, a lot ofth changes that need to be made are beyond the understanding of the everyday person because when our constion was written it was wrten by a small number of people who did a lot of studies and talk to one another. so how are we going to g out of this mess when we have to go the same people who are doing it to us to ask them to changes? [inaudible [laughter] >> a quick answer in the public financing queson. i think the old assumption is the incumbents wld never vote to change the syem that got them elect good. i thk because they would say it's not in their interest. what we're seeing now in terms
people supporting leadership in the majority party, being the leaders on the fair elections now act is that that equation doesn't hold anymo a that if you give a candidate and incumbent -- not all of them yet, but increasingly if you give an incumbent achoice between being able to be financially successful baed on campaigning for small donations in their homeate versus being on the phone and lovely talking to total strangers allover the country and being in a compromising position when you have to go to the people who might find you because of where you stand on the committee, that they take the smallonor system. and we're seeing not increasingly becse the current system has become so untenable. i think if you look at the whole financial regulation debate coming of lawmakers who are years depended on wall street monday, saying how di take that money because i need that money to run? but on the other hand, how do i look good taking any of this money when the public is focused on this issue?
also cannot system doesn't work so well anymore for a of the accumbens. again, we're not a 50% yet but if the vote were hel to maryland house, we would win it and i think the senate is perhaps one congress away from being abl to embrace that. >> now, i tink we'e going to have to ap this up and give everybody a chance to make a minute or two of closing remarks. .. >> thinking about ways to mobilize efforts to fixx government starting, in my view, with the significance of the
right to vote. we need a constitutional amendment that in france the right to vote in very explicit and affirmative ways. thank you. >> this tends to be kind of gloomy but i think part of seeing so much participation, even if it is not happening and what some of us may regard and perfect outcomes, i think part of that participation is a reaction to people feeling like they are shut out of the process. we might still need some work to make sure that it gets to a place where participation equals strong civic society but i think that what you are calibrating as to let a certain amount of enabling in that process. we are seeing a lot more people
trying to figure out how they engaged. we may overshoot in some places and fall short and others. i think the challenge for us is to get back to a balanced center of that participation where our citizens are able to hold our collective -- our elected leaders accountable and they are able to lead which i think is a lot of what we are not seeing right now. the question of basing your calculations on winning an election and combining that with a very shallow method of engaging with your voters has led to and an ability to lead and the overuse of the campaign mode all of the time. i think it is a service to
voters. in terms of engagement, we need to look at what are the mechanisms that strengthen democracy and whether this may be ironic to remove or wipe them from the politicizing of those structures. citizen is often talked about in very political terms rather than in the value of immigrant immigration the same way that voter identification requirements are talked about in terms of who is being prevented from voting as opposed to trying to make sure that we all have access. balancing the fact that it is a political process with trying to decouple the politicizing of the various structures, i think it is going to be an important challenge and opportunity for us. >> a number of us here participated in a conference last summer sponsored by most of
the groups that are up there. and one of the things tat was really inteesting was to hear what wasappening in other countries. and to her about how a lot of other countries that may be in terms of their history of democracy are -- maybe don't have the same history that wedo in this coutry. but they are moving veryfast in terms of doing some ery interesting things regarding opening up their government to the citizenry in a way that we haven't. and, you know, i really wish that everybody in the room could have been at hat conference. becauseit really opens you up going bak to your question abt, you know, we hav soquestioe
part of will. and some o these countries there was the will ithin the government and usually witin the executive branch within the government to create a spac to allow for sme really robust public participation. >> because i think that my one piece of advice for all of s is both to connet. because i think the things we want, our ideals and valus are very much the same. but also to think civc. evy time i se someone going on inside the way and when i step out and listen to voters lk about the polical system, i'm wayl encourage they want a democratic process for them as well as other people. and that' a bsic belief that
is out there and should allow us to proceed withonfidence. the anger we are seeingthere, seeing rig now is because that process or that ideal is not lived up to. but we share with all of these angry people hat ideal and our job is to live up to those hopes that people have around the country. >> well, i wanted to thank our panel for coming together. and as nick has said about thinking about big i also think it'smportant that many f us that work in our individual silos think more broadly and think together. and somef the thingthat we've talked abou will be discussed further at the governae reform panel that will be taking place in about 10 minutes. so thank you gain to our host for pulling this together. >> we take you live to the
debate for the three -- we will show you live a debate for the democratic primary for south carolina replacing mark sanford. you can watch debates on our website, c-span.org. >> book tv in primetime continues today with a look at politics. on political centrist and and the role of government in our lives. american -- the american spectator founder on the movement of the conservative party. book tv prime time, all this week on c-span2. pressed this weekend on in death, noted feminist, author, and scholar martha nussbaum has contributed to more than 20 books on various topics. join our 3 hour discussion with
your phone calls on book tv's "in-depth." >> earlier today, the new british foreign secretary spoke about the confrontation between israeli commandos and palestinian activists off the coast palestiniangaza. he was questioned by the opposition. this is about one hour. &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&& >> the immediate action the government has taken and our next steps. in the early hours of may 31, the israeli defense forces interrupted the flotilla. the incident led to injury and death to a number of passengers may be on one of the vessels. we await details for all of the
casualties and but it is apparent that many will be turkish citizens. i have spoke to the prime minister's to offer our condolences. two of the boats have been delayed by mechanical difficulties and remain at sea. " we believe they are en route to gaza. it appears that a total of 37 british nationals were involved in the event. this is different from the number the prime minister gave a short time ago based on what the israeli ambassador has said before. i have spoken to our ambassador in tel aviv and the latest figures are 37 including 11 dual nationals. we have received access to 28 of these individuals, one of whom who was deported yesterday. -- reported yesterday.
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&& >> the fact that we have not yet been given full information of british nationals detained in access to all of them. we are urgently pressing the israeli officials to resolve this within hours. there is real and justified anger at the event that have unfolded. the position of the government is as follows -- our guideline is not to travel to gaza we have made it public that we deeply deplore the loss of life and we look to israel to do everything possible to avoid a repeat of this unacceptable situation. the u.n. security council have rightly condemned the violence which resulted in the loss of these lives. we continue to demand urgent information and access to all uk-pulse -- uk nationals
involved. are seriously concerned about the seizure of british nationals in international waters. the prime minister has spoken to the israeli prime minister, i have spoken to the israeli foreign minister and parliamentary undersecretary of state has been in close contact with the israeli ambassador in london. the embassy in tel aviv has been in constant contact with the israeli authorities. i am grateful for those hon. members who have been in contact with relation to their constituents and have provided information. we recognize the concerns for those involved. israel has told us that they will move as quickly as possible to deport those people from the flotilla currently held in israel. if they agree, there will be
deported very quickly. those who remained unwilling to leave can stay for 72 hours in the tension which is the time limit allowed for them to appeal against the deportation. our understanding is after that, they will be deported. if it is our understanding that they have begun to transfer detainees to countries that are not represented in israel. and we understand those individuals allegedly involved in violence against serviceman will have their cases examined in line with israeli legal procedure. we do not believe there are any british nationals in this last category but i hope the house will appreciate this is a fluid situation. our international partners are working to facilitate the swift release of those detained. if turkey is sending six planes to fly out there nationals the duties of other countries may join the flights. we believe some of the british nationals are now on these
flights. the united kingdom has played a part in the european union and you and in a grieving for a full and independent investigation into these events. we will ensure full accountability for the -- for the events that have occurred. further discussions are taking place in other international groups. we stress to the israeli government the need for it to act with restraint and in line with its international obligations given that its actions appear to have gone beyond what was warranted or proportional. we need to know if more could have been done to minimize the risk or to reduce the number of death and injury. the event aboard the flotilla are very serious and have captured the attention of the world but they should not be
viewed in isolation. they arise from the unsustainable situation in gaza which is a cause of public concern here and around the world. it has long been the view of the british government that restrictions on gaza s s s s s a united nations security council resolution which calls for the delivery of humanitarian aid and which calls on state to alleviate the humanitarian and economic situation. this has not happened which is a tragedy. it is essential that there is unfettered access to meet the humanitarian needs of the people of gaza but to also allow the reconstruction of homes and livelihoods and to more -- and to permit trade to take place. the palestinian economy is an essential part of a viable palestinian state that i hope will one day live alongside israel in peace and security.
as the ones productive private sector has been decimated and ordinary residents have lost their jobs and incomes, it is hamas that benefits. they have total control of the economy. groups that are even more radical and violent are finding their place in the frustrations of a generation of young people. current is really restrictions are counterproductive for israel's long-term security. we will therefore continue to press the is really a government to lift the closure of gaza and plan early discussions with international partners about what more can be done to ensure an centered flow of aid while insuring that aid reaches those that need it and is not abused. i discussed this with secretary clinton last night and we will be discussing this urgently. the house must not forget the role of the hamas in this
conflict. they are directly undermining the prospect of peace. violence has continued in recent days with rockets fired and israeli military incursions and air strikes in response. we call on hamas to take immediate and concrete steps to unconnitionally release it captive held for four years and to and interference with the operations of ngo's in gaza. it is more cleer than ever that the only long-term and sustainable solution to the conflict which tragic events is a two-state solution that has a sovereign state living alongside a secure israel with a light -- with a right to live in peace and security recognized by neighbors. the talks under way are more important than ever. these events should not undermine those talks but instead underline how important they are.
the government will make in an urgent priority to get british diplomatic support to buttress that process. the government will continue to keep the house informed of developments. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i am grateful to the foreign secretary for his statement. i said in the queen's speech debate last week that a policy of policygaza the search for peace will not work. in the early hours of monday morning, it is a barrier to aid but to any hope -- any hope of peace at all. the attack by the israeli defense force is the latest in a series of self-defeating and deadly moves by successive israeli governments. on this side of the house, we join international condemnation. israel does have rights to security against terrorism but we're talking about the policy
that has nothing -- done nothing to defeat terrorism. until the people of gaza can be confident of an education for their children, of being able to feed and clothe their families adequately and live without a prescribed list of what they cannot use in their kitchens, there is no way that peace will be heard. we negotiated the response to the u.n. security council resolution in january of 2009 which eventually brought the gossip war to an end. it demanded the full flow of humanitarian aid into gaza and the trafficking of weapons into gaza. this must be the central demand of the international community. that means pressure, not just engagement. misery is being brought to palestinians and nothing is done to weaken the hold of hamas on
the region. revenue from smuggling funds hamas. the latest episode caused innocent lives to be lost. the only people smiling are the projectionists. the answer to them is a political process will drive and momentum. we talked about parts of the talks. they are only worth having if they serve as a prelude to substantive negotiation. i have gone on too long without getting to the big issue. i have a set of questions for the foreign secretary. the welfare of british citizens, the lack of clarity about the position of british nationals is completely unacceptable. we are talking about 37 people. they have a right to consulate support. it says so in their passports.
this should be given that support immediately. if it is being denied, we should be denouncing it, if not saying we are disappointed. >> hear, hear. >> the legality of the action. i spoke to the turkish prime minister last night. it is clear they intend to pursue this question. can you tell the house if he beliives the action that took place in international waters was the legal -- was the legal? the foreign secretary says he wants to know if more could have been done to minimize the risks or reduce the number of deaths during the raid on the flotilla. surely, the point to ask is why on earth armed and legal force was used at all. there is a fundamental principle here. the language of condemnation is used very sparingly and its national relations. it is our view on this side that the loss of innocent civilian
lives should always be condemned and we have done so since monday. the language was repeated in a statement monday night which said the security council condemns the acts. we welcome this. the foreign secretary and prime minister have not used this language themselves. we call on them to say loud and clear that the british government does condemn the loss of innocent civilian lives and if he will not do so, i say he is setting a very dangerous precedent and sending a bad message. fourth, the government's intentions going forward. we note the when's calls for an independent investigation and welcomed them but there are outstanding requests for investigations into incidents during the gaza war 18 months ago. whether the majesty's demint argued for a u.n. investigation now and if not, why not?
bridget majesty possible government -- majesty's government argued for a u.n. investigation now and if not, why? that actually damages israel. what actions do you propose to take through the un and the eu to improve the daily lives of the people living in gaza? do we not need urgent engagement to get an agreement for thosee forces to be deployed? mr. speaker, this is a political price, not just a humanitarian one. this is for the christmas responsibility for all the parties lies. we will support all efforts on the part of the government to make gaza part of the wider
international drive for peace in the middle east. without such an effort, there will be no peace in the middle east. >> mr. speaker, i am grateful for the broad support for what is clearly a bipartisan policy across the floor of the ouse and its concern for the people of gaza is felt very deeply in all parts of this house. as he reminded the house, he did take part in the u.n. resolution and has always argued as we have argued that ignoring gaza not work. this is a problem that must be addressed. i am grateful for the implicit support you have given to the government's position and the argument that is made that the israeli policy toward gaza does not loosen but titus the grip of hamas on the people of gaza.
he can tell that i am disappointed and dissatisfied with the israeli response that has gone on over recent hours for consular access. the reason i did not condemn them unequivocally is because there is a complicating factor which is many of the people who were aboard these ships did not have their passports or destroyed all of their papers. it is not immediately obvious to which nationality they belong. added to that has been a clear lack of preparedness by israel to handle this number of people and to deal with this number of consular inquiries. that is why our consular staff will be working very hard to hammer on doors and ask people if they are british. it has been a chaotic situation. it is completely unsatisfactory. i am glad some of these people are being able to leave the country. it is the most immediately
urgent part of our work to ensure that all british nationals had been identified. he asked whether i had spoken to the turkish foreign minister. i did. one of the points of having an investigation will be to learn more about the legality of what may have happened. the turkish foreign minister is connected to another question. he thanked me for the role played by our ambassador at the u.n. security council because the statement that was delivered was of course on behalf of the members of the security council, including britain. that is very much our language, as well. we certainly condemn acts which elite to the deaths of civilians. i have done that before. i do that again. there would be no difference between us on that particular point. on the matter of investigation,
it is imperative is independent, credible, transparent, and it is certainly my view and the view of the united states that the investigation should at minimum have an international makeup. and it is possible for -- it is impossible for israel to establish such an inquiry. on other occasions, and greece have not when we may be thought they have been prompted. we look to israel to cede to the international calls for such an inquiry and investigation. it would not be logged -- belongs if they refuse to that we would add our voices in that case for one conducted under
international auspices. he is right to say urgent workings should be taken on providing the mechanism for access to aid into gaza and trade in and out of gaza while ensuring israel that will not be used for the smuggling of arms. that is the urgent work we are kicking forward with our partners in the eu and u.s. and it is something we will have to come back to the house on. >> it is easy to beat contemporary -- to condemn israel. the questions we must ask ourselves is that these things taken by themselves will bring about the solution that we all seek. drawing on our own colonial experience and lso on our recent experience in northern ireland, is it not clear that sooner or later, however controversial it may be, that hamas have to be brought into the circle of discussions?
>> i always listen o my right and honorable and learned friend. he will be aware of the principles that have been very clear for some years that hamas must accept previous agreements and recognize the state of israel. that has been the longstanding tradition of british government and the un and the rest of the quartet. what i referred to earlier is the need for them to make concrete movement toward those principles in order for the rest of the international community to engage with them. i continue to believe that is the right position and one that we have in common. that must be sustained. >> in welcoming -- may i ask if
he recognizes that those innocent lives may have well included any of the 37 citizens that were present in a situation in which we see is released committing a war crime of piracy in international waters, kidnapping and murder and all of this and pursued of imposing an illegal blockade on gaza amounts to punishment as i thought myself as i led an international publication to their earlier this year. will he assure the house that if the israeli government fails to comply with the perfectly modest request that is made of
them that action will be taken to make israel rejoin the international community? >> yes, mr. speaker. i think it is very important that israel does respond to the call from across the whole world. for the prompt, independent, credible, transparent inquiry into which we have added our voice. if no such investigation is forthcoming, we would also want to advocate such an inquiry under international auspices. a blockade of gossip is counterproductive bridging a blockade of gaza is counterproductive. he is right to point out that fatalities could have occurred along the british nationals. it is our strong advice and has been our advice and will be our
advice that british nationals do not travel to gaza. let me make that absolutely clear. they are going into a dangerous situation. that is the clear position of this government. >> the debate to follow this statement is prescribed. i need short questions and short answers. >> those of us who were able to enter gaza after the last incursion could only come to the conclusion that there had been a disproportionate use of lethal force of dubious legality. does he agree that there has been a repeat of precisely that and what is the british government to do to try to ensure that the same repetition is not again and again and again? >> hopefully i covered that
point in the statement that i have given. i referred earlier to the actions that have been taken by israel to appear to go beyond what is warranted or proportionate. i away those words very carefully and have also said it is unacceptable and that israel must act with restraint and in line with its international obligations. we have given a very strong message to israel, there can be no mistaking how strongly we feel about this. >> bearing in mind this is a ship in international waters, it should be condemned.
one has to agree not to board a ship in international waters can only legally happen in the most exceptional circumstances. that is the basis from which we are working. >> my constituent was injured when the foot till it came under attack -- flotilla came under attack. the 45 tons of medical equipment he helped to collect as floating aboard the ships and the mediterranean. will the foreign minister use his influence to have this equipment delivered? >> my hon. friend the minister has just undertaken to look into what is happening with that specific shipment. i believe some of the aid on some of the ships is now arriving in gaza.
>> this is a deplorable tragedy. can the secretary tell us what steps he will take to ease the transfer of goods through the crossing so that israel's they have legitimate security needs against an enemy. >> of course israel has a legitimate security needs. that is why i stressed in my statement to the role and responsibility of hamas sioux and rocket attacks. this is a very important part of the entire situation, as well. we do need to find a way in which israel can be assured that the smuggling of arms does not take place into gossip and yet to the flow of humanitarian aid and economic trade can take
place. , some additional clarifications must be made which is what we are working on. >> the clear but restrained way in which the foreign minister -- foreign minister dealt with this matter. me ask a very concise question? it has not been clear for a long time that the bbockade is illegal and has contradicted international law and the geneva convention? >> the argument i make is that whatever the argument about its legality, it is alive. it does not achieve its objective. it is not the right thing for israel to do. no doubt, the government of israel to make a different legal arguments, my hon. friend. they have said the blockade is
lawful because they are acting in their own self-defense. therefore, the thing to persuade them is that this is not serving their interests in the change of policy is urgently required. >> i know to the foreign secretary has the man's for unfettered access but can he tell the house how he believes in the absence of a blockade of shipping into gaza that the people of israel can be protected from the assault by rockets and other armaments which are being imported from supporters hamas? >> that is why i have referred to international work that needs to take place to give assurance that such importation of arms cannot take place while humanitarian aid and economic aid in general economic trade can take place. i stress again that it is not serving the interest of the
security of israel. that does not serve the security of israel. >> [inaudible] >> my friend makes a powerful point. we will be doing well to convince everybody to use -- to stop using selective footage. it does all live the need for powerful and credible inquiry into which we have called. >> israel has killed 1400 people to bring operations.
there has been condemnation on each occasion as there has been today. i support that combination. it is time we take actions against israel so that they understood that they cannot act illegally with impunity and kill people and the way to have just done on the high seas. >> israel will be listening to the combination and this house, including from the hon. members. there is no doubt about that. i do not think the right policy is to impose sanctions. i think the right policy is to urge them the course of action that i have urged today, both the lifting of the restrictions of a blockade of gaza and the stepping up of eight independent investigation. i think those are a part of the practical way forward and therefore the right foreign policy for this country. >> and welcoming my friend's statement, would he agree that
the affect of the brutal blockade is to drive all straight into the tunnels, some of which are now large enough to accommodate 4x4 vehicles and there is no restriction whatsoever on the importation of weapons? >> the right hon. friend makes an excellent point. providing funds for themselves what further impoverishing the further of gaza. this is a further reminder this is not an effective policy. >> the israelis are aware of the world wide revulsion of what has happened this week. without any justification whatsoever and taken with other meant -- measures that have been spoken about, is it not clear that israel seems to show no concern at all but it is out of
control? but i would not necessarily reach the conclusion that there is no awareness or concern about international opinion in israel. there has been a good deal of criticism and the israeli media of the government over the last couple of days. sometimes that is bitterly critical. we saw that in the aftermath of the lebanon war four years ago. i think you would be way it was just put.o put it the there is a consciousness and israel of international opinion and that is why we have to express urselves in ways to ask them to do reasonable things setter in their own interests.
>> will the foreign secretary acknowledge that aid from israel has been up to 1 million tons since january 2009? will you also acknowledge that the reason for the blockade, which we all want to end, is because of continued terrorism by hamas, the hijacking of convoys in the smuggling of arms from iraq into gaza? >> it is very important to remember the role played hamas. we need to see an end of the rocket fire into israel as well as the other measures we have called on israel to take. my friend brings that necessary balance to the questions we are having today. >> the secretary will know that the siege has been ongoing for
three years. given that the condemnation and criticism to not seem to change the actions of israel, what further action will he propose to take in terms of the association agreement? there is an accord that provides for suspension and the light of human rights violations. what he considered suspending debt agreement to get the met -- to give the message we are serious about this? >> i do not think israel will doubt the seriousness of the message. the fact that the resolution was agreed to so rapidly with the support of the united states and united kingdom will have made an impact on israel. if she could of her the conversations that we have had with their israeli counterparts, which he could be very confident that they are aware of the strength of opinion and our deep concern about these issues.
the eu-israel agreement is not exactly progressive at the moment. i think the point that is made about that. it is not really an additional measure for this particular situation. i really want to concentrate on trying to make sure that the credible an independent investigation takes place and the cases are understood in israel for the lifting of the blockade of casa -- gaza. >> mr. speaker, the flotilla of itself, which was probably doomed to fail, was an expression of the frustration of ordinary people at the failure of the united nations and the failure of the quartet to get israel to comply with its u.n. obligations. the foreign secretary has had conversations with mrs. clinton. i understand he is also meeting
with the eu by rep. i wonder if he believes that between us if we can actually encouraged the quartet to now take more firm action with israel which still today seems not to understand the gravity of the situation? >> there is a real international focus on these matters. that is true in the u.s. and with the you high rep. she certainly has the same focus on these issues. many other -- in the margins of that, many of the foreign ministers had discussed this issue. i think one of the results of this action is to really bring this to center stage. and it has shown a spotlight on the problems of gossip to which
so many right hon. members have heard. i think it is important for us to take the momentum from that and make sure the necessary work continues over the coming weeks and months to improve the situation. >> with the foreign secretary not accept that what he said today it really amounts to saying that the united states, britain, and europe will continue to cooperate and that this toleration should be brought to an end and if necessary, britain and the other that if another flotilla setsy off, we are willing to give it naval protection with the royal traditional role of protecting the freedom of the seas? >> i understand in every case where members are expressing
their outrage at what has happened. in many parts of the house and of the country, but as i have explained, in pursuit of practical policy, which should be concentrating on the two things that have identified, the setting up of the right kind of investigation and inquiry and doing so quickly and making the coherent case for the lifting of the blockade. i think those are the right things to concentrate on. he refers to british naval protection. i have to say that the last prime minister promised a british naval deployment in the mediterranean to try to stop arms smuggling and to -- into the region but none were sent. i will not make empty promises. >> given the importance of the investigation of the foreign secretary, does he not also believe there is a very possible case for international
arbitration and the international court at the hague. after all, it is not only questions of international law but the causes are well known but they have not been resolved by the intervention of the quartet. international arbitration may be a very good route to adopt. >> the position we have taken does not exclude things. they are quite difficult things to bring about i think the priority is to have an inquiry and investigation as soon as possible that meets the criteria that i have set out. we have not excluded advocating other courses of action if it is needed. >> i think we have pussyfooted around israel for long enough. the only language they understand it is not the language of diplomacy but the language of a hot boot.
sanctions, telling them to stop building more supplements, and also insisting that they have talks with both sides. i would hope that the former secretary will enforce much more robust foreign policy against israel. immediately put on my boots because i think the right way to approach it is for it to make sense to people in israel and the rest of the world is to advocate the measures i have been calling for today. that, i think, is a crucial ingredient for israelis to see. in a way that the whole international community can respect and take seriously. and that the blockade makes no sense, even from their own point
of view. it is a democratic country. it is possible to make these advances in these situations. >> it has been made quite clear that the blockade is counterproductive because of the suffering it causes to the people of gaza. we pressed the international community to lift the blockade as a precursor to a peace settlement. >> it is a very important part of any mideast peace settlement. the question reminds us that it is very important to continue the work on the peace settlement. those perks in the talks have been taking place. we want those to become much more serious. the european nations now have to look to how we can push those talks forward.
certainly, ending this blockade is an integral part of signing any such durable solution. >> israel has done nothing wrong -- to say that israel has done nothing wrong when they send commandos to international waters to attack an unarmed population. for many years, israel has put itself above international law without consequence from the international community. what should be the actual practical consequence if they do not abide by the will of the international community this time? >> we will say, mr. speaker, if they think in the and they have done nothing wrong. the cabinet is meeting this afternoon for the first time since this incident.
we will see what comes out of that, if anything. in terms of the investigation and the inquiry that we and the rest of the world have called for. i stress that i think it is important to make the case for these two things come up for that investigation and for the lifting of the blockade because. and this is an argument that has to be one within israel as well as the rest of theeworld. that is why i am taking the approach that the previous government has broadly taken. and that is the right approach. >> it is a little rich for the israeli government to justify its behavior on the grounds that it is denying the terrorist organization when they have showed itself perfectly willing to prescribe munitions for use against civilian targets.
>> again, that adds to its strength of feeling and point made that will be widely noted and hope taken note of in israel. >> this was an illegal act on international waters that involved citizens from many countries. surely the only way we can have a credible an independent inquiry is there international mains. it is the foreign secretary support that and if not, why not? >> we shall see about that. the member may be right in the end. israel has previously held inquiries into some of the sx bridging some of the actions in lebanon which certainly were independent and credible by
international standards which meted out sickert -- considerable criticism to the authorities -- authorities in israel. an investigation should have an international presence. i have not excluded this government advocating the sort of inquiry he would prefer to see if no other action is taken. >> were the sea blockade to be lifted, what assistance to the government, european union or nato offer to israel to stop the smuggling of weaponry from those to rogue states? >> such assistance and assurance is very important. that is why we are now consulting with other nations on but the best vehicle for doing so. how much more the european union
can do. it is very important that we are able to stop the flow of arms into gaza just as it is so vital to open up gaza to humanitarian aid and more normal economic activity. >> i join my colleagues in condemning the actions that were taken by the israeli government. two of my constituents are currently in detention in israel. i agree with the foreign secretary that an international independent investigation is important notwithstanding, the undersecretary agreed to meet with my constituents who were there because nothing beats hearing it from the horse's'
mouth. >> plans are being worked on to meet a group the answer to the question is yes. >> the call for an international, impartial element to an investigation. is it not crucial to ensure that if peace talks resume and turkey's role, which had been an important regional ally to israel, is supported and encouraged? . . &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&
we are advocating dupont and credible investigation and it is important for us to argue for that investigation and be prepared to see what the infestation -- the investigation produces before we add in the language to that. >> he ruled out any solutions within the european union context. what is the united kingdom doing within the european union to end a blockade on gaza? new >> we're not ruuing anything out. i must press that there is a practice that administered with ministers -- foreign ministers in sarajevo and i will see more of them there all expressing themselves in very similar ways. and to the government of israel. there is no doubt about the
intensity of the feeling from the european union. what we want to discuss as the body what further weaken to about that and what we can do working with the united states to bring an end to the middle east peace process. european foreign ministers. >> can as the foreign secretary to concur with the advice to not to travel to gaza? would he be ready to travel there himself? it is an appalling situation going on there. these testy conversations with mr. lleberman and not going to get us anywhere. >> tested conversations with mr.
lieberman are a very part of what we need to do. again, i understand his principal feeling and his knowledge that the situation and gaza. it as art trope -- general travel a buys not to go to gaza. -- it is our general travel advise not to go to gaza. it is important for this house to have as much knowledge and information as possible about what is happening on the ground. i am not discouraging the right honorable members from going under the right circumstances, but for the general british public. >> did he say that they may face charges under international law? >> again, mr. speaker, since we
have called for an investigation, then we can preempt certain factors. the eight workers are activist or people involved, however we want to describe them, who as far as we do and not -- as far as we done to not include any british nationals. it illustrates the sense of feeling in this house. that is one of reasons we need to continue to call for a credible investigation to which i referred. >> the foreign secretary is right to refer to strength on a global basis. in these to be aware that israel has so way of topping out these prices, hoping they will go away. -- topping -- talk -- toughing
out these situations. what will be different this time? >> i can say, reiterating what i said earlier, that this sets a particular spotlight on the situation in gaza. the unity of the diplomatic response is unusual. it was included with the united states, and i press that point. can i promise what form or reaction? no, i cannot. but we will watch it very closely and minutely and we will argue very strongly for the measures i set out today, not excluding other courses of action in the future. >> there is an unusual an
impressive sight of them being restrained. i like to thank the foreign secretary for riposte statement -- for robust statement. and i include the shadow foreign secretary in that. we do not want allow access permissions are weapons of war. will the crossing the monitor? will we be able in this house to consider whether it the crossing is another border crossing and not an access point for materials? >> one answer, mr. speaker. it is an important that they are monitored. there are opportunities for the house to discuss these matters and be updated on these events. >> is about the case that calling for the end of the
blockade also acknowledges that the international community itself has a possibility to ensure that weapons to not going to gaza? can he tell us what practical -- what practical steps in the international community take, not just israel but to reach it, to ensure that weapons are not getting into the gaza strip? i believe it would be incumbent on people in the house. >> there have been previous attempts on activity around gaza which was meant to give assurance. clearly that has not worked. we now do have to find a mechanism for doing so. britain stands ready to help in many ways. when he says a gunboat, we will
see how it turned out under the previous government. and it never materialized. that is why i am not making any rash promises. given the huge importance of this issue in international problems, the united kingdom will do everything we can to assist. >> could you come back to the house and report on a timetable for discussions with a diplomatic solution, just as we did in ireland? >> i think, mr. speaker, many more discussions in this house. i am not offering today a timetable but we have other actions in the future. i would be very disappointed if we do not have a further opportunity to discuss the spirit >> -- to discuss this. >> is our right honorable friend of where of the
statements that there is no solution to this except by jihad? our struggle is extremely wide ranging. and it will not end until his -- until israel is at last to eliminate. i share all the points and which the foreign secretary well. >> i am great -- i am honorable -- i am grateful for the riggt honorable gentleman. and i hope i made that point and a slightly different way in my statement, referring to the ideological motives of hamas. reminding the house that there is a hamas dimension to this whole problem, that they have refused to forswear violence and recognize the right of israel to
exist, and until they start making concrete movement toward those things, it is very difficult for the national committee to discuss the future with the right honorable member puts forward. >> we're grateful for your cooperation. we come now to the main business, to read the orders of the day. >> today israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu defended his country's blockade of gaza and criticized and other world leaders over their criticism of the reaction to the flotilla. this is 10 minutes.
>> good evening. the state of israel is confronting international hypocrisy. it is not the first time. two years again, we dealt with the rockets a of hamas aater we left gaza. they hid behind the citizens. we try to prevent as much as possible the herding of an innocent population. but deepite all of this, who did the un accuse in war crimes? not hamas, but israel.
and regretfully something similar is happening now. here are the facts. hamas is continuing to arm itself. of iran is continuing to smuggle weapons into gaza. i want to clarify that the rockets that iran is smuggling into gaza are intended to hurt the sediments are around gaza -- the settlements are around gaza. we warned about this in the past and today i am telling you, the munitions and rockets that iran is trying to smuggle into gaza will hurt tel aviv, jerusalem, and even beyond. and some of it is already within gaza. this is why it is our duty and our right according to the
international law and the common sense to prevent these weapons to enter gaza through the air or sea. this duty the british government understood, and we impose a prevent any smuggling ofo%- weapons to hamas. the last few days was an attempt to break this blockade. it was not to bring merchandise. we allow merchandise to come into gaza. it was to break the blockade. and if this naval blockade would have been broken, as a result of this flotilla, then maybe hundreds of ships. the scope of the weapons that you can bring in ownership is different than what you can bring through the tunnels.
18 ship you can smuggle -- on each ship you can smuggle 10 tons of armaments. in one ships in the middle of the seat last year, there were hundreds of pounds of weapons that iran was sending to hezbollah. and in another ship, we caught tons of weapons that are ron sent to gaza. therefore it is our duty to expect each ship that is trying to get into gaza to take out the weapons and allow the other merchandise to enter. i want to clarify for the citizens of israel and the citizens of the world, you would have not done it? there would not be an iranian port and gaza in the distance of 10 kilometers of tullibee and jerusalem.
it would have a destructive significant for every citizen in israel. this is the real threat of the security of israel. i am telling you and i am telling our friends in the country's on the iranian port in the middle east constitute a threat also on european countries. and therefore we are forced to stop every ship that is intended for gaza, and this is how we did it in this instance. we wanted to take out the logo was on the ship and afterward when we had expected -- when we had inspected it to ship it because of. unfortunately the operators of the ship rejected it out of hand. and therefore we had no other alternative in the first ships,
everything went smoothly. but on the sixth ship, we encountered something completely different. our soldiers encountered of very extremist group supported international terrorist groups and a terrorist group of hamas. it was a beaut of hatred. -- it was a boat of hatred. it was a vote -- it was a boat of terrorist supporters. their weapons were abducted. they were about to kill them. there was an attempt to lynch the soldiers. i want to ask you, or these peace activists?
are these pacifists'? these are extreme terrorist supporter. the soldiers protected themselves and heroism and constraint and i am proud of them. i am asking myself what other countries would have done. democratic countries, what they wanted done in a similar situation. they would have been the best of circumstances acted similarly, and in many cases, they would have gone beyond it. we're very sorry about loss of light, but our soldiers encountered -- they risk their
lives and i'm asking the international community and leading leaders of the world, i asked them, what would you have done in such circumstances? what would you have done to protect your citizens? what would your soldiers have done in a similar situation? we all know the answer, and therefore, we will continue to protect our citizens and we will continue to allow its soldiers to protect our citizens, and the state of israel will continue to defend itself. their first duty is to keep the security of the citizens of israel, the children of israel, security is above everything. and in this matter, it is important that we all be united. because this is our heart.
>> the united nations human rights council approved irresolution condemning israel in the action. the u.s. voted against the resolution. the situation in israel was one of the main topics at today's state department briefing produces 40 minutes. >> in about an hour's time, the secretary will meet with indian education minister sibal and will discuss european -- cooperation and increasing our people to people ties. education is a key component of our part -- of our partnership
with then appeared under secretary bill burns met with foreign secretary rao has a broader part of our discussion of u.s. foreign policy. and we will have the intensive, wide ranging discussions with a broad range of cabinet officials and a large indian delegation. also today, the secretary a while ago met with 17 civil society activist from the middle east and north africa, the leaders of democracy fellows. this is a program under our middle east partnership and is effective -- partnership initiitive to provide young and -- young civic and democratic reform leaders from the region an opportunity to complete academic course work at the maxwell school of syracuse
university and complete of professional assignment with the political, non-governmental, or public policy organization here in washington. this year's cohort is a diverse group representing algeria, bahrain, egypt, israel, and jordan, kuwait, lebanon, libya, morocco, oman, syria, tunisia, the west bank, and gaza, and yemen. george mitchell to set a date with the u.s. delegation in the palestinian investment conference, part of our effort to support their economic reforms and institution building efforts. during the course of the day, he had the opportunity to talk with president abbas about the pic, and i think they are attending dinner as we speak. he will have other meetings this peek with both palestinian and israeli officials.
so the schedule is still being worked out. today in the dominican republic , they are hosting the world summit for the future of haiti -- solidarity be on the crisis. this is the first time that the owners have met since march 31 when the donors conference in new york pledged more than $5 billion to haiti over two years for the nation's most immediate rebuilding needs. senior officials from the department of state and usaid are part of this delegation that includes cheryl mills, counselor to secretary clinton, deputy assistant secretary julissa reynoso, a and also paul we isenfeld from usaid. this follows up on yester day
with the government of haiti officially launched the interim haiti reconstruction commission which will be cochaired by prime minister belle reed and un special envoy bill clinton. turning to africa, we congratulate and commend the government of liberia for its commitment to the rule for all and the international fight against drug trafficking with the address of seven suspects on drug-trafficking charges as part of a joint u.s.-liberian undercover operation. the message being sent in liberia is strong and clear. liberia is not open for this type of business. there is brought -- the united states and libya are united and strong partnership to combat the international drug trade. also in africa, the united states is troubled by the government of bear run the's decision to expel a human-rights watch researcher from the country. human-rights watch and other duly accredited non-governmental
organizations in grundy -- burundi must be afforded the legal right to engage and report freely on political and human rights conditions. they should reconsider their decision. and just before taking youu questions, a couple of items left printing from yesterday's meeting. we have been access -- we been granted access to palin grows in cuba five years -- five times, the most recent consular access being on may 25, and we continue to ask that mr. gross be released immediately on humanitarian grounds and be allowed to return to his family. also our next round of russian adoption talks are scheduled for june 14-16 here in washington. we are still awaiting final confirmation from russia on those dates. and finally, regarding george
of's municipal elections from the weekend, we congratulate the people of georgia on the conduct of municipal elections on may 30. there were evaluated by international monitors from the osce and they monitor progress toward meeting the osce and council of europe standards for democratic elections. there were technical improvements in the administration of these elections. we did observe some irregularities in individual precincts and those concerns were noted by the osce regarding vote counted and tabulation processes in some precinct and districts. we're encouraged by the signal -- the central election commission's efforts to increase transparency and responsiveness to let perot concerned but we also agreed that significant shortcomings need to be addressed. >> earlier today, the un human rights council passed a pretty strong condemnatory resolution
about the flotilla incident. among the items in this resolution is the creation of an independent fact-finding mission to go and investigate violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law resulting from the israeli attacks on a flotilla of the ships. i realize that you guys voted against this along with two of your stalwart allies, but it has pretty overwhelmingly. is thhs the kind of the mature thinking about when you're talking about an international component to the israeli investigation? >> you are in our explanation that we considered this to be are rusted just an -- our rush to judgment. i would call attention in the resolution that it actually condemned the attack by israeli forces before israel or anyone else has had the opportunity to fairly a evaluate the facts.
so that is the reason why we voted no. >> that is the only reason? because it said condemned in the strongest terms the of rates is attacked by israeli forces. >> before there is even the opportunity for an investigation, and our view, this resolution but the complete responsibility on is referred we thought that was inappropriate. as we indicated, we thought this was a rush to judgment. they're called on and supported the un presence statements of a couple of days ago is calling for prompt, credible, transparent, impartial investigation. we continue to believe that israel is in the best position to lead that investigation. as the secretary indicated yesterday, we want to ensure
that there is a credible investigation and we will continue to talk to his role and other countries about possible and not the participation >> of fact finding mission -- possible international participation. >> a fact-finding mission by the human rights council is not a welcome thing in your view. >> we do not support the proposal within the human rights council. yes. >> with the japanese prime minister presiding over the futenma issue, he apologized for not being able by handled this issue very well. the government's made an agreement last week, right? so the u.s. is involved in this political situation. how do you see this political change in japan, and what kind of influence where you get?
>> we respect the japanese political process and the prime minister's decision. we will work closely with the government of japan and the next prime minister on a broad range of issues. i think to date the chief cabinet secretary stated that the futenma agreement will be respected. we share this expectation. >> according to a recent poll, 80% of okinawa and people opposed to this relocation. and as you know, the japanese prime minister resigned because of this. so it is not supported by the japanese people. how can you still say it is still politically sustainable? >> we value the u.s.-japan security alliance.
we think that the presence of u.s. forces in the region, including in japan, is of tremendous importance and of value to both of our countries. the importance of our presence in the region and the u.s.- japanese alliance is underscored by current tensions in northeast asia. so we have, we believe, reached out their resolution that sustains the alliance. we understand the burden that this places on the japanese people. as part of our agreement, we a pledge to do everything that we can to help manage the impact that this has, particularly on the people of okinawa. this will be something that we continue to work closely with the japanese government, but as we indicated, we think we have
reached a resolution of this relocation plan, and we will work with japan to carry it out. >> considering the prime minister has resigned in response to the agreement, don't you think this has damaged the alliance, this agreement? >> i'll leave it to the prime minister to explain the circumstances under which he felt it important to resign. and our alliance is about much more than just the future of futenma. this is an important issue, but it is one of the number of wide range of issues and common interest that the united states and japan share. we will continue to work on this program with the japanese government. >> as you said, there's been an agreement on futenma, but the
lessons are now planned for july in japan. duty the issue might come back during the campaign? >> that is why we work closely with the government over a number of months. it was a very thorough review. everyone went back over all the details and i think the japanese government came to reaffirm that this bill plan, of modification of the plan that it inherited, was the best way forward. we think that with some detective -- some technical details still to be worked out, we think that this is the best way forward and we're going to continue to work with this. >> can i go back to the gaza flotilla aftermath. cit>> could. >> can you bring us up-to-date on what you know about any americans who might still be in israel? have all of them been set back toward the u.s.?
and you have any numbers that are more updated and yesterday? >> i checked in with our consular affairs votes. they have been in contact with 12 americans. all of them have agreed to be deported. some of them have already moved out of the country. this is not to say that these are all americans that might have been on one of the ships, but we have had contact with a dozen and we expect that they will all be leaving israel within the next 24 hours. >> did you say they agreed to be deported? is that something you can agree to? >> under the an israeli arrangements, i think they had to sign something that then led to the deportation. >> and that includes the one that was injured, the one person hospitalize? >> yes. >> yesterday's we were talking
about ihh and the accusations that it supports terrorist organizations. some said it supported al qaeda in some fashion. did you get clarification on that? >> ihh know that -- we know that ihh representatives have met with senior hamas officials in turkey, syria, and gaza over the past three years. that is obviously of great concern to us. it has not been designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the united states. >> united states does not believe that it has connections to al qaeda? >> we can not validate that. >> can we stay with the flotilla? >> sure. >> as the u.s. in considering calling either privately or publicly on the israelis to lift the siege of gaza, as several of
this country's allies have done and even the "new york times," for that matter? >> again, we support the expansion of humanitarian assistance to the people of gaza. at the same time, we recognized that israel has legitimate security concerns, given the attacks that have emanated from gaza in recent months and years that have endangered the israeli people. we will be talking to israel and other countries about ways in which we can improve the flow of assistance to gaza and support the people of gaza while meeting israel's security concerns. >> da mr.vmr. davutogla said inn
istanbul that yet as the secretary to convey his demands that all militants would be released. can you confirm that? >> ided yesterday. during the course of the secretary's meeting with the foreign minister, he expressed concern about the status of turkish citizens and wanted to see the release. i believe the israeli government has indicated that all those involved with the volatility will be -- a flotilla will be and you're seeing the flow of turkish citizens and other citizens out of israel and back to their home countries as we speak. we understood the turkish concerns and we conveyed those to the israeli government. >> do know what this incident came up at all in the secretary's meeting with the 17 middle east -- >> it was a relatively brief meeting. i think it was more like a photo opportunity. >> on the investigation, what
israel is talking about is the idf leading its own internal investigation. is that acceptable to the united states? or are you looking more to the south korean model? >> at the president's statement in the security council indicated, we support an investigation that meets international standard. there are a number of ways of doing that. we will be talking to israel about how it can best lead an investigation that is broadly viewed as credible by the international community. >> and that could potentially be led by the idea that so? >> i am not going to prejudge of the grid -- how the investigation proceeds. we recognized that not only does israel have its own interest in understanding what happened, there are a wide range of countries that had citizens that represented in that would tell the -- in that hotel. -- flotilla.
we support that objective and we will be talking to israel about how best to accomplish that. >> have there been any high- level talks between u.s. officials and israeli officials other than the mitchell talks today? >> i am not aware of any doubt what and what the prime minister today, although i cannot speak for the white house. but the secretary has not had a high level discussion with any top tier israeli official today, to my knowledge. >> does that include the defense minister? >> she laughed talk to him on monday. >> can you give us a little more precision on the sanctions -- porsche to bring up the sanctions at the united nations? it has been tabled, or at least i should say, circulated -- correct? an index that would be up for vote. if that where we are? >> i think that there still were
being done -- technical work being done on the annexes to the resolution, so it is hard for me to say precisely where this process is. obviously we think this is one of the most important issues facing the international community. and as i said yesterday, the iaea's latest report underscores that iran continues to refuse to comply fully with international obligations. we're going to put forward this resolution in the coming days and we expect all responsible members of the international community, especially those entrusted to serve on the un security council and deal with these matters, to support the resolution. >> when you say put forward, you mean for a vote? >> as a said yesterday, the president has indicated that he wants to see this accomplished by the end of spring. we see that date on the horizon and we expect to meet that objective.
>> some international diplomats, brazilian and others, are saying, "y no?" you do have this agreement that the brazilians and the turks worked out with iran that they still have a month to follow through on, giving up that 1,200 kilograms of low-enriched uranium. why not give that amount even if you're skeptical, as the secretary obviously as? >> this is one of the most urgent matters. we're very conscious of the fact and we take the iranian statement at face value. they say never mind any agreement on the trr, we will continue to enrich uranium to 20%. that is a clear violation of the safeguards agreement and multiple un security council resolutions. so we're moving based on what we
know, which is that iran continues to enrich. and as the iaea report indicates, it is not in compliance with its international obligations. the united states has reached the judgment shared, we believe, by the p5-plus-1 that iran is only going to change course if we apply that kind of pressure that is represented in this u.n. security council draft resolution. so while the joint the correlation in tehran -- declaration in tehran may technically to fill what had been a proposal by an october 1, we don't think that fundamentally addresses the larger concerns about iran's noncompliance with its international obligations. turkey understands that. brazil understand that. and when this is put for a vote, turkey, brazil, and other
countries will have to judge how to proceed. >> can i go back to the human- rights council? >> yes. >> you said there was a rush to judgment. it did not agree with the initial finding. i am wondering what you make of the fact that only the dutch and the italians voted against what this with you, and that some of your closest allies including the french, belgian, the japanese, the brits, and the south koreans abstained. >> we understand that. one of the reasons why we joined the human rights council was that we hope that over time it would take a more balanced and appropriate response to urgent situation. >> right. >> as our statement indicated, we believe that this particular resolution is a rush to judgment. it risks further politicizing a
sensitive and volatile situation. we made our judgment that this was not the writer vehicle to advance the -- the right vehicle to advance the understanding of what happened on these ships. but we respect the fact that other companies may have a different view. >> so in the 60 months that you have been on the council, had you seen it and report -- in the 16 months that you have been on the council, had you seen it improve? >> we think our presence on the council was positive and constructive. >> how did that manifest itself in this vote? >> we have a vote. we don't dictate what the human rights council -- >> the previous administration basically for all zero council because of situations like this. >> we do not think ignoring these issues -- >> so your no vote was enough?
>> that is what we are empowered to do as part of the human- rights council. we will engage in the human rights council just as we are engaging on the margins of the international criminal court review conference. you everything about that this afternoon. we're willing to work constructively with countries around the world on the most urgent issues that face us all. but we understand that there will be times when our view may carry the day and there will be times when other countries have different points of view. yes. >> it is the israeli actions that need to be investigated. how can israel to the best investigation? why is the united states opposed a u.n. investigation? >> as we hhve said, they're completely supportive -- we are
completely supportive of an impartial investigation that helps us understand what happened on the ships, and more importantly, working collectively, how we can meet our common objectives of increasing the international support for the people of gaza, and at the same time, supporting israel with its legitimate security concerns. we believe that israel is in the best position to lead this investigation. but as the secretary said yesterday, this has to be credible. the international community will be watching this very closely as it unfolds. we want to see this done in a way that meets international standards. we will be talking to his role about how best to accomplish this. we will be talking to other countries that may want to play a role in this. and as the secretary said, we are open to ways to make this as credible as possible, including international participation.
and that is our view. >> i think this question was essentially wideehy. can you explain why israel is in the best position to lead the investigation? >> israel is a vibrant democracy. it has effective, competent institutions of government, and israel is fully capable of investigating a matter that involves its forces. and so can israel conduct a fair, transsarent, credible investigation? the answer is yes. >> on the u.s.-russian adoption tots, can you tell how far the sides progressed toward the adoption of agreement? during the previous round of the paws, the russians gave their american counterparts the draft
agreement. any chances that this agreement will be initialed or adopted or signed or whatever you do? >> is a good question. we're committed to reaching an agreement that up -- improve safeguards and procedures to protect adopted children and families. i believe we have a text that has been tabled on this issuee but whether we will resolve the remaining issues, i think i would not predict. we want to get it donn as quickly as possible. whether it happens in this next session or takes a while longer -- these are complex issues and they have to address the legal and policy aspects of both countries. so we will have the next round and let's see how that goes. >> who is going to take part in the polls on the u.s. side? >> it will be led by an interagency team.
we will check and see. we had won the was led by our principal deputy of consular we had another that was experts. i'll take the question as to who we expect to -- to participate on our end. >> on mexico, there's a lot of concerr and frustration in mexico due to be arizona law on immigration. these have raised due to the death of a migrant worker the was detained by the u.s. border patrol and beaten and shot with the taser. what is the position of the u.s. government with regards to this incident or to mark i understand the mexican government have already sent a diplomatic note about it. to get what separates the two issues. -- >> let's separate the two issues.
we're certainly lost -- sorry for the loss of life involving anastacio hernandez-rojas. we're in touch with the mexican government. we believe that his family has been paroled into the united states following his death. we have received a diplomatic note from the mexican government. it is being investigated both by dhs and by the police department in san diego. -pand this obviously represents this challenge of securing the border on both sides, and we are mindful of the fact that those who tried to enter the united states illegally, there is a significant loss of white every year along the border has people endeavor to come here. it is why the administration supports comprehensive investigation -- immigration reform. the president the other day
talked about his concerns about the arizona law. but we continue to see immigration reform as the only way to normalize and expand the opportunity for immigrants who want to come to the united states and do so legally. >> on north korea? the united states has extended economic sanctions against north korea under the un security council resolution 1874. is there any additional sanctions against north korea? >> we do have existing authorities under 1874, and other sanctions. we did have a meeting here yesterday with the south korean vice foreign minister. i believe that he is in new york today. we will follow the lead on --
the leader of south korea in terms of whether this matter comes to for the security council. we want to see the international community provide a united response that sends a clear message to north korea that these types of tragic and provocative acts will not be tolerated. but as to the steps that the international community takes, we will wait to see when the matter comes before the council. >> stay in the region for some marc >> hold on, i promise tempers. >> as you are aware, doddsaid that secretary gates will not be going to china next week when he will be in singapore and the region. and i wonder if you regard the chinese decision that it is not convenient for him to come now has a disappointment, particularly given that senior officials have told us that they
were hopeful that gates would make a visit within a few weeks of the secretary's trip last week. >> i cannot judge. i will defer. i do not know what the explanation was from china. clearly, the kind of senior- level engagement that we have with a likes of secretary clinton, secretary gates, and others, we think it is important to read during the course of the recent strategic and economic dialogue, regional security issues, military to military issues, were discussed. i think that was one of the bases for the secretary gates visit to china. i would not hazard a guess as to the rationale in postponing a
visit. >> can you take the question -- it seems like you have not had a chance to look into it, but as to whether or not you're disappointed about this? it seems that one of the things that the administration had been trying to do, and for quite some time now, says the tie one on sale, has been to get the military to military contacts back on an even keel with the chinese so they don't get torn up every time there is something that annoys them. >> we share that view. and there were some detail the direct discussion of these issues during the strategic component of the discussion. but i think the pentagon is fully capable of expressing its views as to the reasons for delay in this visit. >> i am perplexed because a senior official said to reporters, "i think you will see one of the takeaways over the course of a couple weeks that suddenly chinese friends might
have time for secretary gates." and it just seemed like they got a completely wrong. i wondered what happened. >> as to the basis of china's decision, china can explain that. as to the impact that that may have in terms of military to military engagement, obviously something we do support, i will let the pentagon talk about ok, i'll come back. >> de think it is going to impact the two sides relationship, especially considering the fact that the two sides relationship has gone better in the past few months? do you think the postponement will influence the relationship between u.s. and china, especially considering the fact that the relationship has gotten better? >> i think we value the current state of the relationship.
there were a number of cabinet officials at the discussion. we certainly see the value in havvng our secretary of defense paul to his counterparts in china. -- a halt to his counterparts in china. we have vitally important regional here security issues to discuss, not the least of which is the current situation with respect to the sinking of the cheonan. as to the reasons why china thought that this was not the best time to have this meeting, i will defer to china to explain that. >> a elin official, the special report toward -- a un official, the special rapporteur for
whatever on extrajudicial killings, has come out today with a critical report on the targeted access of the drum strikes. i presumed that the administration still believes that these are legal. >> i do not have a reaction. >> your legal adviser was on the telephone with some of was a little while ago saying there would be some kind of reaction to this report. >> i will take office. >> can you check with his office, perhaps? realizing that he is halfway around the world. >> one of my favorite lawyers. >> says he addressed it in an all on the record session not so long ago, i'm surprised that you have nothing to say. >> u.s. bfi had an immediate response. the answer is no. >> to have an explanation of a administration policy on this? >> i will not get into the
matter this point. i will take the question. i am not aware that we've had a chance to read it. >> are conversations with the mexican government about the extradition of the television producer? >> my understanding is that we've not received an extradition request. >> on cuba, any reaction, or what reaction does the u.s. have to cuba's transfer of political prisoners to prisons closer to their families, conditions that they have been negotiated by the catholic church? >> let me broaden that point slightly. we continue to hope that prisoners of conscience will be released rather than just be relocated, and as soon as possible. >> a meatball upon the question on the iranian resolution. could you be more specific with regard to the timeline, when you approximately hope to introduce it for the vote? are we talking a week?
>> the president said that he would like to see this done by the end of spring. is that june 20 at the 21st? sometime between now and then. >> you have any update on the status of this american lawyer who was arrested in rwanda? there are some reports that he tried to kill themself in prison this morning. >> i cannot say. >> apparently has wiper family is seeking a meeting here the state department. >> i can tell you that we have visited and spoken with peter erlinder. he was taken to hospital this morning and remained there overnight for observation. his attorneys have had access to him and we expect that due process will be accorded by the government in a timely and transparent way. >> do you know why he was taken to the hospi