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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  June 18, 2016 2:00am-4:01am EDT

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modern airplane. >> for the kpleem northwestern history tv weekend schedule, go to the democratic party's platform committee is holding a forum in phoenix to hear testimony on what should be included in the party's platform ahead of next month's democratic national convention. the platform committee is meeting saturday at noon eastern, and you can see that live on our companion network, c-span. and then sunday on c-span, conservative activist steve lanagan and bon vander plaats on the 2016 presidential campaign. both were supporters of ted cruz before donald trump clinched the republican nomination. news makers is sunday at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. eastern on c-span.
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retired air force colonel morris davis was formerly the top prosecutor for terrorist suspects held at guantanamo bay. colonel davis spoke at the national press club recently, explaining what he sees as the problems with the military trials at guantanamo bay. >> all right. good morning, everyone. is this on? can you hear me okay? sure. okay, it's a small room. i'm loud. good morning. thank you so much for joining us. i am molly mcincludeky. i'm a member of the board of governors here at the national press club and a freelance journalist, and i'm so proud to welcome colonel morris davis to this newsmaker this morning. during an election cycle that has seen an increasing crackdown on press freedoms and an
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administration that has also become known for censoring its critics and journalists alike, i can think of few more relevant guests than colonel davis to join us day. now, morris davis was the former chief prosecutor for the guantanamo military commissions, and he later spoke out publicly against the treatment of inmates in prison there. and he recently settled a lawsuit against the library of congress, which have fired him for writing newspaper op-eds criticizing the obama administration's decision to resume the use of the military commission system. now, colonel davis will be speaking for a few moments, and then we'll open the floor to questions and answers. i'll kick off the q&a session and we'll open it up to the audience at which point i'll ask that you identify yourself and your organization before asking a question. ladies and gentlemen, colonel davis. >> well, thank you. i'm very grateful to molly and to the national press club for inviting me to come speak today. i'll be perfectly honest. i think i envisioned a day where something like this would
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happen. in fact, i may have envisioned standing right here. what i didn't envision was it would take six and a half years to get here. so it's been a long and interesting trip from walking out of the library of congress carrying everything i had in a copy paper box to standing here today. so thank you for inviting me and giving me the opportunity to do this. i think when i look back on it over the last six and a half years, when people ask me how did it feel, i remember when i was a kid, i was about six. and one of my neighbors and i were playing, and there was a big oak tree in another neighbor's yard. and we climbed up in the tree. we were probably maybe 8 or 10 feet off the ground and my feet slipped and i fell out and landed on my back. it just knocked the breath out of me. that's kind of the way this felt, getting fired by the library of congress for expressing my opinion. to have my government do that to me, like it knocked the breath out of me. but rather than it going away in six and a half minutes, it took six and a half years to fight
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this battle. so i'm really happy that i can be here today and that this chapter is finally coming to a close. i'm back working for the government again, so let me give the obligatory disclaimer that what i'm about to say -- because i don't want to be back here six and a half years doing this again. so let me make it clear that i'm expressing my personal views, not the views of any government agency, and i'm on leave today on my own personal team. so this is strictly me speaking on behalf of me. so if you're here, you probably know generally the chronology of what led up to this moment, but let me just briefly go back over it. if we had several days, we can go through it line by line, but we'll do the 30,000 foot view and go over it briefly. as molly mentioned, i was in the air force for 25 years and i spent -- towards the end much my career -- two years at the chief prosecutor for the military commissions at guantanamo.
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if you followed kind of my story, you know i started in september of 2005. i was the third chief prosecutor for the military commissions. general martins who is the chief prosecutor now is the sixth chief prosecutor. but during my tenure, we had a policy or i had a policy that we would not use any evidence that was obtained by what i had to refer to as enhanced interrogation techniques. you know, the pentagon was always good at having terms that made things sound like something different than they really were, and enhanced interrogation techniques are what most people would call torture. or back then, i couldn't use the word suicide. i had to use the term self-injurious behavior. but my policy had been we wouldn't use evidence that was obtained by the enhanced interrogation techniques because quite frankly it wasn't necessary. shake mohammed, his trial is still a work in progress. i recall in september of 2006, after president bush had made the decision to transfer the
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detainees from the cia over to the military, and the plane landed at guantanamo and 14 men got off that day. that was in september of 2006. it was almost a decade later, and that trial is still -- no firm date set for that trial to take place. but with khalid sheikh muhammad, there's ample evidence to establish his guilt without using a word he said in custody. which did not make what we did to him right. but at least in a court of law would make it irrelevant in bringing criminal charges against him. so that had been the policy for about two years during my tenure as chief prosecutor. towards the end, some of the people that were appointed above me retired and moved on and they were replaced by political appointees. for example, general john atten berg had been a career military officer and served for over 30 years in the army, had a distinguished career. i think he was truly devoted to
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trying to do this in a credible way. general all tenberg left and he was replaced by susan crawford who never wore a uniform a day in her life, but she had been dick cheney's inspector general wh . in my view, that was the beginning of the end for the credibility of the military commissions with civilians began to get involved. suddenly by the cemetesummer of i was being told that president clinton -- president bush says we don't torture. and if president bush says we don't torture, who are you to say that we do? all that evidence you're not using, you need to get it out, dust it off, get into court and get these guys convicted. that was, for me, kind of the law straw. i lost confidence in our ability to make sure we were going to have full, fair and open trials. so in october of 2007, i resigned as chief prosecutor of the military commissions. which then leads into the next chapter of my life. i decided at that point i was approaching 25 years in the
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service. like many in the military, i had joined planning to do four years, to serve my country and then get out and get back home to north carolina. next thing i knew, four years had become 25 because i truly enjoyed my time in the military. and in my view, it's the most ethical practice of law you're going to find anywhere. i think a lot of the practitioners that had been involved with the military commissions will tell you that they came into it were a jaundiced view of military justice and military attorneys and that they've changed their mind. that they've been very impressed by the ethics of the people that are involved. so i really enjoyed my time, and if i was yunoung enough, i'd go back and do it again. but it was at a point to decide what i was going to do. if i was going to stay in the military, it was time to leave for another assignment. if not, it was time to require. quite frankly, i think people think i chose to retire because of guantanamo. the truth is it was because of the housing market. i moved here in 2005 at the peak of the housing market and by 2008, we were so far underwater,
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i really couldn't afford to leave. so i chose to retire. in fact, i'm still underwater, and i don't know if i'll ever live long enough to get back above water. but i chose to retire and stay here, and i began looking for jobs. one of the places i had applied in the spring of 2008 was at the congressional research service. i was invited in for an interview for a position that spring, met with the director of congressional research service, dan mulholland. and i was interviewed for a position there. i got a call from mr. mulholland several weeks later, around april or may of 2008, saying that there was someone else they thought was better qualified for the position, but they had been impressed by my principal stand that i had taken on guantanamo and the leadership i'd shown in the military. and he asked if i would be interested in other positions that he thought might be coming open in the future. and i told him that i would. fast forward to july 30th of 2008. now, remember the date
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specifically. i was coming up on retirement. i had to go to walter reed for some testing. so the 29th, i checked in at walter reed. i was discharged the morning of the 30th, put my suit on, went to capitol hill, and testified by the house armed services committee about guantanamo. in my view, that we had screwed this process up so badly that we couldn't recover from it. and so when i came out from testifying at the house armed services committee, i turned my phone on, and i had a message from mr. mulholland's secretary asking that i give him a call. so as i'm walking from having testified about guantanamo before congress to the metro, i called and mr. mulholland said, there's a job coming open as the head of the foreign affairs defense and trade division here at crs. we'd like for you to apply. and i told him that i was interested, and they asked if i would come in in a few days and meet with his deputy director to talk about the job, which i did. the job wasn't advertised for another month or two, but when it was advertised, they called
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and said, you know, submit your application, which i did, and ultimately i was hired. again i went for the interview, and a lot of what was discussed in the interview was what my role as chief prosecutor, the testimony i had given before congress, and those things. so december 20th of 2008, i began my tenure at the congressional research services, head of the foreign affairs defense and trade division. if i could back up just a step, you know, in the military we don't get involved in partisan politics. so for 25 years, i had participated, you know, as a voter and staying informed as a citizen. but as far as being directly involved, i didn't do that. so when i retired on october 1st of 2008, for me it was the first time in a quarter of a century that i got to actively participate in the political process. so i put an obama sign up in my front yard, and i live in a gated community out in rural virginia. one of my neighbors at some point in the night doused my obama sign in lighter fluid and set it on fire.
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so i put up another one, and i worked for the obama campaign in prince william county, making calls and going door to door. and i don't think anyone was more excited than me when i was elected. so december i start my new job. january, president obama takes office and what's the first thing that he does? actually the first thing he did is he signs the lilly ledbetter act. the sing thing is he signed the order to close gaun taun know. so january 2009, i don't know there's anyone in d.c. that was happier than me. i had retired from the military. guantanamo was closing. i was in a job that i liked, working with people that i respected and liked. it looked like it couldn't get much better. things progressed. thing still seemed to be going well until the fall of 2009, and that was when rumblings began to emerge that the president was not going to close guantanamo, that the military commissions may be revived, and that was when i began having concerns
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that this whole hope and change was not going to take place as it appeared it was at one point. there was an article, an op-ed in "the washington post" by former attorney general michael mccasey where he basically says if we bring detainees from guantanamo to the u.s., life as we know it will come to an end. that led me to write a letter to the editor, rebutting what mr. mccasey had said. that same weekend in november of 2009, i also wrote an op-ed that i submitted to "the wall street journal." i have written a lot of pieces and i'd say the vast majority of what i've written has never seen the light of day. often when i would write something, i'd have to shop it around and edit it and make a lot of changes and eventually somebody would take an interest and publish it. but for the first time ever on a sunday afternoon i hit send twice, and by tuesday, hi two articles, one in "the washington post," and one in "the wall street journal." the next day was veterans day, so we were off work, but i had an e-mail from mr. mulholland, the director of crs, expressing
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his displeasure that i had expressed these opinions and questioning my suitability to serve at congressional research service. that's when the whole six and a half year odyssey began that veterans' day in 2009. ironically, i guess in a sense, you know, when i was the chief prosecutor at the human rights orgszs and groups that are generally viewed on the left didn't particularly hold me in high regard. one of the organizations had -- that i don't think was terribly fond of me was the american civil liberties union. they would send a representative down to guantanamo to observe the proceedings, and i would meet with the representatives and we would talk. and we had a cordial relationship, but i don't think they were particularly fond of the positions i was taking, advocating for guantanamo. when word got out that i was getting fired for having expressed my opinions on ga guantana guantanamo, one of the first calls i got was from anthony romero at the aclu, who said what can we do to help?
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and for six and a half years, they stood by my side and represented me throughout this process. we went to court in january of 2010, seeking a temporary restraining order to stop crs from firing me pending the litigation of the lawsuit on whether the first amendment protected my right to express my opinion. mr. mulholland had called me in before he gave me the letter of termination and wanted me to admit that what i had done was wrong. he wanted me to apologize, and he said that it appeared that i put the constitution ahead of my -- the good of the organization. and i said, that's true. i do. i can -- i could sit here and tell you that, yes, you're right. i was wrong. the counstitution doesn't apply to me. but i served in uniform for 25 years to defend the constitution, and if i told you it didn't apply to me, i'd be making a false official statement, and i'm not going to do that.
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so i got the letter of termination saying i was fired, which again was somewhat ironic because i was fired for exercising my right of free speech in the james madison building, the author of the first amendment. so i stayed on until january 20th. we went to court trying to get a temporary restraining order. the department of justice argued against granting the restraining order. there are several elements you have to prove in order to get a restraining order. judge reggie walton was the judge in my case for the entire six-plus years. judge walton found that we met all the elements. you know, it was likely that i would prevail on the merits, that it was within the public interest. but the one element that he found i did not establish based on the government's argument was i was unable to establish irreparable harm because the department of justice argued in that hearing that if i prevailed on my first amendment lawsuit, that they could write me a check for back pay, which would make
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me whole, if my claim was validated. and judge walton agreed. and so i was not granted the restraining order, and that afternoon, dick elke, the deputy director, walked me out to the parking lot as i carried my cardboard box with my stuff, and i left. a few months later, the same attorney from the justice department argued that that had been a mistake, that the back pay act doesn't apply to the legislative branch and that there was no possibility of getting back pay. so at that point we began fighting to get me reinstated to my position. we had also filed suit against mr. mulholland in his personal capacity. we litigated that in the spring of 2010, and the government argued that mr. mulholland as a government official had immunity and couldn't be sued for action he took in his official ca pass its. judge walton denied the motion and said if the facts as alleged
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were true, then no government official could have believed that it was appropriate to fire someone for exercising their constitutional right. at that point the government appealed, and we went off on a detour to the d.c. circuit, which added another about year and a half to the case. at the d.c. circuit, my case was assigned to a panel with chief judge sintel on the panel, judge henderson, and judge rogers. if you look back, you'll see that was the same panel, if you recall the case that valerie plam brought after she was outed as a cia agent. and her case was dismissed by a 2-1 vote at the d.c. circuit with judge sin tell and judge henderson finding she had no cause of action. not surprisingly, i got the exact same panel, and i got the exact same result. so in a 2-1 decision, the d.c. circuit ruled that i could not bring suit against mr. mulholland in his personal capacity. they did that because they say
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congress had enacted the civil service reform act, which provided a comprehensive remedy for government employees. and the fact that they exempted the legislative branch, they exempted themselves from the coverage that showed they had considered legislative branch employees and had chosen not to include them in the coverage. so even though i had no remedy, the d.c. circuit said i couldn't proceed on that ground. so we went back into court, and we spent the rest of the time fighting for reinstatement to my former position at the congressional research service. again, i guess one of the things i've learned from this was i was extraordinarily fortunate that anthony romero called me when this all happened. had i been just anyone else, just an average guy on the street in a similar circumstance, i would have had to throw in the towel a long time ago because the government tactic, the justice department seemed to use was delay, defame,
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bankrupt, you know, to try to litigate this case. so over the six and a half years, the american civil liberties union spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting for my right of free speech in an effort to get me reinstated to the congressional research service, to the position that i was fired from. i thought it was interesting, too, that eventually the arguments that i had made in the op-eds that i wrote, if you go back and look at the testimony i provided to congress in july of 2008, it was essentially the same thing i had said to this notion that somehow congress would be surprised that i had a strong opinion about guantanamo, that ship had sailed before i was ever hired at congressional research service. but the obama administration's position eventually became the position that i had advocated. if you recall, attorney general holder later said that in hindsight, it had been a mistake to give up on federal court and to revert back to the military commissions because as he said,
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khalid sheikh mohammed, had he been tried in federal court, would have long since been convicted and sitting on death row. in fact, i mentioned the 14 men that got off the plane in september of 2006 at guantanamo. there there was only one of those 14 that has been tried, convicted, sentenced, and his case has been through the appellate process to the supreme court, who denied certain. the case is over and done. that's ahmed galany. ahmed galany is the only gaun taun know detainee that was brought to the united states and prosecuted in federal court, where he was convicted and got a life sentence. the other 13 men that got off the plane with him in september of 2006 are still waiting for their opportunity to have their day in court. so i think it's interesting. i was reading on the way over how congress now, the house has passed a measure that would further restrict president obama's ability to transport detainees out of guantanamo. but, again, the only person that's been convicted,
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sentenced, and the case through the appellate process successfully has been ahmed galany, who was convicted in federal courts. so eventually after i was terminated, judge walton during the discussion about irreparable harm said with my qualifications -- you know, i had a b.s., a j.d., and two l.l.m.s and 25 years of military service. it would no problem finding a job. i had already aggravated the republican side when i quit over torture, and now i had aggravated the democratic side when i criticized president obama for his policy on guantanamo. and in d.c., when you've managed to alienate both the republicans and the democrats, it's not an enveeable position to be in seeking employment. so rather than having no problem finding a job for the next six months, i'd like to thank the citizens of the district of columbia for the unemployment checks that i got because i applied for over 200 jobs with government agencies, with private organizations, with non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, you name
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it. i applied. places that had offered me jobs a few months before, suddenly i was no longer a good fit with their organization. as one human rights organization said, we totally agree with everything you said, but we just think you're too toxic. you know, the administration is going to hold it against us. so for six months, i collected unemployment as i couldn't find a job. i'm very grateful because up until recently, for four years i was an assistant professor at howard university at the law school. kurt smoke, former mayor of baltimore, was the dean of the law school. akeener dark was the vice dean, and the two of them were willing to take me in when no one else would. so i owe a huge debt of gratitude to howard university for giving me a home where they made me feel welcome and gave me the opportunity to go out and do things that i couldn't have done otherwise. if you followed along again, you
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may have seen a did a petition on to close guantanamo. and a quarter of a million people signed that petition. i couldn't have done that had i been in my -- in the government job that i was in. it gave me the opportunity to go out and speak and write and do things. there are pictures where i participated in several protests outside the white house. i did draw the line at putting on an orange jumpsuit and stuck with a coat and tie, but it gave me the opportunity to go out and do some things that i probably couldn't have done otherwise. and then a little over a year ago, i went back into the federal government, an organization where i feel welcome and i work with people that i respect. and, you know, i consider myself very fortunate. just a couple things. you know, i'd like to mention that i've learned over the last six and a half years. i'm going to begin with saying the library of congress and the congressional research service
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are incredible institutions with some remarkable people that do great work. what they've lacked is leadership. dr. carla hayden is apparently going to be the next librarian of congress, and i wish her the best, and i hope she brings the leadership to the organization that it's long needed. the librarian of congress, you know, if you go back and look at the case, i think there's three published opinions in my case, two at the district court level, one at the court of appeals level, and a couple other decisions that weren't published. but the title of the case is davis versus billington. and billington was dr. billington who was at the time the librarian of congress, who recently retired. i believe in the wake of his retirement, congress has now changed the rule where the librarian of congress can only serve for 15 years because dr. billington served for in excess of 30. mr. mulholland, who was the director of crs, has also retired, the person that fired me. both of them, you know, i have
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no doubt love the organization. but i think they love the organization the way j. edgar hoover loved the fbi, where there was no divide between their personal view and the official written regulations. the library had a regulation that said employees are encouraged in speak and write about areas that are outside their area of official responsibility. that was the official published policy. the unofficial policy was no one should say anything outside the walls of the office. so, again, i think it's an incredible institution, organization. particularly i think in this environment that we're in, crs plays a vital role. for better or worse, there was this proliferation of think tanks and organizations that didn't exist a half century ago, and depending on your persuasion, you can find an organization that will provide what looks like research to support whatever position it is you want to take.
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the one organization in this town that will give you the unvarnished story is the congressional research service, where one of the disputes that we had during the course of my lawsuit is this notion that crs provides non-partisan advice. that's not what the statute says. it says crs will provide advice on a non-partisan basis. so it's not the advice that's non-partisan. it's the provision of service. so if someone called my office -- and this happened quite often -- where usually an aide would call and say my member has a hearing this afternoon. can you give me three points in favor of this bill? and we would do that. we may get another call in 15 minutes from another member's office saying, my member is opposed to the bill. can you give me three points in opposition to it? and we did that on a non-partisan basis. but to have people that have spent their lives with ph.d.s and a lifetime of work and expect them to not have an opinion on the issues that they cover, i think, is totally unrealistic. also this notion that the
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taxpayers spend over $100 million a year on crs, and you can go online and often you can find a copy of their reports for free, or in other cases, you've got to pay someone who has taken that report that the government generated. now they're going to sell it back to you. there's no reason that the crs reports aren't made available to the public because those reports do not take a partisan position. now, we often did that for a member. if a member wanted a memo that looked at a particular angle, crs would do that. but the reports themselves, we used to refer to crs as the place of a thousand hands. if you've ever read a crs report, you'll see it will say, on the one hand this, on the other hand, that. it never stakes out the right or wrong answer on a particular issue. but they're great reports that provide a lot of very useful information that the public, i believe, has a right to see because they're paying a lot of money to produce it. i certainly wouldn't argue that the memorandums and the internal work that's done on behalf of a
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committee or a particular member should ever be made public unless the member or the committee choose to do that themselves. but the reports in general, i think ought to be made available. i guess another lesson i learned from this is the government is firmly -- will stand up firmly for your constitutional rights as long as you don't use them. it's kind of like integrity and a lot of other terms that people are very fond of throwing around and they're all for it in theory, not in application. and that's what i found here, that i think out in the public, people like to think of the constitution as being carved in granite. in fact, it seems to be carved in sandstone, where those rights aren't as strong. i mean i spent 25 years in the military. we take an oath to defend the constitution, and you want to view it as this unbreakable document. but then you get here, and you see that the government, you know, says that in public and then when the lights are off,
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they take an entirely different view. you know, i think it's important that people stand up for those rights, particularly the aclu. again, i couldn't have fought this battle without the incredible assistance that they provided. so it wasn't the government. after spending 25 years in the military, it wasn't the government that stood up for my constitutional rights. it was the aclu standing up against the government to make those rights mean something. and i really am eternally grateful to them for doing that. again, i'm really disappointed by the department of justice and the attitude that the attorneys from the department of justice took. one of the things i've tried to stress to people that worked for me when i was a senior attorney in the military and i had young prosecutors that were zealous was even if you're prosecuting somebody, treat them with
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respect. and i felt that throughout this process, it was a very disrespectful. as i said, it was delay, defame, spend to try to make this as painful and difficult as possible. one of the issues that sidetracked us for another year was when i left crs, i did the same thing i had done after every military assignment. my last day, i copied the files off my computer, and i left. it took two years before they actually looked at the computer i used. when they did, they discovered i had taken all the documents off it. so suddenly i'm being accused of theft of government property. i've been following this whole e-mail debate in the presidential election because doj didn't have a cavalier attitude about me taking my e-mails off the government computer. they said it was government property. they insinuated i could face criminal charges, and so i had to go out and get a criminal defense attorney to represent me when suddenly i'm being accused.
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if i had been just a regular guy off the street, i would have been crushed by the government's effort, and i would have had to have given up a long, long time ago. the other thing i learned is this notion of free speech. there's nothing free about it. it's very costly to speak. as i said, i applied for in excess of 200 jobs and couldn't find one for a very long time. we went to court at one point. c.r.s. had an opening for a position that was comparable, same level position i had been in. and we tried to get them -- have the court order them to instate me into that position pending resolution of the lawsuit
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because i was earning about $100,000 a year less than i was making at crs. and judge walton said that losing $100,000 a year was not substantial harm. so i'm not sure that we are in the same financial circle, but i found losing $100,000 a year was pretty substantial harm. and, again, the back pay act, congress exempted themselves from the back pay act, so i wasn't eligible for back pay. so even though it eventually settled, and a got $100,000, i lost about $100,000 a year for the five years that i was out of the government. so free speech cost me about $400,000. the government, in my view, i think the, a clu and i have a bit of a different opinion. i believe the government does have a legitimate right to regulate the conduct and the speech of government employees if there's a significant
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government interest that justifies it. again, when i was in the military for 25 years, i understood that i couldn't go out and, for instance, campaign for someone running for office. it was in black and white. it was in the rules. i think the government has the right to regulate speech and conduct if there is that compelling government interest and if they make it clear to their employees. as i mentioned, the library of congress had a regulation that said employees are encouraged to speak and write. that's what it said in black and white, and when i did it, i got fired for doing it. so if there is a compelling reason that there should be a limitation on a government employee's exercise of their rights, i think that's okay, but there needs to be clear guidance, and that needs to be clearly communicates, what the lines are on what the employee can do. finally let me just say a couple of thank-yous. coy stand here for an hour and name all the people that participated, but, again, particularly the aclu, anthony romero, when i called on day
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one, i don't know that you knew what he was buying into, that its was going to be six and a half years of fighting the government over my job. but lee roland was the last attorney from the aclu who represented me over the last couple of years. part of the deal when we were negotiating the settlement, i have a sub rosa agreement with lee because after talking to an attorney from the aclu every week for the last six and a half years, i couldn't go cold turkey. part of our deal is he has to call me for at least once a month for the next year to kind of wean me off from dealing with the aclu. lee did a remarkable job. also at times jamil jaf row and ben wizener that stood up for me and for my first amendment rights. from the aclu national capital region, the one attorney on my side that was there from day one till the bitter end was art spitzer, who was been with the
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aclu here in washington for a long, long time and stood by me faithfully for six and a half years. the law firm of goodwin proctor here in d.c. over the last couple of years they offered their services pro bono to assist as we moved towards court. so john mccaucus and matt riththy at goodwin proctor did a ton of work as well and fought hard for me. there are a number of former colleagues at crs that stood up for me. lou fisher. mort rosenberg, dick grim et were all career crs employees that at various points in time testified or did declarations on my behalf. i was disappointed in congress, and particularly in the last couple of days, there's been a lot of debate in congress. there is concern about protecting the second amendment rights of people suspected of terrorism. you know, their right to buy a
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gun. i only had one member of congress that had a concern about me and my first amendment right to speak, and that was senator lindsey graham. i'm not one of his constituents. my congressman from my district said this is a legal matter, and i can't get involved. senator graham did. he wrote a letter to the librarian of congress that was included as a declaration when we went to court, and i'll be eternally grateful for senator graham. we don't agree about guantanamo, but he did a declaration saying that what i had to say about it and my perspective having been the chief prosecutor was an important voice to be heard. so the one member of congress that stood up for me and fought was senator lindsey graham. and then finally, and i guess what's really relevant to this group, is the media. it was interesting. again, the two articles, one was in the wall street journal. one was in "the washington post." neither one of them ever said a word. the two organizations that did, "the new york times," and the los angeles times, their
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editorial boards did editorials on my behalf. again, when you're taking on the government, those kind of things mean a lot. so, again, that's just kind of a 30,000-foot view of the last six and a half years of my life. i'm really pleased that it's behind me and that we can move forward. and i hope that other government agencies look at this and think twice before they ignore the constitution. and i hope government employees, particularly in this time when we have an important election coming up and there's this notion of decredentialing the media and stifling people that have contrary opinions, that's not what we're about. so there are a lot of people in government that i think have valuable opinions that the public ought to have the benefit of hearing. so hopefully they'll take some comfort that sometimes it's worth fighting the fight. [ applause ]
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>> don't go too far. you're going to need to be back up here in a second. i have to ask. thank you so much for sharing your story and your perspective on this, and we spoke a little bit about the costs, right? the financial costs, the job search, i'm sure the emotional and psychological toll that it took over the years. we have many op-ed writers in the room with us today. so of course on their behalf, i have to ask, would you speak out again? >> you know, i have thought about that quite a bit. i would. i think i would. even knowing, you know, the consequences. i wrote the op-ed six and a half years ago. it still as important a topic now as it was then. i wish i could say that what i invested led to bringing this issue to closure. it hasn't. hopefully it's contributed to the conversation, but i think this is still an important -- to me, guantanamo, the military commissions, and those issues, you know, as early on, if you
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recall back in -- i think it was john mccain early on back in 2001, 2002, during that period, said this is more about us than it is about them. and it continues to be. i'm really disappointed. i saw where congress is trying to make it more difficult to close guantanamo, but it's a -- you know, i debated a lot of people about guantanamo. it's expensive. we're wasting money. you know, millions of dollars a year to detain individuals. what are there 80 left? 30 of those -- you know, we're spending a couple of million dollars a year on each of those detainees that don't need to be there. where i think the supermax, where amead galany is serving his sentence i think is about $35,000 a year. so if senator prox mire was alive, i would hope he would present a golden fleece aword to the government for spending money needlessly on guantanamo. there are 2,000 troops stationed temporarily devoted to detainee operations. 2,000 of our troops tied up to guard 80 people, 30 that we've
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said don't need to be there. you know, it's squandered our credibility around the world. we hold ourselves up being the bright, shiny city on a hill. still, it's not just our enemies that throw guantanamo in our face. it's our allies as well that express skepticism about us. so i think, you know, we have long since gotten past the day that there's any way to redeem guantanamo. so i think it would be worth saying it again in those circumstances. >> okay. and you mentioned earlier the terms that the poonentagon requd you to use. you couldn't say torture. you couldn't say suicide. if the government and the military called things as they really are, i mean we are a firm believer in the power of language here as communicators and journalists at the press club, as clearly your lawsuit has shown you are as well. if we actually used the language that was appropriate for the things that were happening, do you think the opinion would have
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turned or turned earlier, or would it not have made a difference? >> i think it would have made a difference. you know, again, it's easy to look back in hindsight and see different places where maybe we could have done some things differently. one of the things where i think the obama administration, i think, made a huge mistake was not using the bully pulpit to educate the public. i think the public by and large has kind of written guantanamo off and forgotten about it. i bet if you went outside on the street and you stopped ten people, nine out of ten still believe that worst of the worst narrative, that all these guys would chew through the hydraulic lines on the airplanes to kill americans on the way to guantanamo. we've got to have this facility for people. we capture the enemy on the battlefield. all that's true, but it doesn't apply. i mean, again, if you look at the notion we've got to have this facility and this court process for people that our g.i. jds capture on the battle field, you could count on your fingers the number of detainees that were captured by a member of the
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u.s. military on anything that looked like a battlefield. almost all -- i can think of omar cotter, for instance was apprehended after a fire fight with the u.s. armed forces. that one, it fits. but if you like at the high value detainees, all 14, not a single one was captured by a u.s. g.i. on a battle feel. they're like khalid sheikh mohammed. you remember his hair all messed up when he was rousted out of bed in pakistan and then turned over to the u.s.? so this whole faulsz narrative that's been presented i think was a huge disservice, and i think the administration -- i thifrn honestly when president obama signed the order in january of 2009, he kind of said that's it and didn't anticipate the backlash. but yet the other side, who immediately said, our goal is to make him a one-term president, so i think -- i've said this several times. i think the best way for president obama to close guantanamo is to say he loves it and is going to keep it open forever. then the other side will say, the hell you are. i don't think he anticipated the
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push back. remember john mccain when he was running said he was going to close guantanamo. it was a non-partisan issue. george bush said he wanted to close guantanamo. but when barack obama said he was going to close it, the other side, no, you're not. i doejt think he anticipated that. you had to look at the times. the economy was in a death spiral. health care reform was his top priority, and i don't think they were willing to expend the political capital to make it happen. you had people like dick cheney and others going out and telling these horror stories that just weren't true and the public bought and they weren't getting the other side of the story. i've often said i think if the public knew the truth about guantanamo, they would insist that it be closed by dark today. >> please state your name and outlet before asking your questions. bob. >> bob wiener, wiener public news. we're among the op-ed writers that you're talking about. we've written some in the plain
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dealer on this subject. i wonder what you would say is the lessons of guantanamo. you say you quit over torture. general jeffrey miller, who was director of the questioning at guantanamo, then sent to abu ghraib, and people said he gitmo-ized the questioning at abu ghraib. now we hear brennan on television saying that he won't quite answer if we're still sending people to foreign countries for torture. the united states, we stand on our values. but then he swings right around the question, and you can track four of those statements that he's made that simply don't answer that question. have we learned the lessons from guantanamo, and is the torture still going on in other countries from -- you must be following this because you're an expert in this. is it still going on today through other countries or
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through cia contractors? >> to be honest, i've retired from the military in 2008, so i'm -- don't have the access that i did back in the day. i would -- i haven't seen any conclusive evidence that we're continuing those practices, but i certainly wouldn't be shocked if we are. and i think the answer is, no, i don't think we have learned the lessons that we should. i hope that's -- that's something i think the media can do that would be extraordinarily valuable to the country is to not let this die. to, you know, keep telling the story and letting the public hear the truth. i mean you still get the -- when i go out and speak quite often, people still make the argument about torture, that it worked, and it saved lives. and, you know, what would you do if the guy was at times square and going to set off a bomb? number one, that's never been the case. there's never actually been a guy going to blow up times square and you've got to flknown the next two hours where the bomb is. that's never been the scenario.
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the to me the best argument that shows torture doesn't work is the iraq war. you remember when colin powell went to the u.n. and kind of final straw was we had this source that said the connection between bin laden and al qaeda and the weapons of mags destruction, and it became clear that was not true. they went back to that source and said, why did you lie? and he said, well, you guys were torturing me. i wanted you to quit, so i told you what you wanted to hear. that's what happens with torture. it's great to make people talk. it's not great for making them tell the truth. when we're going to take actions like start a war with another country, i think we ought to know the truth and not just have someone that talks. so i don't think anyone on the other side can point to anything concrete that torture has done for us. but i think you can look at the iraq war and see what torture did to us. and i think we really lose our credibility in the eyes of the world. you know, we led the effort, you know, to pass the convention against torture. kind of like we led the effort to create the international
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criminal court and other things where we're really good about preaching. we're not good about practicing. and so i think as long as until we officially condemn torture, until we hold people accountable for torture, then, you know, we're not -- you know, we're talking the talk, and we're not walking the walk. >> yes? >> excuse me. i'm henry cohen. i am retired after 34 years at the congressional research service. >> can you speak up just a little bit for the mike. >> yes. >> thank you. >> i am retired after 34 years with the congressional research service, and i have -- i believe that what is wrong with gaun taun know mow is the denial of process, men who have been there up to 15 years. the sight of the denial of due process seems to me less important. would moving these men to the
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united states increase their access to due process? >> that's a really good question because if you recall back in the early days of the obama administration, the plan was to move the detainees to i think it was illinois to a prison that's sitting empty there. closing guantanamo, just moving detainees somewhere else, has just made a new gaun taun know somewhere else. you're right. it's the legal principle, not the location that's important. i mean i think you have to go back and look. why did we open guantanamo to begin with? i mean these were people that were picked up over in the afghanistan area, and we flew them halfway around the world. you know, while we had detention facilities there. we detained people by the tens of thousands. why did we, by the dozens, take people halfway around the world? it's because there are people that thought guantanamo was a law-free zone where you could do anything to anybody, and there was nothing anybody could do about it. that was why guantanamo was
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picked. that's kind of a sad comment about our country, you know, that we're this shining city on a hill but we're looking for a law-free spot somewhere on the planet that we can exploit people. kind of my attitude when ie1xde[ that we'reok doing to someone else, would we say it's okay? and if we wouldn't, then why is we do it? and i think certainly if we had americans that had beenheotained for, you know, 14, 15 years and 5=vpsq)icans that had been detad for 14 or 15 years and the other government has said, we don't need to detain these people, like the 30 that are sitting there now that are there for no reason other thanasftheir zintship, most of them are from1 yemen, i think americans would pitchcyñ fit.
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soc i#3e1 oke1it's not suitable happens to one of us, it shouldn't be suitable for us to do it tofá somebody else. >> i work for the gray sheet. one of the things injfe1 the journals of industry that we're very concerned withjffá is when president obama came into office he said he would have the most transparent administration in history and so far i think we've seen somewhat of the opposite. at least in the journalism industry. from your experience working with crs, could you speak a little about what kind of changes you may haveq seen or what kind ofçó abilities you ha to talk to news media? because i know when i've contacted crs for information, questions usually end up in a black hole somewhere or if you ask for a congressional report, your answer is çóusually, go to
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this specific office at congress. so could you speak a little aboute1 what your relationship with the press and what kind of pressures wur getting from the administration? >> again, think it's important dcrs works forñi congress, not for the president. so i think it was more of a function of -- well, let me back up justñi a bit. at least i had a very limited window into the first year of window ihink they came in with optimistic ideals of the change they were going to make. and i think the act of governing was a lot more difficult than i think many had anticipated. 1e -- int( that first year there were a lot of idealists that wanted to make this a different administration than the past administrat9o' been. certainly i thinkxd time has shd that, you know, in many respects it's been noticeable improvem t
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improvement. with crs, one of the problems + i think they're so problems concerned aboutg somebody over on capitol hill that they just don't want anybody to say anything. in fact, you may have seen lately where there'sq this debad about using the term -- there's a term now that congress is insisting that they use versus another one. i can't recall exactly what it o was. but there was v3t back when i was there, the division i ran, that was when the issue about allowing gays andñr lesbians to serve in the military, the actual policy, the regulation was theñ but -- was concerned thate1 a couple on the hill thought homosexual was a derogatory term. how do we write something when the title of the policy is this and we can't use that term? i think there's just so much concern about doing anything that might offend someone onfá capitol hill. the example that was cited often, there was the office of technology assessment, which was
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kind of a sister organization to -- there's gao, e1crs, and o. the perception was that they came out with some positions that were contrary to what e5(zngress wanted so congress h shut down the organization. i think there was a lot of crs, we'veç(tu to tap dance or congress maye1 just shut us down, which again i think a lot mtepds to go to the organizations that are going to give them the opinion that supports their preconceived notion. i think crs could play an important role in providing that independent nonpartisane1 assessment. but it's always been a very focused on congress and not the public and certainly i think your experience is not -- i reaction from lpcrs when they a
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for information. >> i'm witht( sputnik international news. twot(e1?; questions, the first yesterday cia director brennan testified on táathill.c he said that individuals were held accountable for -- i just want to getlp this
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and thenxd monitoring thet( mily commission. so your thoughts on u.s. role i1 establishing these conventions on torture and human rights and then e1disallowing the u.n. owe will official. >> right. well, again, it's disappointing. i'm not -- as you said, he didn't go into a whole lot of detail. certainly no one has been prosecuted for engaging or permitting or sanctioningxa torture, which is literally what the convention against torture requires. also, another requirement is if someone is alleged to have been a victim of torture it require that's there be an avenue for them to seek redress, to be compensated for their injuries. and the obama administration has fought every torture case that has been brought in federal court so you've yet to see any
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person who was an alleged victim of torture -- they certainly haven't gotten a settlement. they haven't even gotten their day in court. to me, i think one of the most egregious examples is the can a canadian citizen, if you ever saw the movie "rendition," it's roughly the story. we took him off the plane at i think laguardia or jfk and eventually he ends up in syria. the guy we're debating whether we should be launching military strikes against assad. a few years ago we were sending people to assad as we did with -- who spent about a year in syria in custody being tortured until eventually the syrians realized that this guy is not a bad guy. and they sent him back home to canada. the canadian government apologized and gave him monetary compensation for their role in helping us send him to syria to get tortured. we have yet to say we're sorry. when he tried to file suit in court, the administration
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asserted i believe qualified immunity or states secret privilege which was successful in blocking him from having his day in court. so until we're willing to give people the opportunity to pursue their cases in court, until we're going to hold people accountable criminally for engaging in what you know, we would consider a war crime if anyone had done that to us. we're really good about assisting others in the prosecution of other leaders who engage in -- in fact, you've seen recently there have been convictions in south america and in africa as well for leaders for acts that happened a long long time ago. so i'm hopeful at some point that there will be accountability for what we did because we can't just ignore it and pretend it didn't happen. >> so we'll have time for one more question. but before we do a little bit of housekeeping. colonel davis has joined us today as part of the newsmaker series. and the series brings prominent
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speakers on news worthy topics year round to the club for q&as and comments such as this. so visit our website at and follow us on twitter using the hash tag npc live. and one last question for the colonel. no? well, i've got one. so as you know and as we've discussed the congress has been unwilling to accept the guantanamo detainees on u.s. soil so our allies around the world have taken them. has that helped or hindered our relationship that our allied friends are now cleaning up some of the mess that we created? >> yeah, again, people i know that have been involved in the efforts over the years to try to repatriate some of the detainees, one of the arguments you get -- i think we've been to just about every country on the face of the earth to try to get them to help us out. and the first thing they say is, how many have you taken?
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and the answer is none. you know, we have begged eged a bribed everybody else to try to undo -- fix the problem that we created when we've taken none. if you recall, we wept around -- the uighurs are probably the best example, we scooped them up and sent them to guantanamo and quickly realized they were no threat to the u.s. china said they'd be happy to take them. of course, the weuighurs wouldn have maefd it until dark in china. we were going to other countries that said, help us out. then somebody said release them into d.c. it was like, oh, my god, we can't have these people coming to america. we eventually got them going to several other places. several went to bermuda. we're spo ezed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave, you think we could be as brave as bermuda. and we just haven't done that. so i think it really hurts when we go to other countries and say, we created this problem. you help solve it, when we've been unwilling to do anything
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ourselves to undo the harm that we caused ff that's all we have time for. thank you so much for everyone who joined us today. we look forward to seeing you again very soon. thank you very much.
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c-span's "washington journal" live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up saturday morning, "philadelphia inquirer" city hall reporter trisha nadal ne talks about philadelphia's new 1.5 cent per ounce tax on sugar sweetened and diet beverages, the first such tax imposed in a major u.s. city. "financial times" u.s. economics editor sam flemming will discuss what came out of this week's federal reserve meeting and the overall outlook for the u.s. economy, including the potential impact of the breck sit referendum. then joshua horwitz executive director of the coalition to stop gun violence will talk about his group's position on
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new gun control measures in the wake of the orlando nightclub attack. plus a look at u.s. efforts to combat home grown terrorism and extremism with deputy dreshgt of george washington university's centeror for cyber and homeland security extremism program. be sure to watch watch c-span's "washington journal" beginning live at 7:00 a.m. eastern saturday morning. join the discussion. the democratic party's platform committee is holding a forum in phoenix to hear testimony on what should be included in the party's platform ahead of next month's democratic national convention. the platform committee is meeting saturday at noon eastern, and you can see that live on our companion network krn c-span. then sunday steve lonegan and bob vander platts on the 2016 presidential campaign. bong were supporters of ted cruz before donald trump clinched the
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republican nomination. newsmakers is sunday at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. i often say that 50 is not the new 30 and 60 ask not the new 40. 50 is the new 50 and it looks good and it's okay and people are to own their age and we ought not be talking about being over 50 as the period of klein. >> sunday night, joanne jenkins talks about the health and financial challenges older americans face and what aarp is doing to assist them. she's also author of "disrupt aging:" a bold new path to living your best life at every age". >> the fastest growing age segment is people over the age of 85 and the second is people over 100. when these programs were put in place life expectancy was 67 or 68. and so not only are there more
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people in the system but they're living longer so we have to be able to look at these programs and make meaningful adjustments that's going to allow people to live with dignity at a much longer period of time. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. the dalai lama spoke at the u.s. institute of peace in washington recently about the role of youth leaders in resolving conflicts. he opened his remarks with a moment of silence for the victims of the mass shooting in orlando, florida.
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>> let us some silent prayer. okay.
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>> thank you. although one monk who quite skeptical about effects of prayer. change or effect come through acti action. then while we carry some serious action continuously despite in
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difficulties, a lot of obstacles without losing our determination, our courage, and make effort. then on top of that some prayer is okay. no harm. otherwise, without action, just to sit in prayer prayer prayer prayer -- i'm quite exceskeptical. thank you. >> thank you. your holiness, thank you everybody for joining us this morning. we are gathered with a heavy heart after this weekend's events but with a conviction that the mission and the vision of a world without violent conflict is more important than ever. my name is nancy lynnborg. i'm the president of the united states ins statute of peace. usip was founded by congress 30 years ago with the vision of a world without violent conflict and dedicated to the proposition
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that peace is possible, that's practical and that it is absolutely essential for our global security. and we are very honored to have been able to work in partnership with you, your holiness, with bringing a group of 28 youth leaders from 13 different countries that are affected by conflict to a dialogue in darm saleh with your holiness. his holiness, to talk about what are the ways to maintain, to build, to find the inner peace and compassion to keep that conviction of peace building going even as you live and work in a troubled world and i think the events in orlando have underscored for us how important that is globally. thank you for joining us this morning, and what i'd like to do before asking you to make a few comments is show a quick video,
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if i might, that gives everybody a sense of those who participated in the dialogue in darm saleh and the importance of that kind of journey to find the inner peace that enables one to go forward. so if we could show the video. ♪ >> so i got nominated and i read the word dalai malama and i was like, this is a junk mail. let's just ignore it. >> this program is different from any i've ever seen, an extraordinary moment where 28 youth leaders from conflict zones around the world came
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together to be mentored by dalai lama in how change happens. >> i want to learn how to forgive and i want to learn how to love. >> so i was shaking for about 15 minutes or more and when his holiness walked in, it was just a great moment. >> when his holiness entered the hall, i just feel like a dream. >> be optimistic so no matter how difficult it is, we should be more optimistic. >> if you were a bunch of young people who had experienced deep tragedy and lived in regions of conflict and they chose to use that energy, that conflict, that fear for their own life and turn it into something incredibly constructive. >> in tunisia we're facing an identity process. >> actually, violence is signs
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of weakness. forgiveness is signs of strength. >> how can we utilize this good friendship or trust between people and religious leaders like you to bring peace between the tribes in my country? >> we should be active in the building of society. >> i feel empowered that the dalai lama was really interested in you. >> what he said was how encouraged he was by meeting with these young people. >> not only his holiness but also the participants in this program they all inspire me. they are peace will building. >> after meeting his holiness, this give a kind of energy that it's as we should build our country. it's as we should make the changes from inside. >> what you have here is a group of determined, passionate,
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committed, action-oriented leaders who are building peace who have been deeply inspired by our two days. >> i really got encouragement so very, very encouraging. >> now i feel like my soul and my spirit is enriched. >> he built so much confidence in us that he is our voice, our actions can make a difference. he believe in our abilities to make changes. >> now that i met the dalai lama, i am going to share the compassion he has shared with us, the love he has shared with us in my community. [ applause ]
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>> your holiness, that was a powerful and transform atif dialogue that we shared with you in darm saleh with some remarkable leaders from many difficult khriz. we're joined here today with two of our youth leaders, victoria and sakana who you greeted and wel)éb+e michael gerson with us who was also part of the trip from "the washington post." you know, we've talked a lot about your vision of the 21st century as being the century that is free from violent conflict. this is the usip vision and mission as well. it is how to find the tools, how to reach the people who will be the builders of peace for this next century. and we are very honored to have you here today with us to continue that dialogue and to continue that search. and we'll ask our youth leaders and michael to make a few comments, but we'd like to first
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ask you to share some reflections with us. >> over the years i have serious discussion with scientist and also educationist. i want to share as one point, on one occasion some scientists mentioned according to experiment very, very young infant child only 5, 6 months old, language not yet develop.
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tend to such infant child showing some -- one to young children helping each other. another cartoon two children with negative attitudes. so their response, the first cartoon, the infant child, i saw smiling, showing cheerfulness. the second cartoon show the same child with negative resentment like that. so then a day -- so these scientists concluded basic human
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nature is more compassionate. when i heard that, i really feel now there's real hope and also only experience when you have trouble. i think except those infant child. everyone have so many problems. so we -- the experience of problem is solved. i call experiences due to that problem, some kind of fear, some kind of anger common experience. however, makes big differences the mental attitude like in the
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system. if your immune system strong then virus don't disturb you. immune system weak, then small virus create a lot of trouble. similar similarly, meantal attitude is healthy, then these problem, see, adver some disturbances ing anger, fear. but will not disturb the deeper level of your mind. so that very helpful to maintain your physical health. so just i think -- i also mentioned just yesterday -- i
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saw my friend and then my friend expressed, you see, judging your face it looks still early 60-year-old and he asked me, what's your secret? and i just told him that's my secret. i don't share. then i told, my life, you know, at age 16 i lost my own freedom age 24 lost my own country. and a lot of sadness because of the situation a lot of problems.
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after we become refugee also you see a lot of work to preservation of our own culture, language. so many problems inside tibet also a lot of problem. and inside tibet very much sort of hoping to me, a lot of hope on me. so a lot of problem. but my mental level quite peacef peaceful. may i say so the peaceful mind or peace even side some problems, not i think because of me. >> that level of --
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>> not something like -- >> not out of darkness. >> my mind quite sharp. many my friend, many scientist they appreciate sharpness of my mind. so you see -- but still i can keep deeper level peace no matter this difficulties. so i told him that's my secret. peace of mind makes differences. so i go opn my own experience. same human being i never consider i'm something special person. we are same.
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same human being mentally emotionally physically we are same. so someone who can carry that kind of practice then why not kindle that. so that i think confirmed our meeting in darm salah. some individual story really terrible, really desperate, such desperate moment you develop some sort of determination to do something for peace. wonderful. so that goes to show we all have the same potential like that. so therefore peace of mind is very, very useful for individual
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interest. that peace of min more compassion of mind. sometimes people say, people feel compassion is something good for other but not necessarily oneself. it's totally wrong. the practice of compassion first of all benefit to oneself i often mention my story. one time in germany your neighbor, you italy. i think italy more sort of -- like that. german hardworking, serious.
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anyway, one meeting one late evening quite dark. and i passing through road as my own nature or habit when i met some people on the street. i just usually smiling. so passing through the street one young lady coming down. as usual, i smile, show human brothers, sisters spirit. then that lady seems to develop suspicion. why? why this person strange with the dress or strange hat and smiling? she may have felt oh,
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something -- so she sort of looks something uncomfortable. so that shows my compassionate attitude, myself happy, feel easy. but the other person that lady get more suspicion. learn that. so the practice of compassion, first the benefit go to yourself. and constantly go that way you really get peace of mind. and then no matter how troublesome your life but still you can keep peace of mind. that brings more healthier and also obviously more peace of mind, more compassion of mind, you get a lot of friends.
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we need friends. so therefore you see compassionate mind is really very, very helpful for health also and creates friendship. friendship entirely based on trust. trust based on if you show genuine concern, then trust come. >> your holiness, i would like to -- >> so i really admire these people, at least you see you really showing interest. so now with your interest you should implement as i mentioned earlier. you should carry action. personally your own server, then you see one individual you see share with your own circle ten people. then each carry effort.
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then 100 people. then 1,000 people. then 10,000 people. that's the way to change humanity. >> then to 7 billion people. >> yes. >> i would like to invite michael gerson to come up and say a few comments and i also want to note for those who are watching us online or using twitter that it's hash tag dalai la llama usip. we're streaming over social media right now. michael gerson. >> your holiness, thank you. almost exactly 50 years ago one of my heroes robert kennedy went to the university of capetown and said, each time a man stands up for an idea or acts to improve the lot of others and strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest
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walls of oppression and resistan resistance. it was an extraordinary experience for me to spend time with 28 centers of energy and daring. as a writer, i found their individual different stories from south sudan and nigeria and afghanistan fascinating. but what they hold in common is most impressive. each in one way or another has witnessed horrors, all have refused to be each bystanders or combatants. instead, they have chosen to be instruments of healing, asserting a common humanity in the midst of conflict. during our time, we saw them develop a sense of community. those who stand for principle at least at the beginning can be alone. they can work for many years in relative isolation, and it was moving to watch these men and women find the shelter of one
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another. but it was also inspiring to watch them be inspired by someone who has known their struggle. it they are ripples of hope, his holiness is a boulder thrown into a pond. i don't think anyone will forget the generosity of his attention, the depth of his insight, his good humor, and his tireless focus. the participants were interested in the techniques of movement building, but the dalai lama's primary message was spiritual. how the practice of tolerance and compassion requires a healthy mind and body, how a genuine smile, not what you call a diplomatic smile, can express respect and build trust. it is hard to describe what happened before us, but for these young people it was a graduate level seminar in loving kindness, a master class in
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being fully human. i'm involved in a lot of think tanks, sponsoring a lot of conferences, and they are fine in their own way. but this work by usip was what really influence locks like. i saw the passing of wisdom and passion to the next generation of leaders, leaders of movements, even future leaders of their own countries. they came away changed, and i was privileged to witness it. thank you. >> thank you, michael. [ applause ] >> and we have with us one of the youth leaders, two, but first sakana who is here from a morocco who joined us in darm saleh. >> hello, his holiness.
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>> it's on. it's on. >> oh, yes. >> i'm from casablanca ma iraq co-. i work at a community center that was created in 2007 in the largest slum morocco. in 2003 and 2007 the city of casablanca was shaken by horrific terrorist attacks and all the terrorists came from -- our center was created in 2007 to give the opportunity to at-risk kits and vulnerable youth to become good citizens through art, culture, education, and various trainings in peace
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building and conflict resolution. and then came my experience in darm saleh to deepen our work. now ladies and gentlemen, let me share with you what i learned from my experience in darm saleh. my experience in darm saleh helped me look deeper in my soul, sparked new things that didn't exist before, and fed the flames that were burning already. by sharing my story with his holiness the dalai lama and youth peace builders, i learned how to share things that terrify me so i can grow, experience, and flourish. i learned to be more honest with myself to see the weakest, most
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fragile parts of myself and that only acknowledge in them but owning them. i learned that we don't have to be afraid to peel back our layers and open ourselves to love because we are all the same, members of the same human family as his holiness said. i learned that love, peace, gratitude and compassion are not ready made. it's not something we do. it's something we are. it's at the core of our existence. we are love. we are peace. this is why we are here, and it's what we all need and want. it's what brings us richness, meaning, and fulfillment to our lives. i learned that courage is only
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real when it's shared and now i know that it's our duty as peace builders, young peace builders and citizens of the world, to build a generation of people who choose peace, who choose peace every day and who choose peace again and again. thank you. [ applause ] >> wonderful. wonderful. >> thank you, sakany. i'd like to invite victoria who is joining us from nigeria who was also with us in darm saleh. >> his holiness, my name is victoria and i come from nigeria. in november 2013 i started an organization to help tutoring it for my community realize their true self-identity and work for peace. this was deeply inspired by
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my -- from eye violent community and living in the community as a vulnerable girl child. so our project is to teach children on self-identity, self-regulation, to help them realize that even though they come from violent communities they have the choice to choose to work for peace and also that make the choice to change the situation of things around them. our time in darm salah was indeed an unforgettable experience for me meeting his holiness and learning from my fellow youth participants. his holiness taught us that we the youth are the heart of the community and we have a deep role to play to ensure that the world becomes peaceful and sustainable. it was deeply inspiring hearing the stories of youth from afghanistan, iraq, nigeria, kenya, tunisia, and many more. this shows that we can continue to work for peace as young people and we the youth have a
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role to play to encourage our peers to walk for peaceqr&ñ and put an end to violent extremism. peace is very possible. peace is essential. like the world of -- and i see it as a joint effort if we all come together to change the narrative. it takes us starting from our communities, starting in our families, starting from our workplace, using religion to promote peace. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> thank you. >> wonderful. >> thank you, victoria, sakana and michael. these were the voices that gave us so much hope in darm saleh. and we would like to continue the conversation here today. i have a number of questions from people who would like to ask you -- and i want to once again give you hash tag dalai lama usip. but the first question is from
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madeline from the state department and marie from action aid, had the same question, which is, as a self-proclaimed feminist, what message do you have for girls growing up in environments of violence and extremism? and what role do you see girls and women playing encountering violent extremism? >> since many years i devote to you and accordingly i express many -- i think perhaps so the many -- human population quite
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small and then some communist ideology they say religion is communi communism. no private ownership. everything they say to use by the group of -- small group. small group. so at that time no leadership. then gradually population increased and the farming system developed. then the poverty ownership so then some disputes or some crimes also happen. so then leadership come. at that time no education, role of education. so in order to become fiscal
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standard, that is the start, the made minutes. even some religious tradition also some kind of effect from that kind of society, that kind of concept. then education come. education brings small equal so some very, very powerful sort of leadership to happen. now existing education not to educate. we must make more effort or warm heartedness so therefore buy logically female have more sensitive about other's people.
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that comes from scientist to the investigation to search they found. so therefore at a time we need special effort for promotion of compassion, love, female, more active role. so that's why you see my friend just -- so therefore sometimes i feel about 200 different nations the majority of the leader of these nations female. maybe less trouble. less violence. of course some ladies, females, are exceptional.
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so equally some ladies, also some very compassionate. so average i think because of the biological factor so therefore that's my view, neal should take more active, more effort to promote human love. human compassion. so mainly as i was mentioning, now within the present circumstances environment very
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difficu difficult, like this -- and at least -- in some cases in the name of tradition. and many innocent people dying. terrible. unthinkable. then when we saw the situation, then each individual can make different so we have to take and we take seriously this sad event. these also some line of recall according to law of cause alty. these are result or syndrome of certain costs. so fundamentals of costs here,
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hate, too much self-centered attitude, lack of sense of oneness of human brother/sisters human being. actual actually, human brothers sisters. so we really need sense of oneness or human being. if we have that kind of vision, we are -- then the -- also now each kocontinent their future depends open other. that's reality. more or less self-sufficient and independence. now heavily independent in modern economy. then also environment issue.
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so now global warming also create more and more major disaster. so now time come. several human being have to act. united. collectively. otherwise, distant for a century also can be miserable century. so as i mentioned earlier, basic human nature is more compassionate. so we have the hope to build the genuine university love on the basis of the sense of oneness or celebrating human being to education through earnest. so this is not serving god or buddha. it's serving ourself.
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serving human being. you see? a lot of problem which we are facing. it's actually our own creation. nobody want the problem but because our mind too much bias, too much short-sided and because of the -- so these through education, through earnest we can reduce these things. so it's through that way if you attempt the younger generation, you attempt now. make effort now. i think end of the century could be more peaceful. more compassionate. i saw bbc broadcast in europe more and more people express
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their global citizen. they' they're wonderful. if you truly -- spread the global all same. so therefore i think circumstances compel us now we have to act as one humanity. practically and also morally we have to think that way. so it is quite hopeful sign. ideally suppose i give some sort of eep couragement or something to learn, to teach you. but actually i learn more. wonderful. really wonderful.
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>> this builds on what you just said, but we have a number of questions from some of our media guests today, all of which are very related to the events in orlando. and they're specifically asking, especially related to the role of religious hostility, religious ideology especially in the situation where it's targeting our lgbt brothers and sisters. how do we transform that? how do we transform that? >> my second moment is disharmo disharmony. now, 70 years i live in india. so india most populated country,
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ancient country. and a lot of problems there. despite that, you know, i think over 2,000 years the religious harmony there. besides homegrown tradition, from outside firstly i think -- from ancient -- then judaism, christianity and islam. one of the homegrown citizen, his family hindu but he didn't really prove to mecca. to show nonsectarian. so india still there is harmony
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the there. so once you see such as big nation india still can maintain disharmony so so why not just if you make an attempt to end this, i think we can -- we can reduce sectarian feeling. so this first, education. secondly, was no contact. contacts or i notice indian muslim. same follow indonesian muslim. then arab muslim. you see, they follow muhammad.
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same teaching. but indian muslim i think from their childhood did take for granted there are different traditions. and in malaysia, singapore also, there are a large number of chinese who settled there. these, majority of these chinese, myouung people are buddhists and also a large number of indians. so therefore, that makes a difference. in arab countries, it's only one region. maybe some christian. anyway, quite isolated. that's also one factor. so personal contacts is something i think very
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important. one, through education. and teaching. ultra dition. you see, making aspects of all this tradition. one aspect is religion. that's, you know, teaching of love, forgiveness, tolerance. same. and i think we witness a number of christians dedicated their life serving other people. actually, some muslims are dedicated. so they act weigh i think islam practitioner should not create any bloodshed.
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if person creates bloodshed, then no longer a genuine practitioner of islam. and the very -- [ applause ] the very meaning of jihad is not harming others but your own destructive emotion. that is the real meaning. jihad. so therefore all that tradition instruct us in compassion, forgiveness. then another aspect is philosophy. there are big differences. basically, believe creator. creator. rather, self-creation. so big differences. but then we have to ask what is
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the purpose of this different philosop philosophy. same. try to bring conviction aboard. basic quality or practice of love. so to some people, creator. very, very powerful. god as our father, our creator. this very life created by god. we have everything with god. god is infinite love. so we all human beings. children. such wonderful compassionate father. wonderful sort of views. then indian tradition.
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you see, nonbeliever, creator, god, creator. if you create good. good means. you get benefit it so different emphasis. but same purpose. to bring more conviction. more compassion. so no problem it so sometimes, this aspect, something like supermarket. like supermarket. so there are a lot of different
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food. different religion with different philosophy views. brings satisfaction for variety of people. just one religion like one for the market. one item. then people really aggressiveness. there are more people come like that. so because of the markets, like supermarket, religious supermarket it yeah, differences. different region, different philosophies. wonderful. third aspect. so now one example. i think because of the -- fifth
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century b.c. so at that time, you see the gin founder. then after a few -- i think three, four, decades. buddha come. that time, sacrifice immense, even affect the farmer's economy. so such time, such period, the founder. so because of the circumstances like that, so special emphasis.
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and don't kill any form of life. wonderful. after that, buddha come. similar of that. like that. so causal aspect, you see, existing circumstances, society circumstances make some influence. so i think under difficult circumstances. the emphasis. like that. in order to survive your own sort of community. then jesus christ come. more emphasis about patience. if someone hit here, show this.
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like that. that area. life. so not life. possible. rule of law. like that. so emphasis sharia law. due to circumstances. so that third aspect of religion. then in india caste system. it is quite serious. i met some parliament member. especially for caste law. so we have some discretions. so i told them like this.
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this is the social sort of system. at that time feudal system. and then others like slave. so the caste system. which is the feudal system. so feudal system changed. now these certain sort of controversial aspects of religion with the feudal system. now time comes they must change. so for that, the politicians saw even governments cannot do much. the spiritual leader should come out. tell them. according to hindu. all comes from same. creator.


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