Reporter Marty Schladen gives DeLay space to deny everything, but then presents facts to refute DeLay. And in the same article! It is a rare example of real journalism in our current times:
And there are more of DeLay's lies and the refuting facts below the fold...
"I wanted to see it for myself because of the kinds of charges (that have been made) -- that I found to be totally false, incredible lies about the people of the Marianas Islands," he said. "These were clean garment factories. They were bringing people from China and paying them in many cases more in one year than they could make in 10 years in China, thereby supporting families back in China."
Trouble was that DeLay took his Saipan trip more than three months before Miller released his report. Today's article detailed some of Miller's findings:
Some in the garment industry lived in barracks with no running water and a hot plate for a kitchen, Miller reported. For those amenities, they paid their employers $100 a month in rent.
One woman told Miller that when she became pregnant, her employer gave her a choice: return to China or be fired. The woman said she was afraid that if she went back to China, she'd be forced to have a late-term abortion.
Other Chinese women told Miller that the "restaurant" jobs they'd taken consisted of hanging out in karaoke bars, being forced to have sex with the patrons and then being shut out of the proceeds from their prostitution, his report said.
Meanwhile, the tidal wave of immigration brought with it spikes in gang and drug activity, Miller reported. [snip]
Despite an official limit of 11,000 foreign workers in the garment industry, Miller in 1998 estimated that the actual number was closer to 28,000. He placed the overall number of foreign workers in the territory at 42,000 -- more than the permanent population.
And DeLay responded:
And of course the US DOJ contradicted DeLay:
In 1999, Soon Oh Kwon, president of Kwon Enterprises, and his wife pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to violating federal laws against involuntary servitude.
The two admitted to bringing Chinese women to Saipan in 1996 and 1997 on contracts to work as waitresses. Instead, they were forced to work as "bargirls" at Kwon Enterprises' karaoke club, K's Hideaway. The women were forced to have sex with the patrons, Kwon said.
If the Chinese women said they wanted to return home, they were told they could not leave until they repaid their debt for coming to Saipan. In case they had any thoughts of leaving any way, they were told they would be killed if they tried, Kwon said.
The case was one of 10 involuntary servitude cases the Justice Department brought in the Northern Marianas during a three-year period. They involved more than 150 victims, according to a Justice Department statement.
While the Justice Department found hard evidence that people were using Saipan's immigration rules to make women sex slaves, DeLay never did.
DeLay said the move in the 1990s to federalize immigration and minimum wage rules for Saipan was motivated more by the Democrats' political agenda than out of a desire to safeguard human rights.
"The issue was (former President) Clinton and leftist George Miller ... were trying to destroy what was going on in the Marianas Islands," he said.
Oh, the Tan Family has had a history of involvement in sweatshops:
It said that employees were forced to work 84 hours a week with no overtime and below the territory's then-minimum wage of $2.90 an hour.
The suit also said that many of Tan's employees were not allowed to leave their work sites or the barracks where they lived.
Tan ended up paying $9 million in restitution to 1,200 employees. Up to that time, it was the largest fine ever imposed by the Labor Department.
And the Tan family was the source of the money behind Jack Abramoff's CNMI lobbying. It was their local Government officials who paid Jack without an official contract. And when that was slow they paid Jack through the Sapian Garment Manufactures Association and the Western pacific Economic Council. Much of their money flowed to DeLay and the GOP through Abramoff. And Tom gave the Tan clan what they wanted in return:
After his visits, Murkowski called the conditions faced by workers there "appalling." In 2000, he marshaled an immigration-reform bill through his committee and through the Senate.
However, in the face of DeLay's opposition, it died in the House.
And the 1999 testimony of Steven R. Galster before the House Committee on Energy and Resources spelled out the connection between DeLay and Willie Tan:
In preparing for our investigation, we learned that other foreigners were also buying jobs to work in Saipan, most securing menial positions with the Saipan garment industry. We read numerous accounts of alleged employer abuse, including recruitment by deceit, and working under coercive and/or debt-bondage situations. We could also see that these allegations were strongly denied by the garment industry, CNMI officials, and even some US Congresspersons.
Employer watchfulness and intimidation of workers --be it in brothels or garment factories-- makes it difficult to obtain reliable information through traditional journalism and interviewing methods. By the same token, employers may not comfortably share with researchers the true nature of their employment and supervisory techniques, for fear of saying something that will be taken out of context and used against them unfairly.
In response to these constraints, GSN adopted unconventional research procedures to document the existence or non-existence of human trafficking in the CNMI. Leading this research team, I posed as an apparel company representative interested in placing an order with Saipan-based factories. Employers felt comfortable talking to me because they saw me as a potential buyer. [snip]
... it is worth pointing out that the very top garment executives, as well as some CNMI legislators I met, felt completely immune from any potential Congressional reform efforts in CNMI. They claimed that House Majority Whip, Tom DeLay would manipulate congressional processes to prevent CNMI labor reform. The exact words of one executive, which summed up this feeling of immunity, were these: "You know what Tom told me? He said, [name of executive], if they elect me as majority whip, I make the schedule of the Congress. And I'm not going to put in on the schedule. They got to go through all the committees before they come to me. Even if it comes to me, I'm not going to schedule it. What, are they going to have a motion to get it from my committee, they will not do that --who are you? So Tom told me, forget it...not a chance."
This same executive, who holds more sway with the CNMI government than any one person, added: "[Tom DeLay] called up the guy who is charge of the committee, his name is Don Young from Alaska...And he said Don, nothing wrong with CNMI. He say, you gotta go there. If this is slave labor, mistreatment, those kind of thing, go after them. It's all not true...You guys are trying to do something right into wrong. Tom explained to them. So, Don Young backed off."
And the AP has reported that the Tan family is a big source of funds for the GOP:
Two Tan family companies gave $25,000 each to the National Republican Senatorial Committee for the 2002 elections.
Now is the time for us to keep the pressure on. Abramoff, DeLay and the rest of their gang need to be brought to justice. It is time to demand an independent prosecutor for all things related to Jack Abramoff.