Committee on Foreign Affairs

Ed Royce

Subcommittee Hearing: Combating the Ebola Threat

2014/08/07


Look Ahead — Week of August 4 - 8

2014/08/01

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, announced the following upcoming Committee events:  Thursday, August 7  Subcommittee Hearing: Combating the Ebola Threat

2:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 7 in 2172 Rayburn House Office Building  Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations   Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), Chairman   Invited Witnesses Include:   Tom Frieden, M.D. Director Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   Ariel Pablos-Méndez, M.D. Assistant Administrator Bureau for Global Health U.S. Agency for International Development

Chairman Smith on the hearing:  “The Ebola virus had been contained in one small area of Central Africa for years.  Even when there was an outbreak, such as in Uganda, international cooperation was able to prevent a broader spread of the disease.  This hearing will examine current international efforts to meet the challenge of the worst outbreak of Ebola in history.”     ***See www.foreignaffairs.house.gov for updates.   ***Coverage note: All Foreign Affairs Committee proceedings are webcast live at www.foreignaffairs.house.gov/live-video-feed.   ###

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Syrian Army Defector, "Caesar," Briefs Committee, Shows Photographs Documenting Atrocities by Assad Regime -- Chairman Royce Opening Statement

2014/07/31

Briefer smuggled 50,000 photos out of Syria, shares story, photos in public for first time

Washington, D.C. – Today at 9:30 a.m., U.S. Rep.  Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, convened a briefing entitled, “Assad’s Killing Machine Exposed: Implications for U.S. Policy.”  The Committee is being briefed by “Caesar,” a Syrian Army defector who was witness to and a documenter of Bashar al-Assad’s lethal brutality.  This briefing is the first public setting in which “Caesar” has shared his story.

 “Caesar,” who is appearing in disguise at the briefing, has smuggled out of Syria more than 50,000 photographs that document the torture and execution of more than 10,000 dissidents. 

During the briefing “Caesar” is showing Committee Members a number of those photographs, some of which are available HERE.

***Please note these are VERY GRAPHIC images.  Below is Chairman Royce’s statement as prepared for delivery at the briefing:

Today, we examine evidence of horrific atrocities committed by the regime of Bashar al-Assad against the Syrian people.

The Syria crisis is now in its fourth year.  This is a crisis created and sustained by Bashar al-Assad, who responded to peaceful demands by Syrians for their universal rights with unspeakable violence – even against children.  In doing so, he has placed his own grip on power above the very survival of millions.

The conflict has created unimaginable human suffering.  According to international statistics, 11 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian aid – which Assad has blocked in many areas.  His “Kneel or Starve” campaigns are just one example of his brutality. 

Others include – targeted killings, mass graves, ethnic cleansing, sexual violence, widespread torture, aerial bombardment of residential areas with conventional and chemical weapons, and the extermination of entire families.

Assad’s brutality, as we know, is underwritten by robust military and other support from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.  Syria is a humanitarian crisis, but a strategic challenge too, as Assad has pulled the entire region into violent chaos. 

Today, the Committee will view images of horrendous violence, carried out on an industrial scale.  It is no coincidence that these photos were shown at the Holocaust Museum earlier this week.  We will see evidence of the Assad regime’s killing of at least 10,000 political dissidents between 2011 and 2013.  The killing continues today.

In April, this Committee unanimously condemned Assad’s atrocities, passing H. Res. 520.  We also passed a resolution authored by Mr. Smith, which called for the establishment of a tribunal to hold accountable the perpetrators of war crimes in Syria.  Pure and simple, these photos cry out for justice. 

We are honored to be joined by four excellent witnesses, including “Caesar,” a defector from the Syrian army, who risked his life to collect and smuggle out of Syria over 50,000 photos of political dissidents tortured and killed by the regime after the protests began.  I offer you a special thank you for speaking to our Committee today.

One cannot see images like these and not ask, “what can be done?”  Answering that isn’t easy.    Mr. Engel was an early supporter of more aggressive action on Syria, when it wasn’t popular.  I’m not sure that’s changed much, but as Committee Members, we are charged with confronting these difficult issues, which are moral issues too. I appreciate our Members attending this briefing, a vivid and depressing reminder that while action can be costly, so too can inaction. 

 

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Briefing: Assad’s Killing Machine Exposed: Implications for U.S. Policy

2014/07/31

Media:  See Important Coverage Note Below

U.S. Rep.  Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, announced that on Thursday, July 31, Committee Members will be briefed by “Caesar,” a Syrian Army defector who was witness to and a documenter of Bashar al-Assad’s lethal brutality.  “Caesar,” who will be appearing in disguise at the briefing, has smuggled out of Syria more than 50,000 photographs that document the torture and execution of more than 10,000 dissidents and will be showing photographs to Committee Members.  This briefing will be the first public setting in which “Caesar” has shared his story.  The briefing, entitled “Assad’s Killing Machine Exposed: Implications for U.S. Policy,” will begin at 9:30 a.m.

On the briefing, Chairman Royce said:  "Over the past three-and-a-half years, the Assad regime has carried-out a campaign of unspeakable brutality against the Syrian people, including chemical weapons attacks, mass torture, and mass executions against even peaceful political opposition.  The slaughter’s systematic nature is shocking.  At this briefing, Committee Members will hear – and see -- the sobering account of a first-hand witness of Assad's killing machine.  The primary briefer Thursday morning, the Syrian army defector known as ‘Caesar,’ has helped smuggle tens of thousands of photos of more than 10,000 tortured and executed Syrian political dissidents, some of them children."

What:Committee Briefing:  Assad’s Killing Machine Exposed: Implications for U.S. Policy

When: 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 31, 2014

Where: 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

Briefers: “Caesar” (an alias) Syrian Army defector (will appear in disguise)

Mr. David M. Crane Professor of Practice College of Law Syracuse University

Mr. Cherif Bassiouni Emeritus Professor of Law College of Law DePaul University

The Honorable Frederic C. Hof Resident Senior Fellow Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East Atlantic Council

Important Note on Media Coverage of briefing:

For the safety of “Caesar,” the primary briefer, only still photography will be permitted during the opening statement portion of the briefing and will be restricted to designated areas near the rear of the briefing room.  No video or audio recording will be permitted at any time during the briefing.   

The briefing will not be webcast.

VERY GRAPHIC images will be displayed during the briefing.

***See www.foreignaffairs.house.gov for updates.

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House Passes Foreign Affairs Legislation Condemning Hamas’ Use of Human Shields

2014/07/30

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, applauded House passage of H.Con.Res. 107.  The legislation denounces the use of civilians as human shields by Hamas and other terrorist organizations.  Video of Chairman Royce’s floor statement is available HERE.  On passage of H.Con.Res. 107, Chairman Royce said:  “Hamas’ efforts to kill and maim the maximum number of Israeli civilians while using its own population as human shields is a crime—a clear violation of international law.  Hamas has shown a callous disregard for the lives and welfare of Palestinians, as illustrated by Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri’s encouragement on al-Aqsa TV to Gaza residents to act as human shields.  Passage of today’s legislation places responsibility for these atrocities squarely where it belongs – with the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hamas.”  Note: Earlier this month, the Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing entitled, “Iran’s Destabilizing Role in the Middle East,” which exposed Iran as the primary backer of Hamas – through weapons, funding and missiles.

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Photos Presented to the House Foreign Affairs Committee by "Caesar" at Briefing on "Assad’s Killing Machine Exposed: Implications for U.S. Policy" on 7/31/14

2014/07/30


House Foreign Affairs Committee Passes Five Measures

2014/07/30

Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), passed five foreign affairs measures including legislation to support Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense system.  A summary of the Committee action, including adopted amendments, will be available HERE.   The Committee passed, as amended, H.R. 5235, the Emergency Iron Dome Replenishment Act, introduced by the Committee’s Ranking Member, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), to support Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense system.  On the passage of H.R. 5235, Chairman Royce said:  “With the Iron Dome, Israel has intercepted Hamas’s missiles with a once unthinkable success rate of nearly 90 percent.  This has allowed Israel to safeguard its neighborhoods, schools and hospitals from attack.  It has saved countless innocent lives.  By passing this important legislation, we send a strong message of support for our ally Israel and we ensure that the Iron Dome system is well-supplied and equipped to handle future threats.”

The Committee also passed, as amended:

H.R. 3398, the Girls Count Act, introduced by Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), which authorizes the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development to provide assistance to support the rights of women and girls in developing countries;

H. Res. 281, introduced by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), which expresses concern over persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting in the People's Republic of China, from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned for their religious beliefs, and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups.  H.R. 5041, the Naftali Fraenkel Rewards for Justice Act of 2014, introduced by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), which requires the Secretary of State to offer rewards totaling up to $5,000,000 for information on the kidnapping and murder of Naftali Fraenkel, a dual United States-Israeli citizen;

H. Res. 683, introduced by Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA), which highlights the current situation in Iraq and the urgent need to protect religious minorities from persecution from the Sunni Islamist insurgent and the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) as it expands its control over areas in northwestern Iraq.   A summary of the Committee action, including adopted amendments, will be available HERE.  

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Updated: Look Ahead — Week of July 28 – August 1

2014/07/30

*Measures updated for Wednesday’s 10 a.m. markup* **Witnesses added to Wednesday’s 2 p.m. subcommittee hearing** ***Committee briefing announced for Thursday, July 31 at 9:30 a.m.***

Media:  See Important Coverage Note Below for Thursday Briefing  

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, announced the following upcoming Committee events:

Wednesday, July 30

Markup:  H.R. 3398, To authorize the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development to provide assistance to support the rights of women and girls in developing countries, and for other purposes;H. Res. 281, Expressing concern over persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience, in the People's Republic of China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners;H.R. 5041, The Naftali Fraenkel Rewards for Justice Act of 2014;H.R. 5235, To authorize further assistance to Israel for the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system; andH. Res. 683, Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives on the current situation in Iraq and the urgent need to protect religious minorities from persecution from the Sunni Islamist insurgent and terrorist group the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) as it expands its control over areas in northwestern Iraq.

10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 30 in 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

Committee on Foreign Affairs

Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman

Wednesday, July 30

Subcommittee Hearing: Twenty-Years of U.S. Policy on North Korea: From Agreed Framework to Strategic Patience

2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 30 in 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific

Steve Chabot (R-OH), Chairman

Invited Witnesses Include:

The Honorable Glyn Davies Special Representative for North Korea Policy Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs U.S. Department of State

The Honorable Robert King Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Office of the Special Envoy for Human Rights in North Korea U.S. Department of State

Chairman Chabot on the hearing: “In 1994, the Clinton Administration announced to the world the signing of the Agreed Framework that was supposed to result in a nuclear weapons-free North Korea.  Twenty-years later, the goal of denuclearization in North Korea is no closer to reality.  Rather, Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile weapons programs continue to make progress, threatening the stability of the entire Asia region. After 20 years of failed policies, it is time for a new approach to North Korea. The regime’s efforts to proliferate, counterfeit, and undermine are well-known and documented—as are North Korea’s systematic and horrific human rights abuses. This hearing will examine whether the Administration intends to cripple the North Korean regime by considering more targeted sanctions or whether the failed policy of “strategic patience” will continue.”

Wednesday, July 30

Subcommittee Hearing: Building Prosperity in Latin America: Investor Confidence in the Rule of Law

2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 30 in 2200 Rayburn House Office Building

Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere

Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Chairman

Invited Witnesses Include:

The Honorable James K. Glassman Visiting Fellow American Enterprise Institute (Former Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State)

Mr. Paul M. Barret Author

The Honorable Jose W. Fernandez Partner Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP(Former Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs U.S. Department of State)

Chairman Salmon on the hearing: “Rule of law, predictability, and strong democratic institutions are vital in providing the confidence investors need to bring economic opportunity, growth and jobs to any given country.  Latin America is rich in resources and human capital, but many countries in the region are plagued by corruption, weak institutions, and leaders who systematically erode democratic values.  Argentina’s continued flouting of past debt obligations places what should be a vibrant economy at risk of another default.  Market unfriendly regulations in Brazil, Ecuador, and Bolivia have similarly shaken investor confidence, affecting economic growth in the region.  This hearing will give my Subcommittee the opportunity to examine where confidence has been shaken, how U.S. economic interests are affected, and what if anything the United States can do to encourage greater transparency and market friendly approaches throughout the Americas.  The dire situation in Central America is a perfect example of how weak institutions and endemic corruption can have corroding effects on economic growth and opportunity.”

Thursday, July 31

Committee Briefing: Assad’s Killing Machine Exposed: Implications for U.S. Policy

9:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 31 in 2172 in 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

Committee on Foreign Affairs

Ed Royce (CA), Chairman

Briefers:

“Caesar” (Syrian Army defector)

Mr. David M. Crane Professor of Practice College of Law Syracuse University

Mr. Cherif Bassiouni Emeritus Professor of Law College of Law DePaul University

The Honorable Frederic C. Hof Resident Senior Fellow Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East Atlantic Council

Chairman Royce on the briefing: "Over the past three-and-a-half years, the Assad regime has carried-out a campaign of unspeakable brutality against the Syrian people, including chemical weapons attacks, mass torture, and mass executions against even peaceful political opposition.  The slaughter’s systematic nature is shocking.  At this briefing, Committee Members will hear – and see -- the sobering account of a first-hand witness of Assad's killing machine.  The primary briefer Thursday morning, the Syrian army defector known as ‘Caesar,’ has helped smuggle tens of thousands of photos of more than 10,000 tortured and executed Syrian political dissidents, some of them children."

Important Note on Media Coverage of briefing: 

For the safety of “Caesar,” the primary briefer, only still photography will be permitted during the opening statement portion of the briefing and will be restricted to designated areas near the rear of the briefing room.  No video or audio recording will be permitted at any time during the briefing.    

The briefing will not be webcast. 

VERY GRAPHIC images will be displayed during the briefing.  

***See www.foreignaffairs.house.gov for updates.

***Coverage note: Committee hearings and markups are webcast live at www.foreignaffairs.house.gov/live-video-feed.

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Syrian Army Defector who Smuggled 50,000 Photos Documenting Atrocities to Brief Foreign Affairs Committee Thursday, July 31 at 9:30 a.m.

2014/07/30

“Caesar” will share story, photos in public setting for first time at briefing

Media:  See Important Coverage Note Below

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep.  Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, announced that on, Thursday, July 31, Committee Members will be briefed by “Caesar,” a Syrian Army defector who was witness to and a documenter of Bashar al-Assad’s lethal brutality.  “Caesar,” who will be appearing in disguise at the briefing, has smuggled out of Syria more than 50,000 photographs that document the torture and execution of more than 10,000 dissidents and will be showing photographs to Committee Members.  This briefing will be the first public setting in which “Caesar” has shared his story.  The briefing, entitled “Assad’s Killing Machine Exposed: Implications for U.S. Policy,” will begin at 9:30 a.m.

On the briefing, Chairman Royce said:  "Over the past three-and-a-half years, the Assad regime has carried-out a campaign of unspeakable brutality against the Syrian people, including chemical weapons attacks, mass torture, and mass executions against even peaceful political opposition.  The slaughter’s systematic nature is shocking.  At this briefing, Committee Members will hear – and see -- the sobering account of a first-hand witness of Assad's killing machine.  The primary briefer Thursday morning, the Syrian army defector known as ‘Caesar,’ has helped smuggle tens of thousands of photos of more than 10,000 tortured and executed Syrian political dissidents, some of them children."

What:Committee Briefing:  Assad’s Killing Machine Exposed: Implications for U.S. Policy

When: 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 31, 2014

Where: 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

Briefers: “Caesar” (an alias) Syrian Army defector (will appear in disguise)

Mr. David M. Crane Professor of Practice College of Law Syracuse University

Mr. Cherif Bassiouni Emeritus Professor of Law College of Law DePaul University

The Honorable Frederic C. Hof Resident Senior Fellow Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East Atlantic Council

Important Note on Media Coverage of briefing:

For the safety of “Caesar,” the primary briefer, only still photography will be permitted during the opening statement portion of the briefing and will be restricted to designated areas near the rear of the briefing room.  No video or audio recording will be permitted at any time during the briefing.   

The briefing will not be webcast.

VERY GRAPHIC images will be displayed during the briefing.

***See www.foreignaffairs.house.gov for updates.

 

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Subcommittee Hearing: Building Prosperity in Latin America: Investor Confidence in the Rule of Law

2014/07/30

View Archive Hearing Video:

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