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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 19, 2016 12:03am-1:01am EDT

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>> isis got its start as al quaeda in iraq in '04. it changed -- it morphed into something called islamic state of iraq in '06.
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so here's eight years between the start of ic and isis in '14. and all that time, this group has been raping, torturing, and murdering particularly targeting christians as a main civilian target. and one of the biggest ways they did attack christians is by taking hostages for ran some. and this is really a silent, one-by-one genocide. thousands, i think thousands of christians, i think, have been taken for ran some. and many of them have been tortured and killed.
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bishops and priests have been killed trying to redeem their congregation. wives killed bringing ran some money for their husbands. this has been going on all this time. one of my close friends from iraq, he's been featured in the knights of columbus ads on tv, he himself was taken hostage and tortured and beaten. shot in the leg. they came at him with hammers, broke his teeth, nose, and back. finally he was released with ran some. entire towns have been taken captive in syria. there's 200 christians now captive in syria. their church pays ran some for them to keep them alive.
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20 of them escaped recently. there was another group of towns taken captive for ran some last year. isis killed them last year to get more money out of the syrian church, $23 million for their release. far beyond the ability of that church. as a result in isis territory, there's no church, no priest or pastor, no intact christian congregation anywhere in isis control. this genocide designation by the u.s. government was welcome, but
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it was a surprise. because since october, the united states state department has been giving indications that it's willing to designate the yazidi religion as victims of genocide but not the christians. the yazidis have suffered tremendously. thousands of their women are still enslaved. this continued throughout the fall, this unwillingness to include christians. the congressman from nebraska who introduced the resolution that passed on monday that unanimously passed against genocide who by the way, his district houses the largest yazidi population in the united
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states, he asked secretary kerry if they were going to include christians in the general size designation which was mandated by congress to be made yesterday and secretary kerry said, quote, they are not killing them, but it's a removal. i can't think of a more cautious, neutral, more misleading term than removal referring to christians and their experience with the christians. march 17th, the state department held a public department that they were not going to make the march 17th deadline. it was apparent that they were resistant to it. the reason why they explained is that isis didn't have an intent
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to kill or destroy the christian communities and that it actually respected christians and jews as people of the book. meaning people of the bible. so this is, of course, islamic tradition calling christians and jews people of the book. isis does not follow islamic tradition, it does not want to coexist peacefully with christian as and non-muslims. this is repeated today in the new york times yesterday about how state department officials said, well, the christians, you know, really had a different deal here. and the implication all along has been that if the christians just paid an islamic tax that isis was offering them, then the christians could have stayed and lived happily ever after in their homes.
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but the christians refused and they chose to leave. this is a phenomenal misconception. it's partly based on lack of knowledge. there was no -- the state department did not send out fact-finding teams to find out exactly what was going on with the christians. colon powell did when he was secretary of state. he sent teams to darfur. in fact the knights of columbus went to the region and used the same questionnaire that the powell teams used. a group of us, about 30 experts and christian leaders, a whole
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array of christian leaders, signed a letter asking secretary kerry for a meeting so that they could come in and brief him about the situation. that was on december 4th. we never got an answer. one month before the deadline for genocide designation, the state department did go to the knights of columbus because they had been running these ads on tv and asked them to collect them and run a report which is what the report did. however, without waiting for the findings to come back to them, they visited -- the state department officials went around visiting bishops in iraq telling them genocide was out of the question. so the state department did not have any interviews of christian leaders directly dealing with isis over this islamic tax
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issue. this is a pivotal issue over whether isis intended to destroy christians as it did yazidis. i did interview father emanuel and he said isis demanded that they all -- the men, the christian men left in mosul in july '14, come to an auditorium and meet with them to learn the terms of which isis expected of them. so the males, the christian men decided that it was a trap. that they could be -- they were being rounded up for slaughter. and in the best of scenarios if they were not killed, that isis would -- they didn't trust isis to protect their women and girls. now, of course, no one protects -- trusts isis, not
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even the state department except on this issue. they thought the insinuation was the christians should have taken this deal. the concerns of these christian leaders were validated just a short time later, a dozen christian women and girls were taken as slaves. they have not been seen since. the church has tried to ransom them and has not succeeded. a thousand or so yazidi women or girls have also been taken by isis about a month later. then in october, isis released a slave price list actually giving out prices of -- sale prices for these slaves and not only is the amount of money designated and age on there but also christian or yazidi. that these were the slaves that were being sold.
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so instead of learning about the situation, the state department seemed to take and some leaking it to the new york times today seem to still take isis propaganda at face value. the state department's own -- propaganda on this issue of christian and islamic attacks for christians to peacefully coexist with isis. this is of course preposterous, we've seen the beheading videos. isis does not want to coexist with christians. the state department's own coordinator for counterterrorism who worked for secretary kerry until a year ago, ambassador fernando fernandez, he said he's
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an employ for further atrocities. it makes baghdadi look for chalif like and it also forces them to keep the women around for rape or forcible marriage to their fighters, or to extract more money from those in other cities with international financial networks. this genocide declaration yesterday is extremely important. it's important because of the moral power of it.
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>> it really gives a moral boost to the people who have been designated, the christians, yazidis, ethnic shiite. today i received a video thanking the united states and it was quite wonderful to receive that. they feel until now forgotten. here is their christian civilization, 2,000 years old, wiped out by a force of hatred that has not been seen before. every church, every trace of their civil station is being systemically destroyed by isis. these are churches who have withstood the invasions of the
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romans, mongols, turks, persians and so forth. this needs to be recognized. this designation is the utmost significance if there is a policy road map adopted by the
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these accomplices could someday be caught and tried. there is also military action. secretary kerry alludes to that as well, and talks about how they have an eye to the protection of the minority communities that have been named the victims of genocide by liberating their occupied territory and freeing them of isis. he names none of the -- nineveh in iraq in particular. there are other actions that secretary kerry can take in his
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own portfolio in the state department. he should adopt these and put them into action. i will discuss them quickly, because our time is short and i want to answer questions. here are five examples. first is refugee resettlement visas to the united states. christians from syria have been grossly underrepresented in the numbers are -- in the numbers resettled. they constituted 10% before the war. there have been only 60 christians and one yazidi over five years of syrian conflict that have gotten pieces to resettle here. -- gotten visas to resettle here. here there have been six christians and no yazidis this
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year. they have a published database -- a published database that lists religion. we are bringing in 1000 refugees from syria. six christians is one family and zero yazidis. in iraq, most of the christians and yazidis are displaced in iraqi kurdistan. all of those years pushed them north into the city of nineveh. most of the christians remain in iraq or nineveh during -- most of them are now in a iraqi kurdistan with no resettlement rights. they are not refugees because they are within their own country, yet they cannot resettle in kurdistan. they do not have rights to drive a car, open a bank account, start a business.
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there has to be some kind of plan for them, for many of them. many of them are too traumatized to go back to their home. in the event that their land is not liberated from isis, that is still a question, they will all have to be resettled in the west. there is nowhere in the region for them to go. the second thing would be land and property restitution. these minorities lost their homes, businesses, and farms. isis in many cases has passed them on to other people i selling them or giving them away. other people could have possession of them. the state department must press the governments involved to give priority recognition to the titles of the genocide victims. that is something for them to
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do. another item would be a place at the peace table. there is no christian voice at those peace talks. they are not at the table. borders will be redrawn, constitutions drafted, and there is no voice or input. these minorities will be marginalized or shut out of whatever replaces the old syria. we have to speak up for them. humanitarian aid. there is donor fatigue setting in, the minorities cannot go into you and camps because they are too dangerous for them. the persecution that has driven them out of their homes follows them into these camps.
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there is no christian in the camp and jordan run by the u.n.. these are mostly iraqi and syrian christians in jordan and the u.n. has large camps, probably the second largest city of jordan is probably a refugee camp and there is not a single christian there. it's very dangerous for them. they are dependent on private aid and church eight and the u.s. government must ensure these genocide victims are not short changed. finally, reconstruction aid -- i say finally because that's my list of five but there are more things that can be done. if and when they do return to their homes after the defeat of isis, these genocide victims will need help reconstructing their homes and towns and churches. america's reconstruction aid to iraq after the military surge was largely diverted away from the christian areas by national and local government. the u.s. government must recognize the specific challenges facing these minorities and provide greater,
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more direct, more transparent and more oversight on their behalf. secretary kerry said what dash wants to a race we must preserve and i cannot be -- once to you race we must preserve and that cannot be a reality until we do this. in his announcement today, secretary kerry took the pains to point out that he is not a judge or a prosecutor or jury. and that a judicial and formal legal procedure will be needed. but he has taken a bold step and there are things he can do we're going to need all of your help to get it done. thank you. [applause] we have some time for questions.
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we have a couple of microphones in the room and i would ask if you raise your hand and wait for the microphone so that it and be captured on the recording. >> identify yourself and please give your affiliation as well. so -- we are ready for question. thank you. >> i have more than one question. how do we get involved and why do you think it took so long for them to recognize christians over others? >> say it again question mark at it we get involved question mark >> how do you think we as students should get involved? what you think it took so long to recognize the christians? >> yeah, students can do a lot. everybody can do a lot.
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we have the internet. we will be putting up petitions and doing conferences and campaigns and letter writing and contacting your congressman. because this was so unexpected, we don't have a whole set of action points right now. when i say we, i mean a coalition of activists. i have worked all my life to achieve successes in this field and it has been done through working with teams of others, other coalitions. look on my website at under nina shea and i write for national review quite frequent late will often put in those pieces, links to more information, links to petitions that we need signatures for.
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until yesterday, we had a petition from the knights of columbus that got over 140,000 signatures including a lot of dignitaries. that was part of the pressure because all of this builds pressure. there was the fortenberry amendment that passed unanimously monday and that built pressure. there was the press conference we had last week with the knights of columbus for its report and that old pressure. the european parliament in january past with strong socialist support, a resolution also calling for the designation of genocide on behalf of the european parliament for christians and other minorities. all of that was building pressure and that's why there was this delay or the state department would have just
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declared a genocide back in october. that would have been the end of it. that would have been very hurtful for the other minorities. basically, by so -- by selecting one, you are excluding the others by implication. why are they reluctant to do it? there are layers of reasons. one was the ostensible reason that they said it's because they did not think isis -- they think isis respects christians as people. that's basically their stated reason. the second layer may be that -- they don't want to -- feed enemy propaganda that this
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is a crusader war by sticking up for christmas -- christians. that was, interestingly enough, the finding of the holocaust museum regarding the nazi holocaust, that the reason that president roosevelt did not single out the jews for concern for american concern at the time was that he did not want to feed anti-semitic propaganda and that the united states was acting on behalf of only the jews and that was absolutely catastrophic as we saw. ships of refugees were turned away at that time. there is a lot of parallel. we are trying to head this off before everybody is killed, frankly. those are a couple of reasons. >> the question here?
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>> i agree that this definition of genocide adds a moral dimension to it. what are the consequences if the government does not act upon the designation? >> that's a great question. it gets to the core of activism. in a democracy, and an election year, there will be response. that's the beauty of democracy and elections. there is political pressure from the grassroots and that's all of us. if we choose to use our rights in this democracy -- if there is a good idea we had the facts on our side, the advantage of having the facts on her side and once you
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have that and they are irrefutable, then the government, um, individual actors, not just some big iraq receipt but secretary kerry, president obama or ambassador samantha power who wrote a book on genocide. she literally wrote the book on genocide and u.s. policy. they are not going to want to risk their reputations to go down in history saying that they did nothing. it's a path, a path that they are traveling down. once you call it genocide, there is no going back. then you say will why didn't you do it? i am dismayed by all the media coverage that emphasizes that there are no legal requirements. the reason the media says that is that's what some of the unidentified state department officials are saying that there is no legal requirement to take
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any action. there may not be legal requirements but there are certainly moral requirements. i am not advocating a military involvement or troops on the ground which some have been whispering. the economist wrote about that a couple of weeks ago that while this would mean for troops on the ground, some analysts say. i am not advocating that at all. i think that would be counterproductive. i do see these other things we can do to rescue the minority by giving them refugee status or by making sure they have a place at the peace talks so that they can say what they will need to stay. what kind of laws they want. freedom of religion, equal rights -- secretary kerry, in his talk, references equal rights and they say they're going to advocate them. we've got to get more tactical now and say here is the example
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of where it's needed. maybe that's the religious identity line on the national identity card. you want to press the government to react. that is a tool for persecution, frankly. in any part of the world. >> one of the most stunning parts of your remarks is how syrian christian refugees have been accepted. even the body of syrian refugees that have been accepted, they are underrepresented. >> it's like 1%. >> to me, that's almost inexplicable in the sense that
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one of the barriers to accepting more has been the security question. you don't want to let in terrorist but here we have syrians who have been victimized by terrorism, by isis terrorists and yet our own government, in a sense, is victimizing them yet again. do you think this genocide designation will somehow prod the bureaucracy to take action on this issue or is there a role for congress in rewriting some of the laws for refugees that could help some of these syrian and iraqi christians get out? >> yes, in fact there is legislation in the works now to designate a certain percentage of those refugees slots to the minorities that have been designated as genocide victims from syria. we are going to have to press them on everything because their approach now when i brought this to their attention last fall, the state department response has been, we've got to find out
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how many christians want to apply and how many are being turned away from applying or having a hard time applying. i think that's the wrong approach. there are more than six christians who want to come to the united states. there is certainly more than 60 over the last five years. we should start with the premise that there are others who want to apply. we should go around the system we have in place. the problem here is that the u.s. refugee referral system is done through the u.n. the u.n. takes its refugees from their camps. as i said, the camps are too
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dangerous for these minorities because they are victims of genocide and they are targeted. it's too dangerous for them to go there. the u.n. has every incentive to ship out the people it's working to feed and house in their camps so that's who gets referred. that's who has been referred to other western countries as well, not just us. it's a very pathetic situation. it needs to be, instead of interviewing refugees, some stranger going over there and interviewing them about them having problems with the u.n. when they hold the key to their future, they will not want to go on record not knowing who is asking them this question, attacking the u.n. because
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that's the only route out for them. >> it seems the grassroots is all in place in the churches. every church and i remember of three of the moment, living in three different places, they all have missions, they feed people in this country and they do this for that country and they do all these missions. i have not heard one of my churches mention anything about the genocide or trying to get a groundswell of support to help. how would they proceed? why are we not hearing from the christian churches? >> that's an excellent question. you hit your finger on one of the big problem's. the grassroots are not active as they should we because the churches are not taking the lead
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in this to a large extent. some are. in my own church, i often don't hear about this either and we pray for victims of natural disasters and the ebola disaster. it's never for this. i don't really understand it. one clue i got that was an eye-opener that a lot of the church leaders or active have so many other issues on their plate that they cannot make this their priority. again, this shows exactly why the genocide designation is so critical. then it does elevate it to a higher plane, demanding attention and action. again, i hope you look at the knights of columbus report and
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go on my website and look at my own writings and follow it and then you will get ideas about how you can take it to your three churches. that would be great and everybody here has networks whether it's church networks or family networks or community networks. you can do the same thing. it's just what we're talking about, a lecture on it petitions or letter writing or e-mail to your member of congress. we are going to make a push for some of these action points and we have to do it fast because the transition in washington will distract everybody. we have a very little window here. >> what are the committees in the congress we should be following for these action points? which members of congress would take the lead? >> i was speaking to the state department yesterday after the speech. they were saying that we really do have to be concerned about appropriations.
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there is the funding to do some of this stuff it not everything requires funding like getting christians at the peace table does not require or pressing but government for property titles, the iraqi government to respect property titles. that is not going to require funding but there will be some funding required for some of this. as that evolves, maybe in a year or a month from now, those committee members will be extremely important. even foreign affairs, the fortenberry bill that called it a genocide on monday which pushed it over the edge for the administration because it was totally bipartisan. 393 votes in favor and zero against in an election year, that's pretty good. that was started in the foreign affairs committee which does not
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have a whole lot of leverage. congressman fortenberry is involved in the appropriations committee so they probably knew that. it's all interconnected. there are many avenues. >> any of the questions? i just want to emphasize that we all have a role. we have a copy of her most recent national review piece outside that you all can take. i would encourage you and especially young people who are here, to search online for the piste and posted to your facebook and this video will be posted on our website. i would encourage you to look back and share that link on your facebook so we can make an even wider audience aware and for those watching on c-span, i would encourage you to check out
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amina's page am a hudson institute and check the daily signal. we've got a couple of videos interviewing the priests that nina mentioned. stay tuned, i'm sure we will hear more about it and nina will be alling this closely along with our holly here at heritage, james phillips. we have a few thank you gifts for you which is our tradition. i will let lauren present first. >> thank you. >> thank you so much on behalf of of the clare booth lose policy institute. i would like to present you our mug with the phrase -- no good deed goes unpunished. [laughter] something you are familiar with. i would like to give you a copy of our annual 2016 great american conservative women calendar. anyone can have a copy. >> excellent. >> i would like to give you
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finally our tote bag. >> thank you so much. thank you all for coming. [applause] >> across the lobby, we can continue the conversation with nina so thank you for being here. >> that's wonderful. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> washington journal, live every day with news and policy issues that impact to you. saturday morning, david shepherdson joins us to discuss
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this week's congressional hearing on the flint, michigan, water crisis. deputy director and senior fellow at the center for strategic and international studies joins us to talk about vladimir putin's decision to withdraw a russian forces from syria this week. be sure to watch "washington eastern beginning 7:00 saturday morning. join the discussion. on americand history tv on c-span 3, programs that tell the american story. saturday evening at 8:00 eastern , david o'connell discusses presidential legacies and the
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factors that contribute to a successful presidential term. of 1963, and september 2 months prior to his death, president kennedy traveled across the united states to promote conservation of natural resources. sunday morning at 10:00, a 1984 democratic debate in atlanta includes walter mondale, senators gary hart, former presidential nominee george mcgovern, and reverend jesse jackson. for the complete schedule, go to >> during campaign 2016, c-span takes you on the road to the white house as we follow the campaigns on c-span, c-span radio, and
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>> republican presidential candidate ted cruz held a press conference in arizona to talk about border security. he was joined by rick perry and law enforcement. it is 20 minutes. >> good evening everyone, i am the sheriff in this county. i want to say thank you to the family for coming out here and bringing true awareness and educating senator cruz and governor perry on what is going on our border. i wish we could get more people from washington, d.c. to see what is going on in here. the true life for people who live on the border. with that being said, i want to introduce governor rick perry from texas and thank him for being here today. governor. ve