tv Natl Press Club Discussion on Protecting Journalists CSPAN February 20, 2019 4:45pm-6:14pm EST
joins congress slightly ahead of most other house presidents, last year replacing his predecessor jim eisenstein who resigned to become a nasa administrator. harassment burn also have an interest, he was pursuing a phd in astronautical engineering with a 1986 challenger explosion changed his career plans. instead, he purchased a mcdonald's restaurant and eventually led to buying making more mcdonald's in the tulsa area. representative kendra moore also has strong ties to the aerospace industry. she's a former executive and a nonprofit and advocate for the industry. earlier in her career she was a secretary for former punishment brad carson. she's also been an attorney in private practice. before herelection , representative horn was a consultant for communication technology companies. new congress, newleaders , watch it all on c-span. >> next, lawmakers, former
state department officials and journalists discussed the use of human rights sanctions to protect journalists. the panel which includes new jersey democratic congressman tom malinowski who served in the obama administration state department explained the magnets the, and sanctions coming from its application for him. from the press club, this is shy of 90 minutes. >> welcome everyone. we are very happy to have you here. this is the first event of 2019 at the national press club journalists institute. she's the new executive director of the institute advances press freedom and gross journalism in the public interest what. welcome to our panel. i'm thrilled that you guys are here and everyone who is watching on c-span and other
broadcasting the event, we're happy to have you join us and happy to have everyone in the room and thrilled to be partnering with this event with the press club freedom team led in part by rachel oswald who covers foreign-policy or cpu and is also the organizer of this panel and will be moderating as well. >> thanks so much and thanks for taking the time to travel here in the cold rain, the national press club is what i expect to be a thought-provoking discussion. we've assembled an all-star panel of stakeholders to educate us on this fast developing policy area of human rights sanctions and how they are applied to protect journalists around the world . to my immediate left is representative, malinowski, elected to the house as a democrat from newjersey ,
prior to that he had a long background including holding serious positions in the ngo sector and in the clinton and obama demonstrations. his most recent government posting was as assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor. more recently he was appointed to the house third committee where he is has already proved an enlightening presence on the panel. last week i was as a reporter delighted by the substantial policy discussion that took place on hearing about yemen in which congressman malinowski shared his experience while working at the state department and what it was like trying to persuade saudi arabia to do more to mitigate the loss of civilian life. to my immediate right is rob berschinski, he works at human rights first as their senior vice president for policy . he previously worked under congressman malinowski at the state department where he was a assistant secretary of
state for human rights on europe and eurasia. he now works as a human rights advocate in the nonprofit sector where he has knowledge of the magnitsky law and works to mobilize the humidity around the world in magnitsky sections and to my far left we have doctor courtney radsch, director of advocacy and in addition to working to ensure justice for jamaal khashoggi will be hearing about later, she also advocates for the safety and freedom harassment improvement act of hundreds of journalists around the world, many of whom are working on developing countries where the principle of freedom of the press is oftentimes disregarded by corrupt actors and autocratic governments. thank you all for joining us. >> many of you here today are familiar with the case of saudi journalist jamal
khashoggi, assassinated by government agents. we will talk about that case and new developments related to it and its implications for broader press freedom but first, i thought it would be a good idea if we all caught a little bit of the history about this underlying potty of evolving human rights law that has enabled a bit more public security around the issue and congressional involvement. that would likewise otherwise not have occurred. so congressman, one of the reasons i was seen to have you on this panel was because of your unique history as both a policy monitor at the state department, your involvement as the first 2012 magnitsky law was being caught up in the past and implement it now you crossing the iso to work as a politician with oversight of magnitsky actions so could
you talk a little bit about what it was like in 2012 as lawmakers for thinking about how they wanted to increase accountability for magnitsky, maybe some of the conversations that took place around discussion and then what it was like to be one of the first to implement that law? >> thank you rachel for bringing us together. i'll speak a little bit about the history and then we will talk about some other cases and i'm glad you're here to work through the application of this law now, intentionally. on the magnitsky act, was named after their name magnitsky and i think maybe we should start their if you want to talk about history. he was a lawyer in the course of his work on uncovered a
significant corruption scandal involving individuals in the russian government taking over a private company and arranging tax returns, tax refunds to go to that company which they pocketed themselves area exposed and for that he was imprisoned and tortured and ultimately died in prison because of his mistreatment. he was not the first or saturday last victim of political oppression in vladimir putin's russia. but it was a case for a number of reasons that attracted a tremendous amount of attention inside the country and outside the country so so brazen was the russian state persecute someone who in effect had uncovered a crime against the russian corruption that caused the russian state millions and millions of
dollars. and the campaign was launched in the united states and around the world to seek justice or mister magnitsky. and eventually that campaign settled on the idea of passing laws in the united states and other countries to require that sanctions be imposed against those responsible. in the past, when the united states proposed sanctions on human rights violators in other countries, we had to rely on a law called the international emergency and common powers. which allow the president to sanction bad guys in other countries but only if the first sign an executive order to declaring that a state of emergency existed between the united states and the country in which that bad i was sentenced. he wanted to sanction a russian dissident for killing
a whistleblower, you had to sanction russia. you had to declare that the state of emergency existed between the united states and russia, it was a very high bar and it made it much more difficult for presidents to act. under the magnitsky act, that was not necessary. the president was able to go out individuals who were responsible not just for the killing of magnitsky but other human rights crimes in russia and directly sanction them by denying them access to the us banking and financial system. around the time this was being debated, there was also a big push at the u.s. congress to get rid of a law called the jackson manager which had imposed trade sanctions on russia for the soviet practice of denying
soviet jews the right to commemorate. it was something that was put in place during the cold war when we were dealing with the soviet union, not russia for a problem that no longer existed. and so everybody was on board with the idea of eliminating the mannix but it was the only piece of legislation that addressed a human rights issue with russia at a time when human rights abuses under's russia were getting worse and worse. congress was low to repeal one piece of human rights legislation unless there was something that could take its place. and the magnitsky act became that something. modernized a more effective tool for dealing with the actual human rights abuses were happening in the country at the time so the argument prevails. the act was passed at first the obama ministration was like most administrations not
too happy with congress taking a lead on an issue like that that ultimately accepted passage of the act and my job is rob's in the state department and second obama term was to help implement that act so letting me sanction people who would be sanctioned. then things got really weird because we said this would be an effective way of getting the attention of the putin regime, that america's concern about human rights anything, we underestimated impacts that would have. i think we knew that it was pulling data in russia that i found very interesting seven years ago, that the russians were asked to use support the idea of touring countries in the united states punishing russia for human rights abuses? the vast majority of people said no, we don't like that. america plush punishing russia.
and if you ask those same people, do you support foreign countries like the united states, uk, france seizing the assets of property of corrupt people in russia, who put their money overseas, human rights abuses , human rights abusers in russia, to take their money and put it overseas, buying properties in theriviera , secret accounts in the caribbean, shell companies , the overwhelming majority of russians said we support that. the magnitsky act was very well tolerated in terms of russian response because it played on the existing strong belief of many people in russia that their leaders were exploiting them, exploiting their power and stealing the country's wealth overseas. so it may putin feel very
vulnerable. the result was a very harsh reaction by the putin regime. first, banning adoption by americans of russian children and then ultimately i think it's now one of the putin regime's motivations for interfering in the 2016 election was to help elect a president and administration that they hoped would get rid of the magnitsky act. the rest is very but we all know and we are still hoping the magnitsky act is not going to go anywhere and on top of that, congress is not adopted a global magnitsky act whichtakes the russian model and extends it to every country in the world , giving us the authority, not the obligation i'm sure but the
authority to impose individual sanctions on an individual around the world who is responsible for gross human rights abuses and very importantly, for serious acts of corruption. so we've now had one of these designations under the global magnitsky act under the trumpet ministration and a fairly robust list, i have to say of people who were sanctioned in the first way. and we're now having a devout about the implementation of the magnitsky act to saudi arabia in particular to the jamal khashoggi killing. i feel it's a profoundly important tool, particularly if we learn to use this new anticorruption prong of the magnitsky act again, i think if we are caring governments around the world the most vulnerable when we go after them for stealing, even more than when we go after them
for abusing and oppression. and with that, i'll leave it .'s class thank you very much congressman. now bob, you maintain an active involvement in sanctions around who, whether, when and how to sanction human rights offenders and corrupt foreign actors. can you give us an overview of the current global environment and also help you see the magnitsky law specifically impacting? >> ..
even though the cia or has already by all accounts made clear to members of what the cia occurred and was ultimately responsible. an assessment already reasonably well-known to the american people. peer the transfer case capture attention or for any reason. one i want to highlight is the world leader in this case the leader of a close partner of the united states felt emboldened enough by the international environment that you mention to order a hit team to glory u.s. resident into a facility where that individual is a exceeded and chopped into
pieces. they seem designed to combat not just that jamal khashoggi or his loved ones, but a broader audience. it's as if you have the temerity to criticize that archer revealed the facts for brutality or corruption will come for you. you're not safe in your home country and you are not safe anywhere. this is the message we hear from a number of a victorian government. this vision about how the world should work could not be allowed to take hold. they could not afford to live in. that brings me to the topic of today's conversation. are they a panacea? no, they're not. but as congressman malinowski said they are powerful tools for
accountability and potentially deterrence if combined with other diplomatic spirits are right now the united states finds itself in a strange position. a country is led by demonizing the press and frequently declares dictators. the enemy of the people runs associated with tyrants like stalin could increasingly associated with the oval office. president trump administration has done and altogether not terrible job of implementing the global trade in three acts, global rights and decryption fiction program. not perfect again a stretch, but not what one might otherwise expect. part of the credit for this state of affairs, which is saying in a sense we gave you this: we expect you to use it. many members of whom are actively advocating for penalties against wrongdoers but
also other instances in the world. the treasury department and justice department for many of the really the transfer sanctions achieved some u.s. policy aims including the protection of journalists, activists and other preparations it goes to ngos, members of him often at great personal risk are doing largely unheralded work to present the united states government with credible acura corroborated information coordinating and educating not to base around the world to the attention of the u.s. government in the hope that magnitsky sanctions will be levied against the parties.
is all of this having an effect. you just heard those who follow the issue closely believe in the case of the russia specific law we have seen the tremendous effect. in terms of global magnitsky comments a little too early to know and in many cases one can critique the administration's approach but it's been a bit scattershot. battles across the board and also holds with respect in particular. they have a protected class under law itself in the trump administration but that they do clearly fall under the laws convey. related to four distinct cases, 42 of the administration's 101 designation today have been some
part explicitly cited violence against her analyst as part of the rationale for the u.s. government imposing the penalty. this includes of course the 17 saudi nationals sanction in november in the transfer case as well as in auto mall, nicaragua and gambia. does this track record amount to a credible deterrent could a future administration bolster the deterrent effect by making clear publicly and in advance that those responsible for gross violations of human rights targeting members of the press in countries like russia, china, egypt kameny and mark, turkey and saudi arabia to name some of the leading offenders will face consequences for their actions. yes, that conceivable. could a future of congress modified the act to mandate such
an outcome concerning cases of journalists or other protected classes. yes conceivably it could. our other national and international jurisdictions adopt an similar human rights and anticorruption sanctions laws, global magnitsky laws. yes, they are. the progress is halting and slow, but we're seeing that across a number of national and international jurisdictions. and so, to conclude is the reason for cautious optimism surrounding this tool and how it might be applied? time will tell and again it's very early even though the magnitsky act has been implemented for three months at this point. as has been demonstrated thus far in the designations made against a 17 saudi nationals to date and much of what we'll hear from my counterpart momentarily as voices from the outside
continue to push, this tool has incredible potential. >> thank you, rob for that very informative breakdown. courtney, rob touched on the transfer case, but can you provide us with some more detail including letters have been the last four months since the october murder in republican and democratic leaders on the relations committee in the house foreign affairs committee invoked the global magnitsky act to trigger a mandatory government as well as what the administration did on friday. >> as you mention i'm from the committee to protect journalism. just as a background just as the background was systematically track all of the killings of journalists and it's important to contextualize the murder of train for and the response and the lack of response in a broader background in which we have seen record numbers of journalists killed for the past several years.
last year there were 53 journalists killed and 34 of those are murdered representing an 88% rise in the number of journalists murdered for their work. it's really important we look at the response to what happened to jamal khashoggi, who again was murdered in the saudi embassy in istanbul, which means that it also brokered international diplomatic norms about safety and consulates and from the very outset we saw that saudi arabia did not speak truthfully. they lied about what has happened and it has happened for a period of months. so, we saw pretty quickly after the initial deterrence turned in reports about the murder of the gruesome details about what happened came out, and that congress stood up and said okay we have this tool, the magnitsky
act. we are going to trigger a permission that basically says that competent body like the senate foreign relations committee can trigger that act and send a request to president trump to get his live on what happened to jamal khashoggi. was crown prince bin salman of saudi arabia responsible? and if so, what sort of sanctions should be implemented. again, there is a report by the cia that sound certainty that crown prince bin salman was involved in the decision to murder "washington post" columnist jamal khashoggi and more recently the u.n. to work on arbor sherry detention said a fact-finding mission in turkey and came up with a similar conclusion. so it was under these hospices that the senate made this request to the trump administration and on friday the
trump administration elected essentially not to respond. there was a letter sent by secretary pompeo, but there was no information in the letter as far as we can tell although they have not made that letter public, we would urge the committee to do so. and so we don't really know what the trump administration is planning to do. as rob mentioned, there have been 17 individuals identified for sanctions under the magnitsky act, but what we know from our research on the killing and murder of journalists around the world is that in nine out of 10 cases there is no justice in those murders. no perpetrators are held to account. in the rare cases where perpetrators are held to account, it rarely includes the mastermind. so, this request for information and does it nation by congress represented an attempt to get some sort of just as in a system
that? rule of law, that? due process and where it's difficult to get justice inside the system. saudi arabia has said it put 11 people on trial for saudi nations for the names as well as whether it's open to the press are open to international observers. they have not responded and as far as i can tell nobody really knows who those 11 people are, so that not going to be a form of justice. the magnitsky act is very important because in the vast majority of murders that go unpunished in the murders of journalists, no one is held accountable for two reasons. one is the lack of political will in the sexiness lack of institutional capacity. the magnitsky act of seeking to address the issue.
let's change that calculation so the potential sanctions in retribution they will face to the action by the united states click or the other is adopting that can lead to some form of justice. of course it's not a replacement for justice at the national level, but it's as close as you're going to com. why are we insisting that there be more information about the crown prince bin salman responsibility and why he should most likely be subject to the sanctions because saudi arabia since bin salman came into power has imprisoned 12 journalists, which raises the total to 16 journalists. it has detained the women's rights bloggers who are writing about the women's rights movement that somehow crown prince bin salman got so much
credit for allowing women to drive and meanwhile arrested and imprisoned reporters writing about. and has also imprisoned journalist who has steered clear of politics. the common thread to all of these arrests is the presidency is a security. the creation of this body in 2017 consolidated all of the kingdom's security intelligence services under one roof and elevated its head to the local administers while retaining his role as the directorate general intelligence. this basically guided the jurisdiction of the interior ministry and consolidated power over the saudi security apparatus into the hands of the king and the crown prince. so it seems like there's a pretty good rationale for understanding that the murder of jamal khashoggi could not have taken place without the crown prince knowing about it. one other thing mentioned is the great personal risk that people take around the world.
having access to these mechanisms is important and not easy to speak out against these issues. we are seen in other countries around the world including the european union is considering a global magnitsky act, which would be important because europe is much closer in many cases to these countries where leadership likes to go shopping. we've seen for example the lives in many cases like bashar al-assad go shopping in paris. how can we make it more costly for these major human rights abuse cases do occur. talking about companies that lack any sort of protection for journalists? due process and in a sort of respect for press freedom i think were going to have to look externally. and the fact that the trump administration decided not to
reply with any meaningful information on friday sent a very dangerous and negative signal. we actually saw the saudi official twitter account send out a build rat to those who are trying to tie a week. as both an advocate to protect journalists as well as a former journalist and got kicked out of the united arab emirates for an article i wrote. i'm glad i only got fired and had to do the country nothing worse happened. it's challenging and scary to do that work. the saudi embassy sending out threatening to eat. it's too bad he missed the deadline and we're going to hear from congress and i'd be interested to know what the next steps from congress and the mastermind account. >> banks, courtney.
they have this letter which has not been released publicly, but which we know from things lawmakers have said makes clear the trump administration is not at this point going to make a legal finding. they have said it's discretionary, up to whether it complies with committee. is that what the law says? politically here how far would they go to push the and if they want to push this action in terms of getting answers. >> ordinarily it is a matter of discretion for an administration to decide whether to meet a request from committees for information. this isn't an ordinary request
because we have a law signed by the president of the united states, which says very explicitly that when the chairs that these committees send a letter to the state department asking for a factual determination, the administration must respond by saying yes or no. and if yes, what steps will be taken to hold it accountable. the magnitsky act does not mandate sanctions. it does not say if you created a grave human rights abuses must be sanctioned and gives the authority to improve the sanctions. it does give these members of congress the ability to require a factual determination about particular individuals who've
been accused of these crimes. did mbs kill jamal khashoggi and if so what are you going to do about it? you have to answer. this is my opinion as a member of congress of the executive branch defying the law. they would rather defy the law and defend saudi arabia in this case and that's a matter of grave concern. they have to figure out what we can do about it whether we have mechanisms to challenge but we think most of us in the hill is a serious misinterpretation of the global magnitsky act. second, we have to now decide what we can do as a congress about the khashoggi case going forward. again, the magnitsky act creates authority for sanctions. we could if we chose pass legislation that and they
sanctions for anybody responsible for the death of jamal khashoggi. this would be the next logical step and it is something that i hope congress will do. there is support for such legislation in the senate. we've seen senator menendez, senator young and others introduced legislation along those lines so it has bipartisan support in the senate. i believe that there would be significant support in the house of representatives as well and as our president likes to say, we'll see what happens. but i think i would be the next logical step. >> thank you very much, congressman. so i want to expand the detail on trade debate the discussion to jamal khashoggi on the national stage and other journalists around the world. following the lead of the united dates as others have mentioned on the panel, several other countries have adopted magnitsky
laws of the road including united kingdom, canada and estonia and the european union is debating language for a magnitsky measure. so you are to my understanding very involved in these discussions in the e.u. in terms of advocating for language for sharing expertise about the language should we in the law. could you kind of sketch out the point of contention, including how protect did classes are not define such as journalists. >> as you mentioned, rachel, we in the united states have been leading on this matter, but a number of other governments have taken action under a broad base of laws that are loosely referred to as magnitsky laws. as you mentioned, canada has
passed the law to implement it, and maybe ms. levey designations against individuals including the 17 saudi nationals designated under the u.s. law. there's a lot on the books in the united kingdom. it is tied into brexit and so it's not been implemented and the baltic states have passed laws but to the best of my understanding in terms of sanctions deal only with visa restrictions, meaning designated individuals can't enter the territory of the states, but have no economic impact, which for obvious reasons is very important. so in december, the dutch foreign ministry led a conversation at the gathering of e.u. foreign ministers that happens on a regular basis around whether the european union would start the process of designing a law similar to the global magnitsky act that would hold across the 28 member states
of the european union. that conversation is in very early stages. there is no draft text of the law that would put on the books this program might look like and a number of organizations including mine as you mentioned are involved speaking with member states and components of the european union around with a viable magnitsky program might look like. you asked about points of contention. the number one issue was whether a future european sanctions program would address not just human rights violations but also corruption. as we heard from congressman magnitsky earlier, and using this effectively, strongly feel that given what we know to be true and may hold the legitimacy by fours tend to combine the
repression they engage in the stealing from their people and relied on repression to hold power. these are issues that are inextricably linked and what i and other advocates have been caring to member states of the european union. you need to incorporate both corruption and humans are its problems. there are a number of other point of discussion. the sanctions are common plaques. they bring and obviously a number of crimes around the world in others an ongoing conversation around whether it's appropriate to specify the source of crimes that are covered in to the dems, the potential that dems against whom the crimes are committed or whether it's better to leave the lot general or not.
in the u.s. context, for those to look at the global mag ascii ascii was actually quite broad it simply says sanctions may be executed against perpetrators of gross violations of human rights in acts of significant corruption. through the law, the terms are defined to some extent, but our law does not get into significant classes of individuals as i mentioned in my opening remarks. it may take a slightly different approach than we actually specify particular crimes in particular classes of the dems and there are trade-offs between leaving the executive more latitude versus kind of specifying here at the instant does in which we expect that sanctions. >> thank you for that, rob. you want to add anything to this
as your viewing these ongoing discussions? >> yeah, i think it's important to realize we are still in relatively early days of figuring out how ms the magnitsky act have an impact on protecting journalists, which is ultimately arrested but were latina. if we look at where we are so far, there have only been two cases where the magnitsky act was used to sanction individuals who were determined to be responsible for the murder of a journalist in rob alluded to the one in guatemala. two journalists in 2015 and of course the 17 saudi officials. but it does look as if the threat of a travel ban can have an impact on broader freedom of the press issues. the threat of a travel ban proposed by senator with an amendment to the state department of foreign operations
appropriations which call for travel bans author by sean officials -- who was released from detention afterwards. this still remains to be tested, but is alluded to their early indications that it's a step in the right direction. it's a tool in many countries like saudi arabia, et cetera, but i think there are a few concerning things about the initial invocation of the magnitsky act. one is that no one from the middle east was sanction before the 17th saudi individuals. despite the vast violations of broader human rights in many countries in the middle east, including for sample, egypt, which is the world that can be jailer of journalists or by rain, which has systematically dismantled a reform meant and i
think we both tried to go to by rain at some point in either you got kicked out or something. i can't remember the details. in the people you speak with. so there is still a long way to go with this. when you're searching for justice, especially in regions where you don't have say a european court of human rights or you don't have american states or the os cd or other bodies where he might be able to go to get justice. they really could be the only lifeline to finding any matter of justice when journalists are murdered. >> great, thank you, courtney. this next question i'd love to hear from you and you, congressman about, you know,
sanctions generally speaking are becoming much more popular as a policy tool of statecraft in the united states, the kind of the best practices that sanctions are still evolving and there's ongoing discussion about whether sanctions worked to stop current bad behavior or whether they work better as a deterrent preventing future bad behavior. would you please discuss your own thinking about how sanctions work in the human rights context and even a little bit more specifically the press freedom context. >> i'll start here at >> , all leadoff. i'm sure tom will have some more thoughts. the diplomacy comment any diplomatic conversation is about bargaining and compromise and leverage. at the end of the day, sanctions with human rights or otherwise
our policy tool. they have potentially be deterrent effect and can administer a mother, justice, certainly. the point of tools like those is to effect policy change or personal behavioral change. in conversations i had when i was serving in the u.s. state department, let's say around often the conversation involved in what the u.s. government was willing to trade to the other government for that other government to release someone from detention who never should've been there in the first place, whether journalist or otherwise. in many cases discussion that goes on within the u.s. government in this context revolves around what carrots we could give for that person to be released. what sanctions -- targeted sanctions placed on individuals
allow any diplomatic negotiation as well as additional leverage. for dense, the u.s. government can sanction unofficial thought to be responsible for the unjust imprisonment of a dissident or peaceful protester or an opposition politician. that put the marker on the board that can then be used in the diplomatic conversation. it creates a point of leverage rather than giving something away. so it is most cases where we see kind of the most sophisticated use of tools like this. do we think that when there is not a diplomatic strategy around sanctions tools like this are used effectively? it's very hard to know. it certainly has an impact on the sanctioned individual. but whether a system in which an
individual knows that he or she can otherwise say, commit torture with impunity is going to change his or her behavior for the system is going to change his or her behavior. if it's more systematic in its application, i think we all know what the outcome is going to be. there's probably not likely to be that much change. the times in which tools like this are the most effect do when they're part of a larger diplomatic strategy which you can actually create the leverage and use the leverage towards some greater end. >> a good example of that was the strategy we followed over the years to promote democratic change in burma. for many years we impose sanctions, ultimately targeted sanctions very similar to the magnitsky sanction a senior burmese leaders, military officials and it didn't look like he was having an impact. then, changes began in burma and
we carried out exactly the kind of diplomatic negotiations that robert just mentioned. every singles take we had imposed over the years became the care of me could offer. if he released political prisoners, we could relax the sanctions. if you schedule free elections are part of your parliament, we will drop the sanctions and so on and so on. if we are not impose sanctions we would have had very little to offer as the evolution of this country's democratic transition and proceeded. now, in many cases we are not quite have that kind of diplomatic processes that knowledge. even there it is incredibly important to have a tool to fight impunity now, think about it. we have had laws against bank robbery forever. people still rob banks all the
time. does that mean a lot against bank robbery or useless? no. success of those laws is measured in the bank robberies that don't happen and that is something very hard to measure. i think we understand that because there is a sanction for people who commit that crime, fewer people committed. so that's why it's important for us to get in the habit of using this tool so that dictators and kleptocratic's around the world understand there is this potential consequence. even if they have impunity at home they may lose something that's very prudent. we have to apply in the right way. if all we do after the saudi government has said they guess this crime was committed, but it was just a bunch of people who are at sea without the authority of our leadership. if all we do is sanction, we are actually reinforcing the saudi
government cover story. we are actually affirming and allowing mbs who is almost certain me the author of this crime to conclude that in fact he can get away with such things because of its importance, because of his position. there are thousands of other jamal khashoggi in the united states who are at risk if we allow that message to be sent. if we allow dictators to conclude that if they are important to the united states will exempt them from the application. can't let that happen. >> powerful words. thank you. typically a time for another question before return it over to the audience. in talking about political will to impose the sanctions, contextualizing that and what's at stake for government states like allied promote liberal democracy governments, which are
also receiving, including the united states, hundreds of billions of dollars annually in illicit money flows, money that is gotten illegally or actions abroad, but is essentially laundered through western economies to the purchase of real estate and other assets. some countries including in europe get a significant amount of money from doing this. so if they are going to impose sanctions on corrupt government officials, they are potentially going to lose on the money. talk a little bit about that debate gets less discussion because western governments don't want to admit just how much money is at stake and how much different business or tourist are profiting, particularly real estate. >> i've seen estimates that suggest more than half of russia's national wealth is outside of russia.
that money is not just sitting somewhere. it's doing things. it is making people rich. it's making real estate developers rich. it's making lawyers and law firms rich in no country right now coming as right now, yes you mentioned europe, but no country right now -- no significant country in has more lax rules when it comes to exposing and cracking down on the flow of that kind of illicit wealth of the united states of america. european countries have done in recent years better than we have been cracking down on these illicit flows -- these flows. the u.k. and the e.u. have stronger beneficial ownership and laws that require that the true owners of companies registered in their jurisdictions be exposed at least to their government, to their law enforcement institutions.
we are still struggling to pass such legislation united in congress. i'm going to fight really hard to do that this year. hopefully we'll be successful. our patriot act required airbags to our government elicited, suspicious transactions involving foreign persons, but explicitly exempted the real estate industry. the temporarily exempted the real estate industry in the temporary exemption is still in place. that is something we have to act to close because we saw it in 2016 that are lax rules not only in the night is to be a safe haven for taters and kleptocratic hiding their money from their own people, but they became a national security on the ability for the united states because that again is doing something in our country
and we learned in addition to making some people very rich it's also influence being our politics and in ways that we should not accept. >> can i also make one point about corruption in the link to journalism. one of the most deadly beats for journalists is covering corruption and tracking those illicit a new flows. what we know about corruption because journalists dug up those facts. you have this amazing reporter by the organized crime project that there are networks working together and i would fly that this is an important part of a much broader solution, but it still won't get at things like even if you had been e.u. magnitsky act, won't do with corruption in the e.u. and how that may be linked to the murders of generalist. we have seen several murders of
journalists in the e.u. member countries which we haven't typically aimed in the common threat and introduces corruption that is something you want to keep in mind as well. also what this approach does not help as western companies, especially technology companies that sell incredibly sophisticated surveillance technologies to governments that ban use that to spy on their citizens. chief among those of courses the nso group whose software was found on jamal khashoggi's francona may have been implicated in not. also found to be linked in several journalists murdered in mexico. this is a small part of a broader solution. >> when you are called upon, please stand up -- so china is
china has become very expensive especially when related to reporting on other issues considered a nationals security such as the uighurs were human rights issues so you see journalists getting caught up in this. the idea of sanctions and targeted sanctions again in a relationship with a very important country, china of course different in their relationship with saudi arabia where there considered an ally in china more than i've are scary. i don't know that we seen a good example yet of this approach being used to sanction those responsible for imprisoning journalists, but i would certainly be something interesting to explore. were we typically see around the world in general, most countries
where you have either the killing or imprisonment of journalist can usually it's either or. countries like china you don't have a lot of journalist being killed on a regular basis, but lots of journalists being imprisoned. it would be interesting maybe to hear about whether this is something interesting to use in the dynamic of the chinese relationship. >> it would be and i believe there was one chinese official under the magnets kiosks in the last round. i can tell you in the obama administration our interpretation of the law, which allows sanctioning for the gross human rights abuses was that merely imprisoning did not rise to the level she picked. for better or worse. tortured coming as. killing, yes. that merely imprisoning a very
common occurrence around the world was not considered to rise to the level of gross human rights abuses under the laws. i'm not sure the trump administration is interpreting it the same way. >> as i could jump in, the trump administration is interpreting the law more broadly. but point people to the case in turkey in which the trump administration sanctioned to bury senior turkish officials for an american pastor, andrew brunson. that's the case in which there wasn't necessarily mistreatment. this is about detention and that's not a point that lost on advocates who are going back to the administration and saying they did it in this one instance. we expect this to see more broadly. be like several cases in china were journalists imprisoned have also reported to be tortured, denied medical care and medical
access. potentially in those cases it might rise to the level, but this is something we'll have to see how it plays out. >> to close-up conversation on your question, there is of course then a tremendous interest remembers the congress, both republican and democrat pacific to the instance in which there's been a tremendous amount of congressional interests. >> yes, right here from al jazeera. >> my question is that the law is basically it authorizes that doesn't apply -- going back to jamal khashoggi, if there's no political will on the administration to actually move forward in sanctioning if that
is the final conclusion, i mean, how does that actually layout in practical terms, i mean, what matsushita's that and and what does congress to enact case? i also wanted to ask if there's any potential laws that could be passed going forward regarding each up and jailing journalists and human rights act to this area. >> so, yes to just reiterate, the administration is not legally obliged to sanction anybody. what they have sent thus far is one that reinforces the official story, that this was a rogue operation and only the so-called rogue operators should be punished.
a. which makes the sanctions mandatory. >> can i just respond a little on not. this message being heard around the world is not just turned to taters. certainly dig taters are hearing it in gaining support from it. however, in places like malta were a journalist was murdered and i with they are for the one-year anniversary and spoke with the attorney general, with the prime minister about the status of investigation because they've identified two people who allegedly were responsible
for setting up the car bomb. but they didn't order it. they were the ones who decided on their own tumor to the journalists. why is the signal being sent in that case and the literally hundreds of cases around the world and democratic and authoritarian countries alike where were demanding justice by putting the mastermind by investigating who the mastermind is. that is being heard wide and clear that if you have a special relationship with the u.s. were not going to burst there that. on your question about eugenics, i think it's interesting to hear imprisonment does not seem as part of this gross human rights violation. but i think when you see the systematic imprisonment of journalists, independent activists, human rights defenders. and the fact that since the uprising in the press freedom
conditions there was agreed to begin with but the only country in the world that was not free on political celebrities, but there's been complete dismantling if there are 40 individual cases or dozens of individual cases, those can create a gross human rights violation and we definitely can see the administration do more on each of. egypt is an ally in the so-called war on terror and other special relationships. i think we should know after all of these years that not standing up for human rights would be an ally on long-term negative repercussions. >> go over here. yes, in the third row.
>> i'm a journalist from russia and we of course know that russia is a state where is this massive state propaganda machine and we don't need a cia assessment to decide whether those are rogue actors or not. we know that the rogue actor is vladimir putin. i have been calling for sanctioning, at least the top officials, the chief editor and every time i talk to people, i've been told that no, there is this amendment that included -- my question is, we know that the obama administration crimes andl
advocate that this is a tool that is misapplied could be extraordinarily damaging to any number of classes of people, not least of whom are activists and journalists. when we're dealing with propaganda, it's just incredibly tricky landscape and at the end of the day we need to be very careful when we are talking about freedom of expression. i know this is the answer you've heard before and expect, but that is not to expect there are not other means by which the u.s. government should be approaching the effects of propaganda and i think we need to be very creative in how we address disinformation as anybody that is red the headlines in the last three years could tell you. >> at the moderators discretion. i find it interesting to probe
unintended consequence to policy. hearken back to our patriot act in anti-terrorism laws. we've seen countries all over the world adopt their own anti-terrorism laws which have been cracking down on freedom of expression. is there potential that magnitsky could also be misapplied in that of -- i don't know, but if i were created to cater in pretty sure i could find a way to human rights violation because the upset the public stability or something like that. can you talk about maybe the nuance here in trying to propagate a set of human rights laws to not be misconstrued in what we want them to do. >> the bottom line is that it caters already have tools at their disposal to use it inside of this, including the
misapplication of the law and up to and including murder. i don't think russia but that argument stop us. the topic of conversation with the europeans as they think about the row mob. we need to make sure that anybody that's designated in the nationals list that it maintains the evidentiary base that went into that designation is airtight. it is very important that the person designated be able to show at the end of the day that they either were designated wrongly and that could be challenged either administratively or three-quart of flour which exists in the united states. for this gift to the heart of the sanctions are all about that this person has changed behavior and should be delisted because the global magnitsky at is so new, it is not come up with the
exception of the turkey case i mentioned earlier after the brunson was released. other sanctions programs we have seen instances in which the designated individual petitions and ultimate aim is delisted given the change in behavior. coming back to it dictators are going to say, they already have all the tools. i don't have much sympathy for us necessarily needing to rebut that line of thinking. >> i would say it's important for the united states to realize the role that it plays around the world and so you alluded to the terrorism laws and to put things in the most common charge to jail journalists in the past three years has seen record numbers of journalist jailed more than 250 each year is antistate charges such as supporting terrorism, providing support to a terrorist group, terrorist propaganda, better at.
we've seen it with fake news as well as the fakeness rhetoric has spread around the world we see more countries are proposing take ms. laws that would restrict and criminally punish the dissemination of so-called fake news. you know, we've seen the number of journalists in prison on false news charges rise since the rhetoric has increased. we can look at specific examples going back to the russia propaganda for the whole foreign agents registration act lead to retaliation in russia creating their own approach and use it not to apply not only to u.s. government-funded entities, and media entities, but also to cnn and other broader media entities. so it's an issue. as rob said, it doesn't seem too concerning in the magnitsky acts at this point. >> yes on the front.
>> thank you very much. [inaudible] the reason i said beirut, lebanon is because -- [inaudible] but in this case, we have more evidence about the khashoggi case murdered in the embassy. instead of going through the sanction route, there is international could be at least agreed upon or at least we should take the legal in the congress or whatever investigation, turkey by itself or the way called for such things. protecting journalists, probably the legal approach for
international law is more probably acceptable internationally than sometimes they select to have application of sanction on certain countries to perceive as really select this morality and selective justice. >> i think when i was a u.s. diplomat, the prime example that critics said the united states appointed to argue that america was selective in its use of humans rights tools for saudi arabia. so i think if we used a strong human rights tool against saudi arabia, with it's actually fairly good example of the united state's place and its values of its relationships. that said if there were an international judicial or legal mechanism that could be applied
here i would be very strongly supportive of that. .. >> with response to the questi question, the journalist, we don't believe there's only one path to justice for the murder. we have called for international united nations investigation by the secretary-general. we called a press conference at the un.
supporters without borders and amnesty calling for this. we met with the secretary general's office and whatever members. we understand turkey has expressed its openness to that. we would like to see the un secretary general want their own investigation. i think the un special repertoire on the full killing in her initial fact-finding mission indicates again, there is a very insignificant evidence that the crown prince was involved so further, the call for an international criminal investigation. i don't think it's a either or, it's both. >> thank you very much. i think the memo of the institution, we had a sanction a
minute. it wasn't actually calling, every person. i think that was it. they are serious, they are going to come. my question, my college from russia, we about where the first time, they are the ones holding that. wilson gets out. in this, going out and doing, officials. if you go after discussing earlier, we have another. we were first from it the level
officials in jail are basically trying to get them in because they are due to the fact that they might get promoted. the names would get out there. they don't want that so how much should we align our knowledge how it's being manage and what axis they have until after that. the second question, i appreciate the congress and being here. we heard last weekend, he was naming him crown prince. i think it's congress. congress are anonymously.
>> processing the red line. don't threaten numbers of congress if you want that. that's a bad idea. >> on your first point around how this is being used, twice including the admission, i think that the interest they have been visiting their vacationing there and all of that, indicates how important it could be for the eu to adopt a similar type of legislation. u.s. global is great if you have that relationship with the united states. the keep your money here, if you own real estate or all of these other interests but again, it will improve and strengthen the impact if we impeded globally but i don't think that vehicle is to just get a low level
officials. it's to get those with the power and influence so i hope that's where we're headed. we were disappointed to see that no one was on the first sanctions list. i think also was much better, the level of that required to bring in and he was saying, the need to be airtight so there is no need to leverage, any inconsistencies or inaccuracies or anything to drill a hole in it. it's very important and you let the coalition in many cases, i don't know if we have a sense of why no one was on that list. i wonder what the level of evidence required is in those countries where it's very hard to get evidence. >> i'll respond by saying, horse coming up with credible robbery
evidence is essential, both on the african side and governmental side. to achieve designation for ultimately, this is a political choice and it's a matter of political will because of the law. it's discretionary as we were on the panel. it's administration or any administration has to have the will to take that action. you pointed out even there is little will to take action within a particular country context. the state department and treasury justice department need to be very smart about not only are they making it but at what level and what message does that send? in the case of saudi, i think many in the advocacy community were pleased to see the site designation of the senate nationals. but feel that the message will
be sent if the trump administration limits the designations to those 17 will be counterproductive for the reasons that have been previously mentioned. the same goes, if ultimately, this major should decide to sanction an individual or individuals in the country but those people are seen as so low level that there's essentially no impact that could be proactively counterproductive as compared to having taken no action in the first place. that's an important conversation and in order to get right, it requires the level of sophistication about how these sanctions on a case-by-case basis are perceived by the receiving end. >> great. we are down to four minutes before we are going to end this discussion. we have one quick question? >> from turkey, i'm a journalist.
the two ministers, they have and withdrawn. do you have the fear that any sanctions about journalists of freedom, by the administration, what measures do they take to prevent this? on the case of turkey, it was completely in the u.s. interest to increase the rule, for u.s. >> good question. the case was a complex one. on the one hand, it demonstrated quite effectively that