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Washington, D.C. –U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, spoke today in favor of the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act (S 2165), which reaffirms the U.S. commitment to Israel. The bill also calls on the U.S. to provide Israel with the military capabilities to defend itself and expand military and civilian cooperation between the U.S. and Israel.  The measure passed the House by voice vote.  Ros-Lehtinen made the following remarks in support of the bill:

 

(Click here for video)

 

“For over sixty four years, since the United States recognized Israel just eleven minutes after its creation, the democratic, Jewish State of Israel has been one of our closest allies.  Our shared commitment to peace, prosperity, and peace has been the foundation of special bond that has reinforced the safety and security of both of our nations.  We have forged a defense partnership that has yielded advanced technologies and policies that have benefitted both of our nations, and helped to keep our citizens secure.

“Our fates are tied together—a threat to one of our countries is a threat to both.  And so, as the Iranian regime continues to race towards nuclear weapons, and sponsor violent extremists like Hamas and Hezbollah, we must work together to counter this growing threat.  And while the United States and Israel are targeted by many of the same threats, Israel’s proximity to the Iran-Syria-Hamas-Hezbollah nexus leaves no room for error.

“Our goal with this legislation is to ensure that Israel has the ability to protect its citizens against the dangers that touch their lives every day—against the rockets, against the bombs, against the missiles that their enemies stockpile while making well-publicized threats against the Jewish state.  How do we achieve this goal?  By increasing the totality of our bilateral security relations.

“That means increasing joint missile defense systems, joint military exercises, and intelligence cooperation.  We get to learn from them, they get to learn from us, and we all sleep a little more soundly knowing that we have done all we can to help our citizens.  It also means providing increased excess defense articles and munitions to Israel.  With these host of entities stirring the pot of hostility against the Jewish state, it is critical that the United States stand foursquare with Israel.

“This legislation also extends the authority to provide loan guarantees to the Israel government that provide the Jewish state with a cushion of support in times of need, at no cost to the American taxpayer.  Our ally Israel needs our help, and we are well situated to lend our friend a hand, while strengthening our own security in the process.  Let us stand together today and say that we support a strong and secure Israel—not only because Israel is our friend and ally, but also because a strong and secure Israel, means a strong and secure America.

“Now is a particularly important time to send that message, as we face the looming specter of sequestration that we are all talking about and working hard to prevent.  If nothing is done to avert sequestration, we will face almost a 450-million-dollar cut to U.S. security assistance for Israel.  This would include over 100 million in cuts to cooperative missile defense programs.  These would damage the security of our nation and our ally Israel, and they must be averted.  I urge my colleagues to pass the legislation before us.”

 

 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today spoke in favor of H.R. 6018, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, which passed the House by a vote of 333-61.  This legislation, which cuts spending approximately $2 billion (11%) below current-year levels, authorizes funding for the Department of State, U.S. international broadcasting, and the Peace Corps, which have been operating without authorization since the September 2002 Act.  It also halts the unaccountable spending increases of the last decade, while increasing Congressional oversight leverage and management reforms. Ros-Lehtinen made the following statement during debate:

 

(Click here for video)

 

“Despite significant efforts by the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Department of State has been operating without legislative authority for nearly a decade.  The last authorization bill to become law – co-authored by our esteemed former Chairmen Henry Hyde and Tom Lantos – was enacted in September of 2002.  The lack of authorities in the intervening years has eroded Congress’s foreign policy leverage with the Department of State.

“By enacting this bill, Congress will repair this lapse, strengthen our foreign policy oversight, and fulfill our obligations to the American public.  The text authorizes basic operations for the State Department, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, and the Peace Corps at fiscally Responsible levels coordinated with the Appropriations Committee.  The bill does not include any foreign aid authorities.

“H.R. 6018 contains important management reforms to increase the efficiency, accountability, and safety of our personnel overseas.  It reflects bipartisan concern that Congress needs to have a stronger oversight role in the State Department’s expanding activities to promote cybersecurity with other governments around the world.  It establishes important jurisdiction and oversight authority for the Department’s Strategic Counterterrorism Communications Center, which is already operational.

“By maintaining current funding for independent audits, inspections, and investigations of the State Department and the Peace Corps, H.R. 6018 ensures that, while we are tightening our belts, we will continue to ferret out waste, fraud, and abuse on behalf of American taxpayers.  This bill will help American businesses by removing unreasonable obstacles and streamlining the Arms Export Control process for exporting selected equipment and parts.

“At the same time, it will enhance U.S. security by increasing safeguards against the transfer of sensitive U.S. technologies to State Sponsors of Terrorism, to China, and to other countries subject to U.S. arms embargoes.  For all of these reasons, H.R. 6018 deserves the bipartisan support that it has received so far, and passage by the House this evening.”

 

 

Washington, D.C. — The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs will hold a hearing on Thursday, July 19 titled “Unfair Trading Practices Against the U.S.: Intellectual Property Rights Infringement, Property Expropriation, and other Barriers.”  Intellectual property theft, expropriation of property and subsidies, and other practices grant foreign goods unfair advantages over U.S. products, and harm the ability of U.S. businesses to compete globally.    The Committee will review the negative impact of trade barriers imposed against the U.S and possible solutions to combat them.  

 

When:                          

Thursday, July 19, 2012

10:00 a.m

 

Where:                           

2172 Rayburn House Office Building

 

Witnesses:

Mr. Grant Aldonas

Managing Director

Split Rock International

(Former Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade)

 

Mr. Roberto P. Hernandez

Vice President

HBO Latin America Group

 

Derek Scissors, Ph.D.

Senior Research Fellow

The Heritage Foundation

 

Hearings held in Room 2172 of the Rayburn H.O.B. are available via live video through the Committee’s website at http://www.foreignaffairs.house.gov/. TV and Radio outlets must register with the House Radio-TV Gallery on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 after 4pm.  Please call 202-225-5214 to register.  Print reporters may contact Andrew Lee to reserve a seat at the press table.

 

 

 

Published July 17, 2012 

 

A United Nations agency under fire for shipments of computers and other sophisticated equipment to North Korea and Iran has apparently rejected a request by the U.S. State Department to conduct an independent probe into the controversy, drawing a pointed bipartisan rebuke from top lawmakers on Capitol Hill. 

In a letter being released Tuesday, the leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee complained to World Intellectual Property Organization Director General Francis Gurry about his agency's refusal to cooperate. They accused the agency of locking down key documents while trying to root out the whistle-blowers who alerted others to the scandal -- and then rebuffing the State Department's request for an outside investigation. 

"We are outraged by your recent refusal on the basis of 'confidentiality,' of a request by the U.S. Department of State to conduct an independent, external investigation into how and why these transactions happened," wrote Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., and Howard Berman, D-Calif., chairwoman and ranking member of the committee, respectively. "There is no rational basis for this refusal. ...  On the face of it, the documentary record, coupled with your public statements, shows a shocking and intolerable lack of judgment, together with an inclination to disregard the legitimate concerns of Member States and to retaliate against staff who are simply trying to tell the truth. 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/07/17/un-agency-slammed-after-refusing-us-request-for-probe-into-iran-n-korea/print#ixzz20t8SdJy7

 



BY ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN
ROS-LEHTINEN.HOUSE.GOV
 
Eighteen years ago, on July 18, 1994, Hezbollah carried out an attack against the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires. But Hezbollah was not acting alone. It is now clear that the highest ranks of the Iranian regime masterminded this attack in the Western Hemisphere.

In the years since the attack, the state prosecutor of Argentina has concluded that the AMIA attack was approved in advance by Iran’s Ayatollah, Iran’s then-Foreign Minister, and Iran’s then-Minister of Security and Intelligence. In November 2006, an Argentine judge issued arrest warrants for eight Iranian officials and one Lebanese Hezbollah operative. The following year, INTERPOL unanimously supported the issuance of what they term “red notices” for six of those wanted by Argentina, allowing arrest warrants for these individuals to be circulated worldwide with an eye to their arrest and extradition.

The depth and scope of Iranian activities in the region, and those of its proxies such as Hezbollah, has only increased in the 18 years since.

In the past decade, Iran has almost doubled its diplomatic presence in the Western Hemisphere by opening a series of new embassies in Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Colombia, Chile, and Uruguay. The AMIA attack shed light on the true nature of the Iranian regime’s “diplomatic missions” and revealed the active role its embassy in Buenos Aires played in partnering with Hezbollah. Former U.S. intelligence officials have testified before Congress that Iran also uses its embassies as cover for nefarious activities, including harboring operatives of the Qods Force, an arm of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

In May 2011, Bolivia inaugurated a school for military and police forces of ALBA countries financed by the Iranian regime. The ceremony was attended by Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi, who is one of the officials wanted by Interpol and Argentinian authorities for his role in the AMIA attacks. Despite his wanted status, the Bolivian regime sent him back to Iran.

Recently, the Iranian regime even launched a state-owned Spanish language television network to promote its propaganda throughout the region.

Iran’s increasing international isolation as a result of its outlaw nuclear program and support for extremist groups is another reason why the regime has aggressively pursued closer diplomatic ties with anti-American despots in the Western Hemisphere. This past January, Iranian leader Ahmadinejad completed his “Tour of Tyrants,” visiting the regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Ecuador. He recently returned from another trip to the region, stopping to meet again with Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and Bolivia’s Evo Morales.

One of the most worrying results of Iran’s success in expanding its footprints is the deepening link between violent extremist groups based in the Middle East and drug traffickers in Latin America. These growing partnerships help bolster the financial clout of both sides. New markets are opened up for the drug traffickers, and the extremists gain access to a new realm for their operations.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the U.S. Treasury Department recently discovered the involvement of a Lebanese Canadian bank in a money laundering ring orchestrated by Hezbollah to raise funds from the narcotics trade in South America and for their extremist activities.

Despite this concerted effort by the Iranian regime, its proxies, Latin American despots, and narcotraffickers to use the Western Hemisphere as their own nefarious playground, many turn a blind eye to this threat.

In order to counter and raise awareness of the threat, I recently introduced the Western Hemisphere Security Cooperation Act. This bill would provide a comprehensive security strategy for our Hemisphere. It seeks to deter Iran and Hezbollah from establishing financial safe havens in the region, and urges Latin American countries to cease their cooperation with the Iranian regime and other state-sponsors of terror.

Eighteen years since AMIA, Iranian activity and involvement in the Western Hemisphere has swelled. In order to protect our security and regional stability, the U.S. needs to become proactive in dismantling Iran’s transnational criminal networks, and preventing further Iranian intrusion into our Hemisphere.

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/15/2894697/fighting-irans-criminal-networks.html#storylink=misearch

I. EXPECTED COMMITTEE ACTIVITY ON THE FLOOR

  • H.R. 6018 - Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2013
  • S. 2165 - United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012
  • S. 2009 - Insular Areas Act of 2011 

 

II. COMMITTEE HEARING and MARKUP SCHEDULE 

 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights: “Global Challenges in Diagnosing and Managing Lyme disease - Closing Knowledge Gaps”

2:00 p.m. in Room 2172 RHOB, U.S. Rep. Christopher Smith, Chairman

Witnesses:

  • Stephen W. Barthold, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, Center of Comparative Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis
  • Raphael Stricker, M.D., Vice President, International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society
  • Mark Eshoo, Ph.D., Director, New Technology Development, Abbott
  • Ms. Patricia Smith, President, Lyme Disease Association
  • Mr. Evan White, Lyme disease Patient
  • Ms. Stella Huyshe-Shires, Chair, Lyme Disease Action

 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

 Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific Mark-up

2:00 p.m. in Room 2172 RHOB, U.S. Rep. Donald A. Manzullo, Chairman

Mark-up of:

  • H.R. 6040 - Continued Free Association with Palau Act of 2012

 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

FULL Committee on Hearing: “Unfair Trading Practices Against the U.S.: Intellectual Property Rights Infringement, Property Expropriation, and other Barriers”

10:00 a.m. in Room 2172 RHOB, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman

Witnesses:

  • Mr. Grant Aldonas, Managing Director, Split Rock International (Former Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade)
  • Mr. Roberto P. Hernandez, Vice President, HBO Latin America Group
  • Derek Scissors, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow, The Heritage Foundation

 

Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade: “When Regimes Fall: The Challenge of Securing Lethal Weapons”

2:00 p.m. in Room 2172 RHOB, U.S. Rep. Edward R. Royce, Chairman

Witnesses:

  • The Honorable Lincoln P. Bloomfield, Jr., Chairman, Henry L. Stimson Center (Former Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs)
  • Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow for Defense and Homeland Security, The Heritage Foundation
  • Mr. Leonard S. Spector, Deputy Director, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies

 

Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights: “Poison Harvest: Deadly U.S. Mine Pollution in Peru”

2:00 p.m. in Room 2200 RHOB, U.S. Rep. Christopher Smith, Chairman

Witnesses:

  • His Excellency Pedro Barreto, Archdiocese of Huancayo, Peru
  • Fernando Serrano, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Public Health, St. Louis University
  • Ms. Rosa Amaro, President, Movement for the Health of La Oroya

 

Hearings held in Room 2172 of the Rayburn H.O.B. are available via live video through the Committee’s website at: http://www.foreignaffairs.house.gov/

 

Washington, D.C. – At a rally earlier today, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, called on the Obama Administration to confront the Chinese leadership on its terrible human rights record, including its oppression of Falun Gong practitioners.   Ros-Lehtinen delivered the following remarks at the rally:
 
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen speaks at Falun Gong rally

 

(Click here for video)

“As many of you know, I have addressed this peaceful gathering of Falun Gong activists for several years now, yet sadly, things appear to have worsened for our brothers and sisters in China.  The leaders in Beijing have continued their brutal post-Arab spring crackdown, fearing that it could be the Chinese people who could rise up next to confront their captors.  These Communist thugs have a particular interest in repressing Falun Gong practitioners who pursue of ‘truthfulness, compassion and tolerance,’ the antithesis of what China’s rulers stand for.

“The Six-Ten Office, established in 1999 to carry out the repression of Falun Gong, is eerily similar to the Gestapo and the KGB in its propaganda and ruthless methods.  Indeed, Falun Gong adherents have been systematically arrested, tortured, sent to forced-labor camps for ‘re-education,’ placed in mental institutions for brainwashing, and subjected to organ harvesting.  This abhorrent policy has resulted in over thirty-four hundred deaths, and to this day, hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong followers are held in labor camps.

“The peaceful men and women of Falun Gong are among the largest group of prisoners of conscience in the world. These murders, kidnappings and other egregious human rights abuses serve as a reminder of the lengths and depths the cruel old men in Beijing will go to in order to retain their bloody grip on power.  Authorities have imprisoned anyone willing to speak out to defend victims of these heinous acts, including human rights lawyer Mr. Gao, who remains incarcerated at a remote facility and unable to regularly contact his family.

“The cowards in Beijing are so scared of Falun Gong’s tranquil teachings that their internet censors have blocked Chinese citizens from searching for it or even discussing it in web chats or via email.  This loathsome persecution of Falun Gong must stop and it must stop now!  It is essential that the people of China continue their struggle for democracy and human rights.  It is essential that friends and supporters of democracy and human rights continue to show their solidarity and support, by speaking out against these abuses and by embracing such courageous figures of conscience as the Dalai Lama.

“China’s rise as a global power has made people hesitant to criticize the regime, fearing economic repercussions.   President Obama must do what is right and not be timid in the face of Chinese bullying and threats.  It is up to the United States, as a symbol of liberty, to confront the immoral Communist leadership in Beijing and speak out for the human rights of the Chinese people.

“This means urging the old men in Beijing to stop repressing Falun Gong practitioners, Tibetans, Uyghurs, all other Chinese as well as North Korean refugees.  It means not allowing ownership of America’s debt to be synonymous with ownership of America’s values.  It is our responsibility to be that shining city on a hill, to be a beacon of freedom, liberty and hope for the entire world to see!

“America must stand with Falun Gong and all the repressed!  Beijing must release Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience, immediately.  Set China free!”

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, spoke earlier today at a Capitol Hill rally for human rights in North Korea.  The event, hosted by the Korean Church Coalition, sought to bring attention to the plight of the North Korean people who for decades have endured oppression, famine, and injustice at the hands of the Kim dictatorship.  Ros-Lehtinen is the author of the Ambassador James R. Lilley and Congressman Stephen J. Solarz North Korea Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2012 (H.R. 4240) and a co-sponsor of the North Korean Refugee Adoption Act of 2011 (H.R. 1464).
 
Ros-Lehtinen delivered the following remarks at the rally:

 

Chairman Ros-Lehtinen speaks at Freedom Rally


(Click here for video)
 
“There have been profound changes on the Korean peninsula since I last addressed you two summers ago.
One dictator in North Korea has died, only to be replaced by another, his son. This was achieved through a strange succession process which mixes militant Marxism and medieval dynastic politics. Well, they say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and that certainly appears to be true in this case.
 
“The son has kept up the old Kim family negotiating tactic of brinkmanship.  The Young General first signaled that he would abide by a “Leap Day” agreement to resume nuclear disarmament.  Then, almost immediately, he reneged on his promise with another missile launch.  Stylistic changes in the new regime appear to be purely cosmetic.
 
“There are, ongoing severe violations of the basic laws of humanity than that going on in both North Korea and China today.  Press reports earlier this year that China had lessened its forced repatriation of North Korean refugees to be returned to torture, imprisonment and even execution in North Korea, proved sadly mistaken.  Thus it was my honor, as a former refugee myself, to stand across from the Chinese Embassy during a visit to Seoul in May and to personally raise the issue of North Korean refugees.  I called on Chinese leader Hu to let these innocent people go!
 
“It was also my singular privilege to be the sponsor in the House of the Ambassador James R. Lilley and Congressman Stephen J. Solarz North Korea Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2012.  It was named for two great statesmen who spent their final years in Washington championing the cause of human rights in North Korea and working to assist North Korean refugees in China.  I worked to ensure that this bill passed the House before my trip to South Korea.
 
“It is my hope that the full Senate will soon take up this vital legislation so that it can be sent to the President for his signature as soon as possible.  You all, of course, can work to help make that happen.  I also am proud to be a co-sponsor of H.R. 1464, the North Korean Refugee Adoption Act of 2011, to ensure that the orphaned North Korean refugee children in China are NOT forgotten.  The victimization of North Korean refugee women and children in China is a massive human rights violation that has too long been ignored in the corridors of international power.
 
“China, despite its growing wealth and military might, can never be viewed or treated as a responsible stakeholder as long as it tolerates the starvation and abuse of children within its borders and the sexual trafficking in women.  North Korean women, seeking a better life, religious liberty, and freedom for themselves and their families, should never be used  as the chattel for Chinese brothels or  as bartered brides to replace the girls lost by China’s coercive one-child policy.
 
“The militant regime in Pyongyang, in the meantime, continues to expend its national funds on a military build-up as part of the “military first” policy and on gala events honoring the Kim dynasty.  At the same time, a severe drought in North Korea’s breadbasket threatens to, once again, create famine conditions for North Korea’s long-suffering, starving people.
 
“And so, to the Young General in North Korea, I say:  Stop building bombs and start feeding your people!  Cease at once your belligerent threats directed at South Korea, its people, and at U.S. forces assigned to South Korea.  The time is long overdue for a new beginning on the Korean peninsula.  The time is long overdue for the achievement of the cherished longing of the Korean people for national reunification.  Through the voices raised here today championing North Korean human rights, we can, I believe, overcome.
 
“Through the legislation moving through the U.S. Congress we can, I believe, hold out the promise of a new day for the suffering people of North Korea.  An old Asian proverb states that a journey of one thousand miles begins with a single step.  Let us take that first step forward today.”

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