The Caesar Project: Panel Discussion and Exhibit

Date & Time Apr 14 2016 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM
Audience Open to the Public

Photos revealing the widespread torture and execution of civilians by the Syrian government will form an exhibit and panel discussion April 14 at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

The photos, which will be on display in Shultz from 4 to 7 p.m., display graphic and disturbing images of detainees from Syrian regime prisons. The exhibit will contain 30 images documenting some of the men, women and children who were tortured and killed in Syrian detention centers. 

First coming to public attention in January 2014, the photos were taken by a former military photographer known as “Caesar,” who smuggled more than 55,000 images out of Syria on thumb drives after the conflict began to escalate. Caesar captured these images as part of his daily documentation assignment for the Government of Bashar al-Assad before the war began.

The images, which have since been authenticated by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, document at least 11,000 victims under detainment in Syria. Each of the victims was tagged with a series of numbers providing the security branch that detained the victim, their prisoner number and a death number, all of which are evident in the photographs.

The victims and their causes of death have been identified by Human Rights Watch, which released a report in December 2015: “If the Dead Could Speak: Mass Deaths and Torture in Syria’s Detention Facilities.” Since then, several U.S. institutions have displayed some of the photographs as exhibits, including U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Harvard University, Yale University, among others.

This exhibit and panel discussion is sponsored by Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Because of the disturbing nature of these photographs, viewer discretion is advised.  A short video will be shown by Ambassador Gareth Bayley, the United Kingdom Special Envoy to Syria, who is a Wilson School graduate and has been very involved with the Caesar file.

A panel discussion will be held Thursday, April 14, 4:30 p.m., in Dodds Auditorium, Robertson Hall, on the Princeton University campus. The photos will be on display in Shultz from 4 to 7 p.m.

Panelists include:

Deborah Amos covers the Middle East for NPR News. Her reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning "Morning Edition," "All Things Considered" and "Weekend Edition." Amos travels extensively across the Middle East covering a range of stories including the rise of well-educated Syria youth who are unqualified for jobs in a market-drive economy, a series focusing on the emerging power of Turkey and the plight of Iraqi refugees. In 2009, Amos won the Edward Weintal Prize for Diplomatic Reporting from Georgetown University and in 2010 was awarded the Edward R. Murrow Life Time Achievement Award by Washington State University. Amos was part of a team of reporters who won a 2004 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award for coverage of Iraq. A Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1991-1992, Amos was returned to Harvard in 2010 as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School.

Amb. Gareth Bayley MPP ‘11 (joining by video) is a career United Kingdom diplomat, joining the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1995. He has worked on the Middle East and North Africa, the United Nations, European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy and Conflict/Post-Conflict Transition. His previous assignments have included chief of staff to Quartet Representative Tony Blair (2009-10); the U.K. Mission to the U.N. (2006-9); deputy head of Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Iraq Department (2005-6); British Embassy Baghdad (2004-5); British Embassy Cairo (1998-2002). He was appointed as the U.K. special representative for Syria in October 2014. He was educated at Oxford (1991-94) and at Princeton (2010-11).

Adam Entous joined the Wall Street Journal as a national security correspondent in 2010, covering the Pentagon, intelligence agencies and the White House, after 17 years with Reuters, the international news agency.  Since joining the Journal, Entous has won back-to-back Edwin Hood Diplomatic Awards from the National Press Club, as well as other prizes, for stories on the conflict in Syria and Iraq, and for coverage of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya and its aftermath. Before joining the Journal, Entous covered the White House for five years, including the end of President Bill Clinton's presidency as well as President George W. Bush after the September 11, 2001, attacks. After the White House, Entous spent nearly four years in Jerusalem as senior correspondent for Reuters in Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories, where he covered one war in Lebanon and two conflicts in the Gaza Strip. Entous was born in Montreal, Canada, but grew up in California where he attended the University of California at Irvine. He later graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. 

Mouaz Moustafa was born and raised in Damascus, Syria, before moving to the United States as a teenager. He is currently the executive director for the Syrian Emergency Task Force and United for a Free Syria. A former staffer for Congressman Vic Snyder and Senator Blanche Lincoln, Mouaz spent four and a half years working in Congress before leaving to work briefly with Egypt’s U.S.-based opposition. Mouaz also worked with the Libyan Revolution. Mouaz joined the Syrian Emergency Task Force in fall 2011 to help advocate on behalf of the pro-democracy movement in his native Syria and boasts an extensive network of Syrian activists, opposition figures and FSA commanders with whom he works. Mouaz also has worked to implement projects for the U.S. State Department and the United Kingdom’s Foreign Office. Projects included helping bring Civilian Administrative Council leadership to Turkey to receive communications equipment from the Conflict Stabilization Bureau, civil defense and police training, as well as workshops on the rule of law and transitional justice.

David Pollock, the Kaufman fellow at The Washington Institute, focuses on the political dynamics of Middle East countries. He served previously as senior advisor for the Broader Middle East at the State Department, a post he assumed in 2002. In that capacity, he provided policy advice on issues of democracy and reform in the region, with a focus on women's rights. He also helped launch the department's $15-million Iraqi Women's Democracy Initiative and the U.S.-Afghan Women's Council, working directly with advocates across the Middle East. From 1996 to 2001, Pollock served in several other State Department policy advisory positions covering South Asia and the Middle East, including four years as regional expert on the secretary of state's Policy Planning Staff. Previously, he was chief of Near East/South Asia/Africa research at the U.S. Information Agency, where he supervised the government's study of public opinion, elite attitudes and media content across the three regions. In 1995-1996, he was a scholar-in-residence at The Washington Institute, where he authored the widely read policy paper, “The 'Arab Street'? Public Opinion in the Arab World.” Pollock has served as a visiting lecturer at Harvard University and as assistant professor at George Washington University. He has traveled widely in the Middle East and maintains a large network of contacts in government, academia and business throughout the region.

Jacob N. Shapiro is associate professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University and co-directs the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project. His active research projects study political violence, economic and political development in conflict zones, security policy and urban conflict. He is author of The Terrorist’s Dilemma: Managing Violent Covert Organizations.” His research has been published or is forthcoming in a broad range of academic and policy journals including American Journal of Political Science, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, International Organization, International Security, Journal of Political Economy and World Politics, as well as a number of edited volumes. Shapiro is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, an associate editor of the journal World Politics, a faculty fellow of the Association for Analytic Learning about Islam and Muslim Societies, a research fellow at the Center for Economic Research in Pakistan, an associate fellow of the Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives and served in the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserve. He received his Ph.D. in political science and M.A. in economics from Stanford University. He earned his B.A. in political science from the University of Michigan.