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Saturday, June 14, 2014

AIRCRAFT CARRIER ORDERED TO PERSIAN GULF TO PROVIDE PRESIDENT OBAMA OPTIONS

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT 

Hagel Orders Carrier USS George H.W. Bush Into Persian Gulf
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 14, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush to move today from the North Arabian Sea into the Arabian Gulf, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said.
In a statement, Kirby said the order will provide President Barack Obama additional flexibility should military options be required to protect American lives, citizens and interests in Iraq.

The Bush will be accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea and the guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun. The ships are expected to complete their transit into the Gulf later this evening, Kirby said.

The USS George H.W. Bush left its home port of Norfolk, Virginia, in February and is operating in the Middle East region as part of an ongoing rotation of forward-deployed forces to support maritime security operations, he added.
“American naval presence in the Arabian Gulf continues to support our longstanding commitments to the security and stability of the region,” Kirby said.

Weekly Address: The President Wishes America's Dads a Happy Father's Day

WHITE HOUSE STATEMENT ON AFGHAN ELECTIONS

FROM:  THE WHITE HOUSE 

Statement by the Press Secretary on Elections in Afghanistan

The United States congratulates the people of Afghanistan on the completion today of the second round of voting in their historic presidential elections. These elections are a significant step forward on Afghanistan’s democratic path, and the courage and resolve of the Afghan people to make their voices heard is a testament to the importance of these elections to securing Afghanistan’s future. We commend the voters, electoral bodies, and security forces for their commitment to the democratic process. The work of the electoral commissions in the weeks ahead will be particularly important.

We look forward to working with the next government chosen by the Afghan people. As the President said when he reaffirmed our continuing commitment to Afghanistan beyond 2014, while the future of Afghanistan must be decided by Afghans, the United States will support the Afghan people as they continue the hard work of building a democracy.

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S WEEKLY ADDRESS FOR JUNE 14, 2014

FROM:  THE WHITE HOUSE 

Weekly Address: The President Wishes America's Dads a Happy Father's Day

WASHINGTON, DC— In this week’s address, President Obama wished America’s dads a happy Father’s Day and underscored the crucial role fathers play in our society. The President encouraged Americans to support those living without a father figure through initiatives like My Brother’s Keeper.  He also highlighted actions he is taking on behalf of hardworking, responsible dads and moms, such as hosting the first-ever White House Working Families Summit later this month, and called on Congress to do its part to help offer more parents the chance to work hard and provide for their families.   
Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
June 14, 2014
Hi, everybody.  Sunday is Father’s Day.  If you haven’t got Dad a gift yet, there’s still time.  Just barely. But the truth is, what we give our fathers can never match what our fathers give us. 
I know how important it is to have a dad in your life, because I grew up without my father around.  I felt the weight of his absence.  So for Michelle and our girls, I try every day to be the husband and father my family didn’t have when I was young.  And every chance I get, I encourage fathers to get more involved in their children’s lives, because what makes you a man isn’t the ability to have a child – it’s the courage to raise one. 
Still, over the past couple years, I’ve met with a lot of young people who don’t have a father figure around.  And while there’s nothing that can replace a parent, any of us can do our part to be a mentor, a sounding board, a role model for a kid who needs one.  Earlier this year, I launched an initiative called My Brother’s Keeper – an all-hands-on-deck effort to help more of our young men reach their full potential.  And if you want to be a mentor to a young man in your community, you can find out how at WhiteHouse.gov/MyBrothersKeeper.
Now, when I launched this initiative, I said that government can’t play the primary role in a young person’s life.  Taking responsibility for being a great parent or mentor is a choice that we, as individuals, have to make.  No government program can ever take the place of a parent’s love.  Still, as a country, there are ways we can help support dads and moms who make that choice. 
That’s why, earlier this week, we brought working dads from across America to the White House to talk about the challenges they face.  And in a few weeks, I’ll hold the first-ever White House Working Families Summit.  We’ve still got too many workplace policies that belong in the 1950s, and it’s time to bring them up to date for today’s families, where oftentimes, both parents are working.  Moms and dads deserve affordable child care, and time off to care for a sick parent or child without running into hardship.  Women deserve equal pay for equal work – and at a time when more women are breadwinners for a family, that benefits men, too.  And because no parent who works full-time should have to raise a family in poverty, it’s time for Congress to follow the lead of state after state, get on the bandwagon, and give America a raise.
Dads work hard.  So our country should do what we can to make sure their hard work pays off; to make sure life for them and their families is a little less stressful, and a little more secure, so they can be the dads their kids need them to be.  Because there’s nothing more precious in life than the time we spend with our children.  There’s no better feeling than knowing that we can be there for them, and provide for them, and help give them every shot at success. 
Let’s make sure every dad who works hard and takes responsibility has the chance to know that feeling, not just on one Sunday, but every day of the year. 
Thanks everybody, happy Father’s Day, and have a great weekend. 

DEFENSE SECRETARY HAGEL MEETS WITH AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER ABBOTT

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT DEFENSE 

Right:  Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, right, walks with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott after hosting a full-honors ceremony to welcome him to the Pentagon, June 13, 2014. The two leaders met to discuss issues of mutual importance. DOD photo by U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Aaron Hostutler.  
Hagel Discusses Defense Cooperation With Australia’s Prime Minister

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel welcomed Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the Pentagon this morning with a full-honors ceremony followed by what Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby called a productive discussion on future defense cooperation between the United States and Australia.

In a statement summarizing the meeting, Kirby said Abbott conveyed his deep commitment to the U.S.-Australia alliance.

“Secretary Hagel expressed appreciation for Australia's past and ongoing contributions to Afghanistan and congratulated Prime Minister Abbott on the force posture agreement that he and President Obama announced yesterday,” Kirby said, “noting that the 25-year agreement will provide an enduring framework for the initiatives that our governments embarked upon in November 2011.”

The agreement is a significant milestone in the U.S.-Australia alliance, the admiral added, and will serve as a foundation for the growth of the current U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force rotational presence and activities in Australia, as well as future initiatives that the United States and Australia pursue.

“The secretary and Prime Minister Abbott agreed that the alliance will continue to be an anchor of stability and peace in the Asia-Pacific as we respond jointly to shared challenges in the region,” Kirby said. “To that end, the secretary and prime minister discussed expanding our bilateral cooperation on ballistic missile defense while also working trilaterally with Japan on Australia's submarine program.”

The press secretary said Hagel is looking forward to exploring these topics further at the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultation known as AUSMIN later this year.

Before meeting with the secretary today, Kirby said, Abbott paid his respects at Arlington National Cemetery.

SECRETARY KERRY ISSUES STATEMENT ON THE BIRTHDAY OF QUEEN ELIZABETH II

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 

On the Occasion of the Official Birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
June 13, 2014


On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I send warm greetings to Queen Elizabeth II and all of our friends in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as you celebrate Her Majesty’s Official Birthday on June 14.

The United States has a deep and abiding respect for Her Majesty’s extraordinary service to cause and country. We admire her dedication to duty, and we are forever grateful for her commitment to our special relationship.

For so many of us, the relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom isn’t just special. It’s personal. I’ll never forget my first visit to London as a child. Returning there on the very first stop of my very first trip as Secretary of State completed a circle that I never could have imagined drawing.

In the decades between then and now, what I’ve seen above all else is pretty simple: Our bond is bigger than one vote, one party, or one moment in history. It’s about shared values and a shared commitment to making this complicated world a little less complicated and a lot more free.

We are especially reminded of that legacy this year, which marks the centenary of the start of World War I and the 70th anniversary of D-Day. My father once took me to visit the beaches of Normandy, where the war could still be seen in the skeletons of Higgins boats in the dunes and the burned-out bunkers. It wasn’t until years later, walking those beaches after I’d been to war myself, that I came to more fully appreciate the incredible price of peace and liberty that our two Greatest Generations paid.

Her Majesty came of age in Great Britain’s own Greatest Generation. And today of all days, we remember that we are all heirs to their heroism. From the Western Front, to the beaches of Normandy, to Iraq and Afghanistan, at moments of maximum testing, the brave men and women of our nations have served and sacrificed together to advance the cause of freedom. Together, we are building a more peaceful and prosperous world. And there’s no better enterprise than that.

As you mark this special day, I extend heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to Her Majesty the Queen and the British people.


SECRETARY KERRY'S MEETING WITH EMBASSY STAFF, FAMILIES IN LONDON

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 

Secretary Kerry Meets With Staff and Families at Embassy London

Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
London, United Kingdom
June 13, 2014


AMBASSADOR BARZUN: Well, it is great to see your faces. Now, as you look at the faces on the walls up here, there’s some you may recognize – Abraham Lincoln, President Obama, George Washington, my predecessor over here -- there’s one you might – oh, where did he go? – might not recognize over there, which is Ambassador John Wynant. And he was ambassador here from 1941-1946, and I would argue, and I think the case can be made that there’s no single American outside of uniform and outside of FDR who did more to get the United States to join the fight with Great Britain in World War II. And it just so happens that John Wynant went to the same small, little prep school in New Hampshire that Secretary Kerry went to and that I went to. And when he went there, he was so inspired by the example of John Wynant that he founded the Wynant Society to get young people excited about serving overseas. And so I got to benefit from what you started and what you inspired. And here is what is written on John Wynant’s gravestone, based on the memoirs he wrote about being a diplomat.

He wrote: “Doing the days’ work, day by day, doing a little, adding a little, broadening our bases, wanting not only for ourselves, but for others also a fair chance for all people everywhere.” Each of you here at Mission UK is living up to that vision every single day. And that is inspiring. And when I got out of that little prep school, I went to go be an intern with none other than then-Senator Kerry. So I just wanted to give a quick shout-out to all the interns and the summer hires who’re here today. Can you raise your hands? (Applause.)

Secretary Kerry inspired me then; he inspires me now. And I just had a master class in diplomacy from him when I got to drive in the car with you when you arrived at Stansted on your first trip here, when I was here, and we were a few minutes into the drive and his phone rang and it was the foreign minister from Russia. And you very graciously said, “Do you mind?” I said, “Sure. Take the call.” (Laughter.) And then I thought to myself, “This is so cool. I’ll get to hear at least 50 percent of a fascinating conversation.” (Laughter.) But I didn’t quite hear 50 percent. Because what I heard Secretary Kerry do is start off with a clear and concise, filled-with-conviction, articulation of what our government policy was. And then he listened and listened and listened. And at the end played back to his interlocutor in his own words what he thought he had just heard. And so I didn’t end up hearing 50 percent at all, but what I got to see was daily diplomacy in action – active listening, active engagement, and that inspires all of us. Thank you so much for being with us. Thank you. (Applause.)

I was looking to get a caffeine boost after our long morning together, and I’m not kidding you, downstairs I reached into the thing and I pull it out and it says: “Share a coke with Kerry.” So this is meant to be, sir. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, that’s unbelievable. Thank you. Hi. Hello Embassy London. How are you?

AUDIENCE: Good.

SECRETARY KERRY: Everybody good? (Applause.) All right. It’s wonderful to be here. You guys are all thrilled to be out of school? And the first thing you do is you get trotted down in the embassy. (Laughter.) That’s great. Anyway, Matthew did not tell you the whole story. Matthew is actually a cousin of mine – not so close that it amounts to pure nepotism – (laughter) – but cousins. And his mom and I were sort of the same generation growing up together with all of our cousins, and when she came back to the State Department to celebrate Matthew’s swearing-in, I thought I was really being a wise guy and say – I turned to her, I said, “Serita, did you ever think that Matthew was going to grow up to be the ambassador to the Court of St. James?” And without missing a beat, she looked at me and said, “No. I never thought you were going to grow up to be Secretary of State.” (Laughter.) So it’s a good tradition of back and forth.

But it’s really a pleasure for me to see Matthew here. And Matthew, I don’t want to put pressure on you, but five of your predecessors at Court of St. James have gone on to be President of the United States. (Laughter.) This young man – he is – has had an incredible career, literally beginning by being an intern for me. And he was a terrific intern and he went on from that to do a number of other things, most importantly going into the private sector, be out in California, be involved with a start-up company, and a really interesting life. But already in his forties, he’s serving in his second ambassadorship. He was ambassador to Sweden; he came back to America because President Obama had so much confidence in him, he asked him to be the chairman of his finance committee for the entire campaign. And as you know, in today’s American politics in a race for presidency, you’re raising something like a billion dollars when you put it all together and everything that’s going on.

So you folks are blessed to have an ambassador who is savvy, smart, creative, an entrepreneur, who looks for new ways of doing things, but who’s really thoughtful and I think very, very tuned in to people and to your needs. So I’m honored that he’s here. And Brooke, is she here somewhere? Is Brooke hiding? She’s not here. But he’s also blessed to have a good wife. I know Brooke, have gotten to know here over the years, and she was incredibly supportive and helpful to all of us. So Matthew, thank you for you what you’re doing. We appreciate it very, very much.

Likewise, I want to single out a couple of people. The DCM Liz Dibble is over here. (Applause.) I know Liz, I met Liz – I met her in Rome where she was serving and doing an incredible job running the whole show for a period of time. And she’s been in various incredible places – Islamabad, Tunis, in – where else? – Damascus. You’ve been in Damascus, I believe. And so a hugely interesting career, and we’re blessed to have you here with your daughter. Nice to have you here also. Thank you.

There’s another fellow I’d like to mention if I can quickly. I met Jeff Lodinsky -- he’s hiding over here – Jeff I met in Bethesda Naval Hospital the weekend after I was first sworn in quietly and privately on a Friday as Secretary of State. I hadn’t even been in the building yet – in the State Department – which I went into on Monday. But on Sunday, I went over and visited with Jeff and few other folks who had been wounded in a couple of different incidents. And I have to say thank you to him and to his spirit, to the example that he sets. He, as you know, he was seriously wounded in Kunar Province in Afghanistan. We were just reminiscing upstairs, because I literally walked around in that village and drove up to meet with the governor that he was going to meet with when I was in the Senate. And I know that area well, and I can just feel – imagine what he went through when he was out there doing his duty and doing his – every two weeks meeting with the governor to talk about the things we needed to do together. And now he’s here, and Jeff, we’re just so proud that your service and your daughter Rika is somewhere in here hiding out. I don’t know where she went off to. But it’s like my kids, they never want to be around – (laughter) – “Geez, Dad, don’t embarrass me.” (Laughter.)

Anyway, Jeff, thank you. I want everybody here to – (applause) – I’m not going to keep you long. I understand there’s an ice cream social. Is that correct? Is that really what brought you guys down here, huh, free ice cream? (Laughter.) So I’ve learned enough in politics and diplomacy never to stand between a young person and their ice cream. (Laughter.) So I’m going to be pretty brief here I promise you.

But I want to say thank you to all of you, and I want to say thank you to on behalf of the President of the United States, on behalf of the entire State Department and all of our senior leadership. And I really want to say thank you on behalf of the American people. We are living in an extraordinarily complicated world today. It’s very different from the world that – Cold War, which I grew up in. It’s even different from the 1990s and the exuberance after the fall of the Berlin Wall and this incredible bursting energy as people who have been quashed for years suddenly smelled freedom and lived freedom.

But now forces have been released that are challenging all of us. Globalization is one of them. No politician, no leader could conceivably put globalization back into the bottle no matter how hard they tried, can’t do it. Because people now are in touch with people everywhere. That’s what’s happened in these incredible 15 years. I rewrote, together with other members of the committee that I was chairman of the subcommittee, we wrote the telecommunications law back in 1995, ’96. By the time the ink was dry on the President’s signature, the law was outdated because the law was all about how you manage telephones. And boom, within months it was data, the movement of data on the internet. And back then you had a very few number of companies. Name them, I mean, Google and Yahoo and AOL and a few of those, et cetera, until today unbelievable numbers of companies, unbelievably how we take for granted every day moving around, looking at our smart phone, our mobile device, working this way in this new world. Well, so does everybody else.

Kids in Africa are running around with smart phones. They don’t have a job, they may not get an education, but they’ve got a smart phone. And they can go in and tune into how people are living everywhere else in the world and they want it. When I went to Kyiv a few months ago during the upheaval, I was really struck by a guy who came up to me when I was down on the Maidan walking down the street where the snipers had killed people and where there were flowers, unbelievable memorials that had been put together. And still barricades and tires and bedposts, and all the detritus that had come out to protect these people.

And a guy came up to me and said, “I’m so glad you’re here. Thank you for coming. I was in Australia two weeks ago, and I saw what was happening in my country, and I came back here to be part of this change because I saw how people lived in Australia, and I said, ‘We have to be able to live like that, too.’”

That’s the aspiration that’s breaking out all over the world, but in too many countries, you have failed governments, you have failing governments, you have an absence of the ability of these people to participate and make their voices heard. And so we’re living in an era – a tectonic shift, a moment of extraordinary change. And our interests are at stake everywhere.

That’s what I want to reinforce in you. There’s no us and them, over there, over here, and you’re safe. We’re all connected to what’s going on. Terrorists in Syria today, in Iraq today are thinking about how they can hurt people in London or Paris or Berlin or even in the United States. And they don’t offer anything else to their people. They’re not offering an education plan, they’re not offering – well, actually, it’s do what we tell you. Read one book and that’s it, and you live by it. But they’re not offering a broad-based set of opportunities and education. They don’t talk about building their country, they don’t have healthcare, nothing. That’s what we’re struggling with.
And so what we do in each of our embassies is absolutely critical to helping people to tap into and understand our values and to be thoughtful about the choices in life itself. There are few jobs where you get to get up in the morning and go to work and know that you are working in as big an enterprise as – it has a universally aspired to set of principles and values, where you can feel like you’re making a difference changing somebody’s life.

No matter what you do in this embassy, whether you are Foreign Service, Civil Service, local employee, political appointee, you are an ambassador. And the people you meet on a daily basis may be the only – it’s conceivable particularly in other countries, not necessarily so much in London, but in plenty of places, that encounter may be the only encounter that person will ever have with an American or with somebody who works with Americans. And they’ll get a sense of who we are, how we behave, how we treat them, what we do, how quickly we can help them, if we help them at all.

So I thank you for doing this. And for those of you young guys who are here, I’ll tell you I was 11 years old when my dad packed up and we went off to Berlin, Germany after the war, and I was the son of a Foreign Service officer, and I got to know what it was like to pack and move and leave school and leave my friends and come back and go to another place. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It was great. And you all should not think for an instant you’re missing anything anywhere.

The rest of your lives you’ll look back and say, “Wow, I had these great opportunities.” And you’ll learn a language, you’ll see another culture, you’ll travel, you’ll have a sense of history. So I just say thank you to your parents, thank you to all of you for being part of a great family, and I can promise you as long as I am Secretary of State we will do everything in my power to represent you, protect your interests, protect our embassies, make sure we are doing things that make sense and that advance the interests and the values of the United States of America. On behalf of President Obama, thank you all very, very much. Thank you. (Applause.)

CDC STUDY SAYS CANCER SURVIVORS FACE LARGE FINANCIAL BURDEN

FROM:  CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION 

US cancer survivors face significant economic burden

Medical costs, health insurance access, and lost productivity have an impact
U.S. cancer survivors face significant economic burdens due to growing medical costs, missed work, and reduced productivity, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in today’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

 “Cancer survivors face physical, emotional, psycho-social, employment and financial challenges as a result of their cancer diagnosis and treatment,” said Donatus U. Ekwueme, PhD, a senior health economist at CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. “With the number of cancer survivors expected to increase by more than 30 percent in the next decade – to 18 million Americans -- medical and public health professionals must be diligent in their efforts to help reduce the burden of cancer on survivors and their families.”
Researchers analyzed data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s 2008-2011 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to estimate annual medical costs and productivity losses among male and female cancer survivors, aged 18 years and older, and among persons without a cancer diagnosis. Lost productivity was estimated by reviewing employment disability (being unable to work because of illness or injury), health-related missed work days, and days spent in bed due to ill health.

From 2008-2011, male cancer survivors had annual medical costs of more than $8,000 per person, and productivity losses of $3,700 compared to males without a history of cancer at $3,900 and $2,300 respectively. During the same time, female cancer survivors had $8,400 in annual medical costs per person and $4,000 in productivity losses compared to females without a history of cancer at $5,100 and $2,700, respectively.

Study findings indicate:

Cancer survivors were more likely to be female, non-Hispanic white, have multiple chronic conditions, or to be in fair or poor health.

Employment disability accounted for about 75 percent of lost productivity among cancer survivors.

Among survivors who were employed at the time of their diagnosis, cancer and its treatment interfered with physical tasks (25 percent) and mental tasks required by the job (14 percent); almost 25 percent of cancer survivors felt less productive at work.

The report also found that about 10 percent of survivors aged 65 years and younger were uninsured and likely to have a larger financial burden compared to survivors with some source of payment for medical services. Through the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans, including cancer survivors, have access to health coverage and preventive services.

The authors noted that nearly 32 percent of survivors experienced limitations in their usual daily activities outside of work because of cancer. Among those employed, more than 42 percent had to make changes to their work hours and duties. Comprehensive health and employment intervention programs may be needed to improve outcomes for cancer survivors and their families.

FTC ANNOUNCES $10 MILLION SETTLEMENT IN ALLEGED MOBILE CRAMMING SCHEME CASE

FROM:  U.S. FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 
Operators of Massive Mobile Cramming Scheme Will Surrender More Than $10M in Assets in FTC Settlement

The operators of a massive mobile cramming scheme have agreed to surrender more than $10 million in assets to settle Federal Trade Commission charges, including the contents of numerous bank accounts; real estate in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Chicago; and a number of cars and pieces of jewelry.

“Cramming unauthorized charges on consumers’ phone bills is unlawful, and this settlement shows the FTC is committed to making sure that anyone who does it won’t be able to keep their ill-gotten gains,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Consumers have the right to know what they are being charged.”

Under the terms of the settlement, Lin Miao and the corporate defendants will be permanently banned from placing any charges on consumers’ phone bills, making any misrepresentations to consumers about a product or service or a consumers’ obligation to pay, and will also be prohibited from charging consumers for a product or service without their express consent.  The settlement includes a monetary judgment of more than $150 million, which is partially suspended based on Miao’s inability to pay the full amount after he turns over nearly all of his and the companies’ assets.

Among the assets Miao and the corporate defendants will be required to surrender under the terms of the settlement are:

the contents of 14 bank accounts and one life insurance policy, less $5,000;
five real estate properties, including three in Chicago and one in each in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills;
four vehicles, including a 2013 Mercedes SUV, a 2014 Range Rover SUV, a 2011 Audi and a 2008 Bentley; and
numerous items of jewelry, including three Patek Phillippe watches, a Tiffany watch, two Tiffany rings with 10 and eight carat diamonds, a pair of six-carat Tiffany  earrings, and a Tiffany necklace, bracelet and diamond bracelet.
The FTC filed its complaint against Miao, along with the corporate defendants Tatto, Inc., Shaboom Media, LLC, Bune, LLC, Mobile Media Products, LLC, Chairman Ventures, LLC, Galactic Media, LLC, and Virtus Media, LLC, in December 2013.

The complaint alleged that Miao and the other defendants pitched text message services offering “love tips,” “fun facts,” and celebrity gossip alerts, but placed charges for these services – typically $9.99 a month – on consumers’ bills without their permission -- a practice known as mobile cramming. They also allegedly used deceptive websites designed to collect consumers’ mobile phone numbers that would then be billed for the services.

The charges appeared on consumers’ phone bills under confusing names such as “77050IQ12CALL8663611606” and “25184USBFIQMIG” and in many instances, consumers did not notice the variations in the amount of their bills from month to month. When consumers did notice the charges and attempted to seek refunds, the process was often highly cumbersome, with some promised refunds from the defendants never arriving, or consumers receiving only partial refunds from their phone company.  

The Commission vote approving the proposed stipulated order was 5-0. The FTC filed the proposed order in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, and it was entered by the court on June 11, 2014.

NOTE: Stipulated orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.      

Friday, June 13, 2014

U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT CONTRACTS FOR JUNE 13, 2014

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT 

CONTRACTS

ARMY

ABM Government Services, Hopkinsville, Kentucky (W912DY-10-D-0049; MOD P00012); LB&B Associates Inc., Columbia, Maryland (W912DY-10-D-0050; MOD P00009); J&J Maintenance, Inc., Austin, Texas (W912DY-10-D-0051; MOD P00009); and Emcor Government Services, Arlington, Virginia (W912DY-10-D-0052; MOD P00008), were awarded a $383,500,000 modification to existing contracts for increased capacity for operations and maintenance services in Defense Department medical treatment facilities. Funding and work location will be determined with each order. The estimated completion date is July 11, 2015. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntsville, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

Capco, Inc.*, Grand Junction, Colorado, was awarded a $78,980,935 firm-fixed-price contract to procure the M205 tripod used with the M2/M2A1 Heavy Machine Gun and the MK19 Grenade Machine Gun. Funding and work location will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of June 13, 2018. Bids were solicited via the Internet with 10 received. Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity (W15QKN-14-D-0051).

Lockheed Martin Corp., Liverpool, New York was awarded a $35,710,660 firm-fixed-price contract with options for the Army Navy/Transportable Radar Search (AN/TPS) 59A Version (V)3 Array Electronics. Work will be performed in Syracuse, New York, Oldsmar, Florida, and Moorestown, New Jersey with an estimated completion date of July 12, 2017. Bids were solicited via the Internet with one received. Fiscal 2014 other procurement funds in the

amount of $35,710,660 are being obligated at the time of the award. Army Contracting Command, Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania is the contracting activity (W25G1V-14-C-0016).

American Mechanical Inc.*, Fairbanks, Alaska (W911KB-14-D-00210); Central Environmental Inc.*, Anchorage, Alaska (W911KB-14-D-0022); and Patrick Mechanical Inc.*, Fairbanks, Alaska (W911KB-14-D-0023), were awarded a $24,000,000 firm-fixed-price indefinite- delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with options for the design, construction and repair of Utilidor Systems, Eielson Air Force Base and other Alaskan military installations with an estimated completion date of June 12, 2018. Bids were solicited via the Internet with nine received. Funding will be determined with each order. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, is the contracting activity.

NAVY

Northrop Grumman System Corp., San Diego, California, is being awarded a $61,326,794 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00019-12-C-0117) for operations and maintenance services in support of the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance – Demonstrator (BAMS-D) Unmanned Aircraft System. This effort will provide logistics support; organization, intermediate, and depot (D) -level maintenance; and field service representatives, to ensure that the BAMS-D aircraft are mission-capable for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Maryland (70 percent); outside continental United States (25 percent); and Rancho Bernardo, California (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in June 2015. Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance (Navy) funds in the amount of $61,326,794 are being obligated on this award, all of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Co., San Diego, California, is being awarded a $23,500,000 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-13-C-2401) for early industry involvement associated with the LHA(R) program Flight 1 (LHA 8) ship design to initiate an affordability design phase. Work will be performed in San Diego, California, and is expected to be completed by May 2015. Fiscal 2014 research, development, test and evaluation funding in the amount of $20,500,000 will be obligated at the time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity.
General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, is being awarded $11,715,565 for cost-plus-award-fee modification 0001 to the previously awarded order (N00024-13-G-2316) to provide engineering and management efforts in support of the post-shakedown availability (PSA) for USS Coronado (LCS 4). This order is for planning for LCS 4’sPSA. Bath Iron Works will provide labor and material support services for the vessel. Efforts will include program management, production supervision, temporary protection services and transportation services necessary to complete the PSA. Work will be performed in San Diego, California, and is expected to be completed by December 2014. Fiscal 2014 ship conversion (Navy) funding in the amount of $5,000,000 will be obligated at time of award. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion, and Repair, Bath, Maine, is the contracting activity.

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Tiger Natural Gas, Inc.*, Tulsa, Oklahoma, has been awarded a maximum $43,277,040 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment contract for direct supply of natural gas. This contract was a competitive acquisition with three offers received. This is a three-year base contract with no option periods. Location of performance is Oklahoma and California with a Sept. 30, 2017, performance completion date. Using military services are Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 through fiscal 2017 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Energy, Fort Belvoir, Virginia (SPE600-14-D-7501).

BP Energy Company, Houston, Texas, has been awarded a maximum $42,801,948 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment contract for direct supply of natural gas. This contract was a competitive acquisition with three offers received. This is a 3-year base contract with no option periods. Location of performance is Texas and California with a Sept. 30, 2017, performance completion date. Using military services are Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 through fiscal 2017 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Energy, Fort Belvoir, Virginia (SPE600-14-D-7502).

AIR FORCE

Aerospace Testing Alliance, Tullahoma, Tennessee, has been awarded an $11,890,453 cost-plus-award-fee modification (P00330) on F40600-03-C-0001 to increase the workload for the operations, maintenance, information management and support of Arnold Engineering Development Complex. Work will be performed at Arnold Air Force Base, Tennessee, and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2014. No funds are being obligated at time of award. Air Force Test Center/PZZ, Arnold Air Force Base, Tennessee, is the contracting activity.
Alliant Techsystems Operations LLC, Rocket Center, West Virginia, was awarded an $8,036,250 firm-fixed-price contract for production and delivery of Rocket Assisted Take Off rocket motors and initiators. Work will be performed at Rocket Center, West Virginia, with an expected completion date of Jan. 6, 2017. Fiscal 2012 and 2013 aircraft procurement funds in the full contract amount are being obligated at time of award. This contract was a competitive acquisition, and two offers were received. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity (FA8213-14-C-0018).

*Small business

PRESIDENT OBAMA SAYS U.S. TROOPS WILL NOT BE SENT BACK INTO COBAT IN IRAQ

FROM:  THE WHITE HOUSE 

Statement by the President on Iraq

South Lawn
12:00 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  I wanted to take some time to give you a quick update about the situation in Iraq. 
Yesterday, I convened a meeting with my National Security Council to discuss the situation there, and this morning I received an update from my team.  Over the last several days, we’ve seen significant gains made by ISIL, a terrorist organization that operates in both Iraq and in Syria.  In the face of a terrorist offensive, Iraqi security forces have proven unable to defend a number of cities, which has allowed the terrorists to overrun a part of Iraq’s territory.  And this poses a danger to Iraq and its people.  And given the nature of these terrorists, it could pose a threat eventually to American interests as well.
Now, this threat is not brand new.  Over the last year, we’ve been steadily ramping up our security assistance to the Iraqi government with increased training, equipping and intelligence.  Now, Iraq needs additional support to break the momentum of extremist groups and bolster the capabilities of Iraqi security forces.  We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq, but I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraqi security forces, and I’ll be reviewing those options in the days ahead.
I do want to be clear though, this is not solely or even primarily a military challenge.  Over the past decade, American troops have made extraordinary sacrifices to give Iraqis an opportunity to claim their own future.  Unfortunately, Iraq’s leaders have been unable to overcome too often the mistrust and sectarian differences that have long been simmering there, and that’s created vulnerabilities within the Iraqi government as well as their security forces.
So any action that we may take to provide assistance to Iraqi security forces has to be joined by a serious and sincere effort by Iraq’s leaders to set aside sectarian differences, to promote stability, and account for the legitimate interests of all of Iraq’s communities, and to continue to build the capacity of an effective security force.  We can’t do it for them.  And in the absence of this type of political effort, short-term military action, including any assistance we might provide, won’t succeed. 
So this should be a wake-up call.  Iraq’s leaders have to demonstrate a willingness to make hard decisions and compromises on behalf of the Iraqi people in order to bring the country together.  In that effort, they will have the support of the United States and our friends and our allies. 
Now, Iraq’s neighbors also have some responsibilities to support this process.  Nobody has an interest in seeing terrorists gain a foothold inside of Iraq, and nobody is going to benefit from seeing Iraq descend into chaos.  So the United States will do our part, but understand that ultimately it’s up to the Iraqis, as a sovereign nation, to solve their problems.
Indeed, across the region we have redoubled our efforts to help build more capable counterterrorism forces so that groups like ISIL can’t establish a safe haven.  And we’ll continue that effort through our support of the moderate opposition in Syria, our support for Iraq and its security forces, and our partnership with other countries across the region. 
We’re also going to pursue intensive diplomacy throughout this period both inside of Iraq and across the region, because there’s never going to be stability in Iraq or the broader region unless there are political outcomes that allow people to resolve their differences peacefully without resorting to war or relying on the United States military. 
We’ll be monitoring the situation in Iraq very carefully over the next several days.  Our top priority will remain being vigilant against any threats to our personnel serving overseas.  We will consult closely with Congress as we make determinations about appropriate action, and we’ll continue to keep the American people fully informed as we make decisions about the way forward. 
I’ll take a question.
Q    Mr. President, given the recent U.S. history there, are you reluctant to get involved again in Iraq?
THE PRESIDENT:  I think that we should look at the situation carefully.  We have an interest in making sure that a group like ISIL, which is a vicious organization and has been able to take advantage of the chaos in Syria, that they don't get a broader foothold.  I think there are dangers of fierce sectarian fighting if, for example, these terrorist organizations try to overrun sacred Shia sites, which could trigger Shia-Sunni conflicts that could be very hard to stamp out.  So we have enormous interests there.
And obviously, our troops and the American people and the American taxpayers made huge investments and sacrifices in order to give Iraqis the opportunity to chart a better course, a better destiny.  But ultimately, they're going to have to seize it.  As I said before, we are not going to be able to do it for them.  And given the very difficult history that we’ve seen in Iraq, I think that any objective observer would recognize that in the absence of accommodation among the various factions inside of Iraq, various military actions by the United States, by any outside nation, are not going to solve those problems over the long term and not going to deliver the kind of stability that we need.
Anybody else?
Q    Mr. President, is the Syrian civil war spilling over the Iraq border?  And what can we do to stop it?
THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think that's been happening for some time.  ISIL has been able to gain a foothold in Syria.  That's part of the reason why we’ve been so concerned about it.  That's part of the reason why we’ve been supporting the Syrian opposition there.  But it’s a challenging problem.
In Iraq, the Iraqi government, which was initially resistant to some of our offers of help, has come around now to recognize that cooperation with us on some of these issues can be useful.  Obviously, that's not the case in Syria where President Assad has no interest in seeing us involved there, and where some of the governments that are supporting Assad have been able to block, for example, U.N. efforts even at humanitarian aid.  But this is a regional problem and it is going to be a long-term problem.
And what we’re going to have to do is combine selective actions by our military to make sure that we’re going after terrorists who could harm our personnel overseas or eventually hit the homeland.  We’re going to have to combine that with what is a very challenging international effort to try to rebuild countries and communities that have been shattered by sectarian war.  And that's not an easy task.
Q    Mr. President, which foreign countries have you been in touch with?  And what are they willing to do as part of this international effort?
THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we’re in contact with them now.  So we’ll have a better sense by the end of the weekend, after those consultations.  And we will be getting a better sense from them of how they might support an effort to bring about the kind of political unity inside of Iraq that bolsters security forces.
Look, the United States has poured a lot of money into these Iraqi security forces, and we devoted a lot of training to Iraqi security forces.  The fact that they are not willing to stand and fight, and defend their posts against admittedly hardened terrorists but not terrorists who are overwhelming in numbers indicates that there’s a problem with morale, there’s a problem in terms of commitment.  And ultimately, that’s rooted in the political problems that have plagued the country for a very long time.
Last question.  Last one.
Q    Thank you.  Can you talk a little bit about U.S. concern of disruption of oil supplies?
THE PRESIDENT:  Well, so far at least we have not seen major disruptions in oil supplies.  Obviously if, in fact, ISIL was able to obtain control over major output, significant refineries, that could be a source of concern.  As you might expect, world oil markets react to any kind of instability in the Middle East.  One of our goals should be to make sure that in cooperation with other countries in the region not only are we creating some sort of backstop in terms of what’s happening inside of Iraq, but if there do end up being disruptions inside of Iraq, that some of the other producers in the Gulf are able to pick up the slack.  So that will be part of the consultations that will be taking place during the course of this week.
Just to give people a sense of timing here, although events on the ground in Iraq have been happening very quickly, our ability to plan, whether it’s military action or work with the Iraqi government on some of these political issues, is going to take several days.  So people should not anticipate that this is something that is going to happen overnight.  We want to make sure that we have good eyes on the situation there.  We want to make sure that we’ve gathered all the intelligence that’s necessary so that if, in fact, I do direct and order any actions there, that they’re targeted, they’re precise and they’re going to have an effect. 
And as I indicated before -- and I want to make sure that everybody understands this message -- the United States is not simply going to involve itself in a military action in the absence of a political plan by the Iraqis that gives us some assurance that they’re prepared to work together.  We’re not going to allow ourselves to be dragged back into a situation in which while we’re there we’re keeping a lid on things, and after enormous sacrifices by us, as soon as we’re not there, suddenly people end up acting in ways that are not conducive to the long-term stability and prosperity of the country. 
All right, thank you very much, everybody. 
END
12:11 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA ASKS SECURITY TEAM FOR OPTIONS ON IRAQ

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT 
Obama Weighs Options for Intervention in Iraq
By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2014 – Citing the “huge investments and sacrifices” Americans have made in Iraq, President Barack Obama said today that he has asked his national security team to prepare a range of options to help Iraqi security forces stop rapidly advancing Sunni insurgents who have overrun much of the country’s north, control most of Anbar province and are now threatening the capital, Baghdad.

“I’ll be reviewing those options in the days ahead,” Obama said in a statement delivered on the south lawn of the White House, but he stressed “we will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq.”

Obama said assistance for Iraq’s security forces is necessary because of the “significant gains” Sunni fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria have made in the past several days, taking over the country’s second-largest city, Mosul, and continuing to push southward toward the Iraqi capital while overrunning Tikrit and several other towns and threatening several of Iraq’s Shiite shrines.

“Iraqi security forces have proven unable to defend a number of cities, which has allowed the terrorists to overrun a part of Iraq’s territory, and this poses a danger to Iraq and its people,” the president said. “And given the nature of these terrorists, it could pose a threat, eventually to American interests as well.”
Obama indicated that any decision on U.S. assistance to Iraq is still at least several days away, would be made in close consultation with Congress, and would have to include Iraq’s leaders working to resolve the sectarian differences that he said underlie the current situation.

“The United States is not simply going to involve itself in a military action in the absence of a political plan by the Iraqis that gives us some assurance that they’re prepared to work together,” he said. The government led by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the Iraqi military are largely Shiite, while the insurgents are primarily Sunni.

With diplomatic efforts set to intensify, Obama said, it will take several days “to make sure that we’ve gathered all the intelligence that’s necessary so that if, in fact, I do direct an order [or] any actions there, that they’re targeted, they’re precise, and they’re going to have an effect.”

Even so, two and a half years after the last U.S. combat troops left Iraq, Obama made clear the United States, after having made “enormous sacrifices” in Iraq, including the deaths of more than 4,000 Americans, is “not going to be dragged back into a situation in which, while we’re there, we’re keeping a lid on things.”
The president also said that despite the billions of dollars the United States spent to train Iraq’s security forces during the eight-year war, the current collapse of the Iraqi army in the face of the Sunni insurgency indicates Iraq’s military continues to have deep-rooted problems.

“The fact that they are not willing to stand and fight and defend their posts against admittedly hardened terrorists, but not terrorists who are overwhelming in numbers, indicates that there’s a problem with morale,” he said. “There’s a problem in terms of commitment, and ultimately, that’s rooted in the political problems that have plagued the country for a very long time.”

The United States already has supplied Iraq with military equipment and intelligence. After meetings with his national security council yesterday, Obama decided the United States needed to take action to help, but he said that “ultimately, it’s up to the Iraqis as a sovereign nation to solve their problems.”

ST. BERGDAHL RETURNS TO U.S.

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT 
Focus Remains on Bergdahl’s Health, Well-being, Spokesman Says
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2014 – Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, held captive by the Taliban for four years, has arrived at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio to continue his reintegration process, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said.

Bergdahl’s captors released him in a May 31 prisoner exchange. He initially was treated at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, and later at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

In a statement announcing Bergdahl’s arrival for further treatment at Brooke, Kirby said there is no timeline for the process.

“Our focus remains on his health and well-being,” he said, adding that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is confident that the Army will continue to ensure that Bergdahl receives the care, time and space he needs to complete his recovery and reintegration.

A proof-of-life video provided by Bergdahl’s captors raised concerns for the soldier’s health, accelerating the pace of negotiations that culminated in the prisoner exchange.

Speaking to reporters on background June 5, officials from the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency explained that when service members or Defense Department civilians are returned after being captured, separated from their unit or otherwise isolated, they enter a three-step reintegration program designed to assist them as they transition back to normal life.

The phases vary in length, depending on the needs of the returnee, and not all returnees will go through every phase, a Defense Department personnel recovery expert with JPRA said. Each phase ends with the recovered individual either being returned to duty or recommended for the next phase in the process, the official added.

In a statement released this morning, Army officials said that after Bergdahl's reintegration, the service will continue its comprehensive review into the circumstances of his disappearance and captivity.

NASA WORKS TO RETURN SUPERSONIC PASSENGER TRAVEL

FROM:  NASA 

NASA F/A-18 mission support aircraft were used to create low-intensity sonic booms during a resaerch project at the agency's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. The Waveforms and Sonic boom Perception and Response, or WSPR, project gathered data from a select group of more than 100 volunteer Edwards Air Force Base residents on their individual attitudes toward sonic booms produced by aircraft in supersonic flight over Edwards.  Image Credit-NASA-Jim Ross.

The return of supersonic passenger travel may be coming closer to reality thanks to NASA’s efforts to define a new standard for low sonic booms.

Several NASA aeronautics researchers will present their work in Atlanta this week at Aviation 2014, an annual event of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. They will share with the global aviation community the progress they are making in overcoming some of the biggest hurdles to supersonic passenger travel.

The research generates data crucial for developing a low-boom standard for the civil aviation industry. NASA works closely with the Federal Aviation Administration and the international aerospace community, including the International Civil Aviation Organization, to gather data and develop new procedures and requirements that may help in a reconsideration of the current ban on supersonic flight over land.

"Lessening sonic booms -- shock waves caused by an aircraft flying faster than the speed of sound -- is the most significant hurdle to reintroducing commercial supersonic flight," said Peter Coen, head of the High Speed Project in NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate at the agency's Headquarters in Washington. "Other barriers include high altitude emissions, fuel efficiency and community noise around airports."

Engineers at NASA centers in California, Ohio and Virginia that conduct aviation research are tackling sonic booms from a number of angles, including how to design a low-boom aircraft and characterize the noise. NASA researchers have studied how to quantify the loudness and annoyance of the boom by asking people to listen to the sounds in a specially designed noise test chamber.

A recent flight research campaign at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, had residents explore ways to assess the public’s response to sonic booms in a real-world setting. Researchers at Armstrong have an advantage -- pilots are permitted to fly at supersonic speeds because the facility is located on Edwards Air Force Base.

"People here are more familiar with sonic booms," said Armstrong aerospace engineer Larry Cliatt. "Eventually, we want to take this to a broader level of people who have never heard a sonic boom."

Similar work is conducted at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, where volunteers from the local community rated sonic booms according to how disruptive they determined the sound to be.

"They each listened to a total of 140 sounds, and based on their average response, we can begin to estimate the general public's reactions," explained Langley acoustics engineer Alexandra Loubeau.

She also conducted a study at Langley comparing results from tools used to predict sonic boom noise at ground-level.

“Because of the interaction with the atmosphere, it is important to be as consistent as possible in the implementation and usage of these tools. The comparisons done so far have shown good agreement, but there are some inconsistencies that need to be studied,” Loubeau said.

Other studies are focused on predicting the sonic boom and on design approaches to reducing it. Participants from Japan, the United States and France attended the first Sonic Boom Prediction Workshop, where they evaluated simple configurations -- cylindrical bodies with and without wings -- and complex full aircraft designs.

"We are working to understand the worldwide state of the art in predicting sonic booms from an aircraft point of view," said Mike Park, a fluid mechanics engineer at Langley. "We found for simple configurations we can analyze and predict sonic booms extremely well. For complex configurations we still have some work to do."

Wind tunnels are another tool used to help predict which airplane designs might have quieter booms. The most recent tests were conducted at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, and Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.  Similar to designs of the past, current aircraft designs being tested are characterized by a needle-like nose, a sleek fuselage and a delta wing or highly-swept wings -- shapes that result in much lower booms.

NASA and industry engineers say they believe supersonic research has progressed to the point where the design of a practical low-boom supersonic jet is within reach.

Karen Northon
Headquarters, Washington

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION: WHILE THE CREW SLEEPS

FROM:  NASA 

This view in the International Space Station, photographed by an Expedition 40 crew member, shows how it looks inside the space station while the crew is asleep. The dots near the hatch point to a Soyuz spacecraft docked to the station in case the crew was to encounter an emergency. This view is looking into the Destiny Laboratory from Node 1 (Unity) with Node 2 (Harmony) in the background. Destiny is the primary research laboratory for U.S. payloads, supporting a wide range of experiments and studies. Image Credit: NASA.

SECRETARY KERRY'S REMARKS AT LAW ENFORCEMENT MEMORIAL WALL

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 

Remarks at the Dedication of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Memorial Wall

Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
21st Street Entrance
Washington, DC
June 12, 2014


Bill, thank you very much. Good morning, everybody, distinguished guests all, and particularly the members of the Bynum family and extended clan. We’re delighted to be able to honor you here today. As Bill just mentioned to you, on the other side of this building – and I hope you have a chance to see it if you haven’t seen it already when you came in – we have the AFSA, the American Foreign Service plaque, which proudly honors our fallen Foreign Service officers. But from this day forward, at this very spot, as Bill has described, in a place that is a thoroughfare for the moment of all of the people who work here in this family, with just as much solemnity and with just as much reverence we honor the men and women – contractors and federal employees alike – who gave the full measure of their capacity of their service to country, of their commitment to the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement mission abroad.

This is much more than a list of names. It’s a legacy of stories, individual stories, each one with a human face that tells the story of a brave person who served their country. In the name of making the rule of law stronger, of making the world a little bit more free from the drugs and the crime and the web of horrors that come with it that threatens the civilized world everywhere. Believe me, this is personal for everybody here. It’s particularly personal for Assistant Secretary Bill Brownfield, who could tell you by memory exactly where on the wall you would find the name and the date of his friend Kris Kriskovich, who Bill knew when they both served in El Salvador and who we lost in Bosnia struggling in the service of the effort to re-establish a police force and take back order from the streets of random and wanton violence. Nothing motivates this fellow, Bill Brownfield, more than the memory of Kris’s sacrifice.

Kris is one of 87 heroes on this wall. And now today his name is linked forever, as are the others, with that of Kevin Bynum, the newest name on the INL wall – a man that we’re here to remember together with his family. We’re delighted to welcome Kevin’s mother, Rebecca, his brother, Lawrence, and fiancee Chaille are all here, as are their children, Josiah Cross, Lazarus Cade, and Luke; his nieces, Sandy and Pam, his nephew-in-law, Doug, and his cousins, Mickie and Howard – they’re all in the audience, and we thank you so much for being here. I know it was a very difficult, long travel with weather delays, and you got in literally early in the morning. And we appreciate the special effort to be here.

Michael Botticelli from the White House is here too along with Michele Leonhart from DEA and Charles Samuels from the Federal Bureau of Prisons. And I also want to acknowledge all of our international partners who were here today to honor the fallen. We thank you.

For a year now, the INL memorial wall has been without a home. Today we give it a permanent display in, as I said, one of the busiest lobbies in this building so that each and every day the thousands of people who pass through here and visitors who come will be reminded of the sacrifices that people do make for the mission that we engage in here in the State Department.
Now I remember a time when some people questioned whether INL’s mission was the work of diplomats, whether law enforcement, crimes, and drugs overseas matter to our interests here at home. But as I travel the world today, I’m amazed by the degree to which corruption and crime are stealing opportunity from entire nations and standing in the way of the march of values that we care about and believe in so deeply. And that should concern every single person because wherever and whenever the rule of law is broken, whenever crime and corruption take root, that is a failure that literally endangers all of us. It is a threat to America and to Americans and to our allies and our friends and partners.

Narcotics grown halfway around the world are too often sold on our streets to our kids. People who are forced to pay bribes are likely to turn to extremism and illegal trafficking of elephant tusks and rhino horns. All of these things threaten the most vulnerable species and threaten communities, because it is criminal activity. It is outside of the rule of law.

What happens overseas matters here at home, and INL is leading our effort to fight back in order to bring order out of chaos. These issues are transnational. There’s no way to fight them by putting your head in the sand and just staying here at home. There’s no way to protect America by pretending that things that happen elsewhere don’t affect us here. None of these threats stop at any border, and they certainly can’t be stopped by one single government.
So if we are to turn the tides in the battle against organized crime and against drug traffickers, then we need to build cooperation and be innovative in our approaches. We in the United States believe that the rule of law has to be renewed every single day and it has to be renewed by people who work here in this Department and elsewhere in our government, sometimes in courageous and lonely efforts.

On this wall are the names of people who gave their lives in service to that principle, that they’re getting up every single day and committing to something much bigger than themselves. Today, with heavy hearts we add the name of Kevin Todd Bynum.

Now let me tell you a little bit about Kevin. For years Kevin worked for a crop dusting company in his native Mississippi, maintaining and loading the prop planes that sprayed the fields of soy beans and wheat. But Kevin didn’t want to just support the pilots. He wanted to be one. So Kevin got his pilot license and he became the man behind the controls. Then Kevin decided to use his license to fly for a bigger mission. He signed up to fly for his country in one of the most dangerous assignments that a pilot can imagine – flying anti-drug missions over the jungles of Colombia, becoming one of the brave pilots who have destroyed 1.5 million acres of coca trees and 7.9 million kilos of cocaine.

While Kevin took this mission very seriously, I can tell you and I think his family knows this, he always found the opportunities to have some fun. Whenever Kevin was working and his company called to check on him, Kevin would answer the phone the same way, with an order for cheeseburger and fries. Kevin’s fellow pilots called him “Boomer,” and they will tell you when you were working with Kevin, you had to check your shoes for rocks or for knotted laces every single morning.

Kevin was also one of our bravest pilots. Each time he went to Colombia, he asked to fly over some of the most dangerous regions. He dodged bullets fired from the rainforest below, and he was also the maintenance test pilot. When no one knew whether a repaired plane would be able to get off the ground and fly or break up over the jungle, Kevin took that first intrepid flight. He was always making sure that everyone came home safely.

Kevin’s name will now forever be honored at the entrance of this building named after President Harry Truman, a president who told us that “America was not built on fear. America was built on courage and on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” President Truman could have just as easily been talking about Kevin and the other 86 patriots who are on this wall with the courage to fight against chaos and negativity, nihilism; the guts to imagine a more just world and the special resolve individually to try to get something done. That’s what makes us the indispensable nation. We look outward. We respond to the call of duty, even at the risk to ourselves, and we embrace the responsibility to lead.

In that spirit, we remember Kevin Bynum and everyone on this wall, whether they were contractors, federal employees, foreign nationals. We honor each of them for their dedication to the American mission abroad and for their willingness to put country and duty above themselves.

It’s now my honor to present the flag to Kevin’s mother and to lay a wreath at the wall.


PRESIDENT OBAMA, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER ABBOT MAKE REMARKS AFTER MEETING

FROM:  THE WHITE HOUSE 

Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Abbott of Australia After Bilateral Meeting

Oval Office
12:16 P.M. EDT
PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, it’s wonderful to have an opportunity to visit with Prime Minister Abbott.  We had a chance to meet when I had the great honor of addressing the Australian Parliament.  And we are so glad to be able to return the favor in the Prime Minister’s first visit here to the Oval Office.
We don’t have a better friend in the world, as well as the Asia Pacific region, than Australia.  They are a treaty ally.  We cooperate on a whole range of issues.  Historically, there hasn’t been a fight that the United States was in that Australia wasn’t standing shoulder to shoulder with us.  And most recently, in Afghanistan, Australian troops have made enormous contributions and made enormous sacrifices, and we’re very grateful to them for that.
We had the opportunity this morning to discuss a wide range of issues, many of them focused on the importance of the Asia Pacific region.  We discussed the security cooperation that is continuing to deepen between our two nations as treaty allies.  In addition to the Marines that are now in Darwin and the rotations that have been established, we actually have arrived at additional agreements around force postures that will enhance the bilateral cooperation between our militaries and give us additional reach throughout this very important part of the world.  And we’re grateful for the cooperation there.
I should note that Australia, under the Prime Minister’s leadership, is increasing its defense budget, even under tough times, recognizing that we all have to make sure that we’re doing our fair share to help maintain global order and security.
We had an opportunity to discuss the strong commercial ties between our two countries.  And both of us have been very invested in trying to bring the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the TPP, to a successful outcome.  Negotiations continue, but Australia has been a very constructive partner in that process, and we both agree that not only can this agreement help to bring about jobs and growth for our respective populations, but it will also help establish the kinds of norms and free market principles throughout the region that will be important for our long-term prosperity.
We had an opportunity to discuss the work that we try to do in the region with organizations like ASEAN to maintain basic rules of the road when it comes to maritime issues, the South China Sea.  Obviously, both the United States and Australia have enormous trade relationships with China, and we both agree that it’s important to continue to see China prosper and rise.  But what’s also important is that as China emerges as this great world power that it also is helping to reinforce and abide by basic international law and norms.
And we had an opportunity to discuss some of the hotspots and international concerns that are on the front page of the papers over the last several weeks and months.  I shared with him my views after my trip to Europe about the situation in Ukraine and the possibility of still resolving that issue in a diplomatic fashion, but thanked the Australians for joining with us and being firm with the Russians about their need to abide by international law and the application of sanctions and other consequences when they do not.
We discussed the situation in the Middle East, and obviously the concerns that we have around Iraq and Syria.  Both our countries are potentially threatened by jihadists and freedom fighters, as they call them, that are going into Syria, getting trained in terrorist tactics and then potentially coming back to our countries and could end up being a significant threat to our homeland, as well.
And we also had an opportunity to talk about North Korea and the continuing threat there and the importance for us to maintain vigilance, including additional coordination around protection from potential missile strikes from North Korea.
Finally, I indicated to the Prime Minister that I’m very much looking forward to visiting Australia -- one of my favorite countries to visit -- for the G20.  And I assured him that we want to cooperate in any ways that we can to ensure that Australia’s renowned hospitality is also coupled with a very productive set of G20 meetings to talk global growth. 
So I think that the Prime Minister and I share a whole range of concerns, but we also see a whole range of opportunities out there for increased cooperation.  And I’m very glad that he’s had the chance to come by today and have a very productive meeting. 
So thank you, Tony.
PRIME MINISTER ABBOTT:  Well, thank you so much, Barack.  This has been a really full and thorough engagement over the last hour or so.  Obviously, I’m here to thank the United States for its deepening engagement in our region.  I’m here to further entrench our security and our economic cooperation.  I’m here to celebrate the extraordinary friendship between the Australian and the American peoples.  And I’m thrilled to have you coming to the G20 in November, because we have a very important job in November in Brisbane to accelerate economic growth around the world so that we have more prosperity and more jobs.
Obviously, right now, there are a whole range of security issues which the United States is leading on and where Australia is doing our part to secure the freedom and the safety of the world and its citizens.  I want to assure the President that Australia will be an utterly dependable ally of the United States.  The United States has had to bear many burdens, many burdens.  The United States has paid a very high price to secure freedom and prosperity for many countries, not just itself.  And the United States should never have to do all that work on its own. 
So it’s been a terrific discussion.  And I think that many good things will come from this meeting today.
PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you, Tony.  I’m going to take just one question.  Nedra. 
Q    Mr. President, are you considering drone strikes or any sort of action to stop the insurgence in Iraq?
PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, this is an area that we’ve been watching with a lot of concern not just over the last couple of days but over the last several months, and we’ve been in close consultation with the Iraqi government.  Over the last year, we have been providing them additional assistance to try to address the problems that they have in Anbar, in the northwestern portions of the country, as well as the Iraqi and Syrian border.  That includes, in some cases, military equipment.  It includes intelligence assistance.  It includes a whole host of issues.
But what we’ve seen over the last couple of days indicates the degree to which Iraq is going to need more help.  It’s going to need more help from us, and it’s going to need more help from the international community. 
So my team is working around the clock to identify how we can provide the most effective assistance to them.  I don’t rule out anything, because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria, for that matter. 
Part of the challenge -- and I’ve said this directly to Prime Minister Maliki, and Vice President Biden has said this in his very frequent interactions with the Iraqi government -- is that the politics of Shia and Sunni inside of Iraq, as well as the Kurds, is either going to be a help in dealing with this jihadist situation, or it’s going to be a hindrance.  And frankly, over the last several years, we have not seen the kind of trust and cooperation develop between moderate Sunni and Shia leaders inside of Iraq, and that accounts in part for some of the weakness of the state, and that then carries over into their military capacity.
So I think it’s fair to say that in our consultations with the Iraqis there will be some short-term, immediate things that need to be done militarily, and our national security team is looking at all the options.  But this should be also a wakeup call for the Iraqi government.  There has to be a political component to this so that Sunni and Shia who care about building a functioning state that can bring about security and prosperity to all people inside of Iraq come together and work diligently against these extremists.  And that is going to require concessions on the part of both Shia and Sunni that we haven’t seen so far. 
The last point I’ll make -- what’s happened over the last couple of days I think underscores the importance of the point that I made at my West Point speech:  the need for us to have a more robust regional approach to partnering and training partner countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa.  We’re not going to be able to be everywhere all the time, but what we can do is to make sure that we are consistently helping to finance, train, advise military forces with partner countries, including Iraq, that have the capacity to maintain their own security.  And that is a long and laborious process, but it’s one that we need to get started. 
That’s part of what the Counterterrorism Partnership Fund that I am going to be calling for Congress to help finance is all about, giving us the capacity to extend our reach without sending U.S. troops to play Whac-A-Mole wherever there ends up being a problem in a particular country.  That’s going to be more effective.  It’s going to be more legitimate in the eyes of people in the region, as well as the international community.  But it’s going to take time for us to build it.  In the short term, we have to deal with what clearly is an emergency situation in Iraq.
PRIME MINISTER ABBOTT:  Perhaps, Barack, I might take one question.
Q    Mr. President, just on that point you made there about limitations of American power -- what would it take for militarization, be it in the Middle East, be it in the Asia Pacific region?  Where is the line drawn?
THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I gave a very long speech about all this, so I probably would refer you to that as opposed to repeating it.  But the basic principle obviously is that we, like all nations, are prepared to take military action whenever our national security is threatened.  Where the issues have to do with the broader international order -- humanitarian concerns, concerns around rights to navigation, concerns around our ability to deal with instability or fragile states or failed states, and the consequences for populations there and refugee flows -- those sorts of international issues, wherever we can, our preference should be to partner with other countries.  We’re going to be more effective if we can work with other nations.
Q    What does --
THE PRESIDENT:  And that’s why -- well, that’s part of where Australia is so important to us.  There are a handful of countries in the world that we always know we can count on, not just because they share our values, but we know we can count on them because they’ve got real capacity.  Australia is one of those countries.  We share foundational values about liberal democracies and human rights, and a world view that’s governed by international law and norms.  And Aussies know how to fight, and I like having them in a foxhole if we’re in trouble.  So I can’t think of a better partner.  
Part of our task now in a world where it’s less likely that any particular nation attacks us or our treaty allies directly, but rather more typically that you have disorder, asymmetric threats, terrorist organizations -- all of which can be extraordinarily disruptive and damaging, but aren’t the traditional types of war that so often we’ve been equipped to fight -- it becomes that much more important for us to start building new partners who aren’t going to be as capable as the Australians, aren’t going to be as capable as our own troops.  And that’s going to take some time.  It’s going to take some resources, but we need to start now.  We’ve learned some lessons over the last decade and we need to start applying them. 
Thank you, everybody.
END