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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Weekly Address: Time to Give the Middle Class a Chance

SECRETARY KERRY'S STATEMENT ON ANNIVERSARY OF MURDER OF MUNIR SAID THALIB

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 
Tenth Anniversary of the Murder of Human Rights Activist Munir Said Thalib
Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
September 6, 2014

To the Indonesians who loved him, he was simply known as Munir. He spent his life working to make his country more democratic, more free, and more humane. Ten years ago today someone assassinated him because they feared he just might succeed.

Still today, justice has not been served. Full accountability for all those allegedly involved remains elusive. In 2004, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono recognized that the credible resolution of Munir’s murder case would be a key test of Indonesian democracy. That is still true today. We support all efforts to bring those who ordered Munir assassinated to account.

Munir was a voice of conscience and clarity. He inspired a generation of activists, scholars, and public servants who today are transforming Indonesia. So many today, including his widow Suciwati, serve his memory by carrying on his mission.

Today we join with the Indonesian people to commemorate the legacy of Munir Said Thalib, and we call for the protection of all who work for peace, democracy, and human rights around the world.

NASA VIDEO: SCIENCECASTS: MYSTERY IN THE OZONE LAYER

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI MAKES REMARKS ON INTERNET GOVERNANCE

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 
Internet Governance Forum Opening Ceremony
Remarks
Catherine A. Novelli
Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment 
Istanbul, Turkey
September 2, 2014

Good afternoon. It is a great pleasure to be here today. I am grateful to our gracious Turkish hosts, the IGF Secretariat, and the Multistakeholder Advisory Group for organizing this year’s Internet Governance Forum.

For centuries, Istanbul connected continents, people and cultures through ancient networks of trading routes and cultural exchanges. This week, I am pleased that we are here to discuss the future of our newest “network of networks,” the Internet.

This year, the international community celebrates the 45th anniversary of the first Internet log-on and the 25th birthday of the Worldwide Web. In this short span of time, the Internet has proven to be a revolutionary force for economic growth, but also a fragile one that all of us must work to preserve.

Across the world, the Internet bridges the gap between talent and opportunity. For example, three Nigerian university students have already helped tens of thousands of Africans secure jobs by creating a job search website called “Jobberman.com.” As West Africa’s most popular online career resource, Jobberman connects talented individuals with job opportunities.

Today, the Internet’s economic benefits are increasingly shifting to the developing world. In fact, in Turkey, SMEs that use the web experienced revenue growth 22 percent higher than those that did not. Overall, the Internet economy contributes 5 to 9 percent to total economic growth in developed markets; and in developing markets, the Internet economy is growing at 15 to 25 percent per year.

The Internet’s enormous impact on economic growth makes it critical that we adopt policies and practices to ensure its future viability. We have a shared responsibility to be good stewards of the internet. I believe complacency is one of the biggest threats to the internet as we know it. I see three critical challenges ahead.

First is broadband access. As a community, our shared challenge is to promote global policies and practices that increase everyone’s access to broadband, particularly in the developing world.

Second is ensuring an open internet. We must strengthen the ability of citizens to access information on the Internet regardless of where they live so that people can freely obtain information and express their opinions.

Third is misuse of the internet, such as cyber-attacks, identity and Intellectual Property theft. We have many tools to address misuse, including technology. However, we must use these tools with precision, so that they address the misuse while preserving internet openness to the greatest degree possible.

Because of these formidable challenges, there are some that advocate for replacing the multi-stakeholder system with centralized intergovernmental regulation. Ideas range from governments imposing international taxes on the transmission of content; mandates on how information has to be routed or stored; and regulated pricing between networks.

This type of regulation would only result in a cumbersome and more expensive Internet that would not be capable of driving positive change in education, health care and the overall economy. Think about the consequences of taxing every Skype call, or regulating the types of information that flow across the Internet through multilateral governmental mandates. This could cripple the user experience and greatly diminish the Internet’s effectiveness as an engine of growth.

We must continue to demonstrate to the world that only the multi-stakeholder approach, that brings together government policy-makers, businesses, NGOs and Internet experts on an equal footing, can effectively overcome today’s challenges and preserve the Internet’s future.

The first step for the continued success of the IGF is to support its long-term sustainability beyond 2015. The United States strongly supports the continuation of the IGF, and I encourage all participants here to join us in supporting extension of the IGF’s mandate at the UN General Assembly this fall.

In conclusion, as I mentioned at the outset, I urge all stakeholders to work together to fulfill our shared responsibility to preserve the Internet’s future.

I am excited to engage with all of you to ensure that the Internet remains vibrant and continues to be a conduit to better the lives of people worldwide.

NOAA VIDEO: AL POWELL - ON THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE SHIFTS ON ECOSYSTEMS

ASSISTANT SECRETARY RIVKIN'S REMARKS ON U.S.-CHINA FILM RELATIONSHIP

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 
Keynote Address at Motion Picture Association Reception
Remarks
Charles H. Rivkin
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs
Beijing, China
September 5, 2014

Remarks as prepared

Thank you. I am so delighted to have the opportunity to attend this movie reception. It doesn’t matter where we go in the world, movies are magical.

From Santa Monica, where I spent almost 20 years working in the entertainment sector, to Paris, France, where I most recently served four years as U.S. Ambassador, I have witnessed firsthand people’s excitement and reverence for films.

I think it’s because movies – on screens large and small – reach so deeply into the things that matter to us: personal aspirations, our desire to pursue happiness and be free. They connect people across borders, across cultures, and they transcend languages.

I am very excited to be in China today to discuss the burgeoning U.S.-China film relationship. Back when I started in the entertainment industry, I would not have imagined that China would be on pace to become the largest film market in the world. The news that Transformers: Age of Extinction broke $300 million in the China market alone is truly remarkable.

However, I would like to take a step back from the numbers and remember why I got into this business so many years ago.

At the Jim Henson Company, I had the privilege to work with the creators of the Muppets and Sesame Street. Jim Henson once told me that media can be an enormous source of good in the world. He lived that philosophy through the programs that he made, such as Sesame Street.

I also attribute a great deal of the American success to telling great stories, even the dark ones.

Last year, I was equally parts horrified and captivated when I watched 12 years a Slave, a movie that tells a true story of a free black man who is kidnapped in Washington, D.C. and sold into slavery. This film, which won the Oscar for best picture, immerses the audience in the pure brutality of being a slave in the United States.

This is a terrible chapter in our history and is difficult to watch. But the freedom, and I would say the bravery, of directors, writers, and producers to point this critical lens at our past, resulted in an authentic movie that touched people and made an important artistic and historical contribution to society.

A great story must be told in a captivating way. We often use technology as a vehicle to believably deliver our story. Tonight in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, we will see technology that truly dazzles. This great new example of science fiction draws on breakthroughs in movie technology.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ visuals prove that there are no longer any boundaries between computer-generated characters, as the apes feel just as real as the actors playing human roles.

The technological advances that shape the movie experience and allow the audience to get lost in the story are one part of the complex production process and viewing experience. Advanced technologies in the movie theaters, such as IMAX, 3D, and thunderous surround-sound make powerful contributions to the audience experience in the theater.

Of course these technologies were developed through painstaking research and trial and error, and funded by millions of dollars of investment.

From my former vantage as a CEO, it is clear to me that strong intellectual property rights and open markets are also critical components to developing a thriving film industry.

Making a $200 million bet on a new movie or film technology is difficult if a company cannot adequately protect its intellectual property.

The patents and licenses for these break-through technologies, and the trademarks and copyrights vital to creating thrilling and enduring movies, allow rights holders to earn profits and recoup the cost to develop and commercialize their creative ideas.

And as Assistant Secretary of State for the U.S. State Department’s Economic and Business Bureau, safeguarding intellectual property rights is one of my key priorities.

When we talk about intellectual property rights, we’re not talking about abstractions. We’re really talking about people.

Yes, movies matter to us as consumers. But they also matter to the people who create the ideas, the products and the technology that make them possible. And not just the ones who invented it, but the ones who work on it.

There’s a whole industry of men and women – all over the world, not just in the United States – who develop, produce, create, distribute or promote motion pictures and television programs. And whether they are artists or technicians, their livelihoods depend on the creation of these films that enrich our lives.

This IPR problem is not limited to the entertainment industry, but impacts businesses – small and large – across all sectors. Prior to coming to Beijing, I met with entrepreneurs and small businesses in Myanmar, Singapore, and Hong Kong, all of whom voiced their concern about losing their ideas to intellectual property theft.

Returning to the film industry, I am also deeply concerned about digital piracy, which is a real threat to U.S. and Chinese content creators alike. Some films are adversely impacted because pirated versions are available prior to the films’ official opening, decreasing the number of potential moviegoers, as we have seen in the very recent case of The Expendables 3.

Increased movie revenues have the potential to benefit both foreign and domestic stakeholders, both of whom should care deeply about intellectual property protection.

In fact, I just had a wonderful discussion this morning with Mr. Wang, Chairman of Wanda, one of China’s largest entertainment companies. Many of you are probably familiar with Chairman Wang and Wanda’s 2012 acquisition of the U.S.-based movie theater operator, AMC. In our conversation, he agreed with me that intellectual property rights are critical for the future growth of China.

The boom in the Chinese box office, which reached sales of $3.6 billion in 2013 has been wonderful for Chinese filmmakers and the industry as a whole, but the Chinese film and television industry has more to offer than simply a large audience: it has the possibility to develop further as a mature, self-sustaining, economically and creatively successful industry.

There truly is so much potential for our industries to flourish and further excite audiences around the world. I look forward to continued cooperation among our governments, industries, and creative sectors to develop our film industries and protect intellectual property. After all, if we want to continue to see the movies we love, we need to reward those who create them.

U.S.STATEMENT: MOZAMBIQUE GOVERNMENT'S AGREEMENT WITH RENAMO FORCES TO END HOSTILITIES

 FROM:  THE STATE DEPARTMENT 
U.S. Commends Mozambique for Agreement To End Hostilities
Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
September 5, 2014

The United States congratulates the people of Mozambique for the agreement reached to bring an end to hostilities between the government of Mozambique and Renamo forces.

President Armando Guebuza and Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama demonstrated statesmanship by publicly endorsing the agreement and signing a Memorandum of Understanding today. This agreement underscores the power of negotiation and the possibilities for peace when a political leadership is committed to dialogue. The people of Mozambique demand and deserve a more peaceful, prosperous, and secure future. This agreement is a historic step forward along that path.

The United States encourages the Government of Mozambique and Renamo to ensure full implementation of the agreement and to continue to use dialogue as a tool for reaching political consensus. Free, fair, and transparent national elections in October are a critical next step, which will help pave the way for a brighter, democratic future for Mozambique.
The United States stands in partnership with Mozambique as it continues on its remarkable journey. We celebrate this important milestone along with friends of Mozambique around the world and extend our best wishes for a future of peace, prosperity, and progress.

SECRETARY KERRY'S REMARKS ON BUILDING ANTI-ISIL COALITION

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 
Remarks at Top of Meeting on Building an Anti-ISIL Coalition Co-Chaired by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, and U.K. Defense Secretary Michael Fallon
Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Celtic Manor
Wales, United Kingdom
September 5, 2014

Good morning, everybody. We are very appreciative for everyone who made the time to get here early (inaudible) in order to start the day with another meeting, with an extra meeting. But we thought it was really critical given the urgency of (inaudible) with respect to ISIL (inaudible) everybody together in order to try to get on the same page and talk through the margins of the NATO summit what we can do over the course of the next days.

We’re operating under a little bit of a time constraint. I promised Philip – and we’re very grateful, Philip, for your willingness to cohost this effort and provide facilities, and thank you, again, for the stewardship of this NATO summit. There’s a flyby taking place at 7:45 (inaudible). Okay, (inaudible). The – yeah. And we’re going to try – we’re absolutely going to (inaudible) time so that we can get up there and (inaudible).

Everybody here understands what ISIL is and the challenge that it represents. I would say to all of you, including those of you – the defense ministers who are now with us, but we had a very provocative conversation last night among the foreign ministers regarding some of the overall challenges we all face, the number of failed states and the challenges of disorder in so many countries. In many ways, I believe ISIL presents us with an opportunity. And it’s an opportunity to prove that we have the ability to come together, that our capacities for defense are not so frozen in an old model that we can’t’ respond to something like ISIL, that we can’t pull ourselves together and effect the coalition of clearly the willing and the capable to be able to deal with ISIL.

Contrary to what you sort of heard in the politics of our country, the President is totally committed; there is a strategy that is clear, becoming more clear by the day. And it really relies on a holistic approach to ISIL. That is to say that we need to do kinetic, we need to attack them in ways that prevent them from taking over territory, that bolster the Iraqi security forces, others in the region who are prepared to take them on, without committing troops of our own, obviously. I think that’s a redline for everybody here, no boots on the ground. Nevertheless, there are many ways in which we can train, advise, assist, and equip. There are kinetic operations we can run in direct support of Iraqi security forces.

And we’ve proven the model in the last weeks – breaking the siege on Sinjar Mountain, breaking the siege of Amirli, breaking of momentum that was moving towards Erbil, and in effect picking up enough intel to understand that the minute we hit them, these guys are not 10 feet tall. They’re not as disciplined as everybody thinks. They’re not as organized as everybody thinks. And we have the technology, we have the know-how. What we need is obviously the willpower to make certain that we are steady and stay at this.

There is no contain policy for ISIL. They’re an ambitious, avowed genocidal, territorial-grabbing, Caliphate-desiring, quasi state within a regular army. And leaving them in some capacity intact anywhere would leave a cancer in place that will ultimately come back to haunt us. So there is no issue in our minds about our determination to build this coalition, go after this. I’ll give you a quick take at what we are looking for and what we’re going to do.

When we say holistic, we mean every aspect of this group, and I think this could become conceivably a model that can help us with Boko Haram, could help us with Shabaab, with other groups if we can do this successfully. And NATO needs to think of it that way as we consider sort of our role in this new world we’re living in. We need to go after their financing mechanisms and sources, and we need to elicit broad-based support within the world of (inaudible) as well as in the world of normal banking and cover entities, businesses and so forth. Which means our law enforcement and intelligence agencies are going to need to coordinate and work together that have a clear part of an agenda within this framework.

We need a major humanitarian component that needs to be coordinated with the economic component, which will be real, to help Iraq get on its feet. We need a foreign fighter component. President Obama is going to be leading a National Security Council meeting in New York in the course of UNGA. We want – hope everybody will take part in that and help us lay down a critical agenda with respect to how we deal, all of us, with foreign fighters, which is a challenge to every country here, which is partly why we are all here.

In addition, we need an all-military aspect. Some people will not be comfortable doing kinetic. We understand that. Or some people don’t have the capacity to do kinetic. But everybody can do something. People can contribute either ammunition or weapons or technical know-how or intel capacity. People can contribute advisors. We’ve just put another 350 people on the ground in an effort to build up our advisor capacity. We’re building up our ISR platform and intel capacity. We also are building up the kinetic capacity, and that will be a clear part of this.

We very much hope that people will be as declarative as some of our friends around the table have been in order to be clear about what they’re willing to commit, because we must be able to have a plan together by the time we come to UNGA, we need to have this coalesce. We need a clarity to the strategy, and a clarity to what everybody is going to undertake.

So we’re convinced that in the days ahead we have the ability to destroy ISIL. It may take a year, it may take two years, it may take three years. But we’re determined it has to happen. There are obviously implications about Syria in this, and we can talk about that if we want in the course of the morning. But let me turn to Philip, and then I’d – after the defense secretaries have each had a chance to say something, I’d like to get our friends from France and Australia to weigh in, because we’ve already been able to have some conversations. And in that order if we can, and then we’ll just move very quickly around the room.

So Philip, thank you.

Friday, September 5, 2014

U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT CONTRACTS FOR SEPTEBER 5, 2014

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT  
CONTRACTS

NAVY

CDM-AECOM Multimedia Joint Venture, Fairfax, Virginia, is being awarded a maximum amount $85,000,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, architect-engineering contract for architectural-engineering services involving preparation of studies, plans, specifications, design, reports, cost estimates and all associated engineering services in support of Navy and other Department of Defense environmental compliance programs for Navy, Marine Corps and other Defense Department installations and federal agencies within the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic area of responsibility (AOR) worldwide. The services include petroleum storage tank and assets compliance, oil preparedness and planning compliance, Air Quality and Clean Air Act compliance, Safe Drinking Water Act compliance, Clean Water Act compliance (stormwater), Clean Water Act compliance (wastewater) and waste management. No task orders are being issued at this time. All work on this contract will be performed at various Navy and Marine Corps facilities and other Defense Department installations and federal agencies within the NAVFAC Atlantic AOR world-wide including, but not limited to, California (20 percent); Virginia (20 percent); North Carolina (20 percent); Europe (20 percent); Florida (5 percent); Maryland (5 percent) Washington, District of Columbia (5 percent); and Georgia (5 percent). The term of the contract is not to exceed 60 months with an expected completion date of September 2019. Fiscal 2014 operation and maintenance (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $10,000 are being obligated on this award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with three proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity (N62470-14-D-9016).

Lockheed Martin Corp., Littleton, Colorado, is being awarded a $45,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the production, installation and continued sustainment of a General Service, Cross Domain Solution (CDS), Radiant Mercury (RM). RM is a CDS that brokers the exchange of data between different security domains by sanitizing, downgrading, guarding and transliterating formatted data between different security compartment levels. The contract has a five-year ordering period, up to the contract award amount. Work will be performed in Littleton, Colorado, and is expected to be completed by Aug. 31, 2019. No contract funds will be obligated at the time of award. Funds will be obligated as individual delivery orders are placed. No contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured because it is a sole source acquisition pursuant to FAR 6.302-1(a)(2) and FAR 6.302-1(a)(2)(ii)(A) and (B). The Space and Navy Warfare Systems Command, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity (N00039-14-D-0013).

Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., Hurst, Texas, is being awarded a $41,776,269 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of three UH-1Y flight training devices, one AH-1Z flight training device, aircraft and/or trainer driven revisions, aircraft common operational equipment, provisioned spares, associated technical data required for operational and maintenance support, and three months of initial operation evaluation period for each flight training device. Work will be performed at Broken Arrow, Oklahoma (46 percent); Fort Worth, Texas (33 percent); St. Louis, Missouri (15 percent); and Austin, Texas (6 percent), and is expected to be completed in June 2018. Fiscal 2012 aircraft procurement (Navy Reserve) and 2014 aircraft procurement (Navy) funding in the amount of $41,776,269 is being obligated on this award, $29,120,770 of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302.1. The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, Florida, is the contract activity (N61340-14-C-1000).
Dawson-Hawaiian Builders I,* Honolulu, Hawaii, is being awarded a $16,231,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the design and construction of a low-rise building for the Third Radio Battalion Complex at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The contract also contains one unexercised option, which if exercised would increase cumulative contract value to $17,003,000. The complex includes offices for Battalion Headquarters, Headquarters and Service Company, Company A and Company B. The project also provides for classroom and other training spaces and offices, platoon command offices and workspaces, mail room, family readiness and career planning offices, and other workspaces needed to support Third Radio. Work will be performed in Kaneohe, Hawaii, and is expected to be completed by October 2016. Fiscal 2010 and 2014 military construction (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $16,231,000 are being obligated on this award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with nine proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, is the contracting activity (N62742-14-C-1310).

Raytheon Co., El Segundo, California, is being awarded $11,403,294 for firm-fixed-price delivery order 7040 under a previously awarded Basic Ordering Agreement (N00383-10-G-005H) for the repair of 288 radar component units consisting of 18 different weapons repairable assemblies used in support of the F/A-18 Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar System. Work will be performed in El Segundo, California; and work is expected to be completed March 27, 2015. Fiscal 2014 Navy working capital funds in the amount of $11,403,294 will be obligated at the time of award and funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 2304 (c)(l). The NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the contracting activity.
Central Texas College, Killeen, Texas, is being awarded a $9,410,083 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, firm fixed-price task orders contract for the provision of education courses to sailors, both instructor led and distance learning, to include courses for academic skills, undergraduate and graduate levels. The contract will include a one-year base period and four one-year option periods, which if exercised, will bring the amount to $48,898,382. Work will be performed onboard various Navy ships (64 percent); San Diego, California (15 percent); Norfolk, Virginia (15 percent); Mayport, Florida (2 percent); Bremerton/Everett, Washington (2 percent); and Yokosuka, Japan (2 percent), and work is expected to be completed Sept. 30, 2015. If all options are exercised, work will continue through Sept. 30, 2019. Fiscal 2015 operations and maintenance (Navy) in the amount of $10,000 will be obligated at the time of award and will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. The contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with one offer received in response to this solicitation. NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center, Norfolk, Contracting Department, Philadelphia Office, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the contracting activity (N00189-14-D-Z038).

ATAP, Inc., Eastaboga, Alabama, is being awarded an $8,268,000 firm-fixed-price contract for Inspect Repair Only As Necessary (IROAN) of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Cougar. Work will be performed in Eastaboga, Alabama, and is expected to be completed September 2015. Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance (Navy) funds in the amount of $8,268,000 will be obligated at the time of award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via solicitations to the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with four proposals received. The Marine Corps Logistics Command, Albany, Georgia, is the contracting activity (M67004-14-C-0029).

ARMY

Harry Pepper & Associates, Inc., Jacksonville, Florida, was awarded a $44,953,484 firm-fixed-price contract for the demolition and removal of the existing Herbert Hoover Dike culverts 12 and 2, and the construction of new water control structures S-274 and S-278. Fiscal 2014 other funds in the amount of $44,953,484 were obligated at the time of the award. Work will be performed in Clewiston, Florida, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 8, 2019. Bids were solicited via the Internet with two received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville, Florida is the contracting activity (W912EP-14-C-0025).

Gilbane Federal, Walnut Creek, California, was awarded a $32,929,672 firm-fixed-price contract for construction of a general purpose warehouse at a defense distribution depot in San Joaquin, California. Fiscal 2014 military construction (Army) funds in the amount of $32,929,672 were obligated at the time of the award. Work will be performed in Stockton, California, with estimated completion date of Nov. 8, 2016. Bids were solicited via the Internet with 14 received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento, California is the contracting activity (W91238-14-C-0049).

Olgoonik Diversified Services, LLC,* Saint Robert, Missouri, was awarded a $24,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract for a job order for various minor construction projects within the geographical boundaries of the Little Rock District and Southwestern Division Corps of Engineers. Work and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 31, 2017. Bids were solicited via the Internet with 10 received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock, Arkansas, is the contracting activity (W9127S-14-D-0016).

Nova Group, Inc., Underground Construction, Joint Venture, Napa, California, was awarded a $13,407,419 firm-fixed-price contract for fuel island upgrades at Hunter Army Airfield. Fiscal 2011 and fiscal 2013 military construction (Army) funds in the amount of $13,407,419 were obligated at the time of the award. Work will be done at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, with estimated completion date of March 15, 2016. Bids were solicited via the Internet with four received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah, Georgia the contracting activity (W912HN-14-C-0011).

Blackhawk enterprise Incorporated*, Waynesboro, Virginia, was awarded a $7,738,213 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to ensure the intelligence production and dissemination software applications and intelligence mission data, technology forecasting, and foreign material management software applications are continually maintained for appropriate security posture. Work and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 4, 2017. Bids were solicited via the Internet with five received. U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command Engineers Charlottesville, Virginia is the contracting activity (W911W5-14-D-0001)

STG, Inc., Reston, Virginia, was awarded a $7,561,521 modification (P00004) to contract (W911QX-14-F-0019) for nine months of information technology support services, with an options for two one-month periods. Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance (Army) funds, and research, development, test and evaluation funds, in the amount of $2,575,160 were obligated at the time of the award. Work will be performed in Adelphi, Maryland, with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2015. Bids were solicited with one received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Adelphi, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

AIR FORCE

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., Sunnyvale, California, has been awarded a $42,880,040 modification (P00003) to previously awarded contract FA8810-13-C-0001 for dual band telemetry, tracking and communications capability for the Space-Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbiting 5-6 space vehicles. Contractor will redesign the interfacing, software, power, thermal, and structures to accommodate the new dual band capable transponder box and cabling. This effort also adds a Unified S-Band uplink frequency and modulation scheme to the existing Space to Ground Link System L-Band uplink capability. Work will be performed at Sunnyvale, California, and is expected to be completed by July 31, 2021. Fiscal 2012 missile procurement funds in the amount of $10,673,074 are being obligated at the time of award. Space and Missile System Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Marietta, Georgia, has been awarded a not-to-exceed $34,721,663 modification (P00270) to previously awarded contract FA8625-11-C-6597 for C-130J Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) acquisition, integration, and installation. Work will be performed at Marietta, Georgia, and is expected to be completed by Jan. 31, 2019. This contract involves foreign military sales to the government of Australia. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity.

L-3 Communications-Platform Integration Division, Waco, Texas, has been awarded a $10,092,484 not-to-exceed, undefinitized contract action to provide C-27J aircrew and maintenance training to Australian Air Force personnel. Work will be performed at Waco and Arlington, Texas, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2017. This contract involves foreign military sales for the government of Australia. This award is the result of a country directed sole-source acquisition. The 338th Specialized Contracting Squadron, Joint Base San Antonio, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, is the contracting activity (FA3002-14-D-0014).

Sahara Palms, Inc., Fruitland, Utah, has been awarded $7,091,268 firm-fixed price contract for paint bay equipment and renovation. Contractor will procure semi-off-the-shelf equipment and components, merge contractor equipment design with government design and specifications to renovate six existing paint bays to include: supply air fans, heating coils, humidity sections, exhaust fans, environmental controls, motors, and variable frequency drives. Work will be performed at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and is expected to be completed by Nov. 5, 2015. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition and unlimited offers were solicited; two offers were received. Fiscal 2014 working capital funds in the amount of $7,091,268 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Materiel Command, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity (FA8224-14-C-0063).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Exelis, Incorporated, Clifton, New Jersey, has been awarded a maximum $15,380,162 cost-plus- fixed-fee contract for form, fit and function replacement of electronic countermeasures sets. This contract was a sole-source acquisition. Location of performance is New Jersey, with a March 3, 2017, performance completion date. Using military service is the Air Force. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 through fiscal 2017 Air Force working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia (SPRWA1-14-C-0006).
*Small business

U.S. SENDS BEST WISHES TO PEOPLE OF KINGDOM OF SWAZILAND ON THEIR INDEPENDENCE DAY

FROM:  THE STATE DEPARTMENT 
Swaziland National Day Message
Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
September 5, 2014

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I send best wishes to the people of the Kingdom of Swaziland on your independence day.

I am proud of our work together to fight HIV/AIDS and improve the health of all Swazis. Our partnership has helped us make steady progress towards an AIDS-free generation.

The United States appreciated King Mswati III’s participation in the historic U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. We look forward to a continued and productive relationship between our two countries.

I wish all Swazis a festive 46th anniversary of your independence.

WHITE HOUSE CONFIRMS DEATH OF THE LEADER OF AL-SHABAAB

FROM:  THE WHITE HOUSE 
Statement by the Press Secretary on the Death of Ahmed Godane

Today, the Department of Defense confirmed that Ahmed Godane, the leader of al-Shabaab, is dead as a result of a U.S. military targeted airstrike in Somalia undertaken over the weekend.  Godane’s removal is a major symbolic and operational loss to the largest al-Qaida affiliate in Africa and reflects years of painstaking work by our intelligence, military and law enforcement professionals. Even as this is an important step forward in the fight against al-Shabaab, the United States will continue to use the tools at our disposal – financial, diplomatic, intelligence and military –to address the threat that al-Shabaab and other terrorist groups pose to the United States and the American people. We will also continue to support our international partners, particularly the African Union Mission in Somalia, that are working to support the Federal Government of Somalia build a secure and stable future for the Somali people.

The U.S. Department of State named al-Shabaab a Foreign Terrorist Organization under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (as amended) on February 26, 2008, and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity under Executive Order 13224 on February 29, 2008.

In September 2013, Godane publicly claimed al-Shabaab was responsible for the Westgate Mall attack, which killed and injured dozens in Nairobi, Kenya, calling the attack “revenge” for Kenyan and Western involvement in Somalia and highlighting its proximity to the anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001.  Under his leadership, the group has claimed responsibility for many bombings—including various types of suicide attacks—in Mogadishu and in central and northern Somalia, typically targeting officials and perceived allies of the Somali Government as well as the former Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia. Godane has also continued to oversee plots targeting Westerners, including U.S. persons, in East Africa.  In recent months, al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Djibouti that killed a Turkish national and wounded several Western soldiers as well a car bomb at the Mogadishu airport that targeted and killed members of a United Nations convoy.   Al-Shabaab was responsible for the twin suicide bombings in Kampala, Uganda, on July 11, 2010, which killed more than 70 people, including one American. The group has also been responsible for the assassination of Somali peace activists, international aid workers, numerous civil society figures, and journalists. In February 2012, al-Shabaab and al-Qaida announced their formal alliance through a statement in which Godane swore allegiance to al-Qaida and promised to follow “the road of jihad and martyrdom in the footsteps that our martyr Osama bin Laden has drawn for us.”

NASA VIDEO: SCIENCECASTS: SPACE-TIME VORTEX

U.S.-INDIANA REACH $26 MILLION CLEANUP SETTLEMENT

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT 
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
U.S. and Indiana Enter into Settlement for $26 Million Cleanup in East Chicago, Indiana

Under a proposed settlement reached with the United States and the state of Indiana, the Atlantic Richfield Company and E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Co. (DuPont) will pay for an estimated $26 million cleanup of lead and arsenic contamination in parts of a residential neighborhood in East Chicago, Indiana, announced the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The yards in this neighborhood are contaminated with lead and arsenic through industrial operations that took place from at least the early 1900s through 1985.  During that time, lead smelting and refining as well as other manufacturing processes that used lead and arsenic were located on and near the area that came to be known as the Calumet neighborhood of East Chicago.  The cleanup will involve digging up contaminated soil, hauling it away for disposal, and restoring the yards with clean soil.

Under the settlement, EPA itself will do the work in the neighborhood.  EPA will identify the yards that need to be remediated, will work with property owners to develop property‑specific drawings showing which soils on each property must be excavated, will do the excavation, and will restore the properties after excavation is complete.  Atlantic Richfield and DuPont will pay for EPA’s work and will also be responsible for transporting the contaminated soil out of the neighborhood and properly disposing of it.

To manage the cleanup, EPA and the state divided the Calumet neighborhood into three zones.  Today’s settlement covers two of them: a neighborhood that includes the Carrie Gosch Elementary School and residences operated by the East Chicago Housing Authority and a neighborhood located between the Elgin & Joliet Railway Line on the west and Parrish Avenue on the east.  Cleanup of the third area of the Calumet neighborhood is the subject of further discussions.

“Under this settlement, Atlantic Richfield and DuPont will fund the first phase of cleaning up historical lead and arsenic contamination in residential properties in part of East Chicago,” said Sam Hirsch, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.  “This marks the start, not the end, of cleaning up the contamination that has burdened this community for far too long.”

“This settlement ensures that almost 300 residential properties, parks and public spaces in East Chicago will be cleaned up – and that the companies responsible for contaminating those sites will pay 100 percent of the costs for this phase of the cleanup,” said EPA Regional Administrator Susan Hedman.

“My office previously has worked through the federal courts in other cases to improve the quality of life for citizens of East Chicago,” said Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, whose office represented the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.  “Under this appropriate cooperative effort between the state of Indiana and federal EPA, and with the commitments of the settling corporations, East Chicago residents will see progress made toward removing a health hazard and producing long-term benefit for their community.”

“This is great news for the citizens whose homes have been impacted,” said Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) Commissioner Thomas Easterly.  “Everyone wins when responsible parties come together and agree to do what is best for the community.”

The Calumet neighborhood is part of an EPA Superfund site known as the USS Lead Site.  EPA previously investigated the contamination in this neighborhood and issued a decision calling for its cleanup.

In a complaint filed simultaneously with the settlement, the United States and the state allege that Atlantic Richfield and DuPont are liable under the Superfund law for the cleanup because they or their predecessors either are owners or were owners/operators of plants that released lead and arsenic into the environment.

DOD VIDEO: HAGEL: U.S. ALLIES FOCUSED ON DESTROYING ISIL CAPABILITIES


U.S. REPRESENTATIVE'S REMARKS TO UN SECURITY COUNCIL REGARDING SYRIA

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 
Remarks at the Security Council Stakeout Following Consultations on Syria
Samantha Power
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
New York, NY
September 4, 2014
AS DELIVERED

Good afternoon everyone. Special Coordinator Sigrid Kaag just updated the Council on the OPCW-UN Joint Mission’s progress on eliminating Syria’s declared chemical weapons program. She outlined the U.S. ship Cape Ray’s completed destruction of Syria’s most dangerous declared chemicals and discussed plans to destroy the remaining chemical weapons production facilities.

She also noted the Technical Secretariat’s continuing work to address discrepancies and omissions related to the original Syrian declaration. On this point, a number of Council members stressed how important it was to resolve questions with regards to the Syrian Government’s omissions and discrepancies in its original declaration.

Some Council members raised their concerns about the Syrian government’s use of chlorine gas, as reported by the UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry last month.

While the Joint Mission’s formal role winds down on September 30, Council members noted that the elimination effort is not complete. The Council expressed thanks to Secretary-General Ban for his willingness to exercise good offices in furtherance of the implementation of Security Council resolution 2118. Some Council members, including the United States, expressed a desire for monthly updates on continuing efforts to completely eliminate the Syrian CW program.

One final note on today’s consultations: Earlier this morning, the Council met with the troop and police contributing countries to the UN Mission in Liberia. As you are all aware, Liberia is the epicenter of the tragic Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Special Representative Landgren, joined by the UNMIL force leadership, briefed on the many efforts that UNMIL is undertaking to protect and safeguard all UN personnel, notably the UNMIL peacekeepers, who continue to serve commendably to help Liberia consolidate its hard-won peace and security gains more than a decade since the end of that country's civil war. Under-Secretary-General Ladsous and Assistant-Secretary-General Banbury also highlighted the continued commitment of the UN system, including in support of the efforts of Dr. Nabarro and the World Health Organization, to respond fully and promptly to the Ebola outbreak across the region. We also heard from several of UNMIL's largest troop and police contributors who attended the briefing, many of whom expressed their continued and strong commitment to Liberia.

Let me just conclude, if I may, with a comment in my national capacity on the session from which I’ve just come. I want to stress that much more work still needs to be done on Syria’s chemical weapons program. The international community must continue to press for the resolution of all discrepancies and omissions in Syria’s original declaration. We must ensure that the Syrian government destroys its remaining facilities for producing chemical weapons within the mandated time frames and without the repeated delays by the Assad regime that plagued earlier removal efforts. We must also address the Syrian military’s reported systematic use of chlorine gas in opposition areas, as described by the Commission of Inquiry’s August report.

And as we work toward these goals, we need to keep front and center the fact that Syria is still wracked with violence of the worst sort. The Syrian government has increased its reliance on barrel bombs to wage a brutal aerial campaign, targeting schools, residential buildings, and crowded streets. In the first six months of this year, the Assad regime has dropped an average of 260 barrel bombs a month – this is three times more than during the same period last year. And it continues to launch rockets into neighborhoods, including hundreds of rockets that struck the neighborhood of Jobar over the past week, utterly destroying entire city blocks.

The progress we’ve made over the past year on chemical weapons, and the progress in Syria, will never be complete or real until the violence ends and steps toward a political solution begin. Thank you. And I’d be happy to take a few questions.

Reporter: Thanks. So, Ms. Kaag spoke to us in the briefing room just now and one of the things that she brought up were volume discrepancies related to Syrian declarations, which were repeatedly revised. Were there any details discussed in the Council about the volumes? And is the US concerned about this particular type of discrepancy, particularly in light of the recent expansion of territory under control of ISIL?

Ambassador Power: The United States is concerned about all discrepancies, also the potential that there are real omissions in the declaration. And we are working principally through the OPCW, which has a technical secretariat that is engaging with the Syrians on these issues. We are concerned, though, for two reasons: one, the reason you mention, of course, which is that extremist terrorist groups who have committed some of the most vile acts just in the last few days before our very eyes and who have terrorized everyone they come into contact with in Syria and Iraq, that these weapons, or weapon stocks, if they are left, could fall into their hands.

But let’s be clear. There is one actor that has actually used chemical weapons, in mass, killing, you know, thousands, or at least several thousands of people in the August 21 attack and many allegations of other use prior to the effort to get rid of Syria’s chemical weapons program. So, there are two reasons or concerns about omissions, gaps, and discrepancies, and that’s why the Security Council intends to stay very much on top of this and to press them, to press both the international actors who continue to engage on the ground and to press those who have leverage over the regime, to be pushing the regime to be fully forthcoming.

Reporter: Thank you, Madame President. How worried are you about the possibility that the ISIS/ISIL has acquired some kind of chemical weapons? Also, your administration has been resisting international calls to interfere in Syria, militarily. Last week, Syria foreign minister offered cooperation with the US against the terrorists in his country. What does it take for the US to interfere in this conflict? Thank you.

Ambassador Power: Thank you. I’d say first that President Obama I think was pretty clear over the last couple days about his intention to galvanize an international coalition to degrade and destroy ISIL. Inherent in that is a recognition of the threat that ISIL poses everywhere. Certainly if there are chemical weapons left in Syria, there will be a risk that those weapons fall into ISIL’s hands. And we can only imagine what a group like that would do if in possession of such a weapon.

With regard to the Assad regime, I would say first of all that the actors on the ground who have fought over the last 7 months the most strenuously against ISIL have been the moderate opposition, have been the Sunni opposition groups. And so as the president has said, a critical complement to any effort, comprehensive effort, to deal with ISIL will involve strengthening those groups. And it is still our belief that the Assad regime – its brutality, the barrel bomb attacks, the possible chlorine use now, the previous chemical weapons attacks – these are recruiting tools that extremists have used to attract foreign terrorist fighters to Syria.

Tactics of the kind that they’re employing against civilians, against residential neighborhoods, against schools, are tactics that can never be consistent with a lasting peace. They’re terrorizing tactics. So you have on the one hand a monstrous terrorist group and you have on the other hand a monstrous group – a monstrous regime, rather, carrying out attacks that terrorize their own people, that kill civilians, that fire indiscriminately on areas that you know are going to affect the lives of civilians and kill and injure women and children and so forth. So as President Obama has said, the Syrian people should not have to choose between two forms of terror: terror inflicted by the regime and terror inflicted by ISIL.

Reporter: On chemical weapons again, given the discrepancies and the concern you have expressed, what happens exactly after September 30th? Is there any appetite on the Council for further action?

Ambassador Power: Again, there’s a process playing itself out, in – through the OPCW executive secretariat, where the concerns that we and other member states have are being raised. Some of them have been addressed at the margins by the regime up to this point, but there’s a process that’s ongoing. What is, was very clear in the Council session today among members states is while there was great appreciation of the work of Sigrid Kaag and the Joint Mission, who operated under impossible circumstances, you know, building the airplane as they were flying it, and who have succeeded in getting rid of nearly all of the declared chemical weapons -- there’s just some destruction, again, as you know, that’s underway – there was a very strong desire on the part of Council members to stay on top of the gaps and declaration.

So you won’t see the Council oversight or the Council relationship to this issue abate after September 30th in any way. You will continue to see briefings, we will continue to interact with you on what we know and on what has been achieved, and what hasn’t been achieved. I mean, 2118 has not been fulfilled. And it won’t be fulfilled until this Council has confidence that the terms of the chemical weapons convention has been met.

Thanks.

FORMER VIRGINIA GOVERNOR AND FIRST LADY CONVICTED OF CORRUPTION

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT 
Thursday, September 4, 2014
Former Virginia Governor and Former First Lady Convicted on Public Corruption Charges

A federal jury returned guilty verdicts today against former Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell and former First Lady of Virginia Maureen G. McDonnell for participating in a scheme to violate federal public corruption laws.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia, Special Agent in Charge Adam S. Lee of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, Chief Richard Weber of Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent, made the announcement.

Robert McDonnell and Maureen McDonnell, both 60 and of Glen Allen, Virginia, were convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit honest-services wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to obtain property under color of official right.   Robert McDonnell was convicted of three counts of honest-services wire fraud and six counts of obtaining property under color of official right, while Maureen McDonnell was convicted on two of the three honest services wire fraud counts and five of the six counts of obtaining property under color of official right.   Maureen McDonnell also was convicted of one count of obstruction of an official proceeding.   In total, Robert McDonnell was convicted of 11 of 13 counts and Maureen McDonnell was convicted of 9 of 13 counts.

“As Virginia’s governor, Robert McDonnell and his wife turned public service into a money-making enterprise, abusing the Commonwealth’s highest office to benefit a Virginia businessman in exchange for more than $170,000 in gifts and loans,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.   “In pursuit of a lifestyle that they could ill afford, McDonnell and his wife eagerly accepted luxury items, designer clothes, free vacations and the businessman’s offer to pay the costs of their daughter’s wedding.   In return, McDonnell put the weight of the governor’s mansion behind the businessman’s corporate interests.   The former governor was elected to serve the people of Virginia, but his corrupt actions instead betrayed them.   Today’s convictions should send a message that corruption in any form, at any level of government, will not be tolerated.”

“This is a difficult and disappointing day for the Commonwealth of Virginia and its citizens,” said U.S. Attorney Boente.   “When public officials turn to financial gain in exchange for official acts, we have no choice but to prosecute them.   I thank the Assistant U.S. Attorneys, FBI, Virginia State Police, and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation for their exceptional efforts in the investigation and prosecution of this case.”

“Public corruption, particularly among our elected officials, is the FBI’s highest criminal investigative priority,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Lee.   “We will engage and engage vigorously when we receive credible allegations of any federal, state, or local public official illegally using the power of their position to receive a personal benefit.   The people of the Commonwealth deserve better than pay-to-play politics.”

“When public officials commit crimes as part of their official duties, they are violating the public trust,” said IRS-CI Chief Weber.   “IRS-CI agents play a critical role in rooting out public corruption of elected officials.   The public expects more of their leaders in government and our agents work tirelessly on their behalf to ensure that we are all playing by the same rules.”

According to the evidence presented at trial, from April 2011 through March 2013, the McDonnells participated in a scheme to use the former governor’s official position to enrich themselves and their family members by soliciting and obtaining payments, loans, gifts and other things of value from Star Scientific, a Virginia-based corporation, and Jonnie R. Williams Sr., then Star Scientific’s chief executive officer.   The McDonnells obtained the things of value in exchange for the former governor performing official actions on an as-needed basis to legitimize, promote, and obtain research studies for Star’s products, including the dietary supplement Anatabloc.

According to court records and evidence, the McDonnells obtained from Williams more than $170,000 in direct payments as gifts and loans, thousands of dollars in golf outings, and numerous other things of value.   As part of the scheme, the official actions that Robert McDonnell performed included arranging meetings for Williams with Virginia government officials, hosting and attending events at the Governor’s Mansion designed to encourage Virginia university researchers to initiate studies of Star’s products and to promote Star’s products to doctors for referral to their patients, contacting other Virginia government officials as part of an effort to encourage Virginia state research universities to initiate studies of Star’s products, and promoting Star’s products and facilitating its relationships with Virginia government officials.

The evidence further showed that the McDonnells attempted to conceal the things of value received from Williams and Star to hide the nature and scope of their dealings with Williams from the citizens of Virginia by, for example, routing things of value through family members and corporate entities controlled by the former governor to avoid annual disclosure requirements.

Similarly, on Feb. 15, 2013, Maureen McDonnell was questioned by law enforcement about the loans and made false and misleading statements regarding the defendants’ relationship with Williams.   Additionally, after her interview with law enforcement, Maureen McDonnell drafted a handwritten note to Williams in which she falsely attempted to make it appear that she and Williams had previously discussed and agreed that she would return certain designer luxury goods rather than keep them permanently, all as part of an effort to obstruct, influence, and impede the investigation.

The case is being investigated by the FBI, IRS-CI and the Virginia State Police.   The case is being prosecuted by Deputy Chief David V. Harbach II of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael S. Dry, Jessica D. Aber and Ryan S. Faulconer o f the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

WHITE HOUSE VIDEO: PRESIDENT OBAMA AND PRIME MINISTER ROIVAS OF ESTONIA ADDRESS SERVICEMEMBERS

REMARKS BY SECRETARY KERRY WITH UKRANIAN PRESIDENT PETRO POROSHENKO

FROM:  THE STATE DEPARTMENT 

Remarks With Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko Before Their Meeting

Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Celtic Manor
Wales, United Kingdom
September 4, 2014


SECRETARY KERRY: Well, let me just say quickly to the members of the press, we had one meeting earlier with President Obama and the other leaders, principal P5 leaders, and we had a very frank discussion about the challenges in Ukraine. President Poroshenko was very clear about his desire to find a peaceful way forward, but in the absence of that, the need for strong action by those people who support Ukraine. And President Obama is very committed to moving on the next tranche of sanctions, with hopes always that a ceasefire and a real process of disengagement with Russian troops leaving Ukraine and the border being closed – that that can follow.

So that’s our goal, and we’re going to talk now about some of the details with respect to this challenge of how we really resolve a longer-term confrontation.

PRESIDENT POROSHENKO: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. First of all, I want to thank United States for the continued support and unity and solidarity with Ukraine. It’s a very difficult time. I think that the – this is the fighting for democracy, fighting for freedom, and the Ukrainian people are mobilized to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of their country. But at the end of the day, all of us want peace, and we understand that the – it would be impossible (inaudible) victory by military means.

And the only thing we need now for peace and stability is just two main things: First, that Russia withdraw their troops, and second, to close the border. If it happen, I assure you that Ukraine find out a peace solution within the days. We presented the – (inaudible) my peace plan. It was widely supported inside the country and in the world, and I want to thank the United States for the strong and continued support of peace effort of Ukraine, and we cross the fingers that tomorrow, we have slight hopes that the – our proposal for the immediate ceasefire and the implementation, the – a key element of the peace process on the Trilateral Contact Group. And we will see what’s going on there.

I have a very careful optimism about that, but we think that it can bring to the peace results only – we will have the solidarity, we will have a well-coordinated action, and I think that today discussion – wide discussion about the peace plan, about the DCFTA, about the association agreement, about the future for energy question, is the – exactly about the situation within the economy, is that the – the list of the things it's – we're to discuss between us.
Thank you very much.

SECRETARY KERRY: We look forward to discussing. Thank you all very much.

WALES SUMMIT AND NATO'S CHANGING ROLE IN AFGHANISTAN

 FROM:  THE WHITE HOUSE 

FACT SHEET: Wales Summit – NATO’s Changing Role in Afghanistan

NATO’s mission in Afghanistan has been the Alliance’s largest and one of its longest-running military operations, with 50 coalition countries contributing a peak of 140,000 troops over a 13-year campaign.  The United States, together with NATO Allies and partners, support a sovereign, stable, unified, and democratic Afghanistan and will continue our partnership with Afghanistan based on the principles of mutual respect and mutual accountability.  Moreover, we believe that an Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process is the surest way to end violence and ensure lasting stability for Afghanistan and the region.

International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).  Since 2001, ISAF has assisted Afghan authorities in maintaining security and developing the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), per a United Nations mandate and at the request of the Afghan government.  The ISAF mission is part of the overall international effort to enable the Government of Afghanistan to exercise its authority throughout the country by providing security and stability to the Afghan people.  NATO assumed command of the ISAF mission in August 2003.

At the Lisbon Summit in 2010, Afghanistan and ISAF nations, including the United States, committed to transition full responsibility for security to the Afghan Government by the end of 2014.  Afghanistan and ISAF nations reaffirmed that commitment in 2012 at the Chicago Summit and took a step further announcing a mid-2013 milestone after which the ANSF would be in the lead for security nationwide and the ISAF role would transition from combat to support.

Since June 2013, the ANSF has been in the lead, with modest coalition support, and has exceeded most expectations.  Today, ISAF forces focus primarily on training, advising, and assisting their Afghan counterparts.  At the end of 2014, the ANSF will assume full responsibility for security and the ISAF mission will end.

Resolute Support.  At the Wales Summit, NATO Allies and partners reaffirmed their intent to conduct a non-combat train, advise, and assist mission in Afghanistan beyond 2014, known as Resolute Support, contingent upon the Afghans signing a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) and a status of forces agreement (SOFA) with NATO.  This new advisory mission would be at the security ministry and national institutional level, with advising to the ANSF at the corps level and advising to Afghan special operations forces at the tactical level.  This non-combat mission would be centered in the Kabul-Bagram area, with a regional presence in the north, west, south, and east. It would initially include approximately 12,000 troops.  Four Allied nations have agreed to serve as “framework nations” – Turkey will lead in the capital; Germany will lead in the north; Italy will lead in the west; and the United States will lead in the south and east.  NATO is prepared to commence this mission at the beginning of 2015.

For the United States’ part, President Obama announced on May 27, 2014 that the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan will end by the end of this year and, contingent upon a signed BSA and NATO SOFA, the United States would be prepared to continue “two narrow missions” in Afghanistan after 2014:  “training Afghan forces and supporting counterterrorism operations against the remnants of al-Qa’ida.”

At the beginning of 2015, we anticipate 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan with the majority participating in the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.  By the end of 2015, we would reduce that presence by roughly half, consolidating our troops in Kabul and Bagram Airfield.  By the end of 2016, our military presence would shift to a strong security assistance mission based from our embassy.  This presence would serve as the basis for sustained security cooperation with the Afghan government and continued coordination with Allies’ and partners’ efforts to advise and assist the Afghan security ministries and to continue to develop ANSF capabilities.

Financial Sustainment of the ANSF.  At the Wales Summit, NATO Allies and partners renewed their commitment to contribute significantly to the financial sustainment of the ANSF through the end of 2017 and to financially sustain the ANSF throughout the decade of transformation.  The international community has pledged nearly €1 billion annually to sustain the ANSF for 2015 through the end of 2017.  The United States has requested up to $4.1 billion in our 2015 budget, which would help sustain the ANSF surge end strength of 352,000 through 2015.  The United States expects that Afghanistan will assume an increasing portion of ANSF sustainment costs beginning with $500 million in 2015, as agreed at the Chicago Summit.  To ensure that donors can confidently commit their financial support to the ANSF over the long term, NATO Allies and partners welcomed the development of effective funding mechanisms including the strengthening of the Afghan National Army Trust Fund and the establishment of the Oversight and Coordination Body.  And finally, NATO Allies and partners look forward to working with Afghanistan to review planning for a sufficient and sustainable ANSF beyond 2015.

NATO-Afghanistan Enduring Partnership.  At the Wales Summit, NATO nations reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen its enduring partnership with Afghanistan, which would serve as the foundation for longer term security cooperation between NATO and Afghanistan.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

U.S. OFFERS WARMEST GREETING TO KOREAN PEOPLE DURING CHUSEOK HOLIDAY

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 
Korean Chuseok Holiday
Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
September 4, 2014

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I offer my warmest greeting to the Korean people during this Chuseok holiday.

Chuseok is a time to remember the importance of family, the strength of our values, and the blessings that we are fortunate to share. As Koreans come together to celebrate this harvest season, my thoughts are with you as I reflect on the warmth of your culture that I remember so fondly from my recent visit to Seoul.

Our strong and vital partnership invigorates our economic ties, fortifies our alliance, and empowers our global cooperation. We are grateful for your friendship and good counsel as we continue to work together to increase global peace and prosperity.

Our best wishes to all Koreans and their families at this special time.

PRESIDENT OBAMA CONTINUES NATIONAL EMERGENCY REGARDING TERRORIST ATTACKS ON U.S.

FROM:  THE WHITE HOUSE

Continuation of the National Emergency Notice

NOTICE

- - - - - - -

CONTINUATION OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY WITH RESPECT TO CERTAIN TERRORIST ATTACKS


Consistent with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act, 50 U.S.C. 1622(d), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency previously declared on September 14, 2001, in Proclamation 7463, with respect to the terrorist attacks of
September 11, 2001, and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on the United States.

Because the terrorist threat continues, the national emergency declared on September 14, 2001, and the powers and authorities adopted to deal with that emergency must continue in effect beyond September 14, 2014.  Therefore, I am continuing in effect for an additional year the national emergency that was declared on September 14, 2001, with respect to the terrorist threat.

This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.

BARACK OBAMA

President Obama Addresses the People of Estonia

U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT CONTRACTS FOR SEPTEMBER 4, 2014

  FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT DEFENSE 
CONTRACTS

AIR FORCE

Alion Science and Technology Corp., McLean, Virginia, has been awarded a $48,459,676 delivery order (0065) to previously awarded contract FA4600-06-D-0003. Contractor will provide integrated tactical systems to identify and avoid using problematic materials, processes and assessment methods that can lead to unplanned and unbudgeted maintenance costs, shorter life-cycles, and reduced readiness. Work will be performed at several Navy bases and Rome, New York, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 29, 2016. Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $2,732,400 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Installation Contracting Agency, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, is the contracting activity.

Alion Science and Technology Corp., McLean, Virginia, has been awarded a $47,316,614 delivery order (0076) to previously awarded contract FA4600-06-D-0003. Contractor will support the Army Tank and Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center by development of solutions for technical and engineering problems. This includes solutions for problems in the science of materials and processes, in engineering, and in testing and evaluation. Work will be performed at Detroit, Michigan, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 29, 2016.. Fiscal 2014 Army research, development, test and evaluation funds, and operations and maintenance funds, in the amount of $1,496,586 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Installation Contracting Agency, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, is the contracting activity.

Trident Systems Inc., Fairfax, Virginia, has been awarded a $24,900,000 small business innovation research (SBIR) Phase III cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for Collaboration Gateway. Contractor will provide a focused but flexible contracting vehicle between the U.S. government, the military services and the intelligence community, and Trident Systems Inc. Under Public Law 106-554 SBIR Phase III authorization to enable the U.S. government to receive the benefits of the investments made with the contractor under the auspices of the SBIR program. These benefits will be accrued by continuing research and development in related areas not previously addressed, but required for successful product transition; transitioning and productizing technology to meet specific U.S. government customer requirements; testing, evaluating and supporting products in the customer’s operational environment, and providing a mechanism for customer acquisition of the limited product quantities required for operational introduction of products. Work will be performed at Fairfax, Virginia, or Raleigh, North Carolina, and is expected to be completed by Sept. 4, 2020. Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $60,000 are being obligated at time of award. Air Force Research Laboratory, Rome, New York, is the contracting activity (FA8750-14-D-0037).

Integrated Solutions for Systems, Inc., Huntsville, Alabama, has been awarded a $10,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for enhanced lethality ordnance and modeling. Contractor will provide research and development in three research weapons core competencies: weapon effectiveness, damage mechanisms and energetic materials. Work will be performed at Huntsville, Alabama, and is expected to be completed by Sept. 3, 2019. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition with 48 offers received. Fiscal 2013 and 2014 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the combined amount of $348,000 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity (FA8651-14-D-0094).

NAVY

Short Bark Industries, Inc.,* Vonore, Tennessee, is being awarded an estimated maximum $36,750,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price contract for production of the Enhanced Flame Resistant Combat Ensemble (EFRCE) uniforms. Maximum order ceiling is not to exceed 375,000 individual EFRCE articles over the life of the contract. Contract consists of a base year and three ordering periods. The EFRCE contract will begin in September 2014, and remain active for potential future EFRCE orders until completion in September 2018, or until the 375,000 EFRCE article order ceiling is reached. Work will be performed in Guanica, Puerto Rico. No funds are being obligated at the time of award. Funds will be obligated on delivery orders as they are issued. Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance (Marine Corps and Navy) contract funds in the amount of $12,825,698 for the first delivery order will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with seven proposals received. Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Virginia, is the contracting activity (M67854-14-D-1010).

Huntington Ingalls Inc., Coronado, California, is being awarded a $24,230,190 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-award-fee contract (N00024-13-C-4315) for USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) fiscal 2014 planned incremental availability. A planned incremental availability includes the planning and execution of depot-level maintenance, alterations, and modifications that will update and improve the ship's military and technical capabilities. Work will be performed in Coronado, California, and is expected to be completed by April 2015. Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance (Navy) funding in the amount of $10,470,296 will be obligated at time of award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Southwest Regional Maintenance Center, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity.

ARMY

U.S. Ordnance, Inc.,* McCarran, Nevada was awarded an $11,236,402 firm-fixed-price contract for M2 machine gun barrel assemblies. Work and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 30, 2017. Bids were solicited via the Internet, with five received. U.S. Army Contracting Command - Tank and Automotive, Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity (W56HZV-14-D-0031).
*Small business

MAN EXTRADITED FROM COLOMBIA TO U.S. PLEADS GUILTY FOR ROLE IN MURDER OF DEA AGENT TERRY WATSON

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT 
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Colombian National Pleads Guilty to Kidnapping and Murder of DEA Agent Terry Watson

A Colombian man extradited to the Eastern District of Virginia pleaded guilty today for his involvement in the kidnapping and murder of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent James Terry Watson in Bogotá, Colombia, on June 20, 2013.  

Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office, DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart and Director Bill A. Miller of the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) made the announcement.

“Special Agent Watson gave his life in the service of his country, and we will do everything in our power to honor his sacrifice,” said Attorney General Holder.  “This conviction is a critical step forward.  But while this action represents the first measure of justice for his kidnapping and murder, it will not be the last.  The Department of Justice will not rest until all those involved in this senseless act of violence have been held to account for their crimes.  Our nation will never yield in the protection and defense of its citizens.  And we will continue to demonstrate that anyone who seeks to harm an American will be found, will be prosecuted, and will be brought to justice.”

Julio Estiven Gracia Ramirez, 31, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee of the Eastern District of Virginia to aiding and abetting the murder of an internationally protected person and conspiracy to kidnap an internationally protected person.   Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 5, 2014.

In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Gracia Ramirez admitted that he and his conspirators agreed to conduct a “paseo milionario” or “millionaire’s ride” in which victims who were perceived as wealthy were lured into taxi cabs, kidnapped and then robbed.  Gracia Ramirez admitted that he targeted Special Agent Watson and picked him up outside a Bogotá restaurant in his taxi.   Soon after, two conspirators entered Gracia Ramirez’s taxi, and one used a stun gun to shock Special Agent Watson and the other stabbed him.   Special Agent Watson was able to escape from the taxi, but he later collapsed and died from his injuries.

Six other defendants have been charged in an indictment in the Eastern District of Virginia for their alleged involvement in the murder of Special Agent Watson.  Gerardo Figueroa Sepulveda, 39; Omar Fabian Valdes Gualtero, 27; Edgar Javier Bello Murillo, 27; Hector Leonardo Lopez, 34; and Andrés Alvaro Oviedo-Garcia, 22, are each charged with second degree murder, kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap.   Oviedo-Garcia is also charged with assault.   Wilson Daniel Peralta-Bocachica, 31, is charged for his alleged efforts to destroy evidence associated with the murder of Special Agent Watson.   Trial is set for Jan. 12, 2015.  

The charges in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the FBI, DEA and DSS, in close cooperation with Colombian authorities and with assistance from INTERPOL and the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs.   The case is being prosecuted by Special Counsel Stacey Luck of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael P. Ben’Ary of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  

The Department of Justice gratefully acknowledges the Colombian Attorney General’s Office, Colombian National Police, Colombian Directorate of Criminal Investigation and Interpol (DIJIN), DIJIN Special Investigative Unit, Bogotá Metropolitan Police, Bogotá Police Intelligence Body (CIPOL) Unit and Colombian Technical Investigation Team for their extraordinary efforts, support and professionalism in responding to this incident.

EPA VIDEO: RESTORATION WITH NATIVE PLANTS

SECRETARY KERRY'S REMARKS AT CEREMONY HONORING SHAARIK ZAFAR

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 

Remarks at Ceremony in Honor of Special Representative to Muslim Communities Shaarik Zafar

Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Dean Acheson Auditorium
Washington, DC
September 3, 2014




Well, Shaun, thank you very much for a warm and generous introduction. Good morning to everybody. Assalamu alaikum. Honored to be here with you this morning, and thank you so much for coming to join us on this really, frankly, exciting occasion. It’s my opportunity to be able to welcome and announce at the same time our new Special Representative for Muslim Communities, Shaarik Zafar. And – yes. applause. (Applause.) And I’m especially happy to welcome his parents – his mother, Kausar, and his father, Humayon – thank you – and his wife, Aiysha, with their lovely two children, their daughters, Sophia and Aliza. Thank you. Ladies, thank you for being here. (Applause.)

When Shaarik started drafting the U.S. Strategy on Religious Leader and Faith Community Engagement, he began with two words: “Religion matters.” We’re making that a mantra here at the State Department in our foreign policy, and I see it every single day. And I particularly see it in my multiple engagements in the Far East and South Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and Sub-Sahara Africa.

Let me be really clear as a starting point for today’s conversation: The real face of Islam is not what we saw yesterday, when the world bore witness again to the unfathomable brutality of ISIL terrorist murderers, when we saw Steven Sotloff, an American journalist who left home in Florida in order to tell the story of brave people in the Middle East – we saw him brutally taken from us in an act of medieval savagery by a coward hiding behind a mask.

For so many who worked so long to bring Steven and other Americans home safely, this obviously was not how the story was meant to end. It’s a punch to the gut. And the United States Government, I want you to know, has used every single military, diplomatic, and intelligence tool that we have, and we always will. Our special operations forces bravely risked a military operation in order to save these lives, and we have reached out diplomatically to everyone and anyone who might be able to help. That effort continues, and our prayers remain as they always are, with the families of all of the hostages who remain trapped in Syria today.

Now barbarity, sadly, is not new to our world. Neither is evil. And I can’t think of a more graphic description of evil than what we witnessed yesterday and before that with James Foley and what we see in the unbelievably brutal mass executions of people because of their sectarian or religious affiliation. We have taken the fight to this kind of savagery and evil before, and believe me, we will take it again. We’re doing it today, and when terrorists anywhere around the world have murdered our citizens, the United States held them accountable, no matter how long it took. And those who have murdered James Foley and Steven Sotloff in Syria need to know that the United States will hold them accountable too, no matter how long it takes.

I want to emphasize – (applause) – but here today, what is really important – and I want to take advantage of this podium and of this moment to underscore as powerfully as I know how that the face of Islam is not the butchers who killed Steven Sotloff. That’s ISIL. (Applause.) The face of Islam is not the nihilists who know only how to destroy, not to build. It’s not masked cowards whose actions are an ugly insult to the peaceful religion that they violate every single day with their barbarity and whose fundamental principles they insult with their actions.

The real face of Islam is a peaceful religion based on the dignity of all human beings. It’s one where Muslim communities are leading the fight against poverty. It’s one where Muslim communities are providing basic healthcare and emergency assistance on the front lines of some of our most devastating humanitarian crises. And it is one where Muslim communities are advocating for universal human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the most basic freedom to practice one’s faith openly and freely. America’s faith communities, including American Muslims, are sources of strength for all of us. They’re an essential part of our national fabric, and we are committed to deepening our partnerships with them.

We’re making these efforts to unite religious communities a core mission here at the State Department. That’s what Shaarik is leading as our Special Representative to Muslim Communities. That’s what Ira Forman is leading as our Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. And that’s what David Saperstein is leading; when confirmed, he will be our new Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. And that’s what my friend Shaun Casey is doing in his special job in order to have a faith – interfaith office here at the State Department itself.

Now people ask me why. Why now have we made this such a mission at the State Department? Why elevate our engagement at a time when world events to some people seem so hopelessly divided along sectarian lines? And the answer is really very simple: It’s a delusion to think that anyone can just retreat to their own safe space, not when people of all faiths are migrating and mingling as never before in history. The reality is that our faiths and our fates are inextricably linked. And that is profoundly why we must do this now, because they are linked.

Our fates are inextricably linked on any number of things that we must confront and deal with in policy concepts today. Our fates are inextricably linked on the environment. For many of us, respect for God’s creation also translates into a duty to protect and sustain His first creation: Earth, the planet. Before God created man, He created Heavens and Earth. Confronting climate change is, in the long run, one of the greatest challenges that we face, and you can see this duty or responsibility laid down in scriptures, clearly, beginning in Genesis. And Muslim-majority countries are among the most vulnerable. Our response to this challenge ought to be rooted in a sense of stewardship of Earth. And for me and for many of us here today, that responsibility comes from God.

Our fates are also inextricably linked in promoting economic opportunity and justice. When you look at the world today, there are whole countries where there are 60 percent of the population under the age of 30, 50 percent under the age of 21, and 40 percent under the age of 18. We know that all of these young people in today’s interconnected globalized world, with the media that’s available to them – just look at the numbers in sub-Sahara Africa of young people walking around with smart phones. They don’t have a job, they don’t have an education, but they’re connected. And we know that all of them are as a result demanding opportunity and dignity.
We also know that a cadre of extremists – nihilists, people like ISIL – are just waiting to seduce these people into accepting the dead end. And when people don’t have a job, when they can’t get an education, when their voices are silenced by draconian laws or by violence or oppression, we’ve all witnessed the instability that follows from that, from the lack of dignity and respect for the human person. To meet the demands of these populations for dignity and opportunity, frankly, requires new and creative partnerships. That’s why Sean is here. That’s why we’re here today. We need to reach beyond government to include religious leaders and faith communities, entrepreneurs, civil society groups, all of them working together to invest in a future that embraces tolerance and understanding, and yes, even love.

Our fates are also inextricably linked in the fight for pluralism. We know beyond any doubt that the places where people are free not just to develop an idea, but to debate different ideas, those societies are the most successful – not occasionally, but always. It’s not just a lack of jobs and opportunity that give extremists the opening that their recruitment strategies need to exploit. They’re just as content to see corruption and oligarchy and resource exploitation fill the vacuum so they can come in then and prey on the frustration and anger of those young people who were denied real opportunity.

Make no mistake: When you go back and study the major faith traditions, there is one thing that really does leap out at you. I was privileged a number of years ago to speak at an interfaith event at Yale University between a group of – a significant group – some 70 or so evangelicals from across the country, including Dr. Robert Schuller and others, and then a group of mullahs, imams, grand muftis, who had come from around the world to join together in this discussion of interfaith initiative. And I remember then, as I sort of thought about my comments and what to talk about, how it leapt out at me that there is a commonality in the Abrahamic faiths particularly, but in all faiths and in all philosophies of way of life and thinking, even Native Americanism or Confucianism and others, and that is every single one of them contains a fundamental basic notion of the Golden Rule – the importance of charity, compassion, and human improvement.
When Jesus was asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law,” he replied: the first “you shall love the Lord your God” and second “you shall love your neighbor as yourself…In everything, do unto others what you would have them do to you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

What prophets was Jesus talking about? He was talking about Moses, or Moshe, or Musa. He was talking about Abraham, or Avraham, or Ibrahim. And ultimately, he was talking about Shalom, Salam: Peace.

As the Talmud says: In Roman times, a nonbeliever approached the famous rabbi, Rabbi Hillel, and challenged him to teach the meaning of the Torah while standing on one leg. Without missing a beat, holding up one foot, Hillel replied: “What is hateful to yourself, do not do to another. That is the whole of the Torah… the rest is commentary.”

The Prophet Muhammad said of loving your brother, “Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself.”

Buddhist scriptures teach us to “treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” And Hinduism proclaims, “This is the sum of duty: Do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you.” Our faiths teach us that we are more than the sum of our differences. We share a moral obligation to treat one another with dignity and respect. And I am so proud that at the foundation of everything that this Department and that our foreign policy tries to do are those fundamental values.

Today, we need to draw on that common faith and what must be our common hope to work for peace and put our universal commitments and universal beliefs into action. That’s the road ahead, and I am privileged to share that road with Shaarik and with all of you. Thank you. (Applause.)