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Saturday, March 3, 2012

U.S. UNDER SECRETARY ROSE GOTTEMOELLER REMARKS ON ARMS CONTROL IN THE INFORMATION AGE


The following excerpt is from a U.S. State Department e-mail:

“Arms Control in the Information Age
Remarks Rose Gottemoeller
Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Mykolas Romeris University
Vilnius, Lithuania
March 2, 2012
Thank you for the kind introduction. It is so wonderful to be back in Vilnius. I was here just over a year ago, shortly after the New START Treaty entered into force. I am happy to report that implementation of that Treaty is now well underway.

New START was just the beginning. President Obama made it clear in his now-famous Prague Speech that the United States is committed to the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. In order to pursue this goal, we know that we are going to have to think bigger and bolder. With this is mind, I have been challenging myself and my colleagues to think about how we use the knowledge of our past together with the new tools of the information age. I look out at a crowd like you and realize that I don’t need to convince you that the technologies of the 21st century are changing the world as we know it. While I may still be figuring out how to use my Ipad, I know it too. That is why I have been talking about arms control in the information age at universities around in the United States.

Today, I will talk to you about our diplomatic toolbox, the changing nature of diplomacy, and the new technologies that can help us on the road to nuclear zero. You all are the first international university to hear this, so I would like to start out saying the same thing I tell students back in the United States—this is not a policy speech, this is an ideas speech.

Tools in the Toolbox
When it comes to pursuing the next steps in nuclear reductions, we have a lot on our plate, and getting to zero is going to take time and heavy effort. There can be no shortcuts. The United States and Russia still have a lot of work to do, as together we still control over 90% of the world’s nuclear stockpile. Proliferation and nuclear terrorism continue to be a serious security threat. And when we come to agreement on disarmament and nonproliferation measures, it will take hard, persistent work to implement those agreements. Even more complicated: the lower the numbers or the smaller the parts, the harder it will be to monitor compliance.

It is clear that we are going to need every tool we have, and many we have not yet developed or even thought of, to fulfill the Prague Agenda. That means the first thing we need to do is take stock of the tools we have in our diplomatic toolbox.

First up in the toolbox is the formal, legally-binding negotiation process, like the one we used for the New START Treaty. This process is responsible for the important Treaties and agreements that undergird our arms control and nonproliferation regime.

In the United States, we also have international agreements that do not require Senate advice and consent; they are called “executive agreements.” They too are legally binding. While these types of agreements are not used for reductions, they could be useful in securing agreements on confidence-building, verification or other actions that may be as important as future treaties.

Another way to makes changes in nuclear posture that was used in the past was through reciprocal actions that two countries take at the same time. The pros of such an approach include speed and flexibility. A con is that such arrangements may not be verifiable and can be reversed as a result of a change in policy.

Progress on reductions is sometimes difficult due to a lack of trust between parties. A solution for this is mutual confidence building measures, or CBMs. These measures help establish lasting stability, while at the same time taking into account each nation’s security interests. CBMs may include exchanging information about the size of the defense budget, giving notification of planned military activities, or even things as simple as issuing invitations for national holidays, cultural and sport events.

An important way to build mutual confidence is to work together on tough problems. One of the great unsung success stories of the early post-Cold War years is how U.S. and Russian scientists, sometimes with other scientists from the then Newly Independent States, worked together to ensure the continued safety and security of fissile material and warheads.

We can also use “alphabet soup” cooperative efforts, like Cooperative Threat Reduction or CTR. Introduced in 1991 by Senators Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar, the CTR legislation helped destroy a large amount of former Soviet weaponry, including hundreds of ballistic missiles and ballistic missile launchers. The CTR programs continue today and have expanded to tackle the threat posed by terrorist organizations or states seeking weapons of mass destruction (WMD) expertise, materials and equipment.
All these efforts will be key parts to moving forward, but it is not just what we have in our toolbox that is important, it is how we use those tools.

21st Century Diplomacy
Diplomacy today is very different than it was at the dawn of the nuclear age. More often diplomacy is happening in the open, and at quicker speeds. The world has changed and we diplomats have to work under new circumstances.

In my own experience, diplomacy has been changing before my eyes. I was a junior member of the U.S. START delegation in 1990-91, an experience that served me well when negotiating the New START Treaty. I remember how things were done back then: masses of paper had to be shuttled among delegation members—we were constantly burning up Xerox machines, and faxes flowed from Geneva to Washington and back. Remember the fax machines? It has disappeared like the dinosaur. In Geneva in 1990, if you had secret and urgent business with Washington, you had to sandwich yourself into a steaming hot secure phone booth and shout to make yourself understood at the other end.

When the New START negotiations began in April 2009, the world had changed. The U.S. and Russian delegations launched into the negotiations committed to keeping them respectful and businesslike, even when we did not agree. And we agreed to disagree in private. That was good considering how easily either delegation could have broadcast negative comments that would have reached Moscow or Washington before we could pick up a phone.

For me, the biggest change in how we did business was email. Instead of making hard copies and waiting days or weeks for the mail, we could get information around the delegation and to our leaders in Washington within hours, even minutes. Both classified and unclassified materials could be sent, decreasing necessary trips back to Washington.

After some discussion, we also agreed to exchange negotiating documents with the Russian team electronically, although on disks and not via email. Still, even CDs made a big difference to after-hours communication. There was a famous story about how in the 1990s, during the START talks, a member of the U.S. delegation had to hurl a satchel of negotiating documents over the fence of the Soviet mission to his counterpart, because no guard was there to open the gates late at night. Obviously, a CD could be handed more easily between the bars of the fence--which we did from time to time.

In my view, these new approaches to a formal negotiating process, especially our new digital toolbox, were a big factor in the fast pace of our negotiations--exactly one year from our first meeting to our last one. No longer bogged down by paper processes, things moved quickly. Nowadays, I don’t have to wait until the next time I travel to Geneva or Moscow to advance business with my counterparts; I can email or call from my home or office, and hopefully soon, I can walk across the hall and have a video-chat in our conference room.

New Technologies and Arms Control
These astonishing advancements in communication technologies over the past decades may not just be useful in diplomacy, they might also be able to aid in the verification of arms control treaties and agreements.

Our new reality is a smaller, increasingly-networked world where the average citizen connects to other citizens in cyberspace hundreds of times each day. They exchange and share ideas on a wide variety of topics, why not put this vast problem solving entity to good use? Or put another way, how can we use new media technologies by combining them with 222 years of U.S. diplomatic negotiating expertise?

Today, any event, anywhere on the planet, could be broadcast globally in seconds. That means it is harder to hide things. When it is harder to hide things, it is easier to be caught. The neighborhood gaze is a powerful tool and it could help us make sure that countries were following the rules of arms control treaties and agreements.

Open source information technologies improve arms control verification in at least two ways: either as a way of generating new information or as analysis of information that already is out there.

The DARPA Red Balloon Challenge, which you can google, is an example of the first. It demonstrated the enormous potential of social networking to solve problems and also showed how incentives can motivate large populations to work toward a common goal. Applying such ideas to arms control, a country could, for example, show it is complying with a treaty by opening itself to a verification challenge.

A technique like this—I call it a “public verification challenge”—might be especially valuable as we move to lower and lower numbers of nuclear weapons. Governments, in that case, will have an interest in proving that they are meeting their reduction obligations and may want to engage their publics in helping them to make the case.
It will then be necessary to work together to make sure nations cannot spoof or manipulate the verification challenges that they devise—that’s a big problem, but one I am sure you can tackle.

This kind of citizen-run verification and monitoring project could add to the standard international safeguards or verification of a country’s nuclear declaration. Once again, we have to bear in mind that there could be limitations based on the freedoms available to the citizens of said country—an issue to tackle in thinking through this problem.
The Information Age is also creating a greater talent pool of individuals. People can reach a broader, diverse market for their products and services. These private citizens can develop web base applications for e-book readers, cell phones and any touch pad communication devices. This “crowd sourcing” lets everyday people solve problems by getting innovative ideas out of their heads and onto the shelves.

Open source technology could be useful in the hands of inspectors. Smart Phone and tablet apps could be created for the express purpose of aiding in the verification and monitoring process. For example, by having all safeguards and verification sensors in an inspected facility wirelessly connected to the inspector’s iPad, he or she could note anomalies and flag specific items for closer inspections, as well as compare readings in real time and interpret them in context. Some of this is already happening. Another new application idea would take sensor readings and feed them into a 3-D virtual model of a facility, so an inspector could tailor an inspection in real time before he or she even steps inside.

As we think through new ways to use these tools, we should be aware that there may be trouble ahead. We cannot assume that information will always be so readily available. As nations and private entities continue to debate the line between privacy and security, it is possible to imagine that we are living in a golden age of open source information that will be harder to take advantage of in future.

In the end, the goal of using open source information technology and social networks should be to add to our existing arms control verification capabilities, and we will need your help to think about how it can be done.

So, as you have heard, we are thinking about a lot of new concepts. As I said at the outset, this is not about policy; this is about coming up with the bold ideas that will shape policy in the future. As the first set of university students outside the United States that has heard this, you have a head start on helping us find new ways to use the amazing information tools at our disposal to move the world closer to eliminating nuclear weapons.
Thank you again for inviting me here to speak. I would now love to take some questions.”




U.S. REMARKS AT 19 HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL SESSION


The following excerpt is from a U.S. State Department e-mail:

Remarks Before the 19th Session of the Human Rights Council
Remarks Maria Otero
Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Geneva, Switzerland
March 2, 2012
"When the United States joined the UN Human Rights Council two years ago, we set forth four values that would guide our work in this body: universality, dialogue, principle, and truth. We knew then, as we know now, that the honest dialogue and dedicated effort of this Council will help all of our nations on the path to international peace and security.

In the two years since, we have stayed true to those values. But our global challenges remain -- among them, threats to freedoms of assembly, association, expression and religion and to vulnerable populations. As we seek a second term on the Council, the United States stands ready to build on the Council’s successes to pursue solutions to these pressing challenges. This session provides several opportunities to do so.
Last week in Tunisia, we partnered with the Friends of Syria in a unified commitment to help end the suffering of the Syrian people. We joined Council members this week to condemn the Asad regime’s ongoing brutal crackdown.

We must extend the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry launched by the Council, which has effectively performed its intensely difficult mandate with great commitment, so that it can continue to document the atrocities being committed and lay the groundwork for accountability.

Recent efforts on Syria are not the first time the Council has provided an important platform for action. Last year, this Council created a special rapporteur to monitor the human rights situation in Iran. Special Rapporteur Shaheed has conducted his work in a spirit of openness and dialogue. His important work must continue, and I encourage the Council to continue his mandate.

Tomorrow, Iranians will go to the polls for the first time since the 2009 disputed election -- a moment when tens of thousands of Iranians took to the streets to demand their civil rights. Since then, the regime’s repression and persecution of all who stand up for their universal human rights has only intensified. The United States stands with religious and political leaders around the world in condemning the conviction of Youcef Nadarkhani’s and calling for his immediate release.

In Burma, the government has taken substantial and serious steps to improve the human rights situation for its citizens. We must continue to support this progress by extending the mandate of the special rapporteur. We commend the government for its recent efforts and encourage it to continue discussions with ethnic minority groups -- armed or otherwise -- on the path to national reconciliation.

The United States will also support renewal of the mandate of the special rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. We share the Republic of Korea’s deep concerns regarding the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers from the DPRK in third countries.

We know from experience that there can be no lasting peace without reconciliation and accountability, but the United States is concerned that, in Sri Lanka, time is slipping away. The international community has waited nearly three years for action, and while we welcome the release of the LLRC report, the recommendations of the report should be implemented. We have engaged Sri Lanka bilaterally on these issues since the conflict ended in 2009, and stand ready to continue to work with them. Action now in this Council will sow the seeds of lasting peace on the ground.

The United States has worked through this Council to assist countries in transition with their human rights challenges. We have supported human rights protection and promotion in Kyrgyzstan, Guinea, Haiti and Cote d’ Ívoire, among others. In our UPR presentation, we addressed our own incomplete journey toward universal human rights, and we admire those countries that speak about their shortcomings as well as their strengths. We stand ready to help countries ready to address their human rights challenges, and during this session we hope to reach agreement to provide additional assistance to Yemen and Libya. With the support of this Council, these countries can consolidate democracy and become new beacons of leadership on human rights.

The United States has also worked through this Council to address significant cross-cutting issues that affect all of us, including combating discrimination on the basis of religion or belief. We were pleased to host the first meeting that seeks to implement Human Rights Council resolution 16/18, and we look forward to adopting a resolution this session that recognizes the important progress we have made.
Resolution 16/18 has proven that this Council can discuss and act upon difficult issues where consensus seems impossible. We also look forward to the upcoming discussion on the human rights of LGBT persons, underscoring that being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender does not make you less human.

As States increase pressure on rights and freedoms online, the United States must reiterate that the universal freedoms of expression, assembly and association are as applicable on the Internet and mobile technologies as they are to traditional modes of expression. We are concerned that some States are using new technologies to block content and suppress political dissent, and we encourage States to fulfill their human rights commitments and obligations in the context of new technologies.”



COMPOSITE PICTURE SHOWS DARK MATTER DISTRIBUTION ACROSS GALAXIES


The following excerpt and picture are from the NASA:


"This composite image shows the distribution of dark matter, galaxies, and hot gas in the core of the merging galaxy cluster Abell 520, formed from a violent collision of massive galaxy clusters. The natural-color image of the galaxies was taken with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope in Hawaii. Superimposed on the image are "false-colored" maps showing the concentration of starlight, hot gas, and dark matter in the cluster. Starlight from galaxies, derived from observations by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, is colored orange. The green-tinted regions show hot gas, as detected by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. The gas is evidence that a collision took place. The blue-colored areas pinpoint the location of most of the mass in the cluster, which is dominated by dark matter. Dark matter is an invisible substance that makes up most of the universe's mass. The dark-matter map was derived from the Hubble Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 observations by detecting how light from distant objects is distorted by the cluster of galaxies, an effect called gravitational lensing. The blend of blue and green in the center of the image reveals that a clump of dark matter resides near most of the hot gas, where very few galaxies are found. This finding confirms previous observations of a dark-matter core in the cluster. The result could present a challenge to basic theories of dark matter, which predict that galaxies should be anchored to dark matter, even during the shock of a collision. Abell 520 resides 2.4 billion light-years away. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, CFHT, CXO, M.J. Jee (University of California, Davis), and A. Mahdavi (San Francisco State University)"


REMARKS BY U.S. AT THE COUNCIL OF THE AMERICA'S

The following excerpt is from the Department of State website:


"U.S. Policy and Engagement in the Americas


Remarks
Wendy Sherman
Under Secretary for Political Affairs 
Remarks to the Council of the Americas and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Washington, DC
February 28, 2012


Thank you Ambassador Negroponte for those kind words and to the Council of the Americas and the Center for Strategic and International Studies for hosting this event. I would also like to thank the Council for its continued leadership on hemispheric issues and for bringing together individuals from all sectors to ensure our engagement and dialogue on the Americas is constantly evolving. We look forward to being part of the 42nd Washington Conference at the State Department in May. I would also like to congratulate CSIS on celebrating 50 years this year of helping to find solutions to today’s foreign policy challenges. Just less than one year ago, CSIS graciously provided an opportunity for Secretary Clinton to share her views on the hemisphere prior to the President’s trip to the region.

I appreciate the invitation and welcome the opportunity to share some impressions from my trip to Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil earlier this month. These countries are key regional and global players, and genuine partners, and we work closely with them in virtually every area of policy. Given the wealth of experience represented here today, I hope to get your views as well, as we prepare for the President’s participation in the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena in April.

When we talk about U.S. policy and engagement in the Americas, it is critical that we think in strategic terms, of where we need to be in ten or twenty years. Our policies in the region are building on a huge, historically significant opportunity: to make the western hemisphere a strong platform for shared economic growth and security—regionally and globally—that will advance our peoples’ interests for generations. This is no small vision. It is shaping and reordering our diplomacy and statecraft all over the hemisphere.

I know there are voices that say we don’t pay enough attention to Latin America, or that our “importance” there is waning. It’s a folkloric narrative when it comes to this region, and it is also somewhat patronizing. It misses by a mile what is really going on, and how we are forging equal partnerships with countries in the hemisphere.
I returned from this trip feeling more confident than ever about both Latin America and our role within it. I also felt tremendously buoyed by the leadership that you see coming from so many actors in civil society, the private sector, and local government. They understand very directly today’s opportunity, and they don’t want to waste it.
I don’t want to bore you with a travelogue, but I would like to briefly comment on each of the stops because I think it will give you a feel for what I mean when I say that these countries are key players. Before I start, however, I want to salute Ambassadors McKinley, Wayne, and Shannon for the truly extraordinary work they are doing to advance these relationships. They and their excellent inter-agency country teams represent us with creativity, dignity, and distinction.

In Colombia, I was reminded of the sheer breadth of our relationship. My conversations with President Santos and other top officials went beyond the security themes that used to automatically top the agenda. Colombia has a dynamic economy; positioned, some say, to become the second largest in South America, after Brazil. So we talked about our robust and growing economic relationship, which is creating new jobs in both countries. The review process for implementing our free trade agreement is advancing well, and already affecting the business climate in positive ways.

We talked about Colombia’s preparations for the Summit of the Americas, now a month and a half out. It’s never an easy event for any country to pull off. Colombia’s work on this says volumes about its regional leadership, and its commitment to the broader integration process underway throughout the region.

We also discussed Colombia’s growing regional and global outreach in support of international peace and security. For example, over the last three years, Colombia has trained over 11,000 police from 21 countries in Latin America and Africa, as well as Afghanistan. Colombia has also been a leader in the SICA-led Central American donor coordination process. Colombia is succeeding in leveraging its experience in the fight against cartels and terrorists in a way that positions it as a net exporter of security far beyond its borders.
My conversations with President Santos, Foreign Minister Holguin, and Defense Minister Pinzon and others not only covered the breadth of our security cooperation and Colombia’s growing participation in regional security initiatives, but helped lay the groundwork for our future security engagement as Colombia consolidates its institutional and security gains. I also heard from a variety of civil society leaders about progress on human rights issues, and the challenges that remain.

In Mexico City, as well, my meetings highlighted a diverse and mature bilateral relationship—one that has never been stronger. At its very core is a relationship of family, of Mexican and Mexican-Americans in the United States, and their extended families in Mexico. They stay connected in ways both social and economic. The economic relationship and its growth over especially the past two decades are central to the prosperity of both our countries. To be successful, that link requires an efficient 21st century border that encourages commerce and deters illicit activities, so border issues figure prominently in senior bilateral meetings.

My colleagues from the Foreign Secretariat and I also consulted at length about a wide range of international and multilateral issues, as we routinely do with Mexico. Those included the grave situation in Syria, our mutual concern over the state of democracy in Nicaragua, and planning for the G20 Foreign Ministers meeting that Mexico held ten days ago. Mexico’s presidency of the G20—it hosts the next summit, in June—underscores the country’s growing global leadership role. For any of the old Mexico hands in the room, please try to imagine discussing Syria and Iran with the Mexican foreign ministry 20, or even 10 years ago.

We also talked about final details of the Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement that Secretary Clinton subsequently signed with Mexico on February 20. The agreement is a great example of bilateral cooperation and partnership in the area of energy security, and it provides a sound framework for the exploration of important new energy reserves.

We have made great strides institutionalizing a positive, comprehensive partnership with Mexico on security and law enforcement. The cornerstone of that engagement is the $1.6 billion Merida partnership. The Mexican Government’s close partnership and sacrifice in fighting transnational crime and stemming the flow of illegal drugs in the hemisphere is commendable. It was clear during my discussions with civil society leaders how important it is to continue to work together to strengthen human rights—and specifically to protect journalists, many of whom have been targeted by cartel violence.

As we cooperate in new ways to fight criminal cartels, we know we have to confront the demand for illegal drugs in more successful ways. One of the highlights of my visit was my participation with First Lady Zavala and Mexico’s Health Secretary, in the inauguration of the “National System to Counter Drug Addiction.” Using Merida Initiative funds, the project creates an information technology platform that will link over 300 drug addiction centers, local councils, and state observatories around the country to monitor addiction trends and share best practices in treatment. This data network is a brilliant example of Mexico’s commitment to confront drug use and addiction at every level. It is also a great example of our partnership, under the Merida initiative, to support prevention, rehabilitation, and treatment—all key to building strong and resilient communities.

In Brasilia, my meetings at the Foreign Ministry, the President’s office, and the Congress were a chance to take stock of an already strong 21st Century partnership that seems to be gaining breadth and depth by the day. At its core is our burgeoning cooperation in education, science, technology, infrastructure, innovation, and energy. All of these areas are, of course, vital to our, and Brazil’s, economic success. I think it is a telling commentary on the maturity of our relationship that it has moved so far beyond traditional foreign policy confines. Today Brazil is a strategic partner in addressing global — not just hemispheric — issues of shared concern. And I want to be clear that the United States needs and welcomes Brazil's positive expanded role. The fact that we will sometimes disagree on policy issues does not change that, but rather highlights the need for continued dialogue and better understanding of each others’ values and views.

President Obama will welcome President Rousseff to Washington, DC on April 9, so my counterparts and I also discussed preparations for that visit. The agenda will focus on a range of bilateral, regional and global issues. We will likely talk about educational cooperation, science and innovation, and trade and investment. And, as we have so many times in the past, we will undoubtedly address broader global issues and how we can work together in the many multilateral fora and groupings that characterize today’s world order.

My trip also highlighted the rapidly growing education cooperation between our two countries. President Rousseff’s ambitious “Science Without Borders” initiative aims to send 101,000 Brazilian students abroad to study in key scientific disciplines—75,000 on government scholarships, and another 26,000 paid by the private sector. The goals of that program dovetail nicely with President Obama’s “100 Thousand Strong in the Americas” goal, which he announced last March in Chile, of increasing to 100,000 the number of U.S. students studying in Latin America and the Caribbean and the same from the region to the United States by 2020. So education will be huge on the agenda as it not only strengthens relations, but also fosters trade and business ties and prepares students for the 21st Century global workforce. This goal creates an excellent opportunity for private sector involvement by supporting exchange programs, financing scholarships, offering internships and training, and mentoring exchange students. You will be hearing a lot more from us on this in the weeks and months to come.
After Brasilia, I had a terrific visit to Recife, in northeastern Brazil. It is an area of the country that is growing even faster than the national average—an area full of opportunity. All around me I saw the signs of economic boom, as well as evidence of continued challenges in areas such as education, infrastructure, and public services. I was impressed at the forward-looking leadership of so many local officials and private sector representatives with whom I met. They understand the challenge, are facing it head on, and know that broadly expanded cooperation with the United States can accelerate their success. Pernambuco’s Governor Eduardo Campos, is spearhea
ding investment in all these areas, particularly in education. We signed an education MOU with Pernambuco state to strengthen cooperation in education and professional qualification, particularly in the area of English language training. This is a great example of new partnership at local and state levels that is having an immediate impact on people’s lives. This is, if I may say so, part of the modern face of our public diplomacy in the region. We are building linkages at the grass roots level that will help nurture and sustain the quickly growing ties between our societies.

What I hope I’ve done is give you a sense of how practical, multi-faceted, and globally focused our relationships with these three key countries are. And how incredibly active our ties are, on so many levels. They are part of a broader and very positive pattern of rapidly evolving U.S. relations throughout the region. That story reflects huge transformations within many of its countries, in how countries within the region are connecting with each other, and how the region is connecting with the world. All of this is shifting how we understand our interests in the Americas, and accentuating our stake in the continuing success and prosperity of countries in the region. As trading partners who buy our goods; as partners capable of providing global public goods; as protagonists in addressing global challenges.

I think the Summit of the Americas, in Cartagena, in April, will showcase the region’s rapid change—and the many practical ways that countries and societies in the Americas are coming together to solve problems and build a more successful and interconnected future. When President Obama went to the last Summit in 2009, shortly after he took office, he pledged a new era of equal partnership in our relations with the Americas. Three years later, we can point to a clear record of progress in that direction. The contours and details of that partnership are as varied as our societies, but it is effectively reshaping our engagement all across the Americas.
A word about what you shouldn’t expect the Summit to be: a jamboree of unanimity on every policy issue out there. That’s not political reality. And there are a small number of governments that obviously have not been receptive to our partnership offers. Or who take a more narrow and exclusionary approach to integration. That’s not where most of the region is pointed. There are some divergent views, and we are always open to looking for common ground even in those cases and the offer to find common ground stands. But we are committed to working with partners, all over the hemisphere, to advance and defend common interests and values, and we won’t be shy about speaking up, clearly, and acting, to that end.

A brief preview of some of our priorities at the Summit. These priorities all entail a forward-looking vision, but are grounded in very practical cooperation now—cooperation that is already under way and increasing. I think you can expect the President will focus a lot on boosting competitiveness in the Americas. Specifically, on the need to invest in education, to build up the human capital that will be a critical factor in social progress, economic competitiveness, and national success in a globalized world. Our network of free trade agreements throughout the Americas is an engine of growth in all our countries. But, we know that our growth and competitiveness depends on a lot more than trade agreements. They hinge, for example, on the quality of our investment in human capital and our ability to equip citizens to be successful in the 21st century workplace. So the President will talk with his colleagues about education, and how we can work together better and faster to expand access to education that meets the needs of peoples, especially in higher education.

Of course, this is not just the work of governments. It is a project for our whole societies, including the private sector, with its ability to mobilize and apply great resources. The private sector events during the Summit will offer the President, and his counterparts, the chance to make this point directly and explore new partnership ideas.

Growth, competitiveness, and quality of life also require cleaner and more reliable energy for our citizens. In Cartagena, President Obama will be able to highlight the many new partnerships taking shape in the Americas to help secure this. I think the President will also focus on the way our partnerships in the hemisphere are taking on an increasingly global character as the countries of the region become increasingly important global players. The success of these global partnerships will be vital to consolidating and accelerating the region’s economic growth. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a great example of this. It holds the promise of helping drive a new wave of high-standard, socially responsible, growth-generating trade liberalization throughout the greater Pacific. Chile and Peru are already part of TPP; Mexico, Canada, and others have expressed interest in joining this ambitious global partnership.

We talk a lot about a pivot towards the Pacific. But make no mistake about how much we consider the Americas to be part of the greater Pacific community. A stronger focus on the greater Pacific brings renewed urgency and importance to the quality and effectiveness of our ties to nations in the Americas. Secretary Clinton has reiterated this many times. She said it clearly last March at CSIS. I suspect many of you were present. She said: “The bottom line is that geography matters…it is a comparative advantage to be embraced and we neglect it at our own peril.”

For all of us who work on hemispheric policy, these are exciting and promising times. Our policy has moved light years beyond a traditional and reactive approach to the Americas. We are convinced that the capabilities and experience of people throughout the Americas will be a vital ingredient in a stable, prosperous and secure world. Expanding, unleashing, and applying that skill and knowledge are high strategic objectives that can only be realized with the full engagement of our societies, but I am so encouraged by the trends that augur for success.
Thank you. I would now like to hear from you and would be happy to take your questions."


U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT TALKS ABOUT XENOPHOBIA AND HUMAN RIGHTS


The following excerpt is from a U.S. State Department e-mail:

“Combating Xenophobia: Human Rights First Event
RemarksDavid M. Robinson
Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and MigrationWashington, DC
February 29, 2012
Good morning and thank you all very much for being here on this otherwise miserable day, and for inviting me to participate in this event. I’d like to start by congratulating Human Rights First for organizing this forum and for compiling the report that will inform our discussion throughout the rest of the morning. In addition to the hard work, inspired work, that went into compiling the report, I want to commend the analysis and recommendations that it offers. They seem to me to be very sound and to provide a solid foundation for action. So thank you, and thank you, Elisa, and all your colleagues.

Having said my thank yous, I also have a confession to make. As I read through the report, I found myself becoming increasingly disturbed. Not just by the subject matter itself, which is, of course, disturbing and should disturb all of us. But rather, I became disturbed by the tone and the vocabulary of the report. The language and the style is admirably measured as all good reports should be. It's very calm and objective. And that's what began to bother me.

Think about the word Xenophobia. It’s a big word. It’s got ten letters and is dripping with Latin. Because of that, it sounds almost clinical, almost sanitized. Phobia. It’s like a condition or a disease that can be treated once it’s properly diagnosed and understood. It conjures images of psychiatrists or other physicians: rational, neutral clinicians who specialize in…Xenophobia.

But that’s not the case, is it? It isn’t measured. Xenophobia basically means hatred. It means hatred for what’s foreign to you. It means hatred for what’s strange or alien or different from you. It means hatred that’s so powerfully felt that it sometimes turns to violence. And you don’t treat hatred. You stomp on it. You combat it, as the Human Rights First report correctly notes in its title. Hatred doesn’t require physicians; it can't be treated by a doctor or some other neutral clinician. Hatred needs opponents. It needs an exorcist, not a psychiatrist.

And so the report disturbed me. The subject matter and emotion were so discordant. Which is another way of saying the report did its job. While the tone and language don't convey, the anger we justifiably feel about the gross injustice inflicted by xenophobic and other bias-based violence, the report, together with this forum, is a strong call to action. Together, they remind us that it's in fact our duty to combat, to exorcise, the pernicious kind of hatred that picks on the world’s most vulnerable people, the kind of hatred that goes after refugees, IDPs, stateless people, gay and lesbian people, religious and ethnic minorities and anybody else who is different, who is alien. The kind of hatred that goes after…well, it goes after people. Not statistics. Not populations. Not representatives of special groups. It goes after people. Individuals with identities, with hopes and dreams and heartbreak and families. Just people.

Since xenophobia goes after people, xenophobia is personal. It may be rooted in historical experience. It may be enshrined in local custom. It may be codified in national law. But xenophobia--hatred-- is always personal. It seeks out and attacks the people who most need compassion. It isolates and oppresses the people who most need justice. And it exposes and crushes the people who most need protection. And that, folks, is intensely personal.

And so combating xenophobia is also personal. Combating xenophobia means taking sides, not simply, as we in the State Department often do, adopting positions. It means abandoning the pretense of uncomfortable acceptance or grudging tolerance or reluctant understanding of abysmal behavior and taking the side of those who most need compassion, the side of those who most need justice, and the side of those who most need protection. And perhaps most importantly, combating xenophobia means taking that word, that measured, clinical, slightly abstract term, and making it in-your-face personal.
As we survey the globe, all of us are familiar with egregious examples of xenophobia and other forms of destructive bias, whether sanctioned or merely tolerated by governments, as the report notes, too: Ethnic Haitians in the Dominican Republic, the Bidoon in Kuwait, or the Rohingya in Burma. These are essentially stateless people, who are denied the protections we take for granted, and then, when driven from their homes, their suffering the additional hardship of becoming refugees or IDPs. We're familiar with sub-Saharan migrants who are brutalized crossing the Sinai, and with economic migrants, stranded and preyed upon in Yemen. And we know about lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender and other people ostracized and sometimes killed in far too many places around the world. The list of victims of hatred and violence is long and it's messy. We all know this.

Knowing all this begs the question. The question, of course, is how do we stop it. Well, I am lucky, in fact, I am privileged, to work for a government that gets it, I work for a government that puts its money where its values are. My bureau, PRM, was built specifically to take the right side, to use diplomacy, programming and advocacy to protect the world's most vulnerable people and to oppose the systematic oppression that they face. And we aggressively pursue this mandate at the local, national and international levels, you all know well, including with health, nutrition, legal, sanitation, shelter, education, livelihood and resettlement interventions and services. And we routinely ping and guide and consult with other governments whether to encourage them to improve their own protection regimes or to dismantle discriminatory practices and policies. And we take a look at oursevles, too, to constantly improve, we look in the mirror. The catalogue of our activism is significant and growing.

But the most important thing we do, the best strategy we employ to combat xenophobia, is to help build and sustain multilayered partnerships, partnerships that turn our policy positions and our program objectives into flesh and blood outcomes. PRM – you all know the statistics – is the single most generous, and I hope most reliable, partner of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, of the International Committee of the Red Cross, of the International Organization for Migration, and of the United Nations Works and Relief Agency for Palestine. These relationships go far beyond writing checks and drafting reports. They are all long-lived relationships that go beyond the reports. They are true partnerships, with all of the dynamism, creativity, and, yes, the tension that lifelong partners generate, and they, along with our NGO partners, are at the heart of a global humanitarian architecture that has one purpose and just one purpose: To protect vulnerable people. Individuals.

Xenophobia is about people. Xenophobic and other forms of bias-based violence are always personal. And so the success or failure of our efforts to stop it cannot be judged primarily in measured, clinical terms: By the treaties we sign, by the laws we cause to be passed, by the dollars we spend. Those may be, those are, important and contributing factors to success. But the real success of our strategies to combat xenophobia has got to be measured by how well we reach specific people, individual human beings. We have to judge ourselves by how well we stand beside those people who need us most. More than anything else that requires vast networks of committed, capable partners and partnerships.
I wish you great luck in your discussions today, I’m sorry I won’t be able to stay, and I hope that you'll approach them from the point of view of the victims or potential victims themselves rather than the organizational imperatives we represent. And if we do that, our strategies will stand on the right side of the equation.
Thank you.”




$83 MILLION APPROVED BY EX-IM BANK FOR FINANCING LOCOMOTIVE SALES TO CANADA

The following excerpt is from the Export-Import Bank website:

Ex-Im Bank Approves $83 Million in Export Financing for Sale of U.S.  Locomotives to Canada

Transaction Supports 500 American Jobs Across Six States
WASHINGTON, D.C. --- The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) approved an $83.1 million loan guarantee to support the sale of six American-made locomotives, railroad cars, and mining equipment to the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC). This transaction supported 500 U.S. jobs across a range of American businesses in six states (Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin).

“As global infrastructure investment increases, high quality, American-made locomotives and equipment are in demand around the world,” said Fred P. Hochberg, chairman and president of Ex-Im Bank.  “Ex-Im is committed to ensuring that the financing is in place to allow American companies to win a growing share of these sales. These transactions bolster our manufacturing base, while creating, supporting and sustaining good jobs in communities across the United States.”

2011 was a record year in locomotive financing for Ex-Im Bank, with more than $550 million supporting the sale of American-made locomotives to hard to reach markets, including Kazakhstan and South Africa.

The U.S. companies involved in the IOC transaction include Electro-Motive Diesel, Inc. (EMD) (LaGrange, Ill.), American Rail Car Industries Inc. (St. Charles, Mo.), Freightcar America Inc. (Chicago, Ill.), Harnischfeger Corp. (Milwaukee, Wisc.), Komatsu America Corp. (Peoria, Ill.), and Caterpillar, Inc. (Peoria, Ill.). Comerica Bank (Detroit, Mich.) is the guaranteed lender.

“These companies build products that are built to last and in the process they are building an American economy that is built to last – one that is driven by manufacturing, exports and the most talented and productive workers in the world,” added Hochberg.
This is the second order backed by Ex-Im Bank financing for IOC. The locomotives, railroad cars, and mining equipment are being used to expand IOC’s production in Labrador City, Newfoundland.

ABOUT EX-IM BANK
Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that helps create and maintain U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers. In the past five years, Ex-Im Bank has earned for U.S. taxpayers nearly $1.9 billion above the cost of operations. The Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms, including working capital guarantees, export-credit insurance and financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services.

Ex-Im Bank approved $32.7 billion in total authorizations in FY 2011 -- an all-time Ex-Im record. This total includes more than $6 billion directly supporting small-business export sales -- also an Ex-Im record. Ex-Im Bank's total authorizations are supporting an estimated $41 billion in U.S. export sales and approximately 290,000 American jobs in communities across the country.”


THE CROSS BORDER CRIME FORUM IN OTTAWA, CANADA


The following excerpt is from the Department of Justice website:

Friday, March 2, 2012
“Readout of Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary Janet Napolitano’s Trip to Ottawa, Canada
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today visited Ottawa, Canada to participate in the Cross-Border Crime Forum with Canadian Minister of Justice and Attorney General Rob Nicholson, and Canadian Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews.  Secretary Napolitano, Attorney General Holder and Minister Toews also signed a memorandum of understanding to better prevent and combat human smuggling and trafficking.

“Our productive discussions today at the Cross Border Crime Forum go a long way toward advancing a key pillar of the Beyond the Border initiative that President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper signed last year: integrated law enforcement that adds value to our relationship by leveraging shared resources, improving information sharing and increasing coordination of efforts, while ensuring the safety of the citizens of both our countries,” said Attorney General Holder.  “ I am grateful to our Canadian counterparts for their indispensable work to combat exploitation, abuse, and violence; and to strengthen the critical ties that bind our nations together. With the signing of this important memorandum, we signal a renewed commitment to the goals and values that our nations share to prevent and combat human trafficking.”

 “We must stop individuals and transnational criminal organizations that seek to exploit the border shared by the United States and Canada to traffic drugs, arms and other illicit goods,” said Secretary Napolitano. “We will continue to work closely with our Canadian partners through greater operational collaboration and intelligence sharing to strengthen the security of both our nations within, at, and away from our border.”

During the Forum, Secretary Napolitano, Attorney General Holder, Canadian Minister of Justice and Attorney General Nicholson and Minister Toews discussed collaborative efforts to advance President Obama and Prime Minister Harper’s Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness initiative.  The Beyond the Border Action Plan outlines the specific steps both countries will take to achieve the security and economic competitiveness goals from the Beyond the Border Declaration.  They also focused on efforts to develop the next-generation of integrated cross-border law enforcement operations, and improve information sharing practices to enhance the mutual security of the United States and Canada.


“Our Government is pleased to work with our U.S. counterparts to combat cross-border crime,” said the Honorable Rob Nicholson. “Ongoing cooperation between our countries allows for the most effective investigation and prosecution of crime when criminal activities cross our border.”

“The Forum remains an excellent opportunity for Canada and the U.S. to advance cooperation in the areas of law enforcement, criminal justice and intelligence,” said Minister Toews. “Our government is focused on the economy and creating jobs, and I am particularly pleased with the progress being made on initiatives announced under the Beyond the Border Action Plan.”

While in Ottawa, Attorney General Holder, Secretary Napolitano and Minister Toews signed a memorandum of understanding between the U.S. Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center and the Canadian Human Trafficking National Coordination Center.  The agreement between these two centers will facilitate the sharing of critical information on human trafficking to combat and disrupt transnational criminal organizations.”





Friday, March 2, 2012

STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL GIVES INTERVIEW WITH AL JAZEERA-BALKINS

The following excerpt is from a U.S. State Department e-mail:

Interview With Ivica Puljic of Al Jazeera-Balkans
InterviewPhilip H. Gordon
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian AffairsWashington, DC
March 1, 2012
QUESTION: Thank you for the time. Let’s talk about Serbia and Kosovo. We have some updates and how the U.S. government is watching this situation.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: Well, we were very pleased earlier this week to see the agreement between Serbia and Kosovo on Kosovo’s participation in regional organizations and on integrated border management. This gives Kosovo the opportunity to represent itself and speak for itself in regional organizations which is very important.

As you know, the United States strongly supports Kosovo’s independence and this is a further step towards manifesting that on the international scene.

We were also very pleased [inaudible] the European Union’s decision to offer candidacy status for Serbia, which is something the United States has supported for some time. We believe Serbia should be on the path to European Union membership. Also the EU’s decision to reach out to Kosovo, launching a feasibility study on a Stabilization and Association Agreement, and basically encouraging both countries on the path to European integration which is something the United States is very strongly behind.
QUESTION: This is excellent first step, but in the future, how do you see the situation in the future?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: There’s clearly a lot more work to be done, both in the EU facilitated dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo. Obviously there are still major differences over the north of Kosovo and we encourage the sides to talk about those.

The United States strongly supports Kosovo’s territorial integrity and independence, but we believe there are ways to allow for the local inhabitants, the ethnic Serbs in the north of Kosovo, to legitimately elect representatives and to be significantly in charge of their own affairs.

Moving forward for both of those countries is a critical step towards completing Europe and we believe that the candidacy status offered to Serbia is further encouragement for Serbia to normalize its relationship with Kosovo, which will benefit both countries profoundly.

QUESTION: And a few words about Bosnia, please. Bosnia finally has a government, they were waiting for that like 14, 15, months, and do you see that as a good sign or just too late?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: The formation of a state-level government in Bosnia was long overdue, taking more than a year after the elections. But we’re very encouraged that the parties have come together to do so, not only formed a government, but have agreed on a budget and taken other steps that show that the state level leadership can contribute to what that country needs.

The United States remains strongly supportive of Bosnia and its continued Euro-Atlantic integration. The first step was getting a state level government in place. We would like to see leaders agree on the disposition of defense properties so that NATO can enhance its relationship with Bosnia and we’ll continue to remain very much engaged with Bosnia leaders on their path forward.

QUESTION: Today is Independence Day in Bosnia, but more than half the country doesn’t recognize that. The Republic of Srpska and [inaudible] celebrating that. That is in my opinion the best point if you’re going to talk about some problems in Bosnia.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: The United States strongly supports Bosnia as a country with different entities and different ethnic groups, but as one country. We believe that there’s no alternative to that. We strongly disagree with any notions of partition. We believe that Bosnian Serbs, just as Bosnian Croats and Bosniaks can live and work in the same country, and the more they do so the more it’s in their own interest.

QUESTION: [inaudible] contact with the new government in Croatia? They form a new government, [inaudible] because the Prime Minister just visited Bosnia, his first visit outside of Croatia.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: We work very closely with the new government in Croatia. Secretary Clinton looks forward to meeting with her counterpart and we have a big agenda, both bilaterally and throughout the region.

QUESTION: Thank you so much.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: Thank you.”






VIOLENT DOCUMENT FRAUD MANAGER GETS TWO LIFE SENTENCES FOR MURDER


The following excerpt is from the Department of Justice website:

Friday, March 2, 2012
“WASHINGTON – Edy Oliverez-Jiminez, aka “Daniel,” Erasmo,” “Ulysses” and “Jesus,” 25, of Virginia Beach, Va., was sentenced today to two consecutive life terms on prison, after having been convicted by a jury for racketeering, murder, kidnapping, conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to produce and transfer false identification documents.  

Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; and John P. Torres, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) field office in Washington, D.C., made the announcement after the life sentences were handed down by U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson.

“Edy Oliverez-Jiminez is a calculating murderer who savagely attacked rival vendors to corner the fake document market,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride.  “His Mexican-based cartel exported crime, pain and terror into the United States, and today’s sentence appropriately ensures that he will never rejoin society on either side of the border.”

“Edy Oliverez-Jiminez, like his co-conspirators, committed horrific acts of violence to protect the turf of his fraudulent document ring,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer.  “Because of his crimes, he will now spend the rest of his life in prison.”

“The sentence handed down today ensures that a murderer like Edy Oliverez-Jiminez will be locked up for the rest of his life,” said Special Agent in Charge Torres. “This case has demonstrated that fraudulent document vending organizations can be not only complex and highly organized, but also ruthless in the pursuit of profit.  ICE-HSI will continue its work with law enforcement partners at all levels to disrupt this type of criminal activity and prosecute the individuals responsible.”

Judge Hudson explained from the bench that he imposed the life sentences to send a message of deterrence for Oliverez-Jiminez’s involvement with a violent racketeering organization based out of Mexico.   He further stated that the sentences were just in light of the defendant’s involvement in one of the most violent murders that he has observed in his career.   He described the murder as “pure unadulterated torture.”

Oliverez-Jimenez was a long-term supervisor for a highly sophisticated and violent fraudulent document trafficking organization based in Mexico, with cells in 19 cities in 11 states, including three cells in Virginia.   Prior to his arrest, he had served as the cell manager for the Virginia Beach and Little Rock, Ark., cells.

On Nov. 29, 2011, a federal jury convicted Oliverez-Jimenez of kidnapping and murdering a rival in Little Rock in July 2010.   Posing as a potential client, a conspirator placed a call to the rival and arranged to meet him and an associate at an abandoned trailer house.   When the rival entered the home, Oliverez-Jiminez and others attacked him, binding his feet, mouth and eyes with duct tape.   The rival’s associate was also brought inside, bound with duct tape and beaten by the attackers.   Both men were left bound on the floor, and the rival was later pronounced dead at the scene of the attack.  According to the Arkansas deputy chief medical examiner, he died of asphysixia, blunt-enforced trauma and blood loss.

The jury also convicted Oliverez-Jiminez for his role in managing cells in Little Rock and Virginia Beach that produced high-quality false identification cards to illegal aliens.   He supervised a number of “runners” who distributed business cards advertising the organization’s services and helped facilitate transactions with customers.   The cost of fraudulent documents varied depending on the location, with counterfeit Resident Alien and Social Security cards typically selling from $150 to $200.   Each cell maintained detailed sales records and divided the proceeds between the runner, the cell manager and the upper level managers in Mexico.  From January 2008 through November 2010, members of the organization wired more than $1 million to Mexico.

By August 2010, Oliverez-Jiminez had relocated to Virginia Beach, where he set up another cell for the organization, which operated until his arrest in November 2010.   According to wire intercepts admitted as evidence at trial, he planned another violent attack of a competitor for Sept. 18, 2010.

Throughout the conspiracy, Oliverez-Jiminez worked under Israel Cruz Millan, aka “El Muerto,” 26, of Raleigh, N.C., who led the organization in the United States and reported to leaders in Mexico.   Millan pleaded guilty on Nov. 15, 2011, to racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to produce and transfer false identification documents and conspiracy to commit money laundering.   On Feb. 16, 2012, U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer sentenced Cruz Millan to 300 months in prison.

Testimony at the trial of Oliverez-Jiminez showed that in June 2009, members of Cruz Millan’s organization in Richmond, Va., lured two rival sellers to a home, bound them, struck them with a baseball bat and cut them with a knife, and then placed a semi-automatic handgun in a rival’s mouth and warned him about selling false identification documents in Richmond.   In November 2010, Cruz Millan and a conspirator complained that a rival seller in Nashville, Tenn., continued to operate on their turf even after they had beat him up.  Cruz Millan instructed his subordinate to find an empty house to take care of the rival, cautioning him to wear gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints and to avoid using a gun which would create too much noise when fired.

Cruz Millan tightly controlled the organization’s activities, keeping in regular contact with Oliverez-Jiminez and other cell managers about inventory, bi-weekly sales reports and competition.  Members who violated internal rules within the operation were subject to discipline, including shaving eyebrows, wearing weights, beatings and other violent acts.  During Oliverez-Jiminez’s trial and Cruz Millan’s sentencing hearing, the United States presented evidence regarding Cruz Millan’s orchestration of the kidnapping, beating and torture of an enterprise member who was suspected of stealing from the organization.   The event occurred on Oct. 29, 2010, in Raleigh, N.C.   The evidence presented included telephone calls during which Cruz Millan conducted a “conference call” with other cell leaders around the United States so they could hear the torture as it took place and sending a message to other enterprise members about what would happen if they were caught stealing from the criminal organization.  The testimony and intercepted calls depicted how the victim was subjected to electric shocks administered by placing his feet in a bucket of water and electrocuting him with jumper cables attached to a car battery.

Twenty-seven members of the organization were originally arrested on Nov. 18, 2010.  Following the Oliverez-Jiminez trial, all of those defendants have been convicted.   In addition, two other defendants have been convicted in related cases in the Eastern District of Virginia, along with others who have been charged and convicted in other districts across the country.

The investigation was centered in the Norfolk office of ICE-HSI.  ICE-HSI received assistance from the Virginia State Police and Chesterfield County Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Gill and Angela Miller of the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Addison Thompson of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.”



SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER FOR EUROPE SAID EUROPE COMMITTED TO AFGHAN MISSION


The following excerpt is from a Department of Defense American Forces Press Service e-mail:

Europe Remains Committed to Afghan Mission, Commander Says
By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service
“WASHINGTON, March 1, 2012 - European countries strongly support continuing with the mission in Afghanistan despite violent uprisings there, and NATO is likely to continue its partnership with Afghanistan well past the end of combat operations, the alliance's supreme allied commander for Europe said here.

Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis, who also is commander of U.S. European Command, addressed Afghanistan and NATO and U.S.-European partnerships during testimony today before the Senate Armed Services Committee and yesterday before the House Armed Services Committee.

The admiral said he sees no reason to change the strategy in Afghanistan of transitioning security responsibility to Afghan forces in response to violent uprisings that began there last week after it was learned that some U.S. forces had inadvertently burned copies of the Quran.

"As I look at the broad sweep of our strategy there, I am convinced that we should continue with transitioning Afghanistan's security to the Afghans," Stavridis said. "In my conversations – I've had many over last week or so with senior leaders in the alliance – there's solid support on the European side to continue with current strategy."
Stavridis noted that about 150 demonstrations had left 30 people killed and 150 wounded. "That's significant activity, but it's been very much diffused around the country," he said, adding that Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, has said he is pleased with Afghan security forces' ability to contain the violence.

"If you step back and look at the larger progression in Afghanistan, I remain cautiously optimistic that we can succeed there," the admiral said. Two years ago, when U.S. and British Marines moved into Marjah, there were 10 coalition troops to every Afghan soldier. Today, there are two Afghan soldiers for every coalition member, he said.
Stavridis said he expects Allen will lay out a "definitive track" in mid-summer for the drawdown of coalition forces. "It has to be conditions-based as we go forward," he said.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has a "high-level goal" of signing a long-term strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan, showing NATO's "strong willingness to go forward," Stavridis said. "I think we will see an enduring relationship between NATO and the Republic of Afghanistan," he added.

Stavridis told the Senators he will provide them with a classified report on the recent violence in Afghanistan, and in response to a question, said the uprisings appear to be a combination of spontaneous demonstrations and Taliban-driven activity.

The admiral also spoke about the importance of U.S.-European partnerships, noting that European countries have 40,000 troops in Afghanistan and lead operations in the Balkans. Speaking to the need for a continued U.S. presence in Europe, he said, "It does matter that we continue to have Europe as our partner of first resort."

However, he said, he repeatedly has urged European nations to spend more on defense capabilities. The United States spends about 4.5 percent of its gross domestic product on defense, he said, and members of the European Union have pledged to spend 2 percent of each of theirs, but only some are meeting that goal, with most spending only about 1.5 percent of GDP on defense, he said.
"They should spend more, and if they would spend more, it would permit the United States to spend less," Stavridis said. "I think the United States should press this very hard."

Also at the hearings, the general gave his assessment of NATO's capabilities in cyber defense. "We are in the process of catching up," he said. "We have hard work to do in cyber."

NATO's progress on cyber is evident at the recently created Cyber Center of Excellence in Estonia, and in a computer response center being added in the NATO headquarters building in Brussels, the admiral said. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Georgia have had "fairly severe" cyber attacks in recent years, he noted.

Cyber defense was included in the 2010 NATO Strategic Concept, and Stavridis said he expects it to be discussed at the upcoming summit.

European governments struggle with public-private cooperation on cyber defense just as Americans do, he said. "We have more thinking and talking to do within the U.S. military structure as to the precise authorities and structures" in U.S. Cyber Command.”


APCAC U.S.-ASIA BUSINESS SUMMIT


The following excerpt is from the Department of State website:


The APCAC U.S.-Asia Business Summit

Remarks
Thomas Nides
Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources 
Tokyo, Japan
March 1, 2012


"Good morning everyone – what a pleasure to be among so many friends and distinguished colleagues today.
Now, some of you might have heard me say before that I wear two hats. I’m here as a diplomat and as a recovering businessman. I am also fast becoming an expert Japan traveler. This is my third trip to Tokyo in the last year, and I am thrilled to be back.  I'd like to thank the ACCJ President Michael Alfant, the ACCJ Board of Governors, and the entire APCAC Board for inviting me to speak to you.

We are meeting just days before the one-year anniversary of the terrible earthquake and tsunami that forever changed the lives of millions of people. Japan’s recovery over the last year is an inspiration to the world. What could have been a crippling disaster instead became a remarkable testament to the spirit and resilience of the Japanese people.

The world pulled together to support Japan in those days and months after March 11. Many of you contributed -- American corporations donated nearly $300 million for relief and recovery efforts. American and Japanese rescue and relief forces worked side-by-side, starting within hours of the tsunami.

Of course, Japan has done the same for us. In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Japanese people were among the first to respond. In the terrible days following 9/11, Japanese volunteers worked at Ground Zero day-in and day-out. When it matters most, our countries step up for each other. That’s what friends do for each other.

Now, last week, Secretary Clinton hosted the first-ever Global Business Conference at the State Department in Washington. We brought together senior U.S. officials with more than 160 business leaders from over 120 countries. My friend and yours Charles Lake was one of the participants, and I’m glad that he’s here today as well.

The Global Business Conference had one goal: to figure out how the United States can make it easier for companies to do business internationally and create American jobs. Today we want to continue that discussion with you. I am joined by a panel of my colleagues -- our chief diplomats from all across the Asia-Pacific. They made the trip because they know how important economics is to our relationship with Asia, and how important the economic relationship between Asia and the United States is to the world.

So as we begin this discussion, I’d like to make four key points. First, how the United States is sharpening our focus on economics as a foreign policy tool. Second, how business and economics are particularly important to our foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific region. Third, how the United States is doing a great deal to deepen our economic cooperation with the region. And finally, how we can and must do more, and how we need businesses to be part of that effort.
So let’s take these points one by one. First, our focus on business and economics as a tool for diplomacy – a policy we call economic statecraft. America's global leadership and our economic strength are fundamentally a package deal. We must do more to build up both.
We live in an era when the size of a country’s economy is every bit as important to exercising global leadership as the size of its military. Our corporations often reach more people in foreign countries than our embassies. Meanwhile, the American people are hungry for jobs that depend on finding new customers and opening new markets beyond our borders.

So we have made economic statecraft a priority for every one of our missions around the globe. And I’ll tell you, we will use every tool we have – including diplomacy – to promote global prosperity and create American jobs.
Which leads me to my second point: economic statecraft is particularly important in here Asia. That is one reason why, as you can see, we have such a strong showing on this panel.

Many Asian countries have long recognized the links between economics and foreign policy. In many ways, the business of Asia is business. Asian economies and populations are growing rapidly. I don’t need to tell you that much of future global economic growth will be centered in the Asia-Pacific. So it is imperative that we do this right. The decisions Asia’s emerging economies make together with the United States will help govern a rules-based system that will guide us through the 21st century. If we get the rules right, all of our countries will prosper together.

Economics is at the heart of America’s strategy in Asia. We are committed to exercising our role as a resident Pacific power—not just militarily and diplomatically but economically.

No one knows this better than the Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce. You have helped tend American business in Asia for more than 40 years. And your work has paid off. American Chambers of Commerce in Asia today oversee more than $400 billion dollars in trade volume and more than $200 billion in foreign direct investment. And yet, we can and we should be trading more.

The futures of the United States and Asia are linked. We are proud of the role the United States has played in helping fuel Asia's growing prosperity. In 2011, the United States exported nearly $900 billion in goods to APEC countries. That’s more exports than we sent to any other group of regional economies.
But there is no guarantee that the future will continue to be marked by success and growth. Our relationships need constant tending.

So, the third area I want to discuss is how we are enhancing our economic cooperation with the region. We have made some key gains, and we are committed to doing even more to get this right. Last year the President signed the landmark Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. This deal will eliminate tariffs on 95 percent of American exports to the Republic of Korea. It will add more than $10 billion to the U.S. economy and grow Korea’s economy by 6 percent.

We want to bring these sorts of benefits to the broader region as well. So, we are working with our partners to build a high quality Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. Done right, the TPP could set the stage for decades of higher living standards and deeper friendships across the region. That’s the world we want. And that’s the world I think you want too.

As we build this future, we should be clear. We are not just fighting for American businesses – although that is certainly a priority. America’s economic renewal depends on the strength of the global economy. And the global economy depends on the strength of the American economy. And both—let me add—depend on a strong, vibrant Japanese economy and a full recovery. So, we are striving to build a global, rules-based system in which all businesses stand a chance to succeed. Secretary Clinton laid out our vision at the APEC meetings in Washington almost a year ago. Economic competition should be open, free, transparent, and fair.
What do we mean by open? We mean a system where any person, in any part of the world, can access markets. If you have a good idea for a new product or service, nothing should prevent you from sharing it with the world.

What do we mean by free? We mean that every company can move their goods, money, and ideas around the globe without facing unnecessary roadblocks.
By transparent, we mean that regulations are developed in the open, with everyone’s input, and everyone knows what the rules are.

And, by fair, we mean that those rules apply equally to everyone. Fairness makes sure that people are willing to compete in the first place.

These four simple words cover an incredibly complex economic agenda. And in some of these areas, we face great challenges. For example, we must do a better job of protecting intellectual property. We can disagree about how to best enforce intellectual property laws, but we cannot afford to ignore them. Our 21st century economies rely on innovation and invention to drive economic growth and job creation. We must do all we can to protect that.

So, to my last point: we can and must do much more in the coming years to advance this economic statecraft agenda, and we need the business community to be our full partner. We need to sit down together, in forums like this one and the State Department Global Business Conference, or at gatherings like APEC. Building sustainable global growth and creating jobs at home is a joint venture. The private sector innovates and allocates capital, and the government opens doors to new markets and ensures that the system is fair. Given the economic hardship Americans and our international friends are suffering today, we must bring the partnership between business and government to the next level.

We are relying on you to think big, to generate new ideas, to open doors with jobs and capital. And the government will be right beside you – knocking down barriers, connecting partners, protecting everyone’s interests. Together, we can build a system of healthy economic competition that will be sustainable and profitable for many years to come.

I hope that we come away from these next two days with a newfound sense of purpose and possibility. Starting now, we should all be asking: What can the government and the State Department do to improve opportunities for business in the Asia-Pacific region? How can we do better? How can businesses support our national interests in tying the United States and Asia closer together?

If we are successful in finding more ways to work together to build an open, free, transparent, and fair economic system, the future of U.S.-Asia cooperation is unlimited. The impact on our global economic output will be enormous. And the benefit to people’s lives and opportunities will see no limits.
Thank you."

SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON ANNOUNCES SERBIA GRANTED EUROPEAN UNION CANDIDATE STATUS


The following excerpt is from a U.S. State Department e-mail:


Serbia Granted European Union Candidate Status


Press Statement
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
March 2, 2012


The March 1 announcement by the European Council that Serbia has been granted European Union candidate country status is an important step forward for Serbia’s future. I want to congratulate the leadership and the people of Serbia for their hard work, commitment and determination toward this goal.

I also welcome the announcement by the European Union that it will launch a Feasibility Study for Kosovo’s Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA), which builds on the European Council’s conclusions on Kosovo from December. This is important for Kosovo’s European orientation and a key sign of Europe’s commitment to Kosovo.

Greater European integration is beneficial for Serbia, Kosovo and the entire region. I commend the leaders of Kosovo and Serbia for their courage and commitment in making the tough political decisions necessary to reach these milestones. I encourage the leaders of both countries to continue making progress in the EU-led dialogue, and to fully implement the decisions already agreed upon. The United States shares strong and enduring friendships with Kosovo and Serbia, and we will continue to work closely with both countries in support of a peaceful and prosperous European future.

STATE DEPARTMENT REMARKS ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING AT LINCOLN'S COTTAGE


The following excerpt is from the U.S. State Department website:

Remarks at President Lincoln's Cottage
RemarksLuis CdeBaca
Ambassador-at-Large, Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in PersonsWashington, DC
February 23, 2012
As prepared for delivery
“Thank you all very much. And thank you, Brad Myles. The Polaris Project is on the front lines of the fight against modern slavery. A few years ago, a hotline was set up to report suspected cases of trafficking in persons. It’s a phone number that teachers and neighbors and concerned individuals can call when something looks suspicious. It’s a phone number the U.S. Government gives out to immigrants entering the country along with information about their rights and the potential warning signs of trafficking in persons. It has resulted in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers.
When those phones ring, they ring in the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, which the Polaris Project operates. And thanks to Brad’s intrepid leadership, the Resource Center is growing busier all the time.
And I’d like to thank Erin Carlson Mast and all the staff here at President Lincoln’s Cottage, both for working to make this new exhibit a reality and for all they do in their work for the National Trust. The National Trust for Historic Preservation does more than just maintain important sites across our country–they preserve our history and our heritage.
They preserve for posterity parts of our history such as this house, where Lincoln put pen to paper and took the first steps toward a policy of Emancipation. The Trust also preserves sites such as the Belle Grove Plantation, about 80 miles west of here, where for more than a century, hundreds of slaves labored on thousands of acres. Where in 1864 blood was spilled and lives lost as General Philip Sheridan rallied his men against a surprise attack, putting an end to the Confederate invasion of the North.
These are the places where our country was made, where our history—good and bad—was written. Places that allow us to hear, if we only listen, the voices reminding us who we are, and what we must become.
And sometimes the men and women who work at the Trust have brought voices that we don’t always recognize. Not just Lincoln or Sheridan or Douglass, but like the people whose voices are heard once again because of the Trust’s Vice President for Historic Sites, my friend and classmate Estevan Rael-Gálvez. Because of Estevan, we know about Rosario Romero, a Navajo woman who lived in New Mexico in the latter half of the 19th Century. Her given name, Ated-bah-Hozhoni, meant “Happy Girl” in Navajo, but she was taken from the wreckage of her family after a raid. She was sold to a man named Martínez for 150 pesos and given the name Rosario.
She lived 70 more years. During most of that time, slavery had already been outlawed, but for three generations the census places her in the service of that same family, listed in the census records from the time as a “servant,” and a “day laborer,” and a “wool weaver.”
The reality, of course, is that she had been a slave. A tragedy in the unknown history of Indian Slavery in our country. Not just forgotten, but in a society that tried to make sure everyone forgot, that the crime went unnamed, unremarked. And it would have, but for Estevan.
The Trust is working to make sure these stories are told. And they need to be told. They need to be seared into our collective memories, because the dark chapters in our history as well as our triumphs need to guide us as we chart the course toward our country’s future.
Of course, there is no greater blemish on our nation’s history—no darker chapter in the story of America—than that of chattel slavery. And there is no greater inspiration—no greater example of American values and the American spirit—than men and women who dedicated themselves to seeing that institution eliminated.
Whether they themselves escaped the bonds of slavery and then made it their work to help others do the same, or led soldiers into battle, or sat in a room and wrote the ideas of the Abolitionist Movement into our law, the fruits of their labors illuminate our history. Their example stands today as a challenge to fight this evil, no matter where or when it may occur.
And President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and the other members of the Cabinet are heeding that call, fighting what the President calls “the intolerable yoke of modern slavery.”
On the first of this month, we marked National Freedom Day, commemorating the date that President Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment and sent it to the states for ratification. Freedom Day. It started under President Truman; it grew into Black History month. In fact, the Freedom Day movement was founded by Major Richard Wright, born into slavery but by the end of his life a successful businessman. A survivor, whose voice could not be stilled.
And later this year, we will reach the 150th anniversary of the date on which President Lincoln issued the Executive Order beginning the process of freedom – the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. The Proclamation that let millions of voices lift and sing.
But as we sit here, perhaps in the very room where those words were first written, there are estimated to be 27 million men, women and children around the world living in slavery today. Twenty-seven million. More than at any time in history.
Just as in New Mexico in the late 1800s, people want to turn away, to act as though it is not happening. Frederick Douglass once ridiculed the euphemisms that polite antebellum society used to avoid actually saying the word “slavery” outright. He might be surprised by the lack of progress we’ve made in that regard.
The polite term we now use to shield ourselves is “trafficking in persons.” “Trafficking” evokes movement, but at its core this is a crime of exploitation. The U.S. government broadly considers trafficking in persons to be all of the conduct involved in reducing a person to or maintaining a person in a state of compelled service for labor or commercial sexual exploitation. In a nutshell, slavery.
It takes many forms. It occurs in every country. And although the policy attention to “trafficking in persons” as a concept is relatively new, at the end of the day this phenomenon is nothing more than the newest manifestation of an ancient crime. As Secretary Clinton says, “Let’s just call it what it is – it’s modern slavery.”
A little more than ten years ago, led by then-First Lady Hillary Clinton, the international community came together to address this problem, and here at home we updated our own laws. Nearly 150 countries today are parties to the Palermo Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, which established what we call the 3P Paradigm—prevention, protection, and prosecution—as a guideline for fighting human trafficking.
In the United States, President Clinton issued what I think was the first Executive Order on this issue since President Lincoln, and signed into law the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which focused our anti-slavery laws on these new types of exploitation and established my office, the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, within the State Department to spearhead our efforts to combat trafficking abroad.
And now, under now-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, my office is responsible for diplomacy and foreign assistance to root out modern slavery around the globe. We produce the annual Trafficking in Persons Report to assess nearly every government, including our own, on their efforts to stop trafficking.
In fulfilling these responsibilities, my staff and I spend a lot of time engaging with others who are part of the fight against modern slavery—whether our foreign government counterparts, or leaders in the NGO community, or academics, or business leaders. One of the things we try to make clear is the reason why the United States government considers this effort a priority.
These conversations are often geared toward those concerned with laws or development issues or a gamut of other policy concerns, and our rationale for fighting this crime often fits with those concerns. Trafficking in persons undermines the rule of law. It threatens our security. It devastates communities and hurts families. These are all very good and sound reasons for pressing full steam ahead in our battle against trafficking in persons; it is “fitting and proper that we should do this.”
But the way I usually end those conversations is to say that—as important as all of these policy reasons for fighting slavery might be, fighting slavery is also simply part of who we are as a nation. It’s part of delivering on the promise of freedom. It’s part of building on the legacy sprung from this very house, 150 years ago.
Why is this not simply a policy priority, but something more ingrained in the stuff of our country?
It’s because those two documents I mentioned earlier—the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment—reflected the ultimate goal of the Abolitionist Movement, but they aren’t merely words in our law and history books. And they don’t mark moments in America’s history when slavery all of a sudden ceased to exist.
They’re promises. A promise that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist. A promise written in the blood of all who lived and died in slavery. In the blood of all who answered the Battle Hymn’s challenge to, if necessary, “die to make men free.”
Abraham Lincoln said famously “if slavery is not wrong, then nothing is wrong.” And he bound us with a sacred promise: neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall ever again exist.
Not then. Not now. Not ever.
But maybe that doesn’t have to be my closing point anymore. Maybe people are starting to make that connection themselves. Just think: here I am, an American official who fights against slavery every day, standing in a room where Abraham Lincoln thought about – perhaps even actually put pen to paper to write – the Emancipation Proclamation. And what’s on display here 150 years later? An exhibit about modern slavery. About delivering on the promise of freedom.
It’s not just here. Last week, I spoke at an event commemorating the birthday of Frederick Douglass. Tomorrow, members of my staff will visit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati to explore ways to amplify that remarkable exhibit which focuses on the continuum between chattel slavery 150 years ago and what we call “trafficking in persons” today.
You see, whether here, in the Park Service, or in the civil rights museums, it seems that the people who are entrusted with preserving and interpreting the legacy of our country’s original sin are already reaching the conclusion that I have tried unartfully to make in my speeches and my diplomatic interventions:
Slavery, and our promise to end it, are not just part of the past. Emancipation was a promise for all time. Those of us who care about civil rights bear a responsibility to continue the fight.
So now that we’ve drawn that line, from past to present, how does the slavery of 150 years ago inform our struggle today?
First of all, when the 13th Amendment became the law of the land, this became the government’s fight, because slavery was from that moment forward illegal. Today, slavery is a crime, and we have an obligation to respond to it accordingly. And while the values that underlay the abolition of slavery and the promise of freedom haven’t changed, slavery itself has, and so has the way we’ve responded to it.
Over the last 150 years, enforcing the 13th Amendment has required laws that adapted to the way slavery had evolved. In the first half of the 20th Century, involuntary servitude and slavery continued across the American South as what we called peonage. It was debt bondage. Sharecropping.
A few administrations, under Presidents Grant, both Roosevelts, and Carter, made some progress curbing this crime, but those efforts always dropped off when power changed hands.
The longest sustained effort we’ve seen has taken place in the last 15 years. It has spanned three administrations and both major parties. When President Obama declared last month Slavery and Trafficking Awareness month, he continued and intensified the commitment shown by former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Another thing that’s changed is America’s role in the world. As the United States has become a global leader and worked to advance our interests abroad, we count among those interests the eradication of slavery.
Part of our foreign policy agenda reflects the belief that trafficking in persons should be eradicated wherever it occurs, and thanks in part to our leadership, much of the international community has partnered in this struggle. Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights track almost verbatim our Constitution’s 13th Amendment; the United Nations’ “Palermo” Trafficking Protocol closely mirrors our own anti-trafficking law of the year 2000.
These are the structures that in the last 15 (and indeed the last 150) years have been built around the promise of ending slavery. But laws and policies and college courses and the annual Trafficking in Persons Report—while all these things help us understand the changing nature of slavery and allow us to counter it—those things themselves aren’t slavery.
Slavery today is what slavery has always been about. Slavery is about people. People trapped under the power and cruelty not just of a system or a culture, but under actual cruel masters.
Slavery is about a woman leaving her home and her family because she’s been promised an opportunity for a good job, only to find herself locked in a basement as a domestic worker, or made to work in a field without pay or a way to leave. Slavery is about a man on a fishing boat, forced to work 18 hours a day for months on end, and beaten when he fails to catch enough fish in a day or asks for just a little chicken in his rice.
It’s about children who should be learning to read and write, but are instead forced into the worst kind of exploitation imaginable. Like Frederick Douglass as a small boy experienced when he was sent to be a “house servant” in Baltimore, it is the escalating violence of the curse… then the hand… then the belt.
That is why we continue this struggle.
And as much as our laws and policies are rooted in the past, so is the constant reminder that this crime is about people. It’s because we know about the life of Frederick Douglass that we’re so sure that the experience then can help us tackle this challenge today. It’s because we know that survivors like Harriet Tubman and Richard Wright endured and accomplished that we can truly see the line from the plantations of the antebellum South to the sweatshops and brothels where exploitation occurs today.
Frederick Douglass, of course, shed his bonds to become one of the great orators and statesmen in history. He travelled the country railing against the evil he had endured and escaped. He pushed President Lincoln to action. His activism expanded beyond the issue of slavery. His words and ideas about suffrage and immigration and civic responsibility still illuminate our nation’s great debates. He was one of the first to insist that Emancipation must apply to Hispanics and Asians, and to warn that slavery would not truly be snuffed out if we turned our backs.
I mentioned Richard Wright earlier. After Emancipation, young Richard Wright and his mother settled in Cuthbert, Georgia. He graduated valedictorian of Atlanta University. He eventually was appointed by President McKinley to be Paymaster of the volunteers of the U.S. Army, and was the highest ranking African American in the US military.
For 30 years, he was President of the Georgia State Industrial College for Colored Youth, now Savannah State University. At the age of 67, he enrolled in Wharton Business School and opened the first bank in the North owned by an African American. It was thanks to his leadership, his determination to commemorate the day Lincoln signed the 13thAmendment, that we now celebrate National Freedom Day on February 1st. It’s why February is now Black History Month.
These are the stories we all know, and we should. Harriet Tubman and others’ flight into the darkness – their journey on the Underground Railroad guided by Polaris the North Star – is as intrinsic to the fabric of America as are Lincoln’s words at Gettysburg.
One story I didn’t know until recently is about a man named Jourdon Anderson. Some of you may have seen this floating around the Internet in the last week or so. Jourdon Anderson was born into slavery in Big Spring, Tennessee, and after Emancipation moved his wife and children north to Dayton, Ohio.
According to some of the documents that emerged, in the summer of 1865, the man who had enslaved him, also named Anderson, wrote to Jourdan and actually asked that he come back to Tennessee and work on that farm where he had been held for 32 years.
Jourdon Anderson replied with the help of someone who could write, and apparently made his letter available to the press. It was published contemporaneously in the Cincinnati Commercial and the New York Tribune.
“I want to know particularly,” he wrote, “what the good chance is you propose to give me. I am doing tolerably well here. I get twenty-five dollars a month, with victuals and clothing; have a comfortable home for Mandy,—the folks call her Mrs. Anderson,—and the children—Milly, Jane, and Grundy—go to school and are learning well.”
He went on, addressing the particular points of his former abuser’s offer, and I’m going to read a good portion of this because it’s truly remarkable. I apologize for such a long quote, but his voice, lost for so long, deserves to be lifted and to ring:
“As to my freedom, which you say I can have, there is nothing to be gained on that score, as I got my free papers in 1864 from the Provost-Marshal-General of the Department of Nashville. Mandy says she would be afraid to go back without some proof that you were disposed to treat us justly and kindly; and we have concluded to test your sincerity by asking you to send us our wages for the time we served you. This will make us forget and forgive old scores, and rely on your justice and friendship in the future. I served you faithfully for thirty-two years, and Mandy twenty years. At twenty-five dollars a month for me, and two dollars a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to eleven thousand six hundred and eighty dollars. Add to this the interest for the time our wages have been kept back, and deduct what you paid for our clothing, and three doctor's visits to me, and pulling a tooth for Mandy, and the balance will show what we are in justice entitled to…. If you fail to pay us for faithful labors in the past, we can have little faith in your promises in the future. We trust the good Maker has opened your eyes to the wrongs which you and your fathers have done to me and my fathers, in making us toil for you for generations without recompense…. Surely there will be a day of reckoning for those who defraud the laborer of his hire.”
He ends his letter by saying this: “The great desire of my life now is to give my children an education, and have them form virtuous habits.”
Whether we’re talking about the famous or the should-be-famous, Frederick Douglass or Harriet Tubman or Richard Wright or Jourdan Anderson, when we look at what each of them accomplished, the way they lived their lives, what we don’t see are helpless people plucked out of enslavement by some righteous rescuer. We see survivors.
We don’t see men and women who needed someone else to confer agency upon them before they moved onto their lives as advocates and teachers and businessmen and mothers and fathers. They weren’t waiting around for someone to free them so that they could become all of these things. Those who secured their freedom on the Underground Railroad didn’t steal away in the middle of the night because somebody told them it was OK.
Did they have help along the way? Of course. Did Emancipation clear a roadblock? Absolutely. But I would wager that whether or not the Provost-Marshal-General of the Department of Nashville had given Jourdan Anderson his free papers, in Jourdon Anderson’s mind, his freedom would still have been a fact.
The men and women who lived in chattel slavery didn’t fall victim to a cruel and exploitative institution because they were incapable or pitiful. And once free neither were they incapable or pitiful. We know this because once empowered it was through their own will and determination that they lived out their lives the way they wanted. Orators and advocates. Educators and businesspeople. Important to the entire world, or only to their family and friends – it was their choice. Mothers and fathers whose desire was to give their children an education. To get the education they themselves had been denied.
Census records show that Jourdon Anderson lived in the same house in Dayton, Ohio for many years, and after he died, his children and grandchildren were there for many more years. Those census records from 40, 50, 60 years later are the epilogue to that letter. The records tell the result of his journey to freedom. That his children and grandchildren got the education that he wanted so much for them.
These individual accounts of people like Jourdon Anderson or Rosario Romero show us that history isn’t a monolith. It’s a fabric woven of countless threads, each thread as unique as the experience it represents. And so today, when we consider the victims of modern slavery, we must first consider that modern slavery isn’t just happening in theory, or to some statistics. It’s happening to individuals with families and talents and hopes and lives as unique as those whose legacies we honor today.
Now, some have suggested that those of us who work to combat trafficking in persons envision ourselves as heroes swooping in to save the day, helping those who can’t help themselves. But if there’s a lesson to be learned from the lives of those who survived and moved on with their lives, if there’s one thing we should remember today as we think of all those who still endure exploitation, it’s that our goal should be to provide survivors the opportunities to lead the lives they choose.
Because they typically still want the lives the traffickers denied them. Many of them got enslaved because they were trying for a better life for their families. Because they were willing to chance it to get an education for their little sister, medical care for their grandmother, a roof for their parents’ hut.
Survivors may need protection from pimps or bosses. That doesn’t mean throwing them in a shelter and forcing them to stay there. If they’re immigrants, they may want to return home, or they may want to stay here and start a new life. That means providing them legal recourse. They may want to face their accuser in court; they may want to just walk away and leave their past behind. That means giving them the choice. It means letting their choices – and their voices – mean something.
Like Shamiya Hall. For years, the America she knew was the garage in California where she was kept by the family that enslaved her. They went to jail; she’s going to college and wants to be a federal agent, so that she can free those still in bondage. A few weeks ago, she became an American citizen. She had the opportunity. She is living a life she sought for herself. Like Douglass and others, she is a survivor whose voice cannot be stilled.
So when we talk about those laws and structures that surround modern slavery, we have to ask how the necessary government action—indeed, the primary responsibility for fighting this crime around the world rests with governments—how does that responsibility balance with the aim of empowering survivors?
The answer to that question depends on how far a government has come in addressing human trafficking. As I often say, no government is perfect at fighting modern slavery; no government is doing enough. But some are doing more, a lot more, than others. The governments doing the most have adopted the modern 3P Paradigm I was discussing before—prevention, protection, and prosecution.
It’s what we call a victim-centered approach. Whether in law enforcement or prosecution or survivor care, we focus on those who have been exploited because, again, at the end of the day this crime is about people. It isn’t a crusade to rescue those who can’t help themselves. At its best, effective government action is prosecuting and punishing the traffickers—something only governments can do—and providing survivors the assistance they need.
That’s the help we can give along the way, like so many did on the Underground Railroad. Treatment and counseling. Job training and education. We can level the playing field. We can put opportunity more within reach. But the reality is that many of the men and women who are freed from modern slavery are freed because they had within them the courage to walk away. To go to the police. To tell someone. Their courage gets them 90 per cent of the way there. Our role must be to get them across the finish line.
But not every government is there yet. Some have adopted modern anti-trafficking laws, but fail to use them; they’ve built the machine, but they’ve never switched it on. Some governments are resistant to call modern slavery what it is, and instead treat the exploitation as an immigration issue or a labor violation or some lesser crime. Some governments deny altogether that modern slavery occurs within their borders.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that slavery isn’t taking place. It doesn’t mean that there isn’t a robust NGO presence on the ground, or that there aren’t activists and leaders pushing for the sort of changes needed to effectively combat this crime. It doesn’t mean that people aren’t toiling unseen and unheard. It means that they simply have no way to let their voices be heard.
Often the difference between the governments that use their laws and the governments that don’t; between the governments that have enacted modern anti-trafficking statutes and those where such provisions languish in legislatures; between acknowledging the problem of modern slavery and sweeping it under the rug — the difference is political will.
In too many places, that political will does not exist.
This room, these walls, this house, constitute a symbol of that political will. It didn’t all happen here. Political will existed and grew in different corners of our country for many years prior to Emancipation, and continued to evolve for many years after. It pushed Lincoln as much as he pushed it. And he tried to calibrate what was right and what was possible.
Because when the war came, Lincoln had face the consequences Thomas Jefferson had predicted when he said of slavery in 1820, “We have the wolf by the ears and we can neither hold him nor safely
let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other."
But the moment when the activism and the arguments and the opportunity and the bloodshed reached a tipping point come together in the very human and very daily life of President Lincoln. The ideas, and words, and decisions that Lincoln struggled with in this house.
This house will stand for a very, very long time as a monument to that moment. But if there’s one lesson to learn from that history—if there’s a bit of wisdom to glean from this place—it’s that as long as slavery endures, we need to keep building Lincoln’s Cottage.
We need to build it over and over again in halls of government around the world. We need to build it in our statehouses and our town halls. We need to build it in our board rooms and in the church basements where community groups lay out their agendas.
Just as Americans 150 years ago pushed and fought and died in pursuit of the promise that went forth from these walls, so too can we all contribute to making that moment happen again, and again, and again.
You don’t need to work in the anti-trafficking movement to be a modern-day abolitionist. We can all help to solve this problem. We can do it by learning the way our lives touch modern slavery—the way the goods we consume may be touched by forced labor—the way we are too accepting of a culture that permits exploitation in prostitution. We can do it by making sure people understand this lingering challenge, in our congregations, and our schools, and our community clubs.
Let’s write that final chapter. The promise made here demands that we continue to act. That we continue to be a voice for those who cannot lift their own. That we walk with them on that road to freedom and to recovery.
Lincoln foresaw the gravity of what he undertook here, and he understood what it took to write those words. The phrase on the wall behind me: “If my name ever goes into history, it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it.” This is our history. And it’s the promise we work to fulfill today. Because we all deserve to live in Abraham Lincoln’s world – a world free from slavery.
Thank you.”